Title: And Baby…
Pairing(s): grown up Nita/Kit
Warnings: A little bit of nakedness, a few references to menstrual cycles.
Summary: Nita's heart jumped into her throat. When had her last period been?
Author's Note: This fic is for Rhap-chan, who wanted a fic about trying to balance wizardry and a child, which was the inspiration for this fic. I tried to incorporate a lot of other things you requested, Rhap-chan, and hopefully you can find them. I'll also promise you some college fic in the near future, but this wanted to be written more.
Nita's first thought, after she turned off her alarm and rolled to sitting with her feet hanging off the bed, was that today she had a meeting with the city contracted advertising agency. As she stood and stretched, she mentally reviewed what still had to be done before she walked into that conference room. She had finished preparing the statistical briefs the day before, but she wasn't sure what questions would come up, or which numbers would stick out to the advertisers as the most eye catching.
The fog of sleep lifting slightly after some deliberate stretching, Nita looked around. Kit, it seemed, had woken up before his alarm – or perhaps Nita just hadn't heard it – and was already in the shower, the door to the bathroom open. Nita smiled a slow smile, and began walking across the room as she peeled off her t-shirt and stepped out of her pj pants, she threw both pieces into the hamper. She pulled off her rings, the beautiful gold bands that Kit had given to her, and put them on the ring holder beside her sink on the bathroom counter.
"Hey," Nita said, as she stuck her head behind the fish patterned shower curtain. "Mind a partner?"
Kit turned, his body and especially his face covered in suds, and smiled. "Join me," he said. Nita didn't join him in his morning shower often, but he enjoyed it when she did. "Are you ready for your meeting today?" he asked; he moved so that she could wet her body and hair and handed her the shampoo.
"Ready enough, I guess," she said, leaning her head back into the water. "I'll have to meet with Linda before I meet with the advertisers, to go over any last details." She shrugged, and filled her palm with shampoo. "What are you up to today?"
Kit watched at Nita worked the shampoo through her hair. "Well, actually, I'm meeting with Rhiow about the refurbishment work going on. I'll need to see if they need any help or cover with the world gates while it's happening."
"The work of a civil engineer and a wizard is never done," Nita said as she turned around to wash off some of the shampoo that had escaped her hair. She reached for the face wash.
"Hey," said Kit. "Do you mind if I rinse off and get out first?" Nita shook her head no, and moved so that Kit could reach the water. "I'll go make our sandwiches."
"Sounds great, love," said Nita, as Kit finished rinsing. He leaned in for a peck, which Nita gave him, and climbed out of the shower.
When Nita joined Kit in the kitchen, he had already packed both of their lunches and had set out a cereal bowl and a cup of coffee for her. He was sitting at the kitchen table, checking his email at the laptop computer that he and Nita shared at home. Nita loved the little kitchen in their Brooklyn apartment. The floor was unforgiving uneven tile, which shattered anything glass dropped on it. The cabinets were a frosty blue color, accented by scroll work, and the sink was probably too small for their purposes, but was original to the apartment.
"Anything interesting on the internet?" asked Nita, as she sat down and poured her Cheerios and milk into her bowl. As she shoveled in her first mouthful, she reached out for her manual – which fizzed as she touched it. Nita frowned, and began flipping through the book – filled with information on energy usage and weather patterns – to the section where the messages were stored.
"No, nothing interesting," said Kit. He finished his cup of coffee, and stood to pour another. He nodded to Nita, who was still flipping. "What is it?"
"It's a message from Dairine," she said. "I flagged your status and Kit's using the wizardly version of an rss feed," Nita read aloud. "They both changed to the same thing, but when I try to figure out why, the manual cites privacy." Nita flipped forward again, to the directory, and pushed the manual so Kit could see as he sipped his fresh cup of coffee.
10 Montague Terrace
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Rodriguez (nee Callahan), Juanita L.
10 Montague Terrace
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Status: creative process, progenitor
"What the hell," muttered Nita. "I have a big meeting today; I can't deal with this right now." Kit leaned over and kissed her cheek.
"I'm about to be late, or I'd do a little digging" he said, as he began packing his backpack, with his own manual, his lunch, and other essentials. "Tonight's date night, we can talk about it then?"
"Sure," said Nita, and started shoveling cheerios into her mouth. She flipped to the part of the manual where her wizardly research was located, and began skimming. "What do you want to do tonight?"
"Stay in, I think," said Kit. "Perhaps check out what the TiVo has saved up."
"Sounds good," said Nita. She had finished her cheerios and was sipping her coffee when Kit kissed the top of her head and left for the day. "When'll you be back in the central office?" asked Nita, just as he was about to step out the door.
"I think another couple of weeks and I'll be back to riding the subway with you," he said. "No more leaving early to get to Penn Station."
Nita smiled. "Good," she said. "Looking forward to it."
Nita followed Kit out of the door by about ten minutes. As she was walking down the street, lined with trees flying their fall colors, Nita thought about the status. She repeated the word over and over in her mind, and the syllables became the rhythm to her walk. Pro-gen-i-tor, Pro-gen-i-tor.
"These boards are for you to keep," said the well-coifed, entirely too-blonde advertising executive. She was pointing to the side of the conference room in the Department of Energy, where several foam-board mock ups of public service advertisements which would soon be appearing in the New York Public transit.
"Thank you," said Linda, and Nita nodded. "We'll be in touch, if you have any questions about the research," Linda nodded at the information packets Nita had prepared, "just call Nita here; she'll be happy to help."
"Yes, thank you," said Nita, and she stood to reach to shake the advertising team's hands.
As the advertising team packed up their presentation, leaving the mock ups behind, Linda leaned over to say in a quiet voice, "If you can take those mock ups back to your office, I'll meet you in the lobby in a half an hour for lunch, my treat. You deserve it, after all the research you did, getting to this point."
Nita smiled. "Thank you, Linda," she said. "I'll be there."
Her office was two floors up, and the ten foam boards were easily carried up the elevator and the distance down the hall. Nita leaned them against the entrance to her cubical, and admired them for a moment. Her research – both as a meteorologist and a wizard – had contributed to this advertising campaign that tried to teach the public the link between energy consumption and the environment. The pilot was in New York City, but it could go across the nation. Nita was incredibly pleased with her work.
Nita sat in her office chair and sighed. The two hour meeting had drained her. Teaching those advertisers the basics of meteorology was draining. And now, she had enough time to check her work email and read the headlines before meeting Linda. Even though Kit had packed her lunch, Linda offering lunch like that was a big deal; as a supervisor, Linda was incredibly hard to please. Nita reached into her bag and pulled out one of the lemon sodas she loved so much, and opened it while she opened her gmail.
In the very top bar, where there was a newsfeed, it read: "Word of the Day: garrulous -- pointlessly or annoyingly talkative." iHuh,/i thought Nita. iI wonder if/i… Ambit was in the dictionary, she had found one day, so chances were that progenitor would be there too. She ignored her inbox and clicked through to the Merriam-Webster dictionary online, and typed in "progenitor."
It was a Middle English word that originated in both French and Latin, from the root 'pro' meaning "forth" and 'gignere' meaning "to beget." The modern meaning, most commonly used meant "an ancestor in the direct line." So, therefore, if she was a progenitor, like her status said she was an ancestor in the direct line to isomeone/i. She and Kit were, perhaps, begetting isomeone./i
Nita's heart jumped into her throat. When had her last period been? Nita had, in some sense, lost track of the days and the weeks, between her own big project at work and Kit working longer hours on site at Penn. She reached for her planner, which was open on her desk, and flipped back through the pages until she found the little red dot she put in the upper right hand corner of the day when her period started. And then she counted.
It had been two whole months since her last period. Nita had had late periods in her life, when things were stressful, or when she wasn't eating right, or both, but never periods this late. She and Kit had forgotten to buy condoms once, and rationalized to each other while in the bedroom that they were financially secure enough that if they did conceive on the off chance, that they would be able to care for a child. It had been, apparently, the off chance.
Nita looked at the time. She had to meet Linda soon, but maybe she could dash to the drug store before they came back from lunch. And then drink a gallon of water to pee on the stick. Oh, Powers, were they ready to have children? Financially, sure, but emotionally? Physically? Who would take care of their child while they were working, when they were on errantry?
Nita took a deep breath. One thing at a time. Lunch first. Then the future.
Anyone running for their train through Penn Station who might need a bite to eat would notice the deli, but they were unlikely to notice the patrons, especially the ones who wished to hang in the shadows. Kit Rodriguez was taking his lunch, the one he had packed, in one of those corners waiting for the cats that guarded the gates.
"Dai Stihó," said Rhiow, as she unsidled at the time she and Kit had arranged. She was soon followed by her team.
"Dai," said Kit. "I hope the Hunt goes well," he said, by way of clumsy Ailurin greeting. He smiled, and sipped his coffee, and put a plate of Genoa salami on the ground in front of Arhu and Urruah. They thanked him, and tucked in.
"Everything is quiet right now," said Rhiow, after she had taken her portion of the treat. "No gates are acting up, which is how we're all able to be here." She licked her whiskers. "The Whisperer tells me that congratulations are in order."
"Congratulations?" asked Kit. He thought quickly back to his recent wizardly conduct, trying to figure out why the Whisperer would have reason to tell Rhiow anything he had done. He could come up with nothing.
"You've sired a kitten, She says," said Urruah. "You'd make a good isth'heih/i." Kit recognized, with his wizard's ear, the Ailurin word for "tom" – an implication that he was very much the stud and a high compliment.
"What?" asked Kit, genuinely confused at this reference to his sex life. He put down his coffee cup, and steadied the uneven metal table as it shifted with the weight.
"A baby?" asked Arhu, as he was licking his paws to get every last bit of salami goodness. He pushed his whiskers forward in amusement. "What good would a baby do you?"
"What good were you when you were a kitten?" asked Urruah in a rhetorical manner. He lightly cuffed Arhu's ear, knowing that in all likelihood, Arhu was kidding too.
"What are you saying?" asked Kit, trying to clarify before they moved on to proper business. He hadn't much time, and the stiff metal chair was rocking back and forth in an unpleasant manner on the concrete.
"Did you not know your mate was in heat?" asked Rhiow, tail twitching in the cat equivalent of a frown.
"Are you saying that Nita is pregnant?" asked Kit, leaning down to get as close as possible to the cats. He looked around to make sure no one was noticing the fact that he was talking to cats.
"That is what She says," said Rhiow. "The Powers do not tend to make mistakes."
"I know," said Kit, frowning. Was Nita not telling him something? And why? He was silent for a long moment, before he shook his head and looked at his feline colleagues. "I've come to ask you if you need any help with the engineering works that are going on around here."
"We really appreciate the work you do as a liaison, Kit," Rhiow said, tail twitching. "It's helpful to know exactly what their plans are, and the rationale behind it without traipsing through walls to get the information."
"You're welcome," said Kit smiling, though the smile had a caveat to it; his whole being wasn't in it.
"Currently, we're doing fine, especially with the help of the secondary team," said Rhiow. "But if we need any help, we'll let you know." Kit nodded his understanding. "Hunt's luck," said Rhiow, and she nodded to her team and the three of them disappeared.
Kit picked up the paper plate from the ground, and sighed and stood. He brought the trash from his lunch over to the garbage can, and began walking back to his office in the trailer of the construction site. What was going on that cats knew he was going to be a father before he knew? Fatherhood, as far as he was aware, wasn't something that the Powers spread around willy-nilly, but then again they did a lot of things he didn't understand. And how would such information be spread? Kit thought for a moment, and then realized: iThe status!/i
The word progenitor was probably related to the word progeny, which meant that he was going to be a father. It suddenly made sense. But it still didn't explain why Nita hadn't told him. Maybe… maybe she was nervous and didn't know how to tell him. That was okay. It was fine. Kit stuck his hands in his khaki pants and started grinning. He was going to be a father.
Kit entered the trailer where his desk and computer was, and still grinning stupidly he plopped down into his chair which creaked dangerously. "What's up with you?" asked Erik, one of his fellow engineers. "Win the lottery?"
Kit thought about it for a moment, trying to decide the appropriateness of announcing the source of his elation before talking to his wife to confirm. If it was in their status, it was true and that was probably all the confirmation he needed. "My wife is pregnant," he said, and then he laughed.
"Congrats," said Erik, nodding enthusiastically. "Going to move out to the 'burbs?" Erik drummed his pencil on the blue prints he had in front of him, clearly very interested in this conversation.
That stopped Kit cold. He hadn't considered that aspect of that yet; he hadn't considered anything but the pure excitement of becoming a father. "I don't know, yet," said Kit. "I mean, I just found out." Which was true, even if Nita hadn't told him directly.
"Man," said Erik, shaking his head and turning back to his computer. "I can't even imagine how much kids cost right now."
The kind of nerves that Kit hadn't felt outside of a major working of wizardry began to over take him, jingling from head to toe. And yet it was mixed with the elation from before. He was going to be a father; he and Nita were going to be parents. He wanted to go out and… and… buy a box of cigars. He wanted to go take Nita to a doctor's appointment. He wanted to get up for predawn feeding. He wanted to read everything he could in his manual about childbearing, childbirth, and childcare.
This was going to be hard, going to be draining, but this was going to be the best thing that ever happened to them. He was sure of it.
The pregnancy test directions had recommended using the first morning urine; Nita didn't want to wait until the next day to get a definite answer. She snuck into the bathroom, peed onto the plastic stick, and waited an agonizing five minutes for the results.
It didn't even take the full five minutes for the results to appear. It was, without a doubt, a blue plus symbol – easy to read, the box had said, and Nita was reading it loud and clear. Nita sat on the lid of the toilet, fully dressed, with her head in her hands and the pregnancy test on her knee.
Nita put the cap back on the pregnancy test and snuck it back to her cubical, where she put it into her jacket pocket. The directions said that the result window was not necessarily accurate after a fifteen minute window, but Nita wanted to keep it with her. She wanted it close to her. It was somehow an outside recognition of what was going on inside of her.
"Are you okay?" asked Linda, as she passed Nita's cubical and saw her staring off into space.
"Yeah," said Nita, shaking her head to try to clear it. She reached for a stack of papers and tried to look normal.
"Why don't you get going early?" Linda suggested. "You were dynamite today. Cutting out an hour early won't matter much considering how much overtime you've put in recently."
"I think I will," said Nita, smiling wanly. "Thanks." Linda nodded in approval, smiled, and went back to work herself. Nita was relieved, absolutely relieved to get onto the Eastbound 4 towards Brooklyn and think, to stop pretending that her job was foremost in her mind for a while.
As she stepped onto the train, she tried to reassure herself that this was a false positive, but on some level she knew that she was lying to herself to believe that – it wouldn't have been in her status, it wouldn't have been so explicit that she was involved in the creative process. She found a seat, and in her jacket pocket her hand squeezed tightly the pregnancy test, her fingers touching one end and then the other, trying to figure out how something so small meant something so big. The creative process of gestation and birth was something so utterly intrinsic to life that it paled in comparison to what was commonly thought of as creative – art, dance, writing. And now she was a part of it.
There was one thing that she didn't have to worry about. She didn't have to worry that Kit wouldn't welcome this addition to their lives, wouldn't understand why this coincidence had happened to them – Kit was a good wizard, sometimes a better wizard than her. He had never been tempted, never thought about giving into That One, and Nita knew that he would welcome her and their baby with open arms and fight for their lives as long as it was prudent and plausible. He embraced life, but also knew that life had to end. He was a good man, and a good wizard.
But what kind of parents did wizards make anyway? Nita was aware of wizards who were also parents, but she hadn't met any humans who were currently parenting their offspring. And many of the nonhumans she met weren't the primary caregivers of their broods. Who would take care of their baby? Kit's job paid a lot more, but Nita loved her job (not that Kit didn't love his), loved the fact that her research was doing something subtly for all the "mortals." What would happen when they both went on errantry, if they ever went on errantry?
And then, would her child, her baby, be a wizard? Tom and Carl had once told Nita's parents that sometimes wizardry skipped a generation. Nita had had no idea that her Aunt Annie was a wizard until she visited her, for example, no idea that she was just one in a long line of wizards until Dairine had come into her power. A love of reading, a belief in the impossible, a forceful will – all the requirements of being offered the Art – Nita couldn't imagine her children without them. But could she give her children the hard advice she sometimes gave to the young kids who sought her and Kit out when Tom and Carl were busy? She didn't know.
"Next stop, Borough Hall," called the conductor.
Nita looked up, surprised. She was almost home, and she would have to think about what to make for dinner, for their night in. She looked down at her wedding rings, and twisted her engagement ring around her finger as she thought. She couldn't do Arroz con Pollo quite like her mother-in-law, but Kit always appreciated the approximation.
She allowed herself to think about her pantry, the content of her freezer; she allowed herself to relax and to remember that she had to keep living, because this was normal, even if becoming a parent wasn't expected.
Nita was puttering around her much beloved kitchen (would they need to move?) when her husband came home twenty minutes after her. "You're home early," she commented, trying not to look at him, concentrating on her preparations, which were nearly complete.
"So are you," said Kit. "My momma's chicken?" he asked rhetorically.
"Yes," said Nita, as she put the chicken into the oven. She went to wash her hands, as Kit took off his jacket and hung it in the closet. After he had set down his backpack in its place, he crossed the kitchen, took Nita by the shoulders and kissed her.
He kissed her in the way that wizards kiss – their consciousnesses touched in the most intimate of ways, and even though they rarely talked mind to mind anymore, they both knew that in this kiss was their partnership both wizardly and romantic. In the mingling of their minds, their beings, Nita and Kit weren't alone. Their child was a small presence, concerned with cells multiplying, tiny movements, the formation of facial features and tiny hairs. The six-week-old embryo in the cacophony of Nita's body was something easily missed if you weren't aware, but now they were listening. All of Nita's fears, nerves, and apprehensions were there with them, coupled with Kit's joy and assurances that everything would be all right. And when the kiss broke, Nita was smiling truly for the first time since she had done the math.
"Dinner will be ready in about an hour," Nita said, leaning back in Kit's strong grip to look up at her husband.
Kit looked down at his wife, and reflected her joy. "You're glowing," he said.
"Am not," said Nita, but she looked away and blushed. She looked back and said, "You know this isn't going to be easy, right?"
"Of course not," said Kit.
"You know we're not going to have any more free time," she insisted.
"We always have exactly enough time to get everything done that has to get done," he replied, and he brushed a lock of her hair away from her face.
Nita leaned into his chest and buried her head there, breathing in his scent. The clock ticked on the wall, the chicken sizzled in the oven. The universe leaned in, and then life returned to a new normal – just as it always had and always would.