Rei . Emilia: I'm happy you liked it and don't have a problem with the ‚destiny of the baby'. As for th esequel: It's already formed in my mind. *grin* And what happnes with Yozak for now...Just scroll down and read read.^^

KKM-fangirl: *hugs* Did I impress you that much? Well, since I had the silent hunch that for the sake of keeping my head I'll have to save the baby I thought about how to save it. A body without a soul needs to be saved. Duh. This chapter is about the babys final ‚survival stage' and an eh, interesting...meeting between Conrad and Yozak. But read yourself.

Shellbell33: *pats* Baby don't cry. You'll can do that at the last chapter. And I am touched that you loved it that much. The sequel is worming its way through my head and I think you'll like it too. Hopefully.

Liz: *pats* I know, life's cruel. I'll write an alternate ending.

Story_reader: *pats* It's okay... *sigh* Sorry to diappoint you. No parents and Shori (I so hate that guy). I made a time-jump. It isn't really somethning writeable about how everybody was running through the castle, so I made it to the last month and...well, just read it.

How it begins

Are you sure Yozak?"

Yes Heika."

Then go."

*

It has been 5 months since Yozak almost lost his baby and it has been 5 months since he left the castle to go on a mission, from which he was returning now. He remembered how he asked His Majesty to send him away, because he was sure that Gwendal wouldn't let him. He remembered how he said that he needed to get out, on the fresh air, sort everything out. He remembered how he said that he wasn't needed anyway. That there were more than enough people to take care of Marianna. Not that he didn't want to be with his daughter, he wanted, and how he did. But he knew that if he stayed, things would get steadily worse. He needed some time alone to figure things out. He promised to be back after 5 months, just on time for the ‚rebirth'. So he was. Only he had no idea about what to do with his feelings. Go back to Conrad? Would be most convenient. Deny Gwendal? He couldn't do that. Be something in between them? He wasn't a slut. And what with the cihild? Should it have two fathers? Hell no. That would be too much of confusion and pressure on it. The kid needed time to grow, to mature and then she could understand, then the time would come to explain everything. But how to do that with both of the fathers around? Deny them? He couldn't do that either. What to do? Yozak sighed as he rode towards the Shinou temple. He would deal with it later. Now there was Marianna.

Ariving at his destination, he got down from the horse and was immediately welcomed by Ulrike. „We've been waiting for you. The soul has arived and the preparations are complete. Your daughter is fully developed and is waiting for her rebirth. We are ready."

Yozak smiled at the priestess. „Thank you, lady Ulrike." And so he stepped in. 7 sets of eyes set gaze on him. He saw Shinou and Geika, Gwendal, Günther, Conrad, Cheri-sama and it looked like Anissina has found her way in too. Though, it didn't surprise him as much as it should have, since he guessed that Anissina was the one to hold Gwendal up after his sudden departure. You see, Yozak ‚forgott' to mention it. To anybody. „I'm sorry I'm late. It took a bit longer than expected." The atmosphere was tense. He felt Anissinas piercing gaze on him, Gwendal searching, Conrads, Geikas and Cheri-samas understanding, Shinous simply Shinous. Neither accusing nor understanding. Simply knowing.

„It's okay." He didn't bother to hear who said it. He kneeled down to the womb. Yes, Marianna did really grow. What he saw now was a healthy baby, which had his facial featured and dark locks poking out of her head. The last time he saw her was when she was just the half of her size now, skinny, fragile, a heartbraking sight. It was when he wanted to say bye to her, just before he headed on the mission he wished for. He remembered how he almost cried then. He wanted so desperately to hold her, but he couldn't, she had to stay in the womb. He has left immediately after that. Now that he looked at her, he just wondered which shade of blue her eyes would have – they were still closed.

„What do I have to do?"

„Hold the womb in your lap. That's the first place where a baby should find itself. When the womb disappears, were going to insert the soul. That's a thing the father should do." Informed him Shinou with a neutral voice. It didn't sound angry, but Yozak guessed he didn't approve a bit of his sudden leave. It didn't surprise him a bit. He saw Gwendal nod and move next to him, so that he had direct reach to the baby. The Great Sage handed him the soul, then he turned to Shinou and nodded at him. The womb disappeared at once and Gwendal held the soul above the reborn babys chest. It went in and not a second after that a cry echoed through the Shinous temple and Yozak found that he never heard a more wonderfull sound. The body in his arms was warm, loud and most importantly alive. He couldn't help it – he was crying. Again. He swore to everything that could be sworn to, that if that happened again, he'll go berserk. Though he asked himself if it matterd at all. Marianna was here, in his arms, warm and alive and all he could do was craddle her and hold her tightly to his chest, but carefull enough not to do any damage. He heard her stop crying and as he looked at her, he saw two skyblue eyes gazing curios up at him. He sobbed. He saw a hand touch her cheek and he didn't hesitate as he laid her into her fathers arms. As he looked at Gwendal, he saw fascination mixed with happiness in his face, full and sincerely showing and knew that Gwendal fell truly in love with his daughter on the first sight. He saw the tears of joy spilling from the mans face and he embraced him. „It's alright." He whispered and he felt Gwendal nod. As he looked around he saw only smiling faces. Even Shinous anger disppeared and he gazed at the little child lovingly, his double black companion smiling at his side. Yozak noticed them holding hands. „Everything is alright." He whispered again, this time to himself and took the girl into his arms again. It was alright. Everything was just fine. He found brown eyes among the people present in the room and he knew that there was one last thing to be solved.

*

Later the evening he was in his room, standing at the crib, looking at the small creature which was his daughter lying in it, holding the sand bear, which was almost her size, cuddling it. He wanted to look at her forever, but he knew that there was something that had to be solved and that if he didn't solve it now, he wouldn't solve it at all. So with one sigh and a kiss he went out of the room, closing it gently behind himself, carefull not to wake his daughter.

It didn't take him long to arive at the wooden door. Only with the tought of hesitation he knocked at it and as he heard the reply, muffled by the door, he entered. „We need to talk."

Conrad sat up straight and nodded, gesturing next to him. „Please sit."

Yozak did as asked and their eyes met. „What now? What's with us?"

Conrad shook only his shoulders. He couldn't say a thing right now. Not with those skyblue eyes looking directly at him.

„Do you love me?" a question, sincerity in those blue eyes and Conrad was lost. Suddenly, speaking was very easy. „Yes."

Yozak looked away nodding, in a gesture which Conrad recognized immediately from their childhood. Yozak used it when he was regarding the situation, thinking about it, trying to find his answer to it. Soon he would look up into his eyes to assure himself of something only he knew what it was. Sure enough he did and Conrad felt them travelling back into those carefree days. He shook the thought mentally off. That was past and past couldn't be brought back. The present was what mattered right now, for whatever would happen next it will affect their future immensely. „I love you too." Yozak spoke and as much as Conrad loved that sentence, he felt it wasn't finished. „But?"

„But...Can we go back? Ignore what happened? As if the child sleeping in my room was yours? Can we do that at all?"

Conrad shook his head. „We don't need to do that. Those are things that can't be ignored. We can only cope with them. What we can do is cope with them and take them as a part of our life. That way we'll be able to start something new." He lifted his hand, hesitating for a few seconds before he laid it on the hand of his husband. Yozak looked at it while he asked again. „And Marianna? Do you want to lie to her? Or let her deal with the fact that she is a ilegitimate child, already at a young age?"

Conrad looked down. „I don't know."

„And there's the problem." Yozak sighed. „I don't know what to say to her when she'll ask why her Papa isn't her father."

„That's years away Yozak."

„That doesn't mean it's something we don't have to worry about."

„No."

Both of them looked away simultanously, both asking themself what to do, where to begin. Silence reigned between them untill Conrad spoke. „So, what do you want to do? Do you think you can solve the problem now? Will you wait and think about the solution while standing on nothing, frozen to the spot, not moving forward, moving on?"

Yozak shook his head, asking himself if it was a sign of ‚No' or ‚I don't know'. Finally he looked up and their eyes met once again. „Can I move on while I have an unsolved problem?"

„You can move on taking the problem with you and there will come a time when you'll see a solution."

„Do you really think so?"

„I'm certain."

Their gaze held and they didn't notice untill their lips were touching chaste at first, the more intense, desperate and finally passionately. They moved together, their movements known long ago. Where to touch, when to touch, how to touch, that everything they knew even after a long time of over a year. They knew when their clothes should disappear and when their bodies should join. They knew every inch, every part of the other body, it was a familiar territory. The rhythm was still the same, but after the long time intense, like it was the very first time. Even their climax came in unison, their heartbeats ever the same, the sound of their pantings well known.

Conrad fell asleep first, his arm drapped over Yozaks waist, holding him close as if afraid he would disappear, while Yozak laid on his back, looking out of the window, asking himself how much of a fool he was. There was no way that things could stay as they were. He couldn't let his daughter be put under the pressure which would wait for her. And as he weighed every option he had, he finally saw what he had to do. And he found that he knew it all along. He just didn't want to face it. Well, he was facing it now.

He got up, ignoring the slight sting between his legs and put his clothes on. He wrote a small note in case his husband woke up and wanted to look for him. It said that he went back to his room since didn't want to leave his baby alone for the night. He knew that when a sleepy Conrad read that, he would let it go. At least he hoped. Silently he left the room, not looking back, silently noting that his future began to move.

---------------------------------------*

18 down, one more to go.

What will Yozak do? That's a question, huh? The last part is already written, so no requests. Everything is determined, everything is final.