AN: No copyright infringement intended. No money is being made of course.

I saw quite a few ff with the basic "rose being pregnant" theme, but didn't see any that approached what would happen as the years passed and children were impossible. I wondered how she would cope with that as her friends started settling down and having children. So, this popped up.

O o o o o O

Nothing is as certain in life as change. Good, bad, neutral, time and experience shapes all people, and I am no different. When I was a young woman at St. Vlad's, I never imagined I would be a Guardian for a Queen, much less that the Queen would be my best friend, Lissa. Not to mention all the amazing and heart-breaking experiences I've had, but I've come to accept them all and just try and live as best I can, which is really the most that any of us can do.

A knock at my door broke me from my reverie and I was on alert immediately, until I heard Lissa's voice coming through the door, calling my name. I was on an off-shift for Guardian duties, taking a sweet break to just veg out on my own. Christian and my husband, Dimitri, were out bowling, of all things. I was fairly certain that Dimitri wouldn't actually bowl, but the mental image brought a smile to my face as I answered the door to the Queen of the Morois, Valisa Dragomir-Ozera.

Lissa flung herself into my arms when I opened the door and I could have sworn I saw a tear in her eye. "What's wrong? Is everything ok?" I glanced worriedly out the door, spotting her other Guardians, none of them looking concerned and that relaxed me infinitesimally.

"Rose…It finally happened!" Lissa pulled back to see my face and I could see now that the tears on her face were from happiness.

I felt like I had been punched in the gut for a moment. Emotions hit me in a confusing hurricane: elation, fear and jealousy. But my instincts and reaction were as on target as ever and so I grabbed her back into a bear hug and whispered, "Congratulations!"

Lissa and Christian had been married for 2 years, 3 years less than Dimitri and I. They had married just as she was graduating with her undergraduate degree in political science. Dimitri and I hadn't been able to wait at all; marrying nearly a year after Lissa was crowned, in a very small, private ceremony of close friends and family. Lissa's wedding of course had been a large state affair with everyone who was anyone attending.

And now the biggest difference that would be between our marriages: Lissa and Christian were going to be parents. They had waited nearly a year after marriage before even trying to have kids – a miracle considering the pressure to produce a line of Dragomir children. Then it had been nearly a year of trying, before she came to me with her announcement. I knew that privately she was worried that maybe she or Christian couldn't have kids. That fear now was proven to be baseless as she hugged me tightly in return. "I can't believe this is finally happening! I'm going to have a baby!" More tears sprung from her eyes.

I would be lying if I didn't admit to the tears that leaked from my own. "I am so happy for you both. You're going to be a great mother." I meant every word, even though jealousy gnawed a small corner of my brain. I knew I wouldn't ever have kids, unless I did some sort of artificial process involving a Moroi; that didn't really appeal to me. If I was going to have a baby inside me, I wanted it to be from Dimitri. Since that was not possible, we gave up on the idea of pregnancy for me.

It was a good decision anyway. We were both Guardians – careers that were not famed for the longevity of their practitioners. I hoped that we had many many years ahead of us, but there are no guarantees and the thought of leaving a child orphaned was also sobering. Dimitri and I loved each other and we had made our peace with our decisions. But that little flare of jealousy appeared anyway.

I led Lissa further into the room by her arm, the both of us speaking excitedly about her impending bundle, whether it would be a boy or a girl and possible names. Through the conversation, I was happy to feel that little flame die out without anything to feed on. Lissa and Christian were my best friends and I truly was happy for them.

O o o o o O

I was reading when Dimitri came home, a silly book that had no literary content. I smiled at him, keeping my mouth shut about the baby for now. If Christian hadn't told him, I wasn't going to be the one to spill the beans; it was their surprise, not mine. "Hey," I said fondly, looking up to appreciate the tall form of the man coming in.

The grin on his face was a dead giveaway. "I take it Lissa already told you?" Apparently my face was just as transparent. He crossed the bedroom to lie down and gather me in his arms.

"Yeah, she did, I'm so happy for them both." I snuggled closer to him, feeling his warmth and strength and the security of his love. Dimitri made a soft noise of agreement, holding me closely, tracing circles on my back.

I looked up to his eyes and saw the same question in his that were in my own and it made me smile. Over the years it really was more like we were sharing a brain. He ran his fingers through my hair. "I don't regret it at all," he said.

I nodded in agreement. I would not trade the love I shared with Dimitri for a hundred children. "But I won't lie, I felt a little ache in my heart when she told me," I admitted regretfully.

He nodded and kissed my head lightly, then held me close. "Вы были бы прекрасной матерью," he whispered to me. I had learned Russian over the years and so his words of You would have been a wonderful mother in his native tongue did not go over my head. "и красивой беременной. Посмотрите на эти бедра!" And beautiful pregnant. Look at those hips! When he said the last, clearly trying to break the melancholy mood, he pinched my hips lightly as I smacked his chest.

"I love you, Comrade," I spoke into his mouth as I leaned up for a kiss.

"And I love you, Roza." He was more than happy to return it and we spent the night together reminding ourselves why sometimes it is nice to not have to worry about a little one interrupting.

O o o o o O

Over the weeks and months I watched in fascination as Lissa grew and grew from the lithe, waif-like Moroi to the lithe, waif-like Moroi with a basketball shoved under her dress. She did gain some curves that both she and Christian were enjoying very much. For once I wasn't the only busty woman in our circle.

Lissa stood in front of the mirror, eyeing the dress she wore critically. Of course she had all the best Moroi designers killing for the opportunity to make her maternity clothing, but she still didn't seem happy with what she saw. "I'm fat."

I rolled my eyes, "You're pregnant, not fat. Even if you weren't pregnant, you still wouldn't be considered fat. You look gorgeous." And she did; pregnancy definitely agreed with her.

She looked at me worriedly. She wasn't just fishing for compliments, she really was concerned about how she looked. "I just feel so…big…most days." She smoothed her hands over her very prominent belly.

I smiled indulgently at her. "You have a whole other person inside of you. It's going to change how you look, but you are still beautiful. I wouldn't lie." Her eyes looked over her shoulder in the mirror to me, then nodded, reassured.

"It's our anniversary and I just worry that Christian…I don't know. It's stupid," she sighed nervously as she tucked her hair back.

"It's a little stupid. The man loves you, and you're carrying his child. I mean, there's nothing hotter than that. It's the best thing you could give him." And as I spoke the words, my throat tightened a little, realizing the truth in the statement.

Lissa immediately forgot her own concerns with her appearance and came over to hug me. "I'm sorry. I'm being thoughtless." Her voice was soft, knowing that it was occasionally hard for me to deal with her pregnancy/motherhood.

I hugged her back, but my voice was steadier. "No, this was our choice. Plus, we'll have your little one to spoil and love and then be able to give them back when they're being a terror." I grinned, breaking the somber mood that was threatening to settle over us.

Lissa groaned with a grin, "This child is going to be so spoiled."

"And obnoxious," I add helpfully. "Dimitri and I have already looked for the loudest toys possible. We're thinking a drum set for the first birthday." The horrified look on Lissa's face made us both break out into laughter. I placed my hand on her belly, feeling the odd, alien-like movements under her skin. "This kid is going to know so much love. I can't wait."

"Me neither," Lissa said, pulling me into a hug. "Love you, Rose."

"Love you too, Lissa." We hugged tightly, sisters through dedication and love, not biology.