Chapter One

Author's Note: I do not own any of the Wicked Lovely books or characters. This story is entirely for my own amusement.

Leslie screamed as another wave of pain hit her. She hadn't felt this bad since Niall had removed her Ink Exchange tattoo. She could still see the blackened, dead vine trailing from her back to the dark-winged faery pacing the room. He ran his hands through his hair distractedly, walking back and forth, back and forth. Leslie whispered his name through clenched teeth and Irial's head snapped up.

"Leslie, pet? Are you OK?"

"Of course she's not OK, you fool." Snarled Gabriella-the Hound formerly known as Chela. "Now stop pacing and comfort her!" Chaos had a wild look in his eyes, desperate and anxious. Niall, stroked Leslie's forehead and said softly,

"Calm down, Iri. Leslie will be fine, won't you?" Leslie snapped her teeth in reply.

"Fine? She's having a baby, Niall. A faery baby. Do you know how dangerous this is for her? So many mortal mothers die with the other fae. And because it's my baby, who knows what's going to happen? I'm Chaos, Niall. I'm a Ganganach. Oh, Gods, we should have done something while we could-"

Leslie stopped listening to Irial. He'd been worrying to much of late. Niall was right, she would be fine. She was a survivor. And besides, Rabbit had thought that because of the Ink Exchange she had enough faery blood to give birth to a child as strong as Irial's would be, and it would be mostly faery, besides. And abortion wasn't an option…no one knew if it was even possible for faeries, and none of the Dark Court would have allowed it. Family was the one thing they valued about all else.

"Iri, just SHUT UP!" Leslie screamed as pain ran through her. Her back bowed, and then she collapsed, panting. "I…really don't…need your negativity…right now." She heaved. Irial blinked hat her, perplexed, and the smiled-although the smile didn't entirely conceal his fear, his worry. He strode over to Leslie and kissed one of her hands. Shadowy wings and abyss dancers stroked Leslie's bloated body.

"My Shadow Girl." Irial mumbled, feigning calm. That calm was almost shattered as Leslie screamed again, thrashing and sobbing. She collapsed again, feeling more tired than she thought was possible. Would it be easier, she wondered, to just close her eyes and slip into darkness…?

She might have succumbed to the appealing dark then if it hadn't been for one sound. A quiet, mewling noise. She head relieved sighs from Niall and breathless, near-hysterical laughs from Irial. Gabriella slid a small, wet thing into Leslie's arms.

Leslie looked at her child. Even covered in blood and crying, he was gorgeous. Thinner than a mortal baby and faery-pretty, he had wispy dark curls and wide blue eyes. She had never known she could love anyone, anything, so much as she loved him in that moment. She kissed his forehead softly, gently.

"Loki. My perfect little Loki." She whispered. For a minute, the world stopped spinning. Then it lurched.

Leslie retched as the world spun, sliding in and out for focus. She could feel oblivion sweeping over her, slowly, like poison. No, Leslie thought, trying to look once more at her perfect little baby. Must stay. For him. She heard Niall say her name, felt Irial grab her, but those feelings were muted and faint. Iri. Need to tell him. Look after...Loki…

"LESLIE!"