A month and a half later, Bethany still blushed faintly when Isabela came around, remembering with exactly what dominance Isabela had rocked her, but this particular visit was halfway different than the others. As soon as Bethany was able with Marian occupied fighting with a templar, Bethany pulled Isabela aside. "Isabela,"
Isabela gave the girl a curious look. "No luck with Sebastian, huh? Guy must be made of stone not to break his vows for you, Pretty Thing." Isabela pushed a few strands of hair back away from Bethany's lovely features. "Have you tried just grabbing him yet? It takes a strong man to resist a woman when she grabs ahold his balls. Or a gay one."
Isabela's words often brought a flush of color to Bethany's modest cheeks, but today was different. Her cheeks remained pale, breath bated. "It's not that." Bethany took Isabela's hand, needing her own support. "'Bela, you're the only one I've been with..."
"Sweet Thing, what's wrong? Do you need another rough bumping? You know I wouldn't say no, if you needed me to. I might make you try me as a woman, though."
"An equipped woman!" Isabela corrected. "I wouldn't try to make you uncomfortable, Sweet Thing."
"Or, if you truly needed it to be aroused, I could be a man again." Isabela sighed.
"'Bela, I'm pregnant."
"When can you get rid of it?"
"This is why I don't do virgins!" Isabela exclaimed, voice hushed as if afraid speaking of it too loudly would make it all true. "You're all trouble! Control your fertility ducts, for fuck's sake!" Isabela moaned, burying her face in her hands.
"I'm sorry," Bethany apologized, wincing. She'd known this wouldn't be taken well. At least 'Bela wasn't strangling her, as she'd half feared. "This... I know this won't be easy, but I can't kill someone who is half yours and mine. Please, 'Bela- "
Isabela's groan grew louder, more deep-throated from her pain. "I'm dead," she tossed up her hands. "Dead! Hawke's going to slaughter me. You might as well electrify me now, Beth! I always knew a baby would do me in someday."
"Well... maybe not. She doesn't have to kill you..."
Isabela gave her an incredulous look. "I've seduced her baby sister, defiled you and stolen your virginity, and impregnated you. Your innocence is usually endearing, Beth, but I could cross Thedas and still find her waiting with that big sword. And I don't mean the fun one." Isabela whimpered. "This is so unfair. Why do I try to help?! No good deed goes unpunished!"
"Well..." Bethany suggested. "We could just not tell her. I mean, you and I don't look that dissimilar... we could pass off the inherited features as my own."
"Babies come from a penis, Beth." Bethany made a face. "Oh!" It clicked. "Why don't we tell her it was Meredith?! That way, Hawke can slay the Knight-Commander, we'll all be better off for it, and I'll sleep with Cullen to bargain your passage home!"
"Orrr, I could simply not name a father," Bethany corrected. "And no one is killed because of it."
"You're really a buzzkill, you know that? Your breasts are very nearly popping out of your shirt, and I can't even be aroused right now."
"Isabela!" Bethany blushed, turning away to hike up her robe.
"I suppose those are your baby-boobies coming into bloom..." Isabela stared off, glossy-eyed in horror.
"It won't be that bad." Bethany tried to reassure. "At least you're not birthing the baby, right? Which is amazing, considering your track record..."
"Why is it always me?" Isabela bemoaned. "You better not be guilted into telling her it's me."
"I don't want you to die either, Isabela."
Isabela sighed. "When are you gonna tell her?"
"I... was kinda thinking I'd avoid it."
"Sweet Thing, Hawke can be dense at times, but I think she's going to notice..."
"I can avoid her!"
"You might have to rethink that one." Isabela stood.
"Isabela-" Bethany bit her lip. "I- " Her courage faltered. "Try to stay out of trouble."
Isabela's features softened at Bethany's hesitation. The poor girl was still the inexperienced one, and this was a hell of an introduction to sex. Even if Bethany was more suited to this lifestyle, she hadn't exactly asked for this either. Isabela wasn't even sure how she felt about it. Not wanting to kill the child was a separate thing from wanting the baby at all. "Are you okay, Beth? Did you… you want me to stay right now?"
A flash of relief shot through her eyes, but Bethany still lacked the courage to request it. Isabela wasn't the family-ground type. "You don't have to."
Isabela sat back down on the bed. She wasn't heartless, and Bethany was a friend. "I've got a couple hours, Sweetness. Come now- you utilizing those toys I gave you?"
Bethany sighed in relief, coloring slightly. Even if they just spoke of perverted things, she was glad to have a friend in this.
Bethany lifted her robe to peek at her stomach, where a small rounded curve had begun to protrude out. She touched her stomach gently, tracing the small raise with the evident bump. "Bethany!"
Bethany scrambled, pulling down her robe just as Marian entered, who gave her a look. "What were you doing?"
"W-What?" Bethany stuttered. "Nothing! I wasn't doing anything!"
Marian's eyes narrowed. "You look guilty. And you're stuttering."
"N-no I'm not!"
"Were you testing from one of 'Bela's books again?" Marian scowled. "That literature's not for you."
"I'm not a child, Marian." Bethany felt a tickle in her belly at the reminder.
"You were!" Marian accused. "Ugh. I'm gonna ground Isabela from visiting you if she keeps giving you these things."
"Marian!" Bethany balked, horrified.
"Come on." Marian encouraged, crossing the bedside. "That's enough sitting. We're going for a walk. Up!"
When she failed to do so immediately for her fatigue was heavy today, Marian bent over and scooped Bethany up under the arms. "Upsidaisy! My, we're lethargic today." Bethany wobbled precariously on unsteady legs. Marian caught her and guided her with an arm under her shoulder. "You feeling okay, Beth? You look a little sickly."
"I'm just tired." Bethany passed off, doing her best to wriggle away. She didn't want Marian to feel her added weight.
"I should say so, you look heavier." Bethany paled. "It's okay," Marian rubbed her arm. "A good walk will do you wonders. Come on!"
Bethany prayed for her sister's obliviousness.
"'Bela, I have to tell him."
"No you don't!"
"Why?" Isabela demanded. "Why does he have to know it was me?"
"I don't want him thinking I slept around…"
"Aha!" Isabela spotted. "So this is a guilt thing! Your guilt thing! You just want to ease your conscience with honesty. I won't have it! The less people who know, the better!"
"He's my boyfriend." Bethany countered. "He has a right to know."
"Would you have told him if you hadn't gotten pregnant?" Bethany hesitated. "See!" Isabela pointed out. "You just want him to know it was me because he won't blame you then, he'll think I seduced you. When really, I was the one to say no in the beginning!"
"As my friend, you instructed me how to jack you off in the body of a perfect male! How did you think it was going to end?"
"Maybe I thought the virgin would have more moral value!"
"You did not!" Bethany protested. "I told you it was a bad idea from the start, you saw how affected I was, but still you pushed!"
"You're blaming me now?!"
"No- ugh." Bethany winced. "It was my fault too. I… should have exercised more control over myself."
"Yes, you should've. I'm glad we agree."
Bethany lowered her head, ashamed. She would have never pegged herself to give up something so important in the passion of the moment, but even with intention to learn, it hadn't been right to seduce Isabela like that. "I'm sorry," Bethany apologized, turning away. "I… took advantage of your sexual generosity."
An annoying pang of guilt hit Isabela then. Damn her conscience! "Ugh." Isabela grunted. "If only you weren't my sister!"
Bethany's lower lip trembled as she stared out the window. "Sebastian's gonna be so disappointed in me. How could I do this to him?"
Isabela slapped herself. "Bethany…" she sighed, walking up behind the other woman. "It's not your fault. Not entirely. I lured you into getting curious in the first place, and you've been a deprived little thing for a very long time now. Sebastian's been teasing you just as bad with his kisses, then 'The Maker Says No' thing. You were bound to unravel sometime."
"So it is your fault!" Bethany paused, then took a breath. "Sorry. Hormones…"
Isabela rubbed her shoulder. Bethany sighed. "He's gonna hate me."
"He's not gonna hate you. If we're lucky, he'll realize what a dick he's been to keep sex from you and start fucking you into the ground to make up for it."
Bethany's eyes went glossy. "Wouldn't that be something…"
"You, Sweet Thing, have to find a man you can fuck around here. Don't they have corrupt Templars or something? That Cullen guy used to be into a mage, I hear. Still gets a hard-on for her."
"Solona, she's my cousin."
"Even better! You're progressing, at least. Sister, to cousin, the next one might not even be related to you!"
Bethany pouted, injured look taking her features at the insinuation of family.
"Don't gimme that look." Isabela warned. "Marian gives me that look. That half-pouting little sneak." Bethany jutted her bottom lip out. "Hey!"
"Aww, that's really cute."
Isabela and Bethany whirled on the spot to find little Merrill walking in through the open door. "Merrill!" Bethany breathed, relaxing. For a minute there, she'd thought it'd been Marian. "Hey."
"Hi, Bethany." Merrill greeted shyly, much more comfortable hugging Isabela. She and Bethany had their differences, but Bethany was sweet, and they avoided discussing that other topic. "Isabela," Merrill clung to her warmly, then broke over to Bethany too to be nice and polite. "What're you guys talking about?"
Isabela and Bethany exchanged looks. "Girl talk." Isabela filled in.
"Ohh," Merrill nodded. "Anything I can hear? Or is this strictly parent-talk?"
Isabela froze to the spot. Bethany gawked. "W-What?!"
Isabela shot Bethany a dark look, then shook her head. "Kitten, what a funny thing to say. Parent-talk?"
"Over the baby," Merrill nodded, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. She addressed Bethany. "You feel about twenty-two weeks along. How has it been? Isabela's the father, right? You guys were acting like it."
Bethany had whitened to unhealthy proportions. She looked as if she might faint. Isabela hurriedly rushed in before they could be doomed. "Whoa, Kitten. Slow down. First off- Bethany is not pregnant. She's fat. Girl's just put on a little weight, and she's sensitive about it."
"Oh, oh!" Merrill covered her mouth to hold back a gasp. "I'm not supposed to know, am I?! Was it supposed to be a surprise? I'm so sorry! Back with the Dalish, I used to help pregnant mothers of the Clan, so I'm overly-familiar with how pregnancy feels. But no! No!" Merrill covered her ears. "I'll pretend I didn't touch! I take it back- Bethany, I'm sorry for your weight gain. Oh no, I've messed this all up, haven't I?"
"Secondly," Isabela went on after her ramble. "I'm a woman! Why would you assume I'm the daddy?"
"I'm sorry!" Merrill apologized again. "I'm so sorry! I know you're a woman, Isabela! Was I wrong that you're the dad? It's just that, you're always talking about Hawke, and I assumed you'd meant Marian, but it makes sense now! And there are ways around getting her... as a woman. Seeing you and Bethany, and now Bethany's preg- fat, and you two are being so sweet and supportive and I'm so sorry I ruined this all! I can't- I'll walk in again, like nothing happened."
Before they could say anything, Merrill backtracked out the door and half-closed it behind her. She waited a moment, then walked back in. "Hi Isabela, Bethany."
Isabela smacked herself. Bethany fought the impending urge to faint.
"Don't tell anyone about Bethany, okay?"
Merrill shook her head vigorously. "It's rude to mention weight. I won't say a word."
"And this father thing," Isabela went on. "It's not me."
"Of course not!" Merrill agreed, eager to please.
"And the Hawke I talk about is Marian for the most part."
"Oh." Merrill blinked. "Really?"
"'Bela." Bethany whimpered. Isabela looked, and saw her teeter.
"Shit!" Zipping across the room, Isabela caught her as Bethany collapsed, passing out cold in her arms. Isabela grunted, hoisting her up in her arms to carry her to the bed.
"Awwwww," Merrill cooed, then quickly cut off. "I mean- she should see a doctor!" She paused. "Has she gotten a doctor?"
Isabela laid the back of her hand against Bethany's forehead, where the girl had broken out into a fevered sweat.
"I think she had a panic attack." Merrill contributed. "I'm not a doctor, but she needs one. Illness could harm or kill the ba- fat."
"I need your word of silence, Anders. No matter what, you cannot breathe a word of this to Hawke."
Anders was skeptical. "I don't like this."
"Then I'll go somewhere else." Isabela started to turn.
"Wait!" Anders sighed. "Will this hurt her?"
"It'll hurt more if we have to look elsewhere for help." Isabela waited. "So?"
"Okay," Anders breathed. "Not a word to Hawke, no matter what. What's the problem?"
"It's about Bethany. We need you to help her in the Circle. She's sick."
Anders frowned. "Why must this be hidden from Hawke?"
"Because," Isabela sighed. "She's pregnant."
Anders made haste.
When Bethany next woke up, she was bare but for a thin sheet with an old scruffy man hovering over her dresser. Bethany blinked, wishing she had her clothes. "Anders?"
"The baby will be fine," Anders reported. "Your fever has subsided and you should make a full recovery. Take two drops of this, twice a day for a week," he lifted up a small bottle and set it down again. "And you'll be back to health in no time."
Bethany went cold. He knows.
"Oh, and I'll be your doctor for the rest of your pregnancy." Anders shook his head, turning to her. "And don't start fretting. Stress is especially bad for the child during pregnancy. Isabela has already sworn me to silence, so you've nothing to worry about." Still, Bethany sweated it. Anders took a gentler step towards her. "It's not necessary for how I will proceed, but… is Sebastian the father, Bethany?"
Bethany quenched a strong urge to cry. "No."
"I see…" Anders touched her exposed arm gently. "Were you raped?"
Bethany closed her eyes, tightness rising in her throat again. "No."
Anders sighed softly. "I've just finished here, unless you have any questions? Your baby's coming along just fine."
Bethany was relieved to hear it, but still a little stressed of Anders' involvement. "No," Bethany answered a third time, wondering where her companions had gone. "No questions."
"Then I will see you in two weeks." Anders told her conversationally, then personalized a little. "I'm probably not your first choice, but if you need to talk, Beth…"
Bethany swallowed thickly, eyes watering under her lids. "Thanks."
"Try to take care of yourself, Bethany."
Anders left, nodding to Isabela outside the room. "Thank you." Anders attempted a small smile, but departed quickly, in no mood to be waylaid here among the Templars.
Isabela entered the room and crossed to Bethany's side. She touched her arm as Anders had, unusually gentle with her care for the sick girl. "Beth. How're you feeling?"
Though Anders had assured them she was doing better, Bethany still looked sickly, worse for the wear than usual. She wouldn't look at Isabela either, undeserving of her sympathy. "'Bela?"
"Can you get Sebastian please?" Bethany requested quietly.
"Yeah," Isabela squeezed her arm. "Hang on, Bethany."
Bethany had been alone with him for some time. Having insisted she talk to him one-on-one, Isabela grew more and more nervous as the minutes ticked by. It was quiet in the room beyond, save for the occasional sob that escaped through the door. Bethany's.
Sebastian wouldn't hurt her, would be? Isabela hadn't initially thought so, else she'd never have let Bethany go alone in the first place, but as the minutes ticked by, she started to get worried. Grief could be a powerful motivator…
Finally, as Isabela was about to break through the door for lack of patience, it opened inward, revealing Sebastian and a shame-stricken Bethany in the room behind him. "Sebastian!" Isabela intruded, seeing how depressed and shaken Bethany was. Poor, good-hearted girl had probably told him it was all her fault. Isabela stepped to intercept his escape, for he was clearly leaving Bethany in her guilt-laden state. "It wasn't Bethany's fault." Isabela started. "I was the one who-"
Isabela reeled, falling back on her ass as she clutched her jaw in pain.
"Isabela!" Before Bethany could start for the fallen woman, Sebastian knelt by her side and put a hand to her jaw, checking to see if he'd broken anything.
Sebastian's hand dropped from her face as Isabela touched her jaw gingerly. "Bethany said it wasn't your fault. That she seduced you," Sebastian clarified. "but it just left me with a stronger urge to do that."
"Sebastian…" Bethany sounded so meek.
"I'll be back tomorrow, Bethany." Sebastian promised, half looking over his shoulder, but not really at her. "Try to be good." He turned a scowl on Isabela. "Keep your hands off my girlfriend."
Bethany watched him disappear forlornly, then knelt by Isabela in Sebastian's place and held out a hand, softly glowing with cure to stop and heal the swelling. "Sorry about that…"
"Did he agree to fuck you?"
Bethany's blush returned. "I really didn't think it the time to ask, with all the groveling…"
"Maybe you'll get lucky yet."
"Your mind really has no further capacity, does it?"
"Something good has to come of this! I'm still waiting for it."
Bethany shook her head, helping her friend up. "You're incorrigible, Isabela."