(please note this was a 24 hour challenge I apologize now for it's unedited content)
Rekkus stood outside the cabin he shared with his mate Dana. Over the last couple of weeks he noticed an ever growing nervousness in her. She seemed jumpy and uncertain all the while ever able to take his head off at a moment’s notice. As the ferry left for the mainland he heaved a sigh of relief. Although they were mated he feared Dana would climb aboard that boat and leave him. She after all was human and unlike his were-tiger self still had free will. She could live without him but he could not live without her. Fate was ever a nasty bitch.
As the boat slipped from the dock Cyrus, his best friend, patted his shoulder in the I told you so kind of way. They had been friends for so long and understood each other so well that words weren’t always necessary. He knew Rekkus’ fears and had taken them in with a heavy dose of concern and like any true friend a good amount of teasing. But not today, not now all he did was indicate with a flick of his chin in the direction of the cabin Rekkus now claimed as his.
She would burn a hole in the carpet with her pacing. His sensitive ears picked up on the steps long before the cabin came into the view. As he crested the hill to the beach where their small home sat, Dana’s emotions hit him in the solar plexus. She was on the verge of tears and it tore at his heart. Emotions he had long ago locked away tight were not kind to him as they resurfaced. He didn’t do emotions, didn’t like them but he loved his mate and for her and only her he would endure them.
He entered the cabin sure she would put on the fake smile she wore these last weeks like an iron mask. Yet she didn’t, she didn’t miss a step, so caught up in her thoughts she hadn’t noticed his appearance. “Talk to me.” The plea came out as a strange mixture of begging and demanding all in one.
Dana stopped, her eyes were red with unshed tears and her hands white as her fists clinched tighter. With unsure hand she pushed a stray strand of her smoky topaz hair behind her ear. “Rekkus, I didn’t hear…”
“Don’t, don’t you dare smile and pretend everything is fine. I know it’s not, tell me what is wrong. Your silence is killing me.” He stepped forward needing to pull her into his arms. He longed to place his cheek against her head and take in the citrus scent of her shampoo but she stepped away, withdrew from him. Hurt wracked through his large frame, Dana had withdrawn from him once early in their relationship when she became aware of that he was a Para. But he hadn’t opened his heart, his very soul to her yet so the rejection had been more of hurt male pride. But this was stronger, this rejection cut to the deep.
“I—I,” she stumbled before taking a deep breath, but she refused to look at him, her eyes locked on her fingers. “I just need some time.”
“Time? Time for what Dana? To decide if you are sick of living here on this island. To decide how best to tell me you would rather be on that ferry which is only now slipping into the fog wall.”
“No!” Dana now looked at him, looked and came running. Her hands cupped his check and he purred. Her touch always soothed his tiger beast. She grounded him, kept him calm. “I could never leave you; I never want to leave you. I love you.”
“Then what is wrong?” he demanded and his voice came out gruffer and more harsh then he intended. His emotions and he had to admit his fear were too close to the surface. But she didn’t back away she simply stood on tip toes and brushed her lips against his.
“I’m pregnant.” Her voice washed over him in a hush.
Everything in the world seemed to pause as ice chilled him from within. His head spun and for a brief moment he was sure he might hit the floor. But somehow Dana managed to get him to the sofa and the next thing he knew a glass of whisky was placed in his hands. “Drink.”
He did in one gulp, welcoming the heat as it thawed him from within burning the back of his throat. “Are you sure?”
“About the baby?” She nodded refilling his glass.
He placed the glass down, as much as he longed to drink it he didn’t want his senses blurred. He was to become a dad. Something he never dreamed possible. His line which was to die with him would now live on at least for one more generation. “How do you know?”
“I took a pregnancy test.” She gave a slight smile and pulled the stick from the pocket on her oversize hand knitted sweater. “Myron found me one. Apparently they keep them in the infirmary just in case and I guess her cards told her I needed one.”
“Myron knows?” Well that explained why the gypsy has been unusually quiet and well behaved the last week.
“I didn’t tell her the results and lets face it I don’t think I needed to. But I wanted you to be the first I told.” She handed him the long white plastic stick with two blue lines on it.
He looked at it in awe. He supposed he should think it strange she had it in her pocket but he knew she kept it close to remind her, give her proof. “What do the blue lines mean?”
She looked at him as if he should be wearing a dunce cap. “They mean I am pregnant.”
“I figured that out myself but does blue mean boy and pink mean girl. This is my first go around with the thoughts of fatherhood.”
“No the lines don’t mean anything other than certain hormones are in my system meaning I am pregnant.” Dana sat down and placed her hands over his. “I know we haven’t discussed children but we haven’t done anything to prevent them either.”
“I wasn’t sure we could create children together.”
“I don’t understand, your mother was human.”
“Yes but not all human/shifter relationships are blessed with children. More often than not they don’t. And before you came along I had long ago resigned myself that my line and streak would end with me.” Rekkus looked at the tiny white stick amazed. He looked back at Dana who seemed a little more at peace “I stood watching the human passengers load onto the ferry today convinced you were going to join them and figuring out how the hell I would let you.”
“How could you think I would ever leave you, this is my home. With you.”
“You haven’t been talking to me, you change the subject on a dime, hide your tears when you think I am asleep or not close enough to hear them, and pretend everything is okay when it was obvious to everyone that they aren’t. By the fates when you said you were ‘Fine’ last night I nearly lost it. Sarka said everything is good until a woman says she is fine—then you said it and I though you had pulled the rug out from under me.”
“Rekkus since when do you take relationship advice from Sarka Rowan? Hell when do you take advice from anyone other than Cyrus?”
“I listen to what you have to say.”
“Yes well that is only in your best interest isn’t it.” She smiled and the room warmed. He reached over and placed his hand on her soft belly. “There is nothing to feel yet.”
“It’s enough to know my child is there, safe within you.” He leaned over and kissed her. “But why were you so nervous to tell me? Why have you worked yourself up into a frenzy?”
“We never talked about children. I know you are great with teenagers but there is a big difference between teens and babies. Teens who you throw through the portal at the end of their week here I might add.”
She wasn't lying exactly but diverting he attention. “Dana that’s not what’s bothering you. I can’t help you with this if you don’t talk to me.”
She nodded and he could see the tension return. “What will the babies be? Babies, cubs? How will I explain this to my family? What will they--?” her voice faded off.
“Why do you care about those who have thrown you away or what they think?” Her family, more to the point her mother, had publicly disowned her shortly before her arrival at the Wiccan Haus. It had been those wounds that the staff was still working on healing even after all this time here.
“Because they are still my family. I can’t just turn off my feeling because they have chosen to ignore my existence. I think if I reached out to them.”
“You have reached out to them every month since you have been here and all your letters have been returned unopened.” Normally brutal honestly he preferred but when directed at Dana he wished he had the talents of Cemil Rowan, the resident empath, to be gentle with his words.
Dana nodded and curled into his chest. “I always hoped I would have my family with me when I became a mother that somehow being grandparents would change them. Okay not my mom but my father or perhaps my sister.”
“You want the fairy-tale?”
She nodded, “Is that so bad?”
“No but you have me and the Rowans. Not to mention Myron and Trixie. We may be slightly broken and more than a little crazy but all of us on the island love you.”
“I know.” He couldn’t see her smile but he sensed it.
He sensed something else, her fear because he felt it too. Childbirth could be dangerous but there were issues they would deal with that went beyond what form their baby would be human or tiger. Were babies were stronger at birth and gestation was longer. She would have to adjust to things she wasn’t prepared for. He would ensure she got the best care. “Sage will mother you until you are ready to scream.”
She pulled back a look of unease passed into her eyes. “Can we not tell them just yet?”
His brows furrowed. “If that is what you want.”
“We have so few secrets here. I would just like to keep this one for a little while yet.”
He nodded leaning back into the sofa, pulling her into his arms. He would need to be more protective of her now. Make sure she felt safe and had everything she needed. “Whatever you need my luv.”
She fell asleep in his arms. This was all he needed, to make sure she and the Rowans were safe. He let her sleep as long as he could. But when Cyrus peeked his head around the corner he knew her peaceful nap must end. No matter how hard he tried she always woke up when he left her, she said it was like someone removing a warm blanket on a cold night, you always woke up.
“Cyrus you suck at stealth.”
“Only when dealing with catlike hearing like yours.” Cyrus looked at Dana and smiled. “She seems more restful. Everything alright?”
“I hate to disturb her nap but Myron really does need you Serena just showed up unexpectedly via the lake tunnel.”
“I am going to have that damn opening blasted closed one day.” Rekkus growled which in turn woke his mate. “Dana I have to deal with a mermaid. Do you want to come up to the main Haus with me or stay here?”
“I’ll come. I enjoy watching the guest arrive, it’s nice to see their transformations through the week.” She rose adjusting her skirt.
“We also have Kaleb Theldon arriving.” Cyrus said grabbing an apple from the basket on the table.
Rekkus looked at Cyrus for a second before his brain started functioning. Damn he nearly forgot about the new recruit coming to island, not that Kaleb had any idea why he was here. “We shall see if he is good enough for the team.”
“It’s been a long time since I have looked forward to a guest as much as I do this one.” Cyrus bit into the apple and chuckled as he wiped the juices off his chin.
Dana looked between the two men. “Why do I think this poor man has no idea what he is in for?”
Rekkus just smiled what his wife didn’t know she didn’t worry about. Not that she would worry about him but the poor human who had to undergo a gauntlet of tests to prove himself worthy of protecting both para and human alike. “I promise to be—“
“Yes?” Cyrus and Dana asked as they walked out the door.
“I was going to say gentle but that would be a lie. Besides the only one who I am gentle with if you.”
“Oh gawd if I have to listen to this sappy rubbish all the way to the haus I might lose my lunch.” Cyrus made a gagging sound but turned to Dana and smiled. “Come on you two, you can have your privacy after dinner.”
Rekkus grabbed Dana’s hand and brought it to his lips. He didn’t say anything, he didn’t need to, he knew every emotion he felt could be clearly written in his eyes for his mate to read and only she knew how to read him.
Read about the babies birth in Healing His Souls Mate