“Never. Again,” Ian vowed. “Nope. Never!”
Karl and Elliot laughed at him.
Ian flipped them off. “This wasn’t supposed to be possible.”
Karl rubbed his own swollen belly. “Yeah, well, miracles happen.”
Elliot nodded. “Yup, they sure do. Can’t believe you fell for that line anyway.”
Ian glared at Elliot. “It wasn’t a fucking line—“
“You’re really going to have to start watching your mouth,” Link advised.
“Right. You’ve already got your god-kids saying damn all the time,” Elliot pointed out, glaring right back at Ian. “Don’t think I’ll forget about that anytime soon, especially since they use it right. Dad, get the damn juice please. Daddy, my damn diaper is wet. You did that to us.”
Ian couldn’t help it. He snickered. “Yeah, I did.”
Elliot nodded. “Just remember. Payback’s a real brat.”
Ian laughed out loud then.
“Yeah, yeah, laugh while you can, oh furry one,” Karl muttered. “Soon enough you’re going to regret not curbing the cussing.”
Ian would have argued that but the door to the med room opened and Osilas, an actual medical practitioner, stepped out.
“Now you may come in.” Osilas had this was of speaking, like he was a god granting favors, or denying them.
Ian wanted to punch him in the balls, but wisely refrained since the Meruvian was needed to tend to Edion.
Ian and Link nodded at Karl and Elliot then walked to the med room, where Edion was lying, panting, and glaring daggers at them both.
“This is your fault,” Edion snapped.
Ian almost told him no, it wasn’t, because Edion had said none of them could get knocked up from their first mating…which, he’d been wrong twice over. Ian rubbed Link’s stomach, felt a little munchkin kick at his hand.
Instead of being terrified (like he had at first, because goddamn, had Ian had a meltdown when he found out both of his mates had gotten pregnant! The first night they’d all spent together, fucking and doing everything and anything they could with each other, and only Ian had come out of that without being pregnant. He was so grateful he’d taken birth control, and still did.), Ian was thrilled all the way down to his soul.
Edion’s low moan snapped Ian back to reality. “Hey, honey, what can I do?”
Edion’s glare should have melted him on the spot. “You did this to me!” He turned his head and leveled that look on Link. “And you! But you’ll be in this bed soon and you---“ He was back to glaring at Ian. “You’ll have your tuuuuuurn fuckfuckfuck!”
Ian started to panic then. “Can’t you give him something for the pain?” he demanded of Osilas. “Make him stop hurting!”
“You’re not going to be my med practitioner,” Link informed Osilas. “Screw that. I’d rather have a med bot.”
Osilas ignored the barbs. “Meruvian males must not show such weakness. Pain is to be expected and appreciated, absorbed and—“
“Shut up, you pretentious jackass,” Ian all but shouted.
“Stop,” Edion rasped, his stomach rippling.
Ian was never, ever getting pregnant. Edion’s body changed, his insides actually morphing to accommodate the babies, and he’d even developed…a way for them to come out, which Ian kept trying not to freak out over.
Link would just change forms when he was due to give birth, and he was supposed to deliver the babies pain-free.
But Meruvian males weren’t so lucky. Edion grimaced and his eyes rolled as another contraction hit him.
Ian forgot to be terrified or guilty. He moved to Edion’s side. Link took his spot on Edion’s right. The training they’d taken part in kicked in, and Ian found the chants coming easily. The advice and breathing patterns he’d thought silly now seemed like godsends. As Edion cursed and panted his way through labor, Ian and Link tried to sooth and encourage him.
Then it happened.
Edion’s eyes went wide, and he murmured, “Oh.”
Just that. Oh.
His stomach rippled, and Edion arched his neck, his body going rigid as Osilas caught the first baby.
“Here,” Osilas said, holding the squirming, screeching babe out to Ian. “Hurry!”
Ian grabbed one of the blankets that had been set aside for this very purpose, and swaddled the child as he’d been taught.
And immediately lost himself in the endlessly dark eyes of his— he lifted the blanket and glanced down. “A boy.” He had pink skin under the mottled mess of the birth that coated him. “He’s perfect, Edion, Link! Perfect, just look at—“
“And a girl,” Link interrupted. “Oh my goodness, she’s got skin like Edion’s—“
“And a second boy,” Osilas said, “Also perfectly formed. I believe there is one of each.”
“Each?” Ian shook his head. “What?”
“Each species. This boy is rather…furry,” Osilas explained.
“Oh.” Ian wasn’t the only one to sigh.
Osilas wrapped the baby and placed him in Ian’s other arm. “I must finish up here.”
“Yeah, you do that.” Ian and Link turned to Edion. “Look at them, honey. Aren’t they perfect?”
Ian kissed the boys’ on their brows. He wanted to kiss his daughter, too. “Swap?”
“Give me one,” Edion demanded. “I did all the work.”
Ian was wise enough not to argue. “Here.”
“Oh,” Edion said once again, and that big, strong mate of Ian’s let the tears slip from his eyes as he cuddled each baby.
It was perfect, a perfect moment in time—
Until Link gasped. “Take him,” Link urged, holding the baby out to Ian.
Edion looked as alarmed as Ian felt.
“What?” Ian stuttered. “You—why—no. No!”
“You cannot set the time for—“
“Shut up,” Ian snapped at Osilas.
And Osilas, damn him, laughed.
But the laughter stopped when Link changed forms. Even Osilas found him intimidating, apparently.
And Osilas didn’t know what to do with Link, but Ian did. Edion did, too, but he was kind of out of the ballgame at that point.
Ian bellowed for Karl and Elliot to get in there.
“What are you hollering about?” Karl demanded as he opened the door. His eyes widened as he looked at Link. “Uh, does this mean—“
“Yes,” Link rumbled. “Now.”
“Shit!” Karl exclaimed.
“Yeah no kidding,” Elliot added. “Okay, how can we help?”
It was a joining of close friends, and family—and Osilas—all there to assist as Link quickly birthed two babies, the gender of which Ian couldn’t guess since they looked like Link.
But Link, who seemed fine afterwards, shifted forms again. “Our sons are hungry,” he murmured as the two newest babies wailed.
“Four boys and one girl,” Karl said. “Someone’s going to be a spoiled princess.”
“Yes, well I deserve it,” Ian informed him, grinning like mad.
Karl groaned and pressed his head to Elliot’s shoulder. “Save me from bad jokes.” Then Karl yelped and grabbed at his belly.
Elliot went white as a ghost. “No, no you can’t—“
But yes, Karl could, and he did, and when he was done, there were two more little girls in the universe.
And if Ian had thought he had adventures…Well. There was a new generation that would show him just how wild adventures could really get.