Obviously, this owes a great deal (understatement of the century candidate) to George Lucas, and to Michael Stackpole's "X-Wings" and Kevin J. Anderson's "Jedi Academy" series of novels. Auric Suvall is mine (though I confess to not liking him much). Qwi isn't, but Omwati customs and physiology are...
No copyright infringement is intended.
Auric Suvall looked very young to Wedge for a doctor, especially one who was a biogeneticist as well as a physician. He perched on the edge of his desk, looking eager, and talked mostly to Qwi after an acknowledgment of her husband’s existence. Which was reasonable, Wedge thought, but it didn’t stop him being irritated by it. He was smart enough to know why he was really out of sorts, though, and so he planned on keeping his mouth shut.
“We told you,” Suvall started, “that there were three possible options open to you, but, as I had suspected, there are really only two. The third, the chimeric hybrid, I’m sorry, just won’t work. There are simply too many fundamental DNA differences to allow for the creation of a viable embryo. Even with multiple attempts-” he broke off as Qwi shook her head.
“We cannot try to create children who would suffer and die,” she said.
The flicker of emotion that passed through Suvall’s eyes meant he didn’t really think of them as “children,” Wedge thought, but he kept quiet.
The doctor said, “Well, then, there are the other two options. Clearly the simplest, the one with the best chance of success, in fact, with no less risk to you or the ... child than a normal pregnancy, is precisely that. A normal Omwati pregnancy. We do an in vitro fertilization of one of your ova with the nuclear material of another, thus creating-”
Qwi interrupted him. “No,” she said, her voice firm. “That cannot be. I am the last Omwati; I will not place that burden on a daughter of mine, to force such a choice on her. We do not want that.”
Wedge, though he had never thought of it before, abruptly discovered that he, in fact, did want it. In the ten or so seconds before Qwi spoke, he suddenly saw an Omwati child, a pocket version of Qwi with even larger eyes and fluffy hair and a radiant smile and a happy, protected childhood... He was shaken by the intensity, of the vision and the longing, and for the first time realized how strongly Qwi wanted what she did want. He didn’t say anything, he completely understood her feelings on the subject, but something must have shown in his face, because Suvall turned to him as though to an ally.
“What do you say, General Antilles?”
“I say nothing,” he said. “Qwi’s made up her mind on that, and the decision is hers.” The doctor didn’t quite look disappointed, but he turned back to Qwi. She, for her part, reached across the space between their chairs and took Wedge’s hand in hers before looking back at Suvall.
“What is the third one, then?” she asked.
“Obviously,” said Suvall, looking resigned, “a surrogate mother bearing a child fertilized, artificially I presume, by your husband.”
“A surrogate mother?” asked Qwi, as though unsure of the term’s meaning.
“Yes. That’s a woman who will carry the, uh, infant to term and then surrender it to you to be adopted and raised as your own. It’s a very common procedure,” he added. “Completely legal and foolproof.”
“But,” said Qwi doubtfully. “Another woman?”
“It’s better for the child,” Suvall said. “Tank-grown are often... disturbed.”
Qwi still looked unhappy. “Wedge? What do you think?”
Wedge had been pondering the implications of that “artificially, I presume” and trying to remember what constituted justifiable homicide under the new Republic’s legal code. Invited, he decided to speak his mind. “I don’t like it. I admit I like the notion of-”, he paused, because it sounded silly, even to him, and he balked at Suvall’s hearing it. But he had started, so, “-not my own child, exactly; more... my parents’ grandchild, I think. But this... no involvement at all. It’s too impersonal, and it’s making a god out of genes. Might as well adopt as get your kid from someone else. In fact,” he admitted, “I’d rather adopt.”
Suvall shrugged. “It’s the simplest way. If you want his genes in the child,” he said to Qwi, “that’s what you’ll have to do.”
Qwi shook her head. “But why must we have another woman? Why can not I carry the child?”
Suvall visibly restrained a sigh. “As I told you, there’s too great a discrepancy in the DNA-”
Now it was Qwi shaking her head, impatient of his slowness. “No. I mean, why can you not put the child into me?”
Suvall pulled his head back, his eyes widening in surprise. But it only took a moment for him to see what she was getting at, and then those eyes kindled with interest and he leaned forward. “You mean, you act as surrogate mother for a fully human embryo?”
“Yes,” she said. Wedge didn’t think he liked the sound of that. “Is it possible at all?”
“Anything is possible,” said the doctor, “well, nearly anything. We’d have to run a few more tests-”
“Surely not!” protested Qwi.
He smiled. “Computer modeling, I mean. From the data you gave us,” he turned sideways and poked at a terminal, bringing up some sort of spreadsheet. “It looks as though your normal pregnancy is about, what? five months? But those’re 40-day months, and the days are 22 hours, so we’re looking at ... ah... nearly three extra months for a full-term human... We’d have to a great deal of drug and hormone therapy, of course. I’m guessing here, but-”
“Guessing?” That came out much more sharply than Wedge had intended.
Suvall visibly remembered Wedge’s presence. “That’s possibly a bad word choice,” he said. “Let’s say, it’s an estimate. A prediction. Based on work done with other species... The problem, of course,” he had turned back to Qwi, “is that we don’t have any real data on Omwati. I think we can do it. Of course, we’ll have to suppress your immune system totally; it’s rather a miracle that the embryo isn’t rejected by its natural mother in a normal pregnancy, let alone cross-species like this.”
“What if she gets sick?” asked Wedge. Qwi hadn’t ever been sick. Who knew what Alliance medicine could do for her?
“She’s remarkably healthy,” said Suvall with dramatic patience. Again he spoke to Qwi. “And the isolation of your homeworld, the lack of travel to and from, make the export of pathogens a near impossibility; I’d say there simply aren’t any around. It’s true that, with your immune system suppressed, you’ll be at greater risk for something alien to you, but with constant monitoring I think it will be safe enough. You could,” he added as if it had just occurred to him, “try a ryll mist in your house.”
A ryll mist. Well, that much Wedge could do. During the krytos pandemic virtually every government building had had ryll misters installed. Since then, they hadn’t been used. He could get his hands on one or two without much difficulty.
Suvall was still talking, with Qwi interjecting a question every now and then. Wedge sat back, letting the flow of information wash over him. He listened for things, like the ryll mister, that he could control; with reluctance he realized that there were almost none. The phrases “strict diet” and “rigid medication schedule” were about the only ones he heard. Strict regimens weren’t his forte, but he was going to have to do something... He felt a powerful temptation to bribe someone to report him infertile, but he overcame it. He was long out of the habit of supporting decisions he didn’t agree with, but he knew he could. When he had been a squadron leader, the wing commander and group leader had made the decisions; when he’d gotten a group, the generals had made them. Whether he’d approved of them or not, he’d carried them out. Now he had to get back to that place, because this time Qwi was making the decisions, because they were hers to make. He could argue with her-though not in front of this man-but once the decision was made, the time for that was over. Then he’d have to do his damnedest to make it work.
Wedge found Tycho sitting on the balcony watching the sun go down over the ocean. “Got a minute?” he asked.
“At least one,” said Tycho. “What’s up?
Wedge didn’t answer right away. Instead, he settled in the other chair and sat there quietly for a few minutes. Tycho didn’t speak, just waited. Finally, “I’m going to lose this argument,” Wedge said.
Tycho didn’t ask which one. “Do you mind it so much?” It was hard to tell exactly what he was thinking.
“I can’t lose Qwi,” Wedge said simply.
“Ah, Wedge,” Tycho said, just as simply, “you won’t. Whatever.”
“You can’t know that.”
“Yes, I can.” Wedge could hear the smile. “This is Coruscant. You’re General Antilles. There is no better medical care in the galaxy. It’s going to be okay. Relax. Let it happen.”
“Where’s that Alderaanian common sense I was counting on?”
“Maybe you’re hearing it.”
Wedge had to laugh. “Maybe I am, at that.” He blew out a breath. “So, like I said, I’m going to lose this argument.”
“And, well, the kid’s going to need an advocate.” There. It was said. Wedge had given up, and he was a little surprised at how easily the words had come.
“Someone to stand for it,” Wedge said. “I mean him, or her, or whatever. Damn Basic pronouns,” he added.
“Like Booster did for you?” Tycho surprised him by remembering.
“Yes,” he said. “Every Corellian kid has someone who stands for him. Like I did for Rima.”
“Mirax and Corran’s daughter,” Wedge said. He’d slipped back into having Tycho so easily that it startled him to remember everything Tycho had missed. Startled and scared, which was probably why he didn’t think about it if he didn’t have to.
“Those two produced a kid? May the Force be with us all.”
“Well, yes,” Wedge conceded. “I mean, mostly it’s buying presents and an excuse to talk about what an idiot the kid’s parent was as a child… So?”
“So? So, what? Wait, you mean, me?”
“Of course you, you idiot,” Wedge said. “What did you think I brought it up for?”
“With you, who knows?” Tycho riposted, but it was a weak effort and easily seen through. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” Wedge said seriously. “Of course, I’m sure.”
“It’s not exactly ‘of course’, is it?”
“As far as I’m concerned, it is,” Wedge said. “Who else? I mean, Tycho, you’d have stood with me at my wedding if you’d been here… I mean, I’d have asked you.”
“And I’d have said yes in a heartbeat. But, I mean, this is your kid, Wedge. What if-” he paused.
“Well, there is that,” Wedge said. “If Yavaris goes up in flames, you will have to look after it. Him. You know.”
“That part I don’t mind … if you don’t.”
“Well,” Wedge said to cover his relief, “I figure you’d feel obligated to abide by my wishes, and raise the kid right, you know?”
“Those two things wouldn’t be conflicting imperatives?” Tycho asked, sounding more like his usual self.
“Okay. That’s settled then.”
“Oh? Doesn’t Qwi get a say?”
“I asked her; she approves of you.”
“I knew I liked her,” Tycho said. “Hey-do I get to pick the name?”
“No,” said Wedge. “No weird Alderaanian names for my kid. We’re going by good, old-fashioned FedDub custom: if it’s a girl, my mother’s name, and if it’s a boy, Qwi’s father’s … or, at least, Qwi’s house’s founder’s.”
“Which would be?”
Tycho laughed out loud. “Oh, yes, that’s unremarkable.”
Wedge had to laugh, too. “Well,” he temporized, “we’ll call him Raq.”
“As in ‘wrack and ruin’? That’s very fitting.”
“Laugh it up, nerf-brains,” Wedge said. “Your day will come.”
“You keep saying that.”
“The bill just keeps getting bigger, that’s all.”
Tycho subsided, chuckling gently. It was a good sound. Wedge closed his eyes and smiled.
“Are you sure you don’t want me at the doctor’s this morning?”
“No,” she said. “I mean, yes, I’m sure. You don’t have to be there; I’m just fine. Really, Wedge; you’re worrying entirely too much about this.”
“No, I’m not,” he said, seriously.
She smiled at him and reached her hand out across the table. He took it in his, feeling her warmth and the strength in the grasp of those fragile-seeming bones. “I love you, Wedge, but you’re worrying too much. This is Coruscant, after all; we have--”
“The best doctors and medical facilities in the Republic, I know,” he said resignedly, smiling back at her. “But you’ll have to put up with my worrying. I don’t know how not to, about you anyway. I mean, intellectually I may know you’re all right, but --”
“But you’re not sure,” she finished, tightening her hold on his hand briefly.
That wasn’t exactly what he’d been going to say, but it was close. “No, I’m not. And even if I were ... Qwi, what I know in my head and in my gut aren’t always the same thing.”
She smiled fondly at him. “Do you want me to tell you the odds?”
“No,” he said, shaking his head and laughing a little, “I don’t want to hear the odds. I’m sure they’re excellent; well, fairly good, anyway. You’re a rational person. Usually,” he added.
“I wouldn’t be doing this if it were dangerous, Wedge,” she said earnestly, as she had before and, he admitted resignedly, would probably have to again. At his expression she added, quickly, “Yes, it’s risky, but most things are, one way or another. But when I feel him move, when I think of a child with your eyes...” she smiled at him, longing in her own dark indigo gaze, and touched his face with her other hand.
He caught her hands in his and looked at her seriously. “You know how I feel about a baby, Qwi. But I don’t want to swap you for a son. You do know that, don’t you?”
She raised her hands, bringing the back of his to her lips. “Of course I do, Wedge. And I don’t have any intentions of leaving you. It won’t come to that, I promise.”
Doctors aside, he wasn’t sure she could promise that. But it was the best he could get, so he’d take it.
Wedge woke, his normal muzziness dispelled by Qwi’s distress. He sat up and, catching her thin shoulders in a careful grasp, pulled her upright as well. “Sit up, love,” he said softly. “Remember what Dr. Suvall said.” Qwi’s response was unintelligible; she shuddered and almost jerked out of his hands. He stretched one arm across her chest, pulling her back against him, and laid a palm on her forehead. ”Breathe deeply,” he said. “Breathe...”
Her breath came in ragged gasps for a few moments, and then steadied and slowed. She had grabbed his arm; now her fingers relaxed their bruising grip and squeezed gently. “I woke you. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it,” he murmured.
“I should sleep in the other room,” she said, tentatively but sincerely.
“Don’t even think about it,” Wedge’s voice had all the firmness hers had lacked.
She made a small sound of assent, leaning back against him. They sat quietly for a few moments, neither speaking. Wedge stroked her hair, considering. She was just into her eighth month, a few days short of the magic number; Suvall had told them they could relax at seven and a half, though “I’d like you to carry to term, of course; that would be best,” he’d said earlier. “But after 30 weeks, the child could survive without difficulty. As long as you continue to have no problems--” Wedge hadn’t spoken then, but the doctor had apparently picked up on his reaction, for he’d smoothly added, “health- or life-threatening problems, I mean, then we won’t induce. But if you should go into labor after that, well, we won’t try to halt it...”
But this wasn’t labor, just more of the cramping and nausea that had been attacking her almost since they’d implanted the egg. As Qwi relaxed, growing quieter, Wedge reached for the blankets and tucked them around her before settling into a more comfortable position, embracing and supporting her. He held her gently. Normally, he didn’t think of her as fragile, despite her looks, but now... now he was afraid he’d hurt her if he held her too tightly.
She smiled weakly at him, a fraction of her usual megawattage, and closed her eyes as another, weaker spasm wracked her body. After a moment, she looked at him, managing a shaky laugh, and said, “Tell me again why I thought this was a good idea.”
He took her hand in his and laid it on her belly, where the baby was flailing his arms, or maybe kicking his legs. “This is why,” Wedge said.
“Oh, yes,” said Qwi. “I remember. Did you learn springball in your mother’s womb, too?” He didn’t answer; he didn’t think she really expected one. He just squeezed her hand. She slid it out from under his and gripped his forearm. Closing her eyes again, she leaned into his shoulder and sighed deeply. “I must worship at Leia’s feet, that she did this twice.”
Wedge successfully stifled a laugh and rubbed her back with his free hand. “It doesn’t last this long with human women,” he said softly. “Your body’s under a lot of stress, and it doesn’t like it.”
“I suppose you’re right,” she murmured.
“Sure I am,” he said as soothingly as he could. “After all, you’re more than a month past what your body thinks is natural, if any of this could be passed off as natural on it.” He immediately regretted saying that; it sounded too much like I told you so, which he’d sworn not to say. Ever. He quickly added, “You’ll be fine. Everything will be fine, really. It’s only a few more weeks now.” He wished he were more articulate; that sounded very lame to him.
But not to Qwi, apparently, who rubbed her cheek against his shoulder while moving, catlike, under his massaging hand, and said, “Oh, Wedge. You’re so dear...”
“Me? I’ve got the easy part,” he said, “you’re doing all the hard work. And doing it well, too, I might add.”
“Perhaps,” she said. He could hear the discontent in her voice. “But I could not do this again -- even if Suvall is not right about its being worse a second time.”
“You don’t have to, Qwi,” he said reassuringly.
“A child should have siblings,” she said plaintively.
He didn’t sigh. He didn’t agree with her, he’d done very well on his own, but now certainly wasn’t the time to argue about it. He only said, as he’d said once before, “Well, then, we can do siblings. We can adopt. There are a lot of war orphans on Coruscant.”
She didn’t look at him as she answered, and her voice was small and sorry against his shoulder. “But there must be dozens, maybe hundreds, of families wanting children. Human families.”
He wasn’t at all sure what she meant. “At least hundreds,” he said. “But I’m a good prospect, if I say it myself, and there must be thousands of children. And that’s not counting babies; most people want babies--” he broke off as she pulled out of his arms, her eyes wide in horror.
“So many?” she breathed, and then gasped in realization. “Of course! There are only two parents -- Wedge! What would happen to Raqwon if we died?”
“Nothing,” he said, “is going to happen to him. Nothing. Qwi, you’re not going to die, and I’m not planning on it, either--”
“Planning? No one plans to die, Wedge,” she said, her voice rising. “Your parents didn’t plan to die, but they did!”
“I did all right,” he protested. “I was fine.”
“But you were alone!” Her voice was stark, disturbed.
“Booster--” he began, but she didn’t let him finish.
“And what if you had been only six, not sixteen?”
He stared at her, trying to think of the right words to calm her down. If I’d been six, I’d have died too were definitely not the correct ones. “I would have been fine. Nothing would have happened. I’d have been raised to be a smuggler, I expect, Booster would have gotten me somehow.”
“If he hadn’t? What? And what about Raqwon? He’ll be all alone!”
“Tycho will take care of him,” said Wedge, trying to be reasonable. “That’s why you have someone stand for a child, to make these social bonds. He’d have Tycho, and Booster--”
“Then why are there thousands of orphans?” she demanded.
He realized with startling abruptness that she’d resisted adoption for more reasons than just wanting his child. She hadn’t thought they could get one. He pushed that aside to deal with later; right now he needed to assuage her sudden, fierce fear. “Wars make orphans,” he said, “and also there are so many billions of people on Coruscant, and it was conquered, children were lost, left maybe--” he stopped. That wasn’t the right tack to take, that wasn’t what she needed to hear at this moment. “But it doesn’t matter,” he said firmly, “because Raqwon would have Tycho, and Booster, who stood for me and has responsibilities; and you know Mirax would never let a child of mine be lost, and that adds Corran; and Leia and Han would do anything they could. That’s seven there, and if that’s not enough, well, there’s Wes, and Sainsy and Iliana, and, and Malina, and plenty more, even that idiot cellist who’s so stuck on you--” he stopped, because it had worked. She’d even giggled slightly when he mentioned Filver, whose name he certainly remembered. “So, you see, there’s nothing to worry about.”
“Oh, Wedge,” she said, reaching out to smoothe his hair and leaving her hand lingering for a moment. “You must think I’m a fool. I don’t know why I’m such an idiot...”
He stroked her hair and cheek in his turn, smiling at her. “You’re full of drugs and alien hormones,” he said lovingly. “On top of being pregnant. You’ve a right to the occasional bit of moodiness, I think.”
She came willingly into his embrace, warming his body with hers. “Occasional?” her laughter tickled his collarbone. “Bit?”
Wedge didn’t answer directly, just tilted her face up and kissed her.
“I do love you,” she said. “Even moody.”
“I know,” he answered, and kissed her once more, and then a trifle reluctantly he tucked her in against his chest again and stroked her hair gently. Reluctantly, because now that he was awake, the sound of her voice and feel of her in his hands and against his body had really waked him. But this bore no resemblance to the right moment... He kept his hands and voice soft and slow, soothing instead of rousing. “So,” he said after a moment, “we’ll get him a sibling, then, shall we? A sister?” If he had to have two, he wanted one of each, and the prospect of a girlchild like Rima was appealing, anyway. “An older sister... or a younger one, if you want to wait.”
“Older,” she said, beginning to sound sleepy again. “A boy should have an older sister.”
“Really?” he asked, smiling, keeping his voice soft. “I’ll defer to your judgment on that. We can get one the same age as Rima, hmmm? Then he can have two older sisters, more or less.”
She nodded, her hair tickling him slightly. “Three years older. That’ll be good,” she said drowsily.
“Okay,” he agreed. “That’s what we’ll do.” He fell silent, waiting for her to drift into sleep, and then he carefully tucked her in again, and lay down beside her. But, thinking about her, it was some time before he went back to sleep himself.
When he came home the next day, Qwi was sitting on the couch, staring at the wall where his parents’ picture hung; more accurately, he thought, she was staring through the wall. “Hey,” he said softly, “what’s up?”
She startled, clearly not having heard him.
“Sorry,” he said. “Didn’t mean to scare you.”
“You didn’t,” she said. “I never notice you.”
“Put me in my place,” he said wryly but not seriously; her tone had said she meant it kindly.
“No,” she protested. “Because you belong. You are supposed to be here.”
He smiled at her. “Yes, I am.” Her answering smile warmed him. He sat next to her and asked, “But still, what are you thinking about?”
“I’m sorry, Wedge,” she said.
“What for now?” he asked, putting an arm around her.
“I remember...,” she said softly, reaching for the hand he had over her shoulder and lacing her fingers through his, “a friend of mine, from our day-school, I think I mentioned her to you once. Her parents died, I don’t know how, I think a vehicle accident. She was from a new Family... not just new, her parents were a couple. And she was my age, nine.” She tightened her hold on his hand. “She was left alone. It doesn’t happen... didn’t happen. There was no one to take care of her, no organizations. I was upset for her. My parents, they talked about it that evening. I listened; I wasn’t supposed to but sometimes I did.”
Wedge smiled involuntarily. “I used to, too,” he said. “It was mostly politics with my parents, that they didn’t want me to hear. If I was quiet enough, they didn’t notice me.”
“Yes,” she said, “I can see that. I worked harder at it... that night, I remember, second mother was angry that I was upset, and wanted to make sure the other children weren’t. Fifth mother, she was young, wondered why nothing could be done. Second father said there wasn’t one orphan a year, unless there was a disaster, and was the government to bankrupt itself for such things? Fourth mother, she was the soft-hearted one, she was the one we always asked for something, she said Xux was strong and famous and wealthy. I think she was going to suggest we adopt Hile. But first father was there. I mean,” she craned her head around to look at Wedge, “he was truly there. Often he was wandering in his mind, he was very old. But sometimes he was there, sharp and powerful. He actually stood up, trembling with his anger.” It was clearly a vivid memory for her. “His hair was dull, and his eyes pale, but he was ... vibrant with his passion. He said Xux should never shelter the child of people who were so improvident, so reckless, so selfishly possessive, so uncivilized, and so antisocial.”
Wedge found the catalog of crimes intriguing. He didn’t say so, just squeezed her hand slightly.
“He couldn’t just say things,” she went on, explaining, “they had to agree with him, you know, he wasn’t some authoritarian patriarch.” The slight rising tone asked if she’d found the right term for an alien concept; he made a go-ahead noise. “But he was oldest, and anyway, they did agree with him. Second mother pointed out that Hile was already showing antisocial tendencies, ketseqoloqna...”
He remembered the time she’d mentioned the girl now. That word meant good memories for him, it was hard to bear in mind how negative it was supposed to be. After a moment’s silence, he asked, “What happened to her?”
“I don’t know,” she said simply. “Oh, I know eventually, but not right away. We were very sheltered compared to Republican children. Our day-school was small, and that’s the only place we went, and that later than you go.”
Wedge nudged her head with his chin. “I never went to school,” he reminded her. “My parents home-schooled me.”
“You aren’t saying you were sequestered,” she said, sounding incredulous. “You were far away from the school. And you went places with Mirax only, when an Omwati child would still have been kept at home.”
He laughed. “My parents weren’t entirely in favor of me and ‘Mirax only’ going places.”
“I believe that,” she said. “Still, I remember second father saying that, not one orphan a year... I knew there were more people on Coruscant alone,” she shook her head. “I feel such a fool, Wedge.”
“I’m supposed to be trained to think,” she said, sounding annoyed. “I knew there were more people here. I knew everyone was coupled. I knew there had been, not just a disaster, but a terrible war. And still, I thought in terms of tens. Dozens,” she corrected herself.
“That hardly makes you a fool. What you learn as a child, that’s hard to get past.”
“Yes, but, Wedge, I wasn’t even paying attention to you.”
“I don’t think I ever mentioned numbers,” he pointed out.
“No. But you kept saying we could adopt. I should have known you weren’t saying that like,” she paused, and then said, “well, it was like saying we could go to Ithor: something that might be some little trouble. Not like going to Corellia, nearly impossible, or, or --”
“The Core?” he suggested.
“Yes,” she agreed. “Not undoable. I’m supposed to be able to think, and I didn’t.”
“Qwi,” he began, but she cut him off.
“And you can’t blame this on alien hormones, Wedge. This is why I am filled with them, not the other way around.”
“I am pregnant because I didn’t think,” she said.
It sounded like a bad novel, Wedge thought, but he didn’t think this was the time to mention that. Besides, there was something else. “Are you sorry?”
“No,” she said quickly, and then laughed. “I’m making no sense, am I?”
“No, I think you are,” he said, and then added, “and maybe I am, too, now?”
She squeezed his hand. “Yes. Now I understand you. Are you sorry?”
“No,” he said after a moment. “No, I’ll like the kid when he’s here-- hey!” He caught her hand and prevented a second gentle punch to his ribs. “You should be glad,” he added seriously, “that it’s not quite our child yet, because I could get pretty angry with it if I thought it was... if that makes sense,” he finished dubiously.
“It does, Wedge,” she said, raising her hand, still in his, to her lips and kissing his fingers. “I do love you so much.”
“Santoloqi?” he teased gently.
“Aqmolqa, an deqwontsin,” she affirmed, resting her cheek against his throat.
“Fiv eRaqwon,” he conceded after a moment. “And his sister, too, I guess.”
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