As she laid on her side and stared at a wall, her heart slowly disintegrated. Her skin was cooling from the absence of his touch. Only minutes passed, and she already missed him– they missed him.
Her eyelids fluttered like a flag of defeat before finally settling. She was half asleep when the baby shifted. Like second nature, her hand palmed the bump.
She slipped into darkness. For the first time in a long time, she wasn’t carried by buffy, warm arms, but the bony, chilly embrace of loneliness.
That next morning, she woke up to heat. Vomit surged out of her mouth like lava. Some of the blankets got soiled but most of her sickness was splattered on the floor. Vrox was on her instantly. One of his hands palmed her stomach, the other her breasts platonically.
She heaved and groaned until she slumped in his hold.
“Are you alright?”
“Ye–” she cleared her throat. “Yes.”
Vrox’s attention moved to his hands. He frowned and then looked at her chest. When his hands snapped to the ties on her shoulders, she jumped.
“Wait... I don’t want to have sex.”
“Look!” Vrox shoved his opened palms out.
Kira's eyebrows arched when she saw the translucent liquid on them. Instantly, she looked at her chest. The front of the brown material was darker.
“Milk?” she asked in English. “I’m lactating?”
Vrox was already off the bed and rummaging through a corner. When he returned to her side, his hands were coated in a familiar green substance.
“Untie your top,” he demanded.
Although she felt filthy and exhausted, although their argument still weighed heavily on her shoulders, she smiled. “It’s fine. This is normal.”
Was it? When it came to half-human, half-Ezronian hybrids, there was no ‘normal.’
Vrox’s gaze returned to his hands.
Silence filled their gap.
His expression softened. Kira was magical but so very simple. She often slipped into her mother language without realizing it, and Vrox adored her for it.
“Are you sure you are alright?”
“And us? Will we be ohayy?” he asked, struggling to sound out the word.
"Yeah. We’ll be okay. We will figure it out with time."
She figured he just had a bad day yesterday and that's why he shut her down. She pushed back the conversation for months. It could wait until the baby was born.
"We should get breakfast. I want to see Rokan off,” she said.
They walked to the common room side-by-side, but not touching. That felt stranger than sleeping apart. She got used to having his hand resting on the small of her back.
In the common room, Ni’ev and the others were preparing breakfast. They smiled at the couple, assuming that everything was the same. Kira returned the smile to not make anyone worry. They didn’t need the distraction. There were already enough in this wild, unpredictable place.
“Rokan, eat some more.”
“I am full.”
She scowled, reached for his plate, and shoved more meat onto it. “It’s going to be a long trip. You’ll need your strength.”
“At this rate, I will become so fat that the other men will wonder if I have become pregnant as well.”
She snorted and handed him his loaded plate. “You remember your promise, right? You’ll be careful? You’ll return safely?”
Although he was full to the brim, he ate because he wanted to appease the human. Kira had grown on him like a sister. He’d eat the damn planet if that kept her from pouting.
When it was time for Rokan and Tylor to leave, both Kira and Nebula were a little misty-eyed.
“Can I hug you one more time?” Kira had asked.
Rokan snatched his bags and ran down the stairs so fast that he fell and rolled down a few flights.
Vrox, Ni’ev, Draekon, and Ak crackled at the sight, but quickly reigned in their amusement when she shot them a look.
She waved at Rokan, although he was no longer looking in their direction.
Over the next few days, things were different. There was still a distance between her and Vrox. She missed waking up in the middle of the night to his face nuzzling her stomach and whispering little nothings to their bump. She missed pretending that she was asleep just so he would enjoy the moment. She missed how he absentmindedly grabbed her and pulled her onto his lap.
Now, there was a hesitancy to every move he made. Everything was calculated and mechanical. Romance had been run through gears and demolished. There were no kisses, no snuggling, no playful bickering. There was just a dance over eggshells, and polite, monotonous chatter.
She missed when he helped her shower, feeling him scrub her stomach as if it was the most important thing in the world. She missed his stupid jokes, too.
‘Kira, are you sure that you are pregnant?’
Every time she pointed to her stomach, he would argue, ‘what if you are just enjoying too much food and there is no baby in there? Come here; we must make sure.’
After he thoroughly “made sure,” she’d be left drained of energy but stuffed with cum.
Their wonderful story started a new chapter. This one took place in fragile, torn pages, and written with tears instead of ink. Now, she could only stare and reminisce the past. Whenever Vrox trained, she’d sit on a hidden corner and let his body speak to her. With every lunge, slide, jump, duck, roll, his body would disturb the air and use it as oxygen. It spoke about their embraces, their caresses, their unison.
She noticed that Vrox spied on her, too. He still found ways to take care of her. When she complained that her dresses were getting too tight around her midsection, she was presented ten different textures mere hours later.
With a sigh, she looked down at her stomach and rubbed it. Her pregnancy was eating her up, putting constant strain on her back. She didn’t know if it was because the baby was big, or if she had a whole village inside of her. The stress in her back didn’t allow her to stand for long periods of time. As much as she loved her bump, she wasn’t a fan of the restricted mobility, the dizzy spells, or the thickening stretchmarks.
“Can you repeat this? Why did the cau-atians hate the bu-lacks?
“Because humans are always looking for reasons to tell themselves that they are superior. During this time, they used skin color.”
The alien scratched his hand in search of comprehension. For the past two weeks, Nebula had been teaching Ni’ev American history. In exchange, he taught her how to read and write Ezronian.
“But how does the darkness of skin ail the brain? You are dark, but your skin color has not taken away from your intelligence.”
“Well, I’m flattered, buddy.”
“I do not like these cau-atians.”
Kira snorted. “You’d technically be considered caucasian on Earth.”
“What about you?”
Kira shrugged. “My family line has Indian roots, but they abandoned the culture a few generations ago when they moved to the United States. I guess the answer is south Asian.”
Ni’ev nodded. “Culture should not be abandoned, and skin should not be ridiculed. Look at the stars. They are all different sizes and brightness. How boring would our world be if they were all the same?”
Kira blinked. “Damn, Ni’ev. Shakespeare has nothing on you.”
“That is a compliment?”
“It sure is. Now, let’s talk about genocide. Oh, you’re gonna hate this part.”