Kira pet a chirping Vee. “I missed you too. Wow, look how big mama is.” She reached slowly for Vee’s pregnant girlfriend, who was curled in the nest and observing her calmly. Vee allowed her to approach.
“Are you tired, mama?” she asked when the pufil didn’t react to her touch. Kira couldn’t blame her. She knew exactly how exhausting it was to be heavy with a pregnancy.
“I’m gonna be a slouching, sleepy mess like you soon,” Kira said. With a grumble, she added, “your commander doesn’t seem to stop filling me with kids.”
A shriek cracked the distance.
Kira sighed. “It looks like blessing number one woke up, and she’s angrier than ever.” She rubbed her forehead. “Thank you, Kyros. I needed this. Can you find somewhere comfortable for the nest? I have to check on Terra.”
“Yes, of course.”
Kira rushed to the common room, looking over her shoulder to make sure Vrox wasn’t around to scold her for running.
She walked to a stressed-looking Nebula and picked up Terra. Her heart broke straight down the middle when she saw how upset Terra looked. Her little mouth was wide open as she screamed, and her eyes shut tight.
“Baby,” Kira whispered, trying to kiss her pain away. “What’s wrong?”
She pulled the baby’s dress off and inspected her skin. There were no rashes, blood, or discoloration. Her skin was still a healthy tan, and her hair a silky black. Kira peered into her mouth, wondering if it was even possible for her to be teething so early.
“Hey, maybe Vrox can give you some medicine?” Lamara suggested.
“We tried that already, but it didn’t help.”
Kira rubbed Terra’s back as everyone watched her with pity. She was so overwhelmed and tired from lack of sleep that she wanted to join Terra in her crying.
She was also worried about her pregnancy. She and Vrox skipped sex a few stressful nights, so she didn’t know if that hurt the fetus.
Tears tickled her waterline.
“I’m going to give her a shower,” she announced. “Maybe that will help.”
She avoided showering Terra daily, fearing that would dry out her sensitive skin. Normally, Terra enjoyed the lukewarm water. Kira could only hope it still had a calming effect.
Kyros and the women followed her to the shower stalls. They waited outside to give her space.
Kira wasn’t much of a singer, but as she sat on the concrete, naked, with Terra on her lap, she hummed. She used a bowl to scoop water out of the bucket and slowly doused a soapy Terra.
The warmth of the water mixed with the sounds of her mother hushed the baby’s crying. She was now whimpering, staring at Kira with big, teary eyes.
“You’re so precious,” Kira cooed, speaking with her heart and not her storming mind.
Terra made a baby noise that sounded like confusion.
“Of course I love you.” She kissed her nose and then sat her sideways against her stomach as she scrubbed her own body.
Terra made another noise, and Kira grinned down at her. “Are you talking to brother or sister?” She snorted. “I wouldn’t be surprised if its both. Your silly daddy is ridiculously fertile.”
Terra blinked hard, and Kira watched as she fell asleep.
As gently as possible, she toweled her dry and slipped her into a new diaper. She placed her in her bassinet and then dried her own body.
She jumped, but was secured against Vrox’s warm chest when he wrapped an arm around her.
“Hi,” she said, kissing his chest. “Turns out that warm water and my terrible voice calms Terra. I’m going to do laundry to make sure her clothes are clean and not irritating her skin.”
Vrox frowned. “You washed clothes two days ago.”
“I can do it again to make sure. Let me do it before she wakes up again. Then, I’ll breast-feed her, and then I can finish–”
Vrox kissed her to halt her rambling. “I thought I told you to not stress?”
She shook her head. “I can’t avoid it, Vrox. She’s my baby, and she’s suffering and doesn’t understand why.”
“I think I know what’s wrong.”
Her eyes widened, and she squeezed his biceps. “Really? What? What do I do?”
“You relax first, and then I tell you,” he proposed.
She pounded a weak fist against his chest. “No. Talk now.”
When he caressed her growing bump, Kira said, “you can talk to the seedling later.”
His huge hands clamped down on her thighs, and she glared when she realized his intent.
“Don’t you dare–”
He lost his face in her slit, slurping at her hot flesh and the water droplets that still clung to her. As usual, Kira’s brain shut down. Everything faded as the pleasure in her pussy dominated her body.
She twisted her hips and cupped her stomach. With her head thrown back, she offered her aching nipples to the ceiling and came so hard that her teeth clattered.
Vrox stood up and supported her weight.
“Good Terran. Go to sleep.”
She wanted to fight, but she was tired from the little sleep she had, and tamed from Vrox’s gentle suckling.
She nuzzled into his chest, feeling her breasts leak between them.
She felt protected, like nothing in the world could hurt her.
“I will watch her. Draekon has departed The Ruins. He went in search of the prince, and will return soon with news of his location. Sleep now. Everything will get better soon.”
She took one last lazy glance at Terra, before passing out.
When she came back to her senses, she found Vrox lying on the bed with her. His head was pressed against her stomach, and his arm thrown over her thighs.
“I can feel you glaring at me,” he said.
“You licked me into unconsciousness instead of telling me what’s wrong with Terra.”
He sighed and moved so he was sitting cross-legged on the bed. His cape was off, but his loincloth was thankfully still tied around him. She would’ve probably begged him to fuck her into more sleep if he was naked.
“Come here,” Vrox beckoned.
“Just tell me what is wrong with Terra.”
“Come here and mouth-mate with me”
He shrugged. “Come here, mouth-mate with me, and–”
“Okay, okay!” she caved before he extended the list. She slipped onto his lap and kissed his lips. “Can you tell me now?”
He chuckled. “Yes. Terra is having a reaction to my scaling. We are connected somehow. I realized this when I noticed…”
He grabbed her hand and pulled it to his head.
“You need a haircut, babe. Your hair is getting kind of– holy crap.” She pulled her hand back and then shoved it back into his hair. On the crown of his head were the tips of two growing horns.
“Horns,” she blurted. “Fucking horns. Wo’ton wasn’t kidding about this second scaling shit.”
Vrox still wasn’t quite sure why the Fates chose to give him a second scaling. Historically, only worthy males were rewarded with the gift, including Ezron’s very first Commander. Vrox made many mistakes, but was still gifted with a precious female, daughter, and strength of the Fates.
“You’re actually growing horns.”
“Do they displease you?”
“No,” Kira replied instantly. “I mean… you’re already so tall so they were really not needed. I’m sure that I’ll grow to love them, though.” She tensed and looked down.
“What?” Vrox asked, palming her stomach to see if she felt the seedling kick.
“Nothing. I just had a… dirty thought.”
Vrox chuckled when he connected the dots. “Ah, yes, I can see why you would grow to love them. Do not worry, Kira. You are free to grip my horns as I suckle on your birthing slit, or penetrate you with my third horn.”
“Egotistical, ridiculously fertile jerk,” she whispered as she continued to pet his hair.
“How do we help Terra?”
“Wo’ton has told me that the horns will be fully grown in two nights, so Terra will stop feeling distressed.”
“I don’t get it. Why does it hurt her?”
“I can only guess. There are no books that explain our connection. She is feeling some pain, but she is too young to have much tolerance.”
“What can we do in the meantime? I can’t just let her suffer for two more days.”
“We can try massaging her head and putting some medicine on it.”
Kira sagged with relief and buried her face in his neck. Finally, she had a way out.
“I didn’t get to say goodbye to Draekon,” she murmured.
“It is better this way. You would have gotten upset if you saw him go.”
It was true. She didn’t like saying goodbye. It killed her every time Rokan left The Ruins, because she didn’t know if he would come back. Now that he was late in his return, her fear was becoming a reality.
“Maybe Draekon will find Rokan out there.”
She was being dangerously hopeful.
“Do you think the prince is close?”
Vrox didn’t reply to this, because he knew she wouldn’t like the answer. He gripped Kira closer. No one was going to hurt his females– especially some bitter prince.
His eyes flickered to his scaled arm, zeroing-in on the few scales that had begun to change pattern.
He was the Commander now, Kira his queen, and Terra his princess.