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Fatal Foetal Attraction

By JadeStar

It was every Saurian Shockwave Featherstone had ever known, and the ones he hadn't too, all in one. This Saurian had killed his mother, father, friends, world. It towered over him, and he was so angry. So very, very angry at it for taking what he'd had.

"Sparky?"

It knew his name!

"Sparky!"

Now it was speaking with Milantha's voice. Well, even that wasn't going to save it today. He grappled for his flame gun.

"Wake up!"

Huh?

"Shockwave Featherstone, if you don't wake up, I will hit you. Hard."

He scowled. "Don't talk like her!"

"What?"

"Leave Milantha out of this!"

"Leave Milan... But I am Milantha!" And suddenly, the lizard was, down to her very pregnant lump.

"No you're not!"

Now the Milantha/Saurian was annoyed. "I assure you, I... ahhhhhh!" She doubled over in pain, gasping.

Shockwave blinked. "I haven't shot you yet, what are you doing?"

"Sparky..." The Milantha pleaded with him, hurting. "Please wake up..."

The dream faded as he obeyed, and he found Milantha sagging against him in the dark. "Wake up, you idiot..."

"I'm awake, I'm sorry, is this what I think it is?" She didn't answer, just moaned, and he took that for a yes. "Can you walk? I don't think I can carry you now." Still, she didn't answer. Her cries cut him, but he steeled himself. "Kay Lanny, let's go." He heaved her into a standing position, and thanked Drake when the contraction stopped.

"Okay. We'd better find Tarrin."

Shockwave wondered how she could go so calm so quickly, but didn't question it as he cleared her way down the halls.

*****

Tarrin was rather nervous. The fire a few days back had cost him a lot of equipment, especially in the childbirth collection he'd built up over the years. "You'd better get her undressed."

Milantha resisted help. "I can do it myself," she told Shockwave when he attempted. He settled for folding the clothes neatly beneath the bed, and having his hand squeezed nearly half-off when she started to pain again.

There wasn't time to muck around. "Time them," Tarrin ordered Shockwave curtly, and he did so.

"This is harder than I thought," Milantha admitted when she had her breath back.

"Aww, you'll do great! We got the crib and everything all ready, and it'll all be over soon..."

He didn't know how true his words were.

*****

Shockwave stroked her sweat-dampened hair away from her face for the millionth time. "You're doing great, really good..."

"How can I be doing good?! We've been here forever... I can't do this much longer!" Her face locked in a grimace of pain, eyes screwed up.

Tarrin was worried, though he didn't want to let it show. He didn't understand, the baby should have been delivered long ago. As much as he hated to know it, Milantha was fast wearing out, and she had right to it. He looked vainly for signs of progress, anything but the blood... And finally found the answer. "Oh...Drake..." he whispered, loud enough for Milantha to hear. Shockwave didn't however. Tarrin took a shaky step backwards, automatically. Again, Shockwave didn't noticed, totally absorbed on Milantha. However, Milantha saw his look, and answered it with a questioning glance of her own. He stared at her, professionalism gone. Breach, breach, breach, breach... It echoed in his mind and out his eyes.

Shockwave started humming Milantha's favourite song.

"I... I'm going to talk to the others for a second," Tarrin told them. Shockwave nodded, and kept singing softly. Tarrin nearly fled to the safety of the corridor.

Milantha was unsure how to react to this new piece of information. Things had been okay with breach births in the past, but Tarrin hadn't seemed very hopeful... She put the idea on hold while a contraction passed, then looked up at her husband. He was wearing his adoring look, which he normally saved for when she was doing or had done something he deemed ‘special'. Apparently, this counted. He smiled at her. "How're you doing? You want anything?" She shook her head, then nodded.

"Remember when we talked about my grandmother, and how I never knew her because..." She trailed off. She couldn't do it to him. She didn't want to see his face crumble, or to see him refuse to believe it... I don't want to die. Not now, not today, not like this...

He glanced down at the sheets, which were stained red and getting darker. He accepted that as normal. "You're gonna need a giant Band-Aid after this one, sweetie."

Milantha suddenly realised her grip on reality was starting to fuzz. "Sparky..." The pain came back, and it kept following the pattern of staying longer and longer.

"Yeah?"

What could she say? "I love you."

He smiled, and her heart broke as he bent to give her a quick kiss. "Not as much as I love you."

I was afraid of that... Her loss of blood finally got the better of her, and she closed her eyes, still clutching his hand tightly, and heaving when she had to.

Shockwave took the lack of pressure on his hand as a sign that she was finally going to give birth. "Lanny, you're doing great!" She didn't respond, and he wiped away some of her dried tears. "Lanny?" He nudged her, unable to grasp how someone could go to sleep so quickly, even when they were so tired... "Lanna?" He moved his hand to her stomach, and frowned when it wasn't moving. I don't understand... He held his palm in front of his beak, expecting to feel it, expecting that puff of air. He scowled when he didn't. "This isn't funny," he told her sternly. Still nothing. Nervously he fumbled around for a pulse, and was surprised when he couldn't find one. "Tarrin! TARRIN!"

*****

Tarrin and the others could hear him outside. Estelle was crying, as was Querida and that was just for starters.

"Tarrin, I think something's wrong... C'mon... Kerry? Tarrin?"

Ashen-faced, Marshall had to admire Tarrin for going back in.

*****

Shockwave looked up when Tarrin came back in. He was perplexed. "She... She's not breathing or anything..."

Tarrin was too upset himself to be gentle. "She's dead."

"Huh?"

"She's dead."

Shockwave touched Milantha's face gently. "I told you this wasn't funny, now he thinks you're dead..."

"Shockwave..." Tarrin watched helplessly as the new widower tried to take it in.

He looked resolved. "If she is, she won't be for long..." Shockwave started beak-to-beak.

Tarrin winced. "Sparky, listen to me. She's gone. She can't come back." For all his height and the fact that he was 22, Shockwave still seemed to be the boy who had trouble with non-technical concepts.

Shockwave carefully, gently, reverently pulled the sheet up to his neck... then raced out of the room.

*****

The glass vial exploded against the wall, it's liquid purple contents flying everywhere. It was followed by a blue liquid, then an empty beaker, then another purple.

The young junior who'd been walking by as Shockwave had burst into Milantha's old room stood at the door, open-mouthed. "Milantha's gonna kill you when she finds out..."

Shockwave spun around, looking even huger than normal. "You know what, I hope she does." He appealed to the ceiling. "You hear that, Milantha Flash Featherstone? I've come in here, and destroyed all your things. Come and get me! KILL ME!" He grabbed another glass object and threw it directly above his heard, ignoring the shower of shards that followed. "KILL ME! I DON'T CARE ANYMORE! PROVE YOU LOVE ME! KILL ME!!"

The gathering crowd that had caught up at last stared in shock and helplessness.

"I can't do it myself, I promised you, damn... But you can! I'm asking you to save me, Lanny... Lanny... LANNY!" He sunk into a sitting position, hysterical, screaming her name at the top of his lungs.

The thieves murmured. "Someone do something..." "Where's Slake?" "Marshall, perhaps you should..." "Just give him a good slap..." "Why don't you?!"

Pushed forward by the crowd, Kel tried to hit him across the face. Shockwave didn't stop. Kel tried harder, to no avail. He squatted in front of his five-year elder. "Sparky, can ye be hearin' me?" Shockwave muttered something, so he leaned in closer. "What?"

"Milantha... Come back..."

Kel thought it rather harsh to insist to him that she was gone for good. "Aye, we'd all like ye ta com' back, Milantha lass..."

Shockwave gave him a piercing look, acknowledging him for the first time. "Will she be back? After awhile?"

Talk about your role reversal... "I don't think so."

"Oh." Shockwave stared off somewhere, then shook his head. "This is another dream. When I wake up, Lanny'll be getting mad at me for stealing the sheets... That's okay, she's allowed to be mad, I don't mind... I mean, I wouldn't like to be pregnant..." He looked around, then giggled. "At least she won't be mad about me making such a mess. This is something she'd really not like." He shrugged, then stood up. "I gotta go check something." The crowd parted for him to go through, and a few followed.

*****

He went back to the Infirmary. Kel, Tarrin, Marshall, Ender, Leila, Duke, Cutter, Nylessa, Jedar and Iliana stopped at the door. He sat back in his seat where he'd been for the day. "Lanny, I'm going to do a test now. I'm going to pinch you, and if you wake up, or I wake up, then it's a dream." He reached out his hand, then paused. "Funny. I always said you were my dream-girl." He closed his eyes, and pinched her arm. Nothing happened.

He let himself get led away.

*****

"I can't do anything else! Neither can Kerry!" Tarrin protested hotly at Leila's glare.

"He's fadin' away in there? Are you tellin' me that ya can't do anythin'?!"

"Leila! I'm a doctor, not Milantha, and that's all he cares about!"

Quierda broke in softly. "This conversation is pointless. It's nobody's fault. He just got crushed one time too many."

Cutter sighed, and stopped listening in. He turned back to his apprentice in the bed. "Sparky?" No reply, but that was normal. "I know very well you can hear me. Aren't you tired of being in here?"

"No more than I'm tired of having people trying to tell me it's all okay."

Cutter jumped, but gathered himself. "There, see, talking wasn't so hard, was it? Great. Now, if you just eat something, Tarrin promises he'll let you out of here. All you gotta do is eat."

"Can't Tarrin speak for himself?"

"That sounds like something Milantha would say," Cutter tried to cheer him up. "She was really something, wasn't she?"

"Not was. Is. And she's not something, she's everything." His naturally skinny frame was all bone and no flesh, and his feathers were falling out all over the sheets.

There wasn't much Cutter could say to that, so Marshall tried. "Sparky, we all miss Lantha. But ya need ta eat somethin'! The drip's not gonna feed ya forever, y'know."

Shockwave seemed willing to argue this out. "Of course I know. I'm not stupid."

"Then why? Milantha woulda hated all this! And if th' lass is watching like you say, she's hating it now!"

"I gotta see her."

Marshall leaned forward. "We can do that! Remember? Remember, you told us to bury her with her parents, and we did! If you eat something, we'll go there!"

"No. I gotta see her. Not her. Her."

"You will. One day. Just not now."

"Oh, not now. But soon. Very, very soon."

He knows exactly what he's doing, the poor kid... "Sparky, I loved my family as much as you loved Milantha. But I kept going. And Slake... You know he went through the exact same thing! But he's got Estelle now..."

Shockwave blew up. "So what am I supposed to do?! Just decide to keep living for the heck of it?! I gotta have a reason! After my parents died, I at least had the hope that someone somewhere was waiting for me to show up? And she did, and I killed her!" He burst into tears, crying for the first time over her.

Marshall hugged him, feeling like he was going to break him. "Sparky, you didn't kill her, it was nobody's fault, it just happened. There wasn't anything that anyone did wrong..."

"Yes there was! Oh, yes there was. I was the reason she was pregnant! It's my fault the baby was too big, and the wrong way round! Milantha was so pretty and small and perfect, and I ruined her!"

"Sparky, she loved you!"

"Then shame on me!" Shockwave was still crying. "Shame on me for letting her! Shame on me for getting one more person involved in my run of bad luck!" He was panting now, straining for breath. "Why doesn't this... curse ever just kill me and be done with it?!" He tried to push Marshall away, even though he was using the little energy he had left for talking. "Leave, before you're next."

"Don't be redic..."

"Just go."

And Marshall was dealt with such a hopelessly broken look that he had to, before the one whom he'd always thought of as his son killed him, by hating him.

*****

The small obituary notice in the paper confused the police. Mostly because when they ran a name check on a Shockwave Featherstone and a Milantha Featherstone, they came up with a boy who'd been presumed dead in the Invasion, and someone who, according to their records, didn't exist.

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