Pregnant Pauses

Discussion in 'ONE ON ONES IN CHARACTER' started by The Mood is Write, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. "Zuriel Xenos." A quiet voice called as the angel as he slowly slid into sleep. Behind his closed eyelids, he could see a woman. She didn't look any different than most other women, and in that, she was unique. Every woman he had ever seen, she shared one or more traits with, and every breath shifted the light that shone upon her to reveal that each part of her body had a different hue, unshifting, but always clear and vibrant. Greens, reds, pinks, whites, yellows, oranges, and blues decorated her, and for each he knew the name: heliodor, emerald, red beryl, morganite, goshenite, golden beryl, and aquamarine.

    Each color shone clear and vibrant, and her clothes were decorated in hexagons. She stood massively tall as she stared down at him for several moments. "Zuriel Xenos. I am about to do something either terrible or wonderful to you, and you have no choice in this. I hope you will be safe, and I hope you will forgive me." Her voice rang softly, like vibrations through crystal.

    "In one year, you will find a piece of me, and on touching it, you will find yourself in a new world where few things are familiar. A year later, you will find a child in need of help I believe you can offer. Please do not turn your back on her even when she tries to push you away, because she will become very important to you."

    The voice and image faded from his mind as the sun rose and his day began, and slowly, he forgot the woman's words.

    A year passed, and a friend gave Zuriel a geode. Inside, hexagonal crystals that teased at the young man's memory gleamed candy-red that faded to clear as they approached their tips.

    Red Beryl.

    The stone seemed somehow important. Resist or not, his fingers eventually slid across the red, smooth crystals, and a shock ran through his body, accompanied by a sensation of triumph that came from within the crystals.

    He fell to the ground to the shock of those around, but rather than land, he fell through the floor, as though the floor weren't solid at all.

    He woke to a gentle breeze in a clearing. The sky above was clouded and grey, and the smell of incoming rain teased at his nostrils. Leaves rustled above him, and branches groaned as the gentle breeze strengthened, strangely cool and heavy, but far from unpleasant.

    The first fat drop of liquid hit Zuriel directly below his eye.

    Jade trembled as she hugged herself, legs heavy as she walked through the unused upper level of Base. Her stomach felt oddly heavy. Was it the baby predicted by the pee-stick, or her own nerves? She stumbled over herself as burning, stinging legs objected to her flight to escape her twin and their shared lover.

    No. Her two lovers, one of whom happened to be her twin.

    Alex didn't even like Topaz.

    Tears stung her already-burning eyes as a high noise escaped from her tight throat, cutting off as her air closed itself off, and she looked around. She could hear footsteps.

    "Jade! Jade!" The deep voice of Father Jerriko called. "Jade! Topaz told me you ran away crying! What's wrong?"

    She nearly vomitted. She had to escape. She could hear his footsteps on the metal floor growing closer. Her stomach churned itself and tossed its contents, spraying them across one of the metal walls before she looked back to see her father's hand on a corner behind her. She stared as his head appeared, but he was looking down the opposite hallway.

    Jade threw a portal open underneath and let gravity send her down, down, into a hay stack below. She heard her father call for her, voice catching as he ran closer, and she closed the portal, then rolled off the hay and covered her face as she began to wail. Saliva and tears threatened to drown her as her throat tried to choke her.

    A family took her in, but she didn't notice as they fed her and bathed her and clothed her. She didn't notice as they did her hair, nor did she notice they existed at all until the woman said she needed to make some sort of tea to be rid of an unwanted pregnancy.

    Suddenly aware, Jade approached the somehow familiar cauldron over the fire and grabbed a ladle, then began to drink. She drank even as she heard someone scream in shock. She drank until thick hands yanked her away, and that night she screamed as her anus erupted in pain.

    The next morning, the family brought her into a small wooden town, where they led her around by the arm as she mindlessly followed, gripping her stomach with her free hand.

    Her eyes were sunken. Her lips were chapped and bled. She had deep circles under her eyes, and bits of dried vomit clung to the corners of her mouth.

    She smelled like she had gone rotten.
  2. Dark eyebrows furrowed over shut eyes. This dream was different from the normal...

    His stomach churned at the sudden information overload, his dream self struggling to comprehend who this woman was, or her foretelling of his future. What she said was plenty reason for him to become uneasy.

    But when morning came, and the remnants of the dream began to dissipate, the tightness in his chest left, and it went forgotten. Perhaps it was for the very best.

    Then it was back, uneasiness tugging at the corners of his mind, brilliant amethyst eyes staring down at the gorgeous stone in his hand.

    Uncertain lavender fingers lifted to trace over the shapes, and then every nerve in his body was screaming his regret.

    Down he tumbled into a veritable hell of confusion, but then everything went black, only for vision to return to him, of a sky that wasn't his, and of air that didn't carry the sweet scent of fresh fruit on the trees. It had been harvesting season in the lands below Mi'nurän, but on Mi'nurän he was no more.

    Large wings flailed against the ground on which he sat, mouth gaping open, his eyes gone saucer-wide. The angel stumbled to his feet, blue clothes soaked with dampness from the grass and flecked with dirt. His head lifted skyward, as the first few fat drops fell onto his face. A shudder ran first down, then up his spine, wings flaring in reaction, as hands clamped at the exposed lavender skin of his arms that went unprotected from his sleeves.

    Zuriel gulped and stared down at the ground, toes flexing in his now-muddied shoes.

    This wasn't home. But he saw no immediate way of returning, so he must make the best of it. There was no use in senseless panicking.

    This was his home for now.

    Another year had passed, and Zuriel had adapted to this new realm with relative ease. The townsfolk of the place he had stumbled upon after his arrival made adequate use of his healing prowess, and he found himself making a living as a healer and potion-maker to the residents.

    Today was his weekly shopping day, and the purple angel navigated the open-air market with surprising grace, his large, lavender wings folded neatly against his back.

    "Excuse me," the man piped up, herbs clutched loosely in the fingers of one hand. "How much for this rosemary?"

    The elder woman attending to the market on this particular day peered up at the oddly-colored male with squinted eyes. She clicked her tongue. "Six copper."

    "Right. Give me a moment." With his free hand, he rummaged in the small purse hanging against his hip, retrieving the needed funds, then handed them over. The woman took them with a soft nod.

    "Do you require a bag, sir?"

    "No, thank you, ma'am. I think that'll be it for today. See you again next week."

    The woman nodded and waved him off with a hand, and the angel went on his way.
  3. And his way led straight into a listless young woman in an ugly dress. She stared forward with red eyes as dulled blonde hair hung in tangles, shorn uneven as she held her stomach.

    Deep, dark circles under her eyes told tales of sickness, suffering, or some other horror inflicted on her by fate's cruel hand. She didn't look at him or move as they collided, save to fall, hand yanked from the hand of a middle-aged man, who stopped to look back.

    "Oh, you're that winged healer." The man greeted Zuriel. "Surel, right?" He frowned. "No, that's not right." He sighed, then leaned down and pulled the red-eyed blonde to her feet with one arm. "Sorry about her. She's... She ain't right. Showed up in the barn two months back and ain't said a word or done a thing except try to poison hessef on ground cherry tea."

    Ground cherries were a sort of herb used by women to abort unwanted children, but had particularly nasty side-effects like explosive and burning diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration: small prices to pay for not having a child in a place where survival rates for pregnancy were about fifty percent.

    The red-haired girl didn't respond, but simply stood quietly, supported by the farmer's heavy grip on her arm.

    "We wanted t'ask ya if yer wanting a look at 'er, see if she kin get fixed up." He shook her slightly, and she wobbled, but otherwise gave no reaction.
  4. “Oof!”

    The collision wasn’t near enough force to knock him to the ground, the slender, tiny frame of the blonde only forcing him back a couple of steps. The rosemary held between his hand fluttered to the ground, and with a flustered mumble of “Oh dear,” the angel crouched and gathered it back up, plucking the dirt from the herbs as he went.

    Dark hair that had since begun reaching the small of his back moved with the lifting of his head, bright eyes focusing on the farmer who spoke. Zuriel straightened and dusted himself off, a warm, pleasant smile touching the corners of his mouth at the incorrect name.

    “Zuriel, sir,” he corrected, all polite and manners, hand moving to tuck the rosemary into the front pouch on his purse. He gave it a quick pat, then glanced downward, gemstone-like gaze scanning over the bedraggled young woman. The healer frowned.

    He sucked in a breath at the mentioning of the tea, and gave a brief shake of his head. At the question he straightened further, hands lifting as he flicked the hairband from his wrist down, then tied his hair into a loose ponytail.

    “Sure. Just bring her along with me. I’ll see what I can do.”

    Together they made their way toward the limits of town, where the angel had taken residence in a beat-up, but still workable, home. It was in dire need of an external touch-up, paint peeling off its sides, but Zuriel paid it no mind as he ushered the trio inside.

    Once everyone was situated, the angel began his inspection of the blonde, warm, soft hands prodding at her thin body. After a decent amount of time spent poking at her, he puffed out his cheeks in a huff, having decided that this called for more … extreme measures.

    “Well, I’ve a feelin’ this will freak you folks out, but bear with me.” Palms pressed firmly against the little female’s middle, and bright, golden magic flowed from the lavender tips of his fingers. It surged over Jade’s frame, enveloping her for a few seconds, then absorbed through her skin, effectively (but harmlessly) lighting up her innards for everyone to see.

    Pulses of light followed the flow of her blood, dark amethyst eyes watching with keen interest. His brow furrowed, however, at the light’s focus in her middle, around a particular area he would have considered to be of no concern, figuring the tiny female’s apparent age.

    “Wha..what’s going on in there?” Zuriel poked at Jade’s stomach, his head tilting curiously. The angel’s gaze dropped to follow the floor, then lifted to regard the farmer.

    “Y’don’t suppose she was trying that tea to get rid of a kid of her own?”
  5. The tiny, listless girl winced as she felt the magic, though not from pain so much as the strange sensation it spread through her skin and deeper.

    Inside her womb, two fetuses swam together, looking four months along despite the lack of a visible stomach the girl showed. To an experienced healer like Zuriel, he could tell that if care wasn't taken, both she and the twins could be lost, especially with her narrow, boyish hips and clear lack of nutrition so far.

    The farmer frowned at the suggestion. He'd left his wife and children to tend to the buying and selling of goods in order to see to the girl, but now, confronted with the idea that the child might be pregnant, he could only scratch his head. "Ne'er thought ovvit. Allays thought she wos jus' broken. Thought o' takin' 'er out back an makin things quick on 'er, but couldn't do it. She started out healthy, a lil fat, but jus' got worse, e'en when w'tried ta feed 'er." The man scowled as he rested a hand on her head. "Kin ya make 'er normal?"

    Throughout this, the blonde girl simply stared forward, gaze moving slightly down until she saw how her body glowed, bright enough to see past skin and muscle.
  6. The angel huffed out a sigh and let his gaze drift back to the still-glowing blonde, eyes lingering on the two, tiny forms in her middle. This was more than worrying; here he was just hoping that it had been some sort of stomach virus or other.

    Zuriel straightened, fingers fidgeting with the cuffs on his sleeves, then the buttons of his button-down, powder blue shirt. “Well, I don’t know, if I’m honest. But I’m not one known for giving up on patients.”

    He cleared his throat and stood, towering over the little woman at his height of five-foot-eleven. “Though, may I ask that she stay here, for observation and extended care? She’s not gonna make it going the way she is. She needs someone keeping an eye on her diet and especially to ensure she doesn’t try to ger her hands on anymore of that tea.”

    Lavender hands clasped together in front of him, he forced a smile at the farmer. “I ask kindly that you take your leave now, sir. I promise you, she’s in good hands.” Without waiting for a proper response, the man was already ushering the farmer out and toward his door, then closing the door behind him.

    Throat clearing, Zuriel returned to the scrawny blonde and knelt in front of her, deep eyes narrowed. The magic in Jade had begun to fade during his and the farmer’s rather one-sided conversation, and at this point was almost completely gone, save for a few sparse wisps sparking harmlessly here and there.

    “I’m gonna need you to work with me,” he murmured, dark locks moving with the tilt of his head. “And I need you to want to work with me on this. If you keep going the way you are, hon, there’s no promising that you or the babies will pull out of this. Are we at least understood on that front?”

    Unsure that the other would even answer him to that extent, the angel let out a sigh, debating his next words.

    “And please…if you do decide to address me, my name is Zuriel.”
  7. The farmer sputtered as he was pushed from the door, then looked back. "Ah... aroit." He let the angel push him out, and the door slammed in his face as he turned to at least say good bye. Instead, he stared at the door, then sighed. "Ah'll be by te check on 'er and bring ya veggies!" He called dumbly from outside the door before he sighed and walked away, clearly dismissed.

    The foundling girl's dull red eyes looked up toward Zuriel as he knelt before her. For a moment, she thought he was her father, with those wings, but no... the colors were wrong. She exhaled, slow and quiet as she let her gaze drop. "Doctor Zuriel." The words came out in a small, quiet voice that sounded even younger than the malnourished girl appeared. She closed her eyes and started to let herself drop, to sit or lay where she stood. "I do not know what I want." Her voice caught as fat tears began to form in her eyes.
  8. "Hey now- watch it," came the rushed response from the healer, warm hands grasping Jade around her shoulders, his arms extended from his position before her. He straightened on wobbly knees, guiding the girl to a nearby couch, before deciding to worry about her words.

    Physical health came first, in the moment, though it certainly didn't escape him that there were some definite emotional scars with the girl, what ever they may have been. He wouldn't prod at her so early on in his treatment.

    "Just sit and relax, okay, sweetheart? I'll make you some tea. Do you want some tea?" The angel seemed flustered and unprepared, if only for the fact that he wasn't sure how this girl would react to him, or to the fact that someone was willing to care for her beyond simply supplying shelter and food.

    He faltered, deep amethyst gaze settling back upon her, his mouth drawn into a tight frown. "I do not know what I want." The words tumbled around in his head like useless pieces in a kaleidoscope. If only he could see their meaning beyond their surface.

    "...Do you at least know if you want tea?"
  9. She gave no struggle as he led her, and sat where he positioned her. "I do not know." She managed after a few long, achingly quiet moments before she looked up. "Maybe?" A tiny glimmer of something that wasn't sadness appeared as she made the request, eyes locked onto him. She was silent for a few moments. "Yes please." Her shoulders slowly rose, and her head lowered as she hugged herself tightly.
  10. His eyes caught the hint of something other than sorrow in her gaze, and like a viper his mind latched onto it, gripping it for all of its worth. It sent an ache through his chest, tightening it, making breathing difficult for a few seconds, until it lessened its grip on him.

    So she was capable of something other than sadness.

    The healer nodded and made a beeline for the kitchen, returning moments later with a cup of tea, its gentle scent wafting through the small home, its smell calming even him. He handed it to Jade once he had her attention, then sat across from her, gaze locked onto her, his mouth set into a straight line.

    He wasn't sure where to start with her. It was evident that she'd been through enough already, so going straight for it was illogical. It dawned on him then that he didn't know her name.

    "May I ask your name? It will make things easier if I don't have to call you 'sweetie' or 'hon'."
  11. Jade let her hands wrap around the teacup as it gently burned her flesh—enough to hurt, but not to cause harm. She closed her eyes as she simply held it, staring into the liquid. "Jade. Jade... Mortimer... Mortimer-Senate." She seemed uncertain about how much to reveal as she stared into the tea. "Jade Mortimer-Senate. It is... hyphenated because my parents are not married." Red eyes slowly traveled up to look at her, her expression empty as she waited.

    In her mind, she wanted him to feel repulsed by the knowledge she was a bastard. She wanted him to be like other worlds she'd seen where people hated the 'immoral'.
  12. He watched her with a quiet air, not daring to break the silence that had draped over them like a thick cloth once she had finished. It wasn't until several minutes later that he spoke, his voice soft and even.

    "Jade. A fitting name." He elaborated no further on his comment, instead turning away briefly to glance at the clock. Before the unexpected encounter with the farmer he had expected to have been working on potions for clients by this time, but they could wait. After all, they never gave him a deadline, and the tiny, pregnant female in the room with him was a much more pressing matter to tend to.

    " alright." A touch of a smile curled the angel's mouth. "As far as I know, I have no parents." Silence once more, then Zuriel pulled himself from his thoughts before he forgot where he was. Or who he was with.

    "Are you hungry? Or would you rather I just show you to a place to sleep? You look like you could use some decent rest."
  13. Jade remained quiet long after he asked after the possibility of food or rest. “I am to stay here now?” The question came almost in a whisper, but without any tone, it was hard to say if she was relieved, disappointed, or merely observing. Finally, she sipped her tea again before she answered. “I think… rest.” She wanted little more than to fade to nothing, to lay until laying stopped being a choice. The only drawback would be that surely her father would forbid her if she met him in his office.

    “I would like to lay down until time ends.” The words were out before she could stop them, and she let her eyes slip shut.
  14. He'd thought it was made blaringly obvious by the way he'd sent the farmer away, that the tiny blonde would stay here as long as ...whatever this took. His primary concern was her safety, and she was clearly a danger to herself. He would have none of it.

    But before he could begin to comment on her question, more quiet words fell from her lips, and a deep frown set his mouth into a straight line.

    The healer stood and offered Jade a help up, his expression sober. "That's not allowed, but you may rest." Once Jade was upright once more, the winged man disappeared down one of the long halls, figuring that the girl was smart enough to take the hint and follow after. He did glance over his shoulder to check for a moment, before turning to the second to last door on the right.

    Zuriel opened it for her. "The bathroom is across the hall from you, if you need it, and if you need me, I'll be next door, unless I need to work on something for a client. I'll likely be in the kitchen during nights where I work."

    Exhaustion set itself into his own bones during the time spent around the girl- he would never say such a thing aloud, but her dismal outlook was dragging him down, and he wanted nothing more than to be done with this day. With a slight cough he turned away.

    "Right. Good night, Jade. I hope you rest well. And please"-he turned his attention back to her-"don't do anything stupid. Not only for yourself, or for me, but for them." He gestured to the petite teen's stomach, and was gone behind his door in the next moment.
  15. Jade looked toward the man, then nodded and walked into the offered room. She looked at the bed for a long moment before she fell onto it, face first, and simply laid there, absorbed in the own darkness of her thoughts and emotions.

    Morning came after an eternity, and finally, her mind allowed her into sleep. However, the morning sun stabbed at her eyelids and voices whispered to her, begging her to return home. She even thought she heard her father's voice calling to her, and her sister. Tears came, but none of the dreams or the sunlight could pull her from her restless slumber.
  16. His own sleep was fitful, as his mind plagued him with memories of home, of a sister he would never see again, and of a best friend that sent his stomach fluttering just with the fleeting memories.

    He was so, so terribly homesick, but never would he let anyone know. It was a weakness, and he had already come to accept his purpose here in this world. It would do him no good to dwell on the past, no matter how he missed his old life.

    The chirping of birds outside his window finally roused the angel from his slumber, and with bleary eyes, he sat up, propping himself back against his pillows. With a sigh he let his head fall against them.

    Limbs popping as he stretched, Zuriel dragged himself from his bed, then paused outside of his room, amethyst eyes locked on the door to the room where his newest patient slept.

    Whatever was he to do with her…? All things considered, he’d simply taken her into her home to keep an eye on her during her pregnancy, but what was he to do with all the spare time between? Like hell was she sociable or pleasant to entertain. In his eyes, she was the equivalent of a sad, sentient sack of produce rotting away.

    Groaning quietly to himself, he excused himself to the restroom, did his business, then shambled toward the kitchen to get started on breakfast. In little time, the warm, inviting smell of fried eggs, pancakes, and hasbrowns filled his home.
  17. Jade laid on the bed, still and silent as she closed her eyes against the assault of the burning sun and shrieking birds. The cacophony of light and sound offended her deeply, punished her sensitive head, and squeezed at her skull.

    And yet, she lacked the energy to pull the bedding to cover her face, or to roll over. She simply stared at the back of her eyelids and laid there. The scent of food reminded her of home. It smelled like how her brother sometimes made breakfast. Her throat tightened, and a long, drawn out gasp of a sob escaped against her will, followed by another. The sobs continued, and tears followed as her throat closed and she gasped and wheezed for air between sobs as she tried desperately to keep quiet, to stop her shoulders shaking.

    Drool formed thick ropes between her jaws as she felt her nostrils slowly flood with snot as the sobs continued. Against her will, she wondered if she'd ever have the bravery, or perhaps weakness, to return home. She was sure they'd accept her, but-

    But what if they were disappointed?

    "Aaaah..." The sound escaped, pathetic and choked before she gasped roughly on saliva and then let out another long and pathetic whine.
  18. The first sob he didn't hear, too engrossed in his cooking to have noticed. With a soft humming he worked, flopping two fried eggs onto a plate alongside the rest of the meal. He heard her distress when he was halfway done with preparing the second plate, then was nearly dropping it to the floor.

    The angel turned and placed it firmly on the counter top, then was making a mad dash to the room in which Jade resided, privacy be damned as he threw the door open wide.

    "Jade? What is it- what's wrong?" Unsure of what else to do, the healer sat on the edge of the bed and lifted a hand to brush against the hair atop her head, in slow, gentle strokes. His expression had softened, even going so far as to become fatherly.
  19. Jade simply wailed as she rubbed at her leaking eyes. She couldn't go home! Her father would understand, but Father Grace? Would he? Would he look at her like she made a mistake? Would her mother? Father Jerriko, he would simply hug her and maybe scold her a little, but the others...

    She didn't know who among them would look at her like she did something stupid. She didn't know if she could face that. More wails emerged, and then suddenly, a hand on her head. She jumped and looked up, then stared at the doctor. Her whole body trembled, and all she could make out was a vaguely purple blob. She tried to speak, but all that emerged were incomprehensible sobs before she doubled over herself and let loose all the more, face contorted.

    She wasn't even sure if her older brothers would be able to look at her, or Hunter Phil, who had always let her tag along wherever he went. Would they judge her? Would they be disappointed? She felt certain of only one person who wouldn't be. The rest... How could she know? This situation had never happened before in her family. Everyone else had kids they wanted, and even the accidents felt right to them, but Jade felt only terror.
  20. Her wrenching, heartbreaking cries knew no end, and finally, he felt his patience snap.

    "Enough!" he commanded, one pale lavender hand pressing firm against her upper arm. With the sudden contact, light blue magic swirled upward, forming the Aseryan symbol for 'calm'. The charm suddenly burst mid-air, as particles of the magic fell to rest on Jade, then evaporated into the air.

    Unintentionally, he'd made the spell strong enough to affect even him. His breathing having evened out, his eyes shifted from their helpless look to one of calm determination. Sucking in another lungful of air, the healer let out a soft, shaking sigh.

    "I know you're scared, Jade. I know. But I can't do anything to help if you become like this." His hand lifted to stroke through her hair.

    "I apologize for the charm. I was panicking and could think of nothing else. Now, can you explain what's wrong? Please. I only wish to help." His gaze bore into her head, as if the man hoped that the answers would come tumbling out of her skull.