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Demeter Ashton
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:55 pm    Post subject: Big Bump Reply with quote

Some days, Demi seriously considered going tiger and staying that way for the next three months or so. She'd known going into this that she was going to be carrying more than one baby in her womb, but the bump was getting a little out of control. At 19 weeks, where every other pregnant woman she knew had had a cute little bump, she had a monstrosity, and on a woman who was only a few inches over the five feet mark, it was beginning to look a little ridiculous. In the end, though, she'd had enough. She needed to know how many were in there, if only for her own peace of mind, let alone Neville's.

It wasn't the fact that they might be having more than one offspring that concerned Neville, so much as worrying about the health and well-being of said offspring, not to mention that of their mother. There was some curiosity, too, but mostly he wanted to make sure everything was going well, and that there was no real cause for concern. And so it was that he was accompanying Demi to see just how many babies were hiding inside that huge bump of hers.

Still, at least they were blessed with the strength and healing ability that Demi had been born with, and that Neville had contracted not so very long ago. There was little fear of the cubs being unhealthy; they were just going to be incredibly uncomfortable to carry around for a couple of months toward the end. Thankfully, though, Marissa had pointed them toward a specialist in were-pregnancies.

Libby Rothen was a bright, bubbly redhead whose practice was filled with as much modern medical equipment as it was with traditional things. "Oh, aren't you looking lovely!" she exclaimed cheerfully as they came into her clinic, which was essentially just her own living room. She patted the wide padded bench in the middle of the room. "Hop up, I'll just get the scanner."

Demi glanced up at Neville as the redhead bustled out of sight. "Well, Marissa did say she was a little bit psychic."

"You are looking lovely," Neville pointed out with a fond smile, though he knew the woman probably wasn't using the word in the same context that he was. But then, when wasn't she looking lovely, in Neville's eyes?

Demi smiled softly, tilting her head back to look up at him. "You are incredibly biased," she pointed out, reaching up to stroke her palm over his jaw. "And I love you for not pointing out that today's bra does not fit." She grinned up at him. "Help me get on this bench, your cubs have decided my center of gravity is somewhere around my knees today."

Neville had noticed the change in her bra size, but he was too nice and polite to mention it. He knew how self-conscious she'd become of her newly-rounded figure and didn't want to add to fuel that fire. "There's just more of you to love, love," he pointed out with a dimpled, cheeky grin, as he did his best to help her onto the bench.

"Such a gentleman," she purred fondly, grateful for the help as he eased her onto the bench. She rolled naturally onto her side - being on her back was not the comfortable experience it had been just a few weeks ago - breathing in the surprisingly soothing incense that was burning in a corner. "You know ... the more of them in here, the sooner they'll be coming out to join us."

Another man might have beamed with pride at the thought of having conceived so many children at once, but Neville only frowned in worry. "Yes, but isn't it dangerous for them to be born too soon?" he asked, though he admittedly didn't know much about Lycan pregnancies or births.

"If we can make it to 30 weeks, I'll be happy," she told him gently, squeezing his hand. "They'll be small, but they'll be healthy from that point on, and they won't be in any danger. They're pure-blooded were-tigers, love. They have our healing rate already."

"Are they going to be born in human or tiger form, do you think?" he asked, though they'd been over this at least once already. It was a lot of information for one man's mind to absorb all at once.

"Human form," she assured him. They'd done their best to make certain of that; she hadn't shifted her own form since the heat that had planted these cubs in her womb to begin with. But, oh, she was looking forward to being able to run on four legs again. She missed it desperately.

"Most weres are born human," Libby's voice interjected over the sound of a rattling trolley as she wheeled her equipment into the nurturing space. "Those born animal tend never to change their form."

"Never?" Neville echoed, arching both brows. He had not been born a were-tiger and though he was learning, there was still a lot he didn't know. Standing beside Demi, he linked his fingers with hers to offer what little comfort and support he could. She wasn't alone in this; he was right there beside her.

"Sometimes they turn, sometimes they don't, but in my experience, those born animal from a mother wearing her human form never change their skin," Libby told them. "Not that this will be a problem for you," she added, setting up the monitor where they could both see it. "You've clearly been careful about your shape-changes. Now then ... what was it you came to find out about today?" She glanced between them, aware of the vague alarm mingling with the concern on the couple's faces.

Demi swallowed. "Um ... Well, how many are in there, really," she admitted awkwardly, glancing up at Neville. "And ... do we want to know the sexes?"

"I think if we're going to find out how many there are, we might as well find out how which sex they are, too," Neville replied, as he looked back at Demi for confirmation. It wasn't so much a matter of convenience as it was of curiosity. He figured the chances were good that they were having multiple sexes, as well as multiple children, but he had no idea how many of which.

Demi felt herself smile, nodding in agreement as she slid her fingers between his, glancing down to watch Libby uncover her bump and lay her warm hands there for a moment. "Feisty, aren't they?" the midwife chuckled, drawing back to gently warm the gel before applying the wand to Demi's distended womb. "Now then ... let's see what we have here."

"Just like their mother," Neville remarked, chuckling a little at the midwife's remark. He had felt the movement of their children beneath his hand on occasion, but of course, he could not feel that movement quite the way Demi could.

"There now ... let me lighten this up a little ..." Libby tapped a couple of keys, and the contrast on the monitor sharpened. "Much better. Oh, look, holding hands ..." She chuckled, twisting the wand to try and get a better view of what looked like two of the babies holding hands just like their parents. And there were more than two ... three, in fact, with the third seemingly in their own world.

"Oh, my gods," Demi whispered. "Three ..."

It was easier than Neville had expected to make out the three distinctly separate shapes of their children. He'd expected to find at least two, but from the picture he was seeing, there was at least one more. "Three?" he asked, as if needing confirmation that he'd counted correctly. "We're having three?"

"Aye, looks like three to me," Libby confirmed, pointing to each distinct head. "Two sharing, one alone. I'd say you have identical twins and a sibling in there."

Demi bit her lip, utterly astounded. She'd been expecting more than one, but she had never thought there really would be three in there. "No wonder the bump is so big," she breathed, gripping Neville's hand tightly.
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Demeter Ashton
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Two sharing, one alone?" Neville echoed, confused. He didn't know much about pregnancy and childbirth and what little he did know only pertained to human anatomy.

"Well, two from one egg, one from its own," Libby tried to make it clearer. "These two are holding hands, see? They wouldn't be able to do that if they weren't sharing an amniotic sac. They can't really touch the third, and she can't touch them."

"She?" Demi asked, picking up quickly on the pronoun.

"Aye, she," Libby grinned at them. "Two boys, one girl."

"So, you're saying we're having triplets but only two are identical?" Neville asked, in an attempt to wrap his head around it. He wasn't stupid by any means, but he wasn't expecting to learn so much. "Two boys and a girl," he echoed, thoughtfully, hardly believing his own ears.

"I would assume you were human when you conceived," Libby said calmly. "The female releases fewer eggs in human form when she's in heat, most likely because the human body simply cannot cope with bearing six young naturally for nine months. So what you have here is two eggs released, and both fertilized, in a manner that could happen for any human woman. If you'd been tiger at the time, there's a good chance there'd be between four and six in there."

Demi blinked, surprised to learn her species had such large litters. "I think I'm happy with three," she managed, turning a slightly incredulous look onto Neville.

"Yes, but if they were conceived in tiger form, wouldn't they be born in tiger form, too?" he asked, curiously. Logically, wouldn't Demi then have to remain in tiger form to birth them and feed them or not? He was still too new to this whole were-tiger thing to know for sure.

"Generally, most mothers choose to remain in whichever form they conceived it, yes, until the birth," Libby agreed. "The stresses of the change back and forth between each shape can lead to long-term deformities in the unborn cubs, which is why I heartily approve of your decision to stay human throughout. Human-shaped were pregnancies tend to have healthier babies, even if they are born a little earlier than expected."

Neville blinked, not exactly shocked at what the midwife was telling them, but a little concerned with what all that implied. Though Marissa might have been able to answer some of their questions, she was of a different species of were-tiger, as well as of a mixed bloodline. He had not been born a were-tiger, but had been made one and was still learning what that meant. He was glad Demi, at least, seemed to know what she was doing. "But ..." he started, his expression looking slightly confused. "When I shift ... I mean ..." He trailed off, having trouble trying to find the words to explain himself properly.

"Your body is fully formed," Libby pointed out gently. "What you endure in the change does not alter your being. The cubs are unformed; that is where the danger lies. The only safe time to change form when pregnant is within the first few days, before the eggs have implanted themselves and begun the process."

Demi smiled, squeezing his hand gently. She knew what was on his mind. "So even if we do conceive as tigers, there's time to change back without harming our young," she assured him softly. "Not that I'll have another heat until the cubs are around four or five years old, of course."

He nodded his head, taking this all in, relieved to know that even if she conceived while in tiger form, it wouldn't harm her or their children. It was only when she explained further about her cycles that his expression changed, looking a little startled by that revelation. "Four or five years?" he echoed. Well, that would certainly ensure they didn't have too many offspring too close together.

Demi snorted with laughter at the look on his face. "Just the heats, love," she promised him. "We have a healthy enough sex life without me being in heat, after all."

Libby wisely kept her mouth shut on this topic, busily inspecting the babes in the womb as they couple talked.

"Well, that's a relief, anyway," Neville remarked with an intake of breath and a smile her way. He didn't think he'd misunderstood her, but it was a relief to know he wouldn't have to live like a monk for the next five or six years. His gaze drifted to the midwife, curious what else she had found in there. "Is everything alright?" he asked, trying not to sound too worried.

"Hmm? Oh, yes." Libby grinned at him. "I was trying to get good angles of your cubs to take pictures with. Actually ... do you prefer cubs or babies? I know some weres don't like to mix the terms."

Demi giggled at Neville's relief, tucking her hair back behind her ear as her eyes returned to the screen. Three little lives. "Our baseline due date is around the beginning of February," she added. "How does that change with triplets?"

Neville wasn't really sure which term was more correct, given their offspring would presumably be born were-tigers, like them, and so he didn't respond to the midwife's question, remaining quiet while Demi asked a question of her own. Personally, he preferred to call them babies, since they were in human form, but for now, he kept that preference to himself. He merely stood close, stroking her hand, while the midwife continued her examination. "How much earlier will they be born?" he added, assuming Demi would never be able to carry three of them to term.

"It's about the same for you as it would be for humans carrying triplets," Libby assured them. "Once you're past 30 weeks, it could happen at any time, though the longer you carry, the better it is for them. But, because they're weres, being born prematurely after 30 weeks doesn't mean they'll be unhealthy. Just means they'll be small."

"I'm not sure what the difference is," Neville admitted uncertainly. Yes, they were weres and not truly human, but if they were being born in human form, what was the difference?

Libby smiled, finally removing the wand from Demi's bump to let the woman wipe the gel from her skin and be a little more comfortable. "You're new to this life, aren't you?" the midwife asked gently. "Weres are all but indestructible, Mr. Ashton. It takes fire or silver to kill you, and sometimes even the fire isn't enough. Oh, old age will do it in time, but until that day comes, you'll be fit and healthy; you'll heal from any wound you take, and even if you seem dead, the light of the moon will revive you. That hardiness, that ability to heal, is passed on to your young. Even in the womb, they are healthier, hardier, than human babes. When a human baby is born at 30 weeks, they need medical intervention to be certain they will survive. When a were baby is born at the same time, all they need is their parents."

"I see," Neville admitted, understanding at last what she was trying to tell him. Whether they were born early or not hardly mattered, as their children were nearly as indestructible as they were. "But what if they're born before that?" he asked, needing to know every possibility.
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Demeter Ashton
Young Wyrm
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Before that, they will still have your healing ability, but they will be runts," Libby told him easily. "Smaller, weaker, than your fellows, for the rest of their lives. Earlier than 26 weeks, and it is unlikely they will survive. But that is very unlikely to happen, Mr. Ashton. Your wife is strong and healthy, and the babies are as healthy as she. So long as you," she pointed this to Demi, "take it easy and don't put yourself, I don't see why you shouldn't carry to at least 32 weeks."

"I will make sure of that," Neville assured the woman, giving Demi a soft squeeze of his hand and a warm smile. He would do whatever he needed to do to make sure their children were born healthy and strong, no matter what. He leaned down to touch his lips to hers, as if to seal that promise with a kiss.

Demi's smile was rueful as he kissed her, teasing her fingertips against his jaw fondly. "Just as well I have a job that only needs me to sit down and listen then, hmm?" she pointed out in amusement, though they both knew she had already begun phasing out her patients to be taken on by other professionals in preparation for becoming parents.

It was strange to now to think that that was how they'd met. He rarely thought of Nellie these days, and when he did, it wasn't with the same sadness he once had. He knew in his heart she'd loved him enough that she would have wanted him to move on and be happy, and that he had done. "Should I spoil you?" he asked, with a teasing smirk.

"I never say no to a good spoiling," she grinned back, taking his hand to awkwardly shift into a sitting position. "At least we only have to look up boys names. I know exactly what our little girl is called." She smiled at him as Libby handed them the printout of their pictures.

"You've got my number," the midwife told them confidently. "If you ever need me, call."

Neville arched a brow at his wife's comment regarding a name, wondering if she was planning on naming their daughter after the midwife. He knew better than to ask now though, making a mental note to bring it up later. "I haven't given much thought to names yet," he admitted.

"Neither have I, not really," Demi assured him with a gentle smile, taking the little envelope from the midwife's hand. "Thank you, Libby. Back again in a month, yes?"

Libby nodded. "Just for a check up," she promised. "You're looking good from here."

"Thanks, Libby," Neville echoed his wife's words as he helped her off the table and onto her feet. He was obviously more concerned with taking care of his wife than with chit-chatting with the midwife.

And Libby wasn't going to hold them up with chat. Demi wasn't quite at the point where standing upright was starting to get painful, but she was close. Her last few months of pregnancy were going to be increasingly uncomfortable, but it would be worth it. Smiling with Neville, the little woman made her way out into the afternoon sunshine, sighing contentedly. "You're going to be so wrapped around this little girl's finger," she predicted to her mate fondly. "I'm going to be buried in boys."

"How do you know?" he asked, as they stepped outside into the warm sunshine, hand in hand. "That I'll be wrapped around our daughter's finger, I mean," he clarified. He couldn't imagine himself with a daughter, much less triplets, and was still finding it hard to believe, despite the proof right before him.

"Because I know you," she told him fondly, touching a kiss to his shoulder. "And besides, she'll be even more precious for being the only little girl in the house." She chuckled fondly. "I have no doubt she'll be more than capable of holding her own against her brothers, though."

"If she's anything like her mother, she will," he agreed with a soft smile for his wife. He could almost imagine their daughter - a miniature version of Demi - taming the wildness in her brothers, charming her mother, and capturing her father's heart. There was nothing he and Nellie had wanted more than a child; it made him a little sad that Nellie would never know this kind of happiness, but perhaps she would be happy for him, at least, wherever her soul had gone to.

"We could end up with a house full of musicians, you know," she pointed out, the softness of her own smile suggesting that she liked the idea of that. She liked music, even if she couldn't play or sing a note in tune, hoping their children would inherit Neville's talents in that respect. "Wouldn't that be lovely?"

"Our own little orchestra," Neville remarked, still smiling. With an audience of one - Demi. It was certainly possible they'd inherit their father's talent for music, but it would be some time before they knew for sure. "You could learn to play," he suggested, as he had on previous occasions.

She giggled. "Love, you've heard me trying to reproduce any kind of music," she pointed out. "I might not be completely tone deaf, but it's close!" Perhaps it was a little odd that they had ended up together, given the way this inherent part of them diverged, but she enjoyed music all the same.

Music was such a big part of his life, it was almost a necessity that Demi enjoy listening to him play. "We should do something to celebrate," he said, circling back around to the subject of their unborn children.

"Mmm, what do you fancy?" she asked with an impish cast to her smile. Part of her really wanted to shift her form, to let her tiger loose so that she could enjoy being pregnant too, but it was just too risky. The tiger would just have to content herself with the babies when they were born.

"I was about to ask you the same thing," he said, drawing her aside and pulling her close, despite the crowd of people that were passing by. He touched his nose to hers in an open display of affection - a rarity for him, in public. "I love you, Demi," he told her quietly, that she knew that already. They were three simple words, but they meant so much more.

It was such a feline thing to do, that gentle nose touch, and yet she wasn't sure he knew that was where the urge came from. It made her smile, pleased to see him so in tune with his own wild side. "I love you, too," she promised softly, her tone almost a purr in itself as she stroked her cheek to his tenderly.

That was a feline thing to do, too - touching her cheek to his and claiming him for her own. There was nothing he wouldn't do for her, nothing he wouldn't give her to make her happy. There was no mistaking she had made him happy, not only because she was having his children. In a way, she had healed him, and she had given him a reason to live again. He touched a kiss to her lips, soft and warm and loving. "Let's go home," he whispered. It didn't much matter what they did to celebrate; everyday together was celebration enough.

Together ... that was all that mattered.
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