What Would YOU Think, This Time? (attn: Nikhila)
The Marina always did a great dinner and Xeph appreciated it for all of the fresh (raw) seafood they served as well. It had been easy to get Noah's grandma and grandpa to watch him for a few hours. Xeph would have loved to have his son along but a restaurant was no place for a 10 week old baby, and he and Nikhila both needed a night out once in a while.
Dinner was finished and they were smiling over a decadent dessert, not something they normally did but tonight was special. Nikhila didn't know it, but it was special.
He looked at her, focusing hard for a second, smiling at the confirmation of what he saw. There was another little personality inside of her. Two sets of needs. Two sets of necessities. One was Nikhila's need to build a home; he'd seen that in Noah. The other was a tiny life that needed Nikhila alone. Another surefire sign he'd seen with Noah.
When had they done this? He didn't know for sure. Likely, around Valentine's Day.
Mmm. Valentine's Day.
Smiling at Nikhila, he took her hand and gently brushed his thumb across the backs of her knuckles.
"Have I mentioned I love you lately?"
Her fork paused over desert and smiled as she looked into the mismatched eyes. As corny as it sounded, she didn't doubt those words, not when he said them. Nonetheless she frowned thoughtfully and considered for a moment of two before smiling playfully.
If they hadn't been out in public she would have leaned forward to kiss him, but sometimes she felt eyes on them, well Aidan, and it made her more reserved.
"The feeling, however, is very much mutual. In case I have not mentioned it."
Even though she didn't think he would be interested she offered him a bite of the key lime cheese cake she'd picked for desert.
He swallowed and declined a second bite. One was good enough. Until they made a filet mignon cheesecake, anyway. Then he might show more interest.
"Oh you've mentioned it," he said, smiling warmly at his mate. "I feel it every day."
He ran his finger over the engagement ring on Nikhila's finger. "Are you happy, Nikhila? Being here? Having a family with me? Do you miss your wandering?"
He knew the answer of course, but he did want to hear it out loud. Xeph wasn't made of stone. He liked having that affirmation from her, even though he knew she wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.
She watched his hand on hers and wished for a bit of his gift. But without that all she could do was to answer honestly. The answer was the right one though, he had not tied her down. He had nothing to worry about. If she could give Aidan a little bit of solidity, stability right now she was happy too in fact she should have done it sooner.
"I am very happy here. I would be happy any where you and Noah were. We'll travel soon but I wouldn't enjoy it without you, without our son."
That was the truth. She wouldn't enjoy traveling alone any more. She couldn't do it. Her feet itched, the sand was still there, but perhaps it was wet sand now, more solid, stable. Or it might even be the sand that beach grasses started to grow in.
"I didn't think it was possible, but I might almost have roots now."
It was a little bit of an odd question. She wondered for a second if he was planning on moving them. But it would be a massive undertaking to move the Pack. If he wanted to she'd do everything she could to help, but she didn't think that was even remotely on his mind. So there was no point in worrying about that.
He was quiet for a few moments, trying to figure out how best to tell her the news.
"How would you feel about a few more roots?"
He shrugged his broad shoulders at here. "Maybe, a daughter?"
Xeph wasn't saying anything yet. Maybe he'd just see how Nikhila reacted to the idea first. Although, saying or not saying wasn't going to change the reality of it.
"Maybe - later this fall?"
"I would love more roots, I thought we were planning on them, but I don't think we need to rush."
After all that's why they had that house, the idea was to fill it with children. If they had planned on stopping at one they could have stayed in the Den. With a light grin she nibbled on some more cheese cake.
"Besides didn't you tell me that Hammerthynn's didn't have girls."
Nikhila hadn't ever quite given up on the idea of a baby girl despite her mate's insistence that it would be a boy. She'd let him convince her toward the end and they'd only picked names for boys. The nursery though didn't favor a boy over a girl though reflective her desire for a girl.
"Noah won't even been a year old until next year."
The smile never left her face. It was early to plan for a second child but it sounded like Aidan was all ready looking forward to it. She was looking forward to some time to get to know her son, find out if she was a decent mother, and run a bit.
"Well, no. Hammerthynns don't but Staffords do. So our chances must be reasonable. And if we don't succeed, we keep trying."
He offered Nikhila a wolfish grin, knowing she would laugh with him. For now.
He nodded at his mate. "I know how old he is," he reminded her with a laugh.
Xeph considered how to phrase his next words very carefully. He thought it would come as something of a shock to Nikhila.
"So... do you remember with Noah, what I saw when you told me?"
Laughing Nikhila blushed slightly. Practice did make perfect and there was no shortage of practice. In fact, she seemed to remember some of this came up when she'd told Aidan about Noah.
"You were there weren't you?"
She teased. Managing without him would have been difficult to say the least.
Nikhila had been about to spear on of the final bites of cheesecake when she heard, really heard, his next question. Pausing, perfectly still she replayed the conversation in her mind and slowly set down her fork.
"Yeeees... I do."
The response was drawled out slowly, cautiously. Connecting the dots was fairly easy right now, but she wasn't certain she was ready to see the whole picture. Nikhila looked at him, hesitant, curious, not quite sure what she was feeling just now.
"You're not... not now." Her chuckle was dry, semi amused but hesitant, she honestly didn't think Aidan would kid along these lines. "Are you?"
He closed his eyes momentarily, opened them, and looked again at Nikhila. Oh yes. It was there.
"There's someone else there," he said softly, trying to describe to her what it was like, using this particular ability in this way. "I see you, and I see someone else who needs you, too. It's... surreal."
He shook his head. "We did say we were going to try to make up for lost time, right?"
Xeph, at least, had had a little time to get used to the idea. "It was Valentine's day," he said with a grin, remembering a fire in the fireplace of their bedroom, a little wine, a little chocolate, and a lot of kissing. "It had to be."
Noah was so new they were still trying to learn what to do and now a second. And there was a silu locked upon the property... that seemed important. She couldn't even think how to keep two children safe. But more to the point she still had very little idea how to be a mother. So scared was on her list of feelings.
Thrilled was there too. They were going to have another baby. She stifled a giggle. Instant family. Another perfect little pup.
She was worried too, an odd worry that she might forget how to be a wolf. And worried for poor Jack, the Assistant Dean. She hadn't even come back from this maternity leave yet (although as the Academy was on the grounds she hadn't been completely absent), to go out again, he'd never forgive her.
Oh... oh! Apparently a little lingerie shopping went along way. It had been a -very- good day though. Nikhila knew there was a reason she'd pushed for a fire place in the bed room. She smiled in spite of herself.
In the end though, shocked, worried, scared, it didn't matter it was done. Her head was still reeling from the idea of being pregnant again, but she was happy. It had taken a bit to decide that but she was happy. Slowly a smile slid across her face, growing broader and brighter.
"Maybe we practice too much."
She teased him, wishing they were not on opposite sides of the table, not in a restaurant full of strangers.
"Too much? Is there such a thing?" He tried to look shocked but it was sort of unconvincing.
Watching Nikhila closely, Xeph made sure she understood exactly how serious he was. "I'm happy for us, Nikhila. I couldn't be happier, not with anyone, and not anywhere but here with you. I'm so glad you're with me."
Xeph was proud of his accomplishments, proud of his Pack's achievements. But of everything he'd ever done in his life, his happiest moments were the ones he shared with his mate.
"You know nothing in my life matters without you here with me, right? It's always been you."
From the time he'd met her, saved her, Gifted her, there had never been another mate in Aidan Xephier's heart. There could never be another Nikhila.
Because apparently neither of them wanted to cut back on their practice sessions.
She was having a hard time getting her head around the idea though. Pregnant. Again. Another child. She was still worried, thrilled but worried. Aidan seemed happy, that helped steady her. Lily would certainly be excited and Hammer would be happy, in his own way.
Why couldn't she get her head to stop spinning though?
Aidan's voice cut through that though and she found his eyes. Those mismatched eyes which always made her feel dizzy, but had seen her though so much and some how always made her feel safe. His words helped smooth away some of the worries, even the ones she hadn't become aware of yet.
Nikhila could feel tears threatening to start. She really didn't want that, not here. But Aidan wasn't always this sentimental, it was hard not to let emotion get the better of her. Throwing manners, caution and worries about the paparazzi to the wind Nikhila stood found her way to the other side of the table, wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him, still misting up a bit.
It meant something, quite a lot really, to hear that. It wasn't always easy sharing him voluntarily taking second place, but of course she was part of the Pack so... it was complicated. The point was, she knew the truth when she heard it and words really didn't do justice to the feeling, but she tried.
"I love you."
How to say she regretted every moment they had spent apart, all the lost time, she didn't know. How to say she couldn't do any of this without him, she had no idea. There was no good way to say she'd have rather continued her solitary wandering than have a family unless that family was with him. She'd just have to show him of the next few decades.
When Nikhila came around the table and kissed him he stood, wrapped his arms around her still-slim waist, and lifted her gently.
"I love you too."
Hell, they were done with dinner, payment could be rendered quickly, and Xeph sorely wanted to take Nikhila someplace private. Getting out of the restaurant was easy, and was accomplished with alacrity.
Getting away from any stray cameras was tougher, but not impossible and they soon found themselves headed for home. They didn't return to the house immediately, however. With Nikhila's hand in his, Xeph tugged her along behind him, down, down into the woods of the Long Run behind the Den itself, until he found a secluded hollow where they were unlikely to be interrupted.
There he made love to her as if they were still wandering over the mountains in India, showing her as best he could what she meant to him.
After, they left their clothing behind as the changed together and ran under the moonlight while they still could, shoulder to shoulder as they had done thirty years before.
((ooc: Both out))