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[Fiction] Family Apprehensions [Complete]


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October 11, 2016

Carver literally bounced with excitement as she walked hand-in-hand with Mythic. She would have been pulling him along if he hadn’t been just as eager as she was, though he was a little more circumspect than she was. But neither nova had anything on Ruthie.

“Oh, my God!” The shriek made Carver flinch a little and blink rapidly; shaking her head to clear her ears, she still had to grin at her sister’s enthusiasm. Ruth’s blue eyes were wide as she took in all the sights, staring avidly at all aspects of the studio atmosphere. “This is so exciting!

“You must be Carver and Mythic,” a voice said to the side, and the three people turned to see a woman in a casual suit with a clipboard. “And you should be Ruth Carver, right?”

“Yeah!” Ruth squeaked, jumping forward and grabbing the barely outstretched hand. “I’m Ruth, and this is Mythic and Carver!”

“Good to meet you all. I’m Bonnie, the producers’ assistant,” Bonnie said, shaking all their hands in turn. “Mr. Anderson, I’ll need you to follow Byron here, and Ms. Carver and Ms. Carver, if you would follow me? We’ll get you all into makeup and costumes.”

Two hours later, everyone got to see everyone else again. “Wow…” Ruth said, grinning broadly at Carver and Mythic. “That is awesome! Both of you look… wow!”

Carver glanced down at the ornate costume that slithered around her body. “Well, they say it is what the K’kahkan wear, which is the alien race Mythic and I are portraying. At least you get to be a crewmember.”

Ruth tugged at the arm of her jacket, smiling. “Yeah, I’m crewmember number four,” she giggled. “At least I won’t be on the away team, otherwise I’d have to die.” She shook her head as she looked at Mythic. “But I have to say the most dramatic change is yours, Harold.”

Carver had to nod in agreement as she turned to look at Mythic. Fine, straight shimmering red and green hair framed a face that was more angular than normal; glittering gray eyes flashed as Harold glanced down at his down ornate costume. It was a little creepy to be looking at a male mirror of herself; of course, Jael’s thought was, I’m totally going to have to hit that later.

“This is a little weird,” Mythic admitted, “but fun, too.” He grinned at Carver. *I heard that, by the way.*

*Good,* Jael purred, *I can’t wait to see what inventive spin you put on it, lover.*

*We’ll have to see what I can come up with,* Mythic replied, his tones all becoming sultry.

“Everyone ready, then?” Bonnie asked, walking up to the group. “We have about fifteen minutes before your first scene, so let me show you around the set so you’ll know where you need to be and when.” The tour took a surprisingly short amount of time; the sets were surprisingly compact and tightly laid out. And there were an incredible number of people just milling about, running in circles, or so it seemed to the three newcomers.

“Ms. Carver and Mr. Anderson – it is good to see you again.” John Hopeman, better known as Captain Mitchell to his fans, extended his hand to all three of his guests. He had been the one who had been the most influential in securing them these roles, and was fast becoming someone Carver thought of as a friend. “And Harold, that is just astounding work there. Just uncanny – you look like you really are the same species as Carver.”

“John, thank you again for this invitation,” Carver smiled, ignoring the hand to give him a hug instead. “We really appreciate it.”

“No problem – I’m glad to have you all here,” he said, returning the hug before stepping back. “I’m about to go on, which means you’ll be up in a few more minutes. Ready?” At the varied responses, he nodded and said, “You’ll do fine; you’ll see.”

As he walked away, Carver’s excitement turned cruel; a wave of nausea swept over her. With a muffled whimper, she pressed a hand to her stomach. Frowning, Ruth reached out to her, steadying her sister. “Jay-jay… are you ok?”

*Honey?* Harold asked, his mental voices full of nothing but concern.

“I’m ok,” Carver managed, looking a little green despite her words. “I’m just getting too excited, I think.”

“I didn’t think you got sick like this anymore,” Ruth said worriedly.

“She doesn’t,” Mythic said softly, slipping his arm around her waist. Any further conversation was blocked by Bonnie’s approach.

“Is something wrong?” the assistant asked, her voice and features calm. Her posture and aura clearly said that she had seen it all before, and it hadn’t really fazed her the first time around.

“No,” Carver said quickly, giving Bonnie a quick smile. “Everything is fine.” There was no way she was missing this, not on the day of her first television appearance. “When do we go on?”

*Are you sure?* Mythic asked, his familiar face so very concerned.

Carver silently laughed. *And waste my time spent learning all those lines? No way! I’ll be fine – you’ll see!* And she would be, if she didn’t give herself any other option.

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They had agreed to three days of shooting. By the afternoon of the first day, Carver felt better, and she had convinced herself that she was fine. In fact, as she and Mythic slid into bed together that night, she was sure that it was a passed phase. Instead, she turned all her attention to her lover, who was still wearing her hair and eyes. *This is a little creepy.*

*But all fun.* Jael laughed as she took over the evening.

The nausea greeted her in the morning. All the food she had not yet digested from dinner last night rushed up her throat, and Carver stumbled out of bed, rushing for the bathroom of their hotel room. “Honey?” she heard Mythic groggily ask, but the only answer she could give him was the terrible noise of her retching into the toilet.

“Sweetie?” His sleep-warmed hands swept her hair back from her face, holding it back while one strong arm snaked around her waist to support her. Carver shook her head, hating that he was seeing her like this, even as she knew he didn’t care in the least. And when she could bring up no more, he cradled her, keeping her shaking body off the cold tile floor. “I want you to see a doctor.”

“Sure, but let’s finish the shoot, Harry,” Carver murmured. Even as he started to protest, she said, “I worked really hard on my lines, and I don’t want to throw it all away. I don’t feel worse than I did yesterday morning.”

“But sweetheart, you don’t get sick,” Harry pointed out, stroking her hair. His voice was tight with worry as he murmured, “This is not good, hon. You need to see a doctor.”

They called the studio and arranged to have their scenes moved to that afternoon. John gave them the name of a doctor who would rearrange his schedule to see them, and a quick call got them an eight a.m. appointment.

“Now, I’ll be honest with you,” Dr. Mienhart admitted as Carver hopped up onto his examination table. “If this is a nova condition, then you’ll need to consult a paraphysician. I can at least rule out natural causes. Now, I can tell you that novas do rarely succumb to so-called normal diseases. So the first thing I would like is a blood test. That presents a problem, with most novas. How tough are you?”

Twenty minutes and three bent diamond needles later, a pale-faced Mythic slid the needle out of Carver’s arm. The needle couldn’t penetrate her skin alone; it had needed some superhuman strength to finish getting through her strong skin. And as the blood was coming from Carver, she couldn’t draw it. *That was great, honey – I didn’t feel a thing,* she told him as she kissed him lightly.

*You can’t lie to me in your own head,* Mythic replied with a mixture of wry amusement and cold relief.

Dr. Mienhart had the three vials of Carver’s blood in his hand; as he started to make notes in her chart, he pointed to the needle disposal on the wall. “Drop those in there, if you don’t mind, Mr. Anderson,” he said, scribbling rapidly. The two novas watch as he carefully tagged the vials and set them in a rack. Turning back to them, he ended the appointment by stating, “I’ll see you back here tomorrow, when we have the test results back.”

The only thing left to do was return to the set and try to calm everyone’s fears. It wasn’t easy when Carver could feel the cold shiver of fear herself.

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Everyone was curious about why Carver had missed that morning’s shooting. Ruth was particularly upset; she had no scenes that day and all she could do was worry about her sister. Carver told Ruth very little, but it was enough, and Carver had a protective shadow all day.

Two protective shadows, actually; Mythic stayed as close as he could to her. But again, the illness passed by the afternoon, letting Carver at least enjoy herself somewhat. But she was left worn out by her ordeal, and it took the rest of her energy to finish her filming. She actually ate that evening, hoping that she could recover enough to spend some time performing her favorite activity with Mythic.

But she was too tired for much more than cuddling. If it had just been the doctors, or just been the filming, then she would have been fine. She was so stressed out that she just wanted to rest. “I’m sor-”

“Hush,” Mythic said softly, cradling her to his bare chest. “Just let me hold you, honey.”

Nodding reluctantly, Carver curled against him, and was soon asleep.

* * *

The nausea woke her again, but this time, Carver had been careful to not overeat. Instead, she just lay very, very still and waited for the misery to pass. The slight shake to the bed when Mythic woke up and shifted made her head spin worse. “Honey-?”

“No,” Carver nearly gagged just talking, “no better.”

An hour later, they were in the doctor’s office. Everyone on set had been understanding about her missing the morning again, though it looked like that meant an extra day of shooting for them. Carver couldn’t care; she just leaned against Mythic, feeling terrible.

Dr. Mienhart entered the room, and immediately, Carver and Mythic felt a palatable sense of relief. He was relaxed, smiling even as he set a clipboard down on the counter. “Well, I pushed your tests though, and we know what’s going… Ms. Carver, have you eaten yet this morning?”

“No,” Carver said, “I didn’t really feel like vomiting more.”

Dr. Mienhart moved to the door and left; a moment later he was back with a package of crackers and a glass of water. “Eat these – you should be able to keep them down, and you’ll feel better with something in your stomach.” At the doubtful look Carver gave him, he snorted and said, “Am I the doctor or not?”

With a sigh, Carver acquiesced, taking the plain crackers and munching them with little sips of water. “Now, as I was saying,” Dr. Mienhart resumed, “the tests are back, and you have no viruses, drugs, poisons, or any outside vectors making you sick. What you do have are elevated levels of human chorionic gonadotrophin.” Comprehension didn’t dawn on either face, and Dr. Mienhart said, “That means you’re pregnant.”

Carver blinked; then her eyes got wider and wider. Dr. Mienhart watched, impressed at the width she was achieving, though Mythic wasn’t far behind. “Pregnant?!” she blurted, “I can’t be pregnant, I’m a nova!”

“Well, some novas aren’t sterile,” Dr. Mienhart said, shrugging slightly. “I guess you and Mythic aren’t sterile; well, not to be crass, Carver’s not sterile, and neither is the father, who I’ve been assuming is you.” He nodded at Mythic.

“I’m… the father,” the blonde nova said automatically, his voice dim with shock. “I’m… a father.”

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Shooting that afternoon had gone badly. Carver wouldn’t tell Ruth what was wrong, just shaking her head and insisting, “Later.” That had soured Ruth’s mood, and Carver and Mythic were so off their game that the director finally ordered the three of them off his set for today, which only made everyone feel worse.

“It’s ok,” John said, smiling. “Sure, people may be upset, but when fans dial into the show just to see Mythic and you on their screens, it will be fine. We could even get you some new episodes, if you’re still interested.”

“I know,” Carver said, and to her absolute horror, she broke into tears. Over her sobbing, she could hear Mythic telling John that she was stressed and upset, and she just needed to rest.

Ruth stared wide-eyed at her sister throughout the whole thing, but she was mercifully quiet until they got back to the hotel. “Jay-jay,” she said softly into the silence, “are you… you got a bun in the oven?”

There was a second of shocked silence from both novas. “What?!” Carver snapped, staring at her sister. “Why did you say that?”

“You’re sick in the mornings, moody as all hell, and Mythic alternates between huge, goofy grins and absolute terror,” Ruth said. “I’ve seen this dozens of times before, with my married coworkers. You’re pregnant, aren’t you?” Carver’s eyes dropped, staring at the floor. A gentle nod of her striped head was the only acknowledgement of her sister’s statement. “Really?”

“That’s what the doctor said,” Mythic answered softly.

“And you’re the father?” Ruth asked bluntly.

“Of course he’s the father!” Carver snapped; her expression shifted immediately to shock. “I… oh, god, I just made it real. I said ‘father.’”

“You’re going to be a mother,” Ruth pointed out.

“Ruth, maybe this isn’t the time,” Harry said firmly, taking her by the arm and guiding her down the hallway toward her room. “Carver and I have had a really long day, and we need to rest.”

*I don’t think I could sleep,* Carver sighed over the link.

Harry was amused as he sent, *Yes, but do you really want Ruth around making her comments?*

Carver shook her head as Ruth disappeared into her own room, and she was silent until Harry came back to her side. Gratefully, she reached for him, thankful that it was this man standing next to her in this mess. And what a mess it was.

Carver had made no plans for this, and she wasn’t sure that she could do this. Me, a mother? I’m insane! I hear voices! I have a killer personality in me! How on earth could I be a mother? “Harry… I’m not sure I can do this.”

Mythic moved her to the bed and sat her down; Carver happily sank into his arms when he sat down next to her. “Carver, if you’re not comfortable… we don’t… you can… I won’t insist on anything.”

“I saw your face, honey,” Carver whispered, “you’re already accepting this, aren’t you?”

“I… I’m not scared,” Harry whispered back; somehow, speaking too loudly seemed wrong at this moment. “I would be petrified normally, but I’m not scared to be the father of your baby. I’m not afraid to do this with you, honey. But… but… if you’re not ready… if you can’t… I can agree… I’m not scared of that, either.”

“I don’t know, I’m so torn,” Carver whispered, clutching him tightly. “I… I don’t think I can be a good mother, and I don’t think that’s fair to it. I’m crazy!

“Is it just Willa and Jael that bother you?” Harry asked, rubbing her back. “Or is there something else?”

“I’m… not that responsible,” Carver sighed. “I don’t want to have to worry about a taking care of a baby. This is huge, Harry! Massive, and I don’t know that I want the burden. I mean, this is a life that will need me to give it time and attention – that means less time with you, with my school, and with my art. It will be a lot of work… and I’m a little selfish, sweetie. Ok, a lot selfish. I’m not sure I want to do it. It’s bad to come to resent a baby, right?”

“Whatever you want,” Mythic replied, smoothing hair out of her face. He kissed her face lightly. “It’s completely up to you.”

“You have a stake in this too-”

“But not like you, and I’m not going to begin to think that I could force you to do this, if you’re not ready,” Mythic said, his voice soft and gentle.

“Ok,” Carver said with a touch of relief. It was good to know that he wouldn’t force this. They were quiet for a long moment but eventually they went about their life: getting dinner, relaxing together and bed. They even made love, though it was strange and very different; both of them were sensitive to the other, a little hesitant, and very gentle. It wasn’t bad, just different.

But Carver lay awake long after Mythic had fallen still, thinking. Her thoughts chased each other through her skull, and she didn’t get much accomplished. Just as she was falling asleep, she heard Harry’s breathing change, and she felt him stir. This wasn’t unusual, but what he did was – before when he had woken up, he had reached for her body. And though he was reaching for her again, this wasn’t sexual. Instead, he hand rested lightly on her belly; curious, Carver slitted her eyes open. The look on her lover’s face was heart-wrenching; awe, love and intense protectiveness were written large across his features. Carver had seen that look before; he had given her that look before in some extremely intense situations. With a smile, she leaned up and kissed him.

Harry moved his hand and whispered, “Did I wake you?”

“No,” Carver murmured back. She picked up his hand and put it back over her lower stomach. “You know, I don’t think that I’m ok with this yet. But… I think I will be, eventually.”

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