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Choice and Avoidance

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He has to have noticed by now. You're not being subtle, but you are being cautious, in a subtly-not-freaking-out-here-nosiree. You've stopped drinking entirely, and there are changes you've made to your diet because you're not an idiot.

But this is terrifying and you honestly don't want to acknowledge the issue at hand.

And you're able to! Hide it, you mean. At least for a couple of weeks. Your life doesn't change much, but then.

Then you start puking your guts up. And there's no hiding it then.


You're scared. You can deal with many things, with herbs and medicines to cure many illnesses, but this... This is natural. And it terrifies you.

You meet Valeri in his room, and you're dressed in your most comfortable clothes, sitting on his bed. You're fidgeting, twisting your hands together over and over and over--

And then large hands cover your own. And you look up and see Valeri.

Someone you love dearly, and you'd do most anything for.

"Hey," Valeri says softly, "What's up?" There's concern on his face, in his voice, and...

You crumble. You collapse like a house of cards on a windy day, and you start crying, and you can distantly hear Valeri freak the fuck out and you know he's gonna call Ruth any second, but you latch onto him and do your best to just.


"Stay, stay," You blubber, and. He does.

You feel him fretting, worrying, and after a time, you manage to stop crying, and wipe away your tears.

You look up to see Valeri disheveled, anxious, and confused.

And you wipe your eyes.

“We need to talk,” You say thickly, “There’s something you need to know.”  Valeri opens his mouth to speak, but you cut him off. "I'm pregnant. And I don't know if I'll survive having the baby."

Valeri's face just goes through a myriad of expressions, surprise, wonder, realization, and then finally concern.  "Why?" He asks simply, and god, isn't that the question.

You close your eyes, and you answer. Because you could never not.

"My mother died to give birth to me, and my father was never the same," You say quietly, "He committed suicide when I was very young. I was taken in by my grandparents, and they raised me, but they didn’t know what happened, just the aftermath. And...” You trail off, because you’re scared and this isn’t something you know how to handle. You’re a healer, but this side of healing, where your body could inexplicably just fail you, never sat well with you.

“You’re worried this could happen to you,” Valeri says, and you nod mutely. He looks up at you seriously, and this isn’t uncharacteristic; Valeri can be plenty serious when the situation calls for it, but it’s rare. You’ve seen him angry, raging mad; you’ve seen him lighthearted and happy; you’ve seen him grieve and you’ve seen him playful and ruthless; serious is rare, and you’re surprised. But you really shouldn’t have been; in matters that were important, in matters related to you, he was as serious as the situation called.

“You don’t have to go through with this,” Valeri says, and his hands tightening on yours. “We didn’t plan for this, and if you don’t want to be pregnant, you don’t have to be.” You scrutinize his expression, and you see no hint of disappointment, or censure, or hesitation.

Just pure, steadfast concern. You slump a little and lean forward to pull Valeri into a hug. He makes a sound of surprise, before settling between your legs, tucking you into his chest.

“If we’re going to have a baby, I don’t want it to be an accident,” You say quietly. “I’m not ready for this, and while I think we could become ready, I don’t think now’s the time.” You feel Valeri nod, and press a kiss to your hair.

“I’ll get Ruth to find us a doctor tomorrow,” Valeri says, and tips your head up for a light, chaste kiss. You lean into him, into his unwavering support, and are tempted to cry again; how did you get so lucky with this man?

After you’ve calmed down, you hear him clear his throat, and say, “For the record, I think you would’ve been a great parent. And if you ever do want kids, there are plenty of ways to go about it.” You pull away, and see that Valeri’s smiling crookedly down at you. You snort, and laugh.

“Yeah, maybe; we’ll talk to Ruth in the morning,” You say, and pull Valeri up to the bed; you’ve made him suffer on his knees long enough. He comes willingly, eagerly, and you sleep with your head on his chest, with his heart in your ears, a drumming beat that lulls you to sleep.