Disclaimer: Liam and his universe belong to Roddenberry-Kirschner, among others. Some other characters mentioned may belong to them too. The Schultz family is all mine.

Warning: PG-13. Do I have to explain why at this point?

Author's Note: Yes, I actually wrote a fic that was not written from the POV of one of the Schultzes. Rosemary wanted to have a talk with Alex, and Alex wanted his own fic. Well, things got pretty interesting. Anyway, thanks still go to Jen LeMaire, who is going to get tired of suggesting things to me at some point.

Mated Pairs
by Estirose
Copyright 1999

Alex stepped off of the boarding ramp into the airport. He hadn't expected to spend the holiday weekend visiting Marianne's mom - but, for whatever reason, Marianne had wanted him to talk to her mother - and her mother had insisted on inviting him up.

He still remembered Marianne's angry face as she told him to talk to her mother. All he'd wanted to know why she was up on the Kimera homeship - well, at least that mystery was solved. Somehow, her being part Kimera was one of the last things he would have guessed about her.

"Alex? We talked on the phone," a voice came from slightly to the left of him. He turned around and saw that it was the woman he'd talked to earlier, Marianne's mother.

"Hi, Ms. Schultz. Thanks for having me over."

"Call me Rosemary," the woman said, smiling. "Here, let's pick up your luggage, and then I'll drive you over to my house. Then we can talk things over- I'm sure you have a lot of questions, and I'll try my best to answer them."

"Thanks M- Rosemary," Alex said, following the woman to baggage claim.

"You're welcome," Rosemary said over her shoulder.

* * *

"So, how was your flight?" Rosemary asked as she started the car up and started to drive out of short-term parking.

"It was okay... I'd rather have taken the portals, though. Lot less sitting around."

Rosemary sighed. "I don't like them myself, so I never think about it. Did Marianne ever tell you how Liam - that's her Dad - and I ended up together?"

Momentarily caught off-guard by the conversational switch, it took him a moment to reply. "No, all that she told me was that she was part Kimera, and then told me to ask you about it."

"Ah. Well, it has a little to do with my dislike of the portals. You see, Liam and I and two friends went on a double date thirty-three years ago...."

* * *

"And when I woke up, I knew what Liam was, and also that he wasn't kidding about his family fertility - I was pregnant, with Marianne."

"Wow," Alex managed. It seemed the only thing that he could say. He'd heard of Liam Kincaid, of course, as the only first generation Kimera-human hybrid and Kimera ambassador to the Taelons and Earth. Of course Liam Kincaid was Marianne's father - she was a second-generation hybrid.

Rosemary parked the car, and helped him get his bag out. "It can be quite an experience - quite different than having a relationship with a human. Or so I'm told. Liam has been my one and only."

"Oh," Alex said. He'd wanted to know more about Marianne, well, he was doing so. Admittedly, it was a bit strange, but he guessed that she'd get around to Marianne eventually. Rosemary was just focussing on those things that were important to her, or at least starting at the beginning.

"Don't worry, you'll get used to it," Rosemary said, leading her way into the house. "It may be a bit overwhelming at first, but as time goes by, it'll just be more and more normal. Look at me, thirty-three years later and I'm still very happy to be involved."

Rosemary rubbed her stomach. "Liam and I are expecting in a few more months. Third time around, it's still an amazing experience."

"Third time?" Alex asked.

"Kimera hybrids are very fertile... I don't know how many kids she'll want, especially since she's with Ra'das as well."

Alex sighed inwardly, hoping his hostess would stop talking about pregnancy and kids soon... that's probably what her brain was on right now, but he'd start blushing soon if she didn't stop.

"Ashley - that's Marianne's younger sister, in case you didn't know - is off at a friend's today, but she'll be home later on tonight. Hopefully we'll be able to get some talking in after she goes to bed. She's going to a slumber party tomorrow night, so we won't have to worry about her then. Liam's arriving that evening, but I'll expect he'll want to spend some time with Ashley while he's here so you might want to think about what you're going to ask him."

"Um, okay," he said. He'd always wanted to meet someone famous, but this was Marianne's *father*!

"I figured that you might have some questions that he might be better able to answer, y'know?"

"Oh, yeah," Alex replied, eager to talk to someone who didn't have their mind on kids. Maybe he'd get a chance to talk to the Ambassador a bit about the Kimera language as well. "Uh, not having anything to do with that schedule, but does Marianne speak Kimera?"

"Yes, she does. Every Kimera hybrid does. When she was younger, she also could greet Taelons in Eunoia as well - although it's something we kept under wraps, because at that time the Taelons didn't have a treaty with the Kimera. As you can probably guess from her age, she was born way before that happened."

"She's really thirty-two, then?"

Rosemary grinned. "Yes, she is. All the second gens have been normal pregnancies with normal growth rates. First gens and Third gens that are the results of Kimera-hybrid matings grow fast, but the Second gens are normal, and so should any Third gens with a human parent."

"Oh," Alex said.

"Sorry about all the information, but there's a bit that we have to cram in before you see Marianne again. Feel free to ask any questions you have as well - I'm sure Liam and I will miss something."

"Uh, sure," Alex replied. "I'll ask if I want to know anything."

Rosemary led him into a room that was obviously the guest room. "I know how embarrassing some questions can be. If you feel comfortable asking me, please do - Marianne's not the only doctor in the family, and I've learned more than my fair share about the biology of human-Kimera hybrids."

Alex set his bags down. "So, how Kimera *is* Marianne?" he asked.

Rosemary ran a hand through her hair. "Hmm... Physically, more than she looks. Mentally, less. Although, if I've heard right, that should be changing."

Alex nodded. Rosemary flashed a smile at him, and continued. "I'll spare you the medical gobledygook, since you probably hear enough of that at work. Sufficient to say, a good portion of the time you won't notice. One of the few times that you definitely will is during mating - if Marianne's anything like Liam, that is. No matter how human they look, there's that one element that adds an extra dimension to sex."

He tried very hard not to blush. "Uh, not having to do with Marianne, but what kind of doctor are you, or were you?"

"Am still, but I'm more a research than an active one nowadays. My specialty is adapted Taelon technology used in the medical field. Like the CVIs," Rosemary replied, tapping the side of her head. "My knowledge of the Kimera biology has more to do with being able to take care of Marianne if I had to - couldn't have people looking too closely at her during the early days. Of course, I did have some help, but I'm one of the few human medical doctors who have any expertise in Kimera biology, and its influences on their human hybrids."

"Wow," Alex breathed.

"I'm sure that if you ever go up to the Kimera homeship, you'll find that the Kimera are extremely helpful in research. I'm told Ra'das is an anthropologist - you might find it interesting to talk with him. I'm sure he'd love to talk to you."

"Oh?" Alex asked. It looked like this whole thing might have some good sides. An anthropologist probably knew a thing or two about languages.

"Well, what he loves most, specializes in, is medical practices of various cultures and species. I realize you're a linguistics student, not in the medical field, but you *do* work at a medical office."

"Yeah. I will have to meet him."

Rosemary patted him on the shoulder. "You will. You get settled, now. I'm going to start dinner. Marianne didn't tell you about my cooking, did she?"

"Uh, no," Alex replied, glad that the subject had wandered away from sex and kids.

"Good," Rosemary replied. "Come out when you're ready."

* * *

"Morning!" a young voice cried from the other side of the closed bedroom door. Alex sighed as he recognized the voice of Marianne's younger sister, Ashley. "Time to get up!"

"Thank you," he yelled back at her, and he heard a giggle and then someone running. He pulled his change of clothes from the suitcase. This certainly wasn't a bad place to spend a holiday weekend - he did like Marianne's sister and mother, at least when her mother wasn't talking about sex, pregnancy, and kids. She wasn't a half-bad cook, either. He wondered what he could do to repay her hospitality, other than sit there and try not to blush as she kept talking about sex.

"I'm surprised she only has three kids," he muttered, as he changed clothes. He headed into the bathroom to shave and otherwise get ready for the day.

* * *

"Thank you, Alex," Rosemary said, as he helped out with the dishes. "Do you have any more questions?"

"Yeah, did Marianne get into any trouble when she was a kid, or was she as law-abiding as she says?"

Rosemary laughed. "Is that what she told you? No. Without going into details, let me say that there were more than a few occasions where I thought she was going to be at least kicked off planet."

"Oh, sheesh. And I thought she was perfect."

Rosemary laughed again. "Definitely not. I'm afraid her father made sure she learned some stuff that I wasn't quite too thrilled about then and certainly am glad he didn't teach Ashley. Let me put it this way - I think she was the only five-year-old on the planet who knew how to break in and hotwire cars."

Alex kept his jaw from dropping, but it seemed like he wasn't able to keep his startlement off his face. "Marianne is hardly squeaky-clean, and Liam definitely is not. Trust me, I know both of them - especially Liam. And you'll certainly know Marianne very well, same way I got to know Liam."

Alex nodded, and hoped that she wasn't talking about sex again.

"Don't worry. You'll get used to it. And once you get used to it, you'll never want to go away again," Rosemary said. Just then, the phone beeped. "I'll be right back."

Alex sighed, wondering what she was talking about. She returned after a minute or two. "That was Liam. He'll be arriving earlier than expected, which means you'll get more time in - but don't expect much this afternoon. As I said, he'll want to spend time with Ashley."

* * *

Alex was playing with Ashley when the doorbell rang. He looked up as Rosemary got up from where she was relaxing and opened it. The figure outside enveloped her in a tight hug. She playfully scolded the figure, placing a hand on her stomach. A second, male hand joined it there, and she took that hand and led the figure inside.

He looked at the figure. A man, slightly younger than Rosemary, black hair going grey. He guessed this to be Liam Kincaid, the Ambassador. His guess was confirmed when Ashley looked up and immediately dashed across the room, crying "Daddy!"

Ambassador Kincaid picked up his daughter, carrying her a few steps towards Alex, and then put her down, ruffling her hair and mentioning she was getting a little too heavy.

"You must be Alex," the Ambassador said. "Pleased to meet you. Marianne's told me a lot about you."

"Pleased to meet you," Alex managed.

His hesitation must have shown in his face for the Ambassador said, "Call me Liam."

* * *

Later on, Alex found Rosemary in the kitchen, watching Liam and Ashley playing in the backyard. She seemed to have sensed him, for she turned around, smiling wryly. "Liam doesn't have as much time to spend with his kids as he used to. That's the trouble of having so many, and being so responsible. He takes time as he can. Marianne's the only exception- she was his only child on Earth for a decade."

"That many kids still amazes me," Alex said, and then realized, with an inward groan, that talking about kids was infectious.

Rosemary shrugged. "Liam had trouble mating with someone other than me, at first, but he managed. He had to. Until we discovered that there were other Kimera still in stasis, he was the only Kimera left in existence. It was his obligation to mate as much as possible. A friend and I were responsible for a lot of the pushing. It hurt to share Liam, but it had to be done."

"Oh," Alex replied. "By the way, is 'mate' a translation of a Kimera term or something? I noticed you used it where most people, at least English speakers, would use 'sex' or 'spouse' instead."

She laughed. "It does seem odd, doesn't it? Yes, it's more or less a translation from the Kimera wording. But to me, it fits. I'm not married to Liam, so he's hardly my spouse, and sex to me connotates something you do casually, whereas when you mate a Kimera or a hybrid, the result is kids. I'm not an expert on Kimera social dynamics, but given that they aren't always monogamous, and that a joining between partners produces kids inevitably, I expect that they may have a different view on the subject."

Alex nodded. "Culture has an impact on language. Language has an impact on culture. There have been studies on the impact of language on culture, using artificial languages, as well as real ones."

"I've heard of that," Rosemary said. "When I was on the homeship one time, a human linguist was discussing languages with a Kimera counterpart."

"That's something I'd like to do. Go up there and spend hours and hours talking to the Kimera about languages, I mean," Alex said, watching the ambassador watch his daughter.

"Oh, I don't doubt you'll have the opportunity," Rosemary said, laughing. "Marianne shouldn't be worried about you. You're perfect."

She left the kitchen, a smile on her face, and Alex was left to wonder, once again, what was going on.

* * *

If he heard about sex - mating - one more time, he'd scream. The dinner wasn't too bad, but the dinner banter was all about the topic of mating. He wondered how much Marianne's parents saw each other. Surely they had *some* other topic to discuss.

He'd tried to talk about languages. The topic had delighted them, and he hadn't minded for a while, as at least he had three Kimera he could contact about his project. But somehow, topic drift had occurred, and since it was in the Schultz household, it had drifted back to mating.

Alex had gone out with Marianne exactly once, and it wasn't really a date, just taking her to a movie after she returned from that family emergency, or medical emergency, or whatever. However, she hadn't talked incessantly about sex. One or two things about dating, but that was about it. Maybe she'd gotten sick of it too.

He wished that Ashley was at the dinner table instead of at the friend's house. Liam and Rosemary tended to restrain themselves when their younger child was around. All things pointed to this being a healthy family, despite some slightly unusual circumstances.

As the dinner conversation continued on, all he could do was groan inwardly, try not to blush, and hope it ended soon.

* * *

He got up late the next morning, since Ashley wasn't there to knock on his door and there wasn't an alarm clock in the room. Alex hoped nobody was expecting him to be anywhere.

When he finally got to the kitchen, he found Marianne's parents talking over the remains of their breakfasts. The two seemed completely absorbed in their conversation - which, to Alex's astonishment, had nothing to do with sex. It seemed, instead, to be some kind of discussion of some Liberation plan from thirty years ago that they'd both been involved in.

Finally, Liam looked up. "Morning, Alex."

Rosemary looked up too, a teasing smile on her face. "Morning, sleepyhead."

The Ambassador looked fondly at Rosemary. It was obvious to Alex that they were close, very close. If they were faking it, they were doing a very good job. They acted like a married couple that were happy to be together when they could. "So, what's going on today?" he asked.

"Well, *I* have been called upon to talk about early Taelon-human medical technology," Rosemary said. "And you two are going to spend the day talking guy things. Liam has his instructions about the house. Here's where you can reach me."

"Um, okay," Alex managed, eyeing the Ambassador as he accepted the piece of paper.

Rosemary smiled. "I'd better go now. Have fun, you two."

He was soon alone in the house with the Ambassador. Or Liam, as he reminded himself. "I'll get you something to eat," the Ambassador said. "You've got enough on your mind without worrying about that."

Alex felt unable to speak as the Ambassador went into the kitchen, retrieved some stuff, and set a plate down in front of him. "Thanks."

"No problem," Liam replied cheerfully. "Rosemary did the cooking - I think I can find one lousy plate and serve breakfast. Besides, I'm sure you have a few questions, and I'm also sure you'd probably want to ask them on a full stomach."

Alex nodded, and shovelled his breakfast into his mouth, hurrying to get some real answers.

* * *

He found himself in the living room, sitting opposite the Ambassador, who seemed completely at ease. Alex tried not to fidget. He hadn't counted on Rosemary leaving him alone for most of the day with the man.

"I'm sure you want to ask me something," Liam said. "Go ahead - I realize that maybe neither Rosemary nor I are quite perfectly able to answer what questions you have. After all, she's the human, and I'm the guy."

"Okay," Alex managed. "I'll ask you one of the same questions I asked Rosemary. How Kimera is Marianne?"

The Ambassador shrugged. "She's the most human of my kids - even more human than me, and I consider myself very human. She may be biologically Kimera, but if it weren't for some of the few manifestations of Kimera ancestry she can't suppress, she'd be your perfectly normal average human."

"Despite being up on the Kimera homeship?" Alex asked.

"I haven't seen her much since we were all here for Christmas," Liam said. "I do know that she's finding the Kimera side of her heritage, or parts of it, hard to accept. Don't let her suppress what she is - she'll turn to you because you're not at all Kimera, but she can't escape from what she is. She might be desperate enough to take you to her bed without either of you thinking much about it first."

"She was accidental, I hear," Alex said, a bit confused by the Ambassador's words but deciding that he may be able to play along a bit instead of embarrassing the other man.

"She was," Liam confirmed. "And she swore that any mate of hers would choose to have a child with her, not be forced into parenthood."

"Are you absolutely sure that if I slept with her, I'd be a father?" Alex said, trying to reassure the older man.

The Ambassador smiled sadly. "I told Rosemary my family was extremely fertile. She didn't believe me, either."

"Oh," was all that Alex managed to say. So much for being reassuring.

"You've got to watch out for her - between the two of you, I think you could handle it. I haven't heard Marianne so happy as when she's talked about you - I think you'll be fine together. It'll be good for Marianne to have people on both sides who understand her so much."

"I'll take care of her," Alex said, not being able to stop himself. Of course, he meant it. He wasn't planning on having sex with her or anything, but obviously Marianne's parents liked him, and he liked Marianne. He'd gladly do it for her sake.

"Thanks," Liam said, and Alex saw that a great mental weight had been shifted off the Ambassador's shoulders. "Rosemary and I will be here for you, too. And don't forget Ra'das. He'll look out for you as well."

Alex wasn't sure what he was getting into, but he knew that Liam's promise wasn't empty either.

The conversation fell into more mundane topics.

* * *

Rosemary got back about three hours later, when they were still chatting. She'd obviously stopped to pick Ashley up on the way back. "See, I told you all it needed was a man's touch," Rosemary teased Liam. "You've got things obviously all taken care of, so I'll get her unravelled."

"You want to spend more time with Ashley?" Alex offered.

"Yeah, I think I will," Liam replied. "Thanks."

The Ambassador hurried off, soon replaced by Rosemary. "Got all your questions answered?" she asked.

"I think so," he said, although he had certainly not broached all of them. He probably knew more about Kimera mating practices than most people - but he still didn't know all that much about Marianne.

"I'm sure we've overwhelmed you," Rosemary told him. "But Marianne wouldn't be happy if you hadn't made an informed choice. It's up to you to say yes or no now, remember. Don't let her pressure you."

"I won't, thanks," Alex replied. Rosemary smiled, and left him in the living room.

* * *

"Mom! What is going on?" Marianne asked, as she stood in the front doorway. "Dad? What are you doing here?"

Alex didn't blame her for her confusion. He still wasn't sure what was going on. At least she looked a bit better than she had when he'd called her, a lot more calm. "Alex, you okay?"

"I'm fine," he said. "Your mom's been very nice."

Rosemary leaned against the kitchen doorway, Liam behind her. "I'm just doing what you asked, Marianne. We've been answering his questions. It's his choice now," Rosemary said.

"Choice?" Marianne echoed.

"You said that when you told him what you were, he'd probably have questions," Liam offered.

"We told you we were more than willing to answer any of them he had. After all, we know what it's like to be mated. Between the two of us, we figured that one of us could help him make his choice."

Marianne just broke into hysterical laughter before closing the front door. After a moment, she turned to Alex, blushing. "Sorry, Alex. It seems that we have a bit of miscommunication on our hands."

"You mean, we went through this whole thing thinking that you'd told him you were interested in him?" Rosemary asked, incredulous.

Marianne sighed. "This is going to take some explaining. Let's all sit down."

* * *

"...So, it turns out that I had to handle the mess from down here. I guess that's fortunate, huh? I can't believe I actually gave Alex a way to reach mom. I wasn't thinking straight, I guess. I should have remembered I asked you to do this, mom."

Beside him, on the couch, Marianne leaned forward. "I'm really sorry I caused so much trouble, Mom, Dad."

Alex decided to speak up on Marianne's behalf. "It was hardly a wasted trip," he told her and her parents. "A bit confusing, yes, but I got to meet your folks, have a very nice holiday weekend, and got to know a lot more about you. I'm glad you feel the way about me that I do about you."

The Ambassador turned to Rosemary, smiling. "I don't really think we wasted the weekend, either."

"Nor do I, funnily enough. But I wondered why Alex looked so embarrassed," Rosemary replied. She turned to Alex, a sympathetic look on her face. "I'm really sorry. I must have sounded like a sex maniac."

"It's okay. It was embarrassing, but I thought that was just what you had your mind on," Alex reassured her. "I didn't want to be rude."

Rosemary smiled and shook her head. "These things happen."

"They do," Liam replied. "Alex, did you mean what you said earlier to me?"

Alex blinked for a moment, and realized what the man was talking about. "Every word, sir."

"Sir? Alex, don't get all formal, it's just Dad. Sheesh, you and Ra'das should get together sometime, start a club."

"Huh?" Alex asked. Rosemary laughed.

"I think it's more your choice in mates, dear."

"You're right, Mom," Marianne said, smiling a little.

* * *

The two of them were sitting in the backyard, not far from where Liam and Ashley had been playing the day before.

"Don't turn around, I think Mom and Dad are watching us," Marianne said, shifting position. "I think they're worried about messing us up."

"They didn't. I like being here. I like your parents, and your sister. Sure, I wasn't comfortable with all this talk of sex, but your parents meant well. I think I learned something important here this weekend."

"Oh? What's that?"

"That we liked each other. I don't know if you're as attracted to me as I am to you, or vice versa. You must have been, if you were asking your parents to answer questions. I've wanted to ask you out for a long time. I was just afraid to, since you were one of the doctors, and I'm just a part-time receptionist."

Marianne sighed. "Alex, do you know how hard it is to find a nice guy who's interested enough in the extraterrestrial that he won't run screaming at the prospect of a hybrid mate? I've always liked you. In fact, before this whole thing with Ra'das happened, I was thinking of asking you out. In fact, I was thrilled when we went to that movie - it just confirmed that you certainly were what I was looking for."

"I just wanted to be nice. I didn't know what kind of medical problem you had."

"I was pregnant," she said. Alex tried very hard to not let his jaw drop, and she looked at him and grinned. "It was a very short pregnancy, if that's what you were wondering. Kids with a certain percentage of Kimera genes tend to be short pregnancies and grow up fast. If you want, I'll take you to meet Michelle some time - she looks about twenty-five, sounds adult, and is absolutely amazing."

"Wow," Alex managed.

"Am I going too fast for you?" Marianne asked, obviously concerned.

"Not really," Alex replied. "I'm just so amazed at your life. There's so much about you that I didn't know."

"I'm good at hiding things," she said, sounding a bit sad. "There's so much I don't share. I'm sorry, Alex. Are you upset at me?"

"Well, I suppose that I probably would have liked to have known, but you had your reasons. Of course, now that I know, you won't get rid of me- at least not for the rest of the school year."

"Oh, yes, I forgot, your comparison of the Kimera and Taelon languages," Marianne said, obviously catching the humor in his statement. "What did Dad ask you, anyway? Inside, I mean."

"He asked if I'd watch out for you, and I said yes. You're my friend - and I love you. In a friendly sort of way."

Marianne laughed. "Thanks. For doing that, I mean. I'm sure Dad meant it in the sense that you'd be watching out for me as a mate, with Ra'das watching out for me on the other side."

"That's what I figured, too," Alex said. "But I will watch out for you. Whether we end up together or not."

Marianne reached out and hugged him. "Thanks," she said again.

"So, what do we do now?" Alex asked.

"Date?" Marianne suggested. "Go out to lunch somewhere, and have a long talk, without my parents peeking over our shoulders?"

"I guess I have some time. I'm not due to leave until tomorrow."

"Then neither am I. I can work out my problems when we get home."

"Will you stay long this time?"

Marianne frowned. "Only long enough to sort this out, and then you have to share me again with Ra'das, I'm afraid. You see, the first time I came home after the pregnancy, I was upset at myself and Ra'das. I went home without saying goodbye to Ra'das. So, now Michelle's worried that one of these days, I'm going to get mad at her or her father, and not come back. So, until Michelle realizes that when I go away it's because I have to and not because I'm upset at anyone, I'll be staying there."

"Oh, well," Alex said.

"Yes, oh, well. She's bright. She'll understand soon."

"I hope so."

"Don't worry, Alex, everything will turn out fine, you'll see. Now, how about some lunch. I'm *starving*."

"I don't blame you."

"So, shall we go inside and face my parents?" she asked, holding out her arm and smiling at him.

"Sounds good to me."


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