Rating: PG, maybe PG-13.
Author's notes: This takes place a few hours before "Shivering in the Night", and about a month after "Quietest Change" and "Leaving All I Know Behind". Those of you who have read "Shivering in the Night" already know the outcome of this piece.
Making the Right Choice
Vikki wasn't quite sure how to approach Ha'gel. She was fairly comfortable, or at least as comfortable as she could be in her new life, but some things about Ha'gel still made her hesitant. She was sure that what she was asking would require the whole family get into the act, but she wanted to make sure that Ha'gel was interested first.
And, given the problems they had after the first time they'd gotten together, it maybe wasn't the wisest idea to propose what she was proposing. But she was interested, and she knew that Graeme would approve of it. The whole problem was that what she was proposing was dangerous.
She still didn't know the Kimera's worldview on many things, although she had some idea from the ways Ha'gel behaved with Graeme and Liam. How was she to know how he was to react? Well, hopefully, it wouldn't cause much friction. And for the family's sanity, if he turned her down, it was best that Graeme never knew. She didn't need him to be screeching at his father in Kimera for an hour, as he'd done last time he'd disagreed with one of Ha'gel's decisions.
Ha'gel was sitting outside their 'borrowed' cabin, in his latest form. Vikki couldn't say that the long-dead person who had 'donated' Ha'gel's current form was overly handsome, but his looks were certainly bearable. She sat down beside him, watching Siobhan play a game with Liam, sitting silently for a few minutes and letting him enjoy the sight of his other mate and second child.
"Ha'gel? May I speak to you about something?" she asked the being next to her.
"Certainly. What do you wish to speak about?"
He straightened up at that. "Is Graeme causing you problems again?"
Ha'gel's earnest expression caused her to laugh. "No, Graeme is behaving, at least at the moment. And as far as I know, Liam is fine."
"Then, what is it about children that you wish to speak to me about?" Ha'gel asked, sounding confused.
She leaned back in the air. "I suppose this is selfish of me... but I want a daughter. I know a daughter isn't as ideal grandchildren-wise, but I just have this desire for a child of the same sex."
Ha'gel did something that she normally didn't expect of him he blinked. Slowly. He was like a human who had been rendered speechless.
"Ha'gel, did I say something wrong?" she asked. "I know it's dangerous, but...."
"We will have to discuss this with the family... but, I personally would be very pleased to have another child with you. If it would please you that the child's sex be female, then it would please me as well."
With that, Ha'gel got up, heading towards Siobhan and Liam.
* * *
As Vikki predicted, the whole family that got involved in the meeting to decide whether it was safe to have another child. While this was really a matter best resolved by the adults, Graeme and Liam would have felt left out if their three parents had made this decision about them. And, since this concerned their safety, Vikki wasn't inclined to argue.
"So, what's this meeting about?" Graeme asked. He'd apparently been doing some exploring, and just as apparently not very amused at being interrupted for a family meeting.
"Your mother," Ha'gel answered him, "has indicated interest in another child. Since the creation of a third child may have repercussions for the rest of the family, I thought it best that the matter be discussed before the child's conception occurs. I am particularly concerned about the security and emotional impacts upon this family. Siobhan?"
The other adult in the household sat silent for a moment. "Aye, there is the security of the family to think about, and the fact that it's easier to have to keep count of five rather than six on the run. I'm under no illusion that the Taelons have stopped lookin' for Ha'gel, and they're certainly not going to be pleased to know about Graeme and Liam. Vikki here has little protection against what the Taelons might do to her if they've found out what she's done, an' I'm quite sure the Taelons would be glad ta have me back under their control. Not ta mention what might happen if Doors' happy group discovered that they'd failed to kill Vikki."
"And having one of the Taelons' servants under their pay will make them certain that I am still alive. However, the Liberation is under the impression that Vikki and I are alone; they do not know about Graeme, nor that Siobhan and Liam were reunited with us."
"Isn't that a strong argument *for* another member of the family?" Graeme asked. "I mean, the Liberation is looking for two people, not five or six. They don't know what Dad looks like, and we've made sure Mom looks a bit different than what she did before."
"Aye, we know you've been looking forward to another sibling, Graeme," Siobhan responded. "It's just that we haveta make sure it's safe for her ta come into the world."
"It's safe," Graeme returned. "I mean, you've got your skrill, and the rest of us except Mom have shaqarava. And it's not like any of us would allow her to come to any harm."
"It is the harm of increasing numbers that we are concerned about, not our ability to function as a family, or our abilities to defend each other," Ha'gel replied.
"Okay, so it's a little bit dangerous," Graeme answered him. "But, I have confidence in this family to defend itself. Just like we've already done."
"We have heard Siobhan's and Graeme's views on this position. Do you have anything to add, Liam?" Ha'gel asked, turning to his youngest child.
Liam shook his head. "I think Mom and Graeme have made the arguments I would have made." The rest of the family looked as unsurprised as Vikki felt, for this was Liam's way in family meetings. Unless people were just not seeing eye to eye, he tended to stay out of it. She could only think of an exception or two to that. Liam had desires, it was just that one of them happened to be the desire for peace within his family. Someday, if he survived, Liam would make a splendid peace negotiator.
But that was far in the future, if it ever happened. Now was the time to be dealing with the fundamental issue of the family's safety. "Vikki, Siobhan, Graeme, any further comments? What is everybody's choice regarding this issue?"
Vikki shrugged. "I'd be happy if this happens, but I won't put the family in danger because of my desires."
"We know how to protect each other now," Graeme said. "I say it's a good time to expand the family. Here, while it's relatively safe for her, and teach her how to be prepared to run. That way, she might not feel uprooted, like I did. Plus, that way there'll be three of us, in case they catch Dad. Three of us to make sure the Kimera don't die out."
"I can't deny that I myself wouldn't mind bringing another child into this family, though I'd feel safer if it would happen after Ha'gel finds his way to seeming dead to the Taelons," Siobhan responded. "Graeme is right, it's safer here now, where nobody knows our exact numbers, than on the run."
"Any other objections?" Ha'gel asked. "I am continuing to work on divorcing myself from the Taelons' awareness, and I am contemplating the possibility of a plan to do so which may in fact be aided by an addition to the family. That, and I am always pleased to contemplate another addition to the family."
"I have no objections," Liam added.
"Very well, we are more or less in agreement. Vikki and I shall retreat to someplace safe this evening for the child's conception, and plan for the child's arrival in the morning," Ha'gel said. "And then proceed from there."
Graeme grinned, catching her hand briefly for a burst of emotion that was surely the equivalent of "Way to go, Mom!" before getting up. "I am going to make dinner. And Mom is going to sit there and relax and save her strength for tonight. That's an order, Mom."
The child got up and departed for the kitchen. "I think... that I had better assist him in his preparation," Ha'gel said, sounding a little alarmed. "I look forward to this evening, Vikki. I will rejoice in our joining."
With that, he was gone, just missing Vikki's groan.