2.2 – An idea

“Well, at least you seem happy to see me.”

Toshi had wandered off when they got back, asked for some time to just get his head right. He would have liked to go with him, to try and figure out what could have happened, but he decided to give Toshi his space for a while.

“So have you done what I told you, and taken good care off him while I have been off?”
“Mrow.”
“Yes, you were always a good kitty.”

“Shall we go see what he is up too, and see what we can figure out?”
“Mreaow”
“Yeah, I think he is making something to eat too.”

“Man did I miss you’re cooking.”
That bad?
“Oh trust me, field rations are not something to brag home about.”

Much like he had anticipated there was the unmistakable smell of freshly made food that greeted him when he entered the house. It also gave them the opportunity to ease into the conversation they both knew where going to come back up again.

“So, tell me just what has been going on with you?”
Can I ask you something first?
“Shoot.”
You really are an alien?”
“Yes.”
And you falling in love with me, means your wife is dead?
“Yes.”

Toshi stopped, he noticed the change on his friends face, it was somewhat the same look he had back then.

“Probably my kids too.”
Kids?
“Yeah, I had a son and a daughter, I can’t imagine them being alive if she is dead.”

They finished eating in silence, it was quite a lot to take in. Derek offering to do the washing up, letting Toshi think for a while before they both knew they had to keep going on this conversation.

So.. any ideas why my emotions has been crazy since that kiss?
“At first no, but the more I think about it, the more I have at least a suggestion.”
And?
“John mentioned my kind mate for life?”
Yeah, he did… but?”
“Well, maybe it affects a human differently, what if instead of the mate for life, you feel what I feel.”
But wouldn’t I feel what you feel now then?
“Perhaps it’s just the strongest emotions?”

But why would it stay with me, it doesn’t make any sense.
“I wish I could answer that, but I can’t.”
You have been with others since.. well coming here?
“Yeah, but never had any feelings for them.”

“I can’t keep being like this, it’s messing with everything.”

Derek had noticed the tears reappearing, he even noticed his body start to tremble. He really didn’t have the slightest clue that anything like this could happen, and now he had to figure out a way to undo what he had done.

“I have an idea, if you will let me?”
Anything.”

Much like the first time, he was caught off guard by the kiss, and although it almost made his legs weak like jelly, there was no sadness and grief like last time. It was the strangest sensation though, it was like a mountain was removed from his shoulders, and that dark cloud in his head finally cleared.

“So?”
I think.. your hunch might have been right.”
“That’s good.. odd, but good.”

Yeah, thank you for taking care of me Ollie.

It was an odd feeling to be able to relax, with Derek taking a nap on the couch, he did things he hadn’t done in half a year. Like sit down and just read a book, or watch the clouds on the sky fly by.

Did you notice them too?
“Mrow.”
I can imagine you did.”

“You did a lot of research in a week.”
Yeah, had to keep busy.
“Sorry.”

But yeah, according to legend, the jungle changes, and is never quite the same. Several others have reported it changing every time they come here, which I do find hard to believe.
“It does sound odd, but there are a lot of sources saying the same thing.”
Yeah, there are even official maps that shows what seem to be several different jungles.

They went through all the info they had, slowly planning their first venture into the jungle the next day. There was still a lot of things Toshi wanted to ask Derek about, but he also knew most of those things he was probably classified.

Later that night.

“I don’t quite remember you sleeping this much..”

He watched Derek who had fallen asleep while they were talking. In the short time he had been in the house, he had taken two naps, and had been sound asleep minutes after going to bed.

I wonder if these have anything to do with it, or if you can even tell me what happened.

There was so many scars on his body, it was a little scary to see them. Something told him they were part of the complications John had told him about.

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2.1 – 6 months later

He had been in Selvadorada almost a week now, preparing for this new mission he had been sent on. He had been on quite a few missions after their trip to Strangerville, but this was the first where they had said his co-traveler would meet him there. He had decided to get there early, to make sure they were well prepared. Nothing beat hearing the legends from those that lived there after all.

“Still waiting?”
Yeah, they should be here sometime today.
“They?”
Yeah, they didn’t tell me who.”
“That’s a bit odd isn’t it?”
“Nah, military can be like that.”

He would have liked to know who it was he was working with, mostly he would like it to be Derek, it had been more than a couple of months since they last met. He had asked John a couple of times, but the answer was always the same. Complications on their mission, leading it to take more time.

“The good part of still waiting is, I can drink more of these.”
“Good point.”

He moved from the bar over to one of the tables, trying to just relax, enjoy the fact that he was somewhere as beautiful as Selvadorada, but like always, the instant he had a minute to spare, there was that feeling.

“What the hell did you do to me..”

He muttered the words under his breath, trying to fight back the tears that were already trying to push their way through. The only thing he knew helped, was to do something, so he would go back to asking people what they knew off the jungle.

As much as he tried though, that horrible feeling didn’t stop. It was the one he had felt that day when Derek kissed him, and he couldn’t explain it but it seemed to be stuck innside him somehow.

Fuck you Derek, what the hell did you do.”

“Hmh, not quite the welcome I was hoping for.”

What on earth did you do to me?”
“Do to you.. Eh.. I kissed you?”

At first Derek thought his friend was joking, but as he noticed the tears, he realized that something else must have happened.

You did something.”
“Honestly.. I just kissed you.”

No, you did something, I have been completely ruined since that kiss, my feelings are all over the place and I can’t sleep at night.”
“I don’t know what to say.. I haven’t…”

Something happened after that, it’s like I feel whatever you felt, or feel, I don’t know. I can’t sleep, I can’t relax, I can’t even fucking read without starting to cry.
“I..”

It hurt to see him like this. He had no idea any of this had been going on while he was away, and it made him wonder if he had talked to John about it. He knew he had asked about the mission, but not if he had mentioned this.

“Come on, show me where we are staying, and we’ll figure it out, together.”

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1:48 – The little ones

Of course they had heard the news a few days later, which meant that Liam sat down with both of them to explain. Specially those things that he was doing to make sure they were safe. She still couldn’t help but be a bit scared, she really wished she wasn’t, but in the back of her head, it was that little voice that kept telling her it could happen to them.

“Why can’t I be more like Hank.. he seems to handle this so much better.”

Madison had found exercise helped her deal with it, specially boxing, there was something quite therapeutic about it. Being allowed to hit something took some of the stress and pressure off. She missed being at work, but they had told her they did not want to take the risk at the moment, so all films had been halted.

“You want to hit it too Kaya?”

“Mom?”

“Dad?”

She didn’t really want to wake them, even if she knew her father didn’t sleep, he had explained he could look like it whenever he ran his self test and repair programs. She really didn’t want to wake them, but this was the fourth time she had woken form the same nightmare that night, and she was to afraid to go back to sleep.

“Sweety, whats wrong?”
“I had a bad dream, over and over….”

Her voice broke between each word she tried to say

“It’s okay baby girl, it was just a dream.”
“They killed you, they took mom, and we were all alone!”

He looked at Madison who was also awake now, not quite sure what to tell her. He had been honest about it all, which was probably the reason why she had the nightmares.

“I’m sorry baby girl, but even if that was to happen, you would never be alone, remember?”

“Ben’s family would take you in, or Nagisa and Itsuki would give you a home..”

He had a feeling his words weren’t much of a comfort for her, but they were the truth.

“And I promise baby girl, I will do all I can to never let that happen, okay?”
“Okay..”
“Now come on, you try and get some sleep, I won’t let you go deal?”

He didn’t get much of an answer, but at least the sobbing slowly stopped after a little while.

“You should get some sleep to, I’ll stay awake with her.”
“Maybe I should check on Hank first?”
“Sure.”

She walked to the quiet house, only the sound of her feet and Kaya’s paws through the house. Opening the door the the twins room she saw Hank sleeping in his bed. He seemed so calm about all this, and she had to wonder if he really was.

She waked by Uno on the way back to their bedroom, stopping for a minute or two, gently scratching him behind the ear.

“I wonder how much you two understand of all this.”
“Mrow.”
“You look after Hank for the night, okay? You and Kaya?”

Kaya she had told to stay in the room before she went. She was more surprised to see Uno seemingly listen to her plea as well.

“Is she asleep?”
“I think so.”
“Good.”

“Mom told me you used to watch the stars together when she was little, is that right?”
“Yeah, she wanted to know everything about them, and then more.”
“I would like to know that too.”
“Well, it would take some time, but I’d say we would be able too.”

He looked over at Hank, wondering just what went on innside his head. Unlike Luna who was easy to read, Hank was more the quiet inward type.

“What?”
“Well do you see that one, quite bright one, that has a star on each side?”
“Yeah.”
“That’s Orions belt.. but can you spot the whole constellation?”

They spent hours that night just talking stars, much like he and Madison had done so many years ago.

“Can I ask you one thing son?”
“Sure?”
“Are you okay, I mean, with everything that’s happening?”

“I guess I am.. I mean, I don’t want anything bad to happen, but if I worry about everything that could happen.. then I would never do anything else.”
“That is a good way of thinking.”
“I thought so, I’d say I have it from you, if well.. that wasn’t impossible.”
“Why would that be impossible, you could have picked it up from me?”
“True, why didn’t I think off that?”
“Because I still have a few years of life on you, so you can’t be smarter than me already.”

“Are you okay dad?”
“Yeah.”
“Are you worried?”
“A little.. could you do me a huge favor you think?”
“Sure.”
“Look after your sister a little extra? She isn’t quite handling this as well as you.”
“Sure dad, I’ll take care of her, and mom.”
“Thanks.”

He was still amazed at how well Hank handled it all, he would still keep an eye on him of course, but for now it was just nice to spend some time with him.

“So, did you talk with him?”
“Yeah, he is.. oddly fine with it. Something about no point in worrying about things he could do nothing with.”
“Smart kid.”
“Yeah, that’s what I said.”

“How about you?”
“I wish I had my sons way of thinking.”
“I think anyone would.”
“I’m scared Liam, I am scared of loosing everything, what we have, our friends their family and I think I could go on and on.”

As much as he wished he could change everything back to the way it had been, he knew that there was no way to. The only thing he could to, was make sure that he did what he was made to do. Figure it out, and stop it once and for all.

“Anything you want me to do?”
“Anything?”
“Well, within the limits of what is possible.”
“Could you stay here today? As in not go to work.. I know it is a lot to ask, but it would just feel good to have a full day together.”
“Sure, I’ll tell Carl to take a family day too.”

“I have an idea”
“You do?”

He smiled and pulled her closer.

“Yeah, how about a trip, and we can show them were you grow up, just a day out, away from it all?”
“Ooooh yes! I want to see if it is as I remember.”

“Did I mentioned I love you?”
“On occasion.”
“Well, I am officially mentioning it again then.”

She chuckled, he had such a weird sense of humor sometimes.

“You know, you can just shut up and kiss me.”

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1:47 – Life with knowledge

It had been a rough month for them and their friends. With Liam telling them everything, and the idea of the risk slowly settling into all their minds, she had many times wondered if it had been better if she had never asked. They had improved the security system in both houses, and Ben always walked to Nagisa’s school with Hank and Luna, and as often as possible, either Nagisa or Itsuki would meet them and walk with them.

“Sometimes I wish I was you Kaya.. carefree.”

Not that she knew how Kaya really felt about it all, but she did seem to follow the kids around as much as she possibly could. Uno was perhaps the one least affected, he seemed to roam around like he always did, but she had noticed him sleeping in Hanks bed more often. Perhaps even he had an idea that they were all worried.

“Did you get one too?”
“Yeah..”
“You want dad to help?”
“Hopefully, if he gets home in time.”
“He usually is.. I’ll ask mom if she wants to help me.”

“I see I made it home just in time.”
“Mom said you did this with her too, is that true?”
“Yep, and you can ask Nagisa just how many times she has done it, before she started handing them out.”

Madison just smiled, she remembered them doing many of these when she was little. She was also happy to see that the bond between him and the kids was slowly on the mend.

“Hah, we finished first.”
“Well you had mom from the start, and we almost caught up.”

As much as she wanted to say it wasn’t a competition, she was kinda happy that they were the first to finish. She needed that time bonus to even stand the slightest chance in this competition.

“So, do you two mind if I borrow your mom for a walk?”
“No, I’m going to the dog-park with Ben like I told you yesterday.”
“And I am going to finish my book.”
“You don’t want to come with us Hank?”
“Nope, I prefer the quiet of home.”

Luna shrugged her shoulders, she always invited him when she was going somewhere, but Hank always answered the same thing, and stayed home with his books.

They had walked along the beach in silence, until he finally motioned for them to sit down. She noticed what they could see from where they were sitting.

“What?”
“I didn’t want to tell the kids before telling you, another incident happened today…”
“Oh…”

She could feel the now fairly familiar shudder go down her spine.

“Anyone we know?”
“No, they were fairly new in Del Sol, which is unexpected.”

“I know it’s probably not news you wanted to hear, but I figured it was best to tell you, before it comes in the news.”
“It hasn’t been in the news before, why now?”
“Unlike before, we were not the first on the scene, reporters were.”
“Oh.”

“And that means?”
“It means, that we get a lot more pressure to find out what is going on, and well, we also need to explain why we haven’t told anyone.”
“And that means you need to work more?”
“They would like me too, I told them no, but that I would work more at night from home, if thats okay?”
“Of course it is.. but, should we tell them, or is this maybe something they don’t need to know?”

He wasn’t quite sure how to answer her, in a way he wanted to be honest with them, but on the other side, he didn’t really want them to worry more than they already did.

“How about we talk about it if they ask?”
“Sounds good.”

He pulled her up so they could walk back home, but as he started to walk she stopped him.

“I’m sorry for what I said back then.”
“You were right to be angry.”
“Yes, but not with what I called you.”
“You mean an android?”
“Yes.”

“I am an android you know.”
“Doesn’t make it any better.”
“Neither does hanging on to things said in the past. Now let’s head home, before someone starts to worry.”

—– At North’s place —

“You did well.”
“No, what did to them was awful.”
“It’s just humans, why are you being difficult again.”

“Just humans, you realize this makes you worse then them right. What you are doing is wrong in every single way it can be wrong.”

“I don’t have time for this, now you listen to…”

“No, you listen. I am done with this, and anything else you want to do.”
“No you are not.”

“So I need to remind you North, was I was originally made to do?”

She could feel how he was putting just enough pressure on certain points in her neck to make the metal start to bend. She had almost forgotten what Luca was originally design for, but she managed to keep her head calm despite being surprised.

“And do I need to remind you what happens if you do this?”

“I will blow up the entire room..”
“You wouldn’t?”
“Oh I would, every trace so nothing can be tracked back to me.”

As she felt ground under her feet she knew she had won for now. She knew there would be a limit, but by then, she aimed not to need his help.

“That’s what I thought. Now, like I said, we need four more, then were once again good.”
“One day North, this will all come back to haunt you.”

She looked at him as he got back to his feet and walked away. They were so close now to perfecting everything, maybe just a few more months and they could deliver their first batch of children.

“Dam I hate that woman.. come on you guys, pick up on the clues I leave…”

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1:46 – The truth of the matter

With both kids off visiting Itsuki and Nagisa for the day, she had managed to make him promise that they would be home, and talk properly about everything.

“You realize you missed their birthday?”
“Yes..”

She hated the way this made her feel, part of her wanted to hug him and try and just make things better, but the side of her that wanted to protect what they had, and their kids knew this time, a hug just wouldn’t help them.

“I need to know what you work so hard for.. Luna thinks you hate her, Hank.. well he is Hank, he just says you have to work.”
“Wait.. what?”
“Yeah, since you are never home, and she doesn’t see you, she thinks you hate her, and her brother. Since.. their not your’s.”

He just looked at her dumbfounded. He knew he had worked a lot, but that it had this affect on them all he hadn’t imagined.

“Do you think so too.. that I am spending all this time at work, because their “not mine?”
“I don’t know what to think, whenever I ask you, it’s just work, and about keeping us safe, but is it?”
“Of course it is.. why would I lie?”
“Because they are not your’s are they.. “

She noticed the led light on the side of his head flicker, before it went back to blue.

“I see them as mine, why wouldn’t I see them as mine?”
“I was never your’s.”
“That is completely different, and you know it.”
“Is it? How is it different? You don’t have DNA, you are an android! None of you is in them….”

She stopped, as the words left her mouth it hit her what she had just yelled at him. For the first time since she was little, she had called him an android, and the intense yellow to red flicker of his led light told her just how much that had hurt for him to hear.

“I’m sorry.. that was..”
“It’s true, they don’t have any of me in them biologically, but I do see them as mine..”
“Then be with them, make them see it, make me see it.”
“I want to.. I wish I could.”
“Then tell me why you can’t and not the old answer of work, the real truth.”
“I don’t want you to have to handle the same worry..”
“I already do, by not knowing, but only having to guess.”

He sighed, he didn’t want to tell her all of it, he really didn’t want her to have to share his worry, to scare her with something that might not ever happen to them, but if it was what he had to do.

“The short version.. androids were killed, their human friends missing never to be heard from again. Even children went missing with if they were human.”
“And.. ?”
“They all have certain things in common. The humans that are missing have or have had children, their androids were destroyed completely, beyond any repair.”

It suddenly dawned on her why he had been so adamant for them to move, and also, why he worked so hard all the time. They fit the description of these families down to a tee.. even more so after her having children.”
“Another thing is that all the humans that went missing was from Del Sol, they were also famous in one way or the other.”
“So.. in short, they were us?”
“Yes.”

She could hear her own heartbeat, and how her palms went all cold and sweaty.

“You should have told me Liam.”
“I wanted to.. but I didn’t want to scare you.”
“Did Carl tell Marjorie?”
“Yesterday..”

They sat there in silence for a bit, neither quite sure what to say, or how to take the next step from here. Madison trying to deal with the idea that they were all in danger, and perhaps if she hadn’t pushed it, she would have been better off.

“Has it happened recently?
“No.. and that worries me even more.”
“It does?”
“Yes, it makes them harder to find, and with that puts you and everyone else at a bigger risk.”
“I…”

She noticed the telltale signs of a message coming in on his system, it was like a very specific eye twitch he did when they happened.


“I know this is the last words you want to hear.. but I have to go into work now. We had another incident. I promise I won’t be home late okay?”
“Okay.”

As he walked off, it was like a chill swept over her even though it was a warm autumn day, and a part of her wanted to run and grab him and beg to go with him. Instead she just sat there, her mind repeating all the things he had just told her, trying not to let panic overtake her completely.

“Heeey, did you miss us that much?”
“Woof!!”
“Okay, so how about a trip to the dog-park?”
“WOOF!”

Madison had called them a little after Liam had left for work, telling them they could come home whenever they wanted too.

“I wonder what my mom and dad talked about though.. I guess you know?”
“Woof.”
“It was important enough for them to send us away.. and talk to Nagisa for a very long time after telling us we could come home.. “

She shook her head, leaving a note that the two were going to the dog-park to practice Kaya’s agility training.

“Okay, let’s try this again.”
“Woof!”

She had found some books in the library about how to try and run these courses, so they were learning as they were going. And although she tried her best to focus, her mind went back to what she imagined had transpired earlier that day.

“Kaya, do you think they will break up, all because of me and Hank?”

Kaya just tilted her head. She didn’t quite understand what she was saying, but as a dog, he easily understood that she was sad.

“Nah, they won’t, trust me.”

She spun around from the voice, seeing Ben stand there behind her with a smile.

“Why are you here?”
“Your dad asked me to see if you were okay.”
“He did?”
“Yup, both he and my dad came home early today.”

“Why would he send you though?”
“I think, he knows we get along well, and besides, I am sure he wanted some time to talk with your brother.”
“Ah.. “
“So..?”
“I dunno.. I still think he hates me.”
“Why would you think that?”
“Because he is never home, and mom always told me stories of how it was when she was my age..”
“Can I make a wierd suggestion?”
“Yeah?”
“Talk to him about it, give him the chance too explain.. I think after today, he will.”

“I’m not quite ready to head home yet.”
“That’s fine with me little lady, my parents are having yet another talk too, I’d rather just stay here with you for now.”

She smiled as they watched the stars together. She had always liked Ben, from when she was very little, but now, she had to admit, she did a little more than just like him. Not that she would tell him that of course, they were just friends.

“Heh, come on Kaya, I think it’s time we take your owner home, don’t you?”
“Woof!”
“I knew you would agree.”

With a sleeping Luna in his arms and Kaya following beside him, he left the dog-park. He wasn’t exactly looking forwards to going home himself, but it would just be what it was.

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1.45 – Distance

She watched the windows to see if she could see him coming home. She knew they would have to have that talk she had dreaded for a while, but she had to know what it was. It had been years of this now, at first she thought it was just the one case, but she had gotten the idea that it was something more.

She had asked him once, but he had just told her that it was so much to do at work and that he was sorry it kept him away.

It had started increasing as soon as they were toddlers, but when he was home, he was the same guy that had once taken care off her. It was just, he was not home much. It left her with the responsibility of both the little ones, and she had to admit, there were a lot of times where she struggled much more than she would like to admit.

She hated loosing her temper with them, but when one was making a mess, the other screaming at her for something else, and a dog that would really like a walk become an everyday thing she was simply at her wits end.

“Hey there.. “
“Momma angry.”
“Well, what did you do to make mom angry?”
“Nothing.. it was Hank!”
“And you didn’t help?”
“No?”

“Good, you need to help mommy you know.”
“I am!”

He knew the story was probably different, and as much as he hated being away from them so much, he had to. He had to make sure the mistakes of his past didn’t happen again.

“Now, I’ll go talk to Hank, okay?”
“Okay daddy.”

“I hear rumors you are making mommy mad?”
“I made a mess?”
“Could you try and not to?”
“Why?”
“She has enough to do..”
“You should help.”

He looked at Hank who was staring at him with an expression he wasn’t quite sure how to interpret. Did they notice his absence this much? There was a part of him that wanted to just be there with them, but a much more powerful part forced him to keep them safe, and the only way he could do that, was to be at work, and figure out what was happening.

“I just need you to be home more.”
“I’ll try.”
“Liam.. is there something wrong?”
“Just work… I want you to be safe.”
“Please tell me what you worry so much about.”
“I can’t.. I’m sorry.”

“I hate being away from you, I hope it’s all over soon.”

She hoped so too, but instead, it seemed to just be more and more work he had to do. It was still hard to be angry with him, because when he was home, he was still a good father. Still in the back of her mind, this gnawing worry that he stayed away from them wasn’t work, but because they weren’t his started win over the “Just work” excuse. Could that really be the issue?

It was a rare weekend where he had been home almost all weekend long. He worked from home when they were sleeping, for the shortest while it felt like they were the family she wanted them to be.

“Daddy stay home?”

She noticed the look Liam gave her when Luna made her request, but he gently told her the same as he usually told her. He wanted to be home more, but he had to be at work to make sure nothing bad would happen. She just wanted him to tell her what this bad thing was, and the more times he didn’t tell her, the more she felt it was her and the kids.

She had enough though when he missed out on the twins birthday celebration. Leaving her to once again explain him not being there, and trying her best to make them understand why he wasn’t there. It was also the last straw for her, he was going to answer her what this was all about.

“See, Uno wants to celebrate with you.”
“Nah, Uno want’s cake mom.”

She chuckled seeing how Uno eyed the cake he was sitting next too. Sure, he wasn’t supposed to be up there, but it was just one of the things she didn’t really want to bother with lecturing him for. There was just to many cute moments to it being important enough.

How their talk would go, she really couldn’t say. She knew she had to know what this was all about, and she had to know if her biggest worry was true. Did he not feel like they were his? She still remembered his reaction to her wanting children in the first place.

“You are going to tell me, even if it means we fight..”

Ben had grown into a child, and was with his mother often visiting their house. Much like Liam, Carl also worked much more than Marjorie would like him too. Although it should have helped with Madison’s own worries to hear she wasn’t the only one, she instead saw the similarities between them. On the brighter side of things, Luna had become Ben’s biggest fan instantly, and from what they could see, he didn’t seem to mind his young friend.

“Play with me?”
“Okay.”

She had her own way with Ben, she somehow could drag him out of worrying about his own dad being away. Mostly by being silly and funny, but also because she missed her own dad.

Marjorie just watched the two from the window. Hank sitting in the sofa next to her and reading.

“Why are you not out there with them?”
“I like this book more.”
“Hmh.. want me to read it with you?”
“Okay!”

He had the type of smile that could make your heart melt, and it made her wonder if maybe she wanted just one more little one herself. But first, she needed to have the same talk with her husband, that she knew Madison was planning to have with hers.

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1:44 – The four of us

Pregnancy still ment a lot of sleep, comfy clothing, a very worried husband, and hours upon hours of boredom. She was still sick almost every day, but it was manageable, and most of the headaches were gone. She had to admit that she was looking forwards to having a bit more of her life back.

Marjorie was over whenever Carl was at work. Letting Liam head there, and well, let the two have their girl time. Although Ben could be a handful to have running around the house, she didn’t really mind. Was good training for the day when she had her own too running around

“I am sorta happy I didn’t have to go through all you have been through.”
“Well.. you may not have. Nagisa keeps saying every pregnancy is different.”
“Hmh, never thought of that.. even if it is the same person?”
“That’s what she said, no pregnancy is like the other.”

As they got closer and closer to her due date, she felt like she almost did nothing but sleep. For every hour she was awake it felt like she was asleep for three.

“I’d like my body and life back now.. “

She put a hand on her stomach, wondering if they could actually hear here, and if they had a say in the whole sleep thing. And if they did have a say in it, could she talk them into letting her have some more hours awake a day?

“You two are driving me up a wall.. you really are.”

It was even getting harder to play the piano now, her belly had become so big that it was almost in the way of her playing. It was really starting to get to her. She almost needed help getting down the stairs, getting up from sitting down, and just walking around the house felt like a workout.

“I hope you like music.. if not.. I guess I have tortured you as much as you have tortured me. Is that it perhaps?”

She was happy he still stayed home with her most of the time. She did notice he worked a lot of the time, but it was just good to have him there, he was also quite good at keeping her mind off everything when she needed it the most.

“So, thought about names?
“Not really.. have you?”
“Yeah.. but I kinda wanted your opinion about them.”
“Okay?”

She had given names some thought, there was a name that came to mind from one of the children’s book he had read to her, and the other, well, that became kinda obvious on it’s own really.

“Well.. for a girl, I was thinking Luna, and for a boy.. well, Hank felt like a natural choice.”

She looked at him to measure whatever reaction he would give her, specially keeping an eye on that led light, just in case.

“Luna.. I remember those books.”
“I do too, and I loved the name when I was little, and I still do.”
“But what if there are two boys in there, or two girls?”
“I guess I need to think some more, unless you have some ideas?”

With her stomach being so big, she went back to playing the violin more. It was simply easier than trying to get her arms around her stomach and play the piano. If Jeremiah was right though, it should be time soon, something she had to admit made her nervous.

“So, today is the day huh?”
“Yeah, he said he wanted me to have it at the hospital.”
“Yeah, with how your pregnancy has been, I would say that is the right solution.”
“Did you do the same?”
“No.. I had home birth, it was fine, but I think if my pregnancy had been like yours then I think I would have chosen the hospital.”
“You mean Itsuki would have carried you there?”
“Most likely”

With Nagisa there, Liam had taken a short trip to work, there had been some new development in their case so he needed to be there with the others. He had promised to meet her at the hospital, and only said yes to going after her and Nagisa had almost forced him to accept the fourth time they called him.

“Okay.. that’s the plants taken care off, you and Uno have enough food.. I guess it’s time to go.”

She almost felt bad for leaving them at home, but she also knew that they had no reason to be with her at the hospital. She took a deep breath, and walked over to Nagisa and the waiting taxi. She was nervous, but also exited and happy on top of a little scared.

Compared to the pregnancy, the birth itself went well and compared to the horror stories she had read and heard about fairly easy. With Jeremiah’s help, she and her two babies were home just a few days later.

“And now.. we are four..”
“WOOF!”
“Sorry.. I mean six.”

She chuckled. She had made sure to let both Uno and Kaya say hello to the two little ones. Kaya immediately taking on the guardian role of her two new humans; Luna and Hank. Uno on the other hand just stayed close, but without the intens guarding that Kaya showed off.

“How does it feel to do this again?”
“Well, at least this time I know what I am doing, mostly.”
“Good, then you can teach me!”

He nodded, he would of course help her with what he had once learned. He never had two of them on the same time though, so that was a bit of a new challenge.

“I can promise you one thing though.”
“What?”

She looked over at him feeding Luna, Kaya close by just watching them, and Uno lying on the bed keeping an eye on them all.

“They grow up much faster than you could imagine.”

She couldn’t help but chuckle at the comment, knowing very well that she was a very long lived child, and these did not have that genetic tweak, at least not until they could decide that for themselves.

“You realize, these two will grow up even faster?”
“Yes, and it is a spooky thought.. how will I get to read them all of Madison and Rags’s adventures?”
“You are going to read them that?”
“Of course, why would I not?”

She shook her head and smiled. In a way she found it cute that he wanted to read them those books, on the other hand, how long would it be before they both guessed that the stories were their mothers?

“Carl said you should head in to work, so I came to keep them all company, and Ben wanted to see the babies.”
“Ah, sure.”
“How is it to be a dad again.”
“Feels more like a dad this time.. last time, it was more caretaker.”

She smiled, she knew their history well, some from what he had told her, but mostly from her many and long talks with Madison.

“I’ll stay here until you come home, so take your time, I know you have a lot of work to catch up on.”
“Thanks.”
“Besides, it means I get to cuddle little babies again, it’s really the main reason.”

Liam chuckled, he knew how much Marjorie loved babies, and that it gave him some extra time at work, he was more than happy about. although he could work a lot from home, it lacked the interaction between them, something that often let you see things differently.

“I’ll be home as soon as I can.”

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1:43 – Taking care of you

“Was I bad at this when I was little?”
“Erhm.. yes..”
“How bad?”
“I think rags would try to hide outside whenever he saw you pick that thing up.”
“Aww, poor Rags.”
“When you got better, he did like Kaya and listened instead.”

They had gotten confirmation from Jeremiah that she was indeed pregnant, and due to it being pretty hard on her, he had told her to take it very easy for the time being. It might be better after a while, but it might also not. The Violin quickly became her go too thing to do, because it mostly consisted in standing or sitting depending on how she felt.

“Aww come on… “

“Really not how I imagined it..”

Although she tried her best not to complain, the constant nausea and the pain was getting to her. Most all day long she felt like throwing up, and even her favorite food wasn’t exactly tempting.

“Hey, Liam asked me to come over, as he had to go to work, just for a few hours. How are you feeling?”
“Meh…”
“So I see, come on though, let’s go for a slow walk, it might help.”
“You think so?”
“I hope so.”

“Now come on, let me help you up.”
“Was it like this for you?”
“No.. I think I was lucky”

She let Nagisa pretty much pull her to her feet. It was easy to forget just how strong she was. And she hoped she was right, that maybe a small walk would make her feel just a little better.

“So how was it for you?”
“Well.. I did have morning sickness, but it was just for the very first weeks.”
“Oh I hope it stops for me too then.”

The walk did help her a little. Or perhaps it was the company and the talking. Nagisa told her about things she could expect while pregnant, and of course birth. It worried her a little to hear about it all, but for now, all she really wanted was to not feel sick all the time.

Sadly the good feeling didn’t last all that long, she had started having headaches over just the last week, and they were even worse than just feeling sick.

“Not again..”

She picked up the phone, sending a message before lying down on the bed. It was a message she had agreed to just make and be able to send anytime she needed Liam to come home. He wasn’t gone very often, but the few times he was, he would always return home if she texted him.

“I don’t know if I can do this Liam..”

He wasn’t sure how to answer her, he had just spent the last hour holding her hair away from her face while she swapped between throwing up and crying from the pain. It was perhaps the worst feeling he had ever had, there was just nothing he could do, but try and comfort her and be there with her. He had of course called Jeremiah, who had promised to come by again the next day.

“Come on, lets get you a shower, and then some sleep.”

It had been twenty minutes since last time she threw up now, and the headache seemed to have lessened. So he carried her into the shower as there was no way he was going to let her try and stand on her own.

“I’m just going to get something Jeremiah said you could try, just rest.”

She really did wish she could rest, but her stomach felt sore, as if no matter how she was lying or sitting it hurt.

“Here.. try this, just a little at the time.”
“That’s his suggestion?”
“Yeah.. Cola to settle the stomach, and salty chips to help keep it down. He said to just try Cola first.”

She had a hard time believing that would do anything, but she did give it a try.

Magically it stayed down, and after a while she finally fell asleep. At first he just watched her, to make sure that she was still fine. After some hours of her sleeping, he started up his own diagnostic program. Something told him, there was still a long way to go with this pregnancy.

“I know you don’t sleep.. but it certainly looks like it.”

She did feel better after a full nights sleep, and she now knew that this cola and chips combo would probably work for the worst of the days.

“And here I am, putting you through all of this.. I guess a test tube was easier.”
“It was.”
“Ey, you were supposed to be “asleep””.

He just smiled at her and pulled her closer.

“Don’t tell anyone were playing, okay. I am not supposed too.”

Kaya didn’t seem to mind their small breach in the rules. Her pregnancy had started to show, but it was still no easy pregnancy. She slept a lot and she was still sick most of the time but she managed.


She missed work, and she missed what life was before this. But she knew it was temporary and hoped that it would be worth it in the end. She couldn’t quite help but wonder sometimes though.

“Almost so I think I can feel someone kicking.”

She had told Jeremiah she didn’t want to know what they were having. She for some reason wanted it to be a surprise, Liam simply shrugging his shoulders when she asked if he had some kinda preference. What they did know by now, was that there was two of them, which was a surprise to both.

“I see I am not needed.”

He smiled, leaving the trio to their rest, walking over to the computer instead. With him barely being at work, he spent the time when she was sleeping going over what the others had found. There hadn’t been any more missing people or androids, but the ones that had already gone missing were still missing.

“I need to figure this out.. for all of us.”

“There has to be something were missing.. there just has to be.”

They had been working so hard on this for so long, without any break through, or any real idea of who was behind it all. Had it been just females taken it would have been one thing, but there was both male and females that had been taken.

It felt like they were so close to something, yet at the same time, so far. Like if you had one missing piece of a puzzle but without it, the picture made no sense.

“You have to be in here somewhere..”

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1:42 – No one said it would be easy

As much as she had hoped for a positive result early it soon became obvious that it wouldn’t be that easy. She tried not to get all to sad about it, but with every doctors visit where the answer was negative, she found herself slowly loosing hope.

“Another no?”
“Sadly yes..”
“How is she handling it?
“As good as can be expected.. she gets disappointed, as much as she tries to hide it.”
“Maybe take a day home with her then, I’ll call you if I find anything new, and Fred said he would be happy to help.”
“Sounds good.”

He wasn’t the one to not head to work, but he had noticed that she had slowly pulled herself a bit away from him, which was normally what he did when he had a lot on his mind.

“Sleeping?”

As he got no answer, he stood there watching her wondering if he should wake her, or if maybe she just needed some rest.

“Ah, and here I though I could sneak in without you noticing.”
“Heh you thought that did you?”
“Not really, but I didn’t want you to sleep in the hot tub, at least not all alone.”

He put her arm around her, letting her lean her head on his shoulder. For a while they just sat there quietly together.

“What if I can’t get pregnant?”
“Well, the doctor said you should be able too.. but if not, then we could try and adopt from that new program you told me about?”
“Oh yeah.. I can’t believe I forgot about that.”

She seemed to lighten up a bit from the idea, and he could feel how she seemed to be more relaxed.

“Shouldn’t you be at work?”
“I took a day off, I felt like just being here with you.”
“Is… is that really okay?”
“Yeh, Carl is holding the fort with Fred.”
“Okay:”

“So what would you like to do today?”
“Oh I have a fairly good idea.. you’ll just have to say if you agree.”

They spent the day doing a bit of everything, they even tested the basketball court they had, but had never really gotten around to try. A long walk on the beach with Kaya and they ended the evening with watching a series they both agreed seemed interesting.

“I want more days like these.”
“I think I do too.”

“I guess you are not really needed anymore, but I still like tending you guys.”

He chuckled, he had been more home the last weeks, and it seemed it had a good effect on his plants, as well as Madison. It was an odd feeling it gave him, it felt good to see her so relaxed, but it also felt bad, because it left more of the work to Carl and the others at the station. But at least for the time being he was simply needed at home.

Madison had re-found her love for the Violin as well. He had told her she used to love it when she was little, and now, she had to admit she did remember why. She could spend hours just playing it, but today she found herself unfocused and feeling off.

“Meh.. maybe painting..”

She had a half finished painting, so it wouldn’t take her that long to finish it, but once again, that general feeling of not being well hit her. Was she getting sick? She hadn’t been sick since she was a teenager, so it would be a little odd.

“Meh… I guess no painting either.”

The smell of the paint just seemed to make her more sick than she already was, so in the end, she decided to just go and lie down for a while. Maybe whatever it was would go away with some rest, specially since Liam had asked if it was okay to head into work to check some stuff earlier.

He watched her a bit after he came home, it wasn’t often that he came home to her sleeping. But since she looked so peaceful he decided to let her be just a little bit longer.

“Hey is everything okay?”

He noticed a change in her face that almost instantly told him something was off. Putting his hand on her forehead to see if maybe she was running a fever.

“I just feel so awful…”
“You don’t have a fever though.”
“Maybe I am just tired?”

“Maybe, I could ask Jeremiah to come over, to check if you want? I mean, just in case?”
“I guess so.”

Her saying yes to having a doctor over was more than enough to push him over to the side of proper worry. Just as he was about to sit back up and take up his phone though, something dawned on him, something Nagisa had told them both about.

“Eh.. honey, do you remember what Nagisa told us.. about pregnancies?”
“Ehm.. no?”
“That you could feel quite ill, specially in the morning?”
“Wait.. you think?”

She sat up so quickly that he almost lost his balance, it was a look on her face he couldn’t say he had ever seen before.

“I think it warrants a checkup don’t you?”
“YES!”

She pulled him into a kiss, before pretty much grabbing the phone to call Jeremiah herself. She needed to know if it had finally worked and she needed to know it now.

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1:41 – Am I doing the right thing?

After their marriage, life fairly quickly returned to normal. Apart from of course the planning of children, and how they were to go about it. After searching, talking with Carl about how they handled it, they finally started the process of it all.

“Your not nervous about this at all, are you?”
“No, I am exited.. Are you nervous?”
“Yeah, mostly because of things I did to prolong your life.”

It hadn’t actually occurred to her that it might have an effect on what they were planning.

“So it might not work?”
“I honestly don’t know.”

He had asked her if she wanted him to go with her, but she had decided that she would be fine to just go on her own after work.

“How about a run Kaya?”

He liked going for runs, and although he didn’t need to for any reason, it often helped him to clear his mind. And as Kaya loved to go for runs, it was a win win situation.

He checked his phone on occasion, they had planned to go visit Carl and Marjorie when she came home, and of course he just could not help but worry a little.

“Were you waiting?”
“Yeah.”
“In what world?”
“The worrying one.”

She smiled, it wasn’t often she could surprise him like she could now, but as she had seen the led was blue she had decided he was probably just overthinking something.

“So everything went well?”
“They said it did, so I’ll have to take their word on that one.”
“Still up for that visit?”
“Yes!”

He smiled, part of him would have liked her to say no, but he also quite wanted to meet Ben now that he was a toddler.

“Well unless you want me to carry you there, you are going to have to move.”
“Carry me there then!”

“Oh really now?”

She squirmed as he tickled her, tryin to get away from his grasp.

“Okay, okay I’ll walk!!”

He finally let her go, and helped her up instead. It was only a twenty minute walk, and it gave them time to talk about everything she had done while they got there.

Much like he had thought, Ben and Madison hit it off immediately, and there was something he really enjoyed by just watching the two of them interact. And at least for a short while, he showed away his worry and was happy they had made their choice.

“Now now, I am sure Auntie Madison want’s to breathe for at least a minute before your next story.”

As the evening went on, Ben finally became tired enough to have his father put him to bed for some well earned sleep.

“He is a handful really, I think he will sleep well tonight if nothing else.”
“I think he is wonderful.”
“Heh.. now wait until you hear those stories every day, as if they were new.”

Liam had left for a work call, promising to be back to pick her up. It wasn’t major case, but enough for his boss to pretty much beg him to come in and help the new guy with it.

“Did they say how long time it would take before you knew?”
“No, it make take several tries, or we might get lucky and get it on the first go.”
“Exciting though?”
“Yes, and who knows, maybe he or she could be friends with Ben too.”
“Oh he would love that I think.”

-At the same time, somewhere else-

“Hi dad.. I know it’s been a while since I stopped by.”

Markus sighed, he still remembered that day as if it was yesterday. The day he had taken up the mantle off being the one to free his people, he would have to wonder forever what would have happened if he had done it differently. Would he had survived, at least a bit longer.

“I wish you were here, I wish I could ask you all the questions I have, and I wish I could apologize.”

“Am I doing the right thing dad?”

He really didn’t know anymore. He had been so angry with what had happened back then, how he had been treated, and it had colored his vision in what happened next. That and her.. those two things combined. But had it been right?

“I wanted our people to be free, but I am not sure we are. I am not sure we are free of our own fear and our own past.”

He sat down for a while, trying to think what the man he called his father would have said about all his questions. Remembering their many chess games and discussions, but mostly he just remembered how much he missed him after all these years.

“I really wish we could talk.. just one more time.”

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