Tawny sobbed deeply, Gabriel could only understand a word she said because they had been together so long and as horrible as it was they had been through this so many times before. She just finished having another miscarriage, the mess of it still all over her and their floor. Her heart was broken and she had also just went through a tremendous amount of pain. “Gabriel” he heard her form his name and he held her tighter “I’m so sorry Tawny” Unbeknownst to his family they had actually been trying on and off to have a child since they got together. Year after year, miscarriage after miscarriage here they were again and they had been so close this time. Since miscarriages were common in her direct family line she had always forbidden him to tell his family until she was three months along. Until this time she had always lost the baby before the first month was even over. This time they had been literally a week from getting his family together and announcing she was with child.
They had both been so hopeful, so sure she was finally going to keep one but her heart was just shattered again. He wanted to stop trying for good this time, he couldn’t take her heart wrenching sobs. He loved her so much and while he wanted children it just wasn’t worth the torture this caused his Tawny. “I can’t even have one…I” she quit speaking again and somehow cried harder than she had before. He always tried not to cry for her, kept it back as long as he could so he could be her rock. It hurt him but unlike her he didn’t have to have a life growing inside him just to lose it. He didn’t have to feel the physical pain of the miscarriage. He knew his pain was nothing compared to hers and he had no idea how to even begin to imagine it.
“I’m sorry” she whimpered like it was her fault “don’t you do that again Tawny. It’s not your fault”
“You deserve kids Gabriel. I don’t know why you stay with me”
“I don’t need them Tawny, I just need you. I promise. I don’t want to try anymore, never again. I can’t keep watching you go through this” he started sobbing and couldn’t make himself stop. He couldn’t take her feeling less than because of this. He held her until she had fallen asleep from exhaustion and carried her to their bed. He tucked her in and kissed her head then went to clean up the living room so she wouldn’t have to see the blood covered floor in the morning.
Silent tears trailed down his face as he cleaned. He would do anything to take this pain away from her. It hurt him worse when she cried like that than the knowledge they still wouldn’t be having a child. He hoped this time he could convince her to just stop all together. He never wanted her to cry like that ever again. When their home was clean he burned the towels he had used outside then cleaned himself up in the shower. Tawny was still a mess but if he tried to clean her she would wake again and he wanted to talk to his dad. He knew his father could keep a secret and would probably understand why Tawny didn’t want to have to talk about it with the family and he wanted to get some ideas from him on where to take Tawny.
She’d have to heal physically before he took her anywhere but his father was always taking Belle on amazing romantic trips and Tawny deserved one more than anybody right now. Gabriel silently entered his fathers house, knowing he would wake and be at his throat. Just as soon as the knife appeared there Zane put it away “son…why are you here so late?”
“I’m in no emotional state to give you much detail dad so before I ask for advice I need you to promise you wont talk to anybody about this and you’ll just accept the gist of the matter I give you” Zane could see the pain on his sons face and quickly agreed “of course son, talk to me”
“I mean it dad, if you tell mom she’ll want to comfort Tawny and Tawny will be embarrassed even though she has no reason to be, she just will. What I want to tell you about hurts her so much” Zane was actually a little surprised “You would keep a secret from your mother?” He had always been a mommas boy so it was baffling to Zane “Tawny is my wife, her feelings come first, always. Tawny is the only person in the world that comes before my mother” Zane rested a hand on his eldest sons shoulder “I taught you well son, I swear I wont tell your mother okay. Let me help you two if I can”
Gabriel swallowed, wishing he wasn’t on the verge of tears just thinking about it. “Tawny and I have been trying for a baby, but…” he felt himself choke up and Zane waited patiently for him to continue. “She can’t carry a child to full term. She had another miscarriage.”
“It’s just so bad right now, she’s so devastated and I just want to quit trying, but…” he blinked his eyes and a couple of tears rolled down his cheeks. “I just want to get her away from here once she feels better. you take mom everywhere so I was wondering if maybe you had some ideas.”
Zane hugged his son and Gabriel found himself holding tightly to his father. It had been a long time since he had clung to him this tightly, but right now he just felt so helpless. “It’s going to be okay Gabriel, I promise.”
“You don’t know that.”
“I do and I’ll give you a list of every beautiful place I can think of.”
“Thank you” Zane held his son a little longer then found paper and began writing places down and giving his son directions to each one. He only had to speak the directions. Memory training was part of how he trained his children to be good assassins. “Why do you two not want anybody to know?” Zane asked and Gabriel wiped his face again “I think Tawny is embarrassed by it. Like you guys would think less of her as my wife. That has nothing to do with you guys though. She thinks less of herself so she’s projecting that. She really tries hard, as soon as she knows shes pregnant she eats right and rests and everything she needs to do…I try to tell her it isn’t her fault and I don’t need children to be happy with her and you all wont suddenly think I should find someone else because she can’t give me children”
“of course not, we adore Tawny. She’s been in this family longer than most of your siblings. This family wouldn’t be right without Tawny in it”
Gabriel took a deep, calming breath. “I should get back to her, thanks dad.”
“You never have to thank me, just be with her and we’ll figure this out when she feels better.”
Gabriel nodded and hugged his father once more before leaving to be with Tawny. He was calm by the time he got home and was both happy and sad to see she was still asleep. He folded up the list and tucked it away then climbed into bed with her. He pulled her gently against him and kissed her temple before allowing himself to fall asleep. The next morning Tawny jerked awake, the sudden movement waking him as well. Her eyes were so full of sorrow and he kissed her before she could begin to blame herself again. Tears slipped down her cheeks and he quickly wiped them away, feeling himself choke up at her pain.
“Let’s get you in the bath and I’ll make you something to eat.” He said softly.
“I’m not hungry.”
“You need to eat my love, even if it’s just a little. Please, for me?” She nodded and he lifted her, carrying her to the bathroom where he got the water started and the drain plugged. He helped her out of her clothes and into the tub then kissed her once more before going to cook. He decided on strawberry oatmeal and kept his ears open for her.
When it was ready he helped Tawny out of the tub and dried her before walking with Tawny to their room so she could dress again. As she finished pulling up her jeans she said “You know…when I became a dragon…I really thought it would fix whatever is wrong with me and the women before me….why…I just…it should have fixed it” She covered her face and started crying again so he held her until she could stop. She went to the table, determined not to put Gabriel through her crying any more today. “thank you for cooking baby” she said softly and he smiled at her “thanks enough will be you eating for me” As she took her third bite of food Gabriel said “I went to my father for some vacation ideas. I’m taking you somewhere nice, we’re just going to have fun and be happy. Of course we will wait until you’ve had a little time to heal but I really need to take you somewhere. I just want to see you smile”
He sighed. “I needed to talk to someone and he was the logical choice. He’s not going to tell anyone, not even my mom. He doesn’t like keeping secrets from her, but he knows this is important so please don’t worry.”
He looked at her confused. “For what?”
“For making you do the same thing, it’s just…”
He sat his spoon down and moved around the table. He slid her chair so she was facing him and he dropped down on his knees. “Tawny, it’s okay. I will always love you no matter what comes our way and my family will always love you. Please never think you are less of a woman or of a mate because you haven’t given me a child. You are my everything and we’ll find a way.”
She rubbed her stomach, wanting so much to have a life growing there. “I’ll try.”
“I really love you Tawny. You’re amazing and strong. On jobs you are someone I can count on by my side, you keep my nights warm and my life happy. I need you Tawny, forever”
“You’re such a sweet man Gabriel”
“I’m a man desperately in love with you” Tawny leaned down to hug him and he held her until she was ready to let go “If Zane knows it’s okay if you want to tell your family Gabriel, I’ve asked you not to for far too long”
“They will still think the world of you Tawny. Everyone loves you so much. As my dad pointed out last night you’ve been my mate longer than most of my siblings have lived. My brothers and sisters have grown up knowing you, this family has gone through so many things with you in it. You are not replaceable in this family. They love you unconditionally just as I do”
“Oh Gabriel, please stop. I already told myself I wouldn’t put you through me crying again today and I’m close”
“You cry all you need to baby”
Tawny managed to compose herself and once Gabriel was sure she was really okay, he went back to his seat and they finished breakfast. He carried her to the couch when she tried to walk and her heart warmed at his attentiveness. He cleaned up while she relaxed, the whole time thinking of which places would make her happiest. “Can we just leave tomorrow?” Tawny asked when he sat down next to her.
“Are you sure, you’re still healing.”
She nodded. “Yeah, we should just go. We both need a breather.”
“You won’t have to fly if you still hurt, I can carry you everywhere.”
She smiled and kissed his cheek. “Gabriel you really are the sweetest man in the world. I’ll tell you if I’m too tired, I promise. I’ve been through this enough to know my limits, I just want fresh air and sunlight.”
“Okay baby.” He stroked her hair then gave her a gentle kiss.
“Then when we get back we can talk to your family.”
“You don’t have to tell them.”
“It’s fine, they should know and I guess it might help to talk to others, for you to be able to talk to others when you need too.”
Gabriel was about to speak again when a knock sounded at the door. He sighed and went to answer. The man bowed then said “Queen Cantaly has a job for you and Mrs Koopmann”
“We can’t accept but I’ll tell my cousin that and see if my dad can take it”
“Oh okay sir, it’s fine, you don’t have to bother with all that. It’s a job a lower level can take. She already gave me two alternatives”
“Okay, have a good day” Gabriel returned to Tawny and the man walked away. “I’ll pack us for tomorrow and you rest here okay?”
“I love you so much Gabriel”
“I love you too Tawny” He made them a small bag with a single change of clothes since they could wash on the way as they needed. He packed a small amount of food that wouldn’t spoil for areas that may not be abundant in fruit or meat. He grabbed a few more things then collected their swords to get them sharpened for the journey. He kissed Tawnys forehead “I want these to be in their best shape incase there is trouble”
“I’ll take a nap while you’re gone”
He had to kiss her again and pressed their lips together, lingering for just a moment. She started to giggle and he pulled away, hurrying out. Tawny went and got a blanket then curled up on the couch, wanting to be right there when he came back. She was looking forward to time away from home. She loved this place, but she needed to breathe and let her sorrow go. She knew Gabriel would keep insisting they stop trying for a baby. She hoped they could find out what was wrong with her and maybe some day she would be able to carry to term. She rolled onto her back, her hands resting on her stomach as she drifted off.
Gabriel tried not to show his impatience to the blacksmith. He knew the man never half assed anything, but he wanted to get back to Tawny. He was sure the man could tell, but he didn’t say anything, knowing if Gabriel needed to say something he would. When he was finally done, Gabriel paid him then took the weapons, thanked him and ran home. He went in quietly, his training taking over and he was glad for it since she was sleeping on the couch. He knew every board in the house that creaked and he avoided them with ease and put their weapons next to their bag.
That night they had dinner at his parents since they were leaving and Tawny let what family was there know about the miscarriages. Belle did just what Gabriel knew she would. She got up and hugged Tawny “Oh sweetheart, why didn’t you tell us before?”
“It’s painful to talk about and…I..your son deserves children and I’m sure you two can see that aswell. A small part of me feared you’d feel I was robbing him of the life he should have…I feel it myself sometimes…I wish so much I could give him kids. Just one.”
“Tawny, you are far more than that. You make Gabriel happy and thats all we want from you. You’ve been in this family so long you two could separate and you’d still be our family. From Ryan down my children have known you since their first breath. Your ability to have children doesn’t weigh on anything. We all love you. My only sadness is the pain you have been going through…I don’t want to even imagine the sorrow of not being able to carry a child”
Tawny felt a since of relief at being able to tell them and knowing they were there for her. She knew the entire family was close and now that her head was more clear, she could see hiding her loss and having Gabriel hide it wasn’t helping. “While you two are gone we’ll talk to Irim and see if he can help.” Zane offered.
“What if he can’t?” Tawny replied.
“Then we’ll find someone who can.”
Gabriel stroked Tawny’s hair. “Even if you can’t get pregnant, we can always adopt. Mom and dad will love any child we bring into this family.”
“That’s right, whether you gave birth to them or not, they’ll still be my grandbabies.” Belle said as she gave Tawny’s hand a squeeze.
After Gabriel and Tawny left town the next morning Belle and Zane wasted no time. They had no kids in the house currently so they both shifted and headed towards Irim and Ariels home. They were barely out of dragon form when Ariel came running out to greet them “sister! Zane!” she said excitedly and hugged them. “Hey Ariel, I see your four month olds haven’t slowed you” Zane added ‘how are little Edith and Wendy?”
“Sleeping in their dads arms. He’s trying to get them in their crib now”
“Just as mushy as ever huh?” Belle said and Ariel giggled “we do have the sweetest husbands. You’d never know they were so feared by others. Come on in, it’s supposed to be raining soon” They followed Ariel in quietly, knowing the pain of just getting a baby to sleep and guests waking them up. Irim came in soon after they entered”they are in their crib” he said and kissed Ariel. He stood straight again and asked “so what bring you two? I can see a question in your eyes”
“Tawny can’t bare children and we were hoping you might know why or how to help her”
There was a flash of pain in his golden eyes and Ariel’s hand came up to her mouth as tears filled her eyes. “How long has this been going on?” He asked.
“Awhile.” Zane answered because he really didn’t know how many miscarriages Tawny had been through.
“Is…is she okay?” Ariel asked, her voice cracking a bit.
“Gabriel is going to take her away for a bit. She needs a break from home.”
Irim took Ariel in his arms, not liking she was upset. He too felt the pain of Tawny’s loss. One family members pain was all of their pain and he would do whatever he could to help her. “There have been other dragons unable to bare children, but they are very few and far between. The fact that changing her did not fix the issue is strange to me. I must consult my books and see if there is anything to be done. It may be as simple as a spell or as complicated as retrieving an artifact she must wear. If I can do nothing to fix this, there may be one I can ask for help, though it means seeking him out and asking for his help. I will exhaust all possibilities before hand.”
“Is this man bad or something?” Zane was always cautious.
“Not at all, he is always fair, but I do not wish to bother him if I can fix this issue myself.”
“Thank you Irim. My son and Tawny are so good and amazing. It’s not fair, I just thought they didn’t want kids”
“We just guessed the same.” Ariel said. Edith and Wendy began to cry again and Belle said “I’m so sorry, were we too loud”
“Oh no, they just aren’t very sound sleepers. Sometimes it takes a few times” Ariel answered then Zane began speaking “let Belle and I lay them down. You and Irim just worry about Tawny” They knew where the baby room was and went back there to soothe the twin girls. Belle took Edith in her arms and smiled. Zane took Wendy and began walking around with her. Gabriel and Tawny landed in the area Gabriel thought she would most like. He was glad to finally be on the ground. He knew she would tell him if she needed to land but it didn’t stop him from worrying since her body had just gone through so much
“This is amazing.” She stretched her arms above her head and took a deep breath of the fresh air.
“There’s a lot to do here. We can go swimming or hiking, there’s a cliff we can dive off of and dad said there were hot springs so if you still hurt you can just relax there.” Gabriel replied as he wrapped his arms around her. “Are you okay?”
She smiled lovingly at him. “I’m better, the fly over was nice.”
“Are you hungry or thirsty?”
“Gabriel, you silly man, I’ll tell you.”
He sighed. “Sorry, I’m just feeling a little protective. I’ll probably smother you. This is what I imagine my dad always feels.”
“It’s okay, the fact that you love me so much makes me happy and I’m sure Belle feels the same about Zane.”
Gabriel chuckled “Yeah, they would both do absolutely anything for eachother. When jobs would take dad longer than normal she would worry so much. She wouldn’t say anything to us but I could tell. While she trusts in his abilities I can see how it would be scary. I’m glad you and I work together. I always know you’re okay”
“It is really nice, your mother doesn’t have anything to worry about though. There isn’t anything, anybody or any wound that would keep Zane from returning to your mom”
“It’s the same for me with you Tawny” He held her in his arms “You’re my everything Tawny and I will always be your mate” Irim read through his books, annoyed all of Tawnys family were dead at this point. All the ones that mattered anyway. He could only talk to women of her direct line and really learn anything and all the ones before her were long since dead. There were ways to talk to the dead and it was starting to look like he needed to do something like that or talk to his friend and see if he could understand why Tawy couldn’t carry a child.
“You look stressed.” Ariel’s voice was like a breath of fresh air and he looked away from his books, a smile pulling at his lips at the sight of her with food and tea.
“I am frustrated.”
“I’m sorry, here eat something, it’ll make you feel better.”
“Thank you.” He pulled her onto his lap and sipped at his tea. Just having her there made things so much better. “Once I am finished with lunch, I would like you to stay out of here. I am going to raise a spirit and since I don’t know how they will react, I’d like you to stay with our children.”
“If you need me to help…”
“What you’re doing now is helping, the spirit I can handle. If this doesn’t work, then I will be going to see my friend.”
“Just don’t be pushy.”
He chuckled. “He’ll know what I am there for the moment I’m in his home. He’s psychic and will see my intent.”
She kissed his cheek and just enjoyed having some time with him while he ate. Having such young twins it was hard to get peaceful moments together, especially since they didn’t sleep as well as Caleb, Landon and Amaranthi had. When he was done Irim gently moved Ariels face into his to meet their lips.”go now and sit with our children and your sister” Ariel left the room, feeling those butterflies that had never stopped coming in all the years she had been with Irim. Ariel smiled when she entered her daughters room. Belle was rocking in the chair with Edith despite the fact she was sleeping. Zane had set Wendy back in her crib. Seeing Ariel enter he took Edith from his wife and put her in bed aswell so they could talk. “How’s everything going?” Belle asked softly “Nothing yet, he’s about to summon a spirit to talk to”
Gabriel stayed close to Tawny as they hiked up to the cliff his father had described. He could see she was getting a bit exhausted and he fought between carrying her and letting her walk. His need to take care of her finally won out and he scooped her up, making her let out a surprised gasp. “Sorry, you’re tired so I thought I’d carry you the rest of the way.”
“You scared me.”
She kissed his cheek. “It’s fine, thank you. I hadn’t really noticed I was so determined to get to the top.”
“Good thing I always have my eyes on you.”
“You mean on my butt.”
“Not only, just when you walk in front of me.” She laughed and it warmed him. It was good seeing her happy again.
They laughed and talked until they reached the area his father had told him about. He loved how she didn’t let the sadness of not being able to have children consume her. Tawny was a strong woman who didn’t let anything get her down and he wished more than anything she could pass that on to their own children. “This place is beautiful. It’s amazing your father can take note of such beautiful places when he’s chasing bad guys”
“I think I actually remember coming here with him, back when he was training me”
“Yeah, If my memory is correct I was still pretty crappy with my stealth. I was a natural like dad in many areas but it took him awhile to teach me how not to be seen or heard”
“I wonder how little Lakshmi’s lessons are coming”
“Yeah, dad hasn’t mentioned much about it and I haven’t asked. Probably well judging by how happy Lakshmi has been”
“Enough talk, come have some fun with me” She tugged him along and he happily followed. Irim went back as far as he knew in Tawnys line but none knew of any curse or anything like that they may have gotten themselves mixed up in. He just felt there had to be somthing like that going on. Becoming a dragon should have fixed whatever the problem was and for some reason it hadn’t.
Irim left the library, stopping in his room for a moment, then went out to get Zane. “You’re coming with me.” He said and Zane stood.
“Is everything alright love?” Ariel asked.
“I need to travel to another world, having Zane with me will be good in this instance.”
“How long will we be gone?” Zane asked.
“Not long, we’re going straight to his home.”
Zane bent down and kissed Belle. “I’ll be back before you know it.” He followed Irim outside. “What will we be dealing with?”
“Dealing? What a funny thing to say.”
“Marius and I see eye to eye and I never make deals with anyone but family, he won’t be asking for an exchange. He knows I don’t trade for anything and he won’t need to ask why we are there.”
“Alright.” Irim reached into his pocket and pulled out a multicolored stone. A doorway opened up right in front of them and he stepped through, Zane following closely.
Irim knocked on Marius’s door and was greeted by Genya “Wow Irim, hello”
“I need to see your brother please” Genya moved aside and let the men in. It wasn’t long before Marius and his mate Aeron were in front of them. Marius smiled “Old friend” Marius paused a moment then said “Tawny and this man Zane’s son, you seem to truly feel they deserve a child.”
“You know all my thoughts, you can see in my head what good people they are” Marius nodded “Wait here” Marius left leaving Aeron and Genya with the two men “Aeron correct?” Irim asked and Aeron said “yes, you and I haven’t met though”
“I heard Marius found a mate”
“He didn’t ask for anything in return. Is it because you two are friends?”
“He knows even if he asked I would not trade. He helps me or not, it’s his choice” Marius returned with a bracelet. “she is to keep this on Irim, the whole time she is trying to conceive and as she carries the baby. She can not take it off until the child is born. Even in labor she is to wear it”
“Thank you Marius”
“I also see they are good people.” Irim walked out and Zane said “you aren’t going to ask how he knows that will work and what it will do?”
“All I needed to know is how to give Tawny a child. Do you really care?”
Zane shook his head. “No, as long as it helps Gabriel and Tawny.”
“Let’s go diving.” Tawny said as she and Gabriel laid in the grass near the cliff edge.
“Are you sure?”
“Alright then.” He kissed her forehead and they got up, pulling off their clothes and folding them up. The minute Tawny had everything put down, he picked her up and jumped off the cliff. She actually gripped onto him they both held their breath as they hit the water. He let one arm stay around her waist as he pulled them back to the surface and she dunked his head back under.
“Jerk.” She laughed out.
“I’m doing everything in my power to make you smile.” He wiped at the water in his face and tugged her close. “It’s working.”
“I really love you Gabriel, thank you.”
“I love you too. Back up then?”
They spent weeks away, going to different places and forgetting all their pain. When they arrived home they went straight to Zane and Belles home to let them know they were back and were greeted by a very excited Belle. “I’m happy to see you again too mom” Tawny said happily and Belle said “While I’m happy you two are back Zane has something to give you” She called for her husband and he brought the bracelet and explained what Marius had said. “It seemed really important you don’t take it off no matter the circumstance until your baby is out of your womb” Tawny and Gabriel were both left speechless. It was Gabe who spoke first “we’ll…we’ll be able to have a child?”
“Yes” Belle was crying and Gabriel hugged them “we need to see Irim, we need to thank him” Tawny hugged her inlaws aswell “thank you so much” She slipped the bracelet on and it formed snug to her wrist. She gasped in surprise despite knowing it was magic. “Is it okay on you?” Gabriel asked with concern. “yeah, it’s perfect” Tawny responded softly. “I want to go thank Irim and Ariel right now Gabriel”
“Then we will” they said bye to his parents and went to see Gabriels Aunt and Uncle. “It is really Marius who helped”
“Yes but without you he may not have. Thank you, it means so much to us both”
“You should always come to your family when you’re struggling. I could have helped long ago”
“It is my fault Irim. I asked him not to tell you all”
“regardless, always come to your family you two” They visited Irim and Ariel a brief time then went home to start trying for another baby. Tawny still could barely believe it. She was going to have a baby, she was finally going to give Gabriel the child he deserved. They weren’t even trying a whole month when Tawny discovered she was pregnant again. They told the entire family who threw a party in celebration. Tawny couldn’t wait to be a mother and she knew her husband couldn’t wait to be a dad.
~ The End