Tyche laughed as Peitho rubbed his cheek against hers and tried pushing him back so she could get back to work. He had her sitting on her desk, standing between her legs so she couldn’t escape. “Come on, we have clients.”
“But I want you now, I’ve missed you.”
“We live together.”
“Yeah, but we’ve been so busy lately.”
She laughed at his pouting. “Tell you what, you let me get back to work and I’ll make it up to you later, okay? Maybe we can go on a date.”
“Alright, I guess I can deal, but I’m not going to stop being a distraction.” He let her up and she went back to her chair. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders and rested his chin on her head. Her sweet lion had been extremely lovey lately. It was almost like he was restless over something. There was a knock on her office door and Elpis pushed it open, sticking her head in.
“Oh good, you’re dressed, there’s someone here to see Peitho.”
“Me?” He was confused.
“Yeah, a young man, looks to be about eighteen.”
“Let him in.” Tyche said. Elpis left and called out. Peitho stood up and moved to stand next to Tyche when the young man walked in. Amber eyes, sandy hair, skin darkened by the sun and the smell of feline. He was a lion.
“Alec?” Peitho said and a look of relief washed over the man’s face.
“I found you, I finally found you.”
“Who is this, Peitho?”
“He was one of the cubs in my pride, not mine, but the previous males. I let the females keep their children, there was no need for bloodshed. What are you doing here?”
Alec’s face fell. “The pride, that male.” He looked like he wanted to cry, but he held it back. “He’s hurting the women, he killed two of them after you left because…because…” He clenched his fists. “I know you’ve probably washed your hands of us, but you have to come back, you have to do something.”
“Of course he’ll come. We’ll drop everything and go right now” Tyche said with worry and seriousness in her tone. Alec looked surprised that Tyche was so eager to help “You really want to help too?”
“why wouldn’t I?”
“Because the women would belong to him again if he won”
“I don’t care, I wont stand by while they are being abused. If he won them and left me because he knows its either just me or his multiple women thats fine, he was never really mine anyway. That would mean I was just somthing he went to because he couldn’t have what he really wanted. I can accept that though Peitho I want to make it clear that those two are the only choice when you help them. I wont just be one of how ever many women you want to be having sex with. I am not okay with that so save them then decide if you want me or multiple women again. If you choose me I’m happy for us all to be friends, I really am. I’m secure enough to know if you chose just me you wouldn’t cheat”
Tyche’s words felt like a knife twisting in his heart. Of course he would choose her, no matter the outcome. He took a deep breath, pushing aside his feelings for now. “Then my mate and I will accompany you. I need you to explain things on the way.”
“Of course.” Tyche let Elpis and Arete know where they were going and they would be back as soon as the issue was resolved.
“Be careful and stay safe.” Elpis said.
“We will, put our jobs on hold until we get back.”
She nodded and they left, followed closely by Alec. “So not long after you left things began to go down hill. The one who took your pride is the exact opposite of you, he’s a monster. He found out two of the women were pregnant and he killed them in front of us.”
“Pregnant?” Tyche said and Peitho felt another stab in his chest. “What kind of a monster murders children?”
“He didn’t even give them the option to leave.”
“Shit.” Peitho said, rubbing his neck. What Tyche must think of him. She must have noticed his anxiety because she took his hand. He felt that restlessness again at the feel of her skin and he pulled her a little closer.
She smiled at him, hoping he still knew how much she loved him. She knew he had been with multiple women at once before her and she knew he might want that again. He wasn’t heartless, he had been with these women once, had real feelings for them. It would hurt but it wouldn’t be absurd for him to choose them after they were saved. He’d get to have multiple again instead of just one and she knew in her heart that couldn’t change for her. She was monogamous and her life partner had to be aswell. She wanted with all that she was for him to stay with her forever but if he ended up not going that route she wouldn’t hate him or even be the slightest bit angry for it.
“Have any of the women managed to escape?” Peitho asked as they broke away from the city and into the wooded area where he himself had exited the portal.
“My mom did, I took her away. She’s the one who told me to find you, she said you would save us even though you didn’t have to.”
“If I remember correctly you were the only male born to the pride leader before me, the others were girls, correct?”
Alec nodded. “The one in charge now forced them to be his when they came of age. I tried fighting for them, but he nearly killed me. I’m not strong enough.” They stopped at the spot where the portal was, feeling the vibrations of magic in the air where it could be opened.
“Let me tell you something, Alec, strength isn’t everything and we often mistake pride for it. I fell because I was too prideful, I thought nothing could beat me. Always be prepared for defeat, we all have to experience it some time or we never learn how to win. The fact that you stood up to him is good enough, you must have been scared.”
“I was terrified, but I thought of what you would do, you were always so kind and generous, you raised me like your own and I knew if you had been there you would have stood up to him.”
“I’m proud you turned out so well” with that they went through the portal and were once again in Peithos world. “welcome to where I’m from Tyche. I’ll have to bring you here another time, in a better situation” He took her hand, grateful for such a wonderful woman. It still hurt she didn’t just know he’d stay with her but he would be able to show her and they could talk about how much she meant to him at home. “I’d love to come back but for now lets hurry baby” They ran, following Alec.
Alec slowed when they neared where the pride rested and Peitho indicated he wanted to move down wind so as not to alert the other lions. He wanted to get a good look at the pride and the male without getting too close. He could smell fear and pain the moment the air hit his nose. It was the same scent he smelled when he took down prey.
“Any patrols of any kind?” Tyche asked as she wiped the sweat from her brow. Neither Peitho nor Alec were sweating, but she was drenched.
“Lions don’t patrol. When someone comes into their territory to challenge a male they are allowed passage.” Peitho explained.
“How many lionesses are there Alec?”
“Fifteen, not counting my mom. She’s hiding out.”
“Any pregnant?” Peitho asked.
“I think a couple of them, but I haven’t been able to get close enough to confirm for sure.”
It hurt Peitho to know some were pregnant by this man. Not because he was jealous because he was once with them but because he was a terrible man and they’d always have a reminder of the horrible time they spent with him. He knew they were all good women and would love their babies but it would still be hard to carry this lions child, He hoped that once he helped them the next man that claimed these lioness’s would treat them better.
“Alec, I want you to stay out of sight.”
“But, I can help.”
“I know, that’s why I want you out of sight. I don’t plan on losing again, but if I do he should be wounded enough you can kill him.”
Alec looked at his feet. “I don’t want a pride though.”
“Then don’t claim it, find a good male for them.”
Alec nodded. “Alright, but shouldn’t your mate stay too?”
“Why would she?”
Alec gave him a confused look. “Well, I mean she’s…I mean she doesn’t have to, but…”
“She’ll be fine, she’s smart and strong.” He patted Alec’s shoulder. “Stay out of sight until I call for you.”
Alec nodded, having new respect for the woman with Peitho. He saw the resolve in the male lions eyes, the trust. Tyche must be an amazing woman because he wouldn’t be so confident about her safety any other way since this lion had beaten him before. Peitho was noticed right away as he confidently strode, Tyche by his side looking angrily at the male that approached. Seeing teh fear in these women had only fueled her anger and desire to protect them with Peitho. ‘You really came back? You want to be beaten a second time?”
“I will not be beaten again, not after hearing what you’ve been doing to these good, wonderful women. They in no way deserve to be beaten and treated as less than. They are the best lioness’s I have ever had the pleasure of knowing”
The bastard had the audacity to laugh. “And what, you brought that pregnant little pussy cat to help you?”
Tyche was shocked at the male’s statement. “Pregnant?” She rested a hand on her abdomen.
“No matter, once you’re dead, I’ll add her to my pride.”
Peitho let out a roar as he shifted and rushed the larger male. His time in the city had helped him hone his skills and he was able to duck his opponents first swipe and spin around to jump on his back.
Tyche snapped herself out of the shock of the lions words. Pregnant? Could she really be pregnant? How did Peitho not notice if this lion could? It was another thing her and Peitho would have to deal with as soon as they had these women safely away from this awful lion. She didn’t know if she was allowed to help but she couldn’t care less and jumped in to help Peitho, She didn’t have claws or fangs but she didn’t need them in a fight.
The large male managed to toss Peitho off and grab her by the throat, his fingers squeezing. “Know your place.”
She gripped his arm. “Sh…shock.” She choked out and electricity went from her bracelet and into the lion who dropped her and growled in pain. She coughed, her vision spinning, but hands were soon pulling her back as Peitho jumped on the male again. The females had come to her aid and we’re moving her out of the way.
“Are you alright?” One asked.
“Fine…pissed.” She coughed as she pushed back to her feet.
They stopped her from going forward “No, this is something between the males. We aren’t supposed to intervene”
“fuck that, help him protect you. That lion is abusing you women. He can’t take us all, everyone who isn’t pregnant should help Peitho”
“That’s not how lions do things..” she paused like she wanted to say her name but didn’t know it so Tyche introduced herself. “Peitho is with someone again. Is it just you?”
“Yes, my kind are monogamous. Well most are but we don’t have the kind of time to go into the different relationships. I’m a one person kind of girl and expect my man to be the same”
“well we’re happy he’s happy..he deserves it. Thank you for coming but please don’t intervene.”
“She’s right, you’re pregnant with his cub, cubs are important to us.”
Tyche rested a hand on her abdomen. “And Peitho is important to me. I think our little one will forgive me for helping.”
She ran away from them and straight at the male, lowering her shoulder and slamming into him. With Peitho in his back, he was thrown of balance. He roared, finally shifting shape in his rage. Peitho moved between him and Tyche, his fur matted with not only his blood, but the blood of his opponent.
Peitho didn’t want Tyche getting hurt, but he knew she was smart and strong and he wouldn’t order her away, he respected her too much. He was still surprised he had not noticed her pregnancy, but now that he thought about it, it was probably due to living in the city. His senses had had to change with all the different smells. He swore once this was over, he was going to spend all his time paying attention to only her and spoiling her. She deserved it.”
It only took seeing Tyche struck one more time for Peithos lion to completely take him. He was now all animal, the human long gone in his need to protect his mate and growing baby. He ripped the other male up, making his face near unrecognizable before Tyche managed to get him to stop “he’s dead baby” she kept saying softly, knowing she had to call the human in him back.He shifted back to the form she was used to seeing him in and hugged her tightly to him. “I love you Peitho, It’s okay” she comforted as he clung even tighter. The women and the young male who had come to get him returned “thank you so much” one of the pregnant women said and Tyche said “you’re welcome. I know you all meant a lot to him. He could never leave you to be abused”
“We need to get the baby checked when we get home.” Peitho said when he pulled back. “Are you alright? Do you hurt anywhere?” He let his fingers brush her throat. “He choked you, does it hurt?”
“I’m fine baby, I promise. Right now we need to help these women. What do you want to do?”
“They’re yours again.” Alec said.
“I don’t want a pride, but I do have an idea. The lion who helped change Tyche and her friends, he’s nice and has money and he’s also the safest bet when it comes to you females, he doesn’t like women. We could take you all back for a time until we find a better pride leader. I’m sure he would take care of all of you and your children.” He swallowed. “Alec told me about my cubs from before, I’m sorry you lost them.”
“All that matters is you came back when we needed you most. We’re happy that you have found a mate and that you were willing to protect us.” One of the females said, a hand resting on her round belly. “We’ll go back with you as long as you are sure we’ll be safe. We’ve been through so much.”
“Alec, go and get your mother and we’ll take you all to your new home.” Peitho lifted Tyche into his arms, not wanting to give up contact with her.
“Do you think Desmond will be surprised?” Tyche asked, her fingers stroking through Peitho’s hair.
“Probably, but it’s a good cause and he’ll agree.”
They guided the women to their friend Desmond. He was caught off guard but after Peitho explained the situation he agreed. He welcomed the women into his home and gave them rooms. Once that was taken care of they let him know Tyche was pregnant with their first cub “magnificent guys, were you trying?”
“No, this is a surprise” Tyche answered and Desmond said “well it’s an amazing surprise. I can’t wait to meet him or her. Let me know the gender as soon as you know so I can start spoiling them with presents even before they arrive” Tyche laughed “Okay, thank you for helping these women. I would have been worried about the next male but I know you’ll make sure they are in good hands before you let them go”
“Of course and besides, I have a couple of guys who would break some legs for me if someone touched the women without their permission.” He said with a happy smile.
“The pretty face is so deceptive, you wouldn’t think someone so dangerous was hiding behind it.” Tyche teased.
“That’s the whole point, keeps people’s guard down.” He winked. “Anyway, let me get my driver to take you home.”
“To the hospital first, I need to know the baby is okay.” Peitho replied.
“Wherever you want to go, he’ll take you.”
“Thank you, please keep me up to date on all the women, I want to know they’re getting what help they need.”
“I will, now stop worrying so much, I’ve got things covered here.”
Peitho didn’t want Tyche to leave his arms when they got in Desmond’s car, but he also didn’t want them getting pulled over and most of all he wanted his mate and cub as safe as possible. He took her hand and she rested her head on his shoulder, obviously tired. “I can’t believe we’re going to have baby.” She said softly.
“Are you happy?”
“Of course, why wouldn’t I be?”
“Because of all of that, my old pride, who I was before, the fact that you getting pregnant just sort of happened.”
“Don’t be silly, I love you Peitho and I always will. Seeing Alec and how kind and gentle he is tells me that you are going to be a fantastic father.” She raised her head, smiling lovingly at him. “I know who you are and I am so proud to be your mate. I also don’t care if this baby was an accident, I’m excited to be a mother.”
Peithos heart quivered as his being filled with warmth at her mellifluous words. He still couldn’t help but feel undeserving of Tyche. He knew their child was going to be amazing. If it was a girl he knew she’d be gorgeous and smart like her mother and if he was a boy he imagined he would be courageous and patient like she was. It seemed to him no matter what they picked up from their mom they would be astounding lions he could be proud of. He kissed her head, knowing he was thinking too far ahead. Right now he had to get her to the hospital and make sure his baby was alright.
Peitho was impatient as he waited. Tyche was asked a few questions about her health and then the lights were turned off and she was asked to lay back and lift up her shirt. He had never actually seen an ultrasound performed. When women were pregnant in his old world, you never really knew what they were having until the baby was born. The doctor squeezed some gel on her abdomen then grabbed the wand.
“Ready to see your baby?” The doctor asked.
“Absolutely.” Tyche said and all Peitho could do was nod, his hand squeezing hers.
He stared at the screen in rapt attention and when he saw the little flicker his heart skipped a beat. “Is that the baby?” He asked.
“That’s the heart beat.” The doctor answered. She messed with a nob on the machine and they could suddenly hear it. “Sounds healthy.”
“Wow, that’s my baby, our baby.”
Tyche felt herself tear up at the joy and wonder in his voice. “It’s beautiful.”
“It’s amazing.” He kissed her cheek. “Thank you so much.”
“Am I far enough along to know if it’s a boy or girl?’ Tyche asked hopefully and the doctor smiled moving the wand around a little more “it’s a little girl” she finally said and Tyche cried. She was so happy just to know there was a baby inside of her. Knowing a gender, made the baby that much more real “it’s funny how some women don’t notice these things for awhile. You’re just starting your second trimester. You should be meeting her in late October. Do you want me to print up some pictures?”
“Please” Tyche answered and the lady began to print a few for them at different angles. Before they left they made sure to set up her next appointment then Peitho made Tyche giggle when he opened the doors for her and helped her into the car. She wouldn’t say anything, if he wanted to fuss over her while she was pregnant it did nothing but warm her heart.
“I can’t believe you’re that far along, I mean you’re not even showing.”
“Some women show that early and some don’t.”
“But you’re so petite, there’s not even a little bit of a belly going on.” He leaned over and rested his head on her abdomen and closed his eyes, listening to the heartbeat of the little cub. “I’m so sorry I didn’t notice you little one, forgive me okay? I promise I will keep you safe, nothing can hurt you.”
“You’re so sweet, Peitho.”
“I’ll have to be more gentle with you, I don’t want to hurt the baby.”
She laughed and he sat up. “What? This is my first child, well kind of, the first I’ll be raising.”
“You won’t hurt me or the baby, she’s safe in there I promise.”
“You’ll have to take off work, some of the stuff you do is dangerous.”
“Peitho, calm down baby, I’m going to be fine. I’ll stop once I start showing, I promise and I’ll even let you do the more dangerous data collection if it’ll put you at ease.”
“I’m not being too bossy right?”
“No honey, you’re being reasonable.”
He tucked some hair behind her ear “I’m so immeasurably happy Tyche”
“Me too, we need to come up with a name and start on her room”
“we need to clear out the room beside ours for while she’s a baby. I’ll start on that right away”
“Okay, you don’t have to rush though. I want her in our room the first couple months anyway. She can sleep in a bassinet by the bed” They spent the next months planning for their little girl and buying everything they’d need for her. It was good they found out when they did because they didn’t manage to settle on a name for her until the week before she came. She wound up coming past her due date so Tyche joked she hadn’t wanted to come until they named her.
After her first feeding Tyche took a much needed nap while Peitho walked the room with their newborn girl in his arms. He was in absolute awe of the precious child in his arms. He kissed her tiny, warm head then said “I love you my beautiful, sweet Slavena Homage. You and your mother are the greatest treasures I’ve ever been blessed with”
~ The End