James: "I really wasn't expecting that."
Anne: "I know. Sorry."
Something close to fear flickered across Anne's face for a moment.
James: "What's wrong?"
Anne shook her head.
Anne: "Nothing, it's nothing. Just scary, you know, the idea of having a baby. But I want to keep it."
James nodded again.
James: "We can make it work. I'm not going to make the same mistakes I made before. It'll be different, with you here."
Anne: "It wasn't supposed to happen this way."
James: "Yeah, I know. But it'll be alright."
James: "So far, only my parents' remains are kept here, though I expect to inter my siblings and then myself when the time comes. I'll have to set a guardian for the catacombs when I get older, but that should be easy to do. Of course, there's built in protection against all the common sorts of supernatural creatures up here. Zombies, werewolves, vampires, witches, aliens, and even those fairies I've heard stories about. The whole place is shielded, so they can't touch my family. They can look, but no touching. On top of that, there's the biometric lock, so only myself and my descendants can open the door. Supernatural powers would allow them to bypass that, yes, but like I said - no touching!"
He was already halfway down the first tunnel when he realized that Anne wasn't behind him. Backtracking, he found her at the foot of the staircase, frozen to the spot.
James: "Are you alright?"
Her voice was quiet and trembled as she spoke, so James moved closer to catch her words.
Anne: "It's so creepy down here. The whole place, it just...it's giving me the chills."
Anne: "I know."
James: "It's even too early for my parents' ghosts to start their haunting. We'll only be down here for a few minutes, I promise, I just want to show you something in the second chamber."
Anne nodded, swallowing hard, and James leaned in to give her a gentle kiss, before taking her hand and leading her through the dim tunnels.
Anne: "What is it?"
James: "Tiberium. I found it when I was still in school."
Anne: "Shouldn't that be in a government laboratory somewhere?"
James: "Why should it? I found it, not them."
Anne: "What if they just come and take it? You could go to jail."
James: "How would they find it? There's shielding built in, all around us. There's no way they could run a detection scan that returned meaningful results."
He glanced at her uncertainly, replying with some doubt in his voice.
James: "I just thought it was beautiful to look at. The way it glows and all. I wanted to share it with you."
Anne smiled and rested her head on James's shoulder.
Anne: "It is. Thank you."
Alpha enjoyed the outdoors more as the weather warmed. She even found a flower growing in the side yard and brought it back inside.
In the last trimester of Anne's pregnancy, James was promoted at work yet again. Naturally, she didn't know what it was that he did, but he shared the news of the promotion with her; she was happy, the extra funds would come in handy to purchase diapers and other supplies that couldn't be recycled from when Alpha was young. Of course, his promotion to Super Villain put James second only to the leader. He would need to move quickly and carefully from this point forward if he wanted to attain his goal. He purchased a book - "Making Yourself Indispensable" - that he had seen on a bookshelf in the leader's office. Contrary to his expectations, the book took the position that he should be indispensable to his coworkers, rather than his boss. A unique perspective, and one he would keep in mind if the opportunity ever came to prove himself.
James also worried about Anne. Her morning sickness, though mild, hadn't abated over the course of the pregnancy; if anything, it had gotten worse. James was no doctor, but he knew that it couldn't be healthy for a woman in her last few weeks of pregnancy to be spending so much time curled up in front of the toilet.
James: "Why are you over there?"
Anne twitched and quickly raised the small bottle to her lips, downing the contents - James saw a flash of blue as the liquid exited the clear flask - in a moment.
James: "What's that? Are you drinking?"
She clenched the bottle and shook her head silently. James, suddenly very aware that he hardly knew this woman at all, took another step into the room.
James: "Anne. What's going on here?"
She finally seemed to find her voice, responding quietly.
Anne: "It's nothing."
James: "It looked like something to me. Stand up, look at me."
She stood and stepped over to him, dropping the empty bottle into the bag in front of herself.
Anne: "It's medicine, James. I didn't tell you because I didn't want you to worry."
James: "If you're sick, we need to get you to the hospital."
Anne shook her head.
Anne: "There's no cure, I've been through this before. If I take the medicine, I'm okay."
James: "And if you stop taking it?"
Anne: "I die."
James: "So how long do you have left?"
Anne: "A while, if I take the medicine. Probably as long as anyone else, if things don't get worse."
He nodded, still frowning in concern?
James: "What about the baby?"
Anne: "I can't pass it on like that, the baby's fine."
James: "No, I meant about the medicine. Will it hurt the baby?"
Anne was silent for a moment as she thought, then shook her head.
Anne: "No, it's safe."
James smiled and reached forward to pull her into a gentle hug.
Anne: "I thought you'd worry and throw me out, so I tried to keep it a secret. I'm sorry."
James: "It's fine. Things will be fine, just try to relax."
~ * ~
Oh noes, what's wrong with Anne? :(