I’m still rummaging through my loot bag and examining its contents when I feel a tap at my shoulder. One thin pricking feeling against the fabric of my shirt.
I drop the Fangs of Surtur back into the bag and look behind me.
It’s Delta, who has just come back from the bathroom or something like that.
She looks... tired.
It makes sense; we’ve been through a lot these past few days, whether that be fighting the Persian Mob, fighting a cult, or even watching Chasing Amy. And the sleep we’ve gotten has been rough at best.
But this level of tired is still something I have never seen in Delta before. I have known her about one week now, and we have had almost constant contact since then, so I feel that I know her more deeply than most. And the look on her face is most certainly something that gives me pause.
“You,” she says quietly.
“You need to tell me about...” she looks to my side and sees Francis, who is busy playing and streaming Royals of Foreign Lands Mobile (Early Access) on his phone. His headphones are in, so he hasn’t even thought to glance in our direction. “About the thing.”
“About the gold? I know, you and Francis made sure I understood why you were so astounded. It sure does sound like a lot of money!”
“Not that thing.”
“Then what thing?”
“You know... THAT thing.”
“The baby thing.”
“Baby thing?” I ask. “Wait, oh, you mean from when we were being kidnapped. Yes, that baby! Your baby.”
We both eye Francis again and decide to take our conversation elsewhere in the train car, away from prying ears (not that Francis is nearly deviant enough to have actually been eavesdropping on us). Time to go to a much safer place... that little tiny space that links the train cars where you are supposed to board or disembark. It will be an annoying place once we reach the next stop, but for now it is serviceable enough.
As soon as we are in place here, Delta’s composure falls apart, much like a broken mirror would after being improperly glued back together. A new sense of vulnerability washes over her entire being. Completely unlike I’ve ever seen it before.
“Eryk, tell me it was a joke. Tell me it was some giant lie and you’ve gained the ability to fool people,” she says, her tone growing increasingly soft and anxious. She reaches out to me and puts both hands on my shoulders, as if she needs to lean on me for support.
“What is going on with you, Delta?” I ask. “You seem so serious all of a sudden.”
“The baby. Tell me about the baby.”
“Oh, well... I thought you would be angry if you ever knew that I learned about it,” I say. “I didn’t mean to find out. It was an accident, I swear.”
“Acc—what the hell are you talking about?”
“Yesterday, when we were still in the hot springs, I used my [Skill Check] skill to figure out the best way for us to leave the bath without Pablo Rosas catching us. And so I saw the stats that make up all of life on Earth... including the stats of the being growing inside of you.”
Delta’s shaking. “Inside of... Eryk, you are one hundred percent certain about this?”
“Of course. I would never jest about something like this. I apologize for not telling you sooner, but I figured you would want to keep this a secret, and you would be embarrassed that I learned of it using my Destiny Card skills.”
“Eryk, did you know that I’m married to a woman?” Delta asks, tightening her grip on my shoulders. “Did you know that I, too, am a woman?”
“Lesbians don’t just get pregnant out of nowhere!” she shouts in a whisper. A whispering shout... A very rare occurrence.
“But Francis told me about same sex reproduction and the methods in which to induce it,” I explain. “I simply figured that—”
“That is all VOLUNTARY. You can’t accidentally get an IVF!”
“A mystery pregnancy... You are with child, but I am the one who delivered the news to you... Oh, my, I’m so sorry.”
Delta begins to cry. “I don’t understand... I was going to get pregnant after the trip. How could this happen now? Who did this to me? How long have I been pregnant?”
I take her arms off my shoulders and give her a warm, hugging embrace. I pat the back of her head and say, “This is an impossible mystery, which means it is one we will solve together.”
“A mystery, huh... I fucking hate mysteries...”
“And I love them,” I say. “That’s why we will make a good team.”
“I’m going to have a baby. I didn’t even miss my period yet. How can I be ready for this?” Delta sighs and then lets go from me. She wipes the tears from her eyes. “Well, I guess that’ll be fun in seven or eight months. Julie is going to flip the hell out. I should probably tell her now, but...”
“Should we turn back and go home to San Franciso?” I ask.
She shakes her head. “Not yet. Don’t worry about me. I’ll figure it out myself.”
“Understood. I shall support you in any way I can.”
“You already have,” she says. “You’ve helped me a lot here. Just... Wow. Your powers accidentally had relevance for once.”
“I will take that as a very high compliment,” I say.
So Delta has absolutely no idea why she is currently growing a living being inside of her. Defying all logic, only the illogical can possibly be an answer. I heavily suspect dimensional tampering to be at fault, but I refrain from making the suggestion now. I have dealt with pregnant women in my past, and I know how to deal with them in sensitive and understanding ways. I will be as supportive as I can be.
We finally go back to our seats on the train (Francis hasn’t moved whatsoever) and get on with our lives. Well, almost.
Delta shakes her head one last time and mutters, “In a year I’m going to be changing diapers and making baby food. I just can’t believe it...”
“It’s not incredibly difficult if you practice enough,” I say. “I know with my firstborn, it was damn near impossible, but by the third, I was caring for them without even thinking about it.”
Delta stares at me again. “What did you just say? Your what?”
Suddenly, the entire train car begins rattling. All three of us jump up into combat mode.
The train comes to a screeching halt and all of the luggage (and half the people) in the car are flung into the air, tumbling down from above or off of seats.
Somehow, I don’t think that this was entirely benign.
We ready ourselves for whatever battle is to come.