Brayden fought the urge to give in to the beast that he knew dwelled within him. Now that his brother could change at will between his two forms, Brayden's realised his own beast wanted out. It wanted the chance to run free instead of being locked away from the real world. It also wanted the chance to prove he was the dominant creature. Brayden had been avoiding all his friends and family, even Quinlan was starting to notice just how much he was pulling away, and he wasn’t happy about it. He had ordered—not asked—but ordered, that Brayden attend him after morning feast.
This was so not good.
Brayden paced outside the King’s door and rubbed at his stomach. The constant movement of the beast within was making him nauseous. He would have liked nothing better than to run away from all this and pretend that this—whatever this was—wasn’t happening. He’d even prefer to be locked up again on his uncle’s estate. He didn’t want to be different. He truly just wanted to be normal. Be a normal man, who was loved by and could love his husband without all of this getting in the way.
Raising a hand he tentatively knocked on the door separating him from King Quinlan. For at this moment he was the King and not the husband Brayden loved so much. Remorse flooded through him when he realised this was all his fault. He should have just come clean and told Quinlan what, or rather, how he was feeling. Instead now it had become bigger mess, and would be recorded in the official records of the Kingdom.
“Come!” Quinlan called.
Before Brayden could turn the handle the door was opened and Cleric Saskia watched him with something akin to sadness in his eyes as he gestured Brayden into the room. He didn’t speak as he went and took his seat at the side of Quinlan’s huge mahogany desk. His hands hovering over the paper that would forever hold this conversation.
“You wanted to see me?” Brayden asked as he tried to act like he didn’t know what this was all about. He knew he’d been acting like an arse toward everyone, but there was still a childish part of him which didn’t want to own up to any wrong doing.
Quinlan silently studied him for a very long time before he spoke. Brayden got the feeling that whatever it was Quinlan had to say he wasn’t going to want to hear. He braced himself for the scolding he knew was coming his way.
“Bray, take a seat. I have something to talk to you about, and I think you need to be sitting to hear it.”
Brayden's heart thundered in his chest. Was this is where Quinlan was going to tell him their marriage had all been a mistake, and that he was ending their commitment to each other. Maybe Quinlan realised he should have chosen a girl all along. His hands fluttered to his throat as he sat opposite his husband. A sudden numbness was flowing through his body making it harder to breathe.
“Bray,” Quinlan began, his words coming faster the more he spoke. “Cleric Saskia has done some research, and we think we may know why you’ve been acting the way you have. Apparently the old ones had a system where they could bear children by their mates; whether said mate be male or female. Bray I think you are pregnant.”
Brayden didn’t even have time to filter through it all before his eyes rolled back into his head and he slid sideways off the chair and landed with a thump on the floor.
“Well that went well,” Cleric Saskia said as he laid his pen and paper on the desk.
Quinlan jumped up and ran to kneel beside his mate. He gently cradled Brayden in his arms as he picked him up and sat back in the chair. Everyone had noticed the change coming over Brayden in the past month, and it wasn’t until that little piece of information came to light that everything started to make sense. Brayden was off his food. He no longer slept completely through the night. His moods shifted with the winds and he definitely wasn’t the happy person Quinlan had married.
“Should we try and wake him?” Quinlan asked as he softly stroked his husband’s hair. “I thought he’d take it better than he did.”
Cleric Saskia chuckled beside him, “You just informed him that he may be carrying your child. How did you expect him to react?”
Kissing Brayden's temple Quinlan shrugged. “I don’t know, better than he did I suppose. Maybe he doesn’t want to be pregnant.”
“Give him time. He loves you. Once he’s had a chance to think about and absorb what you just told him he’ll be happy. It was a lot to take in.”
Quinlan smiled, “Could you imagine the beautiful child we’d make together. I thought Killian and Larkin were the most beautiful babies I’d ever laid eyes on when they were born. Could you imagine a little girl with Brayden's features? She would be sought after by so many admirers when she comes of marriageable age.”
Brayden woke, but still kept his eyes closed while he listened to Quinlan discuss the future of their child. A child! The fact this was even possible was truly amazing. Thinking that he had been gifted a way to further connect himself to Quinlan.
He felt Quinlan jump when he spoke. “Getting a little ahead of yourself aren’t you. Who says that we’ll have a girl? It very well maybe a boy. We don’t even know if I am carrying a child at all. To be honest I thought I was acting the way I was because I was going to turn like Javier has. I thought I could feel my beast wanting to be free.”
Quinlan turned Brayden's face and fully kiss him on the lips. “I think there’s only one way to solve this. We must take you straight to the healers and have them run the tests to find out when you’re truly carrying or not. You might also be correct in that your body may be going through changes readying yourself to shift for the first time.”
Brayden put his hands flat out over his rolling stomach and smiled. Maybe what he’d been feeling was the beast’s way of telling him that he was now with child. He couldn’t stop smiling as Quinlan carried him to the healing rooms. He even stayed and watched as the healers performed their tests, then announced Brayden was indeed with child.
Brayden threw his arms around Quinlan’s neck and cried. Tears of joy and of fear ran their course until they were spent. He was so happy to be sharing this miracle with Quinlan and terrified the person who had put the price on his head would now double his efforts now he was pregnant.
Hiccupping he turned his tear stained face towards his husband. “Quin, we’re having a baby.”
“Yes we are,” Quinlan smiled, and gently placed a kiss on his forehead. “You’re pregnancy is just what our family needed. It’s also just what our people needed to accept our marriage once and for all. Though to be honest I’m not sure I’m ready to share our impending parenthood with the rest of our people.”
Brayden grinned back. “You always make me happy.”
“I think this is definitely a gift from the four brother. Our Gods of old who once ruled so lovingly over us.” One of the healers pronounced.
Brayden nodded, he also believed this to be a gift from the Gods. “When my uncle would spend time with me he often told me stories about the four brothers. The way he talked I honestly believed he’d met more than one of them. He spoke as if they were living, breathing people. The things he told me were mostly about two of them, Raevyn Blue and someone called Simian. I think he truly believed they resided in our timeframes still.”
“Why does the name Raevyn Blue seem so familiar to me?” Quinlan asked the room in general.
It was one of the healers who answered. “Because up until your Consort’s father, our then king was murdered Raevyn Blue was the lead sentinel of all of Panthea as well as serving the high castle. When King Thayer was taken Raevyn resigned his position and disappeared. No one ever said he was one of the God’s, or descended from their bloodline, but I always got the feeling he was sent here to protect someone.”
Brayden lent into his husband’s body as he took in what was said. He knew he was going to spend more time talking to this particular healers because he wanted to know more about his parents. He wanted to see if his memories match up with those of his uncle.
“What is your name, healer?”
The healer smiled. “I’m simply known around here as Healer Loman.”