I've seen it in the flights of birds

nc-17 | sexual content | post-endgame

It was thirteen months since she had returned to solid ground, eleven months since she had tracked him down, seven months since they had been married, and four months after they finished building their home, when Rokurou asked her if she was interested in having children. Casually, as if the answer wasn't that important to him. She knew if she said no, he would simply drop the subject and they would go about their life as it was, carefully avoiding certain activities when her body might be fertile.

But there was a reason she hadn't objected when he said the house should have multiple bedrooms. In case Magilou ever came to visit, of course.

Velvet reached across the table and interlaced her fingers with his. It was a risk. Most daemons alive today roamed freely, consumed with rage, attacking anything they could. Not many had settled into villages like they had, and even fewer had tried to create families. Daemons could definitely procreate, much to Velvet's surprise, but there was only one known daemon midwife who could assist with such births. Neither of them knew what pregnancy would do to a therion's body. She was still working on recovering from her ordeal. And even if Laph- Maotelus had assured her that it was safe, she still felt the pull of her former tomb at times.

But she wanted a family. And so did he. Together, they had created the home and the life she had longed for her in youth and abandoned all hope of ever having after her imprisonment.

She simply nodded.


They weren't like the nightmares she used to have.

She would still jerk awake and sit up abruptly, her breathing faster than usual. But there was no terror, no paralyzing despair, no daemons, physical or otherwise, to chase away. Her enemy-turned-ally-turned-friend-turned-lover-turned-husband would stir and then put his arm around her.

Her body was here, but a part of her mind would always be back with her brother, like a low hum in the background that she wouldn't even notice unless she focused on it. She knew he still got lonely and scared at times, but Maotelus had sung to them while they slept, with a rhythm that matched the beating of their hearts, and he promised her he would keep up the ritual even with Velvet back in the world.

She hadn't wanted to leave, at first. Her staying was a certainty; her departure, a risk. Even if her brother's power flickered out into the world for even a moment, it could be a disaster.

But he had insisted. She had a chance at something like a normal life, and Laphicet had long since abandoned hope of ever having one of his own. He had pushed her mind away, cut off their mental connection after he told her it was the very least he could do.

When she had breathed air for the first time in too, too long, he found her again, assured her he would always be with her.

And told her that she deserved happiness.

She had cried for hours after that, tucked in the wing of a dragon who sung her a lullaby until she was strong enough to stand on her own.

So when Velvet was cooking and heard her brother humming the same lullaby, or she woke from a dream where they were walking through a field, she would simply focus on him and remind him that he wasn't alone. She would sing to him, tell him about Rokurou's store and how well it was doing, about the garden she was growing.

Like with her memories of Celica, she would try to cherish the moments and be glad she had them, rather than allow them to drag her back down into despair.

It helped when Rokurou was there, holding her hand.


"This might be a good time," she told him as he sharpened his blade. He nearly spilled the clove oil on the floor as he stood up quickly to pull her into his arms.

When they made it to their bedroom, she dropped her nightgown to the floor. Even though he'd seen her naked before, many times, his hands faltered as he started to remove his own clothing. She lay down on the bed and tucked a pillow under her hips; she wasn't sure if it actually helped or not, but it felt good.

Rokurou tossed aside his final sock and nearly pounced on her. He never treated it like a chore, like it didn't matter if she found pleasure under his hands. Every time he made love to her, whether it might be a good time or not, he was still the considerate, passionate man who wanted her to enjoy it as much as he did. Or more.

After kissing her on her mouth, so hard and long that she could barely breathe, he spread her legs wider and kissed her there. He seemed to genuinely enjoy working her with his tongue, smearing her slickness all over his chin as he flicked the firm muscle over her sensitive bits. Their isolated home meant she could cry out as loudly as she wanted when he added his fingers. He would suck on her while he penetrated her over and over, making her throb until all the tension was released, until her body pulsed and twitched.

She would have thought it odd if she didn't also genuinely enjoy using her mouth on him. They couldn't do it tonight, as it would be a waste, but she found she loved feeling him grow under tongue. She even liked it when emptied himself into her, although her sense of taste had returned and his essence was somewhat unpleasant. She just had to swallow it down and run her tongue along his thigh to pick up the salty taste there, to wipe the bitterness away.

He had three fingers in her and was circling her little button with his tongue when she came apart, growling as she arched her back, as she twisted her own fingers in the sheets. Her essence didn't taste as bitter as his when he rose up and pressed his body to hers, kissing her deeply.

Velvet reached between them and took him in her hand, guiding him to her entrance.

"You're not going to give me a break," he moaned into her mouth.

"I ... I just want to make you feel good, too."

"I'm not really complaining." He pushed into her easily, having prepared her well. As much as Niko told her that her first time would hurt, it hadn't then, or any time since.

The pillow was crushed under their weight, making any potential benefit useless, but she didn't care. He was propped up on his elbows so he could stroke her face. She wrapped her legs around him, as if she could pull him closer, as if they weren't already joined as intimately as two people could be.

"You always make me feel good, Velvet," he whispered. "I've never been this happy."

She felt a twinge of sadness as she remembered the night he had revealed to all of them how he became a daemon. After she recited her wedding vows, she had silently made a private one - that she would do her best to make sure he never suffered from that kind of despair again. For as long as she lived, she would assure him that he was loved. That he was good enough.

As if he could sense where her thoughts were going, Rokurou captured her mouth in a slow, soft kiss that matched the movements of his hips below. Even when their lovemaking was frantic, or rough, his devotion to her was still evident in each touch, each kiss, each thrust of his body against hers.

He was still kissing her when he came.


Velvet found him on the porch, in the rocking chair they had built, staring off at the sunset. From the look on his face, she didn't need to ask him what he was thinking about. She put a gentle hand on his shoulder.

"You're not going to be anything like your mother."

It was the first time she had said something about it, explicitly. He had shared with her stories of his childhood, and while she privately thought the woman sounded cruel and horrible, she was still his mother. He still loved her. And she's sure feeling like that love wasn't reciprocated contributed to his desire to end his life.

Sometimes, she would imagine him as a child, being yelled at or having his knuckles struck, being humiliated in front of the rest of his clan, all by a woman who was supposed to love him unconditionally. Those images haunted her, because even if she loved the man who had come out of it, she hated the past he had to endure. She hoped he didn't worry that parenthood would turn him into the same monster he had to fear. She trusted him with his life and hoped to soon be trusting him with their child.

She rubbed her belly after she made sure he couldn't see her do it. It was too early to be certain, and there were no outward signs, but she felt like something had changed. Her senses of smell and taste had gotten even sharper, to the point where she could no longer be around - much less eat - her husband's curry without feeling ill. But if a child hadn't taken root, she didn't want to get his hopes up.

"I know," he said, softly, finally. "She ... she was ..."

"You don't have to say it." Velvet pulled him to his feet and into an embrace. It was one thing to finally accept that one's parent had been abusive; it was another thing to be able to say it out loud. Nothing would change if he voiced the words. "You're a good man."

"For a daemon, yeah -"

"You're a good man."

He managed to burrow even deeper into her neck.


She almost felt like she was lying to him when he came to her and asked her if it was a good time, when she said it could be. It was true, as long as his seed hadn't already blossomed inside her. She had taken to rubbing lemon rind under her nose to try to dull the strong smells that assaulted her, and her pants no longer seemed to fit well. On the other hand, she had been pouring her urine on the barley and wheat for three days now, but it hadn't sprouted.

He grinned and took her hand; instead of going to the bedroom, she guided him to the couch instead. Her nightgown hit the floor a second before his sleep pants. He sat down, his member already growing hard, and she settled in his lap.

"Won't the whole gravity thing make it harder this way?"

"I'll lay down right after," she promised him. In this position, it would be harder for him to notice the changes in her body. She knew he would find her attractive regardless; she didn't know how he would react if he began to get excited for a child and it was all for nothing.

If he smelled the lemon when he kissed her, if he noticed her stomach was swollen when he caressed her, he said nothing.

She went out the next morning to find both grains had sprouted. Celica said barley meant a boy, wheat a girl, but never said anything about both. Did that mean there were two growing inside her? The idea made her heart flutter.


She was reluctant to let the midwife cast artes on her stomach; Magilou may have vouched for the quiet, blue-skinned daemon, but that didn't entirely ease Velvet's concerns. Ilya had already listened to her belly with what looked like a hollow yak horn, pressed against it gently with her sixteen fingers, but hadn't announced if she heard new life growing there.

The changes in her body told her there was definitely something, but she had no way of knowing if the child was going to be okay. If Rokurou felt any of the anxiety Velvet did, it didn't show. He was holding her hand but not clutching it, smiling at her like it was any other day and she wasn't sitting in an oddly-shaped chair in a house three towns away from their home, being examined by the only person on the planet who might know what was going on in her body.

A bright yellow aura surrounded Velvet's mid-section, briefly causing her tense.

"A healthy girl," Ilya announced. "Good heart."

Velvet relaxed back in the chair and heard her husband let out a sigh. Of relief, she thought. Lately she had found herself wishing for a boy, a smaller version of Rokurou who would grow up as kind and strong as his father. But she wasn't disappointed in the least; the only word that mattered there was "healthy".

She barely heard Ilya as she handed Rokurou a small jar of white powder and gave instructions on how to take it. Something about it tasting bitter, vitamins, protein, but it didn't matter, because he would remember. Then more words that didn't quite matter and he had scheduled a time to return for another checkup. The midwife didn't take gald, only bartered, so they gave her a quilt Velvet had made, some vegetables from the garden, and went outside to their wagon.

Rokurou brought her out of her near-trance with his hands on either side of her face, his mouth on hers. Then embraced her, mindful of her swollen stomach. She wouldn't entirely be calm until their child - their daughter - was here. Entirely healthy or not, whether she was here for a few weeks or the rest of their lives, they would love her completely.

There was too much that could happen in four months, too much unknown about what the offspring of a yaksha and a therion might be. But at some point in her journey from that cell in Titania to here, she had done the impossible.

Remembered how to hope.