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Hi, Mom. Guess What?

Posted on Fri Aug 17th, 2018 @ 7:09pm by Lieutenant Commander Arturo S'Rohass & Lieutenant Xiulan Song

Mission: Repairs and Reprimands
Location: The Imperial
Timeline: Current

Arturo had acquired considerable resources as a privateer and invested them wisely, so he had the credits to afford the suite he'd rented for him and Xiulan to spend their shore leave/honeymoon in. Since it was much, much larger than their quarters on the Valiant, they were taking full advantage. They'd been having a lot of fun but now they needed to finally tell Arturo's mother and father that they'd gotten married.

"Now, remember," Arturo was saying. "My mother thinks the world of you. So she's going to be really happy. She's been telling me to marry you before you got tired of me and moved on since the day she met you. My father feels the same way about you. So you have nothing to worry about! They think of you as one of their own kittens."

Arturo was combing out Xiulan's hair with the special comb he'd had made for her for just this purpose as a symbol of his desire to become her husband. She really had beautiful hair, so soft and silky and...

Arturo shut down that line of thinking right away before he, or they, became too distracted to make the subspace call.

"Do I detect a hint of nervousness in your voice?" Xiulan teased with a grin, her eyes closed in relaxation as he combed her hair. She felt him brush some hair aside so he could plant a kiss on her neck, his signal that he was done combing. Xiulan quickly put her hair up into a large bun and secured it with her new hair fork, then she turned to give Arturo a reassuring kiss. "Don't worry, I like your parents, I think I'll be fine."

Arturo took a deep breath and centered himself.

"Alright," he said. "Let's do this."

Arturo used the room's console to place the subspace call to his parents on Alpha Centauri. He'd sent a message earlier telling them he would call at this time and that both his mother and father should be present. Finally, the call went through. On the screen appeared Arturo's mother, Lelani. His father, Arhass, was standing behind her.

"Hello?" Lelani said. "Oh, there you are! What a treat! My favorite kitten and my eldest son in one call! Xiulan, you look...radiant...wait...did you two..."

"Uhm..." Arturo said, a little thrown by being bumped from favorite kitten status by Xiulan. "We've gotten married. I'm sorry we didn't wait for you to be here, but this seemed to be the best way to..."

"EEEK!" Lelani said. "Xiulan you little devil you! You finally asked my son to marry you! Tell me all the details!"

Arturo facepalmed.

"Oh, uhhhhh...." Xiulan started before, then she grinned. "Haha, I'm favorite kitten, suck it!" she said to Arturo, giving him a playful nudge to his ribs with her elbow. "Actually, Lelani, he asked me, and you would be proud of the thought and care he put into the proposal," Xiulan reported to her new mother in law. "He proved he knew how to get through to my heart, he fed me, and then since he knows I don't do jewelry that I wouldn't want a ring like most humans do, so he made me the most beautiful comb I've ever touched. It was really special," she continued.

There was something comforting about the warm acceptance of his parents that allowed Xiulan to show her softer side, which she did by leaning over to Arturo to rest her chin on his shoulder at first, then she nuzzled against his cheek with a smile.

Lelani laughed with glee again.

"Oh, that's lovely!" she said. "Isn't that lovely, Arhass?"

"Yes, dear," Arhass said from the background, giving them the thumbs up with both hands, from behind Lelani.

"Ooh!" Lelani said. "That sounds sooo romantic. Arturo, son, I now re-elevate you back to favorite kitten status, but you have to share it with Xiulan. You'll have to share everything with her from now on, so you might as well start practicing."

"Mother," Arturo said. "We've been living together for the last two years, I think we have some experience sharing."

"It's nice that you think that, dear," Lelani said. "Don't worry, Xiulan will set you straight. Now, down to business! When are my two favorite kittens going to bless me with a litter of grandkittens?"

"I think we can share," Xiulan said, nodding slightly with her chin still resting on Arturo's shoulder. But then Lelani dropped the big bomb, 'litter of grandkids', which quite effectively short circuited Xiulan's brain with shock. She grew stiff, her expression one of pure horror.

"Mother!" Arturo said. "She's human! You know they usually have only one or two at a time...okay, well, some people triplets...or quadruplets...or quintuplets...or sextuplets...is sextuplets a funny word? I mean, you got the sextuplets by having sex..."

Arturo shook his head and stopped babbling.

"Really, Mother!" he said. "Despite all of that I just said, most Humans have one child at a time. Look what you've done now! You've broken my wife!"

Arturo pulled Xiulan around into his lap before she fell over.

"Graceful Orchid?" he said. "It is I! Do not let my mother's ill chosen words frighten you. No litters for you. One child at a time, and only when you're ready. Xiulan? Xiulan? Are you still with me?"

When Xiulan finally snapped out of her fugue, she looked positively shell-shocked. "When did we agree to have kids, much less a litter?!"

"It's a discussion for later, Graceful Orchid," Arturo said. "Let's get used to being married first and then get to an assignment where we can have kittens...kids before we talk about it at all. I promise I won't rush you. AND NEITHER WILL MY MOTHER! Is that clear, Mother?"

Arturo said. His mother had crossed a line and Arturo had switched to Alpha Cat mode. Not angry, but firm.

"We'll have children if and when we're ready," he said. "And not a moment before."

Lelani's ears went back. She looked as though she expected Arhass to do something, but he wasn't having it.

"Don't look at me, dear," he said. "The boy is right. You should apologize."

Lelani looked like she was going to object, then softened.

"I'm sorry, kittens," she said. "I just thought...well, I should have known better. Your careers, the work you do is important, and if you need to put off having kittens...children, then I can wait. Besides, your sibs have given me plenty of grand kittens to play with and spoil...not that there's not room for more! But...I'm truly sorry Xiulan. You know how much I love you. I didn't mean to frighten you."

"I don't know if I even want kids!" Xiulan exclaimed. "I don't get why just because I have a uterus that it becomes mandatory I'd want to become a baby factory! I never wanted them before, why would that suddenly changed just because I got married?!"

Arturo looked a little shocked and hurt and started mentally kicking himself for not having the guts to bring this conversation up before now. His ears went back.

"I..." Arturo said. "I guess I should have brought this up with you before, but, I want children. Not right away. I assumed...I assumed this was a discussion we could have in the future, when the time was right. I was going to tiptoe up to the subject, very, very, VERY, slowly, and I wasn't even going to begin for several years. But...if you really don't want children at all, and you're not willing to consider it later...I guess...I guess I'll just have to live with that."

"Oh fuck..." Xiulan muttered when she realized how she had hurt him. "Look, we can talk about this later, but right now I just... I don't know, it's just not something I really want to think about..."

"Yes," Arturo said, furious at his mother for bringing this up the way she did, forcing it to be an issue before Arturo was even ready to discuss with her. He wasn't even really upset at Xiulan. She'd reacted true to form, a form he loved deeply, even when it made her very difficult to deal with. But...to completely close the idea of children? Arturo decided he'd have to settle for her being at least willing to discuss the subject later. "Of course."

Arturo turned to his mother.

"I think we need to end this call, right now," he said. "Before I say things everyone in the conversation are going to regret. Goodbye."

Arturo cut the link and looked up at Xiulan.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I never would have brought the subject up with you in that matter."

Arturo was still hurt, but he was also worried about his relationship with Xiulan. Was that relationship more important to him than having children? Arturo had once felt that it probably was. Now, having everything said out loud and all at once...had this conversation ruined things between he and Xiulan. Arturo believed that what they had was stronger than that, but did Xiulan share that belief?

"No, I'm sorry," Xiulan said, much to her own surprise. "Your mom just blindsided me and I put my foot in my mouth like I always do. Really, we can talk about this later..."

Arturo smiled, a little weakly, but he smiled.

"That's all I can really ask of you," he said. "I'm still upset, not at you, at my mother. I think I need to take a walk to cool off. I'll be gone no more than an hour. Afterwards, there's a band playing at one of the base's pubs. Your kind of music. Want to go? We wouldn't be able to hear each other in there anyway, so we could just be together without having to talk about anything."

Arturo gave a little smirk at the part about not being able to hear each other. Suddenly, without warning, he pulled Xiulan down into a powerful kiss and held her in it until he was forced to come up for air.

"I am your husband," he said. "You are my wife. We're partners. We will get passed this."

There was just the slightest bit of extra emphasis on the words 'my' and 'wife', a...possessiveness, for lack of a better word.

Xiulan abruptly pulled away from Arturo, practically pushing him back after his kiss. "Okay, you better go take that walk now," Xiulan said with a frown. What the hell was going on with him? Even when she provoked him into going all Alpha Male during their fun times, he was never like this!

Arturo frowned, too, and just barely managed to suppress a growl. Now he WAS getting irritated. What had he done wrong now?!? Just what did Xiulan want from him?

"Alright then," Arturo said, a little stiffness in his voice. "I'll do that."

Without another word, he rose and left the room.

Xiulan wasn't that far behind him, grabbing her cane to take herself to the hotel bar; fuck this noise...

[Later]

Arturo returned to the hotel after his walk. He had been frustrated and angry, but felt somewhat calmer now. He wasn't sure why Xiulan had gotten angry with him, but just as he was sure the Bajoran Wormhole led to the Gamma Quadrant, he was just as sure that Xiulan would let him know what he had done. For some reason, though, he wasn't feeling quite as willing to let her steam roll him as he usually was. Being Xiulan's mate required patience and sometimes finesse, maybe a firm hand sometimes, but that was usually only behind closed doors in more intimate situations. Not that she was truly submissive in any part of her life. He really and truly loved that about Xiulan, no matter how much of a pain in the ass it could be sometimes. Arturo had spent the last hour reminding himself of that fact so that he wouldn't come back too angry to be reasonable.

When Arturo entered the lobby, their waitress from the other night flagged him down and told him that it would be in everyone's best interests if he went to the hotel bar. At first, Arturo tried to get an explanation, but then he just waved the the explanation off, thanked the waitress, and walked into the bar.

Xiulan sat at the bar sipping at a beer and snacking on a battered and deep-fried onion. She was calm, but considering how the bar staff was keeping their distance from her, she probably hadn't been that way the entire time she had been there.

"Hey," she said simply when she heard the familiar footsteps of her husband; damn, husband, that was going to take some getting used to...

"Hello," Arturo said. He wanted to kiss her on the cheek, but she was clearly still upset and her posture was stiff. "Lei told me I should come in here and check on you. I don't see any broken furniture or people, and Shore Patrol doesn't have you in restraints, so whatever reason she felt I need to come in here couldn't have been that bad."

He should have led with an apology, but for some reason, he just didn't want to. He was fine with Xiulan being pissed at his mother. He was pissed at his mother. But he didn't understand why she was mad at him.

"I may or may not have dumped a drink in someone's lap, then pushed him out of his chair, forcibly; the guy was hitting on me and wouldn't stop," Xiulan said, then took another piece of her onion and dipped it in a tangy sauce before popping it into her mouth. "Are you ready to listen to what I have to say?" she asked. She sounded calm enough, but if experience meant anything, then looks could be deceiving.

Arturo's back bristled at the thought of someone hitting on Xiulan, but he calmed himself relatively quickly. She could take care of herself, obviously.

"Yes," he said. He wanted to tell her that he was always ready to listen to anything she had to say, but even he could see that he wasn't ready to listen earlier. "Do you want to say it here, or shall we go upstairs?"

"Why would I leave a perfectly good bloomin' onion?" Xiulan said, then nudged out a barstool with her foot for him to join her. She even pushed the onion closer to him so she could share. "So, I didn't appreciate your passive aggressive comment that I don't listen or that we simply don't talk to each other," she started, then paused to snap her fingers at the barkeep to get his attention, then tapped at the bar to indicate that her glass was now empty and that she needed a refill. "I listen, Arturo, and as to talking, I'd like to think I've gotten better at it; well, maybe not 'better' but at the very least more willing. Anyway, I heard your sadness and I really did want to talk to you about it, but I felt backed into a corner and you were emotional, so when I said we'd talk about it later, I meant it, I just wanted us to both cool off first; I'd already put my foot in my mouth enough times, I didn't want to ruin the talk with a hot head."

Arturo took the offered stool. He asked Xiulan to hold that thought, and when the bartender came to refill Xiulan's drink, he ordered his own.

"Bacardi 151," he said. "Rocks. Make it a double."

He waited until his drink arrived and drained half of it, taking a moment to figure out what she was talking about before replying.

"Is this about my suggestion that hearing that band play was a good idea because we could be together without talking about anything?" he asked. "I thought...well, in retrospect, maybe that wasn't as funny as it sounded in my head. But I was afraid to have the conversation tonight, either! I thought if we had the conversation tonight or even anytime soon, you'd make a final decision one way or the other! I wasn't ready for the decision to be final, not yet."

Arturo drained the rest of his glass and ordered another.

"Sorry..." Xiulan said. She took a heavy pull of her beer, then sighed. "I really did think you meant it as a jab, but we were both emotional, and I'll be the first to admit I ain't perfect... But then you got really possessive, and it kinda freaked me out; I normally like it when you get possessive, but this time it didn't feel right... I felt like... I dunno, property," she admitted, then took another drink of her beer.

Arturo was silent for a moment. Then he spoke.

"Possessive, maybe," he said. "Property, no. I don't think of you as my property, but there are times when I want to possess you, claim you, mark you as mine...and maybe I just needed to do so in that moment to reassure myself that you were going to be there when I got back. Maybe not right there, but still with me...you know what I mean! That need...maybe it has become a bit more pronounced since we've gotten married. I don't know if that's true or not. But never believe that I think of us as anything but equal partners, not ever!"

Xiulan nodded, but remained silent for a while as she picked at her bloomin' onion. "And as for the talk... Now definitely isn't the right time to be talking about kids, not while we're on a Defiant-class, but I'm willing to leave the door open for the future. I don't know what's so great about kids that you want them so bad, but I've changed a lot since I've met you, I'm willing to open myself to change on this too," she finally said.

Arturo's ear's pricked up and his tale started swishing back and forth happily! He took a long drink from his glass in celebration.

"Thank you," he said, simply. "As for why kids? That's a conversation for another time. A time when we're both ready for it."

Arturo started to help Xiulan finish decimating her bloomin' onion.

"You know," he said. "Offering food to a male Caitian is a real turn on to them. Very intimate. It comes from the lions. The lionesses do the hunting and bring their kills to the lion. But I've always considered myself a lion at heart...ouch! Meow! I wasn't suggesting that you let me attract a whole pride of lionesses! Besides, I'd share them with you if I did!"

Hearing him joke around about other lionesses helped relieve some of the tension, and she actually managed to snicker. "I'm serious, though; what's so great about kids?" Xiulan asked. "They're loud, smelly... All they do is eat sleep and poop, which is a cherry deal for the kid, not so much for the parents who have to clean up all the vomit and poop! Honestly, I wouldn't know what to do with a kid if I had one."

"Well," Arturo said. "Even Human children grow out of that after a few years. Catian babies grow up faster than Human children and they don't spend as much time totally helpless. I'm really not sure what our child would turn out to be, but Catian DNA tends to be dominant in most cases. That's good, because that tends to greatly lower the probability of producing a child who resembles a Mexican Hairless Cats from Earth. Regardless, my mother always told me that children make up for being aggravating by being cute and adorable. Otherwise, their parents would kill them. They have a way of...touching hearts, especially the hearts of their parents. And they're what we leave behind when we pass, a part of ourselves, a part of who we are. They're a way to be relevant even after we're gone, through them, and through their children, and so on."

"I guess that does sound kind of awesome..." Xiulan admitted with faux reluctance. "And before you ask, me not wanting kids was never about pregnancy itself; yeah, it's an annoyance, but it's one I get, it's just how that goes..." She sighed. "Don't rightly know why I never wanted kids before, I was just... never interested; it never appealed to me, so I never put much energy into thinking about it. But I'll give it some thought now. We'll be here for a while, so I'll have plenty of time to really consider it, then once we move on to an assignment that would make kids a possibility, we can talk about it some more."

Arturo leaned over and kissed Xiulan on the cheek.

"Thank you," he said. He drained his second drink. By now there was a giddy sparkle in his eyes...which Xiulan couldn't see, of course, but she could probably get some sense of how he was feeling. "So, you know, conceiving a child is something that has to be done just right. It takes lots and lots and lots of practice, and we have time before that band plays, and we do have that awesome suite, so..."

Xiulan gave an exaggerated sigh. "I suppose I could let you twist my arm..." Then she leaned over to kiss her husband; her husband, seriously!!! "But first we should probably tell my dad the good news."

Well, there was a buzz kill, but the kiss made up for that.

"Hmmm..." Arturo said. "Yes, of course...uhm...about that..."

"About what?" Xiulan said suspiciously. "What did you do?"

"Well," Arturo said. "I may have, purely to show respect to your father, and not in anyway to imply that you are the property of either of us...uhm...asked him for your hand."

Arturo winced and waited to be hit or kicked or have his ear twisted.

"Uh huh..." Xiulan replied, looking mildly perturbed. "You're lucky you're really cute and I'm horny," she said bluntly, then grinned. "Let's skip the band," she suggested.

"YES!" Arturo said. "Er, I mean, ahem, that sounds great!"

Arturo kissed his bride again and loved every bit of the kiss...even the bloomin' onion and beer breath.

"Shall we?" he said, 'shall we' being code for Arturo to stick out his left arm so Xiulan could take it and they could walk side by side without her needing her cane. He was very eager to get upstairs. Xiulan wasn't the only one who was raring to go. He hadn't been kidding earlier. Somehow, he found Xiulan even more desirable now that they were married.

Instead of taking his arm, Xiulan grabbed him around the waist and settled him on her shoulder to carry him back to their room. Then she gave him a playful whack to the backside with her folded cane, then snapped the cane open to guide her back to their room; yup, they were going to have fun tonight!

 

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