In Captive Wings
Part Eleven: The Legacy Lives On…
A quiet night in a secret hideaway hidden in an inconspicuous area somewhere under the blanket of stars hanging over the sleepy town on Puckworld…a dimly lit room where two lovers lay entwined in each other’s arms…peaceful dreams of love and adventure where only two soul mates exist to share life and all its surprises…and then…a surprise…
“YOW!” Tanya exclaimed through clenched teeth as she sat up straight in bed scaring Duke nearly half to death.
“You okay sweetheart?” he looked up at her with his brown eye and cybernetic red one.
“Sheesh Duke, our kid’s gonna be some kind of kick boxer when he’s born.” Tanya muttered as she rubbed her aching abdomen.
Duke smiled and sighed, “Looks like Junior’s planning to keep us up all night again eh?”
Tanya gave him a cocky grin, “It’ll serve you right if our kid’s a girl.”
“What? You don’t want a boy?” Duke countered slyly.
“I just want a healthy baby.” Tanya answered leaning back against her pillow.
Sliding closer Duke gently rubbed his hand over his wife’s ever-expanding waistline. “My sentiments exactly angel. Junior, Daddy’s girl, whatever…I’ll love em just the same. You know that.”
“Daddy’s girl?” Tanya chuckled, “I take it you plan to spoil our baby?”
“You know it.” Duke brought his beak to Tanya’s, “Don’t I spoil you doll?”
“When I let you.” Tanya leaned into the kiss until neither could get a word out.
After a few brief seconds the sudden sharp pain came again, “Ow…” Tanya winced, “…still not as bad as the last one though.”
“I felt that one.” Duke laughed moving his hand across Tanya’s waist. “I don’t think we have to worry about our kid being healthy…they seem plenty strong and upbeat to me.”
Duke could still remember when Tanya had first taken a pregnancy test, she’d thought pregnancy a possibility after several spells of morning sickness…
Tanya stared at the pregnancy test in utter disbelief. “I don’t believe it.” she gasped.
The heist had ended about a half hour before Tanya had decided to use the darn thing and Duke was lying across their bed reading some action/adventure novel and awaiting the results with more patience than Tanya could’ve ever mustered.
Coming out of the bathroom holding the applicator she stared at him wide eyed and silent for a moment.
“Well?” Duke questioned, “What’s the news?”
“I---I’m p--preg--” Tanya stuttered, Duke rested his bill on his hand (it’d take her a minute to spit it out), “pregna--I’m gonna have a baby!”
A smile crept across Duke’s face, “Now that’s the best news I’ve heard in years. C’mere sweetheart.”
Tanya went straight into Duke’s arms, even if one suspects they’re pregnant, it can still come as quite a shock to have such suspicions confirmed.
Looking at the ‘stick’ Duke could see the two light blue lines meaning that Tanya was indeed carrying a baby. They both had spoken of children before and had mutually agreed upon wanting some. So for Duke and Tanya…this was a welcomed surprise.
It had been around five months since the couple had received the joyous news and now Tanya’s closest friend and the whole Brotherhood of the Blade knew of the future leader on the way. None could be more fit to lead the Brotherhood than the direct descendent of Duke L’Orange himself. So, in other words, nearly everyone was looking forward to the arrival of the baby…and they wouldn’t have to wait long…
Snow fell consistently over much of Puckworld, as it usually did, on the day that Tanya went into labor. The baby was to be born in, of all places, their bedchamber, with Duke and a doctor (who happened to be a loyal ally of the Brotherhood, hey, they have connections) by her side.
“Alright Mrs. L’Orange,” the doctor instructed brushing a few strands of curly bangs from her eyes, “it shouldn’t be much longer. The egg looks to be of normal size, that’s a very good sign.”
Tanya wanted to wring the neck of this woman, DUH! I KNOW WHAT NORMAL SIZE MEANS LADY! SHEESH I’M NOT A MORON!! THEN AGAIN…I DID LET DUKE DO THIS TO ME.
Duke watched nervously as Tanya continued to breathe heavily and push when she was told. Just a few minutes into the process he’d taken her hand in his (he would’ve done it sooner if the doctor hadn’t kept him running around for supplies), he’d come to regret this pretty quickly because Tanya was now using his hand for a stress reliever. He never knew his wife could crush bones so easily but that felt like exactly what she was doing to his hand, his saber holding hand!
The doctor pushed her glasses back up her beak and ran a long sleeved arm over her sweating brow, “You’re going to need to push a bit harder now Mrs. L’Orange. The egg isn’t going to lay itself.”
WHAT DOES SHE THINK I’M DOING NOW?!! Tanya growled mentally, PLAYING CHESS?! LEMME REACH DUKE’S SABER, I’LL SHOW HER PUSHING!!
Another hour and one last push resulted in the delivery of the egg in which the duckling rested. Weeks later the baby would hatch and the proud parents would be able to cradle their newborn, but for now…
“Look Tawny, ya did it angel.” Duke rubbed his hand over Tanya’s back comfortingly.
The egg was placed in several soft blankets before being handed over to the mother. Tanya stared down at the pearly white shell and felt the warmth of the tiny being inside it. The egg took up about the length of her lap and slight movements could be felt when it was held close enough.
Sighing with relief and adoration Tanya leaned towards Duke who had brought his arm around her and was now pressing a tender kiss into her cheek. “I’d say the future’s lookin’ pretty promising, wouldn’t you sweetheart?”
Nodding slightly Tanya felt her eyelids drooping. “I couldn’t have planned it better myself.”
Ricochet hated egg-sitting duty.
It had become a common task for the most trusted members over the past few weeks. And--oh goody--he was among the most trusted in the Brotherhood. Thus, he got to watch after the unhatched duckling while his parents where in meetings with the mob, or occupied with heists, or out shopping for the baby, and he’d never know how, but Tanya had somehow managed to have a BABY SHOWER! On this occasion Tanya had run out with that science friend of hers to get something for decorating the nursery that had been added as an extension to one of the small areas of Duke and Tanya’s bedchamber.
So Ricochet sat there, bill in hands which were propped on his knees, waiting for this kid’s mother (or father) to get back. “You’d better hatch soon kid cuz there’s no way I’m keeping this silly egg-sitting duty up much longer.”
The thief’s eyes widened as he suddenly witnessed something odd…the egg…it moved…or did it?
“WHOA WHOA WHOA KID!!” Ricochet gasped, “I didn’t mean while I was on duty!”
Jumping back as if the egg were a bomb that was about to go off he darted around the room frantically trying to decide what the heck to do. Finally he realized just how far in over his head he was and called out the door, “HEY! SOMEBODY! ANYBODY!! GET IN HERE QUICK THIS EGG’S HATCHIN’!!!”
Luckily for Ricochet (not to mention the poor baby) Tanya was walking down the hall with the supplies she and Ruby had picked out for the nursery. The items in the bag would be the finishing touches on the tiny room painted sky blue and gold. Neither Tanya or Duke wanted to know in advance the sex of their baby, simply because it didn’t matter. A room could be decorated in a style that would fit either, so there merely was no need to ruin the surprise. A surprise that was now occurring…
Tanya dropped the bag when she heard Ricochet’s cries. “DUKE!” she yelled rushing towards the room. “What happened?” she asked Ricochet who wouldn’t get within three feet of the egg.
“That egg moved,” he informed her, pointing at the egg with a shaking finger, “you two knew better than to leave me here with that kid this close to hatching time! Do I look like a doctor to you?!”
“Hardly,” Tanya muttered leaning over to inspect the egg. Sure enough, the egg was moving, slightly, but still shaking a bit.
“So-” Ricochet asked over her shoulder a minute later, “-exactly what am I supposed to do here?”
Rolling her eyes Tanya glared up using a honeysweet voice, “Well…you could try being helpful, like, oh say, BY GETTING DUKE!”
The sudden change of voice startled the already shaken up thief who nervously saluted, bowed, and nearly fell over before taking off down the hall in search of the leader.
These guys are all hopeless. Tanya told herself as she turned back to the egg. Anytime now Ricochet…I doubt this baby’s gonna wait much longer…
“Hey Tawny ya dropped this,” Duke came in the room holding the shopping bag out to Tanya, “and I think something’s wrong with Ricochet, maybe I should give him a vacation or something, ya know?”
“Or sign him up for parenting classes,” Tanya snickered.
Duke cocked an eyebrow, “Everything okay in here?”
“Fine,” Tanya grinned, “oh and by the way…our egg’s hatching.”
“That’s great kid,” Duke sat the bag down and turned to leave only to freeze and go into panic mode, “OUR EGG’S HATCHING?!”
I’m surrounded. Tanya concluded, “You wanna come see for yourself?”
“Well…wha-what’ll I do? I mean we need what? Hot water? towels? diapers? what??” Duke was quickly becoming a nervous wreck, Tanya couldn’t help but grin, she’d never seen Mr. Composure lose it so easily.
“At least I’m not the only one who stutters around here.” she chuckled, “Just calm down Duke, this is the easy part. We just wait for the baby to break through the shell.”
Duke dropped down on his knees beside Tanya and their egg. “How long does this part usually take?”
Tanya shrugged, “Sometimes ten minutes or so…sometimes longer depending on the thickness of the shell.”
Patiently the two parents stood watch over their hatching egg until finally a tiny orange beak could be seen poking through. Leaning closer they saw the hole gradually grow wider until an amber colored eye stared up at them. A small sound (as if someone yawning) followed then a brief glimpse of a tiny hand passing by the opening.
“Look Duke,” Tanya was instantly captivated, “that’s our baby.”
It was amazing how something so small could revert Tanya’s speech back to plain (nonscientific) English. “Sure is sweetheart.”
Finally the duckling has pushed just about as far out of the egg as it was willing too. Letting out a cry for assistance the baby waited crankily for its two parents to take the hint and finish the job.
Duke lifted his son out of the broken shell and held him between himself and Tanya. “He’s beautiful…naturally.”
Tanya was about to remark on how vain he was getting when he handed the baby to her and added, “Just like his mother.”
Blushing Tanya cradled their son, “What should we name him?”
“I kinda like Warren myself.” Duke said softly, he and Tanya had discussed names together (for both a boy or a girl) and had settled on a few that sounded nice. Warren was the one that just seemed to suit this kid.
“Warren,” Tanya agreed nuzzling the baby’s tiny bill with her own, “Warren L’Orange.”
“It’s got a nice ring to it.” Duke smiled, “The guys’ are gonna love him.”
Tanya nodded, she’d gotten to know the rest of the Brotherhood well since her time in their hideout. They were pretty decent guys…even Ricochet. She felt better about raising a family among them now, some were raising families already. What had at first seemed to be merely a gang of thieves had proved to be a close knit group of friends and allies with a code of honor that surpassed most common day regulations.
“We just gotta make sure that Ricochet survived his near heart attack and all.” Tanya laughed.
“Always was the first to overreact, less it was a heist.” Duke smiled, Ricochet was one of the younger members (closer to Tanya’s age) but his dependability had first been proven as a friend before he’d joined the mob. If there was one guy Duke could trust to help him out in a tight spot, it was Ricochet.
The shrill crying of an attention seeking newborn snapped both parents out of their thoughts. Their main focus now (and probably for a good portion of their lives) was little Warren.
“C’mon little guy,” Duke grinned to his son as he and Tanya headed for the door, “ya wanna go meet the gang?”
The baby’s whimpers died down a bit as the trio reached the main meeting area where the mob members were gathered in preparation for their next big theft. The members looked up as the couple came into the room holding their newly hatched infant. Smiles appeared on some faces while looks of curiosity lit up others.
“So that’s the new one eh?” one member said.
“Looks like ol’ Duke.” another laughed.
Shadowbill added with a snicker, “Let’s hope the poor kid at least got his mom’s smarts.”
“Well she certainly passed some smarts onto you,” Duke countered referring to how Tanya had tripped Shadowbill and Crosswing up during her escape back before she and Duke were married. A roar of laughter echoed through the room, try as they might, those two would never live that rookie mistake down.
The baby was still on the fussy side and the added noise didn’t help his mood much. A slight whimper brought down the volume and the members gradually gathered around to have a good look at the future leader of The Brotherhood of the Blade.
Inquisitive brown eyes darted from one thief to the next as Warren gazed up at the mallards surrounding him as he lay in his father’s arms. Duke received slaps on the back and Tanya enjoyed brief embraces as what was basically their family crowded around the youngster bestowing compliments and warm smiles on the child and his parents.
You know you’re living with a band of thieves, a voice reminded Tanya, and you’re married to the most notorious jewel thief of all.
Duke glanced sideways at Tanya with that reassuring grin of his, Yeah…Tanya agreed, …but it’s not half as bad as I’d expected. And if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
*And that readers, is the end! ^_^ Hope everyone liked this fic. I never expected it to be as popular as the reviews suggest it is. It’s just one of those pleasant surprises that inspires writers like me to keep it up. I might do a sequel to this, ya know, since it’s done so well, but that may be a while ahead. Gotta finish my other fics now. And if ya liked this storyline, you’ll probably enjoy my other fanfic Hidden Agendas.*