Chapter 189: Jamian  

Second week of June

Everything was going to be all right.

Kailani's twins were cute, in a wrinkly, noisy sort of way. "Neither of them are named Onomatopoeia," she'd told Jaya and Shahin, and it had seemed to make sense to her. Alistair and Audra looked like they took after their mother, which was probably good for both of them.

Jaya wasn't sure about her own kid, but she could feel it moving inside her once in a while, beginning to make its presence known. Being a mother was a terrifying thought - slightly less so than being a father, and she was going to get both at the same time. And then would come the horrible discussion with Tya - and possibly with Nikita - about kids and responsibility and the fact that, even trying her best, Tya didn't do parenthood at all.

But that was going to be all right, too. They'd talked about it before, after all.

Shahin and Emrys… she thought they were happy. It wasn't always easy to tell with those two, but they felt happy, under the cool exteriors and the habit of sniping at everyone and everything. If Emrys was unhappy with Agatha and her with him, well, they both probably deserved that. Agatha, Jaya was pretty sure, deserved everything got and then some. Shahin was just about ready to pop - Arturo, Emrys said, and, ritual still-to-come or no, everyone believed him.

And Xaviera. Jamian had laughed at Ofir a bit, when he'd come into the Dining Hall wearing Xaviera's collar and a very forlorn expression. He'd relented enough, remembering what Xaviera had been like before Shahin Kept her, to dip into the boy's emotions - and into his Keeper's - and then to stop by the table.

He wasn't going to start a fight, not and risk ending up on the wrong side of Shahin and Emrys, so he'd very politely asked Xaviera if he could talk to Ofir. Having gotten blanket permission, which seemed to amuse Xaviera to no end and terrify Ofir: "Do what you want, just bring him back when you're done," he'd made a habit of talking to his former enemy every day before lunch.

He was fairly certain things were going to be all right there, too - Xaviera wasn't being a bad Keeper, as far as he could tell, and Ofir was so blindly grateful for someone talking to him like a person, he seemed to be forgiving Jamian for his role in all this.

And Kendra. He'd been in love with her for a while, but now, now it was nice to just be able to be her friend. Nobody was going to mess with her now, not with the shadow of Ty's disapproval looming over her. And that, that was pretty awesome. Jaya had a really, really awesome Keeper, and that was far more than all right.

"Jaya?" Ty walked up behind her and slung an arm over her shoulders. "Lover, we should talk."

Talk. Shit. Ty's emotions were blocked, blank. She hadn't even know Ty knew how to do that. She gulped, and set down the homework she'd been pretending to work on.

"Okay, you're the boss."

Ty moved slowly around in front of her, and sat down on the edge of the bed, taking both of her hands in his. "That's what I want to talk about."

No, no, no, no, come ON, I've been good, I've been so good. She realized quickly that she was projecting and shut it down with a muffled sob. In front of her, Ty squeezed her hands.

"Jaya… Jame', I've been thinking about what you said about kids. And there's some decisions, and I'm trying to be a grown-up here." He laughed nervously. "I'm really bad at that. And right now, you're pretty heavily under the sway of the Bond." He paused, and added dryly, "Professor VanderLinden told me that. I went to it for advice, can you believe it? I asked D.J., too… and they agreed."

"Agreed?" She tried not to sob. Ty wasn't making a lot of sense.

Ty seemed to realize that, too. He took a long breath and… shifted. Dropped all his - its - Masks - and smiled nervously at Jamian from a face completely androgynous. "If you are going to make a coherent, adult decision, then we need to be able to talk to each other as coherent adults. As much as either of us can manage that one."

Jamian found his - its - face shifting to match Ty's. He'd never tried sitting between the genders, not since he'd found he could pick one, but his body remembered his original form, and shifted it around his growing womb. "Okay… an adult conversation."

"That means I have to release you, Jame'. And I want to be clear - I'm not trying to break up with you. I'm not leaving you. I just need you to be clear headed."

"I… I can be clear-headed." You don't have to let me go. It's not time yet. No, no, no… "Please?" she almost squeaked it. "I've been good lately."

"You've always been a wonderful Kept, Jamian." Ty planted a kiss on her lips as the praise surged warmly through her. "You've been better than I deserve and please don't argue with that, my last three Kept have been very clear on that point."

Jamian gulped and didn't argue. Ty had sometimes been an odd Keeper, but never a bad one… not usually, at least. "You still can be. At least for a little while longer."

"Ah, love. I used to think this way Kept didn't want to let me go meant I was doing something right. Shiva explained things to me, though."

Jamian swallowed an urge to go talk to Shiva. Talk with fists. Maybe horns. "You're doing a lot right. You've been really patient with me."

"And you've been really patient with me, too. And with everything." Ty leaned in for another kiss. "And carrying my baby… that's precious, Jamian."

"It's what the school requires." Numbness was setting in. "You don't have to do this, Ty."

"But for our babies' sake, I do. Our kids need it."

"Who are you and what have you done with my Keeper?" The question was panicked, joking over worry and entirely desperate. Jamian never expected it to hit home with such devastating effect.

Ty sat back, ass on heels, frowning, mouth opening and closing, giving off waves of chagrin. "Because I'm worried about our kids?"

"I didn't mean… Ty… I'm sorry, I didn't mean anything, you've just got me really worried."

"I probably deserved that. That's why I want to talk to you."

"We're talking, aren't we?"

Ty sighed loudly, and took Jamian's hands again. "Jamian cy'Linden, I release you. You are no longer mine."

"I…" A breath caught deep in Jamian's chest, and refused to budge. It was like a stone, like a deep coldness growing from deep inside, consuming everything and leaving behind rock. It was like being ripped in two. It was horrible, miserable, awful.

And in the middle of it, a voice. A very quiet voice, Ty's, but less certain, less joyous than Jamian had ever heard it. Just a whisper, quiet enough that it was nearly missed in the pain. Just three words.

"I love you."

That was it, the final straw. Mortified, humiliated, Jamian started crying.

"Shit, shit, Jame', no, oh, shit." Ty's arms were around Jamian's shoulders, Ty's chest pressed against Jamian's nose, Ty's no-longer-quite-as-comforting presence surrounding Jamian. "Jamian, my love, I'm sorry. I would have Kept you forever if I could… but you deserve better. You deserve to be a grown-up."

Jamian reached for the necklace, Ty's necklace, Jamian's collar. "I…" But Ty's hands stopped the gesture.

"Keep it, for now, if you want. It will keep the vultures off your back until I graduate."

Jamian fingered the chain. "So you meant it, you're not trying to get rid of me?"

"You've been talking to Shiva and Niki too much. No, Jame', no. I don't want to get rid of you. If I thought I could stay with you forever, I would."

"But?" Jamian tried not to cry.

"I think by now we both have figured me out." Ty's voice was dry and a little tired. "I'll do my best, but I like to party, Jame'."

"I know." There wasn't any closer they could get, but Jamian was still trying. "I know, but I can put up with a lot."

"But what about for our kids? You've said it before, our kids need parents who are there."

They did. Jamian had. A sob still threatened to well out. "Parents, plural, would be awesome."

"And I'll do everything I can - and Shiva and Niki will help, too - to help you find someone who can actually raise kids. And I'll do what I can, but we both know that's going to be paltry."

Jamian sighed. "You could try."

"I did try, lover. We saw how well that went. So… the kids are yours. I'll sign it later. Siri, too. And you…" Ty graced Jamian's lips with a long kiss. "I will always love you."

Jamian felt a surge of something like affection and something like pain. "I think I'll always love you, too."


  Copyright © 2009-2012 Lyn Thorne-Alder. All rights reserved.
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