Log:Baby on Board
VIP Quarters - YCT Felicity
Tasteful and cultured, the bedchamber of this elegant ship perfectly reflects its no less refined owner. A large bed, dressed in midnight blue and gold silks, rests against one of the navy-hued walls, set upon the eggshell white carpet. To one side of the room, near a full-length mirror, a bathroom boasting a sunken tub and marble tesseraed floor, offers the maximum in hygienic comfort and several walk-in closets. An antique and spindly-legged wooden writing desk, black-lacquered, has been outfitted with a modern terminal and is set near a circular viewport, several wingback chairs near at hand and within arm's reach of a minibar. What space upon the walls isn't covered in extraordinary paintings stretching back almost through the full twenty five centuries of Human cultural history, glass light sconces cast a subdued and soft glow.
There's a baby on board.
Well, not an infant, but a youngster little enough to still steal a suckle from lactating pack members, were he amongst his kin in the place of their birth. He's not, of course. Twenty-four hours ago, Umak was almost drowned then passed from his mother to a flying monstrosity full of strangers. He has not seen, nor heard from her since. He has, however, heard a series of lulling tunes, sung from the lips of the female who pulled him from the sea. After a good, hard scrubbing in the tub - which the poor boy squalled his way through – and a mouthful of some meaty mush Rheisa chewed first before passing to him, the child is at last quiet. Has been for a few hours now. He's asleep.
Rheisa has yet to change from the robe she shrugged into post bath, and is reclining with a comatose slouch against some haphazardly thrown pillows atop the bed. Her own eyes are barely open, just enough to soak in the finer details of Umak's face, his stripes, and tiny fingers which she absently - gently - toys with presently. Some of his fingers of course aren't accessible because they are stuffed into his mouth, along with a portion of breast. He isn't feeding, of course, but under recent circumstances, it suffices as a comfort object. "...eh ku'teh...a'ha a'ha a'ha a'ha, ghe ku'teh..." she mumbles sleepily, keeping on with the latest lullaby as he sinks into dreamland.
It has been a long night for everyone that left Nar Shaddaa aboard the Felicity, and even for the multitude of souls that made the return journey. The Felicity itself was not bothered as it made space and the leap to hyperdrive, nor was it hard for the yacht to reenter atmosphere on the Smuggler's Moon and nose into a birthing spot in the Defiance Private hangar for the crew and slaves to offload. Raim was hesitant to leave Rheisa's side, having stayed with her ever since he had pulled her and the screaming Umak back from the boarding ramp as the ship lurched out of the rushing sea waters, since the two of them saw that terrified mother holding her baby aloft, knowing that she would not see the child grow older. Finally, he consented to go and help the others see the slaves to the safety of Naelyn's circus, promising to return as quickly as he could and bestowing a soft and tender kiss upon Rheisa's brow.
Two hours later, the Chiss makes his way back into the master suite, his eyes shifting to regard Rheisa and the sleeping Umak with a warm, if somewhat strained smile. He does not cross to the bed straight away, instead moving to the bathroom to shower and rid himself of the sea slime covered clothing. Emerging once more in a set of the finest silken pajama bottoms, Raim walks barefoot across the bedroom to ease himself as gently as he can to the bed at Rheisa's side. He lifts a hand to brush across the youngling's forehead with the utmost softness, he too searching the child's face before he lifts his eyes toward Rheisa's face and asking softly, "Are you okay, dear?"
The little nub of rear headtail twitches once as Raim pets over Umak's head. His face squishes deeper against his maternal substitute, burrowing in to squelch the light as far as his breathing allows. Rheisa doesn't seem to mind too terribly, despite the boy's budding fangs. She seems quite entranced by the small creature curled against her, but Raim's added weight beside her draws her faintly from her reverie. "Nnh," she grunts in response. Her eyelids succumb to the exhaustion, sealing closed the portals to her saddened soul. "Is done?"
Raim's eyes watch as Rheisa's drift closed and then his own fall back to that tiny Togruta face held against her breast. Raim nods slowly, then realizing that Rheisa cannot see he says quietly, "Yes. It is done. All of those we rescued are safe at Naelyn's circus for the time being, and will slowly begin being smuggled off moon. I thought that we should have just taken them to their destination before we returned, but they were worried with the number of slaves that we had that there would not be enough room."
"It is good they are safe," Rheisa rasps, her whisper a little hoarse from the vocal strain. "I am sorry that all could not be." A subtle ripple tracks through her headtails and she wriggles her spine upward to readjust posture by a tiny bit. Umak stirs faintly in his own makeshift robe - a towel.
Raim runs his fingertips over the boys face once more, as softly as he can as he watches Umak stir. He is silent for some time before he says, "I am sorry that we couldn't save everyone too..." He trails away into silence as he watches the child before he takes a breath and says, "Rheisa, I told the others that you and I would keep the child. Is that alright?"
A throaty 'purr' of a sound rolls around Rheisa's chest, almost beyond the range of hearing. A tiny vibration echoes back from Umak's chest against hers, if only faint. She inches a little straighter against the pillows and lifts up knee to support the boy's rump and keep him from sliding off, as his hands have slackened their grip somewhat. "Umak's mother made this choice already, when she give him to me. I would not send him away," she whispers.
Raim nods his head slowly and then says, "I do not think he should live in the apartment with the rest of your family. I think that you and Umak should come and live with me in Dacon Tower, always..." Raim's hand continues to caress Umak's head before driving to caress Rheisa's shoulder. "We are going to be his family... together. His parents?"
One eye slowly opens, watching Raim with a rather stoic stare as he voices the game plan. It blinks closed before opening anew, in-sync with its mate. Rheisa's lips curl briefly with an attempt at a smile, but it falls short. She lowers her gaze to the top of Umak's head and traces the faint variance of stripes there, lingering over the trace of knobby nubs palpable beneath the black/white. "Dacon is most safe. On Narrr." The Togruta rolls cautiously over onto her side, laying Umak there between them. "...is only way."
Raim gingerly repositions himself into a laying position, as careful as he can so as not to wake the sleeping babe. Propping himself on his side, he bends his right arm at the elbow and lays his head in his palm to prop himself up. Glowing scarlet eyes peer down at Umak with a kind of intensity that reveals the willingness he feels to undertake this with Rheisa. "You seem heavy hearted..." he says slowly. "Do you... not like the idea of undertaking something so serious... so permanent, with me?" His voice is halting as he speaks the words, and only when finished does he lift his eyes from the young Togruta and look at Rheisa.
"Umak....make me feel good? I did not think to be a mother. It was forbidden. But also, make me miss home. Many things now tie me to this place, this moon, but my heart - if it live - want very much to go." Rheisa takes a shaky breath, but eyes remain dry and clear as she creeps a hand over the sleeping boy and lays it over Raim's. "This is not words against you. It is only a Tog'rrr sa'daar so very far from the place of her birth."
Raim nods his head slowly, genuinely seeming to consider Rheisa's words and what she is going through. He smiles faintly as her hand lays atop his, his eyes watching her closely. "I know a little of how you feel... I have not seen my home in many years. I have not heard anything of my family since I left. I do not know whether they live or if they have gone on." He drifts off as he glances back down to Umak. "The boy..." he stops short, a curious expression crossing his features before he opens his mouth, "Our son... he should not grow up with only Nar Shaddaa as his home. I would like for him to have more experiences than that. To breath fresh air, to feel the wind and sun on his face... to be able to feel cool and clean water..." His eyes lift toward Rheisa's once more. "What if I build us a home off of this moon? Naboo, maybe... Or even on Shili?"
A flash of longing across the Togruta's face gets overturned and buried back beneath the pit of anxiety in her gut. "We have promised to help, here. But...Naboo is place I need go sometime, for work. Mister Engelando. Maybe would not be so bad."
There's a little grunt muffled into the bedding that did not come from Rheisa. The towel-swaddled Umak begins to stir and fumbles one goobery fist over his face, rubbing at puffy eyes before they open and affix Raim with a wide and silent, yellow stare.
Raim seems about to say something in reply to Rheisa when there is that tiny grunt from between them. The Chiss stills, his scarlet eyes flashing down to the tiny bundle that is even now looking up at him. He smiles down at the youngling, in what he sincerely hopes will keep the boy at ease. Speaking in a gentle tone, Raim coos to the tiny togruta and says, "Hello there, little one... did I wake you?" Raim's sapphire hand moves upward and drifts overtop of the child, settling gently atop the tiny chest and very gently caressing the tiny chin, allowing the warmth of his body to warm the child's flesh. "I know that you are scared," he says softly. "And that you probably don't understand anything that I am saying to you. But... I want you to know that I will take care of you... I will watch over you, and I will teach you. I will always be there for you, until the end of my days, and I will do everything I can to ensure that you have the happiest life in the universe."
In the wild land of his ancestors, there are times of vulnerability where silence is truly the best survival strategy, where a noisy youngling becomes a dead one. It is the reason that Togruta babies, when initially startled or unsure are silent. Not until they are in the clutches of a predator ought they make a sound. Umak was not born under such circumstances, but the genes are there. So those two golden orbs, like twin moons, watch Raim's lips moving without a peep from his own. The kid's headtails are flattened rather closely to his shoulders, though.
Rheisa lowers herself back to Umak's level, flanking his other side with the heat of her torso and grazes the top of his head with a few finger strokes. "Neht," she translates softly, and reaches her billowy sleeve across the boy to point a finger into Raim's chest. "A yi." Her hand comes retracts to rest lightly atop Raim's atop his chest. "Nah dahk."
Raim's eyes lift for but a moment to glance at Rheisa before looking back to baby Umak. "What did you say to him?" he says quietly to Rheisa. His thumb continues to stroke the youngling's chin gently, even as Rheisa's hand lays atop his own. He smiles in spite of the tender moment before saying, "I see that I will have to redouble my efforts to learn Togruta. I have been working with one of the protocol droids to learn the language and surprise you..."
Rheisa's face turns a shade lighter for a moment - a reverse blush? - and she continues to stare at the boy who's now turned his eyes on her. "I said what you say. Less words. Less noisy words," she corrects with a small wink. She then repeats the gesture and translation, in Basic this time. "Fa'ther," a point to Raim, this time poking him in the nose instead of chest, which manages to make the kid's lips twitch, briefly. "To you," her hand returns to Umak's chest. "No hurt."
Raim's mouth opens as Rheisa translates, the poke in the nose barely registering with the Chiss as the weight of the word Rheisa described him as settles in upon his heart. He is silent for some time, before he leans forward and brushes his lips very gently against Umak's forehead. He stays low, allowing Umak to feel the honest affection Raim has for him, the desire to protect the boy. When he rises, his eyes are upon Rheisa. "Rheisa.." he says slowly. "I am not familiar with the customs of the Togruta, not near as much as I should be... but I am curious what your heart would say if I asked you if you were willing to be my wife?"
Umak fidgets where he lies, succeeding in kicking his way free of most of the towel and huddles up against his new guardian mother's chest, turning a beet red butt towards Raim. He doesn't know who this guy is, what he's laying on, or the solvent-smelling 'clean' that permeates the dirt-free room. He does, however, know that Rheisa sort of smells like his mom, in a weird musky way, and burrows in.
Rheisa adjusts herself obligingly to the little one, but keeps her eyes on Raim. Her teeth go on display with a warm, albeit fleeting smile. "My mother was mate to two men," her fingers habitually flash an emphasis of number, around Umak's shoulder. "Some men mate with more than one woman. She give her first 'husband' two children, grrrow them some, then mate my fa'ther, grrrow my sister, me, and bro'ther." She lets the facts settle in a bit before adding "I know that in many peoples' ways, this is no good. But in ours, it make a pack strong. So...I do not know an answer, but my heart smile to hear you say this."
Raim nods his head, having already assumed something along these lines given the tribal heritage that he knows Rheisa to have grown up in. "My mother and father were in love with each other. They raised my older brother and I until the unfortunate circumstances of my life carried me away. They were happy, though I understand your circumstance as well. You and I cannot have children, and we do not live in the pack culture that was needed on Shili. We must be strong for each other, and for Umak." He is silent for a while before he says, "I know that my heart smiles only for you..."
"We are strong," Rheisa reaches traces her fingers upwards to squeeze his wrist and then eases back, extracting herself from Umak despite his mild protest. "I need water. You want?" She offers as she rises from the bed. "I get. Watch Umak?" And she's on the move, padding across the fuzzy carpet to the fresher sink.
Umak keeps squirming after and rolls over onto his belly to sliiiiiide off the edge of the bed. Seems he's had enough of lying around, but rather than run after Rheisa's fluttering robes, he stops a few paces away from the bed and just stands there in carefree, 'naked baby' glory, turning his head this way and that in search of something.
Raim shakes his head at Rheisa's question regarding water before saying, "No thank you, dear. I am good." He trails away quickly as Umak squirms across the bed and then slides down to the floor. The Chiss lifts up to his hands and knees and crawls across the mattress in the same direction Umak went, a smile spreading across his face as the baby stands looking around in his natural form. "Where are you going?" he asks playfully.
Raim almost asked the right question...it's just not so much /where/ as /what/. But Umak doesn't leave him guessing for long! While Rheisa pours herself a glass of water all civilized like, the little boy starts his own spout of sorts.
Where he stands.
On the carpet.
Welcome to parenthood, Raim Shah.