Warning: This work has been rated 18+.
“What are you thinking about, dear?”
“How long it’s been since I had children running around.”
At first, it was a series of sweet thoughts crossing Jud’s mind, thinking back to Lea and Bhat. Each of his children had been named for a close friend either from a pool of long-standing enemies or long-standing allies. Bhat had taken after xyr god parent, producing a fine military career but not the grandchildren Amarea had hoped for.
But as always, his memories turned sour. There was no way to get around the certain points in the timeline that would always be there and bothersome.
“Then why do you look so sad?”
“Ah Ria, I do not know. It’s just all rushing back onto me, all of the good but with it all of the bad.”
The car stopped just in front of the garage and Ria collected their belongings from the back seat. There were some signs of shopping done that Jud hadn’t noticed before as he helped Ria get everything out. Whether they had needed the supplies or not was blank from his mind, Jud hadn’t kept a proper eye on the inventory for over a century.
“How old is your youngest child?”
“My youngest child was born nearly five hundred years ago. It’s been the same distance of time since Amarea died and I was left with no children in my home, for they had all already moved on with their lives. I already grandchildren by the time Zurr was born.”
He saw his husband’s eyes flicker as the vague response slipped off of his lips. Jud could have simply skipped to the next living child in line or said that Zurr would have been four hundred and ninety-eight. If Jud was still counting birthdays – as he said he wasn’t – but obviously still was. So many descendants to keep track of at this point but he wasn’t going to give up on that now.
“That’s not an age so what do you mean by that?”
Jud felt the key click in the lock and pushed the door open while quickly turning on the lights. When they had first moved into this house, Amarea had chided him every single day for not applying labels to the switches. And to this day each time he messed up and turned on the porch instead of the dining room he could hear her voice ringing in the hallways.
“Ria, my youngest child and my wife died on the same date,” he stopped to put the bags down in the kitchen and turned to see the grim look on Ria’s face. There was a need to offer some explanation to xem, so that dark thoughts did not grow darker. “Not in childbirth but it was enough to signal a career change.”
“Do you mind if I ask you for details or would you care for us to drop the matter?”
They kept a silence between them after the question was asked. After five centuries, Jud should have been perfectly capable to talk about that night. All that mattered in this case, in this careful explanation, was that he couldn’t show how attached he was to Amarea.
“You don’t let your current spouse know how you still love your past one.”
The wicked thought ran through his mind while Jud pushed the last box of cereal onto the shelf.
“No, it’s okay to talk about it.I just need to find some case files first, love.”
Jud tacked the term of endearment onto the very end, hoping it was quick enough to flow with the rest of the statement. Ria was more acquainted to such loving terms than he was – always being kind to him even when he didn’t deserve their love.
“I’ll make us some tea while you hunt around in the attic?”
“Yes. Very good. Thank you,” Jud paused to lean up and kiss xer, nearly laughing at how much taller his husband was.
As he climbed the steps to the second story and began taking down the ladder for the attic, Jud heard words from the kitchen.
“I thought you might have needed a step stool to do that.”
“Not quite dear. And I don’t need a step stool at night.”
The last line wasn’t very clear, probably not enough for Ria to grab ahold of and take the full meaning to heart. If someone like Harry were on the receiving end of such a quip, it surely would have gone differently.
Jud pushed the thought out of his mind, slowly digging through the piles in front of him and cursing himself for not having a better organization system. This would all need to be dealt with on one day when he found energy again. And brought a face mask.
The dust in the attic was probably toxic.
A glimmer from the label from the bottom box of the fifth pile caught his eye, the script was from Sare versus the Federation style dates on the others. If one was to go by the times of Sare, Jud would be slightly older than the Federation liked to say he was and Jud was fine with being a young man of seven hundred.
“And of course, the box I need is on the bottom of the stack. As always.”
Lifting the box caused a slight strain to his back.It wasn’t much – just enough for him to audibly voice the pain it was causing and bring the possible thought of a pulled muscle. As Jud made it back down the slight stairs, he groaned more and hoped that it would not bring the attention of Ria.
It was enough to get jokes from his business partner.
He didn’t care to get them from his lover. But yet there xe stood at the base of the main step, wooden spoon in hand and a disappointed look across xyr face.
“Why didn’t you ask for my help, dear?”
“Because I didn’t need it.”
Or maybe he had needed his husband’s help but couldn’t face xem when taking the box from among the others. Jud didn’t want to deal with the possibility of the questions that might be asked about the other files he chose to hang on to. No matter the stories that he might have denied in the past, everyone knew that Jud picked his cases very particularly. Every box represented a different point in his career – his life – and he continued to add to the collection. Not every piece of content was something he was involved in as Jud often found himself being a sort of groupie. He liked to follow the work that other people did, the more exciting assignments that other people were stationed at.
“Have you considered organizing the attic yet?”
“No and I don’t plan on doing it anytime soon. And you won’t be able to meddle either as soon as you’re visibly pregnant.”
A soft “Why?” crept across Ria’s face. They didn’t have to say it for Jud to know the thoughts that might be crossing xyr mind.J ud’s emotion counter was now evidently thrown by a change in person and he relied upon interrogation skills from the past.
The peaceful ones.
“Ria, you know I don’t like you climbing those steps and certainly don’t want you doing it now.”
“You just don’t like me meddling into your past life.”
“Then why did you agree to tell me about this portion?”
There wasn’t a real answer to this outside of Jud realizing they needed to start talking. This baby meant that they would have to communicate with the connections of Ria’s family, lines left dead for a long, long time. And it wasn’t out of xyr family wanting to be overjoyed by a grandchild. Jud remembered the policies necessary for separated children of ambassadors and council officials of Zinnia.Ria, while a native of the modern Nerot, had grown up in the capital city of Zinnia – Auno. That was what he often heard them call their ‘home town’, even though the thought of living in such a place scared Jud.
He took xyr hand, kissing it while saying, “Because I trust you. And I need you to trust me.”
“Of course I trust you, Jud. Are you sure you want to tell me this?”
It was only a one-word answer to a complicated question as Jud fussed with the papers on his lap. The ghostly photo of Amarea on the top of the pile played tricks with his mind, and Jud quickly slid it into the stack. There wasn’t a need to look at it when recounting such simple facts about just an old case.