Ray stood and watched as Tchuda climbed over the side of the boat and down the swaying ladder, suspended over a roiling ocean. The men had been wrong, he did have a lot to lose, but unlike them for him it was all on board this sinking fragment of a ship with him. Now climbing over the side and down to a small boat that by some miracle had found them in this storm. Not that he could ever tell the other men that, one or both of them would likely end up ‘falling off’ the boat before they ever reached shore and that was something he couldn’t risk. Especially not with Tchuda in the condition he was, carrying their child.
He held his breath as he watched him jump from the ladder and released it as he was caught by the other men already on the boat. When it was finally time to join him and descend the ladder he did so with mounting relief, only breathing once again when he was planted as firmly as a man could be on the deck of the small craft, definitely not built for the 36 currently on board. He wouldn't truly breathe easy until Tchuda and everyone else was safe on land once more, some were dry and warm. At some point during this whole mess they had become his men, he felt responsible for them now.
As they wandered, hopefully toward shore, Ray huddled close to his family and held on. One hand on the craft and one hand gripping the back of Tchuda’s jacket, something no one would comment on. Not in these conditions. As the time past with no sign of land or lights Ray began to worry about how much Tchuda was shivering and as he huddled closer the freezing waves sloshed over the side onto the men clinging there. He wondered what hypothermia could do to him in his condition, if he might succumb more easily. Or if the baby might. He was worryingly still and quiet now.
As time past with no sign of land everyone began to nod off, and when the lights were finally spotted he was relieved beyond belief. He was worried Tchuda might not have much more time to get warm before permanent damage was done, he was worried about that for all of them.
As they climbed from the boat to the dock Ray grew more worried still about the state Tchuda was in, requiring more help than most to make the short climb. He lost him as they were all bustled into cars and as he sat, shivering and soaking the back seat in sea water he stewed in his worry.
They finally arrived at what looked like a community hall and moved, as quickly as possible inside. Looking about furtively he finally spotted Tchuda, leaning somewhat passively against the wall as someone attempted to get him striped and dry so he could warm up. As he watched him fumble ineffectually at the fastenings of his coat his heart sank, he was clearly worse off than most of them. He quickly started over to him, being stopped at about the halfway point by someone with dry clothing they insisted he put on. Once he finally crossed the room he began helping the woman strip Tchuda who had stopped trying to help. He was still worryingly blue around the mouth, and was becoming increasingly sluggish. Once he had been briskly rubbed dry with a towel provided to Ray by the nice lady who had been making the rounds, he wrapped him in a thick blanket and ushered him to the nearest heater, holding him close. And he worried.
Alphas and omega could identify each other by scent, though thank God it wasn't that easy for everyone else. Ray was shaken from the super he had fallen into by the distinct scent of omega and quickly realized it was the man in front of him who had been trying to get his attention. “I’m Dr. Beck” he introduced himself “I’m checking everyone over for injuries and signs of hypothermia. How’re the two of you doing?”
Ray considered his options before answering. “I’m doing alright. Not so sure about him though. Be grateful if you could take a look.” He nodded to the doctor, continuing, “he’s been sluggish for a while, since not long after the rescue really.” Then he pulled the doctor closer and spoke into his ear. “And he’s pregnant.” The doctor stared at them for a moment before nodding grimly and getting down to an examination.
Tchuda didn't really respond, but he had started shivering which was a good sign. Ray noticed the doctor scenting surreptitiously “So I’m guessing it’s yours, alpha?” He spoke softly to avoid being overheard.
“Yah, yah it is.”
“I’m going to recommend body heat, a better heater, and privacy. All of which the back office here has.” The doctor stood, gesturing for them to follow him as he walked. Understanding that, though Ray may be able to use the help moving Tchuda he wouldn’t want it. Not with the delicate condition his mate was in. As they moved away from the crowd in the hall they noticeably relaxed much to the doctor’s relief. Once in the privacy of the office he instructed both to strip and had them wrapped in the blanket on the couch in front of the heater in a matter of moments. “So. How far along is he? Do you know?”
“His scent changed about a month ago.”
“So that would put him at around two months then.” The doctor said. “Was it a heat conception?” at Ray’s wary look he clarified “it’s just that it would be more likely to be multiples if it was.”
“No. It wasn't.” Ray aloud, hesitating before adding, “Do you think they are both going to be okay?” in a smaller voice than he intended.
The doctor looked at them carefully for a moment before announcing “yes, I think they’ll be just fine.”
Hours later Ray felt Tchuda begin to stir and shifted so he could see his face. As he opened his eyes and there was a spark behind them again Ray smiled and held him tighter. “Hello handsome, good to see you’re back with us.” Tchuda grunted and curled impossibly closer to Ray’s warmth. “You think you could check in with the baby?”
He stilled for a second, seeing how he felt, “Baby’s good. We’re all good.”
“That’s good handsome, that’s good.”