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In Sickness and in Health

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Ryo was sick. Of that he was mostly sure.

When his vomiting started last week he was able to easily write it off as something he ate. A bad case of food poisoning which he did not allow himself to think too closely about, considering all he had eaten the night before were some slices of toast and tea. When it hadn't stopped, he'd attributed it to a stomach bug or maybe the flu. His body was sore and although he didn't have a fever, his vomiting hadn't stopped so that must have been it. He took fluids and medicine and thought that was that.

His vomiting did not stop. It wasn't too bad most days, just bouts of nausea that oftentimes got so bad he needed to rush to the bathroom, but would pass pretty quickly.

Jenny was of no help. She'd be there with a towel for him to wipe his face on some days, like today.

“What?” He asked when he looked at her. She was grinning, as she normally was, but her eyes held mirth and amusement that was not normally there.

She shook her head, still grinning. “Nothing.”

He rinsed his mouth in the sink and frowned at her through the mirror. “If you have something to say, then say it.”

“Was just thinking about when this all started, is all.”

Ryo scoffed. “It's been nearly three weeks, you know that.”

“I do.”

Ryo didn't have the energy to deal with her right now and decided it best to just let her be amused by whatever it was that amused her and went into his room to get dressed for the day.

It wasn't until later when he googled his symptoms and really thought about when this all started that his mind, against his better judgment, started connecting some dots.

He typed Nausea and vomiting with no other symptoms And clicked on someone’s question that was similar enough to his predicament.

The first response asked what they were doing before they first noticed the symptoms. He scrolled through that when the asker wrote about some event they had attended.

It was a couple of questions down that made him pause.

Are you sexually active? Are you late? Sounds to me like it might be morning sickness.

Ryo stopped and really thought back. The last time he remembered being healthy was when-

But no. That was impossible. He and Akira were men. He couldn't be… but what if he was? He didn't know what sort of things a demon was capable of doing when it came to breeding. He couldn't write it off so easily when he didn't know how these things worked or if these things could occur.

The part of him that liked to keep things neat and organized told him that he had to call Akira in order to figure this all out. Simple and efficient. But the part of him that he didn't like to think about, that part of him that was currently winning, wanted to curl up into a ball and never mention this to anyone, much less Akira.
He settled for continuing his own work and planned to revisit this problem later on. He was a busy man and he couldn't be expected to deal with this sort of stuff right now, he tried to make it seem logical but a part of him whispered coward in the recesses of his mind.

Akira was supposed to be the one who needed to get himself together, but as it was now Ryo was the one who couldn't look at the other.

He wished it was the sex that made him feel so affected. Akira was going about his days like nothing happened between them and Ryo wished he could too. He wished he could blame it on the sex, wished he could blame this feeling on the new found physicality of their dynamic, but he couldn't, not exactly anyways. It wasn't the sex, it was the consequences that made his skin crawl and his chest feel close to bursting. Consequences that he wasn't sure even existed but he was too afraid, maybe, to say anything.

When he finally dropped Akira home and made it back to his own, he could finally breathe.

Jenny was grinning more smugly than usual.

“What?” Ryo asked, his patience after such a long day wearing thin.

“Are you going to tell him?”

Ryo rubbed his temples. “Tell who what?”

“Akira,” she said simply. “About the baby.”

Ryo felt his blood run cold as he stared at her. It was true that Jenny was very perceptive and oftentimes knew a lot more than she really should, but there was no way she could be saying this to him right now.

“I don't know what you're talking about,” he told her and her grin widened

“Of course, my apologies,” she said not apologetic in the slightest. “But you really ought to start taking better care of yourself.” She looked at his belly almost fondly and it made his whole body shudder. This was not a look that suited her.

“I'm not preg- I'm a man,” he told her. “Whatever it is that you're thinking, it's impossible.”

If she were anyone else she would have probably rolled her eyes, but the gleam in them told him that she was thinking him childish. “Of course, of course.”

That did not stop her from placing prenatal vitamins on his dresser the next morning and if he wasn't busy panicking, he'd stop to wonder if they would really work on a demon spawn.

 

It had been almost a month. He and Akira were moving along with his list and his plan was going perfectly, if he didn't account for the nausea and recent mood swings.

Everything was going according to plan, nothing was different, or at least he told himself so. Akira hadn't asked Ryo to help him and Ryo was perfectly fine ignoring what Akira may be doing to satisfy himself. That did not stop him from being curious though, especially on days like today where they were surrounded by women, for an interview Ryo had scheduled, and Akira didn't so much as glance at any of them.

“So you're a professor, right?” A women to his left asked him. Her lips were glossy and her pencil skirt skin tight, but Ryo hardly noticed. “That's impressive.” She was pressing herself closer to him by the minute and Ryo would have easily ignored it if it weren't for the growl that came from his right side.

He looked over to Akira to see him baring his teeth in a snarl. He seemed angry first and then shocked when he realized that the sound had come from him. The woman hurriedly excused herself, but the men hardly noticed.

“What was that?” Ryo raised a brow.

“I don't,” Akira started, turning a bright shade of red for how dark his skin was. “I don't know.”

And that's when things started to change. It was little things at first. He's not even sure Akira realized what he was doing most of the time.

Akira would fetch him a jacket when the room got too cold or would get him a glass of water when he'd gone too long without a drink. He'd tell Ryo to slow down its dangerous when he'd speed down a particularly narrow street and would ask him if he's eaten yet and when he'd say no, he'd grab a fruit from the kitchen and toss it at him as if it were normal. Ryo would have marked it down and passed it off as Akira trying to be his friend in the same way that he was friends with her. But then things got a little weirder.

“Are you going to bed?” Akira asked him one night after they'd gone demon hunting. He was lying face down on the couch trying to ride out the high of the hunt in the safest way he recently figured out how, by lying perfectly still until his body calmed down.

“I'm not tired,” Ryo said from behind his computer screen. He began to type once more and he heard Akira growl.

“You need to get rest,” Akira demanded causing Ryo to pause.

“Why?” He asked.

Akira stopped growling. “I-I don't know. You just do.”

Ryo cared for Akira’s wellbeing. He cared more about his than his own, but having Akira caring for him was... strange.

“If you're tired, you can go to bed,” he said simply.

Akira mumbled something into the cushion.

“What was that?”

Akira raised his head slightly, not looking at him. “Come with me.”

Ryo paused once again. “Oh.”

Akira looked up and flushed. “No! That's not- that's not what I meant!”

Somehow that annoyed Ryo. “Then what did you mean?”

“Just sleep,” Akira mumbled. “I want to sleep… with you.”

Ryo wanted to ask why, he needed to ask why, but he didn't. He simply put aside his laptop and stood up. “Okay then.”

“Okay?” Akira perked up.

“Yes.” Seeing how bright Akira smiled at him made his annoyance go away.

He should ask himself why Akira was acting so clingy even for him, but being wrapped up in his arms and his blanket made him feel too comfortable and safe to really want to question anything right now. He felt his stomach shift and he clenched his teeth when he remembered just why he hadn't allowed himself to be this close to Akira in a while.

 

Then something else happened. Ryo was just turning off his camera when Akira stepped up to him and dropped a demon down at his feet. Ryo looked at it, dismembered and covered in blood and then looked up at Akira for some sort of explanation. He seemed to be waiting for something to happen. If Ryo didn't know any better he would say he looked like a puppy waiting to be praised. “What is this?”

Akira grinned with far too much teeth for it to be endearing, and yet. “It's for you.”

Why. “What am I supposed to do with this.”

That seemed to upset him and Ryo quickly fixed his words. “Thank you?” If Akira were smaller maybe he'd expect to be patted on the head but as it were, Akira only moved toward the car after having made sure that Ryo accepted his gift? offering? Ryo wasn't quite sure what it was to be honest but he didn't bother asking as Akira changed back and got in the car.

When Ryo had arrived home he'd thought that taking a bath would be a good idea. It wasn't until he'd undressed and stood in front of his full length mirror that he realized that this was a horrible idea. Standing there, bare, was not something to be ashamed of particularly, it was the fact that he could see he'd gained weight that had him staring at his reflection. He stood sideways and he could see his belly protrude just a bit more than was normal for him. He'd always been thin. No matter what he ate, he wouldn't gain weight. So it was this, standing before his mirror bare and bigger that made him finally finally realize that maybe this was actually happening.

When he stepped out of his bathroom after his bath to see Jenny standing silently beside the door he sighed and turned to her.

“Jenny,” he started and waited for her to turn to him as well. “We seem to have a bit of a problem.

She waited for him to gather his thoughts and didn't seem shocked when he finally did.

“I seem to be carrying the spawn of something less than human.” Perhaps it was a strange way to phrase the fact that he might be carrying a baby but Jenny beamed nonetheless.

“It would seem so.”

“I have to find a way to get rid of it.” Jenny’s face fell slightly at that but he couldn't be bothered. He had a plan and nowhere in his plan did he have room for birthing and raising a literal demon child.