by Teresa Cain
Iolanthe rubbed a weary hand over her face, sending a small prayer to whatever gods were listening. She was not the mothering type. Getting stuck baby-sitting was always a nightmare.
Just because I'm technically still a teenager doesn't mean I automatically want to baby-sit, she thought to herself, fluffing the pillows. Besides, they do it for money. What do I need more money for? I make bookoo bucks at the Den. I'm a soft touch is my problem. Damn Belamy anyway. He knows I can't say no.
Her kind could switch freely between genders, but all were born with a preference. Iolanthe preferred being soft and cushy like her brother Aerael preferred testosterone. You didn't see many preferred incubi going through the necessary steps for self-reproduction. Yet Belamy, who admittedly straddled the fence of gender rather than pick one or the other, had chosen to settle into the truly androgynous state when the heat came upon him. Neither incubus nor succubus, male or female - sexless and smooth on the outside but a reproductive factory on the inside. Generally this only appealed to succubi, but every once in awhile you got someone like Bel.
Of course, a succubus (or incubus as the case might be) didn't have to go the asexual route. But the heat was the heat - and when the heat was upon them, they were dangerous. Incubi were especially dangerous. Usually "food" didn't have to worry about pregnancy as incubi were usually sterile, but there was always the heat to watch out for. And a succubus in heat had to worry about getting knocked up by a non-incubus, which meant a possible hybrid child. She herself had an actual father, and Sidhe royalty at that. Luckily she'd ended up full succubus. It would have sucked to be a hormonally overactive Sidhe bastard princess. It was bad enough being fathered outside of her mother by a king, thus still bearing a bastard stigma. Being claimed by said father had not made things any easier.
"It's a good thing I'm not near old enough for the heat," she told Belamy's offspring with a grin. "The top of Davy's head would probably blow right off if I turned up all preggers, y'know?"
Her face suddenly went blank, and a suddenly sly grin worthy of Seuss' Grinch spread across it as a horrible, evil, malicious prank crossed her mind. Her eyes slid sideways to the nest of pillows by the fireplace.
"Oh man," she said, putting a hand to her mouth to contain the giggles. "I have got to stop hanging around with pucks. They're horrible influences."
It didn't help that Davy was due in half an hour for dinner. Io glanced at the pillow pile one more time, gave her best maniacal laugh to the empty apartment, then went off to her bedroom to get ready.
* * * *
Iolanthe had wanted to wear a saucy little corset dress for Davy's return home from his business trip (damn Mark and his penchant for ruining their plans), but her idea for the prank had made her change to something - softer.
So she'd given up the black leather number for a short cotton sundress - white with a pattern of tiny purple rosebuds. Her hair was pinned loosely on top of her head, several tendrils escaping to curl around her delicately featured face. Her wings curled around her, fluttering every once in awhile with suppressed laughter. Oh, this was going to be mean. But she had really wanted to go to Scotland with him. Dammit, what was the point of being a high-paid executive if you couldn't take your girlfriend along on business trips?
Of course, that had probably been Mark... still, the idea was firmly in place and she just - couldn't - help herself. She blamed it on being raised by the Puck. That pipsqueak had been a terrible influence.
Then the doorbell rang. "Iolanthe? I'm back!"
Iolanthe practically flew to the door, pulling it open with almost enough force to rip it off its hinges. Davy stood there with a surprised look on his face, holding a bottle of extremely expensive wine in one hand. "Io, what - mmfph?"
She grabbed a fistful of silk vest and pulled him forward, claiming his mouth in a searing kiss filled with two long weeks' of longing for its taste. He stood there stunned by her desperation for a full three seconds before pulling her to him with his free arm and returning the kiss with equal fervor. When they finally parted, she looked up at him with melting eyes and murmured, "Gods, I missed you."
"So I noticed," he replied teasingly. "I missed you, too. Scotland was cold, wet and miserable. You would probably have been the only thing to make it bearable."
She dimpled. "Aww, you always say the sweetest things. So come in and tell me about the trip."
"I just did," he said, stepping inside the apartment and letting her take the wine. "It was cold, wet and miserable. And Mary Grace McTarran is a horrible old woman who kept hitting on me while I tried to get her to understand how ZauberCorp could benefit from her expertise. I have no idea why Mark would want her, and two weeks of meetings that ended in outright begging pretty much availed to nothing."
"I didn't think they would," Iolanthe said, setting the wine on the bar and checking on the chicken roasting in the oven. Funny how neither of them needed regular human food, yet they did the dinner thing anyway. "I didn't find this out until after you left, and I tried leaving a message with your secretary, but, um - "
Iolanthe leaned on the bar and grinned. "Very. I think you should fire her and hire me. Then we can do the whole randy boss/naughty secretary thing for real." She dimpled again, making him blush but consider the idea.
"That really doesn't sound like such a bad idea," Davy said wistfully. "I'd never get any work done, though."
"Probably not," she giggled, bouncing lightly across the room and back into his arms. He wrapped his arms around her waist and leaned back, lifting her up off her feet. She squealed and pressed a playful kiss to his lips. "I'm going on the next business trip, Davy. If Mark has a problem, he can just bite me."
"That's not a wise thing to say to a vampire, Io," he reminded her, then frowned. "Oh yeah. You never said what you found out."
"I didn't? Oh. Well, it turns about that Mary McTarran is actually Bonnie Darkholme's grandmother. You know Bonnie, right? Owns ZauberCorp's only real competition? At times, anyway. I know her and Mark fight for the same investors, anyway. But I seriously doubt Mrs. McTarran would go work for her granddaughter's rival company, even if the pay is spectacular. Like I said, I tried to call and tell you as soon as I found out."
Davy stared at her sheepish grin, then groaned. "We really need to fire some people. Research is turning out to be as useless as my secretary."
Iolanthe shook her head. "I wouldn't blame them. Bonnie's gone through so many personas that it would be almost impossible to trace her relation to Mary McTarran. I'm just sorry you wasted your time like that."
"Not half as much as me," he replied fervently, setting her back on her feet and nuzzling the line of her neck. "Um... how long until dinner is ready?"
"Well, you are kinda early..."
She felt him grin against her throat. "I know..."
"But I really should keep an eye on the chicken and - watch out!!!!! "
Davy paused in the motion of taking a step back and froze. "What, what??"
Iolanthe swept past him to bend down and pick something up off the floor. "You nearly stepped on her!"
"Her who?" he asked guiltily, glancing at the blanket cradled in Iolanthe's arms. "Who's that? Are you baby-sitting tonight?"
Iolanthe smiled sweetly and shifted the flannel baby blanket until its occupant was revealed.
It was an egg - a big damn egg, roughly the size of a watermelon with a pebbly texture. It was a deep turquoise in color, speckled with spots of a darker blue. Iolanthe held it close to her bosom like a baby, cooing softly. Davy just stared at it, puzzled.
"What kind of egg is that?" he asked, running a finger over one end. "Some kind of dragon?"
Iolanthe looked at him, then dropped her gaze, blushing. "I tried to get ahold of you, but no one would give me a number for you, and your cellphone wasn't working - "
"Iolanthe - "
"I don't even know how it happened, really. I mean, I'm not old enough for this kind of thing yet! But my family is so screwed up, I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised - "
"I was really scared, y'know? I mean, I didn't know what the hell was going on. I just hurt really bad for the first week you were gone, and then I started getting all bloated... I had to miss work I was so huge! And then Sunday night came along and plop! There's a damn egg in my bed!"
"I read a play like that once, about this girl that slept with a garbage man and her momma locked her in a closet and then she laid an egg... it was really weird play, and I've never seen it actually performed anywhere - "
She stopped babbling and clutched the egg tighter to her chest, chewing her lip. Davy was breathing hard, watching her warily. "Io, what are you saying?"
"Um... it's a succubus egg."
"It's a - " He stared at the large egg for a long moment, then quietly moved over to the chaise lounge. "Oh gods."
"Davy? Are you okay?"
Iolanthe quickly walked over and sat down beside him, freeing one arm to clutch at his. "Sweetie? You're okay with this, right? I mean, it's a little too late to do anything now."
"You'll have to move in with me."
She blinked, drawing back. "Excuse me?"
"You'll have to move in with me, won't you?" he asked, not looking at her. His voice was a monotone as he considered his future. "I guess we'll have to turn one of the rooms into a nursery... find a crib... although your kind grow up really really fast, don't they?"
"What do you think she'll look like? I mean, a succubus/vampire kid? Will she have wings like mine or yours? Will she have to drink blood? Who are we gonna get to breast-feed her if she does? And if she has to feed on lust... how the hell are we gonna do that? How do you feed a baby succubus? And are you sure it'll be a succubus? It could be an incubus, couldn't it? Oh gods, what if she takes after me and ends up with no glamour and a nullifying field? Then all of Faerie is gonna be after me and her!"
"And Mark! Mark's gonna flip out. Aerael's gonna kill me. Aerael's not gonna kill me, is he? I mean, I thought you said you couldn't - that you weren't - umm - "
She leaned across and laid a finger over his lips, silencing him. "Davy, sweetie, it's okay. You don't have to worry about a thing."
design ©2001 by Cindy Rosenthal
False Alarms ©2001 by Teresa Cain
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