The Announcement Rating: PG
Csillag & Diana DeRiggs

Sela Milson Klivian sat at her desk and watched the data on her holo-projected datapad image blur. It was not a terribly pleasant sight and actually made her nausea worse. She had been feeling very tired lately and thought she might be coming down with a virus of some sort. It was not something she wanted to succumb to. She had been working in the Placement Division of the Children's Services Bureau for a little less than six months, but it was somewhat misleading to talk about that half-year in terms of continuous time. She had taken so much time off in that period that she felt pressured to work overtime just to make it up to everyone who had had to cover for her absence.

More correctly, she had come to Coruscant six months earlier to start work as soon as she had finished school. Her desire to work with orphans of the Rebellion had crystallized when she was a very young child and had almost become an orphan herself. Her husband -- they had been married a mere five months now -- had been part of the team that had rescued the disease-ravaged villagers in the settlement where she had lived with her mother.

Sela sat back in her chair and reflected on the incredible chain of events that had led to her being here and married to Derek. Fate or the Force had to have been at work to have brought them together fifteen years ago, and kept the bond between them so strong over the years that it had drawn them back together. Once Sela was in her majority, the two had fallen in love and married quickly.

She shook her head, not believing it herself. She smiled, then turned her attention back to the projection over her desk. She needed to finish this report and get it to her boss. As the newest member of the staff, she knew she had to work extra hard to prove herself. She had only worked two weeks before she took a month's leave for her honeymoon with Derek.

That had raised enough eyebrows around the place, although thankfully not those of Marva Darrens. The older woman had recognized Sela's feelings for Derek, even before Sela had acknowledged them herself. And when Wedge Antilles had called the office to request that she approve Sela's leave, Marva had done so immediately. In exchange, she demanded a favor in kind from the General, to which he gladly acceded. Sela would be forever grateful at how accommodating the no-nonsense woman had been, even though she did have to suffer the embarassment of appearing in a public service announcement with the General. Marva had requested that the General have members of Rogue Squadron do a series of holo-announcements appealing to families looking to adopt children or to anyone who knew of any who needed parents. Wedge had made Sela appear with him, in turn. She grinned as she remembered how proud her mother had been to see her on the holonet ...

She added a few more items to her report, saved the data, and pulled the card out of the terminal. She started to stand, but felt a wave of dizziness coming on and had to sit and close her eyes till it passed. Please don't let me be coming down with something! Derek had been worried enough leaving her alone for the first time since they'd been married. It was an important mission, and being that he'd been hand-picked for the assignment, he had no choice. The truth was that Sela was afraid he'd be sick with worry himself if he came home to find her ill. She chuckled at the thought, He'll get used to it soon enough. I can't be 100% healthy forever! The humor helped alleviate her queasiness, and she was able to open here eyes and stand up slowly. Thankfully, the dizziness did not return, although she didn't feel entirely steady on her feet.

She walked from her little cubicle to her boss's office and knocked on the partially open door. "Ms. Darrens, I have that report you wanted."

"Come in, Sela. I'll be right with you." the older woman's voice was firm, but not harsh. Her voice turned to surprise when she looked up and saw her new hire suddenly slide down the door jamb onto the floor. "Sela! Are you okay?"

The younger woman sat on the floor looking stunned, as if she wondered how she'd gotten there, "I ... I ..."

Marva carefully helped Sela onto the sofa in her office, and helped the dizzy girl put her head down between her knees. Patting her back, she encouraged Sela to breath slowly, and to relax.

When the incident was over and Sela was slowly sipping a glass of water, she was red-cheeked from embarrassment. "Ms. Darrens, I'm so sorry, I don't know what's wrong with me. I hope I'm not sick, but if I am, I hope I'm not contagious. It would be awful if you got ill because of m-"

"No, no," the dark-haired woman was a firm as she always, but Sela saw her grinning at her, "don't be silly. I won't be catching what ails you, you can be sure of that! But, young lady, you are in no state to take yourself home. Who do you want me to call to help you? I know your husband is away, what was the name of that couple you used to live with?"

Sela intended to protest, but she felt another wave of nausea wash over her and she realized her boss was right. "Janson, Jehri works for-"

"I remember ... Thank you Sela, I'll comm her now. You'll be okay for me to leave you for a minute? Put your head down again, or lie back if you feel light-headed, okay?" The tall woman went down the hall to look up Jehri's contact code.

As Sela listened to her boss contact her friend, she wondered, How can Marva be so sure she won't catch this virus from me, whatever it is? She closed her eyes, willing the world to stop oscillating so weirdly.

Down the corridor, she heard her boss talking into the comlink, "Ms. Janson. This is Marva Darrens. I am Sela Klivian's supervisor. She is feeling ill right now and has had a little turn. I think she needs someone to come and take her home. Would you be able to help her?" There was a pause while Jehri was answering her, then Marva's voice started again. "Well, she will need to see someone ... yes, I think her condition is serious, but not dangerous, if you understand my meaning?" Sela wondered herself, Huh?

She felt a cool compress on her forehead and opened her eyes. Jehri had already come; Sela realized she must have dozed off. The older woman grinned at her, "Well, Mistress Klivian, wife of the Hobster! Nice nap?"

Sela colored again, "I'm sorry! I don't know what's wrong with me!" She was so taken aback by the strangeness of it all that she was afraid she'd burst out into tears.

"Sela, you look awfully pale," Jehri sat down beside her and put her arm around her to help her up. "I put in a call to the MedCenter, let's see what's wrong with you, okay?"

"I'm fine, Jehri. I've just been staring at that datapad so much, it made me want to skip lunch. I should have eaten, since I didn't have breakfast either ... I'll be fine once I have a chance to get a bite to eat and lay down at home."

"Hmmm ... We'll see. Come on. Let's get you out of here then."

Sela stood up and only wavered slightly on her feet before she steadied herself. "I'm sorry, Ms. Darrens. I'll be in early tomorrow to make up for this ..."

"No Sela," she said, trying to suppress a laugh, "you'll be in when the doctor tells you you can come back."

"Doctor?"

"Yes, doctor," Jehri slung Sela's bag over one shoulder, "Remember the MedCenter? I wrangled an appointment for this afternoon, for a couple of hours from now. It was a complete pain getting one on such short notice, so no arguments. You are seeing the doctor. You think you can walk if I hold onto you?"

"Um ... yes. I'm sorry for the trouble," Sela was frustrated at her helplessness, "I'll be in touch Ms. Darrens, as soon as I know."

Marva triggered the doors open for them and waved the two women out, "Thank you for coming, Ms. Janson."

"Not a problem." Jehri's tone was business-as-usual, "Since Hob-- I mean, Derek ... since he couldn't be here, I'm glad I could."

She and Sela walked out to her speeder and they headed back to Hobbie and Sela's apartment. Jehri knew that they were looking for a bigger place, and she smiled as she thought to herself, But now they would have an even better incentive to find one!

*********

When they got back to the apartment, Sela was visibly relieved to be home. Realizing the woman was much more exhausted than she had let on, Jehri offered some help, "Sela, why don't you go lie down and I'll make you some tea?"

"Thank you ... I think that is about as much strength as I've got right now. I appreciate it, Jehri."

Sela headed for the bedroom and Jehri went into the kitchen. While preparing the light snack, she noted the subtle feminine touches Sela had added to the bachelor apartment Hobbie had owned since long before she knew him: fresh flowers on the table, colorful accessories that blended well with what was already there, and a generally more homey and lived-in feel. She smiled as she looked through the cupboards, thinking idly, Wonder who the baby will resemble?

She assembled the two mugs of tea and a small plate of crackers on a tray, then pushed it forward into the bedroom. Sela had kicked her shoes off and was lying on top of the bedcovers with her eyes closed, but she opened them blearily when she heard Jehri come in. The repulsorlifts under the tray allowed it to hover just over the nightstand next to the bed.

Struggling to a sitting position, Sela accepted the mug of tea proffered by her friend, "Thanks so much for going through the trouble. Honestly, I can't imagine what's wrong with me. I've never felt like this before. I'm queasy, but ravenous ... I feel weak and achy ... I get dizzy, I feel bloated ..."

Jehri sat on the edge of the bed, "And why do you suppose that is, Sela?"

The girl's mug stopped halfway to her lips, "Huh?"

Jehri laughed and held up her fingers as she counted, "Why do you suppose you, one: can't look at food without feeling like you'll heave, two: get dizzy just sitting at your desk and staring at an oscillating monitor, three: feel as weak as one of those genetically altered clones of the Emperor? And four, though you haven't said anything about it, you probably feel clumsy and bloated, too. Tell me if you require additional hints!" When the stricken woman looked blank, Jehri gently patted her abdomen.

Sela blurted out her shocked response, "I'm pregnant?!? I ... I ... no ..."

Jehri grew concerned at Sela's startled reaction. "This is a good thing, isn't it Sela? You two were planning to have a family, weren't you?"

Sela shook herself slightly, realizing she'd just yelled at the other woman. "Oh yes, Jehri ... forgive me ... We both definitely want children, but planned?" Color crept into her face, "I'm afraid we've been a little too busy being newlyweds to plan anything ... I'm sorry ... it just never occurred to me that this is why I was feeling so sick!"

Jehri breathed out a sigh of relief, "You had me worried there for a minute. I thought you were going to say this was a mistake."

"Oh no! Not planned, but definitely not a mistake!" Tears of shock and happiness started to form as the realization that she was carrying her husband's child hit her. "You know how much Derek loves your kids. He is going to be a wonderful father." He's going to be so happy!

Sela suddenly grew urgent, "Jehri, I need to contact Derek and tell him right now! He needs to know!"

"No, you don't," she said firmly, putting a hand on her arm and handing her a tissue. "You know how worried he was just leaving you for two weeks thinking you were completely healthy. Do you really want to put that added strain on him when he can't get back any sooner anyway?"

Sela nodded. "You're right." Interesting ... worrying about Derek seems to have helped me fell less ill!

"You can plan to tell him as a special 'welcome home' present." Jehri tried not to grin at the other woman's perkiness at the suggestion.

"Wait, but ..." Sela turned concerned, "once Derek finds out about my nausea and fainting at work, he's not going to let me get out of bed!"

Jehri's grin became a laugh. "You're already pregnant, Sela. You can't get get any more pregnant!"

"No, I mean .. I'm afraid ..." she blushed and stammered, "Well ... it's just ... well, when he finds out I'm pregnant," Sela was blurting it all out quickly now, "he'll be afraid to lay a hand on me because he'll be terrified of hurting me or the baby. He ... he was like that on our wedding night, too."

"He was? Oh, my ... you know Wes joked about leaving the two of you an instruction manual. Maybe he should have." Jehri was beyond bemused.

"Oh no! He knew what to do, but he was so worried about hurting me! I had to convince him, even though I had no idea what I was doing." Sela smiled at the memory, still blushing. "He did overcome his reluctance and he tells me I'm a quick study."

Jehri was doubled over with mirth. "Stop, Sela! You're killing me! Oh my ... at least you look well enough to see the doctor now," she paused to gasp large breaths, "I'm sorry, I can't help it! Okay, I'm fine now, let's get a professional opinion before you say anymore and I die laughing!"

Sela was blushing furiously now, not realizing what she told Jehri could be construed as hilarious. She hoped Derek wouldn't find out about this part.

* * * * *

The obstetrician came back into the examination room, grinning. He was a large man with dark curly hair and a mustache that made him look like a big old friendly -- yet intelligent -- bipedal bantha. "Yes indeed, Mistress Klivian. You are going to have a baby! Everything looks absolutely perfect. You're just over a month pregnant so your due date is a little less than eight months from now."

Sela smiled. She liked Doctor Holzern and knew Derek would, too. "Is it all right for me to go back to work, Doctor?"

"There's no reason why you shouldn't. You feel nauseous in the mornings and throughout the day, but that is perfectly normal. This phase should only last another few weeks. In the meantime, the nurse will go over the various ways to deal with the so-called "morning sickness" with you and you can see what works for you. She'll also set up a schedule of office visits so we can keep tabs on how that little critter is growing, and keep track of your health, too."

"Thank you, Doctor."

"You're welcome. Now my turn to ask you a question, if you wouldn't mind?"

"No. Please go ahead." Sela tensed a bit, afraid of what the question might be.

"Would you please tell me who you are that the Director of Emergency Medicine here personally threatened me if I didn't make time to see you?"

Sela smiled with relief; this question, she knew the answer to. "I'm nobody, Doctor, but my husband has known Dr. Telsan for over fifteen years."

"Your husband? Well, then who is he and why didn't he comm me himself?"

"He's a pilot, Derek Klivian, but his friends call him Hobbie. He's away on an assignment right now." Sela's face glowed. "This is going to be such a wonderful surprise when he gets home!"

The doctor slapped his forehead. "That's why your name sounded so familiar! He's with Rogue Squadron, is he not?" Sela realized now from his accent and manner that the doctor was not native to Coruscant, "I should have realized. That was Jehri Janson sitting with you in the waiting room, yes-yes?"

"Yes, it was. I'm so sorry to have imposed-"

Doctor Holzern grinned as he interrupted her apology. "Somehow all the pilots' wives seem to wind up as my patients and most of them are referred by Marran Telsan. I delivered his kids, too." He winked at her, "So I must be good, eh?"

"Doctor Telsan and his wife have been good friends with the Rogues over the years. A lot of them, including Derek, owe him their lives. My husband was once betrothed to Nia Ponsed, did you know her?" Sela was delighted to know that Doctor Holzern was the Rogues' "family obstetrician."

"No, I'm afraid not, though I have heard of her, of course. Counting on my fingers, how many Rogues children have I delivered? Hmn, I believe your husband finally makes it an even dozen! Bring Derek along for your next appointment. I look forward to meeting him. Tell him, won't you," he leaned forward, conspiratorially, "I am looking forward to adding his child to my tally! Put another mark on my office wall, I will!"

Sela laughed, understanding his joke, "Doctor, wild thuvasaurs wouldn't keep him away!"

************

Hobbie Klivian was glad that this escort assignment was finally over. It had been only two weeks, but that was two weeks longer than he wanted to be away from his bride. They'd been married for a mere six standard months, qualifying them as still newlyweds.

He still felt as if the time with Sela was a dream. He woke up every morning afraid that he'd discover that he was still alone; that the love and joy and happiness he had with Sela were all just cruel illusions.

He fingered the perfumed kerchief he'd kept under his flightsuit the whole time he'd been away. It was a piece of the nightgown Sela had worn on the first night of their honeymoon; after they'd settled into married life, he'd hinted she'd have no need for it again. His clever wife had presented him with the piece just before he left, to remember her by. As if he could forget her!

All he wanted was to get home to see Sela; he missed her so much. This assignment was the first time they had been separated for any length of time since they were married, but he had had no choice. Princess Leia's diplomatic mission required that the New Republic's most elite fighter squadron serve as her escort, and it was his turn. But it was finally over and he was on his way home.

*************

Sela knew approximately when the mission was due back, but had grown increasingly distracted as the day went on. She tried to do some paddwork she'd brought home to pass the time, but she couldn't keep her mind on it.

Marva Darrens had given her the day off, knowing the young woman's husband was due back. So Sela had spent most of the day getting ready for Derek to come home that evening. She had made a nice dinner, with dishes that could be chilled until it was time to reheat them. Still experiencing the glow of new love, they usually had their dinner by candlelight. Thus the romantic table setting was not out of place, but she had taken extra care that everything was perfect. She wore the simple blue summer dress Derek had bought her when they were on their honeymoon. He'd told her he thought the color made her eyes sparkle with magic. She mulled over how much longer she could wear it before she started "showing" her condition.

Now that she was under Doctor Holzern's care, she knew how to cope with her morning sickness. Her color had returned and she felt stronger. She didn't want to give Derek any reason to be concerned about her well-being while he'd been away. She wanted him to be completely overjoyed at the news of their pregnancy, but she knew it would still be a shock to him. It had been to her, and she had been the one suffering the ongoing nausea! Well, those with the most stake in the condition always seem to be the last to know, she chuckled to herself. It figures everyone else seemed to know I was pregnant before I did!

She heard the door open and flew to meet Derek, flinging her arms around him and kissing all over his face. The bags and boxes he'd brought home fell to the floor, forgotten, and he wrapped her in his arms and kissed her back. When they finally parted, he looked into her eyes and smiled gently brushing a lock of hair off her cheek. "Wow! That was some 'welcome home'!"

"I missed you so much, Derek!" She nibbled at his neck, which she knew was one of his 'hot buttons' -- touch here and beware of the consequences, he had told her during their honeymoon.

"I missed you, too. I couldn't wait to get back. Hey, stop that! Please, sweetheart, let me get the door shut!" Even though she was embarrassed that any neighbors and passers-by could see the couple making love in the doorway, Sela just couldn't help herself. Hobbie lifted her off the ground and waddled in through the threshold. He tried to reach back to hit the door trigger, but groaned when he felt Sela put her legs around his hips. Opening one eye, she found the door shut button, and hit it.

As Hobbie leaned back and felt his wife grinding into him, she whispered to him, "Are you hungry? I made dinner."

"Uh... n-no ... uh... All I want," Hobbie was panting, "right now ... is ... you!"

Sela drew back and looked into his eyes, "Let's just call this the first course?"

Somehow, they made it back to the bedroom. Like a couple of desperate teens, they somehow removed their clothing while still staying lip-locked and lewdly groping. Hobbie had hoped to make love to his wife in a warm, tender manner, but he found her needful lust so exciting ... they didn't even bother with some of their normal, loving preliminaries ...

Spent, Sela lay back, caressing her lover/husband. This was as fast and as wild as they'd ever made love, and she had to admit that though she considered herself to be sappily romantic, this quick, fast, hard style certainly was nice, too! He can't say this hurt the baby, either! she thought, gleefully. She hoped her plan would work!

"I'm sorry, Sela, you're just so beautiful," Hobbie's voice was filled with concern, "I couldn't resist you! I didn't mean for it to be so ..."

"Mmmn, Derek, I loved it!" Sela enjoyed feeling her husband's head between her breasts, "And I think I was the one to attack you at the door, almost in full view of the public?"

Hearing her heartbeat slow down as she came down from the energetic sex, he felt relieved, "And I thank you for that! But now I will have to hide you away, since the neighbors know what a wild sexual animal my wife is!"

They both laughed at the thought of the shy, normally withdrawn woman being taken for a lustful beast. Hobbie liked it, but he liked their normal way, too. He moved his hand down between them to feel her. When she gasped and moaned, he moved into her again, this time more slowly. He watched her as he made love to her again, marveling at how she looked spread out like this. And she's all mine, he thought happily. "You are so beautiful, Sela." He kissed her breast, "I love you so much. I thought I would go out of my mind missing you!" He covered her face with soft kisses before claiming her lips and mouth with a deep kiss that he felt throughout his entire body.

Sela was equally passionate, caressing and kissing him as if she never had any intention of ever letting him go. "Oh Derek ... I've been so lost without you. I love you, my Darling."

They gave full reign to their passion and desire, yet honored it as the physical expression of the abiding love they felt for each other. They came together in a torrent of physical as well as emotional need and carried each other higher and higher till they both reached their release together, for the second time in mere minutes.

Now completely and utterly spent Hobbie collapsed onto Sela. His weight on top of her was a comfort and she clung tightly to him. He came back to himself and laid down next to her gathering her into a protective loving embrace. She cuddled up to him, holding him tightly with her head on his chest. It was her turn to listen as his heartbeat returned to normal, and she wondered as they both slipped into a light doze, Can the baby hear him, too?

* * * * *

A short time later, Sela woke. They had fallen asleep in each others arms and there were few things she loved more than waking up with his arms still around her. She felt so safe and so loved and cherished that it brought tears to her eyes. This was the perfect time to tell him about the pregnancy. She'd thought it over in detail ever since she first discovered she was carrying his child, and she knew the moment had come.

She lifted her hand to brush the happy tears away, but Derek's hand reached her face first.

"Sela, what's wrong?"

"Nothing Derek, not now. It's all right now," She reached up to caress his cheek and kissed him softly. "I'm just so glad you're home."

He gathered her into a closer embrace and kissed her again. "I bet I'm gladder to be home ... and I'll bet I missed you more!"

"Mmmn, don't be so sure," she nuzzled into the hollow of his shoulder, by his neck, "we missed you a whole bunch."

There was a silence, and Sela became concerned. Did Derek not hear her? Or had he misunderstood? Oh, help, I hope I didn't screw this up ...

"Sela, did you just say we? Is there something you want to tell me?" His expression became confused and rather upset.

She took his hand, placed it on her abdomen, then covered it with her own hand. "Yes Derek. We." She cuddled him closer, "I just found out. Are you surprised?"

Her husband then did something very unexpected. He jumped out of the bed in a panic, "You're...? Oh Sela!" He was all jittery, "I'm ... oh no, did I hurt ... do you need anything? Uh, wait-" He ran to the dresser and pulled out an extra blanket and threw it over his wife, "You're going to catch a chill, uh, hot water, you need hot water ..."

Before he could bolt for the kitchen, Sela sat up, "Derek! Stop!! I'm fine! You didn't hurt me or the baby!" Looking stricken, he stopped, and she continued, "I'm not going to break, Derek. It's okay! Get under this blanket with me," she giggled, "You look funny running around like that ..."

Slowly getting back into the bed, Hobbie embraced her tentatively. He was holding her as if she was a precious piece of fragile porcelain. Remembering their passionate love-making earlier, he was certain that he'd hurt Sela and the baby somehow. "Sela, I'm so sorry. We shouldn't have... How long have you known? Why didn't you tell me...?"

She smiled, congratulating herself for having correctly predicted his reaction. "Darling, it's okay, honestly! The doctor said-"

"Doctor? " Hobbie's voice had pinched out into a squeak. Sela thought it was kind of cute that his distress was so apparent.

Sela raised her hand to caress his face again. "Nothing is wrong. I only found out three days ago. I had a little dizziness at work, but it's perfectly normal, nothing to worry about. Marva called Jehri, who made the appointment at the MedCente-"

"You were dizzy at work and Jehri took you to the MedCenter??" Hobbie couldn't tell if his apprehension and guilt was causing things to blur, "I should have been there! Look, I'll talk to Wedge, I'll resign! You don't do anything, I'll look after you and you rest and gosh I feel a bit queasy an... what?"

Sela was laughing at him so hard she was crying. "What's so funny?" he asked, puzzled.

Sela hid under the blanket, still giggling, and he heard her muffled underneath, "Doctor Holzern told me that you would immediately come down with 'Pregnant Pilot Syndrome.' He was right. You just did."

"Don't be silly, I am not! Um ... What is that?" He whipped the covers off his wife, thinking, Well, she's obviously not cold!

To Hobbie's chagrin, Sela was still laughing, "He said that when some men find out their wives are pregnant, they go into this over-protective mode, being afraid that any little thing will hurt the mother and baby and not wanting to let them do anything except rest. He sees the wives of a lot of pilots and he says pilots are the worst ... specifically, Rogues are the worst!"

She smiled at his dumbfounded expression. "Derek, I love it that you want to take care of me; but I am not sick. I'm going to have a baby. It is a very normal, healthy thing that happens to millions of people every day. I'm not about to shatter! And to be honest, 'Pregnant Pilot Syndrome' is much preferable to 'Sympathetic Pregnancy Syndrome' where the husband goes through all the physical manifes-"

"Thanks Sela," he interrupted his wife, "I've heard of that one, and I am NOT suffering from either syndrome." He felt a little miffed, as he looked from her face down to his hand still on her stomach and then back into her eyes. "And by the way, you're NOT millions of people ... and that is MY child growing inside you." He suddenly got misty-eyed and he said quietly, "Nothing is more precious to me than you ... except for our baby AND you."

The look on his face when he said 'our baby' was one that Sela would always treasure. She knew how much family and children meant to him, and her mood shifted from teasing her husband to one that was overcome with joy that they had made this child out of the love they shared. "I know ... and no child could ever have a more wonderful or more loving daddy."

An awe-filled smile spread across Hobbie's face. "Daddy... I'm going to be a daddy ... We're going to be parents!"

She smiled, happy to have had this exchange with the father of her child. He was as overjoyed, as she knew he would be, and she glowed under the effects of his love. "I love you, Derek. And our child loves you, I'm sure. You can't hurt us, ever, no matter what you do. So please don't worry." She lay cradled in his arms, "But the baby won't grow on love alone ... how about some dinner?"

The End (Yeah, Right!)



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