Supreme Irony

"You'll be OK… I've got you…"

The first time he'd swept the hair back off her neck and murmured a quiet stream of reassurance, she'd thought it sweet and comforting. Now, after a solid week of vomiting violently into the toilet, all she wanted was for him to leave her the hell alone.

She would never say those words to him. Despite his outer bravado, such rejection would wound him greatly. He had seen enough of that from his mother.


Gia accepted the warm, wet towel that her husband gently offered. She wiped her face and shuddered. "It's getting worse," she said.

"I thought it seemed that way." Nikolas slid down onto the stone floor beside his wife. Gia leaned wearily against his solid form. "I think we should consider telling Mrs. Landsbury what's happening. She is sure to have something to ease your queasiness."

Gia shook her head. "I don't want to tell anyone I'm pregnant until we've had time to absorb it ourselves."

There were so many reasons for her hesitance. Despite being happily married for over 10 years, she and Nikolas remained childless. It was not for lack of trying. Medical tests showed that both their bodies were perfectly healthy and capable of creating a new life. And yet they hadn't.

They'd thought at one point about adopting a child or two. Nikolas wanted to wait until they had produced an heir. The laws of Royal lineage did not matter to him, but it was a fact that could not be escaped. The thought of one of his children being passed over because it was adopted seemed unnecessarily cruel, especially when he could simply bypass it all by ensuring that his firstborn child was heir to the throne.

As the years passed and no heir was born, Nikolas and Gia felt the growing pressure from family factions to produce a child of Cassadine blood. It made the couple even more hesitant to subject a child to such a life. If they wouldn't subject a child they’d ‘made’ to such pressure, how could they thrust one they’d ‘chosen’ to such scrutiny?

They'd gone on with their lives. There was always a buzz of interest wherever they went – the handsome Russian prince and his beautiful fashion model wife. Together (and separately), they’d traveled the world supporting causes and movements that were important to them. Publicly, they adapted to a life without children. Privately, though, there was rarely a moment when the hope of children was not on their minds.

Life had chosen to enact the supreme irony in their lives. And it had only taken the approaching end of the world to accomplish that feat. For the first time since their wedding, creating a child was not foremost in their thoughts. Gia had put aside all thoughts about her body's unwillingness to cooperate.

They were mere days from preparing to lock themselves away from the rest of the world when Gia realized that she was pregnant. What she assumed was stress and nausea about the end of the world was really morning sickness. Mid-morning sickness, actually.

"Is it just me?" Gia fought down a wave of nausea. "I don't know how to feel about this."

Nikolas didn't respond. Gia hadn't needed him too. They'd had the same conversation multiple times since discovering Gia's pregnancy. Neither of them had any more answers than they did a week ago.

“A part of me," Gia whispered, "does want to tell them all the good news. I want to look into my brother’s face and see the joy he has been praying for us to know."

"I know." Nikolas’ voice was husky with emotion. "One hundred times I've imagined myself standing in the center of the Great Hall, announcing news that not even the approaching apocalypse can subdue.”

"Then why don't we?"

“Because it will make it real. No matter how amazing this is," Nikolas explained, "we will only get a minute to enjoy it. I mean, all of us. Father and Faith will immediately put their heads together in order to figure out how this child changes the dynamics of our survival attempt. Alexis will consult the family archives to make sure that every ‘i’ is dotted and every ‘t’ crossed regarding our child's place as heir to the Cassadine throne. Even if there are no other Cassadines around to oppose it."

Gia snorted. "Marcus will be even more protective than usual. He will probably camp out on a cot outside our door."

"Sabrina will appoint herself guardian of your health," Nikolas continued. “And Andresj will excuse himself to immediately put the guards in place for what will inevitably be unrelenting protection."

Silence stretched out between them. "It's not fair," Gia finally whispered, broken. "It's just not fair. We've wanted a baby for so long!"

"And now a large part of me wishes it out of existence," Nikolas admitted. It was a sentiment that he hadn't wanted to share with Gia. "Yes, we may survive it all. But what world do we ‘survive’ into? Our experts can only speculate about the conditions we will experience. Despite all our preparations, food will be limited and medical care –though administered by the finest doctors- will be basic.

“And that is at the beginning of it all. Who knows what the world will be like when we are finally able to emerge from the shelter. Assuming," Nikolas said, "that we are not confined to the shelter so long that our baby is born there."

Gia shuddered. The possibility of an extended stay within the confines of the shelter had begun to affect her. At Nikolas’ urging, she had begun daily meetings with Kevin Collins in preparation for the rapidly approaching day when she would need to put aside her growing claustrophobia. Gia’s sessions with the gentle psychiatrist were informal, but they both knew the weight of the task she needed to accomplish. "We keep talking like surviving is a guarantee."

"Not surviving would be the most painful outcome of all." Nikolas clinched his jaw. “To die knowing that my only job- to protect my child- was a failure."


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