154 ~ Jules

Jourd’Juno, 8th Trinnia

Yarrow’s morning sickness was not strictly a morning affair, now. There was no hiding it from her women.

Or from Yarrow.

After a particularly vicious bout, she lay on her back, head in Thadea’s lap. Her aunt stroked her hair, silently soothing the bellica.

Jules sat beside her, as usual when she had her sickness. They were camped by the river again, a few days ride out of Atherton. Major and bellica were far away from the fires of the camp, but the moonslight cast enough light to see by. She regarded him steadily.

“I’m pregnant.” It wasn’t a question. He nodded anyway. “How long have you known?”

He took a deep breath. “Since we left Atton.”

Her eyes closed briefly. When she opened them again they shone with wetness. “I knew I should have packed my tea when I left Atherton,” she said with a hint of humour.

“And I, mine,” he replied. “Some medic I am not having standard birth control with me,” he said, smiling wanly at her.

Her smile was small and pained, but it was a smile. “I don’t suppose you have the other drink with you?”

He shook his head sadly. “We can go back, Yar. Just say the word and we’ll –”

“We’ll what, Jules? Go back to Atton so I can get that drink but pollo out at the last minute?” She shook her head. “No. I couldn’t do it. I realised that when I asked you for it.” The tears ran down her cheeks now, but her face was a stoic mask.

“We can still go back,” he said gently.

“And I could raise my child – mayhap already damaged by my night of drinking – in exile. No. It’s forward we go.”

There was silence for a moment, and then Thadea spoke.

“Exile not so bad.”

Yarrow laughed, as much a release of tension as in real mirth, and Jules found himself joining her. Soon medic and bellica were laughing heartily, with Thadea staring at them as if they’d lost their minds.

When her laughs subsided, Yarrow grabbed Thadea’s hand gratefully. “Thank you, Aunt. I know exile isn’t so bad. All the same, I’d rather not go back to it.” She sat up and looked south, towards the capital they marched on. “No,” she murmured, so soft Jules had to lean closer to hear what she said. “No, better we both die trying to take back home, rather than live with the damage I’ve done you, little one.”

“Yarrow,” he said, his voice the same level as hers, “as medic I should tell you – three glasses of wine probably won’t hurt your ba–”

Her hand pressed against his mouth. “Don’t give me hope, Jules. That’s the cruelest thing you could do right now.” He didn’t speak, and her hand dropped as she looked towards the camp. “They know, don’t they?”

“Yes.” What else could he say?

Yarrow got to her feet, an activity that was not so easy as it should have been. She was starting to show already. With her form, it was inevitable that it would show this early. It wasn’t much, and naught more than would be mistaken for a small beer gut by anyone not spending all day and night with her.

Yarrow brushed the dirt off her clothing. “I’m going to go talk to them,” she said, and walked off, still the same proud bellica he’d always known, weight of the world on her shoulders or no.

It really was, now.


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