Well, this is another chapter done. I'm going to put the rest of the story on hold, and work on my "White Christmas" fanfic. Yeah, it's early, but I'm gonna try to do it all at once before posting. It'll probably be up around the week of Christmas.

~^*^~

"So what are we looking for this time?" I inquired, ignoring the worried look on Nersa's face.

"The Sphere of Hermes, and this time we keep the loot." Nersa replied, putting out the last embers of the fire from the night before.

"Good." I stated. "Reward money has its own beauty, but I sometimes would rather keep the treasure." When I learned about our goal, I instantly felt renewed. If anything could solve my dilemma, it would be the sphere.

It was said the Sphere of Hermes would grant you one wish, the deepest, strongest wish of your heart. I wanted out of the mess I was in.

"Oh, I also brought this." Nersa declared, searching his bag, and pulling the diamond triumphantly.

"Uh-huh." I stated unenthusiastically. "Nersa, you worry far too much about me."

"How can I not, when you've been ill for all this time? And you show no sign o getting better!" Nersa declared. We both noticed at the same time that Tre was watching us, so he continued in a hushed tone, "In fact, you appear to be getting worse."

I was about to respond, when I had a sudden attack of morning sickness. When I got back, Tre had summoned a horse for me to ride to the edge of the of the forest. From then on, he did his best to keep me and my husband apart. Not that I really minded, except that Tre continued to give me tender glances and flirt. Nersa looked furious by midday, but said nothing.

The horse ride did nothing to ease my nausea, and only made my cramps worse, but I tried not to complain.

At nightfall, we had reached the edge of the forest, and Tre helped me down from the horse.

"You'll have to be on foot through the Dark Wood, I'm afraid." He stated sweetly.

"He'll manage." Nersa retorted gruffly. "Won't you, Evan?"

"I-" I started, but Tre cut in.

"Oh, my, you really aren't all that observant, are you?" Tre said mockingly. "You claim to love this man, yet you don't even know his condition!"

"Don't talk to me like that!" Nersa spat, "I know perfectly well that Evan is in poor heath! I'd help him if only he'd let me!"

"You can't help me! Not with that stupid diamond of yours!" I yelled in frustration. The two looked at me, Nersa in surprise, and Tre in amusement.

"Why not?" Nersa wanted to know.

"Yes, tell him." Tre prompted. "I'm sure he'd like to know."

"I can't - I can't tell you." I murmured, struggling to maintain eye contact with Nersa. "Please, let's just finish this mission, and be done with it." Nersa sighed in anguish.

"Evan, don't you trust me?" Nersa pled, and for a moment, I saw the truth, that Nersa really would love me no matter what happened. In that moment, Tre cleared his throat, and I fell back into the deception. /No, Nersa will mock you and send you away, / I told myself.

"I-Nersa, I want to tell you, but-" I began, and Tre began to laugh childishly.

"Oh for goodness sake! He's pregnant, Nersa!" Tre announced, putting his hands on my shoulders and shaking me gently. "Pregnant! Do you understand that?"

Nersa's mouth flitted into a stifled smile, and I could hear the sounds of suppressed laughter coming from his throat. Without a second thought I ran into the Dark Wood alone. I could hear Nersa yelp in surprise; I saw him reach for me in the corner of my eye as I ran past him, but I didn't stop. If I could get far enough ahead, Nersa would never be able to find me.

/How long have you been running? / I asked myself after a long time. I tripped and fell to the ground. Breathing heavily, I dragged myself to a nearby tree, and fought back disappointed tears. /Does it matter? / I wondered in response to the first question.

"Evan?" A soothing voice called to me. I opened my eyes hopefully and looked around in the dark.

"Nersa?" I queried, hoping that I had been wrong.

"No, it's me, Tre." The elf said, sitting next to me. He seemed offended, but continued before I could apologize. "I told you he wouldn't love you." I leaned against him and felt his arm go around my waist.

It wasn't long before I was finally unable to hold back any longer, and I found myself clinging to Tre as I sobbed uncontrollably. He murmured comfort to me, and though I appreciated it, I wanted more than anything to be with Nersa again.