The room was closed off to bring the birthing mother some privacy from those who would seek to pry. Her screams echoed through the walls and the midwives were standing by, waiting for the baby's cry a little more than anxiously. The father of the child was pacing back and forth across the door nervously. He kept glancing at his wife trying to figure out if the child would be a boy. He hoped desperately that the Gods would honor him with a boy he so much desired. He had four children including this baby and all of them had been girls so far.

At last, the baby's first cry broke the tension and gave way to a furry of movement and chattering. The midwives were quick to help the child and relieve the exhausted mother from her burden. The midwives shared a look between each other and made sure to cover up their emotions as they wrapped the baby in blanket and rocked it back and forth to quite its cry.

"Well? What is it?" the father snapped at them more than impatient.

"It's a boy," came the dry reply. The man smiled warmly and shared the joyous moment with his wife who relaxed against her pillows, her duty done.

"…The baby has the Mark," one of the midwives managed to squeak out. It had been ages since a child had been born with the mark. Instantly the parents looked over at the midwives with their smiles wiped clean from their faces. The man hurried forward to see for himself and took the baby out of the midwife's arms. He searched for the dreaded mark but it wasn't hard to find. Right above the boy's belly button the black mark of the raven stood out against the baby's pale skin. The man let out a small sob and his hands shook as he gazed at the baby. He thrust him back into one of the open arms of the midwives and turned away.

Just his luck. He finally had a boy only for him to carry the damned Mark. In the eye of those who didn't call the child their own it was a blessing on his family from the Gods. The man only saw it as a curse and wished the child hadn't been born.

~~***~~

Steven didn't want to let his partner go. He was too comfortable holding the raven haired male and he knew it would be the last time he could hold him for a while. They had just had one of their best heated mornings and neither one of them wanted to get up. The raven haired, blue eyed, beauty was looking up at him with those stunning eyes and that smile was just so inviting on those kissable lips. Steven lowered his head and captured his lover's mouth and they had a moment just enjoying each other's closeness. By the end of it, Steven had his lover's hands running through his short brunette hair.

"Come on, Steven. It's time to get up. We have things we need to do," his lover cooed in his ear.

"I don't want to get up, Jace…" he whined and buried his head in Jace's neck. Jace chuckled and reluctantly pulled away from Steven. The covers dropped and Jace stretched out his swimmer's body before getting out of the bed and pulling some clothes on. "Sweetie, get up. You've waited for so long for the time machine to be finished and now you don't want to get up?" Jace pouted.

"Okay, okay! I am up." Steven rolled out of bed and nearly hit the ground. He heard Jace's laugh and gave a small blush. "I meant to do that."

"Sure you did." Jace gave him a small smile before he left the room to get their quick breakfast ready. Steven hurried out of the room and hoped to get his clothes on. Now that he was up, the excitement of their achievement had finally started to kick in. This had to be the greatest achievement since translocation hit the market in 2020. Now, a mere five years later, the world's first time machine was finally fully functional and test ready. Steven was the first and the only person about to give it a whirl. He was twenty and he was going to be famous!

He leaned against the counter beside Jace and took the waffle from him and grinned. "You did it," Jace sighed warmly.

"We did it," he corrected and took a bite. He pulled Jace into his arms and gave him a tight hug. This had to be the greatest moment yet. "So you really want to go through with this?" Jace asked a little hesitantly.

"Yes. I have to test it! We can't put it on the market before we test it!"

"I know but we haven't tested anything on it and-"

"Jace," he cut off, "it will be fine."

"But what if-"

"No but's."

"But-" Steven kissed Jace passionately again to quite him and ease his fears. He pulled his lips away tenderly and caressed his lover's cheek. "I will be fine. I am just going to stay there for a little while. I'll be back before you know it."

"I don't want to lose you..." Jace sighed.

"You won't lose me. I already have the time converter belt on so I know how much time will pass here. I need to test the portal and gather data. I'll only be gone for a month. Maybe even less."

"Promise?"

"Promise." The two love birds shared one last embrace and kiss before Steven checked his belt and went to stand in the middle of a circular machine with stands come up around it to hold it up. It almost looked like a claw sticking out of the ground. Jace gave an inward sigh and placed his hand on the switch to start it up and set the date. "Ready?" he asked his love. Steven gave a nod and smiled up at him. "Don't do anything stupid. I'll be waiting here for you. Don't kill anything there! You don't want to mess up anything!"

"I know. I'll be fine!"

"Okay…" Jace pouted. He flipped the switch and muttered an I love you as he watched the machine charge up. A white light seemed to engulf Steven and vibrate through the room. Both men had to cover their eyes or be blinded by it. Jace ventured to open his eyes when the light vanished and saw Steven was gone.

"Good luck babe."