The Seahorse Effect

Author's Note and Warning: This is a short story that is in HEAVY edit and is using ideas that are throughly being played with, changed, modified, and corrected. Please keep criticism constructive, informative, and helpful. This story contains male pregnancy, you have been warned.

"God damn it, God damn it, God damn it," I heard the words trailing all the way down the cement flooring of the airplane hangar. I looked up from my work on one of the SUVs that we kept for scouting and on the off chance we have to move. My attention was caught by Ariel Lily shoving his way through burly men off to his own little section of the building. Well I now know whose path not to cross so I could turn back to my work.

Lily was always angry and I didn't fuck with him if I could help it. When you're the possible answer to the revival of humanity you tend to feel a lot of pressure and so it was understandable that he was often in a bad mood. I would be too if everyone was expecting me to bring back the mammalian female populace, so he deserved his bad days.

I stopped momentarily to stare at a murky pool of oil on the ground. It had been years since I had seen a woman. It had hit hard and fast. A virus had spread through the air, throughout the entire world and quickly took the life of every single female mammal on planet Earth and left man all by himself. For months while women everywhere gasped their final breaths people shouted that it was the rapture. The end was nigh! Men just had to wait their turn! Our turn never came though. We were still alive, we weren't sick or ailing, and it didn't cause our skin to disintegrate, but the virus didn't leave us completely unfunny. Whoever engineered this, because I'm certain it had to be of human make, either had a sense of humor or was simply a total bastard.

I don't know exactly how it was said to have started. I've heard that people first saw it in rabbits or that it started with gay men, but our genetic structure had been tampered with. Every man on the planet had magically grown a womb and were capable of giving birth. It was something that was considered a miracle of science yet was also hailed as a product of the devil, a curse, divine punishment for the treatment of women, lots of things. I just generally thought of it as a bitch. I knew now that I had the capability of giving birth and it scared the fuck out of me.

Amidst the panic and chaos this caused there were some calming voices. Scientists were working on cures, were trying to figure out what had happened and trying to reverse effects or so they said. Governments were trying to keep control, police officers were working round the clock to keep riots from happening and military forces were on the watch for some form of continued attack that never came.

You would think that it would have been simple to reinstate the female population. Granted it would take a lot of work from the gay community and those few straight men willing to take one for the team, but scientists were saying that the virus had dissipated or died out naturally and were not finding it in the air, so the female population could be rebuilt because men now could have children. Or so we thought.

Seeing as animals usually have much shorter gestation periods than humans, it first appeared in critters around the world. All continued mammalian life was male. Scientists began to panic started working even harder to find something, anything to ease people's minds, but it was no use. Men started giving birth to the next wave of men. There wasn't a female child in the bunch and that ended up being the straw that broke the camel's back.

Society was torn down. People started committing suicide left and right, only those too religious, too cowardly, or too angry decided not to kill themselves. I, not being the religious sort, didn't really know why I was still around, but here I was. Those that didn't kill themselves rioted, started fights and fires, and some went on killing sprees to take out people they felt responsible for the tragedy. Death was rampant for quite a while and we kept the Reaper busy.

The rage dissipated after a while though. There was little to no control left. Public figures, religious and political, having either committed suicide, been murdered, or hiding somewhere, knew that there was little to no reason for them to try to maintain their office. People were just doing what they wanted and like in all the apocalypse movies that I saw before everything went to shit, people found their own place, made their own groups, their own hierarchies, or simply went at it alone.

Of course there was no FBI anymore to confirm this, but I'm going to say that since all this happened, violent crime and especially rape had gone up. I felt sorry for every scrawny, skinny, weak man that walked the planet. They tried to protect themselves, used whatever weapons they could find, but the world was after them. It was like the entire world was now prison gay, except of course for those that had been gay before. More feminine men were a commodity now. Usually they were just used for sex as the only other options were celibacy or becoming best friend with your palm, but there were also people, scientists in most cases, that would use them as lab rats to test possible solutions, though others simply thought that if they impregnated enough men sooner or later a girl would pop out, but that was a blind faith that I didn't invest in.

"Garrison!" I heard shouted and it brought me from my thoughts. I gave an exhausted sigh as I realized that the voice was Jack. My ever faithful and rambunctious young ward that followed me pretty much everywhere since I had adopted him, having found the little orphan crying at a dried up well, dehydrated, maybe a day from death.

"What's up pup?" I asked him as I turned to him. He was going on fourteen and he was starting to get tall now. I wondered if he'd get taller than me or not.

"Ariel is pissed off!" he shouted. He had never been very tactful or eloquent.

"Yeah, I kind of figured that. Anything important you want to tell me?" I asked.

"Shouldn't we go try and make him feel better?"

"Just leave it be brat. If Ariel needs something, he'll come ask." I looked up at the clock. "Come on, it's time for food, let's get some lunch," I said and his eyes grew bright and happy, making him race off to get us some rations. I swear the kid was worse than a dog.

I started to follow behind wondering how he could possibly contain that much energy, but was stopped abruptly as a dog ran barking out a side door and out to the gardens beyond. I stopped for a moment and admired the sunshine as the orchard leaves rustled in the wind. The tomatoes were coming in really red and fat and I knew they'd be good to eat when it was time to harvest them.

We lived in a large airport hangar that was held us all comfortably. Things were sectioned off as best as they could be to provide privacy, but there was a lot to be desired. Wooden crates, piled up tires, and barrels of collected gasoline and oil sectioned off the garage area. Whatever shelves and tables we could find made up the kitchen area. The toilet was a latrine outside and to get a bath you had to go out to the river and decide if you wanted a cold, but quick wash in the water or if you wanted to haul water up from the river, boil it, and pour it into the bathtubs we had waiting out there. We are working on a plumbing system, but the most any of us know is how to fix plumbing, not make a whole system from scratch.

Lily's room and lab were sectioned off mostly by shelves, a couple of cubicle walls, and makeshift curtains. My own was simply a cot in the corner with a chalk square surrounding it as I didn't really care to make walls that didn't mean anything. Everyone else just cobbled together whatever they could find, using sheets, wood planks, boxes to make walls. Though because nothing was ever private around here it made conversations difficult with the three young boys that lived in the hangar and I myself had had to sit down with Jack several times to have a birds and the bees conversation much different than the one my father gave me.

Privacy aside, we did pretty well for ourselves and so I was smiling as I stepped into the lunch line where Stanley, AKA Steak, was serving food with his lackey Omar, a Muslim man that said little and still prayed, though to who and for what I don't know.

"Hey Steak, what are we eating today?" I asked.

"Chili!" Steak proclaimed enthusiastically. Steak liked meat, which is probably where he got the name. "We also got cornbread and roasted veggies! So eat up!" he said slopping a heaping portion into Jack's bowl.

"Chili?," I said frowning. I looked into the bowl to see meat that didn't seem to be hamburger. "Just what animal is in here?"

"Snake, rooster, lizard, dog, who the fuck cares? I'm doing the best I can. It's not like there are any cows to slaughter,"

"Dog?" I grimaced.

"It's not dog you pussy," Steak said, rolling his eyes.

I glared at him. "Hasn't been any pussy around in a long time Steak. Now give the kid an orange or something. You're going to give him scurvy."

Steak chuckled and handed Jack a bowl of pomegranate seeds. "Here you go kid. Picked them fresh this morning."

"Thank you Steak," Jack said and then headed off towards my little area of the hangar where we usually eat meals together.

"So what'd Sanders teach you today?" I asked as we sat down to our meal. The other guys and I tried to teach the boys whatever we could remember about math, science, reading, writing and whatever else we were taught in school, but having ten different teachers who had ten different educations led to some complications which led to a bloody fist fight so we were glad when Sanders, a college professor, showed up and took over that responsibility.

Looking to Jack I saw he was gobbling up enough food to choke a horse and sighed. "Slow down! It's not like that food isn't going to be there in a minute," I said.

"But it's so good! And I'm starving!"

I just shook my head. "What did Sanders teach you?" I asked again.

"He's making us read "Romeo and Juliet," but it's taking forever because we only have one copy so we can't read it outside of lessons," he said.

I frowned. "Yeah we don't usually stop to look for books. I'll keep on the lookout for libraries or book stores next time we go out scavenging though," I said and he nodded, ignoring me now as he went back to his food.

I looked out one of the hangar windows and saw the lush green of the overgrown fields outside. Earth was not dead and lifeless. Without people everywhere it was easier for the plant life to grow and take over so everything was flourishing. Factories were shut down so there weren't as many pollutants in the water or the air which made both water and sky a pretty blue, the way it was supposed to be. That didn't mean that everything was all rainbows and sunshine though.

Most towns were deserted now and whenever you went into one, you pretty much had your pick of whatever you could find as long as you weren't on someone's turf so we would head out from time to time and collect supplies. You would encounter people from time to time, some wanting a fight, most just wanting to survive. What bothered me and many of my comrades though was the fact that it was so quiet when we left the hangar. It irked all of us and you expected some kind of boogey-man to jump out at you and attack you. It makes you think of all the things you missed, all the people you left behind and it reminds you that once bustling streets full of noise and movement are now silent. It was just funny how not too long ago the thought of a busy shopping mall made me think of self-absorbed assholes, pushing, shoving, shouting. Now it made me think of Christmas, seeing people being happy, going to the ice rink, giant decorated trees.

"Why does Ariel work so hard on trying to bring back women?"

I blinked, realized that I had been letting my stew get cold. I looked at the fourteen year old and frowned. "What do you mean?"

"Well, what's so great about women? I've seen pictures and you made Ariel show me that embarrassing film about how babies were born before the virus, but what's so important about them? They don't even look all that different to me."

"That's right; you were only five when your mother died so you don't remember women." I took a moment to think about it, "Well…you see…women are…having only men is…" I groaned. "Damn kids always asking the hard questions that you can't answer. Look its good here, but it's not that way everywhere. Women…balanced men out. Besides there's…something about girls. They're soft and kind…sure they're a little crazy sometimes, but they seem to achieve something men can't," I said.

"What's that?" Jack asked.

"I…hell if I can explain it. They just have something, okay kid?"

"You don't make any sense," Jack said.

"Yeah, well you're not easy to teach either brat," I told him. "Go put our dishes away and then go…do whatever it is you do," I said.

"Okay," he said rolling his eyes at me, taking up our trays and heading back towards the kitchen. Now I figured it was time to stop by Lily's and see what he was so upset about, so standing, I left my little corner of the world and headed over towards Lily's. He was sitting in a rolling desk chair, his gaze fixed on the floor and glaring lightly.

"You look chipper," I said.

"Go away," was Lily's first response.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I said get the hell out," he said, looking up and unleashing his evil eye on me.

Lily was a smaller guy, scrawny and physically weak, but despite that there was a certain authority that he held over you. Something about him made you certain that if you pissed him off bad enough there would be consequences to pay. Sheer force of will was his weapon, that and his mind, but that didn't mean that he didn't have a soft side. Lily was hard on people, but never unfair, and he was also well known for taking care of the younger members. He was especially fond of Jack when he was a child. It was one of the few times that I had seen him smiling, otherwise his general facial expressions were irritated, pissed off, and concentrating.

Lily was pale and his eyesight was bad so he wore glasses over blue eyes. He was slight and of average height and had long black hair that he kept braided. He was in his early thirties and baby-faced, though his stern emotions made even his young looks seem intimidating. Essentially he was an attractive man so it wasn't surprising that he slept with several of the others here. There were no ties in it, just gratification and the need for physical comfort seeing as Lily is the only gay man here and I kind of assumed his slight body made him seem more womanly, though I had never been curious enough to ask.

"Come on, Jack is worried about you. He wants to know that you're not upset," I said.

Lily continued glaring at me before standing up and moving over to the aquariums that he kept. He had been keeping seahorses here for years and had to raise brine shrimp to feed them. I think it kept him calm and helped him cope with his stress.

Lily began feeding some of the shrimp to the seahorses before sighing and looking to me. "I'm pregnant."

That took me by surprise and I couldn't help it as my eyebrows raised and my eyes grew a little wide. "Are you sure?"

"Yes, very sure, you know that I am rarely wrong in my calculations. Someone I slept with forgot their sterility pills," Lily said.

Lily was able to reproduce a type of male contraceptive that had come out on the market long before we had ended up in this huge mess. It was capable of destroying sperm so that the use of a condom wasn't necessary. Like female birth control it wasn't completely effective, but so far it had worked. Problem was you had to take it every day to deal with new forming sperm. So now Lily was in a bad way.

"Well what are you going to do?"

"What do you mean, what am I going to do?" he said doling out more brine shrimp into one of the tanks.

"Are you going to keep it?" I asked him.

"Funny, I didn't know social services still existed."

"Don't be an ass. You know I'm talking about aborting the baby."

"Just how do you propose I do this? Fabryce is the only surgeon for miles and he would have no clue how to abort a child from a male womb." he said.

"There are…you know…ways…" I said.

He chuckled bitterly. "So I should beat the child out of me? Maybe the coat hanger approach? A little brutal don't you think?"

"Well I just mean…"

"I know what you mean. We are a small group and we have to be careful with our resources. Children consume more food and drink than adults do. Not to mention this is not exactly a child-friendly environment and I, myself, am only temporarily capable of caring for children," he said.

"You're still going to keep it though."

"Certainly. It will be interesting to endure the birthing process and to learn from the child as it grows. It might be greatly beneficial to my research and while we have limited resources we are not so in need that we cannot feed one infant. Besides all that, you know that I believe killing pointlessly is amoral. The child inside me may not be a full-grown life form just yet, but it shall be soon. I will not have needless death upon my head," he said.

"Is that all? Or is there some other reason?" I asked.

"If there is, it is none of your business. We are friends, Garrison, but you and I both know that I am a private man."

"Of course, doctor. Well then I'll find some wood and get to work on a crib," I said.

"Thank you."

That was the end of the conversation and I left. What the doctor wanted, the doctor got, that's simply how it is. Our group had formed around him and somehow that seemed to put him in a position of power that we didn't argue with and I suppose that started with me.

Lily was a hot-shot genius in the medical and scientific world. At twenty-one he was even getting media recognition for new cancer treatments, his name became so well-known that even I had heard of him and I rarely paid attention to the news. Whenever the virus broke out he was one of many scientists called during the war to destroy it, but he, like every other scientist, failed at it. Lily told me that he at first believed it might very well be divine retribution and we would all be dead soon, then male animals started having children and he changed his mind.

Lily said that before any confirmation reports even came out he knew it would start happening to humans as well so he got all his money out of the bank and started looking at property. He knew that this would cause a riot about the world and he didn't want to be a part of it. Instead Lily wanted to have to some place to conduct his research in peace. So he bought an old abandoned aircraft hangar, had it restored as quickly as possible and then moved in, being discreet when he could to try and make sure few people had any inkling what he was doing since he hoped no one would coming looking to him for answers.

A few years after everything went to shit I had been traveling around with Jack, looking for something, a cure, a hope and if not that then something to feed the kid. I had run out of food, we were dangerously low on water, and figured we would die, but that's when Lily found us. He brought Jack and I back here and took care of us. I was filled with respect for Lily since he was the owner of this place, the man who had saved mine and Jack's life and might possibly save humanity. I knew better than to bite the hand that fed me and Lily seemed to enjoy the company so Jack and I stayed.

Slowly we started gaining new members which meant we were capable of doing more and even had to do more because we had more mouths to feed. The three of us had been living on non-perishable rations, but as more people came along we were able to make a small orchard. Desmond, a rancher and hunter, helped us to find animals so we could have meat. Steak, who had been a chef in the navy, gave us cooked meals. I took care of any mechanical needs we had. We all found our place here and depended on others to make this place livable.

When someone new would come along they would find out that Lily is researching the revival of women and so they would end up staying, wanting to protect Lily's work so that we might have a future again, but with new members though came new problems. People would come complaining to Lily, their grievances often minor, but Lily rarely cared. His usual answer would be "if you are unable to live in these conditions, leave," which made everyone resentful.

I would defend Lily, saying that he had more important things to worry about and though it was true, it never seemed to assuage my companions and so they would try again. I understood, Lily just didn't seem to give a damn for what they felt was important, after all they helped him get fed and clothed. Then again I knew that Lily worked for all of them in the end. Finally I got fed up with it and told them all if they had "a fucking problem" to come to me and let me handle it. So it ended up making a hierarchy that seemed only lightly enforced and yet ever present. We protected Lily, provided for him, but he still seemed to hold the reigns of this operation by providing the initial shelter. I didn't mind it though. I trusted Lily.

I stepped away from Lily's lab and started back towards my chalk square where I found Jack waiting and looking worrisome.

"What's up, pup?" I asked him.

"I heard you talking to Lily," he says.

"Uh-huh, so you were snooping."

"I was just trying to find you, I didn't mean to hear him!" he said looking up at me with pleading eyes, wanting forgiveness.

"It's all right, I believe you, but you have to promise not to tell anyone that Lily is pregnant. He'll tell in his own time," I said, but it didn't really matter. Within just a couple of weeks somehow the rumor had spread that Ariel was going to be a mommy.

Ariel denied it outright. He told everyone that they were completely ridiculous for even suggesting it and to mind their own damn business, but it became rather obvious after about four months. Even his usual baggy clothing couldn't hide the fact that he was gaining a lot of weight around the stomach area and finally he announced it to the others. It had been a begrudging announcement full of annoyance, glaring, and threats, chiefly that if anyone tried to treat him like an invalid he'd start sneaking drugs into their food that could have all sorts of effects. I believed him.

Despite Ariel's threats though, it didn't stop a single one of the guys from talking about the mother-to-be and his baby. It was probably the most interesting topic that we had to discuss since everyone knew everyone's business anyways.
"I wonder who the father is," Desmond said.

"It could be anyone," I said as I smoked on a cigarette. "Lily's never been exclusive with any of you so there's no telling."

"Hey, I know it wasn't mine. I've never slept with him," Steak said.

"That's because you're still mourning over your wife," Omar said.

"I'm not the only one," Steak said, sighing.

"Who else is?" Jack piped up.

"None of your business, brat," I said, ruffling his hair and turning back to the others. "It's not a bad thing really. I think it'll do Lily some good."

"I worry that it will keep him from working on the cure," Omar said.

"Well it's not like he has to," I said. "There may not even be a cure."

"There had better be," Jay said, off to the side of our group. Jay was the biggest thorn in my side and I had often talked to Lily about having him thrown out, but Jay had his usefulness. Chiefly he was a good hunter and so that made him a good partner for Desmond. Jay also knew a lot about guns and was capable of keeping our small arsenal in working order. Unfortunately that all outweighed the fact that Jay was combative and easily angered.

I had also often wondered if Lily didn't throw him out because Jay provided him with good sex and there may have been some truth to that, but the doctor always told me that was a ludicrous notion. He said that his affections for the other men were only minute and that he had gotten along without sex before I had come along and could return to celibacy if ever the need arose.

"Just shut up, Jay. Everything that comes out of your mouth is pure shit. What the doc does is none of our business," Steak said.

"Hey! I've been here for four years protecting that little fairy, it better be worth something!" Jay shouted.

"Jay, just close your damn mouth," I glared at him. "Lily doesn't owe us anything. He was capable of getting along just fine without us, he didn't have to offer us safety," I told him.

"I'm just saying that it's not natural for men to be having babies," Jay said sulkily, knowing he was outnumbered. "I don't think he should be having the kid, it's not right. He's a man, despite how much he pretends to be a woman, he can't be a mother."

I shook my head. "Just leave it be, Jay. It's not your business."

"It is if it's my kid!" he shouted before storming off.

We all just shook our heads. Personally I didn't see what Jay's problem was. I know that Lily is a man and so it made it difficult to see him as a mother, but I had given up caring about that. In this world it didn't matter what gender you were anymore. We were all male, so why should I get upset over who is and isn't having a baby? I know that maybe we won't see a cure in our lifetime, but that didn't mean we shouldn't have another generation, did it?

Whenever Lily was getting close to six months we started helping him set up for the baby to arrive, having to find baby items on our excursions out into the rest of the world, baby nipples and bottles, formula, anything that we ourselves couldn't necessarily make here at the hangar. We had set up a nice little baby area in what served as Lily's room and it was surprising when the doctor actually took the time to thank us each of us individually.

When he decided to thank me I was sitting on my little cot taking a moment to admire an old photo.

"What is that?" I heard from above me.

I looked up, it was Lily.

"Oh nothing," I said. "Did you need something? Are you feeling sick?" I asked. Morning sickness was a bitch no matter what your gender was.

"I just wished to say thank you for making the crib. It's very beautiful," he said, coming to sit down beside me. He looked at the picture and reached out, taking it from my hand without asking, but I didn't care to say anything.

"This was your wife?" he asked and I nodded. "And the baby? Your daughter?"

"Yeah," was all I replied.

"Your wife was very beautiful."

"Yeah…she was. My little girl would be ten years old now," I told him.

"I'm sorry, Garrison. I wish there was something I could do," he said.

"I just hope you can make the cure."

He paused for a long moment and set the picture down on the cot. "You know, I can not bring them back Garrison. You all seem to expect me to be able to restore life back to the way it was, but…that's simply impossible," he explained.

"I know," I said, but my shoulders slumped. "I…know that no how hard we work life won't be the same, but…maybe it will be for Jack…or Jack's kids or something."

"Possibly. We can certainly try," he said, picking up the picture again and looking at my wife and daughter. "You were a very good husband and father, weren't you?" he said.

I chuckled. Even I could hear the sadness in it. "I hope so. I loved my wife with all my heart…and that little girl…when I found out my wife was pregnant, that little girl became all I wanted in the world," I said, smiling sadly at the memories that passed through my head.

"I wish that I could have that with someone," Lily said as he put a hand on his stomach.

"Well you don't have any female competition anymore. Maybe you'll find the right one," I chuckled reaching out to run my hand over his baby bump.

He looked at me, smiled slightly. "Why are all the good men straight?" he said, shoving me lightly.

I laughed. "Well if I was going to sleep with a man, you'd be my first pick."

He snorted. "Of course, that is exactly what I was referring to."

"I know, I know, sorry."

"Garrison…you'll help me take care of this child, won't you?" he asked me. "I don't know much about babies."

"Yeah, I'll help," I said smiling at him. Then that quiet happiness was over. We both had to get back to work.

Into the middle of his sixth month and I'm working in the garage on one of the vehicles. The damn thing had started clunking around and was overheating on our last outing and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. It's worrisome as vehicles, whole and intact were hard to come by and finding parts is just as annoying. That's when I heard talking behind me and I realized it was Jay and Lily in a quiet shouting match.

"This is not natural Ariel," Jay hissed.

"Your point is? Natural has seriously changed. We are what we are, there is no point in fighting it," he explained to the taller man.

"Yes, there is! You shouldn't be having a baby!"

"That is none of your business."

"Who's the father?" Jay pressed.

"That is something that I do not know. I have never been exclusive with any of the men here and therefore without a paternity test, there is no telling who the father is," he said. "I suppose you could ask around and see who did not take their sterility pills."

"But those pills can fail, right? So it could be any of us!"

I could picture Lily stopping to think on that and nodding. "Yes, I suppose you are correct, it is possible for just about anyone to have been the father."

"Do a paternity test!" Jay demanded.
"When I have the time and if I feel like it, I will perform a paternity test," Lily said, never to be pressured into anything.

"If that kid is mine I don't want it to be born!"

"Well I really don't give a damn what you want Jay. The child is inside my body and I will let it live as I see fit. If you are not happy with that, then get the hell out of my home!" this time the doctor's voice raised a bit.

The next sound I heard was not very loud, but it wrenched at my guts and I knew what had happened before I even turned around. I spun as I heard a pained grunt and the sound of a fist hitting flesh. Jay had grabbed Lily by the shoulder and punched him in the abdomen, the delicate area where the baby rested.

"The fuck?" and before I knew it I was after Jay, punching him hard in the face and making him go down, blood and a tooth spraying across the floor. I moved to Lily who was bent over, clutching his stomach, and I saw blood slowly drenching his pants.

"What the hell is going on over here?" I heard someone yell, it was Steak.

"Fabryce! FABRYCE!" I yelled again and I was glad when I saw the man coming along, to see what was going on. "Lily! Jay punched him in the stomach!"

"Take him to lab! We'll have to operate," he said, taking one look at the blood and knowing, just as I did.

Fabryce was working on Lily for a long time, using Omar as an assistant to help him. It was no surprise or shock that Lily lost the baby. Fabryce said the child was dead before he even opened the womb. Without even consulting Lily, I had Jay kicked out and no one fought me about it. We gave him a canteen of water, some food, and told him to get the fuck out. He was upset about it, but this time he didn't argue. He knew there would no longer be a place for him here.

Later I went to check on Lily. He was sitting on his cot and staring at the crib I had made. His eyes were red and there was a crumpled handkerchief in his hand.

"You…could have another you know," I said as I came to sit down beside him.

"That is true," he replied.

We sat there for a long moment in silence. "Do…you want to talk about it?" I asked him.

He sighed. "What is there to talk about? I was pregnant…but now I am not."

"You know that's not all. You really wanted that kid didn't you?"

"Was it really so wrong of me to want a child of my own?" he asked me.

"Of course not. You would have been a great parent!" I said certain of my words.

"Maybe so, but I was born male. Not a mother."

"Does the word male really mean anything anymore?"

"…What's the point? Why should I bring women back to people like him? What would it solve?" he asked, looking to me. He was quiet for a long time then he said, "It was a girl, Garrison."

That's when I noticed his rolled up sleeves and the track marks along his inner elbow.