“YOU’RE GONNA, WHAT?!”
Everyone in the small cafe turned to look at the table in the corner. Lailah was standing up, her hands clasped and a giant smile on her face. Zavied sat there face palming, and Edna had her umbrella up, blocking herself from view over the fire seraph’s over-reaction. Meanwhile, Sorey and Mikleo sat there blushing brightly. Sorey answered again with a small smile.
“Mikleo and I have decided to adopt.”
Lailah squealed happily and clapped. Zaveid finally pulled his face out of his hand and clapped Sorey on the shoulder causing him to flinch in mild pain.
“Didn’t think you and Mikky Boy over here would make a decision like that so soon. But hey, who am I to know? You both are spontaneous.”
The wind seraph shrugged. Edna looked over at Mikleo with a raised brow.
“You really agreed to this idea, Meebo?”
Mikleo rolled his eyes at the old nickname, but otherwise didn’t say anything about it.
“Yeah? I mean, why not? I won’t lie. I’ve thought about adopting, too, even before Sorey brought it up. Just never really thought about it entirely, seeing as I didn’t know what Sorey would want.”
“Heh, you surprise me,” the earth seraph chuckled as she took a sip of her drink. Lailah had calmed down some and sat back down, though the big smile on her face stayed.
“So, have you two started looking, yet?”
Sorey shook his head.
“No, not yet… but we have decided we would like a daughter. Mikleo has already started putting a room together for our future bundle. We just want to make sure we’re prepared with everything before we start going to orphanages.”
“That’s understandable, it’s good you both want to be prepared before taking that next step. A baby is a lot of work. I know; helped Eizen take care of Edna.”
Edna jabbed him in the ribs with her umbrella, making Sorey chuckle.
“Ignore him. So have you told anyone else yet or are we the first?”
“You three are the first. We’re going to tell Rose and Alisha the next time we see them for our yearly meeting with Segie about trade with Rolance.”
Mikleo replied and Enda nodded.
“Their going to be thrilled, knowing Alisha she will be excited to be an aunt like me and Edna!”
Lailah laughed and the earth seraph gave her a look.
“Who said I was excited about being an aunt?”
Everyone looked at Edna. She gave them a glare.
“I was joking!”
After their little get together with the others, Mikleo had to go to the university for an evening class, so Sorey went home. He was currently in their shared office working on his share of the paperwork for the future adoption process. He had no idea it involved so much paperwork! But he supposed it made sense seeing it was to take in a child; a baby, nonetheless.
The Shepherd sighed and looked over his shoulder, looking into the work-in-progress nursery across the hall. He hadn’t really taken a good look at it yet.
After standing up and popping his back (oh, that felt good), Sorey got up and walked into the nursery and opened the blinds for some sunlight.
The walls were a nice, calming spring green, and the floor was softly carpeted. One of Mikleo’s stained rocking chairs was already placed in a corner right by the window, a little mobile with various crystals hung from the ceiling. Knitted blankets Mikleo made with one of his students, Luna (who the water seraph was the guardian of), were neatly folded on top of a small dresser and that was about it. A pile of stuffed animals sat in a simple cardboard box until Sorey could figure out how to arrange them. He’ll probably ask Mikleo for help at a later time, since he has a more keen eye to decor...
He couldn’t help the soft, warm smile that graced his lips, the corner of his eyes crinkling with love and joy for their family growing very soon. There was a lot of work to be done yet, but he had plans for his, Mikleo’s, and their child’s happiness…
Sorey couldn’t wait for the baby to come…! Maybe he’d build a cradle, instead of purchasing…
“... oh, and when they give you the ‘puppy eyes,’ do not waver in the slightest--” Mikleo’s ears were being chewed off at this point; all he wanted was some small bits of wisdom, maybe some helpful life cheats for later down the road. “No matter what, you have to be strong. Otherwise, they’ll walk all over you and never give you any respect. Also, when they say that they’re going to the library to study, there’s this one new arte a seraph parent made that allows you to check in on them--”
“Oh, would you look the time, I still have papers to grade, thank you so much for the advice, Nicole. Be safe on your way home!” He immediately excused himself while his co-worker was stunned by his quick interruption/retreat. Walking as quietly and as quickly as he could to return to his private office a few hallways down from the teachers’ lounge kitchen. That sure was close.
Rounding the corner decorated with red Victorian wallpaper, a familiar figure is leaned against the wall as per usual at this time in the evening. His scruffy, dirty-blond hair was just poking out from the folder he had his nose practically buried into while his hand was writing notes down-- like it had a mind of its own, in a separate notebook sitting next to him. As soon as Mikleo came to his door, the person stopped reading (the hand stopped writing as well) and looked up, spotting him. A big smile bloomed on their face.
“Mikleo!” the teacher called out, a man in his early thirties who worked alongside the water seraph for a few semesters on excavations and gladly substituted for him on multiple occasions. Mik, in return, substituted for any of his classes and offered a coffee here and there.
“Maxwell, not now, I’m trying to escape the overbearing wrath of a neurotic, suspecting parent with too much freetime on her hands,” came the word vomit out of Mikleo’s mouth as he fished for his office key in his bag.
“... Okay? Wait, Nicole?” the scruffy-headed scholar, Maxwell, questioned slowly as he packed up his things. “What did she do this time?”
“No,” he forced out, “It was my fault, I shouldn’t have asked her about how she manages her kids and what sort of wisdom she could spare…” Why the hell wouldn’t his key work, again? What is this, the third time in a month?
“Oh…” realization slowly dawned on his normally-collected colleague, his face transitioning from solemn acceptance to sudden interest. “Wait, why were you asking about her kids? Are your students giving you a hard time? I thought they all liked you.” He began to reach for the doorknob Mikleo still had both his hands on in order to assist, but the lock mechanism clicked, and the door opened just before he could do anything at all.
Mikleo kindly threw a ‘thank you’ over his shoulder before rummaging through his cabinets for those papers he really had to grade, holding several color-coded folders in the crook of one arm.
The office was well thought-out with light blue walls and medium-toned woods, it’s taller storage units and shelving more than making up for its compact size. Stepping inside, there were two chairs in front of the door followed by a grand bookshelf-- only a tiny fragment of Mikleo’s total collected tomes and artifacts filling the space effortlessly. The two windows on the far wall nearly stretched from one end of the room to the other, Venetian blinds whitewashed to allow maximum sunlight (and to cut down on oil for his lamp).
Maxwell welcomed himself to one of the leather seats by the wall, normally reserved for his students. “I need to get as organized as you, that way I’d find all of my research materials without destroying everything.”
“Oh, I just force myself to put things where I can find them in a jiff. You’ll get there, too, one day.” After closing the bottom drawers of his desk, Mikleo pops his head back up to search his side table. The over-the-shoulder bag he brought with him was going to be too small to carry all his files, so his tote satchel would have to do.
“Enlightening. So~” His guest rested his head on his palm as he watched the water seraph go about his business in a flurry, “Why the heck were you talking with Nicole again? I didn’t get my answer earlier.”
Putting his small bag down on the table, taking extra care to not fold or knock over any of the project schematics or ruin catalogues, Mikleo starts placing everything he needs into his satchel. “I did answer, your attention to details aren’t what they use to be, Max. I said I was asking how she handles children, and was wondering if there were any tips she could give to anyone.”
It took a few moments for the potential meaning to hit his scruffy-headed colleague. When it did, his eyes widened again. “Wait-- don’t tell me… You’re...?”
Mik paused his filing for a moment to actually look over at his friend, a small flustered but excited smile peeking out from behind his efforts to school his features. “Heh…”
Maxwell’s expression was the textbook definition of astonishment.
He definitely was NOT expecting this of all things. Yes, he knew Mikleo liked kids. He wouldn’t be a teacher if he didn’t, but adoption? How did this even come about? The only conclusion is that Mikleo’s husband had said something to the water seraph. Agh, how he hated Sorey.
Yes, he was thankful to the Shepherd for what he did to save the world just like everyone else, but did he think Sorey deserved Mikleo? No. Not after leaving the seraph for so long. Before Sorey returned, him and Mikleo had a wonderful partnership going on. Maxwell liked that he was the one Mikleo came to for advice or company. Oh, he was so certain that if Sorey had just taken a little while longer then that ring on Mikleo’s finger would be binding the two of them together and not Mikleo and that damn Shepherd. Of course, though, he had to come back. In truth Maxwell was even planning on asking Mikleo to go out on a romantic evening with him, but his plans were all shattered when he saw Mikleo walking into town, fingers intertwined with Sorey’s.
Plus the rings.
But he put on a smile for the other, telling Mikleo that he was happy for him. Now he had to live with this, even though he didn’t like it.
“That’s… That’s great Mikleo, I’m happy for you two!”
“Thanks Maxwell, that means a lot to me.” The seraph smiled more genuinely before going back to sorting out his bag.
The sun was beginning to go down, casting the office and Mikleo in a golden orange light. The last rays were blocked by the bookshelf, so Maxwell didn’t have to squint his eyes