Ivan's large hand slid under his boyfriend's t-shirt to feel his warm belly. Alfred was a little chubby, so Ivan planted a kiss on the pliable skin.
"Hey stop it!" The younger man giggled, swatting the hand away. "I'm ticklish!" Ivan's hand returned to Alfred's stomach.
"Nyet, I like your belly. I want you to lay down on the bed so I can play with it some more."
"Ack! Don't touch my gut!" Alfred blushed. Ivan shrugged and removed the blonde's glasses.
"Don't be self-conscious, Fredka." Ivan steered him back so his calves were pressed against their bed.
"I-I'm not self-conscious!" Alfred defensively tugged his red Coca-Cola shirt down.
"Then why do you never let me touch your stomach?"
"Because it's weird, dude," Ivan pushed Alfred back, effectively allowing him to force him onto the bed.
"It's not weird. I love you, Alfred." The larger man traced his boyfriend's hips with a playful finger. "I love you very much."
"How much?" Like a minx, Alfred wrapped his arms around his Russian boyfriend's neck and licked his own pink lips.
"Let me show you..." Ivan grunted huskily.
After thoroughly emptying his stomach of the hamburgers he had for lunch, Alfred wiped off his mouth and looked in the mirror.
"Well, I guess I better go to the store." He bitterly chuckled to himself.
"Ivan, I'm pregnant." Alfred plainly informed the man whose lap he was sitting on. Ivan barely shifted.
"I said I'm pregnant."
"... ohh..." The realization suddenly struck Ivan.
"Yeah." Alfred awkwardly murmured. Ivan's arms, which were formerly wrapped around his boyfriend's midriff, were pulled away. Alfred winced. "Don't... please... don't be mad. I mean, it would be really sucky if you left me, so..." Gentle hands covered the younger man's stomach.
"Fredka, you are so foolish it's cute." Ivan nuzzled the crook between Alfred's shoulder and neck. A hand crept up under Alfred's Superman shirt.
"...so you won't leave me?" Alfred shyly asked. Ivan laughed heartily.
"No, I will not be leaving you."
"Okay, good... cuz that would bum me out."
"Alright. I will try not to bum you out." The Russian chuckled.
Alfred's little brother had been happily married for three years. His husband, Maximo, took wonderful care of him, making sure he had everything he needed. It had been eight months, however, since Maximo came up to Matthew, Alfred's brother, with a request; a family. Fortunately, unlike most couples trying to have a child, sex hadn't become a chore for them. Results weren't in their favor, however. Adoption was always an option. But neither wanted to rule out having a biological child just yet.
Matthew was in the kitchen of the house he shared with his husband when Alfred burst through the front door.
"Mattie! Hey Mattie!" Alfred shouted.
"Please be quieter, Al. I'm in the kitchen."
"Hey Mattie!" Alfred poked his head around the corner. "Where's Max?"
"I had him go out to get some groceries. Did you come for a surprise visit near dinnertime for a reason?" Matthew looked down the bridge of his nose at Alfred accusingly.
"Huh? Oh, no. I... I had something I wanted to talk to you about."
"Well you might as well stay for dinner." Matthew gestured to the wooden table in the adjacent room. "It's almost done, and Maximo should be back soon."
"Have you had any luck with-" Alfred stopped. There had to be a better way to phrase it, but it was already too late. His brother stopped stirring the fragrant contents of the pot on the stove and turned to face Alfred.
"...we're actually looking further into adoption."
"Yeah? That's cool." Alfred smiled. Matthew stiffly nodded his head and leaned against the counter top. "Would... how would you feel about being an uncle?" Matthew's violet eyes flashed for a moment.
"What do you mean?"
"Like, what if I had a kid?" The older brother bit his lip.
"What are you saying, Al?" Matthew sighed, returning to the pot. He kept his eyes glued to his brother, however.
"Nothing. I was just asking."
"...sometime I wonder about you and Ivan." Matthew's gaze finally left Alfred, who silently let out a breath of relief.
"I don't know what you're talkin' 'bout, bro." Alfred chuckled.
"I mean I wonder just where you guys are. You've been living together since you graduated high school. That's five years."
"So? Lots of people live together for, like, longer than they're actually married." Matthew glared at Alfred's response.
"What about your future? The Braginskis are rich, and you've been living off of Ivan's father's fortune." Matthew dryly pointed out.
"Ivan has a job, too!" Alfred defended. The man cooking their dinner ignored him.
"You're a secretary."
"How do you think you'll manage if you two break up?"
"I-" Alfred had no response. He suddenly felt hot tears well up in his bright blue eyes. "Why are you saying that?" That was when Matthew's husband opened the front door.
"Hey, is Alfred here? His car's out front." Maximo's deep voice made Matthew perk up.
"Yes, hes in the kitchen with me. He's staying for dinner." The smallest man called back. He turned to Alfred and untied his apron. "Go wash up."
"Why do I always have to wash up before I can eat when I'm here?" Alfred complained. Matthew raised a blonde eyebrow and smiled.
"Go wash up, Alfred F. Jones."
"Vanya... would you ever leave me?" Alfred softly asked as he kissed one of the hairy arms that was cradling him.
"If this is about the baby-"
"It's about... it's about us." Alfred looked up at his boyfriend. "We've been dating for, like, seven years, Ivan. We graduated then moved in together."
"Dа, because I love you."
"Your dad is a rich Russian businessman, and I'm just mooching off of you!" Alfred fully broke down in tears.
"What?" Ivan was dumbfounded. "...Fredka, you have work on my father's company. You are not 'mooching'. I am here to take care of you." The larger man cooed as he caressed the whimpering Alfred's sandy blonde hair.
"I'm gonna be even fatter." Alfred sniffled. Ivan took this opportunity to rest a hand on Alfred's stomach. Ivan laughed heartily and buried his large nose in Alfred's hair.
"You are too precious."
"The fertility doctor said there was nothing wrong with me." Matthew sighed as he leaned against Maximo's shoulder. "Francis did suggest you go in and get checked."
"What- me? I know there ain't nothing wrong with me!" Maximo protested, but furrowed his brow when he saw his petite husband's face. "But, er, I should go anyway." He rested a darkly tanned hand on Matthew's small waist. The paler man had always been scrawnier than his brother. He weighed just enough to put him in the range for healthy child-bearing, Francis assured them many times.
"That woman from the agency called again today, too."
"Yeah? What did she say?"
"She talked to me about that Asian boy again."
"Sprinkle..." Maximo shifted on the couch so his husband could lay on his lap.
"We should consider it."
"Ju scheduled an appointment with that lady, didn't ju?" Matthew was silent. He tucked Matthew's dark blonde hair behind his ear. "Okay, we can talk to her.
"Realy? That's fantastic! Thank you!" Matthew sat up and wrapped his arms around Maximo's neck, planting a kiss on his smile.
"Ju better stop that; jour sexy little hips are teasing me." The larger man groaned. Matthew didn't stop, so Maximo flipped them over, landing Maximo on top.
"Max, what-" Matthew's arms were still around Maximo's neck.
"We checked your background," The brunette woman cheerfully informed the men sitting in front of her desk. "You two are free to go to the visiting room."
"Thank you very much, Ms. Hedervary." Matthew's genuine smile prompted Maximo to stand up. Matthew and Maximo walked out of Elizaveta's office to the main area. A few children were walking up a case of polished wooden stairs. The two prospective parents were led by the pleasant woman to an open room. It was only about the same size as Elizaveta's office, but the absence of crammed bookshelves and the addition of a few more windows created a welcoming feel. The small couch in the room was where Matthew and Maximo were offered a seat, which they gratefully accepted; Matthew was so nervous he doubted he could stand much longer.
"I'll go fetch the child I told you about."
"Are ju nervous, Sprinkle?" Maximo laced his fingers with his husband's, who nodded shakily.
"We're lucky that this part of the process takes less than a week." Matthew softly murmured as he stared forward towards the glass door. "Although it took two months to get approved."
"We can always try for a kid again later, ju know."
"Whatever happens will happen." Matthew bit his lip in anxiety. Elizabeth opened the large glass door, closely followed by a frail looking Asian boy.
"Yao, say hello."
Alfred let go of Ivan's hand as they left the dark theatre. No matter how long they had been together, Ivan and Alfred still got odd glances whenever they tried a little PDA.
"Did you like the movie, Fredka?" Ivan asked, holding the door open so Alfred could exit the building.
"Yeah... it needed more explosions. Hey Vanya, can we get something to eat?"
"Let me guess- McDonald's?"
"Duh." Alfred rolled his sapphire eyes.
"Okay. We can go to McDonald's." Ivan chuckled.
Alfred's breathing became slow and steady, signaling he had fallen asleep. The Russian man who was spooning him gently patted Al's stomach. He shifted his position so Alfred was laying on his back, allowing Ivan access to his stomach. Ivan lowered his platinum blonde head onto Alfred's belly.
"Zdravstvuĭ, malysh ". he whispered. "YA tvoĭ otets Ivan ".
Strength chapter one/ End