“She’s what!?” exclaimed Alma, staring at me in legitimate shock for the first time in years. “Is this a joke?”
I had just returned alone from Chad and Aaliyah’s apartment. He wanted to have a discussion with his daughter alone. I felt for him. There was no winning if he were to attempt arguing. Wanting to tell Alma the news, I had caught her on the second floor, where she was modifying a fashion line to more closely meet our daughter’s tastes.
“No. I just saw the artificial womb myself. You should have seen Chad’s expression when he heard the news.” I replied with a smile.
Mila displayed a picture for us on a nearby mirror.
My wife barely glanced at it before saying, “James, you know who she is. She could have snapped her fingers and had a child, even making the rest of us think whatever she wanted about the birth. I suppose she wanted Chad to be there for her… pregnancy? Do we really call this a pregnancy when the womb is artificial? I suppose she could argue the womb is part of her, since it may well be. Did she at least tell you what will pop out of there?”
“Nope!” exclaimed Aaliyah, appearing beside us. “Wanna meet her!?”
I did. I really did, but I also didn’t. This was Death’s second daughter. Considering her first daughter was spread throughout space and time, this second one would likely be some phenomenally powerful entity as well. I knew with absolute certainty that everything would turn out fine, but I still wasn’t sure if I should get to know what this second daughter would be like ahead of time.
“James, we shouldn’t. We’ll be watching this child grow up, and I’d rather not know how she’ll end up in advance.” insisted Alma.
“As you wish. I would like to at least know if she’ll be human-ish.”
“Yep! She’ll look similar to me! I let Mila pick for herself, and now she looks more like Alma than me. Mariasha’s going to look like her mommy, but taller… eventually.” explained Aaliyah with a grin.
“More or less like your ‘Trixie’ persona then?” I questioned.
“Don’t you get any ideas, buster!” exclaimed Aaliyah as she pointed at me, looking cutely stern.
“Trixie?” asked Alma. “Oh, you’re referring to that time you ‘dated’, aren’t you.”
“They were good and legitimate dates!” insisted Aaliyah.
“Please, even you wouldn’t call them all ‘good’.” I stated.
“Would too! You were there!” she argued.
“She’s got you there, James.” teased Alma.
“Personally, I’m looking forward to having a little sister.” commented Mila. “Maybe she’ll help me babysit mother.”
“Hey! Be nice to your mommy!” complained Aaliyah as she crossed her arms.
“Always, mother, but I don’t want you getting lonely when I’m not babysitting you.” claimed Mila.
Aaliyah stuck her tongue out.
“So am I right about how she’ll look?” I inquired.
“Not entirely. She’ll eventually look like she could be my big sister after a short time of appearing as my younger sister!” exclaimed Aaliyah, grinning proudly.
“Given that your father’s involved, can I safely assume that she’ll be raised on Earth part of the time?” inquired Alma.
Nodding, Aaliyah said, “Yep! Daddy will enjoy seeing her grow! We’re going to have awesome parties, get into fights, and have awesome mother-daughter bonding time!”
“My poor sister… Won’t she learn not to attempt fighting you?” questioned Mila.
“Sure, but that won’t stop her from yelling at me!”
“Oh, mother. You know I’ll have to take her side at times. If she’s yelling at you, you probably deserve it.” stated Mila.
“Maaaaybe.” replied Aaliyah as she looked toward the ceiling.
I had to verify nothing new was up there for my own peace of mind, which made Aaliyah grin at me. Her pranks were lethal at times, though she always restored me afterward.
“What sort of abilities are you giving her?” inquired Alma.
Shrugging, Aaliyah said, “Oh, the usual… She’ll be immortal. Can’t have Mila outliving her little sis. She’ll be intelligent, so she can keep up around here when hanging out.” She looked between us and grinned. “On that note, I also gave her a little strength and speed.” Her grin suddenly seemed sinister as she told us “I might have also thrown in a little… Death.”
“That sounds worrisome.” stated Alma blandly.
“Don’t worry! Only those who attempt to harm her will die instantly. People should know better than to hurt my daughters. Right, Mila?”
“Yes, mother. You’re so terrifying.” replied Mila, perfectly monotone.
“As I recall, that necromancer is still around.” teased Alma with a smile.
“He plays a part in the Lilly Slayer’s growth, so no killing him yet. Don’t worry. I have an entire funland built for him!” exclaimed Aaliyah. “No feeling sorry for him, James. I know your sentiments, but I also know what he has done.”
I nodded, though I still disliked the idea of the hells she made. With a touch of her scythe, anything could simply cease to exist. Wasn’t that enough?
“Will she think of me as a sister, despite our different compositions?” questioned Mila.
“Of course! You shouldn’t doubt your sister before she’s even born!” insisted Aaliyah. Then she frowned and said, “Hey! Having a database on problematic sibling relationships doesn’t mean you two will have issues. Yes, I’ve read your papers on Psychology. No, I won’t play fair.”
“If our children eventually married and had kids, would they be inheriting some of your gifts?” questioned Alma.
I hadn’t even gone anywhere near that possibility yet. Given that Aaliyah’s daughter would surely be remarkable and around the same age as our eldest, I couldn’t deny the possibility of an attraction between the two now that the idea had been brought to light, but I wasn’t ready to be thinking of who my unborn child might marry yet. I wasn’t even ready to think of Dani eventually marrying, assuming she ever did. Her people were so different with regard to relationships.
“Maybe! Mariasha will have compatible genetics, and any children she eventually has will be spectacular, just like Mila’s.” replied Aaliyah.
“I still am annoyed you let me start hacking my own daughter. Did we really need to meet before I had fully considered the possibility of her?” demanded Mila.
Grinning, Aaliyah said, “No, but wasn’t it a little funny? You were both so cute!”
“Oh, mother. Actions like that are why I’m sure to be taking my sister’s side in arguments.” stated Mila.
“Jaaaames, Mila’s being mean to her mommy.” complained Aaliyah.
“Want to spank me for her, master?” asked Mila suggestively.
“Please, leave me out of it.” I told them, shaking my head.
“Mila, my husband always feels I’m being unfairly mad at him when you flirt like that in front of me. You should behave for his sake.” teased Alma.
“So sorry, but please don’t say things mother will take as aiding her. Telling me to behave when she’s making an appearance is too similar to taking her side, especially when we’re arguing.” replied Mila.
“I see your point. My apologies.”
The bantering continued for over an hour before I excused myself. Guests would be arriving for the party soon, and I wanted to make sure everyone else was prepared, though I didn’t doubt most of them would be. I had exceptional friends.