Son of Wildfire
By Mardrena

     "Wow Mia! Howíd you get so big like that?" Yulie asked as he studied Mia's enlarged stomach.
     "Sheís pregnant. That means sheís going to have a baby," Sage replied.
     "Really? Howíd you get a baby?" Yulie asked Mia again.
     "She got it from Ryo," Tanya answered. Ryo glanced nervously at his sister. He seriously hoped that she wouldnít go into full detail about his involvement in the whole matter.
     "Then howíd she get it from Ryo?"
     "Well, you see, typically when a man loves a woman they might get together alone in bed or the back seat of a car. Except in Ryoís case: He was asleep and doesnít remember the whole thing. Then when the mood is right the guy sticks his-" Tanya was cut off in her explanation as Ryo promptly clamped his hand over her mouth and wrapped his right arm around her stomach. Tanya protested with loud muffled cries.
     "Sticks his what?" Yulie persisted.
     "Nothing, itís mail order. We just applied for one," Ryo hastily answered then dragged Tanya away out of the room.
     "You have one too kid!!" Tanya managed to cry out before Ryo muzzled her again.      "Have one what?" Yulie scratched his head.
     "It isnít proper for you to lie to him like that. He has a right to know the truth," Anubis commented.
     "Not in this day and age!" Rowen hissed out of the corner of his mouth.
*****
      Bautanís eyes snapped open. "The youngest will awaken and the Mother of the Ronin Warriors will return to watch over the Son of Wildfire. Three will arise to protect him, the Myth, the Magic, and the Machine," he muttered.
     "What on earth is that nonsense you are rattling off?" Kylyra asked.
     "I just finished consulting the Dark Power. The woman known as Mia is pregnant with the son of the Ronin Leader. She is close to giving birth."
     "Should we be worried?"
     "Yes. From what I gather this boy will be like no other. What concerns me is that others are supposed to protect the child."
     "Do you know who they might be?"
     "Well, the Dark Power said that the youngest will awaken. I think it was talking about the Third Lady Ronin."
     "Third lady Ronin?! As if the second isnít bad enough there is to be a third?"
     "Yes. The last verse of the warning sent by The Ancient said this:
The youngest of which you will forget
She will be the greatest yet
Eyes of sapphire
Hair of night
Brother Wildfire
At four she will fight
      Then there is the statement about the Myth, the Magic, and the Machine. Iím not sure what that is about. What really bothers me is the part which said Ďthe Mother of the Ronin Warriors will return to watch over the Son of Wildfireí."
     "Hold up Bautan, first you need to get your facts straight. Are you sure the Dark Power said Mother of the Ronin Warriors, or Mother of Ronin Warriors? Two of them are siblings: Ryo the Ronin Leader and Tanya the Lady Ronin," Kylyra reminded.
      Bautan remained silent in thought. "No! Impossible! Then that would mean- a third child? A sister we donít know of? How can that be, the demon lion slew the father. If it werenít for that damnable tiger it could have killed the Ronin Leader to be."
     "What about the boyís mother? What happened to the mother. We donít know that she died or was killed. Consider this: What if sheís alive in hiding with a young girl who is destined to become the next Lady Ronin. The Dynasty believed that Tanya was dead until she returned fully grown and well trained by The Ancient," Kylyra suggested.
      "We must take this to Master Talpa."
*****
      Mia leaned against the kitchen counter and held a hand to her head. "You okay Mia?" Cye asked.
     "Itís these darn headaches. Iíve been having them more often. Ohh......."
     "You really shouldnít be up and about like this Mia. It isnít good for you. You should rest," Rowen argued.
     "Then whoís going to take care of things around the House?"
     "Donít worry Mia, just leave all that in our hands," Cye said and held up a hand to Tanya.
     "I donít know whether to be grateful or scared for my life," Mia laughed.
     "I like that arrangement. Having Cye do the cooking suits me just fine," Kento said.      "Iíll help you upstairs," Ryo offered. He grasped Miaís hand and was about to lead her up stairs when Whiteblaze walked up to her and all of a sudden placed his ear against her abdomen. Mia gasped softly in surprise and watched as the tiger closed his eyes. Whiteblaze hummed with pleasure. "What. Youíre going to be the tiger nanny?" Ryo joked. Suddenly Whiteblaze recoiled in surprise. He grunted and cocked his head to one side. Ryo raised an eyebrow and put a hand to where Whiteblaze had been listening. Suddenly his mouth spread in a smile. "He kicked!"
     "He did!? Thatís amazing! Whoop! Boy, he sure is strong," Mia remarked as she felt her unborn child move inside her womb.
     "Speaking of which, how do you know what it is? You havenít been getting things that are pink or blue. Is it a boy or girl?" Sage brought up.
     "Thatís just it. We donít know whether the baby will be a boy or girl, but weíre just referring to him as a he since calling him a Ďití sounds too insulting," Ryo answered.      "What are you gonna call him then?" Kento asked.
     "Well, if itís a boy, weíll call him Ryu, after my father."
      "And if itís a girl?" Sage asked.
      "Her name will be Maya," Ryo answered and looked at Mia fondly. Mia smiled back at him. "Well, better get you upstairs." Ryo scooped Mia up in his arms and carried her to her room.
"      Where are the others?" Cye asked.
     "Theyíre still down in the Roost furnishing their new rooms. You should see Caleís room. Heís got black lights all over the place," Sage replied.
     "Yeah, thatís one way to keep Rowen from being too nosy in his room," Kento joked.      "Hey, knock it off with the black light jokes allright," Rowen protested.
*****
     "So, the inevitable has happened," Talpa muttered. "Every male member of the Line of Hariel feels the need to continue the bloodline."
      "The woman and Wildfire are married my lord," Kylyra said.
      "Regardless of that, I am sure his reasons were not simply for love alone," Talpa spoke the word with malice. "With his level of risk doubled thanks to that arrogant lizard who dares compete against me, Wildfire fell to the urge to continue his familyís bloodline in order to insure that he would have an heir. One who will be stronger than he and will wield the Armor of Wildfire."
     "What can we do to keep this from happening my lord?" Bautan queried.
      "I will send the Nether Spirits to destroy the woman and her unborn child. Thus the flame will be quenched before it is able to ignite!" Talpa declared.
*****
One week past
      Mia, Britania, and Roxi were working out to an aerobics show on TV when Mia cried out all of a sudden and doubled over in pain. "Mia! Britania rushed to help her up. "What happened?"
     "Nothing, it was just......a small pain.....AAAH!" Mia squeezed Britaniaís hand tightly.      "AAOOOWW! Hey! Leggo!" Britania cried out in protest and struggled to wrench her hand free. Roxi helped Mia to stand.
     "Are you going into labor already?"
     "No, I canít be.....itís too early....AAAA!" Mia cried out again but Roxi jerked her hand out of Miaís grasp before it was crushed.
     "I heard Mia yelling, whatís wrong?" Ryo asked as he ran into the room.
     "Miaí goin into labor!" Britania announced as the other Ronin entered the room when they heard the commotion.
     "Already? No way! I thought that kid wasnít due for another week!" Kento exclaimed.      "I canít....explain it either....but this baby wants out, and he wants out now!" Mia said.      "Donít worry Mia, Iíll get you to the hospital as fast as I can!" Ryo vowed. When he turned around he saw Anubis holding up the keys to the Ronin Rider.
     "Take them Ryo, you know how to use it as much as I do." Ryo nodded and took the keys. He led Mia away to the door and hurried outside.
     "Why canít they just teleport and Ryo take Mia with him?" Tanya asked.
     "Ryo wouldnít know where to go. He canít just pop up in the middle of the emergency room in sub-armor with a pregnant woman in his arms," Kayura said.
     "I know of a building nearby we can go to," Rowen said.
      "Iíve already contacted Shannon. Her dadíll be waiting," Sage informed.
*****
      On the streets of the city Ryo veered in and out of traffic. He skillfully wove his way between lanes of traffic in an effort to deliver his wife to the hospital. He turned off to the left where traffic was less congested and sped up. Then he heard a siren. Ryo looked to the side and saw a biker cop flagging him down. "Pull over kid! Youíre going too fast!" the cop yelled.
     "But my wifeís having a baby!"
     "What? I canít hear you! Youíll have to pull over!"
     "I canít! Itís an emergency!"
Suddenly the cop veered away. "Hey! Get back here kid!"
     "Huh?" Ryo raised an eyebrow in confusion. Then he glanced up and saw a maroon form jumping over the roof tops. "Thank you Dais."
*****
      The doors to the lobby were violently kicked open and Ryo ran into the room with Mia in hand. "Dr. OíConnor!"
      "Ryo, weíve been expecting you. How far apart are the labor pains?"
     "Not far," Mia whispered then cried out again.
      "Then weíll need to get you in immediately. Shannon!" Shannon ran up to Mia and took her hand.
     "Come with me Mia, over here." Shannon led her away gently.
Ryo glanced worriedly at Mia. "Doc, will she be allright?"
      "Iím sure she will. If the baby is born prematurely one week shouldnít make a difference. You can wait here and Iíll send Shannon out when itís time," Dr. OíConnor reassured and ran off after Shannon. Ryoís heart heaved inside his chest aggressively.       *I canít believe it. Itís finally time!*
      The other Ronin arrived. "Ryo! Did they already take her away?" Tanya asked.       "Yes. We just have to wait."
*****
"      You know what to do Mia?" Shannon asked. The blue mask over her mouth moved slightly from her breath pressing against it.
     "Of course I know." Mia grimaced from another spasm of pain.
     "You sure you donít want any pain killer in case of emergency?" another doctor asked.      "No. This is something Iíve been waiting for. Ahhh......"
     "That is some baby youíre having Mia. Iíve never seen labor pains this close together prior to actual birth," Dr. OíConnor remarked.
      "Itís coming, believe me, heís ready!" Mia grimaced again. She could hear the diligent beep of the machine that monitored her heart rate.
      "Just hold onto me Mia, Iím right here," Shannon coaxed. Mia grasped her hand and squeezed hard. "Donít worry, Iíve done this hundreds of times before. Iíve only had my wrist broken once." Mia glanced at Shannon worriedly. "Just kidding."
     "Itís coming!" the second doctor announced. Mia steeled herself for the pain to come. Suddenly she felt weak. Then weaker. Her grip on Shannonís hand relaxed. She could feel herself leaning back slightly. Now her back sank into the soft cushion of the bed.       "Mia, Mia, donít let up, youíre doing fine. Mia? Daddy!" The beep of the machine slowed itís frequency.
      *Whatís going on? Iím falling. Where am I going? No, not now. I canít leave. Iím so tired.*
     "Dad! Sheís slipping! Weíre losing her!" The beep slowed even further.
     "What!? Whatís happening?"
      "I donít know! Mia! Mia, come back! Mia, you canít go yet! Youíre so close! Mia! Come back!"
      Miaís eyes closed slowly. Then her body went limp and her head turned to the side so her cheek rested against the pillow.
*****
      Kayura looked up. She glanced at Ryo. Suddenly the rings on the Staff began to move. She grabbed them before Ryo could notice. She sensed something. Ryo had his knuckle to his chin and was obviously very concerned already. Kayura looked at the other Ronin and motioned to Sehkmet, Tanya, Rowen, Sage, Cye, and Danae, who had arrived when she heard the news. She motioned for them to exit the room silently by pointing to the door and placing a finger on her lips. The above mentioned stood up and walked out of the room without alerting Ryo. "Somethingís wrong. I can feel it," Kayura told them when they went outside.
     "There! On the roof!" Danae pointed to the roof level of the building. Ghastly shapes with light green skin and blue robes could be seen flitting about like phantoms.
     "The Dynasty. They are trying to interfere." Kayura scowled angrily.
*****
      When she opened her eyes she could see herself falling, or rather floating down through a long tunnel of blue and white clouds or fog. She felt as if something were pushing her, forcing her away. *Whatís going on? No, I have to go back. So tired. Ryo, Iím going away. Iím sorry, but Iím so tired.*
      Suddenly Mia felt herself bump against something. She looked up and saw an elderly man standing behind her. *Grandfather!? Is it really you?*
      *Mia. You found a good man in Ryo.*
      *Itís been so long, so long. Iím sorry the Dynasty killed you.*
      *I understand that Sehkmet had no choice. Why are you leaving though? Where are you going?*
      *Oh Grandfather, I feel so weak. I canít go back, Iím not strong enough*
      *You canít go now. Ryo needs you, you mean a lot to him. Donít let the Dynasty over power you. You are a lot stronger than you think*

      Mia could feel something pulling her back, tugging at her.
*****
      On the roof of the hospital a brilliant display of lights occurred. Blue power bolts and red-violet acid bolts sliced through Nether Spirits and destroyed them. Tanya swept her swords to either side and sent out two narrow whirlwind cones that obliterated more. Crackling green light sliced down the middle of a Nether Spirit. Light blue jets of liquid energy plowed through another. Pegasusí horn hummed and shot forth a beam of light that took out several spirits. Danae raised her sword and lunged. The spiritís power failed as the purple watered steel blade cleaved it down the center. Kayura stuck the pointed end of the Staff into the roof. A blinding flash of golden luminescence erupted from the sphere on top. All of the Nether Spirits were vaporized. Kayura looked up and to the side.
      "Mia, for the sake of us all you have to pull through."
      Inside the emergency room Shannon took off the Ronin Cross from around her neck. She placed it in Miaís limp hand and clasped her fingers around it. Then Shannon squeezed Miaís clenched hand tightly.
     "Doctor, are you sure she should be doing that?" the second doctor asked.       "Hey, sheís my daughter. She knows what sheís doing."
*****       *Go on Mia.*
      *Grandfather, no, I canít leave you!*
Mia reached out for him as she was pulled back by a powerful force.
      *I am long dead. You have more to live for than I. Go back to Ryo, Mia. You have a son to raise.*
      *A..........son?*
      *Mama.*
      *Who? Who was that?*
Mia looked around frantically. She felt someone take her by the hand gently and lead her away.
v       *Mama, donít you want to watch me grow up?* Mia turned around and saw a handsome young man. His facial features were extraordinarily similar, he looked just like Ryo! Right down to the bangs his hair was in the same style, but long, almost down to his elbows. It was the same color as Miaís, and his eyes were green, but he looked so much like Ryo. The young man smiled. *Come with me Mama. Dad is waiting for us*
*****
      Miaís eyes opened slowly. It all seemed in slow motion: Shannonís eyes smiled while the blue mask covered her mouth. Dr. OíConnor and his assistant looked up at the sound of the heart monitor beeping faster. Mia flexed her fingers and let out that one agonizing scream..........
*****       Ryo opened his eyes and looked up. The others noticed but kept silent. Then the ones who had gone outside with Kayura came back to the room. Ryo looked to the door as it opened and Shannon came out. She rested a hand against the metal doorway. "Itís a boy."       Ryo stood up and walked towards her. The ones sitting down stood up. Ryo entered the room and saw Mia lying on the bed. Everything seemed so clean and neat. He had always thought that giving birth would be messy, but Mia rested on a clean bed. She held something in her arms. Her left cheek rested against the pillow and her eyes were closed. Ryo walked over to her bedside and knelt down slightly so he was at eye level. Mia opened her eyes sleepily and smiled.
     "I saw Grandfather. He caught me when I was slipping. He told me, then I knew it would be a boy. I saw him Ryo, heís so beautiful, he looks just like you." Ryo looked at the sleeping form in Miaís arms. His eyes were closed, but that hair! The boy had a whole head full of reddish hair, just like Miaís! Most babies were born bald, and even those who were born with hair had only soft thin wisps. Yet this newborn had shaggy red hair. Ryo smiled.
      "Ryu?"
      "Ryu." Mia nodded and looked at her child fondly. "Do you want to hold him?" Mia picked up little Ryu gently. Ryo put his arms under the bundle for Mia was too weak to hold him up for long. He stood up and held the newborn in his arms. Ryo was ecstatic.       *my son, this is my son!* He smiled as he held the boy to his chest. Suddenly the newborn stirred. Ryo raised an eyebrow in a surprised expression. The baby moved, stretched his arms......and opened his eyes slowly. Green eyes looked up at Ryo. Ryo gasped in awe.
      "Wow, Iíve never seen a baby open itís eyes that fast after delivery," Dr. OíConnor remarked. Ryo gazed into those bright eyes. It was as if the baby had been waiting for him. He knew.
      *Youíre my daddy.*
      The other Ronin watched them from behind the doorway. "Iím an aunt now," Tanya remarked. Kayura closed her eyes and smiled. The boys looked a bit jealous of their friendís good fortune and happiness. Dais gazed into the eyes of his wife, who soon would give him a child of his own.
      *He will become Ryu of the Wildfire,* Kayura thought.
*****
      Two weeks later
      Little Ryu opened his eyes as a soft noise woke him from his sleep. He looked up with his vivid green eyes and saw four people towering over him around his crib.
      "Miaís right, even though heís so young you can see a lot of Ryo in him," Rowen commented.
      "Hah, an my mom used to think the bald ones were cute. Cootchie cootchie koo!" Cye reached down and wiggled his fingers over the infantís face. Ryu scowled and reached up. He wrapped his chubby little hand around the Ronin of Trustís index finger. "AAAOOWW!" Cye jerked his hand back sharply.
     "Cye, what happened?" Kento asked.
      "Ah, I think he pulled my finger out of socket!" Cye complained. Sage grimaced in revulsion as he heard the *pop* when Cye pushed it back into place. Cye wiggled his fingers then flexed his grip to make sure every bone was in working order.
      Rowen chuckled softly. "So his nameís Ryu, huh?"
      "That was the name of Ryoís father. Seems fitting to call him that," Sage answered.       "Hey, do you think heís old enough to play with this?" Kento took a soft squishy rubber toy out of his pocket.
      "As long as he canít swallow it," Sage said.
      "Here you go little guy." Kento reached down and placed the toy on Ryuís chest. he grabbed the toy and tossed it up. Kento caught it. "Whoops! Hah, you lost this." He gave it back to Ryu but when he stood up Ryu threw it back at Kento and hit him between the eyes. "Hey!" Kento stepped back, surprised. "For a two week old kid heís got some arm," he remarked.
     "Uh, I think heís mad at us," Cye said. Sure enough, Ryuís brow was furrowed and eyes narrowed in a glare.
     "Probably interrupted his naptime. Okay Ryu, weíll leave you alone," Rowen laughed.       Ryo was leaning against the doorway and watching them. The four walked away from the crib to leave the baby in peace. Rowen, Sage, and Kento walked out of the door, but as Cye was about to step through Ryo put his hand out and pressed it against Cyeís chest. He pushed Cye back into the room and stood infront of him with his arms folded over his chest. Cye frowned when he saw how Ryo was looking at him, angry almost. "Uh, hey Ryo. Whatís up?" he asked nervously.
      "Youíre lying to me."
      "Huh?"
      "When I asked you what happened in your dream you were all on edge. I know youíre holding something back from me and I want to know what it is," Ryo demanded sternly.       "Ryo, I canít. Just drop it please." Cye again walked towards the door but Ryo shoved him back. Cye looked at his friend with a surprised expression. "Ryo, not in here. Ryuís sleeping."
      "No heís not," Ryo said and nodded towards the crib. Ryu had pulled himself up into a sitting position with great effort. He seemed to be looking at Cye accusingly.
      "Ryo, dammit Iím not supposed to tell you."
      "Who was the woman you saw in your dream."
      "The Ancient told me that I wasnít supposed to tell you because you know already." Ryo continued to glare at him. "Can I go now?" Ryoís gaze didnít change expression. Cye scowled and walked towards the door but Ryo made no effort to stop him.
      "She lives in the woods underground waiting for her children to come. Hair all gray because she missed them so. She waits for her children, and she will watch over the son of her eldest."
      Cye turned around and looked at Ryo. "Sorry, did you say something?" Ryo did not answer and only glared at Cye. Cye frowned again and walked out of the room. He glanced out the corner of his eye worriedly and shook his head. *Ryoís just being weird,* he assured himself.
*****
      Whiteblaze lifted his head up. He was resting at the foot of Ryuís crib. The boy was sound asleep. Earlier a muffled cry told Whiteblaze that he needed a diaper change. The tiger completed the nasty task, although it was quite awkward for him to apply baby powder by holding the can in his mouth and shaking his head to the side. Whiteblaze placed Ryu back in the crib by carrying him by the front of his pajamas. The boy giggled and grabbed at the spiky tufts of fur on Whiteblazeís chin.
      Now Whiteblaze heard something else. He stood up and walked to the door. He opened it and looked outside towards the balcony. Behind the glass pane windows he could see two shadowy forms talking to each other.
      "Do you really think she could still be alive?"
      "She has to be, I know it. We never found out if she died Tanya! Sheís in the forest waiting for us to come."
      "Ryo.......I want to be a family again."
      "We will. Come on, Iíve got a pretty good idea where sheís at." Flashes of light showed that both changed into sub-armor. Then the two forms jumped away. Whiteblaze shook his ears and hummed in a concerned tone. Then he returned to the nursery to continue his watch.
*****
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