“Hey, shush, you are safe, little one. You are just hungry…”

In one hand, Gath held a small bottle of mushed up vitamins, mixed with water, sugar and plenty of protein. In the other, he cradled a tiny, wriggling mess, a baby Rethan, barely plated, eyes blinking in the dim light. Not just any baby. His baby. Newly hatched, reaching for his mother, confused and barely making sense of his new existence.

Slowly, the hatchling began to realise what was going on. He was alive. Outside the warm place. Unable to float, but able to crawl. A scent filled the hatchling’s nostrils, the scent of his mother. Confused and anxious, he crawled up Gath’s hand, closer to both his mother and food.

Smiling, Gath chewed on the end of the bottle, narrowing it with his teeth, so that his little baby could feed from it. Having been weaned off the embryonic sack within the egg, his kid was now incredibly hungry and needed real food. Gath had prepared plenty, probably a little too much. But as his hatchling nibbled on the bottle and began sucking, the amount of food didn’t matter. His little baby was healthy and feeding. All was good.

“He is… beautiful…” Talmin, the hatchling’s father, watched from a distance, knowing not to interrupt in this bonding moment. For the first few days, until the baby’s plating had properly hardened, it was best to just let the mother handle the kid. But what amazed Talmin the most, aside from his extremely gentle giant of a partner, was just how… astonishingly pretty his new kid was.

Gath glanced up at Talmin, trying not to cry. He had been waiting for this day for so long. Gath had once lost hope of ever having a kid of his own, and now here he was, feeding his newly hatched child. “He really is…”

A little, happy squeak emanated from the hatchling. Already, he had drank most of the nutrient liquid in the bottle. Gath reached behind him, where he had several more ready to go. Again, Gath chewed on the end, helping the hatchling get a grip on the bottle. He gently pulled the now empty bottle away, then presented the fresh one, which the hatching cheerfully and immediately started feeding from.

As Gath watched though, he noticed something. Talmin was right, his hatchling was beautiful. But he was… more than beautiful. He had inherited Gath’s dark, blue-ish grey skin, but also some of the grey-purple dabs that Talmin had on his arms, legs and tail. The hatchling’s armour though was iridescent. Shimmering with various purples, blues and pinks.

“Is that… normal?” Talmin asked, unsure.

“Is what normal?” Gath wasn’t really paying attention, he was too preoccupied watching over his kid.

“How… sparkly he is?”

Gath shrugged, not particularly caring. All he cared about was making sure his kid was safe, happy and well fed. So far, all had been going well. Gath could see the hatchling opening his eyes, and he was reacting well to stimuli. The last few months had been horrible for Gath, filled with worrying thoughts, preparation and intruding “what ifs”, all about his future and the future he would provide for his kid. But right now, holding his kid in his arms, Gath couldn’t help but breath a sigh of relief.

Sure, he had many years of being a mother ahead of him, but that didn’t bother Gath at all. All that mattered right now was that his kid was alive.

“We… never discussed a name…” Talmin muttered, inching closer.

“No, we did not…” Gath was still smiling. “Do you… have any preferences?”

“He is your kid…”

“He is our kid.”

Talmin sighed, not really sure what to say. “Something short. One syllable. So his name cannot be made into mockery. He is too pure, too beautiful to have a long name.”

Gath thought to himself, his eyes glued on his kid. After a moment, once he had fetched a third bottle of food, he turned to Talmin.

“I want to call him Rett.”

“That is a good name…” Talmin smiled back. “Rett it is…”