Like all monitor lizards, Gould’s goanna (also known as the bungarra) has a relatively high metabolism for a reptile, and requires sustenance much more frequently than other lizards. It also has a snake-like tongue that it flicks about in leaf litter, presumably to gather olfactory clues to the presence of prey in the vicinity.
The sharp claws and high-set body of the goanna allow for quick movement and effective hunting of anything smaller than itself, including other members of the same species.
Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria. Frederick McCoy, 1885.
Millions of years into the future, Australia has become a much drier continent. Due to human-accelerated climate change, rainfall was reduced across much of the continent, leading to the spread of eucalypt woodlands and plains populated by hardy grasses. This new environment has in turn caused bushfires to increase in intensity and abundance. Here, the most common grazers are various species of kangaroos and wallabies, as their ancestors had the speed to escape the flames. Though these animals initially had no major predators (their last predator, humans, having died out ages ago), nature abhors a vacuum, so it was only a matter of time before predatory animals evolved to feed on the new grazers.
The top predator of the future Australian woodlands and grasslands is not a mammal, but a reptile. As reptiles require less water than mammals, they were able to weather the climate change better. Subsequently, they dominate the ecosystems of future Australia; this is especially true for the predatory goannas. The most widespread future goannas are the swift monitors, which developed a more upright stance that proved advantageous for hunting the fast-moving kangaroos and for escaping fires.
Pictured above is the eastern swift monitor, a 3m long lizard that inhabits open woodlands. Though too large to climb trees as an adult, the young are almost entirely arboreal, subsisting on a diet of insects and small mammals.
So there’s been this series on the news about how climate change will affect Australia (basically, it’ll get much drier and hotter), and it got me thinking about how the fauna and flora would evolve in the future. This is one of the animals that inhabit my future Australia.
A/B/O verse Hanzo discovers he’s pregnant and worries about his ability to be a decent parent.
(Heads up, there may be a number of days in the A/B/O verse or variations of it, because while I CAN come up with 30 distinct AUs… I do not necessarily feel like writing a scene for all 30 of those distinct AUs)
Staring down at the stick in his hand, Hanzo feels like the air has escaped his lungs. It takes him a moment to remember how to breathe, his hand falling to the bathroom counter to keep him upright.
He thought he’d been prepared for this possibility. As soon as he’d recognized the symptoms he’d considered all avenues. Pregnancy… pregnancy was not the worst possible thing anymore. He wasn’t on the run. He wasn’t being hunted. He even had a mate. He’d lived with Overwatch for three years now, been with Jesse McCree for the past two years. Overwatch had returned to being a legal entity not long after he joined, and the protection that came with it made life almost easy.
He thought he’d be okay with the possibility of being pregnant.
He doesn’t realize he’s sobbing until a knock on the door pulls him from his thoughts.
“Darling? You okay in there?”
He’d nearly forgotten McCree was waiting in their room. For a second, Hanzo considers not saying anything. Then he looks at the window and contemplates escaping to the roof.
Eventually, he stands and opens the bathroom door.
McCree is standing there with his hand still poised to knock. He takes in Hanzo’s appearance before noticing the red tint to his eyes. “Oh, Hanners…”
Hanzo falls into his arms before he can say anything else, not crying, but refusing to look up at his husband’s face. “It’s positive. I’m-. We, are having a child.” He can feel the stutter in McCree’s chest as he inhales, and his grip around Hanzo tightens.
“You mean it, babe?”
Hanzo can’t speak. He only nods, holding back another sob now at the guilt from how excited McCree sounds. Of course he would be happy. McCree had brought up his wish for children so many times since they had begun their relationship. He had never pushed, never asked for them to settle down, but Hanzo had known anyway.
With a gentle kiss to the top of Hanzo’s head, McCree leads him over to the bed, pulling the smaller man down onto his lap, arms curled around each other.
“So what’s the plan then?”
“Hm?” Hanzo asks, still refusing to look any higher than McCree’s chest. “I suppose we will have to see Dr. Ziegler to schedule appointments. See Commander Amari about-… about my pregnancy leave.”
“We don’t have to-”
Hanzo ignores the interruption, pulling away slightly as McCree’s closeness begins to feel like it is suffocating him. “I must inform Genji, see if he can steal our tombs from Hanamura to ensure our child bonds with his dragon without incident. I will of course be unable to go. I will be unable to train as well. Commander Amari will need to find another sniper, leaving our teams vulnerable-”
McCree does the only thing he can think of to stop Hanzo’s rant before he begins to panic. He puts his hand over Hanzo’s chin and forces him to look up. “Han. It’s okay. I need you to breathe.”
He does, heart racing and head feeling faint as if he hadn’t been breathing at all this entire time. “Jesse…”
“You’re panicking, darling. Wanna tell me why?”
“Let me rephrase that. Tell me why.”
It’s not really an order. If Hanzo did not want to discuss it, he could remain silent. But phrasing it as an order gave him an out. Gave him the opportunity to talk frankly and not feel as if he were being weak by wanting to share his fears. So he puts his hand on McCree’s shirt, playing with a button as he gathers his strength.
“I do not believe I should be a parent.”
McCree tenses at the admission. “And why’s that?”
There are so many reasons. And he lists them all. His mother and father were terrible examples. The elders were hardly the basis for a good family dynamic. He doesn’t know the first thing about children. He grew up thinking murder was a part of life. He tried to kill his own brother as adults. Oh, and that one time when he and Genji were small, when Genji came down with a flu and Hanzo thought he was faking and pushed him out into the snow.
He began his training when he was still a child, barely old enough to consider attending school. Would he be a bad parent for not wanting their child to train as diligently? Wouldn’t that just be setting them up to be hurt or killed, unable to defend themselves?
And what about school and education? Discipline? Could he stop himself from raising his hand against his child if they acted out? Should he do that? He read that it was wrong. And he was terrible with his words. What if his child grew up thinking his father hated him? What if-
“Darling, I had no idea you felt that way.”
Of course Jesse would cut him off from those thoughts just as Hanzo was beginning to have them. He was a good man.
“I did not know I would feel this way.” Hanzo admits after a long moment. “I thought I was prepared. I thought I would feel… excited? I am not sure.”
“Well, why did you think you’d be excited?”
For the first time, Hanzo placed his own hand on his stomach, considering the small group of cells that were growing there. Why had he wanted to try for a child with Jesse? “… I wanted a child with your eyes, your smile. I wanted to see a miniature version of you in my arms, with you smiling at us.”
He can feel Jesse’s smile against his hair before the other man speaks. “You know you ain’t the only one with fears, Han.”
Hanzo scoffs, but allows Jesse to continue.
“I ain’t even know who my dad was. And my ma died when I was just a kid. I don’t know the first thing about how a parent is supposed to be outside of movies and TV. Even when Fareeha was visiting the base, she was usually hanging with me and Reinhardt, not her mom. I remember Ana would keep her artwork and call her during missions, but I don’t remember much else. And you ain’t the only one with insecurities either. I have ta quit smoking right now if we’re going to do this. And recalibrate my arm so I don’t crush nothing when I get mad or distracted.”
Something in his words catches Hanzo off guard and he finally looks up at his husband. “I am not sure why I assumed you already knew all about child rearing, but I did.”
“I don’t even know how to change a diaper, honestly. Or where to buy them.” He makes a face and suddenly goes pale. “Oh my god. What do babies eat?”
“Jesse, I am sure I will be capable enough to feed our child.”
“Yeah, but what about when you’re on a mission? Do we just get formula or something?”
Hanzo falls silent.
It takes Jesse a moment to realize. “Han? Did I say something wrong?”
“No.” Hanzo assures him. “I just… I assumed that I would no longer be welcome on the team. Would I not be a liability?”
“Well, I ain’t goanna say I want you out there in danger, but that ain’t no different from when you go out on a job without me. I suppose it’ll be up to you and Mercy as to when you go on leave. And I guess I just assumed you’d be wanting to get back into things right away. I know ya don’t like being cooped up and I don’t mind staying behind sometimes. Long as you keep yourself safe.”
“It seems we have both assumed many things about each other.”
Jesse can’t hide his smile. “Seems like. So, how are ya feeling about all this now?”
Hanzo shrugs once, then gently raises his first to meet Jesse’s eyes. “I still have concerns over my ability as a parent but… perhaps, we can, as you say, figure things out on the way.”
Jesse grins. “And hey, worst case scenario, I’m sure the team would be more than happy to help us out.”
Hanzo hadn’t even considered asking their teammates for assistance, but he finds the idea warming. Their team is their family. Of course they’d help.
Hesitantly, Jesse slides his hand down to Hanzo’s belly, placing it over Hanzo’s own hand.
There was little Alec could do when
Max threw a fit, and Magnus was not around. It was not that Max was
purposefully using his magic, or that he was going to make their home collapse,
but having large books fly off bookshelves, or glass randomly shatter was not
Alec’s idea of having a good afternoon with his son.
One afternoon in particular, Magnus
and Rafael had left to work on Rafe’s English in a coffee shop where they would
not disturb Max’s nap. Now, Max had figured out that he was the only one who
had to take naps, and this greatly upset him, because (in his own eyes) he and
Rafe were equals and had to do the same things.
Everything was fine when Magnus and
Rafe had left just after lunch; however, when one O’clock rolled around Max
first said simply, “But I’m not tired.”