#why midwife when she can be MY wife instead
Luisa: The reason why I can't midwife or anything: baby comes out, I look at it and go "yep, needs more time in the oven" and I stick it back in.
Mirabel: LUISA, NO!
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spideyspeaches · 11 months ago
Sweet child ‘o mine ↬ a.r
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sweet smily babie
A/N: Requests are open btw! I love writing Arvin and I don’t have any arvin requests so you can request for arvin btw :) 
Request by @kelieah​ : okay okay. let's get to it hehe. arvin right? oh my god you should write a dad!arvin 🥺🥺🥺 and reader is pregnant but he's like super protective and lowkey a wreck bc he doesn't know what he's doing? and reader is probably really close to popping the baby? up to you, can't wait to see what you write! :)
Kk so I went a little overboard with the fluff XD 
WC: 1.3k+ 
Pairing: Dad!Arvin Russell x Pregnant!Reader
Masterlist || Taglist 
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Arvin was a protector by nature. He protected all the people he loved, whether it be his late sister, or his girlfriend, now wife and a mother of two. Before you had your first child, Arvin would constantly hover around you till it annoyed you to the point where you would sleep in a separate room.
("Hun don't lift those! You'll hurt the baby!" Arvin shrieked, rushing towards you as you held the shopping bag in your hand with an amused and angry expression. 
You were nearly six weeks pregnant, nowhere near your due date, and yet here you were.
"Arvin, this is one single shopping bag."
"Yes but you shouldn't! I saw what happened to the neighbour's wife when she tried to lift 'er bed!" 
"Arvin…" you said, tapping your foot impatiently, dropping the shopping bag near your couch.
He was looking at you with a worried expression. You didn't give him time to answer, instead pulling him for a deep kiss. 
And what if you were with a child? You were still horny and he was right there looking like a snack.) 
You found the protectiveness endearing, especially watching his gruff exterior cut through like a knife. But you were pregnant and you were grumpy, sick of his overbearing attitude and had finally asked him to leave you alone for two seconds, maybe have a cigarette or two. The poor guy had looked heartbroken that day, just enough for guilt to brew in your heart, but you stood your ground. 
That day also happened to be the day your first child, Willy, was born. You had convinced yourself that you would never witness such a site as of your husband holding your firstborn with utmost care and love radiating through his every pore, bobbing the baby’s little head as he hummed some lullaby, his soft voice lulling your tired form to sleep. 
“Mummy why is daddy walkin’ like that?” Your four year old son asked, looking at you with his daddy’s big doe eyes, making you coo at his adorable expression. 
You were sitting on the couch, nine months with your second child, way past your due date as your son sat besides you, a hand on your rounded belly, smoothing down your dress and “talking” to his brother. You found it cute, already feeling the love the little child was going to get from the second smallest member of the Russell family. 
You watched in amusement as Arvin paced the hallway, burning a hole in the rugs as he ran a hand through his hair, messing them up as he cursed softly. He had been like that from the day your second child was about to arrive, only for them to want to stay a little longer in your belly. 
"Honey you're gonna bear a hole in there." You said, burrowing your brows as he looked at you. He was a wreck, you could see it in how he tried to work two jobs, only to meet you when you were back in bed. 
“Daddy’s a little tense right now hun, he’s… he’s worried why the baby hasn’t come to us yet.” You said, caressing Willy’s head as he snuggled next to you, nodding with a faux serious expression. 
“Maybe the babe feels safer in your belly moma, it must feel very much loved.” He said with a toothy grin, bumping his nose to your bump as you laughed, hugging your little boy closer to you, tickling his sides, He shrieked with laughter as you bent down as much as you could to kiss his forehead.
“Well the little bugger has been kicking moma for a while now, I think he really wants to come, just findin’ it a wee difficult.” You said, hissing as you felt another kick under your ribs. Massaging the area just like the way your midwife had told you to. You sent your son a wink, hoping that he wouldn’t get too scared at your state. He, like his father, was also very protective of you and the baby.
Hissing at another contraction, you tried to do your breathing exercise, groaning at the pain you felt. 
“Daddy! Daddy moma is hurt!” Willy shouted, getting off the couch and running off to where Arvin had been pacing the room.
“No no no hun! Moma is alright, just a little- oh oh Arvin!” You groaned, stretching your husband's name at a painful contraction as you watch him frantically run towards you, stumbling at the carpet and falling on his knees in front of you.
“Hun? Baby speak to me, how far apart are the pains? Do you think it’s time? Should I-”
“Arvin?” You winced, holding your belly.
“Yes honey?”
“Shut the fuck up and do me a favour, get the bag ready will ya?” You said, clenching your jaw as tightly as you could without breaking your teeth, immediately feeling guilty at his crestfallen expression. He was only trying to help you.
“Yes, yes sweetheart, I'll be right back.” He said, scramming to go to your room to get the bag. You knew he had already packed it, unpacked and repacked it multiple times to keep his mind of the calendar. 
“Moma? Are you hurtin’?” You son asked, hearing a sniff. You sighed as you saw tears form in his eyes, running your hands through his hair as he sniffed loudly. 
“No bun, it’s nothing bad, moma’s fine. I swear.” 
“But you’re crying!” He cried out, launching himself on your chest. You sat down with a “oof”, the weight of your son sending you on your back sprawling on the couch.
“Willy! Be careful!” Arvin shouted, pulling your crying son off of you and palming his head as he buried his face into his father’s shoulder, wrapping his little arms around his neck as Arvin cooed at him, trying to shush his muffled cries. 
“It’s gonna be alright bubby, I’m not crying anymore, see?” You gritted, groaning loudly when you felt one resonate to your back, a pop sound startling you enough to widen your eyes.
A breath later, the only thing you could hear was your son’s sniffs and your breathing, the wetness between your thighs amplifying as you gave a loud groan, groping for your husband’s biceps, “It’s happening!” 
“Oh- oh fuck shit, sorry hun, Willy, do daddy a favor and open the car will you? We need to take moma to the hospital.” Arvin instructed your son, who obediently nodded, a determined expression taking over his adorable face as he ran outside. 
“Comin’ sweetheart, just a minute!” He grunted, positioning himself by your side, sliding his one hand under your knees and another at your back, You shrieked as he carried you bridal style, your son holding the door open for you.
You would have called the ride torturous had you not heard the shrill cries of your newborn, squishy wet cheeks and scrunched eyes fitted in the palm of your hands a few hours later. Laughing near hysterically, you gently rocked the newly swaddled baby boy in your arms, looking at your husband’s shiny eyes as he carefully touched the baby’s forehead. 
“He’s so tiny.” Arvin whispered, rubbing his thumb on the soft skin, watching in awe as the baby yawned, the little eyes scrunching up as they slowly opened, adjusting around the world in a newfound wonder. 
“He’s perfect.” You smiled, seeing your four year old hiding behind Arvin’s legs, watching you unsure of himself, “Come here bun, want to hold your brother?”
“I can hold him?” He asked, peaking at you through his eyelashes.
“Of course you can son.” Arvin chuckled, lifting the toddler as he sat on your bed, looking at you with wide eyes. 
"Here, hold his head, careful." You whispered, holding one hand on your older son's hands, guiding him to hold his little brother as he looked at the baby in wonder. 
"He's tiny!" Willy said, mimicking you when he saw you holding the baby. 
"You were this tiny too once, son." Arvin said, smiling at you and Willy. 
"No way! I'm a big boy." Willy argued, pouting, which made you and your husband laugh.
"Whatever you say baby."
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inuyashaha · a year ago
Yashahime Episode 15
I think so many of my feelings and observations have been stated by others at this point, but here go my rambling thoughts anyway.
First the negative:  It was an oddly structured episode.  The introduction threw us straight into the past, very, very briefly framed by Riku as the narrator.  Did Riku break the fourth wall or were we to assume a listener we did not see?  I’m still not sure.  So much information was thrown at the audience that it did not feel like there was enough times to savor the emotions of the moments ...  very very important moments that showed us Inuyasha and Kagome’s home and married dynamic, pregnant Kagome, RIN HAVING HER BABIES with Kaede, Sango and Kagome being there (I LOVED that), Sesshomaru taking his babies...I’m willing to wait and assume this rushed narrative is on purpose, but it was a little jarring.
Now the good:
Rin is the mommy!  I knew that.  I was convinced on August 1st during the livestream, but it was a sweet (if all too brief) moment.  Mamiko Noto’s voice as Rin was so perfect.  It was sweet, but it was subdued.  It was the voice of a someone who had just birthed twins and knows something awful is about to go down.  To hear her name the babies was a beautiful moment, and how sweet were baby Towa and Setsuna.  Towa looked a little grumpy/sleepy, but baby Setsuna was already smiling :).  I do think they will show that Setsuna, deep down, is a smiling sweet girl like her mother and that circumstances made her like she is.  It also makes me think that we have only seen one side of Towa -- we haven’t really seen what she has inherited from Sesshomaru -- yet.
I loved that all of Rin’s friends surrounded her and helped her have her babies.  The twins hurrying to get Kaede, Sango going for Kagome...it was a community event!  But seriously, to know that if only for a short while, Rin got to be surrounded by love and peace with her babies by her side makes the bitterness of Sesshomaru taking the babies so quickly afterwards a little easier to bear.  Just a little.  Sango the experienced mom.  Kaede the midwife.  Rin the new mom.  Kagome the expectant mom.  Imagine the conversations and bonding.  Their kids should have grown up together :(. 
And I am going to speculate, until the show proves me wrong, that Rin probably had her own hut and continued to live in the village after she married Sesshomaru, or at least after she got pregnant.  The fact that the twins came to get Kaede at night makes me think that she was not in Kaede’s hut.  Wouldn’t Kaede be at her own place at night? 
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Like Inuyasha and Kagome, I think Rin and Sesshomaru had their own place:
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This looks different from Kaede’s hut.  I don’t remember the little pathway on the left, but it’s impossible to tell if they are next to the gate here.  Again, I’m choosing to believe they had their own place.
So, this makes me consider how much Sesshomaru really did settle down for Rin.  He gave up his titles.  He did not take her to a castle in the air.  He let her stay among her friends and start a family WITH HIM but still within the village.  He gave her the best of both worlds.  He MARRIED her.  How many times was she called his wife or bride?  She’s no concubine or human piece on the side.  He MARRIED her.  Since he had not seen his mother in a while, I’m assuming he married her in her village, letting everyone know she wasn’t just some poor village girl taken advantage of by the powerful yokai. And it clearly wasn’t just a human marriage.  All the big bad demons called Rin Sesshomaru’s wife. What honor, respect and love he showed to her, a mere human peasant (though of course we all know she is so much more than that, especially to Sesshomaru).
Was he like many lords and installed her in her own home, visiting and staying with her when he did not have business to attend to?  Or did he tell Inuyasha that he better get used to having another demon hanging out in his forest by the village?  Like...for all intents and purpose, Sesshomaru may have been living in the same village as Inuyasha, both intending to raise their families together.  I love that.  Please Yashahime, don’t dissuade me of this.
Poor Sesshomaru...sigh...I know it doesn’t look great for him right now...but that will change.  The story is not going to make him the villain.  It’s just not.  But yes, poor Sesshomaru.  He got to be happy about his babies being born for all of about two seconds before Zero interrupted him.  Look at his little smile while he listens to his daughters’ first cries:
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He had his worried face on, and then he smiled.  He’s a dad in the waiting room.  And the TONE of Jaken’s voice when he declared that they had been born.  The WARMTH, the LOVE.  Grandpa Jaken I love you so much.
This bitch, though, I don’t love at all:
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Does she have some kind of magic yokai ultrasound that lets her know Sesshomaru had twin daughters and predicted Kagome would have a daughter?  I look forward to seeing how this all unravels, but the fact that she showed up IMMEDIATELY after the girls were born is frightening, and maybe that was why Sesshomaru was at the outskirts of the village instead of closer by?  Clearly, they were expecting some kind of attack, but dang...that happened fast.
Who is this lady anyway?  I’ve seen it speculated that it may be Riku’s mother...and yes?  I could see that.  Did she have a hanyou she was not allowed to keep,  poor Riku tossed overboard, and now she seeks revenge? Or was she rejected by Toga? Those tears of hers.  Who was she crying for?
As many others noticed, this was a little odd:
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What about Sesshomaru’s mother?  He hasn’t seen her in years (such a bad son), and when they go to her castle, she’s missing.  Was she just off doing flying dog stuff in the sky?  Was she shopping for expensive jewelry and designer silks?  I’m assuming she was not at Sesshomaru’s wedding.  Or did Zero do something to her and Sesshomaru just wasn’t aware?  I’m dying to see more of Sesshomaru’s mom.  I want her to meet the twins and just throw out her arms all, “Come to Grandma!  Let me buy you things and tell you stories about your dad.”  But that remains to be seen.
Speaking of grandparents, can I say yet again that I love the honorary grandparents Kaede and Jaken, both trying to protect Rin in their own way.  Kaede doesn’t hold back and calls Sesshomaru a fool (imagine what she was like when Sesshomaru was truly courting Rin) while Jaken comforts Rin when her babies are taken away.  Again, the voice acting by Jaken’s VA is EVERYTHING in this episode.  The LOVE he conveys.  He’s perfect.  I love him.  I do.
And Rin knew the plan. She knew what was going to happen, but poor thing...I wish it could have been different for her.  Look how much she loves and trusts Sesshomaru.  That expression clearly says “Look what I made! Look what WE made!”  I wish we could have seen them react to the babies together. 
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Also, look at how Sango is about THISCLOSE to putting on her slayer clothes and kicking Sesshomaru’s ass when he scooped up those babies and turned away:
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The rest of the episode was such a jumble of events.  Sesshomaru AND Jaken were with Inuyasha and Kagome when the comet arrived, which was after the twins’ birth but before Moroha’s.  Even if they are hanyo, I don’t think Jaken and Sesshomaru would have left newborn babies alone.  Rin was with them.  Jaken even said he was bringing Rin to them (I assume after she recovered from birthing twins).  Further supporting this would be the dream gazing spell business --  Like others have said, I’m pretty sure Rin sacrificed herself to keep her remaining daughter safe after Towa was pulled into the future.
Miscellaneous observations:
1. What the hell is going on with the comet? Every 500 years?  So, the Higurashis might be in for a surprise pretty soon?  Comet remnants are still in the sky though...
2. Why in the hell did Inuyasha bring his pregnant wife along for the comet destruction? Why exactly was she there?  Unless he was too worried about her safety to leave her behind?
3. Riku is one shady fellow.  HE found the compact?  How did he know where to look? I know, I know.  Don’t be hasty, but c’mon.  We don’t have that many episodes left.
4.  I like how they portrayed a pregnant Kagome.  I like this little side view where you can see she’s chunky, but it’s not an exaggerated thing:
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5. Sesshomaru and Rin had babies before Inuyasha and Kagome! On one level, it is very sweet.  Of anyone, Rin and Sesshomaru are very aware of the fragility of life and how fleeting time is.  Look at the names of their daughters.  It makes sense that they wanted a family quickly.  On the other hand, I cannot shake the idea that the brothers did get competitive with each other.  I can imagine Inuyasha knocking up Kagome as quickly as possible after finding out that Rin was pregnant.  Then Sesshomaru has TWO daughters to Inuyasha’s one.  I am longing for some brotherly interactions.  Let Inuyasha call him a hypocrite at least once.  Let Sesshomaru gloat that he has TWO super awesome daughters. Let the daughters watch their ridiculous fathers fist fight while their mothers pour water on them and tell them to SIT.  Please.
6. Besides emphasizing the fact that Rin is Sesshomaru’s WIFE, the episode also emphasized the fact that Rin actually birthed the girls. Rin is in labor, it will be soon, you did well, Rin, Rin resting in bed with her daugthers, her voice weak and tired, the tub used to wash the babies in the background.  There was no magic switcheroo.  The twins were not found beneath a tree.  Sesshomaru did not sprout them from a forgotten limb. They came out of Rin’s body.  She’s the mom. She made them with her husband. End of.
6. Finally, this is the best part of the episode.
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You sure did, Rin. 
Now where are A-Un and Shippo?
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babymetaldoll · a year ago
Baby Reid (Spencer Reid/Reader)
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Requested: Yes
Matthew x reader, his wife (the reader) goes into labor, and the next story is the same thing but spencer Reid x reader.
A/N: This was fun to write! tomorrow I’ll post MGG’s story
Summary: Spencer Reid is about to be a father, and he can't stop thinking about everything that could go wrong.
Pairing: Spencer Reid/Reader
Category: Fluff
Word count: 2K
Warning: I curse like a sailor
You can also read Baby Gubs
That was it. It was the moment (Y/N) and Spencer had been waiting impatiently for the last couple of weeks. Being pregnant was the most amazing experience of her life; (Y/N) still couldn't believe she was carrying a little baby Reid inside her. But after 40 weeks, she wanted it to end. It was time to have that baby.
But baby Reid wasn't ready to face the real world just yet, and their little princess was three days late after the due date. The doctor had told the couple if it passed from Sunday, they would do a c-section. Lucky for (Y/N), that Friday afternoon, baby Reid decided it was time.
(Y/N) was all alone, reading a book, lying on her bed, enjoying a big bowl of chocolate ice cream, when suddenly, it happened. Her water broke. She had been feeling contractions for the last hour, but after three false alarms, she wasn't concerned at all until she felt her legs all wet.
Trying to remain calm, she grabbed her phone and dialed Spencer's number. Aaron knew they were about to be parents and had given Reid only desk duty those last couple of weeks so that he could be there for the birth of his daughter, Helena Reid.
- "Hey Buttercup, how are you?"- Reid was swamped in paperwork when he received his wife's call- "I was about to go out for lunch with Penelope."
- "I think you might like to reschedule that"- (Y/N) smiled for a second until a powerful contraction left her speechless for a moment.
- "Why? what is it?"
- "Your daughter decided to come and meet us. This time it's for real."- Spencer's heart stopped, and his hand started shaking immediately.
- "Are you sure?"- he whispered and closed his eyes. He was about to have a panic attack, but he had to remain calm. He had to, no matter what, for the sake of his wife. So, he did his best and talked to her in the most soothing voice possible.
- "Yes, honey. My water just broke"- Reid's heart stopped again.
- "H... ho... how often are the contractions?"- Spencer cleared his throat and packed all his things as fast as he could, considering he was too nervous to remember what to put in his satchel.
- "Every eight minutes."
(Y/N) knew Spencer was freaking out. He told her he was mentally prepared for that moment, and he would be a rock for her. But she knew better. Spencer could pretend to be calmed, but deep inside, he was going to be hyperventilating.
- "I'm on my way, give me a second"- he stood up and bumped into Penelope- "Garcia, I can't have lunch with you. (Y/N) is in labor! I have to take her to the hospital."
Penelope wide opened her eyes and started hyperventilating immediately.
- "Is that her on the phone?"
- "Yes! I have to go now."
- "I love you, munchkin!!"- Garcia yelled- "I'll see you at the hospital, I'll tell the team, they were on their way back from New York"- Spencer nodded and ran to the elevator.
- "I'm here, buttercup. Keep talking to me, ok?"
- "Ok... so... tell me about your morning."
- "It was boring. Nothing exciting happened until I found out I'm about to be a dad."
(Y/N) smiled and tried to concentrate on her breathing, keeping it as slow and relaxed as she could.
- "Are you ok?"- he asked, so concerned and excited he forgot which way to go to get to his car. He had started driving to work when they got pregnant, in case of any emergency.
- "Yes, just breathing... I can't stop thinking, do we have everything we need?"
- "Yes, don't worry, babe. We are ready,"- Spencer reassured. Those words were not just for her, but also for him too- "How is the pain?"
- "On a scale from one to ten? Like a four. I can deal with it until we get to the hospital."
Spencer drove as fast as he could, trying to think like Morgan behind the wheel. He had argued against the way he drove for years, and now, Reid was doing exactly everything he had disagreed with.
- "I'm parking outside"- he announced his wife, but she didn't reply- "(Y/N), babe..."
- "I'm here"- she whispered- "Pain is starting to go from four to six very quickly."
- "It's ok; it's ok. I'm almost there."
Reid opened the door of their apartment and ran to their bedroom. (Y/N) had taken the bedsheets and was now trying (and failing) to put clean sheets in it.
- "No, buttercup"- Spencer nearly yelled and stopped her- "Leave that, come on, let's go."
- "Sorry, I just didn't want to leave the bed with..."
- "It's ok, I'll take care of that later. It doesn't matter"- (Y/N) felt his arms around her waist as they walked towards the door. That's when she stopped and squeezed his hand.
- "Breath, buttercup, you are doing awesome."
- "Shit, they are getting worse"- she mumbled and tried to think of anything else- "The bag is in the car?"
- "Yes. And we'll call your midwife and your parents from the car."
(Y/N) nodded and started walking again, but stopped all of a sudden.
- "Wait, come here"- she tugged his hand and wrapped her arms around his neck- "You are gonna be a dad, Spencer"- and the smile that appeared on his face was enough to light a whole city.
- "I love you so much, buttercup"- he kissed her lips sweetly and sighed- "You are incredible."
- "Remember that in case I turn into a monster when the pain gets worse"- she smiled and felt his lips on hers again.
- "Noted."
After six hours in labor, (Y/N) was turning into a monster. She was uncomfortable and in pain, and baby Reid had decided to take her time.
Spencer had prepared for months for that moment. He kept everything you might imagine in his car that could help (Y/N) be comfortable during the whole labor process. Spencer had to be ready whenever the moment came. He played her favorite playlist, and he gave her tummy massages with essential oils to help her relax. Nothing was working, but he meant well.
He had read every book about parenthood he could find. And though he was more than prepared for that moment, he was too scared and worried to think straight.
- "Come on, Helena"- Spencer kept talking to the tummy and held his wife's hand as she tried to get some rest- "Your mom and I want to meet you"- the hard grip on his hand let him know his wife was in the middle of a contraction. They were every three minutes now.
- "We'll only have one kid,"- (Y/N) whispered, and Spencer smiled. He moved closer and kissed her temple- "I know we said we wanted three babies, but one is all I can take."
- "You know, many women often claim to forget all the pain of labor after giving birth. It's called the 'Halo effect'"
- "We'll see if that theory is real soon, I hope."
Spencer was trying to soothe her, though someone should be calming him too. He was scared anything could go wrong. Statistics were hunting his mind the whole time. If something went wrong, if something happened to his wife and daughter, he would lose his mind.
- "How is she?"- Penelope asked Reid when he appeared in the waiting room. The rest of the team was there, waiting for the news.
- "Tired. It's been six hours already"- he sighed and closed his eyes- "I feel so useless! there's nothing I can do to help her!"
- "Come on, Spence"- JJ rubbed his arm and smiled at him, trying to calm him down- "There's a lot of things you can do to make her feel better."
- "I know, but I'm scared of everything that might go wrong."- Reid confessed and sat next to Morgan- "What if..."
- "No"- Derek stopped him and tapped on his back a couple of times, as a way to shake those thoughts away from his head- "There's no room for "what if" today, pretty boy. No overthinking and no statistics. You have to be a rock for your wife, ok?"
Spencer widened his eyes, looking at Derek, and nodded. He knew his friend was right. It wasn't time to be scared. It was the time to support his wife, no matter what.
- "Ok, Mrs. Reid, let's see if you are ready"- the midwife walked in and smiled at (Y/N). She turned to her husband, who stared at her in a weird mix of excitement and panic.
- "Ok, mom,"- the midwife said, happily- "Are you ready to push?"
- "Fuck!!"- though (Y/N) had already the epidural, the pain was excruciating- "Let's do this."
While (Y/N) and her midwife were looking for a comfortable labor position, Reid took a step back and tried to breathe calmly. All the stories of birth going wrong were coming to his mind at the same time. What if the baby came in the wrong position? What if his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck? What if (Y/N) bleed too much? What if her pelvis was too small?
- "Spencer!!"- he heard her yell suddenly, reaching out her hand to him- "I need you."
Those three words were the most powerful he had ever heard before. He held his wife's hand and kissed her forehead.
- "I'm here, I'm with you. Forever, ok?"- (Y/N) nodded and bit her lips tight- "Breath, baby, just breath."
- "I'm trying!!"
- "Come on, Mrs. Reid... on three, you can do this!! one, two..."
Spencer counted along with the midwife and held (Y/N)'s hand tight each time she had to push. He wished there was anything else he could do to make her feel better. If Reid could, he would go through the whole process instead of her, only to keep her from being in pain. He couldn't believe his wife was going to make him a dad. It was his whole life's dream, and now, it was about to happen.
- "I can see her head! Just two more pushes! come on!!"
- "I can't"- (Y/N) sighed and closed her eyes, exhausted- "I can't do this, I'm too tired."
Spencer carefully pressed a wet towel on her forehead and kissed her temples.
- "You can do this, buttercup, one more time."- he whispered in her ear.
- "I can't, honey... it's too hard."
- "I know it's hard, and I wish you didn't have to go through all this. But I know you are strong, stronger than me, by far."- Spencer held and kissed her hand. (Y/N) took a deep breath and made her best to push as hard as possible.
- "One more time!! Just one more time, Mrs. Reid"- the midwife said. Spencer kept his eyes locked on his wife and brushed sweetly the hair that covered her face. She looked at him and nodded, closed her eyes, and pushed one last time.
The crying of a newborn had never sounded so sweet. Spencer saw in slow motion how the midwife took his little daughter and placed it on (Y/N)'s chest. He couldn't move. He just looked at that scene with teary eyes, feeling his chest swelling with love.
- "She's so tiny"- (Y/N) whispered- "Hello, Helena, I'm your mommy, and he is your daddy. He loves you so much"- Spencer's chin quivered, and in a second, he was crying. There he was with his family. His wife and his baby. Everything he had ever dreamt of.
Spencer leaned in slowly, kissing his daughter's head carefully.
- "You are incredible"- he whispered to his wife and kissed her too- "I didn't think it was possible, but now I actually love you even more. You just gave me a family."
- "I'd give you everything you ever ask me, Spencer Reid"- she answered and kept her eyes on their newborn- "Just don't ask now, 'cos I'm a little tired..."- Reid smiled and shook his head.
- "With you two here, I've got everything I'll ever need."
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hot-auntie-dany · 10 months ago
Hello! For the Smutty One-Liners, number 9 :) Please and thank you :) I hope you have a great day!
I am so sorry for the delay but I’m slow at this! I will warn that this is more angsty than smutty but that’s Jonerys for you.
Prompt: I want to count every one of your freckles with my lips
“What’s this?”
“What’s what?” She looks up from her book to the sight of him standing in front of the full-length looking glass. His fingers part the neckline of his tunic and brush over his chest and shoulders. She doesn’t like the look in his face.
“This.” He spins around and stalks toward the couch where she’s sitting with her feet tucked under her. He points to a rash of freckles that have appeared on his pale skin.
She leans up and pretends to look closer. “I suppose it’s from that sunburn.”
“That was months ago.”
“I’m not a Maester, Jon,” she retorts. “I just know that sunburn can cause freckles, especially when the skin blisters, and you looked like you’d come down with a pox. We couldn’t get enough aloe and vinegar to soothe you, remember?”
He goes to the table beside her, and pours a goblet of wine. “I told you we should have gone back to the waterfall instead,” he grumbles.
She rolls her eyes. It was bad enough that he complained for most of their honeymoon in the Summer Isles about the heat and humidity. For the duration, his curls were an unmanageable mess, and his skin was as red as a tomato. Meanwhile, she’d been untouched by the sun’s unforgiving rays. What is the sun, if not fire in the sky, and fire cannot kill a dragon. It shouldn’t, but it gives her some satisfaction. He might technically have a better claim to the throne, but it is she who carries the magic of their ancestors.
He was out of place on that island, though. Like a fish on dry land. But she had hoped getting him away from Westeros would help him remember how things had been, when it was just the two of them. Despite the babe she nurtures in her womb, she has come to accept that it will never be. There are moments when he seems to forget, and he looks at her like he once did. But those moments are few and far between. It’s so strange. Right now he’s parading in front of her in a loose tunic and trousers, getting ready for bed in the chamber he shares with her. She understands it is only to protect her and their babe from dangers real or imagined, not because he wants to be there. She isn’t sure what it is; his disgust for their blood relation, or if his family and her former advisors really did poison him against her. Or maybe he still can’t accept the lengths she had to go to in order to secure her reign. For one who’s fought so many battles, her consort still doesn’t understand the nature of war. Or the nature of the great game. But then, he never knew he was meant to play it. No wonder he doesn’t know the rules.
Maybe he was right, and they should have gone back to the falls. She admits it was breathtaking. And significant. It was the first time he rode a dragon.
It was the last time they were happy.
“I’m sorry your delicate northern skin was bothered by sunlight,” she jeers. “But they’re just freckles. Everybody has them.”
“You don’t. ” He takes another drink. He drinks a lot more these days.
And how would he know, anyway? When was the last time he saw her naked body?
She shrugs. “Well, I am called the Unburnt for a reason.”
“Because you’re magical.” There is bitterness in his tone.
She closes her book and puts it aside. She works her feet out from under her and maneuvers herself to stand up. For the blink of an eye he flinches, like he means to reach for her, but he stays rooted to his spot.
The babe pushes against her ribs in protest, and she rests her hands atop her protruding belly. The midwife tells her that it will be at least two more moons, but she knows that already. She can count the weeks and months since the last time they lay together. This baby - a boy, she’s sure - is a miracle, and much wanted, but is also a daily reminder of what she had and lost with Jon. What she still wants, despite her efforts not to. Every day she curses Brandon Stark and Samwell Tarly for what they did. It served only one purpose, and she wonders if it was the purpose they had in mind. It’s a shame Jon was too stupid to see it.
She’s so tired of this facade. So tired of loving, and not being loved in return. Do Queens not deserve love as much as anyone else? She always knew a political marriage would be necessary. But she assumed it would be like her ill-fated match with Hizdar zo Loraq. Strictly business. She did not expect the torment of unrequited love. Especially not after all she suffered and sacrificed for him.
She joins him at the table and helps herself to a goblet of cordial wine. She’d prefer something stronger, but it isn’t good for the baby. Let him guzzle the hard drinks until he’s found oblivion, so he can forget until morning how unhappy he is. She takes a long drink, but keeps her eyes locked in his. She sets her goblet on the table and dabs her lips with a napkin. Still, she holds his gaze.
“You can return to that waterfall any time you wish, you know,” she says, even as she longs to reach for him. But her heels are dug in, and her mind is stronger, for now. So she folds her hands primly in front of her. She’s close enough to him that she has to look up to meet his eyes. She thinks she sees his tongue quickly dart between his lips, but she can’t be sure.
“Is that so?” He pours another drink.
“Of course. Or you could return to Winterfell to assume your duties as Warden of the North. Or go beyond the Wall, where you can ride and hunt and bed wildling girls.”
“What makes you think I’d want to do that?” He looks at her like she’s struck him. “I have never….”
“I didn’t say you had,” she interrupts. They are so close, she can feel his hot breath. It smells sweet. It makes her want to taste him. But she doesn’t. She stopped trying long ago. “I did not spend my life freeing others from their chains, to make a prisoner of you.” She cups her belly. She can’t look at him another second. She turns from him. “You have your heir already, or will in a few months’ time. There is no reason for you to stay if you do not wish to be here.”
Tears sting her eyes. While there is some relief in releasing him, and the burden of her feelings for him, her heart still aches. She feels him approach her from behind, but he stops short of her. Always so close, but so far away. She must be cursed.
“You’re my wife,” he says quietly.
“Oh please, Jon. Let’s not pretend this is a marriage for love.” She blinks back her tears and spins around to face him. “We married to uphold the peace between the North and the Crown, nothing more.”
“How can you say that?” He’s offended. Once, she’d have felt guilty about that, but now it only makes her angrier. He certainly has gall.
“How can I say that?” She stalks toward him. Her face is burning hot. Her eyes are blurry with unshed tears. “You barely look at me. You barely speak. You won’t touch me. I disgust you. I have made my peace with that. You may have loved me once, but no longer.”
He snaps his arm like a whip, grabbing her wrist, pulling her toward him so quickly that she stumbles. She tries to wrench herself free, but he is stronger than she is. His grip is tight and his calloused fingers indent her skin. She’s ready to call for the guard, but he must realize his brutishness, because he lets her go, but the bitterness on his face is unchanged.
“Why would I want to look at you, when all I see in your eyes is contempt?” he growls. He’s rarely ever raised his voice to her, and it’s startling. “Do you think I want to be reminded every day how you despise me? You hate me for who my parents are, as if I had a say in that. You hate me for my family and my people.”
She rages. After his treatment of her for so long, he has the audacity to lay the blame on her? The dragon’s within her rouses.
“You abandoned me!” She shouts. She shoves him, though he barely moves. “When I needed you the most, not to bed, but just to give a damn, you couldn’t! You wouldn’t!”
Her chest is heaving now. Her tears are molten as they trickle down her cheeks. She didn’t want him to see her cry. Granted, her pregnancy has made her more prone to it, but this is pent up anger and resentment and pain, that has besieged her for months and has breached her walls at last. She turns from him again. She wants to get away, far away from him.
But she can’t, because then next thing she knows, his arms are around her, holding her to him, one hand in her hair, the other tight around her shoulders. Suddenly, her bones are soft. Her strength is gone. And she weeps against his muscled, freckled chest. His breaths are jagged, and she knows he is fighting tears of his own.
“I was confused,” he says, his voice wavering. “I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, or feel, or think. I didn’t even know who I was anymore! And I’m sorry you were hurt because of it. I’m sorry that I didn’t love you well, by all the gods, I’m sorry!” Then he sinks to his knees, his hands clasped around hers. He looks up at her, his eyes moist and pleading. “I have loved you from the first. I never stopped. I want it to be as it was before! I wish every day we’d stayed at that waterfall, like you said. I wish we’d never got off that ship! Do you have any idea the misery of wanting to lay beside you every night, to hold you and kiss you and make love to you?”
The lump in her throat chokes her. She knows. Better than anyone, she knows.
“Why haven’t you, then?”
“Because I’m a fool! Because I thought you didn’t want me anymore. Because…..because I thought I never really deserved you to begin with!” He kisses the backs of her hands. It’s the first time she’s felt his lips since the stilted kiss they shared when they were wed, and it arcs through every nerve in her body. “Now you want me to go away, to leave you and our child behind? I could never do that! I still want you! I love you still, Daenerys. Nothing will change that.”
He rises, and cups her face in his hands. He’s so beautiful in the dim light. Her arms, which had been hanging at her sides, reach for him.
“Have me, then,” she whispers, as new tears fall.
Later, they’re tucked into furs in front of the hearth. The fire is dying, but he’s too spent to stoke it. Seven or more moons of barely touching made their consummation quick and awkward. At first he worried over hurting her or the babe, and she laughed and assured him it was safe. Once he knew that, he was a man with only one ambition, which was to pleasure her in every way he could. And he did, so well and repeatedly.
She’s still abuzz between her legs, and she’s weary and sore, but completely satisfied. Her growing belly even forced them to be a bit creative in how they went about it, and in the process they found new things they enjoyed very much.
His arm is around her shoulders, her head resting on his chest. He’s falling asleep, his breaths slow and easy, his body slack. She nuzzles her cheek against his chest, and catches sight of the freckles that worried him so. She kisses one, then the next, and the next.
He stirs and mumbles, “What’re ya doin’?”
“I want to count every one of your freckles with my lips,” she replies, smiling against his skin.
“Well that’s…..odd,” he chuckles.
“It isn’t.” She sits up, and quickly she’s astride his groin. She’s still wet, full of his seed and her juices, and still without smallclothes. Amazingly, she feels him harden again. She shouldn’t be surprised. He always had been vigorous. He runs his hands along her spine, reigniting the fire within her. She leans down and kisses him, and before she knows it he’s worked his way inside her again.
“You’re right, My Queen,” he moans. “We have much to make up for.”
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gotham--fc · a year ago
Baby - An Alex Morgan Imagine
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Prompt: Pregnant Alex x reader
Alex groans as she leans over the toilet. No one told her how awful morning sickness would be, or that it would start so early in the pregnancy and keep her up for hours.
 “Al?” Y/N calls softly from outside the bathroom door. Alex just groans in response. “Oh, Al, baby,” Y/N kneels beside Alex and pulls her hair up in a ponytail. She rubs Alex’s back until the nausea is gone. Alex leans heavily on Y/N.
 “Remind me when we decide to have the next child that it’s your turn to carry,” Alex mumbles. Y/N chuckles.
 “Of course, whatever you say baby,” Y/N helps Alex up and holds her while she brushes her teeth. After, Y/N brings her back to bed and lays Alex down so they can cuddle. Y/N lets her hand drift down to rest on Alex’s stomach, where she is just starting to show. “I love you so much Alex, thank you for bringing our child into the world.” Alex doesn’t respond, already asleep, but Y/N doesn’t mind. She smiles and presses her nose into Alex’s hair, following her to dreamland.
 “Are you sure you should still be practicing?” Y/N asks nervously as she watches Alex tie her cleats.
 “Yeah, the doctor said it was okay, as long as I keep it light and stop if I feel uncomfortable,” Alex says. Y/N still isn’t convinced. “Y/N, Syd played while she was pregnant, and so did Hao. It’s gonna be fine.”
 “I know, I just…” Y/N pulls Alex into her arms and places her hand on Alex’s belly, “I don’t want anything to happen to either of you. I love you.” Alex tears up in Y/N’s arms. She curses the pregnancy hormones for making her more emotional. She’s definitely going to get teased for this.
 “I love you too,” Alex says, “And I promise nothing is going to happen, okay?” Y/N nods, kissing Alex before Ash starts yelling at them to hurry up.
 Y/N’s watching TV when Alex sits beside her, puppy-dog eyes on full display. Y/N mutes the TV and turns to Alex.
 “Yes, my love?”
 “We’re out of pickles,” Alex says.
 “We’re out of pickles,” Y/N repeats. Alex nods. “Would you like me to go get you some pickles?”
 “Yes please.”
 “Alright,” Y/N stands and goes to grab her car keys. Just before she’s out the door, Alex calls out.
 “And get some hot sauce too!”
 Y/N grimaces after she closes the door. Alex’s pregnancy cravings have been nothing short of weird and sometimes gross. Y/N shudders as she remembers the week where all Alex wanted to eat was olives and ice cream. But, she’s not stupid enough to anger her pregnant wife, so she gets anything Alex asks for.
 “Honey, I’m home!” Y/N calls. Alex, still sitting on the couch, makes grabby hands and Y/N hands her the pickles and hot sauce. She sits next to Alex on the couch and tries to hide her look of disgust as Alex pours the hot sauce on the pickle and chomps happily. Alex puts on The Bachelor for them to watch and Y/N actually groans.
 “Are you sure we can’t watch anything else?” Y/N asks. Alex gives her a look that says it’s not a discussion, so Y/N sighs and slumps down on the couch. After a few minutes, Alex puts her feet up in Y/N’s lap and wiggles her toes.
 “Is there something you’d like?” Y/N asks. She’s joking, she knows Alex wants a foot rub, but she likes to see Alex try to glare at her with pickle juice dripping down her chin. Except this time, Alex doesn’t glare. Instead, she pulls one foot back and kicks Y/N’s side. “Yes dear,” Y/N says, grabbing Alex’s foot and starting rubbing it.
 “Look, Al, I get it okay? But we’re in the middle of practice, I can’t just leave and go get you peanut butter. We have a game this weekend, you know that. I can’t skip out of practice right now,” Y/N says. Alex is giving Y/N a pretty impressive glare, but Y/N won’t budge. “You’ll be fine, practice is almost over and then I’ll take you right to the grocery store, okay?”
 Alex yells in frustration and stamps her foot before turning away and storming over to where Syd and Ali are passing a ball. Y/N sighs. Alex’s mood swings, mixed with her pregnancy hormones and cravings, is making Y/N’s life hard.
 “Dude, why does Alex look like she wants to kill you?” Ash asks.
 “I told her I have to wait until practice is over to get her peanut butter.”
 “Good luck,” Ash pats Y/N on the back, “You’ll need it.”
 Before Y/N could respond, Marc was calling for them to all get back to practicing. Y/N heads over to where the team is setting up for a scrimmage, while Alex goes with the trainers to do some light ball touches. Y/N catches Alex’s eyes. Alex’s glare is still there, and her lips are turned down in a pout, but she doesn’t seem quite as mad… Y/N thinks what she sees in Alex’s eyes is more jealousy than anything else. Y/N sighs. Of course, Alex was upset that she couldn’t play and was jealous that Y/N still got to.
 After practice, Y/N grabs her things, not even bothering to shower and meets Alex outside the locker room. They walk silently to the car, and the ride to the grocery store is silent too.
 “I’ll go in and get your peanut butter, okay? You just stay here,” Y/N says quietly. Alex nods.
 Y/N goes in and grabs a jar of peanut butter off the shelf and grabs a bar of Alex’s favourite vegan chocolate as well, knowing that if Alex is craving peanut butter, the chocolate craving isn’t far away. She pays quickly and jogs back to the car. She wordlessly hands Alex the peanut butter and chocolate, ready for Alex to crack it open right away, but instead Alex just stares at it.
 “What’s wrong? Do you want me to get something else?” Y/N asks. Alex shakes her head, still staring down at the peanut butter. “What’s wrong sweetheart?”
 Y/N isn’t expecting Alex to burst into tears. She quickly pulls Alex into her arms and whispers comforting words to her. It takes a few minutes for Alex to finally calm down. Y/N pulls back so she can see Alex’s face. Alex has tear tracks down her cheeks and her eyes are still wet and red.
 “What’s wrong? Did I do something?” Y/N asks. For a moment, she’s afraid Alex might start crying again.
 “I… I’m sorry! You’re so good to me and I’m such a bitch to you, I don’t deserve you!”
 “No!” Y/N is quick to placate Alex as she starts to cry again, “No, Al, no. I love you, okay? You do deserve me, okay? You’re the best thing in my life. I love you. I’m sorry I didn’t get you peanut butter when you asked. You’re allowed to be upset whenever you feel like it, okay? You’re making an entire human inside you, do you hear me? You have a literal person inside your body right now, whatever you feel, whenever you feel it, is okay, even if you’re angry at me for getting the wrong brand of laundry soap.” That gets a smile out of Alex. “Okay?” Alex nods. “Now will you please eat that peanut butter and chocolate and feed our child?”
 “I shouldn’t let it go to waste after you got it for me,” Alex says.
 Y/N comes home from practice, expecting to see Alex either on the couch or in the kitchen. Alex is too far along to practice anymore, so she stays home while Y/N goes to practice. Alex is in neither of those places, to Y/N’s surprise.
 “Alex?” Y/N calls. She doesn’t hear a response and that worries her more. “Alex? Baby girl?” Still no response. Y/N starts to search the house. When she nears their bedroom, she hears sniffles.
 “Alex?” Y/N pushes the door open, “Alex are you in here?” Alex doesn’t respond but Y/N can see the top of her head sticking up from the other side of the bed. “Alex, what’s up buttercup?” Y/N asks as she kneels in front of Alex.
 “I’m fat!”
 “Oh, baby, come here,” Y/N says.
 “No, I’m too gross!” Alex cries. Y/N fights to hold back her smile.
 “No, you’re not gross. I promise you’re not gross.”
 “Yes I am!” Despite what Alex says, she lets Y/N hold her.
 “You’re not gross or fat, okay, no listen to me Al, okay?” Y/N says when Alex looks like she wants to protest, “You’re carrying our child, but that doesn’t make you fat or gross. You’re bringing life into the world, is that gross?” Y/N asks. Alex shakes her head. “Exactly. I fall more and more in love with you every time I see you. You are the most amazing, beautiful, strong woman I have ever met, and I love you more than anything.”
 “You mean it?” Alex sniffs.
 “Of course I mean it,” Y/N says, “I would never lie to you, ever.”
 “I love you too,” Alex says.
 “Oh my god get this baby out of me!”
 “I know, I know baby, the doctor said just a little longer,” Y/N says.
 “I hate you for putting this baby in me!” Alex screams. Y/N looks uneasily at the midwife, hoping she was about to tell Alex to push. The midwife shakes her head.
 “Okay, Alex. That’s okay. It’s almost time, okay? Then we’ll have our beautiful baby girl in our arms, alright?”
 Alex has already been in labour for a few hours at this point, and she gets more and more angry with each contraction. Y/N is just hoping that it’s over soon, for Alex’s sake and her own. She isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to feel her fingers again. Just as Y/N is thinking she might have to amputate her hand, the midwife steps out of the room and comes back with the doctor.
 “Alright, mama it’s time to push,” The doctor says, “So on the next contraction, I want you to give me a big push, alright?”
 “Fucking finally,” Alex mutters, then grimaces as she feels the contraction coming.
 Alex yells as she pushes and Y/N tries to hide her own pain and speak reassuringly to Alex. Y/N wipes Alex’s forehead and brushes her hair back from her face. After what feels like forever, the doctor rises up to look at Alex.
 “Okay, we can see the head, so on the next contraction, give me a very big push, okay?”
 Alex nods. There’s so much happening, Alex’s yelling, the doctor’s commentary, the midwife’s reassurances. Y/N can’t look, instead she buries her face in Alex’s hair until a cry piercing through everything.
 “Congratulations! It’s a girl,” The doctor says, “Would you like to cut the cord?” He asks Y/N. With shaky hands, she does, and the doctor places the baby, their baby, in Alex’s arms.
 “She’s here,” Alex whispers through her tears, “She’s really here.”
 “She’s beautiful,” Y/N whispers, gently brushing the baby’s cheek with her finger.
 “Hi Charlie,” Alex says, “Hi Charlie, it’s me, your mom. I love you so much.”
 “Charlie, baby girl, you’re so loved, oh my baby you’re so loved,” Y/N lets her tears fall as she thanks the universe for bringing her this family that she can’t imagine living without.
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migila · 9 months ago
JeanPiku Week, Day 1!
Theme of the day: Free space
Note: I assumed that “free space” meant that we get to pick the subject, but if it didn’t... ah well,  oops.
Day 1: Free Space
“There’ll be a hole on the floor if you don’t stop pacing around soon, Jean” Armin says to the man who just keeps walking back and forth in front of him “Sit down and calm down.”
“I’m as calm as I can right now” Jean says, wiggling his hands behind his back.
“Just let him be” Connie says “If we did get him to sit down, he’d start ranting to calm his nerves instead. I’d rather listen to his footsteps than his whining.”
Jean stops, glaring at Connie over his shoulder.
“You- “
Whatever he had to say, it dies down on his tongue as the door opens and Annie steps in. The men turn to look at her, expectant.
“It’s over” she says. As the three continue staring at her, she makes room to let someone else pass from the doorway. When no one moves, she adds: “Pieck’s fine, and so’s the baby.”
That’s all it takes for Jean to rush past her, vaguely registering Armin scolding Annie about the way she’d started it, saying that it was too misleading, but that’s all he managed to hear before getting upstairs. Wasting no time, he headed for the room he knew Pieck to be in. Meeting the midwife at the door, he quickly gave his thanks before entering.
Pieck laid in the bed, holding her baby in her arms. Their baby.
“Hey” he says.
“Hey” she says back “You can come closer you know; neither of us bites.”
Smirking, Jean says: “I happen to know that that’s a lie on your part.”
Pieck snorts.
“Really? I just gave birth and you’re already telling dirty jokes?” she asks “At least let me rest a day or two.”
“Sorry sorry” Jean laughs as he comes over, looking at their sleeping, black haired baby. One that looked more like its mother, thankfully. The child wouldn’t have horse jokes directed at it… probably “A boy or a girl?”
“Throw a guess”
Jean was pretty sure it was a boy, but he didn’t want to embarrass himself by getting it wrong. But after his wife had said that, not saying anything would make her realize exactly what he was thinking, and that would be an even bigger embarrassment.
“A boy”
“Correct” Pieck answers, holding the baby out for Jean to take “Here, hold him.”
He takes his son in to his arms, seeing the baby stir a little as he is moved, but in the end, he doesn’t wake up. He just continues to slumber, only now in his father’s arms instead of his mother’s.
This was a surreal moment for Jean. So many times, he had thought he’d die in battle, his first time being at Trost, his own home town, at the age of 15. After he had joined the scouts, he sometimes dreamed that, if he was lucky, he’d be permanently crippled one day while on duty, and thus could safely retire with pride before he got himself killed. He had considered surviving the fights with the titans, and later the war, very unlikely. And yet here he was, during a time of peace, with his wife and their newborn son.
“Wife that tried to kill me and who I tried to kill when we met” he thinks, snorting “But well, that’s kind of a thing around here, at least if we ask the Arlerts.”
“What?” Pieck asks, having noticed his laughing.
“Nothing, just thinking” he says “If someone had told me of this situation six years ago, I would’ve laughed to their faces or have them sent in to a mental hospital.”
Pieck laughs, knowing exactly what he meant.
“Had someone told me about this situation six years ago, I would’ve bitten their head off” she says “Literally.”
“Ouch” Jean says “In more ways than one. Surely the idea of you and me together couldn’t have looked that bad to you, could it?”
Pieck shrugs.
“After our fight with Eren, no” she says “But before forming the alliance? We were enemies, Jean.”
“…Point taken” the man says. Wanting to speak of something else, he asks: “Have you thought of a name?”
“I have some ideas” Pieck answers “You?”
“Well, yeah” actually, for a few years now Jean had had an idea of what he’d want to name his son if he ever had one, but he knew that the child’s mother would have to approve of it as well “What would you think of- “
“Knock knock, anyone home?” Connie called out, slamming the door open as he did, waking up the baby while he was at it. Needless to say, the startled bundle started to cry. Connie got a glare from both of the fresh parents, causing him to smile sheepishly.
“Oops…” he muttered “Sorry.”
“You’re lucky that I’m tired” Pieck tells him.
“But I’m not” Jean says, handing the baby back to her before turning to Connie. The shorter man raises an eyebrow, saying: “Fine. I’d rather take you on any time than her.”
But Jean can barely reach Connie before Annie kicks their legs out from under them, saying as they hit the floor: “If you’re going to fight, do it outside.”
“Annie! You can’t just barge in like that!” Armin called out as he too came in “Sorry, Pieck”
Pieck just smiles, trying to soothe her crying baby as she does.
“No harm done”
“Your husband getting thrown on the floor is not harm?” Jean asks, still laying where he’d fallen.
“You’re alive, aren’t you?” Pieck asks.
“Aren’t you two just lovely?” Connie asks as he gets up, and no one misses the sarcasm “So, a boy or a girl?”
“A boy” Jean answers as Armin helps him up.
“Cool” Connie grins “You did once say that if you ever had a son, you’d name him after- “
“Shut it, Connie” Jean hisses “We haven’t decided on the name yet!”
“You already had such a strong opinion on this? You should’ve said so” Pieck scolds, but then processes Connie’s words “But if you say you want to name him after Eren- “
“As if”
“Good” Pieck chuckles “Just making sure. Then, after who?”
Jean hesitates.
“It’s not like we have to pick that one” he says “You had ideas too, didn’t you?”
“So? I should at least hear yours” she says, smirking “And we can always use my ideas for the next ones.”
Jean blushes a little and the others laugh.
“Well,” he says, clearing his throat “I was thinking of the name Marco.”
The name was vaguely familiar for Pieck. She remembered Jean asking about someone with that name from Annie and Reiner before they had left for the continent during the war, and remembered that the man had been indirectly fed to a pure titan by the said blonds. And judging from Jean’s reaction from that night, he’d been really close with the guy.
“Sure” she says, and Jean stares at her in disbelief “Seriously?”
Pieck shrugs.
“Why not?” she asks “Marco Kirstein sounds good, doesn’t it?”
“Sure does” Connie puts in before Jean can tell his opinion “Right guys?”
“It does” Armin confirmed “Right Annie?”
The woman just nods.
“This isn’t a majority vote you guys” Jean snaps, but then smiles “You’re right, though.”
Pieck smiles down at their baby.
“Marco Kirstein it is, then.”
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hifftn · 9 months ago
The huntsman and the girl in the woods - Part 20 (Midnight Poppy Land) Poppy x Tora
Sooooo... that's it. The finale. Kind of. There will be an epilogue before I start on Tora's POV, but that will take some time. I'm crazy busy with work and life and moving, it's an exciting time that doesn't leave me much room to write. So bear with me :D
Part 1             Part 2             Part 3            Part 4          Part 5           Part 6       Part 7         Part 8        Part 9            Part 10            Part 11        Part 12          Part 13          Part 14         Part 15           Part 16       Part  17        Part 18         Part 19
@redheadkittys @vespeshadowmoon @inkspire89 ​    
His sharp intake of breath was his only reaction, his nostrils flared but he didn’t flinch at all. 
“Losing someone just ‘cause ya couldn’t couldn’t cure them doesn’t count as killin’ someone, blossom.” 
“No? Oh, but poisoning someone on purpose should do the trick, don’t you think?” Her bottom lip trembled and she dug her teeth into it until she tasted blood. 
Tora let his arms sink and his shoulders slump. “Ya did?” 
“Couple of times,” she choked out. “People always think being a healer means keeping others alive for as long as possible. As a midwife my face is the first babies see, but for the old ones it’s often the last. And sometimes-” She shrugged and wrapped her arms around herself, backing away until the cool stone wall in her back gave her support. 
“Sometime’s what? ‘s alright, I’m not in a position to judge.” He took a seat on his bed. 
“Sometimes people are sick enough to suffer. Church says they have to endure until God decides it’s their time.” 
“And what is it you’re thinkin’?” He hadn’t been in church since forever, and from what she had told neither did she. 
“I think there’s only so much a person should have to endure. And if some belladonna makes it easier for them…” Her hands shook as she grabbed her skirt tightly. Her chest was tight and so was her throat. “You see, I’m really no saint.” 
“You’re helping them, so I’d say you are. Even if ya can’t see it.” Hands resting on his thighs he just watched her, how she struggled with the weight of her deeds.
“I - my father… when he got sick, like, really, really sick… I never told my grandma, but I guess she knew.”
“‘twas only him?” 
Poppy sank down on the floor and shook her head. Legs pulled up under herself she rested her head against the wall. “A couple of others, too. And sometimes you have to make a  choice as a midwife. When a woman and her baby are both at the verge and you can only save one - do you know how often a husband has told me or my grandma it would have been better if his son had survived instead of his wife?” She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. “And to be honest, I have thought about sending some people some special treats more than once.” 
“What kind of people?” 
“Mean people,” she sighed and sniffled once. “Violent, dishonest, deceitful. It was only - I never actually did it.” 
“‘course not,” Tora agreed with a nod. 
“But one time I didn’t help this man who was known for mistreating his wife and children. I could have saved him, but chose to let him die instead.” Her whisper ended in a dry gulp for air. 
“And ya feel about it,” he concluded. The bed creaked when he got up and took the two steps towards her. “Ya know why? ‘cause you’re a good person. Me? I barely remember how many lives I took. That’s the difference between us, angel.” He offered her his hand and helped her up on her feet again when she took it. 
“Still, I could help you if I came with you.” Dropping her gaze she already could tell what he would say. 
“Sure ya could, but ya won’t. I’m not taking ya into a war zone, Poppy. Gonna take ya home, that’s where you’re safe.” He cupped her chin in one hand and tipped her head back so she had to look at him. “But I got what ya told me. You’re fierce, that’s a part of what I like about ya. And skilled. But so damned distracting; I wouldn’t be able to focus on my mission with ya around.” 
He rewarded her weak smile with a soft kiss. 
Poppy sighed. “There’s no way to convince you not to go, is there?” 
“Got my orders, so no. But your efforts are noted.” 
She wrapped her arms around him and buried her face in the fabric of his shirt. “Can I ask you for one thing, though?”
“Besides comin’ with me? Sure thing, blossom, anything ya want.” 
The hallway was dark, the air humid. Poppy wrapped her scarf around herself, goosebumps on her arms already. The smell was bad, decay and suffering mixed with the stench of bodily waste. She knew this smell, she had encountered it a few times with patients close to their end, unable to take care of themselves anymore. 
Only that the people here weren’t sick, at least not before they had been thrown into the cells. Tora carried a torch, its flickering light casting more shadows into the corners. 
“Ya know, when I said ‘anything’ I was thinkin’ about something else,” he said as they passed another couple of guards. 
“I just want to - make sure…”
“That he’ll never get out again?” They stopped in front of some iron bars and Tora knocked against the metal. “Hey, step up, ya worm.” 
Poppy swallowed. She had asked for this, but seeing Julri in this miserable condition, dirty and disheveled, made her stomach plummet. 
“Poppy? Are you here to get me out?” Julri clutched the bars and pressed himself against them, as if trying to squeeze right through the small space between them. 
“Shut up! She’s actin’ as a witness in your case,” Tora interrupted and stepped in front of Poppy to hide her from Julri’s pleading gaze. “Well, is this the scoundrel who promised you marriage just to run off with some other woman? ‘Cause I already know it’s the one who accused ya falsely of a lot of crap.” 
Tora held the torch closer to Julri who backed off. “Poppy, it’s - it’s a misunderstanding!” 
“This is the man,” Poppy simply confirmed. “Would you be so kind to give me a moment to talk to him?”
Tora scoffed but nodded. “Gonna be right there. Just call if ya need support.” He placed the torch in a holder on the wall and stepped aside. Poppy stayed where she was.  
“Poppy, you have to believe me! I didn’t think they would come and drag you away! I was just worried because-” He coughed, it echoed off the stone walls and through the hallway. 
“You were worried because-?” she prompted as soon as he was finished. 
“Saints, Poppylan! You ran around with this - this thug, you hid things in your hut that could have made anyone think you plan something sinister!”
“I’m sorry.” She exhaled deeply, her shoulders slumping as her strength left her with the air from her lungs. 
“I forgive you. But Poppy, you have to help me get out of here.” Julri reached out, a dirty hand between the bars. 
“What about Mimi?” she asked and sniffled. 
“She means nothing to me, Poppy! I swear! We can just go back to Moonbright together and get married and everything can still be as we have always planned!” 
She noticed the dark shadows under his eyes and his cracked lips, some blood caked at his temple. He looked and sounded miserable. And Poppy was his only hope to get out of there. 
She took a step back. “When I said I was sorry I meant sorry for wasting so much time and energy on you,” she clarified and raised her chin. “Your father will be angry when he has to pay back my dowry, but let’s be honest, it was his idea for us to get married anyway so it’s only fair that he, too, has to suffer some consequences. As for Mimi, I also feel sorry for her. For you, though? Not really. It seems not even your time here could make you see the errors of your choices.” 
A short, dry ‘Ha!’ sounded from down the hallway; Tora leaned against a wall there and it was too dark for Poppy to see his expression, but she could swear he was grinning. 
“What are you saying, Poppy?! What is your problem, huh? You should be grateful I even considered marrying you, you pathetic wannabe witch!” He raged and spat insults her way, pounding against the iron bars. Other prisoners joined into the ruckus, screaming and kicking against the bars. Guards came running and Tora dragged Poppy away. 
“Got what ya needed?” he asked her on the way out. 
“If you mean an answer to the question whether Julri actually tried to get me executed or not, no, I didn’t. But I also think it doesn’t matter.” She followed him, his hand around her wrist warm, his grip tight but not uncomfortable. They stepped back into the sunlight and Poppy squinted. 
“Actually… can you instruct the guards to let him free in a couple of days? Just send him back home, maybe walking back there can help him understand that every step he takes in life will get him into a certain direction.” 
Tora stopped to look at her, one eyebrow raised. “Ya want me to let him go?” 
She faced him directly, her head tilted back so she could meet his gaze. “Yes, please. He wasn’t a good betrothed for me, and he isn’t even a decent person, but he still can change. Once he’s back in Moonbright life won’t be easy for him anyway. But that’s his lesson to learn, and I think he really needs that.” 
Tora cupped her face, his thumb gently rubbing over her cheek. 
“And here ya spoutin’ nonsense, sayin’ you’re not an angel or a saint. You're both, Poppylan, and that worm hasn’t deserved ya.” 
She smiled weakly, just a twitch of the corners of her mouth. “Thank you, that is-”
“And neither do I.” Tora let go of her and stepped back. “Ya better get ready, I’m gonna take ya back to Moonbright and from there I will leave to find the bastard who attacked Quince and regain my honor.”  
She had known this moment would come, but not that it would feel like this. As if observing herself from the outside she took notice of how her heart and stomach sank, how breathing got harder and her bottom lip trembled. Grief hit her like back then when her father had died, or later her grandmother. 
Tora had never promised her anything, he had even warned her, and yet she had foolishly closed her eyes to a truth she simply didn’t wish to see. 
“Your honor isn’t anything you can lose just like that,” she choked out, the muscles of her face not obeying her commands fully. “You might think differently but you are a good man, Tora. Honest, honorable, dedicated.” She blinked and took a deep breath. “And there is no need for you to take me back. There’s still the horse I have to take back to Moonbright anyway and I don’t want to delay your mission.” Flashing him a bright smile, only slightly wavering, she stepped closer and leaned up to press a kiss on his cheek. “I can take care of myself.” 
Her horse wasn’t the fastest, but reliable. Quincey had whined when she had told him she had to leave but he had insisted on her keeping Lord Balthuman’s money and even added some of his own. With that and some generous food supplies for her trip back, including the order for her to take a break at the inn, he had seen her off, Tora brooding in the background. After Poppy had set her foot down and a gentle order from Quincey Tora had agreed to let her go on her own. 
Quincey probably knew why she was avoiding Tora’s presence, he was surprisingly sharp behind the jolly persona he had donned as a bard. 
She couldn’t wait to get back, though. Not only to her own home, but to her old life, quiet and away from the hustle and bustle of the castle. It would take some more time, though, and she was alone with her thoughts. 
She wouldn’t regret this. She’d rather remember the moments they had shared than banning them from her mind completely. Even though those memories hurt her; the pain would dull and she would be able to look past it eventually. That’s how it had been with her mother and her father. She was still waiting for the pain of losing her grandmother to fade. 
The elderberry was in bloom, she noticed as she rode past some huge bushes. She would have to pick some and infuse honey and alcohol with it. It helped with fever and infections. The berries themselves helped getting a good sweat going, but they were only ripe in late summer. 
So many herbs, so much to do. 
The pain would fade and she would be able to breathe again without this pressure in her chest. 
Tonight, though, she would sleep in her own bed, in her own hut, and no one would notice when she cried.
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drakewalkerfantasy · 8 months ago
My little angels (Tatum x Claire)
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Summary: Two births. Two different experiences. Two sisters. And only 3 years and 3 month apart.
Prompt: 43. A kiss pressed to the top of the head.
Words: 2442
Rating: PG
Warning: labour / emergency c-section / childbirth / pain
A/N: Thank you, dear anon for your request. I hope you will like it, I’m not sure if I’m particularly happy with all parts, and it got too raw too quickly. I literally wrote what I felt, so sorry for any kind of mistakes. Read under the cut
The crucifying pain shot through Claire in a flush, knocking the air out of her lungs and leaving her breathless.
Her breath caught in her throat and the dry lump of emotions formed there with the tears that started to burn at the corners of her eyes, while the feeling of another inevitable bout of pain washed over her. Getting ready to tear through her with the sob and the plea, that she couldn’t push back anymore.
But before she could say anything or plead for mercy... the seconds before she could feel another fit of pain rip through her, she felt two strong hands gently wrapping around her bringing her closer to a firm muscled chest, soothing her… calming her, and just for a second making her forget about the pain... just for a second.
“You are doing so great,” whispered a familiar voice, breaking through the fog of agony she was into. “I’m in such an awe of you,” said the man pressing a soft affectionate kiss to the top of her head.
Her forehead dropped onto his chest while she was breathing heavily, feeling his fingers drawing soft soothing circles into her scalp, making the pain step back for a little bit longer. Her eyes closed from exhaustion, while she tried to breath.
“I cannot...,” she half-sobbed, half-whispered into his chest. Her voice hoarse and dry from all the pain and emotions. The lump still blocked her throat making it almost painful to speak, while his hands gently tightened around her feeling how her body stiffened with another rush of pain. “It hurts... so much,” Claire breathed. Her fingers curl around the crisp material of his shirt, and the pain is so strong that she almost forgets how to breathe. Opening and closing her mouth in a futile attempt. Her eyes squeezed shut, hoping that if they will remain like that, then the pain will not come.
“Hey, look at me, breathe.... just breathe. One in... and one out,” Tatum murmured, cupping her face in his hand. His voice is calming and soothing, guiding her through the process, breathing in unison with her. So gently... so carefully... Her rock... her strength…
One in... and one out. One in... and one out.
“You are almost there,” Claire heard another voice breaking through the fog of her mind and she prepared herself for another wave of pain. Squeezing her eyes even firmer, but breathing at last. 
One in... and one out.
“Soon we will finally meet our little girl,” Claire breathed, finally opening her eyes and raising them to meet Tatum’s, smiling weakly at him. Her hands still curled around the material of his shirt, while she breathed in and out, feeling the calming movements of his chest with every breath he took.
She could feel how another rush of contractions surged onto her. Her forehead wrinkled from pain and her eyes squeezed shut, while she grunted into Tatum’s shirt. Their breathes synced, calming her as nothing else could before another command to push followed after another excruciating wave of pain struck her.
Push... push... push... followed after every contraction and she did just so... following without questions, bravely meeting the pain, but still no result, and she almost wants to give up. Just to close her eyes... and forget all the pain... rewind the days and try next time... but she doesn't.
Instead Claire squeezes her eyes, and pushes with the last bit of strength left in her before collapsing back into Tatum’s arms. Feeling, how they softly curl around her offering her all the strength and support he can... all the strength and support she needs.
“Sorry... I can’t... I just.... make it stop... please just make it stop,” she sobbed into his shirt, while he brushed the strands of hair out of her eyes. His hand cupping her cheek gently, making her look at him, while they still had time before another command and another contraction would inevitably follow.
“Honey, you can do that. I know you can,” he whispered softly, locking his eyes with hers, before pressing their foreheads together. They breathes synced, while another command followed only a second later and she pushed. Her hands dug into his. Her nails breaking the skin of his forearms, while she cried out and pushed with the last effort and strength she could find in her.
Her body fell into Tatum’s embrace in exhaustion and her eyes snapped open, focusing on the midwife and the small figure covered in a red bloody substance in her hands. Both waiting with the bated breath, while the seconds were ticking.
One... two...thr... faint soft sigh... cry.
The baby was crying. Their baby was crying.
And they could feel how they finally could breathe again. Feeling how their own tears started to flow, while Tatum pressed a soft kiss to the top of Claire’s head, to her forehead, her nose and then finally to her lips.
Murmuring the words of gratitude and love over and over, while covering her in small, affectionate kisses. Their tears mixing together before the baby, cleaned and wrapped into the blanket, was finally brought to them and put into Tatum’s hands.
“You did it,” he said in a voice full of awe and love. His cheeks still stricken by tears and his eyes moist, while he pressed a soft kiss to the baby’s forehead.
“We did it,” murmured Claire looking at Tatum with a weak loving smile, before dropping her eyes to their baby girl, letting her small little hand wrap around her finger. “Hey, Lilibeth. Welcome to the world.”
Lilibeth, the filipino name that mixes Lily and Beth, his mum’s favourite flowers and the name of Claire’s grandmother from her father’s side.
3 years and 3 months later, same hospital and she once again in pain. Claire’s hand firmly gripping Tatum’s, doubling with a scream, while waiting for someone to come after them. She wasn’t so far into the labour and another three weeks till her due date, but the pain is so much worse than with their first and she knows... or at least she suspects that it’s only the beginning.
Her forehead covered in beads of sweat, while she gritted her teeth. Her waters broke an hour ago, but pain seems to jump from zero to ten in one go... with the gush of water to the kitchen floor where she was laughing till her sides hurt only a second before with Denise and her father in law over one of Tatum’s childhood memories. While he was scowling just meters away, mumbling something under his breath before he heard her gasp and he was right next to her in a flash. Cradling her in his strong, comforting arms before she screamed, feeling how her abdomen tensed and the pain shoot through her, making another young man rush to them with the panicked look on his face.
Should I have coloured my hair back to my natural colour or should I let them wash out... the sudden thought strikes her. The thought that seems to be coming from nowhere through the flush of another spasm and pain. Her brow furrowed in concentration trying to determine where it even came from. Doing everything she could to get distracted from pain. And even though she knows that Tatum loves her in any form and appearance, the doubt still creeping, overlapping with another contraction in her abdomen, that makes it rock solid, and the grip on his hand bone-crashingly firm.
“Everything will be okay. Doctor will be here in a moment,” tries to calm her Tatum, easing her hand gently while it didn't break any bones in his.
“You are the one to talk,” Claire snapped, bracing herself for another wave of pain, her stomach getting firmer and she could feel the pain rushing onto her like a wrecked train. The tears welling on her eyes, while she tried to breathe. “God... how did I even let you do that to me again...,” she sobbed, gripping his hand firmer, while another gripped the lapels of his jacket. “Never again... Oooof.... fuck you and yours.... Oh God...,” she panted, feeling his hand squeezing hers, while another wraps around her waist, letting her bury her face on his chest, whimpering softly.
“I think that was the reason why we got into that position in the first place,” chuckled Tatum into Claire’s hair, rubbing her back softly and kissing the top of head.
Realising the mistake of his words only an instance later, when she hit him hard in his chest. Baffling him only a second later, when he heard a muffled bark of hoarse laugh against his chest. But before he could say anything his eyes stopped on the midwife who was finally approaching them with Blaine hot on her heels. And he could feel how some of the tension left his body, thankful to Blaine for getting someone to finally look at them using his status. The thing Tatum knew for a fact Blaine hated to do, but still done for them.
“Thank you,” said Tatum, turning to Blaine as soon as Claire was put into the wheelchair and rolled to the examination room. “Hey, she will be okay,” tried to convince him Tatum, or was it he himself who needed that, or both when he met a panicked look on Blaine’s face. But before he could say anything else or followed after his wife and midwife they heard an alarm coming from the room where Claire disappeared. Tatum felt instantly numb feeling how the fear that something happened washed over him and they both ran into the room.
The scene they were both met with, made Blaine instantly look away while Tatum froze, the words failing him and he could distantly hear the question that he was asked.
“Yes... yes, I’m her husband,” numbly said Tatum, watching how Claire was moved to the gourmet.
“You shouldn’t worry, we will make sure...,” said the woman placing a comforting hand on his shoulder, but he didn’t hear her, as the only sounds in his ears were the pounding of his own heart and the roaring of his blood.
He didn’t feel how Blaine led him to the waiting area, didn’t hear him trying to comfort him and he didn’t know how much time had passed. The only thing he could feel and hear was a paralysing fear, the one he never felt before, the one that grabbed him with a stranglehold and did not let go... the one that made his breath shallow and his vision blurred... the one he didn’t know how to deal with.
It was minutes... or hours... or seconds. He didn’t know... he just didn’t... the fear unlike any other gripped at his throat, when he felt a hand placed carefully at his shoulder bringing him back to present... tearing him away from the thoughts he was having...
He couldn’t lose her... Their little girl cannot lose her... 
The fear punched holes in his heart, and his breathing hollows, almost like a panic attack he didn’t have in years... since the early childhood after his mother’s death, after he needed to become strong for Claire... and now he was losing her... them...
Distantly he could feel someone’s hand on his, but he couldn’t move, trying to breath, until the hand squeezed his firmer, and he could hear someone’s voice trying to break through to him... through the beating of his heart in his ears... through the fear... until he felt something small got placed in his hands, helping him held something... someone, realisation dawned at him a second later. His eyes dropped to the baby, the small bundle in his hands before raising them to meet Blaine’s gaze who was squatting in front of him, preventing his arms from shaking, helping him to hold the baby... smiling.
“She is okay. Both of them,” replied Blaine to an unasked question, watching how relief washed over Tatum.
“Can I...,” the question stuck in Tatum’s throat while he raised his eyes watching over Blaine’s shoulder at the elderly woman behind him.
“Mrs. Mendoza is still recovering from anaesthesia, but you can see her,” sounded a reply. “She suffered some minor blood loss, but other than that both her and baby are feeling good and will be able to go home within a day or two,” the woman said, while Tatum carefully stood up holding their newborn girl and following the nurse toward the ward.
First what she felt was the dryness of her throat, like she didn’t have anything to drink for days... weeks even or if she would spend some time in a desert.
The second, was the heaviness of her eyelids. And the feeling that she wouldn’t be able to open them even if she would try. So heavy that she kept them closed, trying to adjust her other senses first.
And the last, she felt a fear that quickly turned into relief when Claire heard the voice of her husband... her Tatum, cooing with someone... their daughter. Thanks God... she wanted to cry and laugh at the same time, relief rolling over her in waves together with a raspy cough ripping through her throat before she cleared it.
“Hey,” she spoke, her voice raspy and hoarse and cutting her throat as nothing else did. Her eyes still closed before she tried to flutter them open. “Is she okay?”
“Yes, she is. She is precious,” she hears next to her and she tries to sit or at least she thinks she tries to do that before she feels a warm hand over hers. “You did it,” Tatum’s voice so close to her now, and she can feel his soft lips pressing to her forehead in a lingering kiss, while her eyes finally flutter open to meet his, and to look at their girl.
“We...,” she tries to object, but the soft press of his lips to hers cut her off.
“You did it,” murmurs Tatum against her lips. His arms holding hers securing them around their daughter, helping her to hold their girl.
“She is perfect,” Claire murmurs still hoarsely,
“Yes, she is... and as strong and brave just like her mother,” he whispers, leaning toward the little girl cradled in their arms, pressing a softest kiss to her forehead. His murmur like a rustle of leaves on the wind. “Hey, Ana. Welcome to the word.”
Ana... Anita, the name of the Spanish origin, the middle name of her mother’s, as strong and as brave like the woman who gave her life and who he loves.
Tagging: @kowshikha @sophxwithers​ @itsjustwinter @ramseysrookiex​​​ @lahelasaveiro​ @mercury84choices​ @choices-bound​ @jamespotterthefirst​ @starrystarrytrouble​
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ridetherain · 8 months ago
Some Zelink parenting to make me feel better. Happy Mother's Day to the mothers.
Words: 2094
"Link," Zelda said, "Can you hold the baby for Rhondson? She's agreed to fit me for that cold-weather gear we agreed on."
I gave her a swift nod and cautiously took the sleeping bundle. Rhondson spent a moment adjusting my arms and grip before she gave my head a pat and bustled behind a partition with Zelda.
I let the two women's discussion of what color and cut would be best for our adventures fade to the back of my mind as I wandered around the recently expanded shop. Rhondson had moved on from just Gerudo styles to add some Rito cloth (likely due to Fyson's enterprising) and even a few water-resistant options. None were as good as my Zora armor, but still quality fabric.
Zelda and I have spent the last several years touring Hyrule and stitching the disparate peoples into one community. Zelda steered any discussion of retaking the throne to a more democratic direction and, after we married, I understood her fear and supported democracy wholeheartedly. So instead, we found ourselves working as neutral parties and messengers throughout Hyrule.
The Rito outgrew their village a generation ago but resisted expansion into Hebra while the calamity ruled. Zelda and I were preparing for an extended survey of the mountains for a suitable location to build a new town.
I slowly circled the shop again and gave the baby a gentle bounce when Rhondson and Zelda's conversation turned into an argument.
"Rhondson! I'm going to be out in the wild for weeks! Roughing it! Sleeping in tents! Climbing mountains!"
"Just be careful! If you watch where you step then it shouldn't matter. You're the Princess! I won't have you leave this shop in anything but my best work! Besides, you said your jacket was white Before!"
"Hyrule is a democracy!"
I gave a little cough to remind them that other people exist. Zelda stepped out from behind the partition without a shirt on and glared at me. I smiled and covered the sleeping baby's eyes with one hand.
"Zelda!" I scolded, "Madison will see!"
She stuck her nose in the air and spoke to Rhondson without looking away or moving out of sight.
"Fine. Just do the pink then. Anything but white."
I smirked and tried to cover it by looking down and pretending to be fascinated by Madison's habit of sleeping while I'm holding her. Zelda hated pink. When I chanced a glance back up I saw immediately that I did not trick her and the thoughtful look on her face meant she was already planning her revenge.
Her revenge sucked. For me, anyway, I'm sure she enjoyed herself. My beautiful Rito set of winter gear was dyed. The jacket was a horrendous yellow and, predictably, the pants were pink. Every time she caught sight of me she started laughing. Worst of all, she clearly used some of our best ingredients to dye her pink jacket to a nice shade of dark blue so I'm the only one looking ridiculous.
The Rito children all loved my colorful appearance when we returned with our survey results. Kaneli was polite enough not to comment, but pretty much everyone else in the village did and by the time I got to the children I gave up and just let them hang on me and enjoy the mismatched clothes.
Zelda flashed me another smile at the sight of my clothes but stayed out of the fray with Amali.
"Mister Link? I'm tired."
"That's good," I said, "It's pretty late, so you're supposed to be tired."
Cree thought hard about what I said for a minute. Her little face scrunched up and I subtly glanced at my wife. She was glaring again. Cree gave a nod and wandered off to her bed with a sleepy "'night Mister Link" and the rest of the children followed her out. I gave Zelda my full attention.
"What's up?"
I sighed. She'd tell me eventually. Or maybe not. Sometimes she forgot. I suppressed a smile at the thought. She'd been ridiculous lately, but after the stress of this trip is out of her system I was certain she would get back to her usual self.
Zelda did eventually get back to her usual self. By the time we got back to Hateno, Zelda was on another project and writing furiously in her journal. For once she wasn't letting me in on the project and didn't think out loud other than complete incomprehensible gibberish. The notebook she was using had lists drawn up of completely random words under number headings with no context.
Whatever she was into this time was pretty big and was taking all her energy. She didn't consult books which probably meant she was working on ancient technology again. That's the only subject she knew better than any book written. Eventually, I decided I needed to say something. She wasn't taking proper care of herself. She was eating well, but she wasn't out walking as much and it showed a little. She would be angry with herself when she pulled out of her project and found herself unable to hike up to the tech lab with me.
"Zel? Want to come up to the pond with me? We can go swimming."
"No, sorry, I'm a little busy today."
"You've been busy a lot lately. What have you been working on?"
Zelda looked nervous when she flipped the pages back and turned them to face me. I looked curiously at the lists she's been working on.
"One... Significant people... Sleep... Sitting... What is this?"
"Developmental milestones."
I still didn't understand. She grimaced and pushed her hair back from where it had fallen in front of her eyes. It revealed the dark circles from lack of sleep.
"For children."
"Oh..." I looked at the list again, "Did Amali ask for help? Is something wrong with one of the girls?"
"No, it's not for her... It's for us."
I was going through each girl one at a time and considering the items on the list. None of them stuck out to me.
"I wanted a clear timeline. Amali said there wasn't a book on how to raise a child, but I'm so worried about forgetting something so I figured I would write everything I could think of down and ask as many people as possible."
It took a minute for her words to filter into my head. I decided that Kheel was a little behind her sisters, but that was fine because she was the youngest. And Madison was too little still for most everything on the list. My muscles seized up and my breath started coming quicker. I spent one terrifying moment tense without knowing why I was so afraid.
"For... us..."
The room was tilting. This must be what Zelda means when she says she doesn't like being on the Sheikah towers.
"Yes, Link. Who else would I do this for?"
Okay. Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out. Zelda was still talking. Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out. Make sure you understand.
"You're pregnant." I said, confirming.
"With a baby."
She scrunched her nose at me.
"Yes with a baby. What else would I be pregnant with?"
I finally looked up into her eyes and her whole face softened at me.
"Oh, Link, don't panic. Yes, I'm pregnant. We're going to have a little baby here next spring. You're going to be a wonderful father."
My heart stuttered in its rhythm at the word "father." My hyperventilating stopped. My breathing stopped. Something wet hit my cheeks and I realized I was crying. I looked through blurry eyes at Zelda and saw her smiling back at me.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner. I just panicked. And I thought you'd stop our Hebra survey early if you knew."
The happiness I had started to recognize was immediately shoved out of the way for my terror.
"You were pregnant!" I fairly screeched in her face. I opened my mouth to shout at her some more, but nothing came out. I didn't have words that matched my fear so I closed my mouth and stared at her with wide eyes. The hyperventilating was back.
I was unbearable. I know I was because Zelda told me so repeatedly. I was mostly fine until it became obvious that she was pregnant. Something about the visual of a bump made the child more real than her words ever could.
We visited Kakariko, but I refused to take her further afield than that. Madison was almost a year old now and we hadn't seen her since before I knew of Zelda's pregnancy. Rhondson sent letters and I know Zelda wanted opinions from another woman who had recently given birth, but it was too far and too dangerous. I flat-out refused to let her teleport with the Slate. She was so angry with me that she kicked me out of the house and I had to spend the night at our cookpot. I told her I took a room at the inn. When I tried to convince her to let me move the bed downstairs she finally put her foot down and I was left to grumble.
She's due in a couple weeks and I've timed myself at running to the midwife. It takes seven minutes for me to get there and it will probably be more to bring her back.
Zelda had her feet up in front of the fire since the winter chill hadn't quite left Hateno yet despite the start of spring. Her hand was rubbing gentle circles into her stomach.
"Link, I need your superpowers."
I smiled at our little joke. My skill at putting children to sleep extended to settling an unborn child's kicking. I sat on the floor next to her and leaned my head cautiously against her just in case the baby decided to kick me in the face. Again.
"Come on, kid. Your mom needs some rest." I took over the circling with my hand and hummed the lullaby Zelda taught me.
Zelda sucked in a sharp breath. I hummed a little louder and used my free hand to take hers and gave it a squeeze.
"Don't panic..."
I immediately tensed at the words and looked up at her. Her eyes were tense and a grimace was frozen on her face.
"I need you to go get the midwife."
"You're not due yet," I said stupidly, "we have another two weeks."
Zelda gasped again. I shot to my feet and hovered over her.
"Okay, okay," I said, "Just... Stay here... I'll... Okay..."
I rushed to the door and wrenched it open. Seven minutes plus however much time it takes to get back. I glance back at Zelda. It goes against the grain to leave her in pain. Maybe this is why the other Hero's didn't marry their Zelda.
Purah heard my headlong flight through town for the midwife and came down to visit after a few hours. The midwife roped her into helping with the birth and kicked me out of the house. I ended up waiting at the cookpot again while Symin filled the silence.
I shook like a leaf at the sound of Zelda's shouts and gasps. The wooden door only muffled so much. But the moment my child cried nothing could keep me out. I slammed the door open and rushed to the midwife. The woman had no patience for my "hysteria." She made me wait while the baby was cleaned and swaddled.
Zelda was exhausted. She was damp with sweat and weak. I held her hand and pushed her wet hair from her face. I could only glance at her occasionally. My attention was caught by the screaming child at our kitchen table. My child. Our child. The midwife brought the bundle of cloth to us and placed it in Zelda's arms. I helped her keep ahold of the baby - her arms were about ready to give out. The child barely paused for breath between cries.
"Link?" Zelda said, "I need your superpowers."
My hands shook as I arranged my arms as Rhondson had taught me and Zelda carefully passed the bundle to me. I hummed the tune I had been using for months and my superpower held. The cries lessened, but wide blue eyes blinked at me instead of closing in sleep. After so much time worried about pregnant Zelda that I didn't think to worry about my child. I was going to be unbearable.
A daughter.
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twhiddlestonsstuff · a year ago
Hey!!! Can you do a Loki x pregnant reader where there sleeping and she wakes from Loki panicking, having a nightmare about his unborn baby and if something went wrong during the birth, she helps him realize it's a dream. (Bonus points if you go in detail about his dream and the complications of the birth, maybe her heart stopped or the baby was in trouble and needed an emergency section, or both) But I don't want to make you uncomfortable. Thanks 👍
Hi!!! Thank you for the ask Nonny I love this idea 💕
Pre-Warning: Blood, childbirth, pregnancy, death (Sort of) 
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Loki came to your side instantly
"What's wrong Love?" The way you were holding your stomach gave it away
"Loki.......the baby...it's comi- AAAHHH"
"Hold on Love everything's going to be fine I promise, just hold on"
The room changed no longer in your apartment but the maternity ward of the hospital
"AAAHHHH Loki it hurts"
"I know, I know just deep breaths love"
"Loki it hurts make it stop"
"I am darling but my magic can only do so much"
"Mrs Laufeyson your two centimetres still got quite a while" the doctor told you
"Just get my baby out of me please!"
"We will Mrs Laufeyson in time"
A while later the doctor came back in to check on you
"How are we feeling?"
"I'm tired and in pain and I'm scared"
"You have nothing to worry about, everything will be fine and you'll be ready to push just keep taking deep breaths, so far your six centimetres"
"How many do I have to be before I can push?"
"Between eight and ten"
“Okay...ohhh okay”
The doctor left and Loki squeezed your hand, kissed you and told you everything was going to be fine, shortly after you grabbed your stomach and let out a loud scream, Loki jumped to his feet, and called for the doctors to come check on you, you were screaming and crying. The doctor and midwife were checking the machines and charts, heart beats dropping, the midwife ran to you and took Loki a side as the doctor was moving you,
“Wha- whats happening?”
“The baby’s in trouble, we gotta get your wife into surgery right now”
Loki was paralysed with fear he could loose you, he could loose his baby, his child that he hasn’t seen yet and their life could be over before it begins, you were being transferred down the hall with Loki holding your hand
“Sir before you go in you must change into these” he was handed a pair of green scrubs 
“No Loki don’t leave me, don’t leave”
“I’ll be right back”
A scream from you shook Loki to his core and he watched as you were taken into surgery. You were hyperventilating, choking on your cries, scared to death in case something happened to your baby
“Ma’am I know your scared, I know but I need you to focus really hard on your breathing for me, can you do that?”
you smiled and nodded “My...my baby....what’s going to happen to my baby?”
“We’ll take care of them okay, you just keep taking nice even deep breaths for me okay” you nodded and dried the tears from your eyes as the midwife explained to you and Loki what was going to happen, it was going to hurt, she explained that you had to resist the urge to push and leave it to them. Before long you were holding Loki’s hands as tightly as you possibly could, some time later you heard little muffled screams of your baby, 
“Congratulations your baby girl is here”
“My baby girl....Loki we have a baby girl”
“Our baby girl”
“Can we see her?” You asked tiredly
“Not just yet, we just need to do some checks”
surely that wasn’t right, 
“What’s wrong with our child?” Loki asked
“She’s just a little cold”
“She is part frost giant”
the midwife gave you and Loki a sympathetic look, what was that look, why did she look like something was wrong
“Please...tell me what’s wrong with our baby” you begged
You daughter was with the doctors, the midwife came next to you and Loki,  “She....the cord was wrapped around her neck” your heart sunk and tears clouded your vision “Were just trying to help her, as soon as she warms up and can take steady breaths you can have her.”
“Lets get you patched up yeah?”
your eyes closing as you nodded, the doctor and midwife were talking about you, all though you couldn’t hear what they were saying, but Loki could
“She’s loosing too much blood”
Loki panicked and squeezed your hand tighter to keep you grounded, you mumbled a slur of words before the erratic beeping of your heart monitor broke the silence, the look of fear in Loki’s eyes was something nobody had seen before,
you didn’t so much as flinch, Loki took his hand and placed it over your stomach using his magic to heal you, your heartbeat weakening and your breaths slowing,  “NO...DARLING STAY WITH ME, LOVE WE NEED YOU”
Your heart flatlined and your grip on Loki’s other hand vanished, the doctor and midwife trying to restart your heart, but nothing was happening, as more seconds passed the chances of your survival lessened. You were gone, Loki was a crumbling, sobbing mess, he lost his wife and his baby never got to see her mother, you never got to see your girl, neither of you had chosen a name for her yet as you were still deciding between two, Loki liked Navaria and you liked Freia, but that moment he knew his daughters name, Little baby Freia Lokison.
You stirred in your sleep thanks to Loki’s thrashing around in bed “Loki what you doing?” you mumbled sleepily
you were worried he didn’t answer, propped yourself up to look at him properly, beads of sweat dripping from him, his hair almost suffocating him, you shook him and whispered his name
“Loki.....Loki baby get up”
“LOKI” he woke from his nightmare, and looked at you as if he would start crying
“Loki are you okay? You were having a nightmare”
he didn’t say anything, instead he placed his hand on your swollen stomach, and the side of your face before tightly embracing you in his arms”
“What’s wrong Loki?”
“You...and the baby...and you had...and I” Poor thing was struggling to get his words out, he was reliving the possibility of his nightmare
“Hey it’s okay Loki were fine, I promise were okay”
he looked at you intently before rubbing his hand over your bump 
“I’m sorry I woke you”
“It’s alright Loki, do you want to talk about it?”
“I.....I’m scared, your due next week, what if something happens, what if it goes wrong Y/n, I can’t loose you”
“Sweetheart your not going to loose me, we are going to be absolutely fine, anyways I thought it was my job to worry you know since there coming out of me” you giggled
“I love you Y/n your so incredibly strong for doing this, for giving me a chance, for making me a father, your going to be a great mother”
“I love you too Loki and this kid is going to be so loved, and I know when the time comes and I go into labour your going to be right there with me, but for right now, I’m so pregnant and my back hurts and I’m tired so lets go back to sleep” you kissed him and lay back down, Loki had his arm over you, protecting you and the baby, his baby, he was so proud of you, and unbelievably happy, yet after his nightmare, utterly terrified for the upcoming week.
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drandnurseturner · 9 months ago
The Wrong Impression
Call The Midwife Fanfiction
Nurse Crane & Miss Higgins
What happens when Nurse Crane finally confronts Miss Higgins about his not so kind reactions to The Turners?
As Nurse Crane exited the Mother’s room into the waiting room she passed Nurse Turner. She was smiling from ear to ear. It wasn’t unusual for her to be happy but she did seem more so than usual.
Nurse Crane noticed Miss Higgins scoffing at something across the room. What on earth could be she be scoffing at now? It was a look of disapproval that Nurse Crane had seen on many occasions.
That’s when she spotted some beautiful flowers.
“Oh! Aren’t those nice?” Nurse Crane said aloud as she approached them. “Are they yours Miss Higgins?”
Again. That scoff. “No. They do not belong to me.”
“Oh. Well then who’s are they?” Nurse Crane approached Miss Higgins desk.
“They belong to Nurse Turner.” Miss Higgins was looking down at her work. She obviously didn’t want to discuss this.
“From Dr. Turner? What a sweet man still surprising his wife with flowers. They are beautiful!”
Again. The face. Nurse Crane had seen it so many times but just then she realized The Turners were one of the main reasons for it.
She placed both of her hands on the edge of Miss Higgins desk and leaned toward her. Miss Higgins looked over the rim of her glasses. “Can I help you Nurse Crane? This is quite a rude way to be approached.”
“We have known each other for some time now Miss Higgins. I would venture to say we have even become friendly and as a friendly person I want to remind you that everyone can see the expressions that appear on your face. Most of the time I am in agreement with them but I am not today.”
“What are you talking about Nurse Crane?”
She leaned in closer to Miss Higgins. “Do you know their story Miss Higgins? Or do you think you know? From your expressions and scoffs I would guess the latter.”
Miss Higgins sat there in silence as Nurse Crane backed away.
“As a friend Miss Higgins, may I suggest we have tea together after working hours? I think I may be able to change your opinion.”
“I will not take part in gossip Nurse Crane!”
“Neither do I but that seems to be what you have chosen to believe instead of the facts.”
No more words were spoken. Miss Higgins did as she usually does and continued on with her work. Nurse Crane smiled to herself as she walked back into the Mother’s room. She was not one to involve herself but this time she felt she must.
There had been no further communication other than what was necessary between the two ladies. Nurse Crane left before Miss Higgins. She hoped she would take her up on her offer but it seemed she wasnt interested.
Later that evening Nurse Crane sat around with the Sisters and nurses of Nonatus House. They were having their handy crafts and quiet time when the doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it.” Nurse Anderson said as she got up.
A few moments later she reentered the room with Miss Higgins.
“Nurse Crane. Miss Higgins is here to see you.”
Nurse Crane was shocked. She noticed everyone was looking at her in surprise. “Oh well of course!” She stood up from the couch started to guide Miss Higgins toward the kitchen. “We have a tea time this evening don’t we? Let’s pop on the kettle.”
Nurse Crane could hear Nurse Franklin asking what this was about. The Sisters mumbled something about it not being her business. No matter the situation, Nurse Crane was not one to out someone who had been misled.
“Please sit down.” Nurse Crane stated. “Thank you for coming by.”
“I do apologize for earlier.” Miss Higgins had a sad look about her.
“Oh please! Let’s get this tea set up and we can discuss it in the garden. It’s a lovely evening, we should take advantage of it.”
This was not a discussion Nurse Crane wanted overheard. She knew Miss Higgins was a difficult woman but she meant well. She understood what it was like to be misunderstood. Her misunderstandings with Sister Evangelina were difficult for her. In the end the two became friends. She hoped for the same outcome with Miss Higgins.
The ladies walked to the garden in silence. Nurse Crane carried a thermos she had filled with tea and two cups. They sat down on the bench and Nurse Crane handed Miss Higgins a cup and poured tea for each of them.
“I’m sure you think me an awful old woman!” Miss Higgins blurted out.
“Not at all lass!” Nurse Crane placed her hand on Miss Higgin back. “Sometimes our opinions can be based on untruths.”
“But you are right Nurse Crane. I do scoff at them and I am horrible for it!”
Miss Higgins was becoming very emotional which Nurse Crane hadn’t expected.
“I had heard things before taking my position at The Surgery. I didn’t want to believe them. I am in that reception room all day. Patients think I must be deaf but I have heard some terrible things.”
“Why did you believe them Miss Higgin? You know the gossip in Poplar is very toxic!”
“How do you all do it?” She was crying now.
“What’s that?”
“Stay so happy. All of the time. Day in and day out. All of the terrible things you all see yet you always see the bright side. You all are such beautiful people.”
“Oh Miss Higgins! You can’t go through life letting things bring you down. I think that’s how we have all survived what we have. Together we are strong. We bring each other up.”
She handed Miss Higgins a hanky. “Now. May I tell you one of my favorite stories?”
Miss Higgins sat up and collected herself. “I’d love if you would.”
“I was hoping so.” Nurse Crane grinned. “Years ago, before I came to Nonatus, there was a Sister and a Doctor.”
“So she was a nun!” Miss Higgins eyes widened.
“Oh yes!” Nurse Crane said knowing how that gets everyone each time. “The Sister had a difficult childhood having lost her mother at a young age. She joined The Order right after nursing school. She was a wonderful nurse and midwife. The Doctor had recently lost his wife and was left with a son. Oh what an amazing young man he was. Although, they had known each other for years, it was as if the stars had aligned as they say.”
“How’s that?”
“The Sister became ill.”
“Oh no!” Miss Higgins was hanging on to every word.
“She had tuberculosis. She had to live in a sanitarium while she recovered. What no one had known was that the Sister had been questioning what God was requiring of her. She did not feel it was to be a Sister but rather something else.”
“What? What happened?”
“After a lot of reflection and prayer, this Sister decided to leave the Order. When she had made her decision, she read every letter the Doctor had sent her while she was away..”
“He wrote her? What did they say?”
“Miss Higgins! I don’t tell secrets such as those.”
Miss Higgins frowned.
“I don’t know the content of the letters.”
They both laughed.
“But I do know they led to these two marrying and having a beautiful family.”
“The Turner’s.” Miss Higgins stated.
“How do you know all of this?”
“We may all work together but we are friends as well. Shelagh and I have enjoyed tea and biscuits a time or two. Instead of wondering if what I had heard was true, I simply asked Shelagh how they came to be.”
“That would have been a simpler way.”
“Yes it would have been. And...before you ask, yes there is an age difference but one thing I have learned about all of the marriages and relationships I have witnessed in my years...age is just a number.”
“They are a beautiful family which is why I often found myself torn between what I witnessed and heard.”
“I have learned it’s better to believe your impression than those of others.”
“You’re right. I feel so terrible Nurse Crane!”
“This will stay between us Miss Higgins. No need to fret as long as I don’t see anymore of those scoffs!”
“I can’t promise you won’t see one here and there when they are being a little too personal for a professional environment.”
Nurse Crane laughed. “I love when we see a little of their personal life. It fills me with joy to see the happiness of others. Even the “mushy” stuff as Master Turner used to say.”
The ladies laughed and continued with their tea. Nurse Crane knew Miss Higgin meant no harm and she certainly wouldn’t be disclosing her previous beliefs to anyone.
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whimperwoods · 9 months ago
Part 3 of Gozukk and Anna. Finally, Anna!
First part is here. Second part is here.
tw: slavery (past), tw: past abuse, tw: fantasy racism mention, tw: emotional numbness
Tag list: @redwingedwhump, @nine-tailed-whump, @thehurtsandthecomfurts @kixngiggles
Anna wasn’t sure what to do with herself in the empty tent. It was richly furnished, but mostly unlit. Faint sunlight filtered through vents in the roof, but it took her eyes a while to adjust to the dimness after the glare of the day outside, and even once they had, she couldn’t make out the colors of the elaborately-woven fabrics around her.
She kept her arms around herself for comfort, hunching her shoulders down because even in a tent more than large enough for one person, she felt safer when she could make herself small.
Her new master was still outside, and she couldn’t process any of that. It was like the lump of fear in her throat was choking out her mind, strangling each thought as she tried to think it. Her eyes watered, but as she breathed through her nose to try to keep the tears from falling, she thought about the way it had felt to cry, in spite of herself, in front of the orc chief.
His hands had been gentle. That part was certainly true. He hadn’t been angry at her crying. He hadn’t been angry about anything.
The tent was partitioned into two parts, but the room she was in was clearly a public one, furnished with a large, well-made rug and a generous collection of floor cushions, but also with a large table that held a map case and a carefully-organized set of cartographer’s tools.
Looking around, she decided it was safer to stay in the business half of the room, beside the table. She walked over, studying the solid tabletop and the well-made trestles holding it up. She knelt down next to it, taking a deep breath and trying again to think now that she was tucked out of the way and had less to fear.
She was quite certain she’d never have thought an orc tribe would mean safety, but she was also quite certain she’d never thought humans could be so cruel, even to someone like her.
Yes. The orc chief was gentle. That was a fact. He was gentle, and he was outside. Those were good qualities.
She curled farther into herself, like she always did when she was alone and not on display, kneeling beside a man drunk on his own power.
She closed her eyes, but found only memories of the caravan behind them, of kneeling beside the leader, looking into the fire and waiting to be hurt, again, for his amusement or someone else’s.
She opened her eyes and focused on the cushions on the other side of the room, counting them to give her mind something else to do, something else to focus on to chase away the fact that she was alone and afraid and had no idea what to expect.
By the time she could hear voices outside, speaking in their unfamiliar language, she had calmed herself down, breathing in through her nose and out through her mouth, but she had no new answers to any of the questions that mattered.
The woman who walked into the room was tall and thin, lankier than she’d expected, but upright and confident. “Did he leave you here in the dark?” she asked, sounding fond but faintly exasperated, “Give me a minute.” She started lighting the lanterns in the tent, illuminating the room with a warm, soft glow that revealed the rich colors of the fabrics around her.
Anna wasn’t sure what to say, but she was afraid to say nothing, so she just whispered, “Yes, ma’am,” hoping it wasn’t a mistake. Perhaps this was the chief’s wife. Perhaps she had a mistress now. She hoped this woman didn’t think she was going to - to - she tipped her head down and stared at the corner of the rug, studying the way its edges were finished and trying not to complete her own thought.
The woman squatted down in front of her, much as the chief had done, and Anna looked up in surprise, meeting the woman’s eyes. They were warm, lined at the corners in a way that suggested this was a woman who both laughed and cried, but laughed more often.
The orc woman reached up and tucked a strand of Anna’s hair gently behind her ear, and she breathed a little easier, recognizing it as what it was - just more proof that the only fact she could be sure of just yet was that these people seemed to choose gentleness first.
“My brother’s made a mess of things, I think,” the woman said, “He told me you seemed upset. Frightened. Wouldn’t tell me what he said, which means it was probably something foolish, but you don’t have to tell me, either. I’m just here to help.”
Anna felt tongue-tied, her brain struggling to keep up. Why were they helping her? What was help going to cost?
"He thinks you need medical help. Though why he asked me instead of the midwife, I couldn’t say. The healer’s gone with the scouts, but if you need more than I can do, he’s not the only one with skills around here.”
Medical help. That much, she could make sense of. “I’m alright,” she said softly, “He asked about my feet, but they’re -” she looked down, not quite willing to look the woman in the eye as she told a half-lie. “They’re not so bad. They hardly hurt at all.”
The woman reached forward and tipped Anna’s chin up. “And those bruises?”
Anna couldn’t look away. She took a deep breath to steady herself instead. “I can take them.”
The woman sighed, her hand dropping away from Anna’s chin. “Yes, he said that too. There’s good grit and bad stubbornness, you know. Make your stand for something you care about. You’ll be alright here.”
“Why are you helping me?” Anna asked in response, hoping the woman’s words had been a challenge and not a trick or a trap. “You don’t even know me.”
The woman smiled. “There’s a better question. Not sure I have an answer, though. You need it . . . or needed it, maybe, if all goes well. Isn’t that enough?”
“Not usually.”
The woman breathed out through her nose, half-laughing as if it had been half a joke, and maybe it had. “Well, I don’t see how that’s a problem with us.”
Anna looked down again. “I . . . didn’t mean to suggest that it was.”
The woman rearranged, sitting down on the floor with her legs tucked neatly to the side, and then reached over to put a hand on Anna’s knee. “Hey,” she said gently, “I’m Djaana. What’s your name?”
Anna felt suddenly too tall, up on her knees while the orcish woman was seated, even though she was pretty sure Djaana was still technically taller. She blushed, tucking her head down a hair farther, as if that would help. “Anna.”
She should have stopped, but instead, her mouth continued, “It’s short for -” before cutting off again. Her tongue felt suddenly thick, dead in her mouth. She hadn’t spoken Elvish in a long time. She hadn’t dared. “It’s a nickname, technically,” she concluded, instead, feeling a mix of shame and relief wash over her at the crisis averted.
"Anna. That’s a pretty name!”
Anna couldn’t be sure if Djaana meant it, or if she was just saying it as an excuse to keep sounding cheerful and gentle.
“Alright, then, Anna. My brother informs me you’ve got burnt feet and welts on your arms and there’s blood on the back of your dress he thinks means wounds underneath it. What hurts the worst?”
Me, she thought, whatever’s inside of me that’s me. It had been a long time since it had mattered what hurt the most, really. It had been a long time since she’d let herself care. But she needed an answer the woman could believe.
“I - most everything’s pretty old,” she said, “But - I guess my back? Master Kir, from the caravan was -” she didn’t know what to call it, “Angry yesterday. It was a bad day of travel. Hot weather, and wagons getting stuck.”
Djaana nodded. “We’ll start by getting that cleaned up, then. Gozukk will be worried if I can’t tell him exactly how injured you are, and there’s no reason to look and not fix. I’ll be back with some clean water. You just sit tight.”
Everything hurt. Nothing hurt. Her soul hurt.
Anna waited, her eyes closed, but this time, what was behind them was simply darkness, and peace, and her own breathing. She knew what the first thing was that the orc chief had said to her. It’s alright. You’re safe now.
Maybe she was.
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starlightervarda · a year ago
Yo! Hope it's not another annoying Arabic q., but my google-fu is really letting me down! For my final chapter of a time-travelling Nicky fic, Nicky goes in disguise as a trader to live with Yusuf's family for a few months. I'm looking for how he would address Yusuf's mother/father/big sister/nephews. Are there honorifics he can use? He's in disguise so he wouldn't say father-in-law, but looking for respectful titles he would use, and then as he's more integrated, maybe even fond phrases?
So, I’ll be addressing all of this from the perspective that Joe is a North African specifically and usage will differ based on class and relationship. Some of this stuff, especially in the Modern section, doesn’t apply to Khaleejis, Iraqis and Persians.
I’ll start with modern-terms and options in case anyone reading wants info for a Modern AU. (I believe Joe’s family would be business-people/owners, middle to upper-middle class, multilingual and, whether Maghrebien or Egyptian, would be quite foreign-influenced.)
In terms of honorifics, since we don’t have the concept of Mr. and Mrs. (women keep their maiden names), if this was set in the present you’d use some nativised French, Persian and Turkish words, like ustaz/basha/afandi and madame/mademoiselle/hanem/abla/anessa or family terms like Tante (Aunt) and Oncle (Uncle), etc. because imperialism and trade.
In general, the Arabic words for mother-in-law and father-in-law are hamah and hamou respectively. When you address/reference them in a possessive sense it would be hamati and hamaya (i.e. My MIL and My FIL.) Some people do address their in-laws as such, but it can depend on class-level (in my experience it’s usually a lower-class/country thing)
For a Modern AU!
Normally, you would refer to them by familiar terms like Uncle and Auntie, or in very lax, familiar cases you’d just call them by their names or nicknames.
My aunt’s son-in-law, God rest his soul, called her by her nickname. I call my uncle’s wife by her nickname, same goes for my aunt, instead of Tante, etc., etc. My mother expected to call her sister-in-law that (aunt is a good bit older than my dad) but since dad’s family was very modern she just addressed her with her nickname and her MIL as Tante.
While usually your sister-in-law would be addressed by name, if she’s much older/in charge she gets a family title, like my maternal grandma’s sister-in-law calls her Tante because my grandma is the de-facto head of their family and she’s the eldest sibling, so she’s essentially more her MIL than SIL. So, for example if your MIL, or the older female relative who’s taking her place in the family (aunt/older sister/grandma etc.), you can address her by either the term everyone else has for her already but it’s typically some form of Auntie.
It can go for older brothers as well, my grandma called her eldest brother-in-law Abih which derives from the word Abi (My Father) because he was nearly twenty years older than my granddad, almost thirty older than my grandma, was the head of the family/effectively her father-in-law (their father was dead), and had kids near her age—but that’s a more ‘country’ term. In cities and more modern families he could be addressed as Uncle.
If they’re very informal and close then it’s just their names.
Other, unrelated older women and men in an informal setting are Tante/Auntie and Uncle/Oncle, you’d call your parents’ friends or your friends’ parents that but you wouldn’t call teachers or doctors that. In less foreign-influenced yet informal situations, you would still refer to them as Aunt and Uncle but in Arabic, I explain that in more detail below.
For a Canon! / Past! Setting:
While there are honorifics that are specific to royalty and clerics there are more general terms for others in society.
So, to start, some people are addressed by a kunya which is essentially a descriptive title relating you to something or someone. Lots of historical figures have these like Ibn Sina (Avicenna) or Abu Nuwas or Om Kalthoum—Ibn, Abu and Om literally mean Son of, Father of and Mother of, even if they don’t literally denote relation but are essentially a nickname relating them to something else. Sometimes people who don’t already have titles are addressed as Om/Abu their eldest child’s name.
Some countries still use the Bin/Ibn but outside of titles, like in Tunisia many have their surnames begin with Bin/Ben. But the Abu/Om nowadays is a more outdated/rural/lower-class thing. Historically, if he’s the eldest son, Joe’s mum can be formally addressed as Om Yusuf.
Which brings me back to Joe’s full name Yusuf ibn Ibrahim ibn Muhammed Al-Kaysani, but the name A-Tayyib (The Kind One) isn’t part of his regular name it’s also a title based on the person’s character called a laqab. So, some people could address Joe as Yusuf A-Tayyib, maybe he earned that name by being charitable or merciful.
BUT if Joe’s family are of a certain status as a mercantile family with a respected place in their society with servants and such i.e. gentry, then they’d be addressed as Sayidi and Sayidati (Milord and Milady) by people and generally referred to as A-Sayid and A-Sayida (The Lord and The Lady) when talking about them rather than to them.
Say Nicky goes to run an errand for Joe’s dad and tells someone that he’s here to pick up something for the Lord Ibrahim/A-Sayid Ibrahim, if asked to specify which one he’d say Ibrahim Al-Kaysani. (Note: you refer to people by either first name or full name, not just by their last name like in the West. Joe’s father won’t be Lord Al-Kaysani)
If he has a respectful formality with the parents, but can’t keep calling them Milord and Milady due to increased interaction, then other honorifics like Hadretak (masc.) and Hadritik (fem.)—which literally mean Your Presence—could do. They can translate to Your Honor but in use they’re closer to the French Monsieur and Madame. So, Sir and Ma'am.
(Nowadays it’s used as a general respectful term for anyone that has a position you defer to like a teacher/officer/your boss, but you can use them to address someone’s parents formally and sometimes even your own parents in the presence of others.)
(My mum’s best friend has her son address her as Hadritik lmao).
I’d recommend Your Presence/Hadretak and Hadritik, if Nicky is presenting himself as someone on a similar occupational and class level and is regularly interacting with them.
For people around his age or younger, like siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, he’d refer to them as Okhti (My Sister) and Akhi (My Brother). Referring to someone around their age they both know would be Akhina (Our Brother) and Okhtina (Our Sister).
If Nicky has become comfortable and familiar with the whole family, maybe they got close over time, or after an event that shifted the nature of their relationship, then he’d use first names for people around his age and younger (siblings, cousins, siblings’ spouses), and refer to Joe’s mom as Khalti (My Aunt).
Now Khalti specifically means My Maternal Aunt, but it tends to be used far more than ‘Ameti (My Paternal Aunt) in a general sense for an older woman in your community, and can even be used as a common title of respect for something like your local midwife or seamstress, etc. who are referred to as Al-Khala (The Aunt). It’s what got replaced by Tante and Madame which I explained above, in lands post-European influence and imperialism, but it’s still used by many from rural areas but not so much in big cities.
Oh, and here’s the kicker we don’t have a term for ‘cousin’. You need to specify whose child this person is, like Son of my Maternal Aunt (Ibn Khalti) and Daughter of my Paternal Uncle (Bint ‘Ami). Same goes for niece and nephew, you need to be like My Brother’s Daughter (Bint Akhi) and My Sister’s Son (Ibn Okhti).
Then there’s Qaribi (My Relative) for people whose specific relation becomes too complicated to summarise, like the Son of My Mother’s Maternal Aunt. 
Which is why I recommend you use just the English words to refer to these relatives, it’s less of a headache to just say Niece, Nephew and Cousin.
Back to your story! Due to Joe’s dad still having a position as a respected merchant he may still refer to him with as Sir/Hadretak, but if they come to respect each other hey may address him by his first name or as ‘Ami (My Uncle) -- specifically means Paternal Uncle, also used as a general term for older men and is what got replaced in informal/familiarity speech by Oncle. In a general sense you can refer to a man known in your community as Al-’Am (The Uncle), corresponding with Al-Khala. But The Aunt and The Uncle are if you already don’t have a respectable title/occupation like Doctor, Professor, Merchant, etc.
And in turn, if Joe’s parents become fond of him they can call him Ibni/My Son, which could tie in nicely to him actually being Joe’s husband from the future, but that wouldn’t be used as often as his name.
So, if he’s talking to Joe about something their neighbour passed onto him he’d be like “So, Akhina/Our Brother Sami wanted to tell you that the man coming to pick up the linens will be here next week.”
If he’s addressing Joe’s sister, maybe he goes up to her like “Okhti/Sister, have you seen my shoes? I could have sworn I took them off by the door.” and she’d like “I don’t know what to tell you, Akhi/Brother, maybe an ifrit made off with them in the night.” then if they slip into an informal joking tone he could then shift into being like “Yasmina, that’s not funny. Where are my shoes?” and she’d just say “Calm down, Nicolò, I’m just messing with you. I put them in the broom closet so my son wouldn’t wear them on his hands again.”
While we’re at it, Past!Joe will refer to his parents as Abi (Father) and Omi (Mother), Modern!Joe would call them Baba (Dad) and Mama (Mom).
TL;DR Start off with Sayidi and Sayidati / Milord and Milady, then Hadretak and Hadritik/Sir and Madam, then settle into ‘Ami and Khalti / Uncle and Auntie. Joe calls his parents Omi and Abi / Mother and Father.
People around their age are Akhi and Okhti / Brother and Sister, but if they’re close then it’s just their first names.
Children are called by their first names. Children would address Nicky as first as Hadretak/Sir formally, and informally he becomes ‘Ami/Uncle. Joe’s nephews call him Khali if they’re his sister’s sons, if they’re his brother’s then he’s ‘Ami.
I know this all very specific and probably will need a few reads to stop being confusing, but I hope it helps!
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shini--chan · a year ago
1p allies and axis react to that the reader gave birth to they're child. When they ask here she wants the hold the baby? , her answer is like "I don't want hold that thing!"
Alright. So, before I start off I need to give a fair warning that as to why it would even come to that point … let’s just say that it is pretty dark. Warning for implied non-con, manipulation & coercion. You’re reading this at your own risk.
Yandere Allies
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“What do you mean you don’t want it?”, Alfred would ask, completely dumbfounded by your vindictive reaction to your very own child. Lovingly, he stared down at the bundle in his arms. The reddened face covered with wax was just too adorable to be true.
“We’re finally going to be a family; it is the most wonderful thing I can think off. And you have to react like this.”
The malice in those sky-blue eyes was clear as he took in your exhausted state.
“Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? This is your child as well as mine and you have to go on and reject the best thing that has ever happened to you? Your lack of compassion is shocking. So, either put your big girl panties on and act like an adult or we’re going to have a serious talk!”
Let’s just say that Alfred wouldn’t take it well at all that you have such an aversion to your very own child. He would see it as grounds as to have a serious talk with you. If you’re lucky, it would be something akin to a psychotherapy section that he would do with you, only with a lot of condensation. Then, if he is in a very bad mood, it would be far more macabre.
Of course, the things he would do to you would be wrong, except in his mind where everyone of his actions would be justified. Through rejecting your child, you would have tarnished his image of you. Alfred would have thought that you had gotten used to idea of spending the rest of your days by his side. Those vile words of yours would have served to confirm the latter. And villainize you in his eyes.
You would have a lot of apologizing to do. Just keep in mind that if he would sense anything fake in your buttering up to him, the trust he would have established would crumble to ashes. And he is good at disconcerting true from false. However, if you’d hide any lies you’d have behind extreme emotions, then you could succeed.
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“But, she/he is your child”, Matthew would protest. The way you’d firmly shake your head would make his heart drop to your gut.
“A child I never wanted”, you would whisper, sweat glistening on your brow and making it seem as through you were submerged in a fever dream. “Only you wanted a child, I didn’t. How can you be so blind to not see that?”, you would murmur, too lost to evade the hole you were digging yourself into.
Your captor’s lips would thin as he was reminded about the darker aspects of your relationship.
Talk about popping a balloon with a needle, there goes all that happiness and excitement, blown away by a few cruel realisations. Of course, due to your relationship not being of an overly violent nature the fall-out wouldn’t be harsh in the direct, tangible sense. Needless to say, Canada would be pissed that you just had to go on and ruin the whole show and his dreams of a saccharine future.
He’ll skilfully dismissed that you would have been coerced into bearing a child (if not by the worst way you can get pregnant) and tell everybody that would even catch wind that there was something sinister buried deep, that you were just hysterical because of all the residue hormones from the delivery and the exhaustion. That is, if he has too.  
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A fine, pencil thin eyebrow would rise as he condescendingly regarded your disarrayed constitution. Calmly, he would turn to the midwife he had order and take the new-born expertly out of their arms while stating:
“We thank you sincerely for your services. Please, leave now that I may calm my wife down.”
They would nod and quickly scurry out of the room.
Snake-yellow eyes would stare fondly at the infant weakly kicking at the blankets and thin lips stretched to an endearing smile as a tiny, waxy hand was extended up to his face. Gently, he would shift his arms so one hand was free. The baby would snatch the outstretched index finger as soon as they would have the chance, clumsily stuffing it in their mouth and sucking.
Yao wouldn’t even glance your way as he would seat himself on the edge of the mattress, however, his scolding words said with such calmness would add a crude shadow to the picturesque image:
“All your tantrums are growing increasing petty. You should restrain your emotions before you go completely out of control.”
You wanted to gap at him, at his patronizing words. But more than anything else, you wanted to cry for help. Not that any would come. You were stationed in the guest room of his estate and the midwife that had been summoned was the only other person anywhere near you.
She wouldn’t aid you, not that she could. Your “lover” had a way with words – his violence wasn’t physical; it was an intangible knife that made wounds that would never heal.
Instead, you would stammer shakily: “But you said we would give it up for adoption.”
“I said I would consider it. There is a big difference there. Besides, you shouldn’t torture yourself by denying your own nature.”
At those words you would find yourself trembling. Rage would simmer like a pool of magma in your stomach and combined with exhaustion it would make you shake – a brittle leaf in the autumn wind. Your voice would crack as you seethed: “Do you have to start with this sexist nonsense out me being a woman…”
A glare would be enough to silence you.
“It is not because you’re a woman. It is because you’re a human and humans care for their kin.”
To China, it would be barbaric for you to so callously reject your very own child, the fruit of your womb, a testament of the love you two have for each other. To him, family is infinitely precious and for you to smash that vision there would be severe consequences. Whether you would like it or not, you’re going to keep the child and you’re going to love him/her. Although, you might do all that out of your own “volition”, as in China would manipulate you to extent that you’d think those thought would be yours.
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“Shut up!”, would be his immediate response and the waspishness of his tone would be enough to make the nurse raise their eyebrows in suspicion. However, the rage upon porcelain feature and the harshly snapped instructions of “Leave” and “Not you bloody dare tell anybody about this” would be enough to make your only gate way to freedom vanish.
Money would also help seal the deal.
The baby would be in the cradle at the foot of your bed, luckily, because the expression of malevolent fury on his face told you that he would’ve broken anything in his hands in fit of rage. It was the expression of hot passion and chilled anger that one would normally attribute to a general.
Still you summoned your courage to make your case: “I never wanted this, not any of this so not give me that look. You knew I never wanted a baby, you knew that didn’t want to…“, you would yell and choke on those last words because of the memories they’d evoke.
And that window of opportunity would be what Arthur would use to crush your case to dust:
“It is funny, really, because half of the time you don’t know what you want from life”, he would say, voice dangerous soft as he approached you, the fairy fire in his green irises making your skin itch as if there was something contagious directly underneath the first few layers.
“But that doesn’t matter anyhow because your feelings are irrelevant.”
You would open your mouth to protest but only a croak your come out.
“No matter what you say, your emotions are not accurate assessments of reality. What is reality is that you don’t know what is best for you. I do, better than anybody else and that is why you need me. Face it, you’re nothing without me.
“So, except your new role of mother. I promise, you’ll grow to love it.”
As the man himself just now stated, your wants and desires are meaningless to him in the grand scheme of things, or at least, he’ll convince you of that. If you would believe that yourself, then thing would be much easier for him. Arthur would see it as another chance to degrade your identity while putting his on a pedestal.
However, if you wouldn’t fall soon for his manipulations, then he would let you feel his anger in controlled bursts. The spite would surface over your time of recovery and he would purposefully leave you alone with the child so that you would be forced to take care of them.  
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“You will”, he’d state firmly.
Your jaw would hit the floor. Him not getting sentimental would shock you.
“It pains me to see you like this, to see you so cruel, so take those words back. What happened to my (y/n)? What happened that her morals decayed to this point? Where is her heart? Where is her compassion?”, he would sorrowfully lament, like a heart broken poet.
His touching little serenade would be enough to make the fussing baby fall silent, not to mention you.
Guilt would rise up in your gut, toxic and hot. Just what had come out of your mouth?
This would be one of the matters where he’d leave no room for his delusions, where he would even go as far as to revive all the memories of your countless grievances for the sole purpose of teaching you a lesson. It would be needed, and he would be lucid enough to recognize you as a potential threat to your own offspring.
To say the least, he would be weary of you during the next few years, least you try to get rid of the child somehow, be it through cold blooded murder or by giving them away for adoption. With the outburst you would have displayed, nothing would be off the plate in his eyes.
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Violet-blue eyes would be harsh as the high north when they met yours, the warning glare enough to silence you and make something shrivel up in you. Defeated, you would press yourself back into the mattress hoping the accursed thing would swallow you whole because that would be better than all the damnation that the hardset features of your captor promised.
Therefore, it would be all the more petrifying when Russia would elect to ignore in order to turn his attention to the squirming infant in his arms, cooing lovingly and smiling.
Ivan wouldn’t take any nonsense on your part and if you hadn’t learned it at that point then you would be in double trouble. It might even descend into slaps. Although that would be a last resort, if he would feel his control slipping and resort to drastic measures in order to regain it.
He wouldn’t lose a word over your unforgivable behaviour, not the next day, not the next week, not the next year. If you would bring the topic up, then he would be quick to shut it down. However, just because he would verbalise the problem doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be any consequences for it. It would take for in the nuances of your life together – him not help you with the post-delivery recovery, often having a patronizing and degrading undertone in his voice when speaking with you, generally acting more spiteful towards you…
Those would just be a few examples. And he wouldn’t take written or spoken apologises either. Ivan wouldn’t care for lip-service, you would have to prove yourself to be a worthy and loving mother in order to get in his good books again.
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Dawn in Your Eyes Part 22
Summary: Alfie has little to no idea why Caroline ever gave him the time of day. The blind woman seemed far too sensible to even speak to him. But soon he finds himself falling helplessly in love.
Part 22: Alfie and Caroline find that there’s something more harrowing than a brief marital disagreement. 
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TW: antisemitism 
            “Mr. Solomons.” Candace hesitated to approach the man’s office. She had heard the shouting back and forth between him and Caroline as she put a plaster on Chava’s hand. It was nothing she wanted to get involved in. But Caroline had called for her and insisted that Candace bring Alfie back to the bedroom.
            But Alfie didn’t look to be in the mood for any conversation. “What is it?” He asked gruffly.
            The young woman wrung her hands together. “Well, Mrs. Solomons was asking if you would return to speak with her further.” She explained.
            “Does she? Well, tell her that I ain’t talking about anything else with her today. She’s being reckless, frankly, and I won’t have anything to do with it.” He replied curtly.
            Candace had a fondness for the Solomons family, ever since she had been brought in to care for Caroline during her pregnancy. She thought they were lovely people, having seen them in a vulnerable state of domesticity. But that still didn’t erase Alfie’s temper.        
            So, she tried another approach. “Perhaps, you could talk to me about it?”
            He lifted his head to look at her with scrutiny.
            “I often find that if you tell someone else your side of the story, you can see things a bit clearer.” She explained with a shaky voice. She was just waiting for Alfie to throw her out of the house for being so nosy and prying into his personal business.
            But instead, he sighed. “She wants more children.” He waved a hand to the chair that was sat across from his desk.
            Candace took the invitation and sat down.
            “I just don’t think it’s a good idea ‘cause of what happened with Chava. I ain’t gonna lose her to something that could be avoidable. If we don’t have any more children then we don’t run the risk of-well whatever could happen.”
            Candace nodded. “I understand you want to be cautious. But I suppose you could understand Mrs. Solomons too. She told me it was customary to have a big family.”
            “Yeah, s’pose it is.” He grumbled. “But tradition be damned, her life comes first.”
            “Right, I understand.” Candace nodded. “I think…you’re both right and unfortunately there’s no way of knowing how things will go if you do have more children. But I guess that’s what life is all about. We don’t know how many days we have left.” She shrugged. “It’s about making the best of what you have right now.”
            Alfie scratched his beard as he looked at her. “That’s very Jewish.” He said. “Creating heaven in this life, now.”
            “Oh, I didn’t realize…”
            “No, it’s good. Makes sense. Rational, innit? Life should be celebrated.”
            She smiled. “Right.”
            “Very profound, Candy.” He praised. “I thought Chava was a fast learner because of me but it might be because of you.” He chuckled and stood up. “If you’ll excuse me, I should go talk to Caroline.”
            It took a few conversations between Alfie and Caroline before they reached an agreement. They would go ahead with having more children as long as there was both a midwife and a doctor at hand during the birth. And if possible, she would give birth in a hospital instead of the home.
            But the rest was up to fate.
            Meanwhile, Chava celebrated her second birthday. As she grew and learned, Alfie and Caroline were testing the waters to see if she could recognize Caroline’s blindness. Or at least understand it. It proved difficult as she seemed too young to comprehend but old enough to know something was different.
            As her temper started to develop a little more, it became very clear that she was her father’s daughter. She could throw a fit like no other and when she wanted to be loud, she could be ear piercing.
            Much to Alfie’s chagrin, Chava was a little sponge and would pick up on anything he did or said. She stomped her feet to imitate the heavy sound of his boots in the home. She swore like a sailor and there wasn’t anything Caroline or Alfie could do to change that. Alfie tried to change his vocabulary in front of the toddler but it was too late.
            Alfie was in hot water for a bit with Caroline and Julia but it was something they had to live with.
            Aside from her mouth and occasional temper, Chava was a lovely little girl. She adored her parents and loved nothing more than just spending time with them.
            When Alfie came home in the evening, Chava would run to him with a big grin on her face. And every single time, the stress rolled right off his shoulders. He picked her up and held her close, greeting her warmly.
            One night, however, her smile wouldn’t be able to cure his stress. As he came home, Caroline met him at the door instead of their daughter.
            There was worry creased into her face and Alfie was terrified that something had happened to Chava.
            “Carrie, what’s wrong?”
            “My aunt just called. Her office building was just set on fire. Or-or bombed, they don’t know yet.” Tears were slipping down her cheeks.
            “What?” It certainly wasn’t the news he was expecting. “Just now?”
            She nodded, clearly just as confused as he was.
            “Right, wait here.” He instructed. “I’ll be right back.”
            “No, you need to stay!” She reached out to him. “It isn’t safe. Not until we know what really happened.”
            “This might be…” Well, Alfie could come up with a few different potential causes. Sure, it might have been an accident, but he wasn’t counting on it. In fact, he was already lining up a list of suspects in his head. However, that meant that the attack was ultimately his fault. Whoever it was, if they were his enemy, they were trying to get back at him for something. Now Caroline’s family and their business were in the line of fire.
            “It’ll be alright.” He assured her. He took her hand in his and kissed her forehead. “Call Ollie. Have him bring Shayna and the kids over. I want everyone to be together until we figure this out. I’ll send Julia here when I get there.”
            Caroline nodded but still looked worried. “Just hurry, please.”
            “I will.”
            Alfie rushed across town. There was a plume of smoke leading the way to the scene. People had gathered at a far enough distance to see what had happened. There were quiet whispers as he pushed his way through. A police car had already pulled up as the fire was starting to be put out.
            Judging by a quick glance at the smoldering remains of the building, there was little chance it was a small accident.
            Alfie found Julia talking with a police officer. Her hand was clutched to her chest. The usually iron-tough woman was shaken by the near-death experience.
            “Julia.” He approached.
            “Oh, Alfie.” She touched his arm, her hand trembling. “Thank God, you’re alright. Caroline thought maybe something had happened to you.”
            “I’m alright. What happened?”
            The cop didn’t look too pleased to see the notorious gangster intruding. “Move along, Alfie, this has nothing to do with you.”
            His eyes darkened. “This is me family, mate. Has more to do with me than it does you. So why don’t you fuck off and find out who did this?” Though, he didn’t really put that much trust in the police to figure out the truth.
            Yet, he could be wrong. “We know who did it.” The officer responded sharply.
            “Yeah? Who was it then?” Alfie demanded, ready to put his hands around the neck of whatever lowlife committed the crime.
            “It’s not any of your business. Scotland Yard will take care of it. Stay away from the matter, lest you want to be locked up for interfering.”
            “That a fucking threat?” He snarled. “You better fucking tell me who it was or I’m going to-”
            “Alfie, enough.” Julia interrupted sternly. She knew her niece would be a wreck if he was locked up for threatening an officer. “I’d like to see Caroline, let’s go now.”
            He glared at the cop. “You’re lucky. I’m gonna find out, you can put money on that, mate.” He jabbed a finger at him before ushering Julia away from the building that was crumbling.
            Before they entered the flat, Alfie stopped Julia. “Did he tell you?”
            “Not who they were. But he said they’re fascists.” She answered quietly. “Blackshirts.”
            Suddenly, it went beyond Alfie. This was no petty retaliation from the Titanic or Sabini. It had nothing to do with who Julia was associated with. It had to do with their identities.
            Alfie could handle people not liking him. Whether they disliked his occupation, his sinful behavior, his kill count, or his distasteful personality. That was all well and good. But once people started targeting his religion, he felt like he could black out from rage. The heart of his people being aimed at like they weren’t even humans. It was sickening. And it was getting closer and closer to home. There was no ignoring it, no chalking it up to a bunch of radical morons with twisted ideology. No, it was serious and far beyond Alfie’s scope of power. Still, that didn’t mean he wouldn’t do anything about it.
            Caroline hugged her aunt close, relieved she had made it out alive. But she was still confused. “Did you speak with the police?”
            “Let’s not concern ourselves with that.” Julia shared a look of discomfort with Alfie. Neither of them was really in the mood to discuss the root of the crime. It felt horrendous saying out loud. “Let’s just be thankful no one was killed.”
            Caroline nodded somberly. “Alfie, Chava is upstairs asking for you.”
            “Alright, I’ll tuck her in. Just want to talk to Ollie first.” He gave his wife a quick peck before going to find Ollie.
            He and Shayna were sitting in the parlor. Their three children were there as well. The two eldest seemed frightened by what was going on, but the youngest was asleep, unaware.
            “Ollie.” Alfie jerked his head to the kitchen.
            His assistant understood and stood up to follow. “Did they say anything?”
            “Fascists.” He replied quietly.
            The young man looked confused. The Blackshirts had been in the news but it seemed like a distant worry. Surely something so insane would be written off by the general public before anything would really happen. “Here?”
            Alfie nodded. “Scotland Yard’s looking into it, guess they know who did it. Be honest, I doubt they’ll be put in prison. If they do, won’t be for long.”
            Ollie looked wary. “Sir…I don’t think whatever you’re thinking of doing is a good idea.”
            His boss narrowed his eyes. “So, we’re just supposed to let those fuckers do whatever they want? Next time there’ll be people in the building, Ollie.” He snapped. “And we’re gonna be wondering why we didn’t do anything sooner.”
            “But, sir, this is something bigger.” He reminded Alfie. “It’s a political party. They aren’t just a small gang.”
            “A group of violent men with a set of beliefs is a gang. Don’t care if they have a political party. Fuck it, I could have a political party if I wanted. All I care is that they come to realize that they ain’t coming back into Camden ‘less they want consequences.”
            “Well,” Ollie knew there was little chance of talking him out of anything. “Tomorrow I can see what we might be able to find out about what the Yard knows. Though, we don’t have any informants on the inside.”
            “I know someone who does.” Alfie nodded. “I’m going to bring Caroline and Chava to Margate tomorrow. If you’d like Shayna to go as well, that can be arranged.” If he could just pick Camden up and out of London and move all the people to safety, he would. But at the same time, Alfie was afraid of budging. He would not be chased out of his own territory. His family was forced out of Russia because of being Jewish. Alfie was not being forced out anymore. He was staying put.
 //Holy moly I’m so sorry for the delay in this. I kept going back to the document but was in such a block that I just had to put it aside for a bit. It’s been so long since I uploaded that 90% of my tag list deactivated 😂 
Permanent Tag: @papa-geralt-of-cirilla @biba3434 @kimmietea @karmezii @enrapturedbythemoon @vampgirl1997 @tarafaithe @evelynshelby
Tag list:  @thinkingsofamadwoman 
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hambone-kablooey · 6 months ago
Okay so my Sabrina stream of consciousness was mildly popular, and season 5 of Van Helsing just came out. Let's have a go.
This show really went from apocalypse story with vampirism instead of zombies to full on Dracula magic times didn't it? Not sure how I feel about that.
Tricia Helfer as Dracula can step on me though. Hope we see more of her this season.
I have no memory of what happened last season. Vanessa has teenage daughters, who's still alive, where'd Christopher Heyerdahl go? All forgotten.
With that out of the way, let's get it.
Episode 1:
New intro kinda slaps.
Why is this girl coming through a portal? Wasn't she stuck in vampire hell?
That's Castle Dracula, right? Looks a lot like the one from the Netflix series.
Okay so time travel now?
Wow you can tell Kelly Overton couldn't be there to film. Bad voiceover and no face. I hope we see her soon.
Um, excuse you, weird mask lady?
Yeah, get her ass!
*disgusted* Peasants.
Listen, I've seen this girl in lots of stuff, and I like her, but "vampires, and I'm the cure" was not a good line.
This man! I know this man!
Midwife is sus.
Oh, isn't she one of Dracula's wives?
Toxic masculinity, who's she? Don't know her.
I sense a love interest? Or was this the lesbian. Truly all memory of this show is gone.
Wouldn't it not be called Transylvania? Wasn't it Wallachia at this point? World history is not my thing.
Also did she get magic language powers? There's no way medieval Wallachians would speak English.
Who's this? He looks like a Chad
I see you creeping Chad!
Oh. I thought this guy would be decent. Maybe not.
Who's this MAN?
Tell him, girl!
Tricia no!
Oh sweet Florian. So pure.
Are we getting a tragic Dracula? Because I'm a little bitch for a tragic villain.
Jesus, Michaela.
So is Michaela in on the vampire thing? Or just a little obsessed?
Time travel is so dangerous. There are so many potential pitfalls.
I'm so torn about the Count. He acts like a smarmy asshole, and yet he loves his wife so damn much.
Damn she old.
Damn he sneaky.
Also Michaela is definitely in on the vampire thing, which makes her older than Dracula? Interesting.
Listen to the servants they know EVERYTHING!
This woman is so flaky I love her.
Listen to the fortune tellers they know EVERYTHING!!!
AHA! Tricia is just a vessel for the original Dracula. I see.
Jesus, Jack!
I love this aspect of time travel. The hero just dunking on a villain who doesn't even know them yet.
Please tell me this isn't the last of Tricia. Damn I love her.
Episode 2:
Is Bathory evil here?
Oh jeez I don't think she is! Are we getting good Bathory?
Oh, Florian no.
This obviously isn't going to kill her. She's a Van Helsing!
But even so, being hanged when you can't die? That's rough.
I forgot how much big villain energy Michaela has. She's great.
Ooh that evil laugh.
I feel so bad for this man. By medieval standards he's not that awful.
Yes Jack!
Yes Bathory!
No Jack she's not evil yet!
Oof poor Bathory. She has no idea.
Fuck this guy.
Florian you chicken shit bastard!
This is so messed up. I HATED this woman last season. She's so great now.
Tell her Jack!
Is Chad a Van Helsing?
Is that not what the amulet means? I forget.
Aw, servant girl no.
That's so much wasted blood. Come on, Michaela!
Okay is this nice Tricia or evil Tricia?
Don't make any sudden moves my guy
Will you love your corpse wife, my guy?
Not a witch, my guy. A vampire. Get with the program.
I love a lady villain who can snap every man like a twig.
Who's that meant to be?
Oh it's her. That's her coffin.
Not a good likeness.
Poor Jack just sleeping in the dirt.
Is this going to be one of those "time is a closed circle" type deals? Jack killed Olivia, which let her be turned and corrupted. Jack convinces Bathory to fight, and she's turned. We'll see.
Why isn't the sunlight hurting her?
Yes Alexandra! Florian, quit being a chicken shit!
I'm getting a bad feeling about all this.
Yes Jack!
Poor Tricia...
Oh no this is bad...
OH NO!!!
Yikes Tricia, that's not okay.
Michaela is just fucking batshit. I love her.
This feels more like a final act than an episode 2, so I'm thinking we're going back to the present soon.
Ooooh she's here!
Episode 3:
She is going to wreck Michaela's shit so hard
Yes girl...er, evil shadow spirit!
Tricia plays unfathomable evil so well.
Oh god please don't cut off Jack's arm.
Oh god it's so much worse!!!
No don't leave the evil flesh strip just LYING THERE!!!!!
Yep. She just made it night. God I love evil Tricia.
Jump cut to carnage. My favorite kind of jump cut.
You chicken shit piece of old man peasant garbage!!!!
I forget the rules, do Jack's cured cure other people?
She is so damn scary.
What is this damn scroll?
Is this how Bathory becomes evil?
Please tell me he's lying...
Yay... feminism?
I'm so worried about Bathory...
Never thought I'd utter those words.
YES! But also he's so dead...
Don't eat the baby please...
It's a trap!
I still think time is a closed circle here. They'll stop the Dark One now, but everything will turn out the same in the end.
I'm still living for badass Bathory though.
Obligatory battle scene.
Yay Florian! Chicken shit no more!
Motherly live?
Drink from the vampire teat!
Is this going to be a vampire baby?
Oh no did he axe Bathory!!!
Yes bite him!
We love a self aware noble.
Yeah why isn't he healing?
Oh there's the scary Bathory voice...
Oh shit!
Michaela's back. That blows.
This is such a downer and it's only episode 3.
Back to the present!
Okay, that's it for now. Back tomorrow with more.
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cavalierious-whim · 9 months ago
Whelp (FE3H)
Sylvix | Pre-Game | Canon-Compliant AU | Teen
It’s long been said that a Gautier who graces the battlefield is Death incarnate. But Sylvain's not just a wolf, he's also a boy, and all he wants to do is enjoy his youth.
A/N: So let's consider this: Crests aren't a boon, they're a curse. What's it like to live with that? This is the first in a collection of stories called 'Of Crests and Curses'. The storyline is that of the game, which is why I've tagged it Canon-Compliant AU. Read here on AO3 for better quality! And follow mere here on Twitter.
It’s long been said that a Gautier who graces the battlefield is Death incarnate.
A boon, gifted to the bloodline by the Goddess. Nearly feral with rage and born to ravage the battlefield as beasts, the Gautier family see themselves as harbingers of death: if you meet one in battle, then you’ve met your end.
Time wears on and views change. The Gautier blessing is now a blessing only to their own. The rest of the world whispers of a curse instead, carefully concealed behind titles and lordship. Those who carry the burden are nothing but beasts, bred to bring death and destruction upon their foes, relishing it.
The Margrave Philippe Alexandre Gautier has a reputation to uphold. He’d done his duty for King Lambert, loping across enemy lines and battlefronts, and then later, he’d held the North against Sreng. He still holds the North against Sreng.
But, Philippe’s reign of terror is regrettably over; his bones ache a little bit more with every shift, and his nose isn’t good for much nowadays.
Miklan is a disaster. He’s got the bloodlust required of a Gautier but no crest to match it. Phillipe frowns at the mere thought. It’s a pity. Gautier men need that bloodlust, they thrive on it, but the beast is also required to temper it. When left alone, it’s more like gunpowder, prone to exploding when you least expect it. A careful balance is required.
There’s a scream from the other room and his head snaps up, fighting the instinctual urge to go be with his mate. Not quite a man and not quite a wolf, but that deep-seated connection thrums through his heart. The midwife won’t let him in and he does his best to maintain hope.
And so, Phillipe waits, pacing the long corridor of the Gautier fortress. Even in the summer months, Gautier can be frigid, the bitter cold seeping deep into the stones of his home.
Eventually, the screaming stops. The midwife opens the door and Philippe slips in quietly. There isn’t any crying, but his wife doesn’t look distressed. She holds a bundle close to her, her face tired and red and sweating.
When Philippe peeks into the folds of the blanket, he sees fur, wet and sticky, a deep auburn red.
“A crest,” says Philippe to his wife. “Our--” He pauses and waits, looking back to her, his tongue-tied.
“Son,” says his wife, her voice raspy from hours of crying out. “Our son has a crest.”
Pride swells within Philippe as he takes the bundle from her breast. Their son is a small thing, his eyes still closed. His maw is wide open, pink, and toothless gums on display. He’s the most beautiful thing that Philippe has ever seen.
But more importantly, he’s the most useful.
“There are big plans for you,” Philippe says, petting the downy fur at the crown of his son’s head. “Big plans indeed, my precious Sylvain.” Philippe pulls the boy closer so his son can learn his scent.
Yes, incredibly useful indeed.
If there’s one thing that Sylvain Jose Gautier can’t resist, it’s a good tail wag.
Well, that’s a lie. He also loves a really good smell, the kind that sticks in your nose all day. Or a really good cut of steak, tender and juicy and more on the raw side than not. Okay, so, there’s a lot of things that Sylvain loves and it’s too hard to pick just one, so he’ll try to enjoy them all, he thinks.
Fraldarius Manor isn’t as large as his home, but it’s busier. Servants bustle to and fro, guards stand here and there, and there’s a massive assortment of sights and smells and noises and--
Sylvain knows that he shouldn’t get ahead of himself, but his foot twitches, ready to explore. Small as the manor is when compared to the Gautier Fortress, there’s not a doubt in his mind that it holds more secrets than he could ever sniff out. He’s excited to try.
There’s just one problem.
Before Sylvain can even turn to him, his father reaches out and grabs the back of his neck firmly. He doesn’t have a scruff in his human form, so Sylvain winces. Not painful but it doesn’t feel great, and Sylvain resists the urge to wiggle out of his father’s grasp like a slippery little snake.
“Sylvain,” says his father in a hiss. “Quit your fidgeting.”
Sylvian whines in response, but it only causes his father to grip a little bit harder. He’s not angry, Sylvain thinks. It’s just a warning, Sylvain tells himself. Sylvain doesn’t get very many warnings.
“Duke Fraldarius is meeting us here at the entrance and he’s bringing his sons. Be on your best behavior.”
“I don’t want to meet his sons,” says Sylvain, lips pulling into a terse frown. He wants to sniff out things, to explore, to get stuck in tight little places. He’s got a sense of adventure that itches to be scratched, nearly as bad as that one time he’d gotten fleas as a toddler.
“You will,” says his father, his grip pinching. Sylvain doesn’t whine this time, his mouth snaps shut in a grimace. It’s better to not show pain, to just put on a brave face and bear it. Finally, his father lets go with a sigh. “There’s plenty of time to satisfy your curiosity later on. Until then, behave. We are Gautiers. Act like one.”
Act like one. Sylvain huffs, crossing his arms over his chest. Familiar words that he’s tired of hearing. Sometimes, Sylvain feels as though it’s the only thing that his father knows how to say. Gautier, this, Gautier that. Gautier boys are expected to hold the north and strike down their enemies.
Gautier boys are expected to do a lot of things that Sylvain has no interest in.
He doesn’t want to strike down any enemies, he wants to find that delicious grilled meat whose smell is stuck in his nose. Besides, there aren’t any enemies here at Fraldarius Manor. His father has spoken at length about the Duke and his kin. The Fraldarius family has long since been framed as something to both admire and admonish; their loyalty to the crown is unmatched, but also their downfall.
“Watch them carefully and learn,” said his father one night. “Learn from their drive and then their folly, and combine that with our strength. You will be unstoppable, pup.”
Servants of the Fraldarius household watch him and his father warily, skirting around them with a wide breadth. Their guards aren’t nearly so feared, but then again, they aren’t wolves. Sylvain had once asked his father about it.
“They know what we are, and so, they fear us,” said his Father. “As they should.”
Sylvain doesn’t want to be feared but he’s got little control over it, so he makes do. He’s ten and has other things to worry about, like the way that mud squishes between his paws.
Duke Fraldarius takes his time to greet them, but eventually, the double front doors open wide. The duke is a rat-like looking man, with thick and wavy hair, but a thinning goatee. A tall, slightly gangly teenager treks behind him, and their group is rounded out by a boy who looks younger than Sylvain.
They all have wild, wavy dark hair, but the boys have theirs tied back and out of their faces. The older boy looks tired but stands alert, and the youngest hides behind him, grabbing onto his thighs as he sneaks a peek.
“Philippe,” says the Duke with familiarity. He steps forward and they clasp hands, and for the first time in years, Sylvain sees his father smile the slightest bit. They must be actual friends. Amusing. Sylvain has always thought his father had none.
“Rodrigue,” says Sylvain’s father. “Thank you for having us.”
“Nonsense,” says the Duke. “There’s more than enough room and coming here is easier than traveling to the palace.”
Sylvain’s father nods. “When does his Royal Highness arrive?”
The Duke lets out an annoyed huff. “I have no idea. The King does as he wants, which includes showing up late.”
“So he’s late, then?” The Margrave laughs. “And Count Galatea?”
“Nearly here,” says the Duke. “The Count will be bringing Ingrid of course, to spend time with Glenn.”
Sylvain can’t help the face that he makes when he hears that. He’s never met Glenn or Ingrid, but his father has spoken of their betrothal before. Sylvain risks a glance at the older boy that stands before them. This must be Glenn. Sylvain’s not sure what he expected, but the somber-faced and weary teenager that stands there isn’t it.
He looks boring.
“How is the arrangement going?” asks the Margrave.
“Well, I would think.” There’s a pause as the Duke casts a glance in Sylvain’s direction. “I wish you luck in your efforts, of course.”
At his words, it’s as if his father finally remembers that Sylvain is there. He reaches out and presses his hand against Sylvain’s head, ruffling his hair. “I have no doubt,” says his father. “After all, Sylvain possesses a crest and good breeding.”
The Duke’s little smile twitches slightly at that, but then he nods in agreement. “Let’s lead you inside then and get you settled. We’ll talk about such things later. I’m sure you’d prefer some rest.”
“I’d prefer to explore,” says Sylvain before he can stop himself. His father’s smile slips and Sylvain can nearly smell the annoyance that radiates off of him.
The Duke, however, looks genuinely amused by this and before the Margrave can reprimand Sylvain, he says, “I’m sure that can be arranged.”
Glenn, as it turns out, isn’t boring at all.
The Duke had asked his sons to give Sylvain a proper tour of the place, but the moment that Rodrigue had turned his back, Glenn cocked his head to the side, gave Sylvain a wide smirk. “I bet that’s not what you want to do at all, is it?”
Sylvain likes to explore and Glenn likes to pull pranks and cause mischief. The two of them together are a hellish pair and they’ve barely begun their antics.
“So, what about your little brother?” asks Sylvain. They’re skirting around the eastern edge of the manner, Sylvain walking atop a parapet with Glenn following alongside below him.
“Felix?” asks Glenn. “What about him?”
“He’s not here?”
Glenn lets out a long and deep laugh straight from his belly. “Felix would never,” says Glenn. “Not unless Father made him. He’s too much of a crybaby.”
“A crybaby?” Sylvain then remembers how Felix had hidden behind Glenn’s legs. “How boring.”
“I pray to the Goddess every day that he’ll grow out of it,” says Glenn. “What’s the point of having a little brother if you can’t wreak havoc together?”
Sylvain can’t imagine. Glenn cares for Felix, something that Sylvain’s never seen in Miklan. Miklan only has curses and balled fists for Sylvain, and he’s learned the hard way that it’s easier to run and hide than try to play.
But then, Sylvain’s reminded of his father’s wish to befriend the boys. He opts to smile wide at Glenn and not think of Miklan. “I’m not your little brother, but I am younger than you.”
Glenn shoots him a smile back, but it’s a little more lopsided and a lot more conniving. “Want to go cause some mischief?”
“Not really,” says Sylvain, “I smelled some grilled meat earlier that I have to find.” He pauses, giving Glenn a knowing look. “But you know, if you want to cause some problems on the way there, I won’t say anything.”
Glenn reaches out to nudge his cheek affectionately. “I knew that I liked you the moment I saw you. Come on then; I’ll show you where Meryl’s stall is.”
“Meryl?” asks Sylvain.
“Meryl,” confirms Glenn. “Only the best cook in this entire complex. No doubt it’s her food that you caught a whiff of.”
Glenn leads him along the western side of the grounds. It’s not like the Gautier Fortress which is all cold stone and even colder weather. Fraldarius Manor is warmer and brighter, part stone and part wood, and bustling with activity. It’s like two different worlds, but Sylvain already loves it here because there’s too much to see in just one day.
And Miklan isn’t there, which is a bonus.
“You said that you’d smelled it,” says Glenn. They’re watching the stall from afar, leaning against a column. Trying to look inconspicuous. Glenn succeeds rather well, but Sylvain fails to capture his ease, looking awkward instead. The servants find it cute, giggling softly as they walk by.
“Smelled what?”
“The meat.” Glenn waves to the stand. “We’re not exactly near the entrance gate.”
Sylvain’s mouth parts slightly. “Oh, that.” He shrugs. “It’s part of being a wolf, I guess. I have a really good sense of smell.”
“Wait, the wolf thing is literal?”
“Haven’t you read the histories?” Sylvain frowns. His father’s made him practically memorize entire books; centuries of stories about Gautier men and women leveling the battlefield as Death incarnate.
You know, typical bedtime stories.
Glenn watches him for a moment, hand on his chin, thinking. Then he says, “I’ve always assumed that it was more of a metaphorical thing.”
“What’s metaphorical ?” asks Sylvain. Glenn laughs.
“Don’t worry about it, pup,” says Glenn in jest.
Sylvain makes a face. “Ew, no, don’t call me that. That’s what my father calls me.”
“All right, all right.” Then, Glenn gives him a mischievous grin. “Hey, I know how good your nose is, but how good are your stalking skills? You know, getting down low and sneaking up on prey?”
“As good as any wolf’s,” Sylvain says, sticking out his chest haughtily. It’s a lie. Sylvain hasn’t gotten a lot of practice in, but he wants to impress Glenn.
“I’ll distract Meryl while you sneak up and grab a couple of meat sticks grilling over the coals.”
“Wouldn’t she just give them to you, if you asked?” Glenn is the Duke’s son. There’s no way that the vendor wouldn’t just comply with his request.
“Yeah, but where’s the fun in that?”
Sylvain shoots Glenn a conspiratorial glance in return. He decides right then and there that he likes Glenn, and wishes he were his big brother instead. Maybe Felix will want to be his brother too.
Sylvain hasn’t met a lot of girls in his short life, but he’s fairly certain that most aren’t like Ingrid.
He’s read books, both fiction and non-fiction. Girls and women have their place within packs. Sylvain thinks of his mother, lovely and demure, always dressed nice and smelling like flowers. Quiet unless she’s spoken to, with kind eyes and an even kinder smile. The only person that his father genuinely loves, most like.
And then there’s Ingrid, a wild child covered in dirt and dust, smells like sweat, and whose eyes gleam with a challenge. She wears trousers like a boy, she wields a wooden lance, and she curses like a sailor when Glenn knocks it from her grip.
Sylvain’s mouth falls open in surprise. Ingrid’s only a year younger than him and at nine, she shouldn’t say such things. But Glenn doesn’t mind, shooting her a menacing little wink, and Sylvain is certain that he’s figured out who she learned such words from.
It’s not that women in the Gautier family don’t fight, only the wolves do. And there hasn’t been a female crest bearer in the Gautier line for decades. Ingrid isn’t a wolf, therefore seeing her in the training grounds with the rest of them is a bit of an adjustment.
Sylvain learns that he likes things that are a little different, though. His father drones on and on about propriety and the way that things are supposed to be, but Sylvain only finds expectations to be confining. He longs for the freedom to be himself and do what he wants.
He knows he won’t have long to enjoy it.
“What’s he staring at?” asks Ingrid rudely, and Sylvain realizes that she’s talking about him.
“You,” says Glenn, unapologetically. “And all those sticks in your hair.”
Ingrid gasps, running her hands through her blonde locks, but when there are no sticks, she lets out an annoyed shriek, throwing a rock at Glenn. Glenn throws his hands up and runs the length of the training yard, Ingrid chasing after him.
Not for the first time over the last few days, Sylvain wonders what it’d be like to have a brother like Glenn in his life.
And then, Sylvain thinks of Felix. Glenn had told him that Felix was a crybaby and scared of everything. Sylvian’s barely seen the boy-- once or twice, and the moment they lock eyes, Felix hides away again. Behind Glenn’s legs, behind their father, around a corner or even running from the room entirely.
Sylvain frowns. Crybaby indeed.
“Ridiculous, chasing each other around like that.” Sylvain turns to his father who stands beside him. The Duke is on his other side.
“Philippe, it’s harmless,” says the Duke. “They’re children.”
“It’s never too soon to learn manners.” Sylvain’s father gives him a pointed look. “Take Sylvain for instance. Always properly behaved. Always an example.”
Sylvain hides a smile behind a cleverly placed cough. The Duke smiles at him, just a little quirk of his mouth. So, maybe he hadn’t hidden his smile well enough. Rodrigue then gives Sylvain’s father a disappointed tut. “I’ll say it again: they’re children. Let them enjoy themselves. Eventually, they’ll answer the call of duty and they’ll never have time for fun again.”
Sylvain’s father huffs at that. “There’s no room for fun when you’re a lord.”
“There’s a little bit of room for it,” says the Duke, measuring a small gap between his fingers.
“You sound like his Royal Highness.” The Margrave sighs wearily. “That’s not surprising though.”
“His Royal Highness knows how to balance work and family.”
“Speaking of family, where is Felix?” asks the Margrave.
“Ah, Felix,” says the Duke. “Off hiding, no doubt.”
“It’s nothing, really,” says Rodrigue. “He’s young yet and he’s shy. It’s as simple as that.”
“Sylvain used to be shy.”
“Used to be?”
“We fixed it.”
Sylvain’s not smiling anymore. Instead, Sylvain’s thinking of kneeling on his knees for hours on end during his father’s meetings, listening to political talk. He’s thinking of reciting lines and missed meals when he’d cowered before another adult. Not really in fear, but overwhelmed by smells and sights and sounds.
He’s not overwhelmed anymore. Sylvain’s learned to tune things like that out.
Sylvain thinks about what his father likes to say.
“It’s not a matter of whether you want to, it’s that you will. Until then, it’s on your knees.”
Sylvain tells himself that his father isn’t cruel, that this is just the way of the wolf, but the older gets the less he believes. Just like Miklan. Sylvain knows that it’s not normal to throw fisticuffs at a boy half your size and age.
But if he tells himself that it is, it’s easier to pretend.
The Duke’s gaze slides from his father to him, and his lips tug downward slightly. Sylvain thinks that Rodrigue is good at reading people, and maybe he sees more of Sylvain than Sylvain wants him to.
“I’ve been thinking,” says the Duke, “What if Sylvain came to stay with us during the summer? He would be exposed to a different part of the court and different advisors. He could spar with Glenn, and perhaps even Dimitri. Spread his legs, as it were. And, it would give you and Amelie a break; I daresay you haven’t had one since your boy was born.”
The Margrave considers this for a moment so long, that the Duke continues.
“It might be good for Felix. He has no one else his age aside from the prince. And I know that you’re all about opportunities.”
“Perhaps Felix can come to the Fortress and spend winter with us, then. We’ll make it an exchange.”
The Duke considers and then nods. “I’m amenable to that.” They shake on it, a strange gesture that Sylvain’s come to learn as a show of good faith.
Except, anything that concerns his father is rarely in good faith.
“Sylvain,” says the Duke, snapping him back to attention. “Why don’t you go off with Glenn and Ingrid? I’m sure that you can learn something.”
Sylvain wrinkles his nose at the mention of Ingrid, mostly because girls are gross and Ingrid is the grossest of them all, but anywhere is better than being here. So, he scampers off.
Sometimes, Sylvain forgets how natural it feels to be a wolf. He spends so much time as a boy walking awkwardly on two feet, that he forgets the relief of sinking his paws into the soft earth.
And you know, claws are pretty neat too.
“Sylvain?” hisses Glenn when Sylvian pads around the corner. Glenn had told him to sneak out from his room half-past ten for some late-night fun. He hadn’t been expecting Sylvain to show up like this.
Sylvain runs a circle around Glenn’s legs. He’s the size of a large pup, not fully grown into his paws. Long and lanky legs, massive pads, and a head that’s just a little bit too large for the rest of his frame. He’s got growing left to do. His tongue lolls out the side of his mouth as he beams at Glenn.
“Are you smiling? I think you’re smiling. Oh, that’s a little weird.” Then Glenn pauses, pointing down the corridor. “I’ve already got Ingrid waiting around the corner.”
Ingrid doesn’t like dogs, Sylvain learns, but she’s not afraid of them. It’s just that she prefers horses. Ingrid relaxes a little when Glenn explains that he’s Sylvain, and then her eyes narrow as though she realizes how odd it is that he’s a shape-shifting werewolf.
She keeps a solid three feet between the two of them at all times.
Glenn doesn’t have much of a plan aside from wandering the manor grounds. “Even though it’s been nearly a week, there’s still a lot that I want to show you,” says Glenn as they round a corner.
“Glenn?” The three of them freeze at the sound of Felix’s voice, and Glenn shoots Sylvain a panicked look.
“Change!” hisses Glenn, shaking his hand at Sylvain. “Change back!”
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Felix must be afraid of dogs. Or animals. Or anything, really. And, while his wolf form feels as natural as the moon high above them, he hasn’t quite mastered shifting back.
Sylvain had once asked his father if they were human or if they were a wolf, and his father had only laughed, citing that it was a ridiculous question. They were human, of course, gifted the boon of Death. Sylvain had told him that being a wolf had felt better, and his father had given him a weird look before a feral smile covered his face entirely.
Then, Sylvain’s father had quoted some archaic Gautier family motto and promised him the Lance of Ruin upon adulthood.
Sylvain snaps to attention, trying to pull his human side forward. He imagines standing on two feet, unbalanced and awkward. He thinks of blunted teeth and a shorter tongue, and a dull sense of smell. He blinks, pulling forth those feelings, urging his body to shift back into place. His bones creak and he pants.
It’s not a fun transition and it’s slow going.
“Sylvain,” warns Glenn, which spurs him into action.
Sylvain’s a boy again the moment that Felix rounds the corner. He’s wearing a loose shirt, half-tucked into a pair of trousers. His hair is tousled but his eyes are awake and alert.
“You’re playing without me,” accuses Felix, cheeks pink and eyes narrowed right at Glenn.
“Felix, it’s late,” says Glenn, rubbing at his neck sheepishly. He shoots Sylvain a look that’s half relief and half worry.
“Ingrid’s here. We’re the same age.” Felix pouts and Sylvain finds it adorable. Not that’d he’d ever tell him that; Felix might be a scaredy-cat, but being perceived as one is his biggest fear. He tries to bluff, playing it cool. Especially around Glenn.
“Ingrid is--” But Glenn doesn’t finish, because Ingrid kicks him in the shin.
“If you say that I’m special, I’ll kick you again.”
“But you are--”
Ingrid kicks Glenn again and Glenn lets out a groan of pain. Sylvain winces because he knows that she packs a punch, even with her tiny size. Not that Sylvain’s much bigger. Felix rolls his eyes and crosses his arms.
“A brute, isn’t she?” asks Sylvain in jest, leaning toward Felix.
Felix moves toward Glenn in response, half hiding behind his leg. Sylvain sighs. Felix knows Ingrid, he’s used to her because of her betrothal to Glenn. Sylvain’s still new to him and Felix is a boy that likes the well-familiar. He doesn’t like change.
Glenn sighs, dragging a hand down his face. “I wasn’t planning on babysitting tonight--”
“You said you wanted to play,” says Sylvain.
“And I do, but three against one? That’s a little unfair.”
“Then we’ll just explore,” says Sylvain. “That’s what I wanted to do anyway.”
Glenn thumbs his chin and then cracks a smile. He ruffles Felix’s hair, and then Sylvain’s, and then he presses a dainty little kiss against Ingrid’s knuckles. She makes a face and mimics vomiting in response.
“Exploring it is then,” says Glenn. Then he leans over slightly, his tone pitching soft. “It’s too late to be out of bed though, so we’ll need to keep quiet, alright?”
Ingrid’s eyes flash at that. “Beyond the gate then?”
Glenn shoots her an impish smile. “Beyond the gate,” he confirms. “Just a bit. Should be fine if we all stick together.”
Felix is the one that looks troubled. “Glenn, we’re not supposed too--”
“That’s the point, little brother.” Glenn gives Felix a steady look, brows raised. “Of course, you’re more than welcome to go back to bed.”
“No!” The three of them shoot Felix a look after his outburst, and Felix fidgets behind Glenn’s leg. “I’ll be fine,” he then says bravely, face held high and pert little nose in the air.
Glenn shuffles them to the front gate, a finger held to his lips. He’s on good terms with the gatekeeper, chatting a few friendly words and then slipping a few gold coins into his palm. Then the gatekeeper winks at the kids before turning a blind eye.
Ingrid and Sylvain bounce on their heels, but Felix walks rigidly beside Glenn.
“There’s nothing out here to be concerned about. We’re close to the manor,” says Glenn, ruffling Felix’s hair once more.
“Spooky,” cuts in Ingrid, a delightful little grin spreading across her face.
“I was going to say that I wasn’t scared.”
“It’s alright, you know,” says Ingrid, matter-of-factly. “Glenn will protect us.”
Glenn does, not that it’s hard. The three of them are eager to enjoy their outing, so they play by the rules and keep close to his side. They don’t go far, barely dipping into the trees. They chase each other around, digging underneath rocks and even climb low-hanging limbs.
Even with his dulled senses, Sylvain follows the smells of the wild, his heart beating wildly. He’s entirely unused to the freedom of exploring. While his father actively encourages his wolf, he also keeps him on a tight leash. Ingrid inches closer to him, seemingly having forgotten that he’s more wolf than man, asking him what it is that’s caught his attention.
Felix still shies away when Sylvain tries to engage, albeit with a brave and determined face. He even meets Sylvain’s gaze head-on.
“Glenn’s read me the stories, you know,” Felix says. “I know all about your family.”
“Our fathers think we should be friends.” Sylvain nearly laughs at the way that Felix’s nose crinkles in response. “They are friends themselves.”
“Ugh. Who’d want to be friends with my father?”
Sylvain does laugh this time. “Who indeed?” Rodrigue seems nice at a glance, so different than his own. Sylvain can’t imagine the Margrave with a friend; he barely sees him with his mother. Felix doesn’t come closer or say anything else, but he doesn’t go to hide behind Glenn either.
When they slip back through the front gate, the Duke and the Margrave are waiting for them. Rodrigue stands with his hands clasped behind his back, but there’s a soft hint of a smile on his face, amused.
The Margrave isn’t amused. He stands there tall, arms crossed over his chest and his face hardened into a frown. Sylvain winces at the sight; his father had already been in a sour mood and this will only worsen it.
Glenn stands tall and says, “Father--”
Rodrigue holds up a hand. “Out late I see, and with the others in tow. I hope that your little adventure was fun?”
Glenn’s mouth snaps shut and he nods. “Yes.”
“Good. I’ve played my share of games when I was younger,” Rodrigue says, “but never the night before Royalty is due to visit. I usually waited until Lambert was here.” A pause. “Are you trying to get out of your duty tomorrow?”
“Of course not,” says Glenn.
Rodrigue watches him for a long moment and then sighs. “Phillippe,” says the Duke, turning towards Sylvain’s father. “What are we to do? Extra training? Perhaps a proper spar with Dimitri?”
Glenn turns a little pale at the suggestion and Sylvain doesn’t understand the hesitation. Training with the crown prince doesn’t seem like a too-terrible punishment. Sylvain thinks of worse ones, looking to his father.
He’d rather a bout with the prince.
“You can handle your sons,” the Margrave says, leveling Sylvain with a stern gaze. “I’ll handle mine.”
“They were only having fun. Nothing too egregious, surely.”
“Propriety is still expected,” says Sylvain’s father. “There’s much to be expected from the heir of the Gautier line.”
“Phillippe,” says the Duke quietly, “perhaps--”
“I will handle it,” repeats the Margrave.
Rodrigue drops the subject and nods. “Of course. I didn’t mean to impose.” There’s a pause before he continues with, “My boys will extra rounds in the field tomorrow with Dimitri. You should send Sylvain.”
“Rodrigue,” warns Sylvain’s father.
The Duke turns to Glenn. “Boys, off to bed. Ingrid, you too. I’ll speak to your father in the morning.” He turns to take his leave but then stops to give one last look at Sylvain. Hesitating. But, in the end, all he does is big them a good night.
The moment they’re alone, Sylvain’s father lashes out and grabs the back of his neck roughly, like he would his scruff. Then he tugs Sylvain along, back to the rooms where they’re staying.
His father loves him, Sylvain tells himself. He tries to think of those good moments; being taught how to shift. How to sift through scents and recognize a pack. How to track your prey.
The worse memories always weed their way in, though. Punishments that bend the will, but don’t entirely break it. Just enough to crack the slightest bit under pressure. Like Sylvain kneeling against raw grains of rice.
Or throwing him into the ring with Miklan and coming out with bruises instead. Miklan likes to hit and Sylvain isn’t quite fast enough to always avoid him.
Eventually, his father deems the lesson learned and Sylvain rises on tired limbs. He brushes the rice from his knees as his father calls a servant to come to sweep them up. Sylvain goes to bed, legs aching, but not nearly as busted as he feels.
Your father loves you, he thinks. Your father cares. This is how he teaches.
The older he gets though, the emptier the words feel.
Dimitri is a short little thing with blonde hair styled into the world’s worst square-cut bob. He stands there in the training grounds, feet shuffling awkwardly as he holds a wooden training lance in his hands. Glenn reaches out to ruffle his hair.
Sylvain shoots the crown prince a smile and a wave, and Dimitri returns the gesture, a small smile on his lips. He’s the same age as Felix and a few years younger than Sylvain, but unlike the youngest Fraldarius boy, Dimitri isn’t terrified of everything.
He’s just reticent about sparring.
“Glenn,” says the Prince, “I’m not sure this is a good idea.”
“I agree,” says Glenn bluntly. “The last time we sparred with each other, you broke my rib. I’d prefer the dummies just as much as you.”
Sylvain gapes at the idea that Dimitri could have landed such a hit on Glenn. Dimiri is smaller and slim when compared to the wiry muscle of Glenn. And it’s not that the elder Fraldarius boy is that much older or larger, but he’s more honed in his ability.
Not to mention it’s Glenn’s job to protect Dimitri, not the other way around.
Felix watches the lot of them, standing closer than usual. He and the prince seem to get along well. Ingrid, on the other hand, watches Dimitri through narrowly slitted eyes, arms crossed over her chest.
“You’re holding it wrong,” says Ingrid, pointing to the lance.
“Oh,” breathes Dimitri, changing his grip on the practice weapon, fingers tightening just the slightest bit. There’s a sudden crack as the wood splits between his palms, and Dimitri’s left holding to splintered pieces of teakwood in each hand.
Sylvain’s mouth drops open in surprise, but everyone else seems to have expected it.
Glenn sighs. “Well, better the lance than me this time around, right?”
“This is why I prefer the dummies,” says Dimitri, resigned. He motions for a new lance.
“Glenn, put him in the ground,” says Ingrid none-too-lightly. She’s always rooting for Glenn and Sylvain suspects that she doesn’t find their betrothal as gross as she likes to pretend.
“He’s the prince,” hisses Felix, leveling her with a disgusted look.
Ingrid sniffs. “Put him in the ground, please,” she amends. Then she rolls her eyes. “It’s your job to follow him loyally. I’ll talk about him however I like.”
“Ingrid,” says Glenn, hiding a smirk behind his hand.
“Your highness--” starts Sylvain.
“Dimitri, please,” says the prince. Then he looks at Glenn. “Glenn, do we have to?”
Glenn winces, looking off to the side where his father sits in the shadows. Sylvain’s father is there too, sharing a pot of tea, his dark gaze penetrating as he watches on. Waiting. Expecting. Sylvain swallows thickly.
“It’s a punishment,” sighs Glenn. He rubs at the back of his neck. “We snuck out last night.”
Dimitri looks a little put-out. “You couldn’t wait until I arrived?”
“Well, the plan was to sneak out again, but I think that’s been speared in the foot.” Glenn pauses, eyeing the new lance in Dimitri’s hands warily. “Just keep it below the neck and above the belt, okay?”
Sylvain snorts out a laugh, Felix turns bright red in the face, and Ingrid looks between them utterly confused. Girls, Sylvain thinks.
Sylvain and Felix stand off to the side, watching Glenn and Dimitri stand opposite each other in the center of the field. Glenn isn’t afraid, but he’s hesitant, and once the match is started Sylvain sees why.
Dimitri hits hard without meaning to, seemingly unable to hold back his strength. Sylvain’s watched Glenn spar with others over the last few days, but never quite like this. Glenn usually charges into the fight, blade raised and mind focused, calculating several moves ahead.
With the prince, however, he’s on the defensive, dodging to the side and trying to avoid a glancing blow. You broke my rib, Glenn had said earlier. There’s power behind Dimitri’s sloppy swings and now Sylvain can see just how he’d managed it the last time he and Glenn sparred.
Ingrid looks annoyed that Glenn is only blocking hits instead of giving them, her mouth tugged into a disapproving frown. Felix watches, enraptured. Sylvain knows that he wants to be a knight just like his father and brother. And, just like Felix who’s read about the Gautier family, Sylvain’s read about his in turn.
The Fraldarius’ are born and bred to protect the crown. Felix is no exception.
Finally, Glenn sees an opening and lashes out. Dimitri skids to the side, barely avoiding a glancing blow. He retaliates, sweeping his lance to the side in an arc-- and entirely misjudges his move.
Dimitri trips over his own feet, stumbling slightly. His lance swings wide, flinging towards Sylvain and Felix. He doesn’t see the two of them, preoccupied with finding his footing and narrowly avoiding Glenn.
Sylvain doesn’t think as he feels his bones shift and change, as instinctive as the rough howl he lets loose. One moment he’s a boy and the next he’s a wolf, his coarse fur ruddy under the midmorning sun. He darts forward and grabs Felix by the hem of his shirt and yanks him back with his teeth.
Felix tumbles overtop Sylvain. Everyone in the training yard freezes: Glenn’s eyes are glued to Sylvain. Dimitri stumbles in the opposite direction upon the sight of Sylvain as a wolf. Ingrid stands before Glenn, high-alert like she’s the one who’s going to protect him instead.
And then there’s Rodrigue and Sylvain’s father, the Duke pulled to the edge of his seat, mouth parted as his gaze flashes to Felix, worried. Because he knows that above all, Felix is a crybaby and scared of everything. A ticking bomb, really.
Sylvain’s father doesn’t seem angry, he seems proud, smug even, like the speed of Sylvain’s shift had pleased him. It’d been second nature, Sylvain acting entirely out of instinct.
He sits back on his haunches, heaving heavy breaths. Waiting for Felix’s inevitable yowling. But it never comes. Felix sits up and regards Sylvain with bright eyes and pinking cheeks. He looks at him with a strange mixture of awe and wonder.
Glenn is the first to seem confused.
Then, Felix stands and ambles over to Sylvain. Sylvain barks, tongue lolling out of his mouth, pleased that he’s at least prevented a terrible head wound. Or a fatal one, considering Dimitri’s apparent strength.
Felix rushes forward and wraps his arms around Sylvain’s neck. “Puppy,” he breathes, incredulously. “You’re a puppy.”
Sylvain wants to take offense to that, but he doesn’t. It’s the closest that Felix has gotten to him over the week and all it’d taken was for him to just be himself. Felix’s hands tighten in his fur, scritching over his skin and Sylvain just can’t help the way that his leg kicks at the touch.
Rodrigue looks utterly baffled. Sylvain’s father looks like he’s eaten a lemon and Sylvain can already hear the monotonous speech about how wolves are proud creatures, not pets. But, at that moment, Sylvain rather likes being like a pet, his lineage be damned. His father talks a lot about his future and legacy, but this is the first time that he’s felt like he means something.
“I’ve never been able to have a dog,” says Felix into his fur. “But I guess a wolf as a friend is even better.”
Sylvain licks the side of his face and instead of cringing, Felix laughs, a soft sound like a calm breeze on a warm summer morning.
That’s when Sylvain falls in love, even if he doesn’t yet realize it.
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anywhozits · a year ago
A Christmas Announcement
Rating: T Words: 5172
Verse: Canonverse Pairing: Kristanna
Summary: Kristoff and Anna are excited to finally share the news of their heir-on-the-way with the Kingdom of Arendelle.
Notes: I wrote this last year and forgot to post it, but this is somewhat related to the Christmas fic I’m writing for this year so wanted to get this out before that one! (at least it’s in the same verse and has similar themes, hah) Anyway hope you enjoy and happy holidays!! Thanks for reading :)
The day was Christmas Eve, 1843. A couple years ago, the whole kingdom of Arendelle began celebrating together at the castle’s now officially annual Christmas ball. Something that Anna had begged Elsa to start since the great freeze ended and the doors to the castle became permanently open. It had taken awhile, but finally Elsa caved to her sister’s wishes, likely only partially due to years of internalized guilt for pushing her away, and the ball quickly became one of Anna’s most anticipated nights of the year. Now with Anna as Queen, the tradition continued.
The entire ballroom was filled with glittering decorations, tinsel adorning the sturdy wood beams. Buffet tables sat lining almost the entire left side of the room, filled bountifully with food to feed the whole town and then some. Lefse, lutefisk (the bane of child and teen Anna’s existence), farikal, pickled herring, kjottkaker, salmon, whale steak, sheep, all the traditional favorites. And that, of course, didn’t even including the two tables of desserts and pastries or the sprawling drink selection. A massive 12-foot Christmas tree stood proudly in the right corner of the space, decorated with great care by Anna and Kristoff themselves. Year after year, Anna always insisted she didn’t need any help from the castle attendants, only a few ladders and a few hours of time alone. She always pulled through. The tree—her pride and joy. This Christmas, Anna had also taken the time to pick out hundreds of presents for the Arendellian children and children-at-heart. Kristoff even did some woodworking for the occasion. Highlights included hand carved rocking horses, rolling reindeer on a string, and building blocks. They couldn’t wait for those presents to be torn open by frantic hands, truly cherishing the visual of children playing for hours on the sweeping ballroom floor, both King and Queen watching misty eyed as they imagined their own child playing along next year. A new tradition.
They had hired both a 5-piece band and a choir to make sure that the ball was not lacking in festive music and thus not lacking in dancing. The choir had kicked off the party singing Christmas songs in perfect harmony, the music floating through the castle, making the previously cold stone walls feel more comforting and protective. Guests had started arriving, smiles plastered on each of their faces as they ran through the open castle gates, eyes wide in childlike awe when they entered the ballroom to see the most elaborate Christmas ball yet.
But two people were thus far missing from the party.
Kristoff knocked softly on his and Anna’s chamber door before letting himself in. He saw Anna, dressed to the nines in a green velvet gown topped with white ruffles that hugged her shoulders. Her upper chest was left bare save for a three-layered pearl necklace, an early Christmas gift from Mattias. The sleeves gaped open, lined by white fur that Kristoff knew felt as soft as it looked. Her hair laid atop her head in an intricately braided bun, her gold and emerald crown placed perfectly in the middle, always bringing out the brilliant green that usually hid within her typically cerulean eyes. Kristoff could only think one word. Radiant. Anna was radiant. Sincerely, Anna sparkled. She always sparkled. But something about walking in on her like this, dressed for the ball, so majestic in every single way… made Kristoff feel as if he might cry for the love that grew and blossomed within his heart. A love so permanent… a love so unyielding that he felt it with both a fiery passion and a patient comfort. He took in a breath. Regarding her magnificence for a second time. Her gold shoes sparkled in the candlelight, heels subtle enough to allow her to dance for hours but tall enough to allow her to kiss him without getting on her tip toes. His eyes floated up to her dress yet again. Even though the gown cinched at her waist, Kristoff swore he could make out a little bit of the swell that was their growing child. He took in another breath. She looked ravishing. How could he be so lucky to call her his wife?
But Anna paid no mind to Kristoff, not then. She was looking in the mirror. Frowning. Frustrated.
But still so beautiful.
“Anna, honey, are you ready to go downstairs? The doors are open, and people are flooding in… I think even Elsa and Honeymaren are already here.” Elsa was finishing up the ice sculptures. Her only task this year, something that made her beyond thankful.
“I’m almost ready! I’m just… I don’t know. I don’t feel right. But I can’t put my finger on why.” Anna twirled around in front of the mirror. “The only thing keeping me chugging along is the promise of lots of food. I’m starving.”
“Yes—that was the journal entry for this week. Ravenously hungry. Insatiable I think was the word I used.” For Anna, eighteen-ish weeks pregnant meant the constant desire to stuff her face with literally everything she laid her eyes on. It was like she had this itch that could never be scratched. A deep hole in her stomach that could not ever be fully filled. But the most unfortunate part was that she somehow had recently begun to crave lutefisk. Lutefisk. The food she would have to plug her nose to eat as a kid. Clearly pregnancy made her leave logic at the door. Kristoff sauntered up to her and brought her in close, wrapping his strong arms around her frame, resting them gently on her mid-section, hooking his chin over her right shoulder and kissing her softly on first her shoulder and then her neck and then her cheek before settling back into the crook of her neck. He smiled. This was pure bliss.
Anna entangled her fingers with his own, both resting on her belly. She sighed. “I swear I could eat literally all of Sven right now and only feel a little bit guilty.”
“You’re ridiculous,” Kristoff laughed into her shoulder.
“I’m starving!” Anna pouted, but then Kristoff kissed her neck again softly and she shivered. Too distracting.
“Well, I know for a fact there’s a lot of food in the ballroom if you want to get a move on…”
“I want to, I really do… but. Still. I’m … you know what? I think I know what it is,” Anna said, pulling away from Kristoff suddenly. “You know how a few weeks ago I had to switch to the maternity corset? Because I really uh—popped out that one morning and couldn’t fit into my old one anymore even with the laces practically undone?” One midwife had even said that Anna looked much bigger than what women usually did at this point in pregnancy. Something that she said could mean there was more than one baby on the way…Anna and Kristoff were far too thrilled with that possibility but had mutually decided they didn’t want to get their hopes up if it didn’t come to fruition. Their baby coming into the world already with a friend… already decidedly not alone. It felt almost serendipitous to Anna, but she still refused to think of it more than fleetingly. So for now—one baby. Singular baby.
“I remember,” he said.
“Well, I hate this thing. It’s so … constricting and it hurts and I can hardly breathe let alone gorge myself with disgusting and foul and gross but somehow still super satisfying lutefisk. Like do you really think this is good for the baby?”
Kristoff shook his head. “Probably not—”
But Anna was on a roll. She bulldozed through the answer he gave to her likely rhetorical question. “I know it’s not breathing or anything right? But … it kind of feels like I’m squishing the baby or something and knowing it’s yours and everything it’ll probably be massive so needs lots of room to… get that way. Oh wait no I can’t think about that. Oh God. Massive. Get that image out of my head please. Too big to come out of me and the pain and owwwww.”
Kristoff stepped closer to Anna and hugged her close, stroking comforting circles on her back. “Hey, it’s okay,” he said. She whimpered. “For the record, I don’t think I was too big as a baby. Although, you know… I don’t remember.”
Anna rolled her eyes. “Very helpful.”
“I do have some chocolate to tide you over, though. That’s helpful, right?”
Her eyes lit up instantly, nodding her head in ferocious fervor. “Yes, yes, yes. Super, super helpful. Very helpful. The most helpful of all helpful!” Kristoff reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out maybe six truffles. Anna ate them in a flash. “God, these are so good.” Then she frowned again. “But I can already feel my corset getting tighter! And, you know what? What’s it all for, hmm? So I can better hide I’m pregnant? Yeah that’s right I said the word. So, what? You know, it’s really grating to me that something that really deserves to celebrated is instead something that needs to be … hidden away. Like the expectation for a queen is to be prim and proper and ladylike and pure or—whatever…while also producing heirs upon heirs. So, what happens when the very thought of being ‘with child’ comes with this implication that you’re not pure? Even though obviously I mean it’s way more concerning if you’re married and still pure, right? And I know I’m saying this about royalty and everything but that’s just my situation. Generally it’s definitely not just for queens. This is any woman. The expectation of any woman.  Nobody cares if men are pure. So they’re just producing heirs or kids or namesakes? … left and right and it’s all fine and dandy. It’s just ... really frustrating. And this stupid corset is like the physical proof of this horrible thing and it’s really making me…so—angry.” Anna let out a long breath. It felt good to get all that out. It truly had been building upon itself in this storm of emotions for the last couple weeks. Constantly growing until this moment.
“You know you’re the Queen, right?”
“Uh—yeah. Pretty sure I just talked a lot about that in my little speech.”
“Yes, right. Yes. But I mean… you’re the Queen.”
“Yes, I know. What’s your point?”
“Well, you’ve got the power, baby,” Kristoff said. “Show them how it’s done. You can … make a decree or—or something. Or you can just lead by example. I’ll support you, Anna. You know I’ll support you. And I agree with you, too. The whole thing’s pretty ridiculous. And definitely not healthy for our massive baby.”
Anna crossed her arms over her chest. “Not funny.”
“Take it off, baby. Off with the maternity corset.”
“I want to … but then people will be able to tell, right?”
“You really think they don’t know? Let me ask you this. Truly—how many people do you think are actually in the dark?”
“Uh—I don’t know. Maybe … four?”
“Exactly! Don’t feel like you need to still hide it. The whole castle has known for a long time. You were wearing the maternity corsets! Someone had to make that for you and you know your maids knew right away. Word is out, Anna. We just can’t be open open about it yet. Soon … but you don’t need to hide it. You shouldn’t hide it.”
She contemplated his words for a minute or so before planting a chaste kiss on his lips. “Thanks, husband. You’re the best listener.” He grabbed her hand and gave her a quick twirl, already preparing for the dancing he knew would take up most of his night.
“Always, my sweet love.”
“Now help me get this thing off. Right now. Please.” Anna turned so her back was to him. His large hands wrapped around the velvet buttons of her dress, undoing them at an unparalleled pace. Soon, the dress dropped to the floor and Anna stepped out of it, only standing in her off-white corset and bloomers. The maternity corset had a slightly different shape, dipping lower to cover her entire stomach, and had two extra sets of laces, one on each side that supposedly allowed for more breathing room and expansion along with a growing belly, but Anna disagreed. It felt just as constricting as her usual corset. She jumped in front of Kristoff again. “Off, off, off!”
He obeyed again, large hands undoing the laces but moving closer as he did this, planting periodic kisses on her shoulders. His mind instantly shot back to the first time he unlaced her corset. Years ago.
The beginning of their … exploration was too hurried. They so rarely got time alone and took it whenever they could … wherever they could … as fast as they could. There was never time to take off any clothes. Dress scrunched up her waist, drawers and breeches pushed down to their ankles was the name of their game. But eventually they got bolder. They snuck around in the middle of the night… and in those stolen moments in the moonlight, they had more time. Kristoff remembered ripping off her dress, throwing it into the corner of her room. Turning his attention to her undergarments, working his hands around the laces, trying to figure out how to make this as swift as possible. He smirked. “Is this appropriate?”
“Of course not,” Anna giggled. Kristoff planted kisses on her bare shoulders and then her collarbones. “But when have I ever been concerned with what’s appropriate?”
Kristoff smiled again at the memory. When he finally shot back to reality, he saw that he was almost done with the laces. He pulled the last few and threw the corset far away from them. It landed with an air of dramatics on her dressing partition.
Anna sighed in relief. “God, you’re so much faster at this than my maids.”
“Years of practice paired with years of … urgency.” Kristoff said, smirking.
It had taken him much longer than he felt comfortable admitting to take that corset off that first night, but since then he’d figured out a foolproof strategy.
She turned around to give him a deep kiss. “I’m free. Thank you.”
Kristoff inhaled sharply. She was even more magnificent like this, ballgown tossed to the side.  He brought a hand up to cup her chin and his other drifted down to her stomach. He gave it a rub and she kissed him in response, giggling slightly. “You’re radiant, baby. So beautiful.”
“You really think so?”
“You take my breath away,” Kristoff said, meaning it truly and genuinely from the bottom of his heart. Anna beamed at him, feeling both unparalleled awe and unparalleled respect boiling deep within her soul. She regarded him now. The way the left side of his smile cocked up more than his right, sending him into an eternal mischievous smirk. The way his brown eyes always somehow teemed with an unusual mixture of curiosity and warmth. He was her rock. Her ocean. Her world. And she knew that the same was true for him. She was his rock. His ocean. His world.
Anna tried to put all of those feelings into words. “You—I need you to know that you’re—uh—perfect, Kristoff. Really perfect.” She used this word a lot. He doesn’t like it, he said. It’s not true, he said. He has his flaws, he said. But to Anna, even his flaws were perfect. So, he was perfect.
Kristoff smiled again. Mischievous still. But happy. Pleased. Tonight, he wouldn’t argue with her. He placed his hand on Anna’s swollen belly, rubbing gently. “I like this. Baby is free to be massive now.”
“Oh, shut up and help me put my dress back on,” Anna said through a laugh. “Might be a tough task since my waistline has expanded probably five sizes.”
“I’m up for the challenge.” Kristoff said, pulling desperately hard on either side of her dress before he could button them together. Eventually, he managed. Sure, the button stretched a bit and it threatened to pop off, but he thought maybe it would hold. At least for that evening.
“How do I look?” She gave him a twirl, settling in closer to him and cupping her belly slightly. She loved showing it off. The exciting proof of their future. Of what would come in May. “Ugh. I don’t wanna keep this a secret anymore. This is awful. How I lasted this long—it’s torture! Kristoff! Encourage our little one to make its presence known. Please, please, please.”
He smiled at his wife, dropping to his knees. Rubbing circles on her belly and planting gentle kisses all over before pulling away slightly, both hands still resting on the swell. Kristoff leaned in closer again and whispered, “Hey, little one…your mama and papa love you so much and want to tell the whole world how much we love you so we can celebrate you and love you publicly and—can you stretch out for us or move your little arms and legs or something? Mama and Papa are here for you, watching you grow… loving you…” He kissed her belly again. “We love you, little one.”
“Aww, Kris. You’re so cute.”
He stood up slowly. Waiting to see if it worked. Not that it had in the past… but still hopeful. Nothing. “You ready to go?”
“I’m ready to eat if that’s what you mean.”
They walked hand in hand through the castle hallways, still bursting with the beautiful harmonies of the choir, and finally through the doors of the ballroom. Each and every Arendellian guest turned to watch the Queen and King, or Prince—whatever—consort’s grand entrance. Some even started clapping. Clearly the party was already considered a hit.
Anna noticed out of the corner of her eye that a few of the women had started whispering to each other, their eyes glued to Anna’s midsection. Maybe even saying four people didn’t know was an overestimation.
Come on, little one. Move.
But still nothing.
Instead, Anna’s stomach growled, and she knew she needed to get to the food tables. Pronto. She saw Elsa there, too, finishing up the last of the ice sculptures. A reindeer looking much like Sven perched excitedly by the pickled herring. Perfect. Two birds, one stone.
Anna bounded up to her sister first, skipping in an unbridled excitement. Unfortunately, this excitement was almost purely due to the promise of stuffing lutefisk into her belly which made her mind want to stage a rebellion against her stomach at the very idea. But she paid no mind.
Her fabulous sister, first.
“Elsa, I’m so glad you came!”
Elsa laughed. Remaining calm, of course. As usual. She stood tall as Anna collapsed into her arms. “Of course. I wouldn’t miss your favorite night of the year.”
“Thanks for doing the sculptures, too. Everybody loves them,” Anna said, eyes drifting to the series of sculptures that adorned the space, catching a glimpse of a replica of her favorite snowman and smiling widely. “Especially giant Olaf at the dessert table.”
“That one’s my favorite to make.” Elsa took a step back, away from her sister by a couple paces. She took a moment to gaze intently at Anna, something that apparently had become the theme for the day, pursing her lips while deep in some train of thought. And then, suddenly, the corners of her mouth curled into a giddy grin. She closed the gap between them and whispered in Anna’s ear, “You’re glowing.”
Anna laughed. Elsa’s breath kind of tickled her ear. “I know, right?!”
“Is it weird if I say that I think pregnancy suits you?”
“Whoa, Elsa. That is way out of line. And you said the word pregnant? Shame on you!” Anna’s voice got dramatically low when she uttered the taboo word she didn’t actually think needed to be taboo.
Elsa blushed. “Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t—”
“I’m kidding, Elsa! I agree with you. Will come in handy—you know—because we want lots of babies and everything,” Anna said. “I love the word pregnant, too. It’s so much easier and less awkward than the whole with child or in the family way nonsense. Like talk about beating around the bush. Jesus.”
“You hungry?”
“Oh, God yes. Thanks for reminding me.” Anna turned, reading to make a beeline for the lutefisk. But then she chuckled slightly and spun back to face her sister. “You’ll never guess what I want to eat, though.”
“Lutefisk? You—Anna—want to eat lutefisk?”
“I legitimately want to stuff twenty-five pounds of lutefisk into my mouth right now.”
Elsa laughed in pure shock. “You’re right. I never would’ve guessed.”
“I don’t know if it’s the salt or the disgustingly chewy yet soft consistency that’s getting me going, but it’s doing it. I’m feeling all tingly thinking about it.” Anna shuddered involuntarily How did that sound so good? Truly how? Repulsive. Lutefisk was nothing short of repulsive. “Can you help me fill some plates full?”
“I think your King already has you covered.”
Kristoff, goofy grin plastered on his face, approached the sisters with three plates full of lutefisk and potatoes precariously perched on top of each other. Somehow his left hand held two full glasses of mulled wine.
He passed her a glass of wine and one plate of lutefisk to start. “For you, my love.” He handed the other glass of wine to Elsa who graciously accepted.
Anna attacked the plate. Slurping down the fish in record time. Her face twisted in to some kind of combination of a gag and a smile. “Oh God this is truly horrendous.” Gulp. “Horrid. No…disgusting.” Gulp. “And so grossly…slimy?” Gulp. One plate down. Kristoff handed her the next one. “But also… man oh man does it really hit the spot.”
“I always liked lutefisk,” Kristoff said, taking a piece for himself.
Anna stopped what she was doing and shot daggers at him. “So this is your fault? Lutefisk and a massive … I swear we’re gonna find a way for the trolls to make you go through this next time.”
“You know you love it.” Kristoff smiled mischievously yet again. Taking another satisfied bite of the lutefisk.
Anna pouted playfully and grabbed one handful of lutefisk, flinging it directly into Kristoff’s face. “Trolls.” Another piece. “You.” And another. Kristoff had started opening his mouth to catch the pieces, swallowing in bliss with each successful catch and each delicious bite. “Next.” Anna tried to remain serious, but a smile was toying on her lips. Another toss. “Time.” The grand finale. Anna tricked Kristoff with a fake throw and tossed it into her own mouth instead. He furrowed her eyebrows and looked around, confused. Not having any inkling as to what actually happened. Elsa had started cracking up. Those two. Always getting up to some kind of ridiculous antics.
Anna couldn’t contain her laughter anymore and it came spilling out quickly to the point where she could barely catch her breath. She felt something like gas bubbling in her stomach and tried to calm herself, worried she had upset the whole peace of her body by gorging herself with food and then laughing too hard. But she didn’t have any burp in her… curious. Gassy without gas. Once she had successfully quelled her laughter, she started feeling it again. Gas … or bubbles … or butterflies teeming in her stomach?
Anna outwardly gasped. One hand immediately shot to her abdomen and the other covered her mouth.
Elsa and Kristoff both looked at her curiously, both cocking their head in the exact same way.
“Oh my God it’s happening!” Anna squealed, bouncing up and down so frantically that her mulled wine kept spilling over the cup.
They continued to look at her, confused as ever.
Both her hands rested on her stomach now. “It feels like… all of Elsa’s ice fireworks are going off in here!”
Now Kristoff and Elsa understood. Their eyes widened, they audibly gasped.
Still bouncing, Anna giggled. “Oooh tickly!”
“Anna?!” Kristoff ventured. She beamed at him and motioned him closer. He wrapped one strong arm around her and pulled her in for a hug, other hand staying low, secretly stroking her stomach.
She whispered in his ear. “Can you feel it? Can you feel our little one? At least…I think that’s what’s happening. I’ve never felt anything like this before. I mean gassy but—not gassy…” Plus, mother’s intuition? She just knew this was it. The Quickening. Finally!
He shook his head. “I don’t feel anything. But—I think that’s normal? I can…imagine it takes a while to feel it on the—outside,” Kristoff said, still close to her, hand still firmly on her belly. “But you feel it. Anna, it’s—wow. It’s real. This is happening. I’m so—I’ve never been more—this is the happiest I’ve ever felt.” He kissed her, passionately, on the lips.
“Me too,” Anna said as she pulled away, looking longingly into his fiery brown eyes. Another little flutter resonated through her and she giggled. Pressing her hand and thus Kristoff’s hand deeper into her stomach. “I wish you could feel it.”
“Someday.” He kissed her again.
“Screw the troll idea. You were right. This is so cool. Totally worth the lutefisk cravings.” Their laughter was interrupted by Elsa’s hands looping over both of their shoulders, hugging them tightly. Excitedly.
“Kristoff, Anna! Congratulations. Both of you.”
“Aww, thanks, sister,” Anna said, chuckling into her smile. Noting that Elsa’s cheeks seemed markedly more flushed and she wondered if the mulled wine had already gotten to her. “Wait.” Anna started bouncing again. So enthusiastically that neither Elsa nor Kristoff could keep holding onto her. “This means we can tell people! Oh my gosh can we tell them tonight? Can we, can we, can we?”
“How about right now?”
“Right now?” Anna’s voice cracked. “Right now right now?”
“Let’s go.” Kristoff held out his hand and Anna grabbed it quickly, forcefully. With all the intent in the whole world.
They raced to the small stage where the choir and the band performed. Their royal presence was enough to stop the singing mid-phrase, choir members bowing at attention.
“You don’t need to do that,” Anna said. “Your singing is beautiful, by the way. Thank you for being here. Uh—we just wanted to make an announcement. If that’s okay, of course. We can wait!” Somehow, Anna’s extreme giddiness was still manifesting as a constant and consistent bounce.
The choir singers looked at each other with what Anna perceived as knowing glances, and then nodded for the King and Queen to proceed.
They took center stage, Anna still bouncing, hand-in-hand. “Uh—hello, Arendelle! We wanted to take the time to thank you all for coming to the annual Christmas Ball. We hope you’re enjoying the food and the music and the holiday merriment! We are so happy this has become a tradition, and if I do say so myself, this might be the best ball yet. And not only because of—well, the ball… as of well—tonight, actually, Kristoff and I can finally announce that …” Anna took a moment to scan the crowd of eager faces. Maybe there were more than four who had no idea. “We’re having a baby!” Anna squealed and then screamed, raising her arm and thus also Kristoff’s arm into the air. Kristoff had also let out a few cheers. The crowd applauded, reaching a steady crescendo just as Kristoff picked Anna up and spun her around, giddily laughing, before bringing her face into his hands for a tender kiss. He then dropped to his knees in front of his wife, leaning in slightly, large hands now cupping her belly. Showing off her belly. Celebrating her belly. No more hiding. Just like Anna had wanted. He planted a tender kiss on the curve and the crowd cheered once again. Anna’s hands found their way into his hair and she ruffled it a bit, messing it up in a way she found exceedingly adorable. She turned back to the crowd, Kristoff still rubbing her belly in elation. “Baby Bjorgman is coming at the end of May!” Now Anna noticed a small corner of the crowd exchanging pieces of gold. Of course there had been some bets going on. She wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Kristoff stood up, kissed Anna once more, and then grabbed her hand, interlacing her fingers with his own. Anna took her other hand and cupped her belly, showing the crowd in more detail exactly how far along she was. Exactly. No mind games from any extra clothing. The buttons on her dress were still close to breaking loose. “Oh, and another thing! Maternity corsets are for the birds. It can’t be healthy to wear them all… tight and constricting and—” Without knowing how to control it, Anna shuddered a bit. So happy to be free. And safe. “Besides—let it all hang out, baby!” She did a little dance right then, shaking her rump and rubbing her belly. Laughter echoed throughout the crowd and then a whole conversation stirred. Anna hoped it wasn’t too judgmental… she didn’t want them to think she had taken anything too far.
But no matter. Kristoff was right. As Queen, she could make some rules. She could set some expectations. Even if not well received in the beginning, they could still hold weight.
Kristoff leaned in to whisper in Anna’s ear. “No more secrets.”
She smiled. Thank God. “Shall we celebrate?”
He nodded. “Let’s dance.”
The choir started singing again. The band joined in. The Holly and The Ivy, a Christmas classic. Merriment abound. Merriment all around. Although Kristoff and Anna took the lead, dancing alone for a few minutes, eventually more and more guests joined in. A little bit of Hallingdansen, a lot bit of pols, and the most bit of Kristoff taking advantage of the fact that the whole kingdom knew how overjoyed they were with the news of their growing family by essentially hardcore smooching in the middle of the dance floor. Their tongues had a good time dancing the Halling, too, and they paid absolutely no mind to the fact that all eyes were on them. Maybe the mulled wine was getting to them, too, or perhaps it was simply euphoria. Between the kisses, Kristoff frequently dropped to his knees to kiss Anna’s stomach or rub excited circles over the curves during the dances. Anna giggled each time, noticing that the flutters seemed to come in more enthusiastic waves when Kristoff’s hands or lips came in contact with her belly.
This felt good. To finally have the freedom to really celebrate. True bliss. True happiness. The best of all the past Christmas Balls. And they had a feeling no future ball could ever compare.
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tbgblr · a year ago
Jason and Sam’s Tale
 “Thats it Claire, nice strong push now. Keep it going, 10 seconds for me, push push push push. Good girl, now relax, we can really see the head.” 
The sound was coming from the television in the room, occupied by a couple in their late twenties, Jason and Samantha – though she much preferred to be known as Sam – were expecting their third baby. 
In fact, they were expecting it imminently – Sam had been in labour for over 8 hours now, and the couple were spending their time waiting for things to happen by watching marathons of birthing television shows, hoping the baby finally got the hint and got a move on.
The couple’s other children were safely away from the action at one of the grandparent’s houses so the couple could enjoy the intimacy of the moment without any prying eyes. 
Sam’s previous labours had all been at hospital, and whilst they all went smoothly and without incident, she always felt that she missed something in the sterile environment, and would much rather prefer something where just her husband and herself could be themselves. They didn’t inform their midwife of this, they decided that they wouldn’t alert her to anything unless it became absolutely necessary. In order to ensure that all bases were covered, they booked a hotel room in one of the chain that Jason worked at which was only 5 minutes away from the hospital – this also meant that they didn’t have to worry about cleaning up the mess after the birth… Jason made the cleaning team aware of what he was planning and agreed to help out by paying for the room for a day longer than he needed so it could be thoroughly deep cleaned after he finished. 
Both of the couple had found something incredible during their last two labours – they both shared a passion for sexuality during the act of birth. Both were very sexually active during their pregnancy and found this spilled over to their experience of birthing – during the first labour, they both experienced a revelation, and during the second labour, both cursed themselves that they couldn’t fully let loose and enjoy themselves when strapped to monitors with doctors popping in and out all day. 
Sam was stood behind a sofa, hands gripped into it, swaying her hips idly from side to side. “Alright for her” she muttered “Shes bulging nicely, this one wont even get a shift on” she moaned. She wore a hotel robe, but it was unfastened, displaying her naked body underneath, her large pregnant stomach making her unable to fasten the robe even if she wanted to. Jason got up from the sofa and walked around – he was also completely naked at this point in time - pulling the robe down a little and kissing his wife on the back of the neck “I think someone needs some encouragement” he chuckled, as his hands reached around the front of the robe, and gripped on to his wife’s nipples, rubbing them back and forth through his fingers “nipple stimulation always did the trick in the past.” 
Sam’s legs practically buckled under the pleasurable touch, but she recovered and drove her ass into her husbands crotch instead. She looked up as the woman on the TV was focused purely on pushing, her grunts and whimpers the only sound. Her face was red and scrunched up. “Poor girl” Sam muttered “say’s its her first, I can remember what that was like” 
“Mmmmh so can I” Jason spoke in a breathy tone close to Sam’s ear “your slit all stretched out and widening for our not so little babies head, your sexy little squeaks, groans and moans as you pushed it out of you, your legs held back and your opening wide enough that I could probably have fit my whole fist in there” 
“Oooh talk dirty to me in bed Mr Stud” Sam practically roared, turning around and pushing Jason backwards so he fell back over the edge of the bed “Fuck this baby out of me, right now!” She shrugged off the robe, her naked form shown in all it’s glory. 
Jason didn’t have to be told twice. “Climb on” he purred, his wife complied, shimmying up the bed and straddling him, her pussy resting just above his cock which was standing proud and firm. Jason simply let out a groan as he felt the tease on the end of his shaft, bucking his hips up to slide into his waiting wife. Sam braced herself by placing her arms on his shoulders and helped get a nice deep penetration by slamming herself down onto her husband, feeling every inch of him as his shaft slid up her waiting hole. 
“Aargh” roared the voice on the television, the head of the baby finally popping out. The couple weren’t taking much notice of the show at this precise moment however, they were far too preoccupied with their own lovemaking. 
Sam’s body of course chose this moment to have an intense contraction, the strongest one she had felt as of yet. She moaned deeply, collapsing onto her husband, the hardness of her contracting belly pressing deep into him. Jason hugged her close, feeling his cock being taken within the contracting muscles of his wife. The sensations push him over the edge, and he sprays his warm sticky cum into her. Whimpering as the sensation still overpowers her, Sam can only simply kiss her husband, her fingers practically digging into Jason’s skin as she can’t focus on anything but the pain at that moment.
Finally, thankfully, the pain subsided as Sam’s fingers relaxed and Jason felt her extract herself from his shaft. “Sorry, really bad one there, I’m sure you’re partially at fault for it though, so sorry, not sorry!” she grinned sheepishly. “Don’t worry, I’m here to be abused as you need to as long as you get that baby out of you” Jason replied. “Sweet, but lets try and leave you without any permanent scars” replied Sam, wincing at the red welts which were appearing on Jason’s skin from where her fingers dug in. 
“Congratulations Claire, a nice healthy baby boy, 8 pounds 5 ounces” announced the midwife on the television channel as the mewling newborn was raised to its mothers belly for some ‘skin on skin’ contact. 
Sam’s eyes started to water up “oooh so magical that moment” she said between sniffs. 
She lay down next to Jason, her pregnant belly resting on his torso, as she got as much body contact as possible. Jason slipped his arm over her shoulder and cuddled her in tight. The couple continued their kissing and fondling as the credits rolled on the show. 
“My back...” commented Sam, as a new contraction started to build “…needs some action, right now!” as she lifted herself up from her reclining position, swinging her legs over the side of the bed and leaning forward, her elbows resting on her thighs with her head in her hands, brushing her fingers through her hair. Jason wriggled around and pressed his hands into his wife’s back, kneading up and down trying to find the sweet spot of counter pressure which would relieve his wife’s pain. “Up, left, left a bit more, there, aahhhhh” groaned Sam as the aching muscles were pressed into submission by her husband. “I love you, you know how to hit all the right spots” she cooed. “I love you too sweetness” Jason replied, brushing the back of his wife’s hair away from her neck and once again laying his lips on there. 
“Something different happened there” announced Sam, “can you check me?” she asked. “Sure thing, swing your legs back up here” offered Jason. As Sam scooted back onto the bed, she spread her legs exposing her pussy, dripping with the remnants of Jason’s cum from his recent exploit. Jason didn’t bat an eyelid as he slid his fingers into his wife “sorry, can’t understand why its so messy down there” said Sam, feigning a coy tone.
 “I know why it felt different at least” said Jason “I can feel your bag of waters right there. Want me to break it?” he asked “No… want to let it happen naturally” admitted Sam “as few interventions as possible, remember.” Jason nodded “Sure thing baby. However I’ll be honest, I’m completely clueless how these doctors check for dilation, can feel a lip there, and the bag of waters, but could I hell tell you how wide it is.” Sam felt Jason’s finger inside her trace around her cervix. “the waters are bulging a bit, can’t actually feel the baby in there, just poking a water bomb at the moment” 
“OK thanks” Sam accepted Jason’s assessment “I’ll just let my body do this how it wants to then, I’ll push when I need to. Now get out, that isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world” 
“Oh really” Jason grinned “I seem to remember you saying you liked things filling you all the way back there” “Yes,” admitted Sam “but your delightful cock doesn’t have fingernails on it dear” 
The next show started in the series, announcing this time an experienced mother was having a homebirth, and she allowed the cameras into their home for an “intimate no holds barred look at the reality of birth.” 
“This looks like a good one” says Jason, watching snippets of the show before the starting credits roll, showing the mother naked in a paddling pool. “Oh you just like the boobs and the belly” chastised Sam “and the pushing and stretching!” interrupted Jason. “shame the tub is so small here” commented Sam “could do with a waterbirth, haven’t had one before.” Jason perked up “there’s always next time.” Sam groaned as a contraction picked up intensity “lets just get this one finished first before we talk about a next time” she winced, as the contraction subsided she was forced to pant audibly “they’re getting really strong now.” 
“Feeling pushy yet?” asked Jason “No… definite pressure, must be the bag of waters, but no real urge to push yet.” advised Sam “but don’t think its going to be much longer if this pain is anything to go by, I remember this from last time” 
As the show went by, both watched practically in silence, excepting Sam’s moans and wails as each contraction picked up in intensity from the one before it. Yet still the waters had not broken. Sam practically held Jason’s hand for the entire duration of the show, Jason doing what he could to help ease the pain with rubbing his wife’s aching muscles and kissing her passionately. He felt terrible at this stage of the labour – he was aware there was nothing much he could do, it was his wife’s body doing all the work at this stage, but it felt bad to be powerless to help. 
“Jason, I need to push” were the first words spoken in around 20 minutes, coming at the end of a particularly difficult contraction “think I'm going to need to start doing something on the next one.” Jason practically jumped up at his wife’s words, “your waters haven't broken yet, are you sure?” he asked a little perplexed. “Doesn’t always happen and you know it” Sam commented, as she splayed her legs open wide and grunted “no… need to push” she grabbed her thighs and pushed her chin to her chest. She gave a nice long push, finally releasing with a gasp, repeating again as the contraction continued. Finally as the contraction subsided she looked up at her husband “see anything?” 
“Nothing yet, but you looked pretty damned hot doing that” admitted Jason, admiring his wife with her legs splayed. “I put on quite a show, I’ll admit” Sam chuckled weakly, too preoccupied with the labour to focus on much else. “Here we go again” she moaned as the contraction quickly ramped up, grabbing her legs once more and pushing hard. She huffed and puffed between contractions for several minutes. Jason scrambled to the bed to be between her legs, his cock visibly erect once more. 
Sam looked up as the contraction subsided to see her husband in full salute so to speak and licked her lips. “My my big boy, you are enjoying the show aren’t you” she grinned “almost makes it worth it to get away from the hospital to give me something to concentrate on other than contractions.” Jason flushed red, surprising considering where the rest of the blood in his body was flowing towards and simply commented “you’re bringing new life to me, and looking sexy as hell doing it” as Sam once more pulled her legs back and groaned loudly as the contraction intensified. 
Jason stroked his shaft as his wife struggled before him, caught somewhere between concern and ecstasy – they had both dreamed of this intimate labour before, and were unable to do it, but Jason feared that his wife would need him more than she was currently appearing to do. Jason stared down at his wife’s crotch and announced “I see something” as suddenly the bag of waters that were starting to bulge through his wife’s slit burst and showered him in a gush of water. “Sorry” announced Sam, her hand going to her face in embarrassment, “must have put a lot of pressure in behind it” 
Jason looked quite comical in the aftermath of his soaking. The bursting of the water sac had gushed over his entire body, face and all. He was dripping in amniotic fluid. “Don’t say anything else,” he commented “bit of an occupational hazard for being down here I guess.” 
“Oh fuck!” exclaimed Sam as the next contraction picked up “the waters must have masked some of the force, it hurts so much more now” she wailed, once again holding her legs back. Finally, Jason noticed the telltale signs of the baby about to be birthed – the filling of her vaginal entrance as the skin stretched to start accommodating the head. He excitedly announced “you’re nearly there, can definitely see something happening” his hand rubbing his cock speeding up. 
“I know, I can feel it, so much pressure” Sam advised “how do I do this each time” she gasped as the contraction subsided and the bulge noticeably reduced. Once more she pushed in time with her body and finally her labia parted and showed the first signs of the baby trying to get out from within her. “There, the teardrop shape” commented Jason. “Show me” roared Sam, mid contraction. Jason wondered what he could use to show his wife her progress, when he realised. Sam puffed out her breath as the contraction subsided, and once again the head retreated to show only the bulge in her pussy. 
“Not going anywhere” Jason advised as he got up off the bed, Sam looking in a panic at him, “just grabbing these” as he grabbed their two phones. Starting a video call between the 2 handsets, he handed one to his wife and showed her the view from the back camera focused on her crotch. She held back tears as she saw the bulge then suddenly announced “you get one leg” as she grabbed her other one and pulled them back. Jason helped where he could, pressing his wife’s other leg back, and focused the camera on her opening, where she saw the first view of her baby peeking out from between her folds. “Thanks for the wonders of modern technology” she sighed as the contraction subsided. This time the head still showed a small amount after the contraction. 
Before the next contraction begun, Sam balanced the phone on her belly so she could keep an eye on it, whilst Jason wrapped a strap on his and placed it around his neck. It wasn’t the most steady of methods of getting the picture, but it left his hands free for other activities. 
Sam returned to holding both her legs back with her hands, groaning loudly as more of the head tried to push it’s way out of her, Jason continuing to pump his shaft, the camera bouncing around a little as his arm moved back and forth. His other hand reached down to his wife’s crotch and folded the lips of her labia back, trying to make some room for the baby. “The oil” groaned Sam. Jason nodded and jumped off the bed once more, the camera picture resting on her belly swinging wildly as Jason moved around the room. Grabbing the oil from the table, he smeared some on his hand, and applied it to Sam’s crotch, spreading it around her lips. 
“Camera” shouted Sam, as Jason looked down and saw the phone had become rotated around so the camera was taking an image of his chest. He corrected it as once more Sam wailed as the babe within her assaulted her delicate walls. Sam held back tears of frustration as she pushed, feeling to her like it was an endless torture. She’d been through this several times before, so she knew what to expect, but each time it happened, it didn’t make it any easier, or so she felt. All in all, she had been pushing for a further 10 minutes, and the head was making good progress, though it wasn’t yet at a full crown. 
Finally, Jason groaned “can’t hold it in any longer” as his pumping shaft released a splurge of cum, shooting over Sam’s crotch and lower belly. Sam paid no attention to the frosting she had just been given as her mind was focused entirely on the delivery. She whimpered “burning, oh fuck it burns” as she pushed hard once more and the head finally reached a crown. Still mid-push she couldn’t stop herself as Jason insisted “pant, don't push” but Sam wailed “nothing I can do...gahhh” as the head is finally fully birthed and the lips of her vaagina retreat down the slope of the head and fix around the baby’s neck with an audible slapping sound. 
“Well done baby”Jason proudly announced, “you’ve managed the head.” Between gasping pants, Sam urgently said “check for the cord, quick!” which Jason realised at the same time and darted between Sam’s legs. The picture of the squashed head showing signs of a long labour suddenly left Sam’s screen as the picture jumped around whilst Jason did his work of checking for the cord “nothing there to worry about” he announces. “You’re good to go.” 
“Thank fuck for that” Sam moaned, as her legs droop down, her own hands cupping the head of the baby under her belly. She saw her hands on the screen cradling the head as it rotated to allow the shoulders to pass “should be one more good push now.” She didn’t need to wait too long before the familiar tightening returned, and with a loud grunt she both pushed and simultaneously pulled the baby from within her, as it left her body, another wash of fluid followed it out. “Daughter” is all she could manage between gasping sobs as she checked the sex of the baby, holding it to her chest. 
On the television, the show had moved on and coincidentally another mother has just given birth to her own baby. “Maybe we should do that next time” said Jason. “Fuck no...” commented Sam, wiping the dripping cum from her belly. “I don’t think you could do that on the television?”
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