stepped through the portal, and two things happened at once. They physical
strain increased, like a punch in the gut, and the mental strain eased. That
part of her she tried to hide from, the S'Hean part that had been yearning
for this place, relaxed. She leaned heavily on Galain as S'Hea's gravity
tore at her, the next contraction hitting her so hard she screamed, tailing
off into exhausted sobbing.
Then she raised her head. Something was different. She stared in utter
incomprehension. "Ro? What the hell?" Hysterical laughter burbled
up. "You look like shit."
about how I feel," Ro muttered to Ghet before following the couple
inside. Watching Galain he hung back a little leaning on the wall as he
waited for his body to adjust. "That is one insistent little boy,"
he said to the redhead, flashing her a weak smile, "Not that I'm
As Galain moved away Y'Roden came around the side of the pool and crouched
on the edge beside Ghet's head. "Give me your hand Ghettie," he
said softly, "I can help with the pain."
lowered her naked, aching body into the water, whimpering as the water took
some of the weight, easing the strain. She watched Galain leave with a
gentle smile on her face, then turned to Ro. "I'll probably break all
your fingers, you know that, don't you." Tears leaked from her eyes,
and scrubbed them away impatiently. "He's determined. He wasn't coming
without you." She could feel that quite clearly now, in the difference
between the previous struggle and the calm acceptance she felt now. He'd
been quite prepared to torture both his parents to get what he wanted.
She took Ro's hand and raised it briefly to her lips. Her heart ached for
what this must be costing him, what it would still cost him in future, the
division it must cause in his marriage. But she knew, this was right.
"I'm glad you're here, Rodi. I hate to think... oh, holy... WHY DIDN'T
I TAKE THE BLOODY PAIN GODDESS?! SHIT!!" Pride went out the window, and
she shoved the pain away from her, out towards both men. They could bloody
well be useful for something...
Well, it wouldn't be the first time
a woman had crushed his hand during labor. He smiled and gave her hand a gentle squeeze, right before she kept
her word and nearly snapped a few digits. It was the wall of pain hitting
him that caught the S'Hean elf off guard though, and he catapulted head
first into the pool with a howl of surprise.
It was really, really hard to laugh right now,
but Ghet was trying. She'd been irritated briefly, but the annoyance had
faded with the pain. Except this time the pain hadn't let go all the way, it
was still there, lurking in the background. She was trying not to show it.
A moment later he resurfaced, spluttering, his arm twisted behind his back
seeing as Ghet still had his fingers in a vice grip. "Bloody hell! I
should have seen that coming!" It took him a moment to get sorted out
and turned around without disturbing the pregnant lady, his eyes a little
wild as he drew on the Aethyr and started drawing runes across her skin.
"Ok... just hang on Ghettie ... I'm trying."
"And what would you have done
if you'd seen it coming? I guess you could have got your pants off. That
must be uncomfortable. Sorry about that."
She didn't need to say it, Ro could
feel it. His emerald greens flickered up to meet her gaze for a moment,
concern in their depths. He had been through this enough times to know when
something didn't feel right. "I've had worse sensations than wet
leather trousers," he said. His fingers stroked over her skin in a
rhythmic pattern, a glowing design of runes forming beneath them on Ghet's
abdomen. "Relax," he said in a softer tone, "Don't worry
about a thing. You are what is important right now. Galain and I will
deal. I think for once in our lives we can agree on just this one
Ghet laid her head on the edge of
the pool and shut her eyes for a moment. Time was starting to drift on her,
as if it was moving really fast and yet she was stuck in just one moment.
She knew something wasn't right, and yet she wasn't really worried. Whatever
happened would happen, and there was no point in panicking about it. Still,
she said, "Don't look at me like that and tell me to relax. You know I
can feel you. That's nice, though." Even with her eyes closed,
drifting, she could 'see' what he was doing.
Ghet looked up when Galain came in
and smiled, and then the smile faded. She didn't have a lot of spare energy.
Yet she couldn't help but understand why he felt like he did. Still, perhaps
it was best not to be able to handle long discussion. "You. Come here.
I mean, in here, right now. If you're smart, you at least will manage to
take your pants off first." I need you, anarnya, please.
Galain couldn't help but give
Y'Roden a double take. Did the guy really have his pants on in the water? He
raised an eyebrow and then nodded.
flickered up for a moment when Galain entered the room, then returned to
Ghet. He didn't have the time or energy for anything but her and their child
at the moment.
"Yes, dearest," he said meekly and shucked off his trousers. That
was all he'd on as well and was in the water quickly enough. He was here for
I'm right here. No nonsense from me, I promise. Let's just get this baby
born. He kissed her ear and instinctively slid his hand behind her until
he found the small of her back which he rubbed in tiny tight circles.
Have you decided on a name yet?,
he asked, We are going to need to know before he gets here.
And yes, Ro had his pants on, and for once, they were going to stay on.
Ghet leaned back against Galain's
hand, seizing the moment of respite from the pain. She looked at him, looked
at Y'Roden, and the whole situation suddenly seemed rather absurd. There'd
been a time when she would have given a lot to get them both into a
situation like this - minus the whole baby thing, of course. She started to
giggle, knew it wasn't helping, tried very hard to stop, made it worse, and
lay helpless against Galain's arm laughing until she had to fight another
wave of pain.
"Sorry," she muttered, fighting for her breath. She had to wonder
what the pain would have done to her mind by now if it weren't for the men.
"What were we talking about? Oh, names. You want me to make a decision now?"
She tried to think. She knew, the only way to keep the peace was if she
chose the name. She was the connection point here.
And the pain was wearing her down, so much. This was not the kind of
pain she liked.
Her relationship with pain had always been kind of dodgy. Even from this
pain, she would gain something. The thought of finally seeing the child whom
she'd been aware of for so long. She would hold him, and there would be
reward for all she'd endured. It was only right that his birth should be
steeped in pain, just like his conception had been. So much pain, and then
there would be joy, surely, after so long. Pain... joy... She remembered so
many hours, in the caves, debating long into the night... it was the closest
thing the People had to a heresy, though they would never use the word.
Still, it hadn't been entered into the Rolls. It wasn't one of the Joys. Rhagi...
She had given too much of her soul away, and stopped arguing. She could not
share what she knew, that pain could bring the profoundest
She smiled. "I shall do as my mother did with both her children. She
named us after the Joys. So my son shall be a Joy as well. His name will be
Rhagi. It's the Joy that comes from Pain." She relaxed briefly,
relieved, and then tensed again as the pain returned. She waited for it to
fade, and it didn't, it kept building. She felt a shift in her son. She
leaned forward, between the two men. It wouldn't stop, how could she get her
breath if it didn't stop, let go of her. Just for a moment, please.
Helpless, she wept, clinging to both men, demanding their strength.
It was Ghet's especial delight in
the absurd that usually led to the sort of hysterical giggles she had just
dissolved in and Galain didn't grow alarmed. He just let her ride out the
laughter, a small smile playing at his own lips. He held her and stroked her
hair as she explained how she was naming her son and the elf's heart nearly
burst with something indefinable -- pride? deep love? awe?
Joy from pain.
A soft smile flickered across
Y'Roden's features. Ghet could not have picked a more perfect name for their
son. It defined them, their boy, their relationship from day one. It had
always been joy from pain, and Rhagi would be the ultimate outcome of that.
No matter what it was costing either of them, Ro could never regret this
For an indeterminate time, Ghet
clung to both men, unable to speak in the grip of a pain that only waxed and
waned, never ceased. She sensed her son's implaccable little will: he was
coming, and he would bend her body to his purpose, regardless. She could not
have a moment to gather strength, from now on there would be no break for
any of them until he was born.
After a solid moment of blinding
white pain, she decided he was a proper little something. There was a
horrible, tearing, top-note pain that cut through all the rest, and she
realised, it was time to start working. She pushed sweaty hair out of her
face and grimaced in Ro's direction. Ready? Cause I don't think he cares
if you are or not.
helped out with the sweaty hair around Ghet's face and he nodded. I've
been ready for months.
If she's had a hand free, and the strength, and the concentration
to spare, she would have smacked Y'Roden over the head. Well good for
you. You'd be the only bloody one. Well, you and him. This is all
some kind of conspiracy, isn't it? I'm doomed to D'Riel men trying to
control my life.
She leaned heavily on Galain. Ro would shortly have his hands full. Oddly, now that she could do
something useful, it didn't seem to hurt so much. She could concentrate on
pushing with the peak of each contraction, they served a purpose. Okay, it
still hurt, but it was different. It was wearing, too, and it was impossible
not to yell.
Y'Roden shot a look at Galain, he
was a little wide eyed by this point. He was beginning to see the mechanics
involved here. Summerlin and Silverthorn were both larger than Ghet ... but
of course it had never occured to him. S'Hean women were tiny by nature,
which was perhaps why they went they water birth route. Ghet was mostly
human ... sort of, and built differently from the Elves that had borne
Y'Roden's other children.
"Ghettie ... are you going to be ok? Do you want me to send for a
S'Hean Healer?" Worry shadowed the depths of his emerald eyes, and a
tinge of fear. He had lost two children and nearly lost a third ... a
Father's worst nightmare. Three women had died carrying his children, the
odds were frightening.
"No," said Ghet. She meant
it to be a calm, reasoned refusal of the healer, but it sounded more like
the sort of defiance that could result in someone losing a limb. No-one else
was getting in here. Then her teeth stopped clenching and she let out an
unholy roar. Each push she managed to summon increased the awful pain. If someone
had offered her the alternative of dying right now, she might well have
taken it. She was so tired...
The look she gave Ro was desperate. "You can just pull him out now,
Ro shot another look at Galain, who
wasn't looking any more confident than the expectant Father was at the
moment. "No love, I can't just pull him out." Later he would think
about his next sentence and cringe, "Just ... let me get between your
legs here and see what I can do to help." The S'Hean elf shifted in the
water and actually managed an apologetic expression in Galain's direction
before he did what he was here to do.
"Ok Ghettie ... you are almost there, one more good push and his head
will be out." The half-elf looked up at her, his expression
indescribable, "You can do this ... it's ok. Just another minute and
you'll be holding our boy."
Ghet was either laughing or crying,
she couldn't tell which. "Promise?" she asked Ro hesitantly. It
would be over, it would end. She leaned heavily on Galain, sucking
down the comfort of his presence.
Y'Roden's move seemed perfectly natural. He was here to take their son, so
that was where he was going to have to be. Their son... When the next
contraction came, she scraped up the last of the strength they had between
the three of them, and bore down, pushing to the point where she knew she
couldn't do it any more, and then further, pausing only to breathe in again.
In desperation, she reached out to her son with her mind and willed
him to come.
"Yes! Here comes his head
Ghettie!" A hysterical laugh barked out of Ro as the baby's head
crowned into his hands. Now for the hard part. The half-elf's son had
apparently inherited his Atto's rather broad set of shoulders. "One
more good hard push Ghet, and then you can rest." Y'Roden's eyes were a
riot of conflicting emotions when the flickered up to met Ghet's for a brief
moment. "You can do it ... you're almost there."
Ghet raised her head and gave Ro a
vicious glare. She couldn't believe she was doing this and it was all his
fault. One more? She'd used all she had. "I am never having sex
with you ever again."
short sob she sucked her breath in again and pushed, sure she was going to
burst some internal organs if she had to keep this up any longer. There was
an awful, wrenching pain, and then such a strong sense of relief she started
to weep, her head falling back onto Galain's shoulder, her eyes closing.
She'd look in a minute...
A horribly perplexed look crossed
Ro's features for a moment and he opened his mouth as if to say something.
Then thought better of it and shut up. Which was likely a good thing, since
he was a little busy bringing his son to the surface of the water.
A first breath of air was drawn, then an angry bawl of protest released from
healthy lungs. Ro fairly beamed at the tiny life he held in his hands;
taking in the downy, blondish red hair, and when they were finally opened,
the intense emerald green eyes of a D'Riel. "Suilad Rhagi Riker
D'Riel," the Prince greeted his child in his native tongue,
On the edge of Ghet's consciousness,
there was a sound like the world's most enraged kitten. She opened her eyes, and the intense weariness she felt
seemed to vanish.
Ghet had seen babies
before, but none had really touched
her, or even impressed her as being real.
She looked at her son in Y'Roden's arms and her heart stopped.
She raised a wet hand to wipe tears away rather futilely.
"Look at him," she said, her voice shaking with awe.
"My gods. He's so
beautiful. He's the most wonderful thing I've ever seen."
The look on Ro's face made her immensely proud, for some reason she
couldn't quite define.
And her arms ached.
"Let me hold him, please. You
have to, anyway, you can't cut the cord if you're holding him."
"Here we go," Y'Roden's
voice had taken on the gentle tone he used with all of his children.
"Mummy wants to see you." The D'Riel web was virtually humming
with Rhagi's presence and Ro's soul was afire with the bond that only a
S'Hean elf could share with their child. Eyes literally glowing he smiled
softly at Ghet and tucked their son safely into her arms.
His favoured dagger appeared in his hands and he was just about to cut the
cord when his eye caught Galain. The half-elf hesitated for a moment,
shifting emotions flickering in his emerald greens. His expression settled,
finally, and he held out the dagger to the Elen hilt first.