1866-06-11: Birth
Summary: Alina gives birth to her twins.
Date: 1866-06-11
Related: The Time Has Come


Gavin  Nadia  

With Hallucinations of

Tristan  Gabriel  

Warnings: Some graphic medical stuff, blood. Drug use.

All that Alina knows is that there was something wrong. She expected pain, she expected fear, but not like this. The midwife had sent for a t'Andalucci healer, which was enough to let Alina know that something had gone terribly wrong.

She tries to distance herself from pain, tries to focus on anything else so she could think, so she could ask. But no, that wasn't possible. Instead, she has to listen to some little snip of a girl reminding her to breathe when of course she was breathing, wasn't she? She was still…

Oh, she had been holding her breath. She forces herself to breathe in, breathe out… at least a few times.

Time is measured in spikes of stabbing pain.

When the two healers from house t'Andalucci arrive, Mistress Cadence, the midwife Alina so abhors, is relieved. "The babes won't turn," she says as the man and woman are escorted into the room by the serving girl. "And there's bleeding. A lot more than should be this early."

Lord Gavin t'Andalucci nods grimly, surveying the room and then moving to the bedside. "Hello, Alina," he says soothingly. His hands ghost over her stomach, as he begins his examination. All things in their due time, to rush anything might be fatal. He continues to speak in soothing tones to her as her checks her over, feeling the position of the twins, checking everything he needs.

The second healer, Mistress Nadia Siani, watches the examination with a frown. "When did the bleeding start?" she asks the midwife.

"Ah, not too long ago," Mistress Cadence says, "my lady…?"

"Mistress." She was the mistress, the lover of the heir to House Andalucci and a talented healer in her own right. "Nadia Siani."

The midwife frowns some. "I will address my concerns to his Lordship then—"

"You will not," Nadia says icily. "You will not interrupt him."

There is a cold silence that settles over the room, broken only by Alina's ragged breaths and occasional muffled sobs.

Finally, the second son of Viscount t'Andalucci turns away from his patient. "You tried to take them too soon," he says grimly. "But it is too late to stop it now."

The midwife's mouth opens and closes like a fish out of water. "She… she was starting her pains—"

"She could have been calmed and the pains ignored. They would have stopped." Gavin's gaze moves from the midwife to Nadia. "Put her into twilight. I will prepare to remove the babes."

Nadia nods, setting the bag she carries on the desk in the room. She withdraws several vials and a small, clean cup, pouring the contents of one of the vials in entirely and drips and drabs of others, stirring with her finger. Finally satisfied, she takes another vial she had not used and palms it, then moves with the cup to the head of the bed and runs her drug-wettened finger along Alina's lower lip. "Just a touch, dear. Just into twilight."

The midwife stands by the wall, wringing her hands and watching with concern. "What are you doing? You cannot give poppy to a birthing mother—"

"Be silent or leave," Gavin says calmly, preparing a short, thin blade by dousing it with a combination of liquids.

Alina licks at the liquid involuntarily, only to have it replaced with just a little more. And a little more. Her eyes close as the worse of the pain dulls. Another few drops, and her eyes flutter.

"A few moments more," Nadia murmurs.

"A few moments more," Tristan's voice murmurs in her ear. "A few moments more with you, my love."

"My love…" Alina murmurs back. She can feel his arms sliding around her, holding her. She would always be safe when he was there with her, wouldn't she?

Blonde hair turns brown, and the voice changes. "Of course you will be safe, woman. I would die before I allow harm to befall you."

Alina snuggles into the warmness and safeness of his arms. Arms that shift from wiry and firmly set around her to muscular and hesistant and back again…

"She's in twilight, Gavin," Nadia says simply. Her finger remains poised over the rim of the cup, ready to give the girl a few more drops when needed. Maintaining a patient in twilight is an artform, and takes great skill.

The girl murmurs in half-sleep, first one name, then another. Nadia allows a small smirk to curl her lips, and shakes her head. "Men make fools of us all, girl," she says quietly. "You should be able to cut now," she glances up to Gavin.

Gavin nods, bringing his blade down to Alina's bared stomach. The midwife lets out a gasp. "Ghouls! You cannot—!"

"SILENCE." Gavin's voice brooks no argument. "If you interrupt me again, I will have the Wraiths remove you."

Big Pie nods grimly from the chunk of wall his large frame had been leaning against.

"But… no…" Mistress Cadence pleads. "You cannot do this, exchange her life for the babes. I swore to her father she'd survive—"

"I said silence. This is your final warning."

And he carefully, so carefully, begins his incisions.

"It hurts," Alina murmurs into his neck. "I'm afraid." Tears well up, and again she is in the ruins, hiding from a terror she had never imagined.

"I would have fought it," Gabriel's voice whispers. "I would not have left you there to suffer so long."

"You would have died," Alina's voice mixes with Tristan's, one saddened, the other bitter.

"For you," Gabriel's voice says coolly, "I would have."

"I don't want you to!" Alina cries out.

"A little more, I think," Nadia's finger runs over Alina's lips again after her half-hearted outburst. "Can't move, dearest, not when the blade is on you. Stay still," she croons softly.

Gavin's expression is cool and detached. "Despite her shifting, the incision has been made. Will she be fine for a few moments?"

Nadia places the cup down on the bedside table and moves to the center of the bed. "The first, then?"

"Yes." Gavin looks over his shoulder to the midwife. "I do hope you have a wet nurse ready soon," he says calmly. "And I will need swaddling. The first will be brought out now."

The midwife swallows, and moves quickly to the cloths she had set out on the desk already. By the time she had unfolded and readied the swaddling, she hears the weak cry of a newborn.

She turns, seeing Gavin's bloody hands holding up the babe, Nadia tying off the cord and slicing through it with her short blade. "A son," Gavin says calmly. "Small. I would not say healthy, though…" he frowns. "Too soon," he murmurs. He hands the boy gently over to the midwife, who wipes him down and swaddles him carefully. "Do what you must to care for him," he says simply, giving the woman her due.

She nods, trembling slightly. The boy was small, weak. His eyes still shut, his cry more of a mewl.

Nadia moves back and places another few drops on Alina's lips. As soon as they are licked off, she opens the vial she had taken and holds that to Alina's lips.

"What… what is that?" Cadence asks quietly.


"How— how— you cannot! You must not! You cannot give fleshknit to someone with a stomach woun—"

Gavin's expression darkens. "You are trying my patience. Nadia, the second."

"Of course." Nadia moves back to assist at bringing the second babe into the world.

The midwife tucks the elder into the prepared cradle, tying a string around his tiny wrist to show that he was born first. She moves to take up the second swaddling cloths, and turns as she hears Gavin's voice.

The nightmares keep coming, but Alina keeps her eyes closed, her face buried in his shoulder. She is safe here, safe from the worst of things.

She can feel things being taken from her, but as long as she doesn't move, as long as she stays in his arms, she is safe.

I won't let them hurt you," he whispers. She cannot even tell whose voice it is anymore.

Maybe she never could.

"Wake, child," Gavin says soothingly to the babe in his hands. Both he and the babe are covered in blood. "Nadia, begin to close her. I must attend to the child."

He looks to the midwife. "Clear the desk. Now."

Before the woman holding the swaddling clothes can do so, Big Pie steps over, grabbing the bag off the desk and sweeping the rest off with a meaty arm. "There, my lord."

Gavin lays the tiny body on the desk, and gently begins massaging it. "Wake, little one. Wake to see your brother, your mother…" he croons.

Tears run down Mistress Cadence's face. Alina was likely lost. And one of the babes. That one son was born from it seemed an unfair trade for the lives of two—

A weak cry comes from the desk. "Quickly, he needs warmth," Gavin says, moving aside so the midwife can wrap the child.

"Another boy?" she says as she swaddles him tightly, holding his chilled body to her. She wanted to cheer— both babes survived, a blessing from the One, at least.

"From what I saw, true twins," Gavin replies. He takes the needle from Nadia and finishes the stitches. Nadia moves to Big Pie and takes her bag back with a slight smirk, rifling through it and pulling out a jar of a sweet smelling paste, which she applies to the incision as soon as it has been closed entirely.

There are no more words for a time, as the blood and mess are cleaned up, Alina's semi-concious body is redressed and tucked back under fresh, clean blankets.

"When she awakens," Gavin says gently to the midwife, still holding the second son close as she sits by the first one's cradle, rocking it with her foot, "she will be hungry. You must allow her to eat as she desires. She must stay in bed for at least three days, and she cannot nurse the children— it will kill them."

Mistress Cadence nods. "Of… of course. I will pass that along." She still seems wary of the woman having been given fleshknit.

Lord Gavin nods back. "She should make a full and quick recovery. The babes are too young, though. Be careful with them… they are small and weak. The first few months are the most important."

After a few more instructions, he and Nadia leave to go speak with the Duke.

The midwife sighs softly, looking down at the children. "You both started out troublesome," she says lightly to them. She glances over to her assistant. "Go summon the wet nurse. The babes will need her soon."

And she continues to rock them both, humming a soft lullaby.

Alina drifts in the twilight. The monsters are gone now.

She can sleep peacefully.

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