The contractions were coming a lot quicker and getting stronger, with each contraction Xena’s worry began to grow. She desperately wanted her bard with her, needed her bard with her, she knew giving birth to the twins without her love was becoming more of a reality as time passed.
“Keep breathing Xena, and stop worrying I know she will be here” Lila said as Xena gripped her hand during another contraction. She was concerned about Xena, she’d actually cried during some of the contractions calling out Gabrielle’s name. This was not going how any of them had planned and she kept praying to the Gods that Gabrielle would get here soon, Xena had been in labour for 8 candlemarks now and the contractions were only a couple of candledrops apart.
“I am trying, I just want her here, this shouldn’t be happening this way!” Xena said as the contraction waned trying not to cry at the thought of her love not being here for their babies’ births. She thought back to the day that they’d learned that they were expecting twins, the shock of their discovering quickly turning to joy for them both, neither of them could love these children more if they tried.
“Shouldn’t be much longer now Xena, you’re almost fully dilated, these babies are in a hurry to get out of there!” The midwife said cringing as she saw the sadness flick over Xena’s face, depending on how strong Xena’s pushes were these babies would be here in a matter of candlemarks.
“Lila can I see you outside of the hut” The midwife whispered to Lila, not wanting to alarm Xena, she just wanted to get an idea of what she could expect if Queen Gabrielle was not to make it for the birth. She needed to try and keep Xena as calm as possible or the babies would go into distress.
“Things are going to get a little hairy very quickly, Xena is nearly ready to crown, and when a woman crowns they become very distressed and can get quite frustrated and can even get angry, I am worried that not having Gabrielle here is going to make her even worse, which could be bad for the babies, while they are still inside her they are still affected by all of her emotions” The midwife said, wanting to know anything at all she can to keep Xena calm and not stressed.
“I don’t know what to tell you, her love for Gabrielle is very strong and I don’t know how she will get, but I am afraid she will get more distressed the longer Gabrielle is not here, I wish there was some way we could keep her mind off things, but I don’t think she will be able to forget that the woman she loves is not here while she gives birth to their children” Lila said sadly, wishing above everything that she could bring Gabrielle to Xena.
“Wish no more, I’m here little sister” Gabrielle said as she appeared with Aphrodite by her side. She smiled as Lila came rushing to her, tears in her eyes.
“Where have you been? Don’t you ever scare us like that again” Lila said as she wrapped her sister into a big hug, holding onto her for dear life. She ran her hands all over Gabrielle checking her over, making sure she was definitely okay.
“I’m fine little sister, I promise, I’m fully healed now” Gabrielle smiled wanting to reassure her sister but her main focus was getting to Xena. As she had that thought a low moan came from the hut and then she heard Xena cry out her name, she ran into the hut seeing Xena breathing through what looked like a very painful contraction. She ran over to Xena seeing the tears in her love’s eyes and grabbed her hand encouraging her to breathe.
“Gabrielle thank the Gods your here!” She said as she burst into tears, the stress and worry of the last few candlemarks welling up and overflowing. She grabbed Gabrielle to her, letting her feel all of the worry and tension she’d felt during their separation.
“I wouldn’t miss our babies’ birth for anything in the known world, how are you feeling sweetheart?” Gabrielle said taken back by how upset Xena had been, she knew Xena loved her but it still surprised her when she showed so much emotion. She sat stroking Xena’s damp hair and laid her hands on Xena’s big stomach feeling how low the babies were.
“Our babies are almost here, I am so glad you made it back here, Gods I feared the worst when they told me you’d been hurt” Xena said knowing they had mere seconds before the next contraction hit but wanting to know what her bard had been through.
“I’m sorry that you’ve gone through so much without me, I never meant to miss out on so much, I had planned to be here to help coach you through it all, I am so sorry sweetheart” Gabrielle said feeling tears well in her own eyes as she thought of her lover going through so much pain without her. She didn’t have much more time to think as another contraction gripped Xena and the midwife came in to check on Xena again.
“Well Xena, Gabrielle it looks like your children are ready to come into the world, you’re crowning Xena” The midwife told them seeing them both look at each other and a look of peace come over both of them. She smiled at them seeing how much they loved each other and it always made her smile when she was helping a couple birth their baby knowing how loved it would be.
“Gabrielle would you like to come down here, you can help me deliver the babies, I’ll need you to take the first baby from me while I deliver the other one” The midwife said and watched Gabrielle gulp and slowly break her hand away from Xena’s giving her a slight kiss upon her forehead.
“It’s okay Gabrielle, you’ll be fine all you need to do is clean the baby off and wrap it in a nice warm cloth” The midwife assured knowing how quickly twins could come apart. There had been many a time when she had just been wiping the other baby down and had to rush to catch the next one.
“Okay I will do what you need” Gabrielle said a look of seriousness coming over her as she looked at her lover and then concentrated on what was happening, she knew she would do all she could to help her love through this pain. Nothing would stop them from bringing their babies into the world safely.
“Okay Xena on this next contraction I need you to push I will count to ten you keep pushing until I get to ten, a few good pushes and the first baby should be here” She said as quickly as she could between contractions knowing one would be on its way very soon. Just as she finished that thought one began and she watched pleased as Xena bore down and was surprised when she managed to push the whole head out in one go.
“You are a strong girl aren’t you, you have definitely done this before” The midwife said glad she had Gabrielle with her. With the strength of those pushes it would only be a couple more before the baby arrived. She was right two more pushes and a baby girl with hair as dark as her mothers slid into the midwife’s hands. She quickly handed the baby to Gabrielle who was crying with joy looking straight into her love’s eyes.
“We did it, we have a beautiful baby girl, she looks just like you” Gabrielle said, looking down at their baby girl and then back up at her love who had tears of her own in her eyes looking in wonder at her baby girl in her mama’s arms. They had already decided that she would be mummy and Gabrielle would be mama to the baby’s so when they got older they wouldn’t get confused. Xena had insisted on it knowing how much it would mean to Gabrielle to be thought of as the babies’ mother.
“Okay are you two ready for round 2, the next baby isn’t going to wait long to announce its presence” The midwife said not wanting to break this moment but she knew another contraction was on its way and then they would need to concentrate on delivering the next baby. She heard Xena cry out as the next contraction came and got down to business, while Gabrielle cleaned off the baby she was holding.
“That’s it Xena another couple of pushes like that and your next baby will be here” The midwife said still marvelling at how strong the woman before her was. She had never seen a woman be able to push a baby out as quickly as Xena had without tearing really badly and yet this woman was able to push out these babies with no tearing at all.
Another couple of big pushes and their second child a little boy with hair as fair as Gabrielle’s landed in the midwives’ arms. She cradled it gently and grabbed a blanket cleaning it off so she could lay the little boy on his mother’s chest. She laid the baby in it mother’s arms and watched as fresh tears sprung into Xena’s eyes.
“A little boy who looks just like you my love, he is so beautiful” Xena said beckoning for Gabrielle to come over with their little girl. Gabrielle laid the little one in her mother’s other arm and looked at the picture before her, memories of Eve’s birth came to her and she remembered how radiant Xena had looked when holding her daughter in her arms. Xena looked even more radiant and beautiful holding their two children. She didn’t even feel the placenta leave her body as her attention was captured by the two babies in her arms.
“Aren’t they beautiful Gabrielle, our babies, they are here at last” Xena said looking at her wife with eyes filled with love for the beautiful woman in front of her who had given her these beautiful children.
“They are the most beautiful things I have ever seen apart from you my love” Gabrielle said as she touched one of the babies head and gasped as the little baby girl opened her eyes. Her eyes were the same colour as her own, and she wondered if their blonde haired baby boy would have the same coloured eyes as his mummy. They didn’t have to wait long to find out as their baby boy opened his beautiful blue eyes and looked around and then up at his mummy.
“Oh by the Gods Xena did you see that, he has your eyes, I thought their eyes didn’t display their proper colour until a month or two after birth?” Gabrielle asked surprised but pleased to see that their children were both the perfect mix of them both.
“That would be because these children are very special children, gifts given to you both for all you have done to save the mortals of this world” Eli said as he appeared to them both and smiled at the look of shock on their faces. Eli walked over to them and laid his hands on both of the babies’ heads.
“Eli, how did I know you would turn up after the birth, we haven’t seen you in so long I thought maybe you’d moved on from the spirit world” Xena said looking at her friend with tears still in her eyes as she looked at the gentle way he touched the babies. She still missed his presence in the world and wished he could stay with them and see the babies grow up.
“I will see them grow up Xena, I will watch over both of them and make sure they live full productive lives, these children are a blessing and I know you both appreciate that, seeing how happy you both are, such proud parents makes me so very happy and Abba too” Eli said as he took one of the babies into his arms and made a sign over its forehead and then kissed it gently, he then beckoned for the other baby and repeated the same actions.
“You two little ones are blessed to have two of the most generous loving people in the known world as your parents, I hope you both know that and are thankful for who will be bringing you up, both of your mother’s are wonderful people and you are very lucky children” Eli cooed to the babies and smiled as they both smiled at him, and he knew they had understood what he had said, he could speak to them in a way that even though they were really young just minutes old they would understand his message.
“Thank you Eli, we are so lucky to have them” Gabrielle said as she took one of the babies off him and kissed it gently on the forehead. She looked at Xena and smiled, joy shining in her eyes that they finally had the children they had been wanting to have all their time together. She knew there was nothing that would separate them and they would both love these children for all of their lives.
“We will now leave you both to get to know your gorgeous son and daughter” Eli said and ushered everyone out of the room. He looked at them both and smiled the love that he could feel building again between them always made him smile. They were meant for each other there was no doubt and he knew that they would both always try to make each other happy, and while their life wouldn’t always be so beautiful, they would always love each other and do their best to have a happy life together.
“I can’t believe their here” Gabrielle said as she stroked the feet of the baby in her arms, her beautiful daughter. She looked over at their son and felt such contentment fill her that she was amazed by it. She looked at the woman she loved and leaned over and kissed her conveying her thanks for bringing their children into the world and for loving her every day and keeping the hope that she would make it to their birth.
“I love you so much, thank you for bringing our son and daughter into the world, I can’t believe how strong you were, it must have been so hard not knowing if I would make it here to see them come into the world” Gabrielle said as fresh tears filled her eyes. She couldn’t help it, she was overwhelmed with the emotion of the last candlemark. She was a mother, and she had two beautiful children, and a woman that she loved more than anything in the known world. She couldn’t remember being happier than at this moment, other than when she finally made Xena an honest woman.
“Thank you for giving them to me, and allowing me to bring our children into the world, and also fighting to get back here in time, I love you too Gabrielle, more than anything in this world, more than the stars, to the moon and back” Xena said and smiled at the woman who had become her whole world. Then she looked at their beautiful children and sighed. Life didn’t get much better than this moment.
“Do you know what you want to call them?” Gabrielle asked, having a few ideas but wanting to take into consideration what her love wanted to call them too, she had after all given them life.
“How about I name the boy and you name the girl, that way we both get a chance to give one of our children a name” Xena suggested already knowing the name she wished to choose, she had been thinking of it her entire pregnancy, she had always had a feeling she was having a boy.
“That sounds fair, okay who first shall we name our little girl or boy first” Gabrielle asked, loving the way her love thought, she always came up with the most simple solutions. She looked at her daughter and a name came to her immediately.
“We should name our little girl first, she was the first born, and then our son” Xena said looking down at her little boy knowing how much this name was going to suit him. She smiled as he gurgled up at her and looked over at Gabrielle and saw her nod.
“Okay, well little girl your name will be Alyssa, and we can call you Lys for short, with that beautiful hair, you are going to be one pretty girl, we may have to get real protective of her Xena, the boys are going to go for her” Gabrielle laughed as she saw Xena look at their daughter protectively and then scowl at her.
“Very funny, and now for our son, your name will be Ryan, it’s a name I heard in Britannia and I had always liked it, it means King and he is sure our little king” Xena said as she looked down at her little boy and whispered his name into his ear. She watched him smile and looked up at her wife and smiled sheepishly at her.
“You are so beautiful, I can’t believe you have been thinking of a name that beautiful for so long” Gabrielle said looking at their children and loving the way their names seemed to just fit them. She looked at the woman she loved and it hit her that they were now a family. They were going to move into their little cottage and raise their children, probably have more children and live happily for as long as they were able.
“We’re a family now Gabrielle, can you believe it, this is one of the happiest days of my life, aside from marrying you” Xena said as tears filled her eyes and then she kissed the woman who meant the world to her. They both sat that way for what seemed like ages just staring at their children.
When the midwife came in to check on them she found them all asleep on the bed, the two women, warrior and bard and their children. They made a beautiful family. She left the room and gently closed the door.
“I love you Gabrielle” Xena whispered as sleep claimed her
“I love you too Xena” Gabrielle whispered as she too fell asleep. They both dreamt peacefully of their children and how they would raise them to be loving, kind people who valued the greater good. Eli smiled down at them and knew they would. All was right in the world for the time being. There would be turbulence and bad times, but they would both remember this day for the rest of their lives.
Continued in Part 8
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