“I was a mom again… and I was terrified of it.”
Gabriel and I headed through the portal. The area we had chosen for it was up near the road and within a bubble ward just outside the main Wards. We led the way down the stairs to the main house and everyone followed. That bubble was the single place where people could teleport safely. Gabriel was the only being who could teleport, phase, whatever, into the house and not get blasted to smithereens. Lilith looked over at us and smiled, telling me how beautiful our home was. I smiled back. Once we were across the threshold, my collar flashed visibly, and I felt the weight of it settle upon my neck.
Morgan looked around, curious. “Where in the world are we?”
I looked over and smiled as Gabriel looked at me carefully. “The Pacific North-West, Washington State, I believe.”
Gabriel’s hand wrapped around my waist. “Love, anything I should know? You ok?” I shook my head, squeezing Gabriel’s hand in response, as people started complimenting the house. It seemed as though everyone had come through, as we filtered into the house.
Morgan pulled Baba out of the sling, showing her the house. “Look, Baba. This is your grandmother’s house!”
I smiled over at her and commented softly. “It is one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever been to.” I felt Lycaon step through the portal, and like usual, my heart skipped a beat. Part of me would always be connected to him, our history was too long, too… convoluted. Gabriel frowned, and I worried about him.
“Please, everyone, make yourself comfortable.”
“My sorceress, do you want to get off your feet? Now that everyone is here?” Gabriel asked softly. I nodded gently, smiling as I watched Lilith take Baba from Morgan.
“Yes, I think that would be best,” I replied quickly.
Gabriel guided me to the couch and helped me sit down. This pregnancy was just about at the breaking point, and I knew it was almost time. Once again, conversations were going on around me, but the life growing within me demanded virtually all of my attention. Hippolyta mentioned she had a new job, and I smiled over at her. “That’s wonderful. That sounds like a lot of fun, Hipp!”
Gabriel coughed roughly. “They made you a reaper? Holy shit… I mean… err… congrats.”
I patted Gabriel’s knee. “It’s ok, love.” I looked over at Morgan. “Dear, how have you been settling into your new powers?” I was trying to hint at her that she would be needed, without outright saying it. I had asked Morgan if she would help me deliver the baby.
Morgan nodded and smiled. “Yes, now that Baba’s siphon has been released, I’ve been getting a handle on my powers again.”
I chuckled and sighed. “Not what I meant, I meant the Mother powers.” She just looked at me, and I nodded. Morgan froze, I’m not sure if she was nervous, or if the Mother wasn’t kicking in.
Lilith looked over. “Is it now?”
I nodded and smiled as I felt a contraction rip through me. “Everyone stay calm; I’m not freaking out. Yes, Lilith, the baby is coming now.”
“Was this the plan?” Gabriel asked quickly.
I chuckled and groaned as the contractions hit again. “Gabriel, you’re the one who stocked the house.”
Gabriel looked at me, surprise and a little fear in his eyes. “Gnome sacks.” He cursed softly. I laughed and moved forward a little on the couch.
I looked to Morgan, as did Lilith, but it was Hippolyta who took charge. “Medea, breathe. I’ve delivered before.”
Morgan regained her composure and began freaking out, which is far better than my first time after inheriting the Mother’s office. “I— I-I, I don’t know. I’ve only ever GIVEN birth the one time.”
Gabriel, too, seemed distracted. It was at this moment that I realized it would be Hipp who did the delivery. I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed, but this would also be a good learning moment for Morgan if nothing else. “Yes, I stocked it, but not for like, full delivery, there was shopping…”
I breathed slowly, trying to remember the feeling last time, but it wasn’t helping. This birth would be more than Mermerus and Pheres.
Hippolyta knelt by my side and took one of my hands as Gabriel phased out. Morgan was still trying to collect her thoughts, and I was losing my connection to my mind. I could feel the babe’s power coming forth, and a soft mama whispered in my ear. “Morgan, the information will come to you.”
There was a moment where both Hipp and Morgan were trying to give directions, and while the bathroom was the right place for Baba’s birth, it would not do well for this one. I was not keen on showing my entire family my lady parts. Lilith called out for hot towels, and I knew someone was on the right track. All I could do was focus on the breathing, and not pushing, not yet.
Gabriel phased back in with two doula kits and a bag of mouth guards. I looked up at him quietly. I could feel Cernunnos, Lucifer, Gio, Robin, even Lycaon, who was outside watching the sea, all paying close attention to the suddenness of tonight’s events. I felt a little bad for them, but I wanted my family around me. When Morgan gave birth, they had just returned from their honeymoon, and it hit us all by surprise. I’d known this was the date of their birth for weeks.
Hipp was talking about my dilation. I didn’t pay attention. I was starting to feel the pressure of the little one’s head pressing down, and I gripped the couch with my spare hand. I was cautioned to breathe and I did – as if I could stop. The pressure was building, and I felt like I was going to explode. Gabriel plopped down beside me and offered his arm to me. I took it tightly. I remembered the pain from Pheres, and this was so much more than that. Could it have been the pairing of our power into a single being that was causing it? I hoped that meant that our child was healthy.
A contraction rippled through me, and as I shivered, I clenched down on Gabriel’s arm. “THIS IS YOUR FAULT ANGEL!!!!”
Hipp was guiding me, trying to keep me calm. Lilith took my other hand. Morgan was watching, and she gave great advice at the moment. “Pour some of your healing energy into her, Gabriel! It helped me.”
Gabriel frowned at me, and I glared right back. “We created-” he looked around the room. “Yes, I’m sorry, blame me, love.”
I could feel everyone’s calm energy, and new warmth, one I’d never known before spread across my belly. Cernunnos’ blessing. I knew it the moment I felt it and nodded my thanks, trying to focus on my breathing. I closed my eyes and tried to stay calm as Hipp kept reciting how dilated I was. I didn’t care, this child wanted out, and my fears roared back.
“I’m going to be a terrible mother,” I muttered, trying not to cry.
“My sorceress, you are everything, the strongest being I know. You have this.” Gabriel stated, forcefully, like he was trying to drive it into my mind. Morgan dropped to her knees in front of me as people tried convincing me that I would be a good mother.
You will be fine, Medea, the child, is coming as normal. A voice sounded in my mind, and it wasn’t my drakon. The horned god was trying to comfort me in his way. I tried to shake the calming feeling Cernunnos was sending, but it settled in, and I calmed as if an epidural had been injected.
“You’re gonna be a wonderful mother. I am proof of that.” Morgan enforced. I started to cry, suddenly afraid of my failures, both with Mermerus and Pheres and with Morgan. I felt Gabriel’s energy pulse through our marks, and I breathed deeply, pulling on his strength, more than I ever had before.
“You’re going to push now, okay?” Hipp warned, and I could feel it, I knew it was then.
I nodded and began pushing. As I did, I was wracked with pain, and I screamed out. Gabriel just watched in awe, unaware of my grip on his arm.
I felt the head crown and screamed out again. Hipp leaned forward, ready to guide the baby. Everyone was telling me to breathe and keep pushing, so I did. I knew the shoulders were next, and that they would be more painful. After that I felt Gabriel’s hand grip mine tightly, and I knew he was nervous and anxious. I would have to find a way to thank him for keeping a cool head through all of this.
I called out for Morgan, wondering where she was. “I’m here, Mama.”
I nodded and looked at her. “You need to help with this last step.” Hipp was coaching me through, and I was thankful for her work, so very grateful, but Morgan needed to do this.
I pushed, my whole body spasming once more as our child came forth the rest of the way. Gabriel murmured encouragement. “Morgan, take the child and cut the cord. Please, Morgan.” There seemed to be some argument about who was going to cut the cord, but I just shouted, “The Mother!” Morgan then conjured up scissors and cut the cord quickly. I felt her power surge, that of the Mother, and I knew it was truly gone, truly settled in with Morgan.
Gabriel smiled brightly between the baby and me, and I knew he was happy. When Hipp cleaned and wrapped the baby, she handed them to Gabriel, who beamed. I opened my eyes and looked around, my hair shone silver, and I smiled up at Gabriel and our baby.
The afterbirth came quickly, for which I was grateful. I did not want to have to wait around for it. Gabriel whispered to the baby, “you are a creation of love and power, beauty and peace, you are everything.” He held our child, bringing them close. “Love…”
“What are you going to name your little angel?” Hippolyta asks after she finished cleaning the afterbirth and me up.
I heard a whisper in my soul, the part that was still Lycaon’s oldest friend, and his congratulations sent a shiver up my spine.
Gabriel smiled widely, and handed me our baby, “look who we get to meet.”
I looked up at Gabriel, Morgan, and everyone else, and smiled before taking my baby. “Their name is Phoenix.” I began singing the lullaby to Phoenix that I used to sing to Morgan. The rest of the world fell away until Lilith passed me a warm, black, baby blanket.
“Lucifer and I brought this.” She said softly, her voice both happy and sad. I wasn’t sure why, but I’d figure it out soon.
Lycaon walked in, a forced smile on his face. How had it come to this? If he hadn’t died, what would have happened? I couldn’t think about that, even though I knew I would always love him. “Well, it’s been quite the night. I’m going to head back to the cabin, ya know, in case some wolves decide to show up.”
Gabriel stared at Phoenix, his fingers skimming over their hair. Hipp gave us a bracelet for Phoenix, for when they are older, it was beautiful. I looked up at the man I’d loved for 2,000 years and tried not to cry again. “I’m sorry, Lycaon… I just wanted my family here for this since most everyone missed the birth of Baba.” He congratulated us and began to walk towards the door. “I… be safe.” I murmured.
There were more congratulations, and Cernunnos sent one of his fae to tell the Queen about the new child. I happened to mention changelings, and Gabriel froze. “Excuse me, changelings?”
“I’ll tell you later, Gabriel,” I commented softly. People began filtering out after that; I think they saw how tired I was, and tried to give us some space. Phoenix opened their eyes, and drakonic pupils stared up at me.
Gabriel kneeled beside Phoenix and me. “Wow. Were we expecting that, love?”
“I know! What does this mean? You, out, now!” The drakon appeared in his diminutive form. I shook my head. “EXPLAIN!”
Well, you were pregnant, with both of us, inside your body… Did you think none of my essence would settle in?
Gabriel just arched a brow and chuckled. “Oh, the fates.”
I looked at Gabriel. “You were expecting this?”
Gabriel replied, still laughing as Morgan brought Baba over to meet Phoenix. “Expecting? No. Surprised? No. But Phoenix is thrice fated so, of course, another shoe would drop.”
We discussed what Phoenix would be to Baba, as I just stared down at my child, wondering what fate had in store for them.
Cernunnos delivered a unique Irish harp to me. “A gift for little Phoenix! What is an angel without a harp!” He smirked towards Gabriel, making me chuckle.
I thanked Cernunnos for the harp. Gabriel commented he was a trumpet guy. Morgan cast the fireflies about to make Baba laugh and Phoenix’s eyes lit up at the moment.
I could see Morgan and Lilith were both exhausted and I extended invitations for both of them to stay. Lilith accepted, but Morgan declined, stating Mino would be home soon, and she wanted to be there to greet him.
I nodded and smiled. “You always have an open invitation, my daughter.” She leaned down and hugged Phoenix and me.
She laughed. “Soon, when we’re not so busy, and you’re not about to pass out.”
I yawned deeply. “Granted, I’m…” I fell asleep on Gabriel, holding Phoenix in my arms.