Requested by @Simplefoodsbydaniellejoy
From the moment Alyn learned of my pregnancy, he took great pride in his role as Captain of the Royal Guard. During especially tense times, Alyn would entrust only his best men to watch over me in the palace. As my due date was fast approaching, his anxieties began to double– and even triple.
We held hands, sitting on a bench swing in the garden. A soft rustling in the bushes behind us sent a shiver down Alyn’s spine, and he stood to unsheath his sword. A squirrel emerged from the foliage, and scurried up a nearby tree. Alyn let out a loud sigh, and put away his weapon. I’d noticed recently that purple bags were forming under my husband’s eyes, and I wondered if he’d been sleeping.
“Um, Alyn,” I said, in a soothing tone.
“Huh?” He asked, standing before me.
“I’m feeling so tired, could we take a nap?” I asked, hoping he’d agree to rest with me.
“Mm, I’ll take you back to our chambers so you can get some sleep,” he offered.
I shook my head, “I sleep so much better when you’re resting beside me.”
After a moment’s pause, Alyn nodded. “Okay, sure, let’s go take a quick nap.”
I smiled cheerfully at him, and wrapped my fingers over the crook of his elbow, as Alyn walked me back inside. My feet shuffled slowly down the halls and into our chambers, where Alyn pulled back the covers on the bed for me. He took off his armor, stripping down to his buttoned-down shirt and trousers. I curled my body around several pillows, to cushion my aching muscles, and Alyn draped his arm over me. I wasn’t the least surprised when I heard him snoring shortly after his head touched the pillow.
I awoke, groggy and alone, with a single folded note where Alyn had been. My brows furrowed and I sighed, wishing that my husband would take some time for his body to truly relax. I took the folded parchment into my hands, and read it.
“My Dearest Queen,
I’m sorry to have to leave when you’re looking so adorable, but I’ve been summoned to a meeting. If you’re awake before I return, I’ve asked Nico and Giles to stand by in case you need anything.
All my love, Alyn”
I smiled at his handwriting, and then sighed as I tried to lift myself off the plush mattress. With a thud, my feet landed on the ground and there was a knock at my door.
“Your Majesty?” Nico called, slowly opening the door.
I turned to face him, “Yes, Nico?”
The butler quickly came to my side, “Can I get you anything? Do you need help?”
I shook my head, “How long before Alyn returns from his meeting?”
Nico shrugged, “He didn’t say, but whatever you need I’m here!”
The physical and metaphorical weight of my pregnancy was crushing my spirit, however silently, and so I looked into Nico’s wide eyes.
“Would you mind, um, rubbing my feet?” I asked through quivering lips.
When Alyn returned, I was propped against a mountain of pillows, my feet in Nico’s lap, as several servants tended to me. A maid replaced the dry washcloth from my forehead and replaced it with a cool, damp, fresh one. A seamstress was letting out the waistbands on several of my old pants and skirts. Giles had called the doctor upon my request to assess the baby’s current health and size. Leo cooled me with a paper fan, and refilled my water glass when needed.
My husband’s face turned pink, at the sight of me surrounded by half a dozen caregivers. I smiled at him, and Alyn slowly stepped closer to where I lounged in the bed. The doctor who had just finished checking my vitals began talking to us, explaining the health of the fetus.
“At this time, everything is progressing as it should,” said the doctor.
“That’s great to hear, thank you,” Alyn said.
“Doctor, when do you suspect the baby will be born?” I asked.
“Well, if I don’t hear from Sir Giles again in the next couple of days, then I will return,” the doctor said.
I nodded, and sipped on my water, motioning for Leo to take a break from fanning me. Alyn sat beside me on the bed, and leaned in, whispering in my ear.
“I’m surprised. You’ve been so adamant about not receiving special treatment this whole time,” he said.
I shrugged, and nodded toward Nico, “Well, to be honest, it all started with a foot rub.”
Nico chimed in, “Yea, then when everyone heard I’d been massaging her feet, they all offered their help.”
“I just couldn’t say no anymore,” I admitted, leaning back against the pillows.
Alyn smiled, his ruby eyes twinkling, “Then, will you allow me to assist you?”
I grinned at him, “Would you make me a special dessert?”
He kissed the top of my head, “Of course.”
Late into the evening, after having tasted Alyn’s chocolate trifle, I awoke to the sounds of whining. As my mind cleared from sleep, I realized that I had been moaning in my slumber. Alyn stirred slightly, but didn’t wake, as I stood to use the bathroom.
I thought. After I lit a lantern, I steadied myself over the granite counter, and held back my whimpers.
the realization didn’t scare me, until a sudden rush of water hit the tiled floors.
I took calming breaths and began to fill the tub, in preparation of the water birth we’d planned. The loud, echoes of the running faucet water woke Alyn from his slumber, and he came into the bathroom, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. I smiled meekly at him, and clung to the edge of the tub as another contraction ripped through me. My whining moans reverberated off the tiled floors and the high ceiling, filling our chambers with the sound of my pain. Alyn rushed to my side, and stroked my back.
“How far apart are they?” Alyn asked, his voice cracking.
“Between three and five minutes, I’d guess,” I replied, sweat pooling on my forehead.
Alyn’s body went tense, as he gathered towels and rushed about trying to gather all the supplies. After I was finally able to recline in the tub, Alyn bolted out of our chambers and went to notify Giles. I clung to the tub’s edges as contraction after contraction wracked my body, and I fought to steady my breathing. Our advisor entered the bathroom, with Alyn and Nico in tow. I could barely vocalize my appreciation to them, as the contractions grew closer together.
Giles, not at all phased by my naked, pregnant form, reached into the water. His lilac eyes made contact with my own, and he took one of my hands.
“My Lady, please, allow me to check how dilated you are,” he said.
I nodded, and squeezed Giles’ hand for a moment, as he checked my cervix.
“The baby’s crowning,” he told Alyn, who was hovering over Giles’ shoulder.
I studied my husband’s face, and saw his usually calm demeanor crumble into panic.
“Leo’s just now headed to retrieve the doctor, it could be hours before he arrives,” Alyn explained.
Giles sighed, and gave Alyn a rueful smile, “I understand your concern, but we don’t have much time.”
Suddenly, Giles turned to me, “Your Majesty, we must begin delivering your child, please follow my instructions.”
I felt my eyes widen, and I reached for Alyn, who sat on a small stool beside the tub.
He took my hand in his, cradling it, as he stroked my arm. I took in a deep breath, as Giles assisted in the birth of our baby.
The doctor arrived just as the baby was laid upon my chest, immediately following the water birth. Alyn, with moist eyes, took the liberty of cutting the umbilical cord.
“My apologies, Your Highnesses,” the doctor said, taking out a birth certificate.
“So, dear, what shall we name him?” I asked, cradling our son, wrapped a soft towel.
Alyn’s ruby eyes twinkled, as he spoke, “William Blake Crawford.”
I smiled, kissing my husband on the cheek, “Our baby, William.”