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Pop (Part 2)

Location: North Weyr
Time: Evening of Day 20 to early morning of Day 21, Month 13, Turn 3
Players: Roa, Ashwin, Neiran, Jandor, R'vain, Tialith
Scene: Well, it had to happen eventually.

Read Part 1 here.



The weyrwoman returns in a grey nightgown and not much else, as that seems the most prudent course of action, all things considered. Evening trickles into night and the queen's thrumming has all but halted. Egg hatchings are a far shorter process and, by this point, the message is made. Tialith just observes in fascinated silence. By this point, the moderate and well-spaced pains have shifted into another and more aggressive sort that has Roa lying down, standing, or pacing in turns. The weyrwoman's witty banter (whatever there was of it to start) has faded into a focused silence that's only punctuated by occasional gasps or held breaths during particularly intense sensations.

Tialith will find nothing fascinating to observe in one of those non-dragon-people that perpetually circles her lifemate, doing this and that here, dancing to the sedate steps of a dance learnt by book and experience. Dilation checks - as prophesied, and executed with a minimum of preamble and a stoically professional demeanor on the part of the physician himself - offers of water for the Weyrwoman, cool and warm cloths where necessary, and regular hand-washings and exchange of jargon with his colleague pass the time. While washing his hands after his most recent foray into the realm beneath the nightskirt, Neiran turns his head to sweep a look between Jandor and Roa. "Perhaps now would be an appropriate time to discuss what analgesics and other medication, topical or oral, we might employ. You are advancing very well, Roa," he assures her.

Jandor has been letting Neiran do much of the work, while he has been overseeing the constant supply of hot water, the comings and goings of assistants and occasionally stepping out to let those gathered outside know what is going on. He has also been giving his dose of humor to the varying situations that arise, generally being morale officer. Now is no exception, as he waits; to hear the answer of this.

Currently she's pacing around the bed, though as the headboard is up against the wall, that entails walking along three sides, turning, repeating the process. Roa's staring rather intently at the ground, jaw clenched, silent until the contraction eases enough that she can draw in a ragged breath and glance over towards Neiran. "Ana..anal..." she lifts one arm, wiping the back of her hand across her damp forehead. "Oh. Right. I'm...is that necessary? I'm okay. It's okay. I didn't think you normally needed any of those."

"Some women request them, some women do not need them. It is a matter of preference." Excepting, of course, if things reach a dire pinnacle. That goes better unsaid, of course. "If you feel you do not need them, we shall not coerce you into having them." Neiran folds his hands, seeming to have no problem with the waiting game. It's Roa, after all, who has to deal with the discomfort and do most of the work, ultimately. He's content to remain an unremarkable fixture on the sidelines unless he's needed.

She pauses to lean up against one of the bed's four posters, arms curling around it, fingers squeezing, cheek pressing against the wood. Roa nods faintly, " 'm all right," she insists again before groaning softly and then biting on her bottom lip to stifle the sound. "Not really...any pauses...anymore."

On cue, Neiran sweeps to the goldrider's side and offers his arm like he's preparing to sweep her onto the dance floor. "If you would accompany me to the birthing chair, Jandor and I can prepare while you make yourself more comfortable. I presume you've been instructed in the proper breathing techniques, and the method of pushing?"

The weyrwoman nods slowly, although it takes her a little bit of time before her eyes open, and then a bit more before her limbs remember how to unwind so she can settle her hands on Neiran's offered arm. "Yes. I read. A lot." She swallows, eyes wanting to squeeze shut again. "Almost there, then?" She sounds halfway hopeful and perhaps just a tiny bit desperate.

Jandor reemerges from talking to Ashwin and those outside; firmly closing the door behind him to what sounds like a protest from someone. He is stroking his beard harder than ever as the duo are walked to once again. As before his impromptu exit, he is mute; eyes darting between the two. In this case, to find out what he's missed.

"I shall check your dilation again once you are in the chair. I believe active labor is due shortly, though healers have said that only to deliver an infant nearly a day later," Neiran is saying as Jandor arrives, speaking in the hushed tone of the nursery like that infant has already arrived. The Journeyman steals a glance at Jandor, and then looks at the chair pointedly. Perhaps it's incumbent upon the stronger of the two men to lend his support in getting the goldrider comfortable in the birthing chair.

"Well," Roa murmurs, giving up and just walking with her eyes closed. She'll let Neiran make sure she doesn't veer off course. "At least you're honest." The weyrwoman doesn't yet notice Jandor's return, being somewhat caught up in the way her innards are twisting themselves about.

Jandor is just there. It's a strong pair of hands that come out of nowhere; meaning to guide the Weyrwoman into place. He allows her to pick her own pace as well; not rushing her in the least. "S'our job tae be." He murmurs. "How you gettin' on with t'other healer? Neiran lookin' after ye well e'nough while I was out, 'n not overseein' t'job?" Levity, once again.

Leaning a little more heavily into Jandor's offered support, Roa makes her way to the chair that was brought in for this specific event. It is a wonder that a space she traverses so easily most times has suddenly become an unreasonable distance. "He was fine," Roa nearly pants the words. "We decided...never mind all this...Let's go dancing...The Journeyman's...a very fine...dancer."

Neiran shifts when it's needed, doing his small part to ease her into the chair. "Only through the dedicated efforts of my tutors have I come to have some small semblance of competence in the art in question." Levity? Maybe, but about as painful of an attempt as a tone-deaf trying to sing a harmony line to a ballad. With Roa settling, the Journeyman washes his hands again before making that intrusive little check as unintrusively as possible. Sadly, by now it must be almost old hat for them. "Nearing half a hand," he utters. Which is to say, four centimeters. Active labour is around the corner; at the measurement, he shares a significant look with Jandor.

Jandor reaches out both hands, thoughtfully. One, to rest on the shoulder of the Weyrwoman and the other to rest on the shoulder of Neiran whilst he is performing that little check so he can't do anything about it. "Ye had me fooled, till t'feller there had t'go 'n ruin it for ye." A beam at Roa, through the beard. His eyes quirk back to Neiran's, and there is a measure of concern in them. Most likely because, if they are going to get into trouble it is clearly going to be now.

Smiling faintly for Neiran's noble attempt at playing along, she leans back against the chair and groans again, though this time in response to the Journeyman's assessment. "Four? That's -all-? Really?" She swallows hard, glancing over at Jandor. "Guess you'll be here a while yet. I sh-should...ow...put klah on..."

Finding a hand on his shoulder while he has his hands up Roa's nightgown, Neiran slowly turns his head to look up at the bearded man, expression deadpan. Maybe not as deadpan as he'd like it to be. He wishes his expression said nothing, but it clearly asks, 'why do you have your hand on my shoulder 1. At all 2. While I'm doing /this/?' His lip twitches once, and he returns his focus to the task at hand, so to speak, before making his announcement and standing, freeing himself from Jandor to go wash his hands again. Merely concerned about hygiene, or a neat freak? He'll leave the issue of klah chitchat to Jandor, after the little shoulder hand stunt.

Hours pass and it becomes closer to the next morning than the night before. Roa's hair has come down as any small thing she can think of that might make her even slightly more comfortable is done. She still paces occasionally, but mostly she sits or lies down as the time passes. Just now she's leaning against the bed again, skin slick with perspiration, trying to keep her knees from just plain buckling.

Jandor has caught a couple hours of sleep by doing so in shifts, his expression growing more and more pained as the night has gone on. As dawn begins to break, he washes up and makes that intimate little check himself before calling for a pair of attendants to hold Roa still. He advances on Neiran with a purpose, gesturing for the other man to follow him into the bathroom.

If Neiran is nothing else, he's a patient man. And possibly an insomniac, or someone who somehow dislikes sleep; he only closes his eyes for ten minutes, at the longest, during the whole ordeal. He checks up on Roa in every way he can at proper intervals so the woman isn't besieged by probing fingers and inquiries. It's during a sedate moment with his eyes half-lidded, having just vaguely registered Jandor's thievery of his duty, that he comes-to to find the man gesturing him into the bathroom. He collects himself and follows after his colleague, brows raising as his brain wakes itself up.

The only member of this awkward trio (if one doesn't include the aides) that hasn't gotten any sleep at all, Roa gives up leaning and settles for sitting down on the bed and sucking in deep and shuddering breaths as the spasms in her belly and back allow. They aren't allowing very much, haven't been for some time, and the weyrwoman is occasionally swiping tears from her cheeks and lashes in a way she believes is surreptitious. With her eyes closed, she doesn't yet notice that the two healers are holding conference.

Jandor has been very passive, until this moment. Now, as he closes the door behind Neiran he crosses his arms and leans his shoulder blades against the wall. "T'lass is fully dilated 'n has been fer hours, Neiran." His words are delivered softly, so that they don't carry into the other room. "T'baby isn't coming through t'pelvis. Jus' like ye and I were concerned 'bout. Goin' t'have to go to t'other option." He waits, then; expectantly, to see what conclusion the other healer has reached.

The Journeyman nods with very little hesitation; it seems like he's come to this conclusion himself, previously. "We would do well to act now and prevent further damage," he concurs, adding verbal weight to his lightest of nods. He unconsciously mimics Jandor's folding arms, only his own hands gently hold his elbows instead of a proper fold, a girlish and self-conscious posture. He meets Jandor's gaze. "How many caesarians have you performed? Are you aware of the most recent academic literature from the Hall on the topic?" It doesn't take much effort to make his soft voice a whisper inaudible beyond their vicinity.

She's probably meant to be on the chair. That's what the chair's there for, but the weyrwoman leans onto her side and then sort of tips onto the bed, eyes squeezed tight. Tialith's own eyes have started to pale from the rich green and blue to lighter, more anxious hues as she stands, stretching her neck so that the tip of her muzzle can rest on the bed beside her lifemate. Roa forces her eyes open, hand settling on golden hide. "Think, you might have to sleep for th'both of us. Takin' a wh..." the word catches on a sob and Tialith exhales slowly, a low and unhappy rumble serving as an auditory counterpoint.

Jandor grunts to himself. "Three. Assisted on one, back at t'hall, two m'self at Ista, not so long 'go" He turns his head, looking towards the door as though using X-Ray superpowers to peer beyond it. "Current." in reference to Neiran's statement of technique. He's not his usual talkative self, lost in thought. Five seconds stretch out into ten, and then fifteen. "I'll do t'job." He murmurs, quietly. "Ye kin' tell t'assistants fer more 'ot water" He stops, as though straining to hear the dialogue outside. "T'prepare. Might as well do it with t'lass right on t'bed....bugger on t'sheets. Only level place an' I dinna wanna carry 'er all t'way to t'infirmary. We have t'wort and t'numbweed? Someone's gonna have t'hold 'er, too..." He places his fingers to his beard, turns, and opens the door. "M'gonna wash up. M'brought m'own tool, too." His pet scalpel, Neiran will understand. And he strides out, heading for the Weyrwoman. "Lass, we need tae talk."

Neiran puts up no argument. There's no time to be petty here, and demand the cut. Besides, although it isn't said, Jandor's experience matches - likely surpasses - his, in this procedure. He's content enough to let Jandor take the lead, with not a speck of ill will suggested by a brow quirk or a lip twitch. He's a river; he flows where directed, you see. "Yes," is all he says, and follows the more imposing man like his shadow out of the bathroom. He slips around him to murmur precise instructions to the aide, his hands lifting from his sides in an uncommonly long gesturing narrative, surely a sign of anticipation.

Curled up on the bed, much as Roa can curl in her current shape, hand still resting on that large, gold, muzzle, the weyrwoman forces weary eyes open and tries to make them focus on Jandor as he stands above her. They have to talk, he says. "Talk," she replies. Politeness has leeched away at some point.

Jandor does not hesitate. "Journeyman Neiran and I have decided t'perform a ceasarian section. T'baby is nae findin' 'is way through t'pelvis, an' if we wait much longer we risk loosin' t'baby..." He pauses, for effect. "And t'mother. Goin' t'need ye t'lie on your back, 'n off with t'gown. I'll be puttin' sheets from yer neck, to 'bout here.." He indicates just below his pectorals. "An' on yer legs. Goin' t'be fine, but we need t'move quickly." He pauses, again. "Is Tialith goin t'be a problem?"

While Jandor broaches the news, Neiran hovers in the background, either a calming or an intimidating presence, depending on one's opinion of a man in black staring impassively down at you. "I believe Tialith may be a boon," he muses, already reaching for the numbweed he's brought, redwort already out and ready for them to use from his prior disinfected washes. The man's forearms, as is to be expected, are stained a lovely shade of rose, like they're blushing. Considering where they've been, it's only appropriate.

"Nnnh," is Roa's first comment on the matter, moving one hand from Tialith's muzzle to cover her eyes. "He'll be mad," she says very quietly, curling a bit tighter. She sniffs, swallows and with another soft rumble the gold moves her head away to allow the healers' the room they need. "Okay," the weyrwoman agrees, still quiet. What else can she do, really? Even with the belly and the gold dragon, just at the moment, Roa doesn't look a day past her twenty-one turns. Small, tired, hurting, a little bit lost. It's been a long night.

Jandor thinks for a second, then murmurs.. "I think, lass, he'll be happy t'see the lil' one an' ye are all safe, most of all." And with that, he turns -- giving Neiran a look as he begins to root through the stuff that the other healer had brought. "Redwort, numbweed." He hisses. "Where?" Stepping around the table, he looks for the satchel that he brought. Opening it, and extracting a small case. Neiran will know exactly what is in it.

What Neiran thinks of Ashwin's possible reaction goes unsaid - Jandor's saved him the trouble of responding correctly. "I will be your second," he says instead, perhaps needlessly; he's Jandor's golem to command, now. Numbweed and redwort are gestured at when the healer hisses for them. He washes his hands once more, quickly, by now his skin almost deep pink with antiseptic. While Jandor prepares himself, he takes a cool cloth to daub at Roa's forehead, unbidden. "Tialith will undoubtedly assist you with the discomfort. The numbweed will work well. Jandor will do well." It's own little pep talk, offered less to a Weyrwoman than as to a simple woman about to endure a new experience.

The weyrwoman pushes herself upright long enough to peel out of her nightgown. If she had any modesty to start with, she hasn't the energy to have it now. That done, she sinks onto her back, eyes closing at the touch of cool cloth to heated brow. "She'll try," Roa agrees with a feeble twitch of a smile. "Okay," she adds after a moment. Too spent to do anything but trust those simple succinct words.

Jandor works quickly, stepping around Neiran to place the promised sheets upon the Weyrwoman; creating a surgical style site indeed -- the bulge of her abdomen exposed and highlighted. He then crosses to where a fire is on, borrowing some water and popping it -- along with a gleam of metal from that case -- into a pot and setting some things to boil. As this is done he first washes up himself, and then crosses to the weyrwoman with the redwort and numbweed -- beginning to apply both to what he has decided the incision site is going to be. "S'gonna be a lil' strange." He says to Roa. "S'not goin' to hurt much until I get down to t'deeper layers, where t'numbweed won't have penetrated to. But, by then we're basically done. T'most important thing is that ye cannae move, no matter what. Do y'think y'can keep still?" Or do I need to get someone to hold you? It's implied, but he's giving her the choice. "For t'most part' though, lass, till t'end ye will feel some pressure 'n pullin' and tuggin."

Neiran finishes dabbing at Roa's brow, cheeks, and neck when the cool cloth is warmed. He steps away, constantly keeping an eye on Jandor's movements in case he can anticipate a need for him. "I believe now would be the time to express our anticipation of the child's gender, if one wished to indulge in that tradition," he murmurs. An attempt at levity? One presumes, but he looks calmly serious as he wrings another cloth of cool water and steps back to Roa's head, to daub her skin with coolness again, always watching Jandor's hands.

"I..." Roa blinks up at the ceiling as her innards twists again and she can't help but twist with them. She bites her bottom lip. "Someone'd better...hold me...good thing...I'm small...right?" One hand digs into the blanket beneath her. The other finds Neiran's and curls tightly around it. Poor poor Neiran. She's watching the way Jandor coats her belly in redwort and she nods at his words. For Neiran's she offers, "Haven't you...heard? Bets are...on hair color."

Jandor is in no hurry at all, with the redwort and the numbweed after it; letting it sink in and do its stuff as the instruments boil. After a moment or two he finally leaves her side, retrieving the instruments with a pair of tongs from the boiling water and letting them cool. He tugs a pair of aides aside, briefing them as they nod. A moment later, the healer lays the sterilized tools out on a sheet and brings them to a bedside table -- pointedly hiding them from the Weyrwoman. "Aye, then." He says, briskly. "S'time." Two midwives, looking a bit trepidatious, take up their station -- one on the bed behind the weyrwoman, arms around her upper body and another holding the legs. "Few deep breaths, calm yerself as best ye can. S'gonna be all right." The gleam of metal is seen as he lifts the scalpel from the sheet, not using it yet, though. "Blond, by the way." His tone is airy, but his gaze attempts to meet Neiran's across Roa's belly.

Neiran is already staring at Roa's prepared stomach by the time Jandor lifts his scalpel. Through sense rather than vision he realizes Jandor is looking at his face, and he looks at the other man. Only then what has been said in response to his remark registers in his mind. "Ah. Hair color is not necessarily indicative of parentage. "I will guess, however, that it will be...a female." It's an uncommon show of jocularity that he's made a bet - even if done so in the most soporific manner possible. While the aides hold her limbs and Jandor prepares his scalpel for the first incision, he shifts his hand in Roa's grip, and makes a feeble attempt to squeeze back, though it's an awkward, staccato sentiment. Time will tell how much pressure his hand can take. "If you have the urge to squeeze," he murmurs, "please grip my wrist, and not my fingers. Or the twisted towel." Either would be preferable to crippling his ladyfingers.

Jandor studies Neiran's face for a few seconds. Apparently, though, Neiran's apparent lack of concern is taken as a sort of compliment. His left hand extends, poking a little bit at Roa's belly as he decides on his exact location and then the gleaming blade is lifted. Strategically, one of the aides moves so that Roa cannot see what is about to go on. He only hesitates for a second, a deep breath taken... and then? Look out below. Because here we go. The incision of skin, and the first layer of muscle beneath it are both efficient and quick. Just like he promised. Just a bit of pressure. Blood wells everywhere, and someone thrusts a clean cloth at Neiran's free hand. Down, down, the healer cuts until he reaches the bulge of uterus; beginning to incise that as well with the most delicate and careful of touches. He sees nothing around him, entirely concentrating on what he is doing.

Roa flinches just a little as the aides descend and her hand shifts upwards onto Neiran's wrist (poor, poor Neiran) since she currently has enough focus to remember to do that. "A blonde girl? Sure, why not. I think...more indicative of parentage...would be who I let..." she turns her head to the side, eyes closing. But, after a beat they open again and some morbid inclination has the weyrwoman tipping her head so she can watch. Except that people are in the way. She flinches just slightly as she feels...something. Her shoulders twitch and the woman holding them tightens her grip. Roa's own grip tightens on Neiran's wrist.

Neiran tries to watch without seeming like he's watching. Somehow, he's been given the role of moral support for Roa, but he can't resist looking from her to crane his neck a little and observe the progress of the blade. At least Roa can understand. He looks back at the woman as she tightens her grip on his wrist, and he offers her one of his nods that stand in place of reassuring smiles, even while his free hand takes the clean cloth. He has work to do while Jandor cuts, wiping away blood in neat daubs near the cut, swipes across skin where it's needed. It has the man in something of an awkward position, but despite the indignity of wiping at the woman's swollen belly while she clings to his wrist, he gamely continues. But he can't resist a moment of being a back-seat surgeon; seeing Jandor near the layer of the uterus, he breathes unawares, "gently..."

If Jandor even hears Neiran, he doesn't take any offense to the reminder. Slowly, and carefully he slicers through the stretched membrane; frowning as blood wells up to block his view once again. But, it is opened though, and Roa will finally catch the glimpse of the scalpel again as he places it back on the sheet; red stained and admittedly a little bit nasty looking. And then, both of his large hands plunge inside of the Weyrwoman's opened abdomen; fingers gently peeling back the layers. What is to be felt next is likely beyond odd as the object of the surgery is grasped, and with bloodied hands Jandor begins the task of extracting it. It is an awkward position in the extreme, as the child clears her abdomen; umbilical cord still attached. "Neiran." He says, somewhat hastily, head nodding towards where he had left the scalpel. "Cord. Please. Not enough hands." Looks, hair color,and sex are hidden for the moment by the big fellow's forearm.

Strange is a gentle way to describe it. Painful might be another. She can't quite help jerking, but the women holding Roa hold her tight despite those twitches and the choked sound of surprise as hands move around and Jandor lifts...what...she still can't see..."Please," she gasps, fingers dainty little vices around Neiran's wrist, "what's happening?"

The dark-clad healer eschews Jandor's scalpel. He brought his own kit, after all. There's not a moment's hesitation to think of whether or not the presumed father might like to take part in this little ritual; he slips his wrist free of Roa's vicegrip in her moment of shock, and soon has his own clamps and surgical scissors in hand. In two blinks, the link between mother and child is severed, clamps left in place and laid down neatly. He works with the towel, wiping his own hands free of blood and gunk as he does so. "The child has been removed," he informs Roa, swinging his gaze to Jandor afterwards, awaiting the inevitable announcement.

Jandor steps away from Roa for a moment, after the cord has been cut; bloodied fingers reaching for a nearby towel. A moment passes as he checks to see if the child has the right number of fingers and toes, doing a little bit of preliminary cleaning him off. At the same time, with a gentle finger he clears the mouth of mucus and applies a light spank. The sound of crying -- but just once, and then a newborn baby boy; black haired and looking around him is handed past the aides to Roa. "Ye want t'stitchin?" He asks of Neiran, with a matter of fact tone. "Or want me t'do it? Congratulations, Weyrwoman. Fine baby boy."

"But what is...is it..." It's so hard not to move! Roa's neck crans as she tries to see what's happening, her hand, once Neiran's escapes, curling into an anxious fist. And then there's a wail and her eyes close in sheer and utter relief. And even still on the surgeon's slab (or her bed as it were) open and bleeding, she can find a wavery smile and the means with which to curl her arms around the child handed to her, peering right back down at him. "Oh," the weyrwoman whispers as the gold dragon watching from a bit away thrums once more. "We lost the bet."

"It would please me to do it," Neiran says, waiting to step in and do just that when Jandor's made space. "Congratulations, Weyrwoman Roa," he echoes. He's not so eager to start threading the woman through that he misses the opportunity to look over the new mother and child together. A black haired boy, nothing like the blonde girl they foresaw. "Fortunately we laid wagers of nothing but air," he remarks, ducking out of sight as he peers at the wound to assess it before he begins his stitching like a contented crocheting Weaver. So many layers, precision required; he'll be happily occupied for the next while, nonverbal but for the occasional murmured assent if it's necessary.

-------

The healers arrived (and the weyrmate was promptly ousted) in the evening. It's a little past sunrise the following morning before one of the healer's aides opens the door and steps outside to regard those waiting there. Her gaze falls onto Ashwin and she offers him a faint nod and a chintilt back towards the way she came before heading further down the hall.

Inside the weyr, the gold dragon sits as near to the bed as she is able, blue and green gaze resting on the occupants therein. The pair of healers, one stocky, red and furry, the other long, lean and impeccably groomed, are gathering up their tools and making to retreat. It's Neiran who intercepts Ashwin to quietly explain complications arisen and dealt with, and then he and Jandor also slip out.

In the bed lies Roa, a little pale, hair down and damp with sweat around her brow. She ought to be tired, but instead she seems alert, propped up by pillows, peering down at a small quiet bundle resting in her arms.

Ashwin looks to be almost as tired as his weyrwoman, but he's through the door promptly once he finally has his invitation. He pauses to hear what the healer has to tell him, glancing past the man as he listens, his expression retreated to that blank neutrality that's rarer, these days. There's a tension in his body that says he wants to be past Neiran, crossing the room as fast as he can, but he holds himself in check. Once he's released, he does move, his first three or four steps quick. Then he slows, eyes on Roa's face rather than the bundle in her arms, his steps hesitant as he finishes closing the gap to stand by the bed.

She glances up when Ashwin approaches and Roa smiles, eyes crinkling, and simply drinks him in for a long moment. "Come here," she murmurs with a slightly rusty voice, though he's nearly there already, "and meet your son." She shakes her head, the words as strange to say as they are to hear, and one arm tilts upwards so the small pink figure swaddled in the blankets will be that much easier for his father to view.

His mouth opens a fraction in a silent 'oh', his eyes locked on hers. Then he swallows, and takes the final step he needs to take in, so he can look down to the baby in her arms. His gaze stays there as he reaches out to find the edge of the bed, and sinks down onto it, all the while continuing his inspection in silence.

He's quiet, but he's not asleep, and Ashwin's inspection is not the only one. The little face is fringed with downy black hair flat in some spots, standing up in tufts in others. Wide eyes are the hazy grey-blue of newborns and he blinks slowly as he peers back up at the pale Captain, staring at him as one small hand opens and closes, as if trying to figure out its own digits and how they ought to work best. Roa shifts a little, holding the baby out carefully for Ashwin to take, if he'd like to take him.

For an instant he draws back, moving his arms as though to fold them across his chest, but the instant after that, he begins to unwind. With an uncharacteristically awkward and careful movement, he scoops up the baby with one arm, cradling him there so he can look down properly. "You're okay?" The words are murmured softly, as he blinks, and with that tiny movement begins to dissolve the blankness.

Her arms settle into the blankets on either side and Roa leans her head back against the pillows, still watching him. Them. "I'm all right," she agrees quietly, "A bit sore. I'm told that's normal." She smiles again, softer this time. "Hi." The baby squirms slightly and then settles, limp and trusting, in Ashwin's cautious arms. He snuffles faintly, eyes still holding fast to his father’s face.

He moves his arms, and settles the baby in against his chest, still staring down. "Hi," he murmurs, but the words are absent minded, and he blinks again, making himself more comfortable on the bed. "Hi," he repeats, but this time he's speaking to his son, quiet and careful. "Been waiting a long time to meet you. Tonight felt as long as the rest of it put together."

"He hasn't stopped looking around since he first got the chance. Barely cried. Too busy figuring it all out." Roa smiles, blinking slowly, the events of the past night catching up to her. "Remind you of anybody?"

"Nothing wrong with sizing things up," Ashwin replies, the first hints of his smile reappearing, his words very gentle. "Don't learn much with your mouth open. He's smart, is all." One finger comes up to twitch the blankets a little looser, so he can get a look at more of his son. "That reminds me of someone."

"Mmm," the weyrwoman murmurs as Tialith leans in a bit closer, neck twining so that she can get a better view on the little lump that's causing all this commotion. "Still needs a name."

"Still does," Ashwin replies, shifting his weight one more time as he peels aside a little more of the blanket, and turning so Tialith is afforded a better look. "Don't inhale," he warns the queen, the corners of his eyes creasing to a quick smile.

From the bed Roa laughs softly, just once, and then winces. Tialith tilts her head so it's one faceted eye, rather than her nose, that leans in close to the newborn. She takes a moment to peruse, the baby shifting his gaze from father to dragon. With a low and satisfied rumble, the gold moves away to settle on her couch with a deep sigh.

"That's Tialith," Ashwin informs the baby in his arms, making himself comfortable once more. "She's your mother's queen. It's the four of us, in here. Don't piss her off until you're bigger than one of her teeth."

"That's nonsense," Roa argues, lifting one hand to rest it lightly on Ashwin's arm. "She's promised not to to eat you, even by accident, so you can piss her off as soon as you like. Though it'd probably be more satisfying if you waited. Figured out how to manage limbs and things." Tialith grumbles, low and slightly disgruntled. In response to both those voices, the baby kicks several times, little bumps against the blanket. He makes a sound somewhere between a gasp and a hiccup.

"You don't need limbs working when you've got the senior queen on your side," Ashwin informs their son, his smile now settled in place, gentle and wondering. He shakes his head at those kicks, closing his eyes a moment. "Got his legs worked out already. Talks and all." He turns a fraction in towards his weyrmate, looking across to her. "Just look what you did. Look at him."

"Had his legs worked out for a good while before, you ask me," Roa murmurs, swallowing down a yawn. "Can't seem to stop looking at him. Had a little help, though, with the 'doing'." Her fingers squeeze Ashwin's arm. "He's here. I can see my toes and he's here."

"He's here," he replies, nestling the baby carefully in one arm so he can use his other hand to reach for hers, and squeeze in return. "And you should rest. Are the healers coming back in?"

"In the evening, they said, make sure everything's settled all right. I'm not...I don't want to..." Roa yawns again. "He just got here. He needs a name."

For his reply, Ashwin rises to his feet, keeping hold of the baby as though he might break, and circles around the bed so he can climb onto it from the other side, settling down beside her, boots and all, to lean back against the rest of the pillows. "He'll be here for a while. His name's whatever you want it to be, tired little thing." He leans back another degree, adjusting his son so that he's settled on his chest. "Do you want him back?"

"Mmm..." Roa blinks slowly and inches a bit closer with another wince. "No. We can share. Lift your arm." She leans so she can rest her head on Ashwin's chest, her own arm reaching out so her hand can settle lightly on the faintly squirming bundle he cradles. Her eyes lift to study her weyrmate and then dip down to regard her...well, her son. And then, a bit against her own wishes, those eyes close. "Jashin," she murmurs.

He lifts his arm up obediently, and curls it around her as she leans in against him, so his hand can come back to smooth her dampened hair back from her face. A little family of three, curled up around each other, as he joins her in looking down to the baby he's cradling between them. "Are you sure?" A murmur of his own.

"Unless you don't like it," is Roa's drowsy reply. "Better say now, if you don't. Hate to change it when he's four."

"Jashin," Ashwin repeats quietly, trying it out for size. He shifts the baby one last time, so he can lift his own head to look down at their son's face. "That's your name. For your father and your grandfather." His smile diminishes, but only so it can change to the small, private smile he keeps for Roa, as he turns his head to kiss her temple. "Sleep, little thing. I love you."

She nuzzles her cheek against Ashwin's chest. "Love you, too. He's supposed to get hungry soon." Roa's words slip off into mumbles. "Wake m'up. When he's hungry." She breathes out slowly, going limp as she falls asleep. Jashin, newly named, only blinks up at his father and tries that kicking thing again.

"I promise." Ashwin whispers, looking down to where she's curled in against him, wearing a tender expression that would render most of his men speechless. He only has one hand to try and adjust the blankets Jashin's rapidly kicking free, and after a momentary attempt, lets them lie as they are. Then he leans down to kiss his son's spiky head, and settles his own head back against the pillows, so he can watch the both of them.

-------

Just over three hours, the Weyrwoman, the Captain and their new son have been isolated in their weyr. Ashwin remembered, at least, to direct a healer to R'vain with the news that the Weyrwoman and her babe were alive and well, and by now the news that he's been born has begun to permeate the weyr. It's just over three hours, though, before Ashwin emerges to make the short walk down to the office, and poke his head through the door, one hand lifting to bang gently against the frame and announce him.

In three hours of time, with the strain of 'what if' lifted from his shoulders, the Weyrleader's come to an uncomfortable but all-too-welcome compromise between sleep and waking. Cross-armed, with cup cradled in the crook of one elbow, he dozes and wakes and dozes again in one of the chairs, legs stretched out before him, boots crossed. It's the boots that move first when the bang of Ashwin's hand permeates the room, uncrossing, soles hitting the floor. R'vain's knees bend and it's almost like the power of his legs alone levers him up, so quick he's almost standing before his eyes clear. Blinking, he stares at his Captain a moment, then musters up a weary, toothful grin. "G'mornin'," he points out, and without question clomps toward the other man.

"It is," Ashwin agrees quietly, stepping back from the door. Then: "They're awake." Another step back, and as R'vain moves, so too does his Captain, turning to lead him back the way he's come. It's a short walk to the door, and he eases it open, moving inside with quiet steps, and holding it for the bronzerider to follow him as he looks across towards the bed.

The stone couch holds a gold dragon that sleeps as if she, too, has been awake all the night before. The bed, as one supposes it might, holds a pair of occupants. Roa rests in a nightgown, looking a bit small and a bit pale against the sheets, but alert, active, awake as promised. There is a bundle resting in her arms and the way one hand works to adjust the collar of her shirt, a body might suspect she's rather recently finished feeding said bundle. There's a bit of motion there, the blanket swaddling the infant moving now and again as it kicks or stretches. The sound of footsteps causes Roa to lift her gaze and she blinks at R'vain, offering a faint smile. Her words echo the weyrleader's own. "G'morning."

"Mmrakemmtoo," remarks R'vain from behind a paw sweeping tired from his grinning mouth, on his way to the Weyrwoman's door. He drops his hand back to his side as he prowls across the threshold, tipping his head just an increment to the Captain as he passes the other man. Like Ashwin, R'vain has eyes mostly for Roa and her new son just now. Though bleary and bloodshot in ways they haven't been in almost a turn's time, those red-rimmed eyes can manage some emerald twinkle for the sight they take in. "So I see," he rumbles deep, and glances back overshoulder to check for disapproval from behind before stalking on in to see about some kind of a closer look. "Either've you slept yet?"

There's no disapproval from Ashwin - only a sort of faint lightening of his usual, neutral expression that might be an inclination towards a smile that manifests only as a quick crease at the corners of his eyes. He closes the door quietly, and moves after R'vain as the other man crosses to the bed, adjusting the knives at his belt. No further comment from Ashwin, though.

There is a glance from Roa to Ashwin and then her attention again shifts to R'vain. "Depends on which 'either' you mean," she comments with a smile more open than the captain's. "I have. He has." A glance down to the bundle that, as R'vain moves closer, reveals itself to be a tiny, black-haired, wide-eyed newborn. "Should probably order the captain to get some as well. Might be the only way he will."

"I'll do it on m'way out th'door," rumbles the Weyrleader through a slightly wider, slightly more game-on grin. He prowls around to the far side of the bed, bending from the waist as is his wont, but from the knee too so he can prop a loose-knuckled fist against his thigh rather than dip the mattress with a lean. His gaze turns keen, grin more of a smile, in consideration-- briefly and unselfconsciously silent-- of the bundle's contents. When he does think to speak, it's to say, "G'morning," ragged as his throat always is when he tries to be quiet. Then he glances up at his Weyrwoman, probably enjoying too much the chance to prompt, "Introductions?"

Over R'vain's shoulder, Ashwin fixes Roa with an 'I'm right here' sort of glance, continuing his own slow approach with his hands at his belt. "Weyrleader won't take his own advice," he predicts quietly, coming to a halt at the foot of the bed, so the weyr's two leaders can continue their quiet conversation without his intrusion.

"Probably, we could drug him," suggests Roa fondly, though it's hard to tell whether she's suggesting this plan to Ashwin or the baby. "He tends to drink a lot of klah in the morning." She looks over at R'vain and tilts her arms so the infant in them is sort of propped up at an angle that allows him to stare up at the red man peering down at him. "R'vain, this is Jashin. Jashin, this is the Weyrleader, R'vain. Friend of the family." For this news, R'vain gets bit more thoughtful staring from those large grey-blue eyes.

"Jashin," repeats R'vain, slowish, drawling instead of clipping his sounds for a moment, thoughtful and weighted. Another glance from the babe's insistent stare to Roa, then one to Ashwin, and then-- because he expects no answer from /them/-- the Weyrleader indulges in a brief little huffy snort of a laugh, as good as saying 'I see' or 'figures,' and grins widely down at the serious bundle in the Weyrwoman's arms. "You tell 'er I can sleep fine on m'own," he rumbles, and the paw not propped on his thigh reaches two slow fingers for the bottom edge of the bundle, where feet are probably /not/ quite yet, just a touch for the blanket. Symbolic or comforting, maybe, some sort of little not-thought-out sign. "Man, he's just takin' it in. He even cry f'th'healer?"

Ashwin nods to confirm the name as R'vain speaks it, taking a half step forward so his legs can rest against the bed, and take some of his weight. Exhausted Ashwin doesn't look significantly different to refreshed Ashwin, but his blink is a little longer, a little slower. "Didn't schedule this for today," he contributes quietly. "Need to go tell Vej to sort out the rosters first." Then, presumably, sleep. His pale eyes rest on Roa's face, when R'vain looks down to Jashin. "Where'd he learn to make noise, just yet?" There's a faint hint of humour in that question.

There is a small chuckle from Roa, but chuckling leads to wincing which quickly dims her mirth back down into a smile. "Once," she says in answer to R'vain's question. "I think somebody told him it was customary. Then, this." Roa's free hand lifts to gesture down toward Jashin and his peering. "Do you want to hold him?" She looks over to Ashwin. "No you don't," she tells her weyrmate. "Word'll make it to them soon enough, and Vej'll know what needs doing when he hears."

"Let him," rumbles R'vain, soft and rough, a glance for Roa; the advice could be a whisper, if he could whisper. Then, with a flicker of emerald cornered in his eyes, the Weyrleader looks up at his Captain. "Be quick. I got t'sleep, expect you back here so I can." Erring on the side of not presuming. He softens the 'order,' such as it was, with a grin and shake of his head, looking down again; Jashin's the star, here. "Yeah." Of holding him. The fingers that touched the blanket withdraw; the great paw they belong to overturns, and R'vain crouches by the bedside to prepare of his other arm a cradle.

"Sir," Ashwin murmurs, his gaze briefly shifting down to Jashin, and then up to Roa for his next words. "Won't be gone long." But gone he will be, turning after those words to make his way for the door, and leave the weyr's leaders to contemplate the small new life they hold between them.

There is, perhaps, a touch of annoyance in the look offered from weyrwoman to captain, but she nods and watches him head off before carefully lifting the baby and passing him off to his new admirer. He snuffles a little and kicks a couple more times, one tiny fist opening so fingers can stretch wide before they close against his palm once more.

The annoyed look gets to go by without R'vain's apparent observation, for politely he's busy looking at the person here who's been looking at him. He takes Jashin in his waiting hands, then closes him in the broad cradle of his arms, and looks down at the face that looks up-- and of course, the Weyrleader goes on grinning. It's while wearing that grin, a little bit silly in its toothfulness, that he glances up for one last check on the new father as he departs. A singular nod barely tilts his head, and he looks down again at his armful. He waits-- such wisdom-- for the door to close behind the guard before he rumbles, softly, "People'll ask why such a mouthful, if y'expect he'll ride."

"He'll ride if he wants to and if a dragon finds him," Roa says with a small shrug. Wince. "Bother, everything's connected to stomach muscles, isn't it," she mutters, tipping her head back so her eyes can close as she thinks. "It'd elide all right. J'sin. J'shin. Besides," her lips quirk upwards, "If folks are worrying enough about the name, maybe they'll give the parentage thing a rest for a couple sevens."

"J'sin ain't bad. J'sh--" In R'vain's speech, this is little better than a drunken mouthful of mush, and he grins, knowing it, his point (in his mind) proven. But he raises his shoulders (a tiny bit) and lets them fall (gently) and keeps looking at the child in question, head shaking. "Breathin's connected, even, I understand. How... bad?" A glance up at his Weyrwoman, a brow lifting slightly; better not too look at her /too/ directly in asking this, though, and R'vain quickly looks back down at her son. "He stays like /this/ and you show 'im around a bit, people'll figure his father out."

"It's all right," is Roa's quiet and standard answer to all things uncomfortable. "Just...moving less for a bit. Won't be flying quite as soon as I'd hoped, but everything's supposed to go back to normal. Just a little slower than it might've otherwise." Her lips quirk upwards and she winces. "Augh. Don't make me laugh. He's...he's a lot like him, isn't he? That's not just me imagining it, right? I think folks just like something to gossip about. He could've been blonde and carrying a pair of tiny knives and people'd still find reasons to wonder." The wide grey-blue eyes close briefly as Jashin offers a yawn and a snuffling sort of sound. Breathing. Very novel.

"Well, he ain't got tunnelsnake hide, there's a note for luck." R'vain tenses his bicep and releases it, lifting and rocking the babe in his arms the tiniest increment, testing. "It ain't just you. I mean, s'far? He stays like this through th'first two turns there's no question." And then the red man blinks slowly at the child he holds, grin disappearing in favor of something more like renewed consciousness. "Fuck," he says. Beat. To Jashin, apologetic: "Sorry."

"I'm sort of relieved. Not..." Now it's R'vain that gets the annoyed glance from Roa, "Better than a tunnelsnake, I said. Hey..." Another small laugh...wince..."I think he's supposed to learn that word from Ashwin. What?" Jashin, for his part, opens and closes his other hand.

"We tunnelsnakes're very proud of our hides," gruffs R'vain through a grin, jerking up his chin so he can flash a glare of bright grinning eyes at the Weyrwoman. "And I betcha Ashwin's got a few I don't know, or don't come t'my mind t'use, he'll have plenty t'teach." A glance down at the hand being opened and closed. The Weyrleader loosens up a hand so he can offer his thumb to that experimental effort, not that he knows anything about development of grip. "Riann's two. I mean, goin't'be two. Somethin' else."

"I hear that's a perk of having a sailor in the family," the weyrwoman agrees, her tone bemused. "I imagine by the time he can talk, he'll have a whole mess of embarrassing things to spout off." She falls quiet as tiny fingers and tiny fingernails are dwarfed by R'vain's single digit. They curl carefully around his thumb, as if testing out this new sensation, before they settle, squeeze once, pause, squeeze again harder. His eyes and the blurry vision they currently allow, never leave the weyrleader's face. "She's two in a seven, isn't she? Turn's End? Sort of have this image of her leading him around by the hair in a pair of turns."

"Yeah," replies R'vain, of Riann's upcoming birthday; the agreement is subdued, but then the shock has already had its moment. He shakes his head and slowly works back up to a grin, watching the little fingers-in-miniature and their translucent nails close around his thumb. "Well, s'what she does t'everyone, ain't it? Why should he be different?" A glance up, wry and suddenly tired, but content; the Weyrleader grins, still, but now for his Weyrwoman. "I should letcha rest."

"Are you...I guess it's a bit bittersweet that..." Roa frowns a touch, her head canting to the side. "Are you okay? I mean, are you gonna be? If you don't want...I mean, I'm probably sitting the festivities out this time, so if you want a reason to keep things simple..." She lifts her arms, holding them out so Jashin can be passed back, though convincing him to let go of that thumb might be another matter. "You should rest yourself. I don't know why Ashwin thought he had to...oh." She blinks slowly. "I'm a dunce."

"Nah, m'fine. I got some people'll look out f'me." The Weyrleader lurches as slowly as he can to a slightly taller crouch so he can lean in and pass Jashin back to his mother's arms without jostling the child too much-- or making Roa move too much. He passes her a look, a blend of gratitude and amusement, too. He wriggles his thumb a little once that's the only thing that keeps him connected to the baby; the movement is slight, the merest of challenges. "Y'ain't. He just-- needs t'stretch his legs. S'been a long night."

"Has it?" Roa asks dryly. "Hadn't noticed." She settles Jashin in the crook of one arm, following R'vain's example, and uses her other hand to transfer the newborn's experiment in gripping over to her own finger. There is only the smallest of protests, a faint 'uhn', before Jashin realizes this finger feels different and sets his attention on squeezing it. "You got some people that'll look out for you," Roa agrees. "Some of them live here."

R'vain watches with a certain wide-eyed appreciation for the transfer of Jashin's hand from his thumb to Roa's smaller finger. "I ain't sure I got any live anywhere else," he says, voice cramped as he flattens a hand on his knee and presses himself up to standing again. Suddenly towering, he looks down on woman and child and shrugs. "Ain't goin' t'be G'mal t'come pat my hand, s'sure. Um." He lifts a paw to rake back his hair, not that this has any chance of changing its appearance; most of his preening (of hair, anyway) is an expression of nerves. "Think Ashwin'll mind I stand by th'door 'til he's back?"

"I meant..." The weyrwoman shakes her head, smiling softly as her gaze returns, helplessly and inevitably, back to her son. "I don't think he'd mind. Probably, he'd appreciate it. You should go sleep, though. We'll be fine."

"He won't be long." There's easy certainty in that, though the Weyrleader's voice is gruff; maybe it's just faith in his Captain's obeisance and word, but the casual drift of shoulders makes it seem like the statement's made of some simpler empathy than that. "Get some sleep, Weyrwoman." R'vain knocks off a little salute, grinning. "And Jashin." Another, downtilted, humorous. Then he turns and prowls off to take up his post at the door, to wait for the last changing of the guard, and for sleep.

The weyrwoman glances up first towards R'vain and then over to the door. She watches him step away before sinking against the pillows and inching downwards so she's reclining a bit more then she's sitting up, Jashin resting in part in her arms and in part on her chest. She peers at him. The baby peers back. Get some sleep, he says. "Well?" Roa murmurs to her child, "You first." Then she ducks her chin down to place a soft kiss on his new and downy head.

Comments

( 10 little lies — Say Something True )
ltashwin
Jul. 2nd, 2007 12:53 pm (UTC)
Finding a hand on his shoulder while he has his hands up Roa's nightgown, Neiran slowly turns his head to look up at the bearded man, expression deadpan. Maybe not as deadpan as he'd like it to be. He wishes his expression said nothing, but it clearly asks, 'why do you have your hand on my shoulder 1. At all 2. While I'm doing /this/?'
Bwahhaha.

They make a really good team, Jandor and Neiran. Scientific detachment, and morale officer. If we ever do this again (and we are NEVER doing this again), you two are definitely in charge.

I am not completely sure how at home I am with anybody peeking up Roa's skirt being 'old hat'. I suppose if it has to be anyone, at least it's Neiran. Take that however you like, Nibbles.

Jandor and Neiran, that was awesome. You both managed to imbue that scene with so much of your personalities and personal style, and I have so much admiration. Thank you for taking so much trouble to make it special for Roa.

R'vain, you too are made of awesome. I love watching this relationship R'vain and Roa have, that extends beyond the business and into the personal, and the odd way in which they care about each other. Such a great chance to see R'vain as a father, and a friend. He can't help but look out for Roa and anticipate questions, of course, but there's such depth here.

I'm all blissed out. Such good reading. Now, somebody wake me up when he turns five and can talk. Assuming a kid of Ash's ever learns how to talk.
reyce
Jul. 2nd, 2007 06:42 pm (UTC)
Jashin, huh? Well all right, I like it much better than Roash or Mister T. Congratulations - on your fictional procreation, and the fact that you won't have to type 'waddles' until the kid learns to walk! Or perhaps earns an unfortunate nickname.
(Deleted comment)
roatelgari
Jul. 2nd, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC)
We're saving 'Galactus' for the child Neiran will have. When he falls on a woman while in the middle of a migraine.
reyce
Jul. 2nd, 2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
Figures Neiran's child would be the type to eat the planet.
(Deleted comment)
roatelgari
Jul. 3rd, 2007 04:52 pm (UTC)
With a migraine, even! Who knew migraines had that effect on him?
ltashwin
Jul. 3rd, 2007 12:13 pm (UTC)
First episode of The West Wing! Come on, is anyone with me?

"What, you /accidentally/ slept with a prostitute? Did you slip and fall...?
reyce
Jul. 3rd, 2007 02:53 pm (UTC)
Do you think he'll tell the boss's daughter?
lesefton
Jul. 3rd, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC)
I have no daughter to tell!

I have no children, acknowledged or unacknowledged.

>.>

<.<

Why would anybody think I had any children?

>.>
roatelgari
Jul. 4th, 2007 05:18 pm (UTC)
Well, I didn't before...
imarirose
Jul. 4th, 2007 07:16 am (UTC)
An awesome scene. Then again, I expect nothing less than awesome with those who were involved. My congratulations to everyone. It was an incredible scene.
( 10 little lies — Say Something True )

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