Faigi woke alone in their bed, sleepily looking around the room for Adali. Faigi didn’t see her so sat up and stretched before getting out of bed to find her. She heard her mate humming and followed the noise outside “Oh, morning Faigi” she gave her a sweet smile “the baby wake you?’
“I had another nightmare” Faigi frowned “Adali, you should have woken me. I hate when you don’t”
“You looked so peaceful. If I would have really needed you I would have woken you. It was one of my tamer nightmares. Just getting up and realizing i was still with you made me feel better. I’ve just been talking to Valac.”
“and humming, I love hearing you hum to him. I can feel how much you love him” Adali looked nervous “I’m so scared Faigi” Faigi sat down beside her mate and pulled her close “You’re going to be a wonderful mother to this baby boy. I don’t think for a second how he was conceived will ever get in the way. I’ll be right here for you when you need my support. You are incredibly brave for having this child. We’re going to raise him to be a good man, we’ll all be a happy family, I know it Adali”
Adali teared up “I love you so much Faigi”
“I love you and Valac too, more than anything”
“I’m still terrified Othman will find me and that he’ll take you and Valac away.”
Faigi stroked her cheek, the loving gesture warming Adali’s heart. “I would kill him before I let him lay a finger on you my love. Besides, you’ve become so much stronger since being away from him. He won’t be able to control you ever again.” She gave Adali a gentle kiss, making her cheeks heat up. “Lets go back inside and I’ll make you breakfast.”
“Okay.” Faigi helped her to her feet and they went inside. “Do you need my help?”
“No baby, just relax on the couch.”
“Can I have another kiss first?”
Faigi chuckled and let her lips move lovingly against Adali’s. She gave a happy sigh then pulled back and bent down to kiss her belly. “Good morning little one, be good for mommy today.” Valac kicked in response to her voice and Adali smiled happily. “Go ahead and relax and I’ll be right back.”
“I love you Faigi.”
“I love you too.” Adali grabbed a book and sat down on the couch, pulling her feet up next to her then flipping the book open. Faigi smiled as she chopped up fruit for fruit salad, loving Adali’s voice as she read to their son.
Faigi soon brought breakfast to Adali then sat at the end of the couch. “as I was saying before love, you are so storng. You’ve been doing well with your gift”
“controlling people isn’t a gift” she said in a flat tone. “You know I didn’t mean it just like that. Of course it isn’t a gift. I know how much that power has tormented you in the past. I just am glad you let me help you learn to use it so he can never use it on you again. I mean it when I tell you I’ll kill him before he ever touches you or our son but in the end I think you could stand up to him.”
“being bitchy again” Faigi smiled “Love, you’re pregnant and Othman is a horrible memory. You were hardly bitchy anyways”
They ate and Faigi did her best to keep Adali’s mind off of her worries. She could only imagine what she was going through and hoped that one day, Othman would be nothing but a distant memory that hardly ever surfaced. After breakfast Faigi took the dishes to the kitchen and quickly washed them then went back to Adali. “Want to go on a walk with me?” She asked.
“I think I’d like that.”
Faigi helped her to her feet and laced their fingers together as they went outside, their bare feet sinking into the soft grass. It was so peaceful out here that Adali could almost forget her fears. They went down to the lake and walked along the bank watching the ducks swim. “Feeling better?” Faigi asked.
“Yeah, I’m better.”
Faigi pulled her to a stop and tucked Adali’s hair behind her ear. “You’re such a wonderful and beautiful woman.” She stroked her cheek and Adali blushed. “Absolutely perfect in every way.” She took Adali’s face in her hands and kissed her. Adali felt a thrill run through her at Faigi’s touch. No matter what, she always made her feel loved. “My sweet Adali, how I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“Lets stay out today, keep you and little Valac in the fresh air.”
“that honestly sounds nice”
“well you lead the way. I want to walk wherever it is you want to walk. Lets just try to stay close enough to home I can carry you back in enough time to sleep in our own bed.” Adali could once again see Faigi struggle to ask somthing of her out of worry for her health without it seeming like a command. Faigi just didn’t like her out where somthing could attack while she was carrying the baby but she disliked even more telling her what she could and couldn’t do out of respect of what she had been through “Okay, just remind me if you think we’re straying too far. Last time I got us far from home I just hadn’t noticed”
Faigi smiled and kissed Adalis cheek again before reclaiming her hand “okay” Adali stayed near the pond to admire the adorable ducklings playing around their mother for a bit longer then started walking with Faigi deeper into the woods. “shit, it’s going to rain baby” Faigi said about an hour and a half in “is there any shelter near or do we absolutely have to go home?” Adali asked. Faigis heart sunk a bit as she thought about what laid in each direction. Adali didn’t want to go home so she didn’t want to take her home.
Faigi lifted Adali and hurried even deeper into the woods. “Where are we going?” Adali asked.
“There’s a place that should be safe to use as long as it’s empty. A dragon used to live near here and even though he hasn’t been back in a really long time, I try to avoid going into his cave.”
“If he’s dangerous, we can go back.”
“I’m sure I could make him understand if and when he comes back. He never caused any trouble, so I’m sure he’d be fine with it. Just don’t touch any of the treasure.”
“Okay, are you sure, I don’t want to make you stay out here.”
Faigi smiled and kissed her cheek. “I want to stay, I just get worried about you and the baby.”
Adali rested blissfully in her mates arms. She once again felt completely safe and loved. Faigi rushed them into the cave when it came into view, glad the dragon still wasn’t back. Faigi set Adali down on a cushioned pillow she had seen before. “It’s amazing so much treasure remains here”
“Few are foolish enough to mess with what belongs to a dragon no matter how long they are gone’ Valac kicked and Adali rested her hand on her stomach “I can’t believe he is so close to being here.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing how happy you’ll be. I’ve helped a number of women bring their children into the world and theres no happier expression than a mothers first look at her child.”
“You’ve never told me how you’ve come to help other women give birth”
“I’m very old as I’ve told you. I’m not even sure how old at this point since it matters so little. Being around as long as I have I’ve just so happened to be there. I’m glad now so I can’t confidently help you. Though honestly your body knows what it needs to do. Even when it comes to pushing. I know since you’ve never given birth it sounds weird, but when you need to push your body knows just how”
“I feel a little scared.”
Faigi brushed her fingers through Adali’s hair and kissed her gently on the lips. “You’ll do great, I know you will. You’re so strong my love, so, so strong and I won’t let anything go wrong.”
“It’s going to be hard telling him about Othman if he asks. I don’t want him to feel ashamed or blame himself.”
“Then we’ll show him every day how much we love him so that no matter what, he’ll know we could never regret him. He’s going to grow up to be such a good man, tough and smart like his mother.”
“I’m not though.”
“You better stop lying or I’ll kiss you until you admit I’m right.”
Adali blushed, but felt herself smiling. “I’m really lucky.”
“I’m the lucky one.” She pressed a kiss against Adali’s forehead. “Let me go out and find something to cook, I’m sure you’re both hungry.”
“Thank you, for loving me.”
“It’s not hard, just relax and yell if you need me.”
Faigi went fast, ignoreing the sting of the rain. This near the end of Adali’s pregnancy she hated to be gone long. She didn’t want Adali to go into labor by herself and get scared. She wanted to be right there to make it easier and to coach her through. Faigi found something decent sized, killed it and readied it to cook. Adali’s stomach would probably appreciate her not watching the preparation. When Faigi came back Adali had already made a fire in the cave. “god you’re soaked” Adali said and Faigi laughed “I’ll dry my love” Faigi began cooking and Adali moved to sit near her “I had a contraction while I was trying to get this going. It’s been over five minutes since though”
“Okay, was it strong?”
“It was pretty much the same as they always are”
“Alright, even if they aren’t close you let me know if they start hurting more than normal”
“I will” Adali smiled and Faigi said “I just want to be sure I’m ready for it starting”
“I have to be dialted a certain amount too right?”
“Yeah but I wont start checking that until you get contractions near eachother” Faigi finished cooking and they ate. Contractions here and there woke Adali through the night but they were never close enough to signify Valac was coming. It did however keep Faigi on her toes.
“It’s still raining.” Faigi said when Adali woke in the morning. She worried her lower lip with her teeth. They needed food and clothes and the dragon had neither of those things. She didn’t want to have to leave her again to hunt just in case.
“We’ll just stay until it lets up.” Adali said in a reassuring tone.
“I don’t want to leave you alone again.” Lightening arced through the sky and a loud boom of thunder soon followed, startling Adali and making the cave vibrate. Faigi pulled her into a hug. “Now there’s that.”
“You can just carry me now, I’m not afraid of getting wet.”
“I also don’t want you to go into labor while we’re out there and have to deliver Valac in the rain. We’ll give it another couple of hours. I’ll go out and get some berries, sound good?”
“Yeah, it’s okay, I promise.”
Faigi hurried out, forcing herself to focus on finding food. Adali rubbed her stomach and sang to Valac as the rain was blown around outside. Her lullaby was interrupted by the ground vibrating and she went still, wondering if there was an earthquake. When the black and purple scaled dragon stuck his head into the cave she actually yelped. Dark blue eyes rested on her, looking a bit confused. “I…we…” she stammered, “the rain and we were out. We didn’t take anything, I promise.” The dragon gave her a questioning look that seemed to ask who the “we” were. “My mate, she’s out there.” The dragon shifted shape as he moved closer and squatted down in front of her. She was worried she would be harmed, but he just raised his chin and tapped the large scar that crossed his throat. “You can’t talk?” He shook his head. “Are you mad I’m here?” He shook his head again, giving her a gentle smile.
Adali smiled back “do you want us to leave when my mate gets back? She’ll be returning soon” He shook his head again and walked away, coming back with paper. He handed her what he had written ‘You are with child. Stay until it’s clear.”
“Thank you” she responded. He felt relief she could read. “Can I know your name? Mine’s Adali” it was the beginning of them talking back and forth, her with words and him with his paper. When Faigi returned her heart stammered at first but quickly she assessed the dragon wasn’t upset. She came in and apologized. He waved his hands and Adali said “he’s really nice, he doesn’t want us to leave until it’s clear out there” She noticed his scar and gathered he couldn’t speak. She gave a small bow of respect and sat down, handing her mate berries. Adali filled her in on what they had talked about so far. Faigi was happy he had been such good company for her.
Chua tapped his mouth then pointed at the berries. When Faigi offered him some he shook his head and quickly wrote down, “Only berries?”
“We’ll be okay.” Faigi replied and he shook his head then pointed at Adali’s belly. He stood, gesturing for them to wait before heading out into the storm, shifting as he went.
“He’s very kind.” Adali said and Faigi smiled. “What?”
“I’m happy you’ve made a friend.”
Chua soon returned with a couple of rabbits, already skinned and gutted, and a few potatoes. He went directly to the small kitchen area filled a large pot with water from a pool in the back of the cave. Adali watched with wide eyed wonder as he blew fire in his human form to get the water boiling. She hadn’t spent any time with dragons so this was all new. The cave was soon filled with the smell of rabbit stew, making both women’s stomachs growl.
When it was done he served them each some then sat down with them again. Adali took her first bite and her son moved around happily in her stomach “Valac likes it. Thank you so much” He gave a small nod with a genuine smile. The storm outside seemed to be getting worse so he had the women come further into his home. He had them sit down then began making some sort of pallet on the floor. He used a beautiful, very soft looking blanket and some pillows that looked gorgeous to Adali and Faigi. It soon clicked with Faigi “are you making that for Adali incase she goes into labor?” He nodded then gestured for Adali to lay down so he’d know if she’d be comfortable. Adali and Faigi walked over and Adali laid down. “It’s perfect, thank you” He smiled, seeming pleased.
Faigi asked “have you helped a woman give birth before?” He nodded then went to his pad of paper to write something. “I’ve helped my mother deliver twice” Faigi looked at Adali “well now you have two experienced people here”
“Thank you Chua, you’ve been so kind.” He smiled and left them for a moment, disappearing into the part of the cave where he housed a good amount of his treasure. When he came back he had a beautifully embroidered blanket and a shiny silver rattle. He sat them next to Adali. “For the baby?” He nodded. “You don’t have to do that.” He waved his hands as if to say don’t worry about it then sat down in front of them.
“May I ask about the scar?” Faigi said.
He picked up the paper and wrote, “When I was sixteen I was attacked by bandits while on a walk and they slit my throat to stop my screaming. I healed enough not to die, but not to speak.”
“That’s so terrifying.” Adali replied, tearing up a bit for him.
He smiled and scribbled down, “My mother killed them so it’s okay, don’t cry.”
“Sorry, Valac makes me weepy.” His smile widened and he leaned forward and hugged her then gave her head a gentle pat.
Faigi was glad for the dragon’s gentleness. Adali wouldn’t normally let a man hug her or even get close to her, but Chua had a warmth about him that put them both at ease. Adali’s contractions started up again and Chua wrote down that he thought the baby would be here some time in the night and Faigi had to agree. He started a nice sized fire for them so the cave would stay warm then grabbed towels just in case. He wrote down that there were hot springs in the very back of the cave for Adali to bathe in afterwards if she wished and the he had sat towels and robe back there for her.
“Thank you so much.” Faigi said again and he just smiled. Just as they both thought night came and Adali’scontractions were getting closer and closer together. Adali moaned “Oh is it already supposed to hurt this much?”
“I’m sorry baby but yeah” Adali began breathing as Faigi had practiced with her “good girl, let me see how dilated you are” Faigi checked her then said excitedly “You’re ready Adali! You’re fully dilated. It’s happening” The words barely left Faigis mouth when her water broke. Adali asked in panic “what was that?” Chua comfortingly stroked her hair then offered his hand for her to squeeze. “Your water broke just like I said it would. He’s giving you his hand so you can squeeze it. He’s a dragon so don’t worry about hurting him. You just need to concentrate on pushing with the contractions okay?”
“Okay” Another strong contraction came and she squeezed his hand. He patted her on the head with his free hand so she’d know it was okay then wrapped it around the hand she was holding his with.
You’re doing so good baby.” She coached her through each contraction and exclaimed excitedly when she could see Valac’s head. Chua moved behind Adali too give her more leverage to push and Faigi helped guide their son out. Valac’s first cry was loud and strong, bringing both Faigi and Adali to tears. Faigi laid him gently on Adali’s chest and she held him against her, happy and relieved he was out and safe. She was so exhausted, but overjoyed.
“My little boy, my sweet little boy.” She stroked his brown curls and Chua smiled as he gave her a congratulatory hug and stayed with her while Faigi cleaned up. He moved when she came to sit with Adali, wanting to give them some time with their baby.
“He so beautiful.” Faigi said and pressed a gentle kiss to the top of his head. “You did good.”
“I’m glad you were here and Chua too.”
Faigi kissed her mate. “Do you want to bathe real quick baby or are you too tired?”
Adali looked at Chua. “Would you hold him while I get clean?”
Chua nodded and grabbed the baby’s blanket then gently took him and wrapped him in it. He rocked Valac while Faigi took Adali to bathe and helped her into the robe. The baby seemed very content with the dragon and they both decided to ask him to be Valac’s godfather. Chua was so surprised by the question that he just stared at them then glanced at the baby in Adali’s arms. He grabbed his pen and paper and wrote, “Are you sure, you hardly know me at all?”
“You helped us when we needed it and you already have experience with children, plus Valac seems to like you. We’re very sure. You can visit us whenever you want and having a dragon for a godfather would probably make Valac really happy.”
His expression told them their words had touched his heart “I’d be honored” He wrote. When the storm finally allowed them to leave Chua’s home he insisted on walking with them. He was uneasy about two women traveling with such a small child. Not that they couldn’t defend themselves, it was just something stupid was more likely to give them trouble because they would seem like easy targets. “why don’t you stay for a bit? Let us thank you” He wrote down “I’ll come back in a month so the three of you can adjust and have some alone time with the new baby. If you two have any trouble or need anything for the baby please come find me. I’ll stay home for awhile”
They exchanged final hugs and he was on his way. Adali and Faigi took little Valac to the room they prepared for him. “do you like it little guy? Adali asked blissfully. Faigi couldn’t help but smile at the two of them. As painful as them coming to be was Faigi had a little family and she would never let anything happen to it. Othman might not get away with his life again if he ever tried to harm Adali or take Valac from them.
In the following nights Faigi helped Adali all she could with their son. Wishing she could produce milk like her mate so the full responsibility of feeding wouldn’t be on Adali. Adali didn’t mind though, she loved waking up to him. Faigi had told her she’d be overflowing with happiness but the joy of holding your baby in your arms just could not be understood until you were doing it. Just as Faigi had sworn not to let anything pull her little family apart Adali promised herself and her son that nobody would ever harm Valac, especially not his father. If he ever came he would never over power her again, she would practice more with her mate to ensure it.