Zaylee walked happily with her step daughter Breena who was only one month behind her in pregnancy. It hadn’t been planned but they had somehow managed to get pregnant around the same time and it had actually been fun for them. This was Breenas first pregnancy so she liked not only having Zaylees experience since this was her step mothers second child but also having someone going through it with her every step of the way. Kaiyah had come on the walk aswell. The winged wolf was worried about Zaylee. She wasn’t sure why but Zaylee had woken up with Kaiyah in her bed whimpering and had stuck by her side all day.
“The coolness of morning is so nice when you’re a million pounds” Breena said with a happy sigh. Zaylee laughed “Oh I know, I hate how hot pregnancy” Zaylee moaned, unable to finish her sentence and had to catch herself on a tree “Mom! Are you okay?”
“Breena” her name coming out of her mothers mouth in what almost sounded like fear “what is it mom? You can’t be having the baby, it isn’t time for you yet”
“somethings wrong” Zaylee could barely stand and felt her pants start to dampen but it wasn’t with water, it was with blood. Breena felt panic set in, she didn’t have anything she needed to help her mother and her ability to help her was only made worse by how swollen she was with a baby “Kaiyah! Get us help! Please! I can’t help her by myself! Hurry! Bring our husbands to us and get my bag off my surgical table” Kaiyah whined and took off. The wolf hadn’t even known precisely why she was worried but her fears over Zaylee had been warranted. Breena did her best to help her mother in law lay down and she cut off Zaylees pants.
Zaylee was trying not to cry but she felt immense pain “Mom, what’re you feeling exactly, it’s important” Breena started pushing healing energy. It wasn’t focused anywhere because she didn’t know what was wrong but Breena had to do something or she knew she’d go into full blown panic and be no help. She was bleeding and whatever reason it was it couldn’t be good.
Arrow felt pain slice through his belly and he actually fell to one knee, dropping his sword. “Arrow?” Emeril said as he helped his father in law stand back up. “What’s wrong?” The other soldiers were looking at Arrow in shock and Emeril ordered them to to take a break.
“Something’s wrong, it’s Zaylee.”
“What do you mean?”
“It feels like I’m being torn apart from within.” He took a deep breath. “I need to find her, she’s panicking and scared.”
“Let me get Killian, he has a good nose, he’ll be able to pinpoint their location faster.”
Emeril ran to where the rest of the men had gone and grabbed Killian “Zaylee and my wife need us. Arrow is feeling her pain and my wife was with her. They went out walking. We need your nose to find them faster” The two ran back to Arrow and Arrow fought through the pain to get to Zaylee. He was terrified, both for her and their unborn child. Kaiyah was soaring through the trees as fast as her wings would push her. As she got closer to home she began to howl, knowing Arrow would recognize it as her. Killian heard her first “I think they sent Kaiyah for you two” It wasn’t much longer before they met with the wolf. When she saw Killian with them she flew on, knowing Killian could led them and that Breena needed her bag.
Zaylee was crying and shaking when they arrived and Arrow’s heart nearly stopped at the sight of the blood and his terrified wife. She reached for him and he dropped down next to her his arms pulling her up and against him. “What’s going on?” He managed to ask.
“I don’t know.” Breena had to answer as she took her bag from Kaiyah. “She just started bleeding.”
“The baby.” Zaylee wailed.
Arrow did his best to comfort her, forcing himself to stay calm, to breathe for both of them. “We need to get her back, she’s losing too much blood.” He said as he lifted her. Emeril, you and Killian run ahead and let the healers know what’s going on and that my daughter will need all the help she can get.”
“Yes sir.” Emeril took off running and Killian ran after him.
“I feel cold, Arrow.” Zaylee said. “I…I can’t st…stop shivering.”
“It’s okay, just focus on me, on my heart beat, on how calm I am.”
“Our baby Arrow”
“everything is going to be okay” He had never seen Zaylee like this and it was killing him. He wished he could promise their baby was going to be okay but he wouldn’t, it wouldn’t be fair to her since neither of them even knew what was wrong. Kaiyah carried Breena back, knowing it must be hard for her to run as swollen as she was. When they arrived at Breenas Arrow quickly took her in and laid her down on Breena’s guest bed. Breena managed to slow the bleeding then told her father “I need you to give her blood okay? I’ve already mastered the magic to make it okay no matter what blood type you are”
“anything she needs, just do it, you don’t have to ask me Breena. I just need her to be okay” It wasn’t long after she got her father hooked up to Zaylee and giving her blood that Killian and Emeril came with more of their kingdoms healers “have you figured out anything yet Breena?” One asked urgently asked “No but I’ve slowed her bleeding and my father is giving her some blood, Emeril, can you give her some next? Please”
“Of course I can”
Arrow felt a sense of helplessness as he comforted Zaylee. He wished he could do more, wished he could heal her or carry her fear alone. “It’s okay baby.” He said as he stroked her hair.
“I’m scared.” She replied and he felt tears dampen his eyes.
“I’m right here.” He kissed her forehead and then her lips.
“We’ve nearly stopped the bleeding.” One of the healers said.
“Our baby, is the baby okay?” She asked, her voice cracking. They didn’t answer and Arrow hugged her tighter, needing to keep her from panicking
Osius and Eveny now appeared in the doorway of the room. When Killian had gathered healers to help Zaylee someone over hearing had run to get their son Osius, knowing he’d want to know something was wrong with his mother and possibly the new baby they were expecting. He didn’t know if he should go in or what to do because he didn’t want to get in the way of the people helping her. Eveny, also unsure of what to do just held her husbands hand then held him when he turned into her arms. “Osius, get some towels please” he suddenly heard his half sister Breena ask. He and Eveny instantly moved, grabbing all the towels from where Zaylee kept them since they didn’t know how much Breena needed. “can I do anything else sister?”
“I need you and Eveny to go out and get me some red raspberry, it’ll help with the bleeding.”
“As much as you can find.”
They ran out and Breena focused on Zaylee who Arrow had managed to help calm a little. She was still shaking and one of the healers grabbed a blanket and handed it to Arrow. He moved to sit behind her, wrapping the blanket around both of them. “I’m so scared.” Zaylee said.
“Shh, don’t be. No matter what happens, I’ll be right here.” Arrow replied softly. “Do you remember the first time we met?”
“yeah, I used to cause you so much trouble..I still do sometimes”
“No you didn’t Zaylee. I’ve always loved chasing you. I practically waited for you to stir something else up so I’d be sent after you”
“because you were too much of an idiot to realize all the times I flirted with you..but you’re my idiot Arrow”
“and you’re my beautiful trouble maker”
“for whatever I did wrong…for what ever reason this is happening”
“Zaylee” he just wanted to keep her calm and relaxed “You were wearing such a pretty outfit when I first saw you, do you remember what you were wearing?”
“I remember what you were wearing. Your armor was as dark black as your hair. It looked so good on you. Those boots, those crimson red ones.”
“well you were wearing a loose skirt that fell about an inch above your knees and even then you loved corsets. You look so sexy in them so I enjoy the fact you rarely wear anything else for a top. It was the same royal purple as the skirt. You were also wearing a butterfly necklace and your hair was up in a ponytail.”
“You’ve always been one for excessive detail”
“well I’ve always enjoyed admiring you” How sweet the two of them were had Breena and a few of the other people there near tears, especially given the news they had to give them. It wasn’t long after Osius and his wife got back the other healers left and Breena was left to talk to them. She stood there in silence a long time before saying “dad…”
“is she okay?” He didn’t ask about the baby because a part of him already knew. “Moms fine, she’s going to be okay. Mom, this is…I’m so sorry mom. We…they tried but..we couldn’t save your baby. You…she”
A part of Zaylee knew that they were going to lose the baby, but it didn’t lessen the impact and she started crying. Sobs shook her body and Arrow held tightly to her, his own eyes damp with tears. “I’m so sorry.” Breena said again.
“It’s not your fault baby, you tried.” Arrow replied. “Thank you for watching over. If you hadn’t been there…you saved your mother.”
“He’s right sweetie, you did what you could.” Zaylee managed to say. “Arrow, I want to go home.”
Arrow lifted his wife off the bed and took her home. Osius rushed over to his sister and let her sob into his arms. Her husband Emeril rubbed her back “you did all you could for Zaylee” Osius didn’t let his sister go until she pused herself out of his arms “I should talk to dad about the healing process”
“You’ll do no such thing right now Breena. You’ve been dealing with this for hours and that was after you and moms morning walk. You’re pregnant yourself and need to think about you too. Let your husband take you to your room. I’ll talk to dad and help”
“I will too Breena, go rest with Emeril” Eveny chimed in. “Okay, just tell him that it’s normal for her to bleed for up to two weeks and that he needs to try and get her to rest as much as possible.”
“I will” Emeril swept her off her feet “thank you Osius, Eveny” He said sadly then took Breena to their room. Osius turned to his wife “we;ll take these berries over then give them some space before I talk to dad. Maybe we can go home and cook a few things for them so they don’t have to worry about that”
“I’ll go ahead and go home to start on that.” Eveny offered and Osius kissed her “Okay, I love you”
“I love you, I’m so sorry about your mother”
“at least she’s okay, I’m happy for that” He walked with his wife outside then stood there, watching her go back to their home until she was out of sight. He then noticed Kaiyah still sitting there the yard “He walked over and stroked her “My mother will be okay” was all the comfort he could offer right now. He walked sadly over to his parents house, setting the berries on the counter, it destroying him inside to hear his mother sobbing in her room. Osius approached their room and gently pushed open the door “dad?”
Arrow wiped his face “yes son?”
“I left berries on the counter for mom. I’m going to come back at dinner with food for the two of you so you and mom don’t have to worry about cooking…then I’ll be back tomorrow”
Zaylee wiped at her face “would you come hug me baby” He had come wanting to but didn’t quite know what she needed so hadn’t yet. He got up on the bed and hugged his mother. “You’re such a sweet boy, just like your dad.” Whens he let go she looked around “where is your wife?”
“she went ahead home to start cooking for you guys”
“tell her thank you”
“I will mom, you just rest, please”
“Is Breena okay?”
“Yeah, Emeril has her”
“Could you tell her to come see us when she’s rested? I don’t want her to think what happened is in anyway her fault.” Zaylee’s eyes were already filling again. “She worked herself into exhaustion.”
“I will.” He kissed his mother’s cheek. “Rest okay, no strenuous activity and Breena said you might bleed for two weeks.”
“Okay baby, I love you too mom, dad and if you need anything don’t hesitate to ask.”
He left them to go help his wife Zaylee moved back into Arrow’s arms, needing his comfort. “Is there anything I can do?”Arrow asked.
“You’re already doing it.”
“Would you like me to get those berries?”
“I’m not hungry.”
He tilted her head back. “You need to eat and drink something, you’ll heal faster. For me, please.”
He left her just long enough to pour her a glass of water and fetch the berries off the counter. She snuggled up to him, sitting between his legs as she ate. “I’m going to stay home with you until you’re feeling better love” Arrow said as he stroked her arm. “You should keep doing your job baby, it’s okay”
“I won’t leave you while you’re feeling this way. I know the king and queen will understand. It’s not like we’ve been to any kind of war anyway in quite some time so the men can slack a bit and it won’t be a big deal.” Zaylee started sobbing again as she thought of the baby she’d never meet. She already couldn’t stop thinking about all the things she could have done different, upset over losing the baby and upset at herself. She never rested as much as Arrow wanted her to and maybe this pregnancy she was getting punished for it.
“stop that, I can feel you getting upset at yourself. You didn’t cause this Zaylee. It happens and you can’t blame yourself. You’re a good mother”
“Our baby Arrow…I”
“shhh, everything’s going to be okay Zaylee”
“How do you know that? What if it ha…happens again?”
“Then we’ll keep trying and we’ll talk to every healer and doctor and magical being there is.” He stroked her hair. “Trust me when I say that we can get through anything together.”
Zaylee cried harder because of his warmth and kindness. Arrow was her rock and she leaned heavily on him in this moment. He talked softly to her, letting her know how needed and loved she was, telling her how beautiful and perfect she was and that she was a wonderful mother. She cried until she was exhausted and fell asleep in his arms. Arrow pulled the covers over them and kissed her head, wishing there was more he could do to fix the pain in her heart.
Shortly after the sun went down Osius returned with Eveny and her youngest son Gaspard who had come along to help carry the food his mother and step father had spent the day cooking. Once Osius didn’t have his hands full Eveny said “I know my way around well enough. Gaspard and I will set the table and put all the food away we won’t be eating tonight”
“Thank you” Osius said then knocked on his parents bedroom door. They didn’t answer, both in a deep sleep from all the crying and the despair they felt over the loss of their baby. He knocked louder this time and it managed to wake his father. He carefully moved away from Zaylee, got up and pulled open his bedroom door “it’s dinner already?”
“Yeah, my wife and son are setting the table for us all to eat together. You and mom can take your time coming but please come eat with us. We want to give you and mom your space to heal but going through this completely by yourselves isn’t good. We’re leaving food for breakfast and lunch tomorrow but we’ll be back again for dinner”
“Is Breena here?”
“Do you want me to go get her?”
“Could you check on her and Emeril? If she’s resting don’t wake her but ask her husband to come see us in the morning if she isn’t up to see us this evening”
“okay dad, I’ll be right back” Arrow set a hand on Osius’s shoulder “you’re a good son. Thank you”
“well most the thanks should go to my wife. She did most the work when it came to cooking” Osius walked away and Arrow went back into his room to wake Zaylee. “where are you going?” Event asked as Osius walked by to see his sister “to check on Breena for my dad”
“There’s plenty for her if she wants to come for dinner”
“Yeah, I’m going to invite her if she’s awake”
“Arrow? Is everything okay?” Zaylee asked when she woke.
“Everything’s fine baby, it’s dinner time.”
“Already?” He brushed his fingers through her hair and gave her a gentle kiss.
“Yeah, the kids brought dinner. Osius went to see if Breena and Emeril want to join us.” He lifted her into his arms, cradling her close and brushing a kiss over her temple. “Eat with us?”
“Okay baby.” She rested her head on his shoulder and he carried her out to the table. She greeted everyone with a smile and Arrow sat with her in his lap. “This all looks really good.”
“We made a lot of your favorites.” Eveny replied.
“You didn’t have to go through so much trouble, but thank you.”
“We wanted to, you’re grieving, the best way for us to know you and Arrow are eating properly is to feed you ourselves. When I lost my husband I was blessed with really good friends who did this for me. My oldest son did chores around the house too which was shocking and sweet because theres nothing he hates more than cleaning a house. You should see the way his house is”
“Maybe one day we can all go visit him. We’ve really enjoyed him the couple of times he’s come to visit you here”
“Okay, I’ll write him and see when he’d be ready for company” Breena and Emeril came with Osius “she was awake”
“hey guys, are you in any pain mom?” Breena asked. “I’m okay baby. Thank you so much for taking such good care of me. How do you feel? Have you rested much since I came home?”
“Yeah, Emeril has confined me to bed for the day. He’s waited on me hand and foot.” Zaylee was glad Arrow had kept her in his arms. It helped her not to cry and to have semi normal conversation with her family. They were all being so wonderful but that was also making her emotional.
Arrow could tell Zaylee was still exhausted as dinner neared its end and as much as he wanted to allow their family to stay, he knew she needed more rest. “Let’s get you back to bed baby.” He said in a gentle tone.
“I don’t want to be rude.” She replied.
“It’s okay mom, you need rest.” Breena said.
“We’ll clean up.” Emeril added. “You two just take it easy.”
“As long as you’re sure.”
“We are, let dad take you to bed.” Osius said with a warm smile.
She nodded and Arrow stood. “Could we take a bath first?” She asked. “It would help me relax.”
“Of course honey.”
When Arrow and Zaylee went into their bathroom Osius asked “do you need anything Breena? You went through a lot too today. Not even counting how hard you worked it must have been hard to watch mom go through that. You were there from start to finish”
“I’m really fine, Emeril has me.”
“Yeah, you two just take care of Zaylee and Arrow” Emeril added. They finished eating then Breena and Emeril left as Osius and Eveny cleaned up the table. About a week after the tragic event Arrow and Zaylee started taking walks outside, knowing they shouldn’t keep confining themselves to their home, they’d never heal that way. Walks, over the weeks, turned into visits with friends and family and Arrow knew the next step was to go back to work but he didn’t quite feel ready yet.
“This is one of those times I think about retiring.” Arrow said as he sharpened his sword.
“Don’t you dare, you’d be bored.” Zaylee sat next to him on the porch and he put it to the side so he could hold her.
“I’d be home with you, it’s hard to be bored with you around.”
She laughed. “Oh Arrow, you really are the sweetest man, but I know you. You’d retire, but you wouldn’t really retire. I’d find you at the castle, watching the men, fighting the urge to give them orders.” She shook her head. “No retiring, being a soldier is in your blood, it’s just as important as breathing for you.”
“But it’s not more important than you. I need you more than armor and a sword.”
“I know, but I’d feel guilty.” He opened his mouth to speak and she held up her hand. “Don’t bother telling me not to feel that way because I will regardless.”
He sighed. “How about a compromise then. I was thinking of giving Emeril my position as captain and dropping down to an advisory level. I could still do my job, so to speak, but he would be the one commanding them. Right now, he’s working with his own group and I’ve watched how well he’s done at gaining their respect as their commander. He would be perfect. That way, I could spend more time with you, but still glare at the new recruits when they do something stupid.”
“If that’s what you want, and then maybe we could talk about trying for another baby.”
“Are you ready for that? Seeing you that way nearly killed me.”
“With you here, I’m ready for anything and next time we’ll do everything we can to make sure the baby survives.”
“Okay, I really would love another baby with you Zaylee”
“Me too, I miss it, having Osius around, being all adorable and small. Now he’s all big and serious, just like his father” Arrow chuckled “He and Breena are amazing people.”
“Yeah, I’m excited for Breena that she’s going to experience motherhood soon. I wonder if Osius and Eveny will have any together.”
“We should tease them about it next time we see them. It’ll at least nudge them in that direction” Zaylee laughed, loving some of her mischievousness had rubbed off on her husband over the years. Zaylee relaxed a little more into her husband, as hard as it been neither of them had let the heartbreak consume them. They were a stronger couple than ever and next time Zaylee planned on being incredibly careful. She wanted another baby so badly and she never wanted her husband to go through the loss of another child.
~ The End