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Thread Contributor: SuneIt's go time Arjay, maybe Adhira/bes. TW: Labour details
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#1
Sune was getting annoyingly used to being able to carry objects around, balanced atop her abdomen. She knew there was beauty in pregnancy. It was a true expression of love between two individuals, creating new life that in turn was loved. In the most ideal of situations. In practice she had been unable to bathe herself without assistance of late.

Additionally, none of her favourite gowns were cut to accommodate her current shape, she had to urinate at seemingly all times, she was left with weird pangs in her legs from where their daughter pressed into her nerves, and said daughter's strength had grown with each day to the point that were Sune mortal she may be concerned about her ability to hold up under the onslaught.

So to become accustomed to it was in fact, quite frustrating. Sune had done almost anything she could think of to induce labour at this point. She had pinned Arjay down and had her way with him. Plenty of times. She had taken to eating the spiciest foods possible across the vast multiverse, she had attempted acupuncture- though it had only lasted long enough for the needles to break on her skin.

Sune was done with this. She wished Mel'inde to be born such that Sune may have some minor relief from the absurd discomforts she was being put through. Of course, she wished also to meet her child properly, but that was swiftly moving down her list of reasons why she wanted to be in labour right this moment, thank you.

She sighed as another preparatory contraction hit her body. One of those ones that made certain your muscles were prepared when it came time to deliver. They had been plaguing her on and off for months, and were just another thing she was excited to see end. The fact that they were getting more painful the closer they came to the date of their child's expected birth was not appreciated. She curled her hand more tightly around Arjay's as she continued her aimless walk through the hub, just hoping that something would set her off and they could get this over with.

Sune vaguely hoped that Arjay wouldn't want any more children. At least for a long time.

Noticing a brilliant flower in the distance, Sune turned to her beloved to remark about it when she froze solid. It would take only a moment to notice the pool of amniotic fluid around their feet- and Sune knew what it was the second it broke.

Clearing her throat, she smiled shakily at her lover. "Beloved, it seems that Mel'inde has decided she is finally ready. It is time."

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#2
The past nine months had been, for Arjay, fairly blissful. While yes, Sune was still prone to going off into her godly domains, which she needed to do for her duties, she had spent an unprecedented time with him in his own home as their child grew closer to being born. Would they have had as much time to actually grow to know each other as people, rather than as goddess and champion, otherwise? He didn’t think so. Oh, she knew him, body and soul, he’d never deny that, but there was a great difference in knowing someone intellectually and interacting with them on a normal, personal level. That in itself was something he thought she probably needed. If they wanted their daughter to grow up somewhat normally, then they were going to both need to be grounded in the world, and there was nothing that struck him as more of a ‘normal’ couple thing than having her curled in front of him, their hands resting on her pregnant belly, teasing each other as they rested after a long day. On the same note, there wasn’t much more of an intimate service to a goddess for a faithful to have than going and getting her midnight cravings satisfied, or rubbing her sore legs and back, which he had been doing more and more frequently lately.

On the other hand, the level of her demands had increased exponentially lately, and while some services he was more than happy to perform (he absolutely hoped that her passion stayed at this level at least occasionally after the child was born), some of the more… petulant levels of her demands and complaints were made bearable only by the fact that he absolutely loved and adored her, both as a goddess and a person, and that he was sure that she was only voicing a small amount of the incredible discomfort she was suffering.

And thus it was that when suddenly, on their latest walk, his love found herself soaked with bodily fluids in a fairly undignified way, she might register the silent, exasperated prayer of thanks that reflexively passed through his mind.

Casting a small spell to clean the mess she’d made from her body and the ground was done without even thinking as he wrapped a supporting arm around her waist. This, though, was about the limit of what he knew to do. The normal thing at this point was to get her to a midwife, which he’d have been able to do quickly were he… well, anywhere on his world. They weren’t on his world, though, so… oh gods. Did she want to go to one of those human Earth-world places with all the needles and gnomish monstrosities that they tacked all over people? “Where do you need me to take you?”
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#3
There was wisdom to Arjay's train of thought, even if Sune was loath to admit it. She had always loved him. From the moment she has first seen him in her minds eye- not yet born and she had known his soul. But the love she had for him now was different. Now, Sune went to rest and fell asleep with him on her mind. She woke up, searching for him to be within reach. Her love had transcended the word and become something indescribable.

You could love a shop, or an animal, or a colour- what she felt for Arjay was so much more powerful that even as the goddess of love, she knew the word didn't hold enough weight. And her version of the word held a grand deal more than most. Arjay was right. Sune would not have grown to feel that way until they had known each other like this. She imagined it was an inevitability that they would- when he came to brightwater if nothing else- but it was still true.

Sune was also very grateful that her beloved was so willing to fulfil her desires and care for her in this state. And she would trade it all away to not need to go to the bathroom all the time. He was actually right that she wasn't voicing the majority of her complaints. Sune could handle abuse that others could not- and that included the fact that their daughter was incredibly strong already, and could actually cause damage to things outside of Sune's being. She hoped that came from her current state as the divine entity of love- else she may have doomed a number of mortal women through truly terrible pregnancies.

Sune couldn't help the strangled laugh at the prayer that brushed past her mind. "Yes. I'm rather grateful that this part is coming to an end. Finally." She offered, even as she did her best to not squeeze to the point of breaking his bones.

His words sunk in and she blanked. She had never given birth before! She had had children, certainly, but she had developed them with magic, outside her body and brought them to term within moments. Sune had thought she was doing well by mentally preparing for what she had been told was a gruelling ordeal- she hadn't considered what else she may need to get through the process.

Seeing the way her fingers glowed when she looked down, she was hit with a sudden urgency. Waving her fingers through the air as she grit her teeth, she started pulling open reality to allow a trip to her domain- when her magic failed. "Oh not now." She groaned, even as her mind filled in the picture. "Body is sapping my energy to work on labour, can't open a portal. Need to be somewhere without mortals nearby. Might go supernova." Sune offered, curling over around her abdomen as a particularly powerful contraction hit. As it tapered off, she took a few shaking breaths before turning to Arjay.

"Now, beloved. It's taking all of me to keep from melting every mortal in sight. And then some." She offered her hand, ready to go where he led her, even bent over as she was.

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#4
Wait, had he…? Nine hells, he really needed to stop throwing his thoughts at her like that, but it hardly mattered now, did it? No, the more pressing thought was that she was about to give birth, and he needed to get her somewhere safe, somewhere where the godly powers within her wouldn’t be a threat to anyone else, but where in the realms would a god’s power be able to reside…

Oh. That’s right.

While planar travel was possible even without the Hub, most people tried to make sure that they weren’t pushing too close to the celestial realms any more than they would step into the Nine Hells. It was obviously a good deal less evil, but you still were going to have the attention of beings that were worlds more powerful than you were, whose very intent could be dangerous to you, even without them intending it. The attention of the gods could bring fortune or peril, and most people who were powerful enough to cast such spells knew that, and treaded very carefully as a result.

On the other hand, some of them already had that attention, and thus they felt much less need for caution. And when one was an exarch in the service of a greater goddess… well, Arjay didn’t just shift to Arborea. He shifted right into Brightwater, right to the Heartfire Quarter, right into the private bedchambers of the goddess herself. He didn’t even look around at what servitor beings might be in the room as he helped her onto the bed, he just pressed his power into his voice, ordering whomever might be present with the authority that he was only beginning to grow into. “Unless you have any knowledge of birthing children, get out!” he thundered, eyes glowing violet as he gently arranged her on the bed.

First hurdle over, now they were in a place where the only thing her godly power might incinerate was… well, him. That was a sobering thought. Of course, in her divine realm, the seat of her power, and thus the power that she had bestowed onto him, was he truly that mortal? He hoped he didn’t have to find out.

“No need to be so careful now, Love,” he reassured her, smoothing crimson tresses away from her face. Of course… now the question was, if they were outside the mortal world, who was going to deliver this baby?

Oh. Oh. Oh shite…
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#5
Sune was less worried about his accidental prayers and quite a lot more focused on breathing carefully. Containing her divinity, despite the cracks on her mortal guise. She felt not unlike a porcelain doll- in some ways she was hardy, in other ways if you touched her ever so slightly wrong, she would shatter. The difference being that unlike a doll, she would also vaporize any being without reasonable power in a notable radius.

Perhaps an undetonated warhead may be a more apt descriptor.

She was so focused on that that it was only when her back hit her mattress that she noticed they were moving. And she knew this mattress- made to curve to any shape but in particular the one that she naturally appeared in. It was impossible not to notice the relief that came with the perfect support of her bed. Just the perfect level of soft- not too much and not too little.

It occurred to Sune with a vague moment of amusement that the pain may be getting to her mind. It had been so much easier to ignore when she had thought it wasn't proper labour, and now that she realized it was, it was that much harder to deny.

Sune swallowed hard before allowing a small laugh. "They are hedonists and narcissists. I love them dearly but I would be quite surprised if any of them knew a thing about the topic." She offered, as the past contraction started to wane and her divinity finally escaped her death grip.

She smiled with gratitude at the touch and at his care. Reaching up to press a kiss to his palm before squeezing it, Sune closed her eyes for a moment. "Aren't you glad that you aren't mortal enough to have an excuse to run away anymore? Instead you get to be involved in it all." She chuckled softly, surprised with how much energy it had taken just to contain herself long enough for him to bring them to her home.

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#6
In all honesty, Arjay hadn’t expected there to be any help in the fey spirits he’d evicted from the room. Oh, a part of him had definitely hoped that there would be, but he wasn’t in the realm of a goddess who would engender such skills in her servitors. This was the goddess he’d worshiped and fallen in love with, and he’d known what she was about from the start, he might as well own that fact, he supposed. “I’ve done quite enough running in my lifetime,” he said, fixing his eyes upon hers. He leaned over the bed, kissing her brow, before he set himself to work as best he knew how. “I’d not run from this even if there were someone to take charge of it for me.”

Arjay had heard his mother talk about childbirth many, many times. He knew the complications that could arise (although he was fairly certain that most of them weren’t an issue for a goddess), he knew in theory what needed to be done, but had he actually done this before? Well, no, he hadn’t. That… was probably going to be an issue, but one he was just going to have to deal with.

As he helped her out of her gown (or at least, started to before she simply made it vanish), Arjay couldn’t help feeling a spark of amusement at the fact that here was the goddess of beauty, overwhelmingly with child, a state that she had been maintaining with a dignity and radiance that most pregnant women could only dream of aspiring to for the past months, and at the end she was struck into a situation that was more undignified than anything she’d probably endured in her existence. There was no way around it, while pregnancy might have a beauty of its own, childbirth was messy, painful, and honestly unpleasant for everyone. This was the unfortunate transition between two states in which there was no graceful path. He hoped she’d forgive him for subjecting her to that state (the fact that having a child had been her idea completely escaping him for the moment).

He slid several pillows behind her back, helping her into the semi-sitting position that he knew she’d need to be in as he arranged her at the edge of the bed, knowing that of all the unspeakable things that had happened in this bed, this was probably the one that was going to do the most damage to it. He fixed his eyes upon hers as he slid a blanket over her, a look of tender apology in his eyes. “I’m not a midwife. I don’t know what herbs to give you, what potions to use to make this easier on you. We will get through this, but I’m sorry for what I’m unable to do for you. But now… I know you have control over your form. Now that the child is separating itself from you, I think now is the time to use it and move your labor into full force.” He knew, after all, from experience that labor could take an incredibly long time, and he’d rather she not suffer through that if it wasn’t necessary.
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#7
There were some of Sune's attendants who possessed skill in more menial labours. Food, and cleaning, largely. Food because as one of the pure of heart in the hub would say- Food is love. Which wasn't an inaccurate statement, it was an enjoyable thing and you could make it out of affection for another. Cleaning was even more self explanatory- cleanliness was more likely to be beautiful. Artful disarray had it's place, but Sune found such things better suited to the real world.

But none of them had needed to birth a child, as far as she was aware. After the fact, when her bed and child and self would need cleaning- Then Arjay would find himself with all the help he could want. And until then, none of them wanted to sit through the whole bloody show.

She smiled at Arjay, taking a deep breath while she held his hand for her own reassurance. She used the small untouched well of her power to open her gown from top to bottom, finding it easier than getting rid of it entirely. It was going okay. She wasn't scared, she was breathing and her muscles were relaxing. Until her smile was contorted with the pain of another contraction. Sune gasped in silent agony, tense in his arms as he maneuvered her in the bed. When it waned enough for her to speak, she did. "Don't-" She panted. "-Worry about the bed. My realm. Can rebuild it from scratch if I need to."

Relaxing again for a moment, she forced her lungs working again. Not out of a need for air. But because it was something to focus on. Filling her lungs was something she could do. Sune rested one hand on her belly, the other keeping her head up enough to see her beloved. "No need to apologise. I would be surprised if any of them had any effect on me even if you did know. And as for the Labour-" She cut herself off with another groan of pain.

"Mel'inde has got the speed down. Had we waited a moment longer I may have birthed her on our walk." Sune offered, getting her teeth, uncertain of what she was to do now. Was she supposed to push? That was a thing, she knew, but was she supposed to do that now or later?

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#8
Arjay couldn’t help looking up at his love with a look of genuine amusement. “Well, I’m glad that it can, because I was writing the bed off as a complete loss. This is no time to be trying to keep anything even remotely clean.” Oh, certainly, he might have felt a pang of guilt over it, but there was no saving the bed unless godly power was involved (which, admittedly, it was). Everything he was doing now, he was doing because it was going to help the baby be born.

That moment couldn’t possibly come soon enough.

Arjay cast his most powerful divination on himself, readying himself for the moment when he’d have to instruct her, not wanting anything left to chance more than it needed to be. Sweet muses, he was nervous, terrified even, regarding what he was about to do, but there was no getting around the necessity of it, the responsibility of it. He picked up a clean blanket, then settled himself down to help deliver the baby.

That was a view of his love that he hadn’t seen before, and wouldn’t soon forget.

Nervous eyes fixed upon Sune’s as they waited. A contraction was coming, he knew it would come in the next few seconds, and that was the cue. “As soon as it starts, push!” he told her, knowing that if he didn’t, she wouldn’t. “It’s almost over, just a little bit longer, I promise, Love. Just grab onto the pillows and push, Mel’inde and I will do the rest.”
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#9
Sune let the majority if her beloved's words wash over her. Oh, she heard them, but she was focusing on her breathing and trying not to tense. She was counting the milliseconds before she could hold her daughter. And before she had her body back. She adored Mel'inde already, but the only acceptable part of the shape her body was in now was that her daughter was there. Once she was born... nothing would stop Sune from returning to her normal form.

She swallowed hard and nodded at the instructions, taking a deep breath before the contraction hit- and she pushed like hell. Even with her form of 'gentle,' their daughter was still out with that one solid push. Sune was grateful at that moment that her strength was not dwarfed by that of their child. A few equally messy moments later and the placenta was gone as well.

The sight would be beyond amusing to some. Sune deflated like a balloon, her skin sparkling clean despite the mess around her, and her eyes flaring impossibly bright as her power returned to her. As her faithful swarmed around them, cleaning up as well as carting away everything that was ruined or no longer necessary, Sune struggled to the floor beside her beloved.

Mel'inde wasn't crying. She wasn't screaming bloody murder. She was just staring at her father and making soft noises that were as beautiful as her hazel eyes and copper hair. Sune snuggled against Arjay, reaching out to hold their daughter's hand in her own. "Welcome into the world, Mel'inde." She offered softly, nor even attempting to hide the tears of joy that streamed down her cheeks.

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#10
Arjay had to admit that he'd had an eventful life. He'd fought in wars against forces that belied comprehension. He'd soared through elite ranks , been in multiple widely-publicized whirlwind romances, been married in state in front of the entire city in a ceremony presided over by one of the highest political figures his people had. He'd even, at one point, orchestrated a coup to liberate an entire city from an oppressive army, and those were just the more glorious things that he would actually admit to.

All of these things, he forced himself to reflect upon so that he could truly appreciate that this was the most powerful moment of his life.

He took the moment to appreciate the fact that, seconds after she'd given birth, his love was back to the perfection she'd always displayed before Mel'inde had been conceived. He'd enjoyed the maternal beauty he'd been able to witness every day since she'd asked him to give her a child, certainly, but yes, there had also been a part of him that had missed her in all her uninhibited glory, and glorious she was.

This, however, didn't even slightly take away from the true wonder of the moment, and that was the baby now in his arms. He idly, almost politely pushed away the fine silks and blankets that the rush of eladrin servants were pushing at him to wrap the baby in, instead drawing out a blanket that his mother had made for the occasion, casting a spell to clean the baby before he wrapped her in the blanket. "It seems impossible that she'd be as beautiful as her mother," he reflected, "Because it seems like that should be too much beauty for creation to hold. At the same time, you can't deny the evidence of your eyes." He leaned forward, kissing his newborn daughter on the forehead as those little eyes inevitably closed again, then reached up and caught a passing Eladrin by the arm. "What do you think, love? Should we let them indulge themselves spreading the happy news?"

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#11
Sune wouldn't say that this was the most powerful moment she had ever experienced. She had seen gods born and killed, nations rise and fall. This was however, the most important moment that she had lived through. The way her daughter's little mouth made shapes, and her lungs took their first breaths. Sune had been a mother plenty of times. But perhaps most importantly of all was how Arjay looked at Mel'inde.

He looked at her as though there was more colour in his world than ever before. As though he had finally found some sort of answer to a long asked question. And the bonds of love between her daughter and beloved were stronger than ever. Already they were strong enough she didn't think even she could sever them fully- which was for the best, since she had no intention to.

Sune simply smiled as Arjay wrapped their child in the blanket he had brought from their world for Mel'inde. She didn't spare a thought to her own garments even as her servants pushed gowns at her as well. She shook her head lightly. "She is more beautiful by far. And I can't help but think her father was involved in that as well." Sune whispered, tracing her index finger along the shell of their daughter's ear, where the delicate point clearly spoke to her parentage.

She pressed a kiss to Arjay's cheek before she replied. "No. They will speak amongst themselves, but I have already tasked one of them with passing the message to the ones of our world who should hear it first. The rest of the world can learn of her after her grandmother has had a chance to." She whispered, even as her old bed melted away to be replaced with a new one.

Wobbling slightly in the process- she had just given birth after all- Sune stood, leading Arjay to rest next to her in the bed, where she nestled Mel'inde between them. "The whole arduous process seems an easy price to pay now, does it not? Through I have no desire to experience more- It all seems worth the effort now."

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#12
“By far?” Arjay glanced over at his goddess with a small smile and a raised eyebrow. “Humility from the goddess of beauty? This certainly is a rare moment,” he teased. He leaned over, kissing her just under her ear, not trying to turn her gaze away from their daughter. All the same, joking aside, he supposed that he could see some logic for that being the case. This child was born out of the truest love that the embodiment of love and beauty had ever known. It could make perfect sense if the child were to surpass its mother, except for one niggling little fact. “When perfection exists, you cannot surpass it, love, only find variations upon it that somehow equal that perfection,” he murmured into her ear… then succumbed to the need to turn his attention back to the newborn child he was holding.

The child really was perfect.

He relented as she explained her orders to the servant spirits, allowing that if his mother found out any other way (or in any other oder), she would be quite displeased with him. He patted the eladrin’s hand as he released it, then stage whispered back to it. “As soon as she knows? Sing it to the heavens,” he said, only half joking.

The new bed was a welcome addition to the room, and as Arjay got himself situated on it with her, he realized that he’d quite been monopolizing the child ever since it had been born. It hadn’t even been a conscious thing, the idea of putting her down simply seemed inherently wrong to him. Still, Sune had been indulgent of him so far, he shouldn’t push it, should he? He settled next to her, resting the child against its mother then reaching over to pull her closer. “Now, tell me, Love… would you have said that an hour ago before she was born?” he teased. He leaned over the baby to kiss his lady, then kissed the top of the baby’s tiny head before sinking onto the bed, letting the enormity of the day sink in. He was a father. He had just delivered that child. He was, through some twist of fate or coincidence or luck or strange confluence of events lying in bed with the most beautiful woman in creation and the baby they’d created together. “Every single hardship and loss I’ve felt in my life is completely justified in this moment,” he mused.
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#13
Sune knew without even skimming the surface of her beloved's mind that he understood. Sune was a being of love. Mel'inde was being born from love. She smiled without turning her head to see him, too enraptured in the beauty of her daughter to do more than a momentary glance for appreciation of the look in Arjay's eyes. It was too easy to instead trace Mel'inde's rosy cheeks- a furious pink that would cool all too quickly. A nose, not tiny like a button, but just the right size for the rest of her.

And her eyelashes. Neither of her parents had dark lashes, and without aid, they could be all too hard to see at times- But Mel'inde's were already so long. The red tint of them serving to make them more noticeable, and the metallic shine making the light dance on them. Sune had been holding back her urge to see her daughter. Had been blinding herself from the future so that this very moment, would be one that her and Arjay could know together. As well, so that her first time seeing her daughter, Sune would be able to reach out and brush her few curls away from her eyes, feel the smooth skin under her fingers. Hear her first breaths.

The Goddess of love and beauty was unsurprised to feel tears pool in her eyes, nor was she surprised when they rolled down her cheeks, their path twisted by the smile she could not rid herself of. Giving a small chuckle, she shook her head lightly. "Oh hush. You know as well as I that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I can become perfect for anyone's definition of the term- but none will be able to deny our daughter's light."

Sune allowed her eladrin close enough for them to wipe away her tears and put food and drink down for the new father and his Goddess- then she shooed them away, making it clear that they were to leave the room alone. This moment wasn't for her followers, wasn't for her champions or exarchs. It was for her, Arjay, and their daughter.

Sune didn't begrudge Arjay the chance to have his daughter in his arms. Though it was not the same, and she would be delighted when Mel'inde first looked up at her mother with the same gaze of love she gave her father- Sune had been, in effect, carrying Mel'inde for nine months. While it may not have been something she chose to monopolize, it was still the truth. Sune would only really take her daughter in her arms alone when Mel'inde discovered she was hungry.

She smiled into Arjay's kiss, snaking a free hand to take his for a moment. For just a second, she let herself bask in the love they shared. Let herself watch how devoted he already was to the baby girl nestled between them. Then she took his hand, spread his fingers, and presented the largest of them to his daughter, watching as she eagerly took hold of it. Sune knew that their child didn't comprehend the action, nor what it would mean to her father, but she knew it was something that had always filled her heart with joy. Her own hand free, she likewise offered their daughter a finger to curl her tiny hand around. Though her other arm was partially pinned underneath her, she once again sought out her beloved's hand.

It may be cliche, but she wanted to close the circle. All three of them holding on to each other as their worlds settled into this new orientation. She had to blink to remind herself to reply to his comment. "I do believe I specified that it seemed an easy price now. Yet- I will admit, all the mistakes I have made, now seem like they weren't errors at all. Not if they led to her." Sune offered simply.

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#14
Arjay turned his eyes up to his love, his gaze full of complete, guileless honesty. "I'm the beholder, and frankly I don't care what other people's incorrect opinions might be. A perfect child can only come from a perfect mother, and you'll not be able to dissuade me from this idea."

He rolled onto his back, pulling the infant to rest on his chest, then pulled the child's mother over to him, tucking her up against his side, so that mother, father and baby all had their heads close together. The baby fussed, as babies were wont to do, and Arjay brushed his finger over her cheek, cooing quietly to her as he watched her little face screw up, likely in the general indignation at being out exposed to the air after spending so long in her warm, happy fluid home. "That's right, Mel'inde, it's just us, the one who's been feeding you and the insufferable one who wouldn't stop keeping you awake singing," he joke, unable to keep his voice from catching as he spoke. Ye gods. When he'd pictured this moment, he'd thought he would be singing the child a lullabye, but he could hardly speak through that painful lump in his throat. The tears streaming down his cheek, he didn't even pay any heed to except to blink them away, letting them seep into Sune's hair as he leaned his head against hers.

"I am sincerely glad that I no longer have to worry about my heart giving out," he mused, "Because a daughter as lovely as she will be? I'm rather sure that just a year ago, she'd have been the death of me." He leaned down and kissed the top of the baby's head again as she clumsily grasped ont his finger. He wondered how long it took for the baby's little cries of protest to stop sounding so magical and start sounding like shrieks that drove parents to tears. Would that ever come? Well, to someone who didn't actually need to sleep, perhaps not. "I don't think that anyone ever realizes until they're a parent just how distinct a baby's voice is," he mused as she fussed more. And it was true. Out of a thousand crying children, he'd be able to pick his child's out, he was sure.

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#15
Sune wrinkled her nose and shook her head at him. Snapping her teeth at him playfully, she grinned. "And here I thought you had learned not to argue with your Goddess." That was the extent of her complaints however, a small flush on her cheeks that had nothing to do with the exertion that Sune had just completed. She liked the way he looked at her, even if she was certain that their daughter would outshine her.

Mel'inde would be the high points of love. One day, Sune fully believed she would truly exemplify the meaning of her name. Love's Melody indeed. But that was for the future, a future which was steadily filtering back behind her eyes now that she wasn't wilfully blind to it.

Sune smirked. "Of course, by extension, a perfect child can't come from an imperfect father, My love." She added idly, stroking the jaw that she could clearly see in their daughter. "In fact, scientifically, I can tell you she looks more like you than anyone else at the moment. Obviously unnecessary with deities, but a child is born resembling their father to increase the chance that the father will recognize them as his own and not question the child's paternity." She offered, tracing the curve of his ear much as she had done moments before with their daughter.

Snuggling in, she marvelled at the way her world had grown so much bigger and yet so much smaller. Her life had become so full in what amounted to one year. And yet her entire world laid in her arms now. A beautiful baby girl with the same curls piled atop her small head that hung down her mother's back. And... A man. Who sat with her, who did not shy from commitment, from being everything she had needed him to be. Who looked at her, the her that hadn't changed for anyone's eyes- and yet looked at her as though he was incapable of believing her beauty.

You would think that the Goddess of Beauty would be more used to that, but there was something different in the way Arjay looked at her.

Sune smiled at his words shaking her head with laughter. "She stilled inside of me whenever you sang to her. I know that your voice was one of the few things that made her rest when she had exhausted me so much that I simply needed to lie down. She already adores you." Though the first part was said in a light tone that implied correlation but not fact. The last four words were stated with a certainty that you couldn't possibly doubt. Not coming from the mouth of the Goddess of Love.

A teasing smile danced along her lips at his words, not hesitating in the slightest to lean up and whisper in his ear. "Darling, had your heart not been healed, you would not have survived her conception." She offered, pressing a kiss there before turning to the grumpy girl. Loathe as she was to pull her hand from her daughter's touch, Sune did so in order to brush her cheek, watching without surprise as the young godling turned eagerly into the contact, mouth falling open and her cries interrupted just long enough for her to realize she was just being touched.

Then the cries started up again and Sune chuckled before lifting the recently settled babe into her own arms, prompting another cry of annoyance before Sune shrugged the shoulder of her gown off and presented their daughter with access to food, which quieted her instantly. "You will have to teach her to sing. Her voice is already so strong." Sune offered, surprising herself with the yawn that stretched her cheeks. She attempted to stifle it, unwilling to give up this moment so soon.

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#16
“If you ask me,” Arjay mused, “Science serves only to take the mystery and magic out of existence.” Yes, this was oversimplifying, and he wasn’t completely serious, but he really didn’t want to be dissuaded from his little world view. He squeezed her a bit more tightly, leaning over to kiss the top of her head as well. “She’s perfect, and I don’t particularly care the explanation. She’s our child, and she is perfect in every way.”

Arjay was finding that there was always some form of surreality lingering in his life, and it was as if he had to confront it every single day. At this moment, with her reassurances about the child (things only a goddess could know), he felt one more wall between him and the situation crumbling, that feeling of separation he felt when he just couldn’t fathom being this close to a divine situation and being a whole part of it. It was exceedingly easy to think that he was simply an also-there, a hanger-on of the much more important goddess, and sometimes it was hard for him to not place that particular wall between himself and this situation that he most certainly didn’t have any business being in. In that moment, though, he felt it driven home that no, he wasn’t. This was his daughter. This was as real as it had been between himself and his father, between himself and his mother. This was his daughter, and he was going to be able to make her love him as much as he’d always loved and idolized both of his parents.

He was still processing that a bit, enough so that he didn’t even really have a chance to indignantly argue about his ability to perform even with a deficient heart. “Honestly, if that was how I went out, I doubt anyone would have been surprised, least of all me,” he admitted. “Still would have been worth it.”

Arjay shifted as she rolled aside to nurse the baby, wrapping his arm over her and nuzzling against the back of her neck as she (quite unexpectedly) yawned. That one did surprise him a bit. Yes, he did sleep from time to time, needing to enter dreams for some of his duties, but Sune was several orders of magnitude more powerful than he. She had never needed to that he’d known. The times she had, she’d just done it as a little favor to him, to pass the time while they were relaxing in bed together and he (mostly out of habit at the end) had drowsed himself. “Just let it happen, my love,” he murmured in her ear. “I don’t know if you’ll ever be able to feel the need to fall asleep in my arms again, and certainly not after such a wearing day. Let yourself have this moment. Neither of us will be going anywhere while you’re asleep.”

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#17
Sune smiled at Arjay. She tapped his nose lightly. "My love, by refusing science, you blind yourself to many other wonders. For each question that it answers, five more questions are found." She offered simply. She could have gone into more detail. Given examples. But it was needless, and all that mattered at that moment was what she could reach and hold.

And Sune had no argument for the latter half of the statement. "She is. She really is." She murmured, unable to bring her voice higher in volume. Why would she, when such a thing might hurt the delicate ears of their beautiful pink faced daughter? A daughter who stared up at her father in fascination and squirmed in confusion in equal measures.

Like that, Mel'inde had snared her mother's eyes once more, the goddess unable to recall a sight she had ever considered as beautiful. It seemed a crude thought considering the half elf was not her first child, but Mel'inde was the first that had ever been born of a love so deep. Sune had loved the parents of her other children, but not in the same way she loved Arjay. Besides which- Sune truly didn't believe that she had allowed herself such a moment since the death of her first born. She hadn't wished to become so captivated as she was now.

Sune had forgotten the small noises a child made that weren't really an attempt to communicate just yet, but a lack of understanding as to what each part of her body did. She had forgotten the incredible warmth that such a small body could possess. Sune had forgotten how soft the skin was or how fine the hair, or how small each feature was on a newborn.

Sune had adored Mel'inde since the day of her conception. She had known as much. Even when the relationship between herself and her beloved was so much more tenuous. When she hadn't known exactly how much her heart would yearn for him when she had spent more time by his side. Even when Sune hadn't known how her heart would reshape to fit the entirety of Arjay and Mel'inde inside, she had known she loved her.

Now she knew that the process to make room for the two who would almost certainly be listed among the most important beings in the life of the Goddess of Love- had scarcely begun. There was still so much more love that Sune knew would one day serve as the home for her small family.

The part of her mind that paid attention to the world around her drew her thoughts back to the conversation taking place. She placed a swift peck on the nose of her elven lover. "I am certain you would have more than satisfied regardless- but I believe you recall your inability to walk after our first night together." She offered with amusement even as she watched her daughter and lover together. "And yes. It would have been."

Sune was focused on the tiny scrunched face their little girl was making as she fed, to the exclusion of everything else. She had to deny her desire to startle when Arjay laid his arm around her, though she easily turned her head to steal a kiss from him. She smiled at him once more, and leaned into his embrace to hum pleasantly. "I imagine I will not need to, though you know I do sometimes of my will alone, but for the moment, I think I'd like to stay aware, and appreciate this time. It is the first few hours of our family, and I think I can hold off sleep at least until she has succumbed." She murmured, using her power to pull his head to where she could enjoy a long and sweet kiss before she broke away, unable to suppress her smile.

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