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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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