No, I have NOT forgotten my Ægir’s…and hopefully you won’t either…
Kirsty tossed things into the suitcase without even noticing what they were. Two days…and two incredibly long nights alone…and she was still fuming. She had done her best to finagle them all. Well, except for Bjorn. She knew he was completely hopeless. But the others she had taken a divide and conquer approach, beginning with Petrine, the weakest link. But none of them had broken ranks. Not even one had been prepared to stand with her against Bjorn silly and unfounded fears.
“Damn them, damn them all to Helvetia,” she cursed as she threw the matching baby quilts that Petrine had sewn for the girls in the bag with goddess only knew what else. It would serve them right if she had forgotten half of what she should have packed. She smiled at the thought of all those late-night trips to the stores in Oslo on a wild goose chase for one thing or another. Oh, yes, she felt a brilliant plan for revenge coming on.
She grimaced and stifled a low moan as that catch in her back that had been bothering her the past couple of days started to act up again. She would have loved to share this monstrosity of a bed with one…two…or all three of them. If for nothing more than to have someone to massage her back when it hurt like this. But she was not giving into their silliness that easily.
“Almost packed, sweetie?” the soft feminine voice intruded upon her plans for justice.
So, they had been so churlish as to send their mother to do a man’s job? Good. New ideas for their comeuppance blossomed in her fertile mind. As she turned with a frown to her mother-in-law, not even sparing the older woman one of her stone-cold glares.
“Does it matter if I am or not? Like Bjorn said, they will carry me to the boat kicking and screaming if they must,” she pouted.
Petrine just smiled and shook her head, “I know you are not happy about this, Kirsty. But please understand, my sons love you. None of them can stand the idea of something going wrong…of anything happening to you or those babies.”
She sighed as she clutched one of the girl’s little pink dress to her bosom, “Petrine, you know they are over-reacting. I have not had a single problem this whole pregnancy. Not a single one,” she emphasized as she tried one final time to sway the woman.
Petrine closed her eyes and sighed as she nodded, “I know, sweetie. Honest, I do. But between what happened with me and this being twins, can’t you bend just a bit? I mean what is a couple of weeks in Oslo when compared with the rest of your lives here on the Homdling as a family?” Her green eyes that were so much like her youngest son’s were pleading when she spoke again, “They love you so much, Kirsty.”
Kirsty blew out a deep breath as she saw her last hopes going up in smoke before her eyes. If she could not budge even Petrine, she had no chance against their united front.
She turned to toss the tiny dress into the suitcase with everything else but she must have moved too quickly or the wrong way, because this time that nagging pain in her lower back was more like red hot knives slicing through it and spreading around like fingers of agony to grip her lower abdomen. She could not hold back the cry as she clutched her abdomen and gripped the wooden column of her bed until her knuckles were tight.
When the pain began to subside enough that Kirsty could focus again, Petrine was by her side. Her arms wrapped about her back and supporting her as she struggled to remain standing. “Was that the first one?”
Kirsty shook her head in confusion as her struggled to clear her mind, “First what, Petrine?”
The older woman chuckled, “The first contraction, sweetie.”
She shook her head in denial, “No, the babies aren’t due for another five weeks. That was my back. It has been bothering me the past couple of days. I must have turned the wrong way and pulled something then.”
She was not prepared for the laugh that erupted from the other woman’s throat, “You may pull one over on my sons yet, darling,” she replied before turning towards the open bedroom door and calling for them.
Kirsty was confused. None of what the woman said made much sense. What did this nagging back ache have to do with anything? She was still trying to put all the pieces together when Bjorn’s blond head appeared in the doorway, followed shortly by Mikael’s darker one. Sven had yet to conquer stairs, but she knew that those two would relay whatever was said to their older brother.
She glared at them both and placed her hands upon her hips as she felt some strange and unknown pressure between her legs burst. She stared in shock at the dark stain spreading on the rug at her feet.
Her mind rifled through the possibilities. Over the months, she had become accustomed to female ejaculation…but she had not orgasmed. She frowned, then what? Had she wet herself? But it did not feel like she had.
Petrine was laughing even more now as she moved back to her side, “Sorry, boys, but it looks like she has bested you this time. Bjorn, get me my medical bag from the cabin. Mikael, help me get your wife into the bed and comfortable so we can see how far along she is.”
Kirsty opened her mouth to argue with her but instead a scream erupted as pain ripped through her lower abdomen and spread upwards until she could watch her whole stomach tighten like something out of a horror film. All that registered was… ‘I’m in labor. I’m really in labor.’
Bjorn raced back to the Holding with the over-stuffed, heavily laden, multi-colored and flowery denim bag that had been his mother’s trade-mark as the herbalist, natural healer and sometimes midwife in this community for almost three decades now. Logically he knew that she had delivered half of the children in the village.
But that was not how this was supposed to go. They had discussed this. Had it all planned. Kirsty had promised. She had sworn that if they came back here now she would go to Oslo with its well-equipped and modern medical facilities to have their babies. She had assured him. And look where they were now.
Maybe they could still get her on the boat and make the trip safely. After all, labor took hours, sometimes days. Especially first ones. Yes, that was the solution, he smiled as he threw open the door and rushed straight into Sven’s scowling face.
“What is going on up there?” he demanded.
Bjorn would have laughed at the obvious distress written on Mister Cool’s face. Except that he knew his was just as fraught with worry.
“How am I to know anything more than I told you five minutes ago when I came down the stairs? Kirsty is in labor. That is all I know. Now get the hell out of my way so I can go find out,” he demanded as he tried to shove his way past his brother and the walking sticks that allowed him to get around with a great deal of effort.
“Damn it, kid, those are my babies too. And I am stuck down here with no idea of anything that is happening to any of the people I love.”
His words stopped Bjorn cold. He could only imagine how frustrated and helpless his oldest brother must feel. “Okay, I understand. Just let me take Mom’s bag up there and find exactly what is happening then I will come back and update you,” he promised.
“No, you will help me up those stairs now. I have every bit as much right to be in that room when those babies are born as you and Mikael.”
“Yeah, well, right now I am hoping that they won’t be born in that damned room. I’m hoping like hell that we still have time to get her to the hospital in Oslo,” Bjorn tried to barrelling past Sven one more time only to be greeted with a metal stick blocking his path.
“Enough, you two,” bellowed a gruff voice behind him. “Let the boy past, Sven, so he can take the medical supplies to your mother. That is our priority,” Olaf reasoned as he pushed the cane away. “Then we will figure out a way to make sure you are part of this too. You have my word on it.”
Sven glared at them both for a moment but then nodded his head almost imperceptibly before stepping out of the way.
Bjorn took the stairs two at a time as he left their uncle to calm his older brother. Not that he blamed the man. He knew that these past few months had been living hell for Sven. At first he had even thought that perhaps it was justice. The gods punishing him for the stubborn way he had treated her and them…for all the pain he had caused everyone. But as he watched his brother’s struggles Bjorn had realized…no one deserved this living hell. Not even Sven. Especially not this.
He burst through the door to see her face red and sweat pouring down it. But when she opened her mouth and screamed his knees almost gave way. Bjorn gripped the door handle to remain upright. It was not that they had never heard her scream. Hell, they all quiet liked it. But not this. This visceral and primal eruption of the soul ripped out his heart and shattered his mind. Especially when he realized that he was as completely helpless as Sven.
“Bring me the bag, Bjorn,” his mother crooned. How could she be so calm and undisturbed in this utter madness and chaos?
Somehow or the other he managed to cross the vast sea between the doorway and bed. She took the bag from his hands as he simply stared down at his wife as she collapsed back against Mikael’s broad shoulders. “Good girl, elskling,” his brother kissed away the perspiration from her brow and brushed wet hair out of her eyes.
He was frozen. All he could do was stand there and stare down at her. Every single one of his darkest fears coming to life and playing on the wide screen in his mind. Losing the babies…or worse yet…her. He tried to swallow the fist that had lodged in his throat but he could not.
When she looked up at him with tear filled eyes, he almost crumbled again. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know. I promise. I thought it was just a back ache. I’m so sorry. So, sorry….” she cried. “I didn’t mean for this to happen. Please forgive me…. please,” she pleaded.
He could not even manage to force the words past that lump even as much as he wanted to…as much as he knew that she needed to hear them.
“It’s okay, Kirsty,” his mother reassured their wife at the same time she was pulling on a pair of sterile gloves. “Bjorn knows you would not do anything like that. But right now, sweetie, we all need to focus on getting these babies born. Especially you.”
He shook his head as his mother’s words reached some dark corner of his addled brain, “No, Mama, we need to get the boat started, her on it and sail for Oslo as fast as we can,” he asserted.
His mother shook her head without even looking at him as she rearranged the quilt. His befuddled mind could not even grasp what he saw when she did, “That’s not…No! Labor takes hours…days.” But he could not deny the evidence of his own eyes.
Petrine shook her head as she pulled their wife out of Mikael’s arms, “Get your brother out of here.”
Mikael reluctantly released his tiny burden with a nod as he bent and kissed Kirsty’s still damp brow, “I’ll be right back, lilla gumman. You’re doing just perfect. Always our good girl,” he reassured her.
But the stony glare that he turned on Bjorn was anything but reassuring, “Come on, kid. Let’s go update, Sven.”
Her face reddened as a deep guttural keening filled the silence, “Please, please forgive me, Bjorn. I promise I did not do it on purpose,” Kirsty pleaded as he felt the scalding tears slide from the corner of his eyes.
Mikael wanted to shake his little brother until his head exploded. Instead he whispered, “Tell her that you forgive her,” as he gripped Bjorn’s upper arm so tightly that there would be bruises.
But it must have done the trick because his brother shook his head as if waking from a bad dream. Mikael thanked the gods as the man forced a weak smile and took their wife’s hand that she held out for him, “There is nothing to forgive, sweetheart.”
Mikael sighed and loosened his grip a bit, but did not release his brother. “We just need to help Sven, elskling. You do exactly as Mama says and I will be right back, I promise.”
He was forced to tighten his grip once more as he tugged Bjorn towards the door. Not that he could blame his brother. He did not want to leave her side either. But he also needed to talk…or beat…some sense into Bjorn.
And maybe Sven too, he thought, as they reached the top of the stairs. His father was struggling to steady him as he dragged himself up the steps. Half using his arms and the other half by sheer will and determination over his virtually useless legs. “What in Helvetia are you doing?”
Sven did not even bother to look up. He probably could not risk breaking his concentration as Mikael noted that his oldest brother’s brow was as damp as their wife’s. “What does it look like I’m doing? If the two of you won’t help me up these damned stairs, then I will fucking dragging myself up them on my stomach if I have to. I am not going to miss my daughters’ births.”
Mikael looked over Sven’s shoulders to his father with pleading eyes as he maintained his grip on Bjorn’s arm.
Olaf nodded, “All of you just settle down. None of this is doing that girl or those babies a damned bit of good.”
He looked from one of them to the other slowly, “Do you want to need up a bloody mess in the fighting fields or be there for her and those babies? Your fathers and I have done both. And trust me…it is much better to be there than angry and bruised.”
Bjorn nodded his head slowly and Sven paused, leaning heavily on the bannister. “Mikael, what exactly is happening?”
“She’s having those damned babies,” Bjorn blubbered but the stern look from his father squelched any further outburst.
Mikael nodded, “Yes, Kirsty is going to have the girls. Here and now,” he squeezed Bjorn’s shoulder, partly to keep his brother under control but mostly to reassure him. “Mama thinks that she has been in labor for a couple of days now. She’s been having back pains that she thought was normal given this stage of pregnancy. Evidently it was back labor.”
He left unsaid the guilt that he bore, that they all shared. They should not have allowed her to pout the past couple of days. If they had pushed her, demanded that choose one of them, not left her alone in that monstrous bed then perhaps they would have known. Could have spoken to Petrine about the back pain.
And none of this would be happening. But they could think and talk about that later. Right now, she and those babies were all that mattered.
His father nodded his head, “So it is too late to take her to Oslo then?”
Bjorn turned white as the snow that blanketed the ground outside. Mikael gripped his arm tighter as he felt the weight shift, knew his younger brother was struggling to remain on his feet as much as his elder one. “Yes! The baby is coming now. I saw…”
Any other time Mikael would have burst out laughing at Bjorn’s clear distress. And later he would make certain to remind his baby brother of this. Often. But not now.
“Papa is right. She needs us. All of us,” he looked from one to the other. “But she does not need us angry at one another, blaming each other or falling apart. She need us together and united.”
“And strong,” Olaf added. “She needs her Doms to get her through this. All women do but especially a sub. When their world is turned upside down and torn apart. When they are afraid and don’t know what to do. That is when they need you the most.”
His father’s gaze was steely hard as he looked into each of their souls, “The question is…are any of you up to that job? Are you capable of putting your own bullshit aside and being there for her when she needs you the most? Or are you going to act like a bunch of little boys bickering and fighting still?”
Mikael nodded, “So what you say? Bjorn, I know you are scared. But like Kirsty and even Mama told us, she is not the same. There is absolutely no reason to think that she will have any trouble birthing these babies naturally. And you know as well as the rest of us that even if she does, Mama is the best. Maybe even as good as those fancy doctors in the city. So, can you pull your head out of your ass and help me get Sven up these steps before we all miss our little girl’s birth?”