A/N: I’m going to jump right in with this, as I remember leaving you with a rather nasty cliff-hanger. Or rather, you had no idea it was a cliff-hanger, but it was.
Despite the relatively early hour it was sweltering, and I could have turned on the air-con, but that would have been more work, and there’s all that climate change stuff; so I head inside to grab a sunhat, but find myself distracted.
I am momentarily paralyzed when I feel the first pains of labour. “Mama, why you stop?” asks Gabriel. “Sorry kiddo. Momma just forgot something. You guys go on back outside, and I’m going to go get it.” I reply, quietly. Gabriel and his siblings all run off outside, seeming happy to be roaming free. My thoughts are already spinning at a mile a minute, trying to come up with a solution for the current problem. Unfortunately, before that can happen I am struck by further pains. “STEVE.” I yell, though gritted teeth. “Look after your… siblings, and get Paisley. I need to go to ….aargh hospital.” He replies something, but I don’t hear or care what, and then Steve and Paisley are steering me towards the back of her station wagon. Someone had the foresight to grab me and Paisley a short and comfortable dress to put on over our swimsuits, and I feel a lot more comfortable once Paisley has slipped it over my head. I lean back in her arms, and allow her to hold my hand as we walk into the hospital.
A LITTLE LATER
I grip Paisley’s arm tight when I feel the stab of another contraction. They’re now about five minutes apart, in quite possibly my most painful labour to date. I assume Paisley is trying to take my mind off things when she asks me, “So how much of what Jesse said did you hear?” I gawk at her for a second.
“Now, you’re doing this now?” I grumble, but find myself filling the space with an answer anyway. “Absolutely nothing” I reply, my brow furrowing in a mixture of pain and confusion at the question. A nurse walks into the room, clipboard in hand. “Ms. Everard. We’ve found a bed in the maternity ward for you; it’s time to deliver this baby.”
A LITTLE BIT MORE LATER
I cradle the new baby in my arms as Paisley stands anxiously outside the room. I wave to them in a gesture to come in, and show them the new baby girl. “Meet Willow Everard.” They both coo over the baby and then start to leave. I’d just finished changing and packing my things before we left, and though the initial pains of labour had been great, I was now feeling nothing but a pleasant numbness. Of course, that may have something to do with all the pain gas they pumped me full of, but for now I don’t care. ELECTRA’S POINT OF VIEW
Paisley had called me in to help Steve look after Skye’s kids while she went to the hospital. Being the only challenge mother outside of Paisley that Skye still reliably contacted, I’d found it prudent to install myself one of those handy-dandy new teleportation pads in the basement of my home. This way, I could zap over whenever I was needed in sunny Hawaii.
This did, of course, also mean I was easily accessible for slave labour. I didn’t mind too much today, as Arthur was taking my kids out fishing. Fishing, of all things. But it meant I was free, and I was always willing to help out a fellow Englishman. Or woman.
So here I was, sat on a couch watching Skye’s copy of Phantom of the Opera. Only because it was the DVD in the player, and I was too lazy to go change it. Thankfully it was nearly over, and that meant I’d be forced to change it over, and I could see her growing stack of Supernatural DVDs on the corner of the TV table. There are sleeping children lying all around me in various states of undress. That sounded better in my head. Gabriel and Cael, who I sensed were the trouble makers of the group, had been convinced by Natasha and Natalia to get out the paint pots, resulting in the paintification of all Skye’s toddlers. And I was NOT bathing them. So I’d removed the painty clothes and sat them all in front of the TV until I found something for them to watch. Thankfully, by the end of Music of the Night, they’d all conked out.
Calinda creeps into the room, stepping over children. “Aunt Electra, where to babies come from?” she asks me. “I figure it must be some place cool, or Mom would stop popping ‘em out, right?” I turn a really un-sexy shade of red. “Ask your mother.” I croak, voice hoarse. I fake a cough. “So how about some juice?” I say, standing up and walking the short distance to the kitchen. Well short for me because I vault the half wall separating the two rooms. Calinda has to walk all the way around because she’s a midget.
The sound of voices in the garden perks me right up. There’s only two people I know of who can sound so very annoying, and one of them lives in this house. The other is currently fishing with my children. Skye must be home with a new youngling for me to torture. She makes her way through the door, every movement an effort. “Hey Electra.” She yawns, evidently tired from pushing a creature the size of a watermelon out a hole the size of… not a watermelon. “There’s a kid somewhere if you wanna see it. Maybe Paisley has it; I’m going for a nap.” And just like that, she leaves me. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had chance to tell her about the children in the lounge, and soon she is back to stare at me. “Why are my children passed out in the lounge in various stages of undress?”
“They got covered in paint.” I explain. Skye nods, heading back into the lounge.
“WAKE UP MY LITTLE JELLYBEANS OF JOY. TIME TO GROW UP.” I hear her yell. I don’t question her out loud, but all I can think of is Jellybeans of joy. “What about your nap?” I ask her. She shrugs.
“It can wait.” Now I know something is up, and I make my mind up not to leave until I’m 100% sure of what it is. Skye loves to nap, almost as much as I love tea, and she loves pie. (Which is a lot.)
As I walk into the lounge and see my children in various stages of undress, I am reminded of why I had planned this whole swimming thing in the first places. It is Natasha and Natalia’s birthday, and it is only common decency that makes me decide to have their birthdays despite the trauma and physical exhaustion. I’m totally not avoiding sleep. Okay, I’m avoiding sleep, but my nightmares have been growing more and more common, making sleeping at all a hazard. I wake up Natasha and Natalia then make a snap decision to make it an entire family birthday. Electra stares at me in shock, which I guess is reasonable, before going to get Steve. During the five minutes this takes,Paisley still hasn’t come inside, so I try to avoid looking out of the windows to spy on her. The look on Electra’s face tells me that she’s not going to leave any time soon; she just can’t stop meddling in my affairs. The birthdays pass quickly, and then Steve has to go. I’m sad to see him leave, but I have very little choice. He’s been promised to SHIELD and I need the room. Calinda experiences the biggest change, she very quickly finds the make-up stored throughout the house and suddenly she has a new love. I’m expecting that she’ll be very popular when she goes back to school on Monday. Natasha and Natalia keep their mischievous streak, and the only difference now is that they’re better at putting it into practise. They’ve also asked me to sign them up for ballet and gymnastics club, something very few of my children do. Gabriel is very similar to his older sisters, but he also likes to play chess, something I hope he will pursue in the future. Similarly, Cas and Cael both like singing, but Cas prefers to do it without an audience. He’s very shy and withdrawn. Obviously there’s also Willow. I’m very excited to see that she has small fairy wings, and I’m looking forwards to finding out if she’s a werewolf as well.
After the birthdays, which Paisley joined us to celebrate; there is another knock at the door. Electra answers it with me, and she almost closes the door on the face of the young girl stood wringing her palms by my door. “Hi! Is this where Skye lives? I’ve come to collect my kittens.” I lead George into the house, where we are conveniently almost run over by a couple of kittens playing. The ones we have temporarily named after Supernatural’s demons Azazel and Ruby are playing, while Lilith is lying quietly in her kitty bed. She is immediately taken by Ruby and Azazel, and I know that those are the two she will be taking home. George ends up picking those two, and after tearful goodbye on behalf of the whole family, Ruby and Azazel leave. After that, everyone goes to bed, Luci and the rest of the remaining cats curled together, I guess they were feeling the loss of their siblings a lot more than we were. I lie in bed, fast asleep.