Nova had been restless all night and again he shifted. Suddenly he gasped and grabbed at his stomach before panting a bit to catch his breath.
"A-aiden... Aiden, wake up..." I sat up, already awake despite his desire to believe I slept through his restlessness.
"I'm awake, papillon," I growled out. "What's wrong? Are they kicking too hard?" He shook his head before groaning and grabbing at his stomach a bit more.
"I... I think you need to call Conner..." he said through grit teeth. My eyes widened for a moment before I bolted for the door, shifting as I went.
"Crys! Crys!" I yelled, paying no heed to my nakedness.
"What's wrong, Aiden?" Galen asked from the bottom of the stairs.
"It's time! Can you grab Conner?" I asked, but didn't really wait for an answer. Conner had already told me that we'd have to take Nova down to the Moon wing of the hospital for this. It was a safe environment just in case there were complications. I ran back into our room and quickly pulled on the clothes I left lying out nightly for just this reason.
Watching Nova was killing me. He was biting his lip against obvious pain before it finally passed. Then he fought with the chair and his body to sit upright, muttering curses under his breath. As he finally got himself upright, I picked up our hospital bag and went over to scoop him up into my arms. I wasn't going to take any risks at this point with his or our children's health.
"Let's get you to the hospital, Nova..." I whispered, kissing the top of his head before heading out of the room and down the stairs. He nodded some and wrapped his arms around my neck.
"A... a very good idea I think," he whispered before shuddering as another wave of pain hit him. Crysta was up and dressed, waiting for us since she was planning to ride along so I wouldn't be distracted while driving.
"Just hang in there for me, baby," I said as Crysta fell into step beside me and dug my keys out of my pocket. Galen and their twins were leaving as well, Bastian taking the keys to his mother's car since Galen was essentially blind. I carefully put Nova into my truck before getting into the backseat with him despite how cramped it was for me. It was better that Crysta drove. I'd be a little dangerous right now. He just nodded as he started to sweat.
"I'm alright for now..." he said, sagging into the seat some. "But still... hurrying would be nice..." Crysta nodded as she turned the engine over.
"No worries, speed is my middle name," she said as she put the truck in gear and started pulling out of the driveway. She had always been a little crazy on her motorcycle, but I heard my dad had been quite the same.
"Just try to relax, papillon," I whispered, rubbing his stomach with one hand as I ran the other through his hair. "Everything's going to be alright..." He gave me a smile.
"I'm trying," he assured me. Conner had been going over what to do when it was time to have the babies for months now after all. "Have you called your parents?" he asked while he had a moment of reprieve.
"Shit!" I hissed and immediately started trying to find my phone.
"Here, use mine, Aiden," Crysta said, her eyes glancing at me in the rear view as she handed her cell back to me. I took it and quickly dialed my home number, praying someone would actually pick up the phone. He laughed some at me, but as the phone picked up he gripped my arm tightly in pain.
"The world better be ending to be calling at this hour..." Reese growled into the receiver.
"Reese! It's Aiden. Listen, it's time," I said quickly, ignoring my little sister's sour attitude. He just hated being woken up even though it was easy as hell to do. "Tell Dad and the other please!"
"Wait... slow down... Time for what?" she asked, obviously not firing on all cylinders yet.
"Time for babies!" I said in exasperation. "Just go tell Dad that it's time!" Nova took several deep breaths as the pain subsided again.
"Aiden... calm down. I'm fine...ish," he said, rubbing his stomach. I whined a little and things finally seemed to click on the other end of the phone.
"Oh! Babies! Yeah, I'll wake the house!" she said, her previous sourness gone in an instant. "Keep Nova together and we'll see you at the hospital." I nodded even though she couldn't see it and ended the call before returning to rubbing his stomach with that hand.
"I swear... Reese can be so spacey..." I muttered, ducking my head to kiss along my mate's neck to try and distract him from the pain he was in. He smiled some, though it was still a bit pained.
"As long as she gets the job done," he said, leaning against me heavily. The bright lights of the hospital were just ahead which meant that we were nearing the end of this stressful night. Soon we'd have babies.
"I love you, papillon," I whispered, moving my hand to squeeze his. "Thank you... for this..." I had to tell him, just in case, but he needed to know. I wasn't so sure I had shown him well enough just grateful I was that he was going to give me children.
"Mm, and I love you," he replied. "But you don't have to thank me for something like this... not right this moment anyway. Maybe in a bit," he said, trying to keep the mood light. But then he hissed as another contraction sent pain running through him. I moved my hand back to his stomach, rubbing soothing circles over it as I returned to kissing his neck as well. I wanted to distract him from his pain. I didn't want him to be in pain. I just wanted my babies born already so he would feel better.
Crysta pulled my truck into the parking garage and Nova remained still as he fought through the contraction. Conner was already heading our way as the contraction passed and my mate reached for the handle on his door. I moved quickly, even though Conner and Crysta were each more than capable of picking up my lover with their wolf-given strength. But he was mine and I wanted to be the one who got him out of the truck. I gathered him into my arms, cradling him close until Conner got over there with a wheelchair.
"Time to have some babies," he said, offering a warm smile though it was pretty obvious he was tired. I could even still smell the sex on him to know precisely why he was tired.
"Yes, please," Nova agreed as he focused on staying calm and breathing evenly. I reached back into the truck to grab our bag before following Conner as he wheeled my mate up to the private wing for just our family. I moved up to take my lover's hand, squeezing it tightly. Conner wheeled him into a room, but stopped me from coming in.
"A nurse will be out in a minute to give you scrubs to put on," he said gently. "We'll come and get you before we start the procedure." I nodded a little and watched him take Nova away. Crysta made the attempt to keep me calm as I waited for the nurse to bring me the scrubs so I could go in and be with Nova. It seemed to take forever and more of my family arrived before the nurse brought the scrubs out to me. I quickly pulled the throw away scrubs on over my clothes, shoes, and hair before having to wait for them to say I could go in. It was nerve wreaking. I wanted to be there for Nova.
Finally, a nurse came to get me and I was led into the room Nova was in. I moved to him immediately, grasping his hand in mine as I stroked his face lovingly. His eyes said he was drugged already and I kissed his fingertips softly.
"Nova, can you feel this?" Conner asked as he seemed to poke at my lover's stomach.
"Feel what?" he asked, raising his head to try and see what the doctor was doing.
"Good," Conner said. "We're going to begin now. Tell me immediately if you feel any pain. You may feel pressure, but that's not the same thing."
"Right..." Nova murmured, closing his eyes some. I continued to hold his hand and stroke his face as the scent of blood filled the room. It was hard to keep my anger down at the smell of my lover's blood, but then I heard the first tiny cry.
"First one is a girl at four twenty-three a.m.," he said, gently handing the infant over to a nurse. "Be careful of her wings. They're probably quite delicate."
"Aiden..." Nova said. "Her wings... don't let them tear," he told me. I turned around immediately to look at the nurse cleaning my daughter.
"You heard him," I said firmly with a hint of threat in my voice. "Don't let her wings tear." Conner gave me a glance, but didn't bother to try and take away my threat. He knew a child was far too important to a wolf. Soon a second cry came and I turned my attention back over to the doctor.
"Second is a boy at four twenty-seven a.m.," he said, handing my son over to another nurse. "Same thing, be careful of the wings. They are extremely delicate and important." Tears started welling up my lover's eyes and his grip on my hand tightened. I leaned down, kissing his forehead gently.
"They're alright, papillon," I whispered. "We'll have them all together and safe soon enough..."
"Third is another boy at four thirty-one a.m.," Conner said as I turned my head at another small cry. Yet again, the child had a pair of tiny wings protruding from his back. He handed the infant off to a third nurse to clean up and do the initial measurements and checks. Nova smile some.
"They better be big..." he muttered with a slight chuckle. "Otherwise, Imma complain about how fat they made me..."
"So far... they're six pounds six ounces, six pounds ten ounces, and six pounds eleven ounces," one of the nurses said. "All very big for being multiples. Most would barely make it over five pounds." I smiled and kissed Nova's forehead again.
"Hear that?" I said softly. "You did good, beautiful..."
"And for our shy little girl, she comes out at four thirty-five a.m.," Conner said, handing her off carefully as she complained about being outside of the womb.
"Wings?" Nova asked, trying to look over at where the nurses were.
"They all have wings, love," I said softly. "Tiny, delicate, beautiful wings..." Conner was starting to sew Nova closed and the nurses brought over the first two of our children to hand to me. "You should start thinking of names now, beautiful... They're here and healthy..."
"Mm... I need to see them," he murmured, trying to look up at them without moving. I leaned in first with our daughter so he could see her. I gave him several minutes to admire his oldest child before shifting so that her brother was closer to him. He smiled some and lifted a hand to run his finger over his oldest son's cheek.
"They're so beautiful..." he murmured, sounding exhausted. "You should bring Tarot in... so he can name one," he said as Conner wrapped his abdomen to protect the stitches.
"Hold that thought," Conner said as the nurses came over to take my children from me and put them into the hospital bassinets. "We're all done here so we'll go ahead and get you moved to a room. And you can start letting in the mass to see the new additions."
"Mm, we should make it quick..." Nova murmured. I kissed my lover's forehead gently before brushing my fingertips over his cheek.
"You should sleep, beautiful," I said softly. "They'll wait for their names until you wake up... Aside from the one my dad names anyhow."
"I wanna see the others," he said, forcing his eyes open again. "Just for a minute at least." I looked up at the nurses taking care of the younger two and they quickly brought the bundles over so that Nova could see them. The youngest, our hider, was the smallest. She'd only weighed five pounds eight ounces, but that made it make more sense that we hadn't seen her. Nova smiled as he examined what little of the babes that he could see. After a minute, he turned to me.
"I guess Faerie DNA is stronger that wolf..." he said with a bit of a smile.
"That's alright, I prefer them taking after you," I said softly as I kissed him again. "At least then, I can blame the headaches they give me on you too," I added jokingly with a smirk. He smiled a bit.
"Go ahead," he replied before sighing some and closing his eyes again when Conner finished releasing him from the bed. "Mm, I think I'll take that nap now," he murmured. I nodded and stroked his cheek for a moment.
"Go on," I said softly. "I have plenty of experienced people to help me if I need it," I assured him as I got up to help Conner move him onto a gurney. He murmured a vague agreement as he we moved him and almost instantly fell asleep. "Is he supposed to do that?" I asked, looking at Conner with concern.
"Everyone reacts differently..." he muttered. "Jinx would do the same even before he was a wolf... We'll just keep him on the monitors for safety sake." I nodded, accepting that and knowing there would be plenty of wolves around with wonderful hearing to tell if something had gone wrong. Conner and I moved Nova to the room and the nurses brought the babies in behind us. My dad was the first family member I let in, so he could name one of them.
"Nicholas..." he murmured, picking up the younger of the two boys. "Is that alright?" he asked and I smiled.
"Of course, Dad," I said as a camera flashed behind me. Jade was taking pictures with a smile. Eventually, everyone had a chance to meet the babies and I got some help from Crysta, Jade, and Hope when a feeding time came up before Nova woke. It was near sunset when Nova finally woke up and all that was really left there was my father, Roxie, and Crysta. Dani had given in and was getting a room set up so he and my dad could stay until we left. Dad had gone into super protective mode.
"Hey, papillon," I said, moving to sit on the edge of his bed when I noticed he was awake. "Are you ready to truly meet your children?" He smiled and nodded some.
"Been ready," he said. I chuckled a little and pulled one of the bassinets closer before taking our oldest daughter out.
"This is currently Baby Girl A," I said, handing her over carefully. "She's eaten and had her first diaper change already... Oh, and spit up a little on Mikhail..." He chuckled a bit.
"I'm sure he just loved that," he said, reaching out to take her into his arms. He smiled a bit wider as he cradled her close. She had the most beautiful blue eyes and there were already some shimmering golden clumps in her baby hair. "She's so beautiful..."
"I promise, they all are," I said, smiling as I watched them. "You'll be gushing with each of them..."
"She needs a name," he said, glancing over her features for a moment. "Rainsong," he murmured finally. "But I don't think that'll go over well with the humans so, Rainsong Nyri and we can call her Nyri so it's not as strange." I smiled and got out the purple box with the Nyri beaded bracelet. I slipped it over her ankle before kissing Nova softly.
"Rainsong Nyri Armstrong..." I agreed, writing the name down on the slip in the front of her bassinet. He smiled and cradled her for another few minutes before giving her a kiss and hand her back to me.
"Next?" he asked, glancing at the other three bassinets. I smiled and settled her back into her bed, being very careful of the wings currently pinned flat on her back with the blanket. I reached over for the oldest boy to hand him.
"Next is Baby Boy A," I said, carefully giving him the little boy. Nova chuckled some at the look he was getting from our son. It was half confused, half delighted and it was adorable.
"He'll be a troublemaker. Like his daddy," he predicted, giving me a brief smile before turning back to the baby. "And I think... Neithen would be good for the humans, but Springfire fits these wonderful green eyes of his..."
"So... Neithen Springfire? Or Springfire Neithen?" I asked, reaching for the blue box that held his ID bracelet.
"Mmm, Neithen Springfire sounds better," he said and I nodded before writing it on the card that stuck into the front of his bassinet. I slipped his ID bracelet over his ankle and rubbed Nova's leg gently.
"Neithen Springfire Armstrong it is," I said, still very happy with the four small bundles he'd given me. He grinned and shifted on the bed so that he was a little more propped up.
"Who's next, Aiden?" he asked, I went to get the next baby.
"Nicholas," I replied, picking up the younger of the two boys. I carried him over, his ankle already sporting his green anklet with his name. He smiled and took the boy in his arms. His hair was almost silver with how white it was.
"Nicholas is a good name... and his middle name has to reflect this gorgeous hair. Nickleblaze is perfect for him." I nodded and wrote the name on the card before replacing it in his bassinet.
"Dad will be happy to know you approve of the name," I said softly. "He seemed a little worried that it wasn't good enough."
"Mm, make sure you tell him how close his middle name sounds to the one your father picked," he said as he waited for me to bring over our youngest and our little surprise.
"I think he knows," I said with a smile, nodding towards the door. My dad sat there in his lupine form, watching us and making sure his grandchildren were safe. "And last but not least, is Baby Girl B," I said, handing over the tiniest bundle. He took her from me and cradled her close.
"She's so small compared to the others," he said. After a moment, he shifted her in his arms to pull her blanket back and see her wings. They were beautifully delicate, almost like lace and pearly white with hints of blue. He smiled and wrapped her up again before her wings were damaged. "She's got my wings... almost exactly," he said softly. "Opalwing Navi is her name."
"And a beautiful name it is," I said as I slipped the pink beaded bracelet over her tiny ankle. As soon as I had that done, I wrote her name down on the ID card so the nurses knew who each of them were. He smiled some and cuddled our daughter close.
"Aiden... come here and give me a proper kiss," he said softly. I smiled and moved over, leaning over the bed to kiss him tenderly on the lips. I let it linger for several moments before pulling back.
"I love you, papillon," I said softly. "You did so wonderfully..."
"And I love you," he replied. "Take Navi here and put her in her bassinet for me? I want you to hold me and I don't want to squish her between us..." I smiled and kissed him briefly before taking our daughter from him. I moved Navi and Neithen's bassinets over to one side of the bed and Nyri and Nicholas's beds closer before laying down beside my mate.
"I've so missed this," I whispered as I wrapped my arms around him carefully and pulled him close to me.
"Mm, so have I," he said, curling up in my lap and resting his head on my chest. "It feels like it's been ages since we've been able to do this. I think that's the thing I hated most about getting fat."
"You weren't fat, beautiful," I said softly as I rubbed his back and shoulders. "You were pregnant. Fat I can promise will not stop me from holding you." He chuckled some and shook his head.
"I suppose it doesn't matter now,. Did Conner mention when he was going to let us go home?" he asked, rubbing my chest gently.
"Probably four days..." I murmured, holding him close. "He wants to make sure you can move halfway decently before he lets you go home. And between family and the nurses we'll have plenty of help learning while we're here."
"Mmm, I'll make sure to enjoy it then because I doubt we'll have much time for relaxing or anything like that once we get home. I hummed a little and ducked my head some to kiss his neck.
"We'll make time..." I whispered. "I will go insane if I have to wait another six months before I can have you again..." I almost didn't care what kind of deals I had to make with my sisters, I would do anything to keep from having to smell my lover's scent and not be able to make love to him. He chuckled some and kissed my chin lightly.
"Trust me, I have no desire to go so long without you either," he told me truthfully. I smiled and pulled him closer to me.
"We should... enjoy the quiet while it lasts..." I whispered. "When one wakes up... they'll all be up..." He smiled back and wrapped his arms around my neck.
"That... is a splendid idea, my love," he replied before tilting his head up to kiss me. I returned his kiss, sliding a hand up into his hair to keep his mouth to mine. For a few minutes anyhow I would just enjoy a little intimacy with my mate. Conner had already told me I'd have to behave myself for the next six weeks at least. He opened his mouth to me instantly as his fingers played with my hair.
I smiled into the kiss as I explored my favourite cavern thoroughly. I had to check out my favourite places a couple of times before I pulled back for breath. I brought my hand up to brush my thumb over the apple of his cheek, just staring down at his beautiful face. He smiled and gave me a quick peck on the lips.
"Mm, I've missed being this close to you, Aiden..." he said, rubbing my shoulder and chest with one hand. "It's very comforting."
"I missed being able to do this..." I agreed. "Though, I will be very happy when I can leave you unable to walk again..." He chuckled and shook his head slightly.
"That would make it awfully hard to take care of our children, Aiden," he pointed out. "That's hardly fair to you... we might have to refrain..." I whimpered some and ducked my head again to nip at his neck.
"Don't say such horrible things..." I whispered. "It's so hard... to do what's best for you... when I want you so much..."
"I was only teasing, love," he said, running his fingers through my hair again. "Of course I want to be with you again. It's going to be hard waiting long enough for my body to heal properly as it is, I'd never be silly enough to draw things out even more." I smiled and kissed his neck softly.
"You should rest while you have a chance, papillon," I murmured. "They'll be up and hungry again soon..."
"How much more 'resting' do you want me to be?" he asked curiously. "If I 'rested' any more I'd be asleep again and I'm not tired at the moment," he told me, leaning his full weight against me.
"I guess I just worry about you..." I murmured. "After all the rest you didn't get the last couple of months."
"Mm, it's probably just excitement from finally seeing and holding all my babies keeping me up," he admitted. "If I start to nod off I promise I won't fight it." I smiled, holding him close.
"They are absolutely beautiful..." I whispered. "You did such a wonderful job. I'm so proud of you and happy to have them." I nuzzled against him, so very happy.
"Mmm, they're going to be a handful," he murmured, settling even more against me. "Four fairy toddlers will be all over the place."
"I suppose they will be..." I murmured. "But we have plenty of hands to help us keep up... That really old saying of 'it takes a village to raise a child' falls into perfect implement with our family. There will always be someone to help us."
"Luckily, they won't learn to turn invisible for a couple decades," he said, turning into my chest. "It'd be even worse trying to keep up with them if we couldn't see them." I laughed at that.
"My goodness... that would be troublesome..." I said, still chuckling. "I think they'd drive Father and Uncle Jinx mad if they did it while they were still young." He laughed as well.
"Mm, or if they flew. Their wings aren't strong enough yet to lift their bodies. But that'll fix itself fairly fast," he said, glancing over at the bassinets nearby. I groaned some.
"Good thing the ceilings are fairly low..." I muttered. "I can't imagine trying to get them to come down on their own... Especially if they were in trouble...." He laughed louder.
"Don't worry. It's more like gliding until they're in they're in their mid teens. They can't really sustain flight until they're a bit more able to control their muscles and body weight." I let out a sigh of relief.
"That's good... I just can't imagine chasing them all over the house and not being able to reach them," I murmured.
"Oh, they'll be sure to keep you running around. It's amazing how much faster kids can move when they have the ability to jump off the top of a staircase and glide down to the bottom to keep running," he told me, a small smile still creasing his face.
"Oh goodness..." I mumbled. "I'm going to lose my mind, I can see it now." I looked up at the first sound of a whimpering cry coming from one of the bassinets. "Mmm, quiet time has ended, papillon.."
"It was bound to happen sooner or later," he said, shifting some so that I could get up. I slipped out of the bed, going to figure out which of the four was currently crying. It was Nyri and I carefully picked her up to hand to Nova so I could make her a bottle.
"Here you go. I'll get her bottle ready..."
"Mmkay, might as well make four up because I doubt the others will be far behind Nyri," he said, holding her close and trying to soothe her until I came back with the bottle.
"Right," I muttered, working on the first bottle. It was simple since they were premade for us. All I had to do was put a nipple on it and I handed the first one over to Nova. He gave me a quick thanks before turning his attention to feeding our daughter. She quickly started feeding. I heard another baby start to wake up and cry.
"And that one's for you, dear."
"Yeah... Neithen is mine..." I said, quickly screwing on the last nipple before going and picking up my son. I cradled him carefully in one arm as I perched on the edge of the bed to feed him in a more balanced position.
"Are there others waiting if the last two decide they want to eat before these two finish?" Nova asked as Nyri's hand clenched his hospital shirt.
"There are..." I replied. "Roxie has sworn she's not leaving before we do and I think Crys is hanging around in case we have trouble..."
"And of course your parents," he added with a smile. "I'm so glad your family warmed up to me. I would never have been able to handle having four to take care of at once."
"Even if they didn't... You would never have been alone," I said, looking over at him. "I'd never leave you have to take care of our children all alone..." He smiled and leaned over to give me a kiss.
"That means so much to me, Aiden. I thought I was dead that day I was exiled. I never expected to be this happy."
"I'll do anything to make you happy, papillon," I murmured. "You gave me children... I hadn't really expected to ever have any of my own... And a beautiful mate to spend my life with... I'm so happy..."
"Trust me, you're making me very happy," he said as he put the empty bottle to the side and shifted our daughter to his shoulder to free any air from her stomach that she'd swallowed while eating.
"By being here?" I asked, smirking over at him. Neithen wasn't eating too fast, so I didn't rush him, but I could see his brother starting to stir in his bassinet.
"Exactly," he said, rubbing Nyri's back as she finished expelling the air. "Can you help me trade Nyri for Nicki?" he asked, giving our daughter a kiss.
"How about I give you Neithen and I get Nicki after I put Nyri down?" I suggested as I got up slowly. "It might be a little difficult to trade out babies when I'm still feeding one." He chuckled a bit.
"However it works, we just need to feed him before he gets really upset. We wouldn't want to cause a crying outbreak and have your father run in."
"Oh yes... let's not put my father in a panic attack," I said as I carefully handed Nova our son and took our daughter from him just as gingerly. I laid her back in her bassinet, leaning down to give her a kiss of my own before going to pick up Nicki. He carefully shifted our son without stopping him from eating. It was a bit awkward but he managed it. I could hear Navi start to shift around and wake up as well.
"And number four rises."
"Number four..." I sighed. "Roxie! I know you're out there... We need an extra hand!" I called as I sat down with Nicki. Instantly the door opened and my younger sister came in. "Navi is asking for food and we're short on hands," I explained.
"Yay, of course!" Roxie squealed before reaching into the bassinet to pick up my second daughter. Nova smiled a bit and shook his head as he continued to tend to Neithen who was still working on his bottle. Apparently, Nyri was the fast eater of the babies. It didn't take long after that to get them all fed and put back into their bassinets. Roxie stayed a little longer, cooing over their cuteness before giving Nova and I our privacy again.
"You know, I love you, Nova..." I whispered as I slid back into bed with him.
"Of, course I know that. And I love you too," he said, leaning back against me again. "And I love all four of the wonderful gifts you've given me."
"They're gifts for me to me as well," I murmured, getting comfortable as I held him to me. "Just as wonderful as you are. Wake me if they wake up again..." I added, letting my eyes close a bit. He chuckled a bit at that.
"If they wake up I think they'll wake us up as well," he said, closing his eyes as well. "The adrenaline rush is starting to wear off and I'm feeling the months of carrying four babies on my stomach coming back."
"Well then get some sleep, papillon," I murmured. "I'm right here with you and our babies are safe, dry, and full."
"Mmm, we are at that," he said, turning his head to rest against my chest. "Just hold me. I've missed you being able to do that."
"I wouldn't dream of doing anything else," I murmured, pulling him more fully against me and making sure my arms were secure around him. "Sweet dreams, papillon," I whispered, kissing the top of his head before resting my cheek on it.
"If you're in them they're bound to be," he said. I smiled and let myself doze off, not going for a deeper sleep so that I could hear if the children woke. I had a feeling that getting real sleep was years away for me if I'd ever get again before they were grown.