Well… it's been a while since I updated anything here, haven't I?
You know how life is… it's hectic, but it comes first. Although I want to say how much I love doing this story… even though I'm in the process of writing both "Reminiscence: Journey Home" and "Souls of Dragons". It's a nice break, for sure.
And I've collected the votes for the new baby's gender. So we'll see what the baby's name and gender is :D
Please review and tell me what you think :)
"It makes you more open, it gives you perspective, having a child."
Five months afer "Big News, Big Worries"...
The New Haddock
"Hiccup! No more, I tell you! No more!"
"Astrid, shouting at me will not change the fact you're going into labour."
"Yea? Well, we wouldn't be in this situation if you had just kept your-"
"Mom! There are kids around us!" Kari shouted.
Astrid slapped me across the face. "Learn to keep your mouth shut!"
I couldn't exactly rub my stinging face because Kari and I were carrying Astrid with both arms underneath her. Not to mention the incredibly awkward area in which was... wetting us. So I held my tongue, at least for the time being, while Kari and I set forth to Stormfly.
The Deadly Naddar sat herself on the ground as Kari and I shifted Astrid onto her back. It was odd that Astrid was less than nine months pregnant, and still managed to look like she was having twins again (not that I thought she was fat, or anything…)
Haldor and the twins watched us place Astrid on Stormfly's back. "Is Mom going to be okay?" he asked.
Astrid nodded as I hopped onto Stormfly with her. "She's just going to have the baby soon," I told my eldest son.
"But you said the baby was coming in another month," Langley pointed out.
"Yea, will the baby be okay?" Lamont asked, innocently.
I didn't know how to answer the boys. Most babies who came early had a lower life expectancy or died shortly after birth. I mean, I was lucky to have lived to thirty-five so far, but I cannot say for most newborns. I prayed silently that this baby will make it.
"Don't worry, boys. The baby will be fine." I held my hand to Kari. "Coming with us?"
Kari's eyes widened. "You... want me to be there?" she asked.
"Sure, you're old enough and we would love the help," I insisted. "And I know you're the only one who can calm your mother down."
"We? What will you be doing? I don't suppose you'll deliver this time, will you?" Astrid interjected, sarcastically. "If that's the case, please: be my guest."
I cringed. "I meant figuratively. And I'm okay with the whole birthing part."
"Are all guys this squeamish around lady parts?" Kari asked Astrid.
"Only when said parts are not fulfilling their sexual needs," Astrid said. "Which is why I am hunched in pain, thanks to your father."
The midwifes took no time to set Astrid up in bed.
I did my best not to look as they removed her clothes and placed her sitting upward in bed, with which looked like hundreds of pillows for supporting her back. Then again… I didn't know why I looked away: it's not like I haven't seen Astrid naked … she was about to give birth.
"It looks like you're crowning, Chieftress," the midwife said.
Astrid held out her hand to Kari. "Please..." she whispered.
Kari, who had been standing beside me without a single word, nodded slowly and walked over to Astrid and held her hand. She looked incredibly nervous, and I wouldn't doubt if she couldn't watch her mother in pain. I was nervous, too, when she was born.
"Kari, you don't have to be here if you don't want to," Astrid told her.
The stubborn teen shook her head. "No, Mom. I need to do this. I'm a Haddock, right? because I know you'll be there for me when I do."
Astrid was about to smile, but then she grunted in pain.
"Mrs. Haddock, you have to wait until the next course of pain to come before you push," the midwife instructed her. "If you do beforehand-"
"I gave birth to four children. I think I know when to push!" Astrid shouted, interrupting the midwife.
I would have laughed if the circumstances didn't rest in Astrid's situation, and that my right hand wasn't turning as purple as a Deadly Naddar. And starting to lose all feeling in the hand at the same time.
Kari watched her mother with worried glances as Astrid yelled curses at me, using the same words she used when she was giving birth to the boys and Kari. It made me feel worried as well; Astrid and I were in our mid-thirties… could we be parents again with an almost thirteen year old and three other children?
"Okay, Astrid. The head's out!" the midwife said.
Astrid grunted through her teeth, as she squeezed my hand once again, this time with more force. Now I wished I had a prostetic hand so I didn't have to feel the pain. But the good thing now is that I can't feel anything in my right hand now.
It took an agonizing lifetime, but soon, a small cry filled the small room.
All of us sighed in relief as the cry became stronger. The midwife, accompanied by two other practicing midwifes, took the baby to wash it off. I immediately kissed my wife's forehead in relief. Good job, Astrid.
"Wow, Mom," Kari whispered. "That was…."
"The incredible miracle of birth," Astrid said. "Now you know why we don't have sex before marriage?"
Kari chuckled, while rolling her eyes. "Yes, Mom."
The midwife looked up, holding the swaddled baby in her arms. "It's a healthy baby girl, Chief."
A swarm of relief and happiness rushed over me.
Astrid smiled. "Another girl... finally." She let herself relax in the pillow supporting her back.
I walked over to the midwife, and bend down to her hearing level. "Dari, do you think she'll make it?"
The plump lady placed a hand on my shoulder. "Chief, I have seen many babies born her size and live healthy. She's merely a hiccup."
"A runt," I added. Just like myself and Kari.
There was a door slam, and my eyes went right for the front door. Curiously, I looked over to Astrid, who was sitting alone in bed. Her eyes were shut, as though she was defeated. I immediately noticed my daughter's absence.
Oh no…. Kari.
"She's little, but she'll make it, Chief." I snapped back into reality. Dari smiled, handing the baby in my arms gently. "You need another girl with those twin boys of yours," she said.
I sighed in relief, as I held the newest Haddock in my arms. Another little girl…. Who would have thought? I was sure with the number of boys we had, we were bound to have another one. But now… we have a little girl.
"You did great, Mrs. Haddock," I told Astrid.
Astrid smiled. "I'm just glad she made it." She looked at our new daughter. "Wow. She really looks like Kari."
I chuckled. "Yea." I brushed her head lightly. "Although her hair isn't as red."
"True." There was some silence from her. Even the baby we were holding seemed to stay quiet. Astrid sighed. "I'm… now worried about Kari."
"Kari?" I repeated. "Why are you worried?"
Astrid shrugged. "Well… she wasn't exactly crazy about having another younger sibling. And it's a girl."
"Astrid, I think Kari's going to be okay with this," I insisted. "I mean, she stayed to help you, right?"
"But she left the moment the midwives announced her gender." Astrid looked down at the baby, who was now cooing lightly. "I… can't believe that she's not even a few minutes old, and she's already not welcomed."
I knew what Astrid meant, but to which daughter…. "Astrid, are you sure that you aren't taking about Kari?" I asked.
Astrid didn't answer. "Do you… do you think I should go talk to her?" she asked.
I smiled. "Maybe later, after you've had some rest?"
"You don't think I can work after giving birth to your fifth kid?" Astrid asked, with a smirk on her face. "Come on, you don't give me enough credit with our kids."
I looked down at our new daughter. Kari's little sister.
"If you want some rest, I can take care of her," I said.
Astrid chuckled. "Are you going to have one of your father-daughter talks?"
"Perhaps." I smiled, as the baby yawned. "She needs it."
Walking outside was hard. And not because I still couldn't feel my right hand or that I was carrying a newborn child in my arms (which, by the way, I was glad that it was close to nightfall).
Knowing my daughter well, I found her sitting at the edge of Berk, sitting beside Shadow.
I sighed. How many times did I sit there, with only Toothless and myself? I grinned, knowing how she was feeling. Or… maybe not. I wasn't blessed with four siblings like she was. But maybe she didn't think of it as a blessing; I would have given anything for a brother or a sister.
No, I came out here to help my daughter. I tried to put myself in her situation, hoping that it could help me understand how she was feeling. Here she is, almost thirteen years old, and she was the oldest child. Not to mention that she was the future of Berk. She had a lot on her shoulders. But she also was the only daughter that Astrid and I had.
Up until a few minutes ago, that is.
I had told her months ago that another girl would not change our relationship. She was still my baby girl. My first baby girl.
"Kari, would you like to hold your sister?" I asked.
Kari looked over at the bundle in my hands. Her face looked conflicted, but only for a few minutes. Reluctantly, she nodded.
I walked over and placed the sleeping baby in her arms. Kari gently held her close to her chest and supported her head with her left arm. She stared at the baby for a while, a smile slowly creeping on her face. Shadow even took the gentle liberty to sniff the baby.
"She's pretty," Kari admitted.
I smiled and sat down beside her, coaxing Shadow at the same time. "Look, your mom and I know it's strange for you to have another sibling, since you're becoming a teenager-"
Kari looked up at me. "I don't mind."
"Did you not complain just yesterday that you didn't want the baby?" I asked, confused.
Kari nodded. "Yea, but that was when I thought the baby was a boy." She looked back down at the baby. The look on her face… it reminded me of when I saw her for the first time. I had this overwhelming of need to protect my first daughter. I now saw it on Kari's face. "But she's a girl. I finally have a sister."
I blinked. "Wait. You wanted a sister?" I asked.
Kari shrugged. "Well, I didn't know what it felt like to have a sister. I mean, I bet she and I will fight when we're older and want to kill each other, but I feel protective of her." She smiled wider. "Maybe that's why the gods gave her to us: someone for us to protect."
I smiled. Kari wasn't very religious, but she never went against the gods. "You know, when you were born, I thought the very same thing about you."
Kari smiled. "Really?" she asked. "Were you nervous?"
I didn't hold back any laughs. "Of course I was. You were our first baby, kiddo." I held her closer. "And you will always remain as such."
Kari stayed silent. "Did you name me after Rowan Hofferson?" she asked. Rowan was Astrid's great-grandmother, who was known for yodeling to keep the dragons away.
"Yes, mostly because it means 'little red' and you had insanely red hair at birth," I explained.
"Then why was Lamont named after Grimbeard the Ghnastly?" she asked.
I chuckled nervously. "Well... Grimbeard was a good leader." I frowned. "Before he casted Hiccup II out as a baby and killed him later."
Kari laughed. "Well, I think she should be named after Gran." She paused. "Well, maybe her middle name."
I smiled again: Gran was Valka to the kids. "And what should her name be?" I asked.
Kari looked down at her sister again, with the same glow of protection on her face. "Anna. Anna Valka Haddock."
I stayed silent for a moment. Anna wasn't a common name on Berk. But it was also… unique. I smiled. Perhaps it fit her, then.
I smiled. "I think it's a wonderful name."
"Because she's all our baby, right?" Kari asked.
"Kari... It's perfect," I agreed, watching Kari's eyes slowly close, falling asleep.
"She's perfect," Astrid added, as she held Kari's small fist in her soft hands.
I smiled and looked down at Kari. Perfection.
She was perfect, because she was our baby.
"By ours… you mean the six of us, right?" I clarified, with a smile.
Kari nodded. "You know… I hope I can be a good sister for her. Not just because I have to… but because I want to."
"You will," I said, as I held both my daughters.
Because you're perfect, kiddo.
You're a Haddock.
Okay, guys. I need your help. I need another chapter idea.
I have a few ideas that were given in the past, like Kari's first date. If you'd like to submit an idea, I willl gladly write it up :)
See you soon (hopefully) :)