Disclaimer: Sonic The Hedgehog and all related characters are titles are trademarks of Sonic Team/SEGA and are used without permission for entertainment purposes only.' Beyond All Odds' is © 2003-2011 to HamatoKameko. Ki The Echidna is © 2003-2011 to HamatoKameko.
Rating: R (L, AC)
Chapter Summary: Someone's a little ahead of schedule!
Author's Note: Holy smokes, an update? It's only been EIGHT YEARS since I started this story! That's really hard to believe, but my own disclaimer information proves it. Proof that it's never too late to update, I suppose!
Anyway, I'll keep this short and sweet. I no longer care for this story. Bits and pieces are a guilty pleasure I suppose, but mostly, I really don't like it. I'm really finishing it for my readers, who have certainly waited long enough for resolution, using bits and pieces I've written as many as four and five years ago. I'm sorry, to those of you who enjoyed this story, that I didn't do this sooner, but I struggled for years trying to "finish" this, I really did. At this point, with the story no longer even canon to Ki's storyline [see the story, "My Life: Anything But Ordinary"], I decided it was time to push through my more recent revisions to old chapters, publish what I have left, and be done with it.
So, here it is, the end of the tale entitled, "Beyond All Odds." This is for you, faithful readers.
Beyond All Odds
Chapter 11: It's Tiiiiiime...
Ki groaned and rolled onto her other side, trying, in her half-sleep, to escape the discomfort that was attacking her. The pain passed, and she started to drift back to sleep, only to moan and curl up slightly as a second wave of pain rolled through her. She opened her eyes slightly and glanced up at Sonic; he was fast asleep, and snoring softly. Ki smiled as the pain again faded; Sonic was so cute, but even more so when he was asleep.
She snuggled against him, and Sonic woke up just enough to turn to face her, smiling and putting his arm around her. She closed her eyes again, happy and safe in the arms of her lover.
Things had been fairly okay around the house since Ki's aunt and uncle had had a long conversation with Chuck. Charles had, slowly, accepted the pregnancy and the fact that she and Sonic had a relationship that had gone a fair ways beyond just making out. Now they were preparing for the baby's arrival in a few months, though Ki's thoughts tended to be more on the much sooner arrival of the egg. Still, things were reasonably peaceful now, and despite the morning sickness she was content with life as it now was.
Ki was nearly asleep again when a third, stronger pain hit her. Her eyes shot open and she gasped as her tired mind finally grasped the meaning of the pains. Awoken more by the panic he sensed from his mate than by her alarmed yelp, Sonic sat up, wide-eyed, to find Ki curled up at his side, her arms around her belly, her eyes squeezed shut.
"Ki? Ki, baby, what is it? Are you— Oh, my God—OH MY GOD!"
Sonic's mind raced; he rarely panicked, but this was a situation that was enough to put him in that state of mind. What was worse, they were the only ones home; the rest of the family, including Tanaka and Ella, had gone out to the beach house for the weekend. Ki was close enough to laying the eggs that she didn't really want to travel (lest she go into labor in transit – the X Tornado –or even the back of the limo - was hardly the place for giving birth), and Sonic wasn't particularly fond of water anyway, so they'd opted to stay home. Ella had offered to stay with them, obviously feeling bad that the family was leaving them behind, but this was one of few actual vacations she and Tanaka got during the year – the family hired outside help to give the two a break – and Ki had insisted that the woman go and enjoy herself. It was a good opportunity for her and Sonic to have some alone time, as well, after all.
And Knuckles, though he'd been checking in on them with increasing frequency the farther along Ki's pregnancy became, was nowhere to be found.
It was just the two of them, alone, and Ki was in labor.
Oh, sweet mother of Mobius.
"Sonic, the egg—it's time!"
"Y-yeah, I f-figured... oh, God!" Shit, what was it I told Ki that time she was hyperventilating? Breathe slower? Or was it breathe faster? Oh my GOD, I can't breathe!
"Sonic, get a hold of yourself!" Ki frowned up at him as another wave of pain faded; the pains were quickly increasing in frequency. "I need you..." She trailed off, curling up more tightly as yet another contraction started.
She needs you, stupid! She needs me... she needs me... Right. The practiced calm that came from having spent most of his teen years saving the world finally kicked in, allowing him to think straight.
"O-Okay... I'm here, I'm cool. What can I do?"
"Just... just stay—" She moaned through another pain "—Stay with me."
"Of course, baby, I'm not going anywhere." Helpless and feeling useless, Sonic rubbed Ki's back and comforted her quietly, trying to keep her calm.
"S-Sonic, I-I don't know what to do! I-I— Oh my God, my baby's being born and I don't know what to do!"
"Easy, Ki, easy; remember what Knuckles said: 'Follow your instincts.' "
"But—I-I can't! I don't— Oh, God, Sonic!"
"I'm here, baby..." Sonic took one of Ki's hands in his free one, cringing at her violent grip. He squeezed back, if only to keep his own paw from being crushed – literally. "It's gonna be all right, Ki. It's okay..."
"It hurts, Sonic..."
"I know, I know, baby. We're gonna get through this, all right—Hey, what're you doin'?"
"I-I... I guess I-I'm... f-following m-my instincts..." She hauled herself to her knees, pausing halfway for another contraction. When it passed, she knelt on the mattress, gripping Sonic's paw and wrapping the other arm over her belly. She didn't fully understand why she wanted to get in this position, but it felt right and seemed to help, so she went with it. When the next contraction began, she curled up as much as she could without crushing her swollen belly...
...and absolutely screamed.
Ki screamed so loudly that Sonic jumped and flattened his ears against his head. She screamed loudly enough that she scared herself and her throat grew raw, but she simply couldn't help it. The pain was excruciating, and the outburst helped to relieve at least a little pressure, though it left her panting for air. At times, her screams were more like growls; guttural howls that were far more frightening to her own formerly human ears than any sound she'd ever uttered while making love to Sonic. Her tail seemed to take on a life of its own, by turns stiffening straight out behind her, and curling tightly between her legs, as if she couldn't decide what to do with it. She felt Sonic's hand on her back, stroking her fur, and while it didn't do a damned thing for the pain, it was at least comforting to know he was trying.
Several minutes—or was it hours? It was impossible to tell—later, Ki let go of her belly and gripped the mattress, her claws tearing through the tough material as if it were paper. Shifting her legs apart, she arched her back and bent her head down. When the next contraction came, and before she realized what she was doing, she bore down, the muscles in her body reflexively pushing the egg on its way. The volume of her cries increased with the pain, her body complaining as it was forced to accommodate the egg—which Ki was currently convinced was at least the size of a basketball.
As yet another contraction waned, Ki had a sudden moment of clarity that was just as confusing as it was illuminating. She sat up slightly, tugging on the hand that Sonic was still holding tightly.
"Sonic... let go..."
Sonic furrowed his eyebrows but complied. "Ki...?"
But he didn't receive a reply; Ki's attention was entirely on the task at hand. He almost smiled with relief as he watched her—instinct had finally taken total control, and the echidna was acting without thinking. It was a bizarre sight, though, and so unlike the way a hedgehog would give birth. He continued to rub her back, but he knew that was all he could really do—it was up to her, now.
Ki was still kneeling, but with her legs far apart. She'd reached between her thighs—she was going to deliver her own egg? She was panting frantically, then suddenly stopped, gritting her teeth and focusing all her strength at pushing the egg out. Then she was panting again, and sitting up, almost straight. Bringing her hands up, she barely gave what she held a glance before handing it to Sonic.
Sonic was startled into a slight panic. "Wh-what? B-But I c-can't—"
"TAKE IT!" She screamed, and Sonic immediately reached into her hands, terrified even to touch what was offered but not daring to disobey his mate in the barely-sane state she was in.
"...Wow..." He cradled the delicate, cream and brown speckled orb in his bare paws, holding it against his chest to keep it warm. It was wet, and a little bloody, but hardly the slippery, admittedly gross mess that a newborn hedgehog would have been. The shell wasn't anything like the bird eggs he'd seen—it was sort of leathery, and a little bumpy. Even more surprising was that the egg wasn't, in fact, egg shaped at all—it was a perfect sphere. And it was just... beautiful. He could have gazed at it all night, only Ki's excruciated screams forced him back to what was happening.
And what was happening was... Ki was still in labor.
If Ki heard his bewildered shriek—and it was a shriek—she didn't respond. She again had her hands down between her legs, and if it hadn't been for the precious thing he now held, Sonic would have been convinced he had somehow traveled back in time about 90 seconds.
Why was she—but she had already—he was already holding—but then why—
At long last, Ki stopped screaming, but she was still panting and moaning in a steady rhythm as the waning labor pains rolled through her. However, she stayed like this, resting her forehead on the bed, for only a few seconds before, very carefully, rolling over onto her side, exhausted.
Sonic could only stare in disbelief, as his mate now cradled a second, identical if slightly smaller, egg in her own paws. His jaw worked silently for a moment before managing words:
"Ki... Ki, baby... Th-there... There's two of them...!"
She smiled, licking her dry lips and drawing her legs up until she was partly curled up.
"Y-Yeah, I noticed... Don't let it get cold."
"Oh, I'm not, don't worry, I'm not... Better, uh, do your thing, though."
"I-I'm still working it out, actually... I'm afraid to do anything until the contractions stop... But... I think... Yeah..." She was talking more to herself than she was to Sonic. She first brought her hands up closer to her face, placing an oh-so-gentle kiss on the egg's speckled surface, then brought the egg down to her abdomen, which, in this position, and now that the eggs were laid, had taken on a decidedly strange, baggy appearance.
Closing her eyes and furrowing her brows in concentration, she found the opening of her pouch and, cringing as her own spikes pressed against her flesh, maneuvered the egg inside as if she'd never had a question about what she was supposed to do.
"...There now..." She cooed to the egg as she settled it into place. "...One down, one to go..." Opening her eyes, Ki reached out for second—or rather, the first—egg. Sonic gazed at it for one more, long moment, before carefully handing it to her. Smiling, she took the precious sphere and repeated the process of kissing the egg before tucking it gently into her pouch. It took her longer this time, as she had to arrange them both to the best possible fit in the small space – and it clearly was a trick.
When she was finally done, she rolled onto her back, utterly exhausted, resting her paws on the outside of her pouch. Sonic reached over and pushed a dreadlock out of her face.
"You did it, baby. I'm so proud of you... Heck, you didn't even need my help."
She wearily opened her eyes to look at him, smiling and taking his hand in her own. "Yeah, I did. I couldn't have done it without you. You helped me stay calm, and you kept the first egg warm and safe when the second one needed my attention. I never could have handled it without you. ...I just can't believe..."
"Me, neither! I mean, who would've guessed—"
"One was a long shot, but two?"
"Exactly! Kinda weird that the doctor didn't see it, though..."
"I know, I don't get it. Well, I take that back—I have heard of humans being surprised by twins even after sonograms told them they were having one, but... My God, we're having twins... Sonic, we're having twins! Two babies!"
Sonic laughed, half in shock and half overjoyed, scooting closer to her and putting an arm around her. "Yeah, I guess we are. Damn, when we beat the odds, we really beat the odds."
Ki chuckled and snuggled in against him. "I'll say. I guess I should go clean up... I mean, it's not anything like a live birth, but still... But I'm so tired..."
"Hey, you just take it easy, all right? No straining yourself. Wait 'till you've got the energy. No big deal; it's just us. And anyhow it's really not that big a mess."
"Okay—" She was interrupted by a knock at her bedroom door. They both tensed, wondering who it could be when no one else was home. Shushing Ki, Sonic turned his head toward the door.
Both let out sighs of relief as the Guardian of Angel Island—conveniently late—replied. Ki actually smirked.
"Better late than never, eh Knux?"
Startled, Knuckles didn't even bother to ask permission to enter. He opened the door and stared at them, wide-eyed, as the unknown, yet somehow familiar scent reached him. Ki blushed, and Sonic quickly pulled the bed sheets over her. Knuckles, however, was too surprised to realize the invasion of privacy he'd just become guilty of.
"Don't hurt yourself, Red."
"Sonic, be nice."
"I'm only kidding with him, Ki."
"The egg? But—you weren't—you're not—"
"Due for almost another week, I know."
"Are you okay? I mean, and the egg—"
Sonic grinned. "She's fine, Knuckles. The eggs are fine. Both of them."
Knuckles stared at them, uncomprehending.
"Yo, Knuckles, anybody home?"
"Did you say... both of them?"
"Yeeeaaah..." Ki giggled. "You're quick today, Knuxie."
"You've got twins? You're not just screwing with me?"
"I'm always screwing with you, Red."
"Sonic..." Ki scolded. Sonic shrugged sheepishly and tried again.
"Yes, Knuckles, twins. Two eggs. Both perfect, and both warm and safe and sound in Ki's pouch."
"And I'm exhausted," Ki added. Knuckles nodded slowly.
"As long as you're okay, then."
"Better than I've ever been."