Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate SG-1 or its characters…
Author's Note: So…yeah…here it is; last chapter. I believe this would qualify as the pure fluff chapter. (Just a warning pertaining to accuracy-I don't pretend to understand childbirth beyond biological terms.) Also, apologies to the traditionalists, but in my mind it's just not like Cam and Vala to have to get married to legitimize their commitment.
"Now Caleb," she addressed the enormous bulge that was her stomach, rubbing it gently to soothe herself as much as the child within. "This is your mother. And I am ordering you to come out of there right this minute!"
Chuckling from across the room broke her concentration and she looked up to find Cameron staring at her with a severe look of amusement upon his face. She shrugged her shoulders.
"It was worth a try," she sighed. Shifting where she sat upon the end of the bed, Vala let out a controlled breath. She was just SO uncomfortable.
"Tired?" he asked, sitting down next to her, placing an arm comfortingly around her. She nodded wordlessly, before she laid her head against his shoulder. Groaning, she buried her face into him, her hand once again returning to her huge pregnant belly.
"How much longer until he's ready to leave me?" she moaned.
"Must be a momma's boy," Cam supplied, smiling. He was incredibly happy. He couldn't imagine how he'd feel once their son was born, but he hoped it would be soon, for Vala's sake.
He knew she was suffering and he couldn't do much about it, which frustrated him greatly. It seemed that she was always uncomfortable, if not in outright pain. She couldn't even sleep unless the pillows and blankets had been arranged precisely, and sometimes not even then, if Caleb refused to settle inside her.
And there would be no reprieve until it happened naturally. Dr. Lam was refusing to induce labor on account of Vala not being from Earth. He supposed the doctor was right. They didn't know if there were subtle differences in her physiology, or what affect they had on her or the baby. Not having paid specific attention to the child-rearing aspect of her peers, Vala couldn't tell them whether a pregnancy lasting through eleven months was normal or not.
Vala was walking the halls, trapped in the horrible, and periodically painful but consistently uncomfortable limbo of prelabor labor. Dr. Lam had told her it would be awhile yet, even though her water had broken many, many hours ago and she felt the stabbing pain of a contraction every five or so minutes without fail. She fought the urge to cry.
It should have been a joyous time, or at least one of relief. She had been outright pleading with the child to be born for a solid two months, but now that he had obliged her, Vala wasn't sure what she was feeling, besides severely uncomfortable.
Emotionally, something just wasn't right.
She wasn't frightened, was she? Not of the pain anyway. She had done this before, delivered a child. Although it had been quite a different experience bringing the Orici into the universe to wreak havoc upon a galaxy of happily settled civilizations. Where this pregnancy lasted for what seemed an abnormally long period of time for a woman on Earth, giving life to Adria had taken an inordinately minute fraction of Vala's own life.
Suddenly, Vala felt worse, like she couldn't breathe, and the world began to spin around her. She placed her palms flat on the wall and used them to support her weight as she tried to catch her breath.
As soon as he saw her leaning against the wall, Cam knew something was wrong. He ran the rest of the length of the hallway to the side of the woman who was about to bring his child into the world. Abandoning the glass of water he had been fetching for her upon the floor, he placed a hand on her arm and used the other to rub her shoulders and back, to comfort her.
"Contraction?" he asked, instinctively knowing it wasn't the case. He had witnessed her handle quite a number of them over the past ten or so hours, and what he was currently reading on her face was not the expression of determination and control mastering pain. This was a different sort of suffering, one that threatened to overwhelm her. And Cam was fairly certain he knew its source.
He had never seen her look so sad, frightened even. Taking her hands, he placed them at the back of his neck, and put his own delicately at her waist, relieving Vala of a fraction of the weight, of the physical burden she was bearing. He wished he could relieve her emotional burden as well. Rubbing his cheek to hers, he felt the moisture of tears upon her tender flesh and could no longer bear her apparent grief.
"Can you tell me what's wrong?" he ventured, desperate to fix it. How did he get to this place, where simply seeing Vala upset would tear relentlessly at his heart?
"I'm afraid," she confessed in a barely audible whisper that wrenched his insides.
"Everything will be fine," he tried to soothe her. "It will all be over soon. Everything will be okay. You'll see."
"It's not that..." Vala objected then trailed off as another contraction took hold. Her fingers dug into the collar of his shirt and her face screwed up with a look of determination and pain, her emotional turmoil temporarily forgotten as she struggled to control her breathing. The contraction passed, leaving her to return to her distressful thoughts.
Cam played the confused and concerned partner, rather than confronting Vala with what he thought was troubling her. "I don't understand, Vala. What's bothering you?"
"I'm not fit to be a mother," she lamented, unable to look the father of her child in the eyes. He had treated her well, supported her, and she at least owed him the truth. For it would affect him as well as their son.
"That's not true!" he wholeheartedly objected, pulling away from Vala enough to look her in the face. "You love Caleb, and you've taken great care of him."
"No," she objected, beginning to cry. "What if I fail him, like I..."
She tried to look away but Cam wouldn't permit her the luxury of hiding any longer.
"...failed Adria?" he finished her thought. "Is that really what you think?"
He knew it was true, but couldn't see how Vala could think Adria had been her fault. It simply wasn't. How could he make her see that? How could he reassure her, make her happy and eager to meet their son once more?
"I've been through this before. I thought I had come to terms with it. But I just can't help thinking that if I had really tried..." Vala gave voice to worries that had haunted her for a long while. "If I had really loved her...maybe-"
"No," Cam cut her off. "Don't do this to yourself. It wasn't your fault. They took her from you. Hell, she wasn't even yours before she was born! You were not responsible for what happened."
"But she was my child!" Vala objected. "My flesh, part of me! Just like him."
Her hand went to rest on the enormous bulk of her belly. Cam's followed suit as he contradicted her.
"No. He's ours, yours and mine. The Ori are dead and gone. They had no part in his conception and will never have any control over his life. That's our job, and you're more than capable of raising him right. I know it."
Cam hugged her as close and tight as he dared, rocking her gently as they stood in the empty hallway. The action, or (as he hoped) his words seemed to calm her as she relaxed into his embrace. Her breathing slowed and she sighed contently into his shoulder.
In that moment everything was so peaceful and he felt so close to her. Cam found himself hoping it would last forever. Unfortunately, that just wasn't possible. But a few more seconds would've been nice.
Her warm embrace turned into a coarser one as her nails dug into his shoulders. He heard her breathing turn rapid and strained again.
"Oh!" she cried. Her hand returned to her stomach as she pulled away from him, looking as if she were about to double over. "Baby now!"
"Now?!" he parroted.
"Yes!" she shouted. "Right now!"
He stood dumbfounded for a moment. Really, what had he expected? She had been in labor so long, pregnant so long, that it seemed surreal, like the event would never actually happen.
"Help me!" she barked, snapping him out of his shocked reverie.
"Oh, right!" Cam jumped to her side, wrapping an arm her and draping one of hers behind his neck. He helped her to make her way down the (what seemed like a mile-long) hallway, back to the infirmary. "Let's find Dr. Lam."
Her only response to his efforts was the sound of controlled breathing.
It hadn't taken long after he got Vala back to the infirmary. Well, that was probably a matter of perspective. Cam was positive it had felt much longer for the woman giving birth than it had for either the doctor delivering the baby or its father.
They were all settled in now, which was a relief. Vala was tucked up in an infirmary bed, a luxury she deserved after the effort she had put forth. Their son was tucked lovingly into her proud arms.
Cam sat down on the edge of her bed, admiring her exhausted yet radiant face. He cupped her cheek and adoringly wiped the sweat from her brow with his thumb before placing a kiss on her forehead.
"I love you," he whispered, afraid to disturb the serenity surrounding them by speaking too loudly.
"I love you, too," she returned just as quietly.
"And I'm so proud of you," he added.
"Me, too," she replied with a smile, returning her attention to her son. "I made him."
She beamed at the world in general before glancing specifically at Cameron. "We made him."
Studying her face confirmed his thoughts. He had never seen Vala so happy. She furthered his conclusion with a satisfied sigh.
"They never let me hold her like this," Vala revealed. It was a sad thought to consider, seeing the mother-child bond so significantly and tangibly displayed before him. No wonder Adria had turned out so horrible. No wonder Vala had such a hard time forgiving her self. "And there was no one there to support me like you were here for me."
She looked momentarily sad. This was no time for such melancholy.
"I'll always be here to support you, and Caleb," he said. She looked at him with a desperate hope pleading from her eyes.
"Do you promise?" she asked.
"I promise," he answered, knowing it was the most important pledge he had ever made in his life. And it seemed to satisfy her. She returned to smiling at him, her whole face was a guiding light.
"Want to hold him again?" she asked. Vala must love him, Cam concluded. It was obvious that giving up her newborn son, even for the few minutes to him, was not an easy thing for her to do. It was apparent in her every look and gesture, the way she held him so close, that she wanted him all to herself.
At least it was with joyful reluctance that she eased the child into Cam's arms, where he was fawned over between both of his parents.
"Caleb Mal Doran Mitchell," Cam said aloud, getting a real feel for the words, as his mind inscribed them upon the infant's face. Vala bestowed her broadest grin upon her boys (and for once, the term was accurate-they were all hers).
"It's a good name," Cam concluded, returning the smile.
"It is," Vala agreed.
A/N: Thanks for reading. Hope it satisfied if not entertained.