Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to SMeyer
A/N: Love to the people who help make this happen and talk me down from ledges- Spanglemaker9, MeadowC, & Cher.
For the Readers, always.
Nine Months Later
"It's time to push. Take a deep breath and bear down for the count of five, ready?"
All she could do was nod as the pain seemed to cloud every aspect of her senses.
"Good, now deep breath and one, two, three, four, five…relax," The doctor instructed in a calm voice to the mother-to-be. She leaned back against the bed with the help of father-to-be who stood to her side, whispering words of encouragement as he held his wife's hand.
"Excellent, the head is crowning. Ready to push again?"
The mother nodded once more, concentrating on her breathing, trying to calm and prepare herself.
"Just like we did the first time…ready and one, two, three, four, five…relax."
The pattern of breathing and then pushing went one for another three times until the small body emerged completely into the hands of the waiting doctor. A wail of new life sounded almost immediately, and a few laughs of happiness could be heard around the room.
"Mr. and Mrs. Swan, your son," the doctor laid the baby against my mother's belly. Dad, Mom, and I leaned over to see the squashed-up face of the newest member of the Swan family, all in awe of the ferocity of his lung power.
"A full head of hair," Dad smiled in wonder, hand hovering over the small head, almost afraid to touch it. Mom just beamed, wrapping her arms around her son.
I was still swaying between wanting to be sick at having witnessed a birth and knowing absolute joy at seeing my baby brother. I wasn't supposed to be in the delivery room, but I had been with Mom at the Swan house when her water broke. Dad was all the way in Port Angeles on business without his cellphone. Mom did not want to be left alone and clung to me as her labor pains intensified rather quickly. Thankfully Esme was driving by us as I helped Mom into the car and took over trying to find Dad.
"Mr. Swan, would you like to cut the cord?" the doctor offered. Dad seemed reluctant to step away, but he did to cut the cord and was back next to Mom within seconds.
Baby Swan was taken from us to be cleaned up from the birth as Mom had to push one more time to remove the placenta. Soon we were back together, huddled around the blanketed form of my now quieting brother, taking in his ten fingers and toes. "All perfect," my Mom whispered.
As if understanding, he opened his bluish eyes to look at Mom, and released a half-yawn, half-squeal.
Looking up into my parents' faces, who became new parents once again, I saw their devotion to one another. Their bond probably spoke more of what was being unsaid. I couldn't help but feel envious as I hadn't seen Edward since earlier that morning and wanted to be near him.
I excused myself, saying that I needed a moment, and walked out of the delivery room to in time to hear my mate's voice.
"Have you seen my wife, Bella Cullen? She came in with her mother, Renee Swan," his warm voice carried from over by the nurses' station two doors away.
The bond sang as I saw him take a step back from the large counter, revealing his jean and t-shirt clad form. He turned his head towards me and smiled. We met each other halfway and I was soon enfolded within Edward's arms for a hug.
"How is your mother? Is the baby here?" he asked, disturbing bits of hair on top of my head with his breath.
"Good and yes," I said with a smile.
We pulled away and he looked down at me curiously. "Not getting baby fever are you? I thought you were all set for college in a few weeks" he teased.
I shook my head "No! I can't go through that- I mean, not yet." I sputtered out. I had enough on my hands with a full college course load. I already declared my major in English and Literature with a few courses in business.
Edward laughed and hugged me to him. "I know, I know, but someday that's going to be us…and it will most likely be twins."
A new wave of terror went through me at the mention of twins.
"Relax…it probably won't happen for another year or two," Edward said, rubbing my back.
"Yeah, but it is happening. Isn't the next generation born around the same time?" I asked, releasing him from our hug and taking his hand between mine.
"Usually, but your mom and Rose are the first two. So far, no one else seems to be pregnant, but that could change any day…" he started out serious but then swung back into teasing mode, giving me a wink.
I lightly punched him in the arm as we walked over to the waiting room to sit awhile. Edward wanted to stay long enough to see the baby, but needed to wait until Mom was sent to the recovery room. We sat in companionable silence, not feeling the need to fill our time with talking, as everything in our lives felt like it was a race. The last few weeks had been crazy for the both of us with the apartment hunting in Seattle, preparing for college, Rose and Mom's final stages in their pregnancies, and new responsibilities for the Coven.
This was going to be our peaceful period in the middle of a storm. The months after the Soul Eater had meant double duties for the Coven and Tribe. While we may have saved the area and trapped the dark entity, our work was far from being over. Areas of Forks had suffered greatly. Many of the Earth Witches, including myself had spent days helping to recover the plant life. We had helped plant many new trees and nurture seeds into growing plants, but we had lost just as many as they were too sick to recover.
A few buildings in town needed some repairs, looking as if a bad storm had been through. It was the edges of Forks the saw the most destruction. Whole homes and business were leveled, along with livestock and people.
My heart had been broken many times over as I saw each loss. It was also the catalyst to reaffirm my personal pledge to the land that I had given last summer in the Swan greenhouse, to be the protector it needed.
A few days after Edward's nineteenth birthday, we were married in the Cullen greenhouse with members of the Forks Coven, a few visiting leaders of the other Covens that were still standing, and the Tribe attended. After the ceremony, Edward and I were asked to give our promise again over the heart of the land, in the center of the circle. We did so readily and were accepted in return by the powers that chose us to be its guardians.
During the reception, Billy Black came over to speak with us, looking like he aged a decade in the recent months. The Tribe had lost more than the Coven, and as their leader, he felt it the most.
He gave us a smile as he stood before us, giving a short blessing of our "official" union. I thanked him, but he stopped me with another smile and took my hand in his.
"No, thank you, Bella…and Edward," he said sincerely, steadily looking at us both. "You have both shown us that you have truly heeded the calling of the Creators to be the leaders of this Coven. The Tribe is grateful to know that our lives will be well cared for in the years to come."
As he walked away, I wasn't sure of what to think. I was humbled by his words, knowing the depth of the compliment in my heart.
I didn't feel ready to be that leader he mentioned, but I hoped to strive to live up to being the best that I could be for the town, The Tribe, The Coven, and most importantly, Edward.
"Bella? Edward?" Dad's voice broke through my reverie. I looked up to see him standing in the doorway of the waiting room. "Your mom is in her room with the baby. Want to come say goodnight?"
I smiled as I stood, pulling Edward up by the hand. "Love to."
Thank you for allowing me to tell you a story. I am beyond grateful to you all. There are so many people to thank, but that would be a chapter's length in itself. Just know that all of you who have given me your support have been tattooed on my soul.