Chapter 17: Torn

Little Falcon: This is one of the last few chapters of Right to Belong so please, please, please let me know what you think until the very last moment. For now, please enjoy this long awaited chapter.

Standard Disclaimer: I only own the idea that's all. If I did own this series I'll be the happiest person on earth!

His crimson eyes were fixated on those imposing double doors as he took note of every movement visible through those small round windows. His heart was at his throat and his insides tossed and turned as if he was plummeting from a great height. Sweat trickled down his forehead despite the air conditioning, his leg kept on shaking as his fingers kept on tapping. It had been a full four hours… scratch that… its four hours, thirty-four minutes and six seconds since she was brought inside the operating room and no one has yet to give him any kind of information regarding her condition.

The entire Spartoi gang was there and so was her father who was just as, if not more, tense as him. Weaving his fingers through his disheveled white spiky hair, inwardly he prayed… for the first time… to that Higher Power or to whoever god who was listening. Please… please… help her…

Flashback… Seven Months ago…

"Say that again," the first thing Maka and Soul set out to do after a day's worth of rest was to visit a doctor. Truthfully, it could be post-phoned for a while but the daddy-to-be would not have it. He wants the very best for his family and that entails knowing their well-being inside-out.

Her pale green eyes reflected the pained expression on his handsome face as he demanded another explanation from their specialist. Her hand caressed her flat belly as the other tenderly held his shaking hand.

Being exposed to similar scenarios or even worse, the lady doctor allowed a few minutes of silence in between their conversation to let the couple slowly digest the meaning of her words. The elucidation is actually fairly simple to understand however being included in the explanation does something to your brain that paralyzes logic and lets emotion run rampant. The Oby-Gyne was patient enough to speak slowly and repeat it in a manner they can understand.

"Your pregnancy is very dangerous. Maka-san, you've been under a lot of physical stress before the conception and also your soul has had its share of beating. Right now, it's a miracle that you're still standing but to support another life would… drain you of the things you need to recover in order to be well again. You might…"

"Might what, doctor?" The death scythe meister clutched her midsection protectively as she bravely looked into her eyes. Their Oby didn't continue but that defeated look in her eyes said infinitely more. "Is there a chance…" her voice was shaking as she swallowed her emotions to complete her question. "Is there a chance for our baby to live?"

It was like he was stabbed in the heart hearing her ask that question. How is it that he managed to be in the same pathetic position twice in a row- utterly helpless while his partner faces the worst? "Maka…" squeezing her hand reassuringly, he forced a smile before turning towards the good doctor.

"Well, yes but…"

"If there is a chance I'll take it! There is no way I'll give up on our baby just because I was too afraid of the consequences that may never happen,"

"But the risks ARE great… if worse comes to worst…"

"You heard my wife, doctor. We're keeping our baby,"

Incredulity, defeat and then acceptance, those emotions visibly etched into her wrinkling face before she nodded her head. "I understand. Then as your doctor, I will support the decision you have mutually made. Rest assured that I will do everything in my power to see this pregnancy through," it was this show of solid determination that still catches her by surprise. Giving-up hope was a common scene but absolute resolve is rare and unique at every client. But the real question was… for how long will this absolute resolve last?

In the privacy of their home, just as the doors shut. Maka sank to her knees, hugging her stomach with tears flooding her eyes. "Why do I have to give you up? You did nothing wrong," whispering to the growing life within her. A pair of strong arms wound around her ever so tightly without saying a word. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry for being so selfish, Soul. I'm not volunteering to die. I promise to live, we'll get through this,"

Somehow he felt cheated, betrayed or something worse. How come being so happy came with this kind of compensation? Was asking for a little more such a sin? It wasn't fair. That feeling of contentment was supposed to be free, it was their right. "Maka," drawing back, the young Death Scythe brushed away her tears with his kisses before looking straight into her mesmerizing eyes. "I want you to know that what I told the doctor was true. I want to keep our baby…"

"But?" Her brows furrowed weakly.

"Please let me be selfish too. When the time comes that I have to choose between you and our baby, I don't care if you end up hating me, I will choose you in a heartbeat. I can't risk losing you. I've gone through that way too many times. Please understand that I love you too much," at this point, more secrets might affect her condition and based from his experience, secrets have a way of coming out at the worst possible moment. He wanted to be with her without holding anything back, to be hers entirely because she deserves nothing less.

His eyes were begging her to understand as his shaking hands never let go of hers. His heart was breaking and she didn't have to hear it to discern it. Maka felt so horrible to force the man she loves to choose between her and their child. "Soul, I love you too that's why I want to keep our baby because if he/she dies, then a part of me dies too. I'll no longer be the Maka you fell in love with. I'm strong, you know that, but I'm invincible when you're with me so… I promise you we'll be okay just as long as you're here holding my hand," gingerly, she caressed his wet cheeks and wiped his tears away.

It was rather comical- having your wedding presided over by a Death God who talks funny but they could never have asked for more. Surrounded by friends and family, Maka and Soul said their vows that would eternally bind them as one. With this celebration, the happy couple also decided to break the other good news to the others. Cheers and jeers erupted from the already jubilant crowd. the genuine smile on the face of both the groom and bride was so contagious even Maka's reluctant father had a stupid grin on his face.

The love of his life loves him back and what's more, she is forever his and he hers. At that moment his determination to keep this kind of happiness was stronger than ever. But the thing with human will is that… it is never certain.

Time and reality have a way of weathering even the most steadfast resolve. Little by little, they chip off pieces of your conviction until your delicate core is exposed and that's when they hit hard.

On her first trimester, Maka had episodes of fainting and bleeding. Their doctor strictly advised complete bed rest but still her health continued to deteriorate. Despite her condition, she still manages to nag and hit him with her infamous Maka chop whenever the need arises. These small comforts somehow reassured him that everything will turn out fine in the end.

With her morning sickness and unusual weakness, he watched her usual self slowly withering away. Each morning, he would wake up, frantic with a dark fear in the back of his mind- that she might suddenly silently slip away. It was pure torture each and every time.

A gentle touch on his face woke him up one evening. Her face, although pale, was still as breathtaking as ever against the moonlight. Her long wavy tresses cascaded down her shoulders while some tickled his cheeks as she tenderly gazed at him. "You look so tired," her voice sounds so worried as her thumb softly brushed his lips.

Catching her hand, Soul kissed her fingers lovingly before tucking her in between his arms. It was amazing how her head fit perfectly on that hollow in between his neck and shoulders and whenever she's there, he felt ultimately complete. "You're the one to talk. You haven't been eating right," ever since her morning sickness came, she had difficulty eating almost every kind of food and when she does eat, she never finish an entire meal. Even without looking, he can almost see her pout. That bright platinum ring around her ring finger caught light and diverted his worries, his chest stills swells with pride whenever he sees her wearing their wedding band. It was like winning the grand lottery every time. She is his jackpot prize and no one can take her away from him.

Their friends and family never failed to give their support. They would come by often with stories to tell and food to consume. No one ever shows it but they were also very worried for the genius Scythe meister- it doesn't take a rocket scientist to discern that everything wasn't going well as it should. Visit after visit, it became very testing to feign innocence and to put on a smile just for her sake but they never faltered to pray for her recovery.

Her green eyes took a long affectionate glance at the man sleeping soundly beside her. Careful not to disturb his needed snooze, she sat up just to brush away a few strand of his hair from his face. There were dark bags under his eyes and a few fatigue lines visible even when he was sleeping. From the time when the doctor gave her clinical verdict, she had been confined to the recesses of their bedroom and had been doing nothing since. With a sharp intake of air, Maka diverted her attention to the noticeable bulge in her belly. "Hey sweetheart," her voice barely audible. "This is your mom talking. I hope you're growing well in there. Your dad and I are doing everything we can so you can to take care of you." Closing her eyes, she concentrated on that small other heartbeat within her. "Listen, I… Mommy wants you to help you feel better but I need your help as well. You see, Daddy has been having a hard time because he's doing all the work for Mommy. I want to help Daddy and I'm sure you do too… so, I need to be strong so we can help him. Is that ok?"

The next morning, Soul shot out of bed after seeing him alone in bed. After checking the bathroom, the panic-stricken husband dashed out of the master's bedroom and found his wife cooking breakfast. "MAKA! What are you doing?" His crimson eyes darted frantically from her to the stove and then back. With all the care in the world, he turned off the fire and carried her towards the nearest stool.

A bubbly laugh erupted from her chest as she was being treated by a princess by her dearest other half. "Soul, I'm fine. For the first time in a long while, I feel like myself again,"

He wouldn't be convinced if not for that smile on her lips. It was her smile. Confident. Strong. Alive. It was the most steady reassurance he received and it was more than enough to believe her. "H…how?" Looking at her incredulously from head to toe as if inspecting her for some physical evidence of change.

Taking his hand, she put it over her stomach and smiled. "I talked to them and asked to give you a break,"

"Talk to them? It isn't that simple. We should… wait… them… THEM?" His head stiffly bowed to look at her growing midsection. His mouth opened several times but he can't find the words say. "A…are you sure? I… I mean…" he wanted to ask a lot of things all at the same time because he needed to hear the answer at the same time as well.

Grabbing his shoulders, there was a wide grin on her face as she shook him roughly. "Breathe, Darling, breathe. I just had a dream about them but I'm quite sure that my dream is telling the truth,"

Comically, the poor husband's stuttering episode did not stop until he was literally looking at the actual ultrasound of three miniature people on the screen. Not just one, not just two… but three! He's going to be a father of three kids! Suddenly all the surprise got too real to bear. Maka held up three fingers before everything went black.

He knew he would never live that day down. In a span of thirty minutes, even before he opened his eyes, the entire crew knew about his feinting act and was already laughing their asses off. Actually, it was their rowdy ruckus that woke him up. "Good morning sunshine!" It was his best friend displaying his full set of teeth with a maniacal grin that ensure Soul a lifetime of humiliation.

In one word, amazing, that was how the obstetrician described the medical miracle that happened under her watchful eye. In just one moment, everything was going right.

It was only one time... one time... barely an hour even. She wanted to eat a certain cake from a stall nearby. Soul stepped out to buy one and when he came back, she was lying unconscious on the floor, bleeding profusely.

End of flashback…

It was one of those events that Soul would play in slow motion every time he would be forced to recall it. The doctor came out of those double doors still dressed in scrub suit from head to toe. Her eyes immediately sought her patient's better half.

"Doc, how is she? How is my…" his voice was pathetically shaking, uttering those broken words.

Removing her surgical mask, the doctor looked down before meeting his pleading eyes. "They're all fine. She's in recovery. The triplets are in the incubator since they're premature but other than that, they're okay. Congratulations, you're a dad now,"

Everyone listening let out the breath they didn't know they were holding. In the form of jumps, cheers and laughs, they released all the anxiety that involuntarily built up inside them for the last five hours. The nurse had to march in and break their celebration but to no avail. Maka is fine and the babies will be alright, there was no force on earth that can stop them from rejoicing.

Little Falcon: OMG, congratulations Soul and Maka! Next stop, the epilogue. Read and review please…