Disclaimer - I do not own DGM.
Chapter Nine - Harmony
The sun was shining in through the curtains in Allen's room and yet the child still hadn't stirred. The covers were pulled up over his head and the only thing visible was his unruly brown hair, several locks of which were poking out from beneath the blankets. The sound of the door opening didn't disturb the child and Nicholas smiled as he made his way over to the bed where his son was sleeping. Sitting down on the edge of the bed the mahogany haired Noah gently pulled Allen into his arms, the smile on his face widening as a pair of inquisitive gray eyes rose to meet his own, identical ones.
"Father!" the boy exclaimed, instantly wide awake. The boy wiggled his way around so that he was facing his father, a wide smile spreading across his face. "What you doin' here?"
"Your Uncle Mana sent for me," Nicholas replied, his voice quiet as he spoke to his son. He had actually been at the manor for several hours but hadn't wanted to disturb his child. He had peeked into the room once but that was the extent of it.
"Why?" the brown haired child persisted, climbing around so that he was clinging to his father's back. It had been a couple of weeks since he had seen the man and needless to say Allen was happy to have him back.
Realizing that the inquisitive boy wasn't going to be content until he knew exactly what had brought his father to the mansion Nicholas took a deep breath. "Your mother went into labor this morning."
Allen tilted his head slightly to the side, confusion etched all over his face. He had no idea what his father was talking about but could tell by the tone of the man's voice that it was something important. Which only served to further increase his curiosity over the subject. "What that mean?"
Nicholas offered his son a smile as he wrestled the child back into his arms. Leaning forward he placed his chin on top of Allen's soft hair, realizing as he did so that he wouldn't be given leave to hold this position for long. "It means that you're going to be a big brother today little man."
"The baby coming?" Allen questioned, falling still as he gazed up at his father. He knew about the baby that his mother had said was growing inside her, the baby that would be his little brother or sister, but what he hadn't known was when it was going to make an appearance.
Nicholas nodded, the small smile still in position on his face. "The baby is coming… so I need you to be extra good today and not get into anyone's way alright Allen?"
"I be good," Allen said, offering his father a smile.
"That's my boy," the Noah said, getting to his feet and giving Allen a little toss into the air. The child squealed in delight before wrapping his arms around his father's neck in a tight embrace. "Let's get you dressed and then we'll go downstairs for breakfast…" Having said this Nicholas made his way to the dresser, selecting clothes for Allen to wear before quickly helping the child to get dressed. He was in a bit of a hurry, which was why he didn't allow Allen to dress himself. It was only a matter of time before the labor intensified to the point where Lyssa's screams would be audible to all those in the house and he didn't want his son subjected to that. It would only concern the child to hear his mother in such obvious distress so Nicholas planned to get the child dressed and fed and then hand him over to Mana for the day.
Nicholas smirked as he thought of his older brother fending off the three children for the day. After all Cross and Maria had arrived around the same time that he had and the Exorcist's wife, along with Callista, were attending to Lyssa. Since Nicholas planned to be there for his wife as she brought their second child into the world, and Cross was currently hiding somewhere and probably inebriated, that left Mana as the designated babysitter for the day.
Nicholas was jarred from his thoughts by the rather insistent voice of his young son and he couldn't help but smile as he gazed down at Allen. "Alright, alright… I get the message." Scooping the boy up into his arms once more the young Noah left the room and made his way downstairs to the dining room. The other two children, along with Mana, were already there and Chelsea offered her cousin a bright smile as Nicholas placed the child in one of the chairs.
"Morning Allen," the young girl sang out, seemingly in a very good mood despite the early hour. "There's gonna be a baby today… I wonder if it'll be a boy or a girl."
"Girl," Allen stated calmly, still maintaining that his new sibling was going to be a sister.
"That'd be nice," Chelsea said, sounding almost wistful. There was a hopeful look in her vibrant green eyes as she thought about the possibility of having a girl around to play with… someone she could dress in pretty clothes without having to chase them down first. "I'm surrounded by boys."
"Hey," Trace said, glancing up and eyeing the girl through vivid blue eyes. "There's nothing wrong with boys, right Allen?" The younger boy seemed to debate this question for a couple of moments before shaking his head adamantly. "Nope."
"You won't play dress-up," Chelsea challenged, defying them to come up with a valid excuse for this particular shortcoming.
Allen made a face at the mention of this game, causing Chelsea, Trace and Mana to simultaneously begin laughing. Nicholas was the only one who didn't, blinking in confusion. He hadn't been around for that and was woefully out of the loop.
"What's so funny?" the young Noah questioned, his gray eyes shifting from his son to his brother as he sought an explanation.
"Not funny," Allen said adamantly, scowl resolutely on his face.
"I'll fill you in later little brother," Mana said, taking note of the fact that his young nephew was obviously annoyed. He was dying to tell Nicholas the story but realized that by doing so he would only add fuel to the proverbial fire.
"Alright," Nicholas said, nodding his head in agreement. He was curious about what had happened but knew that it would simply have to wait.
"Anyway you should probably go and check on Lyssa," Mana said, offering his brother a smile. He could tell that Nicholas was excited about the new addition to his family, as well as concerned for his wife. The man had felt the same way when his daughter had been born so he completely understood. "I'll take care of Allen so don't worry."
"Alright," Nicholas said with a nod, walking over to stand behind the chair that his son was sitting in. leaning forward he placed a kiss on the child's head before turning to leave the room. "Now Allen, you behave for your Uncle Mana alright?"
"'Kay!" Allen exclaimed, turning in his seat and offering his father a wave.
Nicholas waved back before stepping out of the door.
"Alright guys," Mana said once his brother was out of the room. "Hurry and finish your breakfast and then we'll all go outside and have some fun."
"What are we going to do Father?" Chelsea questioned, turning questioning green eyes toward the man. She was nearly finished with her breakfast and was curious about what Mana had in store for them. "What, what, what?"
"You'll find out once everyone has finished," Mana said, smiling as his gaze surveyed the group of children. Thus far Allen was the only one who had finished his meal, the little boy gazing at his uncle through wide gray eyes. "So if you're curious then you should hurry up."
"That's just mean," Chelsea said, picking up her fork and continuing to eat.
"I agree," Trace seconded.
Mana chuckled lightly, more than a little amused by the looks of indignation that the two older children wore. Perhaps it was a little cruel of him to merely hint at the fact that they were going to do something fun but he had found himself unable to resist.
Not surprising this served to hurry them along and, within the span of ten minutes, all three children were finished with their breakfast. Getting to his feet Mana gestured toward the door that led from the dining room. "Come on… I promised that we'd have fun so it would look really bad if I didn't follow through."
Walking forward Mana seized Allen by the hand and led him along while the others fell into step behind him. The man led the way out of the manor and down the path that led to the stables. "How do you guys feel about going horseback riding?" he asked with a smile, knowing that Chelsea would be all for it even if neither of the other two were. The girl never missed an opportunity to ride.
"Great idea!" Chelsea exclaimed excitedly, positively beaming with happiness.
"That sounds like a good idea," Trace added, a little more subdued than the girl who was standing beside him. Being older, as well as a teenager, the red haired boy usually tried to act a little more dignified.
Allen gazed up at his uncle. "I don' know how…"
"That's alright Allen ma'boy," Mana said, leaning forward and scooping the little boy up into his arms. He gave the child a hug before reaching out and sliding the stable door open. "You can ride with me."
As the group stepped inside the stables several horses stuck their heads over the half doors of their stalls, whinnying a greeting. "Trace," Mana said, placing Allen on the ground beside the older boy. "Would you mind keeping an eye on Allen while I tack up the horses?"
"Not at all," Trace said, taking the little boy by the hand. He didn't want to risk Allen wandering off and getting kicked by a horse so the red head decided that it would probably be a good idea to keep a tight hold on the child's hand.
"Thank you," Mana said.
Before long Mana had two horses saddled and ready to go, as well as Chelsea's pony. Handing the reins of a bay mare to Trace, Mana once again scooped Allen up into his arms. The group made their way out to the stable yard, where Trace helped Chelsea into the saddle of her black pony before agilely leaping into the saddle of his own horse. Mana offered the two of them a smile before placing Allen in the saddle of the white stallion whose reins he held. The little boy made a soft squeaking noise before burying both hands into the horse's mane, holding on for dear life.
"It's alright Allen," Mana said as he easily swung himself up into the saddle, settling himself behind Allen and looping one arm around the little boy's waist. "I've got you so don't worry kiddo."
Allen relaxed his grip on the stallion's mane as he felt Mana's arm wrap around his waist. He felt more confident now that his uncle was behind him and a smile slowly spread across his face as Mana directed the horse to begin walking.
"Father," Chelsea said as she and Trace urged their horses forward. "Can Trace and I trot?"
"That's fine," Mana said, nodding his head. "Just be careful."
"We will," the two of them chorused as they urged their mounts to go at a slightly quicker pace.
Several hours passed as the group rode around in the paddock that adjoined the stable its self. Mana didn't want to venture further, just incase he were needed at the house, but the children seemed content with the arrangement. Finally Mana turned his horse back in the direction of the gate that led out of the paddock. "Come on guys," he called out to Chelsea and Trace. "Let's head back."
The two children groaned in dismay but obeyed none the less.
Together the group returned to the stable where Mana once again turned Allen over to Trace so that he could take care of the three horses. Then, once that task was complete, they all made their way toward the back yard.
"Stay out here," Mana said to the three children as he made his way toward the mansion. He'd received no word from anyone inside the house so he didn't know the status of the delivery that was taking place inside. "I'll go in and get us all a snack."
"Snack!" Allen exclaimed, his eyes lighting up.
"Doesn't really take much to make the little guy happy does it?" Trace commented as he gazed over at Allen.
"Nope," Chelsea replied with a smile. "The quickest way to Allen's heart is definitely through his stomach."
"Is not," Allen snapped indignantly.
Which only made the other two children laugh hysterically.
Upon entering the mansion Mana made his way toward the staircase that led upstairs, wanting to check on Lyssa before getting a snack for the three children who were waiting outside. He came to an abrupt halt however as he met Nicholas halfway up the stairs, the younger man having been traveling in the opposite direction. Mana noted the broad grin on his brother's face and knew that the baby must have arrived while he was out with the children.
"Well?" he prompted.
"Allen was right," Nicholas said, his voice laced with happiness. "It's a girl."
Reaching out Mana gripped Nicholas by the shoulder, smiling at his brother. "Congratulations Nicky."
"Thank you," Nicholas said quietly. "I was just on my way out to find you and the children… I want to take Allen up to meet his new little sister."
"They're all out in the backyard," Mana said, turning around and descending the stairs at Nicholas' side. "Come on and you can give them the good news… Chelsea's going to be thrilled that her new cousin is a little girl."
Nicholas smiled as he and his brother made their way out to the backyard, where three sets of eyes focused on them immediately. Leaping to his feet Allen ran over to his father, wrapping his arms around the man's legs. "Where's my snack?" the child questioned as he gazed up at the two adults.
Mana laughed. "Should have known that would be his main concern."
"You'll get your snack in a little bit," Nicholas promised as he leaned forward and picked up his little boy. Holding the child close Nicholas turned his gray eyes toward Allen, the smile still on his face. "I came to tell you something."
"What?" Allen asked solemnly.
"You've got a little sister," Nicholas said, watching his son closely so that he could gauge Allen's reaction to this news. At first the little boy just blinked a couple of times but then a smile began to slowly spread across his face. "Wanna see," he said quietly.
"Alright little man," Nicholas said, giving Allen a squeeze. "We'll go and see your mother and your new little sister."
Allen wrapped his arms around his father's neck and together the two of them made their way inside the manor. Nicholas slowly ascended the stairs, slightly anxious about how this introduction was going to go. It was true that Allen had told both he and Lyssa that he was excited about his new sibling but the fact of the matter was that the little boy had been an only child his entire life so having to share his parents was going to be a new experience for him.
When he reached a door at the end of the upstairs hallway Nicholas knocked softly before opening the door and stepping inside. The room was dimly lit, with only a single gas lamp in a corner bathing the room in a subdued light. "Are you up to some visitors?" Nicholas called out softly, waiting for permission before stepping further into the room.
"Of course," a soft voice called out.
Lyssa was lying in a large bed, a small bundle held in her arms, and she smiled as her gaze fell upon her two boys. The young woman appeared tired but unbelievably happy as she held out one hand to the pair of them. Walking over to her bedside Nicholas leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead. "Feeling alright?" he questioned as he straightened back up, Allen still supported by one arm.
"Tired and a little sore," Lyssa replied, motioning for the two of them to sit down on the edge of the bed. "But very happy…" This said the young woman turned her attention to her young son. She gently moved the blanket so that the tiny face of an infant was visible to the other child. "Allen… this is your little sister Harmony."
"Har…mony," the little boy carefully said, making sure that he said it correctly.
"Mhmm," Lyssa said, nodding her head. "What do you think about her?"
Allen gazed at the newborn that his mother was holding, an oddly thoughtful expression on his young face. He seemed to gaze at her for much longer than was necessary before offering his mother a smile. "She cute," he said finally.
"You're going to have to look out for her Allen," Nicholas said as his gaze shifted back and forth between his two children. "You're her big brother so Harmony's going to look up to you."
Reaching out somewhat tentatively Allen touched one of the baby's tiny hands with one of his fingers. Opening her eyes the baby latched onto his finger with her hand, holding it tightly.
Looking on Nicholas and Lyssa smiled in happiness.
A/N - And here is the much anticipated chapter where Allen becomes a big brother. Hope that you enjoyed. Thanks to those of you who have reviewed this story, the reviews are always much appreciated.