It seemed as though the remaining months flew by fairly quickly. Ciel had surprised Sebastian once again with his unusual generosity, allowing him to outfit the room next to the one he shared with Grell as a nursery. There was a crib, a dresser for the baby's clothes, and even a comfortable rocking chair for soothing the baby to sleep. Practically everything was in place, and yet Sebastian still found himself feeling inexplicably anxious. Perhaps it was because this was out of his control, in a way. Of course Sebastian would be there for the birth, but it would be up to Grell's body to do the actual work of bringing the child into the world.
It would be several hours yet before his young master would be awake, so Sebastian wasn't quite sure why he was awake. He smiled softly as he watched Grell dozing, his large baby bump making a mound under the covers. If he had things calculated right, the baby would be born any day now. Sebastian put his hand over where the baby lie and felt it moving about. Apparently it had its own sleep schedule already which didn't necessarily correspond with its mother's. Its head was low in Grell's pelvis, ready for whenever labor would begin.
He ran his hand down Grell's inner thigh and was surprised when he encountered a strangely moist area hidden a bit behind Grell's sac. He probed it cautiously, his finger sliding inwards. It most certainly wasn't Grell's entrance, as that was far from wet. He had his finger in a birth canal! So, this would be like the delivery of most women, as Undertaker had told Grell. That eased some of his worry.
"Mmph," Grell moaned in his sleep, no doubt somewhat awakened by all this poking and prodding.
One green eye opened drowsily, followed slowly by the other.
"Good morning, Grell," Sebastian greeted him.
"Feeling me up already, Sebas-chan?"
"Since when did this happen?" Sebastian asked him, curious.
Grell blushed a bit, suddenly modest.
"I suppose you wouldn't know, as I haven't been feeling very sexy lately," he replied. "Actually, I found out myself just yesterday. It's…bizarre. I never imagined my body would come to resemble anything like this."
"How are you feeling? Anything hurting?" Sebastian queried.
"A little daddy-to-be anxiety?" Grell teased. "I'm sure you'll be great, Sebby. It's pretty intuitive, so I'm told. Feed it when it's hungry, change it when it's dirty, those sorts of things. I'm sure everyone back at headquarters is at least wondering how things are since I've gone on maternity leave. I wonder if William's taken to picking on someone else in my absence? Oooh, of course I've got to let Ronald know when the baby comes!"
He reached over to the bedside table for his glasses, which were only off when he was sleeping, and put them on.
"One thing at a time, Grell," Sebastian said, finding himself close to laughter at his mate's exuberance.
"I'm just so excited! I mean, I never thought I'd actually become a mother! It's my- nnngghh!"
Grell broke off suddenly, his face screwing up in pain.
"Grell?" Sebastian asked worriedly.
A few seconds later, Grell's expression softened again.
"It's…it's starting!" Grell exclaimed. "That was a contraction!"
He seemed surprisingly cheerful for the amount of pain he'd just been in a bit ago. Apparently nothing dampened his excitement for long.
"Keep track of how often they come," Sebastian advised. "The closer together they are, the closer the baby is to actually being born."
It seemed a short few minutes later when the next one hit.
"This is…faster than I expected!" Grell panted after it had passed. "I thought it took hours."
"I thought the same," Sebastian admitted. "Perhaps you'll be fortunate and the baby will arrive quickly. I'll need to fetch some things- clean towels, hot water…" He mentally went over the list he'd come up with. "The young master will need to be informed as well. While I'm not certain he'll want to actually be present for the birth, I'm sure he'd like to be kept apprised of events."
It wasn't long before the entire household was up and knew what was going on. Meirin especially seemed excited, in that special way only women can when there's news that a baby's arrival is impending.
"I hope that everything's going smoothly," she remarked. "I still remember how it was when my mother had my little sister- she was lucky I was home, as it took forever for the doctor to get there!"
"Then you shall help us," Sebastian told her. "It's not as if we can involve an ordinary doctor; there would be too many questions."
"Oh, my!" she exclaimed. "Well, I suppose I should then! How is Grell?"
"His contractions started just a bit ago, but they're already coming only minutes apart. I think it will be painful but short," Sebastian replied. He was thankful that, even if they weren't always the best at their duties, the other Phantomhive servants didn't question him.
"Then we haven't much time! I'll get that water boiling!" she called, handing Sebastian an armful of towels and hurrying off towards the kitchen.
As Sebastian headed back upstairs with the towels, the bell which originated in Ciel's bedroom rang.
"This is a most inopportune time, bocchan," he muttered to himself.
He arrived back in his bedroom with the towels and checked on Grell. The shinigami had torn off the blankets as he was getting very warm and was lying there in the red nightgown he'd worn to bed the previous night. Grell looked frightened.
"Ohh, Sebby, it hurts so much!" he cried.
"I'm sure it does," Sebastian replied, trying to soothe Grell. Panicking wouldn't do either of them any good. "Meirin is getting some things ready; she'll be up to help us in a bit. I'm going to quickly see what the young masterwants and I'll be back as soon as I can."
He paused a bit to put a cool washcloth on Grell's forehead and hurried off. He surprised even himself with the speed at which he arrived at the young earl's room.
"Good morning, bocchan," he said.
Ciel looked up at him from his bed.
"Sebastian, you seem a bit out of sorts," he noted. "Is something wrong?"
"Out of sorts is the least of it," Sebastian answered. "Grell's in labor and it's progressing rapidly."
"Then get me dressed and let's hurry back to him!" Ciel ordered, surprising Sebastian by letting him know, however indirectly, that he wished to be present.
It was probably the fastest that Sebastian had ever gotten Ciel dressed; he had never before done it in a hurry like this. By the time they arrived back at Grell's side, Meirin was already there and Bard and Finian had been and gone, leaving several steaming pots of water. Even in pain, Grell was glad to see both of them.
"I can't believe you came to see me, milord!" Grell exclaimed.
"After Sebastian informed me that the baby was coming, I couldn't very well keep him from your side," Ciel informed him. "This way he can see to me without having to leave you. It's not as if I had much planned for today."
"I warn you, bocchan, that this may well be bloody and unsavory," Sebastian said. "A child's birth is not the most beautiful thing to witness."
"I want to be here," Ciel replied simply.
Suddenly, a wet spot began to spread on the bed, and Grell seemed embarrassed.
"Don't worry, Grell," Sebastian soothed, "it's just your water breaking. You're doing great."
"I'm so glad you're here, Sebby," Grell managed, just before another wave of pain washed over him. He cried out.
Sebastian sat by Grell's side in a chair while Meirin checked to see how things were progressing. Several times Sebastian thought that Grell would break his hand because he was squeezing it so hard. It hurt him to see his mate in this much pain and to know that he was partially the cause of it.
"I feel like I have to…uggghhh!" Grell moaned, feeling an instinctive need to bear down.
"Go ahead and push!" Meirin encouraged.
Sebastian got up from sitting beside Grell, as he wanted to see how things were going himself. His heart began to beat faster when, a few minutes later, he saw the top of a tiny head between Grell's legs.
"Almost there, Grell," Sebastian praised.
Another good, hard push brought the baby out to its shoulders. Grell was nearly exhausted. He hadn't gotten much rest because his labor had hit so hard and fast. Ciel was sitting stock still, the eye not covered by his patch open wide, though it was hard to tell what emotion he might be feeling. Fright and astonishment were both good contenders. He had never seen another being born like this, not even an animal. Blood dripped slowly onto the towels spread out to catch it.
"One more time should do it," Meirin asserted.
"Okay," Grell panted, rallying a bit.
Sebastian looked down in wonder at the tiny creature in his hands as he helped ease its way into the world. A faint fuzz of black hair covered its head, and its wide open eyes were the same green as Grell's.
"Grell, we have a beautiful daughter," Sebastian announced, pride creeping into his voice.
He placed the little girl on Grell's chest, who promptly bit through the cord with his razor-like teeth. Ciel nearly vomited at that.
"Oh, my precious baby," Grell cooed as the baby took its first breath and began to wail. "Shh, little one, it's all right. Mommy's right here."
Sebastian hated to take the baby away for even a second, but it needed to be cleaned up some more. In almost no time, he had their daughter bathed and wrapped in a warm blanket. Grell took the baby from Sebastian and put her to one of his nipples to feed, covering her head discreetly with another blanket.
"This feels funny," Grell giggled. "Not all yummy like when you suck on them."
"What shall we call her?" Sebastian asked Grell, trying to distract him from going on about their sex life. "I believe you told me that you liked the name Charlotte."
"Charlotte Rose Michaelis," Grell responded. "We could call her Lottie for short."
"A pretty name," Ciel remarked.
"A pretty name for a pretty girl," Sebastian added, noting how alert Lottie seemed for a newborn.
Her eyes seemed to lack the unfocused quality of other young babies he'd seen, as if she were already aware of her surroundings and was taking everything in. After the afterbirth had been delivered and disposed of, and Lottie had finished feeding, Ciel finally rose from his seat and came to see the baby.
"Hello, Lottie," he greeted her, tentatively reaching out a hand to touch her face.
She made a small sound, which could have been a hiccup or a laugh.
"I think she likes you," Grell commented.
"So this is what you get when you cross a demon and a shinigami," Ciel said.
"She's so tiny…and perfect," Sebastian marveled, gazing at his daughter's miniature fingers. "Perhaps we try for a boy next time?"
Grell beamed. Sebastian wanted to go through this again with him?
"Of course, Sebby! After all, men do like to have their sons like women are fond of daughters. Maybe when she's a bit older; it's good for children to have siblings."
Suddenly, tears began running from Grell's eyes.
"Grell, what's wrong?" Sebastian asked, worried.
"Nothing. It's just that…everything's so perfect! Tears of joy, dear. Several dreams have come true for me, mostly those of being yours and having a beautiful little baby like Lottie with you. All this time, and I never even knew that a baby was even a realistic possibility for me." He paused for a moment, thoughtful. "I wonder if I would have done the whole 'Jack the Ripper' business if I'd known it could happen? After all, it was partly the similarity of our childless state that drew me to Madam Red in the first place."
Just then, it seemed as though a parade of people began to come through the bedroom door.
"Well now, what an auspicious occasion!" commented Undertaker, the first to arrive in the room.
"How on earth did you find out so fast?" asked Grell.
"We felt it," answered William, coming in behind Undertaker. "When something this momentous occurs, all the shinigami can sense it."
Next was Ronald, followed by Alois.
"Wow, this is turning into a regular party!" Ronald commented. "Everyone just shows up at once!"
"Speak for yourself; I was already intending on coming for a visit before I even knew about the baby coming," Alois said. "I know how you feel about Claude, Grell, so I ordered him to just drop me off."
"Thank you, Alois," Grell replied gratefully. "I wouldn't let him anywhere near my little one here and I'm in no shape for a scrap."
"Yes, the presence of one demon is more than enough," William remarked, casting a look of barely disguised disgust at Sebastian.
"William T. Spears! That's enough!" Undertaker snapped, rebuking him. "Mind your manners, boy!"
Ronald looked astonished. Only Undertaker could get away with talking to William like that.
"Sorry, m'dear," Undertaker apologized to Grell as Lottie began to howl again. "Didn't mean to upset her, but that was out of line. Mind if I take her for a bit?"
"Of course, Undertaker," Grell smiled, letting the elder shinigami take her.
Surprisingly, Lottie settled down fairly quickly. What happened next was priceless. She looked at William and her eyes flashed a demonic red, as if to say, "I don't like you either!" Grell noticed and broke into uncontrollable laughter.
"Not even a day old and already has her opinions of people!" he giggled.
Even Sebastian smiled.
"I can tell you right now that you're going to be something special someday, little girl," Undertaker pronounced, looking at the hybrid baby in his arms. "Oh yes, you're destined for great things."
Lottie's eyes faded back to a green like her mother's and she chortled as if recognizing the great pronouncement given to her by the legendary reaper.
Snow began to fall outside, adding to the blanket of white that was already present. Sebastian gazed at the small gathering that was present, and then back at his mate. He sat down in a chair beside the bed.
"Grell, there's something I've been meaning to say to you."
"Oh?" Grell asked, looking up at Sebastian curiously.
"I love you, Grell."
"Oh, Sebby, I love you too!" Grell cried, grabbing Sebastian in a hug. "I've gotten everything I've wanted and more: not just a baby, but a mate who adores me as well!"
A/N: And there you have it, the completely mushy- sweet ending! Funny thing is, I actually wrote the ending quite awhile ago and then backed up and put in the parts from the mating ceremony on. I have no idea where I came up with the tomato joke in the previous chapter; just off the top of my head I think. Anyways, I'm planning a sequel, not sure yet if it'll have yaoi in it or not. Plze write with events you'd like me to include (i.e., baby milestones or other ideas); if you haven't figured it out already, I'm thinking of ways to work in the original hybrid (the one resulting from a reaper's rape by a demon) but can't think of exactly how. Anyhoo, PM me with all your ideas!