Thunder boomed across the Sohma estate, and the wind blew with such fierceness that the windows and doors rattled hard enough to fly off the hinges. Coupled with the loud claps of thunder, the screams of a woman in labor filled the halls, echoing through the walls of the building. A kimono-clad Akito lay on the tatami, one hand pressed to her protruding stomach while the other firmly held her husband's, squeezing so hard that both of their hands were white from the pressure.
"You're almost there, Akito," the soft voice of the doctor, Hatori, called to her, as he knelt in front of her, preparing her to give birth to her second child. The first child, Kaoru, sat in another room with the aging maid Setsuko, who held the crying girl, concerned for her screaming mother, in her fragile arms.
"Hatori, I can't take it; it hurts," Akito whimpered, the pain evident in her face, her eyes pleading towards the doctor, as if he could change the situation. He nodded, understandingly, and looked back at his work.
"Alright, Akito, push again."
Another cry of pain was sent through the halls of the Sohma estate, just as the thunder boomed again, and lightning illuminated the entire house. Kaoru squeezed the maid tighter, partly from her mother's pain, and partly from the storm. The older woman offered comfort that Akito herself had once sought, when she had been a child.
"Just relax, Akito," Shigure comforted from his wife's side, holding her hand gently with one hand while the other was used to dab her forehead with a wet rag. "You've done this before."
"It hurts," she complained, her voice shaky as she panted loudly. Hatori gave her the gesture to push for a third time, and she did, with all her might.
One last scream, and the room was silent.
Akito took a moment to regain her breath, before she sat up a little on her elbows, wondering why Hatori and Shigure were so quiet. Shigure had scooted to the doctor's side, and so Akito lay there, comfortless, her eyes suddenly becoming concerned.
"What? What is it?" she asked, sitting up a little further now. She suddenly grew chilled. "Why isn't he crying?"
Hatori, his back turned to Akito, beckoned a nurse over, and handed her a small bundle of blanket. But, instead of handing the bundle to the parents, the maid quickly exited the room.
"What? Ha'ri, what's going on?" Shigure asked with just as much concern as Akito, who at this point was trembling.
Hatori, professionally, removed his glasses, and looked at them both. "I'm sorry. He was stillborn."
"W-What?" Shigure asked in a whisper, but Akito only stared off ahead of her, her entire body shaking so badly she could barely hold herself up.
"I'm sorry," the doctor offered, but it proved no use. Shigure took a deep breath before turning to Akito, who pushed him away. Then, slowly, she stood, fixed her robe, and began walking out of the room. Shigure stood to follow her, but stopped, as he watched her slowly walk into her bedroom. Not bothering to close the door, she walked to her dresser, looking at her reflection in the mirror. She reached down to place a hand on her stomach, and the other quickly jutted to her mouth, and she bit her fingers, closing her eyes tightly as she began to cry. And then, she began to sob. Loudly, and uncontrollably. Tears flowed from her eyes, and her entire body was shaking. Suddenly, angrily, she grabbed the mirror and threw it violently to the side, bursting into tears as she slid down onto the ground.
At this point, Shigure wrapped his arms around her from behind, holding her as she trembled and shook, and cried and sobbed, and he was crying and sobbing too. Setsuko was crying and sobbing, and though little Kaoru had no idea why, she was crying and sobbing as well.
A/N: Sorry that it's a little bit of a depressing first chapter…But here you go! Horizon!