A/N Gavin belongs to my lovely Lydia. Hope you don't mind me borrowing him once more. :)
Mirana was sitting in her chambers eating her usual breakfast of bread and honey when she suddenly began to feel very warm. She wiped her brow and took a sip of cool peppermint tea, which seemed to help a bit.
The next thing she knew, her stomach began to churn, and she struggled to keep her breakfast down. 'Perhaps the honey has gone bad.' She reached for a jar of plumapple jelly-her second favorite confection-and was about to slather it on her bread when she smelled it.
"OH! Gods, what a stench! GAVIN!"
Gavin came into the room, still slightly befuddled from sleep. "Yes, my love?"
"Gavin, this jelly has gone rotten. Please throw it away."
Gavin took the jelly jar. "Smells perfectly fine to me."
"Stuff and nonsense! It's gone bad, throw it out! And have Thackery cook me a substantial breakfast. For some reason I'm feeling absolutely...ulp..." Mirana leapt up from her chair and bolted for the bathroom. She managed to make it to the sink before her breakfast came up in a rush. She rinsed out her mouth, ridding herself of the taste, then turned to her concerned husband.
"Mira, you have been sick for nearly a week now. You're run down, listless, and pale."
"I'm the White Queen, I'm meant to be pale."
"Not this pale. Go see Alannah."
Mirana sighed. "Alannah is far too busy with real illnesses to deal with my petty problems. I'll be perfectly fine."
Gavin rubbed the bridge of his nose. He loved Mirana quite a lot, but sometimes she was the most pigheaded woman he'd ever known. "Well, at least go ask her for something to help restore your appetite. Will you do that much?"
"Very well, if it will make you feel better."
Gavin smiled and kissed her forehead. "It will, Mira."
"I shall go after I finish signing the new laws."
Gavin sighed, knowing it was useless to argue.
Alannah was sitting in the Infirmary slicing bitterwort root into tiny sections when she heard a quiet knock on the door. "Come in, Mirana."
Mirana entered, a bemused smile on her face. "How did you know it was me?"
"I recognized your knock. What can I do for you?"
"I need a tonic to restore my appetite. It's been a bit off as of late."
Alannah set aside her knife and went over to her Potions Cupboard. "Hmm...off how? Are you not hungry?"
Mirana sighed. "No, that's the puzzling part. I'm starving, but every time I try to eat something, it never stays down."
Alannah ran her fingers along the various bottles. "What have you been trying to eat?"
"Oh, the usual-roast mutton in sauce, glazed duck, lamb baked inside bread."
"Hmm." Alannah selected a bottle, then grabbed some paper and quills. She sat back down and began to write. Mirana watched, a bit puzzled. When Alannah finished writing, she handed the paper to Mirana. "Here. Instructions on the use of the tonic, as well as some suggestions for meals."
Mirana read the list. "Roast rath and potatoes, vegetable pie, mock turtle soup, cold meat sandwiches-rather simple fare for a Queen."
"For a queen, yes. Not for a pregnant woman, and you never complain when I cook roast rath."
Mirana laughed. "That's because you are a fine cook. Pregnant? Who on...Oh. OH!" She gaped in shocked joy at Alannah. "I...I'm..."
"You are, and your babe needs good food. I'd also advise eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Of course, should you crave anything, feel free to indulge. The tonic is perfectly safe for her-or him."
"Or them," Mirana said, grinning. Alannah laughed.
"Yes, or them. Well, Mirana, there's one thing left to do."
"Tell Gavin, of course."
Mirana laughed in glee, then pulled Alannah into a bear hug before running out of the room.
Gavin was in the library when he heard his name being shouted. "Mira, what in Underland?" He blinked when she threw her arms around him, kissing him as hard as she could. "Mira, not that I object to the sudden affection, but what is the cause?"
Mirana grasped his hands, her eyes shining. "Gavin, there's going to be a new Castling soon."
For a moment, her words didn't quite register. "Mira?"
"I'm pregnant, Gavin." She smiled up at her husband, her nerves in knots. Gavin continued to gape at her, and Mirana began to fear that he would be angry. But then his face split into a joyous grin, and with a shout of joy he picked her up and spun her.
"OH FRABJOUS DAY! CALLOO! CALLAY!"
Mirana laughed as her husband spun her. "Gavin! Gavin, put me down at once! I'm getting dizzy!"
"Yes, sorry! So, when shall we have the Feast?"
Mirana grinned. "As soon as possible, but-the fare will be slightly different. Alannah gave me a list of meals."
"Roast rath, mock turtle soup, breads, cold meats...no sauces?"
"I'm afraid not. Bad for the babe. But Thackery is a fine cook, he'll be able to make a delicious feast, no matter what."
"True. When are you due?"
Mirana thought for a moment. "Well, my appetite started changing the fifth of last month, and before that, you and I went picnicking by the White Sea, so I must have conceived sometime around there. I would hazard that I'm a month and half along."
"We shall have the Feast when you reach your Third Month. How does that sound?"
"Perfectly wonderful. Now, I want to make some things clear right now. You are not to coddle me in any way. I will perform my Duties as Queen for as long as I am able, and I will only take to my bed when I feel the pains of labor. I will make sure that nothing harms me or our child, but I will not sit about twiddling my thumbs. Alannah will be midwife. I will accept none other."
"Very well, love. I shall follow your wishes to the letter. Now, what shall we name her? I rather like Lily Ann."
"Gavin, how do you know we are having a girl?"
"I don't, but I would love one. Of course, I'd love a boy as well. What do you think of Reginald for a boy?"
"Oh good Time, no. The poor child would be teased unmercifully, regardless of who his parents are." Mirana sat, sighing. "We can think of names later. Much later. Right now, I simply want to rest."
Mirana's pregnancy went smoothly, and she was able to maintain many of her Queenly duties. As her time grew closer and closer, she began to worry. She and Gavin had still not thought of a name! They had gone through every record, asked around, and still not one name had seemed right. She dreaded the idea of her child having no name-or worse, a name that simply did not suit her or him! It was quite Maddening.
She was in her chambers munching on candied fruit-her latest craving-when she felt a sharp jolt. She gasped, hand on her swollen belly, then yelped in surprise as the jolt hit her again, stronger this time.
Mirana finished her fruit, then calmly stood and walked out of the room, heading straight for the Infirmary. "Alannah?"
Alannah, who was tending to a boy that had been bit by a snapdragon fly, looked over at her. "Yes?"
"I believe I'm going into labor. Shall I come lie on a bed, or would you prefer to deliver the child in my chambers?"
"How far apart are the contractions?"
"About...oof...every five minutes." Her eyes suddenly widened as she felt her lower half grow wet.
Alannah sighed. "No time to get to your chambers, Mirana." She turned to her assistant. "Bridget! Help Her Highness into a bed. And for Time's sake girl, put a curtain around it! Now..." she turned back to the boy. "You'll be fine, Archie. Run along, and remember..."
"No teasing of snapdragon flies. Yes Ma'am." The boy left, and Alannah went over to her basin of water. "Bridget, is Mirana comfortable?"
"Good, go fetch the King."
After she left, Alannah went over to where Mirana lay, handing her an un-stoppered vial. "Here, drink. It will ease the pain." Mirana grabbed the vial and drained it dry.
"Ugh, awful. I...oh!" she yelped in pain as a strong contraction hit. "GAVIN!"
The king came running into the Infirmary, looking rather flustered. "I'm here, my love! Alannah, what shall I do? Shall I fetch water? Wine? More pillows?"
Alannah laughed at the familiar sight of a flustered husband. 'My Iloso's worn that look many times.' "Gavin, what you can do is come offer your wife a bit of encouragement. She's nearly ready to push."
"Yes, of course." Gavin came over and sat behind Mirana. "I'm here, Mira. You can do this."
Alannah nodded, and Mirana bore down with all her strength. "YEAAAARRGGG!"
"Keep pushing, Mira! You can do it, love! Keep pushing!"
"Yaa...GAVIN CASTLING, IF YOU EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN I AM GOING TO DROWN YOU IN YOUR OWN WINE VATS!"
Gavin gulped. "Mira, your Oath..."
"TO THE DEVILWITH MY BLOODY OATH!"
Alannah smiled dryly at Gavin. "Alice threatened to turn Tarrant into stew. Mirana, please keep pushing. You're beginning to crown."
Mirana whimpered. "I...I can't."
"Yes, you can. You helped to deliver my children, it is only right I return the favor. Now push!"
Mirana gathered up every last bit of her strength and pushed, screaming in pain. Gavin yelped as she nearly crushed his hand.
Alannah beamed. "Here she comes!" A loud cry rang through the room, and Alannah laughed in joy, then gasped. "Mirana, keep pushing!"
"But...I thought the baby was born."
"Well, yes and no. It appears as though you're having twins."
Mirana couldn't find her voice for several moments. "...Twins?"
"Yes, twins. Now push!"
Mirana bore down once more, and once more the cry of a newborn filled the room. Alannah and Bridget wiped both babies off before wrapping them in blankets. "Congratulations, Mirana, you have two gorgeous twin girls." Mirana stretched out her arms, and the princesses were placed in her arms.
"Oh, Gavin, look at them. They're so beautiful. The one on the right has your nose and eyes."
"Her sister has your mischievous gleam. And your hair."
Alannah finished drying her hands, then turned to the happy couple. "Congratulations again, Mirana. You have beautiful children."
Gavin chuckled. "And we still don't know what their names are."
Mirana grinned and looked over at the babe in her right arm. "Lilian. This one is Lilian. And this one-this is Marianne."
Alannah smiled. "Excellent names."
Mirana smiled up at Gavin. "Lilian-Lily Anne, and Marianne after the name Mctwisp called Alice on her first visit here. Do you approve, love?"
Gavin smiled and kissed her sweaty head. "Even if I did not, that would never make a difference."
"Very true. Thank you, Alannah, for everything."
"You're welcome, Mirana. I'll leave you alone so you can get some rest."
After Alannah left, Mirana looked up at Gavin. "Love, in all the excitement I forgot to say something."