AN: Well, this is it guys. It's hard to believe after a year I've finally managed to get this done. But, I'll save the talking for the end of the chapter. For now, enjoy this, as always. And thanks again for reading.
24th of Sun's Dawn, 4E 203
In the darkness of the space, the metallic scent of blood hung freshly through the air. Normally to a more sensitive nose, this would cause alarm and investigation as to what was emitting such a disturbance, but in this moment, that wasn't the case at all. No, in this moment, there was no trauma anywhere in the vicinity of this place, and rather something life-changing. At least, that's all that the Harbinger could think as he gazed down at the sight in his arms.
Adelia had woken up early that morning before the sun had even risen, suddenly breathless and groaning in pain, stirring him out of sleep in an instant. With a speed he didn't know he possessed, he had run to the temple and grabbed Danica, telling her frantically and possibly incoherently what was going on as they ran back to Jorrvaskr. Once the priestess was at his wife's side, she urged him to find Lydia and Tilma, who were more than likely still in their beds. Tilma had come no problem, excitedly hurrying to the Harbinger's room to help out, whilst Lydia had given him a few choice words as she stumbled out of his brother's room, not yet ready for such an event to happen so early in the day.
Danica had tried to convince him that he may have not wanted to stick around for this, but he brushed her suggestion off entirely, instead grabbing a chair and sitting at his wife's side as she breathed in and out raggedly, taking her hand in his and squeezing every time she let out a groan from the pain passing down through her back. Every now and then when she would stand or move to ease her discomfort, she would curse at him for his involvement in what she was going through, and other times she would sniffle and weep as the pain she was feeling continued to course through her. He stayed there through it all, rubbing her arm to comfort her, taking a cloth and pressing it to her sweaty forehead, or kissing her on her cheek, just to show her he was there for her, for this, and that he always would be for anything else.
After about seven long and anxious hours Danica announced that it was time to get ready, and both Tilma and Lydia got into position and followed her instructions on how they would play their parts in this. Meanwhile, Vilkas stayed by his wife's side, giving her words of encouragement as she sat up in the bed and began listening to Danica's orders once the priestess had moved between her legs.
Vilkas winced at the strangled gasps and cries that escaped Adelia's mouth as she repeatedly forced all the energy she had to her abdomen, knowing he would never hear the end of what he was putting her through. Still, he continued to tell her words of encouragement, his hand firmly grasping hers while he pressed the cloth to her blotchy face as sweat and tears continuously mingled together on her cheeks.
Finally after what felt like an eternity for the nervous man, Adelia let out a ragged final cry before collapsing to the pillows behind her. At the same time Danica had suddenly knelt down a bit from where she was standing, rising mere seconds later with a screaming pink lump in her arms, and all Vilkas could do was gape in awe. Without knowing it, tears, actual tears brimmed in his eyes, and choking out a breath, a broad smile erupted on his face. He looked down at Adelia, who was still trying to recompose herself, and without worrying about any protest she might have, he bent over and kissed her deeply. To his surprise she kissed him back, and when he pulled away she was beaming tiredly up at him.
After the women helping had cleaned off the wailing infant of blood and fluid then cut the cord from its body, they wrapped it in cloth to keep it warm, despite the Nordic blood coursing through its' small frame. Tilma then walked over with the babe in her arms and gently laid it against Adelia's bosom, announcing to them both happily that they had been blessed with a little girl. Vilkas breathed a laugh and smiled warmly at his tiny daughter, overwhelming feelings of pride and protection surging through his gut pleasantly.
The couple only stared down at their little creation for a while, simply taking in the sight. At this point the babe had stopped crying, now attempting to move her stubby hands and feet and blinking her eyes open and closed to adjust her sight to the new world around her. Once Danica had finished with Adelia completely, she moved over to the woman's side and showed her how to properly feed the baby. After a couple initial tries the infant had finally latched on successfully, her tiny fingers curling around her mother's breast as she suckled, her eyes softly closing, barely visible brows scrunched in concentration. When they had finished cleaning everything up, and once Vilkas had expressed his sincerest thanks, the women then left the parents and their newborn to their privacy.
That had only been a mere few hours ago. Now the new father was sitting on their bed, his back propped up against the headboard as he gently kneaded his thumb into the material his daughter was bundled in, her warm body perfectly cuddled into his arms as she slept soundly. Adelia was currently lying on her side of the bed, asleep as well, as the whole process had taken pretty much everything out of her.
And since she had begun resting, he had been holding the babe, half-lidded eyes staring down at her in a state of pride and happiness. He would grin when her tiny rounded lips, his lips, would twitch or open suddenly to let out a yawn, or laugh when her plump limbs would flail to her sides as if to hit something in thin air, and gasped when her eyes opened to him for a split second and her irises were revealed to be the same color as his own.
Adelia shifted in her sleep after a bit and soon woke up, turning her body toward him with a grunt of discomfort and then sighing at the view of him and their daughter. She reached her hand out and placed it on his knee and he looked over at her, realizing as his heart began beating frantically when their eyes met that in that moment he had fallen in love with her all over again.
"Have you been holding her this whole time?" Adelia asked; exhaustion evident in her tone.
He shrugged. "It's hard not to when you have something so perfect."
She hummed in response. "She is perfect, isn't she?"
"The most perfect thing in the world," he agreed, emotion building in his voice.
Adelia moved her hand from his knee up to the babe, her fingers gently running over the tufts of chestnut-colored hair on her head.
"She looks like you," she murmured.
He nodded. "She has my eyes…and my lips, and my nose."
"She'll probably have my hair, or a color similar to it. The brown will most likely fall out eventually."
"Is that what yours did?"
"Yes, from what my mother used to say, anyway. I could've been bald for all I know."
He laughed. "Do you want to hold her?"
She raised an eyebrow. "Of course I want to hold her. I only had her long enough to make sure she was fed." She raised herself into a sitting position, gasping at the pain still in her abdomen, and sighed when she was finally propped up against the pillows. He handed their daughter over to her carefully, and she took the baby into her own arms with ease, a breathtaking smile spreading on her cheeks.
"Hello, my little love," she cooed as she kissed the baby's forehead. "We still need to name her, Vilkas." she said, continuing to gaze down at the little girl.
"Well we discussed a couple names, is there one you had your heart set on?"
"I want you to agree to it too, dear."
He tilted his head with a sly smirk. "So you do have one picked out."
Adelia smiled at him and nodded.
"Well then, let's hear it."
She returned her focus to their daughter, who had now woken up and was staring up at her mother curiously.
"Iliana." she replied softly.
Vilkas smiled and moved over to sit behind his wife, his arms going around her waist. She eased her body into his chest, in turn.
"I like it," he said in agreement. "Beautiful, and strong."
"No doubt what she will grow up to be."
He rested his chin on her shoulder. "Just like her mother."
"Hmm…flattery will get you nowhere, love."
He kissed her neck softly and she giggled at the feel of his stubble. The Harbinger settled his gaze on his daughter, now staring up at him instead of her mother, and smiled down at her. The babe opened her mouth and stuck her tongue out, probably trying to respond to all the attention she was getting from these strange new people.
"Adelia…thank you," Vilkas whispered in her ear.
"Just…everything. This. All of this."
He heard the smile in her voice as she replied, "My love, there's nothing to thank me for. If anything I should be thanking you."
"I would have no idea what for," Vilkas replied incredulously.
She hummed then said, "For giving me a life outside of the one that was laid out for me."
His brows furrowed at her inquiry, but he decided ultimately to let her have her moment of gratitude. Perhaps one day he would get it through her head just how much she had changed him.
A sudden rap on their door brought the new parents out of their moment of serenity, and suddenly Farkas' voice began speaking from behind the barrier.
"Hey, Vil? Can I come in now?"
"Farkas, you should just let them be, you can see the baby tomorrow," Lydia's voice then spoke out convincingly.
"I know but I can't help it, you got to see her already, and so did Tilma."
Vilkas glanced down at Adelia for her input, but she just smiled and nodded.
"It's fine, shouldn't deny the man his chance to see his niece," she said with a snicker.
The Harbinger grinned, pressing a kiss to her head before he maneuvered himself from behind her and went to the door.
"Stay quiet, please." The elder twin said to his brother as he stepped inside and walked toward the bed. He watched amusingly as Farkas began grinning like an idiot once his eyes fell on Iliana.
"Sorry Vilkas, I tried to tell him to give you two some privacy for the day but he kept insisting," Lydia said as she proceeded inside as well.
"It's alright, Lydia. He was bound to barge in at some point. Can't blame him really, just look at her," he replied proudly.
Lydia laughed. "Well, she is a pretty baby, there's no denying that." She moved over to the bed and sat herself on the unoccupied side, gazing at the infant intently.
"Have you decided on a name?" she asked Adelia.
The blonde nodded. "Iliana."
"Little Ana," Farkas gushed out in a voice higher than usual. "Sorry Adelia but I think you've been replaced as the cutie-pie of this hall."
Adelia giggled. "That's fine with me." Her gaze moved down to Iliana and she ran her thumb along the baby's cheek. "I'm just glad she's here."
"And so am I." Vilkas muttered warmly from where he stood near the door. Adelia glanced up at him and smirked.
"Aw, there's a party in here and I wasn't invited?" a voice suddenly said from the doorway. The four in the room turned their heads toward the owner of the voice, which ended up being Aela.
"For the record, we weren't supposed to be in here either," Lydia replied, then jabbed a finger toward Farkas. "It's his fault."
Aela shrugged. "Ah, well I'm comin' in, anyway. I want to see the pup." She walked into the room then and moved toward the bed, examining the babe with narrowed eyes from the spot she stood.
"Since when were you interested in children?" Vilkas asked with a tone of doubt.
Aela shook her head. "M' not. Just wanted to see how strong it is."
"She," Farkas grunted. "And why would you want to know? She wasn't even born but hours ago."
"My ma and da told me that when I was born, I had the look of the warrior on my face and in my limbs. Just wanted to make sure this one will be capable enough when she starts training later on," Aela replied.
"Train?" Adelia scoffed. "Aela, that won't be happening for quite a while."
The red head just shrugged. "Never too early to start getting prepared…" she then paused and turned toward Vilkas with an expecting expression. "You are planning on initiating her into the Companions when she comes of age, right?"
Vilkas sighed and glanced at Adelia, who just stared back with uncertainty. With just that look, he could read exactly what she was feeling.
"Whatever my daughter decides to do with her life, I will support her. I've learned that it is never a good thing to force someone into a path they would rather not follow." When he looked back to his wife, a heartfelt smile had spread across her cheeks.
Aela huffed in disagreement. "A shame. I could train her how to use a bow. Follow in my lead."
"Whatever happens, happens." Adelia said softly, shifting Iliana's weight in her arms. "I'd rather just focus on the present right now."
"Yeah, I don't want her to get big so soon," Farkas replied with a pout, still looking at Iliana. Adelia turned her head toward him and smiled. "Farkas, would you like to hold her?" she asked.
The younger twin immediately perked up, his eyes brightening a few degrees. "Would…could I?"
Adelia laughed and gestured for him to move closer. "Of course, why shouldn't her uncle get to hold her? Just hold your arms out…yes, like that." She then placed the infant in the man's arms carefully, her hands hovering over the babe until she was satisfied enough with her position. "Just watch her head," she then said as she lowered herself back into the pillows.
Farkas stared down at the little girl with an awestruck expression, the baby gazing up at him curiously as well, then breathed a laugh and grinned. Vilkas could only assume that his twin still couldn't quite process that he finally had family aside from himself.
This enticed him to gaze around the room slowly, observing each person in front of him with a ghost of a smile. Just as the night that he and Adelia had taken their vows, an inner peace washed over him completely, the feeling of seeing these people…his family, those who were most important to him all right there in an atmosphere he wouldn't dare to assume could even be possible a few years back, it was almost hard to believe. Yet here they were, and here he was. With a wife, a daughter, a brother, a sister, and possible sister-in-law.
When he and his brother were brought to Jorrvaskr all those years ago, these sorts of things didn't even try to fathom in his head. From the very beginning, he was led to believe that all he would ever accomplish in life was being a Companion. But somehow that had transitioned completely, starting with him becoming a Circle member, then Master-of-Arms, then Harbinger…then a husband…and now, now a father…
Turning his head up toward the ceiling, as though it weren't even there, he imagined Kodlak sitting in Sovngarde, looking down at all them with warm eyes. Since the very beginning the old man had held an undying faith in him, and now he knew why. Kodlak always knew more than he let on, and perhaps he had foreseen all of this at some point. Or perhaps, Vilkas was just over-thinking things as usual, yet he couldn't get the thought out of his head.
So much had changed in so little time. But it was neither overwhelming, nor unwanted. If he could go back and do it all over again, changing his attitude and his path from where it started, he would refuse to in a heartbeat. Somehow, amidst the chaos of the past years, and everything that he faced from the days he first learned to pick up a sword, everything had worked out perfectly, and it made him proud beyond belief.
He just knew Kodlak was there with them at that moment, his presence everywhere in that peace, and Vilkas could only glance upward once more with the widest grin he had ever managed, thanking whatever gods were listening, as well as his former Harbinger and the warriors accompanying him, for letting it all fall into place so well. And then in the back of his mind, he thanked Ysgramor, for assembling this group of hooligans in the first place, for without him, the Companions wouldn't even exist. None of this would have existed.
Who knew? Perhaps Kodlak and Ysgramor were sitting together in Shor's Hall at that very second, drinking and reveling in stories about him and his kin, betting on events of the future, all the while with proud smiles gracing their wrinkled faces. And maybe Kodlak would even mention to the legendary warrior that his old comrade Skjor used to compare Vilkas and his brother to the man himself at one point long ago...
…Specifically as the brawn, and the mind, of Ysgramor.
And that's a wrap. Wow. I cannot believe it's finally done. I know that most of you are probably like, "It was only thirty-six chapters! How could it take you this long to finish?" well, truth is, I started this story in my last year of high school, and during that year I was taking advanced classes and swimming almost three hours every night. Then I had graduation, and scholarship applications, and then picked my school, and moved, then started college last August, so I've been a busy bee since then trying to get adjusted to everything. But I cannot stress enough how thankful I am for all of your guys' support through this whole thing. This was my first chapter fic that I ever finished, I've started some in the past on other accounts (in other fandoms) but never had the motivation to keep going, and the same thing happened to this one at one point too, but I told myself I would finish! So I hope it was worth it to you guys, cause even if this wasn't the best fic on the planet, it still meant a lot to me to get it out there and for you guys to see what I thought of all of these characters and such. Because truly, it all means a lot to me.
I want to give a special thanks to certain reviewers: Mia78, Manu, and Lady73, for you guys literally were reviewing almost every chapter since the beginning, and really were the ones that kept my motivation strong and convinced me to keep going. I also want to thank my dear fellow fic writer Mirage159 for giving me advice and being my spoiler buddy x3 I enjoyed our little discussions about our stories and our views on personal situations haha. But of course, the thanks goes to everyone who followed, favorited, or reviewed this fic, because really this story wouldn't be as prominent without you all.
Also, I just want to point out something that has bothered me for a bit. This story, as you can already assume, was not centered on the romance. I don't think I stressed that enough when I started this out that this plot was based on Vilkas' view on everything, and although the romance was a big part of it, I wasn't going to dive right into it and make it the focus. I tried to build up the other Companions and his relationship with them all individually so there would be more of a connection and understanding when the events of the game rolled around. And of course, it's no secret that when the Dragonborn shows up, things get a bit haywire, and seeing as Vilkas is usually a romanced NPC, I decided to implement that into the story. But again, if you were expecting smut within the first ten chapters, that's not what this story was about. Only when I felt that the characters were comfortable enough to step into that territory would I move forward in that direction, but even then, this is Vilkas' story. So I hope you guys could understand that.
Finally before we close up shop, a lot, and I mean A LOT of research went into this. I was literally playing Skyrim almost every day to get a feel for locations, dates, time it took to travel, and observations on the NPC's. When I wasn't doing that, I was studying Skyrim's map, or looking up characters' back stories, or their weapons, or their attitudes. And I was constantly going on youtube to make sure I got the dialogue for certain situations correct, and watched quests over and over again until I figured out a way I could put Vilkas into the situation. That's another reason this took so long to finish, because I wanted to make sure everything was accurate. And although I did change some things a smidge, for the most part everything here is loyal to the source material, so hope you all could appreciate that.
At this point, I'm currently uploading this story to Archive of Our Own, and as I'm releasing chapters I'm going over them for mistakes and editing things. Once I have everything that's edited up there, I will probably upload the updated material here as well, since I sometimes go back to chapters and just cringe because I think something is messed up.
Oh yes, one last thing. Most are probably wondering if I'll do a sequel to this, and I don't think so, honestly. It took forever as it was to get it done, so it'll be quite some time before I even consider making another book or whatever. However, it doesn't mean that one-shots centered around this universe won't pop up from time to time, so chances are you'll see some short stories when ideas pop into my head!
So…that's about all I have to say! Once again thanks so much for everything, I hope you guys enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. But thanks so much again regardless! And with that, all I can say is "Eyes on the Prey, not the Horizon!" Goodbye for now, my lovelies!