Author's Note: This was written for tumblr user dreamonlittlelady, because we were both tired of reading fics about pregnant Alanna that blamed Alanna's mother for dying in childbirth.
Also, if you want to read the title in Professor Farnsworth's voice, well, I certainly won't stop you.
Alanna anxiously bit her nail, refusing to meet George's eyes.
"Lass, come on now, what's troubling you?" George snaked an arm around Alanna's waist, just above her very round belly, and pulled her gently towards his side of their bed. The window was open, letting in both a soft breeze and the odd sounds of city nightlife. It isn't nearly as peaceful as the ocean breezes we get back at the Swoop, but it's nice being back in Corus again. George smiled ruefully, Once a city boy, always a city boy I guess.
Alanna was stiff, and she didn't curl into him as she usually did when he held her. He ran a light finger down her arm. "If you won't tell me what has you upset I shall have to tickle you into submission." George's voice was serious but his smile was anything but. He couldn't keep his face straight today, not since the good news they had gotten.
At this threat Alanna finally looked at him. Her purple eyes were wide and wet, and in a soft voice she said, "I'm scared, alright?"
George stopped playing around immediately. "Because we're having twins?" he asked shrewdly.
Alanna had been unusually quiet since dinner, when his mother had offered to scry for their baby's gender. When Eleni had discovered that they were having both a girl and a boy, dinner turned into a celebration. While Myles and Eleni toasted to their good fortune Alanna had become increasingly pale and withdrawn.
"I thought you said you knew already. You said it had to be twins because you were twice as sick and were growing twice as fast." George remembered distinctly the day she had said this. She had tried to get dressed, only to find that her breeches had gone from fitted, to uncomfortably tight, to impossible to button, in only 12 weeks of being pregnant. This revelation had set her off crying, which activated her nausea. He had found her on the floor of their closet, alternating between wiping away tears and dry heaving into a wastebasket. Pregnancy had not been kind to his lass this time around, although at least her nausea had subsided some in the weeks since then.
"Suspecting and having it confirmed are very different things," Alanna snapped. George said nothing, waiting her out. After a moment she whispered, "Birthing twins killed my mother."
George had been expecting this, and he shook his head, "No, my darling, lack of adequate medical attention killed your mother. Maude told you she bled out, and they couldn't stop it in time. You aren't giving birth in a remote mountain fief, staffed with one over-burdened midwife. We'll stay in Corus. You'll have Maude, Mother, the queen's midwives, and we'll call for Duke Baird if we must."
Alanna shook her head, "But what if that's not enough?"
"Thom was an easy enough birth," Alanna snorted at this, so George corrected himself, "I meant he was born without complications, not without effort. Why should these two be any different?"
Alanna shrugged. "Every pregnancy is different. What if it's harder than Thom's, what if the midwives and Eleni and Duke Baird aren't enough?"
George studied her for a moment. "I've never seen you so worried about death before," he said slowly, uncertain of the direction she was coming from.
Alanna flushed and looked away. "It's hard to grow up without a mother."
Ah. George thought about this. He thought of a pair of twins who grew up without a mother, cared for instead by a father who had allowed grief to reduce him to a shell of a man. He thought of his own mother, and all of the things mothers were supposed to do, like dry your tears, believe in you, and love you unconditionally. He thought about the way his mother's love was so deep it had never occurred to him to even want a father, not until he was much older. Having children was like allowing your heart to walk around outside your body, vulnerable. The idea of that heart feeling neglected or uncared for was too much for him to bear. It was all a parent really wanted, to do better for their child than was done for them, and when it seemed like you couldn't achieve that goal, well, it was terrifying.
He cupped her face in his hand, pulling her back to face him.
"I know who I married. I've seen you face death many times before this, my love, and I've no doubt I'll see you face it again many times more. I've made my peace with the idea of losing you, whether it be because of a sword or a babe. Our children are the parts of you I get to keep, at least until they get old enough to face death themselves I suppose." George gave her a flash of his crooked smile. "I swear to you, were anything to happen to you, I would still love our children with all my heart. And if something happened to me, Myles and Mother would take them and love them. And if something happened to them our babes would be loved by Jon and Thayet, and get spoiled rotten in the palace. And even then, if something happened to the royals, our children could have their pick of any number of aunts and uncles to shower them with affection."
Alanna's eyes swam with tears, and he reached out to pull her into his arms. They embraced tightly.
When pressed this close to her George could feel their twins moving and kicking in her womb, already eager and impatient to take their places in the world, and he smiled.