A Horrid Birth - Chapter 3 - FairyTri (2024)

Chapter Text

The quickening comes late. Very late, tearing through her in the height of Summer, just a few days away from the solstice and sending her sprawling to the soil beneath her tree (she stays so desperately close to her willow these days). The sky is dark above as the sensation of something ripping burns through her, clammy hands gripping her ever growing stomach as she screams, wet and high into the night. She heaves uselessly on the ground, her stomach long empty from her latest bought of nausea, leaving nothing but hot acid to splatter the dirt beside her.

It didn’t feel like this with the other two, I didn’t hurt to feel them move, to feel them shift and roll as they grew within her. This is agony, hot and horrid as something deep within her tears as her baby (it has to be a baby it has to be) finally moves . Her face feels wet as she lays there, riding the rolling waves of the pain; her fingertips come away red when she swipes them under her nose.

It takes hours for it to still, hours for the thing within her to finally find rest. It takes her nearly another hour after that, after the pain so blissfully stops, to manage to roll onto her back, gazing into the sky. The stars are bright, the moon nearly full and in the hot summer air she can almost ignore it. Almost forget about the pain and the meat and the sleepless night as she stares up into the jeweled blackness peeking through the draping embrace of her willow. Slices of sweet sky cradled between soft leaves, as though her darling willow is holding them up especially for her.

It has been some time, the Willow Keeper muses, since she tried to pick out the constellation. Not since she lost the first one; not since she awoke that horrid, frozen night to find him still and silent in her arms. She finds, more to her own shock than anything, that she can still spot most of them.

Summer, hot and humid and so very long, is an annoyance. A necessary annoyance, for there must be time for hope to grow and ripped, but an irritation none the less. Boredom, dull and thick, is that with which The Beast identifies the season. This year, however, there is an oddity with which to occupy the days not spent in Pottsfield or hunting.

The picking, the strange magic so soundly stuck in the back of his mind, never rests. It is constantly there, forever vying for his attention, for his consideration. He humors it some days, when the drudgeryof summer becomes particularly frustrating, and gives it his thoughts, gives it his attention and tries to wrap his mind around whatever shape the small power is trying to take in the back of his head. It is a rather pathetic little thing, the magic; a cold, dim light trying so desperately to be more. Barely there and craving to be something of substance.

It is just a few day off from the solstice when it changes, the weak light, the strange picking, suddenly surging and bullying its way into the front of his mind. It startles him, not enough to cause alarm but enough for him to pause, lantern held aloft and head tilted in curiosity as he freezes in his rounds. It is louder now, bright and cold and substantial as in displays itself. The magic stumbles at first, unsure of how to proceed, before it changes. It twists in his mind, the picking shifting to a pull and then to a push before it seems to find its footing and rises, confused and unsteady, into a song. It is a simple song, wordless and soft, but it is there.

The moon is nearly full, and under it The Beast stops and listens.

. . . . .

It had started as a simple tickle in her throat, a strange itch in her eye as the days began to slowly tease of fall. The Spring long departed and the Summer readying to take its final bow. It had remained a simple tickle, an odd twitch, for almost a week. She kept close to her willow, close to her marsh and her home and what little comfort remains in the familiarity of it.

It is strangulation now. Blindness and breathlessness as she claws at her throat, jams her fingers in her mouth, coughing fruitlessly as her body fights to reject whatever so ails it. She can feel it, something lodged in her windpipe, creeping under her eyes as though to scrape them lose. She can feel the ends of them on her fingers, soft and supple and just ever so barely out of her reach as she tries to force her fingers just a bit further, just far enough to pinch the horrid interlopers rubbing raw the sides of her windpipe. The soil under her tree digs into her knees as she kneels, the winds rushing through the branches of her willow.

The strange picking (the song now, he supposes), is almost commonplace after this long. Almost a familiarity not too unlike the pull of the Edelwoods, a mere note away from their song that is so similar to his own. He is in Pottsfield when it‘s soft tune rises into a screaming symphony. It is sharp, not painful really but shocking enough to send him flying to his feet, straw sticking to his branches and his furs as he rises from the soft pile he had been lounging in. A few ribbons, lazily wrapped around him a moment before, tighten in surprise; clutching his arms and grasping his waste in a startled embrace.

Enoch hums curiously, but his words are lost in the insistent cries of the song. Something is very wrong.

The baby (it must be a baby please it must) kicks and churns, painting hot agony across her middle as it feeds off her panic. Maybe it is choking too, she thinks, desperation and panic sinking in her mind like poison. The world begins to spin black, the halfhearted morning light fading as the burn for air, the scalding pain of suffocation, rises to rival the agony of the child.

A hand rips at her hair, claws scraping her scalp as it wrenches her head back. The other hand tears her finger from her throat just to replace them with longer, dexterous claws. She can feel them as they scrape the inside of her mouth on the way down, feel them dig into the soft inside of her neck. It burns as they grasp the things in her throat and pull, ripping them free in one sharp movement. The ones in her eyes shift, jostled by the removal but still determinedly wrapped under them. She feels them tear and rip from deep within her, like an organ jerked loose. For a short, awful moment everything is pain, then there is blood in her mouth and air in her lungs and she is coughing, retching as her lungs cry for her to make up lost time.

She can feel him, even if she cannot see him though the blindness brought by those things, as he stands over her. His cold and sickness rolling over her as she gasps, shaking hands rising to her eyes. She can feel the ends of them, just as soft as the ones in her throat, peeking out from the corners of her eyes. It is easy to pinch these ones, gently dragging them free. It stings, the strange sensation of pulling something out from her own eye socket causing tears to bubble forth, hot and angry as she slowly pulls.

When she can see, eyes raw and watering and the foul taste of her own blood thick on her tongue, it takes a moment to wrap her mind around what exactly she is seeing. The things, also damp with her blood and glistening wetly in the growing light, lay before her on the soil. They are long and pale, tangled with one another. The ends are lighter than the rest, soft and rubbery with the work of growth, and so very familiar. She has seen these before, a million times in the past as she worked to maintain one garden or another, dangling from a plant or a flower when she drew it from the ground. Before her lies a pile of roots, freshly torn from her body and still warm from the heat of her flesh. They steam in the cool morning air.

They, the two of them, stare at the pile. The Beast stands beside her as she kneels. He is no longer grasping her hair, though a few long strands still remain tangled between his fingers, making a limp tie between the two of them. Her dark hair looks strange and sun-bleached against the inky tone of his hand.

The only sound of the morning is her labored breaths, the winds silent and the oozing life of the marsh not yet rising to the song of wakefulness. The chill of the Beast no more than a discomfort when compared to the burning reality of what just happened to her, the nauseating implications of what is inside of her.

The child is finally still. The song is once again soft.

. . . . .

When it finally begins, in the strange, wet time that intrudes between fall and winter, it takes her nearly three hours to realize what it is.

For the first two, the ones that have already died, it was an ache, a dull constant pressure that persisted for hours before the first contractions, stumbling and strange, began. It felt like hell. It felt like the only thing that had ever made sense. It was frightening, both times, to give birth; to realize what was happening and act upon it. It was worse to loose them, one Winter after the next, and realize that it was all for naught.

This time it is like a shifting, like the child is managing to roll and toss without bringing her pain, as though it is apologizing for what it is about to do. It is exhausting, the heavy weight of her child, the weight of the months of meat and sleeplessness and pain all sinking down upon her at once. It is the fatigue that finally makes her realize that it is happening, knee deep in the muck of the marsh as she works to straighten a tangled patch of cattails. The Willow Keeper draws a deep breath, taking a moment to gaze up at the moon, before finishing her work and retreating to her willow.

The Willow Keeper finds, as she lies and stares at the full moon through the branches of her tree, that she cannot bring herself to be afraid. Despite it all, in this moment she cannot dread what is coming or truly lament what has been. In the damp, cold night air she can feel only indifference. Maybe, she muses, this time it will make it through Winter. What a novelty that would be, a bitter corner of her mind hisses, to have a baby that does not freeze to death while she sleeps.

It is too cloudy to see the constellations tonight, only the moon shines through.

What is happening now is not contractions, she knows this much. It is a wriggling, a chilling, bone deep sensation of something working its way painlessly through her flesh. It begins by the child, deep in her womb, and worms outward, long tendrils of something moving up her stomach and through her chest, burrowing through muscle and fat to curve under the skin of her throat, to spread through the flesh on her cheeks.

She can feel it in her eyes, not unlike those horrible roots, but softer, gentler; curving past her eyes and out of their sockets to brush her cheeks. Tears slide down the wriggling things that have freed themselves, guided down her cheeks by the roots that journey still, fanning across the expanse of her face in search of soil. They find their way up her throat too and she turns her head to the side as they slowly work out from her lips, pressing her cheek to the ground and allowing them to find purchase. She can still see, despite the roots, so she gazes upwards, trying to pick out stars from between clouds as the child begins to truly thrash inside her.

The Beast finds her by the foot of her willow, completely still save for the deep, stuttering breaths that work through her. Roots pour from her face, tracing strange, curving lines from to the soil from her eyes, her mouth, her nose. She watches the sky with glossy, far away eyes and The Beast is quite starkly reminded of the dying animals he has seen through the Unknown; doomed creatures he has stumbled across from time to time who can do nothing but stare at something only they can comprehend as their life slowly trickles away.

She glances up at him when he draws near, eyes unfocused and searching before she recognizes him. The Willow Keeper sighs, a few more roots slipping from her nose before she looks back to the sky. Without truly thinking about it he reaches down, gently moving a stray strand of hair away from the roots before glancing up at the willow.

The tree is tired, branches bare and sickly, as though drained of anything that had ever resemble life. The claw marks from that spring day, where he had gouged the tree, have only deepened, now resembling cracks where before they were mere scratches. The light of the Lantern falls upon rotting wood.

The Willow Keeper makes a soft, whispering noise, eyes still trained on the sky. The Beast turns back to her, not kneeling but leaning over her slightly to try to catch her eye.

“I’m afraid you must speak up, Faery, though I’m not sure anything you could ask of me would do you much good that this point.”

The Willow Keeper seems to seize for a moment, shoulders twitching and her breath suddenly coming in short bursts as a strange wheezing sound escapes her. It takes The Beast a moment to realize she is laughing.

“I said,” she finally whispers “I want to be left right here, when its over. If I’m going to die I want to rest here.”

“You are quite certain you will die then. What of the thing you seem convinced is a child? Will it simply die here with you?”

She looks at him finally, some clarity fighting through the haze of near death in her eyes. He tilts his head, his gaze meeting hers and this time she does not look away.

“I’m going to die here Hope Killer, but you will take the baby,” she smiles for a moment, the roots tugging on the edge of her lips and they curve into a manic grin “You have to. You came when it almost killed me before, I know you can feel it too. I know you can feel it singing.

For the last time The Willow Keeper, guardian of the willow and her marsh, looks to the sky. The clouds finally part for a mere moment, just long enough for the stars to shine through, a thousand glittering constellations gazing down upon her, caressing her face and holding her tenderly in their light, ready to lift her to safety.

“Its such a lovely song.”

. . . . .

The Beast watches as it happens; watches as the last light slides from the Faery’s eyes and all the roots that had wormed their way through her, a thousand parasites throughout her flesh, all peel outwards at once. They flay her open, breaking through her skin and ripping her apart, the swell of her stomach spreading open like a flower to reveal a strange open wound of gnarled roots and soft, wet wood, wrapped around and around itself to create something almost resembling a nest.

There is a creature in the wound, held in the center of the nest. It is a strange thing, tiny and new and wriggling as the cool night air brushes it for the first time. It jerks at the unfamiliar feeling, confused as to why it is suddenly in a world so cold and vast and The Beast sees two small eyes, bright and clear, open in the darkness.

She uses her first breath, new lungs so unused to being filled, to wail.

A Horrid Birth - Chapter 3 - FairyTri (2024)


What happened to Serena during childbirth? ›

Williams gave birth to her daughter via c-section and underwent several more surgeries shortly after. She recalls in her essay that she felt like she was dying. Williams is at high risk for blood clots and was found to have blood clots in her lungs back in 2010.

What did Serena Williams give birth to? ›

The couple welcomed their first daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., who goes by Olympia, in September 2017. They expanded their family five years later when Williams gave birth to their younger daughter, Adira River Ohanian, in August 2023.

Did Carol give birth in her sleep? ›

In "Double Cheeseburger", Carol and Phil awaken to find that Carol has given birth to a baby girl in her sleep, which they name Bezequille. When Carol later feels cramps in her head, she goes to Gail, where she discovers that a second baby is in Carol's stomach.

Why is twilight sleep no longer used? ›

Combined with morphine, scopolamine provided childbirth without pain (or without the memory of pain), once a much sought-after objective. However, there were serious problems with twilight sleep. It completely removed the mother from the birth experience and it gravely depressed the baby's central nervous system.

Who did Serena get pregnant by? ›

For Serena to have been surprised by the news means she was probably around 12-16 weeks pregnant when she found out in season 4. Although Fred wasn't particularly faithful in their marriage, Serena has been, which means that there's little to no doubt that Fred is the father of Serena's baby.

What happened to Serena when she had a baby? ›

I almost died after giving birth to my daughter, Olympia. Yet I consider myself fortunate. While I had a pretty easy pregnancy, my daughter was born by emergency C-section after her heart rate dropped dramatically during contractions. The surgery went smoothly.

How long did Serena breastfeed? ›

She initially decided to ignore advice to stop breastfeeding, feeling that the process allowed her to fully bond with her daughter. After eight months of nursing Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., the four-time Olympic gold medallist made the agonising decision to stop breastfeeding and concentrate on tennis.

Did Serena Williams have a baby before she was married? ›

A few months later, she revealed she was expecting her first child and had been pregnant when she won the Australian Open. That September, Williams gave birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr., and married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian shortly after.

What drug was Carol taking? ›

She's taking these expired caffeine pills, just popping them, and that might have started before this conflict with the zombies started. So it really all came out of wanting to show in a visceral way what it feels like to just have this unrelenting thing coming at them.

Can you fall asleep during childbirth? ›

General anesthesia allows the mother to sleep during delivery. Regional anesthetics make certain areas of the body numb while the woman remains fully awake.

Can a woman have a baby in her sleep? ›

Twilight Sleep (Dammerschlaf) was a form of childbirth first used in the early twentieth century in Germany in which drugs caused women in labor to enter a state of sleep prior to giving birth and awake from childbirth with no recollection of the procedure.

Why did Twilight use a fake baby? ›

Because she is part vampire, Renesmee's physical and emotional development progress more quickly than a human child's. This means that in Breaking Dawn, the baby both needed to be convincingly unlike other human babies, both in appearance as well as behavior.

What is the Twilight drug? ›

The drugs used in twilight anesthesia are similar to those used in general anesthesia, but the doses are lower. Specific drugs commonly used include: fentanyl, valium, ketamine, midazolam, or nitrous oxide (laughing gas). These drugs can be reversed quickly, so the patient can be woken up in a matter of minutes.

What drugs are used in Twilight birth? ›

Twilight sleep (English translation of the German word Dämmerschlaf) is an amnesic state characterized by insensitivity to pain with or without the loss of consciousness, induced by an injection of morphine and scopolamine, with the purpose of pain management during childbirth.

Did Serena Williams have pre-eclampsia? ›

Beyoncé, Serena Williams, and Kim Kardashian are just a few of the well-known figures who have experienced preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening form of hypertension, or high blood pressure, that occurs in pregnancy and postpartum.

How did Serena Williams know she had a pulmonary embolism? ›

I told you, I need a CT scan and a heparin drip,” Ms. Williams, 36, said she told the medical team. When the ultrasound revealed nothing, she underwent a CT scan, which showed several small blood clots in her lungs.

Did Serena do IVF? ›

Serena tells PEOPLE exclusively that after a year of trying to conceive naturally, she decided to turn to IVF, but was sad to find out that many of the surprises that come with a natural pregnancy were taken away from her.

What disease does Venus Williams have? ›

Sjogren's syndrome, pronounced "Showgren's syndrome”, is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks itself, destroying healthy tissues. It became widely known after Venus Williams talked about it openly in an interview.

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