Genre: Romance, m-preg, au
Disclaimer: I do not own Arashi, only these words.
Summary: Jun is given in an arranged marriage to Lord Sakurai Sho. Against the odds, love blossoms.
A/N: I never meant for this to happen but this has now turned into my first chaptered fic.
Previously: Ch 1, Ch 2, Ch 3, Ch 4, Ch 5, Ch 6, Ch 7, Ch 8, Ch 9, Ch 10, Ch 11, Ch 12, Ch 13, Ch 14,Ch 15,Ch 16, Ch 17, Ch 18
Sho sat slumped in the armchair seemingly oblivious of time passing as he remembered his wedding night when he had shared a bed with Jun for the first time. He could still hear the frightened mewl that Jun had made in his attempt to avoid his new husband’s touch, fearing to be taken by force.
Knowing that he had been nothing less than patient and loving before taking Jun for the first time did nothing to assuage the guilt he was now feeling at impregnating him whilst he was still at such a very young age. If anything were to happen to Jun he knew that the blame would rest squarely upon his own shoulders. He should have taken more care in ensuring that it had never happened in the first place.
Staring at the closed door to the connecting room as if hoping to be able to see through the solid metal bound timber, Sho strained his ears for the slightest of sounds.
Sho was about to lose patience and enter the birthing chamber and ignore Masaki's strict instructions to not enter until invited. As he paced restlessly across the floor it seemed to him that his child should surely have been safely delivered by now but he was still yet to hear an infant's cry.
A full moon was casting its silvery light through the windows and Sho moved to draw the curtains when the door finally opened and Nino entered the room.
His face was pale and the white apron stretched across his belly was flecked with spots of blood. In his arms was a soft blanket that contained something that wriggled slightly and emitted a soft snuffling noise.
Sho did not dare to breathe as Nino held out the bundle towards him with a tired smile. "Your sweetling wishes to make your acquaintance."
Before Nino could pass the bundle over Masaki called urgently from the other room. "Nino! I need your help!" The sound of panic was writ clear in Masaki's desperate tone of voice.
Nino carefully thrust the squirming bundle into Sho's arms and rushed back into the adjoining chamber, slamming the door closed behind him.
Sho looked down in astonishment at the tiny face that was peering up at him from the blanket. A pair of unfocused eyes gazed up at him, large and shaped exactly like Jun's as the infant seemed to try to come to terms with this new and far too brightly lit world.
Nino had not even had the time to tell him whether they had been blessed with a boy or girl. Pulling aside the blanket slightly Sho was excited to see that Jun's strong instincts had been correct. He was holding his son for the first time. Obviously the feeling of the cold air touching his body displeased the new little life as he immediately screwed up his face and began to wail with displeasure, his little fists balling angrily as he squirmed in his father's arms.
Torn between concern for his husband and for the welfare of his firstborn, Sho paced the floor once again in an attempt to placate his angry child. This was certainly not how he had envisioned his first meeting with their already much loved sweetling. "Hush, my sweet, I know that I am a clumsy Papa and have little skill at taking care of your needs. Your precious Father will soon be awake and able to care for you properly, but until then please take pity on me."
His words and movements seemed to have the desired calming effect and soon his son's eyes closed and he fell asleep in his arms. It was then that Sho noticed the rosy red plumply pursed lips that closely resembled his own and his heart swelled with pride at the beautiful new life that he and Jun had created between them.
So fascinated was he by the tiny life that he cradled in his arms that Sho barely noticed Masaki entering the room only registering his presence when he stood directly before him. “Masaki, may I bring our son through to Jun now?”
The look on Masaki’s face made Sho’s blood run cold as he gently took the sleeping newborn from Sho’s arms and placed him carefully in the cradle beside the bed. “Sho, I need to speak with you first.”
“Masaki? What has happened?” Sho replied as his heart raced frantically. He tried to push past Masaki but was held firmly in place by the Healer.
“After the baby was delivered Jun suffered from a haemorrhage when the afterbirth came away.” Masaki looked much older than his years as he delivered the news in a low and exhausted voice.
Sho struggled to escape Masaki’s hold “Masaki, let me go to my kitten. I must see him immediately.”
But Masaki refused to release him as he continued to deliver his news. “He has lost a great deal of blood and is very weak. He is deeply unconscious and barely clings to life. I am afraid that he will not be aware of your presence.” Masaki’s voice broke as he said, “I am so very sorry. I fear that he may not live through the night.”
“No!” Sho pushed Masaki roughly away and rushed past him into the birthing chamber. “I do not believe you. There is not the remotest chance that Jun would leave this earth without first seeing his son. His bond with our child is far too deep to be broken so easily.”
The first thing that Sho noticed when he entered the chamber was the overwhelming odour of blood. He had been in enough battles to recognize the smell immediately; in the corner of the room stood a bucket that was filled with blood soaked rags; the cloth thrown over it doing little to disguise it grisly contents.
Nino was standing immobile next to the bed, white faced and swaying on his feet as he gripped Jun’s hand. Fortunately Masaki entered the room just in time to catch him as he swooned. He lifted his husband and carried him through to the adjoining room and placed him upon the bed that Jun should have been tucked up in with his newborn son.
Jun was no longer flushed with fever; instead his skin was ice cold to the touch and his complexion as pale and immobile as if carved from the finest white marble.
Sho stroked his fingers lovingly over Jun's cheek inwardly shuddering at the cold and clammy feel of his skin.
"My kitten, I well understand that you are tired after your labours and wish to rest for a time, but please do not take too long to awaken. Our sweetling knows you intimately already but he has not yet felt the loving warmth of your arms or the soft brush of your lips against his skin," Sho said as he seated himself upon the edge of the mattress and took Jun's limp hand into his own, all the time being careful not to jostle his husband lest he re-opened the fresh incision across his lower abdomen. "I shall wait here as long as it takes for you to decide that it is time to join us once again."
Small noises issued from the corner of the room as the newborn began to whimper hungrily. He had no knowledge of the trauma his parents were presently experiencing or the reasons why he was all alone and feeling cold. He shivered slightly and began to express his displeasure at his current state of being through a series of tremulous cries.
Nino pulled himself away from Masaki's arms as cry of the tiny boy went straight to his heart. His own unborn children squirmed in an agitated fashion within his belly seemingly in response to the sounds of distress issuing from Jun's baby. He struggled to climb from the bed, halted by Masaki firmly pushing him back down into a prone position.
"Do not stress yourself my dear. I shall bring him to you so that you may offer him comfort whilst I make arrangements for his temporary care." Masaki carefully retrieved the baby and placed him in Nino's arms.
Nino held the baby as if afraid of his fragility, but he was unable to resist the unique smell of a newborn as he pressed his nose to the downy head and breathed in deeply.
Masaki's heart skipped a beat at the sight and he felt a sudden rush of guilt at abandoning Jun for the few minutes that he had spent ensuring that Nino had suffered no lasting damage from his fainting spell and from the emotional storm that was engulfing him after witnessing his best friend almost bleed to death in front of him.
"Sho what do you think you are doing?" Masaki asked, agitated at the sight of Sho pulling the covers back from Jun's limp and immobile form. It had been two long days and nights after the birth and still his husband had not returned to consciousness, but at least he still clung to life. Sho now felt that he had some small understanding of the stress that Jun had suffered during his own protracted illness, but he was not pregnant as Jun had been and therefore would never know how much additional stress Jun had suffered whilst faithfully remaining by his bedside until his recovery.
Masaki had made hasty arrangements with the Housekeeper for the kitchen maid that Jun favoured to take up the temporary care of the baby boy, Nino being too distraught to do more than cradle him in his arms and press his tiny body to his own tear-streaked face.
The servants had also discreetly removed the reminder of Jun's blood loss from the chamber, somehow managing to still their tears until they were out of earshot of their stricken young master. They owed Sho respect as their Lord and employer but they freely offered Jun their love and their undying devotion after he had spent many hours down in the kitchens, making any unsuspecting passers-by try his latest creations and listening intently to any gossip regarding the village. He had used this knowledge to do his best to improve living conditions and encourage the education and protection of the youngest and most vulnerable of those who lived upon his husband's estate.
Sho turned to his friend with a haunted expression writ upon his face. "I cannot bear for my kitten to remain in this chamber for a minute longer. It still reeks of blood and I do not wish for that to be the first thing my love senses when he awakes."
"Sho, it is not advisable to move him whilst his condition is so delicate."
Jun was completely still, his face leached of colour and the movement of his chest when he breathed barely perceptible. The rich black of his hair and thick eyelashes and brows contrasting markedly with the unhealthy pallor of his skin.
"You cannot guarantee me that he shall live even if I follow your instructions precisely; therefore I shall instead follow my instincts. I know Jun better than anyone else in this world and I would never to anything that would put his already fragile grasp upon life at risk."
Masaki flinched guiltily at Sho's words even though not a soul had so far blamed him for Jun's condition. "Then allow me to assist you to move him with the least possible risk of causing him any discomfort."
Sho nodded grimly and allowed Masaki to help him to gently lift Jun's limp and unresponsive body from the stained mattress and carry him through into the chamber next door. They carefully arrayed him upon the bed, pulling the crisply fragrant linens up to cover him after Masaki checked that his wound had not been disturbed by the movement.
Sho stroked the hair out of Jun's eyes and pressed a kiss to his cold lips. "There, my kitten, surely you are more comfortable here with your son to keep you company." Sho's eyes narrowed with anger as he noticed that the cradle was empty. "Where is my son?"
"Do not fret, he is safely under Nino's watch, whist his bodily needs are being met by the newly appointed nursery maid."
"He should be with Jun, not some stranger. He needs the love of his birth-father."
"Sho!" Masaki called after Sho but it was too late; he was already striding away to retrieve his son.
Sho burst into the nursery, startling the girl who was dressing the infant after changing his nappy. She emitted a startled squeak and jumped nervously.
Sho recognized her as the girl who had gifted Jun with the stuffed bear when they were ascending the stairs and after seeing the terror upon her face he attempted to rein in his anger before speaking. "My apologies for startling you Cherii. How fares my son?"
"He is a real treasure and ever such a placid little soul. He eats with such a hunger and finishes each bottle right to the end," she replied, too nervous to quite meet his eyes.
The newborn blinked up at his Papa with Jun's eyes, which almost broke Sho there and then. Taking a calming breath, he softly stroked the tiny starfish fingers that instantly clamped around his finger with a most determined grip.
When Sho spoke his voice was husky with his supressed emotions. "I shall take him to visit with his Father. When next you need to attend to him you will find him in the cradle next to my husband's bed." He carefully removed his finger before lifting his son and cradling him to his chest. As left the room he turned and said, "Thank you for your attendance upon my son. Jun will be most pleased with the loving attention you have shown him."
The girl bowed respectfully, her heart filled with compassion for the tortured expression upon his Lordship's face.
Nino had joined Masaki in watching over Jun whilst Sho retrieved the infant from the nursery. Masaki watched on grimly as Nino chattered to Jun in a brittle voice about the beauty of his son and the pride that he should feel for producing something so precious and wondrous and asking if he was comfortable.
"He cannot answer you," Masaki said gruffly. "He may never speak to anyone ever again and it will be of my making."
"You surely do not believe that?" Nino responded as he gripped Masaki's trembling hand and pressed a kiss onto the palm.
"Who else should be to blame if not I?"
"You did not err in any of your actions. As you have taught me over these past few months, childbirth is a dangerous time and every person, no matter how healthy they may be, might lose their life in the process, no matter how much care is taken."
Nino knew most precisely in which direction his husband's imagination was winging. "You will not lose me in such a fashion. Do you think that I could ever abandon you and our twins? Am I not the most stubborn person you have ever had the pleasure to be acquainted with?"
Masaki did not trust himself to speak, instead he buried his face in Nino's soft hair and breathed in the sweet scent of his husband that was at once familiar and comforting, his racing heartbeat gradually slowing as a sense of calm washed over him.
After Sho arrived, bearing his yet unnamed son safely nestled within his arms, Masaki examined Jun closely, and deeming it safe to leave him for a short while exited the room with Nino in tow, his hand gripped firmly within his own.
After their departure Sho laid his son in the cradle before kissing Jun's waxen cheek. "My kitten, I have brought your sweetling to visit with you. I know that you must long for the touch of his skin upon yours." As he spoke Sho slowly unbuttoned the front of the nightshirt Jun was wearing, revealing the smooth skin of his chest. He then removed the soft embroidered gown that his son was wearing before placing him upon Jun's chest, ensuring that his head was precisely placed over Jun's slowly beating heart before pulling the covers up to keep the infant from becoming chilled.
The baby emitted soft snuffling and mewling noises as he wriggled slightly upon Jun’s chest, moving his head from side to side as if searching for a nipple to latch onto. Only a tiny portion of male Carriers possessed the ability to nourish their babies, and due to Jun's grave condition they would not know if it would have even been possible in his case, but the newborn seemed content to nuzzle against Jun's nipple anyway as if seeking comfort.
Sho could no longer contain his suppressed emotions, finally breaking down at the sight of his two most precious people brought together at last. But what should have been a happy scene was, instead, one of heartbreak.
"My kitten, you must awaken soon. Our son still lacks a name and he shall remain so until you tell us which one you have chosen for him. You surely would not wish for him to wait too long before he knows how the world will address him over the entire course of his life?" Sho wiped the tears from his cheeks as he stroked the wispy hair of their son as he now peacefully slept upon his father's chest, barely rising and falling with the shallow movements of Jun's breathing.
A sense of peace fell over the room, lulling Sho into a doze in the armchair next to the bed, the silence broken occasionally by the contented snuffles of the baby as he clung to his Father and suckled softy upon his nipple even in his sleep.
Masaki crept into the room; loathe to disturb such a scene of calm. He was happy to feel Jun's pulse beating stronger than it had been since the haemorrhage, but still he displayed no signs of a return to consciousness.
It was time for the next feeding and the baby soon began to stir restlessly, displeased with the lack of nourishment issuing from his Father. He began to make small grizzling noises, twisting his head and balling his hands into tiny angry fists. He released Jun's nipple as if in disgust and began to wail as loudly as his small form would allow.
Sho awoke instantly and he and Masaki reached to pick up the infant at the same time, but someone else moved to comfort him first.
Jun's hand moved slowly and tremulously up from the bed until it barely touched the side of his wriggling son's flailing arm. Jun's eyes did not open, but his fingers loosely wrapped themselves around the baby's hand before his own hand dropped back to the mattress exhausted by that small movement.
"Jun?" Sho dared not to breathe as he awaited Jun's response.
"My love, you have slept long and now it is time for you to awaken."
The baby continued to cry as Masaki attempted to lift him from Jun's chest, but his actions were forestalled by Jun opening his eyes a fraction to gaze at the small body resting upon his own.
Jun smiled and murmured weakly, "Satoshi" before his eyes closed once again.
Sho's body jerked in fear at the sight of Jun lapsing into unconsciousness once more as looked to Masaki for reassurance.
Masaki was quick to reassure him, "He merely sleeps. I am sure that he has passed the critical time and will soon begin to recover." Masaki felt as if his legs could no longer support him as relief flooded through his body.
Sho lifted his crying son from Jun's chest and soothed him. "Satoshi. Sakurai Satoshi. I think that is a very fine name for you, my sweetling. But I fear that His Majesty is going to spoil you most excessively when he learns that you share his name."
When Nino heard of Jun's brief awakening he immediately punched Masaki on the arm for being present at such a time whilst he was not. He then burst into floods of relieved tears, holding Masaki tightly around the neck as he sobbed. He only reluctantly released his husband when choking noises issued from Masaki due to the lack of oxygen reaching his lungs.
"I must see him immediately. I need to reassure myself that he is recovering."
"I think that perhaps you should delay your visit for the present. Sho hovers over him most possessively whilst awaiting his next awakening," Masaki said as he joined Nino on their bed where Nino had collapsed in relief.
"It has been a most terrible time for us all," Masaki said, tears of remorse and relief welling in his own eyes.
Nino sensed that all was not well with his own husband and became determined to comfort him in his own way. Reaching down he lightly stroked Masaki's cock through the fabric of his trousers, wishing to reassure him of his love and support in a way that was most pleasurable for them both.
Sho's eyes burned with fatigue, but he dared not sleep. Jun had not yet reawakened after his brief awareness. He stroked the back of Jun's hand with his thumb and bent to kiss the unresponsive lips of his beloved husband.
At first Sho thought it a trick of his imagination, but Jun's lips really did respond to the feeling of his own lips, parting slightly as Jun sighed dreamily before his eyes fluttered open once again.
"S-sho?" Jun's voice was cracked and husky, but his words were clear. "My baby? Does he live?"
Sho had never imagined that Jun would not remember his first touch of their child, and he hastened to reassure him.
"My love, he is as strong and beautiful as you. Our little Satoshi rests in the cradle by your bedside exactly as planned."
"Satoshi? How did you know that was the name I chose for him?" Jun blinked confusedly, attempting to clear the fog that engulfed his thoughts.
"You answered his cry. Our son drew you from limbo and returned you to the land of the living, and when you awakened you named him so." Sho's own voice cracked as tears slowly made their way down his cheeks.
Jun was still as pale as the linens he was laid upon but his eyes contained a determined spark. "Satoshi? May I see him?"
"Oh, my love, I am sorry to make you wait." Sho immediately walked to the cradle and lifted Satoshi from it, waking him. The newborn instantly began to cry, most unhappy to be so rudely awakened. Sho tried to calm him so that he might once again place him upon Jun's chest, but the infant was far too angry to allow himself to be calmed, his face turning redder with each wail.
Sho carefully placed his son upon Jun's chest holding him gently in place as he continued to voice his displeasure. Jun fell deeply and instantly in love with the angry scrap of humanity as he felt a tiny angry fist punch his collarbone. Smiling at his disgruntled son who looked exactly like Sho when he did not get his own way, Jun gestured for his husband to assist him in raising his hands to embrace his tiny form, making a soothing humming as he did so.
Satoshi seemed to recognize the sound, calming instantly and gazing at Jun with wide eyes before settling back to sleep once again, safe in his Father's embrace.
Sho was about to praise Jun for calming the baby so quickly, but he discovered that Jun had also fallen asleep once more, a gentle smile upon his lips as his son nestled against his chest, once again sucking lightly upon his nipple in his sleep.
For the first time since the birth of his son Sho felt as if he was able to take a full breath.
A/N: Hello everyone. Thanks for sticking with me this far. Next week it will be time to say goodbye to this little world. I hope you will join me then for one last chapter. Nino told me that he wants you to meet his babies.