Onari, Zh'ain


Onari and Zh'ain's world gets upended twice over when Onari finally goes into labor!

Backdated; childbirth


It is evening on the first day of the 12th month of the 12th Turn of the 12th Pass.


Zh'ain & Onari's Weyr, Igen Weyr

OOC Date 07 Jan 2018 07:00


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“Zh’ain, I love you…but if you don’t get the Healers here NOW I’m going to break your wrist!”

Zh'ain & Onari's Weyr

There comes a point when the wonderment over being pregnant and the prospect of bringing new life into the world fades in favor of just getting it over with. Onari hit that point a couple of months ago, when movement began to get difficult. She hadn’t really been prepared for how annoying it would be! Having started her leave from Diem’s service a few sevens ago, she’s stir-crazy and oftens complains about feeling the size of a wagon…and really, she does seem to be carrying rather largely. The Healers hadn’t been worried per se, noting that she’s been as healthy as any other expecting woman would be. But Onari isn’t convinced that she won’t be giving birth to a child already half-grown at this point.

This evening, thankfully, seems to be a more peaceful one for the Reika woman. She’s comfortably ensconced on the bed, working on the beginnings of some belt tooling for a certain wheelwright friend of hers. Thank goodness for her work, at least. Many parts of it are things she can accomplished while she’s confined where she is.

Despite the best of intentions, Zh'ain has no idea what he is doing or what to expect with this whole pregnancy thing so tends to overcompensate and add to Onari's general annoyance with the process. He would have to admit to feelings similar to his mate's as far as getting it over, no matter how much the thought of being a father scares the living daylights out of him.

Coming home just a little later than usual he pauses at the entranceway to their weyr and kicks off his boots. He doesn't call out in case Onari is sleeping but spots her immediately across the cave on the bed. Relieved to see her resting peacefully he walks toward her with one hand behind his back, coming up alongside the bed and bending forward to steal a kiss. "Hey beautiful. What're you working on?"

However much Zh’ain may overcompensate and therefore aggravate her, Onari always makes it clear she loves him anyway, even if it’s sometimes grumbled. Fortunately, any grumbling today is not due to him so much as it is discomfort. She hears him enter and stop just inside, the soft thump of each boot hitting the floor, and smiles tiredly at him when he approaches. Part of her wonders what he’s hiding in his hidden hand, but she doesn’t question it yet. Instead she returns his kiss, reaching up and curling her fingers into his collar to hold him in place and make sure it’s as long as she wants it to be.
“Oh,” she sighs as she lets him go, “just some tooling on a work belt for Brenna.” She chuckles softly, shifting to try sitting up a bit straighter and wincing with the effort. “She’s on a tear about what basically amounts to making work look sexy lately. Which I think translates to trying to impress someone. She’s been alone for a long time. And if a blasted tool belt will help her out on her mission, I’ll do what I can.” The mating rituals of workaholics can be such strange things.

Zh'ain is more than willing to extend the kiss as long as Onari wants, these flashes of his hot little woman making him growl low in his throat. It hadn't been easy to restrain their energetic sex life the closer they got to the end of the pregnancy and some days it seemed the wait was going to leave him with a permanent hitch to his step. But all he had to do was see the glow on Onari's face, or feel the bulge beneath her skin move against his palm and it was all worth it.

He straightens as they part and reaches with his free hand to shift and fluff the pillows behind her back when she struggles. Thick brows hike at her reply and a grin tugs his lips to one side. "She wants to look sexy at work?" He snorts once and offers his own suggestion, "Tell her to try replacing a wheel naked. If that don't grab the guys attention nothing will."

Onari appreciates the shifting of pillows, but swats Zh’ain’s arm for his last comment. “You tell her and see what happens,” she suggests back, one corner of her mouth and an eyebrow quirking at him amusedly. Her friend may be a fiery one, but Modest may as well be her middle name. In most cases.

She sets the belt aside and draws a deep breath, letting her head fall back and her eyes shut for a moment. “The baby’s been moving a lot today,” she informs her weyrmate wearily. “It’s worn me out a little more than usual, I think.” And made her hurt a bit more than usual, unless she’s just imagining things.

Zh'ain yelps and pretends to be hurt by the swat, cushioning his arm with the other. A look of feigned injury isn't held long in the wake of the amusement in Onari's expression. He can't hold onto the charade but smirks wickedly back at her instead. The idea of making the suggestion to Brenna is highly amusing indeed, an internal wager debating whether she would slug him or simply not talk to him for a turn. Seeing her turn as crimson as the Red Star might be worth it.

But then Onari is speaking of the baby and his attention immediately focuses, bad boy shenanigans forgotten and his manner solicitous as ever. Turning, he sits on the edge of the bed so that he's facing her. His free hand lifting to brush her cheek with the back of his curled fingers. As they drop he gives her a soft smile tinged with concern. "You just rest then, love. And here, these are for you." Finally he brings his other arm around and clutched in his hand is a bunch of wild flowers with tiny pastel pink petals and slender, bright green leaves. "It's nothing major," he amends, suddenly self-conscious. "I just spotted them when we flew low and thought you'd like them."

“I’m tired of resting,” Onari sighs with familiar but toothless irritability…and then Zh’ain produces those flowers, and the fuse is effectively removed altogether. His self-consciousness is adorable, and she can’t help but laugh softly, taking the flowers to admire and sniff gently at before reaching over to prop them in a quarter-full glass of water sitting nearby. “They’re perfect, my love,” she assures him, and sits forward to kiss him gently, her hand against his cheek. “Thank you.” Pulling back, she winces a little again as another slight ripple of discomfort courses through her belly.

Zh’ain is immensely relieved when the flowers are well received, a charming smile breaking out beneath the curve of his trim moustache. Her kiss is exactly the sweet reward he had hoped for and he sighs happily as they part.

« Told ya. » Josvikuth’s smug tone drifts into his mind.

Shut up. Then Onari winces and Zh’ain goes into Master Healer mode. Dark brows furrow and his eyes narrow, his gaze darting over her frame from head to toe as both hands spread outward. “What’s wrong? Are you hurting? What can I do? Do you need anything? Do you want anything? Should I go get someone…?” The barrage threatens to continue if she doesn’t jump in between breaths.

“Zh’ain. Zh’ain…” Onari does try to jump in between breaths, eventually resorting to yanking on his collar to look him in the eyes. “You-” She stops short, a sudden, wide-eyed gasp cut off whatever she was about to say. “You…can get the Healers here,” she breathes, bracing on her other hand and trying to move as the unmistakable sensation of wetness makes itself known beneath her. “My water just broke!” For that’s all it can be; there’s nothing bloody about what’s happened, just a sudden rush of clear fluid leaving her without warning to herald the fact that the turning point has finally come. Their baby is done waiting!

Zh'ain is ready to move the Red Star itself to accommodate whatever Onari asks, but what she says is so unexpected he only sits and stares at her for a few moments. Blink. Blink. "Wh..what?" he stutters, the mental glowbasket slow about opening. Then she's announcing that her water broke and he jumps up off the bed, as bug-eyed and jaw-dropped as a fish floundering on land. Gone is the usual confident bearing that defines his movements, brawny muscle and strength that simmer beneath the surface. Both are replaced by a double-take, jerking serious of uncertain movements like bending over as if to assist her, his hands reaching but not knowing where to touch her, then snapping back as a wet smudge darkens the bedding.

"Oh shards! Oh shards! Oh shards!" he mumbles, one hand sinking into his hair and sliding backward. Mentally his thoughts do cartwheels, tripping over the things he had been told to expect. "Water. Healers. Then baby." Dark eyes dart to Onari's, his breath quickening with a rush of ecstatic anticipation. "Baby!" Suddenly his chest hurts with the pounding of his heart and he collapses back into his seat on the edge of the bed, reaching to cup one of Onari's cheeks with his palm. "Baby!" he whispers on a ragged breath, this time referring to her. The look on his face is all about her, quite forgetting the urgency of the moment.

Onari can feel things low inside her tightening, gradually twisting toward something painful, and she starts to bite down on her lip as she watches Zh’ain figure things out. He needs to be faster about it, and maybe it doesn’t take all that long, but it certainly seems like it. When his hand comes to her cheek, she covers it for only a moment before her fingers slide down to clamp around his wrist. “Zh’ain,” she gasps, “I love you…but if you don’t get the Healers here now I’m going to break your wrist!” Which she immediately makes evident he ought to take seriously as she segues into a pained groan, finely-wrought features contorting with the painful grip of a true contraction. Her fingers tighten like a vise upon him until it lets up a bit, leaving her breathing through rounded lips as she tries to keep her bearings through the onslaught and the realization that this is really happening.

Zh'ain sucks in a sharp breath and holds it, inwardly face-palming himself. Stupid, stupid, stupid! He leaps to his feet only to be held in place by the grip Onari has on his wrist. Not wanting to pull free when she so obviously needs the support he sets his jaw and remains in place, reaching to lightly clasp her opposite shoulder with his free hand.

"I'm sorry. It's ok. Everything's gonna be alright. Healers. Healers will know what to do. Just breath. It's ok." For a man of few words Zh'ain seems to have sprung a leak now as a panic like he's never known shimmies through him head to toe - and that's saying a lot for an orphaned ex-convict. He waits on proverbial pins and needles as Onari goes through the contraction, mumbling encouragement that is meant for himself as much as her. Only when she finally quiets and seems to relax a little does he finally stop, eyeing her like she might explode at any moment. "Better?" he asks tentatively.

“It’s only just starting!” Onari snaps, and grits her teeth as another ripple of discomfort throbs through her. “Faranth help me, I will go get them myself if ye don’t sharding hop to, bronzerider!” Considering that her brogue slips back into existence, it’s a sure thing it’ll be making more of an appearance now as well. She pushes Zh’ain wrist away and gives him a wide-eyed look of exasperation, willing him to get a move on, either by sending a note with a flit, having Jos holler, or going to fetch them himself.

Zh'ain jerks upright, both palms held up defensively. "Okay, okay, I'm going!" he drawls, taking a step back. Shards - 'bronzerider' AND her accent?? At this rate he might lose his head in the process and not get to be a father after all! Still flustered but setting his goal firmly in mind he turns and dashes for the entrance, not even pausing to put on boots or a jacket. "I'll be RIGHT back!" he shouts over his shoulder, topping off his show of lagging mentality by adding: "Don't move!"
Padding out to the ledge he launches onto Josvikuth, who's kneeling and ready to go. « I was about to come in there and get you myself! » the bronze informs him, poking at his mind with the crack of thick ice. Zh'ain plants himself on the dragon's neckridge, giving the rough hide a slap with one palm. "Whatever - just FLY!" he bellows.

A quick hop to the infirmary later, Zh'ain throws himself down the bronze's haunches and hits the ground running. "Baby's coming!" he shouts once inside, startling a nearby apprentice into tipping the basket of bandages she was rolling. Zh'ain doesn't notice. Dark eyes dart from one figure to another, looking for someone in particular. He hadn't been able to be with Onari for all her check-ups but he had accompanied her on a few - enough to know which Healer had been helping her. "Where's Lonnia?" he demands. "Where is she? Lonnia!"

"I'm here, I'm here!" comes a woman's stern voice. Stepping out from behind a pulled curtain a slender female with a thick blonde braid appears and gives Zh'ain a sharp look that notes his lack of footwear. "Calm down, Zh'ain. It's alright. Onari will be perfectly fine. I'll just grab a few things and we'll be on our way." With quick efficiency the healer gathers supplies and an apprentice, then shoos the pacing bronzerider out the entrance ahead of her. See? No worries! Her calm demeanor almost rubs off on Zh'ain, but not quite. He comes dangerously close to picking both Healers up in his strong arms and bodily rushing them into the weyr where Onari waits. Thankfully he doesn't.

Zh’ain’s parting remark earns a very exasperated noise from Onari, and she shifts around on the bed partly to spite him and partly because she needs to change her angle. She knocks a sort of wedge shape into the pillows behind her, piling them higher using the ones from Zh’ain’s side. She can feel another contraction coming on and focuses on trying to breathe as Lonnia had instructed. Then it comes, and she’s thankful she’d paused to do that breathing…but her mood swings abruptly and she ends up rather desperately wanting Zh’ain to be beside her again.

Fortunately, it sounds like she isn’t going to have to wait much longer. She’s also finishing getting through the most recent contraction so doesn’t sound like she’s on her way to exploding…but she is breaking a little bit of a sweat now.

Zh’ain pads in closely behind the two healers, chafing at their easy pace. “We’re back Onari!” he bellows over their heads as soon as they enter the weyr. “I found Lonnia!” Pointing at the top of the healer woman’s head he adds, “Here she is!”
Lonnia has worked with (or in spite of, as the case may be) enough anxious partners to have an extra dose of patience to spare for the bronzerider but that doesn’t stop her sense of decorum from messing with him a bit. Her casual demeanor purposely counters his urgency, graceful movements and gentle gestures exuding a sense of calm control and experience that should settle his nerves somewhat, though she’s seen plenty of times when it didn’t. So far Zh’ain is working up to be a poster child for the latter.

Pausing briefly at the entrance to remove her shoes Lonnia crosses the room to Onari’s bedside. “Onari,” she smiles warmly. Gently wrapping one of Onari’s hands in her own she instructs, “Tell me what’s happening, dear.” Lonnia’s apprentice is obviously well trained in this sort of thing because she moves about without being told what to do, bringing Lonnia a chair and using another as a nearby table to set out various objects . A bowl appears from the large knapsack she carries, along with a skin of water which she pours into the bowl and arranges on the makeshift table along with a small pile of clothes.
Zh’ain heaves a huge sigh of relief as Lonnia finally reaches the bed and attends Onari. Coming up on the opposite side of the bed he tries to wait patiently but can’t figure out what to do with his hands. Folded across his chest, hooked on his belt, braced on his hips, running through his hair - nothing seems comfortably right. Shifting his weight from one hip to the other he grumbles low in his throat with irritation.

“My water’s broken and I’ve had two contractions,” Onari explains succinctly…just in time for the third to come along and rack her frame. Once it’s finished, Onari looks blearily to her indecisive weyrmate and holds out her hand, needing his touch and knowing full well he’s not going to be able to just stand by, even without the grumbling that happens.

Lonnia murmurs soothingly, nodding and smiling at Onari's answer as if it was exactly the right thing to say. Her hands move with practiced ease to feel the other woman's forehead, check the pulse at her wrist, tip her chin up gently to search her eyes and observe the flush of her cheeks. As Onari launches into another contraction she continues her ministrations, shifting with such a smooth transition that it almost seems she timed them to the contraction.

"You're doing beautifully, Onari. Everything is perfectly in order. That's it, dear. Breath easy. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Nice and even. Keep it up. This one will pass too." Adjusting the bedding so that it covers Onari from the chest down to her knees Lonnia reaches beneath and feels Onari's belly. "Ah yes," she smiles. "This baby wants to meet it's parents! It won't be long at all now." The apprentice arrives at her side and together the two healers shift Onari on the bed as soon as the contraction fades, adding extra padding beneath the laboring woman. As Lonnia situates herself near Onari's feet and continues to attend her the apprentice sets a bowl near the head of the bed with a lavender-based potpourri mixture in it that emits a soothing aroma. Then she brings Onari a cup of tea laced with herbs meant to be relaxing but not so much to fog the woman's concentration and focus.

Zh'ain steps forward the moment Onari reaches for him, folding her smaller hand in both of his. Dark eyes dart from the healer to his weyrmate, anxiety lending deep shadows to the lines that cross his brow. Without realizing it he starts to breath as Lonnia instructs, suddenly finding himself without words as he tries to support Onari silently. Fear vies with anticipation. Logically he knows women have babies all the time but he also knows bad things happen sometimes and his personal string of bad luck in life has left him rather cynical at times.

And really, Zh’ain is going to find that his worry is over nothing. It takes a bit longer yet, but eventually Onari’s contractions increase, as do her efforts in between the pattern of breathing she falls into with Lonnia’s instructions. Her grip on Zh’ain’s hand is crushing without her knowing it. Soon enough, she helping that baby to get on with the wishes of all parties involved, pushing with the Healer’s encouragements and not bothering to stifle any urge to holler about it that happens to come upon her. It’s the greatest effort she’s ever put into anything in her entire life…and that’s saying something!

Zh'ain grinds his teeth and tenses like a taut bow every time Onari shouts. Seeing her in pain, hearing the strain of it in her voice, tears at him mercilessly. She is the love of his life, the other half of his heart and soul, and he will do anything to protect her from harm and to keep her happy. But this - this is something out of his control. He can only stand by and watch as she goes through it, bearing it alone. If he could take her pain he would.

"Push, Onari!" Lonnia encourages. "The baby is coming now. I can see it!" The apprentice stands ready, shifting between Onari's side and Lonnia's. She wets some of the cloths and dabs at Onari's forehead and cheeks.

Just when Onari isn’t sure she can do more, she’s being ordered to…not that the baby was about to let her have a choice in the matter. With a deep breath gasped, she manages to summon up strength from a well she didn’t know she could tap, one that is perhaps formed only upon motherhood. With a protracted shout containing all the pain and determination and expenditure of energy and endurance she’s been going through for the past candlemarks, she pushes as Lonnia instructs, her vise-grip on Zh’ain hand somehow increasing all the while.

And then, finally, it happens. The child they’ve waited to greet for so many months makes her strong-lunged entrance into the world - a lively little girl. Onari ends her efforts with a pitched, exhausted cry, grateful to be finished…and yet, after a mere few moments everything spirals right back together again, her body redoubling its efforts. Her eyes widen in shock as she gasps in the grip of another rising need to push. “Lonnia?” she manages, her other hand reaching for the Healer. Why in the world isn’t it stopping yet?

Zh'ain grimaces as Onari's grip tightens but he doesn't let go, handsome features locking into a supportive expression. Worries, anxiety and discomfort are forced beneath the surface, only hinted at in the shadowed creases around his eyes and mouth. Watching Onari go through so much pain is tearing him up inside, brawny muscles tight and tense throughout his frame. He bites down hard, the strong line of his stubbled jaw as solid as rock.

Then he hears it. A tiny, high-pitched cry that sears right through all his emotions and grabs ahold of his heart. Dark eyes dart to Lonnia for confirmation.

"It's a girl!" the healer announces happily. The apprentice rushes over to assist as the baby is drawn out and immediately swathed, dabbed with damp clothes to remove the worst of amniotic fluids. Lonnia beams at both parents and starts to rise with the baby girl in her arms.

Zh'ain stops breathing. A girl. A daughter. He has a daughter. He looks to Onari, the goofiest and widest grin ever tugging his lips to either side.

But something is wrong. Onari is in distress. At the same time Lonnia glances down and frowns, then hands the baby girl to her assistant who takes the newborn and turns to attend to it with the nearby spread of supplies. Lonnia leans forward between Onari's knees again and does something no one can see. Then her eyes widen and she looks to Onari with an encouraging smile. "Onari, dearest, you have another baby on the way! Push, hon! I know you're tired but you have to dig down deep and give this one as good of a push to help it out!"

Zh'ain feels light-headed. Another one? Another baby? Suddenly Onari's grip is all that's keeping him grounded. How could they not have known? His eyes dart to his weyrmate and he leans forward to kiss her damp forehead. Fear tries to grip his chest and squeeze the air from his lungs but he fights it, imbuing his voice with confidence as he tells her, "You can do this, love."

At first, Onari isn’t certain she’s heard right, unexpectedly torn between wanting her daughter and dealing with the fresh onslaught of pain. But it does finally register, and she’s instinctively back to trying to regulate her breathing, a spike of emotion causing her to lash out. “Another?” she grits out, and amber-flecked eyes blaze and snap almost furiously up at Zh’ain as she all but crushes his hand. “You…got me twice in one go?!” Not that she’s really angry at him in the least, but nothing is under control for her right now, least of all the way her emotions decide to manifest.

Now there’s nothing for it but to take Lonnia’s advice and delve back down into that hidden reserve for one last effort. Again she pushes, flushed and sweating, letting all she’s feeling both physically and emotionally loose in another long, rough shout until their second child is out in the world. Slightly smaller than his sister, but with no less lusty a set of lungs…a tiny boy. Her emotions swinging wildly as her body finally relents, she lets loose a sob of relief, gasping for breath as her head drops back onto the pillow. She’s tired, so, so tired, wanting to hold her newborn children but needing just a moment to regain some of her strength, impossible though that particular feat seems in the immediate moment…

Zh'ain mentally kicks himself as realization slowly dawns. Why hadn't they thought of this? Of course it would be possible since he has a twin sister himself. The idea of being a father to one had just been so overwhelming that he hadn't thought beyond that. The testosterone-laden manly part of him puffs up with pride at Onari's blunt question but thankfully the reaction that surfaces is bewildered shock. Eyes widen and he shakes his head, broad shoulders shrugging. "I… I….I…. guess so," he stutters. Hm, might pay for that one later.

Meanwhile Lonnia continues to give verbal encouragement, her hands warm and touch gentle as she eases and soothes. "It's a boy!" she announces excitedly through the new arrival’s cries. "Oh Onari, you did marvelously! They're both perfect. Well done, darling!"

Zh'ain jumps slightly as someone nudges his elbow. Tearing his attention from Lonnia he turns his head to see the apprentice standing there holding their baby girl out to him. Swallowing hard he darts a look back to Onari before giving her hand a final squeeze and releasing it. As the tiny bundle is placed in his arms he barely breathes, his focus riveted to the miniature features of his baby girl. She's so small it seems she will break in his arms if he as much as twitches!
The apprentice giggles and pats Zh'ain's arm, telling him to relax, then she moves swiftly to assist Lonnia. The boy is swaddled and cleaned as well. Lonnia quickly finishes up with Onari then rises and takes the youngest baby from the apprentice, bringing him to Onari.

"Onari, dear, would you like to meet your son?" she asks with a beaming smile as she slowly lowers the tightly wrapped bundle. The boy squirms in his wrappings, tiny cries still proclaiming the strength of his new lungs.

A girl and a boy. Onari can scarcely believe it! She lifts her head when she feels Zh’ain’s hand squeeze and then release hers, watching her weyrmate fall in love with the tiny little girl in his arms. Her vision blurs as emotion swells again, and she sucks in a trembling breath before Lonnia is approaching with their son. Grinning, she nods, lifting her arms to take him and holding him close to her chest. She sniffs a bit, caressing his cheek with a fingertip and and crooning softly to calm him. Oh, Faranth… They’ve brought not one but two beautiful new lives into the world, and that world will never be the same for them now. “Zh’ain,” she whispers thickly, looking over at him but unable to say anything else, or do anything else besides smile, a tear rolling down one cheek once more.

Zh'ain is lost. It had been one thing to imagine what being a father would be like but to hold a life that he and Onari had created between them, so beautiful and precious and fragile in his arms, is more overwhelming than he could ever have anticipated. His throat bobs as he swallows hard, the firm line of his jaw tightening. Unexpectedly, his vision blurs at the edges and he blinks several times trying to focus on the girl's small features. My baby girl. Zh'ain doesn't cry. He just doesn't. He's too tough for tears. It'd be unmanly. So don't even suggest that the the moisture pooling in his eyes is anything but the mild irritation of a dust mote!

The newborn boy, on the other hand, is still crying when Lonnia places him in Onari's arms but that quickly changes. His wails grow muffled as he cuddles close to her chest and at the stroke of her finger on his cheek he gurgles and quiets, dark lashes lying feather-soft on smooth, rosy-tinged cheeks. Mama!

Hearing his name Zh'ain tears his gaze from the baby girl to Onari. There's nowhere to hide as his eyes meet those of his weyrmate, his soul bared and emotions exposed. If ever he was to lay himself wide open it would be for Onari and seeing the tear fall down her cheek he slips one arm from under the baby girl and reaches over to brush that damp trail with the back of curled fingers. Then his gaze drops and takes in the boy in her arms. Suddenly his knees feel like pudding and he can no longer stand. Folding to the side of the bed he sits, his eyes riveted on the baby boy. Such perfection! My son.

With his shoulder brushing that of his weyrmate he brings the newborns closer together, still holding the baby girl as if she'll break at any moment. Observing them a moment longer he then raises his eyes to Onari's, not even caring if his are red-rimmed and watery. "Look what we've done, love."

Lonnia and her assistant aren't here, nope. They both step back and quietly observe, not wanting to intrude on these first intimate moments.

Onari automatically leans into Zh’ain when he comes to sit beside her, tired, joyful, needing him all at once. “I know,” she whispers, and nuzzles against his shoulder, being careful not to jostle their son. She looks at the twins together, still amazed that, somehow, it wasn’t clearly evident that she was carrying them both…though her size in the last month might have. “Trade you,” she suggests, smiling up at him and turning a bit to bring the baby boy closer his way.

Zh'ain tilts his head to give Onari's cheek a light kiss, grinning like a big goofball as they both admire the babies for a moment. "Ok," he replies to her suggestion, though he's immediately stumped on how to make the transition. Hearing a soft giggle he looks up and notices the healers, the apprentice holding one hand over her mouth. Smiling wide, Lonnia waggles one hand in the new parents' direction. "Go ahead. They won't break; I promise." Zh'ain presses his lips and looks to Onari, hoping she'll take the lead on this one. He's still entirely convinced that one wrong twitch on his part will shatter his fragile little girl.

Onari hasn’t had practice at this, of course…but there’s something to be said for instinct, which asserts itself now without too much trouble. She reaches for their little girl with her free arm and slips it beneath, drawing the tiny bundle toward her while offering their son carefully Zh’ain’s way. Now she’s able to get her first good look at her daughter, and her amazement doubles, appropriately enough. “I think,” she murmurs as she strokes their daughter’s cheek with a fingertip just as she had their son, “her name should be Zirah.” Earthen-hued eyes turn upward to her weyrmate to gauge his approval. “A little nod to your sister.”

To his credit Zh'ain makes the switch without dropping a single child. He's off to a good start! Maybe this parenting thing won't be so hard after all. Getting his first good look at his son has Zh'ain instantly mesmerized, his heart pounding near to bursting with paternal pride. Glancing over at his daughter he compares their little faces and notes the similarities. Then Onari suggests a name and Zh'ain's lips part on a short intake of breath. His eyes lock onto hers, copper-tinted depths thick with emotion. "She'll like that," he replies, his voice a husky whisper. His eyes drop to the bundled baby girl. "Zirah," he says softly, then smiles and nods. Tilting the boy toward his sister Zh'ain then adds, "What about this little guy?"

Onari touches her lips gently to their daughter’s forehead, as though sealing the new name to the little girl. She studies their son for a moment, rolling around possibilities in her tired mind. “Are you sure you wouldn’t like to choose?” she asks, completely willing to defer to any ideas her weyrmate has before suggesting any herself. She did just name Zirah, after all; it would only be fair!

“Hmmmmm….” Zh’ain considers a moment, dark brows rising in a thoughtful expression. The weight of giving his son a name that will stick with him for his entire life is daunting but at the same time such an honor it takes his breath away. He thinks of Onari and all she's done through pregnancy to bring these perfect little lives into the world. Then for her to consider Zh'ain's twin in naming their daughter is such an incredible gesture. His heart swells with a rush of love for his weyrmate.

"Zarion." The name comes to him suddenly, forming in his mind like when he talks to Josvikuth. He likes the way it includes so much of Onari's name as well as matching his sister's the way his own does with Zarrah. His lips tug to one side in a smirk as he looks sidelong at Onari. "Do you mind all the Z's?"

The name Zh’ain suggests brings a slow grin to Onari’s lips, and she shakes her head at his last. “No,” she replies softly. “It’s perfect. Zarion.” And Zirah. Their children. The reality of it makes her heart swell with an overflow of emotion once more, and she leans to kiss him softly on the lips. Only then does she remember that there are, in fact, other people in the room, and she looks to Lonnia and her apprentice, sniffing a little and swiping at her cheek as she realizes there’s another tear rolling down it. “Lonnia… Thank you for everything. Both of you,” she says finally, holding out her free hand to the Healer.

Zh'ain would linger over that kiss if he could but the sound of soft gurgles is what distracts him, earning a soft chuckle as he parts from Onari. From what he's heard from other parents their love life might have to get very creative in the future due to that sort of distraction. Then Onari is speaking and with a start he remembers the healers as well. Dark eyes widen slightly and he draws a deep breath, embarrassed both for the raw emotions so blatantly being displayed and for forgetting their presence entirely. He can only nod his agreement with his weyrmate's words, drawing up a tight smile for the two women.

Lonnia steps forward first, quickly taking Onari's hand and squeezing it lightly. "It was our pleasure, dear! Congratulations again to both of you! They are beautiful, and with such fitting names as well." The young apprentice moves up beside Lonnia, smiling wide, her eyes fixed on the newborns. Going into craft mode Lonnia starts to give some directions but her voice is soft and warm. "Now you're going to be sore so have Zh'ain mix you up some of the herbs we're leaving on the table with hot water for a nice tea. It'll help you sleep as well. Get plenty of rest and don't be getting out of bed for anything tomorrow." Giving Zh'ain a steady look she waits until he nods, making sure he understands his role of nursemaid and butler. "The babies are perfectly healthy so we don't have to rush but bring them down to the infirmary the next day so we can take some measurements and record everything officially. If you have any discomfort beyond what the tea helps send for me immediately, okay?"

Onari groans at the order to stay in bed for yet another day. Being sedentary is something she’s had quite enough of! Yet a little shifts reveals the depth of her soreness, so in the end she mentally concedes that staying put is probably a good idea. She nods along to the rest, smiling up at Zh’ain when he finally nods his understanding. “I will,” she tells Lonnia with a tired breathiness to her tone, and then glances between her babies. “Should I feed them now? Or…will they start fussing to let me know they need it?” She’s heard varying stories about this, so maybe there’s not clear answer…but better to ask than ensure uncertainty, of course.

"Mm, yes," Lonnia pauses at Onari's question, glancing warmly between the two babes and sparing a quick gesture to her apprentice who immediately slips back to start gathering up their things. "You'll want to feed them right away. They won't take much at first but it is important they get enough nourishment for their rapidly growing bodies." A slight shadow of concern passes her brow as she looks back to Onari. "It could get to be a bit much with two of them wanting you all the time. If you feel overwhelmed at all promise me you'll let me know, ok? We've a number of nursing mothers right now who would be more than happy to help." Again she looks to Zh'ain and raises a brow. She's seen both ends of the scale between new mothers who are happy to let someone else nurse their child and others who are overly possessive about it so her look tells the new father he'd better do what's best for his weyrmate and the babies no matter what.

With her work done the healer gives Onari one more hug and Zh'ain a warm smile before taking her leave, apprentice in tow.

Once the healers are gone Zh'ain sighs heavily and looks to Onari. Just like that they're suddenly parents and have two little lives to support! "Shouldn't she have left a scroll or something on how to do this parenting thing?" he jokes.

Sure enough, Zirah begins to fuss as though she understands just what is being discussed by the adults in the room. Onari, again working primarily by instinct, goes about baring one breast enough for her newborn daughter to latch onto it, amazed at the sudden easing of pressure she feels as nourishment is taken. “I will,” she tells Lonnia, trying to wrap her head around whether or not she can feed Zarion at the same time and thinking that having a milkmother to help out might not be such a bad idea. She thanks the Healers once more before they depart, leaning into Zh’ain’s shoulder again and chuckling softly. “We can always ask,” she sighs, and returns most of her focus to nursing their daughter. “I’m so tired, Zh’ain,” she murmurs, turning her head to rest her brow against him for just a moment. “But…here they are.”

Zh'ain tilts just enough to kiss the top of Onari's head as she leans on his shoulder. Normally those words coming from his weyrmate would immediately earn her getting pulled into his lap for a snuggling embrace but for the first time he has to restrain himself. Zarion. His breath catches again just looking at his newborn son. The miniature perfection of his features is mesmerizing. Hearing the soft sounds of little Zirah suckling away he glances at her and has to press his lips tight. His daughter is utterly entrancing. A wave of nostalgia hits him as his thoughts wander.

"Do you think this is what Zarrah and I looked like?" he asks out of the blue. Another question hovers beneath the one actually asked but he can't bring himself to voice that one; thoughts that muse on his parents have long since been buried deep. Lips quirk a bit as he pulls on humor to distract himself, saying, "Of course I was much cuter than her."

“Of course,” Onari echoes indulgently, nuzzling at Zh’ain’s shoulder again when she feels Zirah slowing down and mentally reviews the next step to all this. She’s going to have to feed Zarion now. Fortunately, she has another half to her chest that’s full up. “I’m sure you and she looked very nearly like this,” she tells her weyrmate with a grin, and settles her other arm into readiness. “Put Zarion here, and take Zirah. You’ll have to hold her against your shoulder, and take care with her head, but she needs to be upright so she can burp.” She does remember that as a necessary thing that happens at some point.

Zh’ain smiles a little wider and nods as Onari agrees with him (because how could she do otherwise when it’s so obvious!), then he’s distracted as Zarion yawns, his little mouth stretching and smacking, his nose wrinkling in such an adorable way. Though he doesn’t realize it Onari’s instincts are right on point with what the newborn boy is feeling. That lip smacking is a dead giveaway.

When Onari instructs him on switching babies he immediately takes a deep breath and holds it. The changeover is the scary part! With extreme care he places Zarion in his mother’s arm, exhaling heavily when the transaction is successfully done. Then he slowly scoops his hands under Zirah and lifts her, a flash of fear crossing his strong features when he reaches the point of tipping her to his shoulder. Onari makes this look so easy! He does get the baby in place, despite his reservations, his large palm covering the whole back of her head as he supports her against his shoulder. The widest smile yet flings itself across his lips, reveling in his success as he darts a glance toward Onari. He keeps the baby girl in place stiffly, just holding her without moving, barely breathing. If there’s something else he’s supposed to do he doesn’t realize it.
“I seem to remember L’xan mentioning a severe lack of sleep when his kids were born,” he randomly mentions. “Though between Zarrah and your family I don’t think we’ll have any shortage of babysitters.”

“You need to relax, love,” Onari says, yawning at the same time and end it with a kiss to Zh’ain’s cheek before she sets to feeding Zarion. “They’re made up of both our stock; they won’t break, especially not in your hands.” As much as she is discovering about maternal instincts and having to trust them, Zh’ain is going to have to trust himself with the presence of paternal instincts he didn’t know he had. “Move with her a little. Just…the barest of little bounces, to help keep things moving inside.” At least, that’s what she’s heard the purpose of such motion is for.

To her weyrmate’s last, she nods, yawning again. “Kal and Lynn said the same thing. And since we won’t be using babysitters for a good while…” Sleep is definitely going to be coming at a premium now.

Zh’ain doesn’t know much about ‘relaxing’ but the idea of the babies being tough makes him feel better. Not so breakable then. He might have a chance at this. He tries to do what Onari suggests, moving his whole torso up and down in small motions that jostle the baby girl. Ok, this doesn’t seem so bad.

Seeing Onari yawn out of the corner of his eye he gives her a closer look, concern drifting across dark brows. “Are you gonna be ok, love? I mean… with two?” Not that they have a choice, of course, but it’s so unexpected and such a literal doubling of everything they had planned for that he can’t help worrying about her reaction. Especially if she’s feeling even half the gut-churning butterflies that he is.

“Just a little more gently,” Onari urges Zh’ain when he starts moving as she asks, “but that’s the idea, love.” His question earns a soft chuckle. “I have to be. We both do. And I am,” she answers tiredly. Of course she’s feeling the butterflies, but they’ll hit after she gets some good sleep in.

And speaking of sleep, it’s exactly what she intends to do once Zarion is done nursing. He finishes presently, and she holds him against her shoulder, subtly bouncing him and holding his head steady, patient until he finally releases the bit of pent-up air that inevitably happens. And holding him against her chest, she drifts off quite unexpectedly, her body demanding it now that the necessities of bringing their children into the world have been met. Which means Zh’ain gets to figure out how to get some of his own sleep with their daughter in his arms.

Zh'ain feels a little better with that reply. Onari's strength and confidence amazes him, as it always does. He continues to bounce little Zirah, albeit with a bit more ease as he gets used to it. When she finally burps and gurgles he beams and glances over at Onari, his lips curving on a light chuckle as he sees she has fallen asleep. She looks so peaceful he can't resist leaning over to kiss the top of her head, then lean his own on it as he admires Zarion fast asleep as well in her arms. Tilting Zirah down so he can see her face as well he ponders his family - his very own family - with a swell of emotion that pushes his heart up into his throat and makes him swallow hard several times. He doesn't fall asleep as fast as Onari did but he drifts, ever a light sleeper, more content than he can ever remember being in his life.

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