Suddenly, Francis felt the ring of fire return as his anus slowly bulged and stretched around the baby's head. His chest burned and he paused to draw breath but too late, the head had slipped back inside. Get back out here!" Niso felt helpless. He could only stay by the pregnant male and offer just the smallest relief. His hands kneaded the knots in Francis’ heaving flank and lower back, easing some of the pressure. “You're doing it, just keep pushing. It's already crowned Francis." He kissed the laboring male’s shoulder and temple as encouragement then shuffled back to check Francis' entrance. Niso was able to make out a tuft of dark hair poking out as the baby started to crown, and knew it would come out quickly if Francis gave a hard push.
Merlin eyed the angled seat of the birthing stool with misgivings. Yes, he knew that it was supposed to ease a woman’s confinement but he wasn’t really a woman. Still, the child would come in much the same way. He just wasn’t sure he had the strength to endure the contractions and keep himself upright as the stool was exactly that-a stool. It had no back, no support of any kind. He knew that usually a laboring mother would lay her legs along the flared wings of the seat and rock herself back and forth until the child came but usually a midwife was there to use her body to strengthen the straining mother. Who would help him? Gaius was amazingly vigorous for a man of his age but he wasn’t really sturdy enough to take Merlin’s weight for that long.
He screamed bloody murder, unaware of any coherent words coming out of his mouth or the work his body was unconsciously doing, until he felt a sharp pop. He heard Jason telling him the head was out but didn’t have time to react before the shoulders were forcing their way into the world as well and it took all of his strength not to pass out on the spot.