The storm raged outside. The wind howled as it snuck in through the cracks in the wood, and whipped around the house. Thunder rippled through the air and lightning streaked across the sky. The rain beat against the window. He could hear water pouring out of the gutters. He held Jensen’s hand with both of his, knuckles close to his lips as he rocked slowly back and forth.
It wasn’t long, barely 8 minutes since the last one, before another contraction forced a strangled moan from Jensen, his head falling towards his chest, face scrunched up in pain. “Breathe, honey, don’t hold your breath,” Jared coached him through it. He fell back against the pillows, a slight hitch in his breathing. Jared comfortingly ran his free hand through Jensen’s hair.
Gentle hands eased him back in the bed, Arthur’s hands. Those same hands propped pillows behind him, helped him to sit up then gathered their son from his cradle and carefully passed him to Merlin. It wasn’t until the baby was in his arms that Merlin realized just how profoundly weak he still was. He could barely lift his arms up to hold his son. He trembled with the effort and felt a tear roll down his cheek. He made a pathetic mother.
“Yes. I wasn’t pining for Gwen. That morning when I woke up with you wrapped around me…I realized it was really you I’d wanted all along. And I felt horrible because I knew you’d only been with me because you felt sorry for me, because you are the best friend I could ever ask for. You wouldn’t turn me away when I was hurting and it was so damn selfish but I wanted to keep you and I knew…I thought that I couldn’t.”

It felt like he was watching a movie as he saw the doctor cleaning out his son’s mouth and nose. Jason beamed as their little boy, Jackson was almost certainly going to be his name, was nestled into his arms by a grinning nurse. Distantly, he wanted to hold him too but the mere seconds of relief following his exit had disappeared and the pain was back with a frightening intensity.
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