Who: Jet, M’tan, Joy
Where: Court of Shadows, Honshu Territory
What: Jet and M’tan’s daughter arrives early.

There are those who would suggest that it serves Jet right for what she’s done to that dragonhealer that the end to her pregnancy is not a smooth one, nor does it conclude when she expects it to. She still has a handful of weeks to go when M’tan’s longed for daughter decides that now is the time, her journey into the world no easier than her older brother’s, if shorter, Jet left too exhausted far too early on to have the energy to spend the ensuing hours crying out. It’s into an uneasy quiet broken only by the hurried exchanges between healers and gasping wrenched from her mother that she’s born and immediately gathered up and taken across the room to examine, while Jet actually… cries. As quietly as she’s done anything else so far, but the tears stream down her face as she lies back and awaits news of the baby.

M’tan had only heard one such comment from their Court on the matter of Jet’s endeavors having caused the pre-term delivery of their daughter. That voice was silenced with fists and days spent sporting a swollen face, a broken nose not allowed to be tended to by their Healers. He’s been holding fast to Jet’s hand the entirety of the birth, his fears swallowed and kept from his face as he encouraged Jet throughout the birth. As the cries are delivered into the room, M’tan moves to sit on the side of the bed and draw Jet against his chest. He holds her as she cries and keeps his eyes focused on the Healer’s as they tend to the still squalling infant. “She’s strong yet,” the older of the two women calls over her shoulder, “hear those lungs?”

Jet closes her eyes and drops her head down against M’tan as the baby continues to cry, at least partly reassured that her first shrieks have been no fluke. Still trying to steady her breathing, she leans most of her weight into him, her body unwilling to support itself terribly much after what it’s endured, but she at least manages to remain conscious this time, with the end so near in sight. “I’m sorry,” she murmurs, only for him. “I felt fine. I should’ve rested. I should’ve known.” Before she can babble any further beyond her wits, one of the Healers turns to bring the blanket wrapped bundle that is their daughter back to them while the other moves to arrange the pillows so that when they encourage Jet’s arms around the baby the little one is held against her chest, skin to skin. “Maybe a bit on the tiny side, but I don’t think she’s going to be letting anyone forget that she’s here,” a Healer remarks, unable to conceal a faint smirk.

M’tan’s comforting arms go stiff and then he pulls himself back enough to look down at Jet. He uses his hand to guide her face towards his as he tells her firmly, “Do not apologize.” His gaze is hard. “This is not your fault. She’s alive. Babies can be born early. Do not blame yourself.” He waits until he’s certain she’s heard his words before he removes his hand from her chin. He turns as the Healer comes with their daughter and watches as Jet holds her. He returns the Healer’s smirk. “She’ll be taking control of the Hold soon enough.” He waits until the Healer gives them space to lean forward to peak at the babe. He lets his fingers drift to brush along the smattering of fine black hairs that grace the baby’s head. “She’ll have your hair,” he tells Jet, and as his finger moves to brush down along the babe’s face he adds, “and my nose.”

Jet swallows hard a few times to try and stop the tears that M’tan’s words threaten to bring on, a nod supplied while she twists a little awkwardly to try and hide her face against his shoulder in a moment when the Healers aren’t watching them. The baby’s cries soon come to a hiccupping halt once she’s in Jet’s arms, unaware of how her mother looks down at her with obvious fascination. “Khyrisan’s going to go into proper big brother mode when he sees her,” she murmurs with a measure of warm humour. “She’ll have to be little and fierce or he’ll never let anyone near her.” Tiredness makes efforts to weigh her arms down, yet she gently gathers up the baby and offers her into M’tan’s arms. “I didn’t think of names,” she admits. “With everything else… And I was half-sure she’d be another boy.”

“He’ll love being a big brother,” M’tan agrees, smiling softly at his wife and baby. “We’ve had a quite a few talks about being gentle and careful with her. Also, about how important it is to always look out for her. Like Safiye has done for him.” He brushes his fingers gently along the baby’s head again. “I’d assume Kyramith and Sirhyth would be far more protective than anyone,” he drawls, “or even Sister and her three. Between the dogs, the dragons, older siblings and fire lizards, this little joy will want for nothing.” He leans forward to kiss the baby’s head briefly and then moves to kiss Jet’s forehead. “After the surprise of her birth and how much this pregnancy weighed on you, I’m thankful for the girl. I wasn’t going to suggest we try for another after her.” He smiles and considers the baby. “I’m not very good at names,” he laughs, “so I don’t know if I should even bother to try. I don’t want to scar her with a name she dispises when she wakes up!”

“If she manages to wrap that lot around her little finger, we’ll be in for a few interesting years,” Jet murmurs dryly, relaxing back against the pillows a little more as adrenaline begins to ebb and the extent of what she’s put her body through begins to assert itself more strongly. “I’m not sure I could manage another one, so she’ll forever be the youngest unless destiny decides to interfere in whatever ways it might,” she admits, lifting a hand to conceal a yawn. “Given what time travel has brought into our lives, I’m a little afraid to say anything definitively anymore.” She watches the baby stir in M’tan’s arms, though their daughter sleeps on, oblivious to their study. “Well… Khyrisan and Sihrajet are more of Kyramith and Sirhyth than our own names… We could always combine theirs again instead of our own, since they’re all flight babies.”

“How about we call her our little Joy?” M’tan muses, smiling at the baby and then looking to the exhausted lines falling on Jet’s features. “Sleep, love. I’ll keep watch of her while you rest.” He glances behind him at their healers and gives them a subtle nod. They finish up gathering the items that need cleaning and slip out. “I’ll have them return in a little while to double-check you and the babe. For now, sleep in my company alone.” He tips himself forward to press a kiss to her forehead before he moves off of the bed and settles into the chair that’s been pulled beside it. He leans back in the chair and secures the baby against his chest, covering her lightly with a blanket as he looks to Jet and smile. He lets their conversation continue for a short amount of time until he can tell Jet is sleepy enough to let dreams claim her attention. He’ll keep watch over Joy until the healers come back and then he’ll step back to let them do their work over mother and child once more. For now, he keeps quiet watch over his family without interruption.

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