“Hey sleepy head, you okay?” He stroked a thumb down Mira’s soft pale cheek. Her father was taking a lot of the pain from the labor from her it seemed. For that, Derek was grateful. “You know, you never told me which name you chose. We had 3 picked out. I need it to claim him and so does your father. And I think he also needs the other name..” He knew at least that much. He’d have a demon name and then the other name that everyone would call him. Mira had been completely in charge of the demonic name and Derek and Mira and actually Angelus had helped with the others. Aiden… one that Angelus had mentioned in passing had stood out to Derek. But he hadn’t said anything that would lead his mate to knowing which he preferred. So, he was asking now, which of the names would she pick? 

Her eyes slowly opened and the drowsy amber gaze looked up at him with that haze of sleep that would tell him that he was right, Darius was pulling her pain as much as he safely could. 

“Aiden… I like that name.. and… and Zylariel.. for his true name..” Reaching for Derek’s hand she moved it to rest in her rounded belly. “He’ll be strong, fast, brave and smart like his dad and gorgeous like his mama. You’ll teach him to be loyal and to listen to his heart. Don’t let him get sucked in and lost to this world too soon.” She actually hiccuped as if she were drunk and purred a little.

“I wish you could be this loopy through all of it, babe,” Derek chuckled before kissing her again. “I’ll definitely do the best I can.”   

Mira enjoyed and wanted Derek to do more, but every time she moved their son protested. There was a half-hearted purr of frustration from her.

“This child is already trying to run my life and he’s not even born yet.” 

“Well, I wouldn’t want to do anything that’d hurt you anyway,” He shook his head. His culture was very different from theirs. 

The one thing blatantly obvious about demons was the lack of modesty. The second thing was that they cared nothing about privacy. It was rare they knocked before entering as was the case now. Angelus entered the room without announcing himself or knocking. Mira did it, Angelus did it, and their father did it. It didn’t matter to them what you were doing or if you were decent. They had that in common with elementals.

“My father said you wanted to see this.” Angelus carried a thin leather bound ledger to the bed, ignoring the fact that Mira was pouting at him. “The servants will set a table up for the food so you may eat all you like as you desire. I had everything brought over for you.” He’d warned Derek before not to eat or drink anything not brought to him from the other world.

To Mira he spoke directly, “Do you wish to strip down now or later? The midwife will be arriving soon.” He reached out a hand to caress her cheek. “Relax while father is giving you this time to do so. Derek can feed your needs after the birthing, stop demanding such right now, sister. My nephew will not appreciate it.” He grinned when she swatted his hand away. Chuckling, Angelus walked back towards the door. “If you need anything let us know.”

“He always has to rain on my parade.” Mira mumbled while she snuggled back into Derek’s embrace. “Eat, I’ll be a good girl and behave myself for you while you do.”

“Oh, you better,” he rumbled from his chest for her, at least he could do that and not get them into too much trouble. He’d need to eat and he wanted to be sure he understood the ceremony that his son was about to be part of.

“Aiden,” he whispered…

It was a few hours later, while Derek was reading and Mira was sleeping that she woke with a gasp and clutched her stomach. Luckily, the midwife had helped prepare the bed and Mira for the coming birth. Derek had been given a set of dark red ceremonial clothes to dress in when the time came. Upon the rich material – material that resonated magic – sigils were held that would assure the place of his son and help him be part of the child birthing. The fabric seemed to have a life all it’s own and atop the table it rippled when Mira cried out. 

The lycan father-to-be had put on most of the special clothing, only the top hadn’t made it onto him. He hated the idea of wearing anything that could come between his skin and his son, though. In his world, that was part of how you bonded to a new baby; how you encouraged him or her…

“Derek!” Her body had shifted to its natural form and she gripped the bedding and growled. 

It was as her mate joined her that the door opened to allow the midwife, Angelus, Darius, and the seven witnesses into the room. Her brother moved to one side of the midwife while their father moved to the other. Mira felt the excruciating pain through from her lower back and legs up around her stomach and down through her pelvis. 

“I’m here, babe…we’ve got this,” Derek took her hand in his. The father was there with his mate immediately. He hadn’t been able to get the top on, but he was at least dressed how they wanted him for the most part. When he wasn’t out and about or doing business he rarely had a top on anyway. 

“It’s time for you to welcome your heir, my lord.” The midwife removed three silver stones with red engraved sigils upon them. From Mira’s navel to her pubic bone the stones were placed in a perfect line, evenly spaced apart. The midwife blew across them and the designs gave a bright red glow. Mira breathed in quickly as the tiny bits seemed to burrow into her skin. She felt their warmth as they set into place. Had Derek not read up on this ceremony, he might’ve had to kill people right then. Even knowing what was supposed to happen, he couldn’t help the protective growl that built up. He hadn’t seen this particular part! She gripped his hand and their bond was the only thing that kept him from doing worse. Next her father, the demon lord blew across them to see them glow bright blue which caused Mira to cry out as her father’s energy poured through her. Angelus blew over them and they turned amber causing the same reaction from Mira. 

All three looked Derek’s way and Mira brought her lycans attention to her as she kissed the top of his hand and pressed her forehead against it. “Blow..over them.. you need to complete… the blooding..” She squeezed his hand and smiled for him as her gaze lifted letting Derek see all the colors now swirling in her eyes. Her father hadn’t gotten to do this with their own births, but she wanted to assure her children’s places in this world. 

“I don’t remember seeing this in the manuscripts… blooding? It’s hurting her,” Derek growled low, and he shook his head, trying to keep his wolf calm. 

“The blooding is our way of accepting and passing on lineage to our children. Mira isn’t being hurt, she is being given something now that I was not able to give at her birth. She is receiving her lineage and once you complete it she will know all she desires about her ancestors. This connects her, Angelus, and your son to our life line.” Darius patiently explained as he stepped to the table to pick up the top piece of the special clothing. “I had these made for you so that you would feel the connection and be part of this birthing as you requested. Our worlds are different and yet you are being given the chance to share in it like no other ever has.” 

Derek paused. He looked from Mira to Darius. Then, he looked to the one he called brother.

Angelus stepped forward and took the shirt from his father to hold open for Derek. He would explain as Derek needed this.

“We have no Golden fields or Heaven. Others consider us soulless beings like Djinn and so we simply no longer exist after our deaths. Others think we reside in purgatory or limbo. Let me show what really happens to us.”

Derek allowed the man to place the shirt over his broad shoulders while he continued to speak. Darius moved back to his position at Mira. He was not upset. On the contrary, he was pleased to see the trust between his two sons – one his daughter’s choice and the other his natural born.

“We are all connected like a hive but with no queen or central focus. Our bodies no longer existed but our living relations can always feel us once they are accepted in. You will go to your fields, but even there you will be able to feel my daughter, your children and all those here that you reach out to.” Angelus returned to his place and resumed holding Mira’s leg. They would help the midwife as much as possible.

Derek came to the stones and looking to Mira he whispered “I love you.” Then, he blew across them, as the others had shown him. Closing his eyes, he had to take a breath as he felt the stronger connection to them all – not just his mate. This was… this was beyond anything he had known. He really needed to talk to Darius more.  

As they had done with the others’ breath – the stones lit up for him and matched the rich, bright blue color of his eyes. Mira wasn’t so lost to her labor that she wasn’t able to watch his reaction to the completion of the blooding. She smiled and when he joined her, Mira started to relax back into the moment. Her contractions calmed at this point and so she could enjoy Derek there with her, helping her.

He was there, making ice shavings for her with his claws and keeping her as comfortable as possible. He showed her that she could get up and walk and relieve some of the pain from staying on the bed. He was always in contact with her. This was labor… he had to be part of it, too. He had helped make this child and it wasn’t a burden just for her. He held her up, letting her lean back against him when she felt another pain. Then, they would almost dance slowly as they rode the in-between. When she was ready to settle back down for a bit, he helped her back down and sat right beside her. He couldn’t wait to hold his son.  

After another hour passed, Mira contracted and the pain had gradually worsened. Tears trickled down from her eyes. She felt as if her body were slowly ripping in half starting from her center out!

“I can’t..  do.. this…I can’t.. I can’t..” She shook her head even as her body tightened up again. Typical Mira she wanted it her way! “Let go.. of my legs…” She growled at her father and brother. She glared at the midwife even as she struggled through another contraction. “Lycan.. custom too… our son.. my mate holds first… then… my.. father..”

“Mira..” Angelus started only to be surprisingly stopped by his sister. 

“Shut… up… my way… or everyone… get out!” She snarled and hissed the words at them all.

Derek thought he loved Mira. After that pronouncement, he now loved her on a higher level than he ever thought himself capable of doing. 

Mira watched as her father conceded his place to Derek and moved to take Angelus’ position. Darius nodded to the midwife and to Derek. He held the knife that Derek could use to cut the cord once his son was out. Angelus moved to a position to help his sister push and it wasn’t long before Derek had his hands full of a gray and blue mottled skin baby that was squirming and wailing loudly for him.

“Aiden Zylariel Val’Ashtar of Pack Weylyn…” He pronounced perfectly, while taking the cloth given to him by the midwife to help dry off the baby and also keep him held. “Oh…oh… hey, son… calm down… we’re all here for you.” Derek chuckled, tears coming to his eyes as he turned the baby to be sure he was breathing proper and had no blockages. Then he looked all over the baby to be sure he knew him. He pulled the still crying child to his chest and rumbled while he took in his scent. He supposed he was taking too long, because Darius felt the need to push him a bit.  

~ Turn him towards the witnesses and cut the cord of your first born. ~ Darius encouraged as he watched the new father learn to juggle and handle the impatient newborn. He was a very proud daddy and it showed. Darius was an equally proud grandfather!

Once Aiden had calmed down against his chest, Derek cradled the bundle in his arms and looked over to Mira’s beautiful face. If he could say thank you, he would, but he felt like it would sound in bad taste right then. He was so happy that she had wanted to be with him and that they had made something so perfect between them. He moved his fingers around the cord properly and took the knife with his free hand to cut the cord. Normally he would have used his own claw, but he wouldn’t fuss. They had traditions, too.   Turning, he offered the baby to his grandfather, so that the man could hold him while Derek properly tied the remaining piece of cord off. He looked into Darius’ eyes and he smiled, “Happy first day of being a Grandfather.” 

The elder actually smiled in a softer way than any had ever seen from him as he took his grandson between both hands and studied him.

“Your whole life prepares you for so many things except some of the most important ones. They never prepare you for the love you feel when you find that one that steals your breath away. No one ever prepares you for a daughter that quickly wraps you around her finger without even trying. And absolutely nothing prepares you for the adoration you feel when holding one so tiny between your hands.” Looking at Derek he simply spoke two words that took the place of hundreds. “Thank you.”

He pressed a kiss to Aiden’s forehead and returned him to his father.

As Derek moved toward Mira’s other side, Angelus was trying to get out of the way. Derek stopped him, and offered to let him also hold his nephew. He motioned for Angelus to come and sit on the bedside next to his twin sister. That way, both of them could hold Aiden for a few minutes. It was important, now that Derek was apart of this family, that the whole family bond with Aiden. Goddess knew, the child was going to need every one of them.  

“Look what you made, Beautiful,” Derek smiled for Mira as she and Angelus held the baby. He wiped his eyes and looked to Darius on the other side of the bed. It was like he could feel all of them. He felt stronger.  He hadn’t even noticed the midwife doing her duties around them. Everything seemed so surreal.

“He’s perfect isn’t he?” Mira shared a look with her mate before forcing her brother to hold his nephew. “Get used to this, you’ll have a son some day.” Her brother gave her a horrified look, but carefully held the baby close to look him over as well. Mira rested her head against her twin’s arm while reaching out to grasp her mate’s hand.

“Naaa… Angelus is gonna have a girl. Or maybe two or more girls. It’s gonna be his curse – to be wrapped around all of their fingers and claws,” Derek chuckled as he joked with his brother.  

“I’d flip you off but I’m currently holding your son so that might not be appropriate.” Angelus muttered even as he grinned and flipped Derek off behind the baby’s back.

“Oh, you’re gonna make an excellent uncle,” Derek chuckled. 

This was her family, and she cherished every one of them more than any words could say.  

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