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alderwitch

This Woman's Work (IC)

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(Continued from here.)

Dr. Archeveille had done many impossible things, but delivering a half-vampire child from a woman who blinked in and out of reality as a reaction to fear and stress was certainly up there on the difficulty scale. For Taylor, she wasn't sure which she was less pleased with, the restraints that the doctor had managed to develop to tie her to this reality, or the discovery that her unique physiology made painkillers nigh ineffective. The good doctor was treated to an impressive litany of curses that spanned over two dozen languages, many of which were highly improbably if not physically impossible. In Taylor's defense, none of the cusses were really leveled at the doctor, more at life in general and occasionally a string of deities that it was likely Taylor had personally met.

All of them fertility gods.

Eventually - and although the delivery was smooth all things considered, it was a long eventually for everyone involved - a healthy and squalling bouncing boy was delivered. With his mother's dimples and a full head of black hair, he had plenty of Taylor in him. Of course, he also had bright blue eyes that occasionally glowed an angry red and a pair of sharp fangs that he tried to take off a robotic assistant's finger with. So he was certainly Jack's son too. And he was loud!

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Staggered and battered, Jack was just making his way back up the stairs from the catacombs when he got the call. Leaving behind the finished battle and the roused crowd of vampires, he said a few quick words of reassurance and bolted from the graveyard. He was at the door of Archetech in moments, but had to slow down there given all the anti-vampire security. He couldn't use his powers here: he had to get in as a man! He pressed a few buttons and walked inside, then ran as fast as a man could through the irising open doors that led to his wife's side.

Archeville's security was easy enough to get through if they weren't trying to keep you out. In mere minutes, he was inside the delivery room, staring at Taylor and his newborn son with a look of pure, naked awe on his face. "Oh...oh my." He walked over, slowly, and put his hands on the bloody, cryful baby cradled on Taylor's breast. He's alive. He's alive, my son is... At the fangs, his face clouded but what could he say? "Oh, my boy." He kissed the baby, and Taylor. "I love you. I'm sorry I wasn't here."

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Taylor looked up from her entirely natural enthrallment with the squalling scrap of humanity that had created such a fuss. She gave Jack an exhausted but radiant smile and freed one hand to cup his cheek as she returned the quick kiss. Her slender wrist still had the manacle around it that shackled her to this dimension. "I love you too."

"Jack, you kept us safe and you're here now. Look," she snuggled the still complaining infant before gathering him up in the loose blanket and holding him up for Jack to take. Taylor said with pride, "He's got your eyes."

Of course, Taylor thought the little baby fangs were even cute. Motherhood was indeed a powerful thing.

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Jack scooped up the baby, a little awkwardly, as he remembered all the parenting books he'd read with Taylor. "Hello there," he said, looking with awe down at his son. "Look at you, little man." The baby didn't look at him on him, he fussed and made small noises of unhappiness, then finally focused somewhere in the direction of the face above him. The baby gave a sudden short yawp, and then settled down, done with his fusses for the moment. "Oh God, you're so beautiful..." Jack tensed briefly, a moment that passed, then resumed smiling. "God..."

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"He's still got a heartbeat," Taylor provided at Jack's moment of hesitation and leveraged herself up with a minor wince. She really didn't have much to complain about as her regeneration was starting to make up for its misbehavior earlier with the painkiller antics. Unable to help the impulse, she stroked her fingertips over the black fuzz that stuck up in all directions, "His vitals are all strong. He's seven pounds and three ounces and twenty one inches. Tall. Which he doesn't get from me. Also explains the foot in my ribcage for the last month."

Taylor looked up at Jack's face, wishing she could capture that on film. She added softly, "And he shows up on film."

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"He's a good boy," Jack murmured, kissing him again before handing him back to Taylor. "He's everything we could have wanted." He made a small, deep noise of relief. "I think he looks like you," he said loyally, for all that he saw himself in those eyes. And maybe for once, that wasn't such a bad thing. For all the bad things he'd done, this was something good. The boy was hungry, and took to nursing readily, before Jack could think to ask about the fangs.

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Taylor accepted him back into her arms, taking a few minutes to get him settled. Jack wasn't the only parent that was new to some of the baby holds. "At least he got my dimples. After all my hard work, there should be some-"

She broke off with a yelp as the baby gave up on one form of sustanance than the other to bite down. It was a minor prick but it was startling and on rather tender flesh.

"...Ow." Taylor complained, looking down at the happily latched baby. "So how long does it take to learn to make that not painful? Because someone may get weaned real quick."

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Jack started, but remembered that his wife wasn't one to balk at vampire bites. "It...I have no idea," he admitted. "It depends on how fast his personality develops." He grinned, faintly, and rested his hand on the back of his son's fuzzy head. "I'm learning about all this as fast as you are, my darling. And you, my little lamprey. I think he'll learn with the right training, it may just take a while."

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"Not too long a while I hope," Taylor murmured but her expression softened at the pair of now drowsy and slightly unfocused blue eyes. She smiled and brushed her fingers over Jack's hand, "Such a tiny little scrap of a person to have such a huge fuss over. Is it over, at least for a little while, Jack?"

Taylor looked up at him questioningly, the hand over his protective. Her dark hair was still damp and it trailed over her shoulder in a loose braid. The tip of it tickled against the baby's cheek and he wrinkled his nose in sleepy disgruntlement.

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Before Jack could answer, the door opened again and Stesha hurried in, limping but obviously eager to see Taylor and the baby. Her hair had come free of its pins in several places, sending green fronds spilling down her back, and she had already-healing bruises on her face, testament to the fight that had taken place down in the lobby. She skidded to a halt upon noticing the family moment. "Oh, sorry, I can come back," she told Taylor. "I just wanted to make sure you were all right."

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His usual hostility towards Stesha forgotten, Jack looked up at her with a huge smile on her face. He was so much in the moment he didn't even think what her reaction was likely to be if she figured out what the baby had been doing. "Stesha, come look! Come look at our beautiful baby!" he beamed. "He's getting tired now, he's had a busy day." He brushed the gravedust out of his hair. "Even busier than us. God, he's so beautiful..."

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Taylor pulled her gown back up carefully as the little pin pricks closed and she held out the now food groggy baby for Stesha's perusal proudly. He did indeed have Jack's bright blue eyes and he'd inherited an asian cast to his features from his half Chinese mother from what could be made out of his still a little squashed face. A tongue curling yawn displayed shiny needle sharp fangs as well as deep dimples before he smacked his lips once or twice and gave this latest visitor a slow blink of his unfocused eyes. Taylor beamed as proud as she could be of what was a very cute, if slightly obviously not entirely human baby. At least his eyes were no longer doing that creepy glowing thing.

"How did it all go?" Taylor asked concerned as she glanced between the battered heroes, distracted finally from the new motherhood to ask after the battle. Her expression turned solemn, "We didn't lose anyone, did we?"

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Stesha smiled at Jack, momentarily disarmed by his obvious elation, then ignored him completely as her attention turned to mother and baby. "Oh, Taylor, he's so beautiful!" She blinked in momentary startlement at the fangs, then regrouped. "...And so advanced, too! Awww, he got your dimples. He looks so much like you!" Stesha had to coo over the baby for a few more moments before she could attend to any other matters, running her fingertip over the tiny clenched fists and examining the scrunched little face. "Everyone's okay," she told Taylor, "a little banged up, but Derrick and I have been working on them. This is nothing," she reassured her friend, gesturing to herself. "It's just taking a little longer for the bones to heal without the sun. I'll be fine by morning. We sent him off with his tail between his legs, for sure."

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"He's not coming back anytime soon," Jack promised all three of them, and himself. "And next time he does, we'll be ready for him." He beamed down at the boy, watching Taylor warily to make sure she didn't drop him. She'd had a hard time, and he was feeling particularly protective. "But yeah," he added, "Stesha did great. I was really impressed. They all did. Everyone wants our boy safe."

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Taylor relaxed at that and spread out her gown and covers a little better as there was a good chance the others would be boiling up shortly after Stesha's arrival. And Taylor preferred to be as covered as possible for that. She leaned a little into Jack's side and confessed, "Oh, good. I was a little worried. I don't think I like the sidelines."

"Jack Huang Faretti." Taylor provided to Stesha. The scion in question was still working on getting his eyes to focus through heavy lids. Being born was hard work after all. For everyone involved and Jack Jr. didn't exactly have his mother's regeneration. Probably., "Jack, Jr. of course. Although I still like Jace as a nick name. We were going to call him Jack Chun Faretti but that was a little close to Jackie Chun."

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James walked in looking rather worse for wear. He wasn't injured (thanks to his powers) but his clothes were in sad shape. "Clean up is mostly done," he said as he entered. "How's everything in here?" he asked, directing that towards Taylor and Jack. He nodded to Stesha with a smile but he wasn't really here for her. "How's the little fellow?"

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"Such a tiny, precious bundle," Doktor Archeville murmured softly, looking on with not a small amount of pride at the life he had helped usher in to this world. Sure, Taylor did the lion's share of the labor,

You need to stop hanging around Jack of all Blades.

Oh, hush. And you have made far, far worse.

... but he did provide a safe haven in which she could have the child. A part of him was upset that his anti-vampire countermeasures had barely even slowed Dracula, but revising them could wait.

"Vell," he exclaimed in his typical Large Black Forest Ham voice, "dis vas definitely de most exciting delivery I haff ever been part of!"

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"Dosing just about I think." Taylor said, beaming at James and even the good doctor for once. She held the baby up to Jack as her arms were honestly a little shaky after everything and he was in a better position to show off than she was. "Here, honey, why don't you show him around a little."

When her arms were empty, she relaxed back against the pillows looking a little worn out herself. Fiddling with the strange bracelets that tied her to the bed, Taylor wiggled them before holding her hands out to the good doctor, "Can I get unstrapped now? I think I can maintain in this dimension now without the assist."

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"Ach, of course, of course!," Archeville apologized as he worked to undo the wrist and ankle restraints. As he removed them, the chewing-on-tinfoil feeling she'd had abated.

No! Don't let her out! This is the only time I'll have to experiment on her!

Which is the biggest reason I am letting her out!

"So, shall I pencil you in for some follow-up pediatric care," he asked, gently stroking the babe's head, "or do you haff your own family physician for dat?"

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James nodded with a smile. He knew zippo about kids. "You ok? Everything worked out or anything you need?" He rolled one shoulder, working out a kink. "Can't stay long obviously. Busy as all heck," he said with a chuckle. "Not to mention my clothes are trashed and I could really use a shower." At least this one had worked out rather well in the end. The positives were nice to remember when he was off running himself ragged.

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"You're going to be our doctor for the next while," Jack assured Viktor. "There really isn't anyone else we trust. Or anyone we could trust...between one thing and another." Turning to James, he added, "You did great work out there, Hellion." Walking over with the baby, he added, "Look at this guy. Isn't he great?" That earned him a loud wail, but one Jack was soon working to soothe. "Poor little guy, what a hard day's night..."

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Stesha had been giving Jack the coldest of shoulders for a long time now, but she just had to relax her principles a bit to get another good look at the baby. "He's so sweet, and look how alert. I wonder if he's going to keep those blue eyes. Oh, just a second, be right back!" She dropped one of the ragged flowers in her hair onto the floor, then touched another one and teleported away.

She was back thirty seconds later with a stack of tiny clothes and a vase of white roses. "I know," she told Taylor, "I went baby shopping again. But I couldn't resist! I already washed these, so you can put them on him whenever you'd like. And these are for you." She set the roses onto the tray by the bed. "Congratulations, mama, you did great."

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Taylor smiled over at the flowers and rubbed her wrists lightly to get the last tingly sensation off her skin. As useful as they had been, she really didn't enjoy the idea of restraints that could hold her down. She accepted the small stack of clothing with a beaming grin, "Oh, aren't those just adorable. Thank you! I've been trying to resist buying things as with all his cousins he's going to get like a billion hand-me-downs... Oh no! I still have to call my folks!"

She looked almost comically alarmed for a moment, "I didn't call them at all! Oops..."

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James had like zero experience with kids. But he could fake it well enough. "He's a cute little sucker," he said with a grin. "So, what's his name?" He hadn't heard it yet and was curious. He looked over at Taylor and smile. "Well, I could call them if you like. Better yet, Jack can call. Or you can use my phone," he pulled out a spare phone from his pocket. "Or you can hold off till tomorrow," he said with a shrug. He turned back to smile at the little fellow. Such a cute little thing to be the source of such troubles.

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