There was silence for a long tense moment, then...
"I'm going to kill you, Vegita!" She paused, apparently for breath, then she let out a loud, pained scream.
He couldn't help wincing at the sound, but his pacing never ceased or slowed. This would probably be a lot easier to bear if Kakaroto were not in here, watching his every step.
"This is all your fault, you know, Vegita," Makoto commented. He sent her a withering look that was cut short as there was another scream of pain.
"As I recall, Mako-chan," Rei returned, "it takes two to tango."
His wife screamed again, and his pacing sped up. He'd thought the past few months were bad. Her temper seem to have gotten progressively shorter as her stomach grew larger, and there had been a lot of yelling, mostly on her part, but nothing like this. Another scream echoed through the palace, and he winced; this was like a nightmare. She'd warned him it would probably be bad, but he'd never imagined it would be like this. If this night ever ended, he'd like to forget it, although he really didn't think it would be possible.
He had never thought it was possible for her to scream like that.
He really wanted to go in there with her, but Chichi had told him his presence would probably only make things worse. His wife would probably kill him--or at least damage him beyond even the Saiyajin level of repair.
The Outer Senshi watched him with sympathetic eyes, and Rei came to his defense every time Makoto said something against him. Kakaroto looked rather sympathetic as well. He should; it was his wife that had started the yelling at him.
She'd gone into labor around sunset; hard to believe that had been only five hours ago. It had hit hard and fast. One minute she'd been fine; the next, she'd been doubled over in pain.
All the enemies they had faced... Nothing had ever made her scream like that before.
I'd rather face those clones again than have to repeat this, he thought to himself. Rei smiled as if she knew what he was thinking. Hell, she probably does. The psychic voyeur probably knows exactly when he was conceived.
Like he didn't. It had started out like one of their typical fights, maybe a little worse and a bit louder than normal.
"Does ChibiUsa have to come here so often?" he'd complained loudly.
She had been slowly taking her hair out of her customary odango when he'd spoken. She'd turned on her vanity stool to look at him. She'd learned long ago that the slight difference in their heights didn't exactly give him too much of an advantage. "She's my daughter," she'd plainly stated. "She should be able to come and go as she pleases."
"Would you like Koneko underfoot all this time like ChibiUsa always is?" he'd returned.
"If she would ever come here, yes!"
"She probably thinks you don't want her here!"
"Well, I never said anything to give her an idea like that!"
After that, the words started to blur. The yelling had continued back and forth for what seemed like hours. Subjects had bounced from Koneko to ChibiUsa to Kakaroto then back to the two girls. "Well, if you hadn't spoiled her, Serenity, she wouldn't be here every time something goes wrong in her life!" he'd argued, pacing closer to her.
She'd risen quickly to her feet, her hair streaming out behind her as she'd stepped closer to him. He'd thought for sure he'd pushed her too far this time, that he'd be banished to the spare bedroom for weeks for this one, when he'd seen the angry look in her eyes. Never before had he gotten her mad enough to make the crescent moon on her forehead appear, as it did then. She'd never looked more beautiful.
"I did not spoil her, Vegita-sama!" she'd yelled.
Somehow they'd ended up kissing. That had led to other things. When he thought about it, he probably still had scars from that night. And those other thing had led them to...
"I hate you, Vegita!"
Setsuna weakly smiled. "Remember she's in a lot of pain," she advised. "She doesn't mean any of this." He merely nodded in her direction, his attention on the floor as he continued pacing.
"What does the timeline say about this night, Setsuna?" Haruka asked softly. Come to think of it, she looked as upset as he felt, although he severely doubted it.
"Only that a son will be born before sun-up. The details I do not know."
He threw himself down into the seat he'd abandoned an hour ago to begin pacing and lowered his head into his hands. I swear I will never lay a hand on her again, he promised to himself. I don't think I could go through another night of her in such pain.
His thoughts now drifted back to this sunset. She'd claimed to feel achy after dinner, when she'd eaten more than him or Kakaroto, but that was nothing unusual; she'd been complaining of worse aches and pains than normal ever since the seventh month of her pregnancy. Every other time, it had been nothing a short walk hadn't been able to cure.
This time, however, they had gotten no farther than the main hall of the palace when she began to lag behind. "I don't feel so good," she'd muttered, stopping. She'd remained still for a moment then finally straightened up. "I guess I was wrong," she had commented, catching up with him.
He'd been worried then (after all, Ami had said she was two weeks overdue as it was), but of course he'd refused to let anyone see it. "Think you were finally about to drop the brat, woman?"
She'd hit him playfully on the shoulder, gently enough that he had barely felt it and she hadn't hurt her hand. "No one will be happier than I will be when that day finally arrives, Vegita." She'd grinned, now holding onto his arm and leaning on his shoulder possessively but happily. "In the meantime, though, I'm going to start charging your son rent."
He'd smirked. "A little drastic, don't you think, woman?" She did seem better then, he recalled; if she'd been in pain, she would have yelled at him but good for the "woman" crack.
"Maybe. Too bad we don't get too much choice in our children's names."
She had a point, he had thought as they'd stepped outside. Daughters named Serenity; sons named Vegita. Ami called it keeping two ancient cultures from dying out. However, there would be no more full-blooded Saiyajin or true Lunarians. "After us, the bloodlines thin out."
"As long as there are still a few Saiyajin and Lunarians left, we will never be extinct."
"Optimist." He'd tried to say it like it was a bad thing, but it was that inner light in her that kept him going sometimes. She did not know the meaning of the word "quit." If she did, she probably would have given up on him long ago. He'd led her outside into the royal gardens. The air had been rather brisk for it to not yet be night.
"Is that so terrible?" she'd returned with a smile. "You want me to walk around all dark and solemn like--"
She'd doubled over in pain, clutching her stomach. His quick reflexes were all that had kept her from landing on the ground. "Na-nani?"
She'd clutched a fistful of his shirt and whispered, "It's starting."
She screamed again, bringing him back to the present. The boy had damn well better appreciate what he's putting her through, he sullenly thought. It sounds like he's ripping her apart. He thought back to every horror movie he'd ever seen (There had been quite a few. It had been fun when she practically crawled in his lap in terror.), and he realized that was exactly what it sounded like.
There was silence for a long time. Even the Senshi seemed worried as it dragged on. Finally Hotaru stepped in the room, a little shaken. "Is it over?" Michiru asked.
"Not yet. We had to give her a sedative. We're going to have to deliver this baby C-section."
"It took you this long to decide to do this?" Minako almost yelled. He'd almost forgotten how protective the leader of the Inners was of her Queen.
"Why so long, Hotaru?" Haruka continued, a bit softer. He mentally added the leader of the Outers to his previous thought.
"We were afraid of what would happen with the Crystal, but we're just going to have to chance it. Either Chichi or I will try to keep you updated." She disappeared back into the infirmary.
He'd been briefed on C-sections six weeks ago. He'd thought it was a horrible suggestion back then; it sounded barbaric now. Ami had given him a full medical text book definition; Minako had summarized it in that direct, to-the-point way of hers, "They cut the baby out." Her own daughter, nicknamed ChibiV, had been delivered that way. ChibiV was the leader of ChibiUsa's Inner Senshi, and she was as protective of her Queen as her mother was of hers.
Kakaroto placed a sympathetic hand on his shoulder. He shook it off and started pacing again, unable to shake the images in his mind of Ami and Hotaru cutting into his wife while Chichi looked on gleefully.
"Worrying about it won't help," Zoicite offered. He must looked more worried than he realized for Zoicite to speak up; the man seemed absolutely terrified of him.
"You're one to talk," Jadeite returned. "You were a basketcase the whole time Ami was in labor."
"He has a point," offered Nephrite. "By the time your daughter was born, you were plastered."
"And you two were any better?" Makoto accused, poking her husband sharply in the chest. He laughed, apparently embarrassed.
His wife had told him, quite plainly, if she went through all the trouble of birthing his son and he showed up anything less than normal, she would personally make sure he starved and spent the rest of his nights in another room. Not to mention the fact she'd threatned to completely destroy the gravity room. Terrible for her to know his few weaknesses so well.
ChibiUsa and Helios showed up about five minutes later. The Queen of Crystal Tokyo rather resembled a beachball, he inanely thought. A pink beachball, and Helios was watching her as closely as he'd watched his wife when she was still just six months pregnant.
"How's Mama?" she anxiously asked, sitting down as far from his chair as possible.
"They just decided to go C-section," Minako answered.
Everyone was silent after that remark. He looked up at them all. ChibiUsa clung to Helios. Kakaroto stared at the floor like it was the most interesting thing ever. Setsuna looked almost ready to pass out herself. The Inners were being held by their husbands; Makoto didn't even glare at him when he looked at her. They really were terrified. Haruka and Michiru sat together on a small loveseat. Haruka's legs were curled up under her, and she sat resting her head on Michiru's shoulder as she bit her knuckles in worry. Michiru seemed to be the calmest of all the Senshi, but that was normal; she did look a little pale though.
Minutes ticked by like hours. Two hours seemed like two eternities to him. It was getting harder and harder to distract himself. By now he was left wondering how his son would look: Saiyajin like Koneko did, or Lunarian as ChibiUsa did, or somewhere in between maybe?
This had to have been the longest night of his life. Had it really only been seven hours? If the Senshi don't spoil her after this, I just might, he thought as he completed another lap of pacing.
"Sit down for a little bit, will you?" Rei complained. "You're making me dizzy and more nervous than I already am!"
He glared at her but returned to his seat. It hadn't helped anyway; he'd stopped concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other long ago. He crossed his arms and stared at the ceiling.
We've been through so much together, he thought, even before we got married. He let his mind drift back over the years. He had not been too impressed with her when he first saw her; at best, she'd seemed quite interesting. After all, he didn't know any other humans with wings. He'd been a bit surprised when she first detransformed but not yet impressed. That hadn't happened until she'd stopped him from killing the man in that store who had pulled his tail. He'd thought she was crazy without a doubt, but she was brave. The dating had been fun, despite the fact they were yelled at after every one. Koneko's appearance had driven them apart for a time, then when she was again replaced by ChibiUsa, he'd left Japan all together. Those two years in Biarritz, France, had been hell. The only time his thoughts had not turned to Koneko and then her mother had been when he was fighting. Then he'd rescued her from Jadeite and the Dark Kingdom. He'd tried to act the same to her during that long battle; she'd known better, even if he hadn't. He remember still waking up after Jadeite's attack to see her worried face above him. If only Kakaroto hadn't shown up then... It hadn't been long after that when the sorceresses finally returned them to their own dimensions, just as she began the cleansing of earth. To himself, he'd worried about her defending the planet with only Sailor Pluto (who was so rarely around) for help. The next time he saw her, she was almost a thousand years older and Queen of Crystal Tokyo. She acted so much different, so much more lady-like, but Usagi was still in there. Watching that scientist experiment on her had been sheer torture for him. They'd grown closer still after that. But inevitably, she'd left. After all, she had her kingdom to rule; she couldn't abandon the billions of people who depended on her every day. She'd returned yet again after what had been five long years for him and more than 1000 even longer ones for her. She'd stayed maybe ten minutes, then she'd left again. She'd only come to say goodbye. She had not expected to live through the enemy she was facing. It had killed Endymion, after all; she and ChibiUsa were its next targets. He knew exactly how and why they had been able to help her fight: Koneko had wanted to see her mother and accidentally wished them all there. That battle marked the first time he'd seen her die, and when she came back, she'd changed again. She had tried to avoid him; Koneko had reported, though, that she had caught her mother watching him often. Many of the Senshi had dropped some serious hints while they were all recuperating, trying to get him to say with their Queen. And he had. A month later, they'd gotten married, despite Koneko's objections. That had been over a hundred years ago. He'd enjoyed every minute of them, even if he'd had to deal with all the politicians from all the planets she'd brought together. She still teased him often that his presence did more to keep the peace than all her negotiating did; the other planets were terrified of him. They ought to fear her, he thought. Tenshi, angel, don't leave me.
There were new screams, the first cries of an infant, from the infirmary, and he breathed a sigh of relief. That part, at least, was over.
Chichi stepped out a few minutes later with a small blue bundle. The child was still whimpering, but he was also staring at each person there with curious blue eyes, his mother's eyes. He stared at the tiny person for a long time before looking up at Chichi and asking, "My wife?"
"She'll be fine," Ami reported, joining them all around the little
boy. "She's still asleep, but you can go on in there. He's precious, isn't he?"
That wasn't quite the word he had in mind. Were all children in this dimension cursed to have such odd-colored hair? Purple? He silently slipped past the Senshi and into the infirmary.
His wife lay on a bed against the left wall surrounded by the glow of the Moon Crystal. She'd be back to normal in no time, he assured himself. He shut the door behind him and sat down at her side, gently taking her hand. Her eyes cracked open. "Tenshi?" he whispered.
"I hope you appreciate the things I go through for you, Vegita-sama," she teased weakly.
"Hai, I do."
"Good. I love you."
"I know, woman."