Author: Candyland (candy__chan)
Fandom: Fushigi Yuugi Oni: Back into the book we go. Except now a lot of our old friends are ghosts.
Taunt: My fandom is technically two parts. (I still suck at taunts.)
The midwives were encouraging, but she did not know if she would survive this. If she died now…or if their child died…Houki felt her heart break at the thought.
Still, she labored desperately to give birth. This was not just for her. It felt as though the whole of the kingdom was riding on her now, her and her unborn child, and the weight of those hopes for the future were threatening to smother her.
The official mourning period had passed. As the empress, she had found herself very much engaged with the council and advisors as they awaited the birth of the heir. Her heart still ached for the one she had loved and lost, but it was her turn to lead now. So she kept her public face as strong as possible, and wept only in private.
But now she was to give birth to his child—his son. He had said he wished to live to see his son’s face; she had been told of those words. He had said that as he lay dying, and he had seemed so certain of it.
There were voices beyond the door—the finest doctors in the land were there, just in case, waiting for a moment when their skills might be needed to save empress or heir. But until an emergency of that magnitude arose, they were kept outside. The birthing room was solely the domain of the midwives, and as such was no place for men.
In spite of the chaos and bustle of people around her, Houki had never felt so alone.
She screamed as another intense wave of pain came over her. She knew she was stronger than this, but while a broken heart might continue to beat, it also continued to hurt. She wanted this to be over, she wanted their son, she wanted Hotohori-sama…
She missed him so terribly…
Hands seemed to wrap around hers, though she saw no one actually doing such a thing. There was the feeling of arms holding her, of words she could not understand being whispered in her ear, sweet and encouraging. It reminded her of those nights…
She felt a strange calm, despite the pain and chaos. Like maybe there was someone there with her. Like maybe she wasn’t so alone after all…
One of the midwives said a word to her. Houki took a deep breath and pushed.
What happened next all happened very quickly. The women around her began moving and talking very fast at each other. Houki herself felt strangely peaceful as she lay there with tears streaming from her eyes, waiting to know...
And everyone else went silent as a baby’s wail filled the room.
Give him to me… she could not say the words, but merely watch as the midwives washed the blood away and wrapped the newborn in a fine blanket. And finally, her silent request was answered as her child was placed in her arms. The midwife whispered that the child was a boy.
A prince, destined to be emperor.
But she already knew that.
The chaos around her went on as those waiting at the door were told of what had happened and messengers were dispersed quickly to the corners of the empire to herald the good news. But she let it all slip away from her. The world did not need to exist for this moment.
Exhausted, Houki smiled down at the baby in her arms, smiling though tears of happiness and relief and regret. Barely minutes old, and she already couldn’t help but think that he looked like his father.
She tilted her head back slightly to look up towards the ceiling, towards heaven itself in a silent prayer of thanks to her beloved for the last thing he had given her—the greatest gift he could have left her. Hotohori-sama…your son.