They planned for this. If Cordelia went into labour during the day, when Micah was confined to his coffin, she was to call Morgyn. After all, nobody could get her to the hospital quicker than the sage. It was the logical thing to do.
But now that the moment had come, logical did not matter to her one bit. Morgyn was the last person she wanted in the hospital with her. The mere thought filled her with an irrational fear that if the sage came along, they would steal the baby and she’d never see her child again. And so she opted to go alone, the regular way, without fancy teleportation magic.
Cordelia hated the hospital. Every time she’d come here for a scan throughout the pregnancy, she half-expected them to tell her the baby was undead, a demon spawn, that there was something wrong.
But if Morgyn’s theory about the child being a vampire hybrid was right, the scans failed to pick it up. All the doctors ever told her was to eat more – which was still virtually impossible, even at 9 months, the only thing she could stomach was Dandy’s fruit.
But that didn’t matter now, the baby was coming. Slowly. At first, the contractions were sparse, so all there was to do was wait.
She thought of the last few months. It was strange how quickly her and Micah settled into the routine of living together again, as if he’d never moved out.
Of course, there were some differences. Micah moved his easel downstairs so that she could sit on the sofa when she watched him paint, and was generally lovely, making daily trips to Eden to stock up on plasma fruit for both of them.
They never broached the subject of Morgyn, bar one time; the night when she told Micah the story of how she got her scar, as dumb as it was.
With everything she’d been through, it seemed silly that a bunch of kids made her run, that she was so scared of them she tripped down the stairs, cutting her head open.
But at the time it was enough to make her skip school at every opportunity from then on.
“It’s stupid.” She said. “At school I was scared of the kids, outside of school I was scared of the sprites… I should have still gone. I… I’ve always felt so self-conscious around Morgyn, about not being as well-read as them…”
“I really doubt Morgyn cares about that.” Micah told her.
A numbness overcame her. “You’re right. Morgyn doesn’t care about me at all.”
“That’s not what I meant. I’m pretty sure Morgyn didn’t get a lot of formal schooling either.” He did not elaborate. “But that’s beside the point. If it really bothers you, there’s nothing stopping you from becoming ‘well-read’ now. If that’s what you want to do. For you, not for Morgyn.”
Cordelia didn’t know what exactly Micah and Morgyn relationship was these days, and she didn’t ask. Best not to know. At this point, she wasn’t even sure who she’d be jealous of more.
The sage would come visit them from time to time to see how Cordelia was doing, and were perfectly cordial with both Micah and Cordelia, but nothing more.
A part of Cordelia dreaded those visits, though she couldn’t put a finger on why.
Dandelion became a fairly common fixture in the house too, especially once Cordelia grew too big to manoeuvre through the tree passage. In spite of his initial shock about the news of her pregnancy, he soon got used to the idea, it seemed.
The elf’s interactions with Micah always caught Cordelia by surprise, she hadn’t realised how friendly the two of them had gotten.
It was apparent to her now that Micah must have spent a great deal of time in Sylvan Glade when they shared the house the first time around. Had she really been so blinded by Morgyn that she never noticed?
Then again, she’d had no idea about the fruit until she needed it either. Clearly, Micah was a better friend to Dandelion that she ever was. But that was hardly surprising. Micah had always been a better person, hadn’t he?
The contractions became stronger, and more frequent, forcing Cordelia out of her head. But if she didn’t distract herself, all there was pain…
The midwives came rushing in. It was time. Cordelia wished Micah could be there with her.
Though more than anything, she wished she could be with her mother. As little as she remembered of Annaliese, one thing was for certain, her mother had been through this.
What Cordelia wouldn’t give to have mother her hold her hand. But she had to settle for one of the nurses.
Everything became a blur. Next thing she knew, the baby was in her arms.
No demon spawn. The most perfect baby she’d ever seen. Looked so much like Micah. Even had his eyes.
“It’s a girl.” Someone in the room said, but Cordelia was too mesmerised by the beautiful creature to pay attention to who it was.
She only managed to acknowledge anything but her child when Micah and Morgyn entered.
Micah. Was it night time already? She hadn’t even realised the darkness had descended.
The vampire looked apprehensive at first. But once he joined her and their daughter, for the first time ever, Cordelia felt… complete. It was the best feeling in the world. All that mattered was that the three of them were together.
But the blessed moment was fleeting, of course. Surprisingly, Morgyn opted to stay in the sidelines, but even their presence in the room was a painful reminder that whatever sense of feeling whole she may have gotten from her, Micah and the baby together was artificial. Wherever Micah was in her heart, what was there in reality was a big black hole. She couldn’t forget that.
Her eyes met Morgyn’s, prompting the sage to come closer.
“So, what are you calling her?” Morgyn asked.
“Hawthorne.” Micah told them.
“Blackwell. Hathorne Blackwell.” Cordelia looked up at the spellcaster defiantly. “She gets my name.”
“Do you think that bothers me?” Morgyn raised an eyebrow. “There’s no long line of Embers I’m hoping to honour if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m the first, likely last. I quite like it that way. Hawthorne Blackwell it is. Though it is a bit of a mouthful, if you ask me.”
“No one was asking.” Micah interrupted, his voice calm but resolute.
“Of course.” Morgyn nodded. They paused for a moment. “May I hold her?”
Cordelia instinctively pulled the infant closer to her.
“I promise I’m not taking her away. Do you really think I’d want to deal with diapers?” Morgyn smirked.
She glanced at Micah. He didn’t seem concerned. Begrudgingly, she handed the infant to the sage.
So many times she had wondered if Morgyn was capable of true emotion, if they were capable of caring for anyone. Seeing them hold Hawthorne now, the look on their face finally answered that.
But strangely, Cordelia wasn’t sure she was happy about that at all.