the last day of the 2718th year
"I'm a pina manna excited, no' gonna lie, hama. Oes, nervous, too. An' all th' hard part's on y'self. I'd rather 't weren't." Tristaan ignored the growl, nonplussed, far too aware that pain made everything sharper at the edges. He'd lived a life of it in some form or another, after all. Sarinah's fingers slipped from his and he bit his lip at her refusal to accept things as they were,
"We ent ever gonna be ready, but this ent 'bout jus' us. Our babe's ready, by th' sounds o'things. Epaemo it's gotta be here like this. Y' don't want th' boch 'n there any more, anyway, ye chen. Might as well welcome her 'r him—it—out." Hummed the dark-haired passive as he moved about their home, pausing to finally fasten his pants and tie back his hair before he began the task of stoking the flames of their small but more than adequate hearth. Or, at least, it would have been plenty clocking adequate if the old windows weren't drafty and the wooden walls weren't shoddily nailed together.
Grey eyes watched the way his lovely witch moved, concerned hues searching her face to measure her discomfort, well-practiced in expressions of pain,
"Ent a thing t' be 'fraid 'f anyways. Y' got a body made t' carry an' have bochi, after all. I'm here. We'll be fine." If there was any doubt, which there was, he kept it all from his voice. There was a nervous flutter to his heartbeat, a flustered sensation that tingled the ends of his nerves, and an acceleration to his pulse that reminded him of all of his fears. He wouldn't know how to help Sarinah if something went wrong, not really, nor would he really know how to help a tiny babe. He'd been told what to look for, what to expect, but that wasn't going to ever be the same as staring death of a loved one in the face—
Ne. They'd be fine. Everything would be fine.
Tristaan had, quite literally, nothing else.
Blinking, the laboring witch was counting and he forced himself to listen, to pay attention, to crawl his own thoughts far away from all the doubts and the worries and to focus on the now. The beautiful, expectant, and apparently rather painful now.
"I wish there were, hama. Magic, that is, but then, I wouldn't b' able t' help you there. Y' don't want me goin' out lookin' for someone, d' you? I don't want t' leave y'alone, an' I don't want y' t' come out with me, ye chen. I can see 'f someone's home an' send a neighbor. Jus' tell me—" He paused as he stood from the hearth, reaching to support Sarinah, rocking them both gently, calloused fingers kneading carefully at her lower back while she sobbed more than breathed through another contraction. Tristaan could deal just fine with his own pain—he was now well-known for his purposeful silence when suffering, his indomitable will to not give his opponents the pleasure of hearing how much they hurt him—but he now had to come to terms with spending the rest of the evening watching the witch endured a suffering he couldn't bear for her and could never entirely understand.
Hovering until she was ready to let him go, he smiled softly, hands trailing gingerly over her belly between them, grey eyes glancing downward as if he longed to peer inside to see what had been hidden from him for these many months. He would soon.
"How long? Dze, that's th' hard part, macha." Tristaan offered quietly, reaching for one of the chairs to their kitchen table and curling her fingers over the back, instructing her wordlessly to lean while he went back to fetching preparations, chewing the inside of his cheek as she moaned.
He'd managed to haggle a bit of oiled tarp from some Hoxian sailors weeks ago, the wide, roughly cut square waterproof and thick. He had it folded with a pile of blankets and towels, many of them cheap and threadbare and hardly useful for warmth but still absorbent. He had cleaned the tub, though, then again, so had Sarinah in her needful nesting. He had gently herbed oils for massages. He had a little special sewing kit from Farhid for tears (but did he have the constitution for such a thing?). He'd even picked up a very small stool specifically for the purpose of labor, having been told by Teira that finding the right position for pushing was important.
Gods, he was supposed to remember what all of those instructions even meant!
Tristaan dutifully spread the tarp over part of the bed, letting the rest of it drape onto the floor. Blankets he set in two separate piles within reach along with a little bag of tiny baby things that they'd both somehow managed to collect over the past few months, the dark-haired passive often skimped on meals when he had to feed himself alone just to squirrel the coins away. It was easy to busy himself with this sort of work, fussing about their snug flat and pretending it was his only responsibility. It was all important work, sure, but his real focus was to be encouraging and present, to make sure that his lovely witch didn't panic or worry any more than she already was.
Once he felt as though he'd at least marginally prepared for whatever was unfolding and however long it would take, he turned his focus back to Sarinah, more than willing to offer more support if she wanted to weather more contractions standing up, content to bear the brunt of her frustrations, and willing to offer himself for squeezes and whines,
"I think th' waitin' part varies by boch an' daoa. We can jus' hope it's sooner 'stead 'f later, eh? Tell me what I can do for you?"