Newleaf Day Fifteen: Light rain sprinkles throughout the whole day, leading to clear skies in the afternoon and washing away the layer of pollen that had previously settled over the valley.
"I see things no one else sees."
The kits came in the night: two small, mewling bodies born amid pain, hissed curses, and effort. It hadn't been all that difficult, truly. The contractions and the pain had been the worst part, but both kits had been born with little fuss. Some deep instinct had helped Adderpool throughout the process, and Hemlock's presence had been a welcome relief when it was over. The hardest part, perhaps, was over, and the reward lay in the curve of her belly, kneading away with tiny paws while their bodies quivered with purrs.
The days of carrying them within her were over, but the work wasn't done yet. They would still rely on her for every need for moons yet, but at least she had help. Hemlock, the better of them with herbs in case they needed it- and Tumble, who waited outside for her to call him to see the little ones he'd fathered. She supposed she felt well enough for that now: the last aches were fading, though she felt a touch worn out, but he deserved to see them after leaving his brothers and his Clan. He'd have to return soon enough, but when would be up to him.
"Tumbleheart?" she called, shifting a bit more upright and lifting her head, gently nuzzling one of the kits and licking its still-damp pelt. "You can come in now. We're ready."
Tumbleheart was still getting used to being part of SedimentClan. He was so used to it being just him, Ashpaw, and Flash. Now, it was Tumbleheart, Ashtail, and Lightningflash. He had grown up with one name all his life, and now he had a new one.
Things never seemed to be just usual for Tumbleheart though. Recently, he had been approached and told that he was soon to be a father. Who would've thought? Tumbleheart never really pictured himself as a father, but mainly because he had not known a lot of she-cats growing up.
But now, against all odds, Tumbleheart was sitting outside of Adderpool's residence while she birthed kits that were fifty percent his. It was a big moment. What sort of father would he be? Tumbleheart didn't remember his father...How would he know if he was doing his job right?
Adderpool's voice caused Tumbleheart to shoot straight up in surprise, no small amount of fear propelling his bristles upwards. It was time.
"Coming!" he weakly called before stepping to where Adderpool lay. Two small forms pawed at her deflated belly, causing a warm fuzzy feeling to well up in Tumbleheart. Then spill out of his eyes.
Wait no, that was just him crying. How embarrassing.
"T-th-they're beautiful," he choked out through a few ugly sobs. "Y-you're beautiful." It was true. Adderpool glowed after the birth of their kits. That she could bring forth such life and still be so full was incredible to the new father.
"What will their names be?" Tumbleheart pressed his head against Adderpool's, looking lovingly at the two new lives.
Tumbleheart slid into the den, pausing next to Adderpool. Hemlock, who had backed off now that the kits had been born, remained in the background, sorting the piles of herbs he'd gathered since knowing Adderpool had been expecting kits. Quiet but present, just in case; Adderpool turned her attention to the black-and-white tom who had fathered the little lives nursing at her belly, her ears flicking back in bemused uncertainty as he crowded close.
She stood it for a moment, waiting for Tumbleheart to move away on his own; when he didn't, she shuffled a leg loose and lifted it to press against his chest. "Give me space, please," she asked, her tail flickering in agitation. She wasn't quite used to anything beyond a passing touch: a brush of cheeks or shoulders, a flick of a tail. The prolonged cheek-to-cheek made her twitchy. "Thank you," she added as an afterthought, once he'd done so, and cast a glance down at the little kits.
"Why don't we each name one?" she offered, her nose dipping toward the small black-and-white. A little copy of her father... and of Adderpool and Hemlock's own father. "The she-kit, I'd like to name Yew. After our sister who looked like her." Her gaze flicked up to meet Hemlock's for a moment before turning back to Tumbleheart. "Just Yew. After all, she was born a loner. And the male?" she prompted, giving Tumbleheart the chance to bestow a name of his choosing on his newborn son.