Alanna is one of my first and most loyal readers, one who has been with me from the beginning and has been trusted with insider information on where the series is going. A little while ago, she made an off-hand comment about how she couldn’t wait to see how Raven handled it when the midwife handed Raven his first-born.
Now, I didn’t see that scene fitting in to any of the upcoming books. (At least not as I’ve currently conceived them. Sometimes things change.) But it seemed like a good challenge to set myself. Not only would I be writing the experience for a masculine POV (and, let’s face it, birthing is one of those things where gender does really matter) but also I have zero parental instincts. No desire for parenthood whatsoever. Never had it, never will. I don’t think babies are cute and will go to great lengths to avoid holding one.
I did some research, IM’ing a male friend who became a parent a little while ago. Still, it was a challenge getting into Raven’s head at this moment. You can tell me how you think I did. . .
Raven looked on as the midwife took the small, perfect, impossible being from where he rested against Cassandra’s chest, dried it, and swaddled it in the soft, raven-print blanket that Ana had sewn as soon as they told her that Cassandra was expecting. He focused for a moment on that blanket, the fabric of which was purple and likely intended for Samhain, because if he looked at that small, scrunched face right now he was going to cry.
His chest hurt, too full of emotions he could not separate, let alone name. He’d wielded in his life more power than most mages could imagine, yet all of that seemed to slip away, insignificant in the face of this new life that he and Cassandra had brought into the world.
Sweat plastered Cassandra’s dark hair to her forehead. Tears of pain and joy ran down her face. She was utterly beautiful. He wanted to tell her how much he loved her, but there were no words.
“Do you want to hold him?” the midwife asked.
No, Raven almost said, suddenly and ridiculously terrified of the fragility of this tiny life, the immense responsibility he had toward him. But that was ridiculous; he’d sat through all the classes, been taught how to hold a baby. He had thought he was ready, but nothing could have prepared him for this moment.
He reached out to take the child. His hands were trembling, but he could not be embarrassed by the show of emotion. He and Cassandra had chosen a name as soon as she had known the gender of the child, and so he whispered ‘hello’ to Ransley Zachary Ravenscroft.
Such an insignificant weight to carry so much hope and promise. Mick must have felt this way when each of his sons were born. Raven would have to call and give him the news, and thank him for all the times Mick had talked him through his fears about fatherhood. Soon, but not just now.
His son opened his eyes, looking up for the first time into his father’s face.