The Rogers family seemed to have set themselves something of a trend. First Jamie was born on July 4th, and now ... April 1st was not a good day to go into labor, Lucy had decided. It had taken three goes to get her sister to take her seriously, another two to get Johnny to acknowledge that she really was in labor, and who knew how many times Johnny had had to repeat it to get Steve to believe him? Thankfully, however, there were a lot of family on hand to take over custody of Martin, Lianne, and Jamie while their father rushed home to collect their mother and deliver her safely to the hospital. Steve's smallest girls had decided they were arriving, whether their parents were ready or not.
To say he had rushed home was something of an understatement. Things were heating up back in New York, but Nat had assured Steve that she and the rest of the team had things well in hand and that Lucy needed him more than they did. It didn't really take much convincing to send him home, so close to Lucy's due date, so when he finally got the call from Johnny, it was only a matter of minutes before he was there. For a man who was known for his courage in battle, he was looking more than a little bit nervous with worry about the impending delivery.
Lucy was not at all shy about vocalizing her pain this time, either. After all, this time, she wasn't giving birth in her own bed at her husband's birthday party, with everyone they were related to either in the room with them, or at the bottom of the stairs. Leaning forward onto the raised bed, she swayed a little in the aftermath of the latest contraction, gripping Steve's hand entirely too hard for comfort. "At least we're in a hospital this time," she whimpered, raising her head to take a breath. Red-faced and already sweaty and tired, she was not looking forward to the rest of the day.
There was an old saying that doctors made the worst patients, and maybe in Lucy's case that was true, but Steve couldn't much blame her, having witnessed the birth of their son firsthand. He was relieved they'd made it to a hospital this time, and not just because they were having twins. Steve smiled reassuringly, letting her squeeze his hand as hard as she wanted. He wasn't Captain America for nothing, after all. "I'm right here, Luce. I'm not going anywhere."
"I want them to rip my womb out before I go home," she informed him with a pained grimace, though it was pretty obvious that this was the pain talking. She hadn't mentioned this at all in the last few months, therefore she hadn't thought it through. "Five children, more than .... enough!" She let out a loud keening sound, dropping her forehead to the raised bed as she struggled not to push. "Oh for god's sake, this is so much worse than last time!"
He couldn't very well argue with that - five children was a lot, but to be fair, she had thus far only birthed one of them, until now. "Sweetheart, I think it's a little too soon to ..." Steve broke off at his wife's cry of pain. The doctor had said things might move along faster the second time around, but he wasn't expecting things to move quite this quickly. "Um ... Do you want me to get the nurse?" he asked uncertainly, leaning close to dab a damp cloth against her brow.
She shook her head, groping for his free hand to press his fingers against the small of her back. Of course, without a little verbal direction, he might not know that the knots around her spine were actually more painful than the contractions of her womb, but she didn't offer him anything in words, apart from a creative suggestion that unless the nurse came armed with a powerful suction machine, she could leap off the top of the building for all Lucy cared.
Steve frowned with worry. Maybe Lucy was right. If there was this much pain involved in childbirth, maybe they should quit while they were ahead, and yet, he knew from experience that some things were worth suffering a little pain for and having children was probably one of them. After all, the pain was temporary and a small price to pay. But if he dared say any of that to Lucy right now, she was more likely to punch him than agree. Instead, he followed her guidance, letting his fingers massage the small of her back like he'd been taught.
It was just as well they hadn't given in to Martin's desperate pleas to be allowed to witness the birth of his new baby sisters. Lucy's grasp on coherency had already faded to nothing more than general exclamations of pain that were definitely not suitable for small ears by the time the nurse announced that she was ready to go. And Lucy being Lucy ... she insisted on walking to the delivery suite, clinging to Steve every step of the way. "Just so you know," she managed from between clenched teeth, "pretty much everything I say from now until this is done has nothing to do with you."
"I'll try not to take it too personally," he assured her, as he slowly led her to the delivery room, taking it one step at a time. He didn't think it was necessary for her to walk, but hero or no, he knew better than to argue with a woman in labor, even if he did think she was being ridiculously stubborn.
Still, he wouldn't have stayed married to her if he didn't find that stubbornness just a little bit attractive. She had a feeling he should cling to that thought, because the next two hours were in no way attractive at all. Loud, yes. Messy, yes. Embarrassing at times, certainly. But attractive? Not at all. And yet, when all was done, and she was lying in the bed as it was wheeled back toward the private room that was for their use, she couldn't helping smiling as she looked back at her husband. Steve had both their new daughters in his arms, deemed a safe pair of hands by everyone in the delivery suite, and Lucy didn't think she'd ever seen anything quite so touching in all her life.
Now that the hard part was over, both father and mother were beaming with pride, a soft smile on Steve's face for the two newest members of the Rogers' family who had already captured their father's heart. "They're so tiny, Luce," he marveled as he walked along beside her, one daughter in each arm. "Tiny and perfect."
"They didn't feel tiny, coming out," she chuckled softly, resting back against the pillows with no small relief. She genuinely hadn't expected the birth to be so exhausting; Jamie's birth really had been easy in comparison. "You look so cute like that."
He smirked at her comment. No one ever called him cute but her. "They're the cute ones, and you did all the work. All I did was watch," he said, though he'd done at least a little more than that. "I'm just glad I could be here for you. You did great, Luce. I'm so proud of you." He would have stopped and kissed her right there, if they weren't pushing the bed along the hallway toward her room.
She laughed gently, aware of the pulling ache that wasn't going away anytime soon. "I wouldn't have been able to do it without you, you know," she pointed out fondly. "You are rather instrumental to my being brave about anything, especially if I have to be in pain to do it." Stretching a little, she sat up a bit more as the bed was wheeled safely into their private room and parked, smiling gratefully to the porters as they took their leave. "So ... which one looks like a Sarah, and which one looks like a Natalia?"
Steve followed Lucy's bed into the room, looking from one twin to the other with a thoughtful frown. It didn't help that they were identical twins, with very few differences to distinguish one from the other. "I don't know," he replied uncertainly. "Maybe we should decide which one should be the elder and which the younger," he suggested, at least as far as names were concerned.
"Maybe," she agreed softly. "I know they told us they'd be identical, but I didn't realize just how alike they'd be." Now she had an opportunity to really look at the girls, she couldn't help smiling. "They really are tiny, aren't they?"
"You didn't think so a little while ago," he reminded her with a grin, though he wasn't about to repeat the almost shocking stream of profanity that had come out of her mouth. "Would you like to hold one?"