"These things take time," Harry reassured the other man, though he had no personal experience to go by. He was just as concerned for his sister's well-being, but there was nothing they could do but wait.
"I'm told there are other things involved in birthing a child beyond simply birthing the child," Felipe offered with half a shrug. He smiled reassuringly at Miles. "It won't be long now before someone comes to fetch you, I imagine."
"You know more about it than I do," Miles admitted. After all, Felipe and Jane had already been through this once, as evidenced by the toddler whose head had sleepily dropped onto his father's shoulder.
"You do remember what a mess I was, yes?" Felipe asked, not at all abashed by this memory. "I seem to recall you had to keep queuing up sparring matches to keep me occupied."
"Yes, well, I am in no mood for sparring at the ..." Miles started, trailing off as the door opened again, but it was only to allow one of the maids to exit carrying a pile of bundled up linens. Thankfully, he did not spy any telltale blood, but the door was open just long enough for the men to hear what sounded like more wailing.
"What are they doing in there?" Miles asked, clearly agitated. He took a step toward the door, before Harry pulled him back with a shake of his head.
"You'd best wait here. Bryn will tell us what is happening before long," he assured him.
Harry's faith in his wife was not misplaced. Though it must have seemed like an age, it was only around twenty minutes later when the door opened yet again, and Bryn stepped out. She smiled brightly at Miles.
"You can go in," she told him, glancing over at Harry and Felipe. "Give them a minute or two before you both rush in to see the new arrival."
"Is everything all right?" Harry asked worriedly. Elspeth was his sister, after all, and though she was wed to Miles now, it was no secret how much he adored her.
Bryn chuckled softly. "Fine may well be a bit of an understatement," she told her husband affectionately. "We may need an oversized shoehorn to get Jane out of there."
"May I?" Miles asked, gesturing toward the door, though Bryn had just given him leave to see for himself.
"I think if you do not, Caoimhe may come out here and drag you in herself," Bryn told him, gesturing for him to make his way into the birthing chamber encouragingly.
From within, they heard the formidable Caoimhe add, "By your britches, if necessary!"
Miles blinked, looking startled. "Yes, ma'am!" he said, handing his half-empty glass off to Harry, as he was closest and Felipe already had his hands full.
"Go on," Harry encouraged, with a reassuring smile. "If it was bad news, you would know by now."
Indeed, Caoimhe was audible muttering, and whatever she said raised a familiar giggle from the redhead who had been laboring for the past hours. That was reassurance enough, surely?
Despite Bryn's remark about Jane, the young mother was the next to exit the chamber, her face aglow with happiness for her dearest friend. "Miles!" she called, taking hold of his arm to drag him toward the door. "What are you waiting for?"
Miles looked nervous, and yet, all of this was reassurance that Elspeth and their child was alive and well, and so, he followed Jane into the chamber, feeling nervous but excited.
The room did not look as though it had been in heavy use for the past six hours or more. The shutters and windows had been thrown open, the afternoon shade offering a freshness to the air as light poured in. Tall Lady Caoimhe stepped back from the bed as Miles was pulled into the room, one last gentle touch given to Elspeth's fiery hair before she stepped away and out of the room herself. Her departure showed him what he was looking for - Elspeth sat up in bed, weary and smiling, and beside her, not one, but two wriggling little bundles tucked close to her sides.
Jane took one look at her friend, a soft smile on her face, and then she, too, disappeared from the room, leaving Miles alone with his wife. He paused just short of the bed, looking puzzled at the sight of two bundles, rather than one.
"Surprise," Elspeth said softly, watching Miles with an expression torn between pleasure and concern. It wasn't as though she had been expecting this, either.
"What ..." he said, trailing off again, speechless. It didn't help that he hadn't really had much to eat in the last day or so, and the mead had already gone to his head. He blinked again, wondering if he was somehow seeing double.
"We have a daughter," she said, still speaking softly, as though addressing a skittish horse that might bolt at any moment. "And ... we have a son."
"Twins?" he asked, his brain slow to state the obvious. He took an almost hesitant step closer, as if he might somehow break the spell. "Are you-are you well?" he asked, moving to her side finally and looking for her hand, so that he could take it in his, if at all possible.
Her fingers crept into his as he reached for her, giving him a gentle tug to draw him down onto the bed with his children. "Twins," she confirmed. "Unexpected twins. It appears that our son was not as energetic as we thought - he was fighting for space with his sister."
"Twins," Miles murmured again, obviously astonished by this unexpected development. He chuckled at last, feeling as if a great weight just lifted from his shoulders, though he had yet to consider how much more work would be involved in caring for two infants at once. "I was so worried," he told her, giving her hand a soft squeeze as he sank down on the bed, careful of the newborns on either side of her.
"I was in good hands," she assured him, relieved to see him smile as he absorbed the truth of the day's events. "Caoimhe is blunt, but she knows what she is doing. It was easier than I thought it would be,"
"I am just glad you are well," Miles said, bringing her hand to his lips for a kiss. "Twins," he said, chuckling again as he looked from one to the other. "May I see?" he asked, as if he needed permission to take a closer look at the pair of them.