There are two things in life for which we are never truly prepared: twins.
“I can hear the heartbeats!” Laura gasped, body practically shaking with excitement. Claudia laughed as the young wolf shifted to press her head more firmly against her stomach. “They're so fast.”
“Laura.” Talia sighed, strolling In with Derek balanced on her hip. “Give Claudia some space.”
Laura shifted until she was sat on Claudia's lap, keeping a hand pressed against Claudia's stomach, much to her and Talia's amusement.
“But I've never heard twins heartbeats before.” She pouted. She turned up to stare at Claudia with wide, grey eyes. “Why do you have twins and not mama?”
Talia let out an exasperated sigh as she sat in the seat opposite, setting Derek down on the floor and watching as he crawled towards Claudia, Claudia let out a fond laugh and picked up the toddler, seating him on her lap next to Laura.
“Because my sweet, twins often run in my family, my father was a twin and his father before him.”
“But not you?”
“No dear, I'm an only child.”
Laura looked a little sad at this. “I don't think I'd like being alone, I love Der Der even if he cries a lot.” The toddler in question gurgles happily and leans his head against Claudia's stomach. “And soon mama will have another pup!”
“That she will.”
“Can your pups be my brother and sister too?” Laura asked.
“They aren't pups.” Talia admonished. “They're sparks, just like their mother.”
“Sparks... Magic?” Laura asked with wide eyes. “How do you know?”
“Because I can feel them sweetling.” Claudia replied. “Their sparks are already burning bright.”
“Claudia!” A cheerful voice greeted. “I thought I heard you!”
“Good afternoon Henry.” Claudia smiled. “How are you?”
Henry strode into the living room, pausing to kiss Talia and rubbing a hand over her stomach before moving over to sweep a laughing Derek into his arms.
“I'm well.” He smiled. “How are you and the twins? And John, of course.”
“I can hear the heartbeats papa!” Laura beamed.
“Yes, so can I.” Henry grinned back.
“We're all well, John is thinking about running for Sheriff one day.”
“He would be good, obviously he'll have our support.” He looked from Claudia to Talia. “Can I get either of you anything?”
“Some peppermint tea would be great.” Talia smiled.
Henry nodded. “Claudia?”
“If you don't mind.”
“Of course not.” Henry chuckled loudly as he walked from the room, Laura scrambled down and chased after her father.
“Have you figured out when you'll be giving birth?” Talia asked.
“The official due date is October 21st.” Claudia replied.
Talia smirked. “But?”
“But they'll be born on the 19th.”
“On the first day of the Leonis Minorids meteor shower.” She laughed gently. “Well I guess that's it then, you and John are going to be dealing with some powerful sparks.”
Claudia laughed, a hand coming up to stroke over her stomach. It was no secret that sparks born during meteor shower seem to possess a stronger ability, the old legends say that a meteor shower is a gift from the Gods to celebrate the birth of a spark, obviously that was before science, but there was no denying that any sparks Claudia has met that so happened to be born during a meteor shower have shown a higher power than average.
“Laura is already so fond of the twins.” Talia noted with amusement as Henry returned with two steaming cups of tea, Laura following closely with Derek stumbling beside her.
“I'm sure that Laura will be more than happy to protect them as they grow up, along with Derek and her baby sister.” Henry said as he took a seat next to Talia.
“Yeah!” Laura nodded furiously, eyes bright. “I won't let anybody hurt family.” She looked so determined and so much like her mother it made Claudia laugh, the girl would make a good alpha, one day.
“They will be your pack mates Laura, you'll protect them and they will protect you.” Talia said.
“Tell John to come next time.” Henry said. “We're having a barbecue on the moon.”
“I'll be sure to tell him. He'll love that.” Claudia smiled.
“Are you sure you should be doing that in your condition?” John asked as he wrapped his arms around his wife's waist, hands splaying over her stomach.
“I'm pregnant John, not dying.” Claudia sighed. “And besides, it's only painting.” She settled back into his embrace to survey her work. “What do you think?”
John looked at the painted walls, Claudia had chosen it, he had called it beige but she had steadfastly insisted that it was too light for that and proceeded to name it, he couldn't pronounce it and made no attempt to, all that mattered was that it was the chosen colour for the nursery of their babies. The real focus of the room, however, was the mural that Claudia had been focusing on painting all day, it was a large tree and it was clear that she was going for a forest theme.
“They like the forest.” Claudia shrugged.
“They aren't even born yet.” John laughed, he didn't understand how his wife knew these things, he knew she was a spark and that the twins would be too, but it was still surreal to him, learning the truth about sparks and wolves. The world had made serious progress in recent years regarding the acceptance of the supernatural but people were still cautious when it came to the Hale's. They were lucky, the town knew that Claudia was a spark, but she had never displayed her powers in public and so nobody really treated her with any concern.
“Yet.” Claudia smiled. “Not long to go.”
“When will Talia give birth?”
“Will you take a break from painting?”
“I was finished anyway.” Claudia shrugged. She stepped out of his embrace to look up at the ceiling. “Could we make the lights look like the night sky?”
“I'm not... Very good with electrics. Though if Henry would be willing to help then I don't see why not.”
“Cora is a great name.” John smiled, accepting the beer offered to him by Henry.
“Thank you.” Henry laughed, it was the annual family barbecue and several members of the family had come to visit, John was still getting used to his inclusion in pack life, despite their wives being friends for so long, it was probably because both of his children carrying a spark and Laura and Derek's obvious love for the unborn children, honestly he's a little surprised at the pack bond that's already developed and he knows that the two sparks will be a constant presence in the Hale home.
The two men stood together and drank silently, watching their wives talk together.
“Your twins are due next month, right?” Henry asked.
“Have the two of you settled on names yet?”
John laughed and looked over to Claudia, smiling fondly. “We've agreed to name one each, I'll name the girl but uh... I think she wants to name the boy after her father.”
He seemed apprehensive and Henry could smell the embarrassment coming from him. “And what was her fathers name?”
“I can't... Actually... Pronounce it...” He looked sheepishly at Henry. “It's Polish.”
“Ah... What does it begin with?”
“Starts with 'G' ends in 'Z'”
Henry furrowed his brow. “That... Sounds interesting...” John laughed and nodded his agreement. “And what about the girl?”
“I was thinking Allison?”
Henry could only laugh in response and brought a hand around John's shoulders. “You're going to be a great father.”
“Hopefully as good as you.” John replied.
“I'll toast to that.” Henry raised his bottle and John raised his own, bringing them together.
“Hush little ones.” Claudia whispered, bringing a hand to cover her stomach, immediately feeling the thrum of energy from her babies. “Just a few more days.”
The humming calmed slightly, and Claudia relaxed back into the rocking chair, it had been a gift from the Hales, carved by Henry, the dark mahogany wood matched the cots on the other side of the nursery, Claudia was taken back by the amount of detail and dedication the wolf had put into the chair, the delicate carvings of Celtic knots that decorated the arms, the triskelion was carved into the headrest of the chair. It was a wonderful gift and it feels like it's always belonged in the nursery.
There's only a week until she's to give birth and she's heard John try to practice pronouncing their sons name, he's nowhere near yet, but bless his soul, he's trying.
Claudia began to hum a tune as she rocked in the chair, everything was ready for the birth, Talia had offered up her home, a sister of Henry's was a trained midwife and would be there to assist, John had been concerned that it would be awkward for her to give birth in a home full of werewolves but she had only laughed in response. She looked up at the lights, painstakingly installed by John, Henry and even Peter, they resembled the night sky, arranged in a way that specific constellations could be picked out. After a brief talk with John they had both agreed that their middle names would be inspired by stars.
“We're all very excited to meet you both.” She smiled, one of the babies kicked in response.
“Calm John,” Talia placed a hand on the man's shoulder. “She's doing fine.”
John blinked slowly and Talia watched as he registered his surroundings.
“What happened?” He asked.
“You fell and hit your head.” Laura supplied helpfully.
“Laura, it's past your bedtime.” Talia sighed.
“But the babies are being born!”
Talia smiled, unable to argue, Laura had been waiting for this moment for so long.
“She hasn't given birth yet, has she?” John asked.
“No, but your son is almost here, so you should head back in there if you're feeling up to it.”
“I still can't pronounce his name.” John admitted quietly, Talia heard Henry laugh outside, where he and the other family members were watching the meteor shower and celebrating the birth of the new pack members.
“You'll get there, with practice.” Talia smiled. “And if not, that is what nicknames are for.” She added.
John managed a shaky laugh and they were both interrupted by a pained cry from behind the closed door.
“I think that's our cue.” John said. “Shall we?”
John was breathless when his son was placed into his arms, a healthy, beautiful baby boy.
“Is he okay?” Claudia asked.
“Perfectly healthy.” Talia smiled, wiping at Claudia's forehead, “Anna, how long until his sister joins him?”
The blonde wolf hummed. “She doesn't seem to want to leave just yet.”
“It would appear you have a break Claudia.” Talia said. “So, what is the name of our new pack member?”
Claudia shared a look with John and she must see panic on his face.
“Grzegorz Sirius Stilinski.” Claudia said.
Talia nodded and smirked In John's direction. “A great name.”
“It was my fathers.”
“No doubt a great man.” Talia replied. “Was he named from a star?” She asked.
“No...” Claudia laughed. “But our children are being born during a meteor shower, it only seemed fitting we give them both a star.”
“Do you want to hold him for a while before you have to start pushing again?” John asked.
“Yes, please.” Claudia replied. Grzegorz didn't make a sound of complaint as he was placed in his mothers arms. “I can already sense the power.” Claudia murmured. She laughs at John. “Don't worry, they won't be able to do anything yet.”
“Oh thank the Gods.” John mumbled, mental images of his babies sneezing and somehow setting the house on fire fade from his mind, he felt overwhelmed by the prospect of twins, magical twins? Whole new ballgame. He's never been more thankful for werewolf friends.
“Oh Gods.” Claudia mumbled, leaning forward slightly, Talia quickly took Grzegorz from her arms and passed him back to John. “She's coming.”
“Deep breaths Claudia.” Anna instructed.
Precisely seventeen minutes later, John was stood at his wife’s side as she held their two children in her arms.
“John, maybe you should introduce our daughter?” Claudia suggested.
John chuckled as he pressed his lips to the crown of her head.
“Talia, Anna, meet Allison Leo Stilinski.”
Talia nodded in approval. “Grzegorz Sirius Stilinski and Allison Leo Stilinski... Welcome to the pack.”
Claudia grinned and looked down at the babies, Grzegorz had his hand wrapped around Allison's fingers and they were both awake and alert, Claudia, on the other hand, looked like she was about to fall asleep.
“Maybe you should get some rest?” John suggested.
“Agreed.” Claudia nodded. “But John, please, take them to see the meteors.”
“Is that wise?” He asked. “They're not even an hour old and it's the middle of October...”
“John is right Claudia,” Talia spoke up. “The night is young, all of you should rest.”
“I already enchanted their blankets, it'll keep them warm.” She looked up at John with pleading eyes. “Just for ten minutes.”
John studied her carefully, he knew that look, it was the cryptic 'trust me on this' look, he would ask, but honestly he doesn't think that one, she'll tell him and two, that he'll understand. It's no doubt a spark thing.
He looked over to Talia for help but only received an amused smirk from the woman, Laura was now fast asleep, John can't help but smile, he knew how much the young wolf wanted to meet the twins.
“Looks like it's decided then.” John sighed fondly, leaning in to kiss Claudia. “But only for ten minutes. They need to spend time with their mother.”
“And you're their father, take them John, this is important.”
“Well, I know better than to question you.”
“I'll stay with her.” Anna said.
“I'll just put this one to bed and I'll be right back.” Talia added.
He was surprised at how easy it was to hold both of the twins, by now Grzegorz and Allison were just holding hands like they were both desperately trying to stay close to one another. He made sure that they were bundled up tightly before kissing his wife again and making his way down the stairs and towards the back of the house where Henry, Peter and several others were gathered, he knew that they would all be going back to their respective homes in a few days and he couldn't help but feel included in the pack at the knowledge that they were all celebrating the birth of his children.
“So this is Grzegorz and Allison.” Henry beamed proudly as soon as John stepped out, several of the others came to see and John was so elated at the fact that he was lucky enough to have two healthy children that he couldn't even feel jealous over Henry's perfect pronunciation of Grzegorz's name.
“They're very alert.” Peter noted, observing them carefully. “It must be that spark blood.”
John hummed his agreement. He looked up at the night sky and let out a small gasp at the sight. It was a clear night and out in the preserve, the stars shone brightly, even brighter than that were the meteors that rained down. He knew of the stories Claudia was brought up on regarding meteor showers but he always believed that they were angels, today though, they were like a firework display, bright and welcoming and it was easy for John to imagine that the Gods had sent it as a gift to welcome his children into the world, as crazy as it seemed.
“What do you think kids?” John asked quietly, Grzegorz and Allison were cooing, it almost seemed like they were as entranced by the sight as he was. “One hell of a welcome party isn't it?”
Henry laughed before letting out a howl, the rest of the wolves joined in John expected the twins to cry or at least seem startled by the noise but they were completely relaxed, comfortable with the wolves presence.
John couldn't stop smiling even if he wanted to, instead, he adjusted his grip on the twins and walked to the edge of the deck, images of Rafiki presenting Simba in the Lion King flashed to mind but John wasn't entirely sure he could do that with two babies in his arms, still, this was close enough.
“This is just the beginning you two. You've both got your whole lives ahead of you.” John began, feeling like he should be doing his fatherly duty by imparting knowledge on his kids. “So I want you both to shoot for the moon okay? Because even if you miss, you'll still be among the stars.”