|Once and Always|
|Book: Once and Always, Chapter 1|
Once and Always
A New Life Begins
Chapter 1: A New Beginning
"I can't believe it's been 5 1/2 months." said Cattleya
Much time has passed since Louise and Saito were wed. Cattleya and Eléonore were riding to the Academy to spend a few days there, purely for the purpose of being there for the birth of Louise's daughter Suzuka, who was in her final month and was due any day now.
"I know." said Eléonore excitedly "I still find it weird to hear little runt Louise called Mrs. Hiraga."
"She's a grown woman with a husband now. You need to stop calling her 'little runt'. By they way, why did he have to come along?" Cattleya said, referring to the man sitting next to Eléonore.
"Don't you want Louise to meet me?" said the man, who was called Dragnon de Mag
"I'd would prefer to wait until after she gave birth." Cattleya replied "At this late stage, she might not take it well."
A few minutes later, they arrived at the academy, and entered the main entrance hall.
"Miss Cattleya and Miss Eléonore." said Henrietta, who was already in the hall with Agnès "It's been a long time."
"It has your highness." said Eléonore "Here for the same reasons we are I assume."
"Indeed. I'm so excited. Who's this?"
"Dragnon de Mag, your highness." said Dragnon
"I've heard of you." said Siesta, who just entered the room "You're quite the fire mage from what I've heard."
"Thank you miss."
"What's with all the ruckus?" Guiche asked, appearing at he top of the stairs with Montmorenecy, Kirche and Colbert behind him
"Never mind us, where've you four been?" Agnès asked as they got close to them
"Nurses office." said Colbert
"We have good news." said Kirche
"What's with all the noise?" Louise asked appearing at the top of the stairs too, her belly was 40 times normal size. She really was in her final month.
"We just got here." said Cattleya as Louise walked down carefully "Why are you still in your night gown?"
"Because Saito said 'she needs to stay in bed and off her feet'." said Siesta walking up the stairs to help Louise
"And at this late stage, he's not wrong." said Eléonore
"Louise, what are you doing out of bed?" Saito asked walking into the room from the hall with Tiffania and Julio as Louise got to the bottom step with Siesta's aid
"I just had to get up. I couldn't lay there any longer." said Louise
"If you guys are done, can we give our good news?" Montmorency asked
"Sure. Lets hear it." said Julio
"I think I know what this is." Siesta thought to herself
"We just found out, Kirche and I are pregnant!" Montmorency announced with glee
"Girls that's wonderful! Congratulations." said Louise
"Montmorency is 3 months along with Guiche's child. I'm 2 months along with Jan's." Kirche explained and Colbert blushed
"Mister Colbert, you naughty boy." Henrietta said playfully
"Who would've known this would happen?" Agnès asked
"I did!" Siesta said proudly, then answered their questioning looks "I foresaw this in a vision this several months ago. But miss Zerbst, soon to be Mrs. Colbert, is pregnant a few years sooner than I foresaw."
"Well, with everything Suzuka did, it's no wonder things are a little off." said Louise
"This leaves me wondering if I'll never have the child that I forsaw in my tummy." Siesta thought to herself
"By they way, who's this man?" Louise asked, taking notice of Dragnon for the first time
"Oh! That's right." said Eléonore "This is Dragnon de Mag, Louise. Your soon to be brother-in-law."
"WHAT?" everyone exclaimed
"We're getting married. I brought him along so that you could get to know him."
"We'll just go settle in our room." said Dragnon "We'll meet you in your room later." Dragnon and Eléonore left for their room
"You cannot leave me alone with him!" said Louise fiercely to Cattleya and Saito once they were gone "Why did she agree to marriage without letting me know ahead of time? Does mother even know?"
"No! How do you think I feel?" Cattleya asked "That guy's not a really husband material."
"Henrietta...?" Louise looked at her hopefully
"I'm sorry, I can't overturn an official proposal." Henreitta answered
"Alright soon-to-be mother, back to bed with you." said Siesta steering Louise back up the stairs. Saito got next to Louise to help
"Now that's three weddings we have to look forward to." said Guiche
A couple of days passed since the arrival of the Cattleya, Eléonore, and her fiancée Dragnon. Louise was still confined to her bed, not only by Saito's orders, but also the nurses now. As a consequence, she was forced to put up with the continued presence of the two, thankfully not endured alone, as Saito, or somebody else, was always near.
"Good morning you two." said Eléonore as she pulled open the curtains to wake up Saito and Louise one morning. She also bought up breakfast for them too
"Morning eldest sister." said Louise sleepily
"Morning sister-in-law." said Saito, a bit more awake
"You still look tired Louise." said Eléonore
"I didn't sleep too well last night."
"Funny, mom never slept too well during her last months either."
"What is it?" Eléonore asked
"Did she kick?" Saito asked
"It didn't feel like one." said Louise putting a hand on her belly
"Morning!" said Dragnon entering the room
"You're here again?" Louise asked annoyed
"Saito." Guiche called appearing in the doorway "I need you for an order meeting."
"I'll be right there." said Saito as he pulled on his clothes
"Wait, Saito, please." Louise begged
"Sorry Louise. I'll be back as fast as I can." he then left the room, and Louise alone with her sister and her fiancée.
As they day went by, Louise started to feel stranger and stanger, and couldn't explain what it was.
"What do you think of this location for our wedding?" Eléonore asked Dragnon later as night began to set in. Cattleya, Agnès and Henrietta were present in Saito's place as he still hadn't returned
"It looks perfect honey bunch."
"I can't take this." said Agnès to Henrietta
"Ow!" Louise yelped putting her hand on her belly
"You okay Louise?" Cattleya asked
"My lower abdomen is beginning to hurt." said Louise
"Did you say 'beginning to hurt'?" Eléonore asked
"And bit more frequently the last few hours. But what do you care? All you do is associate with that man."
"Now Louise, calm yourself." said Henrietta
"I happen to care about you a lot FYI." said Eléonore
"Then dump this guy! I don't want him in the family, I'd rather just blow him to bi- AAH!" Louise screamed in what appeared to be pain
"Louise! What's wrong?" Henrietta asked grabbing Louise's shoulders, while Louise's face was wide with shock as she was holding her belly
"I'm so stupid, I didn't realize." said Louise
"What?" Cattleya asked
"She's been in labor all day, that's what." Eléonore answered for Louise
"Not only that.... My water just broke." said Louise
"WHAT?!" everyone but Eléonore exclaimed
"We can't waste any time, we need to act fast." said Eléonore "Agnès, go find Saito and bring him here."
"Right." said Agnès
"I'll go too." said Henrietta and they both left
"I need to send for mother and father. Mother can help too. Cattleya, stay here with Louise."
"Right." said Cattleya as Eléonore and Dragnon left
"Oh! Contractions, contractions!" said Louise in a surge of pain
"Just lay back and breath slowly." Louise did as she was told
"Cattleya, I'm starting to get really scared."
"It's okay to be afraid. Just don't let it take over."
Meanwhile, Eléonore and Dragnon were halfway down the hall;
"Wait." Dragnon said and they came to a stop "What if the baby comes before your mother gets here? Do you know what to do?"
"I helped mom deliver Louise. Of course I know what to do." said Eléonore
"Funny, so do I." Eléonore gasped in pain as she received a stab in the gut with a knife. She then fell to the floor, and Dragnon made his way back to the room
"Where's Eléonore?" Louise asked
"She decided to help Her Majesty look for Saito after we sent the message." Dragnon lied "Much faster that way."
Meanwhile, outside, a dark figure was making its way into the academy. A foe thought to be in hiding for quite some time.