Challenge #20 - Moodily Ever After

General Idea: So Mr. and Mrs. Prince Charming are all done with the wedding and the honeymoon, but now, Mrs. Prince Charming is discovered to be expecting! Oh goodness. Prince Charming discovers the moody side of his beautiful Princess for Far, Far Away as they go through the trials and tribulations of pregnancy.

Requirements:

1) Mrs. Prince Charming must be one of the three following Disney Princesses:

- Cinderella

- Snow White

- Aurora (Sleeping Beauty)

- Jasmine (Aladdin)

- Belle (Beauty and the Beast)

2) A guest appearance by at least two other princesses on the above list, both of which have already had their first children and come to give advice (or raise hell, whichever if your preference).

3) Must be at least 3,000 words.

4) Prince Charming reading an ancient book about "changing the diaper" -- except they didn't call it diaper in said ancient book, didn't they?

5) Must go all the way up until the actual birth itself.

Optional:

- Fairies coming to bless the child, but miscalculate the date and instead come at the 7th month.

- Twittering brother-in-law Prince Dashing raising hell for all those involved.

- A sarcastic narrator introducing and closing the story.

No:

- Use of the word "pregnant", "pregnancy", and any other variations of that word. You may use "expecting" and other synonyms, but "preggers" is out!

- Deaths -- this story is about birth, not death!


'Fin' Is Just Really The Beginning

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there lived a wife-less Prince Charming, with his jolly old father and an overly-meticulous mother. Well, that all soon changed – that, being his wife-less state, not at all a reference to his parents – after he kissed some girl who just so happens to be a princess and, wonder of wonders, that oh-so magical kiss woke her up from her supposedly eternal slumber. Isn't that delightful? Deep, deep, deep, deep, somewhere deep down in my heart, I'm sure we're all touched by that heartrending tale, really.

And so, not long after, Prince Charming married Princess Aurora, and went on their honeymoon in some land pretty far away. Princess Aurora's father even 'dropped by' to check up on them because he so happened to be passing by where they were staying, and promptly left them alone after the Princess berated him to stop spying on her for the billionth time.

This happily ever after will never be complete without the presence of a little bundle of joy. It is said that a baby is God's ultimate blessing to every parent.

It is also said that a baby is the product of improper practice of safe sex.

But of course, the latter is definitely not a case in Prince Charming and Princess Aurora's circumstance. They could not be happier that they were sanctified with such a creation of pure innocence. Even Prince Charming could not contain his excitement when he heard the news that he gave every single servant in his castle a day off. He also learnt that day the consequence of giving your helpers the entire day off: no one prepares your dinner for you.

Warnings really should be issued to soon-to-be-fathers such as Prince Charming: mood swings were inevitably suffered by future mothers and that the victims of their imminent frustration let-out would be… well, them.

--

"Charming! Charming!! Where are you?!"

"I'm here, my love! What do you need?"

"I finished my chocolate fudge ice cream."

"But that was your fifth tub!"

"But I want more!"

"As you wish." I sighed softly, beckoning the maid to bring Aurora another tub of ice cream.

Shaking my head inwardly, I wondered what on earth had possessed my once full of grace wife. And she was only in her first trimester. There were seven more months to go.

Seven more months. Those three words rung in my head, and my eye twitched.

When we first found out that we were going to be parents, we were practically jumping for joy. Talks till early in the morning, browsing through the catalogues of 'The Medieval Parent', sending letters using trusty old Joey the Pigeon to our grandparents for advice.

"Charming! This is strawberry-flavored! I think I'm going to puke." Aurora wailed, her face twisted into a look of disgust at the tub of strawberry ice cream held by the poor maid.

I gave the maid a rueful smile before sending her off.

"Dearest, is there anything else you need? A fluffy pillow, perhaps?" I held her hand in mine, gently rubbing circles onto her palm with my thumb.

When I brought my attention from her hands to her eyes, my eyes widen in shock. Her eyes were glassy, shimmering with unshed tears – oh wait. She just shed a tear. And another. And another. Oh dear.

"Darling, why are you crying?" I murmured, cupping her cheek with my other free hand.

She sniffed, wiping her nose with her other hand, and I tried my best to conceal my… slight repulsion – for a lack of a better word – at the gooey string of snot that smudged across her cheek. I brought a handkerchief from my pocket to wipe it off gently, smiling tenderly at her.

"I – I – don't de-deserve you," she sniffed again "you-you're being so kind to me, while I-I'm acting li-like some kind of monster!" she starts bawling, covering her face with her hands.

"Love," I reached out to engulf both of her hands in mine, "this kind of behavior is normal. Trust me. I asked mom." I shrugged, and she managed a shaky laughter. "She said when she had me; all she could eat was raw fish." I cringed, and she stifled her laughter. "So don't you ever call yourself a monster, because you're the most beautiful, magnificent, ethereal being there is, and if there anyone who doesn't deserve anybody here, it should be me not deserving you."

I kissed her softly on her lips, and when I broke it off, she started to wail again.

"Charming," she choked out, tears still streaming down her face. "I lo-love you."

"I love you more." I whispered, kissing her once again.

"I- I – I-"

"I know, love."

"I – I think I'm going to be sick."

I didn't know that.

She stood up abruptly, running from the room, her hand covering her mouth.

I walked to one of the large windows, leaning against the sill, smiling warmly. It was odd, how just the thought of Aurora could brighten my day. The anecdote of how we fell in love with just one kiss that woke her up from a spell can barely cover the truth. I cannot deny the attraction I harbored for her when I first met her, but when I got to know her better, I can no longer possibly imagine how I manage to strived through life before without her.

"Your Grace," one of the servants came up to me, his voice jolting me out of my reverie.

"Yes?"

"Princess Aurora has some visitors."

"And who might they be?" I asked, heading to the main entrance.

"It's, um," the doubt of his voice raised my wariness. "Princess Snow White and Princess Cinderella."

I halted suddenly, causing the servant to bump into me from behind.

"I beg your mercy, Your Grace!"

"No, no. I apologize." I resumed walking, a feeling of chariness clouding my mind.

Cinderella was fine; in fact, she was pleasant company, no doubt. But, Snow White, on the other hand…

I shudder at the mention of her name.

I reach the castle doors, and gestured for the guards to let the princesses in.

Time seemed to slow down, the door opened with excruciating deliberateness, the creaking of the door amplified with every squeak, the light entering so bright that I had to squint…

"Charming! How lovely to see you again!" Snow White squeals, flinging her arms wide open to urge me into one of her infamous lung-crushing hugs.

May Lord have mercy on us all.

"Oomph," I felt the air rush out of my chest in an instance I made contact with Snow White's surprisingly muscular arms. "Snow, always delightful to see your pretty face again." I kissed her on the cheek.

"Oh, stop it," she smacked me on my arm, which hurt very much, "you're still the flatterer, I see."

I laughed politely, before making my way to greet Cinderella, who has been watching us with an amused smirk all along.

"Cinderella! Glad you're here," I pulled her into a hug, and whispered into her ear "was it necessary to bring her along?" she kissed me on the cheek as well.

She laughed, a sort of musical ring to her voice. "Charming, you know we couldn't resist dropping by after hearing the wonderful news!"

"How did you find out?" I inquired, signaling wildly to a daft soldier to keep an eye on Snow White who was madly poking at the antique ornaments lying around.

"Oh, the Pigeon Express, of course." Snow White replied me offhandedly, making her way gleefully to Toby the fat cat, who hissed at the sight of her before prancing off.

"Aren't the others coming as well?" I directed to Cinderella, who was hiding her mirth at watching Snow White chasing Toby in circles.

"Ah, they wanted to, but they had prior obligations. Belle needed to buy some lice-control potion or something like that; I think her prince is having his momentary beast-phase relapse again, poor thing. Jasmine is pretty tied up too. They can't seem to figure out why Genie can't get out of his lamp. I think he had one meat-pie too many." She winked, and I earnestly laughed.

"Ooofh!" Snow White exclaimed when she tripped on the rug, falling face first.

"Charming, where is Aurora, anyways? I miss her terribly." Cinderella said.

"I'll bring you to her then."

We made our way to Aurora's room, and I knocked on the door.

"Aurora, honey, you have guests." I turned the knob, but stopped when Aurora's voice sounded.

"No! I don't want to see anybody right now. Kindly ask them to come by another time, would you?"

"But I really think you'd want to meet these guests."

"Please, Charming, I'm a wreck as it is…"

Cinderella opened the door slowly, peering in. "Wow. You were right. Maybe we should come by another time…" she trailed off, grinning widely.

"Cinderella!" Aurora called out, jumping out of her bed hastily, getting her leg caught in the sheets, causing her to tumble.

The three of us rushed in, and after making sure that she was unscathed, laughed out loud.

Aurora pouted, before throwing herself into Cinderella and Snow White's arms.

"I missed you both so much!" she said, her voice cracking.

"We missed you too! It's been too long!" Cinderella's voice was also sounding husky.

I knew what was about to occur.

Surreptitiously, I edged myself closer to the door, and quietly made my exit. Sure enough, as soon as I closed the door, the sounds of three young ladies crying echoed through the halls.

--

We were now all seated outside in the garden for tea, and I had brought a book along with me while the ladies chatted.

"Remember," Cinderella was giving Aurora a word of advice, since she already has a year-old son named Nathaniel. "Do not overdo yourself. When you feel tired, stop doing anything. Rest as much as possible. Oh, do some light exercise. And of course, eat healthily. No matter how much you crave your ice cream, always include the greens as well."

"Rest, exercise, healthy food. Got it." Aurora nodded and wrote down whatever Cinderella told her.

"How would I know if it's a boy or a girl?" Aurora asked them excitedly, biting her lip.

I smiled at my book; Aurora was so adorable that way.

"Well when I had Penelope," Snow White began, talking about her three year old daughter, "I had a huge craving for wild boar."

Aurora and Cinderella exchanged looks, while Snow White carried on, "I also had all this sexual tension built up-"

"Ladies," I rose from my seat and made my way to them, "I'm afraid I'm going to have to excuse myself."

Snow White narrowed her eyes at me, while Aurora and Cinderella giggled.

Aurora grabbed a hold of my arm. "Darling, do you have to? I think they might have some advice for you too."

I quirked an eyebrow and Aurora tugged on my arm, warning me with her eyes.

"Alright then. Shoot."

"If only I could." Snow White muttered under her breath, and I glared at her when Aurora wasn't looking.

Cinderella noticed the hostility between Snow White and me and promptly created a distraction.

"Now, Charming. As you know, Aurora is going to have to go through a lot of trouble during this entire period, what with her mood swings and fatigue and whatnot,"

I nodded, and I felt Aurora's hand caress mine soothingly. Looking up, I saw that she was smiling, her cheeks reddened and her face radiating. I've never seen her glow like that; I never thought she could look any more beautiful.

Snow White snapped her fingers in front of my face, and I quickly refocused my concentration to Cinderella.

"So, you are never ever to have her lift anything remotely heavy." Cinderella told me.

Snow White nodded in conformity. "Also, a backrub wouldn't kill you."

"Unless it's you giving me the backrub." I mumbled, irked.

"Excuse me?" Snow White said, the vein in her forehead throbbing slightly. I don't think her husband, Prince Phillip, would be too happy about me causing his wife a brain hemorrhage.

Cinderella continued telling Aurora and me what we were to do, what we were to expect, basically everything that we ever needed to know. Occasionally, Snow White would cut in with her sharp remarks, and a small verbal melee would erupt between her and me.

--

The next morning, I walked into the library to find Aurora busily dusting the shelves, the table tops, even the books itself.

"Aurora, what are you doing?" I queried, looking around the scrupulously clean room. I noticed she even redecorated some of the furniture.

"Oh, hello darling! Don't mind me; I'm just tidying up this place. I don't know how you can stand this place. It's a mess!"

On the contrary, the library happened to be one of the cleanest rooms of the castle. I didn't think telling her that would put me on her good side, considering her escalating mood swings.

"But dear, the maids can do that. I don't want you stressing yourself out."

"Nonsense! I don't feel tired at all! I even asked Cinderella about this. Apparently, this is what they call the nesting period."

"The what period?"

"Nesting period!" she repeated cheerily, moving around the room swiftly, dusting everything in sight. Even Toby the cat seemed dusty to her. "She says it's a powerful urge for expecting mothers to prepare their home for the baby by cleaning or decorating."

"Oh, um. Well, I think you've done an excellent job. Now, would you like to join me for a stroll in the garden?"

She pivoted on her heels, and I could see that her eyes were sparkling. Not in a good way.

"Oh dear, what did I say?" I asked anxiously, rushing to her side.

Sobbing, she dropped the duster and hugged me tight. "Charming, remember when we first moved here? We used to go for walks all the time, especially at night, when the moon was out,"

I stroked her hair, kissing the top of her head. "Yes, I remember clearly."

She pushed me away at arm's length, much to my bewilderment, and smacked me on the chest.

"Then why did the moonlit walks stop? I hardly remember the last time we did that." She snuffled, crossing her arms defiantly.

"We took a walk last week." I told her matter-of-factly, and she hit me again.

"That's not the point!" she cried out, a tear escaping her eyes.

"Then what is your point?" I said calmly, keeping in mind that she was just having her moments again. And also in mind was that whatever I said would be reported back to Cinderella and Snow White, who would no doubt chide me to hell if I ever say or do anything to upset Aurora. Like the time when I accidentally brought her lilies. How was I supposed to know that she suddenly developed an aversion to lilies and that it made her nauseous?

"I don't know!" she wept, and embraced me in her arms again. "I'm sorry."

"It's alright." I assured her, and grinned. "Pretty entertaining, actually. With your split personalities, it's like I have a few wives instead of one. So I consider myself lucky, really."

She punched my arm, but a smile tugged at the corner of her lips. "So which one of your wives is your favorite?"

"Oh wow," I tapped my chin in mock deliberation, as if I was having a hard time choosing, "that's a tough one. They're all so incredibly breathtaking."

"Always the charmer," she scoffed, before tiptoeing and planting a kiss on my lips.

"I try to live up to the name." I kissed her again.

"As much as I hate to break up the lovebirds," Snow White chimes in, although, chime was giving her too much credit. Busted in? "we have lots to do, don't we Cinderella?"

"Yup." She asserted with a wide smile, and dragged Aurora out of the room. "No time to waste!"

"Help?" Aurora mouthed to me, while all I did was shrugged.

After they left, I browsed through my collection of books, looking for something of interest. I haven't read in such a long time, considering I never have much time to do so anymore. Father was always demanding my presence at events, and I have to oblige through the formalities. I scanned through the ancient books, until a particular title caught my eye.

Ye Trusty Olde Book To Newborns.

Hmm. Well, since I had nothing else better to do, I might as well read it. I flipped through the book, and landed at a random page.

Lesson 605: To Change The Baby's Bottom-Cloth.

Did they mean nappy? How old is this book, anyway? Regardless, I skimmed through the text until I reached some drawn diagrams that demonstrated the correct way of changing a 'bottom-cloth'. Puzzled, I turned the book horizontally, then vertical again, diagonally even, yet I still couldn't figure out what on earth the drawing was trying to depict. Frustrated, I slammed the book shut and settled for writing a letter to Father and Mother.

About time I reply their letter they sent six months ago. Ooops.

--

Two weeks later, Cinderella and Snow White had to depart. Before they left, we said our goodbyes at the main hall, where Aurora was giving them gifts as her token of gratitude.

While Aurora and Cinderella were immersed in their farewells, Snow White crept up to me, handing me a book.

"Trust me. You'll need this." She said, shoving the book at me.

I read the title, and gave her a look of utter disbelief and horror.

"The Karma Sutra?" I hissed at her, raising an incredulous eyebrow.

"What?" her eyes snapped to the book and in a blink of an eye her pale face was completely flushed crimson.

"Oh my," she snatched the book from my hand, and dumped it back into her bag. "That's not it." She muttered, while rummaging through her belongings. She popped back up with another book, and stared long and hard at the title before handing it to me guardedly.

So Ye're About To Be A Father, Eh?

A Thorough Guide For Your Average Dummy

I smirked at her, while she gave me a wary smile, clearly still trying to recover from her previous self-mortification.

"I appreciate the sentiment, Snow." I said, and pulled her into a hug.

"Your welcome." She let go, and brushed off some imaginary lint on her dress. After a moment of awkward silence, she went "Well, I guess I'll be seeing you then."

"Counting the seconds." I smirked wryly, and she jeered.

"Can't say I'll be doing the same."

"Snow! Let's get going. We're going to be late if we don't hurry now." Cinderella announced.

After practically wrenching Aurora's arms from the other two, they left, and Aurora and I were left alone in the hall.

"Charming," she hiccupped, and I smiled. "I miss them already."

"I know. But they'll be back soon." I placated her, and held her close to me.

She hiccupped again, wiping her nose, before chuckling. "You want to do something fun?"

"Like what?"

"Help me furnish the baby's room! I've been thinking about it, and I don't think we should specify on a certain color, like pink or blue, because wouldn't it be awful if we have a boy and his room is pink? And vice versa, of course," she trailed off, tugging a laughing Prince Charming with her.

--

Seven months later.

"Aurora, what are you doing?"

"I'm painting!" she told me merrily, dipping her brush onto her palette.

"Yes, you are. What are you painting?" I inched closer to her, trying to get a good look at what she was trying to do to the wall of the baby's room.

She ignored me, and continued to paint with utmost concentration. When she was satisfied, she moved aside and grinned widely.

"So, what do you think?" she bit her bottom lip, waiting for my answer eagerly, like a little child expecting the approval of his parents.

"Aurora, it's amazing." I breathed, completely at awe at the work of art before me.

She had portrayed a lakeside scenery, with blossomed trees and swans gallivanting in the lake.

"Really?" she breathed, looking at her own work with incredulity.

"Truly."

She came to me, and suddenly looked down. "Charming! Give me your hand, quick!"

She took my hand before I could do anything, and placed my hand over her bulged belly.

"Is that – "

"It is." She stated, flashing her teeth at me.

The feeling was indescribable, but I knew I never felt anything like this before. I have felt the baby moved a few times before, but now it was kicking quite forcefully, even Aurora winced a bit. I laughed, and so did she. No one could ever put into word the bliss I experienced at that very moment.

"Charming, I-" she stopped, the expression on her face incomprehensible.

"Aurora, what's wrong?" I asked fretfully, holding her arms.

"I think my water just broke." There was a distant look on her face, and her eyes went wide.

My heart thumped hard in my chest, and I took in a deep breathe.

"Okay, okay, no time to panic, we have to call the… the… er, doctor, yeah? Yes, yes, the doctor. Guards! God, oh my God, we mustn't panic, we must not panic, Aurora, how are you holding up?"

She slapped me across the face.

"Thank you. I needed that." I said, rubbing the sore spot with my hand.

"Your welcome." She still looked shocked, her hand placed softly on her belly.

She averted her gaze up to me, and a smile slowly spread across her face, followed by a grimace.

"I think the doctors need to hurry up a wee bit." She gasped, mustering a shaky laughter that held no humor, and I ran out of the room to yell at the guards.

--

"Push!"

Aurora groaned, the pain on her face made me grateful that I wasn't a female. I slapped myself literally, mentally reproaching myself for thinking of such a selfish thought.

"Push, Your Grace, push harder!" the doctor urged Aurora.

Aurora yelled out loud, and her iron-grip on my hand tightened with inexplicable force that I yelled out too.

"Why are you yelling?" the doctor asked me, baffled.

"I'm highly empathetic." I replied acerbically.

Aurora let out another cry; I think she even crushed a few of the bones in my fingers.

Another grueling hour later, the cries of a newborn child was heard. I swear I felt my heart stop. I looked up – since I was crouching over, gripping my leg so that I wouldn't scream again – and saw the doctor holding the baby in his arms.

"It's a boy." He declared with a wide smile, and carefully brought my little boy to Aurora.

My little boy. I think I'm about to cry.

But I'm not going to.

Aurora was weeping, holding the boy in her arms tenderly, and cradling him as if he was the most fragile thing on earth. She looked at me with tears of joy cascading down her cheeks, smiling ever so brightly. I felt my heart swell up at the sight; I could literally jump into a song right now.

"Would you like to hold your son?" she murmured, and I felt my eyes sting with tears again.

I held out my hand uncertainly, my arms contorted at an odd angle, that it made her laugh. The nurse helped us, and finally I was holding my baby boy in my arms.

"Wait a second," the doctor said out of the blue, and all of our heads snapped to him apprehensively.

"For what?" I said nervously, staring at the doctor who was still inspecting Aurora.

"There seems to be another baby in there, Your Highness." He informed us, and I felt my heart jump out of my body.

"There's another one?" I repeated, feeling a little lightheaded. "Aurora, did you hear him? We have twins!"

She was about to say something, but instead she screamed in pain.

After a few arduous minutes, the second baby was delivered.

"Congratulations!" the doctor proclaimed with enthusiasm, holding the baby in his arms. "It's a girl!"

"Aurora! We have a boy and a girl!"

She had her head bent back onto the pillow, panting. She brought her head back up, and I saw her crying again.

The doctor had gently laid both of the babies onto her arms, and she couldn't stop laughing and sobbing. I bent down beside her, stroking her cheek affectionately.

"I love you, Aurora." I whispered, kissing her passionately.

"I love you too." She grinned; averting her gaze to the babies she had embraced in her arms. "I love you two too." She spoke softly to the babies, kissing both of them on their foreheads.

The babies did stop crying as soon as Aurora held them, and now they looked like they were about to fall asleep.

"Your Highness, have you given them names yet?" the doctor lowered his voice, and I nodded towards Aurora.

She smiled at me, and then at the babies, her eyes held nothing but sheer love.

"L'Aurore for the girl, and Le Jour for the boy."

--

Aurora had just put L'Aurore and Le Jour to sleep, and we sneaked out of the room carefully.

The last time I had unintentionally woken them up, I had to lull them back to sleep after listening to Aurora's lecture. I went to bed at three in the morning that night.

Aurora and I were ambling through the garden, our hands entwined, relishing in the silence of the night.

"Aurora," I began, "why did you name them L'Aurore and Le Jour?"

"Why, don't you like the names?" she shot back anxiously.

"No, no, no," I chuckled, kissing her cheek, "I adore the names. I just wondered why you chose them, that's all."

"Oh, well, I got the names from an old fairy tale that my grandmamma used to read to me before I fell asleep. L'Aurore means dawn, while Le Jour means day."

"Dawn and day." I drawled, smiling.

"You know what?" she turns to me, so we stopped walking, "you want to do something fun?"

I laughed, knowing full well what her definition of fun was. "Sure."

"We could plan for the children! I mean, until they become adults, we hold full responsibility for them, no? We must get the best educators for them! Oh, can you imagine their first words? Ooh, their birthdays! When they become teenagers? Do you think L'Aurore will attract many suitors? Do you remember when you were a teenager? Ooooh, I can't wait till their wedding day! I think I'm about to cry."

Eighteen years. The words rung in my head, and my eye twitched.

--

Ho ho ho! And so, Prince Charming and Princess Aurora are blessed with twins, that I am sure will grant them absolute happiness every single second of every single moment.

Don't worry, Prince Charming is going to sail through his years peacefully – as peacefully as a man with two impish children can get, that is.

And so ends our tale of a princess who is too feeble to handle a needle-prick, and a prince whose kiss holds magical elements.

Now, I may close this with the expected 'and they lived happily ever after', but as I heard from an unidentified source, it seems that happy endings are stories that haven't finish yet.

I'll let you decide on that one.

Till then,

They lived happily ever after.


Fin. (Or is it?)


A/N: I've always wanted to complete a SKoW challenge, and there you go! I hope you like it. (:

Trivia:

-- The names L'Aurore and Le Jour are taken from a version of the actual tale of Sleeping Beauty. Here's a paragraph of the text that I got from Wikipedia:

Secretly wed by the re-awakened Royal almoner, the Prince continued to visit the Princess, who bore him two children, L'Aurore (Dawn) and Le Jour (Day), which he kept secret from the Queen, who was of an Ogre lineage.

Who knew the Queen was an ogre? Oooh.

-- According to doctors, some pregnant women do experience the nesting period, among some other things.

And just for the record, I do not have anything against Snow White. (:

Thank you for reading! Feel free to leave a review so that I can improve or message me personally about anything ;)