Hi! This is another chapter, from Michio's point of view. Oh, and I changed Fuko's name to Ayame.



Part 2: Michio

Michio looked at his peaceful sleeping son. The boy had gotten lucky; he got his mother's good looks. He, however, could only take credit for the brawn and brains. Not that Ayame wasn't smart. He was just smarter. Instantly Michio scorned himself. It was disrespectful to think ill of the dead. Especially when the dead was one's own wife. He bent and kissed Akemi's cheek. He didn't even stir; another thing Michio could take credit for. He went out and looked at the stars. The cool night air scarred his nose when he breathed.

"Ayame," he sighed, "where are you now when we need you?"

Tonight she held no answer or consolation. He sighed and rested on the soft grass. It tickled his cheeks and he remembered.

Ayame screamed and squeezed his hand. It was her sixth hour of labor. The poor girl was tired and pained.

"I... I can't do this, Michio," she sobbed, hiccuping.

"Yes, you can," he said, wiping her tears. "You're a strong girl; you'll pull through this."

She opened her mouth to speak but another contraction was upon her and her head flew back as she howled. Michio rubbed her hand and panted with her. He had head that panting helps reduce the feeling of parental loneliness. She kept screaming until her air was done and even then she continued. Michio almost felt angry at his soon to be born son. You jackal, he thought bitterly, just pop out already and put your mom out of pain! Of course, he knew it wasn't that simple. The doctors predicted Ayame still had at least an hour of birthing left to go.

"Ayame, I need you to breathe slowly and push hard," ordered the doctor.

Ayame nodded quickly and closed her eyes as she pushed. There was a loud pop and blood spurted out of Ayame's already red bottom. The nurses exclaimed in alarm and the doctor called on the intercom for assistance.

"Something in me popped," Ayame panted breathlessly, closing her eyes.

More nurses and doctors rushed in quickly, crowding the small cot. Michio lost his grip on Ayame's hand and she cried out. He fought the crowd but he couldn't get in. He heard a medic say, "We need to do a C-section. Now!"

"But we need to give her the shot!"

"There's no time!"

"Will she still be able to do it?"

"Yes, but it will be really painful."

A doctor raised a knife and Ayame screamed. He saw Ayame's open stomach, saw the fetus there, a mishappen creature with a powerful spine and meat everywhere. Ayame panted as the doctors sewed her up. Mishio rushed to her side.

"Are you okay?"

She smiled ruefully.


The sun came up. Ayame looked at it through the window and smiled.

"What a beautiful dawn."

The doctors gave the baby to her. She gasped.

"He's so beautiful!"

Mishio smiled.

"Like the dawn."

Ayame looked up at him in inspiration.

"That will be his name! Akemi, beautiful dawn."

Just then, her stitches popped and blood sprayed everywhere like a red fountain. She screamed and her head lolled from side to side. Mishio jumped back, Akemi in his arms, to avoid the gruesome spray. The doctors yelled and tried to patch her up, but it was too late. She lost too much blood. Her color was draining fast.

"Mishio," she rasped. "Come here."

He did, and she placed a cold hand on his arm.

"Take care of yourself and Akemi," she choked. "I will watch over you."

"You too," Michio said lamely, choknig on his words.

She smiled weakly and motioned for Akemi. Michio brought her Akemi and she gently kissed the forehead of her baby.

"Mama loves you," she whispered.

She closed her eyes and spoke no more. Michio knew she was gone. He hung his head and wept silently. His son's birthday was also his mother's dying day.

Michio opened his eyes, panting at the horror of the memory. He realized it was dark outside. How long had he slept? He quickly scrambled up and went back to the cave. Akemi still slept. Michio smiled tremblingly. Fourteen yeasr ago he prayed for his son's death. Now he couldn't live without him.