Even though it was the middle of the night, the castle was bustling with activity. Particularly in the north wing, where the Royal Suite was located. Servants were rushing in and out of the suite, carrying items from linens to hot water to various herbs along with them.
And all the while, King Mycroft paced the corridor outside, turning to look at the door to his chambers every time it would open. He had been out in that corridor for hours, ever since the midwife had insisted he leave the room during the queen’s labor. Even when the king heard the queen’s cries of agony, he could not enter to be by her side.
He had nothing to do but stand and wait.
The sounds of a babe’s cries echoing through the halls nearly destroyed his resolve as he reached for the door to his chambers. But it was at that moment that a servant opened the door, carrying several dirty linens with her.
“Not yet, your majesty.” The maid shook her head.
It was all King Mycroft could do to resist the urge to force his way into the room to see his wife and newborn child. But he was well aware that his presence would not help the midwives work any faster, and that it was better that he were out of the way. He supposed it was a small blessing that Prince Sherlock was out of the castle and unable to cause trouble. No doubt the king’s younger brother was prowling the city streets to feed his curiosity for the macabre. Hopefully the captain of the guard, Lestrade, could keep him under control.
The king was brought out of his thoughts when the door to his bedchambers opened again, and the head midwife stood before him.
“You may go in and see her now, your majesty.” She bowed deeply before stepping aside.
The king wasted no time in rushing past her, stepping into the lavish chambers for the first time since his queen had announced that the baby was coming. Mycroft paid no heed to the furnishings of his antechamber, nor to the servants who were bowing as he walked by. Instead, he walked straight into the bedchambers, unwilling to be at ease until he laid eyes on his wife and queen.
There, on the fresh linens of the royal bed, lay Queen Anthea, resting quietly. The king could see her dark curls fanned about her on her pillow, and her cheeks flushed with the efforts of labor. But he could also see the small smile that graced her face as her eyes met his.
“I’ve heard you never stopped patrolling the hallway outside this room.” She teased, her voice tired and weak.
The king smirked slightly, “I was hardly about to leave you unattended.”
She chuckled softly, “Aren’t you forgetting something?”
At the king’s confused expression, the queen pointed a long, elegant finger in the direction of a small cradle beside her bed.
The child, Mycroft realized as his feet carried him to the cradle’s side. A small and fragile life that had only just begun to live outside the safety of Anthea’s womb. A life that was equal parts king and queen, a life that Mycroft had a hand in crafting.
Mycroft had not held an infant since the time of his brother’s birth decades ago, but he remember the words of wisdom from his mother well enough as he cradled the child carefully to his chest. With one arm cradling the small babe, the king began to unwrap the blankets swaddled around his child so he could see for his own eyes the infant that had been born to him.
“An heir to your throne.” His queen smiled softly, “A prince.”
“A son.” He said softly, looking back to his queen. “Our son.”