A massive wave crashed over Elsa's head, and she tightened her grip on little Mia as she squeezed her eyes shut, trying to stop salt-water from getting into them. She coughed as she swallowed a mouthful of water, and Odd quickly swam over to her, struggling against the current as he wrapped his arm around his wife, fighting the water with the other as he tried to propel himself forward through the sea.
Elsa moaned quietly as she squeezed her eyes shut slightly, her stomach, nearly double the size it had been before, cramping horribly, sending shooting pain up her spine and making little black dots dance in front of her vision. Mia was holding tightly onto her Aunt, her arms wrapped around her upper chest despite her unconscious state, and the pressure was not helping the Queen's situation in the slightest.
Before the pain had started, the Guards had tried to pry Mia from Elsa, but to no avail; it was clear the child was not going to let go when she unknowingly froze her own hands together so that no-one could remove her. The young Queen had sent them away after that, ordering them to get back to the boat, and to leave her to make her own way. She didn't want to endanger any more lives than necessary, and it was bad enough that she couldn't get Mia off of her. She'd tried to get Odd to go with them too, but, stubborn as he was, he refused, and though she didn't want him in to remain by her side, his presence was so precious to her at that moment. Without him, she wasn't quite sure if she'd be able to stay afloat when the pains came again.
Slowly, battling heroically against the current, Odd gritted his teeth as he kicked his legs as fast as he could, the cold water making him stiffer, and he couldn't move fast enough. Elsa groaned as she held him tighter and tried to push forward through the salty water herself, using her spare arm to slice through the water, using all her strength in trying to keep herself moving.
A slight twinge came forth from Elsa's stomach, and she gritted her teeth as she continued on, desperately trying to keep going, all while making sure Mia's head was kept above the water, also. Odd's grip tightened on her as he felt her tense up, and as another crashing wave, accompanied by a bright flash of light and a low, menacing rumble of thunder, hut them, he drew closer to her, as if he could protect her from the forces of nature.
"Elsa!" He yelled, his voice barely audible abive the sea's constant roars. "Can you freeze the water? The ship's only getting further away; we cant catch it up!"
As they continued to struggle against the sea, Elsa squezed her eyes shut, feeling the energy rush to her hands, before an overwhelming pain hit her, coming from her abdomen, and she moaned loudly, taken by surprise. She tried to ignore the way her stomach protested as she attempted to freeze the water once again, but she only succeeded in making her suffering worse.
Odd, struggling onward, softly crooned in Elsa's ear, trying to calm her down. "It'll be okay," He promised, his shout sounding like a whisper above the ocean's own cries. "I promise, Elsa, it'll be okay. Hang in there..."
None the less, Odd's words would have been better suited to him - his limbs were slowing in their movements, both paralysed from the cold and weak already from what he'd endured. For a second, his grasp on Elsa slipped, and she had to reach out for him quickly to stay with him. Her eyes widened as she saw him slowly growing weaker, and she knew she had to do something.
Concentrating as much as she could, she winced as the pain in her abdomen re-appeared, but she gritted her teeth, ignoring it as much as she could, and continued to summon energy to her. The ache grew stronger, and a low moan escaped from her mouth, making Odd look at her quickly, and he pulled her closer instinctively, as if her was trying to protect her.
"Hey, hey!" He said, quickly, "Don't try, Elsa. We'll..." He paused to take a deep breath, "We'll get back to the ship, don't strain yourself... You'll make your pain worse..."
Elsa shook her head as she continued to try and find the energy to use her powers, her efforts making the aching turn into pure agony. Her eyes scrunched up tightly as she fought the urge to stop trying, and a sudden, even more intense burst of pain made her cry out in pain. She felt a rush of water between her legs, and she knew instantly that it wasn't the sea.
Releasing her magic, a massive burst of snow shot from her palms, the force sending her and Odd shooting forwards. She bit her tongue as her stomach contracted horribly, trying not to scream in pain again, and she had to squeeze Odd tighter to relieve the pressure. Elsa's eyes slowly opened when the pain eased off after half a minute or so, and she gave a half-hearted smile when she saw that the ship was so much nearer than it had been before.
"Well done, Sweetie," Odd whispered in Elsa's ear soothingly, squeezing her comfortingly, and though the sea was raging and roaring, she could hear him clearly. She smiled at him weakly, and as she ran out of energy to continue to use her magic, she still continued to kick her legs, willing to use every last ounce of her energy to get her husband and niece back to the ship, so that they'd be safe.
She wasn't sure if she could last much longer, though. As the pain returned in her abdomen, Elsa groaned loudly, and she was sure she'd never felt anything like it - she knew this was labor, and she had no idea how Anna could ever have endured it.
She struggled forward with Odd, and both were slow and weary, though for different reasons. Elsa pulled Mia higher up awkwardly, trying to keep her head out of the freezing, raging water, as the sharp pain in her abdomen hit it's peak and she yelped at the sudden increase in intensity. She quickly bit back the cry, biting her teeth together, trying to remain quiet, and she felt her husband squeeze her hand, his own freezing cold, and she could feel him shivering.
Elsa looked over to the ship with eyes narrowed from pain, which was getting further away once again, and gasped as she saw something - or someone - dive from the deck of the largest, leading ship. She sighed as the pain began to ease away, her legs relaxing slightly after they had stiffened when she was hurting, but worry was on her mind for the man who had jumped into the sea.
She saw him splashing towards them, and saw the guards yelling from the ship. Elsa had forbid them from going back into the sea, ordering them to get to safety, but she hadn't said anything about the sailors.
For a moment, she lost sight of the man over the waves, and she drew nearer to Odd, both for comfort and to protect him from the elements. The water crashed over their heads again, leaving Elsa spluttering and Odd coughed as he swallowed a mouthful of the salty liquid. It was clear to see how drained, how exhausted he was, and yet he kept plowing forward, never giving up.
Slowly, Mia began to stir, and Elsa groaned as the child's movements irritated her stomach, making it twinge again, and she had to fight the urge to move the little girl away from her, knowing full well that if she did, she'd lose her grip on her, and she'd drown.
Glancing up, the Queen moaned softly at the pain in her abdomen, and Odd weakly squeezed her hand as they continued to fight the current. Groaning with effort, Elsa managed to find a little more strength, and she let snow burst from her palm again, pushing the pair forward, closer to the ship and the man, and then the world spun before her eyes.
Breathing heavily, she let out a gasp as the pain came sharply again, and as everything went out of focus, she felt Odd's arms keeping her afloat, as her own limbs began to fail her. She didn't understand how he could keep on going after everything he'd been through, but then, she figured, that was one of the things she loved so much about him.
He never gave up. He didn't let things get him down - he only let the horrors he'd seen make him stronger.
Elsa let him draw her closer to him, and though she was tense, her body wracked with pain, his presence helped to distract her mind, and numbed her from her suffering. She watched tiredly as another man came swimming towards them, and she felt a small wave of relief when he wrapped his arms around the three of them, letting her and Odd relax slightly after all their struggles.
Elsa watched as a small rowing boat bobbed valiantly over the crashing waves, and as Elsa let out a squeak of pain as her contraction hit it's peak, the little craft came past. The crew battled relentlessly against the current to stay in the same spot, and the man quickly swam over, pushing his Queen, Prince and Princess up to safety.
Elsa moaned as the contraction continued to wrack her body, making her shake in pain, and she felt so weak, so helpless and pathetic as she lay in the bottom of the craft, breathing heavily, but she couldn't help but gasp as she looked out to sea, where the man was slowly drifting away from the rowing boat. Men were trying to reach him, to help him on board, but there was little they could do - they had lowered the boat in haste, and hadn't thought to pack any supplies, like a rope.
Slowly, Elsa sat up and, as her body continued to rebel against moving, she shuffled over to the edge, and sent out a beam of ice. Encompassing the man's hand in a solid block, she used her power to pull him back into the boat, and then collapsed, her exhausted and pained breathing now turning into panting.
As she lay back down, her stomach clenching painfully, Odd cradled her head in his lap, stroking her wet hair back from her face. He looked as if he was struggling, his breathing almost as heavy as Elsa's was, and his movements were stiff, his limbs slow and heavy from the extensive effort of keeping himself, Mia and Elsa afloat.
As Mia began to awaken a little more, she slowly began to wriggle, and the movement made Elsa groan in discomfort, her pain easing, but the struggle made her abdomen protest.
Slowly, Odd managed to pry the child away from Elsa, her subconscious recognising him as a friend, not a foe, and Odd quickly laid her down at the other end of the rowing boat. The soldiers fought against the current fiercely, and the poor Queen felt nausea rise in her throat as they rose and fell over one particular large, bumpy wave. She sat up quickly, making her head spin and dots dance in front of her eyes, as she felt vomit rise in her throat, and she wretched over the edge of the craft.
Odd stroked her back slowly as she groaned, and lay back down, not having the energy to sit up. She almost cried with relief when they finally reached the ship, although by this point, small tears were already in the side of her eyes from the intense, overwhelming pain.
Quickly, the crew helped to hoist the rowing boat up to the top deck, and many of the men were shocked to see their Queen looking as if she was nine months pregnant, not five. That being said, considering the pain in her abdomen, and the fact that her waters had already broken - as far as she could tell - it seemed that Ayla's spell really had made her pregnancy advance at an incredible rate.
By the way her stomach still seemed to be getting bigger, it was obvious that it was not very likely that it was going to stop. She was going to keep getting further along in her pregnancy, and no doubt very soon, she'd be at an 'overdue' state, and would lose her child.
As she was lifted up, she whimpered quietly, trying to show as little weakness as possible, as the pressure on her abdomen moved further down, and grew much more intense. She looked up slowly, her eyes shining from pain, and noticed the man who had saved her earlier; it was the soldier she'd helped before, and she gave him a small smile, before her face contorted in a agonised grimace. The man returned the gesture, nodding to show her that she was welcome, and then he looked away. Elsa could only assume he was uncomfortable with the current situation, and who wouldn't be?
A massive wave rocked the ship, and Elsa had to grab hold of Odd to stop herself from falling out of the little boat, who in turn, grabbed hold of Mia. The shock caught the poor Queen off guard, and a quiet scream of pain tore from her lips as the biggest wave of pain she'd felt yet pushed down upon her. The force seemed to not want to quit, and it was then Elsa truly understood - her baby was coming now.
When the little boat was pulled onto the main deck, Odd was the first to act - jumping up, he picked Elsa up quickly and rushed into their cabin, yelling with a hoarse voice for the Doctor as he went. Placing her down on the bed, he quickly rushed to her side and stroked her head, letting her squeeze his hand at the pain, and he did not say a word. He had grown up in nature, and knew how hard it was for animals to give birth, let alone for women - because humans were bipedal, their hips were smaller than they would otherwise be, and because of their growing brains, their heads were also bigger.
Odd didn't envy his wife in the slightest at the task ahead of her.
It shouldn't have been happening like this; he'd only found out he was going to be a father that morning, and now, here they were.
The doctor came in quickly after, looking quite nervous, and Odd had no doubt that he hadn't expected this to happen yet - in theory, they shouldn't have been in this situation for another four months, or so, but there wasn't any point in complaining now. There was nothing they could do.
The Doctor quickly came over to Elsa and glanced around, frowning, and he turned to Odd, looking unsure. "Do you know if there is any spare bedding? I'm afraid I do not have any provisions to protect the sheets from blood, but if there is nothing spare, I'm afraid it would be an even more uncomfortable birth on the floor."
Elsa began to move slowly, as if she was trying to get up and onto the floor, but Odd placed his hands on her shoulders and softly pushed her back down. "I'm not sure, but if there's not, we'll work something out. She can't have the child on the floor." His voice was strong, and though his mind was racing with doubts and worries, he did not let the emotions seep into his words - if Elsa could sense his fear, it would only be worse for her.
The Doctor nodded, looking unsure, but he wasn't going to disobey the man - after all, he was Elsa's consort, and as such, had authority to make the decisions, only out-ruled by the Queen herself. There was nothing the Doctor could do to change these decisions, for he was of a lesser status; all he could do was abide by them.
Slowly, he turned to Odd, nodding. "Of course, Prince Odd." He said, and he glanced back over to Elsa as she groaned under her breath. "I'm afraid that I will have to ask you to leave now, your Highness," He added respectfully, and though Odd had been expecting this, he felt bad as he saw Elsa's pained expression. None the less, he squeezed her hand encouragingly, and turned away, slowly heading to the door.
Elsa's eyes widened, and she watched as her husband began to leave. She didn't miss the glance he sent back at her, and she could see how much it was hurting him to leave her again, in her state now. He paused by the door, and as the pain wracked her body again, she could hear the doctor trying to encourage him to go.
"I'm sorry, Sir." He said, quickly, sounding rushed. "You must go - I cannot allow you to stay here; it is not custom for a man to witness the birth of a child. You can't help the Queen in her state now - the sooner you leave, the quicker we can get this over with."
Odd sighed and began to turn away, and Elsa felt her heart drop from her chest. "P-please, Doctor..." She whispered, and her voice made Odd stop again. "I can't do this alone..." She averted her gaze to meet Odd's eyes, and she silently pleaded with him to stay.
He didn't seem to need much convincing.
"Doctor, I need to stay here." He said, stubbornly. "I can't leave Elsa like this." He quickly ran back to her side, and knelt down, taking her hand. "I'll stay here, and I won't interfere at all. Just let me stay here with her."
The Doctor sighed. "Fine, fine. We don't have time to argue - I fear that the curse placed upon Elsa was designed to make her pregnancy progress at an incredible rate - if we don't act fast, I'm afraid there is a good chance she'll not only lose the baby, but her life could also be endangered."
Odd's eyes widened and his grip on Elsa's hand tightened protectively, as she gasped in shock. She returned the squeeze as the pain intensified, and she had to bite back a scream.
"Your Majesty," The Doctor said, "I'm going to need you to try to relax as much as you can. We're going to have to get this child born as soon as possible, so you're going to have to just trust me."
Elsa nodded dumbly as she tried to focus on her breathing, and Odd smoothed her hair back from her face.
"I'm sorry, Elsa... I'm sorry for putting you through all this..." He softly kissed her forehead, yet he couldn't help but worry if it was his fault after all - he didn't know what the imposter had done to Elsa, and it sickened him to think of it.
The Queen squeezed his hand softly and shook her head slowly, signifying that she didn't blame him, and she gritted her teeth as the pain finally eased away. She sighed in relief, and sat up a little straighter, uncomfortably. The Doctor seemed to relax slightly, and he stood up straighter, looking relieved.
"It appears to me your last contraction has passed, so in theory, it should be a minute or two until the next one. In the meantime, I'm going to find Ida to help with the delivery, because in my experience, it often helps to have another woman present at times like this. I'll be as fast as I can - in the meantime, try to get comfortable, and Odd - I'm counting on you to help her dry off and keep warm. If she's cold her pain will only be worse."
Odd nodded his understanding as the Doctor hurried off, and he helped Elsa sit up straighter, rubbing her shoulders soothingly. She sighed at the calming massage, relaxing into his body slightly, and though she was breathing heavily, she seemed otherwise fine.
"Thanks, Odd." She whispered, and turned to face him slightly, her brow still creased from pain and her eyes still shining from the hurt, but she gave a weak smile. "It's not your fault, though. Don't blame yourself, Odd - don't worry. I'll be okay." She paused for a moment, and let out a sigh. "I'm just glad you don't mind staying with me, but... you don't have to. I must look a state, and it can't be nice to watch..."
Odd gave Elsa a reassuring smile. "Hey, hey," He said, stroking her head again, "I've seen animals giving birth before, growing up in the forest - I think I can deal with it."
Elsa smiled, but then yelped as another contraction hit, and Odd's eyes widened. He quickly took his wife's hand and held it, letting her squeeze it as hard as she needed, and he leaned closer, kissing her forehead again, trying to comfort her.
"Shush, shush, Sweetie. It's okay..." He encouraged her, and Elsa groaned as the pressure on her abdomen grew stronger than it ever had before. Odd couldn't have been more relieved when the Doctor returned with his Mother - he wasn't sure how to help her on his own, and didn't want to give her any wrong advice.
He'd helped struggling animals before as he grew up, but never had he helped a woman give birth. It was similar, yet so different too - how Kristoff had managed to keep his cool, Odd wasn't quite sure.
The Doctor's eyes widened as he saw Elsa struggling again, and he rushed over quickly, looking worried.
"It would seem you are further along than I thought, your Highness. This may be slightly distressing, but I'm afraid you're going to have to birth your child now. Otherwise, there may be little hope for both you and the baby."
Elsa gasped, and in her momentary distraction, the massive wave of pain made her scream out. Odd winced slightly as he felt all the blood in his hand get cut off from his fingers, but he didn't complain once, accepting that the hurt he felt now was probably nothing in comparison to what Elsa was feeling.
Ida came over to Elsa and reached across to her son, handing him a cold flannel. "Dab her head with this - it'll help keep her cool." She then bent down and faced Elsa, glancing at her sympathetically. "Okay, your body's ready for you to have the child now, Dear." Elsa's eyes widened in fear, something she hadn't been expecting for four months yet. "I know this is frightening, but the truth is, you haven't got a choice. It's now or never... literally."
The Doctor nodded at Ida's words. "She's right, your Majesty," He commented, "You're going to have to listen to me now, and I'll do everything in my power to keep you healthy."
The Doctor's words didn't reassure Elsa in the slightest, but she nodded stiffly, and Odd continued to dab her head with the napkin, as she let out a yelp of pain, before the contraction finally passed for a minute, maybe less.
"Okay, Queen Elsa, you're going to have to push on the next contraction. Your body knows what to do - just let it do what it is designed to, and make sure to keep breathing. It's going to hurt horrendously, I won't lie, but just keep breathing and pushing."
Elsa nodded, and as the next contraction struck, she screamed, as she began to push down as hard as she could. The pain made tears form in her eyes and run down her cheeks, and she felt as if she was being torn to pieces.
"That's it, Sweetie," Odd breathed in her ear, "You're doing brilliantly."
Elsa only whimpered in response, and she squeezed his hand harder, the pressure relieving some of her own pain. His fingers were blue now, and he had sharp marks over the back of his hands from his wife's nails, where blood droplets were beginning to form.
The contraction passed for a second, and Elsa gasped for air, her lungs burning, and her body feeling like it had been ripped to shreds. She gratefully accepted a small glass of water from Ida, and she slowly sat up a little at the doctor's command. Her arms were shaking and her vision was blurry - through the tears, she could see a massive red circle of blood soaking the bed sheets and her body was protesting from the pain. The sight of the blood made her feel sick, and she closed her eyes and moaned as the next contraction hit.
Bearing down, she pushed again, and she let out another yelp. Odd continued to hold her hand faithfully, continuously dabbing her head with the cloth, and helping her to have sips of water.
Just over five minutes later, Elsa began to shake ferociously, her body weak and tired. Her eyes were closing from both pain and exhaustion, her skin was even paler than normal, and she'd lost the pink tint in her cheeks. When the doctor told her she had to push one last time, she nearly broke down in tears.
"I c-can't!" She choked out, her voice quiet from her exhaustion. "I just cant!"
The Doctor sighed. "Elsa, I know this is hard for you. The baby is continuing to grow still from the curse - the longer it takes, the bigger it's going to get. It's now the size of what it would be if you were two and a bit weeks late."
Odd's own tired eyes widened, and he looked Elsa directly. "Come on, Sweetie." He whispered encouragingly, "If you don't do this now, it's only going to get worse. The curse Ayla put on you is going to mean the baby will keep on growing until it's born, I'm sure - if you're not careful, it will grow too big, and will kill you."
Elsa whimpered again, too tired to do anything else, and Odd's words clearly had no effect on her. She seemed to be zoning out, and he had to squeeze her hand forcefully to keep her awake.
"Come on, Elsa!" He whispered again, "You're strong, you can do this. One more, and this will all be over. I promise you, just one more. If you don't, the baby will die. You can't let that happen now, after all you've been through to get him here already."
He didn't mention that she would die, too.
Softly, Elsa squeezed his hand tiredly, looking at him desperately, as she pushed down one last time with a massive grunt of effort - she was too tired to even scream. Odd stroked the back of her hand with numb fingers reassuringly, talking about anything he could to distract her.
"That's it, think about Mia... Can you imagine how happy she'll be to see Lysse again? And Seier can stop howling every other night, pining for her - yes, yes, that's it! And just imagine how happy Anna will be! She'll probably start crying with happiness when she sees her - do you think she'll cry?"
Elsa gave a weak smile and nodded, and then with one final push, the sound of a squalling child filled the room.
It was the most beautiful sound she'd ever heard.
Odd grinned happily and wiped Elsa's head again, before softly kissing her and stroking her cheek.
"I said you could do it, didn't I?" He commented, as Ida quickly cleaned the baby, who was nearly three times the size of Mia when she was born, and slowly lifted it up to place on Elsa's stomach. She smiled weakly as she saw her child lying there, screaming but very much alive and real, and she sighed as she relaxed against the pillow behind her. She was sore and exhausted, but the intense joy she felt now out-ruled it all.
She slowly looked up at Odd and gave a wobbly smile, and he bent down to cradle her head, his eyes shining happily, and he grinned at her proudly.
"Congratulations, Queen Elsa." The Doctor said, as he stood up to leave. "You've got a very handsome son indeed." Nodding, he turned around and quickly left the room to clean up, and Elsa could almost have laughed with happiness.
"A son, Odd!" She whispered, happily, feeling dizzy from happiness, as she looked down at the crying baby boy. "We have a son!"
Odd grinned down at her and nodded, and he softly reached out to touch the crying child's soft head, a large smile across his face as he felt a soft tuft of hair which, upon inspection, was dark brown in colour, just like his own.
"We do," He whispered and rested his cheek against hers for a minute, before his Mother reached down to help Elsa sit up a little straighter.
She smiled as she saw the little boy in her daughter-in-law's arms, and a tear escaped from the corner of her eye. "He's beautiful," She whispered, but then straightened a little, smiling at Elsa. "We're going to need to get you cleaned up, Dear, and do something with the bedsheet - it's fair to say that it's going to be ruined, but no matter, no matter. First, though, I think you'll want to feed the little one before his crying makes the windows shatter... Odd? Could you find us a small towel, please, to cover Elsa over?"
Odd nodded, and grinned at his wife proudly again before he tiredly rushed over to the chest of drawers, pulling out a muslin cloth and hurrying back to hand it to the pair. He looked away respectfully as Elsa helped the child latch on, before she covered herself over and he sat down next to her.
Ida smiled at the new mother. "Don't worry, Dear - we'll find you a wet nurse when we get back to the kingdom. For the meantime, though, you'll just have to feed him yourself."
Elsa nodded numbly, feeling a sinking feeling in her chest - it was custom, but she wasn't sure that she really wanted someone else to care for her son.
Ida smiled and congratulated Elsa one more time, and then she looked over to Odd. "I need to get these sheets off before the mattress is also ruined," She said, gesturing to the red mark that stained almost half of the bed. Elsa looked away sheepishly, feeling bad and embarrassed, but Odd squeezed her hand, telling her that it was okay. "I'm going to need you to help move her so that I can do that. Is that okay? You could put her on the sofa - I'm sure she can be cleaned up a little later."
Odd nodded, and glanced at Elsa questioningly, asking her if that was okay. Slowly she smiled in response as she awkwardly tried to stand up, but her body was weak and she didn't have the strength.
Bending down, Odd helped by picked her up bridal style, taking care not to disturb the seemingly contented child, and he stumbled over to the sofa, putting her down softly, and then sitting next to her.
Elsa smiled at him, and then glanced down at the little head poking out from under the muslin, her heart crying with happiness. Odd laughed softly at the sheer joy of the moment and then stood up on weak, shaking legs, heading off to wash his arm which was now covered in blood. It wasn't nice, but he didn't make a fuss - he was too happy to be bothered by it anyway.
Ida smiled as she glanced at Elsa one last time, before removing the sheets and heading out of the cabin to try and find a new mattress cover. Alas, she failed in her quest, and had to improvise by using an old, thin duvet instead.
All the while, the storm continued to howl outside, battering the ship relentlessly, but neither Elsa nor Odd payed it any attention, as both fell asleep, exhausted, fatigued and finally at peace, their new son laying on Elsa's stomach quietly, blowing milky bubbles as he breathed in and out, also at rest.