Peggy arrived a few minutes later and Wamblee declared it wouldn’t be long now because Cara’s contractions were speeding up.
Cara was soon ready, and the pushing began. It only took her three hours of pushing to have their baby boy out, and then she cried when he did.
“He’s a handsome boy,” Peggy said as she cleaned him quickly.
Wamblee cleaned up Cara, getting rid of the afterbirth. He then made a quick trip to the bathroom to clean himself up.
Peggy handed the baby to Cara and she held him tight as she kissed his little head. Then she counted his fingers and toes as she asked, “How big is he?”
“He’s nine pounds and seven ounces,” Peggy told her. “He’s also twenty inches long.”
“Wow, how did he even come out of me,” Cara whispered. She looked up at Wamblee as he came to stand next to her. “Isn’t he the cutest? He has your hair, and nose Wamblee, and look, he’s a lovely shade of brown!”
“Peggy, go call everyone and let them know the baby is here,” Wamblee said.
Peggy nodded, leaving the room.
He turned back to Cara then and said, “Cara, I don’t know if you noticed or not…”
She frowned, worried now. “He’s okay, right? He cried when he was born, he had all his fingers and toes! Please tell me there isn’t anything wrong with him Wamblee!”
“No, there isn’t anything wrong, but look at the back side of his left shoulder,” Wamblee answered.
Cara carefully moved the baby, so she could see his shoulder. She gasps and with a trembling finger, she traced the three claw marks that resided there. “He really did mark him. He’s going to be an eagle Wamblee, our own little golden eagle. Or is there a possibility of him being a spotted eagle since that’s what your mom is?”
“No, I’m a golden eagle, so that is what he would be, if he has a spirit bird,” Wamblee answered. He still wasn’t quite ready to say the baby would be an eagle because he knew how disappointed they would both be if it wasn’t true.
“He does Wamblee, please believe me,” she whispered, staring in to his eyes.
Wamblee sat down on the edge of the bed. “I believe you, but still, let’s see what my dad has to say about it just the same.”
Cara shook her head. “I don’t care what he says, I know what I know! Our baby is a little eaglet!”
“What makes you think that? It is a fact that a human cannot give birth to a shifter,” Wamblee’s father said as he walked into the room.
“Fact or not, he is one!” Cara told him as she looked up. “He was marked by Wamblee’s eagle while still in the womb. I believe it’s because he wanted us to know that the baby will, in fact, be an eagle. I don’t care what you say, you will not change my mind!”
“We’ll see,” Wamblee’s dad said.
Cara was watching him, and she’d almost swear he said it with a twinkle in his eyes!
It wasn’t long before everyone was there to see the baby and take a turn holding him.
“So, what have you two decided to name him?” Cara’s dad asked as he took his turn holding the baby.
Cara looked at Wamblee, not real sure what to tell her dad.
It was the chief who spoke up. “Traditionally, though a name is given at birth, his name that most will call him is given much later in life. Sometimes, even that name may change.”
“Oh? Interesting,” Cara’s dad Doug said. “So, what do you call the child before a name is given?”
“Wamblee was called “little Claw” until he was seven and our oldest son was “son of Claw” until he was five,” the chief answered.
“Hm…interesting,” Doug said then.
“Well, I know that is the way it is, but I’ve been thinking,” Cara began, and everyone turned to look at her. “Since he is our first-born son, I was thinking perhaps call him WJ until a proper name is given…if that is alright?”
The Ithanchan (chief) looked blank faced.
Wamblee smiled though as he asked, “Wamblee Junior?”
“Yes,” Cara agreed.
Wamblee nodded. “I like it.”
He then took the child from Cara’s father. Holding him up in his palms so everyone could see him, Wamblee pronounced, “Everyone, I give you WJ. He shall be called this until he is of an age that by action or by deed we know what his name will be.”
Everyone cheered, and Cara gave a sigh of relief.
5 years later
“Is everyone here?” Cara asked as she placed the candles on the cake.
“Swift hasn’t gotten here, but he’d already said he might be late,” Wamblee replied. “They made it in late last night and the kids were exhausted.”
“Mm…” Cara mumbled. “I can understand that, I just hope they aren’t too late because our son grows impatient for his presents.”
Wamblee laughed. “I know, so how about we let him open them. Then, when Swift gets here we can…” he stopped talking as the doorbell chimed. “Maybe that’s him now.”
Cara smiled and followed her husband to the door to greet their late arrivals. She’d only seen Swift, Wamblee’s older brother a couple of times in the five years her and Wamblee had been married. She knew WJ wouldn’t remember his uncle at all because he’d only been three the last time Swift had been home from overseas where he was stationed in Germany.
She watched from a few steps behind Wamblee as he opened the door.
“Swift eagle, my brother,” Wamblee greeted.
“Golden eagle, my brother,” Swift returned.
“I see you have brought the family with you,” Wamblee stated. “The little ones aren’t so little anymore, are they?”
Swift shook his head. “No, not so much. The oldest Jay, is now fifteen, and Mari is now twelve.”
“Ina, Ina (mother), where are you?” WJ yelled as he ran in the back door. “Chief Grampa says I can only open presents if you and Até(father) are present!”
WJ skidded to a stop when he saw the open front door and people there he didn’t know.
“We’ll head outside in a moment WJ, patience,” Cara told her impatient son as she brushed a hand over his head.
WJ moved closer to his father and looked up at the tall man in the doorway. Cocking his head, he studied him, so much like his father with his unblinking gaze.
“WJ, this is your uncle Swift,” Wamblee told his son.
“Hello WJ. You’re much bigger then the last time I saw you,” Swift said.
“Where is your hair?” WJ asked.
Cara covered her mouth to hold back her laughter.
Swift grinned. “In the military, I can’t let it grow long and have to keep it short. Since I’m now officially retired, I can let it grow and it won’t be long before it is as long as yours.”
WJ snorted. “It took me five years to grow mine this long, so I think it is going to take you a while.”
The adults all laughed.
Then Swift introduced WJ to his cousins and they all headed into the back yard.
Much later, after the presents were opened and the cake cut, most of the party crowd had left. All that was left was Wamblee’s immediate family, Peggy, Mason her mate, and their three-year-old son Ben.
Peggy had married Mason a month after WJ had been born. They had had a traditional ceremony since both of them were Native American and their families rich in tradition.
Cara had found Mason to be a good man and he had become a good friend to both Cara and Wamblee. Because Mason had bought land right next to them, they often got together for dinner or bonfires. When Ben had been born, WJ had only been two, but even at such a young age they were close.
WJ, Jay, Mari, and Ben were now running around playing with a soccer ball while the adults sat around in lawn chairs talking.
“So, I understand you’re home for good this time Swift,” Peggy said.
Swift nodded. “Yes. I’m tired of being away from home and my children need to learn of family and tribe. Also, Jay has become interested in girls to the point I feel his eagle may have begun the hunt for its soulmate.”
“Well, he is fifteen, its normal,” Mrs. Claw said knowingly.
“Speaking of children and coming of age for things,” Cara started softly.
Everyone turned to look her way. She knew from the sighs what most of them expected from her and she had no plans to disappoint them!
“Sigh all you want, but I believe it is going to happen now that WJ is five,” Cara grumbled. “I think we need to start keeping a close eye on him now.”
“Why are you needing to keep a close eye on him?” Swift asked.
“Cara believes WJ had been blessed by the Wakan Tanka with an eagle spirit,” the Ithanchan said.
Swift raised his eyebrow, even as his wife laughed. “She’s human. Their children will have no eagle.”
Cara turned to frown at the woman. She had liked her okay up until now, although she’d always acted as if Cara were beneath her because of her being human.
“Laugh all you want, but I will be the one laughing when him and Wamblee are flying together,” Cara snorted. Then standing she added, “Oh, and if you’re interested, WJ will soon have a sibling, and no I don’t believe he will have an eagle. At least, I’ve not been shown any different... yet!”
Then she began to stalk off toward the house.
Wamblee soon caught up with her and pulled her into his arms. “My winyan, I believe you. I know it upsets you that no-one else will, but what they think doesn’t matter.”
Cara turned and wrapped her arms around his waist, hiding her tears.
“Don’t cry Cara,” he whispered. “I love you and WJ, and I will love the new little baby too. It doesn’t matter to me that you are human and if you like I’ll make Swift take his winyan home.”
Cara shook her head as she pulled back with a sniffle. “No. They are family, it just brought back memories of how Robyn use to do me. She always had a smart remark about anything I believed too.”
He nodded. “I will talk to Swift though. He needs to make her understand that you are family, we don’t treat family that way.”
She took a deep breath. “I didn’t mean to tell everyone about the new baby that way either.”
Cupping her cheeks in his hands, he kissed her. “I know. I saw excitement in my Ina’s eyes though, and Peggy could hardly contain her own excitement. I also know Monica and Doug were thrilled when you told them.”
Cara smiled. Wamblee always made her feel better. “They were, weren’t they? We should go back since it would be rude for both hosts to leave everyone.”
Wamblee chuckled. “I suppose it would. I…”
His words tapered of at a loud cry.
They both swung around to see WJ running toward them, holding his stomach.
Cara went running toward him, her mothering instincts knowing something was very wrong. Dropping to her knees in front of him, she studied his red and sweaty face. Lifting a hand, she found him to be hot. “What is wrong WJ?”
He whined and buried his face in the crock of her neck as he panted. “My body is so hot! I feel like I’m burning from the inside out and it hurts so bad Ina,” he said then with a sob. “Am I dying?”
Wamblee knelt next to them and ran a gentle hand over his son’s head. “No, my chinkshi (son), you aren’t dying. Your eagle is trying to connect with you. Lay down for me okay?”
WJ nodded and Wamblee helped him lay flat on his back. Then Wamblee began to gently rub his belly.
“I want you to relax, breath deeply, and concentrate on what you feel inside. As your eagle grows stronger, you will feel his movement slightly in your head. It is a strange feeling, but you will learn it well and what it means,” Wamblee told him.
WJ connected his eyes to those of his father. Then he whispered, “But Até, I don’t have an eagle. Ina is a human, so everyone says I won’t have one.”
Cara breathed in sharply as anger flowed over her. She knew some of it was Wamblee anger, and some of it was hers.
“Listen to me chinkshi and listen well. My spirit eagle came to your Ina when you were yet in her belly. He wanted her to know that you would be like me. The mark you bare on your shoulder was proof of that, never doubt you have an eagle spirit,” Wamblee told him softly.
WJ nodded. “Okay.”
“Good. Now, you must lose all doubt in your eagle so that he can rise and be one with you,” Wamblee continued.
WJ nodded again and closed his eyes.
Wamblee began to chant, rolling WJ into the seated position and removing his shirt. Then, as Cara continued to watch, he rubbed WJ’s shoulders, his chanting growing louder.
Sensing movement, Cara looked up to find the rest of the family standing around.
Wamblee’s father moved closer, behind his son and his grandson as he added his own voice to the chant.
Cara turned her eyes back to her son. His eyes were now open, locked with his fathers and almost glowing a golden brown. She knew it wouldn’t be long now because Wamblee had told her what to expect.
Then, in the space of one breath to another, the air shimmered with light and electricity. When it faded, in front of Wamblee stood a small, half-grown eagle.
Cara heard the gasps from around, most likely from those who hadn’t believed. So, with a frown she turned to glare at them. “I told you, I told you all!”
Wamblee chuckled and gave her a kiss while his father said, “Yes you did Cara, and believe it or not, I and my mate believed you. I always knew Wamblee was special, but when he was young I thought it meant he was to be a great healer.”
“He is a great healer, just not a traditional one,” Cara informed him.
The Ithanchan laughed. “Yes, yes, he is, and it saddens me that it took me so long to realize that. It saddens me that it almost took him dying to realize it. Now though, now I know he was blessed with a good woman, who, though human will still provide him with children who will carry the spirit of the eagle. You and my son have been blessed by the Wakan Tanka. I have no doubt that the child you carry now will be blessed also.”
Cara turned to Wamblee and he smiled. “It is true Cara, we have been blessed, and so has our son.”
She looked at the small eagle standing in front of her, watching the adults speak around him, unblinkingly. “You are a cute little guy aren’t you. One day, you will grow to be just as handsome as your daddy eagle.”
WJ the eagle, rubbed his head on his mother’s knee and she giggled as she began to rub at his head gently.
With a sigh, she turned to look at her loving husband, his eyes now more golden then black. She knew his eagle was wanting out to meet his little eaglet.
“Ah Wamblee, mihigna ki, my love, my handsome golden eagle,” she whispered as she raised a hand to caress his face. “In all my dreams, I never thought I would ever, ever, love an eagle, but I do. Thank you for loving me in return.”
Wamblee smiled. “Thank you, for loving me, and my eagle back.”
Then he kissed her.
When he pulled back she laughed and glanced down at the eagle chirping at her knee. Turning back to Wamblee, she saw him stripping off his shirt and laughed again.
“Go, go fly with your little eaglet!”
The air shimmered once more and almost as one, her handsome eagle and her cute little eaglet took to the skies.
“Who knew it could be such a wonderful thing to love an eagle,” she murmured almost to herself.
“The Wakan Tanka did, and that is why he gave him to you to love,” Ms. Dolly told her.
Cara smiled then said, “Then all I have to say is, thank you Wakan Tanka!”
Everyone behind her agreed with a loud cheer.
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