Late in the following winter, as the sun rose on a new day, Yukiyo went into labor for the final time. The contractions were strangely pleasant as they came and went, and the yukionna found she was able to perform her domestic duties to the clan and her older children, instead of being crippled by agony. Despite that, Jouji hovered like an anxious hen, and more than once, his wife had to reassure him that she felt fine. The contractions progressed over the hours, growing closer together and stronger, until they lasted two heartbeats, paused for two, and began again. While the pains robbed Yukiyo of breath at times, she found she was actually experiencing a kind of euphoria as the contractions built, peaked, and ebbed.
It was nearing four pm when Yukiyo’s water broke and she felt an overwhelming compulsion to go outside as the euphoria deepened. That was more than enough proof that she would not give birth to oni whelps this time. Jouji tenderly carried her through the caverns to its second exit, leading them to an open space within the mountains, hollowed out centuries ago by some act of nature. The clan would sometimes hunt there, as trees, stones and shrubs offered prey shelter. Haru followed with her bag of supplies, just in case.
Once in the frigid air and slowly falling snowflakes, Yukiyo cried out in a way that Jouji only heard when they made love. “A tree,” she managed to say, untying her belt. “Take me u-under a tree. A tall, old one.”
There were several that fit the description, but Jouji chose a sturdy pine that was older than the oldest oni in the clan. He set his wife down momentarily, and she shed her kimono as he sat cross-legged with his back against the pine. Haru helped the yukionna return to Jouji’s hold, and he assisted her as she squatted, one pair of hands clasping hers, the other holding her thighs. “How are you doing?” he asked.
“Wonderfully,” Yukiyo gasped. “It was never- never like this before. Ah!” She shuddered and threw her head back, hips thrusting involuntarily.
Haru anointed her hands and knelt before her sister in-law. “For once, you just might have an easy delivery,” she said, and carefully slid two fingers inside Yukiyo, checking her progress. “Good, you’re ready. I feel the head. You can push any time now,” she stated, withdrawing her hand.
“I don’t-” Yukiyo moaned. “I don’t want to. This feels like making love to Jouji.”
“Now dear, be reasonable,” Jouji gePost too long. Click here to view the full text.