Rosemary had prattled on and on about the miracle of life, the sacred bond between foal and mother- but that was just the thing.....Bruce wasn't supposed to be anypony's goddamned mother. He was a stallion, damn it. When he and Stormy had gone to Pandora for help having a baby, the she-draconequus had let out a joyous squeal and offered up the perfect magical solution. All she needed to do was turn one of them female, only long enough to conceive, carry, and birth a little shark pup of their own. To Bruce, this plan had sounded the same as everything that came from Pandora's mouth- completely batshit bonkers. But Stormy, ever kind and patient, had assured him. Stormy had volunteered to undergo the spell. Stormy trusted Pandora.
Later on, Bruce would realize that'd been mistake number one.
Of course that wicked witch of the west had fucked the spell up (on purpose, he knew she'd done it on purpose). When the smoke had cleared, Bruce had been horrified to find himself stuck in a mare's body. Once he'd managed to quell both his screaming and attempts to bean the cackling Pandora with a lamp, the days had gone by, and he'd managed to adjust.....well, Bruce had made up his mind. He wasn't sure what the future would hold....but he knew that he loved Stormy, and if Stormy had been willing to put his own body through hell to give them something they both wanted, then couldn't Bruce return the favor? Ah, sappiness aside, it had felt nice when Stormy had snatched him right off the floor and spun him round in a circle, so happy that he'd made those adorable chirping sounds Bruce loved. They could do this....together.
But, damn, if pregnancy didn't suck. And yet, for everything that sucked about pregnancy-the swollen ankles, the stiff, aching back, the constant need to piss every goddamned five minutes of every day-Bruce would have preferred it, a thousand times over, to the raw, unbridled suckiness of childbirth.
He'd been out shopping with Magnolia, that much he remembered. She'd promised him a trip to their favorite bookstore, but that'd been a cover to drag him about town, snatching up outfit after outfit for herself while Bruce snarked in the background, pretending to hate the experience much more than he really did- when he'd noticed her staggering under the weight of her ridiculous tower of purchases. When he'd offered to help carry the load, she'd protested "Oh, no, shug, don't strain yourself on my account!", but Bruce had dismissed it. He was a pregnant mare, not an invalid. He could carry a goddamn shopping bag.
Perhaps the cosmos had then decided to punish him for him hubris-because there, clutching Magnolia's new pashmina shawl and fancy perfume- his water had broken. Bruce had made a noise of surprise (and just a little panic, if he was being honest), his bags had dropped to the ground, and Magnolia, calm, sweet, helpful Magnolia, had started screeching like a wounded dolphin. Bruce had had to calm her down, had sent Rosemary off to fetch Stormy, had even teased Mags when she’d clasped his hoof, her eyes comically wide and fearful- and then Stormy had appeared right as the first real contraction hit, and Bruce’s world dissolved into chaos.
It had hurt. Faust almighty, it had hurt. Bruce had never taken mare's complaints of foalbirth all that seriously- he'd always figured they were just being dramatic for attention. He liked to think he was no stranger to pain himself- he'd had his face slashed open by a thrashing shark's fin, had gotten into countless back alley brawls, had accidentally swum through a swarm of jellyfish- and yet, all of that had been less painful.
Wave after wave of contractions rolled through him, so hard he didn’t know whether he was coming or going. He was vaguely aware of Stormy at his side, squeezing his hoof, wiping his brow and alternating soothing murmurs with urgent orders to push. Magnolia clutched his other hoof, looking paler by the second. She shared his sentiment about the "miracle of birth" being one of the most disgusting things to witness on the planet, so Bruce was touched that the mare had bravely stayed to support him. He only hoped she didn't blow chunks on him. The sacred bonds of friendship only stretched so far.
Under the cold, clinical overhead lights of the hospital room, he’d seen the golden sheen of Rosemary’s hair, had heard the screams of the usually serene hippie, demanding that Bruce push, push, push Faust damn it, push before Rosie shoved her Faust-damned hoof up there and yanked the baby out herself.
Terrified under his birthing coach’s bellows, Bruce had obeyed, pushing and pushing for what felt like eternity-but to no avail. The foal was in a breech position, the labor was dragging on too slowly, and Bruce was growing more exhausted by the moment. Finally, after hours of labor, the head obstetrician had given the order- emergency cesarean section. Bruce had felt the sweet pull of drugs calling him into oblivion, had numbly, distantly watched the unicorn doctor make the first incision on his stomach, and then he’d closed her eyes, and everything had gone quietly, blessedly black.
Bruce groggily came to some time later. Everything ached, and yet his body felt curiously numb, as though he’d been frozen and then left out to thaw. His tongue felt thick in his mouth, and the sounds of the hospital echoed dully through his mind. Faintly, he heard his husband singing quietly, a weary, calm lullaby....and the sound called Bruce back to reality, like a lighthouse cutting through fog. He peered open an eye and reached out a fumbling hoof. “......Stormy?”
The singing stopped. Stormy’s warm hoof came around his own. “I’m here, Brucie.” He leaned down to press a tired kiss to Bruce's forehead.
With effort, Bruce heaved himself up, squinting against the room’s bright lights. Although nurses bustled by here and there, for the most part he was alone, save for Stormy sitting next to him on the cramped hospital bed.
Bruce turned to him, managing a weak grin. “Well, what happened? Did we finally have this baby or wha-” He sucked in a breath suddenly, staring wide-eyed at the tiny bundle cradled to Stormy’s chest.
“Is that…?” Bruce’s voice was hushed, almost fearful.
“Yeah.” A quiet, warm huff of laughter escaped Stormy. He looked down into the folds of the baby blanket, and his smile was the softest and sweetest Bruce had ever seen it. “......And I think she’s ready to meet you.”
A wildfire of emotions blazed through Bruce, as Stormy gently settled the soft bundle into his arms. Panic, anticipation, worry, apprehension, doubt, love, sheer terror-but all of it fell away to nothing when he felt the baby’s- his baby's- soft, warm weight rest against his chest, for the very first time.
Gazing down into the little, sleeping face, Bruce had to choke back a sob.
Their daughter was beautiful. She took Bruce’s breath away. He intently studied her tiny, squished face, trying to memorize every detail. The newborn resembled a precious, fuzzy, vaguely disgruntled little potato. It made Bruce laugh. Her coat was the color of the sky at dusk, that rare, deep indigo that served as a canvas for the first twinkling stars to appear. Her wings, tiny and covered in down, twitched ever so slightly in her sleep. God. She'd fly someday.
Her hooves were so tiny. Bruce jiggled a little purple hoof, so small he could engulf it entirely in his own. Faintly, he wondered if she'd have his earth pony strength. Surely she would. And...and of course she'd be a champion flier too. And she'd be brilliant, the smartest foal alive, easily outclassing all those other poor saps in her classroom. She'd be the best of both of them, greater than the sum of her parts. And whatever she became, she'd be perfect- no, forget that, she already was.
Bruce kissed both her little hooves, then her soft, pudgy cheeks, then glanced up at his husband, instinctively, looking to Stormy for comfort and guidance, for his husband to take the lead and make sense of this all consuming pressure he felt spreading through his chest..... But, to Bruce's absolute shock, he saw that Stormy’s cheeks were wet, and the pegasus was studying him with eyes that glistened with warmth and laughter and love...and something new.
Pride, Bruce realized with a start.
He'd forever blame his stupid mare hormones, but in that moment, something in Bruce broke. In an instant, he was crying, deep soul wracking sobs shaking his body. Stormy’s strong arms came around him, his own tears dripping onto Bruce and their baby as he peppered kisses and breathless words of love to both of them, nearly soundless keens of pure joy vibrating from his throat. For a few moments, the two didn’t need to say anything.
Stormy buried his snout in Bruce's ruined, bristly mane, and let out a quiet, contented sigh. “We’re daddies, Brucie.”
“I know, love." Bruce made a sound that was half laughter, half gurgled sob. "....God, who let us have a baby?"
The joke came out a little meaner than he intended, but Stormy understood, and he smiled anyway, that bright, beautiful, megawatt smile that always made the sun seem dimmer in comparison. He lifted his hoof to cup Bruce's jaw, meaning to drag him into a tender kiss- but at that very moment, their baby woke up and started wailing, obliterating the moment with astounding accuracy.
The duo could only laugh. Bruce rocked her a bit- awkward at first, but then Stormy's arms came up and and around his own, rocking them, rocking their baby soothingly. Although she bawled for a rather impressive amount of time, her cries did eventually fade into cranky little grump noises. Perhaps she had yet to forgive them for forcefully ejecting her from the only warm, cozy shelter she'd ever known. Her tiny wings flapped with displeasure, and her muzzle crinkled up in a surly pout- one that did not clear when her dads leaned down to give twin kisses to both her cheeks.
"Feisty little koala bear. " Bruce chuckled. "But I suppose we have been pretty rude, haven't we, love?" He grinned at Stormy. “We haven't formally introduced ourselves to each other yet."
Stormy gasped playfully. "That's right! Oh, sweetie, you'll have to forgive us." He nuzzled their baby's nose. "Hello, baby. I'm your daddy. Aerostorm Chromatic Dash, at your service. It's a mouthful, I know- I'm pretty sure Mom just mashed together the coolest words she could find in Princess Twilight's thesaurus. Anyway, pleased to meet you, little miss." Stormy gently shook her teeny hoof, grinning. "And this amazing, gorgeous pony here is your mommy-"
Bruce bristled at once. "Oy-!"
"-Other daddy." Stormy corrected, brushing Bruce with a teasing wing. "Well, your daddy who is also technically your mommy. Hmm. Dad-mommy. Dummy?" Stormy mused aloud.
"I'm not too tired I can't rip your bangs out, mate."
"You're no fun." Stormy laughed, not unkindly, before turning back to their daughter. "Anyway, his name is Bruce Carcharodon, and he's the bravest, most amazing pony I've ever met. Don't let the scowl fool you, baby girl. He's a total softie inside. You'll have him wrapped around your widdle hoof in no time-"
"The point being-" Bruce pressed a hoof to Stormy's mouth, effectively silencing the pegasus. He moved to speak softly to their foal. "Even though we've only just met, me and your dad really like the cut of your jib, sailor. If you play your cards right, we might even take you home with us." He winked and poked their filly's nose, and she made a tiny cooing sound. Stormy chuckled and leaned against his husband.
"We love you, baby girl. More than words can ever say." Stormy's voice was soft and reverent. He stroked gently at his baby's cheek, and she stirred. Her eyes blinked open, and after a tiny struggle, they focused blearily on Bruce, then Stormy. They were a bright, vivid blue- the color of the sky on a pristine, cloudless day. They were a perfect reflection of Bruce's eyes.
Bruce was vaguely aware that he was crying again. And, now, so was Stormy, who wrapped his wings around his tiny family and sobbed openly, unashamed. Wave Rider, apparently not wanting to be left out, also began to bawl, though perhaps less from overwhelming joy and more from a desire for milk and a blankie. They all wept like the dumb, emotional babies that they were, but it was okay, because despite the cold, sterile hospital room, each pony knew that they were finally, irreversibly, blessedly home.
woof this took a while to write. Borrowed lots of elements from
This is my promised reward for my wonderful patrons helping me meet my second funding goal on patreon! Thank you for your support!
bruce and stormy meeting their bab, Wave Rider, for the first time. Bruce was turned into a mare to carry her, and is one here (and unfortunately, will remain one until the Pandora's spell deactivates in a week or so). He's Wavey's grumpy dad-mum
and he loves his baby so much
-Magnolia and Rosie are waiting outside, letting the dads have their moment before they come in to coo over baby Wavey. Rosemary lended Stormy her lucky headband for the birth
-Wavey is a grumpy baby and just wants FOOD. No worries, Wavey did get her milk and blankie (and a teeny lumpy pink hat Rosemary knitted)
-even when Bruce turns back into a stallion he'll forever have his neato c-section scar
-Pandora declared herself Wavey's godmom without permission and she and Cupcake gifted her all the toys ever
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