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Bonding With Aunt Grey

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Part 1

Grey: (Takes place in February 1080-8 months before Grey retires as Chief. Grey has just turned 56. Dagny is 25 going on 26 and is 8 months pregnant, and Havelock is 29)

“UGH! I can’t wait to get this thing out of here!” Dagny shouted as she sat in bed grunting in pain. 

“Honey, come on, you know that’s the mood swings talking,” Chief Grey said as she gave her middle daughter some water to drink. “It won’t be long now. You’re eight months pregnant.”

Dagny took the water and sipped it. “I know, Mom,” she said, “but I’m not sure how much more I can take. I feel like there’s a large dragon egg inside of me.”

“I know,” the Chief said massaging one of her daughter’s swollen feet. “Believe me, it’s not easy, but it will be worth it in the end. I can promise you that.”

Dagny could only smile at her mother’s kind words as she took her hand in hers. The daughter of the Chief wasn’t sure what she would do without her. Dealing with the pregnancy was hard enough, but to deal with it without all the support she had been getting…she didn’t want to think about what that would be like.

“You sure you should be here?” Dagny asked. “I mean…you are the Chief.”

“Don’t worry about the village,” said Grey. “Uncle Greg is taking care of it for today. You are my daughter, and I will help you in any way I can.”

Dagny smiled. “You really are the best,” she said as she hugged Grey. “I love you.”

“I love you, too, sweetie,” Grey said before they pulled away. “Now, get some rest. I’ll be right outside with Havelock if you need anything.”

“Okay,” Dagny said as she settled back into bed watching her mother leave the room.

Seasick: Havelock had been helping out around the island and finally found a moment of peace. Heading towards his house, he saw that his aunt, Chief Grey had just emerged from it.

“Hey, Aunt Grey!” He called out from the hillside. “How’s Dags doin’?”

G: Grey walked out and gently closed the door before walking over to her nephew/son-in-law. She smiled hearing him call her Aunt Grey. 

“She’s doing fine,” she said. “She’s anxious to get the baby out though, but I don’t think it will be much longer.”

S: “That’s good!” Havelock replied. “I just hope she won’t have a long labor. Ah, actually, now that I think about it, can I get some advice?”

G: “Of course, sweetheart, what is it?” the Chief asked her son-in-law. 

S: “How do you become a good parent?” He asked simply. “I mean, I know how to do certain parental duties like changing diapers but… how do I go from simple village boy one day to father the next?”

G: Grey chuckled at Havelock’s questions as she shook her head. She remembered all too well what it was like for her and Brandt when they learned that they were expecting Sven. The nerves…the excitement…the fear… She could see that in her daughter and her son-in-law, and she saw it in her eldest son and her daughter-in-law. 

“Havelock, honestly, there’s no true transition into this,” she began. “It’s really just taking it one day at a time and trusting your instincts and what your parents have taught you when you were young.”

S: “That’s… not really the answer I wanted to hear…” Havelock chuckled. He had plenty of experience with babies, from taking care of several of his younger siblings to 6 of his nieces and nephews, however taking care of his own child was complete different.

“I’m just worried that I’m going to make a huge mistake…” He sighed, looking away.

G: “Havelock, honey, you and Dagny are going to make plenty of mistakes raising this baby,” Grey said taking her son-in-law’s hands into hers. “There’s no such thing as a huge mistake. Uncle Brandt and I made so many mistakes raising Sven, but we learned from them and did what we could to be better parents for it. All the mistakes I made with Sven…I didn’t have to make with Dagny. You and Dagny will be great parents, but it will take time.”

S: “I hope we’re both quick learners…” Havelock replied. “I just don’t want to make too many mistakes that it dramatically affects our child’s future…”

G: Grey nodded as she listened to Havelock. “I don’t think you will,” she said. “You and Dagny learned a lot from us and your parents. You know what’s right and wrong. You just need to take one step at a time.”

S: “Just be aware that we’ll be asking you and Uncle Brandt a lot of questions when the time comes.” Havelock laughed. “We’re gonna depend on you for a lot of the baby issues.”

G: “Of course,” Grey said pulling Havelock into a hug. “That’s what we’re here for. Sven and Phelma needed help too, and we were there for them. I depended on people when Sven, Dagny, and Kari were each born. It’s completely normal.”

S: Havelock remained in Grey’s arms for a while, thinking about how his life was about to change forever. “But what if… what if this child drives Dagny and me apart?”

G: Grey sighed as she hugged Dagny’s husband. He was so unsure of himself, and she wanted to do everything she could to convince him that he had nothing to worry about, but then again…she would technically be lying if she said that she and Brandt never got into arguments over how to raise the kids. 

“You’ll probably have a fair share of arguments over how to raise the kid,” she finally said. “Uncle Brandt and I did. Sometimes, we still argue about you kids, but you can’t let the arguments ruin what you have. If you two truly love each other and your child, you’ll find ways to make it work.”

S: “I… I guess you’re right…” Havelock said quietly. “Mom and dad had lots of fights when I was growing up but they managed… so I guess Dagny and I can too…”

G: “You can and you will,” Grey said firmly rubbing Havelock’s back. “You’re going to be fine, and you will have our help no matter what.”

S: “Oh, speaking of my parents, they’ll be visiting when the baby is born.” Havelock said. “Mom’s all excited to be a grandma for the 7th time…”

G: Grey couldn’t help but laugh at Havelock’s mention of his parents. She couldn’t blame Seasick for being so excited about being a grandmother again, especially when she couldn’t wait herself. It was wonderful having two grandsons already, and now Dagny was about to become a mother herself. 

“Of course, they’re more than welcome to visit,” she said. “It will be great having them around when the baby is born.”

Part 2

S: “I’ll write them a quick letter when the baby is almost due,” Havelock explained. “It’ll take them almost two months to travel here anyways, so it’ll be a long while before they finally see the baby.”

G: “That’s a good idea,” she said. “Your mother would have my head if we didn’t notify her sooner about the baby.”

S: “Yeah, that’s true.” Havelock laughed. “She was quite upset that we only sent her a letter to inform her that Dagny was pregnant, rather than tell her in person. Maybe I should send the letter now so that they can get here earlier…”

G: Grey laughed harder remembering the day Seasick grew angry when she only received the news by letter when the Chief herself was told in person…even though there was the fact Grey lived on Haligan Island. Thankfully, Seasick understood once she calmed down. 

“I would support that,” she said. “The last thing you two need is Seasick freaking out again.”

S: “Yeah, I’ve occasionally been on her bad side, and it’s not pretty.” Havelock said. “Best to stay on her good side, and extend my life expectancy!”

G: “Yes, for my daughter’s sake,” Grey said patting Havelock on the shoulder, “let’s do that.”

S: “Right… but what should I say? ‘Drop everything and come quick’ ?” Havelock said. “Furious doesn’t fly as fast as he used to, so it’ll probably taken them even longer to get here…”

G: “Well, Dagny is 8 months along,” Grey said, “so maybe your mother can come stay over for the remainder of the pregnancy. I will need to do some work around the village as do you, Warren, Greg, Asha, and their kids. We could use an extra hand around here for Dagny.”

S: “Yeah, that sounds like a good plan” Havelock replied. “Mom’s a pretty good midwife too, so if she gets here on time, she could help out in that situation. Maybe my youngest siblings can come too!”

G: “Good,” Grey said. “And the young ones are more than welcomed to join us. I’m sure Dagny would love to have them supporting her, and the little one would be able to meet his or her aunts and uncles.”

S: “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea!” Havelock replied. “You know what, i’ll write to them right after i go see Dagny, that way, they’ll be here faster!”

G: “Great idea!” Grey said leading the way back into the house. “I’ll help you write it out. We can make the needed preparations for your mother and siblings, and your father is welcomed to come too if he wishes to meet his newest grandchild.”

S: “Well, you know how my parents are,” Havelock began. “They don’t care if they sleep on the floor, just as long as you guys are happy and healthy. Skari may be up for the trip, if he isn’t under the weather like always.”

G: “How is he doing?” Grey asked. “Dags told me he was sick a few weeks ago when you came back from visiting.”

S: “When is he not sick?” Havelock laughed. “He was pretty sick when we visited, apparently for almost a month. I mean, he’s not nearly as sick like when he was younger, but it still knocks the wind right out of him… Flying for such a long time might not be a good idea. I’ll ask mom about it in my letter.”

G: “Sounds good,” said the Chief, “and be sure to tell your mother I said hello.”

S: “Of course!” Havelock said. “If my parents do make it in time for the birth… will this be the first time that they’ve actually been early for such an event? Usually they would come months later, right?”

G: The old Chief thought back on the many times Seasick and Ellidi had visited Haligan Island. They came to her coronation. Seasick was pregnant when she and Brandt married, so that was out of the question. Then she came to the island after her each of her three children were born. Whenever the children wanted a playdate, and so on and so on. 

“I would have to say yes,” Grey said. “You were too young to remember but they came with you kids a few weeks after Sven, Dagny, and Kari were born. I have no doubt they will be extra sure to come now that it’s their grandchild.”

S: “Huh, I think I vaguely remember visiting… but that may have been the playdate visits…” Havelock said. “It’ll be really fun once we get the whole family together. It’ll be wild!”

G: “It sure will,” Grey said wrapping an arm around her son-in-law. “Hopefully, Shadow and Uncle Furious won’t get into another race again like they did when you were children.”

Part 3

S: “Hehe, yeah, but I doubt Furious will be up for it,” Havelock replied. “After flying such a long distance, and being several years older, he might just not have the energy anymore… but he’ll be glad to see Shadow!

G: “From the little dragonese I can speak with Shadow,” Grey began, “she’s missed him a lot. It will be great for her to see him again.”

S: “Yeah, they’ve become quite close friends over the years haven’t they?” Havelock said. “Mom said that when she first met Furious, he was so feral and was the meanest and grumpiest dragon that ever lived. Of course, he still is grumpy… probably moreso now that he’s older…”

G: “I would imagine,” the Chief said, “but Shadow must bring out the best in him.”

S: “Yeah, you’r probably right.” He replied. “It’s nice that those two have each other to talk to. even after months or years apart, they can pick up right where they left off.”

G: The Chief nodded agreeing with her son-in-law. “It’s kind of like your mother and me,” she said. 

S: “I think it’s great that you two are best friends, even with such a great distance between you two” Havelock said. “And… you two have never had a big fight either! That’s pretty impressive!”

G: “Oh we’ve had our fair share of disagreements,” the Chief replied. “You guys just never really knew about them, aside from that one big argument.””

S: “Really? What could you guys possible fight about?” Havelock asked. “I mean, the rebellion stuff sure, and that other argument, but anything past that?"

G: The Chief stopped in her tracks as she remembered their big argument. However, she wasn’t sure if it was something that Seasick would want her to share with her son. 

“Well, honey, let’s just say…they are between me and your mom,” she said smiling warmly. “Besides, I think I hear Dagny calling. We better check on her.”

S: “Understood.” Havelock said simply. Much like his mother, Havelock knew that it was best to not push someone to talk about things. “I hope Dagny is okay. It’s too early for her to go into labor, right?”

G: “Oh don’t worry,” she said ruffling his blonde hair. “Trust me, if Dags was going into labor, you would know. She probably needs some food or something.”

S: “Right, you’re right.” Havelock said. “I’m just… I’m just getting too ahead of myself…”

G: “Don’t worry,” Grey said putting a hand to his cheek. “Everything is going to be fine.”

With that, the Chief walked in with her son-in-law to their bedroom, where Dagny was still lying in bed. 

“Hi, sweetheart,” Grey said, “did you need something?”

“Yes, can one of you give me a massage?” the daughter of the Chief said. “My shoulders really hurt. And can someone else get me fruit to eat? I need something sweet and juicy.”

S: “You mean you haven’t eaten the entire kitchen yet?” Havelock said sarcastically as he went into the kitchen. “How are you feeling?”

G: Dagny rolled her eyes at her husband’s sarcasm as her mother rubbed her shoulders. “I’m alright, I guess,” she said. “I just hate being stuck in here.”

“Oh, I know, honey,” Grey said kissing her on the head. “But don’t worry. Sooner or later, you’re going to have a sweet little baby in your arms.”

S: “Speaking of the baby,” Havelock said as he handed Dagny an apple. “We haven’t thought of any names.”

G: “That’s true,” Dagny said enjoying her mother’s massage. “What did you have in mind? I always thought if it was a boy, we could name him after either of our fathers.”

“Uhh..” Grey said cringing, “yyyeah, we had this talk with your brother and Phelma, honey. Dad doesn’t want you to name your kids after him.”

“What? Why not?” Dagny asked. 

“Well, he wants the grandkids to have their own names,” Grey said.

“But it was his idea to name Sven after your father,” Dagny protested. 

“I know, but that was something he wanted to do for Grandpa,” said the Chief. “He just doesn’t want the kids named after him.”

S: “Well, if it’s a girl, can we name her after you or my mother?” Havelock asked. “Or are you against that idea too?”

G: Grey thought about it for a brief moment. She honestly could see where Bradnt was coming from. She wasn’t sure if she was too wild about her grandchildren shared the same name as her, especially when hers wasn’t exactly common among Vikings. 

“Well, I don’t know about your mother, Havelock,” she said, “but you can use it as a middle name if you choose to. However, I think it would be better if your children had their own names like Sven’s boys. Like I said, Dad wanted to do it because it was something that he wanted to do for my father, especially given what happened.”

Dagny nodded understanding. Her father’s way of naming her older brother after their late grandfather was a way to honor and to let the memory of Sven Bergman live on through Sven Felman. Since their parents were both alive now, it…probably wouldn’t hold the same meaning as it would if they were (Helheim forbid) dead.

“Alright,” she said. “We can decide on yours and Aunt Seasick’s names as middle names if we want, but…for a first name…” she thought for a moment, “what about…Asmund if it’s a boy? And….Astrid…if it’s a girl?”

Part 4

S: “I am fine with anything, really,” Havelock replied. “All you have to keep in mind is that it’s going to stick with them for the rest of their lives, so we should pick carefully. Nicknames are important too. I mean, Saedis is a pretty name, but I wouldn’t want our daughter being known as Seasick… not very flattering… .”

G: “That’s true,” Dagny said thinking to herself. “And…Grey’s not exactly…a typical name for a viking.” She quickly turned to her mother. “Uhhh…no offense, Mom.”

Grey couldn’t help but chuckle. “It’s okay, sweetie,” she said. “As much as I am proud of my name and why my parents gave me that name, it holds a special meaning that’s shared between me and my parents. I don’t think it will hold the same meaning if it was given to my granddaughter.”

S: “She’s right,” Havelock said. “Well, whatever name you come up with, I’ll be okay with it. I suppose it’ll be easier once the baby comes.”

G: “I hope it will be,” Dagny said leaning back against her mother and rubbing her stomach. “The last thing I want is our son or daughter running around without a name.”

S: “I’m pretty sure there are laws against that…” Havelock said. “I know on Peaceable Country, a runt was named Hiccup and cast out… They don’t cast them out anymore but the name sometimes sticks… If the child isn’t a runt but not named within a month, the chief comes up with a generic name… Not something I’d want for our child.”

G: “Well, it is a long-standing law here on Haligan Island too,” Grey said cringing and running a hand through Dagny’s brown hair. “Hroar told me about it before I took over. To be honest, though, I never really enforced it. I would check in on parents who couldn’t decide, but in the end I still left it up to them.”

“But, Mom, you’re the Chief,” said Dagny. “You have the power of law on your side.”

“I never felt it was my place to just look at a little baby and name it for the parents,” Grey replied.

S: “We really shouldn’t worry about it right now,” Havelock said. “Sure, we don’t have a name right now, but it’ll come to us. We just don’t know when.” 

G: “Havelock is right,” the Chief said to her daughter. “You two have plenty of time.” 

“Mom, we only have one month left,” Dagny protested.

“Exactly,” Grey replied. “Plenty of time!”

S: “And another month following the birth, if we’re following the laws of the island!” Havelock added. “So, two months really… plenty of time! No need to worry!”

G: “That’s right!” Grey said excitedly. “Dags, trust me, you have nothing to worry about.”

“I…guess…” the daughter of the Chief said. 

S: “Why are you worried? I mean, sure it’s a big decision, but t’s not like we’ll get into huge arguments over it!” Havelock reassured his wife. “Just relax, it’s not important right now.” 

G: “I know, I know,” Dagny said as she held Havelock’s hand. “I’m just…nervous I guess…” 

“About what, honey?” Grey asked rubbing her daughter’s back. 

“What if…what if we don’t pick the right name?” she asked as tears came t her eyes. “What if…what if the name we pick is terrible, and our child will have to live with it forever?”

“Dags, I think that’s just the mood swings happening,” she said gently stroking her daughter’s cheek like she did when she was a little girl. “Whatever name you pick will be perfect.”

S: “Well, if it makes you feel better, we’ve got our parents to help out, and our siblings and inlaws…” Havelock said. “I mean, I don’t think any of the names we have in mind are that bad…they all seem perfectly normal.”

G: Dagny sniffled as she wiped her eyes and hugged her husband realizing that he was right. Asmund…Astrid…Saedis…so far those all seemed like normal names for their baby. There was clearly nothing to worry about after all. She finally looked her husband in the eye. “You’re right,” she said. “I’m sorry. I don’t know why I’m freaking out over the smallest things.”

“Honey, it’s perfectly normal to be emotional,” said Grey. “It’s all a part of being pregnant. You have nothing to be sorry about.”

S: “Exactly.” Havelock said. “Just try to relax, and don’t get so stressed out over little things. I don’t want anything to happen to you or the baby.”

G: Dagny took a deep breath calming herself. “I know, thanks, Havie,” she said smiling and kissing her husband on the cheek. “I love you, and so does our baby.”

S: “You should get some rest,” Havelock said, leaning in to kiss her. “We won’t be getting much of it when the baby arrives, so might as well get some now while you still have the chance. If you need anything, I’ll be around the yard.”

G: “Okay,” Dagny said as she settled back under the covers. “I am very tired.”

“I’m sure you are,” said Grey. She kissed her daughter. “I love you, sweetie.”

“I love you too, Mom,” her daughter replied. “And thank you…for everything.”

“You’re very welcome,” Grey replied.

S: “Sweet dreams, love.” Havelock said, as he headed towards the door. “Remember that we’re just outside.”

G: "Okay, Havie-dear,” Dagny replied sleepily. “Thank you. I’m so…grateful to you. I love you so much.”

Part 5

S: “I love you too, sweetie.” Havelock said, before quietly closing the door. On the front porch, Havelock sat down on the steps and let out a long sigh of relief.

G: “Feel any better?” Grey asked raising an eyebrow at her son-in-law. 

S: “Ah… A little…” Havelock replied. “I’m just worried that Dags is gettin’ too worked up over the littlest things. I mean, she was crying over baby names…”

G: “I know,” the Chief said, “but all women go through it. I went through it when I was pregnant with her and her siblings. Just ask Uncle Brandt! Once when I was pregnant with Sven, I cried when he didn’t kick me for a second. I told Brandt that I probably did something to make him mad at me.”

S: “Wow, really?” Havelock laughed. “I guess… I guess I’m just new to the whole experience. I don’t know what to expect.”

G: “There will be some outbursts here and there,” Grey replied cringing at the times she lashed out at Brandt or cried for no particular reason. “But the best thing you can do for her is to be patient with her and to support her. Get her what she needs, and if you need any help, you can always turn to us.”

S: “Right… of course… just keep reminding me.” Havelock said. “I’ll definitely be turning to you for a lot of things. For a while, at least.”

G: “Of course you will,” Grey said smiling. “Your uncle and I would be really worried if you didn’t.”

S: “I’m glad that you two are always around to help us out, I really appreciate it.” Havelock said. Getting to his feet, he stretched his arms out, ready to get back to work. “Well, looks like break time’s over. Gotta get back to the boys down at the docks.”

G: “Of course,” the Chief replied as she stood up as well. “I should go relieve Greg of duty anyway. He and Warren are supposed to take the family on a trip for the weekend, and they’re planning to leave soon. Why don’t Uncle Brandt and I come over for dinner tonight?

S: “Sure that sounds like a nice idea.” Havelock replied. “Dags won’t be doin’ much, so you two will have to help out with the cooking!”

G: “Of course, we will,” Grey said placing a hand on her son-in-law’s cheek. “We’ll come by around sunset, hm?”

S: “Sounds great!” he replied. “Oh, and I’ll write that letter to my mother! I’ll go get on that right now!”

G: “Good idea!” Grey said excitedly. She gave Havelock a quick kiss on the cheek and walked to where she would be sure to find Greg. “Uncle Brandt and I will see you two later!”

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