Within a private room as Willow Creek Hospital, Mordecai Miskin, clad in an unflattering patient gown, groaned in agony as another contraction surged through him, causing him to rock on his armchair. As he gasped for breath, desperately trying to remain calm, his father, who had gone to get a cup of coffee, re-entered the room and sat down beside him.
"How are you feeling?" Montague asked.
"Like a beached whale being ripped open from inside," came the dry reply.
"Don't worry," Montague chirped. "It will all be over soon - and you'll have a beautiful baby to show for it."
"So," Montague added, "have you thought of any names?"
"Mmm. You know how our names begin with an M? Montague, Mordecai, Matthias, Myron?"
"Well, if it's a boy, I'm going to call him "'Milo'".
"And if it's a girl?"
Montague pondered for a few moments, then nodded contently.
"Excellent choices," he said.
Suddenly, Mordecai screamed, his hands flying to his stomach. As Montague leaned forward to help him, Mordecai's eyes rolled back in his head. His body grew limp, and he slumped down into the chair.
Montague shook him by the shoulder, calling his name. He didn't move.
As the terrified comedian screamed for help, doctors and nurses rushed into the room, scooped Mordecai onto a stretcher, and dragged him away.
He should have been in that room with him.
He should have been standing beside him, holding his hand and mopping his brow, reassuring him that everything would be fine... just as he had done with Rebekah all those years ago. Instead, Montague was being forced to wait outside - lost in a world of fear, one born out of simply "not knowing" - as he peered through a small glass window at his son... still unconscious, lying in a large modern machine that seemed to Montague like a high-tech cocoon.
A thousand questions raced through Montague's mind. What was going on? What was that machine? Why wasn't he allowed to be with his son?
As though she had heard his thoughts, a young doctor stepped out of the room, approaching Montague in a solemn manner. Desperate for an explanation, he ran up to her.
"What's happening?" he cried, frantic with worry. "Is he OK?"
"Mr. Miskin," the doctor began, "a pregnancy of this nature, where the body is simply not designed to carry a child, is one that is extremely high-risk. Your son's physical being has no mechanism designed to cope with the pain and requirements of childbirth... and it has proven too much for him. Thus far, we've managed to keep his condition stable, but..."
"I'm sorry, sir... but there's a chance he may not make it."
The blood froze in Montague's veins.
"No... no, no, he can't... he mustn't..."
"We are doing everything we can for him," the doctor hastily added, "and we will do our best to make sure his children are delivered soon."
"His... his children?"
The doctor nodded.
"Yes, Mr. Miskin. Your son is carrying twins."
Montague sank to his knees on the the corridor floor.
"I will keep you up to date on your son's condition," the doctor told him. "Excuse me, but I must return to the procedure."
Montague never noticed her leaving, nor her re-entering the emergency room. His mind with occupied with a thousand memories - and not pleasant ones. The soundtrack in his mind was frantically replaying every hateful word he'd ever said, every insult he'd ever thrown at his son. What he would have given now to take all of it back... but it was too late. What was done was done. And now, he might have to pay the ultimate price for his folly...
As he slowly rose to his feet, his eyes firmly fixed on the young man through the glass window, Montague swore he could feel a cold chill pressing down on his shoulder.
The icy touch of death.
"No," he muttered, angrily. "You will not take him. That wasn't the deal, you bastard."
Matthias had never been a patient young man. Nightfall found him pacing up and down outside the house, unable to stop for one mere moment. However, unlike his relatives, the issue weighing heavily on his mind was not the pending offspring of his brother... but another man entirely.
There was a rustling in the bushes. As Matthias looked over, a young, toned, blonde-haired figure - Aaron Kaminski - appeared from the darkness, and raced up to him, drawing him into a tight embrace.
"Aaron!" Matthias breathed. "You came!
He turned his face toward his visitor's cheek, and graced it with a gentle kiss.
"Is your father around?" Aaron asked Matthias nervously.
"No," came the reply. "He's in the hospital with my brother."
"Mordecai? Is he OK?"
"He's fine... it's a long story."
"Look, I know you're nervous about meeting my family - but if we're going to be together, then you're going to have to, sooner or later."
"I know... and I want to," Aaron replied. "I'm just frightened about what your father will say. From what you've told me, he sounds like a real battle-axe."
"Well," Matthias told him, "I've always been the golden boy of the family. Never put a foot wrong. My dad seems to have a very good idea of what he expects from his children... and I don't think me being gay was ever part of his plan. My mother and brother will be fine with it, I know... but him? I'm not so sure."
"Well, he'd better get used to the idea, and quick..." Aaron chuckled - before dropping down onto one knee.
"...because I'm not going to give you up."
As Matthias gasped, Aaron reached into his back pocket, and produced a sparkling diamond ring.
"Marry me, Matthias," he said.
"Yes!" his beloved gasped in reply. "A thousand times, yes!"
As Aaron slid the ring onto Matthias' finger, a light suddenly beamed out from within the house. Rebekah, with electrifying energy, had rushed to the front door, phone in hand.
"Matthias!" she cried. "Your father called! Mordecai's -"
For the first time, her eyes fell on the young man still knelt on the grass.
"And just who the heck is this?" she asked... as her son giggled innocently.
As he lay in a hospital bed, bright light brought Mordecai out of his hazy slumber. With his eyes creaking open, he managed to slowly roll onto his side, and look over... to be greeted by the sight of his father standing over two bassinets, cooing happily at their residents.
"Hello, little ones! Come on, now - haven't you got a smile for me? Your old Grandpa Monty? Look at how beautiful you are - with your pretty purple skin!"
"What's going on?" Mordecai called out, weakly.
Hearing his son's words, Montague dashed over to his bedside, throwing his arms around him.
"You're all right," he whispered, overwhelmed with emotion. "Thank God you're all right. I was so scared I might lose you."
He planted a kiss on his forehead as tears poured down his cheeks.
"My son," he said lovingly. "My precious son... and heir."
Mordecai returned his embrace, his heart swelling up with a loving warmth... when he suddenly realised he was a lot lighter than he used to be. Nervously, his hands rushed to his stomach - causing Montague to chuckle.
"It's all right, son," he told him. "You've given birth. They had to give you an emergency C-section... you were unconscious at the time. Your little ones are here. They're fine and healthy... and so very, very beautiful."
Montague nodded. Smiling, he walked over to the bassinets, scooped up the two little bundles within them - one under each arm - and brought them over to their father.
"Meet your son, and your daughter," he said proudly. "Milo and Miranda Miskin."
As Mordecai laid eyes on his children for the first time, he thought he would explode with happiness. He'd never known love like this could exist. As his twin babies gazed up at him with eyes like shining black stones, he knew right away that the rest of his life would be devoted to them.
Mordecai and his children spent the next few days in the hospital as the new father slowly recovered from the somewhat traumatic birth. Montague visited them every day without fail, staying as long as the ward staff would allow. Soon enough, Mordecai was up and about, and was ready to take his precious newborns back home.
"Your mother tells me we have a visitor," Montague said to Mordecai as they packed his bags. "Your little brother's fiancée. Now, I've never met her, but I'm sure she's a lovely girl."
Aaron and Matthias needn't have worried. If Montague was able to cope with the idea of his oldest son having alien babies, then his younger son marrying another man was hardly going to trouble him... and it wouldn't have done in any case.
"Love is love," he'd told them, happily, "and the world needs a lot more of that."
Thus, when Aaron asked Montague for his blessing on their union, the proud father immediately bestowed it.
And so, before the month was out, the two were wed.
The day was one of great celebration for the entire Miskin family. When Fleur and Titus arrived for the wedding feast, Montague and his brood were introduced to Titus' new adopted son, Alaric - the newest heir to the noble Miskin title. Montague was relieved to know that his "backup plan" for his intergalactic grandchildren, foolishly concocted in a moment of wickedness, would now never need to come to fruition.
Juliet's family had also been extended. Isabella was now married to one of her father's young, upcoming business associates, Rahim, and the couple had a son of their own - Ismail.
As the guests and relatives all gathered for the feast, Montague, sat at the top table with his wife and sons, tapped on his glass with his spoon, calling the room to attention. He rose, cleared his throat, and as tradition demanded on such occasions, made a speech.
"My dear friends and relatives," he said, "I wish to address you all now to not only express my best wishes for Matthias and his new husband Aaron, but also, to tell you all how proud I am of my family. My entire family."
In the corner of the table, Mordecai smiled.
"In years gone by," Montague continued, "I thought pride and honour were the cornerstones of a legacy. But now, I know that this is not true. The most important thing is love... and I've always had plenty of that in my life. I love my wife, my children, and my grandchildren - and seeing them prosper, with joyful hearts, is the greatest achievement I could have hoped for... regardless of my comedy career."
This was greeted by a small round of applause.
"And so," Montague said, "after much thought, I have decided that it is time for me to step out of the limelight. I am growing old, and I am ready for some young blood to take over as head of the household."
He raised his glass.
"A toast, then, to Mordecai... and the Miskin Legacy."
THUS ENDS GENERATION TWO