"Phoenix" she called her voice filling the air around the red heads haven. Silence greeted her. She had come to inform him of the growing danger to their dimensions. She knew Phoenix would join the alliance. She had no doubt in her mind.
A groan alerted her that she wasn't alone. Turning she gasped as she came face to face with an emissary of council. As his feet Phoenix lay groaning holding his side.
"As we suspected" the man said his tone impassive.
"As we suspected" the man said his tone impassive.
Lifting her chin Quinn crossed her arms. She would not give this lackey from the council the satisfaction of seeing her squirm. "Whatever you suspect I assure you're wrong."
Dragging Phoenix to his feet he demanded "is this the mother of the children?"
"I don't know what you're talking about" Phoenix sounded hoarse but otherwise unhurt.
"Don't mistake my benevolence as stupidity. We know this is the one who has come to your dimension multiple times since the awakening. She's the mother isn't she?" He shook the weakened watcher "answer me. Is she the one?"
Recovering from her initial shock Quinn knew their worst fears had come to pass. The council was aware of the twins. She kept her face stoic and as unfeeling as she could make it. Phoenix had withstood the Emissaries interrogation to protect her. She would not make his suffering be for nothing.
"Pitiful creature" the emissary tossed Phoenix aside like a rag doll. "You" he pointed towards Quinn "why are you here if not to see your lover and kids?"
"I had important dimension business to discuss" she kept her tone aloof avoiding eye contact with Phoenix.
"I see" he rubbed his chin "Phoenix Cross by the power invested in me you are here with consigned to dimension duty for all eternity. The terms of your voluntary service have been revoked." He stopped his face softening as he helped Phoenix stand up "unless you care to save yourself. Tell me the mother of your children. Tell me and I will let you go home where you can live out your days like a normal mortal. Raise more children."
Phoenix shook his head as his body seemed to convulse "I'd rather rot here for all eternity then tell you."
"As you wish" the emissary stepped back allowing Phoenix to stumble forward "finish your business and leave" he instructed Quinn before vanishing before them.
Phoebe hugged her pillow to her chest. Squeezing her eyes tight. She could still see the hurt disappointed look in her parents eyes as she told them about the baby.
Her mother's gasp "I knew we shouldn't have let you date that boy."
Her dad's attempts to calm her as he said "I'm sure this had nothing to do with...."
"We don't know. Not for sure" her mother cried.
Frowning Phoebe felt as if she had missed something important. They knew something that she didn't. The looks that passed between her parents. The half finished sentences.
"Did you date his dad or something?" she asked glancing from one parent to the other.
"No of course not"Kimberly shook her head "no one knows who his parents are. Whatever gave you that idea?"
Her mother's protests did little to ease the growing unease that some mystery remained around Malachi. "You don't have to worry about Malachi anymore. He didn't like the idea of being a father" she hugged herself tight fighting back tears "we broke up. He got what he wanted and now he's gone."
"I'm going to kill him" Everett exploded bouncing from the couch.
"Daddy please" she cried "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." Once she started to say she couldn't keep from saying it. The words dribbled from her mouth. Incoherent from sobbing.
"Aw honey" she felt her father's arms slip around her holding her tight "I'm sorry too." He kissed the top of her head.
"Tomorrow you're seeing the doctor" Kimberly said "after that we'll deal with this...bump in the road." She joined them wrapping her arms around her daughter and husband. "I know it feels like the end of the world but it's not. We'll get through this."
That was how many hours ago? Phoebe sniffed into her pillow. Her parents hadn't said it but she could hear it loud and clear. She had screwed up. Her entire future had changed. All her dreams gone at the snap of her fingers. She shoved her fist in her mouth biting hard to keep from screaming. Why had she been stupid? Why had she ever believed Malachi was the one? No one at fourteen ever met their soul mate.
"Phoebe" a small voice called from the partially open door "are you aright?"
"Go away" she cried
"You're crying" he persisted slipping into the room closing the door behind him "is it because of the baby?"
"What do you know about that?" she mumbled sitting up on the bed.
"I..." he picked at his fingers then glanced both ways as if he was afraid of being overheard "I listened to you tell mommy and daddy."
"You little sneak" she cried.
Shrugging he climbed on the bed beside her "how else am I supposed to find out about stuff? No one ever tells me. They think I'm a kid."
"You are a kid" she emphasized.
"Yeah" he sighed moving restlessly beside her on the bed "it doesn't mean I can't help."
"Ori"she rolled her eyes about to launch into all the reasons why a ten year old couldn't help when she stopping considering his sincere blue eyes identical to their mother's. She smiled gently at him "you're right you can help."
"I can?" he sounded surprised "of course I can" he amended confidently. "You'll be a good mommy" he leaned into her kissing her cheek.
"Really?" she asked surprised that he thought so. Half the time she thought he was a nuisance. Always hiding behind doors spying on her. Too bad he wasn't around that night when she and Malachi decided to make a baby.
"I think so" he leaned into her eyes drooping.
"I didn't think you liked me" she laughed as he put his head in her lap.
"I don't" he yawned "it's a brother thing."
"That doesn't make any sense" she went on a for a few minutes telling him why it didn't make sense stopping at the sound of him snoring. Short of letting him sleep with her she scooped him up and carried him to his room.
"You'll be a good mommy" Ori's voice echoed in her head. It was a comforting thought to think someone thought she'd be a good mother. She let it lull her to sleep.
A couple hours later she tossed her head restlessly on the pillow whimpering in protest. Sweat dotted her forehead and upper lip "no please don't...."
"Good mommy" a voice she hadn't heard in over ten years cackled in her head "good mommy, mommy, mommy."
"Go away" Phoebe shouted "please go away."
"You're never getting rid of me," the wandler taunted.
"Why? How?" she cried "dollie's gone. She was the link. Go away."
"Oh poor little dollie" the wandler taunted "her sacrifice was for nothing. You've been touched. I can come and go as I please now. You'll never be alone again."
"No please" she whimpered "you were gone. I know you were gone."
"I was never gone. Just hibernating" the wandler sniffed sighing contentedly "you're fear is delicious. I could feast upon it forever."
"No leave me alone" Phoebe begged "rainbows and hearts. Unicorns and puppy dogs."
"We're not in the darkness anymore" the wandler scoffed at her feeble attempts to get rid of her "those tricks won't work on me."
"Where are you?" Phoebe cried groping in the dark shivering. It was like a cloying damp cloak had been thrown over her head, smothering her. She sat up straight in bed the first light of dawn appearing in the sky as she glanced out her window.
"I'm inside your head" the wandler whispered as if she sat beside Phoebe "the silly woman who commissioned me to torment you as a child had me touch you. A wandler's touch is terrifying and wonderful. Many don't survive."
The Wandler's voice filled Phoebe's mind "why are doing this to me?"
"You're special" the wandler's laughter deafened her "I didn't think we'd be united so soon."
"Leave me alone" Phoebe begged holding her stomach as a sharp pain stabbed her.
The wandler shook her head her voice taking on a teasing tone "it's so much fun being here with you. If I left I wouldn't have any fun. I know you wouldn't want that."
"Yes I would" Phoebe screamed as the pain increased to intolerable levels in her stomach. "Daddy, mommy" she screamed stumbling from the bed.
"You really are a stupid little girl" the wandler gave her one more twist before taking what she came for..
Kimberly held onto Everett's hand sitting in the sterile impersonal waiting room. She squeezed her shut as images of running into her daughter's bedroom assaulted her. Phoebe lay semi conscious on her bedroom floor writhing in pain. "She's lost so much blood" she mumbled for the hundredth time.
Everett squeezed her hand. He heard her talking through her fears while he remained silent. What could he say? What could he do? "She'll be alright" he murmured so many times the words had begun to lose their meaning.
Kimberly nodded her tears streaming from her eyes "hold me," she pleaded a testament of how much they had been through recently. "I can't lose her too. First Grandma now this."
Beverly had been a huge part of their lives. Her absence would leave a hole in their lives that wouldn't be easily filled. They hadn't had a lot of time to absorb the tragedy of her death before being slammed with news of Phoebe's pregnancy. Everett jerked upright when he saw a doctor come from the OR.
Hastily he went to meet the surgeon halfway "how is she? How's my daughter?
Blinking the exhausted man rubbed his temples "we got the bleeding stopped. It's a miracle you found her when you did." He have each of them a silent nod and smile "she should make a full recovery."
"Can we see her?" Kimberly asked clinging to Everett.
"She's in recovery" he gave her a brief grin "once she's in her own room I'll have the nurse come get you." He turned to leave then stopped "her case is puzzling if it weren't for the bleeding I'd swear there was no baby."
"Are you saying she wasn't pregnant?" Everett demanded "we saw the test results...."
"I didn't say that" the doctor yawned "there's plenty of evidence in the womb she had been pregnant but no evidence of a fetus. I've never seen anything like it in my twenty years of practice."
Shocked Everett let the man go turning his attention to his wife "our baby's going to be aright" he assured her holding Kimberly tight as she cried on his chest.
"I know" she sniffed "I'm happy really I am. It's just....what if she's right?"
"We got rid of the wandler almost ten years ago. It can't come back" he kissed her forehead "we destroyed the doll it was attached to. Phoebe was delirious and didn't know what she was talking about."
"I'm sure you're right" Kimberly sighed wrapping her arms around his waist "seeing her like that on the floor. Hearing her saying it was back...."
"I know I was just as scared as you" Everett admitted "everything is going to be alright now. I promise."
“Keenan” Lydia yawned stumbling into the living room brushing her disheveled hair from her face “it’s 2 AM! What are you doing?”
“Can’t sleep" he mumbled glancing at his phone frowning.
“Hold up - just stop” she demanded as he tried to hide his phone from her view.
“It’s nothing” his voice sounding irritated as she persisted to reach his phone.
“I’ve known you too long Keenan. This isn’t nothing” she sat down motioning for him to join her. She smiled seeing the reluctance in his face as he sat beside her. “Just because you don’t want to talk about something doesn’t mean it’s nothing.”
He remained silent staring at the far wall of their living room mumbling again “it’s nothing.”
“It’s your father isn’t it?” her gentle persistence earning her a nod from her husband.
“He…called” Keenan raised his phone where it still showed the ID of the last caller “he’s a mess. Mom was his life.” His heart thudded against his chest a dull persistent ache “I’m afraid the clan elders will try to force him into a marriage he’s not ready for.”
She gasped clutching his hand “it’s too soon. They wouldn’t be that heartless would they?”
“I wouldn’t put it past them” Keenan sighed “I don’t think they care how much he’s hurting. They just want an heir they approve of.”
The bitterness in his voice was all Lydia needed to hear to know how much her husband was hurting. "I wish..." she bit her lip. She hated having the castle guard anywhere near her home. It disrupted her routine not to mention scaring the girls "we should have your father come stay with us."
Grunting Keenan shook his head "it didn't work so well the first time he was here. Not to mention the guard and elders would never allow it now."
"We can't just leave him in that dreary old castle by himself" she protested.
He tugged on her hair "it's really sweet of you to offer unfortunately it won't work."
"Why not?" she demanded.
"He needs the castle guard for protection" he mumbled.
"The castle guard didn't do much for Beverly" Lydia pointed out "she was on castle grounds when Sarafino got to her." Tears blurred her vision "where were the guards when she needed them?"
Nodding Keenan sighed "I've wondered that myself. Why was she there? It's so unlike her to go wandering around by herself."
"You believe Serafino's story don't you?" Lydia said dismayed.
"I do. He killed her but..." his voice flat emotionless "I just don't think it's as easy as that. There's more to it."
"Silver" she hissed the hated name from her lips.
"I'm afraid so" he agreed "no one else benefits from Beverly's demise. The elders would have waited until she passed away from old age. Now they're taking advantage of an unexpected opportunity."
"Serafino still had motive" she pointed out not quite convinced "he wanted to rule Moonlight Falls."
"After his assignation attempt the elder's would never consider him" Keenan let a bitter laugh escape "that was a delusion that Silver capitalized on. Silver wants my dad. Beverly was an obstacle preventing Silver from getting what he wants."
"Oh Keenan" Lydia cried reaching out to him. Her fingers encountered stiff taught muscles.
He moved away from her touch mumbling "the elders were right to be scared. I am a monster" he mumbled.
"No you're not" she protested brows knitted in confusion "you are not Silver." She took his hand holding it against her cheek "you are my husband. The father of our children. If you are a monster so are they."
He knew what she was trying to do and for a moment it lifted the weight from his heart. He took her in his arms held her tight. Would she still feel the same after he did what he knew he had to do? or would she look at him like he the monster he knew he was?
"No I won't do it" Adam shouted eyes darting around the assembled clan elders.
"You don't have a choice" his once trusted friend and mage informed him.
"I thought you were supposed to have my back" Adam accused his voice hoarse.
"I do" Alanon insisted "I have to also weight the good of Moonlight Falls against the needs of one individual. The people need the reassurance that an heir will give them."
"There is a an heir" Adam stated as the air of the small conference room pressed in around him. He felt trapped in circumstances he had no control over.
"He's not the type of heir we need. He has too much power" Alanon shook his head "the people won't back him."
"He's my son" Adam protested scanning the obstinate faces of the assembled clan elders. Each one bearing the responsibility of their people on their shoulders. "Keenan would never hurt anyone" he attempted to make them see reason.
"You can't say that" Alanon spoke softly "anyone can hurt anyone if given enough reason."
"It hasn't even been a month since Beverly....my wife...." he choked. He just couldn't say it. His eyes watered despite his best efforts to remain stoic.
"You're letting your humanity take control of your emotions" Alanon hissed without hint remorse or sympathy "pull yourself together. Emotion has not bearing on duty. Providing a viable heir is the duty of the Esteemed One."
Adam glared at Alanon his eyes boring into his head. His vampire rising, taking control pushing the hurt and pain away. For a brief moment he felt nothing. Under the influence of that moment Adam snapped "fine we'll do it your way. You give no choice." He paused staring intently into the assembled men and women "send me your selections. I'll choose from among them."
He walked from the room slamming the door on the stunned faces of the clan elders. His anger allowed him to make it back to his room before emotions once again took control "what am I going to do?" he cried in the still empty room "I can't do this. I don't want to do this."
He reached for the photograph of Beverly smiling from the frame "I should have renounced my appointment as Esteemed One. I don't want it. Never did. Why did I let you convince me to do this? All they want is someone they can control. A puppet they can control."