|The Six 2: New Beginnings
Author: theletterdee PM
Sequel to my AU Sanctuary story The Six, set three years after. It's highly suggested to read that first to understand this one. Anyways, the continuing adventures of Alice Magnus as she deals with the aftermath of John and the beginnings of the Sanctuary Network.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Chapters: 9 - Words: 28,155 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 07-03-12 - Published: 06-20-12 - id: 8238056
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
February 10, 1913
This was the first time she'd been back in the piano room since the incident with Kemal Pamuk, but the itching in her fingers to play overshadowed everything else. Once she thought back, Alice realized that it could have ended up a lot worse and that was a train of thought she was all to happy to abandon as she approached the piano. She lowered herself onto the bench, groaning slightly, and began to play, the last dredges of shadowed memories dissipating as she got caught up in the music.
Apparently the twins liked the music too as two well-placed kicks (one to her rib, the other to her side) interrupted her playing. Alice placed her hands on her stomach in an effort to soothe them, "Pipe down in there, you two," she giggled as the kicks increased in occurrence. "Are you trying to tell me you don't like that song? I've got more in my repertoire." Once she started a nocturne by Chopin, the twins settled down and she only felt a few flutters as opposed to kicks. "Thought you might enjoy this one."
"Talking to yourself again?" Elsie's Scottish brogue asked quietly.
"I'm talking to the twins, Elsie."
"Ah," Elsie came into Alice's line of vision, "I see." She watched and listened as Alice continued to play. "It seems they'll get your love of minor music."
"I think so, they didn't like any of the major songs I chose," Alice grinned. "Too bright, I think, they prefer the deeper warmer minor notes." Elsie was still standing by the piano when she finished the nocturne. "Was there something you needed, Elsie?"
"Her ladyship would like to see you in the sitting room, Alice."
"She's probably going to try and convince me that I need more up to date clothes," she grinned.
Elsie smiled her own smile. She and Alice had modified Alice's older maternity clothes as best they could to reflect the newer styles of the day, but Cora had wanted to get Alice a brand new wardrobe. Thinking about the surprise awaiting Alice, Elsie's smile widened, "Right this way." They chatted amiably on the way down to the first floor sitting room. Elsie opened the door to the sitting room and stepped back to allow Alice to precede her.
"Surprise!" Elsie laughed at the squeak of surprise that escaped Alice before the other woman clapped her hands over her mouth, staring at the gathered family and friends. She saw the tears start to form when Alice's sister, Dr. Helen Magnus stepped forward first.
"Alice," the blonde smiled and was pulled into a fierce embrace by her still shocked sister. "Happy birthday."
"That's why you're here?" Alice asked as she drew back.
"Yes, silly, it's your birthday, your real one," Helen laughed. "Nikola's here too." She gestured over her shoulder and the Serbian vampire stepped forward to receive his own hug.
"Happy birthday, dear sister," Nikola told her.
"Thank you, Niko," she smiled as he pressed a brotherly kiss to her cheek.
"James couldn't come up, even though he really wanted to," Helen explained. "He did send his gift and a letter with us though."
"Thank you for coming," Alice smiled at her sister and oldest friend.
"You're my sister and Nikola's friend, it's your birthday so naturally we'd be here. Now, cake or presents?" At the mention cake, Helen saw her sister's eyes light up and she laughed, "Cake it is."
"How's the newest branch of the Sanctuary Network?" Alice asked as they walked the grounds. She was arm in arm with Helen while Nikola tagged along a short distance in front of them.
"Up and running smoothly. We've got a few inhabitants and more cases coming in."
"I'm happy for you…are you enjoying America?"
"Well the tea could use some work, but otherwise, yes I am."
Alice chuckled, "America doesn't have a fondness for tea if I remember. They prefer coffee."
"I won't drink coffee. I'm British, I have standards," Helen sniffed snobbishly, but a moment laughter both women were leaning on each other for support as they gave into their shared laughter. "What, what is it?" Helen asked worriedly when Alice took in a sharp breath. Nikola was immediately by their sides.
"Nothing," Alice waved them off, "here, feel." She snagged a hand from each of them and put them on her expanding belly, letting them feel the ruckus inside.
"Feisty little things," Nikola commented.
"They've got their parents' spirit, they'll probably turn out to be just as stubborn as them," Helen agreed, and the two of them laughed at Alice's glare.
February 13, 1913
Alice could hear plenty of voices talking amiably as she entered the Crawley House. Isobel had requested she come down and visit today, but hadn't given a clear reason why. Alice allowed Molesley to take her coat and hat, after that she smoothed down her light blue dress, a new one (Cora had insisted it was because of her birthday, but Alice knew it was just an excuse to give her a new wardrobe), and followed the butler to the sitting room.
"Mrs. Alice Watson," he introduced her and Alice smiled when Isobel rose to embrace her.
"How are you?"
"I'm good," Alice smiled, "We're good," she rubbed her belly and received two kicks in response.
"That's wonderful to hear, Allie," Isobel led her further into the room and one of the men sitting in the chairs abruptly stood and offered it to Alice.
"Thank you," she smiled at him and then stopped. Alice looked at all four of the people in the room, two women and two men. One of the women was a blonde, hair streaked with white, and soft blue eyes. The other had silver streaked caramel brown hair and dark brown eyes. Of the two men, both had brown hair, the man who had given up his seat was decidedly more grey than brown. He had brown eyes while his companion's blue eyes shone from behind gold-rimmed spectacles She caught the smile on Isobel's face in the corner of her eye as everything clicked into place, "It can't be…"
"It is," Isobel laughed. "Alice, let me introduce you to some old friends. Retired Colonel Jonathan McNeil and his wife, Samantha, also my sister as you remember. My brother, Dr. Daniel Wilton and his wife, Dr. Jessa Wilton. You all remember Alice."
"I remember her as Alice Wilton, not Watson," Jonathan teased, "but I do recall her in a similar physical state of being."
Alice swatted at his arm, "Still the same old Jon."
"Why would I change?" He grinned before pulling her into an embrace. "It's good to see you, Alice."
"Likewise, Jon." She laughed and instantly was caught up in a whirlwind of greetings and questions from Samantha and Jessa about the twins. Alice returned the favor by practically interrogating them all about their lives.
Isobel sat back with a smile, happy to see Alice reuniting with her friends; she caught Alice's eyes and was overwhelmed by the amount of gratitude in them. She smiled and nodded after Alice mouthed 'thank you' to her.
May 22, 1913
"I'll follow you up in a bit, Elsie," Charles said with a smile as they walked out of the housekeeper's parlor. "I want to check everything one last time before bed."
She stood on her tiptoes to give him a quick kiss, "Don't be too long."
"I won't, love, now off with you," he swatted at her bottom, making her skip a step ahead, he chuckled when she turned around to glare at him before going up the servant's staircase. Charles made his way around downstairs, making sure all the lights were off and the doors locked. He was just about to go upstairs when the bell for Alice's room rang once…then twice…and then again for a third time.
Confused, Charles quickly went up to her room and knocked. "Come in," came her answer and he entered to see Alice sitting up in bed, soaked in sweat, "Charles?"
"Alice, you rang?"
"Oh thank God," she gasped and motioned for him to come closer as she grimaced in pain. He walked over to the bed and gave her his hand when she wordlessly asked for it, she squeezed it so hard he thought some of the bones would break, "Charles…there are a few things that I'd love you forever if you did them for me."
"Anything, Alice, you know that."
"Go find Elsie and bring her here, then send someone for Isobel and Dr. Clarkson, and then tell his Lordship, but before all that, help me out of this robe and please bring me a drink of water."
He chuckled at the last request and quickly helped her up, noting that the breaking of her water had soaked her robe. He helped her out of it and draped it on a nearby chair as she settled back onto the bed in only her shift. After Charles had poured a glass of water for her, he stripped off the top cover of her bed, leaving only the sheets.
"Thank you, Charles," Alice smiled, sounding better after downing half of the glass.
"You're very welcome, Alice, I'll go get Elsie for you right now." At her nod, he left the room at a brisk pace. Reaching the servant's hallway, he quietly crept down the length of the women's side, internally cursing the fact that Elsie's room was closest to the locked door separating the men and women. He knocked quietly before entering without waiting for an answer. His wife had fallen asleep and it pained him to wake her when he knew that she had been working so much, but Charles also knew that Alice needed her. "Elsie…Elsie…" he gently shook her shoulder and she blearily opened her eyes.
He nodded, "You need to wake up."
"Whatever for?" She asked, sensing that this was not a personal night visit, if that was the case, they'd be in his room, not hers.
"I believe Alice has gone into labor, she asked me to get you before I send someone for Dr. Clarkson and Mrs. Crawley."
Elsie bolted from her bed and hurriedly threw her dressing gown on, "Why didn't you say so sooner, Charles? That was a hypothetical question, love," she added when he opened his mouth to reply. "Go wake William to run down to Dr. Clarkson and then the Crawley House while I go to Alice. Make sure his lordship knows too."
"Consider it done, my dear," He caught a quick kiss from her before both of them left Elsie's room. She unlocked the connecting door for him so he didn't have to go the long way around to wake William and then locked it behind him before hurrying to Alice's room, not caring about any noise she made.
Alice's hair was near black with sweat by the time Elsie reached her room, but the woman gave her a smile nonetheless, "Charles listened for once."
Elsie chuckled as she turned up the electric lights, shrugged out of her dressing gown and poured some water into the basin nearby, taking one of the smaller towels next to it, she soaked the towel and came to Alice's side, wiping down the other woman's forehead, "He has been known to do that."
She grinned at Alice's laughter, "Thank you, Elsie."
"For making me laugh," Alice reached out and held her hand, squeezing it in an iron grip when a contraction ripped through her body. "Sorry."
"Nothing to be sorry for, lass. We'll just have to get you through these until Dr. Clarkson arrives."
"Hopefully that's soon, the contractions are getting closer together."
"How long have they been going on?"
"Since about mid afternoon."
"And you didn't say anything? Och, Alice…" Elsie wetted the cloth again and placed it on Alice's forehead.
"I thought they were false contractions," Alice shrugged. "It wasn't until my water broke that I knew they were real."
"Still, you should have said something."
"All Dr. Clarkson would say was that it wasn't time, Elsie."
"What would I say?" The doctor in question asked as he entered the room, Isobel not far behind him.
"That my contractions earlier in the day weren't close enough together to cause panic for the entire house to fuss about," Alice deadpanned as he examined her.
"You'd be correct," he agreed. "You're almost ready to start pushing, but that should give us time to prepare. Mrs. Hughes, if you could squeeze in behind Alice to give her support during the contractions and eventually when she'll be pushing?"
"Aye, that I can do," Elsie nodded and soon she had Alice leaning back against her in between her legs, both of her hands in Alice's.
"Isobel," Clarkson said to get Mrs. Crawley's attention, "I'll be needing these supplies." Elsie watched as the doctor rattled off a list of things he'd need and Mrs. Crawley left, presumably to get those. She focused on Alice, both she and Clarkson coaching Alice through more of her contractions while Isobel returned and set up the room for a birthing. Elsie looked up to see Charles standing by the door, ready and waiting to rely instructions to someone (probably Anna or William) when needed. He smiled at her and she smiled back before Clarkson nodded, "We're ready. Alice, on your next contraction, I'm going to need to you push."
"You say this as though I've never birthed children before," Alice quipped before seizing Elsie's hands and crying out in pain as she started pushing.
Charles didn't know what to do, here was a dear friend of his crying out in pain and he couldn't do anything about it. Alice was strong, no doubt about that, but he still worried. He worried for her physical state as well as her emotional wellbeing and he knew Elsie did the same. He relayed instructions to Anna just outside the door for more towels or whatever it was that Dr. Clarkson needed. The family was gathered out in the hall and he gave them updates as often as he could, noting how they cringed whenever Alice screamed.
Hours passed by and the butler watched as Alice birthed her first child in the early morning of the 23rd of May, the dawn just starting to peek through the curtains in Alice's room. Alice had barely gotten a chance to reach out and stroke the child's cheek with a finger before Isobel took the baby away to be cleaned and Alice focused on birthing her second child.
"It's a girl," Isobel told the room, further cleaning the squirming child and clearing out her lungs. To Charles' surprise, Isobel came over to him and quickly deposited Alice's daughter in his arms just as her twin was born. He gazed down at the baby in his arms and was surprised to see her eyes were open. They were extremely dark, almost black and Charles hazarded a guess that the twins had inherited James' brown eyes.
"And her twin," Dr. Clarkson declared as the other baby girl was whisked away. He guided Alice through the afterbirth and Charles saw the woman sag against Elsie in exhaustion and relief. He continued to hold the firstborn while Isobel cleaned up the second and Dr. Clarkson and Elsie cleaned up everything else. The babe in his arms squirmed at the sound of her twin's whimpers.
"Have you thought of names, Allie?" He heard Isobel ask.
"Where's the first one?" Alice asked and Charles walked over with her. A smile like no other he'd seen lit Alice's face up. "That one, the one Charles is holding is Helena Isobel, her twin is Elizabeth Patricia."
Both Elsie and Isobel were touched by the names, "They're beautiful names, Alice," the housekeeper remarked as she touched little Helena's cheek.
"Named after beautiful people," came the soft reply. "We can call them by their nicknames though, Lena and Elsie."
"That could get confusing," Charles remarked.
"Elsie can be 'Little Elsie'," his wife suggested.
"I'll just let his lordship know," Charles nodded and turned towards the door only to be stopped by his wife's hand on his arm. "What is it?"
"I think Lena and Little Elsie would like to meet their mother," Elsie chuckled, nodding to the baby still in his arms.
Alice chuckled at the almost pout on Charles' face at the thought of giving up holding Lena, he really would have made a great father if he had gotten the chance, "I would like to meet my children, Charles, but I can see Little Elsie first if you want to continue holding Lena." He harrumphed, but she caught his smile as she took Little Elsie in her arms while Charles' wife went out to update the family on the new arrivals.
Monday, May 26, 1913
Alice was standing over the large bassinet that held her twin daughters, currently asleep. After Elsie had informed Robert and the rest of the family about little Lena and Elsie, she'd gotten Anna to run to her room and retrieve two caps that Elsie had made. They gave the pale yellow one to Lena and the pale green one to Little Elsie to tell the two babes apart, especially since Alice hadn't the heart to separate the two into two separate bassinets while they slept.
She vaguely heard the door open behind her and her suddenly being lifted off the ground startled a shriek of surprise out of her until she realized it was her husband whirling her around. Alice couldn't help the laughter bubbling up out of her in between the numerous kisses James was currently giving her, "Hello, darling."
"Hello, my beautiful wife," he replied finally putting her back down but not without one last kiss.
"Would you like to meet them?" She asked quietly.
"Do you even need to ask?"
She swatted half-heartedly at his shoulder before she took his hand and pulled him closer to the bassinet, "James, meet your daughters Helena 'Lena' Isobel and Elizabeth 'Elsie' Patricia. Girls, this is your Papa."
Twin sets of brandy brown eyes, identical to his, looked up at him. Wisps of dark brown, almost black, hair curled out from underneath pale yellow and pale green caps. Lena, in her yellow cap, gurgled at the sight of him and Elsie wriggled around, "They know me."
"Of course they know their Da."
"They're beautiful, Alice," James pressed a kiss to Alice's temple and slipped an arm around her waist as she leaned into his shoulder. "They're going to give us trouble growing up, aren't they?" He felt her body shake with silent laughter, "They're our children of course they're going to be trouble. I love you, Alice Watson, and our pair of girls."
She snuggled into his embrace, wrapping her own arms around his waist, "I love you, James Watson, and our girls."
D'AWW YAY, THEY FINALLY HAVE KIDS (that survive that is HUSH DEE YOU'RE RUINING THE MOMENT fine, fine, enjoy Le Twins!)
EDIT: Finally changed the humongous typo in the last part. *shakes head at herself* I'm working on chapter 10 after getting over a huge wall that stopped me in my tracks.