AN: Here is the final chapter of Never! I hope you enjoy it ) I have loved writing this fic, and I hope you all will tune into the sequel
Wanted: It all depends on what you mean by fuck over :P It's never been a secret what was going to happen in this fic ' I'm sorry if you don't like the ending
Fallen Angels at my
Whispered voices at my ear
Death before my eyes
Lying next to me I fear
He beckons me shall I give in?
Upon my end shall you begin
Forsaking all I've fallen for I rise to meet the end
-- "Whisper" Evanescence
4 months later
"I don't know Liika, it's too risky."
Liika blew her bangs back impatiently, shooting a withering glare in the direction of her blond 'companion'. "Yes, it is, but I have to go. He deserves to know."
Mystel sighed, rolling his eyes towards the ceiling and shoving his hands in his pockets. If only he had gotten an easy assignment… but noo, he had to get the charge of guarding the little blue haired ex-Angel. She'd signed the damn oath and contract, why the hell did she need a guard?
"He's going to die, what does it matter if he knows or not?" Ok, so that had been a little cold.
She didn't explode like he thought she might, nor did she get all sulky and depressed. She merely sent him a glower even scarier than the first, her eyes set directly on him. He surprised a shiver. He suddenly knew what his sister had meant when she had mentioned that women had what was called "the look". Only a woman could look at someone like that and make a grown man shudder in terror.
If truth be known, he didn't really mind guarding the petite, but fiery bluenette. She had been god awfully depressed the first month or so she had been put in his charge, but slowly she began to pull herself out of it and revert back to what he assumed was her usual nature. However, he didn't think she'd ever be what she was before… far too much had happened to her, and far too much was happening to her at the moment.
Oh he was all too aware of the situation between her and the second in command. Though it wasn't glaringly clear that she actually hated the burly Russian, to anyone who cared enough to look closer, the signs were there. She would never love him… that much was obvious anyway.
"You know what will happen if Tala or Bryan find out we went up there don't you?" He sighed again, already knowing he lost. Why did he have to have such a soft spot for women?
Liika snorted, checking Nadya over once more before striding towards Mystel. "Of course I do. I live with the fucking man. We'll just tell them I made you take me up there…" Her glare transformed into a wicked smirk, her eyes leering. "Because we all know that I could kick your ass any day of the week."
Now it was Mystel's turn to scoff. "You wish princess," he retorted, with a roll of his crystal eyes. "I'll just tell them you drugged me all sneaky like, you know… woman like."
She flipped him off with a saucy sneer and flounced out of the room. Mystel smirked to himself, knowing that she hated chauvinism in any form. It was something she and Tala battled with on a daily basis. It didn't help that she enjoyed annoying the red head. Probably as pay back for all the self-perceived slights he had sent her way.
Liika returned moments later, Mariah trailing at her heels. Looking at the two women, Mystel found it hard to believe that they were at the same stage in their pregnancies. Though impregnated on the same night, you'd think, by looking at them, that the difference was months. Liika's belly was already swelling, and easily looked as if she was six months along, where as Mariah's was nearly flat – nearly, it was still clear that she was pregnant. He attributed the difference to the fact that the pink haired Asian girl was not only a half a foot taller than her friend, but that she was built thicker as well.
"We're going down Mari, watch Nadie won't you?" Liika asked quietly, lowering her eyes. All traces of spunk and temper were gone in an instant.
Mariah nodded, an idle hand straying over the bump under her cotton shirt. "Be careful Ika," was all she said.
"Come on Mysti, we better get this over with before Tala and Bryan get back from the meetings."
For a third time Mystel sighed. There it was again. The nick name… how was he ever going to get the dignity a general deserved if she kept calling him by that God awful nick name? "I still say this is a horrible idea that is going to back fire on us both."
"And I still say I don't have a choice." Liika started for the door, pausing as she reached it, looking over her shoulder at him. "Look, if you were set to die, and you had fathered a child unknowingly, wouldn't you like to know before you went? Wouldn't you like to know that there is another life that may carry your goal to fruition?"
There were few people Liika trusted in her new life – a new life she was barely, after four months, becoming accustom to – but Mystel Kehl was one of them. After the initial two weeks of never leaving his chambers, Bryan had gone back to 'work'. Though he was generally only gone for a few hours at a time, he had decided it prudent for her and Nadya to have a protector for when he wasn't around. He had assigned the newly appointed general Mystel as that protector.
At first she had hated him as she hated all the other Biovolt scum that swarmed the Abbey. But as time went on she saw that he wasn't like the rest… and that really the only reason he was subservient to Tala Valkov was because it was what benefited him the most. He barely liked the red head, and he didn't care for Bryan either. It gave them something great in common and from them on they, along with Mariah had hit it off. He became her secret keeper – besides the diary that she had started to keep – and he was slowly becoming her best friend. She knew when the time came for Mariah to leave and return to her husband, he would be the only one she had in the world besides her husband.
Mariah had been a blessing in the four months of sheer hell that had followed the defeat at the BEGA compound. After she had signed herself over to Bryan in exchange for Mariah, Liika had tried to send the pink haired girl off with the rest of the Angels to Northern Canada (Tala had decided that the barren place would be best for the political dissidents), but the girl wouldn't have it. She said she would stay with her until things had settled better… until after the execution.
But then they had discovered they were pregnant. Neither knew how to feel really… Mariah was happy and sad, and Liika was confused. Her child could be either Bryan's or Kai's… she didn't know which one to hope for. It was Black Dranzer that had told her the truth.
After their pregnancies were declared, and 'tests' done to make sure it was Bryan's child she carried, it was celebrated that there was to be another royal child on the way, though Tala was rather annoyed that Bryan had yet another brat on the way and his new bride had yet to conceive. There were many snide comments about Liika being as good as a brood mare, impregnating so easily. Those comments subsided when it was discovered two months after that Jade too was carrying.
Due to circumstances it was decided then that Mariah would stay until the babies were born. All was setting up, and Tala had no idea.
"Oh I don't know, I think I would be happier not knowing that I helped bring a child into a world I saw as bleak and miserable." Mystel said, his voice low as he opened the door for Liika.
"Be that as it may, I feel he should know."
They made their way silently through the large, rich halls of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. Tala was building his own palace in Moscow, but he hated the Abbey so much that within a month of the end of the war he had had anything worth keeping packed up and moved to St. Petersburg where they would stay in the Winter Palace (which he had re-converted most of it back into a house from a museum) until their new home was completed. They would be moving again soon.
As there was no dungeon in the Winter Palace, the three that were set for execution were confined to a room in the upper most level of the Palace. It was an inner room that had no windows and only one door. For further precautions, Tala had snapped electronic collars around Kai, Spencer and Maya, so not only would he know where they were, should they escape, but he could send a paralyzing current through them from any distance away. It could not be removed by anyone but Tala.
"I really hope you have a plan to get past the eight thousand guards that he keeps stationed on the third floor." Mystel whispered, keeping his voice low enough so that only Liika could hear it.
"I do. I called in a favour. The Mother will take care of it."
Mystel remained doubtful. Though everyone had told him the stories of the great black phoenix who had created the planet, he still had a hard time believing it. Why would some all powerful deity bother with puny mortals? Personally he didn't care as long as this supposed being got them to where they needed to go without them getting caught.
You too will learn to trust in me, protector of my own.
Mystel nearly jumped eight feet in the air when the strange yet powerful voice echoed through his mind. He looked around desperately, trying to see if there was some woman around that he had heard… but the only ones near him were Liika and a few entry level soldiers.
"What is wrong with you?" Liika hissed, jabbing him in the side and drawing his attention. "You are going to give away our position."
"Sorry," Mystel whispered back, a scowl on his face. "I could have sworn I just hear this weird voice in my head."
Liika's expression panned out instantly and she rolled her eyes upward. "You should get used to that. If you are in proximity to me or Nadya hearing her is a possibility. That would be Black Dranzer – the Mother. She likes to talk to people at the most inopportune moments."
Great. He was thrilled, really he was.
They soon reached the single elevator – one that had been installed only years before, mostly for the museum's benefit. There were soldiers stationed at it, and Mystel stepped forward, his chin raised. "Step aside."
"Where are you taking the Lady?" The larger, older of the two soldiers asked, his grip on his gun tightening.
Trust Tala to choose only the best. Liika sighed. "It doesn't matter, please step aside."
Mystel watched in amazement as the two large men's eyes seemed to glaze over as they nodded and stepped away from the elevator doors. "Yes ma'am."
Once they were safely in the elevator, Mystel narrowed his eyes at Liika, demanding answers. "Ok, how did you do that?"
A blue eyebrow arched and Liika lifted the indigo-black stone that hung around her neck. It was glowing slightly. "I told you she was taking care of it."
"Remind me never to get on your bad side." Mystel shuddered. It was scary to think that a little rock had the power to turn a grown man's mind to mush.
The elevator dinged as it reached the third and top floor. Mystel, now more relaxed after witnessing the power of the great phoenix, stepped out of the elevator first, holding a hand up at the guns that were suddenly pointed at him.
However, those guns fell the instant Liika stepped out of the elevator behind him. Every man in the vicinity went limp, their eyes glazing over much like the soldiers on the first floor had. None of them made a move to stop them as the moved through the hallway towards the room that housed the people considered the most dangerous criminals on the planet.
"Okay, so that was freaky. What about the cameras?" Mystel asked, glancing over at Liika. It was rather disconcerting to be only about an inch or two taller than one of the shortest women he knew.
"Don't worry about them. Apparently they are showing empty halls with alert soldiers. We'll just have to trust that she is doing her job."
Somehow that didn't sit well with him.
Liika led the way after they turned the first corner. The Winter Palace was huge, and it took a great many turns and twists before they came to the door they were looking for. They knew it was the right one simply because of the exorbitant number of guards swarming the closer they got. Guards that all went glassy eyed as Liika came near them.
Sometimes she actually liked Black Dranzer.
Your sentiments are noted child.
Liika smirked lightly at the annoyed voice. She figured if the all-powerful being could pick at her, she could pick at the being back.
As she reached the door she steeled herself, willing the trembles to leave her limbs. She took a deep breath and opened the door as if it had never been locked. Yet another perk of having it in with the creator the planet.
Mystel didn't bother entering with her, not really wanting to witness the heartache and despair that he was sure would accompany the visit. He sighed – he did quite a bit of it when in Liika Tomoda's presence – and hoped that he would never have to go the same thing as she and her love Kai Hiwatari.
Liika was aware of the eyes on her as soon as she stepped in the room. Spencer was the first to greet her, stumbling to his feet and over to her. He, like the other two in the room, looked a mess. Scars ran over his face and peeked through the torn and ragged clothing he wore. Bruises were everywhere and the skin around the collar was blackened… it was enough to make her cry, which of course she did.
"Hello Spencer," she murmured, afraid to reach out to him.
He came to her, placing his big hands on her shoulders and peering through puffy eyes into her tear filled ones. "You shouldn't be here," he rasped in a voice that obviously had not seen much use in the past four months. "You'll be hurt," his eyes flickered downwards, at her stomach.
She shook her head. "She is taking care of it. Tala won't even know I've been here." She reached a hand up towards his face, pulling back at the last second. "I'm so very sorry Spencer."
The large, blond, Russian shrugged, wincing as he did so. "It is a path I chose for myself, no matter what ancient birds have to say about it." He pulled away then, stumbling back to where Maya lay sleeping in the corner. She too looked abused and worn.
Liika's eyes surveyed the room, looking for the person she had come specifically to see. When turquoise clashed with auburn her heart broke. There was nothing in the gaze… not anger, hatred, love… just nothing. It nearly destroyed her.
Be strong or I will make sure Tala Adrik Valkov will know you've been here.
"I hate you," she whispered, clenching her eyes shut. "Leave me alone and do your job."
With careful steps, Liika crossed the room to where the dead auburn eyes stared at her from. He was perhaps the worst off of the three, and bore the marks of personal torture at the hands of one Tala Valkov. Most of his skin was some shade of bruise, and even more scars adorned his flesh. His clothing was practically shredded, and dirty, and more than one cut on his arms and forehead looked infected. Her heart bled for him.
"Kai…?" She called softly, her teary eyes coming back up from their study to meet his. She lowered herself to the ground beside him – he was leaned against the wall – her knees just touching his.
"Liika." It was little more than a croak, rusty and disharmonious.
The tears came in a flood as she threw herself at him, her hands clutching the scant material of his tattered shirt. The same shirt he had been wearing the day it had all ended.
He made no move to comfort her, his arms remaining dead at his side. The lifeless auburn orbs barely even looked at her, the pain – both physical and emotional – almost too much to bear.
"You shouldn't have come."
Liika stiffened, her hands clenching tighter. He was mad at her…not that she blamed him. She would be mad at her too if their positions were reversed.
She pulled away, every fiber of her being screaming at the injustice of the world. At Tala Valkov for existing. "You hate me," she murmured softly, her eyes closing. "I hate me too."
He didn't answer, just continued to stare at the opposite wall. He wanted her to go away… go away so that it wouldn't hurt so bad. Couldn't she see that being here was killing him slower and more painfully than Tala ever could?
Finally he made a sound. It was rough, and low, but it was there. A derisive, sarcastic chuckle, that was accompanied by a sneer. "I can see that." His eyes swiveled towards her and down, centering on her swelling stomach.
Her teeth ground, all in effort to bite back the sobs that threaten to over take her. "With your child Kai." It was all she could do not to whimper.
The sneer left his face in an instant, and a trace of life leapt back into his eyes. "What?" His voice was wispy and extremely shaky. Everything about him stilled, and it almost seemed as if his heart had stopped as well.
"The baby is yours," Liika's voice was always shaky, and quiet. Not because she was afraid of anyone hearing, but simply because she didn't have the strength to summon anything louder. "Though the tests say other wise, Black Dranzer told me he is your son."
Wide, terror filled eyes willed her to look at him at the same time, shaky and broken hands came up to cup her face. "He's my son?" He swallowed, though he had no saliva to do so.
Liika nodded, finally opening her eyes to see the light that had sparked in his. Even broken he was beautiful.
"He will kill it," Kai rasped, tears springing to eyes that he thought would never tear again. "He will destroy a child just to get at me." He pulled Liika against him then, ignoring the pain as he circled his non-dislocated arm around her shoulders.
"He won't have a chance. Black Dranzer… she has promised me that our son will live…though not with me. Mariah is pregnant also… with twins. Tala and Bryan think its triplets, just as they think my baby is Bryan's. When it comes time for them to be born, mine will be passed off as still born, though in reality he will be put along side hers as their triplet. He will have an illusion spell upon him that will make him look like Mariah and Robert's sons." She buried her face in his chest, paying no attention to the fact that he reeked. "He has a place in destiny too."
Aching pain engulfed him, making the tears that only threatened to spill actually spill over his cheeks like trails of molten lava. Everything he would miss simply because fate hated him.
I do not hate you unworthy one. Some things are simply not meant to be, and some people must be sacrificed. Do you regret giving your life to save your friends'?
Never. I regret not being there for Liika, for our son.
All things that must be come to pass, it is the way of fate. Your son shall grow to be strong and shall also play his part in fate. Die knowing that he will do things that you could not.
He would have asked what she meant by that except that he knew she wouldn't answer. She was gone, somehow he knew it. Never again would he hear the voice of the Great Mother. A voice he had only heard once before when he was a small child.
"I love you."
He looked down once more, squeezing Liika with all the strength he could spare. "I love you too."
"I'm sorry… for everything."
"You have nothing to be sorry for," and he meant it. She had done nothing… Whatever she blamed herself for, or that could be blamed on her was more attributable to Tala or Bryan than it was to her. "Better me than you… or anyone else. We have come to accept this. Besides," he smiled a bit down at her. "Death is better for me than living in a world run by Tala."
"I wish I could go with you," she murmured, pulling away from his chest and wiping her eyes. "I've missed you so badly."
Kai slipped a crooked finger under her eye and wiped away the tears that never ceased falling. "You made me a promise Liika, and I will hold you to it. Nadya needs you, and despite everything, eventually our son will need you. We will see each other again, just not for a long time." He grimaced, shifting so that his long dislocated shoulder was sitting at a different angle. "Now tell me what happened to everyone and how Nadya is faring. Tala refuses to tell me anything."
Liika scrubbed at her face, sniffling. She longed to offer to try to set his shoulder, but knew that he would have done it already if he wanted it done. Tala would probably just re-separate it anyway. "Nadya's walking now… at a year she started. Although she doesn't make all that much use of it. She's gotten shyer I think… She really only opens up to Tala, Bryan, Mariah, Mystel and myself." She smiled sadly. "Mariah is staying with me, of course, until the babies come. She misses Robert, but talks to him often – Tala has allowed them to speak over the vid-phone. He sent everyone to Northern Canada, to a relatively small town – Whitehorse I think – to eek out a living. I think some of them are thinking about going back to school, though it is having to go through Tala first. Bryan doesn't let me talk to them… I think it's my punishment for marrying you."
"He hasn't hurt you?"
Liika shook her head, shifting her gaze to the floor. "Black Dranzer and Akala wouldn't let him even if he wanted to."
At that moment the door opened, and Mystel popped his head in, his expression apologetic. "Liika," he called softly, "They will be back soon, we have to go."
She nodded, breathing deeply and leaning in to hug Kai gently once more. She placed a small kiss on his dry, chapped lips before standing, her eyes smudging with tears once more. "I love you so much," she whimpered, stepping away backwards, slowly.
"I love you too," Kai replied, his own tears flowing. He knew this was the last time he'd ever see her. "Take care of them Ika… and of yourself. Know that no matter what he does to me, I will always watch over you and love you."
Liika sobbed and nodded, finally turning and hurrying from the room. She forgot even to say goodbye to Spencer and Maya.
She ran past Mystel who looked extremely sympathetic, and down the various halls, blindly making her way to the elevator.
She would never forgive Tala Valkov, no matter how much she pretended other wise. She would hate him to the end of her days. And she just prayed that one day, somehow, he would pay for everything he did to her friends.
It was a dreary day, filled with threatening gray clouds and light drizzle. The crowds were great, though Liika hardly noticed them. She stood, completely shrouded in black from head to foot, staring at the platform outside the Kremlin towers she stood in. Bryan had been displeased at her choice of attire – indeed at her very insistence that she go to the famed event – but she ignored him. It didn't matter to her what he thought or demanded. She would be present, and there was nothing they could do to stop her. They had quickly discovered that she had some special power for opening locks that she shouldn't be able to open and subdue men she shouldn't be able to subdue. So, though it made both Tala and Bryan angry, and though they demanded to know how she did it, she didn't tell them, and they were forced to let her go where she would.
She was alone at the moment, knowing that Mystel wouldn't be long. Tala, Bryan and Ian would be down on the ground, directing the firing squad – that is how Tala deemed they should die. It was a quick death, and though he felt they should probably die by something like hanging, he figured they were already mostly dead anyway. Six months of torture.
Liika felt Mystel step up beside her as she lay her opposite hand over her increasingly swollen belly. It wouldn't be long before she was confined to a bed, by Bryan's orders or by doctors, or even by lack of ability to walk. She shuddered at the thought of staying inside Bryan's lofty rooms in the new palace in Moscow, but she was slowly acclimatizing herself to the fact. Besides, it was not all bad. Since it had been discovered she was pregnant, she had not had to have sex with Bryan. Apparently he was actually afraid of damaging the baby. She begged the doctor not inform him of his mistake.
"Are you sure you want to be here?" Came Mystel's softened voice, his hand slipping into her free one that hung at her side. He squeezed, bringing her some comfort amidst the never ending sea of despair she called her life.
Liika nodded, not trusting her voice. Her face, hidden behind a veil she had chosen to wear as sign of her mourning, was schooled into an emotionless mask, though her eyes betrayed her sorrow. Tears trailed down her cheeks, dripping onto the front of her black maternity dress, a conservative garment that hung to the floor and covered every inch of her body, including her hands as the sleeves hung down well over the tips of her fingers. Looking at her, the only thing that gave away her identity was her height, as ever inch of her was concealed.
Mystel looked down at the heavily veiled woman. He could practically see the waves of sadness drifting off her, and he felt his heart break for her. He supposed it was no easy thing to witness the execution of the one you loved, especially not when it was rubbed in your face by those you hate.
They were ready down below, and as the sound of the crowd's cheer grew louder, both teens caught sight of the condemned. Liika sobbed once, hard, before quieting, and Mystel had to swallow bile that rose up in the back of his throat. He had seen a great many things in his nineteen years, some good, some horrific, but what he was about to witness would go on his most horrific list at the top.
They couldn't even walk on their own.
So tortured and maimed were the three condemned, that they had to be half dragged, half carried by a battalion of Biovolt soldiers. He doubted they were really even alive, and he prayed to whatever God would listen that they had already left those destroyed and barely living bodies. No matter what they were accused of, no one deserved that much pain. No one.
Mystel squeezed Liika's hand reassuringly as her grip became like a vice. Her breathing had sped up and he could practically hear her heart pounding a thousand times a second. No, she shouldn't be there.
"You shouldn't be here."
While Mystel turned to see who voiced his own thoughts, Liika didn't even flinch. Her eyes remained glued to the platform, and to the blue haired condemned that was barely recognizable as the man she loved.
Before Mystel could reply to the new arrival, Liika's voice sounded, hollow and wispy, "Neither should he. They."
Jade sighed, her eyes closing as she stepped up beside the small young woman. Her hands remained clasped in front of her own slightly swollen abdomen, even as her eyes opened and her head turned to look down at Liika. "The stress could harm the baby."
It was only then that Liika turned her head. It was slow and deliberate, and through the gauzy material of Liika's black veil, Jade could see the deadness in the other woman's eyes, a deadness she herself didn't understand. It was not the expression she had been expecting from the little woman, but she supposed it made sense. When you know a death is coming for six months before it happens, it gives you time to adjust. Her heart moved for Liika.
"Whether or not I am here has little effect on my stress level. I will feel it either way. Please do not lecture me as my prison warden has already taken the liberty."
Jade winced at the terminology used for Bryan. It was fairly accurate, if a bit unfair. She was slightly sad though… Her and Liika would never be very close, at least not with how things sat at that moment. She was married to someone the blue haired woman hated, someone she blamed for the death of her ex-husband. A man she loved above all. It was hard for them to connect with such a vital difference between them.
Mystel's low comment brought both young women's attention back to the platform below them. All three condemned were tied to posts that had been set up earlier, if only to keep them standing, and the row of soldiers with shotguns. Tala was standing between the gunmen and the condemned, a microphone clipped to his shirt, facing sideways so that he could look directly into one of the many television cameras that surrounded the platform.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to a turning point moment in history. Today, the organization known as the Angels will finally be destroyed, and a new era ushered in for our fair and peaceful world. Those who have disturbed your peace will be punished, offering the greatest price a person can pay: their life.
"I do this publicly to send a message. Other groups that have similar goals in mind take notice of the fate of the Angels, for your punishment will be far worse then theirs. Learn by their example so that you will not have to suffer as they have."
Tala turned then, to face the three. None of them even so much as twitched, all three heads in identical positions, chins resting against their chests. "Kai Hiwatari, you were found guilty of conspiracy to overthrow the government, the murder of several Biovolt soldiers, and the kidnapping of the Biovolt heir. Spencer Zaitsev, you were found guilty of high treason, conspiracy to over throw the government, theft, tampering with Biovolt equipment and the murder of several Biovolt soldiers. Maya Lan, alias Zero, you were found guilty of high treason, conspiracy to over throw the government, theft, sabotage, hiding the enemy and concealing vital Biovolt information. All three of you were sentenced to death, and now you shall meet it. Do any of you have any last words?"
Not one of them raised their head, or made a sound. Tala waited at least a minute, before he strode off the platform, giving the signal for the gunmen to raise their guns.
Mystel narrowed his eyes at the three Angels, straining to see, what it was he was looking for. His eyes widened.
"They're already dead!"
Liika gasped, pulling her hand away from Mystel and stepped forward the one step to grip the railing in front of her. She leaned forward, her own eyes squinting against the dreary light of the covered April sun. He was right… they weren't breathing, they weren't moving… nothing. They were already dead.
Part of her screamed in anguish, thrashing against the unfair deity that had caused his death. Another part of her was happy. Happy that he did not have to face the humiliation of the crowds, or feel even more pain of being shot. Happy that Tala was thwarted the public death and retribution that he so desperately wanted.
Jade smiled softly, her eyes falling to the floor beneath her feet. At least there was some comfort to be had in such a miserable event. Tala, of course, didn't know that they were already dead. Chances are the three had died on the way to the platform, or even the night before. Tala hadn't seen them since the day before. And though she loved her husband, she was glad that his three enemies were dead before he could truly finish them off. Everyone deserved some mercy.
No one made a sound as some six gun blasts sounded into the sky.
Why couldn't you have at least numbed the pain!
Liika let out a jagged, panting breath as she clenched her eyes and teeth shut, the wave of pain crashing over her like a cement press. She clutched at her belly, trying to make it up onto the bed that had been prepared beside the also laboring Mariah. She cursed men, cursed the female reproductive system and cursed omnipotent deities that controlled fate.
Because child, I need all the strength I can gather to perform the spells. I will have to possess the Spanish midwife to do what must be done. Akala shall be with you when the time comes.
"You are a bit before your due date Senorita, but you are young and you have been through the pain before hm?" The Spanish midwife clucked as she danced in the room.
Emily was on Mariah's right, holding the young woman's hand. She let a sigh of relief out when the midwife danced through the door. She was terrified she was going to have to deliver four babies all by herself.
Because of Black Dranzer's orders, as well as the palace's resident doctor, the midwife that had delivered Nadya was brought to Moscow to deliver Liika's second child. The explanation had been – both Tala and Bryan had objected of course – that Liika knew the woman, and that the woman was familiar with Liika's birthing cycle. Emily, who was in medical training, and who had been trained to be a midwife, was the second midwife for the two women. The goal was to keep as little people in the room as possible. For Tala and Bryan this was to ensure secrecy and safety, and for Liika, Mariah and Black Dranzer, this was to ensure a smooth transition of the illusion.
Tala had demanded one of his officers be present, both as a witness and as potential protection. Liika had adamantly refused anyone but Mystel, as he was the only one both she and Mariah were comfortable with. Mystel hadn't really wanted the job, but did not have the heart to tell a woman that he had become good friends with no. Thus he was drafted as one of two assistants. The last occupant of the medium sized room that had been chosen for the births was Jade, who had insisted that she be present even though she was seven months along as well. Not only did she want to witness the process to prepare herself, but she wanted to support the two women that felt so alone. She hoped that it would help her get closer to them, particularly since she wasn't allowed any friend of her own on the outside.
Thus the room was limited to four people and the two women giving birth. Liika hadn't been aware of Black Dranzer's plans to possess someone in the room, but was just as glad she hadn't been. She felt pity for the Spanish midwife, but saw why it had to be done.
As another wave of pain crashed over both women, almost in sync, both screeched, their hands clutching at the person holding them.
It is time.
There was a sudden flash from the amulet around Liika's neck, taken from Nadya who was currently clinging to her father's neck. The lights flickered over head for a moment before all settled. Jade, Emily and Mystel blinked, rubbing their eyes a bit to try to chase away the spots. However, when they opened their eyes again, all were drawn to the sight of the burning midwife who stood at the foot of Liika's bed.
"What the hell-" Mystel cried, taking a step forward.
"Cease at once, protector of my own," came the deep voice of the Mother from the midwife's lips. "I have taken control of this body, for a time, to make sure everything is in order."
Black Dranzer turned from the blond and locked her eyes on Emily and Jade, who had moved to stand beside the orange haired young woman. "I am afraid there is something I must ask of you."
Both women were terrified and rooted in place. They had heard of the goddess inhabiting bodies, but they had never seen it. It was awe inspiring the way the black flames danced around the middle aged woman's body, and frightening how her eyes glowed red.
Mariah held out her hand and Liika took it, both so focused on the pain of childbirth, that they didn't really notice or care about the conversation going on only feet from their pushed together beds.
"What you will see in this chamber will be contrary to what you believe, what everyone outside this room believes. You must not speak a word of the truth, and must stay true to the story already posed." Black Dranzer's eyes remained locked with the two women's.
"Mariah Lian Jagen does not carry triplets, she carries twins, and the mother of my heir carries the son of the unworthy one, not of the father of my heir."
Emily and Jade's eyes widened and darted to the two panting on the beds. They had a feeling where the whole conversation was going, and they shared a wide-eyed look. They were being asked to lie for the Great Mother?
"Things that are fated in the future must come to pass, Tala Adrik Valkov must once again bow before fate. The boy my heir's mother carries is the key to future events. You both know that, should Tala Adrik Valkov discover the child's true sire, he will not hesitate to destroy him. For this sake you must do as I ask. I will create an illusion that will show the child as one of the triplets, and will give that doll," she motioned to a child's baby doll toy, "The appearance of a stillborn child. This will be my heir's father's child. He will mourn, but it shall pass, and the true child shall remain hidden, taken away by Mariah Lian Jagen when she returns to her husband this night."
"So you are asking us to lie." Jade said very clearly, her eyebrows furrowed. "Asking me to lie to my husband."
Black Dranzer raised her chin, her eyes unblinking. "Yes. I would modify your memory to make it easier, but I yet lack the strength, particularly in this body, to perform so many things at once."
"I will do it," Emily spoke up, her eyes cast downwards.
Jade snapped her head to look at the orange haired woman, her expression incredulous. Emily ignored her and stepped around the bed to stand at the end where the beds met, only inches from where Black Dranzer stood. Her violet eyes locked on the two women that were watching silently, gratitude in their eyes. "For almost a year I have harbored anger and resentment towards you both for leaving me behind. But now, I can say, that I am happier now that I ever was, so I suppose I have you to thank. That and," she smiled a bit, sheepish, "I have come to realize that it was not your fault I was left behind. You had no more power of the situation than I did."
Liika's face crumbled, her heart in her eyes. "I don't know if I ever apologized for leaving you hear Emily, but now, for what it's worth, I am sorry, and so is Max."
Emily shrugged, blinking back tears at the mention of her first love. "I forgave Max a long time ago. I suppose you would say," she looked at Black Dranzer, "That we were not meant to be. Not that I particularly believe in fate."
Black Dranzer's lips tilted upwards in an indulgent smile. "I have found that mortals often object to having their lives directed. Fate is directing, not controlling. You make your own choices, fate just guides them."
"Be that as it may," Jade cut in impatiently, "Lying is a treasonable offense. We are committing one of the worst crimes in Biovolt criminal code."
"Jade," Emily said, looking at her friend, "Look at it this way. Can you really condemn a child, an infant to death just because he was fathered by a man Tala doesn't like? Killing a baby before it has the chance to live is a crime not just against Tala's government, but a crime against God and nature." She tossed a look at Black Dranzer. "Yes, I still believe God exists."
"Did I ever say he didn't?"
Jade ignored the theological debate, crossing her arms over her seven months pregnant stomach. She had a choice to make. Lie, or kill a child. Both were crimes, but what was the lesser of two evils? She sighed. Tala, I hope you forgive me someday. "Very well. I will go along with it."
Black Dranzer bowed her head, her eyes glowing brighter for an instant. "The contract is signed then. A warning, if you dare break it before the time has come for the world to know the truth, you will suffer great consequences."
"Great." Jade muttered, rolling her shoulders. "But what about him?"
Mystel, who had been watching the whole debacle with nervous, male-in-birthing-chamber eyes. He felt like a fish out of water and wanted nothing more than to run to the nearest bar and drink until he couldn't see straight. Thus, he hadn't been paying attention when Jade had referred to him, his expression glazed.
"Agh," Liika groaned, both out pain in her abdomen, and pain in the hand Mariah was squeezing, "He's known everything from the beginning. He is my secret-keeper so to speak."
"Fine." Emily cut in before Jade could reply. "The babies are coming, we have no more time to chat." With the moment almost upon them, Emily lost her fear of the novel situation and took charge as was her nature. She had pointed them all towards the sink and ordered them to wash their hands. "Jade, you'll assist me, while Mystel will assist the Mother."
Mystel paled almost comically, but did as he was told. Somehow he figured that if he whined, he would suffer even worse than if he just went through with it. He was never getting married, and thus never going through the trauma that is watching another woman give birth.
"You will watch many more births in your time young one," Black Dranzer spoke as he stepped up beside her, his hands clean. "It is best you learn now. You will be a support for my heir's mother in the years to come."
Mystel didn't know what to say so he said nothing at all. Really what did you say to that?
"She is crowning, come young one."
He almost fainted.
Liika stared down at her perfect baby boy, her eyes blurring with tears. He had Kai's look about him, almost exactly, right down to the tiny scowl that adorned his little pink lips. She smiled, love blooming in her heart. "See Kai? He looks just like you doesn't he? He's so beautiful."
Liika looked up to where Emily and Mystel were standing, side by side at the end of her bed. Her heart clenched, and tears broke loose down her cheek. "I'm going to miss you little guy."
"It's time Liika."
"I know," she replied, her voice breaking. The baby, as if it knew that her heart was breaking, opened his eyes and stared at her with large, serious turquoise eyes. He blinked once before slowly closing his eyes once more. It was his own form of goodbye.
She had already said goodbye to Mariah after she had been wheeled out in a wheelchair four hours or so after her twins' birth. Boys, already with a full head of hair only a few shades darker than that of their mothers'. Jade accompanied her, both sad, for different reasons.
Tala and Bryan had already been informed of the stillbirth, but had yet to come see her. The room had been blocked off to let Liika deal with her 'grief'. She was grieving, but not for the reason they thought. She imagined Bryan would be along shortly, which was all the more reason to have her new boy off and with his adopted family. They had not visited Mariah for obvious reasons.
Liika sniffled, placing a small kiss on her infant son's tiny nose. "We'll meet someday little one, I have been promised so. Mariah will take good care of you, and though you don't really understand what I'm saying, know that I will love you forever, if from a distance." She ignored the wracking sobs that threatened to choke her so she couldn't speak.
Emily stepped up and bent down to take the little boy, patient with Liika as the woman had a hard time letting him go. She had tears in her eyes as well.
It was only when Emily had reached the door that Liika was able to speak again, her words soft and almost inaudible.
"Goodbye Kai Shae Hiwatari."
When the night is overcome
You may rise
To find the sun
Darkness has come
Believe and you
Will find your way
Darkness has fallen
A promise lives
Within you now
"May It Be" -- Enya