Author's Notes: Hi gang. This story is a bit lighter than the last one, but will still pull on your heartstrings. I hope.
Disclaimer: I don't own anyone or thing from the Hellboy universe and I don't own the rights to CNN.
"So, what did Dr. Hodson have to say?" Abe mumbles, trying to stay awake.
"About what?" Maggie quietly asks, barely keeping her own eyes open.
"What did she say after she examined you?" he questions. "It would have been nice if she waited until I was done making dinner."
"That my uterus is almost completely shrunk down to its original size and that since the bleeding has stopped I shouldn't have any problems flying in about a week," she manages to answer just before she lets out a huge yawn, ignoring his grumble. "The twins seem healthy and should have no problems with the flight either. Manning's already got her report and he's told her that he expects you and the twins to be in New Jersey in about a week. He doesn't care if I come or not."
"Please don't make this a fight," he begs from his prone position on the bed next to her.
"You don't have to go back," she quietly tells him. "We could live here. It's secluded and I have enough money that we wouldn't need to return this place to a working ranch."
"As tempting as that sounds, you know it's not possible," he points out, finally pushing himself upright. "Even if Manning and the government were willing to leave us alone, I wouldn't be able to take it. I need something to do. As wonderful as it has been these past few months, especially these last five weeks, I need a purpose in life. Being an agent for the BPRD gives me that. Do you understand?"
"Yes, you'd rather be there then here," she replies quietly.
"Maggie…," he starts.
"Here, Dylan's done," she interrupts as she hands the five week old baby to his father. "Would you please burp him?"
Abe takes the infant and does as asked. As soon as the gas is out, Dylan falls back to sleep almost instantly. Abe puts his son in the crib and returns to the bed only to be handed his sleeping daughter.
"I've already burped her," she informs him in an emotionless voice.
He takes the little one and places her in the crib next to her brother. He watches as they wiggle around in their sleep until they're snuggled up to each other. He smiles and turns back to the bed to find Maggie has crawled back under the covers and pulled them tight against her body.
He glances at the clock and sees that it's just past four in the morning. This is his normal swimming time, so he heads out the door. Just before he shuts the door, a muffled noise catches his attention. He opens the door back up and he can hear her crying into her pillow. He quickly crosses the room and as he steps up to the bed he's assailed by emotions of self loathing and her thoughts.
Fat. Ugly. Doesn't want me anymore. Rather be in Jersey then with me.
Before he even thinks about what he's doing, he strips himself down to his shorts and slides under the covers with her. He finds her curled into a fetal position, hugging her pillow as she sobs her emotional pain into it. He molds his body to hers and holds her as he whispers his love and need for her both with his mouth and his mind.
When she finally calms enough to relax into his embrace, he kisses her shoulder causing a shiver to run down her spine. Encouraged by this reaction, his hands begin to wander as he starts to press kisses up her neck until he finds her ear and then he begins to nibble. She gives a soft moan and she leans back into him. His moves become bolder until she pulls away.
For a second he thinks he's done something wrong until she rolls over, wraps an arm around his torso, a leg around his hips, pulls him closer and kisses him. For the longest time all he can think about is how wonderful it feels to have her in his arms. Then she starts kissing his gills and all thought stops.
He's not sure how, but as some point they both lay naked with the exception of the night bra that she refuses to take off. As disappointed as he is with not being able to have access to that part of her body, he doesn't waste time thinking about it as he takes advantage of the rest of her body.
He spends more than half an hour letting her know how beautiful he thinks she is and how much he desires her. As they reach completion together, the familiar sharing of memories and feelings occurs and he now truly understands how hurt she's been. They lay there for some time as her breathing and their heart rates slowly return to normal.
"I love you more than anything, Maggie," he whispers as he slides down and presses his forehead to hers. "But please understand that I can't just putter around the house doing nothing all day every day. It would drive me crazy."
"Do you want to go back?" she asks, refusing to look him in the eye.
"Yes and no," he answers as he shifts his position to lie next to her. "I want to feel like I'm making a difference in the world but I don't want to leave you. I've already lost you once; I don't think I could handle losing you again. Please come back with me."
"I guess I have to," she concedes with a sad sigh. "Where my heart goes, I must follow."
He purrs his happiness as she snuggles up to him and with a sigh of contentment, falls asleep. At first he just gladly lies there absorbing her heat with the elation of knowing that she's going back with him. And let's face it; after a four month dry spell, he's just happy to finally be getting sex again.
As much as he would like to stay there forever, he knows he needs to get into the water. He glances at the clock again and sees that it's nearly five. He grabs his shorts and slips into them, ignoring the rest of the gear; he quickly heads out and down to the ocean.
At first, his main intent is just to swim around and get some exercise in. But after a few minutes he realizes that he's already gotten a workout. With a rather contented smile, he wraps himself up in the stipe of a strand of seaweed and falls asleep.
Around six, Peg and Susan slip into the Maggie's bedroom, pick up the just waking babies and quietly exit the room again, barely registering Abe's gear lying on the floor. They head downstairs and go to the kitchen where the bottles of warmed expressed milk await them. They then retire to the family room where they can feed the little darlings in peace.
"Think Maggie will leave with Abe?" Peg asks Susan not bothering to look up from the precious bundle in her arms.
"More than likely," Susan answers. "I know that you hate to see them go, but they both have responsibilities back on the East Coast."
"I finally get part of my family back and I feel like I'm losing her all over again," Peg sadly sighs.
"I understand perfectly," Susan replies. "I felt the same way when Rupert and Selma moved out here."
"I wish I had a chance to meet your son," Peg states. "Guillermo said all sorts of nice things about him. I just wish Simon hadn't been so bullheaded about an Air Mage kissing our little girl."
"If wishes were horses…," Susan starts.
"…then beggars would ride," Peg finishes.
They both fall into a comfortable silence as they continue feeding the babies. As they're finishing up, they hear someone moving around and they both look at the door just as Hodson walks in.
"Maggie or Abe up yet?" Hodson groggily asks.
"Not yet," Susan replies.
"Abe must have skipped his swim this morning," Peg states. "I saw his gear all over the bedroom floor when we went in to get the babies."
"Must have had another rough night," Hodson muses with a yawn as she toddles off to the kitchen to make coffee.
"Makes me glad that we all moved to rooms farther down the hall from them," Peg mutters.
"Amen to that," Susan replies.
Around 8:00 Maggie comes wandering downstairs showered, dressed, looking very relaxed and carrying a couple bottles of milk. The great-grandmothers finished feeding the twins, burping them and changing their diapers and clothes some time ago. The twins are currently sitting in their bouncy chairs sleeping while Hodson and Peg watch the news and Susan is off to the side reading a book.
"Good morning, sleepy head," Susan greets as Maggie steps into the room.
"Good morning, everyone," Maggie replies with a sly smile planted firmly on her face. "Where's Abe?"
"We haven't seen him," Peg answers. "I thought he was upstairs with you. I saw his gear all over the floor so I just assumed that he was in the tub."
"No, he's not in the bathroom," Maggie responds thoughtfully a furrow in her brow replaces the smile. "Has anyone checked the rest of the house?"
The other women shake their heads 'no' in response causing Maggie's frown to deepen. A bit concerned, Maggie goes in search of her husband. After putting the bottles in the fridge, she checks all of his usual haunts and then searches the rest of the house, coming up empty. She returns to the family room in full worry mode.
Before she can voice her fears, the noise of the twins waking makes her stop. With the sound of their little whimpers she can feel her milk coming down. She knows that if she doesn't hurry and get the twins latched on, she's going to have to change a soaking wet top. So with the help of Hodson, she begins to nurse the babies while sitting in the middle of the couch.
"I can't find Abe in the house," she states, still upset despite the relaxing effects of nursing.
"If he went for a swim, he could still be out in the ocean," Peg says. "The sun's been up for some time and we're still having a problem with trespassers."
"Has anyone called the police?" Maggie asks.
"I called them yesterday," Susan answers. "They said that they'd get someone out here today to look into it."
"I hope he's ok," Maggie says anxiously.
When Abe finally peels back both sets of eyelids, he notices the sun streaming through the kelp fronds creating a beautifully serene picture before him as he's gently rocked in the ocean's embrace. Something's wrong with this scene but it takes his sleep fogged brain several minutes before it registers what the problem is. In near blind panic he swims towards shore and nearly cuts himself in two.
After disentangling himself from the seaweed he's wrapped up in, he quickly heads for the beach. About fifty feet from shore he stops short at the sight of several surfboards with legs floating above him. They're far enough back that the waves they intend to ride are forming closer to shore. He stays pretty far back and carefully breaks the surface of the water, only letting the top half of his head emerge. This is enough for him to see and hear what's going on and he sees about a half dozen cops standing on the shore watching the surfers.
"Get a load of the cops," one of the surfers snorts.
"What's with them?" another one asks.
"Don't know," answers a third. "Not really caring. Not like we're doing anything wrong."
"Actually, yes, we are," the only female replies.
"Dude, since when is surfing wrong?" demands the third surfer turning towards the woman.
"Dude, it's not the surfing that's wrong; it's the beach," she responds. "That's a private beach we came out on."
"How do you know that?" number three asks.
"The sign we passed saying 'No Trespassing Private Property' was a pretty big clue," she testily replies.
"Shit," mutters the first guy. "Now what do we do? I don't want to get a ticket."
"Forget ticket, man," number two responds. "Depending on how big an asshole the property owner is we could get arrested."
"So much for telling the boss I was too sick to come in today," mumbles number one.
"My girlfriend is going to kill me," bitches the third guy. "She thinks I'm visiting my sick aunt."
"Hey, what's the prob?" the woman asks. "It's not like they're going to come out after us. We can just hang out here until they leave or we paddle over to a public beach."
"We have to get past that rocky outcrop to get there though," number two points out, nodding his head towards said rocks.
"So, you took up surfing because it's a nice safe sport, is that it?" she taunts. "Which would you rather do? Go around a rocky outcropping or get arrested?"
Abe's heard enough as they keep discussing what to do and so he sinks back under the waves pretty well ticked off. Not only are these jerks keeping him from returning to his wife and children, but they think they're above the law, plus his stomach is starting to growl. Then something the woman said sparks an idea. If he had the ability to create large facial movements, he would have an evil look on his face The Grinch would be proud to own.
He carefully swims up underneath the group of lawbreakers and gently 'touches' their minds with a subtle suggestion. Then he pushes on the back end of one of the boards just enough to jostle it, but not to capsize its rider. After that, he swims up to another surfer and brushes against that one's leg, knowing that there's know way they can tell that his skin doesn't feel anything like shark skin through the wetsuits they're all wearing.
"Shit!" yells number one as he grabs the sides of his board. "Something just bumped my board!"
"Holy crap!" the woman shrieks. "Something just brushed against my leg."
"Get your legs up on your boards," number two shouts. "It'll get bored and go away if we don't look like food."
The others quickly comply and Abe growls to himself. These jerks weren't going to be so easy to get rid of as he had hoped. He watches for a few minutes and then notices the guy whose board he bumped isn't holding onto the sides of the board like the others.
He swiftly swims up to that board and slams into it with his arms causing the surfer to fall into the drink. While he's still disoriented, Abe pushes him farther down into the water as he heads deeper. Letting go only after the surfer is good and scared and thoroughly convinced that there's something dangerous in the water.
Abe watches from a safe distance as the surfer he dunked gets back onto his board and paddles for all he's worth back towards the shore. Two of the others join him, leaving him to deal with one last very stubborn surfer. He takes a quick glance above the water and notes it's the woman who's been left behind. He figures she's incredibly brave or incredibly stupid, he's not sure which.
He submerges once more and then tries bumping her board a couple of times, but she doesn't move. He can't believe how stubborn this gal is. She's left him with no choice but to get really nasty.
Going down to the bottom, he launches himself towards the surface like a blue torpedo, swimming for all he's worth. He leaps out of the water and lands on the surf board right behind her.
"Get out of my ocean," he hisses in her ear.
She turns around, looks at him and lets out a scream that could rival Maggie just as he slides off the board and back under the waves. In a matter of seconds she's headed towards shore going as fast as she can paddle. He follows behind her and as they reach the breaking surf, he goes and steals among the rocks of the outcropping they were thinking about going around.
He watches from his hiding spot as the woman nearly breaks her neck in her quest to get onto dry land. A couple of the cops help her to her feet as she starts to hysterically babble about some blue monster being out the water and nearly eating her.
"Only in your dreams, lady," he quietly smirks.
He continues to watch as the cops lead the foursome away in handcuffs, the boards being cataloged and tagged as evidence. He waits until they're long gone before he finally sneaks out of the water and heads back up to the house.
Maggie paces the floor as the others can only helplessly watch. Peg and Susan have taken possession on the kids while their mother tries to worry a hole in the area rug. She's scared to death not knowing what's going on with Abe. Is he ok? Has he been eaten by a shark? Is Lewis still alive and somehow figured out where they are and stolen him away?
The police called some time ago saying that they were sending someone out to get rid of any trespassers. Instead of reassuring her, this has given her another set of things to fret about. What if he's spotted? What if Manning finds out and makes him go back to the bureau? What if…?
Before she can go into full out panic, someone rings the doorbell. She practically flies to the door and almost manages to rip it from its hinges. Standing in front of her is a police officer and behind him are a couple patrol cars with their engines idling. She can see at least three men wearing wetsuits in the back seats of the vehicles.
"Hi, I'm Officer Trainor," the man greets. "Someone called about a problem with trespassers."
"Yes, my grandmother did," Maggie replies.
"Well, we caught four of them surfing just off your beach," he informs her. "We spotted their tracks in the sand so we're fairly sure they had to trespass on your beach to get out there."
"Four? I only see three," she states in confusion.
"Oh, yea, the lady that was with them had to be taken to the hospital," he replies. "She came in pretty wigged out. Claimed that there was some blue monster out in the water that wanted to eat her. They'll sedate her and then we'll see if we can get some sense out of her."
"Oh, really? Isn't that funny?" she laughs as she can feel herself relax with relief and then tense up again upon the realization the blue oaf got himself seen. "A blue monster? How funny."
"Yea, well, there's something out there that spooked the lot of them to come in to shore despite the fact that we were standing right there," he informs her. "You might want to be careful if you decide to go swimming any time soon."
"Oh, I will, officer, thank you," she smiles.
"If you have any more problems don't hesitate to call us," he says.
"We will, thank you," she responds.
They say their goodbyes and she quietly closes the door. A nearly silent footstep on the marble floor tells her she has company.
"Are you trying to get Manning out here?" she growls, not bothering to turn around.
"They weren't planning on getting out of the water any time soon and I was getting hungry," Abe answers as he steps up behind her and she can practically hear him shrug. "Besides, I was starting to miss you."
"And if Manning finds out, he'll be out here faster than you can say 'constipation' to drag you back to New Jersey," she snaps, rapidly nearing tears. "You're supposed to come back before daybreak so no one will see you."
"I fell asleep," he explains as he wraps his arms around her. "My beautiful sex goddess wore me out."
His skin is so soft, cool and moist against her own warm hide and it feels so good that she nearly melts into him. She tries to fight the feeling of love and safety those arms bring her, she tries to stay angry with him, but when he starts to gently kiss her neck, it's a lost cause. With a whimper of defeat, she leans into him and lets her head roll to the side so he can have easier access to her neck which he gladly accepts. In very short order he has her panting and her heart pounding as her body responds to his advances.
"Who was at the door, dear?" Susan asks from across the entry way.
Maggie lets out a startled 'eep' as she all but jumps out of her overheated skin, causing Abe to chuckle.
"It was the police letting us know that they've arrested some trespassers," Abe answers as he holds Maggie up as her legs no longer seem to be working.
"Well, that's good," Susan replies. "Peg and I are going to start making lunch. You've made so many meals for us; we thought you'd like a break."
"I don't mind, really," he states.
"Well, then you can help when you're ready," Susan states and then finally notices Maggie's silence. "Margaret, are you alright, child?"
"She's fine," he assures the concerned grandmother. "She's just a little light headed. She'll be fine in a moment."
"Alright then, we'll be in the kitchen if you need us," Susan responds as she turns and leaves.
"And whose fault is it that I nearly had a heart attack?" Maggie demands as soon as her grandmother is out of earshot.
"Wait until I get you alone later," he promises just before he kisses her on the cheek.
He quickly lets go of her and she barely manages to keep from falling on her backside as he dashes up the stairs. She gives an exasperated snort and heads for the family room to get the twins. When she enters, they're still asleep in their bouncy chairs and the TV is playing to a nearly empty room. She carefully collects the twins into her arms and then heads back towards the dining room. Once they're safely deposited into the bassinette, she heads back to the family room to turn off the TV.
As she searches for the remote she idly wonders why any one would want to watch CNN since they seem to only report about death and destruction. She finally locates the remote and turns towards the TV ready to zap it until she sees what's on the screen. The remote drops from nerveless fingers as she faints dead away.