This Epilogue is dedicated to you, AngelONight! Thanks for all the help and I hope you'll stay with me in my fanfics to come!
I would like to thank EVERYONE for their support and kind reviews (I love all reviews). Even if you haven't reviewed, thankyou for reading and I hope you have enjoyed LOVE AND BLOODY ROSES! This will be the last, there will not be a third. I considered it for a while but it just wouldn't work out right and I really want to get seriously started on something new! So please keep an eye out for my newest fanfic Heart's Sight, Chapter 1 will be posted soon!
Regarding Wolf's Cry – I've been having some problems with it since my hard drive was accidentally erased (I'll say it again, I love my little niece!). It will still be posted I just need a little more time to re-write and get it right. So it won't be posted for a while.
So here it is, the last instalment of Love and Bloody Roses 2: Bloodlust.
Eight Months Later . . .
It was late. Serena could sense it as something roused her from her sleep. Sleep that she had been enjoying, as due to the fact that she was heavy with child, she rarely had a comfortable full night's sleep.
But something wasn't right. That she could sense. She didn't want to wake up but she knew she had to. She just didn't know why she knew she had to wake up.
It had been nearly eight months since her life had become a perfect dream. She had married the man of her dreams who worshipped her and had brought her a big house in a very safe neighbourhood where they could raise their child and all those to come since she had promised her husband four children. There had been another surprise when she had moved into her new home. It seemed Andrew, with a little help from Darien, had brought the house next door which meant that one of her best friends now lived next door with their newborn baby boy Alexander. Rei, Amy and Lita had liked the neighbourhood when they had visited that they had all decided to move into the area. Rei and Amy had had no trouble buying a house but since Lita and Ken were planning and paying for a wedding, they had needed a little help but neither she nor Darien had minded. They both wanted their family to be close.
Darien and Andrew had become surprisingly successful in their new business in just six months. Their Private Investigations/Bounty Hunter Agency was already gaining a reputation for being one of the best with an astounding success rate. Their success was making it easier and easier for them to do probono work for those who desperately needed help but had no where else to go and nothing to offer. Neither of them had any regrets about leaving the LAPD. One of the best things about her husband owning his own business was that the hours were more flexible and he was able to spend more time with her. In fact he had taken a full six months off to help her with the baby, three months before the baby was due to help her around the house and three months off after the birth to help her with their baby.
Serena herself had transferred to the local school, where they had welcomed her with open arms despite what had happened at her previous school. She hadn't started there yet as she was on maternity leave but she would be starting at the beginning of the first semester in the New Year in only eleven months. That would give her plenty of bonding time with their baby. Darien had tired to convince her to take the eighteen months he'd managed to get offered to her, the pull Darien had shocked her sometimes, but as much as she loved her baby, staying home for so long would drive her nuts! She wasn't housewife material. She loved her job too much.
They hadn't moved to a small town as they had planned but neither of them had minded in the least. What they had was very close to what they had wanted in the small town. They were together and they were happy as they prepared to start their own family. They were in love and they were safe. There was nothing wrong in their world. She hadn't been threatened or even leered at since she and Darien had married. Had it been the wedding ring or was it that Darien was always with her and growling dangerously at anyone who looked at her the wrong way? Maybe it was even her. Maybe she had changed, had become stronger. She honestly didn't know, she was just grateful Darien no longer had to fight for her life on a daily basis.
Everything was perfect. Life was perfect.
It took Serena a long moment to realise what had woken her. Placing one gentle hand softly on her bulging belly, she nudged her sleeping husband beside her with her other.
He had fussed over her to the point it had driven her crazy for the past three months, every time she had made a sound he had nearly had her in the car to rush her to hospital. Every craving she had ever had, had been fed. In fact if she craved something Darien would stock the house with them, which explained why the downstairs kitchen cupboards and cabinets were stocked with chocolate pop tarts, green granny smith apples, chocolate ice cream and tomato sauce. For some reason she couldn't get enough of ice-cream smothered in tomato sauce. Anything she craved he stoked the house with, no matter how much it made him wince to watch her eat. Not so he didn't have to go out in the middle of the night, but because it was something she wanted and he didn't want her to have to wait for him to go to the store to get it for her.
Darien moaned sleepily and rolled over onto his back. He was facing her but his eyes were still closed. "What's a matter honey? You want something?"
Serena didn't want to wake him. He had had as little sleep as she had had, he was tired but she had a feeling that he wouldn't want to miss this.
"More cravings?" He asked drowsily. "I think there's still a box of chocolate pop tarts left. I promise I'll pick up some more in the morning." Darien was so sweet, he always made sure she had everything and anything she needed or wanted.
Serena felt a sharp pain from her womb and started to breathe deeply, as she had practised in her La'Ma's classes. "It's time, my love."
"Time for what?" He mumbled into his pillow. He was falling back to sleep.
Serena blew out an annoyed breath. She loved her husband more than life itself but he really needed to wake up. "I guess I can have the baby right here. You won't mind delivering it yourself, will you?"
Darien's eyes flew open faster than was humanly possible. He was instantly awake and a moment later he was rolling out of bed and onto the floor, landing heavily on his backside. Mumbling curses under his breath as he absentmindedly rubbed his throbbing backside, he jumped to his feet with pure frantic panic on his face. "Don't worry baby. Everything's going to be fine." He said in a rush as he pulled on his pants and shirt that he didn't even button up.
Serena watched from the bed, with amusement in her eyes, as she continued her breathing. He had his pants on backwards and he was putting his shoes on the wrong feet. If she didn't have to concentrate on her breathing she would be in hysterics. Her Darien was so cute. He could handle the worst and most dangerous of murders and rapists but his wife having a baby had him dressing with the skill of the two year old.
She needed to calm him down or else she would end up having to drive him to hospital. "Darien, honey. My love. My darling husband. You need to calm down." She soothed him gently through her breathing.
Darien nodded numbly, not really listening to her.
Should she slap him? If it didn't snap him out of it at least she would feel better.
"Right, calm. I'm calm." He mumbled to himself as he looked around the floor frantically for something. "Where are your bags?"
Serena shook her head in disbelief and sighed patiently. "Downstairs. By the door where you put them last week."
Darien nodded dumbly. "Right, of course." He reached into the walk-in closet and pulled out her coat. Unlike Darien, who routinely slept nude, she had decided to wear a night gown since her delivery date had drawn close and they could have left at any time, like now.
He carefully but quickly helped her to sit up and then helped her into her coat. Once her coat was around her shoulders, he gently helped her to her feet. Her contractions were becoming more noticeable but they were still ten minutes apart. It would be a while before she would be giving birth.
Serena calmly turned to Darien. "Darien, please call Andrew. Nina will kill us both if she isn't there for this and then call Amy." She reminded him even though for the last nine days they had practiced this several times at his insistence.
"Right." He quickly made sure she was fine and steady on her feet before he ran to his bedside table and retrieved his cell phone.
Next door Serena could hear Andrew's cell ringing. Their bedroom windows looked straight into each other. It would have been quicker to yell at the window but she kept that to herself. In Darien's current state it would be best to keep things simple.
Darien listened for a moment before speaking. "Andrew, listen Serena's just gone into labour." He spoke so quickly that Andrew didn't have a chance of understanding him.
Andrew must have told pointed that out to him because when he repeated himself he spoke much more slowly and simply.
"Serena. Labour. Hospital. Now!"
Before Andrew had a hope of getting a word in, Darien hung up on him and was already dialling Amy. Judging by Darien's end of the brief conversation, Amy had agreed to meet them at the hospital. Darien had made sure it was the hospital with the best maternity ward in the city. It had taken them two months to settle on a hospital, or it had taken Darien two months to settle on the one he believed to be the best. He had researched it thoroughly and had been quoting infant death fatalities to her until she had threatened that if he didn't cool down she was going to go to her parents place until the baby was born. That had made him rein it in and regain something that resembled logic and reason. Sometimes it was frightening how close to obsession he was over her and their baby. She understood he was just scared for her and the baby, he didn't want to lose either of them.
Darien reached for her to carry her downstairs but she pushed him away, silently insisting that she could walk herself. It wasn't that she didn't trust him not to drop her, it was just that in his current state he wasn't so calm and collected, and also she could do it herself. Heaven help her, if he could he would have the baby for her.
Downstairs Andrew and Nina were waiting for them at the front door. Darien was fussing over her so much that Andrew had been the one to grab her bags when Darien had walked her out the front door without them.
"Wait here. I'll get the car." He told her and disappeared around the side of the house to the three car garage to retrieve the family SUV before she could say a word.
The three of them stared after him dumbfounded.
"This is the man who brought down two serial killers?" Nina shook her head in amused astonishment.
A powerful roaring filled the air and a moment later the sleek and shinny brand new family SUV appeared from around the corner of the house. Even after two months Serena still felt a little intimidated by it. It was huge and roared like a furious wild lion. And it was equipped with tinted bullet-proof windows and all the paranoid extras money could buy. Even for Darien it was overkill but she had held her tongue. If Darien wanted to protect his family she wasn't going to stand in the way. At least not until after the baby was born. She knew he worried about a lot of things when it came to his family, one of which were the enemies he and Andrew made in their work.
They watched as he screeched the SUV to a stop and leapt out. He made quick work of throwing her bags in the car while Nina talked her through her breathing on the sidewalk. She didn't know how she was going to get into the monster of a vehicle, she suspected Darien would have to lift her in, but before she could find out they all watched in stunned disbelief as Darien, who was talking to himself so rapidly they couldn't understand a word, jumped into the drivers seat and sped off, leaving the three of them on the sidewalk staring after him.
Nina was the first to snap out of it. A highly amused grin spread across her lips as her husband, who was shaking his head in equal disbelief, pulled out his cell phone and moved to support Serena as she continued her deep breathing.
"You know, I think this is one of the funniest things I've ever heard of." Nina shook her head with disbelief and amusement. "What husband drives his pregnant wife to the hospital and forgets his wife?"
Andrew chuckled softly, with the cell phone against his ear, as he waited for Darien to pick up. "I'm never going to let him live it down."
Serena laughed lovingly through her deep controlled breathing despite everything. "He's just worried."
Nina snorted. "Worried?! Hell he's completely lost it."
"It's alright Serena, we'll get there soon." Darien told his wife as he drove at top speed through the quiet residential streets towards the city and the hospital with the best maternity ward in the city.
It didn't occur to him that the car was too quiet to contain a woman in labour.
A loud rhythmic shrill somehow penetrated the frantic state of his mind. It took him a moment to realise it was his cell phone ringing. Without taking his eyes off the road, he reached for it and pressed the answer button before putting it to his ear. "Yeah?" He asked distractedly.
Andrew's amused voice echoed through the phone. "Hey, buddy. How's it going?"
"I don't have time for this Andrew. I have to get Serena to the hospital." He snapped irritably as he cut a sharp corner.
There was a long silence. For a moment Darien thought the signal had dropped out but then he could hear Nina's voice in the background. He couldn't make out the words but it sounded as if she were annoyed.
"Hey, Darien." Now Andrew sounded as if he were barely containing his laughter. "Did you forget something?"
Darien blinked, perplexed. He had Serena's things, didn't he? He knew he'd put them in the car because it had cost them precious seconds. "What?"
Andrew was now highly amused as the laughter broke free. "Oh, I don't know. How about you ask Serena?"
Darien blinked blankly for a moment before he cast a glance over to what he realised was the empty passenger seat. Stunned he looked over his shoulder at the empty backseat. He swore violently as he hit the brakes and spun the SUV into a violent and sudden u-turn. His police driving training served him well.
As he sped back towards his home and his waiting and amused wife and friends he knew he was never going to live this down. They'd never let him.
15 Minutes Later . . .
Nina's terrified scream from the backseat nearly deafened them all as Darien swerved the car violently to the right to avoid the oncoming eighteen wheeler truck.
Darien was driving frantically through late night Los Angeles traffic towards the Los Angeles Women's and Children's Hospital.
"Andrew, he's gonna kill us!" Nina cried hysterically.
Andrew turned to Darien from the passenger's seat, being careful to keep one nervous eye on the road ahead of them. "Darien, buddy. Why don't you let me drive?" It was more of a plea than a request.
Darien swerved sharply to the right to miss another SUV. "I got it." He hissed from between clinched teeth. Thankfully he didn't take his eyes off of the road ahead.
Serena leaned back against the backseat breathing in deep, rapid breaths. The pain in her lower body was increasing and the contractions were now only minutes apart. "Darien, honey. My love. You need to calm down." She gasped soothingly through her breathing and her pain. "I'm the one having the baby-."
"And you need to get to hospital now!" Darien interrupted her with frenzied urgency.
Serena went on, keeping her voice level as she spoke soothing and calming. She was trying to hide her pain from him, he was already freaking out but if he knew she was in any serious pain he'd break the sound barrier as they swerved dangerously through city traffic to get her to the hospital. "And I do but the baby won't be coming for possibly hours yet. Labour can last for days. So you need to calm down and slow down and get us there alive!"
Darien slowed down a little but not nearly enough.
Serena drew a deep sigh for patience. She loved her husband but he fussed over her way too much. He had known this was coming, she had prepared for it but it seemed he had not. "Darien, darling. Everything is going to be alright. I'm fine, the baby is fine and I promise you that it will remain that way. I have survived much more than this, I promise you I will survive something women have been doing for millennia."
Darien gradually reduced their speed until they were somewhere beneath the speed of sound. Simultaneously Nina, Serena and Andrew breathed a sigh of relief that their lives were no longer in immediate danger.
Andrew looked over his shoulder into the backseat and met Serena's gaze. "The next time you guys do this, can I drive?"
Three hours later . . .
"YOU ARE NEVER TOUCHING ME AGAIN SHEILDS!!!" Serena's pain-filled, pissed off scream could be heard all the way down the hospital hallway to the waiting room where the men, Andrew, Chad, Ken and Greg, waited for news of the birth. Luckily Andrew's parents had been able to take care of their son so Nina could be there for Serena. Serena's parents had been called but they wouldn't get there for at least another half an hour.
A few seconds later they heard Darien cry out loudly in pain.
The men chucked in amusement.
Andrew shook his head in disbelief at his partner's antics. Darien had always been the calm one who could handle any situation but he couldn't even handle his wife giving birth. Unbelievable. "Geez, you'd think he was the one giving birth."
Greg stared down the hallway tentatively. "Do you think we should go and get him out of there before he stresses Serena out?"
Chad shook his head and held up his hands as if to ward them off. "Sorry dude but there's no way in hell I'm going in there. There are just some things a smart guy should keep his distance from!"
Ken turned to him with a devil's grin. "I'll be sure to tell Rei that."
Chad glared at him threateningly. If Rei found out what he had said, he was a dead man. He loved arguing with her, she was his spitfire and they had so much passion between them, but he still feared her more than anything else.
The others laughed at this. It would be entertaining if Rei found out. Rei was a spitfire and if Rei wanted him in the delivery room then he would be there. Poor guy.
Andrew hid his knowing smile from the others. Chad didn't know it yet but Rei had just found out that she was pregnant just a few days ago. While Amy had fallen pregnant two months ago. It seemed that pregnancy was contagious. He wouldn't be surprised if Lita found out she and Ken were expecting sometime in the near future. It wouldn't be surprising, they were still newly weds. Nina had only just given birth to their son Alex five weeks ago! "Trust me, the girls will handle him if he gets out of line. I remember Alex's birth! The horror! I wish I hadn't insisted on going in. Nina warned me not too."
Chad grinned with amusement as he turned to him. "Hey, is it true that Darien left the house without Serena?"
Andrew's amused grin matched Chad's perfectly. "Yep. He didn't even realize she wasn't in the car until I rang and told him! Not to mention the fact that he nearly killed us all on the way here. I swear, give that guy a serial killer and he's Mr Cool and Collected. But his wife giving birth and he's falling apart!"
Serena's loud pissed off shriek echoed down the hallway. "Will all of you just shut the hell up?! Darien if you don't control yourself I swear to god I'll knock you out myself! I'm the one giving birth but you're the one screaming!"
The guys broke down into uncontrollable laugher. Oh, Darien was never going to hear the end of this one from any of them!
Amy had managed to arrange for the girls to be present in the delivery room but they had to stay out of the way. Amy was in charge of the birthing as lead surgeon but there was a trained obstetrician ready to take over if anything happened. Amy had already delivered Nina's baby the month before, there hadn't been any complications and there wasn't any to be expected from Serena either, but when it came to Serena's safety no one took any chances.
But still there were many dangers to child birth and things could change in an instant and Darien's antics were distracting her and just plain irritating. Amy looked up from her position between Serena's legs currently held in uncomfortable cold metal stirrups and called authoritatively up to the other end of the bed where the three girls were huddled around Serena on the left side of the bed, just beside Darien who had taken up the typical "husband position" beside the pillow, as far away from the actual birthing area as possible and was holding her hand supportively. "Lita! Get him the hell out of here!" She had known from the start it was a bad idea to have him present for the birthing! He had never been able to bear knowing Serena was in pain.
Darien's head snapped up, and forgetting his gentlemanly ethics, he glared at Lita warningly. "Touch me and I'll rip your arms off Lita! I'm staying!"
Lita didn't even flinch. If it had been any other time she would have accepted his challenge and knocked him on his overprotective, irritating ass. In that moment she made the decision that there was no way Ken was going to be in the delivery room when she gave birth one day. As it was, Darien was only adding to Serena's stress and she had more than enough to deal with at the moment.
Serena was panting rapidly and painfully. Her entire body was covered in a thick dripping layer of hot sweat and was feeling pain that made what Diamond had done to her seem like a gentle pat on the head. They weren't kidding when they said that chid birth was the most painful thing to go through. And even though she was in the middle of giving birth to Darien's child, it seemed she would have to be the one to handle things. She really was the only one who really could handle Darien and the girls anyway. "Will all of you just shut the hell up?!?! Darien if you don't control yourself I swear to god I'll knock you out myself!! I'm the one giving birth but you're the one screaming!"
Darien stared at her in amazement, but it soon passed and his concern and distress returned. "I can't bear to see you in pain." He whispered heart wrenchingly.
Serena clinched her teeth as another wave of white hot sharp pain surged through her body. She wasn't in the mood for this! She was trying to push a living human being out of her! His child no less! "Darien, you idiot!" She hissed hotly to everyone's surprise. Even Amy's, who had been present during more than one delivery. "This is child birth! You knew this was coming when YOU KNOCKED ME UP!!!! This is one pain you can't take from me no matter how much I wish you could because then we could both really see just how much better woman are at handling pain! I'm in the middle of giving birth and I'm still able to deal with your pain in the ass antics!"
Rei grinned, highly impressed and amused. "Wow, she's in labour and still she can tear him a new one."
Darien glared murderously at her over his shoulder.
Darien opened his mouth to no doubt snap at her but Serena had reached her wits end. She would have killed him had she been able to move. "Keep it up and I swear to heaven and hell that you'll never touch me again!!"
Darien turned back at her to see her staring at him warningly, all to serious about her threat not that she would ever be able to keep it, she wanted him as much as he always had and always would want her. Even though every instinct and every ounce of common sense in him told him not to do it, he couldn't help himself, he loved fighting with her too much. She was so passionate and intense and that passion from their "disagreements" always ended up refocused somewhere else, more often then not it was the bedroom. "Ah, ah, ah. You promised me three more!" He pointed out to her, reminding her of their agreement and her promise.
An evil sweet smile spread across her flushed face, a smile that nearly had him quacking in his shoes. "You don't have to touch me to get me pregnant, right Amy?"
"That's right." Amy called from under the sheet that was covering the lower half of her body.
Darien's jaw dropped speechlessly. Now that wasn't fair!
Twenty-five Minutes Later . . .
It was finally over. She was lying back on the pillows, a sense of calmness had descended down upon her, whether that was due to exhaustion, the sense of accomplishment or the drugs in the system, she didn't know but she welcomed it. Darien had been kicked out of the delivery room twenty minutes ago, or more to the point, he had been dragged out of the delivery room kicking and screaming by Lita and Rei, who had handed him off to the guys. All four of which had had their hands full keeping him from running straight back down to the delivery room from the waiting room. In her heart she had wanted him there with her to help her through it but in the end it had been the best for everyone and it had spared the man she loved the images and the guilt he would have felt from the pain she had endured. Sometimes she wished that they were a normal couple. It would have made life that much easier, boring, but easier.
Darien really was too overprotective of her but she loved him for it. She loved the way he loved her and the way he felt that he always had to protect her from every little thing. For the first two months of their marriage he had been so protective, so close and careful that he had driven her insane but she had endured it. Diamond had nearly taken her from him and that had left scars behind in him. It had in her too but they had healed that day she had confronted her fears and had married the man she loved. He had set her free and she hoped one day to do the same for him but it wouldn't be any time in the near future. It would take time for Darien to truly and deeply realise that she was his now and that she was no longer in any danger. That she was safe. Only then would he find true peace as she had, she had her dreams and now Darien was so close to having his.
They had a family now, they were a family now and to Serena, it felt like a happy ending. She had the man of her dreams and of her heart and they were well on their way to having their four children.
It wasn't drugs or exhaustion that was making her feel so at peace, it was love and happiness.
"Serena?" Come a gentle, hesitant voice from the doorway.
Serena turned her head slowly and looked passed her four best friends. In the doorway Darien was standing there, his eyes locked on the small bundle held in Nina's arms. The girls had been ohing and ahing and cooing down at the baby.
"Darien." She said exhaustedly but lovingly.
Nina looked up at Serena and understood the moment she and Darien were sharing. She had shared the same moment with Andrew. It was the moment new parents shared with each other when their child was born. Stepping towards the bed, she carefully and gently placed the precious bundle in the white baby blanket into Serena's arms and stepped back to allow Darien room to get to his wife and now the mother of his child.
Serena smiled lovingly down at the silent bundle before she turned back to her husband to see him frozen in the doorway, his eyes still on the bundle she held in her arms. "Darien, come. Come meet your son." She said encouragingly.
"My son?" He mumbled numbly as he slowly, hesitantly moved across the room to her. He was in complete awe at the sight of the little life his wife held in her loving arms. As he drew closer, a small arm appeared for a few precious seconds before it disappeared amongst the folds of the small, soft blanket.
Serena watched fondly as Darien finally reached her bedside and looked down into the sleepy face of their son. Their first born. This moment alone made the past nine months of suffering worth every second but the soft awed gasp that escaped his lips was worth so much more.
"Oh, Serena. He's so beautiful." He stared down at his son for a moment more before he raised his gaze and looked into her eyes. "You're so beautiful, so wonderful." He wrapped one arm around her shoulders and placed the other on her own arm that was wrapped gently but securely around their son.
The happiness and love flowing between them was indescribable. The world could have shook itself apart and collapsed around them and they never would have noticed.
"Look at them." Amy whispered to the other three girls as they stood back and allowed the new family to have this moment between them. "They're so happy."
Rei looked up from what she held in her arms and followed her friend's gaze. "Yeah. I can't wait til mine's born."
"Have you told Chad yet?" Lita inquired curiously.
"No." Rei smiled fondly down at the bundle she held securely in her arms. "But I can't wait too."
"I can't believe we created this precious little guy." Serena told him with loving fascination.
Darien nodded numbly. "Yeah." He breathed as he looked up into her eyes. "Are you alright?" He asked, concerned.
Serena gave him a dismissive joyous smile. "Please. Next to bringing down a serial killer, it was nothing."
Darien smiled and lowered his gaze back down to their son she held in her arms.
"Hold him." Serena said encouragingly. "Hold your son."
Darien's head snapped up and he stared at her in trepidation and hesitation. He wasn't sure how or even if he could.
Serena didn't hesitate. She slowly and carefully picked up their son and held him out to Darien and gave him a brief encouraging nod. "It's alright. You won't drop him."
Darien hesitated only a moment more before he carefully and cautiously wrapped his arms around his son and rested him securely in his arms against his chest. He was so light and so small that it was hard to believe he was real. To him it felt that if he took his arms away, his son would disappear into thin air.
The newborn baby boy in his arms seemed to sense that he was no longer in his mother's arms because he opened his eyes and silently and curiously looked up at him, studying him.
Darien let out a silent gasp of wonder and incredulity. The little boy had deep blue eyes, just like his own. Oh god, he couldn't believe it! His son had his eyes! His eyes! He had dreamed of this moment but never had he known the effect it would have on him in real life. He was so happy, so filled with love that he felt he could fly to the moon, to Venus, to the sun.
"He'll have your hair." Serena whispered blissfully from where she lay exhausted from bringing this life into the world. "But my curls."
Darien's smile grew wider. He didn't care if his son was forever bald, this was his son. His son. A part of both himself and she who he loved most.
"Next time we'll have to work on a little girl with your curls." He told her blissfully without looking up.
Silence fell between them. Darien was so enthralled by his son that he did not notice his wife cast a significant look at her sisters. She was so glad that they could have been there for this special moment, especially now that she might need them to help her deal with her husband.
"Yes darling?" He almost purred.
"You know how I promised four children?" She said slowly.
"Yes." He looked up, sensing there was something she wanted to tell him.
"How about two?"
"No." He said gently but firmly. "You promised."
"Easy for you to say." She mumbled to herself with a knowing smile on her lips. She had known his answer. After all she had spent several months of their marriage talking him down from eight. "Oh well. Half way there." She said with an innocent shrug.
Darien looked back down at their son with a loving smile on his lips. "That's- huh?" His head snapped up so suddenly that Serena suspected he had nearly given himself whiplash.
"I kind of forgot to tell you that I was having twins." She nodded her head at Rei, who was walking over to her carrying a tiny white bundle wrapped in a small baby blanket in her arms. She handed the bundle to Serena and took a step back respectfully.
"Twins?" Darien mumbled dazedly.
Serena nodded. "Yeah. Darien, I would like you to meet your daughter." She angled the baby up so he could see her sleeping face.
"A daughter?" He mumbled and his eyes rolled into the back of his head.
Amy rushed forward urgently but she wasn't going to get to him in time. "Grab the baby!!!" She screamed urgently to Rei who was standing beside him.
Rei reached out and took the baby boy from Darien's arms just as they went slack and his eyes closed. Almost as if time was moving in slow motion, he fell back and landed hard on the sterile hospital floor of the delivery room.
Nina yelped and jumped back to avoid being landed on.
The room was silent for several seconds before the five of them bursted into hysterical laughter at the sight of one of the strongest and protective men they knew laid passed out on the floor.
"Quick, someone get a camera!" Lita gasped through her hysterical laughter.
Rei quickly but carefully handed the baby to Nina and disappeared from the room, presumably to get the camera her husband was holding for her. She had brought it to get some snap shots of the new babies, the newest members of their family.
"Did you see his eyes roll into the back of his head?" Nina asked Amy when her laughter subsided enough for her to speak.
A moment later Rei reappeared with a small silver digital camera clutched firmly in her hands and the room was filled with four bright lightening flashes. Rei looked down at the digital camera as she scanned the photographs she had taken. She held it out for Amy and Nina to see. "I'm going to get this one framed." She pointed at the small screen on the back of the camera. "You can even see the drool running down the side of his face."
Serena chuckled joyously from the bed. She shook her head and turned her attention back at the baby girl in her arms with deep blue eyes and blond curly hair. "Oh Darien." She sighed happily. "It seems all this was just too much for your daddy." She whispered to the sleeping infant in her arms with pure, unadulterated love and joy in her eyes. She could never have asked for more.
Then again, having her husband coconscious to share this moment with would have been nice.
It took them a full fifteen minutes to bring Darien back to the land of the living. By the time he sat up on the cold hospital floor where he had been left because the women of the room had been deeply preoccupied with the new mother and the two newborns and the nurses had been preoccupied with cleaning up.
Darien blinked as the girls parted once again, this time to reveal Serena now holding two precious bundles in her arms, one held steadily in each arm. One was now wrapped in a light blue blanket while the other was wrapped in a light pink blanket. Still on his knees, he crawled over to his wife's beside and looked tentatively over her at the two newborns she was cradling. His son and his daughter.
Darien stared at them for long silent moments before he looked up at his beautiful wife's face that was filled with amusement. "You could have told me." He accused, embarrassed.
Serena smiled adoringly down at him. "And miss watching your eyes roll into the back of your head? Not on your life, my love."
Darien eyed the newborn wrapped in the pink blanket for a long moment. "I have a son and a daughter?"
Serena nodded patiently. "Yes." She waited patiently as he rose to his feet before she spoke again. "They need names, my love. You need to name them."
Darien blinked. She was going to let him name them both? He couldn't believe that Serena was going to let him name them! He stared into her eyes for several minutes, studying the emotions there. The longer they were together the better he could read her. She really did want him to name them, if she didn't like the name she would say so but he doubted there were many names he could suggest that she wouldn't like. She had her family, she had a loving husband and two adorable children. He knew as far as she was concerned, her dreams were complete. Anything more to come would just be an extension on that dream. So he could tell there was no way she was going to let him argue. He could see it in her eyes and in her soul.
He slowly reached, out and with the barest of touches, he stroked his daughter's face tenderly. He knew the perfect name for her and he knew that Serena would have no objections what-so-ever. "I like Rini." He whispered.
Serena smiled proudly. "Rini." It rolled off her tongue with a sense of rightness. It had been his sister's name. The sister he had lost in a childhood accident, that for so long had blamed himself for and had only recently forgiven himself for, with her help. "Perfect."
At Serena's approval, Darien turned his attention to his son. He knew the perfect name for him. He watched in love and wonder as the newborn boy reached out and wrapped his small hand around his outstretched pinkie finger. Unspeakable love and happiness filled his glowing heart. "Seiya."
Serena looked up into his eyes with her own twinkling emotion-filled eyes and then she returned her gaze to their son. "Yes, Seiya is perfect." She whispered emotionally. She gently sat their daughter on her lap, freeing her arm and she turned to her husband, reached out for him and pulled him close for a brief but loving kiss.
When she pulled away, she looked deep into his sparkling eyes with pride, love and happiness. "You're a good man. An honourable man, my love. My husband."
Darien stared into her eyes as his smiled faded slowly. He reached up and gently stroked his wife's cheek and swept back a few loose strands of sweat soaked hair. "Seiya died for this. I will never forget him and I will never be free of my debt to him for saving you, for saving my family. Our family. He was a greater man than I could ever hope to be." He remembered at Seiya's fully honoured funeral how he had told Seiya's parents that he had died saving a pregnant woman from the worst of monsters. He could still hear their words of gratitude through their heart wrenching sobs.
Serena sighed contently as she sunk exhaustedly into the pillows. "Darien, my love. The two of you are so much alike. You are both great men. Maybe one day you will see yourself as I see you."
Darien's smile returned to his lips and he kissed her sweat covered forehead. "That will be the day you see yourself as the world sees you. My perfect angel. A gift from heaven to show us mere mortals what true radiance and happiness and love is. And one day heaven will want you back."
Serena smiled as her eyes slowly slid shut as she was finally overcome by her exhaustion. It had been a long night and now she needed to rest. She couldn't fight it anymore. "Then they will have to take us both. Even a smooth silver tongued devil like you."
Darien chuckled softly as he leaned forward. "I don't need heaven. I have you." He whispered into her ear. "As long as I have you, no matter what sins I commit, hell can never touch me."
Serena smiled sleepily. Yes, he did have her. No matter how many lives they lived, no matter how many times they were reborn into this world, they would always find each other. They would always love each other.
No matter what their love was eternal.
Their kind of love was something that couldn't end. It was stronger than death itself. It would be revived with them no matter how many times they lived. They were two parts of the one soul, one heart, one life force. One could not live without the other. Love like theirs just didn't die. No, it lived again and again, bringing them back together for all eternity.
"Seiya and Rini!" Nina squealed too enthusiastically. "How cute! And perfect!"
Amy quickly reached out and slapped her hand over her mouth. "There are sleeping newborns here you airhead!" She reprimanded quietly.
"Oh, sorry." She mumbled guiltily when Amy removed her hand.
"They make such an adorable family, don't they?" Lita sighed deeply, asking no one in particular.
"I can't wait to have mine!" Rei said longingly as she gently rested her hand over her lower stomach. It wouldn't be long. She just had to tell her husband that she was pregnant first but she had to wonder whether or not he would take it as well as Andrew and Darien had.
'He had better take it that well!' She thought menacingly.
"Hey, wouldn't it be perfect if Alex and Rini fell in love?" Nina squealed over excitedly again.
At that Darien's head snapped up and he glared darkly at Nina at the thought of some guy taking away his little girl but his rational side quickly rose up and calmed him. It would be at least thirty years before that happened and Alex would be his father's son, so maybe it wouldn't be too bad. At least, not after he made sure that young Alex understood the strict rules concerning his daughter.
Serena could sense the thundering emotions in her husband but she did nothing but widen her smile ever so slightly. He would be as overprotective of his children, especially his daughter, as he was of her. It would be a long time before Darien shared their views on the idea. After all, they were already a family. It would only make it more official if their children married. Nina, Andrew and Alex, Rei and Chad, Amy and Greg and Lita and Ken were all family and they always would be.
Serena didn't know how she knew, as she drifted off, but somehow she knew she and Darien had finally reached their happy ending. They had earned it. It was over, all the fighting and killing. They had passed fate's test of their love and they had prevailed.
How did it go again?
Oh yes, they had their happily ever after. For ever and ever.
It was funny how bloody roses could lead to love and a happy ending.
That was her last thought as she drifted off into the land of dreams, knowing that when she woke she would continue living a dream that was far greater than any dream sleep could ever offer her.
Well that's it for Love and Bloody Roses. I hope you have enjoyed the journey as greatly as I've enjoyed writing it. There were a few bumps along the way but it's finally done. There will be no third. I did mention one at one stage but I'm a firm believer in letting things go while they're still good and not dragging them on and ruining them. Love and Bloody Roses was my first posted fanfic and I'm so ecstatic that it's been such a hit that I can say for sure that this is going to be one (or two) of many! Thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement! It's kind of sad that this has come to an end but it's also an opportunity for me to start another fanfic for you to enjoy! I have so many ideas!
Thanks to you all for reading!
If you enjoyed Love and Bloody Roses please check out some of my new ones! There's Heart's Sight, which has already been started and Wolf's Cry that will be coming soon!
Completed 20th February 2009.