This is the final chapter of Cursed Blood! Over 130 reviews! I am deeply honored! I want to thank everyone who has been a devout reviewer and follower of my story! Crazybeagle, lizziemagic, James Birdsong, Julez Rox, Fiyero's Girl-Elphaba, DancingSpy, Talbot-Stark, alindaandalion, Happy Fae, So Confusified, ToThoseWhoGroundMe, Hero's-shade, Following My Own Footsteps, Pernicia, hydra , Wicked'elphaba-fiyero, elphabathedelirious32, DefyGravityinJeweledShoes, LaurenneTiggular, and to the anonymous Elizabeth and Somebody! *Pant what a list!*
Thank you all so much! Each and every review you guys sent means a whole lot to me! I wouldn't have been able to get through this ridiculously long story without you guys! I really appreciate everyone for sticking with this, it's been quite a journey, I know! Over nine months in the making, holy crap!
And an announcement! (Two, actually) THE POLL ON MY PROFILE PAGE WILL CLOSE ON SEPTEMBER 16! GET YOUR VOTES IN ASAP! If I get enough votes, I WILL write a sequel!
Second! Of course, I must keep up with my promise! Remember my contest announcement in the first chapter? Yeah, I know, I wasn't exactly being easy with that, and I forgot about it half-way through the story, too. Heh heh heh . . . Anyway. The person who won the song-guessing contest issssssss: *drum roll plz*
Congrats! You get to have me write a story of your choosing! (Please send me a PM!)
But like all stories, this one must come to an end. And now, may I present the final chapter!
(OMG, this chapter's under 3,000 words! D:)
The light's first rays broke over the horizon, awakening the king from his blissful slumber. Chiron groaned, turning on his side and stretching. Wonderful memories drifted through his head of the night before . . . everything from the wedding ceremony itself to the dancing and finally the moment they consumated their mariage. Everything had felt so magical, so special. He turned on his side, gazing at his beautiful wife laying by his side. He reached out to her, stroking Panatia's hair as she continued to sleep. He allowed a smile to form on his lips. The night before had been so incredibly wonderful . . . the best in his life. He admired Panatia's beautifully sleeping body, half-covered with white sheets. Her red lips were slightly parted, and her chest rose and fell rhythmically with each breath. Chiron leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. Her eyes fluttered open, and she smiled.
"Good morning, sleeping beauty," he said, kissing her again. She kissed him back, rubbing her weary eyes.
"Morning, love," she said, arching her back and stretching out her arms. Chiron pulled her close, wrapping his arms around her slender waist, their bodies flush against each other. Panatia sighed, deeply inhaling Chiron's scent as her head rested against her chest. Her smile grew.
"Last night was wonderful," she muttered, still half-asleep. She laughed. "You are most definitely not a virgin."
Chiron faked an expression of genuine hurt. "So if I give you a night of amazing sex, that immediately labels me as a man-whore?!"
Panatia laughed, cupping the side of his face and kissing him. "I'm teasing you, of course I know you were a virgin!"
"Good. My father taught me well," Chiron said without thinking. Panatia's eyes went wide.
"Your father--?!" she began, until Chiron realized his horrendous mistake.
"NO! No no no no no! I mean, my father beat into my skull to save myself for marriage when I was very young! That's what I meant! Ew, you're disgusting!"
Panatia sighed with relief. "Ok, that's good."
Chiron and Panatia both broke out laughing. "You're crazy, you know that?" Chiron said.
"I love you, too," she said matter of factly, patting his shoulder.
She slid out of bed, pulling a sheet off the bed and wrapping it around herself, nearly gliding across the floor to the balcony. She leaned against the railing, admiring the city in the early morning light. Chiron pulled on some pants before he came up behind her, his arms sliding around her shoulders. She placed a hand over one of his.
"It's a magnificent view," she said.
"I love watching the sunrise," Chiron agreed. "Nothing can compare."
They savored the view, both silent, wrapped in each other's arms. Panatia was the first to break the silence with a heavy sigh.
"What happens now?" she asked.
Chiron furrowed his eyebrows. "What do you mean?"
"What's going to happen to us a year from now? Five years? Ten? What sort of obstacles will we face now? What will happen in the future? And . . . are we even going to start a family?"
Chiron laughed, pulling her tighter. "One step at a time, honey, or you'll go crazy with worry. Take it a day at a time. What happens will happen." He turned so he was looking in her eyes. "And . . . whatever happens, know that I will still love you, no matter what."
She smiled. "I guess I'm just nervous."
"I am too," he reassured, kissing her cheek. "We just gotta make the best of whatever happens."
Panatia placed her hands on her stomach, closing her eyes and inhaling deeply. "I want to be a mother so badly . . . I want to start a family, raise our own kids . . . but I'm scared. The world is a scary place sometimes, I'm worried for the future, waht they'll think . . ."
Chiron gently rocked her back and forth, deep in thought. "Then fuck the rest of the world and fuck what they think. I want kids, too. And sure, it may be scary as hell, but I swear to love them and protect them no matter what happens to them."
Panatia smiled. "Thank you for that, Chiron."
Chiron kissed her once more on the cheek. "Come on, let's get dressed. No doubt the Council will want to officially initiate you as Queen of Oz today."
Panatia giggled, slipping on another dress. "It's hard to believe I'm royalty now, isn't it?"
Chiron's eyes sparkled as he smiled. "You have always been my beautiful princess," he said, kissing hte top of her hand. Panatia's smile grew.
There will be challenges in their future, most difficult and others not so much, but she knew Chiron would always have her back. Together, they would face the future head-on, and never back down. She will always have Chiron to love and to hold, to lean on and support.
He was her guardian angel.
"And they all lived happily ever after!" Zeke concluded, falling back into the cushions of his armchair, letting out a breath of relief.
His youngest granddaughter, Emily, who was only five years old, bounced about happily. "That was the bestest story ever, Grandpa!" she squealed with delight. Zeke smiled. He loved babysitting his grandchildren. Their parents took the nigh off for a fancy dinner and movie preview. So naturally Zeke was more than happy to volunteer to watch the kids on their night out.
"It's 'best,' moron," her older brother, Kevin, shot. Kevin was like all other twelve year-old boys; stuck up and difficult. He currently sat on another couch, his nose buried in a Gameboy. "And that was not the 'best' story ever! That was a load of crap! Really, a guy turning into a gryphon? That's stupid!"
Zeke chuckled. "But it's a true story! It's completely real!"
"Gryphons don't even exist!" Kevin shouted angrily.
"Maybe not here," Zeke said mystically. "But they exist in a faraway place, full of magic and wonder!"
Emily's eyes went wide, captivated by her grandfather's enchanting words, and her mouth opened in a shape of an 'o' while Kevin huffed angrily and rolled his eyes.
"Maybe you should go to the loony bin like that crazy Riko guy," he muttered angrily.
"It's Riacco," Zeke corrected automatically with a smile.
"Point proven," he growled in response.
"Don't worry, grandpa, I believe you!" Emily said.
"Then you're an idiot!" Kevin shouted, finally losing his temper. "How can you believe that story? It's nothing but a bunch of lies! There's no such thing as magic, talking scarecrows, tin men, witches, and least of all gryphons! It's bullshit!"
"Hey, Kevin, watch your mouth," Zeke said forcefully. "Don't you dare say that word around me again. You shouldn't even know what that word means!"
"Kevin, go change into your pajamas and call it a night. You're obviously tired," Zeke said, starting to lose his patience with the boy. Kevin groaned exasperatedly and stomped upstairs to his room, where he slammed the door shut. Zeke sighed. Damn kids. Absolutely no sense of respect for the elderly.
Emily crawled into her grandfather's lap. "Grandaddy, I still believe you," she said, cuddling up with him. He smiled. The younger ones were always better.
"Then I have something to show you!" he said, taking out an old, wrinkly piece of paper in his shirt pocket. He unfolded it and smoothed it against his leg. It was a letter. Emily's eyes went wide.
"It's the magic paper you use to talk to Dory, isn't it?!" she said excitedly.
"That's right!" Zeke said with matched excitement. "Let me read to you what it says." He took out his reading glasses and perched them on the edge of his nose. " 'Dear Zachary, I know it's been a while since we've last spoken, but believe me, things have been pretty crazy around here. Chiron's wedding was just the other day and the paparazzi are still all over them, trying to get snap-shots of the new king and queen!' "
"Paparatty?" Emily asked, confused.
Zeke laughed. "Paparazzi. People who take pictures of famous people!"
"Oh," she said.
Zeke continued. " 'But know I still think about you and miss you dearly. I wish I could go back and see you again, but ever since Fiyero's passing . . . well, I have a lot of duties I need to take care of. Fiyero's death is still painful to think about, even after all these years. Just like Hunk's death still haunts me. It's not easy losing someone like them. Elphaba has been amazing through everything, I can't help but admire how strong she has been through his death. I know she still hurts some, but Chiron's always there to take away the pain.' "
"Oh, poor Elphie," Emily cried. "I didn't want Yero to die, either."
Zeke smiled and continued to read. " 'I can't help but wonder if Chiron and Panatia are going to have a family one day. I asked him, but he never did give me a clear response. He was always vague and immediately changed the subject. Not that I blame him, mind you. But, we'll find out eventually, I guess! Best wishes, Dorothy.' "
Zeke pointed out the date. "Now that was three months ago, sweetie. Dorothy wrote me another letter not too long ago, just the other day, as a matter of fact!" Beneath the letter he just read was another piece of paper with yet another letter. He held it out excitedly and began to read, Emily leaning close to him to better read the letter, as well.
" 'Dear Zeke, Panatia's been feeling very sick for the past few days, and Chiron's growing very concerned. We first thought it was just a bout of the flu, but her symptoms haven't been getting any better. In fact, she's gotten worse. I'm getting concerned as well, but also excited. Is it morning sickness? I hope. But . . . her symptoms are almost too severe to be morning sickness . . Chiron's going to the doctor today to find out why she's been feeling so sick lately. I'll tell you as soon as I find out. Regards, Dorothy.' "
"Grandpa?" Emily asked, confused.
"What's morning sickness?"
"It's a flu mommies get when they're going to have a baby!" Zeke said excitedly.
Emily's eyes went wide, and she began giggling excitedly. "Pan's gonna be a mommy?!"
Zeke held the piece of paper up to the light, his aged face etched with a wide smile. "I'm not sure, but we'll find out very soon, I promise!"
Half a world away, Chiron paced angrily outside the doors of the examination room, growling viciously. What the hell was taking that bloody doctor so long?! How could such a simple and idiotic examination take three hours?! He had been waiting for anything, a quick word from the doctor, a note, a goddamn sign, anything, but the doctors and nurses refused to tell him anything. His growl grew louder, barely attempting to hide the resemblance to a ferocious lion's growl. Shouldn't he know if his wife had some deadly disease? Shouldn't he know right away what was wrong with his wife?! What the hell was the doctor's problem, refusing to tell him anything?!
Everytime he tried to ask someone, the answer was always the same. "We're not sure quite yet, we're still running some more tests." That's what they all said. That same exact sentence. A rehearsed phrase for dealing with visitors. He was sick of it and wanted to hit them for feeding him that crap.
Nothing but a bunch of bullshit, they need to run a few more tests. Chiron wanted to know what was going on in that room, but even his enhanced hearing couldn't pick up any noises, besides an inaudible mumble coming from within.
He let out a loud groan, slumping onto a nearby chair. He had half a mind tojust barge right through those doors and demand the doctors to tell him what was wrong. Whatever the sickness, however serious the disease, Chiron would fix it on the spot. He wasn't going to let whatever selfish goddamn son of a bitch germ take his wife from her, especially not since they were only married for a few months now!
He wanted to break down the door so badly, but he restrained himself, forcing himself to be patient. He had to be patient. He had to wait. He would know in due time what was wrong.
But goddamn it, if he didn't find out soon, he was going to murder someone!
Finally, an hour later, just when Chiron was about to snap, the doctor emerged from the examination room, a serious look on his face. "Master Tiggular?"
Chiron leapt off his chair and stormed over to the doctor, resisting the urge to flatten him against the door. "You better have a damned good excuse for making me wait so long without any clue at all what was wrong with my wife!" Chiron snarled. "Now answer me! What's wrong with her?!"
"Please, calm down and take a seat, I will explain everything in a moment," he said smoothly. Reluctantly, he took the vacant chair next to Panatia, who was dressed in a hospital gown, also looking strangely calm and void of any emotions. This deeply worried Chiron. He immediately turned to her.
"Panatia, please, tell me, whatever it is, I can fix it! Just tell me what's wrong, and I'll make it better, I swear!" Chiron pleaded, taking her hands. "Please, tell me, why are you sick?"
Panatia looked into his eyes with her big beautiful blue-grey eyes and gave him the biggest smile he's ever seen. Tears of joy formed in her eyes as she leaned over and whispered in his ear.
"Chiron, I'm pregnant."