I was enjoying a nice long case of writers block when I rediscovered Supernatural after forgetting about it for two whole years (grrrrr) and it immediately got my gray matter moving. At the same time I discovered Christina Dode's Darkness Chosen series.
Okay enough said, hope you enjoy.
"Look. Isn't she beautiful?"
"She's gorgeous. An angel just like her mother." Jasha smiled at his wife and leaned over to kiss her just as a knock sounded on the door.
Jasha groaned and straitened. "If that's the doctor I swear I am gonna fucking kill 'im." He drawled with a crooked grin then yelled, "Come in."
"Then I guess I am lucky that I decided to become a grape grower instead of a doctor." a voice boomed as the door opened to reveal his parents, brother, and kid sister.
Jasha looked up sheepishly but his father ignored him and instead made a beeline for the bed containing his daughter-in-law and newest family addition.
"Ann!" Konstantin roared, "My beautiful daughter. You have brought one miracle after another into our lives," he gestured toward the other members of the family. "And now my son informs me that you have brought the best miracle of all too pass." He held out his arms and asked, "May I please see her."
Ann smiled and pulled back the blankets to reveal the bundle she cradled.
Konstantin approached the bed almost reverently and gazed down on the infant. "May I hold her?" Ann smiled and held out the sleeping bundle to him.
Konstantin accepted the child with slight hesitancy, as if he were afraid she would break in his hands. But the second he had a firm hold on her the baby opened her eyes to stare at him with curiosity before beating her tiny fists on his powerfully arms, gurgling in protest of being removed from her mother and handed to this stranger.
Konstantin chuckled proudly. "She has the spirit of her father and the beauty of her mother."
Jasha smiled. The last time Konstantin had been any where's near this proud had been seven years ago when Firebird was born. Now he knew how his old man had felt and he was liking this part a whole lot.
"May I see her?" his mother, Zorana, asked shyly.
She usually bossed everyone in the family. For her to sound so uncertain about such a small thing as asking to see her granddaughter was slightly unsettling for Jasha.
Meekly, Konstantin handed the infant, who had now gotten over her display of objection, over to his wife for introductions.
Zorana smiled as she took the child in her arms. "My daughter, heaven has smiled on us this day." She cooed soothingly as she watched her granddaughter yawn and settle down. "The darkness has once more failed to keep an angel from coming to this earth to scorn them."
"She looks just like you did when you were born," she commented to her eldest son who was grinning broadly, every inch of him emanating the joy and pride he felt.
Just then the baby opened her eyes and Zorana gasped.
"Ma? What is it?" Rurik asked, coming to stand beside her. His eyes also widened at what he saw.
The baby's eyes were a storm of blue sky and grey cloud and seemed to bore right into him. An unusual effect for one so young and Rurik had seen many unusual things in his twenty-two years. But the truly unsettling thing was her pupils. Crimson red like dark blood rubies, they seemed to almost glow with an inner fire. From a distance they were black as coals in appearance; but even then they were unsettling. It was as if a light of great strength shone behind those dark windows, but whose power could not be fully shut out.
"Jasha, did you see this?" he inquired, slightly stunned.
"Yes I did smart ass." Jasha snapped. "She's my daughter, in case you forgot!"
"I have never seen eyes like this before." Zorana mused, "The only thing that would come close would be when you boys allow your inner demons to show. And even then it is often only for a short time. With her, it is like the power is there, lurking and waiting to spring forth at any time."
"Huh," Jasha snorted in derision. "You think that is weird. Take a look at this!" He gently lifted his daughter and held her so her head rested on his shoulder. Securely holding her with one arm, he carefully lifted the back of her shirt to show the small of her back.
Zorana let out a second gasp, Rurik swore, Konstantin muttered something unintelligible in Russian, and Firebird stared curiously.
"Holy mother of god," Rurik repeated his earlier curse. "Is that what I think it is?"
"I guess so." Jasha shrugged and tucked the shirt back in place. "I don't know what else it could be. Except it's different, so we don't know what it means yet."
"Holy crap, HOLY CRAP!" Rurik repeated, shaking his head. "That would explain why the lady at the counter looked at us weird when we asked for your room number. Something like that is gonna be hard to keep quite in a hospital. Especially on the baby of the infamous Jasha Wilder."
"Rurik! Shush!" Konstantin growled. "We already have a problem without you yelling it for the entire maternity ward to hear."
"Has anyone else besides the staff who were present for the birth seen it?" he asked, turning his piercing gaze on Jasha.
"The nurses who take care of the babies, I think." Jasha knew that tone his father was using; it was the one he had used the first time Jasha transformed and then boasted to his brothers about it. It meant something was up and Konstantin was trying to think of what course of action to take.
"Hmmm." Konstantin grunted and began pacing the floor. "How soon till you are allowed to leave?"
"The doc said a few days and it's almost been a week. So, soon I guess." Jasha could smell his father's agitation burning in his nostrils.
Just then there was a knock on the door; which, as soon as Konstantin growled out permission to enter, opened to admit the nurse whose already scared expression turned to one of near panic. Clearly the rumors had already spread and most likely been blown up a bit, because the poor girl looked like she was ready to faint when she saw the Wilder males watching her and the open doorway like they expected danger to come waltzing through it at any second.
"I…I just need to do some routine checks…"
The way she was squeaking woke something inside Jasha and caused the demon to raise its head in predatory interest. Immediately he squashed it and smiled warmly at her. "Sure. Come on in."
Nothing more was said as the nurse fumbled through the basic blood pressure and temperature readings. Routine questioning done she scurried from the room like it could bite her.
"Maybe we really should be leaving," Jasha grinned, scratching the back of his head sheepishly.
"Good!" Zorana straightened brusquely, back to her normal 'family matron' mode. "Ann and the little one will come stay with us on the farm until she is fully recovered.
"That way she has someone to care for and protect her all day which you will not be capable of with your work."
Jasha immediately raised his hackles. 'She is my mate and I can care for her as well as any. Thank you!"
"Oh?" Zorana stiffened and tilted back her head to glare down at her eldest. A tough feat considering he had over a dozen inches on her but the she pulled it off he might as well have still been a little boy with his hand in the cookie jar. "And I suppose you know what a baby and new mother need do you?"
'Erm, yeah, I help you take care of Adrik and Firebird…" Jasha pulled up as he realized the taboo subject he had stumbled on.
Zorana did not seem to notice and plowed on. "You were in school or doing chores most of the time when Adrik was a baby and then you had your company when Firebird was born. Now your company is busier than ever and you are needed there."
"Don't worry," Rurik smirked. "Your 'mate' and pup will be cozy as can be all tucked up in Mamma bear's den."
"That 'bear' will not be cooking for you if you continue disrespecting your siblings like that." Zorana glared.
Rurik 'eeped' and looked sufficiently reprimanded. "Sorry Mamma, just having little fun."
"It's alright, really." Ann tried to protest. "I helped out with the younger kids in the orphanage so I do know how to take care of a baby."
"It's not a matter of care." Ann was surprised at the serious tone Jasha adopted. "She is the second daughter born under the curse. The Varinskis are already close enough. If they find out about her they will stop at nothing to kill her. She is a damnation upon them."
"Upon everything they stand for and have built." Konstantine nodded in solemn agreement. "Firebird already should not have been possible, but a second daughter?"
Grim silence settled on the room as all contemplated the implications of this. Even Firebird who was not yet old enough to fully understand the importance of the conversation looked pensive.
"I had hope we would find a way to break the pact before she was born," Jasha said sadly as he gently rocked the infant that had started to grow restless with the serious atmosphere.
"Is that even possible?' Rurik frowned.
"Mamma and Papa already fulfilled the first part of that prophesy, there has to be a way to finish it." Jasha was starting to sound desperate as he continued soothing his increasingly restless daughter. "She smells like a wolf."
"No! No way! You don't think…" Rurik trailed off as he saw the sadness in his brother's eyes. "Papa said Firebird didn't smell like a predator."
"That is what I want to find out about. Before she gets anywhere near being able to change."
Ann had no words to sooth her husband's troubled thoughts. Instead she held out her arms to take over the job of calming her new daughter.
What are you little one? She asked silently, trying desperately to block the gnawing in her heart. Innocent of the mystery surrounding her birth the baby happily gurgled to be back in her mother's arms.
What paths does your future hold that you will lead us down in these dark hours?