A/N: This chapter's a little shorter than normal. Sorry about that. I'm still trying to work out exactly how I want things to unfold from here. However, I hope you guys are still reading this and enjoying what I've got so far. I don't have Internet where I'm staying this summer, but I'll still be writing and I'll update when I can. Thanks!
The Final Seal
Liz made her way back towards the room she shared with Hellboy at a leisurely pace. The cool night air felt good on her skin and, in the light of a nearly full moon, she felt she could put worries about the end of the world out of her mind for just a moment. Turning her face up to the moonlight, her hand drifted across her stomach. It was crazy to think that two little lives were growing inside her.
Liz allowed herself to think about the future for a moment. A future that involved her and Hellboy and two children. It was difficult to picture. Not only did she have no idea what their offspring might look like, she wasn't even sure what she would look like as a mother. Was she capable of that? Despite all their arguments, she felt much more certain about HB's abilities as a father. Abe was right, he would be a good parent. He'd always had a soft spot for kids and he was nothing if not nurturing with his cats. But her? She barely knew what family meant. She'd lost her family when she was still very young and even though the BPRD had tried to be a family to her, she'd quit it more times than she could count on two hands. She knew she wouldn't quit when it came to HB and the kids, but what if she lost control again? What if…?
Liz forced herself to stop, shaking her head as if she could shake her fears out of her mind. Of course it wasn't that easy. Her fears were rooted deep and would rear up again, she knew, but for now she could push them aside.
Turning to head back inside, Liz moved almost silently through the halls. Although it was getting late, there were still plenty of people hard at work within the BPRD. Liz didn't stop to talk to any of them, but navigated the halls from memory without paying much attention. She only paused for a moment when she noticed Abe sitting on the floor in the study, silently staring at a book he held in his hands. She'd noticed him with this book before and she suspected it had something to do with the Princess Nuala. She'd tried to talk to Abe a couple of times about the women he'd obviously cared for and lost on that mission in Ireland, but Abe had simply insisted that he was fine. Liz frowned as she looked at him. Abe was certainly not fine; she didn't need to be a telepath to know that. She just wasn't sure what she could do for her friend. She decided to leave him be for the night and maybe mention her concern to HB later. She was tired.
Liz reached her room and opened the door. This was a different room from the one she and Hellboy had shared before Ireland. Part of the deal for them to come back was that they would get a bigger room, one with a nursery for the kids when they came. The look on Manning's face when he'd found out about that had been priceless.
Hellboy had done quite a job on cluttering up the place already. Liz had been pretty annoyed by this development, but she knew he was trying to do better. He'd even found homes for some of his cats, bringing their number down to about a dozen now. She knew that was hard for him and she appreciated the steps he was taking to try to make her happy.
The man in question was lounging on the couch in front of the pile of televisions, his hooves dangling over the arm and his tail swishing near the floor. He was wearing the ridiculous boxer shorts she'd gotten him for Christmas the year before. They were black with flames on them.
"Hey, Sparky." Hellboy drawled sleepily, holding his left hand out to her.
Liz moved to join him, letting him wrap his left arm around her and pull her onto the couch with him. Although, since he was a fairly large guy, there wasn't a whole lot of couch left for her and therefore she was mostly just on top of him, but neither of them really minded. Liz smiled as she ran a hand down the side of his face.
"Anything good on TV, Red?" she asked.
"Nah." he replied, tightening his hold, his undivided attention focused on her, "Just waiting for you."
"You didn't have to."
Hellboy shrugged with one shoulder, "Wanted to."
He shifted Liz towards his right side so he could pick up the remote for the televisions with his left and turn them off. Dropping the remote, he adjusted his hold on her so that he could get up and carry her over to their bed. Liz protested for only a moment, she always did, before resigning herself to being carried. He deposited her gently on the bed, then climbed in next to her. Liz sat up to kick off her shoes and shimmy out of her pants before collapsing back onto the bed at his side. Her shirt rode up a little, exposing her stomach. Hellboy almost hesitantly reached out to rest his hand there. He still couldn't see any sign of the pregnancy and so it was still kind of shocking for him to think that his children were right there under his fingertips.
"How are you feeling?" he asked, looking up at Liz quickly with wide, worried eyes.
"I'm fine, HB." Liz assured him, just a hint of annoyance creeping into her voice at his overprotective nature.
"But…can you…can you feel them in there?" Hellboy asked, his eyes shifting between Liz's face and her stomach curiously.
Liz shook her head, "No. Not yet. I just sort of feel…odd. Grumpy, hungry, nauseous…"
Liz trailed off with an ironic smile. She wasn't particularly enjoying all these newfound side effects of the pregnancy, but it wasn't anything she couldn't handle.
Hellboy sat up quickly, "Do you want me to get you some food? Or a doctor? Or…"
Liz grabbed his arm and pulled him back down, "I just want to sleep right now, Red."
"Oh, okay." Hellboy said, feeling sort of useless and more than a little clueless when it came to taking care of a pregnant Liz.
Liz didn't seem to mind, though. She snuggled in against his chest, her eyes drifting closed. Without even thinking, Hellboy wrapped an arm around her, bringing her even closer. He smiled when she heaved a contented sigh. How the hell did he get this lucky? He wasn't sure. But one thing was for damn sure. He was not about to let some stupid prophecy screw this up.
A couple cats jumped up to join them on the bed, one curling up at Hellboy's side, purring contentedly. The other batted idly at Hellboy's tail for a moment before she got tired of it and draped herself across his leg. Comforted by the warmth of Liz on one side and two cats on the other, Hellboy closed his eyes and went to sleep.
Meanwhile, in the woods that bordered the remote compound, a woman stood and stared at the buildings as if she could see through the walls and right into the heart of the supposedly secure facility. This woman with her pale skin, light blonde hair and long, white dress looked like a ghost in the moonlight. However, if the sinister smile on her face was any indication, she was something much worse.