EDIT: Sky: Re-Added scene skips.
Ayns: Wow, everyone... well, first, I'd like to say thank you for all of the great reviews. Life in general has had me kind of down lately, and sometimes when that happens it starts to affect my confidence in writing. Added to that is the fact that Sky talks to you all a lot more often than I do... mostly because with the timing, by the time she'd finished fine-tuning the edits on our chapters, I'm about to pass out at the keyboard! Seriously, if I tried to talk to everyone at some of those times, all you'd get is a whole lot of as;ldkja;gjgjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj.
Please, no one try to pronounce that out loud. But if you do, kindly inform me of your success.
I do believe I feel some Mountain Dew kicking it.
The lovely news is, I'm on a new schedule at work, and if Sky and I can keep up this patternF of when we work on these chapters and post, I should be able to give a bit more to the A/N's aside from ZZZZ.
I think I'm in ramble mode, especially when what I mostly wanted to do was just thank you guys a bunch for all of your support - and I love that you all love No Matter What!
Sky: See? She's alive. She was NOT in my basement, collecting dust while I stole he anime collection and Yugioh cards.
Eheheheheh. Hehehe. Heh…
ANYWAY! Beware, slightly NUDE content… Nothing graphic, but be warned, there is implied sex in this chapter. Other than that… Enjoy ^^
No Matter What
Chapter Thirty-One: Changes
In all honesty, she'd never had a better vacation in her life. There were no rules, no adults, and no curfews to keep them from having any kind of fun they wanted. Sabrina had insisted they try to act normal, although there were still a few awkward moments where she or Puck would have to stop and think 'is it time?' or something similar.
In order to stop from freaking out, they'd occupied themselves by going to movies and dates, finding quite a few establishments now run by Everafters, thanks to Veronica. A week into the trip, they had yet to take the next step.
Well, Sabrina was ready to change that. They'd agreed on the way home from dinner at a nice Chinese restaurant that they were ready. So, while Puck sat in the bedroom waiting, Sabrina had taken a shower, brushed her teeth, taken another shower, and had just finished brushing her teeth again. She didn't know whether or not to go out naked or wearing a towel or get dressed again. She wouldn't even consider the idea of lingerie, even though she'd gotten some on an impulse buy.
"Okay," she said to herself, looking in the mirror. "You can do this. It's just Puck."
She stared back at her own reflection, seeing her wide blue eyes and flushed cheeks, her hair already drying and fluffing around her a little. Very hesitantly, she followed her own gaze down to her collarbone, then to the big green towel she had wrapped around herself. She unwrapped it hesitantly, checking to see if anything was out of order or embarrassing. With a touch of vanity, she had to admit, she looked pretty hot. Her chest wasn't too big or too small, she didn't have a trace of acne or unwanted freckles, and years of playing dodge-the-danger had kept her body toned and slender.
She wrapped the towel back around herself, gulping. Better to take it one step at a time.
With her resolve firmly in place, Sabrina headed for the bathroom door, checking off her list of preparations she'd made in her head.
1. They were both ready and comfortable
2. They had protection ready
3. She had remembered to take the birth control pills her mother had gotten her prescribed
4. Nothing smelled or looked yucky
5. She knew she was in love with the boy she was about to give herself to.
Stepping out of the bathroom, she walked across the hall to the bedroom, the carpet tickling her feet a little. She wore only a towel and the ring he had given her.
Puck was standing in the bedroom, trying not to look as anxious as he felt - and he was pretty sure that he was failing. He was acutely aware that Sabrina was in the bathroom, and his imagination kept trying to supply him with possible mental images. He kept smacking his imagination, telling it to wait until he saw the real thing.
He was going to see the real thing. That was the part that was threatening to overwhelm him, and he did not want to act like a spazz when she came into the room.
Unsure whether or not he was supposed to undress while waiting for her, he'd tugged off his shirt, but hadn't decided about his pants yet. His back was to the door, and when he heard the bathroom door open and shut, he shoved his hands nervously through his hair and took a deep breath.
Sabrina looked to him once she entered the room, and she couldn't help but frown a little. "Hey..." She hugged the towel self consciously. "I'm wearing way less than you."
Puck turned towards her, fully prepared to make a witty statement - until he saw her.
Even though she still had a towel wrapped around her, he found himself suddenly robbed of speech, and his mouth felt like cotton candy. "Whu...whoa..."
"..." Sabrina looked at the floor quickly, feeling awkward and embarrassed. "A-anyway... Should I just... Drop the towel or something?"
Puck's cheeks were heating up, and he managed a slight nod as his hands went down to the waistband of his pants - she was, after all, right in that she had less on than he did. "Okay."
Sabrina mentally counted to ten--then dropped the towel, standing there more or less completely nude in front of him. Her hair was long enough that she could have used it to cover herself, but then, what would the point have been?
So she slowly raised her eyes to see his face, steeling herself to keep her arms at her side and not whoosh them in front of her chest.
Puck's eyes went wide, and with a sudden rush of air, his wings sprang out from his back, straight behind him in surprise. Vocals were gone. Voice? What was that? All he could do was stare.
Sabrina couldn't help it--the minute his wings popped out, she burst into giggles and doubled over. "I guess you're happy to see me?" she laughed, unable to resist teasing the crap out of him.
Blood rushed to Puck's face, turning him an interesting shade of red as his wings fluttered. "That's not fair," he said. "How do you expect me to react?" Because Sabrina was.... wow.
"Well I've thought about a boy reacting to seeing me naked before," she paused mid-giggle. "But I never imagined he'd have wings popping out without permission!"
Puck's blush didn't let up, and he finished undoing his pants, pushing the jeans off of his hips - it left him clad only in boxers. "Want me to put them away?"
"It'd probably be..." Her laughter left completely when she realized he was undressing, and she went right back to awkward and embarrassed. "More comfortable..."
She hurried to the bed and dove under the blankets. "Just join me when you're done, then I'll look."
Puck's confidence found itself returning, and he smirked slightly. When he was done, he walked over to the bed and drew back the blankets, sliding in beside her. "Okay," he said, looking at her. "I'm done."
Slowly, she turned to look at him. Without any warning, she lifted the blankets completely and looked at him head to toe. Her cheeks were bright red.
Puck's smirk turned into a slow smile as he watched her. "Like what you see?" he asked, his voice quieter than normal. This was new territory for him just as much for her.
"How can you be smirking?" she laughed shakily, putting the blanket back. "And what do you mean, like what I see? You dork..."
She leaned in and kissed him before he could answer, figuring if anything could make her comfortable, that would. At the same time, one of her soft hands found his chest, the palm flat against the muscles there. He wasn't exactly buff or muscled, but it was more muscle than had been there a few years back.
Puck wrapped his arms around her, smoothing his hand over her hip and pulling her close. It was impossible not to notice that they were both completely naked when he held her that way, but he tried not to let it distract him or make him even more nervous. She felt soft and fragile in his arms, and he pulled her closer, closing his eyes and letting himself fall into the kiss. It wasn't hard. Kissing Sabrina was still one of his favorite things to do, and that was never going to change. Not so long as she loved him the way he loved her.
When the kiss broke, Sabrina was feeling a lot more at ease, and she put a bit of pressure on his chest to halt him. "Hey," she whispered. "Are you scared?"
"Who, me?" Puck asked in typical Puck tone...and then his expression became hesitant. "Yeah," he confessed. "A little."
She swallowed, then smiled slowly at him. "Me too," she confessed right back, letting him know she was just as nervous as he was.
He brought his hand up to rest on top of hers, and then lightly ran his thumb over her knuckles. "We've got all night," he said.
"Yeah... No rush, no pressure," Sabrina grinned, turning her hand in his to squeeze it. "Love ya, fairyboy." She let go of his hand then, smoothing it over his shoulder and then snuggling closer, bringing her face close to his and rubbing one of her ankles against his in an almost teasing manner.
"Love you, too, Grimm," Puck murmured, leaning in for another kiss and tucking her back into his arms where she belonged. He kissed her sweetly and slowly, eyes closed and heart pounding. He didn't want to rush her or scare her—and most of all, he didn't want to hurt her. So he took it slow. One step at a time.
The first thing Sabrina noticed in the morning was that her body felt a little sore. Other than that, she was incredibly relaxed and happy.
Without disturbing the sleeping fairy next to her, she slid out of bed and found a robe, putting it on with a giddy little squeak when she felt how sensitive her skin was.
Finding the bathroom was a bit awkward, because walking was uncomfortable and she kept glancing back at Puck's sleeping face. Eventually though, she managed to get a shower and get dressed, heading to the kitchen to make breakfast before Puck woke up. The experience had been...
Well, it hadn't been perfect--there had been moments of awkwardness, and moments of pain. But all in all, it had been a wonderfully emotional experience that had made them closer. She'd even cried a little.
Now she felt completely comfortable and relieved, and any thoughts of what Bluebeard might have done to her were completely pushed from her mind. She had Puck, she would have him until she died, and that was all she needed.
Puck was a naturally heavy sleeper. When he was lying in a warm bed on a comfortable pillow with soft blankets, it was near impossible to wake him up. Sometimes it was more difficult than waking up Daphne.
But the smell of food wafting in from the kitchen was enough to rouse him from his sleep, and he sat up in bed and gave a large stretch. A glance to his side to confirm that Sabrina was, in fact, not in bed and was making breakfast brought a grin to his face.
He pushed back the blankets and tugged on a pair of sweatpants, emerging from the bedroom a moment later and following his nose to Sabrina and breakfast.
Sabrina was humming to herself in the kitchen, trying to get the hang of flipping eggs without a spatula. Jake had tried to show her once, but she couldn't get her wrist to do it right, so while the bacon and toast was fine, the eggs were a bit sad-looking. Either way, it smelled delicious, and she didn't notice Puck, preparing to flip the next batch of over-easy eggs.
Puck couldn't keep himself from near-drooling as he walked into the kitchen and stared hungrily at the breakfast. He didn't care if the eggs looked sad, not when they smelled that good.
But he still needed to say something. "Those eggs look like they need cheering up," he said from the doorway to the kitchen, looking at the frying pan with a grin.
"EEK!" Sabrina had moved to flip the eggs when he'd spoken, but his voice had startled her, making her fling them up way too high. When they landed in the skillet, the yolks burst, and some of it splattered on the stove. "..."
Puck sweat-dropped, not sure if he should laugh or not. "Um...oops?" he asked, looking at her warily.
Sabrina looked over at him blankly, then started laughing. "Ass. Don't sneak up on me like that!"
At her laughter, he grinned. "I didn't do it on purpose this time," he said, crossing the room and standing next to her.
"That's the only reason I'm not going to kill you," she joked, scraping the eggs onto the plate she'd been keeping the cooked ones on.
"You mean it doesn't have anything to do with how awesome I was last night?" Puck asked with a grin. He leaned in and brushed his lips against her cheek.
"You're not gonna make jokes about rocking my world now, are you?" she asked, grinning at him with a hint of wary suspicion.
Puck blinked, and then looked disappointed. "You mean I can't?" he asked. "Aw, man, I'm going to need new material."
She rolled her eyes. "Wait 'til you actually rock my world before you crack jokes about it," she teased. "Besides. Aunt Briar told me it gets better over time."
At that his eyes lit up. "Better?" he asked with a broad grin.
Sabrina laughed and turned the stove off. "I know, right? So gimme a break. We can try again later, when I'm not feeling sore, unless you make stupid jokes."
"I'll put the jokes on hold then," Puck said. He put his hands on her waist and kissed her temple. His voice dropped to a murmur. "You okay?"
The joking grin left her eyes, replaced with a shy look that meant his concern had made her feel nice. "Yeah. Just sore. Aunt Briar and mom promised that goes away too. Then I told them they were grossing me out, so that's all the knowledge I have left from real people."
Puck grinned. "Then we'll just have to figure the rest of it out on our own," he said. "But first, breakfast. I'm starved."
"Yes, oh great one of the bottomless pit," she said, rolling her eyes. "Sit down, I'll serve it."f
She had no intention of being the kind to wait on someone hand and foot, but while they were on vacation, since he was being sweet and not even thinking about any kind of pranks (not to mention he'd gotten her some nifty free stuff with his influence) she had been treating him more like a king.
Puck grinned, doing as she said and watching her as she got the food ready to serve. "I could get used to this," he said in a teasing tone.
"Yeah? Well don't," she said with a grin, bringing the plates over. She brought orange juice and sprite to the table too, wanting some carbonation first thing in the morning.
"You mean you aren't going to make this habit?" Puck teased. "I better relish it while I can."
"You do that," she teased, sitting down. She winced sharply, then stood back up and went to the cabinet near the bathroom. She came back with some aspirin, making no comment as she took them with her orange juice.
Puck looked at her and opened his mouth to ask if she was okay - then closed it, realizing it was a useless question. She'd be okay, she was just sore, like she said.
He flushed a little because he could recall perfectly why she was sore. "Thanks for cooking," he said honestly, picking up his fork.
"You'd poison us both," she joked, messing with her eggs and toast. "So, what's on the agenda for today? We ever gonna call Mustardseed and hang out?"
Puck shoved a forkful of eggs into his mouth, chewed, and swallowed. He was getting better with table manners. "I guess we probably should," he said. "He'll give me grief if we don't see him, at least."
"Then again, the longer we put it off, the longer you have me to yourself," she pointed out, blushing. She was really enjoying the time alone.
He looked at her, and his eyes gleamed as a slow smile spread across his face. "I'm liking that option much better," he said. "We could always stay in today."
She grinned back at him, a playful glint in her eyes.
"Okay, we call him tonight," Sabrina said, one of her many statements about visiting Mustardseed. Like all the others, she doubted they would remember.
They only had a few days left on their trip--despite everything, they had ended up staying in for the next three days without calling anyone after eating breakfast. They were out of groceries and out of... other supplies.
She pulled a shirt on, yawning and not even checking to see whose it was. Her stomach was growling loudly at the fact that it was well past noon and they hadn't eaten a thing.
Puck tried to suppress his grin when he saw that the shirt she'd put on was his. "Do you think we should write it down this time?" he joked. "Then again, we tried that...and didn't find the note until the next day."
"I don't even wanna talk about that," she laughed in embarrassment, yawning. "Man... I'm so tired. I don't even want to go shopping today, but we're out of like everything."
Puck nodded. "And my stomach isn't going to be happy if it misses a meal," he said. "Let's go get breakfast out, and then we can go grocery shopping."
"Sure," Sabrina murmured, looking like the last thing she wanted to do was go outside and do... well, anything. She wanted to shower and sleep.
Puck looked at her for a moment, and then rose from the bed. "Or," he said, "you get some rest, and I'll take care of the shopping and get some food."
"Huh?" Sabrina turned to look at him, a little uncertain. "Are you sure you don't mind?"
"Nah," Puck said with a shrug of his shoulders. "I mean, you've been cooking most of the meals for the last few days, and you look like you're exhausted. I don't want to be pulling you out of the way of taxis." He leaned down and kissed her lightly. "Relax. I'll handle it."
She grinned, trying not to openly swoon at him. "Right, cause if I get hit by a taxi, no car for me. Thanks Puck... This is really sweet of you."
He grinned. "Hey, I gotta be sweet sometimes, right? It's in the boyfriend manual or something... do you want me to pick something already made up on my way back?"
"Hm..." Sabrina looked thoughtful. "Krispy Kreme Donuts. Those are freaking tasty."
She kissed him again, then yawned and pulled back. "I'll go take a shower and get some sleep while I wait. You're the best, Puck."
"I know," Puck said with a grin, then headed out before she could try to smack him for the cocky response. There were places to get food right in the area, so it wasn't like he'd have to go far.
Laughing softly, Sabrina got out of bed, heading for the bathroom to take a nice, hot shower.
Puck pushed open the door, staggering a little under the weight of the bags that he was carrying, with the donut box perched precariously on top of it all.
"Phew," he said when he successfully managed to get everything to the kitchen without dropping any of it. He set the donuts down on the counter. "Hey, Sabrina, I'm back!" he called.
When there wasn't an answer, he headed for the bedroom. She was probably taking a nap or something - she'd been exhausted, after all. Hopefully a sugar rush would help - he'd gotten several of her favorite donuts.
But opening the bedroom door did nothing but reveal an empty bed. Likewise a look in the bathroom showed the shower empty.
And the condo wasn't that big. If she wasn't in bed, and she wasn't in the shower, then theoretically she should have answered his call.
He stood in the middle of the living room after checking every room - closet included - and stared at the turned off TV. It didn't make sense that Sabrina wasn't there. All of her things were. And there was no note.
A knot twisted in his stomach. They'd been through too much for him to just shrug this off and figure that she'd stepped out for a moment. She wouldn't have done that without leaving a note.
He threw open the balcony doors and pressed his fingers against the bracelet, triggering the silk and extending his wings.
Sabrina stirred, feeling like she hadn't stretched in hours. Which was odd--the bed was usually very comfy, and she didn't feel like she'd gotten any rest.
'What's that sound?' she thought, groaning and turning a bit. Her body refused to turn, so only her head made the movement. There was a low chanting sound, and the voice was feeble, yet annoying.
'Latin?' She opened her eyes, but everything was blurry. The sound of the foreign chanting mixed with a desperate plea--a male voice. It sounded like Puck, but it wasn't him...
"Wha..." She opened her eyes fully, realizing immediately why she wasn't comfortable. Instead of the soft bed where she had been sleeping for over a week, she lay on a hard wooden table, her hands bound near the top and her feet bound at the other end. She couldn't really move at all.
And the Latin chanting? She saw the source right next to her, in the form of a ragged-looking Moth, who kept her sneer focused on a large spell book she gripped in both hands, almost hugging it to her chest.
The protesting came from farther away, where nameless guards were holding back a disheveled Mustardseed, and near him, Titania watched the exchange with an impassive expression, as if she were bored.
"What the..." Sabrina trailed off. And her next thought was pure and simple. 'Well, crap. I think this means I'm not getting a car.'
Mustardseed strained against the grip of the guards holding him. "Unhand me!" he said angrily, glaring at them. Then he turned his head towards Titania. "Mother! What are you doing? That's Sabrina on that table!"
His tone and his expression were enough to show that he had no clue what was happening, no more than Sabrina did. He'd seen Titania bringing Sabrina in, and it had triggered alarms in him - but no matter what he did or said, he couldn't get his mother to tell him what was going on. He just knew it couldn't be good - not with Moth there.
"Silence," Titania said without even sparing a glance at her son. "It will all be over soon."
"Are you kidding me?" Sabrina asked, struggling to free her arms. "Tell me you're not trying to kill me. Can't it wait like a year? I'm not going to get a new car!"
"A car is the least of your problems," Titania said simply, having no idea what Sabrina was babbling about. "And I'm done waiting."
"Waiting for what?" Mustardseed demanded. "Mother, she's Puck's girlfriend! What do you think he's going to say when he finds out about this? Or do?"
"Puck is young," Titania said, shaking her head. "She is mortal. She will die one day, if not today, then perhaps in a month. A year. In ten years. Time matters not to our kind. He will move on."
"What the crap?" Sabrina glared at Titania now. "He is not moving on from me. And..." She suddenly trailed off. "You do know he's aging, right?" she demanded.
"Puck? Aging?" Titania laughed. "Don't lie to me to try and spare yourself, child."
"Mother, she's not lying," Mustardseed said with a shake of his head. Puck might not keep their mother in the loop, but Mustardseed had learned about it while keeping in touch with his brother. "He told me himself when he wrote to me."
"Nothing would make Puck age," Titania said, before Moth broke her concentration to say it. "He is content how he is."
"Was," Sabrina said. "Look, just untie me and talk for like five minutes--I'll bring him here, we can sort this out!"
"As I said, I am done waiting. I do not care if Puck has found an infatuation--a puppy love. He will move on from your death in time," Titania said, shaking her head. "But I have grown impatient."
"Impatient with what?" Sabrina demanded, irritated to no end that Titania wasn't taking Puck's feelings for her seriously.
"With waiting for someone to fall in love with Mustardseed so that I might drain their life to bring back my husband," Titania said simply.
Mustardseed stared at Titania. For a moment he thought she'd gone insane...except, no, that really did sound like something she'd say.
"That's...that's why you've been having all of those balls?" he asked in disbelief. "You've been trying to find a way to bring back Father?"
Titania gave a very soft snort. "I don't expect you to understand, nor do I care if you do. I am bringing back my husband whether or not you approve."
"Insane," Sabrina whispered. She craned her head to look at her wrists, moving her left hand to grip her bracelet--when she suddenly gasped. The glimmering cord was pulled tight, already activated.
"Okay instead of waiting while I get Puck, just wait like two more minutes and he'll-" She broke off with a pained intake of breath as the first jolt of the spell seemed to hit her.
Mustardseed felt the magic growing stronger in the air, and again he tried to yank away from the guards. "Stop!" he shouted. He couldn't believe it had come to this. Never had he thought his mother would go so far...he hadn't even thought that such a thing were possible! Bring Oberon back from the dead? Resurrect him? At the cost of Sabrina's life?
He thought back to all the letters Puck had sent him, talking about Sabrina. It would kill his brother to lose her.
Sabrina caught her breath, then shuddered. "Puck is on his way here..." she said, feeling sick to her stomach. "See for yourself, he's the same age I am..."
Titania shook her head, sighing. She had no time for lies.
"You're going to really hurt him--don't you care?" Sabrina demanded.
"He will move on," Titania said again. "Though I do expect he'll sulk and hold a grudge for a century or so."
"You're wrong, Mother," Mustardseed said, trying desperately to change Titania's mind. "Puck's changed. He cares for her, he cares for her deeply! You'll destroy him if you hurt her!"
"You children... Everything is the end of the world to you," she shook her head at him. "You'll understand one day, what it means... What it feels like to be destroyed."
Her eyes blazed as she watched the next jolt hit Sabrina. Moth's chanting got higher pitched, as she felt the change. A light aura began to drain off of Sabrina, forming a shape near the table.
Sabrina gasped again in pain, eyes desperately going to her bracelet. 'Puck,' she thought. 'Puck your mother's lost her mind, hurry!'She knew that only seeing Puck as proof would make the other woman open her eyes--but she had a bad feeling that Puck was going to be too late.
She was so not getting a new car...
"Mother, stop!" Mustardseed shouted. For all Titania knew, Moth was doing something completely different that wouldn't bring Oberon back at all. The shape could be a trick.
And even if it wasn't... trading Sabrina's life for Oberon's?
Mustardseed felt like he was going to be sick, and the worst part of it was that he was right there and could do nothing.
"It is a shame that it had to be you, child," Titania said quietly, seeing Sabrina look over at them. "But it cannot be avoided."
Sabrina wasn't sure what was crazier--that she was about to die to bring back Oberon, or that she understood Titania's intentions. It wasn't that Titania necessarily hated her--the woman honestly didn't see Puck suffering over her death, that was all. And she clearly loved her husband--even if Sabrina didn't understand their love. It was... Kind of sweet.
The next jolt of pain put her back in the 'Titania is a psycho bitch' mindset, and she cried out. She tried to yank her wrist to the side, trying to pull the silk tigfr for Puck to know to hurry. He had promised her that nothing bad would happen... So of course, it meant something bad had to happen, didn't it? She wasn't really mad about it, just panicked. But a moment later her vision had completely blurred, and the next shock pulled the last scream from her throat. She didn't even hear the door slam open opposite Titania and Mustardseed.
Mustardseed's head snapped up, and his eyes widened - he recognized the teen standing in the doorway, but if he hadn't had prior warning he would have been stunned. He knew Puck had gotten older. He just hadn't seen him physically since then.
"SABRINA!" Puck shouted, his voice echoing in the room as took in the sight in front of him in about three seconds. He didn't know what the hell was going on, he only knew that he had to get to Sabrina, and he rushed to her without another thought.
By the time Puck reached Sabrina, the ghostly form had already taken shape, and she was no longer breathing. The ring slid off her finger, hand limp over the side of the table. It hit the ground and shattered, one of the wings breaking off.
Had it not been for Oberon in the room, Titania might have noticed her eldest son, and his appearance. But she didn't even look at him, eyes fixated on her husband while Moth backed away, looking even more mousey than before.
Oberon slowly opened his eyes, standing next to the table. For a moment he appeared disoriented, as though he couldn't figure out where he was or what he was doing.
When his eyes focused, his gaze searching the room until it landed on his wife.
Just as Titania didn't notice Puck, Puck noticed nothing else but Sabrina. He seized her shoulders, staring down at her. "Sabrina?" he said. "Sabrina!"
Titania moved down the steps and fully into the room, walking up to Oberon. "Amazing," she said, surveying him. "It worked perfectly."
"I-I said it would," Moth said quickly.
Titania ignored her, as well as Puck.
Oberon stared down at his wife, and then raised his hand to lightly touched her cheek. "Titania...?" he asked, a questioning tone in his voice. "What...has happened?"
At the sound of his father's voice, Puck froze suddenly. Slowly he looked up from Sabrina's still body.
Titania smirked, as if thinking him foolish for ever doubting her resolve to keep him with her. "I've brought you back, husband. It's been years since you were murdered, but that doesn't matter now."
"Years?" For Oberon, it felt like almost no time at all had gone by. Had it truly been years? She looked no different, but then again, she wouldn't.
"Four years, to be exact," Titania said, reaching up to cup his cheek. "Welcome home."
A confident smile crossed Oberon's face, and he drew his wife closer.
"What have you done?" Puck hissed, his voice causing Oberon to pause.
Titania glanced towards Puck, to tell him to be quiet, but something made her pause.
The Puck she knew was an unruly and smelly young eleven-year old boy in a filthy green hoodie. This Puck not only stood as tall as his brother, but his clothes were clean, and though he still wore a hoodie, this one looked newer, and much more... fresh.
His voice was deeper too--and come to think of it, the age he appeared was near the age Sabrina Grimm had been. 'Odd...' she thought, raising her eyebrow.
Oberon slowly looked over towards Puck, and found himself staring at a boy that he hardly recognized. If not for his eyes, he might not even have known that this boy was his son.
Puck wasn't a child anymore. And he was looking at his parents with fury in his eyes.
"What. Have. You. Done?" Puck repeated, each word jumping out of his mouth.
Titania waved a hand dismissively. There was a perfectly good explanation for Puck's appearance... It just couldn't be the obvious one. "Don't fret," she said with a shrug. "She was mortal anyway. There's no way the two of you could have stayed together--you're not mortal."
Mustardseed could see in an instant that her words were the wrong ones to use.
"Don't you tell me not to fret!" Puck exploded, wings extended fully to either side. Even his wings looked like they'd gotten older. "You know nothing about us! You know nothing about what we've been through - no matter how many years went by, I would never leave her! Can you even begin to understand that?"
Oberon's reprimand came swiftly. "Do not speak to your mother that way," he said fiercely.
"Shut up," Puck said furiously. "Just shut up!"
"It's quite alright," Titania said, shaking her head at Oberon. "I expected him to throw a tantrum. The spell required a sacrifice of life, and the sacrifice had to be in love with someone in your bloodline. I tried many times to get a girl to fall in love with Mustardseed, but unfortunately, none of them loved him, and I no longer had the patience to wait. The worst part is that it happened to be Sabrina Grimm, and Veronica Grimm will not be pleased either."
Moth shrank back a bit more--she'd never seen Puck so furious! Even when she'd poisoned Sabrina, he'd seemed playfully annoyed. What had happened to change him...?
Puck trembled at Titania's words, clenching his fists tightly. That was the worst part? That Veronica wouldn't be pleased?
Oberon processed this, looking at his wife thoughtfully. "I see," he said. He looked at the girl lying still on the table. "I wouldn't have expected it to turn out quite in this manner." He remembered Sabrina, briefly - and since he had never seen the girl with Puck, he'd never thought that the two of them might have any sort of relationship forming.
Then there was the fact that Puck had aged himself. That in and of itself was surprising.
"Well, if it hadn't been for her finding the spell, I would have ended your betrayer's life long ago," Titania shook her head. She had never been a very patient woman. "As is, I will leave her fate to you."
She motioned to Moth, who tensed at Titania's words.
Oberon slowly turned to look towards Moth, his expression going cold. "Oh, yes," he said in a tone of voice that indicated that you did not want to be on this man's bad side. "My little traitor."
It was thanks to Titania that he knew who his murderer was. When he'd spoken to his wife for the last time he had asked her who had killed him - and she had told him, withholding nothing. It was a knowledge that he'd kept with him in the afterlife - never expecting that he'd have the chance to come face to face with Moth herself.
"Despite the fact that without me, you would have had nothing, you still had the gall to plot and carry out my murder," Oberon said coldly. "A grave mistake, Moth."
"But I assisted in bringing you back!" Moth's voice was shrill again. "I have paid for my mistake!"
Titania smirked coldly. She had never intended for Moth to be freed--she had been useful for a short time, but anyone who dare harm her family would never be forgiven.
"You think that resurrecting me is penance enough for what you did?" Oberon asked. "When if not for you I would not have needed resurrection in the first place?" He tilted his head, sneering down at her. "The sight of you sickens me."
"But..." Moth looked frantically to Mustardseed or Puck for help. She had repented for her crimes, and aided Titania, so why were they still going to punish her?
Puck didn't look at Moth. He wasn't looking at anyone but Sabrina now.
Mustardseed, however, had some words of his own when Moth looked towards him. "You don't get it, do you?" he asked. "You're a murderer, Moth."
Moth stared at him in disbelief--and then her disbelief turned to rage. She shouldn't have been guilty! Everything she'd done, she'd done it to ensure she had a future in Faerie--and if it hadn't been for Sabrina Grimm...
"Fine," Moth hissed. "Have it your way."
She gripped the book harder in her hands, chanting before anyone could stop her.
The book caught fire, burning any counter-spells or possible ways to bring Sabrina back. She knew from what she had witnessed that it would hurt them all. It would hurt Puck the most, but though Titania was temporarily blinded by her love for Oberon, she would soon realize that Puck would never forgive her for the loss of Sabrina. It was the perfect revenge on them--or at least the only one Moth was capable of doing.
Mustardseed's eyes widened when he saw the flames burst forth from the book in her arms.
In an instant Puck's head snapped up. "No!" he shouted, lunging for Moth and the book as he realized what she was doing. He didn't know exactly what the book contained, but if Moth were burning it then there was a good chance that something important was inside of it.
Moth dropped the book and ran for the door--though she had no magic, reading from the spell book had been easy and taught her a few tricks. She had no hope of making it out alive, but the door she was running towards was the one Mustardseed was closest to--maybe she could take him out on the way down?
Titania watched her with a bored look, then glanced to her husband and smirked, knowing he would dispose of Moth easily. Oberon extended his arm - and a bolt of green light exploded from his fingertips, arcing through the air and slamming into Moth from behind when she was only a foot from Mustardseed and the door.
The light enveloped her - and when it vanished, there wasn't a trace of the girl left.
Titania shook her head. "Children," she sighed in exasperation. "Pathetic. And how annoying--that was the last spell book we had of its kind."
"The last spell book," Puck repeated. He stared at the charred remains of the book, and then turned to look at Oberon and Titania, his face pale. "Are you serious?"
"It's not like it would have been useful in bringing a mortal back to life," Titania said, glancing to Sabrina with a shrug. The diamond ring on her limp finger glittered from the remains of the green light that had destroyed Moth.
She turned back to Puck. "And she fulfilled her purpose in bringing Oberon back, so I don't care that she and the book were both destroyed. She was simply annoying to the end. That's all."
"You don't get it, do you?" Puck asked - and Mustardseed couldn't help but notice that the cold tone Puck used was exactly the same tone that Oberon had used with Moth. Puck clenched his fists, moving back to Sabrina's side. He reached for her hand, grasping it, and looked at his mother.
"You took the girl I love away from me," he hissed. "I will never forgive you for what you've done."
"You say that now," Titania said, dismissively waving her hand. The bindings that had held Sabrina down were gone now. "But in time, you'll realize this was for the best."
"How can it be for the best?" Puck shouted, his voice filling the room.
Oberon placed his arm around Titania's shoulders. He was prepared to dismiss Puck's words as here ramblings, but the next thing that Puck said took even him off guard.
"I love her," Puck managed, his voice suddenly sounding tight.
"I'm sure you feel strongly for her," Titania said, unfazed. She knew Oberon would probably be feeling shocked--after all, he spent little time around Puck, and knew the least about the boy. But still, she hadn't expected Puck to yell at them both for so long. Especially not at Oberon. She nodded to her guards to release Mustardseed, no longer worried that he would get in the way.
Puck's eyes flashed. "You have no idea how I feel about her," he said angrily. "Neither of you do, if you can just stand there so calmly."
"You have no right to speak to either of us that way, Puck," Oberon said, his tone tinged with anger. He couldn't believe this was Puck speaking this way to the two of them. If Puck had always been like this, Oberon doubted he would have banished him - he'd never seen him so serious about anything before.
Puck looked down at Sabrina, biting back the snarling retort that he wanted to throw in his father's face. He placed his hand against Sabrina's cheek, his eyes glistening with tears that he was trying to hold back. She almost looked like she was just sleeping...
Ignoring his parents, he gathered Sabrina into his arms, pulling her into a sitting position and holding her upper body to his chest. He closed his eyes, pressing his face against her hair.
How could this have happened? He'd promised her that they'd have a peaceful vacation...no danger, no deaths... just the two of them. After everything they had overcome, how could it be ending now? This was only supposed to be the beginning. How could she be gone?
Titania frowned, finally taking into account the way her son cradled the empty mortal shell that had once been Sabrina Grimm. There was no way in her mind that Puck could be in love with Sabrina Grimm the way she loved Oberon. It didn't make sense.
And... There was no way that could be true, because if it was, then she really had just destroyed her son's happiness.
Sabrina was completely unresponsive to Puck, but unlike the time Jeremy and Klarissa had stolen her aura, and her soul, there was nothing Oberon could give back that would bring her back to life. She was simply gone.
"Talk some sense into your brother, Mustardseed," Titania said sharply, her words stinging due to her uneasy feeling. Mustardseed had always been the more mature and reasonable one. At least, he had been in the past...
"Why?" Mustardseed asked quietly. "I think he's making the most sense out of everyone in this room."
He looked at his mother and his father. "I know how badly you wanted Father back, Mother," he said, addressing Titania first, "but what makes you think that the way you love Father is any different from the way Puck feels? I mean, think about it. The terms of that spell were that you had to use a girl who loved one of your sons."
He glanced from Titania to Oberon. "Didn't you think at all that if Sabrina loved Puck enough for the spell to work, that Puck might love her back just as much?"
Oberon was silent for a moment, and he glanced over at Puck. Puck's mouth was moving, but he was speaking too quietly for anyone to hear what he was saying. But the look on his face...it was as if he were apologizing to the girl he held in his arms.
"Puck's grown up," Mustardseed added quietly. "He's not a child anymore."
"How long...has he been aging?" Oberon asked quietly.
"Since almost right after he decided to return to Ferryport Landing instead of staying here in the city," Mustardseed replied.
Titania opened her mouth to say that Puck was a child--that one day he'd understand. That he'd move on and get over the dead girl in his arms.
But before she could get any of the words to come out, she shut her mouth. Her expression turned confused and displeased. She didn't like seeing Puck's pain--and it was clear he was in a lot of pain in that moment.
She looked up at Oberon--if even Oberon could believe it, knowing how Oberon felt about--well, everything in general...
Oberon looked down at his wife, and he looked slightly uncomfortable. If Puck had been aging since returning to Ferryport Landing, then it was entirely logical that he had chosen to age himself because of the girl.
Which meant that Puck had willingly given up his eternal childhood for this mortal female.
"I fear that we've underestimated our son," Oberon said quietly to Titania.
Titania looked even more uncomfortable now. If Puck had stuck around long enough--if she had seen him age, she would have explained to him how to give Sabrina a piece of his magic. Technically speaking, it was like splitting his immortality. Very few Fae could pull it off, but Puck was from a strong bloodline. There were ways around letting a mortal age and die, if the mortal was compatible with magic.
Had she thought Puck would seriously fall in love with a mortal, she would have explained him the process. Then again, Sabrina was notoriously addicted to magic, and the chances of her being able to handle the transition to turn Fae were slim. And Puck didn't have the power to take her addiction from her... So all in all, they wouldn't have had forever together.
Still... They would have had a little more time... And given how many years Titania had already had Oberon, the gravity of the situation just made her feel worse. She didn't regret having to kill to bring Oberon back--but her selfish actions had been too hasty, and she was beginning to realize that.
"Mother," Mustardseed said softly, looking at Titania imploringly. "Was that really the only book left that could hold a spell that could help?"
"I wasn't even aware that such a book still existed," Oberon said quietly. If Titania said that the book had been the last, he was inclined to believe her.
He looked at Puck and Sabrina. Bringing back the dead...he was powerful, but he didn't have that sort of power in him. Even he hadn't been simply resurrected - Sabrina's life had been exchanged for his.
He tightened his arm around Titania's shoulders, holding her closer.
"The only thing that could have saved her would have been if she had received a piece of Puck's immortality," Titania said, shaking her head. "But with her magic addiction, she wouldn't have been able to handle a transition to become one of us. Puck would not have been able to take her addiction, and so..." She paused, looking to the ring on Sabrina's ring finger. An odd look crossed her face.
Oberon frowned slightly. "What is it, my love?" he asked, following her gaze to the ring on Sabrina's finger. It was quite a lovely and unique ring, but he wasn't sure why hifs wife was staring at it the way that she was.
"I thought that ring broke," Titania said. It had been one of the few things she had noticed around the time Sabrina had died. "But now it's whole."
"Huh?" Mustardseed looked confused. He vaguely recalled hearing the sound of something breaking, but he hadn't noticed what it was at the time.
Finally Puck lifted his head, and stared at his mother. "What are you talking about?" he asked.
"Where did she get that ring?" Titania asked calmly. "It looks like one of Irene's creations."
Puck glanced at the ring, and then back to Titania. "Yeah," he said. "We were at her store - she let us pick out a ring for free. You know, since I was King of Faerie and everything." There was a definite tightness to his voice, and Oberon couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at that.
Titania studied the ring for a moment--and something about it made her eyes widen. Then she looked to Puck. "Did you put that ring on her finger?"
"What, at the store?" Puck frowned. "Yeah. It only fit on one of her fingers, too." He tightened his arms around Sabrina's body - it hurt to think of that moment.
"What are you thinking?" Oberon asked Titania, tilting his head to one side.
Titania chuckled. No wonder Puck had gone from mourning to snapping at them so quickly. "I wasn't aware he had given her a piece of his magic already. No doubt she's been undergoing the transition from mortal to Fae for quite some time--months now. He was never really worried about her," she shook her head.
Puck stared at Titania as if she had just, somehow, gotten even more insane than she already made people think she was.
"What," he said slowly, "the hell are you talking about?"
"Watch your mouth," Titania said coldly. "Especially if you have nothing to worry about. Even now, magic swirls within the ring you gave her, and the protection spells within it will kick in. To think, you had me feeling guilty."
"What magic?" Puck asked, staring at his mother, and then down at Sabrina. "What protection spells?"
Oberon couldn't help but chuckle. "It seems he hasn't got a clue what you're talking about, my dear," he said, watching Puck look from Sabrina's face to her ring and back again.
"...I don't think I know, either," Mustardseed said, looking a little dazed now.
"It's impossible to share your immortality with someone on accident, Puck," Titania said in a voice that clearly stated she was getting impatient. "But I don't understand why her addiction hasn't made it harder."
The ring pulsed once.
"Look, Mom," Puck said, sounding agitated and confused all at once, "I really didn't do..." He cut himself off, staring at the pulsing ring. "...."
"Don't be coy," Titania snapped. "Would you like me to explain what that ring is doing?"
It pulsed again--syncing to a heartbeat.
"Explaining would be really good," Puck said, his eyes widening as he stared at the ring and felt its pulse.
"When a strong Fae like yourself splits their immortality, it's a no-take-back situation," Titania said calmly. "Magic means of taking away life don't work the same way on us--especially not when there are protection wards. I had to strip every girl from Faerie who I thought might love Mustardseed of her powers before trying to use her for the spell. I took no such precaution with Sabrina Grimm--I suppose it's a good thing the spell worked anyway. In any case, when you give them a symbol of love while they're undergoing the transformation, it might store types of protection spells, built on promises or emotions made and experienced while in close proximity of the giver and receiver. Meaning the ring will most likely revive her because you have split your immortality with her. It's not something one does... More than once."
Her eyes flickered to Sabrina. "And it must have been you who did it--the magic is identical to your own. And strong--it must be the same magic you used to allow yourself to leave the barrier. What I want to know, is how you stifled her addiction so well," Titania trailed off thoughtfully.
"......." Puck's eyes were slowly widening. "I don't believe it," he said. "That crazy bastard... he didn't say a word!" He couldn't stop the grin from breaking out on his face as he realized just precisely who it had been who had split their magic with Sabrina the way that Titania had just described.
"Who's the crazy one?" Mustardseed couldn't help but ask, staring at his brother.
Titania blinked. "Puck? Dear? Are you quite sane?" she couldn't help but ask.
"Doesn't look that way to me," Oberon muttered under his breath.
Puck couldn't stop grinning. "Oh, I'm sane," he said, looking down at Sabrina. "So how long is this supposed to take to work?"
"It depends," Titania shrugged. "But it shouldn't be long now.
Puck looked back at Sabrina, kissing her forehead and hugging her close. The horror and guilt, and most of all pain of losing her, were all gone now. Knowing what his future self had done for them both, and that Sabrina would be immortal like him… It was a good feeling.
Everything felt cold.
There was no pain, and no discomfort—but it was cold, almost numbing. She had no idea where she was, or how she'd gotten there.
"Where am I?" she murmured.
"He broke his promise."
"Huh?" She raised her head to look, but no one answered.
A warm, tingling feeling spread over her, holding her in comfort. It felt like magic, but without the desperate need to have more to keep her safe. It felt… Almost like the time a very nice looking man had kissed her. Without the confusion.
"You don't want more pain," the soothing voice came back, nuzzling against her ear a little. "Don't worry. When you wake up, it won't hurt anymore. No more broken promises, no more broken hearts."
Well, that sounded like a good idea to her. She huddled in the warmth, seeing a sparkling set of pink wings coming towards her, embracing her. Live without broken promises and without heartbreak? Okay. That sounded… Well, wonderful.
She opened her eyes, finding herself in a room full of strangers. The warmth kept her from panicking, protecting her from the memories that might end up causing her pain.
Sabrina's eyes fluttered open very slowly, her breathing even as she tried to figure out where she was and what was going on. She felt stiff and uncomfortable, with no real explanation as to why.
Titania smirked in triumph, glad that things had more or less fluked their way into an acceptable scenario--but the smirk faded when Sabrina Grimm looked right up at her eldest son and asked a question that made most everyone feel a little uneasy.
"Um...Who are you, and where am I?"
Good feeling gone. Puck stared at Sabrina in shock. He'd expected something different. He'd expected her to smile at him, to ask him what had taken him so long, or to throw her arms around him and kiss him - he liked that scenario in particular.
He hadn't expected her to look at him like he was a complete stranger.
"Sabrina?" Puck asked in confusion.
"How do you know my name?" She asked in confusion. She looked around the room and frowned at everyone. "What's going on in here? Where are my parents?"
Mustardseed looked at Puck with a silent 'You better calm her down' look.
"Your parents are back home - in Ferryport Landing," Puck said hurriedly. "You came to New York with me... we're on vacation."
"Ferryport...What?" Sabrina pulled away, confused to be tenderly embraced by him. "Look, I don't know who you think you are, but if you don't let me out of here right now, I'm calling the cops."
"Oh my," Titania looked amused again, though still a little wary. "It seems she has no memory of any of us."
Sky: Bwahahaha cliffhanger! Ish. But yes. Sabrina has amnesia. MWAHAHAHAHA.
Okay so, THANK YOU SO MUCH TO ALL THE REVIEWERS SINCE CHAPTER THIRTY (And sorry it's going to be another week before we post another chapter. Hang in there with us guys, we love you!): amethystdolphin, Dramaqueenruling, RainbowofSmiles16, Harmony352, fangfan5, Trickster Queen464, Sabrina Grimm, Lilyflower-314, ILoveGeorgeCooper, chemicalsilver, msjezzi-bella, curlscat, Lumiere Nordiques, Elena Forest, Blue-Eyed-Lily, gothicgall000, Grrrgirl1, grimmgirl, SweeneyToddLover26, Lyla Domae, DragonFly7312, iD Sisters Grimm iD, Laterose, emerald and onyx, BookLoverXgoogle, Amy, Viva-Musica, silent-entrance, Lara D, A CertainPeantuButterSandwich, HI, oneofyourbiggestfansLR, Tanglenight, KittyPryde90, exohh13, and –flying-dreaming-dancing-! ^^
And since you guys like the fun facts, I have some more for ya :D
Fun Fact #24364: I don't keep track of my numbers for the fun facts XD
Fun Fact #756: Glamour is really just a Faerie thing in general as far as I know. Or rather, magical dudes use it to appear human all the time in literature—I have not read Wicked Lovely XD But I'm sure they use it too, since it's a book about Fae.
Fun Fact #8: In the original version of this chapter, we killed Moth much faster.
Fun Fact #97646798674532: Yes, it was Future Puck who split his magic/immortality with Sabrina to start converting her. No, she does not realize this. Yes, she has lost most of her magic addiction.
Fun Fact #16: Ayns and I really do like Oberon and Titania. If you ever watch "The Gathering" episodes of the cartoon "Gargoyles", you'll see why X3
Fun Fact #968: I'm engaged, not married yet. But I'm going to go see him soon, so YAY! In any case, if you want to see the wedding ring, I have the pic up on my facebook, but I can photobucket link it for people. ^^
Fun Fact #999: Ayns tried to slip 'Cheesecake' into the title again.
Luvvies! R/R please, we could use some love.
P.S. Fixed the typos that got pointed out. Thank you, Lyla Domae :3 And yes everyone, I will eventually go fix the vertical issue with the treebed back in like... chapter 17. When I get to it XD
P.S.S.... For some reason, Chapter 31 got lost for a while. Trying to get it fixed completely, hopefully it's back up now.