Title: Keeping it Real
Coupling: Newt/Anathema, some Adam/Pepper
Rating: G
Notes: Welcome to the first Themfic on the net. XD;;;

Tomo Trillions
www.amberstone.net
knivesnomiko.pitas.com

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Prologue
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It was a beautiful, windy summer day of the English variety - not too hot, not too cold, and filled with massive white cumulus clouds that slowly swept by overhead, casting massive shadows across the streets and stunted trees. It was a lazy day, a Sunday, though sometimes in the summertime the days of the week ceased to matter as everything was slung together in one pleasant hum of lazy days and endless, short nights.

Anathema stood on her front porch leaning on the railing, chin cupped in one long-nailed hand. An apron was wrapped around her waist, her jeans were caked with dust - she had been gardening earlier, but had been distracted.

With a faint, thin frown, Anathema regarded the day thoughtfully, eyes tracing over the perfect clouds, the soft breeze, the dust stirring by the roadside - she was considering how picturesque it was, and how utterly quaint. It was.....eery.

Boring, yes, but a likable sort or boring, the boring that could be fallen into and enjoyed. "Just too perfect," she shook her head, auburn curls bouncing as the beauty of the moment confirmed her deepest suspicions. "It has to be him."

Yes, this summer day in Tadfield was perfect, as had been the day before, and the day before - in fact, the whole summer had seemed unnaturally long and sunny, with only a few spotty days of rain and an occasional thunderstorm, impressive in lightening and good for forming mud puddles, but it was always gone by morning.

Tadfield was untouchable. Nobody died. Nobody moved. The world circulated around it like rapids about a jutting boulder - it never sank, never moved, was never overcome by anything.

Anathema had tested the ley lines that morning, and was positive that she was correct. It was unnatural, this detachment. It didn't make sense.

Or rather, it did.

The more she considered her idea, the further Anathema convinced herself that she had to be correct. When she first arrived, Tadfield had felt like a delicious vacation - but no more than that. Her little Jasmine cottage, her dusty garden, it was all a momentary distraction as she followed the heirloom of her family - home for maybe six months before she would move on.

Six months had come and gone at least three times over.

Sure, now she had Newt, had a job at the town's one and only flower shop, yet.... why?

Why was she here, staying in Tadfield? Why not see the world? Her lover wouldn't mind, a change of pace would be good for him, they could visit old friends, make new ones... why not get a steady job elsewhere, now that she'd successfully played a hand in saving the world?

"Definitely him."

So she was here, living in a small English town, with a thin, scrawny man who she was beginning to love, despite herself. And it was perfect.

The Antichrist was her next door neighbor.

It could not be coincidence that her world was not changing, it could not be chance that held her here in Tadfield, away from the rush and gush of the social and political world.

Thoughtfully, Anathema wandered into the house, took a pad of paper by the phone and searched for a pen. She began to write, very carefully, very concisely, to herself.

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Anathema -

This is yourself writing, dear. It's three pm, July the third, a Sunday - I'm not sure what year.

I've had a revelation. Tadfield, despite the fact that Armageddon has passed by, is not a normal town any more than you are a normal woman. Think, Anathema. Make the connections, like your mother always told you to - how many perfect days have there been this summer? How many deaths, births? Why haven't you left, when you've always wanted to travel?

She paused, tapping the pen against her lips, then began again.

Tadfield doesn't change at all. I believe it's Adam, stretching and warping Tadfield like he did before the Armageddon - that's what attracted me to the place, but now I feel trapped - I became a part of his picture, and am no longer able to step away from it. I believe he's changing it to some purpose - I don't know what, but it's changing the ley lines along with the weather, and sometimes it feels like time itself is being distended as well. Has he gotten taller? Has Pepper changed? The Them? It's like Tadfield has been put into one long, perpetual loop of time.... years are going by, but they aren't counting up for anything. People remember the years, but somehow I'm the only one to sense the deja vu of it all - maybe because I'm familiar with his powers?

I'm going to confront him. I'm going to ask why he's changing things, show him the twisting of the lines - try to convince him to let whatever he's altered go - I'm going to tell him I'm leaving Tadfield, permanently, forever. Of course, if my theory is correct, he won't want me to leave. He won't let me change the perfect town he's created....and I won't remember writing this note to myself.

Believe me, think about it for yourself. You have to do something - nobody else will.

Forever -
Anathema

It seemed a bit silly, the last line, but she felt it was necessary - it made her heart rate slow a tad, that measure of self-confidence. After all, Anathema was about to go tell the one person capable of altering her most basic *self* exactly what he didn't want to hear.... Staying herself, Anathema, forever, might no longer be possible.

It was a scary thought.

The young woman swept her hair back in a loose ponytail, pulled on a pair of sandals, and stepped out into the breezy, perfect afternoon. Anathema Device, ready to sort out the worries of the world. "Somebody has to do it...."

She had to find Adam.

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Between Wensleydale, Pepper and Brian, Adam sat, Dog flopped across the dirt at his feet, mouthing an old, wet stick. The boy was brooding, and the Them knew it, as they lounged about the dusty remains of the quarry. The three exchanged glances over his head, concerned and yet knowing - they had seen this before, many times, it was almost routine. Adam was their leader, so they said nothing, waiting for him to ask them the inevitable question - he always did. It was just a matter of when.

Ten minutes or so passed, and Wensleydale began squirming on the upturned paint can he had chosen for a seat, Brian picked his nose, and Pepper piled dust around her fingers, making little hand prints in the sandy ground. Dog looked up, sniffed, and went back to his stick.

When the words came at last, Adam looked up and blinked in the warm light, peering at their faces one by one. "Do you think she should go?"

They all made a great show of thinking very hard. Brian scratched his chin. Wensleydale shuffled at the dust with one shoe. Dog gnawed, though in a thoughtful sort of way, turned his stick and lapped at it for another long moment. Pepper spoke first, wiping a bead of sweat from her freckled cheek and leaving a smudge of dirt behind. "I don't see why she should. Tadfield's very nice."

"Yeah, an' who would run the flower shop?" Brian agreed with her, adjusted his filthy baseball cap, and glanced back at Adam, who had fixed Wensleydale with a firm look.

"Well...." Wensleydale looked down through his spectacles. "I don't see why she couldn't leave for a bit and then maybe come back. Vacations are real nice and all, and grown-ups like them. But forever? I don't want her to leave forever."

"She's the only witch we've got," Brian added, for good measure.

"Right," Adam nodded firmly and the Them sighed a collective sigh of relief - his decision evidently made. "We need her."

Pepper and Wensleydale blinked at each other, and looked away - the Them knew that, if Adam decided it, Anathema would not go. They never questioned just how it happened - each wondered privately whether or not Adam changed things, or predicted things - but it didn't matter so much in the end. The fact was that things *did* end up how he wanted them.

They always did.

However, since the weird occurrences surrounding Adam's birthday several - (how long had it been?) - before, the Them had served as a sort of council for their leader. He asked questions, they tried to decide what answer would please him most, and spat it back. Arguments within the Them were not a rare thing, but to disagree with Adam...

"Anyway. What should we do this afternoon?"

"Why not swimming? We could look for frogs when it gets dark..."

"Good idea," Adam nodded, and it was decided.

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