Mercy's POV of Mother's Day in the Columbia Basin pack! Of course, there are a few surprises. I thought of it while signing my Moms card THANK YOU MOMMY!

This is UN-BETA'D so please forgive me for any mistakes :D I suck at editing my own stuff!



Mother's Day was a touchy subject for werewolves, so to make the females of the pack feel better I convinced Adam to have them over for a barbeque. It wasn't that hard—when I'd asked he'd agree full-heartedly—and by the time May 7th rolled around I was pulling a checkerboard cake out of the oven. I managed to whip up a few treats while Adam insisted on cooking the rest of the feast. Jesse had once said her father was a pretty good cook, so I was letting him prove her words today. 'Letting' being the key word—when I baked, no one entered my kitchen. Usually that rule only applied to when I was stressed, scared or worried, but today I was just looking forward to a good time with my pack.

It was still odd putting 'my' and 'pack' together, but in the past year since Adam and I had been married and the events with the river-monster were far in the past, I'd come to accept them full heartedly. Adam had even taught me how to control the floodgates in my head so I didn't drown like the first time I'd connected with them. Since then, it was nice feeling like I belonged. I couldn't help smiling at that thought—I belonged somewhere.

Bran had once told me I wasn't alone, and for the longest time I'd believed that he was pacifying me so he didn't have to deal with Sad-Mercy. I truly believed I didn't belong anywhere in the supernatural world, and that the last of my kind died with Old Joe Coyote. But I must have impressed fate somehow in all the turmoil I'd endured because on Adam and I's honeymoon I'd met a certain Coyote. I'm not going to go into the details because they're long and complicated, but the basics were this: he created Old Joe Coyote and existed within him as two souls in one. Like werewolves in a way, but not as one being. Old Joe Coyote could make decisions for himself—and that's how I was created—but when he died, Coyote came back into the spirit realm. If this isn't making even an inkling of sense, don't worry. It confuses the Hell out of me, too.

I hummed a Welsh folk tune I'd heard over Samuel's I-Pod earlier as I put the finishing touches in the icing on the cake. It was simple, yet pretty at the same time. Piping lines the sides like a draping cloth and my sad attempts at flowers were scattered attractively around the top and corners. It mentioned nothing about Mother's Day—the whole point of this get together was to forget Mother's Day and just spend today together. I figured that it was better for someone to celebrate something then nothing and have to endure others celebrating.

I was working on the last flower when strong arms wrapping around my waist from behind. I hadn't heard Adam come up, but I didn't need to. Little movements like that didn't bother me much anymore—Tim was far from my mind these days. It was a memory I would never forget, but I didn't live it each day anymore. Panic attacks were rare and far between.

"Looking good," Adam murmured into my ear, resting his chin on my shoulder.

I snorted. "If you like sad attempts at flowers, then yes. It's looking amazing."

He chuckled. "I was talking about you, but the cake looks good, too." He kissed the shell of my ear, successfully making me shivered.

I dipped my finger in the icing bowl and bopped some onto Adam's nose—which he successfully licked off with his long tongue. I felt heat pool in my unmentionables; the things he did with that tongue… I found myself staring intently at him, heat in my eyes matching his and he sensually hummed. I groaned slightly as his arousal poked into my backside and—

"Not in the kitchen, please. Some people actually use this area for eating." Jesse bounced into the room, vase of peach and white roses in hand. She turned the faucet on cold and proceeded in filling up the expensive crystal.

I flushed, pulling away from Adam. From the look we shared I knew this wouldn't be the last of this little episode, but for now I just stepped back and admired my handy work. In all honesty, it didn't look to shabby. I nodded, feeling a bit of pride seep in. I'd never mastered the art of icing and I didn't expect today to be any different, but I seemed to surprise myself.

"Mm." I looked up to see Jesse popping a spoonful of cream cheese icing into her mouth. "Delicious," she murmured in ecstasy. I couldn't help but laugh at the expression on her face.

"Of course it is," I retorted, "I made it."

"Dam-darn right," she corrected, and then smiled sheepishly at her father's look. "Caught it!" she protested, sliding her spoon into the dishwasher. "Honestly, if I catch it I don't deserve the 'Look o' Death.' It's unfair."

"What's unfair is having to live in the same residence as you," muttered Ben as he slid into the kitchen through the back door, bowl of something in hand. Entrails and eyeballs, I'd suspect. Or the homemade spaghetti and meatballs he'd offered to bring. The first was more believable.

Ben and I had a silent friend-friend relationship currently going for us. Ever since the incident with Tim we'd made a silent friendship, one in which we both now seemed to respect and like each other. After spending more time with him, I could honestly say Ben was a good man. Even if he gave off bad first impressions, the man below the act was a loveable, kicked puppy.

"You don't live here," Jesse replied blandly. She narrowed her eyes playfully, sticking her tongue out.

"I wasn't speaking for myself. It's clear our dear alpha and his mate won't admit to the facts." The only hint I could tell that he was joking was the tongue he stuck back out at Jesse. He turned to me, smiling. "I brought the stuff. Want me to stash it in the fridge?"

I huffed. "Ben, is it really necessary to make it seem like we're running an underground drug lab here?"


I rolled my eyes, and watched the two men in the room greet each other with small talk. I took the small moment of release to take the cake into the dining room where everything would be set out. I set it in the middle, chewing on my bottom lip. Perfect.

"Great," I muttered, suddenly throwing my hands up. "I'm becoming a control freak just like him."

"Love you too, Mercy," I heard Adam mutter from the kitchen. My cheeks flared and my stomach had about a thousand butterflies—if not more—fluttering around. Adam wasn't one to throw around 'I Love You's,' so whenever he said those three words in an environment that was anywhere except our bedroom I felt I'd done something right.

I took Darryl and Auriele's arrival as my cue to go upstairs and change into something without oil stains. I managed to quickly wash up in the large red and gold themed bathroom I shared with Adam and throw on a pair of nice jeans and a red top—which wasn't a t-shirt—before the next round of people showed up. Not my fastest record, but it was pretty darn close.

Jesse must have put her I-Pod in because some unfamiliar pop music played over Adam's surround sound speakers. I could hear some laughs emanate from the kitchen and I walked in to find Warren and Kyle being greeted by the other five, plus Arianna, in the large kitchen. With that many dominant wolves in one area, the kitchen seemed like a small cardboard box.

"As much as I love the feeling of absolute claustrophobia, I think Kyle and I both would like to move this chatting to the spacious living room. It's accommodated with an assorted wall of DVD's, comfortable, plush couches and chairs and to top it all off an antique fainting couch."

Warren laughed at my teasing but it was Kyle who said, "Wow, Mercy. I didn't know you decided to take up reality. Mercy the Reality Agent. I think I like Mercy the Volkswagen Mechanic better, though."

I nodded. "Hell yes," I replied, grinning and hugging my third's mate.

"I brought brownies, where can I put them?" Kyle asked as everyone moved the gathering to the living room. They seemed to be relieved about it, and I rolled my eyes at the males. Why they couldn't move themselves was beyond me, I seemed to find myself diffusing many awkward meetings with the men these days. What was I, the mother hen now? I somehow found that an entertaining thought and filed it away to ask Adam about later.

Kyle's grandmother's brownies were amazing, so I stole one before pointing him in the direction of the dining room. "Dining room," I managed over a mouthful of chocolate. He laughed and kissed my cheek.

"Don't choke, Mercy."

I made a face at him and followed the sound of talking to the living room. Adam brushed past me with a light swat to my rump to the kitchen. I heard the back door open the next second so I figured he was going to fix the steaks, chicken, and ribs now.

I glanced out the window, not able to help myself from staring at my husband as he skillfully placed the meat on the grill. Jesse had dressed up the back yard to look presentable. She'd pulled out a few law chairs and folding tables so people could go out and sit. We had a CD player out back, which would come in handy seeing as we probably weren't going to be spending much time inside today.
For now, though, I flopped down on the couch next to Jesse and threw my legs over hers.

"Jeez, Mercy. Dad's been fattening you up, hasn't he?" She laughed at my face and tried to push my legs off. I growled and she got a face-full of foot.

Spluttering she tried to push my away again and this time I found myself on the floor, face first.

"Ouch," I exclaimed, my voice muffled by the Berber carpet. I heard laughs, Jesse's one of the loudest.

I'd learned many things by growing up with werewolves, one them being this: sneak attacks were amazing and veryeffective.

Before she could even blink I'd twisted and locked my grip onto her ankle. She screeched as I pulled her down to the floor with me, but it backfired when she landed on top of me. I gasped as I got a mouthful of thigh, trying to breathe in air rather than the skin tight jeans she was wearing.

She laughed and didn't move. "See? Messing with me has its downsides."

"Hush," I growled frustratingly, and I saw Adam laughing at us from the back windows. I set determined eyes and tackled Jesse to the floor.

Our wrestling was very comedic, and by the time we were done I think we had everyone in tears. Including the people who'd arrived in the middle of the battle.

The rest of the day was very relaxing. Some of the pack stopped by for only a few minutes while most stayed the whole time, eating and socializing. As I'd predicted earlier we moved our gathering to the back yard where the men wrestled playfully, and there was even a game of intense football between the two teams the pack had formed into: Adam and Darryl. It was fun to watch the guys kick each other's butts, and in the end Adam ended up winning to which I gave him a congratulations kiss.

The girls—including Kyle, Jesse, Arianna, the rest of the females, and I—played Twister in the living room for awhile, which drew in our mates among others who had nothing else to do.

It was absolute chaos to fit seven people onto one Twister mat, but we managed to do it—becoming a tangled heap in the process. Who knew Kyle was so flexible? He won the majority of the time we played, and that was saying something. Jesse was the runner up, followed by Auriele, myself, Honey, Mary Jo, and finally Arianna.

We all found out just how well Adam cooked, and I think I was the most surprised. I expect the usual chicken and steak I'd ever eaten but Adam's was so flavorful… I couldn't help the groan that everyone laughed at when I felt back on the couch. The first bite was amazing, but the others were just as delicious.

Jesse got me back awhile later with three cans of silly string and firework poppers. She threw them down next to me while Adam and I were watching Darryl and Ben wrestle, and when I jumped to my feet she then chased me around the front and back yard with them and the string. A little while after that I dug up old party balloons and we had a water balloon fight, and I didn't think twice about the consequences of ruining her make-up and hair she spent a whole hour and a half on.

No one mentioned anything akin to Mother's Day, and I don't think sad thoughts even crossed anyone's minds at all today. I could be wrong, but they did a good job of hiding it if there had been.

I found myself toweling off after a long and hot shower, releasing the muscles I'd pulled while avoiding all of Jesse's sneak attacks. Now that everyone had gone home I was dressed in a tank-top and sweats, my hair pulled back into a simple braid that reached my shoulder blades. I sighed contentedly and bounced down the stairs. Jesse was in her room blaring some horrible screaming music and Adam was downstairs sneaking a piece of the left over cake.

"Ah," I chided, and he smirked as he continued cutting into the chocolate and vanilla fluff. I wrapped my arms around him from behind and laid my head on his back, letting my fingers wander under his shirt and over his stomach muscles. They tensed and I could feel his belly vibrate with silent laughter.

"Are you trying to finish what we started earlier?" he spun in my grasp, leaning against the table while setting his cake down. His hands rested on my hips and pulled me tighter to him. "Because if so, I do believe I would be the happiest man alive."

"Mm," I hummed. "Possibly. Depends on if you can make me become to happiest woman on earth in the process."

Adam chuckled, his brown eyes smoldering with hints of amber. They stared into mine, matching my lustful look with his own. "I can do that," he replied huskily, but before I could lean up and kiss him he held me in place. I pouted.


He hesitated, glancing behind me at something. I looked behind us—expecting Jesse—but got thin air. "What's wrong?" I murmured, touching his nose to mine.

He looked down at me, and there was something in his eyes that I'd never seen before. I couldn't help my curiosity. "Adam?"

He bit his bottom lick then licked it. "Jesse bought you something for today, but she was too afraid to give it to you while everyone was here. She didn't want to cause any awkward moments; it's kind of… personal."

I cocked my head, my eyes narrowed curiously. "What is it?"

He jerked his chin to the dining room and I released him—at least for the moment—to go investigate. I poked my head in, scared to find another prank, but instead my mouth dropped open. A deep blue vase of beautiful red and white roses adorned the table with a tiny box of chocolates. I walked over, smiling from ear to ear. I hadn't expected anything, seeing as I wasn't a mother, and on the subject I didn't wantanything. It was just so sweet of Jesse to buy me flowers, especially as a surprise.

I bent down and took a whiff of the flowers: they smelled absolutely amazing. My eyes rolled back into my head and when I came to I noticed a red envelope stuck under the vase. It was thick and I was surprised. What did she do, stuff twenty dollar bills in the thing? I took care in opening it because I didn't know what was inside, and pulled out a hallmark Mother's Day card. It was sweet and to the point, and even made me even tear up slightly at Jesse's 'Love you Step-Mommy ' at the bottom. What made the envelope so thick was a the folded notebook paper inside which must have been three to four sheets long. I looked at them with interest, and scanned over them before starting from the beginning.

Dear Mercy,

In all honesty, I don't know what to write. I mean, I know you weren't expecting a bouquet of flowers from me of all people. Well, even if you whine and gripe about them being a waste of money then I guess you're going to have to deal because I wanted to get them for you.

No matter how many times I write and re-write this letter it never seems to come out right, and I know how you hate to dilly-dally around the point so…here it goes.

Remember the first day I met you, and you met me? I do, even if it's slipped your mind by now. I'd seen you drive by and then re-appear behind us in that shabby little trailer. Personally, I liked the trailer because I didn't have to clean a lot. Haha. Anyways, I snuck over when Dad wasn't looking and wrung your doorbell. Even at seven I was a trouble maker! Guess we share one thing in common. Anyways, I wanted to meet you—because, as you know, I am a social butterfly. Even back then. When you answered I thought you were the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen, so much more pretty than my Mom. I remember just staring at you and you asking where my father was. You seemed so awkward with me, and then Dad came over to get me. But I'm so happy I'd finally grabbed at the courage to trudge away from Dad for the first time—alone—to see you. Because it was then you first stepped into my life, Mercy. I know it's cheesy, and you're probably laughing right now, but I'm so happy Dad chose this place as his home. I'm so happy you moved here. You can't even believe to fathom how happy I was, and still am, that you're here. Now. Life honestly would never have been same without you here.

Remember when I was kidnapped? Not a pleasant memory, I know, but it's a memory I think a lot about. When I saw you there all I could think of was 'I'm safe.' Thinking back on it now, I could never say that with my own mother. Only Dad, and you're probably the only one to know that. Dad was always my strong hold, and whenever Mom would rattle him up I would be scared because he usually was never affected.
I'm rambling. I know I said I would get to the point, and I'm trying my hardest to, but I'm just like my father. Unable to word my feelings just right so you get the full-effect. I know I should be telling you this next part in person, but I can't bring myself to just in case you don't feel the same way.

I love you so much, Mercy. In a way I don't even love my own mother. I know why Mom took me—it was just because she was jealous of Dad loving me more than he loved her. Honestly, she's a selfish bitch and I've always known that and I don't care who hears me say it. She can run off to Italy and stay there for all I care, but you… every time I think you're not coming back it's like there's a piece of my missing and I'm hollow. It's taken me this long to figure out what I feel and, well, Mercy, I love you like you're my own mother. You are my mother, and always have been. More so than Christy ever was. Yes, she and I are on first name basis right now.

Whenever I was sick you were there to smile, bring me cookies and give me a hug. Mom never was. You were there at my middle school graduation. Mom wasn't because she had a pedicure-manicure appointment. You baked cookies with me when my own mother would ground me for setting foot in the kitchen. You kissed me goodnight and told me you loved me. Christy never did.

I hate that I'm crying right now. I guess I'm like Dad and hate being weak, but I feel you need to know this. Now that you're married to Dad I want to call you Mom so bad because I feel you're my real mother. You always have been, I've just never had the guts to ask if I can call you by the title my mind's set you to. My heart has set to you. Cheesy. I know. Hush.

I hate calling you 'step-mom' or 'Mercy' to my friends. Even if that's what you are, to me you're just 'Mom.' Mom. Does that scare you? You were always—and still are—gun shy.

I want to be your daughter in every way, Mercy. I want to give you cards and flowers on Mother's Day and write 'Mom' on the card. Not Mercy.

You can throw this away, I give you permission. And you can ignore it completely like Mom always did. I honestly couldn't care less—(which is a lie). I love you so much, Mercy. And I would be honored to be your daughter. I'm going to drive you crazy just like I drive Dad crazy. You're going to want to kill me because of the things I say when I get mad, and you're going to want me to shut up when I talk too much. You're going to want to disappear when I'm moody and on my period, because I could honestly kill with my cramps. Dad even fears me.

I just wanted you to know.

Your Daughter (whether you like it or not),

Jessica Tamarind Hauptman

By the time I finished the letter I had practically drenched my face and Jesse's letter in silent tears. Adam gave me some privacy by remaining in the kitchen, but I had a feeling he knew nothing of what this was about. I couldn't see Jesse venting to her father about this. I looked to the stairs, and then back down to the letter. I was honestly speechless. Jesse had said she was scared to come up and tell me this herself, afraid of rejection. I knew exactly how she felt. I knew how badly she wanted a motherly figure in her life, just like I'd wanted a fatherly figure.

Which is what had me sliding the papers back into their envelope with the card and bounding up the stairs to Jesse's room. I walked down the long hallway, the only thought in my mind being Jesse, and rapped lightly on her door.

"Come on in," I heard her murmur, and when I poked my head inside I saw her stretched out on her bed over an algebra book. I couldn't help but smirk and see myself in that position quite a few years ago. I hated algebra; it was never any fun working with numbers. At least I never thought it was.

She glanced up and smiled over the pen she was chewing on. "Hey, Mercy. What's up?"

I shut the door behind me and walked over to sit on the edge of her bed. She looked up at me innocently.

"I didn't do it, I swear," she defended, dropping her pen and holding her hands up. I just stared at her through different eyes. Knowing what I did now, I never thought I could look at her the same and see the happy-go-lucky teenager ever again.

She stared at me like I had three heads when I didn't say anything, and I saw fear in her eyes then. That bothered me more than the idea that she knew about something that she could get in trouble for, so I leaned back on my hands.

"I saw the flowers and chocolate, which I am very grateful for. I've been having a chocolate craving for a week now." She grinned at my response, but her eyes were guarded. "The flowers are beautiful. Where'd you get them?"

She seemed to flush slightly at that. "I bought the flowers and vase from a store and arranged them myself. I didn't think they were that good, but it's the best I could do with my left over allowance from my dates with Gabriel." She looked down at her homework. "So, you like them?"

"I love them." She smiled brightly and I brought a hand up to brush a strand of hair away from her face. But her smile dimmed at my next words. "I also read your card and letter."

She opened her mouth to say something, thought twice, then closed it. "You said you were scared to come up and talk to me," I murmured, almost a bit disturbed by that. "Why?"

She merely shrugged slowly. "I dunno. I mean, everyone knows you're gun-shy, Mercy. If I had come up to you asking to call you Mom, and told you everything that was in that letter, what would you have honestly done?"

I thought about that for a moment and nodded my agreement. "Point to you, but we could have talked about it. I really do appreciate the letter, though."

It must have been then when she noticed my tear stains because she sat up. "Mercy, have you been crying?"

I laughed. She was just like her father, not much beating around the bush. I rubbed my eyes, nodding. "Yeah," I confirmed, sighing. "You're letter… it really hit a few spots. Good spots," I reassured after seeing her panicked expression. She seemed like she wanted to smile, but she just sat there staring into her lap.

I laid back, heaving a sigh, and just diving into the sharks. "I remember when you showed up on my doorstep in a pink tu-tu and a princess crown one time. You said you'd wanted to play princess, and no one would play with you. I remember thinking, 'Mercy, what the Hell have you gotten yourself into?' You know me, Jesse. I'm not a kid person, but you were different. I really saw myself in you: determined, stubborn, and a feistiness only we can pull off." I laughed at her face; I was guessing she was remembering. "I also remember how we played and you got water all over my living room because we had a 'tea-fight.'"

She laughed hesitantly. "Sorry," she apologized sheepishly, and I just shook my head.

"I laughed for hours about that, and I still do." We relapsed into silence. "I'm glad you finally got up the courage to sneak away, too," I finally said and her head snapped up, a sharp and jerky motion. I stared at the ceiling. "I will never—ever—no matter what anyone says or does, or however you drive me crazy and get on my nerves, I will never regret meeting you all those years ago, Jesse. In all honesty, I would be honored to have a daughter as brilliant and unafraid to show her true colors as you are. I was always trying to blend in, be one of the wolves I was raised around. I didn't find myself until I left Aspen Creek and moved here. You—you know who you are. You're not afraid to say something or do something; wear something embarrassing to help someone else. I would never have done that."

She couldn't keep the smile off of her face and the glistening sheen from her eyes. I continued.

"I could never pull through all of the crap you've been thorugh since I've known you. What with Christy and Adam, getting kidnapped, crazy Fairy Queens…" I shook my head. "You're so much more stronger than I ever was, Jesse."

"I'm only strong because I always wanted to be like you," she confessed and I looked at her, startled. She hurriedly explained. "I mean, not in a creepy, cheesy way. I just always loved how whenever Dad would get mad at you, you would just walk away and do something smart that ate at him from the inside out. Or like how you stand up to all of these creatures for a cause, and you're not even scared." Oh I was most definitely scared. "And even if you are then you don't show it." She shook her head.

"I wanted to believe Mom would change, that she would be the Mom I always wanted her to be. I always wanted her to be like Dad, I always knew when he was happy or worried. I always knew he loved me. Mom was just jealous that Dad loved me more, and she even said it to me one day when we were fighting. 'I hate you, you stupid child. You'll never amount to anything I expected; you're just a disappointment like your father! Maybe I should have left you with Adam; he loves you more than he could have ever loved me!'"

I winced at Jesse's impression of her mother, which was pretty darn good. The tears in Jesse's eyes spilled over and I pulled her to me. She cried into my shoulder. "I hated her. I tried running away to here once, to see you and Dad when I was twelve, but Mom caught me in the park an hour later. I hated life after that little episode." She shook her head. "I just wish you could have been my mom from the start, and she'd never come into the picture."

I rubbed Jesse's back. I was speechless—yet again. Hearing the words come from her mouth changed everything for me, and I found myself choking back tears.

"Well," I managed. "I have to thank your mother for one thing." Jesse looked up at me like I had said that werewolves weren't real. There was no way it was possible. I smiled. "She gave me you."

Jesse blinked, and I found her arms were wrapped around my neck tight. I hugged her back, kissing her hair absently, instinctual.

"You can call me Mom anytime," I murmured to her as I hugged her, staring at her orange locks. "I don't mind in the least bit."

All was silent, and then, "I love you."

I bit my lip from choking up, and nodded. "I love you too, Jesse."

When I walked back down the large stair case I was smiling like an idiot, which contradicted the small tears still rolling from my eyes. Adam gave me a curious look—but also a concerned "Are you alright?"—and I just handed him the letter. I'd gotten Jesse's permission, just in case her father wanted to know what was going on. She hadn't minded, so I gave up the explanation easily.

We both lay in bed awhile later and I saw something in Adam change from just my husband to something much, much more as he read Jesse's note. In the time I'd known Adam I could never have understood the love he shared with Jesse—I've never had any children, so, as my mother would say, I would just have to wait to experience it myself. I couldn't ever understand why Samuel wanted children so bad. Sure I adored babies as much as the next woman, but I could never say some of the things mothers did and honestly say it was the truth.

But all of a sudden I felt the warmth coursing through Adam, and it matched my own for Jesse. She was my child just as much as Bran Cornick was my father, but I loved her so much more than just my step-daughter.

Adam stared, and when he was finished he folded it and placed it neatly back into the envelope with the card. "She said it was personal," he murmured softly, "but I never would have guessed this." He looked at me with vulnerable eyes, and I knew he felt he'd failed Jesse.

I cupped his face within my callous rough hands, shaking my head. "Adam, you are a great father. A wonderfulfather. No woman can ever change the love you have for Jesse. Even if Christy—" he winced at the mention of his ex-wife "—wasn't mother material, you were her mother and father through everything."

"Jesse's right, you know," he muttered after a moment, cradling my hands in his. "You're as much her mother as I am her father. Even if you aren't biologically."

I shivered slightly. I never pictured myself a mother, and until now I never thought about it seriously, but I found the next words coming from my mouth not all that shocking.

"Do you think I would make a good mother?" I whispered, avoiding Adam's eyes. "And not just to Jesse. I mean to children of my own, if I have any someday. Or do you think I would just endanger them like I do myself?"

Adam pulled my face up to look him in the eyes. "I believe you would make a wonderful mother. I honestly can say I wouldn't mind you having a child, because then maybe you'd think twice about some of your decisions. But I would be lying if I said that was the real reason. Mercy," he whispered, stroking my cheek, "I would be honored for you to bear my children, but I'm not going to force that upon you. Trust me when I say a child is your life, and you give up everything for them. I would give up anything for Jesse's safety. You've seen that. A child is a big responsibility, and with the trouble you get in…" he trailed off but laughed when I playfully smacked his shoulder.

I looked over his words and replayed them in my head—I must have been mulling for awhile before I focused back on Adam again.

"I think I can manage to stay out of trouble for awhile."

"I'm not that sure," he murmured into my hair, but his voice hid underlying tension. He was thinking of something and I was determined now to find out what.

"I think I can do it. Scratch that, actually. I know I can."

"We still haven't delt with Marissa yet, Mercy. She could suddenly decide this is her moment and I could lose you both."

"Mercy the Vampire Slayer, at your service."


I looked up to see him now staring at me intently. I narrowed my eyes, curious. "Yes?"

"Do you know what you're saying?" he asked.

"Yes, do you?"

He huffed, rolling over on to his back and rubbing his face with his hands. "A baby… Mercy." I watched him, leaning up on my elbows. "Mercy," he repeated.

I waited. He wanted to say something, but it seemed to lodge in his throat and prevent him from speaking. I reached out and touched his arm tentatively. "Adam."

He closed his eyes. "Christy had five miscarriages before she had Jesse, Mercy. Five. I know that doesn't seem like a lot to someone who hasn't ever tried to have kids but…" he shook his head, and a droplet of a tear dripped down his cheek. "It hurt—it still hurts—to know that being a werewolf killed my child. Something in my genes made my child unacceptable, so tainted, that it didn't even have a chance." He looked at me, and his eyes were puffy and red. "I never want to go through that again, Mercy. And I certainly don't want you to go through that."

I stared at him, and I had a technicolor view of what he was feeling. It made me slump down onto the soft, plush bed underneath me. But—refusing to let him wallow in the memories—I sat up and rolled so I was practically on top of him.

"I know it hurt. I know it still hurts because I can feel it through our bond. I can't imagine myself living through that, but Adam… I look at Jesse and just wish I could call her mine. I just wish I had something that truly belonged to me in every way possible. That was connected to me in every way. I want a baby, Adam. Jesse made me realize that. Samuel pointed out that wolves and coyotes breed in the wild, and he doesn't see a problem in this kind of mating. And if for some reason he was wrong, and I do have a miscarriage or something goes wrong, I'll be there with you and we'll get through it. Together."

Adam was silent for a long time in the darkness, and by his slow breaths I truly believed he'd fallen asleep. Just when I was about to shake him awake he murmured, "You're dead set on this, aren't you?"

I smiled down at him, my white teeth gleaming in the moonlight. He chuckled, then sighed.

Playing with a lock of my hair, he said, "I wonder what Bran would say if he knew I was agreeing to this."

I smiled, and kissed him long and hard.

"Thank you, Adam," I whispered, my eyes shining.

The lazy smile across his features held more than just happiness at my agreement. "Happy Mother's Day, Mercy."

Sorry if they're OC! REVIEW! Press the button and you get a hug from… ANYONE IN THE SERIES! :D