I do not own Dark Shadows

Victoria, I'm Your Mother

Here she was again, in that room in the basement. Of course she was here: wasn't this where she always vented her sorrow? She sank onto a nearby trunk; her normally proud, straight posture now slumped.

Victoria was gone, faded into the past after the man she loved and Elizabeth had never got the chance to tell Victoria the truth. That Victoria was her daughter.

"Oh, Vicki," she breathed around the lump in her throat. She felt a tightness in her chest and raised her hand to her breast to feel her heartbeat. Her eyes closed as she clutched the material of the bodice of her dress in her fist and she felt the tightness ease as the tears began to fall. She let them fall silently, opening her eyes to watch the pattern the teardrops made as they fell on the skirt of her dress.

She suddenly flung her head back and let out a long, low wail that turned into gasping sobs. It wasn't fair!

"Victoria," she choked out as she got her sobs under control. "Victoria, please," she begged as she desperately wished she could tell Victoria the truth. Liz drew back in shock, nearly shoving herself off the trunk as a hazy figure slowly appeared in front of her.

The figure looked around in confusion and focused on Liz.

"Mrs. Stoddard?" The barest hint of sound came from the figure.

Elizabeth felt herself straighten as hope bloomed in her heart. "Victoria?"

The figure became more visible, though still intangible. Victoria tilted her head and looked at Liz.

"Mrs. Stoddard? What's going on? Where am I?" Victoria asked as she looked around. "Have you been crying?" she wanted to know as she finally focused on Liz.

Liz stood. Somehow her grief had managed to partially bring Victoria to her. She could not waste this chance.

"Victoria, I have to talk to you," she said, her voice calm and steady, the only sign of the storm of weeping were the tracks of the tears etched on her cheeks.

"I don't un…." Victoria began and Liz held up her hand to forestall Victoria's words.

"I have to tell you something, something I never got the chance before," Liz said quickly.

"All right," Victoria said and waited uncertainly.

Liz clasped her hands together. Now she had the chance, she had no idea what to say. She'd rehearsed it over and over in her mind and now, she found herself almost unable to speak. She looked at Victoria's expectant face and took a deep breath.

"Vicki, remember that night I told everyone about what happened…when I thought I had killed Paul?"

Victoria nodded.

"Well, I didn't tell the whole story," Liz admitted as she began to twist her fingers together nervously.

"What do you mean?" Victoria asked curiously.

"It wasn't only that Paul was leaving with Carolyn's legacy that I had to stop him from going," she paused and took another deep breath. She had to say it. "It was that I was pregnant," she blurted out.

"Pregnant?" Vicki gasped as her eyes widened in surprise.

Liz nodded and began to twist her fingers again. She watched the play of emotions on Vicki's face as she processed what Liz said.

"Why tell me this?" Vicki asked. Her voice had an odd note to it, as if she were on the edge of tears.

Liz moved close to her, reaching out to put her hands on Vicki's arms, but they passed through. She huffed out a breath in derision, but kept her hands lifted as though they were holding Vicki's arms.

"Because…because," Liz stammered. Why couldn't she get the words out? She met Vicki's gaze. She could see the confusion and…yes, the pain, in the girl's eyes.

"I'm your mother," she finally managed, nearly shouting the words in her desperation to get them out of her mouth.

Vicki's jaw dropped. "My…my…" She trailed off. This was something she never, ever could have expected to hear and her emotions became a tangled mess inside her as she tried to make sense of what … her mother…had just said.

Now that she'd said it, Liz could only stand and watch Vicki's face as pain, joy, hurt and betrayal twisted the girl's features. Liz just prayed that Vicki would forgive her.

"You're my mother," Vicki stated.

"I know I should have told you sooner, but I just didn't know how. I can't tell you how sorry I am. There were so many things I wanted to tell you. How proud I was of you, what a lovely young woman you had grown into, and the time just never seemed to be right," Liz tried to explain in a rush. "Forgive me for not being able to take care of you. I was afraid after, when I thought I had killed Paul…I..please say you understand."

Liz raised her hands to Vicki's cheeks. "I had to tell you I loved you."

Liz felt her heart leap in her chest as a smile lit Vicki's face. The girl's insubstantial arms came up around her as Vicki attempted to hug her mother.

"I understand," Vicki finally said. "I forgive you and I…I love you, too, Mother," Vicki whispered and then pressed a ghostly kiss to Liz'cheek before moving back.

They were both crying now, but this time they were tears of joy.

"I have to go," Vicki said and raised her hand in farewell.

Liz smiled and raised her hand, too.

Vicki paused before fading away entirely and Liz heard a light, girlish giggle fill the air before Victoria spoke.

"My name is Victoria Collins."