Here lies Michelle Elia Schafer

Beloved Mother and Wife


And with her lies Andrew Henrich Schafer

Son of the above


'My wife, my friend, the mother dear
In dreamless sleep repossess here
May those whose love to her was given
All meet and live with her in heaven'

Henrich had put all his effort into making sure her mother and the son that never lived, had only the best in their resting places. Darcy licked her dry lips as she touched the silver plating upon the headstone and traced over the engravings. Above on a pedestal stood an angel with her arms outstretched, looking up with a serene face towards heaven.

There was something familiar about the face and then Darcy realized the face of the angel was carved in her mother's likeness. Taking a deep breath, Darcy backed away slowly to allow Henrich to place down some fresh white carnations he had brought her. He visited her every week after church.

Darcy had only nodded slightly when he told her this. She wasn't a religious person and didn't even believe in God, but she supposed the air of spirituality suited her mother and her lifestyle. However Darcy couldn't help, but think that they must have been two very different people. From everything Henrich had told her, Darcy seemed nothing like her mother and wondered vaguely if it was a good thing or a bad thing.

"You never remarried," she commented dryly hoping any emotions she felt were carefully hidden in her voice. Henrich didn't spare her a look and merely traced over the silver plating as she had done earlier. "Never had the heart too," he said quietly. Darcy felt her heart pang in her chest. She respected Henrich all the more. Whoever he was, her mother had scored pure gold with this man who was utterly devoted to her even in death.

She wasn't sure why she did it. Out of instinct-pity maybe? She placed a comforting hand against his back and looked on with him at the angel that was her mother. At least now, the mystery that was her mother would be a mystery no more.

With a tired sigh, Henrich turned to her. "Perhaps we should go to lunch. I know of a fine restaurant with wonderful German delicacy. You'll love it." Darcy gave him a bland smile.

"I'm sure I will."

Considering Henrich's vast amount of wealth, Darcy wasn't surprised when he took her to a restaurant that looked as if it belonged in a five star hotel. It was a little chilly outside, so he got them a private table at the most isolated place in the restaurant. Darcy ordered some sandwiches and a hot chocolate although her appetite still wasn't up for it.

"I understand you'll be leaving at the end of next week, but I was wondering if it couldn't hurt to extend your stay a little longer." As Darcy swallowed down some of her hot chocolate, she gave him a peculiar look. She was sure there were a million reasons why he wanted her to stay longer, but Darcy didn't think she could bring herself to agree. This was too much information to deal with already. No doubt she had a lot to tell Jane when she got back.

"Is there a particular reason?" She forced herself to say. Henrich contemplated over his short black and gingerly rubbed his chin. "I will be having an exhibition next week. Presenting my collection of artwork, a reunion with some fellow workers with their friends and family and then a little surprise. It would make me very happy if you would agree to stay and attend."

Darcy stared down at the table sullenly. Did she want to continue this? Know more about the life she could have lived had her mother not been so…so…so bloody selfish? By all means, Henrich was a kind and generous man, but even he did not have to atone for his wife's mistakes. At least that was how Darcy saw things. Loneliness and perhaps religion had driven Henrich to form a friendship with his wife's bastard daughter and despite the benevolence of it, there really was no need.

She was settled now. She had a life, she had a job and she had friends. The abandonment she felt in the past had been washed away as soon as finished high school and to be honest, Henrich's mourning and saddened lamentations over his wife and baby were depressing. Darcy shifted uncomfortably. Immediately she felt a little bad over such thoughts. They were a little selfish.

I can't bring myself to refuse him.

"I'll gladly attend your exhibition Henrich, but I do not think I can extend my stay longer than that. The Visa would be one problem although Shield can pull the strings, but there is my job to consider, my friends and my home in general." Saying this made her feel guilty, but it was for the best wasn't it?

"I understand," Henrich conceded although his voice was a little sad.

"You'll enjoy yourself though. I'm sure of it and there is still so much of Stuttgart to see." He was trying to be cheerful, but she could see it was hard for him to do so. She supposed it was much better that she was not his own flesh and blood otherwise this situation wouldn't just be depressing. It would be suicidal.

When Darcy dropped her belongings on her bed that evening, she felt utterly exhausted and fatigued. On top of that her breasts felt a little sore. Most likely from the constrictive bra she was wearing. Huffing, Darcy stripped off her clothes until she was left in only her underwear and laid face down on her bed. The jet lag didn't appear to be going away.

Grabbing out her cell and making sure she was on an international plan, Darcy decided to text Jane.

'Hey girl how are you? I'm having a 'swell' time in Germany. The client I am with knows my real parents so you can imagine what a life changing event I am going through.'

It didn't take Jane long to reply.

'Oh dear. For real? Darcy honey, are you okay? What did he tell you exactly? Are you sure anything he is saying is legitimate?'

Jane's ability to feel immediate genuine concern was always a trait that made Darcy marvel. It was welcome nonetheless. Darcy texted her back saying she would explain things upon her return in about two weeks before placing her cell under her pillow and trying to drift off to sleep.

For a while now, Belyas had come to the conclusion that the Midgardians were unsophisticated primitive people and he could, for once, empathize with King Laufey's extreme fervour to kill them all. It was also eerily hot in this part of the globe and he despised it. Who would want to live in a place like this?

Holding the little sphere in the unfamiliar disguise of the human hand he now harboured, Belyas watched in quiet fascination as it lit up and sent a beam of light in direction of the soul of the developing Jotun child. He cursed under his breath when he realized he was thousands of miles far from the designated area he was supposed to be in.

He would have to manipulate a human for more information about this world and the fastest means to travel. Any knowledge he possessed was clearly out dated seeing as how much the humans had evolved.

Although, not by much.

Regardless, he had to move things along quickly. Jotunheim needed a king.

If there was anything Darcy could be remotely glad about, it was the fact that she was going home this weekend. She had spent her extra two weeks with Henrich and no matter how much he tried to cheer her spirits and show her lovely sites or tell her his family history, she found her attention draining. It wasn't that she was bored, but rather she felt too unwell to do anything.

Headaches plagued her every now and then and that simply annoyed the shit out of her. But to make matters worse was the fact that she was constantly nauseated. Always nauseated. Milk was too much for her to drink in the morning and eggs…just the smell of them sent her over the edge. She settled herself for bland toast, dried cereal and simply a glass of water in the morning.

When she observed herself in the mirror, she found that she was paler than usual and a lot more haggard looking. Her lips were cracked and dry and there were some slight dark circles under her eyes.

I look like shit she thought.

Hell, I even feel like shit.

She rubbed her temples as she felt a slight cramp in her pelvis. Chewing her bottom lip, she sat on the toilet and unzipped her bathroom bag to look for some pain killers. Finding some pretzels that she had stashed away in there (for reasons she could not remember), she opened them up and began munching on them in frustration not caring if it was sanitary or not.

No pain killers she grumbled.

As she swallowed the delicious salty snack and munched another, her eyes caught on to the pack of tampons she had in her bag. The munching became slower and after a few moments of contemplation, she reached down and grabbed the pack.

In truth she had only brought them along as a precautionary measure. Although she had come off her injections, her periods were still very irregular and didn't last long. Although that had changed for the last few cycles. Her body was slowly coming back into its natural process, but then why did she feel a sense of foreboding in the back of her mind?

True she had been sick, but there were plenty of explanations for that. The effects of progesterone would still be in her system despite her lack of injections giving her the similar feelings she had now, of course not in the great intensity she was experiencing at the current moment. Then there was travelling to a different country and besides almost residing in Germany for a month, she was still quite exhausted and fatigued. Surely this would have an effect on her biological clock?

And then she supposed, was the stress she was feeling. From learning the truth and trying to balance Henrich's overprotective feelings towards her. Yes that all had to be it. Just what was she thinking? Throwing the tampons back in the bag and leaving her pretzels on the sink, Darcy stripped off her clothes and pulled out her hair. Grimacing at her reflection in the mirror and shaking her head at her own silly thoughts, she turned on the shower and let the hot water soothe her aching body.

However as she scrubbed herself with some lovely lavender scented soap, an annoying internal itch banged against the mental constructs in her mind. It persistently remained lurking in the back of her consciousness and it wouldn't go away.

Darcy scrubbed herself harder.