Title: Correcting the Past

Author: Inquisitive1

Email: inquisitive1@angelfire.com or 2inquisitive1@angelfire.com

Rating: PG13 overall

Distribution: My site (Sooner or later) http://www.angelfire.com/tv/inqstive1sfanfiction

Yahoo Groups: inquisitive1supdates

Fanfiction.net: inquisitive1

If you want just ask

Disclaimer: Only characters that are mine are the ones you don't recognize.

Summary: Sara Pezzini and Ian Nottingham leave New York.

Note: I wrote this on paper first. I have little computer access at home so sorry if posting this takes a while. Episodes go off into my own world so enjoy. *Flashback*

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Chapter 1

      "Excuse me?!" Sara Pezzini says stunned staring at the female doctor before her. "Did you just say I'm..." she swallows unable to say the words.

      The doctor nods smiling "Yes, you're pregnant."

      "I uh" Sara says nervously.

      "Why don't you go home and think about what you want to do" the doctor suggests feeling sympathetic at the stricken look on Sara's face.

      "Uh yeah." Sara nods standing she grabs her jacket pulling it on. "Thanks for everything" she walks out of the office in a daze. Sara walks out of the building to find her partner, Jake McCartey, waiting in the unmarked police car. She gets into the car buckling her seatbelt.

      "How'd your appointment go?" Jake asks starting the car.

      "Fine." Sara lies. "Thanks for waiting."

      "It's cool." He shrugs pulling out into the traffic. "Do you want to go out for dinner and drinks and maybe some rounds of pool?"

      Sara shakes her head staring out the window "Thanks, but I'm tired. I just want to go home and get some rest."

      "Sure"

      Sara remains silent on the ride back to the precinct once back at the precinct she gets out of the car. "Thanks Jake. I'll see you tomorrow." She gives the blond cop a weak smile.

      Jake nods. "Have a good night. Call me if you change your mind." He watches as his partner walks away, 'Something is going on with her.'

Sara Pezzini's Apartment

      Sara sits on the couch staring at the wall, "I can't be pregnant" she mutters.

      "Well you are Partner."

      Sara stiffens at the voice looking over she finds her dead partner, Danny Woo, standing there "What do you want?"

      Danny crouches before her, "You are pregnant, Pez."

      Sara wipes at the tear that falls down her cheek "What am I supposed to do Danny?! I can't have a kid!"

      "You do have your own choice in life Sara."

      "I know," she sighs running her fingers through her hair she stands pulling on her jacket "I know."

      Ghost Danny shakes his head, watching as his Partner walks away. "Good luck Pez." He wishes.

      Shoving her hands in her jacket pocket Sara walks down the stairs and out of her apartment building. She walks down the street oblivious to the fact that he is watching her.

      Tall, dark haired Ian Nottingham stands in the shadows watching as Sara walks down the street obviously lost in thought 'Poor Lady Sara. I wonder why you are so sad' stealthily the Protector follows the Wielder careful to stay in the shadows.

      Sara walks down the street barely paying attention to the people around her. 'Was this supposed to happen? How can I bring a child into my life the way it is? The Bulls want me out of the way... Irons just wants me in general, I have no one I can turn to.' Looking up, Sara is startled when she realizes where she is, after a moment of thought she walks into the cemetery.

      Curiously, Ian watches as Sara walks through the cemetery. 'Her parents are buried here' he remembers. He stays far enough away to give Sara some privacy.

      Sara makes her way through the headstones to her parents' plots; she crouches before them, "Hey Ma. Hey Pops. It's been awhile since I visited. You were right Pops... the White Bulls are still running within the PD. I'm being careful." she pauses "I guess if you guys are watching over me then you know what is going on. The whole Witchblade issue. My own personal stalker/assassin. Gabe. John. That I'm pregnant" she finishes softly.

      After a moment she continues, "Yeah, Ma you're getting the grandkid you want. The kid won't have a father and will be in constant danger and I have no one to help me." She pulls her knees up to her chest.

      Ian stands there not hearing the conversation but sensing her sadness and concern.

      Danny appears beside the Watcher/Protector, "She needs someone she can trust Nottingham. The only one she can is you."

      Sensing the ghost's presence and feelings Ian looks around "She does not trust me."

      "You are the only one in the end that she can trust."

      After a moment of thought, Ian steps out of the shadows walking towards Sara hesitantly he touches her shoulder.

      At the touch, Sara turns her head to find Ian watching her with concern in his brown eyes.

      Ian tilts his head "Why are you crying?"

      Sara looks at the headstones "Why are you here?"

      "I followed you." He admits, when she glares at him Ian looks down "You seemed distracted. I did not want you to be hurt because of distraction." He explains standing there his head bowed. As Sara starts to stand, he holds his hand out to her.

      Sara looks at the offered hand then takes it allowing him to help her stand "Thanks."

      Ian nods

      The two silently walk back to Sara's apartment. Once at the door Sara turns to Ian giving him a sad smile "Thanks Nottingham."

      Ian nods as Sara opens the door he reaches out touching her arm. When Sara looks at him he speaks, "You may not trust me Lady Sara but I am here to serve you."

      At the look in his eyes, Sara nods giving him a sad smile, "Thank you Ian."

      Ian bows his head "Good night."

      Sara enters the apartment closing the door behind her.

Next Day: Precinct

      Sara looks up from her work as Jake walks in "Hey Rookie" she greets.

      Jake grins, "Mornin' Pez." He greets holding out a cup of coffee.

      Sara starts to reach for it then shakes her head "No thanks. I'm too wired as it is."

      Jake shrugs sitting down "More for me then" he sets the coffees down "What's on for today?" he asks.

      "Paperwork" she grins.

      "Oh fun" he scowls as her cell phone rings.

      As the phone rings a second time Sara grabs it, "Pezzini" she says in greeting.

      "I need to speak with you my Lady."

      Sara sighs at the familiar voice "I'm a little busy right now. Can it wait?"

      "It is important. I'm on the roof." Ian says hanging up.

      Sara closes the phone staring at it for a moment before she looks at Jake "I have to go do something. I'll be back in a couple minutes" she stands grabbing her jacket

      "Sure I'll just wade through this" Jake scowls at the paperwork before him

      Sara gives him an apologetic smile before hurrying out of the office.

      Ian stands on the roof of the building staring out at the city below him. He glances over hearing the access door open to see Sara walk out.

      Sara walks over to the silent man "What's the deal Nottingham?" she demands crossing her arms over her chest.

      "He knows about your doctor's appointment" Ian says softly awaiting her anger.

      "WHAT?!" Sara exclaims angrily.

      Ian looks down, "He sent me to break in and retrieve the files."

      "So he knows" Sara pales.

      Ian shakes his head glancing at Sara, "I gave him the doctored results."

      "Why did you do that Ian? He's going to find out sooner or later that you gave him the false results."

      Ian shrugs "I swore to protect you that also includes your child."

      Sara stares at him surprised, "Thank you Ian" she says sincerely.

      "Be careful my Lady. I won't always be here to watch out for you" he says sadly.

      "He's going to be mad when he finds out you changed it."

      Ian nods, "You matter more than his anger." He turns to walk away then speaks, "I meant what I said last night Sara..." He looks at her his eyes soft "I will be here for you no matter what."

      Sara walks over standing on her tiptoes she kisses his cheek gently, "Thank you Ian." She walks back to the door leaving Ian standing there.

Chapter 2

Month later

      Sara pants for breath ducking into an alley as the rain pours down "Damn it" she mutters hearing a brief struggle.

      "Sara"

      Hearing the familiar voice Sara carefully steps out to find Ian standing in the rain over a body "Ian who are they? Bulls?" she asks

      Ian looks Sara over searching for any sign of injury. "Come on, we need to get out of sight." He holds his gloved hand out to her.

      "Ian..."

      "Trust me, Sara." He pleads.

      After a split second Sara realizes something 'He's the only one I can trust.' she puts her hand in his following Ian through the alley to his car.

      Ian opens the car door for Sara. Once she is in the car Ian closes the door making his way around to the driver's side.

      As Ian gets in Sara looks at him "What's going on Ian? I have a pretty good idea that they were hired by Dante."

      "They were." Ian says starting the car, "We need to get you out of the city"

      "Where?"

      "Somewhere safe" Ian assures pulling out into the traffic

      Sara stares out the window as Ian drives her mind spinning. 'They want me dead... and my baby will die too' she rubs her arms

      "Cold?" Ian asks

      Sara nods

      Ian turns up the heat "We'll be there soon"

      "Where?"

      "Need to change cars. This is Irons car."

      "Oh." Sara watches the buildings pass

      Ian continues driving glancing at Sara every so often. After a while, Ian pulls the car into an underground parking lot. He pulls into a parking spot turning off the car he steps out going over to the passenger side he opens the door for Sara.

      Sara steps out stretching in relief.

      Ian goes over to the brick wall removing a brick he removes a set of car keys going over to a black BMW he unlocks the passenger door for Sara opening it.

      "Ian"

      "I have to get some things out of the trunk." He says as Sara gets in he closes the door behind her.

      Sara watches as he goes over to the other car opening the trunk. She sighs resting her arms over her middle 'It'll be OK baby. Ian won't let anything happen to you.'

      Ian grabs a couple duffle bags out of the trunk carrying them over to the BMW he opens the trunk setting them inside. After a few trips between cars, he gets into the drivers side starting the car. "When I found out what was going on this afternoon I went by your place and grabbed some of your things."

      "What the hell is going on Nottingham?" Sara demands as Ian backs out of the parking spot

      Ian glances at her "Dante wants you dead more now than ever"

      Sara pales glancing at her middle for a moment

      "He wants you dead more than ever." Ian answers. "I will do whatever I have to; to make sure you both are safe." He promises her

      "Why?"

      "It is my duty and my destiny to protect you" he explains "and your child"

      "Thank you Ian"

      Ian nods "You should rest my Lady we will be there in a few hours."

      Sara nods leaning against the door she closes her eyes

While Later

      Ian stops the car reaching over he gently shakes Sara "Sara?"

      Sara slowly opens her eyes "Where are we?" she asks groggily looking at the house before as she rubs her eyes.

      "My hideout" he answers stepping out of the car he goes around opening the door for Sara

      Sara gets out stretching

      "Do not worry he does not know about this place." he leads Sara up to the house unlocking the door "We'll be safe here for tonight. We'll leave tomorrow evening."

      "Where to?" Sara asks stepping inside

      "Somewhere safe." he answers

      "What about Irons? He won't stop until he gets you back"

      Ian nods "I know." he turns on the lights

      Sara looks around the sparsely furnished foyer

      "Look around. I will go get the bags."

      Sara nods walking into the living room off the foyer she turns on the light smiling at the darkly furnished room, 'Definitely his personality.' She goes over to the black bookcase reading the titles, 'War books, strategy... classical mythology, history, biographies,' She smiles 'Shakespeare, Plato, Grisham, King.' She turns around sensing Ian's presence in the doorway, "Got a lot of books Nottingham."

      "I have more upstairs and downstairs and back at the Estate." he states removing his cap and overcoat. He clasps his hands behind his back.

      "Show me around?" she asks.

      Ian nods.

Later

      Sara gives Ian a small smile as they enter the guest room after the full tour "Thank you Ian."

      Ian nods "Good night Sara" he says walking out the door.

      "Good night Ian."

Morning

      Sara walks into the kitchen where she finds Ian at the kitchen table reading the newspaper with the TV on "Morning" she greets

      Ian looks up "Good morning Sara. Would you like some breakfast?"

      Sara winces feeling her stomach roll "God no. It's too early" she sits at the table "What I'd love is coffee" she says mournfully "But no, no coffee for me"

      "Tea or milk?" he asks standing

      "Tea please" she requests

      Ian nods going to the stove he turns the burner on

      Sara watches him curiously "He knows your gone doesn't he"

      "Yes"

      "Why are you doing this Ian? Irons will be totally pissed off if he finds us"

      "It is my duty to protect you."

      Sara shakes her head "I don't know why you bother. Protecting me is going to cause you more trouble."

      "I swore to protect you no matter what." He grabs the kettle as it whistles pouring the hot water in the mug. "Milk? Sugar?"

      "Neither"

      Ian nods carrying the mug over to the table he sets it before Sara.

      "Thank you" Sara smiles taking a sip of the tea "Where are we going?"

      "Anywhere."

      Sara groans "What am I thinking?! Ian, I can't just disappear; I have a job. If I disappear the Bulls will go after Gabe and anyone else I know."

      "Sara, if you stay you and your child will be in danger, as well as Gabriel and all of your friends. Not only from the White Bulls but from Kenneth as well once he finds out about your child."

      Sara scowls at Ian "I can't just disappear on Gabe. He'll freak out and do something stupid."

      "Do not worry"

      "Ian, Gabe is a hot head. He'll get into some trouble... probably with Dante and Orlansky."

      "Would you like me to bring him here?"

      Sara brightens up "Would you?"

      Ian nods "If that is what you would like"

      Sara smiles "I would like to say goodbye to him"

      "Then I will bring him here" Ian promises

Early Afternoon

      "What's the deal chief?" Gabe asks as he and Sara settle in the living room "Nottingham didn't say much."

      "Some guys tried to grab me last night" Sara tells him.

      "Are you OK?" Gabe asks concerned.

      Sara nods "I'm fine" she assures.

      "Bulls?"

      "Yes" Sara says hugging herself.

      "That's why you're here."

      Sara nods.

      "You're leaving."

      "Yes." she nods "Gabe swear you won't do anymore research on this thing?" she requests holding up her wrist.

      "Sara" he protests.

      "Gabe I'm serious. It's getting too dangerous. I don't want you to get hurt. You need to destroy all the research you've done for me on the Witchblade, its history, Irons, my past... and the White Bulls. Destroy it all and forget that I ever asked you to do it for me."

      "But it's interesting."

      "Gabe it's too dangerous for you."

      Gabe reluctantly nods "OK Sara."

      "Stay out of trouble" she says sternly.

      "I'll try."

      "If you do get into trouble go to Jake. He'll help you."

      "Aren't you going to tell him that you are leaving?"

      "No" Sara says, "You won't tell him I left with Ian. You know they don't get along."

      "I won't tell him." Gabe promises.

      Sara smiles "I'm going to miss you."

      Gabe grins, "I'll miss you too."

      "Gabe can you do me a favor? Ian grabbed some of my clothes and the lockbox my Dad left for me. Once they realize that I'm gone, they'll investigate for a while. After the investigation is done, can you put the Buell and everything else in storage?"

      "I will."

      "Sell the drum set and use the money for storage fees."

      Gabe nods

      "And keep John's guitar for me."

      "Sure."

      "Thanks Gabe" she smiles.

After dark

      "Are you OK Sara?" Ian asks glancing at Sara as he drives.

      Sara shrugs "I'm worried about Gabe and Jake."

      "They will be fine Sara" he assures.

      Sara looks down at her arms resting over her middle "I hope so."

Chapter 3

2 weeks later

      Ian enters the apartment where he finds Sara asleep on the couch. He sets his briefcase down going over to the couch he covers her with a blanket. He picks up the briefcase heading back to his bedroom putting the briefcase in his closet. He removes his overcoat and cap heading out of the room into the kitchen turning on the burner he puts the kettle on.

      "Hi"

      Ian glances at Sara standing in the doorway of the kitchen, "Would you like some tea?"

      "Sure." Sara nods pulling the blanket close she sits at the kitchen table, "Did you get what you needed done?"

      "Yes." He takes out two mugs "How was your doctor's appointment?" he glances at Sara seeing her small smile.

      "She said that everything is fine for 3 and a half months"

      "I'm glad" Ian smiles faintly.

      Sara grins back "So am I."

Couple hours later

      Ian frowns hearing a cry from Sara's room. He sets his book aside standing he hurries to Sara's room entering he finds her tossing and turning in her sleep. He notices the Witchblade stone glowing brightly in the darkness of the room. He goes to the bed crouching he takes her hand in his own.

      At the gentle touch, Sara awakens with a cry her heart pounding.

      "Sara?" he questions concerned.

      Sara swallows sitting up her breathing ragged.

      "I heard you crying." He says reaching out he wipes away her tears, "Are you OK?"

      Sara swallows heavily her breath hitching, "You died protecting me... more than once."

      Ian looks down his hair falling forward "Yes."

      Sara reaches out touching his bearded cheek "Thank you."

      "I would do anything for you Sara" he meets her eyes touching her cheek in return. He moves closer "Anything."

      Sara nuzzles his hand with her cheek "I know." She leans closer kissing him gently on the lips "Thank you" she says her eyes locked on his.

      Ian leans in kissing her in return.

      Sara slides her arms around his shoulders deepening the kiss. She moans as his tongue caresses hers. "Ian" she sighs as his lips move to her cheek and down her neck.

      Ian lifts his head 'So beautiful' he thinks awed as his fingers trail over her lips.

      Sara slides her hands under his sweater caressing his warm skin. Slowly she pulls his sweater off tossing it aside. She gazes at him her hands running over his chest.

Later

      Ian strokes Sara's naked back as he listens to her breath. He reaches down pulling the covers over them, pressing his lips to her hair.

      Sara lifts her head about to speak when she yawns laying her head back down on his chest. She drifts off to sleep listening to Ian's heart heat under her ear and the sound of the Witchblade purring on her wrist.

      "Sleep my Lady" Ian whispers.

Next Morning

      "Ian what do you remember about the past?" Sara asks lacing their fingers.

      "Some" He shrugs

      "But more than me" Sara points out.

      Ian shrugs "I have flashes... dreams."

      Sara kisses his neck "Have you had the one where we're fighting in a chamber?"

      Ian nods "The blade always retracts before you can draw blood."

      Sara looks at him "I hate that one." She admits. "As annoyed as I get with you that dream still frightens me." She scratches at his beard lightly, "Guess you grew on me." She smiles faintly "What else do you remember?"

      "Remembering who you are... what you are. Kissing you the first times, fighting with you... for you."

      "You died for me." She says sadly

      Ian brings her hand to his lips "I swore that I would."

      Sara turns her hand her thumb brushing over his lower lip, "Last night the dream I had..." she tilts her head meeting his eyes "you died in my arms."

      "As I had many times."

      "We were lovers." Sara states

      "Sometimes," he admits, "other times I stayed hidden."

      "How come you remember more?" she questions

      "I do not know, perhaps I am meant to know more. Or maybe it is because I was raised learning about the Witchblade and its Wielders."

      Sara presses her lips to his ring "Thank you Ian... for protecting me then... and now."

      Ian touches his lips to her hair "I always will Sara... no matter the lifetime I will protect you." 'I will always love you.'

      "Ian?"

      "Mmm?"

      "Do you miss home?"

      Ian ponders the question for a moment before speaking, "I have never really had a home." He gives her a shy smile, "You are the closest I have ever had to having a home."

      "Where were you born?"

      "London."

      "What happened to your parents?" she inquires curiously

      "They died when I was a boy." Ian answers sadly

      "And Irons? How did you end up with him?"

      "I do not remember. All I know is what he's told me."

      "What has he told you?"

      "That he knew my father and when my parents did no other family members claimed me so he took me in."

      "He knew you were destined to be the Wielder's Protector"

      "Yes"

      "When did you start remembering?"

      "When I was a boy I guess."

      "Ian?"

      "Yes?"

      "What were you like as a boy?"

      Ian shrugs "I do not remember"

      Sara smiles "I bet you were thoughtful and always asking questions." she frowns "You know I don't know much about you and you know everything about me."

      "What would you like to know?"

      "Umm" Sara scrunches up her nose thoughtfully, "What's your favorite color?"

Afternoon

      Sara gives Ian a weak smile as he hands her a mug of tea "Thank you" she says taking a sip.

      Ian nods sitting beside her, "Do you feel better?"

      "Yes." Sighing she leans against him, "I hope Gabe is OK. If Dante knew how much research Gabe has done on them" She trails off shaking her head.

      "I am sure the boy is fine" Ian assures

      "I just wish I had been able to finish what my father started"

      "I am sure your father understands."

      Sara smiles, "He probably does." She looks at Ian, "I just hope someone stops Dante before he kills someone else's Dad."

      "Someone will" Ian comforts

      Sara sets the mug on the table beside the couch moving onto Ian's lap facing him "Promise me it won't be you... in any way."

      "Sara"

      "Please Ian... swear to me you won't do anything stupid."

      "I swear milady." He strokes her cheek with the back of his hand "But if he or anyone tries to hurt you or your baby I will kill him" he says seriously.

      Sara stares into his eyes as memories flashing between them

      * Two figures sit before a fire locked in a tight embrace as clothes and weapons lay about. "They are bound to find out my love." The woman says sadly.

      "We could leave here." He suggests smoothing her hair back.

      "They will kill us and take the child."

      The man kisses her forehead, "I will kill whoever tries to harm you or your babe."

      She smiles touching his cheek tenderly "Ours my lord. Blood of yours always." *

      Sara blinks as the memory fades. She looks at Ian stunned "Who were they?"

      "I did not recognize them... other than Wielder and Protector."

      Sara frowns "What did she mean Ian?"

      "I do not know."

      "I wonder who they were" Sara muses.

      Ian cups her cheek staring into her eyes "Do not worry Sara."

      Sara leans into his touch turning her head she kisses his palm.

      "I will not allow anyone to hurt you."

      "I don't know why you put up with me. I have said some mean things to you."

      "You speak your mind. I like that about you" he says shyly. "You are honest and kind. It is better than deceitful and cruel."

      Sara scratches lightly at his beard, "Ian... I'm sorry for every mean thing I have ever said to you."

      Sara you do not need to apologize."

      "Yes I do. Call it hormonal guilt" she shrugs

      Ian brings her hand to his lips "I would forgive you for anything Lady Sara."

      "You know for a trained assassin raised by an emotionally challenged psycho you are very sweet and understanding Nottingham" Sara brushes her lips across his.

Chapter 4

Month later

      Sara looks at Ian as he drives "So who are we now?"

      "Glove compartment."

      Sara opens the glove compartment taking out an envelope. She opens it to find two passports with rubber bands wrapped around them. She removes the rubber band from one "Yours" she removes the rubber band from the next one "Sara Bowman" she reads looking at Ian "Does Gabe know?" she asks living her brow.

      Ian nods

      Sara unfolds another piece of paper "Marriage License" she reads through it shaking her head "Christian Bowman?"

      "Gabriel assure me that he would cover the lie"

      "Who are you supposed to be?"

      "His long lost cousin from his father's side."

      "Ian you didn't threaten him did you?!" she exclaims

      "No milady" he promises

      Sara looks at the marriage license "So we've been married for three years" she remarks

      Ian reaches into his overcoat pocket with his free hand taking out a black velvet box "Here" he hands it to Sara.

      Sara opens it to find a diamond in the shape of the Witchblade stone in a platinum seating "Wow"

      "I kept it simple"

      "Ian it's beautiful" Sara says admiration.

      "I thought it would be easier to hide if people believe that we're married."

      Sara nods starting to fidget in the seat. "Ian, can we stop soon? My back is starting to hurt."

      Ian nods "As you wish."

That night: Hotel room

      Sara walks out of the hotel bathroom flopping on the bed with a groan.

      Ian looks at Sara thoughtfully from his position on the floor meditating.

      Sensing his concern Sara lifts her head "You'd think this thing would lessen the bad stuff about being pregnant" she groans.

      Ian gracefully stands moving to the bed "Do you need anything?" he asks rubbing her back.

      Sara rolls to her back reaching up she caresses his cheek, "No I'm fine."

      "Did you take your pills?" he asks

      Sara smiles "Yes. Did you?"

      "You would know if I hadn't"

      "Why do you take them?" Sara asks curiously

      "Seizures. Migraines"

      "And some to control you" she adds

      Ian nods "More to modify the side of me he did not like."

      "Emotions"

      "Yes."

      Sara sits up taking his face between her hands, "You don't have to do that anymore."

      "I know. But I do not know what would happen if I just suddenly stopped taking them."

      "So you've been slowly weaning yourself off them?"

      "Yes"

      "Good."

      Ian caresses her cheek his eyes on hers, "You are the only good thing in my life Sara" he kisses her gently.

      Sara runs her hand down his cheek, 'He is so beautiful.' She meets his lips in a tender yet passionate kiss.

New York: Irons Estate

      Kenneth Irons snaps his pocket watch shut as he stares into the fireplace.

      "I don't think this is wise Kenneth." Dr. Immo protests "He's not ready for the outside."

      "Let me determine that" Irons snaps back. "Christian come down" he calls.

      Out of the shadows of the upstairs library balcony a man steps out, dressed in black, his dark eyes sweep over the room his hands clasped behind his back, he walks down the stairs. "Good evening gentlemen" he stops in front of Irons his head bowed.

      Kenneth moves around the clone of his former bodyguard looking him over "Christian do you know why you are here?"

      "You want me to bring my predecessor and the Wielder to you."

      "Do not harm the Wielder. Bring them both here alive."

      "Where are they?"

      "They are at the Griffin Hotel in Boston" Irons replies "I will inform the pilot you are on your way."

      "Anything else Master?" Christian asks meeting Irons cold gaze with his own hard emotionless one.

      "Try to keep a low profile" Irons orders.

      "Yes, sir." Christian nods.

      "Dismissed"

      Christian nods striding out of the study.

      "Kenneth, he is unstable" Dr. Immo protests.

      "He will be fine Doctor" Irons assures.

      Immo sighs, "I hope so Kenneth."

Boston: After midnight

      "Ian!" Sara slides her hands down Ian's muscular arms to his hands lacing their fingers. She hears the Witchblade purr then hiss, she looks down to see trindles appear sliding around Ian's wrist.

      Seeing the fear in her eyes, Ian leans forward kissing her forehead "Do not worry my love. It is seeking to reconnect." He barely reacts as the sharp trindles slice into his wrist.

      "Ian" she says worried.

      "It does not hurt." he assures kissing her deeply.

Early Morning

      Ian smiles softly as he looks at Sara asleep in his arms. He glances at his wrist seeing the small wounds, 'It remembered me.'

      "Ian" Sara sighs in her sleep.

      Ian kisses her forehead pulling the covers up as he carefully slides out of bed.

Late Morning

      Sara slowly awakens rubbing her eyes she notices a note on the nightstand. Smiling faintly she picks it up

      'My Lady,

      I have some errands to run; I will be back late this afternoon. There is some fruit in the refrigerator and your breakfast is on the table. Call me if you need anything.

      Forever, Ian Christian Nottingham'

      Sara sets the note aside sitting up she stretches then runs her hand over the small mound of her middle. "I bet you are hungry huh." She grabs her discarded pajamas pulling them on and makes her way out of the bedroom to the kitchen smiling when she finds a Danish on the table with another note, an envelope, and her pills.

      'There is juice in the refrigerator ~Ian'

      Sara opens the envelope to find some cash she shakes her head setting the envelope down she sits at the table and begins to eat.

Late Afternoon

      Ian enters the hotel room to find Sara on the couch watching the news. He smiles faintly setting his briefcase down he removes his cap, gloves, and overcoat.

      Sara looks up and smiles, "Hi"

      Ian goes over crouching before her he trails his fingers down her cheek.

      Sensing his unasked question she smiles, "I'm OK Ian." She assures. "You don't need to worry I'm a big girl."

      "I know." He looks down, "I just..."

      Sara reaches up taking his hand from her cheek she senses his loneliness. "I missed you too." She admits as she feels the bracelet warm up she looks at the stone watching in amazement as thoughts and feelings flash through her mind.

      At the same time, Ian receives the images

      Sara looks at him stunned

      "Sara"

      Sara smiles faintly as she guides Ian's large hand to her middle "I think in its own way the baby missed you too."

      "You are correct." a familiar voice says.

      Sara and Ian look over towards the voice to find Elizabeth Bronte standing there watching them with a faint smile, "How?" Sara asks

      Ian bows his head "Elizabeth."

      Elizabeth smiles, "Young Nottingham you have grown since the last time we spoke."

      Ian glances at her, "When you told me that I had to protect the Wielder, that she would be my destiny." He squeezes Sara's hand.

      "Why are we both seeing you?" Sara asks

      Elizabeth smiles at Sara, "Because Ian has been accepted as its Protector... its mate if you will. He can see what the Blade allows."

      "So what cryptic message do you have this time?" Sara asks crossly.

      "The child you carry is very special Sara."

      "So Ian said"

      "More special than imagined."

      "How so?" Sara asks

      "Its time for the destined line of the True Wielder and Protector to begin. That child is that beginning."

      Sara ponders the words for a moment then looks at Elizabeth, "That's impossible; Ian isn't this child's father."

      Elizabeth smiles faintly, "But he is Sara. He may not have been there when this child was conceived but he is nonetheless this child's father."

      Seeing the stricken look on Sara's face, he looks at Elizabeth, "How Lady Elizabeth?"

      "You will understand when the time comes." As suddenly as Elizabeth appeared, she disappears

      Ian sits there his head bowed, "I am sorry Sara I did not know."

      "Ian, please don't do that." Sara moves to the floor her hand caressing his cheek. "Ian look at me..." she pleads.

      At her tone, Ian lifts his head.

      "Please, Ian don't do that, I hate when you do that."

      "I will try."

      "That's all I ask."

      Ian looks at her, "Sara I am sorry this happened. I did not know."

      "I believe you Ian."

      Ian lowers his eyes, "I know how much you cared for Conchobar."

      Sara swallows, "He's gone. I've accepted that." She touches her middle. "I think some part of me knew" she looks down at her hand, "that this child wasn't his."

      "Sara"

      Sara looks at him "Ian I'm not upset. I think I'm more relieved" she smoothes a strand of hair off his forehead.

      "Why?"

      Sara smiles faintly, "Now my baby will have the chance to know its father. Ian" she tilts her head "are you OK with this? Can you love this child?"

      Ian nods "I already love this child... because its part of you."

      "And you," she grins leaning forward she rests her forehead against his "this is your child Ian."

      "I have never thought of having children." he admits.

      "Now you will" she brushes her lips across his.

While later

      "I will be back in a few minutes" Ian leans down kissing Sara's forehead. "Is there anything else you would like while I'm out?"

      Sara shakes her head burrowing into the blankets, "Don't take too long." she smiles drowsily.

      Ian nods

      Sara watches as Ian walks out of the room.

      Outside Ian makes his way to the car stopping in his tracks he frowns slightly looking around, not seeing anyone around he continues walking.

      In the shadows, the figure smiles cruelly as he watches his double drive away. Stealthily he hurries to the room unlocking the door he enters the hotel room smirking as he hears the shower run.

      Sara frowns looking down to see the Witchblade colors swirl and purr uncontrollably. She turns off the water stepping out of the shower she quickly dries off pulling on her pajamas. She winces as the purr gets louder, "Oh shut up. It's probably just Ian." She mutters walking out of the bathroom. "Nottingham you can't be back with dinner already," she says walking out to the living room. She stops in her tracks seeing the dark-haired yet clean-shaven... Ian. She pales her stomach clenching "You aren't Ian." she winces as the double smirks coldly.

      "Oh but I am... just another version. He calls me Christian." He steps forward seeing her activate the Blade he smirks, "It won't work on me."

      As he says that, the Blade and Gauntlet retract. Sara stares at him her arms around her middle "What do you want?" she demands.

      "What if I said you?" he asks looking her over.

      "When hell freezes over!" she snaps angrily 'IAN!'

      Christian chuckles coldly moving closer. "I can see why my brother ran off with you" he reaches out touching Sara's cheek.

      Sara swallows a wave of nausea "Don't touch me" she slaps his hand away

      In the car Ian frowns feeling a tug of fear "Sara"

      Danny appears beside Ian "You better get back man"

      Ian looks at his beloved's dead partner seeing him faintly "She's in trouble"

      Danny nods "If I could help her I would"

      "I know" Ian does a quick U-turn heading back to the hotel

      Sara stares at her lover's double "How are you Ian?"

      "I'm his clone" Christian answers "Irons started my creation in the lab when he acquired my predecessor."

      "Sara" Ian calls entering to hotel room

      Sara yelps as the double wraps his arm around her neck

      Ian stops in his tracks seeing himself holding Sara by her neck "Sara" he says concerned

      "I see why you ran... brother" Christian smiles pulling Sara closer "She's quite beautiful"

      Ian's eyes narrow "What do you want?" he demands pulling out his gun

      "He wants you to return home"

      "No" Ian retorts his eyes on Sara "We are not going back"

      Sara looks down at the Witchblade 'Please don't abandon me right now' she mentally pleads 'Don't put my baby in danger' she wills the Gauntlet to form and the Blade to appear. Once it does, she allows her body to relax and she shifts slamming the Blade into her lover's doubles thigh, as fast as it appeared the Blade retracts.

      Christian grunts releasing Sara with a shove he stumbles

      Ian watches horrified as Sara slams into the wall, "Sara." He rushes over to her kneeling beside her he tenderly touches her cheek.

      Sara gives him a weak smile "We're fine" she assures softly. Her eyes widen as Christian grabs Ian from behind

      Ian turns slamming his fist into his doubles stomach, "Do not touch her... EVER... AGAIN!"

      Sara stands watching horrified as the two trade blows and kicks. As the double pins Ian to the floor Sara feels the Blade extend, she looks down then at Christian. Making up her mind Sara moves over resting the Blade against his neck, "Do you want to take the chance that it knows you are not the real Ian?" she asks.

      "I am him" Christian smirks standing

      Sara looks between the two then shakes her head "You may look alike and all but you are nothing alike."

      Ian flips to his feet grabbing his fallen gun "Sara, go grab your things."

      At his tone, Sara looks at Ian seeing the rage barely hidden in his brown eyes, she wills the Blade to retract leaving the Gauntlet, "Ian don't!" she cries.

      "He almost killed you!"

      "That doesn't make it right for you to kill him." Sara looks at the double "Besides Irons will deal with him in his own way for failing." She slams her fist into Christian's jaw knocking him out. She goes over to Ian touching his cheek, "Let's get out of here before he wakes up."

      Ian looks at his unconscious double then at Sara "We need to hurry he'll wake soon."

      Sara hurries back into the bedroom shoving things into the duffle bags, within minutes they are out at the car. Sara looks at Ian as he pulls out of the parking lot "Ian?"

      "We need a new car" he says gruffly "and leave Boston."

      "Ian" Sara says touching his gloved hand.

      Ian brings her hand to his lips "Do not worry."

Hour later

      "I will be right back." Ian assures kissing Sara's forehead.

      Sara nods squeezing his hand, "Be careful."

      "I will."

      Sara kisses him deeply expressing her desperation and emotions. She steps back watching as Ian walks out of the hotel room as the door closes she bolts to the bathroom.

Half hour later

      Sara senses a familiar presence close by. She runs her fingers through her hair walking out of the bathroom she finds Ian standing there staring at the floor. "Ian?" She walks over to him touching his cheek "Ian?"

      Ian looks at her his gaze pained, "He could have hurt you." He whispers, "I could have lost you."

      "Ian, I'm fine" she assures taking his hand. "Lets go get cleaned up." She leads him into the bathroom turning on the shower glancing at Ian in the mirror as he removes his sweater. She steps back removing her top.

      "Sara" he says noticing a scrape on her shoulder blade.

      "Yes?"

      "You're hurt," he says sadly reaching out he carefully touches the scratch "he hurt you."

      Sara glances at him "It doesn't hurt Ian." She assures reaching up she touches a scrape on his cheek. "You have a scratch too."

      "I'm fine"

      Sara nods "Come on we'll feel better once we shower." She removes her pajama bottoms stepping into the shower; a second later Ian joins her. Quickly they shower stepping out of the shower Ian grabs a towel carefully drying Sara off. Concerned by his silence through their shower Sara reaches up touching his face "Ian?"

      Ian picks her up carrying her into the bedroom; he lays her on the bed, his eyes going over her naked body. "Beautiful" he whispers

      "Ian" she pulls him down kissing him deeply.

      Ian settles atop her his lips trailing over her face tenderly

      Sara whimpers as he slowly and achingly enters her. "Ian" she gasps digging her nails in his shoulders.

      Ian kisses Sara sweetly as he slowly moves. "Sara... my Wielder," he whispers against her lips "so beautiful."

      "Ian... more" she pleads rocking her hips against his.

      Ian continues to move slow and precise causing Sara to squirm and plead.

      Brown eyes meet green as memories flash through their minds

      * "You are my Wielder." The man says gruffly as he looms over the woman underneath him "My Wielder... now and forever."

      The woman nods whimpering she meets his gaze "Forever my Lord."

      "Who are you?" he demands grabbing her hands pinning them over her head, "Who are you?"

      "Your Wielder" she moans clutching his hands.

      "Who am I?"

      She inhales sharply, "My Protector... my Mate" *

      "Who are you Sara?" Ian demands

      Sara arches at his tone, rubbing her lower body against his "Your Wielder."

      Ian nuzzles her cheek "And I am?"

      "My Protector," she gasps "my Mate" she cries out her body quaking in pleasure.

      Ian growls deep as he allows his body to give in. He collapses against Sara nuzzling her neck. "Mine" Ian growls.

      At his possessive tone, Sara shivers stroking his back and pressing her lips to his head.

      Ian slowly lifts his head, "I love you Sara." he says shyly his hair falling forward.

      Sara lifts her hand to his face smoothing his hair back "Somehow, I'm falling in love with you too Nottingham." She admits. "You've wormed your way into my heart." She smiles scratching at his beard "Who'd have thought?" She says amused.

      Ian kisses her sweetly, "We should sleep my Sara." Ian moves off Sara pulling her close "You have had a taxing night."

      Sara nods snuggling close "Stay?"

      "I will stay with you." He promises pulling the covers up "Goodnight my Sara."

      "Goodnight Ian."

Chapter 5

Couple weeks later

      Sara stands out on the balcony overlooking the valley, "Well, baby you are missing quite a sight." She says running her hands over her middle.

      "Sara it is getting cold." Ian says wrapping his arms around her. "You should come inside" he nuzzles her cheek "dinner is almost ready."

      Sara tilts her head, "I love having a domesticated stalker." She laughs.

      Ian kisses her cheek, "Only for you my Wielder." He leads her inside, "What would you like to drink?"

      "Water." she requests sitting at the table she watches as Ian finishes making dinner. She frowns feeling a quick flutter across her middle she rests her hands against her middle grinning when she feels the flutter again, "Ian come here."

      Hearing her excitement, Ian looks over at her setting the plate down he goes to her side "Sara?"

      Sara takes his hand pressing it against her middle. She smiles seeing Ian's eyes brighten as he feels the quick movement, "Ian?"

      "It is quick and fleeting."

      Hearing the faint disappointment, Sara scratches lightly at his beard, "Soon, he or she, will be kicking and punching all the time." She kisses him gently, "Now feed us." She orders teasingly

      Ian smiles "As you wish milady."

Evening

      Sara turns off the computer after talking with Gabe. She turns to find Ian on the couch reading while the news is on. Sara stands going over to the couch she leans against him "Ian?"

      "Yes?" he closes his book setting it aside.

      Sara moves onto his lap "Tell us a story" she requests.

      "I do not know any stories"

      Sara tugs lightly at one of his curls, "Tell us a story about you as a little boy."

      "I do not remember much." He admits sadly

      "What do you remember?"

      "Nothing you need to hear."

      "Oh." Sara rests her head on his shoulder "What did you want to be when you grew up?"

      "With you." He answers. "Since he first told me of the Witchblade I wanted... I knew I'd be your Protector"

      "You never wanted to be the typical things kids want to be?"

      "Like what?"

      "Cop? Firefighter? Doctor?"

      "No." He kisses her cheek, "I have always wanted to be with you."

      "Well, now you are."

      "Did you always want to be a cop?"

      Sara nods "Always. More so after my Dad died."

      "You miss it." He states

      Sara nods "Maybe one day I can be one again."

      "One day." Ian kisses her cheek

      Sara shifts so she's straddling his thighs "You are one interesting guy Ian Nottingham." She smiles kissing him deeply.

Next day

      Ian pulls the car up to the medical building looking at it warily

      Sara shakes her head, "Ian stop worrying. This doctor isn't like Immo or any of the others you've had."

      "I know." He says getting out of the car. He walks around to the passenger door opening it he helps Sara out, "What time would you like me to return?"

      "An hour, hour and a half." She reaches up scratching lightly at his beard, "Go relax have a cup of coffee."

      Ian nods

      "And don't worry Ian, we'll be fine." She kisses his cheek walking away.

      Ian watches as Sara enters the building. After a moment he returns to the car

Little later

      Sara looks at the screen as the doctor runs the wand over her middle, "Too bad Ian isn't here." Sara muses, "He'd love this."

      "Is he at work?" the doctor asks

      "No. Ian, he uh, has doctor issues... big time."

      "That's too bad"

      "He would be here if I asked him. I thought it best he stay away, he tends to get a little guard doggish."

      "Some first time fathers are like that." The doctor chuckles

      "How's the baby doing?"

      "Good, strong and healthy. Also in a good position to find out the sex."

      Sara grins "Really?"

      The doctor nods "Would you like to know?"

      Sara frowns "Could you write it down? I want to talk to Ian about it first."

      "You want to wait until you're with your husband huh."

      "Yes." Sara nods her eyes on the monitor, 'Hi my baby.'

Evening

      Sara settles into Ian's arms on the lawn chair watching as the sun goes down. "Another beautiful sunset."

      "Not as beautiful as you" Ian says

      Sara turns her head, "You are so sweet." She snuggles into his arms holding their hands over her middle "Ian do you want to know the baby's sex?"

      "Do you know?" he asks curiously

      "The doctor wrote it down." She says taking the envelope out of her pocket, "I didn't want to know before you."

      "Do you want to know?"

      "Only if you do. It would make things easier"

      "Then open it"

      "You want to know?"

      "I am curious." He admits running his hand over her middle

      "I do hate surprises." She says opening the envelope; she removes a sonogram and a piece of paper grinning at the words written. "A girl," she looks at Ian "a daughter." She says awed blinking back tears her eyes go to their hands laced over her middle "She's different isn't she." Sara remarks

      "What do you mean?"

      Sara sits up looking at him "I know you feel it Ian. There's something about her."

      Ian tilts his head "She feels like you... but different." He admits

      "Why is it I feel this?" she asks softly

      Ian kisses her forehead "She is part of you... part of our line." he sees the pain flash across her face "We will figure this out."

      Sara rests her forehead against his "I know"

That night

      "No" Sara mumbles

      Ian awakens to the sound of Sara mumbling and whimpering in her sleep "Sara," he says gently touching her arm.

      Sara awakens with a cry her heart pounding.

      "Sara?" Ian touches her shoulder wincing as he feels her pain and fear.

      Sara jumps out of bed bolting to the bathroom.

      Ian follows her kneeling at her side as she kneels over the toilet coughing and retching.

While later

      Ian looks at Sara lying next to him curled up. He wipes a tear from her cheek "Sara what is wrong?"

      Sara hugs her middle, "Irons... he allowed the other to... to kill you," she swallows heavily "as she was being born." With a shaking hand, she touches his cheek, "I felt you die" her eyes go to her middle "she did too."

      "Sara, it was a dream." Ian takes her hand pressing it against his heart. "I'm here."

      "I felt it Ian." She whispers staring at her hand on his chest, "I felt you die." She meets his gaze, "It felt worse than losing my parents, Danny, Maria, and John." She blinks back tears, "I can't lose you Ian, not now."

      "You won't lose me Sara. We are part of each other. No matter the time or place we always find each other" He kisses her gently.

Dawn

      Sara lifts her head from Ian's chest "Don't you ever sleep?"

      "I am conditioned to go on little sleep." He reminds. "You are not," he touches her nose with his forefinger, "now go back to sleep."

      "You're changing midnight diapers then." Sara mumbles burying her face in his neck, "I love you Ian."

      Ian smiles kissing her head "And I you my Sara."

Chapter 6

Couple weeks later

      "I can't believe we've been here for a month" Sara remarks as she and Ian stand on the balcony watching the world below.

      "He is up to something" Ian muses.

      "Ian he's always up to something." Sara reminds. She turns her arms going around his neck she tugs lightly at the curls at the nape of his neck. "Don't worry so much. Gabe said things are fine. Your double has taken your place." She tilts her head thoughtfully smiling, "Though I do believe you are the good, sweet, smart, and cute one." She scratches at his beard "Besides I like you with a beard."

      "Oh really?" he lifts his brow

      Sara nods smiling as she feels a sharp movement "And our daughter agrees."

      "I'm outnumbered."

      "Yep. And something tells me she is going to have you wrapped around her little finger."

      Ian lifts his shoulders "I cannot resist you and she is part of you."

      "Us" she presses her lips to his.

Later

      Sara strokes Ian's hair as his head rests on her chest.

      "Sara" Ian lifts his head

      "Hmm?"

      "I love you"

      Sara looks at him smiling "I love you"

      Ian moves up so their face-to-face "My Sara," his lips trail over her face "my Wielder."

      * "We belong together." Ian says caressing Sara's cheek as they sit before a fire.

      Sara nods, "Yes my love." She looks around "I fear I will lose you, my love." She looks down at her wrist "This thing... it is powerful."

      "I will always be there for you. I will always protect you." He looks at the bracelet on his love's wrist, "It will bring us together... no matter what."

      Sara moves closer her hands sliding under his shirt. Within seconds, their clothes are off hands moving off slick skin.

      Ian looks at the naked woman pulling her into his arms "My love, my heart." *

      Ian tightens his arms around Sara's waist as they move together "My love, my heart," he nuzzles her cheek "my mate." he growls possessively.

      Sara squirms panting

      * Another Sara moans clinging to her Ian

      "Say it" he orders nuzzling her neck.

      "I love you husband."

      "My wife" he sighs *

      "Ian." Sara whimpers clinging to him the words ringing through her soul. "We were married in one life." She says after a moment as she strokes his arm.

      "In some matter of marriage" He lifts his shoulder

      "Did you know?"

      "He hinted at it. I did not know for sure." He looks at her, "Does the fact that we were husband and wife bother you?"

      Sara shakes her head after a moment, "No. Somehow... I don't think it surprises me."

      "Why does it not surprise you?" He inquires

      Sara shrugs "Just doesn't"

      "I love you my Sara"

      "I love you too"

Month later

      "Ian" Sara pants leaning against the wall her arms around her middle. She watches as Ian checks out their surroundings.

      "Are you OK?" he asks taking her face between his hands

      Sara nods "I think so."

      Ian kisses her forehead, "We need to get out of sight." He pulls her close glancing around he leads her away.

While later

      Sara runs her hands over her belly. "Ian, I miss home." She looks at Ian as he sits on the floor meditating.

      Ian opens his eyes standing he goes over to her his arms going around her middle, "I know." He kisses her temple meeting her gaze in the mirror.

      "I want to go home." Sara says

      "Someday."

      "I'm six months pregnant. We can't keep running." Sara goes to the bed sitting down "We can't raise her on the run."

      Ian goes over kneeling before her, "It won't be like this forever Sara."

      "I miss home Ian."

      "I know you do, Sara. I know that you are scared about Irons, the Bulls, and the baby... the future."

      "I want her to have a normal life... or at least a safe, calm one." She wipes at her tears "I hate this."

      "What?"

      "Being this emotional" She rubs her middle. "How can you stand being around me?"

      Ian leans down pressing his lips to her middle. "Because I love you," he nuzzles her belly "and our baby"

      Sara smiles caressing his neck she laughs feeling a sharp kick. "We love you too" she chuckles stroking his hair and neck.

      "What my Sara?" he asks looking at her

      "You always do that"

      "Do what?" he asks puzzled

      "After you meditate you seem more teddy bearish rather than guard doggish." She tugs at a curl "I like it"

      Ian lays his head on her lap reveling in the feeling of Sara touching him

      Sara sits there stroking his hair and neck

Chapter 7

2 Months Later

      "Thank you Ian" Sara grins watching as he dresses.

      "Do you want anything else?" he asks pulling on his sweater

      "No." she strokes her middle "I think that's all."

      Ian caresses her middle "I'll be right back" he leans down kissing her belly.

      Sara smiles watching as he walks out of the room. After a few minutes of trying to get comfortable she sighs, "OK now I can't get comfy." She pats her middle, "How about we go watch some TV while we wait for Daddy to get back with our food." She chuckles as the baby kicks in response, "I see you agree with me." She levels herself out of bed wincing as the baby begins to kick and move frantically. "Hey it's too late for that calm down." She looks at her wrist as the Witchblade heats up; she frowns finding the colors swirl. Suddenly she gasps clutching her middle, "You are in a mood" she mutters rubbing her side "both of you." She glances at her wrist

      "Pez..."

      Sara starts, "Geez, Danny trying to give me a heart attack?!" She glares at him.

      "Sara, you need to leave," Danny says "the other one is coming."

      Sara looks around "Danny I..." she trails off as the door slams open and in Christian walks, "You!"

      Christian enters looking Sara over his lips twitching, "Hello Sara." He moves closer "Ready to go home?"

      "I'm not going anywhere with you!"

      "You do not look like you are in any condition to fight me." He remarks his eyes going to her extended middle, "And the Blade will not put your unborn child at risk."

      Sara looks at Danny

      "Your child is too important Sara. The Blade takes a lot of energy from you."

      Christian grabs Sara's arm "Let's go"

      "Don't touch me" Sara slaps him.

      Christian hisses, "Don't ever hit me!" He grabs her chin forcing Sara to look at him, "He wants you back alive, but he didn't say totally unharmed."

      "You're hurting me!" Sara says angrily

      "Good" Christian growls

      'IAN'

      Ian winces at the fear filled cry echoing through his mind

      "He has them Nottingham"

      Ian swallows "He is taking them to Irons." He closes his eyes "Danny..."

      "No worries man I'll watch out for them."

      Sara glares at Christian "Why are you doing this?"

      "I have my orders" he shrugs.

      "You are nothing like Ian. He knows right from wrong."

      "I know... I just don't care."

Couple hours later

      Kenneth Irons looks up from the computer screen to see Christian enter with Sara. "So what I was told was true." He says noting Sara's enlarged middle "I hope your trip went well?"

      Sara glares at him her arms around her middle "What do you want?"

      "Have a seat Sara" he gestures to a chair. "Would you like something to eat or drink?"

      Sara reluctantly sits down

      "So is the child Ian's or the musicians?" Irons asks

      "None of your business" Sara snaps her eyes flashing.

      "You are due soon; I assume that the child is the musicians... or someone else's." He tilts his head regarding Sara "I wonder if this child will have the necessary components." He looks at Christian, "Alert Dr. Immo to be ready to test the child."

      "Why does my baby interest you?" Sara demands

      "Because it will carry Wielder blood" Irons answers

      "It can help him survive." Ian finishes entering the room from one of the hidden doors.

      "I was wondering when you would show." Irons stands going over to Ian, "You had me worried."

      Ian glances at Christian "You have him." He looks at Sara apologetically.

      "And the lovely Wielder needed you," Irons says amused. "From what your brother has told me you are more than her Protector."

      "He is not my brother" Ian retorts

      Sara watches the exchange sensing Ian's suspicion and fear.

      Ian glances at Sara then at Irons, "I am not a child, and I am no longer your servant."

      Irons stares at Ian "Christian, take Miss Pezzini, to Dr. Immo. I will be there shortly."

      Christian nods stepping out of the shadows

      Sara looks at Ian then reluctantly follows Christian

      Ian watches as Sara leaves the room. He looks at Irons seeing his anger he steels himself as Irons grabs his hair yanking his head back

      "You have disappointed me Ian" Irons says angrily

      Ian glares at Irons "If you hurt her..."

      Irons releases Ian "Why would I hurt the woman who might be carrying the one whose blood might save me?"

      "What of Elizabeth?"

      Irons shakes his head in response; "She does not have enough left. Ian I am afraid my body is rejecting even yours."

      "And what of the child?"

      "If the child is compatible it will stay here."

      "Sara will not allow that... neither will I."

      Irons looks at the younger man "Ian why would you care what becomes of another man's child?"

      "It is a child... Sara's child" 'my child' "Sara will not allow the child to be raised by you"

      "Oh come now Ian, You had everything you wanted."

      Ian shakes his head "I did not have a childhood. I did not have my parents" he looks at Irons "I will not let you do that to another child."

      Sara sees the clone watching her as the doctor moves about the lab. She winces feeling a sharp kick to her ribs 'Come on baby I know you aren't liking this but there's nothing I can do right now.' she rubs her middle.

      "How far along are you?" Dr. Immo asks

      "Around 36 weeks"

      "I need to check your blood pressure"

      Sara rolls up her sleeve as the clone suddenly leaves the room

      Dr. Immo shakes his head

      "You don't trust him" Sara remarks noting the doctor's posture change

      "He maybe a clone but he is different from Ian... Ian is more predictable and relaxed."

      The door opens and in walks Irons

      Sara glares at him wincing at the sharp movement in her side she caresses her middle. "Where's Ian?"

      "He's fine, taking care of a few things." Irons answers looking at Immo "Well?"

      "I haven't been able to do much. Her blood pressure is elevated as is her heart rate."

      The door opens and Ian enters with Christian right behind, "She needs some sleep." Ian says going to Sara's side.

      Dr. Immo nods "Agreed. Tomorrow I will have more of the equipment needed to do a more in-depth exam."

      Irons sighs "Fine." he waves off

      Ian helps Sara off the exam table leading her out of the room

      Sara squeezes his hand sensing his concern "Ian?"

      Ian looks at her "Are you OK?"

      Sara nods touching her middle "I'm just tired"

      "You have not slept much lately"

      Sara remains silent as Ian leads her to one of the second floor guest bedrooms. "Ow" she rubs her side.

      "Sara?"

      Sara gives him a slight smile "I'm fine, just major kickage going on." Sara says sitting down on the bed "I don't think she likes Irons or your double."

      "You should get some rest" Ian kneels helping Sara out of her shoes.

      Sara nods laying back "Stay?"

      Ian nods pulling off his boots he lays down bringing Sara into his arms

      Sara rests her head on Ian's shoulder "What is he going to do with her?" she asks nuzzling his neck

      "I do not know for sure" Ian presses his lips to her hair "Sleep my Sara"

      "Ian" she sighs sleepily

      "Rest"

Few hours later

      Ian opens the bedroom door to find his double standing there

      "He wants you both downstairs." Christian says

      "We will be down in a few minutes" Ian closes the door looking at Sara sleeping. He goes over to the bed smoothing a strand of hair away from her face. He rests his hand against her middle smiling faintly

      Sara smiles feeling his touch she rests her hand over his opening her eyes "Hi"

      "Morning my Sara"

      "What time is it?" Sara asks reaching up she scratches lightly at his beard

      "8 I believe." Ian answers "He wants us downstairs" he turns brushing his lips over her fingers "I will check the closet to see if there is something for you to wear" he brushes his lips over her forehead before standing.

Little later

      Irons looks up from his newspaper to see Ian and Sara enter the dining room "Good you're here."

      Ian pulls out a chair for Sara then sits beside her

      Irons watches the exchange with a faint smile, 'Interesting.' "Would you like some breakfast Sara?"

      Sara swallows a wave of nausea "Don't mention food."

      Ian squeezes her hand comfortingly

      Irons looks at Christian "Escort Sara to the Doctor. I need to speak with Ian"

      Seeing Sara is about to protest Ian shakes his head then stands helping Sara to her feet. He watches as his double leads her out of the room. He looks at Irons head on

      Standing Irons moves closer to Ian

      Suddenly Ian's head snaps back as Irons backhands him

      In the lab, Sara gasps doubling over

      "Miss Pezzini, are you OK?" Dr. Immo asks going to her side

      Sara nods grimacing "She's really active"

      "And is that odd?"

      "Mmm" Sara nods "normally she's calm in the morning."

      "Let's get you checked out" Dr. Immo nods

      "I'm fine"

      "I don't doubt that" Immo says

      "Just humor my worry" Irons says entering the lab

      Sara sees Ian walk in behind Irons his head bowed. Once Ian is at her, side Sara winces seeing a cut on his cheek, gently she touches the cut.

      Ian flinches at the tender act

      Sara glares at Irons over Ian's shoulder

      "Do you need stitches?" Dr. Immo asks

      Ian shakes his head

      Sara winces seeing a bruise forming on Ian's temple 'Poor Ian'

While later

      "You both are healthy. Though your blood pressure is a little high but that's not a surprise with everything" Dr. Immo muses

      "I told you we're fine" Sara says annoyed

      Ian runs his thumb over her hand sensing her rising emotions "Dr. Immo just wanted to be sure" he says soothingly

      Sara sighs

      "Kenneth wants me to do a blood test on your child."

      Sara shakes her head violently. "No," she wraps her arms around her middle protectively "Not going to happen."

      "Ian" Dr. Immo says

      Ian shrugs "It is Sara's choice"

Hour later

      "Are you done?" Ian asks as Sara sets her plate on the nightstand

      Sara nods "I'm done" she gently touches his temple "Are you OK?"

      Ian brings her hand to his lips nodding

      "I don't like that he hurts you" Sara says sadly "Never have."

      "I know" he squeezes her hand

      "The night you came to the apartment and we argued over Jake that was the first time I really understood how you protected me"

      "You should rest"

      Sara lays down "Ian I'm scared" she admits

      "Do not worry Sara everything will be fine" he pulls the covers up "Rest" he kisses her cheek

Chapter 8

That Night: Irons Library

      "Beware Sara" Danny warns

      Sara glances up to see Danny beside her. She looks at Ian seeing his uneasiness. She winces slightly feeling a sharp kick to her ribs, 'Shh, baby it will be OK.'

      "Sara, did you have a relaxing day?" Irons questions taking a sip of his coffee, when she glares at him Ian's smiles faintly. "I truly care Sara. There is no hidden motive... after all you know it"

      "My baby's blood"

      "Partially"

      "I'm not going to let you turn my baby into a science project." She says angrily as the door opens and Dr. Immo walks enters.

      "Sorry for disturbing you Kenneth but something came up." Immo offers Irons a folder

      Sara inhales sharply shifting on the couch uncomfortably

      Ian touches her hand "Sara?"

      Sara looks at him giving him a weak smile "Just a weird feeling. I'm OK" she assures

      Irons reads through the file then looks at Dr. Immo and Christian nodding. He looks at Ian and Sara then tosses the folder onto Ian's lap, "You thought I wouldn't find out?!" he exclaims

      Ian opens the folder to find some of Sara's tests results.

      Sara looks at Ian staring at the floor obviously in conflict, "You still aren't getting your hands on my baby." She says hotly "Don't even test me on that Irons." She looks at Ian seeing the familiar passive look she shakes her head.

      "Yes the child is mine Kenneth."

      Sara smiles faintly seeing Ian meeting Irons gaze

      Kenneth stands glaring at Ian

      "You have no say in our child's life. You are not my boss nor are you my father." Ian stands watching Irons walk toward him

      "I raised you Ian" Irons says his anger rising.

      Sara watches as Irons strikes Ian across the face with such force Ian falls to the floor. She winces almost feeling the hit

      Ian moves to his knees seeing the anger and worry in Sara's green eyes. Suddenly he grunts in pain feeling Irons foot connects with his ribs and hears his ribs crack. Through the haze of pain, Ian hears Sara cry out; he looks over to see Sara double over. "Sara" he calls shaking off his pain he stands going over to her "Sara?"

      "God that hurts" she groans clutching her middle

      "Let's get you upstairs," Ian looks at Irons. "You are not getting your hands on our child. I would kill you before I would allow you to hurt them." He puts his arm around Sara's middle

      "Ian," Sara mutters meeting his concerned gaze, "she's not happy."

      With a final look at Irons, Ian leads Sara out of the room. Once upstairs, he helps Sara lay down removing her shoes. He rests on his side looking at Sara "I am sorry."

      Sara touches his cheek, "You have nothing to be sorry about Ian. None of this is your fault." She shifts wincing slightly

      "Are you OK?" he asks resting his hand on her belly

      "I think she was feeling upset," she touches the forming bruise "worried about you." She pulls at his shirt "How bad is it?"

      "Does not hurt"

      "Ian" she says warningly

      Ian sighs pulling off his shirt "I'm OK Sara; I will have Immo patch me up later."

      "Humor me." She runs her hand over his cheek, "Need to see it for myself." Her eyes on his, Sara runs her hand down his side gently when she sees him wince she stops. "He cracked a couple ribs huh?"

      Ian nods

      "Oh Ian." She caresses his cheek "I'm sorry he hurt you"

      Ian shrugs "It is OK my love, I am used to it. As long as he does not hurt you," he chuckles feeling the baby moving against his hand "or our daughter; I do not care what he does to me."

      "Well we care about what happens to you. One day he could totally lose control and really hurt you."

      "I know"

      Sara smoothes his hair back "I know all this change has been hard on you. Irons is a big part of who you are... he's your family."

      Ian shakes his head "He is no longer my family... you are my family now." He kisses her sweetly "I love you my Sara."

      "I love you too."

Couple hours later

      RING

      Ian grabs the bedside phone "Yes" he says softly not wanting to wake Sara.

      "He wants to speak to you" Christian says

      Hearing that Ian nods "Tell him I will be right down"

      "Fine"

      Ian hangs up the phone sitting up he gets out of bed quickly dressing. He leans down kissing Sara's cheek "I love you," he whispers "both of you." After a few moments, he stands quietly he walks out of the room he heading downstairs to the study where he finds Irons standing before the fireplace.

      Kenneth looks at Ian, "How is Miss Pezzini?"

      "She is sleeping"

      Kenneth sets his wine glass down, "I am very surprised that you were able to keep your relationship with Miss Pezzini a secret."

      Ian looks at Irons warily "My relationship with Sara does not concern you."

      "But it does Ian." Irons grabs Ian's arm shoving up his sleeve he scowls seeing the two small marks on Ian's wrist. "You were accepted as her Protector... her mate" he says angrily releasing Ian's arm roughly

      "Remembered" Ian corrects

      "So tell me does Sara know all about you young Nottingham?"

      "I have no secrets from Sara." Ian replies calmly. "Is that all? I need to return to Sara." He turns to the door when suddenly a hard object hits him between the shoulders he falls to the floor.

      "Take him downstairs" Irons orders stepping over Ian's prone body "Then check on Sara."

      Upstairs Sara awakens feeling a twinge in her neck. "Ian" she reaches over to wake him; feeling his spot empty, she sighs sitting up. "Might as well go to the bathroom while I'm awake." She gets out of bed making her way into the bathroom.

      Christian drops his double on the floor of the cell. He watches as Ian stirs with a groan

      Ian opens his eyes to find his double standing there. He slowly stands watching Christian warily "What is he planning?"

      Christian shrugs "He does not tell me until need be"

      "And Sara? What is he going to do to her?"

      Christian steps out of the cell closing the door "That is none of my concern."

      Ian goes over to the bars "You do care. Sara is a part of you as well. That child carries our blood. He's going to treat her as he treats us... maybe even worse."

      Christian shrugs turning he walks out the room

      After a few moments Ian goes over to the cot sitting cross-legged he closes his eyes taking a deep breath "Do not abandon her" he requests.

      Sara walks out of the bathroom doubling over, she clutches her middle "Oohh" She groans in pain. "That hurt" she winces rubbing her middle. She takes another step when images flood her mind

      * Ian talking with Irons

      Ian collapsing on the floor with Irons standing over him

      Christian and Ian talking in a dark room *

      "Ian" she gasps pain shooting through her body the world begins to spin as she faints hitting the floor with a thud.

      Christian stops outside his doubles room, when his sensitive ears pick up the sound of a faint thud, concerned he opens the door to find Sara unconscious beside the bed. He kneels down her checking her pulse then grabs the phone off the nightstand dialing Dr. Immo's extension, "Miss Pezzini has collapsed in the bedroom."

      "Bring her down to the lab"

      At Immo's order, Christian hangs up the phone and quickly picks up the Wielder carrying her downstairs to the lab.

      "Where's Ian?" Dr Immo asks as Christian sets the woman down on the exam table.

      "Downstairs"

      Dr Immo winces at the implication of the word. He picks up a bottle. "Go tell Kenneth she's in here" he instructs as he waves a bottle of smelling salts under Sara's nose.

      Christian nods with a final look at Sara he leaves the room

      Sara opens her eyes coughing at the smell of the salts. She groans swallowing a wave of nausea. "What happened? Where's Ian?"

      "You passed out." Dr. Immo answers. "Christian brought you down," he grabs his stethoscope, "Lets check you out."

      "What did they do to Ian?" Sara demands struggling to sit up

      "You will have to speak to Kenneth about that." He puts his hand on Sara's shoulder, "Lie still until I finish examining you" seeing her look he sighs "Please"

      Sara reluctantly lays back allowing Dr Immo to examine her

      "What happened before you passed out?" Immo asks

      "Back ache woke me up. When I woke up, I went to the bathroom... I must have passed out on the way back."

      Dr Immo nods glancing at his watch as he checks her pulse

      Sara doubles over gasping for breath pain radiating through her body

      "Immo" Irons says striding into the room looking unruffled "What's the situation?"

      Immo looks at Irons then at Sara, "I'm afraid she's in labor"

      "WHAT?!" Sara exclaims, "I have four weeks left!"

      "How long?" Irons demands

      "Not sure. Labor and delivery is not my area, it has been 25 years since I delivered a baby." Dr Immo remarks. "The child should be OK. She's at a healthy size"

      Sara runs her hands over her middle "Where's Ian?" she demands glaring at Irons

      "He's fine" Irons says

      "I know you did something to him" Sara states

      "Miss Pezzini you need to relax" Dr Immo requests

      "Not until I know he's OK." Sara argues

      "You have my word that Ian is well." Irons says calmly

      "How do I know your telling the truth?" Sara demands her voice rising

      Christian steps forward "My predecessor is well Lady Sara" he says politely before stepping back into his submissive position

      "I want him here!" Sara orders

      "That is not possible" Irons waves off "Call me if there is any news" he turns striding out of the room

      Sara swallows taking a deep breath 'Ian' she closes her eyes. She twists the Witchblade on her wrists absently

      "Sara"

      Sara opens her eyes to find Danny beside her

      "It'll be OK, Pez." Danny promises

      Sara nods blinking back tears she runs her hands over her middle, 'My baby.'

      Downstairs Ian opens his eyes a sense of dread filling his body when he sees Irons standing outside the cell. He stands as Irons enters. "What is wrong with Sara?"

      "You love her" Irons muses seeing the concern in Ian's eyes

      "Yes" Ian nods "Please Master, tell me what is wrong with her?" he requests his voice filled with concern and fear

      Irons smiles at Ian's tone "It has been a while since you've begged young Nottingham"

      Ian looks down feeling his anger and shame rise

      "As amusing as this is" Irons says rubbing the marks on the back of his hand "I came down to inform you that your lover" he spits out "is in labor"

      Ian starts in surprise he looks at his former Master "Is she OK?"

      "Dr Immo is with her. He'll take care of her."

      "I need to see her" Ian requests his dread rising

      Irons shakes his head "I will send Christian down when there is any new information." he walks to the door pausing "Your going to be a father soon" he looks at Ian "Miss Pezzini will be fine"

      "Kenneth I don't care what happens to me. Just let me see Sara" he watches Irons walk out of the room. As the door closes, Ian slides to the floor rubbing the back of his neck.

      Sara looks at Dr Immo as he examines her unborn daughter on the monitor "How is she?"

      "Heart beat is a little erratic. Otherwise your daughter seems to be fine," he says "I'll keep a close eye on her" he promises

      Sara nods still feeling apprehensive. 'Something doesn't feel right. Don't worry baby I won't let anything happen to you.' she looks at the Witchblade 'Ian'

Chapter 9

Couple hours later

      Sara paces the floor of the lab when she doubles over

      Dr. Immo hurries over to her side "Miss Pezzini," he says concerned "let's get you back to bed." he helps her back to the bed

      "Something isn't right." Sara grinds out as she lies back on the bed

      "Christian, tell Kenneth I need to speak with him." Dr. Immo calls to the silent watcher standing in the corner. As Christian leaves the room Immo looks at the Wielder, "Everything will be alright"

      "I need Ian" Sara gasps blinking back tears she looks at Immo "please"

      Dr Immo nods "I'll see what I can do."

      Sara closes her eyes taking a deep breath

      Dr Immo picks up the test results looking over them 'What am I missing here?'

      Kenneth enters the office "How is everything going?"

      "Kenneth I need you to bring Ian up here" Immo requests

      "And why is that?" Irons questions

      "His presence might call mother and child down... perhaps speed up her labor."

      "I do not think that is wise" Irons remarks

      "Irons I need Ian here" Sara pleads pain inflicting her tone "please Irons he deserves to be here when she's born"

      After a moment Irons nods "Fine. Christian bring Ian up here"

      Sara winces 'Don't worry baby, Daddy's on his way he'll make you feel better.' she swallows heavily 'I hope'

      Christian enters the room going to the cell door he unlocks it. "He wants you upstairs"

      Ian stands "Is something wrong with Sara?" he asks concerned

      Christian shrugs "The doctor knows more than I. She looks to be in a lot of pain."

      Sara lays there listening to the hum of the monitors 'It'll be OK baby' she twists the ring Ian had given her during their pretend marriage

      "Ian glad you could join us"

      Sara looks over to see Ian entering the lab with Christian right behind "Ian" when he reaches her side she smoothes her fingers over his face

      At her silent concern he kisses her fingers "I'm fine" he kisses her forehead

      Sara nods feeling slightly relieved

      "How are you doing?" he asks resting his hand against her middle

      "Better" she says lacing their fingers she closes her eyes "Oh boy" she groans squeezing Ian's hand as a contraction starts

      Irons watch thoughtfully as Ian comforts Sara, "You had your visit" he nods at Christian "Take him back downstairs."

      "No" Ian says angrily "I'm staying with Sara"

      Irons lifts his hand, stopping Christian in his tracks, "You raised your voice to me" he says angered yet somewhat amused. He raises his cane

      "Ian" Sara says seeing the act

      Ian lifts his arms blocking the blow. He pivots yanking the cane out of Kenneth's hands "No more. I am no longer your servant... nor am I a child." he turns back to Sara kissing her knuckles "I'm staying with Sara"

      Sara looks down at her wrist to see the stone of the Witchblade swirling angrily. She leans into Ian whimpering she clutches his hand

      Ian winces feeling a sharp prick on his wrist. He looks down to see trindles of the Witchblade enter his wrist. His eyes meet Sara's as memories flash between them

      Sara looks at him scared "It's going to happen again"

      "No it won't. I won't let it"

      "We keep reliving it... why?!"

      "Reliving what?" Irons demands

      With his eyes on Sara's Ian answers, "The first Wielder was pregnant by her Protector. Not long after the Witchblade was forged, the woman who became the first Wielder became pregnant. The men all saw the power it gave her and her Protector. They did not like that a woman could wear such a powerful weapon. The men attacked the Wielder and Protector"

      "They fought but in the end" Sara looks at Ian "it was too late. She lost the child." she looks at Irons "That's why the Blade rejects men. It accepted the Wielder's child as though it was its own." Sara slides her arms around Ian's neck burying her face in his neck "Don't let him take her" she whispers so only Ian can hear her.

      "Shh rest love" he kisses her head

Couple hours later

      "Kenneth this has gone beyond what I can do" Dr Immo says worried as he watches Ian comfort Sara

      "Call in some favors and get someone here who can help" Irons orders

      "Ian it hurts" Sara says pained doubling over

      "IMMO" Ian calls holding Sara

      Dr Immo goes over seeing the look of pain on Sara face "Contraction?"

      Sara nods grimacing

      Immo frowns looking at the monitor "We're going to need to take her to the hospital"

      Ian looks at him scared

      "I'm not equipped to deliver a baby under this condition"

      "Ian you are not taking her out of here" Irons says his voice rising

      "Go bring your car around. I'll bring her out" Ian orders his eyes going to Irons "I am taking Sara to the hospital." he says as Immo scurries out of the lab "Stop me and I will kill you."

      "Threatening me Ian?" Irons says stepping up to Ian

      "Protecting Sara and our daughter from you" Ian turns his back to Irons looking at Sara

      "Ian" Sara says her eyes widening as she sees Irons raise his arm a syringe in hand

      Ian pivots catching Irons hand. He twists it behind Irons back leaning in, "Stay away from my wife and daughter."

      "Ian" Sara says worried

      Ian releases Irons with a shove going over to Sara's side he wraps her in a blanket lifting her into his arms. Hearing her whimper he presses his lips to her hair "It will be OK love" he says softly. He looks at Christian seeing his doubles slight nod of approval he walks out of the lab with Sara in his arms.

20 mins later

      Dr Immo pulls the car up to the Emergency Room entrance

      Ian looks at his doctor "You should lay low. He won't forgive either of us for this"

      "I know" Immo nods "but I couldn't let him hurt you anymore."

      "Thank you." Ian says getting out of the car; he lifts Sara out of the back seat

      "Good luck Ian... and congratulations"

      Ian nods hurrying into the Emergency Room "I need some help" he calls

      "What's wrong sir?" a nurse asks

      "She's in labor." Ian answers setting Sara on a stretcher

      "How far along is she?" a doctor questions joining them

      "About 36 weeks" Ian answers following them down the hallway

      "Ian" Sara groans

      "Shh" he smoothes her hair backs.

      "How long has she been having heavy contractions?"

      "I don't know... half hour or so" Ian shrugs

      "What's her name?"

      "Sara Pezzini" Ian answers his eyes on Sara

      Sara groans, "Something doesn't feel right."

      The doctor pats her arm "We'll know more once we get you examined." he looks at the nurses and Ian "Lets send her upstairs"

20 mins later

      As the doctor and nurses work Ian and Sara, talk quietly. "I called Gabriel." Ian informs her

      "Really?"

      Ian nods "I told him that you were in the hospital."

      "Thank you Ian"

      "Your welcome my Sara" Ian kisses her hand

      "Are you ready Miss Pezzini?" the doctor asks

      Sara nods "I'm ready"

Little later

      "It's a girl!" The doctor announces, second later a cry fills the air.

      Sara smiles at Ian then at the baby as the nurse sets the newborn in her arms "Hey you" she says awed

      Ian kisses the top of Sara's head his eyes on the newborn

      "She's pretty good size for a preemie" a nurse remarks "how about I go clean her up and bring her back"

      Sara nods reluctantly handing the baby to the nurse

While later

      "I'll give you some time with her before I do a thorough exam on her" the doctor says

      Sara looks up from the baby in her arms "Thank you" she smiles faintly looking down at the silent baby in her arms. As the door closes Sara speaks, "She's so small."

      "That she is" Ian agrees his eyes on his newborn daughter

      "What are you thinking?"

      Ian slips his finger into the baby's small hand "She's perfect... like you" he gives Sara a shy smile "and beautiful"

Couple hours later

      Ian stares out the window of the hospital room as Sara speaks with the nurse

      "I'll come and check in on you in a few minutes." the nurse tells Sara "Call if you need anything" she says walking out of the room

      Sara looks at the nursing baby "Ian?"

      Ian looks over at the bed "Yes love?"

      "What's wrong?"

      "Nothing" he replies sitting on the edge of the bed

      "You're worried about both of them" Sara remarks

      Ian looks down

      Sara reaches up running her hand down his cheek "Ian it's OK to be worried about them. Irons raised you. And Christian... he's a part of you"

      Ian nods

      "Now we have something more important to deal with"

      "What?"

      "She needs a name" she tilts her head "What do you want to name her?"

      Ian shrugs

      "We have time"

Late afternoon

      Ian stares at Sara as she sleeps. He hears the door open and looks over to see Gabriel Bowman enter the room

      "How are they?" he asks softly

      "Sleeping" Ian stands grabbing his overcoat "Stay with them. If Sara wakes tell her I will be back shortly"

      "Where are you going? She's going to ask" he shrugs

      "I have something important to do" Ian answers

      "Sure don't tell me details. If she tries to kill me I'll come back and haunt you." Gabe threatens as Ian walks out the door.

Half hour later

      "Ian" Irons looks up as Ian enters his study. He stands "How is Sara doing?"

      "Fine" Ian replies "I came for my records"

      "And why is that?" Irons asks

      "Because I am done here... its over"

      "You are never done Ian" Irons says with a faint smile "I own you"

      Ian shakes his head, "No Sara owns me. I am through with killing, with taking orders. I will not put Sara or our daughter in danger"

      Irons chuckles "Ian they will always be in danger. She is the Wielder and a police officer. You are an assassin... a warrior. The best of the best. If you leave Ian they will be in danger."

      "No longer Kenneth. Its over"

      "You won't cut ties with me Ian. I raised you" Irons says his voice rising. "You would have been alone if it hadn't been for me."

      "I still would have found my way to Sara" Ian shrugs

      "You ungrateful bastard" Irons yells, "I raised you!"

      "No you trained me" Ian returns "You tried to kill Sara. You had my family killed. You almost killed my child."

      "Christian, kill him." Irons orders then smirks at Ian "don't worry Ian your daughter will know you... in Christian"

Hospital

      Sara awakens to hushed voices. She opens her eyes to find dark-haired Gabe flirting with a blond nurse "Mm." she sighs stretching

      "Oh hey Pez" Gabe grins

      Sara smiles sleepily "Hey Gabe its good to see you"

      "I'll see you around Gabe." the nurse smiles "Call if you need anything Miss Pezzini"

      "So what do you think of her?" Sara asks looking in on the sleeping newborn

      "She's cute" Gabe remarks shaking his head "You a Mom"

      "I know" Sara smiles

      "How long have you been back in New York?"

      "Christian... Ian's double found us. He dragged me back and Ian followed. Two nights ago"

      "Well I'm glad your back. New York isn't the same without you" he looks at the baby shaking his head "I still can't believe Nottingham's her father"

      Sara looks around "Where is Ian?"

      "Said something about taking care of something" Gabe shrugs

      "Did he say what?" Sara asks

      "No"

      Sara frowns where there's a knock on the door

      The door opens and in walks Jake McCartey. "Pez," he says stunned "So Bowman was telling the truth."

      "Hey Rookie" Sara grins "good to see you"

      "Where have you been?! You had me worried" he says his voice rising

      "Shh" Sara hushes "don't wake her" she gestures to the basinet

      Jake looks in at the baby "You have a kid" he says amazed

      Sara nods picking up the sleeping baby, "She doesn't have a name yet."

      Jake frowns "Who's her father?"

      "Ian is" Sara answers kissing the baby's covered head

      "Notthingham?! You slept with the assassin?!" he says angrily

      "It's a long and confusing story" Sara shrugs

      Jake runs his fingers through his hair "Where is he?"

      "Had an errand to run" Gabe answers

      Sara looks at the clock, "Gabe how long has he been gone?"

      "Hour or so" he shrugs

      "Why did you up and run?" Jake demands

      "We knew the Bulls and Irons would try something. We had no choice" she looks at the baby "We wanted her safe"

      Jake nods "You should have called or emailed me and let me know you were OK"

      "Sorry. I didn't want to drag you into this" Sara explains "not with the Bulls around"

      "You know" Jake says seeing the look on Sara's face

      "Ian figured it out." She says

      "Figured out what?" Gabe demands

      "Nothing" Sara and Jake says automatically

      "I'm not going to tell anyone." Gabe protests

      "I know. You just don't need to know" Sara assures

Hour later

      Sara frowns "I'm starting to worry"

      "He's a big boy Pez." Jake assures "He probably got distracted."

      "I have a bad feeling." Sara says looking at the baby dozing in her arms. She glances at the silent stone, 'Ian where are you?' At that moment the door opens and Sara looks up to see Ian enter the room, "Ian where were you?" She frowns seeing the pain in his eye, "Ian? What's wrong?" She turns to Gabe "Take her" she requests.

      Gabe carefully takes the baby

      Sara goes to Ian's side as he slumps "Ian"

      "I'm free Sara" he looks at Sara his eyes pained yet happy

      "Jake, get a doctor!" She orders seeing blood seep through his black sweater. "Ian baby what happened?" she asks pressing her hand against the wound.

      Ian groans

      "He tried to kill us"

      Sara looks up at the voice to see Christian standing there "Where is he?" she demands

      "He's dead." Christian answers looking at his double "Ian saved my life."

      "You are me" Ian says pained.

      "Shh Ian" she kisses his forehead.

      "Here" Christian hands Jake a couple computer disks "Irons records on the Bulls. All records of deaths and dealings he did or ordered the Bulls to do."

      Jake stares at the disks surprised. "Thanks" he says as the nurses and doctors enter.

      Sara stands stepping back watching as the nurses and doctor with Christian and Jake's help get Ian onto a stretcher. "Ian" she breathes as the baby cries.

      "Uh Pez" Gabe says

      Sara tears her eyes from the unconscious Ian to look at Gabe holding the crying baby; "I need to wash my hands first" she hurries into the bathroom.

      "Come on kid don't cry" Gabe pleads

      Sara walks out of the bathroom taking the baby from Gabe "Shh its OK" she looks at Christian "Thank you."

      Christian nods. "He's safe now... as are we all" he walks out the door.

      Jake looks at Sara "And soon they'll get what they deserve."

      "Make it hurt Jake. I want them to pay for everyone."

      "I will" Jake promises "I have to take this back to headquarters. I'll be back as soon as possible."

      Sara nods cuddling the baby

      "I'll send some agents to stay outside your door and Nottingham's."

      "Jake you won't..."

      "I'll find a way to keep him from being charged," Jake promises "at least not for the crimes that Irons ordered him to do."

      "Thank you Jake. I know you and Ian don't get along."

      Jake shrugs "Its OK Pez."

Chapter 10

Next Morning

      Sara smiles as Ian stirs "Hey Nottingham" she smoothes his hair back

      "Sara" she says groggily

      "You feeling OK?" she asks

      Ian nods

      "Good."

      "How bad was it?"

      "Since you waited so long to come in you lost a lot of blood. The bullet was inches from your lungs."

      "Oh"

      "You'll be fine." she smiles

      "I love you Sara."

      "I love you too Ian." She says softly, "Now get some rest." She grins "Elliana Danielle is waiting to see her Daddy again."

      "Elliana? How did you...?"

      "Jake, he found a copy of your birth certificate among some files in Kenneth's desk." Sara smiles "What do you think?"

      Ian smiles faintly "Perfect."

      "Good. Now get some rest. We have a lot ahead of us." She watches as he drifts back to sleep, after a few minutes she stands walking out of the room to find Jake standing with some FBI agents.

      "Is he awake?" Jake asks

      "Not enough," Sara replies "Give him some time," she says looking at the FBI agents "he's been drugged, beaten, and shot all in three days."

      "Miss Pezzini, his boss is dead at his hand." An agent reminds.

      "Look, Ian's been through a lot. Just let him rest until this afternoon. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go see our daughter."

Mid-Afternoon

      "I've got a few questions for you Mr. Nottingham." one of the FBI agents says

      Ian nods his eyes on Sara. "Go ahead"

      "Full name?"

      "Ian Christian Nottingham"

      "Age?"

      "35"

      "Where were you born?"

      "London, England"

      "US citizen?"

      "Yes"

      "What happened last night?"

      Ian takes a calming breath, "I went to speak to Mr. Irons. He hit me then he shot me"

      "Why did he shoot you?" asks Jake

      "Because I wasn't going to allow him to take our daughter."

      "Why would he do that?" asks the older agent

      "To raise her like me" Ian says sadly

      Jake nods "We've seen some of the security tapes but there are ones missing."

      "I wouldn't know. I've been gone" Ian says

      "Gone?" asks the older agent

      "After I told him I was pregnant we thought it best if we were to leave," Sara explains. "We didn't want anything to happen to the baby."

      The older agent nods "Mr. Nottingham what happened to the body in the refrigeration unit?"

      Ian shrugs "Kenneth must have moved it."

      "How long have you known him?" Jake asks

      "Since I was a boy, he gained custody of me after my parents death."

      "How did they die?" the older agent asks

      Ian shrugs "I'm not sure"

      "Mr. Nottingham is there anything else you'd like to tell us?"

      "Not now" Ian says looking away

      Jake nods "We still need to go through the security tapes. We'll give you some time to rest up and then we'll talk more"

      Ian nods

      "Mr. Nottingham don't leave town" the older agent requests

      After the agents leave Ian looks at Sara "How much do they know?"

      "I'm sure Christian destroyed anything incriminating toward you both." She says as the phone next to the bed rings. "Yes?" she grabs it, "OK I'll be right up." She hangs up the phone "I have to go. Your daughter is hungry," she kisses him "I'll be back once she's settled."

      Ian nods "I love you Sara."

      Sara smiles "I love you too." She squeezes his hand, "Get some rest," at Ian's nod she stands walking out of the room.

3 days later

      Sara smiles at the sight of Ian watching the dozing Elliana, "What do you think?"

      "She looks like you" he says awed

      "Think she's going to have curly hair." Sara chuckles "The doctor said she's gained weight and she'll be able to leave in a few days."

      Ian nods

      "I think we lucked out. For being 3 weeks early she's had no major health problems." She strokes the baby's cheek.

      Ian smiles as Elliana yawns, "She's my second chance... to be" he tilts his head "normal."

      "Nottingham, you'll never be normal," Sara laughs kissing his cheek "that's why I love you."

      "I love you Sara" he kisses the baby's head "and you Elliana."

Chapter 11

Month Later

      Sara walks down the stairs of their new town home. She smiles seeing month old Elliana on the floor of the living room cooing. She stops picking up the baby, "Hey sweetie you having fun huh" she kisses the baby's cheek, "How about we go see what Daddy's up too." She enters the kitchen to find Ian at the table reading a piece of paper. "Uh, oh Daddy's got deep thoughts."

      Ian looks up to see Sara standing in the doorway holding Elliana.

      Sara sighs at his expression, "What's wrong Ian?"

      "Jake brought these over." Ian gestures to the papers

      "What are they?" Sara asks.

      "The write up on what they found. The videotapes" he swallows "of my punishments everything but the references to you as the Wielder or the people he ordered me to kill."

      Sara sits down with Elliana on her lap "Why are you reading it Ian?"

      Ian shrugs "He also brought a copy of Kenneth's will."

      "So?"

      "He left everything to us but a few things he left to associates."

      "What do you mean he left us everything?"

      "The company... the estates.... the Witchblade collection" Ian pauses "and he left a trust fund for us."

      "Wow."

      "Once they finish the case his estate and companies will probably be confiscated and sold."

      "It's for the best. He hurt a lot of people" Sara shrugs.

      "So did I."

      "You had no choice. He did. That choice was taken from you when you were a boy." She touches his cheek "They'll understand you had no choice when they realize how he raised you."

      Ian kisses her hand, "Jake told me they want you to testify against Dante."

      Sara nods "I said yes."

      "Are you sure my love?"

      "I have to do this for my Dad and Maria. He deserves it. I don't want Elli to have to face the Bulls." Sara looks at the baby dozing against her chest.

      "She'll be safe love."

5 months later

      Sara steps out on the patio to find Ian sitting on the steps of the pool with six-month-old Elli on his lap gurgling happily. She smiles at the two bonding "Hey you two" she says grabbing a towel.

      Ian looks up to see Sara wearing her bathrobe holding a towel. He stands handing Sara the wet and wiggling baby.

      "Hey Elli lets go get you dried and dressed" Sara smiles kissing the baby's cheek. "Uncle Gabe is going to be here soon."

      Ian stands wrapping the towel around his waist he follows Sara into the house.

20 mins later

      Ian walks out of the bathroom to find Sara dressing Elli on their bed 'My family' he thinks proudly.

      Sara stops talking to Elliana looking at her wrist to see the colors of the Witchblade stone swirling.

      "What's wrong my love?" he asks.

      Sara shrugs "Nothing. Sometimes it just reacts" she picks up Elliana carrying her over to the playpen she sets the baby down.

      Elli looks around and whimpers.

      "Just a second Elliana. Momma's got to get dressed first" Sara says goes to the closet taking out a pair of dress pants and shirt.

      Ian hugs Sara from behind kissing her temple "Ready?"

      Sara leans back into his arms "Yeah. He's caused enough trouble"

      "Soon he won't be able to cause him anymore."

      "Good" Sara sighs

Half hour later

      Ian opens the door to find Gabe standing there, "Bowman" he says in greeting.

      "Hey Nottingham" Gabe greets entering the house "Where's the Chief and Elli?"

      "Sara's feeding her" Ian answers

      Sara sits in the rocking chair looking down at the feeding baby. "Well, Elli, Mommy, and Daddy are going to court, Mommy's going to help put away the men who hurt your Grandpa, your Aunt Maria, and your Uncle Danny."

      Ian glances at the clock as Gabriel searches for food. He makes his way out of the kitchen and up the stairs to the nursery standing in the doorway he watches as Sara gives the baby her bottle. "Sara?"

      Sara looks up and smiles.

      Ian makes his way over kneeling beside the rocking chair "Gabriel's here, love."

      "Raiding the refrigerator already?"

      "Of course." Ian strokes the baby's head "Does he always have to do that?"

      Sara smiles at him, "Here he can find healthy food rather than eating only junk food and cold leftovers. Besides you can cook... he and I can't." She looks at the baby and smiles, "You really are hungry huh sweetie."

      "We need to leave soon."

      Sara nods "She's almost done with her bottle."

      Ian stands "Sara, are you sure about this?" he asks after a few moments of silence.

      "Ian, I have to finish what my Dad started. I want that part of my life closed."

      Ian nods

      "No worries Ian. I got you and Jake there... my two guard-dogs." She smiles seeing Danny in the corner "And Danny will be there."

      Danny nods "Sure will Partner."

      Ian kisses her temple.

10 mins later

      "Gabriel, get your shoes off the table." Ian says walking into the living room.

      Gabe looks up to see Ian and Sara enter with Elli.

      "Hey Gabe" Sara greets handing the baby to Ian she grabs her jacket off the back of a chair. "You know how Ian is about shoes on the furniture."

      Gabe rolls his eyes

      "OK she's had a bottle. If we aren't back in 3 or 4 hours there's a bottle in the refrigerator. She'll be ready for a nap in an hour or so. Don't forget to change her when she gets up from her nap."

      Gabe scowls

      Sara chuckles "You've changed her before" she leans in kissing Elli's cheek "Bye Elli be good for Uncle Gabe" she smiles at the baby's grin.

      Ian hands Elli over to Gabe "Ready?"

      Sara nods "Yeah" she looks at Gabe "Thanks for watching her."

      "No problem" he shrugs "I had nothing better to do. Besides I haven't seen my favorite kid in a while."

      "There are some Feds outside just in case." Sara reminds

      "Saw them." Gabe replies

      Sara follows Ian out to the garage as Ian opens the passenger side door she kisses his cheek before getting in.

20 mins later

      Sara takes a deep breath as Ian turns off the car. "It's almost over."

      Ian takes her hand kissing her knuckles "Yes it is"

      Sara notices Jake walking towards the car. She looks at Ian "Behave" she says sternly.

      "I will if he does" Ian says roughly.

      Sara sighs shaking her head "Come on" she opens the door stepping out "Hey Jake."

      "Pez." he grins then nods at Ian "Nottingham."

      "McCartey" Ian returns joining Sara.

      "Breaks almost over" Jake informs them as they walk towards the elevator.

      Sara enters the elevator standing between Jake and Ian. She squeezes Ian's hand. As they get out of the elevator and walk down the hallway towards the courtroom Sara ignores the press throwing out questions. Once inside she settles down behind the lawyers with Ian and Jake on either side. She glances over at Dante to see in glaring at her. She smiles covering her chuckle with a cough when she sees Danny standing behind Dante giving the former Captain bunny ears.

      "What?" Jake questions puzzled

      "Just had a thought of Dante with bunny ears" she snickers

      "Danny?" Ian asks softly

      "Yeah" Sara nods squeezing his hand

      "Your honor the state calls Sara Pezzini to the stand" the prosecutor says

      Sara stands making her way up to the witness stand

      "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?" the court officer asks

      Sara nods "Yes"

      "You may be seated" the Judge instructs

      Sara sits down looking at the prosecutor as she absently twists the Witchblade on her wrist.

      "Detective Pezzini where do you work?"

      "I used to be a Detective at the 11th precinct under the late Captain Joe Siri then Bruno Dante before I took a leave of absence."

      "Why did you take a leave of absence?"

      "I was pregnant and in danger from the White Bulls."

      "How else do you know Bruno Dante?"

      "My father knew him"

      "Your Father was James Pezzini"

      "Yes"

      "How did you father die?"

      "Objection" the defense says jumping up

      "Goes towards Dante's character"

      "Proceed." the Judge nods

      "Miss Pezzini how was your father killed?"

      Sara looks at Ian gathering her strength before answering "He was shot execution style one night while on patrol."

      "Did they ever find the shooter?"

      "I found out Gallo was the shooter over while investigating another murder. Gallo told me he was hired to kill my father"

      "What did Gallo say to you about killing your father?"

      "Objection hearsay. The only other person who knows about this supposed conversation is dead. He jumped out a window the next night."

      "Your honor we do have a witness to the conversation. He will be able to verify it."

      The Judge ponders it then nods "Proceed."

      "Miss Pezzini, what happened the night you found the man who killed your father?"

      "He forced me to go into an alley with him... the same alley where he killed my father. He described how it went down in detail."

      "What happened then?"

      "We fought, shots were fired. He ran out before me and I followed him into the subway."

      "When did he admit he was hired?"

      "In the subway. He said some powerful men hired him."

      "Did he give you a name?"

      "He said it was someone connected to my father."

Hour later

      "Miss Pezzini" the defense lawyer begins "You have never liked my client have you?"

      "No"

      "Why didn't you quit or transfer to another precinct when he came on?"

      "I did quit but Joe Siri talked me into returning. I grew up around the 11th precinct I wasn't going to transfer just because it was my second home as a child."

      "OK." The lawyer nods "Tell me why did you break into my client's home and shove a gun in his face?"

      Sara meets Ian's gaze then answers, "I lost my temper. I lost my best friends, Joe, and the guy I was involved with and it all led to Dante."

      "Then why did you disappear for 7 months?"

      "Dante had put the word out that whoever brought me to him dead or alive would get major favors. I didn't want to run but I had no choice, I was pregnant."

      "Did Dante ever threaten you directly?"

      "Yes"

      The lawyer frowns, "And how do you know that Dante wasn't under orders to kill you?"

      "Because the person who financed some of their jobs wouldn't have allowed it if he knew"

      "That person being Kenneth Irons?"

      "Yes"

      "How do you know Irons didn't want you dead?"

      "He did but he wouldn't have allowed Dante to do the way he wanted. Irons liked the 'cat and mouse' of trying to get me."

Hour later

      Sara gets into the car closing her eyes she sighs

      "Sara?"

      "Can we just go home?" she asks

      Ian starts the car. He glances at Sara as he drives home. He watches Sara concerned as she enters the house silently making her way upstairs.

      "Is she OK?" Gabe asks concerned

      "I don't know"

      "Well the kid's been asleep for an hour. She didn't finish her bottle so I put it back in the refrigerator"

      "Thank you for watching her"

      "Sure" Gabe nods "You better go check on Pez."

      Ian nods walking Gabe to the door he locks it setting the alarm.

      Sara smiles covering the sleeping Elli with a blanket, she stands over the crib watching as the baby sleeps.

      "Sara?"

      Sara turns around to see Ian standing in the doorway. She walks over stepping into his arms. "I wish this was over"

      "It will be soon"

      "Ian why did you agree to testify? You know they'll ask you about why you followed me. About your past"

      "I know" he says kissing the top of her head

      "I'm sorry you were ever dragged into this" she sighs

      "I'm not" he says "I'd do anything for you and Elli"

      "I know" she steps back taking his hand she leads him out of the nursery

Later

      Shuddering Sara leans into Ian's embrace.

      "Mine" Ian growls nuzzling her cheek "My Sara. My Wielder" he kisses her cheek and temple "My mate" he caresses her face. "My wife" he kisses her sweetly

      Sara smiles against his lips "Always" she kisses him lightly then groans hearing Elli cry over the monitor. "She's definitely got your sense of timing."

      "And your lungs beloved" he chuckles as the baby cries louder.

      "Complaining Ian?" she asks moving off the bed she pulls on her clothes

      "No"

      "Good," she kisses him "be right back" she makes her way out of the master bedroom to the nursery. She finds Elli sitting up crying. "Hey baby its OK" she picks Elli up "Mommy's here" she kisses Elli's cheek "Shh baby"

      Ian smiles hearing Sara talk to the baby over the monitor. He picks up the remote control turning on the TV

      "Look Elli there's Daddy" Sara says entering the bedroom with Elli in her arms. She settles on the bed with Elli on her lap "What are you watching?"

      "News"

      Sara nods smoothing Elli's hair back as the baby lies between them playing with her toes

      "This just in." the announcer says "Former New York City Police Captain Bruno Dante has accepted the State Attorney's offer. Captain Dante was charged with multiple accounts of conspiracy, corruption, blackmail, murder, murder for hire, and fraud. Federal charges are pending"

      "What was the deal?" Ian asks

      "Life in prison without chance for parole as long as the Federal charges don't result in the death penalty"

      "Are you OK with that?"

      Sara sighs, "Dante has a couple kids. I don't want his kids to grow up without their father. At least they'll be able to see him in jail."

      "You are something incredible Sara Pezzini" Ian says amazed

      "Is that why you love me?" Sara asks teasingly

      "One of the reasons yes" he kisses her cheek "I love everything about you"

      Sara smiles "I love you too Ian Nottingham"

Chapter 12

6 years later

      Sara smiles watching as Ian plays with the three kids. She picks up a leather bound journal walking out to the patio she sits down and begins to write.

      i 'It has been 6 years since Dante went to jail. Not long after Dante went to jail, Ian and I decided to leave the States. It turns out Irons kept Ian's family estate in England in a trust fund. He even had the Estate grounds kept up.

      It's so beautiful here. We have acres of land with gardens, orchards, and lots of space for the kids... and Gabe. Yes, Gabe lives with us. I didn't want to leave him alone in New York were rogue Bulls could get him. The funny thing is that Gabe and Ian are now friends, brothers more like it. It's great for Ian to have a friend.

      Ian has changed a lot since Elliana and our son Connor were born and we adopted Dominick. Connor James Nottingham, named after John and my father, is now three years old. Elli other than her curly hair looks just like me. Connor has straight hair and looks just like Ian. Conner takes after me in personality, while Elli takes after Ian.

      Ian brought Dominick home with him after he went to help Christian with something. He's not Christian's son but he was watching out for the boy and asked Ian to bring him home. He's 8 years old. He's a solemn little boy. He's how I have imagined Ian to be as a boy. Dominick is so sweet and protective. He adores Elli and Connor. I'm glad Dominick Michael is part of our family. He's a great little boy.'/i

      "Momma" Connor calls running over to his mother carrying something close to his chest.

      Sara frowns seeing the bundle squirm in the boy's arms, "Connor honey what is that?"

      "Look Momma" he says proudly

      "Connor" Ian says sternly as he joins them

      Connor looks at his father wide-eyed

      Kneeling before her son Sara finds him holding one of the newborn puppies "Connor sweetie you can't take the puppies from their mommy" she chastises "Give Daddy the puppy"

      "No wanna play wif him" he pouts

      "Connor the pups are too small to play with right now." Ian explains.

      "I won't hurt the puppy."

      "I know you wouldn't" Ian smiles "But Ruby misses her pup. And look the pup misses his Mommy."

      Connor looks at the squirming, whimpering puppy "OK"

      "Thank you" Ian takes the puppy

      "Connor I know you love the puppies but you can't take them from Ruby" Sara smiles

      "I won't Momma"

      "Good" Sara picks up the boy "Now where are Elli and Dominick?"

      "The barn Momma"

      "Go tell everyone its time to get cleaned up for lunch" she kisses his cheek before setting him down

      " 'k" Connor chirps scurrying away

      Sara smiles picking up her journal she heads inside

While Later

      Sara smiles feeling Ian nuzzle her shoulder "The kids?"

      "Getting cleaned up" he answers kissing her neck "What were you up to this morning my Sara?" he asks curiously

      Sara smiles turning around she slides her arms around his neck "I had to do something very important." she kisses his cheek "Besides you had the kids to keep you occupied"

      "I know I just missed you"

      "Ian"

      "Hmm?"

      "I know we discussed this after Connor"

      Ian frowns at her tone "What's wrong my love?"

      Sara trails her fingers over his face "How do you feel about having another baby?"

      "Are you...?"

      Sara nods "I'm pregnant"

      Ian smiles "I love you Sara"

      Sara smiles "I love you too"

      "Eww"

      "Yucky"

      Sara laughs looking over to find the three kids standing in the doorway "You guys cleaned up?" she asks

      "Yes Mom" Dominick nods

      "Someone go and see if Gabe is going to join us." Sara requests

      "Now or later?" Ian asks softly

      "Later" Sara kisses him gently

      "I'll go get him" Dominick volunteers walking out of the kitchen

      "Thank you Dominick" Sara says lifting Connor into his booster seat

      "Momma I can do this myself" Connor protests

      Sara kisses the top of his head "I know I just like babying my baby"

      "Not a baby" Connor grumbles "Daddy tell Momma I'm not a baby"

      "Yes you are" Elliana retorts

      "Elli don't tease Connor" Ian says pouring drinks

      " 'k Daddy" Elli nods

      "Gabe said he'll be right down" Dominick says entering the kitchen

      "Thank you" Sara smiles as she and Ian set plates before the kids

      "Momma I want juice" Conner demands as Ian sets a glass of milk before the boy

      "Connor" Ian says sternly

      "Sorry. Juice please Momma"

      "Drink your milk Connor" Sara replies sternly

      "But Momma"

      "You heard your Mother Connor" Ian says

      "Yes Daddy"

      "Hey guys" Gabe greets entering the kitchen

      "Gabe" Ian nods as he goes to Sara's side kissing her cheek as she cuts up fruit "Need help?"

      "No almost done"

Hour later

      "Gabe can you watch Elli and Dominick for a while?" Sara requests "Connor's napping"

      "Sure I'll watch them" Gabe nods

      "Thanks" Sara grabs Ian's hand pulling him out of the living room and up the stairs. Once in the bedroom she kisses him

Hour later

      Sara rubs her cheek against Ian's chest, "You know there is one thing I love about being pregnant."

      "What is that?"

      Sara moves up looking down at Ian "You get even cuddlier."

      "Cuddly?" he lifts his brow.

      Sara smiles "Yep my former stalker you can be very cuddly." she kisses him then chuckles.

      "What?"

      "Just thinking about when I was pregnant with Elli" she shifts to her back.

      Ian moves down the bed nuzzling her middle "Hello baby"

      Sara strokes his hair and neck as he nuzzles her middle "What do you think?"

      "That I love you and our children more than anything in this world."

      "MOMMA"

      Sara sighs "Connor" she sits up "I better go see what's wrong" she quickly gets out of bed pulling on her clothes.

      "MOMMA. DADDY" Connor cries.

      Ian groans "What is with him and having nightmares during naptime?" he gets out of bed also pulling his clothes on he follows Sara out of the bedroom.

      Sara enters the boy's bedroom to find Connor sitting up clutching his teddy bear "Connor what's wrong?"

      "Momma" Connor holds out his arms

      Sara picks him up "What's wrong baby?"

      Connor buries his face in her shoulder

      Ian enters the bedroom to find Connor clinging to Sara "What's wrong Connor?"

      "I had a bad dream"

      "What about?" Sara asks rubbing his back

      "That you and Daddy went away" he sniffles

      "Oh Connor." Sara sighs

      "Connor, Mommy, and I aren't going anywhere." Ian assures

      "They took you away" he hiccups

      "No one is taking us away" Ian promises "It was a dream"

      Sara kisses the top of Connor's head "Let's go downstairs huh sport?"

      Connor nods

That Evening

      Sara looks at the children playing silently in the living room. She smiles at Ian "I think we made things right huh love?"

      Ian nods "I think we have my Sara."

      "We have our family like we were meant to have all those years ago."

      "Nothing will take them from us this time" Ian assures

      "I love you Ian"

      "I love you Sara," he smiles kissing her sweetly "and our children."

      'Thank you John.' Sara snuggles into Ian's arms as they watch their children play.

The End