Angel didn’t dare speak as he and Marie made their way home. He followed her into their bedroom, watching from afar as she kissed their daughter on the forehead and placed her softly into the crib they’d bought a few days prior.
“Marie?” He asks at last, waiting for her to turn her attention to him. “What’s the plan now?”
Her eyes narrow. “The plan?”
“I have no plan!” She yells at him. “I don’t know what happened! All I know is one minute we were happy, the next I come home and suddenly you’re a young adult again! What the hell did yo do?”
“I just... I mean-” He sighs and starts over. “Vance came over, asked me to test a potion. I didn’t know what it was, but I never imagined it could actually reverse aging. I’m sorry Marie, but do you really have to blame me? If I’d known what it could do you know I never would have drunk it!”
“I don’t blame you.” She whispers after a moment. “I’m sorry. I’m trying not to lose my temper, I swear I am. I just... oh gosh Angel, what are we going to do? I’m so confused!”
He pauses, trying to sort his thoughts. “Okay well the first thing we need to do is find out what’s going to destroy the city, right?”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to do from the START! How are we supposed to find that out with only a day left?”
“Well you could just ask me.”
He steps forward, unable to hide his smile. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it my Marie?”
She takes a step towards him and then stops before touching him. He’s human now. When did that happen? “What... happened? What do you know?”
“I’m not really human.” He tells her, reading her mind swiftly. “It’s just a mask given to me by an ally. Should wear off in a few days. As for what I know, the elder council believes you’re supposed to kill them all. That its your fate or some nonsense like that. Thats the real reason they killed your mother and tried to kill the two of us when you were young. This is the last chance they’ll have.”
Her heart drops. “The elders are still hunting me? After all this time?”
He nods. “Jason Todley told them of your whereabouts. Archer and our allies sent me ahead of their army to warn you. But they’ve already got eyes on all the roads in and out of the city so I doubt you can flee. So our only option is the chance you can hide. We still have allies here, and I know we can trick them into believing we’re protecting you in, say, the caverns by Stoney Falls.”
“What about Angel and Jakelene?”
Merrick pauses. “Jakelene?”
“My daughter.” She explains with a smile. “I need to protect them. Isn’t there any way we can get them out of town?”
“I’m not going to leave you.” Angel announces before Merrick can say anything. “Marie, I don’t care about the danger. I know Karate, I can fight whatever those vampires try on me. I can help protect you.”
Marie opens her mouth to protest but Merrick cuts her off. “He’s right. We can’t send them out of town now. It’s too late for that. And I can’t promise their safety if I take them with me. Your best bet is to keep them close.”
With that decided Marie turns back towards her father. “And what of you? Daddy, I haven’t seen you in ages. I can’t let you go without apologizing for everything I did to you. I just wish-”
“Hush, child.” He silences, pulling her in for a hug. “You did what you thought you needed to. I’ve healed, and I will heal again if it’s to protect you. You seem to forget that you are my daughter. My only child. You are my life and I will do anything for you.”
In her crib Jakelene hiccups for attention and Angel picks her up, looking at the eyes that match his own. He understands what Merrick is saying. He’d do anything to keep his own little girl safe.
Its later that night when Marie finally gets the all clear from her father. Their decoys are being followed to the falls and the house is no longer under watch. If they want to move, the time is now.
“Are you ready?” She asks her husband once he’s changed clothes.
He nods. “I’m good to go. You?”
“I’m scared.” She admits.
“Don’t be.” He whispers, taking her hands in his, giving them a squeeze. “I’m here. We’re together. We’ll be alright.”
A kiss for good luck.
And off they go.
Seems like as good a hiding place as any, eh? And about as far from the Stoney Falls as you can get.
“Why are we here?” He asks, following her down into the sub basement of the church. He hadn’t even noticed it when they’d been here for their wedding.
“I’ll show you in a moment. Here, take Jakelene.”
He moves to pick her up as Marie starts tapping at a wall. Pushing in certain places. “What are you doing?”
With a final tap it swings open and she stands back, motioning for him to enter. “We’ll be safe in here. Took me weeks to find it when I was hiding here. Even if someone stops by to check, they won’t find us.”
He should have expected it really. But it still makes is heart drop when he hears the door slide shut behind him. He looks over his shoulder, heart falling even further when he realizes Marie never followed him into the room.
“They’re not there!” Hound growls as he returns to his partner.
“How long?” Bella asks, cracking her knuckles.
He breathes into the air and pauses. “Perhaps... two hours. Three at most.”
“Randy said their car left almost five hours ago.”
“Musta been a decoy, Bella. We should head back, tell the boss.”
She doesn’t answer but walks towards the edge of the property instead of their car. “Can’t you sniff ‘em out?”
“Bella my great grandfather was a changeling, not me. The most I can do is catch a whiff every so often. I can’t track.”
“Then its a good thing my eyes are sharper than your nose...” She smiles and motions towards the chapel in the distance. “Its been disturbed. Footsteps in, no footsteps out. Worth a shot before talking to the boss, eh?”
When they arrive, Marie is waiting for them.
“Are you here to kill me?”
Bella seems at a loss for words at first. “Yes...”
Marie stands. “Alright then. I wish you luck... You’re going to need it.”
Hound makes a move towards her so Marie attacks him first.
Bella meanwhile stands back and takes a look at the ground. Marie’s actions are peculiar... but why- then she sees it. Two tracks down the stairs, only one coming back up. What could be so important to Marie that she would risk her own life to protect it?
While the fight continues on above...
Bella finds the door below.
Angel knows it isn’t Marie. Chances are high he will never see her again... but he’ll be damned if anything happens to his daughter.
He’s waiting for her when she finally manages to open the door.
“I know you, human.” Bella mutters after studying is face. “You’re that famous actor’s son... why does the witch wish to protect you?”
Angel tries to hold his tongue but looking into her bright eyes he’s bound to answer. “We are married.”
“A human mate?” She wonders curiously. “It’s forbidden where I come from... humans are for food, not marriage...” She leans closer to him, paralyzing him with her stare. “No wonder the council hates her. It’s perverted to fall for prey.”
He feels her teeth dig into his skin and almost screams from the pain. This is nothing like when Marie fed from him. All he feels now is pain.
A moment later he understands why. Marie took only what she needed to lessen the thirst... Bella takes every last drop. The pain is unbelievable.
At least the pain is short. His heart stops after only a few agonizing seconds.
Watcher feels a bit guilty.
Watcher also sort of feels bad for scaring Jakelene at such a young age... I’m sure she’ll forget it with age.
Marie needs to get in... and she needs to get in now.
“Kill for a kill.” Bella mutters. “Get over it witch, he was just a human.”
“You know nothing!” Marie screams. “Humans are more than just food. And I will destroy each and everyone of you that thinks that way. You’re all monsters!”
“You’re one of us, ergo you’re also a monster.”
Shouldnt’a said that, Bella.
Bitch had it coming.
Oh right. Angel’s dead. Crying is appropriate now.
She hears the chimes of her daughter’s birthday behind her but can’t bear to turn around and watch.
“I’ll kill them.” She vows, picking her daughter up from the cold floor. “But first... I need to protect you.”
She holds Jakelene close, covering the little vampire’s face and imagining a human toddler in her stead. A human toddler with no resemblance to her fugitive mother. “Metamorphosis...”
As the power drains from her she thinks of one more wish. The deaths of every single vampire in this city. And then everything goes black. She can’t even remember hitting the floor.
Not over yet! One chapter left...