Almost instantaneously they would be home from the Blue Moon Tavern with their food. Michael was only wearing a pair of black silk pajama pants, totally having forgotten to dress before going out, but since when did that REALLY matter with him? Once home, he helped her set out the food and sat back to relax a bit, totally giving her all the first dibs on the food. “So, has the pain been getting any worse or better?”
“if I eat soon enough, it eases… But if I’m slow…” Eva trailed off and shook her head already rummaging through the basket for a sausage. Then, she seated herself in his lap, the low ride blue jeans, black heeled boots and that heavy long sweater was all she wore. There was nothing beneath it, no one had noticed either so ha! Michael was a bad influence on her dressing. Laying her head on his shoulder, she sighed softly. “I don’t know what’s wrong. It makes no sense. I mean, I have searched myself over and can’t find anything wrong…. It could be a mental thing, maybe, but the shields have not been dropped. No one can get in.” And she would have no idea if it was a mental thing and they managed to bypass the shield somehow.
He let his arms slip around her waist, his hand sliding up beneath her sweater to press against her tummy giving soft rubs as if they would help sooth the pain somehow. “Hmmm…then maybe we should lower the shields and see if it’s something from inside of them? If nothing got past them, then perhaps the origin comes from within? At the very least we could rule that out.”
She chewed on her lower lip. Yes, she trusted Michael, with her very soul. But to lower the shield would perhaps reveal to him the extent of the damage that had been done. As his hand touched her stomach, she sighed softly in pleasure. The heat of his hand was soaked up by her skin, hungrily. “Well, this would be the best place to do it… No one else can get here but you.” Her eyes flicked up to find his. “Just… just know, my mind’s a bit of a mess.” Eva warned him. Sure, she boxed up the shit she couldn’t deal with and shoved it into the darkened corners, but there were other bits and pieces she couldn’t block out so easily.
“Share it all with me Eva. There is no part of you that I don’t want to know, to embrace, to help heal if possible, or just help keep together if healing is impossible. Even if it hurts, we hurt together okay? We share everything and trust in one another to be able to weather the storm.”
The girl finished the sausage and nodded. Wiping her fingers on a napkin, she sat upright in his lap. “When I drop it, you will be able to see anything and everything. Just don’t open the boxes…” Eva always held her darkness in boxes. A physical representation she supposed. Something she could always close and seal. With a deep breath, she closed her eyes and sought the *button*. As soon as that shield dropped, Michael would perhaps be overwhelmed with fragments of her past. The pieces of trauma that she could not lock away. He’d feel the lashes to her back that had left that terrible scarring, some cursed piece crafted just to mark her. Though, with his knowledge, he may even connect the dots that it had been forged with Twilight, the very Force she controlled. There was the loss of Maelstrom, her anger at him for choosing to sacrifice himself for his people rather than choose her and her guilt for feeling that anger. A flicker of staring down a demon as he moved toward a very pregnant Eva and a silver haired male standing before her. Tarsid, the man, screaming at her to go, to save their child and Eva unable to move a step. Michael would easily see what Eva could not. The true face of the Demon. The Archangel Michael as he cut Tarsid down. Sure, it took a little while, he was a skilled warrior after all but he was unprepared for the Angel wearing the face of a Demon. Other flashes, some too quick to see would rush through his mind, bleeding from the girl as her hands grasped his arm, holding tightly.
Michael held on to her as she dropped her shields, and found himself a stone in the middle of a chaotic maelstrom, a small island in the middle of a wild storm. He saw the memories, felt the pain, physical, mental, and spiritual. If it hadn’t been for YAHWEH torturing him for so long, he might have been overwhelmed, but that along with the will to help Eva find out what was wrong with her, as well as wanting to share in her pain so she didn’t suffer alone, Michael found himself weathering the flood of pain and emotion, accepting it, becoming apart of it, even as he raged at her past enemies for putting her through these things, even if they were gone now. Still though, he began to swim with the flow, experiencing both the past and the present simultaneously as he searched out the cause of her current pains and discomforts while also feeling what she’d been blocking with those shields. His essence dove with her towards her core, wondering just what they would find.
Strangely, her mental scape seemed to be lit by a silvery light that matched the halo he knew was above her head. He would pass through more memories but as he moved closer to her core, he would see the older ones, of her and her twin brother. He would hear Azrael taunting her, belittling her. How he mocked her for being tainted unlike him. But Michael was wise enough to see the pain in the young boys eyes, his jealousy that he was less than her. That he would never measure up to her and her power. All Eva saw was hate. The young girl tried to ignore him, tried to walk away but he followed and what happened next was painful. Eva wrapped her younger brother in layers of her tainted hellfire. THe boy screamed in agony. Uriel arrived and tried desperately to stop her but could not get close enough. It seemed her daughter’s flames hurt her too.
Moments later Vergil arrived and braving the flames, burning his face and arm, he punched his daughter in the face. Only once she had lost consciousness did the flames stop. It took massive healing from Rafael to ensure Azrael would not die and to treat the massive burns to both parents though that scene was fuzzy, as though Eva had been slightly conscious as it happened. But finally, at her very core was a black cloud. It was oozing, seeming to pulsate slowly. If Michael dared to get close enough, he would hear the voice of The Master, a low, deep voice whispering over and over. “There was far too much damage done Eva, no one can heal it. You are broken, shattered, useless. Never will you bear children, you are not worthy to do so.” The words were repeated like a mantra into the very core of her being. It was old, placed there a few centuries ago. It was very well entrenched.
He continued to ride the chaotic waves of her painful past, able to see and experience things differently from her since he was an outsider. Indeed he could see that her brother’s ire had been fueled by jealousy and a sense of not being on the same level as his sister, something that could drive a spike between siblings in the best of times, let alone when it’s flames were fanned by outside forces with ill intent. He watched as she was mentally beaten down by those who couldn’t keep her down physically, using her own emotions to chain her where their other machinations would not do. And then they dove deeper where an even darker core seemed to exist. He heard those words, the way they were spoken to her, over and over again. As he listened, he pushed past his rage as there was something he wasn’t getting. Why would they need to convince her with such a potent mantra if she truly couldn’t have children? Wouldn’t the physical impossibility be enough? Why go through such great lengths to make her believe something that was already physically true? Unless it WASN’T physically true? Could it be that it was all a lie? That they had only made her believe it was the truth? Things began to connect, broken pieces of the picture began to slide back into place. “Eva…this…could this have been a lie to mentally bind and torture you?”
Eva was lost in the moment, nothing protecting her anymore from the fractured past that she had never truly dealt with. She saw Tyr, angry because she left, upset because she wanted someone to stand with her instead of seeking to keep her safe, out of harm’s reach. He was drowning her, a punishment because she would not listen to him. He knew of her fear of water, knew the story behind it and yet, there he was…. It took effort to focus on Michael’s words, far too much effort. It was too easy to get lost in the past. But they reached her and she whispered. “No one can heal the damage,” The words a part of that mantra though she did not realize it. Not fully. It was a blindspot, she had of course searched her body to see if it was true but after a year of having it drilled into her mind every hour, the shattered mind could not argue it anymore. “You can look for yourself. You can see the wounds inside.” If he did actually seek out the wounds, he would find none at all. But he would certainly feel that small heartbeat, that new soul.
The revelation that it could have all been a lie seemed to lock itself inside of Michael. It made him angry, made him rage, but it also caused a small bit of hope to suddenly light itself within that flame of negative emotions. He knew all too well the kinds of manipulations beings like Eva’s creator and his minions liked to use. He’d experienced some of those same kinds of manipulation first hand, so his trust of the situation was skewed at best. He pushed his awareness deeper and did as she said, looking for those scars, afraid of what he might find. However, what he found was…nothing. No, not nothing, there was definitely SOMETHING there, but there were no scars. Instead there was the budding beat of flourishing life. He almost choked when he reached a little deeper, oh so carefully so as not to interrupt, or impede what he’d found, but he HAD to make sure, and once he did, he drew back slowly, carefully, softly, taking an unneeded deep breath. “Eva…there aren’t any scars, in fact…not only are there no scars, but you’re….pregnant.” He didn’t know if she’d believe him, COULD believe him after living with this fear and pain for so long, so he guided her to feel what he’d felt, see what he’d seen for herself.
She felt his gentle probing and tears burned her eyes. Eva was afraid. Scared that he would see the depths of the damage and realize that there was no hope. There was no way for him to reverse what had been done. To see the hope leave his eyes too would hurt far more, she knew. However, hearing that breath and his words, her eyes snapped open and immediately she was shaking her head. “Why would you say that? Why would you….” Her words died on her lips. Michael would never tease her like that. He would never wound her soul in such a way… “It’s not possible Michael.” Maybe he was seeing what he wanted to?
So, she allowed him to guide her and there was nothing that could deny that heat of life that was basking in her flames. That was where they had been going. That was what had been weakening her. Her thoughts cascaded, falling in on one another as her mind connected the dots. There was a life, she was pregnant. That was not possible. It was a lie… That small dark cloud in her core flickered and the girl growled. “The bastard lied.” She screamed in rage…. Turning her head, she looked at Michael, into his eyes and the rage twisted into something else. Hope. Her eyes were alight with it. “He lied…” She whispered and that small cloud was snuffed out of existence. Gone. The planted suggestion was shattered. “He lied. Oh my fucking God.. Michael….” She grasped his shoulders. “We are .. I’m.. A … baby!! I know nothing about babies… Oh shit.. oh god.. oh fucking hellfire….” Then, the girl burst into tears, laughing and crying at the same time as she threw her arms around his neck and sobbed and laughed into his shoulder.
He could only sit there and watch as the realization crashed on her. He watched the swift change of emotions cascade through her eyes, and felt it through their current link. He rode her denial, then her fear, her realization, and then her rage. Each of those things had passed through him as well, though in only the smallest fraction of how they rushed through her, a pebble of sand in a continental desert. He felt it when the dark cloud dissipated and then more normal emotions rushed out. Confusion, hope, acceptance, happiness, he couldn’t help but share in her tears as he wrapped his arms around her, holding her tightly. “It will be okay Eva. You will be a wonderful mother, I know it. It doesn’t matter that you thought you’d never have children again, or had an aversion to them because of that. This is an instinct that can’t be erased, and just like the rest of you is wonderful, your instincts as a mother will be the same. Plus you have me, and you have Cy, and you have a wonderful set of friends and family as well.”
Her eyes were wet with tears when they met his eyes and his words soothed her heart and soul more than anything else could in that moment. Her hand rose and cupped his cheek. “What I find funny is that you vowed to me that you would find a way to allow me to have children, to have my own family and Michael, my dearest love, you have done just that. You have given me everything I could have dreamed of and more!” The girl kissed him tenderly, lingering over his lips for a long moment before finally drawing back. Her forehead touched his and she closed her eyes. “I never dreamed this moment would come for me.” Once more she raised her head and looked into his eyes. “We will have to choose names. One in case it is a girl and one for a b…” Eva’s voice caught slightly. “Boy. Also…” She frowned slightly as her hand touched her belly. “What will the child be? I don’t think it will be Nephalem…”
“Well, my EXACT words were I was gonna find a way to knock your sexy ass up.” He felt that it was an important distinction, at least now in this particular moment to help further lighten the mood. He smiled, returning the kiss, leaning in against her. His hand fell to settle atop her own as it pressed against her belly, and he tilted his head a bit at her question. “Hmmm…THAT is an interesting question. Luckily there wouldn’t be any danger in the child’s physiology as my current self as a heavenly body is a kind of neutral structure, meaning while the child will be powerful, and have almost unlimited potential it could come in almost any form. They could have all of your attributes and simply be boosted by my own, or they could be something different. While I can use different kinds of elements and powers, there was nothing particular about me that would pass on besides my ability to evolve. Either way it’s something we can think about as things get further along, though I doubt we have to worry about anything negative in the genetic aspect.”
She beamed at that and winced as those pains formed in her belly again. “I don’t understand the pain though. I mean, the baby isn’t eating me. Just consuming my flames. As long as I stay out of my melded form, it’s far less but… ” Something clicked and she looked at him, curious. “Humans have hunger pains yes? What do they feel like?”
“From what I understand it’s a reaction the body has when it both craves and needs nutrients, and thus it tries to get that nutrients anyway it can. If there is no food present, it absorbs it from the body, but usually the body needs that nutrients to nourish itself, so it has negative effects, akin to cramps, or the pain of certain parts of you being overworked and exhausted.”
Eva sighed and reached for the platter of food, settling herself comfortably in his lap with the food in hers. “Hunger pangs. That is what the pain is. The baby has been feasting on my flames, meaning I need food. Though perhaps more food is better anyway. Babies need food right?” She smiled at him and started to eat, pausing to feed him bites here and there. Eva would always share with him and besides, she could always go to the tavern and get more. “You know, I hope our child looks like you.” She whispered as her eyes found his and she bit into a piece of bacon.
“Welp, looks like I’mma be wearing that apron a lot then.” He grinned wide. He knew quite a few energy restoring recipes and dishes he’d cook for her. “Whew boy, if the kid looks like either of us we’re gonna be in trouble. Well WE’RE not gonna be in trouble, but there will be some trouble, maybe even some murders.”
Eva choked on her eggs and laughed once she was able to draw breath again. “Oh, Michael. Can you imagine if it is a daughter? And she looks like us? We will be beating the boys and girls off her with a damn stick.” The girl laughed and patted his chest. “You will have your hands full.”
“A flaming stick with spikes and rusty nails.” He gave a sage nod, COMPLETELY serious too. “Hmmm, this also means we should build a room for the baby, perhaps connected to our own. We’ll have to get baby furniture, clothes, Ohhh, the playhouse in the valley will be AWESOME!” No doubt Eva could totally see Michael playing with their kid in the playhouse, he was a child in many ways himself. “Ohhh, and have you thought about who you would name the godparents?”
Her breath caught as he spoke of the nursery, the furniture, the clothes… She had had everything when she was pregnant the last time, well prepared… and this time, she had nothing at all. But she had him. At the mention of a playhouse she burst into laughter, having visions of him playing with their child there, laughing and giggling as Eva tried to call them back inside. It was such a warm thought that she nearly burst into tears. She managed to contain it to watery eyes. “Godparents? Oh Dami for Sure.. He is my baby brother, he loves children. I know Emuna and Darrin have their own twins coming soon and their hands are full. But I am not sure about Godmother.” THe Nephalem nuzzled his face and smiled as she moved to straddle him. “Now, I think we should celebrate yes?” She whispered, grinning fiendishly…..
And Oooooh boy, did they celebrate…..