-1Daemon knocked on the door to his parents home and tried to stand up straight. He was exhausted and wanted nothing more to go home, see his wife and daughter and take a nap. But first, he needed to talk to his father. Something wasn't quite right about that rescue. It was the type of operation Seth Harpsbeak usually called out the best for, or did himself. To send Theo, there had to be an ulterior motive, and Daemon felt he knew what it was.
His mother answered the door and held him tightly with tears in her eyes. "Oh, Daemon. Daemon, I'm so glad you're all right!"
"Was there any doubt?" he asked, smug as ever. "Is dad in? I need to talk to him."
His mother still held tight to him. "Only if you promise to never scare me like that again."
He kissed the top of his mother's head. "I promise."
Diana led her son to the den where he sat, waiting for his father. He took out some paper and wrote:
I'm fine. I'll be home soon. Sorry I'm late. I'll tell you about it tomorrow. I want to see Becky when I get home. Make sure she's awake.
I love you.
After writing, he folded up the note and sent it home.
"What the hell was that?" he heard his father ask as he entered.
"You know, Dad," Daemon said, as he leaned back in his chair, "most parents would be relieved their son is all right."
"Which is true of me, but how did you even get captured?" Seth sat opposite of his son.
Daemon shrugged. "Golem," he said. "I'm useless against those. I got it, though."
"You beat one?"
Daemon shook his head. "No, I mean I got him. He's mine now. I named him Rocky and he's outside."
"You what!?" Seth exclaimed.
"I'm figuring out how they work. I've always wanted to know, haven't you?"
"And where are you planning on keeping it?"
Daemon sighed and rolled his eyes. "Oh come off it, Dad. You're starting to sound like Theo. He didn't want me keeping it either."
"What if they track you?"
"I killed its creator. I don't think they can find me. I'll have to check Morgan's books to see if there are any spells for it. I'm kind of excited to see what I can do with it."
"You didn't come here to discuss golems, did you, Daemon?"
Daemon chuckled. "Dad you know me far too well."
"What did you come here for, other than to set your mother's mind at ease?"
Daemon leaned in and eyed his father. "Why did you send Theo? Of all your options, you sent Theo, who you admittedly don't trust. Why?"
Seth cleared his throat. "He knows the mansion better than anyone and…"
"You wanted them to take him and return me," Daemon interrupted.
There was a silence between them before Seth chuckled in a manner similar to his son's. "Daemon, you know me far too well. Can you blame me, Daemon? Someone had to have been watching Morgan. Who else was there?"
Instead of giving the answer, Daemon appeared angry. "You thought he was spying on Morgan?" he growled.
"He wouldn't do that! He's not one of them!" Daemon exclaimed.
"He could have easily tricked you," Seth said with a shrug.
"He was never trying to trick me."
"How would you know?"
Daemon pounded his fist on the coffee table. "You don't know him like I do! I'm telling you to trust him. He's my friend. He's earned that trust from me. Me, dad. You know I'd love nothing more than to strangle every one of those silver haired bastards. Theo's a good man. He rescued me. He saved my life and Zak's."
"And he tried to kill all of us not too long ago, if memory serves."
Daemon groaned. "Oh come off it, Dad. I can't believe you were willing to give them a leg up at all. You have to admit, he found a way to get out of there. He did it to help us. He told me that."
Seth shook his head. "I can't believe you're blind to the idea that he could be lying to you."
Daemon growled. "He wouldn't lie to me. He knows I'd kill him if he did."
"Why don't you ever listen!? Morgan was right about you. You're so stubborn and arrogant that…"
"That's enough, Daemon!" Seth yelled. "I will not have my son speaking in such a way."
Daemon sat back in his chair and crossed his arms. "I don't think we can end this in agreement," he said.
"No, I don't believe we can."
Daemon stared at his father before standing and turning to leave. "Back off Theo, all right? I've got it." That said, Daemon left his parent's home.
A month later was the hastily put together marriage of Zak and Morgan, and it couldn't have been a lovelier day. The flowers in the clearing were in full bloom and aside from the multitude of cobwebs, Morgan's house was untouched.
It was a relatively small affair, entirely reminiscent of Morgan's earlier parties. In attendance were Daemon, Willow and Becky, of course, along with Joey and Theo, and Morgan's other siblings and his parents. Zak had invited Aaron, but the archer had to attend practice to make up for the one he missed to attend Zak's competition (which Zak ended up winning). However, he sent his warmest regards and insisted he would tell Bastien that Zak was merely ill. However, the moment that made Zak's eyes light up was when he saw familiar faces emerge from the surrounding forrest. "Ethan!?" he called out in shock. When his brother looked over, Zak ran to and embraced him. He'd been writing Ethan letters since he'd moved from the clearing but had never received any reply. They only news he heard of his brother was from the talk of travelers in the bar or going through Morgan's shop.
"You know," Ethan said, "I never write you back because I can't get the letters to you, right?"
Zak laughed. "Sorry about that…"
"I brought some people," Ethan said, stepping back from the hug.
"Some people?" Zak asked. He honestly only expected Ethan to bring his wife, so imagine his surprise when he saw Kidori holding a small boy. "Zakky," she cooed to the boy. "Can you say hi to your Uncle Zak?"
The little boy looked to Zak and gave a small wave. "Hi," he said, quietly.
"Hi," Zak said, waving back to his nephew, a smile plastered on his face. As he waved, he noticed another person standing back at a distance. His jaw dropped when he saw her and tears swelled in his eyes. "Mom!" he yelled, running past his brother to embrace his mother. "Mom," he cried, "I've missed you so much."
"So have I, Zak," she whispered.
"I kind of didn't have an excuse as to why I was taking my wife and son into the forest," Ethan said with a little embarrassment, "so I had to tell her."
Zak wiped his tears on his sleeve and then held his mother's hand. "There's so much I should tell you," he said. "But you've got to meet him first!"
"Zak," she said calmly, standing her ground. Her eyes shifted around the clearing, examining each person present. "I'm not sure I want to meet him."
"Why not?" Zak asked, looking confused.
"Zak…he's a warlock…he…he's a he. Zak, I don't think this is right," she said honestly.
"Mom," Zak said, tears forming again, "he's everything to me. He makes me happy. His family is family to me. Mom, I…"
"…Mrs. Tobias?" a voice came from behind Zak. She looked over her son's shoulder to see Joey standing behind him, waving timidly. "…hi?"
"JOSEPH RANDALL!" she exclaimed with a scolding tone in her voice. "Do you have any idea how much you worried everyone when you ran off?"
"Sorry," he shrugged. He smiled at Zak's mother. "I'm sorry for eavesdropping but…" he looked at Zak. "Zak knows what he's doing," he said sincerely. "Morgan's the best thing that's ever happened to him. Please trust him on this. At least meet him. He's a great guy."
"I like him enough too, mom," Ethan butted in.
"Mom, I want you to meet him," Zak pleaded. As she nodded, his face broke into a smile. His mother timidly followed to where Morgan stood, talking with his own mother. "Mom, this is Morgan," he said, with a bit of pride in his voice. "Morgan, this is my mother."
Morgan smiled at her. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Mrs. Tobias. He's said so much about you," Morgan offered his hand. Zak's mother only gave back a forced smile.
Diana looked between the two. She was a mother who didn't like tension where there didn't need to be tension. "So you're Zak's mother!" she said brightly. "I'm Diana Harpsbeak, Morgan's mother."
"Lynn Tobias," she said bluntly.
"Raising two boys on your own," Diana started. "Oh Lynn, I don't know how you did it. They can be such a handful. Especially mine."
"Well, Zak certainly was outspoken," Mrs. Tobias mused.
"Oh that one over there," she said, leaning closer to Lynn and pointing to Daemon, "has given me nothing but trouble since the day he was born." This statement made Mrs. Tobias smile a little. "Come," Diana said, "It must be quite the walk from July and you must be hungry." She led Zak's mother away, turning back to her son and giving a wink.
"I'm sorry about that," Zak said, giving Morgan a hug. "At least I got her over here."
"It's all right, Zak. At least she came, right?" Morgan asked, hugging back.
"Yeah." Zak broke the hug and smiled at his lover. "So when are we doing the ceremony? When's whoever you got to do it showing up?"
Morgan looked confused. "I didn't get anyone. I thought you did."
Zak shook his head and began to look a little sad. Morgan bowed his head, let go of Zak and walked to the center of the party. "Everyone? If I could have your attention for a moment? We're sorry, but there's been a sort of miscommunication. There's uh…there's no one to perform the ceremony so…" there was a disappointed moan. "So uh…"
"Morgan!" Daemon yelled, standing up at the table where he was sitting. "I've not come all the way out here to not see a damn wedding or whatever."
"Daemon, we…" Morgan tried to reason.
"No!" Daemon said. "Don't even say anything. I'm doing it."
All eyes fell on Daemon, who simply shrugged. "I'm an ordained minister. I had to infiltrate a clergy once." The assassin walked over to his brother and grabbed him by the shoulder. "Come on, you idiot." He grabbed Zak in the same manner and led them to the front of the house. He positioned them accordingly. "I've not done one of these before so bear with me." He cleared his throat. "Morgan Wynd Harpsbeak and Zakary Michael Tobias. Since you two have been together, there has been nothing but change. Everyone present here today has been changed by the two of you. Bob over there" Daemon pointed to Ethan, "went from brutish, blind follower, to a calm, devoted leader. Question boy," his hand moved to Joey, "realized it was okay to be himself and became a brilliant salesman. You've made Dad change his mind. Come on, Morgan, you know how difficult that is." Daemon then pointed to Theo. "You've taken that pathetic, crazed, angsting, whining, drama queen and you've made him not only one of our greatest allies, but also a little less pathetic. Only a little." Daemon smirked as Theo gritted his teeth. He then looked back to Morgan and Zak. "But most of all," he said, placing his hand over his heart. "You've changed me." He paused a moment and cleared his throat again. "Amidst all this change, we ask of you this. Don't change. You've brought far too much good into the world. Stay as you are. You're meant for each other. And if anyone argues otherwise, they can take it up with me, got it? I've put too damn much into saving this relationship to fuck it up now, all right?" He looked around for anyone daring to say a word. "All right then. Zak, do you promise to stay with Morgan no matter what and continue to be the best thing that's ever happened to him?"
"Yeah. I do."
"Morgan, I know your answer already so just go ahead and kiss him so I can get back to my drink."
"Thank you, Daemon," Morgan said, smiling at his older brother.
"Oh, just kiss him," Daemon said, with an impatient tone in his voice, but a small smile on his face.
Morgan placed his hand gently on Zak's cheek, drew him close and kissed him with all the passion of their first kiss.
The loudest applause came from Morgan's sister and from Joey. This was already quite an unorthodox wedding. A few cat calls weren't going to hurt anything.
"There," Daemon said. "You're married, committed, whatever this is. Enjoy the party. It's yours." Daemon then walked away and returned to his wife and daughter's side.
"I'm glad you did that," Willow said with a smile.
"Did what I had to, wench," he responded, lifting his drink to his mouth.
She shrugged. "You didn't have to give such a heart felt speech. You meant every word of it, didn't you? Glad you found a way to say it."
He contemplated his drink for a moment before responding, "I did what I had to, wench."
Willow smiled. "Silly wanker," she said before kissing his cheek.
Theo had been in the back of the party for the most part, watching Joey flit from group to group. He smiled as he watched the proceedings, except for Daemon's dig at him. However, Daemon's words were true. He did feel changed somehow as if something icy in him had melted. He was proud of the fact he was partly responsible for the day. He'd never felt so good in his life and it was only made better when Joey came over and kissed his cheek. "Enjoying yourself?" Joey asked. "You're smiling."
"Yeah," he said, returning the kiss. "I think I'm going to from now on."
Lynn Tobias remained in the same spot she was in when the ceremony had started. She didn't know what to think. She hadn't seen her son in years, yet here he was, with people she didn't approve of, and he was happy. She'd never seen him so happy, so for that she was glad. She also came to the decision that more than anything, she was happy her son was alive. She didn't approve of Morgan, and she probably never would, but so long as her son was alive and happy, she would have peace as her mother. Besides, Ethan was doing her plenty proud.
Seth Harpsbeak was still stung by his son's words regarding the difficulty of changing his mind. His sons were demanding, but they'd turned out well, especially Morgan. He would never admit his mistake of disowning Morgan. Besides, everything had turned out for the best. It would be a long while before he would accept Theo, however. He had no idea what Daemon was thinking. As Seth looked around at the party, he noticed his family interacting, smiling and generally being happier than they'd been since that fateful day years ago. For that, he had Zak and Morgan to thank.
Morgan and Zak smiled at each other. Everyone they loved and were close to was present and happy. Zak shrugged. "Daemon was right wasn't he?" he asked.
"Yes, he certainly was."
Zak hugged Morgan tightly. "I'm glad I met you. And I'm glad we'll always be together."
"So am I Zak," Morgan whispered, running his hand through Zak's hair. "So am I."
(Schu notes: The end. Of Morgan and Zak's story anyway. It's a big world in the Schuniverse. Daemon and Theo have a story to tell and that should be starting up soon.
Anyway, it's been a great adventure and it's tough letting these two go as the main characters. For those who've been there since the beginning, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed their story. You've been with me during some important times in my life whether you know it or not. I'm grateful for all your kind words and readership over the years. I hope you enjoy the direction I'll be taking this setting in the near future. Again, thank you all.
See you soon, kids!)