For all of you who wish you knew how and when Christian found out he was a father...
Christian appeared in his bedroom and stood for a moment, staring at Deadfish as he swam around in circles in his small bowl beside the bed. He was alone, which was a sate he rarely found himself in anymore. With all the trouble he had caused with Marcus, and with so many out for his position and wishing to take advantage of his supposed vulnerable state, it was difficult to find even elbow room anymore. Still, even vampires needed to sleep. Augustus was feeding, and spreading the word of his new acquirement of Christian's portion of Carthage. Marianus was out with Sam, taking advantage of the increasingly fewer instances where he was himself. He feared Marry would become his true self soon, and he wished to spend his final days with Sam. It actually hurt Christian's heart to see his best friend basically dying and there being nothing he could do. He liked the personality that was Marry, but not in the way he had loved his best friend.
Kevin was at his mother's; visiting the constant worrier and assuring her he was alright. She had concerned herself with Kevin's state ever since Lissa's untimely and sudden death. He had not handled it well at first and she had feared in those weeks where he had fallen out of contact with her, that he had actually killed himself. He was alright, however, he was coping.
It was dark. Only the glowing florescent lights from the businesses on the street below offered any light.
Christian stood there, motionless, fed but still feeling drained, unsure of what to do with himself and this newfound freedom he had found himself in. As rare of an evening as this was, he was emotionally drained. Physically he was healing from his encounter with Marcus, eyesight back, hearing no longer ringing, night sweats and panic-attacks to a minimum, but he still felt hollow. After all that was said and done, after all he had been through, after all he had accomplished, he was still alone. He had his friends, he had his "family" but he hadn't anyone to hold and be reassured by. Kevin wouldn't let him snuggle.
Weighing his options, sleep sounded the best, yet was still so lacking in that empty bed of his.
He couldn't remember being this depressed over the loss of a woman before, but for one woman, his first woman, but then, he had never handled any break-up well. Even after breaking it off with Cassandra he had been a mess, and she had been seriously abusive. Tammy had been rough, him blaming himself for her murder (which wasn't entirely unfounded since she had been killed to get to him) she was a reason why he didn't date humans anymore, but still…Raine…She was the worst of all to lose. She had completed him somehow, filled a pit within him that he hadn't realized was even there. A void that had been created, but when? Christian knew, though it made a part of him feel immeasurable guilt. Raine filled that hole Tatyana had left in his soul. She took his dead-wife's place in his heart, and Christian's heart ached for that dishonor. He had sworn to love her, protect her, honor her, and serve her, forever. He had failed in all of the aforementioned, but for love. He loved her, still, to this day. Some part of him objected to every relationship he had ever been in after her. But Raine did not incite such guilt within him. THAT was what caused the most guilt of all.
Christian sighed. He had found someone that completed him like his first-love had, and he had lost her too. How undeserving of love he was if he could not even protect the miraculous women that could love him like they did.
Raine, peeking in through the open bedroom door, saw Christian's back as he stood there, and heard him sigh, saw his shoulders heave, and felt her heart both flutter and sink at the same time. That flutter moved to her stomach and there it lingered as her hands to her knees shook. She hadn't seen him since Christmas; she knew he hadn't been well. Seeing him now though relieved her of worries she had been carrying for months which left her feeling lighter than ever. She was sure her toes had left the floor as she trembled. Trying to take a step forward was like walking in running water, like she was drifting backwards still with all the effort she was putting into moving forward. Her arms were heavy, she could not lift them. Her throat was tight, she could not speak. Her eyes were dry, but she could not blink. Blinking would surely erase him from that spot, and she would realize that she was not really there with him, that this was all a dream, or a trap, or something.
But she was there, and so was he.
It was only a whisper, it was all she could manage, and even in all her anxiety, Raine could appreciate the dramatic effect of it.
Christian frowned his brow and blinked for a moment, still looking at the wall before him, trying to figure out if that had just been his mind playing tricks on him again, like it had so many times before. Turning and seeing her fad away as a mere mirage again would be too heartbreaking, so instead he just opened himself up to sense his surroundings, to see if he were, in fact, alone in that room or not. His senses at their highest pitch, he could feel her breath on the back of his neck, her heart beating in his ears, the soft ruffle of her eyelashes as she blinked, the semi-silent groan of the floor behind her as she shifted her weight. Christian –who didn't breath out of any kind of necessity- stopped right then and remained still, to be sure no sound he heard, no sensation that washed over him, was possibly caused by him. When that heartbeat rushed over his cold skin with every thump, he turned, knowing that heartbeat, having held that heart close to his and having felt it bestow life onto that otherwise silent lump in his chest. His heart had once beaten in time with hers, and it hadn't in months, now -causing him some amount of pain- it beat again, syncing with hers like it once had, and it was marvelous.
Raine stood before him, unmoving still, looking like she too was going through much the same thing as Christian at the moment, as though she too were waiting for this dream to end, but it didn't. They stood there, feet apart for several long moments, just looking at each other, each possibly waiting for the other, neither willing to be the first. Raine took a deep trembling breath, the first in all that time, remembering to breathe, and that one movement sparked the rest of her to life, She rushed towards him, arms held open and aloft, Christian letting his fall open and down to scoop her up as she thrust herself into his. She leapt up so he bore all her weight but he did not stumble, he did not struggle. Raine's very real, very solid weight in his arms was evidence beyond anything that she was there. This was no trick, this was not his mind. No one had Raine's heartbeat, and who he held in his arms was real.
This was really happening, Raine was really there.
Her lips were on his from the moment she had hoisted herself up into him. It was just a furious press of lips that left her in danger of lacerating her bottom lip against his fangs, but she did not care. A coppery taste filled her mouth and she did not care, and he drank her up, and kissed her back, one hand holding her bum firmly so as to support her, the other on her back, pressing her into him as though determined to force her into his ribcage and dwell within alongside his heart forever. She already had a place nested there; he had just been lacking a means.
"Raine," he muttered in-between a kiss where she broke apart in the barest of means so as to breathe, her breath coming in pants now out of sheer excitement at being in his arms again. She could feel how thin he was as she encircled his upper body and shoulders, but she paid it no mind. He had always been a little too skinny, and he was with her, she couldn't complain about what state he was in. They were both a little worse for wear, but they were together again, everything was going to be alright.
Tears were running down her cheeks as she held his face, wishing to take it in and memorize it, though she already knew it by heart. She was recognizing it, noticing the new scars, seeing how thin he had gotten, but loving every inch of him, every flaw and curl. Those radiant blue eyes of his were staring at her, so wide, so innocent looking, the things they had seen somehow having no weight on them. She hugged him again and he spun in place once, Raine giggling, that releasing so many emotions, making her feel more than anything like she was home.
"I thought you 'vere dead…" he said, kissing her again, not allowing her to say anything, Raine just lacing her fingers in his hair and assuring him that that wasn't so, she wouldn't be pulling his hair right then if it were. "You 'vere gone, every'vone said you 'vere dead and 'zat I 'vas fool to believe o'zer'vise…I saw you stabbed, I saw you fall," he tried to explain, his face showing the first signs of tears, his voice quivering slightly as though he would break down completely then if allowed to continue. Raine couldn't allow that because she knew she would start crying too at that point and the two of them would just sob for hours otherwise, and she did not want that, this was a happy occasion; they had a lot to talk about.
"Shh," she said, stroking his hair back and out of his face, shaking her head as he held her still. "Shh," she repeated when he made to protest and speak more. "I'm here now, and I am very much-so alive," she assured, a tear sliding down Christian's cheek then, just one, reaching only about halfway down before stopping. It was pink, and Raine wiped it away with her thumb as she held his face, knowing it was blood.
"I was hurt, but Tao saved me. She took me away and faked my death. It was the only way the witches would ever stop hunting me. I am so sorry, Christian. I wanted to contact you, I wanted to go to you, but you were under surveillance, the witches would know. I wanted to be with you so bad, I wanted you to know I was alive at the very least, but no one would let me," she said, almost crying but remaining strong, though her eyes did burn.
"You have come home to me now, 'vhy?" he asked, not meaning to sound displeased or ungrateful, but not understanding why she would be here with him now if what she had just said was true.
"Because the witches discovered my secret, they found out I was alive and came after me. The only reason I was hiding from you was to protect you, but with my cover blown, there was no reason to stay away. Together we are safer; together we can face off against the witches. I learned you had been attacked after I was discovered and knew it was pointless to hurt you any more than I already have. I knew you would be stronger with my by your side again," she said, holding Christian tightly in a hug, speaking over his shoulder, he burying his face in hers.
"I have missed you so much," he whispered, speaking into her shoulder.
"I have missed you too," she replied, rubbing his back and feeling the bones there, beginning to wonder if he would be putting her down any time soon. If the tightness of which he was holding her was any indication, the sun would dawn first.
Nathaniel chose right then to start crying. Christian and Raine both fell very still at the distant wailing of the newborn and though Christian's was out of bewilderment, Raine's was out of terror. This was not how she intended on breaking the news to him.
"Is 'zat baby crying?" he asked, slowly releasing her so that he could set her down on the floor, the door to her back still and him daring a glance beyond her as though to see from where the crying was coming. The hallway was dark, the living room far from view.
"Christian, it has been almost seven months since I left," she tried to explain, Christian looking back at her with those befuddled eyes, trying to understand the situation but missing the key details, only knowing that his girlfriend has returned after being gone for seven months, and with a baby? Things didn't add up. "I am so sorry," she then cried, losing her resolve to stay firm, succumbing to the overwhelming emotions she felt and now crippled by guilt. Christian didn't even think on it, he just gathered her into a hug and rocked her against his chest, soothing her as she wept, unsure of what was happening but knowing Raine would explain herself, explain everything in time. She was very direct and straightforward, it was one of the things he loved about her, so he was confident that he would not be in the dark for much longer.
"I wish you could have been there, I needed you to be there, you deserved to be there," she sobbed, turning her head away to press her cheek against his chest.
"'Vhat happened? You can tell me, Raine, 've have no secrets, you have never been judged by me," he assured.
"Christian, I…" she said, sniffing back her tears. She didn't know how to say it, didn't know how to make him understand, not sure if she even fully understood still. "I was pregnant," she confessed, Christian becoming still as death as he looked at her, Raine having pulled away to make the confession. He said nothing. "While I was hiding from the witches, I was not only hiding the fact that I was alive from them, but the fact that I was with child too…with your child," she said, Christian's eyes giving away his misgivings in the matter.
"Raine," he said, letting his shoulders fall to look at her with a saddened expression. "I cannot have children," he said, not meaning to, but sounding very accusatory. Raine knew exactly what he meant to imply and started shaking her head without breaking eye-contact.
"I wasn't with anyone else, Christian, I swear to you. The pregnancy took me by just as much surprise as it would you. I didn't think it even a possibility, but now," she said as Nathaniel wailed again, having quieted for a moment but then calling out again for his mother.
"Raine," Christian said, wishing Raine would not lie to him. He was not mad at her. Hurt maybe, but he was so relieved to see her again, to have her in his arms, he would forgive her any misgivings. If she had gotten herself pregnant while with him, he would forgive her, but he did not like her insulting his intelligence by trying to claim the wee-babe was his.
"No, please, open yourself up and allow yourself to sense it. You can feel it, can't you, the power to gain from having a fledgling." She practically pleaded for him to do as she asked. Christian didn't, however, he was too busy blinking at her in astonishment.
"Fledgling?" His master, his brother, and many others, had accused him of breaking code and creating a fledgling even though that privilege had been revoked from him centuries ago. His master had said she felt the power and threatened him with dire actions for his disobedience, and he hadn't understood what she had meant. He hadn't created a fledgling in centuries, not since the restraint had been put on him. He had felt his powers growing and developing, and flowering, but he had thought it all had to do with his developing Master abilities. Had it actually to do more with the developing of his child?
"Open yourself up, do you sense it? Born to you or made, a fledgling is a fledgling, meaning you are granted a certain amount of power from it. It is why the act is so restricted and monitored, right? I feared you would discover my secret simply by sensing our child, but with your own natural powers coming back to you, you ascending to Master this past year, you were too overwhelmed with new abilities and levels of power to notice, or distinguished anyways," she attempted to explain but knowing she really needed Malachi to come and make this all clear so that Christian could accept what had happened. First, however, she needed to introduce him to his son. She needed him to believe before he was to accept the facts.
Christian, taking what Raine said very seriously, knowing that if what she said was true he had achieved the impossible, opened himself up to appreciate his new powers in light of possibly having a fledgling. He summoned to him the power, and Nathaniel quieted, beckoning his master's call. Christian's eyed widened further and further as his child's aura met his and they recognized each other. Raine watched Christian tentatively, still fearful that he would call her a liar, afraid he would be faced with the truth but simply unable to accept it so abruptly.
He fell silent, and remained that way for over a minute, just communing with the being in the other room. That minute seemed to be an eternity for Raine, but she dared not interrupt. Christian blinked slowly so that his eyes looked less like they were going to peel back, and he took a breath.
"How?" he asked, Raine relieved he was not denying what he felt, but dreading having to try and answer his questions almost nearly as much.
"Magic," she said, not meaning to shrug and sound dismissive but that being the truth. Christian was looking at her, giving her his semi-undivided attention. He couldn't let go of the connection he had made with the infant in the other room, a portion of himself still entangled in that. "You remember that night when my mother died and I was distraught, and you came over to comfort me, and I was attempting to cast a spell and you warned me not to, and things went a little funny?" she asked, nervous and therefore rambling.
"Dah," he said slowly.
"Well, that spell opened the gate…well, it set in motion your ability to…well, we had sex later and you…" she mumbled, inexplicably blushing at that point.
"You mean I…" he said, Raine just nodding without him having to finish. "Is 'zat possible?" he questioned.
"Tao said it is, and Malachi said that-"
"Wait, Malachi knew?" Christian then demanded.
"He was the only one in the world, let alone someone I knew, who could truly help me," Raine tried to explain, feeling Christian's instant rage and hearing Nathaniel cry as a result, knowing of how much Christian hated Malachi. "You being a vampire meant that the baby would be a dhampir, like him, like his son. He was the only one that could coach me through my pregnancy, aid me in the birth, guide me in rearing…"
"You 'vould trust him 'vith 'zis secret, but not me?" Christian demanded, his hurt showing through.
"It was not a matter of trust, but secrecy. You were being watched, I couldn't go to you! Not to tell you I was alive, most certainly not to tell you I was expecting your child. Malachi could slip under the radar enough to see me, that is until he was followed, that was how my cover was blown. Please do not be angry, not with me, and not with him. He wanted to tell you as much as I did, but knew it was for your own safety that you knot be told. He did it to protect you, honest! This wasn't to hurt you, you know I would never hurt you."
"But…you never told me?"
"I didn't know at first. I couldn't have, there was no reason to think the explanation for why I felt the way I did was pregnancy. I denied it until I couldn't anymore, but by then it was too late to tell you because of everything that happened. I wanted to tell you, but my only opportunity was compromised by a bad case of being stabbed."
Christian looked down and Raine's heart ached for him. This news, this happy news, was breaking his heart, and she couldn't have that. She knew if she could but get Christian to lay eyes on his son, he would forgive her for not having told him, he would forget this pain and be filled with the love of his son.
Raine realized then that she hadn't even told Christian he had a son. He knew he had a baby, but could he sense the gender? Did he know his name?
"Believe me, I wanted you to be there, to be able to put your hands on my stomach and feel our baby kick. I wanted you there with me when I gave birth."
"Gave birth…" he repeated, almost as though to himself. "How long ago? How long have I been fa'zer?' he asked, Raine relieved to see he was grasping the situation so well, trying to accept it all, trying to resist the urge to hunt down Malachi and gut him. He was not in massive amounts of denial, he was not throwing a fit, he was not accusing her of so many terrible things. She knew it was not like him to do those things, he was far too placid, too reserved. He was willing to believe, willing to trust, which made him a very odd vampire.
"A week. You have been a daddy for a week," she said, saying "daddy" and her face warming at his expression, the look of disbelief and shock making way for terror and a hint of pride. He was a man after all; making babies was one of those things that made them stick their chests out just a little bit in their accomplishment.
Christian looked at her, then down at his feet.
"A'tyets," he mumbled to himself, trying out "father" in his own native tongue and liking how it sounded.
"You wanna meet'em?" she asked. Christian snapped his head up to look at her in instant terror and she smiled. "Come on," she said softly, grabbing his hand to lead the way. Christian followed obediently, silently, without protest, but Raine able to feel a certain amount of resistance in his forward movement, like he was not ready yet and was dawdling to try and grant himself more time to come to grips with what he had just been told. His mind wanted to reject all that she had told him, it just couldn't be possible…but he couldn't deny what he felt, and it made sense now why he was so under threat, why his master was so convinced that he had a fledgling. Because he did!
Raine lead him into the living room where she had left Nathaniel in his carrier. There he sat atop the coffee table, silent but for only a moment before he started to wiggle and fuss. Christian couldn't see him, just a squirming mess of blankets. His mind was a little numb, and all he could do was stare at the blue blanket that had little yellow duckies all over it and appreciate how much he adored it. He loved that blanket, right then, that blanket was all his mind could deal with.
Raine's hand left Christian's tiny wrist and he was able to rip his eyes from the blanket with that loss of a sensation.
"Oh…what's wrong? Shhhh," Raine comforted in a soft baby voice as she leaned over and reached into the carrier. Christian thought he saw a glimpse of the baby's hand, his baby's hand, and felt the need to sit down. Luckily for him there was a couch right there, because he flopped down even if there hadn't been.
Raine straightened, and in her arms she was lifting the tiniest human Christian had ever seen. The cries were so high and frequent, just one repetitive squeal after another. She held him up against her chest, his head resting on her shoulder.
"Shh, it's okay, shhhh," she said, bouncing him lightly, gently rubbing his tiny soft back with a hand more than half as big as him.
Christian watched her and shifted uneasily. Raine looked up at him and smiled understandingly. She had been scared shitless the first time her son had been held up in front of her. She knew that feeling of helplessness would only intensify when Nathaniel would be offered to him, but the sensation of holding a newborn baby, your own newborn baby relieved all that instantly, if only but for a moment.
Nathaniel's cries died down now that he was being held and Raine moved over to Christian.
"Would you like to hold your son?" she asked, lowering him from her shoulder, holding the base of his head for support, and allowing Christian to look into his son's face for the first time. She held him out and Christian looked unsure.
"I do not know-" he started, looking down at the tiny baby, "I do not know how to-" he tried again. Raine smiled at him and moved forward. She circled around the table while Nathaniel was still held out slightly, and sat down beside Christian.
"Here," she whispered, carefully setting Nathaniel in his arms that he awkwardly extended to accept him, glad he was sitting because if he weren't he might have fainted, and the fear of dropping the baby was greater at a standing height. "Mind his head," she coached, Christian hunching his shoulders as he kept Nathaniel a slight distance from his chest for a moment, uneasy and unsure. Raine placed her hands in her lap and just watched as Christian pulled his lips in and pressed his mouth closed in a very insecure manner. He looked terrified, he looked like a new father. He shifted his grip slightly so Nathaniel was better supported, not for a moment looking away from his son.
He was so beautiful, and pink. Were babies supposed to be pink? There was a whole lot of black hair on top of his head, pushing the little blue cap with bunny ears attached off his head slightly so that is sat there, askew and in danger of falling off. The pale blue onesie he was snapped into made him look like a worm, a slinky, skinny thing with no legs and thin arms. Pressed against a chest he did not recognize, Nathaniel opened his unfocused eyes in the dimness and tried to make sense of who was holding him. Christian saw those eyes, so pale like his mother's, but so rich like his own, and knew this was his son. Those eyes, so unclear in what they were seeing, so fascinated by their discovery, were so true, so powerful. The dhampir he held already had a powerful aura, and certainly would develop a powerful gaze once his eyesight was less muddled.
"He is so tiny," Christian said softly as Nathaniel stared up at him, pouting lips party slightly as though in wonderment, head so heavy it was supported only by his father's hands so his back ended up arched and chest pointing up. Christian could feel Nathaniel's tiny heartbeat hammering away at a steady but fast rate. He stared at that chest that rose and fell with each tiny breath, and looked at those hands which were balled into tiny wrinkled pink fists where the tiniest of fingernails adorned.
"He was premature, born a little too early, so he is a bit smaller than he should be," she attempted to explain without meaning to convey any sort of concern. Christian, of course, looked at her in worry and she shook her head. "He is fine, one tough little dude," she assured, placing her hand on his as he held their son. "You are half fey, making him quarter, and I'm half Chinese, making him quarter that too. He is bound to be petite," she laughed, Christian blinked at her and then smiled, looking back down at his little boy, his tough dude. Part fey, part human, part Russian, part Chinese, born of a vampire and a witch…their poor boy, what a mess they had created for him.
Nathaniel gave a big yawn, showing his pink gums and tiny pointy pink tongue, as though totally unconcerned with his situation at the moment.
Christian licked his lips and opened his mouth as though to say something but words failed him. He tried again and looked away before building the nerve to try again.
"Hello, baby," he said, Nathaniel closing his eyes, mouth still open partially as his pouting lips stuck out. Raine watched him. "'Velcome," he said, it obvious he wasn't sure what to say, looking to Raine for help.
"Nathaniel. Your son's name is Nathaniel."
"Nathaniel?" he repeated, looking down at the tiny thing.
"It means 'gift from god', which I knew you would appreciate," she explained, Christian laughing softly.
"You seem to know me 'vell," he said, Raine laughing then too, knowing they still had a lot to learn about each other, only having dated for about two months and living a partial lie half that time, but now they had a baby. They supposed they could learn to understand and dare even know each other while raising a child. "I 'vould have liked Russian name," he said, Raine knowing Christian was not the disagreeable type, but understanding that he had also not been offered any say in the matter of naming his own son. "Bogdan," he said and Raine blinked at him. "It means 'gift from god' as'vell," he explained and Raine nodded.
"Bogdan Nathaniel sounds right to me," she said and Christian's glow seemed to increase twofold. His pride was in danger of smothering her in that small room.
"Hello mine son, mine Bogdan Nathaniel," he said, bouncing his son gently only a few times before stopping, fearing any sort of perceived roughness with the tiny newborn. Raine knew a little quiver would not damage their boy. "I love you," he assured, his son already asleep, "And I love you," he said, looking up at Raine, not having dared muttered those words to her more than once before now, sure of them this time as he looked her in the eyes over their son between them
"I love you too," she said, leaning in to kiss him over their son, knowing a whole lot of explanation was due, to try and help Christian better understand what had happened, but he seemed to accept that it HAD happened, and that was a start. She would bring in Tao to explain this to Christian at first, she couldn't risk Christian hurting Malachi when they both needed him so badly still. They were both first-time parents with a newborn baby, who was a dhampir no less. There weren't many parenting books out there to help those in their specific situation.
Raine still had that tricky business of explaining to Christian that little mess about their past life together, and who she really was…but that was for another day, that was for a day that did not belong to Nathaniel.
Christian Knows! Hallelujah!
Was this meeting to your standards? Did it meet your expectations? THIS scene (which I originally wrote over three years ago) was the reason why Raine never told him. This scene of being presented with a son he didn't realize he even had was to special to me. I'm kind'a self-conscious about sharing this with others, I can't really explain why, but I just pray that you liked it.
I won't be posting any more chapters or scenes for LMHtD as I have started posting LMHtB in all it's edited glory, but I hope you all stick with me. Now with my story set in a definite time, with a more defined plot and better established characters, with slightly more developed skills from the author's POV, I hope to make something TRULY worth reading.
Please leave me feedback, please contact me with questions, and PLEASE read LMHtB as I post it here on this site, it should be fun, it is not the same bunch of tired chapters you all vaguely remember reading in the past, I promise!