Chapter 11

Six years had passed, and he actually hadn't returned for her. Maria was lost in some woods she hadn't ever been in. Her hair was under a cloth to hide her feminine appearance. The clothes she wore, hid her curves from men. She had gained strength and learned how to use the sword properly by the twins. "Where did they tell me to go?" she asked herself, wondering slightly. So lost.

A head snapped out of the brush, followed quickly by another. Lucas grinned over at the wolf hound his father had gotten for him, petting the animal's head before they pounced ahead to get the berries they were supposed to collect. He paused though when he heard a voice, glancing about. "Hello," he called out, moving to stand in front of the bush that all the berries were. Usually no one was in this forest so it was strange to hear voices.

Maria looked up from the so called map the twins gave her, and put a hand to her sword. She blinked slightly, seeing it was just a little boy. "Hello." she replied back clearing her throat, before pointing at the map. "Do you know the way to the kingdom of Niel?" she asked curiously. Rumors that her mother, was actually still alive made it's way to her. Determined to save her mother, and find him.

He blinked, one hand stroking the tall pup by his side, "Niel is to the west," he said, pointing, "Probably three days ride. But you don't have a horse, so it'll be much longer then that for you, I suppose. Papa could probably give you directions to where you'd like to go. Or send you to the village not far away to get a horse and supplies if you have need."

Maria nodded slightly, "Alright, let me meet your papa." she said stepping forward towards the child. Her eyes looked over the boy some. He had very light brown hair, that almost went to his neck.

Lucas cocked his head, since she seemed to so want to see his papa, he couldn't very well pick the berries that he wanted. "Follow me," he said and went bounding off through the trees, glancing back to make sure she followed. He whistled for the wolfhound to come also.

Maria let out a small sigh and began to follow Lucas. Whoever the father was, he must of taught the boy well. He was much faster then her, so as soon as they got there she had to catch her breath.

"Papa!" Lucas called out to the little one roomed cabin that was in front of them, half hidden in the foliage. He burst through the door, only to stop and come running back out, "Papa!" he yelled, getting the deep voiced reply from the trees, near the stream that was a few steps into the forest from where they stood now. Lucas grinned and went running into the trees, leaving the woman for a moment to lunge at his father.

Damien laughed, his chest rumbling as he swung his son up onto his shoulders to sit. "What do you need, my boy?" he asked, walking back to their little home of four years. When he was in the small clearing where their cabin was hidden, Damien came to a quick stop.

"This lady is trying to find Niel, but she has no horse so I told her you could tell her how to get to that little town, Kent, that we always go to when we need supplies or a doctor," Lucas gabbered away.

Maria glanced over her shoulder, as soon as she heard Lucas talking to his father. Her heart stopped for a second as her eyes widened slightly. Damien, she thought before turning around to clear her throat. She was supposed to be a man. So, she covered up her voice. "I'm a man, actually." she corrected the little boy before extending a hand. "I'm Martian."

Lucas blinked, looking the other over with a frown, "Martin," he repeated the name, then shook his head.

Damien didn't move, his hands on Lucas's legs to keep the boy from falling, not taking the proffered hand. "Not many people come this way," he said, his eyes taking everything in of the stranger, "You must have gotten very lost, the road is nearly five miles south of here."

So he didn't recognize her. She let out a sigh, and then shook her head. "Yes," she said putting her hand back down to her side. "I've been traveling by foot with out stopping for some time, so my direction must of turned quickly." she said staring up at Lucas now. It was her son. Maria smiled to herself, before looking away. "If it isn't trouble, may I stay the night to rest?"

"Why would you leave the road and come this way?" Damien demanded, not answer the question, his dark eyes hardly missing a thing, "The road could have led you straight into Kent and yet you left it. Only those touched in the head dare to leave the road in this forest. There are many creatures that roam that night just looking for something stupid enough to let down their guard."

"I just got lost alright?" Maria said crossing her arms over her chest. "There isn't a way I'd let my guard down out in this forest." she narrowed her eyes some. "Truth be told, I don't know how I got off the pathway."

Damien snorted, "The pathway is an easy one to follow, just like any road, Martin," he spat the name out, "Did someone send you here to find the crazy man and his son? Were you planning to kidnap one of us," mainly Lucas. "You did not just happen to leave the road, you left it."

"What are you hitting at, sir?" she asked glaring at him. "That I am some kidnapper who would steal someones child from them?" Maria looked up at Lucas. "You are mistaken, I have no idea someone was out this way yet alone in the middle of the forest." taking a step back she whispered to herself. "Idiot," in her normal voice. He was the one who kidnapped her son. Their son. "Forgive me for bothering you, I'll be taking my leave now."

Damien watched for a moment, "It's getting dark," he called out when she had taken some steps away, "You'll have to stay the night if you want to stay safe. Unless you know how to fight off multiple beasts at the same time." He gave a shrug, walking easily with the child on his shoulders towards their home, "Come on in, then," he said, holding the simple wooden door opened. Inside, there was just one mattress to one corner and a small table with two chairs in the center of the room. Other then a shelf with some dried food stuffs and the afore mentioned furniture, that was all there was in their home.

Maria looked around the room. "So, I take it I'm sleeping on the ground tonight." she nodded and stepped beside Damien. "I could fight off multiple beasts, but I'm going to take you up on your offer." sitting down against the wall, she took the sword off. "I have a thing, that I do not like people watching me change."

He just snorted, not believing a moment the words being said. No one could fight off so many large beasts, not even he would be able to. He had been forced to fight just one and it had nearly overtaken him. The beasts were unknown to everyone, large, fierce, wild... "There is enough room on the mattress for all of us," Damien said easily, "If you wanted privacy, you shouldn't have left the road." He took Lucas from his shoulders, tossing him playfully at the bed, getting a loud giggle from him. "Ready yourself for bed, sprout."

Maria stood up from the wall, "I'll change right outside then," she said grabbing the bag she had, accidentally dropping the night clothes she had with her. "And I'd prefer to sleep on the ground." Stepping outside, she glanced over her shoulder making sure she was out of sight. Before taking off her shirt.

Damien spoke softly to Lucas after their unwanted guest left the house. He was so tempted to follow, to see what this stranger wanted, but instead he stayed with Lucas, undressing himself then pulled on a pair of trousers he always slept in. "You're going to sleep closer to the wall tonight, Lucas," Damien said, stopping any complaint the boy might have. He swooped Lucas up and nestled the child into the mattress, covering him up, "Go to sleep."

Maria stumbled slightly as she looked through her bag, "Crap." she whispered to herself before glancing over her shoulder. Did they fall? Probably did, so she reached for her day clothes.

Damien kicked back in one of the two chairs he had, only to crash the legs back to the ground when he saw something near his door. His dark eyes narrowed slightly as he stood to see what the white clump was. As he picked it up, he growled softly. "Martin," he spat again, he'd known it wasn't a true name, but damn it! Throwing the dressing gown over his shoulder, he went through the door as silent as a wraith. "Were you going to stab me in my sleep then?" he growled when he finally found her, not that it had taken much effort.

"Damie---" Maria sounded shocked and then covered her mouth, as soon as she began to say his name. "I wasn't going to stab you!" she said standing up, putting the shirt on quickly. "I really did get lost in the forest," she looked away from him. "I'll just go." she said grabbing her things quickly.

"What makes you think I believe you now? How the hell did you find me? No one was supposed to make their way out here, we were supposed to be safe, I promised him," he snarled, tossing the gown to the dirt. "You won't leave now, not after what you saw."

Maria's eyes widened slightly, and then grabbed her gown. "I wasn't sent here to kill anyone," she said looking up at him now. "You're so stupid," she commented before standing up slowly. "I'm going to leave you this time, just like you did with me." she snapped at him narrowing her eyes.

Damien snorted, "I never wanted you to come here in the first place. Leave, I won't regret it. I won't hurt. You probably never wanted to see me in the first place, what with the things you did before. Just leave, Maria. We don't need you."

Maria felt a sting go through her chest, but she stood her ground. "Still as hardheaded..." she whispered grabbing her bag again, "And for your information, I have been looking for you for the longest time to talk to you." she then walked passed him, "But I can see you would rather be alone, with the son you stole from me."

"The son I stole from you! Were you even going to tell me he existed if I had to wait longer to return? Not that it mattered, you went off and married a prince instead of waiting for me," he snapped. Even though he'd known she had been threatened, it didn't matter. He ran his fingers through his hair, growling. She was still just as stubborn as ever.

Maria turned around to him now, "For the last damn time, I didn't have a choice!" she hissed through her teeth, glaring up at him. "I told you of Lucas, Damien. You knew what he meant to me." looking away from him, she shook her head. "That night, I hadn't slept because you two had just up and left me. I got so mad at you in the forest because of the way you treated me." she tilted her head down. "I wanted to prove you wrong."

"And you did such a great job of proving me wrong the last time," Damien snorted, rolling his eyes, "You weren't the one to even tell me. You could have written to me! Lily could have sent me a letter if you had just asked. Instead you decide to defy a prince. You should have just done what you were supposed to do. Some things are better then others and life with him would have been fine if you hadn't been stubborn. Even now, you could have been a queen, Maria. Lucas could have been a prince!"

At that, Maria slapped him across the face. "That's enough!" she shouted at him, putting her hand down to her side. "Enough, Damien." she whispered trembling. "I can't believe you're saying you would rather Lucas to be someone else's.." she stepped back one step. "If you wouldn't of saved use, Lucas would be dead right now. Because of your eyes." she glared away from him. "I haven't talked to your sister, let alone anyone else other then the twins. Who, have taught me the way of the sword." she shook her head. "Pointless to talk to me, since I apparently don't listen to a word you have to say so," she then did a mock bow. "Excuse me, Mister Damien."

It was practically dark now, just a little bit of light left before they would have to be inside. Damien stared at Maria, once again she wasn't listening to his words, or she was listening too much and mixing them up, adding other things he wasn't truly saying. Why did he even bother to speak when she was around? He turned his back on her, arms crossed over his chest, until he heard something in the distance. A loud howl. With a curse, he was forced back to look at Maria, "Unless you want to be killed, get back in the damned house," he snapped, pushing in front of her and entering the cabin.

Maria tilted her head down, and turned to enter the house. Sitting down against the wall, she tossed her bag down and rested her head against it. Putting her back to him, she felt angry and sad. Which gave her a headache. Putting the night gown on over her clothes, she rested her head back down on the bag.

"Papa," Lucas whispered when he heard his father come back in. He was turned towards the door, his eyes wide, "Why were you screaming?" he asked after Damien sank into the bed beside him.

Damien let out a breath, turning Lucas to his back and tucked the blankets around him once more, "Shush now, sprout," he said in a low tone, "Just go to sleep now. In the morning we'll go to Kent and I'll let you ride again." He smiled at the light on his son's face, "Sleep now."


The following morning, she woke up to a chill. Sitting up, she held her head slightly and let out a groan. Maria had to change the damn bandages again. Looking over her shoulder to see the two still asleep, she slowly slipped out of the night gown, and reached for a new role of bandages from her bag.

Damien's eyes opened a crack, "What are you doing, Maria?" he asked her in a whispered tone. He didn't understand why she was binding her breasts, since he knew who she was now, it wouldn't make a difference if she bound her breasts or not. At least not until they reached the village.

Maria glanced over her shoulder at Damien, and looked back down at her chest. "What does it look like I'm doing?" she asked gently as she began to bind them again. "I don't want to look like a girl, Damien." she whispered as she continued to wrap the binding around her chest. "Go back to sleep."

"There is no one around here but for us, Maria, there's no reason for you to bind your breasts as you do. Not until we reach Kent," Damien said in a low voice so as not to wake Lucas. "What will it hurt to leave them unbound?"

"You're around." Maria said tilting her head down, "That's the reason I'm binding myself." she said as she continued. "I don't want you looking at me the way you used too." it hurt her to say this. "Why do you hate me, Damien?" she finally asked as she finished up. And turned onto her side to look at him, "What did I do too make you run away?"

Damien just shook his head. He didn't understand how she didn't know. "Think back. I was just trying to help you, Maria and you only snapped at me. How sick did you end up getting that night?"

"I got the flu, but slept for a month to get over it," she said "You were babying me." Maria said looking up at him. "The twins told me you just up and left, and they looked for you." closing her hands on the wrappings she wore before, and then put them away. "I was mad, alright? Not to the point for you to leave though, the normal kind." Maria soon found her self turning to him. "I've been looking for you for all these years, I've practiced with the sword and I'm stronger then you take me for. So, stop treating me like a little girl." she said staring up at him. "You've become so bitter towards me," she said rubbing the back of her neck. "I won't bother you any longer, once we reach the village."

The man snorted, quietly he spoke in return, "You seemed as if you didn't need me, why would I stay when you so obviously can do everything on your own? You do not care if you kill yourself trying to get water you could get in a few hours. You pushed me away, so I left, you should have been happy that I was no longer there to burden you with my knowledge of things. I am so sorry for trying to keep you safe and alive and healthy."

"That's not fair," Maria said tilting her head. "That's not fair at all, Damien." she whispered glared at him. "You should know by now, I don't like being babied." she slowly scooted towards him. "Why do you hate me so much now?" she whispered stopping when she was close to him.

Damien shook his head, "It is not that I hate you, Maria. Things have happened, to you to me, that I don't want to be around people. Especially those that will not listen when I give advice. You only listen to your own head."

"You're not any better then me," Maria shot back at him. "I tried talk to you, but you and your ego got in the way..." she closed her hands into fists. "Did you ever tell Lucas about me?" she asked scooting away from him.

"Of course I did!" Damien snapped, "I told him that you ended up falling into a river and catching your death because of it. That is exactly what would have happened too."

"But I didn't, I'm alive and here." Maria said rubbing her head. "I wanted to raise him with you, I didn't die." she tilted her head down. "I wouldn't of died, I was fine...I got a bucket of water, to take a sponge bath outside."

He wanted to growl, to kick her from his home and never see her again. "You said yourself you got sick after that night, for over a month you were sick. If you would have just listened to me, or the twins, this never would have happened."

Maria looked up at him, sadly. "I'm sorry, I didn't listen to you." she gently said, before touching him on the hand. "If I did, would we be in a different boat?" she asked staring up at him. "I still love you, that's what I'm trying to tell you.."

"If you would have listened to me, I wouldn't have left," Damien said, pulling his hand away from her own. "You don't need me anymore, Maria, you've taught yourself the sword and you do what you'll do no matter what anyone says otherwise."

Maria felt her eyes water, "That's a lie." she said sadly. "I won't always listen to myself. I would of already left here!" she looked away. "I still need you, Damien."

She had a funny way of showing that, didn't she? "If you need me so much then why did you try to hide yourself from me? Why haven't I heard of your searchings before now? You should have asked around, asked other people, it's not as if I hide my name from everyone around me."

"I was pronounced dead by my ex husband.." she said staring up at him. "I didn't want you to find out, because I thought you hated me." she rubbed her temples. "I've been searching for you. But was it a waist?" she asked eying Lucas.

Damien studied her in the faint light coming through the windows, "You didn't want me to find out that you were pronounce dead? Perhaps I could have been content."

"But as you can see..." she whispered turning over slightly to him. "I'm not dead.." Maria stood from her place again. "I could walk out of this cabin. Out of your life..." she said with dull eyes. "I can make you happy again."

"No one ever said I was happy leaving you, Maria," Damien said, his eyes following her every move. "But I really wish you would know the things that go through my mind. Why you can't understand anything that I say. I am speaking plain English."

"And so am I." Maria said gently. "I'm just gonna go ahead, you tell Lucas that his mother said goodbye." she whispered touching her hand gently, before tossing something at his feet. "I had made this with yarn the twins let me play's one of those bracelets, that mean bound. Something like that." she slung her bag over her shoulder.

Damien shook his head. She claimed to still love him, but she certainly didn't fight like it. Supposedly she wanted to be with him, had been looking for him these past years, but the instant she found him and he spoke of that time long ago, she up and left, not caring what she would leave behind once more. "Then go," he snapped.

Maria just stood there, keeping her head down. "I don't want too." she tossed her bag down to her side. Before turning back to him, "Damn it, Damien..." she whispered kneeling down in front of him. "What do I need to do to prove it?"

"Why do you even bother, Maria!" Damien demanded, accidentally waking Lucas with his loud voice, the boy just blinked up at him tiredly. "Go to sleep," Damien said to his son, standing. He went pushing out the door expecting the woman to follow him.

Maria stood up from the floor following after him. "Because, I don't want to give you up." she said standing in front of him. "I do not want to just walk away and feel empty again." she whispered blushing slightly now, just because it seemed like she was on a different page then him, "That's why."

"No one knows what it's like to just walk away, Maria," Damien said, actually reaching forward and cupped her shoulders with both of his hands. She didn't know how hard it had been to leave her. "It's too late for us, we don't have anything to do with each other anymore. Too much time has passed."

"We can start over," Maria said staring up at him. Before she could stop herself, she leaned in and gently pressed him against the tree a few feet away from them. "It's never too late." she whispered before kissing him gently on the lips.

Damien didn't know why he backed away from her, why he would move from her so easily, allowed her to overpower him like that. He licked his lips, about to speak before she touched her lips to his. He hadn't kissed a woman for years, no doubt it showed in the eager way he actually replied to the kiss, his hands going down her shoulders, to her arms, to pull her against his chest, deepening the kiss.

Maria let out a small moan, and lifted up her hands to his face. Opening her mouth slightly, she slowly pulled away some. "I don't want to leave.." she whispered against his lips. "Please, don't make me..."

"I'm not the one trying to make you leave," he just wanted her to understand why he had left in the first place. That she couldn't always do what she wanted to do. She had to follow rules and obey when the times called for it.

Maria tilted her head slightly onto his chest. "What do I need to do then?" she whispered to him. Trying to understand. "Tell me." she whispered gently to him, before tilting her head up to him and kissing him gently on the lips.

Damien studied her face, just trying to understand why she even wanted to be with him. "You need to listen to me, Maria. You need to respect the words that I say to you. Do as I say. I will not order you about like a king, but if I say not to do something, do not do it. The woods are different out here."

Maria's eyes closed slightly. "I'll try," she whispered to him. "I promise." before she gently before closing her hand around his shirt. "I need to tell Lucas, I'm his mother." she whispered to him gently. "I want him to know I'm alive."

"I'll tell him. He's been my son, and only mine, for the past six years. He can understand it better if I tell him, since you have been saying you were a man," Damien said carefully, cupping her cheek in his palm.

Maria nodded and stepped back a step. "Alright, I agree with you." she said softly. "I'll wait outside for you." she leaned back against a close by tree. "I'll un-bandage myself, if that'll help."

Damien pulled her towards him, his hands going under her shirt to the bindings she wore, going around her chest and breasts slowly, sucking in a breath for every inch of skin he uncovered, even though he couldn't see it with her shirt still on. "You can come in with me."

Maria tilted her head down, and took the bandanna from her head. Her hair covered her blush slightly, "Alright." she said swallowing as he finished undoing the binding. She had grown over the passed six years.

He so badly wanted to take her clothes from her body and press her against the tree. Though he couldn't he had to go inside. "Come," he said in a low tone, grabbing her hand to pull her towards the cabin.

Nodding, she took his hand. Would Lucas freak out? Or hate her for not telling him the truth? Maria didn't want to think of it. "Damien, what do you think his reaction will be?" she asked as they entered the cabin.

"Excited," Damien replied easily, releasing her as they entered. He went over towards the bed and gently shook the young boy awake. "Lucas, child," he whispered after the boy sat up in his night clothes, "You remember the story I told of your mother, aye?"

Lucas nodded tiredly, rubbing one of his grey eyes with a fist, "You said she fell into a river."

"That's right, sprout, you are so smart remembering that," Damien said, ruffling his hair. "It seems though, that is not completely true. Your mother seems to have survived her fall into the river and is quite healthy and whole." He glanced back towards Maria, holding a hand out for her.

"And she is my mother?" Lucas asked, "I told you she was not a man."

Maria took Damien's hand, and came closer towards Lucas. Before bending down towards him, "I'm sorry you thought I died." she said tilting her head slightly, and timidly reaching out a hand to him. Rubbing him on the head, she smiled. "I'm happy right now, but I don't cry." she said hitting her cheeks slightly. "I don't cry." she whispered looking back at Lucas then up at Damien with watery eyes.

The boy reached out and touched her cheek, under her eyes, a frown on his face, "I knew you weren't truly dead," he said. "Papa said that you were, but I didn't believe him. Don't cry, Mama, we'll keep you safe here."

Maria looked up with the soft eyes. Before bringing him closer into a hug. "I'll be alright, Lucas." she whispered to him, her voice unsteady. A light laugh came from her mouth as she pulled away, rubbing her eyes. "Looks like I'm crying."

Grinning, much like his father did, Lucas looked from one to the other, "You shouldn't cry, we'll keep you safe," he promised again. He looked towards Damien when the man moved to embrace Maria, "See?"

Maria blinked away a few more tears, "Yeah you were right." she whispered into his shoulder. "I need to get to that village still, or something else." she shook her head. "My mother...she's still alive. I've heard." she whispered gently. "I want to see her," she looked over at Lucas then up at Damien. "I promise you, part of me is finally full again."

Damien frowned at her words. Her mother was still alive? "Allow me to go and fetch her, to find out if she is where others say," he said, "I will move faster then you. I know my ways around this place. That way, you can stay here and get to know our son." He gave her a faint smile, "If she is still alive, I will bring her back here for a visit."

Maria bit her lip, she promised to listen to him. "Al...Alright." she whispered gently, and put on a tiny smile. "I'll leave it to you, Damien." turning too her side, she stretched slightly. "Before anything happens, I'd like to have a little alone time with your father."

"Not in my bed," Lucas said, crossing his thin arms over his small chest, "Why would you want alone time with him when you can just have time with the two of us? Then I can get to know you and you me. Right?"

Maria blushed some from embarrassment. "Yes, I guess you're right." she said rubbing the back of her neck slightly. "I'm sorry, Lucas." she said before hugging Damien around the stomach. "I just wanted to cuddle with your father, I guess."

Damien rolled his eyes at the boy, stroking over Maria's hair, "I will head out in a few days, sprout. So that you have enough time to figure out all of her problems and I can help you get her into the work of things."

Maria glanced up at Damien, "Can you show me where not too go around here?" she asked curiously. "I'd like to stay out of trouble." she said kissing him gently on the lips.

"There aren't many places you cannot go. You must only be careful of where you step, the forest floor is wet, even when it has not rained," Damien said easily, "Lucas can show you about the forest, to the hot springs. I'm sure you'd like a bath."

"That would be nice." she replied gently and nodded at his words. Before saying softly, "Would you like to rub my back for me?" she asked Damien with a curious look.

Lucas stood up on to the tick mattress to go and get himself dressed in gray shirt and brown trousers while his parents made love eyes at each other. "Are we going to go!" he demanded after nearly five minutes of them staring at each other.

Maria was the first to blink and look over at Lucas. "Aww, it's a little Damien." she said hugging Lucas in a tight hug. "So cute," she whispered to him. Suddenly cheered up inside. "Let's go Damien, Lucas wants to leave."

The man rolled his eyes when his son spoke up, loudly to get the two adults to pay attention and get up. He let out a breath, standing up and stretching his arms above his head, taking his sweet time, "What have I told you about patience, Lukas?" he said in a low tone.

"Patience is a virtue?" Lucas murmured, blinking, then grinned when Damien nodded. "I was being very patient while you were looking at her."

"We will have time tonight, Damien." Maria said making little circles on her shirt. "While Lucas here is asleep." she snickered slightly. "We can have all the time in the world, while he sleeps."

Damien chuckled, "He is a very light sleeper, Maria. Some times. Unless you are very careful with the sounds that you make." As for the talking that they had done earlier that morning.

"He's a big boy, Damien." Maria said nudging him. "I can't control the noise I make." her smile was playful, even though she was blushing.

Lucas was the one to speak up, "I think we need a bigger cabin, Papa," he said, starting out the door so the two adults would follow after him. "Perhaps you should start building!"

"I don't think so, sprout. You want a bigger home, you build."

Sorry! I thought I posted this o-o;


- Miku Miku