Doctor Synechdoche assured the parents that Antonia-Lily was going to be fine. They didn't keep her in the hospital much longer. By the end of the week, she was home. The triplets were coming up to about a year old now.
Erskine was fast asleep at his desk. Ruby tugged at his trouser leg repeatedly, eager for his attention. "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy, look, I made fire!"
Ravel stirred but didn't awaken. Ruby clicked her little fingers and accidentally set fire to something. "Daddy! I made fire!"
He gave a little moan as he awoke. Instantly, he noticed the fire. "Ruby!"
"I made fire."
"I can see that." He muttered angrily as he worked to put it out. "You have to be careful."
With a sigh, he pulled her onto his lap and held his hand in front of him, hovering it over his desk. "Firstly, when you've fire in your hands, keep it away from things that might catch fire."
She looked at him blankly and he sighed again.
"Don't let the fire near...anything, really. When you're older, I'll teach you how to use it properly, okay?"
She nodded. "Down."
"No more fire, okay?"
She nodded again. "Down."
He put her down, looked at the papers on his desk and shook his head. Not today. He just couldn't deal with this stuff right now. Perhaps he could switch jobs with Popularity for a little while.
Two or so months. They passed with no major event. Grievance and Slander were out in public again, walking down a familiar road to them, near to where the Midnight Hotel had been when Jayden had tried to kill Shudder. They were arguing. Their voices sailed over the treetops, frightening a lot of wildlife. They were having something commonly known as a lovers' tiff.
"I'm sick of it!" Mortis roared, pivoting on his heel to face his boyfriend, who shied back slightly. "You don't have to babysit me! I don't need protection!"
"Well pardon me for caring about you!"
"Just step back and give me some room, Jayden!"
Jayden scowled and crossed his arms, no longer walking. "Look where you're going, Mort." He muttered right before Mort walked backwards into a tree. Cursing, he rubbed his head and turned around, walking again.
"I survived long enough before I met you." He growled. "You're just some pathetic tag-along who doesn't even like killing. You only wanted your brother dead because he killed all those people you liked..."
"Don't bring up Regicide!" Jayden shrieked, storming up, grabbing the shorter man's jacket and forcing him round so he could slap him. "You know not to bring that up!" Tears were forming in his eyes.
"Whatever!" He yelled back, pushing Slander away. "Just get out of my sight!" He stormed off, leaving the dark-skinned man stood in the middle of the path in the woods, drying his eyes.
Mortis must have walked for miles and hours afterwards. He finally stopped, sitting himself down under a tree. Hungry, exhausted, thirsty, he'd done the overworking himself thing again, hadn't he? He took a deep breath and looked up to the sky, wondering where he could find some water. Jayden had been carrying the canteen, but there was almost certainly a river or stream or some source of running water around here. Heck, he could hear running water from where he sat. He stood and decided to follow his ears, but then he heard a different sound. Someone standing on a twig. He reached up to tighten his ponytail. The mustard ribbon was in today, and he wasn't beyond shedding any innocent blood. It might even mean a bit of food in his belly. Fingers tightened against the handle of his precious athame knife. Someone walked into the clearing and Mortis swung, but stopped himself just in time. Jayden. He looked shocked, then scowled.
"Oh great. Now it's going to look like I followed you. I didn't, before you ask, mate."
"I could have killed you..."
"Yeah, many times...you sound a little hoarse. Need a drink?"
"No! Stop looking out for me!"
Slander rolled his eyes. "Whatever." He went off the way he'd come. Mortis closed his eyes, bowing his head and running his fingers through his greasy hair. He was so stressed. Why was he even stressed? There went another cracking twig. Honestly, Jayden never learnt about stealth, or patience. Wait...that one came from behind him, didn't it? He whirled round, but too late. Just in time to catch an elbow to the jaw, actually. He stumbled and tripped, falling onto his bottom. Something had just gone down his throat the wrong way and he could taste blood. Was he choking on his own tooth? His brain told him to focus on dislodging it. He could breathe fine, but it was irritating, and all he could do when the foot came for his face was widen his eyes. He fell back and even rolled a little, blood pumping from his nose and already in his eyes. Damn it, this was not going well. With a cough, he waved his arm out, catching someone's leg with Wilbur's blade, the shadows following it to hopefully cut more. With a shriek of pain, some guy threw himself at the Necromancer and began raining down punches. Blood was dripping from the man, so at least Mort had done some damage. Okay, legs were pinned, but he could bring his arms up to defend. The guy was getting him in the stomach now. Oh balls. He was so tired. Perhaps he was getting a little too old to do surveillance nights. Depriving himself certainly hadn't done him any good over the years. He gritted his teeth against the pain, trying to bring his knees up. Wilbur wasn't in his hand. He must have dropped it after the swing. Oh jeez, the guy on his legs was so heavy.
"Okay, Ass Bandit, quit it."
Well...that sounded horrific. He opened his eyes to see B-J Maleficent as the punches to his belly ceased. B-J? That meant he was safe, didn't it?
"We need him in good condition for my father.
Oh hell no. He thrashed, desperately trying to get free. He felt something go in his hip. Perhaps his leg even dislocated. One hand grasped desperately for Wilbur, but B-J came forward and kicked it into the trees. Now, perhaps if he had eaten more often, Mort would have had some muscle to back him up, but as it was he was now defenceless, weakened by stupid nature. He just wanted to sleep. And have a sandwich. Last resort. He grabbed her leg, craned his neck and bit into her flesh hard enough to draw blood. She shrieked now, trying to shake him loose. He felt another hard hit to his belly, winding him. He couldn't breathe, his nose was clogged with blood, he had to open his mouth, let Maleficent go. As he sucked in a breath, he sat up, head colliding with the man so oddly named Ass Bandit's. He brought his hands in, clawing with his overgrown nails, biting at the fat man's nose, doing anything to cause him pain and get feeling back into his legs. B-J had hold of his ponytail. Oh hell no. She yanked him back and he yelled indignantly. His legs were freed up, but too numb to use effectively. She crouched down to his level and wrapped her arm around his neck, tightening it until he couldn't breathe. The mix of the three bloods made a foul taste in his mouth, his incisor tooth was still lodged painfully in his throat...it hurt more now pressure was being put on it. His body ached, there were tears in his eyes, and Ass Bandit had picked up Wilbur. He gave a few kicks as he clawed inefficiently at B-J's choke hold, and eventually weakened and blacked out. B-J dropped him the moment he went limp. She needed him alive. She heard a nearby rustle and heaved the unconscious Necromancer over her shoulder, wiping her hands on her dress. "Gross, A-B, his hair is absolutely gross. And he smells. Don't think he's ever even heard of soap..."
Bandit laughed and they both used air to throw themselves up when the Child of the Spider ran out at them.
"Mortis!" He shrieked, dismayed. "Bring him back!"
Madame Mist rested a hand on her belly as she looked at the small plastic stick. Another one so soon. She smiled beneath her veil. Erskine's reaction would be priceless. She stooped to pick her two younger daughters up, popping the pregnancy test in the bin, and rested the girls on her knees, reading a book to them.
((Mortis' section...blame Queen. All the ideas, especially Ass Bandit, came to me while listening to Queen on my way home from therapy...and if by some strange anti-miracle you didn't get it, Mort broke up with Jayden, but neither shall die until they're back together again :3 He's safe...for now...*evil laugh*))