Status: Finished.

More Than Just Baser Instincts.

Hanging On

There was a sudden...stirring in my chest, one that made me horribly antsy. To add to my discomfort, my son was surely doing somersaults and effectively making me feel horribly sick. My sister and brother watched me with pity in their eyes before they both glanced down to the cubs that they held in their laps. While Tiberius had been hawking over me for the past month, he had been forced to leave me for the past two hours.

For a delightful conversation with my father.

I had no idea what this meeting was to be about, but I honestly did not care. My eyes drifted to my abdomen before my arms wrapped around myself. Maybe my father was worried that the baby was Quince's... It just had to be.

Even though it would seal Quince's fate and my fate...and even though this child would be forced to lead a land even if it was the last thing he wanted... He had to be Quince's son.

"Elaine, what's it like in Home?"

My eyes snapped to Arianna's face. She was smiling softly, a slight blush staining her cheeks. Leonard was smiling slightly, though his eyes remained firmly set on Elliot as he played with the babe.

"I don't know... It's just home," I mumbled quietly, trying to keep the longing from my voice. "Everyone there is really friendly, and they know everyone who walks by them on the sidewalk. And there's only one road in the whole place."

"Sounds very quaint, not at all like this place," Arianna murmured, a sad look suddenly washing over her.

"You know, once Gerald is in the ground, you and Leonard and the boys are welcome any time." I forced a smile despite my immense discomfort. "Quince and I would be glad to have you. But I can't guarantee he wouldn't try to steal the babies for himself."

The smile on her lips was just so sad, and it tugged at my heart so much that I had to look down.

"You love him a lot, don't you?"

"I love him with all that I have," I whimpered, holding myself tightly. "Tiberius isn't repulsive or anything, but I could just never love him, not after Quince."



I blinked furiously at the tears that threatened to form, and I choked out, "Arianna, Leonard... Can I be alone for a minute?"

My sister seemed wary of the idea, but Leonard nodded quickly before dragging her out.

I envied them. They had beaten all odds to be together, and they were—more or less—happy despite the obstacles to which life had presented them. Their cubs were perfect angels, they were in love from the very beginning... And at the end of the day, even when the world was falling apart...

At the end of the day, they were able to crawl into bed and lie in each other's arms. At peace.

I pulled my knees to my chest and sobbed into my skin. Damn these hormones! Damn these aches and pains... Damn Gerald for this damnable place!

"E-Elaine? Are you okay?"

I dried my face quickly and threw on a poker face as my sobs stopped in that instance. My eyes snapped to him, and Tiberius smiled gently as he stood, obviously feeling awkward, in the doorway.

"It's these hormones," I muttered, returning my gaze to the wall. "What is it?"

His arms were suddenly around me, and he pulled me into his chest.

"You're in a lot of discomfort, aren't you? Because of me, because of the cub?" he murmured. A slight hint of lamentation traced his voice.


But I was mostly in discomfort over the aching in my heart, and that just made me even more uncomfortable. I was so weak, it was disgusting! There had been a time when the idea of a fiancé had made me sever all ties with a man! But now... Now I was bemoaning over the loss of some stupid male!

I whimpered softly. No, it was not some stupid male: it was my mate, my other half. My world.

And I could not have him.

Elaine... I—I love you. Please hang on.
It was very weak and faint, but... But I heard him!


I'm sorry... I know that...
His connection faded out for a second. I'm sorry. Just hold on a little longer.

"Tiberius," I mumbled, easing myself out of his arms. "If Gerald died, what would you do?"

He frowned. "Elaine, you are my family now. Nothing would change."

I shook my head. "If Gerald was taken down and if this baby wasn't yours."

"But it—"

"Humour me."

He sighed deeply. "If I was completely free, you mean, to make my own choices?" I nodded. "I don't know... My mate is with another, and she's not the woman she was before all of the light was stolen from her. I guess I could just start over, with another lioness who didn't get her mate. Or maybe with a human." He shook his head. "But that doesn't matter, Elaine."

"What was your meeting with my father about?"


He said it without even cringing.


"I told him you're adapting very well, that we are more of a couple than I thought we would ever be."

"So you lied for me."

He smiled weakly. "I'm not lying. I'm being...selective."

"...Thank you. When my father's dead, you're going to make some woman very happy."

"Nonsense," he murmured, taking my hand and gently pulling me onto my feet. "I'll make you happy."

I tried to press him further, try to get him to see the hope that I saw for him. But... Something was wrong. I pushed him away and wrapped my arms tightly around myself. I felt off. Really, really off. Tiberius reached out, but I pushed him away as I mulled over the copper taste in my mouth. Was it blood?

I had just bitten my own tongue, and now the blood was filling my mouth. But what on earth—

"Oh, God! Tiberius!" I screamed, latching out and crushing his hand between my fingers. "Tiberius!"

He looked panicked, but I collapsed onto my knees and curled into a tight ball. This was what was wrong. I was dying. My stomach had surely just exploded, and I was dying. I was dying, and I couldn't do the one thing Quince had asked of me.

Just hold on a little longer...

I couldn't... I just couldn't!

The last thing I remembered was Tiberius grabbing me from the ground and running somewhere, screaming nonsense. But the pain was just unbearable. And then the world was black.
♠ ♠ ♠
I updated twice because...I didn't think the last chapter was enough! And I just wanted to get Quince's voice out there again! :p Thanks for reading :)