Status: Finished.

More Than Just Baser Instincts.

This is Goodbye

I covered the throbbing mark on my neck, the newest addition that was a token of last night. Why Quince had suddenly decided to mark the other side of my neck, I would never know. He had sworn like a sailor once he pulled me into his arms and nuzzled me—apologised like mad, really. But it hadn't been him who had done it; his eyes had shimmered to that bright olive colour, like he was about to shift.

Surely it had been his lion instincts that did it. But why? I was already marked.

I shook my head to clear my thoughts, and then the cub in my arms began wailing and squirming. A frown tugged at my lips. My body reacted on its own to soothe Rory, taking my hand and brushing it over his bald head. We'd only been gone for two hours, but surely he missed Home as much as I did.

Elaine? Do you have Rory? Quince asked, obviously not feeling any strain at all as he contacted me from miles away. Is he okay?

He's fine, I sighed. I went for a walk.

He smiled into the connection, and my heart nearly shattered.

Okay. Just be safe. I couldn't bear if something happened to you two. I love you. And tell Rory that Dada loves him, too. Was he trying to kill me? And... Now that we don't have to worry about being the lead pair for a bit, I was thinking that we could relieve Anne and Bryce of their duties. You know, take Elliot and L.J. But don't think I've given up on freeing Leonard and Arianna. This is just temporary, I promise.

Okay. Tell Anne how much I appreciate her help.

Just tell her when you get back, Elaine. It'd mean more coming from you. Anyway, I'm going to go see the council and talk to them about everything. I'll leave the door unlocked for when you come home. And...Elaine?


As far as I'm concerned, Rory is my first son; but if the only way for me to become a lead male is to have a cub that is genetically mine... Would you be against increasing our family size?

I ignored the tear that ran down my cheek and shook my head.

Nothing would make me happier.

Maybe we can have a girl... Okay, I really have to go. I'll see you tonight.

Then the connection was gone, and I cried out in disorientation. Rory began crying again, too. But I just cried with him. Quince would be better off this way: without me and without a cub that would never be his no matter how either of us wished it to be otherwise.

But that didn't make it hurt any less when I felt my head start to get fuzzy.

Elaine, don't you think you've gone far enough? You're tugging on the connection, Quince muttered, his voice fading only slightly. It should have been completely gone by now.

But I forced my steps to quicken until I was running, taking care not to jostle Rory.

Elaine? ...Elaine. Elaine! Are you okay? Please answer me! Did Gerald get you?

I'm sorry.

What does that even mean? Elaine, turn around or I'm coming to get you. I won't have you so far out with my son. Something could happen to you!

I cut off the connection and hurried on.

Elaine! What the hell is going on! I cringed. He broke past the wall? Get back here, now! I'm not playing this game with you! This is not okay! There was silence for a few seconds. That's it. If you won't cooperate, I'm sending everyone after you!

Like they'd listen. We're not the lead pair, Quince.

Elaine! Damn it! I'm not letting you do this, even if it means breaking all protocol and losing my title forever!

You'll be a great lead male, Quince. And they'll find you a great lead female. And your cubs with her... There will be no doubt that they're yours. I don't know how long it'll take you to have a child, so I'm going to kill my father. Arianna can't wait for us to have a cub. She might not even have that much time.

What! You are not going back there, Elaine! You're stupid to think I would let you!

Goodbye, Quince.

This time the connection-cut was final, and I felt my heart wrench in all directions as I stepped a step too far for him to reach unless he was calm and collected. And Quince, no matter how much I loved him, was not capable of being level-headed.

The forest suddenly became so incredibly lonely.

Rory was still crying, so I pulled him closer to my chest and rocked him quietly. Soon, the only sound around us was the crunching of leaves beneath my feet.

I hated the fact that my feet knew how to take me "home," and I hated it even more that my father was getting exactly what he wanted. But my sister couldn't wait. If Gerald knew that she had gone against him...

My footsteps became even more rushed. Oh, God! I had not thought of that! If Arianna and Leonard were hurt because of me, I wouldn't be able to live with myself! Rory began crying again, but my heart was already tied up in knots.

He gurgled out a few nonsensical words in his teary tantrum, but then he... He cried out...

He cried out, in an almost incomprehensible way, "Dada..."

"I wish it were true," I mumbled to my fussing baby boy, brushing my hand over his little bald head. "Things would fit so nicely if it were."

"Dada! Dada!" he repeated, effectively breaking my heart.

It was the only word he knew, so he just kept crying it out over and over, again and again. And each syllable was another stake to my chest. He may not have even know what he was saying, but I knew all too well.

I hugged him tightly.

"Honey, we can only see Dada again if we hurt Grandpa. A lot." I frowned as he pulled my index finger into his mouth. "And that will hurt Grandma, too. But then your auntie and your uncle and your nephews will be free. So Grandpa is the problem, do you understand, Rory?"

"Dada!" was his gruff response.

"You'll have me in tears before we even get back to the sector," I murmured quietly before brushing a gentle kiss across his tear-stained cheeks. "I miss Dada, too, but he doesn't deserve this!"

Rory then just started wailing again, going into yet another tantrum.

It was going to be a long trip indeed.
♠ ♠ ♠
This one took a bit longer to get out than anticipated. But I hit a breakthrough, so hopefully the writer's block wall stays down and the studying wall keeps at bay! As always, thanks for reading. I know this one wasn't so eventful, but it's building up to something...big.

Hope you enjoyed it regardless! :)