.:: Navigation ::.

Stories marked with a * contain MATURE CONTENT and if you are under the age of 18 you are forbidden to view these stories.

~:: A Child Shall Lead Them - Part II (Chapter III) ::~

Mere moments later, Adara was ushered in. She rushed to her mother and leapt into her arms. Azazela scooped her beloved child up and kissed her tenderly. "Mommy!" she squealed with delight before noticing her father brooding near the window. A pang of sadness coursed through her as she realized that she would have to go against her father's wishes. It was evident that neither Mary nor Azazela had been able to sway his opinion of this matter.

Her mother released her and she moved quietly to her father's side, looking anxiously into the deep glow of his eyes. He said nothing but put an arm around his daughter's shoulder. She was still so small, so delicate, so frail... how could she possibly stand up to something as evil as Naimah? His stomach lurched within him.

"I love you, daddy," she said softly. "Don't worry. I will be fine."

The grimace that puckered his features told her that he did not believe her assertion. He knew deep within him that the time he had dreaded had come - the time to let Adara prove herself. He just had not been expecting it to come so soon, nor with such a daunting challenge. But in a sudden moment of lucidity he realized the choice was far out of his hands. He kissed his child on the forehead, and answered, "I love you, too, Adara."

The room fell into an uneasy silence for a few moments as his eyes misted with tears he valiantly fought to control. Finally Azazela broke the tension with her soft voice. "Should we be making our way back to Paragon City before it gets too late?"

He nodded. "You two want to stay at my place, and that way Adara can get up early and hop the train to Steel Canyon to meet her cousin?"

Az nodded and gave him a soft smile of gratitude.

"Daddy, can I sleep on the sofa and watch TV?"

He scowled. "Not if you are getting up early you can't. Sofa, yes, TV, no."

She gave him a classic "Oh, daddy" pout, which caused Mary to chuckle. "Your father is right, child. You need your sleep."

Adara nodded as she turned to her father with a bright smile, "Did Mary tell you what I learned to do?"

He shook his head. Her moods were so mercurial at times wondered how she kept from getting emotional whiplash.

"I learned to make myself completely invisible."

His eyes widened. Adara had never been able to do anything other than shadow herself into a translucent state that was still fairly visible up close. It was not like her mother's innate ability to become completely unseen to any normal being that had no extra senses.

"Watch!" she commanded him, excitedly. First using her own inborn skill, she phased herself into a translucent state, quietly she murmured an ancient phrase, and disappeared completely even though she stood mere inches from him.

He blinked hard. "Okay, I'm impressed." He stood for a moment, looking into the air in front of him, waiting for his child to rematerialize with a quiet hiss. "Adara?" A soft childish giggle wafted through the air as one of the scones suddenly seemed to take flight from the tea tray. Mary and Azazela burst out in laughter.

Losing her concentration, she became translucent as she took a small bite of the sweet biscuit with a soft laugh.

"Very well done, Adara," Mary said with mock austerity, "but you must remember that this power is not to be used for appropriating sweets."

Adara hung her head for a moment as Mary laughed. "My child, you know I would not deny you. Enjoy your treat."

Adara returned the sorceress's smile as she sat down on a small bench near door and nibbled at the delicacy.

"Shall I get you both some cider?" She offered to Azazela.

Az shook her head as her long white blond locks fell into her face. Pushing them back with a long slender finger she smiled down at the sorceress. "Thank you, but no. I appreciate your gracious offer, but we really should be heading back. It is late and we must not miss the last train back to the city."

Mary nodded. She hugged Adara and Azazela, and shook Cale's hand warmly and the three heroes set off for the journey back to Paragon City. Halfway there, Adara was asleep on Az's lap with her head on her father's shoulder.

The angel looked over at her longtime partner who was staring blankly out the window, caught up in his thoughts. Lines of worry knit his brows into a tight scowl. Best to leave him be, she thought to herself and turned her focus to the lightly snoring child in her lap.

The car rattled noisily into the Talos station as the angel softly lifted her child and took flight towards the landing. The Warshade shape-shifted moments later, when he knew Adara was far enough that he would not risk waking her. She slumbered trustingly in her mother's arms as the gentle breeze from the beating wings fanned her wispy locks across her soft face. Az alit softly on the landing without rousing the child. Cale keyed in his access code and led them to the door of his apartment - the apartment where the child had been conceived what seemed like ages ago.

He had to choke back another tear as Az tenderly laid their daughter on the couch, her legs dangling over the edge as he tucked a blanket around her.

Wordlessly he reached out a hand toward the towering angel at his side and led her to his room. Even in the worst of their disagreements, he had never denied her the comfort of his arms, or the solace the bed they often shared. He reflected on the thought that perhaps it would not be a bad idea for him to take comfort in her caring embrace.

To: To Cross Dark Lines - Chapter I