Zane & Belle 5

Chapter One

Belle packed Zane Jrs bag for him while he played in the living room with his friends Amelia and Shane. Their family was going on vacation and had invited Zane Jr to go with them if it was alright with her so she was of course letting him go even though that would mean an empty house to herself. Her other children were nearby and regardless she never let her hate for being home alone halt her children from anything they wanted to do because she knew how unfair that would be. When the bag was packed she zipped it up with a sigh, hoping her little one would have fun with his friends and that his father would be coming home soon from his latest man hunt. “here you go cutie” she said as she handed him the bag. Shane started laughing “mom!” Zane Jr said with an almost horror struck face.

“sorry, you arent cute”

“Shane! It wasn’t funny!” He scolded his friend just before Natalie said “it isn’t funny nor is it nice to laugh at your friends. You know i call you sweetheart just before bed at night” Shane blushed and Zane held down his own laughter. Natalie got up from the sofa and hugged Belle “my husband and I will take good care of him. My children begged for him to get to come along. They will have a blast”

“I know, I trust you fully and know my husband would too.”

“You also would have to be pretty stupid to hurt one of Zanes children if you recognized them so most horrible people on the road probably wont bug us if they see Zane Jr” Belle smiled “yeah, you don’t have to comfort me. I trust you two with my boy”

“I just know how you worry. I dont want you to stress”

“I wont” Zane Jr ran up and hugged his mom “Love you”

‘Love you too” She held him until he let go and they all walked out. Instantly that feeling of being home alone tugged at her. She decided to go see one of her newer friends so she wouldn’t get down. A woman had only just moved into the village about a few months ago and they had become quick friends. Belle had never made a friend so fast but the woman was nice and she was always happy to make more friends. Belle slipped her shoes on then headed over to her friends house. She knocked on the door which was soon answered by Melanie. “Hey! What’s up? Where’s your son?”

“he just left to go on vacation with some of his friends”

“aw, I’m sorry. Zane’s still gone too right?”

“Yes but nothing to be sorry over. Me hating being alone is my own problem. I’d never put that on my children”

‘so wow, I think this is the first time we’ll be hanging out both childless and without your ever hovering husband” Belle giggled ‘he doesn’t hover” Melanie gave her a look and Belle laughed harder ‘ok, maybe”

“I’ve actually been waiting for this”

“waiting for this?”

“why don’t you and I head up to my cabin I told you about? Its only an hour from here and you can leave Zane a note”

“Why couldn’t we ever go with my son?”

“Adults only there. I wanted us to go when I could have you to myself. Woman time, not a child or man has ever been there with me”

“Ok, I’ll pack my own bag and be right back”

“I’ll be waiting but no rush. I’ll clean up here until you’re ready” Melanie said with a smile then shut her door while Belle walked off. Belle decided for good measure she’d tell Gabriel Jr and Tawny where she was going. If people thought Belle worried over her children they should pay more attention to Zane with her. It was Tawny who answered the door “hey momma, what’s up?”

“Hey, Zane Jr went on a trip with his friends and I’m going to Melanies cabin with her for a bit. When she’s told me about it she says she normally stays two to five days. If you see my husband around make sure to let him know incase he doesn’t see the note I’m going to leave in the kitchen”

“She knows magic right?”

“yes and I’m a dragon” Tawny smiled humorously “I know, I know but you know how Gabriel and your husband can be about you. I want to have all the good things to say possible”
“I’ll be fine, don’t worry so much.”

“Have fun then.”

Belle smiled as she left, hurrying home. She grabbed her bag and packed everything she needed then double checked to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything. She grabbed her notebook and wrote a quick note to Zane, making sure he knew how much she loved him before locking up the house and leaving. She couldn’t wait until he was home, she wanted to fall asleep in the warmth of his arms. Melanie was waiting out front for her and gave her a warm smile. “That was fast?”

“I try not to make people wait.”

They walked away from Melanie’s house, chatting about their families. Belle always found herself talking about Zane and her children which Melanie had a hard time pretending to like. She wanted to hit Belle in the mouth every time she mentioned Zane’s name, but instead she just smiled and laughed. She knew if she lost her cool to soon then she wouldn’t be able to do what she had planned. “Sorry I’m jabbering.”

“It’s fine, I like hearing about your family, it’s nice.”
“there’s just so much to talk about with five children.”

“are you two done having kids?” She asked to continue the farce of her being interested. Belle shrugged “I don’t know. We still have unprotected sex so probably not. Zanes a great father and I love being a mother so why not. When we want time for just the two of us theres plenty of family near to watch any young ones at home” Zane jr already felt homesick as they stepped out of his town. He glanced back, hoping his mother was magically standing there and waving. She wasn’t so he faced forward and tried just to think of how much fun his first trip without his parents would be.

Last thing he wanted to be was a crybaby who couldn’t be away from his mother. Zane Sr growled angrily as he tried to stand in his dizzy state. The mark he had thought he was about to corner had surprised him with a partner that slammed a sizeable, very painful rock into his head until he was unconscious. This wasn’t good and meant even longer until he could go home. He was atleast grateful he wasn’t at a full loss. He shifted into a dragon then scented the air to see where they went. Once he had a direction he went back to the body he preferred, his human body.

The day was gorgeous around Zane but he barely noticed in his rage. The leaves had only just turned and were already coating the green blades of grass with their beautiful colors. At this point he wouldn’t even have noticed a Pegasuses if it walked by. All he wanted was this mans head on a platter so he could go back to his sweet wife and the children he loved so much.
Belle greatly enjoyed the walk, the fresh air and the beautiful fall colors. She couldn’t wait until Zane was home and she could enjoy the changing of the season with him. She was a bit disappointed when the cabin came into view since it signaled the end of their walk, but she smiled at how well kept it was. Melanie unlocked the door and pushed it open, letting Belle walk in. “Wow, this place is nice.”

“Thank you, I try to keep it as clean as I can. I know I don’t live that far away, but sometimes I get busy and things get dusty.”

Belle smiled. “Which room is mine?”

“Upstairs and to the left. Mine is right across the hall.”

Belle headed upstairs and deposited her bag in her room. She went back downstairs and sat down on the couch. It was incredibly comfortable. “Don’t be surprised if I ask you to bring me here every time I’m home alone.”

“Wouldn’t that be nice, we could make it a thing.”
“so, I think we’ve known eachother long enough for me to ask. Why have you never gotten married? You’re fun and pretty so is it just a choice?”

“I was married two years ago but my husband was murdered. We had been together a really long time and I’ll never forgive the man that took him away”

“Oh my god, I’m so sorry” Melani shrugged “I can’t love anybody else. He was my soulmate”

“I understand, if I lost Zane I don’t think I could ever love again” Melani groaned in her head “stop bringing up Zane!” She calmed herself thinking of tonight. When Belle was sleeping it would be easy to drug her. She knew the prick would wake Belle but if she used the paralytic first she wouldn’t be able to move or shift into her dragon form. She had been careful in her selection of disease. It was one that could infect demons so even though she was a dragon it would be fast acting. She only wished Belle was fully human so it would kill her before she even got a chance to get home and ask for help. Since this was from a different world Melani was positive she’d die before they could figure out a way to save her.

In most worlds there was nothing that could infect a demon but with the increasing popularity of people traveling inbetween worlds was spreading germs that people of other worlds weren’t used to and therefore not immune to. When somthing was strong enough to kill a demon there wasn’t any hope for even a dragon unless you actually knew how to cure it.

Zane Jr and Amelia were playing in a river they had stopped at while Natalie watched. Her husband and son had gone hunting for somthing to eat so it was just the three of them. She just smiled happily at the childrens laughter and her daughter blushes caused by Zane. It was even cuter how he didn’t notice. “aren’t those some happy kids?” a gruff voice sounded just behind Natalie. her heart slammed to a hault as she stood. He laughed “now now, I’d hate to hurt you and the little ones. Hand over your money and we’ll be on our way”

She pulled out her sword, it apparently summoning more goons from the woods. Amelia screamed as her eyes teared up while Zane was just frozen with what to do. Normally his dad or his brothers were there when somthing like this happened but now he was the only person who could help Natalie who was outnumbered. He had watched his dad fight so many times and knew what to do. Especially since he had listened to some of the lessons his father had given his older siblings. Violence was somthing he never wanted to be a part of but now it seemed he might not have a choice.

Zane was afraid of loseing Amelia or Natalie so he drew his blade. His heart sank as he did it but this was what needed to be done. What kind of a man he if he just let these two women get hurt because he didn’t want to fight. Right now their lives were more important than his hate for violence. He shocked even Natalie when his razor sharp blade took a leg off one of the men. Despite Zane Jr hating violence Zane kept his sons blade sharp and ready incase he ever needed it. Natalie saw quick that even though he had inherited his mothers gentle nature his fathers long line of assassin blood pumped strong in Zane Jrs veins. He was just as natural at this as Gabriel Jr and his father had proved to be.

Chapter Two

“Little brat.” The leader snapped. “Kill him.”

All Zane Jr. could hear was Amelia crying and Natalie fighting off the bandits who were attacking her. With every slash he made and life he took, he felt like he was losing more of himself. One of the bandits caught him across the cheek with a punch and he hit the ground. His natural reflexes took over and he quickly rolled back up and stabbed an approaching man in the shoulder. He forced his way past the men coming at him and went straight for their leader. The man was shocked by the boys strength and only barely manged to block his slashes. He swung at him and Zane ducked then drove his sword up into the leaders solar plexus. Blood seeped over his hands and he yanked his sword out and backed away. The bandits who were still alive were terrified of this boy and ran away, refusing to join their comrades.

Zane Jr. started shaking and tears flowed down his face. “Zane?” Natalie said and he threw his sword down and ran to the water. He ripped his clothes off and scrubbed the blood from his skin. “Zane stop.” He was starting to scratch himself in his panic so Natalie waded into the water and grabbed him.

“I have to get it off.”

“Stop, it’s all gone.” She pulled him into a hug and Amelia waded over to wrap her arms around him too, doing her best to comfort him.
Natalie felt overwhelming guilt. She had promised Belle she’d take care of Zane Jr and now he was shaking with sobs in her arms. When her husband and son arrived they were shocked by what happened. This was one of Zane Koopmans children but to see this from sweet, ever loving Zane Jr was somthing he never thought would happen, atleast not until he was older. They lived in much too harsh of a world for him to avoid killing forever. They walked away from that place even though it would have been perfect to rest in. Zane jr didn’t want to be around the bodies and nobody was going to make him stay.

Zane Jr blushed when they stopped again and he finally remembered ripping off his clothing. He got dressed and apologized to Amelia and Natalie “don’t be sorry. Thank you for protecting my girls” Natalies husband said both firmly and reassuringly. “I’m so sorry you had to do that Zane” Natalie said with true remorse even though what happened wasn’t her fault “I’ll be okay” Zane said then just stared off into space while their food was cooked.

Amelia took his hand “thank you” he smiled at her though he still had that horror in his eyes “I wouldn’t let anybody hurt you. You’re one of my best friends” Mishkel worried about Zane Srs reaction to this. He may not be angry at his wife but if this had upset Zane Jr too much he feared Zane might take it out on him.
Zane was close, the scent of his prey was stronger than ever. There was no way he was letting them get away a second time. He jumped into the air, landing in a tree, jumping from branch to branch. He could hear them talking as they walked through the woods. They truly believed they had lost him. He jumped down from the tree above them and landed on the back of his original quarries partner. “Holy shit.” The man he had been chasing looked shocked and backed away from the infuriated Zane.

“Did you think you could really lose me?” He pulled his sword from its sheath. “I don’t really care much about your friend here, but you have been sentenced to death.”

The man pulled out his own sword. “The only one who is going to die is you assassin.”

Zane grinned. “I can smell your fear, but of course any man who would kill others from behind is a coward.”

He attacked Zane who sidestepped, allowing the man to trip over his friend. The guy got back to his feet and turned on Zane. “You bastard.”
As always Zane took the men down easily, now, now he could return home, tell Queen Cantaly he had finished the job and finally be home with Belle and his youngest boy. Zane shifted into his dragon form and took to the sky, allowing the other man to run away. He hoped that other bastard would select better company before it was his head he was after. Zane finally realized how hungry he was once in the air. Once again he was so determined to finish his job he had forgotten to eat properly. He still didn’t stop. He’d rather have Belles food over anything he could make himself. Zane knew as always she would make him a nice, hot meal as soon as he arrived.

As the evening turned into night it didn’t seem like Belle was ever going to go to sleep. She barely even seemed tired and it was incredibly annoying. She had put up with this infuriating ball of sunshine for months and she wanted to get this over with. After what seemed like an eternity Belle yawned. Melani smiled then laughed to make sure Belle didn’t see the maliciousness in it. “well lets head to bed. I’m tired myself”

“sorry, I am so enjoying this girls night”

“We have many days and nights of fun ahead of us. Hop in bed, we both need rest” Belle hugged her “thank you so much for this. You are one of the best friends I’ve ever made”
“You too Belle, you’ve been so kind.” Belle let her go and they both headed upstairs and to their rooms. Belle changed into her nightgown and brushed out her hair before climbing into bed. She pulled the covers up to her chin and settled into the softness of the mattress. Her eyelids grew heavy and before she knew it she was sound asleep and dreaming of Zane. She let him know how much she missed him and how she couldn’t wait to see him.

Melanie sat in her room, impatiently waiting for Belle to fall completely asleep. When the house was completely silent she got to her feet and grabbed one of the books off her bookshelf and flipped it open. There were two syringes hidden inside where she had gutted the pages. One was the paralytic and the other the disease. She took them both and put the book back in place before slinking out of her room. She slowly opened the door to Belle’s room and paused. When she didn’t wake she crossed to the bed on bare feet, a grin on her face as she pulled back the blanket. She jabbed the paralytic filled syringe into her neck and Belle jerked awake as the needle pierced her skin. She sat up, her hand flying to her neck, her eyes looking at Melanie is disbelief.

“Melanie wh…” He whole body began to go numb and she panicked when she couldn’t stop herself from slumping back to the bed. Melanie rolled her onto her back and climbed on top of her so she was straddling her hips. Belle couldn’t speak, but only stare up at the woman she had believed to be her friend.
“a spouse for a spouse bitch. Your husband killed mine so I’m killing you. You’ll die of what I’ve given you long before anybody can save your pathetic ass. God, you are far too fucking happy. Its annoying as hell. Putting up with you to get to this was worth it though” Melani spit on Belle “This death is miserable and I wish I could be around to watch every second of pain you’re about to endure” If Belle had the ability to she would have cried. Once the full amount of the syringe was in Belle Melani mad a run for it. She would escape to another world before Zane was even home. Gabriel jerked up in bed, waking his wife “Gabriel, what’s the matter?”

“my mother”

“she’s a grown woman honey. Leave her alone with her friend. Jesus you and Zane need to lighten up. Eleven years of nothing atall happening to that woman and she still can’t get peace with you two.”

“But”

“Lay down Gabriel. I’m going to be mad at you if you can’t allow your mother to have fun. Stop treating her like she’s a child” Gabriel sighed and laid down with Tawny again “I’m sorry”

“You’re a mommas boy. I understand. I knew that right away when I met you”

“I wonder if dads home yet?”

“I pray not, theres nobody with him to force him to let Belle have peace”

“Do you think we annoy her?”

“Your mom loves company so I don’t think so but you should really give the woman some room to breath somtime. If you and Zan didn’t smother her she might not have so much trouble when she’s actually alone. How could she possibly be fine with being left alone when she’s followed all the time” Zane landed a little disappointed to be home so late. His love wold be sleeping but at the least he was finally going to be able to hold her in his arms. He quietly opened the door of his home then opened his bedroom door just as carefully. His heart jolted in fear when the bed was empty. “Belle?! Zane!” He called then started looking in every room. The note caught his attention quickly when he finally checked in the kitchen.

He picked it up and read it over. He knew she was safe now but all that was left was sadness that she wasn’t there to greet him. He had come home thinking only of getting to hold her and tasting her delicious cooking and now she might be gone for days. He sighed then went to the bathroom to shower. After that he planned on making himself a few sandwiches. As he sat there nude and eating he read over the note again for the enjoyment of the love she had made sure to put in it. If he couldn’t have her affection then atleast he had this. Zane was still hungry after his sandwiches but he decided to just head to bed. He’d make himself something good and filling in the morning.
Zane Jr. lay curled up in a ball, his arms wrapped tightly around himself. He was shaking and drenched in sweat, his heart hammered loudly in his chest and his breathing was rapid and panicky. He jerked awake with a scream, startling everyone else awake. “Zane, are you alright?” Natalie asked as she and Amelia crawled over to him and Mishkel and their son checked the perimeter.

“I’m fine, sorry, I was having a nightmare.” He wiped the sweat from his forehead.

“Was it about those men?” Amelia asked.

“Yeah, I can’t get them out of my head.”

Amelia looked at Natalie. “Can I sleep next to him for the rest of the night?”

“Of course sweetie, do you want that Zane?”

“Yes please.”

Zane settled back down and Amelia laid down facing him, taking his hand in hers. “Your safe, I promise, we’re all here for you.”

“I know, thank you.”
Mishkel wondered if he should just take the boy home to his mother. If he couldn’t sleep with Amelias comforts he would tomorrow. Only an hour had passed and Belle could feel her muscles knotting. A fever started to break out in her and she wanted desperately to move. If she could gain any movement she could hopefully shift and fly to Laura and Theos home. If anybody would know what to do it was Laura. She struggled with all her willpower though it made her feel sicker. Between the hours of traveling here and how little she had slept so far tonight she fell asleep, waking a few hours later in almost unbearable pain. This time to her relief she had some movment. “please” she said in her mind as she willed her body to function. It actually seemed to start listening to her this time. She rolled herself off the bed, slamming into the cruel hardwood floor.

She was already in so much pain before hitting the floor it didn’t really matter anyway. Eventually she struggled with herself enough to stand up. Her feet were heavy but she forced them forward until she was outside the cabin. The cool, early morning air felt amazing due to how hot she was with fever. It seemed to be about four am right now which she was happy for since the cool night air would be nice to fly in.

She tried to shift but all that she managed was projectile vomiting. Every bit of her wrenched again so she let out a loud scream of pain. She cried, not knowing if she could fly like this. She knew she had to, every moment was precious since her family and friends would need all the time available to them to figure out what she was given and how to treat it.

Chapter Three

Making her wings push her off the ground was incredibly hard and flying in a straight line was nearly impossible. She slammed into tree after tree, her vision becoming blurry as she lost focus. She prayed she would make it, that she would live to see her wonderful husband and children again. She crash landed in front of her brother’s home and the sound and shaking of the ground brought her brother and sister in law running. She shifted back to human form and just lay there, too weak to move. “Holy shit Belle, what happened?” Theo asked as he lifted her off the ground.

“Me…Melanie…poison.” Tears rolled down her cheeks and her stomach emptied itself again, this time on her brother. She cried harder and he did his best to soothe her as he rushed her inside.

“Theo get clean and go see if Zane is home.” Laura ordered.

“But…”

“Baby I know she’s your sister, but just do it and if he’s not there wait for him.” Theo pulled himself away from Belle and ran into the bathroom. He washed as quickly as he could, pulled on clean clothes and ran from the house. “Belle, you have to try and calm down okay? Just take a breath. I’m going to get you nightgown off since it’s a mess then examine you.” Laura pulled her nightgown off and tossed it then covered her with a blanket. “Did she say anything about what she gave you?”

“No…want Zane.”

“I know sweetie, we’ll get him here I promise.”
Tears fell from her eyes since she knew there was a good chance he wasn’t home yet. Laura gave Belle what she had on hand for the pain then fixed some of the internal bleeding whatever she had been given was causing her. The could smell his brother in laws presence in the house and banged on the door. He wanted to run in but Zane normally hurt those who bolted into his families home. Zane jumped out of bed and flung open the door “yes?’

“There’s somthing horribly wrong with Belle. She wants you. She’s in my home. Get dressed and come” Zane ran back into his bedroom and pulled some pants on. He didn’t care for wasting time getting dressed but the world didn’t want to look at his penis all evening either. He ran right by Theo to get to his Belle. He could smell right away she had been throwing up and it broke his heart.
Belle felt relieved when Zane ran into the room and climbed onto the bed next to her. “Oh my sweet Belle.” He said as he stroked her cheek. “What happened to her?”

“She said Melanie poisoned her. It looks like some sort of virus, one I don’t recognize.”

“Well what’s going to happen?”

“I’m afraid I don’t know. She keeps bleeding internally and using my magic is exhausting, but I’m afraid if I stop she…” she felt herself choke up.

“No, that’s not going to happen. There has to be someone who knows something. What about Irim?”

“I could go get him.” Theo said.

“Wait, I need you to go get Gabriel first, there is something I must ask him to do. I can’t leave Belle.”

“I understand.”

Zane Jr. jerked awake, this time it wasn’t a nightmare, but the feeling that something was horribly wrong. He sat up and shook Amelia. “Wake up.” He said she opened her eyes.

“What’s wrong, another nightmare?”

“No, but something’s wrong. I need to get home.”
Theo quickly got Gabriel and Tawny out of bed. When Theo knew they were on their way to his home he shifted to make a quick trip to the castle. Rapunzel could call on Irim with her bracelet. Everyone in the castle woke with Theos screaming. He was scared for Belle and needed everyone to hurry. Gabriels heart sank when he saw his mother. “what’s wrong!?’ He demanded. “We don’t know son but you are going to track down the bitch who did this. Your mothers supposed friend injected Belle with some sort of disease and we don’t know what it is. Find her and bring her back here”

“Yes sir, you coming Tawny?”

“Of course” They both left the house with no supplies. They just shifted right outside Theos home and took off. Tawny felt guilty as she flew beside her boyfriend. There had actually been somthing wrong with his mother and she made him go back to bed. She hoped he wasn’t angry with her. She wouldn’t be able to tell until this was all over.
Zane Jr. put aside his worries as far as killing went. There was something wrong and he couldn’t let his issues get in the way. He walked quickly behind Mishkel and Natalie, holding tightly to Amelia’s hand. “How long until we get home?” He asked.

“Not too much longer.” Mishkel answered.

“What’s wrong Zane?” Natalie asked.

“I don’t know, just something horrible has happened, I can feel it to the very core of my being.”

Rapunzel was scared for her sister’s life as she called upon Irim. She paced back and forth as they waited for the dragon and even sent Theo to tell Ambrose his mother was sick. When Irim arrived Rapunzel told him all that had transpired and insisted on going to see her sister. “Let me tell Cantaly and then we’ll follow Irim.” Casimer said softly, not wanting to leave their daughter in the dark.
At this point Belle seemed completely delirious from her fever. Laura who was doing her best to keep Belle tended to could see Zane holding back tears. His whole demeanor spoke to how pissed and scared he was. “I need you Belle. I really need you baby” the words didn’t seem to register but he said them anyway. It was his way of begging her to stay alive. “Zane, I need to go wake up another healer. I can’t keep going”

“Just please run, she needs you and I..”

“I know Zane, I’ll run” Irim came in before Laura returned and rushed to Belle. “Explain to me precisely what’s been going on with her” He said sternly to Zane. Zane meticulously described every part of her illness up to this point. “If this were a human illness she’d be fighting it off a lot easier so that leads me to assume it’s made for creatures like us. That narrows the field but still”

“Try anything dammit. I cant lose her, I wont, I’ll fucking”

“sh, I know Zane”

“If I could butt in” A female voice said. Zane let a hand fall to his sword ‘what do you want? Why are you in here?!” he snapped “Humble” Irim said with a tone of great respect “She has a demons disease Irim. I’ve set a book in the kitchen and it’s open to what you need to make. I trust you more in that area so go. Hurry, she hasn’t much time left.”

“who the hell are you!” Zane snapped again and Irim snapped right back “a woman you should respect you ignorant youngling! I’m sure she has just saved your wife!” Irim stormed into the kitchen and Humble sat by Belle “This is the second time little one. It’s been many years but you are the only who I’ve saved twice. Your husband has so much love for you. You couldn’t possibly comprehend what you’d do to him if you died”

“I’m sorry” Zane said in an honestly apologetic voice. “I know, you’re just afraid and you aren’t known for being very friendly regardless. I know you don’t mean anything by it. How is one supposed to be good with people when they were raised like you. I am the one who’s sorry, sorry for the cruel way in which you lived your childhood. I’m proud of you though. You would never hurt Belles children the way your father hurt you, not ever. You’d sooner kill yourself. Things could be a lot different, especially if this one hadn’t loved you but regardless, I’m proud of you for not repeating your father”
“Everything I do, the way I act, is all for Belle. I am nothing without her.” He kissed his wife’s cheek then laid down next to her and wrapped his arms around her. “My beautiful, sweet angel, please stay with me.” The bedroom door opened and this time it was Ambrose with a panicked look on his face.

“What’s wrong with mom?” He went to her other side, taking her hand gently in his.

“She’s very sick.” Humble said.

“Is she dying?”

“Yes, but she refuses to give up the fight and she will live.”

Ambrose kissed his mother’s forehead. “I’m sorry mom, so sorry for everything. Please, please don’t give up. I love you so much. Uncle Theo went to get Ediva, she’ll be here soon.”

Zane reached over and grabbed his son’s free hand, connect them all together. “She’ll live, if Irim trusts Humble’s words then so must we.”

Zane Jr. was a bit distressed when he got home and there was no one there. He could tell his uncle had been there recently by his left over scent and that his father had also returned. He could smell the clothes from his latest hunt. “Maybe we should check Theo’s house.” Natalie said.
By this time Irim had already finished preparing and giving Belle what Humble had instructed him to make. She had passed out, frightening everybody present but Humble assured them she was going to wake up. If not the next day she would wake the day after tomorrow. Upon seeng his mom tears streamed down Zane jrs face. He ran to the bed and hugged her “she’ll be ok my brave boy. You should tell her how valiantly you protected Amelia and Natalie when she wakes. She’ll be so proud of you” Humble said softly. Zane Sr looked over at Mishkel who broke eye contact immediately out of fear. “I will talk to you about whatever happened later” Zane said, not wanting to leave his wife. Mishkel left with his family quickly. Even if they weren’t afraid of Zane the small house was already filled with people. Ambrose, Cantaly, Claudius, Ediva, Theo, Laura, Humble, Ryan, Zane, Irim, Ariel, Rapunzel, Casimer and Zane jr were packed in with worry over Belle.

Since Humble had told everyone it would be awhile before Belle woke it wasn’t much later that Zane lifted his wife and went home to rest with her in his own bed. He swore he would get everyone when she was awake. “Hey, why don’t you have a sleepover with your Aunts and Uncle” Rapunzel suggested with a small smile to Zane Jr. She knew Zane wasn’t very good when it came to comforting so wanted to do it since Belle couldn’t. Zane jr looked at his father who gave him a small nod. “Please dad, the second moms awake”

“I will be sure you know”

“I’m coming over dad. That way I can run get everybody and you don’t have to leave mom” Ediva said. He nodded again before walking out and thanking Humble, Irim and Laura one more time. “Your mother is strong. She’ll be ok” Rapunzel said soothingly as she waked hand in hand with Zane jr.He nodded as he cried. At Lauras house they insisted Humble be their guest so they could give her a proper thank you. Humble resisted only briefly before giving in and staying.

Much to everyones relief Belle woke the next day around three in the afternoon. “Belle” Zane said in a tearfilled voice. Even though Zane instantly began hugging her and she couldn’t see his face she knew he had been crying. “Humbles remedy worked” she said softly “Yes, the kids are all so worried. Ediva!” he called and she came running in “mother!” she exclaimed then ran to hug her aswell “hey, I’m sorry”

“You shouldn’t be. We all thought she was your friend. Gabriel and Tawny are out looking for her. They still aren’t back yet”

“still?”

“Its three in the afternoon. I’ve got to get everybody else.”

“Ok baby, I love you”

“Love you too momma” Everyone came running, almost smothering Belle with all the affection they had to give. Zane ended up shooing them all away aside from Zane Jr. He was still just a child and needed to be in there with them. “Calm down baby’ Belle said to her son. “I can’t, everythings gone wrong”

“Hm?”

“I…I had to kill these bandits who were trying to hurt Natalie and Amelia”
“Oh honey.” Belle pulled him into a hug and he started crying. “Shh, everything’s going to be okay.” She looked at Zane and he placed a hand on his son’s back.

“Look, I know killing is messy and it’s something you never expected to have to do, but when the need arises you do it. Gabriel and I were born to be hunters, it’s just the way we are and we never expected you to be the same. Some people are assassins and some are not. You have always been the most kind hearted and gentle boy in the world and it’s understandable this would be hard for you.”

“There was so much blood, but Natalie was going to fight on her own and Amelia was crying. I had too.”

“And that makes you very brave and incredibly strong. You did what you had to do and because you did, Natalie and Amelia are safe.” He leaned down and kissed his son’s head.

“I had a nightmare.”

“You just have to tell yourself you did what you had to do, that there is no reason to feel guilty or like you dirtied yourself in someway. If you had not acted those men more than likely would have done horrible things to Natalie and Amelia. I have met few bandits that have morals.”
It seemed to give his son atleast some comfort though he still looked distressed over everything. Zane held his wife and son tightly, relieved to have them safe and near him so he could make sure they stayed that way. The next day they had a dinner party at the castle to thank Humble for her help even though she protested the need. Not a soul in their family were going to take no for an answer. Zane decided it was time again to take a nice vacation from his work and informed the Cantaly he would not be working for an indefinite amount of time. “good, I’ll let the other nobles know”

“Thank you” he responded before returning to Belle. Humble refused to stay another night when everything was over which saddened everyone but they wished her farewell, reminding her how grateful they were for saving Belle for the second time in her life. Gabriel and Tawny still hadn’t returned but nobody was worried. They just knew he wouldn’t be coming back without the person responsible for harming his mother.

Zane Jr opted to spend the night at his friends house so Zane got to go home with Belle alone which he was elated for. They could have a calm, quiet night and a romantic breakfast if he could manage to get up before Belle. If he didn’t he would just spoil her for their lunch the next day. He told her as much as they laid tangled in their bedroom. “you are truly the sweetest man Zane”

“Always for you, my warming light in a cruel world” She smiled “No matter what Humble says I don’t think it possible for you to be anything but this sweet” He smiled sweetly before kissing her “as long as I have you I cant be anything other than this. My years with you have been nothing short of a gift Belle”

“I’ve caused you so much trouble on many occasions” He chuckled “In the world we live in thats normal my love, you know that. We’ve just had peace for eleven years and I’m sure we’ll have peace again many more. I’m sorry that crazy bitch came after you. She will face the punishment she deserves when Gabriel brings her back, if he doesnt kill her that is.”

“I love you Zane”

“I love you too Belle. Lets get some rest now so I can spoil you tomorrow” They held eachother just a little tighter before succumbing to a blissful sleep in eachothers arms.

~ The End ~

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