Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)149-6/3/18

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Re: Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)146-6/18/17

Postby keepsmiling7 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:28 am

Loved it when Michael was asked how they were going to celebrate the fourth......his response, "ignore it".
Only Michael!

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)147-12/17/17

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:04 pm

keepsmiling7: It was such a 'Michael' response!

Part 147

The sun was barely visible over the horizon as the jeeps bounced over the uneven ground of the desert. The rocky outcropping grew large the closer they got to their destination, rising up against the sky that was still chasing the darkness to the west. In spite of their desire to examine the cave the night before they had decided as a group that it would be best to wait until the next day when there was plenty of light to guide their way.

Streaks of pink, orange and purple streaked across the sky, the colorful patches thinning as the sun began to peek over the horizon. The vehicles came to a stop at the base and the occupants piled out, standing around to look up at the rock formation that seemed formidable now that they were so close to it.

After a few moments Michael turned and reached into the back of the Jeep, pulling out the desert camouflage tarps and tossing one to Max. “First things first,” he said as he shook out the one he held and ignored the grunt the other guy issued at the unexpected impact of the heavy tarp against his midsection.

Max unhooked the bungee strap holding the folded tarp in place but his eyes were locked on the jutting peak that towered above them. Somehow when they’d started their search for a cave he’d had something a little more… cave-like in mind. He’d explored caves on trips with his dad over the years when they’d go out for a few days to fish and hike and usually they were hidden better than this. This thing was right out in the open where anyone could see it. Well, it wasn’t visible from the roads or the towns that were miles away, but it was still right out in the open.

He looked around, taking in the smaller groupings of rocks, the brush that grew up haphazardly and the occasional cactus that dotted the landscape. It was a desolate area and it was more than twenty miles from any kind of civilization. What if they hadn’t been found by Mom and Dad that night? He swallowed hard as he studied the desert surrounding them. They wouldn’t have survived the elements if they hadn’t been found in a reasonable amount of time. What if they weren’t supposed to survive outside of their incubation pods?


He was pulled out of his musings when Liz called him, her voice risen just enough to indicate that she had called him more than once. He forced a smile and shook his head. Before she could question him further and draw anyone else’s attention he motioned for her to grab one end of the tarp and set about covering the jeep.

“I don’t see an entrance anywhere,” Isabel commented after moving around the base of the formation. It was a lot bigger than she’d first thought and it had taken them nearly twenty minutes just to walk around it. “Maybe this isn’t it.”

Alex walked alongside her, squinting as he took a couple of steps back to look up towards the peak. From a distance it had looked like its sides were smooth, but up close it became obvious that his first assumption had been incorrect. The sides were craggy, the rock face uneven and pitted.

“You guys find anything?” Michael yelled when he caught sight of them.

“No,” Alex hollered back, “you?”

He shook his head and glanced up, wondering if he had made a mistake. No, he was sure this was it. He just didn’t know where to go from here.

“I’m not a big expert on caves or anything,” Maria said as she scanned the solid rock wall in front of them, “but, shouldn’t there be some kinda entrance or something? Some dark little hole hiding behind brush or something that leads into the secret chamber?”

Michael shot a look at her. “Do you have to call it that?”

“Well, what would you call it?”

“Why do we have to call it anything? It’s a cave. It doesn’t need some kinda special designation to serve its purpose.”

She rolled her eyes at him. “Fine, it’s just a boring old cave.” She paused a moment for effect. “That we can’t seem to locate.”

“It’s hidden in plain sight, Maria. It’s a brilliant tactic.”

“Hidden so well we can’t even find it,” she said with a soft snort.

Michael started to respond but before he could get anything out he was pelted by small rocks from above and he grabbed her and pulled her out of their path. “What the – “


He took a couple of steps back to look for the source of the disturbance and glared when he saw Max and Liz. He held his hands up with a look of annoyance on his face. “What’re you doin’?”

“We found a way up,” Liz turned to point behind her. “It looks like an old pathway but it obviously hasn’t been used in years because it’s overgrown. Max thinks he’s found the entrance.”

“I know how to get inside,” he said, nodding with a grin.

Maria heaved a put-upon sigh when her boyfriend let go of her and took off running in the direction Liz had pointed out. She shook her head and followed him, running into Alex and Isabel as they came from the opposite direction. “It looks like your brother’s found the secret entrance.”

“Do you have to call it that?” Isabel asked with a disgusted look on her face.

She threw her hands up in the air. “I give up. What’s the big deal? It’s a cave no one knows about with an entrance that’s hidden from plain sight, what else would we call it?”

“Hey! You two wanna cut out the yakking and get up here?” Michael called down to them.

“Yakking,” the tall blonde muttered under her breath as she began the climb to join the others.

Alex chuckled as he followed her, one hand held out behind her just in case she slipped. “I’m not sure what else you’d call it,” he whispered with a conspiratorial grin at Maria.

“Thank you!”

The ‘path’ was narrow and ran alongside the rock formation, overgrown and covered with loose stones that made it difficult to climb, and became steeper the higher they went. The ground leveled out onto a small plateau when they reached the others and Maria put her hands on her hips as she stared at the rock face that seemed to hold their fascination.

“After that climb you’d better have something more to show me than more rock,” Isabel said before Maria could basically voice the same thought.

Without a word Max raised his right hand and slowly waved it over the pitted surface. The glowing imprint of a hand appeared, the image fluctuating for a few seconds before disappearing once again.

Michael stared at the spot before reaching up and moving his hand across the same spot, eyebrows lifting when it appeared briefly. “Would you look at that,” he murmured as he repeated the action. He turned his head to look at Max. “How’d you know?”

“I don’t know,” he said as he called the handprint the surface again and placed his hand over it. “I just knew.

“Did you…” The ground began to vibrate, a rumbling sound filled the air and as they watched a section of the rock face moved inward and to the side. They stared into the darkness beyond the opening as silence once again descended over the area and the ground stabilized beneath their feet.

Max glanced at the others, taking a deep breath and nodding when Michael motioned for him to move aside. He wasn’t sure he wanted to be the first one through the door and to be honest he would have been surprised if the other guy had allowed it. Over the past few months as they’d gotten to know each other better and grown closer he’d come to understand the protective streak that showed itself when it came to people he cared about. Besides, he reasoned, Michael was the one with the best handle on his powers and his were better geared for defense than his or Isabel’s were.

Michael led the way inside, waiting until they had all cleared the opening before he turned to study the wall. “What d’you think?” he asked as he switched a flashlight on and moved the beam over the pitted surface.

It took a moment for Max to follow but as soon as he caught on he hurried to stand near the wall close to the opening and waited. It was a feeling, almost electric in nature, and it hummed along his nerve endings as he neared the location of the hidden handprint. He didn’t know how it worked but as soon as the handprint appeared he pressed his palm against it and the door slid closed again.

One by one the others dug out their flashlights and switched them on, hesitantly inching their way deeper into the cavern. Michael had no such qualms, and Max, curious about what this finding would yield, kept pace with him as they pushed forward.

Isabel squelched a scream when she walked face first into a massive low-hanging cobweb, quickly bringing her hand up and obliterating it. She shuddered and brushed her hands over herself, making sure nothing had escaped to crawl on her. Powers or not, she hated the multi-legged things that crept, flew or crawled, and even more so in the dark. It was one more reason to avoid the camping trips that her brother and dad were so fond of.

The cavern curved to the right and an ethereal blue light spilled out across the floor. Max edged closer to it, instinctively moving to the right as Michael went to the left. He watched Michael as he scanned the inner chamber where the blue light was emanating from, waiting for him to determine the threat level. He couldn’t explain it but it felt right to defer to the other guy in a situation like this.

Michael’s gaze moved over the chamber before his eyes locked on the far wall. He leaned forward and checked the rest of the area before taking a step forward and after a moment he lifted his right hand and motioned for the others to follow him.

Max moved away from the wall he was using for cover and crossed the chamber to look up at the four openings carved out of the rock wall. He approached it slowly, hand outstretched to touch the one closest to him. His fingertips traced over the rough edges, feeling the thin shredded gossamer-like material that hung down brush against the back of his hand. He frowned and shifted his attention to the material. He took the edge of one of the torn segments and rubbed it between his fingers. It had an odd feel to it, almost like it was some sort of membrane. It probably was, he realized.

“Whoa,” Alex whispered when he got a look at the wall across from him.

Isabel’s gaze bounced back and forth between the incubation pods and her boyfriend. It was no secret amongst the group gathered here that half of them weren’t from this planet, but what they were seeing really drove that point home. They hadn’t been conceived, carried in a mother’s womb, kicked restlessly and been lulled to sleep by the reassuring sound of a mother’s heartbeat. They hadn’t entered the world in anything resembling a normal way.

“It feels like membrane tissue,” Liz murmured, the scientist in her intrigued by what she was seeing – actual evidence of alien life on Earth. Yes, she was aware they existed and saw proof of it every day, but to see how they had been protected until their bodies were ready to survive outside of the pods, to see tangible evidence of that level of evolution, it was simply amazing. “They were probably filled with some sort of liquid, something similar to amniotic fluid, until you came out.”

Michael rolled his eyes when she went into scientist mode, tuning her out as he began to search the cave. He wasn’t all that interested in the incubation pods. He was more interested in what else they might find. He bumped Isabel’s shoulder hard enough to get her attention when he walked past her, pulling her out of her thoughts and giving her a look. When she shook herself and nodded he began walking the perimeter, his hands moving over the walls. If the key to entering and exiting the cave lay hidden in the walls, what’s to say there wasn’t more to be found in that same manner?

Maria knelt down next to one of the pods to examine it more closely. It wasn’t exactly normal to be gathered in a cave viewing a wall of incubation pods that had at one time held four alien-human hybrids, but she didn’t necessarily put a lot of stock in what was considered normal. She tipped her head to the left when something caught her eye and she leaned inside the pod, her fingers outstretched to curl around the object.

She leaned back against the wall as she opened her hand to look down at the black oval-shaped stone she held. She brushed her fingers over the polished surface and inhaled sharply when it suddenly changed, becoming cloudy for just a moment before shimmering and presenting an image of what appeared to be the cosmos. A riot of stars emerged, scattered across the backdrop of blue, the shade unlike anything she had ever seen before.

“What do you have there, Maria?” Alex asked as he crouched down beside her.

“I don’t know, but it’s amazing.” She held it out to him. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Just look at it.”

He accepted the stone and as his skin came into contact with it the surface suddenly turned black again. He turned it over, rubbing his fingertips over it, but it refused to reveal its secret. He offered it back to Maria and the moment she touched it color exploded across the surface. “No way that’s from Earth.”

She smiled and shook her head. “No.”

Isabel moved in the opposite direction. She had no idea what she was looking for, but it kept her mind otherwise occupied. Being different and knowing it was one thing, but being faced with that evidence was a little disconcerting. She paused when something Liz was saying caught her attention and she listened to the other girl while pretending that she wasn’t.

“Can you imagine what could be achieved with this kind of advancement in human biology? I mean, you guys have such incredible immune systems. That alone would be so beneficial.” Her fingers grazed the edges of one of the pods. “Just think about all the birth defects that could be eliminated with genetic engineering.”

“We’re talkin’ about two completely different things here, Liz.” Alex uncrossed his arms and moved to stand next to her, one hand coming to rest on the ledge that separated the upper pods from the lower. “As far as we know this was done for the singular purpose of ensuring their survival.”

“But they obviously have the technology – “

“We have the technology to clone, but that doesn’t mean it’s moral or ethical. It’s definitely not something we should put into widespread use. The Antarians are obviously far ahead of us when it comes to technology, but there’s nothing to suggest that this is something they practice on a regular basis. From what we’ve learned it sounds like it was a desperate attempt to save select members of the royal family.”

“But the medical benefits advancements like this could provide. Alex, you have to see what a gift that would be.”

“It might have great benefits, but it’s the kinda thing that could also be a major disaster. I don’t know what the political climate’s like on Antar, but I know what it’s like on Earth, and I wouldn’t trust something with this kinda life-altering potential in the hands of the people who have the power to actually affect change.” He shook his head. “Besides, how long would it be before it was bastardized and turned into something dangerous? How long before it became a matter of using the technology to do more than just prevent birth defects, before it was being used to pick and choose every aspect of a child’s future from the color of their eyes to their IQ to the college they’ll go to? That strips away choice and so many parts of a person’s identity and we don’t have that right.”

“But it could do so much good.”

“Yeah, and the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, ever heard that saying?” He shook his head. “I’m all for helping people, for making people’s lives better, but when it comes to altering physiology I think we’re pushing the boundaries. Maybe life would be easier for some people, but we don’t know how it would change who they are or what they’re destined to accomplish if the challenges they’re faced with were taken away. We don’t know how ‘fixing’ them would change the course of their life because when it all comes down to it, maybe it’s only our perception that makes them seem somehow defective.”

“I have to agree with him,” Maria spoke up from her position next to him. She was examining one of the pods, fascinated by their discovery and the fact that this alien technology had allowed them to survive. “It would be amazing to be able to use technology like this, but imagine if it got into the wrong hands. Power and money allow for a lot of abuses and the ability to engineer life,” she sighed and shook her head. She couldn’t imagine Joey or Shy any different and she knew their people didn’t view them as defective. They were simply accepted as different, gifted and special as they were. “We may never know if Antarian use of this technology extended beyond the purpose of survival for the royal family, but here on Earth I have no doubt it would only be a matter of time before it became another tool in the race for power. The human race isn’t so benevolent that technology like this would be available to everyone.”

The sound of something metallic being kicked pulled their attention away from the conversation and Isabel hurried over to Michael when he straightened up with a box in his hands. “Definitely not alien in origin,” he said as he opened the lid and turned it upside down to reveal the empty interior. There were a couple of indents and burn marks around them but nothing else.

“Let me see that.” She took it from him and dropped the lid back in place, fingers and eyes examining the lock. “Alex, look.” When he joined her she turned the box in his direction. “What do you think?”

His eyebrows lifted and he reached out to trace his fingers over the lock.

“There a reason we’re so interested in an empty box?” Michael asked impatiently.

Without answering, Alex pulled his wallet from his back pocket and unsnapped it, flipping it open and unzipping one of the compartments. He pulled a key out and shoved his wallet back into place before lining the key up with the lock. “It fits, but not well. I think if the lock wasn’t damaged by what was most likely a forcible opening the key would be a perfect fit.”

“Then Atherton had this box at one time.” She glanced around before her questing gaze settled on Alex. “Do you think he was ever here?”

“Either he was here or this box held whatever proof he had, whatever it was that concerned him about the way the three of you were intended to be groomed. He probably didn’t know what to do with it. I mean, take it to the authorities and you would’ve been taken into custody and God only knows what would’ve happened to you then. He couldn’t change Nasedo’s mind about what was planned for you. If he had gotten his hands on proof and Nasedo found out,” he shrugged one shoulder, “that could be why he was killed.”

“Then he died trying to protect us,” she whispered.

“If he did, he died for something he believed in.” Alex covered her hands where they held the box. “Isabel, he wasn’t wrong to stand up for you.” He glanced around. “For any of you.” His focus shifted back to his girlfriend. “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, at some point in life you have to take a stand for what you believe in. If it hadn’t been for Atherton we wouldn’t know a lot of the stuff we know now. Without his warning Nasedo might have been successful.”

She looked away from him to the pods and their iridescent blue light. “We have to find whatever was in this box. We owe it to ourselves.” She inhaled slowly. “We owe it to Atherton to know what he sacrificed himself for.”

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Re: Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)146-12/17/17

Postby keepsmiling7 » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:19 pm

What a wonderful surprise to find an update here.......
I liked Max showing gratitude for his parents finding them that night after they came out of the pods.
Always the scientist, Liz making note of how the alien-hybrids were able to survive outside of the pod.
Will we son find out why Atherton was killed???
Thanks for coming back,

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Re: Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)146-12/17/17

Postby Chrystalkay » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:11 pm

What a lovely Christmas surprise to find another chapter!
I am curious what Maria found and why it responds to her. Was that Michael's pod? Will it respond to the other podsters or only to Michael and Maria? Will there be other items found in each of the pods? Will it be 6 months before we find out any answers?

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)148-3/18/18

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:57 pm

keepsmiling7: Hello, well, the reason for Atherton’s death was revealed earlier but we’ll get a better look into that incident in today’s part.

Christalkay: Yes, Maria found something in Michael’s pod and yes, it’s important and it’s linked to Rath/Michael, and to Maria in a way. You’ll see in the next parts why this discovery matters.

Part 148

“Michael, do you think if you tried to focus on it you might pick up a vibe?” Maria asked. “Like you did when we went to the ruins in Aztec?”

“Maybe.” He made a motion in Isabel’s direction and she handed the box back to him. He ran his hands over it, stopping on the key when a frisson of awareness tingled in his fingertips. He closed his eyes, trying to draw the images into focus.

They were blurred, confusing, moving in fast forward. Emotions raged, making it even more confusing. He was vaguely aware of Maria moving closer to him, felt the calming effect of her presence as she placed her hands over his, and after several moments the flashes began to stabilize into something recognizable.

Maria watched him as his features slipped into a mask of deep concentration and when he began to frown again she glanced at the box. Careful to avoid disturbing him she shifted her hands and used one to open the lid, sliding one of his hands to a better position so the box was stable and then moving the other so that it rested inside where the indents were.

The scene suddenly solidified and he saw two men in the desert. It was dark, the stars in the night sky seeming farther out than normal. The temperature was too warm for nighttime in the desert and after a moment he attributed that to the emotions coming off of the men in waves. Anger and betrayal burned hot, scorching the air around them.

“The Royal Four were delivered to Earth to ensure their survival. They were engineered so that one day they may return home to take their rightful places. Antar’s survival depends upon them!”

“They’re children! You have no right to dictate their lives before they’ve even begun to live! My God, you can’t honestly believe that their lives should be planned out, step by step, that every move they make is predetermined.”

“It is the will of the throne.”

“That’s bullshit! I don’t know a whole lot about your people, but to engineer life, to dictate its purpose, to show no regard whatsoever for the wishes of these four souls is unconscionable! These beliefs are archaic! To expect these children to return to Antar, to simply become who they were in a past life, it’s wrong!”

“You think because you write books about life beyond the stars you have an understanding of what it takes to quell a civil war. You couldn’t possibly comprehend the complexities of my planet or her people. Your people are slaves to their comforts, content to sit back and let others make the decisions and sacrifices.” He shook his head angrily. “Tell me what you’ve done with the items you removed from my possession.”

“You claim to be so superior to the human race, yet you condemn these children to a life not of their choosing. Everyone deserves to have a choice. Maybe we haven’t yet conquered space travel, maybe we aren’t as highly evolved, though you yourself said that it was only a matter of time before we tapped into the powers our brains are capable of rendering, but we at least have compassion for our fellow man.”

Atherton’s impassioned rant did nothing to persuade Nasedo that the path he was following was wrong.

“Yes, your brains have the capability and capacity for so much more than what you utilize them for now, but it’s unlikely your species will survive long enough to tap into that potential. You speak of compassion and understanding as if it is something practiced by the majority. In my time on Earth I have studied your history and I have watched your people do their best to destroy each other. You kill each other over skin color, race, land, trade, and for no reason at all. If that isn’t enough you manage to destroy your planet in the name of progress and carelessness. You use up your natural resources without concern for the future. The time will come when your planet will no longer sustain life because you’ve done nothing but strip it of its bounty. How can you possibly consider your species to be morally superior?”

“Regardless of our faults we don’t sentence our children to be our saviors. You have to be fair to them and at least give them a chance to make a choice.”

“The choice has already been made. When the time is right - “

“I won’t let you do that to them.”

Nasedo’s eyes burned brightly as his duty was challenged. “Tell me where the items you took are.” When Atherton remained silent he shook his head. “If you do not tell me I will obtain the information through force.”

“I’ll expose you if I have to.”

Something inside of him snapped at the threat. Unlike his charges he wasn’t a hybrid. He didn’t require the same modifications to survive on this backwater planet. He had managed to blend in, to hide in plain sight, adapt to the odd customs and find pleasure in some of Earth’s offerings, but no matter how much he adapted he would never be one of them. “Do you think your world is ready to know that my people truly exist? Exposing me to save them would only endanger their lives because they would never be accepted here. Your people would destroy them but it wouldn’t be quick and painless. You would condemn them to a life of experimentation and torture in the name of fear. No, they will live out their lives on Antar, carrying out their duties as the throne requires.” There was no heat behind his words. His tone of voice was as cold as ice and his features were frozen in a mask of hatred. No longer was the man facing him a friend. He should have known better.

Twelve years on Earth and he’d become weak. Trust was not to be given to a human. He had broken his own rule and as a result he was now faced with a dilemma. But it wasn’t really, was it? Atherton had thrown down the gauntlet, he had threatened exposure, and that was not an option. He believed his people were prepared for the existence of extraterrestrial life? Then he would give them proof.

When Atherton shifted, his intention to walk away clear, Nasedo attacked. The fight didn’t last long as the human was no match for his advanced abilities. As he stood over him, adrenaline rushing through his veins, he stared at the handprint burned through multiple layers of skin on Atherton’s chest. He had extracted the information he sought and he would retrieve the box his enemy had used to store the book and the communication orb. Unfortunately Atherton’s weak body had given out before he’d been able to obtain the location of the key. It was unnecessary to know where it was or who it had been sent to. He would have the box before morning and its contents would be safely hidden away where no one would find them.

“Fool,” he muttered, unsure if the derisive snarl was directed at the dead man or himself. He leaned over Atherton’s prone body, jerking the collar of his shirt open. He wrapped his hand around the thin rope that held a symbol from his home planet and tore it off of the corpse. It had been given as a symbol of friendship. Another weakness… another mistake he would never again make. He put it in his pocket and then looked at his hand. Blood dripped from his fingertips and his eyes gleamed in the moonlight. Human bodies were so absurdly frail, he mused as a plan began to form in his mind.

It was more important than ever to make sure the Royal Four were safe. And he knew exactly how to prevent anyone from finding them. A small movement caught his eye and he jerked around to locate the source. He tamped down the primal urge to kill when he noticed River Dog nearby, close but not too close.

The boy had saved his life.

The boy was a threat.

The two truths warred until he had no choice but to run before he turned on the boy. He spoke with him briefly, explaining that he was being hunted and his life was in danger. It was the last time he would trust a human, the last time he would allow a threat to go without punishment. He had taken Atherton’s lifeless body and disposed of it well away from the Reservation.

Michael blinked and shook his head but before he could get a word out he was hit with another flash. This time he was in the cave, watching as Nasedo used his powers to blast a small metal box open. In spite of the power of the blast there was no sound, which confused him. He moved closer to view what was inside the box and he watched as the alien reached inside to lift the items out.

Nasedo moved silently in the cave out of respect for the Royal Four. He lifted out the silver orb, his hands cradling it gently as he moved to the wall and rested his palm over the flat surface. A hidden section appeared and he reached out to carefully place the orb next to one that appeared to be identical.

With the book in his hand he crossed the cavern and paused to lower himself to one knee before the wall that housed the incubation pods that were nourishing the children. He bowed his head for a moment out of respect before he stood once more. He opened the book as he faced them, his eyes traveling over the small bodies suspended in stasis.

“The time has come for me to move on, your Highness. I will return as the time of your emergence approaches. I have made a grave error in judgment but I assure you, our enemies on this planet will not find you.” He closed the book and carried it over to the wall to place it next to the orbs and as he waved a hand over the area, hiding everything from plain sight, a smile that spoke to the darkness in his soul crossed his thin lips. He had already set his plan into motion and he had added another body to his count, this one out of state and well away from the desert.

Killing for pleasure was a punishable crime on Antar, but who would know? Once he had proven himself to the throne by protecting the Royal Four he would return home and be hailed a hero. He would no longer be a simple pawn, largely unknown and unappreciated. By delivering them home his achievements would be acknowledged and his status elevated.

Maria frowned when he suddenly seemed to come back to himself, his expression slightly shaken. “Michael?”

“It’s here.” He turned in a circle, his eyes scanning the walls in relation to the pods. “He killed Atherton when he threatened to expose him. Atherton had taken some things from him and he’d hidden them in this box.” He tossed it aside when he reached the section he’d watched Nasedo use to hide the items. “In exposing Nasedo he would’ve exposed all of us.”

“Then he was protecting us by killing Atherton.”

“Yeah, but there’s more to it than that. It’s like in that moment something in him switched on.” He shook his head. “My grandfather was right about the darkness in him. He doesn’t just kill to survive or to protect.” He paused as his palm rested against the wall. “He kills because he enjoys it.”

“Do you think he’ll come back?”

His gaze snapped to Liz and he glared at her. “How the hell should I know?”

Maria placed a hand on his arm, hoping the touch would calm him. She could only imagine what was going on inside of him after the flashes that had allowed him to see inside of Nasedo. “He probably has no reason to come back.” She shrugged one shoulder. “I mean, why would he? If his purpose for being here was to protect you he blew that outta the water when he turned Tess loose on you.”

Michael focused on the wall and let the conversation around him drift away. Nasedo claimed to be their protector but he wondered if that was ever true, if that was his true purpose. From the flashes it seemed more like Nasedo had made it his mission to protect them because it would assure his place in their society upon their return to Antar. He had his doubts that they would ever know the truth about the alien and he saw no need to dwell on things he would never know the answers to.

Silence descended on the cavern when the hidden alcove was revealed. He didn’t bother to comment when Isabel reached past him and picked up one of the orbs. Her fingertips traced over the recessed symbol.

“It’s the same symbol we saw in the woods,” she whispered, her voice hushed.

“What are they?” Alex asked, unable to tamp down his curiosity.

“Some sort of communication system.” Michael turned the second one over, studying its smooth surface. The material wasn’t Earth-based; it maintained a constant temperature, there was a subtle hum of energy emanating from the one he held, and in spite of its size its weight was hardly noticeable.

Liz leaned in to get a look at the orbs, fascinated by Michael’s declaration. “Do you know how they work?”

Max stepped forward before the other guy could respond, holding his hand out in his sister’s direction. “They won’t work for just anyone. They’re modified to respond to specific genetics.” He shrugged when the others looked at him in shock. “I don’t know how I know, I just know.”

“Then why isn’t it doing anything now while Isabel’s holding it?” Liz questioned.

“It would,” he said slowly, “but only if something happened to one of us.”

“Because Michael was the high commander and you were the king.” Maria lifted an eyebrow as she looked between them. “Of course you’d come from a patriarchal society.” Her boyfriend shrugged unapologetically so she turned to look at Max. “Okay, your kingship, how do they work?”

Max rolled his eyes at her. He didn’t understand where this knowledge was coming from, but he welcomed it. He felt as if the answers he had been waiting for were finally within his grasp. He nodded at his sister when she released the orb into his hands and he moved to face Michael. “All we have to do is be in close proximity and the connection will open and allow – “

The words froze in his throat when the symbols on the orbs started to glow. He shot a look at Michael and felt his nerves settle when the other guy nodded. The light suddenly intensified into a blinding white field and while the others looked away, shielding their eyes, he and Michael continued to stare at it, their gazes unwavering.

The light slowly began to lose some of its intensity and as they watched it began to take form. A man stood before them, his appearance as regal as it was imposing. He stood tall, his posture as straight as an arrow. His hair was long and as dark as night. His eyes were a light shade of brown, his skin a healthy olive tone, and even the scar that ran from just beneath his left ear down to disappear beneath the collar of his shirt did nothing to detract from his looks. He shifted, drawing their attention to the sword that rested lightly between his hands, his ease with the weapon speaking to a familiarity with it. His fingers curved over the pommel and though the tip of the blade rested against the floor between his feet it was clear he could wield it with deadly accuracy at the first sign of danger.

“It’s a hologram,” Alex muttered as he walked right up to the image and reached out, his hand moving through the image and making it ripple for a few moments before it settled once more.

Maria took a step closer to it, squinting as she studied the man’s face. She’d know that facial structure and those eyes anywhere. They may be lighter, but there was no mistaking them. She glanced back at Michael but his focus was locked on the hologram. She wasn’t expecting it when the man began to speak and she jumped back in surprise.

“My appearance before you indicates that you have survived your travels and your bodies have matured and adapted to Earth. We knew your survival was not guaranteed as you would have enemies there that would take many forms. It was our hope that by duplicating your essence after your deaths and mixing it with human genetic materials you would be recreated into human beings.” He turned his head to look at Max. “My Lord, you were the beloved leader of our people. You were a strong and capable leader.” His gaze shifted to Michael. “Rath, my brother, the High Commander of the King’s armies, you were the King’s second-in-command, and his most trusted confidant. I have continued the fight in your absence, taking your place as blood dictates, and leading the Resistance.”

Silence fell over the cavern for several heavy moments before he began to speak again. “Our families are gone, but the fight continues. Antar will not fall to our enemies so long as I draw breath. The war has been long and the struggle fierce, but our strength lies in our ability to adapt, to maintain our integrity, and to recognize evil regardless of the mask it hides behind. It was the inability to believe that evil could infiltrate our ranks at such a high level that led to your deaths. Know your enemies, know each other, and most importantly,” his gaze traveled over the three of them, resting on Isabel for a moment longer than the others, “know yourselves and do not fall prey to deceit. Nothing in life is predetermined, but without counsel, without conscious effort, the mistakes of the past are destined to be repeated. You are stronger than even you know and you must trust yourselves and each other.”

The hologram began to ripple and a moment later it dissipated, leaving them bathed in the blue light that emanated from the wall that housed the pods. Michael and Max placed the orbs back in their compartment, their minds turning over the information they had been given. Max looked at the strange book lying there and he picked it up, stepping back and opening the cover. Like the orbs, the cover was made of some material that he instinctively knew hadn’t come from Earth, and his thumb unconsciously traced over the symbol on the front as he turned the pages filled with alien text. He absently fingered the small pendant suspended from a thin rope that lay between the pages as he scanned text that was gibberish to him.

“Michael, that’s you.” Isabel’s voice cut through the silence that hadn’t yet been disturbed in the wake of the hologram’s message and everyone gathered around Max. “And… us?” The pages they were looking at had images imprinted of four young people at different stages of life.

“You have a home to return to,” Liz said quietly but the words reverberated in the chamber. Her voice was dull as she looked at the images, finding it impossible to deny what she was seeing. It only seemed to prove what Tess had said about them being paired off. “You have a destiny to fulfill.”

“No,” Max denied heatedly. “Liz, everything I told you before is still true. I have no intention of going back to Antar. I don’t even know that it’s possible, but even if it was, I’m not leaving you.”

“I think we’ve all made the decision that we’re not leaving,” Michael added. “The war on Antar was ongoing fifty years ago. We don’t know what the status of that war is now and we have no way of knowing the outcome, but we do know the Resistance was in good hands at that time. If my brother was leading our people after our deaths I think we can be certain that he fought to the end. For all we know the war’s over and he’s running the planet now. The truth is we may never know.”

“Maybe we should give this a rest,” Maria suggested. “Let’s take some time to digest what we’ve learned here today and regroup in a couple of days.”

“I think that’s a good idea.” Alex nodded while keeping an eye on Isabel. Something was troubling her and he had a feeling she wasn’t going to open up about it until they were alone.

“We’re not leaving Earth,” Isabel said as she turned and walked to the wall where the door was hidden. She wanted to leave this place. Something about that message, about the way the leader of the Resistance had looked at her, had left her feeling cold and uneasy.

Alex wasted no time hurrying after her.

“No, we’re not,” Max agreed as he slipped the pendant free of the pages, handed the book to Michael and took Liz’s hand to tug her along after his sister and Alex. He didn’t know what he was going to have to do to prove to her that he wasn’t going anywhere, but whatever it was, he was going to do it.

“So no plans to hop an intergalactic flight home?” Maria quipped while watching Michael put the book back in its hiding place. She hated that Liz felt so unsettled and uncertain about her relationship with Max after seeing the hologram and she wished there was something she could do or say to help, but she had a feeling Max was the only one who could really reassure her of her place in his life.

Michael smirked as he waved a hand over the wall and in the blink of an eye the orbs and the book were hidden from sight. He had a lot on his mind after what he had just seen but first he had something important to take care of. She might try to hide the words beneath a teasing tone, but he knew the hologram had left her with questions and a little reassurance would go a long way right now. He took her hand and pulled her up against him, reaching up to cup her face in his hands when she came to rest against his chest.

“Let’s get outta here,” he whispered against her lips. “We’ll go out to the desert.”

“We’re already in the desert,” she mumbled.

“Our desert.”

Their desert, the desert shared with Santana and his herd. She smiled and nodded, taking his hand again and moving to follow him when she suddenly remembered the stone she had found. “Oh, wait, I found this.”

Michael took the stone from her when she held it out and after a few moments of studying it he nodded. He recognized it, but couldn’t quite explain it. Yet. “Keep it. I’ll explain later.”

She rolled her eyes but slipped it into her pocket. She couldn’t explain it but she felt some sort of connection to it and she was glad he’d told her to keep it. She wondered what it meant, but knew better than to ask at that time. She’d learned when to push for more and when to be patient and now was a time for patience.

By the time they reached the area where they had parked the jeeps the camouflage tarps had been pulled off of the vehicles, folded up and stashed in the back of Linda’s jeep. Max was already behind the wheel, the engine running and his worried gaze constantly flicking to his girlfriend. In the backseat Isabel was staring across the desert and Alex was watching her without being obvious about it. Yeah, they all needed some time to sort things out. He nodded when Michael waved him off and he backed up and took off without waiting another second.

He looked over at Maria as she climbed into the jeep and he slid in behind the wheel, starting the engine and looking up at the rock formation one more time before pulling away. He wasn’t overly concerned by his girlfriend’s behavior but something in him settled when she reached over to cover his hand where it rested on the gearshift.

They would be okay. If there was one thing in this life that he was sure of, it was her.

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Re: Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)148-3/18/18

Postby keepsmiling7 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:30 am

Now we know why Atherton was killed....
Do we really trust Nasedo???
50 year old hologram........
So glad the royals have all decided to stay on earth, and not return to Antar.

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)149-6/3/18

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:21 am

keepsmiling7: They're certain Nasedo can't be trusted. There will be more discussion regarding the hologram. Yep, it looks like the royals have no intention of returning to Antar.

Part 149

The drive out to the part of the desert Michael and Maria had claimed as theirs was made in silence. They hadn’t really talked while driving back to his house and he hadn’t broken the contemplative mood while hitching up the trailer and loading the horses. The discovery of the cave alone would have been amazing, but to be faced with his brother, who had taken up the fight in his absence, had taken the situation to a whole new level.

She watched him as he guided the truck over terrain that had become so familiar in the time they had known each other. He was strong and steady, traits that had always seemed so ingrained in him in spite of his occasional fits of temper that lent an air of unpredictability to his personality. He had been a great military leader in that other life; a brilliant tactician, a guiding presence, a trusted confidant and a fierce warrior.

He had been born to lead the armies on his planet, to defend the throne and his people, and she couldn’t help but wonder if he would eventually grow restless and dissatisfied with a mundane life on Earth. She looked down at the stone she held, transfixed by the myriad of stars that were so realistic she felt like she could literally touch it and feel the cosmos. Her fingertips brushed over it and the warmth emanating from it sent a frisson of calm racing through her.

Michael glanced at her with a quiet, satisfied smirk. Her emotions were so transparent and as usual, her mind was jumping from one thought to another at the speed of light. He knew he didn’t have a prayer of keeping up with the leaps her mind was capable of making, but even without that, he knew where her thoughts were centered today. Her question, delivered in a joking manner, had given that away easily enough.

“So no plans to hop an intergalactic flight home?”

Surely after everything they had been through together, everything they had shared, she didn’t think he would just up and leave Earth, leave her. But then again, he reasoned, the female mind wasn’t the most logical thing in the universe. Or any other, judging by his brother’s words as his eyes had rested on Isabel at the end of his speech. There was something there, something that suggested there had been a breach at some point and she had been at the heart of it.

Willingly or unwillingly? He considered that for a few minutes as he took the final turn that would lead them to their destination. What had happened to cause such a breach? Was it a breach of trust that had led to some big problem between her, Max and himself? Or was it something even bigger than that? What if it had somehow led to their demise?

He was so deep in thought that he was unaware of Maria’s concerned gaze as he parked and climbed out of the truck. He went through the motions of saddling the horses by rote, so accustomed to the motions that he could do it in his sleep. He gave his girlfriend a leg up without a word, swinging up in the saddle himself and leading the way along the familiar path.

When they reached the area they had claimed as theirs he dismounted and unsaddled the horses, making sure they were secure and comfortable, while Maria spread a blanket on the ground a short distance away. The rocky shelf behind them provided ample shade for them as well as the horses, and gave them several hours before the sun would rise high enough to reveal their location and become unbearably hot.

“Did you get the feelin’ somethin’ bad happened on Antar that involved Isabel?” he asked as he dropped down beside Maria.

Her eyebrows lifted at his first words in nearly two hours. “Isabel?”

“He said, ‘Know yourselves and do not fall prey to deceit.’ He made it a point of looking directly at her when he said that.”

“You think he was actually looking at her? I mean, Michael, it was a hologram.”

“Yeah, but we know Max was the king and I was the commander, and he looked directly at each of us when he was speaking. He called Max the king while looking at him and he called me the commander while looking at me. He didn’t address Isabel directly but he singled her out at that moment when he said that bit about knowing ourselves and not falling prey to deceit. How else would you explain it?”

“How would a hologram be able to recognize you?”

“Hell if I know. It’s gotta be some kinda technology because he did. I’m not the only one who noticed it, Maria. Didn’t you see how quick she was to get outta the cave? Isabel caught it too.”

“Okay, say your people were advanced enough in 1947 to create a hologram that has the ability to recognize you. Maybe it’s somehow linked to you through biometrics. If they were able to send something like that with you over fifty years ago, imagine what else they embedded in that technology.”

Michael dropped back to rest his weight on his elbows when she got up and started to pace, her motions, words and tone escalating as her mouth attempted to keep up with the speed her brain was kicking ideas out. He enjoyed watching her in this mode. Hell, he enjoyed watching her in any mode, but he really got a kick out of this one.

“I mean, think about it, Michael! Why just send a message? Obviously you have characteristics of your former self so they’d have to know you’d want to know more about that life than what the hologram message gave you.”

“Yeah, well, the book was in a long-forgotten language as far as the hybrid contingent of our little group goes so I don’t imagine we’ll be figuring that out anytime soon.” He lay back and laced his fingers behind his head. “Besides, all it really provided us with are pictures that weren’t really all that helpful. A language we can’t read, pictures that possibly depicted a potential destiny – one that my brother suggested could lead to the mistakes of the past being repeated. I’m a big believer in learnin’ from your mistakes, not repeating them.”

“They had to know that you wouldn’t know the language, right? Surely they wouldn’t be so arrogant as to think you’d naturally retain that information.”

He shrugged. “Does it really matter? I mean, it’s been over fifty years since we landed on Earth.”

“Crash landed,” she corrected automatically.

Michael rolled his eyes. “Whatever. My point is that at least fifty-five years have passed since we got here and then there’s whatever time it took for us to reach Earth, so we have no way of knowing that Antar’s still in the middle of a war. What we do know is that after our past selves were killed that my brother took up the fight so it sounds to me like things were in good hands.”

“Well, he did look imposing and capable, I’ll give you that.” She began to pace again, but her movements weren’t as erratic as before. “The family resemblance was pretty obvious.”

“Really? I didn’t see any similarities.”

Maria rolled her eyes at him. “Yes, really! His face, his eyes, I could see the resemblance as plain as day. I guess no one else noticed it, but I spend a lot of time watching you so that gives me an advantage.”

He frowned as he recalled her description of his brother and their ‘obvious’ similarities. “You think I’m imposing?”


“You said he looked imposing and capable.”

“Michael, you can be very imposing when you want to be, but I meant it as a compliment, not a criticism. The meaning is different depending on context. I wonder why the message was so short. He had to have more time than just a minute or so to compose a message to you, so you’d think he would’ve had more to say.”

“He was obviously a man of few words.” He shrugged. “He said what he had to say and he was done with it.” He nodded to himself. He could appreciate that. “Maybe he thought saying more would impact our decisions.”

“But, like you said, it’s been more than fifty years. Maybe you’re not needed to command Antar’s armies any longer, but he’d have to know you’d have questions. All of you have questions and you’re right about him singling Isabel out. He couldn’t possibly think at least one of you wouldn’t spot that and want to know what he was referring to.” Her pacing picked up momentum as she puzzled over the situation. She paused as a thought occurred to her, her eyes widening as the very idea stopped her in her tracks.

Michael slowly pushed himself up onto his hands when her movements suddenly ceased and she came to a complete standstill. “What?”

“As advanced as your people obviously were at that time it only makes sense that they would’ve made sure you had some way of learning about yourselves, right?”

“Okay, for arguments’ sake, let’s say you’re right – how’re we supposed to read a language that we don’t know or understand?”

“No, Michael, don’t you see? He had to know that growing up without any kind of alien influence – or, I guess in your case, all you had was alien influence. I mean, to your people we’d be the aliens, so – “

He could feel a headache threatening. It was a common occurrence when she warmed up to a subject and she started bouncing off the walls as she chased multiple ideas at once. “Maria, try to stay on track.”

“Why would they send you here with that one message and a book you wouldn’t be able to read? Nasedo obviously had the book and those communication orb thingies, right? So he probably had the ability to read the language. The four of you were paired according to the book, that was apparent based on the pictures, but there’s nothing to indicate it was by choice. Tess was dogged in her pursuit of Max, but we’ll never know whether she believed they were destined to be together because she was nuts or because of Nasedo’s influence. Personally, I think she was nuts. She probably couldn’t read the book either, but if she’d seen it, it could explain part of her obsession. We don’t know what Nasedo’s endgame was, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he played into her delusional fixation on Max.”

“What’s your point?”

“Your brother warned about the mistakes of the past being repeated. What if the four of you being paired was part of those mistakes? What if the book was sent as a warning? Kind of a ‘what not to do’ guide? What if Nasedo had some darker purpose for making sure you followed the path the book talks about?”

“That’s a lot of ‘what ifs,’ Maria. Look, what’s in the book doesn’t matter to any of us. Whether it tells the story of what our previous lives were or it’s some predetermined guide is irrelevant. I have no desire to chase down a previous life, Max has no interest in it beyond getting answers, and Isabel sure as hell doesn’t want anything to do with taking that path.”

“But you’ve chased sightings for years, Michael. You’ve been looking for answers all of your life. To the point that your mom’s always been afraid she was gonna lose you to those answers.”

“Chasing after answers doesn’t mean leavin’ the planet.”

“But now you know your home is out there somewhere. I mean, you’ve always known that, but now you have hard proof.”

He sighed and shook his head as he reached out and caught her hand, tugging her close to his drawn-up knees. “Crazy woman, when’re you gonna get it through your thick head that wherever you are is home for me? Yeah, okay, so we got our hands on some pretty substantial proof, but that doesn’t mean I’m about to take off for some other planet. I’m not interested in landing in the middle of a war that may or may not still be ongoing. Hell, wars have lasted centuries before so there’s no way of knowing what’s even going on there now. Besides, we don’t even know if it’s possible to go back there.”

“But if you could?”

He smiled when she started chewing on her bottom lip, a dead giveaway that she was uncertain. “If I could go to Antar and I knew it’d be safe, that we could come back, would you go?”

Her eyes shot up to lock on his. “Me?”

“No, one of my other girlfriends,” he mocked gently.

She hadn’t expected that. What would it be like to see a completely different world? An alien world populated with a totally different species? Were there any humans there? They had crossbred Antarian and human DNA, so they had to have access to humans. Did they live on Antar or had the genetic material come from unsuspecting humans abducted only to be returned after the extractions were complete? She had so many questions! The answers would only be worth it if coming back home was certain. She couldn’t imagine never seeing her mom again. “But only if we could come back, right?”

“Yeah.” He snorted. “Could you imagine my mom tracking us down on Antar if we couldn’t?” And he wouldn’t put it past her.

Maria laughed and braced her hands on his shoulders, giving herself leverage as she eased down into his arms. “There wouldn’t be anywhere on the planet to hide if that ever happened. We’d spend the rest of our lives with her griping at us.” She kissed his jaw and shook her head. “No, things have finally settled down on the mom front so we definitely don’t wanna rock that boat.”

“No. It’d be kinda cool to see Antar one day, but I’m happy here. We’ve got things planned out and life’s good. And I’d miss my family too. My previous life was on Antar, but my current life is here on Earth, with you.”

“Yeah, to answer your question, I’d go to Antar with you one day if we had the opportunity and we knew we could come back home. Talk about a summer vacation!”

He chuckled and tightened his arms around her momentarily. “You got the stone you found?”

She shifted around to pull it out of her pocket and handed it to him, studying his features as he held the stone and slid his thumb over the polished surface. “You remember it.”

“You found it in my pod.”

Maria shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“No, I wasn’t askin’, I was just tellin’ you where you found it. It belonged to me, to Rath, on Antar.”

Her eyebrows lifted when the stone remained black in his hand. “What is it?”

He waited a heartbeat before answering. “It’s a stone,” he deadpanned.

She smacked his shoulder. “Does it have secret powers?”

“Does the rock have secret powers?” he asked sarcastically.

Maria glared at him. “Well, it’s obviously alien in origin and it changes colors when I hold it, but it doesn’t seem to do the same thing for anyone else. Not even you.”

“No, they’re not secret powers.” Did she really have to keep calling them that? “And no, it won’t change colors for anyone but you.” It was strange to have so much knowledge without really remembering it. He had felt the strangely familiar information begin to filter in the moment he touched the stone in the cave. “The stone has been in my family for generations, so long that its origins are no longer known. Prior to my death it was worn on a chain made from a precious metal found only on Antar. It was a rare occurrence for the stone to change colors from one generation to the next.”

“What does the color change signify?”

“It’s an acknowledgment of the emotional link between two people. For the stone to change colors that means that there’s a true connection. It was passed down from the father to the oldest son for hundreds of years. There were only a few occasions where the stone’s color changed from black in response to a chosen mate.”

“So your people didn’t always get married or whatever for love.”

“No more than your people do,” he said with a roll of his eyes. “There are a ton of reasons why people get together and love isn’t always at the top of the list.”

She reached out and brushed her fingertips over the stone, fascinated by the way it immediately responded by changing colors. “Just look at it,” she whispered. How could a stone recognize the emotional connection between two people?

“It’ll also serve as a warning if you’re ever in danger.”


He nodded.

“So it’s like an alarm too?”

“Huh-uh, at least not like you’re thinkin’. It won’t make a sound, but if you’re ever in danger it’ll produce a warning to alert you. It’ll emit a pulsing light.”

“Well, that could attract unwanted attention.”

He shook his head. “It wouldn’t be obvious to anyone but you. The object is to protect you, to warn you if danger is present.”

“So it’s sentient?”

“I guess in a manner of speaking it is. If you were in danger it’d emit an undetectable signal which would trigger a protective shield around you. It can’t be seen, it can’t be felt, but if you were in physical danger, it would provide a certain amount of protection. It won’t stop an explosion or save you from like a plane crash, but it would deflect at least some of the injury in the event of a personal attack.”

“So it’s like a protective measure set in place to keep the person linked to its owner safe.” Her tone was filled with wonder.


“And it never changed colors while Rath had it?”

He shrugged. “Why would it? He hadn’t met you,” he said with a teasing smirk. He wrapped his arms around her and settled back on the blanket, content to watch her examine the stone. “I’ll make a chain for it if you want.”

She smiled slightly and nodded. “You know, it’s funny,” she said as a thought occurred to her.

“What’s that?”

“Well, a lot of guys name their sons after themselves, but until now I’ve never once heard of a guy naming his dog after himself.”

He should’ve seen that one coming. He rolled his eyes. “I told you the name was somehow familiar.”

She laughed and hugged him. “I love you, Michael. If we have a son one day though, promise me you won’t wanna name him Rath.”

That made him laugh and he rolled over to pin her beneath him. “That’s the last thing I’d ever wanna name one of our kids.” He lowered his head to brush a kiss against her lips. “I’m not goin’ anywhere, Maria, not without you.”

Maria smiled as her hands came up to frame his face. She didn’t have a doubt in her mind that he meant every word he said. And the stone only provided further proof of the truth in his declaration. Whatever happened, they would be facing it together.

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Re: Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)149-6/3/18

Postby keepsmiling7 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:06 pm

They were correct to worry that the mistakes of the past might be repeated......
Loved Michael not want to land somewhere in the middle of a war.
And I'm glad he wants to be with Maria no matter what.

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