Their house was very quiet when Seamus arrived home late one evening from work. The lights were on upstairs, so he knew that Noelle wasn't asleep yet. Peering into the kitchen, he saw that she'd put supper on the table but she was nowhere in sight. He sighed and hung his cloak on the hook. He walked into the living room and sat down on the couch with her.
“I'm sorry,” he whispered as he kissed her cheek. She didn't move as she sat next to him, as still as stone.
“You promised,” Noelle reminded him, not looking at him but rather the wall in front of her.
“You could have at least sent me an owl to tell me that you would be late again. I've stayed up all night waiting for you.”
He sighed heavily and placed his cheek against her hair.
“You shouldn't have waited up.”
“But I did!”
Their argument was interrupted when a harsh knock came at the door. Seamus dared to look through the blinds as Noelle sat as still as a statue on the couch. Her hand fell to her swollen stomach as though to protect their unborn child from any harm. As quickly as he opened them, he shut them. That monster wasn't supposed to come back. He wasn't supposed to be anywhere near them. The house they were in was to be their safe haven, not somewhere they could be hunted down.
“What's wrong?” Noelle asked urgently as she stood up to follow him. He stood behind her, placing his hand on her back, the other on her waist. He kissed her cheek softly before urging her up the stairs. She kept asking him questions, which he continued to ignore. It would only cause her distress and potential harm to the baby if she knew who was pounding on their door.
“Just go to bed,” he encouraged, voice cracking. He wasn't about to curse a man out in front of her. That wouldn't do either of them good. She kept walking, head still turned so that she was facing him.
“You have to tell me.” Her voice was begging, pleading with him.
“It's okay. Just an owl that I want to read alone.”
“If it's okay, why can't you tell me what's wrong?”
Her eyes started to pool with what he hoped were only hormonal tears. He looked at her but didn't feel bad. He was protecting her, wasn't he? If Darren felt compelled to do something to Seamus, at least he'd saved Noelle, right? He honestly didn't care that it may have been his fault that he was making her cry. He was being noble, or at least he hoped he was.
“It's just something I need to do alone.”
Noelle paused and he put his hand gently on her swollen stomach. He could feel the baby's tiny foot kicking against the wall of her abdomen. Gulping, Seamus nudged her gently up the last step. She resisted for a split second before going up and turning toward the bedroom. She looked at him sadly and he softly kissed her in return.
As he walked back down the stairs, he felt like he was walking to the gallows. He could see the monstrosity of a human being in the small glass window on the front door. A shiver inevitably ran up his spine as he put his hand on the knob. He took a deep breath and opened the door.
“Where is she?” Darren spat, voice dangerously low and inhumanly cold.
Seamus quirked his eyebrow in response. He could keep his calm and he could prove that.
“I don't know what you're talking about.”
“Yes you do, so show me where she is.”
“My wife is asleep.” Seamus lied smoothly. They'd planned on eloping and getting their marriage license the next morning, so it wasn't a complete lie. They had simply just agreed that it might be easier to do that instead of raising a newborn and planning a wedding. Seamus was more eager than he led her on to be about the plan. He honestly couldn't wait until the day she was his, always and forever.
His attention was veered when he felt a hard punch in his abdomen, and then a sharp pain shooting through his jaw. Stunned, Seamus cupped a hand to his jaw and looked at the hand. Rust colored blood and the awful stench filled his nostrils. He felt one more shooting pain before it all went black.
What was this darkness? Was it death? Was it limbo? Was it pure ecstasy? He'd never felt this before and it was highly confusing. He felt a cool hand touching him, so he wondered whose fingers, so soft and delicate, were touching him. This couldn't be death. It felt too real.
“Seamus?” a gentle voice said. “Seamus? Can't you hear me?”
He made a groggy noise as his eyes fluttered open slowly. Her face was blurred at first before it came into focus. This definitely wasn't death. If it was death, Noelle wouldn't be there. A smile broke across her lips, her face brightening automatically. She touched her wand softly to his forehead and he felt a tight, grasping pain just above his eyebrow. Once the pain faded, he put his hand to it.
“What happened?” he asked groggily. She looked down at him and tilted her head to the side, a hand resting on her swollen stomach.
“I don't know. I found you downstairs a total wreck. I thought you would know,” Noelle responded with a furrowed brow. She stood up and took the first aid kit. Presumably, she went to the bathroom to put it where it belonged.
In her absence, Seamus tried to think. The Monster was there. He had a wee bit of a fist fight with the monster. Then there was the odd darkness he'd mistaken for death. He honestly had no clue what had happened exactly.
“He was here,” Seamus shouted to her. He grabbed a pillow and propped his head upon it. When he heard a loud crash, he winced in pain. His head was killing him and that was not helping him in the least bit. Pressing his fingers to his temples, he listened as she apologized with a flat tone to her voice. It was as though she was speaking, but the feeling behind the words was gone. As she came back into the room, she looked like a ghost. Seamus simply sighed and accepted the ice pack she was holding out to him.
“I need to lie down,” she said simply, and he watched her retreating figure with somewhat sad eyes.
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