“Astra…” Alistair whispered, as he held his daughter’s hand tightly.
“Daddy, it’s okay,” She whispered back. “This is what I have to do right?”
“You don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to,” Declan said harshly, glaring at the green male in front of him. “You’re handing our daughter over to the guardians. Babe, I don’t like this one bit.”
“Me?” Alistair asked accusingly. “You handed Adeline to Altiere on a silver platter.”
“You don’t understand,” Declan said quietly. “You were gone for a long time and he knew how to help her adjust. When you came back from imaginationland, he had already…”
“Enough,” Zodiac said. “We’re not here to make small talk. Astra, this is your new home. You’ll be staying here. The house’s first few payments are paid off but when the first few months are over, you’re expected to make a living for yourself. Understand?”
She nodded. “What d-o I havve to d-o?”
“Nothing but live your life here, my dear. Just life your life, as a human. I’ll be stopping in periodically, but there should be no problem,” Zodiac said calmly. “I am on your side.”
“Thats it? Just like that?” Declan asked. “She just has to live her life here? What about her magic? She is not a human. You know that people don’t accept our kind here.”
Zodiac didn’t even blink. Emotion didn’t seem to be in his capacity. “I could take away her magic if she so wished. But, that is a choice for her to make later. Now is not an opportune time. The rules are few, and smiple so please listen carefully Astra.”
They waited for him to continue. It was Alistair, Declan, Astra, Millie and Zodiac in the small apartment. “The first is obvious. We’re in Lucky Palms right now. Magic is not known in this world. No magic, no supernaturals, no berries like your sister.”
“Berry?” Millie asked. “Because of my pink skin? Is that what you call it?”
“Yes, there are technical terms, dear. But, enough of that talk. No magic, or talk of it, anything regarding it, any supernaturals, even Moonlight Falls in general. That is not the norm here. Rule number 2, you’ll do as I say when I ask you to. I will not ask anything irrational, of course. But, it’s in your family’s best interest if you do comply with the guardian’s demands.” Alistair squeezed her hand and gave her a nod of reassurance. He wouldn’t let anything happen to her. “Finally, the most important rule of all, you are not to see your family again. You are to adopt to this life of normalcy, what your fathers and siblings seem to lack immensely. I hope you said goodbye to your grandfathers and Aunt Sienna? How about your sisters?”
“WHAT!?” Millie cried out. Instinctively, she pulled her twin closely to her. “No, that isn’t fair! You can’t make her do that!”
“She must,” Zodiac answered. “You guys cannot keep coming through the portal. You’re anomalies here. Astra is the only one who can pass as human. Alistair has duties that keep him in Moonlight Falls, and Declan will not leave his husband’s side. You, Charlotte and Adeline will scare everyone. Mass hysteria is not on my list of things I’m looking forward to. if there was another option, I’d present it.”
“Dad, say something!” Millie pleaded. “Please. She can’t! She’s my sister, I need to see her again. That isn’t fair. Astra, tell them this isn’t what you want!”
“Millie,” Alistair began. “Darling, it’s-”
Astra held her hand up to silence her dad. She turned around and hugged her sister tightly.
“Mills,” Astra whispered, as she stroked her sister’s hair. It wasn’t often that she took charge. Millie was always the stronger older sister. She’d pick up the pieces for Astra. Bully after bully, Millie would fight holler and yell to get them to leave her baby sister alone. Just the though of leaving Astra alone, in a strange place terrified Millie. Would she be okay? Would she be able to take care of herself? People would walk all over her, and eat the poor girl alive! “I’m not a baby.”
“I never said you were.” Millie frowned.
“But, you were thinking it.” Astra didn’t stutter around her family. She was comfortable, it only seemed to come about when she was under stress,or suffering anxiety (which was quite often for the poor girl). Being so quiet, amounted to one good thing. She became very observant. She’d normally hang back and watch the others around her. She noticed the little things. “I can do this.”
“I don’t want you to,” Millie murmured. “You can’t leave me. You’re my partner in crime. I’ll be all alone.”
“Daddy needs this. He won’t admit it, but he needs me to do this. He says that I don’t have to, but you know that I do,” Millie whispered.
“He would never make you do what you don’t want to,” Millie said.
“I know,” Astra whispered back. “I know that more than anything. He will watch the world crumble around him to give us whats best for us. But, I can’t let daddy do that. If it’s whats good for us, than I will trust him. I’m staying. You are strong and you can handle this.” Astra smiled brightly. She was nervous, scared, about to vomit…but still she had to smile because she had the most amazing family. They would cross hell twice over to give the girl the best life possible. She was grateful for that.
Millie couldn’t answer. Astra’s attention was on the boy who had burst through the door. He strolled in with a younger female, bags in hand. “Cadence I told you we didn’t need so much stuff.”
‘We’re moving here, what other time would it be appropriate to bring all of this stuff? Jeeeeez Alistair,” She whined. “You’re such a baby.”
“I had to carry all of this shit,” He complained. “You didn’t lift a finger.”
“I’m the girl,” Cadence said matter of factly.
“She’s your sister, show some respect,” Alistair tolf his nephew. But he was smiling.
“What is Al doing here?” Astra asked. “And uh…”
“Cadence!” She said brightly. “Nice to meet you cuz!” Astra froze when Cadence threw herself at the girl. “Oh, uh. Not a hugger. Sorry. Cadence scratched her head. Astra remained silent as she watched the girl. She hated new faces, family or not.
“Leave her alone,” Little Alistair said. He stretched his arms out before continuing. He turned to his cousin. “We’re your new roommates! Big Al over here called my mom, discussed me moving here to watch you and stuff. I of course said hell yeah. it’ll be fun.”
“Away from mom, woohoo!” Cadence cheered.
Little Al rolled his eyes. “Not looking forward to being with this one though.”
Astra tuned out her cousins. She couldn’t do this right now. She was happy to have people with her but it also raised her anxiety levels. “It’s time to say goodbye. This is the only pass you’re going to get.” Zodiac motioned to the two new arrivals.
“Me first…” Millie began. She turned to Astra. “I love you, always. Okay? I might not be here for you physically, but in spirit, I’ll always be.”
“I love you too,” Astra said quietly. She tried to hold back the tears but they came rolling down her cheeks like a waterfall. “Don’t do anything stupid, okay?”
“Without you? Of course I won’t.” Millie was crying too. “I want you to know that this isn’t goodbye. I’ll find a way to sort this out. I’m not giving up on you.”
Astra nodded and hugged her sister. “I’ll try too, but please promise me one thing.”
“I won’t get hurt, I promise. I love you. I love you. I fucking love you, Astra.”
Astra wiped her eyes and nodded. “Can I cut in?”
“Dad?” Astra looked up.
Declan patted her head. “Sweetheart, you don’t have to do this.”
“I want to, for dad,” Astra murmured.
“He won’t be angry if you don’t,” Declan said. “Your father would do anything for you, you know that.”
“I love you.” Astra laid her head on her father’s chest. “But, I can do this.”
“I know you can.” Declan nodded. But he couldn’t smile. His biggest fear was losing Astra. He had always been closest with her. He spent an immense amount of time with her, helping her control her speech, working on her anxiety. She was his entire world. Sometimes, Alistair didn’t have time, as the keeper of magic to be attentive to the problems his daughters were facing. Declan took the “mother” role. He never got to spend much time with his parents, he wouldn’t let his daughters feel that same way. “I just don’t know if I can.”
“Oh daddy.” She ran her finger across his cheek, wiping away his tears. She didn’t say a word. What would she say? By dad? Forever? It couldn’t be the end. She was only eighteen years old. A socially awkward teen, forced into adulthood. She pictured waking up, alone.. No Millie to calm her down. No dad to talk her through her anxiety attack. No more magic lessons with her father. Nothing. No Charlotte, Adeline…she’d have to stop being who she was, a mage.
“My daughter,” Declan choked out. Thats all he could manage. Alistair had grew a shell over the years. Being the keeper of magic put an immense amount of stress on him. No longer was he the confused and broken boy depending on Declan. He had stepped up, matured and taken everything life threw at him with dignity and strength.
“Don’t worry,” Alistair whispered so only the three could hear. “This isn’t goobye.”
“It isn’t?” Astra asked hopefully.
“Of course not. I would never leave you here by yourself.” He kissed the back of Astra’s head. “Zodiac said that either I or Declan could get away with coming here. I’ve lived in a human world for a long time, and Declan has no powers prohibiting him. If we come seperately, it’d be fine to visit. When I’m here, he’ll take over my duties. When he’s here, I’ll hold the fort down. We’ll figure something out with Millie.”
“Alidtair, this is why I love you.” Declan pulled the two closer to him. “Be good for your cousins alright?”
“I will,” Astra whispered.
“You can do this, baby doll. The world is your stage and you are the star. It’s up to you whether you want to play the lead, or an extra.” He held his daughter in his arms tightly. He had already had an immensely long conversation with Alistairr. He told him what to do if Astra got nervous, if her powers started acting up, if she was in trouble….Declan thought that Alistair was out of the loop, but he had known his daughter better than anyone in the world. She would be fine, he would make sure of it.
“I…I don’t understand…” The boy mumbled. “Why me?”
“Why not you?” Mason asked, kneeling by the boy. “You’re the perfect one to help me.”
“I…I don’t understand,” He repeated.
“Jeffrey Bennett,” Mason began. “Brother of Drew Bennett, who is married, or was married to Caleb Gray.”
“What do you mean, was?” Jeffrey lowered his eyes, not even bothering to ask how the man knew his name.
“Well, she’s dead now,” Mason said nonchalantly. “It’s been almost two generations. She’s had kids, her kids have had kids. Beautiful love story, but not the one I’m looking for.”
“Excuse me?” Jeffrey sat up and dusted off his pants. “You’re speaking riddles. Two generations?”
“I’m a time traveler. I mean, you must have known that Caleb was a gift to your family from Emit Relevart. A foolish foolish man,” Mason spat. “If he can toss someone into a timeline they don’t belong in, than I can too. In this timeline, the Bennetts don’t exist as you know them. Gene lost sim star idol, and what happened to him became irrelevant to the Grays. He went his own way, and Caleb went another. You’re supposed to be dead in this time period. Well, you still are, technically. I took alternate dimension you and well, now we’re here.”
“Let me get this straight,” Jeff said. “You took me from another dimension, and put me in this world, where another version of me is already dead?” Mason nodded. “Why?”
Jeffrey stood up and confronted the man. “Caleb loves Drew. Or loved, whatever. I don’t know. They had something special. I don’t know anything about this Emit guy, but the pain he caused you, I’m sorry. I don’t…” he stopped to think about the words and once they settled, his eyes widened. “You mean, Star? Drew told me all about her. Emit killed her?”
“Yes,” Mason said. “Caleb is no longer alive in this world, and while I don’t care for your bratty little sister much, I do need help stopping this idiot. He thinks he can run around and do whatever the hell he wants. Because he thinks it’ll save the world. But he won’t, not on my watch. We have something that he doesn’t. He’s the keeper of time. He can manipulate the timelines, but now, things aren’t looking too hot.”
“What do you mean?”
“He’s joined with a few others and formed some group called the guardians. Their main goal is to fix the future. Which, before you ask, yes thats where I’m from. Oasis Landing has gone to shit. Total shit, and they will stop at NOTHING even killing innocent young girls to get what they want. But I’ve been researching, talking ot that filthy headmaster of Moonlight Falls. Dimension Shifting is a thing, and we’re going to use it.”
“We’re?” Jeffrey asked. “I don’t want any part of this. What about my job, and my wife?”
“They don’t exist anymore. All dead. The Bennetts live, but they’re off in a human only world. Thats none of your concern because you’ll be going into Moonlight Falls to get me some information. Of course, I can’t do anything about it myself, because Angel is watching me. But you, you can go in and do recon. She wants those vampires, for whatever reason-”
“Vampires?” Jeffrey cut him off. “Considering this shit is all real, I’ll bite. But, doesn’t mean I’ll go along with any of that.”
“They’re harmless girls, probably. I need you to keep an eye on the Grays. Two females, Adeline Gray and Charlotte Gray. They live with their fathers, Declan a former witch and Alistair the keeper of magic. Oh, he’s a fun one. He’ll watch you like a hawk around his daughters, but I have faith in you. And, oh their youngest Millie, so precious, but a firecracker that one.”
“What are you talking about?” Jeffrey demaned. “I didn’t agree to anything!”
Mason grabbed his shoulder forcefully. “I’m not giving you a choice. Emit took away my chance at a good future. Took away MY granddaughters, and then my grandsons in another dimension. This will not happen again. My son married your sister. You were a cop. I want your help and I will have it even if I have to -”
“Have to what?” Jeffrey demanded. “You’re doing the same thing this guy is! Threatning to kill people to get what you want!”
“Lisa,” Mason said suddenly. “I promise that you’ll have Lisa back if you help me. I brought you to life and I can bring her too.”
“You…” Jeffrey bit his lip. He loved Lisa more than anything in the world. “You can’t.”
“A life with her and your child. A whole new world to live out your life with. No distractions, no fights, just the life you should have had. A long one with Lisa.”
“I…okay, tell me what I have to do.”
Jeffrey was made by Dandylion240. To learn more about Lisa, you can read about it here. She won’t be a central character to this story though.