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Reincarnation (Finished!!! 8/23/2015)

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Erica/ Laura Blackburn

 

Erica watched patiently as Zeke spoke with his sister. She was leaning up against her car as he finally stood up and began to walk away. She couldn't tell what he was thinking as he slowly made his way back to her. It was a look of resignation and deep sadness. Erica's heart went out to him, but she still found it hard to forget what he had done, or planned to do. Yet she also felt that he had wanted to get caught, that he had wanted to be exposed, not to make them hate him, but so they could rally around and bring him back.

 

Finally her reverie was broken as Zeke reached the car, pausing to glance one more time at his sister. Without thinking, Erica reached out to stroke his hair. "Have you forgiven her?"

 

Zeke sighed. "No. i don't think I have it in me. That's just not who I am. Still, I think I can finally let go. I'm tired of being angry."

 

"What now?" Erica asked. She really hadn't planned for anything after his meeting with his sister, she just hoped that it would somehow fix everything. Looking at him now, she wasn't sure she had solved anything.

 

Zeke gave a weak smile. I'm a little tired. I know I shouldn't be thanks to your concoction, but I am. Think we could head back to the hotel?"

 

Erica nodded her head and they were back in the car. With Ashley and Zeke's problems cleared up, the only people left were James and herself. Funny thing was, she didn't see herself as particularly damaged. She had wanted kids, that simple. She had to face the facts though. They only had nine months before Mirah intervened. There was no way she could get pregnant and have a child of her own. Besides, even if she did, she wouldn't want to give up living after she had gotten her wish. It was hopeless.

 

"Uh....Erica?" Zeke spoke up from the back. "I never got to say it but....I was wrong. The whole Dante thing."

 

"And?" Erica asked, wondering if his stating the obvious had a point.

 

"And....I'm sorry. I know I don't have the right to ask but.....can you forgive me?"

 

Such a simple question. Could she forgive him? Could she forgive him for betraying her, for putting her soul, and that of her husbands and her friend, in jeopardy? She almost chuckled at how easy her answer came to her. "Of course I forgive you. We care about you Zeke. I care about you. That's why it hurt so much when you turned on us."

 

Zeke nodded. " I know. It won't happen again."

 

No more was said as Erica continued to drive back to the hotel. They were a few blocks away when they got stuck in traffic. From what Erica could tell, there had been some kind of major accident up ahead, as she had seen two ambulances speed by. Out of habit, she made the sign of the Cross and said a small prayer for whoever was up ahead.  Zeke however, was dealing with a different problem, one she watched with amusement from the rear-view mirror. The boy was fidgeting relentlessly and had begun to rapidly tap his foot.

 

"Something wrong buddy?" Erica asked with a smirk.

 

"Uh.....yeah a little. Do you think we could find a spot to pull over. I really need to pee." Zeke admitted.

 

"Gee Zeke....I don't think we're going to be able to do that. It looks like there's a pretty bad accident up ahead."

 

Now looking a bit panicked, she saw Zeke squeeze his legs together." But...what am I supposed to do?! I really need to pee!"

 

Of course they both knew the obvious answer. He was wearing a diaper after all. She had deliberately not packed him underwear for this reason. She wanted him to spend a little bit of time depending on others for a change, literally in this sense. Something on his face told her he was going to try and hold out for as long as he could.

 

"Well I don't know what to tell you Zeke. Hopefully you can hold it. If not though, you are wearing a comfy diaper."

 

"If this is some kind of crazy plan to turn me into a diaper wearing moron for you to baby I think you'll be disappointed."

 

Erica smiled more. "Okay then."

 

She spent the next ten minutes passed as she watched Zeke squirm and curse. Finally he groaned. "Oh....I hope whoever is up there gets hit by a bus."

 

"Zeke!" Erica chided. "I think they did get hit by a bus."

 

"Good. That's taken care of then." When she kept glaring at him he rolled his eyes. "What?! I don't think you understand how uncomfortable I am right now."

 

"Look. We're basically dead in the water here. You're clearly uncomfortable. Just use your diaper already and I'll change you. It will hardly be the first wet diaper you've had."

 

Zeke shook his head. "Not while I was wide awake! Look, I am not going to piss myself okay? Just forget it!"

 

Erica turned and gave him a stern look. "I told you before, I didn't even pack you underwear. You're going to be in diapers for a few days. I expect you to use them."

 

Zeke looked at her with horror on his face. "What?! You can't mean-"

 

"That's right. Now be quiet, use your diaper, and be a good little boy. And I'm putting you down for a nap when we get back to the hotel." Erica stated smugly. "See? I can baby you whenever I want."

 

With her plan to keep him in diapers out in the open, Zeke only struggled for another few minutes before she heard him sigh in relief, then blush and try to stealthily check his diaper for leaks. He was so cute it was painful.

 

"Did you have an accident in your diaper Zekey Poo?" She taunted.

 

"Don't ever call me that again." Zeke said as he tried to get comfortable. "I hope you're happy. This is gross."

 

"Such a cranky baby." Erica laughed. "Oh look, we're moving again."

 

"Son of a bitch." Zeke muttered.

 

It didn't take long for them to reach the hotel and Erica wasted no time in carrying Zeke back to the room and laying him on the bed. She got a new diaper and began unfolding it excitedly. Zeke remained quiet, perhaps pondering his new diaper punishment. "Time to get you all clean." Erica cooed, smiling as he blushed. She proceeded with the diaper change, only at a much slower pace. She wanted him to relax and let her help him. That's what he needed. By the time she had put on his new diaper, he was very nearly asleep. She let him crawl into the bed, his diaper crinkling loudly before she covered him up. They smiled at each other for a minute before Zeke spoke.

 

"So....I guess I should start calling you Mom huh?" He said with a yawn.

 

"Please. A diaper change doesn't make me your mother."

 

Zeke looked at her seriously. "Maybe not, but everything else you've done does. You've always been there for Ash and I. You've forgiven me despite the horrible things I've done to you. Plus you....well....you take care of us, of me."

 

Erica gave him a quizzical look. "What are you saying?"

 

"I'm saying for all intents and purposes, you ARE my mom. I.....I love you. There. I said it. Sappy but true."

 

Erica's could feel her eyes widening with surprise and her heart beating rapidly. Zeke's words hit her in the very deepest part of her core. She thought she had been playing mommy all this time, but she finally understood. Zeke and Ashley might never be her blood, but they were her kids. She had been a mom all along. As a solitary tear escaped her eye, and she felt a wave of happiness and peace wash over her, she reached down and kissed the boy on the forehead. "I love you too."

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This was really good, thank you. I am glad to see the both Zeke and Erica are getting closer to their final catharsis which will allow them to move on and vacate with vessels. My one question is that when they do what will happen to the relationship between the actual occupants of the bodies? Will it continue with the babying? 

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Thanks for a great chapter I do enjoy this story.

 

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Well, I know I said it before, but the end really is near. The next chapter will probably be the last. The story has drug on a bit longer than I had intended thanks to the inclusion of Dante. Either way, I'm very excited to wrap this story up. Could anyone tell me how I can put that the story is updated? Everyone else seems to do it but I don't know how. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this chapter and are as excited as I am to see the conclusion.

James/ Edward Blackburn

 

After an extremely long drive James finally reached the hotel. He looked back at Ashley, who was currently bouncing in her seat, eager to see her mommy again no doubt. It lifted his heart to see her in such good spirits despite the her run in with Dante. He dealt with the bags as she ran to the door of the hotel, momentarily pausing to look back and ask if he needed help. He chuckled. "No I got this. Go give Erica a big hug yeah?" 

 

"Okay!" Ashley exclaimed before running as fast as she could inside. He found her impatiently waiting at the elevators, kind enough to at least wait for him. He shared her excitement. He missed Erica terribly himself. There was something about her, she just seemed to be the glue that had brought everyone together, and kept them together. As soon as he saw her face opening the door, a huge dumb smile broke out on his face, the one she had told him she fell in love with.

 

"Mommy!" Ashley yelled as she launched herself into his wife's arms. "I missed you! I missed you!"

 

Erica giggled a bit as she squeezed the girl close. "I missed you sweetheart! Be quiet though okay? Zeke's sleeping."

 

Still holding Ashley in her arms, James reached over to kiss his wife. "I missed you babe. How did everything go here?"

 

Erica glowed. "Better than I could have hoped. I think Zeke and I are both ready to move on."

 

James hadn't expected that. It was great news but also a little daunting. It meant that everything depended on him now, and Erica's ability to forgive. Plus, Dante was still out there, and he was a danger no one knew how to deal with. They moved into the room and were about to start talking about everything that had happened when Zeke woke with a start.

 

"Erica!" The boy shouted as he woke violently.

 

James watched as his wife moved to console the child, woken by yet another nightmare. James had figured he would have been through with them now that he was ready to pass on, but it seemed he was plagued still. Ashley curled up to him as they watched Zeke try to calm down.

 

"What happened? Another nightmare? I thought you wouldn't have anymore."

 

"This....this was different. I...was being chased.....by someone....or something. Sorry, it was just really vivid." He glanced over and saw Ashley and James for the first time. "Hey guys. Glad you could make it to the party."

 

They ended up crowded around Zeke's bed, where Ashley finally told them about her encounter with Dante. Erica looked horrified and, much like he had, enraged. Zeke looked more conflicted. There was clearly a part of Zeke that was still under Dante's spell. James couldn't understand it, but then again, he had never met the man.

 

"That doesn't make sense." Zeke insisted. "Dante wouldn't hurt any of us. That's not who he is. He just wanted me as a pupil....a student. He's not going to kill anyone."

 

James shook his head. "Maybe you don't know this guy as well as you think. He's been manipulating you from the start."

 

"My mistakes were my own. He was never anything but straight with me."

 

Ashley spoke up. "He didn't really seem all that bad. A little scary. He just seemed.....I don't know....."

 

"Lonely." Zeke finished.

 

There was an awkward pause among the group, with each of them lost in their own thoughts. For his part, James just cared about making sure his family was safe. Erica was the only one who didn't seem all that concerned, and she quickly hopped back up and flashed a smile. Even after all theses years, she still surprised him.

 

"Bah. Enough about scary old Dante. Let him try to get close to us again. I'll be more than happy to introduce my heel to his ass."

 

Ashley let out a surprised laugh. "Erica. Jeez, what momma tiger you turned out to be."

 

Erica smiled back. "Hell's yeah." She took a moment to ruffle Zeke's hair, as he was looking more and more unsettled. "Now then, I bet there are two kids that need clean diapers am I right?"

 

Ashley looked over at a blushing Zeke. "Two? You mean you're putting another diaper on Zeke?"

 

"Sure am. It's a sort of punishment for lying." Erica responded.

 

Ashley hopped up and down a bit, clearly excited. "That's so cool! We'll be the diapered twins! Isn't that awesome?"

 

Zeke just grumbled. "Yeah. I'm so excited I could puke."

 

James smiled as his wife began gathering two new diapers, some wipes, and some baby powder. He left the room to grant them some privacy, knowing that when she finished he needed to make his confession. He could hear Ashley giggling on the other side of the door, Zeke ordering her to shut up, and Erica telling Zeke to be nice. The exchange made him chuckle, and he went ahead and sat down in the living area to await his wife. After only a few minutes, all three came walking out. Well, two of them were waddling really, but that wasn't the point. He stood up quickly and asked for a moment alone with Erica. The moment of truth had arrived.

 

Ashley was more than willing to oblige, and she turned and grabbed Zeke by the hand. "Hey, let's go play while the grown-ups talk."

 

"Play?!" Zeke asked, jaw dropped.

 

"Yeah! We can play Simon Says or something. It'll be fun, I'll teach you."

 

Zeke had the smallest of smiles as Ashley drug him away. "What the hell's happened to my life?!"

 

"Play nice children!" Erica shouted as they left before turning to him. "So, what's up? What's wrong?"

 

James stuttered, trying to figure out the best way to go about this. After some thought he figured that pain upfront honesty was the way to go. "I know what's been keeping me here i think. First, I was afraid that I wouldn't be a good father. I really just didn't think it was for me. I didn't believe I could handle the responsibility I guess."

 

"You don't feel that way now?" Erica asked as she wrapped her arms around his waist.

 

"No. This time with Ashley has made me realize that I am father material. I finally got that paternal instinct I guess. But this fear that I had led me to betray your trust and I can't pass on until I come clean. I just hope you don't hate me for it."

 

James could feel his wife tense up as she prepared herself. "Well, better late than never. Go ahead."

 

James took a deep breath. "The whole time we were trying to get pregnant.....I was praying that we wouldn't. And every time a test would come up negative, I....well I was happy about it. I prayed and prayed that it wouldn't happen and then when I found out you couldn't.....that we would never get a positive test....." His voice trailed off, unable to say anymore.

 

James watched his wife's face, unable to figure out what she was thinking, when the most amazing thing happened. She started laughing. "Are you serious?! Is that all? James that's sweet but you don't have to feel bad about it."

 

"I don't?" James asked, utterly confused.

Erica held him closer. "I knew you were happy about it after my first negative test. James, that was a natural feeling. You said yourself you were afraid you wouldn't be a good father, so of course you would feel relieved. I knew how you felt, but I knew that if we ever did get pregnant, you would be a great father. Plus, when we did find out, you tried for weeks to convince me to adopt. That was you thinking about me instead of yourself."

 

"So....you aren't mad?"

 

"Honey, I have never doubted you, or your love and devotion to me. You are a great husband. and you always have been. Any guilt you have or are holding on too, let it go. I would never hold something like that against you."

 

"Oh....well....that's awesome I guess." James chuckled. "A bit anticlimactic though."

 

Erica leaned in and kissed him. "Feel better?"

 

He did. He felt a lot better, lighter somehow. He wasn't sure if this was the same feeling that the others were feeling, but he suddenly felt like everything was going to be okay. He was surrounded by his loved ones, his wife loved him, and everything would be fine.

 

Ashley's voice echoed from her room. "Haha! I didn't say Simon Says!"

 

"Grrr. I hate this game!" Zeke complained.

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Another great chapter.  Sad this story is coming to an end.  A couple of suggestions the fixing of the teddy bear / heart, would love to see the kids playing more maybe at the park, and have the kids work on Dante to get him to move on as well.  Thank you for this great story

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Yeah. Sad to see the story come to an end; however, you've really done a great job at keeping the characters fresh and the pacing steady. Kudos to you. This has to be one of my favorite stories all the way through.

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Really enjoying this story. I'm sad to see it end, but in a way glad, too- since it actually did get finished! ^.^  Sometimes great stories go unfinished (author loses motivation/ real life shit happens, etc) and while I still enjoy reading those stories....I enjoy seeing how stories end, too.  

As for editing the title (aka status update)- it's easy. ^.^  Go to "edit" on your first post, and that will let you edit the title bar.   You used to have to "edit" which would let you just edit the body text, then go to "use full editor" for access to title bar and tag lines, etc.  But the new site update made it easier.

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Erica/Laura Blackburn

8 Months Later

"There we are sweetie. All nice and ready for bed." Erica cooed as she taped up Zeke's nighttime diaper. His week in diapers was a thing of the past, but he still needed them for bed, something Erica was happy for. The boy looked adorable in his diapers, though he hated to hear it. She tucked him into bed for what would be the last time. Tomorrow was the day they had to move on. It had taken a lot of convincing to get Mirah to let them stay until their time was up, but she had finally relented. The last eight months were a dream, as Erica enjoyed every last second with her family. Dante had vanished without a trace, and Mirah and her organization were frantic trying to find him again. While his loss seemed to trouble Zeke, he had been relieved at least to know that his family was safe.

 

"You nervous about tomorrow?" Erica asked.

 

"Not really. We had a good run. It's time to move on." Zeke said as she stroked his hair.

 

"Do you think you'll reincarnate right away?"

 

"Oh I doubt it. I might check out the afterlife a bit first, if I get bored there, then maybe. You?"

 

"Yes. James and I both agreed the sooner we do, the sooner we might be able to find each other again. I mean, we won't remember anything, but I believe in soul mates, so I know we'll see each other again." She reached down and planted a kiss on the boys head. "Sleep tight, Zeke."

 

"Hmmm. Love you." Zeke said sleepily.

 

"I love you." Erica said as she left the room. Zeke's new found affection always made her smile. She headed to Ashley's room next, and found James holding her in his arms, rocking her to sleep. The girl's onesie made her look like a small toddler, and of course her diaper was obvious due to the bulk. Erica smiled at her friend/daughter as she sucked her pacifier contentedly in her sleep. The empty baby bottle was proof that James had gone all out in caring for his baby girl. The lovers smiled at each other before Erica took Ashley into her arms and tucked her into bed. 

 

With that they headed downstairs to talk to Tara. Erica had thought for a long time about the nanny, and had concluded a suitable reward for her loyalty. Tara however, looked nervous as the Blackburn's walked down the stairs, no doubt wondering why they had asked her to stay later than usual, yet refused her help getting the kids ready for bed. She couldn't know that they needed this last night together, that it would be the last one they would have in this life. Erica smiled as she gestured for the nanny to sit.

 

"Tara, I've been thinking a lot about you over the last months. How you're always working, how you've given up your dreams in order to take care of our family. I don't want you to miss out on your own life. So I'm letting someone else run the antique store, and I'm becoming a full time mom."

 

Tara paled, and looked like she might pass out. "Are....are you firing me?"

 

James stepped in. "No, no, no. Of course not. We just want you to have a life of you're own as well. We'd like you to limit the days you help out here and start going to college. You said you wanted to be a teacher right? There's no time like the present honey. Believe me, life is short. To that end, we have a little bonus for you." He slipped her the check he had written that morning. Tara took it reluctantly, still thinking she was being tricked. However, when she saw the amount, she really could have fallen out of her chair.

 

"Oh my.....Oh.....this is too much. I can't accept this!" She protested.

 

Erica gave her a firm look. "You can and you will. Go to a good school, nearby preferably. Start making some choices for you. Please, it's what we want."

 

"I don't.....I....I don't know what to say.....thank you." Tara choked out.

 

"Thank you is a good start." James joked as the girl broke down into tears.

 

Tara left about an hour later, eager to find a a good college as soon as she could. Finally, it was just James and her. Erica wrapped her arms around him, giving him a long, deep kiss. "I have an idea for our last night alive. Want to hear it?" Erica said seductively.

 

James smiled back at her as her let his hand travel down to her bottom. "I'm all ears."

 

As far as last nights go, Erica couldn't have asked for more.

 

Zeke/ Alexander Blackburn

School was as boring as usual, but Zeke found himself relishing every minute of it. Every breath he took was a reminder that after tonight, he wouldn't be around anymore. It was a sobering and grim thought, but one that he was okay with. He wasn't afraid, oddly enough. He had already died once before after all. As he looked at the classroom, Ashley and her friends, Mrs. Mitchell, he felt a sigh of contentment escape him. It was simply time to move on.

 

One thing that continued to bug him though was, for obvious reasons, Dante's disappearance. Unlike the others, Zeke had never bought into the idea that Dante would harm them. Sure, the guy had been around a long time. He might have done any number of things. Plus, he had been a soldier in a few different armies, so Zeke knew he had the ability and capacity for violence and murder. Still, Zeke couldn't believe what they said was true. They were just afraid of him. It was natural really. Zeke himself had been terrified of him at first. There was an unworldliness to Dante, something that felt right away.....unnatural. Still, when all was said and done, Zeke trusted Dante. Perhaps he was being manipulated after all, but after tonight it wouldn't matter.

 

When lunch finally arrived, Zeke decided to go and pay an old friend a visit. He waited until everyone had been served their lunch before he approached her. Lydia responded as she usually did when she saw him, with a mixture of fear, disgust, and utter loathing. Sure, he had kinda driven her up a tree for a while, and the last eight months certainly didn't do anything to improve things, as he had taken to jumping out and scaring the poor woman for his own amusement. For some reason though, the look she gave him always caught him off guard. Was he really that bad? He determined to apologize and make nice before he passed on, make a more or less clean break from the world.

 

"Hey there Lydia. How's it going?" Zeke asked with a nervous smile.

 

Lydia looked at him distrustfully. "What now? What do you want now? Why won't you leave me be?"

 

The whining tone of her voice wasn't meant to be funny, but Zeke still laughed. No wonder it had been so easy to pick on the old woman. "Look, I just wanted to apologize for.....everything that happened between us. I was rude to you the first time we met-"

 

"You most certainly were!" Lydia huffed.

 

Zeke gritted his teeth and pressed on. "Yeah I was rude. Despite your utterly ridiculous and stupid questions I should have been more....patient."

 

"I don't have time for this."

 

"Look you old troll, I'm trying to apologize here!" Zeke snapped. He slapped his forehead. This was getting nowhere. He needed to be calm and patient with the senile lady, and suddenly he thought about how he had won over Tara with false nice words. Maybe he could do the same here.

 

"I'm very sorry Miss Lydia. I don't mean to be bad. Is there anyway you could possibly forgive me?" Zeke asked, although he had to strain to keep sarcasm from entering his voice. Lydia looked at him again with distrust, but it appeared that his words were enough to satisfy her a bit.

 

"I may have gotten too heated in my.....distaste for you." She admitted. "But you're still the rudest child I've ever met in my life."

 

"I'm trying to be better." Zeke said, acutely aware that he was reaching the edge of his patience.

 

 

Lydia nodded at him slowly. "Okay. That’s a start. In that case, what do you want for lunch?"

 

 

Zeke figured that was the best he could hope for and ordered his food. Heading back in the lunch room, he went ahead and sat near Ashley, who was surrounded by her gang of girls as always. Allison, the bullied girl she had saved so long ago, had blossomed under the twin’s protection, and was no longer the same nervous, shy girl she had been. Lydia's daughter Elizabeth wasted no time in moving next to him. Ashley figured her friend might have a small crush on him, much to Zeke and Lydia's mutual annoyance. Still, it was nice to be a part of a group, even if they were mostly irritating girly snot-goblins.

 

 

When the day had finally ended, Zeke walked with Ashley and found Erica waiting for them, since Tara had taken the day off to enroll in college. The ride back home was surreal, as both the children told their mother how their day had gone. It was strange to think that this would be the last time they would talk like this. When they pulled into their home, Zeke noticed another car had pulled in after them, a car he recognized as Mrs. Mitchell's. Ashley was overjoyed to see her teacher, even thought it had scarcely been an hour since she had seen her last.

 

“What are you doing here?” Zeke asked, not intending to sound rude, but apparently succeeding as Erica elbowed him.

 

Mrs. Mitchell just smiled. “Erica invited me to come by for your last night. I heard something about pizza being delivered.”

 

“Yay! Pizza!” Ashley squealed in delight.

 

True enough, six p.m. brought dinner in the form of pizza and soda pop. Zeke smiled at the light conversation at the table. Mrs. Mitchell was chatting about former horror students, as Erica smirked and shook her head. Everyone was smiling and happy. It was surreal, and pleasant, and…..cathartic. As dinner began to wind down, Zeke took a moment to go up to his balcony, where he viewed his last sunset. When Ashley came up behind him and grabbed his hand, he smiled and put an arm around her. They stood there for some time in silence, enjoying the view and the gentle breeze.

 

“This is really it, isn’t it?” She mumbled her eyes downcast and sad. “We won’t see another sunset.”

 

Zeke gave her a half smile. “Sure we will. Dying isn’t the end after all. We’ll just be different people. We’ll get a fresh start.”

 

“I’m glad we got some extra time. I had more fun these last few months than I’ve had in years.” Ashley said with a smile. “You’ve been a good brother Zeke. I want you to know that.”

 

“Don’t get sappy on me Ash. I still think you’re a weird, diaper loving, twerp.” Zeke said before he cracked a small smile. “For what it’s worth-“

 

Zeke didn’t get to finish his sentence as they suddenly heard James’ voice downstairs. They weren’t sure what was going on, but he sounded angry.

 

“What the hell are you doing here?! Get out of here!” James yelled right before the twins heard a loud thud. Zeke could hear Erica and Mrs. Mitchell screaming, and without hesitation began running downstairs, taking them two at a time until he reached the others. Erica and Mrs. Mitchell were huddled together, while James was on his back, looking helpless for all his strength. Dante stood over him, looking rather unconcerned about the ruckus he was causing.

 

“Yeah, I wouldn’t suggest taking anymore swings at me, big guy. It’ll end badly for you every time.” Dante said as he offered a hand to help James up, an offer he refused. “Look, I get it. You don’t like me. That’s perfectly fine. I’d simply like a few words with Zeke, and then I’ll be on my way. This doesn’t need to be unpleasant.”

 

Erica moved to shield him, but Zeke wasn’t about to run and hide. “It’s okay. I’ll talk to him. Just give me a few minutes.”

 

“Zeke, stay away from him!” Mrs. Mitchell cried.

 

“It’s fine. Trust me.” Zeke said as he moved forward. Dante gave him a smile as he approached, but there was anger behind it, though repressed.

 

“It’s good to see you again. May we speak in private?” Dante asked, and then led him outside without waiting for a response. Zeke followed behind numbly, unsure of how this conversation would end.

 

“So….where have you been all this time?” Zeke asked after a period of silence.

 

“Well, I was concerned that the others had found out what we were up to and had forcibly taken you away. However, when your friend Mirah and her cronies found me, I knew the only way they would have known I was here was if you had told them.”

 

Zeke felt a wave of guilt pass over him. “What did they do? I didn’t think they were a threat to you.”

 

“Not much of a threat. “Dante admitted. “But they can make my life uncomfortable enough that I needed to leave town a bit.”

 

“I didn’t mean for that to happen.”

 

Finally, some of the anger Zeke had sensed in Dante revealed itself. “Why? Why did you betray me? I offered you everything I had. Everything! Do you know what you’ve cost me?! ”

 

“I’m sorry! It’s just….I can’t be like you. I thought I could, but I can’t. You’re an amazing person, but look at the cost. It’s like you’re barely human anymore. I can’t be you, I can’t!”

 

Dante was silent for a while, and Zeke was surprised once again to see in him a deep sadness, one that spoke of a thousand pains over an eternity. Finally, he spoke. “I see. So this is what you want then? Truly? There’s still time. I could take you from here. The others couldn’t stop me.”

 

“Would you hurt them? Is that it?” Zeke asked.

 

“Of course not, despite what you may have heard. Besides, why would I want an unwilling student? I just want to throw out the offer. It’s your choice Zeke. It always has been.”

 

His words cemented Zeke’s belief that Dante truly meant them no harm. If he had, Zeke would never have followed him, and so it made little sense that he would. “No thanks. I’m ready to move on. It’s past time I think.” Zeke answered, feeling lighter after answering.

 

“Dante nodded. “Very well. I’m disappointed but I understand.” He stuck out his hand. “You were a good student.”

 

“Maybe I’ll see you again one day. Well, not me exactly.” Zeke said as he shook the hand.

 

“It’s not likely. Still, I wish you happiness in your next life. Take care.” Dante said as he turned to leave.

 

“Wait!” A small voice said. Ashley peeked out sheepishly. “You don’t…..don’t have to go yet….I mean, we have food if you’re hungry.”

 

Dante smiled, but also glanced at James and Erica behind the small girl, and their gazes offered no warmth or hospitality. “That’s kind of you, but I’ll pass. I think I’ve overstayed my welcome. I’m sorry for frightening you by the way.”

 

With that he was gone, and Zeke couldn’t find the strength to move for a few minutes. Dante’s departure only solidified what was going to occur later, another chapter closing. It was all coming to an end.

 

Ashley/ Maria Blackburn

 

There was a pervasive silence upon Zeke’s return, but oddly enough it didn’t last long. Maybe it was because Erica suggested they all watch a movie while they waited for Mirah. To Ashley’s surprise and disappointment, Mrs. Mitchell declined and said she had to head out. Despite having wet her diaper to the point of being reduced to waddling, she still ran up to her teacher for a final hug, which she returned happily. Zeke tried to get away with a handshake, but she pulled him into a hug as well.

 

“I’ll miss you guys.” She said tearfully. “You’ve certainly made the year interesting.”

 

“You were a good teacher. I’ll miss you.” Ashley said, surprised at the tears welling up in her eyes. It all seemed so unreal to her; this moment being one of her last. She held on tightly to the woman, eager for as much human contact as possible. It was a nice moment, but it couldn’t last, and Ashley finally allowed herself to be pryed away from the woman.

 

“Take it easy lady. If I see you again you’ll probably be ancient.” Zeke quipped.

 

“Ha. Thanks for that Zeke. I already feel ancient. Try not to cause any trouble, wherever you’re going.”

 

“No promises.” Zeke replied.

 

After she had left, Erica wasted little time in getting them ready for the night. Zeke was promptly diapered, with Erica coming to her room after. As her wet diaper was removed, Ashley felt a momentary bit of guilt that Maria would basically have to be re-potty trained. It was too late at this point though, and Ashley relaxed as she was placed in a clean diaper, a comfy and warm sleeper, and was given her pacifier.

 

Zeke and James were settled in front of the television when they walked back down to the living room. To her surprise, Zeke had the stuffed bear she had made him, which Erica had kindly repaired for him. She wished she hadn’t forgotten hers upstairs.

 

James apparently sensed her displeasure. “Forget yours upstairs princess? I’ll go get it for you okay?” She smiled at him as he rose from the couch, briefly stopping to kiss her on her forehead. Erica placed her on the couch while she went to get her a bottle. Finally, the family settled in for the movie, settling on the Avengers, which they all had wanted to see. Ashley cuddled into Erica’s arms as she drank her bottle, feeling Erica pat her diapered bottom every once in a while.

 

At midnight Mirah finally appeared to herald them on their way. There was a somber mood, and Ashley couldn’t help but feel a little afraid of what was to come.

 

“Ok guys. It’s time. Everyone ready to go?” Mirah asked. After receiving nods from everyone, she asked them to lie down together on the ground. “Okay guys. All you have to do is close your eyes and give in to that feeling you’ve had, like there’s somewhere you need to be. It’s that simple. When all of you are ready, you’ll head out at the same time.”

 

Erica smiled. “Okay. That sounds pretty straight forward. Thanks for all the help. I appreciate it. We all do.”

 

Mirah nodded. “No problem. It’s always nice to help people move on. You guys did a great job. Sincerely.”

 

Ashley couldn’t keep it contained any longer. “I’m scared. I don’t know if I can do this.”

 

Mirah looked a little dismayed but before she could speak Zeke reached over and grabbed her hand. He looked at her and smiled. “It’s alright. I’m right here with you. I meant to say it earlier but….you were a good sister. I’ll see you on the other side.”

 

Feeling better at his words, Ashley took a deep breath and smiled. “Thanks Zeke. I’m ready Miss Mirah.”

 

She closed her eyes, feeling her diaper grow warm one last time. She could still feel the calling. The pulling that told her she had somewhere to be. She let out a breath and willed herself to go there. And that was the last thing she felt.

 

Dante

 

Dante stood outside, just across the street from the Blackburn residence. He let out a sigh as he saw four souls depart the manor, and said a silent goodbye to his student and friend. Dante had said goodbye to many people in his long life, and it still hurt. He still felt the pain of their loss. The burn on his arm began to ache, serving to let him know of a spirit’s presence.  He saw Mirah coming to him, and he couldn’t help but feel a little resentment to her.

 

“So….I’m a murderer now am I?” Dante asked.

 

Mirah looked at him steadily. “I said what I had to in order to keep that boy away from you. It seemed to work.”

 

Dante shook his head. “It wasn’t your lies that kept him from me. It was his friends. His family. Don’t give yourself too much credit.” He sighed as he looked at the woman, gently brushing his hand across her cheek. “The flesh looks real yet it’s not. A champion of reincarnation, yet too afraid to jump back into life yourself. An eternal watcher. Whose existence is more pitiful I wonder?”

 

“You’re wrong. I’m helping people. The people you prey upon.” Mirah said.

 

“Don’t be so melodramatic. And how long exactly do you plan on standing before me in that guise? I’ll give you points for keeping in style I suppose. The punk rock looks suits you. But a new look and name can’t fool me Isabella.”

 

“So you knew then?” Mirah asked as she began to glow. Her true appearance finally began to take shape and Dante soon saw a beautiful woman with long, dark hair, adorned in a simple yet elegant white dress. The sight of her sent a shiver into his spine.

 

“Aahh, just as beautiful as ever Isabella.” Dante said with a smile.

 

“Stop it.” Isabella ordered.

 

Yet a dark thought had entered his mind. “I remember this dress. I remember how it looked on you as we danced together. I remember that you wore it as you finally took your last breath.” Dante sent out a thought, commanding the spirit to change, and slowly dark red splotches of blood appeared on her dress, and her skin took on a sickly appearance. 

 

“Stop it Dante.”

 

“Tuberculosis. A terrible disease. I remember how you suffered, how I held your hand as you slowly slipped away. I wonder if you regret not taking my offer.”

 

“Stop it. No more.” Isabella pleaded.

 

“We could have been together forever, just like you had wanted. Yet you chose to wither away. To die.” Dante continued.
 

“Stop Dante! Please!” She cried out, finally breaking him out of his thoughts.

 

Dante felt flustered, ashamed that he had let his anger control him. He let the illusion drop and she was once again in her normal form. “I….I apologize. That was….wrong.” He admitted. He couldn’t have said how long they stood there, as the moon cast it’s pale light on them. “I should be going.”

 

“You know it’s only a matter of time before we figure out how to remove you.” Isabella threatened, still looking shaken.

 

Dante wasn’t concerned. He had heard it all before. “Not likely. Still…..It was good to see you again, despite the circumstances.”

 

He began walking away only to be stopped before he got far. “Wait. Maybe….if you gave up….if I asked…..maybe the others would be lenient.” Isabella said with a hint of pleading. “I’ve never asked them for anything before.”

 

It was a nice thought, but impossible. He had deified them for too long, broken too many rules, to ever be granted mercy. That was fine for him. It was the path he had chosen. “No, I don’t think that will work. It was nice of you to offer though.” He continued walking away, not wanting to look back and see her pleading eyes. Yet when he reached his car, he looked, only to find the street empty of life. “Goodbye, my love.” He whispered as he started his car and drove into the night.

 

Epilogue

25 years later.

Tara

 

Tara groaned as she got out of her car, her back feeling stiff after a day of teaching. Her third grade class was well behaved, but the strain of grading papers was getting tougher. Her back wasn’t what it used to be. Still, today was a happy day. Her daughter, Alexis was probably already in the doctor’s office. She was as excited to be a mother as Tara was to be a grandmother. From a young age, she had seemed to have an innate maternal instinct, playing with baby dolls just a little longer than most girls.

 

Tara entered the doctor’s office and told the nurse who she was and was led to the room. Her daughter was there, lying on the bed, her belly exposed. Her husband, Michael was beside her, clutching her hand with anticipation. Michael was the perfect boy for her daughter. They had met in high school, and the two just seemed…..perfect for each other. Soul mates. When news of their pregnancy surfaced, Tara had been thrilled. It was what Alexis had always wanted. Plus, while they were both rather young, in their early twenties, they were both smart kids, and Tara still had a good amount of money left over from investments she had made with the Blackburn’s gift.

 

Tara smiled at the memory. She had long ago stopped being the nanny for the family, yet the children were still very dear to her. Alexander had gone on to become a doctor of all things, and Maria became involved in a long running soap opera, even though she took a while to take care of her potty issues. Edward and Laura seemed to have resolved all their issues, and were still happily married.

 

The doctor finally came in, breaking her from her reverie. After some obligatory questions he started preparing for the main attraction. Ultrasounds had become much more detailed in the last few years, and it was now possible to see highly detailed 3D images of the baby.

 

The doctor made idle chit chat while he prepared. “Are we excited to see the baby today?”

 

“Yes. I can’t wait.” Alexis said with a grin. “Maybe we’ll break down and find out the sex.”

 

“You made it sound like that was your idea.” Michael said with a laugh. “I pushed her on that doctor.”

 

“Hmmmm. A little eager are we?” He laughed. “I don’t blame- oh. Oh ,my. We are in for a surprise today. It looks like you’re having twins.”

 

Alexis looked like she might cry, but in a good way. “Twins? Oh my God. That’s…incredible. I can’t believe it.”

 

Tara could hardly believe it herself. It was amazing.  And terrifying. She was going to be a grandmother for twins. Oh, she hoped she had the energy. Still, she was overjoyed, and her daughter and son in-law were certainly excited.

 

“Would you like to know the sex of the babies?” The doctor asked. When he received eager nods from all three, he brought the children up on the screen. “It looks like we have a boy and a girl. See the little girl there? It looks like she’s sucking her thumb already.”

 

Tara marveled at the small and detailed images of her grandchildren. The girl did in fact look like she was sucking her thumb, while the boy was currently kicking away lie a little madman.

 

“Oooh.” Alexis said with a laugh. “So that’s whose been kicking the crap out of me all the time.”

 

“He’ll be a troublemaker I bet.” Michael quipped.

 

“Well, that was certainly a surprise, but a good one I hope. Either way they both look very healthy. Congrats guys.” The doctor said as he ended the exam. “If you’ll excuse me, I do a little pediatric work as well, and a little boy just came in with the strangest burn on his arm. Unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Either way, I need to check it out. Congratulations again.”

 

With tears of happiness flowing, the family prepared to go home.

 

The End

Wow. It's been a long journey. I'm so happy I finally managed to get this out there. The story took a lot of twists that I hadn't intended, mainly due to the inclusion of Dante, and while I do think I drug the story out a little too much, he was just too much fun not to include. If you enjoyed my work, I'm truly pleased. I was blown away by some of the support I received while working on this, and I'd just like to thank everyone for reading, and even more for comments. Often times a kind comment was just the encouragement I needed. Special thanks to Hifox, Fading Kitten, and Cute Kitten for always commenting and giving me support.

 

I am currently working on my next story, which will be very AB oriented. I'm excited to get into it, but I wanted to make sure this story was brought to a satisfying conclusion. I hope that everyone enjoyed it, and was more or less pleased with the ending So I guess I'll just end by again saying thank you all so much, and I'll see you again soon.

Edited by vampire4

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Fantastic ending, great story

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I really enjoyed reading this, loved the twists and turns. It didn't feel dragged out at all.  If it had been shorter, given each of the character's issues, I think it would have felt rushed. This was a fast paced story, but it didn't feel rushed. Some stories flow slow, others fast- there's no right or wrong, just "what feels natural" to the story.  The characters- stayed consistant- they never felt out of character- while still experiencing a range of emotions. Kudos.  Excluding Dante would have been a disservice to the story, I believe.  He was my favorite character, right under Zeke.  I liked how Zeke made up with Lydia- that was a nice comedic touch.   I'm assuming the twins are Ashley and Zeke reincarnated- nice touch with the kicking and thumb sucking to give away their personalities. 

 

I really did enjoy this- I even took a break from playing a limited-time only matsuri game to read this. ^^  Looking forward to your AB story!

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Wow realy great ending!!!

 

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This was truly a great story and the ending was just as great.  This is one of the few stories that I have enjoyed to read and I hope you continue with any other stories that you might be planning.

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Thank-you so much for this wonderful story. It was a true pleasure to read and enjoy your work. Thanks.

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I really enjoyed reading this, loved the twists and turns. It didn't feel dragged out at all.  If it had been shorter, given each of the character's issues, I think it would have felt rushed. This was a fast paced story, but it didn't feel rushed. Some stories flow slow, others fast- there's no right or wrong, just "what feels natural" to the story.  The characters- stayed consistant- they never felt out of character- while still experiencing a range of emotions. Kudos.  Excluding Dante would have been a disservice to the story, I believe.  He was my favorite character, right under Zeke.  I liked how Zeke made up with Lydia- that was a nice comedic touch.   I'm assuming the twins are Ashley and Zeke reincarnated- nice touch with the kicking and thumb sucking to give away their personalities. 

 

I really did enjoy this- I even took a break from playing a limited-time only matsuri game to read this. ^^  Looking forward to your AB story!

I'm very glad you enjoyed it. Dante was a fun addition simply to see peoples reactions. I got to smile as people guessed if he was good or bad. One person theorized that he was an allegory for the Devil, and Zeke was playing the part of Adam and Eve. Wow. Somebody clearly gives me too much credit, and thinks I'm more clever than I really am. Yeah though, Dante was an idea I had and wanted to bring by you guys to see what you thought, but I didn't want to give it away. Eventually I decided on my own. So is Dante a good guy? No. A bad guy? No. That's why he's so fun. I don't believe in black and white people.

I'm glad it didn't feel rushed though. I was guilty of rushing through chapters of James, simply because I found him the most difficult to write about. A little too normal I guess. But If the characters seemed realistic, and made people empathize with them, fantastic. That's all I could have wanted.

Zeke was the easiest for me to write about, as well as the most fun. Followed by Ashley and Erica. However, I certainly didn't expect such an overwhelming amount of favor for him. It made me feel a little bad later on that I maybe focused too much on Zeke at the cost of perhaps the development of James. Eh, it is what it is though. 

 

Also, the ending might have been a little confusing so allow me to explain. Erica was reborn as Tara's daughter, and found James, having been reborn as Michael. They reincarnated quickly as was their plan, and managed to find each other again. And yes, Zeke and Ashley were the twin babies, so they decided to wait a bit so they could be born to Erica and James. Also, I made mention of a child with a strange burn that should be obvious.

 

Anyway, that's a wrap. I'm glad you liked it and thanks again!

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Ah yes, the child with the burn- I'd forgotten about that part when I was commenting (haha, that's what happens when I multi-task XD).  I assumed that was Dante taking over a child's body.  Maybe so he could end up being Zeke's babysitter or playmate or something and have another go at him?  I did miss the part about Erica as Tara's daughter. 

Zeke was my favorite character- but I have a fondness for snarky characters. Dante was a second favorite, and I can see where someone would read Dante as an allegory, with the infamous "Dante's Inferno" and all that. Just associations that pop into the head with the name of Dante. 

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Moved to the completed section and bumped for new readers :)

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I am aware that the formatting got screwed up. for now, please read those affected parts as best your able. promise to do some editing soon.

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This was fantastic

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:)

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