Thorn Fae Chapter 15: Safe Now

Hawk. Hawk Hook. My best friend throughout the majority of my life. My best friend, the guy who’s heart I broke. The guy who must think I killed his mother.

As soon as I realized who he was, I quickly searched around me for somewhere to run. I needed to get away from him before he started yelling at me and accusing me. But I wasn’t fast enough.

“Thorn? Is that really you?”

“Y-yes, I’m so sorry, I’ll lea-” I started to say, but was abruptly cut off.

“I’m so happy, you’re alive! All this time, I thought you were dead. You have no idea how happy I am to see you.” He ranted as he threw himself on me for a bear hug. It felt like he was holding onto me for dear life.

“You’re… happy?” I was confused. I assumed he hated me.

“Of course, Thorn! You’re my best friend.” He smiled at me.

“Really? After all this time?” I smiled, maybe I wasn’t so alone after all. “After everything…” I let my voice trail off. I didn’t want to mention it.

“Absolutely. You mean the world to me, Thorn. I was so worried. I thought you were dead, or hurt somewhere. It killed me that I couldn’t trace you down.” He pulled me into another hug. “I just can’t believe you’re really here.”

“Me either.”

“When did you get here?” He asked.

“Not long ago. Like, today.” I chuckled.

“Do you have a place to stay?” He pulled away from the hug sheepishly.

“N-no, but it’s okay. I’ll figure something out.”

“Nonsense. You grab…” He looked over at the baby on the bench.

“His name is Aspen.”

“You grab Aspen and I’ll drive you both back to my place.” He offered.

“No, it’s okay. I can’t put you out like that.” I felt bad, just randomly stumbling into his life. I had so much emotional baggage, and a baby. I didn’t want to burden him with it.

“Nonsense. You’re family. Both of you. C’mon, let’s get you back to my house. You can clean up, and we can catch up.” He glanced briefly at my still bloody hands. It was so gross, but I couldn’t get myself to wash them yet. It was all I had left of Pepper.

“Okay. But I promise I won’t stay long. I don’t want to be a burden.”

“You’re never a burden. Besides, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if you and your son were out on the streets.” He smiled sadly.

“Okay.” I smiled. It would be nice to be in an actual house, with electricity and working plumbing.

I put Aspen down for a much-needed nap on Hawk’s bed, then came out and sat down on the couch with him. It was slightly awkward, it had been so long since we’d seen each other, and so much had happened. I knew he had questions. I did as well.

“When did you move to Bridgeport?” I asked to break the awkward silence. I couldn’t stand it anymore.

“About a year ago. I came here to go to school. And to get a fresh start. I needed one.” He wrung out his hands nervously.

“I’m so sorry.” I hung my head.

“I know it wasn’t your fault. Aloe was a creep. I’m assuming he tried to hurt you, and my mother sacrificed herself to help you. Is that what happened?”

“Yea… Exactly, actually. How did you know that?”

“I know you. I know you wouldn’t shoot my mother. And I know Aloe. He’s definitely capable of something like that. And I knew my mother. She loved you as much as she loved me, she protected you like you were her own son. I knew she would die for you, and that’s exactly what she did. I’m glad she did.”

“You’re glad?” I was slightly taken aback.

“Of course. I’m glad her death was meaningful. And, I’m glad her death wasn’t for nothing.” He placed a hand on my knee. “I’m so glad you’re alright.”

“I wouldn’t say I’m alright.” I laughed, I must’ve sounded like a crazy person to him.

“I can’t imagine what you’ve gone through. It must’ve been hell. But, you’re safe now. I’m not gonna let anything bad happen to you here.” He let go of my knee and he smiled at me. “I really missed you, Thorn.”

“I really missed you too.” I felt like I was about to cry, but I stopped myself. I’d had enough of that.

“You don’t have to tell me what happened to you. You don’t have to say anything you don’t want to. But I want you to know I’m here for you. I really care about you.” He averted my eyes and looked down at his hands. It sort of looked like he was blushing.

“Thank you.” I stood up, prompting him to as well. “That means more than you’ll ever know.”

“Of course.” He wrapped his arms around my neck. We stood there for a few moments, just embracing each other. It was such a nice feeling. I missed him so much.

“Are you tired? I bet you’re tired.” He said, with his face still squished into my body.

“I’m exhausted.” I laughed. “It’s taken me days to get here, and I’ve had to watch Aspen the whole time.”

“You can go crash on my bed if you’d like.” He offered kindly.

“Are you sure? I’m pretty disgusting.” I admitted. Suddenly I was very self-conscious about how I smelled. I probably smelled awful. My face burned with embarrassment, I didn’t want to look like such a mess in front of him.

“That’s okay, I’ve slept in that bed smelling much, much worse than you.” He laughed.

“Now, go get some rest.” He pulled away from our hug and smiled at me.

And rest is exactly what I got.

When I woke up, it took me a few moments to get my bearings. I was disoriented, I slept so much I forgot where I was and how I got there. But soon I remembered everything. I remembered that there was supposed to be a baby in the bed next to me, but he wasn’t there.

Panicked, I checked under the bed and around the room. He was nowhere to be found.

“Hawk have you…” I burst out of the bedroom to find Hawk holding Aspen in his arms. Hawk had this wide, dopey smile on his face. It was kind of adorable.

“Hey, sorry to scare you.” He looked up at me. “Aspen was crying, you were in such a deep sleep you didn’t hear him. I hope you don’t mind, I’ve been caring for him today.”

“I don’t mind at all. How long have I been out for?” I smiled and walked towards the couch to sit next to him.

“About twenty-four hours now.” He chuckled.

“Oh wow. Sorry, I don’t mean to just dump him on you.” I sighed.

“Don’t even worry about it. I love babies, and he’s a great baby.”

“Yea. He is.” I smiled sadly at Aspen. I wished that Pepper was here to see how adorable his son was.

“How are you doing? This couldn’t have been easy for you.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, confused.

“Y’know, having a kid. I can’t imagine pregnancy was easy for you.” He told me. I realized that Hawk thought Aspen was my biological son. This was going to be tricky to explain.

“Oh. Um, well. wasn’t pregnant.” I bit my lip. I was worried what he would think.

“Then who’s baby is this?” He asked me gently, though his eyes looked absolutely terrified.

“My boyfriend’s.”

“Oh.” He responded. It sounded as if he were sad. I couldn’t imagine why. “Where is your boyfriend now?”

“H-he’s dead.” I squeezed my eyes shut to keep myself from crying. “He died in childbirth.”

“I’m so sorry Thorn.” That must’ve been awful.” I gave me a sympathetic pat on the knee.

“Thanks.” I responded awkwardly. I wasn’t exactly sure how to respond to that.

“Well he’s still your son. And he’s beautiful.” Hawk smiled at Aspen. “He’s very lucky, he’s got an amazing guy for a dad.” He looked at me.

“I wouldn’t say that, really.”

“I would. You’re a great guy and you’re gonna make an amazing dad.”

“Thank you.” I smiled sheepishly. His comments were making me blush lightly.

“Of course, Thorn. I mean it.”

I really hoped I wouldn’t screw up.

Thorn Fae Chapter 14: How Did I Get Here

I don’t know how long I stayed there for. I don’t know what I was doing, or waiting for, but I just needed to sit by him and cry. I thought about everything that died with him. Our son having a father, me having a husband, us giving Aspen the best childhood we possibly could. I lost growing old with the one that I love. I lost everything.

Someone had to pay for this. Pepper didn’t deserve to die like this. He was a great person, he deserved to live a long, happy life with me and our son. Someone had to pay for this, and I knew exactly who. This was all his fault.

I don’t remember exactly how I got there. The last thing I remembered was putting on a pair of pants, then the rest is blank due to rage. I’m not sure how I knew exactly where he lived, but as soon as I reached the house I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. There was garbage and scrap metal all over the dead lawn. The place was a dump, its exactly the kind of place you’d expect the scum of the earth to live.

“Hey Hemp, you motherfucker!” I burst through the front door faster than my mind could process what was happening. I instantly regretted it. This man was dangerous, he had raped the love of my life and murdered one of my closest friends. It was too late now though, so I was probably going to die here.

Jean and her little girlfriend were laying on one couch, watching TV. Hemp was passed out on the other couch, it looked like he’d been shooting up.

“What the fuck, Thorn.” Jean sat up and faced me.

“Shut the fuck up, Jean, this doesn’t involve you.” I snapped at my former friend. I still hated her for how she betrayed all of us.

“Don’t you fuckin talk to my wife that way.” That stupid woman next to Jean squealed. She had one of those annoyingly high, squeaky voices that just pierce your brain. It made me even angrier.

“Both of you, just shut the fuck up.” I yelled. Hemp started to stir.

“The fuck is going on?” He mumbled as he sat up.

“I’m here to fuck you up, that’s whats happening.” I came towards him. He immediately stood up.

“What the hell, Clementine? What are you doing here?” He sounded more confused than angry.

“I’m here to make you pay, you fucking asshole! You raped Pepper, you got him pregnant. He just fucking died while giving birth! This is all your fucking fault!” I screamed at him. Tears were streaming down my face. I shoved him hard in the chest. He stumbled backward a little bit, I caught him off guard.

“Fuck you, you liar.” He swung at me, but luckily my arms took the majority of the blow. “I never touched your little friend. There’s no way there’s a baby.”

“Oh yea? Then what do you think this is?” I shouted as I shoved my bloody hands in his face. “This is his blood. It got here when I was helping him deliver, you fucking idiot.”

“How do I know you’re not lying to me? How do I know you didn’t just murder her and now you’re trying to shove the blame on me?” He yelled back.

I punched him. As hard as I could. He struck a nerve with that. Misgendering Pepper, and accusing me of killing him, made me want to kill Hemp. I wanted to bash his face in.

He wasn’t expecting me to be so strong. He wasn’t expecting my punch to knock him off his feet.

I guess anger and grief really can give some people superpowers.

Before he could even realize he’d fallen over, I was on top of him. I grabbed him by the shirt and pulled his face close to mine.

“You’re a piece of shit. You are scum, garbage. You are nothing, and I hope you fucking die.” I spat in his face, before punching him again.

And again.

And again.

I was completely blinded with rage. I was taking all of my anger out on his face. Rightfully so though, he was the reason I was completely alone in this world. He’d taken everything from me, and I wanted to take everything from him. Even if that meant taking his life.

“Thorn, stop! Don’t kill him!” Jean’s voice snapped me out of it. I looked down at his face, which now just looked like a bloody mess.

The reality of what I’d done sunk in. My chest felt heavy and tight, and I felt like I was going to puke. I had beaten a man within inches of his life. He was breathing, though it was heavy and I could hear him gurgling on his blood. If they didn’t get him to a hospital soon, he’d probably die.

He deserved to die, but I wasn’t going to stick around and watch.

“Fuck you.” I spat on his body. “Rot in hell, you piece of shit.” I turned to Jean and her wife. “And fuck you too. This all happened because of you. We were there for you when you had no one, and now Rose and Pepper are dead. This is on you.”

Jean’s face dropped, her eyes started to water. “Fuck you.” She said softly.

“Fuck you too.” I told her.

I spun on my heel, and flew out of there as fast as my wings could carry me. I didn’t want to see any of their faces ever again.

And I never did.

The walk back to the house was long and terrifying. I took backstreets to avoid being seen, just in case they had called the police on me. I doubted it, considering all the drugs they had in that house. But still, I was extra cautious.

I had to drag my feet up the stairs. I didn’t want to go back up there, but I didn’t have a choice. Aspen was up there, I couldn’t leave him. I’d already left him alone for too long. Maybe I wasn’t cracked up to be a father.

I came up the stairs and collapsed into the armchair. I started to sob. How did my life get like this? How did I get here? I’d lost everyone I’d ever loved, I owned nothing, and I was homeless. All I had was me, and now this baby.

For a moment, I figured it would be easier to drop him at the hospital. Let him get adopted and have a good life. And me, well I’d just go jump off a cliff. I’d be better off anyway.

My suicidal thoughts were pushed aside when Aspen started to cry. That cry awoke something inside of me, it gave me hope. Maybe things weren’t so bad after all. I mean, this baby was half Pepper. I still had a little piece of him to hold close to me.

I gently picked him up off the bed. My fingers were still bloody, with both Pepper’s and now Hemp’s blood. I tried my best not to get my fingers on Aspen’s body. I didn’t want to get him sick or anything. My knowledge of babies was minimal, so this was going to be an adventure.

“Shh, it’s okay.” I pulled him close to my chest. He immediately stopped crying. My heart soared. I felt like he loved me. I loved him, and I wanted to give him the best life possible.

Which is why we had to get the hell out of there.

It took a few days to get to where I wanted to go. I’d been saving up some money to get something nice for Pepper and the baby when he was born, but I didn’t need that anymore. I used that money to get a subway pass. It was very useful, I had to take a million different trains to get from the valley to Bridgeport.

I picked Bridgeport because this town is where my grandmother ended up after leaving Sunset Valley. It was also the town she met my grandfather in, and maybe, just maybe, this is where my grandfather and my father were living now. Bridgeport is also a town known for its entertainment business, and I assumed I might be able to find a job and a place to stay here. It was worth a shot.

I was exhausted. I’d barely slept in days. I was more focused on making sure Aspen was fed and dry. I needed to rest for a while. Across from the subway station was a park. When I arrived in Sunset Valley, I ended up in a park. That was where I met Pepper. Out of nostalgia, heartbreak, and exhaustion, I decided to rest in the park, just like I did back then.

Gently, I put Aspen down on the bench. My arms were sore from holding him for days. I sat down next to him, put my face in my hands, and started to cry. I’d been crying on and off on the Subway, but only in little bits when I absolutely needed to. I hadn’t given myself a chance to actually cry.

It felt so good. It felt like all of my emotions were bottled up, and now I was pouring them out through my eyes. I still felt completely devastated and heartbroken, but at least I had a way to get those emotions out.

“Hey, are you alright? Do you need some help?” A voice pulled me from my sobbing. A voice that sounded so… familiar…

I looked up and my jaw dropped.

“Oh my god, Thorn?”


Thorn Fae Chapter 13: Adorable Little Family

The longer Pepper’s pregnancy went on, the less he wanted to talk about it. He ignored the cravings, the aches, and the pains. He pretended everything was fine, but I knew he wasn’t. It seemed like he thought if he ignored it, the issue would go away. At first I couldn’t really figure out what was bothering him so much about all of this. But then I realized, duh, he’s dysphoric about being a pregnant guy.

So, I did my best to comfort him. I didn’t tell him about finding my father’s wife’s contact information. Part of me was too scared to actually meet the man, I was afraid he wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Another part of me didn’t want him to think we just wanted handouts from him. I wanted to meet him because I wanted a relationship with him, not because I wanted money. But I was afraid it wouldn’t come off that way.

I was also afraid that Pepper would think I was a coward for not wanting to contact my dad or ask him for help. I was afraid he would be mad at me for being too prideful to reach out and tell him I needed assistance. He would ask me about it every so often, and I’d tell him I hadn’t found anything yet. I hated lying to him. I didn’t want to but I didn’t want to tell him how I was feeling about everything; especially considering how he was handling everything in his own life right now.

Both of us needed a distraction, since we were constantly cooped up in this house with no electricity. I decided that I was gonna take Pepper on a nice day out.

“Hey, babe?” I spoke to him but he didn’t reply. Most likely, he was asleep. I shook him gently, trying to wake him up. He made a grunting noise, and adjusted his position. “Hey, Pepper.” I said, while shaking him again.

“Hmm?” He muttered under his breath while still keeping his eyes closed.

“Wake up my love.”

“What’s up?” He yawned and pulled himself into a sitting position.

“I was thinking, maybe tomorrow we can go out? Leave early in the morning and just spend a day together, not cooped up inside. Would you like that?” I asked gently.

“Sure, I mean I don’t think I’ll have much choice, you’re probably gonna drag me out of here.” He chuckled.

“I just might.” I laughed back, it had been a while since we joked around with each other.

“It might actually be nice to get out for a while.” He smiled.

“Exactly.” I smiled back at him and kissed him gently on his forehead.

“I know you don’t want to think about the baby much, Pepper, but I think this is a good idea.” I handed my boyfriend a baby-name book and sat down on the couch with one of my own. “Wanna sit?”

“I’ll stand, I’ve been sitting for months.” He laughed. “I don’t know about this Thorn. Maybe we shouldn’t name it, and just leave it at the fire station. One of those safe surrender things?”

“You don’t mean that Pepper. Remember, we’re gonna raise this baby together and be an adorable little family?”

“You’re right. I guess we better start looking.” He opened the book and started flipping through the pages.

“Are you hoping for a boy, or a girl?” He asked me after a few minutes of silence perusing.

“Boy, I don’t know anything about girls really.” I laughed. “Even though I was forced to grow up as one, I know nothing about them.”

“Same, I was an only child, and only grew up with guy friends. Never really been around girls much, well besides…” He trailed off. I decided to keep the conversation going, not dwelling on that.

“Well, if we have a girl then we’re really in for a challenge.”

“Let’s come up with a name for each gender, or maybe a unisex name? Which should we do?”

“Hmm, a unisex one would be easier, but I do really like the name Acacia for a girl.” I told him.

“That is a pretty name.” He agreed. “Or Halley, like the comet? For a girl, I mean.”

“That is a nice name.” I smiled at him from behind the book.

“So Halley or Acacia for a girl?” He asked.

“I’ll let you decide love, you’re the one doing all the work.”

“We’ve still got a little time, I would think. We can think about it.” He turned a few pages in his own book. “Now for a boy?”

“Hmm, I’m not sure. Do you have any rejects from when you were picking your name?” I asked him.

“Not really, I mean my birthname started with a P so I just went with a guy’s name that also started with one, though I guess Pepper is more unisex than anything. I was considering Phoenix for a while though.”

“That’s a pretty badass name.” I chuckled. “But, I think Pepper is cooler.” I added quickly so I wouldn’t upset him.

“Eh, it’s not something I’d want to name my son.”

“Alright, I’ll keep looking.” I smiled at him and flipped through the book. “Hey, I think I found a cool one.”

“Oh yea? What is it?”

“What do you think of Aspen? It could work for a boy or a girl.” I offered.

“It’s perfect.”

We both put our books down at the same time. I jumped up off the couch and hugged him. We’d found a name for our baby.

“Oh babe, I’m so happy.” I laughed into his shoulder. “We’re gonna be dads.”

“I know. I’ve been so dysphoric about this whole thing, but I’ve never really thought about after. I’m so excited to be a dad with you.” He hugged me tighter, pushing his bump right into my stomach.

“I love you Thorn, we’re gonna make this work. I’m so excited for our future together.” He kissed me softly on the lips.

“I love you too. We’re gonna be the best dads ever, I promise you things are going to get better for us.” I decided I was going to contact my dad’s wife. I wasn’t going to tell him yet though, that would be a surprise for another time.

“I really hope so. Aspen deserves the best.” He smiled, and I smiled back. I would make sure our kid really did have the best.

Pepper and I spent the rest of the day at the library, just being lovey-dovey, and probably very annoying to the other people in the library. We read books, played with the kids toys, and just talked about our plans. It was perfect. It finally felt Pepper was pulling out of his depression. I hoped I could keep him that way.

“Thank you for today, my love.” He told me as we curled up in bed.

“Thank you for coming out with me. I missed spending time with you like that.” I cuddled closer to him.

“I did too. I’m gonna spend more time with you instead of wallowing in self pity. I’m gonna make sure of it.” He gave me a slight squeeze.

“I don’t want you to force yourself, love. Only if you absolutely feel up to it.”

“I know. I won’t always be as happy as I was today, and we’re not gonna have much time together after the baby comes, but still. I’m gonna try harder.”

“Okay.” I smiled, wider than I had smiled in months. Things were looking up for us.

“Oh, shit.” He sat up and I pulled myself off him. “Ooooh fuck.” He grabbed his stomach.

“What’s happening?” I asked him, though I knew exactly what it was.

“I-I think it’s time. I think I’m in labor.” He said through clenched teeth.

“Okay, get up, lets go to the hospital.”

“No,” he grabbed my arm as I started to get off the bed. “we can’t go to the hospital. We don’t have insurance and they’ll definitely recognize you there.”

“I don’t know how to deliver a baby, Pepper! We need a doctor.”

“It’s okay, Thorn, people have been doing this since the dawn of time. I don’t need a doctor.”

I got off the bed and he moved towards the edge. “Are you sure? You can go in and I’ll come back here. I’ll check back in every day until you’re ready to come back. We can make it work.”

“No, we’re doing this here. I want you here when our baby is born.”

“Okay, but wouldn’t you rather stay on the bed?” I asked, he seemed to be getting off the bed.

“Do you want blood and placenta all over our sheets?”

“W-what? What do you mean?”

“Oh, right. I forgot, you were super sheltered. You don’t know anything about this, this’ll be a fun experience.” He chuckled as he moved himself to the floor.

“This is happening really fast.” He admitted, with some fear coming through his voice. He grabbed his sweatpants and tore a hole in the crotch. “I can’t move enough to get them fully off, I’m gonna have to do this with them on.” He panted.

“What do I do?” I started to panic, he seemed to be afraid too. I didn’t know what to do.

“I don’t know, coach me. Cut the cord when the baby comes out.” He explained through gritted teeth.

“Oh god, that sounds disgusting.” I wretched slightly, I really wished we were doing this inside a hospital.

“You got this, babe. I believe in you.” He told me confidently. I believed him.

“Okay, I’m gonna start pushing.” He grunted, I could tell he was doing everything in his power to keep himself from screaming.

“Oh god, okay.” I braced myself. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this, but I had no choice.

He started to push. And he kept pushing. I’ve never seen anything like it, it was gross as hell. I struggled to keep myself from throwing up.

“What’s wrong?” I asked him, as he fell back to the floor.

“I feel a little light headed. That’s probably normal. I just need to lay down.” He sounded like he was trying to convince himself more than he was trying to convince me.

“Are you sure? Do you need anything? A pillow, some water?” I asked, trying to be helpful. And maybe get myself away from this for a second.

“No, no I’m okay.” He told me, then continued pushing. He didn’t look good, he looked like he was gonna pass out.

“Keep pushing!” I told him excitedly, I could see the baby’s head. This didn’t seem so gross or scary now, it was more exciting than anything.

He kept pushing, with each push the baby came out a little more. It was incredible. I grabbed the head in my hands, so it wouldn’t fall and I could guide it out safely.

“You’re doing great babe.” I told Pepper, and he gave me a grunt in response. He continued to push out the baby without further comment.

A tiny, green little boy came out with a few more pushes. I grabbed a random t-shirt and wrapped him in it. “Pepper, we’re got a little boy.” I told him excitedly, but stopped as soon as I looked at him again.

He was bleeding, badly.

“Pepper, Pepper what’s happening? Is this supposed to happen?” I panicked, this didn’t look right to me.

“Babe, apply pressure down there. Try to stop the bleeding.” He panted, his voice was hoarse and quiet.

I quickly moved the baby from the puddle of blood to the bed. “Fuck.” I said aloud, to no one but myself really. I quickly pushed my hand onto his privates, trying to find where the bleeding was.

“What’s bleeding, Pepper?” I was frantically searching. It must’ve been deep inside him.

“I-I don’t…” His voice trailed off, his eyes rolled back in his head and he fell back. The blood between his legs slowed to a trickle.

“No, no, no, no, no.” I crawled through the blood to Pepper’s side. “Babe, wake up. C’mon, we’ve got a baby now. You need to wake up.” I shook him, but he was completely limp. I grabbed his wrist, there was no pulse. He wasn’t breathing.

And just like that, I was completely alone in this world.