Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see Danielle again. After she ran out crying and didn’t show up again for a while. Joy cried when she came back and found Danielle gone. She wandered around the house all evening wanting to know where her Dakky went. She hadn’t even called her Dakky in ages either.
Eirene stayed with us that night, her baby belly starting to show quite a bit (she was due around Joy’s birthday which would be pretty cool). She comforted Joy and expressed interest in what the heck was going on, but I didn’t dare tell her. Not yet. Maybe in the future if Danielle ever returned and we found out for sure whether she was somehow related to us.
Part of me knew. Just, something about her screamed Danevbie to me, screamed ‘Zaid’s daughter!’. I just hoped… that her addition into the family didn’t make anyone upset. Piotr fit in well to our family but we were all young. Dad had long ago insisted my father couldn’t have had another kid between Reeny and Arty and I didn’t want to upset him.
Danielle didn’t return that night, nor the next night, nor the night after that. My siblings and sibs-in-law took turns helping me take care of Joy, and on the night Sam was staying with me was the night Danielle returned. I answered the knocking door and saw immediately something had hurt her greatly. Before I could say anything, she hugged me tightly. I hesitantly hugged her back, not sure what this meant.
“Are you?” I asked when she pulled away.
Her lips twitched, though the half-smile never reached her eyes. “Yes and no.”
Sam took Grandpa and Joy out so again, Danielle and I could talk privately. I sat in absolute shock as she repeated everything that the professor had told her. Alternate universe struck me more than anything else. As it should have, just not in the way she expected. I covered my mouth with my hands and began pacing rapidly. Mr. Hunter’s voice filled my head.
Your visions see what is to happen in this world. So if something happened and someone crossed over from another reality and changed things, your visions wouldn’t–and couldn’t–account for such a thing.
Then, my own:
What if someone from another dimension came here a long time ago? Do you think their actions would be accounted for in my visions?
“Damn. He was right.”
“Who was right?” Danielle asked, tearing me from my thoughts. “About what?”
I licked my lips then sank back down next to her. “I’ll tell you in a minute, please continue.” I listened to the rest of her words and when she told me about the girl being my father’s wannabe murderer I became enraged. “So. Her family killed my father in an alternate dimension, and she tried again here?”
Danielle nodded as she wrung her hands together. “Apparently so,” she replied hoarsely. “Her parents killed my parents.” She ducked her head, sniffling. “Very fitting Zaid killed her in this world.”
“So, you are my half-sister. But you’re also not.”
“So it would seem,” she answered. “If I truly am… a Danevbie. The Professor doesn’t know for sure, he just hypothesizes based on what the vampire said and did.”
“Oh come on.” I reached over and took her hands in mine. “You can feel it too. We’re connected. You’re connected to us, all of us. To the Danevbies. You said so yourself, you’ve always felt this way.”
Danielle lifted her chin and her eyes shone with a few tears. “I suppose so. There are only two people who know for sure, and one of them is dead. The other one, I have no clue how to even begin to find him.”
“The vampire?” I asked and she nodded. “We can try. I can talk to Booker, for one. His family is very connected. We can find this vampire and talk to him. You can find out the truth.” I gave her hand a squeeze before letting go. “We can find out.”
“You’d help me with this?”
I smiled. “I’d do anything for family.” And I want to find out if this guy is involved in my changing vision from however-long ago.
Danielle gave another sniff then she hugged me tight, just for a few seconds. “At least we know his name so I guess it’s not a totally hopeless cause.”
“See? It shouldn’t take long, not with Booker helping,” I said cheerfully. “What’s his name?”
“Um. Coby? I think? Coby Valadez?…. what? What’s wrong?”
I closed my mouth as my jaw had dropped through the floor and into the earth. “Uh. Shit. I know him.” Now it was her turn to look shocked. “He was one of my teachers at Hunter’s Academy, Professor V.”
Danielle leapt up. “WHAT?! Y–you mean all those times I spent stalking you at school, and I was–was so close to–to the only person who knows the truth about me?!” She began breathing heavily and I half expected her to fall over. Then again, I half expected me to fall over. Professor V? From an alternate dimension? Rescuing my alternate dimension half sister?! AND HE NEVER TOLD ME?!
“Hey. Calm down, we know now. And… we’re gonna go. To Moonlight Falls. Now.”
Okay, we didn’t go immediately. It was evening anyway and by the time Joy, Sam, and Grandpa got back it was even later. Plus we had to pack and find a ride there. Danielle could teleport around, but it was too dangerous to have someone with her. And she couldn’t exactly teleport 100% safely on her own anyway. So we had to wait through the night and the next day we left, after I said a lengthy goodbye to Joy even though we would only be gone overnight at the longest. I also had to cancel a few dates.
Sam drove us, while Reeny was staying with Joy and Grandpa. During the drive to Moonlight Falls–to Hunter’s Academy–we filled him in what was going on. Sam kept shaking his head and muttering under his breath that he couldn’t believe it.
“You know, I thought you seemed a bit familiar when we met,” Sam said, looking into the rear view mirror at Danielle. “You being a Danevbie certainly explains it.”
A few hours later we rolled into Moonlight Falls, heading towards the house that Sam and I had stayed in–where Professor V had stayed in. Hopefully he was still here. If he wasn’t, surely Mr. Hunter knew where he had gone.
“Man, takes you back, doesn’t it?” I asked Sam as we parked near the house. “Though, I preferred the castle for sure.”
Sam sighed. “Same here. Remember when we first met?”
“You don’t make shoes, you don’t know Santa, and you don’t shoot arrows,” I said quickly and Sam began laughing.
“Watcher, who would have ever imagined we’d end up as brothers?”
I slung an arm around his shoulder, yanking him closer. “We were always brothers, before you ever married Reeny.”
The door to the house flew open and a bunch of teenagers streamed out. We watched them as they chattered and laughed. Most of them were the more obvious supernaturals–elves and faeries and pixies–but a few didn’t have any obvious signs of their magical selves. I wondered if any of them were psychic.
An adult came out of the house, waving a bunch of papers. “Alyson! Wait, you forgot your homework! Again.”
She handed the papers over to a girl then turned to go in before freezing and then spinning around, looking across the road at us. I grinned.
We crossed the street to greet her, ignoring the curious stares from kids. “Ginny!” we both exclaimed and each gave her a quick hug.
“What are you guys doing here?” she asked, glancing past us at Danielle. “You’re not old enough to have kids coming here. Yet.”
Sam beamed. “Hey, maybe in thirteen years.”
Ginny’s eyes got big. “What? Really? Congratulations, Sam!” She gave him a gentle punch. “How about you, Apollo? Any baby psychics toddling around?”
“One,” I said proudly. “She can see ghosts but I don’t know if she has any other ability.” I pulled out my wallet to show off my incredible child. Ginny cooed appreciatively. “I never expected you to become a teacher.”
“Huh? Oh yeah. Me either. Who else, though, to teach the future supernaturals than the best supernatural that’s ever existed?” she asked, puffing out a bit.
I snorted. “Okay, well, you haven’t changed, that’s for sure.”
Ginny rolled her eyes. “So what are you doing here? Just checking out the old stomping grounds or are you here for a specific reason?”
“Actually, we need to talk to Professor V. Is he still teaching here?” I inquired.
“Yep. He’s down in his office now, actually.” She looked once more at Danielle then shrugged and led us inside. Danielle gave a sharp intake of breath at the sight of my father’s… our father’s portrait hanging in the front room. “You remember the way?”
“Yep,” I said.
Sam held up a hand. “Hey, this is probably more of something you two should do alone. If Ginny doesn’t mind me annoying her for a while…?”
So Danielle and I went down alone. We reached the door and she took my hand, holding it tightly. “My past lies behind this door,” she whispered. “The truth.”
“Are you ready?”
“Watcher, am I.”
I knocked and heard Professor V’s long ago familiar voice call out to come in. I opened the door and stepped in, smiling at his surprised look. “Why, Apollo Danevbie!” Then he looked even more surprised when Danielle followed me in. The look faded into something more resigned, and he gave a tiny little nod.
“I wondered when this would happen, though I certainly didn’t expect you to be here too, Apollo,” Professor V said as Danielle shut the door behind her.
“So, you recognize me?” Danielle asked.
Professor V shrugged. “More like, I recognize your… scent. Your blood. It’s not something one easily forgets.” He brushed his hair from his face and then perched on his desk, like he always did when he taught. One of the marks of him being a cool teacher. “Before I answer any questions I need to know why Apollo is here too? How did you two… find each other?”
He was mostly staring at me. “That doesn’t matter, does it?” I asked.
“I’d like to know.”
“He was advertising for a nanny, and I answered the ad,” Danielle put in firmly. Professor V tilted his head and stared at her. “We realized there was something connecting us…”
“Oh, how awkward that must have been!” Professor V said with a slight laugh.
Danielle’s face went dark. “Not like that.” Oh. Oh.
“I apologize,” V said simply. “My next question is… how did you find them?”
“Them?” I asked.
“Them,” V repeated. “If you don’t know who they are, how did you figure out how I’m linked to all of this?”
I still felt a bit confused but Danielle answered, “The professor raised me. After I was abandoned at the lab.” Her last words held accusation in them.
V spread his hands out. “I certainly couldn’t raise you. So. You answered my questions. Now, I will answer yours.”
Danielle opened and closed her mouth a couple times, trying to figure out the words. Finally she sat down. “Who were my parents?”
V cocked an eyebrow and then smiled. “Who do you think?” He looked between us then gave a quick jerk of his head. “Your father was Zaid Danevbie. A brave hero in our world, and in this world as well. I wonder if he was doomed to be sacrificed in every world where he exists. Ah. I apologize, Apollo, I should not have said that to you.”
“And… my mother?” Danielle squeaked. “Or, or other father I suppose?”
“Mother. Davina. I don’t know her maiden name, I apologize.”
The name stirred some long ago memory. “Gilbert?” I stammered out.
“Oh, that sounds a bit familiar. I believe so.”
Danielle faced me. “How did you know?”
“My father was married to a Davina Gilbert, for a short while,” I whispered. Then I regretted saying anything. What if she wanted to find this universe’s version of her mother? What–would happen?
So, my father stayed married to Davina in her world, and had at least one child. I wonder about the Noah in that world. Dad and Father met before Father ever met Davina. I wonder if they’re still friends–were still friends.
“Why were they killed?” Danielle asked.
Professor V looked up at the ceiling, and sighed. “It’s a long and complicated story. I’ll do my best to explain. In our world, the supernaturals and the mortals had been fighting for a long time. Before Zaid was born. When he was born a prophesy began going out. Whether it had actually been prophesied or if it was just a rumor, no one knew. Just… many people said that Zaid would bring about a peaceful end to the conflict. His parents did their best to keep him away from the world. They had help from some family friends. A witch, a shapeshifter, and a few vampires. Me included.” He frowned now and closed his eyes. “We did our best, but the Danevbies were hunted down. Many were slaughtered.”
“By which side?” I interrupted.
Professor V snorted. “Neither. It was a… faction. A faction that believed that magic and technology should win, and destroy all who opposed. They didn’t want a peaceful end, they wanted a violent end. A brutish end. Where they win and rule. They generally sided on the magical side, and most the members of the faction were indeed supernatural. They wanted power. Nothing but power, more power, and advanced their own technology through magic. The Addison family belonged to this faction, although they were in fact mortals. They were there because they were beyond intelligent with technology and wished to become powerful.”
He stretched out his legs out from the desk and then stretched his head one way then the other. I ached to demand he continue the story and finally he did.
“By the time Zaid went to college, most his family was dead. Including most his immediate family. Only a sister remained.”
Which one? I wondered and then felt sad imagining my grandpa and all my aunts and Uncle Vilkas being murdered.
“He met Davina in college and they quickly got married. She was pregnant, and that’s when Zaid decided to go into hiding. Unfortunately there was an attempt in our travels and Davina lost the baby. That is what triggered Zaid into desiring to fight. He and his wife and the rest of us disappeared into the wilderness where he trained to fight, to protect. He spent… years… doing this.
“While he trained the rest of the world went on. There were many rumors that he had been killed. Slowly both sides were desiring peace… but the third faction, the mixed one, egged the battling on. While they continued looking for Zaid. Especially the Addisons…
“Shortly after you were born, Danielle, they found us.” Professor V’s eyes went dark now. “There were many of them. Too many. And so many fell. The Addisons… murdered your mother. Zaid–killed them. Then he took you and gave you to me. To protect. I was going to go hide but then he was killed as well.”
“I’m not sure of their name, I didn’t recognize him. In any case I left, quickly. I knew there were tales of a portal nearby. To an alternate universe. I hoped a peaceful one. I knew we were being followed by the Addison child, who had been left outside to listen to the bloodbath. She followed me… but I didn’t care. I just kept thinking I had failed. But I had you. I found the portal because I knew of it. I had met people who had come from your world, see. Ages ago. I found it, and went through. The girl followed. Unfortunately.”
Professor V looked into my eyes now. “If I had never come, if I had never brought that girl here… Addison… I’m so sorry, Apollo. It is my fault. I’ve felt so much guilt for so long. I wanted to tell you how sorry I was, but how could I? How could I even begin to explain?”
The room fell silent as Danielle and I absorbed this tale. I felt very sick, hearing about my family being killed. Even in an alternate dimension, it hurt. I couldn’t even imagine how Danielle felt. I just wanted to call all my relatives and tell them how much I loved them.
Danielle put her head in her hands. “Watcher. Watcher.”
“I’m very sorry, Danielle,” Professor V said softly. “I failed you. When I brought you here I realized I could not raise you. I wasn’t… strong enough.” He ran his fingers through his hair and glanced towards me. “I had trouble when you started school for the same reason. I almost left. You both remind me of Zaid.”
“You should have at least–left a letter or something! Told the professor everything!” Danielle was on her feet now, face contorted in anger. “I lived my life having no idea who I really was! Always wondering!”
V hung his head and apologized again. Danielle’s nostrils flared a few times then she shook her head and left. I flinched when the door slammed, however I didn’t blame her for being so angry. V didn’t seem to either.
I headed to the door then hesitated when he called my name. “Yes, Professor?”
“You can call me Coby now, Apollo; I’m no longer your teacher.”
I swallowed. “Sorry… Coby?” The name seemed alien on my tongue. And it felt bizarre now that we seemed close to the same age. He had been my teacher, an older figure for so long, and soon he would look younger than me.
“Have you… talked to… Eli Rose lately?”
“Eli?” I arched my eyebrows. “Not lately. Why?”
Professor V coughed and slid off his desk, turning his back to me to pretend to go through some papers laying there. “Hmm?”
His shoulders slumped and the papers fell from his hands. “I suppose if I tell you no reason, you won’t believe me?” He turned and there was more sadness in his eyes than there was when he was talking about Danielle’s parents. “It is my fault for him as well. He… I know he is going through very troubled times. And it is my fault.”
“How is it your fault? What do you even mean? What fault?”
“I suppose… I could tell you…” He clenched his teeth, the muscles in his cheeks flexing. “He knows something about what happened to Hunter’s. The old Hunter’s. I have… questioned him on multiple occasions. I pushed him. More than I should have. He seemed to grow ill however I continued pursing. I needed to know. After he graduated, I occasionally went to see him. I tried being nice, I tried being forceful, I tried almost everything I could think of short of using my abilities on him, though the thought did cross my mind. Doing that to a child was… is… disgusting to me. I suppose you aren’t children anymore, however I still would not dare to do such a thing. I’ve given up after the last time. A couple years ago I pushed him too hard. I thought he might–kill himself.” Professor V looked stricken now and I didn’t blame him. “I said horrible, horrible things. I regret what I did very much.”
“You blamed him, didn’t you?” I asked.
Professor V clenched his hands into fists and then nodded very slowly. “I was angry. I told him if he remained silent, he was no better than the person he was protecting. I thought… that might do it. But it pushed him over the edge. I know now he is doing better, since that night. Thank the Watcher.”
I recalled the night Eli phoned me up, wanting to know if I had seen him in the future and realized he had been suicidal.
“I pushed him too,” I blurted out. “I knew he knew, and I was pushing him too, when we were here. So it’s not just… your fault…”
“Perhaps not here, however I continued to pursue it after his graduation which was wrong.” Professor V began picking up the papers from the floor and straightening them out. “You know, I think an apology is in order. Perhaps I’ll do that soon… however… sometimes I think… he knew more than I thought…”
“Oh. Nothing. Sorry. Just… nothing important.”
We said our goodbyes and I went to find Danielle, who was sitting in the front room and staring at the picture of Zaid. She didn’t want to talk–yet. So we found Sam who was talking to two young elves. He finished his conversation and the three of us went to the car.
“Are you both all right?” Sam asked as he started the car.
“I am,” I said.
Danielle rubbed her swollen eyes and gave a sigh. “Yeah. I… I think I am too. Let’s get back to Storybrook. There’s nothing else here for me.”
Sam eyed me and I nodded. So he pulled the car out and we headed back home.