The young woman pushed herself up from her bed with an exhausted, but triumphant expression. With a gentle, but firm motion she brushed aside the ministrations of the attendant who was trying to wipe the sweat from her brow.
"Let me see," she asked with the tone of one used to having her every whim catered to. Her smile soon faded as noticed the midwives moving in frantic activity around the small bundle they held from her view.
She asked again, this time making it a demand that could not be denied. Her heart hammered and, fighting a mounting dread, she tried to prepare herself for the worst, while knowing she was deluding herself by hoping for the best. She often had no particular plan or forethought when it came to having children, but that shouldn't be taken to mean she didn't fiercely love and cherish every one of them with every fiber of her being.
The nearest midwife brought the swaddled bundle to the bed, her faceted eyes glistening with unshed tears.
The new - but already fading - life in the blanket snuffled in pain as he struggled to breathe. His tiny, misshapen body was obviously not suited to survival, but he still managed to stir in excitement as his mother cradled him in her arms.
"Oh, my poor baby," she cried, shedding bitter tears as she catalogued the hideous extent of the child's many deformities. "Mother loves you, very, very much," she smiled, all her focus on her infant as she placed a gentle kiss on his forehead.
With one hand and a quick motion Eve snapped the baby's neck. "Sleep now my darling," she sighed. After a moment she handed the small body back to the waiting midwife. Before scurrying off to dispose of the tiny body, the insect-like creature laid a hand on Eve's arm in a brief act of comfort. It was a terrible breach of protocol, but Eve appreciated the gesture.
Eve cast her mind back to happier long ago times, when in a more fanciful mood she'd described herself as 'the Mother Hen of All' when she would produce a new child as regular as clockwork with little or no thought or effort. Back then, every birth had been like a twisted Easter egg, a hidden horrific surprise bursting forth to bring death from life; a monstrous child to aid in the spread of chaos and destruction.
Now those births were increasingly rare and often didn't live, and when they did, like now, they didn't thrive.
She sat numb with grief as she allowed her attendants to wash and dress her, before forcing herself to put on a brave face as they led her into one of the decaying building's many reception rooms. As she entered, those waiting for her bowed with deep respect and she recognized one of them as her son, Trophonius, and some of his own offspring.
She struggled to remember his particular ability, not sure she'd ever even known it, but didn't want to embarrass him by asking him outright. She loved all her children equally, or certainly, like any good parent, that was the public stance she took. Often she had guided the abilities of her children, but sometimes she had allowed their characteristics to take their own route and she had always been amazed at the new unexpected talents and skills that her babies brought to her.
As if sensing her disquiet, Trophonius reminded her he was a Seer and she almost wept, "Oh sweetheart, I didn't know it was possible to read the future."
Tying people to fixed destinies was everything that He hated with a passion as it undermined all His ridiculous free will experiments. She hated Him with a passion; even the name she had taken for herself was a deliberate heresy. So as a point of principle she immediately felt particularly sympathetic to her son, the Seer.
It certainly wasn't an ability she had created herself and she motioned for Trophonius to continue. In the past she'd noticed that it was sometimes the creatures with unnatural talents she hadn't directed that proved to be the most effective. What's so unusual about drinking blood, anyway? she had wondered to herself in private disappointment when the first vampire had sprung from her body. And now they were everywhere and huge swathes of humanities' young yearned to number among their kind. It was almost boring in how mundane it had all become.
Politely she listened to Trophonius witter on at length about quantum realities, alternative worlds, and things that could be, and might be, and that apparently every possibility happened somewhere. After a while she grew weary and she hushed him as even the most indulgent parent will when confronted with the long drawn out babblings of their favorite child, no matter how gifted they might be.
Eve wondered if she had been having an 'off day' when she created his species, because normally her children had a bit more going for them in the fang and claw capacity. Maybe next time with a few more teeth, she thought.
Her mood didn't last long as he approached and whispered words of fearful visions in her ear: tales of avenging humans, rogue angels, and the widescale killing and torturing of her children. Oh, this will do not do.
The final straw was the prophesy of her death.
"There is a way," her son assured her, "A turning point is nearly upon us; the hunters will become divided in a way that has never been seen before."
"Tell me more about these Winchesters," she purred.
Eve wiped the blood out of her eyes with one hand and, without thinking, rubbed it down the front of her plain, white dress, oblivious to the red streaks now marring its otherwise pristine appearance.
She pondered on the design flaws inherent in the Seers species; it seemed their heads popped with overuse. She mourned their passing, shedding a single tear, before deciding she had enough information about key dates and places for now. Too much future observation could prove to be counteractive and would only become confusing and contradictory as she started her careful program of changes.
Eve stood watching the watcher and wondered what was going through his mind as he gazed unseen though the window to look at his brother going through the motions of a normal human life.
She had good practice at producing things that passed for human and in her opinion the older brother wasn't giving a very convincing performance. She could practically see him screaming from behind the mask he'd made for himself. She made a mental note to have something check in on him from time-to-time; it would be amusing to see how long it would take for him to crack. Maybe they could have bets on how many people he took with him when he finally snapped?
She smiled as Sam turned and walked away, only to purse her lips in a rueful expression as she realized, with some shame, that despite all her great powers she wouldn't have noticed the angel if she hadn't been pre-warned he would be present.
Her fingers itched to intercede and save her children from all the pain that this being would help to inflict on them, but intellectually she understood it would be better to allow some things to run their natural course. As a small consolation she couldn't help but smile at the thought of the impeding destruction of Heaven's powerbase.
She tapped her foot impatiently while waiting for Castiel to make his silly little deal with Crowley and depart. Then she followed after Sam at a distance.
Sam walked for about a block before stopping at a car. He paused after unlocking it and turned to her. Oops, I should have thought twice before trying to sneak up on a hunter.
"Is there something I can help you with?" he asked in a tone that didn't sound like he was offering assistance.
Eve swallowed and realized that she was nervous. Why? When she considered her reaction she realized that it was one thing to imagine a human without a soul, but quite another to see it for yourself in the flesh. It's not that there was anything tangible and it certainly wasn't apparent from just looking at him. No, instead there was some other subconscious thing, something visceral, some sense of wrongness that sent a slight shiver up her spine. She actually quite liked it and made a mental note to try to add the ability to instill feelings of dread into a future creation.
He was still standing there watching her. She noted his hand gradually moving to what she assumed would be a concealed weapon.
She wondered if she gave off her own otherworldly vibe, or did he just see the vessel?
"Oh, I was just trying to get my bearings," she smiled, trying her best to project pheromones of simple friendliness.
"Are you lost?" he asked, in a more friendly tone.
She wondered if this was some remnant of his reported kindness that showed through without the soul. Then she noticed him eyeing her up and she snorted. No, just pure self-interest and an animalistic impulse to mate. Still nothing wrong with that. I can work with what I'm given.
"Yes, could you direct me into town, please?"
"I could take you, if you like, as I'm heading in that direction myself."
She wasn't really sure that he believed her, but was willing to risk it - there wasn't much he could really do to her anyway. "If it's not too much trouble," she added in a sultry voice.
He smiled and the expression wouldn't have looked out of place on any of her children. Pure predator.
The room was dark and she was pretending to sleep. Sam was lying beside her, but she could tell from his fidgeting and the sound of his breathing that he was awake. It's as if he considers sleep a battle, but doesn't want to admit defeat.
As if reading her mind he suddenly sighed and stood, before pacing the room like a caged animal.
She sat up and he whirled round to her, dropping to a semi-crouch as if expecting an attack. She muffled a laugh; she was too subtle for a physical onslaught, she had her own more effective and devastating methods.
"Ready for round two?" she couldn't resist asking. He'd been very... uninhibited, although personally she'd thought he was somewhat of a selfish lover. Still, she was going to have to leave soon, and she may as well make sure she had everything she needed.
"I can't sleep," he said without any trace of emotion.
"Maybe you need to exercise more - to wear yourself out. I can help with that, if you like," she leered.
He looked at her blankly. She could see him consider some other variation of the idea in his mind before he chose to take her up on her offer.
He'd offered to drive her home, but had insisted he need to wash first and had taken forever in the shower. When he'd finished she reluctantly returned the phone he'd grudgingly lent her to keep her amused, "I understand their pain," she said.
He'd looked at her in confusion.
"I'd also willingly die in order to save my children," she elaborated, her voice full of sympathy.
His expression changed to amusement tinged with something else, something deeper, darker. So she could tell she had said something he considered foolish, but also that he lacked any empathy for what she was saying. Maybe that's not such a bad thing considering what I want him for - just don't be surprised when he stabs you in the back, she mused.
She decided to overlook this for the time being.
But I shall ensure my next child kills pigs, she thought and smiled to herself in satisfaction.
She had everything she needed to make her very own son of Sam, or several, if she so chose. And his ancestry was astounding; Trophonius hadn't mentioned the man was a vessel – or for whom! Not to mention the bonus of that heritage combined with the corrupting effect of so much demon blood. Our children will truly be spectacular.
She'd already felt a spark of life take hold within her. She could feel it growing and thriving and she knew that this time everything would be alright. She had a good feeling about this one.
Not for the first time she was grateful that what took a human woman nine months, she could achieve in a significantly shorter period.
She could kick herself - she knew she was a monster. She was all about the fury of revenge and the desire to destroy every molecule of everything that He cared about, while loving the mechanism for her revenge with an obsessive zeal stronger than her own life. She forgot sometimes that others didn't share her own peculiar passions.
So she'd gone back to Sam only to have him react to her in the worst way to the obvious and impossible advanced stage of her pregnancy. While he might not know exactly what she was, he certainly now knew what she wasn't: human.
Eve thought it all seemed rather unfair. It wasn't as if Sam now exactly fitted that standard definition of humanity either. She knew he hadn't quite figured out yet that he was missing his soul, but he was a clever man, he must have recognized that there was something abnormal about himself by now.
She sighed as she realized that while a soulless Sam had base impulses that were simple to control and understand, there was still so much he did out of nothing more than habit. Old habits that he'd developed before his soul had been misplaced. Things like protecting people.
His eyes had narrowed with anger. She could see the fury unleashed that in his current condition he now barely bothered to disguise at the best of times. I guess his definition of 'people' is a little narrower than I would like... and it looks like it doesn't include me.
"Stay with me," she asked, surprised by her words as they left her lips.
He was pretty and big and strong and scary. Plus he was an abomination on so many levels. She could put him to such good use, and have a bit of fun while doing it too.
If I could only get him back on the demon blood as well he'd be perfect.
He stalked up to her and she noted her emotional response to him with a detached amusement. He moves like a tiger. Hmm, graceful and deadly. Sam shoved her suddenly and she stumbled backwards hitting the balcony edge that bit painfully into her back.
She sensed what he was going to do moments before he thought of it. She prepared her energies and sent out a mental call to her attendants.
As he tipped her over the balcony she enjoyed the perturbed expression on his face as she smiled at him as she felt herself falling and falling and then breaking under the impact of the asphalt beneath her.
As she lay dying, she could sense her attendants scurry to her aid in their insect-like way. She tolerated their ministrations, but with what little strength she had left she cupped her abdomen in her hands. She turned intense eyes on the nearest helper, "This baby's important. The dragons already know how to bring me back, so you... you look after this little life right here."
As she started to fade, she started to sing in a small, breathless voice:
"Hush little baby, don't you cry,
Daddy's gonna love you... and so do... I....
And if your Daddy treats you... bad,
Mama's gonna make him... feel ... real... sad...."
The last thing Eve heard was the distant sound of her child's first cry.