We’re very sorry to tell you this Mrs. Stilins- Miriam… but you have uterine cancer. It’s actually fairly uncommon for someone your age. But be that as it may, I’m still afraid that at this stage, for you to even have a chance at survival you’ll have to have a hysterectomy…
It looks like the cancer has metastasized, but we’re confident that with some aggressive chemotherapy and radiation we can add years to your life, good years…
We’re very sorry, but after reviewing your case file, I’m afraid we cannot proceed any further. Normally a couple as caring as you two would be ideal candidates for adoption, but the combination of having one parent with ongoing health concerns, and another in such a high risk career as law enforcement, I’m afraid that in good conscience that we cannot place a child with you. The odds of something happening to one or both of you is just too high. You can try other agencies of course, but in all likelihood they will tell you the same thing…
Well, while surrogacy is a wonderful new option to childless couples such as yourselves, it is rather costly, both in medical fees for the fertilization, the pre and post natal care as well as compensation for the surrogate. From what you’ve shown me of your finances it may be better for you two to wait a few years to really explore if surrogacy is right for your family. After all, it’s not your own biological clock that you have to worry about…
I want to have a child John.
I don’t care what they say.
I don’t want to leave you alone.
I have these books my grandmother left me…and she would tell me stories, stories about something that happened once in Prague.
But if we can change the method, blend it with another spell, another legend, something…we could have a real child. A breathing, thinking, loving, growing, living child. Will you try this for me John?
Of course. We’ll have one. You and me. One that will give us back all the love and happiness that we have to give. One that will one day give that love to someone else, someone lucky enough to be the beneficiary of all that we have, all our love and effort wrapped into our child.
We’ll make a beautiful child.
He’ll light up the world.
Miriam dipped her hands into the container of clay, and once more she thought about how unfair the world was.
“It’s not right John. That awful woman at the art supply store, yelling and cursing at her child just for asking if she could have a silk rose. I swear, the only thing holding me back from hitting her was the fact that you drove us over in the cruiser,” she said, adding more clay onto the block in front of her, slowly forming and shaping it into the rough shape of a small child.
“I know,” said John, carefully turning the pages of an old book in an unfamiliar tongue laid out on a beat up music stand they were using for lack of a podium, while also looking at a translation book and various print outs laid out on the desk beside it. “It’s not right. And I wish to god I could have done something. But we’ll be better.”
“Of course we will. Our child will know nothing but love, so that even when I’m gone-”Miriam said fiercely, though tears were trickling down her cheeks.
“Please…Please don’t say things like that, just because those idiots said,” John interrupted, rushing over to his wife and embracing her from behind, inhaling the scent of her hair, that though short, was finally growing in once again. “Please just…Focus on this. Focus on our child.”
“Alright,” Miriam said, turning to kiss John briefly on the mouth. “It’s time now, to add it in, before I start to shape the details. The books said that it would actually help the sculpting go smoother. That having the blood, the life essence there, would help shape everything to what it would have been were things done in the natural way.”
“Ok,” said John, walking over to pick up a knife from the desk holding the additional texts, the blade glinting in the candlelight. “Should I go first or should you?” he asked.
“I don’t think it really matters,” Miriam answered, filled with both exhilaration and trepidation now that they were actually doing this. Now that it wasn’t just a crazy fantasy.
They were going to create a child together.
“Ok,” John said once again, and then sliced the blade of the knife along his palm, letting the blood drip onto the little clay figure below. Miriam took the knife from him and did the same. She then set the knife down and they both clasped bleeding hands and let the blood continue to rain down onto the clay, where it never settled on the surface, instead being absorbed in immediately, tinting the clay as it spread throughout, even to the very tips of the extremities far from where the blood had fallen.
Miriam looked down at the small form on the block and felt an intense joy sweep through her body.
“We’re going to have a little boy.”
“Are you sure I can’t help?” John asked again as Miriam awkwardly cradled the unmoving clay form in her arms, now finely sculpted into a little boy and wrapped in a blanket, small and sweet faced in the way that all children were. There were hints of John and Miriam showing through here and there, and a smattering of moles and freckles scattered all over his body that Miriam had added without realizing it, almost as if parts of the sculpt had been taken from her hands and left up to the blood and clay. They had chosen to make him about three years old, as they didn’t know how much time Miriam would have left, and as much as they would have loved to start from an infant and experience every little joy and stress that parenting could offer, they decided that if they started him off a little older he’d be able to participate in more of life with the two of them. Instead of sleepless nights and exasperation washed over with love they could go right to pushing him on swing sets and teaching him to climb, rainy days spent inside finger painting and baking where more flour would end up on them than in the bowl.
They would all of them have, and make, memories of each other as a family of three for as long as they could.
“It would be alright if I just helped you carry him there, wouldn’t it? He’s so heavy like this, and you’re still not as strong as you used to be…”
“It has to be just me from this point on John. At a certain point things become the mother’s burden alone. That’s the way it is in nature, and the way it has to be now.”
“Alright. Alright, just… be careful out there. Please, just be careful,” he said, kissing first his wife, then the earthen child on their respective brows.
“I will. We’ll back soon,” she said with a sure nod, and went out the door into the Arizona night, thunder rumbling in the distance.
It had to be soon.
She walked away from the trailer they had rented into the desert, walked for about a mile before she came to the rock formation she and John had found during their search earlier in the week. She unwrapped the clay child from the blanket and laid it out on the flat surface of the rock. She kissed the clay brow, as her husband had before, and backed away as the lightning, closer than before but still not there yet, crackled through the dry air.
She walked further from the rock until she felt she was far enough away for safety’s sake, then stopped and knelt on the ground, her attention split between the approaching lightning and the child on the rock.
Jagged zigzags of electricity pierced the night sky, coming closer and closer to where Miriam had left the prone form. She folded her hands and began to whisper quietly to herself, not really a proper prayer, all the real incantations had been said earlier by John as she shaped the damp clay into their child, but she still felt she had to say something, anything, in case that little bit extra might help.
“Please let this work. Please let this work, oh please, oh please, oh please…”
Finally the storm was right above them. Miriam felt her hair stand on end from the residual static charge in the air as a flash of light illuminated the entire night sky, and a shot of lightning arced down to the figure on the rock making it jolt with the force and current.
Miriam didn’t dare move as the as the storm continued its path across the desert. She locked her eyes on the rock and continued to chant softly.
“Oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please…”
Suddenly the form on the rock moved.
Just a small turn of the head, the clenching and unclenching of a tiny fist, but…
Miriam raced forward and scooped the no longer clay, now flesh and blood boy into her arms. He squirmed against her and she moved back far enough to look him in the face. His eyes opened, at first glowing like the lightning that had passed through him, before fading to a golden brown.
Just like hers.
“Oh my baby, my beautiful baby,” she murmured. “Mama is here, Mama has you…”
The little boy reached out with a clumsy hand to touch her face and spoke, his voice unsure but still pure and clear.
Miriam felt like she would never stop smiling even as tears poured down her face.
“That’s right. Now let’s take you back to see your daddy, alright?”
The little boy’s eyes sparked and lit up once more as his face broke out in a smile to match his mother’s.
John knew where to look to find someone to forge documents for their boy that would pass even the most intense of scrutiny while Miriam had searched the internet for a new place for them to go, a new start for their new family. They moved to a small town in northern California called Beacon Hills, where no one knew them and no one would wonder how they suddenly had a toddler when they hadn’t had one two weeks ago.
There were positions open at the sheriff’s station after a rash of old timers retired, and they bought a house sight unseen from an ecstatic realtor over the phone. It needed some work, but both John and Miriam were pretty handy, and it was only mid September so if they prioritized properly the most important things would be done by the time winter came. Miriam would do some of the smaller things when she was alone during the day with their son, because after all they had gone through, it really wasn’t even a question if Miriam would try to look for work until he was in elementary school.
They named him after Miriam’s late father according to tradition, but he almost never answered to it.
“I don’ like it. It’s too hard to say and when people ask and I can’t say it they think I’m dumb,” he said sulkily as he played with his teddy bear that he had named simply ‘Bear’.
“No one thinks anything like that sweetheart. If anything you can talk better then a lot of kids your age,” said Miriam as she set out a snack of sliced apples and honey.
“’Cause I’m not really their age,” he said trying to feed an apple slice to his bear, thankfully sans honey. “I‘m special.”
“Sweetie, I don’t think Bear is hungry for apples right now,” Miriam said with a smile.
“But when you’re asked, you do say you’re three, don’t you?” Asked John from where he leaned against the kitchen counter, already dressed in his deputy’s uniform for his upcoming night shift.
“Yes. I can say that but I can’t say my name. I don’ like it,” he said, dipping the apple into the honey and thankfully putting it into his own mouth this time.
John looked over at Miriam and grinned. “I guess it’s just not his style Mir.”
“Hmm, what is more your style then?” Miriam teasingly asked of her son.
He looked up at her quizzically, bits of apple stuck to his little chin. He then held up his teddy bear to his ear and moved its head up and down like it was whispering to him. It was an odd little game that he had developed only hours after he had been given the bear, and though John and Miriam were relatively sure that they should start discouraging the behavior at some point, it was still far too endearing to them both for either to want to make an attempt any time soon.
His face split into a wide smile and he proclaimed, “Stiles!”
“Yes, we asked what your style was…”
“It’s Stiles! Stiles Stilinski. That’s me. My style is Stiles like a Stilinski.”
Miriam gave John a look over the top of their son’s head. Her husband was being relatively successful at holding back his laughter, but couldn’t keep an open mouthed smile completely off his face. He shrugged his shoulders and asked, “Hey, what can we do? He is a Stilinski after all.”
“Stiles Stilinski, Stiles Stilinski, Stiles Stilinski. And this is Bear. Bear Stilinski. Stiles and Bear Stilinski. It sounds good, don’ it? Righ’ mommy, it sounds good?” Miriam smiled down at Stiles.
“Whatever makes you happy Stiles.”
Stiles clapped his hands and let out a cheer, his eyes glowing, while Miriam and John’s hair began to rise as a static charge filled the room.
While researching how to get a child Miriam amassed a fairly substantial collection of books dealing with all things supernatural, from the almost absurdly childish fakeries, to other things that were very, very, real.
She had been rather surprised though, to find any representatives of the supernatural persuasion in a relatively small and quiet town like Beacon Hills.
It wasn’t much of anything that someone who hadn’t immersed themselves in arcane texts and folklore for over a year would have noticed. Just sound of wolves howling, when according to all reputable wildlife sources there were no wolf packs in the state of California. And though that could have been dismissed, the sight of a ten year old girl having a snit with her mother at the grocery store and her eyes glowing, not the bright electric crackle that sometimes shone out from Stiles’ eyes, but something else, could not be so easily brushed off.
When faced with an unexpected wrinkle in what should have been an ideal existence with her family until her body turned against her once again, Miriam did the only thing she could think of.
She invited Mrs. Hale out for coffee.
All in all she found Mrs. Hale to be very charming, but she still felt no qualms about laying her cards out on the table.
“I know about you and your family,” she said plainly as the werewolf sitting across from her at the café was dunking a biscotti into her latte. “I’m not saying that to threaten you, not at all, but I wanted you to know that I know, and that I won’t make trouble for your family if you don’t make any for mine.”
Ayla Hale took a bite of her biscotti, washing it down with more coffee before she responded. “I knew there was something about your family, but I didn’t know what. Honestly I still don’t, because I seriously doubt your ability to identify us is the only exceptional thing about you. You’re not Hunters, that I can tell straight off, but your entire family smells of electricity. Especially your son.”
Miriam looked Ayla straight in the eye, the very thought of looking away an impossibility. She needed to make things clear now.
“Like I said earlier, none of us want any trouble. Your family keeps your secrets, and my family keeps ours. Fair enough?”
“Fair enough,” Ayla said with a small nod, her eyes flashing in that manner so superficially similar, but ultimately completely alien in comparison to Stiles’. Miriam let out the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding, and reached for her tea, feeling dizzy.
“So long as we have our little understanding all ironed out,” Ayla continued, “would you care to meet up for coffee again sometime? It’s so hard to meet new people once you become a mother, especially after you manage to tick off the majority of the PTA by refusing to let the school organize camping outings on your property.”
“Of course. Being new in town I would hardly know any of the best spots to eat yet, would I?” Miriam asked, raising her cup for a toast, an action that Ayla mirrored with a kind, and decidedly human, smile.
Things were very good for them in Beacon Hills, until of course, one day they weren’t. That was the day that Miriam went for her quarterly checkup and the doctor began to frown at the preliminary results she was seeing before ordering an MRI. Miriam knew, even as they scheduled the test, that this was going to be the beginning of the end.
She told John immediately, but put off telling Stiles as long as she could. He was seven now, almost eight, and she wanted him to have as much of a happy childhood as possible.
That was all that she ever wanted.
Still, even without being told he sensed that something wasn’t right. He had always been whip smart, if a bit too easily excitable from the very start, so while they were able to keep the specifics from him, they couldn’t completely keep him in the dark that something was very wrong. So on days when she was too tired to get out of bed in time to send Stiles off to school, days that were becoming more frequent, he would come into her room and tuck his teddy bear, now a little worse for wear, next to her in the bed before he went to school so she wouldn’t feel lonely when she finally woke up and no one was in the house with her.
She cried the first time she woke up next to it, her tears soaking into the brown and cream faux fur.
And in the afternoons when Stiles came home from school, after telling his best friend Scott he’d come over and play another day, he would find her sitting in her favorite chair, having spent the day while Stiles was off at school writing down everything she could think of in her journal. Recipes, anecdotes, jokes, family history, how she and John made Stiles, written step by step in painstaking detail, so she would have something tangible to leave behind for Stiles. So that no matter what happened in his life he would never forget how much she loved him, what she had done to get him.
But when he came into the room she would set aside her book and pen and let him crawl into her lap and hold her, before settling back and asking, always, the same thing every day, as if her answer would ever change.
“Do you want me to? Do you want to see?”
“Always. I always want to see it.”
So Stiles would hold his hands apart, just a little bit at first, his forefingers extended, and create a little spark of electricity, jumping from one finger to the other like completing a circuit. Then he would let it gather and grow between his hands until it was a small crackling ball of light, illuminating Stiles’ face. He would let it grow larger, but never too large, just enough so that when Miriam looked into it she knew that it and nothing else could be seen in her eyes, that for at least a little while she and her son truly shared the same eyes.
And when it was time to do homework, or eat dinner, or any of the normal everyday things that still had to be done even when one was unwell, Stiles would jump back and throw his hands up into the air. The ball would burst apart and transform into tiny lightning bolts and sparkles, leaping from his fingertips to light everything up once more before they harmlessly faded and flickered away.
No matter what happened, how little time she had left, she couldn’t regret a moment of her life. She regretted what would come later, when Stiles and John would be left a duo when they had always been a trio. But seeing the electrical energy swirl around her son, both emanating from within and pulled from outside…She was filled with an intense joy.
She knew that she was incredibly lucky to have been with her family as long as she had. To have had the time for what she and John had been able to create together; a real home, and the completeness both had always wanted. When every force in to world had told them they couldn’t raise a child together? They had. They had, and when it was time, she knew she would be at peace. After all, who else in the world could ever be blessed enough to see what she and her husband had? What they had to good fortune to see every day.
To see her beautiful son spark so.