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|Isobel (Dubois Chronicles 2.96)|
November 2006 (parts of this story date from 1985-1989)
Notes Part 1: Many of the flashbacks are from Dubois Chronicles Series 1. Dates are noted above and should be treated accordingly.
Notes Part 2: The characters from Forever Knight belong to Sony Tri-Star. The characters from Hercules the Legendary Journeys and Xena Warrior Princess belong to MCA and Renaissance Studios. Mutant X belongs to Marvel Studios. Alias belongs to James Abrams and Buena Vista Productions. The Marvelverse Characters belong to Marvel Comics. Smallville belongs to DC and the WB. Veronica Mars and Dark Angel belong to their copyright holders. All other characters are fictitious and of my own creation. Please send comments to email@example.com .
Prologue [Amazon Village]
Gabrielle, Bard-Queen of the Amazons, writes….
As David prepares for the “refresher session” on Isobel’s malice so long ago, he has spent hours back in my archives, reminding himself of what truly happened. It is amazing how much the Empress made us forget following Deirdre’s sacrifice.
Even as it is the past for us, the threat is about to rear its head for our counterparts from the other universe. As the others have revealed, the Mystery Man stalks their steps and they need information to deal with that threat.
Remembrance of tragedies past does sober the mind somewhat……
Chapter 1 [Morning after “Contagion”]
Dawn had not yet begun to paint her colors across the eastern sky when the buzzer went off in Dave and Angie’s bedroom.
“Wha?” she muttered sleepily.
“Time to get up,” he noted while turning the alarm off and sitting up. “Garth, both Aprils and Dave wanted to make the trip east.”
“That’s right,” she realized while sitting up in bed. “Think we both have time to shower?”
“I don’t see why not. Why don’t you go first? I’ll put on the coffee.” He checked his watch. “We need to meet Dave and his wife in an hour.”
“Noted,” she concurred while kissing his cheek. She sighed, “I still can’t believe it happened.”
“Princess, it wasn’t your fault,” he assured her. “I wish you’d realize that.”
“If Karen and I were in Amherst instead of here, you and the others could’ve stopped the Enforcers….”
He looked her in the eye. “Even if we’d all been together, Angie, anything could’ve happened. You and Karen need to understand that. As if you’d forget the next night?”
She shuddered. “Not a chance.” Putting on her robe, she headed for the bathroom.
Other than the Empress’ crap, there’s nothing that would make me forget either. He made tracks for the coffee maker.
[Forty-five minutes later]
Garth parked his Sentra in the guest lot across from the Dubois’ condo. “We’re here. How are you doing?” He squeezed his wife’s hand.
April frowned and took a deep breath. “As good as I will be. It doesn’t matter how many years have passed, it still hurts…..”
“I know,” he concurred while hugging her supportively. “I can bring the arrangement if you like.”
“Thanks,” she expressed in appreciation as they got out of the car. After locking up, she led them toward the door.
Before she could knock, Angie opened the door. “Hi, guys. Dave’s dressing now. Come in. He made coffee.”
“That would be great. Thanks, Angie,” Garth replied. “How’s he dealing with this stuff?”
“Between dealing with Isobel, the counterparts’ issues and this anniversary stuff, I’d expect him to be bouncing off the walls. He’s really composed though. Not that I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth or anything,” the hostess reported while the couple walked in.
“In this case, that’s a better thing,” the agent concurred. Seeing his friend serving up coffee, he added, “We appreciate this, Dave.”
“Peggy was our friend too,” Dave indicated while handing them each a cup. “Milk and sugar’s on the counter. Besides we need to check on Gram and the others too. Take a seat for a couple of minutes. Dave and April won’t be ready for a few minutes yet. That’s a nice arrangement.”
“Thanks, Dave.” The florist yawned. “Sorry. It’s way too early. Coffee’s appreciated though.”
“No problem,” Dave indicated while looking out the window across the lot. Seeing the light in Clarise’s apartment, he wondered, What are they talking about?
Heloise sipped on a cup of tea thoughtfully. She was still dealing with the whole idea of being in a mirror universe. On top of that, she had trouble dealing with the concept of Clarise being a vampire. How can someone as pure as Clarise be a vampire? Who is this Nicolas?
<”Something wrong with your tea?”> the nun wondered.
“Non,” the priestess noted. <”I just wish that you weren’t…like this.”>
<”The Lord has his reasons, I’m sure. I’ve been able to guide Dubois and his friends at least.”> She glanced into the darkness. <”The others have joined them. Will Mama’s evil never end?”>
<”At some point, Dubois and our descendant will send her to her reward. I trust in him for that,”> Heloise presumed. <”Listening to your version of the tale will be interesting.”>
<”The lessons will be the same. Nicolas’ presence has made a difference in the whole affair despite not retrieving the spell book. You will meet him tonight or tomorrow at the latest,”> Clarise declared.
<”He sounds intriguing,”> Heloise considered her sister again. <”And it was a pity about the Masters girl and the Desmoutiers woman. Curse Dijon’s perfidy!”>
<”Despite his end, the Butcher still haunts both of our universes, Clarise. Still, I am glad that we could speak on such things,”> Heloise commented.
Seeing the first colors of dawn in the east, Clarise drew the blinds. <”We can discuss this after we awaken tonight.”> With that, the siblings lay down to rest for the day.
Chapter 2 [Smallville—Kent Farm]
[A/N: Once again, the DC and SL designations are in play when the two sets of counterparts are in the picture—which in this case means Clark, Lana, Dave and April.]
SL-April sat up with great effort; the twins inside of her womb feeling antsy. “We’re getting closer.”
“I know. Are you okay, Honey?” SL-Dave wondered, looking at her anxiously.
She mussed up his hair playfully. “I’m not made of glass, Dave. We’ll be okay.” She climbed out of bed and put on her bathrobe. “I wonder what we’re going to hear about tomorrow?”
“This is more for the kids than anything else,” he advised while rubbing her shoulders. He sighed. “Too bad Isobel couldn’t stay buried. Bad enough the Mystery Man’s back.”
“We knew he would be back. As for Isobel, that shouldn’t surprise you.” She shivered, recalling the ordeal in the chateau late in senior year.
“Don’t remind me,” he indicated while getting a towel. “I’ll be out in a few minutes.”
“That’s okay,” she told him.
[Twenty-five minutes later—Downstairs]
SL-Lana glanced around anxiously at the kitchen and living room not knowing what to expect on that day or the next. Are we ever going to have a normal life?
“What’s wrong?” her husband asked.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to bother you, Clark,” she apologized.
“You’re not bothering me. We’re going to figure out what we’re facing back home. It’s going to be okay,” he assured her. “Let’s relax while the Duboises are out this morning.”
“Sounds like a fantastic idea,” Martha concurred. “Meantime, I have some breakfast if you want.”
“Thanks, Mo…Mrs. Kent,” he expressed as they sat down at the table.
“My pleasure, Clark. Now eat up,” Martha urged. Seeing SL-Dave and April coming down the stairs, she added, “That goes for you both too.” She placed a platter of Belgian waffles in front of them. “I think David said that he’ll be here in about fifteen minutes.”
The visiting professor looked at the corner where the mists collected. “They’re early.”
DC-Dave led his wife and the Singletons into the room. “Sorry if we’re early, Martha.”
“That’s not a problem. Have you eaten yet?”
“Actually, we were going to do so after the cemetery,” Angie indicated.
“Then you can join us for breakfast. I have plenty here,” Martha invited.
“Thank you,” DC-April replied before sitting down next to her counterpart. “Since we’re the same person, I guess the next question is how are you doing?”
“I’m all right. The twins are due any day. Other than that, Dave’s fussing over me and we want to clear up the mysteries,” her counterpart replied.
“I know the feeling,” Angie remarked wryly, eyeing her own husband.
“Try to be a good husband and look where it gets us,” SL-Dave retorted.
“Just go with the flow,” DC-Dave advised, not giving an inch to his own spouse. “For now, let’s eat.”
As they started in, Martha inquired, “When do we hear about the whole back story?”
“Adam wants to do it tomorrow at the Sanctuary. It should be quite the gathering. You’ll have to make some adjustments, Dave, when you get back to your universe,” DC-Dave informed them.
“Are there a lot of differences in the accounts?” SL-Clark asked them.
“A few but they’re big,” SL-Dave pointed out. “Their vampire friend wasn’t there. The Destroyer almost took over for good.”
“That’s for tomorrow,” Garth interjected while taking a bite out of his waffle. “For now, we have friends to remember.”
“Your grandmother and Peggy Masters,” Martha recalled, looking at the two Daves.
“And we’ll give them the best possible visit. Speaking of which, let’s eat up and get on our way. They’re waiting,” SL-April urged while taking another bite of food.
[Ludlow Cemetery—an hour later]
Colin and Mariah McKenzie stood in front of their niece’s grave, pondering why the latter had been taken before her time. While they could have blamed Dave for that event, they knew better than that. On the contrary, they recalled the younger man’s warnings very clearly.
No, she was there because she had been the truest friend in every sense of the word.
Mariah dabbed her eyes. “It doesn’t seem fair.”
He shook his head. “It isn’t.” He leaned heavily on his cane and ran a hand through his thinning hair. “But we deal with it.” He recalled what April had told them about the events of four years earlier in Rowenshire and the previous summer. “At least Stuart’s mess is gone now forever.”
“Thank God for that,” she concurred. “We’ve all suffered enough from that.” She saw her daughter, son-in-law and the Duboises approaching. “Colin, am I seeing things?”
He turned and looked the quartet over. “What the? Garth, what’s going on?”
“Sorry about the confusion,” Garth apologized as they greeted each other. “They are who they appear to be.”
“We’re from…well…another place,” SL-April explained. “I’m trying to understand this myself. Talking to April and seeing you after so long is great but it’s weird too.”
“I see,” Mariah conceded although she really didn’t understand. “So you’re David and April then?”
“As real as April and I are here, Mrs. M,” DC-Dave indicated. “As she said, they’re from another place. Things are different there though. They wanted to honor Peggy though since they can’t be with their version of her today.”
“If we aren’t intruding,” SL-Dave commented while setting down the arrangement. “We can come back later if you’d like.”
The older man shook his head. “I trust April’s judgment. We’d be honored if you join us.” He looked at his daughter’s counterpart again. “Are you sure you should be out here in your condition?”
“She’d do the same for me, sir,” the pregnant visitor noted.
“She would indeed,” Colin concurred. “Then feel free to share the moment.”
“Thank you,” SL-Dave agreed; the mist of sadness already forming on his eyes. “This is from us as well as the Kents and Laura’s daughter.” He set an arrangement down in front of the marker.
“And from us, here’s something to keep her company,” DC-April indicated while placing an arrangement of roses and daisies beside the arrangement.
“And since she can never have enough as far as we’re concerned…” Angie added as her husband placed another bouquet of roses and daisies beside the other flowers. “You have it?”
Both Daves reached into their blazer pockets and produced similarly dog eared pieces of parchment paper.
“Sorry. I came prepared,” SL-Dave apologized.
“That’s fine. Want to read it together?” DC-Dave offered. Seeing him nod, they both set themselves and read the lament poem in unison from the service over twenty years earlier. As they each read it annually in their respective universes, they could hit the rhythms and meter on the spot. After they finished, he added, “Peggy, we’re almost there. The Rider and ghost are gone forever at least in our universe. Only Isobel remains and I promise you we’ll deal with her too. As for your last request, our friends here have asked for the story to be told.”
“We want to know,” SL-April added, waddling forward. “In our universe, the details behind your death are still hidden from us, Peggy. Our version of the Mystery Man, ghost and Isobel are still out there from what my husband tells us. He appeared just a week ago threatening to endanger our future. We’ll do our best but we figured you wouldn’t mind a visit first.”
“All of us still remember but there are those who need to know,” Garth indicated firmly. “Last summer was bad enough as you know.”
Colin looked incredulously at them. “Isobel’s still alive? I thought….”
“Unfortunately, she escaped. We know where she is. Trust me; we’ll deal with her,” DC-Dave explained pointedly.
“Colin, I thought this was over,” Mariah complained.
“Sorry, Mom. Not yet but we have more help this time and we have a better idea of what to expect this time,” DC-April indicated.
Her father embraced her mother tightly. “Just don’t get yourself killed over this. Dave, finish it. You understand me? Father Sebastian has vowed whatever support you need. I know you’ve dealt with the house, the ghost and that demon. But that harpy has caused us all enough heartache too.” He shuddered. “I still remember that incident at the ski lodge.”
“Yeah that,” DC-Dave agreed. “There’s been too much of that stuff for our lifetimes. As April said, Mr. McKenzie, we have experience and more allies. Time to bring everyone up to speed, I say.”
“As long as you deal with it without anyone else being hurt, Dave,” Mariah stated with an edge to her voice.
“We know you’re aware of this more than anyone. And that’s why they’re here with us. Just finish it, all right? Dave, if anything, you’ve earned the right to live a life free of worry. So have the rest of us,” Colin declared. “We’ll let you have your time. Come on, Honey.”
“Give me a minute,” DC-April excused herself while helping her elderly parents out of the cemetery.
“You can’t blame them,” Angie advised the others.
“I don’t,” DC-Dave agreed while eyeing their companions. “The important thing is that we give our friends the knowledge they need to deal with this mess. I hope Heloise is as big of a help as Clarise has been.”
“She has her moments but she cares about those kids,” SL-Dave reported. “She’s aware of what we’re facing too.”
“As long as we all are. That’s what’s important,” his wife added, feeling another kick from the twins. “Sorry. The Peanut Gallery agrees.”
After DC-April rejoined them, DC-Dave opened the portal. “Let’s get to Amherst and Wabash. Then we can rest up before tomorrow.” Guiding them through, he blew one last kiss to the marker before jumping in and closing the portal behind him.
Chapter 3 [Cowache Caves]
Even as the adults were on their ‘remembrance tour’, the SL-Clark and Lana ran over to the caves looking for guidance on what was unfolding around them. As they descended through the passages, they were once again amazed at the designs’ similarity to their counterparts from the other universe.
As they neared the central chamber, she detected another presence. “Clark, there’s someone else here!”
“Let’s be careful,” he urged, recalling the lessons they had learned from their previous misadventures.