An ending, and yet, a new beginning!
Within a few days time, Jean-Claude was able to grow back his eye, and he went back to school, as did Chiyuki. Their respective hockey teams both went on to win all-Japan titles, and both of them winning all-Japan honors for their positions. Chiyuki indeed had the best goals against average for any girl in the nation, but the truth was that, she could have stopped anything that came by her. She just deliberately let a goal or two slip by without costing her team, and she did so to throw off any suspicions. In the meantime, whereas Chiyuki had few friends at the start of the school, she had many by the end of the year. Of course, none of them had any idea that it was because of Chiyuki feeding off the majority of them. Jean-Claude played baseball, played the catcher position, and hit the Triple Crown for the season, as his team won all-Japan honors again. Jean-Claude also graduated with honors. Many wondered if he would attend college, but everyone was surprised when he seemed to fade from view, (save for those in the Clan that knew the deal.) In reality, he shifted his living to the night as much as he could for the sake of Anjou. He wanted to be there for her. Karin understood this, but because of the events of the past year, she knew she could still have a relationship with everyone and maintain a daytime life. Besides all this, the next year would be her senior year, and she could then make a choice after graduation as to whether or not to shift to night living. Modern times made it easy for a person to work at night as much as working during the day. Since they would more than likely be wed by this time, such a shift was possible, depending on whether or not Kenta wanted to go to college. Even then, he had the option of taking night classes, so making a night shift for the sake of the family was not a problem should they go this route. Kenta and Fumio were living in their own house on the hill now, as was Jean-Claude and Yuriya. However, a shift to the night had more of a motivation for what happened that coming spring.
It was a Friday night, and spring break had just begun. Jean-Claude came home, looking forward to a great meal from his wife. However, when he came in, he saw his wife with a smile, and quite a glow on her face. “Hi hon,” he said, “What you got cookin’? It smells good!”
“I have some steaks going, some spinach done the way you like, and a bun in the oven!” she said happily.
“You mean ‘buns’ don’t you?” said Jean-Claude, confused.
She wheeled around, and she said, smiling, “I know I said that right, darling,” and she opened up the front of her dress. What shocked him was that she was not wearing the helper bra that she normally wore, but a standard bra, and she had grown. In addition, there was a small bulge on her belly, and she said, “I’m three months gone—I found out today!”
“But…how…you…I…” he muttered, but she said, “Not but a couple of weeks after Karin bit you, I knew that, if I had her blood, we could give it a try. We have not used ‘protection’ since we have been married, because you knew that we were sterile. However, all that changed because of Karin. Karin bit you, and I took a chance when her time of the month came. She bit me; we did our thing, bingo!”
“So it did work!” he exclaimed, “There is hope for us!”
“As long as Karin lives, and her children turn out as we,” she said, “and if other vampires go her route, there is hope for them as well.”
He came up to her and gave her a passionate kiss, and then burst out of the house, screaming, “I’m going to be a dad! I’M GOING TO BE A DAD!”
Everyone came out as he told the news and explained the situation. No one ever heard of a half-breed being able to do this, but there it was. Karin came out, and Jean-Claude scooped her up, spinning her around, saying, “Thank you so much! You have given me more than I ever expected out of life!”
As he put her down, she said, “That’s the least of what I could do for all that you did for us. Congratulations!”
The evening was spent in celebration and singing. A blessed event would come to them by autumn, and everyone wanted to be sure that this child was the most welcome thing in the world. Because of the mixed blood, there was no telling what the child would be, but whatever he ended up, it would be loved no end by a new world of understanding.
That August, the council decided to have its annual meeting at the Marker residence to celebrate the soon coming blessed event. By this point, the Clan had grown to about 75 members, half of the new membership being vampires who wanted a part of the new world that was forming. Some of the ones entering were because of relationships being formed between human and vampire. However, they knew that, because of what happened with Jean-Claude and Yuriya, there was a chance for their children to be fertile. Amongst them were about eight people who had been human, but were found worthy to make the crossover into the world of the vampire. One of them was Yukiko. She had graduated, found a relationship with a good-looking vampire, and found that she wanted to be with him with no hassles. She therefore now wanted to be a vampire, not because she was trying to find herself, but for the sake of her beau. Furthermore, because of Karin, she was converted from undead to a regular vampire, and had a chance for a great future. According to her, she does not regret the choice one bit! Chiyuki saw this, and began to feel the yearnings for children once again, knowing now that things could work. However, she still wanted to think about it, because, in her state, she was better to her kind, and she would sacrifice much by making the change. She let it go for now, but she knew that, as long as Karin lived, she could change her mind. In her own words, “After all, isn’t changing her mind a girl’s prerogative?”
Ren still had not settled down, but if his father had any say, that would change! He told his son that, eventually, he would have to wed. Of course, he was fighting it tooth and nail. Fumio, because of how she took care of things, was given the job of caretaker of the Marker property, and she dove into it with full relish. She became a beloved friend of the family. Maki’s friendship with Karin was as strong as it could be, and she even considered crossing over. However, even though the Sinclairs had accepted the world as it was, they were not willing to cross over themselves, and she could not leave them behind, so she balked. However, she would remain a grand ally in the vampire world.
Now came time for the council, and as a part of the festivities, a concert was to be held on the first evening. A stage was build down the hill in back as to create an amphitheater effect, and D’Amphile and the Bats were headlining that night. They played their normal set, and Jean-Claude found it sweet that a young vampire in front was giving Anjou the eye, and she was not shying away from it. He went over and nudged her, saying, “So, got your eye on that one, eh?”
She smiled and blushed. He said, “Not bad, but take your time Corn Muffin, you have all the time in the world now!”
For the second set, they dropped the costume, and decided on a folk set. They came out and prepared to harmonize, as the first song was called The River of Jordan as written and sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary. It stated off slow, but picked up the pace, as the song dealt with the singers seeking purpose in life, and how it was that there is only one river and sea, and that there was only one people. All were one. It seemed odd to carry of such a sentiment in that environment, but the meaning was there to convey that, because they were all sentient creatures, no matter what they were, they were one, or could be one, people if they wanted to be. All the hopes and dreams of all of them were the same, and they were all one family, no matter who or what they were. Jean-Claude sang with relish, as Victor and Elda, Calera and Henry, and Karin and Kenta snuggled up while they sung and played. Yuriya sat in her chair, ready to pop, and much larger than expected. It turned out that they were to be twins, and that made everyone joyous. However, just as the last song in the set was finished, she groaned. She had done so but fifteen minutes earlier, everyone stopped. Yuriya then said, “Baby, it’s time!”
Everyone cheered as they rushed her back to their house. Because of the nature of things, they had decided to have the child at home, and there was a doctor vampire in the mix, which was convenient. They got her back to the house just as the water broke. Jean-Claude went in with the doctor, a couple of nurses, and everyone waited. As labor is wont to be, it was long. However, at about two in the morning, mixed with the screams and groans of travail, the cry of a child was heard across the house. This was followed ten minutes later by another cry, and the Marker family made their way upstairs as everyone waited outside the house for the news. Yuriya was understandably exhausted and Jean-Claude was beaming. They were fraternal twins, and they decided to name the boy Michael after his father and the girl Shelia after his mother. He brought the babies down for all to see, and everyone was applauding and cheering. Someone asked, “So, do you know what they are?”
Jean-Claude knew what that meant, and they were asking if they were dhampirs, humans, or full vampires. At that point, he really did not care what they were, and all he said was, “They are happy and healthy babies--a boy and a girl--who are loved very much by their family, and that’s all I need to know!”
After some more applause, he went back in, and brought the babies back in, as to where it was now just the Markers and the new parents. He then handed them to Karin, because he felt that she also deserved to be amongst the first of the family to hold them, because she was greatly responsible for their existence. “You do realize that you are kind of a godmother to all the vampires that are now being born, right?”
“I know,” she said, smiling, betraying a tear on her face, and she then said, “And that makes me so happy!”
She then looked down at them and said, “Auntie Karin loves you!” and they cooed contentedly. She nuzzled them, and said in the most tender and caring way she could, “Welcome to the family!”