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How Green Becomes Wood

"Oh, habibi..." Daizi exhaled, and, as she always did, held him tighter than he felt comfortable holding her. She kissed the top of his head and rubbed his back with one hand, "You did so good... so good..."

Dark went to sit by Xander, and looked down at the CD. He didn't know exactly what to say. Tara might have lived a very different life, if not for one little choice. And she still might have, if she decided against keeping them. He inhaled, looking down at the CD and concert ticket, "She chose you." He murmured.


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Alec smiled briefly and snuggled in. "Thank you for everything," he whispered tiredly. "Today would have been very different without you."

Xander gave a tiny jerk of a nod and carefully picked the ticket off the back. "But why?" he asked quietly, looking it over. "Why would she do that?" Then he shook his head. "No, don't try to answer. She's the only one that could, and I guess it doesn't matter." He paused and bit his lip, still looking at the ticket. "But I'm glad she did."
"I love you, Alec." Daizi whispered, closing her eyes. She was so glad to have him in her life, but felt so guilty about being glad about it. A woman had to die for it. Hopefully, Tara approved of her and Dark. Hopefully she understood. Maybe she had blown the twins to that frozen corner so Dark could find them.

"I would not have tried to," Dark replied. He wanted to say he was glad too, but like Daizi, he was aware of the implication. But he was glad, "she raised good sons."


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"I love you, too," Alec whispered back. Gently, he pulled away. "I think I'm going to go to my room. I want a little bit of alone time." He smiled at Daizi and gave her arm a little squeeze before heading upstairs. Today had been heavy. Despite his best attempts at keeping it light, he had felt that heaviness and knew there was no escaping it. It just needed to be for a while, and then it would get better.

"Yeah," Xander said quietly. He glanced sideways at Dark. "I'm glad to have ended up here. When our mum died, we had nowhere. Now we have here. It's... it's better here than anywhere else. I'm glad of that."
"Okay," Daizi said, putting her hand over his before letting him go. She didn't say if you need anything. He already knew, she was certain of that. And he deserved time alone to process his feelings. Daizi listened to his footsteps leave the kitchen and head up the stairs, and then she stood to join the rest in the living room.

Dark nodded, smiling only slightly, "Daizi and I are both... incredibly happy to have you here. And relieved to know you like it with us. We enjoyed our life when it was just us, but... I think we both prefer it now. I know I do. I would not trade it."


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"It was a weird transition, but, yeah, we wouldn't trade it, either," Xander agreed. He paused and then shrugged. "Yeah, I guess we'd trade it for one thing, but considering that's impossible... this is the next best thing." He sighed and ran a hand through his short hair. "I think I'm going to go take a shower or something." he stood up and started to move away. He stopped and asked, "Unless you need anything?"
"I do not blame you for being willing to trade us for that," Dark replied, and meant it. Although, he thought, if there was a way for her mother to live again, perhaps she would move in, and all of them could live together. It would put Daizi in a difficult and awkward position, but she wouldn't begrudge it either, "We just want you to be happy... And no, I do not need anything. Go do what you need."


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Xander gave a slight nod and headed upstairs. He heard Alec rustling around in their room, but he didn't want to disrupt him. He went to the shower and sat in the bath under the running water, letting it run over his head and down his back. He didn't think, just let the emotions run through him. He loved living with Dark and Daizi, loved it more than he'd ever admit (other than his statement that he'd live here forever), but he also wished more than anything that his mother could be alive and be here. A part of him hated himself for the fact that he was happier here and now than he'd ever been when his mother was alive. Was it wrong to want both? To live like this but with his mother? He supposed it was only natural, but in any case, it was impossible. He shook his head, sending water flying. It didn't matter. His mother would understand, he knew she would, and in any case, she was dead. He missed her, he did, and he wasn't ashamed of that, but he also just wanted to love being here. He sighed and hung his head. Their question had been answered, if what had happened was an answer. Even if it wasn't, he could pretend like it was. That lifted a bit of guilt from his shoulders. Maybe it was okay to move on. Maybe it was okay to love and miss someone, but also let himself love someone else.

Eventually, he dragged himself out of the shower and dried himself off, feeling as though he was brushing off the sadness and the heaviness of the day as he did so. In their room, Alec sat at the desk with his headphone plugged into the laptop, listening to music. Xander tossed his shirt at his brother to get his attention.

"What are you watching?" he asked.

"A new band I found. Well, older, but new to me," Alec said quietly. "Feeling better?"

Xander pulled a chair over to sit next to him. "Actually... yeah," he admitted. "You?"

Alec nodded. "Still sad, but lighter. I guess it'll be a while for the sadness to leave, but I do feel better about loving two mothers."

"It's awkward, but it makes sense," Xander agreed. He gestured to the screen. "What is that?"

"The Cog is Dead. They're a steampunk band, kind of." Alec unplugged the headphones, and they sat listening to the songs.

Xander didn't mind the music, but what he saw was the style of the people, the performers. He urged Alec to click on song after song as he studied the leather futuristic yet old-fashioned style. An idea stirred in the back of his mind. Eventually, they moved on, listening to random music, much of it Celtic, until late into the night. It was an odd end to the day, but a quiet one that seemed right for them. The entire day had just seemed right. Stressful, but right.
After both twins were upstairs, Dark lay his head down against Daizi's belly, since her lap was so much smaller than it used to be, and closed his eyes with a soft sigh.

"Are you okay?" Daizi asked, running her fingers through his hair.

"Mmhm... There has been a lot of emotion in the house today."

"I know... They seem to be coping well, at least."

Dark nodded, reaching up with one hand to hold Daizi's, "I took them to her grave. We all spoke to her... I told her about you, and about your family. The ones who are... And about Omar, our Omar, not your brother."

The fingers she had in his hair stilled for a moment and then started again. The grief of that name still gnawed at her, and always would, "She doesn't need to care for him, she deserves to rest."

"No, but she can visit. An aunt for him, if not... But I..." Dark opened his eyes and looked up at his wife. It was an awkward angle to see her at, but still lovely. He needed to see her, "I am glad their aunt is making an effort. I hope she stays."

"Me too... She reminds me of you, you know... Very reserved..."

"I wish the twins understood..." He began to say, and then stopped himself, shutting his eyes.

"What's on your mind, darling?" Daizi asked, and he rolled over onto his side, facing her, curling as close to her body as he could. Her hand he had dropped, and instead he wrapped his upper arm around her and folded the other tight beneath his body.

"I do not have family," Dark said softly, after some time had passed, "I know, I have you and Cooger, and now the twins, and her," He swiveled his head to kiss her belly, "but... She is the only one related to me, and I have no one from my past. From my country... No link from where I am from, no one who can answer my questions... And our daughter is going to grow up Iraqi-Egyptian-American, but I will be her only tie to Iraq. She will not know it."

"You will be enough..." Daizi suggested lightly, laying her other hand on his shoulder.

Dark paused again, "No I will not... Not in that way. And I just... I thought I would be okay, truly, I thought I had accepted that I am alone, but, seeing the twins with Ciara, even though it is stressful and uneasy for them... I would give so much to have an unknown relative arrive at the door. Even if it went badly."

Daizi swallowed, "Well... You might still have family out there. I am sure you had cousins... Aunts, uncles..."

"But I cannot find them, I do not even know if any of them survived, or if they are still in Iraq, or if, like me, they fled. And I changed my name, how would they find me?" He moved to sit up, but lightly she pressed him down. It wasn't time, he still needed her, and after he settled back down, his broad back began to tremble. In the way he described, he was alone. Slowly she allowed him to sit up, and he knelt beside her and pressed his face into the crook of his neck, and just like with Alec, she held him tighter than he held her.

"It is never over," he whispered. Desperately Daizi wished there was something she could do or say to fix it, but... This wound predated and would outlast her. She was making him more family, but not family who would bring him at all closer to home, a place he could not even visit. One he could never bring her to see. It was not an easy evening, for either of them, but the rest of the week went fine, and the next week came easily.

That Wednesday, Daizi's work gave them all a half day, so she was home early, and was content to relax in the warm light of her garden, with her feet up on the bench swing outside.


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Alec was out tending the berry bushes - or more accurately, trying to see if he could pep-talk them into producing berries faster so he could eat them more. Occassionally, he'd look over and check on Daizi, but for the most part left her alone to relax.

Xander was upstairs in their room with the window open and the door closed, working on some project that had taken his fancy over the past week. He was working extra hard today. He came out randomly to run down to the kitchen and fetch some unexplainable item, or he'd ask Dark questions like if he or Daizi preferred snaps or ties, and then back to his room he'd go.

Daizi's phone rang, disrupting the quiet and making Alec jump.
Much like Alec, Daizi jumped when her phone rang, because she had been quietly lost in thought, enjoying the summer day. It was hot, but had rained most of the past week, so she couldn't help but enjoy it and make the most of the return of the sunlight... And she had a lot to think about.

So her phone going off startled it, and she quickly, slightly frazzled, dug through her pockets until at last she pulled out her phone, and answered it breathlessly, "Hello?"


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"Daizi, darling, I am terribly sorry, but I am forced to ask you - beg you - to do a horribly inconvenient favor for me." Sally's voice sounded far more frazzled and rushed than ever before. "I find myself in a spot of trouble, and I would never ask this of you normally, but, not to sound too dramatic, but you are my last hope! If you do this for me, I swear to owe you any favor you choose. Spa therapy, shopping day on me, restaurant... I would buy you a new car! Oh, but you don't drive. Never mind. Can you help me?"
Daizi blinked, surprised by how frantic Sally sounded, "Sally, take a breath. It's okay. What do you need? What's going on?" Out of concern for the fae, she tried to avoid promising favors without knowing what they were. Just on principle.


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"I need a date for this ridiculous event I need to go to for work tomorrow night," Sally told her, sounding annoyed at the thought. "Normally, I would take my husband, but he is currently out of the country! And Peter is far too young to go to one of these things. It is a formal, black tie event, and it starts at five. The earliest I can leave is seven, but eight is more likely. I would ask to borrow your husband, but I think he likely would hate it even worse than mine, but it is considered bad form to go without some kind of a plus one, even if it is a son, a sister, or a best friend. Oh, please, Daizi?"
"Oh." Daizi replied, a bit surprised, "I mean, sure, if you need one. Dark is actually better at those events than I am, you wouldn't expect it, but he's very charming, and even though he hates it, but he's better at small talk than I am." She blinked, too surprised by the invitation to initially reply with anything but rampant defense of her husband, "Sorry. Yes, of course I'll go with you! I can't say I'll be the most fun, but if you need someone... I have enough events at my job that I understand how 'not done' going alone is."


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"Oh, Daizi, thank you!" Sally sighed in obvious relief. "Truly, I am so appreciative of this! I did not want to bother you, but every other person I called either couldn't make it on such short notice or, more prevalently, were already going. I really need to make more non-work friends for occasions such as this. Thank you, darling, I owe you a massive favor. Shall I pick you up at, say four-thirty tomorrow? Oh, and do you have a dress? If not, you can tell me your measurements, and I can get a loaner made up for you."
"No, I have a dress. Or, I should. I haven't tried it on recently, but weeks ago, all the way back when that man brought Xander to a concert and we took Alec to a thrift store, it made Dark go stupid when he saw me in it. I hope it still fits, I have no interest in knowing what my measurements are now," She ran her hand across her belly. At the doctors they measured it, of course, and it wasn't... the most distressing thing, but when it came to having clothes made? "I'll try on what I have, see if it fits. It should, those clothes are made to expand, right?"


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Sally chuckled at that. "If it made your dear husband lose his mind, than it is perfect! And, yes, it will most likely fit if it is a maternity dress. Just give me a call if you need anything at all, darling. Thank you again! I need to go. Call me if anything changes, otherwise I shall expect to pick you up at four-thirty."
"I will, of course. And I'm sure Dark will love dressing me up for it, he loves getting to do my hair and makeup. Well, okay. I'll meet you tomorrow, then. I'm glad to help." She hung up the phone and then, realizing she made plans, heaved herself up to go find Dark and let him know what had come up, and then go try on the dress.


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Alec watched her go curiously, wondering what the phone call was about, but he resisted his curiosity and natural desire to go nosing about where he didn't belong and remained among the berry patch. If it had anything to do with him, they would tell him. That didn't stop him from trying to guess what it might possibly be.