Candle light flickered everywhere, the room quiet apart from the occasional incoherent babble from a baby. Lilith could gaze upon her son for all of eternity and never tire of his perfect cherubic face. She had never considered the possibility of ever becoming a mother; being queen was all she every wanted. A child had no relevance to that goal, and she had never bore any maternal inclinations to ever want a baby in the first place.
She had always been power hungry, and power to her meant a crown and a realm to rule over. To be both adored and feared by those who were subservient; that was true strength. Even after discovering she was carrying Lucifer’s child, her first thought had been that this could finally secure her place as a queen, not a concubine. She scarcely spared a second thought to the child growing in her stomach; only the privileges that carrying a Morningstar would bring. But after the agonising pain of childbirth, to now holding her dearest Adam in her arms, she understood what true power really meant. Not only power, but what true love was. Her feelings for Lucifer, however misplaced, were nothing she realised that now. Never had she felt a love as strong as the one she felt in this moment and that feeling itself made her feel more powerful than any crown ever had.
Was she not a slave to her vanity, she would cry. But her freshly applied makeup had taken a lot out of her and she’d rather not spoil it with tears. Besides she had shed enough over the course of her life; there would be no more of that. Not now she had so much to look forward to. The bundle in her arms babbled louder, as if he knew what she was thinking and she beamed down at him. “Yes, we are going to be very happy here, my little devil.” She cooed lovingly at him, until the sound of footsteps approaching caught her attention and she willed herself to look up towards the open door of her room.
Approaching once again was Zelda Spellman, only without her sister this time. It had scarcely been an hour since they’d told her she was welcomed to stay and explained they’d killed and maimed some of Hell’s kings who threatened her child. The sight of the copper haired witch so soon worried her, and she subconsciously held onto Adam tighter, until Zelda stoped at the foot of her bed. She was still wearing the same blue ensemble she’d worn while delivering Adam, and when she’d visited previously. Telling Lilith the woman hadn’t had a moment to herself all night.
“Lilith I do hope I’m not disturbing you, I know you must be exhausted.” Zelda spoke a matter of factly, her tone hoarse and low as usual; not a particularly pretty voice Lilith mused, but a voice that demanded respect, one that was clearly used to being an authoritative figure.
“Certainly not, Zelda. As tired as I may feel I can’t bare the thought of missing out on any time with my son.” Lilith responded, already looking back down at Adam, humming softly. “But I’m sure you understand what I mean being a mother yourself.”
When Zelda didn’t respond, Lilith looked up again. The expression on Zelda’s face was one she’d not seen before on the other woman. It was a strange mixture of uncertainty and bewilderment and maybe just a little sadness. Her hands were clasped together in front of her, and she seemed to clench her jaw quickly before speaking again. “I’ve not birthed a child.” She said simply.
Rocking Adam a little when he started to sniffle, now it was Lilith who felt perplexed. “True you have not produced a child biologically, but you’ve raised Sabrina since she was two months old have you not?” She asked, as she continued to try to keep Adam from fussing.
Zelda opened her mouth, then closed it again. “Mhm, that would be correct.” She responded, sounding very much as though she had something stuck in the back of her throat.
“Well there we go then, I’m sure during those early days with baby Sabrina, no matter how tiresome it could be sometimes, you’d rather spend your time awake with her than resting. So I say again, you know what it’s like to be a mother.” Lilith explained as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Still Zelda seemed caught off guard, the confidence she’d walked in with dwindled away. Who knew she was such a sensitive woman, Lilith thought. When Zelda remained silent, Lilith’s patience started to get the better of her. “Anyway what was it that you needed so urgently? I’ve seen more of you today than I ever have before. I do hope there aren’t anymore pesky minions from Hell to deal with, hmm?”
Her abrupt attitude seemed to snap Zelda out of whatever trance she was in, and she cleared her throat before responding. “Mercifully not though I intend to pray even harder to Hecate tonight that she will protect us from further threats. And protect your baby from The Dark Lord.” She said, motioning her head towards the bundle in Lilith’s arms. “As for my intention on calling on you once more this evening, I felt a sudden need to explain myself for my treatment of you in the past.”
Lilith’s brows almost hit her hair line, of all the things she’d expected Zelda to say, that hadn’t even been on her radar. “Oh, uhh I see. Not to sound sarcastic but could you be little more specific? None of our encounters in the past have been what you’d call friendly.”
Zelda visibly bristled at this, and Lilith could actually see her counting to ten in her head. “I’m referring to when I turned you away the last time you sought sanctuary here.” She explained, speaking slowly and drawing out each word as if to make herself clear. “Seeing you with the baby has made me realise how utterly unforgivable that was. Regardless that I had no idea you were pregnant, any decent witch would of helped you. I do not expect forgiveness, only that you understand that I was doing what I thought what was best for the Coven at the time.”
Lilith didn’t know what to say to that. At the time she’d been angry, but now that she was finally safe, or at least safer than she had been whilst still in Hell, her bitterness at being sent away was gone. The fact that she was allowed to stay this time was enough to make amends for her previous rejection. What Lilith found curious was that Zelda seemed to have thought a lot about it, and was still thinking about it. To come to her so openly, and tell her she felt guilty. She could only imagine how much pride Zelda had to swallow to admit all of this. “When you’re in charge you have to make difficult decisions. It is a burden I only got a brief taste of, but I do understand, Zelda. And as for forgiveness, I’d be a hypocrite to withhold such a thing, given all of the times I have double crossed your family. So how about we just call it even, and move on?”
The tenseness in Zelda’s shoulders eased a little, and Lilith was sure she heard her let out a silent breath. She studied Zelda’s face as she watched her relax. Lilith took in each line on her forehead and around her eyes, the witches mark at the side of her face and the fact that her eyes looked closer to grey than blue.
“Thank you.” Zelda said, sounding much chirpier than before. “I’ll be leaving you alone for the rest of the night then. It might be difficult but do have some rest. I’m sure Adam will wake you when he needs attention. Hecate knows, whenever I finally fell asleep, Sabrina would make herself known the second I started to dream.” Zelda chuckled under her breath at the memory, before turning to leave.
“Wait,” Lilith called after her. Zelda stopped and turned back around again and raised a perfect brow up. “You haven’t held him yet. Your sister has when she brought him to me after his birth, but you still haven’t. Would you like to?”
“I...I,” Zelda trailed off, glancing between Lilith and her baby. “You’d let me?” She asked, voice trembling slightly.
Lilith couldn’t help roll her eyes and scoff, “you helped me to deliver him, Zelda. Hell without you to hold on to I don’t think I’d of been able to go through with it. So of course I’d let you hold him, come here.”
Zelda hesitated, though it was obvious she wanted to approach the bed again and take Adam in her arms. “It was a group effort, I can’t take all of the credit.” She insisted, still standing in the same spot. Lilith couldn’t fathom why Zelda was trying to deny herself something she wanted. Her continued rebuttals would be annoying, if the woman herself wasn’t so endearing.
“Just come here and take him from me will you? My arms are staring to ache anyway.” Lilith persisted, already moving so she was sitting on the edge of the bed. She had intended on simply passing Adam up to Zelda, but then Zelda was very close, and she sat down next to her on the bed. There’d be more room if they’d been sitting on the side of the bed, but they was forced close together at the foot of it instead. So close that Lilith could smell cigarette smoke and perfume on Zelda. “Now, now Adam. You be good while mommy has little break.” She said softly as she passed him to Zelda, who already had her arms poised and ready to hold him.
Once he was in Zelda’s arms, Lilith stretched out her own dramatically. Then pushed herself up to stand. She rolled her neck, and smiled as she watched Zelda with Adam. It astonished her how much holding a baby suited Zelda, the way she held his head and cooed sweetly at him was so natural it was clear that Zelda was destined to be a maternal figure. Lilith supposed that was why so many young witches sort of hero worshiped her at the Academy, and turned to her when in trouble. She wasn’t just their High Priestess; she was their unofficial adoptive mother. “See he likes you.” Lilith encouraged, stifling a yawn.
“I haven’t held a baby for a long time, not since Leti...well, like I said a long time.” Whatever Zelda almost admitted Lilith would never know. And she was too tired to ask her about it. “You are absolutely perfect, little one.” She said quietly and Adam gargled bit, so Zelda placed her pinky finger near his mouth for him to suckle. “There, there shhh, I’ve got you.”
“You’re probably going to be a part of his life for a while you know.” Lilith said out of the blue, though didn’t mention her plan for when he turned sixteen. “So it’s good that he gets to know you.”
Zelda didn’t respond, her focus solely on Adam. Lilith sighed, then rounded the side of the bed. She lay down flat on her back over the sheets, her feet coming up next to the end of the bed next to Zelda. With her hands clasped over her stomach, she decided closing her eyes for a second would be okay. Zelda had been correct she was exhausted, and as much as she loved Adam she hadn’t had wink of sleep since his birth. “I’m just going to rest for a moment.” She hummed sleepily, then nudged her foot against Zelda’s hip, “do not let me doze off for to long.”
“What do you think, dear? Shall we let mummy sleep for a little bit?” Lilith heard Zelda say to Adam, and she smiled with her eyes closed, then yawned properly. She didn’t know when she fell asleep, but she knew it was while listening to Zelda coo softly at Adam, and him making little noises back at her.
When she woke up, she could feel herself pressed up against something warm and solid. Blinking a few times, she realised that Zelda at some point had moved so she was half lying on the bed, only her back was supported by the headboard. Adam was now sound asleep in her arms, and it looked as if she had unconsciously, used Zelda’s side as a pillow. “Mmm, sorry.” Lilith mumbled, as she forced herself to sit up properly and move away from Zelda.
“It’s quite alright.” Zelda whispered, “you both must of been tired, he fell asleep right after you did.”
Lilith smiled at her sleeping son, then brushed a finger over his chubby cheeks. “How long was I asleep for?” She asked, noticing some of the candles had died out.
“Oh not long, I’d say it’s been about forty five minutes.” Zelda said casually, then glanced over her shoulder at Lilith. “I couldn’t very much get up to check the time with both mother and son asleep on me.” She joked, something Lilith hadn’t heard her do before.
“Well I feel a lot better than I did, so I guess you were right.” Lilith admitted, then stretched her arms over her head. “I’ll take him back now if you like, so you can go off to sleep as well.”
“Oh, uhm yes of course.” Zelda stuttered out. The tension in her shoulders retuning, as she moved to pass Adam back. “I didn’t mean to overstep my boundary.” She added sadly, as she handed Adam to Lilith.
“Overstep what boundary?” Lilith scoffed, “you’ve not...what I mean it there aren’t any boundary’s. I just thought you’d like to leave that’s all. You came here to say something, and ended up looking after my child while I slept.”
Zelda continued to look at Adam, until she realised she was staring. She shook her head, and diverted her eyes. “I do not mind in the slightest. In fact I couldn’t think of a better way to of spent some of my evening. It was a pleasant distraction from the chaos which surrounds us.” Zelda said, offering Lilith a small smile. “You’re very lucky, a child is such a precious gift. I hope you cherish him forever.” With that Zelda turned, and swung her legs over the side of the bed.
For some maddening reason Lilith didn’t want the interaction to end. So she reached forward and placed her hand on Zelda’s shoulder. “Maybe we could make this a regular arrangement?” She asked without really having to think about it. All she knew is that it was clear as day that Zelda harboured sorrow over never having a child of her own. That the witch had a maternal aura which became more obvious when she’d held Adam in her arms. The thought of denying her the opportunity of spending more time with a child, didn’t seem right.
Zelda didn’t look back, but she didn’t get up yet either. “A regular arrangement?” She echoed, “what do you mean?”
“Like when I’m tired, you could look after Adam for a couple of hours.” Lilith elaborated, her hand still on Zelda’s shoulder. It was rather an awkward position while still holding Adam with the other arm and her back ached. “That’s if you’re not too busy with the Academy and being High Priestess. Or if you even want to in the first place.”
Zelda finally got up, and Lilith’s hand dropped onto the mattress, then back to hold her son. She leaned against the headboard as she watched Zelda straighten her skirt before turning to face her standing. He hands were clasped at her front once again, though her eyes looked slightly red and blood shot. Like she was forcing herself not to cry. “I’d like that very much.” She answered quietly, and a little bit suprised. “But why would you ask me? Would you not prefer my sister.” She added, revealing her insecurity.
Lilith shrugged her shoulders. “Listen I don’t care who has him, as long as I get my beauty sleep.” She lied, knowing full well if she admitted the truth; that she saw Zelda as a natural mother and wanted to give her another chance, she would be embarrassed and change her mind.
“In that case I’ll be back tomorrow night, shall we say seven o clock?” Zelda suggested eagerly, looking at Lilith with what she could not describe as some kind of fondness. In any case Zelda had never looked at her like that before.
“Fine, though you don’t need to ask or keep to set times. I don’t mind if you want to visit.” Adam started to stir, so she rocked him again.
“A baby needs structure.” Zelda said, “he needs to learn when it’s time to nap and eat and well everything else at that age.” She ducked her head and bit the inside of her cheek. “I spent a lot of time teaching Sabrina.”
“I bet you did.” Lilith laughed, though there was no underlying malice behind it. Just genuine mirth at the thought of Zelda raising Sabrina. “Okay so seven o clock it is.”
Zelda nodded, then slowly started to back away. When she got to the open door she stopped just at the threshold. “Goodnight,” she said, before softly adding. “To you both.” And then she was gone.
“Did that really happen?” Lilith said out loud. Adam made a noise, which she gathered meant that it most definitely did. “Well, well my devil, it looks like you’re going to have Zelda Spellman as your babysitter.” And Lilith thought of how she had a new friend, or at least hoped that would be the outcome of their newly agreed arrangement.
The idea of being Zelda’s friend made her feel giddy; and she couldn’t explain why she suddenly felt butterflies in her stomach.
They barely knew each other. But like all things, that could easily change; and would the more time they spent together.
Or so Lilith hoped.