12

Lizzie Loomis returned to Collinwood with another of her boyfriends. The local police as well as the State Police were combing the entire estate and all the structures on it looking for Petofi as Lizzie entered the foyer of the main house and looked to her mother. She grinned and held on to her escort. Quentin was saying the man who called himself Petofi had claimed to be a friend of his father, but beyond leaving the fat youth killer at his home, he had no idea where he was, and in sense he was telling the truth. He did not know where in the multiverse of possible worlds the demented alchemist had vanished. Lizzie meanwhile continued into the main house leading another potential sex partner.

"Mom," She piped up before her mother. "This is Jimmy, my new boyfriend. We're going up to my room."

"I don't think so." Carolyn Stoddard-Loomis answered straightforwardly to her and crossed her arms. Lizzie stopped where she was and looked back.

"Crap!" She looked defeatedly to Jimmy. "She's back to normal."

At the Old House, Angelique sat by her son's bed and waited for him to wake up. Quentin had hit him pretty hard and he had not wakened up yet. Both she and Barnabas were pretty well impressed that Quentin had timed the shifts of the Parallel Time Room at the end of the West Wing down so perfectly. Trapping Petofi in another reality on another band of time was a stroke of genius on his part, but she was very upset that he had to crack her son's head to do it.

"Mom," William stirred.

"Sweetheart?" She watched as he rose slowly and looked over to his reflection on the bureau. Seeing his face staring back, he glanced over to his mother and felt his head. The corner of his head was bandaged with a dark spot where he'd been bleeding. He looked down upon his familiar hands and reached to his familiar mullet haircut realizing he seemed to be who he was rather than a wizened old fat man with a failing heart.

"How much..." His mind was still swirling. "Of what happened... Was real?"

"All of it." Angelique couldn't lie to him. "Are you..."

"Darling," She pushed him down and sat on the bed by him. "Please don't ask me that. I'm that sort of person anymore. I'm your mother. That's all you need to know."

"But..."

"No," Angelique's voice quivered with the undying devotion of a mother's love as she realized what she had to do. She took his hand in hers and shed a tear as she looked deeply into her son's big brown eyes. He looked so much like his father to her.

"William," She spoke softly. "Listen to me carefully. You have been sick in bed for five days. Everything you saw was a dream. There never was a Count Petofi. You have been sick for days. You never traveled in time..." Her voice cracked a little with a mother's love for her first born son. "You've been safe at home for five days."

Barnabas and Quentin watched silently from the door as William drifted off. Angelique choked back a tear as she caressed her son's hand and kissed his forehead as he slept away secrets he needn't know.

END