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Three Generations [IC]


alderwitch

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Taylor had put off the extended family visit for as long as possible - not because she didn't love her family - but because she just didn't feel up to the insanity that several generations of Chuns created. Still, she couldn't put it off forever, so a few weeks after the baby had been born, Taylor took a rare trip down to the garage to borrow one of the cars.

Once the baby was buckled in to his car seat, Taylor slipped around to the driver's side and made the drive to the cheerful suburban home that she'd grown up in. It was already twilight when she left so that the baby would hopefully be more alert and less cranky for the outing. She didn't bother knocking as she let herself in and started trying to juggle the baby and get her shoes off all at the same time.

"Mom, Dad, I'm home - oof, Rex, Ace, get down!" Taylor lifted the baby up higher, glad he was still in his bucket seat as she pushed at the muzzles of the ill behaved labs. "Sit. Sit!"

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Taylor heard Jacksons voice rise above the general din of conversation in the living room, "Sit down dad I'll go help her out." he replied to his fathers grumbling about the dogs. Her youngest brother came around the corner with his old easy smile and a quick bat at the dogs hindquarters to send them running off towards the back. He was still a little skinny despite their mothers valiant attempts to plump him up but otherwise seemed much his old self only the slight redness and bags under his eyes revealing he still wasn't sleeping.

"Zee!" he said cheerily and leaning in to make the absurd faces that infants must constantly be the target of at her tiny bundle of joy. "He's adorable." he said with a wide grin and he looped an arm over her shoulder and took her other burdens. "You ready for this?" he asked as he slowly steered her towards the almost eerily quiet living room where the other relatives waited in anticipation.

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"Why is it so quiet? Tell me there isn't a cake." Taylor hissed back as she was manuevered towards the family room, her feet dragging. "I told them not to make a big production."

Still, she dutifully trooped with Jackson into the room and ignored the pang of guilt that seeing him always caused. Not for the first time, she continued having his memories wiped away.

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Jackson just smiled and ushered her around the corner with a small shake of his head, "No no cake but its mom so asking for it not to be a big production was patently absurd." her youngest brother teased.

As Taylor rounded the corner she saw the whole family arrayed around the spacious living room and a small hoard of bags in the corner assured that Baby Jack was not leaving empty handed this time. Not only were Taylors siblings and their significant others all looking up at her along with her parents but as an extra surprise her parents had Great Uncle Huang fly out from Hong Kong as well.

A chorus of "Zee!" and "Oh isn't he just the most adorable thing!" accompanied the sudden crush of filial eagerness to meet the latest addition to the family. Huang hung back in his seat smiling across to Taylor with a small nod of greeting letting the young mother and child deal with the more pressing attentions before moving in himself to meet the infant.

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Taylor picked the baby up out of his seat, holding him firmly with all his blankets tucked around him out for the perusal of her family. After blinking bright blue eyes at his cluster of relatives, he gave a blink of vague disinterest and began working his fists free of the swaddling industriously.

"Thanks. Thank you..." Taylor said giving her family a bright smile, dimples flashing in her cheeks. When her great uncle worked his way over, she held out the baby cautiously. After all, he was of Ace's set. Quietly, Taylor said, "We named him after you; Jack Huang Faretti, junior."

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Huang smiled at his favorite niece and looked down at her infant son, "Oh ho," he laughed, "You shouldn't have done that the children in the schoolyard will make such fun." he said as he lightly tickled the babys chin earning himself an attempted nip from Jack. Huangs eyes slid up to Taylor again, "Though I suppose he has many obstacles to overcome." he whispered, "If you need anything let me know Taylor." he added with a solemn nod and turned once more with a wide grin to congratulate her parents on their beautiful grandson.

The rest of the family noticed anything odd about the infant they didn't mention it though there was a strangely familiar thread of magic tickling Taylors senses as Huang moved into the kitchen to help her mother make s fresh pot of tea.

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"Thank you, uncle," Taylor murmured, pulling yet another teething toy out of her pocket and popping it into the baby's mouth before she turned him over to be passed around the family. Fortunately, he tended to bite down on whatever was presented but Taylor had concerns about when he got old enough to be discerning. As it was, rather than having that fuzzy unfocused look, Jack jr's eyes tracked like an infant predator, microfocusing on things that moved in his field of vision.

Taylor stepped back, nervously watching the baby get passed around her all too human family. "You know, you're the only one Mom has to bug now. Everyone else is married and dutifully producing dimpled chinese kids," she said companionabally to Jackson but her voice was concerned. Taylor was the only member of the family to know his secret, after all, and she slid an arm around his too thin waist.

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Jackson leaned easily against the wall as Taylor tracked her son being passed from relation to relation cooed at and complemented at every turn. She had to admit it was nice in a way to have everyone's attention so sharply focused away from her.

Her brother nodded and shook with laughter that didn't touch his eyes, "Well that's not in the cards anytime soon." he replied to her unasked question, "Jeremy left. One too many secrets." he whispered barely audibly. Vanishing for near a month and being unable to stop shying away from every touch had seen to that. "So you don;t have to worry about me stealing little Huangs thunder." he joked trying to lighten the mood once more.

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"Oh, no," Taylor replied, her voice soft and stricken. She went quiet for a moment, glancing away from the knot of family to look up at his face, "Well, that just means I can play matchmaker, right? I mean, my whole crowd runs around in spandex. They're pretty to look at, at least."

And they understood secrets all too well. Taylor took up a place on the wall next to him, with her hands shoved in her pockets and a weary expression on her face. "Too pretty sometimes." Taylor muttered.

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Jackson cocked an eyebrow her direction, "Too pretty?" he asked with a grin, "I like your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter." he teased, "So tell me more about too pretty?" he asked trying to cover for her as he often did since her life had so firmly interjected itself into his. Always careful not to let her blame herself or show the pain.

Huang and their mother came back in with the teas service and Huang gave Taylor a small shake of his head to indicate she should skip it. He assumed the charmed tea wouldn't effect her but better safe than sorry with this kind of thing.

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"Uncle Huang's magicked the tea," Taylor muttered as she passed the warning along and mentally ran through the list of supers she knew. She'd have to ask Jack. He always kept tabs on the private lives of their friends better than she did.

"Well, there's always Ace Danger. I dunno if you go for older men. He whisked me off to Paris to shop once. There's an interdimensional guardian I know that spends his day job as an art student San Fransico too."

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Jackson shot her a quizzical look, "Why would Huang .." he mumbled but decided to just skip the tea, "I'll be up all night." he said as he wave their mother on to finish serving. He smiled over at Taylor shaking his head slightly, "Zee. I'll be alright ..." he blinked, "You know gatekeeper?" he asked incredulously as she absently semi name dropped the famously out dimensional guardian.

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"Sssshhhh," Taylor waved her hands, casting her family a nervous look. They knew she was a superhero but Phantom's exploits were background enough that it didn't really click just what league she was in. When Taylor was sure there was no interest, she added, "Ace Danger doesn't impress you but Gatekeeper does? Of course I know him. Same company, different job and all that. I know the Master Magus too but he's straight. And a little wierd, honestly."

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Jackson shrugs, "Well I mean the Dangers are like family friends practically." he said honestly, "I mean I didn't meet Ace till your wedding but none the less I knew he was within the familial sphere ya know?" he asked trying to clarify. Jackson shrugged as Huang looked over at them chatting in the corner and caught Taylors hurried shushing as he laughed quietly to himself, glad she opened up to some of her family despite her new responsibilities.

Her youngest brother smirked at her, "You ever stop and listen to what you're saying and think how weird it all is?"

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"No, not really. I don't think I have a good yardstick for normal. I mean, Dracula's goons invaded my wedding and I live in an ensorcelled apartment." Taylor said honestly as she glanced back over to the baby and the family clustered around it and sighed, "Ace turned out so strange after his childhood that it makes me worry how the baby will do. I mean, he's got fangs. He'll be homeschooled for years until I can figure something out."

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Jackson looked honestly shocked at that revelation, "Fangs?" he whispered for her ears alone. He paused thoughtfully for a moment his face shifting through assorted stages of discomfort with the news be fore settling on a nervous, "Does that mean he drinks uhm...?" he asked cautiously not sure he really wanted the answer. Her brother then shook his head muttering, "Never mind I really don't need to know do I." before she could respond.

"So Jack busy then?" he inquired as even her undead husbands escapades had to be a better subject than a dhampirs dietary restrictions.

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"Omnivourus, as far as I can tell," Taylor responded, her expression a little lost. It wasn't the sort of topic covered in What to Expect when You're Expecting.

"Pretty busy. We both are. I've got those last classes to finish this summer, and magical and mundane work. He's been busy with all of his projects and we're looking ar moving someplace with a bit more kid friendly appeal." All normal things through an abnormal lens. "And we never ger 'just us' time now which makes it hard."

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Jackson nodded comfortingly, "Yea well between the new baby and work and all I'm sure you both must be." he said with a nod. Then a bit of the old Jackson crept back in, "I was more wondering how he managed to avoid the throngs." he joked gesturing to the just now beginning to get overwrought Jack Jr. "An don't say have a baby." he teased, "We both know that's not in the cards."

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"Yeah, well, that only draws more women too you. I'm afraid to let Jack out of the house with the baby. He'd end up with a horde and it would take hours to chase them all off." Taylor said, only half joking as she heard the baby start to get riled up. Calling over her shoulder, Taylor started to work her way through the crowd of family members towards Jack Jr. "You could develop a skin condition, maybe. Or a hunch. Excessive gastro-intestinal issues? All that fake belching from when we were kids might come in handy now."

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Jackson rolled his eyes at her gentle ribbing as she wove her way through the throng of well wishing relations. Jack Jr. Mewled happily as Taylor took him back in her arms and looked around with all to tight a focus at the still gathered family members. Little Jack it seemed was getting hungry and some of the vital relations hovering around were staring to look like a good option.

Huang too seemed to take note and in his gentle way suggested that Taylor and the baby accompany him up to his room where he could give them a little gift he had prepared. There were a few complaints but in the end Huangs age and associated filial gravitas won out and he guided Taylor over to the stairs.

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Taylor gave her uncle a relieved smile and gathered the baby up, carefully keeping him from her exposed skin as they made their way up the stairs. He was starting that 'hungry, so hungry' fuss but she waited until the door was safely shut to curl into a chair with him and get the baby settled. She lifted her brows at her uncle and asked quietly, "Did you actually want to speak to me in private, Uncle? Or were you just providing a convenient excuse. One that I appreciate very much, I might add."

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"A little of both." he admitted as he turned the other chair in the room at an oblique angle to taylors own and sunk into it. "My little trick with the tea will cover for some things but I get the feeling your little one shares some of his fathers appetites?" he inquired carefully. He did pull his ever present satchel from his side and begin carefully sorting through it as if looking for something while he awaited her reply.

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"Well, I think so. I mean, he'll eat milk or, uhm, blood with equal contentment but we don't really know if its just that he actually needs both or if its an either or sort of thing. There's not a lot out there for research. He's pretty unique," she smiled down at the happy baby before looking back up to her uncle, "So, we're sort of just playing by ear on things until we know exactly what he needs. We've got a good doctor although he's a little mad scientist, you know."

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Huang made a few noncommittal noises as he dug around in his satchel and a small cluck of distaste at her mention of the babies more alien dietary desires but no real surprise. "MmmmHmmm," he murmured as he pulled and aged sheaf of paper from the satchel, "I suspected that might be a difficulty." he acknowledged. "Unique mostly in his manner of creation rather than nature unfortunately." he said with a sigh, "Or perhaps fortunately."

He turned slightly in the chair to ease his passing of the papers to Taylor without risking seeing anything though whether he was more concerned about catching sight of Jack odd eating habits or just the intimacy of normal feeding was a mystery. On the papers she could make out her uncles neat hand listing off his own research on the matter. "There was a period during the Tsang Dynasty." he explained, "Only referenced obliquely in the official histories of course," he elaborated, "Empress Wu, seized control of the courts, her children had all fallen to a sickness as had her husband."

Huang let out a sigh, "Through alchemical reactions she was able to bear children for a creature she had captured. Children she could never lose." he explained uncomfortably, "Her creature was not of the same breed as your husband that is assured, and perhaps it will be easier due to that but ..." he trailed off with a sigh, "Instinct is a powerful thing, and fighting it is no easy task."

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"I know..." Taylor sighed and leaned over the baby, rubbing her fingertip over his petal soft cheek and then over the spikey dark hair, "It's been hard for his daddy and he's has all of his human experiences to draw from. Jack Jr.'s never going to be human. His eyes... he already tracks too well for a baby. Too hyper focused. He reminds me of a little kitten but I know that's going to get more and more difficult as he gets bigger and stronger."

She reached out with one hand to take the paper and start skimming it as if it wasn't in an ancient hand. "Oh... this is a real find! I've never seen this record before."

And Taylor hand searched and searched for any sort of note of a vampire hybrid or anything like it.

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