Eventually, Lucy finished her work in the yard and showered.
      She found her husband waiting for her in the kitchen when she was done, sipping tea.
      He was beautiful; beautiful, unique, and altogether hers. She wished she could wipe away the scars from his confinement, wipe away the memories that still haunted his eyes at times. He had promised her that in time, they would fade – but they both knew that, in time, so would she.
      It was a very real fear. One that haunted them both had sent her fleeing at times to the comfort of physical labor and a safe outlet for her anger.
      “Feeling better?” he asked calmly.
      “Are you really going to turn that photographer into a toad?”
      “A frog, my dear – and yes. I might as well get it out early and often that I don’t make idle threats.”
      “Still, a frog? It’s rather unoriginal, and you might draw accusations of witchcraft.”  
      Lucy grinned girlishly. “Not if I send him to France.”
      Ashmed Belhor laughed outright, nearly spilling his tea. “That’s why I love you, my dear,” he said. “You’re so damned clever.”
      “I’m glad you approve,” Lucy said, her eyes sparkling with mischief.
      Ashmed’s mercury eyes became unexpectedly serious. “Speaking of ‘approve,’ this came from one of your uncles,” he said, and sent a small packet sliding across the table toward her. “I didn’t open it yet.”
      She caught it easily and, with a puzzled crease wrinkling her forehead, opened the envelope. For her husband’s benefit, she read what it said out loud. “Lucy, your mother asked me to look into this new problem of yours. I did some checking in the archives. Here’s what I found.” She flipped the page and as her eyes lit upon the title of the laboriously copied paper she forgot to continue talking. A headache began to build as she read, but she ignored it.
      Ashmed, ancient in the ways of patience, waited until she came back to herself and remembered that he was there.
      Abruptly, Lucy blushed and tore her gaze from the handwritten page. “What do you know about Nicholas Flamel?” she asked her husband.
      “Nothing. Is it a name of note?”
      Lucy shook her head, causing her head to throb a little more. She winced, but explained to her husband, “Only in that he was one of the few magic-users left after the Banishment. He was an alchemist. One of the best. We always knew that he’d managed to create the Philosopher’s stone, but we never knew what happened to it.”
      Ashmed knew what the Philosopher’s stone was. She’d told him about it in their discussions of immortality. He remembered. “Do we now?”
      Lucy shook her head, but a broad grin spread across her face. “No. But we do know what happened to him.”
      Ashmed sat forward in his seat. “What happened to him?”
      “He and his wife moved to North America in the late 1700s. One of my ancestors lent them money during the Great Depression 150 years ago.”
      “Did they pay it back?”
      “No, but that’s not the point.”
      “What is the point?”
      “We know where to start looking for them.”
      “Where are we headed?”
      “To Aaron. He’ll know who can help us.”
      Ashmed nodded. It was the best course of action, and the Donovan Patriarch did indeed have the contacts to know who could be trusted to help them – though he hadn’t been born a Donovan himself. Trying to find two immortal humans was not a task for amateurs, no matter how motivated they were.

The End

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