The Birth of a Magical Unicorn

by SweetSunnyBuns

Chapter 4 - Serenity Sunrise Shimmer

Serenity stood by the microwave facing her former EMT as he sat on her couch, the pizza forgotten and mouth still agape in shock.  She expressed her thoughts as cogently as she could.

“Wah… Huh?  Wah… you… huh?” Her efforts were not without results as Harlan grinned.

“Sorry to spring that on you, Miss Sunny.  I guess I should step back a bit and explain,” he grinned, thoroughly enjoying the result his declaration was having on the adorable redhead.

“So, going back to the beginning.  Miss Serenity Sunrise Parker, I love you.

“When I first saw you, you were collapsed on a sidewalk bleeding out pretty badly, but you weren’t crying or weeping helplessly.  You were facing down the man who had beaten you, fire in your eyes and steel in your voice.

“You confronted him, and your steel, your resolve, it broke through his rage.  You faced down someone who could and likely would have beaten you to death.

“Then you told me you were pregnant.  And that he was beating your child out of you…

Sunny’s mouth closed, then opened as she started to say something.

“Yes, I know you said his child, but let’s get this straight right now.

“It was very clear by that point he was just a sperm donor.  That stain doesn’t have the right to claim anything but responsibility for being a complete asshole.  No, she was… no she is your child, and no shitheaded child and girlfriend beating stain of a human being gets to claim anything from your child,” explained Harlan as Sunny started to interrupt him.

“So, when I found out he was beating your child to death, and saw the steel in your resolve and the pain in your heart…

“My heart broke for you.  All I wanted was to protect you from all the world.

“Miss Serenity Sunrise… Miss Sunny… I fell in love with you right there.  I wanted, no, I want to be the papa bear by your side from now on, matching that mamma bear I saw holding herself up with all she had left on that parking lot asphalt, figuratively crouched over her child and fighting with everything she had to protect and love her.

“Miss Sunny?  How could I not fall deeply in love with you?  Seeing the love you were pouring out in protection of your child…

“How could I not want to protect you and shield you from everything life had dumped out on you?  How could I not love your child you were pouring out your life for with everything you had?

“Seeing you there, resolute in your defense and outrage over what he had done, what he tried to do? I realized then and there I wanted nothing more in my life than to be by your side.”

Harlan paused for a moment, thinking about what he just said.  He continued.

“I know.  That’s not very romantic.  It’s not even very reasonable, hell…

“You probably don’t believe me.  I don’t blame you.  We don’t even really know each other. We met once under admittedly horrible circumstances.

“But, I don’t care. I know your heart…

“And I know in my heart, whatever it takes to make a life together, we can do it.

“And we will.”

Sunny closed her mouth, still in shock at his unexpected proposal.

Unexpected, but not unwelcome. She had dared to hope.  She had held strong, followed his advice and held onto her hope.  In his eyes, his hands, his charming drawl, she had found something else. She had found someone to believe in.  She had only known men who wanted something from her, who treated her well when they were pleased. Men who didn’t really know or care about her, but used her, and in the end used her badly.  Her heart was racing still, even as her mind was screaming at her to be cautious.

Never again. She was not going to rush into another relationship. Not just yet.  She wasn’t completely jaded, but…  Tom had hurt her. He had hurt her badly. He had taken the life of one of her children.

She was still processing that. Her grief, her anguish and rage, they were still raw. Just the thought of Tom filled her with homicidal rage.

She took a deep breath. She breathed in peace. She blew out her rage. In. Out. Just as her mother had taught her when she was a headstrong and spirited child.

Several breaths later, her heart once again calm, she looked back at Harlan. 

He still looked up at her hopeful. She smiled. 

“No,” she said, still smiling. His face fell.

She sat down next to him. Taking his hands, she smiled at him.

“No,” she repeated. “At least… Not yet.

“Harlan.  I don’t need a savior. I don’t need another man in my life to manage and control me. But do you know what I do need?” she asked. He shook his head, still shocked and disappointed. 

I need a friend. I need you. Be my friend, Harlan. You want to help protect me and my daughter?  Be the friend we need. We don’t need you to save us, but I will need your help, your support.

“Be that guardian, if that’s really what’s in your heart.  But, allow me my space to grieve. I need time to lament, and I just can’t handle anything else now.

“I appreciate what you’re trying to do. But don’t. Don’t be that person. Don’t save me.

“Please allow me the dignity of my own life and heart. And keep the dignity of your own. Don’t try to rush in and save me. 

“This isn’t a fire,” she smiled. “I’m not in mortal peril. I am grievously sad. I’m mourning. Let me mourn, Harlan. Mourn with me if you want to be my friend. But leave me the space, the dignity, to mourn my loss, okay?” She requested. 

Harlan looked at her in confusion. “I don’t understand,” he said finally. 

“I need time to grieve, Harlan,” Sunny replied. “I lost my daughter. I can’t just move on from that.” Her voice was beginning to betray her frustration. 

“But, she lived. She’s still growing in your womb, right?” Harlan asked in confusion. 

Sunny’s eyes went wide. She suddenly realized why he was so puzzled. 

He didn’t know. 

She sighed, her frustration fading at the realization.

“Harlan, I don’t think you have the whole story.  There’s something I need you to know,” she said.

He looked to her in concern.

“Anything, Sunny.  What’s the matter?” he asked.

“You keep saying my child.  I thought you knew. I figured Red Heart must have told you. But you don’t know, do you?  She didn’t tell you, did she?” asked Sunny.

“No?  Tell me what?  Though to be fair, good friend though she is, she can’t.  She’s not allowed to tell me anything about you, Only you can do that.  So… no?  She didn’t.  Tell me, what am I missing?” Harlan asked in concern.

“You told me to have hope.  And when I couldn’t find my own, you gave me yours, with your kindness and encouragement.  But Harlan… There is more,” Sunny amended sadly.

“Anything hurting you this much, I want to help. So tell me, please?” he begged.

“I’m sorry Harlan. You can’t protect me from this.  You can’t unbreak the hurt in my broken heart.

“Harlan. There was more.

“They were twins.  My babies were twins.  I found out when they did the exam.  And no, I don’t have twins anymore,” she sighed, a sorrowful tear rolling down her cheek.

Harlan gasped, holding her hands tightly. 

Were twins?” he breathed sharply.  His breath caught, jagged from the realization of what she was saying.

“Yes Harlan,” she replied, squeezing his hands in return.  “They were twins.  My sweet little babies were twins.  Twin sisters, growing together, waiting for a chance at life.  Both loved, both wanted.  And that shit beat one of them out of me.  She died and left so her sister could live.”

Tears poured down her cheeks.  Harlan pulled her into a hug, sobs wracking them both.  Her’s from the memory and depth of her loss, and his at the realization he would never see one of her… no, their, precious girls in this lifetime.

Hugging her gently he wept in shared grief with the woman he loved.

Friends.  He could do that. He would do that.  He smiled at her as they shared her pizza.

“So, no knight in shining armor, huh?  Dang, I was looking forward to that.  Serenity Sunrise, you would make one hell of a princess,” Harlan grinned.

“I may be a damsel in distress, but I fight my own battle, oh brave knight,” she teased back.  “But, I do want you by my side. By our sides. As our friend.  You’ve been nothing but kind to me, and I really would like to have you in our life,” Sunny continued.

“I’d like that too, and happy to do it. So, where do we go from here?” he asked.

“Good question,” Sunny answered. “I really don't know. But, I do want you around.  What do you propose?”

“Well, I was going to propose marriage and that we move in together.  But now, maybe dates and outings?  To be honest, I’ve never had any real romantic attachments. Like Red said, I’ve been committed to my work. But from now on my work comes second to you,” Harlan answered honestly.

“I’m not asking you to give up your passion, Harlan,” stated Sunny intently.

“You’re not asking, but I am serious. You’ve been through hell.  I want to be a friend you can count on and help you through it.  I can’t be that friend if I am giving 200% to work and not there when you need me.  So, you come first.  Friends do that, right?” answered Harlan.

“Friends do that,” agreed Sunny with a smile.

Taking her hand, Harlan smiled. “Well then, Miss Sunny, you’ve got a friend.”

“And you do too,” Sunny smiled.

“About the moving in; if you want, I’m still up for that.  Not romantically, at least for now, but I want to be there when you need me, if you need me.  If I’m here, you don’t have to wait while I race over from across town.  What do you think?” Harlan asked.

“I don’t know.  Maybe?  We’ll see. I hate to stick you on the couch but I don’t have a second bed,” replied Sunny.

“We’ll play that one by ear then.  I’m here if you need me, and I certainly don’t mind sleeping on a couch, Harmony knows I’ve slept on enough of them.  And when you want space you can send me home, no questions asked.  But if you need a friendly ear or shoulder, I’ll be here,” answered Harlan.

“Okay, couch tonight then,” agreed Sunny.

“Couch it is.  I’ll just run back and get an overnight bag later so I have my stuff for work tomorrow.  Anything else?” Harlan asked.

“I think I’ve had enough drama for a while.  Feel like taking a stroll?  We could hit the park and take some of the scenic trails. It’ll be nice to just get out for a bit,” proposed Sunny.

“It's a date.  Maybe I can take you somewhere nice to make up for the pizza we just ate,” smiled Harlan.

Sunny laughed.  “A friend's date, Harlan.  Slow down,” she grinned.

“A friend's date.  Completely,” Harlan agreed, smiling.

They ended up strolling through the park all afternoon, mostly with Harlan telling stories and jokes about the misadventures he and his crew got into while trying to do their job.  Sunny listened to her gregarious friend, enjoying his banter and the nature around them.  The ache for her lost child never completely left her heart, but the pleasant conversation from her friend and the scenery was a soothing balm.

He took her to a little bistro by the edge of the park for dinner, then together they returned to Harlan’s apartment so he could gather his overnight bag. While he quickly did that, Sunny glanced over his apartment.  As she expected, it was spartan and very bare.  He clearly had never set about making it a home.

They returned to her apartment where he snuggled down on the couch.  She sat with him, his head in her lap while she messed with his hair, just talking about their lives in general.

The next morning they were both surprised to wake to Harlan’s alarm on his phone, discovering she had fallen asleep sprawled over the back of the couch, his head still in her lap.

Laughing, he gave her a gentle hug then headed into the bathroom with his bag, showering and dressing for the day.

She made them both a small breakfast while he prepared for his day, joining him in eating once he was dressed.  With another hug, he left for work while Sunny readied herself for her day.