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I make no apologies for the strong character basis of this story and I also make no apologies for the nature of the story.  Shoot me, I'm a hopeless romantic, or as Kathleen Turner put it in Romancing the Stone, a hopeful romantic.

Conflicts

     Adam's eyes slowly opened in the bright light of dawn.  The sunlight streamed in the window, illuminating the face in the bed next to him.  He looked across to her.  The light reflected off her hair, making it seem redder than usual.  She looked so calm and peaceful, very much the opposite to her normal manner. He began running his fingers up and down her back, ever so gently, so they just brushed the toned, bronzed skin.  She turned over and nestled up to him.
     “Mmmm, don't stop”  she whispered.
     “I have to go.” he said, regretfully.
     Her eyes opened wide, and she looked at him.
     “Can’t I do anything to change your mind?”  she said, her hands wandering downwards.  Her legs wrapped round his muscular body and once again they were lost in the pleasures they enjoyed so much.
     But all too soon it was over and Adam got up to leave again.  He could feel her eyes follow him as he crossed the room to where his robe was, cast aside the night before.
     “Why do we have to do all this creeping about?”  She said,  “would it be so bad if people knew?”
     “Unless of course, you’re ashamed of me?  Of us?  Is that it?”
     Without looking at her, Adam could see the anger rising in her.  He knew there would be fire in her eyes when he turned round.  He walked over to the bed again and sat down.
     “Teela, we have to keep this a secret, just for a while longer.  I’m not ashamed of you, I just don’t want to have to share you with anyone.”
     “Share me?  But who would you have to share me with?”
     “If I announce you are the woman I love, everyone will see you as the next Queen of Eternia, you’ll belong to the people then.  Things will be expected of us and at the moment, after all the time it has taken us to get things together, is it wrong for me to want you to myself for a while.”
     “Would it be as bad as you think?  Or are you just afraid of facing your father!”
     Adam visibly winced.  He loved his father dearly, but things were expected of him.  His father found him cowardly, he only knew the side of Adam that was the Prince, not the side of him that was He-man.  But only a few people knew of that side.  He wished he could tell his father about it, make him proud of him, one day he would.  He knew his father wished Adam to marry a princess, to make a pairing that would be advantageous to Eternia.  Oh, he knew his father would never force him into some form of arranged marriage.  He would let him marry for love but it was so hard, seeing the disappointment in his face when yet again his son did not do things ‘for the good of Eternia’.
     Teela lay there, her face like stone.  He knew she had every right to be angry but this was the way he felt.  Surely he had a right to his own opinion in this?
     “Just go Adam, or you’ll be late!”  she snapped.
     He reached out to touch her face but she turned away.  He knew it would be useless talking to her like this.  Again, he padded across the room to where his robe was and pulled it on over his muscular shoulders.  With one last glance towards the figure on the bed he left the room.  Cringer stirred for a moment as he entered his own state rooms.  However, the cat didn’t speak, just sighed and went back to his peaceful slumber.  Adam again relinquished the robe and slipped under the sheets of his own bed.  His body automatically curled up, round an invisible figure.  It was only one month since the ball for his parents anniversary and already she had affected his life so much.  It was as if their destinies were intertwined.  Everything had been running so smoothly up to this point, it was as if they had been together all their lives.  Adam sank his head into the pillow and breathed in deeply.  He could still smell the delicate scent of her skin, and if he tried hard enough he could imagine the way her legs slipped around his body.  He lay there until dawn broke with only thoughts of her in his head.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

     Teela was summoned the next morning by one of her guards.  He knocked on her room and without thinking she shouted for him to enter.  He was only a young man, a new recruit to the guard, and was visibly embarrassed to find the Captain sat up in bed, the sheet barely covering her body.  He managed to stammer out that she was required to be present in the throne room, whilst never taking his eyes of her naked chest.  Teela dismissed him and then allowed herself to smile a little.  It was quite a compliment, until a month ago she had never realised the enchantment men had with women’s bodies.  Adam could lie with her for hours, just trailing his hands over hers, and watching her.  Although she had to admit, she herself had grown fond of running the tips of her fingers over his well defined muscles.
     As she dressed her thoughts turned to the night before.  She was beginning to see Adam’s point of view.  It was nice having the time alone together.  In fact all the secrecy added another element to the relationship, it was more exciting somehow.  And surely it wouldn’t be forever.  The way Adam spoke, late at night, about the wonderful times they would have and the beautiful children they would bring up together, didn’t suggest he expected her to be a King’s mistress.  Her thoughts also turned to the afternoon they had spent together, a little under 24 hours ago.  They had taken a picnic out to one of Eternia’s lakes and had spent the afternoon just lying in one another’s arms, talking about their childhood’s and the dreams they both had of the future.  She had been able to sit there and talk about her feelings for the mother she did not know.  The strange feeling she got, many times, that her mother was watching over her somehow.  Adam hadn’t laughed, just wrapped her tighter in his arms and whispered reassuring words.   They had finished the day off with a game of hide and seek.  It was just like when they were children and used to chase one another, laughing, through the woods.  Although this time, it was much more fun being caught.
     She walked out of the door, a smile on her face.  She could hear the voices of Adam and Cringer coming along the corridor so she ran on ahead and dropped into the doorway of the training room.  As Adam walked past she reached out and grabbed him, swinging him into the room and up against a wall.  With both her hands on his wrists she managed to pin his arms above his head.
     “Like to see He-man rescue you out of this one!” she said, her eyes shining.
     “Teela, as ever you have me at your mercy…..”  Adam replied, noting the look she had, and hoping she was in a better mood.
     Teela looked into his eyes and kissed him passionately.
     “What was that for?”  Adam said, looking very pleased.
     “Just to say, I understand now, and I’m not mad at you anymore.”
     “That’s good, I’d hate to think what you would do if you were mad!”
     Just then Cringer’s green head appeared around the door.  He signalled to them that they should go, especially as more people were coming down the corridor.  Teela left first followed soon after by Adam and Cringer, who were, as usual the last to arrived in the room.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     Assembled in the throne room were Man-at-Arms, Adam, Cringer, Teela and the King and Queen.  King Randor was the first to speak.
     “You all know of the conflicts we have had recently with the neighbouring kingdom of Nebularin.”
     All around heads nodded in agreement.  There had been quite a few struggles between the two kingdoms recently, a mob had been trying to take control of the kingdom, after the old king had died leaving no heir, and had not appreciated Eternia stepping in to help solve the problem.  Some of the Eternian Royal Army had lost their lives in this battle that many at the palace saw as unnecessary.
     “Well, a new king has been crowned.  His name is Broda and he was a loyal advisor to the previous king.  Broda wishes for Eternia and Nebularin to be at peace once more and has invite a convoy to travel to Nebularin to be the guests of himself and his daughter Samin and to sign a peace treaty between the two kingdoms.”
     “That sounds wonderful your highness.” said Man-at-Arms
     “It does, Duncan.” The king replied.  “I have decided it is time Adam became more aquainted in affairs of the kingdom, thus I am sending him in my place.  The Queen and I will remain at the palace.  However, we must be cautious.  The Nebularins have shown themselves not to be trusted in the past and this could be an elaborate trap.  I know I can trust you, Man-at-Arms, to act as advisor to Adam and be there when needed.  Teela, I entrust my son into your care, you will act as his bodyguard, and no matter what happens, he must return unharmed.”
     Teela and Man-at-Arms were just about to bow and accept their tasks when Adam interrupted.
     “Father, I must protest!”
     “Adam, what is wrong?” his mother queried.
     “I request another guard to act as my bodyguard.  I would rather Teela came along as part of the advisory party then as a guard.”
     “What is the reason for this?” his father asked.
     “I trust Teela’s judgement and want her as an advisor.  Another guard would be more suited to protecting me, whereas Teela can help Duncan and I resolve the conflict.”  Adam did not dare look towards Teela.  He knew her face would be set, she would be bursting to shout something out but he knew her manners would not allow that to happen in front of the King and Queen.
     “No Adam, my first decision stands.  Teela is Captain of the Royal Guards and the palaces best warrior, I trust no-one else but her with your life.”
     Randor then dismissed them all from the throne room.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Adam walked slowly down the corridor.  He knew she would be angry with him, he could have told that without even looking at her.  But she would understand wouldn’t she?
    He got to her door, knocked quietly and then pushed it open.  She stood with her back to him, silhouetted in the window frame.
    “Teela?” he said tentatively.
    She turned round and looked at him.  His heart almost broke as he saw the coldness in her eyes, so different from the laughing bright ones from earlier.
    “How could you?”  was all she said, not really a question, just a statement of hurt.
    “I did it because it was how I felt.”
    “You do not believe I am good enough to protect you?”
    “That’s not it!”
    “Well please, enlighten me, because I have run out of ideas why you felt you had to humiliate me in front of everyone.”
    “Teela, I don’t want your life put in danger for the sake of my own.  I can’t protect you when we are in Nebularin, I will be in the public eye, I can’t become He-man and make sure you are safe.  I’d rather you be my advisor so I can be sure you are safe, then have you as my bodyguard because I can’t allow you to be injured in my place.”
     “I have protected you for years, put my life on the line for yours.  I’m the best at what I do, which is why I am assigned to be your bodyguard.  I haven’t always needed He-man to help me out.  My job is to protect you as Adam.”
    “And as He-man my job is to protect you.”
    “No, as He-man your mission is to protect Eternia.” She looked at him, “For 3 years I have been your bodyguard, you have never had this problem before.”
    “The missions have never been as dangerous as this, and this time, I love you.”
    “If you truly loved me you would know that my job and your safety are the most important things in my life.  You wouldn’t have disputed the Kings Orders.”
    Adam just stood there silently.  He could feel her closing in, slipping away from him.
    “I can’t go on like this Adam, all the secrecy and now this.  My job is to protect you and now the relationship is getting in the way of that.”  Teela stopped for a second, willing the tears that were destined to fall to hold out a little longer.  “I think it would be better for us all if we were to end this now.  Just go back to being the Prince and the bodyguard.”
    Adam stepped towards her and grabbed on of her hands.  He could feel it violently shaking.  He looked deep into her eyes.  The sight of the tear film across them was making him lose control.
    “ Teela, I love you” he whispered.
    “Just go Adam,” she said quite harshly, but then she began to break and through the tears whispered, “please.”
    Adam let go of her hand, turned and stumbled out of the room.  He ran down the corridor.  Duncan was just walking up towards his daughters room when he saw him.
    “Adam!” he said.
    But Adam just pushed past him and carried on running towards his wing of the palace.  Duncan shrugged and carried on to his daughters room.  He turned to walk in the door and saw it was open.  A crumpled form was in front of the window.  Duncan ran over and fell down next to her.  Teela looked up at him.
    “Father!” she said before sinking onto his shoulders, tears racking her body.
    Duncan put his arms round his daughter and just held her, rocking her gently.  They stayed like that until the sun went down.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     The man lumbered along the dank, dark, smelly corridors.  Further and further into the heart of the mountain until he came into the main room.  The room was very dark, the only light coming from some form of crystal ball, set into a table.  The ball cast an eerie glow on the chair behind it.  The occupant of the chair was just a dark mass when the man entered the room but as he came closer the occupant leant forward and the light cast itself across his face, showing the exposed surface of bone and skull.
     “Ah, Beastman, I thought you might have got lost you were so long.”
     “My apologies master,” the man grunted.  “I have been at the palace collecting information.  I think my lord, you will be pleased.”
     “That we shall see.  Tell me what you know.”
     “The young prince Adam is being sent to Nebularin on a mission.  He is only travelling with a few guards, Man-at-arms and the woman, Teela.  They are to sign a peace agreement with the new king Broda and form an alliance.”
     “Damn, I was hoping the war would carry on.  It was draining the Eternia resources, helping them.  And it was taking many of the soldiers away from the palace, allowing us to take over.”
     There was silence for a moment.  Then a woman appeared from the side of the throne.  Her skin was tinged a strange yellow colour and she wore an elaborate head-dress.
     “Surely if something were to happen to the young Prince in the kingdom, then not only would it leave Eternia in chaos, but if it were assumed the Nebularins were behind it…..”
     “Then there would be war again!  A very clever plan, Evil-Lynn.  You are to be congratulated witch.  Although we must find someone in Nebularin who could assist us.”  He turned to Evil-Lynn.  “I will leave you responsible for that.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     Over the next few days they kept out of one another’s way.  Adam was busy having meetings with his father and the palace advisors on the situation in Nebularin and on the customs and laws of the kingdom.  Teela was kept busy making the arrangements for the travel and training the small core of guards they were taking along with them.  When they did meet it was usually on official business and they were polite to one another.
     Duncan watched all this from afar.  After the day he had found Teela crying, she had never spoken about what happened.  He knew the relationship had ended due to some argument but he didn’t pry.  Adam was very reluctant to tell him also.  The Sorceress had been in contact with Duncan, she was very concerned for Teela as she could sense the hurt the girl was experiencing.  However, nothing could be done.  Both of them knew she would shut herself in and all Duncan could do was be there when she needed him.
     Soon the time came for the convoy to set off to Nebularin.  It would take them 2 days to cross Eternia to the border where they would be met by the Nebularin Royal Guard and escorted to the palace.
     The Royal sky yacht would be taking them to the other kingdom.  It was a sleek, blue machine which travelled 2 feet off the ground.  Inside it was magnificent.  Adam had an entire set of rooms to live out of.  Duncan as his advisor was given a large room.  Teela insisted on sleeping in the small room which lay across the exit to Adams room.  No-one could get in or out of his room without having to walk through it.
     For two days they travelled through the countryside of Eternia.  The days passed slowly for Adam and Teela.  Adam would sit in his room and study everything his father had given him.  However, Duncan never seemed to be able to get him to concentrate, he knew his mind was full of thoughts about Teela.  Teela would spend the days sat up at the front of the yacht with the pilot, or in the armoury checking every single weapon was working to perfection.  She must have checked each one more than 20 times.  The nights took even longer to pass by.  Teela would lie on her bed at night listening to Adam pace around the state room.  Neither of them slept much during the journey, and if they did fall into a slumber it was a very restless one.  The relief was apparent on both their faces when they reached the border of Nebularin.  It wouldn’t be long before they could get off the yacht and find their own space.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     Adam stepped off the yacht.  The bright light of midday hurt his eyes after spending the past 2 days cooped up inside the state rooms.  However his eyes soon became accustomed to the brightness and he was able to take in the scene around him.  Only a few feet away from him stood Teela.  She was in a very professional stance, and seemed very distant.  Alongside him was Man-at-Arms and then the guards were behind them.
     A very tall, regal man stepped through the gates of the Royal palace.  Following him was a young woman and assorted guards.
     “Prince Adam, it is an honour to meet you.”  The tall man said, stepping forward to take Adam’s hand.
     “May I presume you are King Broda?”  Adam asked.
     “You would presume correctly.”  The man said, shaking Adams hand furiously.  Adam looked closely at Broda, to see if he could notice any hints of this being a trap.  The man was very tall and quite broad as well.  He had long brown hair, kept longer than Eternian standards, and a short clipped moustache.  His eyes seemed welcoming enough and Adam allow himself to relax for a moment.  He turned next to the young woman standing next to the man.  She seemed quite nervous which made her seem younger than her years.  Blonde hair trailed down her back, and compared to her father she looked quite small.  She had the same brown eyes even though the build was different.  A quite extravagant gown clung to her body.
     “Then this must be your beautiful daughter, Samin.”  He said and gallantly took her hand and kissed it.  He could hear a movement over his shoulder.
     “Ah, may I introduce your majesties to the rest of my party.  Man-at-Arms, my most trusted advisor”.  Duncan stepped forward and bowed.  “And my personal bodyguard, Teela, Captain of the Royal guard.”
     Teela stepped forward and was about to bowed when Broda swept her hand into his and kissed it.
     “A female bodyguard?”  he queried.  “Beauty as well as strength, you are indeed a lucky man your highness.”
     Teela blushed and pulled her hand away as quickly as it was polite too.  The party began to move in through the gates so that they could become settled in the palace.  Duncan walked by the side of Broda, answering his questions about Eternia.  Adam escorted Samin who was excitedly pointing out things of interest in the gardens.  Teela walked a few steps behind them.  She couldn’t help but feel jealous of the young girl.  Her mind was so occupied with Adam.  She quickly pulled herself together.  She was here to do a job and she would do it to her best abilities.  Nothing could allow Adam to question her again.  She looked around the palace grounds.  There were beautiful gardens, full of every type of plant and tree imaginable, however Teela was looking at it critically, too many plants and trees meant more places for troublesome people to hide.
    They were shown to their rooms in the palace.  Adam was given a luxurious suite of rooms with Duncan's just down the corridor.   Teela again chose to take a small room just off Adam's suite so she could be sure who was coming in and out of the Prince’s rooms.  After that she decided to leave Duncan and Adam talking about affairs of the state and take a walk about the palace to familiarise herself with the layout.
     Later that night, dinner was held in their honour in the palace.  A lavish feast had been prepared.  The talk around the table was of the future alliance between the two kingdoms, and of how they could help one another.  Especially with the plentiful mineral sources the kingdom of Nebularin had.  Teela found herself seated next to Broda who was incredibly interested as to how a young woman could find herself Captain of the Royal Guards.  Fortunately her father was on the other side of her and kept Broda from asking her too many questions.  Duncan noticed Teela’s attention was taken up with the opposite side of the table where Samin was sat next to Adam.  She was questioning him about life in Eternia and comparing the two Royal lifestyles.  Then Teela overheard a question from Samin which gripped her heart.
     “Adam, you must tell me all about the Eternian hero, He-man.  Everyone here has heard about him.  Have you met him?  What is he like?”
     Adam looked across at Teela.  He couldn’t read what she was thinking, she was shutting him out.  He looked to Duncan for help.
     “He-man is a brave and mighty warrior in Eternia.  Many times he has saved the Royal families lives and the lives of all on Eternia.”  Duncan said in reply to Samin’s question.
     She looked satisfied with the answer for a moment but then turned to Adam again.
     “So you have met him?  Is he as handsome as they say?  Teela, you must know him.”
     Teela glanced up, wondering how to answer this.
     “Yes, I have met him.  As my father said, he is a wonderful warrior and a great help to Eternia.”
     “But is he handsome!?”
     Adam turned to look at Teela, he could see how uncomfortable the questions were making her.
     “Yes, he is.”  She said, staring Adam in the eyes.  Then she turned and looked at Samin.  “But only if you like that sort of thing.”
     Adam swiftly remembered a time he had asked Teela, as He-man, who she would prefer, a man like him, or one like Adam.  She had answered, before knowing he was both, that she would like someone with the wit of Adam and the courage of He-man.  He almost smiled at that image, but then remembered the comment she had just made.
     The dinner ended soon after that.  Teela left the room to go and check the guards were in position and everything was alright.  Adam was asked to walk in the gardens with Samin for a while.  Duncan and Broda retired to their respective rooms.
     Teela walked to where the guards were and spoke to them for a while.  She made sure they knew her instructions and how to carry them out.  The guards they had brought with them were her must trusted group and she had practically grown up with them.  So when they began to forcibly send her to her room she didn’t argue and left.  Walking back along the corridors she could help notice, out of a window, Adam and Samin sat in the gardens talking.  She could hear peals of laughter echoing around the courtyard and she saw Samin rest her hand on Adams arm.  She turned away before she saw anymore.  Samin was the kings daughter, of course Adam would be making friends with her.  It was expected of him, but that’s all it was, part of the mission.  Teela kept telling herself this as she walked down to her room.
     It was late when Adam came up to his rooms.  He had enjoyed talking to the princess.  She knew firsthand of the pressures of growing up as Royalty and of living as Royalty.  Broda was the old Kings closest friend and they had lived in the palace along with him for many years.  The old king had treated Samin as his own daughter and given her everything she had wanted when she was growing up.  Although she was very beautiful, his mind never strayed far from thoughts of Teela.  Samin was good to talk to, but Adam didn’t find himself as involved in the conversations as he would get with Teela.  They talked of superficial things tonight.  Nothing of any real importance, only the privileged lifestyles they lead.  He missed Teela desperately.  He walked back towards his rooms and noticed her door slightly open.  He gently pushed it open a little more and looked in.  The crack cast a dull glow into the room and he could see Teela’s face resting on her pillow.  The red hair was down and spread out on the white sheets.  He loved her hair down, it gave her a wild beauty.  The sight of her, lying there like that, made him want to go in and take her in his arms.  But he knew he couldn’t, it was impossible, she had made their positions very clear.  He closed the door, quietly, and walked away to his own room.
     Teela waited until she heard the door close and then opened her eyes again.  Why did he have to do these things, just when she was holding herself together so well?  She tried to push the incident to the back of her mind and drifted off to sleep.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     The next morning was an early start as the talks were going to commence, culminating in the signing of the treaty tomorrow evening after a tour of the kingdom.  Teela woke up to the sounds of footsteps coming down the corridor.  She jumped out of bed and pulled her uniform on grabbing her laser, just to be sure.  A queasy feeling came over her, just as her father came in the door and she had to rush over to the water bowl, where she was violently sick.  Her father rushed to her side.
     “Teela are you alright?” he asked, a concerned look on his face.
     Teela wiped her mouth with a cloth and looked up.
     “I think so, I just felt a little sick.”
     “Don’t worry, it will be the food, we’re not accustomed to such rich items.  I was feeling a little off colour myself this morning.  But you’re alright now?”
     “I’m fine, don’t worry.  Nothing will take me away from my duties.”
     Man-at-Arms couldn’t help but smile at the last statement.  He was so proud of his daughter and what she had achieved, and he recognised a little of the stubbornness she showed.  Even though he was not her true father, he had brought her up and some mannerisms had rubbed off on her.
     “Is Adam awake yet?” he asked.
     “Haven’t heard him.  You know Adam, he’ll always take the opportunity to sleep.”
     “I’d better make sure he is ready.  The meetings start in less than an hour and we need to eat.”
     “I think I’ll skip breakfast today if it is all the same with you father.  I’ll go and check on the guards.”  With that, she left the room.
     Duncan walked through to Adam’s rooms.  He knocked cautiously on the door and received no answer, so he gently pushed the door open.  He could see Adam stood by the window staring out across the landscape.
     “Adam?”
     “Oh, hi Duncan.  I was just watching the sunrise.”
     “But sunrise was over 2 hours ago?”
     “Was it?  I was thinking a lot.”  Adam walked over to the table and sat down, rubbing his head.
     “The alliance meetings begin in 45 minutes, and your father contacted me.  He would like to talk to you during the afternoon break.”
 Adam just nodded and began studying a sheet of paper.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     The morning meetings were long and drawn out.  Ideas were put forward on how the alliance was to work, different proposals were pushed back and forth across the table but by the time the afternoon break came, both parties felt like they were getting somewhere.  Adam walked out of the room with Duncan.  He felt quite exhausted, this was the first time he had been the main representative of Eternia in one of these meetings.  Of course, he had sat in meetings with his father, but it was all so much easier when someone else was doing all the talking and arguing.
     Samin was waiting in the corridor outside of the meeting room.  She did not turn 18 for another week and her father was determined to keep her away from affairs of state until she was of the correct age.  She called to Adam as he walked past, and he wandered over to her.
     “The kitchens have prepared a picnic, if you would like to join me in the gardens?”
     “That would be lovely, thank you.”
     Adam took her arm and let her lead him to the gardens.  He looked over his shoulder to Duncan and gave him a look.  Duncan just smiled at him and watched him go.  The look Adam had given made it clear he was only doing this to be polite and probably would be happier catching a small nap before the afternoon’s proceedings.
     Samin led him to a small seating area in the courtyard.  The sun was directly overhead now and nicely warmed the area.  Adam sat down on one of the benches and stretched his legs out in the sun.  His eyes swept round the courtyard, taking in all the sights.  Some noise suddenly caught his attention.  He looked over in the direction it was coming from.  He could see the palace guards training in the corner of the court.  Teela was in front of them, her uniform left her back bare and Adam could see the muscles straining and the skin glistening from the work she was putting her body through.  Samin started putting the food out and Adam turned back to his lunch, trying to push all thoughts of Teela from his mind.
     Across the courtyard Teela was also trying to push some thoughts from her mind.  However she was doing it in a more physical way than Adam.  Training helped take her mind off things and today she was training hard.  She pushed the guards through their exercises and then started some fight practice with them.  She could see they were tiring and that the exercises were pushing them to their limits, usually she would stop but not today.  They had to be at their prime fitness levels.  Nothing that was within her power, was going to make this mission fail, especially not lax guards.  She found herself shouting at them more and more as they began to fall behind, until she finally managed to hit Tomin, one of the guards hard during a fight practice.  He fell to the ground, his hand up to his lip.
     “Captain!”
     “I’m sorry.”  She said and fled to the other side of the courtyard.
     Tomin dismissed the other guards and ran after her.  He had been through training school with Teela and was now one of her deputies in the Royal Guard.
     “Teela?” he asked as he came closer to her.  She was sat on one of the benches, her face in her hands.  As he came closer he could see her face was streaked with tears which she quickly wiped away.
     “I’m sorry Tomin, your face.”
     “Its nothing, it’ll heal.”
     “What will Rhoda think?”
     Tomin smiled as Teela mentioned his wife’s name.  Teela had been instrumental in getting the two young people together in the beginning.  If it hadn’t been for her persistence then they would never have got married.
     “She’ll think that after all these years I should have learnt to duck when you hit me.”
     For a brief moment a smile played across Teela’s lips.
     “Come on Teela.  You used to be able to talk to Rhonda and I, what’s wrong?”
     “Nothing.”
     “Don’t shut us out.  Most of the guards can tell there is something not right with you at the moment.”
     “Well you should all mind your own business.”  She snapped.
     “Its because we all care.”  Tomin retaliated with.
     Teela felt herself blushing.  “I’m sorry.”  She said again.  “I’ve just got a lot on my mind.”
     “Anything to do with a certain young prince?”
     “I don’t know what you mean.”  Teela said a little too quickly.
     “Come on, Rhoda and I have always known you hold a torch for Adam.  Guess seeing him with the princess all the time is pretty hard.”
     Tomin looked at Teela and saw her face begin to crumple again.  He wrapped his arms round her and just let her rest against his shoulder.  He could tell she was fighting desperately hard not to cry.
     Adam looked up across the courtyard and saw two figures sat on one of the benches.  He could make out that one of them was Teela and the other was one of the guards.  They looked very intimate, he saw the man reach up and touch Teela’s face and then help her up and walk across the court.  Adam’s thoughts began to race, she had already replaced him, with someone who it was easier to be with than him.  He found the anger building up in him.
     “Adam, are you alright?”
     Samin’s voice brought Adam back to the situation at the moment.
     “Sorry Samin, I’m fine.  Although I have to go and speak to my father and inform him of the events so far.  Thank you for the lunch, I hope we can do this again sometime.”
     “I look forward to it.”  The girl replied and then watched as Adam strode across the courtyard to the palace.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     He flung himself into one of the chairs in his rooms, one which was facing the large monitor that was the centrepiece.  A touch of a button on the arm of the chair made the screen flicker into life.  He tapped in some numbers and soon the image of his father appeared on the screen.
     “Adam, its good to see you.”
     “Father.”  Adam replied.
     “How are the talks going?”
     “Very well, the alliance should be signed tomorrow night at the latest.  Broda is eager to be at peace with us and offers many resources for Eternian use.”
     “And what have we offered him in return?”
     “Knowledge, for weapons and ships and the Eternian army should he ever need any assistance.  That includes He-man.”
     Randor nodded.
     “And how are things going otherwise?”
     “Fine, I am finding Nebularin to be a beautiful place.”
     “And your guide?  Duncan tells me that you have been spending some time with Samin.”
     “A little, yes.  But only enough to be polite.”
     Randor’s face turned serious.
     “Adam, Samin is a lovely girl and an ideal match.  If the Prince of Eternia and the Princess of Nebularin were to marry, think of the good it would do for the two kingdoms.  Each one joined.  No more trading and favours to get mineral resources.  We could protect Nebularin much easier.”
     Adam just listened to his father speak.
     “I’m sorry father, the meeting is about to begin again.”
     “Very well Adam, goodbye.”
     With that the screen became blank once more.
     “Goodbye Father.”  Adam said into the darkness.
     In Eternia Randor turned away from the screen to see Marlena stood in the room.
     “Was that Adam?”
     “Yes, my dear.  The meetings are going very well.  Adam is dealing with it perfectly.”
     “Did you tell him?”
     “Tell him what?”
     “That you are pleased with the work he is doing?  That you are proud of him?”
     “He knows.  Anyway I will leave the praise until the alliance is sealed.”
     “Did I hear you speak of Samin?”
     “Yes, she is a lovely girl.  An ideal match for Adam.”
     “Don’t you think he is old enough to make up his own mind?”
     “A push in the right direction never hurt anyone.  Adam is so lazy it would be years before he thought about a match.  He never seems to pay much attention to     women, sometimes I despair.”
     Marlena looked at her husband and shook her head.  She knew deep down how much he thought of Adam and how he just wanted the best for him.  But only if he could see that more communication and affection between the two of them would make everything so much better.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     Dinner that night in Nebularin was a quiet affair.  Duncan and Teela retired early to their rooms to talk together as they had seen little of one another on this trip.  Broda was spending the evening with his advisors as there was some trouble at one of the mines in the kingdom.  Samin could see Adam was preoccupied so she asked him to go for a walk to see if he would talk to her about it.
     They walked around the balcony perimeter of the palace, watching the sun setting over the mountains.
     “Adam, what is wrong?”  She asked.
     “Nothing.”
     “Was it something your father said to you today?”
     Adam just turned away.
     “Fathers can say things sometimes.  It doesn’t mean they don’t love you.  I know, my father wants things of me that I sometimes don’t want to do, but as the princess I must do them.”
     “Even if you know they are not right.”
     “Yes, even then.”
     She looked at him, and put her hand close to his on the balcony.
     “I know our fathers want a match for us.  They think it will unite the kingdoms further and make the alliance more stable.”
     “And what do you think?”  He asked her.
     “I think you are a very handsome man, and I have enjoyed the time we have spent together very much.  Would it be so hard to learn to love me?”
     Adam turned round, she reached up and kissed him.  He pulled away from her and looked into her eyes.  He saw the image of Teela and the guard reflected in them.  He knew he couldn’t do this out of hurt and revenge.  But maybe doing this would make his father proud of him for once, and a relationship with Samin would be much easier.  He wrapped his arms round her and kissed her again.  There were none of the feelings he had when he kissed Teela, but in time, he believed they would grow.  Samin broke off the kiss and took his hand.
     “Come with me.”  She said, and led him into the palace.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     Teela and Duncan sat in his room.  They had been talking about the alliance and how it would affect the guards.  Teela had been quite animated during this discussion but now she had gone quiet.
     “Teela?”  Duncan asked softly.
     “I’m sorry.”  She laughed to herself.  “I seem to have been saying that a lot today.”
     “Something is very wrong isn’t it.  Tomin was speaking to me earlier, he mentioned it may be something to do with Adam.  I know you broke up, do you want to talk about it?”
     “Oh father,” she said.  “Why does it hurt so much.  Why do I still have to love him.”
     “Teela.  These things are never easy.  Life wasn’t meant to be that way.  Why don’t you tell me what happened and maybe I can help.”
     So Teela sat there and told Duncan the whole story.  Duncan just listened and nodded occasionally until she had finished.
     “It sounds like the two of you just need to talk and sort some things out.  If you are truly meant to be together, and if you both love one another as you say you do then you should be able to overcome the barriers and make things work.”
     “Do you think so?” she asked.  “But what about the King?”
     “I think Randor will get used to the idea, and if the two of you are determined to be together, then he will have to.  Teela, I think you will make as good a princess of Eternia as any woman, Royalty or not.”
     Teela reached over and hugged her father.
     “Thank you” she said.  “I’ll go and talk to him now.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     In a cottage far away in the depths of the woodlands of Nebularin a farmer and his wife stood in the living area.  In front of them stood their children who were     sobbing quietly.  Three other people were inside the cottage, one a large hairy creature, the other was made partially of metal and the third, a woman, wore a dark cloak and seemed to be the leader.
     “What do you want with us?” the man stammered out.
     “Just a little favour.”  The woman hissed.
     “A favour?  What will we get in return?” the woman asked.
     Before they could blink the two large men had grabbed the woman and the two children.
     “I think, you may get your family back unharmed.”  The woman shouted, her evil laughter filling the cottage.
     “Put them down, leave them alone!” the man cried, throwing himself at Beastman.  Trapjaw leant over and with his hand, he flung the farmer across to the other side of the room.
     “Not a wise idea.”  Evil-Lynn said, her eyes blazing.  “My Lord Skeletor wants you to do a task for him, before you can get your wife and children back.”
     “What task?” the man asked.
     “Oh just a small job, nothing too hard.  We wish for you to assassinate Prince Adam when he comes through the town tomorrow,”
     “Assassinate the prince?  I will not.”
     “Then its time to say goodbye to your family.”  Trap jaw sneered and brought his right arm up, the moonlight glinted off a hook which replaced his hand.  The children saw it coming closer to them and screamed.
     “Wait, wait.”  The man shouted.  “I’ll do as you ask, just please don’t harm them.”
     “Good, I knew you would see our way of thinking.”  Evil-Lynn cackled.
     “But what will I kill him with, I have no weapons.”
     Evil-Lyn reached into her cloak and brought out a sleek grey object.  There was a button set into the top.
     “Just one press of this button and a practically invisible laser will shoot out, aim at his heart or his head and he will be dead within minutes.”
     The man reached over and took the weapon.  He turned round and pointed it at Evil-Lynn.
     “Let my family go!”
     “You fool, you think I would give you an active weapon?  I will be in the crowd tomorrow and will activate it when the procession draws near.  Should you not go ahead with the plan, or decide on any heroics, one signal from myself and TrapJaw and Beastman will execute your family.”
     The man’s shoulders hunched and he stared at the ground defeated.
     “Very well, I shall carry out your plan.”
     Evil-Lynn smiled.
     “TrapJaw, Beastman, take the woman and children into the next room and watch them.  I’ll stay in here with our farmer friend, just to check he doesn’t go to anyone for help.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     Teela hurriedly walked down the corridors towards Adams rooms.  The thought that they might be able to talk this through, that they might be able to work this out, had managed to give her something to look forward to.  Her mind began racing forwards, thinking about Adam taking her in his arms again and the way it would feel when his lips touched hers after so long.  She began to get goosebumps just thinking about the way they could spend the rest of the night, how they could make up for these past few days.  As she got closer to Adam’s rooms she stopped for a moment and composed herself.  It wouldn’t do to go in there with all these thoughts rushing about in her head.  They had a lot to sort out and a lot to talk about.
     Outside Adam’s door she paused again for a moment and listened.  Then she quietly knocked on the door.  There was no reply from inside.  ‘He’s asleep’ she thought, well it wouldn’t be the first time she had woken him up.
     She pushed the door open slowly .  It was a full moon and a brilliant light was cast across the room.  Teela could see Adam lying on his bed, the sheet just coming up to his waist.  She shivered as she saw his bare chest with its well defined muscles.  She stepped a little further into the room and whispered his name.  Adam opened his eyes and moved slightly to see who it was.  His sudden movement disturbed someone else.
     “What is it Adam?” Samin said.
     Teela heard the voice and then she saw the body of the young woman, naked, lying next to Adam in his bed.  A cry came out of her, and she quickly put her hand up to her mouth and ran from the room.
     Adam was more awake now.  He saw the figure in the doorway just before they ran out.
     “Teela?”  he said quietly.  Then with a little more urgency when he realised what she must have seen.  “Teela!”
     He gathered the sheets around him and dragged them off the bed, walking quickly to the other side of the room he threw his trousers on and his boots and ran out of the room, leaving Samin, naked and exposed on his bed.
     He ran as fast as he could down the corridors trying to find her.  Why had she come into his room?  What if she had wanted to sort things out?  Adam shut the thought out of his mind, it didn’t bear thinking about.  All that mattered at the moment was finding her.  He knew she wasn’t in her rooms so he went to the guard quarters but no-one had seen her there either.  He ran to Duncan’s quarters.  The doors were closed so he banged on them.
     Duncan came to the door and opened it a crack.
     “Duncan, is she here?  Let me see her, let me talk to her.”
     “I’m sorry Adam, that wouldn’t be wise at the moment.  Go back to bed, talk to her in the morning.”
     “Duncan, I have to see her.  Please let me in.”
     “No Adam.  She isn’t in any state to see anyone, and at the moment you are the last one she wants to talk to.”
     For one of the first times in his life Adam saw something in Duncan’s eyes that wasn’t entirely friendly, but how else could he have expected his friend to react, she was his daughter after all.  Adam turned away dejectedly and made his way back down the corridors.
     Duncan shut the doors of the suite of rooms and walked back to where his daughter was.  She had come straight to his rooms earlier, and since then had produced a whole flood of emotions, from hurt to anger to rejection and back to hurt once more.  Now she was lying on his bed, he’d managed to get her to drink something and for her own good he had put a little herb in to help her sleep.  Tomorrow was a big day, no matter what happened tonight, and she needed to be on her toes for it.  He gently pulled the blankets up round his daughter and tucked them in so he knew she would be warm.  The motions took him back to when he used to do it when she was little, when all he had to do was chase the nightmares away from her.  This, however, was a whole new thing to deal with.

Go to part II
 


Conflicts (part II)

    Adam reached his rooms again and walked in the doors.  He walked over to the bed and sat on the edge, resting his face in his hands.
     “Adam?”  Samin asked quietly.
     Adam turned around and looked surprised, he had forgotten she was here almost.  Since he had been gone she had managed to return the sheets to the bed and was sat up now, wrapped in them.
     “Adam, what’s happened?  Was that Teela, is there something wrong?”
     Adam sighed, “Everything, everything is wrong and it’s all my fault.”  He said in a heavy voice.  “I’m supposed to protect Eternia and now I just managed to hurt the one person……the one person…..”
     “That you cared about the most?”  Samin finished for him.  “Why didn’t you tell me that you were involved with Teela?”
     “That’s the thing, we weren’t when we arrived in Nebularin.  We had a fight back in Eternia, I couldn’t bring myself to tell my father about us, I thought he would be unhappy about the relationship.  Teela was angry with me for keeping her a secret and we split up.”
     “And then you came here and I threw myself at you, and you saw it as the easy way out.”
     Adam just hung his head further as Samin continued.
     “Then Teela must have come to talk to you, and found me here.”  She began to trail off.  “Oh!  The poor girl, that must have been awful.”
     “Teela”  Was all Adam could say.
     “What a mess.”  Samin added.
     “I’m sorry Samin, I’ve acted appallingly.  I should never have used you like that.  I wouldn’t blame you if you told your father.”
     “No you shouldn’t have treated me like you did, but I can’t have helped matters simpering over you like that.  I won’t say anything to my father, this isn’t worth ruining an alliance over.  Anyway, tonight wasn’t all bad, I guess you could say I’ve got some ‘experience’ before my 18th birthday.  I doubt I’ll have too much trouble finding someone to take your place.”
     Adam looked at Samin and saw the gleam in her eyes, he almost smiled but then his thoughts turned back to Teela and how she must be feeling.
     “Then again, could I put it down to experience?  Your heart wasn’t entirely in it.”
     “How could you know that?”
     “Call it woman’s intuition, and anyway I’m not the innocent everyone thinks I am.”
     “What do we do now?”
     “What do WE do?  I don’t think that it’s us that is the problem.  I’ll live, I’m sure I won’t fall apart at the seams knowing that the Prince of Eternia doesn’t want me.  You on the other hand, you don’t look so good.  May I make an intelligent guess?”
     “Be my guest.”
     “You still love her don’t you.”
     “Yes.  Yes, I do.  I love her more than ever.”
     “Then why don’t you talk to her tomorrow, tell her everything, the pressures you felt from your father.  Tell her I threw myself at you, held you prisoner until you gave in to my bidding.”  The wicked smile came back again.
     “She’s never going to want to speak to me again, and I doubt Duncan will let me near.”
     “Adam,”  Samin took his hands.  “From what I’ve seen tonight and possibly over the past few days, there is a girl in this palace who is desperately in love with you.  I think the two of you could have something very special if you could work this out.  And if you love her as much as you say you do, then she’s worth it.”
     Adam nodded his head, “She is.”
     “Then talk to her tomorrow.  You’ll work it out.  I know you will.  Now I am going to go back to my room and get some sleep before the big day tomorrow.”  She kissed Adam on the cheek, pulled a robe on and walked out of the door.
     Adam lay down on the bed, and closed his eyes.  He tried hard to sleep but ended up thinking of what he was going to say to Teela tomorrow.  Just as the sun began to rise, the Prince drifted off to sleep.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     The next day Adam overslept.  One of the guards woke him just in time for him to grab some clothes and go out to the courtyard to meet the others.  Everyone was there by the time he had run down.  He scanned the faces for Teela and saw her standing with the guards.  He could tell by the way she was stood that it wasn’t going to be easy talking to her.  His eyes caught Samin’s and she smiled at him, she knew he had been looking for Teela and the smile she gave him was reassuring.  He smiled weakly back at her before stepping up onto the transport for the day.
     A special ship had been made for these kinds of occasions.  There was a low cabin for the pilot to sit in with one of the guards.  Behind them was a flat surface with small walls all round it.  The walls aided in keeping anyone with harmful intent from climbing up on to the ship but were low enough so the Royals were not obscured from the people who would be lining the parade route.  Adam, Samin, Broda and Duncan would be on the flat platform, with Teela and some of the guards there to protect them.  From the discussions last night, the ship would travel through some of the areas hit worst by the conflicts.  The alliance would then be signed in a small village where some of the most horrific fighting took place.  The journey would take most of the day and there would be little time to talk to Teela as they would be on public display.  However, they would travel back during the night, so maybe Adam would have a chance then.
     They began the long journey through the kingdom.  Each town they went through was worse than the last.  Houses burnt out, crops lost.  Yet in each town there was a sense of community, one neighbour helping another.  Adam was amazed at how well the people had coped.  One of the larger towns was chosen for them to stop for lunch.  Adam lingered behind as the Royal party got off the ship.  Samin knew that she would have to think of some excuse for his lateness.  Adam caught hold of Teela’s arm as she stepped off the ship.
     “Let go of me!”  she said.
     “Teela, I really need to talk to you.”
     “I don’t think we have anything left to say to one another.  You made that very clear last night.”
     “Last night was a mistake, one of the worst I have ever made and I regret it.  Please just let me explain things to you.  Let me talk to you.  We always used to be able to talk to one another.”
     Teela softened slightly.
     “Things are different now Adam.”
     “For me they’re not.  I still love you.  Do you still love me?”
     Teela looked confused.
     “I don’t know, so much has happened.”
     “Look we have to join the others, let me come to your rooms tonight and just hear me out, then you can throw me out of your life if you wish.”
     “Alright, but I’m not promising anything.”
     Adam nodded and walked off towards the hall were a lavish feast was put on for them.  Samin took one look at him when he walked in and she saw it must have gone well, judging from the smile on his face.
    Teela felt a little happier.  The talk would clear the air between them at least and then they could get back to their working relationship again.  She sat down to eat but as she put some food up to her mouth she felt queasy again.  She rushed her excuses and ran back to the ship.  She sat back in her room and cursed herself for being ill on this trip.  But as soon as the sickness had started, it stopped and she was able to be on the bridge to welcome the party when they came back on board.  As he stepped on the ship Adam tentatively asked her if she was alright, only to get a snapped response of “I’m fine” from her.  Suddenly he wasn’t looking forward to the talk that night, he began to realise just how much he must have hurt her.  With a sigh he stepped back to his place on the ship and silently prayed to the ancients that everything would turn out alright.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     The party was growing tired as they made their way into the final village where the alliance was to be signed.  The sun was still in the sky but the light was fading.  Torches were burning around a table, on which the treaty lay.  The group moved off the ship and began to walk through the ruins of the main square.  Villagers clung to Broda’s arms, thanking him for bringing peace, praising him as if a god walked on the earth.  Adam found them turning their attentions to him as well.  They were so thankful the Eternians would protect them.  Everyone had heard of He-man and here they treated him like an icon.   Teela scanned her eyes across the crowds.  She saw scores of women and farmers.  Families who had lost their sons in the conflicts, their husbands and their brothers.  Tears ran down the faces of some of the women, they were so thankful that the treaty was to be signed, the conflict would not have been a waste.  One woman grabbed onto Teela’s hand, she looked into her eyes and whispered.
     “You will keep us safe won’t you, you won’t have let our loved ones die in vain?”
     Teela could only answer with a nod.  She had never seen anything like this before.  Her eyes scanned the crowd again, she saw an old farmer standing in an area on his own, he looked so sad.  Then just for a moment, next to him, she could have sworn she saw Evil-Lyn.  She shook her head and looked back again and the image was gone.  There was just a young child there now.  Teela concentrated herself.  Now wasn’t the time to be getting paranoid.
     Broda was stood at the table where the treaty was to be signed.  He was holding the pen which they would use, high above his head.  He began making a grand speech.  He would request Adam to step forward and Adam would approach the table, pledge Eternia’s support to the kingdom and then sign the treaty.
     Adam stood a little way from the table, waiting for Broda to give him the cue.  Man-at Arms was on the left hand side of him and Teela was stood a little way off to the right, she was between Adam and the crowd, with a good view of all round.
     Broda began the run up to Adam’s signing.  He signalled to Adam to begin walking to the table.  Teela scanned the crowd once more.  Out of the corner of her eye she noticed a movement.  The farmer that she had seen earlier was raising something.  Suddenly she saw Evil-Lynn again, and at that moment, everything seemed to slow down.  She saw Evil-Lyn shout something at the farmer and wrestle something off him.  Before Teela had time to shoot at the witch she noticed she was pointing something at Adam.  Without thinking Teela screamed his name and threw herself at him.  Adam turned round when he heard his name and saw Teela coming towards him.  Evil-Lyn fired the weapon, Teela hit Adam and knocked him to the floor.  A streak of laser shot through the air.
     The square sank into chaos, guards were running everywhere.  Broda was shouting orders for the farmer and the woman to be held.  Man-at-Arms rushed to the prince’s side.
     “Adam are you alright?”
     Adam opened his eyes, momentarily stunned.
     “Just a little knock on the head, that’s all.”
     He looked down at Teela, she was lying across him, her back upwards.
     “Teela?”  Duncan shouted, gently shaking his daughter.
     Adam pulled his hand out that was trapped beneath her.  As he pulled it out all he could see was red.  Then he gently turned Teela over, red blood covered her once white uniform.  There was a huge gash across her stomach and blood was pouring from the wound and down her legs.  Adam let out a cry.
     “Help her, someone help her.  Duncan, she’s been shot.  By the ancients, someone please help her.”
     He cradled her head in his hands and whispered to her.  Constantly, like a sea of words washing over her.
     “Please wake up, Teela please.  Don’t give in, don’t die.  I love you.  Its all my fault, I’m sorry, I love you.”
     Duncan stood above him, stunned.  His beautiful daughter, her soft skin he used to dry when she was a baby, all blood red.  That huge gash across her stomach.   Suddenly he switched into autopilot.
     “We need a room now, with water and dressings.  Quickly!”
     The villagers around him rushed into action, they readied a bed in a cottage nearby.  Adam gently lifted Teela up.  The sight of her, lying slumped in his arms brought tears to his eyes.  He was quietly sobbing as he carried her and laid her on the bed.  Never taking his eyes off her, never ending the stream of words.  His robes were covered in blood as were his hands.  He was stroking her head and her hair, covering her in blood, but no-one dared stop him.  Duncan reassured himself in the knowledge that for the moment she was breathing.  He thanked the ancients that she was unconscious thus could not feel the terrible pain.  However, he knew they couldn’t stay there for long, she needed something more than water and dressings.  A screech outside drew his attention.  He ran out of the hut and looked in the sky to see an orange falcon.
     “Zoar!” he whispered.
     He could see the bird was incredibly tired and very agitated.  The Sorceress must have used a high proportion of her magical energy to get here so quickly.  She was so tired that it was a while before he heard the voice of the Sorceress in his head.
     “Duncan, it’s Teela, she’s badly hurt.”
     He concentrated all his thoughts and replied back to her.
     “She is wounded, yes.”
     “Dying…….she’s dying.”  Zoar was becoming even more agitated.
     “We are doing all we can.”
     “Bring her to Grayskull.  I can help her.”
     “The journey would kill her!”
     “We have to take that chance, we can’t let our daughter die.”
     Duncan rushed back inside.  He grabbed Broda and told him to get the fastest veichle he had.  Then he went to Teela’s side and crouched down next to Adam.
     “How is she?”
     “She’s holding out, just.”  Adam said, the strain cracking his voice.
     “Duncan, if she dies, I won’t forgive myself, I can’t….”
     “She isn’t going to die.  I just spoke to the Sorceress, we are taking her to Grayskull.  The Sorceress can help her there.  Broda has found us a fast veichle one of the guards can pilot it and I will travel with Teela.”
     Adam looked at Duncan with that statement, questions in his eyes.
     “You are needed here, first and foremost.  Adam will go to Grayskull with us.  He-man must seek out the trouble-causers here.”  Duncan saw the unwillingness in his eyes.
     “Adam, there is nothing you can do for her at the moment.  You have a duty to fulfil and fulfil it you must.  The people here are frightened, they believe war will break out again over this.  You must help them.  Then Broda will find you transport to get you to Grayskull.”
     Adam looked up with sorrowful eyes.  He knew what he had to do.  He stayed by Teela’s side until she was lifted in the veichle.  Then he gently kissed her lips and whispered,
     “Stay strong.  I’ll come back to you soon.”
    Duncan waited till Adam stepped away and then shut the doors and ordered the veichle on.  Adam quickly ran into the woods behind the square.  People mustn’t see him as Adam as they believed he was on the ship travelling to Grayskull.  Once he was far enough into the woods, he pulled out his sword and lifted it above his head.
     “By the power of Grayskull!  I have the power!”
     He ran out of the woods as He-man and into the square.  He met up with some of the palace guards.
     “Who is behind this?” he shouted.
     One of the guards came forward with an elderly farmer.
     “This man says he knows who is behind the plot to kill Prince Adam.”
     He-man looked at the man.
     “Who is behind this?”
     “A witch by the name of Evil-Lyn and her Lord Skeletor.  They are holding my family hostage and forced me to assassinate Prince Adam or they would kill them.”
     Anger boiled up inside He-man.
     “Skeletor!”  He hissed, “you will pay for this!”
     He grabbed the man and shook him.
     “Where have they got your family?  Where are they?”
     The man looked frightened and nervous.  He-man relaxed his grip on the man and apologised.
     “They are in my house, in the woods.  I didn’t shoot the weapon, I didn’t.  The witch snatched it off me.  I didn’t shoot it.  Will they kill my family?  Please, tell me they won’t have harmed them.”
     He-man looked on the man with pity.
     “No my friend.  Not if I have anything to do with it they won’t.  You have been brave, but now you must show me to your home.”
     The man began to lead He-man and the guards into the woods.  They soon came across the house and inside could hear raised voices.  The villans had not yet fled, they were arguing over whose fault it was that it had gone wrong and what they should do now.
     He-man stepped up to the door of the house, he could hear the voices clearer now.
     “You stupid witch.  How could you miss him!”
     “Maybe next time, you should do the dirty work!  Then you might be pleased with the results.”
     “What should we do now Lord?  He-man could be here any minute!”
     He-man smashed the door down and stepped in.  Without thinking he threw Evil-Lyn across the room and against a wall.  He saw Beastman and Trapjaw had the children and the woman so he went straight for Skeletor.  Drawing his sword he threw Skeletor into the wall and put his sword to his throat.  Trapjaw was about to make a move to help his Lord when he noticed that the guards were also there and had their guns trained on them.
     “Let the family go Skeletor!”
     For a moment, it looked like Skeletor would be defiant but the look on He-man was strange.  For once Skeletor was nervous.
     “Let them go you buffoons!”
     The children were released and ran over to their father with their mother.  The guards ushered them out of the cottage.  He-man saw Trapjaw and Beastman make a move over his shoulder.
     “Get any closer and I’ll kill your master!”
     The two henchmen stopped in their tracks.  This was a new He-man, this was one where they weren’t sure what he would do.  He-man stared into the black sockets of Skeletors skull.
     “I should kill you anyway for what you did to Teela.”
     He swung his arm back and was about to bring it crashing down when he stopped.
     “Doing that would only make me as bad as you.  But let this be a warning.  Stay away from the Royal family and stay out of Eternia.  Or next time I might not be as restrained!”
     He let Skeletor go.  As the Lord of Darkness walked out of the room he spat these words back.
     “You fool He-man.  Not even going to take us to the prison zone!”
     “I have more important things to do with my time then escort you to a place where you will only find more evil like yourself.  But I warn you, Skeletor.  If Teela dies, I’ll seek you out and make you pay!  Now leave before I change my mind.”
     The evil warriors ran out of the house and into a portal Evil-Lyn produced.  He-man walked back to the square where he was met by the farmer and his family.
     “Thank you for saving my family.”
     “That’s alright, old man.  You acted very bravely, refusing Evil-Lyn.”
     The man just nodded.  He-man looked round at all the faces, all looking expectant.  Broda coughed and He-man looked up.  The treaty still lay there unsigned.
     “Man-at-Arms mentioned that the king would be willing for you to sign this on behalf of Eternia.  Let us not let today spoil the hard work of the past few days.”
     He-man walked up to the table and reached for the pen.  For a split second he almost signed the treaty as Adam, but remembered at the last moment.  Everyone around cheered and the feeling of relief was immense.  Broda began to lead He-man to the ship with the other guards but he stopped him.
     “I shall find my own way back, my friend.”
     With that, He-man walked off into the woods.  As soon as he got into the woods he began to run until he was in a secluded area.  Then he raised his sword and gently spoke the words.
     “By the power of Grayskull”
     Those five words transported him immediately to Grayskull and soon he was stood outside the drawbridge.  For a moment, he just  stood there, waiting.  Then he heard the mechanism turning and the great bridge come down.  A glowing light was visible at the end of a long tunnel.  He-man strode inside towards the light with a heavy heart.  The bridge closed behind him.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     Teela felt herself waking up.  Bright light shone all around.  She opened her eyes and saw she was in a brilliant white room.  No walls or floors were visible, and although the room was absolutely silent, it was a calming silence, it felt like being in a cocoon, very protected.  She walked forward a little, an unfamiliar feeling came across her legs.  She looked down and saw she was in a long white dress.  The bodice of the dress was tight across her, and her hands felt down it, across her stomach.  Images came flooding back to her, images of blood and a terrible pain in her abdomen.  She looked again at the dress.  No sign of any red marks, no sign of any gash.
     A movement to the left of her caught her eye.  She turned round, but not defensively like she normally would have.  For some reason, she knew she was in no danger from this person.  A man stepped out from nowhere.  He was a large broad man, with a smiling face and dark hair.  Although she did not know who he was, Teela felt a deep sense of love for this man.
     “My daughter.”  He whispered.
     At once Teela knew it must be her father.  She looked closer at him, desperately trying to memorise every detail of his face, his eyes, his hair.  She walked towards him, and at that moment she noticed two small bundles in his large arms.
     “I’m sorry Teela, it wasn’t the right time for them to be on Eternia.”
     Teela stared at the tiny babies her father was carrying.  One girl and one boy.  Twins.  All the sickness and the nausea she had been feeling.  The massive amount of bloodloss when she was shot, shot in the stomach.  Tears streamed down her face as she tried to reach out towards her father and her children but a barrier was in the way.
     “Its not time for you to join us yet Teela.  I will look after the twins until the time comes for you to join us.”
     “Please,” she whispered.  “Let me be with you, let me be with my children, Adam’s children.”  She stood at the edge of the room, too stunned to cry.  The room  started to move away from her, her arms flew out trying to grab onto something, anything that would stop her from falling.  The last thing she heard was Dannon speaking to her.
     “I love you Teela.  I’ll wait for you.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     The Sorceress sat next to her daughter who was laid out on the large bed in Grayskull’s main bedroom.  She had dressed her in one of her own white nightgowns.  The blood had stopped flowing from the wounds, but the deep gash was still there.  Teela lay peacefully as if asleep, but the harsh paleness of her skin gave away her state.  Barely breathing she lay there, oblivious of the people around here.  When He-man had come back to Grayskull he had rushed straight to her side, it had taken all the strength of Man-at-Arms and the Sorceress to pull him away from her side and get him to go into the next room.  Then she had sent Duncan away as well.  She could see the pain in the man’s eyes and had taken his hand, gently reassuring him.
     “I’ll take care of her Duncan.  But I need to be alone with her, just for a moment.  I promise she’ll be alright.”
     The Sorceress whispered the words, barely believing them herself.  Only once Duncan had left the room did the Sorceress allow a tear to fall down her cheek.  She had tried everything within her powers to heal her daughter.  Now it was just a question of time.  She took Teela’s hand in her own.  Squeezing it gently, she prayed and wished hard in her mind that her daughter would survive this.  But even she was beginning to give up hope.  She stared at Teela’s face, thinking of all the years she had missed, watching this beautiful creature grow up.  Yes, she had watched her from afar, seen everything she had done, but not actually being a part of it.  Now she might not get a chance to see the rest of her daughters life, she would not be able to hand Grayskull over to her, knowing it would be in safe hands.  The tears came faster now.  The Sorceress reached out and touched her daughters cheek, it felt so cold.  She reached down and felt her heart.  The silence of the room was the worse thing she could hear.  One minute went by, then two, she heard no beats.
     “Please Teela, live, please”  she whispered.
     She prayed silently to herself bowing her head.  Then suddenly she heard it, the first beat, then the next, slowly at first but beginning to get faster.  She looked at her daughters face and saw tears flowing out of her eyes and down her cheeks.  She saw her mouth moving and heard her form the words.
       “Please,” she whispered.  “Let me be with you, let me be with my children, Adam’s children.”
     The Sorceress looked down in shock.  She projected herself into her daughters mind, searching to find who she was talking to.  For a moment she saw the white room, and saw her daughter standing there pleading with someone.  She looked across and saw Dannon, her beloved with the two children in his arms.  He looked up and saw Teelina, his eyes brightened.
     “Dearest.”  He whispered.
     “Oh Dannon,”  she cried and tried to run towards him.
     “No darling.  I have not come for Teela, nor shall I take you.  Our daughter needs you to help her heal.  Go back to her.  I have these two to look after.”
 Teelina looked at the bundles in his arms and understood.  With that said, Dannon began to fade and the Sorceress felt the transition back into reality.
 She looked up at her daughter again and saw her eyes open.
     “Teela?” she asked.
     “Mother?”
     The shock on the Sorceresses face was apparent.  However, her daughter needed her.
     “Yes darling.  I’m here.”
     As Teela’s eyes opened she found she was in a dark room.  She could see nothing else except a face, for some reason she knew it was her mother’s face.  There seemed to be something covering her mothers head but she couldn’t make it out.
     “Where am I?”
     “You’re safe.”
     “Adam?  Is Adam alright?”
     “Yes darling, Adam is fine.  Its you everyone is more worried about.”
     “I spoke to father,  I saw him.”
     “Yes, I know you did.”
     Suddenly Teela’s expression changed.  Her hands flew down to her stomach.  A cry came out of her lips.
     “The babies, the twins.  I never knew, if only I’d know.”
     The Sorceress stroked her daughters face trying to calm her down.  She had been desperately hoping that she wouldn’t know about the children, that she would   have put the scene with her father down to being a dream.  She despaired of the years she had missed with her daughter.  The fact the girl had not had a woman to grow up with, to tell her of things.  She remembered how she had not noticed she was pregnant until quite late and thought of how Teela must have put the morning sickness down to other things, not knowing she was carrying Adam’s children.  Twins.  They hadn’t stood a chance from the laser blast.  Teela had suffered a large haemorrhage and miscarried both of them.
     “Mother,”  Teela whispered.  “I never got to tell Adam I loved him.”
     Teela’s eyes closed again.  For a second the Sorceress thought she had lost her.  But Teela had just fallen unconscious again.  Her body shutting down against the pain.  Teelina thought over the last sentence.  Seeing her mother and in her delirious state, Teela must have thought she was dead or dying again.  The Sorceress smiled a weak smile.  When she awoke all this would be a dream to her, she wouldn’t recollect being in Grayskull or that the Sorceress had been beside her.  Teelina knew what had to be done.  The secret would still be safe, but was it worth it any longer?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     Duncan and He-man paced the room outside the main chamber.  Neither of them speaking, both of them lost in their feelings for Teela.  That was, until He-man sat down heavily on a stone outcrop and whispered.
     “Duncan, I’m sorry this is all my fault.”
     “I don’t know what to say to you.”  Duncan said looking at his friend.  “You hurt Teela badly.”
     The pain registered on the hero’s face.
     “But I also know she would have protected Adam just the same, no matter what.”  He said, a little more kindly.
     “I should have been there, as He-man.  Why did it have to be a stupid Royal duty.  Why did I have to be on show?  If I had been there, none of this would have happened.  I could have stopped it.”
     “There is no use thinking of the past now.  We just have to pray to the ancients that they will not take her from us.”
     He-man swung round and pushed his fist into the wall.  A large hole formed from the force.
     “Why did this have to happen to her.  Why couldn’t Adam have been shot!  Why did she have to jump in the way.”
     “Because no matter what was done or said, she still loved you!  And she was devoted to her job.  That’s why your father sent her in that position.  He knew no matter what, that she would protect you.”
     “I hurt her so badly.  How stupid I was.”  He-man cried.
     “Yes, you did.  But there are two sides to every story.  You are my friend and I don’t blame you for this.  No matter what happened before Teela would still have jumped in front of the laser.  You can’t blame yourself for that.”
     He-man looked at his friend.
     “Thank you Duncan, for understanding.”
     At that moment the Sorceress summoned them into the chamber again.
     “Teela seems to have come through the worst.  I am not going to withhold anything from you both.  She did enter a state of death at one point, but she came out of it.  She also awoke for a moment or two but believed she was dreaming and fell into a coma again.  She will wake up again, but there is no telling how soon.”
 Silence fell across the room.
     “What should we do now Sorceress?”  Duncan asked.
     Tears formed in the Sorceresses eyes.  “Take her back to the palace.”  She whispered.
     “But why Sorceress?  Isn’t it better for her here?”  He-man asked.
     “The people will notice that Adam is missing, and I know if she stays her neither of you will leave her side.  Also there are scientists at the palace with more knowledge of these situations than myself.  I have done all I can with my healing spells and powers.  Now we must leave things up to her.”
     The two men nodded.  They could sense the sadness emanating from this great woman.  But the decision was a sensible one.
     “Duncan, would you sit with Teela?  I need to speak to He-man, alone.”
     Duncan nodded and walked over to sit with his daughter.  The Sorceress took He-man’s arm and lead him out of the room.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     He-man stepped into the outer chamber.  He turned towards his mentor.
     “What is it Sorceress?”
     “First, I think it is time you became Adam once more.  Especially if you are going to return to the palace.”
     He-man nodded and reached for his sword.  The transformation was quick and soon Prince Adam was standing before the Sorceress.  She reached out and put her hand on his shoulder.
     “What I am going to tell you, will be hard.  I was hoping I wouldn’t have to say anything.  That she wouldn’t have known but now I do.
     “What is it?  Is something badly wrong with Teela?”
     “I did not tell the two of you everything a moment ago.  Teela did die for a moment, that is true and she will survive her wounds in time.  But there is more damage than we could have imagined.”
     “What is it?”  Adams face was a mask of concern.
     “Adam, Teela was pregnant when she was shot.  One month gone.  She was carrying twins.”
     A look of bemusement came over Adam’s face.
     “Twins?  A month gone?  She’s carrying my children?”
     The Sorceress stopped him going any further.
     “She was Adam.  I’m sorry, the impact of the blast caused a miscarriage, she lost both of them.”
     Adam’s face fell.  The Sorceress watched the tears build up in his eyes and slowly begin to cascade down his cheeks.
     “No, why did this have to happen?  Hasn’t she gone through enough pain?  Haven’t I been punished enough?”
     “Adam, this isn’t a punishment for you, it was an accident!  You have to be strong about this.  When Teela wakes up she is going to need you.  She will need you to be there for her, not blaming yourself for all of this.”
     “Why didn’t she tell me?”  He moaned.  “I could have helped her.”
     “She didn’t know.  Only one month gone, no women around to recognise the signs.”
     “The signs!  Of course, she was sick this morning!  Why didn’t I notice and realise.”
     “Adam the children were not destined to be on Eternia at this time.  I know it is hard and painful but you need to sort yourself out.  You have to work through this with Teela, help her through it.”
     “How can I be there for her, after all that has happened.  After all I have done.  She deserves better than me.”
     “She loves you, no matter how she felt these past two days.  She has loved you for many years, and you her.  The two of you are destined to be together, the Protectors of Eternia.  You can get through this.”
     Adam looked at her again.
     “Does Duncan know?”
     The Sorceress shook her head.
     “I think is it up to Teela to tell him.  At the moment only you and I know, other than Teela.”
     Adam nodded.
     “There is something else.”
     “Yes, Sorceress?”
     “When Teela woke for a moment, she recognised me as her mother.  I doubt her sight was very good, as I got confused signals from her mind.  She could only see a face, and did not recognise my headress.  She thought it was another dream and that she was dying.  You must try and keep it this way, for her protection.”
    Adam again nodded, he understood.  Then he walked back into the main chamber and resumed his position next to Teela.  The Sorceress stood at the door and watched the scene in front of her.   Adam sat next to Teela, holding onto her hand.  His other hand gently stroked her hair and he was gently speaking to her, willing her to come out of the coma.  On the other side of her stood Man-at-Arms, holding onto her left hand.  His face seemed older now, deep lines set in, marking the worry for his daughter.  The Sorceress took one last look at her daughter and then turned away.  She couldn’t bear to watch them take her daughter away from Grayskull, not in the fragile state she was.  Everything inside the Sorceress was screaming for her to keep Teela here, so she could look after her.  Something she had never had a chance to do.  But the Sorceress knew if Teela stayed her then there was a chance she would recognise her as her mother again, or other people would become suspicious about Teela being here rather than at her home, the palace.   She knew Duncan would look after Teela with the best of his abilities, just as he had done over the past 20 years.  She also trusted Adam to care for her daughter.  Even though he had hurt her, she knew it wasn’t intentional and that he truly loved her.  With a heartfelt sigh, the Sorceress walked back to the throne room and sank into the large chair, lost in her thoughts.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     The journey back to the Palace, was thankfully swift.  Neither Adam or Duncan left Teela’s side.  They landed the ship in the Palace courtyard and then a floating platform was to take Teela to her rooms.  Many people were gathered in the courtyard.  They had heard the rumours of the Captains heroism and of her wounds, and were here to see if it were true.  The guards, led by Tomin, cleared anyone but the immediate Royal Family from the landing area.  As the platform came down the runway towards the Palace doors, many gasps were heard around the courtyard.  They all knew that the Sorceress had stated that Teela would recover, but none were prepared for the pale, glassy look of the Captain.  Queen Marlena turned her face into her husbands shoulder.  She couldn’t bare seeing Adam’s childhood friend in this way.  Another person was deeply affected by the sight, but instead of turning away, he just floated over the top of the platform, circling round and round whispering her name.  Adam and Duncan walked the platform to her rooms, where as gently as he could, Adam lifted the body of his unconscious love, and placed her down on her bed.  Then he sat down with Duncan and began the first of many hours of waiting.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     Two days had passed, two days of watching, of tending and caring but there was still no change.  Duncan and Adam rallied round one another, if one of them dropped for a moment, and began to believe she would die, the other would remind him of what the Sorceress had said.
     Duncan had stepped out of the room to get some food for them from the kitchens.  Adam was holding onto Teela’s hand and talking gently to her.  He was telling her how much everyone missed her and especially him, and how much he needed her.  Again and again he asked for her forgiveness and again and again he told her how much he loved her and how much he regretted hurting her.  Tears were pouring down his face, and the lack of sleep over the past few days was beginning to take its toll.  He bent his head down and rested it on Teela’s body, the feeling of her close to him lulling him into a welcome slumber.
     This rest wasn’t destined to last though.  Almost as soon as he had closed his eyes, he felt a small movement underneath his head.  He put it down to just reflexes, but then it happened again.  Teela’s chest was moving, and now her hands, she was trying to sit up!  Adam pulled his head up and looked at her.  Her shoulders were moving, her arms joining them.  It looked like she was waking up from a long sleep.  Slowly her eyes opened, exposing their beautiful blue cores.  She blinked for a moment, and looked around trying to get her bearings.
     “Adam, is Adam alright?”  she muttered.
     “I’m here, Teela.  I’m fine.” He answered back.  “We’ve been so worried about you, thank the ancients you’re alright.”
     “Father, where is he?”
     “He’s gone for some food, he will be here soon.”
     “Do you remember anything?”  he asked her.
     “A little yes, I remember seeing Evil-Lyn and the laser but then nothing.”  Suddenly, like a replay of the moments she had spent with the Sorceress, Teela’s hands flew to her stomach.
     “The twins,” she whispered.  Tears fell down her cheeks.
     “Teela, I’m so sorry.  I wish I had know, I wish I could have done something.”
     Teela looked at him for a moment, memories coming back to her.
     “Samin!”  she said.  “You did enough Adam!” her voice was harsher now.  “I want my father.”  She turned over onto her side, her hands protectively encasing her now empty abdomen.
     Adam stared at the back of her for a second.  Hurt and anger welling up inside his head.  Then the Sorceress’s voice echoed back at him.
    “She loves you, no matter how she felt these past two days.  She has loved you for many years, and you her.  The two of you are destined to be together, the Protectors of Eternia.  You can get through this.”
    He guessed he just had to give her time.  He had to talk to her and explain things.  For the moment though, she needed Duncan.  Adam reluctantly left the room and went to find his friend.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     Duncan ran back along the corridors, desperate to get to his daughter.  He burst into her rooms and ran to her side.  Teela turned over and wrapped her arms round him.
     “Father!”
     “Oh Teela, thank the ancients!”  he held his daughter close.
     “Are you alright?”  He pulled away from her arms.  Concern on his face.
     “A little sore and painful, but I guess I will heal.  I hear Adam was alright.”
     “Yes, it was a very courageous thing you did.  Especially in the circumstances.”
     Teela’s mind flipped back for a moment.
     “I would have done the same, whatever happened.  I’m his bodyguard, its my job.”
     Man-at-Arms smiled at his daughter.
     “I wouldn’t want you to be any other way.”
     Looking into her face, he noticed the tears in her eyes.  This confused him.  Why could she be upset?
     “What is it Teela, what else is wrong.  Is it Adam?”
     “Yes and no.”  she whispered.  The tears falling freely now.  “Oh Father, when I was shot, I was pregnant.”
     A look of shock came across Duncan’s face.
     “Pregnant?”  he gasped.
     “Yes, with twins.  A boy and a girl.  They didn’t survive the laser blast.  I lost them.”
    Duncan caught his daughter as she fell sobbing into his arms.  He didn’t know what to say to her, or what to do.  He just held her like he had done all those nights ago in the palace when she had broken off the relationship with Adam.
 “Teela, the children, twins, were they Adam’s?”
     Teela said no words, but just looked at her father.  The look in her eyes giving the answer away.
     “Oh Teela, my poor poor Teela.”  He said, the strains of the past days flooding out.  His tears began to mingle with her own as they clung to one another.
     “What am I going to do?” she whispered.
     “Does Adam know?”
     “I think he does.  But, he was with Samin….he doesn’t love me.”
     “The two of you need to talk about this Teela.  You have to be strong and face up to all of this.”
     Teela nodded, she wished she could blank it all out, erase it from her mind.  But it had happened.
     “Father, tell me the truth.  I died at one point didn’t I?”
     “Yes you did.”
     “It wasn’t frightening.  I saw my father.”
     “Your father?”
     “Yes, he promised to look after the twins.”
     “He was a good man.”
     “I saw my mother as well.”
     “Your mother?!”  the shock on Duncan’s face visible.
     “Yes, I only remember her being there, but I can’t remember what she looked like.  I remember feeling she was taking care of me.”
     “She was Teela, she was.”
     Duncan held his daughter close to him again, and stayed with her until she fell asleep once more.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     The next day Adam went along to Teela’s rooms.  He had heard she was feeling better now and he decided it was time they talked.  She was lying on her bed, staring out of the window as he entered.
     “Teela?”
     She turned over to look who it was, and saw Adam standing there.
     “Can we talk?”  he asked.
     “I guess so.”
     Adam sat down by the edge of her bed.
     “I don’t know what I can say to make any of this better.”  Adam began slowly.  “I know I have hurt you very badly.”
     “Yes, you did.”
     “And I accept that.  There are no reasons I can give which can explain what happened.  I know I acted stupidly and I have to deal with the consequences, but please, just listen to my side of things.”
     Teela nodded.
     “I felt very angry and hurt that you were so willing to give up on our relationship.  I understand you were unhappy about the secrecy, but you seemed unwilling to work it out.  Instead you chose to end everything.  I know I upset you by requesting you not act as my bodyguard but I was only trying to protect you.  Now look what happened.”
     “Adam, I would have jumped in front of you whether I was your bodyguard or your advisor.  I am a Royal Guard, its in my blood.”
     “Maybe, but I still cannot help thinking it could have been avoided.  Then when I saw you in the gardens with Tomin, saw you had replaced me so soon.”
     “Replaced you?  With Tomin?”  Teela laughed at the suggestion.
     “I saw him with his arms round you.”
     “For the ancients Adam!  Tomin is an old friend, one who is married!  He was comforting me, I had foolishly got myself upset over you and that Princess.”            Teela’s anger was rising now.
     “How could you think I would replace you so quickly.  What kind of woman do you think I am!”
     “Teela, I’m sorry.”
     “So that is your explanation for bedding the Princess?  You thought I had another so you should have too?  The Prince of Eternia should never be denied anything?  You acted like a spoilt child Adam.”
     Adam could feel all his explanations come crashing down, his world falling to pieces around him.  How could he get out of this.  How could he convince her it was all a mistake.
     He reached out for her hand.
     “Teela, I love you!  I always have, please just find it in your heart to forgive me!  We need one another, we just lost two children!”
     Teela pulled her hand away from his.  Staring him directly in the eyes, coldness radiating from hers.
     “I lost the children Adam.  And that is something I am going to have to live with for the rest of my life.  I should have known I was pregnant.  I should have been protecting them.  As for forgiving you, I’m sorry, my heart is empty at the moment.  Please leave me alone.”
     The last sentence was said with such force it took any words Adam had thought of, right out of his mouth.  Before he could do anything, Teela had turned over again, staring out of the window.  Again Adam stood up and walked dejectedly out of the room.  His heart shattering with each step.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     Marlena was walking down the corridors when she saw her son come out of the Captains quarters.  She had never seen him walk with such a heavy load on his shoulders.  She called out to him but either he did not hear or he chose to ignore her.  She knew something was wrong with her son, and she guessed it might have something to do with Teela.  So when she passed Teela’s rooms and saw the girl staring out of the window from her bed she knew she had to go and find out what was happening.  She slowly pushed the door open.
     “May I come in?”  she asked gently.
     Teela sat up in shock, and winced in pain.  Her hands rushed to her face and quickly wiped the tears from her eyes.
     “Your highness, of course.”
     “Teela, please for the moment, you may leave the formalities behind.  Call me Marlena.”  She smiled at the girl.
     “You seem very upset?  Is everything alright?”
     “I’m fine.”  Teela said.
     “Now having seen Adam just walk from the room looking like the world would end and judging from the tear streaks on your face, I would guess there was something very wrong.”
     Teela began to cry again.
     “I just want my mother.”  She sobbed.
     Marlena wrapped her arms around the young woman.
     “You poor girl, it must be so hard.  Would you like to talk to me about it?  You’ve grown up in the castle with my son, so that practically makes you one of the Royal Children.”  she lifted Teela’s head up and wiped a tear from her face.
     “Whatever’s happened?” she asked.
     “I don’t think I can cope anymore.”  Teela whispered, the feeling of defeat washing over her.  “I’ve lost everything dear to me.”
     “You still have your father and all your friends here.”
     Teela looked at the Queen and saw her kindly face.  For once there was a woman here she could talk to.  She felt she could tell Marlena anything and she would understand.
     “I lost my children in the accident.”  Teela whispered.  “I didn’t even know I was pregnant, they never stood a chance.”
     Marlena held Teela closer to her.
     “I should have known!  I should have stopped myself, but then Adam would have been shot.”
     “Teela, I didn’t know when I was pregnant until I was a few months gone.  And even then my dresser noticed the signs before me.  You weren’t to know, don’t blame yourself.”
     “But I could have given them so much.  I know how hard it is to grow up without a mother.  I could have given them so much love.  Why did they have to be taken from me?”
     “Its just a fact of life, it just wasn’t their time.”  Marlena thought for a moment.
     “You speak of them?  The babies were Adam’s?  Twins?”
     Teela just nodded, she was tired of keeping this a secret.
     “No wonder he looked so sad earlier.  You must have been seeing each other since the ball.  How is he taking this?”
     “I don’t know.  We argued about something before going away and then I,”  Teela stumbled over the words, “then I found him with someone else.”
     “Have you spoken to him?  Does he know about the twins?”
     “Yes, he does know, and I have spoken to him.  But I can’t bear the hurt when he is around.  I can’t stand the thought of him with someone else.  Not when we meant so much to one another.”
     “Teela, listen to me.  You must talk to Adam.  You can’t shut him out of this.  Going through it alone will kill you.  I know, I have never miscarried, but I lost Adora when she was only small, and that was heartbreaking.  I would not have got through that without Randor, without being able to talk to him about it.  Adam has lost these children too, even though he didn’t carry them, even though you only had them for a short period of time.”
     “How can I let him in when he has betrayed me so badly?”
     “You have to find a way.  You must still love him or you wouldn’t be feeling so upset about his betrayal.  And I know my son.  He has been happier than I have ever seen him this last month.  That was your effect on him.  He loves you very much, I think he always has.”
     “But the princess…”
     “Teela you have grown up with Adam, you know he makes decisions sometimes which are not always the right ones.  You also know he is desperate to please his father.  I’m not condoning what Adam did that night, but you have to understand it from his point of view.  The pressures on him for a perfect match are immense, and although Randor loves him, he doesn’t help ease the pressure off him.  I think Adam’s actions that night came from anger and confusion and also from a will to make his father proud.  Maybe he thought a match between the Princess and himself would make Randor proud.”
     Teela listened quietly taking it all in.
     “He kept our relationship a secret, because of his father.  He couldn’t face telling him he was in love with a Palace Guard rather than some Royal woman.”
     “So much pressure on people so young.”  Marlena said.  “I don’t think Randor would be too unhappy if he knew.  After all, he married myself and I am from no Royal line, just a simple earthling.  But Randor is a bridge Adam must finally face on his own.”
     Teela seemed to be calming down.  Listening to another woman speak was helping her sort her feelings out.
     “Promise me you will try and talk to Adam and try very hard to sort this out.  I know he has a lot to make up for and you have a lot of pain to heal, but he does love you and I can see you love him.  He never once left your side when you were injured.  Both at Grayskull and here.”
     Teela looked a little shocked at this comment and then thoughtful.
    “Thank you.”  she said, and the Queen got up and left the room.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     Adam was walking back down the corridor to Teela’s rooms.  He had to make her listen to him.  Life without her was unbearable.  He had to try one more time.  As he was about to open her doors he heard the voice of his father down the corridor.
     “Adam!”
     “Yes father?”
     “I’m glad I caught you, I was meaning to talk to you about the meeting in Nebularin.”
     “The alliance was signed, just as you wanted.”
     “And Samin?  How did things go there.”
     “I’m sorry father.  Samin and I just didn’t work out.”
     “Adam, sometimes I despair of you!  It would have been a perfect match!”
     Adam just hung his head.
     “You should be thinking of finding a wife!  Think of Eternia, you are heir to the throne, reaching 22 years of age and as of yet there has been no hint of any woman in your life!  You have missed 2 important functions over the past few days, by staying at the Captains bedside.  I applaude your loyalty to your friends but there is a time when you must put your duties before that.”
     For the first time ever, Adam felt anger building up inside him towards his father.
     “Teela is lying in that room, injured from protecting me.  She was hurt in an attack which was meant for me.  She risked her life for me and in the process had a miscarriage!”
     “Miscarriage?  Teela was pregnant?  Who’s child was it?  Who has the Captain been seeing?”
     Adam took a deep breath.
     “I was the father.  Teela lost twins, my twins.”
     “You?  You were so careless to have a fling with the Captain of the Guards?”
     “It was not just a fling!  I love Teela, I always have.  I would marry her tomorrow if she would let me!  But because of my own stupidity and my desire to please you and make you proud of me, I lost her.”  Adam could hear himself shouting at his father now, but he couldn’t stop.
     “Oh I‘m not blaming you for this.  I should have been strong enough to make my own decisions, but I was weak and that weakness led me to lose the only woman I ever cared about. She may not be Royalty or a Princess but that does not matter to me.  I love her, she makes me happy and with or without your permission I will carry on loving her.  I may have lost her, father, but no-one on this world will ever take her place.  You will have to get used to having a son without a wife.”
     Randor looked at his son.  He had never seen him this angry before.  Never seen him this adamant about anything.  He began to understand all the things Marlena had been saying to him about talking to his son.  This was no time to preach to him. This time it was the moment to be truthful.
     “Adam, I have never been so proud of you as I am at this moment.”
     Adam looked shocked.
     “You love Teela and you are willing to stand up to me about that.  That is something which took courage to do.  You have shown to me that the perfect match for you is someone who makes you happy and if the Prince is happy then that reflects well on Eternia.  If she really is the one that you love, then I fully support the two of you.  I just wish you had spoken to me about all this sooner.  No matter what I have said over the years, I am proud of you.  I only push to make you better yourself.  I couldn’t have asked for a better son.”
     Randor reached out and hugged his son.
     “Thank you father.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
     Teela heard footsteps coming up to the hallway.  Quickly she ran from her position by the door where she had been listening and lay back on the bed.  Adam cautiously opened the door.  He walked over to her bed and sat on the edge of it.
     “I need to explain things.”  He started.  “I’ve made a lot of mistakes over the past few days and I don’t expect you to forgive me for them.  Spending the night with Samin was the worst.  I can’t forgive myself for that.  There is nothing I can say which could condone my actions.  I can only say that it was the wrong choice, and I thought of nothing but you all the time.  I was trying to replace you, to block out the hurt and the pain but I should have known I couldn’t replace you in my heart.”
     “The image of you with Samin is still in my head and it is still painful.  But I should have talked to you more before ending the relationship, I should have given us more of a chance to work things out.”  Teela replied.
     “Teela, I wish none of this had ever happened.  I would give anything to go back to a week ago and refuse to go on the mission.  Then maybe you and I could still be together and the twins may have survived.”
     “We can’t begin to think of the ‘what ifs’.  Everything did happen for one reason or another.  The children were just not destined to be with us now.  How could we have coped anyway?  Both of us are still so young, and we had barely been together any length of time.  One of the reasons we parted was because you couldn’t bare to share me with anyone.  How would you have managed with two demanding babies?”
     For the first time in a long time Teela reached out and took Adams hand.  She placed it on her stomach where a large gash lay.
     “There is an emptiness inside me, where the twins should be, but there is also an emptiness in my heart.  One where you should be.  I can’t deny that you hurt me very badly but I need you Adam, I can’t go through this on my own.”
     “I am so sorry for what I did, and for thinking you would replace me.  If there is anything I can do to make it right then tell me please, I would do anything!”
     “I heard what you said to your father outside.  Did you mean it?”
     Adam looked confused for a moment, then his face cleared.
     “I meant every word.  But it was something I should have said a long time ago, to both him and you.  I would marry you tomorrow, but I know that is not possible and you need time to trust me again.  I am willing to give you all the time you need.  These past few days have shown me how much you are part of my life. You have no idea what it was like to see you lying there, dying and I couldn't help you.  I've been afraid many times in my life, but I have never been so terrified as I've been the past few days. If I lost you, I not only would have lost my soul mate but my best friend in the world."
     “Adam,”  Teela whispered, tears flowing again down her cheeks.  “I can’t bear the thought of spending anymore time without you.  The answer is yes.”
     “Yes?”  Adam said.  Then the words sunk in.  “Yes you will marry me?”
     “Yes.”  Teela said.  “Seeing you with Samin taught me a sharp lesson in how much I loved you.  I was so jealous my father practically locked me in the room to stop me coming after her.  I should never have let things go that far, I should have talked to you more.  Do you think we can put all this behind us?”
     “I’m willing to try.”  Adam said.  He framed her face with his hands, gently caressing her cheeks.
     “I’ll never hurt you again, I promise.”
     “Don’t make any promises you aren’t going to keep.”  Teela whispered.
     “No, this is one I would stake my life on.”  He said and touched her lips with his, gently at first, unsure of what her reaction would be.
     Teela felt his lips brush hers and felt the familiar jolt of electricity run through her.  After all they had been through, he still had that effect on her.  She knew then she had made the right choice.  Running her hands up his neck she pulled his face towards hers and kissed him passionately.
     He broke away from the kiss and just looked at her for a moment.
     “What?”  she asked.
     “I think I can say, you have never looked more beautiful than you do now, and I have never loved you more than at this moment in time.”
     “I love you too, I never stopped.”  She replied.
     He kissed her once more, pulling her down into the bed, taking care not to jolt her too much.  Neither of them thought of anything but one another.  Everything was forgotten for a few brief, pleasurable moments.  The break-up, the miscarriage, the pain and the injuries, everything.
     “Maybe that wasn’t the best thing to do.”  Adam said.
     “What?”  Teela said shocked.  “Are you having second thoughts?”
     “Of course not.  I’m worried about you.  You almost died in the last week and miscarried.  It was selfish of me to put you through this as well.”
     Teela propped herself up on her arms and looked at her lover.
     “I needed this Adam.  It was my choice as well.  I just needed to feel, physically, our love.  It sounds strange but it gives something solid to the emotions.”
     Adam held her close to him.
     “It doesn’t sound strange at all.  I know I feel closest to you when we are like this.  From now on though, we share everything.  There have been too many secrets between us.  I can’t stand to loose you again.  Whatever happens to you now happens to both of us!  We go through things together.”
     “OK.”  Teela whispered and stroked his chest.
     For a moment, Adam let his voice falter.
     “Do you think everything will be alright?”  he asked.
     “Yes Adam, I think everything is going to be fine.”

THE END

As ever I thank Busta and Carol for being there to bounce ideas off and for keeping me sane whilst I wrote this.

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