Author’s Note: This is a major collaboration with Ivane and I give her a huge shoutout! So, if you haven’t met the Clarkes yet, click on the link in the right hand side of the page. She is also the one that got the screenshots for this part, so huge thank you Ivane!
I stared at my computer screen for a moment, my eyes drifting to the time in the corner. When you’re a kid, you always feel like time seems to slow down just when you need the time to pass quickly. Well, it doesn’t get any better when you’re an adult either. I’d been up since before dawn, which is a miracle for me. I’m a night owl, through and through. Good thing I married a vampire, huh? Anyway, I’d lain in bed next to Roark for a while, but I was too excited to sleep. A few days ago, I’d begun taking on a few cases again. Mostly a lot of computer work, internet searches, maybe a very tiny bit of some illicit hacking… Simple stuff. I wasn’t quite ready to go back out into the field. Not yet. But it was really hard to concentrate at that point. I’d had a few too many cups of coffee, too, I think.
Alduin and his girlfriend were due in a bit later that morning. I wanted to see my brother. I’d missed him something fierce. I’d been having dreams lately. They weren’t visions this time. Just the aftermath of that last vision and knowing I could have… no, I did lose my brother, even if only for a little while. Knowing he made it back didn’t lesson the fear nor the pain that had settled in my chest. I sat back and closed my eyes, letting my shields down. It had become a habit to keep them up at all times. But every now and again, I just liked to take stock. I knew Roark was in the nursery, cooing at his son. I could tell what he was thinking. Since we’d gotten married, we’d begun to work with each other on establishing links. It could be difficult at times because a vampire’s shields were naturally strong. Where I had had to work to establish a shield, he had to work to bring it down.
I could only grin. Roark loved his time with his son. And I could see Roark lifting up Ryu, our boy giggling like mad. He loved his daddy.
I stretched my senses further. Dad and Pop were at their normal place at the chess table. That wasn’t anything new. Pop was about to lose his queen to Dad’s knight. I grinned. Pop lured him in every time with that move and Dad still couldn’t resist. Nan was just about to cook up a big batch of her famous pancakes. And Mom was grabbing the trash to take it out. Mom was ecstatic. We’d had an early thaw, though winter wasn’t quite done yet, I don’t think. Mom was happy though that the weather would be nice for Alduin and Cali’s visit. That and she hated bundling up for the cold.
My eyes widened and I had to swallow. I jolted upright in the chair. They were here… Alduin and Calysta were finally here! They were standing outside our door!
I was mortified to find tears welling up. I’d love to blame it on those residual pregnancy hormones, but the truth was, I was so happy that he was here. But I couldn’t go out there with tears in my eyes. Alduin would take one look and run away. The poor boy couldn’t stand to see a woman cry. They undid him like nothing else. So I wiped my eyes and tried to compose myself. Still, couldn’t help but keep my senses attuned.
I know Mom had to sense them and I could see the smile playing at her lips. She went to the trash can, waving at the two of them.
Before the bag hit the bottom of the trashcan, Mom was throwing her arms around my brother’s neck. “Oh my boy,” she murmured, sniffling. “It’s so good to see you.”
“Hey, Mom.” Alduin held onto Mom for a bit. “It’s good to be home.”
They separated and Mom stood there, looking at the lovely young woman Alduin had brought with him. “Mom,” Alduin said, the pride and love unmistakable in his voice. “This is Cali. Cali, this is my mom, Aurora Wyvern.”
Mom smiled warmly at her, her red eyes full of kindness. “Welcome to Monte Vista, to our home, sweetheart. C’mon, your Nan just made her world-famous pancakes, Alduin. You guys came just in time for breakfast!”
“We ate on the plane, Mom. Part of the first class package you and Dad paid for. We’ll be right in, though.” Alduin looked at Calysta, smiling at her. “Ready for the madness?” he murmured softly. Seeing that look in my brother’s eyes made me sigh sappily as I wandered out to the kitchen.
I had to giggle when I heard her reply, “Don’t be scared, Alduin. I’ll hold your hand.” Her voice was amused, though it didn’t take a telepath to notice that there was a slight undercurrent to her tone. She was nervous. Poor thing. Hoped she was ready for us. Though something told me that she’d do just fine.
Calysta and Alduin made their way inside. I restrained myself… though just barely, from leaping at my brother. Didn’t want to scare the poor girl. My brother on the other hand, I had no problem doing that to him, of course. But I’d let her get accustomed to us a little first. Nan had just gotten up from the table and was wandering into the kitchen when she saw Alduin. I heard her sniffle and saw her have to reach up to wipe at her eyes. “My boy’s home!” she murmured.
Ah, Nan, don’t do that! You’ll get me started again!
“You c’mere right now, my boy!” she demanded, grabbing her grandson in a bear hug. The woman may have been over 90 now, but it hadn’t slowed her down at all, nor made her in anyway frail. I could hear the audible ‘oof’ from Alduin as he hugged her.
“Heya, Nan. Sure did miss you.”
He stepped back and Cali stepped forward, a pretty smile on her face. “Hi, I’m Calysta Clarke. I’m Alduin’s girlfriend.”
Nan beamed at her. “Yes you are, dear. Welcome to our home, child. Feel free to call me Nan. Probably should warn you, this bunch is a little on the overwhelming side, so I hope we don’t scare you too badly.”
Alduin laughed. “Don’t worry, Nan. I’ve given her plenty of warning about this crew here.”
As Alduin and Cali chatted with Nan, I crept up behind them. Ok, so maybe I couldn’t resist it anymore. Nothing like being thrown into the deepend, right?
With a yell of, “You’re mine, little brother!” I leapt on Alduin’s back. “Hey, this isn’t fair! Who gave you permission to grow up!?”
Had to hand it to him, he managed to keep his feet. I heard Calysta let out a tinkling, musical laugh even as Alduin kept me from falling off of his back. Nan was rolling her eyes. “My goodness, Luna,” she scolded, though I could see the smile on her face. I could hear the chuckle rumbling up from his chest. I leapt off and he turned around to face me. We just stared at one another for a long moment.
<”Hey, little brother,”> I murmured in his mind. I had missed this connection. Distance did affect my abilities. There was something about being able to talk mind to mind that just accentuated the closeness.
<”It’s good to see you, sis. Very good. I… I was worried about you. We all were.”>
<”I know and I’m sorry about that. I shouldn’t have worried everyone like that. I was ashamed, Alduin. Ashamed and so confused. A-admitting what I did, to you, especially, was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I-I didn’t want it to change how you saw me.”>
<”Luna, I love you. Nothing will change that and nothing will change how I see you. You’re my big sister. Though…”> I could see that glint in his eyes that meant he was going to say something that I was going to have to smack him for later. <”You are a little shorter now, aren’t you?”>
I had to laugh, even as I smacked his shoulder. “Watch it you,” I growled aloud. Communicating through telepathy was a much quicker form of speaking compared to using speech. Only a couple seconds had gone by. I turned around to face Calysta, a big smile on my face.
“Hi, I’m Luna Wyvern. Welcome to the family, little sister.”