Chapter 39: Unbreakable Bonds

A/N: Ok, first off, sorry, got a bit wordy on this chapter lol and not as many screenshots to go with the words.  Still, hope you enjoy it.  HUGE shoutout to Miss Ivane once again.  Head to the link on the right side of the page to check out Alduin and Cali’s adventures and figure out just what’s going on with Alduin!  We did a lot of collaboration with this chapter.  In fact, the conversation between Cali and Luna is all her and I going back and forth.  So definitely check it out and I hope you enjoy!

So, our child still refuses to appear.  I was hoping I could avoid a C-section but if our little one doesn’t decide to show themselves soon, I go in next week for the cesarean.  I was eating some of my Nan’s apple pancakes (she makes some of the best pancakes, really.  Why yes, pancakes have been one of my cravings, can ya tell?).  Pop had scored a plate of them too, while Nan had grabbed some of the leftover Goopy Carbonara.  “Don’t worry, sweetie.  It’ll be ok,” Nan told me.  “Babies seem to have their own set schedules and never mind what those who are waiting for them want.”

Pop nodded his agreement.  “Yes, your mother decided she was going to come a wee bit early… on our prom night.”  He grinned at Nan, a shared memory that made Nan chuckle.

“Yes, she did.  And your Pop here… he managed to panic so much that he forgot we weren’t going to prom.  Had even changed into his tux.  So he looked pretty handsome in the hospital room, though.”

Pop chuckled, rubbing the back of his neck.  “Thought I was prepared.  Turns out, not so much.”

I grinned.  I’d heard the story a couple times.  But I never actually tired of hearing it.  “Yeah, I know.  I just… want to hold them so much, ya know?”

“Oh we know, sweetie,” Nan murmured, sympathy tinging her voice.  “We know.  You will soon, though.”  She grinned again.  “We’re all looking forward to your little one’s arrival.”

“Your mother just told me of a dream she had the other night about getting to hold her first grandchild,” Pop said with a grin.  “I think she’s just as anxious as you are.”

I grimaced, then laughed.  “Yeah, she and Dad both.  They’re trying to hide it, but I can tell.”  Just the other morning, Dad and I had been chatting after a quick snack.  Well, I had had the snack.  Dad, I think, just wanted to talk.

“You’re taking your vitamins, still right?”

“Yes, Dad.  I’m still taking them.  If I don’t, Roark comes in, shaking the bottle and giving me that look of his…”

He laughed.  “Good for him.  He’s only looking after you.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I grumbled.  “I know, I know.  Just tired of feeling like a beached whale.”

I could tell Dad was fighting to keep from grinning.  “Still smarting a little over the lecture he gave you the other day?”


 

The incident Dad was talking about happened a few days ago.  I’d noticed that the bathroom attached to our bedroom was filthy.  Roark’s first day at the base here had been earlier in the week, so he’d been unable to clean anything.  Without really thinking anything of it, I decided it was time to fix the leak in the shower.  So I took a monkey wrench and began tightening the connections.

I made a little bit of a mess on the floor, so I cleaned that up.

And since I was there, might as well clean the toilet right?

Except… well, when Roark got home and found me bending over so precariously over the toilet, he had a few choice words for me.  “What under the Plumbob are you doing?” he growled at me.

I have to admit that I jumped a bit and whirled around.  My cheeks heated and I glared at him.  “You don’t need to scare me!”

“Luna,” he ground out, obviously trying to find patience.  “You are nine months pregnant.  What are you doing in here?  Did you actually fix the shower too?”  He smacked his forehead with the palm of his hand.  “She’s trying to give me a heart attack,” he muttered, more to himself than me.

“Wait, you’re a vampire… can you even have a heart attack?” I asked him, smiling widely.

He just gave me a dark stare.

“You can’t be doing this!” he finally exploded.  “Your doctor- who happens to be your father-, your mother, your grandmother and grandfather have all told you to take it easy.  Is this taking it easy?”

“I’m not a child, Roark,” I told him in a low voice, my eyes narrowing.  I was a grown woman, yet he made me feel like I was back in high school again, getting a lecture from one of my teachers for disrupting class or something.

He blew out a breath and stepped toward me, putting both hands around my waist as he stared into my eyes.  “No, you aren’t.  That’s true.  You’re my wife.  My very pregnant, very stubborn wife.”

I framed his face with my hands, pursing my lips a little.  “I know you mean well.  And I know I probably shouldn’t be doing things like that at this stage.  Though… if it would induce labor, I’m all for it, really-“

“Luna…” he warned, his voice low, though I could see the smirk he tried to hide.

I grinned at him.  “I honestly didn’t think anything of it, babe.  Really.  It wasn’t like I was defying orders… I just didn’t think anything of it.  I’d been meaning to fix the leak and the bathroom needed a good scrub down.  So I just did it.”

He frowned.  “And what if you had fallen?”  I opened my mouth to retort that I hadn’t fallen but the look on his face stopped me.  “Luna, I couldn’t take it if anything happened to you, or to our baby.  I know nothing did and I’m very grateful for that.  But the fact is, it could have.  You’re already almost three weeks over-do.  And you said yourself your balance isn’t at its best, right?”

I sighed.  “No, no it isn’t.  I’m sorry, ok?  I’ll be a good little girl.”

“Oh, c’mon.  Don’t be like that, please.”  He stepped back a bit and placed his hand on my very swollen stomach.  “Hey little one, tell your mom that she needs to take care of herself, huh?  She’s gotta be ready for when you decide you’re ready to face the world.”

The expression on his face as he spoke to the life that was growing within me, then when he looked up at my face had me swallowing back any comment as well as a few tears.  I know he worries about me.  Worries about our child.  I also know I’m not the easiest person to deal with at times, either.  So I have to give him a lot of credit.  If I were him, I might have throttled me quite a while ago.


 

I grimaced.  “No.  No, I know he was right.  Though if you tell him I said that, I will make you pay for it, Dad.  Just so you know.”

Dad snorted.  “Uh huh.  Sure, baby girl.  Whatever you say.”  He got up and patted me on the head.  “Don’t worry, you’ll get to hold your little one soon enough.”  Roark and I had purposefully waited to find out the sex of the baby.  We wanted to be surprised.  Of course, we were hoping to have already met our little one by this time.  They had other plans, apparently.


 

In other news, Cyn has settled in quite nicely.  She really loves her own little space.

We added a desk for her at her request, so she has a place to put her laptop that she brought with her.  And Mom and Dad even had an extra washer and dryer installed in the garage for her to use.

She’s been spending most of her time up there, on her own.  She’s never had a place just to herself.  Roark was a bit too leery of it because of being in Bridgeport.  That place wasn’t easy on her.  Since she’s been here, she’s only had a few episodes and most of them she’s been able to take care of herself.

Roark went up to visit with her.  He says she seems quite content there.


 

All I can think about when I lay down to sleep is the baby.

Roark holds me as we fall asleep.  Only three more days, and then it’s time for the C-section.  I really shouldn’t be this worried.  Dad’s told me everything is fine.  I’m healthy and all the sonograms have assured us that the baby’s healthy too.  I just… want to hold my baby.  Patience has never been one of my virtues, if you couldn’t tell.

Knowing I’ve been having trouble sleeping, Roark suggested we do look at the night sky for a little while.  This time, he made sure I wore more appropriate attire.  It was still definitely cold, though it wasn’t quite as bad as it had been.  Spring would be there before too long.  I cuddled close to my husband’s side.  Husband… I still find it a little surreal to call Roark that.

It was a pretty night, clear skies with a small crescent of a moon.  I’d always loved the outdoors.  And there was something about getting to share it like that with Roark that took my breath away.  I giggled at something he’d whispered in my ear, when I froze.

A sob escaped my throat.  Images flashed through my mind.  I heard two gunshots, and saw my brother fall.  There was darkness, then there was a strange red glow.  The images stopped and I found myself in my husband’s arms as he carried me inside to our room.  “Roark,” I whispered.  “Al-alduin.  Something happened to my brother!”

He looked down at me as he laid me on our bed.  Worry creased his brow.  “You just lay here.  I’ll go talk with Jeff and Draco.  We’ll make some calls.  We’ll see if we can’t figure out what’s wrong.  Are you ok, Luna?  You’re awfully pale.”

I sat up and nodded.  “I’m fine, I want to come with you-“  I stood up and I could feel something loosen within me.  My eyes widened and I grabbed at my stomach.  “Roark,” I drew in a pained breath.  “Roark, the baby… my water just broke!”

He whirled around, his eyes as wide as saucers.  “Wait, what?  NOW?!”

“Yes now!” I shouted, a scream ripping from my throat.

Leave it to my child to choose NOW to decide to make their appearance.  After that first initial panic, Roark got it together.  He called for my Dad and Mom who came running.  They knew the gameplan.  Mom already had my bag ready.  Roark led me out the door, acting like a bit of a drill sergeant.

He helped me into his truck; it had 4-wheel drive and would be the only thing that would get us through all the snow still on the ground.  As he drove, his knuckles white on the steering wheel, he kept shooting me glances.

“Breathe, baby, breathe.  That’s it, in and out,” he coached, his voice soothing.  I had tears running down my face.  All I could think about was my brother.  I knew the vision for what it was: I’d seen something happen to him.  It wasn’t a vision of the future.  It had actually happened.  But even as I thought about that, the pain in my abdomen and other regions ripped another scream from my throat.  I had to concentrate.  I couldn’t do anything for Alduin right now.  Oh Watcher… Alduin, you had better be alright…

We got to the hospital in one piece and I waddled my way through the front door, Roark right there with me.

The staff came with a wheelchair and wheeled me off to the room.  The contractions were getting worse.  The pain made me hazy.  They got me into the room.  I’ll spare you the details here.  I have to say, Roark was a champ.  I owe that man several apologies.  It’s a good thing vampires are more resilient.  I’m pretty sure I would have broken his hand otherwise.  And I know I told him if he told me to breath one more time, I was going to beat him with the nearest blunt object.  But we survived it.  After close to six excruciating hours of solid pushing, our son, Ryu Alaric Wyvern, was born.

I wanted out of there as quickly as possible.  I wanted to get home.  Since Dad is Chief of Surgery at the hospital, there wasn’t a lot of arguing they could do.  So Roark and I took our son home.  We got back and I laid him in the crib.  The same crib that I had slept in when my parents brought me home.

Once I had laid my son down, I went out of the nursery.  Pop, Dad, and Roark were there.

“Has anyone heard from Alduin?” I asked, trying to keep my voice steady.

“Not yet, baby,” Dad confirmed.  He looked worried.  “Can you sense anything else?”

I shook my head.  After that first initial vision, there had been a tightness in my chest, like I couldn’t breathe.  Even after I’d given birth, I’d felt it.  But now…  I frowned and tried to concentrate.  It was hard to lower my shields.  I’d spent a lot of time learning how to put them in place.  Taking them down fully required effort.  But as they came down, I saw my brother laying on a bed, a young woman hovering over him.  I opened my eyes and blinked rapidly.  “I-I think he’s ok…”  I took out my phone.  “I’m going to call him.”

I walked out to the kitchen, my hands trembling as I hit the speed dial again.

The phone rang four times.  My heart sank with each ring.  Until I heard it pick up.  I almost cheered until I heard a very tentative- and very female- voice answer, “Hello?”

“My brother… This is Luna.  Is my brother ok?”

There was no answer for a long moment.  “Please… is he alright?”

I could hear the woman on the other end of the line- Cali.  This had to be Cali, the girl Alduin had told me about.  “I’m not sure exactly what happened, Luna,” she responded, “but he was shot last night.”

I had all I could do not to let out a wail.  Alduin… my little brother…  I was shaking, but I couldn’t make a sound.  She rushed on a little bit.  “I don’t know who did it… I just… saw him… and…”  Her voice broke.  I could tell she was on the verge of tears, maybe a total breakdown.

So I had to keep my voice steady, even a little soothing.  “What condition is he in now, Cali?  This is Cali, right?”

“Yes. I’m Calysta… He’s still unconscious, but he’s… recovering. The gunshots are… gone.  We’re back at the dorm.”

My eyes widened and I pinched the bridge of my nose.  In some way, that made sense.  It seemed everything was ok.  That pressure in my chest had disappeared and I didn’t feel anything from Alduin.  Yet I could still feel him, where I hadn’t been able to before.  I had to pull in a deep breath.  “Ok, back up.  Start at the beginning, ok?  What happened to my brother?”

I could hear a deep gulp of breath and when she began talking, I could barely keep up with the words.  “We were just hanging out at the theater.  Then he just asked me to run.  I was outside and I heard gunshots and I just ran in and there were these two guys screaming in frint… and then I saw Alduin-“  Here, her voice splintered, sounding shattered, “…there was blood all over the place.  He was still conscious and I just held him and…”  She stopped.  My own heart was hammering hard enough that I thought it would crack a rib.  “He died, Luna,” the girl whispered.  “Alduin died.”  I saw black for a moment.  Darkness closed over my eyes.  I knew she spoke truth.

I didn’t even recognize my own voice when I asked, “”What happened next, Calysta?”  She had told me he was alive.  So something had to have happened.  I wasn’t sure what, other than knowing my brother’s abilities with the spirit realm.

“It’s going to sound crazy…”  There was a lot of hesitation in her voice.  It was like she was afraid I wouldn’t believe her.  I waited.  As I listened, I realized how hard all this must have been on her.  The emotion in her voice… she loved my brother.  I didn’t need to be telepathic to tell that.  So I waited and let her get it out.  “…but someone I know came to the scene… T-they helped him.  They opened a way for him”

She hesitated, her voice breaking again.  “…I’m waiting for him to come back. Their magic worked. He’s breathing… The gunshot wounds are gone…”

My mind whirled around.  A door through the Netherworld.  It would have been the only way.  Cali sounded like she needed assurances as if she couldn’t really believe what she had seen with her own eyes.  Though I was holding tears of fear and relief back myself, I kept my voice steady.  “Alduin’s a Wyvern.  He’ll be ok.  He’ll come back.  Just give him a little time.  He’s got you to come back to.”  I let out a breath.  “Cali, when he wakes up, give him a message from me.  H-he has a little nephew now.  He’ll need to come and see him as soon as he has a chance ok?”

“Okay.”  Her voice sounded like that of a child and I knew she must have been going out of her mind with worry. “I’ll let him know, Luna.”

“You do that.  And Cali?  Thank you.  Go on, you’ll want to be there WHEN he wakes up.”  I hung the phone up and just stood there, swaying.

The tears that I had hidden from Cali swept down over my cheeks as I let it all out.  Alduin was alive.  He’d come back to us…  I remembered when he was just a little guy and I could hold him in my arms…

Someone had shot my little brother… I was going to find out who.  And there would be hell to pay.

I turned around and there was Roark.  He took one look at me and opened his arms.  I ran into them and buried my head against his chest, the sobs wracking my body.  He just picked me up and carried me to bed, holding me as I let it out.  I fell asleep with him holding me close.


 

Chapter 18: The Prodigal Daughter Returns

Bleary red eyes slowly fluttered open.  A hint of sunlight managed to sneak past the closed curtains, across those same eyes.  With what could have been a yelp, an arm was thrown up in self-preservation as pain exploded behind her eyes and lanced through her skull.  “Kill me now,” she murmured pitifully.

A quiet chuckle had her peeking carefully, her eyes narrowed to the tiniest slits.  “This is your fault,” she moaned, closing her eyes tightly and throwing the pillow over her face, hiding from the light, trying to keep the pounding in her head down to a dull roar.

Jeff leaned over, lifted the pillow just enough to kiss her cheek.  “I have something for you.”  He grinned at her.

Aurora just moaned.  “Unless it’s something to put me outta my misery, go far far away!”

“You sure?  You sure you don’t want this?”  He waved his hand over the cup in his hand, wafting the scent of its contents toward her.  When the glorious aroma of a triple caf vanilla latte hit her nose, she moaned again, this time throwing the pillow off.

“Gimme gimme!”  She actually sat up, crossing her legs, and greedily took the cup from him, taking in the heavenly scent, her eyes closed .  “Oh Thank you Watcher!”

“Hey!” Jeff objected, though he was still grinning.  “Don’t forget me.”

She opened one eye and looked at him.  Aurora slowly smiled, her expression going gooey as she looked at that face.  She leaned over and kissed him slowly.  “Oh, I haven’t forgotten you.  Thanks.  Now… if I can only get rid of the sand that’s coating my tongue.”

Jeff laughed.  “The hangover will pass.  Well, I guess that answers that question… how much you can drink before feeling the effects.  I gotta hand it to ya, you make most frat boys look like featherweights.”

Aurora cringed, shaking her head, a motion she instantly regretted.  She let out a noise and fell back, burying her head under her pillow again.  After a moment, a muffled, “How bad was it?” came from underneath the pillow.

Jeff cheerfully pulled out his cell phone.  “Well, Ash sent me this a couple hours ago.”  He put his phone in front of her face.

Aurora froze for a moment, and slapped a hand over her eyes.


The last few days of classes had flown by.  Aurora couldn’t get enough though.  She found her classes fascinating.  Even if some of her classmates didn’t…

Still, she learned as much outside of class as she did while in her classes.  She found a new hobby.  There was a rush about doing something that she wasn’t really supposed to do.

Luckily, she was never caught.  It wasn’t a rebellion so much as it was a way to discover herself.  She had gone her entire life feeling other’s emotions; sometimes, she lost who she really was in all of it.  But going to University had done wonders for her, had shown her who she really was, inside.  Jeff had quite a hand in that as well, of course.

Her last final was a bit bitter sweet for her.  It meant she’d have a degree in her hand when she left, but she’d been enjoying her time here and that would be at an end soon.  She was done with her final in record time, though.

Once finals were over, she and Jeff met up at his dorm room for a little end-of-term bash they were throwing.

They played a little pool and did what they normally do.

Then they said goodbye to their friends in the fraternity, and went to the Tri-Fuhm Sorority house for another party.  Their friend, Ashley DeSorrento, was also throwing a party.  That one was a bit more lively as more of the students cut loose to celebrate the end of term, and for many, the end of the journey in University.

Jeff and Aurora took the opportunity to dance.

And then Aurora went off with Ashley so they could talk and say their goodbyes.  “Thanks Ash.  For everything.  It’s been great.  You’ll visit Monte Vista, won’t you?”

“Of course!  Once I get settled in back home in Starlight Shores, we can make arrangements.”

After that, the fun began.  Aurora had had her share of juice had some of the gatherings on campus, but she was always fairly careful about drinking too much.  As it was, she seemed able to absorb more alcohol than normal, especially given her size.  She suspected it had to do with her family’s bloodline.  Still, when one starts helping their friends do keg stands…

It was inevitable that they’d help you do the same.

Eventually, the party moved outside.  There, Aurora found Jeff.  The juice had loosened her up enough that Ashely had talked her into changing.

Then she talked Jeff into helping her with another keg-stand…

A few more later of those later, that’s when Aurora really decided to cut loose.  Running around campus, after slipping out of her swim suit, she was heard shouting, “It’s our time now!  It’s our time!”  Jeff calmly waited for her to run past him during one of her circuits and he grabbed her to him.  He’d carried her back to her place so they could crash.


Aurora’s eyes twitched as Jeff told her what happened.  She looked at the picture again, then sighed.  Giving him a sheepish smile, she said, “Well, you told you to relax more, right?”

Jeff laughed and leaned forward to kiss her forehead.  “You have a point there, darlin’.  How’s the head?”

“Better.  The caffeine’s helped clear it out a bit.  Another cup should do it.”

“I thought you’d say that.”  He retrieved the second cup he’d already made and gave it to her, then he sat back down on the bed next to her.  “All packed and ready to go for tomorrow?” he asked her, running a hand up and down her back.

“Yeah, I think so.”  She lay back and then scooted over to lean against him as he too stretched out.  “You’ll come to the house once you get your things from home right?”

“Yup.  Soon as I pack my things, I’ll hop the first plane to Monte Vista.  Your parents are ok with it?”

Aurora nodded.  “When I talked to them yesterday before we left for the party, they were surprised, but happy.  My mom especially.  My dad was just more surprised, I think.”  She grinned.  “I imagine he’s a more or less typical father.”

“Yeah, I figure I’m in for quite the interrogation,” Jeff told her with a laugh.  “That’s ok, though.  I don’t blame him in the least.”  Aurora snuggled against him and closed her eyes, sighing in contentment as she slid into a more restful sleep.

The next morning, the moving truck came bright and early for Aurora.  It was raining.

Jeff saw her get in and then left to get his own things together.  Aurora stared out the window, watching the scenery go by.  It was good to be going home.


Monte Vista was covered in a layer of snow.  A last bit of winter before spring hit, Aurora supposed.  A smile wiped out the pensive look on her face as the house came into view.  And there, outside the house were two of the people she loved most in the world.

She ran up and they enclosed her in hug.  Then her dad then lifted her up and swung her around.  “Welcome home, Rora,” he murmured, holding her tight.

“It’s good to be home, dad,” she murmured back, squeezing him tightly back.

After the movers put her furniture into storage and she unpacked her suitcase and her things, Aurora settled back into the routine of being home.  She walked through the hallway, peered into the familiar rooms.  Memories of her grandfather at the stove, or at his painting easel, her grandmother seated at the kitchen table, her parents stealing kisses in the living room, and of course, watching her Uncle Falkor propose to Faye.  Yes, it was definitely good to be home.  There was only one thing missing…


A few days later, there was a knock on the door.  Aurora had already jumped up from where she was sitting at the kitchen island and was outside in a heartbeat.  Soon as she got outside the door, she stopped and could only stare with a goofy smile on her face.

“Hey beautiful,” Jeff greeted her softly.  She launched herself at him and they both held on.


The meeting between Jeff and her parents went well.  Her mother seemed quite taken with this young man and was exceedingly happy for her daughter.  Her father was harder to read, though it didn’t take any special skill or power for Aurora to figure out that he was torn.  He couldn’t begrudge his daughter happiness, but he wasn’t quite ready to let her go just yet, let her go to another man.

So while she and her mother caught up at a girls only spa day, Draco entertained Jeffrey.  The two sat down for a game of chess.  “So,” Jeff murmured nonchalantly as he surveyed the board.  “Rora tells me you’re a cop, right?”

“That I am,” Draco replied in the same nonchalant tone.  He brought his gaze up from the chess board to hold Jeffrey’s for a long moment.  Looking into the deep red irises was… disconcerting, but Jeffrey didn’t break the eye contact.  Draco had to respect him for that.  “I have one question for you.  Do you love my daughter?”

“With everything I am,” Jeff told him, sincerity in every line of his face and the tone of his voice.

“Good.”  That was all Draco said as they continued their game.


Jeff’s move into the house went smoothly.  He changed his hair a bit, letting it grow out and chose clothing that was a bit more professional considering what he had chosen as his profession.

Jeff applied and was given a job at Doctor Simano’s Sanitarium.  He dreamed of becoming a world-renowned surgeon.

The house fell into a routine.  Jeff and Draco could often be found playing chess together.  It was impossible to mistake the slight tension that still surrounded the two, but they seemed to get along well enough.

Family dinners were definitely… interesting, to say the least.

“In a couple days, it’s Snowflake Day again,” Sophia reminded everyone.  “Falkor and Faye are coming, the kids.  Even my brother Eli said he’d try to make it.”

“Mmm,” Draco murmured.  He’d made a sort of peace with Sophia’s family.  The fact that Eli had made overtures to actually get to know his sister was a good thing, or at least he hoped so.  He was looking forward to seeing his brother and his brood.  Faye had been keeping him current with the kids of course, but he hadn’t actually gotten to see them in ages.

Looking around him, the patriarch of the Wyverns smiled slowly.  His wife, beautiful as ever.  His daughter, with her eyes shining as she looked at the man across from her.  And Jeff… he was a man that Draco held a grudging respect for, though there was still a part of him that wanted to kick him to the curb, the happiness he brought out in his daughter was enough to keep that impulse at bay.  So he smiled.  “It’ll be good to see everyone again, to have a holiday as a family.”

The others agreed and Aurora gave her father a bright smile.  The look she gave him spoke volumes.  And it was enough.  His family was happy.  That was all that mattered.

Chapter 17: A Little Secret

From: awyvern @SimsUniversity.edu 
To: dragonprince @MonteVista.net
Subject:The Email, as Promised

Hey dad!

Sorry I didn’t get back to ya right away.  The last few days have just been busy, really busy.  Classes have started and my schedule is pretty full, as you know.  I’m getting the hang of it, though it took me a little while to get used to getting up so early.  On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, my first class, Case Studies in Arbitration, starts at 8.  You know me, I’ve never been what you call a morning person.  So I look a bit like a zombie heading there.

The campus is pretty spread out, so I do a lot of sprinting to classes, particularly when it’s raining.

The house is lovely.  I enjoy the solitude.  I’m so glad I didn’t have to stay in a dorm.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the people I’ve met so far, but I think living with a houseful of people would just be too much for me.  Having my own place gives me a place to come back to, unwind.  And the furniture you and mom got me looks great.

I’m learning to cook.  So far, my repertoire involves waffles, mac n cheese, and autumn salad.  At least I’ve stopped burning the mac n cheese.

I’m really enjoying school so far.  The classes are fascinating and there are so many things to take pictures of.  I’d have my camera glued to my face, if I could!  Hope you and mom are keeping busy and aren’t too worried about me.  I love you both very much!

Love,

‘Rora

From: dragonprince @MonteVista.net
To: awyvern @SimsUniversity.edu
Subject:About Time! ;)

Hey Sweetheart,

It’s ok.  Your mother and I know you must be busy.  It’s great to hear from you.  We miss you a lot.  The weather’s cleared up enough for the snow to melt, though we’ll see how long that lasts.  Oh!  Guess what?  The house is a bit fuller than normal, even with you gone.  I was at work, but your mother was home.

When I got home, she was grinning at me.  “So, I was out in the Zen garden, practicing, when I heard quite the carrying on.  I figured it was just Hercules and Megara, playing around as they do.”  I figured your mother was working up to something, considering the smirk on her face.  So I waited.  “But then I noticed it was only the cries of one of them and it sounded like Meg.  I ran to the other side and what do I see?  The poor thing was laying on the ground, carrying on like she was being split open!”

“I take it she…”

“Yup.  I figured it’d happen, though wasn’t quite expecting it NOW,” she confirmed with a nod.  “After a bit, Megara stopped and then looked shocked when two little furballs seemed to appear out of nowhere.”

We know that it was once your job to name the pups, but since you’ve been so busy, we decided to stick with the theme you came up with, so our two newest additions are Ares and Apollo.

Ares is the fluffier of the two, while Apollo is more gangly.  They both are quite the pair.  By the time you come home, they won’t be so little any more.

Aside from the puppies, I’ve been working.  I’m still moving up the ranks pretty quickly.  I can’t talk too much about it anymore.  Seems the higher I climb, the more secrecy is involved.  It isn’t quite what I bargained for, but at least I’m still able to make a difference.  Sorry, sweetheart for going off on a tangent.  You know how I can be.  Anyway, your mother and I love you.  We’ll talk to you later.

Love,
Dad

From: awyvern @SimsUniversity.edu
To: dragonprince @MonteVista.net
Subject:A Timely Response This Time :P

Hey look!

I’m emailing you in a reasonably time frame!  Will miracles never cease, right?  Anyway, enough of the frivolity.  Ares and Apollo are adorable!  I can’t wait to come home and see them!  Oh and I can’t resist saying it so I won’t: “Hercules, you dog you!”  Yes, I know, terrible pun.  I couldn’t help myself.

Anyway, things are still going well, really well.  I’m thoroughly enjoying my Comm. Class.  I get to cover things from politics to things like military spending and how it might affect our campus.

Due to starting my mornings so early, I’m afraid I’m mainlining caffeine.  I can’t seem to function now without at least one cup of espresso.  Most of the time, I need more than one.  Only once I get my caffeine fix do I feel even close to human.

I’ve met some more interesting people and even got invited to a bonfire the other night.  It was a lot of fun.

And I also had my first taste of juice as well.  I rather enjoyed it.  Don’t worry, I didn’t go too overboard.  You know me.

As far as your tangent, you should know you don’t have to apologize to me, of all people, dad.   I uh… I know I’m not supposed to know certain things about your job.  Just uh… be careful, ok?  I worry about you, dad.  But I also know you can handle yourself.  Anyway, gotta go steady for a test tomorrow.  Love you and mom.  I’ll give you a call after I get outta class, ok?  Night!

Love,
‘Rora


I hate keeping things from my parents.  I really do.  I’ve always been private, kept things close to my chest, but I could always talk to them about things.  I guess I’m just not quite ready to share this with them yet.  For one, I know dad’s preoccupied with work and he doesn’t need any kind of distractions.  And mom is busy worrying about dad.  Every time we talk on the phone, I can feel it from both of them.  So I’ll keep this to myself for now.

It’s difficult though.  For once, I ache to tell SOMEONE.  I want to shout it to the world.  I’m in love.  I, Aurora Breton Wyvern, am in love.  I wasn’t looking for it.  I had gone to the Student Union to check out the facilities.  There he was…

I felt… poleaxed.  That’s the only word that really fits.  I lost all the breath in me.  His smile… then he was shaking my hand and I his.  And for the first time in my memory… I couldn’t read someone.  Not all the way.  My grandmother had explained that there were those who had natural defenses.  It appeared I had found someone with them.

It’s been a whirlwind ever since.  Though neither of us ever actually uttered the words, we’ve become exclusive.  He stays at my place most nights now.

We sleep in the same bed.  And we go to classes together in the morning.

Because of my gift, I’ve tried to keep my distance from most.  I didn’t have a chance with him.  Jeffrey just… he seemed to roll right over me, but in a good way.  When I hesitated, he’d grin at me and give me space when I needed it.  But he was always there when I decided to close that distance.  After a while, I’ve accepted it and I’ve embraced it.  Jeffrey and I can sit home and talk for hours, or, like the other night, we like to go out for a quiet evening, just the two of us.  We went to the local café and just sat on the grass, staring up at the stars for a while.

I’ve never felt this way before.  Every time I hear his voice, something inside me just shifts and I feel a kind of warmth spread through me.  I’ve felt it before, but not from myself.  This is what I feel from my parents when they are together.  When my mom walks into the room, it feels like my dad lets out this sigh.  That’s how I feel right now, with Jeff.

He does things to surprise me all the time.  Just yesterday, he brought me some flowers.

When I look into his eyes, I just seem to… melt.

I know I need to tell my family.  And I will.  But for right now, I want to enjoy my time with Jeff, just the two of us.  I almost broke down and told my mom on the phone the other night, but I held off.  Finals are coming up soon enough.  I’ll warn them then.  Until then, I plan on making the most of the freetime that we have.

It’s funny, for someone that is so well versed in human emotions and in trying ignore them on a regular basis, Jeff knows just the things to say and do to turn me into nothing more than a puddle of goo.

When we aren’t in class, we’re together now as the semester comes to a close.  Jeff pretty much lives with me now, though he technically has a room in one of the dorms.  It’s… nice to have someone to sit and share breakfast with.

And it’s nice to have someone to chat with in between classes, and someone to watch TV with at night.

I think I’ve finally found the reason, the reason why my parents are always so happy, no matter what happens.  I can’t wait to tell them.  But it’ll keep for a little while.  Until after finals.


 

Chapter 16: Moving Forward

My birthday was today… but I didn’t feel like celebrating.  No one did.  So I let the sparkles hit quietly, on my own.  I’m an adult now.  I don’t feel much different, not in body anyway.  In my heart, maybe.  I miss my parents, more than I thought was possible.

But life does go on.  Losing mom and dad has been difficult.  No one ever gets over a loss, not truly.  But we do move on.  And we’re moving on as best we can.  I know I cherish my time with my wife more than I ever have before.

We’ve taken in another dog.  She’s a sweet animal and according to the adoption center, she’s a purebred Rottweiler.  Aurora has been awfully quiet since she lost her grandparents; we were hoping this would help her a little.  She did name the dear girl.  She called her Megara.

Megara has been welcomed to the family very enthusiastically by our Hercules.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see another generation of our dogs in the near future.

Aurora’s class went to the town Mausoleum, to learn some of the town history through the families that settled it.  She seemed to enjoy it.

It’s taken a long while and it took a lot of convincing from my wife, but she and I have finally taken our place in the master bedroom.  “Draco,” she murmured quietly, one hand on my cheek.  “I know you miss them.  I do too.  You know I loved them just as much as you did.  They-they were here for me more than my own family.”  She smiled sadly.  “But it’s time.  Soon enough, Aurora’s going to bring home someone and the downstairs will be hers.”

My wife was right… It was difficult, but we moved our bedroom upstairs, into the room that my parents had shared.  At first, I wanted to keep it the same, but my wife was once again right: they would want us to make it our own.  So we did.  Our old room was turned into a cozy little library/study of sorts.

Life goes on, but we never forget those we have loved and lost.


The weather has turned cold once more, though the snow hasn’t started quite yet.  The grass is frosted, though.  It was early morning and no one else was up yet.  I’d left my wife sleeping comfortably in our bed.  I stepped out of the sliding glass door that opened onto our backyard and stopped a moment to catch my breath, rubbing at my chest.  Mom and Dad have been gone for almost two weeks now.  But still, I feel it.  And today, I feel it more than normal.

I walked across the lawn in the silence of early morning.  No song birds sang; I could see my breath, even after I entered the mausoleum.  I glanced at the legacy that my mother and father had left and smiled a little.  Then I descended the steps.  My steps echoed off the rock walls eerily.  As I stepped through the arches, I stopped and just looked.  This was the first time I’d been done here since we had laid my parents to rest.

I stood there for a long time.  Then I stepped forward.  “I’m sorry,” I murmured to the air.  “I should have come down here before.  It’s been… hard without you.  We all miss you so much.”  A chill ran down my spine.  It surprised a laugh out of me, even as I rubbed a hand over the back of my neck.  “Ok, ok, I think I get it.  Anyway, I came down here today to tell you something.  I know you guys are watching over us, but I thought it only right that I tell you that your granddaughter is going to be a young woman today.  I can’t quite believe it myself.  And… she’s going to be going to University as well.  You guys would be so proud of her.”

I talked to them for quite a while.  When I finally emerged back into the daylight, I felt lighter.  The day was cold, but sunny.  For the first time since my parents died, I felt much lighter, and the grief had lifted.  I’d always miss them, that was a given.  But I’d see them again, someday.  And today… today was for celebration.


Aurora didn’t want a big party; so it was just her mother and I, and the dogs, of course, to welcome her to her young adulthood.  Sophia made the cake.  “I know it’s not your grandfather’s, but I hope you like it,” she told our daughter.

“I’m sure it’s great, mom,” Aurora assured her with a soft smile.

The candles were lit and Aurora took her proper place.  She leaned over, thinking deeply about her wish.

The sparkles surrounded her.  I felt a shaft of pain run through me.  My little girl was really growing up…  She must have sensed it, because her gaze went to mine and there was a knowing look in her eyes.  But while I might lament the fact that my little girl was no longer little, there was a great swell of pride when the sparkles finally cleared.  She’s always been beautiful.  But now, our little Northern Light truly shines.

After a bit of cake (which was really good), she went to the mirror, then the dresser to really put herself together.


The next day, it was graduation.  Sophia and I dressed up in our best, while Aurora got into her cap and gown.

As Sophia and I sat there amongst the crowd of parents and family members, I could only stare up at the stage proudly as my daughter gave her Valedictorian speech.  That’s right, my little girl was the valedictorian of her class.  Her classmates are as big of jokers as mine were considering that they voted her Most Likely to Burn Down Their Own House.

My brother Falkor gave out the diplomas and he had an extra hug for his niece.  Sophia made it out of there without crying… I didn’t quite.  I wasn’t a blubbering mess, but my eyes weren’t completely dry.  However, when we got home, we all got a shock.  Our beloved Gage passed away.

We knew he was living on borrowed time, sadly.  His brother had already gone before him and the old fella had really slowed down the last little while.  In some ways, it was a mercy, though we will certainly miss him.  He will now join his brother, mother, and father.


Aurora is preparing herself for college, reading up on things, practicing her photography, and even doing some painting.  She’d always loved to watch her grandfather when he was at work on a canvas.  Then she took one last placement test.  Once she got the results back, she was online, finalizing her enrollment.

The night before she was to leave, Grim visited once again.  Though… I hate to say this, it was almost a relief.  Glena had never been a very peaceful animal, though she was special in her own way.  But since we’d lost Gage, she’d been almost insufferable.  It made sense, in many ways, Gage was the only one that Glena really loved.  Be that as it may, it was still sad, but at least she can join Gage once again.


Despite all that, the next morning, bright and early, the moving van came to pick up my little girl.  Sophia and I stood outside in the snowy morning air as Aurora emerged with a single suitcase.

We watched her climb into the front seat.

Even after it pulled away, my wife had one hand up waving.

I slid my arm around her waist.  “There she goes,” I murmured.

Sophia sighed and lay her head on my shoulder.  “Yeah… there she goes.”  We watched until the tail lights disappeared from view, then headed into the house.  We were both a little subdued, and very quiet.

After a while, I finally said, “C’mon, there’s a hottub calling our name.  I think we could both use a nice bit of relaxation.”

“It’s snowing out,” my wife pointed out, raising an eyebrow.

“Like that would stop you,” I retorted with a grin.  With our butts freezing, we ran out to the hot tub and slid in, cuddling close.

Finally, we climbed out and hurried back inside.  We got dressed and then decided to spend a lazy day.  Aurora had promised that she’d let us know when she got there.  But it would take a while; it was a long drive.  So we settled in, watching movies that we’d both seen a dozen times.  As evening descended and then it got later and later, my phone finally  went off.  It was a text with a picture.

I’m here.  The house looks great, doesn’t it?

I looked at my wife and smiled, showing her the picture and the text, then gave her a squeeze and a kiss on the cheek.  “Let’s get to bed, huh?”

Author’s Note: I don’t think I have ever had an animal in the Sims that I was as glad to see go as I was Glena XD That sounds awful, I know, but… man, she was disliked by pretty much everyone because her only trait for the majority of the time was aggressive and she just constantly growled at everyone.  Her only good relationship was with Gage and even that had begun to fall just a little bit toward the end.