Thank you so much for hanging on, everyone! This wraps up "Aftershock."

**This story takes place DIRECTLY after my first story: Alone. It is heavy-handed and I have rated this story M. Trigger warning: heavy talks of suicide, depression, and the struggle to keep fighting. Please take this into account when reading. Also rated M for under-aged sex and talks of abortion. Reader beware.**

Chapter 17


I heard her keys in the door at five thirty-six that morning and waited silently as she climbed the steps to the second floor. Smiling to myself as she paused in the hall, I counted the days she had been gone. Today was day thirteen. Lucky had finally come home.

I feigned sleep as I heard my door creak open, still facing the window of my room. Listening hard, I could tell that she was watching me. She padded out of my room once more and I could hear her belt buckle as she stripped out of her clothes, leaving a trail behind her, I was sure. She returned to my room moments later in a fresh tee shirt and pajama pants and crawled slowly into bed with me.

As soon as she made physical contact with me, her memories began to wash through my subconscious: the last thirteen days playing through my mind. I saw Miguel's face smiling as he kissed her. I saw her become a warrior during the vampire hunt and the wendigo hunt. I saw her crouch in the bushes as she watched me ignite the funeral pyre where we laid Emery to rest.

I tried to ignore the lovemaking sessions that she was much too young for. I caught a glimpse of her terror as they walked through the doors of a Planned Parenthood building and I watched with fear in my heart as she interacted with Santiago at a bar. Finally, I watched her mood shift to joy as she sat in the bathroom at a gas station, finally knowing for certain that she wasn't pregnant.

In thirteen days, my baby sister wasn't a baby anymore. As the memories ended, I was able to listen to Serra as she wrapped her arms around my body, pulling herself as close as she could, just like when we were younger. She was asleep in seconds; her breath warmed my hair each time she sighed. Relief spread through me, knowing she was finally home and safe with me. We could finally heal together and suddenly; I didn't care what she had done or whom she had been with. We were back under the same roof and we would figure out how to survive.

I closed my eyes and felt the warmth of the sun as it tried to peek through my curtains. As long as she was sleeping, I wouldn't move. I would do everything I could to keep Serra as close to me as possible. We would never have to suffer alone again.