Here's an idea that's been running around my mind since I saw the season one finale. Hope ya enjoy, alligators. Cass is best character.

I don't own Tangled the Series

Rapunzel watched the guards spar. She had taken to doing this as her leisure activity, noticing how Eugene taught them different styles to help against thieves around Corona. If she didn't know any better, she would think her boyfriend was doing it just to tease the guards about their fighting style. Of course, she would never be the one to rain on his parade, especially since he looked really cute when he was in instructor mode.

Eugene grinned as he strutted in front of the guards. This was his favorite part, being able to teach the guards something they didn't know. It came in second only to actually trouncing them in combat. What former thief wouldn't love the chance to toss a few guards flat on their butts? It was all for the sake of learning after all, so it's not like he was doing too much harm.

Both Eugene and Rapunzel glanced over at a shout. A nearby group of guards were trying to best their new second-in-command. Cassandra wasn't giving them a single inch, parrying, slashing, and twirling as if she were born for the position. Actually, come to think of it, she practically was. And now, she was more determined than ever to prove she deserved to be by her father's side.

Rapunzel watched the way her best friend moved, laughing as she tripped up one of the guards. Eugene crossed his arms, grudgingly impressed that his friendly nemesis was so light on her feet. Cassandra moved like a warrior, using her skill and wit to outdo every guard that came her way.

It was so exhilarating being on the sparring fields again. Cassandra smiled as she unarmed a nearby guard before turning to the next two coming at her. After the battle at Varian's lab, she was insistent on trying out new techniques, looking for key weak spots that would be present on humans, robots, or both. She had no doubt the little twerp would break out of prison, and when the time came, she'd be ready for him.

Cassandra knew Eugene shared her sentiment, which was why he was training the guards in unorthodox methods of fighting. If they didn't fight like guards, then it would be harder for the enemy to predict their movements. Neither of them trusted the prison to hold Varian and they wanted Corona to be strong for when he got free.

Ever since that night, Cassandra had wondered if she was right to lead the guards. Her tactic of rushing in could make an enemy cower, but perhaps, just rushing in and relying only on skill wasn't the best course. She needed to know something about her enemy. She needed to be able to predict weak spots and cover her own blind spots if she was going to get better.

Taking a deep breath, the second-in-command returned her mind to the spar, parrying the swords coming toward her before leaping at the first guard she saw. Eugene turned back to his own group and split them off into pairs to spar with each other. Rapunzel returned to just watching, examining the way the guards moved and how that could be implemented into her own style.

Eugene kept a stray eye on Cassandra as he went back to instructing. He had noticed her zone out for a sec during the spar. While he would be far from calling her out, since that would only draw attention to her immense skill, he did worry only a tiny bit about what had caused it. Last thing he needed was her getting rusty. It was no fun claiming you're the best if your only real competition wasn't up to snuff.

The battles continued on, Eugene and Cassandra continuing to absolutely thrash their respective groups. Finally, it was time for a break. Cassandra called, "Grab some water and take fifteen minutes."

All of the guards breathed tired sighs of relief and made their way toward the bucket of water one of the maids had brought. Eugene sunk his sword into the dirt and leaned on it as he watched the guards clamor for something to drink. They were going to need to build up some endurance if they really wanted to be at their very best. Cassandra considered the same, noting that she herself only felt slightly winded. How was her training regimen harder than that of the guards?

While everyone's attention was on the water bucket, no one noticed the figure come up behind Cassandra. The surrogate leader of the guards started in surprise when a shadow loomed over her, but by that point, it was too late. A pair of arms encircled her waist and chest, pulling her into a tight hug.

Cassandra froze.

Night had fallen. Her muscles were tired from fighting an endless horde of robots. They wouldn't stop coming and there was no sign of the King or Rapunzel. If this kept up, they would be down even more people than before. She couldn't give up, though. Rapunzel and the King were relying on her. The guards were depending on her. The Queen's safety was at stake and she would never be caught running when the Royalty was threatened. Her birthright dictated she stay. Regardless of her fatigue.

Even worse, another robot followed the Royal Family from the decrepit building. This one was larger than the others, but she knew that just meant it would go down on the rocks harder. With everyone in immediate danger, she had no choice but to charge. They needed a distraction. Before she knew what was happening, she was caught in a large metal hand and her breath was being squeezed from her body. Her bones creaked as the hand only continued to tighten. Her vision was going dark. She couldn't see. She couldn't even scream for help. She needed help. Someone help!

Something cold splashed on her face and Cassandra gasped as she pulled from the vision. Looking around in confusion, she found several guards surrounding her, weapons raised. Rapunzel stood in front of them, trying to calm the situation while Eugene held an empty cup in his hands. It was then that Cassandra noticed she was dripping.

Looking to her hands, she found someone in her grip. The person gave a slight grunt and Cassandra spurred into action. Within seconds, she was off of her captive and had her sword in hand, facing the group of wary guards defensively. No one moved for several seconds until Cassandra noticed something.

Her sword was trembling. No, not her sword. She was trembling. Why…?

"Cass?" Rapunzel asked softly. The princess inched closer with Eugene at her side, the rest of the guards standing back. "Cass, it's okay."

Gray eyes met green, the former confused while the latter attempted to be reassuring. Slowly, Cassandra lowered her sword, shakily sheathing it. "That's... I think that's enough sparring for today," she said, turning away from the group staring at her. "Shower and rest a bit before returning to your posts. We need patrols around the southern and eastern gates. A squad also needs to relieve the west patrol."

The guards all hesitantly shuffled off to do as told, shooting concerned looks at their volatile leader. Cassandra sighed as she rubbed her face. She immediately turned and crouched defensively as footsteps came up behind her, but she paused when she came face-to-face with her father.

"That was quite a tackle," he said casually, rubbing his shoulder with a slight grimace. "Care to explain?"

"A guard has to be ready for anything," his daughter responded smoothly. "I watched you train most of my life. You should know better than to sneak up on a Royal Guard."

The Captain stared down at her suspiciously. "Mhm..." It was clear he was unconvinced, but thankfully, he dropped it. With a smile thrown in her direction, the Captain strode after the other guards, considering some ice for his shoulder.

Cassandra breathed out in relief and made her way toward her chambers. She hadn't had an episode like that since the day after the attack last week. Back then, it had been brushed off as just her being strung on high alert like the rest of the guard. Now, though, if people made it habit to hug her, she wasn't sure she could brush it off so easily.

Rapunzel watched her handmaiden walk away and felt her heart sink. She had seen the terror on Cassandra's face, the way her expression twisted uncharacteristically. That wasn't a regular takedown; Cassandra had been afraid, and it pained Rapunzel that she didn't know what the other woman had been scared of.

A hand on her shoulder made the blonde look up into the caring brown eyes of her boyfriend. "Relax, Blondie," Eugene chuckled. "I'll go talk to her and see what's up. Don't want her having another episode like that toward ya. Then she really will be in trouble." Smiling down at the princess, the former thief's expression softened. "I've got this."

"Be careful, Eugene," Rapunzel whispered, touching his hand encouragingly.

Eugene nodded and made his way to Cassandra's quarters. Sneaking through the halls, he made it to the correct door in no time. It would be a piece of cake to pick the lock and head right in, but he had no clue what she was doing in there. What if she was changing, or worse, cleaning her sword? She could either blind him or behead him with only a simple movement. Nope, knocking was the best shot.

Mustering up his courage and asking himself why he was even bothering to check on this pain in the neck, Eugene knocked firmly on the door. He heard shuffling inside and then footsteps before the door opened. Cassandra stared at him in shock before her eyes narrowed and she made to shut the door.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Eugene placed his hand on the door and pushed back against her strength. "None of that. I'm here to check on you!"

"Tell Raps I'm fine," Cassandra responded, trying to force the door shut despite Eugene's efforts to keep it open.

Eugene grunted, "That remains to be seen, Handkerchief. I just wanna talk and then we can both forget this ever happened."

"Don't wanna talk to you," the irritated fighter grit out. "Now go 'way!"

"You think this is easy?" Eugene snapped. "I don't like this situation either. Just cause you've got your nice cushy job as substitute captain doesn't make you any less of a headache."

The door suddenly swung inward, sending Eugene toppling to the ground. The former thief rubbed his head and looked up irritably, only to start in surprise. Cassandra glared down at him in rage, her eyes slit. Hurrying to his feet, Eugene watched the swordswoman nervously, not quite knowing how Cassandra would respond.

"Cushy?" Cassandra growled in a low voice. "You think this job is 'cushy'? You think looking after squadrons of guards is easy? That training them into doing their jobs better is fun? That watching my father get hurt and taking up his mantle was what I wanted?"

"N-now calm down," Eugene said, holding his hands up in a placating gesture. "I just meant, you know, being surrogate captain has to be a walk in the park after what you've done, right?"

"What you've done." Cassandra looked to the ground. Sneaking Rapunzel out, disobeying orders, falling for an obvious—albeit harmless—trap, being hostile toward one of her rulers for the sake of a competition, helping set loose evil spirits, nearly getting killed by black rocks, watching her father get thrown several meters by a ferocious beast, having to prove her worth by leading a charge against a cunning enemy, getting herself caught by a giant robot...

Eugene watched Cassandra's face change and wondered what was going on. Had he said something wrong? Oh, who was he kidding? Every word out of his mouth was wrong in Cassandra's eyes. But what was going on this time? Where was the scathing remark?

"Get out," Cassandra huffed.

"I beg your pardon?" the ex-thief sputtered.

"Get out, moron." Cassandra gestured to the door. "Get out of my room. Tell Rapunzel I'm fine. My lapse in attention won't happen again."

Eugene crossed his arms. "What makes you think I'm just going to leave?"

Cassandra raised an eyebrow. "I could always scream and claim you were peeping on me."

"Are you sure you're not evil?" Eugene huffed, turning and throwing his arms in the air. "Fine, whatever! I'm going! Just trying to do a nice thing, but as always, my genius is never appreciated."

Cassandra slammed the door behind him, placing a hand against it. Her arm shook minutely and she placed her free hand over it. She couldn't keep letting this happen. She needed to get herself under control.

Eugene strode through the halls, rolling his eyes at himself. He'd known it would go something like that. The woman really had it out for him. He stopped when he heard someone call his name. Lance and Rapunzel hurried closer. "Hey," Rapunzel gasped. "So?"

"What happened with her, dude?" Lance added.

"I will never understand why that woman hates me so much," Eugene huffed, settling on a window seat and crossing his arms. "I go to her with only the best intentions in my heart and she practically throws me out, after scaring me half to death and zoning out first, of course."

"Zoning out?" Rapunzel asked with a worried tone.

"Yeah!" Eugene exclaimed. "You'd think she'd have the common sense to reply, but no! She gets upset that I called her job cushy and then zones out when I try to take it back! I mean-!"

"Eugene," Rapunzel interrupted. "What exactly was said between the two of you?"

With a sigh of defeat, Eugene repeated the entire interaction in verbatim. Rapunzel's expression fell further the longer she listened. Pascal looked on, as concerned as his mistress. Lance merely stared in confusion at the entire exchange.

When Eugene finished, Rapunzel shook her head. "This isn't good."

"You're telling me!" Eugene agreed. "The guards would throw me in prison for peeping on her, regardless of whether or not I liked the view, which, considering it's Cassandra, I highly doubt I would!"

"Not what I meant," his blonde companion responded quietly. "I think I should go talk to her instead."

"Careful, Rapunzel," Eugene warned her. "She really did look ready to slice me in half."

Rapunzel smiled and nodded to him. "Come on, Pascal," she said to the tiny chameleon on her shoulder. Pascal gave a thumbs up in response and the pair set off.

Rapunzel stared up at Cassandra's door for a long moment before setting her jaw. A friend needed her and far be it from her to deny that friend assistance, even if said friend wasn't asking. Taking a deep breath, Rapunzel shared a glance with Pascal before knocking firmly at the door.

It opened within seconds, revealing Cassandra holding her sword. "Didn't I tell you I would scream if- oh. It's you."

"Yup, just me!" Rapunzel chuckled. Pascal chirped from her shoulder and Rapunzel amended, "And Pascal."

Cassandra surveyed the pair for a moment before sheathing her sword. "So, what do you need? Something tear again?"

"No, not this time," Rapunzel responded, leaning in Cassandra's doorframe so the older woman wouldn't try to slam the door.

"You broke something?" the warrior tried.

Rapunzel blushed. "I've gotten a lot better, you know," she responded defensively.

Thankfully, this brought a small laugh out of Cassandra. "Uh huh. Sure you have, Raps. If you're not here to fetch me for handmaiden duties, then why are you here?"

"Just coming to see if you're okay," Rapunzel replied, taking note of the way her friend tensed slightly. "Eugene told me what happened and I know how your interactions with one another tend to go."

"It wasn't that major, Raps," Cassandra waved nonchalantly.

"Says the woman who stormed out of her room ready to behead someone," Rapunzel chuckled. She sobered and looked up at the other woman in concern. "Cass, are you sure you're okay? I know Eugene coming to talk to you directly after the episode you had at training today wasn't really a good idea, but we're worried about you."

Cassandra sighed. "Don't worry about it. It'll pass soon enough. I doubt you'd be able to understand anyway."

Rapunzel moved to stand closer to the taller woman and said, "You never know if someone can understand if you don't try talking to anyone."

"Well, I don't feel like talking to someone," Cassandra retorted. "Maybe I just want space and for people to stop touching me all the time."

"So the problem is that you don't want to be touched?" Rapunzel tried.

"There is no problem," Cassandra growled, gray eyes flashing. "I don't have a problem, except with all the probing questions. You guys act like I've been in the medical ward or something. I'm fine!"

Rapunzel shook her head. "Cass, you're not okay at all. We're worried about you because we're your friends. We just want to understand and help you."

"You can't help me!" Cassandra snapped. "This isn't some giant robot you can tear to pieces with your new rock powers, Rapunzel! It's just something I need to deal with, so do you mind just letting me?"

Rapunzel's eyes widened sadly as Cassandra rubbed a hand down her face. "Please just... I know everyone is worried, but please, just leave me alone."

"Yeah," Rapunzel whispered dejectedly. "Yeah, okay. But we're here for you, whenever you're ready."

As the blonde shuffled out, Cassandra ran the words over in her head. "Whenever you're ready." She doubted she ever would be.

Rapunzel's shoulders slumped as she made her way through the castle. Cassandra was definitely hurting inside. Rapunzel thought they were passed the point of keeping important secrets from one another, but something was upsetting Cassandra so much that she was closing herself off again. And it broke Rapunzel's heart to see all that progress being undone.

"Rapunzel?" The blonde paused, looking around. Pascal pointed behind her and Rapunzel turned to find her mother coming forward. Arianna watched her worriedly. "Is something wrong?"

Rapunzel gave a sigh and her mother guided her to one of the window seats. They sat in silence for a moment before Arianna turned to her daughter expectantly. "Won't you tell me what's happened?"

"It's just... Something is wrong with Cass."

"Has something happened to Cassandra?" Arianna watched Rapunzel carefully. It couldn't have been fatal or else her baby girl would be in tears, but it was still enough to make Rapunzel very sad.

"That's just it, I don't know!" Rapunzel stood, beginning to pace. "She seemed fine earlier today, but during training practice this afternoon, she... I don't know, freaked out? She freaked out on her dad. It's almost like she wasn't even in her own mind anymore."

While Rapunzel paced, she didn't notice the way Arianna's shoulders stiffened the more she spoke. The behaviors Cassandra was displaying were hauntingly similar to her own. If the queen were to hazard a guess, she could think of at least two reasons why Cassandra was behaving the way she was and both of them had to do with the attack last week.

"…and she just asked us to leave her alone!" Rapunzel finally finished. "She asked us to leave her alone and... and I left because she needed some space, but I'm also worried about her, Mom. I don't know what to do."

A hand landed on her shoulder and the blonde looked up in confusion. The soft expression on her mother's face eased some of the tension in the princess' chest. Her mother usually gave good advice. Maybe she could help with this, too.

"Don't worry, Rapunzel," Arianna reassured her gently. "All she needs is someone to talk to about what's bothering her."

"But she said she didn't want to talk to anyone," Rapunzel pointed out.

The queen chuckled and tucked a strand of hair behind Rapunzel's ear. "That's because she needs to talk to someone who has also been through what is troubling her."

Rapunzel's eyebrows knit together in confusion. "But... who would that be?"

"I know someone," Arianna replied cryptically. "I'll get Cassandra the help she needs. Don't you fret, alright?"

There was something her mother wasn't telling her either. Rapunzel could tell from the way she wouldn't say what was wrong with Cassandra nor who had the same experiences as the handmaiden warrior. However, if situations like these had taught Rapunzel anything, it was that she needed to believe in her family.

Nodding, she said, "Alright. Thanks, Mom."

Arianna smiled and kissed the top of her daughter's head before sending Rapunzel on her way. Once the blonde was out of sight, the queen's lips fell into a frown. So she wasn't the only one suffering from that night. Even worse, it was someone else very close to her dear Rapunzel that was suffering after effects. If Arianna didn't know any better, she'd think Varian had gotten his way after all.

Shaking her head, the troubled queen set her jaw. No. She couldn't think like that. They had stopped Varian's plans and the rocks seemed to have stopped their progression while Rapunzel prepared for her trip out into the world. For now, Arianna had to do her part and help someone who needed a friend to be there for them.

For the rest of the day, Arianna observed the way her daughter acted around her friends. She watched the way Cassandra tensed up whenever either Rapunzel or Eugene came closer, but relaxed when they began speaking. It wasn't an entire body clench, but her back stiffened just slightly. She herself could attest to the small movements as she felt them whenever one of the guards or Frederic came closer to her.

The next morning, Arianna awoke early, intent upon catching Cassandra before the younger woman went out for her pre-morning training. The sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon when Arianna found Cassandra heading for the training pitch. With steady, assured steps, the queen walked closer to the young warrior and cleared her throat.

The reaction was instantaneous, Cassandra reaching for her sword before pausing at the sight of the queen. Standing straight, she asked, "Your Majesty, you're up early. How may I help you?"

"Actually, Cassandra, I wish to help you." Arianna watched the gray eyes before her narrow irritably.

"With all due respect, Your Majesty, there is nothing to help me with. Unless you wish to begin spar training." Cassandra kept her tone polite and formal, but the queen was not fooled.

Turning to one of the nearby window seats, Arianna called, "Join me, won't you?" It was phrased as a question, but the command was clear in the queen's tone.

Cassandra resigned herself to doing this and sat on the window seat alongside the regal woman. They remained in silence for several moments as the warrior handmaiden stared across at the paintings on the wall and the queen watched the sun continue to rise.

Finally, Arianna turned to Cassandra and asked, "How was training yesterday?"

"It went well," the other woman responded calmly. "The guards are learning quickly under the double tutelage. They should be able to protect Corona much better by the time the regimen fully kicks in."

"I heard you ended early," the queen hummed. "Any particular reason?"

"The men were tired." If Her Queen wanted to play Twenty Questions, Cassandra was game. "I didn't want to overexert them so soon after they've healed."

Arianna looked briefly to the sun. "Yes, I would think so. And how are you healing?"

Gray eyes looked up to green in confusion. "I sustained few injuries in the battle, Your Majesty. I healed up last week, a day or two after the attack."

"I was not referring to your physical injuries."

They held each other's gazes for a long second until Arianna took a deep breath. "You should speak to someone about what happened."

"And who could I possibly tell, Your Majesty?" Cassandra whispered. "All of my father's men have faced much worse, all of them have moved beyond their primary attacks. All of them have more experiences than I do. There is no one who will understand."

There was silence. Cassandra assumed the queen had no response to that. Of course she didn't. No one did. Even Rapunzel, who had been around plenty of Varian's inventions, didn't have the same fear of them that Cassandra now held. Sighing softly, Cassandra made to stand.

"I suppose it is difficult to understand your fear."

The sentence made the handmaiden pause, her eyes flicking to her ruler. Arianna still stared out the window, her eyes on the hole in Corona's wall. Hesitantly, Cassandra sat back down, giving the regal woman her full attention.

"I can imagine it would be difficult for someone to understand the absolute terror of near death unless they themselves had been through it." Arianna closed her eyes briefly and Cassandra was shocked to see the tiniest shudder pass through the queen's body. "Though, I think it would also be difficult for anyone to understand having that same feeling three times in a single night."

This caught Cassandra's attention. "Three times… Your Majesty?"

Arianna gave a soft chuckle. "Yes, three. That night, I thought that Varian was going to kill me three different times. And each time, I would be unable to stop him, absolutely powerless to save myself."

Cassandra watched as the woman before her adopted a faraway look in her eyes. She felt her stomach twist, not liking any member of the Royal Family being upset. Clenching her hands in her lap, the warrior waited for her leader to continue.

"That night, do you know I was watching you all?" Arianna asked softly. "I was watching you fight Varian's beast. I was so worried for everyone's safety, and that of the people of Corona. I just wanted everyone to be alright.

"I was unaware that the castle had been infiltrated. I should have known, in hindsight, considering Varian's voice was booming all around Corona. However, so focused was I on what was happening outside, I didn't have much time to react when he appeared behind me."

"B-but he wanted to kidnap you," Cassandra pointed out.

"I had no way of knowing that at the time," Arianna replied, looking at her. "We were under the impression he wanted Rapunzel, after all. Why would he bother coming after another member of her family if he wanted her?" She pressed a hand to her chest and Cassandra watched it shake. "My heart stopped in my chest, I could hardly move, as terrified as I was. My body just froze as he knocked me out."

The queen took a deep breath. "Thankfully, I awoke not too much later. Granted, I was bound, but at least I was alive. Of course, Varian made sure to steal that relief from me once Frederic and Rapunzel found me."

Emerald eyes closed tightly as Arianna whispered, "They had just gotten there, both of them unharmed. They were fine, they were coming for me." The hand at her chest clenched slightly. "Until Varian poured amber onto my shackles."

"He used the amber?" Cassandra gasped. She felt an overwhelming surge of hatred toward Varian for doing such a thing. How could he possibly expect help from them if he was going to use the very thing he had created and accidentally imprisoned his father in? He was certainly more vindictive than she ever expected.

"He was using it as a way to make Rapunzel choose quickly," Arianna explained. "He poured it onto my shackles and it came closer, so much closer. And I couldn't run, I couldn't fight. There was nothing I could do to help myself. I was going to be imprisoned in the same material as his father. I was going to be encased in eternal amber, right in front of the daughter I had finally gotten back."

The pain on the queen's face made Cassandra's chest ache. It was so similar to when Rapunzel was sad, and Cassandra hated it when Rapunzel was sad. She wanted to never see that expression from anyone.

They remained in silence for several seconds as the queen slowly regained her composure. She gave a sad smile as she opened her eyes. Gently, she wiped a tear from the corner of her eye as she said, "But everything turned out fine. Frederic gave me his sword to free myself just before the amber could encompass me. We were free. Or we would have been if not for-."

"The giant robot." Cassandra's eyes widened. Of course! The queen had also been in Varian's grasp, had also been nearly squeezed to death by that sadistic scientist. She couldn't believe she'd forgotten that Queen Arianna was a victim of that giant robot just as much as she was.

"Yes," Arianna sighed. "The giant robot. The creation of my nightmares. Do you know that Frederic could hardly calm me when I awoke those first few nights after the attack? Every time he attempted to hug me, it only made me panic further, certain I was going to be crushed. I flash back to it any time he embraces me, and it always lays at the back of my mind, especially if I hear a teapot."

"If one of the maids accidentally burns something in the kitchen, I just remember the black smoke it released," Cassandra added. "And… when Dad hugged me yesterday, I… I flashed back to that day. I wanted to scream for help, but-."

"You couldn't even breathe?"

The queen's melancholy smile said everything. She knew what Cassandra felt. She knew because she had been feeling the exact same thing, every day since the incident. And she didn't have the packed schedule Cassandra did, so she had fewer things to help her relieve the tension.

"I know what it feels like to be afraid of the sensation of being hugged," Arianna whispered gently. "I know because it breaks my heart every time Frederic comes closer only to stop and question his actions. He doesn't want to remind me of that night, but I know that he yearns to just hold me in his arms, as your father no doubt wishes to do with you. Just to be sure you're alive and alright."

"I apologize for my selfishness, Your Majesty," Cassandra stated. "I will take your experiences into account the next time I speak."

Arianna gave a shaky laugh. "There's no need," she explained. "I simply wished to remind you that, while the others might not understand, there is someone who understands what you're going through. You shouldn't be afraid to reach out. This isn't something you should have to deal with on your own. Your family is here for you."

Standing, the queen smiled at the swordswoman before making her way down the hall. Cassandra looked out the window for a few moments before taking a deep breath. She had someone to talk to. She could do this. With a firm nod to herself, Cassandra straightened her scabbard on her back and made her way toward the training grounds.

Around the corner, Rapunzel, Pascal, King Frederic, and Eugene all looked to one another. They hadn't wanted to disturb the important conversation, but it was reassuring to know what was wrong with their family members. Now, they could effectively help their family deal with their trauma. With time and a bit of help, everyone would be okay again.

There ya go. I fell deep for Ariana/Cassandra bonding, so I'm not giving it up too easily. Hope ya liked, alligators!