"Hawk's been making fun of me," Fang complained with a pout into the curious little receiver device that'd transport her voice to Lightning. "She picks me up and tosses me like I'm a child." She could almost hear Lightning's smile.
"I'd pay to see that."
"You could for free," Fang tempted again, "It'd only take a little visit down to see Serah out here."
"And take advantage of your hospitality again?" Lightning breezed off, "I've still got the scars from last time."
"Okay, okay," Fang allowed, knowing she wouldn't accept the invitation. Lightning never did. But Fang still offered every time she called, "I'll have Serah send her picture of it from the one time."
"You must be such a cute lightweight compared to all the other Yuns."
Lightning chuckled softly. "You sound like you're getting better, Fang."
"I am," Fang agreed, "Nothing like Gran Pulse to cure me up out of craziness. They've all been especially watchful of me this past month too."
"You scared them," Lightning pointed out, "When you came to visit me."
"I know," Fang rubbed her neck, "I told them I wasn't gonna run away, but you know how Mom worries… she gets nervous when I disappear for too long. And Dad wasn't too happy about it. Sky neither."
"Stay there and be good," Lightning eased, "They just want you to be safe."
"I will," Fang promised, eyes on the little blonde rushing her way to Fang and the communication station she was on. "Not to break topic, but there's a speeding, strawberry projectile about to overtake me for this phone."
"Thanks for catching up with me, Fang."
"Of course," It was the least Fang could do for Lightning after everything that'd already passed. Serah barely came to a skidding, halting stop, helped by Fang in front of the phone.
"Claire!" Serah shouted excitedly.
"I'll talk to you again soon, Claire." Fang promised into the phone before handing it to Serah. She rubbed the slender girl's shoulder and distanced from the receiver so she wouldn't overhear. Not so prominently, anyway. Fang returned to where Mom was waiting a few notches away with Summer, who'd arrived with Serah shortly after her and Anya.
"Sounds like Lightning's doing well."
"She is," Fang agreed, nodding to her mother, "She just got a promotion to Private First Class and she's still ranking. Next test will place her by the end of her Cocoon month."
"So I heard," Anya seconded, probably only understanding half of it as Fang had. It seemed like they graded their soldiers to some scale or another to decide these things; Fang would wager Lightning could beat half the barracks already from their sessions alone. Boot camp must've been a cinch for her. "I'm glad she's okay," Fang could hear the honesty in Anya's statement and appreciated it. Mom was really making the effort and had listened to Fang's claims; Summer too. Both these women had been pillars of strength for Fang through and through.
"Did you get enough time to talk?" Summer asked kindly, earning a small smile from Fang. In the shining sunlight, Summer was beautiful as ever. A woman among women. Long, gliding legs led to a body of perfect proportions, hips that weren't too big, but enough to curve her womanly body, and a face that would make a Yun praise the ground she lived on for bestowing such a gift to her people. Chestnut eyes with citrine shards of amber drew anyone's attention, almost matching the perfect locks of her shoulder-length, mahogany hair, fused so perfectly with sungold highlights, no artist's hand could fake such a thing. She was the embodiment of woman, and she'd been a true friend to Fang in recovering from her addictions.
"We caught up. I told her about all the exercises I'm doing here to get strong again. She said they have her doing a lot of that there too, and that they've been scouting her out. It's not like when we trained, but she seems content. Misses Serah mostly, it sounds like. I extended invitation again, but…"
"Give it time," Anya coaxed, taking Fang's hand to squeeze. "Lightning needs that too."
"I know," Fang rubbed the back of her neck, "Lightning sounds happy enough, but…" Fang glanced Serah's way where the girl excitedly talked into the receiver, so relieved to hear from Lightning again. "I just wish we could get Serah back with her again. When Lightning sent that clip of pictures last week, I saw Serah crying with them later in her room…" it strained Fang's heart to see. Even happy with Hawke, the younger Farron noticeably missed and longed for her sister. Fang could understand how much her only living family meant to the girl; as a Yun, she knew that best of all. She only wished she could bring the sisters together again.
"They're as close as family can be." Anya agreed, rubbing Fang's hand as she looked on after Serah too.
"They'll get there, Fang," Summer said, sweetly reassuring. "You never know how things will end up with a little time."
"I hope so," Fang ached. It wasn't fair that Lightning should be stuck in Cocoon after all that happened; not while Fang sat comfortably at home with her whole family doting on her and helping to heal. Fang wasn't even worthy of that, yet Lightning was the one left alone without even her sister anymore. Whether she seemed happy or not, Fang would rectify the chasm of worlds between the Farron sisters. She had to. In time.
Sky's long, straight strands fell back, blue highlights mixing with her dark coloring as her head rose suddenly, attentively from her children's playing to listen. Beautiful blue eyes squinted to listen. Vanille peeped at her from under red bangs after a moment of drawing with the children and asked. "Are they back?"
"I think so."
Without Sky's sensitive Yun hearing, Vanille had no way to know for herself, but she'd long ago learned to trust the Yun senses of her friends and betrothed around her.
"But I'm not done with my picture," Ember complained, drawing with the thinned edge of a colored and oil-mixed wax candlestick that'd been rolled for children. Her brunette-and-amber locks tied back in a tail, the little flecks of offsetting blue glimmered in the sun from the window.
"No, Em," Rivera reached out, helping her sister as she had the past hour so Ember could make the perfect picture. "A blacksmith's forge is black. It gets all sooty because of the work they do. That's why they call it black."
"What if it's a new forge?"
"It's still got fire soot. But sometimes they're gray, I suppose." Ember put down the black, trimmed candlestick wax and searched for a gray one instead, which Rivera found for her and Ember took from her scruffy, blue-haired sister with a smile. In contrast to Ember's, Rivera's golden dashes gleamed, the rich color inherited from her mother's gorgeous, mahogany gold. The blue came from Sky.
"Keep coloring, sweetie," Vanille encouraged the youngest at only 3 tiny years of age, "We don't have to show Mommy until you want to."
Vanille looked up to her Yun lover, who still seemed to be listening attentively. Sky was something. With long, flowing black hair that fell to her knees from an impressive Yun height, just shorter than Fang. She might be easily mistaken for a Sylk herself with that black hair, if not for the beautiful, cobalt highlights that twined her long strands, easily placing her out as Yun. With deep blue eyes that matched the streaks in her hair, sharp, feminine features with a smooth, even chin, lips that curled in perpetual growling, a small, shapely nose, and thin, straight-serious eyebrows, Sky was all woman with the slender body to match.
Except… the one part of her that wasn't all woman entirely. Sky was one of the select Yuns…changed over the years. Where her body resembled the full feminine beauty her people were most known for, there was a little secret hidden in those form-fitting jeans. Not a little secret—actually, a big one. It was the tipping point where her femininity ended and something else had formed, a secret most of the tribes knew, but little enough of Cocoon believed.
Sky had a penis.
Distinguished among the tribes and Yuns as stud and femme respectively, Sky was one of the rare female Yuns with what'd come to be known as a blessing among her people. It was one of the most tribal-known traits of the Yuns and valued worldly across Gran Pulse. Though the infliction had long ago been looked upon as that— a curse— it was now widely treasured by the planet to the point that their society had built around the cherishing of children. With all the men pushed from the planet, Gran Pulse had developed in its tribal sects as it was meant to. It'd only been in the very recent decade they'd allowed sparse tourism to take up in monitored sections of their land.
But all that was ancient history; what mattered today was that Vanille had been gifted enough to not only share intimacies with a Yun, but that she also shared a ring with one. Not long ago, five or six months, Vanille had been made the happiest of her lifetime on a second occasion when Sky had proposed. Of course, she'd accepted in an instant; she loved Sky. But now that moment held a shared happy and troubling instance in Vanille's heart. For with her acceptance came a dooming, as they later learned. Vanille was shamefully infertile and unfit.
Yet, still Sky loved her.
It was the most troublesome conflict of gut-wrenching news Vanille had learned in her life. Deep shame aside, she couldn't get over the fact that Sky would never have a child again while she lived, for Sky wouldn't leave. Worse, she didn't believe it was her place to share and spread her seed, and wouldn't to stay faithful to Vanille instead, who could bear her nothing to bring to this world. Sky was much too loyal to leave her, even when Vanille told her to, but every time Vanille thought on it, her little heart broke a little more each time. She was crippling Sky, sterilizing her, and there wasn't a solution in the world they could agree on.
Even looking upon her now in her beauty, two children already had— to Summer, not Vanille— Vanille couldn't help feeling solely responsible, as if she had cut Sky herself. Only 22, and Sky would go barren.
It shook Vanille to her core. Nothing could make that better.
"Do you want to go down to her?" Sky asked, ever so kindly about her and Fang in the sensitive matter of Fang's healing.
"No, that's okay," Vanille shook her head, "She's with Summer and Anya now, and I'm sure Jaeger wants to find her first anyway. She's usually happier after the calls, so…"
Sky's piercing blues found her again as she stopped actively trying to listen. She lifted a hand to Vanille's shoulder and rubbed down her back, silent. Vanille knew she didn't approve or like Fang keeping a connection to Lightning, but even Sky's normally-argumentative side had softened when it came to Fang. She didn't like seeing Fang the way she was: skinny, thin, undersized and muscled. None of them did. And in the wake of that, Sky made a visible effort to limit her arguments over it. She still disapproved, everyone knew that, but Vanille felt, even Sky must've been too affected by Fang's slow healing to make issues of it.
"Like that, Ma?" Ember asked then, rousing Vanille from her thoughtfulness to see the parchment she colored on. "That's what the forge part is?"
"That's right, sweetie." Vanille complimented, "That looks very accurate. You draw so well, honey. Mommy's going to love it."
Ember smiled proudly. Rivera pointed to another part of the forge. "It needs some ash, Em," and Ember got to work fixing that importantly.
The door behind them pushed in, already open, but now fully to reveal Serah, looking happier as she usually did after her chats with Lightning. Happy and a little anxious. "Hey, guys," Her eyes flicked over the room. "Where's Kierra?" Serah asked after Summer's first and eldest.
"She felt a little tired. Went to her room to lie down," Sky filled in, waving her in. Serah came in and sat on the floor between Vanille and Sky. "Hawke's still at the forge?"
"Yeah, for now," Serah peered at the parchment, "What've you got there, Ember? Drawing a smithy?"
"Rivera remembers the details." Ember claimed, perhaps not fully understanding the details of her sister's memory, which they'd seen was as picture as Sky's. The little blue-eyed child could remember everything from the littlest utterance to a flash of a picture she'd only seen but for a moment. Vanille knew the ability had to come from her father; Sky's memory was just as good, holding every significance she'd seen in her mind. Vanille loved it about Sky.
"It's beautiful," Serah complimented, honestly impressed with how well the little one drew. "Look at the colors and shading. You've got a knack for that, Ember."
"What's a knack?"
"It's a talent," Rivera filled in for her younger sister, "It means you're good at drawing."
Ember gave her a big smile that lit up her pretty eyes. "Thanks, Serah!"
"Lady Serah," Sky corrected softly. Ember gave her apology for the slip. Rivera glanced up at Serah with the correction, but she didn't protest that Serah wasn't of the tribes this time. Vanille took it as a good sign of Rivera's growing acceptance of Serah. It'd been harder at first; like her father, Rivera was stubborn, and she had the 'Lightning's sister' association to Serah. That had dwindled with the passing of two long months of the year's six, but it was still a hard path to gain all Rivera's trust. The Cocoon association carried much negative weight, especially that which associated to Lightning. It'd been the reason they had to move out of Paddra for a time. While most of the Yuns were ready to forgive and help Fang back to health, they weren't so happy with Serah's presence. They hadn't been forced, but they might well have been. Serah's life would've been in too much danger to stay.
So, they'd moved out. Temporarily. At least, Vanille knew that's what everyone hoped for anyway. Paddra was the Yuns home and they didn't like being from it, but as a family, they'd all chosen these sacrifices to make. It wasn't so bad, Vanille reckoned, though that might've just been a personal opinion of her own. The Sulyya Springs were beautiful, warm, and homely. The little village that'd settled there might be comparable to her home in Oerba, minus all the farmers, but it was small and cozy.
Filled with Sylk and Teff women alike, the small village of Roe was a craftsmaker's home with sewers, weavers, blacksmiths and glass molders. Every kind of craft was established in this small town, and shipped out from the small port with Rivaini and merchant-trading Aku alike. It didn't bustle as much as Paddra, but Vanille could appreciate both the sounds and the quiet here. She didn't have to be in a soundproof room not to hear the racket from the markets or two women making loud love to each other—not that Vanille didn't like those sounds either, it was just kind of nice to burrow away into a smaller town for awhile. She watched the long, dark haired weavers like her lover, making quiet, but quick work of the most beautiful dresses and pratical pieces for the Yuns. Or if she wanted to hear the strike of hammer to the stone, she could cross the little town and fondly watch the blacksmiths with Serah. It was a nice, nature-living kind of town.
Vanille would be amiss if she didn't add the hotsprings too. Paddra had warm waters, but nothing like the tub temperatures of these springs just up the village to the caverns with the wonderful hottubs. Vanille could soak in those waters forever, her own little paradise with her few, close friends.
Sadly, Vanille's content couldn't be shared to a full extent by anyone, not even herself. Not when they had Fang to tend after everything that'd gone wrong, or when Serah was with them, reminding them all why they couldn't go home. None of them would have it any other way; it'd been thoroughly discussed and decided on as a whole. Despite her association to Lightning, which half the family loathed, Serah wasn't her sister. She hadn't known of the ruse Lightning and Fang had made, nor had she learned of the dire consequences until it was much too late. Serah had made the choice to come with them and Hawke, and that's what seemed to matter the most to Jaeger. Sky had never hated her, and Vanille physically couldn't. She didn't know how she truly felt about Lightning, much less enough to hate Serah for being innocent of what'd happened by association.
But that was the sad truth of it and why their family now lived in a house that'd belonged to Kale, one of Summer's child-giving lovers. The locals had been very welcoming, regardless. With the severe limitation of studs, they'd been more than happy to open their arms to a family of four studs and other skilled Yuns. It was a very good trade for the hunting potential of gleaning on six well-trained Yuns, one who even specialized in blacksmithing, the town's livelihood. In exchange for welcoming their services, they'd build on additional rooms to Kale's house and a whole upstairs. Vanille's family had taken turns going out on hunts since, inbetween caring for Fang, which was a full-time job itself.
"Did your phone call go well?" Sky asked kindly, and Vanille was proud of her because she didn't have to do that. Serah knew how Sky felt. It was sweet of her to ask; Sky's effort counted to Vanille.
"It did," Serah confessed, eyes turning down with surprise and perhaps shyness to say anything that might rouse up hurtful feelings. "She's doing well… in the GC." Sky had worked there once. Sort of, anyway. She'd been contracted only as a freelancer mercenary, but the association away from PSICOM didn't hurt. "They're watching her for promotion… and we talked a little. About Fang, about Hawke…"
"About us?" Sky asked, glancing at Vanille, who winced. She hoped it hadn't come off too harsh to Serah.
"A little bit," Serah admitted, anxiety showing a little more. "She… she said she heard of a doctor— "
"We don't need a doctor!" Sky cut off sharply. Vanille's shoulders hunched as her heart skipped a beat in fear. She wanted to reach out for Sky's hand, but Serah was between them and it'd be too noticeable. Even Rivera looked up from her sister's drawing for some sort of direction from Dad, who'd stiffened with stubborn, broken pride over Vanille's problem. Vanille didn't realize she'd held her breath until Sky used a softer tone to try to say, "I mean, we've already seen a doctor." She relayed stiffly. "Hearing it again isn't going to help."
Rivera looked between her and Sky as if for direction. Vanille's throat had gone tight. She took the only hand she could, Rivera's, and gave it a gentle squeeze to ease her. Serah swallowed too, eyes kept down. This wasn't Sky liked to talk about to anyone. Not even her, most times. "She's a herbalist," Serah offered softly, words a little quick and small, "From Gran Pulse. She wouldn't diagnose it again, just maybe… she could offer something."
Sky's jaw hadn't loosened. "Lightning found this?" Even by the way she said her name alone, Vanille could feel her contempt. Where Sky couldn't do anything about their situation, it'd seemed to have grown her anger over Lightning. She always was a sensitive topic; worse, when it included Sky. Sky hated the part of secrecy they'd played in Fang's undoing and wholly blamed Lightning for it. Vanille couldn't ease all things for her love.
"I told her to."
"That a lie?" Sky asked, almost vicious. Serah finally lifted her head to look at Sky with round, gray eyes.
"Sky, please." Serah asked. Sky's jaw tightened another nitch. She closed her own eyes, Vanille hoped in calming, and sat a moment like that. When she opened her eyes again, they weren't as angry as before.
"What's her name?" Vanille's heart pattered a bit. She wanted to hug Sky until her troubled heart quelled. With her best friend half broken and her chosen, courted mate incapable, she'd had these times outside of herself. Vanille's lover needed healing too, and she couldn't give it the same way as before.
"Kitty from Norath," Serah said in a breath. "It's not far from Roe. I checked…"
Sky sighed out, finally. "Vanille can send out a letter. If I have downtime in the next week… maybe we'll look into it."
Vanille couldn't contain her heart, which leapt for Sky with arms to embrace her. Sky gave her a gentle squeeze back. She was trying so hard!
"I'm going to check up on Kierra," Vanille heard Serah say as she started to stand.
"Serah," Sky froze her in her tracks in hugging Vanille, who clung to her hard and squeezed more when she spoke. "Thanks for… trying."
Serah didn't say anything else, but she might've given Sky a meek smile or something. Vanille kept her face buried in Sky's arm and prayed. She prayed for them all.
Jaeger sped to the door at the very first sound of its opening. Fang entered first with Anya, Jaeger was happy to see. "Dad," Fang greeted, seeming unsurprised to find Jaeger so attentive at hand, and she wouldn't be. Jaeger had been attentive for months. Not enough, though, as Fang's mini-adventure at the start of the month had proved.
"I've dried out some jerky bits," Jaeger said in greeting, not really wanting to know of her lovestricken daughter's chat with the pink-haired devil. She'd discuss it later with Anya and keep a particularly watchful eye out on Fang for the next week, lest her troubled daughter get any further ideas about visiting again. "Come, sit down."
"Don't eat too much," Anya warned, "We're starting dinner, and I don't want her appetite to go to waste." Both of them knew how fast Fang could get filled nowadays. So small, her daughter rivaled Serah in size, but at least Jaeger couldn't see her ribs like a skeleton anymore. They still showed a bit, sure, but Anya and Jaeger both worked hard to get meat on her bones again so she wasn't deadly frail. Jaeger had a ways to go to build her daughter up yet, but at least she could feel safe in knowing Fang wouldn't keel over again just out of the blue.
"I'll eat dinner, Mom." Fang promised. Jaeger took Fang through the living and dining rooms to the kitchen table to sit.
"Stay here, Fang." Jaeger ordered and only trusted she would because Anya and Summer were in the other half of the expanded kitchen to start dinner preparations. Serah had disappeared to the bathroom. Jaeger disappeared to grab the sun-dried jerky strips from the dining room window and brought them back to the smaller kitchen table for Fang.
"Munch on those, my girl. But don't fill up."
"Thanks, Dad," Fang took one and started eating as Jaeger sat in the seat catty-corner to her. They didn't talk about her phone call. They never did. Jaeger hated seeing her baby's eyes light up in regards to that pink-haired succubus, and Fang had months ago stopped trying to sway her to see Lightning differently. It was a topic the two avoided when they weren't looking for a fight.
"Let me see your arm," Jaeger insisted, and Fang knew the drill. Fang scooted her chair so she was closer to Jaeger and weakly held out her bandaged arm for Jaeger as best as she could. In a tank top, her bandaged arm was barren. Jaeger slowly unwrapped it from the shoulder down, careful not to bump her poor daughter with callous fingers, but only brushed her skin once with the gentlest of touches. When the wrap came to the first jagged incision, it stuck a little to dried blood. Jaeger eased a finger under to loosen it and continued to do so as she went along. Fang munched, wincing on occasion as Jaeger unwrapped the clinging gauze cloth.
Fang's worst injury revealed in pieces. First came the deep slashes she'd made on the end of her shoulder, but the fully-open wound revealed next. Missing chunks of skin and slashed-into muscle followed, capped with bundles of mossy clumpweed to fill in the gapes where skin and muscle had been hacked out. The charred skin had been burned around the edges of the divot to keep the blood from flowing out. Most of the muscle was in tact now under the clumpweed, but two long months ago—four Cocoon months— that wasn't the case at all.
In Fang's darkest of hours, when she'd been alone, addicted, high and drunk in the worst of depressions after being raped and thrown out, all due to the pink-haired vixen Jaeger hated most in both words, Fang had carved the sign of her tribal pride and love out with God-knew what. It looked like her spear, the injury had been so bad. Fang had carved to the bone in spots, into it in others, and chopped through muscle like an amateur with a hacksaw. Anya had almost fainted at first sight of it, then actually did when Sophia, the hired Cocoon nurse, told them the arm would have to come off. 'Even if she healed of this by some miracle without the infection killing her, she'll never have functionality of the arm back again. Might be able to lift it to write, but that's it. And it'll take months.'
The devastating blow was softened with Summer. Gran Pulse had methods Cocoon didn't know about, and Summer had a naturally gift from the Gods with the most basic of otherworldly healing. She'd never even attempted on someone hurt as bad as Fang was and wasn't sure she'd be able to help at all, but slowly, against the advice of Cocoon's finest and with the medical expertise of both, they had tried it. Jaeger had even gone to the growingly-estranged Brell magic-tinkerers for help, who'd refused outright to even try. But with Summer's gift, lots of anguish, rehab, and the sad need for restraints, which had horrified Fang into hallucinations and day-mares, they slowly trickled through those first couple of months.
Fang still wasn't better. The damage she'd done to herself was so extensive, she'd been a blink away from death. They'd battled through her self-starvation, resistance, addictions, and inflictions all, and they were still fighting. Fang even still used clumpweed, primarily to stop the flow of blood and pain, but Jaeger suspected she still used it sometimes for the shakes. They'd had to wean Fang off her many addictions to drugs, which Jaeger considered almost a complete success, but she'd walk in on Fang at night half a month ago, picking at the weed in her arm to inhale it. She'd been shaking, and she paled so white when Jaeger came in, she'd almost passed out. Jaeger had taken it from her, re-wrapped Fang's arm, and held her long into the night.
Fang was really trying, Jaeger knew, and she'd come a long way from death's bedside, but this small, underfed girl still paled in comparison to the proud Yun Jaeger had raised. They had a long, bumpy road left before they got Fang back.
Jaeger pulled at the bloodied, yellow-and-white smeared bandage until it came fully off, her injuries falling down almost to the elbow, her mangled tattoo had been so brazen and large on her arm. The worst of it was her upper arm, where Fang had sliced off the whole section in chunks until it'd all come off, but the bottom portion had its own plugs of clumpweed in the peeled-out flesh, even in spots where the tattoo hadn't been. Fang hadn't been of sound mind; Jaeger didn't want to think of how extensive that damage was when they'd first seen her, or how Fang might've been mangled for life. What mattered now was getting her back as she was.
Fang chewed her jerky as Jaeger pulled out a plug of clumpweed, revealing as far as muscle with only the thinnest layer of flesh etching overtop it to protect. Jaeger checked Fang's face to see how she was doing. In addition to plugging up the injury while Summer slowly managed to literally grow her flesh back, the clumpweed eased raw pain in Fang's arm. "How's it feel today?"
"The weed's blocking most of the pain. And the cauterized edges..." Fang reported, not looking at Jaeger. She never looked at her when speaking of her addiction or things she considered shameful, like the rape and even Lightning sometimes, the few times she brought it up around dad.
"Your last session was five days ago?"
Jaeger gently replaced the clumpweed very gently into Fang's arm. "You should have another session today, if Summer feels up for it."
"I could do that," Summer answered from the other kitchen half where she peeled potatoes for Anya. "After dinner."
Fang winced, but she didn't protest. She wanted all the healing done just as much as any of them, if for different reasons. Jaeger knew her daughter had no intentions of getting another tattoo back there, even when she was fully healed, which wouldn't be for quite some time. The emotional healing of Fang's Yun pride and honor would take longer yet, even after they fully got her body back as she was supposed to be. "You can forgo the later session with me and Hawke today," Jaeger forgave, very aware of how much pain and stress Fang would be in with Summer earlier in the day, too maxed out for training after. "Sky and Vanille can take you to the hotsprings after, if you'd like. Maybe I'll go too. You usually like to soak after, don't you?"
"Dad," Fang almost squeaked on a breath as Jaeger touched her shoulder behind the injuries. Jaeger met her green eyes, which were shy and scared. "You don't have to go… to watch me." Fang said shyly, extremely sensitive to revealing her body of late. Her shallow cheekbones were instant reminder why. Hell, even her hair wasn't long enough. Fang had shaved it at some point. It was growing back, but not fast enough. Jaeger wanted her daughter back again as she was, so Fang could know how freaking beautiful she was again. All her healing just went so damn slow; Jaeger wanted Fang again.
But she didn't trust her anymore. Not like she did. Not like a father should have good faith in her daughter's judgment. Fang had been through hell and back. Her good sense wasn't there anymore, evidence enough in the phone calls and escape to see Lightning. She had such a long way to go.
"Just to war off the wolves," Jaeger mumbled gruffly, though they both knew it was a lie. "Can't have an Ezo eating up your skin and bones."
Fang hung her head, but she didn't protest it again. Jaeger's fingers left her arm. "Leave that open; get some air before you go with Summer again."
"Okay, Dad." Fang agreed softly, saddened. She pulled at Jaeger's heart, but Jaeger just couldn't sit in frightened unknowing when Fang went out.
"Jaeger, can you pull some steaks from the icehouse?" Anya asked from behind the counter. "We're trying these wraps out."
"Okay," Jaeger stood and kissed the top of Fang's head. "I'll be back in a moment."
She only wished she could trust Fang on her own again. Someday, she would. Until then, Jaeger wasn't just a guardian or a parent to Fang, she was her protector, and she wouldn't let Fang go.