Today is the day, William. Everything you own, everything you love…. WILL BE MINE…!

Whoops, wrong story… :/

What I'm trying to say is, I'm finally at the point where I get to explain myself to you. Moonclaw and Mythweaver already know what it is, because they suggested it way back when. And upon some discussion, it made too much sense for one of us not to tackle.

And so, Myth has Rydia, Moonclaw has Cuore, and I have the twins. Now if only someone had the courage to tackle Rosa, and make her awesome…..!

Oh wait, that's my other shtick. :P

The title of this chapter is an homage to Moonclaw. I didn't mean to use the name of one her fics for it, but there is simply no better name for it. Speaking of which, you should read that whole saga! ;D


Chapter 14: Lost and Found


A week passed, and Porom's health was already returning. It was returning with amazing speed, too. As if her ruined body sensed that it was finally healed, it was doing everything in its power to right itself. Her blood pressure evened out in the first few days. By the end of that first week, her weight was back in the 100's, where it was supposed to be. Her insatiable hunger was fading, and she needed less and less sleep to be herself. Rosa was thinking to allow her solid food again, and no longer scolded the girl if she was out of bed and doing things for herself.

"Don't push yourself too hard, now," the queen kept telling her, worried in spite of her progress. "It would be a pity if you relapsed now."

Cecil and Rosa had spent days wondering if they should write to their friends and explain what was happening. The other Light Warriors had all found out about this illness secondhand, when Theo had gone to see them in turn. None of them had been pleased by that. It was a wonder none of them had raced back to Baron to see for themselves what was going on. It seemed wrong to keep this latest development from them now. But along with news about the twin moon (that there was none, and nothing to be done about it), it would only upset and worry them even more.

Until there was something reassuring to balance out all these troubles, they had decided it best to keep this as close as possible. They only hoped that Theo wouldn't speak of it, wherever he was.

One day not too long thereafter, Kain came looking for them with an unopened letter in his hand.

"This just arrived, from Damcyan," he told them. "It appears to be from Edward."

They were all puzzled over this, as Cecil took the letter and opened it. They had yet to hear from Edward personally about anything; mostly, they had heard from him on behalf of his advisors, who were still demanding news, even though they knew there wasn't any. It was just like Edward to not want to bother his friends, when he knew they had enough people harassing them already. So naturally, they wondered what he had written to them about.

Cecil scanned the letter quickly, and then grinned.

"Theo has been in Damcyan, after all," he said brightly. "Edward just saw him and spoke to him yesterday."

Kain and Rosa were also relieved. Kain was even daring to look pleased.

"What did they talk about?" Rosa asked.

"Something about an abandoned farm near the mountains. It seems he's been making inquiries about it ever since he got there. It's been abandoned for years, and the previous tenants have been dead for a very long time; but Theo was asking specifically about a young woman who lived there once."

Kain couldn't help a devious chuckle. "The girl he won't tell us about," he guessed. "Some romance of his gone horribly wrong. He's mentioned it by accident many times, but he refuses to elaborate on it. I could swear he does it just to make me mad."

Cecil nodded in agreement. "Me, too. I wish he would tell us more about it. Perhaps we could help him, then."

"So, he's taken matters into his own hands again," Rosa said thoughtfully. "I wonder what inspired him to do this. Certainly, he made the same inquires the last time he was there. What does he suppose he will find this time?"

Cecil frowned at the letter. "Something to do with the twins, I think; or at least with Palom, and their 'misunderstanding' about that ring. He took off right after that, without saying a word about it. And now this... Something about it frightened him. Edward hasn't mentioned the twins here, though. If he knew that something was up with them, he would have used very different words."

Rosa shook her head. "I don't like it. It's only a suspicion, of course, but I have a bad feeling that something unpleasant is coming of all this."

"I agree," Kain grumbled. "It hasn't exactly been pleasant to begin with. What else is in the letter?"

"Well, he let Theo riffle through records again, with no more success than last time. Edward does say that he remembers the family who last lived on that farm—met them in his travels as a young man, he says—and that there was, in fact, a young woman there at the time. But it was so long ago, and their meeting was so brief, he doesn't remember her name. She isn't buried in the cemetery with her parents, either; and the farm was so isolated, no one knows what might have become of her. Most had never heard of the place at all."

"The mountains," Rosa said slowly. "The mountains that separate our kingdoms, and surround Mist. After leaving you behind, that was where he fled and hid himself. He remained in those mountains for years before Zemus summoned him. If this farm of his is so close to those mountains, he must have stumbled upon it by accident. Or perhaps the family stumbled upon him. That must be how… How it happened."

Kain glanced at her. "How what happened?"

"I wouldn't know," she answered with an annoyed shrug. "He won't explain the story."

Cecil hummed at the letter, looking surprised. "Theo finished that visit by saying that he planned to return here at once. Their goodbye was also brief, and he stopped only to get his things from the inn where he's been staying. If that is true, he should be back in a day or two by now."

Kain huffed to himself and crossed his arms. "Finally. Maybe now he'll tell us the rest of this story. The suspense is eating me alive," he said dryly.

"That's a long shot," Cecil sighed, re-reading the letter. "Oh… Does the name Verinia mean anything to us? It was the name Theo was asking for, and it feels familiar to me. I'm sure I've heard it before. Recently. But I can't remember where, now."

"It does sound familiar, doesn't it," Rosa agreed, furrowing her brow as she thought about it. "I know I've heard it, too… Wasn't that the name of one of our maids? Kain, didn't you say—"

"No, that was Vera," Kain corrected. "I remember; she was the woman who wouldn't stop staring at my ass when she thought I wasn't looking. And she was rather young for Theo, don't you think?"

"True, true…"

Shaking his head in wonder, Cecil folded the letter and stuffed it into his pocket. "I suppose we shall find out soon enough. Edward says he left in a hurry. I can only imagine this means that he found something of consequence while he was there. Something… Big."

The three of them resigned themselves to this. A silent agreement passed between them to not repeat any of this to anyone. After all, there was no one in the castle who needed to know it.


It so happened that Porom was in the kitchen of their suite, looking out the window while she made cookies, when a horse with a dark rider came galloping toward the castle. She recognized the rider at once, and gasped in pleasant surprise.

At the kitchen table, Palom looked up in alarm from the book he had been reading.

"What is it?" he asked. "Are you okay?"

She turned to him with a grin.

"Theo's back," she told him, abandoning her cookies and washing her hands. "I saw him! I was wondering just now if he was ever coming back. Now perhaps we can get to the bottom of a few things."

Palom folded down the corner of the page he was on and jumped up so fast that his chair skittered backward. He, too, had a lot to say to the man.

"It's about time," he commented, pushing up his sleeves. "Not knowing what this has been about has been driving me crazy."

"You're not going to charbroil him, are you? He only just got back. And if you kill him, he won't be able to answer any of our questions."

"What? No, of course not. I'm just annoyed with him, that's all."

"Okay," she answered slowly. "Just making sure. I never can tell with you." She glanced back at the bowl she had been mixing, and shook her head sadly at it. "Oh, it might have been nice to greet him with those. He must have travelled a long way."

"Calm down, sis. We don't even know if he deserves them yet."

Porom wasn't sure what her brother meant by that. And he darted out of the kitchen before she could ask. Sighing over his impatience, she covered the bowl with a plate and went after him as quickly as she could.

"You've been upset with him, ever since he left that night," she commented, as she caught up and continued jogging after him. "Are you sure there's nothing serious going on with you?"

"Take it easy. I'm just anxious," he said a little too quickly, frowning at her. "And slow the heck down. If Rosa saw you running, she'd kill you, herself."

Porom frowned back. "Then how am I supposed to keep up with you anymore?"

For the sake of annoying her, Palom flashed a grin and picked up his pace. "You're not!"

Porom would have liked to match his pace, but she found that she simply couldn't. She was hardly moving very fast, or very gracefully, but she felt like she was pushing herself bravely. She half expected Palom to go on his merry way and leave her behind completely. So she was only half surprised when he skidded to a halt and stopped to wait for her.

"I'm just kidding," he said lightly. He put his arm around her, and they continued together at a pleasant walk. "You know I'd never leave you behind."

She smiled back. "I know. I used to wonder, when we were little. After all that's happened lately, I think I stand corrected."

He raised an eyebrow at her. "You only think…?"

For the first time in a very long time, she reached up behind him and smacked her hand into the back of his head as hard as she could. And he didn't whine or complain, or anything. Instead, he laughed to himself and rubbed the sore spot—even though it couldn't have hurt him at all.

"Oh, you always get me," he teased. "I'm such a blockhead."

"Yes, some of the time."

They walked for a while in companionable silence after that. Porom was just glad that her brother was distracted from the unease that had been plaguing him. If she was perfectly honest, she now felt something like foreboding, herself. She had been excited to welcome Theo home, and thank him properly for all his help. Now that she thought about it, something in the walls had changed, suddenly. Theo had certainly reached the castle and entered it by now; and with him, he had brought a dark and terrified kind of energy. The feeling was growing stronger as they came closer to it. She knew that Palom could feel it, too, and that he wanted to make a sharp remark about it; she was grateful that he was holding his tongue. He was only doing so to make her happy, and she appreciated it.

They had been headed toward the main gate, where they suspected their friends had gathered to welcome Theo back from his journey. Before they had gotten halfway there, a footman spotted them and ran to meet them.

"My lord and lady," he greeted, bowing politely. "Their majesties had just sent me to fetch you. They wish you to meet them in the king's study at once. Sir Theo has returned with urgent news, and wanted to see you specifically."

"Well, how do you like that," Palom smiled. "We were just on our way to see him. Lucky thing you happened by and stopped us, guy!"

The footman looked very pleased. He nodded curtly and went on his own way, leaving the twins to backtrack a bit and continue walking in a rather different direction.

When they reached Cecil's favorite study, they found that the door had been left slightly open for them. And from inside, they heard all kinds of things. Heavy footsteps pacing. Hissing whispers. A fist slamming on a table. Voices grumbling at one another.

Theo's reappearance was no going well, so far. His brother should have been overjoyed to have him back. What on earth had happened on this journey? The twins cautiously stuck their heads into the room and found an ominous sight. Kain was the one pacing, looking thoughtful and a bit stunned. Theo, Cecil, and Rosa were clustered around the desk, their heads low and close together, whispering furiously at each other. They could only see the back of Theo's head, but he had a look of mortified desperation about him, and seemed to be trying to explain something. His brother and sister-in-law just looked shocked and angry with him.

Now they were wondering if they should leave the four to their quarreling, and come back later. However, they were also overwhelmed with curiosity. Palom stuck his arm around the door and knocked on it gently.

"Hey, did you still want to see us, or…?"

The four adults all snapped their heads up, just now aware that the twins were there, and had been. All of them were suddenly speechless. Even Kain, so quick to make dry remarks about his friends, was silent.

That silence was drawing on, and none of them could think of anything to say. It was Porom who ended it, by clearing her throat and asking as not awkwardly as she could, "We understood you summoned us. Do you… We can come back later if—"

"No," Rosa answered suddenly, gliding around the desk to pull them into the room. "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, stay. You need to stay. We were just—oh—um—we just…"

She was at a loss for words again. The normally calm queen was looking them over with a wild mix of emotions swimming in her eyes. There was horror, and sorrow, and utter disbelief there. She was shaking her head, and then letting her face fall tiredly into her hands.

"Oh no… How do we even explain what has happened…?"

Kain had resumed his anxious pacing, but paused to jerk his head toward Theo. "You don't have to," he answered bluntly. "He does. Theo, tell them what you found on your journey. Tell them who you found."

The twins turned their attention on Theo. He was gazing unflinchingly at them, amazed, as if he wanted to look away but couldn't tear his eyes from them. It was as if he was seeing them for the first time, and couldn't believe his eyes.

Again, the silence dragged on. Palom ended this one, by clicking his tongue impatiently and spreading his hands wide. "….Well? Come on, man, my sister has cookies to bake."

Theo still didn't answer right away. He braced on hand against the desk and pressed the other to his forehead, as if he was dizzy. He looked like he might even want to cry.

"How could I not see it before…?" he mumbled. "I was a fool not to see it… I had thought once… But how could it be…?"

This was not helpful. Porom was growing impatient, herself, so she crossed her arms and became very stern. "How could what be? What is going on with you? Just tell us, already!"

Theo straightened himself, taking a deep breath and steeling himself.

"I… I discovered something on this journey. What I had been seeking before. Palom… Porom…. I…. I knew your mother."

All at once, it was like their whole world had changed. They, too, had been searching for this, all their lives. They had waited and waited for so long to hear those words—some knowledge of their history, any small affirmation that either of their parents had ever existed. At long last, they had a clue. A starting point. Porom was so thrilled and still so weak, she thought she was going to faint.

"You really knew her?" Palom gasped, beginning to laugh with joy and relief. "Guys, this s great! It's amazing! Theo, tell us everything! Who was she? Where did she come from? Did you know our dad, too? Were they—"

"You misunderstand me, young man," Theo said heavily. His eyes slid back toward them, filled with fear. "I… Knew your mother."

Amazement turned to confusion, and Palom frowned at him. "What's that supposed to mean?" he asked defensively.

Theo continued gazing sideways at them, too ashamed to face them directly, but too grieved not to look at them at all. "You know very well what I mean. You've already guessed at it. I can see it in your face."

Porom didn't understand what they were talking about, but her brother suddenly looked chilled. Seeing, or perhaps just sensing her confusion, he glanced back at her with horror all over his face. A silent message passed between them, of facial signs and a simple knowing that they had always shared. Porom suddenly understood everything, and felt a cold hand clamp itself on her stomach.

"You mean, he's…" She looked back at Theo, shaking all over. "You're our…"

Her voice was trembling, and she found herself unable to finish that awful sentence. The number of eyes pinned on her, waiting breathlessly for that last word to be spoken, was a weight she just couldn't bear. The news she had prayed for all her life had finally found her. Instead of filling her with a feeling of wholeness, it had come like a savage blow.

Tears of baffled emotions were stinging her eyes. Before the others could see those tears fall, she turned toward the door, frantically muttering a spell.


And she vanished before their eyes, as she flung herself out the door. Though they could no longer see her, they could hear her heartbroken sobs echoing in the hallway. They all wanted to run after her, to chase her down and try to console her, but they all knew at once that it would be useless in this terrible moment.

All of them, except for Palom, who for once seemed unaware of his sister's distress. He was staring with wide eyes at the opposite wall, without seeing anything. He was completely paralyzed. As long as he was still there, Rosa took a cautious step toward him, holding her hands out in peace.


"I'll be fine," he muttered blankly. "I just need some water…"

But he was already pitching forward in a faint. Kain darted forward and caught him before hit the stone floor, and awkwardly set the boy's unconscious body down. Then the dragoon shook his head sadly.

"Well. This day just got a lot more interesting."

Rosa couldn't help herself from kicking him in the side as hard as she could, and sent the man toppling over. Then she stamped her foot helplessly, beside herself with aggravation with everyone. Everyone but the twins, anyway. They had every right to be upset. Her heart ached for them, so close to the truth the whole time, and yet so far away. And now that they did know the truth…

She sighed, and spoke to Theo without facing him.

"You are their father. You must make this right."

She had spoken in her passionate way—sounding gentle, but somehow as scalding and sharp as a whip. Though her words were meant for Theo, the others felt the sting, as well; Cecil and Kain flinched at it. Her anger seemed to have taken over the room, more menacing than any other emotion flying through the air.

At least someone was in some control, here.

Not wanting to be near his brother for a while, Cecil walked with fierce determination toward the door. Theo had done nothing to him, personally, but he felt bitterly betrayed in a way he didn't fully understand.

"I'll find her," was all he said, over his shoulder, mostly to his wife. Then he shut the door after him and went on his way. All he wanted in the world now was to find Porom. He couldn't stand the thought of her cloistering herself somewhere, alone and confused and afraid.

And suddenly, he had an idea of where to look for her.


Cecil's small quest took him through the castle gardens and beyond the far wall, into the shade of the grove that surrounded it. He saw no one there, but the sound of someone weeping nearby proved that his hunch had been correct, after all. He made his way through the trees until he came to the base of a mighty oak, hung with moss, the source of the pitiful sound.

He wondered what, exactly, had drawn her here, of all places. To the tree where he, himself, had been found as a child. It was something instinctive, perhaps. Something in her soul. In her blood.

He knelt quietly beside the spot where the crying was loudest. For a long moment, he just sat there in silence, trying to think where he should begin. There was so much he wanted to say to her. So much she needed to hear. And now he wasn't sure where to begin.

"I thought I might find you here," he said quietly, hoping he was facing her properly. "Porom, will you please come out?"

Porom didn't answer him, but her spell began to fade after a moment. She came slowly into focus, still weeping into her knees, and didn't look up at him. It broke his own heart to see her this way. He crept a little closer and took her hands in his.

"I don't know what there is to say," he said, wishing desperately that it were otherwise. "I'm so sorry…"

She sniffled and tried to compose herself, but it did little good. She shook her head, her face still buried in her knees.

"He took everything from us," she sobbed.

"Yes, I know. You have every reason to be angry with him."

She peeked up at him, violet eyes still overflowing, and frowning. "Not Theo—Zemus!" she snapped, now very angry, indeed. "He took your brother away from you. He took my father away from me. He kept us apart then, and for all this time… He took us away from each other, Cecil, he took us away! He took everything from us!"

Seeing the true source of her hurt, he pulled her close and let her go on sobbing into his shoulder. He couldn't count the times he had let her do this, or the number of reasons. It had always felt so right to be a strong place for her, and for her brother, to fall when they were in pain. And now, he finally knew why.

"I know, I know it hurts. Being lost like this is a pain no child should have to know. And somehow, learning the truth is only more painful. I would spare you this, if only I could."

"I want to forgive him—all of them—I really do. But I don't know if I can."

"I'm not fond of them, myself," Cecil agreed, glaring at the sky, where the twin moon was still obnoxiously visible.

For a long time they sat in silence that way—Porom crying uncontrollably, and Cecil wishing there was something, anything, that he could do. It was hard to tell how much time passed like this, but he refused to leave her alone in the shady grove, with nothing but her confusion and regrets to keep her company. Then, at length, a thought came to him that warmed him through. In fact, it made him smile. He took Porom's face in his hands, brought her glassy gaze up to meet his, and brushed her tears away in vain.

"And yet we found each other, somehow," he commented, still smiling at this wonderful idea. "When we needed each other most, we just fell into each other's lives; and we've been together ever since. People speak of fate and destiny as if they mean nothing… But what else can this be? Fate brought us together, Porom, perhaps for this very moment. And now we really are together, at last, aren't we?"

Her sorrowful expression didn't change, but Porom's mood began to shift at his uplifting words. While she thought about this for herself, he kissed her forehead and then let his rest against it. He was so overwhelmed, he felt tears of his own prickling his eyes.

"My goodness… What an amazing, brave, and kind-hearted young woman I have for a niece."

She sniffled, wiping her face with the back of her hand, and her face broke into a wobbly smile. "We're a family… We have been all along… That's a nice thought."

Suddenly, she laughed. "I'm… I'm in line for the throne! Me—the unclean one!"

"That's the spirit, dear one. Let the Mysidians chew on that, then. Malachi will be proud to hear it."

Porom nodded slowly, wistful at the mention of the man who had raised her. "We should see him soon," she said quietly. "We should tell him ourselves. It's been such a long time since we've been back…"

"He has missed you, too. All of you. It would mean much to me if I could go with you when you return. I want to see the looks on all their faces when they learn just how wrong they've been all along."

That familiar glint of cleverness shone in her eyes, and her grin became a cheeky smirk. "I'd be lying if I said I haven't been looking forward to that for a very long time. It isn't becoming of a white mage to be so vengeful, but I don't care. It will be refreshing to see them learn a lesson or two."

"You've more than earned it," Cecil agreed. "And so have they. But for now, we are a family at long last, and we need each other. There is still a lot to be explained, too. Come on, let's find them and make this right. When last I saw our brothers, mine was feeling pretty poorly about himself again, and yours had fainted."

Porom rolled her eyes as he hauled her to her feet. "Somehow, none of that is surprising. Our work is cut out for us, then. Looks like it will be an interesting afternoon."

"Hm. That's what Kain said," Cecil remarked, drawing her close as they wandered back through the trees. She sighed deeply and sank into his embrace, smiling as a few last tears fell down her face.

"I've been waiting for this feeling, too. The feeling of being lost all my life, and finally being found. Finally knowing where my roots are. Finally belonging somewhere. It wasn't what I was expecting, but… I guess it never is, for people like us."

A wave of memory came over Cecil, of how his own moment of self-discovery had unfolded, and how well it hadn't gone. That hadn't been the moment he had always hoped for, either; and it had taken him a very long time to finally come to terms with it. For Palom and Porom—the nephew and niece he had always wished they were—he was determined that things would be different.

"Well, my dear, we are Harveys. We aren't like other people, after all."

Porom hummed to herself, also smiling at many, many memories. "That explains so much…"


When Palom woke from what must have been a very strange dream, he found himself back in his own bed, surrounded by the people he wanted most to see. Porom, Bethany, and Ivri were all hoovering around him, waiting anxiously for him to come around. From the looks on their faces, they had been waiting for a while, and had maybe grown a bit worried.

"Oh, hey, you guys," he greeted, rubbing his face. "Man, that was one crazy dream…"

Porom raised her eyebrow at him. "Dream?" she asked.

"Yeah, I had this insane dream that Theo showed up out of nowhere and said he was our dad. Or, I dunno… He didn't say it, we all just kinda knew it. It was so weird. And Porom, you vanished and ran off, and I was all by myself. I'm glad that's over. I passed out before, didn't I? Rosa was talking to me, I think… What the heck happened?"

His friends all glanced at each other doubtfully over his head. Ivri was toying with his glasses, the way he always did when he felt awkward. Bethany had covered her mouth with her hand, and her eyes were firm but horrified. Porom knelt beside him and gripped his hand taking a deep breath before speaking.

"Palom… It wasn't a dream."

He blinked at her, deciding that he wasn't fully awake just yet. "…Huh?"

She looked furiously annoyed to have to repeat herself. "It wasn't a dream," she said forcefully. "All of that really happened."

Clarity came over him, and he sat bolted up straight, his mind reeling. He looked desperately at Ivri and Bethany, hoping that they would start laughing and say that it was just a mean prank they were pulling on him. Instead, they shook their heads regretfully, crushing that hope.

"Oh no…"

He pressed his hands to his face and flopped back onto his pillow, groaning with angry defeat. Porom sat quietly by his side, waiting with an unimpressed look for him to quiet down.

"This isn't helping any of us, you know," she commented after this had carried on for too long.

"It isn't fair!" he shouted, mostly at the ceiling. "Of all the people in the world, it had to be him? How is it even possible? It doesn't make any sense!"

"Well, if you would calm your sorry self down, I'm sure he would explain it."

Palom crossed his arms and began to pout, still at the ceiling, because he couldn't bring himself to pout at his sister. "I don't even want to look at him. Not after everything he's done to us!"

"He hasn't done anything to us. None of this was his fault. It can't be."

"How is this not his fault?" he demanded. "He abandoned us! I don't want to look at his stupid face ever again!"

"That's a pity," Porom answered coolly, rising to her feet and smoothing out her skirt. "I was going to find him and get the whole story. It's the story we've been searching for all our lives, and now we have it. He's the only one who can tell it."

At a loss, Palom turned back to Bethany. She rubbed her arm sheepishly and clicked her tongue.

"This is rather unsightly, dearest," she said slowly. Beside her, Ivri was nodding in agreement.

Sighing tiredly, feeling strangely sad, Palom gripped the bedsheet to steady himself.

"I… I just thought it would be different…"

Porom sat beside him and took his hand again. "We all did. None of us could have guessed that it would happen like this, and we're all upset. But throwing a tantrum isn't going to change anything. This is where we are now. The least we can do is learn the truth. It's all we've ever wanted, isn't it?"

"Yeah, I guess so. I had hoped it would feel better than this. I had hoped I would feel… Fuller, somehow. All I feel is emptier than before."

"That's a stupid thing to say," Porom scoffed. "We have a family now. And they've been right in front of us for years. You've got to admit, it's kind of funny, in a way."

"Oh," Palom said flatly, not finding it funny right away. But now that she mentioned it… Yes, it did deserve a rueful chuckle. "So… We have an uncle. An awesome uncle. Hey! We have a cousin, too!"

"There, you see? That's pretty fun."

Palom couldn't stop laughing as all the little details clicked into place. "Sis, you know what that means? We're Harveys, too! The house really is ours! It's been ours the whole time, and we didn't even know it!"

She smiled at his enthusiasm. "There's a lot we didn't even know, and I'm sure we'll think of more. But for now, since you're feeling so much better, don't you want to know how it all started?"

In spite of all these wonderful revelations, Palom was unsure again. He was ferociously curious, now; but he still wasn't sure if he wanted to be with Theo in the same room. Not yet. What were they even supposed to say to each other? It was all so sudden. Such a disappointing blow, which was supposed to have been so happy. He wasn't sure exactly how he felt.

But Porom wanted to know their story right now, and would wait on him for as long as he made her. It was an unfair thing to do to her in this moment, so he pulled himself up and let her lead him back into their main room. Most of a plate of cookies was sitting in the middle of the table there, and she immediately thrust two into his hands.

"Here, eat something," she told him. "I have a feeling we'll all be busy for a while."

Bethany and Ivri followed them, but gave them a cautious amount of space. They seemed pleased that the moment had passed for now, but were plainly still worried about what was to come.

"We'll stay behind, if you want us to," Bethany commented. "We would understand completely. But we would like very much to go with you. I can't say we aren't curious, ourselves."

"Besides," Ivri added shoving Bethany a little, "we would like to be there for you. You need us."

The twins exchanged a look, and nodded in agreement.

"Of course you can come with us," Porom smiled. "I don't think we would have it any other way."




I'm not struggling with this thing anymore. This had gone on for the better part of the year, and I'm done with it. :/