The morning I woke up after defeating Lucifvar, I had walked into the kitchen. Mums memories rushed into my head at the sight of dad. My heart had pumped steadily in my chest as I watched him raise his first taste of coffee to his lips. My feet pulled me towards him without being conscious of it and I kissed him on the side of the cheek the way mum used to every morning.
He looked up at me and frowned. "If you think that is going to get me to forgive you so soon James, you're sadly mistaken."
It was like a slap of cold water. I pushed memories that were mums into the recesses of my mind. I tried to pull all my emotions back in as well just like mum taught me, but pain leaked out. Dad had another thing coming if I was going to let him off easily, and suddenly, I was very, very angry. I had just destroyed a powerful deity that had very near destroyed me and taken over my physical body, I was trying to get my bearings now I had a part of mum inside me, and I was starting to go into shock from all that I had experienced at that evil deity's hands. "Get off your damn high horse dad!"
His face clouded over with his own anger. "And what the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"It means that your precious twins were goddamn bullies and they were being punished because you weren't doing it." Inside my head I was screaming about the rape and how unfair he was being.
Dad slammed his cup down on the table spilling its contents everywhere. "And you thought what James? That you were adult enough to do it?" he asked incredulously.
"NO!" I shouted, "I was doing it because you weren't there for ME, when Leila or Leon were mentally or physically attacking me, you were too busy burying your head in the sand after mum died. Where were you when I was hurt dad?" He stared at me, closed his mouth and looked away from me. "Exactly!"
"Why didn't you tell me this before?" he asked me quietly.
I laughed, and it was a sound full of pain and betrayal. "Because you were the parent and I was the child. It was your job to take care of me and look after me. Yet, I saw your pain and tried to be as unobtrusive as possible. I didn't want to be a burden to you, because you were hurting, and at the time your pain seemed more important than mine."
I couldn't look at him anymore as I continued. "I said nothing to you about the bullying because you loved the twins more than you loved me and I felt I deserved nothing less."
I brushed away the tears that were falling down my face. "I now know better, and its not me that mum would be disappointed in, it would be you."
I rung grams up and told her the whole story. She ordered Elsa to come and get me. Dad hadn't even come to see me off or tell me not to go. I had walked with tears to the car the whole time, my chest aching with hurt. Elsa had taken one look at me, rushed out of the car and hugged me to her large chest. I broke down and sobbed.
My life had changed in drastic ways and Dad was still treating me like a leper. I had been raped mentally and physically by a fallen angel, I had watched mum die again, this time in front of me, and my dad didn't love me anymore. I cried harder.
Gram's was waiting for me when I arrived. She was solemn and there was compassion in those ancient eyes of hers. I was snuggled into the chair around her large dinning table with a mug of hot chocolate in my hands, and a banana cake slice in front of me on a saucer. I told her about Lucifvar, and how Simon was involved. I told Grams how I sat their like a log and watched placidly as they destroyed mum's spiritual essence. I cried again, remembering her being stabbed in front of me. I then showed her the new abilities I had gained and my knowledge of how to use them. I told her about mum's sacrifice. The rape was something that I couldn't share with her. I felt soiled and couldn't find the right words to express my shame. Yet, my biggest and deepest shame, was that I had enjoyed my subjugation and it was tearing me apart thinking that something was horribly wrong with me. No one was supposed to enjoy being raped. Grams had demanded that I stay home and recover, but I needed to be out and amongst friends, so I was going to school. I was an hour late, but Grams reluctantly wrote me a note when she saw how determined I was to go to school.
I went through the day in a surreal state. Lunch time had me staring at my friends as if they were complete strangers. I tried to mingle and joke with them, but there was no heart in me. It was like they were now in a completely different world to me, and I mourned my exclusion. The bell rang, and everyone got up to leave.
"James, can I talk to you?" Sam asked as I stood up to go to class. I looked up at him; the sun shone a halo of light around his brown/gold hair.
"Sure, what's up?" I asked dully.
"Are you feeling okay? You look a little down?" he stared at me with concern in his eyes.
I was close to crying again. He was the only one that had asked me if I was okay. Dad had been too busy yelling at me, and Grams wasn't the hugging type, nor the type to ask pithy questions like "am I alright," and mean it. But Sam was `asking' and his concern shone from the depths of his eyes, and it had me tearing. I nodded my head yes, and then, slowly shook it no, as the tears fell from my eyes.
He grabbed my hand and dragged me towards the back of the gym. It was a common place were the smokers hid from prying eyes. I sat down and leaned my back against the wall. He followed suit and put his arm across my shoulders. I wiped surreptitiously at my eyes, annoyed at myself for letting Sam see me crying.
"Do you think you can tell me what's wrong now?" Sam asked. I shook my head no. "That's fine," he said with a shrug, "I don't mind just sitting here, and it's kinda quiet. Nice though," there was a smile small in his tone. He squeezed me hard and lapsed into silence.
Tears kept falling down my face and no matter how hard I tried, they kept coming. "My D-d-dad hates me," I said. I hiccuped and stopped talking to hide the shake in my voice. He had seen me crying like a baby enough as it was and I didn't want to look too much like a weakling in front of him. I took another breath and tried to find my focus. I closed my eyes and sank inside myself.
There deep inside was my tree and I concentrated upon it. I felt a calm soothe through me like a balm. I spoke without the emotion clouding me. "Leon and Leila hate me, and..." I stopped myself before I said too much. It was on the edge of my tongue. "And I very near became a slave to a fallen angel." But finished with, "and I don't know how I can fix it."
He started rubbing my shoulder and I leaned into him. It felt nice. We sat there for an hour until the next bell rang. I smiled up at Sam, and he smiled back at me. This was my first time I had ever played truant and it was kind of exhilarating as well as uncomfortable if we were caught.
I was about to mention this when I looked into his chocolate eyes. They were so rich I felt myself fall into them. I looked at his thick lashes, and just then, the sun shone down. His face was surrounded by a halo of gold and red highlights. I reached up and touched those silky strands. Pulling a length of hair from his braid, I drew it closer to me and I smelt the shampoo he used. It was piny and suited him. I twirled it around in the sunlight, watching the highlights sparkle like gems.
I looked back at his eyes and the look in them had me pausing for breath. They glowed with happiness and amazement, and they were staring directly at me. His lips curled in a cute, sexy smile, and I felt his finger trace the side of my face. My heart started a slow pound, and I watched his eyes light up as he followed his finger around the contours of my face. When he traced over my lips, they opened slightly and I heard him catch his breath.
He looked at me with a little uncertainty, but a lot of longing, his finger just resting on my lips. I pulled his hand away and I watched the light die out of his eyes. Tilting his chin towards mine, I slanted my head and kissed him. It was soft, sweet, and gentle. I pulled back and opened my eyes. His lips were still pouting out as if trying to memorise that kiss, and his were closed eyes. His slackened face had me smiling at him.
When he opened his eyes, his smile was wide and bright. "Can we do that again? I think I may need to improve on it." He said with a wicked glint in his eyes.
I laughed and hugged him instead. "Not just yet," I said against his shoulder. "But thanks for the kiss...and the company."
He hugged me back, holding me firm against his body. "Trust me, it was entirely my pleasure," he said with smug satisfaction.
I chuckled and got up. He gave me a puppy dog look when I pulled him to his feet and we started walking towards class. His lower lip hung as he dragged his feet away from the spot we had just vacated.
I laughed. "Cut it out," I said nudging him on the shoulder.
He hung his lip lower, but there was a gleam in his eye as he spoke, "I will, if you give me another kiss."
I shook my head and chuckled. "Your incorrigible you know that?"
"Yep," he said puffing his chest out. "About time you noticed."
Leon had been off school for two days. The lacerations had only just cleared. Grams asked for Leon to see her. Dad grudgingly agreed. Leon looked tired, weary and much more humble. Grams and him went off in the room and didn't come out for an hour. Leon left looking more himself.
Dad still wasn't talking to me because of the twins, so I refused to speak to him. I had gone through major trauma myself with Lucifvar. Dad could sulk and brood for all he was worth. I was looking at life in a different light lately.
I was doing homework when Grams came into my room. "Sara wants to talk to you on the phone."
"What does she want?"
Grams shrugged her shoulders, "she wouldn't say, but I think you need to talk to her." I was about to refuse, but I saw the look on her face and decided prudence was the best plan of action.
"Hey Sara, what's up?" I asked, ear to the phone.
"You need to come home right now James, your father has started drinking and talking nonsense, your brother doesn't talk and your sister refuses to go to school." I could hear her breathing getting louder and heavier as she tried to control her emotions. "Your dad told me that your to blame, he's utter rubbish, but we need to get to the bottom of this, so I am begging you to come home please."
I knew what the problem was, but I wasn't sure how much dad had said about what the whole situation. "Has dad talked to you about me being... different?"
Sara snorted through the phone. "He said your like one of those marvel comic books, a person with `super powers' and that you tried to whammy the twins. Like I said, he's talking nonsense."
"Can you hold the line for a sec Sara." Putting my hand over the ear piece I called out Grams name. Elsa came around the corner. "She is out gardening, leave her be James."
"I need to talk to her," I said urgently.
Elsa shook her head stubbornly, "she is doing what she was born to do, now let her be." She turned around and walked through the door she came in from.
Frowning I pondered what to do and what Elsa meant. Should I just tell Sara about what I could do and convince her in person, or wait for Grams to help me plan a course of action? I smiled at that thought.
"Sorry bout that Sara, I've decided, I'll come home, if you come and pick me up? But I can't stay the night."
I heard the relief in her voice as she hung up and made plans to come and get me in an hour's time. I walked towards the backyard to see what gram's was doing, and to tell her I would be going home. I gasped and stared hard. Gram's was in the middle of her veggie garden and the plants were swaying and brushing up against her like an unfelt wind was blowing. Touching and swaying towards her.
I watched as she told the carrots to behave themselves and straighten back up in the rows that were set out for them. I gasped at the plants because like a naughty animal, they moped and straightened back to their original positions.
"Grams, I'm going home to talk with everyone." I spoke quietly.
"About time grandson," She stood up and arched her back, groaning, "they are your family and you started this. Now you need to see it to the end."
I walked up to her and put my hand on her lower back. I sent the healing colour yellow into her. She sighed and smiled up at me gratefully as I felt her arthritis recede.
"There's only so many times you can do that James, old age is not a disease. One day..."
"It won't be today though grams," I replied quickly.
I was waiting outside when Sara arrived. She hopped out of the car and gave me a hug. I felt her shaking and hugged her with concern. My power flowed into her and she stopped trembling.
"Did something happen to Dad?"
She shook her head and wiped her eyes. "I'm sorry you saw me like this," she said with a shaky breath. Pushing her shoulders back she smiled tremulously at me. "You ready to go?"
"Not until you tell me why you were crying." I stated firmly.
She shook her head as if to brush it off. "Everything just got the better of me; I'm feeling better now though." She frowned, shrugged her shoulders and turning serious, she continued. "However, I can't say the same for your dad or brother and sister. No one has mentioned your name, nor do they acknowledge where you are. It's creepy James." She frowned, "You don't deserve to be treated like this."
I silently hopped in the car. Nervousness fluttered through my stomach. We travelled in silence and the healer in me checked her vitals, while my empathic skills and telepathy checked her emotional and mental state of mind. I was amazed at how complex my skills were and felt overwhelming grief and gratitude for mum. I shook myself, took a deep breath and concentrated on the here and now. Mum would have wanted me to focus on bringing the family back together. It was my responsibility.
We drove up to the house, and my heart did a heavy pound as I walked towards the door. Even without empathy, this house felt sad and desolate. There were no sounds of the TV blaring, or the laughs and screams from Leila and her cheering squad, or Leon trying to chat up half said cheering squad. I squared my shoulders and was ready to walk to dad's room, when I heard a loud smash from the kitchen. I went to investigate.
Dad had dropped his glass of alcohol on the tiles and was weaving on the spot trying to pick it up. Sara rushed past me and quickly put dad into a chair. I grabbed the dust pan and some handy towels and went to work cleaning the mess.
Dad grumbled to Sara that he was perfectly fine and to not fuss so much. Sara held her tongue and just kept pushing him in the chest to remain on the chair. I had just finished cleaning up the mess and discarding it in the bin, when dad looked up and saw me.
He lurched from his chair and Sara, unprepared for the movement was pushed backwards. She stumbled, her back towards me, and slipped on the damp tiles I had just finishing wiping. I saw her fall backwards and blurred before she could slip. Dad roared his warning too late and came lumbering over. I pushed Sara behind me and held my hand out, to stop his advance. Dad was 6ft5 and an intimidating presence when drunk.
"Slow down dad," I said, "You very near knocked Sara off her feet."
"I'm sorry Hun," he said to her. "I didn't realise."
"You need to sleep this off dad, go to bed."
"You have no right to tell me what to do," he said to me petulantly. "I am the adult here and the parent not you." He towered over me. "How dare you say that your mother would be angry with me?" He walked closer until I had to arch my neck and look up at him. I refused to budge and I saw the side of his eye twitch. "I have done the best I can haven't I?" he asked.
Something stirred within me and responded to that plea in dad's voice. "Let me," I heard mums voice say in my head. I relaxed and allowed her flow into me.
"Hello John." I said. I felt the consciousness that was me slip from the drivers seat and become an observer.
I felt my body alter and long hair grew, as what was left of mum's essence filled up my conscious mind and took control. I dimly heard Sara ask "what was going on." She was looking at mum with shock and fear.
Mum smiled and looked at Sara. "You have done a great job with my family and I thank you for loving them as if they were your own."
Sara dropped into the seat and stared at mum slack jawed. Dad looked greyer and I watched as his hands shook. Dad looked at me and his face paled.
"Ellie is that you?" He raised his paw-like hands to my/mums face and they shook as he touched me. He sobbed and he traced over my/mums face like it was a precious object. "I'm sorry," he sobbed.
Mum held him as dad lifted her and crushed her to him. "You certainly have made a mess of things Jon-Jon," mum said. "But not all of it was bad, you're learning."
Dad still cried into her shoulder. "I don't have long here," mum said. Dad's arms tightened around mum. "We have to talk." Inch by inch, dad let her down and they sat at the table. Mum looked around and realised Sara had gone during the hug. I sensed a pang of guilt from mum, but she quickly put it aside to get to the matter at hand.
"Did James tell you he was raped by the Lord of Darkness?" Mum asked. I screamed at mum for telling dad and felt both anger and embarrassment race through me. Mum winced but stared at dad. "From the looks of it, James has your stubbornness and refused to tell you."
Dad nodded his head and I watched as his lips thinned, nose flaring. "James hasn't been speaking to me lately." He said; blood shot eyes staring at mum. "How is this possible? Are you possessing our son or is this some kind of dream?"
Mum sighed, I felt her essence getting weaker the longer she stayed in the drivers seat. "I don't have time to explain it Jon-Jon, but I am here to give you a warning. You must help bring this family back together, because the darkness is not over, and worse is to come. Hold our family close...and keep Sara closer."
I felt a sense of dread flood over me at mums words and mum shivered with my apprehension. I tried to see what she was seeing in the vision, but her grasp on my consciousness was firm. I heard the words, and could see out of my eyes. But even with mum's concentration on the vision, and her weakening state, I could not budge her from the front seat, or from getting a glimpse of her vision.
Dad remained quiet and he gripped his fingers tightly. "I love you Ellie, and I'm sorry for not being there for our kids. But I can't do this. I don't want anything to do with your family heritage."
Mum looked at dad. "If you can't do this for our kids, then they will have no future, and every human on this planet will face a world where the streets will drip with blood."
Dad banged his hands on the table. "Damn it Ellie, why does it have to be life and death with you!"
"Because we are talking about life and death here." Mum stated calmly. "If you don't do your part to help, then you may as well just bare your neck to the next passing demon and be done with it." Dad fell silent. "I sense danger around my mother and her time is coming. Yet, I also sense, that something may stop James from being the next guardian, and it is tied to family and emotions, we need a united front to..."
Dad's eyes flashed. "Is that all you think about Ellie? Something happening to James? What about your two older children? They have been manipulated by him and yet you're more worried about James carrying on your stupid legacy!"
Now it was mum's turn to flare with anger. She stood up and placed her hands on dad's temples. Images flew into his mind and I watched as he screamed silently as the pictures flooded into his brain. "That is what we face if you don't stop acting like a spoilt child and like the adult your supposed to be!" mum snapped back tartly. Dad's anger deflated under the images of death, mutilation and living corpses. "I am not playing favourites, but James is the only chance we have right now of preventing the other side from reaching here. We don't have time to play the "whose right and whose wrong" game. Too much is at stake."
Dad lifted his chin mulishly. I looked at him startled, because I had felt that look on my own face a few times in the past. "James will have to apologise to his brother and sister to help make this easier... and mean it."
"Of course," mum said in a placating manner. I sighed and nodded my head. It was time to do my share as well. "Thank you," mum whispered to me. "One last thing John," mum said. "No more favouritism between the kids. You're the only parent they have left. Share your love Jon-Jon, they all need it, I, and now Sara taught you how, so use it."