short __________

I’ve never really realized how short tempered she is. To this day, up until at least Alexis and Eoghan offered us a roof, she’d been kind and driven to keep us safe but now that we’ve settled, it seems as if the fuse has gotten shorter and shorter for those rare times where we actually see her at all. I feels like half of her clothes have been moved elsewhere and she doesn’t really live with us anymore.

She came in this morning, two large travelling bags in hands and she announced that we were moving. I just mostly stared at her but Agni, oh Agni went up in flames, figuratively, of course. But he argued loud and clear. She even slapped him, just once. That silenced him for a moment, just a moment and he was right back in her face seconds later. I don’t know if it was the yelling or- yeah, it must have been the yelling because Eoghan was at our door just minutes later, his eyes wide and worried, a little frightened maybe. I don’t know. At times I have a hard time reading his face. Nearly at his heels, there was Alexis and while I imagine he must have been uncomfortable to a point about whatever was happening, he looked mostly poker-faced.

I took Agni with me and we left after Eoghan told us the adults needed to talk. Zora started yelling at him about how he had no right to tell us what to do and he just waved us off. I’m not going to argue, they’re older, they’re adults and we’re not going to get in the middle of that. So I took Agni and we went downstairs and instead of heading out, we knocked on Armin’s door. He let us in without even asking to know why we were there at all.

I don’t know what happened after we stepped out. The building shook a little but it didn’t last. Agni just sat staring outside a little morosely and I know it hurts him to think that Zora seems to want to move away from this place. This is the best home we’ve ever had, the only home we’ve ever had and I don’t want to move away.

It was some hours later that Eoghan was knocking on Armin’s door to fetch us. He looked a little worn and I felt bad for it. It was our fault he was this way, really. If we’d just gone with her, thinks would have been different but it felt crazy to want to go anywhere, all things considered.

“Are you both all right?” I spared a glance to Agni at my side, just clinging to my hand as if to protect me and I nodded. We were as well as we could be. The bruise on Agni’s cheek was already well on its way to healing.

“Okay, here’s the deal.” Here he stopped in his tracks, at the top of the stair and he sat. We sat down next to him. It wasn’t as if we’d be disturbed, the place only has us as folks living in so no one but maybe Alexis could come this way. “Zora decided that she wanted to live with her boyfriend. He has a small apartment on the other side of town, it’s where she’s been spending most of her time, is what I gathered from her.”

He shook his head here and sighed, running one hand through his short hair. “I wasn’t trying to pry into her mind to get more details since she didn’t really want to give us any but I ended up doing that anyway. I know that what we’re offering you here is simple enough, it does the job but she still is your sister and as per the law, she essentially is your legal guardian, to a point.”

I recalled bits and pieces of what he’d told us when he’d gotten us from the police station, how it was his and Alexis’s name at the top of the papers when it came to us. I had thought this might have meant that they were closer to our legal guardian than Zora since she was just our sister and had never really gotten any paperwork done.

“Now, from what I saw in her thoughts, I’m pretty sure you both would have been in a rather small bedroom, sharing something akin to bunk beds. I know it’s not such a bad thing but I know you’re both growing up and you’re growing used to having your own things and your own space. If she wants to live in a slighter space for the sake of love, then she can but she can’t force you both to go anywhere if you don’t really want to.”

Again he paused and looked to the ceiling this time, as if to gather his thoughts. I leaned my weight against him gently and he smiled down at me. “I offered to her that her boyfriend move in here with her but she said she didn’t want that. She started screaming something about how we were a bad influence on you boys and Alexis had to shut her up. He just held a hand over her lips for a minute, mind you. She bit him.”

Agni breathed a startled laugh and he shook his head and Eoghan actually snickered faintly. “He called her a vicious pup and told her that she could pack all of her things if she wanted but she had to leave your stuff here. So she packed up most of her things. Now, this doesn’t really change anything in the way our lives have been going for a while. You both have been getting your own groceries for weeks, you’ve prepared your own meal, you come to the shared supper, you’ve been acting like two very mature adult while she found herself someone to love and drifted away.”

As he said that, he moved to his feet and we followed suit. He finished heading down the hallway to our door and opened it up for us. “The place was something of a rightful mess when she was done with her tantrum but we fixed it up.”

“You didn’t have to.”

“I know but It didn’t feel right to leave you two to pick up after her. Now, we told her she’s free to come back if she ever wishes, which is why we’ve left her bedroom was it is, we don’t see the point to changing it and I know you two didn’t really bother with it as it was either. If either one of you need anything, you know you can always get in contact with us, we’re easy to reach, okay?”

I could only nod, really. Agni surprised me though, he latched onto Eoghan, hugging him fiercely. It’s not that we don’t love Zora. She’s been with us since we were small and she’s been keeping us safe, but we’re growing up, we’re almost seventeen, we work, we pay for our own food, we’re careful with what we do. If we were to move out with her and her boyfriend, someone we don’t know, there’s no saying what could happen.

Mussing Agni’s hair, Eoghan smiled at us both before he reminded us of tonight’s supper. Though he mentioned that if we didn’t feel like it we didn’t have to. I told him we’d think good and long about it but I knew we were going to go anyway. These folks have been feeling more like family lately than our sister. I’m not saying we’re going to forget her, she took care of us for years, it means a lot but I guess we still have some growing up to do.

When he was out of the door, we closed it and looked at one another quietly. It was a strange feeling, knowing she was likely not coming back though it didn’t change much in the routine we’d had lately. Still, it was a different way to look at things.

“Want to go up and have a swim?” Something to change the scenery was the best course of action and Agni nodded, smiling faintly as he did.

“We’ll adapt. Just one day after the other.”


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