place of birth

After his bath, once he’d gotten dried up properly and dressed, we all settled in the living room and we turned on the television, settling for one of the music channels. Usually Agni would have picked a station with more beat to it but we were all just looking to relax a bit so we settled for one of the ‘spa’ station. Not quite classical, nothing with a harsh beat, just quiet background music with nothing but instrumental.

I settled on the floor, this was my usual spot when Agni decided on playing a video game, I could watch him and watch the television. He settled on one side of the couch and Cyrille gingerly settled on the other side. I leaned my shoulder lightly against his leg and he blinked at me a moment before he reached out to touch the top of my head. It’s hard to understand how at peace I feel when I’m close to him this way.

Agni closed his eyes, I knew he was just relaxing, breathing. We did this now and again, usually by sitting back to back and just forgetting the world exists for a while. This was different, of course. Cyrille dropped his head back to the top of the couch for a moment before he straightened. His fingers tugged at my hair lightly, a playful sort of motion and I blinked up to him. He reached to the side and slid his fingers through Agni’s hair, giving it a short tug the way he had mine and I chuckled as my brother blinked a moment, letting his eyes focus on the two of us.

“Tell me about where you were born.” His question was quiet but I could tell he was genuinely curious to know more about us. I looked to Agni who only shrugged, a wry smile to his lips. There isn’t much we know about where we were born, in the end.

“I’m not sure what to tell you, Cy.” I started, voice quiet, thoughtful. “I mean, I think we were something between three or six when our family was pretty much murdered and Zora took us and ran. I don’t much remember how we came here or how many places we’ve been through, to tell you the truth.”

His eyes darkened at my words, confusion swimming to the surface as he tried to wrap his mind around what I’ve just told him. I shifted my weight, moving to cross my arms carefully across his knees so I could look up to him without really craning my neck. The hand he’d used to pull Agni’s attention to the surface dropped and he settled it to my brother’s own, just covering it. His other hand he used to brush along my cheek as if he absolutely had to touch the two of us at once.

It made me wonder and I figured that maybe he thought that if he touched only one of us at any point and not the other, he might be playing favourite. It’s what went through my mind, in any case. I let it be, not wanting to focus much on it.

“We don’t recall much from India. The family was huge, we had cousins and uncles, aunts, grandparents, we all lived around the same area, just us, our whole family on this bit of land but one day, terror came, that’s how I see it and we had to flee. I don’t know if anyone in the family is still alive and where they might be if they still are.” Agni shrugged, offering a half-smile. We usually never talked much about our past since we didn’t really know much about it.

Willing to change the subject, I dropped my head to rest it to my folded arm and Cyrille’s hand settled on the top of my head, just brushing my hair, it was honestly wonderful. “Tell us about how it was growing up here, instead, please?”

I figured his childhood might not have been as bad as ours but it was likely there had been ups and downs just the same and I was really curious.

He shrugged a moment, I only felt the shift but I knew what it was, Agni had done it often enough while I’d been settled this way. “There isn’t much to it. There was Magali, then Niall, then came me followed by Élodie though we’re the same age. My father wanted us to take up jobs that had to do security. I think his brother worked security and he was killed in action or something and my father idolized him so somehow he seems to think that the only way we can be good sons is by protecting others and somehow dying for them.”

He snorted, I felt him tense beneath me but he took in a deep breath and relaxed a little. “The girls, he pampered them though he wanted them to take up business or law. Magali learned music, it was the one thing she wanted. Dad was against her wishes all along until the news of her being ill came about. He changed his ways then, gave her all he could though he wasn’t home often at that point. As far as I’m concerned, I wanted music too though I wanted ballet, don’t ask why. My father would have none of it and my mother convinced him to somehow at least let me take tap-dancing, it was less girly.”

He still hasn’t really explained what tap-dancing is but I did look it up online, it looks pretty cool, I think it’d be neat to learn how to. “On the side, Magali taught me about music though I couldn’t really pick up on it. Élodie, well she was the youngest, she was the slightest and dad just protected her and spoiled her rotten. Of course, it has now led to her doing what she does best and you’ve seen it.”

I personally hadn’t seen it though remembering how Agni had come home, looking like his world had fallen apart, I had a feeling I knew what it was like and I didn’t want anything to do with it.

“The short version,” I looked up to him, his voice was calming, soothing, “is that I grew up in a house that didn’t feel much like a home though my mother tried her best. She is a bit eccentric on the side and it put a strain on whatever relationship I might have had with her. When I told my father I wouldn’t take up schooling to enter the police academy, he more or less cursed at me, told me I was good for nothing and that I’d never achieve anything in life.”

That seemed honestly harsh but I couldn’t compare. While he’d grown up with his parents around, they hadn’t been much of parents and we had grown up with Zora as a parent figure and at this point in time, in our lives, she’d done a fair enough job to a point but that no longer seemed to really be worth mentioning, now that she’d disappeared.

“Well I’ll never judge you or tell you what you can or can’t do.” Of course I wouldn’t. I didn’t judge my brother, I didn’t judge my friends, I wouldn’t judge him.

“When did you start dyeing your hair though?” Agni asked the question and I closed my eyes again. It had crossed my mind, that curiosity, but I’d let it be.

“I think I was about twelve, Magali had these magazines about all the hottest hair-styles and colours and there was this thing about bright colours and dyes and it just called to me. My hair is naturally pale so it helps a lot though when certain colours start to fade it is absolutely horrible.” He laughed, the sound soft and warm though it was short lived. He winced and sighed, running his hand through my hair again.

“I don’t think the past matters much right now though. I’m with you guys and I’m going to heal up and I’m just going to move forward with me life. Leave most of the past behind.”


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