Dad grounded me for a week, for the haunted house/sneaking out business. Since he couldn’t ground me from hanging out with friends and didn’t want to ground me from talking to my friends from school he grounded me from video games. Ugh. The worst thing was in all the to-do he forgot about the possible-half-sister and I had to bring it up again, because I had to know. I explained to him she had looked only a couple years older than Arty and with that the deal was sealed.
“No possible way. We were together for a couple years before we had Arty.”
“I–I didn’t mean to say he… he did that,” I protested, not wanting to use the word ‘cheat’ since I seriously doubted my father woulda done that. “I just wondered if maybe he had been with someone right before you two got together.”
“No. He went on a couple dates a little bit before we got together, but he didn’t sleep with them. All those dates pissed him off.”
So that was that. Dad refused to believe that my father would have slept with someone without him knowing. I broached the subject with Uncle Max but Uncle Max said the same thing as Dad. I grouchily pointed out he had had Piotr without anyone knowing and Uncle Max reminded me that they all knew my father and Piotr’s mother had been sleeping together, and that there was nobody between Goose and Dad.
“It’s not like you’re the only ones in the world with light green eyes, kitten,” Uncle Max said, trying to soothe my grumpness.
It’s not just the eyes, it’s something in the face. She’s related to us somehow. I just know it! I tried to get more information out of Grandpa about the mad scientist and Uncle Kay (and in turn about the dagger) but he didn’t wanna talk much about them other than how nice Uncle Kay was. He insisted I would have liked Uncle Kay, and how sad it was that Uncle Kay and Doctor Green-Eyes left the country when I was a baby. Apparently Doctor Green-Eyes was super pissed at the Danevbie family for some reason and wanted to be as far away as possible, and Uncle Kay agreed to go with her–cutting off contact.
“Last I heard they were in Russia, looking for someone to fix Uncle Kay’s legs. That was… hmm, eleven years ago? Wow.”
Grandpa didn’t say anything else and Grandfather didn’t like me asking him questions so that ended the pursuit of the daggers.
Christmas came and with it, Grams and Gramps (Dad’s parents). I hugged them both happily, grateful they were able to stay for a couple nights even though it meant sharing a room with Arty. And it was Angel’s first Christmas! Definitely one of the best Christmases I ever had.
New Years came and went, and finally on the fifth I went to the airport with Dad to pick Sam up. I saw his bright orange hair through the crowd and grinned as he bounded over. He smacked me on the back then looked very serious as he shook Dad’s hand.
“Nice to meet you, sir.”
“Noah, please,” Dad said with a smile. “Come on let’s get you back to the house before the weather gets worse.”
Sam frowned and leaned in whispering, “It’s almost sunny?”
I replied out of the side of my mouth, “Any weather is terrible for Dad. He’s weird like that.”
“I heard you,” Dad said with a chuckle.
“Yeah and you’re not denying it at all!”
Sam and I chattered all the way home. He didn’t have much news about the school since most the students were gone for the holiday, and besides he spent pretty much every moment he could outside (I could practically hear Dad shudder at those words). We arrived home and I got to introduce my best friend to my family. Well, most of them.
“That’s Eirene,” I said, pointing at a photo. “She’s at work right now but you’ll get to meet her later. She’s part elf.”
His eyes weren’t on Reeny’s picture but on one of my other Dad. Shoot. I hadn’t told him yet about my lineage. Shoot, shoot, shoot.
“Come on, let’s get your stuff to my room…” I picked up his suitcase and led him up the stairs (and past more pictures of my father). “We got an extra bed set up for you. I hope it’s comfy for you. We can keep the windows open.”
“Nice,” he said when he saw my room. “I’m sure the bed’ll be fine.” I set his suitcase down before opening the window. He tossed his pillow on the extra bed then glanced around again. “Um. Apollo?”
I sighed and turned around. “Yeah, I should have told you. I’m sorry. I knew I should have but then I kinda forgot about it after the haunted house incident. Zaid Danevbie is my father.” My eyes met his; thankfully his didn’t look accusing or mad, just curious. “I was really shocked when I saw his picture up on the wall at school. And just how much of a hero he’s considered to be in the magical world.”
Sam gave a half-smile, hands in his pockets. “S’all right.”
“J–just like that?” I cocked my head to one side. “I kept a big secret from you and all I get is a ‘sall right’?”
“Dude, everyone has secrets. I have mine. Why should I be mad you didn’t tell me something? Besides, I can imagine it came as such a surprise to you if you didn’t realize how many supernaturals admire him.” Sam’s lips tugged down. “Wait, I don’t get it though. Zaid Danevbie died in October of ’08. I thought your birthday is in July?”
“It is. My aunt was barely a couple weeks pregnant with me when he died.”
I smiled and waved my hand. “My aunt’s the one that carried me and my sister, since neither of my dads wanted to be pregnant.”
Sam smiled in return. “It’s odd imagining the great hero Zaid Danevbie being pregnant. I knew you were related to him somehow, what with the name and eyes, but I never suspected it’d be like this. Though… you said Bree seems to dislike you. That’d explain it.” When I just gave him a curious look he blushed and went to the window, leaning against the sill as the winter breeze ruffled his hair. “Professor Marshash doesn’t like Zaid. No idea why. Milia–she graduated last year–says that every year Bree tries to convince the headmaster to take down that picture and plaque.”
Every single class, Bree would look at me as if she’d rather toss me out on my ass. Now I knew why… sorta. “How come? Why would she hate my father?! He–he died protecting supernaturals, he died–“
Sam turned to face me, hand up in the air to stop me from going on. “I know that. What I don’t know is why she hates him. But if she knows you’re his kid then that’s probably why she doesn’t like you.”
I felt confused the rest of the day while Sam rested from jet lag. It made no sense. Maybe I’ll try asking her. Maybe. I had time to think about it and I would rather spend my time thinking about the mysterious possible-half-sibling. And speaking of half-siblings, Sam and Reeny got along as well as I suspected they would. They met just before dinner and hit it off immediately, talking rather weirdly about how it felt being outside. Arty made a face at them and I couldn’t help but laugh.
“C’mon sis, outside is great!” I teased, elbowing her.
“Outside is horrible and should be illegal!”
The next few days went by way too fast. I loved having Sam at the house and hoped he’d be able to visit during the summer. Everyone else loved him too. Every morning he woke up an hour or more before me to go on a freezing winter walk with Reeny. I loved being outside but that was a bit much. He even got to meet Piotr who came in from Bridgeport for an overnight trip.
Then suddenly the winter holiday was over and we had to go back to the school. Dad, Sam, and I met up with the Fluff family to fly to Dragon Valley. It had snowed heavily there so instead of buses taking everyone to the school, the teachers drove trucks which meant only three to four students at a time. Except our vehicle. Sam and I sat in the back with a first year siren named Clover, and in the front sat Varuna. In our laps we helped the four Fluff kittens. I held Clifford since I was the only one he let hold–well hold wasn’t the right word. Wore, more like, as he stretched out on my head like a hat. Paris was curled up in Varuna’s lap purring loudly, while Zaid sat meekly in Sam’s arms, and Anni climbed all over a giggling Clover.
Back at the school Sam and I took our bags to our dorm room. As soon as I opened the door a bucket of glitter showered down on me.
“DAMN IT, BLAKE!” I screamed and heard him laughing from the other room.
Sam chuckled. “Hey, good to be back, eh?” I glared at him and threw a bunch of glitter a him in retaliation.
Mr. Hunter read through my journal silently. I had kept up the journal faithfully over the holiday although half the time by the time I picked up a pen to write the visions down I’d forgotten some details. Still I did my best and the journal had several pages added to them. Good, bad, and ugly. Some very ugly. Very, very ugly. I hated writing those ones down but Mr. Hunter asked me to write everything down. I still wasn’t sure how much help it did. I had tried writing them down as a kid but that never helped and I forgot things and this just all seemed kinda pointless and–
“How do you feel doing this?” he asked, as if reading my min–oh right, he could.
I shifted in my chair. “It feels pointless. I can’t change what I see. I forget a lot of things. And I still keep having visions, no matter what we do.”
“Do you want to not have visions?” He stared intensely into my eyes, waiting for an answer I couldn’t really give.
“I–I don’t know, sir. Sometimes I’d give anything to get rid of them. You and Li can put up mental walls from reading minds… and Shanna can wear gloves to stop herself from seeing things. But I can’t do anything.”
“I can do what I do after years of practice and hard work,” Mr. Hunter reminded me, “and Li’s ‘walls’ don’t always work. Xe’s still learning. Shoshanna can wear gloves yes, but that can’t be comfortable no matter how nice they are.”
I brushed my bangs back, trying to figure out the right words. “I’m not saying it’s easy or anything for you guys–least, I didn’t mean to. I just wish I could do something. I see… I see things… and I’m helpless to change them… it’s frustrating. I see horrifying things. Lately it’s been nothing but horrifying things!” I indicated the journal. “Almost every single vision over the past three months have been pain or death or–or… you know, the really bad stuff.”
Mr. Hunter went quiet for a while then asked, “Nothing I know of will stop you from having these visions. We’ve talked about this before. But perhaps something can help. There’s a potion. A sleeping potion, that helps a person sleep very soundly through the night. From what I understand the person under this potion doesn’t dream. Or rather, they do not remember dreaming.” He drummed his fingers against his desk. “We could try that if you wish. I cannot promise anything.”
I leaped at the suggestion without another thought. That night Professor Summer came to our dorm. A very kind witch who mostly taught the magical classes so I didn’t have much time with her, but she did teach alchemy and potions which I did take.
“Mr. Hunter asked me to brew some of this up for you.” Professor Summer looked at me with slightly worried eyes. “Is this to do with your visions? If not, if you’re not feeling well, you can always come see me.” She was also the unofficial nurse, having excellent healing arts. No training in a college for nursing or doctoring which was why she was unofficial.
“Thank you.” I took the bottle from her. “It is to do with my visions.”
She reached out and touched my forehead. “I understand. If you do ever need anything, my door is always open. Same to you, Sam,” she added with a nod. Only after she had left did I realize the headache that had been plaguing me since my conversation with Mr. Hunter had gone away.
I explained to Sam about the potion. I didn’t take it for a while though, waiting until we were both getting ready for bed before swigging it down. I began to feel drowsy before even setting the bottle down and I fell asleep without even pulling my covers up. Sam must have tucked me in because when I woke up screaming and thrashing in pain the blanket was over me, getting tangled in my arms.
It felt like someone squeezing my brain. Like my eyes would pop out. Like I would be turned inside out. I screamed louder, clawing at my head, desperate to get the invisible hand out of my brain. My eyes felt on fire now. I started clawing at them until Sam grabbed my wrists, yanking my hands from my face. Blood dripped from my fingernails and my face. He hadn’t been fast enough. I thrashed under his grip, screaming still. I tried to shove him away but he pushed hard, pinning me to the ground. He put all his weight against me to keep me as still as I could be.
The door to our door opened and in came Blake and Eli. Blake swore while Eli ran away to get a teacher. Blake recovered enough to join Sam in keeping me still, at least that’s what Sam told me later. The two of them kept me from hurting myself further while I sobbed. Chase and Eidan appeared in the hall, peering in the doorway. Others joined them. Pretty much the entire floor stood in the hall until Mr. V shooed everyone away to make room for Professor Summer.
She had my friends let go of me but I began thrashing again. Mr. V came in and used his vampiric strength to hold me down while Professor Summer examined me. She put her hands against my cheeks, pouring healing magic into me. It didn’t help. She reached in magically then yanked away, ordering Blake to go get a bag from her room. He flew off and returned after a few seconds.
“I’m sorry to do this to you, Apollo.”
She pried my mouth open and dumped a foul-smelling liquid in my mouth. I choked and gagged but she held my mouth shut, forcing me to swallow. Within seconds it rose up in my throat. Summer turned my head to the side so I could vomit. My muscles clenched and my stomach churned as I continued throwing up for quite some time. As soon as I stopped she jabbed a needle into my arm and pushed down the syringe, filling me with another potion. I felt dizzy… but better. And once the potion from the syringe began spreading I felt even better.
“I’m sorry, Apollo, I didn’t think it’d do this to you.” She pulled the syringe out of my arm and smoothed down my hair in a motherly way. “The sleeping potion reacted very badly with your ability.”
“My head still hurts…”
“Yes, it will for a while. I’ve done my best to purge the sleeping potion from your system.”
“Is he okay?” Sam demanded.
Summer stood up and motioned for Mr. V to pick me up. I was too weak to really argue. “He will be,” the witch replied. “I’m going to take him to the infirmary and have him stay there the rest of the night just to be sure. Artemis could you clean up this mess?”
“I see how it is, have the pixie do the dirty work.” Professor Webb had come in at some point but he didn’t really sound upset, he just sounded worried. “I’ll get the boys to their rooms and get this one cleaned up. Sam, you want to wait out in the hall–“
“Can I go with them? And stay with Apollo?”
“I suppose so. The infirmary is empty so we have the bed room,” Summer said.
Their voices sounded distant as I began drifting back into sleep again then jerked awake as rain splattered against my face. I rubbed my eyes and began walking through the heavy rain until I heard voices.
“–going to stop it! It’s for the best!”
“How is this for the best?!”
Oh great, this one again. I saw myself yelling at someone in the rain but this time my attention was caught by the woman, the woman with cold green eyes. I went over to her instead as my future self and the unknown man argued.
The woman stood still in the rain, eyes on the machine inside the fence. She pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. A scar ran down the left side of her face, across her eye.
Then the lightning flashed and my future self screamed and I screamed and then I woke up in the infirmary with Professor Summer, Mr. V, Mr. Hunter, and Sam all staring at me. I knew that I had been yelling about the world ending again judging by the looks on their faces. I clutched at the bedspread, trying to shake the rain off of me–the not-real rain. The vision-rain. Visions. That vision again.
Mr. Hunter spoke some comforting words that didn’t really comfort me (“It’s going to be okay, you’re going to be okay”) while the two teachers gave me strange looks and Sam rubbed my back. Then he began shooing the adults away, insisting I needed rest and surely Professor Summer of all people knew that. They agreed and headed out (Professor Summer gave me a magical bell to ring if I needed her) and Sam and I were left alone. He disappeared into the bathroom and returned with a cold, damp cloth.
“Thanks.” I wiped my face off, pressing the coolness against my eyes for a moment.
“You ever have the same vision more than once?”
“Sometimes. Occasionally.” I let my hands drop down against my lap. “Rarely.”
“I think having it more than once means you’re gonna be changing it.” Sam plonked down in the armchair and gave me a wry smile. “Yep. Besides come on, end of the world? How many times have people said it’s gonna happen? It’s all lies.”
“So you calling me a liar?” I asked with amusement.
His eyes danced as he replied, “I ain’t calling you a truther.”
Now I laughed, unease and worry sliding away. “Man I’m glad you’re my friend.”
“Me too. Besides. You’re my best friend now and if you ever stop I’ll die. It’s an elf thing.”
“Freaking liar.” I grinned, feeling completely better… well, mostly better. “Thank you, again. Go on to bed. I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Uh-uh.” He curled up in the chair, resting his head against the armrest. “You’re stuck with me. Deal with it. Night-night.”
I wanted to get a shot with Noah’s parents but that didn’t work out… so instead here is a picture from Angel’s tumblr of Noah’s parents. I wanted to show them off so you guys can at least see them and why Apollo and Arty have darker skin than Reeny does.