*Warning: Foul language.*
Lyra still couldn’t believe she was married.
Lyra still couldn’t believe she was married.
The ring in her finger wasn’t a heavy weight, but it was one that she was completely unaccustomed to, and it caused her to be hyper-aware of its presence. Instead of filling her with dread though, or making her feel like she was chained, the delicate ring filled her with happiness.
It wasn’t even an expensive ring. They didn’t have the money for one, and honestly, if they were going to spend that much money on something, she’d rather they spend it on something useful. But even though it wasn’t expensive, Lyra loved her ring.
They’d gotten married without fanfare or ceremony. They’d simply registered the documents at the city hall, and afterwards they’d exchanged rings in the privacy of their home.
It was all either of them had wanted.
It was also the last time there had been some peace and quiet in the house, because Mireille soon became a toddler, and if she had been a difficult baby, she was an impossible toddler. She threw tantrums about absolutely everything, and nothing they did helped to put an end to it.
She constantly tried to break her toys, and whenever Ignis approached her, interested by his new human who smelled like his master, she’d try to hit him or throw him with whatever thing was in reach. It wasn’t long before the dragon avoided her like the plague.
But then there were days when the toddler acted like a perfect little angel, smiling and laughing and being absolutely adorable, and Lyra couldn’t understand how it was possible to love somebody that much.
Lyra still wasn’t interested in having any more children, but the two she took care of…well, she was more than happy with them. Reagan especially, was an absolute blessing to have around. His sweet and obedient nature was a big relief to deal with after Mireille’s temper tantrums. Mireille herself was a lot sweeter around the boy, giggling happily whenever he played with her and demanding hugs whenever she saw him.
He joined the school’s scout club soon after starting school, driven by his love of nature and spending time outside, and after school he could often be found playing with the chickens or in the tree-house. Other days, he’d spend hours and hours chasing after butterflies or watching birds. Lyra was just waiting for the day Reagan came home with an injured bird that he wanted to nurse back to health.
In the end, it wasn’t a bird. It was a kitten.
“No,” Lyra declared firmly when she noticed Reagan holding the tiny ball of fur against his chest. The house was already crowded, and they had enough trouble feeding four people and a dragon without adding a cat to the equation.
“Please, Lyra?” Reagan pleaded, his eyes ridiculously wide and innocent, like a puppy’s. Little scoundrel. She knew he was playing on her feelings, but that didn’t make it any easier to say no. “I promise, I’ll take good care of her. She won’t make it on her own.”
They were not going to keep a cat. There was no way she would allow it. She was going to tell him to take the cat back to where he found it and –
“Fine,” she allowed resignedly. “As long as you understand she’s your responsibility.”
His face lit up with delight.
“Yes, of course,” he gushed happily. “Thank you so much!” He immediately bounced away, chatting and cooing over the damn cat.
They were going to keep a cat.
Reagan made good on his promise and diligently took care of the kitten, who he’d named Kiki, but it wasn’t long before Mireille made her own claim on the kitten. She never had any real interest in Ignis, but with Kiki she’d drop whatever she was busy with to play with her. The kitten, too, preferred spending time with Mireille rather than Reagan.
Reagan took the kitten’s betrayal with good grace. He was happy with the small snippets of attention she gave him, and he never complained when Mireille demanded the kitten’s attention, even when she did it while Reagan was busy with Kiki. Some days, Lyra wondered if the boy had a single jealous bone in his body.
Unfortunately, it made making friends at school difficult. Reagan wasn’t assertive enough to fight for the things he wanted, so when somebody else wanted something he was using, whether it be in class or on the playground, he normally gave it up without protest. The other children thought he was too timid, so most of the time he was left to play by himself.
It wasn’t really outright bullying, but it was a fact that Reagan was an outcast amongst his peers.
“You’re weird,” Lilianne Everhart told him one day when she noticed him sitting by himself on the swing-set. By the nearby jungle gym, two boys from his class were playing happily with his toys. “Why are you letting Marlin and Cletus walk all over you like that?” As Lilianne was Blaise’s niece, the two children regarded each other as cousins. There were a few too many years between them for the two to really be good friends, but they still occasionally sought each other out. Lilianne treated Reagan the same she treated her little brother, so it wasn’t unusual for her to help the younger boy when he was in trouble.
“I don’t wanna fight with them,” Reagan mumbled, disheartened. “So it’s okay. I don’t really need my toys right now.”
Lilianne sighed, exasperated. “It’s your toys, Reagan. They shouldn’t play with your toys when you want to. It’s not fair.”
Reagan ducked his head, hiding his face.
“No really, it’s okay,” he insisted.
Lilianne let the issue go, but she told her mom who then went ahead and informed Blaise. Needless to say, Blaise wasn’t very happy.
“I hear you’re getting bullied,” he confronted the boy while helping him with his homework. “Why didn’t you tell us?”
“I’m not!” Reagan protested, but he refused to make eye contact with his godfather. “I mean, they’re a little mean, but it’s okay. I don’t mind.”
“Well, you should,” Blaise immediately declared, his brows drawn into a frown. “It’s not okay.”
“Really, it’s fine,” Reagan instead stubbornly. “I mean, it’s not like they’re hurting me. They’re just taking my things, that’s all.”
“Things we paid good money for, Reagan,” Blaise scowled. They had enough trouble providing for the boy without his stuff getting stolen. “Who are they?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Reagan insisted again, scribbling an answer into his homework. “They always give my stuff back anyway.” He pointed to a math problem in his homework book. “Can you explain this sum to me? I don’t know what to do.”
“Hey, don’t change the subject,” Blaise scolded him. “I want an answer.”
The boy shrugged uncomfortably, worrying his lip between his teeth as he contemplated the math problem.
“Marlin and Cletus,” he finally admitted. “Everybody else does too, but they’re the worst.”
Blaise ruffled Reagan’s hair, pleased the boy had taken him into confidence.
“Thanks kiddo,” he said gruffly and looked over into Reagan’s homework at the problem that was giving the boy so much trouble. “So, to solve this problem, you have to…”
Reagan didn’t know what Blaise did after he confessed to being bullied, but whatever it was, it made the two bullies confront him the next day at lunchtime.
“Why’d you snitch, huh?” Marlin Diffy demanded angrily, towering over the younger boy. “If you didn’t want us to use your stuff, you should ‘a said so.”
Reagan kept his eyes downcast and his attention on his food. This was exactly why he hadn’t wanted to say anything. He hated any form of fighting or confrontation.
“I didn’t snitch,” he mumbled softly. “I just answered Blaise when he asked, that’s all. I didn’t mean to get anyone in trouble.”
Cletus Kahekili slammed his hands down on the table, jarring the cutlery.
“Well, you got us in trouble,” he declared crossly. “If you’d just shut up, nothing’d have happened. Why’d you have to be stupid enough to tell?”
Reagan hung his head and refused to answer, staring mulishly at the table. He wasn’t going to fight with them. He hated fighting.
“Hey, don’t ignore us,” Marlin demanded angrily. “Are you deaf? We’re talking to you.”
“Well clearly,” an unfamiliar girl spoke up behind him, “he knows better than to talk to dimwits.”
“Yeah,” another voice interjected, “who would wanna listen to you?”
As expected, the response made the boys change targets as they started yelling at the newcomers. Reagan shyly lifted his head, wondering who had come up for him, and why.
It was a pair of girls, clearly sisters, and Reagan felt his eyes widen at the sight. Everybody knew the Kahekili twins. They were one year below him, but they were charismatic girls who seemed to know everybody in school. Why would they stand up for him? He’d never even talked to them.
“You’re…Regis, aren’t you?” the short-haired twin asked curiously, after Marlin and Cletus had stalked away, chased off by the twin girls.
“Reagan,” he automatically corrected. “Reagan Iverson.”
“Cool,” the same girl pronounced. “I’m Joelle.”
“And I’m Daniela!” the other twin declared. “Say, why are sitting here alone? Don’t you have friends?”
“Not really,” Reagan mumbled, a little embarrassed and overwhelmed by the attention the two girls were paying him.
“Well, you can be our friend then!” Joelle decided, and that was that. From that day onwards, the twins dragged Reagan all over the place with them. As an added bonus, Marlin and Cletus stopped picking on Reagan, too scared of the twin force that was Cletus’s sisters.
His newfound friendship with the twins finally gave Reagan a sense of confidence he’d been lacking with children his own age. He didn’t ask Lyra and Blaise for a lot of things, so when he asked them if he could host a sleepover, they instantly agreed.
The day of the sleepover, Reagan was a nervous wreck, afraid nobody would come. He’d invited the Kahekili twins, as well as the children from Lyra and Blaise’s extended families, his would-be cousins.
It turned out he was worried for nothing, as everybody he invited turned up. For the rest of the evening, the house was filled with joyous laughter and giggles as the pack of children played and ran around.
Eager to make the sleepover as successful as possible for Reagan, Lyra made sure there was a steady supply of hot chocolate…
…and when it was time for dinner, she made a large plate of spaghetti with fresh homegrown tomatoes. The children swarmed around the food, and Reagan had one of the biggest smiles Lyra had ever seen on him.
(Bonus shot: Alexa Marquel – Renard’s daughter, in case anybody is interested in seeing what she looks like)
It was a beautiful summers night, and there was no rain forecasted, so by unanimous agreement, the children decided to camp out beneath the stars. All in all, the sleepover was a massive success, and when the kids went home the next morning, they all went on about how awesome the sleepover was.
The sleepover had done wonders for Reagan’s confidence. While he had never been reluctant to go to school, he certainly never seemed to enjoy it either, but after the sleepover he eagerly ran to the school bus, happy to know his friends would be there.
Lyra looked at the darkening sky during her daily jogging session and idly watched the clouds gathering heavily above her, feeling a little melancholic. It was autumn again. Spring and summer had passed in what felt like an eyeblink, and once again the world was going to enter into the cold years.
Just where had the time gone?
So many things had happened since the last time it had been autumn. She’d met people, lost friends, fell in love, and became a mother. She’d experienced exultation and grief and everything in between. And everything, all she had experienced, happened because she had ignorantly chased her curiosity and followed a ghost she had no business following. Her entire childhood she had hated Charlotte, but now…now she couldn’t help but feel thankful to the ghost.
The life she had was definitely not the one she’d ever thought she’d have, but she loved every bit of it.
She had her family, both the one she’d grown up with and the one she’d created for herself. She wasn’t rich, but between her and Blaise, they still managed to afford everything important to them. She had people in her life she loved more than she had ever thought could be possible.
Age had crept up on her and Blaise, and they were very close to being classified as ‘middle-aged’, but she could honestly say she was happy. She couldn’t imagine her life getting any better.
With a content smile she ended her jogging session and turned back to her home, where her husband and children were waiting.
Reagan was laughing happily while he challenged Blaise at the video game, and Mireille was avidly watching the kitten, being all sweet and innocent instead of sulky hellion for a change. Lyra smiled at the image of domestic bliss before picking up her brushes and walking over to her easel. She couldn’t ask for a better way to spend the evening.
She should’ve known it wouldn’t last.
The call didn’t come as a surprise. Her mother’s health had steadily gotten worse, and although Lyra and her siblings had tried to spend as much time with their mother as possible, they had all known the end wouldn’t be far-off.
It still didn’t make the news any easier to bear.
She did her best to deal with the loss, but it was the little things that made her remember her mom and realise that all the special moments they used to spend together had now come to an end. It was her mom who had taught her how to make pancakes, and it was her mom who had given them the painting hanging above their dining table.
At least her mom had lived a full life, and she had gone peacefully and painlessly in her sleep. Lyra’s memories of her wouldn’t be coloured by the senseless violence that marred her memories of her dad.
With her mom’s death, the chest Chantia had brought along to Moonlight Falls from Sunset Valley fell into Lyra’s possession. It was filled to the brim with old photos and décor, and Lyra allowed herself to spend an entire afternoon caught up in nostalgia and sentimentality.
It was the items stored in the very bottom of the chest that completely threw her for a loop. Lyra gingerly lifted one of the pots out of the chest, wondering if the object in her hand was really what she thought it was. There was a little plaque attached to the bottom, and Lyra strained her eyes as she tried to read the engraving.
It took all her willpower to not immediately drop the pot once she made out the tiny words. She was literally holding her grandmother in her hands. And if the pot in her hands were her grandmother, that meant the other three pots in the chest were…
She gently placed the pot in her hand on the floor beside her and looked back into the chest, gingerly lifting out the other pots one by one.
Yep. Four pots of ashes. Her grandparents, aunt, and dad.
It filled her with conflicting emotions. A part of her was glad their remains hadn’t stayed behind in Sunset Valley, where no one would care about it, and yet…they had all been dead and buried for years. It felt too much like sacrilege. Their final resting places shouldn’t have been disturbed.
She suddenly realised she didn’t know what had become of Sionann and Adrian’s remains. There had never been a funeral or the like, and at the time she had been too overwhelmed by everything that had happened to wonder about it. She wondered if Blaise would know.
He tugged at his earring when she asked him, an old habit of his she knew he only did when he’s upset, but didn’t want to admit it.
“Alison and Leneo took care of it,” he admitted, staring broodingly off to the side. “Not sure about the details, but I believe they were sent back to their families. If you want to know more, you’ll have to ask Ealdwine, Sionann’s brother.” He gestured vaguely towards the eastern side of the town. “I believe he lives somewhere in the centre of town.”
Lyra crossed her arms, a little incredulous.
“Are you telling me,” Lyra demanded disbelievingly, “that Reagan has family living in Moonlight Falls and you never bothered to tell me?!”
Blaise immediately mirrored her, brow sinking low over his eyes.
“I don’t want him to meet that asshole,” he declared firmly. “Ealdwine is nothing like Sionann. He’s a mean-spirited, selfish bastard, and I won’t let him hurt Reagan. As his only living family, Reagan will want to get to know him, and Ealdwine won’t. Reagan has enough self-confidence issues already without a rejection like that.”
“You’re really so sure this Ealdwine won’t want to meet him?” Lyra asked sceptically. “Does he even know his sister had a son?”
Blaise gave an affirmative grunt.
“He does,” he confirmed, still scowling. “And he’s already told me he doesn’t care to meet him. I won’t let Reagan get hurt.”
“Fine,” Lyra agreed, partly satisfied with his answer. She knew him well enough to know he would never do something that would comprise Reagan or Mireille’s happiness, so she was willing to let the matter go. But that didn’t mean she would blindly follow Blaise’s opinion until she met the man herself.
She sought him out the next day, and it didn’t take her long to form the same opinion about him. Ealdwine was nothing like his sister. Sionann had been sweet and gentle and caring, but Ealdwine was rude and mean and, quite frankly, Lyra couldn’t see anything redeemable about the man. He had nothing good to say about his sister, and when he made a disparaging comment about Reagan, Lyra saw white.
“If I ever see you near Reagan,” she hissed threateningly, “I will destroy you. Don’t ever go close to him, and don’t ever approach him. I don’t care if you’re family or not, because you’re a piece of shit who doesn’t deserve to meet him. Stay away from my family.”
She spun on her heel and stormed away, furious beyond believe. Reagan might not be of her blood, but he was hers now and she would be damned before she allowed someone to hurt him.
AN: Sorry for the toddler spam at the start, but Mireille’s so darn pretty, I can’t get enough of her. I love toddlers in-game. <3
Reagan’s sleepover party was probably the single most successful party I’ve ever had in the game. My parties are normally all over the place, but with this one everybody actually played together, and when it was time to sleep they automatically chose the same area. I’m so proud of them. XD
Marlin Diffy got designated the Town Brat in-game, which is why he’s a bully.
For those curious, Ealdwine really is Sionann’s brother. Sionann got their dad’s colouring, but her features are more their mom, while Ealdwine got their mom’s colouring, but more their dad’s features.
Also, this made me happy. I guess their feud really is over. :D