She had flashes, now and then,
When he was occupied.
Of the ones she had traveled with.
Lost someone with.
Had called friends.
Who last looked at her in anger and confusion.
Her mind was a haze most of the time,
His voice the only real sound then.
But their faces would surface
And she would let the tears fall.
She had never been sure this would happen.
Not this soon, not before she had the chance to be perfect.
But it was real and it was now.
She looked across the room at her husband and son.
She could see them for how they used to be as well as how much they had changed.
She wasn’t perfect.
And she wasn’t ready for it to be forever yet.
But they were together.
A family again.
Of them, only two knew the sea.
The sound of the waves and the feel of the sand.
To stand on the edge of the world and feel so small.
The shock of the coldness of the water.
Its strength and how easily it could move you.
The two of them watched the wonder in their friends’ faces.
So happy to share this experience with them.
She never expected to see him again.
Much less have the chance to hold him.
He stood so straight and stiff as he walked from the Raven Queen’s shadow.
She had to ask him to take off his mask.
His face was paler, more severe.
When she first hugged him, he just stood there.
Then she felt his arms come up around him and hold tight.
Her other side was with her.
They were a whole again.
She doesn’t mean to forget about Sprinkles.
But she didn’t have a pet growing up.
So she’s not used to having to remember feeding times.
And so much is happening now
And he’s so light and quiet.
But it’s not intentional and she takes the slow times to fuss over him.
And he is getting used to the adventuring life.
Jester smiled as her friends sat down.
Watching someone hear her mama sing for the first time had always been one of her favorite things.
That it would be her friends this time made it even better.
She watched as they saw her coming down the stairs.
And how the looks changed from appreciation to amazement as she started singing.
The Ruby of the Sea had won more hearts.
He sets the water to boil.
“Water. So simple. So complex.”
He smiles at the two of them.
“Clear. Yet within it, so much. Mr. Caleb?”
“How do you say water in Zemnian?”
Caleb frowns at the question. “Wasser.”
“See? Even different, it’s mostly the same.”
Fjord and Beau look at the pot, then at each other.
She leans over. “It’s just water. Not like it’s mead or wine. He always get this deep?”
“Worse part is I’m starting to follow his thinking. He’s making sense to me.”
“Dame private dicks? Who’da thunk it?”
“And we’re the best.”
His eyes shifted from the one in yellow to the one in blue.
“You’re not sure. That’s completely understandable.”
Now they flicked to the tall one with the weird hair.
“Look. You need a job done. You heard about our rep. What’s the problem?”
“He doesn’t trust females, ja? Or is it Zemnians you have a problem with?”
They narrowed. “Don’t you go putting words in my mouth.”
“When we’re hired for a job, we do it. Discreetly. And we are good.”
They went wide as the sword came outta fucking nowhere.
“Just ask your competitor. He hired us first. And he wants to some questions answered.”
It was annoying at first.
Caleb’s hand on her shoulder when he looked thru Frumpkin.
It meant she was stuck there.
And she had to watch over him.
Then it got less annoying.
Her shoulder would kinda lean toward him.
A couple of times she just grabbed his hand and put it there.
She didn’t know when she got used to it.
To expect it.
But they were the Empire kids, after all.
She had look out for him.
He thought hard about what he should wear.
Not only was it an important event, it was family.
He was going to ask for help, but no.
He was going to do this on his own.
He went to the fancy clothes shop and saw the vest in the window.
He had to make them make it bigger and that took longer than he thought it should. But they did it.
He found a hat that fit good enough.
When he was walking out was when he saw the lacey thing. And it stretched to fit over his arm just right.
He had to glare at them before they would sell it to him.
Then he was all set.
Grand Poobah de Doink of All This and That off to the Royal Wedding.