He was a lean, tall silhouette against the setting sun, unnaturally still, unnervingly cold. His gaze of mottled blues and greens trained across a lush manor and grounds, watching the building from a fair quarter mile away. He moved finally, settling a thin shoulder to an ash tree, his head slowly turning as he sensed company arriving.
"It's called 'Quellarin'," she murmured, taking the youth's arm in hers, "Why are you staring at it, darling?"
"That's as dumb as naming a dog 'dog'," he responded, humorously tart, a brow arching as he resettled, pulling his arm away in order to wrap it warmly around the woman's shoulders, "Just remembering."
"You are supposed to be finding out why your dearly departed great auntie has been able to pull open your little brother's wards."
"Because he's a little boy, and she's a pretty nasty lich. I'll fix matters. He and Father need to steer clear of her. There, now let me have my memories, Mother," he retorted with a soft scoffing.
"What are your memories?" she asked, obediently prompting, humor ticking at her mobile features.
"It was a long time ago. When I first met Gemethyst. She was so sad. I thought it was odd. But she wouldn't talk. She'd wait for Mesteno, they would talk. She was always so anxious. Nervous. Then finally, she talked to me. I think because she was so desperate to hear someone talk to her."
"You are not the most sympathetic of souls, my darling," his mother pointed out wryly.
"I have always been more friendly with beautiful women," he retorted with a slow curl of grin that quickly faded. He fell silent for long moments, content in the dusk, arm around his mother.
"Someone had kidnapped her son," he finally murmured, his gaze distant, "He was twelve, thirteen. Or I decided he must be. Because it is all is about me."
His mother quirked a pale brow, but said nothing.
"She was devastated and trying to keep going. Because she had to. She had to find him. It was not something I had ever ? ever wanted to see," he added, tipping his gaze to his mother for a heart's beating. She merely gazed upon the manor, aloof and beautiful.
"I understood her in that moment. I said to her, you hope. You hope for so long and so hard that it becomes hoping that you would stop hoping. That it wouldn't hurt any more," he whispered, head lowering a moment before, with a slight shake of himself, he resumed his watch upon Quellarin.
"There is that point," his mother agreed, distant.
"You never went there."
"No. Because my future was always here," she chuckled, soft and wry, squeezing her arm around him gently. He nodded, slow, his brow arching and lowering once more.
"I thought I would meet him. Her son."
"If you're just wondering how stupid he could make you feel, darling, don't. That's not who he is, and that's not fair to him. But as a friend, I'm sure he would be glad to meet you," she informed him, tilting an all too clear gaze to her son. He was so tall then. Six foot and change.
So tall, mature, and cool, and he still fidgeted under that attention. A wry grin pulled across his lips and he nodded once.
"As you say it, Mother."
"Mmhm. His name is Rei. He's a good boy. Kissed your little sister," she smiled, pulling the youth down to kiss his cheek before she vanished from his side and arm, a rippling disturbance of faint green and the smell of brackish water in her passing.
He startled, then narrowed his eyes. Rei. Kissed. His. Baby. Sister.