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Sisterly Advice

 
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Rachel Bristol
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:33 pm    Post subject: Sisterly Advice Reply with quote

Rhys was understandably chastened after his disagreement with Natalya. Sulking and mopey, he made his way to the little house his sister Rachel shared with the man who had once been her guardian angel, not only to check on his daughter, but to visit with his sister and maybe to figure out where he'd gone wrong with Nat. It was a short walk, but by the time he got there, whatever happiness and relief he'd been feeling had turned to self-loathing. He'd only grumbled a greeting to those he passed on the way, shuffling along in the snow and wishing he could take back what he'd done wrong. At least, Rachel wasn't angry with him - yet. Once he arrived, he knocked on the door and awaited a reply.

At least he was guaranteed a warm welcome. The laughter that emanated from inside the little house belonged to both his sister and his daughter, growing louder as they approached the door. As it opened, he was treated to the sight of Ana hanging upside down in Rachel's arms, giggling like a loon. The baby girl held her arms out to him happily.

"Rhys!" Rachel smiled in delight, stepping back to welcome him inside. "Come in out of the cold!"

"Hey, Rach," he greeted his sister, obviously not as warmly or enthusiastically as usual. "And what do we have here?" he asked, unable to help smiling at least a little at the sight of the little girl who held his heart in the palm of her hand. He reached to scoop her up in his arms, planting a kiss against her cheek, lingering a moment to breathe her in. His heart ached, as if with some forgotten memory niggling at his brain, as if she'd been in some sort of danger, though he couldn't for the life of him remember what it had been, nor did he want to. "How's my girl? She give you any trouble, Rach?"

If his greeting was a little less than warm, Rachel gave no sign of it, handing over the giggling little bundle of trouble that was her niece before closing the door behind her brother. "She pooped all over Zachariel last night," she offered in amusement. "Would you like something to drink?"

He chuckled a little at the news of that, feeling a little bad for the angel. "Welcome to my world," he said, leaning in to brush a kiss against his sister's cheek, as well as his daughter's. Maybe he could get through one afternoon without making either of them mad anyway. "I'd kill for a cup of coffee right now," he said, knowing there was no coffee in Avalon, which was one more reason not to live here. "I should really smuggle some in."

Rachel giggled, kissing her brother's cheek affectionately in return as one finger gently chucked at the cherubic little face so close to his. "I could warm up some wine," she offered him hopefully. "I don't really know what coffee is, or how to make it. Would you like something to eat, too? You and Nat should eat with us tonight. Where is Nat, anyway?"

"Wine sounds good, thanks," he replied, feeling like he needed something to warm up his bones, and it didn't hurt that wine had a little kick to it. He stamped the snow from his feet and wiped his boots on the mat near the door before stepping further inside, his daughter balanced against one hip. "I'm not sure that's a good idea. She's kind of mad at me right now," he said with a guilty frown. Kind of was a bit of an understatement.

"Oh, don't be silly," his little sister told him, shaking her head as she moved to set the ceramic pitcher of wine on the hot stones of the hearth to warm. "She loves you. Whatever happened can't be that bad."

"No, it's pretty bad," he replied. As a matter of fact, he hadn't seen her that angry with him in a very long time. He took a seat on a chair near the fire to warm the chill from his bones, Ana resting upon his lap. "Do you and Zach ever quarrel?"

Rachel frowned thoughtfully, tucking her skirts back out of her way as she stirred the contents of the little cauldron hanging over the fire. "I don't know," she told her brother truthfully. "I don't understand him a lot of the time, and sometimes he doesn't understand me. And I know that he gets annoyed with me when I am being silly and he doesn't want to be silly with me. Does that count as quarreling?"

"I guess, but I think I've really done it this time, Rach. I'm not sure if she's gonna forgive me," Rhys replied, the very possibility of that making it feel like his throat was closing up. It had been a long day, and an emotional one, though he couldn't quite recall all of it. He only remembered that he'd been so happy and lighthearted after she'd touched him with the Rod that he couldn't help teasing her a little, mischief bubbling up inside him.

She sat back on her heels to look up at him, concern filling her eyes, so like his and his daughter's. "What happened, Rhys?" she asked him. "She can't be so angry as all that. What happened between you to make you think she won't forgive you for it?"

"I don't know exactly..." he started, trying to find a way to explain. He recanted the story of their latest adventure, not leaving much out except for the parts he couldn't remember right up until the time when he'd teased her. "She was trying to make me forget what had happened in the labyrinth, and when she was done, I sort of asked who she was, like I'd forgotten her." He winced, realizing how horrible that sounded now that he had to explain it to someone. "It was stupid and childish, and I'm an idiot for doing it. I just wasn't thinking, I guess. I don't know what got into me." He really couldn't think of a good excuse for himself, knowing now what he'd done was hurtful and wrong, though he'd meant nothing malicious by it at the time.

Rachel stared at him for a long moment, finally rolling her eyes as she sighed gently. "You have awful timing," she informed her brother, moving to sit with him at the table, the pitcher of warmed wine in hand. Pouring out a cup for him, she went on. "You know what she told me, when you guys brought me here the first time? She said she was glad that you'd found me, because nobody deserves to be alone."

He arched a brow, not having been privy to that conversation and curious what it had to do with him. "I don't understand." Yes, he really was that dense at times, especially when it came to women, though he was trying to understand.

She bit her lip, not sure it was her place to share this, but feeling as though Rhys needed to know. "Rhys, our parents died trying to keep us safe," she pointed out. "We know they loved us. Nat ... if her mother loved her, she never had a chance to find out, and her sister sounds like a real bitch. Her brother's dead, and her father's a demon. All she really has is you. And after a bad day? Your timing really sucks."

He listened quietly to his sister, baby Ana dozing now that she was snuggled close to her Papa. He knew he'd screwed up - that wasn't the problem. The problem was figuring out how to make it right, if he could make it right. "I know, Rach. But I'm not sure if I can fix it this time. Have you and Zach ever argued?" he asked, thinking he was the only person in the entire world who ever screwed up like this. Wasn't this why he'd been single so long? As far as Rhys was concerned, he'd managed to screw up every romantic relationship he'd ever been part of. "I can't lose her, Rach. I can't." His voice cracked, like he was on the verge of tears again. His heart ached to know he had hurt the one person he loved more than any other.
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Rachel Bristol
Young Wyrm
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3437.08 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Rhys, don't be such an idiot." Only a sister could say something like that when he was in full-blown self-beration mode and get away with it. "You know Zach and I have argued. We hurt each other a lot with our misunderstandings last year, but we're still here, aren't we? One argument isn't going to tear you and Natalya apart, not unless you let it. So stop feeling sorry for yourself, man up, and apologize to her when she comes by. Properly. No jokes or excuses. Just apologize, and let things move on from there."

He wasn't going to defend himself against that. He knew he was an idiot, and what he'd done only a short while ago only served to proved his point. "I don't want to hurt her, Rachel. I never want to hurt her again. She's been through so much. We all have. All I want to do is love her. That's all." He was still feeling a good amount of self-pity and self-deprecation. Why, he wasn't quite sure. Maybe Riley was right, after all. Maybe he did need a therapist.

"So love her," his little sister said, as though it was the simplest solution in the world. "She loves you. Hell, Rhys, she married you. You're holding the daughter you made with her. You really think one little argument is going to rip all that to pieces?" She leaned forward onto the table, trying to approach the problem the way her own husband would and no doubt failing badly. "Do you want her to punish you? Do you want her to leave you, and to be all alone again?"

"I do love her," he pointed out, furrowing his brows in confusion, his expression darkening at her very pointed questions. "No, of course not!" he replied vehemently, though in truth, he thought maybe he deserved to be punished. "Why am I such an *ss, sis?" he asked with a sigh, rubbing at his temple with a headache was starting to form. She was right about one thing - it had been a long day, and he couldn't even remember half of it.

"Then stop behaving like you expect it to happen," Rachel told him ruthlessly. "If you expect her to leave you after every little argument, eventually she's going to do it because she'll think that's what you want. It's a bump in the road, it isn't a dead end." She leaned back, brushing her blonde hair back from her face. "You're not an *ss all the time. You just ... you have really bad timing. You kinda gotta learn when making a joke like that is a bad idea. Think about it - what happens after you two have had a big old adventure? You reconnect. She thought she was helping you, and you made a joke that made her feel really isolated, no matter how brief that was. Of course she was pissed. But it won't last."

"I hope so," Rhys replied quietly. "I hope you're right." It would take time for him to understand that all couples had these little tiffs from time to time, and every little mistake wasn't going to send Nat packing her bags. It had been a long time since she'd been this angry at him, but he was more worried about her feelings than his own. "How do I make it up to her?" he wondered aloud. Should he make her breakfast in bed? Bring her flowers? Buy her flowers? Rub her feet? Make love to her? Or was apologizing enough?

"Apologize," his little sister told him again. "You'd be amazed at what taking responsibility for a mistake and putting the next step in her court will do. That, and it's the mature thing to do. Kids make excuses and try to justify what they've done. Adults take responsibility and admit when they're in the wrong."

"I wasn't gonna make excuses. Truth is, I'm not sure why I said it. I just... did. I was feeling happy and... I suppose I picked the wrong time to tease her," he admitted, trying to think it through. "I guess it was a stupid thing to do." No, it definitely was a stupid thing to do. He just hoped Nat would forgive him. He looked down at the little dozing bundle in his arms and tipped his head downward to press a tender kiss to the top of his daughter's head. Something inside his heart twisted a little, at some memory or other that wouldn't quite make itself known. He was glad of that. He wasn't sure what he'd do if he ever lost any of them, Rachel included. His sister seemed to have grown up almost over night, since the last time he'd seen her. He lifted his head to offer a grateful smile her way. "Since when did you get so wise anyway?"

The baby girl sighed happily, cuddling into her Papa's arms as she dozed. Rachel smiled, more than a little envious of the fact that Rhys had a baby, but reassured in the knowledge that she would have one of her own some time soon. His query made her laugh. "I married an angel, remember? He's got wise dripping out of his ears, some of it had to splash off on me eventually."

Rhys laughed a little, his heart a little lighter, though he wouldn't feel like his old self until Nat forgave him. "Wise in some ways, innocent in others," Rhys remarked, mostly to himself. "Are you two gonna stay in Avalon permanently?" he asked curiously, reaching for the mug of mulled wine to take a sip, which did its part to warm and relax him.

"I think so," she sighed, regretful only in that she thought her answer would disappoint him. "I like New York, but ... it scares me, Rhys. So many people, and so many things that I don't know anything about, and ... I don't think I could handle it. I don't think Zach could. We're happy here, and we have a purpose. I mean, mine isn't really so obvious as his, but I'm really happy here, Rhys."

Rhys set the mug down and reached for his sister's hand. "That's all I want, Rach. I just want you to be happy. It's easy to be happy here, isn't it? It's peaceful." He frowned, envying her a little but knowing, too, that if he and Nat were to stay here too long, they'd only become lazy. This was their respite and their refuge, but it wasn't home. Maybe it would be someday, but not yet. There was too much they still had to do yet. "Where's Zach? I heard he was helping out in the library."

"The Lady says that our sons will be great men," she offered very quietly, revealing that Elaine was maintaining a friendship with Rhys' sister that was unprecedented on the Isle. "That one of them will be the Grand Master for Ana's daughter." Her green eyes sparkled with delight at that thought as she squeezed his hand. "He is at the library. He's been translating the Enochian texts there, no one here has a very good grasp on it."

"Oh," Rhys replied, remembering a little of what Elaine had told him, but it made sense that news of his future nephews was meant for his sister and not so much himself. He wondered if this was Rachel's main purpose - to raise two sons to manhood, so that they could carry on the traditions of Avalon once their predecessors were gone. He realized in that moment just how important his bloodline - their bloodline - must be to Avalon and the Lady, if she could see so far into the future. It seemed that Ana wasn't the only one of his bloodline whose fate was tied up with Avalon. "Enochian texts?" he echoed, curiously. "You mean... written by angels?" he asked, almost incredulously, though little about Avalon really surprised him anymore. He was an angel himself, or had been one once, but he no more knew anything about Enochian than he did about Russian.

"Mmhmm." She nodded, moving to stir the stew once again. Dipping a spoon in, she pulled out a potato slathered in gravy, dropping it into a little bowl and mashing it into a pulp as they talked. "Sir Lionel asked him to look at this whole section that nobody could read, and it turned out it was all in angel-ese. He's gonna be working on it for years."
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Rachel Bristol
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Years?" Rhys echoed in surprise, watching quietly as she bent over the stew and mashed up a bit of potato, presumably for his daughter. "She won't eat that," he pointed out. "We only convinced her to eat bananas the other day." Somehow, it seemed like forever ago - another age, another lifetime, but Avalon did that to you, made you feel like New York was unreal, another world, another time, another place. It made Avalon seem like the only true reality, while New York was just a dream.

"They've got a whole room of books and tablets and things," Rachel told him, offering her brother a mysterious smile as he pointed out that his daughter wouldn't eat what was being set aside for her. Ana had eaten mashed pancakes with cream that morning without complaint; Rachel didn't know about taking things slowly with babies, so she'd gone right ahead and just given the baby girl what they were having for breakfast. "She might, you won't know until you try."

He furrowed his brows at his sister, but didn't bother to argue, at least, not about his daughter's diet. He was convinced women knew more about these things than he did, even one who'd lived as sheltered a life as his sister. Nat might have something else to say about it, but so far, Ana seemed content enough, so who was he to argue? "What do they say?" he asked as his curiosity grew. He wasn't sure if any of what was written in those texts concerned him, but he thought if anyone had a right to know, it was him.

"I don't know," she laughed, shaking her head as she returned to the table, leaving the little pot of mash to cool. "Histories, I guess. Maybe spells. Zach doesn't really like to talk about it too much to me. Maybe he thinks it's too much for me to handle."

Satisfied with her answer, mostly because if he really wanted to know, he was sure he could find out for himself, he dropped the subject. "What about you, Rach? What do you do while Zach is at the library?"

She hesitated, looking a little shy. "Promise you won't laugh?" she asked, biting her lip. "I, um, I look after children. Sort of. There are a lot of families on Avalon, and the parents often both work. The Handmaidens set up a little school for the little ones, and it suits me. I get to play with babies all day."

He chuckled, but he wasn't laughing at her really. He was only happy that she'd found something to do that suited her so well and that made her happy. "I suppose Ana is in good hands then," he remarked, though he'd had few reservations about leaving his daughter with them to begin with. Who better to trust with their daughter's life but an angel and his sister?

Rachel rolled her eyes. "You laughed," she accused him fondly, reaching across the table to smack his hand gently. The movement woke Ana, who grumbled, rubbing at her eyes sleepily. "Sorry, little bean. Your daddy was being a big poohead."

"I wasn't laughing at you!" Rhys pointed out with another chuckle. "And your auntie seems to think you're ready for grown up food," he countered, picking his daughter up and fondly smooching her cheek. He furrowed his brows a moment as something Rachel had said seemed to sink in. "Did you just call me a sh*thead?"

"No! I would never say anything like that!" Duly horrified by this interpretation of her mild insult, Rachel laughed, reaching over to ruffle her brother's hair as he smooched his daughter's cheek. Despite her sleepiness, Ana giggled, planting her own version directly onto Rhys' mouth, open lips, spit, and all.

It did his heart good to spend some time with his daughter and sister, neither of whom were angry at him at the moment, nor was he in any fear of losing them if they did become angry with him. He laughed as Rachel mussed his hair and Ana offered him a messy kiss. Messy or not, it didn't matter to him. They were his flesh and blood and he suspected they'd love him, no matter how much of an idiot he was.

But that, too, was part of the problem. He had flesh and blood kin, beyond his daughter. He had a sister who loved him deeply; he'd known his parents loved him. His wife had a sister, yes, but she rarely, if ever, spoke of her. Natalya had no one beyond Rhys. But the innocent often had good advice. All he needed was to talk to his wife, and learn that an argument was not the end of everything. It was a lesson they both needed to learn, sooner rather than later.

((Marrying an angel was the best thing that could have happened to Rachel! Very Happy Many thanks to Rhys' player for indulging me!))
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