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Writing Hell Is Where The Heart Is


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[i][COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"]Hi all. I'm Raiha, but you should know that by now. My husband and I have been away from you for awhile. 16 years to be exact. But in our defense, we?ve been amazingly busy. Sevara and Billy are 17 now. Both have developed the full compliment of powers we expected, and the feral kits had grown up somewhat and hung around the house or alternately wandered for months at a time. Vicky and Andrew had recently had their baby, but Vicky was called away on a mission with Eriju, and that left things slightly complicated. But since Andrew didn?t trust himself with a kid, the poor girl naturally fell to me. We called her Kiwi if only because she?d been born with a lot of fuzzy brown hair, and because neither Andrew or Vicky were what we?d call creatively gifted.

But enough of that. Our house was now approaching the state usually termed ?lived in? but I preferred to call it ?CHAOS.? Can?t have anyone over syndrome. But that wasn?t much of an issue. Iki and Andrew were usually doing races around the solar system, while Eriju and Vicky were much further out where we?d traveled so long ago. I had my hands full with the baby at home, while Gavin worked his jobs, and Neil showed up every now and then with Sikal in tow. The two had grown up somewhat, Sikal possibly more noticeably than Neil. I think it?s because Sikal wasn?t bent on corrupting my children. If only because he was still young enough to be dissuaded by a shriek and a howl from me, sent up from two stories down, perfect aim, naturally.[/i]

?Good morning darling. Want me to wake up the kids??

?Yes please. That?d be wonderful.?

[i]My husband rolled over on top of me on his way for the end of the bed, planting a series of sloppy kisses down my chest while I batted him with his recently vacated pillow. He staggered for the door, while I admired the view from behind. Gavin flexed his deltoids for a second, and then made his way for the bathroom and sloshed his face with water. I yawned and turned back towards the infinite softness of the pillows, hugging one of the many to my chest. He came back for a kiss ten minutes later and I blearily kissed the air where I hoped his face was. Then, feeling my duty complete, fell back asleep for another blissful few moments when Kiwi began to yowl. The full Saiya-jin female had lungs as strident and healthy as any young wolf, and I leapt out of bed like I?d been stabbed to pick her up out of her cradle and offer her a breast.[/i]

?There there, easy now. I?ve got you.?

[i]Kiwi mewled and hiccupped, then went back to what she was doing. I slipped on one of my looser shirts and padded downstairs to find my children already finished with breakfast, the dishes still on the tables, and out the door. I sat down and pulled a bowl of my own near when one of the ferals from Iki and Eriju swung in through the open downstairs window. It was one of the two females, Crystia I noticed. She prowled around the kitchen nervously, then sat down in one of the chairs and chewed on her lower lip until I offered her some cornflakes. She tucked in and looked around, her ears twitching at every sound. Crystia didn?t talk, but she was one of the two that didn?t. Instead she communicated with light purring sounds and hisses when she was upset. A good girl to have around, but she hadn?t been around in months. Hopefully she?d stick around for awhile.[/i]

?It?s good to see you again Crystia. Everyone missed you, even though Eriju and Vicky are off on a survey mission.?

[i]Crystia looked up for a few moments and made a low rumbling sound in the back of her throat that slowly tapered off. I gave her a reassuring smile and juggled Kiwi to my other breast before leaning back slightly. Things to do today. Clean. Hopefully. Do the dishes. Again. Ask Crystia if she could paint the house one more time. Dragoon Neil into picking up the weights in the garage. Train a little. If Kiwi would let me. As I followed that train of thought, while I burped Kiwi over my shoulder, Andrew stopped by to say hello before he went to work.[/i]

?Morning Raiha. Crystia. Hiya Kiwi!?

[i]He gave her a light peck on the cheek while she sucked on a lock of my hair and looked at him with suspicious eyes. She gave him a mewling hiccup sound of her own and he took it as a greeting back while I patted her back and gave Andrew a vague nod. It wasn?t that I didn?t appreciate the fact that he now was completely indebted to me. It was just that raising twin teenagers and now a 7 month old was about as calming and therapeutic as fighting another batch of constructs from Sella. Or Morrigan. Whatever. At least today should be quiet and boring. Oh who am I kidding?[/i][/FONT][/COLOR]
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[SIZE="1"]As long as sixteen years of parenting hasn't left me with a bald spot and a pot belly, which seems to be hereditary in my family, it's great to see the next incarnation of the Hell series. Heh, just kidding D, I'm really pleased to see you've decided to continue writing this, although I am slightly worried about what's going to happen to us now we can't be all free and irresponsible, dare I say it, we could become boring.[/SIZE]
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[quote name='Gavin'][SIZE="1"]I am slightly worried about what's going to happen to us now we can't be all free and irresponsible, dare I say it, we could become boring.[/SIZE][/QUOTE]

[size=1][color=#8B008B]No! Not that! Anything but that! We can't be...*gulps* BORING! Although, I doubt any of us will turn boring, what with a house filled with teenage ferals and saiyans? I'm sure enough one of them will cause some damage to the Universe somehow.

I, too, am glad this is continuing. I can't wait for the carnage and chaos to kick in.[/size][/color]
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[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"]?Got the shopping list yet for me??

?Come back around lunch time. I?ll have it by then.?

[i]Andrew sucked down the juice he?d poured for himself and then was out the door, grabbing his pack on the way out. Kiwi looked at his retreating back and sucked on the side of her hand thoughtfully,

Kiwi bounced in her chair dangling from the kitchen door, while I paged through some of the latest advertisements at the local grocery stores. She compiled a staggering list of items and dry goods to pack the larder and refrigerator with. You would think the double sized plus the one in the garage would?ve been enough but oh no. Not with everyone appearing for dinner every single night. Why they couldn?t just cook for themselves she?d never know, but at least they did the dishes for her. The one consolation of it all. The kitchen was neat. Relatively anyway. Granted Kiwi?s things were everywhere, but why split hairs.

I began to pair socks and fold shirts, my son?s things permanently grass stained or slightly charred from ki fights. Conversely, Sevara did all of her own laundry, which was increasingly difficult to find. I didn?t try to pry though. I?d always worn what I wanted, and she didn?t wear things too revealing. Her capacity to hide her Siyannan tattoos wasn?t quite as developed as it had been when I was 17. Then again she also had a good dollop of Saiya-jin blood that gave her some impulse control issues. We were working on that. She?d accidentally incinerated a few bushes before I?d managed to teach her a meditation exercise that Vicky and I had hammered out for the good of the ferals and Saiya-jins alike. Crystia leaned over and nudged the laundry basket, as it slowly filled with shirts, shorts, socks, underwear, and everything in between. I set down the final pair of socks and she immediately picked it up, her tail flaring out behind her for balance, headed up to Billy?s room.[/i]

?Thanks Crystia. Afterwards come back down and I?ll have the towels ready.?

[i]I stood even as she twitched her tail at me in response and began snapping out the towels for the entire family. One after the other, folded neatly over themselves, then the sheets. The pillow cases, the blankets, everything that Kiwi was using. Mattress covers, pillow covers, slip covers, chair covers, until the linens were piled up in three separate sections on the kitchen table. Kiwi gurgled happily to herself, and picked up a steel rattle that Neil had welded for her 6 month old celebration. She shook it over her head, the ball bearings inside rattling with as much intensity as she could muster. I beat a hasty retreat to the living room, picking up the jackets that had been flung all over.[/i]

?I swear, next year...I am going to be so happy. College for the twins, and just Kiwi.?

[i]As soon as I muttered it to myself, part of me felt guilty. Pre-empty nest syndrome? Maybe. I hung up the last of the jackets and turned towards the kitchen, the two pages of the grocery list clipped together and I stuck it in the basket stuck to the side of the fridge. Absentmindedly, I filled a watering can and began to take care of the houseplants. Orchids and herbs and freesias bloomed and branched out with all the power they could muster. They should anyway, the presence of Crystia in the house always gave a boost to all things arboreal for some reason. I wasn?t trying to understand it. Never could explain it anyway.

Andrew swung by within the hour to pick up the list and finish it off before delivering the full load of groceries from the back of his truck. I laid Kiwi down for her nap on clean sheets, her stuffed starfish clutched under one arm and gave a longing glance to my own freshly made bed. Crystia padded down the hallways on all fours to rub against my ankles, and I ruffled her ears almost absentmindedly. Her eyes nearly shut as I rubbed the space just behind her neck. She mewled once or twice, and then slid down the banister towards the kitchen where I?d set out a glass of milk for her.

Domestic tranquility reigned for just a few minutes, in the lull between when the groceries would be delivered, and Sevara and Billy would come flying in through the upper windows. Then the downstairs would be awash with school books, papers, and all manner of paraphernalia that would make relaxation impossible. Lulled by the impossible, I took a few steps towards the bed, grabbed up the comforter and crashed face first into bed, waiting for Kiwi?s inevitable howl to wake me. I was dimly aware of Crystia appearing, having drunk her milk and gone all drowsy on me, curling up around my feet. She fell asleep almost immediately, and, comforted by her presence and calm, I slept too. When Crystia was relaxed, it was a pretty good bet that I could relax too.

And inert, limp as a dishrag, I slept until the sounds of my children coming home crashed through my brain. Kiwi, also awakened by the sound began to scream, partially out of complaint, partially out of surprise. Crystia was up like a shot, off to Billy?s room to say hello, and I stood, running my fingers through slightly messy hair, to pick up Kiwi. She reached up chubby arms for me and I swung her up to my shoulder, Sevara coming down the hallway.[/i]

?How was school honey??

?Billy got into a fight again. I had to zap him one between the eyes. He missed Calculus because he was out cold in the guy?s bathroom where I told him to crash.?

?You know you can?t keep doing that. He?ll fail his classes.?

?Bah, he brings it on himself. You?d do it too.?

[i]I sighed and headed towards Billy?s room, knowing that Gavin would hit the roof when he came home to find that his son had been brawling at school. Again.[/i][/FONT][/COLOR]
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[quote name='Raiha'][COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"][i]Gavin would hit the roof when he came home to find that his son had been brawling at school. Again.[/i][/FONT][/COLOR][/QUOTE]

[SIZE="1"]Of course, because dad has just had a hard day of showing humans the Saiya-jin version of police brutality. That said, so long as the brat didn't lose, he'll be slightly more forgiving, even if Billy's a polar opposite to what his old man was like back when they were in high school, must be the friends, or Andrew, yeah, definitely Andrew. ^_~

There will of course be the mandatory beating to show Billy he isn't top-dog of the house yet, nothing personal though, purely societal.[/SIZE]
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[size=1]Delightful to have this continued again D, always a welcome read! Although I must complain about the fact that I'm a super powered alien being who can fly stupidly fast living in a world with hover cars and the like, yet I'm driving a truck to pick up the shopping like some backwater hic. ¬_¬

And what about me? Sounds like an irresponsible father passing blame if you ask me Gav! ^_^ (Says the one who's been written as leaving his daughter with Raiha ¬_¬)[/size]
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[quote name='Andrew'][size=1]And what about me? Sounds like an irresponsible father passing blame if you ask me Gav! ^_^ (Says the one who's been written as leaving his daughter with Raiha ¬_¬)[/size][/QUOTE]

[SIZE="1"]Yep, whichever way the toss falls, I still look like a better father than you in this. Heh heh. Guess we could go and try to be superheroes again like in high school, doubt we're suffering from the mid-rifts and bald-spots of humans just yet, in fact, we probably shouldn't have aged all that much if we're Saiya-jin. Hmm... *Ponders*[/SIZE]
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[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"]?How were classes Billy??

[i]He didn?t look up at me, a light bruise already formed high on his left cheek. Crystia was lying lazily across the upper bookshelf, which was always kept clear for the inevitable time she?d make her way into his room whenever she visited. Her tail twitched every now and then in little movements. From the looks of things, she?d already given the bruise a lick. And the number of cat hairs I could count or rather couldn?t count on his jeans told me I should probably separate the two around bed time. Cue the teenage angst mumbling that I?d started cataloguing as it?s own special language.[/i]

??S fine. Nothing special. Just some math homework.?

[i]Of course it?s possible my translation was off, but judging by the half open backpack, I wasn?t about to let the situation slide. Thumping down his basket of clean laundry I folded my arms when he merely stared at it through overly long hair I hadn?t managed to cut yet. A wicked, slightly teenage part of me somewhere deep inside wanted to just burn it off, but the smell of burning hair wasn?t worth it. Yet. I mustered my adult, calm voice, putting away the one that wanted to lambaste him for all the things I knew would come up during or after dinner.[/i]

?Put those away and come downstairs to do your homework while I get dinner ready. Come on Crystia. You can play with Kiwi some more.?

[i]Almost reluctantly, she crawled down from her perch and followed me, with a forlorn glance at Billy, who was pointedly dropping his socks into a drawer and not looking in my direction. Kiwi was scooped up into Crystia?s arms, and headed for the living room, where Sevara was already taking over the coffee table. Like me, she shunned chairs whenever possible and was kneeling carefully with papers surrounding her. I opened the fridge and took out the well marinated lamb, heading for the preheated oven, and dumping the shallots and potatoes around it. No way was I peeling them more and then mashing them and making lamb gravy when I could just roast the damn things and be done with it. Heaving a latent sigh for the wiles of puberty, I busied myself with the bread maker, which my father had modified based on his wife?s design, to turn out four pound loaves of bread instead of just two. Saving effort, if not the amount of yeast and flower I still had to toss in there was quite nice.

With a doughy thump and a burst of white powder, I began to knead the bread that would soon grace the dinner table, wrapped under a hot cloth, all crusty and delicious before succumbing to the ravages of Saiya-jin appetites. The clock in the hall chimed 6 p.m. And right on the dot came in my husband. Smelling slightly sweaty, his hair clinging to his neck, he leaned over to give me a rough whiskery kiss on the cheek, and to laugh at the flour on my nose. I swatted him, leaving a floury handprint on the seat of his pants, which would soon end up on the floor for me to pick up later while he showered before dinner. Thumping the dough into the bread maker pans, I turned my attention to the frying pan and began to cut through the pile of string beans Andrew had delivered in a large paper bag earlier. Two snips for the top and bottom, and then a good snap later, I began tossing them into the colander, the smell of hot oil popping and dancing in the skillet.[/i]

?Hey everyone. Where?s Kiwi??

?Hi Andrew, she?s in the living room with Crystia and Sevara. Go say hi and go wash up.?

[i]Dutifully, he went to the bathroom, knowing that the cleaner his hands were, the more likely I wouldn?t balk at giving him seconds. And thirds. Fourths were reserved for special occasions. Like when I wasn?t the one in charge of grilling the meat. Occasions like that usually involved whole lambs, and whole cows. All I had to do was prepare a marinade of some kind and provide the beer. Steak sauce was an abomination anyway.

Half an hour later, Gavin was downstairs playing a friendly game of chess with Andrew, while Sevara pounded through another essay for her AP English class and Billy sullenly made his way through Trigonometry. I knew better than to pity him, or draw attention to the bruise that Gavin would notice soon enough. Hopefully after dinner but before dessert. The rack of lamb was now on the oversized dinning room table in the kitchen, and the stir fried string beans at one end of the table, the bread at the other. I set down a bowl of whipped butter and clanged the wrought iron triangle Neil had bent into shape and hung over the sink for a house warming present.[/i]

?Last ones to the table have to wash up.?

[i]It was amazing how fast they came. I was already seated next to the head of the table, and Crystia had already slunk into her chair as if by reverse osmosis. Sevara had tripped her brother under the table and flown directly into her chair, bypassing footwork entirely. In a sudden burst of ki, Gavin leapt through the air and managed to land at his place at the head of the table without knocking over his glass or the pitcher of milk next to it. Billy and Andrew however were another matter. Both knocked over their chairs, and Billy tripped over the table cloth and nearly jerked everything out from under it when I pounded both fists onto the table and held it in place. Every glass tipped to one side, and like they?d been trained, everyone clasped their drinks and kept them from spilling.

In the sudden silence, I raised my voice, injecting in a bright calm and turned to Gavin sweetly.[/i]

?Honey, will you please say grace??[/FONT][/COLOR]
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[quote name='Raiha'][COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"]In the sudden silence, I raised my voice, injecting in a bright calm and turned to Gavin sweetly.

?Honey, will you please say grace??[/FONT][/COLOR][/QUOTE]

[SIZE="1"]Eep. O_O;

Seriously, for Raiha to talk sweetly like that, after all that just happened, I'm pretty sure Gavin is going to start putting his clothes into the laundry basket from now on when he has a shower, if only out of pure fear.

Poor Billy, his old man hated trig in high school too...[/SIZE]
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[quote name='Raiha'][COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"]And the number of cat hairs I could count or rather couldn?t count on his jeans told me I should probably separate the two around bed time.[/FONT][/COLOR][/QUOTE]

[size=1][color=#8B008B]My kid and your kid; let the hormones start flying. I wonder what [B]Ikillion[/B] would say to that; considering Crystia is one of two daughters he has. I wonder how I'd react.

And speaking of me, are Vicky and I ever coming back or did we get swallowed up by a black hole of some kind? Just curious, is all.[/size][/color]
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Oh, cool. A third one. And I seem to still be a strangely cowed hothead. Awesome. Now, if there was just some way for things to start burning and exploding, we'd be set.

One question...how in the infinite blue hell is a stud like me still single but somehow have a quasi-adopted son?
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[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"]?Of course dear.?

[i]At my glare, everyone folded their hands and shut their eyes, except Kiwi, who giggled and clapped her hands wildly, nearly overturning her apple juice cup. Gavin stood up carefully, head bowed and hands clasped.[/i]

?Bless this food, which my beloved wife has worked so hard to prepare. Let it refresh us and restore us that we may work hard and do our best.?


[i]Everyone immediately went for the food, while I passed the bowl of potatoes and the salad around, Sevara helping herself to string beans, going through a vegetarian phase as most girls seemed to do. For awhile, there was only the sound of Kiwi gurgling around a single pod of beans, and several Saiya-jins eating. I helped myself to more potatoes while the men tore into the lamb like it was going out of style. Predictably enough, it was decimated in a matter of minutes, leaving the less protein packed food for slower enjoyment. Billy lavishly buttered a slice of bread with his steak knife while Gavin stacked the potatoes as high as they could safely go on his plate before I shot him a glance full of violence. The milk pitcher went around several times more, before everyone sat back, every plate cleaned. I stood and reached for the dish of homemade applesauce, and the shaker of cinnamon sugar, setting it down just as the doorbell rang.

Like a flash, Sevara was at the door, opening it to reveal both Sikal and Neil. Both grinned at her sheepishly and I could almost hear the excuses. ?We were in the neighborhood just thought we?d drop by and see how you were doing.? ?We wanted to see Gavin and go lift weights.? And on and on until you could puke. I sighed and reached for the extra two bowls and spoons I?d had enough foresight to set out. Flinging them across the living room to the front door, Sevara neatly sidestepped, allowing Neil to catch both bowls in either hand, while Sikal went for the spoons. I raised both hands to the heavens in futility and stirred my own applesauce absentmindedly. Everyone was here, nobody had exploded anything yet, and so far nobody had noticed-[/i]

?What?s that on your face Billy??

?Uh this? Oh I tripped and fell down a flight of-?

?He was brawling during lunch!?

[i]Sevara shouted out this choice bit of news just as Gavin?s expression had cleared to one of belief. And then we were all able to watch a miraculous sight. His coloring go from white to red and then to bright purple. I sighed and released Kiwi from her high chair while Gavin sat there like he?d been struck dumb, one eye twitching. Turning to give myself a vague amount of privacy, I let her nurse, keeping my head down during the initial blow up session that I?d come to accept as a natural part of Gavin?s style of parenting. While I preferred the more subtle approach, Gavin preferred a more explosive style, involving a great deal of shouting and mad gesturing. Cleverly enough, Sevara had sat back down to suck down her apple sauce, while Andrew, Sikal, and Neil engaged in similar pursuits. Billy kept his face down before Gavin touched a nerve and then they were both shouting.

A lot.

For several minutes.

While I burped Kiwi on one shoulder before passing her over to Andrew, I leaned on one elbow and listened absentmindedly. Then, just when things were reaching the point of childishness, or rather, more childishness, I stood up and put a hand on Gavin?s shoulder, noticing that Sevara had done the same to Billy, who was standing and until just now, shouting back. Expressing a certain amount of magic mixed with ki ensured that the zap through the fingers meant that both Billy and Gavin were firmly set in their seats, incapable of moving up or down.[/i]

?Now that you two are done engaging in all that cathartic shouting, maybe you can all go do the dishes while the ladies go set up the weights.?

?Yes dear, whatever you say.?

?Good idea Raiha, we?ll get right on that.?

?Yes mom.?

[i]Feeling that it?d be best to take my friendly suggestion before I did more than just sedate them, the men pitched in and had the dishes done in ten minutes flat, while Crystia played with Kiwi and Sevara and I moved the gym equipment around. In the few minutes we had to ourselves, Sevara spilled the rest of the story.[/i]

?They were teasing him about our family, and then one challenged him to a brawl, and you know he always holds back at school so he doesn?t kill anyone.?

?Heaven help us. If he?s being taunted there I don?t know what we?ll do besides-?

?And there?s talk about a underground fighting ring. I don?t know if he?s joined yet or if he?ll even be able to keep himself from doing something irreversible.?

[i]Underneath the tattletale sister varnish, I could see that Sevara was concerned not only about her twin brother, but about the ramifications it would have for everyone involved. I had a vague moment of wishing that Vicky and Eriju weren?t on that deep space survey mission and scheduled to be home in six weeks and not six months. Instead, I went back to the kitchen after it had been vacated by the men began making rice balls for the next day?s lunch while the men engaged in manly pursuits like weight lifting and grunting. Gavin included. As I began to form the rice in my let hand, stuffing down plums and eggs almost randomly, I wondered just how I could talk to my husband sanely and sophisticatedly without him exploding at the thought of his son not only getting into fights, but not doing his best for fear of fatalities. And then there was the theoretical underground fighting club. Why me? ...is sometimes the only logical response.[/i][/FONT][/COLOR]
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[size=1][color=#8B008B]Aw pooh, I was half-expecting Gavin to lay a severe beating to Billy but he only resorted to shouting at the boy. But at least it was entertainment for the guests, no?

Well, let's just hope that Gavin can take the other half of the news well...or at least try not to blow up the house.[/size][/color]
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[quote name='Revelation'][size=1][color=#8B008B]Well, let's just hope that Gavin can take the other half of the news well...or at least try not to blow up the house.[/size][/color][/QUOTE]

[SIZE="1"]I don't worry Erica, I'm pretty sure before that I'll get another little jolt of magic, or the vague threat of no more sex and that'll keep everything cool. Still, I'm sure that if Billy simply explains why he was fighting, rather than just pulling the teenage act of shouting back crap, his old man will actually develop some kind of understanding...Gah, sometimes I think we should just send them out to space until they've gone past their teens.[/SIZE]
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[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"][i]The next morning went like any other morning. Gavin packed the kids off with sack lunches comprised of rice balls, juice, and apples, and then grabbed his and went to work after giving me a kiss. Crystia slunk into my room to beg for a saucer of milk in her cute, beseeching way. Which is to say she crawled to the foot of the bed and after giving me a soulful look, fell right asleep. Eventually I roused myself to nurse Kiwi while sitting up in bed, mentally going over what I had to do today. Make shopping list, feed everyone, bring out the grill. Tonight the guys were having their annual Friday bash and I was making kebabs of vegetables while they did manly things like cut up the meat and drink beers. I also vaguely recall Sevara had...something? To do today at school but I could hardly remember whatever it was that I?d signed a week previous.

Kiwi clutched a lock of my hair and stuffed it into her mouth to chew on absently while I finally got out of bed and went to make breakfast for myself and Crystia. Downstairs was cool and quiet compared to upstairs, which was quickly growing stuffy. While I plunked down Kiwi in her high chair I turned to Crystia and gave a look to the windows. She dashed back upstairs to open them all while I cracked eggs on the side of the bowl and began whisking them with milk while the cream of wheat simmered for Kiwi. I opened a can of tuna for Crystia and poured her a saucer of milk since she?d been so patient and white grape juice for myself. While sitting down, eating eggs and feeding Kiwi cream of wheat, I wrote down the grocery list and tacked it to the front door for Andrew. Using the vacuum at high speeds through the house, I let Crystia entertain Kiwi and was just thinking about preparing lunch when Billy stumbled through the front door, looking bloody and nearly unconscious.[/i]

?Billy! What on Earth??

?...sorry .....Mom.?

[i]He flopped forward onto the carpet, bleeding from half a dozen knife wounds, and I literally flew to his side wondering just how this had happened, but before I asked, Billy passed out. I turned him on his back, not caring about the blood stains in the carpet. Instead I cut off his shirt and took a better look at the damage. Six stab wounds in the chest, none of them hitting anything so vital as to cause him to bleed out immediately of course, but the blood was hiding a series of bruises that made me wonder if he?d been run over by a semi. First thing was a bath, so I gently eased him outside into the back yard and applied just a little fire magic to the hose to make the water warm. By now, Crystia had smelled blood and put down Kiwi for her nap and come downstairs. She watched me work, perched on the trellis outside, her tail moving in slow twitches. Without the blood covering my son?s body I could see the bruises much better. Some of them looked like fists, but others were so big I began to think my truck theory was accurate. Getting down to it, I sat cross legged with his head in my lap and put my hands together and closed my eyes, focusing my thoughts.

Since grade school and sports, I hadn?t found a reason to use my healing magic, so I was a little rusty. But, thanks to the organization system I?d used to order my energy, the right trigger word completely unlocked the ability and the memory flowed through my mind freely. I leaned over him and put my hands half an inch over the worst of the wounds and exhaled sharply. Power surged through my fingertips and onto my son?s body, covering the wounds, activating the cells, pulling his own ki together. Just as they began to seal shut, I felt something jolt against my spell and I applied more pressure, then felt it snap off suddenly. Breaking off the connection, I opened my eyes and took a closer look at what had just happened. Nothing looked out of the ordinary, but my spells never just stopped working. Crystia leaned forward to get a better look and made a light mewling sound in the back of her throat that I determined to simply be a sound of worry.[/i]

?Don?t worry Crystia. I?ll fix him up right. He'll be fine.?

[i]I leaned down again and closed my eyes, but this time I put my fingers on his temples and opened the Third eye. Instantly, the world turned bright red around me and I saw my son?s ki covering his body, but instead of surging around him in a fiery aura like it usually did, it seemed like parts of it had literally been consumed. Especially around the stomach and chest where the damage had been the worst, the stab wounds serious. I leaned back slightly to get a better look of his body and saw nothing else out of the ordinary but the distinct lack of power. I looked over my shoulder to the trail of wet from when I?d washed my son?s blood from his body and saw simply the thin trail of Saiya-jin and Siyannan blood flowing towards the grass. It revealed no hidden secrets, gave me no insights at all. Then I turned back and slowly pulled open Billy?s eyes, forced to look into the several hours that had taken place previously.

With the sound of a crashing wave, I found myself hurtled backwards in time, while sitting in the garden with my son?s head in my lap. I saw him going to school with Sevara, heard their conversation, saw her leaving for a field trip as soon as she got to her morning classes, and then I saw him go to his. Moving quickly through his lectures I saw him heading for his science class when everything went abruptly dark. With no way to tell how far time was going I only knew that in what seemed like moments his eyes were open again and he was feeling intense pain. Trying to fly but failing, instead limping home and feeling his fear, and hope that his mother would help him. I shut down the sight, knowing that the only thing that would help him now was rest, and picked him up with a slight burst of strength. Crystia dashed ahead of me, opening all the doors and making sure the path was cleared on the way to his bedroom.[/i][/FONT][/COLOR]
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[quote name='Chaos']Get to the blood, damnit.[/QUOTE]

[SIZE="1"]Seems you got your wish Neil. Heh.

And poor Billy, you've got me curious as to what could actually drain ki D, and what could actually match our boy's strength to give him those knife wounds.[/SIZE]
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[size=1][color=#8B008B]I wonder as much as Gavin; exactly what or who in the damned world could actually give Billy those knife wounds and make it seem like he was hit by a semi?

And what happened during that black out? I'm curious to find out.[/size][/color]
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[i][COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"]
I sighed and put him to bed, dressing him in clean clothes again, and setting a family ki seal over his room so nothing could go in or out without first having the same genetic markers in energy that proved the intruder a family member. Crystia watched me mark the door with a symbol in my own blood and I turned towards my own bedroom and sat down on the foot of my bed. I sighed once. Then I leaned over and picked up the phone from the side of the bed. I never had been forced to call my husband at work, but an attack on my son was something new. Never in the 17 years he?d been going to any school had this ever happened. With some resignation for the firestorm I was about to unleash, I dialed the number and fell backwards against the pillows while Crystia watched Kiwi sleep and blinked several times at my conversation.[/i]

?Hi honey. Can you come home right now??

?Why Raiha? Is something the matter? Did something happen to the kids? Are you feeling alright??

?I?m alright. Kiwi?s fine. I just want you home please.?

[i]I suppose some hysteria must have crept into my voice, even as I strove to keep it conversational, and Gavin picked up on it immediately. Without another word he hung up the phone and I knew that he?d cheat and fly home. Not wanting to tell him what had happened within the confines of any building, I stepped outside and told Crystia to set up a shield over the house from the inside until she didn?t hear shouting or feel a massive exertion of ki outside. My husband landed in the garden in the back yard and found me sitting at the patio table, cutting vegetables next to the grill like they?d offended me personally. Without saying anything he came up behind me and put his hands on my shoulders, and at his touch, I put down the knife and carrots, and turned around to cry into his chest. Bewildered, he held me tightly and stared directly into my eyes when I looked up at him.[/i]

?Billy was attacked at school today. Sevara wasn?t there to help him and he barely made it home before passing out. He couldn?t defend himself. Someone knocked him unconscious and stabbed him repeatedly in the chest, leaving him for dead. Someone ran him over. Someone tried to kill our son.?

[i]My voice broke and I felt my husband abruptly grow warm. Behind me I felt Crystia throw up the same shield she?d used to protect me when she was just a kitten when we had rescued her and my own children from Morrigan. Gavin suddenly growled out a word I didn?t recognize, and his energy begin to glow around him a fiery golden color, not hurting me, not burning me at all. Instead it broke over me like a wave and I felt him gathering ki, enough to destroy a town, while I kept my face buried in his chest, knowing that his hair was bursting from brown to gold, and his eyes from hazel to green. At the shift in his energy, I felt his muscles surge against me, then go back to normal as quickly as they?d shifted. The shield around the house dropped and Crystia came downstairs with Kiwi, looking rather smug. Gavin tipped my chin up with a finger and stroked my cheek, smoothing back my hair.[/i]

?Everything?s going to be alright. I?ll find out what happened. Don?t worry about it anymore. I?ll take care of this.?

?You?ll take care of what??

[i]I looked over my shoulder and saw Neil standing at the gate with a large box behind him. His arms were crossed belligerently over his chest and he was wearing a training outfit for a change. It didn't look like he was dressed for a friendly guy's night at the grill, but rather to go hunting for a would be killer. For once I was glad to see our friend. Rambunctious, trouble making, rabble rousing aside, if there was anyone who could help my husband find the attacker, it was Neil. The jerk.[/i][/FONT][/COLOR]
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[quote name='Raiha'][i][COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"]It didn't look like he was dressed for a friendly guy's night at the grill, but rather to go hunting for a would be killer.[/i][/FONT][/COLOR][/QUOTE] [size=1][color=#8B008B]So is Neil part of some underground Saiya-jin mafia or something? I mean, clearly that's how he sounds right about now.[/size][/color]
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[quote name='Revelation'][size=1][color=#8B008B]So is Neil part of some underground Saiya-jin mafia or something? I mean, clearly that's how he sounds right about now.[/size][/color][/QUOTE]

[SIZE="1"]Seems more like vigilante-ism to me. What intrigues me though is that Gavin seems to know already what's happened, same for Neil.[/SIZE]
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[i][COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"]Gavin gently sat me down in one of the chairs and kept his hands on my shoulders, while Neil casually lifted the box the size of two large cows over the picket fence and into the flagstone path that led to the grill. While he casually began preparing the meat that everyone would be eating tonight, Gavin prompted me to explain the situation a little more fully. Neil interjected when I was describing the way Billy?s ki had looked to me.[/i]

?Wait. His ki was EATEN??

?Like huge teeth marks in his skin, but they were just an illusion. Something ate it like his energy was a sandwich.?

?Well fuck me.?

[i]Neil sat back, a machete dangling loosely from one of his massive hands. Gavin had taken over the vegetables for me, when Sevara flew over the house and landed in the backyard, trailing papers behind her and her hair a total disaster. Her dress had been torn and she looked like she?d been attacked, only not nearly as bad as Billy. I was up in an instant, propelled out of my chair by motherly instinct. Sevara thumped down into a canvas chair and spent the next few seconds breathing carefully while I put my hands on her forehead and forced her eyes to meet with mine.[/i]

?No...Don?t....Don?t want to-?

?Look at me. Now.?

[i]I put a hint of energy into my voice, making the words a command that made her flinch openly and Gavin and Neil wince. The same crashing sensation, only this time it looked like someone had merely taken a single bite from her. No physical wounds that were nothing to worry about, and no terrible trauma or black out. Instead she was panting like she?d run a marathon, and her eyes were wide open, fixed in fear. One hand on her forehead, I looked back in her time and saw her running from something invisible, but I felt her fear as palpably as my own. With a quick movement, I released her and told her to lie down in a slightly softer tone of voice. Obeying me immediately, partially out of fear, partially in simple exhaustion, she was asleep instantly. I turned back to Gavin and Neil, who had been watching the entire time, with vaguely horrified expressions on their faces. Neil stuck his machete point first into a thick slice of steak and Gavin set down his knife before he snapped it in half.[/i]

?So something?s attacking children now??

?Their Ki. But I have no idea why someone would try to stab Billy. Or even how they could even puncture him. We?re supposed to be resistant to that kind of thing.?

?So she looked almost the same as Billy then.?

[i]Gavin was watching his daughter sleep, a perturbed expression on his face, then he looked up to check the position of the sun. Just as he did, Andrew appeared at the gate as well, Sikal behind him. He looked at the homicidal expression on Neil?s face, my own drawn expression, and then Sevara looking like she had been beaten and left for dead. Andrew sat down hard in one of the chairs he pulled up and slumped forward a little on his elbows.[/i]

?So it?s starting all over again??

?It?s not like we thought all this peace and quiet would last.?

[i]I leaned against Gavin for a minute, hearing Crystia step downstairs with Kiwi cradled in her arms. She passed the baby over to Andrew, who sat her in his lap gently, holding her as if she?d disappear if he let go. I turned back to Crystia and looked up at Billy?s window, partially open. Then I stood up with a resolute look on my face, and told everyone to group slightly closer together.[/i]

?Nobody?s leaving tonight right??

?No, tomorrow?s a Saturday. We can start then.?

?Well then everyone sit still and nobody cross through the gates.?

[i]With that warning hanging in the air, I flew up until I was standing on the ridgepole of the house and clasped my hands together, focusing my energy until I felt like I was suspended in a cross of gold and fire. Crystia looked up at the spectacle. I knew she could see Ki as easily as she could see the material, and whatever I did here, she could duplicate just from watching. With a short breath to bring my thoughts together, I focused on the house, the thresholds that were sacred to me and screamed aloud, feeling the energy crashing down in a circular pattern. Spirals within spirals fell across the land that was mine and my husband?s. Wave after wave of energy poured down to surround the house until it hung in the air, like a bubble in glass. An invisible shield that was self sustaining once set up, and I slid back down to the ground and took Kiwi from Andrew.[/i]

?Go wake up Billy Gavin. Neil would you please start cooking? The skewers are in the drawer under the grill Andrew.?[/FONT][/COLOR]
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