POSTED: Mon May 02, 2011 9:30 pm

Talitha’s wild range of emotions was met with a frown from her normally jovial brother. He wondered if this was simply her acting like a woman to keep his attention, and rolled his eyes at her back as she went on. While he found her dramatics draining, he put up with them because he loved her. She was lucky; others might have received a blunt and sharp criticism for such behavior. He bent to pick up the painting as she sat, ears following her voice as the endless doubt continued.

He sat next to her, large frame a contrast to her own. Yet it was impossible to doubt they were siblings, for resemblances remained. She was just a shade darker, a shade redder—or perhaps he was simply washed out, bleached golden-bronze by an unforgiving sun. He hooked one arm around her shoulder, tugging on one of her thick curls with his fingers gently. “You know I love you more than anyone else,” he offered to ease her worries. “I mean, come on. I spent most of my life talking to birds; I think you’re far more social than me. Probably smarter too. And look,” he went on, lifting the painting in his other hand. “This is beautiful, Tali. I couldn’t paint anything like this.” This was no lie. While capable of using a bow and of stitching, Ezekiel lacked an artist’s eye. He was still a savage at heart.

POSTED: Mon May 02, 2011 10:31 pm


Her toes curled slightly as she thought, trying to remind herself that she would always be his sister. While others would come and go, she would remain firm and dedicated by his side, bound to him with more than simple ties of blood. But was that really truth? Would their lives really be so close? She couldn't make herself believe it would be, even if it was something she wanted. Lately, in her adult life, nothing seemed to go the way she desired it to, and she expected Ezekiel would be no different.

She glanced toward him as he sat beside her, crimson eyes studying him for a moment — just a moment — to search for something that was missing. Sure, there were things that identified them as family. He had the same golden eyes as their father, the same coyote facade that she coveted, the same stripe upon his muzzle, the same reddened tones. She could see their similarities, but what she always noticed first were their differences. He was golden, sun-kissed, blonde, and she? She was dark, an autumn shade accented with charcoal seen in her father. She carried the colors of their mother, and the colors of their uncle, and it left her to wonder if that was why she suffered the same ruinous defects her father had seen in her the night of their argument. She looked like their mother, and therefore, she would become her. It seemed logical, but did nothing to raise the spirits of the already dejected de le Poer.

His arm found its way around her shoulders, still bearing the bony protrusion of unhealthiness even as she gained weight. As his fingers tugged at auburn tendrils of hair, she allowed her head to rest against him. Silence stayed close as she listened. The words were what she wanted to hear, but even though he spoke them, she found herself with a difficulty to believe them. All except the painting. It was beautiful. She knew he would never be an artist, not with the path he'd taken, but she felt proud that he appreciated what talent she had. One delicate hand reached out to touch the faintly wrong peaks of the mountains as her mind gathered something to say to him. She had to have a response, she always did. Air filled her lungs, and was expelled in a sigh that caused her shoulders to lower slightly.

"You love me now, but things are different. And who knows when they'll change again?" One leg was drawn up to her chest, hooked close by a frail arm. "How long did we go without each other? And look how much we've changed since then, Ezekiel. Do you really think you'll love me still in the future? I would think you'd find someone else, to take my place. And when you have a mate and children and a family here, there will be no room for me. I won't want to be here. But would you let me leave?" It was an honest train of thought, and an honest question. He had chased her across the wilds, and now he had the power to keep her inside of Inferni's borders for the rest of her adult life. When he moved on, to better things and better people, would he let her leave? She had no doubts he wouldn't, no doubts he would find a woman as Gabriel had found women in the past.

She shook her head and pushed her hair back, away from her face and over her shoulder. "I don't think I'm smarter than you. I can't read, or write like everyone else, just these silly things that remind me what it was I'd been thinking about. You're much smarter. Much, much smarter. But I think that's why I love you so much." One paint-stained fingertip rose to rub at the corner of her eye. "Because you make up the parts of me that I don't have. Maybe that's silly. A lot of things I think about are silly these days." Light, gentle-toned laughter escaped her jaws as the sentence came to a close.

POSTED: Sat May 07, 2011 7:11 pm

Each doubt spurred further fears, and her brother only sat and listened with his wolfish eyes distant. Perhaps she was right; he might one day find a mate and bring children into the world, but who knew how long that would be. No woman had been challenging enough for him. Those he had yearned for had scorned him. While not broken, his heart had been burnt to the core. He loved little. But he loved her, and he loved her dearly enough to forgive all her faults.

“Most people can’t read or write,” he corrected her gently. “And I really don’t want you to leave. If you did, then I’d lose some of my parts too.” He was clever, too clever—using her words would no doubt echo this. “Come on, let’s go put this in my cave and then we’ll go do something fun.” This task was short lived, though Ezekiel made certain to position his new prize in an area where it would certainly be seen. Pleased with this, he returned to the sunlight. The weight chased him still, and the doubt lingered. He did what he always did. “I'll race you to the beach,” was all he said before he started running again, carrying the trappings of his feral world still. He slowed to wait for her, eager for the chance to please his too-often gloomy sister.

POSTED: Sat May 07, 2011 7:27 pm


And as was normal between the two, Ezekiel's words comforted and lifted the spirits of his troubled twin. She allowed her fears of replacement to hide in the shadows of her mind so as not to continue berating him for the affection he did have for her. There was no reason to make him feel guilty for a future that had yet to unfold. For now, he didn't want her to go. For now, she didn't want to leave either. What would come and what had previously transpired meant little for the moment. When Ezekiel moved on, she followed, listening to him without speaking in return. Her eyes watched as he put his gift away, body raising from the ground with all the awkward grace seen in her unique sashay or gestures. Something fun, which entailed a race to the beach. A smile colored her face as he broke into a run once more, and she found herself pursuing him without much difficulty. As he slowed, she sped up, letting her stress and ties to adulthood fade as she sprang into the water of the Saltbrooke Inlet.

{END: Talitha and Ezekiel take some time doing silly things like swimming. Yay for sibling bonding.}

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