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A Homecoming (Glen)

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1 A Homecoming (Glen) on Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:45 am

“Sis? I’m here.”

Glen steps into the little cottage that Sariel shares with Enna. The building faces so that it maximizes natural light. In the morning, beautiful pinks and purples crawl in to start the day; in the evening, the burning oranges and reds flare up before the sun is snuffed out.

The house is quiet; it doesn’t seem like anyone is around. Sariel often spends her days in training (being a member of the local guard) or walking the forest with her love, keeping Enna safe as she writes songs and takes in the natural beauty of the world. In the past, before his first contract with the military, Glen had tagged along. He’d enjoyed lying in the grass, taking in the sights and smells and sounds of the wild woods as Enna sang. He’d seen her gazing happily and admiringly at her spouse, and it warmed his heart. Enna was as much a sister to him now as Sariel was, and he was so grateful for the happiness they brought each other.

Hearing no one in the house, Glen steps quietly into the small guest room that they left empty for him, to which he knew he was always welcome. Everything hurt from the long trek - escorting a band of quiet but friendly merchants as far as the Darkwater outpost. From there, they continued north to the capital. Glen, meanwhile, had a few days before he had to make the trek back to Brilight, so he thought he would stop and stay for a little while, spending time with his sisters and also providing an update to the Naïlo elders on relations with the military.

Glen lets his pack fall down onto the bed and drops his bow and quiver unceremoniously onto the floor. He’s just taken off his armor when he hears familiar laughter, and a pure, sweet song drifting in on the afternoon air.

Enna often spent afternoons singing in the common area of the village, where the villagers would leave her various goods for their home to show their appreciation for her talent. Looking out the window, it appeared to Glen as though she and Sariel were returning from just such an endeavor, arms full of little sacks of flour, fresh fruits and vegetables, and even a bottle of wine. As Sariel manages to shift enough things to one hand to open the door, Glen steps into the doorway of the bedroom.

“Robbing the locals blind again, I see,” he says with a wicked grin.

Sariel jumps a little, and Enna squeaks out a little “Oh!” as they notice their unexpected guest, but they both quickly put down their belongings to embrace him, one at a time. Glen’s big sister towers over him, and she wraps him in a big bear hug. “Hey sis,” he says.

“Hey Rael,” she says back, tousling his shaggy hair as his ears turned a bit red.

“Sariel!” Enna gives her wife a look of faux-consternation. “You know that isn’t his name any more. He’s a man grown.” Enna walks over to Glen, so graceful and easy that it’s almost like she’s gliding. “Hello, Glynlen.” She smiles warmly at him, and gives him a hug as well, a warm and caring embrace. Sariel grins broadly, proud of her little brother and his grown name. “How was the road?” Enna asks.

“Why don’t you get changed and you can tell us all about it over dinner?” Sariel suggests.

“That sounds great.”

====

The three of them sit together at the small table, eating a delicious spring vegetable soup and drinking glasses of the bright, crisp wine that Enna brought home. “No, I’m serious,” Glen says, laughing. “It’s not as exciting as you think, lately! The most notable thing that happened on this last trip was that one merchant left some jerky I gave him in his pants pocket and woke up to find his pants full of raccoons. He was very angry when I told him I wasn’t going to hunt down and kill every racoon in a mile’s radius.”

Sariel laughs, with a tiny hint of derision. “If the raccoons are the most dangerous part of their journey, it’s a wonder that more don’t try it on their own.”

Glen nods. “It’s surprising, but I’m worried that the bandits are trying to lull us into letting our guard down. Enough quiet trips and we may stop being careful, which is when they’ll strike.”

Enna shakes her head. “I hate the thought of you being in danger out on the road, out in the wilds. I don’t know what we would do if something happened to you. Every time you’re away, I always end up putting more sad songs into my rotations, and people complain. Gently, of course!” She grins. “But really, you should stay. You know the Naïlo elders appreciate your work, and I’m sure they would be fine with letting you have a place of your own. You could join the watch, like Sah.”

Glen smiles at Enna’s use of his sister-in-law’s affectionate name for his big sister. “I know. And it’s tough being away. I love you both so much.” He takes a long draft of wine. When he takes the glass away from his lips again, his face has fallen a bit. “But we’ve been over this. You know I don’t belong here. I don’t know what it is, but I have to keep looking for someplace that feels right.” And maybe someone, he thinks.

Sariel’s eyes darken. “We’ve been over it, baby brother, but it doesn’t mean our position has changed. Waking up and knowing you’re far away is like a dagger, every day. We just want you here, and safe. Can’t you just give it a try, for a while? For us?”

Glen sighs. This is so hard. They don’t understand that it isn’t a question of whether he loves them. It isn’t a question of whether he wants to be here and wants to belong. He does and always has. But there’s just something that won’t fall into place for him. Maybe it’s that they have each other, and seeing them together fills him with joy and with longing to find a love like they have for each other. Maybe it’s that she is accepted because of that love, but people hold him at arm’s length. Maybe there’s just something broken inside him. He pinches the bridge of his nose for a moment. “Being away from you is hard for me too. And I’m sorry to have let you down.” The guilt he carries at being the one to always have to say no is heavy. Why can’t they understand and just not ask, for once? “I can’t stay here. I’ve told you I can’t stay here. I know I’m always your baby brother in your mind, but . . .” He takes a breath. “Can we please have one visit where this doesn’t come up?” He finishes his wine.

Sariel glowers at her empty plate in the candlelight. “I love you, little brother. I’m sorry.” She gets up from the table and puts her hand on his shoulder for a moment. “I’m going for a walk,” she says suddenly, and steps out the front door.

Glen looks down at the table. “Dinner was great, Enna. I’m . . . sorry we always get into this. I’m probably just tired from the road.”

Enna gets up, clearing away the plates and glasses. “Darling. Do not worry. We all want what’s best for each other.” She gives him a peck on the cheek. “I’m sorry I brought it up again. I’m just worried about you, is all.” She pats his hand gently. “Listen, I’m going to go talk to her. You go get some rest. We can have breakfast in the morning and just have a regular day, spend some time together, maybe go hunting.”

Glen nods thankfully at her suggestion. “That sounds great, thanks En.” He gets up and walks over to the door to the guest room. “Night.” She calls back a good night over her shoulder as she straightens up.

Glen flops down on the guest bed, staring at the ceiling. Staying here makes him feel like little Rael again, a scared kid who has no parents and only wants to tag along with his big sister wherever she goes. It hurts that he can’t. Growing up is hard, and having family relationships change to fit your adult self is painful.

He knows he’s doing the right thing. If he stayed, he’d be unsatisfied, only able to think of leaving. But would it be worth it, to make them happy? If he put it to them like that, he’s sure they’d say it would not be worth it. But he also knows that they would still be sad when he left. It’s an impossible situation.

He closes his eyes. Maybe tomorrow will be different.
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2 Re: A Homecoming (Glen) on Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:06 pm

Ah, that was beautiful.
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3 Re: A Homecoming (Glen) on Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:10 pm

Oh! Thank you, Mazzie. Very kind of you to say so.
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