The Return: Part Five
I sat on the bathroom floor, crying like a fool. Jen put her arms around me and I, strangely enough, did not push them off. They were warm and comforting, reminding me of the times that we actually got along. And, to be honest, I was tired of fighting. Apparently so was she.
“Listen, Kish,” she murmured to me gently, “if there’s something you want me to say, tell me. If not, I may never be able to find out.”
I hiccupped and tried to find my voice. Strange, seeing as I generally don’t have a difficult time speaking my mind.
“I’m sorry,” I muttered through my tears.
“What? What are you sorry for?”
“No, ‘I’m sorry.’ That’s what I’ve been waiting for you to say.”
I looked up at her through my tear-filled eyes. Her face was a picture of confusion and her brows were wrinkled together.
“I haven’t told you that I was sorry?”
I shook my head quickly.
“Well, I am,” she said matter of factly, “but I shouldn’t have had to say it. You should have known.”
I looked at her like she was crazy. If she didn’t say it, how would I have known?
“You’ve always been so blunt, Kish,” she continued. “You always speak your mind. But not everybody’s like that. Sometimes you have to read between the lines and just know.”
I gazed at her, flabbergasted.
“You’re so dense,” she laughed. “Still the same Kishmaya. Well, since you’re horrible and reading people’s emotions, I guess I’ll tell you this too. I love you.”
My jaw dropped and I expected to hear a “thwack!” from the impact it made with the ground.
“You... love me? Really?”
“Mmhmm,” she answered with a smile. “And, because I can actually read others’ emotions, I know that, deep down, you love me too. Or else you wouldn’t have been so angry with me.”
After said that, I knew she was right. Of course she was. I doubt that Zypheryn truly believed me when I said that I hated her. He was just agreeing with me to calm me down. The idiot.
“And also, Kishmaya, I’d like to inform you that ‘I am sorry’ is three words.”
“Contraction,” I grunted. “‘I’m sorry’ is a contraction. Therefore ‘I’m’ is one word.”
“Are you sure? How many words are contractions worth?”
“One, I think.”
“You think. You don’t know.”
“Shush up, Jen,” I muttered angrily. And yet inside, I was bursting with happiness.
“Thank Fyora, you’re finally out,” Zypher said, lifting his hands up to the ceiling in mock prayer.
I thumped him upside the head. He winced and rubbed his head gingerly.
“The others thought you had constipation,” he teased.
Thwack! My hand came in contact with his head again. He really was asking for a beating, wasn’t he?
“Kish, Jen, have you guys made up?” Storm asked excitedly.
I nodded my head in confirmation and she ran over to us for a celebratory hug. I spread my arms open wide but she skipped straight past me and right for Jen. As I stared at her, betrayal showing clearly in my eyes, she stuck her tongue out at me. Idiot.
“It’s about time too,” added Shaz.
He stood leaning against the walls, hands in his pockets. That little kid actually thought he was cool. Loser. I thought about what Jen had said, about reading in between the lines. And as soon as I tried to, I noticed something. The desire burning behind Shaz’s eyes. The desire for an intense group hug.
I joined Storm and Jen’s hug. Shaz wrapped his arms around us. Zypher unwillingly joined in.
And so we stood in the center of the kitchen, hugging each other like a bunch of idiots. It was pretty nice.
I stretched out on the couch, my legs sprawled across the other end of the sofa. Zypher walked in and shoved my feet off the couch. I gave him the death glare. I had been practicing it for week and I was finally able to scare everybody in the house with it. But this was its first trial against Zypher.
“Your eyes are popping out of your head, Kish,” he noted while snatching the remote out of my hands. “You sure you don’t need to see that doctor?”
Apparently I failed. He flipped through the channels in a faked nonchalance, knowing fully well how upset I was.
“Jerk, give me back the remote.”
I heaved myself up in order to take the remote from him. He stood up abruptly and held the remote over my head. He was a good foot and a half taller than me. I grabbed at the remote unsuccessfully. I stretched out my wings, preparing to fly up and get it, when Jen strolled into the room.
“Kishmaya,” she scolded, “you know the rule about flying in the house.”
“Yes, Kishmaya,” Zypher teased, “you know the rule. What do you have to say for yourself.”
I kicked him in the shin and, as he bent over to grab his shin in pain, I stole the remote out of his hands.
“That’s it!” Jen declared. “No TV for a week, both of you!”
We both gaped at her. TV was the only thing that we both loved.
“Don’t stare at me like that! Now, go do something else, the both of you!”
I stalked off to my room and Zypher followed me.
I blocked my doorway but he shoved past me.
“Get out,” I snarled.
He plopped himself down on my bed and just looked at me.
“Want to play a game?” he asked casually.
“...Sure,” I muttered after a pause.
I hunkered down on my bed while my brother went to go get something. He returned with a thick, dusty, old photo album.
“What’s that for?” I snapped.
“The game. We’re gonna look through old pictures and whoever can describe the scene most accurately or first wins.”
He opened the album to a random page. I saw me and Storm smiling up at the camera, planks of wood in our hands.
“Usuki house,” I called out immediately. “Storm wanted a house for her Usukis so we decided to build one. Kishmaya, one, Zypher, zeroooo.”
He scoffed and closed the album. Another random opening brought us to a picture of Zypher and Storm sitting in an underground cavern, looks of annoyance on their faces.
“Fishing!” I called out again. “You guys were fishing but no fish were biting. Another point for Kishmayaaa. Dang, Zypher, you’re getting destroyed.”
He slammed the book closed and, after muttering, “I’ll win this round,” yanked the book open to a page. Inside was a picture of me and Zypher. We were lying on the ground, Zypher on the bottom, me on top. His hand was shoving my face away while I kneed him in the stomach. There was a look of annoyance and frustration on our faces, but also a look of enjoyment, of fun. We were both young and I recognized our old Neohome, the one we lived in before Storm and Shaz came into the family.
“We’re fighting,” I murmured.
“No duh, Sherlock,” Zypher countered. “This happened the day I came to live with you and Jen.”
“You were being obnoxious, so I shoved you...”
“And I shoved back. We ended up fighting...”
“Jen came in and took a picture, said that it would be a good memory...”
“And I won the fight,” Zypher finished.
I gaped at him and said, “Uh, no. I don’t think so. I definitely won.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. There’s no way you could have beat me. You’re just a girl.”
My eyebrows shot up and I sized Zypher up.
“Oh yeah? Prove it. Fight me right now.”
“You sure you’re not gonna cry?” he taunted.
I shoved him off the bed and tackled him. I realized, a little into the fight, that we were laughing. It was fun, fighting him.
“Hey Zypheryn,” I said, dodging a punch.
“Yeah, Loser?” he asked.
“You’re a cool brother, you know that?”
“Always did,” he scoffed.
I smacked him in the face.
“Pretentious brat,” I muttered, laughing.
**Many Years Ago**
“Who’s this, Jen?” I asked curiously.
“Your new brother, sweetie,” she answered, pushing the other Draik in front of me.
His skin was yellow and he had strange patches covering his body. His eyes were a deep red, bold and yet not menacing. A comforting red.
“I’m Zypheryn,” he said, holding out his hand.
“Kishmaya,” I replied, shaking the outstretched hand.
“You two get to know each other, okay?” Jen asked. “I’m going out to buy some groceries. Behave while I’m gone.”
“I’m your older sister!” I said cheerily as she left.
“Pshh, right,” he snorted skeptically. “There’s no way a shortie like you could ever be older than me.”
“I am too!” I insisted angrily.
I whipped out my Petlookup, showing him my age proudly. He took his out and I gasped. He was a day older than me.
“Now, get me a soda, younger sis,” he commanded.
“Get it yourself, idiot!”
“No! You’re my younger sister, you have to listen to what I say!”
“I don’t think so!” I shrieked, my voice pitching up about a million octaves.
I shoved him angrily. He shoved me back. Certain things led to another and Jen came home to find us wrestling on the ground. She did nothing to stop us, only sighed and murmured, “Our house is never going to be peaceful again, is it?”
I saw a flash go off and looked up to see Jen holding a camera.
“What’d you do that for?” I asked irritably.
“For later on, so you guys have memories,” she answered.
I scoffed and hoisted Zypheryn up.
“You’re not bad, kid,” he muttered to me.
I nodded back and replied, “I know. You’re jealous of my skills.”