: By the Light of the Fire
That night, again around the fire, Henry leans forward in his chair and rests his
elbows on his knees, smiling around at us.
“So, tell me if I’ve got this right,” he says, clearly tickled by it. “My two sons are
mated to two sisters, who each have the Goddess’ blood in their veins, which
means…” .” he pauses here, putting his thoughts together, “that all of my
grandchildren are going to have mystical powers?”
Cora shrugs, grinning at him. “That’s what she told us,” she says, laughing a
“Well,” Henry says, pleased, leaning back in his chair and shaking his head in
disbelief. “This saves me a great deal of worry.”
Sinclair turns to him confused. ” What? Why?”
“Because,” Henry says, shrugging, trying to hold back his grin. “Imagine if just
one of you were mated to a Goddess -born wolf, and only half of my
grandchildren had magical powers. At least this way, I don’t have to pretend that
I like the non-magical ones as much as the others.”
We all laugh at this, but I shake my head at Henry’s streak of dark humor.
Because, beneath it, we all know that it’s not true. He was always going to love
all of the grandchildren equally, no matter what.
“I wonder what your gift will be, little baby,” I say to Rafe, who is awake and
sitting up in my lap, holding my fingers in his little fists and looking interestedly
around at our group. I was very intrigued when Cora told me that all of their gifts
would vary according to their personalities – I, like her, had assumed that they
would be the same. We still haven’t figured out Cora’s gift yet, though we’ve all
“Rafe’s will probably be shooting lasers from his eyes,” Roger murmurs, leaning
forward to study my son. I shoot a little glare at Roger and he grins at me.
“No, he’s going to be a healer, like mommy,” I say, kissing Rafe’s head and
making him look up at me with a little baby smile. I smile back at him, unable to
“Nah, Rafe’s got a warrior’s soul,” Sinclair says at my side, leaning back in his
chair and proudly considering son. It will be something to do with that.”
“Nooo,” I say in denial, glaring at my mate now. “Rafe is gentle. His powers will
be for peace.”
“What about ours?” Roger asks, turning to Cora. “Are you getting any hints
down the bond?”
“No,” she replies, sighing a little. “I can’t even figure out what mine is, let alone
the baby.” She frowns a little in frustration, even though we’re all aware that
nothing is going to wipe out her joy today. Everything for her – for all of us – is
coming up roses.
“That’s all right Cora,” I say with my own contented sigh, leaning back in my
chair. “We’ll figure it out.”
“It would be convenient,” she says, putting her chin in her hand and scowling at
me a bit, “if my gift had been healing too. Considering that I’m a doctor.”
“Yes,” I say with a mock haughtiness, grinning at her, “that would be convenient,
but not everyone can be as gentle, and loving, and restorative as me, Cora – it’s
in my personality -”
And even as she gives me a little false glare, and I laugh, Sinclair nods as if it’s
a fair point. But then Cora cocks her head to the side, clearly considering
Then, she sits up straight and looks around. “Actually,” she says to the men,
“would you mind if Ella and I had a minute out here alone?”
Henry and Sinclair immediately agree and start to stand up but Roger frowns
just a little. “Why?” he asks.
“Something mom said,” Cora says, turning to him, “about Ella…being able to
help. Do you mind? A little sister time, to see if we can sort through it?”
Roger twists his mouth a little and I laugh a little when I see that he does mind,
just a bit – but I forgive him, because I know he doesn’t want to be separated
from her for a single moment right now not with everything they’ve just
discovered. But still, when she gives him a little shove, he sighs and stands up
“Come on, new papa,” Sinclair says, wrapping an arm around Roger’s shoulders
after taking Rafe from my arms so that Cora and I can concentrate on each
other. “I’ll teach you how to change a diaper.”
Roger groans but Cora and I laugh as the men help Henry onto the platform lift
and then head inside the RV.
“So, what are you thinking?” I ask eagerly, moving my chair closer to my sister’s
so that we can better see each other in the dim light of the fire.
“Something mom said,” Cora sighs, looking down at her hands and clearly
thinking it through as she goes. “She said that you could help me figure it out.”
Cora looks up at me now, her mouth twisted to the side as she tries to work
through it. “Do you think I’m like broken, or something?”
I immediately open my mouth to deny that, but she puts up a hand to stop me.
“No, I mean like, do I need to be healed? With your powers? So that I can
access the gift?”
“Oh,” I say, curious and sitting up straight. “I mean, that would make sense – I
had to go out into the desert to get the gift from mom – or at least to access it.
Maybe…maybe we need to like, do something to get it going. Some sort of
ceremony like that.”
“Worth a try,” she says, shrugging.” Do you want to…give it a shot?”
“Sure,” I say, reaching for her hands. And then, quite quickly, I run my power
through and over her body. Her wolf raises her nose to the gift as it passes her,
giving it a warm little nudge, and I smile as I sense her. Such a pretty wolf – her
fur a thousand shades of brown, from the lightest tawny to nearly black..
But as I scan Cora, seeking any places that she’s hurt or tied up or anything…I
come up with nothing.
“Sorry, Cora,” I sigh, dropping her hands and sinking back onto the chair. “You’re
totally fine, as far as my gift can sense.”
“Boo,” she says, likewise sinking back in the chair and gnawing at her lip. I
watch her as she moves on to the next option. “Um,” she says, “do you think I
could try healing you?”
“What?” I ask, my face twisting with confusion.
“Well, mom also said all the gifts were linked. Maybe I can…heal a little? And
maybe doing that will allow me to like, access my full ability?”
“Okay,” I say, and I hold my hand out to her. “I cut my finger this morning on a
bottle cap, T say with a sigh, realizing that I’ve been meaning to heal it all day
and just got distracted. ” My gift could fix this up in a cinch can you do it?”
Cora shrugs and takes my hand in hers, closing her eyes and pushing herself to
fall into the meditative state I use when I access my gift. I do my very best to
stay very still and, importantly, not to fall into that same meditative state and
heal it myself.
After a few minutes, I gasp a little when I do feel a very slight tingling at my
fingertip where the cut is. I see Cora push and concentrate, but then, five
minutes later, when she opens her eyes and peers down at it, she scowls and
pushes my hand away.
“Still there,” she says, scowling.
“I know,” I sigh, holding it up to look at my hand. “I did feel a little tingling though.
And it does feel better.”
“Really?” she asks, interested. “Yeah,” I say, smiling at her. “It’s interesting that
they’re linked. Maybe we can all do like, a little bit of each other’s stuff. But I do
think that it’s fair to say that healing is not your gift.”
“Well then what is it -” she sighs, scowling and starting to get frustrated. I tuck
my feet beneath me and smile at my sister, who has always been a little more
hot-headed than me.
“Do you think it makes sense that I’m a healer?” I ask quietly. “Mom said that
our gifts match our personalities.”
“Well duh, Ella,” Cora says, rolling her eyes at me a little bit. “You’re the most
maternal person I’ve ever met – all you want to do is take care of everyone,
especially babies, and fix things-
“True,” I say, cocking my head to the side, pleased at the idea. “I’d heal the
whole world if I could.”
“But that doesn’t help me,” Cora says, starting to lose her temper a little bit. I
look up at the sky, where in the distance I hear a tiny bit of thunder roll. I
wonder, passively, if we’re going to move our little think tank inside.
“Well, what’s your key personality trait?” I ask, curious. Cora glares at me a little.
“I don’t know,” she answers in a huff. “Being frustrated? Stubborn? Closed off to
everything? I mean, I didn’t let Roger even get close to me for months – and
he’s my mate -”
“That’s not true, Cora,” I say, leaning forward and frowning at her. “You’re… well,
you’re stubborn, but you close yourself off because you feel things so intensely
“Well, what the hell is the good of that,” she snaps, glaring at me a little, even
though I can tell she doesn’t mean it and instantly feels bad about it.
I glance upwards at the sky as the breeze picks up, blowing in storm clouds
faster than I thought they could move. And my lips part, just a little bit…
“Cora…” I whisper.
“No seriously, Ella!” She says, throwing a hand up and heaving a big sigh as
she glares into the fire. “What kind of stupid gift matches someone like me –
what, can I like, turn things to rock? Can I halt trains in their tracks with sheer
will? Can I…can I like freeze people in place, just by glaring at them?” She
scowls as she crosses her arms across her chest, “that’s what my previous
dating history would suggest, at least,” she grumbles.
And, precisely in time with that grumble, thunder rumbles through the sky. But
Cora doesn’t notice.
“Cora,” I say again, a grin spreading over my face.
“Seriously, Ella,” she says, snapping her gaze to me. “What kind of gift matches up with someone who
is so headstrong, so constantly agitated, so But put out a hand towards her, interrupting her. “So…
tempestuous?” I say, a smile spreading wide across my face. Cora goes still when she sees my
expression. “What?” she says, frowning at me. “What is it? What did you figure out?”
But I say nothing, just laughing and holding up my hands as the rain starts to patter all around us. And
Cora’s jaw drops open.
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