Untitled - Solace


Author's Notes: The characters in the following are mine... but in some ways this is a fanwork. Since it is unimportant whose creatures they are originally and that is never truly defined, I'm keeping this under original fiction.
Special Thanks: to Jody, who informed me that this was all "very bad" but it was her that exposed me to the anime "Angel Sanctuary" which inspired me, and for the subsequent use of her Angel Sanctuary CD which I never stopped listening to the whole time I was writing this.
And to Zoi no Miko, for betaing the first part.

Part 1 - Alone

"Who do you like?"

The whispered question spun rapidly through her mind, and she turned it over and over again. Who do you like Tabitha? Huh? Who do you like?

Nobody really. None of the boys at school at least, though several of them she may have considered naming, just because she was "kind of friends" with them and the thought of more wasn't all that bad. Outside of school however...

She faltered, then blushed, instantly betraying herself as guilty. Eyes shining with amusement and curiosity, one particular friend elbowed her in jest.

"You like someone, don't you?" the other girl, Sarah, giggled. "Who is it?"

The immediate focus on her caused Tabitha to blush more, and mentally she berated herself for her inability to keep a straight face. No one. She liked no one. She told them as much. She didn't like anybody at all right then... did she?

What about?

... No. That particular person wasn't supposed to exist in the first place. Especially not to her friends.

Especially not to her.

She shook her head and shut her mouth extra tight. She wouldn't say a word.

Disappointment showed on her friend's face for an instant. Then she gave up and turned away to participate in the new conversation at hand. Tabitha felt an odd wrenching in her chest... she had let down her friend. She had *wanted* to tell, not sit and finish her lunch in silence.

She had wanted someone to know. She had wanted Sarah to know more than anything else and she couldn't tell her...


{A little less than a year previous}

If she had kept her mouth shut, all would have been well. Instead Sarah had picked up on the fact that something was bothering her... as all close friends should. With vibrant enthusiasm, the girl had peered into her face, both eyebrows raised.

"Tabitha." she started, her smile almost teasing. "Tabby, what's wrong?"

Tabitha merely blinked up at her. It was a pivotal moment... she hadn't actually consciously realized something was bothering her until it was pointed out to her. Something *was* bothering her, but it was hard to explain exactly what it was.

"It's mother." She said finally. It was always mother. Mother who worked all day and left her alone in a roomy but uncomfortably empty apartment with no one else around. Mother who sometimes would not come home until really really late, until after which time she was supposed to be sleeping. Her Dad, a tall Latino man, was always home from his work by a certain time each night. For a long as Tabitha could remember, Dad was always there to burst through the door with a face full of smiles and gather her up in his arms, but Mother was rarely there, if not at all. She knew that Mother worked in an office and got off of work at 5. She didn't know where she was the rest of the time...

She told Sarah this. Sarah listened avidly and with concern, the smile gone from her face. She nodded and gave her a quick hug.

"Ask her."

Tabitha shook her head. She barely spoke to her mother as it was. It was uncomfortable to do so, when ever she did ask her anything her mother would turn the conversation back onto her in an instant. It was always to tease her about boys, or taunt her about popular culture or, horrors of horrors, her mother would threaten to clean her room herself if she didn't get right onto it. Which had nothing to do with anything and especially not her question and that would frustrate her. She was very protective of her room. She told Sarah so.

Sarah merely shrugged. "Ask your dad then."

So she did.

That very night in fact.

She had wandered out of the enclosed bedroom space that consisted of her own little world and drifted into the living room. Carefully she sat on the arm of a chair and folded her hands in her lap. For a moment she pretended to be slightly interested in the science fiction program the man was watching. She even waited until the advertisement was on to speak.

"Dad?" She began.

Her father switched channels. "Yes dear?" he returned after a moment.

"You know mom?" she asked, then felt silly the moment the words left her mouth.

"Um hum?"

Tabitha felt a flare of frustration well in her chest. He was only half listening to her, but still the girl persisted, pushing her ill feelings aside. "Where does she go after work?"

Her dad actually glanced away from the T.V. for a moment to gaze at her.

"You know, she never gets home until late, even if she gets off work at 6..." Tabitha made vague motions with her hands.

Her dad looked back at the T.V. "She just goes out Tabby." He said shortly.
Tabitha was silent for a long moment, watching the flicker of channels fly by as her father channel surfed.

A sudden sense of wrongness gripped her. "Doesn't that *bother* you?" She asked in a quick rush.

The channels paused for a brief moment. They then continued rapidly. "No." Was the reply.

Tabitha sat there for a long moment. "Ah." She replied when she realized that no further information was about to be offered up. Quietly she lifted herself to her feet and made her way towards her room. Pulling the door shut behind her, she slumped against it.

She had wanted to cry, or rip her hair out... or hurt *something*. It wasn't fair for her parents to *do* this to her. How could they love each other like normal parents did if her mother was never around to be loved?

That was what was bothering her, she realized then. Her parent's relationship. That and an aching loneliness she usually managed to ignore. It wasn't fair.

And it was all because of her mother that she felt this way...



He was strange to look at. She thought this often, and every time she walked through her bedroom door after school. She couldn't help it. He was just so strange, and so unlike the hordes of "normal" people she had to spend all day with, and so she would take a double take time and time again as she launched her book bag onto the carpeted floor that he kept immaculately clean. He was different... but not different in a bad way. At least not to her.

He was human enough, which made him easier to take at first glance. He was also more... streamlined than the others, the one or two times she had actually gotten a glimpse of them, and his skin wasn't so obviously oddly colored. It was paler... a lighter shade of green, and his skin was mostly smooth as opposed to rough. His limbs were very human... long and lanky and breaking off into appendages that looked very much like her own... except for the fact that he had two fingers and two toes as opposed to four and five each. They worked precisely the same way anyway. At first glance the oblong protruding shell that covered his back passed as the clothing he never wore, and the continuation of plates across his chest, which were also a part of him, kept him well... hidden.

He was at her computer again, as he was a great deal of the time when she wasn't around... preferring to hide in a world were it didn't matter what he looked like. Even so he looked up at her and smiled, and she did a double take yet again, even as she smiled back. His face wasn't human either, or at least it wasn't recognizably human. His head was round. He had no hair, and his mouth was caught in a beak like contraption, and he had no noticeable nose. His eyes were warm and caring though and that was all that mattered to her.

She took the few short steps towards her bed, which was made as opposed to messy, and flopped down on it. She sprawled out on the cool fabric with a sigh. He gazed at her from where he sat with his chin propped in his hands.

"And how was school?" He asked.

She grinned at him from where she lay. "I would have been better if you had been there as well." She returned coyly.

He smiled at that, and she thought, for a moment, that a slightly sad look had flashed across his face. The sad look, if there had been one, was gone quickly and he nodded to show that he understood.

Thomas understood that he was never able to go to school like she did. If it bothered him, he tried his best not to show it at all. Curiosity did well up in his deep brown eyes though, and he got up off of the chair, making his way towards her.

"You can tell me about it?" he asked. He knew out of habit that she would tell him everything that was of consequence to her anyway.

She sat up on the bed eagerly and he sat down next to her. She settled down against him, cuddling up as she leaned her head on his shoulder. The gush of words started immediately afterwards. "Well Ms. Charleswood was being particularly mean and upset today about this assignment that only half the class chose to do, so Sarah stood up and told her..."



Tabitha couldn't remember who suggested *following* her mother, and in the end it really hadn't mattered anyway.

The streets had been hauntingly empty that night, and she shivered in the brisk wind that hinted at the cold winter to come. She kept her gaze trained up the rapidly darkening street, finally spotting her. Her mother stepped out of the building where she worked, head down and hand clenched at her coat as to keep out the chill wind.

She kept up a rapid pace from that moment forth. Even so Tabitha was so afraid of getting caught that she allowed her mother to get a full block a head of her before she crept out of the shadows to follow the woman. By that time she had almost lost her and had to run a bit to keep her in sight.

Blocks passed this way, as mother and daughter weaved through the heart of the city.

After several blocks Tabitha was seriously considering facing the consequences and calling out to her mother when her mother turned right sharply and disappeared from sight again. Brow furrowing Tabitha jogged forwards a bit... then broke into a run.

She found herself at the mouth of a wide back alley that opened up like a cavernous gulf in front of her.

No only that, her mother wasn't anywhere to be seen. Puzzled frown deepening, Tabitha darted further into the alley, only to happen upon a dead end. Her mouth fell open. Where...? She ran back and to the front of the alley again, looking about frantically. She looked behind the dumpsters that lined one side of the red bricked building. There was no one there. She ran to the mouth of the alley again and looked frantically up and down the street. There was no one. There wasn't even any other streets near by where her mother could have disappeared down.

A sudden fear gripped and she turned back to the alley.

"Mother?!" She called out. She listened.

Silence answered her.

"MOM!!!!" she cried, growing frantic. Something had taken her mother away. "MOOOM!!!" she screamed, her chest heaving with the effort. She ran out of the alley and down the street a ways and back again to the alley's entrance again, tears clouding her vision. "MO--"

A hand against her shoulder cut her short, and she turned quickly, startled. She ran straight into someone.

Her mother. The older woman gazed down at her, looking slightly surprised.

"Tabitha, where... what is it?" She asked, the surprise on her face turning to one of puzzlement.

Tabitha gasped, clenching at her mother's jacket with an irrational need to be near her. "You... you disappeared." She choked out.

Her mother shook her head. "I was right here." She replied. When Tabitha raised her head and opened her mouth to protest, her mother smiled and shook her head. "Let's go home, 'kay? It's cold out tonight, and I don't want you getting sick."

Tabitha closed her mouth and nodded.

They walked home together in relative silence. Her mother didn't seem up like she felt like talking about anything and Tabitha didn't push any questions upon her. She was just glad despite everything that her mother was okay, and whatever had swallowed her up momentarily in that alley had decided to spit her back out again. She even held her mother's hand all the way back home, just like she was little again, half afraid that if she let go she'd disappear.

For a few months afterwards, life at home was like a dream come true for Tabitha. Father always came home first and started dinner, but he was always closely followed by her mother. They had dinner together at the table, and both of her parents would interrogate her about the ups and downs of her junior year of high school. Despite the fact that being questioned incessantly irritated her, everything was as it should be. After dinner her father would settle down in front of the TV for a time as she helped mom load the dishwasher and clean the kitchen. Tabitha would talk with her mother then, more than they ever did before about anything. They would talk about work and careers, and above all life.

It wasn't quite perfect though... there *was* something missing. However by that time of the evening she was happy to be alone in her room reading or on-line at her computer so she hardly noticed her mother, or the way she stood at the window in the living room, gazing wistfully down at the streets below.

Almost like a bird in a cage wishing to be free.

And she also didn't really notice when her mother started to stay out later again, because it happened far less frequently than it used to.

Spring happened upon the city and Tabitha almost as fast as the winter did, which came as a great relief to her. She hated the cold. She'd just as soon have the pleasant wind that spoke of change and new things than the icy and bitter winds of the winter.

She was walking home from school alone that day, as opposed to with Sarah. She didn't do so often, but something extra-curricular had kept Sarah after school. Maybe that was why she let her feet wander, why it didn't really matter what way she went home, or how long it took her. She was alone. She wanted to think about nothing and walking in the vague direction of somewhere but never really getting there gave her an excellent opportunity to do so.

After what seemed like a lot of time had passed, she had brought her head out of the clouds to assess where exactly she was. That was when she saw her. She had to look twice in fact, to be certain it *was* her, her mother, walking on the other side of the street and just a slight bit up from her.

What was she doing off of work so early?

And why had Tabitha's steps brought her to her mother's work?

Instantly, Tabitha slowed her walk as to not be noticed and begun to follow her mother.


He felt as though he hadn't seen her for months as opposed to days, and he shifted nervously from bare foot to foot, He was sure not to make any noise, his ears open and trained for the tell tale crunch of approaching steps. When he finally did hear them his heart pounded and he crouched behind a dumpster, choosing to hide instead of running the risk of the approaching person not being the person who he was expecting.

It was her though, he could see her the moment she stepped into the alleyway, and he threw all caution to the wind to run out from his hiding place towards her. "Mom!" he exclaimed, throwing his arms around her joyfully.

The older woman caught him and hugged the boy back. "How are you?" She asked, pulling away slightly to smile warmly down at her son.

The boy shrugged and grinned. "Fine, I..." He stopped suddenly, smile fading from his inhuman lips. He saw a movement where there wasn't supposed to be a movement-- a motion from behind his mother. Another person.

He was barely aware of his mother looking down at him curiously, taking in his expression as it changed from delight to closed wariness. And then her eyes widened with something akin to fear. She looked behind herself and saw what her son saw...

A girl of about his age had just stepped into the alley behind his mother.

" Mother?!" The girl's shaking voice demanded of them both.

It was like everything in the world just froze for a second. Slowly, excruciatingly slowly, Mother turned around to face her daughter's wide, terrified eyes. "Tabitha" she began carefully, tongue darting out to nervously moisten her lips.

Thomas felt a jolt go through him when she said that name. So it *was* her...

"I can explain..." Mother continued.

Tabitha didn't seem to hear her, eyes focused solely on him. For that small moment in time all that Thomas could do was to stare right back at her. He couldn't move, couldn't speak. A vague, almost disjointed thought absently ran through his head She's pretty...'

Something seemed to wrench at him inside as the surprise on her face turned rapidly to horror, disgust, fear. He knew who she was... of that there was no doubt... Mother spoke of her often enough. But it appeared from the expression on her face that she knew nothing of him all.

Which was what had been agreed between father and mother, but it still... *hurt*... Maybe I really *am* that horrible looking...' Hesitantly he took a step back, suddenly very very unsure of himself. This wasn't right... he ought not to be here... desperately he glanced at mother for help, only to find her completely focused on the girl in front of them.

"Mom?!" the girl spat. Her head swung around again, her eyes staring accusingly up at her mother. "Mother?!!" Mother was silent, even though her mouth was open as if to say something. "What have you done?!" Tabitha shouted finally. She backed up a step, than another. Before her mother could even take a step towards her, she was gone, the sound of her running feet making off down the street echoing back to them.

She was gone.

"TABITHA WAIT!" The woman found herself capable of movement then and made for the entrance of the alley. No one answered her.

She was gone and something deep inside of him seemed to wrench again. It was like something wonderful had been handed him, and suddenly within seconds of him grasping it, it had disappeared, snuffed out in the blink of an eye. He needed to get it back...

And suddenly he knew what he wanted, or rather *needed* to do.

He darted forwards, reaching out and grasping his mother's arm, drawing her back. "I'll go." He said. It was all over now anyway, he rationalized with himself quickly. He could go... she had seen him now.

It seemed that mother took a decade of time to turn her head and look down at him, and when she did she blinked. "You can't be serious Thomas," she breathed. "You know you can't go out there..." She shifted, standing in front of him, her body poised defensively, as if protecting him from the day lit street beyond.

Thomas grasped her arm again, shaking it gently to regain his Mother's attention. "Mom, please, I'll be careful"

He didn't know whether it was the desperation in his voice or what that stilled her but she hesitated. Finally after what seemed like an eternity she nodded slowly, stepping aside.

... Letting him slip past her and out into the daylight.

She listened to him go, to them both go for as long as she could hear the sound of their footfalls slapping against the concrete sidewalk, then let out a small moan, turning and slumping against the wall.


He had no idea how long he had been tailing her, perhaps for an hour maybe more, maybe less. The time seemed to slow and pick up again in spurts... much like her travels. One moment she would be jogging rapidly and he'd loose her by at least a block, other times her walk would slow and she would fade into the shadows much like he himself did. She didn't stop walking though and he didn't give up.

It was beginning to grow dark when she finally came to a stop, and he watched from the shadows that he was so used to as she glanced up and down the street and then at the sky, an apprehensive scowl on her face. She was probably realizing just how dark it had become... and that it was just going to get darker.

He wondered if she knew where she was. He knew the blocks of the city like the back of his hand, but did she? He felt a sudden overwhelming urge to make sure she got home safely.


She paced a bit up and down a little section of block once and then sat suddenly on the curb of the street, with her sneakers in the gutter. It was a quiet vacant street, this one that they were on, and there were no cars. Nothing to disturb her as she placed her head between her knees.

She was wearied exhausted perhaps, and still breathing somewhat hard... he could tell by the rapid but steady rise and fall of her lightly covered back.

He stood still for a moment, considering. He had the opportunity to approach her now, but the thought of doing so left him feeling clammy inside. What if she hated him?

Well she had already made herself clear on that point, he thought to himself, wincing. Maybe he should just go home and leave her be.

It would be the proper thing to do. But then what would have been the point of following her?

He needed to talk to her. It wasn't something he could explain, but an overwhelming desire to... make it right. He ran a double digit hand over his mis-shapen face, sighing to himself. But how?

He drew in deep breath, steeling himself. He then stepped forwards, slipping past the shadows and openings of alleyways silently, never for a moment taking his eyes off of her.

She didn't notice him. He drew closer to her, closer, and still she didn't notice.

He paused a few feet away from her, amazed again that she did not notice him. "Tabitha" he called out finally, softly, quietly. Her name sounded strange to him... he had never had the opportunity to utter it before... or at least not to her. Gulping, he leaned down and extended a tentative hand towards her, palm up

Her head snapped up. Her eyes widened at him, and Thomas winced at the fear that flashed in them.

Tabitha muttered something under her breath, scrambling awkwardly to her feet. Frantic desperation added to the power of her voice. "Stay away from me!" she shouted at him, her pale eyes wide. She backed off a step-- then another. Then she stopped; apparently too tired to take off again.

He inspected her silently. No, he decided, she wasn't too tired to take off again... she could run if she wanted to. Maybe she knew if she tried to run again, he was close enough to catch her...

Or maybe, and his heart leapt with momentary joy, she was actually going to give him a chance.

"Tabitha." He continued his advance slowly and cautiously, his hand still extended towards her. "I'm not going to hurt you"

He was close enough to touch her now, just another inch or so. Barely allowing himself to breathe, he extended his hand just a mite bit further

She bolted.

Damn. He leapt forwards as well, catching her only after she had made it about two steps. Trying to shake the feeling that he was making a grave mistake he drew his arms around her, trying to restrain her... but she fought like a wild animal, hissing and growling. "Tabitha!" he cried out finally, when an elbow caught him in the eye. He wrenched her around to face him, trying to reach her through words. "Tabitha Tabitha stop!" He shook the fighting form he held.

She went shock still for a moment, then let out a wail and continued her struggle. Now with tears pouring down her face he never knew he could feel so wretched...

"How do you know my name?" she sobbed after a moment, thoroughly distraught. "How do you know who I am? How"

He got her into somewhat of a lock hold, and held her there though gently. Mom would kill me if I hurt her...' He corrected himself. I would kill myself if I hurt her.'

He moved them both off slightly, out of the dangerous but waning light of day and into the convenient shadows of an alley, speaking softly to her at the same time. "Tabitha listen to me." He spoke softly, reassuringly. He drew in a deep breath. "I'm your brother."

She gazed at him with absolute horror, then went hysterical again. Balled four fingered fists pounded against his chest plates. "My brother?! You CAN'T BE MY BROTHER YOU'RE A" He didn't want to hear it. He brought his hand down swiftly, clamping it over her mouth.

"Shhhh" He soothed, glancing up apprehensively at the empty city street for a second. He looked back when she went limp, and watched sadly as her tears rolled down her cheeks, pooling against his green tinged hands.

He waited a moment more, then slowly began to loosen his grip on her; to raise his hand from her mouth. "I'm going to let you" she tensed as if to take off again, and he paused for a moment. She slowly relaxed again.

" go now" he let go of her totally, then tensed himself, waiting. He wasn't finished saying what he wanted to say, but he fully expected her to take off on him again.

Surprisingly, she didn't make a run for it. She did back off a step though, sniffling. Her arm came up to wipe her nose on her sleeve, her eyes still wary. " brother?" she finally whispered.

He winced. "Brother." He agreed.

Narrowed eyes studied him silently.

"Twin actually..." he continued reluctantly when he assumed it was safe to do so.

The horrified expression returned and Thomas had to look away, his arms falling uselessly to his sides as his gaze drifting downwards to inspect the cement below. Looking down didn't help any... all that brought into focus was his bare and odd double toed feet. He looked away from that, this time inspecting the empty street beyond with a quiet desperation.

"But how?" She muttered. Then she did something amazing. Blue-gray eyes stared up at him and a hand came up and hesitantly touched his cheek.

He flinched slightly but managed a slight smile. "I-I... it's a long story."

The hand fell away and she looked at him silently. At least the horror was gone from her face, but... he paused. It was almost as if she waiting for him to do or say something...

He sighed, then took a risk and began to speak. "Tabitha Tabby Luigi isn't your father."

Silence. Good sign. He breathed in once, preparing himself. When he began to talk again, his words all came out in a rush. "He's been your-- our mother's friend for years now, since before you and I were born. When we were born, and they saw that one of us was human and the other was not, they thought it would be best if they gave you a chance to be a normal child"

Her eyes were glaring up at him accusingly now. Thomas stopped, waiting for her to speak.

"She lied to me!" she snapped finally. Her eyes flashed with fury. "All these years she's been lying to me!!" She turned away swiftly, as if to make off, and again against his gut feeling Thomas grabbed her arm.

"Look, Tab—"he began desperately.

He didn't expect her to round on him, her fists flying. "Or maybe you're lying to me!!" he could see that she had started to cry again, and that made him feel infinitely guilty. Perhaps he shouldn't have told her... "You're lying, you'relyingyoure" she slumped against him, sobbing.

Thomas was at a loss. He patted her back, which didn't seem to work but she still clung to him. "Shhhh" he tried to soothe, placing his face in her hair. He inhaled. She *smelt* good.

Finally her tears subsided somewhat, and he cleared his throat cautiously. "I'm not." He whispered. "I'm sorry," he continued after a moment. "I shouldn't have followed you... I'm sorry if I—I frightened you or anything, Tabitha..." She was silent and he began to push away. "I- I should really..."

She gripped him with a sudden fierceness that startled him.

He let out a startled sound that landed somewhere between a squeak of protest and a grunt of surprise. Now what was he going to do...?

It took a moment or so, but Tabitha solved his dilemma for him. She looked up at him suddenly, managing a small smile. She sniffled, then frowned slightly "I want to go home?" she asked more than said.

Thomas hesitated. "I – okay." He replied.

"And you're coming with me." She continued.

Thomas did a double take, staring at her. He wasn't supposed to go anywhere near Mother's home. It was one of the many unwritten rules he had to live by... "I..." he stammered.

The look on her face grew determined. She grabbed his arm suddenly, towing him after her. "I want to talk to mother about you."

Thomas allowed himself to be pulled. Apparently she knew where she was then, he thought somewhere in the back of his mind. His fore thoughts were much more pressing. I was afraid of that,' he thought grimly. He did not want to see Mother right then...


It took them over a half an hour to get home, partly because Thomas had them go through back streets and down alleys in an attempt to avoid all other people. As for Tabitha she was silent and sulking for most of the trip, aside from the occasional look she gave her "brother" out of the corner of her eye. Part of her still couldn't believe this was happening, and the other part of her resigned herself to the fact that it was. She had a brother. She had a brother who wasn't human.

Soon perhaps she'd be able to think about it with out feeling uncomfortable with the fact. At least for now he didn't appear to want to hurt her or anything. And there was something about the slightly unsure way that he walked, with the occasional glance over his shoulder and all about him that warmed her to him. He was nervous and hesitant, and over all he acted very human...

She smiled slightly despite herself.

"Where do you live?" she asked finally, brightening enough to speak to him.

He shrugged, studying the building beside them for a moment. "Under the city." He replied.

Tabitha's mouth fell open and she stared at the creature beside her. "Under the city?" she exclaimed in utter disbelief. "*Under* the city? There isn't anything under the city except for the subway and sewers!"

He was silent, and for a moment the only sound she could hear was the crunching of their footsteps along the pavement.

"Don't tell me you live in a sewer!" she continued, incredulous when it appeared that he wasn't about to contradict her or anything.

He shrugged slightly, his gaze focused further down the street they were on. "Something like that." He admitted lightly.

She stared at him, but he wouldn't look at her. She had embarrassed him, she realized after several moments more of silence.

"Sorry." She apologized sincerely.

He shrugged again. "It's okay."

They continued on in respectable quiet for the rest of their walk, and it wasn't long before they stepped up to the building where Tabitha lived. Eagerly she climbed a couple of the steps, then turned when it was apparent that she wasn't being followed.

"Come with me?" She offered.

He shook his head, a desperation of sorts twisting on his alien features. "I'd better not..."

She looked at him wonderingly for a moment. "Why not?" she asked.

"I just..." he shook his head again, backing up a step. "I don't belong here." He finally supplied timidly.

She merely stared at him more and then the cold fury that he saw shining in her eyes before crept back into them. "You're my brother." She snapped. Suddenly she darted down the few steps towards him, once again gripping his arm and proceeded to haul him up the steps after her. "You're coming with me," she commanded. He had no choice in the matter.



Thomas hadn't wanted to be there at all.

Mother had seemed shocked beyond belief when Tabitha had come stomping into the apartment with him in tow. She had stood suddenly from where she was sitting with Luigi at the kitchen table when they had burst into the room unannounced. He had noticed that her eyes were red when she turned, but unfortunately Tabitha didn't seem to notice that at all. He also noticed the way Mother's eyes widened when she saw him, but unfortunately she didn't have a moment to question him before Tabitha attacked.

"Why didn't you ever tell me about him?!" The girl demanded to know, making a motion with her hand behind her and in Thomas' general direction.

Mother stared at her daughter with her mouth open for a bit, and Thomas watched helplessly as Luigi got up and discretely left the room.

"Tabitha I..." his mother started. She sighed, shutting her eyes and placing a couple of her fingers against her forehead. "It's a long story."

Tabitha continued on like as if her mother hadn't even spoke. "If he's my brother, then does my original father look like that too??" She shouted.

Mother didn't even bother opening her eyes. "Yes," she replied softly.

There was a pause and Thomas shuffled about uncomfortably. "I want to go home." He said finally after a significant amount of time had passed. It was less of a statement and more of a pleading request.

"You're not going anywhere." Tabitha snapped at him.

"Don't speak to your brother that way." The mother snarled at her daughter almost the instant the words left the girl's mouth.

For a moment the two of them regarded each other with absolute fury.

"Thomas can leave any time he..." Mother began, her voice much more calm then a moment before.

"I hate you!" Tabitha suddenly screamed, cutting her mother off. "I had a brother for the last 15 years of my life, and you didn't even say a word about it!" Tears were beginning to well in her eyes. "Do you realize how totally you've screwed up my life?! I don't even *know* who my father is anymore!! Don't you *dare* try to tell me what to do!!" With that the tears over flowed and she ran from the room into her bedroom, slamming to door shut behind her.

Mother's face had turned completely white, but after a moment she was able to pull herself together enough to glance at her stricken son.

Thomas looked at her for a long moment. "I'd better go," he said finally, his voice sounding strained. Now more than ever he felt like he was invading... or rather that he was an invader who had no place in this world above the ground. It was dangerous here, in his mother's house.

His mother looked wearied as she pushed herself away from the kitchen counter and took a step towards him. "I'll walk you home." She offered softly.

Thomas shook his head quickly and just a little bit frantically. "It's okay." He told her, backing up towards the door and grasping the handle.


He paused, turning back for an instant. "I'll be okay." He cleared his throat. "S - should I tell dad when to expect you next...?" he dared to ask.

Mother blinked for a moment, then shook her head. "I'll..." Her voice trailed off and she had to start again. "I'll get in touch with him tomorrow. " She replied.

He nodded once again. Pulling the door open he disappeared into the night as quickly as he could.


If she would allow herself to admit it, it was probably then that she realized how much he meant to her. It was like a void in her life had been filled suddenly, even though it was in one of the strangest ways possible. Before if she had been asked if she had wanted a brother, she would have said no. Not especially... she liked to be alone. If she had been told that he was a freak of nature who would never be able to be seen by other people, she definitely would have balked.

She didn't need any one. She didn't like anyone either. She liked being alone.

Or did she?



The room was dark, the blinds drawn. Still Tabitha couldn't sleep at all, and in vague frustration she lowered her hand down off the side of the bed. For a bit she groped blindly at the cotton sheets that belonged to the pull out mattress, until her fingers hit cool leathery skin of an arm. She patted it gently.

"Thomas?" she asked into the darkness.


She slid off of her bed, landing in a rather awkward heap of blankets and bedding beside him on the mattress. "Do you love me?" she asked, eyes searching for his barely visible face in the dark. She knew she was being irrational, but she couldn't help but ask. She asked every night. Though the first time had been a curiosity thing, now it had become an incessant need. Especially today. Especially now.

Sarah's question came echoing back to her, as it had been doing all day. Who do you like?

He chuckled slightly, and his hand came up stroking at her hair gently. "Of course." He returned.

"Oh good. I love you to." She smiled happily and lay her head against his chest plates, satisfied to be cuddled for a moment.

The question continued to batter about in her mind. Who do you like Tabitha?

No one. No one at all.

Suddenly she felt an overwhelming urge to *kiss* him... this warm person she lay against. The thought was startling, and she tensed, jerking her head up, her eyes wide.

Thomas stopped stroking her hair. "What is it?" he asked.

She shook her head soundlessly, silent for a moment before replying.

"It was the silliest thing. Nevermind." Sighing a contented sigh, she lay her head back down against him, closing her eyes and willed herself to sleep.