"You know, you could have come with us if you wanted to that badly," Orion pointed out matter-of-factly. "No one was going to stop you. We'd wanted you to come here." The half-elf paused; head tilted to the side, a slight smile on his face, the tenderness there reminded Luke of a brother.

Or a father.

Still it was enough to keep him quiet, eyes forlorn and angry at the only other one present. "And what if I did? Huh?" Angry, bitter tears. Luke couldn't help it if he cried. It wasn't as if he was in charge of his own feelings. And if he was, he certainly didn't feel like he was in control right now. He'd believed for years that he was a simple minded fool.

That's why his parents didn't want him…

"I wanted to. I really did. No one told me I could. No one told me I could try!" The teenager's voice cracked. More tears fell, like a river cascading down to a waterfall. "NO ONE TOLD ME I COULD DO ANYTHING!"

Luke was on his knees now, his shoulders bobbing up and down in a quiet sob of remorse. His arms were crossed over his chest, grasping his shoulders in a tight hold.

And suddenly Orion was there, was everywhere, invading the fragile teen's senses, holding him, hugging him fiercely.

Just like that, Luke was no longer the seventeen-year-old laconic friend. No longer was he the adult by mortal standards. No longer was he the changed child that Orion was granted to have; now he was the child that he and Hazel and Knight and William met.

Luke was twelve when he first came to the Oakwood Forest; eleven when he saw the waves in the air—the rifts. He was ten when he could feel the cold touch of one of the Dharks under his bed, breathing heavily, waiting for him to look under the bed; and he was nine when the voices asked him if he wanted to come to Faerie.

"I've always wanted to come," Luke whispered brokenly. "Always. And then Mama and Papa said I had to stop being queer." The teenager looked up from his position, glancing up at honest mismatched eyes of one of his mentors. "I didn't mean to. I swear I didn't mean to." Orion's eyes glittered with tears threatening to fall. The embrace they had had loosened now came back with fervor. He cradled Luke's head on his shoulder and rocked the upset other back and forth, until all that was left of the sobs were soft sniffles and Luke's still shaky breathing.


"You won't turn off the music, will you?"

The half-elf's heart skipped a beat. Music?

"What music, Luke?"

Apparently the other wasn't listening. His question turned into a soft mutter. "I can still listen to the songs…right?"


"Of course you can. As long as you want to." Bitter and angry turned to light and hopeful.


Orion nodded. "Really, he confirmed." For the first time in a long time, Orion though he saw peace come to join the teenager's smile.

Almost time to go home.