Sandy walked along with her hands shoved into her pockets, and stared at the ground. "Peter, I'm sorry. My parents can be so embarrassing sometimes."
"I wasn't embarrassed," he said. "I'm just a little uncomfortable with the whole thing. I don't even know how I should tell my parents what's going on. Madeline is not handling this well, and Christine won't even go near me." He kicked a rock across the street. "It happened at the damn dinner table."
Sandy smiled. "At least it didn't happen in school."
"Oh, God, can you imagine?" Peter said. "I think your dad is honestly trying to help me with this, and I appreciate that more than anything in the world. I'm some kid you met at school. He doesn't know me from Dick, and he's helping me with something I know I couldn't handle on my own."
"That's the way he was raised," Sandy said. "He was taught to respect who he was. He rubs off everyone, and you are the victim of his upbringing."
"I don't mind. I like your dad."
"Good, because by the way he was talking tonight, he likes you too," Sandy said. "He asked me to talk to your sisters about this, but I told him I wouldn't do it without your permission. Dad thinks I can talk them into liking you again, and "
"And?" Peter asked.
"Well, because we were all brought up around this stuff, and I'm going get my powers eventually, we're all attuned to the powers already. We grew up that way. My mom taught me ways of telling when someone was also going to get powers at certain age. Since you think Madeline is at least your half sister "
"Your dad wants you to check her out," Peter finished. "To check if she is a werewolf like I am. So when she gets to the Change, she doesn't absolutely freak out and scare the crap out of Christine, again."
Sandy nodded. "You don't mind?"
"No, I think it's a really good idea," Peter said. "I was going to ask if there was a way that we could do that. But "
"Well, if your mom is a witch, and your dad is a werewolf, how do you know you aren't going to wolf-out one day? You did see the uogrigi."
"Mom's the strongest witch alive," Sandy said. "She knew from about when we were five where our powers were going to lie. I know I'm not going to wolf-out, I got witch. Michael is mostly werewolf. Nancy is a perfect split. Mom has no idea what's going to happen with her. Right now, her theory is, Nancy will have some witch powers, and she'll be able to wolf-out only when she wants to. I have thought about why I was able to see the uogrigi, and I just can't come up with a good reason. I don't really want to worry about it right now."
"That's cool," he said. "I never wondered about my biological parents, until now. I wonder who was what."
"We can probably find out," Sandy said. "You should come to Peitra and see the library. It took two years to move it in. I'll bet we can find out there who your parents are. You should go there anyway. There are weekend classes at Arwinelle that are taught by other werewolves, and they'll help you control your powers and stuff."
"I know," Peter smiled. "You dad gave me the schpiel already. He's really proud of your mom and your aunt for building the school. I'm going to talk to my mom and dad about it. They have to get used to this whole weird thing as well as me. It'll be good if they do and Maddy turns out to be like me. Poor Chrissy is going to feel left out."
"She can go to Isaandar, you know. Your family is the perfect example of why we set the college up that way."
Peter laughed. "She's four. I don't think we have to worry about that just yet."
Sandy laughed as well. "You're right. Everything in the last few days has become so serious. We all need to relax a bit."
"I agree," Peter said, and took Sandy's hand in his.
It was obvious Peter and his sister were adopted. Where Peter and Maddy were blond-haired and light skinned, Olivia and Martin Hernandez were dark haired with tanned skin. Somewhere, Chrissy had gotten blue eyes, but she had her parents' latino complexions.
Peter had explained he and Maddy had been adopted when he was 3 and Maddy 6 months. The doctors had said the chance of Olivia conceiving was so small it wasn't even worth trying. Of course, she conceived when Peter was 10 and had Chrissy. He had a great relationship with his mother and father, and was glad they had let him and sister grow up knowing they were adopted, and Chrissy was growing up the same way.
Peter had started to wolf-out at the dinner table. He had managed to get away from the table long before the change was complete, but Sandy suspected that when your brother grows fangs at the table, it was liable to scare the crap out of you. Peter had not seen hide nor hair of either of his sisters since the full moon nearly three months before. They hid every time he walked into the house.
This time was no exception. Four-year-old Chrissy went running up to her room, ten-year-old Maddy was a little more discreet and scurried out of the living room when Peter went into the kitchen.
Sandy shook her head, and followed Peter into the kitchen. His mother was putting dinner on the table while his father was setting the table. They both looked up as he walked into the room.
"Peter, you should have told me you were bringing a guest," Olivia said. "I don't have enough to feed another person."
"Thank you, Mrs. Hernandez, but Peter and I ate at my house," Sandy said. "I actually came over here to talk to the girls about Peter's dual nature. My dad thinks it will be easier for me to talk to them about it since I grew up around it."
Olivia and Martin exchanged glances, and Martin replied, "We'd like to hear this before you explain it to them. This has us frightened, badly, and we are trying to be calm for the sake of the girls, and Peter. It is not everyday you find out your son is a "
"Werewolf," Sandy supplied, smiling. She reached into her purse, and pulled out two brochures, and laughed. "I know that this seems really corny, but here it is. This is the school my mother and I put together to help people like Peter, and me and my family, realize this is not an affliction, it's a gift. These are a little bit about the school, and the attitude we all have there. Also, if you want to, my dad would love to talk to you about this. He's a werewolf too, and there's a lot he can tell you."
Olivia looked at her wide-eyed. "You're a werewolf?"
"No, not me," Sandy said. "I'm a witch."
"Madre de Dios, Peter," Olivia said. "What are you bringing into this house!"
"Mama, she's not a bad a witch," Peter said. "She doesn't even have her powers yet. She's just a regular person who, in two years, will have some neat powers." Peter looked at his mother. "Ma, she was raised Roman Catholic. If God didn't approve of her, He would've taken care of it years ago."
Martin took the brochure, and started leafing through it. Olivia leaned over his shoulder and suddenly started giggling. She read a little more, and started roaring. She had to lean against the counter to hold herself up.
Sandy and Peter exchanged a look, and Peter asked, "Mom? What's so funny?"
"I'm sorry, Peter, but I never thought I would be reading a serious piece of literature with—" she gasped for air, "—witches and werewolves teaching classes! I feel like I'm reading Harry Potter all over again. This is just something I guess were going to have to get used to."
Peter smiled. "If you want, I'll stay here and talk to you guys about this, and Sandy can go talk to the girls about it?"
Martin nodded. "I think that's a good idea. I'm sure the two of them are hiding in their rooms. Dinner has been an odd affair."
Peter shrugged. "I ate in my room."
"Noble," Sandy said, patting his shoulder. She looked at Martin and Olivia, who nodded at her.
"I believe they are hiding in Chrissy's room," Olivia said, indicating the stairs.
"I'll do my best with this," Sandy said.
She heard Peter pull out a chair at the table, and sit down. She scurried up the stairs to the four bedrooms on the second floor. Peter's had a picture of U2 on it, and Chrissy's had her name. The door at the end of the hall had light shining out from underneath, she walked over and knocked on the door.
"Go away," came what Sandy guessed was Maddy's voice.
"Madeline? May I come in?"
The door was yanked open, and a suspicious pair of eyes peered out from behind it. "Who are you?"
"I'm Sandy," she replied. "I'm a friend of your brother's."
"I don't have a brother," she said. "I have a pet dog."
"That's not nice, Madeline," Sandy said. "Peter wanted me to talk to you and Chrissy. May I come in?"
"Are you going to scare my sister by doing some freaky changing act?"
A moment went by, and the door swung open. "I guess you can come in."
Sandy walked into a perfect preteen girl's room, painted white with enough pink highlights that she could have vomited. There were pictures of boy-bands all over the walls, and even an old *N'Sync poster she hadn't seen since she had pulled down off her own wall five years ago. The bed had a pink cover with lacy trim and was covered with stuffed animals.
In the middle of the pile of animals, was a little girl looking terrified. Sandy never would have seen her, except her fear was thick in the air. Sandy paused. She had never felt anything like that before. She could feel certain things distantly, but never so specifically fear from one little girl surrounded by stuffed animals. She could almost smell it.
"Peter told me he scared the both of you at the table," Sandy said, opting to sit on the floor next to the bed. "You know he didn't mean to do that. It just sort of happened. He didn't even know it was going to happen."
"Yeah, right," Maddy said.
"Really," Sandy said. "Your brother is a werewolf. He didn't know about it like he should because you two were adopted. There was no way he could have known this was going to happen to him. If he had, he wouldn't have been anywhere around here when it did." Sandy drew her knees up. "It's called the Moon Change, and it'll happen to him every time there's full moon. He'll be able to also change when every he wants once he learns to control it."
"So, my brother is a freak?" Maddy asked.
"No," Sandy said. "He's a supernatural being. It's not a bad thing. It's just something he is. You may not believe this, but there are some pretty cool powers that go along with it. He's going to able run really fast, hear things from miles away, see in the dark, smell things blocks away, and on occasion, he'll be able to do things like talk directly to your mind, and move things just by thinking about them."
Sandy felt a mental jerk from Chrissy in the animals. She kneeled up and looked at Chrissy. "What's wrong, Chrissy?"
Chrissy shook her head, violently, indicating that she didn't want to talk about it.
"Are you afraid of Peter?" Sandy asked.
"Because he scared the crap out of her, that's why," Maddy said. "I really don't care if he scared the crap out of me, or mom and dad. He didn't need to scare her."
"Chrissy, you understand he didn't want to scare you?"
A moment went by before the little girl nodded.
"Then why are you afraid of him?"
She spoke, carefully, after thinking for a moment. "He's my brother. If he turned into a big dog, I will too."
Sandy smiled at her. "Okay, number one, your brother didn't turn into a dog. He turned into a werewolf. There's a difference, and you'll understand that. You aren't going to turn into a werewolf, because you weren't born one. Peter was. You know how Peter and Maddie had a different mommy before your mommy?" Chrissy nodded. "Well because of that, because they had a different mommy, they aren't your blood brother and sister. You would have to have the same blood as them. Not just a drop or too. ALL the same blood."
Chrissy looked down at her hands. "I'm not going to be a dog like him?"
"A wolf, and no," Sandy said.
"Are you sure?"
"What about Maddy?"
Sandy looked at the angry older sister sitting on her desk chair with her arms folded. "I don't know. She's Peter's blood sister. She might someday."
"What?" Maddy snapped. "What are you talking about?"
"You might be a werewolf," Sandy said. "One of my sisters is going to be."
"I am not going to turn into a werewolf!" Maddy said.
"You don't know that," Sandy said. "I can try and tell you if you are, if you like."
"Yeah, and how would you know?"
"I'm a witch," Sandy said. "My mother taught me how to tell if people are like me, or Peter. If you find out now, you won't be scared, and you won't scare anyone, and you won't be anywhere near anyone when it happens."
"I am not a werewolf," Maddy stated again.
Chrissy climbed out of the animals and padded over to her, and jumped up on her lap. "You should let her. I don't want to be scared of you too."
"I'm not going to change and scare anyone," Maddy said.
"Maybe not," Sandy said. "But if you are, wouldn't you rather know now? Wouldn't you rather know Peter can help you with it, and there is a whole school that can help you, and there are people who can help you figure out what's going on? There's a chance you aren't. But there's bigger chance you are."
Sandy shrugged, and sat back on her haunches. "I'm not going to force you to do anything. I only came up here to try and explain to you two what Peter is, and that he's still the same Peter."
Maddy walked over and put Chrissy on her lap. She looked at her. "How are mom and dad taking this?"
Sandy answered, "They aren't scared of him, like they were before."
"Mom and dad were scared of him?" Maddy asked.
"Weren't you?" Sandy asked.
"But they didn't show it..."
"That would have scared the two of you even more if they had," Sandy said. "I think not only are they not scared of Peter, but they would be ready for you if you are a werewolf."
Maddy sighed. "Okay, alright, check me out. Let me know if I'm going to have this weird change to deal with."
Sandy stood up, and stood behind Maddy. She motioned for Chrissy to jump off her sister's lap. "Now, you have to relax," Sandy said. "Don't try to do anything. Think about something silly and nice, and just sit there."
Maddy took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and folded her hands into her lap. "Okay."
Sandy also took a deep breath and reached into herself again. She put the backs of her finger tips on Maddy's temples, and concentrated on the touch itself. She felt the jolt traveling up from Maddy's toes, and it hit her hands like an electrical jolt. The jolt took her concentration into Maddy, and there right to the place that would show Sandy what the girl was; human being or supernatural being.
This was not the normal way it happened, Sandy thought, panicked. She had never had it come through so easily and clearly! What was going on? She steadied herself. Now was not the time to panic and let these two think there was something else wrong after she had just gotten them calmed down.
Sandy pulled her hands away. Maddy spun around to look at her expectantly. "Well?"
"How old are you? Exactly?"
"Eleven years old, and two and half months."
Sandy did some quick calculations in her head, then answered. "In forty-two cycles of the moon, you will have your first change. That's November of two thousand nine. You and Peter are full brother and sister, as well."
"I'm a werewolf?"
"You are indeed," Sandy said. "Just like your brother is."
Maddy took a breath to say something, then didn't, then did, "I don't know how I feel about that."
"You have three years to think about it," Sandy said. "Don't decide now. Go tell your brother you aren't afraid of him anymore. Tell your parents about you."
Chrissy jumped up, and bolted for the door. She stopped at the door, ran back and hugged Sandy. "I like you. You'll be a good wife for Peter."
Sandy's eyes grew wide as Chrissy ran away again. Maddy laughed and walked by. "Sorry. She does that sometimes."