The door to the bedroom creaked open slowly. A little rounded face peered in sheepishly.
"Ma...ma," She said, her voice rising at the end. Her mother looked over towards her from the bed, a soft smile on her face, a sparkle sparked in her tired eyes.
"There's my little Evie," she spoke.
"Mama mama mama," she babbled excitedly as she pushed her way past the door and tottered into the room, trying to get to her now-awake mother.
She stumbled into the end of the bed, face buried in the squishiness of blankets and covers. She raised her head over the mass, brushing her wild curls out of her eyes and on tiptoes tried her best to peer over. Huffing in frustration, she grabbed at the sheets and starting pulling herself up with all her might.
"I thought you were too quiet," came a woman's voice from the doorway. She stepped in, wrapping her arms around the little girl. She lifted her up, bring her close. "You know you shouldn't be in here." She made a step towards the door.
The girl wiggled and twisted in her grip. "My..." She squealed, her little face getting red. "No Mama. My down. Evie down!" Her cries grew louder and louder. Tears welled up in her large eyes as tiny balled fists started flying.
"She's okay here, Mylene. I'm sure she only wants to see what all the fuss is about." The girl's mother piped up, easing a some of the tension in Mylene as she fought against the struggling child. She looked on with some concern.
"Are you sure, Ebony?"
"It's fine. Really."
Evie huffed in Mylene's arms but she seemed to be calming down, almost as if she could tell how things were going her way despite her small tantrum.
"Down," she said. Mylene responded with a raised eyebrow. "Down pees," she said again. This time, Mylene gave her a smile and lowered her to the floor.
"As you asked so nicely. You be good for your mother now."
"Evie good." She jumped the last few inches to the ground and immediately, went back to the edge of the bed, yanking at the covers again.
Mylene stood back and watched her pull herself up slowly. She glanced over at Ebony.
"If you need anything —"
"I'll let you know but you've done more than enough for one day."
Mylene rolled her eyes at her. "I'll check in a little later." She quickly bent down and gave Evie a little boost from underneath, helping her up the last little bit before she disappears off.
Evie clambered securely onto the end. She took a brief pause for breath before she crawled up its length. Almost at her mother's side, she stopped and gawped at the strange bundle in her arms. It appeared to just be blankets from afar. But now closer, Evie could see there was a thing inside the blankets, small and pink and snuffling like one of the animals that lived in the woods outside.
"Wassat?" She asked, pointing at it. Ebony chuckled.
"It's a baby. He's your new baby brother."
"Baby." She imitated the word well but from the way her head tilted, curls bouncing around, she clearly didn't understate what it really meant. She probably had heard everyone saying it around so much in the last month or so that she eventually picked it up without any context. Now though, she could finally see one for herself. Her mother chucked her under the chin with her free hand, making the girl giggle away.
"Do you remember his name? We spent lots of this week practicing how to say it, haven't we?" The girl scrunched up her face, squinting really hard, trying to recall this memory. Her face lit up as she came up with an answer.
"Aaah shhh," Evie announced, beaming. "A-shh." Her mother's chest heaved with pride. She helped her learn her new brother's name using the sounds she already knew well but it made her well up seeing her use it so quickly all on her own.
"Good girl. That's right. Ash. That's what we're going to call him from now on." They both looked on at the baby, shifting and moving around in his dreams.
"A-Shh seep," Evie finally said, looking at her mother.
"He is sleeping at the moment. He's tired after coming into the world."
Her face went back to the sleeping child. She watched intensely, her mouth forming an 'O'. Ebony would have loved to have known what was going on in her little girl's head in that long moment as she stared on.
"Me?" She held both her arms out, reaching. Ebony tapped the space beside her. "If you sit still there, I'll rest him in your lap so you can hold him. But you have to be very careful, Evie, he's very delicate." Evie crawled across on the space on her hands and knees before she plonked herself down with a slight bounce.
"Carefff," she repeated, spitting a little at the end.
Ebony lifted the bundle up over the girl. She reached out excitedly with grabby hands. "Careful," she warned her.
"Carefff." She waited for the bundle to be placed gently on top of her. Her mother moved her arms for her so she held his head properly as she had done. She grinned happily as she saw a small, wrinkled face emerge from the blankets, moving slightly in his dreams.
The mother smiled at her two beautiful children sat together for the first time. It was perfect. Just as she had dreamed. "You're a good Sister, Evie."
"Sisser. Evie, Evie, Evie." Evie babbled away.
A figure filled the doorway. He announced his presence with a sigh.
"Now, isn't that a sight to see?" The man looked on at the children, happiness plastered on his face. One healthy baby, a son to join alongside his daughter and wife; the perfect addition to his family of four. What more could a young father want?
His eyes fell upon his wife. They shared a brief connection of mutual pride before they parted, both resting on their children instead.
The baby began to stir, grisling, before he let out a loud cry.
"A-shh," his sister spokely softly, hugging him a little closer. "Seep, A-shh." Though the attempt was noted by both her parents, Ash himself was not consoled by her voice. He howled on.
"He might be getting hungry. I better take him now." His mother said. She leaned forward, wrapped her arms gently around baby Ash and lifted him to her chest. She gently bounced him and his cries quieten down to whines.
Apollyon quickly swooped into the room and whisked Evie into his arms. She was in a fit of giggles. "That's probably for the best as someone needs to get ready for bed." Her gleeful expression fell as she realised what was coming.
"No! No bed! No bed 'Apa!" She cried out like some wounded creature. Tears quickly ran down her cheeks.
"Evelyn. Enough." Apollyon didn't raise his voice to the child, but he was stern. It was a tone that even she could understand was serious - one that needed to be listened to. The girl still hiccuped but her wailing had ceased in an instant. Her lower lip trembled on, like at an moment she would start again uncontrollably. She buried her damp face into his shoulder.
She tilted her head ever so slightly, peering out towards Ebony and the baby through her wild curls. She sniffed constantly. Concern reflected in her mother's eyes but she didn't say anything to draw attention to it.
"A-Shh eat," Evie mumbled, her face still all pouty.
"Your mother is going to feed him." He brushed hair out of her face so she could see him properly as he spoke frankly to her. "That's part of her job. But you have a job too, a very big one. You get to play with him and love him and teach him everything you know. But to do that, you need to get sleep. It's important to get enough rest to be his big sister."
She perked up, smiling at him with a wide grin.
"Sisser," she said. He smiled softly back at her.
"That's right. Go on, say goodnight then"
She pressed a hand to her lips and blew a kiss. Once for her mother. Twice for her brother. "Good 'ite!" They turned, about to head out when...
"Wait! 'Apa do." When he looked at her bemused, unsure of what she meant, she placed her hand to her lips again. This time, instead of a kiss, she pointed a finger at him then towards the rest of her family. Apollyon chuckled when he finally understood and came to realise how easy bossing around came to his young daughter. She must have learnt that from somewhere, he thought, as repeated her action towards his newborn. He landed a large kiss on the little girl's head, sending her squealing.
As she calmed again, Evie hugged him around the neck and he took her out without any more fuss.
Now left all alone, Ebony tended to the baby in silence, pulling down her nightdress and guiding him to her breast for his feed.
A/N: I may have promised something for eight years on this... So I suppose I had deliver. I'm like a stork in disguise. A stork of little plot hints wrapped in cute babbling forms. Anyway enjoy this little extra tippet on this anniversary!