Like the Wind

Author’s Note: So while I did a piece for “She’s Like the Wind” for Vred and Malina, I couldn’t help thinking that I should be doing one for Enadar. I suppose it’s cheating with Felise’s ability, but it made sense, and the opening paragraph kept bugging me.

So I used these lyrics:

She’s like the wind through my tree

and probably these:

She’s out of my league
Just a fool to believe
I have anything she needs

And then let Enadar talk, and this is what came out. Oops?

Like the Wind

“I think I understand now,” Enadar said, kicking at the rocks. He put his hands in his coat pockets, shaking his head. “It’s not just that she can control wind currents. She is the wind.”

Alik lifted his head. He could hear something in his brother’s voice, something that needed to be addressed, but he did not know how to deal with it. His own mind was far from the concerns of his younger brother, and they always had been. Alik didn’t understand the way Enadar’s mind worked. It wasn’t that he didn’t know Enadar was smart and mostly logical. It was that his brother acted far more on his emotions than Alik had ever done.


Enadar gave him a dark look. “Come on. You know who I mean.”

“Felise,” Alik said, rubbing his forehead. “Enadar, I don’t—”

“You’re the storyteller. You should get symbolism.”

Alik snorted. “Not everyone puts deeper meanings in their stories. I told you the ones I did as a distraction. I didn’t have time to weave allegory into them. Symbolism wasn’t my objective.”

Enadar rolled his eyes. “Think about it, Alik. She’s the wind. She’s the thing you want most that when you think it’s within your reach… that’s when it slips through your fingers. Just a breeze in the tree. That’s all you ever have her for, that moment when the wind touches you… and then it’s gone.”

Alik shook his head. “You are overreacting.”

“Am I? The moment I think I understand her, that we’re getting along, that I think I feel… something and that there’s this infinitesimal chance that she does, too, then… Then everything shifts. Something gets said or done, and we’re as distant as two strangers again.”

Alik let out a breath. “Why do people have wind chimes?”

“Um… for the sound? The song. The one the wind plays when it passes through.”

“Does it sound the same every time you hear it?”


“Does that mean that you never hear the chimes again?”

“No.” Enadar frowned. He folded his arms over his chest, and Alik could see him thinking it through. “You’re saying that… that even when the song changes, when the wind circles back, the chimes… still have the wind when it does? That even if the song changes—what, take what you can get? Is that it?”

“You have to listen to the songs to hear the differences between them. You have to accept that the beauty of the song is not in holding it in one place but in appreciating it for what it is,” Alik said. He studied his brother for a moment. “Stop trying to see her on your terms. See her on her own.”

“You’re right,” Enadar told him, and Alik started to frown. “You suck at symbolism.”

Devious with Sweaters

Author’s Note: So when I wrote this, I was looking for something light after a bit of darkness, and I surprised myself by writing a bit of Vred and Malina fluff. It was funny, and the first thing I thought of when I looked for today’s theme.

This was, actually, tweaked a bit by Liana Mir, as I do still make mistakes with Vred.

Devious with Sweaters


Vred glanced at the article of clothing she held out to him, taking in the color and garish decoration before he looked back up at Malina’s face. “You are still angry with me?”

She laughed, almost dropping the sweater on the floor. “No, but I don’t think we have anything else around here that would fit you. Just because I have two brothers does not mean that either of them are your size. That was Dad’s. It should fit, and before you say anything, my mother bought it for him.”

Vred took the sweater from her. He was practical enough to know that he needed to change and it would be warm and his size. He did not know that he should object to it. He started to replace his ruined garment, and she flushed red, leaving the room.

After he had changed, he turned his attention back to his phone and the many things he had to do.

It was not until Alik crossed into the room and stopped, staring at him, that Vred looked up. “Something wrong?”

“Oh, no. Simply admiring my sister’s handiwork, that’s all.”

Vred frowned.

“There is a whole box of Dad’s clothes upstairs, and she chose the shirt he hated the most. I think Kale bought that when he was drunk. I also think you might have fit into something of mine.”

Vred looked down at his shirt. “Devious.”

“And she knows how to fool your senses. This should be interesting.”

Vred looked slightly annoyed. “They’re not foolproof. I’m not an empath.”

Alik raised his eyebrows.

Vred sighed and shoved back the computer. “A change of clothes would be nice.”

Malina walked into the kitchen, took a look at Vred and then calmly crossed over and hit Alik. He glanced at her—not the only one to do so.

“You changed him,” she hissed. “I wanted pictures.”

Wordlessly, Alik passed her the cellphone.

She wrapped her arms around him. “You are the best brother ever.”


“Sorry, Enadar, but Alik still wins that contest,” Malina said, smiling as Alik shook his head and walked away. She shrugged, grinning as she ran off with her prize.

A Tense Car Ride and Story Time

Author’s Note: I am nearly too late with this, but as much as I knew that I could use it, having written it not that long ago, I did not want to. In part it is because it could be spoilery, in part because I should post from something besides this story, and in part because I’m no longer sure I like it.

Still, with this headache, I can’t think of an alternate piece for Thursday Travels. This one… wins.

A Tense Car Ride and Story Time

“This car is not big enough for all of us,” Enadar grumbled, shoving at the bags in the cargo area of their car, trying to get comfortable. The car only had seats for five, and the girls got the back seat by default when Alik took the keys and the tracker got the front, leaving Enadar with the luggage because he supposedly fit better back here. That was a lie, but the three of them probably had more room without him. He wouldn’t mind so much if they didn’t have so much junk in the back.

“We could have left you behind,” Felise said, and he gave her a look as she smiled at him. He did not know why she always had to be like that, but for some reason, they weren’t good at not snapping at each other.

“We are not leaving anyone behind,” Alik said in what Enadar would have called his stop fighting or I will pull this car over voice if his brother didn’t have an ability. “Don’t start.”

“I think we could have left someone behind,” Enadar said, glancing toward the tracker using his phone in the front seat. Alik’s eyes darkened. “Or maybe we should have left some of this girly stuff so I would have somewhere to sit.”

“Yeah, because it’s not like you don’t have the biggest bag back there, since it’s full of books,” Felise said. “And my stuff is not girly.”

“Like anyone would call you a girl.”

She might have hit him, but Alik got there first—without even moving. Enadar jumped, rubbing at his sore thigh. “Hey! I am supposed to be immune to that.”

“Not if I do it the right way,” Alik said. “Behave, all of you, or I will do more than give you a little shock. You can spend the rest of this car trip—and it isn’t even that long a trip; this is unnecessary—unconscious.”

The tracker gave him a slight frown from the front seat, and Enadar thought Lisea was trying to pretend that she wasn’t here again. Felise shifted forward, frowning a little. She might not believe he meant it, but that was why he did not have a stop fighting or I will pull this car over voice. He had a stop fighting or you’ll end up unconscious voice.

“That is not necessary,” Malina said, though Enadar thought that she looked carsick, and she never got carsick. “I have a better idea.”


Felise looked at Alik. “You didn’t even hear what she was going to say.”

“Don’t have to,” he answered, speeding up to pass the small sedan in front of them. At least there wasn’t a lot of traffic today. “I’m not doing it.”

“It’s a better solution,” Malina said as the car made one of its terrible lurching noises. Felise winced. “We could all use a distraction now. Between the car and the cramped quarters and the abilities—please, Alik.”

His brother’s jaw tightened, but Enadar knew that he would give in. Everyone did to that tone of Malina’s, though it didn’t help that she looked like she might vomit all over everyone because she was too close to the tracker and couldn’t shut his ability out.

Next time, she got the cargo area.

“Use this,” she said, reaching into her blouse and pulling up the necklace. Enadar tried not to wince. He knew she started wearing it after their mother died, but he didn’t like being reminded of it any more than Alik did.

Alik let out a breath. “Sometimes, Malina—”

“I know,” she said, covering the polished stone with her hand. “You still love me, though, so go ahead and tell it.”

Alik grunted. He kept his eyes focused on the road in front of him, not glancing even close to the tracker. Must be embarrassing, that side of him when everything else he did was so tough and prickly just like the jerk in the passenger seat, but that made Alik the better person.

“There was a kingdom surrounded by a shining blue sea, straight and smooth almost like polished stone,” Alik began, and Enadar sat back, amazed by the victory that Malina had managed. Alik had sworn off that story long before Mom died. “It was isolated from the rest of the world, set apart by that sea. The rulers of the kingdom were fair and kind, and the citizens of it had known peace all their lives. They did not think there could ever be a threat to their existence. No one was curious about what was beyond the sea—no one besides the crown prince—”

“Was his name Enadar?” Felise asked. “Is this one of his bedtimes stories?”

“No. It isn’t.” Enadar glared at her. “Don’t you dare ruin this, Freckles. Alik hasn’t told this story since before Mom died, and this one is Malina’s favorite and one of his best.”

“The lonely prince,” Malina whispered, twisting the chain the stone was on around in her hand. She closed her eyes with a smile that had the tracker frowning at her.

Alik glanced at her in the rearview mirror. “He was not lonely.”

“He was stuck fighting a war without anyone’s help, without anyone even acknowledging what he was doing for them. It seems like a lonely life to me,” she said. “Go on, please. Tell us the rest of it.”

Alik shook his head. “I think this is not as good an idea as you thought it was.”

“I’d like to hear the end,” Lisea said, and Enadar knew that sealed it. No way Alik could manage to ignore the princess and Malina.

“The prince was aware of the limits of the sea, and he felt a growing threat outside of their borders, but he could not convince anyone else that it existed,” Alik went on, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel. He forced himself to stop. “One day, he went across the sea, chasing after the threat, foolishly believing that he could protect his land from anything that was coming…”

A Bad Case of the Flu

Author’s Note: So I am lying down because I feel rather awful myself at the moment. I had already been thinking of using these scenes for Tuesday truffles, but they seem even more fitting now.

A Bad Case of the Flu

“Don’t move.”

Vred shook his head, trying to push his way up despite the nausea that would keep him where he was. He had too much to do to allow this illness to stop him. Three hundred eighty-eight. No, more, he corrected himself, since he had somehow acquired three more when he joined up with the Kallas family.

“I have to.”

“No,” Malina said, forcing him back when his coughing disabled him. “You are sick, and you are staying where you are. You know that you need rest, too.”


She laughed, humming to herself as she drew up the blanket over him, tucking him in, something no one had ever done to him before, not even his mother. She had been about making him strong, and strength did not come from lying in bed. “Yes, you can. In fact, what you can’t do is use your ability. Not when you’re sick.”

He did not want to think about that. He could not afford sickness. He was not going to stay in bed. “I have work. I can work without my ability—”

“No, you—”

“I can.”

“You can,” she conceded. “Yet you do not have to. Even though you’re sick, I can use your ability. I am a mirror, remember? I don’t take on the physical when I borrow anyone. I can use you just fine.”

He frowned, not liking her terminology. “You are not—”

“I look, I assess, and if there is anything, Alik handles it. You’re fine. They’re safe. Now get some rest,” Malina insisted, adjusting his blanket again. She hesitated and then leaned down to kiss his forehead.

Vred stared at her, noting the slight flush before she shut off the lamp beside the bed.

“Goodnight, Vred.”

“It’s not nighttime.”

“It is for you. Get some rest.”

“I have something for you, Freckles.”

Felise groaned, trying to pull the covers over her head. She did not know what had cursed her with Enadar Kallas as her primary caregiver while the flu swept through them—and she didn’t know what it was that made Revente genes that much weaker to this particular strain, but while the Kallases seemed almost immune to this flu, she knew that she and her cousins had gone down hard with the full thing—fever, aches, chills, nausea—and she could not get herself out of bed.

“Mom swore by this, and Malina assured me that this is her recipe. Not everything works the way it did when she was alive, though. Something always seems to be missing, and Malina says it is Mom’s special touch—but Malina should have that, so I don’t know why it doesn’t work.”

Felise looked over at him. “Stop talking. You are more annoying than usual when I’m sick.”

He smiled at her. “Normally, I’d take that as an advantage to exploit, but I told you—truce until you’re better.”

“Who are you, and what did you do with Enadar?”

He laughed, sitting down beside her and holding out a mug. “The patented Kallas Kure for all things flu and cold. And Alik overloading himself.”

She studied the cup suspiciously. “What’s in it?”

“Honey, lemon, cinnamon, clove,” Enadar continued to rattle off ingredients enough to make her think he’d made more than half of them up when he started talking. “And, of course, love.”


Enadar grimaced. “Well, that was Mom’s special ingredient. Or so she used to say. It’s not as effective if it’s not made with love and given with love and…”


“And a kiss after every sip,” he said, turning bright red. “Not that I’d do that to you. I wouldn’t. It’s—I—I’m going to leave now.”

He shoved the cup at her, and Felise looked down at it with a slight smile. Made with love, huh? It could be worth trying.

“You look exhausted.”

“I thought I would say that to you,” Alik said, giving the princess a look out of the corner of his eye. She was on the mend, finally, which would be a relief. He had almost been willing to believe that this flu was some kind of side project of Harking’s or the Watch, taking down people with abilities—well, Reventes, mostly—the way it had. “Though you are improving.”

“You’re not.”

“Vred has a thankless job,” Alik said, unable to summon a smile. He did not think that anyone realized how badly overworked the tracker was or how much could have fallen apart the moment he went down with that flu.

“Which you took up for him?”

“You could say that keeping his people protected suits my interest as it protects mine as well,” Alik answered, rubbing his neck. He closed his eyes, telling himself he was not coming down with the flu. If he did, the floodwaters would break loose, and everything they’d done so far would be undone.

“That’s not why you did it, though.”

“You’re still sick,” he said, aware that she would not have been that bold if she was able to think clearly. He almost liked it. “And no, it’s not, but if anyone asks, it is. You should be resting.”

“So should you.” She flushed. “I just… This is the first time I’ve felt able to be out of bed in days, and I don’t want to go back there. Malina’s exhausting herself taking care of all of us, and I don’t want to be a burden.”

That was so typical of the princess. “She knows you’d do the same for her. Go to sleep. Malina will take her own rest when she can.”

“And you?”

He had been running on pure energy for half a week, and it wouldn’t last, but the crises were abated for the moment, and he would crawl into his own bed for a bit until Malina woke him with something else to handle. “I guess it’s bedtime for both of us, princess.”

“I thought you weren’t going to call me that anymore.”

He smiled, pushing her toward her room. “Tonight it fits. Your turn to go play the role of Sleeping Beauty.”

Robots United

Author’s Note: Today I pulled out a scene I think most would consider pure ridiculous. My decision to give Alik a cat was a bit silly in the first place, I admit, but then I wrote this, making it… worse, I suppose.

I am not that good a person, I guess. This came from a weird personal conversation I had, which I should not admit to having, but I am that kind of crazy.

Robots United

Alik stopped in the doorway, frowning when he heard the half-squeak. “What are you doing?”

“Playing with the cat,” Enadar told him, looking up at his brother with a grin. Alik gave him a look in return. He’d known the cat was involved because of the noise she’d made, but what he did not know was what the youngest member of their family was doing to her.

“I don’t think she wants to play.”

“You do not have the ability to speak cat. You also can’t tell me you know what she’s thinking.”

“Yes, I can,” Alik said, tired of having similar discussions with his brother. He had ever since Robot had decided she was Alik’s cat and not a family one. She tolerated Malina, but she hadn’t been willing to be close to either of their parents and as for Enadar… Sometimes he was too much of a child still, at least in Robot’s opinion. “You can hear it in her voice and see it in her eyes.”

Enadar lifted Robot up and studied her. “You can decipher her eyes. That’s it. That’s your secret method of communicating robot-to-robot. The laser eyes.”

Alik shook his head. “Give me the cat.”

“Just because she likes you best doesn’t mean I have to give her up the moment you walk into the room. I wasn’t hurting her. We were playing.”

“Playing what, exactly?”

“Did you know she’s ticklish? Right about where you are, too. Must be a robot thing.”

“Cats aren’t ticklish.” Alik took the cat from his brother’s hands, swatting them away when Enadar tried to recover the cat. “Don’t. I’ll overload you if you try and take her back.”

“You’re no fun.”

Robot jumped up onto Alik’s shoulder and bumped her head against his. He reached up to pet her, and she started purring.

“Really, she should fall off of you when she does that,” Enadar grumbled. He was correct. Even though Robot hadn’t grown much past the size of a kitten, Alik’s shoulder wasn’t a good place for her to perch, but she seemed to like it there—it was where she always put herself if Alik was standing. He could hold her in his lap if he was sitting or let her sit on his chest if he was lying down, but she only wanted the shoulder if he was up and moving. “It’s not fair she likes you best.”

Alik smiled. “I don’t tickle her.”

A Boy to Remember

Author’s Note: So it has been a rough month and a half, and I did not mean to stop posting my themed snippets so soon after announcing their arrival, but I wasn’t able to write or post or do much of anything through December. It was a very tough time, and I am only now getting back to where I feel almost capable of moving forward again. I think I am ready to try sharing the snippets again. Today is Saturday. That means a Saturday song.

The choice seemed simple when I sat down to post, having also overcome my dislike for the updated version of my site’s backend. I have been thinking for a while that this song suits these characters, and I meant to share this with my collaborator first, but I was impatient. Hopefully She will forgive me for sharing this with everyone before she sees it.

This is in part inspired by “Flowers in Your Hair” by the Lumineers.

A Boy to Remember

Enadar had never seen hair so red, so vibrant. The way the sun hit it was just right for the hew word he’d just learned. He liked it, but it was now forever linked to that fiery braid she wore, even if he did not want it to be. She was not supposed to be such apart of his life. Felise Revente was not someone he wanted in his life.

He was a dreamer, a bookworm. She wasn’t supposed to be a part of those dreams. He should have been able to sleep without remembering. Alik didn’t. Somehow the robot managed to push away every bad memory that should torment him, as though he felt nothing at all when he remembered those things he’d done, as though it was easy to pretend that his ability was always in control, that he was not a killer.

Enadar closed his eyes. He tried to think only of bursts of energy, of those blinding lights, of fireworks, and for some reason, vibrant red hair.

Every time he saw it, his reaction was the same. He wanted to touch it. He wanted to know that it was real. He needed to know that it was real.

Once he had tried to touch it. Once it was within his grasp. Once he’d made a mistake, and a glass of lemonade taught him never to reach for that light again.

Nothing could make him stop dreaming of it, though.

Talking and Traveling

Author’s Note: So here comes Thursday, the day with the theme of “Thursday Travels,” and here where I am, it’s a day where sane people are only out if they don’t have any other option. That is to say, it’s snowing and yesterday it was below freezing, so… Yeah, not the most fitting day for scenes about travel.

Still, I decided to share one anyway, the first I wrote for the collaboration, and I’ve edited it a few times since then, but it is special to me because it is the first scene of the collaboration. Well, until we move things around again, lol.

Talking and Traveling

“You planning on speaking at all during this drive?”

Not looking up from his book, Enadar gave a slight shake of his head. Talking wasn’t on the list of things that had to be done today, and he was sticking to the list. Organization kept him sane, even if his lists annoyed everyone else he knew.

“You know you’ll have to talk sometime today. You can’t avoid it all day.”

That got a glance toward the mirror, meeting his older brother’s eyes as they waited for his response, but he shook his head, returning to the book. He could avoid it for the day, could avoid it for a lot longer if he wanted, and that might be what he chose to do for the duration of this trip. Alik couldn’t make him talk, not if he didn’t want to, and he was more determined not to just to spite his brother.

“You are not going to spend the entire week not talking to any of us.”

He lifted the book, tempted to let it do the talking for him. Aimed properly, it would even stop the car, keeping them from reaching the destination he had no desire to see again.

“You’re not a child. Don’t act like one.”

He closed his eyes. Silence was still the preferable response. He could keep himself from reacting for a while longer, but if he was pushed, if he was provoked—he started down the list of things that calmed him, fulfilling each as he did.

One, deep breath. Two, count to ten. Three, repeat the deep breath. Four, remember that you love your sister. And your brother. Mostly. Five, repeat the first nine leaders of the territory in reverse order—no, he’d used that one already today, and he was sick of those names. He would skip that one and go to six. Recall a memory that always makes you smile.

Enadar frowned. That was a bit difficult—that was the point of it, getting him distracted and refocused—but he wasn’t sure he could find something that made him smile right now.

“Leave him alone,” Malina said, interceding like she always did, always would. Enadar didn’t know if it was because of who she was or her birth order or if any of that mattered. He shouldn’t be thinking about that, though. He had to keep to the list. “We don’t need to lose the car—and I would like to get there alive.”

“It’s not that bad.”

Anger flared up at Alik’s words. Enadar lost his place in the list, and then he lost his book. He studied his empty hands for a moment before kicking the front seat. “I hate both of you. You know that, don’t you?”

Malina sounded almost amused when she spoke. “Little brother is mad.”

“Yes, but little brother is talking again.”

Enadar didn’t know why it mattered so much that he talked. Alik had a thing about silence, about either of them withdrawing too much into themselves, and yet he was the worst of them at doing it—who knew what went on in that head of his most of the time?—so he had no reason to force them into interaction. Maybe it was that overinflated sense he’d gotten when he ended up head of the family—he didn’t just figure he was somehow the leader, he figured it made him responsible for them in all ways—mental and physical and emotional.

Alik didn’t know what to do with emotions, though, so that was a dumb choice to make.

“You didn’t have to push,” Malinda’s voice drew him back into the conversation between his older siblings. He’d missed something between the two of them. As usual. “Not everyone needs to talk.”

“And letting him glower is better?”

“I was not glowering. I was reading. Now I don’t have a book, and now I’m glowering,” Enadar said, using both of his feet to kick Alik’s chair. His brother grunted, but his grip on the wheel didn’t so much as falter.

With a frown, Enadar sat back. He watched Malina’s hands for a moment, trying to determine if the way she twisted them together meant she knew what Alik had been doing or if she was just thinking about where they were going and all that came with that.

Had Alik truly been focusing Enadar’s anger on him or was that just paranoia talking? Was his brother that crazy? Or was he?

Don’t Ruin the Popcorn

Author’s Note: So yesterday, when I couldn’t think of anything to do and thought I needed something sweet, some fluff, I asked for help with finding something. Liana Mir generously prompted me with “Alik, Malina, and Enadar have a popcorn party as teenagers.”

So now I can share a bit of the collaboration, a brief look into some of the fun and family dynamics of the three Kallas siblings who share a close bond despite everything.

Don’t Ruin the Popcorn

Malina mock-glared at her oldest brother. “Now, Alik, you’re not allowed to ruin it.”

Alik gave her a look. “It’s popcorn. It’s already ruined. When I gave it to him last week, I thought it was a good idea. He has made it every night since, and it is not a good idea.”

She sighed, reaching over to touch Alik’s cheek. “Please. One more night. You know that it’s the only thing that has made him smile since we had to leave Holteshire.”

Alik was quiet, his eyes shifting with his thoughts, and she almost asked him about them, but then Enadar burst into the door, spilling his bowl of popcorn as he did. “What is taking you so long? I thought we all agreed—popcorn and comedies. All night long.”

“We agreed to comedies?” Malina asked, glancing at Alik. “Since when do you watch comedies?”

“Since I swear I found films that will make even the robot laugh,” their younger brother announced, bouncing over to Alik’s side and dragging him toward the other room. Malina had to smile, shaking her head as she picked up the other bowls and carried them in with her.

She sat down in between her brothers, knowing that was the only way any of them would survive the night, giving Alik his popcorn before settling in. He looked down at it like he might make it explode, and she kicked his foot. “No.”

His eyes darkened, but he did not touch the popcorn.

Enadar started laughing in an obnoxious manner at some joke that wasn’t that funny, and Alik found a use for his popcorn—throwing it at him with every guffaw. Enadar frowned before throwing some in return, and Malina grimaced as she got caught in the crossfire, wondering why she couldn’t have had at least one sister instead of two brothers.

Still, while it was messy, Enadar was still laughing. Alik actually smiled. No, he hadn’t ruined things at all.