Why are families important? What do families provide that we cannot find on our own?
Tarathiel stood off to the side of the hospital room, putting distance between himself and the exuberant displays of affection the rest of his team gave their fearless leader. Deidre was joyfully crying at Todd’s head. Cari stood opposite her, perfectly symmetric in tears and joy. Vaughn had one of Todd’s hands clasped tightly in his own, and he clapped it gently with the other, all the while murmuring praises and blessings to some deity or another. Even Ash’s cool façade broke as she leaned against the end of the bed, chuckling as she hurled half-hearted insults at him for being so gloriously foolish.
This was not the first time Todd had woken in a medical bay after a mission. Tar wished the other man would act less recklessly, but knew he should be grateful Todd was alive at all this time. The Empress could have blasted him out of the sky before he even broke the atmosphere. She could have had him killed on her ship at any time, but she had kept him alive.
He cast a furtive glance at the curtain around the other bed in the room. The young man behind it had the same dusty brown hair that Todd had, though his was cut more in a Mosari style. The Empress’s right hand. The knight to counter Faelurion’s own. A man Todd could never beat. His own brother. Stolen away after the initial wave, believed dead for years. Tar wondered how much human was left in Jack, replaced with Mosari indoctrination. Was he even still Todd’s brother?
A quiet hushing announced another visitor as the door slid open. Faelurion entered, leaning heavily on a crutch as she hobbled in. They greeted her with cheers as well. Her battle had not been an easy one either.
She joined him along the wall, slightly separated from the rest. She grinned up at him. “Everyone looks to be having fun.”
Tar nodded. “We’re all glad to have King back on Earth. Yourself as well.”
She narrowed her eyes and lifted her chin as though she suspected a lie. “So why are you here in a corner instead of celebrating with the others?”
He looked over at the laughing group of humans with Todd at their center. How could he explain it? He was an outsider. Had been since the formation of the “Todd Squad,” as King liked to call them. They had been through many difficult missions together, and Cari had finally warmed up to him. She had been the last holdout. But he still felt he should give them their distance. “It is enough that I am here,” he answered her.
Fae placed a gentle hand on his arm. “They won’t reject you. You’re as good as family now.”
He stared at her curiously. The human concept of family was complex. Blood only mattered to some. Love and trust were the important parts, and loyalty to a degree. Bonds shared between people of similar experiences could sometimes be stronger than those between blood relatives. He saw it in how his friends teased each other and supported each other and even in the way they fought each other, however short-lived such arguments were. They had even treated him the same way.
“Oh.” His mind clicked as it recognized the signs. He had been so busy lamenting the loss of his blood that he hadn’t even stopped to consider he had another family waiting for him. Smiling, he helped Fae over to Todd’s bed and they joined in the celebration with their new family.
Notes: Family is there to support you when you need supporting, to share in your feelings, happy or sad or angry, to give you a kick in the rear when you’re being a stubborn mule, and to make fun of you to keep you humble. They may not always like you, but they love you, and they’re always there for you when you need them.
Family, blood and found, is a central theme to my alien invasion story. There are a lot of sibling and sibling-esque relationships that parallel and dance around and intersect each other. I wanted to write it from Tar’s point of view because I don’t think I’ve written anything in his POV yet and I wanted to get a little inside his head. He is an outsider after all, but they adopted his oblivious self anyway.
I had something else to say about family and found family being important in many stories, but I can’t remember the gist of it now and I am very sleepy. I’ve had a day. Also, there’s a non-zero chance tomorrow’s post gets pushed to Saturday on account of it’s been an insane week and I feel like I haven’t seen my husband since last weekend so we might just go on an adventure (read: date night) tomorrow. So if I don’t see you tomorrow, I’ll see you Saturday! Have a great Friday!
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