It wasn't long before I was seated with several other Darkbloods around a large unlit bonfire. A couple, along with three children, were busying themselves in preparing a feast for everyone in the camp while Rebecca and Sven went to retrieve my brother. Whispers had already traveled around camp about how he would be the only Lightblood leaving their camp alive, but I couldn't be bothered by that. I was shaking with excitement and fear, anticipating the arrival of answers, but a large part of it was the suspsense of finally being able to hold my oldest brother again, and return him home safely.
"Cloud," someone called softly. Several people, most likely not named Cloud, turned in unison with me as I craned my neck, spotting Sven and Rebecca holding a slumped form between them.
Oh god, I thought, scrambling toward them. Terrance.
"Terrance!" I cried, falling to my knees in front of Rebecca and Sven. My wings, which had been out for a while, flared, knocking the Darkbloods away. My tail swirled until it was encircling us as I embraced my brother, tears streaming down my face.
"What did they do to you?" I sobbed quietly, holding his shaking body close to mine. He was thinner, and dirty, though he was physically fine. Someone had obviously tended to him after I arrived and tried to improve his condition.
I shivered as a deep, raspy voice that still had a hint of Terrance's tone spoke directly in my ear. "C-Clo...Cloud?" He choked, parched. His entire weight leaned into mine and I nearly toppled over until my wings flapped, pushing us up.
"Cloud?" He said again, shifting backward to look me in the eyes. Instantly, my Darkblood form melted away. I was back to his little sister, a powerless Lightblood, who looked and acted like herself. Not some multi-talented, legendary mix of both.
Not someone confused, who should've been able to save him sooner.
My eyes watered, fresh tears rolling down my cheeks. I wanted to scream and dance around the fire at the same time, but the eyes of dozens of Darkbloods kept me rooted in place. Any of them would attack my innocent brother unless I was there to stop them.
"You came for me," he said in wonder, bright eyes wide. "You saved me, Cloud. Oh my god, you saved me."
He leaned his forehead into mine, holding me there as his body shook. For the first time in my life, I saw my brother cry.
"I'm so sorry," I choked, brushing dirt off of him. "I should've come sooner. I am so sorry, Terrance. I love you so much, I should've come sooner."
His hand clamped over my mouth, forcing me to be quiet. Eyes I'd seen only on his twin looked back at me, the only part that was still purely Terrance.
What happened to you?
What did I do?
"You came, Cloud. That's enough," he corrected me. He leaned in for another hug before he froze, hands clamping around my shoulders. Something flickered past my senses and instead of letting my brother defend me, I whirled around, Darkblood form appearing out of my body as I snarled, hand wrapping around the hilt of an axe that was aimed to go over me and hit my Lightblood brother. Another werewolf stared at me in shock, glancing at my tail as it hovered in the air, covered in spikes that ruined Rebecca's face until her superhuman healing abilities kicked in. The girl was younger than I was, her entire body quivering in fear as I snarled.
"You don't touch him," I whispered, leaning close to her face. She nodded, trying to pull away from my grip. I laughed darkly, my grip tightening until my nails cut through the wooden handle.
Looking over her shoulder, I saw a mix of stunned and respectful expressions.
"None of you touch my brother! None."
They bowed their heads, and once each one of them were frozen in submission, I released the wolf. She scrambled away, sobbing as her heart pounded so loudly I could hear it. I turned back to Terrance and helped him to his feet, watching as he gently brushed his fingers along my wings.
"You... Have a lot to explain."
"Then come eat, and I'll start talking."
It wasn't long until everyone had calmed, their respect causing them to be cautious not to hurt Terrance. Sven led celebrations, and Rebecca made it obvious that she was the clown of the camp as everyone laughed everytime she opened her mouth. My brother got to eat whatever he pleased, and children of the camp helped me clean him up, listening to my stories of the farm and Kai.
It took longer to explain who I had become to my brother. We'd taken a tour of camp, following two little girls, sisters with power over the elements, allowing us time to talk things out since the girls were both deaf. They would come to us, show us something about the village, and then run ahead while I told my brother about what had happened since he'd been taken.
"And that's the full story," I told him as we'd been returning to the bonfire. "You're one of the handful of people who know it all."
He'd come through as a big brother as he pulled me to a stop, holding my hand as I looked back at him.
"Cloud," he began, "you're still my sister, and you always will be. In the end, you came for me. That's what matters."
I hugged him quickly, keeping the tears out of my eyes before we slipped into our spots. A lot of eating later, mostly on his part, we were sitting comfortably, kept warm by blankets, while Rebecca told stories to everyone. She began a new one, catching my attention as Sven sat beside me, listening intently as well.
"Cursedbloods," she began, the word ringing out. People glanced at me, silence suffocating us all as suspense built up. "We all know their story.
"So let me tell you a new one."
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