It was probably past midnight when we finally got to the farm. My knuckles pounded against the door with an urgency that would rouse at least Charles. Terrance paced the porch, a living ball of nerves as footsteps came toward the door. He jumped in fright as it swung open to reveal none other than our mother.
She took one glance at me, and that was all that happened before I felt my neck twist, pain radiating through my cheek.
"Get away from here," she snarled, clearly unashamed of hitting her own daughter. The woman hadn't even noticed her son, back home safe and sound, and began to slam the door shut.
I growled, throwing myself at the thin wood. My strength outmatched hers by quite a lot, and she stumbled back from the door, causing enough commotion to awaken the men of the house. My father and two other brothers came stumbling from their rooms, rubbing their eyes and yawning.
"Cloud!" Charles exlaimed, arms wrapping around me as he squeezed the air from my chest. I tapped his shoulder, signaling I wanted to be let go, and he complied.
"Why are you here?" Charles asked, eyes wide in excitement. I opened my mouth to answer when a certain annoyance decided to butt in.
"It doesn't matter why!" My mother snapped, eyes wild with hatred. "The demon needs to leave!"
I winced, clenching my fists. Just outside the door, Terrance was hovering, hearing my mother's cruelty for the first time. I could imagine the rage on his face, the frustration from how I was treated.
Deal with it, I told myself, you need to deal with it as if it isn't a problem.
"I will leave. But first, there's someone you need to see," I countered, shifting to look out the door. Terrance got the message, a dark look on his face as he stepped out into the open. His eyes were filled with hatred, and focused on our mother.
My father and brothers gasped while my mother fell to her knees in shock, hand over her mouth. Charles and Warren held their breath, watching as Terrance came to my side. Then they leapt at him, incasing him in their arms as they squealed various things in joy. My father, instead of going straight to Terrance, wrapped his arms around me, holding me tight.
"You did it, Cloud," he whispered, on the verge of tears. "You brought him back."
I nodded, holding his shirt in my fist. "It was easy, I just had to break a few rules," I joked weakly, burying my face in the rough cloth of the garment. He placed his chin on my head, chest heaving as he let out a shaky breath. When my brothers were done suffocating each other, they stepped back so that my father could greet his eldest son, and came to me. Warren ruffled my hair, patting my shoulder, clearly still stunned. The brother closest to me, Charles, did something much different. His wrapped around my waist and he lifted me up, spinning around before setting me back down.
"You did it, Cloud! You really did it!" He cheered, holding my face in his hands as he laughed, his cheeks shiny from tears. I laughed as well, grabbing both of them in a hug.
That left our mother, who shakily stood up as the welcomes died down. She stared back at the five of us smiling and giggling, our arms still tangled around each other. She and Terrnace made eye contact, causing his anger to return. The oldest Rose child stepped forward, hands balling into fists as he loomed over our mother.
"How. Could. You." He snapped, making her flinch. I nearly stepped in to stop him, but Charles held onto my wrist, shaking his head.
"She's your daughter! Your only one! The one you spend girls' days with and laugh with and the one who braids your hair when you can't and who helps you pick out clothes for when you have important events. What the hell is wrong with you?!"
My mother puffed her chest out, unable to back down from a fight whether she was losing or winning. "Don't talk to me like that! I'm your mother!"
Terrance growled, slamming his hand into the wall beside him. We all flinched, and I felt myself teetering in between Lightblood and Darkblood forms.
"The woman who loved all four of her rowdy children was my mother! The one who cherished her goofy twins, indulged in her son's curiosity and loved her daughter even if she had no power. The woman who raised all four of us to know what hard work was, and who taught us to be afraid od the dark because that's where we would get hurt," Terrance shouted, hitting the wall again. My father stepped forward, forcing his arm back down to his side. His shoulders slumped forward, but he held his head high.
"You," Terrance spat, "are no longer that woman, Alice."
My mother, Alice Rose, sputtered in anger. She turned to our father, her eyes wild with frenzied anger.
"Do you hear how your son is speaking to me, Jeremy?!" She screeched, pausing as my father sighed.
"Alice," my father began, his voice tired, "enough. You shun our daughter and call Terrance my son. Well, if you don't want these children anymore, then you're not in our family. Get out."
Tears exploded from her eyes in an instant. Charles, Warren and Terrance watched as they woman they had begun to hate stomped over to me, shoving her finger in my face.
"You demon child!" She hissed, her nail swiping across my cheek, drawing blood. "You will pay for this! The Queen should've let those Darkbloods take you! You'll die for this. You'll die because of your blood--"
Charles growled, slapping his hand over her mother. Without another word, he began to drag her out of the still-open door. The rest of us stood frozen, listening to her muffled screams as the youngest brother got rid of her. The twins sighed, leaning into each other for support while my father came to my side, taking my hand. My eyes were fixated on the floors, trying to see past the black spots dancing in my vision. While I could heal my injuries quick enough -- the cut from her nail was already gone -- the emotional trauma continued to haunt me, and I felt myself swaying.
My father caught me easily as my knees gave out, his voice gently whispering in my ear that he had me. He and Warren lifted me up, carrying me to my old room as Charles got Terrance settled back in.
What a long day, I thought as I began to let the darkness take over, too exhausted to fight. I can't believe he's back.
And as I drifted off, a single word hung in my mind.