Chapter 1

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Lavinia watched as others passed her and hurriedly grabbed their carry-on luggage and tried to squeeze past each other. On her lap was a small bag containing her phone, headphones, wallet, and a bunch of letters she'd reread on the flight. She'd memorized each letter within days of receiving them, she could probably recite everything her siblings had sent her over the years that she'd been gone. The plane ride had been thirteen hours long, and she needed something to distract her from the aches and pains coursing throughout her body. She'd done her best to stretch before getting on the flight, even gotten permission to stretch and walk around the plane from the flight attendant when they were on hour six. It helped that Lavinia wasn't the only soldier on the plane and that several had asked how she was doing with her injuries.

It had been two months since Lavinia had been found after being captured, and two long months of checkup and physical therapy before they cleared her to fly back to the states. And the doctors on base had just barely cleared her when Lavinia sprung at the ability to go home. She'd missed her family. She knew that was her own fault, she could have gone home but she always stayed in whatever location they stationed her. The only person from back home that had visited her was Maddy, her best friend and just about the only person Lavinia had seen from her hometown since she was 18 years old and left for the army. She'd talked to her siblings on video chat and wrote letters to others, but Maddy was the only person she has physically been in contact with since leaving.

As Lavinia thought about all of that, she'd made her way off of the plane and was standing in front of the baggage claim waiting for her duffel to appear so that she could grab it. It was as she was standing there that she was approached by a woman in her mid-thirties who had slightly watery eyes as she approached Lavinia.

"Excuse me ma'am,I... Sorry for interrupting you." The woman said, obviously trying to keep her emotions in check. "I just, I just want to say thank you. You risked your life to make sure that my husband could come home. This was his last tour and... my family is forever grateful."

"You're welcome ma'am. I tried my best for all of those I served with." Lavinia said to the woman before looking and seeing the man in a wheelchair not too far away from them. She lifted her right hand and resisted wincing at the small twinge of pain it caused on her side. She saluted the man who was also saluting her. Lavinia lowered her hand a moment, and watched as the woman returned to her husband's side and they left. She turned back to the baggage claim just in time to see her duffel right in front of her and grab it off the belt.

 

Lavinia made her way into the lobby, having finished adjusting her bags to carry them comfortably and not irritate her injuries. It was then that she looked up and noticed six individuals who were trying to look around or over people's heads. Across the area was the Daniels family. Alexandria was the first to lock eyes with Lavinia, and as Lavinia walked towards them Alexandria sprinted to her daughter, arms open wide. Lavinia had just enough time to drop her bags lightly before her mother was colliding with her and wrapping her arms around her in a tight embrace. Lavinia did her best not to cringe at the contact and tight embrace. Her mother didn't seem to notice but William, Lavinia's father, gave her a questioning look before wrapping his own arms around the two women. His hug was far more gentle than Alexandria's.

That hug could only last a few moments before Cassandra's arms wiggled through the embrace and managed to get herself between Alexandria and Lavinia. William was a smart man and knew when to accept defeat from his children, and pulled himself away from the hug. Eventually Alexandria got pushed away from Lavinia, more like pulled away. Demetrius, Penelope, and Lex replaced her and the five Daniels siblings clung to each other.

Something inside of Lavinia unlocked as her siblings hugged her. Something that she'd locked away before she'd left. The reaction was immediate. A small bloom of magic surrounded the siblings. The source of the magic was the five siblings. Lavinia and her siblings coming into contact with each other unlocked the magic that Lavinia had carefully and meticulously packed deep inside of herself so as not to accidentally use it. For those that were supernatural users of magic, they could see the swirls of; Blue, red, green, orange, tendrils of magic wrapping around the tight compacted purple. Their magic was trying to get Lavinia's magic to unfurl itself. Her magic, like herself, holds steady and doesn't give into the incessant pull of the siblings' magic.

 

Somehow, the five siblings maneuvered themselves out of the hug, with Demetrius keeping his arms wrapped around Lavinia's shoulders. He was guiding her toward the doors while Lex grabbed up Lavinia's bags that had been dropped. Cassandra kept herself pretty close to Lavinia, walking on her other side, while avoiding touching her. Penelope somehow ended up at the front of everyone and people just seemed to part out of her way.

As they stepped out the doors and into the Michigan sunshine, Lavinia tilted her head up towards the sun and closed her eyes for a few moments as they walked. Lavinia trusted her younger brother to guide her to wherever they were headed. He is one of the few people that Lavinia trusted explicitly, mainly because Demetrius is her younger brother. The others she trusted were Cassandra, her youngest sister, and their father. Lavinia wasn't sure she'd ever truly trust her mother again after what happened when she was a teenager.

Lavinia was pulled from her musing as Demetrius came to a stop beside a small SUV. She watched as Lex put her bag into the back after Penelope opened the back hatch. The five of them seemed to move in sync like they'd never been apart. It wasn't until Alexandria cleared her throat slightly that Lavinia thought that her parents might like it if she rode with them back to the Daniels family manor.

"Don't mind your mother sweetheart, the five of you go on." William said as he stopped Alexandria from stepping forward to grab Lavinia. Instead, he wrapped his arm around his wife and guided her to his car two parking spots away from their son's car, and waved goodbye to the five of their children.

"Let's get this show on the road." Demetrius said as everyone climbed into the car. Demetrius in the driver's seat, Lex front passenger seat, and the three girls in the back. This was probably because Cassandra was simultaneously attached to Lavinia's side, and distant to her.

It was almost like a silent signal went off in the car after they'd been on the road for a few minutes. Because everyone started talking at once. Everyone except Cassandra. As they drove, Penelope somehow won out on getting to talk, because the boys quieted up so that Lavinia didn't have to listen to three different stories at simultaneously. Lavinia might be good at listening and multitasking, but multi-listening was not a great talent she possessed, at least not with three people in her immediate vicinity she couldn't.

"I can now enhance material with my magic! I understand the construction of clothing through every step of the process, starting all the way at harvesting the raw materials. You have to see my loom, it was custom made for me. My mentor gave it to me!" Penelope said, as she gracefully moved her hands around in the air and pulled a basket onto her lap and started to actually spin raw fibers into thread.

Lavinia just stared at the spinning material in Penelope's hands. She could just slightly see the blue glow to Penelope's hands as she worked.

"Wait, what if a normal person comes into contact with that material?" Lavinia asked concern lacing her voice, her eyebrows scrunching together.

"I was taught how to balance and use only the slightest amount of magic, I am still learning, obviously. Elder seamstress, yes that is what she's called, is my mentor and we have video chats once a week now. And I'll probably head back to her cabin in August." Penelope said, waving off Lavinia's concern.

It was then that Lex took up the proverbial talking stick and told Lavinia about football. He was apparently a so-called star player. But he still kept time to go to study and practice his magic. Apparently Gran had blocked his powers for two weeks when he used his powers at practice to one up someone. Now Lex was relegated to spending either one hour every day at Gran's practicing magic, or he had to spend Friday through Sunday with her. Lavinia didn't think that was much of a punishment after using his powers to cheat, but she hadn't been around to give her two-cents on the matter.

Demetrius picked up talking after Lex was quiet for a few moments. He told Lavinia about school and how she would be able to come to his graduation in the fall. He was graduating a semester early with honors. And was going to work on starting up his own business. Apparently William was helping him out by introducing Demetrius to people that worked in agriculture around No One. Hopefully, with him saving up and living at home he'd be able to get his own apartment soon and start working from home. Though Lavinia didn't know how somehow working in agriculture could exactly work from home in an apartment, her brother would be the one to figure it out.

It was when the others picked up conversation with each other and started telling Lavinia stories about stuff that happened at the house in the six years that she'd been gone, Cassandra had been quiet the entire car ride. Sweet and soft Cassandra, who was very carefully keeping herself from pressing into Lavinia's right side. Lavinia's right side that had been twinging for the majority of the time that they'd been in the car. Lavinia thought that she really needed to stretch when they got home, or maybe even if they needed to stop for gas. What was more important to Lavinia in that moment was Cassandra, she didn't care about her aching ribs and joints. She glanced out the window and noticed that they weren't too far from No One, so she made a decision.

"Pull the car over." Lavinia said, voice sharp and commanding.

 

Demetrius quickly pulled the car over to park at the side of the road. Lavinia noted that he'd chosen a more scenic route to take home so that the five of them had more time as just the five of them. In that moment Lavinia was thankful, because it meant the road was empty of traffic besides them and no one could see her push Cassandra out of the car and climb out after her. The other Daniels siblings watched confused as the two of them exited the car.

"You're silent. Why are you silent? You're never silent, you're fucking Cassandra Daniels, never silent a day in your life!" said Lavinia, reaching to place her hand on Cassandra's shoulder.

"ME! You're worried about me! What about you? Do you have no thoughts about your own wellbeing?" Cassandra yelled, wind around them picked up slightly blowing Cassandra's skirt around.

"I'm right here, I'm right fucking here in front of you." Lavinia said taking a calming breath in doing her best not to take too deep of a breath.

"Physically, yes, you're here." Cassandra said, throwing her hands in the air.

"Then why are you so cold right now? Where is the warm Cassandra? You go from hugging me to giving me the silent treatment? What the fuck, Cass?" Lavinia said, as her own hair swirled up unnaturally.

"BECAUSE YOU DIED!" Cassandra screamed, eyes turning white, red tendrils of magic burst out swirling around her in a small magical vortex.

Lavinia could see some of the red tendrils gently trying to stroke Cassandra's hair to soothe her. It was also at that moment and because of her outburst that the other Daniels children jumped out of the car.

"DIED?" rang the chorus of the other Daniels siblings' voices.

"Cass, I'm right here." Lavinia said softly, stepping forward, not caring that Cassandra's magic could hurt her. Lavinia softly wrapped her arms around Cassandra. "I'm right here."

"I felt you die. You didn't even care about yourself. You were dead." Cassandra cried, eyes turning from white back to their natural deep chocolate color.

The wind settled around them.

"I never wanted you to feel that." Lavinia said, running her fingers through Cassandra's no longer swirling hair.

"You died?" Demetrius said, choking on the words, and possibly even the thought of Lavinia being dead.

"That's why you flinched when you got hugged at the Airport, you're injured, aren't you?" Lex said, moving to wrap his arms around his twin, Cassandra in turn clung to him instead of Lavinia.

With a soft yet sad smile, Lavinia lifted her shirt just enough that her siblings could see the bandages wrapped firmly around her torso, and slowly she pointed to her left leg and upper right arm. Penelope had tears running down her face, as Demetrius sniffled and carefully pulled Lavinia into a hug and buried his face in her hair. Carefully all of the Daniels siblings hugged Lavinia once more, this time aware of her injuries. When they pulled out of the hug they all quickly apologized for not being careful before.

"Can we stop and get Ice Cream, we need a pick me up?" Lavinia asked as they climbed back into the Car, Lavinia in front this time.


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