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A Fine Line (6)
Tom. Dunell dropped exhaustedly next to him.
Dunell, tu wel villen awon.--Dunell, you were gone awhile. He paused, waiting for her to speak. Adoin…adoin tu hah fuy nurse unz alnu familt ?--Do…do you have any news about my family?
Na…bi mos ni narau mo sond vail tu…tu masi getz sidso agiet…--Yes…but I'm not sure if I should show you…you may get sad again…
Sidso?--Sad? The other fairies pricked up their ears. Jutz adoin tu knew al sidzo?--How do you know about sad?
Tom lea lean familt alu ezua nos, bi lean sel casren allean familt.--Tom left his family to be here with us, but he still cares for his family. Dunell gave him a sideways look.
Na, mo luke nus, bi mo lije tu, ara.--Yes, I love them, but I love you too. He stroked one of her wings. Plean…--Please…
Dunell took his hand and led him toward the little pool. She dripped her fingers into the pool and hummed, her brow furrowing for a moment. Tom stared at her questioningly. Lut.--Look, she instructed and he turned his gaze to the pool.
It shimmered with colors and then began to solidify into a picture. Tom glanced uncertainly up at Dunell, who nodded, before bending down to look closer. In the pool, Tom could see his sister, Rese in the kitchen. He smiled, now that he didn't have to eat her cooking, he could see how hard she was trying to feed their family. Rese left the room and the image followed her. She entered their father's room and Tom stooped until the top of his nose touched the water. His father seemed to be sleeping, but when Reese placed her hand on his forehead, he opened his bloodshot eyes and moaned.
“Tom?” He whispered.
“No, father. Tom's not here.”
“I love you…both” He reached out to either side of him, one hand squeezing Resa's and the other squeezing an invisible one. Tom reached out unconsciously to touch the water.
“Father!” Rese pressed her hand against his forehead again and reached for his other hand. “Father, please don't leave us like mother did.”
Tom blinked and sat back heavily as the image faded. Dunell was watching him worriedly, and Inna and the others crept closer to get a better look at his face. Tom stared down at his hands. He began shake, and then sob quietly. Dunell reached out to touch him and he shied away before seeing the look of pain in her eyes and leaning into her.
“Oh, Tom…your family is hurting, right? I shouldn't have shown you.”
Sidso…sidso…aru sidsoal.--Sad… sad… so this is sad, the fairies murmured and crowded in closer.
Leas nos!--Leave us!, Dunell snapped and they hastily retreated.
Dunell! Dea's voice whipped into their minds. Brez lean almul! Nuw!--Bring him to me! Now!
Dunell wrapped her arms tighter around Tom protectively. “Tom, what are we going to do?”
“What do you mean?” Tom wiggled out of her grip. Nus kueth!--We come! He called to Dea and walked to the forest path.
Altu kuethen?--Are you coming?
Dunell gave him a sad look. Ni.--No.
Tom narrowed his eyes and pushed through the other fairies.
Waft!--Wait! Dunell ran to catch up to him, reaching him just as he tripped over a tree root. She scooped him up and pushed off from the ground. He wrapped his arms around her neck and cried softly into her shoulder as she sped toward the queen's enclosure.
Dunell set him down on the edge of the enclosure and gave him a quick squeeze, allowing him to wipe his eyes, before turning around. He bowed and made to approach Dea's throne, but Dunell laid a restraining hand on his arm and shook her head.
Dea looked at him with an unreadable expression, then turned to glare at Dunell. Quil al ruit leanu?--What is wrong with him?
Hah tu brueth lean saltu? Lean til tunu responitz!--Have you broken him already? He was your responsibility!
Tu antd uhuman!--You wanted a human!
Dea. Tom bowed again, removed Dunell's hand and stepped forward to kneel in front of her throne. Dea, quil hah mo adoinl ruit?--Dea, what have I done wrong?
She looked down at his red eyes with an expression of mild disgust, then her face softened momentarily. Noten tu venni hep, mul vusn. Letf mo, huwt adoin tu crilt?--Nothing you couldn't help, I'm sure. Tell me, why do you cry?
Bi mo sidso.--Because I'm sad.
Mo viel.--I see. Dunell, she motioned her forward. Dunell curtsied and knelt close to Tom. Sidso?--Sad?
Na, Dea. Almul guilz. Movalien lean alte familt.--Yes, Dea. It's my fault. I showed him his family.
Dea's eye brows shot up. Lean familt? Huwt?--His family? Why?
Bi mo quetzen leau.--Because I asked her to.
Dea flicked her eyes in his direction. Bi Huwt?--But why?
Mo knit leanen sidsoal mo ni vinnu. Mo oft guesl leanen sidsoal mo vinnu.--I knew he'd be sad if I didn't. I only guessed he'd be sad if I did.
Mu familt…nus neo mul.--My family…they need me.
Dea hissed softly. Tom, tu aprocen mul! Tu vunni les!--Tom, you promised me! You can't leave!
Tom frowned and looked down, then at Dunell. Mo aprocen Hope.--I promised Hope. He smiled slightly, but they could tell that it was strained. Mo lufa hene, tuzel. Mo ni wonz crilt fuy mu.--I'm happy here, truly. I won't cry anymore.
Dea's wings snapped open suddenly and he jumped into the air. Vunne falla almul! Dunell, mo triun, bi nos vift rudanu wen al humans!--Don't lie to me! Dunell, I tried, but we are not meant to live with humans!
She climbed higher into the air and turned her back on Tom. The other fairies, too, rose and turned away, most without giving him a second glance. Dunell threw her arms around Tom and crushed him to her, then stood. Tom looked up at her pleadingly.
Dunell! Kueth!--Come! Dunell took a step toward Dea, pulling Tom with her. No. Dea's voice softened unexpectedly and she turned to look back. Ezn tu mita adita altu kwen nooten alhumans. Tu vunni keppa casrenu al lean. Kueth!--Even you must admit that you know nothing of humans. You can't keep caring for him. Come! She held out her hand.
Dunell's eyes grew large as she saw the hand and she reached out automatically. Tom clinged to her, but with a last, sad glance at his face, she pulled him in to kiss his forehead and released him.
“It's for the best, dear little one.” Dunell took Dea's hand and kicked into the air, turning her back on him.
Tom stared at all of the fairies turned backs and swiped angrily at his eyes. Mo aproc, Hope, Mo wonz nif crilt.--I promise, Hope, I will not cry. He turned and fled into the forest, careful to stay on the path.
Vitel, tu masi conve.--Good, you may continue. Dea sat back again in his throne and smiled at them all. The fairies cast an anxious look at Dunell, who was staring straight ahead and dropped back into their groups. Inna flew up to Dunell and took her hand.
Kueth, Dunell.--Come, Dunell. She curtsied to Dea and led Dunell into the forest. She pulled her down next to the pool. Aviste al uhuman pitz wonz adoin tu vital.--A visit to the human world will do you good.
Ni, ni muv human pitz.--No, no more human world. Dunell fell into a heap on the ground.
“Dunell, quiet. What is wrong with you? You can't stay away from the human world!”
“Inna…” Dunell keened. Inna looked down at her in surprise.
“What are you doing?”
“Sad?” Inna knelt next to her and took her hand. “Tom changed you, didn't he?”
“I love him, Inna. I truly do…”
“Dea will never let you keep him now.”
Dunell nodded, stood and turned back toward the enclosure. “She'll call us back soon, just to be sure we didn't go to Tom.” She glanced at Inna to see how she reacted.
“Dunell, you're not thinking…”
“Please, Inna. He needs food.”
Inna threw her hands into the air. “I don't understand you, Dunell. You're turning human!”
“Shhh,” Dunell cautioned her and looked at her pleadingly. Inna pressed a hand to her heart, allowing her gaze to soften as she gazed into the forest.
“Maybe…maybe you're not the only one who cares for him.” She held out her hand for Dunell to take and together they both plunged into the pool, hurrying to find food for their human.