Introductions and Explanations

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"How does he look?" Shi asked when Az and Kansas walked into the apartment.

The little ones had gone back to sleep on Cy's bed, trusting Az and Kansas to find Raven and fix things. Cy wished he could be that confident. The little ones did not understand Free Will, or maybe they understood more than the rest.

Tristan resumed his bouncing and Signing while they waited. The boy was talking to someone even though he denied it. It gave him a modicum of calm and Cy didn't want to pry. Tris would tell them when he was ready.

Ross had gone downstairs to the coffeehouse. Cy's younger brothers, Jesse and Maddox were working the counter, and Madd was promised to Ross. Ross wasn't as high strung as his twin, but then, he didn't balance colors meant for two Essences instead of one.

Shiloh stood in front of the window until that moment, staring out at the city as if the answers to all of their problems could be found in the flickering of lights as the residents of Hours ended their night.

Cy studied his twin's face and Az smiled as he held up the empty vial. Cy had known Raven drank the blood. There was a recognition in the colors, but Raven's still shied away from his.

"Eighteen," Kansas laughed. "Dad's got both of the Humans working for Crow on his ass."

"Did he see you?" Tristan asked.

"No. We came in through the door, so dad didn't even look up. I chose a table in the dark and Az talked to him," Kansas said. "We didn't need him freaking because I was there. The battle was bad." He shuddered. "I've never seen so many Order missing limbs. Some were holding their heads on their necks as they staggered to Death's Door. When Syra asked me to add my blood to the majick, I didn't think about why. I mean dying on the battlefield is different than having to drag your ass back and burn your Vessel yourself."

"How did dad handle that?" Shi asked.

"He was good. He knew them all and spoke to a few. Mainly he tended bar. Connor didn't show," Kansas answered.

"Az, now what?" Shi asked.

Cy's cell vibrated with a text message and he stared at the screen.

'This is Raven.'

The next read, 'Thank you for the blood.'

The third came before Cy could form a response. Jumping into a conversation with his mate, who thought he didn't exist in the first place was hard.

'May I ask your name?'

Cy smiled because that question he could answer. 'Cyan RêverFeLiSe. Raven, you are welcome'.

'What do you look like? You weren't in the bar.'

'Oh, I love you!' Cy typed and tapped send before he could think better of it.

'Meet me for coffee?'

'Grounds?' Cy replied.

'I'd rather not go back to town? There's a diner called Millie's in the old part of Hours on Route 2?'

'I'll be there in thirty minutes.' Cy tapped send and Mead tapped his hand.

"That papa?" the baby asked and Cy smiled.

"It is, Little Man. You wanna get some breakfast with me?" he asked. Shi and Kansas were still in conversation with Az over the bar and Lou along with Gracie had left during his conversation with Raven. "Where are--"

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