“Mom? Momma?" A hand rocks Maddy's shoulder, soft and small and oh so needy.

"Come on, Scottie," another voice interrupts, and Maddy knows instantly that's Nathan, always playing the good older brother. "We can't wake her up."

"Too late for that," Madelyne mumbles, opening a bleary eye. She can see Scotty, eyes wide, lip quivering, and Nathan, his glass eye seemingly just as annoyed as his real one as he tries to tug Scotty away. Madelyne reaches out, gripping his wrist, gently tugging them both to her. "What's the matter, darlings? Are you missing your father?"

Scotty rubs at his eyes, hiccups and nods. Madelyne sits up, her hair heavy and messy, and gently pulls Scotty to her, Nathan letting go. He's such a teenager, acting as if he's above simple affection.

Pushing was never the thing to do, though. Madelyne lets him stay there as she rubs Scotty’s shoulders, his back,smiling softly at him in a way only a mother could. “Scottie, baby, Father is with Tom, right now. He’ll be back soon, I promise.

Scotty sniffs, and Madelyne pulls him into a tighter hug, and feels the baby inside of her turn flipflops.

The radio plays cheerfully as she packs their lunches, directing them with her fingers. The magic flows so easily from her, and she dances as she goes. Scottie, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with no crusts; for Nathan, a turkey and ham sandwich with everything except tomatoes; for Gryffin, a turkey sandwich with extra turkey. All three of them have seperate lunch boxes that open one by one: Scottie's has rocket ships, Gryffin’s plain lunch box, already filled with notes; and Nathan’s own, battered Star Wars lunch bag. All of them are arranged perfectly, as all three of them run around upstairs.

As for Maddy, she’s only too happy to get them out of the house. Koriand’r and Matt were due over soon -- and her god son was going to come visit, finally walking.

She smiles; if anyone could brighten her days more, it was them coming to visit. It could keep her mind from the baby, from worrying about the birth. And, of course, from the impending visit from her parents. Even after all this time, after the divorce, Madelyne was still nervous about having them in the same room.


“Gryffin said a bad word!” Scotty flies down the steps, holding onto the rail and running as fast as his little legs can carry him. Gryffin comes hot on his heels, his foot falls heavy. “Gryffin said a bad word!”

Madelyne turns and she has to suppress a sigh as Scotty makes a beeline to her, Gryffin’s face splotched in anger. “You messed up my sheets! I needed those!” He looks near to tears in anger, and Scotty ducks behind Madelyne’s legs as self defense.

“They’re not real,” Scotty says, his voice high and defensive. It’s… strange. Scotty, out of all of them, was the one who seemed to always be easiest to get along with. Scotty damaging anyone’s things was so unlike him. Madelyne looks down at him, and frowns.

“Baby, no. That’s not how you apologize to Gryffin,” she looks at her middle son, and with a wave of her fingers, summons the ruined sheet music to her. Looking at it is strange, too: Scotty’s written WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP over and over again in desperate, frantic scribbles.

Something in her chest tightens, and Madelyne frowns. She glances down at Scotty, who stares up at her with wide, concerned eyes. She opens her mouth to ask about it, when the horn honks from the bus.

Startled, she drops the papers, glances at the clock and sees that they’re late. “Shit! Scotty, Gryffin, we’ll straighten this out later! Get your bags, come on, come on!”

Madelyne rushes them all around the table, calls for Nathan. Everything is a whirlwind as she helps all three of them onto the bus, and by the time she’s waving them off, she’s forgotten all about the sheet music.

When she walks inside, the sheets are gone, and she presumes that Gryffin must’ve taken them instead.