The Other Way Around -5-

Polishing done :)
I hope..

Enjoy.
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Cupids Bow.

She was a sweet young girl. As she slowly became on the mend from her horrifying experiences she seemed to search for solitude, but she still refused me to leave her side for any longer periods. So I missed most of the excitement, not that I minded that much, she sort of grew on me. After staying inside the room for some days I started to take her with me to the lake. At first she had refused to go outside, but as I told her about those big white birds My Lady held there in the lake she at last relented. We also took for habit to bring some sandwiches and fruit with us, and then just sit there and talk. She still had trouble remembering much of her former life, but the physician had reassured her that it should all come back to her, given time and patience. At times I found so much of Emilia in her that I got all confused and seeing it she would laugh and tell me that 'My big sister', as she had started to call My Lady, wasn’t her, making me smile. To keep it simple I had started to call her Mouse, cause that's how I found her to be, small and nimble in her manners, and so quick of mind.

While we were sitting there one day she turned to me looking very serious. She then asked me what month and day it was. To my shame I had to admit that I didn’t really know. She stared at me with those big eyes, asking disbelievingly ‘Why?’ I started to describe the way I had arrived, and without planning too I found myself ending up with telling her my whole life’s story. She listened quietly to the very end, and then stretched out her arm to hold my hand. ‘I think you've been most brave." She said. 'That must have been lonesome’. I smiled at her, ‘no, not any more’ watching her lovely face, already so known to me. ‘Not when I have my Mouse, your big sister, and a whole ship of friends’. She blushed a little at my praise but smiled back. ‘Come.’ she said as she rose from the bench. ‘Let us go and say hallo to my sister’. It took us little time to localize her. Emilia had started to spend more and more time at the Bridge with the Pilot as her homecoming came closer. ‘Hello little sister’ she said as she smiled at us both, ‘you’re lucky to come now, if you look out on the port side you’ll see Home’.

We all looked out, As I looked I could see something, more resembling a strangely formed griddlecake than any planet I ever had seen, sort of melting, far away. ‘Yes’ said Mouse happily ‘that’s my Home’, but then she suddenly became quiet and started to tremble. Observing it Emilia rushed to her side, holding her in her arms she whispered, ‘You’re ours now Mouse. And we all love you for it. Father and Mother will be so happy to meet you.’ Mouse tried to smile back, but you could feel her fright all the same. And it wasn't long after it that I for the first time found her in my bed. As I woke up one morning, there she was, one arm wrapped around my neck, snoring to the skies. If I hadn’t needed the bathroom so urgently I think I could have laid there all day, just watching her, snores and all. How old was she I wondered as I washed my face in the basin. I better ask her I decided as I dried my hands. As I came back I found her gone from my bed, so I got dressed and then went into her room.

She was sitting in the couch reading a book, doing her best to look occupied. ‘Mouse, how old are you?’ I bluntly asked. She blushed furiously but answered ‘I’m not sure, it depends on what day it is?’ I had checked that up but forgotten to tell her. ‘Oh mouse, I'm sorry, I forgot. It’s wishday today, on the moth of Galad’ir. She looked up from th book seeming surprised, ‘Then it’s my birthday tomorrow’ she cried, ‘And I will be sixteen.’.

I smiled ‘Well, Happy Birthday then Mouse. And another thing, not that I mind, but why were you snoring in my bed?’ If eyes could kill, I doubt I would have been standing there. 'I didn’t snore! Who told you so?’ she cried. ‘That’s a lie, and I was never in your bed!’ With angry tears in her eyes she imperiously tried to stare me down as she said the last. ‘Mouse’ I said. ‘I’m really sorry, you don’t snore, and I don’t mind in the least if you want to sleep in my bed. In fact I feel much safer when you do.’ I lied. She scrutinized my face. ‘Honestly, I do! It's so big.’ I said.

After a while she smiled, a little wanly. ‘Some times when I wake up in the middle of the night I feel so lonely’ she quietly admitted, and looking up at me she continued. ‘It feels better when I’m near you’. I nodded ‘That’s good enough for me Mouse, but maybe we need to talk it over with your sister? We are going to meet My Lady's, and yours, family soon, and they may not be so understanding?’ I watched Mouse mulling it over, what I'd said, and in the end she reluctantly agreed. So later we talked it over with Emilia, she giving us her full and undivided attention for once.

After I, and Mouse, had finished she thoughtfully looked at us, first Mouse and then me, then she told me. ‘Could you leave us girls be for a while Laurel? I need to talk alone with my little sister’. I felt a little disheartened hearing her, but if that was what they wanted ...When she called me back she addressed us both, ‘As Mouse and I both have our birthday tomorrow we will discuss a better solution then. As for tonight I give my consent, so if you have any nightmares Mouse?’ Yes, I must admit that my sleepiness came early that night, and as the morning came I took great care not to wake my Mouse. I wanted her to stay where she was. So as she woke up I was already sitting there, contemplating her.

I loved the way she blushed, and her smile to. That day I think must have been my best ever, to me everything was just perfect. In the afternoon, as we joined the small birthday party Mouse and Emilia told me that they had thrown together, well, maybe small for them but to me seemed as if the whole ship was there? Emilia took me by surprise as she near the end stood up, saying. ‘And friends, I have a happy announcement to make. Today my little Sister Emilia and my apprentice Laurel will declare their betrothal.' There was a surprised silence, and then somebody started to cheer. Later Puss came up to me growling. ‘That was about time boy, why did you keep her waiting? She’s a mighty fine feline she is.’ and Alfred, well, he just smiled shaking his head ‘In the calmest of waters my boy, in the calmest of waters.’

It sure took me by surprise though, so when people started to call out for me to kiss her I didn't know what to do at first. I went up to Mouse and and whispered, almost accusingly ‘So Mouse. Was that what you two discussed?’ By answer she graciously gave her lips to mine, and releasing them an eternity later she studied my stupefied expression with the greatest of satisfactions, reminding me not so little of a cat that just had found a dish of whipped cream stoved away at some unexpected location. But, as My Lady later graciously explained, it meant that we two could continue share our room, even at her new home. And as for the rest, well, she would leave that to our own conscience. Which, I must admit, seemed to become more tractable for every night we spent together, growing at an alarming rate.

The Gathering

At last we were there, as I saw Home slowly growing closer and more colorful for every minute I became more and more impressed, it was so large, I thought to myself that one could walk there for a lifetime and not even getting halfway to it’s edge. It was also beautiful with blue skis, lots of green pastures, and wilderness, all dotted in with woods and mountains. And one could see tiny lakes sparkling under the sun. As we came into the harbor I even thought I saw a dragon, which as everyone knows, are supposed to be an extinct species. When I told Mouse that, she just laughed at me, and said that I had surprises coming to me.

It was a clear day with some few clouds at the sky. The Harbor Master, Master Klem, who had knew Emilia since her childhood gave her a big hug and Mouse got one to when he saw her. ‘So this is your new little Sister’ he said to my Lady, ‘she’s very cute.’ Mouse blushed as usual, but I noticed that she also appeared somewhat sad. ‘What is it Mouse?’ I asked her in a quiet moment for us self. ‘But, I know him’ she whispered, ‘He doesn’t remember me at all’.

It took all my fortitude not to lift her up there and then, to carry her back down to our chamber and safety. I knew now that she was going to meet a lot of folks that she would recognize but who wouldn’t know her at all. ‘Love’ was all I could say. ‘Remember they don’t do it from meanness. And they will learn to love you again. As I do, and Emilia and all of us.’

She was so brave that day, she smiled and hugged and laughed with the rest of us, but when evening came I asked Emilia to show us to our rooms, as I saw how near to despair she really was, she was starting to shake again. Emilia smiled at Mouse, went over and kissed her on her forehead. 'Come' she said, 'I knew the room you want, it’s my old one and I’m sure you’ll know it well. Remember Mouse, we are closer than sisters, you and me’ holding Mouse in one hand and me in the other she took us up an rambling stair trough a corridor, into a little homely room, wherefrom the little balcony one could look out over the whole Harbor. Mouse started to cry, but at the same time she looked happy, so I contented myself with just holding her, close to me. Emilia then smiled at us, and wishing us a good night she left us to our own.

‘Come’ said Mouse through her tears, ‘come and look.’ as she dragged me out on the balcony. There we found a little table, with a comfortable lounge-chair next to it. I sat down and drew Mouse to me. Then we just sat there looking out over the bay, the sun setting, holding each other. ‘Ooh Laurel, I want so much to go home’ said my Mouse at last. ‘I know.’ I said. ‘But I’m not sure it's possible. But if it is, I’m sure that Emilia will help us.’ And there I stopped and started thinking about what her real parents would think of her, bringing with her a lowborn peasant´? With a sinking feeling I started to doubt it all. Mouse who sometimes seemed able to read my mind looked at me and smiled, ‘Don’t worry, they would like you. You would be the hero who saved their little princess’ She promised. ‘You think so?’ I asked slightly doubtfully, but feeling a little better. I wasn’t that sure though, but, who knew? ‘Mouse, I’m freezing my ass off, would you mind very much if we went to bed?’ And on that happy note we finally laid ourselves down to rest. The next morning was crazy, so many people, so much food, and everyone in such a good mood. It was very pleasant, and I have to admit that I found there to be quite a few charming young lady’s too.

In the end I suspect they started to go on my Mouse's nerves though. But in a way I was rather pleased with it, it was still better than having her fall to pieces over the familiarity of everyone she meet. Later on there were dancing , and that was fun too. I had never done that before, well, we had barn dances at home too, but not as grand as this and not with such good music. Mouse took me up on the floor to teach me as I confessed to me being born with two right feet, and even if her poor toes started to hurt after a while we still had good fun. But then came Lady Emilia, her father and mother, and all her brothers to say their goodnight. We had meet them yesterday, but then everything had been like a blur, so it was nice to meet them in a more ‘quiet’ spot. In the end Mouse started to cry as Emilia's Mother hugged her, but it wasn’t as heartbreaking as the day before, and after a while she calmed down and was happy again.

AS we went to bed that second day she seemed much more collected. She turned to me and whispered. ‘Laurel, if this hadn’t happened I would never had meet you. And I love you so much.’ As I was pretty tired I didn’t listen that well, and I'm afraid that I just mumbled something back. ‘Laurel, wake up! I said I love you!!’ ‘Good Girl. Love you too, night.’ I mumbled, falling into a deep restful sleep. One that was going to be the last I would have for many nights to come. Because, as I woke up that next morning she was gone. At first I thought that she had gone out on the balcony maybe, to watch the view, so I called out to her. ‘Mouse, sweetie, come in. I’m freezing here.’ But when I got no answer I went out to look for her, finding that she wasn’t there. Now I started to get nervous, I looked down at the ground, silently thanking the Gods as I didn't found her laying down there. Leaving the room, rushing down the stairs, I called for her, at the same time trying my best to keep my voice down, as not to wake the rest of her family.

I searched through the whole house, then I went out in the yard and called for her. Emilia, being a light sleeper, came down to ask me what was going on and I told her that my Mouse had disappeared. Now more and more people were joining our search, and I was starting to get a very hollow feeling inside my stomach. In the end, after I had run all over the little town, hunting every shop and tavern, and been inside all the ships at anchor and .. Well, everywhere I could think of, I finally had to sit down. My stomach behaving like it was going to implode, feeling as if somebody had stolen my life away. But I couldn't give up my search.

Three days later some people found me miles from the house, still searching for her, I don’t really remember so much of that, though. I do remember a vivid dream wherein I’m begging her to come back, just to see her back slowly retreat from me. As they found me I refused to go back to the house, telling them that I needed to continue my search. It wasn’t until Emilia came, shaking some sense in me, that I started to wake up to reality again.

While I had been searching outside, she and some friends had made their own investigation, inside. After casting charms and searching as best as they could their conclusion were unanimous. Mouse had disappeared while still sleeping at my side. In other words, they thought that she had been brought back home. Furthermore they firmly assured me that it had worked out, that she was well and safe back home. And even though it, in one way was as if a stone fell from my chest, in another, it was as if a new one were laid upon me. I started to fear that I never would see her again, never to meet my Mouse again? As Emilia led me to my room, giving me a sleeping potion so that I could get some rest, my memories continued to plague me, what could I do? Thanking her I slowly felt asleep, still worrying about it as I felt the draught take hold. But, when morning came I had found my answer. It would solve two problems, Emilias and mine. She needed to know why the conjurers had tried to make a duplicate of her, and me? Me, I knew I would go to to any length to find my Mouse back, be it heaven or hell.

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