Vicky went over to her son, barely a year old. He was playing in the garden, under her watchful eye. He had a new toy bee (sewn by his mother himself, who had finally overcome her fear of needles) that he had named Jimbee. Her boy was half-buried in a bush of berries, his bee nowhere to be seen; probably in the bush with the top half of his body inside.
"Boys," she muttered as she crossed the small garden. "I turn away for a minute and when I turn back, half of him is missing."
Vicky pulled her son's waist and he came out with a rustle of bushes, Jimbee in one hand and ripe berries in the other. There were leaves in his hair, the tousled hair the color of fire, with three streaks of yellow in them; one of the extreme left and right of his mass of hair, and the third running right through the top of his head like a skunk's white stripe. He held up his handful of berries to show his mother.
"Mama," he grinned, eyes twinkling as he put it under her nose. She carried him to the back porch of the house and sat down there. "Ber-ry."
He sat in her lap and played with his bee and squashed his berries in the process. Vicky watched him, and thought at the same time.
After that incident in Skinner's house, she had grown stronger. She still woke up from nightmares, sometimes, of that night. That New Year's night that had changed the course of her life.
She sighed as James chattered happily to himself and Jimbee about the ripe berries. She ruffled his hair and gazed off in to the distance. Rodney Skinner... The man I love until this day. The man who taught me the meaning of love.
Her husband should be home soon, she thought. With him their older daughter, back from the library. They had agreed that their older child's education was to be more liberal that current times allowed. She was well-versed in math and language, and Vicky had even taught her elvish so that the girl was fluent.
She loved her husband so, and their children even more. Their daughter was from a previous marriage, but her birth mother had died when the child was young. James was much younger than his sister, by close to fourteen years.
There was the sound of the door opening out front, then the clatter of footsteps. Seconds later, a very loud thump.
"Honey, I'm home!" her husband's voice called, laughter in it. James sat right up and dropped the berries on the grass as he clambered up Vicky's shoulder to get a look at his father, standing tip-toed on her lap.
"Daddy!" James shouted happily, bouncing up and down on Vicky's lap. "Daddy! Daddy!"
"Yep, kid, I'm back," her other half said as he picked his son up. "Miss me?"
"I did," Vicky said, standing up. In the house, she wore pants, something she was much more comfortable in that the conventional skirts. She kept tripping on them.
"A half-hour away too much for you, darlin'?" he teased, just as James did a loud "Jim-beeeeeeeeeee" to annoy his sister as she walked by. She gave a loud humph and rolled her eyes as the fifteen-year-old piano prodigy went up the stairs to her room.
Vicky gave him a sarcastic smile, walking into the house to get dinner ready, taking in his riot of red hair, bright green eyes, and his cheeky grin as he followed her in, carrying their son.
"Well, Mrs. Vicky," her husband said, laughing, "I'd say you weren't happy about naming me leaving and Jim here to your own devices."
"I may be your wife," Vicky said, turning around, "But don't think I won't give you a few hard knocks to that head of yours."
"Aye, aye," he said. To James, he said, "Well, little one, what d'you say we go up to your room and play with Jimbee until your mum cooks dinner, eh?" James bounced up and down in glee as his father carried him up the stairs.
"Mrs. Vicky," Vicky gave a small, soft laugh as she set out to the momentous occasion of cooking dinner for the family. "Whenever he calls me that, he forgets the last name." In her mind's eye, she pictured her full name in written form, stopping for a moment in her task. She nodded to herself with a smile, then went back to work.
Mrs. Vicky Skinner.
A/N: And so concludes another journey of the League and its members...but, wait! Is that a spark of an idea in this author's mind? Is a new journey beginning, forming, taking shape? Why, to find out, dear reader, you shall have to wait and see.
(P.S. I wrote this immediately after the last chapter, but I wanted to wait for some time to see how my dear, beloved readers would react. And, as expected, I got a beating over the head with a rubber chicken and a person who's going to murder me!)