Measuring Up

I am not my uncle.

I knew this when I was thirteen and became the Huntsgirl. Or maybe I knew it all my life, when I was old enough to understand what it meant… I don't know. All I knew was that everyone expected me to measure up to him… and I couldn't. Actually… I could, when I think about it. I just didn't want to.

I never wanted to be the Huntsgirl, when I think about it. I just went along with it because it was expected of me… what I was told to be. And I accepted it, because I knew nothing else. I trained, I fought, and I became the Huntsgirl. The person I was began to hate the person I had become.

I didn't realize this until… until I met Jake.

Jake… he was like a breath of fresh air. He didn't expect me to be something I wasn't. He saw who I was, and he loved me for it. I guess that's when I really, really, began to hate being the Huntsgirl.

Huntsgirl was a lie. She wasn't me. She was just my attempt to measure up to my uncle. And I didn't want to measure up to my uncle. I didn't want to be him. I wanted to be me.

I didn't want to follow the path that my birthmark said I had to. I wanted to follow my own path. I was tired of trying to measure up to my uncle, of pretending to be somebody I wasn't. I would never be the Huntsgirl, because I didn't want to be the Huntsgirl. I wanted to be… Rose.

Jake's Rose… yeah, that would have been a bonus. A very nice bonus. But I couldn't be Jake's Rose until I could finally be Rose.

But for me to be Rose, Huntsgirl had to die. Huntsgirl was a mask, something I hid behind, my attempt to measure up to my uncle, to fulfill his expectations of me.

For Huntsgirl to die, I had to stop trying to measure up to my uncle… because I would never measure up.

So I began to rebel, in small ways. Very small ways that slowly grew bigger. I went from not being as good a fighter as before to downright refusing to hunt magical creatures. When I refused, my uncle attacked me.

We fought. It was long, and it was hard, and after so long I finally took him down… killed him. But not on purpose. Never on purpose.

It was an accident. My uncle had leaped at me, and I had slipped to the side. An old metal pipe had been sticking out, and it had speared him right in the chest. I had tried to stop the bleeding, but there was nothing I could do. My uncle died in my arms, killed by the person who had tried to measure up to him for so long. That was how Jake found me later, cradling my uncle's body, crying. He said he would never forget it.

That was when I was sixteen.

When my uncle died, Huntsgirl died with him, and slowly, I became Rose again. It was hard, a lot harder then I thought it would be, but I kept trying, because I wanted so badly to just be Rose again. Not Huntsgirl, not Thorn, but Rose. When I was eighteen, I finally put Huntsgirl to rest.

Huntsgirl was dead. Rose lived.

After I finally became Rose, I also became Jake's Rose. And Jake… well, he became my dragon. My dragon boy.

And when I was twenty, I became Rose Long.

Yeah, that's right. Jake and I had been dating since we were sixteen, when I had turned away from the Huntsclan. It was my twentieth birthday, and he proposed to me right there in the restaurant, in front of everyone.

Let's just say, I can still hear the customers and the employees cheering and clapping. And when I kissed him, they all laughed appreciatively. Six months after we got married, our son was born, Angel Lao Shi Long.

I named him. Angel just seemed to be the right name, because he represented an angel, to me. He represented… well, I don't really know how to put it without making it sound completely stupid, but… he represented the hope that had kept me going, that had kept me strong as I struggled to become Rose again.

So it probably isn't surprising that when our daughter was born two years later, she was named Hope. And for the record, Jake named her.

That was thirteen years ago. Now Angel is thirteen, and Hope is eleven. Neither of them have dragon powers, and neither of them was born with the mark of the Huntsclan. Jake and I actually laugh about that, now. And there are times when I'll just lay awake at night watching Jake sleep, or I'll watch my children wrestle on the floor (Hope always has the upper hand, for some reason), and I'll remember the path I once believed I was destined to follow, because I always tried to measure up to my uncle.

I am not my uncle. I never wanted to measure up to him. And for that I am glad.

The End

I actually wanted to post this after I completed "Trust", but it's turning out longer then I originally thought! So I decided what the heck and posted this.

Now, I'm off to work on chapter 11!