Two little red-haired children sat beside each other. They didn't talk, they didn't move, they hardly breathed, they stayed completely silent as the storm raged over their heads.
One of them was biting his lip, the corners of the other's mouth were slightly twisted, and Maitimo knew that as soon as the storm had blown over; as soon as the danger had passed, the two of them could laugh and shout again, loud enough to make up for this lost time.
Maitimo gave the two of them an encouraging smile.
They were still so very young, it was a miracle they understood at all.
But then again, the young ones too, lived in this house. Anyone who lived in this house understood, no matter how young they were.
The fair-haired one, kneeling beside his dog to keep him from barking, the dark-haired ones sitting beside him, one pretending he was writing still, though his ink had run dry three lines ago and he still had not noticed, the other simply staring angrily ahead, arms crossed in front of his chest. They understood. Even though the looks that passed between the three of them were angry as well as scared, and Maitimo had to shake his head.
Do not move even though you are angry.
Do not move even though you are scared.
There is nothing you can do.
He looked aside to the one who understood it best of all. The dark-haired one that sat beside him with his fingers in his ears, humming a song so softly only he could hear. Macalaure had closed his eyes, and retreated into himself.
He endured the storm like a stone endured the rain, without breaking, without moving, going on forever as if it did not even exist.
Like their mother did.
And yet, each time the storm moved over them, each time the fire burned, a small piece of her, a small piece of him, a layer on the outside, too small to be seen, would disappear forever.
Each time the storm blew their defences would weaken.
Maitimo stared at their mother, who had endured the storm for too long.
He could almost see her disappearing, her shelter was washed away and each flash of lighting touched her core.
He could see how the fire slowly became too much for her to bear.
He could see how the hurricane would tear their family apart.
And yet they would not leave him. The storm would rage over their heads forever, but they would not turn away from it. They would not take shelter.
Though, in end, the storm's fire might consume them all, they would never stop loving him.
He was their father after all.