I honestly have no idea where the idea for this fic came from, but I had to do it once I got the idea. It's not an Aaeru or Neviril fic either :) After all, Floef needed some love too.
He looked up at the humble home on the edge of the small town. He hadn't returned home since the day he'd journeyed to the temple to become a Sibylla, and he hadn't heard from home in all that time. Years…it'd been three or four years if he was counting right. Math never had been his strong point. He had had other more important matters on his mind. Looking down at the bushel basket in his hand, he wondered if his mother would accept the peace offering. He hadn't exactly left on the best of terms. He smiled at the memory…strange how things seemed so funny now since the original incident had long pasted.
"Floe! I can't believe you! What are you doing breaking curfew again? Don't tell me you were spying again."
The young girl huffed. She was just over fourteen years old and returning from a late night rondevous. Of course, her mother thought she had been spying again, which hadn't been the case. Just because she'd spent some time spying on her friends once before and her mother had caught her… she was trying to pair them up. She wanted them to be happy. Of course, her mother hadn't understood that in the least.
"I wasn't spying on anyone. Sheesh! I was just out, okay?" Floe pushed past her mother and into the house. The lights were dimmed and she was tired. She wanted to sleep. She had to leave in the morning and only had a few hours before that time arrived.
"What's gotten into you? Ever since you came home from the Academy, you've been different. You're going to be a priestess for Tempus Spatium's sake! Act like it for once instead of like such a child."
She turned on her mother and glared. "I'm not acting like a child! I'll be an adult in less than three years!"
"That doesn't make you an adult now, and you should know that." Her mother looked more closely at her daughter. "I don't want you to mess this up. You have an opportunity that very few girls get, Floe, and you're successful at it."
Floe clenched her fists and turned around. "You always think I'm going to mess it up! I'm not like you! I'm not gonna just quit! Geez." She watched her mother's face fall and she felt bad, though she had meant every word of it. Her mother always hinted toward that. She had never wanted Floe to repeat her mistake of just quitting because it was boring. Just because her mother hadn't been cut out to be a priestess didn't mean she'd be the exact same way.
The rage bubbled quietly, and took over her mother's face. "That is the final straw, Floe. Leave," she whispered, anger lacing her voice.
"I said leave! You only have a few hours as it is, so why not get a head start?"
"This is ridiculous and you know it. I'm not leaving." Floe crossed her arms and stood her ground in the living room. Her mother left the room, and Floe waited, hoping that she was just going to bed. This would all be forgotten, just like before.
She frowned when her mother returned with a suitcase. It was the suitcase she'd packed earlier that day with the things she'd need at the temple. It was thrust into her arms, harder than Floe expected. She stepped back to catch herself before she fell. "Go. I don't want you back in this house tonight." She began guiding Floe toward the door not-so-gently.
"You'll let me back in in a bit. I know it. You tried this before." The only reply she received in return was the slamming of the door behind her. She heard the soft click of the lock.
Sighing, she sat down on the porch and placed the suitcase beside her. It wouldn't be much longer before her mother would come outside and tell her to come to bed. When this had happened before, it'd taken no more than a half hour before Floe was back inside. All she'd have to do this time was wait it out and she'd soon be inside.
But a half hour came and went, as did an hour. She was getting colder. How much longer was it until sunrise? Slowly, she rose to her feet and stretched cramped limbs. For once, her mother had been serious. She'd looked back only once before she trudged down the dirt path toward the helical train station.
Floef frowned as the memory ended. That had been the last he'd seen of his mother. She hadn't written him in all the time he was with Chor Tempest. There had been a few times he'd written shortly after arriving, but they'd been pointless letters about general topics. There had never been any replies. And then the war had started. He had become caught up in it and being promoted to Chor Tempest that thoughts of writing home had never crossed his mind.
In fact, home hadn't crossed his mind until two years later. By then he'd lost the traces of his feminine appearance and had started a small farm by the lake. It was such a lovely view and he didn't mind the hard work. Growing vegetables gave him something to put his energy into and he did want to find a cute bride. If he could provide for one, then he should have no trouble charming any woman he came across.
The only reason he had thought of home was because he'd been talking to a woman in town the other day as he tried to sell his latest crop of vegetables, but she already had a family. Her young daughter had run up and clung to her dress, and it was in that moment that he had wondered what his mother was doing. He wondered if she ever thought of him and where he was. He had to find out.
Now he stood just mere feet away from the front porch, feeling foolish, and like a little girl again. Would his mother recognize him without the two large tails of hair? Be a man, Floef. Find out. His footsteps were soft and unsure. He reached out and knocked on the door. The seconds seemed like long minutes. He could hear footsteps coming closer, and then the door knob turned.
The woman who answered peeked out at him, confused. He knew it was his mother right away, and smiled. "Can I help you?" she asked.
"Mom, don't you remember me? You can't have forgotten me already." He grinned, setting down the basket. He was going to make the best of it, no matter what the outcome.
"Floe…f," she whispered, unsure of herself.
Floef nodded. "It's me. Bet you didn't expect me to become a man r—" His mother pulled him into a tight embrace before he could finish his statement.
"Floef, I never should have kicked you out that night. It was foolish of me, and even more foolish to never respond to your letters. It was too late when I realized it… and by then the war had started. I was afraid that I might end up writing, only to find out you had been killed."
Floef could feel his shirt becoming damp, and realized that his mother was crying. She really was sorry for what had happened. The anger had left him long ago, but he had still wondered if she would feel the same way. "I'm sorry too, mom." He hugged her back.
After awhile, she finally pulled away, and looked down at the basket he had brought with him. "Did you buy these in the market?"
"Nope. I grew them myself. I'm a farmer."
"You never really liked getting dirty as a little girl. What changed your mind?"
"I guess I got older." He shrugged. "I brought them for you. I just picked them yesterday."
"Come inside, please, Floef. I want to hear about what has happened to you these past few years."
Smiling, Floef nodded. He carried the bushel basket inside and set it by the door. Nothing had really changed in his absence. Everything appeared to be just as it was when he had left. His mother had sat down on the sofa, and he took the nearby chair. It had always been his favorite, the most comfortable one.
He spent the rest of the afternoon recounting his time as a Sibylla and the adventures and trouble he'd gotten himself into. He spoke of Rodoreamon's doll, of giving love advice, of Mastiff, and of eternal maidens. He mentioned how everything had turned out, and how it had seemed hopeless at the time. Floef told about making his decision at the Spring, and then heading out to make something of himself of a farmer. He didn't forget to talk of how his growing was going, and how he hoped to find a wife in the process.
All the while, his mother listened closely, asking questions or making comments about the events. As he finished, she began speaking of how things had been after he'd left. She talked of the guilt and shame, and how stupid she realized she'd been. She spoke of the news of the first signs of worry, and how she worried about him. His mother talked of their neighbors and his old childhood friends, two of which had gotten married and were the same two he'd set up so long ago. He had grinned smugly at this. The spying had been good for something in the end.
The sun was just setting when he left. He turned and waved to his mother before heading down the road. It wouldn't be too far of a walk until he made it to the helical train station and was on his way home. He had promised his mother he'd stop by every once in awhile. As he shoved his hands into his pockets, he grinned. Things were all right in the end, and his antics had worked as a kid. He ought to pay those two a visit some day…