Author's Notes: Hey! Bet you all thought I had forgotten about this. Well I haven't. Now, I know I said that "Learning from the Past" would be a one-shot, and would have a sequel one-shot in Imil. I thought it made more sense to make it a two-shot, and that way anyone following this story would get an alert. However, this will be separate from my Spiritshipping story which I will release later. So you'll either have to follow me rather than the story, or just keep an eye out for it. Anyway, without further ado, here's part 2 of "Learning from the Past".
It was very strange for Matthew to watch his father get more and more nervous the closer they got to Imil. They had visited a number of times when Matthew was younger, and it always made Isaac quiet. Matthew used to assume it was just because there wasn't much to say while traveling. Now, however, Isaac was visibly nervous.
"You'll be fine, dad."
Isaac nodded. "Sure. I'm not worried or anything if that's what you're thinking. It'll just be like all those times we visited throughout the years. I mean, not just like that, because we're going for different reasons of course. But still, there's no reason to think any of that would worry me or-"
"Dad, you're babbling."
"Am I? Sorry." Isaac took a deep breath. They could see the light from the Mercury Lighthouse already, and both knew the city would be in view as soon as they crested the next hill.
"It's okay to be anxious you know. I mean, it has been a long time since you and Mia were last… close."
"Too long," Isaac agreed. "At least too long for me. Mia's probably been fine. It's not like she had much of a reason to hold on to what we had."
"You're being silly," Matthew said. "She probably can't let go of her feelings any more than you can. As a matter of fact, there are a number of things Rief said during our journey that make a lot more sense now that I know about you two. I'm sure she still has feelings for you."
"What sort of things did Rief say?"
"Well, nothing specific," Matthew thought back to his journey. "Just… telling stories from home. It's the sort of feel I got about his home life. Things just fit better now. Kind of like when I thought about you and mom. I had accepted things the way they were, but when I learned about you and Mia I saw everything in a new light and things just made more sense."
"I see." Isaac thought about that. It didn't appear that Matthew's words managed to relax him much. Truth be told, Matthew was somewhat worried as well. He was pretty sure, given what he knew, that Mia still liked Isaac, but he wasn't certain. Even if she did, what if she still didn't want to get back together with Isaac? There were all sorts of reasons she could have not to.
Matthew didn't let any of these concerns show. For once, Matthew had to be the stable, mature person for his father to lean on. The role reversal was odd, but in some ways it was very similar to his role during the eclipse. He always had to be strong. Sveta was the only one who knew the real extent of his insecurities at that time.
Matthew shook his head. If he hoped to be strong for his father, it wouldn't do to be thinking about Sveta right now. Matthew looked up and saw they had nearly reached the gates of Imil while he was lost in thought. He hadn't been here since the eclipse happened. When Imil had been rebuilt following the Golden Sun event, it had been made into a walled city, but those walls had been more for looks than anything else. They told the world "Mercury Lighthouse is ours," but they weren't practical fortifications. That had changed. There was now a deep trench dug around the city, followed by a line of sharp pikes, and then the walls of the city. It appeared the walls had been hastily reinforced, with towers appearing periodically and small rooms with thin windows archers could shoot out of. No doubt the light from Mercury Lighthouse mostly kept the eclipse monsters from entering, but these people were prepared for the worst.
"Who goes the- oh, it's you." While the walls were now empty of sentries, there were still two guards at the city entrance. "Sorry, Sir Isaac, didn't recognize you at first."
"That's quite alright. I hope your lovely city fared the eclipse well."
"Indeed we did," the guard beamed. "The initial moments were a little intense, and we had to evacuate all the civilians to the lighthouse, but thanks to lady Mia we retook the city proper in no time. She truly is the guardian angel of Imil."
Isaac smiled. "Glad to hear it. May we enter?"
"Yes, of course. I'm sure Mia and Piers will be happy to see you!"
"Piers is here as well?"
"Yes, sir. He and Nowell arrived just the other day."
Matthew wondered how that would affect things. He had been hoping Isaac and Mia would be able to have a quiet, private reunion. But Piers would surely want to say hello to Isaac as well, and it could be difficult to get the two of them alone. And then there was Nowell. His half-sister. It was still very strange to think of her like that. That would be an awkward meeting, knowing what he knew now.
Isaac still knew the way straight to Mia's home. Matthew kept an eye on the people of Imil, trying to gauge their reactions to them. He wanted to know if Isaac and Mia would still have the same problem they had all those years ago of the people rejecting him. He did see a few cold looks from some of the older folk, but everyone mostly seemed neutral to them. A couple of people not much younger than Matthew even looked quite pleased to see Isaac. It looked like time had indeed managed to change the mindset of these people.
They reached the door to Mia's house in no time. Matthew was tempted to knock on the door himself when he saw his father hesitating, but decided to give Isaac the time he needed to steel himself for the encounter. Finally, Isaac gave a tentative knock.
"Coming," a voice called from inside. Matthew was fairly certain it was Nowell. A second later the blue haired girl opened the door. "Oh, Matthew, Isaac! We weren't expecting to see you! Please, come in!" She gestured inside, and the pair gratefully stepped in from the cold. "If we had known you were coming we would've made Piers stick around. He's gone to do some repairs on the ship. Why don't I run out and get him?"
"That's alright," Matthew said quickly. "We can talk with him later."
"Uh, yeah," Isaac agreed. Matthew could see he was sweating, but he hoped Nowell wouldn't notice. "Is your mom home?"
"Yeah. Come on, let's go." They followed Nowell through the house until they reached a room with several couches set up around a fireplace, a large table in between them. "Mother, look what the cat dragged in!"
Mia was seated in one of the spots closest to the fire, sipping tea. "Oh!" She stood up quickly, placing her cup on the table. "Isaac, why didn't you let me know you were coming over? I would've done more to prepare."
"That's alright, Mia. You don't need to go to any trouble on our account." Isaac hesitated. "So, uh, it's good to see you."
"Thank you. You too."
Matthew decided to help out at this point before things could get too uncomfortable for the two of them. "Nowell, I was wondering if I could speak with you privately for a moment?"
"Hmm? Sure, I guess. We'll be in my room."
"Break a leg, dad," Matthew whispered in passing, following Nowell to her room. He closed her door after they entered, making sure they wouldn't overhear their parents.
"So, what's up?" Nowell asked.
Matthew hadn't worked this part out. He had given his father privacy, but had no clue what he was going to discuss with Nowell. "Well, you seem… good."
"…Yes. I'm doing well."
"That's nice," Matthew nodded. "You seem more relaxed than I remember."
Nowell actually blushed at this. "I think Piers has had that effect on me."
"Oh. And, how are things between you two?"
"W-what do you mean?"
Matthew shook his head. "Kraden said you were in love."
"What?" she looked shocked. "I never said anything of the sort to him! I just… he probably just… misinterpreted."
"I see. So you don't like Piers?"
"Well, it's not that I don't like Piers. I mean, everyone who meets him likes him. He's very likable. But, I don't necessarily like him like him."
"Nowell, you're not fooling anyone," Matthew said. "There's no harm in admitting it."
Nowell struggled for another moment, deciding how much to say, or perhaps just how to say it. "Maybe… maybe I do like him. But it's not that simple."
"Never seems to be these days," Matthew agreed.
"What do you mean by that?"
"Never mind. I'll tell you later. So, what's going on with you and Piers? Is it the age gap that's the problem."
Nowell actually chuckled at that. "Yes, and no. The age gap between him and me isn't an issue. I mean, he's lemurian. Anyone he wanted to date would be much younger than him unless he went back to lemuria. And even if he did go there to find a girl, they have children so rarely that she would still probably be much older or much younger than him by our standards. And he's been affected by the Golden Sun. We're not sure if the warriors of Vale have stopped aging or just had their aging slowed down a lot, but either way Piers will live much longer than even other lemurians. He'll probably marry someone at some point, whether it's me or some other girl, and after she's grown old and died she'll want him to be happy and move on. And eventually I'm sure he will and his next wife will be young enough to be his first wife's granddaughter. If his aging is completely stopped then eventually he'll be dating women young enough to be my great granddaughter's great granddaughter."
Matthew thought about that. He supposed it made sense. The warriors of Vale only had so many options. If they didn't get together with each other then they could either stay single forever, or else date knowing full well that they'll have to watch their partner grow old without them. Frankly neither option sounded very appealing to Matthew.
"I mean, take mom for example. Even if she and dad were still together, eventually she'd outlive him, and she'd still be in her prime. I certainly wouldn't want her to just spend the next two hundred years mourning her long dead husband, and neither would he. No one expects that from the warriors of Vale."
"Yeah," Matthew agreed. "It's probably not something they're thinking about that much yet, though."
"Well, Piers is. Being lemurian, he already thinks of other people as short-lived. Kind of sad your mom and dad didn't stay together. They are some of the very few people who could've given eternal love a go."
"Yeah, I suppose," Matthew shifted uncomfortably.
"I'm sorry. I probably shouldn't have said that."
"It's alright. It's just… well, things are a bit odd right now."
"Is that why you came to Imil?"
"I suppose it is."
"So, what's the big deal then?" she asked. "I mean, it's not really about me and Piers is it?"
"No. We didn't even know you'd be here." Matthew kept his eyes on the floor.
"Still. You're not comfortable looking at me. You don't think I'm too young for Piers, do you?"
Matthew shook his head. "No, the age gap is fine."
"Is it that he knew my mother before I was even born? I think that's the part that makes him a little uncomfortable."
Matthew could understand that. It was one thing to know you'd be dating women a generation younger than you, but it was another when you were good friends with their parents. "No. That doesn't bother me."
"Well it's not about that time is it?" she asked. "I thought we both understood there was nothing to that."
"Oh, by the Wise One, don't remind me!" Matthew worked hard to try to block out the memory of the incident she mentioned.
Nowell jumped back, surprised. "Come on, I didn't think I was that bad of a kisser."
"No, it wasn't that at all," he groaned. It had been fine at the time. The two of them saw each other occasionally, but not much. As they were getting older, both had wanted to see what the big deal was about with the other sex. Nowell couldn't do anything with any of the local boys without things getting awkward after. Matthew was living at lookout cabin, and just didn't know many girls. So when Nowell had suggested they practice kissing it had seemed perfect. There would be no emotional attachment, just kissing. Just to see what it was like. Matthew had been 13 then, while Nowell had just turned 15. The kissing hadn't been bad. Inexperienced, sure, but not bad. "There's… nothing wrong."
"'By the Wise One, don't remind me'? That's not nothing."
Matthew wished now he had thought more before speaking. He certainly didn't want to be the one to break to Nowell that her 'father' was not really her father. And telling her that her first kiss was with her half-brother probably wouldn't go over well. But how else could he explain his reaction.
"It's just, kind of, not something I want to think about."
"Why? I mean, you say it wasn't that I was a terrible kisser. And if you have feelings for me I wouldn't think you would be unhappy about kissing me." Nowell waited for an answer, but Matthew remained silent. "Okay, so maybe you've fallen in love with someone, and they're upset that your first kiss was with someone you didn't even care for."
"No. I mean… there is someone, but she doesn't care about that."
"I see. Well, congratulations on that. But if this isn't about my relation with Piers, and it isn't about my relation with you-" she stopped as Matthew twitched at the word relation. "What? You said you don't have feelings for me?"
"Then what other kind of relation could you mean?"
"I didn't say anything about that. Look," Matthew pleaded, "can you just drop it?"
"I mean, you can't mean diplomatic relations, because it's not like anyone would care about what we did one time four years ago. You can't mean family relation, because we're not related." Matthew tried his best to keep from showing anything at what she said. Apparently it didn't work. "You do know we're not related, right? Your dad's an only child. Both my parents are only children. Your mom has one brother, and that's it. We're not cousins or anything. Our grandparents never set foot in each other's towns so we can't even be second cousins. And it's not like Jenna or Mia could've faked our births. You're not suggesting your uncle Felix is secretly my dad or something like that? He disappeared long before I was born."
"No, it's not that," Matthew prayed she would just stop. She was getting too close to the unpleasant truth.
"And you're clearly Isaac's son, so it's not like Jenna had an affair. You can't mean that Isaac is my father, because… well that's just… you're not saying that are you?"
"I'm not… saying it."
"So you're implying it?"
"I'm trying to drop it all together."
"Matthew, look me in the eye!" Nowell commanded. Matthew reluctantly did so. "Now, tell me that you believe my father is Frederick of Imil, and not Isaac."
Matthew swallowed. "Well, um, what I believe isn't really-"
"Just tell me!" She gave Matthew a glare that would make eclipse monsters cringe.
"Look, the truth is," Matthew swallowed nervously. "The truth is that you're my half-sister. Isaac is your father."
She stared down Matthew, apparently trying to discern how serious Matthew was being. "You're mistaken."
"If you want to believe that, it's fine with me."
"That's not enough. You need to realize it too."
"It's true though."
"Matthew, that cannot be true!" She grit her teeth. "Even when Isaac and Mia visited, things were always weird between them. They couldn't have gotten together with things that weird!"
"No, things are strained because they were together."
"They both married other people."
"That's a long story," Matthew said. "One I only just learned. But the real reason we're here in Imil is because Isaac wants to restart his relationship with Mia."
Nowell was practically growling. "Even if that part is true, it doesn't mean that Isaac's my father. I'll prove it."
"How do you intend to do that?"
"How else?" she said, heading to the door. "I'm going to ask them."
"Wait! I don't think-" It was no use. Nowell was out the door and headed toward the main room.
At Nowell's voice, Isaac and Mia jumped apart like guilty teenagers. Matthew could see they had been holding hands. What had they just interrupted?
"So, uh, it's good to see you."
"Thank you," Mia nodded. "You too."
Matthew looked between them for a moment before speaking up. "Nowell, I was wondering if I could speak with you privately for a moment?"
"Hmm? Sure, I guess. We'll be in my room."
Matthew paused for a second by Isaac. "Break a leg, dad."
"I wonder what's going on with them?" Mia wondered. "But, I'm being a poor host. Please, sit down. Would you like something to drink? I'm sure you could use some tea after walking here."
"Uh, sure," Isaac nodded as he sat down. "Tea sounds great."
While Mia busied herself with that, Isaac tried to think how best to talk to Mia. He ran through a few different possible scenarios in his mind before he noticed a cup was being held in front of him.
"Oh, right. Sorry." He took the cup, gratefully wrapping his cold hands around it. "Thanks."
"You're spacing out. What's on your mind?"
"Nothing," he said too quickly. "I mean, of course there are things on my mind, but nothing's really bothering me if that's what you mean. I'm just thinking about the normal things that I think about. It-"
Mia giggled, her hand in front of her mouth. "Isaac, you're rambling."
"Really?" He took a deep breath and tried to calm down. "Matthew said the same thing."
"What? Why would I be nervous?"
Mia smiled, and Isaac found himself looking at her smile, which made him think about her lips, and how cute and kissable they looked.
"I don't know, but you are. You know how well I can read you." He nodded. She could probably read him as well as anyone, despite their years apart. "You have two different kinds of nervous. When you're nervous, but you feel you need to be strong, you get really quiet. Whenever we got close to the lighthouses you got quiet like that. Or when your marriage was struggling and you felt you needed to be strong for Matthew, you got quiet. And then you have this nervous. You babble and get awkward and it means you're nervous about something that's more about just you. It's awfully cute."
She thought he was cute. His spirits soared at that. "I… suppose I do." Mia sat back, letting him think about how to say what he wanted to say. "So, you heard about Rief and Matthew's part in the eclipse?" He finally said, chickening out of what he wanted to say for the moment.
"Yes. Kraden and Rief both sent me letters about it. It sounds like they were very heroic." Mia hesitated, and her voice got quieter. "I still can't believe that Alex is alive."
"We're lucky they did so well when people like Alex and the Tuaparang were involved." Isaac could've slapped himself for bringing that up, when he knew Mia's mind would go straight to Alex's involvement. Alex had always been a sore point for her. Isaac had to steer the conversation towards something happier. "It seems that Matthew's fallen in love."
Mia smiled warmly at that. "How nice. Who's the lucky girl?"
Mia looked surprised at that. "The queen of Morgal? I knew she travelled with them but I hadn't realized… well, good for them."
"That's actually why we're away from lookout cabin right now. We're headed to Morgal. I'd like to meet Sveta."
Mia nodded. "From the letters I've read she seems lovely. I would like to meet all of Rief's travelling companions sometime."
"Yeah, they sound great," Isaac agreed. "They managed to get a lot more royalty in their group than we did."
Mia laughed again. "Closest we had was Ivan." Mia suddenly seemed to realize something and looked over to Isaac. "You're headed to Belinsk?"
"Well, Imil isn't exactly on the way. Why did you come here?"
"I can't visit a friend? I don't exactly leave the cabin often, so I may as well visit while I'm away."
"True," she agreed. "I don't buy it, but that's true."
He should've known he couldn't fool her. "Well, truth is…" how could he go about this with Mia? It had been almost two decades since they were last together. "…truth is, things aren't simple between Matthew and Sveta. It seems that they're both in love with each other, but they also agreed not to do anything about it." Mia nodded, still waiting to see where he was going with this. "You see, things are difficult in Morgal right now. They thought it would be best, politically speaking, for them to stay apart. Sound familiar?"
"Of course," Mia said quietly. "Sveta and Matthew sound very mature. It took us a long time to come to that conclusion. They have my support."
"Not mine," Isaac said quickly. "I told Matthew he was making the biggest mistake of his life. I told him he would regret it forever."
"It's not so bad," Mia shook her head. "You get used to it."
"Getting used to pain is not the same as getting rid of it."
"Sometimes, though, it's the best you can hope for."
"And you believe that?"
Mia looked up, catching Isaac's eyes. "It's worked so far." She tried to keep any emotion from showing, but Isaac could see the sadness she was holding back.
"But it hasn't worked. Or maybe you haven't noticed that neither of our marriages turned out well."
"Matthew was not raised well. I hate to admit it, but he wasn't. He deserved parents who really loved each other, without reservations."
"Then it couldn't have been us, either. Things wouldn't have gone well with us and Imil. We would've spent our lives wondering if we did the right thing. I would've worried that we had been selfish."
"I'm not saying they deserved parents who never doubted themselves. I'm saying they deserved parents who never doubted their love." Isaac gave a thin smile. "That, we could have given them."
"So, you told Matthew to go after Sveta?"
"I did. He didn't get it at first. I felt I couldn't tell him why I felt the way I did. It felt like I would've been badmouthing his mother. But Garet told him. Garet told him everything."
"How did he react?"
"Very well. He was upset learning that Jenna and I weren't what he thought, but he understood. And then he surprised me. He called me out. He let me see how hypocritical I was being. Sure, it's not wrong to try to keep your children from making your mistakes. But what if it's not too late to fix your own mistakes? He's the one who insisted we visit Imil. He told me that if everything Garet said was true, then it was time I stopped hiding." Isaac scooted next to Mia, and when she didn't move away, he reached out and held her hand. "It's about time I really let you know that I still love you. I still want to be with you. Mia, I spent twenty years apart from the woman I love. It was unfair to Jenna, and Matthew, but it was also unfair to you, and to me. I don't want to keep punishing myself. I think we could be happy!"
Mia stared at their interlocked fingers. "Isaac… I want to say 'yes'. I really do. But… we have children."
"Children who want to see us happy."
"And then there's Imil."
"Imil has changed, Mia. The world has changed."
Mia let out a shaky breath. "Isaac, I'm scared. I've gotten so used to this pain. It's become dull. But I remember when we first broke up. It hurt so much. What if things happen again? What if Imil changes back? What if you get hurt? There's so much that could go wrong, it just seems easier to deal with the pain I know."
"I felt the same way," Isaac agreed. "After all this time, I didn't know if you would still love me. Matthew had to be the responsible adult and tell me to stop sulking and take a chance. I know how bad it could hurt. But do you remember how good it felt? To be completely in love, and loved in return? Mia, I want that. Maybe it is selfish, but I think it's about time for our happy ending."
"Our happy ending?" Mia giggled at the term.
"That's how Matthew put it," Isaac grinned.
"Our happy ending?" this time when she said it, she really seemed to be thinking about it, and all it implied. "I… I guess we could give it a try."
Isaac smiled, and with his free hand brushed some of Mia's hair out of her face. She leaned into the touch and closed her eyes. Isaac leaned down towards the woman of his dreams, feeling her breath on his face.
At Nowell's voice they quickly jumped apart, Isaac silently cursing the girl's timing. Matthew came in the room right after her, giving Isaac an apologetic look.
"Nowell? W-what is it?"
"Could you please explain to Matthew that he's mistaken?"
"Mistaken about what, dear?"
"Tell Matthew that Isaac isn't my father!"
Mia cringed at this. Isaac wondered just how Matthew and Nowell's conversation had gone to bring them to this point.
"Mother, at least tell me. Who is my father?"
"You know very well Frederick is your father. I mean, he raised you, he taught to you read, he-"
"I don't mean like that. I mean biologically. Tell me father is my father biologically."
Mia bit her bottom lip. "You know biology isn't everything."
Nowell was looking really worried now. "Mother, please. Answer the question."
Mia looked to Isaac for support. Isaac was as clueless as Mia. "Nowell, dear," Mia took a big breath. "Biologically speaking, your father is… Isaac."
Nowell squeezed her eyes shut for a moment, perhaps trying to keep tears away. "Why? Why did you lie to me?"
"I never meant to hurt you," Mia sounded ashamed. "But I had too. Neither Isaac nor Frederick knew the truth for years. I had to keep it secret. If I hadn't, Imil would've turned against the Warriors of Vale."
"You could have told me!"
"I wanted to. But… I was afraid. Especially after Frederick found out."
"Is that when you divorced?"
Mia nodded. "I didn't want to lose you too."
"But you lost me anyway! Why do you think Rief and I went to study with Kraden? Away from Imil? You always kept this distance between us. Between you and father too."
"I'm so sorry," Mia began to cry. "I just didn't want anyone to get hurt."
"And it backfired spectacularly!" Nowell started pacing, trying to calm herself. "Mother, I know you had good intentions but it just didn't work! Look at us!" Nowell stopped pacing at gestured between herself and her mother. "You're crying, I'm mad, and even Matthew and Isaac have been affected!" She took a deep breath, trying desperately to calm down.
"I know. You're right," Mia whispered. "But what could I have done? Telling you would've done more harm than good."
"Maybe. I don't know," Nowell groaned. "But… you've been so emotionally distant. You've been afraid of telling Rief and me the truth. You were afraid of dad finding out. You two separate and you still seem afraid of Isaac getting close. Enough is enough." Nowell rubbed her temples for a moment. "Mother, I'm not saying you should have gone out and announced the truth to all Imil. Maybe you were even right to keep it from me, I'm still not thinking clearly enough about that to judge. The big problem is that you let this secret define you, and define how you acted with all those around you. I know it's a big secret, but you could've tried to open up more emotionally. You could've been a person with a secret, rather than a secret disguised as a person."
Mia nodded slowly, digesting her daughter's words. "That's very harsh of you to say, but I suppose it's all true." Mia took a shaky breath, trying to hold herself together. "Well then, what do you think I should do now?"
Nowell looked up. "You're really asking for my advice?"
"I am. I've been, as you put it, a secret so long that I'm not sure I remember how to be a person. It just became easier to become the secret. So now I'm asking, what should a person do in my situation?"
Nowell was quiet for a long time. She obviously hadn't been expecting this. Isaac stayed quiet, just looking between the mother and daughter. "You should be happy," Nowell finally said.
"That's a tall order," Mia replied. "I've hurt you, and I've hurt everyone around me. What right do I have to happiness?"
"Happiness has nothing to do with rights, mother," Nowell said. "Everyone hurts people. You can't go back and change what you did, and moping about it won't help. But people want to be happy. Sometimes it's hard, but people will do what it takes to be happy." Isaac smiled at the young woman's wisdom. It seemed she and Matthew had both managed to mature while their silly parents weren't paying attention. "I was just talking to Matthew about eternal love. It looks like you have the chance to try it out. I'm still mad, and upset, but I'll work that out and having you beating yourself up over it won't help me in the least. Maybe if you really open up and love someone that will help you be the mother Rief and I always needed."
"Nowell…" Mia struggled to find the words she wished to express. Finally she gave up, quickly going to her daughter and wrapping her in a hug. "Thank you."
"I love you, mom," Nowell whispered. "Always have, always will."
"And I love you."
Isaac looked away in some futile attempt to give them more privacy. He was tearing up at the scene. He looked to his own son, who smiled warmly at him. Isaac didn't know how things would turn out for himself and Mia, but with their children supporting them like this it didn't seem like anything could go wrong.
"Now," Nowell said, pulling away from her mother's embrace, "I think you and Isaac have some catching up to do." She gave her mother a grin. "I'll try not to interrupt you two lovebirds like that again."
Mia laughed, then turned to Matthew. He was completely caught off guard when Mia caught him in a hug. "Thank you for bringing your father here to me."
Matthew returned the hug awkwardly. "You're welcome. It… it seemed like the right thing to do."
Mia released him and turned toward Isaac. "Care for a walk?"
"In this weather?"
Mia looked thoughtful for a moment. "Yes, I suppose it is rather cold out. I guess you'll just have to keep me warm."
Isaac was up in an instant. "Take care, you two," he said to the kids. "We'll be back later."
Matthew and Nowell watched their parents leave, looking every bit the young couple in love.
"It's rather sweet, isn't it?" Nowell asked. Matthew just nodded. "So where do you go from here?"
Matthew frowned. He thought back to the last conversation he had with Sveta. "After this comes the hard part."
Author's Notes: I hope everyone liked it! I'd like to thank all my reviewers for encouraging me, as well as my beta reader Elina Trevisan, who manages to be a pretty cool beta even if she's not a mudshipper. I'd also like to thank jollygreendragon in particular, as his story "Drops of Jupiter" is awesome, and he suggested that I should write the definitive Spiritshipping story. Now, I'm not saying that my Spiritshipping story will manage to be the definitive story of its type, but I will be writing with that idea in mind. As such, the romance will come first, with the adventure being built around it. Hopefully it will work out well. Also, don't expect it really soon. As some of you may know, November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. The goal is to write a novel 50,000 words or longer during the month of November. It's pretty intense (or so I hear, this is will be my first time participating). So for the next month I will be consumed with that, rather than fanfiction. Afterwards I'll get on it soon as I can, but I might feel like taking a break from writing for a bit. So I will definitely write that Spiritshipping story, but you won't see it until sometime in December at the absolute earliest. Still, don't give up on me! I love you guys! Please review!