"Of course I was scared, but I had to do it, you know?"- Luke Gardner in Among the Free
Trahern Cromwell, formally known as Travis Jackson, sighed as the taxi pulled up in front of his once home. The home where he was raised, hidden in the basement. The home where his brother and sister, Bethany and Aaron, would ignore him and constantly complain about having an 'illegal' brother. Where his mother would always ignore him, and his father would educate him to be able to read and write.
Trahern, or Trey, sighed again before paying the taxi driver and grabbing his bag from the trunk. He loaded the backpack onto his back before walking up the long driveway.
The Welsh townhouse was just like he remembered. A simple two story, or rather three story if you counted the basement, house located in Maine. The first floor was the kitchen, bathroom, living room, floor was a study, Kendall and Aaron's rooms, and a bathroom. The basement was a family room and hidden in the dark was a door to Trey's old room.
Taking a deep breath, he knocked on the door and waited.
What if they don't want me back? He thought, taking another deep breath.
"Hold on!" A woman's voice yelled.
Trey smiled sadly, remembering his sister, Bethany. Bethany had been seven years older than him, and when Trey had left, his sister had had a steady boyfriend, good grades in school, and a spot as captain of the swim team.
"Hel-" Bethany drifted off, eyes going wide. "Tre- Tr- Trey?" She whispered, eyes tearing up.
Trey smiled. "Hey Bethany."
"Is- is- is it really you?" She asked, blond hair dangling in her startled green eyes.
Trey nodded. "Yeah, yeah it's really me."
"But-but how? We- we thought- we thought you were dead. We thought the Population Police got you." Bethany stuttered.
"Babe, who is it?" A mans voice asked. He stared at Trey with blue eyes full of caution. "Who are you?"
"Kendall, I never told you about our shadow brother, Trey." Bethany whispered, smiling at her younger brother.
The guys eyes went wide. "You're an illegal?"
Trey shrugged. "Not anymore."
Bethany laughed joyfully before pulling Trey into a hug. "God, I can't believe you're alive. And, you're already sixteen." Bethany said, pulling away. "Come on in, Trey. Mom and dad are inside."
Trey smiled. "Are you sure they're going to want to see me?"
Bethany's joyful smile was replaced by a sad frown. "Mom and dad will burst into tears. We've missed you."
Trey smiled further. They actually missed him, they actually cared.
"Mom! Dad! We have company!" Bethany hollered, smiling and refusing to let go of Trey.
"Who is it, Beth?" Their mother asked, coming in with a baby in her arms.
"My son Timothy Trahern Gates." Bethany whispered to Trey.
"You named him after me?" Trey asked, startled.
Bethany nodded before kissing his cheek. She walked over to her mother who had yet to notice Trey. "Mom, let me see Tr-Tim." She said, taking her son. "Also, you might want to look behind me."
His mother sighed before looking back. Her response was like Beth's, complete shock. Tears welled up in her eyes as she instantly jumped at Trey. She wrapped him in a tight hug and cried softly. "Trahern." She whispered.
"Hey mom." He said, hugging her back awkwardly.
"Daryl, get in here!" She yelled, caressing Trey's cheeks. "My God, it is you. You're all grown up."
"Sa- Trey?" His father asked, eyes wide.
"Hey dad." Trey whispered.
His father wrapped him up in a hug. "My boy, I've missed you so much." He whispered. "We-we had hope that you were alive, but with no word since you left…" his father shrugged. "It was a long shot. Then, then on the news they said the lifted the law and we hoped…"
"I know dad, I was there." Trey whispered.
"What?" His mother asked, scared. Her hair was turning gray, unlike the brown curls he remembered. Her eyes were like Aaron's, a startling gray.
"I was there. I-I- I was one of the kids that got it lifted. My best friend, Luke, he's the one that spoke out and claimed to be a shadow child. I was undercover as a soldier." Trey explained.
His father hugged him. "My little boy, all grown up and changing the world." His father whispered, smiling with his green eyes that Trey and Beth had inherited.
"Where is Aaron?" Trey asked, figuring he should get the last reunion over with.
His father smiled sadly, draping an arm around his wife. Bethany went over to her husband, tears in her eyes. Instead of one of his family answering, Kendall answered. "Aaron is dead."
"What?" Trey hissed.
"He joined a team trying to take down the Population Police. He was killed at PP headquarters." Kendall said, smiling sadly.
"When? When Aldous Krakenour was there?" Trey asked, his voice venom. God, he hated that man.
"Trey-" His father began.
"I-I-I was there. I was there. What if I saw him? I could have-"
"Shh," his father began, hugging him. "Trey, there were millions of people there. The odds of you seeing him were slim to none. Even if you had, you wouldn't have recognized him. You barely saw each other."
"Why? Why did he join?" Trey asked hysterically.
"For you." Bethany whispered. "He was so mad at himself for treating you badly, that he decided to help you by helping the kids like you. He would be so proud of you. You've gown from our sweet little naive kid, to our heroic brave brother in a matter of months."
"He's gone, Trey, but Bethany is right, he's smiling down at you." Mr. Cromwell whispered.
"Come on baby, let's get you unpacked. I'm sure you've got lots of stories to share." Mrs. Cromwell said, taking his backpack from him and sighing. "Well, considering the basement is a mess, you could stay upstairs with Bethany and Kendall."
"In Aaron's old room?" Trey asked.
"He'd love it. He always did want to show it to you." Bethany said, slinging a free arm around his shoulders.
"Alright." Trey mumbled.
"I'll start a grand meal." His mother said, smiling. "And Trahern, welcome home."