Hey there! :D

I am back for you guys with a story that I have actually written over a year ago! However, I have never posted it before as I first wanted to wait for the opinion of two great friends of mine. *hugs to you both*
So, about this shot: it takes place shortly after Maeve came back, and is a stand-alone. All lines that are written in Italic mark thoughts or rather Maeve and Dermott's telepathic conversation.
Category: Hurt/Comfort
Pairings: Sinbad/Maeve , Maeve/Dermott (family)

Please do read the whole thing, as the Sinbad/Maeve moment comes at the end. ;)
And feedback is always appreciated & anonymous one is enabled.

I hope you all will enjoy reading!
See you soon.

TiaKisu

Dedications:

Dedicated to Whisper, my sister-in-soul and amazing friend who belongs to the finest people that I ever got to know! Thank you for your confidence, your support and for your friendship! I value them all more than you can imagine! :-*

Dedicated to MidnightDew, my faithful reader and wonderful friend who never let me down whenever I sought advice. Thank you for your amazing support, dear, and the reviews which mean so much to me. You truly are great! :-*

And last but certainly not least I dedicate this fic to WildYennifer who presented me with an awesome story (do check it out guys! It's her "Hold on to me, love"!), and who, thus, I want to present with a story in return. :D I really hope you'll like this little piece, and happy, happy belated birthday, dear! :D :D


Coming home

Two days. Two days had passed since she came back. Two days in which the present had caught up with all what the past had left glowing inside of her and had turned it into a dying flame that –being now a part of this new and unknown world - struggled to get back to its old brilliance and strength.

.

Maeve sighed heavily as she watched the world move by. The Celtic sorceress was leaning on the reeling of the Nomad's bow while her gaze seemed to get lost in the endless seas that surrounded the ship of which's crew she was now a part again. Or at least that was how things were supposed to be.
For so long had she tried to get free of the spell that had been cast on the island DimDim and her had been forced to live on. So long had she trained - hoping, believing that one day she would make it out of it and return to the place that had long ago become her home. All what she had found here this fateful day when DimDim had taken her along to accompany the Nomad crew on their quest of freeing the prince Casib's fiancée was the reason why she had kept on trying - for what she had found back then was by far more than she could ever have wished for. It were her friends, her home… and her family.
Every day she had gone to the silent beach that surrounded her lost prison – staring into the fogs that separated her from nearly everyone who she loved and cared about. Every day had she longed to get back to this place again – the place she was in now.

Involuntarily her eyes closed tightly as this memory came back to her. This was not where she had longed for. This was not what her heart had been aching for.
She had longed for what was her home…

She remembered well those days when life seemed to be a bright flame which was nourished by all the light that suddenly surrounded her. Before she had met this crew, she had felt like she would never be able to trust again, or forget about what was a burden to her. But these people who had given her a home, who had welcomed her to be part of their lives, had taught her else wise. And out of all of them all it was him who had taught her so much more. He had taught her values that by far exceeded the boundaries of friendship and even though never had a word been spoken about this between them, she had believed in all of it. She had believed in him and all what her heart had told her – always - until finally she had had to face the truth.

Her heart still ached when she recalled this day those many months ago. Every now and then DimDim and Maeve had risked an ever so short glance into the world that lay beyond their barrier – the world that both of them missed so dearly. It needed much energy to do this and even more to not attract those they hid from. But seeing those who had become her family be well and safe had always given her the strength to go on trying for every time that she had seen the faces of those who meant so much to her, she had known what she was training for. Every time she had seen her brother circle high in the sky above the Nomad she had known just for what she had to keep on hoping. Every single time… safe this one day.

At first she had not bothered about the brunette woman who was meant to accompany the Nomad crew on their journeys for her master had told her that she was to be important to the world. He would have never told the reason why though, but having learned enough about the ways of magic and fate, she had accepted it. Even when she had recognized the bracelet the stranger was wearing.

For a split second Maeve's gaze eyes shifted to meet the tiller – knowing well that there she would spot her. The brunette sorceress was talking to Rongar who had just started his shift there. A smile lay on the young woman's lips and even from this far away it seemed as if for her the world was all in order and she content with her life.
If only she knew how much it hurt, the Celtic sorceress heard her own thoughts echo in her head while her mind made her re-live the moment in which her world broke to pieces.

So long had she believed that there was only friendship between him and her – only friendship that united their hearts. But friendship does not break the boundaries. Sometimes Maeve wondered just why she had wanted to have another glance at the crew on just this very day. She had just watched them a few days before; she had known they were well – but still something inside of her had made her try again.
Seeing them be so close to each other had felt like a knife was being twisted in her heart and she remembered well the worried look that DimDim had given her when his eyes, as well, had fallen on the scene. Quickly then he had made the image disappear, but even he couldn't undo what had taken place. She had known about so many of the random kisses that the captain had shared and she had believed that they meant nothing; had even accepted them somehow. But with this single one all was different. This had not been someone who would have been gone the other day; this had been a part of his crew – a part of what she had believed was her family. And all what she had wished and hoped for all this time had vanished from her in just this one second in which she had seen their lips meet. All what she had believed in had turned into a shattered dream in just this one moment and left a burning scar that covered her heart ever since.

He hurt deeply back then, a calm voice suddenly intruded the young sorceress' mind while her own thoughts were still circling around this fateful event. Recognizing it instantly, she lifted her gaze and stretched her left arm for her brother to settle on one of the leather cuffs she still wore.

You being taken away from us has hurt him more than you can imagine.

The young woman knew well that Dermott shared her feelings – and her memories. This special gift that all too often was a burden to him, made him feel what she felt – and what lay inside of others; what lay inside of him. She knew he wanted to console her; knew that what he spoke most likely was the truth … yet she did not believe in it.

"But how much can he have hurt if so soon he turned to someone else?", she sent a bitter whisper to the little brown hawk that by now sat on her hand – eyeing her intently and cocking his head to catch her gaze.

You know he didn't, came the instant reply before after a short moment of considering he added quietly: Not in this way.

Maeve couldn't help the tight knot that all too suddenly formed in her throat and angrily turning her head away from him and back to the seas again, she let a deep sigh escape her lips.

Then in which way do you think he cared?, she then voiced it out in her thoughts this time. This was not a random … For a second she bit her lips. She did not want to remember these girls who all had taken and demanded what he all too willingly had given them.

He loved none of them. And you know that.

At his words, Maeve opened her mouth as if she wanted to say something, but instead only a thought left her mind and found its way into her brother's.
But what about her?

The hurt that was all too evident in his sister's mental voice made Dermott chirp sadly as he lowered his feathered head a little and dared to glance back to the tiller. For a moment he allowed himself to watch the one who had become his new mistress while his sister had not been able to be with him. He had grown to like her much and even though he had known that what she and the captain of this ship had shared was wrong, he had not interfered.

Things have changed, he finally stated while with his head he turned back to his sister again. Both have been lost, Maeve. They had not known where to turn to or which way to go – the one because she didn't remember who she was and the other because he was about to forget the same. What they shared was a desperate try to remember … and to not forget, Maeve. It was but trying to survive.

The redhead felt her shoulders sink for deep inside one part of her had to acknowledge that just maybe Dermott was right. She had seen the captain change day by day, had had to watch how he left behind all what he had been before when she had still been on board. Maeve had always believed that there were other reasons for this change – that this world had simply required him to grow stronger and more distant to it - , but maybe there weren't.
The young Celt knew that the captain and the sorceress had ended what had been between them long before she had returned to this crew two days ago. And she knew well that had they not done so, there would have been chance she would have never taken that step.

"But so did I", this time Maeve spoke her words out loud and let them be carried away by the mild sea breeze that was softly playing with her hair.
For a moment they lingered in the air, strangely echoing in the little hawk's and his sister's head before finally they died in a silent sigh. They carried all what was Maeve's truth and Dermott was able to feel what she was talking about. He knew that his sister as well had hurt and that being separated from those she had learned to love so much had torn her world apart. But other than him she had had something to hold on to.

But he had no one to turn to, he therefore calmly intruded his sister's mind again, trying to explain what he believed she needed to understand. You had DimDim to teach you; you had something to hold on to.

At this Maeve's eye shot wide open for a second before they narrowed again and moved to focus on the bird.
"What do you mean?", she hesitantly asked while she tried to follow her brother's thoughts.

The little hawk flapped its wings slightly before he cocked his head to meet the redhead's gaze.
The only thing that he could rely on were the words DimDim had sent his way the day you had been taken away from us. Nothing more he knew and nothing more he could hope for. He didn't know how long it would take to become a master of the White Arts and he couldn't do anything to quicken the process either. He could not steal a glance at you and know you were fine. Maeve, he was trapped here just like you were, but unlike you he had no chance to do anything about it.
Her brother's deep brown eyes were fixing her, intruding her soul and sharing with her what they had seen.
He had hoped for so long. All the time after you had disappeared, in every new port we reached, he had looked out for you – even though he never let on about it. But hope is a dangerous thing, sister-mine. You of all should know that.

The last thought Dermott had spoken mixed up with a sad chirp as he held his sister's gaze for yet another second before finally breaking the contact. It hurt him to remind her of what she had gone through – and how it had changed her. It hurt him to remind both of them that he was the cause for the pain and guilt she felt, but right now he knew it was what had to be done. For it would remind her of what being helpless and feeling guilty could do to a soul.
The Celt's anchor had always been her brother back then. It was him who she had fought for; him who she had trained her magic for. He had always been what kept her going… and hoping.

Her eyes she then lifted to look back at the tiller where Rongar and the brunette one, Bryn, were still standing. And in this moment she had to realize that what her brother had always been for her, was his crew to Sinbad. Bryn was a part of it now. And she had been back then. When she herself had so cruelly been taken away from them all, Bryn was there to remind them that even in your darkest hour something good and meaningful can happen.

Neither of the two had wanted to hurt you, Maeve. And I know that, if any magic on earth could enable her to turn back time, she would undo what has happened.

Maeve heard in her brother's mental words the honesty that lay within them. She knew that her brother had befriended the brown-haired sorceress and by now cared deeply about her. He had access to her feelings – and her thoughts. Dipping into the magic that flowed within her, he could even establish a bond to her that enabled him to let her see what he saw when the crew was in need of his help. He knew what went on inside of her.

"Maybe you are right." It was not much more than a whisper which left the redhead's mouth and yet it revealed to the hawk that his sister was starting to understand. Neither Bryn nor the captain had ever planned on getting this close to each other. It had simply happened and afterwards both of them had thought a lot about what had taken place. And both had shared their thoughts with the boy who was trapped inside a bird's form. Not being able to help or speak out to them, the only thing he had been able to do was to listen and with this give them the chance to really understand those feelings that each of them held deep inside. It had taken both of them long to realize what was really written in their hearts, but finally they had remembered, and learned. Dermott knew that his sister had never gotten word about the incident on that cursed island and the trap that Scratch had set up for them. She had never come to know about it all although it was the one thing that finally had made the captain and the brunette one understand.

Many things changed since you had to go, sister-mine, but others haven't, Dermott eventually spoke on. He seemed to choose his words wisely when at the same time he tried to make sure that she was holding his gaze. And when he was sure she did, the little hawk closed his eyes. He concentrated on all the memories he held inside – of the time when his sister had still been part of the crew, of the life they had shared together and all the good it had brought along. When he felt she was accepting the images he sent her, he turned to share with her little pieces of the time she had not been able to spend with them. He showed her Doubar's laughter and Firouz' ideas; he let her see Rongar's calm and knowing eyes that had never changed in all this time and let her mind be flooded with the cool sensation of the clear morning's air that guided the Nomad gently on her way and which was ruffling through the little hawk's feathers whenever he took off for the first flight of the day.
This place is still your home, Maeve… if only you want it to be. He spoke those words with all honesty he had to offer; sent them her way and hoped that they would finally make her understand. That she would see that her place could still be here – that she still belonged here and was part of the crew's world, if only she allowed them all to be part of hers again.

None has ever forgotten about you, he then whispered; before he bent his head a little, being keenly aware that all the longing and hurt of having lost her that fateful night and which suddenly filled his heart again, would reach her just like his memories had done. The young boy felt stinging tears form in his eyes, threatening to fall down but he was keenly aware the fact that they never could. So instead he closed his eyes tightly, avoiding to meet his sister's gaze just for the moment when suddenly he felt her lean her forehead softly against his'.

"I'm sorry."

Dermott felt her pain as it mixed up with his own and he recognized the familiar ache it brought along. He had always been grateful for the path that fate had offered him; for having found such great friends and for nothing in the world would he trade all what life onboard the ship had become to him – and yet without his sister it had never really felt like home. And just like Maeve had been longing for the place she was in now, he had been longing for her return; had been waiting for her to come back and complete the family that was the Nomad crew.

When finally the little bird opened his eyes again he found himself looking directly into the depths of his sister's velvet ones and through all the hurt and sadness he saw something in them return that he had feared he would not be able to bring back. Maeve sighed silently while she carefully intruded her brother's mind, letting him see the little light that she felt was still burning within her.

I will try and come back.

It was a promise – a promise to let the past fall behind and open her eyes and heart for those people again who so many years ago had become part of her life. It was a promise to try and let her heart lead her when her mind doubted too many things that maybe deep inside she knew the truth about. And when she was being honest with herself, she felt that if she just allowed herself to admit it, she knew that Dermott was right - that those people she loved so much still cared about her as well and that it was not up to them to guide her back home, but to her to truly come back to them.

"Maybe I should unpack my things then", the Celt finally voiced with her head still close to her brother's. Her words mixed up with only the faintest smile but Dermott got it and nestling up against her a little he simply answered: You should, sister-mine. Indeed you should.
Staying in this position for yet another moment the little hawk simply enjoyed the feeling of being so close to his sister again before slowly he broke apart. Never in his life had he been separated from her for such a long time before and he prayed to any Gods that were willing to listen that he would never have to endure something like this again. His life - his whole world wasn't complete without her and for now his deepest wish was that she would find her way back to them all; that after all this time he would see this bright flame inside her light up again and warm those who were blessed to have her be part of their world.
Giving a short squeak Dermott flapped his wings lightly and left his sister's arm for only a second before he settled down on it again. Maeve, who understood what he wanted to say with this, straightened her back a little and with a last sigh escaping her lips, she left the reeling.


Only shortly Maeve hesitated when she closed the door behind her. The steps she was walking down now were so well known to her, and yet she felt like she walked them for the first time again. The soft rocking of the ship that she for more than a year had missed let her muscles tense slightly as automatically her body worked to keep the balance. The few strays of sunlight that entered through the wooden ceiling lit the galley in a dim but comforting light and let the Celt linger at her spot for a while. The warm scent of wood which mixed up with the salty flavour of the sea … She had missed it all so terribly. Maeve could not recall just how often she had dreamt about standing here again, feeling the Nomad sail softly in the breeze … and yet, never in those two days she had now spent onboard again, had she really allowed herself to notice all this. She had not even unpacked her things; had left it all as if she were on the run, not being certain if she would stay or leave at any minute.

"I've missed this place", she finally admitted in a whisper that was half a sigh. Her gaze was still lying on the large table that was settled in the centre of this room while distant laughter only she could hear crossed the boundaries of time and space to echo silently in her head and remind her of all the good she had once encountered here. Dermott, who tilted his head slightly at her words, watched his sister silently, granting her this moment of reaching for the past and remembering what she had missed so much in the world she had been taken to.

"Does Firouz still cook from time to time", she then suddenly asked, catching her brother off-guard with this unexpected question. Looking at his sister blankly for a moment, he finally flapped his wings slightly and answered with a low chirp: Indeed he does. And he has learnt some new recipes, too. He even got one for me!The last words he had sent Maeve's way, his mental voice had spoken almost proudly, allowing her to share the brilliant feeling of belonging somewhere that had instantly spread inside the little hawk when that one day the scientist had presented him with a meal he had made especially and only for him.

Maeve smiled warmly at her brother's thoughts while slowly she set herself into motion again, allowing herself to linger just a bit more in this strangely bright world that was being created by her own memory and the feelings that still flooded Dermott's heart at the remembrance of how the crew had gotten to treat him. And it reminded her of something that no matter how much the world seemed to have changed was still a constant and something she deep inside was grateful for: the way in which the crew had accepted Dermott to be part of their lives. None of them knew the truth about him for she had never told anyone and yet all of them treated him with respect and completely different from how they approached any other animal. It was something that made them be special and Maeve had to notice she could not fight the warm feeling that somehow found its way back into her heart while she focused on this trait of these people she had once learned to call friends.

They learned from you, Dermott suddenly intruded her mind gently, revealing to her that he had picked up on the thought that so freely had left her mind a moment ago. He blinked shortly and while casting a glance towards the stairs that lead back up deck, he added quietly: And they never forgot.
Maeve, who grew silent at that for a second, weighed her head slightly before she gave him a small shrug that was accompanied by an almost mischievous smile.

No, they'd better not. The Celt herself was not entirely sure just what had made her pick up on the humour she had shown in those old days that so long were gone, but something deep inside her instantly decided she liked the way it made her think about the others - for it was a way of teasing that she had shared with no one else in her life but with this crew.
Heaving a little sigh she then took the last steps towards the door to her cabin. She felt how the silent smile on her face died again as reluctantly her hand closed firmly around its cold knob. Ever since she had returned to this realm, she somehow had avoided to visit this place; had merely put her stuff in there and used its bed when she felt she could stay up no more. Too many memories lay buried in the wooden walls of this room and even though in some way she was grateful for the crew having transformed it into a spare storage room rather than to give it away to another sailor or even Bryn, she could not help the sadness that somehow spread inside of her whenever she returned to it. But she knew she could not run away from this forever. Maeve had just given Dermott a promise and for his sake, she would at least try to fulfill it.

Slowly, almost hesitantly, the Celt opened the door, listening to this most silent of creaks that had left it ever since, before finally she moved to enter. The thuds her boots made on the wooden floor echoed quietly through the air and left Maeve wondering just when she last had noticed so many details about a place she was in, before suddenly she stopped dead in her tracks. With her eyes growing wide she looked blankly at a person she had not expected to meet here. Not anymore that was.

"Sinbad." It was a surprised statement; something that left her lips before she even realized she had spoken his name out loud. The captain stood crooked above the table that was set at the wall next to the door. With his back still turned towards her, he suddenly spun around at hearing her voice and met her gaze with equally wide eyes.

"Maeve. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to… I mean…", he stammered in a way that somehow was unlike him.

"Did you search for anything?", the Celt asked with a neutral voice while her eyes grew calm again, allowing herself to take in his sight for a moment. He had not changed since she had last used her magic to steal a glimpse at this world. His face still being signed by the quests that life had set on him, he seemed to have grown older since she had had to leave them all behind. His once bright and sea-blue eyes now had shadows covering them and only for a moment Maeve wondered just why she had always believed him to be fine.

"Uhm, no, actually… ." The captain ended the sentence before he really begun it when he turned back to the table, picking something up that he obviously had just laid down there.

She had not seen this often with him, but she could tell that suddenly he seemed to be rather nervous. With his whole body being slightly tensed he tilted his head back at her, giving her an almost insecure smile.
"I just wanted to … I figured you'd want that back." His voice was low, almost quiet even and yet it sounded through the silence of this room, lingering in the warm air that surrounded the three of them until finally his words died down.

For a moment then nothing but the distant murmur of sailors exchanging happy chatters reached either of the attendees' ears when finally Sinbad reached out with his hands and offered to Maeve what he had been keeping safe for all this time long. When the sorceress' eyes fell on the item in his hands, her velvet depths opened widely again and shifted to lie on him.

"My sword", she gasped, letting her surprise and astonishment be evident in her voice while unnoticeably her brows furrowed in a wondering gesture. "You… You kept it for me?"
Her gaze was transfixing him by now. Studying every feature of his, she tried to see past the looks that told her that the person standing in front of her was not the one she had had to leave behind.

A shrug passed his shoulders while he broke her gaze, directing his own one back to the sword in his hands. Even here in the dim light of the cabin one could see that it had been treated well. Its blade was still sharp and reflected the sunlight in a way that only a regularly polished sword could do.

He treated it as if it was his own. It was a silent thought of Dermott's that entered her mind and made her look at him for a moment. He… wanted you to have it back the way it was when you left us.The little hawk ducked his head slightly while he spoke. Too much did he feel like he was betraying his captain and friend with sharing his words with her, but more important than this doubt was the need to him to tell her what he knew Sinbad himself would never admit.

"It's yours." The captain's answer made the Celt turn her head back to him, letting her velvet eyes meet his own ones again. His words seemed so meaningless somehow, so unimportant for someone who did not know how to read in them. But in this very moment in which she stood here, watching this man who for the last two days had seemed like a stranger to her, she felt something return that she almost had given up hope on ever feeling it again. She looked into his deep blue eyes and in them she saw what his words could not tell. It was hers. He had kept it not because it was another one's property, but because it was hers.

Maeve opened her mouth to speak but as much as she wanted them to, no words escaped her lips. By now her face was covered with a deep frown while with her free hand she reached out for the sword to take it. When her fingers closed around the handle of what was the only thing left of her home and childhood, they ever so slightly brushed against his and she could not help the slight shiver this brief contact sent down her spine. Even if it was only for this short a moment, but she felt as if the world around her stopped moving and all what had once been there suddenly came back to her, filling her with a strange longing and pain that she believed she had left behind long ago.
All what she had once seen in this man standing opposite to her seemed to light up again and only when Dermott flapped his wings to leave her cuff and with this enable her to take the sword properly, did she awake from this reverie again. Slowly she moved her right hand to support the blade while her gaze flew across the engravings that gilded it.

"Thank you." She should have said more, she knew. Should maybe have told him how much it meant to her that he had kept it; that she was starting to understand the truth that Dermott had spoken about earlier. But she didn't. Instead she just directed her eyes to meet with his' again, holding his gaze and allowing him to try and see in her own one what maybe he sought to know.

They stayed like this for a moment. Silence fell around them and let them be the centre of this world that had changed so much since that fateful night. Things had become different for both of them, they knew. They had hurt deeply for a too long time and each of them carried a wounded heart that would have to find the way back to a reality that could once more be their own. But in this one moment that seemed to exist only for the two of them, both felt that slowly - through all what was still keeping them apart - something emerged from the depths of their souls and revealing itself through each of their gazes, deep inside their hearts once again began to recognize each other.

"Anytime". This simple word spoken by Sinbad echoed through the chamber, engulfing the three lonesome figures and hovering in the air for yet another second before finally the captain moved to leave the spot next to the table. Swiftly he joined Maeve where she stood and passing her by he reached for the door, wanting to grant her the privacy that he instinctively felt she still needed. Never had he told her about what went on inside of him; had never really offered his truth to anyone, but having lost her had hurt him to an extent that exceeded anything he had ever imagined to feel. And he had desperately tried to silence the pain, had walked on paths he never wanted to step onto again. Sinbad knew that they both would need time to heal and that he had no right to be here when he felt she still wasn't sure whether she belonged here – no matter how much he wanted to tell her that she did; in fact had always done.

"Sinbad". He turned around upon hearing her voice once more, raising his eyebrows slightly at the almost questioning tone of her calling. Once more his gaze met with hers when suddenly he saw something in it return that had been the centre of so many of his painful dreams: He saw the brilliant flame that was her inner core.
"It's nice to be back." Her words intruded his mind. Holding so much more than he could have possibly wished for, he felt the air be trapped in his lungs before with a silent breath he released it again, feeling a small smile - the most honest one he had given anyone in months - find the way onto his face.

"Likewise." It was his truth. And he offered it to her willingly; left the message buried under the simplicity of his answer, knowing that she would find what lay beyond the obvious. From the moment she had stepped onboard again he had vowed to find the way back to who he was before if only she gave him the chance to. And he knew that with these words she just had done so.

Once again they remembered who they were. After all what time and fate had done to them their hearts would finally get the chance to heal. It would need time, both of them were aware but when silently he left the place that was now hers again – had always been hers – Maeve as well as Sinbad knew that the world had started moving again. And while with a small smile of her own the redhead looked after him, closing the door gently as she heard his steps lead him back up to the deck, Dermott's mind suddenly received again what had been lost for such a long time:
The bright light which radiated from all souls that had found their home…