Cara is holding their father's hand when they get back from fishing, and Grace isn't surprised that the bucket is empty. It's hard not to blame Cara for that, not when Cara's tearstained face tells her everything that she needs to know.
Her sister is such a baby sometimes, and Grace was looking forward to a fish supper.
Grace pouts and kicks at the table leg, at least until her mother looks her way, a frown on her face and the spoon in her hand promising chores if Grace doesn't buck her ideas up. Grace knows better than to pout where her mother can see her; she - like Cara - can wind her father around her finger with a smile and laugh and maybe even a tear or two. But her mother sees right through her, and loves her anyway.
It doesn't stop her from leaning towards Cara when her mother's back is turned and her father is washing for dinner and murmuring, quietly so that Mama will not hear, "You are such a baby."
Only Cara would worry about a fish. Only Cara would be soft-hearted enough to care more about a slimy, scaly thing than the hunger rumbling in Grace's belly, put there by a day of rough and tumbling, of climbing trees.
"I'm not a baby," Cara mutters back, her small face set in stubborn lines.
"You made daddy let the fish go," Grace says shrewdly, and Cara's face falls. "Now what are we going to have for dinner?"
Cara's lip quivers, her blue eyes, the ones that are a mirror to Grace's, welling up. "It couldn't bre-ee-eathe," she stutters, like the breathless baby she is, and a single tear breaks free to slide down her cheek.
It sends a pang through Grace, and not just because if her mother catches her making her baby sister cry, Grace will catch heck for it. Cara might be a big baby, but she's Grace's big baby and Grace has made her cry.
"Don't cry," she says, petting at Cara awkwardly like she does at Kitty when Kitty meows, even though Kitty is softer and doesn't cry anywhere near as much.
Cara's tears die down to soft, snuffling sobs, and she wipes at the back of her face with a grubby hand. "C'mon," says Grace, catching hold of Cara's thin wrist and half-dragging her out of her chair. "Let's get your hands washed before Mama catches you eating with the fingers you've been digging worms out of the earth with. You don't want to get into trouble, do you?"
"No-o-o," Cara stutters again.
"Well, I'll help you wash them, okay?"
Cara smiles suddenly, like the sun coming out from behind the clouds, and wraps her small fingers confidently around Grace's. "Okay," she says. There's still a tear on her cheek; Grace reaches up to wipe it away with one finger, just like their daddy does, and Cara's smile broadens.
"I'll look after you," Grace promises. "I'll make sure you're okay."