The glade echoed with the sound of twelve children laughing and running through the new house. The two story home stood brown against the lush green. The front gleamed with a window seat and the glass surrounding the front door. There was a porch with a swinging chair at one end and the window seat at the other. One side of the house had a half circle sticking out with a balcony. In the back there was a large outdoor pool, hot tub, trampoline and further back, a tennis court, along with a pond.
It was a seemingly normal house, but if you looked closely you would see vines carved into the walls and etched into some windows. The guard rails of the balcony consisted of twisting vines meeting sparks of electricity at the top and bottom. Vines and sparks were hidden everywhere, including on everything in the backyard.
Fangs took a deep breath and rang the door bell. On the other side she, plus her husband and children, heard a chorus of voices yell "I've got it!" The person who opened the door turned out to be Spirit.
"FANGS!" she yelled, hugging her fiercely before there was time to protect herself. "JAMES!" He too got a hug, before he had a chance to react. "Guys, Fangs made it!" Spirit yelled into the house as she ushered the family in.
"I like what you did with the place, Spirit." James commented, looking at the family room that opened to his left.
"Aw tanks. Those are the bathrooms." She pointed to their right. "The study is the room between them; the kitchen and dining room are on the other side of that wall along with the stairs. To our right are guest rooms, and at the end of the hall between the guest room and bath is the library. And this is the family room." Spirit finished her tour, leading them into the heart of the living room. "Introductions!" Spirit yelled, and people started to trickle into the room.
"Where did you get the money for this Spirit?" Fangs asked, as she looked around the spaciously decorated room, with a projector on the ceiling and sound system. The couch, love seat, chair and window seat were all becoming occupied.
"Oh lots of places. Nerds are rich hon. After we got married we drew up the plans, started saving. Fangs, I know this will be hard to believe but, the stock market actually works. Got us at least a third of the money we needed from that. Radar did some work for NASA, something to do with the new rockets I think, and that gave us a huge bonus. Plus Radar's business is doing excellent. Oh yeah, and Radar's adopted dad died, also a scientist, and it turns out Radar was still in the will. Apparently his dad bought stock in some company I can't remember, and it we got it. That helped chip in too, but now we have to keep in touch with his mom. We just saved up until about two years ago, then it took half the year to find the right land to build. "
"In Montana?" James asked. "I thought you lived and breathed Utah."
"Yeah, well after some incidents with people learning that I have an animal spirit, and freaking out parents and crap, I got fired. After that it was murder to get a new job, plus I wanted to spend time with my kids. Utah didn't have enough space for what we wanted to make anyways. Plus since Radar made Wolfe his manager, worker-in-chief, whatever, of the video game department of his business he decided he wanted to live closer to him so they could work together."
By then, everyone had split into their families, Spirit's being the largest. Only one was missing. "Luke, where is your father?"
"In the basement. He said he was gonna be working on something down there until James and Fangs got here."
"Well then go get him. L'Ashes dear you can sit down. You really don't need to stand." Spirit commented to her nine month pregnant friend.
"I'm fine standing thanks."
"Honey, I know how it is. I've had experience. Please sit."
"L'ashes," Wolfe interjected worriedly, "maybe you should sit down."
"I'm staying standing!"
"Alright what?" Radar asked as he came through the arch in the wall on their right, following their tall almost black haired, blue eyed son. His shoulders were hunched, and dark circles under his eyes were prevalent.
"Nothing dear, just hormones. You remember how it was. K, so we haven't seen anyone for a while, so I thought we should all introduce our kids and tell them ages and stuff. This may seem weird, but it's faster, soooooo, I guess I'll start. This is Luke and he's nine now, and he got an otter for those who don't know, really interesting day in our house when we found that out. Then there's... Who's got Michael?"
"I got him Mom." Elizabeth said, walking around to stand by her mother holding the blond haired, brown eyed toddler. .
"Oh good. Well, then it's Lizzy who's seven, Chandler is five, Giddion and Melody are three, and Michael, who's one." She said, taking her youngest. "That's my troop. Sqwid, how about you go next."
"Awright." Sqwid said standing next to her husband, Blue. "So here are my lovely children. Lionel is four, Oliver is three, and Percy is two. Aren't they all gorgeous?" Everyone agreed heartedly as they looked at Sqwid's three biracial children.
"Lionel got a tiger shark." Blue said with a small chuckle.
L'ashes jumped in next. "This," she said as she touched her stomach, "is going to be Isabelle Amelia, and she's due anytime soon." The rest of the friends watched as Wolfe scooted a little closer to his wife, so high strung it looked like his tendons would snap. He had been nervous and worried the whole time, straying no more than ten feet from his wife and child.
Everyone then turned and looked at Fangs with her kids. "Well, this is Danielle, I'm not sure you guys have met her. She's thirteen now, but she's usually at a Boarding School." Danielle stood as people studied her reddish-brown hair with red streaks underneath and dark blue eyes. She could tell they were thinking she didn't look like her parents. "Ans she's got-"
" Don't HAVE anything, Fangs," Danielle barked at her.
"Okay then, be stubborn. These two little boys," Fangs said moving on to her four year old twins with black hair and ice blue eyes, "are Joey and Drake, and they are both black panthers."
"done now?" Joey and Drake asked, Drake finishing Joey's sentence. They both looked pleadingly up at their mother.
"Yeah, yeah," Spirit answered. "Dinner should be ready soon, the play room is upstairs. Go up the stairs and head towards the library, it's the first door on your right. Wolfe you can get back to your pool game now. Radar, go back to your man cave, I will call you when the food is ready. Anyone who wants to see my amazing library, come with me. Lizzy hon, could you watch the little ones for a little?"
"Sure Mom." Spirit's brown haired, green-blue eyed daughter led the children up the stairs, taking Michael from her mother again.
Spirit walked briskly down the hallway, followed by Fangs, James, Ashes, and Sqwid.
"I love these doors," Spirit murmured as she pushed open the large double doors into the library. The half circle library was complete with, book shelves, large floor to ceiling windows, an indoor balcony separating the two floors, rolling ladders, and multiple chairs and love seats. The shelves were sparsely covered with books, even thought there had to be at least a hundred, and, of course, there were hidden vines and sparks everywhere.
"We're still working on filling it up, so now you have my presents for the next ten years. There are trap doors to get to the second level. Please don't break the ladders and yes you can play on them." Spirit said pointedly to Fangs, who was rushing towards one of the ladders.
"Let me get to the top floor first!" Sqwid yelled, rushing forward.
"Wow. This is amazing. Who did you get to do the wood work and painting?" James asked, awed at the size of the room.
"Oh we found people all over the place," Spirit commented as she got into a chair, flipping her legs over one of an arm rest. "L'Ashes did most of the detailed paintings though. You should see the play room slash home theater, it's pretty great. Radar naturally handled all the electronic stuff. Basically anything electric, he made."
"So what's upstairs then?" James asked as he eyed the two girls running the ladders from one side of the room to the other.
"Mostly bedrooms. There's a family guest room, then just the play room and library. Storage is in the basement, and the rest of the basement belongs to Radar. Make sure they don't break anything and you're welcome to any books. I'm gonna go finish dinner. I'll call when it's ready."
"I'll help." Ashes followed Spirit out of the library and to the kitchen. They passed Wolfe and Blue playing pool, a foosball table, and Luke and Danielle playing air hockey. A large stereo was playing Wolfe's IPod, blasting music through the house. The kitchen had a square U shaped counter, two of the sides against a wall. To the right of the counter was a large oval table and beyond that, large glass doors leading to the back yard. It smelled of both Italian and Mexican at the same time, making it hard to tell what was being made.
"I thought you didn't like Mexican." L'Ashes commented a little confused.
"Luke when your game is over can you help Lizzie watch the little kids? I don't," Spirit added as a side note to L'Ashes.
"Then why did you make it?"
Spirit just smiled as she went to the fridge and brought out some bananas, apples, strawberries, grapes, two Tupperware bowls, lettuce, and carrots.
"Tell me why!"
"Could you wash and grate the carrots Ashes?" Spirit asked as she opened a drawer and got a box grater out.
L'ashes took one look at the carrots and started to bawl.
"What?! What is it? What's wrong? Are you hurt? Is she coming?! Call a doctor!"
"Wolfe, it's just hormones! Get out of my kitchen or so help me I will ban you from this house right now!"
"I-i-i-i-i was eating carrots when I first realized I was pregna-a-a-a-a-ant!"Ashes bawled out.
It took Spirit five minutes to get L'ashes calmed down enough to be able to even wash the carrots. While Ashes cleaned the vegetables, Spirit cut the fruit, only apples in one bowl, mixed fruit in the other. She then made a salad with the lettuce and grated carrots. She was pouring a sauce over the bowl of mixed fruit to finish the fruit salad when the patter of small feet came running down the stairs, accompanied by a young voice. "MOOOOOOOOOMMYYYYYYYYY!" A small bond haired boy with blue yellow eyes came running to his mother.
"Chandler honey, what's wrong?" Spirit asked as she crouched down so he could hug her.
"Giddion and Melody are picking on me." He sniffled.
"Oh those two. I'll fix it. Dinner is almost ready. Do you want stay down here?"
With that, Spirit teleported upstairs seconds later returning, carrying her two three year olds. After getting due apologies, she let her two dark brown curly haired twins run back up the stairs to play.
"You handled that well," L'ashes commented. "How do you not get frustrated? I'm sure that happens a lot."
"Yeah, but it's so hard to stay mad at them. Did you see their eyes? I just melt in her blue eyes, and his green ones are no better." Spirit said as she set the table, except for the food. "I think we're good, I should probably call the family." Chandler immediately covered his ears. "You guys should follow his example." She then opened her mouth and let out an earsplitting squawk. The kitchen was soon flooded with children as they all came running down.
"What's going on?!" Fangs yelled down the hall as she ran towards the kitchen her fingers becoming claws.
"Time to eat. Where is Radar?" She took a deep breath before deciding better and running to the top of the stairs, yelling down. "If you don't come up I'm coming down!" Radar soon joined them.
"And now, food." With that, the oven doors were flung open, and lasagna and enchiladas were put on the counter. "You guys serve yourself and find a place to eat. I'll take Michael from you Lizzy. Radar dear, can you help the twins? Oh! There's a caramel apple dip in that Tupperware bowl."
A line somehow managed to form, and soon the table was filled, and happy conversation laced through the air. When the conversation dimmed James spoke up.
"Hey guys, watch this. Joey, do Spirit."
Everyone suddenly heard Spirit's voice by the front door. "FANGS!" Suddenly from the stereo they heard, "Fangs, I know this will be hard to believe but, the stock market actually works."
"What, is going on?" Spirit asked, looking up from feeding her toddler, a little scared at hearing herself.
"How do you do that?"
"Oh it's no big deal hon. I just, think it and it happens." Joey said, sounding exactly like Spirit.
"Ok that's gotta stop. It's wicked cool, but scaring the crap out of me."
"What else can he do?" Blue asked, amazed his talent.
"He can do anything, came with the spirit. Ask him, he'll be able to do it." Fangs said.
"Bring me that horizon."
"Why so serious?"
"That's scary." Radar said from between the twins. The rest of dinner went quickly as people named anyone they could think of to see if Joey could say them, which he always could. After dinner, everyone went into the backyard to play. Danielle and Luke started a tennis match, the other kids amusing themselves with the pool or trampoline or just playing tag until the sun went down.
Breakfast went quickly the next morning. Most of the day was a blur as children ran about the house, keeping their parents on their toes. It was soon established that unless Joey and Drake were together you couldn't get a full sentence out of them. The one time Spirit had tried to get one sentence from Drake he almost broke into tears. Radar wasn't seen much of the day as he worked on his project in the basement.
Lunch rolled around and Sqwid volunteered to make it with help from Fangs. A lunch of sandwiches, a light salad, and lemonade. Soon after, all of the younger children went down for naps giving their parents a short time to sit and rest.
"I'm a little tired Spirit, is there a place I can lay down that isn't taken?" L'ashes asked.
"Sure, there's a guest room on this floor that hasn't been used yet."
Ashes went to lay down and Wolfe went with her, never straying too far from her side.
"If anyone wants to come and catch up we can go into the study," Spirit invited. "It won't wake up the kids in there." Spirit went to get her husband out of the basement, which took a lot of threatening, and found Fangs and James in the study sitting on a love seat.
"She's in the library looking at the books, or playing with the ladders," James commented.
"She said she would be in a little bit later," Fangs added.
Spirit sat in a window seat, and Radar sat in a chair nearby. "So, I have a quick question before we catch up hon. What did Danielle mean when she said she didn't have anything?"
"She's like my sister," James started. "Violet had a tiger spirit, but she would never use it or accept it. She passed it on to Danielle, and she won't acknowledge it either."
"Wait. Danielle is adopted then?" Radar questioned.
"Yeah. When his sister died we took Danielle in. She has years of boarding school paid for though. We almost never see her, we basically give her a place to sleep at during break from school. What why you guys haven't really seen her before."
The door suddenly opened a crack. "Mom?"
"Luke? What's the matter?"
"I think Chandler let the snake out again."
"Lovely. We'll find him when we can then. I'm guessing playing games isn't going too well either. Right?"
"Come sit with me then, hon. Yes snake, Fangs. Did you think I wouldn't have one?"
The conversation went like this as the friends caught up on the past few years. It was almost ten minutes later that a crash was heard from the basement, and the air seemed to shimmer in the center of the room.
"Oh no," Radar whispered seconds before the air coalesced and an object appeared in the center of the room. It was a tall cylinder shimmered silver with many multicolored wires criss-crossing the surface.
"Radar? What is that?"
"That was cool."
"Don't touch it Fangs!" Radar rushed to the other side of the room to stop her before she touched anything.
"What does this button do?"
"Don't!" Radar yelled as he simultaneously tripped over a cord and caught Fangs wrist, making her hit the button. Time seemed to slow as the cord popped from it's casing and the machine came to life. Colors lit up the room and a spark appeared where the wire had once been. Fangs and Radar fell towards James as Spirit and Luke backed away. Then the room exploded.