Back in his own time, Farrell's first order of business was to take care of his children.
Elliot graciously offered his brother a room in the main house as a nursery for the twins. And of course he had questions for Farrell about how he ended up with two newborns seemingly out of nowhere.
"I mean, you never so much as mentioned a girlfriend," Elliot points out, "Who's the mother? Will she be moving in with you? Are you thinking about getting married?"
"I am married, actually," Farrell answers honestly, and immediately wishes he hadn't.
"You got married and didn't tell me?" Elliot asks, "When? And when do we get to meet her?"
"It's complicated," Farrell answers, coming up with a quick lie to spare his brother from the dangerous truth, "She's...foreign, and lives abroad. There are immigration issues, legal issues."
Elliot frowns and looks confused. "Well, if there's anything I can do..." he offers.
"Thanks," Farrel says, happy he was able to deflect his brother so easily, "I'm working on it. I'll let you know if I need you for anything."
"What are their names?" Elliot asks, snuggling the male twin before setting him into his crib.
"Names?" Farrell asks, looking at his daughter's blanket as though he expects to find an identification tag.
"Yes, names," Elliot laughs, "You can't seriously tell me you and this wife of yours haven't named your children."
"Oh, right," Farrell says. If Aouregan had chosen names for the twins, there's no way for him to discover them. "Aurora," he decides, laying his daughter in her crib, "And...Shadow."
"Aurora is pretty," Elliot says, raising an eyebrow but not commenting on his nephew's name.
"You know you don't have to leave the original paint in the nursery," Elliot comments over pancakes, "Feel free to paint, decorate, refurnish. Let me know if you need any money. And I'm sure Shelly would love to help you decorate. She's been on a real kick lately after doing the girls' room."
"I'd rather she didn't," Farrell says, "I don't want my kids growing up in a color-coded, gender stereotyped environment. They can decorate their room when they're old enough to communicate their own preferences."
Elliot laughs, "I hear you. But I don't think the girls will be permanently damaged by all the pink."
MorcoCorp has research facilities all over he planet, and that doesn't count their offices and private residences. They could have taken Aouregan anywhere, and it would be pointless to to try physically infiltrate any location without at least trying to narrow the search down through virtual investigation. His mother went underground after she left the twins with him; she'd burned her last bridge with MorcuCorp, she had said, and now could only try to hide from them. But even from hiding, she's trying to help him, using her access, her allies still in the system, to look for whatever information they can find on projects involving time travel, or a woman being kept in stasis, or under a spell. So far they've found nothing, but Farrell's search will not end until Aouregan is safe with him.
There's little he could do to protect his children if MorcuCorp sent troops to storm in and take them, but even so, Farrell feels better sleeping in a sleeping on the floor of the nursery than in his bed in the barn loft.
Cassidy and Delaney become toddlers.
"Why is Kyle up here?" Shelly asks, coming upstairs to give her son a bottle, "He has his own room."
"His nursery is downstairs, and he's by himself all day. Now that his sisters are old enough to get around, I thought he could play with them," Elliot explains.
"But their toys are girl toys," Shelly protests, "You don't want your son playing with a dollhouse, do you? You didn't play with dolls."
"My father couldn't afford a dollhouse," Elliots says with a laugh, "We played with whatever we could get our hands on. Really, Shell, it's not a big deal. It's better for all of them to play together, with whatever toys."
Trying to appease Shelly's need to keep her son away from his sisters' dolls, Elliot brings Kyle outside to play while he practices his golf swing. Not terribly interested inhis father's activities, Kyle wanders into his mother's vineyard while she works.
"Elliot!" Shelly calls out to her husband when she notices the boy, "Get him out of here!"
Elliot comes quickly, snuggling the boy to his chest, "He's not doing anything wrong," he says gently, wondering why she's so upset.
"I'm trying to work," Shelly says, not looking away from her watering, "I have to tend all these grapes by hand. I can't have him in here, messing with my plants and getting in the way."
When he's not actively hacking into MorcuCorp's databases, Farrell is working on trying to find something to counteract the alloy they've created that suppresses fairy magic. Though he still sometimes has difficulty accepting that there is such a thing as 'fairy magic', he's seen it with his own eyes, touched fairy dust with his own hands, and when he does find Aouregan's location, he may very well need to call on a fairy to help him rescue her, and to do that, they will need something to get pat MorcuCorp's anti-fairy armor.
Farrell often works late into the night and only goes back up to the nursery to sleep in the early hours before dawn. Elliot had been unaware of his brother's change of sleeping arrangements until he came in late one morning to check on his niece and nephew, and found Farrell asleep in his sleeping bag on the floor.
Shadow wakes with a hungry cry, and Elliot lifts him from his crib, taking a moment to study the toddler's face before setting him down with a bottle. The color and shape of his eyes are not from Farrell, Elliot notes, wishing he knew more about his brother's wife, that Farrell would open up to him about what was going on, and that he could do something to help.
Farrell awakens, and Elliot sits on the floor beside him. "You can move your bed into one of the empty bedrooms," he says, "You don't have to sleep on the floor."
"I can't sleep in another room," Farrell answers.
"Then we'll put your bed in here," Elliot says.
"It's okay," Farrell sighs, "I'm fine. The sleeping bag is fine."
"Farrell, what's going on? You've been acting really strangely lately." Some, like Shelly, might say he's always strange, but Elliot knows his brother well, and knows when his behavior and attitude is just not right. And it has been not right since these babies showed up at their house. "Talk to me."
"Nothing you want to be involved in," Farrell says.
"If it's about you, then I am involved," Elliot insists.
"Aouregan, my wife, is being held prisoner by MorcuCorp," Farrell says, "And I don't know what to do."
"Could you start from the beginning?" Elliot asks, and Farrell tells him the whole story, from Pearl Yang seducing their father at MorcuCorp's orders to her rescuing his own children, born in captivity.
"I have to find her, get her away from them. But I'm getting nowhere, not even the smallest clues or leads on where to even start looking," he finishes.
Elliot of course has nothing to offer in the way of help, though he promises to whatever he can, whenever Farrell needs it. Farrell isn't really sure how much his brother even believes of the story he just heard, but it was a huge, albeit temporary, relief to just talk about it.
"You've always been there," Farrell acknowledges his brother's constant dedication with a hug.
"Shell, what's wrong?" Elliot asks, coming into his bedroom to find his wife grousing to herself in the mirror.
"Everything's wrong!" Shelly shrieks, "I had a plan, and everything was going to be perfect. You were going to be a basketball champion, and I was going to have a famous vineyard. We'd get married and have two handsome sons who would follow you into professional sports. Or maybe one of them would be a movie star. And we'd live happily ever after. But, you gave up sports for some kind of circus career, I'm slaving over this nectary until I'm getting wrinkles from the stress and sun exposure. Our son plays with dolls and whenever I'm home I'm surrounded by screaming toddlers, two of them not even mine but your retarded brother's bastards! This is not how it was supposed to be!"
"Shelly, you're being ridiculously self-centered," Elliot says, trying to keep his temper in check and not yell at her, so his children don't have to hear their parents fight. "Maybe our life isn't everything you expected, but it's pretty damned good. Hell, it's about as perfect a life as you can ask for."
"This? Perfect?" Shelly humphs, "Of all the things I wanted from life, I've got nothing. Nothing!"
"Nothing?" Elliot asks, offended, "Shelly, you have me, our kids. We're healthy, and rich. What more could you want?"
"I'd like to not have to live with your brother and his spawn. There's not a minute in this house where there isn't a toddler crying about something. Send Farrell away and everything will be much better."
"That's not going to happen, Shelly," Elliot says firmly, "We've been through this. It's not negotiable."
Shelly continues to glare, but she knows she can't win and relents. "Fine," she sighs, "But I swear all these kids in the house will be the death of me."
"Nonsense," Elliot says, trying to change the mood by pulling her into his arms, "You've just had a bad day. Why don't you take time off tomorrow and spend the day at the spa? You just need to relax and pamper yourself, and you'll feel much better." Elliot hopes so, anyway.
"When we sleep, we create worlds," her mother says, "Worlds that exist only as long as we inhabit them, and which disappear when we awaken. Because they are transitory, we think they are not real. But they are real, for the dreamer who dreams them. What I'm going to teach you today is how to enter another person's dream. Sometimes, the only way to find the source of an illness is by visiting the dreams of the afflicted. This is not something that should ever be done lightly, for the dangers are great, both for the healer and the afflicted. I myself have only ever done this once, to save your father."
"I'm not going to be a healer, mother," the young woman answers, "Soon, I will be mated to Tornan, and he will be chief after his father. The chief cannot be mated to a Spirit Talker; save your lessons for my brother."
"You have chosen your own path in life, which is as it should be," her mother says, "But you cannot choose to put aside the magic inside you, so you must learn to use it, control it."
"This lesson is the most important, so you must pay attention. It is too easy to lose yourself when you visit the dream realms, child. You must learn how to stay alert, stay yourself."
"Stay myself?" the girl asks, the lesson seeming suddenly important as she realizes she cannot remember the sound of her lover's voice, or call his face to her mind. Or, rather, there are two voices, two faces, and she cannot tell which she loves.
"Do you know who you are, child?" the older woman asks, kindly.
She had thought she was her mother, she seemed to have memories...but no, those memories are not the only ones that answer to the name 'mother'. "I...I don't know my name," the girl realizes.
I was going to write a bunch of notes here explaining what the hell is up with that last segment. But I've decided to let it ride for now. If doesn't make sense now, it might make sense later. If it does make sense, yay! (It probably makes more sense to people who've been reading my Summerdream story)
Since I was so crappy at taking pictures of the toddlers for the story, here's some toddler spam:
Cassidy, Shadow and Delaney