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“Hey, watch it!” Elric was in a foul mood. He still couldn’t uncover the answer to the question he’d been asking himself for the last month. It was crazy. He wouldn’t have posed the question—couldn’t have posed the question—if he didn’t already have the answer stored away somewhere in his mind. It was really about combining bits and pieces of Chronicles. He knew that. He had a formula for this sort of thing. So why was that answer still tucked away?
Jana reached out to him again. “Stop, I said!” He was tired of this, her prodding his mind. She had her own agenda. Big Sister Number Two was pulling the same tricks on him as Big Sister Number One was pulling on Helene. Poor Helene, except for some reason she wanted to have her brain prodded by Bria.
Okay, okay, Elric did want this. He wanted to be able to connect back with Jana the way she was connected with him. But did it have to happen now? His plate was so full…
“Elric, you have to focus!”
By the Creator, he could feel the frustration rolling off her. “Just stop already,” he said. “You’re so irritated you’re making my stomach hurt. It won’t work, alright?” He leaned his back against his sister’s. I’m never gonna get it. I’m just not like you.”
“What?” she said.
God, it felt like she was punching his brain. “Enough! And this is NOT funny. Why are you smiling like that? It hurts, what you’re doing.”
This time the intrusion was more of a massage. He sighed and relaxed into it. His head was aching, but Jana soothed all that. The house was quiet around them. Elric shifted his bare feet against the wooden floor. It sighed all the way into the earth, and the walls whispered. There were words he could listen to when he closed his eyes. There was a slip of a smile, Jana’s face with a smug expression. He stared at it, eyes closed. “Why are you looking at me like that?” he said softly. Her back shifted against his. Elric straightened up. His eyes popped open. He looked at the wall in front of him. He looked at Jana inside his head. “What?”
Jana jumped up so fast Elric fell backward into the space where she had been. She didn’t say anything but he heard the words just the same. “We did it!”
To himself, to her, to anyone listening Elric was shouting and, yes, crying. Those were happy tears on his face. “I can hear you! I can hear you! I can hear you!”
Later, after the clamor had died down, the family and Helene sat around the dining table and toasted Elric’s awakening.
“Who knew it was possible?” his father said.
“It hasn’t been heard of in ages!”
“I’d not even read about it except in the Fables. I thought it was all pointless…”
“Amazing is what it is.”
And there were Bria and Helene, smiling back casting sad glances at each other because it seemed that Helene was deaf to the bond she shared with Bria. Still, if Elric’s mind could be opened, didn’t there remain hope?