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The Mirror Image

By ShadowoftheFireBird

Romance / Adventure

Chapter 1

"Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk."

~Susan Scarf Merrell

"Excuse me, are you lost, dearie?" the elderly woman asked, bending over the hunched, black form with a kind smile. However, her warm, brown-eyed gaze was met with an intense reddish glare.

"I'm not lost; I'm waiting for my brother!" the small girl snapped as she leapt to her feet and, with an arrogant huff, turned on her heel and stalked off. The woman watched, dumbstruck, as the young girl strutted down the polished tiled floor with far more confidence than her scrawny frame should muster. She cast a threatening glance over her shoulder before finally vanishing into the bustling crowd of Heathrow Airport.  

The woman's mistake in believing the girl was lost, or perhaps homeless, was understood. After all, she gave off the appearance of a scrappy and under kept little thing with her wild mane of thick silvery hair that trailed halfway down her back, the bangs of which mostly concealed her olive complexion and fierce crimson tinted eyes. Passerby cast curious momentary glances as the girl weaved her way through the chaotic airport. The girl glanced from left to right at the curious looks.

"Meddling strangers" she whispered as she sank deeper into the flipped up collar of her jacket "they should learn to mind their own business."

"Excuse me miss, but would you care for a lemonade?" a voice from behind the girl called in an exaggerated British accent. The girl whirled around to face a tall young man standing a short distance from her. At first glance, it was obvious that they were related as they shared the same olive-toned skin, long faces, big noses, small eyes, and silvery hair but the similarities stopped there. The young man, although large in height, had a slender form, save his broad shoulders. He had a kind, handsome face that was mostly hidden from the world by his neat shoulder length hair, although a single hazel eye could be seen peering out from behind his shimmering locks. The girl, on the other hand, had features beyond her eyes that were small; she was tiny all around with tiny hands, feet, and ears, although the latter was mostly hidden under a mess of thick, tangled hair. Despite her face rounded with youth, the roughness of her clothes and mess of hair made her look rather intimidating.

"It's about time" the girl whined, planting her hands firmly on her hips.

"My deepest apologies, dear sister" the young man replied, cordially giving his younger sibling a deep bow.

"Drop the act, Pegasus; you're making me sick" the girl snapped, although she smiled "and I'll take that lemonade" she added, reaching up to grasp one of the paper cups.

Pegasus, yes that was the last name of the odd pair whom, to a naïve passerby, would appear to be lost and alone in the middle of London's Airport, but they weren't.

Destiny Genevieve Pegasus knew full well that her brother, fourteen years her senior, Maximilian Jasper Pegasus would always be there for her.

He had to be, to ten year old Destiny, he was all she had.

Destiny's life had, you could say, gotten off to a rough start. With her mother dying in the birth of her, she'd left her two children with their father. But not for long, the poor man had been torn to pieces at the loss of his beloved wife and could not bear to be around the son who shared her face or the daughter he blamed for her death. So, when Destiny was but two months old; their father up and left them to defend themselves against the world.

Never to be seen or heard of again.

Pegasus could have left her as well.

He was a big, strong, and stable boy nearly fifteen years old. He could have gone off into the world, smart as he was, and made a solid life for himself. Could have dumped his baby sister in an orphanage and be done with her. But he didn't. No, as soon as their father abandoned them, the upbringing of Destiny became Maximilian Pegasus's first priority. He was the one whom Destiny spoke her first words to; an infant's derived form of brother ('brud-her') and it was her big brother whom she took her first toddling steps to. It was Pegasus who taught her the ABCs, and who brushed her hair in the morning, only to have the large black bow he'd situated in her scraggly hair yanked out again come noon.

"I'm just not as prim and proper as you, Pegasus" Destiny explained as she dangled herself from the monkey bars.

And it was Pegasus who taught her how to read and write, helped her memorize the multiplication tables up to twelve. It was Pegasus who rocked her to sleep at night and who comforted her from the monsters in the closet or the raging thunderstorms.

He was more than any other person in her life could ever be; a brother, a parent, and above all a best friend.

He was her Pegasus

"Call me Pegasus, Destiny" he had explained kindly as he hoisted a two year old Destiny into his lap "when you have a name like Maximilian; well, let's just say it's somewhat of a mouthful. And Max, well, do I really look like a Max?"

"No, Pegasus" Destiny replied, shaking her head with a giggle.

"So, Pegasus..." Destiny tugged on the sleeve of her brother's crisp dress shirt "where are we going this time?" Pegasus's only response was a sly wink.

"If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise, now would it?" he asked smugly

"Come on, Pegasus" Destiny whined, jumping and prancing about her brother as he strode down through the growing throng of tourists.

"Now, let's see" Pegasus muttered, purposely ignoring his little sister's pleas with a smile as he tugged out a mess of papers consisting of tickets and passports. "It's gate number E, right?" he asked, glancing from left to right at the various gates.

"Over there" Destiny cried, after a pause, pointing a short way down the hall to where their gate was located.

"Keen eye, baby sis" Pegasus said, giving her shoulders a squeeze and then, without warning, he reached under her knees and hoisted her onto his back. Destiny yelped and squealed with fake pleas for help but the surrounding tourists knew that it was all just fun as the silver-haired siblings made their short walk to their gate a little more fun.

"There you go" Pegasus said, a little breathlessly, as he deposited Destiny into one of the stiff plastic chairs situated in rows just outside the airplane's gate.

"It should be a few minutes" Pegasus added smiling apologetically "do you want anything?" Destiny shook her head with a grin.

"No thanks" she replied brightly.

"Good" Pegasus said as he sank into the chair beside her "I'm tired of walking" he added, tucking his arms behind his head.

Glancing over her brother's shoulder, Destiny spied a pair of college girls giggle and blush as they cast knowing looks at her brother. But Pegasus simply pushed he scally cap down over his eyes and paid them no mind.

He wasn't expected to though, Destiny thought with a sigh. For him, no one could ever replace Cecelia.

Ah yes, Cecelia, Destiny knew everything about her and yet remembered very little of her. She had been but four when Pegasus and his childhood sweetheart; Cecelia, had become engaged and Cecelia had come to live with them. At first, Destiny considered Cecelia to be like a slimy little worm that was about to wriggle its way into the sweet and perfect apple that was the life she and Pegasus had shared. But no, although the apple of Destiny's little life was diced and rearranged Cecelia added sugar and spices that opened up new doors brimming with new ideas.

She made Destiny's life an apple pie.

And, for the first time in her life, Destiny had mother.

But as all good things come, such is the way that they all must go.

It wasn't fair and there was no answer why, but a year after her and Pegasus's engagement, Cecelia fell gravely ill and left this world; going far away where no one could ever reach her again.

It was at that moment that their life apple turned bitterly sour.

When Cecelia died, Pegasus literally fell apart. He didn't smile or laugh; his amber eyes lost their gorgeous sparkle they used to have when he looked into Cecelia eyes.

He never cried though. No, Pegasus would never ever shed any tears; for he had to be strong for his baby sister.

"She's happy now, at least" he whispered as he brushed away Destiny's own brimming tears "gone to a better place, but that doesn't mean I don't miss her."

Destiny had little to go on when she thought of Cecelia herself. Although Pegasus would tell her stories of how they met and such, she had been so young when Cecelia had passed on that she herself had no stories to share, remember, or hold close.

She tried to though; leafing through the pages of her mind, the older she got the harder it became but she managed to collect a few tiny shards that she clung to like fallen leaves as they were threatened to be carried away by the winds of time.

She remembered that Cecelia's hair had been the color of sunshine and as soft as spun silk.

She always wore long flowing dresses whose skirts would ripple all around her like the rolling waves of a crashing sea.

Her laugh was soft and contagious, with a sound like chiming bells or lulling bird song.

Her voice was quiet and sweet;

"of course you can be my maid of honor, Destiny. I wouldn't have it any other way" Cecelia had said, giving the little five year old girl a tender hug.

And how she would always smell of lavender (Pegasus still had a bottle of her perfume.)

But that's about all, Destiny thought with a sigh as she yanked out her sketchbook and began to absentmindedly trace the pen across a blank page.

But, as Pegasus sunk deeper and deeper into the hollow well of grief, he knew that he needed to pull himself together and try to move on somehow.

After all, he had a little sister to raise.

So, as he climbed out of his sorrow filled hole, Pegasus's body tingled with anticipation. He became restless and tired of all that they knew and began to long for something exotic and new.

"I want to see the world, Destiny" he had exclaimed one morning through a mouthful of pancakes "and I want you to too. I want you to have a rich and adventure-filled childhood. So, come on. Let's go have an adventure together!" he'd exclaimed.

And so they began what Destiny called "country hopping." Starting from when Destiny was four, they enrolled themselves in a seemingly endless cycle of stopping in one country in the world and jumping around from hotel to hotel, often only staying in one place for a month or two before Pegasus's eye would catch another and even more foreign place and they would up and leave to the next location.

Destiny had spent two Christmases and her eighth birthday on an airplane.

All the same, Destiny did enjoy traveling the world; never staying in one place for too long, it was fun and interesting to constantly have a change of scenery and often there was so many exciting things going on in wherever they were that exploring the vast arrays and cultures of the world was better than any elementary school field trip.

Because, for Destiny, school was wherever they could find a quiet place to study in whatever country they were currently residing in. Yep, since she'd turned six; Pegasus adapted another role in her life; teacher and sometimes fellow student. For there were so much both of them always learned on their adventures.

But, although Destiny enjoyed the unique and constantly changing life she had, she knew there were only so many countries in the world, only so many adventures she and Pegasus could have. She knew that her big brother did what he did because he was constantly searching; searching for some kind of glue, or perhaps a needle and thread, to stitch back together the tattered shards of his broken heart. Destiny tried to help as best she could, but there was only so much she could do.

He's searching throughout the world trying to find Cecelia again, Destiny thought glumly as she rubbed her eraser across the page attempting to smudge out a mistake.

"What are you drawing?" Pegasus asked, leaning over her shoulder.

"A swan" Destiny replied simply as she dug around in her satchel, finally extracting her purple crayon and began running the wax across the page, dying the swan's feathers a vibrant violet. Pegasus raised an eyebrow.

"A purple swan?" he asked.

"Why not?" Destiny inquired, brushing loose wax shards off the page "purple is my favorite color."

"Whatever floats your boat" Pegasus muttered with a shrug as he leaned back against his chair "and it does look nice, very creative. I think I might have some competition" he added with a smirk.

Destiny grinned in response "I doubt I'll ever be as good as you, Pegasus" she replied with a fake sigh "you've had far more practice after all, I shall always be in the shadow of my big brother" she added in an exaggerated woefulness that caused them both to burst out laughing.

"Hmm, maybe I should take up acting" Destiny murmured, staring thoughtfully at the ceiling. True, Destiny did have rather a knack with sketching and shading but when it came to painting Pegasus was a modern Michelangelo. It was his paintings, after all, that kept them both alive when he was in high school, and his landscapes were what provided them with airplane and hotel fare, and they would one day put Destiny through college.

Indeed, Pegasus's landscapes were outstanding; he had done and sold pieces of just about every natural and man-made wonder the world had to offer.

Portraits, however, had always been his preference; although he hadn't done one of those in years as Cecelia had always been his favorite subject.

"Attention ladies and gentlemen flying flight number thirty seven; please make your way to Gate E, so we can begin boarding" the mechanical sounding voice of a stewardess suddenly sounded over the microphone.

"That's our cue" Pegasus said brightly as he gathered up their vast array of baggage. They had quite a few as the basically lived out of them.

Destiny flipped her sketchpad shut and tucked it back into her satchel

"Will you tell me where we're going now?" she pleaded as she got to her feet and gave her brother her best puppy-dog pout.

"Nope" Pegasus replied with a grin, evidently enjoying his sister's impatience.

As the made their way over to the desk before the gate to present their tickets, Destiny cast one last long look around her at Heathrow airport. They'd been in England for about three months now; living in and around London and Destiny had grown quite fond of the thriving country.

"Come on, kid" Pegasus said, jolting her out of her thoughts as he took her hand and led her down the short hallway that would lead them to their airplane.

Destiny fidgeted in her seat, crossing and uncrossing her overall clad legs. She placed her grimy hiking boats and began kicking the seat in front of her irritably like a bratty toddler. This was her least favorite part of flying; sitting about and waiting for the plane to start flying.

"Knock it off" Pegasus hissed irritably in her ear.

"Fine" Destiny snapped, crossing her arms and sinking deeper into her chair. Why did they have to make airplane chairs so uncomfortable?

For lack of anything better to do, Destiny fished into her bag and whipped out a simple black journal that she had gotten for her tenth birthday.

Now, she flipped it open to a section where she kept tabs on every country she and Pegasus had visited.

Quickly she scribbled in a new date and place

Date: April 17

Currently Residing In: London, England

Destination:

Destiny glanced up waiting for the answer.

As if on cue, the airplane pilot came over the microphone:

"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard flight number thirty seven, non-stop to Cairo Egypt. In a few minutes we will make our way onto the runway but, until then, we have a few safety protocols to review so just sit back, relax, and we hope you enjoy your flight"

However, as the flight attendant went over what to do in case of an emergency, Destiny didn't listen (she'd heard the memo over a dozen times anyways.)

Instead, she turned to her brother.

"Egypt, huh?" she asked.

Pegasus simply smiled.

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