It didn't take long to get back to Adam's home and as soon as they got there Samuel started evaluating SeoHyun’s condition. On the way there she had meekly brought it to everyone's attention that she was starving, though her growling stomach announced it to even those without werewolf hearing. Bran had further pressed her to see exactly how long it had been since she had eaten and it took everything he and Adam had to keep everyone calm when they learned it had been nearly forty- eight hours since she had eaten or drank anything.
While Samuel looked SeoHyun over Darryl excused himself to start working on the traditional Sunday breakfast.
Charles watched nervously as his brother examined SeoHyun.
“Would you calm down, old man, she’s fine.” Samuel said “She’s hungry and dehydrated but that’s nothing that can’t be fixed in a couple of hours. She’s lost a little weight but not enough to worry about.”
Charles settled down as Samuel set up an IV catheter and an IV bag of fluids to rehydrate her.
Auriele came in a few moments later with a plate and glass of orange juice for SeoHyun. The others knew they would have to go into the kitchen but because SeoHyun was young and had an IV in her arm Auriele was willing to serve her. SeoHyun thanked Auriele and then began to eat.
Samuel couldn’t help notice the relief in his brother’s expression as he watched SeoHyun eat the meal provided for her. He knew his brother had been stressed out while SeoHyun was missing and to see her alive and well did him and his brother wolf a lot of good.
Auriele told them to go get plates that she would keep watch over SeoHyun.
Charles was reluctant but soon admitted that he could use some food and went with his brother to get food.
“It feels good to have her back safely, doesn’t it?” Samuel asked in Welsh.
“It does… I’m going to be honest… I never thought I could love someone the way I love her and Anna.” Charles admitted switching languages just as easily as his older brother had.
“That’s what it’s like to be a father,” they heard their father say. “That’s how I felt with both of you, and you’re being rude!”
Both brothers switched back to English to apologize to their father and continue their conversation.
Mercy finished her breakfast and put a call in to Zee to let him know SeoHyun had been found and her captor killed.
“Good, serves him right for hurting a child.” Zee said firmly.
Mercy would have to wait until that night to call Stefan and let him know SeoHyun was home and safe. He would be thrilled that she was rescued and that justice prevailed in the end.
That evening Bran, Anna and Charles took SeoHyun home to Aspen Creek. Charles was sitting in the back seat with SeoHyun trying to figure out how he could make Christmas special for SeoHyun after everything she went through. He had never been very festive, when it was just him or just him and Anna it really didn’t seem necessary, but SeoHyun deserved a festive Christmas. He remembered seeing SeoHyun eyeing his guitar with a lot of interest. Maybe getting her a guitar of her own and teaching her to play would be a good idea, but that didn’t make Christmas festive. He needed more, something better. He looked down at SeoHyun as she leaned against him, asleep. She had not rested well while in captivity and it was clear to anyone who looked at her that she was tired and Charles had no intentions of waking her until they got home, but he knew she needed to eat sometime between leaving the Tri-Cities and Aspen Creek. They stopped and got some food along the way and SeoHyun protested having to wake up but Charles’ glare stopped that and she ate silently then went back to sleep for a couple of hours longer.
Home had never been more of a welcome sight than it was that day through the windshield of Bran’s Humvee. Soon it was dinner, baths and bed for the whole family. The next day they just stayed in and got SeoHyun settled back in after all she had gone through.
December first found Charles and SeoHyun walking through an area where Charles knew he could find trees the proper size and species to use for a Christmas tree. He had made this trek several times before but this year just felt special.
“Da, what are we doing?” SeoHyun asked. She had decided to continue to call him ‘Da’ even after she was reminded that she didn’t have to she had also taken to calling Anna ‘mom’ a fact that they all said just felt right.
“We’re getting a Christmas tree.” Charles explained.
SeoHyun smiled brightly “A real tree.”
Apparently this was the first time she had any experience with real Christmas trees. Charles decided in that moment that they needed to make this a tradition, that every year that she still lived with them they would go together to get the tree.
“Yes… now let’s see if we can find a good one.”
It took about half an hour to find the right one and longer to get it home, but in the end both of them deemed the whole affair worth it.
Anna came in to help them decorate the tree and the next few days would see a handful of gifts appear under.
Christmas morning was a festive affair and SeoHyun noticed a rather large box under it for her from Charles that piqued her curiosity, but unfortunately gifts would have to wait until Bran arrived with his gifts for them. SeoHyun decided he couldn’t arrive soon enough.
Bran was amused by his impatient granddaughter, she had never had a Christmas like this before; it wasn’t that her family didn’t celebrate Christmas, they did, they just never could afford to do much, and festive was hard when you were always looking over your shoulder in fear.
They went through their gifts but the one SeoHyun was really curious about seemed to keep getting pushed back until it was the last gift under the tree.
“Da, will you let me open that one now?” she asked nearly exasperated at having to wait. She wanted to know what that gift was and Charles seemed to be in no big hurry to tell her what it was or give her a single hint.
“Okay, you can open it now.” Charles smiled handing the box to SeoHyun
She ripped off the paper only to find a plain box and wasn’t sure what to think of it.
“Open the box.” Charles prompted.She did and gasped.