Chapter 12. // The Rossellini’s
Cyan had begrudgingly given Taj a shirt, and everyone congregated in the kitchen for breakfast consisting of waffles, bacon and cereal. “So, you’re telling me, that you jumped out of your window and ran?” Raphael asked as he ate, slightly peeved that Grey had wiggled her way off his lap and was now seated beside him, slowly munching on a strip of bacon. “Yeah.” Taj replied nonchalantly, turning his head to steal a bite from Azula’s waffle. She smacked his arm and he chuckled, then kissed her cheek, causing a deep blush to bloom on her face.
“Taj, they’re your parents.” Raphael deadpanned, staring at his brother as if he said that the sky was shit-brown and pigs lazily swam across its vastness. “Yeah. And when they asked for their eldest son, what would I have said? That he choked up and had a fit in the middle of a meeting, then force shifted and burst through the backdoor like Hades was coming for him? And what the hell happened to your skin? What eight-limbed creature tatted you up?”
“Taj,” Azula began, turning to face him and laying her hands on his shoulders, “I’m going to need you to not freak out okay?” he nodded wearily, but urged her to continue. “These,” she gestured to the Markings embedded in Raphael’s skin, “in Earth languages, are known as Comharraidhean or Markings. They are symbols of great meaning and power gifted to powerful Royals from millennia ago.” Azula paused, gauging Taj’s reaction, along with everyone else. Grey was about to squeeze Raphael’s shoulder, but stopped herself at the last second and dropped her hand to his. Taj’s eyebrows scrunched in confusion. “So basically,” he began, adjusting himself on the barstool, “my older brother is a reincarnation of sorts?”
Everyone froze, but Azula broke out of the trance first. “Yes! Yes, that’s it!” she exclaimed, grinning brightly. “That’s exactly it, Taj.” He nodded slowly, rolling his bottom lip between his teeth as he still digested the news. “Huh,” unconsciously, everyone slid to the edge of their seats. “That’s interesting.” Taj fell silent again, yet, the kitchen didn’t return to normal; everyone still stared at him. A minute had passed, and the silence was almost suffocating. Taj’s head shot up and he glanced around the kitchen. “What?” Azula’s lips quirked up slightly. “Nothing. Just making sure you don’t freak out on me.” Taj shook his head. “I’m fine.”
“There’s something else.” Azula said, stopping him from fully facing the counter again. “Something else? What?” Azula paused, inhaling deeply before letting the air out through her pursed lips. “These markings; you’re supposed to get them too.” He sucked in a sharp breath, blue eyes widening. Suffocating silence fell over them again as Azula’s eyes darted over Taj’s face, gauging his reaction.
It started out slowly, but by the time they noticed, it was already too late. His blue eyes clouded over and his piercing scream made their ears tingle. “Grey! Help him!” Azula screamed, tears streaming down her face. Tears slipped from her own eyes as she jumped over Raphael and darted around the barstools that now littered the floor. She tapped into her reserve of magic and her hands took on its electric blue glow. Taj was hunched over, sweat pouring from his skin as if he just finished a marathon, and he screamed painfully as he clutched his head. Starting from the crown of his head, Grey smoothed her hands down his head, gently brushing his own hands away from his hair, which he was starting to tear out.
Inhaling deeply, Grey willed her nerves to relax and she sealed away her brewing panic, and the light in her hands slowly brightened as complete calm washed over her. To will it into someone else, you must feel it yourself. Taj’s breathing evened out gradually, but as Grey removed her hands, feeling more drained than she ever had in a long time, his screams filled the kitchen again and Grey feared that he would damage his vocal chords.
Her suspicions were confirmed when she saw the unnatural raising of his skin nearly tearing through his borrowed shirt. Her head whipped around to Azula, who watched on with tears freely flowing from her eyes and her twin’s arms around her as she sobbed helplessly. “Zula! Come here, you need to be the one to help him.” She looked at Grey with wide eyes, shaking her head vigorously. “I-I don’t know how!” she croaked out, sobbing louder as Taj contorted painfully on the ground, his screams intensified. “Just calm down, and tap into your magic a little. As long as you’re calm, he will ease into it as well.” Azula hesitated. “Zula, the Lycan and Vampire are hysterical and causing him more panic and pain. They call out to you, not me.” Grey said calmly as her eyes darted from Taj to Azula. The girl in question nodded resolutely and stepped out of her twin’s arms, walking on shaky legs to her soulmate. She dropped to her knees and placed her hand on either side of his head, then took calming breaths, visibly relaxing with each exhale.
Her hands began to glow azure, much like her own hair. Everyone watched on helplessly as the Markings unfurled and embedded themselves into Taj’s skin as he screamed helplessly, and Azula attempted to soothe him. She began sobbing again, but her hands never lost their glow or left the sides of Taj’s head. It felt like hours, but finally, finally his screams of pain ceased and he fell unconscious, the Markings undulating on his skin before settling with a dull glow.
Raphael sighed deeply beside Grey, and she became aware of how heavily she leaned against him. She moved away, a bit too quickly as a wave of dizziness washed over her and she nearly toppled to the ground. Raphael’s hand shot out and pulled her against him again. “It’s alright, mia regina, it doesn’t hurt much.” He said lowly, cutting off the beginnings of her protest. Grey sighed and leaned against him tensely, but as the seconds ticked by and the warm tingles caressed her back, she relaxed into him.
The shrill ringing of a phone made all eyes snap to Valentina, who Grey ashamedly, forgot that she currently lived at the house with them, since Sage refused to let her go back to her house. Everyone wholeheartedly agreed with his decision and an upset Val caved in. Once her belongings were moved into Sage’s room, the house went up in flames, and Grey ensured that a ward was placed around Raphael’s house.
She placed the device to her ear and her eyes widened comically. “Zio, buongiorno. Taj? Sì, è con me. Si’, OK. Stiamo arrivando.” "Uncle, good morning. Taj? Yes, he’s with me. Yes, okay. We’re on our way.”
Val hung up, and stared at Raphael then switched her gaze to Taj, who still lay on the floor, his head in Azula’s lap. Raphael sighed deeply, and gently pushed Grey off him. “They’ll hunt us down if we don’t leave now.” Val, nodded, drawing away from Sage’s side. “I’ll go change.” She paused, sweeping her gaze across the kitchen. “You all should come with us. They already want to meet Grey; meeting her siblings and mother shouldn’t hurt.” The Argyros’ exchanged glances, and it was Theresa who shrugged. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt.”
The children were wary, but quickly showered and got dressed, and decided to take the five minute walk to Raphael’s house. Grey offered to levitate Taj, but Azula refused, and walked in the center of the group, casting her eyes to his unconscious form every second. They were a silent procession, that is, until Violet cut through the silence saying, “Freaking hell, it’s like we’re at a funeral.” Ash chuckled. “It is pretty morbid.”
“Everywhere I go,” Jett murmured and a grin instantly grew on Raven’s and Violet’s faces. “Bitches always know,” they sang simultaneously, adding a bump to their step as they continued walking. “That Charlie Scene has got a weenie that he loves to show, bitch!” Grey yelled along with her siblings, and they broke out into laughter when Theresa scolded them.
“See? That’s much better.” Violet said, turning to face Azula, who had a faint smile on her face. The rest of the short walk was filled with them humming another song, the air around them feeling lighter than when they had begun their parade to Raphael’s house.
The structure graced their sights, and Raphael led them up the driveway and through the garage. Once they entered the grand living room, classical music filled the air. A pair twirled about the room, while servants bustled about, carrying luggage and serving two feminine figures, who watched the pair with love and admiration. The figure with her hair pinned up in a sleek bun turned first, and quickly set her glass down as she stood. “Raphy! Where- wait. Why aren’t you wearing a shirt? And where did you get those tattoos?” she shot as she descended upon the group, pulling Raphael into a hug. He returned the hug with a slight wince, gently patting the woman’s back. “Cece, it’s actually good to see you baby sister. And it’s a bit of a long story.”
“Then let’s hear it.” The other woman said, setting her glass down and side-stepping the couple who still danced, lovingly embracing each other as the music encased them in their own bubble. “And where is Taj? When mother and father asked for you, he said he’d go look in your room, and then I saw him sprinting down the street in nothing but his pyjama pants.” Ash and Sage snorted, while Cyan and Jett snickered and shook their heads. Raphael sighed in shook his head in shame.
“Taj!” the first woman Raphael had hugged yelled, and everyone’s attention turned to her as she stared down at the boy in question, whose head was placed in Azula’s lap as she stroked his hair. “What happened? He has those tattoos too!” she exclaimed as she knelt down next to her youngest brother. She was about to poke his bicep, but Azula stopped her with a yell. “No, don’t touch him!” the woman stared at her dumbfounded. “It’ll hurt him.” Azula murmured, casting her eyes down to the unconscious figure again. “You’re his mate.” The woman said excitedly, and Azula’s cheeks tinted as she nodded. The woman squealed, clapping her hands with glee.
“Oh! I’m so excited! What’s your name? I love your hair; is it natural? How did you two meet?” she shot at Azula, and Raphael cut in before Azula could stammer out an answer. “Circe don’t overwhelm her.” Circe pouted, but stood up and faced her older brother. “Oh come on! Why shouldn’t I a- oh, who is she?” she walked towards Grey, who was under the observation of the other woman. “She’s his mate, I think. I just can’t find his mark on her.” She stated, and Circe joined in on the search.
“I haven’t marked her yet, so stop looking.” Raphael said, as he pulled Grey closer to his side. “I thought you were quicker than that.” The other woman stated. “Rayne.” Raphael chided as Circe cackled. “What?” Rayne asked with a shrug, a smirk blooming on her face. Before Raphael could respond, the clearing of a throat made them realize that the music had stopped. Their attention turned to the source, and the couple stood side-by-side, their hands clasped tightly. The man, a much older version of Raphael, was about to speak, but was cut off by an exclamation by the woman, who looked like an older version of Rayne. “What happened to my boys?!” she descended upon the group, who stood in the same spot, observing their surroundings.
She cupped his face and her blue eyes darted across his features. “Ciao mamma.” Raphael murmured, a soft smile on his face. “Il mio bambino.” “My baby.” She whispered, squeezing his cheeks. “What-?” she asked, removing her hands from his face and casting her gaze across his torso. She stared at the swirling patterns, and the longer she stared, the more her hands shook. Raphael took her hands in his, giving them a gentle squeeze. “It’s going to be okay, mamma.” The woman sighed deeply, shaking her head. She turned her gaze to Grey, and her eyes widened, recognition shining through them. Grey gave her a quick, stiff nod, unknown tension leaving her body as she felt a familiar presence. It was faint, but still there; things were moving much faster than she’d like, but as Uzziah said, there was little time left.
“Oh, figliolo.” She murmured, sympathy clear in her eyes. “Mamma? What’s going on?” Raphael asked, his eyes darting from the woman in front of him, to the man who stood closer now, his eyes trained on a still unconscious Taj. “Too much, bambino. Too much, too fast.” Raphael’s eyebrows creased in confusion, and his eyes darted to Grey.
Glass shattered. Whipping to the source, already prepared for an attack, Grey’s eyes landed on a familiar figure. “Obscura!” she yelled, green eyes wide. “Ursula! Mio Dio, you’ve gotten old.” Grey responded, and the woman came out of her shock, her hands planted on her hips. “You did this to me, remember?” Grey smiled, her feet taking her closer to one of her oldest friends. “Would you like me to undo it? I do need a little magic boost.” They were inches apart, and Ursula closed the distance, pulling Grey into an embrace. “It’s good to see you, General.” Grey huffed out a laugh, returning the hug. “You too, Countess.” Ursula chuckled, pinching Grey’s shoulder. “Now,” she began, releasing Grey, “undo this nonsense.” Grey placed her hands on Ursula’s cheeks, and inhaled deeply, her hands taking on its original white glow.
The wrinkles rapidly faded and the gray hairs returned to their original strawberry blonde. Her forest green eyes regained their youthfulness and were filled with vigor; Ursula sighed happily. When Grey had put the spell, her magic was at its peak at the time; the warm essence flowed through her, almost happy to return to its bearer. It filled her with so much energy, Grey felt like she could take on an army single-handedly.
“WHAT!” the voice boomed, rattling the windows. Grey faced Raphael, who stared dumbfounded, along with Valentina, Circe, and Rayne, who looked like she was about to faint. “Oh boy,” Ursula said beside her, chuckling at the shocked faces. “We have a lot of explaining to do.” Antonia and Zachery, the Rossellini ‘parents’ nodded in agreement, Zachery catching Rayne when she did faint.
“Oh! Oh…” Ursula exclaimed, eyes wide with shock and recognition. Grey glanced at her sideways, giving her a smirk. “It’s show time.”
~I always procrastinate to write, but when I’ve had enough of seeing posts and memes about how I should be writing and build up enough will-power to open up the Word document, I manage to make up something in about 24 hours.
Hope you enjoyed! 😊