A Little Secret

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A Birthday Surprise I'll Never Forget

Chapter 60: A Birthday Surprise I’ll Never Forget


“I want it ooooffff,” I groan very obnoxiously as I lay on the bench press.

“You should have thought about this before you kept going with dad and pushing his buttons,” I look over at Sasuke as he takes a drink from his water bottle. It wasn’t just the fact that we can no longer control our elements with these necklaces on, we also don’t have access to our traits that go with our element. Found that out the hard way when I was sulking and sunk into the tub and tried to breathe.

“At least Abel was will to convince headmaster to allow you two to at least come to the gym and work out while you have the necklace on,” Nero commented as I repositioned myself and grabbed the bar. Nero was being my spotter. This was a normal routine for us. Three times a week the two of us that come to the gym and work out.

“True. But I still got a scolding from Abel too,” I grumble before doing a rep of fifteen with the seventy-five pounds and then getting it back up on the holder.

“I’m just impressed that those necklaces work on prodigies,” Aaron spoke up. Aaron came with us today to be Sasuke’s partner in the gym.

“These are actually upgraded versions of the normal necklaces. The other necklaces would leave the traits for the prodigy to use and after a couple hours it would short-circuit all together,” Sasuke explained to us like he knew about it.

“How?” Aaron started.

“I was a test subject for it to see if it would work on us,” He answered going over to the stair stepper, “This was months before the mission and what not.”

“Oh right, wasn’t that the only night that you weren’t able to come to Disney night?” Aaron points out.

“Yeah, I remember that now. It got you so bad it actually burned you a bit so you had a practical tattoo of it for a short time,” Nero chuckled as we switched places on the bench.

“That sounds like it hurt,” I add in.

“It did,” Sasuke groaned.

“I’m sorry I got us stuck in these. I didn’t think that uncle would actually do it,” I apologize.

“It’s fine, I’m just hoping that these ones don’t go on the fritz.”

“Look at it this way you two. It’s been half a week and nothing bad has happened, so it’s so far so good!” Aaron smiled at the two of us, trying to make us feel better.

“That’s true,” Aaron got Sasuke to smile.

“We’ll just have to wait and see,” I add in.

Nero and I move onto what we normally do for the gym. After our normal two hours, we call it. Sasuke and I head back to the house while Nero and Aaron go back to the dorms.

“I’m going to go take a shower, do you need to get in there?” I ask Sasuke as I stop by his room.

He shakes his head, “No, I’m good. I’m going to stretch a bit more.”

“Aight sounds good.” I walk away from his door and go down the hall a little bit to the bathroom. There’s no point in making a bath because I can’t just plunge my body under water and be fine. Noo, stupid necklace. I get undressed and hop in the shower. I’m not in their long. After I’m dressed and take everything back to my room. Sasuke switches out and goes and takes a shower. I head downstairs to see what aunt and uncle are doing.

Aunt and uncle are working on dinner together, “Do you need any help?” I ask standing at the island with my hands in my pockets.

“No, we’ve got it, thank you though dear,” Aunt Yui said while at the stove.

“Have you finished your homework yet?” Uncle asked.

“Well, no…I have a test tomorrow, so all I have to do is study for my history test,” I shrug.

“No homework from any of your other classes?”

“One’s a paper that’s due at the end of the month, then there’s my Kenpo class, I’ve already read the chapters I needed to for class during lunch, and then I can’t-do anything with Abel or practice my element with the necklace, and that’s all five of my classes so…” I answer.

“Why don’t you study a bit before dinner’s ready,” Uncle comments and I let my shoulders drop.

“But I do worse if I study,” I whine.

“You never know, just give it a shot.”

“But I studied yesterday.”

“Just go and study a little bit before dinner.”

“Fiiiiiiinnnnneeee,” I groan, turn on my heels and leave the kitchen.

A shooting pain screamed through my body the main focus of the pain was coming from my neck where the necklace was. “Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!” I dig at the necklace to get it off.

“What’s wrong?” Uncle asked.

“The fucking necklace is burning me,” I answer the heat on my neck getting hotter by the second.

I felt uncle’s fingers slip under the necklace and it come off. The heat stays for a few moments before it cools down just a bit. Aunt Yui gets a cold cloth and has me hold it around my neck to help. We get ointment on my neck where the burn is and get my neck bandaged up. Sasuke’s ended up shorting out about an hour after mine did. So, instead of getting new necklaces uncle said we have to be at the house for another week. We are allowed to go back to our normal classes with element training involved. Abel pushes me twice as hard because of the days that I missed out on. The days fly by as the weather gets colder. Before I know it it’s already November and it’s snowing. I get uncle to help me send a happy birthday water orb to Andy for his birthday. Don’t know how much he enjoys being called an old man, but hey I’m allowed, best friends have perks and can slip through the cracks on some things right?

Before we know it, we’re setting up for the winter solstice festival and I’m helping Sasuke shop for something for snowflakes birthday that’s on the same day. “Do you think you’re going to join the tournament for the festival?” I ask Sasuke as we walk side by side. I have my hands shoved in my pockets as I listen to our feet crunch in the snow.

“I don’t think I will this year. I don’t want to put too much stress on myself. I know I was the runner-up, and I haven’t had a breakdown in months, but I’d rather be safe than sorry,” He answered. Sasuke’s wearing a black and white hoodie, with jeans, and winter boots. He’s wearing a beanie because everyone was bitching at him to put one on before the two of us left. Sasuke being a fire elemental for his base element can take the cold a fuck ton of a lot better than I can. I’m in winter boots, thick denim jeans, and a jacket, with a zip-up sweater under the jacket, and a beanie.

“Fair enough,” I nod, “Any ideas yet for snowflake?”

“No,” He sighs heavily, “Did he not mention anything throughout the year?”

“I don’t think he’s said anything in particular that I remember.”

“That’s a big help,” I sigh.


“It’s fine. Does he use lotion?”

“All the time, but I think Kyo already called that for him getting that for his gift.”

“Alright then, there goes that option…” I mumble, “What about a snowflake for the snowflake.” Sasuke slaps my arm, “Hey, I meant like a plush or something.”

“I can’t-do that.”

“Pfft, I am. I’m finding him a fuckin’ snowflake pillow,” I chuckled and Sasuke slapped me again, “Okay then, how bout a necklace?”

“Like a friendship necklace? Isn’t that a bit girly though?”

“Well, it doesn’t have to be like that kind of necklace. Just a necklace that ya know represents like you and Kyo or somethin’ considering the two of you are his best friends and what not.”

“That’s not that bad of an idea…” Sasuke brought his left hand up to his mouth and rested his elbow in his right palm. I can see the wheels turning.

“Hell, it doesn’t even need to say best friends, as long as it’s a representation. And either has a little note or explain it to him when he opens it.” It falls silent between us for a few moments, “Do you know what everyone else is getting him?” I ask as we find a Jewelry store. I open the door and let Sasuke go in first, then I follow. This isn’t like one of the jewelry stores that one would pass in a mall, with all those high ends, stupidly expensive, charms, rings, necklaces, all that shit. This place is like taking those stands that you see at a fair, but expanding it and then shoving it in a store. All the stuff that they have here is really cool. I’ve been in here with Harley, Gil, and Aaron before. That’s how we all have bracelets. They wanted something that would remind each other that we’re not alone. Even if we don’t have each other around. There’s bound to be something in here that Sasuke can find for snowflake.

We look around and head to the necklaces. I suggest bracelets, but Sasuke seems to be set on getting him a necklace. He said that he would rather talk to everyone and figure if they wanted to do something like my dorm did with the bracelets. I sigh as I wait and lift my hand up and run my fingers through my hair. “Hey, Sasuke.”


“Would you ever considering us getting something?”

“What do you mean?”

“Like we get something that represents each other.”

“I’m not getting a tattoo.”

“I didn’t say it had to be that. What about a piercing or somethin’?”

“I’m fine with that if it’s just getting my ear pierced, but why do you want to do that?”

“Because, it can be one of those, even if we’re separated we aren’t actually alone, type of things.”

Sasuke stayed quiet, “We can do it, you just have to pick when.”

“Sounds good,” I nod in agreement as I look down at the case, “Sasuke, what about doing this?” I point at the case where there are different ropes and chains then a bunch of separate charms. “There’s a bunch of colors for the feather charms.”

Sasuke comes over and starts looking over the display box. I woman that must have been close to Andy’s age came over to us. We explained that we were looking for a gift for a friend’s birthday and she helped Sasuke. Sasuke chooses a black rope with a silver feather and a red feather. Once Sasuke paid for it we left and walked around a bit more, hopping into a few stores until I was able to find a snowflake pillow. Sasuke rolled his eyes when I actually bought the pillow, but hey, I still to my promises. We go back to the dorms and wrap the presents. On Toshiro’s birthday, we all met up at their dorm after the tournament that Toshiro ended up winning against Kyo. Kyo was a bit butthurt about it and said it was because of how much snow was in the arena that gave snowflake the advantage, but at the same time, he seemed happy that Shiro was the one who was able to win. We have cake and Ice cream after presents.

All and all snowflake seemed to have a lot of fun. I can’t believe that he’s nineteen now. It’s technically been two years since I’ve met him if you go by his age. It’s also really weird that knowing that he’s older than I am. I know that He was born on Earth, and knowing that fact that his younger brother is in his forties gives me a little bit more of an idea of just how much older snowflake is. Not once have I brought up anything concerning his younger brother. Or the fact that I worked with him back on earth. There are times where if we’re alone the topic will be brought up, but we never had an in-depth conversation about it. I have a feeling it’s one of those he’s nervous to ask me more about it or to explain something further for him.

The next morning, Sasuke had a really bad break down. Thankfully, he was out of the house. But, I got hit really bad with the blast and fire spike. I’m just glad I was able to get him under blood control for long enough for Kyo to wrap his metal cord around Sasuke, that started steaming from the heat as Gil and Hale knock him out. There were some passing by students that got a bit burned from it as well. Thankfully, they weren’t too upset about it. The guys were actually pretty chill. They just wanted us to take them out for a bite. Their names were Aaden and Heath. The two of them are brothers. Aaden is a sound elemental and his little brother Heath is a wind elemental. It’s kinda funny how the older brother is the branch element and the little brother is the base element. Aaden and Heath’s friends came in and they left with them. It was nice to see that not everyone hates the prodigies. Before we knew it, New Years passed and we were flying through January. But, I know that everyone is up to something. When I catch Gil and Aaron whispering with Har and Jay and I ask them what’s up they tell me nothing much. It get’s worse when we get into February Sasuke has another breakdown. But at least this one we were able to catch him before he could explode and he got him down for the count before he could hit us with the vapor trail and it would turn into a huge disaster. But today, today was your typical school day, just normal Friday, went to class, went to my special class with Abel, which we had at the pool today and we did an update on my times for swimming. I’ve gotten a lot faster since the first time we timed me. I was actually back to my times that I had when I was working at the ECU. Now, I’m back at the dorm, I helped Jay make dinner, and now, Jay, Gil, Aaron, Harley, and I are all in the living room watching one of my animes. Magi to be exact. We just started it and everyone’s already so committed to this series. It’s a good thing I had the money to drop on this back then. Otherwise, I don’t think they would be too happy that they don’t know what was going to happen. I make it a few episodes in and I feel exhausted.

“I’m going to bed guys,” I yawn.

“Awe, aren’t you going to finish watching this episode with us?” Aaron asks as I stand up and stretch.

“Na, if I try I’m falling asleep on the couch. Besides, I have my Kenpo exam early tomorrow morning.”

“Oh, right, I forgot about that. It sucks that you have to take an exam on your birthday,” Aaron comments and I shrug.

“It’s not a big deal. It’s kinda like having your birthday in the middle of the week with classes.”

“That’s true,” Aaron nods.

“Don’t worry, after the errands that Sasuke wants me to run with him and my test, I’ll come back to the dorm and we’ll have a good time sound good?” I put a hand on his head.

“Sure, now that you’ll be eighteen again,” Gil chuckled lightly not taking his eyes off the screen.

“I always forget you’re younger than I am,” Jay perks up.

“You’re older than me though,” Harley states being the one to pause the episode.

“No, you just turned eighteen. I distinctly remember celebrating your birthday. I’m the youngest out of all of us here in this dorm,” I blink a few times, “What the literal fuck. I was older than all of you, this isn’t fucking fair.” Everyone starts laughing at me.

Jay jumped over and hugged me from behind as Aaron popped up and hugged me from the front, “It’s okay Sean,” Aaron laughed.

“We look at you as the older brother type,” Jay exclaims.

“Besides, you’re older than Sasuke,” Gil points out.

“That’s right!” Aaron perks up.

“His birthday is in June, isn’t it?” Harley asks.

I nod, “He’s a solstice baby.” I look over at Gil and he looks to be in deep thought, “What’s up to Gil?”

“You know,” Gil starts, “Looking back in my past lives memories, all the fire elemental prodigies have been born on the summer solstice…I wonder if it’s just a coincidence.”

“It could just be another trait of them that’s not in the book,” I look back to see Jay smile a little.

“Maybe something to see to the book?” I ask.

“Na, that’s a fun trait that we can just keep between us. Maybe if we feel up to it we can sneak it in and hand writes it,” Jay chuckles and hops off me.

“I’ll see if I can get my hands on it. Dad has the original copy in his office library.”

Aaron let go of me as well, “But, you head to bed. I’m sure that we’ll be heading there after this episode.”

“Oh wait, don’t you and Sasuke have your Tai Chi test at ten tomorrow morning?” I ask looking down at Gil.

“We do. So, I’m assuming I’ll see you there too. You’ll be with Sasuke anyways with the errands,” He turned to look at me.

“That’s true, but he didn’t tell me what errands we’re doing. He did tell me we have to stop at the house, though. I fucking hope we do that first. I don’t want to do that after walking around town.”

“You’ll be fine. You’re in a lot better of shape than when you first go here. Now go to bed. With Harley and I in control of the remote we’re not going to be watching another episode tonight,” Gil chuckled, “Have a good night Sean, we’ll see you in the morning.”

“Night everyone,” I wave and then head upstairs and to my room. I close my door, get changes into shorts, scoot into the bathroom to do my night routine and then back to my bedroom and shut my door once again. Walking across the room I slide into bed with a satisfied flump as I stretch against my cool sheets. My room is a bit cooler than the rest of the house, which I’m okay with. I can’t sleep well in a lot of heat. I crawl under my blanket make sure my phone is set for what time I have to wake up and then shove it back under my pillow and drift off to sleep.

My alarm goes off under my pillow startling me awake. I grab my phone and dismiss the alarm before flopping my pillow down in the pillow. “I don’t wanna get up,” My voice muffled because of the pillow. Laying there I hear my door open, but I don’t bother moving.

“Wake up birthday boy!” I hear Jay call and then the next second I lose my breath as I feel someone, more than likely Jay land on top of me.

“I’m up, I’m up,” I choke out as I lift my head up off the pillow.

“Happy Birthday!” Jay exclaimed.

“Thanks,” I sit up after he gets off me. I stretch before rubbing my face a few times. “Aight, let’s get this damn exam over with and errands are done so I can do nothing the rest of the day,” I sigh and toss my blankets off my legs.

“You’ll be back here before you know it. And then we can have fun!” Jay encouraged me as he hopped off my bed, “I’ll go make you a smoothie.”

“You don’t have to do that Jay,” I get my ass off the bed as Jay spins around on his heels so he’s looking at me again.

“I know,” With his big stupid grin he turns around again and hurries out of my room and I listen to him go down the stairs.

I shake my head and sigh before going over to my door and shutting it again so I can get dressed in my martial arts gear, minus the pads that I shove into my duffle bag. Grabbing that and I pair of socks I drop that stuff outside the bathroom and do the rest of my morning routine before going downstairs. Setting my bag down on the table I slip on my socks and go into the kitchen there’s a deep red smoothie sitting in a glass collecting condensation on the outside of the glass. I walk over to it and pick it up. The smell of mixed berries wafts into my nose when I bring it closer.

Walking out of the kitchen with the smoothie I look over at the stairs and see Harley slowly making his way down, his orange hair everywhere, an oversized shirt with his left shoulder that towards me exposed and dead pool pajama pants.

“Good morning,” I call out to him.

He waves at me slowly his eyes barely open. Sliding his feet across the floor he makes his way over to me and thumps his head on my shoulder, “Canty birthday,” He grumbles.

I chuckle and pat his head, “You didn’t have to get up so early just to see me.”

“Och aye, ah did Jay got me up,” When he’s half asleep he ends up talking heavily with his accent like when we first met. I smirk a bit.

“Har, go back to bed. I won’t be home will later. It’s really okay,” I hold him out at arm’s length to see that he doesn’t even look to be fully here in the first place. I let go of him and he falls forward back into me, “Alright, come on, I’m getting you over to the couch at least,” I wrap my arms around his waist and lift him up enough with my free arm so I can carry him. He doesn’t protest, but he doesn’t help either as I get him over to the couch and get him to lay down. Grabbing the blanket that we have on the couch I flop it over top of him. “Shit I didn’t grab my phone,” I mumble and run back upstairs to my room and grab it from under my pillow. By the time I get back downstairs there are three quick knocks at the door.

“Got it,” Jay runs over to the door and unlocks it, “Ky-Ky!!” Jay jumps on his older brother as I go over to the table and shove my phone in my bag.

“I’ll be right there, guys,” I take my glass into the kitchen again and pour the rest of the smoothie into a canteen. Place the glass in the sink, make sure the cap it on tight, grab my bag off the table and get on my shoes.

“Happy birthday Sean,” I look up at him to see that he’s smirking down at me.

“Thanks,” I returned his smirk.

“Don’t think I’m gonna go easy on ya just because it’s your birthday bud,” Nero snickers.

“Don’t plan on anyone going easy on me,” I look right back at Nero with the same confidence he’s giving me.

Laughing a bit we high five each other, “I’ll see you guys later.”

“Sounds good,” Jay waved goodbye as the three of us headed out.

“So, you’re going to go to Sasuke’s Tai chi exam after our test right?” Nero asked and I nod.

“Yeah, he asked me to do some running around with him and aunt and uncle wants to give me a gift so we have to go up to the house,” I explain to them as we head towards the dojo.

“That’s not too bad then. By the sounds of it, I think Sasuke said he only has to get a couple things because his mom asked him to pick them up,” Kyo added in.

“That’s not bad at all then,” I smile. Hell, if he tells me what it is we’re getting we can split up and get the list done faster.

“Na, but ya never know what your aunt and uncle are gonna make ya do.”

“Oh god, I hope it not fuckin cleaning the damn house. I don’t want to do that,” I groan loudly making Kyo and Nero laugh at my misery.

“I don’t think they would do that to ya,” Nero comments.

“I hope not,” I slump my shoulders as untwisting the cap and take a drink of my smoothie.

We make it to the dojo and get warmed up. Today’s exam is a sparring match after showing that we’ve memorized the moves. I end up going against Nero for the match. No form of our elements was allowed to be used during our sparring matches in the dojo. It was strictly handed to hand combat. Our teachers made us think of it as our element was lock or we were close to having a mind down and we were stuck with only hand to hand combat left for our options of survival against an opponent. This is something that I was able to do quite well. With Kenpo being a very fast fighting style it looked as if we were taking quick jabs at each other. Blocking and knocking away Nero’s strikes, he places me on the defensive right from the get-go. I had to keep up with him, one small slip and I would be down in an instant. There!! I make my move and counterattack him. Leaving the smallest of exposure to his chest, I give him three quick jabs and then knock him back with a kick. Keeping with him, I don’t let him recover before I hit him again and then brush his feet out from under him and knock him to the ground. Panting heavily, I hold my fist above his face staring down at him. Both of us are sweating from the match. Our teacher calls us off and that our match is over.

I help Nero up and we both grab a drink before we help each other stretch, “That was fun,” Nero chuckled as I leaned my weight on his leg to give him a deeper stretch.

“It was, you know how to put someone in a tight corner that’s for sure,” I smirk.

“You aren’t too bad with turning the tides on someone yourself.”

“Yeah, once I find an opening that is.”

“Still, it’s a good fuckin tactic.”


We finish heling each other stretch as Kyo finishes up his match. He always holds back, but that’s because the teacher wants him to with him being a metal elemental. They do pin him up against the other metal elemental that’s in our class though, so they won’t cause as much damage to another person. But with how overpowering Kyo can be he’s told to hold back. But that doesn’t stop him from showing someone that they need to train harder. Even with going easy he pinned the kid down with easy.

“I want another match with you Kyo. I swear I’ll beat you,” The boy exclaimed with determination in his eyes.

The kid’s name was Justin. He’s a fourth year like Kyo. His black hair is normally slicked back, but from the fight, he has hair everywhere. There’s sweat pouring down his face and his grey eyes are practically daggers at Kyo. Kyo rolled his shoulders before placing a hand on his hip and looking at Justin, “Justin, you’ve been saying that nonstop that you’ll beat me since we started our basic element training together. Do you think you can beat me?”

I sigh and stand up, “Guys stop, it was just a sparring match and a test. It’s not like just because you were beaten means that you’re going to fail the test. It’s just to see how well you know the moves is all.”

Justin stood at five foot nine inches tall so even I had to look down at him, “You know Justin, the reason why you haven’t been allowed to take the weapons class is because you’re too petty and lack the heart it takes to unlock your soul weapon,” Is that why it seems no matter what Justin is constantly sour towards Kyo and even Nero? I thought that everyone would have a go through the soul weapons course by their fourth year. Guess I was wrong.

“Boys that’s enough,” One of our teachers yell at us.

Justin snarled at the comment and took a step towards Kyo and me, “Come on Sean, there’s no point in arguing with a child. Help me stretch.”

“What the fuck did you just call me?” Justin lunged towards Kyo with me still in the way. I react first and grab a hold of his wrist and use his momentum as I place a hand on his stomach and flip him over my shoulder and slam him onto the floor.

“BOYS!” Mr. Conner screamed and I pulled my hands off Justin.

“I told you once before that was enough,” Mr. Conner came storming over to us.

“Then fucking don’t let these damn Prodigies into the same class as everyone else. There’s no one that can beat them other than each other. It’s fucking annoying and pisses everyone off,” Justin spats and I look down at him to see him pointing at me.

“I knocked you down because you were blinded by rage and weren’t paying any mind to your position or who was between you and the one you were going after. You left yourself full of holes,” I explain to him, plain and simple.

He snarls at me and Kyo grabs my arm and pulls me away, “Help me stretch.”

“Fine,” I sigh and walk away from Justin and Mr. Conner.

I help Kyo stretch and as I hold his arms in the position where he can feel the stretch Kyo speaks up, “Don’t let what he said to get to you. It comes with the territory of being a prodigy.”

“I know that not everyone hates us as prodigies, it still stings a bit, though,” I keep my voice low.

“It does. But, if we let it bother us nothing will get done and besides we have each other to fall back on.”

“I know.”

“So, don’t let it bother you then.”



We keep quite as I help him finish stretching. Once we’re completely done, we get everything cleaned up.

“You going to Gil and Sasuke’s exam, or do you want to come get a bite to eat with me and Kyo first?”

“I’ll come with you guys and get an apple or something. It’s going to take them a while to warm up anyways,” I answer and head with them to the cafeteria. I get an apple and wash out my canteen so I can put water in it. Then I talk with Kyo and Nero until I finish my apple and then head out to where Gil and Sasuke were having their Tai chi exam.

Their class was roughly around the same number as mine, Kyo, and Nero’s class. They were in the middle of the test it seems when I came in so I quietly sat down next to Gil and Sasuke’s stuff and watched their class. It was a lot more calming in a way that my class is. Everyone seems to get along in the class. I can point out the few kids that seem to be disgusted with Gil and Sasuke in the class with them, but like our other friends, they don’t pay any mind to them. I can tell that the same kids don’t like the fact that I’m sitting here. I just lean against the back of the wall and close my eyes and relax.

I don’t fall asleep, but I do at least relax my body until I feel a hand on my shoulder and I open my eyes to see Gil with his hair pulled back out of his face exposing both his eyes to me. He’s wearing his contacts, that I’m still not used to seeing him wear, “You doing alright? I can tell you weren’t sleeping, but everyone was worried you suddenly passed out.”

“Yeah, I’m good. Just figured I would relax a bit. You guys almost done with class?” I ask as he stands up straight again.

“Yep, we’re almost done. We’re just doing the cooldown and then we’ll be done,” I nod and Gil heads back over to the rest of the group and gets back in his spot with Sasuke. It was a fifteen-minute cooldown, but then the two of them were over with me and them dad a few extra stretches before getting their socks and shoes back on.

“Happy birthday, by the way.” Gil smiles at me.

“Thanks,” I chuckle, “You ready to go?” I ask Sasuke tossing my bag back over my shoulder.

“Yep, I’m good,” He stands up with his bag over his shoulder.

“So, where we goin’?” I ask as I open the door into the cold, snowing air. It’s not as cold as it has been, and the constant moving around up until now has kept me warm. Now it’s a bit chilly going outside without my coat.

“We just have to pick up a roll of canvas for mom. She ran out and she has some frames that she wants to stretch canvas on instead of burlap,” He explained to me.

“Ah, okay. That’s not that bad then,” I shrug. Those fuckers are heavy, though. I understand why Sasuke wanted me to come with him. That way we can keep rotating who carries the damn thing.

We head out into town on the plowed pathways. I say plowed, but it’s mostly clear because of the ice elementals moving the snow out of the way and onto the sides. Then Fire elementals will normally come through and melt the remaining snow until the pathway is dry. But, that’s only on days when it’s not snowing. At least it’s a gentle snowfall today. It’s strange that Valentine’s day isn’t celebrated here. Of course, you should be showering the ones you love with special surprises all year around and not just one day out of the year. We head into one of the large art supply shops that are scattered throughout the town and pick up the largest roll of canvas that we knew we could carry. That way we didn’t have to get her more for a while. We go back and forth with carrying it until we get to the hill. Then we both take an end and make it up the hill. I’m hot and sweating, the crisp air burns my lungs a bit as we make it to the top of the hill and I see the house. We don’t bother putting it down and power up the driveway and to the house. I set the canvas on top of my foot as I catch my breath and Sasuke opens the door. Doing heavy exercising outside in the winter hurts a bit. Either that or it’s because I haven’t had a chance to run in over a month. That’s probably it. I’m getting out of touch, I need to run again.

“Mom, dad, we’re here,” Sasuke yells out as we take out shoes off at the door. I heave the canvas up and over my shoulder and walk in after dropping my bag in the hall.

“Where do you want it?” I ask Aunt Yui as she comes out to greet us.

“Oh, Sean sweetie, come with me,” She hurries off in front of me and I follow her down the hall and to the room that was across from the family room. It’s her studio. She’s got a bunch of frames set up and ready to go for canvas set off in the left corner. Two easels are set up. One has a complete landscape picture or Sakura Drive, while the sakura blossoms are in bloom and the petals are blowing in the breeze, and the second one is a mountain that looks like she started that one just recently because there’s not much done to it. “Place it right here dear.” She points that the spot that’s close to the frames and I set it down. “Thank you.”

“Not a problem,” I smile down at her.

She comes over and gives me a tight hug, “Happy birthday.”

I chuckle a little and hug her back, “Thank you.”

We hug each other for a minute or two before she pulls away and takes my hand and drags me out of the room, “Come, John and I have something we want to tell you.”

“If it’s a present, you really didn’t have to do anything. You two have already done so much for me,” I protest, but her grip doesn’t lessen on my hand at all as she pulls me into uncle’s office that he has in the house. Sasuke’s in the room with him and leaning on the desk. Sasuke stood up and smiled at me as aunt and I walked into the room.

“There you are,” Uncle smiles at me. Aunt lets go of my hand as we make it over to the desk, “Yui and I have something that we want to tell you.”

“Alright,” I put my hands on my hips and shift my weight to my left. Even though I’m keeping myself calm on the outside. My heart is pounding against my chest. Oh god, did I do something wrong? Am I going to get kicked out? What did I do? Am I going to get scolded?

“We want you to start calling us mom and dad. Or other variants of the two words,” He says and I know that my face contorts into a confused expression but at the same time I feel my heart stop. Wait does this mean… I can’t even finish my thought before he stands up and holds out a piece of paper to me. I can’t stop my hands from shaking as I take the paper from his hands and look at it. It’s a name form. “It took a little longer than we originally anticipated, but some of the elders are a bit of stick in the mud when it comes to adopting. And it’s up to you if you want to switch your last name to Kaisai. But as of today, you are officially our son and Sasuke’s older brother.” My vision blurs from the tears as I listen to him. I can’t hold back my tears and I just feel them slide down my face one after another. I nod as I bring my right arm up to my face and try to stop the tears but it’s useless, I can’t get them to stop. Something that I’ve always wanted to happen has finally come true. I’m a part of a family. I’m home, I’m an older brother, officially an older brother, not just metaphorically.

I feel arms wrap around my waist and the height of my aunt, who I do not have to get used to calling mom presses her body against my side. Next is Sauske and finally uncle pulls me in and holds me tight as I clutch the piece of paper to my chest and cry into his shoulder. “Thank you,” I manage to get out before I hiccup, “Thank you so much.”

“You don’t have to thank us,” Aunt Yui’s voice cracked a little as uncle pulled away from me and I tried my best to stop the tears and wipe them away. With a tear stained face and dealing with hiccups from crying so hard I sign the paper that officially changes my last name to Kaisai. Uncle lets me know that he’ll get my records changed in school so my new last name is in the official documents there.

Sasuke and I hang out with our parents for a few hours. We make lunch together as a family. Sasuke refused to let me see his phone even though he was texting someone and I wanted to know who it was. The two of us get into a wrestling match over the phone and I pin him to the ground. It was only Jay asking when the two of us were heading out. Sasuke answered that we were going to head out after lunch. It wasn’t a very interesting conversation. “See, it was nothing important.”

“No, but this does make me suspicious as you why Jay would text you first and not me,” I comment considering Jay is my roommate.

“Is your phone on you?” Sasuke points out as he looks up at me from his position on the floor. I open my mouth and then quickly shut it again remembering that my phone has been in my duffle bag all day. I haven’t checked it at all.

“Shut it,” I grumble as Sasuke starts snickering as I get off him.

We head out after lunch like Sasuke told Jay. We get back to the dorm and all of our friends are over. They have the place set up for a small party. I don’t cry this time, but I do choke up a bit from it. Sasuke tells everyone that I’ve been officially adopted into the family and they’re all really happy for me. Aaron, Jay, and Gil tackle me to the floor. Harley piles on top of them. After getting the four of them off me. We all have a great time, playing random games and watching some shows. It was just a huge play session, but with cake that Gill and Shiro made, and gifts. Everyone got me a little something. Snowflake returned the favor and got me a pill that was a water droplet. I couldn’t help but laugh at that. Jay, Harley, Aaron, and Gil got a charm for my bracelet along with ones that correspond to their element for their bracelets. Kyo and Nero split getting me a really cool canteen that I can keep water in. Like this thing isn’t cheap and it holds a fair bit of water. The twins went and got me a small bottle of purified water that you can only get from the village of spirits. They told me there was a spirit vendor and they thought it would be a really cool gift for me. Harley made me a charm that is made of cherry wood. It’s amazing how much detail that he put into such a small space. I have no idea when he found the time to do this. And Sasuke got me the last box set to complete one of the series of animes. He apparently asked Aaron’s dad to keep an eye out for it the next time he went to earth. Oh yeah, That’s the thing, Mr. and Mrs. Strife, they have been living together again, Mr. Strife goes back to the human world with the kids who are going on missions to make sure that what happened to Aaron, Gil, and Sasuke doesn’t happen again. But yeah, Apparently, Mr. Strife was able to find it and snagged it. I’m really happy that I was able to get one of my favorite anime series completed.

All and all it was a really fun day. When Sasuke and everyone went back to their dorms I went upstairs to put the stuff away. That’s when I found an orb floating just fractions of an inch above my desk. It’s glowing with the reflections of the sun hitting the water’s surface. It’s a water orb. Setting the stuff down on my bed I go over to my desk and touch the orb. The orb shatters and the water inside forms into a small half body version of Andy.

“Hey there Sean, happy birthday bud! How’s it feel havin’ ta go through your eighteenth birthday again?” The water version of Andy chuckled, “Anyways, thank you for the birthday wishes bud, it meant a lot. I felt like I should do the same. I hope you had a great day, oh, and congrats on being Sasuke’s older brother officially now. I know that you’ve been talking about that for years. Guess that wish finally came true. I’m really happy for you. Don’t let that pipsqueak get out of like aight? I’ll see what I can do about possibly getting up there for the spring festival.”

“Andrew, your grandfather wishes to see you,” A random woman’s voice that I’ve never heard before makes the water version of Andy turn before I watch his shoulders slump and sigh before turning around to face me once again.

“Guess I gotta end this here. There was a lot that I wanted ta talk about too. But, I guess it can wait till I see ya again,” The frown was quickly replaced with a shit-eating grin as he winked and waved once, “Later Sean, happy birthday again!” And with that, the water swirled and rushed towards me before quickly turning into gentle mist that had the slight smell of salt water come with it. I wipe my now soaking wet face off.

“You’re gonna get it the next time I see ya for doing that with the message Andy,” I mutter to no one, but myself. But then a smile creeps up on my lips and I start laughing. This will definitely be a birthday that I will never forget.

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