The walk to his parents' home seemed interminable to Ga'briyel, but once he finally reached it, he could feel the love flowing out toward him from behind the door. He opened it slowly and smiled when he saw Sophyra sitting at the kitchen table with Adama on her lap. The baby turned his head to look at his father, and he, too, smiled. Ga'briyel moved to his family and dropped to his knees beside his wife.
Hello, Baba, Adama said in his mind. It is so good to see you. I have missed you terribly.
Ga'briyel rested his head on Sophyra's leg, and both his wife and his son laid their hands on him.
"I missed you both so very much," he whispered, and a single tear made its way out of the corner of his eye and down his cheek to soak into the soft silk of Sophyra's blue dress.
"Shh, my love," she said softly as she caressed his hair. "We are together again, and we will stay together. Forever, Ga'briyel."
"Is that true, my heart? You will never leave me?"
"Never, husband." Sophyra chuckled quietly. "You are stuck with me until you die. Or I do."
Ga'briyel caught his breath. "Please do not say that, my heart. I cannot die, but you and Adama can. There are things out there that can kill you, and I cannot bear the thought of being without you." He raised his head and kissed his son's forehead. "Either of you."
The baby frowned. Has Yisu not told you, Baba? I cannot die, either.
Staring at his son in disbelief, Ga'briyel thought, No? Did he tell you why that is?
He felt a mental shrug from his son, and the boy said, No, Baba. Perhaps it is because I am the son of a Sainika. I was born Anmah, but I am not just Anmah; I am something more.
Yes, my son. You are so much more. I am pleased to know that you cannot die, but your mama can, so we must protect her.
Of course, Baba, but I am still a baby. It will be many years before I can protect Mama.
"Maybe not," Ga'briyel said out loud.
"What just happened, Ga'briyel?" Sophyra asked with a small frown. "You were staring at Adama so intently."
"Does he not speak to you, my heart? He speaks to me in my mind. That is what happened just now. He says he cannot die, but he does not know why. Yisu has not told him."
"Yisu? Yisu speaks to our son?"
"Apparently so." Ga'briyel stood up and held out his hands. Adama reached up and grabbed his father's fingers and pulled himself to his tiny feet, still on Sophyra's lap. Ga'briyel picked him up and nuzzled his son's neck, breathing deeply of his baby's scent, memorizing it.
"But he is just a baby, Ga'briyel. How does he speak to you when he cannot speak yet?"
"I have no idea, Sophyra, but he does. I do not know why he does not speak to you, but perhaps it will happen in time." Ga'briyel sat down on a chair with his son in one arm, and he pulled Sophyra over to himself with his free hand. She sat on his lap, and he held his family close. When Adama yawned a few minutes later, Ga'briyel grinned, pushed Sophyra off his lap, stood, and carried the baby to his room, which was across the hallway from his old room. He laid Adama in his cradle and gently rocked it until the boy fell asleep, his thumb in his mouth. Then he turned to Sophyra. He wrapped his arms around her and backed her out of the room, shutting the door behind him. Once in the hallway, he pushed her up against the wall and kissed her. He only broke the kiss when he heard the outer door open and shut along with his father's voice calling out for his mother. At that point, he moved them to their room, shut the door, and proceeded to spend the next several hours in his wife's arms.
Three days later, after spending one of those days talking with Ma'ikel, Ga'briyel and his family were in the stables awaiting King Tomas and Jarda and the older Anmah. Kumar was stamping on the ground, anxious to be moving again after so many moons being exercised only by the grooms. Taraka and Klyar had been hooked up to a cart that had a soft basket bed in the back for Adama that was lined with the katha blanket Ga'briyel had fashioned. It was a big enough cart that Sophyra and Ga'briyel would not have to sleep on the ground when they stopped where there were not inns to be found. The baby was there now, on his back, gurgling and waving his arms and legs wildly. Ga'briyel stepped up to his son and gave him his finger to grasp. The boy folded his pudgy fingers around his father's digit and pulled himself up into a sitting position.
"You are so very strong, my son," Ga'briyel said with a smile. "It will not be long before you are riding Klyar next to your mama and me. We will have no more need for this cart. And when you are bigger, I will teach you how to fight with your hands and feet and with a sword and staff. Then I will teach you how to shoot a bow. You will be a great warrior someday, just like your father."