Born of Fury (Page 61)

Born of Fury (The League #7)(61)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

He shrugged with that Andarion nonchalance that would never allow him to admit to pain. “Blast to my thigh, but it’s just a flesh wound.”

“And you didn’t bother to tell me last night?” Syn growled as he came in.

“I knew you wanted to see Shahara.”

Syn rolled his eyes. “You haven’t slept either, have you?”

“I’ll sleep later.”

Syn broke out into a round of Ritadarion that Sumi was glad she couldn’t understand.

Kalea gasped as Syn lifted her shirt and she saw the sutures on her side. “Mommy! You’re really hurt!”

“I’m okay, Kalea.”

“That looks bad, Mommy.”

Tears continued to flow down her face as she savored the little girl with her. “Right now, nothing can hurt me.”

Kalea frowned at her. “Why?”

“’Cause I have you and your daddy with me. Everything’s wonderful.”

Kalea put her hands on Sumi’s face and smiled a smile that made her weep even harder. “I have a very pretty mommy. And a pretty daddy.”

Sumi laughed then groaned as Syn touched her wound. “Yes, you do, sweetie. He’s the best ever.”

“I wanted hair like Daddy… but… but Daddy said no.”

Sumi frowned. “We can braid your hair like that, baby.”

“That’s not the hair she wanted.” Dancer tapped his chin.

She laughed and moaned again. “Oh. Daddy’s right. You can’t have facial hair. We hope, anyway.”

Kalea scratched her head. “But Aunt Mari has face hair. Why does she have it?”

Hauk laughed as he watched the two of them. His girls.

No, his family. It seemed so surreal to have them here in his home. He’d been alone for so long that it was hard to believe this was real.

Nothing would ever be the same and for that he was so grateful. While he’d been content and happy before, this was so much better.

And scarier.

Sumi brushed the hair back from Kalea’s face. “Aunt Mari’s a boy.”

“But Aunt Mari’s an aunt.”

“You’re not going to win this,” Syn said with a laugh. “Trust me. I get my ass handed to me by Devyn every day. They wear you down with persistence and kid logic.”

“Yeah,” Hauk agreed. “I learned that the hard way, yesterday. In three hours of nonstop questions, she wore me out.”

Kalea looked down at her clothes and frowned. She tugged at her nightgown. “Who dressed me like a princess?”

Hauk smiled at her. “Your Aunt Des.”

“Is Aunt Des an aunt or is she a boy, too?”

“She’s a girl,” Sumi said, touching her nose, “and she has a daughter your age.”

“Really!”

Hauk nodded. “You’re wearing her daughter’s clothes and she has another dress for you after you bathe.”

Pulling away from Sumi, she opened her mouth wide and jumped on the bed. “Is it pretty, too?”

Hauk wasn’t sure how to answer that. “Okay, sure.”

Sumi laughed. “Daddies don’t know about pretty dresses. But Aunt Des always has pretty things on her little girl, so I’m sure it’s beautiful.”

“When I meet them?”

Hauk reached for Kalea to pull her off the bed. “How about while Uncle Syn —”

“No!” Sumi growled the word out so ferociously that he released Kalea instantly and took a quick step back in fear of her. She’d never made that sound before.

She swallowed hard. “Sorry, Dancer. I’ve waited too long to have her with me. I’m not going to let her go. Not for anything.”

He met her gaze and nodded. “I know the feeling, and I wasn’t going to take her far. But I think I’ll just leave her here with her mother before I lose a body part we both might miss.”

Sumi held her hand out to him. He took it and she led it to her cheek. “I’m sorry I overreacted.”

Syn shook his head. “Da —” He looked at Kalea and caught himself. “Dang, Hauk, here I thought I had the scariest wife. Now you done gone and upped me with one even more ferocious.”

He rolled his eyes at Syn. “I don’t know. Shahara’s still frightening. After all, she did shoot me.”

“Yeah, but yours just about ripped your arm off with her bare hands three seconds ago… and she’s wounded. Never come between a mother and her baby. Hard lessons learned.”

Hauk couldn’t agree more. “Yeah. No kidding.”

Kalea tilted her head at Sumi. “Are you scary, Mommy?”

Smiling sweetly, she brushed the hair back from Kalea’s face. “Only if anyone ever tries to take you from me again. Or if they hurt you or your daddy. Then I will be terrifying. Grrr…” She made a frightening face that caused Kalea to laugh.

Syn moved away to wash his hands. “Don’t pull that out again. I gave you Prinum, but that cut was deep. I can’t believe you fought like that with it.” He came back to the room, drying his hands. “Just rest today. If you leave the bed, have Hauk carry you.”

Kalea frowned at the new bandage on Sumi’s stomach. “How did you get hurt, Mommy?”

Hauk answered for her. “She fought a bad man while trying to find you, Lee-lee.”

Eyes wide, she looked from him to her mother. “Really?”

She pressed her cheek to Kalea’s. “I’ve been looking for you since you were taken from me. You’re all I’ve thought about, night and day.”

Jumping up and down on the bed, she clapped her hands. “Kalea loved!”

She had no idea.

Syn paused to smile at her. “Yes, you are, little girl. You have lots of people who will love you from now on.”

“Yippee!” She jumped even harder.

Hauk caught her against him. “Honey, you’re going to hurt your mom again.”

“Oh. Sorry.” Frowning, Kalea poked her finger against his arm. “You still got suit on, Daddy?”

“No. That’s my arm.”

Her eyes widened as she kept poking him. “Your arm is hard as your suit.”

“I know, sweetie.”

As Syn told Hauk to sit so that he could look at his injured leg, Desideria came in with her daughter. “See, Lil, there she is.” She walked over to them and held Lillya so that she could reach Kalea. The two girls stared at each other for several seconds.

Finally, Lillya smiled. “Um, I’m Lil. We brought you a dolly to have so you can play with her from now on.” She handed it to Kalea. “Mama said you don’t have one and I have a lot so I wanted you to have one. You can have another one if you want, too, or if you don’t like this one.”

Kalea clung to Hauk. “Is it okay, Daddy?” she whispered loudly.

“It’s fine, Lee-lee.”

She was still hesitant as she reached for the doll. “Thank you.” Then she started kicking her legs against him.

Desideria smiled before she wrinkled her nose at Hauk. “That means she wants you to put her down.”

“Oh,” he said. He looked back at Kalea. “You’re short.”

Kalea stared at him in confusion.

Laughing, Hauk rubbed noses with her before he set her down so that she could run over to Sumi and show her the toy. He took Lil from her mother and placed her on the floor to keep Desideria from bending over.

“Thank you, Hauk.”

“Anytime.”

Lillya ran to show Sumi and Kalea how to make the doll talk and change expressions.

Hauk sat down across the room so that Syn could stitch and wash his leg. He shuddered at the way the doll sounded as they played its voice track. “That is the creepiest thing.”

“What?” Syn asked. “The baby doll?”

He nodded. “What is wrong with you people? I’m gonna have nightmares over that thing.”

Desideria tossed an impudent look at him over her shoulder. “Your nightmare has only begun, handsome. Just wait until she puts it in a bag with only its head sticking out. That sends Caillen off every time. Apparently, his sisters tried to do that to him once, as a child.” She moved to stand behind the girls. “Do you need anything, Sumi? I came to see if you wanted me to help dress or bathe Kalea.”

“I got hairbows if you want,” Lillya said. “They’re pretty in your hair. And we have little crowns. And… and… and… other things, too!”

Sumi was torn. Part of her wanted to keep Kalea in her arms, but the girl needed food and it was obvious she’d rather play with Lillya than spend the day being held by an overprotective mother.

“Kalea?” Lillya asked. “Would you like to go swimming?”

“In a pool?”

“Yes. Uncle Hauk has a really big one, with lots of toys for us to play with. There’s even a big sandbox and wagons and all kinds of things.”

Kalea nodded vigorously. Then she looked at Sumi. “Mommy, may I?”

Sumi hesitated. “We don’t have a suit for you, sweetie.”

“I have just the thing,” Desideria said. “I’ll be right back. Lillya?” She held her hand out.

Lil pouted. “Can I stay here, Mama? I like playing with a girl and not them mean boys.”

Sumi laughed. “It’s okay. She can stay. We’ll watch her.”

“All right. Two seconds, I’ll be back.”

Syn stood and glowered at Hauk. “I would tell you to stay off the leg, but I know you won’t listen. So rather than waste my breath, I’m going to get something you can take for the pain.”

As soon as he was gone, Sumi motioned for Hauk to come closer. He knelt on the floor next to her. Before he realized what she intended, she kissed him with a passion that made his entire body sing. Worse, it made him hornier than hell.

Growling, he deepened the kiss.

“Daddy hurting mommy!” Kalea started for them, but Lillya stopped her.

“He’s not hurting her. It’s a kiss. My mommy and daddy do it a lot.”

“Really?”

Lillya nodded gravely as she flipped the doll over. “They smooch everywhere. All the time.”

“Oh. It sounds painful.”

“I know, but it’s not.” Lillya let out a trying sigh. “Mommies and daddies grunt and moan a lot… they make all kinds of noises, especially at night. And they pray a lot, too. Real loud. But they okay when they do it.”

Gaping, Sumi pulled back from the kiss, horrified by what Lillya was actually talking about.

Hauk snorted as he caught her meaning, too. “Soundproof the bedroom and add extra monitors to Kalea’s room so that we can hear her and not the other way around. Oh, better yet! El?”

She appeared instantly. “Yes, Hauk?”

“I forgot to tell you last night that we have a new member in the household. Meet Kalea. Kalea, meet Eleron.”

El stared at the girl, who stared at her. “What is that?”

Hauk gave his computer an irritated glare. “My daughter.”

“And a lovely daughter she is. Hi, Kalea. I’m the house.”

Kalea looked around, confused. “The house?”

Eleron nodded.

Hauk grinned at Sumi. “I can set El to babysit and watch over her like a mother hen. She’ll even monitor her vitals. If her temp goes up one degree or her heart rate elevates, El will tell us.”

Sumi bit her lip as she remembered Thia’s words about her father’s paranoia. She now understood it completely.

Eleron stiffened. “I will not change nappies.”

Hauk rolled his eyes. “She’s not in nappies.”

“Oh. Good.”

Sumi paused as she considered all that. “By the way, how did Kyr get past her yesterday?”

“He found a back door in. But I closed it last night. I defy him to ever try again. Next time, it’ll light him up like a supernova.”

Desideria returned with an adorable pink swimdress that had butterflies sewn on. Their wings even flapped.

Kalea gasped as soon as she saw it. “It’s so pretty! Can I really wear it?”

Desideria nodded. “Absolutely.”

“I’ll wait outside.” Hauk went to stand in the hallway while they changed clothes on the girls.

“How is she doing?”

He turned to see his grandmother coming toward him. “She’s delighted.”

“And how are you?”

He wasn’t sure how to respond to her question. He was at the pinnacle of heaven and at the same time, the lowest pit of hell. He’d never been happier, and he’d never had so much to lose. The mere thought of it was crippling.

His grandmother patted his arm. “I know that look. It’s the same heart-stopping terror I had when your father told me that you and Keris had fallen down the mountain. And the joy in my heart when I learned you had lived… You’ve no idea how happy I was to know that you made it back to us.”