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The door clicked closed and Flynn and Renn shared a look. Renn bit down hard on her lip trying her best not to start crying again. Why did the universe always seem to hell bent on tearing her little family apart? Danny had always been the sweetest and most sensitive of her brothers. She didn't want to hurt him. He'd been hurt enough over the years. It used to break her heart that he was too young to remember a time when Henry had lived with them, then he'd had to live through her going away, her illness, their father's death, Henry coming back. It was one thing after another.

Flynn, sensing her distress, stepped forwards and put himself between them.

"Not exactly," he said as gently as he could. He paused, searching for the right words. "We're staying here, but Renn's going to go and stay somewhere else for a little while." At least, he hoped it would only be a little while. Flynn braced for a look of disappointment, or sadness or anger. He'd been dreading this particular conversation and had just hoped he'd been able to put it off long enough to spare Renn. Sparing her pain had become something of a mantra for him over recent years.

Perching on the arm of the sofa, Flynn dropped his voice to a whisper. "Henry's gone bud. He left last night to go into hiding with the Prince. I'm sure he's with Thoth too. Your brother...well, your brother's done what he thought was best." His expression took on a softer edge, hoping against hope that Danny would understand. "Renn isn't going into hiding, you'll still be able to see her, but she wants to be closer to Henry than she would be here."

Renn took a deep breath and stepped around Flynn, and took hold of Danny's hands. When had her baby brother started getting so tall?
"When Henry left Danny, he broke his agreement with the king. Assuming King Mordred would have honoured Arthur's contract, he's now in contravention of it. Do you understand what that means?" A tear ran over her cheek, her eyes taking on pleading edge. "You remember what I was like when Henry left us last time, don't you?" She paused, checking his face. "I can't go through that again. I need to be able to see him and hug him and help him if he needs me. But I need to be able to do that for you, Flynn and Dylan too, so this is a kind of half-way house!" Renn smiled through a fresh wave of silent tears, her bottom lip trembling. "Please say you understand Danny, please," she urged him, "I couldn't stand it if you were cross with me."

Flynn rested a hand on her shoulder. Renn took a deep breath trying to steady herself.

"We're going to stay here for now, bud," he explained to Danny, "you, me and Dylan. I can try and keep Henry safe if I know what's going on, and, most importantly, I can look after you and your brother. Dad would have wanted me to keep you safe, and make sure you had everything you needed. I can't do that if we're on the run from the law in a forest." He sighed, well-aware that he was going to have an identical conversation with Dylan in an hour or so when he got back from his training. "If this is all still going on when you're older, Aura forbid, you and Dylan are free to make your own choice. But for now, I need you to trust me that this is what's best."

Renn nodded her agreement, giving Danny's hands an encouraging squeeze.

"Listen to Flynn," she urged him with a watery smile, "I've found he nearly always knows what he's talking about."



F L Y N N
CAPTAIN OF THE CASTLE GUARD

photo by Randi Hauskenat flickr.com






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