“Oh we’re almost there baby! I’m so excited. I hope they will let us adopt one of their children” Nuria said happily as Oda was bringing together her long hair since it was slightly windy and blowing in her face. Oda finished then kissed her wifes shoulder “me too” Oda rested her head where she had kissed and felt grateful once again to have a woman that loved her despite her disability. Nuria carried her everywhere, had been carrying her for over a week now and not one grumble groan or slightest hint that she considered her a burden. They had been married seven years at this point and the only way they’d be happier is if Hafsah and Chione allowed them to adopt one of their children.
They had heard that they would give them to kind homes and it gave them hope they could have a child together. The same day they heard it Nuria had put Oda on her back and started making her way to their orphanage. When it came into view they saw a few children playing outside with a white haired man and a purple haired woman. “Oh i wonder who they are. They are obviously adults” Oda said and Nuria answered cheerfully ‘I’m sure they are here to help the women we were told about or maybe they have the same idea we do”
They weren’t much closer when the white haired man approached them “what brings you ladies here? Is the one on your back hurt?” Oda blushed as her mate answered “No, she can’t walk. I have to carry her or ask a horse to help. We’re here to talk to Hafsah and Chione. We understand that if they see us as good people we would be allowed to adopt one of your children.” He smiled “Chione is reading to some children and no doubt Hafsah is listening so come right in. My name is Dakarai. The woman still playing with those children is my mate Nani. We live here and help with the children”
Nuria followed just behind Dakarai inside and waited for the story to be over to speak with the two demoness’s. Nuria quickly noticed how small the black haired one with purple eyes was. She was adorably little, easily blended in with some of the children. When story time was over they were directed into the living room where Nuria carefully set Oda down and helped her position yourself before sitting. Hafsah smiled softly, her brown eyes filled with the word she was holding back, aw. Nuria suddenly felt nervous as she began to speak “we are elves and happily married. We’ve been one for seven years and we really want a child together. Obviously we can’t but we heard that you might let us have one. We aren’t looking for a certain gender or age. We were hoping you’d let us stay a few days or so, until a child picked us and wanted to be a part of our family. If theres anything you want to know about us just ask. We’re open books”
“We certainly don’t have a problem with that.” Hafsah said, still smiling.
“It’ll give us a chance to know you as well. We always want to make sure our children are going to good homes.” Chione added.
“Is my inability to walk going to hurt our chances?” Oda asked nervously.
“Being able to walk or not has nothing to do with your ability to be a good mother, so please don’t worry about that. Please feel free to make yourselves at home and we’ll make sure we have a room for you and you wife.”
“Thank you so much.” Nuria replied with a happy smile.
“If you like, you can visit with the children outside. I’m sure they’ll be at least a little curious. You have to understand though, that some of them were severely abused and might avoid you.”
“Of course, we won’t be forcing the children to interact with us.”
Nuria asked her wife “want to come outside with me?”
“I’ll stay here. You only just put me down. There are children in here to visit with”
“As always just call for me and I’ll return” Nuria tried to bury her excitement as she went back outside. She didn’t want to come off too eager and make the children uneasy around her. Nani approached her “Maybe you want to play hide and seek with us?”
“uh sure” Nani turned to the children “what do you say kids, can she play?” most answered yes, the others not saying much in return. Nani spoke again “as newcomer you have to count. Shut your eyes and count to thirty” Oda listened to her wife playing with the children as she sat inside. She could feel how happy she was and it made her hope all the more that a child would want to be a family with them. After about a minute Oda noticed a girl staring at her. She seemed timid, like she didn’t quite know what to do. “am I making you uncomfortable? I can call my wife back to get me” The girl pointed to herself, as if she wasn’t sure Oda was talking to her. “Yes you” Oda said gently. The girl blushed “no…I…I like your dress”
“Thank you, my wife made it for me”
“Mhm, she makes all the clothes we have”
“Co…cool” Oda wondered if this was one of the abused children Hafsah had spoken of. She seemed as if she was waiting to be screamed at or for her to suddenly gain mobility and come after her. Maybe the only reason she was talking to her was because she heard Oda couldn’t move without Nurias help. The small girl moved closer, her wolf ears still tucked. She still wasn’t close by any means but she had moved closer so Oda felt she must be doing something right. “may I ask your name?” Oda tried. “Kiko”
“I didn’t hear yours earlier…:
“are you an elf?”
“yes I am, are you a wolf demon?”
“You must have a really good nose then huh?”
“mhm, it’s..its pretty much the only thing I’m good at…”
“I’m sure that isn’t true, you must be good at lots of things”
“Not really.” She looked at her feet.
“How old are you, Kiko?”
Oda smiled. “See, you’re still young, you’ll come into your powers. I bet you’ll be good at all kinds of things.”
“That’s what everyone else says, but…” She looked so sad.
“Do you remember what your parents could do?” Kiko took a small step back. “Oh sweetie, I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay.” She raised her head. “Do…do you want to see my sketchbook?”
“I would love too.” She watched as Kiko backed out of the room before turning her back and disappearing. She felt so sad for the little girl and could only imagine what horrors she had been through to make her so skittish.
She came back with a boy with blood red hair and the bluest eyes she had ever seen. He was obviously older than little Kiko, probably in his early teens. He seemed confident as he came into the room. Kiko was walking slightly behind him, halting about where she had stood before she left but the boy kept coming. He handed Oda a book. “Kiko asked me to show this to you for her. It’s her sketches. She’s got potential honestly” Oda looked over at her and she looked away “don’t look at her too much. It intimidates her” he took the book from Oda and opened it to show her Kikos work.
Sitting beside her he talked about each one. There was one picture she recognized right away “That’s the woman from outside”
“yep, Nani, Nanis the first one Kiko spoke to around here. Dakarai’s the one who brought her home but she….well she was worse than she is right now then.” Kiko blushed, fidgeting a bit. He looked up at Kiko “come on, come over here and explain your pictures yourself. I’m right here and I know you like her. You wouldn’t have offered to show her these if you didn’t want to talk to her” Kiko looked at Oda, taking slow steps forward. Oda could see she was ready to sprint off in an instant if she thought Oda was going to come after her. She was almost to the couch when two boys came tumbling down the stairs wrestling with eachother. The noise sent Kiko flying out the room
Merlin stood “damn it guys! Do that outside!”
“You’re not the boss of us Merlin!”
“go!” he said more sternly. Chione came out “You’ve obviously scared Kiko again. Wrestling is for outside. You will apologize to her at dinner tonight”
“sorry mama” the two said and went outside. Merlin looked at Oda “she’ll come back. Her parents treated her really badly. She just gets startled easy”
“I’m not upset with her. You dont have to explain” He picked up Kikos book and handed it to Oda “If you’ll let me carry you I know everywhere she hides”
“shouldn’t i give her space?’
“Kiko needs a bit of pushing. If you let her hide she’ll keep hiding, remember that if she asks to go home with you”
“You’re a sweet boy” he shrugged and sighed “you just take good care of her if you take her home. I’ll be old enough to leave here one day and I’ll come to check on her”
After ten minutes of searching, they found her in the crawl space in the pantry. It was big enough that the youngest children could hide there if their foster home ever came under attack. Merlin sat Oda gently down and held out his hand. “Kiko, it’s okay.”
“I’m sorry.” Her voice sounded so small.
“It’s just habit baby girl, now come on out.” He glanced at Oda. “You want Oda to understand your art right?” Kiko nodded. “Then come show her, I promise to stay with you.” He smiled warmly and she took his hand, allowing him to help her out. “Let’s go sit.”
He lifted Oda and carried her back into the living room. He was setting her down as Nuria came in and a look of concern crossed her face. “Don’t worry, I’m okay.” Oda reassured.
“I’m Merlin, we were looking for Kiko.” Nuria was about to ask who Kiko was when she saw the little girl peeking around Merlin.
“Kiko, this is my wife Nuria, she’s really, really nice.” Oda said in a gentle tone.
Nuria waved, smiling at the little girl. Merlin set Oda back down, having a much easier time getting Kiko to sit with her this time. Oda and Nuria praised Kiko’s work until her little ears were actually standing up instead of being tucked down. She had already looked adorable but it reached a near ridiculous level with those cute little brown ears were up and she was smiling and comfortable. Oda and Nuria were overwhelmed with need to smother her in affection when she finally started to really laugh. It was when Hafsah called the children for dinner that Nuria asked “would it be too scary for me to hug you? You wont hurt my feelings if it would be.” Kiko blushed and looked away, seeming to think about it. “Just a quick one?”
“okay” Kiko answered meekly. Nuria gave her a brief, gentle hug then they all went to dinner.
Kiko took a seat next to Merlin and patted the seat next to her, wanting Oda there. Nuria smiled as she sat her down then took the seat next to Oda. She was happy Kiko had warmed up to Oda so much and felt secure enough to sit next to her. She knew it also had something to do with Merlin being on the other side of her, the boy was very protective. It was in his posture and the way he talked to her. “How is everyone doing with our guests?” Hafsah asked as she, Chione, Dakarai, and Nani filled plates for the youngest children. Most of the kids seemed to like them, the ones who had been rescued from abuse were more reserved, but didn’t seem too uncomfortable. Kiko started to speak, but quickly closed her mouth and ducked her head.
“It’s okay to speak up Kiko.” Merlin said softly. “They really want to know and won’t get mad. Do you like them?”
“Yeah.” She raised her head and he smiled at her.
“If you concentrate you can really feel they have good energy around them.”
She gave him a meek little smile. “Thanks Merlin.”
Hafsah asked her brother “are you and Nani coming when we take the kids swimming tomorrow?”
“No, I was going to take the opportunity to check the house and make sure nothing needed repairing. It’s been awhile”
“Okay, I know how you hate to wait until something actually breaks” Hafsah now turned her attention to Oda & Nuria “you two didn’t bring a bag of any kind, do you need to borrow swimsuits?”
“yes please” Nuria answered. Oda then said “not for me, I want you just to play with the children. I’ll just sit on land and watch”
“well I could take you in for at least a little bit. ”
“No, it’s really fine. Besides, Kiko doesn’t swim. I can talk to her. You go too anyway right?” Oda asked Kiko and the little girl nodded.
“Are you sure, I could take you both.” Nuria said.
“Absolutely, I promise.” She smiled, knowing Nuria didn’t want to leave her feeling left out. “I want to spend more time with Kiko.
Kiko’s ears perked up a bit. “You…really?”
“Of course, sweetie. It’ll be fun, maybe you can teach me how to draw since you don’t swim.”
Oda smiled at her and the little girl looked a bit embarrassed. “It’s okay, Kiko, you’re so talented and you’d be great at teaching.” Merlin said with a smile.
“You really think so?”
That night Hafsah showed Oda and Nuria to a room “you two can have this one for as long as you’re here. The kids really enjoyed you today and thank you Oda for being so kind to little Kiko. She is such a sweet girl. A lot of people who come here for a child don’t have the patience for her, they’d rather have one of the more put together kids.’
“it’s their loss…honestly I’m really hoping she wants to come home with us. I’d want Merlin to come too since he seems to know just what to do when it comes to her”
“Good, Nani opened her up but most of her progress has been thanks to him. They attached to eachother pretty quickly. I doubt she’d even leave this place if Merlin wasn’t going with her”
“goodnight Mrs Hafsah, thank you so much”
“You two are good people, you deserve children. The four of us can sense and see any of our children would live happy lives if they went home with you. Rest well and help yourself if you get hungry in the night or thirsty. Also keep in mind a lot of these children have gone through a lot of suffering so if you hear screaming or crying in the night they are okay and we’ll get them, don’t worry”
“does Kiko wake up scared at night?”
“not as much as she used to be sometimes”
“if she does while we are here and she wants us we’re happy for her to come in our room or to go to her.” Hafsah’s smile grew “I’ll make sure my wife, brother and sister in law know that”
Hafsah left them and Nuria helped Oda get comfortable in bed. She held Oda in her arms and pressed a kiss to her forehead. “You were so amazing with Kiko today.”
“So were you, I really hope both she and Merlin will come with us. I don’t want to split them up.”
Nuria smiled at the love in Oda’s voice. She was made for motherhood. “I doubt he’d refuse, we should ask him tomorrow how he feels about it.”
Oda nodded and let herself relax, falling asleep faster than she thought she would. Nuria soon followed her and they were woke the next day by knocking on their bedroom door. Nuria got up to check and see who it was and smiled when she saw it was Merlin with Kiko holding his hand. “Chione says breakfast is ready if you’re hungry.” Merlin said.
“We’ll be right down, thank you.”
They readied themselves for the day then hurried to breakfast. “who cooks here? This is great” Nuria asked. Hafsah smiled “its a divided chore, Mostly Nani or Chione do it but the older kids help and sometimes myself or Dakarai do it. Dakarai does all the repair work so we don’t ask cooking of him a lot.”
After breakfast, Hafsah and Chione helped the smaller children get ready to swim. It was sometimes a bit of challenge since the littlest liked to play and would often run away, leaving Hafsah, Chione, Dakarai and Nani chasing them. The upside was their meals being digested so there was little fear of anyone cramping up. Kiko held Merlin’s hand as they all walked together and Oda relaxed in Nuria’s arms, enjoying the warm sun. “Hey Kiko, could Nuria and I talk to Merlin for a moment?” Oda asked the little girl.
Kiko looked up at Merlin. “Go walk with Nani.” Kiko nodded and ran ahead to Nani. “Is everything okay?”
“We wanted to ask if you would consider letting us adopt you.” Nuria said with a warm smile.
“What about Kiko?”
“That’s why we want to take you as well. We don’t want to separate you two.”
He looked down for a moment, then raised his head. “Let me think about it.”
“Of course, it’s a big decision, but we hope you’ll say yes so we can all tell Kiko together.”
Merlin seemed to be in deep thought even when they arrived at the lake and everyone began playing. Kiko didn’t seem at all concerned with the fact they had asked to speak to Merlin privately on the way there. She just sat with Oda and a few of the other children talking to Oda. The day passed and Nuria guessed Merlin needed more time to give them an answer. Late that night someone knocked, worried something might be wrong given the hour Nuria quickly got up and went to the door “yes?”
“Oh sorry, is it really late?”
“Yes but it’s okay, what is it?”
“I think you two would make really good mothers for Kiko and since you’re happy for me to come along I think it would be good if you adopted her” Nuria had to hold herself down from jumping for joy, she scooped him into a hug without even thinking about it. He smiled and hugged her back “I’m sorry I woke you. I really didn’t realize it was so late.” She set him down “I’m glad you woke me, we promise we would never hurt Kiko. We just want to be a family and families protect eachother. It will take time, I know, but one day she’s going to feel secure and really understand what a family is supposed to be”
“I know, I had a good family and have had a good family here too. The abused ones and even some of the ones like me don’t realize it but even having Hafsah, Chione, Dakarai and Nani is having a good family. They made me feel loved and secure right away…I was scared to go with them at first but it was a good choice”
“You’ll have to tell us about your old family and about life here…if you want to I mean” Merlin nodded “for now I’ll let you sleep though. When are we going to tell Kiko?”
The next morning Kiko sat by Oda and Merlin again and blushed when she found them all smiling at her. “After breakfast, may we talked to you?” Oda asked and she looked at Merlin who nodded.
“Okay, is something wrong?”
“Not at all sweetie, we have something we want to ask you.”
Hafsah, Chione, Dakarai and Nani all smiled, knowing exactly what was going to happen and feeling happy for the little girl and Merlin. Kiko thought as she slowly ate, wondering what news they had. Merlin seemed happy so she knew it couldn’t be anything terrible. He would never lie to her. When they were done eating she followed Oda and Nuria outside with Merlin holding her hand. Nuria sat down with Oda in her lap and Kiko waited. “Kiko, you are such a sweet and wonderful little girl and we have had so much fun getting to know you.” Oda said with a warm smile.
“Me too.” Kiko replied shyly.
“We wanted to know if you would like to come home with us.” Nuria said. “We want to adopt you.”
Kiko’s ears perked up and her eyes danced with sudden happiness. She looked up at Merlin and he smiled. “What about…”
“They asked me yesterday and I said yes, I’ll be going too.”
“There is no way we would separate you two.” Oda said and reached out, placing a gentle hand on Kiko’s shoulder. “So what do you say?”
“Y…yes, I say yes.”
Oda hugged her tightly “thank you little one for becoming part of our family” That night they helped Kiko and Merlin gather what was theirs and over breakfast they said goodbye. Chione told the two “You will always be in our hearts babies. Don’t ever think we’re going to forget you”
“will we see you again?’ Kiko asked and Nuria answered “you just tell us if you want to visit and we’ll guide you two back.” Kiko smiled, holding Merlins hand a little tighter. The four turned and walked away, each filled with strong emotions. Oda and Nuria finally had children, Merlin and Kiko had parents again and a whole new life before them. Merlin hoped now that they weren’t in such a full, eclectic house he could more easily get Kiko to relax and know nobody was going to hurt her again.
When Kiko got tired Merlin let her jump on his back. Seeing this Nuria said “I’m used to walking a lot and carrying my mate. If it gets to be too much for you Merlin we can stop anytime. There’s no rush at all.”
“I’ll be fine for awhile. My parents loved to travel so I got used to walking long distances. Dakarai took me out on adventures quite a bit and Kiko always came with me so I’ve carried her a lot”
“Your parents sound fun”
“yeah, my grandma was pretty amazing too. She was active up until the day she passed. She went in her sleep though so she really never knew a day without exercise”
“She sounds like she was quite the woman and she had a wonderful grandson, she’d be proud of you.”
“I hope so.”
“If she could see you with Kiko, I know she would be.”
He smiled, his pace never slowing. Like Nuria he never complained, only carried Kiko when she needed him too. They made it home in a little over a week and Kiko’s eyes widened when she saw her new home. It was such a beautiful place and she quickly wiggled her way out of Merlin’s arms to run ahead. He looked a little surprised, but happy all the same that she was so openly expressing her joy. “We hope you like it here.” Oda said.
“If Kiko’s happy, then I’m happy.” Merlin replied and chuckled when he saw how impatiently Kiko was waiting for them on the front porch.
Nuria took them from room to room, showing them everything. She wanted them to feel comfortable and she knew it would help greatly if they weren;t struggling to find things. The last place she took them was their rooms “we know they aren’t much but we’ll do our best to get you two anything you want. Keep in mind I make clothes so whatever outfit you can think up I’ll create you. Clothing really isn’t expensive when you create it yourself so your wardrobe can be endless”
“Cool” Kiko said then went to sit on her bed “I’ve..never had my own room before..”
“You can come into my room if you need to at night Kiko” Merlin said and Nuria smiled “Yep and if you need anything from us don’t be afraid to wake us up. I promise we wont get mad. We want you two to be comfortable”
“I think your home is pretty” Kiko said softly. “I do too” Agreed Merlin.
“Our home” Oda said warmly.
~ The End