Six – 01

[This post is from Phelan’s point of view.]

“How closely do you think you’ll have to watch him?” Phelan asked softly as he fell into step with his wife. He slid his arm around her shoulders as they headed up the hill toward the forge and the grove beyond it where he knew Matt waited—by now, probably not alone.

Jacqueline shook her head slightly. “I want to keep him in bed for a few days, at least, but about how well do you think that’s going to work?”

“If he doesn’t want to? Not well.” Phelan sighed. Lin was just as stubborn as both of his parents had been, but at the very least he was more cautious than either. “Are you going to check on him later?”

“Probably after dinner,” Jacqueline said. “If he’s going to get a fever, it’ll have cropped up by then.”

Phelan grimaced. And if the wounds are going to fester, they’ll have started by then.

Jacqueline hip-checked him gently. “You’ve got that look.”

“I know,” he murmured. “Can’t help it. There’s just a lot, Jac.”

“Always has been, sweetheart,” she said with a not-quite-bitter smile. “We’re just not used to dealing with it anymore—not the way we used to.” She went quiet for another few steps before she spoke again. “We’re not going up there because of what happened to Lin, though, are we?”

“No.”

“What happened?”

“I’m sure he’ll tell everyone when we get up there.”

“I’m asking you,” she said gently. “Just the brief version. I’ll wait for details.”

Phelan took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly. “The Hunt’s stumbled over some raiders.”

“Oh.” The way she said it set Phelan’s nerves jangling. He swallowed hard, trying not to tense up. Jacqueline took a quiet breath and leaned into him, causing him to stumble a step sideways before he could recover.

“They’re still digging,” Phelan said. “We don’t know much yet. Matt’ll fill everyone in on what we do know once we get up there.”

“So we’re making defense and offense decisions,” Jacqueline said quietly. “Fate in our hands again and all that, huh?”

“Yeah,” Phelan said quietly. “That’s about the size of it.”

“Well,” she said with a quiet sigh. “I guess it was only a matter of time.”

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