[This post is from Matt Astoris’s point of view.]
The hammer rang off-key against the edge of the anvil as Matt twisted toward the open doorway. For a moment, his heart climbed into his throat at his nephew standing silhouetted there, looking so achingly like his father that for the span of a few heartbeats, Matt was a dozen years and more in the past and it was Thom standing there in the doorway of the forge, not Lin. It was enough to make his throat grow tight, his eyes almost misting.
It’s been too many years. Gods and monsters, I miss them.
Matt took a ragged breath and winced, turning fully. “What’re you doing up?”
“I’ve been up for hours,” Lin said, slipping into the forge and collapsing onto one of the benches. The teenager seemed tired and sore, but not nearly as worse for wear as he’d seemed the night before. “Laying around isn’t doing me any good—except for making me a little less sore. I’ll have Aunt Jac give me something tonight so I’ll sleep hard.”
Matt’s brow quirked and he shook his head. “Sometimes you remind me a lot of your dad, you know that?”
Lin smiled wryly. “And the rest of the time I remind you of Mom. Yeah. I know.”
Shaking his head slightly, Matt thrust the piece he was working on back into the coals to heat. “You didn’t come up here to talk about that.”
“Not really, no,” he admitted. “But I did come up to talk to you.”
“What’s on your mind?” Matt glanced over his shoulder at him, watching his nephew’s thoughtful, almost distant expression.
“When they go, I’m going with them,” Lin finally said after a lengthy silence. “I think I have to. They’re going to need me and I think it’s the only way I’ll understand what happened with Mom and Dad.”