[This post is from Matt Astoris’s point of view.]
He mentally stomped on that line of thought before it could go any further. His nephew stared at him steadily, as if he could somehow sense what Matt had been thinking. The teenager smiled weakly.
“Do you really think they’d keep hiding after all this time? Are they really hiding?”
“I don’t know anymore,” Matt sighed, scrubbing a sooty hand over his face. “I’m not sure I ever really did. Your mom and dad were very good at keeping secrets, Lin. Even from me.” He smiled wryly. “Especially from me sometimes.”
Lin grinned a little, spreading his hands. “Except for the stuff that they decided you needed to know, right?”
“Something like that.” His gaze drifted back to the embers, toward the metal he’d shoved inside of it. He shuffled the unfinished tool a little in the coals, shaking his head slowly. “You know, I didn’t like your dad that much at first. When he first started dating your mom? Now I’d give anything to have them both back.”
“If there’s a chance, Uncle Matt, you know that I can find them. If anyone’s going to, it’s me, right?”
Matt smiled weakly and nodded. “Guess so. Of course, we haven’t really looked that hard, either, considering they’re supposed to be dead.”
“Guess people are going to freak out when they finally come home, then.” Lin grinnded. “So you’re not going to stop me?”
“No,” he said. “But I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell your aunt right away. I’ve already lost the bet but I’d like to delay payment just a little longer.”
His nephew laughed. “I don’t want to know, do I?”
“Probably not,” Matt admitted. “Go on. Head down. I’ll be down for dinner.”
Lin nodded, standing slowly. He drifted toward the door, pausing in the frame and glancing back at him. “Thanks, Uncle Matt.”
“I love you, kiddo.”
“Love you, too.”
Then he was gone, headed back down the path toward the village proper, leaving his uncle up at the forge alone.