Sunar ran a hand down the edge of each wing, and pushed against them with his hands. He felt a tiny bit more resistance, and a little more resilience, than last week. It had been six months, an entire six months, since he’d added wing growth to his meditations, and the effort had finally begun to pay off. He rubbed a bit of graphite on each wing tip, stood with his back against the wall and pressed them against it, then stepped away to check.

He smiled. No denying it, they had gotten longer. For the first time in over a year, his wings had grown. He took the pencil and stood against the wall again to check his height, but his mother called him to dinner.

This brought another smile, followed by a frown. He tossed the pencil into its cup and headed out the door, trying to understand where the frown had come from. Something about his mother. Something different. Every time he had been near her for several days, he had felt like he had missed something. He concentrated on the feeling as he walked toward the kitchen, trying to make sense of it – to understand where it had come from.

He searched his feelings and senses, settling at last on his hearing. He had been hearing… something… when mother was around, something faint. He rounded the corner into the kitchen where food sat on the counter, ready for him to set it on the table. His father had set the table and taken his seat while mother bustled about with the last few dishes. Sunar moved the food to the table, a slight smile twitching the corners of his lips – stir fry and wantons, two of his favorites.

Mother came around the counter as he set down the last dish. He paused, listening. There – a rhythmic sound like a heartbeat. It came from his mother, but faintly, and from her… tummy?
His eyes flew open in surprise, and his wings fanned out with enough force to stir the steam rising from the food. He walked over and put a hand on his mother’s tummy, looked up at her, “Mom? Why? How? You have another heartbeat! Why would you make another heart in your stomach?”

His mother’s eyes went wide and she stared at him, her hand going to her stomach. Father favored him with a smile, then turned amused eyes to his mother. They shared one of those strange adult glances, then mother knelt down to look him in the eye and give his head a brief rub. “You are my brilliant Sunar, and my first son. I can hardly believe you could hear that heartbeat, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. You have shown patience beyond your years at meditation, and half-dragon children often inherit keen senses.

“You are letting your words get ahead of your mind again, however, my dear son. Stop and think: how many monks, ever, do you think develop the skill to grow a new heart, and how many lifetime’s worth of years do you think it would take them?”

Sunar blinked, and took a tiny step. His mother’s gentle hand on his arm took any sting out of her words as he considered. “No, mother, you wouldn’t have reason to do something like that would you? Then wha…” He felt his eyes go big again, “Pregnant! You are going to have another child! I’m going to have a little sister!” He bounced up and down, then began to caper around the room. “A sister! A sister! I get to have a sister! Finally, there will be another one like me here at the monastery! I won’t be the only one! He ran to hug his father, nearly tumbling him out of his chair. Then he hugged his mother, and danced around while holding her tight.

She patted his head for a moment, then picked him up. “My beloved boy, you need to understand a few things. Your mother and father love you, totally, and we have since the day you arrived with us. But, your sibling will be different from you. She will be like your mother and father, not half-dragons like you. We have explained adoption to you before. We also do not know, yet, if the baby will be a boy or a girl.”

She tried to continue, but Sunar just grinned and hugged her again, then sat down at the table, “It is ok, Mommy. You’ll see. She will be just like me, and I will help her with her wings, and her tail, and will help you take such good care of her!”

His mother kissed his forehead, patted his head, and took her own place at the table. Father changed the subject, and, in Sunar’s excitement, he never noticed the nervous looks which passed between his parents.


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