Story for the Day: Fraternal Sentry -- Part 4

Getting ready for the next book tour. Here is the last part of Feidhlim and Gaumhin's saga. Enjoy.

A small inspection of Feidhlim’s face proved that no bruise had been made or skin breached  but
the dimmed eyes and hopeless aspect betrayed a heart dreadfully broken. The injury to Feidhlim’s ambitions could only be healed by his father’s forgiveness, and how that was to be won, Gaumhin must be left to conjecture. No child should be made an example of before his siblings, and though Gaumhin would not speak his sentiments aloud, he knew that they were successfully conveyed by Feidhlim’s sudden curling up against him and wrapping his arms about his waist.
“Gaumhin…?” said Feidhlim, in a mortified voice.
“Aye, mah Fei-lad,” Gaumhin whispered, rubbing his brother’s back.
A pause, a shuddering sigh, and with what slender the courage Feidhlim had remaining, he muttered a most beholden “…I’m really glad that you’re here,” and resigned himself to his sorrows, his sadness breaking over him in an inundation of sobs, his woeful ululations muffled by Gaumhin’s taking him into his arms and holding him close, allowing him to be in full command of his sadness, caressing his back and browsing his hair with all the affection that a true fraternal sentry could furnish.
“Tough bein’ the eldest lad in a big faimlae, aye?” said Gaumhin, in an heartening tone. “So much responsibilitae ye've been born tae, lookin’ after the other lads.” He looked down at the child attached to him and lifted his chin, causing Feildhlim to raise his eyes. “Well,” with an amiable smile, “Ahm the eldest lad now, so ye doant havetae thenk aboot it anymore. Ye just leave all tha’ responsibilitae tae meh, aye?”
A nod was all that Feidhlim could reply before burying his features against Gaumhin’s stomach and continuing his sobs, allowing every lingering intimation of his otherwise joyful and dependable exterior fall away, revealing the terrified child he was, one petrified to be left alone in the world, who only fussess and flumps and caroms and carouses to hold his claims to existence within so consuming a house, raging against obscurity in the only manner which he knew how, by shouting and laughing and running about, to have his place within the family be acknowledged and to earn the love he so desperately sought.
Struck by the sight of her brother’s conciliation was Blinne, who had crept up the stairs, unnoticed by her father, to see how Feidhlim bore his punishment and Gaumhin’s comforts. Never would she could she have supposed how altered her brother would be without having seen it, as though every expectation of their father’s return being a sanguine and triumphant event must now be relinquished  Never had she hitherto perceived the demands of an eldest brother, thinking that she as the eldest had been the only sufferer. Now, however, she understood her mistake: they had both been wretched, each in their own light, and she thanked the Gods to consider how bereft they might have been had Gaumhin not been admitted into the family. Feidhlim would recover his countenance, but without an older brother to guide him, he might have never recovered his pride. She could acquit herself the ruefulness she felt for her brother upon seeing Gaumhin raise Feidhlim’s features to his and receiving a small but thankful smile.
“’Mon, then,” said Gaumhin, cradling Feidhlim’s chin, “what say we have us a clan war? Ah got a snow fort tae build, and yur gonnae be on the other side o’yit.”
Feidhlim brightened directly, all his usual mirth returning the moment that Gaumhin picked him up and heaved him out of the window. Laughter rang out from below the sill, and Gaumhin leapt after it, giving his sister a conscious look before vaulting over the sill and claiming his place on the slope, his smiles strengthening as he tossed a few handfuls of snow at his brother, Feidhlim’s aspect and spirits revived, his smiles growing ever stronger.

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