At the age of 23, Ian Raja Kabra becomes the first of the Middle Generation of Cahills to get married.
Perhaps the strangest thing about the wedding is how simple it is. There is very little extravagance to be found, and it isn’t even publicized. The rest of the original Clue Hunt crew found themselves lost when it turned out the venue was a small library; surely they had gotten the address wrong, but eventually Ian himself had to come out to the strange gaggle of twenty-somethings to assure them that no, the wedding was not being held in some centuries old basilica and that yes, you may sit wherever you like so long as it isn’t the first row (that was for close family).
(No one mentioned the empty chair closest to where Ian would be standing.)
The ceremony itself began and ended without a hitch, everyone oohing and aahing and standing to clap at appropriate times. No one even fell asleep, though Dan will tell you that he was close. The reception was wonderful -- apparently Ian’s new wife’s fathers ran a well liked and known catering company -- and it could be easily said that Ian had never looked happier. Certainly, none of the original crew had seen him smile so brightly and genuinely. Jonah has recollection of a memory of Ian grinning at a brand new Armani calfskin belt, but Jonah is known to make up memories like that just to tease the Brit.
Two years later, at the age of 25, he is the second of them to become a father.
His daughter is born in early October, the bright moon peeking in through the window to illuminate the squirming babe in his arms. Ava, they decide. Ava Natalie Kabra. It isn’t the most gracious of names, but Ian has come to learn that sometimes grace is earned rather than given.
The doctor comes in the next morning to discuss what to do about Ava’s mouth. Surgery isn’t an option until she’s about 6 months old, the doctor says, but there are baby bottles designed that will aid her to eat. She may need tubes in her ears, will almost certainly need braces, but she’s healthy and will live just fine. Ian takes one look at her in his arms and knows that he does not care if her palate is cleft, just that she is looking at him with bright brown eyes that remind him so much of Natalie that it hurts. Sadie -- his wife, mother of his child -- speaks more with the doctor while Ian just holds little Ava in his arms, and in his head promises to protect her while she attempts to reach her little arms up to him.
Ava is four -- having been through two surgeries and in speech therapy already -- when Sadie goes into labor at midnight and they slug their way to hospital to have a boy in the afternoon of a late February day. His name is Henry Evan, they decide, and Ian supposes if Henry decides that he is a girl that she can go by the name Henrietta. Sadie rolls her eyes and insists the names sound nothing alike, but Ian is too busy showing Ava her new sibling. She asks him why Henry’s mouth isn’t split like hers was, and Ian effortlessly tells her that she is just extra special for having been born that way.
He watches his children grow with a tenderness in his heart that he wishes he could have had earlier. He likes to say that he has no regrets in his life, but there a few things he wishes he could have said to Natalie before she died. Her death made him realize how important time is, and his children made him realize how fleeting it can be. Ava is being fitted with a hearing aid when it hits him that it feels like she was born a week or two ago, and he begins to wonder if, truly, he can protect her and her brother.
He was arrogant, even as a child, and was certain his Cahill connections would be able to save him in any pinch he could find himself him. It hadn’t been true at the time and it certainly wasn’t true now. Most of the Old Cahills had given up on them -- what Amy called the “Middle Cahills,” after Hamilton’s son had been born and the next generation thusly dubbed the “New Cahills” -- and wanted nothing to do with them. Ian was fine with letting them die in isolation, but they would still have lackies and would still have mercenaries set to go after the wave of new thinkers in the clan.
He mulled over the concern for a while, before finally bringing it up to Amy.
“How about a school?”
Ian blinked. “A school.”
“Yeah. Like a university for Cahills. They stay there protected and we teach them their past and prepare them for the future.”
“Don’t you think current institutions are perfectly capable of that?”
Amy gave him a look that told him that this school was being built with or without his signature, so he signed the documents and donated his share on behalf of the Lucians. Sadie thought it was idiotic, but changed her mind quickly once Amy sent over the informational packets for her to read. Apparently it was a long time running idea.
Whether or not Ian’s children would attend the institution was up to them, but Ian found that he didn’t mind so long as they kept playing and laughing for just a little while longer.