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Walk Beside the Dreamer

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The boy looks up at him with wide eyes that see more than they should, though that sense vanishes when the boy blinks and looks down at the table. Nothing more than one small boy among his classmates, waiting for their teacher to tell them about today's class. A boy whose presence sings in a way that only a few have, and it makes Henry hide a smile.

He will have to talk to Haerviu about this one, though. Henry has never met another of his kind who is so young before. It's a curiosity that begs to be explored.

"Mr. Henry makes me feel weird." James pokes at his food with a contemplative frown. "Not in a bad way. Just. Weird."

"Do you know how he makes you feel weird?" His mother smiles when he looks up at her, and James shrugs.

"I don't know. I just feel weird." He wishes he could say how, because maybe then he'd know what to do about it. It's not a bad weird, at least, like some people make him want to hide or run away really fast. He's not sure it's a good weird, either, but maybe it could be someday.

"They'll figure it out eventually." The Morrígan leans into the scratching fingers of Brighid, trilling when her sister hits a particularly itchy spot among the feathers. "Our children always do."

"Donn will be glad when he does." Brighid watches the fire that crackles quietly on her hearth. "He misses his friend."

"Just be sure he won't leave him dead again for figuring out that Donn isn't entirely what he pretends to be." The Morrígan shakes her head, hopping away from Brighid to settle at her feet instead, hair full of feathers. "He doesn't like it when people know that secret."

"I don't know whose attention he's caught, or how, but he has." Henry closes his eyes as Haerviu presses fingertips against the tense muscles at the base of his skull. "Someone who hasn't made him unchanging, as I am."

"Not all gods work the same." Haerviu works his fingers through Henry's hair, leaving the pleasant tingling ache of relaxation in his wake. "Does he know what he is?"

"I don't think so. Not yet." Henry smiles, reaching up a hand to trail a finger down Haerviu's cheek. "We'll stay here until he does."

Haerviu smiles, leaning down to kiss Henry.

"Miss Brid." Henry smiles genially at the woman who is a blazing star, though he knows none of the others in the room can see it. They're mortal and if they're lucky, none of them will ever know the world he does.

"Mr. Henry." Brighid nods in return, welcome brightening her expression, taking his offered hand for a moment, a social nicety that they observe as briefly as they can. "I'm glad to meet you. My son speaks well of you."

"He is an excellent student." That is true, but isn't all that he could say of James, save they are surrounded by those who are blissfully unaware.

"And he will be for some time yet. I am glad he has you for a teacher." Brighid smiles gently, though even her approval feels as standing in front of a well-fanned flame.

"I can only hope I'm equal to the task." Henry has no concerns about his qualifications to teach what he is professor of at the school, but there's a sense that Brighid means more than merely that.

"How could my sister's best-loved child be anything but? I trust you will be the best teacher my son could want."

He is the son of Donn, the beloved of Mot, the ribbon that binds the Valföðr.

Beloved child of the flame, music of the world, who learned to walk among the gods at the knee of dread king and gentle herald.

He is the one who walks beside the dreamer.