“Hey Vy, sorry for the wait!”
“Hey. It’s Okay. Ready to go?”
“Hey, lizard. Ready to go to RoM. I’m your chaperone today!”

Rylan feels sorry for Vy, wishing he had a way to give him some extra energy. Seeing him so constantly tired is something he doesn’t like, nor did Hayden as he knew from their talks. 

Chris watches them as he walks up to Hayden’s bedroom to check if he needed or just wanted something. 

“I’ll see you when you get home, just tell me if you need me or my husband to meet you.”
“Yup, I’ll go to work after school just a small solo shoot, so maybe one of you have to follow Vy home?”
“I promised Rylan I’d go with him to the shoot…”

Rive looks almost apologetically at all of them

“I can come on my own I don’t want to bother anyone … “

Vy brushes his arms, fidgeting nervously, feeling bad over being such a burden for everyone. 

“Just watch over Hayden mister Chris. I’ll walk on my own.”
“If you can’t I’ll ask my uncle Simeon to keep you company.“
“Just call us when you are ready to go home Vy, either me or Hayle will come to meet you at the portal, I guess while in RoM he is pretty safe? Like we said before Vy, you are not a bother, and we are not risking you getting hurt or worse.”

Rylan watches Vy fidget, putting his arm around his shoulder. 

“I’m just hogging my boyfriend a little, sorry, you can borrow him next time okay?”
“N-no! I’ll be okay Rylan, I am not upset about that! He’s just back and you finally get to be with him… I just… Mister Hayle or Mister Chris will wait for me. “

River looks at Chris. 

“He’s mostly safe around RoM. There are these dickish young casters who like to mess with him every now and then… But he’s not in serious danger I hope. And if they go too far I’ll be in RoM and scare them off.”
“Just tell us when you’re heading home Vy, and one of us will come to meet you.” 

River cackles darkly and the prospect of terrifying a couple of brats and walks to the door. Chris nodded and headed up the stairs to check on Hayden, who he guessed was sleeping, but he liked to check it regardless. 

“Let’s go princess. I don’t want either of you to get late.”
“I’m sorry they are such assholes… Any way I can help… Maybe come pick you up and tell them off one day? You are my brother now, after all, I have the right to kick their butt!”

Vy looks at Rylan, surprised by what he said and smiles a little at Rylan. 

“Brother… “

Vy rubs his  arm, walking with a small smile

“It’s okay Rylan. I don’t want you to get into trouble. They’re mostly annoying sometimes, it’s okay.”
“If you’d like, I can scare them. I’m good at that.”

River cackled and winked at them both, making Rylan lift an eyebrow once again. 

“Yep, your family, we seem to be the same age, so you’re my brother, besides, my parents adopted you so.”

He smiles and ruffles Vy’s hair slightly. Vy smiling and looks down. A brother he wasn’t sure if he had any brothers, but he always wanted a brother

“Brother. You’re my brother!”
“Yep, and with that comes the right to mess with any bullies!”

Vy carefully hugs Rylan, always careful not to hurt Rylan as he has become a little privy of his weight and height, afraid to hurt him too. He steps back, brushing his arm

“And hmh depends on how you scare them I guess.”

He notices them coming up on the school, stopping when he notices a group of people waving, looking over at River and Vy.

“I can walk from here, and you two can head to RoM?”
“Are you sure, princess. I can walk you all the way to school.”
“Yes, I’m sure, it takes me less than five minutes to get there, and I see several in my class over there.”

He points towards the people waving at him and then turns back to River putting a hand on his cheek and caressing it. 

“Your princess is safe, take good care of Vy for me and I’ll see you as soon as school is done?”
“As soon as school is done. I’ll be waiting here.”

he cups Rylan’s face and kisses him deeply, just enjoying having him close, being able to do this again. He pulls back, a finger running down his cheek

“I love you Rylan. Go now princess, we don’t want you to miss your pumpkin.”
“School has become a pumpkin?”

He shakes his head and heads towards the others, already hating the idea of a school day between now and meeting him again.

“I’ll see you both after school!”

He reaches the small group of people, turning one more time and waving at the two of them. River waving back, watching the little group until they are out of sight and with that safely at school. Letting go of a small sigh, he turns and looks at Vy

“Let’s go Vy?”

Vy looks a little startled at River as the two of them make their way towards the portal and RoM

“When I was away… How was Rylan?”
“I think hay hay is the best person to ask… But he wasn’t okay… These last years were hard… For all of us.”
“I see that…”

The two made their way to RoM, Vy heading to school while River went to his master, waiting for the day to be done, so he could go pick up Rylan at school, looking forward to seeing him work, a little more worried about what was waiting in that postbox. Rylan watches the clock as the school day goes by, like everything you wait for it felt like the clock had pretty much stopped. Eventually, though they are on the last lesson so he can head out soon. 

“Sooo walking you to school huh?“

He smiled at Lucas who was one of the people in their D&D group. 

“Nice, will he join us finally?”
“I hope so, but it will probably be a while until the next time, a lot of stuff to handle.”

He smiled at Lucas, his brain going over everything they had in front of them. Like getting a shelter up and running, and of course, Hayden’s health, the fact that he wanted to reconnect with River and the list just went on and on. River was walking the same path he did to leave Rylan at school. He had been working with his master on closing the portals, on their side, the god of that world had also been closing portals, but until they fixed the imbalance that was caused on this side, the thread between the two realities would be an easy one to breach. He had a feeling the solution was one none of the Wards wanted, not even Rylan. He stopped as he saw the school and waited, his thoughts on Rylan. How hurt and sad he looked, every trace of angst in his mind on his eyes. He wanted to do something to lighten Rylan’s burden, but Rylan wasn’t ready to open up yet. He had started working on getting him the crystals, the beautiful purple one and the green one but he was still short on it and he wanted to make it special. 

Rylan walks out of school alongside Lucas and some of the others, looking around for River, smiling when he sees them, and quickly says his goodbye to them, walking over to him.

“Vy already home I take it?”
“Still at RoM. Faba wanted to see something with his powers. She wants to see if he is the same type of dragon as the one from the other universe.”

He smiles as he gets close and wraps his arms around River’s waist just hugging him tightly, what tells him, on the other hand, worries him slightly. This isn’t something Vy has mentioned to him

“School has honestly never felt this long!”
“Yes, much too long, how was it?”
“Boring…and well, what you just said, hat sounded awfully a lot like experimenting on him if you ask me… “
“That’s because that’s what they’re doing -he confesses- They teach him, protect him and give him all the knowledge and in return he lets them study him. I have never been on one of the sessions, my master has little interest in dragons. But I have never seen them purposefully harm him.”

He clearly does not trust the sages much after what he had to deal with and River’s answer doesn’t help much on the fact that he feels them a horrible sort. Shaking his head slightly, he promised himself he would have a long talk with Vy later.

“Luckily this part of the day is proving much better already.”

He winks at him before he kisses him gently. 

“Still up for watching me doing some work?”
“I miss school you know. And yes, I am ready to watch you work and glare at Carl!”
“And I know you miss school, I miss you though, not school, luckily my parents forced me to keep going.” 

He takes River’s hand and starts walking towards work, chuckling slightly at the comment about glaring at Carl. 

“Yes, you can glare at him all you want! Maybe he’ll actually focus on his work for once.”
“Let’s hope he does. If he doesn’t, I might chip a few inches of his iceberg.”

River chuckles putting his arm over Rylan’s shoulder, following him, the walk between where Rylan goes to school and the place he works a fairly short one.

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