“And what does this one mean?”

                Control over self. You won’t turn out like your father.

                I sigh with relief. My father’s a stupid man who only has my mom for an accessible woman he can use as a punching bag.

                Is your father that bad?

                I nod. “He doesn’t deserve her. He doesn’t deserve what she’s given him.”

                That’s part of the reason you dreamed so much and carved the runes.

                “Exactly. The pain was solace and comfort because I felt weak when I couldn’t protect her.”

                Taurus nods and nuzzles his copper head against my palm. Things will get better, just wait. All of us are a family, and now you have us.

                I smile, a rare thing for me. “Thanks, Taurus.”

                Taurus lows. I’m not Taurus, you are, Taurus is my species name. My real name is Terra.

                “Doesn’t Terra mean ‘earth?’”

                Terra nods.

                I look across the store at Aries with Aries. “What’s Aries’ real name?”

                I can’t say. The animals aren’t allowed to share names without the animal and bonder’s consent.

                “So Alcyone and Katrina were okay with sharing Alcyone’s name?”

                Terra nods again. The only one not consented was Lupis, but it doesn’t matter now that he’s gone.

               My gaze shifts from Aries and Aries to Halcyone and Halcyone. Our eyes meet, her turquoise eyes boring into mine for a moment before she turns back to her bird.

                You think Halcyone is pretty?

                I blink and look back down at Terra. “I guess.”

                Yes you do. Why don’t you go talk to her?

               I laugh. “Because a girl like her’s got to have a boyfriend, and even if she doesn’t, I’d only hurt her. She’s too innocent to be with a guy like me.”

But what is wrong with being you?

“Because of my past.”

             Taurus, our past does not make us who we are, just shows us how we got to where we are. You should remember that.

The End

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