The man swatted Zeke’s hands away from his eyes and frowned. “Then stop acting like one and I won’t treat you like one.” He whistled sharply and there was a rustle from the other room and a large owl flew in, settling on his shoulder. “Can I give you these?” he asked it, offering the wooden equipment to the bird. It didn’t make a noise as it took them and returned quickly, carrying a small towel with it. “Oh, thank you, dearest.” He wiped his hands on the towel and threw it onto the coffee table.
“You must be Caelan,” he said, holding his right hand out to him. “I’ve heard a lot about you. I do apologise for us never meeting. My name’s Cassius. Zeke’s mother was my sister, though we did not speak for a great many years.”
“Zeke’s mystery uncle?” Caelan asked, his eyes wide with surprise as he shook the man’s hand.
“Indeed. And Bethalin. My, it has been a while.”
“Do I know you?” She, too, shook his hand.
“I doubt you remember; I helped you acclimatise when Storm brought you over.”
“Oh, I see.”
“Anyway, it’s nice to see you again.”
“It’s nice to meet you when I’ll actually remember it,” she smiled.
He grinned and sat in the arm chair. The owl that had taken away the mortar and pestle returned, sitting on the back of the armchair behind Cassius’ head.
“So... Conrad?” Cassius asked, crossing one leg over the other.
“Yeah,” Zeke murmured.
“He say what he wanted?”
“He didn’t need to, you know that.”
“Of course I know, I was just asking if he had.”
Zeke shrugged. “How are the terrible two?” he asked, changing the subject.
“Well. They’re arguing at the moment. Corvina’s sleeping upstairs. Issy is avoiding her.”
The owl seemed to be glaring at him.
“Don’t look at me like that,” Cassius said, looking up at it.
The large owl looked away and ruffled its wings slightly.
“It seems pissed off,” Beth commented without meaning to.
“If she is, she can go and mope about it in the kitchen, yes?” he said, looking up at the owl pointedly.
The owl seemingly huffed and turned away but stayed where it was, leaving Beth extremely confused as to who was who.
Zeke sighed as he got back from showing Beth where she would be sleeping. He’d shown Caelan about half an hour ago and that had been a little awkward... Let’s just say that Caelan made it clear he did not want to share the same bed tonight.
He collapsed onto the sofa in the living room and sighed again.
“What’s going on between the two of you?” Cassius asked, raising an eyebrow slightly.
“I won’t tell him what I was going to give him,” Zeke mumbled.
“And what were you going to give him?”
Zeke hesitated before telling him. “I was going to tell him about the whole parent thing.”
“That still doesn’t answer my question.”
“I was going to give him my ring.”
“Truly?” he asked, grinning widely.
“Good, I am glad.” Cassius was beaming as wide as seemed physically possible.