Maki has lived and tried to love, over and over again. As a griffin, she is privy to the memories of all the griffins who have come before. Every moment of their lives until they died in defence of others. The story is always the same.
When she is called back to the Crossroads for the third time, she has only a flicker of hope that this will be the charm.
Uhrl met Maki when she came to his nightclub. The shifter in his arms had sparked while they danced. His attempts to find out who and what she was met a sudden halt against her wards, but he knew that he wanted more. He had a name and a general location to give to the seers. They had to do the rest.
“Keep an eye out. Let me know the moment the coast is clear.” Irvinga Mackie put her finger on the button and waited.
A small thumb shot up. “The coast is clear.”
Giggling commenced and the party was on. Maki started up the music, and she danced with her two nieces and two nephews.
Babysitting was an adventure that she enjoyed taking on. In the next three hours, they would wreck the house and fix it again. Her brother had a lot of faith in her ability to keep control, and Maki made sure that she earned it every time.
* * * *
Irving Mackie backed out of the driveway, his wife sighing next to him.
“The lights are on and I can see the kids in the living room. They are having a party.” Melody sighed.
Irving grinned and kept backing out of the drive. “They will be nice and exhausted by bed time. Maki doesn’t come by nearly enough. This is fun for all of them.”
Melody snorted. “I still can’t understand why you call her Maki? It sounds Asian.”
“Because no woman deserves to be called Irvinga. Now, love, let’s enjoy our anniversary dinner without people at the table who put straws up their noses.” He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it.
Melody smiled impishly. “Aw, honey, you know how I love it when you do that. It is always a good look for you.”
Irving sighed and drove away from the house that his twin was currently rocking with all four of his children. Twins ran in both sides of the family, but what they became was always up in the air. Time with Auntie Maki was the best cure for any worry about changes in their lives.
The free babysitting didn’t hurt either.
* * * *
After hours of dance parties, games that involved all ingredients in the kitchen and some markers, the kids were in bed and it was time to clean up.
Maki checked on the littles one more time and looked at the time. She had ten minutes to undo three hours of insanity. No problem.
She straightened her shoulders and faced the kitchen. Her beak took over her face, and her claws replaced her fingers. Magic would be needed to fix the disaster in a matter of moments and that was a quality she had in ample supply.
A wind gathered up all loose and wild pieces, the flour, the chocolate chips and the strange trail of raisins that had made their way under the fridge.
The magic caught everything up and compressed it into a ball. She clacked her beak and the ball evaporated. Another flex of her claws put all of the sparkling-clean dishes, pots and pans back in their shelves.
She flexed her claws once more, and a final wave of bright magic washed over the kitchen.
When she was done, a series of hoots, hollers and wild applause came from the doorway. Sighing, Maki turned to face her audience.
Four small faces rushed at her, and she caught them all in curls of glittering magic, carrying them up to bed. She didn’t speak with her beak out, so she clacked at them and followed her charges back to bed.
She tucked them in again and changed her shape to full human when they were all where they were supposed to be.
Her eldest niece, by three minutes, smiled and said, “I don’t know why you won’t shift in front of us, Auntie.”
“Because it is uncertain as to what you will become when you shift, and if you see my particular method of changing, you will try and copy it when your time comes. We don’t want that. The shift back is safe. That is just the human coming back.” Maki smiled and caressed the golden-brown hair from Reema’s forehead.
“I want to be a griffin when I grow up.”
Maki sighed. “Of course you do. It won’t be likely. There is only one of us at a time. One griffin or less per generation.”
Roma piped up from across the room. “I don’t want to be a griffin. I want you to live forever, Auntie Maki.”
Reema grinned. “Me too. I will just hope to be a random when I grow up, just like you.”
Roma smiled. “Me too.”
She kissed Reema on the forehead. “That is sweet, but I hope that you both develop into something bright and strong that gives you a community you can depend on.”
She got up and kissed Roma before heading to the door. “Good night, girls. Dream of magic.”