A Bird In The Hand... ***************** The longish Corellian ferns and grasses rustled silently in the wind, the merest breath of warm air blowing amongst the myriad of scented plants nestling in the border of the large garden. It was one of those days, Thena thought idly to herself, when it was genuinely good to be alive. They'd done the right thing in returning to Joel's family home to enjoy the fine mid-year weather, even though it had cost them a lot of soul searching in the process. Her husband was a pilot and a very fine one indeed so it was said. One of the best in the Corellian Search and Rescue teams, except that he was based even further away now that they had moved. It wasn't just for herself she felt bad for but the children, who now got to see even less of their father than they did before. Thena watched her four-year-old son as he tried to close his hands round a butterfly that sat invitingly on a long stalk of grass. Todd always thought he knew best, always liked to have his own way, and yet he was strangely sensitive and quick to tears when things went wrong. Being a child they went wrong frequently, the merest scrape on the knee being turned into a life and death situation, the slightest bruise demanding instant attention from his mother. Joel thought he needed toughening up, but he was only little for star's sake! Perhaps she did spoil and mollycoddle him a little but it was so easy to give him affection that she found herself drawn in. The butterfly moved at the last minute, leaving a very disappointed little boy behind. "It moved." pouted Todd. "I was going to keep it in a tank and feed it on cake and candy and?" "Butterfly's don't eat that kind of thing." Thena said with a small smile, ruffling the boy's hair with her fingers. "What do they eat?" Todd frowned. "Well," Thena considered, "plants and greenery amongst other things." "But I eat greens." The boy squinted as another butterfly flew past, flapping enticingly as it circled his head. "So why doesn't it eat cakes and stuff?" "That's not how it works I'm afraid Todd." Thena replied fondly. "But why?" "They don't?they?just don't." "But why?" the boy insisted. Thena closed her eyes. Todd was at that age where every second thing he said was 'Why?' The problem she had was trying to find answers for his many varied questions. She didn't want to deny the boy his natural curiosity but some of the things he came out with? "What's your sister doing?" Thena changed the subject. "Playing." Todd stood up quickly and jumped as a Fork-Tailed Stinger zipped past his ear, squealing as it hopped away. Thena cast her eyes round and found her youngest child wandering round the trees at the back of the garden. How had she got down there without her seeing her? Once more the sheer speed of the girl completely took her aback. When she set her eye on something, no matter how distant, she usually went out of her way to get it. "Jemmiah!" Thena called. "What are you doing down there? Come back this instant!" Thena stormed after her determined three-year old daughter and hastened to catch up with her. This was usually the point where the girl would run off and try and hide in the hope of escaping a rebuke, but Thena could see that Jemmiah had found something far more interesting to occupy her mind with other than basking in the warm Corellian sun. As she got closer she could see the child's little hands grasping something - she couldn't quite make out what - and throwing it up into the air. The object, whatever it was, fell like a stone to the ground. Jemmiah's eyes followed the thing to the grass, a stubborn expression on her face as she bent down to retrieve it. Once again, the girl scooped up the peculiar shape and after a few moments repeated the same exercise, with exactly the same results. The stubborn expression became even greater. Thena stared as she strode forwards, thinking how much Jemmiah took after herself. In looks she was a peculiar mixture of both parents but the girl's personality was very similar to her own.