She headed for Tiri's room and opened the door softly slipping in. The girls were sitting around a device on the floor.
"Hello, Mikala." Lin said.
"Come in." Tiri added.
Mikala crossed her arms and stared at them. "I'm glad you're finding my life so amusing," she said a bit caustically.
"Right now you're having the most interesting time of any of us." Kat said.
"Have a seat." Jan suggested.
"It's rare that anybody upstages Mother." Tana observed. "But right now you have her beat."
Mikala stared at her. "What?"
Tiri looked at her. "Are we talking about the same thing?"
"I was talking about your bloody eaves dropping on my every movement. There are sometime a person needs some privacy." Mikala felt her embarrassment and anger building. "Especially when they are having private discussions with other people."
"We're not tracking your every movement. No one does that." Iri said.
"We have not actually been spying on you and Darien." Tiri explained. "But your auras are all over each other."
"It's hard to miss." Jan added. "Are you sure you don't want to sit down.
Mikala gave her a confused look. "What are you talking about?" She sank to sit in a chair, suddenly, feeling very confused and very tired.
"What do our 'auras' have to do with anything?" she asked them.
"There are traces of Darien's aura on you right now. You both had signs of the others aura last night when you came up from the hospital. That can only mean one thing." Tiri explained. "You must have noticed that there are always traces of Father on Mother and vice versa.
Mikala shook her head. "I hadn't noticed."
"She's still learning to read the Force." Kat pointed out. "And she hasn't seen either enough to know how the aura levels rise and fall. The same thing happens with my parents."
Mikala crossed her arms tightly across her chest and stared at the girls. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Tiri stood up. "Jan, stand."
Jan stood up.
"Look at Jan's aura."
Mikala stared at her not quite knowing what she was supposed to be looking for.
"Do you see her aura, how it has many colors and textures?" Tiri asked.
Mikala shook her head. All she saw was Jan standing there.
"Relax, and try to see Jan's soul, not her body." Lin suggested. Lin got up and walked over to Mikala. "Let me help you." She took Mikala's hand.
Mikala took a deep breath and let it out slowly trying to focus, but the harder she tried the harder it seemed to get and it didn't help her head still felt like it was stuffed full of shipping foam. She sighed and looked up at Lin and nodded, tightening her grip on the girl's hand. "I can't focus very well right now."
Lin touched her mind to Mikala's. *Do you hear me?*
Mikala struggled to keep herself calm. *Yes.*
*Close your eyes and look though mine.*
Mikala frowned slightly, but let Lin lead her into doing what she asked.
Once the contact was set Lin looked at Jan. But now Jan was standing in a human shaped cloud of swirling colors. A strong but soft base of pink with black stripes was dominant in the background.
*That's beautiful,* Mikala said in an awed tone.
"Jan's aura is rather strong." Tiri began. "All of ours are. A non Force sensitive would be much weaker and harder to see."
"The pink base is gender, the boys are all blue. The black stripes are the Darkside." Tiri continued.
Mikala paused almost afraid to ask. *What does mine look like?* she asked Lin.
"You have more black stripes, but they are not as sharply defined." Lin answered. "You've lost a few since you arrived here."
Mikala sighed and leaned her head back. "I've changed." She looked at them. "What do you mean that you can see Darien's aura on me?"
"Do you see these specks of blue, with deep red undertones?" Tiri pointed to Jan's cheeks and breasts.
Mikala nodded after a moment.
"Do you see that they are a bit harsher than Jan's aura, which is a bit fuzzy?" Tiri asked.
"What does it mean?" she asked.
"That's my brother. Lonnie and Jan have been making out." Tiri explained.
Mikala closed her eyes. "And that's what you see on me? And it has nothing to do with Darien and I sharing a bond?"
"You have a bond?" Tiri asked. "Yes, you do. That's why his traces are deeper in your aura than Lonnie's are in Jan's."
"We were wondering about that." Tana said.
Mikala sighed deeply. Force, why couldn't she keep her big mouth shut? She rubbed her forehead suddenly feeling very ill and far too tired. "We do. I don't know why, but we do. And--" She leaned her head back. "I do love him. I've never felt like I do with him with anyone else before."
"Good for you." Tiri said. "Do want me to explain any of the other colors?"
"Maybe later," Mikala said, moving to get up. "I think I need to lie down for a while." She paused. "Just please leave Darien and me alone when the two of us are...alone."
"Ok, if you want us too. But you have to admit the two of you are a great item." Kat said.
Mikala smiled a little. "I hope so." She got to her feet and took a moment for her head to clear, as she suddenly felt dizzy. "It's just unnerving for me to have so much attention paid to what I'm doing."
"That's life in a big family." Tiri said.
"Are you all right?" Jan asked.
Lin reached out to support Mikala.
Mikala nodded. "I'm just very tired. I took a walk with Darien and Kieren out to look at his flowers and I think it was a bit much. Mikala gave Lin a small smile. "I'll be fine once I get some sleep. Maybe someone could check on Darien. He feels even more tired than I do and he's still out in the gardens."
"Tana, you and Lin get Mikala to her room." Tiri ordered. "Jan lets go get Darien."
"Thank you," Mikala said as she felt herself being hustled back to her room. She reached out along her bond with Darien. *Tiri and Jan are coming to make sure you get back to your room. You feel awful. You need to rest.*
*What?* Darien replied, sleepily.
*You need to come back into the house and lie down, Darien.*
*I suppose so. I'm getting a little tired.*
Mikala shook her head. *Tiri and Jan are coming for you.*
*Ok.* He answered.
"Should we put him in your bed or his?" Tiri asked.
Mikala felt her cheeks warm. "His I guess," she said sheepishly. "Nothing was going on earlier. I just--" she sighed. "I feel safe with him and I don't have nightmares."
"Ok. His bed." Jan said as she and Tiri disappeared out the door.
Mikala sighed deeply again, leaning against Lin and Tana. She wasn't use to this concept of 'big family' and so much for her stealth skills.
The girls headed her back to her room and helped her back into her sleep things.
Mikala glanced at Lin. "What does Darien's aura look like?"
"Its blue where yours is pink and it's not as soft around the edges." Lin said.
"Why's mine soft around the edges?" she asked.
"Girls auras tend to be." Lin said. "Father thinks its stereotyping shaping what we see."
And he has white stripes instead of black." Tana added.
Lin turned the covers back.
Mikala climbed into the sleep couch thinking over what they had told her. It was so confusing. People looking two ways. Looking at the inside of people overlying the outside. All this concentrating and thinking was making her head throb.
"And you have a lot of red, which he doesn't. That's all your anger." Lin continued.
"He has yellow and light blue instead." Tana added.
"Like a rainbow." she said faintly.
"Yes, like a rainbow. The upper layers of your aura change with your emotions. They are what you're feeling now. The deeper layers are who you are. They are less changeable. And of course Darien now has some pink spots with dark red cores that are you." Lin finished
She nodded. "What color are my deeper layers?" she asked.
"That's the pink with the black stripes." Tana said. "At least that's as deep as we can see. I don't know if there are deeper layers."
"Being a boy or a girl is about has central to who you are as anything is." Lin said.
She nodded sleepily. "Very interesting. I think I kind of get it now. This whole aura thing never made sense to me before."
"There are lots of shades and spots that we can see but not read in most people's auras." Lin explained.
She nodded and then looked over towards the door as they heard voices in the hall.
"Sounds like Tiri and Jan caught Darien." Tana observed.
"Good," Mikala said softly.
"We'd better let her sleep." Tana said.
"Yes." Lin agreed. "Do you want us to wake you for dinner."
"Sure," Mikala said, settling back like she intended to go to sleep. "Thank you and thank you for helping me to bed. I guess I wasn't feeling as good as I had thought I was."
"Bye." Lin said as she stepped out into the hall.
"Sweet dreams." Tana closed the door behind them.
Mikala waited until they pulled the door shut and then she slipped out from under the covers. She went over to the door and leaned against it reaching out with the Force to make sure they were headed back to Tiri's room. She waited until the hall was clear and then she slipped out quietly and headed a bit unsteadily towards Darien's room again. *Darien?* she called through their bond. *Do you mind if I come in?*
*No.* He answered.
She paused. *No, you don't want me to? Or no, it's okay?*
*Come in. Watch out for Tiri and Jan. They are out there somewhere.*
*Okay,* she said, heading for his room again. She tried to watch out for the older girls but she was starting to get dizzy again and all she really wanted to do was lie down. She got to his door and pushed it open and slipped inside quietly.
Darien was already under the blankets.
"Hi," she said. "Mind company?"
"Come in." He lifted the blankets for her.
She crawled in beside him. "How are you feeling?"
"Tired, but otherwise ok." He dropped the blanket over her.
"Good," she said snuggling up to him. She smiled a little. "I'm supposed to be sleeping in my room Tana and Lin tucked me in."
"Trying to be the youngest are we?
She chuckled. "Not my goal here, but I did get a little dizzy in Tiri's room. They were trying to explain auras to me and then Lin was showing me how to see them."
"Did you learn to see them then?"
"I did when Lin helped me, but my head feels so fuzzy right now, it's hard to concentrate." She sighed and settled her head on his shoulder. "And now I have a blazing headache from trying so hard."
"Then stop trying for today, and go to sleep."
He shifted to give her a better angle.
She sighed and closed her eyes. "Sounds like a plan. You too."
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