Fandom: Original Fiction
Summary: They never talked about him
Author's Notes: For the writerverse prompt of "Middle Sibling."
My mother was the youngest in her family—though never the baby, she always insisted. There was no place for "babies" in the house where she grew up. Daniel was the oldest, strong and handsome and able to do nearly anything, or so she said. After Daniel came Peter, but they never talked about him. Mother only knew what Daniel told her, whispered moments years later when no one else could hear.
Are you allowed to miss someone you chose to betray?
It was winter in an already hopeless year when the man came to their door. He was dressed in gray, the color of the sky and of the fields that had lain barren for two full seasons. Grandmother could not offer him meat, for the herd had been sold off bit by bit to keep the family fed. She could not offer him milk, for the cow had run dry before New Year's Day.
The man needed neither food nor drink, he assured her. What he sought instead was a young person to assist him in his home and in his work—someone old enough to be taught and young enough to last. In return, he could offer her payment and the promise of prosperity once more.
My mother was a babe in the cradle, too little to be of use to anyone. The man might have been thinking of Daniel, but Grandmother persuaded him to take Peter instead.
They never saw either of them again.
The winter turned warm that year, rains softening the earth and preparing it for spring. The soil grew fertile, bringing forth the richest crops Grandmother had ever seen. She gathered in a harvest that paid enough to buy food for the next two years, and each year after the promise held until her children were grown and gone and Grandmother herself was finally dead.
She must have missed her son, whose fate she handed over so willingly in the weak light of a cold February afternoon.
But she never said anything about the child who was blood-price for their future, and her children never saw her weep or worry over whatever that poor boy's story might have become.