“I baked cookies,” said Suzerra, pulling a wrapped parcel out of her bag.
“Um… when?” asked David.
“While you guys were sleeping. I portaled home.”
“Couldn’t you portal us back to base, then?”
“It doesn’t work like that.”
“How does it work?”
“Never mind,” said Maurelle. “Bring out the cookies!”
Suzerra unwrapped the parcel, letting loose the enticing nutty smell of peanut butter cookies. Everyone crowded around to grab one, except Maurelle.
“Aren’t you going to get one?” Clara asked her.
“No. I don’t care for peanut butter cookies.” Maurelle propped her head in her hands, frowning.
“Is something wrong?”
Maurelle shook her head. Then she looked over at her brother, who was eating placidly.
“Do you remember when I baked peanut butter cookies?” she asked him.
“I found the recipe in the library, and I was so excited to try them.” Maurelle looked into the fire, the memory still fresh. “It was just after we’d found our apartment, after you’d gotten your job for that awful Thomas Stretch.”
“I made the cookies, and they looked just perfect. And it was as I was pulling them out of the oven that you came in the door.” Maurelle shuddered. “Covered in blood.”
“Oh,” said Jak, remembering.
“What happened?” asked Clara.
“He’d been jumped in the street by some of Stretch’s competitors.”
“I beat most of them off,” said Jak.
Maurelle rolled her eyes. “I know. You were outnumbered and you hadn’t gotten used to fighting without magic yet, but you still bashed in plenty of heads. But, the fact is, you came home with broken ribs, blood pouring down your face, and some other guys’ blood on your hands, and you wouldn’t let me take you to hospital. You had just enough time to tell me not to before you passed out. So I was left to clean you up as best I could, with a tiny amount of healing magic and a bit of veterinary knowledge.” Maurelle’s lips turned downward, her brow creased. “You could have died.”
“But I didn’t,” said Jak gently. “You saved me. Again.”
Maurelle pressed her face to her hands. Clara rubbed her back.
“I still don’t see why you can’t eat peanut butter cookies,” said Suzerra.