Congratulations, Dustil. As a two-year-old, you are officially terrible.
It was Tam. It always seemed to be Tam.
The front door flew open and the dewback of a man made his entrance, his braided hair swinging back and forth like a whip. He tossed his gift on the couch next to Carth, located his nephew and swept the birthday boy up in his massive arms.
"Congratulations on your second birthday," Tam told Dustil. "You are now officially terrible."
Dustil, for his part, stared at his uncle for a good five seconds before he started screeching for his mama. Morgana came hurrying out of the kitchen and hoisted her son away from Tam.
"I understand you're excited about having a new peer," she said as she smoothed Dustil's hair back. "But you have to play nice or you can't play at all."
Tam was visibly hurt. His brows furrowed and his lips pulled back into a grimace. "I scared him?"
Morgana set the boy down and Dustil went scrambling off. "He'll get over it."
"But will Tam?" Arod asked.
Carth felt himself shaking his head. He placed Tam's gift on the caffa table.
"Tam Onasi is here?" Marnie called from the kitchen. She walked out with her hands on her hips. "And we didn't hide our women and children?"
"Marnie!" Tam grinned and dropped a hand to his heart. "My love! It's been too long."
She pointed a finger at him. "You! Stay away." Marnie lifted her arm to showcase the woven wedding band around her wrist. "My husband says I'm not allowed to go anywhere near you."
Tam laughed. "Smart man. He and I are still on for that duel for your undying affection, right?"
"That battle's been fought and won, sweetheart," Marnie replied.
"Yeah, but you haven't told your husband yet that I was the winner." Tam grinned.
Marnie rolled her eyes. "Mo, tell your brother-in-law that I'm going to throttle him."
"Don't," Arod said. "That's precisely what he wants."
"As charming as all this is," Carth said. "This get together's not for Tam. It's for Dustil. Right, D-Man?" He glanced to his son who had taken refuge at his feet with a toy starship. "Tell them. It's all about you, isn't it?"
Dustil looked at his father for a moment, before the boy let out a loud raspberry. He went back to playing with his model starship.
"Well, that was apt," Arod commented.
"He likes starships?" Tam asked before he planted himself on the carpet right next to Dustil. "That's awesome. He should open his presents. Now."
"Well, we were going to have some snacks first and settle in..." Morgana began.
"Please?" Tam stretched his eyes open as wide as they'd go and patted Dustil on the head. "We love presents, don't we Dustil?"
Morgana's lips thinned as she stared at Tam. "If you've gotten him something horrible, so help me..."
"Here," Arod said. He handed her a small package. "I have no idea what he bought, but am positive this will help, regardless."
Morgana glanced at the package and rolled her eyes before she tossed it to Carth. Ear plugs. Carth wasn't sure if the right thing to do was laugh, but he laughed anyway.
Dustil and Tam appeared to have reconciled in the meantime. The boy seemed fascinated by a leftover box stuffed with shredded wrapping paper, while Tam was engrossed in putting together his nephew's new interdictor ship. The smells that emanated from the kitchen were sweet and Carth was snug, sinking into the couch cushions. With the pleasant bustle around him, he was cozy and content.
After having long conversations with his wife on the pros and cons of sailor suits and why the cons clearly outweighed the pros, he was relieved to see that she did not in fact purchase one for their son. Of course, that's what her sister was there for. Marnie even thought to include a matching hat for the damn navy blue ensemble.
Dustil was unimpressed. But the boy had an oversized interdictor ship to play with and Uncle Arod got him... well, Carth wasn't exactly sure what his brother got his son, only that it lit up with flashing lights and would make a repetitive weird noise. The jerk did have the foresight to include earplugs, so Carth was prepared to look the other way this time around.
Because they opened presents first, Dustil was far too attached to his new ship when Morgana came out with the cake. He refused to let go of the ship and as a result, its maiden voyage was into the chocolatey depths of cake and frosting. Casualties were heavy as the group tried to find pieces that hadn't been mauled by a two-year-old. A bath later, Dustil was in bed and Arod had slipped out to make the next shuttle to Alderaan, while Marnie was helping put food away. Tam was still on the carpet fiddling with the model ships.
Morgana sat down on the couch next to Carth and draped her legs across his lap. "Are we spoiling Dustil?"
"Maybe just a little bit," Carth replied. "But I think his uncles are doing a better job of it than we are."
"Tam does realize that the toys are Dustil's, right?" she snorted.
"He'll get over it." Carth threw his arm around her pulled her closer.