The one on the right is—“Jaden?” Eyrin asks, incredulous. Silas’s brother, which makes him Eyrin’s cousin as well. The short black hair, black eyes, and slightly peeved expression are just as Eyrin remembers, though the scar over his left eyebrow is new.
It’s been years since Eyrin properly talked to him—the last time was before the incident. They never really got along; Eyrin suspected for a long time that Jaden might resent Eyrin for having a better relationship with Silas than he did.
“Should’ve known it was you,” Jaden sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose. “I’m leaving this one to you, Drea.”
“Yang,” the one Eyrin presumes is Drea says. Jaden ignores the words, sitting back in the car.
Drea sighs. “Sorry about him. The two of you know each other?”
“We’re… cousins,” Eyrin concedes.
He’s rewarded with a soft snort, stifled behind a black-gloved hand. “You have my condolences.”
Eyrin’s mouth twitches up in a smile. Looks like he still has that insufferable personality. “We haven’t talked properly in a long time,” Eyrin says, tapping the side of his door. “In any case… it’s nice to meet you.” He bows his head slightly. “I’m Eyrin Kal. I use he, him pronouns, but neutral terms otherwise.”
“Andrea Leifer, but please call me Drea. She, her pronouns.”
Eyrin nods. “Hello, Drea. Was there something you needed?”
“Yes,” Drea says, straightening and clasping her hands in front of her. “Did you happen to see anything last night?”
Eyrin realizes that this is the moment that he picks a side.
“I,” he starts, “have prosthetic legs.” That’s a start. That’s the truth.
Drea’s brows furrow, face pinching with… confusion? Pity? Eyrin isn’t sure.
“When the blackout happened, it also disabled my legs. I fell.” Eyrin looks off to the side, not wanting to see if she looks down to see his bare, mechanical feet. “I couldn’t get up and I couldn’t feel my legs for a while. I live alone, too… there’s no one to help me.” Silas was very unhappy when Eyrin told him that he wanted to live alone—his cousin even offered his own place. “I didn’t know what caused it,” Eyrin continues, “though I did hear something and I felt the ground shaking.” He shrugs. “There was only so much I could do, anyways.”
“Sorry,” Drea says, frowning slightly. She looks uncomfortable. “Are they alright now?”
“Yes. I woke up this morning and they now seem to be functioning normally.”
“Did you go outside this morning, then?”
Eyrin shakes his head. “No… I just finished eating breakfast and calling my cousin.” He pauses. “A different cousin. Not Jaden.”
“Hm. That would make Yang related to them, too, wouldn’t it?”
Eyrin blinks. She doesn’t know who Jaden’s brother is?
“You look surprised,” Drea says dryly. “We have a very professional relationship. We don’t pry into each other’s private lives.”
Interesting. “Fair enough,” Eyrin says. He worries his lip. “Are you investigating what happened?
“Yes,” Drea confirms. “From what we’ve observed so far, we presume that a conductive object crashed over the hills near the front of your house. It’s gone now, so we were wondering if you’d seen what it was.”
Eyrin smiles wryly, gesturing to his legs.
Drea tightens her lips in what might be a smile. “Right.” She pulls a card out of her blazer pocket, holding it out. “I’ll leave you my number. If you see anything strange, don’t hesitate to call.”
Eyrin takes in. Andrea Leifer, Department of Homeland Security, it says, in addition to a phone number. “Homeland security… isn’t that for terrorism and such?” Eyrin looks up at Drea, very seriously. “I promise I’m not a terrorist.”
Drea snorts loudly, not managing to stifle it this time. “Of course. Don’t worry, that’s not what we’re here for. We just want to make sure the object isn’t a danger to anyone—it could have been a satellite from another country, for instance.”
Makes sense. Eyrin nods, slipping the card into the pocket of his sweatpants. “Well… if I do see anything, I’ll keep you in mind. Hopefully it isn’t anything bad.”
“Agreed,” Drea says. “Thank you, Miste—ah, Mx. Kal.”
Eyrin huffs out something like a laugh. “Eyrin is fine, please.”
Drea blinks, surprise in her expression. “Of course. Thank you, Eyrin. It was a pleasure to meet you.”
“Likewise,” Eyrin says, relaxing slightly. Drea nods, but as she turns to leave, Eyrin adds, “And, um… Can you tell Jaden I said hello?”
Drea looks at him, raising an eyebrow. “Certainly. Goodbye for now, then,” she says, and walks primly down the entryway in her fancy dress shoes.
Eyrin closes the door, but can’t help peering through the peephole. Drea slides into the car and says something to Jaden, who turns to look at her and then at Eyrin’s house. He crosses his arms and scowls—rather, Eyrin guesses he does by his body language. It’s hard to tell with how far he is. Drea shrugs, and then they start pulling away.
Before Eyrin even starts pulling away from the door, however—
“You didn’t tell them about me.”