"But mom, Twinkle started it!" Michael cried out.
"Liar! You said that my hair looks like a beaten up bush," Twinkle's emerald eyes shone like diamonds as she spoke.
Michael narrowed his eyes, "Then who said that I look like an old man?"
"I was joking, Michael!" Twinkle replied, shrugging her shoulders.
"Then I was joking as well." Micheal simply said, deciding to irritae Twinkle as much as he could.
"Mom! Please tell him to stop!" Twinkle requested.
"No, mom. Ask her to say sorry." Michael pushed aside his bangs, clearly having no intentions of stopping.
"Me? Why should I apologize? It's your fault clearly! " was Twinkle's outraged reply.
"BOTH OF YOU! SHUT. YOUR. MOUTH!" bellowed an expaserated Mrs. Evans. Her face showed a tired expression.
"Michael, you've come home after 5 years, and Twinkle, Michael's come home after '5' years! You both are squabbling like 14 year olds, and not like the 24 year olds that your are!"
Both, Michael and Twinkle fell silent, glancing at each other from the corner of their eyes. Right now, they looked like two kids about to get fired.
Suddenly, Twinkle let out a giggle, causing all three of them to burst out laughing. Twinkle's chiseled face shone in the light Sun, making her look like a bright star.
"Seriously, Twinkle, you are 24 year old. Behave yourself!" Micheal winked, playing again.
"Mom!" Twinkle cried out again and Mrs. Evans left the room muttering something like, "Kids still!", leaving Michael and Twinkle squabbling again and throwing pillows at each other.
Michael caught the last of the pillow that Twinkle was so precisely throwing at him, and plopped himself on a couch, patting an area next to him.
Twinkle joined Michael and after frowing at him for a while, hugged him hard, contray to the fight they were having not long ago.
"Michael! I missed you," she whispered, playing with the soft fibres of Michael's blue sweater, as a bead of tear made its way towards her cheek.
"Hey star! Don't cry. I missed you a lot too. But we are together now, aren't we?" Michael said, trying to comfort his beloved sister.
Twinkle nodded, as Michael wept her silent tears.
"But you were not with me during dad's... dad's...." Twinkle couldn't continue further.
Michael turned to a stone, feeling the pain of their dad's early departure due to cancer drawing upon him like a mountain. He couldn't fly down during that time, and the guilt consumed him.
"Please don't remind me of that, star," he wanted to say, but couldn't. For him, comforting Twinkle was more important than comforting himself.
"I know, I'm really sorry. I should have been here with you," he said instead, and Twinkle broke out, letting out the feelings she had bottled up inside.
"Why did dad had to leave us so early, Michael? Why? He looked after us so well, but forgot to do so for himself. And how did we not notice the change that took over him? I should have been more observant. It's all my fault, Michael, all my fault. I was so selfish! Dad's not here with us today because of me," Twinkle cried.
Michael gently lifted Twinkle's head, and kissed her forehead. He knew that only this, and not words could soothe Twinkle. No amount of telling her that it wasn't her fault could convince her.
Michael placed his Star's head on his lap, and they lay like that, not knowing when they both fell asleep.
"Michael, wake up. It's tea time," Twinkle said softly, as she carresed Michael's face.
The tears were dry now, yet visible. "He cried himself to sleep," Twinkle sighed as an invisible sword pierced her heart.
Her face was etched with deep sadness.
"At least I have Michael to let out my worries. But he never lets out his feelings to anyone," she thought.
Michael had just returned home after 5 difficult years of studying abroad, and she couldn't bare it to see him teary. Somehow, she got up, and smiled. Smiled for the family she still had. Her brother and mother. A defiant expression crossed her face, and Twinkle grinned like the Star she was.
"Now he'll get up, " she said mysteriously, as she rushed back from the kitchen.
She poked Michael in his ribs, and when he got up, rather sleepily, she asked, "Bro, your watch is waterproof, right?"
"Yes, but why--" Michael started, but couldn't finish it.
And a bucketful of cold water greeted Michael, draining him like a bird caught in a rain, with no place to escape.
Twinkle laughed hard as Michael's shocked face met her own. Michael got up slowly, playfully and stretched out to catch Twinkle. But she escaped, and began running towards their back green lawn, her brother following.
"You can't escape me, Star," Michael cried, as his legs paced forward, trying to catch up.
"Let's see!" Twinkle challenged.
Owing to years of swimming practice, Michael overtook Twinkle, but caught her messily, causing both of them to fall on the soft grass.
"Sorry, sorry!" Twinkle managed, in between her fits of laughter, as Michael mercilessly tickled her.
"Say that you won't trouble me, " Michael demanded, as Twinkle laughed uncontrollably.
"Oh really? Then have this!"
Twinkle's sides were aching now, and she couldn't hold back.
"I won't! "
" Complete sentence, please," Michael said, feigning innocence.
"I won't trouble you, bro. Stop please!"
Michael stopped and Twinkle sighed, holding her stomach, lying on the grass.
"You are so childish, bro...!" Twinkle teased.
"Hmph. I didn't throw water on someone like a 5 year old, you know."
After a long time, Michael stood up, as he offered a hand to Twinkle.
Twinkle got up, and hugged Michael again.
"Don't ever leave me 'gain, Michael. The world's not the same without you."
Michael nodded. "I won't. It's a promise."
Twinkle didn't know whether to believe the promise or not, so she decided to enjoy the moment she had now, cherishing the time she had with Michael right now.
Afterall, what will come will come, and she will have to face it when it does, she thought, quoting Hagrid.
And she's right to think that, isn't she?