Title: Her Grandmother's Legacy
Warnings: None at all
Summary: Cassie worries about her very first day at school
Author's Notes: Written for the Kidfic Alphabet Soup Anthology sponsored by sg_fignewton. Didn't get a chance to have a beta look at it, so apologies in advance. :)
Her Grandmother's Legacy
"I'm not used to waking up before the sun," Cassie said as she sat down at the table. She looked over at her new mother and felt like crying. Everything was so different and she wondered if she would ever feel like she belonged in this world.
"Come on," Janet said with a smile. "It's not so bad." She seemed to think about that for a minute, then said, "Well, at least during the school year. Once summer comes along, you can sleep in as long as you want." She smiled at Cassie, then added, "Eat your breakfast, sweetie. You don't want to be late for your first day of school."
Cassie looked down at the bowl of cereal, wondering if she should admit that she really didn't want to go at all. She closed her eyes, trying hard to chase away her fears, but she couldn't shake it. No matter how hard she tried.
If only she could run to her grandmother's house. Whenever things got too scary, or she was sad, she'd follow the path behind her mother's house, past the field of wild flowers that never seemed to fade, and across the little bridge her father had built over the stream. Grandmother would scold her for not facing up to what was bothering her, then hug her tightly and hand her a sweet biscuit to munch on. Cassie could almost smell the bread that her grandmother always had in the oven.
She came out of the memory when Janet sat down next to her and wiped away Cassie's tears. "Oh honey," she said. "What's wrong?"
Cassie couldn't speak. She tried, but the lump in her throat was too big. She let the tears fall instead as Janet pulled her into a tight hug and smoothed her hair as she whispered words of comfort. "It's okay, baby. I promise. It's all right. Everything is going to be okay."
Cassie tried to stop. Foolish tears, her grandmother would say. But she cried anyway, and tried to believe her new mother's words. It could be okay. All she needed to do was face this.
"Want to tell me what's wrong," Janet said when Cassie sat back and wiped at the tears. She turned Cassie's face toward her and gave her an encouraging smile. "Cassie?"
Cassie tried to smile, but it didn't last. "I'm scared," she said softly, taking comfort in Janet's understanding smile. "What if they don't like me? What if they find out that I'm from another world?"
Janet heaved a sigh, then said, "Don't you worry about that. You are going to have lots of friends." She hugged Cassie again. "As for you being from somewhere else…" she nodded wisely, a gesture that brought back more memories of her grandmother, then added, "You won't be the only one. Most of those kids at that school come from military families. More than half of them came here from all over the place."
Cassie hadn't thought of that and already felt a little better. "Really?" she couldn't help but ask.
Janet nodded and touched her forehead to Cassie's. "Really," she said, then smiled brightly at her as she sat back. She picked up a piece of toast and spread some jelly on it. "Here. You should eat something before you head out."
Cassie took it, memories of her grandmother's kitchen flooding through her as she took a bite. "Face those fears Cassandra," her grandmother used to say. I will, Cassie thought as she gave her new mother a tearful smile.
"Okay," she said with the courage she had been looking for. "I'm ready."