As Joe followed his sister into her room, he couldn't fail to notice that she had several pictures of him hanging in her room. There were pictures of them together before he left home, but the one that stood out to him was a picture of him at his graduation from Starfleet Academy. Although he wondered how she managed to get that picture, he couldn't help but muse to himself about how photogenic he was. Thinking his father wouldn't have come if invited, as well as not let his wife or daughter attend the ceremony, Joe had not even bothered to invite his family. He would have loved for them to be there, but the chances of that happening were slim to none. Then again, his little sister had always been into whatever fad interested her big brother at the moment, like when he had been interested in computers for a time, it was a fascination to her, but it was a hobby she had never dropped. For a computer whiz like her, it wasn't out of the realm of possibilities that she could gain access to the kind of data that wasn't exactly classified information. While all this was running trough Joe's head, Natalia had entered the bathroom to change into something more comfortable than her business attire. As she came out of the bathroom, he couldn't fail but notice that his "little sister" had grown up a lot since he had left for Starfleet. It wasn't the first time he regretted not having come home in five years. He had missed 4 years of his sister's maturation process, and seeing as how women mature faster then men, his little sister, just like him, was beginning the process into adulthood. With all those feelings bubbling to the surface, he walked up to her and gave his sister another big hug, nearly knocking the wind out of her. He hoped that pinning her arms would keep her from tickling her, like she used to do. "Hey, what's that for big bro?" Natalia asked her big brother as he nearly squeezed the air out of her. Though Joe had always been an affectionate kid growing up, he had never really hugged her much after her 9th birthday, when she became his self-appointed tormenter. He was 4 years older and, though she hadn't realized it at the time, it must have been a drag for him to be constantly pestered and followed around by "a big brat" as he had always called her. Looking back, Joe could tell that she loved him very much, and, judging by the pictures on wall, still admired him a good deal. "Nothing. It's just that I didn't realize how much I had missed you, you big brat," he responded. He released the embrace and stuck out his tongue at her. "Musta been fun for you, though, to have dad all to yourself and not in a foul mood 'cause of me half the time." Natalia winced at that. Their father had always been extremely loving with her and had given everything within in reason she had ever wanted, including the love and attention that he neglected his son. She knew her brother had some reason to be upset because their father had been very "cold" and stern with him. "Actually, believe it or not, he was still in a foul mood half the time when you left. I don't know what you said to him that night after the wrestling match, but you guys never talked much after that. And then when you left, he was even angrier 'cause he said he had wanted you to continue the business when he got older..."she trailed off at the end. They both sat there for a while silently thinking. Joe understood that his sister had definitely spent more time with their father than he ever had, and she probably had more insight into how he thought than himself. Joe had never really considered his father's point of view. He just assumed that he was a hateful person who only cared about himself. Joe had taken the easy way out by just leaving and having minimal contact with his family ever since, but now he realized that the simple way out hadn't been the best solution. He and his family had missed out on sharing some of the most impoortant years of his and his sister's lives because he had just run away. "He's not as bad as you think Joe, I mean he changed after you left. I guess he had time to think about whatever it was you said to him and he changed. Whether you believe it or not, he cares about you a lot, and it hurt him that you just left and didn't even write or call or anything. You say that he was a selfish egocentric man, but how selfish is what you did. You basically abandoned us." Joe could hear her lashing out at him for things she had thought about for 5 long years. Things that she had never gotten to say to him. Joe was so stung by her words that he barely even noticed the tears streaming down her face. Joe walked over to her and held her close, feeling a few tears run down his cheeks. "I know Nat. I know. I was too stubborn and full of pride to apologize. I took the coward?s way out and I just ran away. But I'm back now and I know I can't give you guys back the five years we've all lost, but I'm here now and I want to make things all better. I want to patch things up with dad." He kissed her on the cheek and let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. Maybe this will work out, he though to himself. "So, is he really helping out other people, like donating food to famine victims?" he inquired as he started wiping the tears off her face. She beamed a smile at her brother. "Uh-huh. He even told me that he was proud of you. He thinks that what you did in space was very important and that he's glad that you value life so much. I guess that's why he started his philanthropy." She paused and look at him, "And you know what? He's been very happy, although nervous, about you coming over for dinner." She let go of her brother and walked over to the door but stopped short of it. "You know he, uh, he even suggested to me that I should go to Starfleet and follow in your footsteps." He chuckled at his sister in disbelief that his father would suggest such a thing "No kidding. You would be a great addition to the Federation, sis. What did you tell him?" "I told him that it was a good idea but that one Castillo is all space can handle, besides I'd rather follow in his footsteps and be able to feed people in worlds suffering from famine," she responded and turned for the door. "C'mon dinner should almost be ready, and I think we've let your cute friend out with the wolves too long." Joe stood there for a second after his sister exited the room, truly regretting he had missed seeing the beautiful person both physically and spiritually his sister had grown up to be, but he was quite proud of her. "This night might not turn out so bad after all." Commander Victor Andros Executive Officer, USS Banshee --------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? The New Yahoo! Search - Faster. Easier. Bingo.