Adventure Friendship Fiction

“I’ll never get used to this,” Kai groans as he’s forced awake by the rattling of pots and pans in the kitchen.

Senna dances happily in the kitchen, the light of the coming dawn just barely reaching the windows. Kai comes through the bedroom door in a haze, stumbling towards the smell of coffee. She hands him his cup and holds her own as she twirls towards the porch doors. She doesn’t spill even a drop and only stops to take a sip before heading out into the crisp winter morning. “Isn’t it just wonderful? I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this,” her smile and softest sigh is in complete opposition of Kai’s stance on the matter. But seeing her so happy, so free, how could he ever want anything more?

Kai sits upon the ledge of their balcony, waiting as the light comes above the mountain crest. He would never admit it out loud, but even through the fog of drowsiness, the sunrise was one of his favorite parts of the day. Senna is sitting beside him, legs crossed in glorious waiting. She can feel the warmth rise in the day, smell the awakening of the world below her. The tree tops shimmer and shiver with anticipation for their daily meal; a sky full of sunlight. They sip their coffee in comfortable silence and the only sound made is Senna gasping as the sun breaks through the layer of mountains and begins to shine on the valley.

You’d think she’d never seen the sunrise before. And yet, every morning, she greets every day with wonder and delight. 

“What do you have in mind for today, dove?” Kai has now finished his coffee and has had enough silence. He needs her voice to fill in the airways, to feel her close to him. He moves over to her, careful not to move her out of her gracious position. He wraps his arms around her, calculated and precise. He’s learned after so many mornings; she still needs room to sip her coffee, and space to let her hair feel the breeze.

“Hmmm, why do you think I’ve got something already figured out?” She muses.

He smiles at her and kisses the side of her pretty head, “there’s always something in your heart that you want to try, or see. I wish to know so that I can make it so.” 

She sips her coffee, pondering his question deeply. She curls up against him and says something he’d never expect, “what does your heart wish to see today?” 

The words he meant to speak were caught in his throat. He nearly choked on them and he had to pause to reconsider his answer. 

What did he want to see today? Well, Kai wanted to see Senna, as happy as ever, twirling around in the depths of the jungle they called their home. Between the branches and at the top of trees, fearless and magickal. He wanted to see her interact with the animals, stand in awe at the utter love that she shared with them and them with her. Kai wanted to see her beneath a canopy of wild ivy, touching it’s ever-delicate leaves and kissing the trees. He wanted to see her jump, head first into the lake at the end of the great waterfall of Vienna. 

She turned to him, a tender smile upon her face, “it’s okay, honey. You don’t have to decide right away. I could sit here for ages.” She snuggles closer to his chest and they breathe in together, fusing as one upon their balcony, as the sun continues its ascension and his mind shifts through all the things he wants to do and see. All of them revolve around Senna. All of them having to do with what she’d want to do. 

He can’t shake the feeling that maybe that’s not such a good thing. Does he not want anything for himself? What is one thing he’d want to do for himself? 

He ponders these questions for a while until finally he settles on something he’d forgotten about, a place that he’d been to only as a child and a place his heart aches to see again. 

“I have an idea. You’ll need hiking gear.” 

Senna’s face lights up immediately, she’d go anywhere with him. Across any river, over any mountain. She’d jump into volcanos for him. “I’ll race you!” She pushes away from him, causing him to stiffen at the edge of the balcony, but she’s got grace like a mountain-cat, agile and fierce. She twirls inside and disappears into her bedroom. He doesn’t have to race her, she’ll be waiting for him forever. He takes his time, picking up their mugs and setting them in the sink, almost cleans them but decides that if today will be a day of his choices, maybe he will race her. Maybe he’ll surprise her the way she never stops surprising him. He feels an excitement he’s never felt before start in his chest, and he does the most obnoxious twirl into his own bedroom. He slips on his clothes, the same ones he would have worn anyway and grabs his pack.

The place he has in mind will require specific tools and he’s got to make sure he can carry it all on his back. Even in a rush, he double checks to make sure he’s taken all the necessities. He turns the corner into the living room, surprised indeed that Senna isn’t done yet. He sits on the couch and lounges back, just in time for her to spin around the corner. Senna sees Kai on the couch, bag ready to go and her jaw drops.

“No way! I must be dreaming! Kai, finished before me? Oh, I can just feel that today is going to be wonderful!” She skips over to him and kisses him quickly, but with so much passion that he regrets not asking her to stay home today. They could just sit and read, or cook something together, just enjoy each other. 

But he knows Senna better than that. She has to move, to dance and run with the winds. She couldn’t sit still if a viper had spotted her and was waiting to strike a moving target. 

She pulls him from the couch and takes the bag on her back. He lets her carry it, she’ll fuss about it if he tries to take it from her, but she’ll give it up eventually. When she’s ready to be free. When she sees the open fields of Vestara and she can’t wait to climb the trees of Veskar.

“Where are we going, Kai? You’ve got to tell me!”

She fumbles with the pack on her back, but walks backwards anyway so she can face him. He’ll keep an eye out for her, she knows that. “Well, I’m not sure I’ll even know where to find it.” He stops and realizes that it’s true. He doesn’t know where to go or which trail to take, he was going based on instinct and memories, but he knows better than anyone how memories are not to be trusted. 

“Oh! Well that’s okay, we can find a beautiful spot anyway. I’m sure when we get closer, you’ll remember or maybe there will be a butterfly and we can chase it until we fall off a cliff. Either way, I’m in!” She grins up at him and spins around again. 

Kai gets ready to take the pack from her, she won’t last much longer going at a “Kai” pace. He can see the movement bubbling up in her, in the way her steps shorten and her hair bounces. She’s charging herself up for it. Kai stops again realizing what’ll happen. 

She’s going to sprint. 

She’s going to sprint through the field, around the edge of it, grazing all of the trees with her fingertips and laughing. She’ll avoid stepping on all the flowers and then she’ll find one too beautiful to leave behind. She’ll pick that one and give it to him. He’ll hold it for a while and eventually he’ll put it in the notebook he’s got packed. Then she’ll kiss him, probably on the cheek and she’ll run straight for the trees.

He’ll jog to catch up with her, but he knows where she’ll go. She’ll climb her favorite tree, the ones she’s named “Fox” and she’ll wait up in it’s branches for him. 

The future moments pass over his eyes in a glaze and then he watches it all unfold before him with a tingle of deja-vu. She drops the pack ever so gently before exploding away from him. He picks it up with a soft smile and starts his walk towards the trees, but the intense prickling from earlier starts again. He remembers the embarrassing spin he did in the kitchen, and immediately regrets not washing their mugs but he changes the course of his thoughts at once. He turns to watch her running, so full of life and joy in the simple act of moving her body. 

He drops the bag and chases after her. A surprised thrill escapes her and she starts giggling as she runs, avoiding his hands when they try to catch her. She’s quicker than Kai expected but he’s bigger, taller, with longer legs and eventually he catches her by the waist. He spins them both around and kisses her with fervor. She blushes and gasps at his embrace, holding up a little yellow flower to him. Traditions seldom die. 

“Kai, did I accidentally put more sugar in your coffee today?”

He laughs effortlessly, “maybe your light is just contagious and I’m finally falling ill to it.” 

She kisses him again before wiggling her way out of his arms, but instead of taking off again, she takes his hand and leads him back to the pack he’d dropped and they walk at a very comfortable “Kai” pace, enjoying the sunshine and the winter chill. 

They walk hand-in-hand for a while, and Senna doesn’t climb Fox. She holds her hand to it and bows her head, “another time old friend. I’ve got an adventure to follow.” 

Kai remembers the path easily and they higher they climb, the more he knows it’s the right way. A memory fogged up by fear and loneliness, tied up in an endless sea of trees. He’d expected to get lost, to lose his sense of direction, but his body knew exactly where he wanted to go and let it lead. Senna talked to him as they walked, asking him questions on she would get answers to. She made him laugh and almost cry, but he loved the feeling of emotions she brought out in him. Too often he was numb to the world and his body, but with her he could feel it all. And he liked it.

He wasn’t aware how much time had passed, or that they’d been hiking all day. The mountain was deceitful and secluded. The valley below them would be covered in night now, but up here, they still had a few more moments of sunlight. That’s all he would need. A moment to see if he remembered correctly, a moment to glance upon the views in his dreams. 

The trees cleared just like he knew they would, and the air grew crisp and humid. The smell of pine filled his nose and he inhaled like he wanted to trap the scent in his lungs. Senna gasped beside him and he tore his eyes away from what he’d come for to look at her. Her eyes glittered even in the soft light of dusk. She held her hands to her face as she walked through the final edge of trees. 

“Kai! It’s amazing!”

He couldn’t make himself look away from her. This was worth the day’s hike. Her reaction to it was all that mattered. Even if he’d taken the day for himself, she’s the reason he’d come at all.

When he finally peels his gaze away from her, he looks upon the lake at the top of the mountains. The soft orange glow of the sunset is lessen by the brilliance of the sliver moon that glows upon its surface. A crescent so delicate it looks ready to shatter should the water move to the subtle waves of the winds.

“This is Valhala. Where I was born.”

November 18, 2020 21:43

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