Author: irishais PM
A gull freewheels overhead, crying the end of the day. The sky explodes.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Irvine K. & Selphie T. - Words: 1,044 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 3 - Published: 08-04-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5275906
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The ocean lapped up onto Centra's shores, wiping away the fresh footprints in the sand. The sun drooped down toward the horizon, taking with it some of the warmth in the air.
Irvine sat in a creaking old beach chair and picked out an aimless tune, his fingers wandering over the guitar strings. The music drifted out on the evening breeze, tugged away by invisible fingers in the air. Near the small dock, more of a patchwork assortment of wood and pilings than a proper dock, he could make out Selphie, rummaging around in the boat.
A gull freewheeled overhead, crying the end of the day.
A handful of notes fell from the strings, just a slide down the alphabet and then back up again. He liked the way it sounded, and so he did it again.
Behind him, a small, crumbling house, dark and quiet. Inside were the ghosts of memories, giggling and skinned knees. The lighthouse out near the point still had a lamp burning in the high windows. He knew that when they walked in, there would be the smell of tea and dried herbs, mixed not unpleasantly with fresh cookies.
They had stopped being children a long time ago, but Irvine would be damned if he refused a cookie that Edea had made. He drew his fingers across the strings again, smiling in the dimming light at Selphie as she scampered across the sand toward him, a bag in her hand.
"I'm using your lighter," she announced without preamble, crouching to pluck the small square of metal out of his pocket. Her fingers were feather-light and deft. If she hadn't gone SeeD, she would have had an excellent career as a thief. Irvine paused in his playing, resting the guitar across his legs, the worn wood soft against bare knees, watching as she drew a skinny brown sparkler from the bag and turned her back to the wind so that she could light it.
"Fireworks?" he asked with a raised eyebrow, although it wasn't like he had expected anything different; Selphie looked for any opportunity with explosives. She stuck her tongue out at him and held out the lit sparkler, crackling bright and steady.
"I was waiting for it to get dark enough," she informed him. "I figured it'd be a nice gesture. Something pretty."
Irvine glanced involuntarily up at the lighthouse again, to the single bright window. Briefly, it fell into shadow, as if a figure has stepped in front of the light, but the shadow was gone as quickly as it had come. The sparkler crackled in his hands. Maybe he'd imagined it.
He set his guitar aside as Selphie pranced away toward the water, her movement elegant and free at the same time. For Selphie, walking was practically dancing anyway, and Irvine stood to follow her, feeling the tiny sparks fly from the firework in his hand. They peppered his arm, no more sharp than a sudden raindrop, and no more painful.
Selphie's was the first to go, giving off one final bright pop. She looked at it for a moment, pausing in her dance, and the expression on her face was unreadable in the dark. Irvine held out his, still crackling away. The light it threw was enough to see her smile, and she grabbed his hand, pulling him back toward the chair and his guitar, where the waxy white bag of fireworks sat. She dropped the second dead sparkler onto the sand, and emptied out her arsenal onto a towel.
Selphie was nothing if not theatrical, and the fireworks display that she had concocted showed that, brilliant bursts of reds and blues, greens and oranges. There were several that simply shot showers of white-hot streaks into the air, all of them fading out against the sky in unison. Selphie had taken the task upon herself to rig all of them to go off in a chain, rather than battle the wind trying to light them all individually, and so she sat back in his arms, her eyes child-like with delight at each new burst of color in the sky.
Her gaiety relaxed him; just being around her was like a fresh breath of air. Selphie reminded him that despite the nightmares, the sleepless nights, that they had come out of it alive, and that because of them, the world was still going to be there when dawn broke again. She'd made it her business to pluck him out of memories of the worst times, polish off the fear and the "what if"'s that seemed to be at the corner of his every action, and show him that they were going to be okay.
He pressed his lips against her head for just a second, and Selphie squeezed his hand. Above them, a shower of bright pink stars fell from the sky, fading before they hit the water.
He wondered if Edea was watching, but when he looked again toward the lighthouse, there were no lights on at all, except for the small flashing beacon, just enough to steer ships away.
Selphie giggled as a lurid green pinwheel spun through the sky, and Irvine chuckled with her. She could be positively infectious sometimes.
The sky continued to explode.
"We should've seen if Matron wanted to come watch," Selphie murmured, when the last of them went off, a bright, spiraling display that rivaled the finale of any other show he'd seen. She leaned against him, one hand wrapped around his waist, as they trudged through the sand toward the lighthouse, the bag of burnt out remains hanging from her hand. Irvine shifted the guitar slung over his shoulder, the strap settling in a better spot, and squeezed Selphie's shoulder with his other arm.
"It's probably too chilly out here for her right now," he replied. "But I bet she saw 'em anyway."
"Yeah, you're probably right." Selphie yawned hugely, slipping away from him as she went to pull the narrow door of the lighthouse open. "I don't want to climb all those stairs," she moaned tiredly. "You should carry me up there."
Irvine rolled his eyes.