Shell, Sails, Stone, Stars

-Clarification/Introduction-

Hello, there... I'd be sincerely surprised to find you reading this, because I don't have as big a following as a lot of other authors here. But it's fanfiction for fanfiction's sake, so here I am anyway.

If you're looking for swashbuckling, romantic young Jim Hawkins, then maybe you should look for another story plug like No Ordinary Voyage end plug, because this story mainly uses original characters at its center. It does, however, take place in the world of Treasure Planet and is hence classified as fanfiction - it wouldn't be fair to Disney if I used their ideas and characters and claimed them as my own. And while this story may serve as a sequel to No Ordinary Voyage, it is quite capable of standing alone.

Let's get on with it, then. Thanks for at least getting through the boring introduction.

-1-

At dusk, when the sun was half-covered by the horizon and the sky was purple and blue, two children stood on the shores of Mirandus's ocean, holding hands and watching the stars come out.

One was a little girl, with hair that was golden brown like honey, and eyes that were blue-violet like the Mirandus dolphins. Even at five years old, Aaren Sophia had eyes that were always calculating, always quick - darting back and forth, sucking up every detail on the scene, wary of anything that could ruin her day. They were eyes full of questions about the very, very big world. Her head, however, was full of stories of treasure, pirates, and space - stories her father, Captain James Pleiades Hawkins, had told her at breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime, and any other time she clamored for one.

The other child was a little boy, also five years old, and an inch or two shorter. His hair, uncombed and dry after a swim in the ocean, was jet black like the stone spearheads used by the palace guards. His eyes, however, where what his father called summer green. Unlike Aaren, Marko usually wore an expression of calm, and the little smile that played at the corners of his lips said that his day couldn't get any better. This morning, however, his mother, Queen Felixa, had told him at breakfast not a tale of stars and galaxies, but the news that his best friend in the whole widening etherium, Aaren, was going home to Montressor tomorrow, and he now looked just as puzzled and worried as she.

He wiggled his toes in the wet sand as the ends of the waves rolled up to meet them, and he looked thoughtfully at the colored stones and shells at his feet. It had been a wonderful summer of collecting such shells and stones, of hide-and-seek and tag with the guards in the courtyard, and making up stories while sitting on the edge of the secret lagoon and splashing the water with their toes. He pouted at the thought that it was going to end so soon.

"Do you really have to leave?" he asked Aaren again.

She sighed, pouting too. She was about to cry, and while Marko knew she didn't like him to watch her cry, he looked at her anyway. She balled up a chubby fist, wiped her eyes across across the back of her hand, and nodded.

"Yeah," she answered.

Marko squatted in the sand, and because he was still holding Aaren's hand, she was pulled down to sit next to him. He absent-mindedly picked up and tossed pebbles into the sea and sighed. "Who's gonna play with me and Lakan then?"

Aaren shrugged. "You can play without me..."

Her playmate's brows furrowed. "But it won't be fun." Aaren feebly replied that it would, but he persisted, "Not fun like when you're here..."

She sighed this time and wiggled her toes. She looked away, to the side. "Daddy says I have to go, because I'm gonna go to school now. So - so I won't get to play with him, either. He said the gob - gobbermen will get mad if I'm in space with him like before. Daddy's gonna be sad, too."

Marko nodded. "Mama said something about school, too. Mama said she'll teach me stuff, and - and Gerard, the funny man in her lie-barry? He's gonna teach me stuff about numbers, and what's in all the books." His eyes brightened, and his smile returned for a moment as an idea swept into his young mind. "You could go to school with me here, Aaren! Mama and Gerard will teach the two of us!"

But Aaren shook her head, and Marko's smile eyes dimmed. "Daddy says he can see me lots of times if I stay with Auntie Manda in Montressor. If I stay here, he can only come like we come at summer, just ONE time... I'll miss my daddy, Marko."

Marko frowned and let go of her hand. He crossed his arms, looking comical to his parents in the lean-to not far off, but quite serious to himself and to Aaren, to whom he turned his back. "You're not gonna miss me, then."

Aaren puffed up her cheeks and smacked him on the back, right on the tattoo-like birthmark below his nape. It only made him yelp and then hunch over, tucking his chin to his chest. His pet turtle did that when he didn't wanna play. He shook his head and continued to stare at the mountains.

After pleading and pulling at his arms, Aaren found she couldn't budge her friend. Finally unable to hold back her tears, she blubbered, "I will SO miss you, Marko. You're mean!"

At the sound of her crying, Marko's resolve melted, and he turned his head to look at her. Now she was the one to cross her arms and look away. Marko stared at her in silence. Then, he edged closer to her on his knees and wrapped his arms around her neck. "I'm sorry I made you cry, Aaren," he whispered.

She sniffled and looked at him through the corner of her eye. They were cheek to cheek. And she saw he really was sorry. She sighed. "It's okay, Marko. And I'm sorry I hit you."

"It's okay, Aaren," he answered. "Just... just come back in the summer again."