Lazy Days on the Banks of the Mississippi
Disclaimer: I own none of Mark Twains "the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer."
Chapter 1: I Ain't A Kid No More
Huckleberry's brunette head poked out of the ditch in which he and Tom had been hiding. "You better not be foolin' me, Tom Sawyer, ya sure ya saw a mermaid here-abouts?"
His friend pulled away and looked at him in dismay, "are you sayin' you don't trust me, Huck? When has I ever lied to you?"
"I ain't sayin' you lied, I is sayin' you exaggerated."
"Now where did you learn that word?"
Huck looked over his shoulder at the young man, "you."
Tom looked thoughtful. "Well… from now on I ain't teachin' you no more words."
Huckleberry Finn merely rolled his eyes and laughed, "do as ya' like." He then returned his gaze to the ambling creek before them. Now 16, he and Tom spent most of their days together, still adventuring, but on a much smaller scale. As of late they hadn't felt much for the grand explorations they had grown accustomed to in their childhoods, no… now they truly appreciated their slow lives meandering like the river itself. "I still ain't seein' anything… you is sure you saw it here?'"
"Stop askin' Huck, I told you. I saw it"
Finally Huck turned away from the river and sat himself down on the dirt. "I ain't lookin' no more Tom, let's just say you was right and get back to the cabin."
Tom stood annoyed, "but that don't mean you believe me, Huck, nobody believes me no more." It was true, it had been years since the other boys decided that they were tired of the fantasy life the boy was living.
But his friend just smiled, "I always believe you, I just don't know why."
Huck then moved to stand, "I ain't longin' to be out here when night falls… lets head back in."
Tom merely sighed, "alright, Huck." And with one last glance at the still water, he followed.
That night they lay side by side in the only bed in their small cabin. They had built the small house for themselves, with the help of Jim of course, but now it was just the two of them. Due to the humid southern weather, they slept only in shirts, they was boys anyway, so why would it matter?
But that night Tom couldn't sleep. "Huck… I been thinkin'… since we ain't goin' to heaven… why is it we still abide by all them rules…?
Huckleberry thought, also lacking in exhaustion. "Now what rules is it we aren't breakin' Tom…, I thought we wasn't all that welcome in town for a reason." He reached up a tan hand to scratch his unruly head.
Tom sat up, his dirty blonde hair falling in his freckled face. "I ain't meanin' their rules… I mean god's rules. We ain't need to follow 'em if we ain't tryin' to get into heaven…"
"Well which rules ya' feel like breakin'? We got time, I ain't sleepy none."
"I don't know… they got so many…. We could lie… but it ain't like we ain't done that before… and we ain't got no wives to covet…, this may be more difficult than I thought, Huck." He pulled himself out from underneath the sheet and began pacing the creaky wooden floor. His companion merely rolled over and watched.
"How abouts stealin', we ain't never done that at night…," the brunette suggested.
Tom shook his head, "but we still done it. I want somethin' excitin'. Somethin' a whole lot a people would never do in their entire lives. Do we keep the lord's day, Huck?"
Huckleberry finally sat up. "With us, Tom, everyday is the lord's day. We ain't never doin' any work. But, today ain't Sunday, so we can't be doin' that one right now anyways. We have to wait."
Finally it hit Tom. Something they could do, here and now. "Hey Huck… kiss me."
His friend looked at him wide-eyed, "why? I ain't in any hurry to kiss you, Tom Sawyer, I seen what you eat." He too stood out of bed, "besides I ain't never kissed a lady, so why should I grant you the honor?"
The blonde crossed his arms, "'cause I'm all you got since Jim left, Finn, and besides… it's a way for us to break them rules."
The brunette eyed him, "I ain't never been kissin' Jim, Tom, no' have he ever asked me to. I says no." With that he moved toward the small fire place. Taking a piece of wood in his hand he flung it in, a small pile following after it. If they weren't going to be sleeping, they might as well have a fire.
Tom watched in amusement. If Huck weren't going to grant him a kiss, he would have to find a way to take one from him. "You sure is sensitive," he sighed, ambling shrewdly towards his friend.
"Why you say that, Tom?" Huck asked, no sitting on their floor, his feet to the flames.
Tom moved to join him, "well 'cause, you always need someone t' take care of ya. It ain't right for a boy." He stole a peek at the boy's expression. Huck looked confused, he had never thought of himself as sensitive, and quite frankly, thought that he had proven himself fully capable of being on his own.
"Tom, you is just doin' this to try and trick me into kissin' you, ain't ya?" He looked his friend in the eye.
For once Tom was at a lack for words. Huck had learned how to figure him out.
Finally Huck sighed, "Fine, Tom Sawyer, I'll do it. It ain't somethin' worthy of ruffling yo' feathers." He moved to sit in the boy's lap. "You want it like a lady, or a boy?"
Tom grinned at his minor triumph. "For now, my dear Huckafina, you is the damsel in distress and I is your prince."
Huckleberry arched his chocolate eyebrows, "Huckafina?"
"What would you like better, Huckafina or Huckabell?"
The brunette chuckled, "I'll take my chances with Huckabell." If he were going to have to go through with this, he would rather be able to pick his name. "Now, are we goin' to or not?"
Tom rolled his eyes, "it ain't romantic if you rush it, you gots to do it like in the books."
Huck sighed, "This ain't in the books, Tom."
Before the boy could say something else, Huck took hold of his head and shoved their mouths together. Sure, it wasn't romantic, but it got the job done. At least that's all Huck thought was required. "There ya' go, I kissed ya, happy?"
His friend took hold of his wrist, "wait, we ain't done yet. We have to kiss more than once to break the rule."
Huck snatched back his hand and crossed his arms, still sitting in his companion's lap, "and why is that?"
"'Cause the French men kiss each other all the time, it's how they say hello. It ain't nothin' if we just do this once, it'll just mean we is French." Tom's eyes pleaded with him desperately.
Huck pulled away, "I don't see how that works… an' why do ya feel so strongly about this, there is plenty of bible rules we can be breakin'."
The boy looked away, "it just ain't the same."
"Why ain't it the same?" He brushed a lock of brown hair out of his face as he waited impatiently for an answer.
Tom just shook his head and muttered, "it was never about breaking the rules, Huck."
He then stood and padded his way back to the bed, leaving Huck alone beside the fire. His friend still didn't understand the turn of events that had just taken place. Hadn't Tom wanted to break rules? Wasn't that what this had been about? He shook his head, this was making no sense.
"Tom," he called after his friend, "this ain't makin' no sense. I thought all ya wanted was to kiss, an' we did."
The boy didn't answer.
For the rest of the night, Tom lay awake, watching the unassuming Huckleberry sleep. He didn't understand it either. They was boys, and boys weren't supposed to be doin' this kind of thing, or feelin' this kinda way. Or at least, that's what he thought, however at this point in time, Tom wasn't quite sure what exactly 'this kinda way ' was.
Huck slept very still, he was always still in his sleep, as if his nights were always devoid of exciting dreams. Tom had decided long ago that the boy was a boring sleeper.
Just then from outside the hoot of an owl broke through the night. It was always the same owl, and always at the same time. The young man groaned, it made him sick to think that he had fallen into such a repetitive lifestyle. Before everything had been exciting, now, everything was just ordinary and laid-back.
But it was Huck who liked the relaxing life, it had never suited Tom. He had always longed for the type of life that was in the books. The life of a bandit, or a robber perhaps, on the other hand, a highwayman may be a bit more dashing.
"Shoot, Huck, I think you've gone and messed up all my plans," he murmured, his warm breath washing over the back of the boy's coffee colored head.
The morning was hot and sticky, and Huck was less than joyful about waking up pressed against Tom's warm figure. He gasped for breath as he sluggishly pulled out of the bed, his loose white shirt sticking to his damp body. Only about 8 o' clock and already it was hotter than usual.
Tom groaned, also displeased with the weather. "Hey Huck, what you say we go down to the waterhole today?"
Huck turned quickly, tripping slightly as he tried to pull on his pants. He was somewhat surprised to hear Tom talking to him. "Tha's a great idea, but ain't all the boys gonna be there? I don't think we'll be able to get in with all them people that gonna be about."
The blonde swung his legs out from underneath the blankets and remained seated on the edge of their small bed. "Yeah, I guess. How 'bouts the river then? We can wrestle in the water."
The brunette considered the idea and then nodded, "sure, I don't see why not. But first we gots to get ourselves somethin' t' eat."
Tom began to walk across to their table, "ain't we got none of that boar left?"
Huck shook his head, "nah, we finished that off last night." He fell silent when he noticed Tom's face fall at the mention of the previous night. Apparently he hadn't let go of his disappointment. "Hey Tom, if ya really wants to do that kissin' stuff we can, I don't care no more."
Tom just pushed past him towards the door, "nah, just forget about it. We need to get us somethin' t' fill our stomachs, and if it ain't meat, I ain't eatin' it."
"I guess that means we's gonna need the rifle then, right?" Huck chuckled.
Tom, already a good number of paces out the door, waved over his shoulder, "yeah, I guess, could ya get it?"
Catching breakfast had been easier than they had anticipated. The heat made the animals slow and dulled their senses. The two wily boys were able to nail themselves a pair of rabbits in no time. Tom eyed the carcasses critically. Rabbit was one of the meats that he insisted was on the border of not being a meat, it just wasn't the same as boar or deer. But, it would have to do; they were running out of bullets.
As usual it was up to Huck to skin and cook them, setting up a small fire from the dry brush and building a makeshift spit on which to roast them. Tom merely watched, witling away at a small branch he had picked up in the woods.
"Hey Huck," Tom spoke curiously, "I noticed you don't look too much like you pap. Does that mean you look like your ma?"
The boy leaned back against a large rock as he watched the meat cook. He thought for a moment, then shook his head. "Are you sayin' I look like a girl, Tom Sawyer?" His hazel eyes glanced playfully over at his friend.
Tom quickly turned away to hide his blush, "a'course not, you'd be the ugliest girl I ever seen. I was just wonderin', is all."
Huck looked back to the fire, "I don't rightly know. I suppose so… but I can't really remember."
"You really is a sad excuse for a boy, Huckleberry Finn. But it ain't your fault. It's the Finns' fault. Now, if you had been a Sawyer, then you'd be right normal like me." Tom stood proudly, his stance resembling that of a proud knight. Huck just laughed.
"I guess so, I guess so."
"I ain't jokin' none, Huck, you need a stronger name. Yo' pap ain't alive no more, so you ain't need to keep the title no more. Why don't you change it. We can think of somethin' excitin' like Bartomeus or-"
"…Sawyer?" Huck finished the boy's sentence as he reached over to remove the rabbits from the tongues of fire that licked the now brown meat.
Tom just sat quietly, hand outstretched for his share of the meal. "Suit yourself."
Huck sighed, "I just ain't see a reason fo' a new name. I ain't needin' a new one, 'cause the old one ain't broke. Besides, with pap gone I is the only Finn left, and I'm thinkin' that makes me pretty important."
Tom nodded, Huck had a point.
The boys laughed loudly as they splashed each other with the cold water of the Mississippi. They had found a place where the current was weak, and the water wasn't to deep; all the better for horsing around. Large willows knelt over, providing shade and comfort whilst not competing with the beauty of the southern sun. The boys spent most of their days beside, on, or in the Grand River; it was almost the soul of the land. There was not a day that went by when the kids did not look to the river for adventure.
However today, Tom's mind was not on adventure or exploring. Instead it was focusing on strange things, like the way the water made the fabric of Huck's clothes cling to his body, or the way the heat made the boy's cheek's slightly pink. All in all, it seemed that his mind could not concentrate on any sensible goal.
Huck had noticed how Tom was staring, and quite frankly it made him feel very awkward. What exactly was he supposed to say? It was not everyday a boy stared at him as if he were something tasty to be eaten.
"Hey, Tom," he called, trying to divert the boy's attention, "let's try jumpin' off them rocks over there." He held up his hand and pointed to the large round boulders that had gathered at the side of the shore. "I bet I can jump higher than you." If there was anything that could get Tom Sawyer going, it was a dare.
The blonde stood up quickly to his own defense, "you're on, Huckleberry. What is you're wager?"
Huck thought momentarily, "If I win, you's gonna be cookin' our meals for a week."
Tom winced, "are you sure about that?" His friend merely nodded cheerfully. It didn't matter how terrible anything Tom cooked was, he hadn't planned on winning anyway. This was all just to get his friend's spirits up. "And if I win, you is gonna be my wife for a week."
Huck drew in a sharp breath at the stakes. Then again, plans often do change.
He nodded, "alright Tom, let's shake on it."