Ender sighed inwardly as he stared up at the plain white ceiling, not wanting to have to get up. Though, apparently there was someone coming to see him today about a "special, unique offer," so he didn't have to go to school. There was one thing he was sad about the more he thought about it… Raven seemed like a nice girl, and he had hoped to become friends with her. Maybe it was someone like Graff coming to talk to him about some special offer for him to visit the bugger planet.
"Andrew! Your visitor is here!" He heard his mother call from outside the door. That was another thing; he got more privacy now that he was the savior of the world. This was nice in some aspects, but not so much in others.
Anyway, Ender slowly slid out from under the cozy blankets and pulled on his regular clothes. Such soft things compared to the things he'd had to wear out in space… but they were also a lot more complex. So many buttons and zippers and things you had to remember to tie. In space, you just had your few suits to switch off wearing and then you were done getting dressed. Plus, up there, no one even cared what you were wearing. He remembered more than a few occasions when boys would run around without their suits on, and no one thought anything about it.
As he slowly traveled down the stairs, he peeked around the corner as he heard hushed voices. Were they trying to keep a secret from him? Hmm…
"Oh, good. You're awake. Andrew, this is General Gale. He has such an exciting proposal for you!" Ender's mother said excitedly while carefully taking his arm and pulling him into the pristine living room.
"Andrew," The man began in a deep, soothing voice.
"It's Ender." The boy interrupted, not shy at all when he said that.
"Sorry, Ender. We have a special starship that's heading to one of the old bugger planets. Due to your extraordinary actions out in the field these past days, and not to mention your feat of killing off the race, we have decided to invite you to join us. Mind you, the trip only takes about two years on the ship, but in reality it will be about sixty here on Earth. If you choose to go, there will most likely be no coming back for some time, and when you do your family and friends will all be gone." Gale said calmly, not even seeming to have a second thought about what he was asking the traumatized boy to do.
Ender bit the inside of his cheek while he thought, trying to think of a logical answer to the offer. Should he go? But… if he did, Valentine and Peter would both be dead… Not to mention the sweet raven who he had hoped to become acquaintances with. "Who will be on the trip?" He finally asked carefully.
"I will be there for one, as will Mazer and a few of your friends from Battle School. Plus the girl who lives next door now, a certain Raven. We were not going to give the offer to her, but then again you cannot just take a whole group of men to an uninhabited planet and expect them to be able to start a colony there-"
"Not to mention that if you do go, I'm sure you to will become great friends!" His mother suddenly interrupted.
Ender paused, feeling a tad bit overwhelmed by all the people hoping, depending and even betting on his choice. It was just too much… He opened his mouth to say something, but finally just shook his head and took a tentative step back. "No… Can I just have some time to think about this? It's a big decision."
"Of course Ender." General Graff insisted. "It's a hard choice, and we won't rush you like we did for your decision to go to Battle School. Just take your time. You have one week to decide, and then one more after that to make final arrangements, say goodbye, all of that good stuff.
Ender nodded quickly before turning heel and dashing out the back door. Running to his favorite tree that sat right on the border of his and raven's backyard, he climbed up as quickly as he could. Though, just as he reached his favorite perch he spotted something else there. A small tree house that would fit three or four people, a few chairs and a table at most. .. but who could have possibly put it there? If it had been Valentine or Peter, they would have surely told him unless it was meant to be a surprise.
"Boo!" A voice suddenly screeched, causing Ender to jump and almost fall off the branch he had sat on.
"Hah, I scared you didn't I?" Raven asked happily as she leaned against the small entrance of the tree house. "So what brings you up here and not at school?"
Ender paused at her question and averted his gaze quickly while he slowly climbed back up and went into the house. "I had a visitor. They want me to go to the old bugger planet."
Raven's eyes widened as she plopped down onto a small wooden chair that was obviously too small for her. "Me too…" she mumbled and rested her head back against the wall.
"Wait, really?" Ender said, sitting up a little as he watched her. So Raven had gotten in too?
"Yeah. I told them I need some time to think, though. So hopefully they'll give me a few days."
"A few days? They told me I had a week…"
"Probably because you're Ender and you saved all of mankind, so you deserve to have all the special treatment and stuff." Raven scoffed to herself.
"But that's not true!" Ender protested.
"Yes it is. You know it, I know it. Everyone knows it."
Ender chewed on his lip, anxiously looking out the little doorway in order to distract himself. As much as he was protesting her words, he knew they were true.
"Okay, so it's true. Is it really that big of a deal, I mean-" Ender was abruptly cut off as Raven let out a loud scream of exasperation.
"You don't get it!" She wailed before hurrying across the small room and quickly climbing down the side of the tree.
He sat there wide-eyed for a moment, wondering how he could have upset her so badly. It was just his opinion of what was going on…
"Andrew!" His mother suddenly called, her voice worried.
"Just a second!" Ender called back down, backing out of the tree house and easily making the climb back down.
"Oh Andrew, we were so worried for a little while!" Ender's mother exclaimed, reaching forward to take his hand and pull him towards their house.
"I was just talking with a friend…" He muttered, staring down with a slightly glum expression on his face. He was still upset about how Raven had acted, but he supposed it was only natural. Being a well known, looked up to boy such as him at such a young age really did effect his life in many ways. After all, he'd missed many years of his childhood up in space, training for the day when he could obliterate the buggers.
"A friend?" She asked, her expression suspicious now as she looked down on him. "I wasn't aware that any other children lived nearby…."
"Oh. Yeah, really? Raven…." Ender paused, trying to remember if he knew her last name or not. "Ahh, anyway, her name is Raven. She's the same age as me and also got offered a chance to go to the bugger planet."
"Really? Well that's certianly interesting. I'll have to meet her, though. She seems to sound like a nice girl." His mother shrugged slightly and then led Ender inside and shut the door behind him. "Time for lunch."
Ender nodded and paused to stare back out the smudged window at the large, leafy tree where the tree house was just barely visible. Sighing, he took a deep breath and then walked away into the house.
Thanks for all the great comments! Please review if you like what you've read so far. This story is due in my class on monday, so there'll probably be a lot more updates starting today.