Title: "Echoes and Memories of Yesterday"
Author: Pirate Turner
Rating: G
Summary: He yearns for those days of freedom and special friendships.
Warnings: Future Fic
Word Count: 742
Date Written: 15 September, 2012
Challenge: For a SmallFandomFlsh LJ comm's biweekly challenge
Disclaimer: Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh, and all other characters mentioned within are © & TM A.A. Milne and Disney, not the author; are used without permission; and may not be used without permission. The author makes absolutely no profit off of this work of fan fiction, and no copyright infringement is intended.

There were days when he felt so old that the age he seemed to be as his body dragged and muscles and mind ached was three times his actual age. There were days when his boyhood seemed almost a lost dream, so long ago it was, but then there were days when he heard kids laughing on the sidewalks and he remembered, with a smile, when he used to laugh and play like them. No, not like them, Christopher thought, never like them, and he'd turn his car and go to the nearest zoo just so that he could watch the bears and the tigers and remember what he used to have, the friends he used to know, and the days he wishes had never ended.

Then there are other times when the burdens of his world grow too heavy for him, when he wakes up day after day to dark clouds if not in the sky then, at the very least, over his heart and in his mind. He trudges through those days as best he can, getting sleep each night that follows, until, at last, he makes it out of the city. He travels the well worn path faster than he should, eager to get back and yet knowing that the place he's going to can never again be the same or what he hopes to find.

Still, he goes. He flies there as fast as he can on wheels of rubber and a vessel of steel. He goes there, trying to escape the life he doesn't want, and opens his door as soon as he arrives and runs off into the woods. Along the way, he loses his tie, his shoes, and even his shirt. He's half naked, wearing only his trousers, by the time he reaches the first pile of leaves if it's a cold day or the nearest lake if it's warm and dives in head first.

He throws himself into the play, tossing leaves or splashing waves, and for just a moment, Christopher can forget. For just a moment, he can think himself that same, little boy who once lived here, but then the wind whispers around him, chilling him even if it's the middle of Summer as it whispers taunts to him. He's not that same, little boy. He'll never be a child again. He's a grown man, rather he wants to be or not, and has to stop living in yesterday.

But he can't, or, perhaps, he won't. His future isn't what he thought it would be. He would gladly give his present day and every day yet to come if he could go back to his past. There's no power on Earth that can make his past his present reality again, however, but in these ancient woods, Christopher can still hear laughter. He can hear giggles as special friends talk and play. He leaves his game to go in search of them again. He never finds them, but he only stops the hunt when he feels them.

He doesn't see them, but he senses their hearts. He feels their arms of plush going around him as he turns back toward his present home, the home he wishes he didn't have to have so far away from his heart's home, from this magical place which will always be a part of him. He heads back to the city with steps made heavy by feet that don't want to walk away from what he had here but a heart made lighter because with every steps he takes, he can feel them again as that same laughter tugs at his ears, heart, and memory. He can feel every one of them hugging him tightly - from Pooh, Tigger, and little Piglet all the way down to Kanga, Gopher, and Lumpy.

He hugs himself as it's the closest he can get to reaching them again, and a tear rolls down his face and splashes down to the ground, to mingle and become a part of the earth of the land that is as much a part of him as the skin that he wears and the brown hair that tops his head. He wishes his friends would never let him go, but he knows that, with time, their embraces will become harder and harder to feel until he returns to this place that will always be his rightful home, relocates them, and the circle starts over again.

The End