"There it is!" boomed Sylvia triumphantly, as the sparks from her flint finally set the campfire ablaze. As she settled down on the log next to Wander she sighed with contentment. This, as always, was the best part of the day. She was known as a fighter, an explorer, a bodyguard extraordinaire... but there was a greater part of her, and that was a friend.
Watching the fire dance with her best friend, then, was what she really strived for. All the battles, all the journeys... it was so she could sit at the end of a long day and simply relax with those she trusted.
She wanted more of this, she thought. More time to relax. Maybe not forever - she knew she had the nomad's instinct inside of her, and that it would always be there. A little while, though... somewhere to stay. Somewhere to call home. Somewhere to call home... but it would only be home with Wander.
And that, of course, was the hard part.
"Ahh," she said, nestling into place. "Now we're cookin'." Wander, indeed, was roasting some fish over the open flame, and they ate the smoky delicacies together. Only the chewing of the delicious fish - one for Wander, five for Sylvia - and their occasional sips from their flasks were heard alongside the crackling and rustling of the fire before them.
Sylvia never liked to sit too close to the fire for too long. After her meal, she flopped down on the other side of the log, leaning back against it, her arms supporting her head. Wander, despite his fur, always remained closer to the flame, his thin frame absorbing as much heat as he could gather ahead of the cold night to come.
"Those were some mighty fine eatin's, Syl," said Wander. "Thanks for catchin' em."
"Hey, chef, you did all the hard work," replied Sylvia. "I'd give that five out of five in an online review for sure."
"Aw, shucks!" chuckled Wander. "It's just roastin' 'em on a stick, is all. Well, anyhoo, I think it's time to hit the ol' hay. We got another long day of wanderin' ahead of us tomorrow."
Sylvia wasn't ready to go to sleep yet. They'd only just eaten. She wanted to stay up for a while, to watch the stars and the moons and maybe even the occasional meteor do their celestial dance. And she wanted to ask Wander something.
"Before that," she said, interrupting the star nomad as he slid into his hat, "I want... it's like... look, where are we going, Wander?"
He cocked an eyebrow and then giggled. "Why, same place as always, Sylvia. Wherever the winds may take us!" He looked away, over the darkening horizon, and continued: "Wherever there's a bingleborp in need, we'll be there. Wherever a bar fight needs to be settled, we'll be there. Wherever food remains un-fought in the food court, we'll be there. Wherever..."
"I get that, Wander," she said. "But you know this has been buggin' me for a while. You know I love travelin' with you an' all, but... maybe it'd be nice to" - she inhaled sharply before continuing - "settle down somewhere. Just for a little while! Not forever! Because... I'm tired. And you never did tell me what we're even looking for."
A brief pause. "Well, Syl, maybe one day," he replied. "But tomorrow, let's keep on movin'. See what we can find. Maybe we will find a place to settle. Who knows?"
"Will we ever, Wander? I mean... why can you never stay in one place? Is there somewhere you... you're trying to get away from?"
"Syl! I love lots of places."
"That's not what I asked."
Wander was silent. That wasn't like him.
Sylvia tilted her head back and saw him staring into the campfire, brow furrowed, fists balled, his hat by his side. In alarm, she hopped over the log and sat back down next to him.
"Are we really looking for adventure, Wander? Or are you running from something? You can tell me. Tell me!"
And for the first time since they'd met all that time ago, Sylvia was scared as Wander gave his reply in the deepest, most sincere, most hostile voice she'd ever heard from him.
"I don't want to talk about it."
With that said, he settled into his hat, turned away from the fire, and began to snore. Within seconds he was gently smacking his lips and smiling happily in his sleep, little murmurs of contentment and amusement and astonishment issuing from the mouth that just moments prior had betrayed such paradoxical anger.
Sylvia put out the fire. The smoke was getting in her eyes, she told herself, as she dabbed them dry.