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Wishes by a_mael
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            It is a quiet, clear night in the deep green of the forest.  A campfire crackles somewhere off to his left.  The soft sounds of men in slumber emanate from the other bedrolls ranged around it.  He likes it out here, where it feels like he can see eternity in the uncountable stars.  Tonight, he watches them put on a show.


            He lays on his back, hands folded comfortably behind his head, watches in wonderment as the heavens reach for the earth.  One after another, stars streak flaming through the fathomless black sky.  Another night he might wake one of his companions, but not this night.  This night, he is selfish.  Wishing stars, these are called.  Once he might have made wishes, unbelieving but hopeful.  Perhaps he might have wished for things he had never really known: family, friends...perhaps even love.


            A loud snore tears through the silence, and he smiles to hear it.  The largest annoyance possible is packed into an improbably small package, there.  It is loud, whiny, and constantly ravenous for all things.  It insults, goads, attempts physical violence on him, and is generally a royal pain in the ass.  After all this time, its naivety remains inviolable, though to all appearance this cannot be possible.  It reminds him that an example ought to be set, keeping him from losing himself completely, even when he wants to.  It fills a void that was left when another ran away.


            He has grown comfortable in the company of these others, whose presence in his life is so astoundingly improbable.  Even a foul, prima donna temper is a type of home to him, now.  This one yells, threatens, hits and shoots.  Its words defend its heart, and he has grown accustomed to it, so he forgives, wholly, and without rancor.  It is as bright as the sun, as cold as ice, with actions that betray its glib, mendacious words.  He knows that he may place his trust there, even if it seems unwelcome.


            The deep green of the forest canopy in the darkness connects him, across the clearing, to the cradle for his battered heart.  It cares, comforts, chides and cajoles by turns, as needed.  It is fine-tuned to the auras of all around it, and always accommodates; it is a safe harbor for his shattered soul.  This fertile ground has given birth to the strongest, most selfless bond he has ever known.  It does not berate or belittle, though it is a great deal wiser even now, than he will ever be.  He follows it as a beacon, bound by a profound respect for its strength and integrity.


            He becomes aware of a rustling just before a slim hand lifts the blanket he is under, and a warm body slips beneath it, next to his own.  He automatically wraps one arm around the sleepy intruder as a head full of soft, dark hair comes to rest upon his chest.  A vision of bright green framed by thick black fringes floods his mind, making him smile in the darkness.


            "Make any wishes?" the dulcet voice he knows so well inquires.


            "No, babe," he sighs, "Turns out, I already have everything I could wish for."


            Friends who are family, a family with love, a love without limits.

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