Mako fastened the belt on his cloak, pulling it tight around his ribs as far as the belt could go. The ruins, while a grim reminder of how little he knew, felt just a little less tense this visit. Saphira stepped past him and folded her arms behind her back, moving in hesitant circles while she waited for him to join her. He rested a hand on a remaining pillar.
“Where are we headed?” He asked.
“I thought I’d show you a bit of my life. Since I saw yours.” She gestured vaguely to the whole of the forest. Mako made a short chuckle and nodded, meeting her and strolling out of the ruins. Saphira slipped her hand into his as they walked and watched the sun glitter in streams through the leaves. Mako glanced at her every so often. She absently dragged her fingers over bushes as they passed, smiling at the beautiful flowers growing in the dappled sunlight. Mako plucked a lily from the ground, handing it to her with a small mutter.
“I think you might like this one.” He slid the flower behind her ear and pocketed his free hand. Saphira tried to get a look at it without taking it out of her hair, but she couldn’t see it.
“I probably would like it. I’m not picky about that.” She said, shrugging. Mako nodded and stared at his feet. That could have gone a little better. Saphira paused and looked over at him, stopping him in his tracks.
“I realized it would take a pretty long time walking all the way there. Do you mind if we fly?” She asked.
“Then you have to answer my first question.” He said, folding his arms.
“It’s up north. I live in Obsidian.” She answered. Mako raised his brow, that name sounded familiar, but the specifics were out of reach.
“Sure, we’ll fly.” Mako nodded and offered her a hand. Saphira adjusted the flower in her hair before taking his hand. He lifted her off and hummed softly, “I hope I can remember how to get there…” He took off over the trees and rivers. Soaring high with wind buffering their faces, Saphira’s hair whipping around her. Mako glanced down at her every so often, making sure she was secure and safe. He admired her wild, dancing golden strands and chuckled to himself. This admiration was so deep in his gaze, he swore Saphira had to be able to feel it.
Saphira watched the land crawl underneath them, searching for the city. She could recall her home and her family, but the faces were hard to grasp. Pursing her lips, she mulled it over. How did she remember that much but forget faces? She huffed and folded her arms. The cities came into view. Mako squinted, all of them unknown to him. Saphira jolted and pointed at a small village.
“That one! It isn’t Obsidian proper, but that’s the place!” Saphira cheered. Mako nodded and dropped down to the village outskirts. Mako let her go and pulled his hood over his head, setting Manifest over his exposed bones. Saphira bounced excitedly, hands balled into tiny fists with bubbly giggles.
“You’re real jittery.” Mako chuckled.
“I’m excited to show you around!” She beamed. Mako folded his wings and tucked them away, stretching and arching to make it comfortable. Saphira charged ahead into the village and gaped at all of the familiar things, glad to be around something she actually knew. Mako strode along her trail, looking into the building windows. Children stared at his uncanny, Miraged face with wide-eyed terror. Mako smiled and waved at them, giving a sharp and toothy grin. They screeched and ran to their fathers, pointing at the hooded man. Mako shrugged and pocketed his hands, taking to Saphira’s side.
“It’s a cozy place,” Mako commented, chuckling at the frantic children behind them. Saphira nodded, clasping her hands together and approaching a dark, empty building. Mako furrowed his brow and peered into the window. The doorknob rattled and the door jammed as Saphira tried to open it. He glanced at her and cleared his throat, “are you sure this is the right place?”
“Of course I am! I would recognize my own house.” She huffed, slamming her shoulder into the door and yelping as she fell through. A hard thud echoed in the house from her fall. Mako picked her up and let her dust herself off. She huffed and waited until she was put down.
“Thanks.” She muttered, embarrassed.
“It looks like you haven’t been here in a while.” Mako hummed.
“Well yeah,” Saphira turned on the lights and dusted off her desk and shelves, “I was in the woods for a week.”
“It had to have been longer than a week.” He helped her dust everything off, spying a glint from a shelf by the mantle. He tilted his head and studied it. A small, blue-tinted key on a thin silver chain. It was extremely light and the key felt surreal. He squinted. This key was more than it seemed.
“Oh! That’s what I was looking for!” Saphira chimed, holding her hand out. Mako dropped it in her grasp and wandered off to her bookshelf, picking through it. There was a lot one could learn from another’s reading tastes. Murder mysteries, romances, some… more adult-oriented things, sci-fi. He relaxed his shoulders and glanced over at her, more confident in his feelings than before. Saphira hooked the necklace on her throat and looked in the mirror. She squinted and took a breath.
“This key does something, what was it?” She muttered, tapping her finger to her chin. Grazing fingers over it, rubbing it between her fingers with a thoughtful snort. Her gaze was intense and curious, staring through herself to the depths of the mirror. The key was cold and light, tingling against her fingers as if it were waiting for something to happen. The dust flitted through the light from the window and made Saphira’s nose tickle. She wiggled it and ignored the sensation, turning to Mako and dropping the key to hang around her neck.
“I can’t remember. But hey! Now I can show you a bit about my life. Come on.” She waved him over to her kitchen and sat him down at the head of the table. She set a pot on the stove and set the fire low, leaving to get stuff from her bedroom. Mako folded his hands on the table and looked around the cozy, small kitchen. Honey finished birch lined the floors, dark dogwood cabinets lining the walls over the stove. Mako rested his chin on his fingers, propping his elbows on the table. The place was so warm and comfortable, he could almost feel himself nodding off in the white noise of fire and boiling water. Mako’s teeth cracked a faint smile, flames in his skull extinguished.
“Here! Some photos and stuff!” Saphira chimed as she slammed a stack of books in front of him, making him jolt and slam his wings against his ribs. He wrapped himself in his arms and put his head to the table, groaning.
“Oh, are you alright?” Saphira kneeled by his chair and pet his arm, “sorry, I didn’t think it would scare you…” Mako winced and slowly straightened, shaking his head and clearing his throat.
“It’s fine. Go ahead, I’m curious.” He said, pulling one of the books off the stack. A thick, bound novel with an intricate, embossed cover. Twisting dragons wrapping their tails and clawing into each other. There was no title on the cover, an odd sight. Mako raised his brow as Saphira opened it and showed him the writing in it. Handwritten notes and small doodles gradually increasing in detain and skill. Mako hummed, “your journal?”
“Kinda! My family was weird about pictures. I dunno why. So this is the best way to show you my life.” She shrugged and slid the book in front of him. He read through it while she poured tea for both of them. Mako chuckled, enjoying the cute adolescent writings from the one he was growing to admire more and more. The day was shaping up to be great.