Let's Swallow The Moon and The Stars

Emerald Falls 
#1
Outfit
July 12th


It had taken some Googling, but eventually they'd come to the conclusion that Emerald Falls would be the best place to watch the shower. There were areas along the edge of the lake that were sparsely forested, and high enough in elevation to evade most of the city's intrusive lights. They'd come out early to scope out a place to set camp, intending to stay the night out in a tent. They hadn't done something like this in what felt close to a year, but Mathis was pretty sure that was because of everything that had happened between then and now. It was notably warmer this time around, and there were no plans for shifting. Still, he was as excited as he had been, if not more, on the drive up. This time, they were together, in every sense of the word and was eager to lay in silence for a while tonight, pretending the world below them just didn't exist.

His wounds from the fight at the cage were still lingering, but he managed to push through the ache of hiking to the camp site, which thankfully wasn't too far from where they left the car. So far, as the sun crept toward the horizon and painted the sky in lofty swaths of oranges and pinks, he and Frank seemed to be the only ones out. Maybe later, as the stars came out, more people would show. But Mathis was happy to capitalize on being alone. And that came in the form of him striding toward the edge of the lake once they'd set up their tent and prepared the fire to be started later. He looked over the glassy surface which lapped at the rocky shore, then to the thundering channel of water on the opposite side as it tumbled from the cliff face that cupped them in it's palm. "What's that term for swimming naked?" He questioned over his shoulder to Frank.

@Franklin
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#2


Once making the plans, Frank had been looking forward to tonight, the thought carrying him through the days. They’d been missing out on going out for just the sake of doing so and the two of them hadn’t done camping in a long while. It was hot, but in the evenings bearable, the short hike towards the campsite a welcome change of speed, level of noise, and distraction. This whole evening was needed, a moment to just take a breather and get away from it all.

Moving bags around their campsite, Frank looked over to Mathis and the surprising question. Considering the lake and lack of current crowd, it was a wonder if he was really meaning the implications behind such an ask. Quirking a brow and smile, he would answer, question prevalent in tone. “Skinny dipping.”
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#3
Skinny dipping, right. A lot to live up to, if you weren't skinny. Mathis' lips pulled into an innocent smile at the inquiring tone, his eyebrow raising as he stepped out of his shoes. "Have you ever done it?" He questioned. Again, innocent. It wasn't something he could ultimately put past Frank to do. Just, maybe when he was younger, in college, getting drunk with friends by the lake.
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#4
All he got was an innocent smile that he did not believe for a full second, watching the shoes being stepped out of. Was he really going to do this or was he just fucking with him?

Another question and he huffed before chuckling some, drawing his hand through his hair some. ”Yeah, a few times. Years ago, though.”

Frank made to start walking towards him arms out a bit in question, wondering if he was going to have to stop Mathis from being indecent somewhere others could easily venture to at any moment. But also, did he actually want to stop him? ”Have you?”
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#5
He'd called it. Briefly, he wondered with who, but it was decidedly not important. Shoes off, then socks after, he bent to collect them and set them to the side together as Frank approached. He glanced up from where he'd bent to place them, pausing half way to look to Frank with feigned shock. "Me?" He questioned, one eyebrow curving into a near checkmark toward the center of his eyes. "I'd never do something like that." He said, and would straighten up to reach back and pull his shirt from over his head.
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#6
He was so fucking with him. First the shoes, and now the socks so carefully being placed off to the side as he was addressed with a face of full shock. And then the answer was something Frank couldn’t believe and would’ve called out as probably a blatant lie, but a shirt was being taken off and that had his brows rising as high as they could go. Jogging the few or so steps remaining he laughed some at the antic, last step skidding a bit through the pebbles. ”Yeah, because then I’d have to do this.” Frank would make to grab his sides in a quick ticklish clamp on either end, letting go just as fast, ready to duck or run away if he had to.



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#7
Mathis hurried to drop his shirt atop his shoes as Frank hurried over, a mischievous smirk pulling at his lips. The grab for his sides was unexpected, and he flinched away a moment too late. A ticklish yelp sharped into a exhale of mild pain as he jabbing of the fingers and the twisting of his torso upset the bruising on his ribs. Hands flashed out to grab the retracting forearms, and he took a step to try and pull him closer, “You’re trying to hurt me now?” He questioned playfully.


successful

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#8
A yelp was given and Frank chuckled a bit though he was sorry for the pain heard, not something intended in the least. Before Frank could get out of the way, his arms were grabbed and he stepped back towards him as Mathis pulled. The question had him smiling some, but brows scrunching a bit in concern. ”No, of course not. I just like messing with you.”
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#9
Mathis’ eyes narrowed a bit at the admittance, and he moved his grip to hook beneath Frank’s elbows, firmer than his hold on the forearms. ”Is that so?” He questioned, and moved in to peck him on the lips before taking a large step back, his heel digging into the gravelly shore as he pulled him backward in the direction of the water.
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#10
The grip on him got more sure and his hands naturally wrapped around Mathis’ arms. He grinned at the question and a quick peck hit his lips. It had however, been a mistake to not second guess as he was suddenly pulled towards the water as Mathis took a huge step back. Frank stumbled forwards some, letting out a gasp. ”Whoah, whoah, wait.” Digging his heels in once he reclaimed footing again, leaning back some, he tried to stop any future attempt to go farther
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#11
Grinning, Mathis loosened his grip, then continued to move backward. ”For what?” He prompted , and would wait until the sand and stones beneath his feet felt damp before he turned to head into the water while facing forward. The water was cold, but not abrasively so. He’d only move about knee height before looking back toward Frank.
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#12
As Mathis kept going, he took advantage of the loosening to take his arms back, huffing at the question with an upturned brow. This was teasing left and right for him and Frank had a feeling he wasn’t going to catch a break anytime soon.

Hands to his hips, he watched him go further out, curious how far this was willing to be taken. When Mathis turned back to him, he shook his head some, but was all smiles. ”You’re real proud of yourself, huh? You’re going to smell like an actual catfish.”

Bending down, he’d unlace and first use a foot against the opposite heel of a shoe, before slipping a sock off and repeating for the other foot. Placing the fabric within the shoes, he looked up. Might as well join in.
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#13
Proud? No, just enjoying a nice splash around. He shrugged his shoulders at the quip, and did what he could not hide the triumph at the sight of him kicking off his shoes. “Wouldn’t you like that?” He questioned, and looked down into the water, “The cat would, at least.” Mathis shuffled his feet across the rock and silt to step deeper into the water.
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#14
That was an accurate summation and he hummed loudly in agreement. No, he would not like that and they were going to be in the same tent smelling horrible, but the cat offered only happy feelings about that. What was with animals and their love for smells to roll in?

”If I roll over on you in the middle of the night, you asked for it.”

Taking his own shirt off, he loosely folded it above his shoes and then made to walk into the water. Goosebumps went up his legs as he took the first couple steps into the lapping cold shore, river rocks and algae underfoot. Trudging a bit deeper, Frank made his way over to him, arms occasionally going off to the side for balance as he tried to catch up.
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#15
Mathis' eyebrows arched suggestively, for the most part playful. "I don't think I'd mind that much." He said, indiscreet about his eyes roving over Frank as he made his way to him. Mathis would meet him half way, extending a hand for him to take so Frank wouldn't bite it into the water. Neither had swim trunks on, so fully submerging really wasn't appealing unless he committed to the skinny dipping. The question of that was still undetermined.
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#16
The response, especially the over-expressive face, had him overemphasizing a step to lightly kick a low splash before losing his balance some. Correcting himself for a moment, he took the outstretched hand as soon as he could get it with a grateful look before situating his feet just so so there’d be less of a chance of wobbling. Balanced, he beamed in a way that hurt his cheeks, taking in the cool water, their hands, and the way the warm golden summer light enveloped Mathis just so. This was nice, the type that you breathe out with a contented happy sigh.
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#17
He was too busy being a chivalrous boyfriend to shy away from the splash. But he was glad he was there to make sure he didn't slip, however much he would laugh if it happened. Eventually, Frank was beside him, and the water rippled around their tights and stung at the tips of his toes. His gaze first went onto the water itself, the reflections of the trees, the rays of sun glancing off the ripples caused by the waterfall. But the eyes on him drew his gaze to Frank. His grip tightened on his hand and he moved to shuffle closer and wrap his arms around Frank's waist, leaning to press a kiss against his temple. "We need to do this more." He said, turning his gaze out to the scenery around them once again.
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#18
Eventually, Mathis was looking back at him and his gaze met his, smiling. As he got closer, arms wrapped around his waist and he leaned into him, following suit with an arm around Mathis’ own. The kiss had a burst of warmth seep through him. Humming in agreement, Frank followed the line of sight, taking in the same scenery. ”Yeah, we do.”

It was a nice change of pace solely needed. “We always have a good time.” The hiking, camping, this. ”Remember in November when you shouted Lion King references off the cliff? I bet you were heard for miles,” Frank finished with a bit of a laugh. All the whooping and hollering, how happy Mathis had been and how they’d shifted in the snow, the only other time he’d willingly done so with anyone.
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#19
To be fair, most of the time be spent with Frank was good. Not perfect, sometimes not easy, but never bad. After what was... eight months now, he didn't get tired of this. How could he? The call back brought a slightly grimacing smile to his face, and he shook his head as he looked down to the water. "I felt like a child up there." He said, and would pull away to lean down a tad and peer below the surface of the water, eyes scanning the stones at the bottom. "In a good way." He added, and bent when he spotted a flat looking one, plunging his hand down to snatch it. "I had been feeling so... exhausted then." He said as he straightened up and turned the rock in his palm. Eyes moved to Frank a moment, "And I knew a trip with that cute jaguar doctor would be good for me." A small smile crept into the corners of his mouth as he reeled his arm back, looked out across the water, and flung the stone along the surface with a force that set it skipping a solid ten times before sinking into the depths.
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#20
The response had him smiling widely, letting go as Mathis seemed to be searching for something below the water’s surface. He could feel the cat cocking its head to watch as well, curious if it was a fish.

His brows went up and scrunched in concern at the admission Mathis had been feeling exhausted, trying to remember all the events that had transpired during that time. There’d been a lot going on personally, group, and Mathis wise.

Watching him retrieve a rock, his gaze went back up to Mathis’, taking in the words a bit shyly. That was sweet and he kind of wanted to lightly shove him playfully at the admission, wondering if he’d felt anything then. The river rock was thrown with an expert flick of the wrist and Frank mentally counted how many times it skipped the top of the water as droplets danced away from every hit. It was impressive and he offered a whistle.

”You prescribed yourself with a doctor a day, aha. I was happy to see you like your old self.”

He bent down to search for his own rock, sending a hand into the water to feel around for one that felt the right size and was smooth. ”You have this way of showing joy I really love. It’s very cute.” Finding one to his satisfaction, Frank stood up again with the newly acquired stone in hand and offered it over.
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#21
Mathis snorted at the line. He guessed he had. He wasn't sure what his 'old self' was like, really, but he got what Frank meant. Happy, carefree, joyful. He liked to think he was back to that now, or maybe he was something different now. Better off than he had been, for all the tragedy that had happened to get him to this point. He was happier than he had ever been.

Even if Frank was horribly cheesy. "And you have this way of making cheesy things sound charming." He said, shaking his head at the offered rock and pushing Frank's had back toward him. "You try." He gestured out toward the water.
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#22
He grinned stupidly at the point, caught in the act. That’d always be him, cheesy till the end, but he was glad to note Mathis found it charming. ”That’s my specialty,” Frank admitted, offering a wink.

Taking his hand back in a flicker of confusion at the ‘no’ and push back, it was resolved at the instruction to try. ”Okay." He turned the stone in his hand a moment to get a better feel before propping it up between his index and thumb, other fingers safely tucked and securing its flat surface from the bottom. "I haven’t done this in a while.” Frank considered the lake and his wrist, trying to draw from past muscle memory, before stepping forward and snapping his wrist, letting go of the rock with the intent to skip it across the water’s surface. With a grin, Frank would watch it bounce out into the lake. In total, it’d hit just under how many Mathis had done which was more than he’d expected.
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#23
He specialized in many things, but Mathis was certain that he was an expert at that. A small huff of a chuckle came in response, and he watched as Frank readied the rock with some doubts at his ability. Still, he tossed it perfectly, and Mathis clicked his tongue in mock doubt. "And yet you could win championships with that skill." He jested, and would move his eyes to look for another stone. Once found, he'd pluck it front the bottom and give it a toss.

"Agh." He'd say, as the weight of it betrayed the way it looked, and it only managed two skips before sinking with a gulping sound.
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#24
Turning at the clucking, he shrugged sheepishly at the comment, huffing some. ”That was a fluke.” In all fairness, it probably shouldn’t have skipped as far as it had, but at least it was good to note it hadn’t forgotten. That or finding the just right trajectory had been a huge factor.

Mathis picked up another and tossed it, the rock lifting off and skipping without much fanfare, sinking quickly back into the lake’s depths. ”That was just a bad throw,” Frank said, patting him on the shoulder. Leaning down, he felt around for more and came up with a few in hand. Taking one in his right hand, he held it up to his face and made to over dramatically study it. "Here, let's see.... nope, rough all around. It won't do." With a shake of his head, Frank let it plop into the water before looking with the same amount of act over the next one. ”This one? Smooth, perfectly rounded, yep this is it.” Holding it out in his palm to Mathis, he grinned at him putting on a car salesman tone. ”Try this it out, it’s a top of the class, first edition skipping rock. It won’t fail you.”
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#25
Kind of Frank to try and explain away his failure. Mathis shook his head, looking down for his own search of a rock, but he paused when he noticed Frank collecting a few. He watched him inspect each, hands on his hips and a smile that revealed the tips of his teeth. His eyebrows raised as Frank decided on one, and he chuckled as he grabbed it from his palm. "Alright, you've sold me." He said with a shake of his head, throwing the rock once in the air and catching it in his palm before he stepped away to face the stretch of water again. With an over-dramatic wind up, he'd wave his hand about and crouch like he was a baseball pitcher before reeling his arm back and flinging the rock.

One, two, three, four, five.

"Pretty good," Mathis said, straightening up to narrow his eyes skeptically at Frank, "But I've seen better. Are you trying to scam me?"
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#26
The rock was taken from him and Frank looked on as Mathis toyed with it to get a feel of the thing before overemphasizing his movements. It drew a slight laughing puff out of him before watching approvingly as he let go with a snap of a wrist. This time, it went a lot farther and he smiled approvingly.

Mathis turned to him and he met the narrowed gaze with a bit of a lift to his brows. Such an accusation had Frank shaking his head some. Him scam? The horror. “Me?” He put a hand to his chest dramatically. ”I only give out the finest products guaranteed for maximum skippage. Here, I’ll demonstrate.” With that he’d look out, consider one of the rocks in hand and move it to his right before whipping out a throw that had it careening... two skips before plunking into the water for good. Frank watched with a moment of quiet before bursting into a laugh at the irony.
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#27
Mathis crossed his arms over his chest as he lifted a suspicious brow. "Alright," He'd say, and gestured to the water for him to do so. And so he did, but miserably. Two skips, a kerplunk, and a moment of silence before both of them began to laugh. Mathis moved a hand to cradle his face, and moved to slosh through the water toward Frank to give him a consoling pat on the shoulder. "I'm sure that was just a dud." He assured him, and would move in to kiss him on the cheek.
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#28
A laugh from Mathis weaving with his own was nice, happy to see it was a shared sense of humor here. Frank shook his head some as Mathis came over and sympathy patted him on the shoulder. Just a dud indeed. ”I’ll take it in for the factory warranty,” Frank huffed. He was given a kiss on the cheek that warmed him as the smile on his face hurt, turning to offer a real one.

Back to the lake, he bent down again. ”Here, show me how its done and maybe I can work out some rust.” Frank made to gather more stones from the cool lake bed before standing and handing off some.
They’d skip stones for a bit more and Frank was able to get a somewhat better handle on it, at least more than the second one he’d done. As the summer sun finally seemed to remember it was due to set, he sloughed out of the water, kicking off plant matter that had minded to stick on a leg, before making his way over to where clothes had been left. Sitting down with a crunch, he’d pull on his shirt and wait to dry before putting on everything else.

Conversation flowed easily and eventually the residuals of light seeped behind mountains in the distance as an almost full moon rose. Stars glittered and winked brightly overhead, splashed across various dark hues of the night sky. They’d set up a tarp on the ground before laying a blanket over top to lay down and be comfortable on. ”There we go, I think we’re all set.” Sitting down with a sigh, Frank would pat the ground next to him, looking up and over to Mathis in an ask. They had meteors to watch for.
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#29
He'd be an excellent teacher, he was sure. Never mind the times he himself failed in demonstrating. It was all luck, really, and the right angle. Eventually, the screams of cicadas would fade into the whispering chirp of crickets as the mountains swallowed the sun, and the sky would slip into an inky blue. They'd abandon their rock skipping for getting dried off and set up for the evening. Mathis would be second to sit down, the tarp crinkling underfoot beneath the blanket as he padded onto their little palette. He extended a foot to jab Frank lightly in the hip before lowering himself down to shuffle right up next to him, his arm moving to wrap around his hip as he pulled him into a tight squeeze against his chest. A small sound from the effort of hugging him as tightly as he could without it being painful emitted from the back of his throat, and then he let go with a peck to Frank's temple.

"So, is it... what is the pacing of the meteors?" He wasn't sure if it would be like an actual shower, or if it would be one or two over the course of an hour or something.
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#30
A foot kicked at him in the hip and he chuckled lowly, pushing it away. Mathis sat with him finally and he fixed him with a wide smile and the way an arm wrapped around his hip and pulled. Awkward middle arm in the way, Frank let it go back and around him, leaning into the hug and squeezing back. The force Mathis hugged with had him grinning stupidly paired with the kiss, not a rare occurrence around him in the slightest, especially today.

The question had him looking up at the sky, considering. ”Umm, I think I remember the news saying fifty to a hundred an hour.” He rolled down and moved the arm back only to tug at Mathis’ elbow to encourage him down.
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#31
Sometimes, he felt like squeezing Frank so tightly that they both disappeared. It was a bizarre thing, but he wrote it off as love brain. Like, when mothers would say they wanted to eat their children. Strange.

Mathis' eyebrows raised at the answer, and he let out a low whistle, "We're in for a show, then." He said, and would lay down with Frank, moving to tuck the back of his head comfortably over Frank's upper arm, legs moving to drape over his. His gaze turned to the quilted night sky then, picking out the darker splotches of clouds who's edges were illuminated by the silvery touch of the imposing moon. Stars glittered in the thousands here, more visible than down below in the city. In the past, he may have felt small. Now, with Frank, comfortable in his skin in every sense, he felt a warm coziness.
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#32
Yeah, they were and he hummed in agreement to the comment. Mathis draped himself over and down and Frank warmed, simply happy with the closeness. Frank moved once he was settled to wrap his legs around Mathis’, letting out a long sigh, melting into the moment and company. The sky bloomed wide and daunting as his eyes began to adjust, making the ground below feel like it was spinning and falling into itself.

As a buffet of wind blew through the trees, his hand of the arm currently being laid on, trailed up and down what Mathis’ side it could reach, the warmth of him seeping in and settling parts of himself. After a few moments, a sudden faint line of white zoomed from the northwest and he pointed up to where it had just been, or at least he thought it had. ”Do you think that was one?”
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#33
Honestly, laying here was enjoyable enough. He could sleep like this, he was sure, if only for a little bit. But the sky above was glittering, and Mathis followed Frank’s gesturing hand to squint up at the mass of stars above. ”I’m not- oh!” He cut his doubt short as he spotted another, clear streaking of light as it jettisoned across the expanse of the sky. He followed it, silenced for a moment, briefly awestruck with a smile fitted around his teeth. ”That was one.” He said for certain, his eyebrow scrunching upward as he angled his head a bit to look at Frank.
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#34
Maybe it had, maybe not, but Mathis was cut off as another burst of white streaked across the sky. There was a slight inhale of awe as that was most definitely one ”Yeah,” he breathed in agreement, setting his arm back down.

Another shot through, bright and radiant and a content smile found itself on his face. The feeling of eyes on him had Frank glancing over questioningly. ”Hmm?”
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#35
"Hm?" He questioned back, smiling innocently and offering a shrug. "Just pretty." He'd eye him a beat longer before looking back up to the sky, his knee moving to bump lightly into Frank's thigh. "The stars, I mean. Look," Another fell in the far distance, cresting the waterfall.
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#36
He let out a breath at that, offering a skeptical look. With the moon being near full, he was finding it somewhat easy to pick up details of Mathis’ face as its pale light illuminated him. The nudge to his knees had Frank exhaling, rolling his eyes dramatically all in good fun. Right, the stars. Still, he turned his gaze away from the soft lines of Mathis’ face, back up at the sky in time to catch the tail end of one by the falls.

Crickets and the moving water filled a slice of silence as the stars twinkled overhead for a few moments before another meteor streaked by, fizzing out in brilliant blues.

”Did you ever wish on stars?’
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#37
The silence was comfortable, for all that it sort of made him want to shut his eyes and maybe nap. But, they had stars to watch, so he wouldn't do that. It helped when Frank spoke with a question, and Mathis smiled faintly with a laugh through his nose. "I remember doing it as a child. I don't know what I wished for as a dirty little boy on an olive farm. Probably to grow taller than Benji." He had. :).
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#38
A wide smile hit his lips at that, getting a laugh out of him. That was such an innocent wish and imagining a small lanky boy in the middle of a farm looking up at the vastness of space and thinking to ask for height was in and of itself, a simple yet tickling thing. “You must’ve picked the right star; someone listened.” Seeing the two brothers together had confirmed the outcome of that. “I can’t imagine you shorter.” He moved his arm that was on Mathis’ side to lay across his upper chest instead.

His own wishes were fleeting, silly ones— hoping some girl would like him back in fourth grade, wishing mom would buy him that all the rage new toy seen in the commercials and magazines that he couldn’t even remember anymore, his dad. ”Y’know, I wished for a rhino once,” Frank rumbled out as another burst of light streaked across and his gaze followed it.
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