Happy New Year! Today’s photo from Monday Flash Fics seems right at home in Fuca, British Columbia, my made up town where “Wind & Tree” and “Time & Tide” are both set. That town has more than its fair share of elemental magic through a series of families who are related to creatures like sylphs, or dryads, or naiads.
“Are you sure about this?”
Rio smiled. “It’s a family tradition.”
“Your family tradition is watching the sun rise over the Strait on New Year’s?”
“My family is sort of odd. Besides, you said you haven’t seen it yet.”
“I’ve been here all of two weeks,” Parthy said. “And I’ve been busy.” It came out a little harsh, and Rio glanced at him.
“Hey, I’m sorry.” Rio paused in their walk. “I’m not criticizing.”
Parthy shook his head. “No, I’m sorry… It’s just…” He blew out a cloud of breath. “It’s been kind of a rough month.”
“Of course.” Rio fought the urge to reach out and squeeze Parthy’s arm. “And if you don’t want to do this today, we can come back another time. You live here now.”
“Legacy family,” Parthy said, eyeing the woods ahead. “So everyone keeps telling me.” He looked at Rio again. “Whatever that means.”
He wanted to tell him. But instead, as they started crunching through the snow again, Uncle Cary’s voice echoed in his head.
He might not be like us, kiddo. Your sister is, but your brother isn’t. It doesn’t come to all of us. Before you start telling him he’s heir to something special, you’re going to want to make sure. He’s been through enough already.
That much was true. But…
Hey, Rio wanted to say. It doesn’t make up for losing your dad and having to move here, but you know what? You might be magic.
“What?” Parthy said.
“Hm?” For a second, Rio wondered if he’d said something out loud.
“You keep staring.”
“Oh,” Rio said. “It’s just…” Think. Think. “You’re cute.”
Parthy tripped over one of the rocks at the edge of the woods. He went down hard, though he got his hands out in front of him in time, and the snow was something of a cushion.
Rio helped him up.
“So, I have a habit of blurting out stuff,” Rio said.
Parthy rubbed his palms free of snow, and seemed to gather himself. Then he noticed the view.
“Oh… Oh wow,” he said, whatever other thing he’d been about to say forgotten.
“Right?” Rio said.
Parthy nodded. The first rays of the sun lit the strait, and the two stood there, watching the light play over the ice by the shore, the snow on the ground, and the water itself between the islands.
Rio’s uncle could do all sorts of things with water. Rio’s gifts were a bit more muted, but as far as he was concerned, maybe muted was better. He didn’t have to be careful around liquids, lest his emotions cause things to spill over. He eyed the water.
In the dawn’s reflected light, he saw himself, and Parthy, standing together on one of the rocks by the Strait. It was early on a morning, but much warmer given their clothing and the lack of snow, and…
“Oh.” In the reflection of the water, Parthy leaned forward and they shared a kiss.
In the here and now, Parthy looked at him. “Hm?”
“Nothing,” Rio said. Glimpsing the future in a sunrise on water was the whole point of this particular visit, but he hadn’t expected…that.
“So, for the record?” Parthy said. “You didn’t have to make up family traditions.”
Rio blushed. “How’d you know..?”
“There’s nobody here but us,” Parthy said.
“Also for the record? You’re pretty cute, too.”
Rio grinned. “Good to know.” He glanced at the reflection again. In the reflection, Parthy was raising a hand now, and twists of sunlight gathered in his palm. The glimpse into the future lasted just a moment longer: Rio leaned in for another kiss, and Parthy released the light into the air.
“Did you see that?” Parthy said. He frowned at the water.
“There was…a light or something.”
Rio held out one hand. After a second, Parthy took it.
“So.” Rio led him back towards the town. “There’s some things you should maybe know about the legacy families.”