illustrated by festivewind
Notes: Dedicated to theillusionist in honor of her birthday and all-around awesomeness. Betaed with patience by shadowgoddess42, pulsebeat, and rosalyn_angel.
It was a warm day, and sunlight streamed through the leaves and onto the ground, sprinkling fallen logs and tree trunks and curious ferns with dappled light and brighter color. Tal breathed in the heavy summer air, smelling the honeysuckle bushes strung along their neighbors’ fence and the deeper smell of earth and fresh greenery. It was the height of summer, and he had been aching to get into the woods since even before the end of the advanced class that kept him cooped up in the University for almost a week. Reading in the light through a window was one thing—exploring the woods, taking it all in—sun, life, the beauty of both—well, it was something else entirely. He had grown up in this house, and these woods were his woods. As much as studying kept him out of them, he missed the footpaths he’d pounded into the earth in elementary school making forts and exploring the caves, and he missed climbing trees with a good book and leaning against the trunk and feeling weightless as his imagination transported him to another place and time. Tal remembered going into these woods barefoot when he was young and fearing neither snakes nor the bears his parents told him were sometimes sighted in the area.
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