AR 1211-12-27 In Which Yari Threatens Sardi's Life
“’Tsup, dude?” he asked.
Yari was sprawled out on a large cushion in a communal area shared by all four caves. While his eyes stared at the flickering tongues of the hearth, it was clear he was looking at nothing, lost somewhere between the stars and the flames. He had responded mechanically to the sound of his friend’s voice, not actually hearing him.
Sardi plopped down on the same cushion next to Yari, and threw an arm around his shoulder in camaraderie. Yari barely noticed; the two observed the flickering flames in the fire place for a while without talking further.
“I kind of asked your sister to the dance,” Sardi said, finally breaking the silence.
“Well, actually, she asked me to ask her, so I did.”
“Sounds ‘bout right.”
“You cool with that?”
Finally rousing himself from wherever he had been, Yari blinked and shook his head while exhaling. Not for the first time, Sardi caught Yari’s eyes quickly changing back to normal from a deep, endless black. “Sorry,” he said, “you’re what now?”
“Where were you?”
“Everywhere, I think,” came the boy’s answer. “Nowhere?”
“’Ventually,” Sardi said, “you’re gonna have to tell someone else about what’s been happening to you.”
“I know,” answered Yari, and the two allowed the silence to flow over them for another while. At one point, Yari found his head felt too heavy, and he rested it on the older boy for a while. Sardi was comforting, in a way that defied description. Other’s made fun of them for being ‘too close’, but that was only because they didn’t understand the kind of bond the two boys shared. Yari wasn’t sure he understood it, either.
The silence was broken once more, as something turned over in Yari’s thoughts. “Wait, what!” he exclaimed, bolting upright, and pushing away from his friend.
“I, uh,” Sardi began, then trailed off again.
Yari grabbed and held Sardi’s gaze, studying the boy, gazing into his eyes, his soul. It was a habit he had learned from his parents, though he rarely realized when he was doing it. Then, he scrunched up his nose, as he did when he didn’t have another expression to give, and leaned back against Sardi to stare at the fire some more.
“Hurt her, and I’ll kill you,” he said matter-of-factly, looking straight ahead.
“Not even sure that’s a concern,” said Sardi, also avoiding eye contact. “Pretty sure she just wants an arm to hang off of for the evening.”
“Pro’lly. What I said still stands.”
The two said nothing again for several long hours, sitting close to each other, observing the yellow-and-orange light from the hearth. Eventually, it was time for supper, and they each got up, stretched, and went to eat.