The Winter Garden

Summary: "It's like this. The more positive we are, the closer we get to finding him. The more strength we pour into the world, the weaker The Hidden Man gets," Riku declared boldly, and from that moment we changed our destiny.

Disclaimers: I'm not good at updating, particularly since I work now and my job is demanding and a half! But I love writing and eventually I hope to get a good enough idea to write a book for real. So we'll see how we go. This is a whimsical half real/half fantasy missing person fic.
Inspired by "Good Day" by IU. "The Winter Garden" is a working title only. The summary is um, well. As I write this, I have no summary. But hopefully I will later- it's a working summary too.
I have no plans- I'm just seeing what happens.

The Winter Garden

Prologue
The night was dark, but warm, a calm silence where occasional far-off sounds echoed. The view from the walls showed the whole street, void of people for the moment, but teeming with life. Crickets chirped and a stray cat darted across someone's yard.
"That damn cat," growled the boy sitting next to me. I had to grin at his scowling features. Mr Steggles had been avoiding Riku's capture successfully for about three years now, mine too.
"Positive," I sang, kicking my feed out and letting them rest back against the brick wall restlessly.
"Zahra, Riku, shouldn't you be home right now?" Mrs Reinheldt's voice floated out of the darkness.
"No Mrs Reinheldt," We chorused.
"Our parents know we're here," I told her, as we did about 3 times a week, and it was true. We tried not to lie. s
"Ah, well would you like some biscuits?" Being a smart woman, Mrs Reinheldt was already making her way towards us with the plate.
"Yes!" Riku punched the air, almost falling from the wall in his delight. With great enthusiasm, he swung his legs over the other side of the wall to face her and slowly, I followed with mine.
"Be careful!" Mrs Reinheldt admonished, holding a hand over her heart as if frightened. But she was far too used to Riku's antics to be truly surprised.

She held the plate up to us, not bothering to comment on the fact we were sitting on her wall. It was after all, something we'd been doing for nearly two years now, longer if you counted when we were doing it with three.
"Choc chip? Man Mrs Reinheldt, you're the best!" Riku chattered excitedly, grabbing four cookies at a time and hissing a soft "Yessssss!" when he realized one of his cookies had another one stuck to it.
I too helped myself to a few, and then looked back down at our best friend's mother.
"What have you been up to today Mrs R?" I asked her casually. By my estimate, she should have been to her exercise class and her part time job. Today was her shopping day.
"Well, my exercise class was cancelled because the instructor was sick and they couldn't find a replacement. So I tried to do some of the exercises at home instead of in the pool. I'm not sure how well it worked!" she laughed, and for a moment, the ever-present worry lines disappeared.

"And of course today was shopping day. I had this little old lady driving in front of me at about 40 on a 60 road. Immensely frustrating, the old dear, but I couldn't beep her, didn't want to give her a heart attack!" Mrs R's kind/brusque relationship with elder driver's was always amusing. Riku snickered.
"Man that would be so annoying!" he grimaced, and I could see him trying to work out what he would do.
"Positive," I sang again, nudging his leg with my foot.
"Ah, that reminds me, how many good deeds have you done for the day?" she enquired, as Riku reached for yet another biscuit.
"I helped a man in a wheelchair reach a jar on a higher shelf at the supermarket," I recalled.
"Good one," Riku nodded, impressed.
"And I worked with Anna today in class. You know she always struggles with accounting," I listed off my second good deed of the day.
"And… there was one more. Oh, I've been trying to give out compliments in every lesson. I think I forgot in French, but other than that, I did pretty well," I informed them both.
"Good work Zahra," Mrs Reinheldt nodded her head, apparently satisfied with this effort.

"Well I had a great day!" Riku declared.
"I found money on the ground and tried to give it back to people. But it didn't seem to belong to anyone. I picked it up, trying to work out what to do, and then I saw a charity guy on the way home. So I donated it! But then I figured I could go further, so I donated some of my pocket money too," Riku gave us a giant thumbs up.
"Well done," Mrs R encouraged.
"I'm not finished!" he declared, before giving a self-impressed look. I snorted at him.
"Hey! Well, anyway, then I talked to these strangers at the bus and volunteered my time at the English as a Second language conversation club. We're going to meet every Wednesday at lunch time," Riku informed us.

"Well it seems like you're on track, and it's about time for my soapies. Do you want to come in and watch?" Mrs Reinheldt invited, as she often did.
"No thanks Mrs R!" I grinned, watching as she took the now significantly emptier plate back into the house with her, and the house lit up from within with an eerie blue glow.
"I think we're due for another break soon," Riku murmured to me, watching the house intently.
"It's about time," I sighed, stretching my back carefully, so I didn't overbalance and topple off of the wall.
"Well it's not supposed to be easy. It's a battle after all," Riku reminded me, as if I needed to be reminded.
"I hate The Hidden Man," I sighed, and I felt Riku's hand slip down to squeeze mine in agreement.
Riku gave one last look at the house, bathed in the glow of Mrs R's junky TV shows, and turned back around to face the street.
"Man, my arse is going to sleep…" Riku commented, wriggling around a little.

I turned my legs back over the wall, and swore as I scratched my leg on the rough brick. "Fuck," I growled, watching as a thin, red line of blood welled up on my leg. It stung just enough to be annoying.
"Uh uh uh! Positive!" Riku stuck his tongue out at me and I refrained from giving him a hard shove off the wall.
It was very, very hard to be so good.