The World is Mine

Chapter 1: Cerin

It had been almost a year since the last time I saw Rya. I walked through the woods to find our favorite spot in Layer 2. We always made sure to stop here whenever we ended up in this layer, but when Kiko took Rya from us I thought I may never be able to stomach returning to this sacred place.

As I approached, the salty air of the cove grew more potent as did my excitement. When I finally broke through the trees, I took in the familiar sights and sounds. Birds chirping, water rushing, fish swimming, trees swaying. I nearly collapse into the soft sand beneath my feet, but then I finally see her. She was sitting on the edge of the water. The water was slowly starting to settle around her calves as she'd stopped kicking it when she heard me. She was turned to face me, with worry in her eyes although I'm not quite sure why.

"Should I say 'Long time, no see', or is that too played out?" I joked as I approached her. I settled next to her, putting my own legs into the water next to hers and continued her halted disturbance of the water.

"It's not played out for us," She replied wistfully.

"God, when was the last time we spent this much time away from each other?"

"Before we met?" she giggled. It was true. When we joined Olo, we devoted our whole lives to helping them heal the world. "How have things been with Olo"

"Good. Scaring the piss out of terrible people. The usual. Although, it's nowhere near as fun without you there."

"Sorry to suck the fun out of it for you. If it makes you feel any better, I had an unbelievably shitty time away from you too."

"Yeah, I've been meaning to ask you why you left," I responded. When Kiko hauled her away from us, she didn't tell us why. She didn't even give Rya a chance to say goodbye. In truth, I thought I'd never see her again.

"It's a long story but don't be mad at my mother, okay? She was just doing the best she could with the situation." At this, Rya pulled her feet out of the water and scaled the rock formation that closed the grove off to the rest of the forest. She always moved like she was born for it. Intentionally and without fear of failure. In seconds, she'd made it to the top of the rocks and was smiling down at me. "Well, come on!" She called. I took my turn, bumbling up the rocks just like always and slipping frequently (also just like always). She watched and laughed at my feeble attempts to match her grace.

When I finally reached the top, she took my hand. I hadn't held a hand in so long, I almost didn't know what to do with it. She laced our fingers together and looked at me intently and I realized I hadn't really looked at her since I got here. She looked tired. Exhausted, really. What had Kiko done to her?

We jumped. At this moment, everything was as it had always been. As it should be. As I hoped it always would be. This felt eerily similar to the first time we'd done this. We didn't know each other well then, and I certainly didn't trust her when she said this drop would be harmless or even that I could match her in getting up the rocks. Once again, I don't trust the fall. Once again, I'm scared to match her. Once again, I feel like I don't know her.

I always love the feeling of hitting the water's surface. There's always comfort in the life the water provides. The cold below the surface forces me to live right now. It shocks the over analyzing thoughts out of my brain for however little time it can manage. When my head reached the air again, I swam quickly to the edge with Rya close behind me. I pulled myself back onto the ground at the same time as her and saw her getting ready to run back up for another dive. I grabbed her hand and stopped her.

She turned to face me with a childlike smile and I pulled her closer to me and rest my hands on her waist. Finally, something truly familiar again. I pressed my lips to hers and the cove fell away. I felt like I'd come home again. She laced her arms around my neck and leaned into me as if it was a cherished routine. I was just glad we remembered it so well.

"I missed you so much, Cerin. Somehow even more than I thought I would," She breathed, as she leaned away.

"Wow, we kiss and you suddenly remember that you missed me?" I teased.

"Shut up! You know what I meant," She replied as she punched me lightly on the shoulder. We pressed our forehead together and took in the moment.

"I missed you too. But I already knew how much it would hurt to lose you." I responded. "I just wish I had some warning. Maybe a goodbye,"

"Saying goodbye to you would have been a waste of time. I was always gonna come back. I always will come back."

"You better or I'm gonna kick your and Kiko's asses,"

"She's trying her best!" Our laughs bounced around the rock walls of the cove until we were standing together in comfortable silence.

Right now, the world is mine.