Author’s Note: How do you write an extremely important scene where one main character dearly wants to ask the other to make their shared long-term life goals official? By shipping it, of course. 🙂
Diwa started the vidchat app with nervous amusement, feeling stupid and silly at the same time. He couldn’t wait to share what he’d learned from his father…yet he also hoped that Kaffi hadn’t logged on yet, giving him extra time to gather his senses so he wouldn’t make a fool of himself. He brought up his homework on the second screen, yet another term paper due in a few days, but he found himself unable to focus on it.
Instead he opened a browser and started looking up things about tintrite flight.
The thought of flying with Kaffi both excited and terrified him. He’d been up in air transports before, of course…the family trip up north to Carrondon Province a few years back had been one of his favorite vacations ever, and he’d begged his father for the window seat so he could look out and survey the land below. He hadn’t feared the height, considering they were in an enclosed transport, and he was enraptured by what he saw, his forehead leaning up against the plexiglass, watching the ever-changing terrain move beneath him. He loved the idea of being up in the air, feeling the wind in his face and looking at the world from a rare point of view. And yet…
…and yet, he felt a chill at the same time. It was a stupid fear, and he hated it. Mild basophobia. A fear of falling. The feeling of vertigo wasn’t even that strong, just a bit more pronounced than it might be in other people, but it made his life miserable at the most annoying times. Even if he was standing on a steady platform like a tower or a high roof, with no possible way of falling, he still felt that dizziness, the tightness in his shoulders and a pit in his stomach, almost as if his body drew itself towards the ground below. Thankfully, it only affected him when extremely high up. The fifth-floor balcony outside his apartment gave him the slightest of jitters if he leaned over the railing for too long. The roof of the school did not bother him, as their meeting spot was at its center. The roof of Building C made him a bit nervous if he stayed for more than a few minutes.
He’d never told Kaffi about it. He would understand, but…
He didn’t want something so stupid keeping them from flying.
The vidchat app bleeped once and opened up, and Kaffi’s snout came into view. “Little too close to the camera there, Kaff,” he said with a chuckle.
Kaffi harrumphed in response, his breath fogging up the lens for a second, and he leaned back onto his hinds. “Good to see you too,” he retorted. “I was readjusting it. The clamp is wearing out, so I need to order a new one. Remind me to do that tonight before we log off.” He snuffed again, this time flashing a smile at him. “What’s going on across the green?”
Diwa leaned back, scratching the back of his head. “Interesting day. Pop came back and immediately started cleaning up the back office. I don’t know what your paddir said to him, but it definitely did the trick.”
“Hmmm,” Kaffi said, bobbing his snout quickly. “I was about to say the same to you. Paddir has been in a strange mood as well. I haven’t heard him talk this much in months!”
Diwa thought about telling him what Samuel had said about bonding, but he held back for now. For some reason it just felt too early. “He and I decided a few times a week, we’ll go through a section of that back room until it’s all done. He’s digitizing a lot of it and shredding what we don’t need, and probably in the next week or so we’ll find an offsite storage facility nearby. We’re aiming for it to be clean and ready to go by summer’s end.”
“Maybe paddir will finally fit in there?”
“Maybe so,” he said, and looked away. He scratched his jaw, hoping he wasn’t blushing right now. As much as he wanted to keep talking about their fathers, it was only delaying the inevitable. He cleared his throat and turned back. Kaffi was looking at him, snout pointed slightly down, irises a little wider than usual. “Hey, um. Before we get going with anything, I was wondering. Just…had something on my mind to bring up.”
“Yeah?” Kaffi raised his brow and dipped his snout a little further.
His hands were trembling and was glad they were under the desk and out of camera shot. Eiyah, this shouldn’t be so hard! He took a quick breath and cleared his throat, hoping that he didn’t sound nearly as nervous as he felt right now. “Since we pretty much started our internships, even if it’s part time. I was thinking. Eventually we’ll be doing all the errands our paddir currently do, yeah? Document runs to Panooria, visits to the city, shopping, visits to the co-op farm? Sooner or later we’re going to be doing this thing, right?”
“Mmmm,” Kaffi said. It wasn’t a hum, or a grunt. Somewhere in between. An agreement, sprinkled with a bit of expectation.
Diwa exhaled, steeling himself for what he was about to say next. Yes, this was the right decision. No doubts. No time like the present.
“I, um. I was going to say, did you want to, you know, be my ride? As well? Make it official?”
Kaffi stared at him. Blinked twice. His wings fluttered and shivered rapidly. His irises grew wide enough his eyes were nearly all black.
Diwa held his breath and bit his lip. Had he just blown it? Had he said something wrong?
“…Kaff?” he ventured.
Kaffi suddenly let out such a loud bark of laughter it shook the camera loose again. Quickly he reached forward and readjusted the clamp again, but now Diwa could clearly see the look of sheer happiness on his face! His smile was so wide he could see every single fang! “Issthnamii!” he sang. “Diwa, my fiiri! Of course! You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting for you, hoping you’d ask! Eiyah…” He scratched at his own jaw, the bridge of his snout a vivid dark green, and he couldn’t stop giggling. “Of course I will be your ride, Diwa my friend!” he said. “It may be time before we actually train together, but believe me, you shall be my first, just as I’d hoped. This makes me so happy, Diwa! I am so glad that you’ve asked me!”
Diwa was now laughing himself, happy that he’d taken that next step, but even happier that Kaffi’s reaction had been so positive. “Thanks, Kaff. Ai, I can’t believe it took me that long to ask you.”
“You are extremely lucky I am patient, then,” Kaffi bowed, having calmed down enough, though his smile remained. Diwa was utterly relieved, and he had a good feeling that Kaffi must have been relieved as well. The ice was broken. He felt a tiny pang of guilt, realizing that he still hadn’t told Kaffi about his fear, but he would tell him eventually, before it was too late. He would understand.