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What Paper Reveals

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Moon walked into the sleeping cave, humming to herself.

Her thoughts wandered, skipping through her day. She smiled as she remembered lunch. Kinkajou had been laughing a lot, beaming and brushing against Moon. She loved seeing her friend like that; shining and laughing and happy. She had been sad, desolate, when Tamarin had been unconscious, but now that she was better, Kinkajou was back to her normal sunshine self.

Moon was jolted rudely back to reality as she tripped and fell against Kinkajou’s hammock. She winced as the twinge in her wings. She'd been flying a lot today, and soreness was setting in. She shook her head and stood up, sighing.

Must hurt yourself every time you start daydreaming? she chided herself.

Moon picked up her scrolls, but then a sheaf of paper slid out of Kinkajou’s hammock and landed atop Moon’s claws. She picked it up, curious, and untied the string. She paused for a moment, indecisive, but then shrugged and looked down at the paper.

What could she have to hide, anyway? She’s Kinkajou, for moons’ sake. It’s not like she has some horrible secret… Moon’s thoughts trailed off as she saw what was on the paper. I had no idea Kinkajou was an artist, she mused, impressed.

There was a sketch of Qibli, winking at Winter, who was blushing furiously. Moon smiled. She remembered that moment. They had been in the art room, watching Qibli try to flirt with the painfully oblivious Winter. She had been leaning against Kinkajou, watching them. Now that she thought about it, Kinkajou had been drawing then.

She looked at the next picture. There was Turtle, in the lake, splashing a laughing Anemone. That had been a wonderful day, swimming with their winglet. Moon traced a claw over the careful lines. Kinkajou had been sunning herself on a rock, but apparently also drawing the scene in front of her.

She flipped through the rest of the sketches - and there she was. Moonwatcher. Laughing, hunting, flying, reading. She looked happy and bright in Kinkajou’s drawings, energetic and beautiful.

Lost in the depictions, Moon didn’t hear the footsteps. But she certainly did hear the furious voice cracking from the doorway.

“What are you doing? Those are private!” Kinkajou stormed across the cave, her scales flushing scarlet. She snatched the papers out of her claws, tearing them slightly, and stuffed them back into her hammock.

She whirled on Moon, ruff bristling. “What were you doing with my things?” she hissed.

Moon was still standing there, frozen. She’s never seen Kinkajou this angry before.”I- I’m sorry, really sorry, I was just - I tripped and they fell-”

“And you couldn’t have just left them alone?" She paused as if to consider the most hurtful thing she could say. "You think just because you’re entitled to everyone’s thoughts that you’re entitled to everything private too?”

The words shocked tears into Moon’s eyes. “No, that’s not what I think at all, Kinkajou, I didn’t want to listen to your mind! I thought we were past that!”

Kinkajou huffed and turned away. She lay down in her hammock.

Moon slowly picked up her scrolls and returned them to the rack. She lay down on her ledge as well, trying not to let the tears escape. This was the angriest she’d seen Kinkajou since she’d revealed her mind reading. Those drawings must have been really important to her.

After a few minutes of silence, Moon said, “I really am sorry for looking at your drawings. Can you forgive me?” There was a moment of tense silence, then Kinkajou snorted and relaxed slightly.

“How can I not? You’re my best friend. You just… you scared me. I didn’t know if you would hate them, or if you would like them or if you could see how I felt about… about our winglet, in them...” she trailed off.

"No. The drawings are beautiful. I- you're a really good artist, Kinkajou." Moon said gently.

Kinkajou sat up and smiled, regaining some of her usual bounciness. "Thank you! And I'm sorry for what I said about your mind reading. I know you're not like that."

Moon smiled. "It's alright. I should have told you sooner, anyway. And I just- I should tell you this too." She paused, gathering her courage. "You're really pretty, Kinkajou, and I like you a lot."

The RainWing's eyes widened in surprise. Her scales flared pink, and she tried to sit up in her hammock. It tipped, dumping her to the ground. Moon laughed. "Did you just fall out of your hammock because I called you pretty?"

"Well I wasn't exactly expecting it, was I?" came the annoyed response.

Moon crouched over her, still giggling a little. Kinkajou wrinkled her snout and opened her eyes. She went still as she saw how close they were.

Her voice went suddenly soft. "Did you mean that?"

"Yes," Moon said firmly. "You are very beautiful."

"You are as well," Kinkajou murmured, still looking up at her. Moon blushed.

She reached out. "Help me up?"

Moon smiled and tried to pull her off the grond, but the RainWing pulled Moon down next to her instead.

She rolled on top of her with a mischievious glint in her eye. "I win," Kinkajou grinned.

She leaned down and kissed Moon lightly. The NightWing froze. Her blush deepened, but she kissed Kinkajou back warmly. She made a small sound of delight. "Love you," Moon murmured.

"Mmm," Kinkajou agreed, pressing in closer.