“Well, you can’t say it be historically accurate.”
Jim and Silver were picking their way through the Pirates of the Caribbean gift shop after getting off the boat ride. Silver examined the price tag on a cheaply-made tricorn hat with skepticism.
Jim rolled his eyes. “It’s not supposed to be historically accurate. It’s a ride for children. You thought it was fun, didn’t you?”
Silver pretended to consider, but Jim could read the smile on his face. “Aye, it was alright. I found myself especially feeling for the foolish man bragging about his treasure map, unaware of a dread pirate watching over his shoulder!” Silver widened his eyes and gave a passable Jack Sparrow impression, which made Jim chuckle.
Silver snaked an arm around Jim’s waist as they left the shop, which Jim would have enjoyed but for how damned hot it was. 32 degrees, humid as hell, and not a cloud in the sky. He found himself pining for the rainy chill of England. Still, the closeness was nice, and it was a rare treat, to be able to share a holiday with Silver like this.
Silver’s beard tickled his ear. “Yo ho, yo ho…”
Jim finished the line with him. “…a pirate’s life for me. That song is absolutely going to be running through my head the rest of the day.” Jim wasn’t really complaining, though. He’d enjoyed the ride too: the eerie atmosphere of the caves and the fantastical skeletons giving way to the lively caricatured pirates. The animatronics weren’t realistic, obviously, but they were wonderfully creative.
The bright sound of marimbas shifted to twanging banjos and guitars as they walked into Frontierland. Shouts and joyful screams reached them from the harrowing Splash Mountain drop. Jim looked around eagerly at the rustic storefronts, and Silver insisted on a brief detour to the shooting arcade, where he terrified Jim with his accuracy.
The steamboat on the river sounded its horn as it passed. Crowds were beginning to gather for the afternoon parade, which held little interest for either of them, so they carried on. The Haunted Mansion loomed on their left, and Jim made a mental note to make sure they came back to ride it later. He’d heard good things.
They were passing by a small souvenir shop in Fantasyland when Silver stopped in his tracks. A near-maniacal grin had spread across his face, and Jim followed his gaze to two of the ugliest shirts Jim had ever seen. “We finish each other’s” and “sandwiches,” they read, in an awful mauve colour. Oh no.
He couldn’t be serious. “One, those are heinous,” Jim reasoned. “Two, you’ve made fun of every single couple we’ve seen wearing matching shirts. And three, have you even seen Frozen?”
Silver put on a sorrowful expression. “Oh, I see, you don’t want people to know that we’re together.”
Jim’s jaw dropped. That couldn’t be further from the truth! “Of course not! They’re just… blindingly ugly! And I have some self-respect!”
Silver sighed; then a sly look came over his face. “If I promise to make it worth your while when we get back to the hotel tonight…?”
Jim glared, baleful. “You’re really trying to bribe me with sexual favours.”
“I don’t know, lad. Is it working?” Silver’s brows did something improbable, and his eyes raked up and down Jim, and now Jim was blushing, dammit, as always entirely incapable of saying no to him.
“I hate you. Fine,” he grumbled.
Silver lit up. “You won’t regret it, Jim!”
“Oh, I’m already regretting it.”
Silver took the shirts victoriously to the checkout while Jim had a sulk next to the display of pins. It was shameful, really, how little willpower he had when faced with Silver’s powers of persuasion.
The shirt came flying at Jim’s head. “Lad, catch!”
“We’re wearing them now?” He had hoped that his humiliation would at least be somewhat delayed.
“Of course! No time like the present!”
Jim grumbled all the way to the lavatory, where he stripped out of his plain but perfectly-serviceable-thank-you-very-much shirt to don what was undoubtedly one of worst articles of clothing on the planet. After grimacing at himself in the mirror, he emerged, squinting, back into the hot sunlight, crossing his arms over his chest as though he could hide the monstrosity he was wearing.
Silver, who had also changed, grinned in a victorious manner when he caught sight of Jim. “Jim, lad! Looking good!” He looped an arm over Jim’s shoulder and pulled him in. Jim’s exasperation fell away, and he kissed Silver, for his enthusiasm was nothing if not contagious. And, truthfully, there was a part of Jim that thrilled at the idea that people walking past would be able to tell that they belonged together.
Silver drew back with a satisfied smirk.
Jim heaved a long-suffering sigh, but a smile threatened. “Where to next?”
Silver unfolded the guidemap with a flourish and studied it. “Space Mountain, perhaps?”
Jim assented — a rollercoaster sounded fun, and the idea of an air-conditioned queue was appealing — and they set off towards Tomorrowland.
The end of the night approached, and Jim and Silver battled the crowds waiting for fireworks down Main Street. Silver had expressed indifference towards the show, so they exited through the gate just as the music began.
They were out of the park and headed for the bus to their hotel when there was a particularly loud burst of fireworks behind them and Jim turned to look. He felt his heart lift — at the lights filling the sky and the swell of the music and the happiness of a wonderfully exhausting day. A glance to the side told him that Silver had stopped, too, and Jim allowed himself a moment to watch his face, lit up by the glow of green and purple and white.
Silver looked over and met Jim’s gaze, then put his arm around him with a smile. Jim tipped his head onto Silver’s shoulder. People wandered past, parents carrying sleeping children and shoppers heavy-laden with souvenirs, but Jim and Silver paid them no mind. Silver hummed softly into Jim’s hair. “Thanks for insisting we come, lad.”
“This was a nice day.” Jim was utterly, marvellously content, though his feet ached and he was dying for a shower.
Silver nodded. They stood there for a while longer. The song piped through the speakers was saccharine: “Reach out and find your happily ever after,” the singers exhorted. And yet, Jim felt something like awe running through him. He was so lucky, to be here with Silver beside him while the sky burst with colours. The show ended with a final cascade of fireworks, and they turned to go, hand in hand.