The young girl ran her hair brush through her long, chestnut locks as she sat in front of the mirror of her polished vanity. It had been in her room for a few years now, and she loved it because it was a birthday gift from her father. Actually, just about all the furniture in her room had been made by her father at some point. Her father made her furniture and toy ponies, her brother showered her with robots, and her mother made her cute little bows or dresses or sweaters. There were very few things in her room not homemade gifts from her family, and Perse liked it that way, treasuring each and every one of those gifts.
Setting the brush back down on the vanity, Perse pushed back her wavy hair and walked over to her bed, intent on settling down and reading for the evening until it was time to sleep. Before she could reach her bed, however, she heard a tapping noise at her window. Raising an eyebrow, she looked over at her bedroom window and immediately noticed small pebbles flying towards the glass, hitting them with a small ‘tap!’ one by one. A knowing smile tugged at her lips as she realized who it was, and she walked over to pull her window back and look down. A tall, blonde boy stood there, hand raised with a pebble in between his fingers, ready to throw. A look of recognition came across his face just then, however, and he lowered his arm, grinning up at her instead.
“JackJack, you know you can just come to the front door. You’re going to ruin my window doing that all the time,” Perse called down, shaking her head at her friend.
The boy below gave a shrug as he smirked up at her. “Maybe, but it’s more fun to get your attention this way. …Plus I don’t think your dad likes me that much, so.”
Perse rolled her eyes. “I’ll be down in a minute. Meet me at the front door.”
For as long as she could remember, she’d been good friends with JackJack. JackJack was older than her by a couple of years, but because their mothers were friends, they saw each other often when they were little. As they grew older, it only seemed natural they started hanging out on their own as well. After all, they basically grew up together. Because JackJack had a tendency to start fires a lot and lose his temper rather easily, a lot of people seemed to disapprove of him, but Perse knew him better than that. He could be a bit of a troublemaker sometimes, but after knowing him so long, she always saw the good in him.
Perse glanced in the mirror again before heading out of her room. She felt a little silly caring so much about her appearance when it was her best friend she was leaving the house to see, but she couldn’t help it. Still, she deemed herself looking alright. Her hair had already been brushed and she’d changed into a pair of jeans and pastel, pink tank top earlier after getting home from her shift at the diner. On the way out she stopped by her brother’s room to let him know she was leaving (it proved easier to get Jim’s attention than her father’s when they were working on various projects anyway) and sent a quick message to her mother, who had just returned to work for the rest of the night after cleaning up the kitchen. When she exited the house and locked up behind her, a grin formed on her face once more at the sight of JackJack standing there. Almost immediately she ran up and hugged him, wrapping her arms tightly around him. JackJack returned the hug and it was several moments before either of them let go. She chuckled lightly as JackJack reached out to ruffle her hair, and her nose crinkled ever so slightly as it always did when she laughed.
Turning, Perse took her place at JackJack’s side, hands folded in front of her. “The beach again?” she inquired, her deep, blue eyes focused on the equally cerulean ocean in the distance. JackJack made a noise of confirmation, and the two walked along in silence for a while, letting the light breeze drifting in from the shore drift over them. It felt peaceful, and Perse always enjoyed these little walks and beach trips with JackJack. It was just the two of them and oftentimes they didn’t even need to speak to one another to have a good time. They’d grown so close that simply being near each other ended in them having fun.
Soon enough they reached the shore, and Perse stopped for a moment to remove her shoes. One thing she always loved about the beach was the feeling of the warm, soft sand between her toes. JackJack stopped to wait for her like he always did and then proceeded to pick up her sandals for her, carrying them in his hand. The sky grew darker as they walked towards their special spot, which was located a little farther along the shore. When they reached the tall rocks, JackJack set her sandals on the ground and then crouched down near the base of the rocks, motioning for Perse to come forward. “C’mon, up you go,” he instructed, flashing a smirk in her direction. JackJack almost always had her get on his back to carry her up the tall rocks so she wouldn’t hurt herself. The first time they came here, exactly that happened and he got quite the scolding from her father when he brought her home with a badly skinned up leg.
“JackJack, I can climb up by myself, you know,” Perse informed him, though she situated herself on his back anyway and wrapped her arms around his neck.
“I know you can, but it’s more fun this way.”
She let out a small chuckle that tickled against the back of his ear. Often times, JackJack wasn’t the nicest guy to the majority of the people on the island, but with Perse that was never the case. He practically treated her like a princess, and he always had. Perse sometimes wondered why he treated her so well when he seemed to openly loathe everyone else, but she supposed it was because they’d been close from such a young age. They felt comfortable around each other, and Perse honestly couldn’t ask for a better friend. She held tightly to him as he skillfully climbed up the rocks and brought them to the top. They came here enough that she didn’t doubt he could climb up in his sleep without ever hurting either of them.
Once they reached the top, Perse climbed off his back and sat down, sitting cross-legged near the edge of the rock as she looked out at the sea. The sun was just beginning to set, and though further up the sky began to grow darker, the horizon was cast in a brilliant, orange glow that illuminated even the ocean below it with its fiery light. Perse always loved the way the sky looked both at sunrise and sunsets, and she supposed she got that from her father, whom she’d often spent mornings and evenings with as a little girl watching them from their backyard. They still kept up the tradition in the mornings often times, but in the evenings, that tradition was now shared with JackJack more than anyone else. JackJack sat down next to her. For a while, they merely sat in silence, their eyes focused on the beautiful sight before them. Slowly, the sun began to dip lower, and the glow emitting from the sun’s light became more subtle, but still every bit as brilliant as it appeared just a short time previous.
“You know, I could look a lot cooler than the sunset.”
Perse let out a laugh as JackJack’s cocky words broke the silence. “Oh, can you now?” she asked, just the slightest trace of a teasing tone in her voice. She already knew what he had in mind, and sure enough she soon felt a blast of heat as JackJack stood up, spreading his arms wide as he burst into flames.
“See? I’m way better than that peasant of a star!”
And standing there at the edge of the rock, arms spread out to the sky, Perse truly did believe he looked more amazing than the sunset. She could still remember the first time he burst into flames around her, something that always seemed to happen whenever he became angered, though he could do it voluntarily as well now that he was better in control of it. Other people were frightened of it, but not Perse. Perse thought he looked amazing, and rather than avoiding him, she spent more time with him than anyone else. “Yes, you do, JackJack. You really do,” Perse said softly, her lips curved upwards in a smile as the flames flickering from JackJack’s legs warmed her from the chilled, shoreside breeze.
But just like that, the moment ended, because just then the boy on fire turned round and in the process, caught sight of a certain something on the sand below them. The smile faded from the girl’s face, replaced with a slight look of concern as she looked down to see what her friend was looking at. Met with the sight of a small crab, its tiny pinchers holding on to the strap of her sandals and attempting to scurry away.
“….Is that a crab trying to steal my shoes?”
“Hold on. I got this.”
Perse raised an eyebrow as JackJack, whom was still lit on fire, walked towards the other edge of the rock, arm outstretched. A loud ‘whoosh’ sounded, and a ball of fire flew past towards the sand below, followed by a puff of smoke drifting slowly up towards them. Perse flinched, but carefully opened her eyes once it seemed to have passed to look down. Off to the side lay a lifeless, smoking crab on its side, and two piles of ash were positioned where the crab had moved her sandals to. The sight made her frown a little. She liked those sandals.
“…You incinerated my sandals.”
The flames flickering about JackJack’s body faded away, and he gave a slight shrug as he looked down at the piles of ash and the dead crab. “Well, at least you can have crab legs for a snack now, right?”