It had been quite a shock to everyone when they'd found her, where she'd been waiting for them since that dreadful fight with Psycho Pink. Commander Stanton had dropped his reader when she showed up, with her friends behind her, telling him she could go wherever she was needed as soon as possible. He'd stared at her, almost disbelieving for a moment, before telling her where the science division was setting up their surveys. She'd thought she heard him utter something about indestructible staff as she walked away, and she couldn't help catching Mike's eye and sharing a smirk.
It had been two weeks since then and the colony had been extremely busy setting up their new life on Mirinoi. The Mirinoians had been very hospitable and helpful with anything the colonists needed. Maya had been the best liaison for both groups and was doing more work than anyone it seemed. So when Kendrix got a message that she wanted her to meet her that afternoon for lunch, she was pleasantly surprised.
She'd expected it to be the whole gang. They'd hardly seen one another for more than just passing hellos and quick updates lately. But she was surprised once more to find only Maya waiting for her when she told Sam she was going on her lunch break.
"Hey," she called happily as she half-skipped over to her yellow-clad friend.
She couldn't deny it, she'd wanted a break just as much as anyone, and spending it with Maya couldn't be better. She swept her giggling friend up into a hug when she reached her and was met with an equally tight squeeze. Maya probably needed comfort as much, if not more than she did with everything that was on her shoulders.
She squeezed her once more before letting go and backing away enough to grab her hand. "So what's on the menu today?"
Maya smiled warmly and tugged at her hand for her to follow. "It's a secret, come on."
She followed, suppressing the childish giggle that bubbled up within her at the idea of a secret picnic. She had missed days like this—from before, on Terra Venture, when she and Maya would go somewhere "off the beaten path" and spend time together alone. Or other times when they'd just spend the day curled up on the couch in their room, or in Maya's hammock.
She did laugh when Maya pulled her behind a bush to avoid whoever was coming up the path ahead. She took that moment to really look at her. Maya was peering around the edge of the bush looking for all the world like the mischievous girl that would sneak in to Kendrix's lab when she'd stayed late working on something.
Her long hair had caught on one of the branches, unnoticed by her, and Kendrix reached up to untangle it. It came free easily and she smoothed it back down against her back. Maya turned then, catching Kendrix's hand and smiling at her. "I miss this," Kendrix told her, careful to keep her voice down.
"I do too," Maya whispered, lifting her hand to kiss it tenderly. "I missed you."
The look in her eyes was unmistakable now and it nearly broke Kendrix's heart to see a tear trickle down her cheek.
She reached up with her free hand and caught the tear with her thumb, wiping it away. The gesture reminded her suddenly of the time they'd fought over Damon's birthday cake and gotten trapped in that force field thing, and she moved her hand to touch the tiny scar that she knew was there. She couldn't see it now, it had near completely faded, but Maya smiled as her fingers traced her cheek.
"I'm here now," she told her, pushing her own nostalgia away. The wind picked up then, and she caught a strand of hair as it blew across Maya's face, tucking it back behind her ear before resting her hands on her shoulders. "And I'm not going to leave any time soon, I promise," she finished.
The voices were getting closer now and, catching the glint in Maya's eye, she obediently didn't say anything more. ...But she did reach for her hand as they both turned to watch again, and Maya laced her fingers through hers without a word.
It turned out to be Damon and Karone. The two had pretty well stuck together since coming to Mirinoi, since Damon's job had become virtually obsolete, and Karone was the most comfortable around him. Kendrix had heard, though, that he'd been working on a make-shift comm that would boost communications so she could get word out to her brother. In the back of her mind, she wondered if he'd been successful yet. Though she wasn't about to compromise their position to find out. This seemed to be too important to Maya to pass up. They both needed this, and if Maya didn't want anyone else to know what they were doing, then she would certainly oblige.
Maya moved out from behind the bush as soon as Karone and Damon were out of site, tugging gently at Kendrix's hand. Not that she needed to, Kendrix was right behind her. She was just as eager to get to wherever Maya wanted her to go. As long as she was with her, Kendrix wasn't bothered about the whereabouts. This was Maya's home, after all.
They didn't stay on the main path for long. Maya had pulled her off to what looked to be a heavily-dense, overgrown and abandoned patch of the forest. Kendrix had raised her eyebrows in silent question, but Maya only smiled and said "It's just through here. Follow me."
They fought their way through high weeds and low branches. And the further they went, the more Kendrix thought that there used to be a path here, long ago. The foliage was less dense where Maya was leading and she was starting to see more worn ground as they progressed.
They had just come to one of the biggest trees Kendrix had ever seen—up close, at least—, when Maya stopped and turned to her. She was absolutely glowing. "I want to show you something, but you have to trust me."
"Of course," Kendrix said without hesitation. "I've always trusted you. What do I do?"
"Close your eyes and take my hands."
Kendrix did as she was told, grasping Maya's lightly calloused hands in her own. They moved forward. Not very far, around the tree, Kendrix guessed. The sound of a nearby stream met her ears instantly and she briefly wondered how she hadn't noticed it before.
When they stopped, she felt a warm breeze tease her face and couldn't help but smile. Then Maya was letting her hands go with a light kiss on her cheek and calm order to stay put and keep her eyes closed. She heard her rustling around her and minutes later Maya was behind her once more with her hands on her shoulders. "Okay, now you can open them."
The sight that met her eyes was no less than breathtaking, and she let out a soft gasp. They were behind the tree, and there was a small clearing, accompanied by a stream and completely hidden away from anyone that might go wandering around.
There was a small, but gorgeous flowing waterfall just upstream from the spot, and Kendrix's eyes widened when she saw it.
"Maya...this is beautiful." She was shaking her head in disbelief and smiling as she took it all in. "The environmental domes on Terra Venture weren't even this pretty!"
"You really like it?" Maya asked
Kendrix glanced around once more, unable to keep the glowing smile off of her face. She noticed even more things now. The blanket spread out in the shade of a tree, the small bag of food Maya was starting to unpack... "You did all this for me?"
"I've been wanting to bring you here since we've been back. This was one of my favorite places to go when I was younger. ...Or when I needed to get away from everyone," she giggled. "It was always so calm, peaceful."
Her smile warmed Kendrix's heart, and she moved forward and pulled her into a hug, burying her face in Maya's hair. The unique floral scent that had always been Maya's alone teased her senses, and she closed her eyes. Right now, in this moment, everything was perfect.
"Thanks for sharing it with me, Maya."
Maya squeezed her tighter, then moved to her side and laid her head on Kendrix's shoulder. "I'm glad you like it. Just, don't tell anyone? I want to keep it between us."
"Don't worry," Kendrix smiled and kissed her lightly on the cheek. "You're secret's safe with me."