It was an absolutely beautiful sight. After everything they had been through-- all the pain, anger, betrayal, missing home… It was over. Rourke was defeated and the world, along with La Huerta, was saved.
The gang sat on various logs and blankets they took from the hotel on the beach, the moon bright above them. There was a rather large bonfire glowing in the middle of it all, one that Craig and Sean proudly made. The weather was cool and wonderful, and the smile on everyone’s faces wouldn’t fade. Raj had very excitedly found marshmallows in the kitchens and he and Quinn found everyone sticks to roast them with over the fire.
Raj was laying against the side of one of the logs, strumming lightly on the guitar Kele left behind. Quinn sat beside him, humming and singing quietly along with him, absolutely beaming at watching all her friends. Zahra and Craig were laughing loudly about something; everyone pretended not to notice their hands intertwined. Diego and Varyyn were resting on a blanket, Diego laying down on Varyyn with his head in his lap. Varyyn played with Diego’s hair, and the two laughed and whispered, hardly noticing anyone else there. Sean and Michelle sat quietly, Michelle’s head resting softly against Sean’s shoulder; the two seemed rather at peace. Aleister and Grace sat together across from Quinn and Raj, his arm around her, watching her contentedly as she smiled and laughed as she watched everyone else. Estela sat amongst them all, as Furball sat in her lap-- she first pretended to be indifferent about it all, but she couldn’t help smile along with everyone and slowly pet the little blue fox.
And River sat in Jake’s arms, feeling warm and safe and happy , and it was all too much, so she stood, giving a kiss to Jake’s forehead before leaving. She walked towards the waves, arms around herself as she stared out amongst the glistening reflection. She thought back to that very first day, on the plane… landing here… all the things they did together. All the conflict and strife, all the laughs, everyone becoming closer, becoming friends, becoming a family. Tears glistened in her eyes as she smiled. She jumped a little when she felt Jake’s soft hand on her arm, his eyebrows furrowed in concern.
“Everythin’ alright, Princess?”
She smiled wider at his Louisiana drawl. Her husband. She stepped closer to him, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him close, noses almost touching. “Everything is perfect,” she whispered, grinning, eyes shiny.
They met in a soft, tender kiss, one, two three. They rested their foreheads together, Jake smiling.
“I just… I just can’t believe we did it. We’re going home, all of us. Well… almost all of us,” she trailed off, eyes anguished as she thought of Mike. Jake merely brushed a strand of hair back from her face, tucking it behind her ear. He kissed her forehead.
“It’s alright, Princess. Everyone else did make it. They’re over there singing campfire songs like a bunch of Girls Scouts,” he grinned. “And we’re heading off to Costa Rica, clearing my name, while you and all the others finish school, follow your dreams… We really did it. You did it.”
River shook her head. “I didn’t do anything.”
Jake rolled his eyes. “Well, besides keeping this ragtag team together and saving our asses more times than we can all count, you’re the one who stopped Rourke and Vaanu.” He kisses her again to keep her from arguing with him.
“Come on, you two, you have all the time in the world to make disgusting googly eyes at each other!” Aleister called from the group, getting further calls from others, including a wolf-whistle from Craig.
“Shut it, Malfoy,” Jake said, but he had a wide grin. He turned back to River, and kissed her slowly one last time (earning more boos and whistles).
“Shall we, Princess?” he asks, smirking.
River grins widely, feeling like her heart could burst. “After you, Top Gun.”
They go back to the group, who continues to lovingly berate them, and they eat marshmallows and laugh and tell stories and tease each other. Eventually, towards the end of the night when people are starting to fade into exhaustion, River stands and walks towards a large tree not too far from them, pulling out her knife from her bag. The others perk up and watch her curiously. She stands there carving for a few minutes, and then steps back. The others smile (and start to tear up, though they didn’t dare ask Zahra or Estella about it) when they realize that she carved each of their names down in a row, with a heart underneath.
Zahra. Craig. Sean. Michelle. Estella. Raj. Aleister. Grace. Quinn. Furball. Varyyn. Diego. Jake. River.
“River…” Raj sniffed. “You didn’t have to make us all cry.”
She smiled, looking at her handiwork. “This way, we’ll all be together forever. Our endless summer.”
Estella quickly wipes away her tears before anyone notices, while Quinn (and Craig and Raj) are openly crying. Zahra scowls and pretends to be mad to cover up her tears.
Diego gives her a tight hug, and she sits down with Jake once more, in his arms. The rest of the night they sing together, listening to Raj playing the guitar, until the sun rose. They each silently reflected on their time on the island, how they had changed, if their homes were going to still be the same… but even with all these thoughts and fears, they knew they had each other, always.
And they would always have their endless summer.