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Fly Me to the Moon

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Heiki didn’t know shit or fuck about love.

Hell, she barely even knew about like yet. It was a...vaguely familiar concept.

Her parents certainly hadn’t liked her. Neither had any of the caretakers in the orphanages or halfway houses - it wasn’t in their job description to like the children they took care of, just make sure they didn’t starve or get into trouble - and the second one was...optional. There had been a slew of foster parents who’d wanted to like her, but had ultimately given up.

She’d desperately wanted Calen to like her, even just a little bit, but that had ended up falling through, too. For the best, in the end, but it still stung .

As for herself, well - Heiki had never liked anybody.

She repeated this to herself stubbornly as she practically glared a hole into the back of Rachel’s head. She didn’t like anybody .

Except the truth of it was, she was on a fast track to liking lots of people.

But Rachel had been the first, and was by far the hardest of them all to navigate.

In most ways, it was pretty effortless. Rachel was nice, and they spent plenty of time together, and she was always really patient whenever Heiki forgot that fighting was bad or whatever. These days, she was a little more accustomed to using her words and communicating like Rachel and her foster moms and her therapist had told her to do (“You’re pissing me off,” was technically communicating her feelings, right?).

The thing was, she really, really liked Rachel. She didn’t have the word for that yet. She was still catching up on her “emotional literacy” or whatever. All she knew was that she felt calmer around Rachel, but more on edge at the same time. And she wanted to be around her a lot, and she missed her when she wasn’t. And she wanted to like, hold her hand and all that dumb mushy shit.

Unfortunately, all of that stuff completely escaped her. Heiki didn’t know the first thing about getting someone’s attention - well, she had Rachel’s attention, but getting her to… like her. Like, like her , like her. God, she was incoherent.

The only experience she had with that was when she’d tried to be Calen’s perfect little weapon - and those sorts of things didn’t impress Rachel much, obviously .

“Heiki,” the teacher called, using that sixth sense all seasoned teachers possess that tells them when a student isn’t paying attention, “would you mind reading the next passage for us?”

She ducked her head to hide her furious blush, searching frantically in her textbook for wherever the hell the rest of the class was at.

“Page 127,” Rachel whispered, “second paragraph.”

“Thanks,” she mumbled back, locating the passage quickly.

No, she would need to take a much, much different approach with Rachel.

 

She started out by watching every romantic comedy she could get her hands on. Her moms were, understandably, confused as all fuck. It hadn’t exactly been her genre of choice in the past.

Heiki studied each scene almost religiously, taking in every romantic gesture, every emotional bit of dialogue, every inevitable fight-and-break-up and the consequential making-up scene.

She realized that her initial assessment of romcoms had been correct, and they were all more or less the same and also dumb as hell.

...A couple of them got a tear or two out of her, but she would never ever admit that to anyone, ever.

She needed a better approach.

Romance novels, it turned out, were about as helpful as the movies, but took much longer to get through, even when she just skimmed for the important bits. The main difference between movies and novels were that there were a lot more of the, er… grown-up scenes. She spent a whole lot of her time reading them trying not to blush (she failed).

 

Plan C was to go straight to the source - sort of.

“Eric. What sort of stuff does your sister like?”

The twelve-year-old blinked at her. “What do you mean? You should know. You’re friends.”

“I mean like,” she huffed, already embarrassed and frustrated, “you know, dating stuff. How might someone who was interested...ask her out?”

Eric raised an eyebrow. “Well, first of all, Rachel would only consider it if it were someone she knew pretty well, and who she cared about. So you’re good so far.”

“Who said anything about me ?” He just gave Heiki a withering look, and she shut up. “Fine, okay. And what then? Is she even interested in girls?”

“Well, she certainly hasn’t shown much interest in boys.”

“...I guess I’ll take those odds. What next?”

“Uh,” Eric looked like he was at a loss. “Kiss her?”

“Fool, I can’t just kiss her. I’ve gotta like...do the whole...wooing thing.”

“Oh. Well. I heard that when two girls really like each other, they do something called ‘scissoring.’”

“What the hell is that?”

“Dunno. I just heard some boys at school talking about it.”

She nodded, making a mental note to look it up later. “Okay. Anything else?”

“There’s a school dance coming up, isn’t there? I thought I heard her mention it the other day. Maybe you should ask her to go.” That wasn’t a bad idea, but it was also so cliched. “Get her flowers or something.”

She wrinkled her nose. “Flowers…” Heiki knew that it was a fairly common gesture, but the whole idea of it seemed so silly. They’d just die in a few days, anyway, and there was nothing romantic about wilted, dried-up flowers stinking up the house. “I guess so… You aren’t much help.”

“I’m twelve,” he countered. “But, Heiki, you’ve got magic. You really can’t think of anything you can do for Rachel?”

Heiki shrugged helplessly. “I’ve never done this before. I don’t know what to do.”

“You know Rachel,” Eric replied easily. “You’ll think of something. Besides, I’ve got a feeling she’d like it, no matter what.”

She didn’t have the nerve to ask what he meant.

 

Later, she looked up what ‘scissoring’ was. It was a very uncomfortable ten minutes as she tried to figure out how to delete the search history on the computer.

 

In the end, she didn’t settle on something big or flashy or obvious.

Well, that sort of depended on one’s definition of “flashy,” but for them, going flying was perfectly normal, so in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t out of the ordinary.

The exception being that Heiki practically barged into Rachel’s house after dinner, greeting Rachel’s family (and the prapsies) quickly before running upstairs to find Rachel herself.

“Come on.”

Rachel was studying, of course. She blinked at Heiki like she’d grown two heads.

“What are you staring at? I’ve got something to show you.”

“You know, you might have just asked ,” Rachel replied, but she said it on a laugh, so Heiki knew she didn’t really mind at all, and she was already standing up. “Okay. What’s so important, then?”

She didn’t answer, just took Rachel by the hand and pulled her outside. It was a cloudy night. “We’re flying. Come on.” Flustered, she gave no time for Rachel to ask any questions, casting her flying spell with her hand still clasped tight around Rachel’s so she didn’t have many options besides to follow. She lead Rachel up and up and up, through the thick layer of clouds until they broke through, and there was nothing but open sky and a million stars above them.

By now, her palms were getting quite sweaty, but she didn’t want to let go of Rachel’s hand. They took slow, deep breaths of the thin air.

“What’s the deal,” Rachel asked, looking around. “What did you want to show me?”

“Just this.”

She giggled. “Heiki, we see this all the time. What was all that fuss about?”

“I know,” Heiki replied, glancing away. “I just...wanted to see it together. That’s all.” Her face burned. She couldn’t bear to even look at Rachel. This had been a silly idea.

“I’m glad,” she finally replied, her voice so soft. And then she squeezed Heiki’s hand tight, and she looked over to see her smiling. She wanted to watch Rachel smiling forever.

Heiki didn’t know shit or fuck about love, but by god she was going to learn.