My participation piece in the Animorphs Holiday Exchange on LiveJournal. The short fic that accompanies this image is below the credits.
Elfangor & Loren (c) Scholastic Books
Animorphs (c) Scholastic Books
Art & Fic (c) Tygerwolfe
Lasts & Firsts
I stepped back into the shadows of the forest and looked down at my hand. That was it – the last human who’s DNA I needed to complete my Frolis Maneuver and create my own unique human morph. He hadn’t even noticed when I’d reached out of the shadows to touch him.
Humans are such a wonderful and yet sometimes completely oblivious species. I was going to enjoy finally being one of them. Especially because of the other thing it meant.
“So that was it?” Loren’s voice came from behind me. She was speaking in barely a whisper, and my left eyestalk swiveled around to take in the look of anticipation and happiness on her face.
<It was,> I responded in thought-speak for one of the last times. My second stomach felt a bit nervous, but my legs and back were strong as tempered steel – a human metal I had learned about recently. <I can become human now.>
Loren smiled and approached me, throwing her arms around my neck and gently pulling me down to press her lips against the fur of my cheek. I put my arms around her in response and held her. Soon I would have lips with which to return the other gesture.
Yes, I was very much looking forward to that.
As we broke the embrace and she stepped back, I let my stalk eyes examine the surrounding forest one more time. I would miss having true, accurate sight, of course. And my hooves…and my tail. I arched it over my head in a stretch and crushed a bit of grass beneath hoof, taking in a last taste of the earth grass. Loren has taught me that humans do not make a practice of eating grass.
That’s good, I suppose. I can only imagine how messy it might be with mouths.
“Wait,” Loren said suddenly, a mischievous twinkle in her eyes. “How about one last ride before you morph?”
She had ridden me before, of course. Though that was more in a life-or-death situation. However strange it had been, I did enjoy her small, strong weight on my back. I supposed there could be no harm in indulging that particular desire. <I see no reason not to.>
Loren gave a laugh – how I love her laugh – and climbed up onto my back, squeezing her knees into my sides. I gave a dramatic half lunge, and then broke into a run, letting myself feed as I carried her, strength shooting up my legs with every step. Loren held on to the fur just behind where my upper and lower bodies joined, leaning with me as I leaped and turned, weaving through the forest not far from her neighborhood.
It was the last time for a very long time that I would run in my Andalite body. And it was the very best run of my life.
Several months later, as I adjusted to my human body (it wasn’t nearly as difficult staying balanced on two legs as I had thought!), it came time for the human winter holiday known as “Christmas.”
Loren said that first Christmases are very important, and insisted that I stay at her house for the holiday. I accepted – though I was fast beginning to realize that if Loren invited me to leap from a cliff without a means to survive the fall, I may very well have taken the leap simply to be with her.
The night of the holiday we drank a delicious hot beverage known as “cocoa,” and sat together on her family’s couch long after her parents had gone to bed. The light of her fireplace and the small, twinkling, multi-colored lights on the strange, indoor pine that she called a “Christmas tree” gave the room a festive and warm glow.
Loren leaned her head against my shoulder, and I found my own head nodding toward hers. Being a human is fairly tiring, all that turning your head and balancing on two legs with no tail to say the least – but as tired as I was, being with Loren made it more than worth it.
“Happy first Christmas, Elfangor,” she whispered. I had taken the name Alan Fangor, but when we were in private, Loren sometimes liked to use my true name. I admit, I did not tire of hearing it from her.
“Happy Christmas, Loren,” I responded, and closed my eyes. And it truly was the happiest Christmas of my life.