Well, I made such a rocket start with my entry for the December prompt, but then on the fifth, I suddenly got sick with the flu, and as of the time I'm posting this, I'm still sick and have been sick for nearly two weeks.
The most agonizing part of this flu, however, is that my hearing took a turn for the worse last Friday, and I've been hearing endless tinnitus night and day ever since. Even now, I'm still suffering from this agony, and I desperately hope it ends soon.
Still, I didn't let that take me down when it came to this story. After about a week away, I came back to finish this story against the odds, and I hope my efforts paid off in giving you an enjoyable story!
NOTE: This is a post-Secret Love story in my timeline, so some of you may be dismayed that two certain kids are in a relationship in this story. This also revisits a concept I made for last year's December prompt, so it may start once again in familiar territory before it eventually blends in to involve everyone. Other than that, I hope the rest of this story will make for a good read. :)
WE ALL HAVE DREAMS
Beneath the bluish-pink setting of the Bright Circle, the Great Valley was completely coated in white ground sparkles. Frozen sky water fell gently from the sky with the occasional sparkle from the reflection of the Bright Circle's last few precious moments of light for the day. To some curious children, the sight of it seemed so beautiful, but very few in the valley were really interested in the sparkling sight of the falling sparkles.
For many, it could only mean that another Cold Time had officially arrived and had come to freeze the valley over for the next few Night Circle cycles. The only relief came from the fact that this was a much easier start compared to the previous Cold Time when a violent storm wiped out part of the valley's population. Even then, though, green food would be hard to come by, and the dinosaurs would still have to persevere as much as they could to prevent starvation.
All this meant little to a young Flyer who kept his eyes fixed on the setting Bright Circle as if he was anticipating something. An eager expression formed on his face as if he was mentally counting down the number of minutes before it would turn completely dark. Only one thing was on his mind as he awaited that "magic" moment …
"Me no understand," he whispered to himself, "How me see me whole family if Daddy … d-dead?"
Within the ice wall, Papa Flyer lowered one of his wings and gently pressed it against Petrie's chest. The real Petrie looked down and saw that there was nothing pressing against his chest, but he sensed that his father within his reflection was gesturing to him that he was with him in his heart. The young Flyer sniffled and chuckled a little at the answer, and he grinned at his father in the wall of frozen water. His father smiled back at him.
That one night meant so much to Petrie. Just the idea of being able to see his father's face was something he had longed for his whole life. He had lost all hope of ever seeing him after his mother finally opened the secret to him about how he met such a tragic fate when he was only a baby.
It devastated him.
He was upset for many Night Circle cycles, even after … that night. It seemed as if one night of special closure would never be enough for him. He would have very well wished to have had just his mother, father and uncle by his side instead of being stuck with just his loving mother and … rotten siblings.
Although, Pearlwing had reformed and had now grown to adore Petrie as a brother, Donnie and Terra were still the same, rotten bullies they had been their whole lives. Even Petrie and Ducky's heroic defeat of a Sailback Sharptooth did nothing to change their views on their little brother. Skybeak seemed somewhat indifferent, not wanting to get on anyone's bad side, but being forced to choose one proved difficult at times. However, he was finally beginning to show respect for Petrie despite the fact that he was in a blossoming relationship with someone who wasn't a Flyer.
Only a few of the Bright Circle's rays were left still faintly providing a tiny, purplish light to the dark blue-grayish sky. Any minute now, it would be dark enough for him to …
Petrie sunk his head in dismay. The last thing he had wanted was for his mother to intervene at just the wrong moment. Why did she have to be so smart and easily guess exactly what he was up to? At times like these, it greatly annoyed him, but he didn't have the heart to tell her so.
"It's time to come inside and get some sleep," came his mother's voice as she stepped outside onto the ledge in front of their warm cave.
Petrie sighed sadly, "Okay, Mama."
"Don't be so sad, dear," said Mama Flyer, "At least it'll be warm in here. I have a nice little fire in here to keep everyone warm."
She gently rubbed his shoulder, and the little Flyer looked back to see a tiny fire glowing from a few sticks his mother had found earlier that day. Donnie, Terra, Skybeak and Pearlwing were all gathered around it, trying to keep themselves warm, knowing that the fire would eventually be extinguished by the bitter cold of the outside world.
"Okay," murmured Petrie, and he stood up and walked inside with his mother right behind to provide warmth for his back.
The boy slowly approached the tiny fire his mother had started only a few minutes ago by scratching a stone against one of the walls until it ignited a tiny spark that made their way to the sweet spot where the gathered sticks were. Small rocks circled around the sticks to keep it contained within that one spot.
Skybeak and Pearlwing each scooted aside to leave a spot for their brother to sit down, and Petrie reluctantly sat down with his four siblings, keeping his eyes only on the fire. He still didn't feel comfortable making eye contact with any of his siblings, not even Pearlwing.
The warmth of the fire slowly reached him, and he let out a tiny sigh of relaxation. It did little to brighten his mood, though, being around his siblings whom he was sure would start making fun of him the moment their mother left their presence for just one second.
"So, … um, … what are you going to be up to tomorrow?"
Petrie recognized that voice as Skybeak, and he was surprised to see the dark brown Flyer giving him a very slight grin. Even after his small change of heart, Skybeak had never really tried to engage Petrie in conversation until now.
"Probably just go fly around valley or something," Petrie answered, sounding rather uninterested in anything, "Somehow, Cold Time not happy time for me."
"Why?" asked Pearlwing curiously.
"Oh, I think we all know the answer to that question," sneered Donnie with a devious chuckle.
Immediately, Petrie shot a glare at his oldest brother as if the sound of his voice alone was enough to trigger him.
"No remind me!" the younger Flyer hissed.
"Well, how could we forget?" spat Terra, "I still haven't gotten over what happened that night."
Petrie could already feel his blood boiling as the indirect mention of his humiliating wetting accident the previous Cold Time burned in his head. He hated being reminded of it, and Donnie and Terra were never afraid to take advantage of him not wanting to remember that bad memory.
"Hey! Shut up, guys!" shouted Skybeak, much to Petrie's astonishment, "Petrie doesn't want to remember that!"
"Why can't you ever put our past squabbling behind us!?" protested Pearlwing.
"Here's a better question: Why has the Bright Circle condemned me to have children who detest each other!?" their mother put in before anyone could respond.
"Pah! Why would I want to put those past idiocies behind us?" grumbled Donnie.
Both oldest and youngest sibling glared at each other like mortal enemies before the latter stood up and kicked a tiny stone over the fire towards the former.
"Fine! Enjoy your stupid fire and leave me alone!" yelled Petrie, his eyes fixed on Donnie and Terra, and he scurried away from his siblings and made his way to the back of the cave, grabbing his snuggling stick and sitting down glumly.
Mama Flyer shook her head and left her four other children to keep warm around the fire. She turned her attention to Petrie and sat down next to her distraught son. Even for her, it brought back bad memories of the previous Cold Time, but for now all she knew she had to do was just keep him warm company and not say anything. No words had to be spoken to express her motherly love for him. He could feel it sinking in without having to be told. Admittedly, though, he wondered how this compared to the moments he had spent with Ducky during the warm season when they spent nights in their secret hideout.
In the back of his mind, Petrie was beginning to sense another opportunity at doing just what he had wanted to do tonight. It seemed to be the only way he could really get out at night …
"Yes," he thought, "Me go when everyone asleep."
He watched impatiently as his four siblings kept near the fire until they eventually started yawning and took to their regular sleeping spots.
"Goodnight, children," their mother spoke to them.
"Goodnight, Mom," they all replied as they fell asleep.
Petrie feigned a yawn and lied down on his side, clutching his snuggling stick tightly in his wings.
"I love you, Petrie," his mother warmly whispered in his ear.
"Me love you, too, Mama," the little Flyer replied before closing his eyes.
"Goodnight, dear," said Mama Flyer, nuzzling her son and kissing him on the forehead.
"Goodnight, Mom," Petrie whispered, and he carefully listened to his mother's movements so that he could tell when she would eventually fall asleep.
He slightly opened one eye and took a glance at her. The cerulean Flyer had settled down and had just closed her eyes. He patiently waited for her to start sleep rumbling. Only then would he know for sure that she would be fast asleep, and he would take that as his cue to make a break for it.
He heard all four of his siblings sleep rumbling, and he did his best to drown them out so he could listen to his mother. At the very least, he could easily sneak his way out, but he couldn't tell if his mother was still alert enough to notice if he made the slightest move.
Then, … a sleep rumble came from Mama Flyer's mouth, and at that very instant, Petrie opened both his eyes, stood up, carefully set his snuggling stick down and began to tiptoe his way through the cave. He frantically eyed his siblings to make sure they stayed asleep, and once he had gotten past them and the small fire still sizzling silently, he went a little faster until he was outside. He felt a blast of cold air hit him as he left the warmth of his home, but he didn't mind as long as he knew exactly where he was going. Only one place was on his mind tonight.
With determined eyes, Petrie opened his wings and jumped from the ledge, flapping to stay aloft as he began his flight through the cold night.
His eyes scanned an area he so easily recognized from the previous Cold Time. The trees were completely bare. The white-coated rocks were huge, about as big as the one he was looking for. One of the west borders of the valley was just ahead, and he could just faintly make out one of the rays of the Bright Circle providing some faint purple color to the western horizon.
Finally, he looked to his right, and he noticed a large rock with sky blue light emitting from it.
"There it is!" he said, trying to hold back his excitement as he eagerly soared his way down and swooped inside the huge cave.
He gently touched down against the sparkle-covered ground and noticed all the sky blue shiny stones on the walls and the stone teeth. The whole cave was dimly illuminated by the blue light just as he had remembered it. He looked all around to take just a precious moment to admire the beauty of the stones before he turned his attention to one particular wall on the far end of the cave …
There he spotted the large Wall of Frozen Water, flanked on either end by a single blue shiny stone. Just as Petrie had hoped, the water was once again completely frozen and unmoving, and very clear judging by how he easily noticed his own reflection. It was just as he had remembered it, even if a whole warm season had gone by to melt the frozen water and merely turn it into a waterfall before the next Cold Time froze the water solid all over again.
Petrie slowly approached the Wall of Frozen Water and stood completely still just one foot away. He kept his eyes fixed on his reflection, blinking a lot less than he normally would. He stood anxiously and nervously as he patiently awaited that magic moment that would make his night much brighter.
Just a few moments went by, and yet nothing happened.
A few moments more, and still nothing.
Quivering in despair, Petrie began to lose all hope, and he was just about to turn his head around, … when he suddenly stopped …
The clouds of white appeared so suddenly behind his reflection within the wall, and Petrie gasped with anxious hope. His stomach lurched at even the slightest possibility that what he wanted to see may not appear. His heart was pounding rapidly as the clouds kept coming in before they stopped and began to shapeshift into Flyers … and a Swimmer …
Petrie was baffled at the sight of what looked like a Swimmer taking form amongst the clouds, but in seconds everyone within the ice became recognizable. He noticed all four of his siblings showing some uncharacteristically happy smiles just as he had seen the previous Cold Time. He saw his mother, uncle, and much to his delight, his father; just the one he had wanted to see so badly. The only true reason he had even thought of coming here was just so he could see the face of the father he never got to know, someone he had longed to have throughout his young life.
"You know, Petrie, as much as this vision of our whole family together may seem happy, it is also a reminder of something that can never become reality. If I could ask you a favor just for me, it would be to not come looking for this mysterious wall of frozen water every so often. I don't want to see you wasting away in front of this thing, dreaming only of seeing your father and uncle reunited with the rest of us. It does not do good to dwell on something that cannot come true … and forget to live the life you're living now. You have friends you can count on … to help you be the 'you' you are now; … my special little boy whom I love so much."
Throughout that Cold Time, all Petrie could do on some evenings was think about how soon he could sneak out and revisit this cave just so he could see his father's smile once again.
He then shifted his eyes to the Swimmer, and he soon realized … it was Ducky, the one he had fallen in love with and was now in a happy relationship with. The Swimmer was hugging the "reflection" Petrie around the back and happily kissing him on the cheek. His family were all smiling and chuckling at the adorable sight.
The real Petrie was nearly brought to tears by this. Although he had heard from his mother that this Wall of Frozen Water showed nothing more than one's deepest desire, it seemed to him that he was getting a glimpse of how happy his life would be if he had a complete family that was happy for him falling in love at such a young age, even if it was with a Swimmer, whom many other Flyers in the world would surely have seen as an abomination. He noticed the big smile on his father's face, and that was enough to tell him that had he lived to see his son fall in love, even with a Swimmer like Ducky, he would still have been very proud of him for having such a big heart and for steadily growing up as his Time of Great Growing would soon be just a few Cold Times away.
Before falling in love with Ducky, Petrie had only one desire: to have a complete family, all alive and well; the what ifs of his family. What if his father hadn't been slaughtered? What if his uncle hadn't become a criminal and earned himself banishment from society? What if his siblings were nice to him? Part of that had since come true, as Pearlwing had finally started to be nice to Petrie, and so was, to a lesser extent, Skybeak.
This, on the other hand, was something he could not have anticipated. To see Ducky appear before him and to see his family apparently happy for his growth on some levels was beyond what he could have imagined. Could it be that what one saw in the Wall of Frozen Water could change should one's desire change also? Things had changed quite a lot for Petrie in the past year, so it was very likely that what he most deeply desired changed over the past twelve Night Circle cycles.
Looking at the vision of Ducky suddenly made Petrie think about her. All of a sudden, it dawned on him …
What if he could show her just what he had seen in the Wall of Frozen Water, or if one could not see another's desires, maybe he could at least show her the ice and let her see what it would show her. Maybe she could see her own deepest desire just as he could see his.
With a determined grin, Petrie turned away from the Wall of Frozen Water and made his way out of the cave before taking to flight in the night skies once again. He knew just where to go …
The cold air blew gently around the little Flyer as he soared over the frozen valley. He was never one to enjoy flying at night during the Cold Time, but a fresh wave of determination had given him the energy to rise up to such an occasion and do what he had to do.
The white sparkles carpeting the ground made it difficult for him to recognize his surroundings, but once he saw the familiar river (albeit frozen), he knew where he was, and he knew his and Ducky's nests were just a short distance away.
He briefly glanced to his left and saw his own cave. He kept his eyes on it for only one split second to see if his family were still asleep. To his great relief, they were. To him, it meant they still had no idea he had even snuck out.
Looking ahead again, Petrie saw a nest on the other side of the river, occupied by two adult Swimmers, many Swimmer children and one Spiketail, all asleep. He chuckled as he sensed his golden opportunity and swerved down carefully before making a soft landing just a few feet away from the Swimmer nest.
He heard the sleep rumbling of all the Swimmers present, and could even easily make out that of Spike's, given that the Spiketail was quite a loud sleeper. Cautiously, Petrie tiptoed his way past Mama and Papa Swimmer and eventually reached Spike, whom was wrapping Ducky around his tail. He slowed down as he approached them, making very faint crunching sounds as his feet crunched against the ground sparkles. He gulped nervously as he very gently tapped Ducky's shoulder.
"Psst. Ducky," he whispered.
The Swimmer only let out a slight moan, and Petrie frantically looked around to ensure himself that nobody else had woken up, and once he knew everyone was still asleep, he tapped her shoulder again and brought his beak to her ear.
"Ducky? Psst. Ducky."
Soon, Ducky's sleep rumbling stopped, and she slightly opened one of her eyes in clear annoyance of being woken up in the middle of the night. However, once that partially-opened eye turned towards Petrie, and she noticed who it was, her expression immediately softened.
"Petrie?" she whispered weakly as she opened her other eye and yawned quietly, "W-what are you doing here in the middle of the night, my Funny Flyer? I am sure you should be home with your family."
"Ssh," hissed Petrie frantically, covering her mouth with his wing, "Listen, me Sweet Swimmer. Me have something me want to show you."
"Uh, … n-now?" whispered a dumbfounded Ducky, wondering just what her "Funny Flyer" was up to at this time of the night.
"You really got to see this, Ducky. It really special, and me think you should see this," insisted Petrie.
"Are you sure?" asked Ducky.
"Yeah," nodded Petrie in a whisper, "Just keep quiet and follow me."
Ducky hesitated for a moment as she looked at her sleeping Spiketail brother, then at her parents, and once she knew that Petrie was giving her one of those "must come" kind of attitudes that was usually typical from Littlefoot or Cera, she gave in and crawled her way out of Spike's hold and took Petrie's hand. The two kids tiptoed away from the nest, and once they were sure they would be out of Ducky's parents' hearing range, they started running as fast as they could, with Petrie leading the way.
They were completely unaware, however, that a certain someone had opened his eyes for one split second, … long enough to notice …
Petrie was soaring low towards the ground, just ahead of Ducky. The Swimmer was sure to stay close behind so that she would not lose him. It would not do to get lost in the middle of the night, no matter where in the Great Valley one was. It was almost completely dark, and their sight was very limited, so Petrie relied on how much white he could see so that he could make out the frozen sky water and ground sparkles coating the land. This way, he was able to tell where he was, and he could feel certain he was leading his girlfriend in the correct direction.
Ducky kept her eyes only on Petrie unless she had to climb her way up a rock or jump over something. She was extra careful to not run too fast so that she wouldn't risk hurting herself when it was this dark.
Before long, Petrie saw the blue light again, and he smiled with joy.
"There it is, Ducky!" he called to her, "This way! In here!"
Ducky noticed the direction Petrie was flying towards, and she then saw the blue light for herself, emitting inside a large rock with an opening that appeared big enough to fit an adult Spiketail or Threehorn. She gasped as she eagerly followed her boyfriend inside, excitedly by the idea of being greeted by such an astonishing surprise …
That was exactly what she got the moment she stepped inside …
The little Swimmer gasped loudly with amazement as she noticed all the sky blue shiny stones stuck within the walls and stone teeth of the cave. The whole cave was in a beautiful shade of dim blue light that only slightly improved her version compared to being outside in the cold. It was hardly any warmer in comparison to the valley outside, but the mere sight of it all was such a beauty for anyone to behold.
"Wow!" Ducky shouted excitedly, "This place looks so beautiful! Yep, yep, yep!"
Petrie chuckled at her initial reaction to seeing the many shiny stones the cave had. It seemed to remind him of that day when he took her to Pink Forest for the first time and received a similar reaction.
"Just how many more hidden wonders does the Great Valley have, I wonder?" said Ducky.
"Me no know," answered Petrie, shrugging.
"You really are good at discovering them, my Funny Flyer," chuckled Ducky, gently taking Petrie's hand.
"Um, … it … nothing, really, me Sweet Swimmer," stammered Petrie, blushing in embarrassment.
"So, … um, … what is this … thing you wanted-ed to show me?" asked Ducky curiously.
"It over here," replied Petrie, and the two held each other's backs as he led her to the "special thing" that dominated the entire cave …
The Wall of Frozen Water.
Ducky gazed with wonder as she noticed their reflections in the completely still water stuck against the wall, with one blue shiny stone on either side of the patch of ice.
"Petrie, … I can see us," whispered Ducky in astonishment.
"This … where me go last Cold Time, … and see me whole family, … even me Daddy," said Petrie.
"Really?" gasped Ducky, looking into Petrie's eyes as she recalled the story he had told her about discovering the Wall of Frozen Water and seeing his whole family.
"Me see me Mama, me Daddy, me Uncle Pterano and me brothers and sisters all so happy," recalled Petrie, "Me Mama say she see exactly same thing, … because we both want same thing."
Ducky glanced around the Wall of Frozen Water to admire its appearance. However, she was still perplexed by the fact that since they had approached the ice, … nothing had happened yet.
"Does it … show … our families?" she pondered.
"Mama say it show us what we want," said Petrie.
"Hmm," said Ducky, scratching her chin, "I only see … us."
Suddenly realizing just what the problem was, Petrie gently pulled Ducky just a few steps closer to the Wall of Frozen Water.
"Stand right here and look in properly," he instructed, "Then wait and … it happen."
The Flyer backed away from her and stood to the side while Ducky just stood still and stared at her reflection for a few moments, waiting for something to happen.
Nothing seemed to happen. All Ducky could see was herself. She began to wonder if …
The little Swimmer gasped as she saw several white clouds appear behind her reflection in the ice wall, and she looked back only to find that nothing was behind her. She glanced back at her reflection and watched as the clouds began to take many dinosaur shapes, all of them appearing to be young ones.
"Oh, my!" she gasped, "What is happening!?"
"It working!" said Petrie, "Just keep still."
One of the clouds then took the form of a young Swimmer that looked so much like Ducky, … except she was able to make out those green eyes she had not seen in more than three Cold Times. She seemed to still appear as if she was five Cold Times old, and thus was now smaller than Ducky's reflection, … but the little Swimmer managed to recognize her and let out a loud gasp of surprise …
"Judy!?" she said in between huge breaths of disbelief, "Is that … y-you!?"
To her amazement, her long-lost friend in the Wall nodded at her without making any audible sound, and Ducky's eyes went wide in great surprise.
"Oh, my!" she stammered, covering her mouth with her hands as she tried to hold back her genuine shock and surprise at seeing a friend she had lost so tragically so long ago.
The other clouds eventually took the form of several other dinosaurs she knew so well …
Littlefoot, Cera, Spike, Chomper and Ruby all appeared before her to join her and Judy, … but Petrie wasn't there …
"That is funny," said Ducky, scratching her head, "I see our friends, but I do not see you."
"Huh?" said a dumbfounded Petrie.
Within Ducky's reflection, everyone gestured her to look to her left, and she promptly turned to her left to look at her Funny Flyer simply standing there, looking curiously into her eyes.
"I think they are telling you to come join in. Yes, yes, yes," chuckled Ducky.
Petrie chuckled sheepishly and slowly approached his Sweet Swimmer. Once close enough, Ducky playfully pulled him in for a hug, and the two looked into the Wall of Frozen Water together. It was only then that Petrie managed to catch a glimpse of their friends … and Judy.
"Whoa!" gasped Petrie as he eyed the second Swimmer, "That Judy?"
"It is, it is," said Ducky, sniffling as she thought of the memories long past.
"She look so …," Petrie struggled to find the right words to describe this adorable-looking Swimmer.
"Sweet and innocent," Ducky described.
"Yeah," nodded Petrie thoughtfully.
"She was such a sweet, kind friend who taught-ed me so much before I could even make friends. She was, she was," sniffled Ducky, "I miss her every day, … but I have friends that help me remember how important it is to move on."
"Just like how me miss me Daddy and Uncle Pterano," sighed Petrie.
"Um, … s-speaking of which …," stuttered Ducky as she noticed more clouds appearing behind their reflections, three of them bigger than before.
Petrie knew what those were. From his repeated visits to this cave in the previous Cold Time, he knew just what was coming next …
The clouds soon took the shape of several Flyers, whom Petrie recognized as his mother, siblings, uncle … and long-lost father.
"Is that … your Daddy, Petrie?" whispered a stunned Ducky, staring at said Flyer.
"Yes," Petrie quietly confirmed, "Me Daddy me lose when me just a baby."
"I think it would have been nice if they got to be in the valley with us," said Ducky solemnly, "Yes, yes, yes."
"Me agree, Ducky," said Petrie, turning to look at her, "Me think this night something we should remember forever."
"Me, too. Yep, yep, yep," nodded Ducky, and she looked at Petrie, "Thank you for showing me this, my Funny Flyer."
Petrie smiled and gently nuzzled his girlfriend's cheek, "You welcome, me Sweet Swimmer."
"I love you, Petrie," whispered Ducky.
"Me love you, too, Ducky," replied Petrie.
The two rubbed each other's cheeks as they looked at their reflections being accompanied by a family one felt should have remained intact, a friend the other had lost, and their valley friends seemingly smiling at them for what they had achieved in life (namely, their love for each other, and their brave heroism).
For a while, time seemed to stand still as they glanced at their shared desires while occasionally looking at each other with loving eyes. It was such a perfect moment they wished would never end.
Suddenly, Littlefoot and the other kids began to turn transparent again. Ducky was mystified as to how this could be happening.
"Wait!" shouted Ducky, "W-where are they going!?"
Petrie, on the other hand, picked up the sense to why their friends were disappearing …
Just as the kids vanished completely from the ice, the Flyer turned around and noticed Spike leading their friends into the cave.
"Ducky?" he whispered, and when she looked at him, he pointed a finger behind them.
The Swimmer looked back and noticed just what he had; their friends suddenly joining them right out of the blue.
"There you are!" said Littlefoot.
"Guys?" gasped Ducky, "W-what are you doing here?"
"Well, let's just say that a certain Spiketail insisted on waking us up so we could all go looking for you," said Cera sarcastically.
Ducky and Petrie glanced at Spike, and he shrugged at them innocently. Surely, they couldn't have woken him up while they were sneaking out of the Swimmer nest, but it seemed that they had, and Spike had noticed them for just one moment.
"Spike?" sighed Ducky, "You do not need to follow us all of the time. No, no, no."
Spike moaned and nuzzled his sister, and she gave in and hugged him around the neck.
"Wow! This place is so beautiful! Beautiful it is!" said Ruby as she noticed all the sky blue shiny stones illuminating the cave.
"It's amazing!" agreed Cera, "I wonder how this compares to that Canyon of Shiny Stones?"
"Hey, guys," Littlefoot greeted Ducky and Petrie, "So, what have you two been up to?"
"We were looking all over for you," said Chomper.
Ducky and Petrie looked at each other worriedly. They weren't so sure about breaking the secret of the Wall of Frozen Water to their friends, but if they went through so much just to find them on a cold night, then they deserved to know the truth.
Petrie hesitantly walked up to Littlefoot and gulped.
"We … looking through this … wall of frozen water."
He pointed towards the ice, and they all glanced at the wall and noticed their reflections.
"Just looking at yourselves in this?" huffed Cera, "Doesn't sound very interesting to me."
"It can be fun if you put your mind to it, because when you put your mind to things, they can be fun," said Ruby.
"I suppose," said Cera, rolling her eyes.
"What's so special about this?" asked Chomper.
"Well, … it shows us what we so desperately want," said Ducky.
"Mama say it show us our hearts' deepest desires," explained Petrie.
The kids exchanged odd glances. They had never heard of anything that could show one's most desperate desires. How could that be possible? No one had even spoken of such a thing, either. Not even in all the adventures they had been on had they come across anything capable of showing one's most wanted desires.
"Exactly how could anything do that?" asked a baffled Cera.
"Um, … maybe you should look at it," suggested Ducky.
"Not all at once, though," Petrie frantically pointed out, "Just … one at a time?"
The five other kids shrugged at each other before everyone's eyes turned to Littlefoot. The Longneck simply took that as a gesture that he should look in first.
Ducky and Petrie stepped away from the ice and gestured everyone else to back away to the side, and Littlefoot stepped right up to the Wall of Frozen Water and glanced at his reflection.
For a few moments, all he could see was himself. It just seemed like any ordinary water that one could look in to see his or her reflection.
Suddenly, white puffies began to appear behind his reflection. The Longneck gasped and looked back, only to find that nothing was behind him.
"What's happening?" he gasped as he turned back to his reflection.
Suddenly, he saw himself as an adult, and he noticed all his friends in his reflection, except they, too, were adults. He was standing over a large crowd of dinosaurs, all of whom were bowing before him.
The biggest shock, though, was amongst the three Longnecks standing among his friends … was his mother; someone he had so tragically lost, someone he watched die before his very eyes. She was standing beside him, smiling proudly at him, along with his grandparents, and his friends' families.
"M-Mother?" stuttered Littlefoot.
"What you see?" asked Petrie curiously.
"I see … me, … except … I'm all grown up. I see you guys, and you're all grown up, too. Our families are standing beside us, and many other dinosaurs are bowing before us," explained Littlefoot.
"Maybe you want to become leader of the Great Valley when you grow up, Littlefoot. Yep, yep, yep," said Ducky.
Littlefoot pondered for a moment as he gazed at what the Wall of Frozen Water was presenting him. For a while now, he had been having sleep stories about one day becoming leader of the Great Valley and keeping it living peacefully with all his friends still by his side, even Chomper and Ruby. Even if it was very likely the Sharptooth and Fast Runner would not remain in the valley by then, and even if it was very possible his grandparents may not live to see such a day come, he always thought it would be nice if everyone he knew would get to be around to see him lead just as his grandparents had done.
"You know, once it's my time, I wanna lead the Great Valley just the way my Grandma and Grandpa do; with peace and harmony," said Littlefoot thoughtfully.
"Even if I end up like my dad?" chuckled Cera sinisterly.
Littlefoot cast a smug look at the Threehorn and nodded at her.
"Hah! Imagine if my dad is still around to see you take after your grandparents," said Cera, "I can't wait to see the look on his face! That'll be the day!"
Littlefoot smirked and stepped away from the ice.
"So, … who wants to go next?" he asked.
"Well, probably me," insisted Cera as she stepped in front of the ice, "I'm sure I know just what my greatest desire is, and I can't wait to have a look at it."
"Maybe it not quite what you think," giggled Petrie.
"Not everything is as it seems. No, no, no," agreed Ducky.
Cera glared at the Swimmer and Flyer, and they simply chuckled in response. Rolling her eyes, the Threehorn fixed her gaze on the Wall of Frozen Water, and after nearly a minute, she noticed clouds forming behind her reflection. She was surprised by this but didn't look back like the others had done.
She watched tensely as her own reflection turned into what looked like herself as an adult. The clouds behind her took the forms of her father, stepmother and little sister. Beneath her were broken pieces of rock. Many other Threehorns appeared behind them, cheering in much the same way Littlefoot described the crowd in his vision. It seemed just as she had imagined herself being throughout her life.
"Whoa!" she gasped, "T-that's me! Only I'm … a grownup, smashing into rocks with my three grown horns. My family looks so pleased with me, and there's a whole gathering of Threehorns watching me!"
"You must want to become the strongest Threehorn around, am I right?" said Chomper.
"Oh, Chomper, everyone knows that," said Littlefoot, prompting a laugh from everyone but the Threehorn herself.
"What do you think you would see, Chomper?" asked Ruby.
"Probably a lot of dinosaurs like us for dinner," sneered Cera.
"Cera!" shouted Littlefoot, shooting her a warning glare.
"Alright, I was just kidding," sighed Cera, and she stepped away from the wall, prompting Chomper to take a few steps towards the ice and glance at his own reflection.
After a brief moment, Chomper saw those white puffies form behind his reflection. He nearly took a step back but refrained at the last moment.
He gasped with wonder as the puffies took the shapes of his friends and other "friendly" Sharpteeth from the Mysterious Beyond all laughing and playing together in the Great Valley. Seeing this suddenly brought memories back to him.
He could recall once trying to make friends with other Sharpteeth before his valley friends convinced him otherwise. Even then, he still wanted to see Sharpteeth and leafeaters all playing together like a big group of friends. It was something he had longed for from the day he hatched, even if he was a Sharptooth. He had come to love his friends unlike any other Sharptooth ever could have. Everyone else was convinced that this was something that could never come true, but Chomper so dearly wished that one day it could.
"What do you see?" asked Ducky curiously, momentarily snapping him out of his train of thought.
"Oh, um, … I see … us … and other Sharpteeth," he said.
"Are they eating us?" asked Cera.
"No!" said Chomper, casting an angry look at her, "We're all … playing together like we're all good friends."
"Really?" said a stunned Petrie.
"You know it may not be possible to make friends with other Sharpteeth. No, no, no," said Ducky.
"Considering the circumstances of your hatching. No other Sharptooth I know was hatched by kids like us. It makes you … special among them," added Littlefoot.
"Still, … I wish Flatteeth and Sharpteeth could all get along together," sighed Chomper sadly.
Petrie felt as if he could sympathize with Chomper over the fact that he, too, had a desire that could not come true. Littlefoot and Cera had gotten to see the positive side of the Wall of Frozen Water; realistic, achievable desires, reflections that could give them motivation rather than heartache. Chomper, on the other hand, had gotten a taste of the negative side of the Wall; seeing a desire that could not come true, something that was unachievable. He remembered his mother stating how she didn't want to see him wasting away in front of the Wall. He pondered that perhaps the same could have happened to others who saw such desires that could not come true.
Eventually, Chomper couldn't bear to look at such a happy yet sad vision any longer, and he stepped away from the Wall, trying his best to hold back tears.
"Well, Ruby, what do you want more than anything else?" asked Littlefoot.
The pink Fast Runner pondered for a moment as she thought of just what she could want more than anything. Most frequently, she thought of seeing her family on a regular basis, or even if they came to the Great Valley, which she knew was an impossibility as long as Red Claw was still around.
"Well, … I suppose it wouldn't hurt to look, since looking wouldn't hurt," she said after a long silence, and she stepped in front of the Wall to take her turn in seeing just what her deepest desire was.
She waited for a moment for something to happen just like everyone else had done. The tempting moments passed, though, and yet nothing happened.
"Hmm, … nothing seems to be happening. I only see myself," she said.
"Does it not work for Fast Runners?" pondered Ducky.
"Maybe it because Ruby happy with how life like right now. She have family she can visit, and she have friend she can be with when it her time to go," said Petrie.
"How do you know?" asked Cera curiously.
"Mama tell me those who very happy only see themselves as they are," explained Petrie, once again recalling his mother's words about the Wall, "Ruby very happy even though she one day have to leave Great Valley."
"I suppose you're right, right you are," said Ruby, "I don't really see …"
Suddenly, she noticed white clouds appearing behind her reflection, and she was so surprised she nearly lost her footing.
"Wait! What's happening!?"
"Maybe she do have some desire after all," said Petrie.
The clouds soon took the form of Ruby's family, along with Chomper, apparently living together. Their other friends also appeared, smiling at them. The place appeared to be a cave where she once recalled living. Perhaps, it might have been a vision of what she wanted more than anything once the day came when she and Chomper would have to leave the Great Valley behind them forever. Perhaps, their leafeater friends would occasionally come to visit her and Chomper as they settled into their future lives in the Mysterious Beyond.
"I see us … and my family … in the Mysterious Beyond," she said, "It's like … it's when Chomper and I leave the valley, … and you guys are coming over for a visit at my home."
"Really?" gasped Littlefoot and Ducky.
"It feels … so happy, … happy it feels," sniffled Ruby, wiping a tear from her eye as the thought of it all melted her heart, "I know one day I won't be in the valley anymore, … and yet I would really like to see all of you again sometime."
The other kids slowly approached her, and they all gathered for a group hug.
"I'm sure we will, Ruby," said Littlefoot with a smile.
"We sure will. We will. Oh, yes, yes, yes!" added Ducky happily.
"We no be together forever, but there always be some days we can be together," said Petrie.
"No matter what happens," finished Cera.
The seven children all stood there and hugged each other for what seemed like ages. This felt like such a moment for them to cherish together. They all got to see what their hearts' deepest desires were, and they could all find solace in knowing that although they would not forever be a Gang of Seven, they would always be that way at heart. No matter what the future set in stone for them, they were sure they would remain friends forever and in memory.
Finally, they all tearfully broke away and smiled at each other.
Suddenly, Ducky realized something …
"Wait a minute! What about Spike?"
"What about Spike?" shrugged Cera.
"He didn't look at the Wall of Frozen Water," Ducky pointed out.
"Oh, Ducky, I'm sure we all know what Spike wants more than anything else," said Littlefoot.
"Lots of green food!" everyone but Ducky and Spike said in unison, and they all broke into laughter.
"I guess you are right! Yes, yes, yes!" chuckled Ducky.
Soon, the laughter died down, and the seven all turned to the exit, and suddenly stopped in their tracks.
Mama Flyer was standing right in front of them, her arms folded, one of her feet tapping against the ground sparkles.
"Uh, … h-hi, Mom," said Petrie, blushing in embarrassment as he sensed trouble was near.
"I had a feeling you would come back here again, Petrie," said Mama Flyer.
"Me sorry, Mama," sighed Petrie, sinking his head, "Me just wanted to see this frozen water again now that it Cold Time."
"How exactly did you find us, anyway?" asked Chomper.
"Other than knowing that Petrie apparently visits here frequently," put in Cera.
"Littlefoot's grandparents told us he had gone missing, and they came to tell us, only for the rest of us to realize the rest of you had gone missing, too," explained Mama Flyer, "My first hunch was that you had come here."
"Well, … I was woken up by Spike, and he gestured that Ducky and Petrie had gone somewhere, so we gathered the others, and we used Chomper's sniffer to track their scent and find them," said Littlefoot.
Mama Flyer sighed as she turned toward her son and Ducky.
"Well then, what were you two up to?" she asked them gently but sternly.
Petrie sighed as he dreaded having to tell his story of what had happened, and he took a deep breath and began …
"Okay, Mama. Me sneak out to see this Wall of Frozen Water just so me could see me Daddy again, … but then me see Ducky in me reflection, … and me decide to go get her so she could see frozen water."
"I told you time and time again during the last Cold Time, Petrie. It's okay to visit here sometimes, but not during the night when you should be sleeping," his mother scolded, "I was hoping we wouldn't have to talk about this again once the Cold Time started again, but it seems you haven't quite learned that lesson yet."
"Me sorry, Mama," quivered Petrie.
"I was very happy to see the frozen water. Yes, yes, yes," said Ducky, "I got to see Judy again."
Mama Flyer froze and stared down at the Swimmer as she mentioned the friend she had lost so tragically so long ago.
"So, you did?" she said in astonishment.
"Yes, yes, yes," nodded Ducky, "Petrie wanted-ed to bring me here to show me the frozen water, and I got to see my old friend just like he got to see his Daddy."
"Well, … that sounds very nice," said Mama Flyer thoughtfully, "Still, you left us worried sick about you by sneaking off in the middle of the night."
"Me guess Spike wake up just as we leave, and he see us," pondered Petrie.
"That's exactly what I thought," said Littlefoot.
"I suppose we better all head back to our nests now," said Mama Flyer, "The others are waiting just outside."
The kids gulped as they feared possible reprimanding from their families, but there was little they could do about it just as it was every time they snuck out into the Mysterious Beyond without permission. Even if they were just about used to it by now, it was still dreadful to receive punishments for their actions.
Reluctantly, the Gang followed Mama Flyer out of the cave, and they were met by the sight of Grandma Longneck, Tria and Mama Swimmer all giving them stern looks.
"Well, kids, you sure have a knack for leaving us worried about you," said Mama Swimmer.
"I can't begin to imagine how your father will react, Cera," said Tria.
"I won't be surprised in the least," murmured Cera.
"At least you're all safe, though," sighed Grandma Longneck, "That's what matters."
"We're all sorry," sighed Littlefoot, and his friends nodded along with him.
"Very, very sorry," added Petrie.
"Some of you will have quite a lot of explaining to do, so we'd all better head home now before the ground sparkles start falling again," said Tria, "Come along, everyone."
The grownups slowly made their way past the large rocks with the seven kids following closely. Once they made it back to familiar valley grounds, they knew it was time to go their separate ways for the night.
"Well, … goodnight, everyone," said Littlefoot.
"Goodnight," his friends all replied.
"I love you, Petrie," Ducky whispered to Petrie.
"Me love you, too, Ducky," the Flyer whispered back, "Goodnight, me Sweet Swimmer."
"Goodnight, my Funny Flyer."
Chomper and Ruby headed back to the Secret Caverns, while the rest of the kids followed their respective parents back home.
Soon, just Petrie and his mother were left, and the cerulean Flyer gently tapped her son's back to get his attention as he watched his friends departing.
"Hmm?" he murmured.
"Let's go home, Petrie. We need to talk," said his mother, and she took off into the sky, prompting him to hesitantly follow suit.
Before long, they arrived at their cave, and they landed on the ledge and stepped inside, walking past the other sleeping Flyer children and the now-darkened spot where the fire had been, before settling down in the back of the cave, where Petrie grabbed his snuggling stick.
"Petrie, … I know how much that Wall of Frozen Water means to you during the Cold Time, but you know I don't want you wandering off at night just to see someone we lost so long ago," said Mama Flyer, "I know you miss your father, and I do, too, but I've learned to get over that and you should, too."
"Me know," whispered Petrie, his voice nearly broken as tears threatened to come down, "But … me like to see Daddy because me never get to see him when he alive."
"You did. You just … have no memory," Mama Flyer began before Petrie finished for her.
"Have no memory of him," he sighed.
"I told you last Cold Time, those you've lost are always with you in your heart, even when you can't see them," continued Mama Flyer.
"Me know," said Petrie as a single tear escaped his eye.
"You should think more about those we have now," sighed Mama Flyer, patting his back, "Your friends, the Great Valley, the freedom of flying."
Suddenly thinking of his friends, Petrie looked up at his mother.
"W-when me look in frozen water, … me also see Ducky, … and we, well, … you know …"
"I get what you mean," said Mama Flyer, "Having one of your little … moments?"
Petrie blushed as he continued, "Me realize me new desire that me whole family, even Daddy, be happy that me be in love with Ducky, and then me decide to go get her so she could see for herself."
"It would have been better had you done that when the Bright Circle was still out, … but at least she got to see what she would want so much," sighed Mama Flyer.
"Me no could help meself," said Petrie, "Besides, me love Ducky, and me think she deserve to see what she want so much. She see her family and mine, all happy that we be in love with each other."
"That sounds very sweet, and you must know that we are happy that you two are together and in a happy relationship," assured Mama Flyer, "Sometimes, though, there are things worth waiting for when it is bright out."
Petrie sighed sadly, "Me sorry, Mama."
"I can only wonder how your friends' families will react to this, but you're lucky I'm only taking this light on you," said Mama Flyer sternly.
"We no mean for others to follow us, … but … at least they get to see what they want, too."
"That's nice, but for now I want you to promise me something," softened Mama Flyer.
"What that, Mama?" asked Petrie.
"I want you to promise me that you won't visit that Wall of Frozen Water again when the Night Circle is out," said Mama Flyer, "Do you understand, dear?"
"Yes, Mama," moaned Petrie in dismay.
"That's a good boy," said Mama Flyer softly, kissing her son on the head, "Now, let's get some sleep."
"Okay," yawned Petrie, and he lied down and wrapped his snuggling stick within his wings.
"I love you, Petrie," Mama Flyer whispered to her son.
"Me love you, too, Mama," replied Petrie.
With those last words, Petrie closed his eyes and slowly fell into a deep sleep under the watchful eyes of his mother.
Even if he had led himself and his friends to once again leave their families panicking about their safety and whereabouts, Petrie had gotten the one wish he had wanted since the Cold Time started; to see his father's face and to see how happy he would have been to see him in love with Ducky, even though she was a Swimmer and he was a Flyer. He was sure now that he could feel content with seeing the happiness their relationship would have brought to his father. He would never know whether his father would have truly been supportive of a Swimmer/Flyer relationship much like his mother was, but it was nevertheless heartwarming to see a smile on his face in the Wall of Frozen Water.
Petrie slept happily that night happy that his "Sweet Swimmer" got to share such a special moment with him and to get to see those they had lost just once before finally moving on from the tragedies long gone, and that his friends all got to see the things they wanted more than anything else and hoped to achieve in the future. With this newfound motivation, the future of the Gang of Seven looked very bright.
Well, that will wrap up my entry for the December prompt. I went for the Gang having another one of those notorious moments where they sneak off, and discover something about themselves, ... and perhaps about each other in this case.
I just want to point out that what the Gang saw in the Wall of Frozen Water was purely my own opinion and does not reflect anyone else's opinion. If you disagree with any of the things I portrayed in the Wall of Frozen Water, let me know via review and tell me what you think each of the kids would see if they looked into the Wall of Frozen Water, which I will admit was based off the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter.
Well, I have one less thing to worry about before Christmas now, so I guess I'll just keep relaxing until I finally fight off this flu virus. Again, I hope my efforts paid off despite me being sick.
Have a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Merry Kwanzaa, and have a Happy New Year! :)