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Sam jumped off a low branch and his feet finally hit solid ground.

Where were his powers of flight when he needed them?

Lachlan was close to the bottom, grasping a branch as he prepared to lower himself to the lowest branch.

While Sam was debating whether or not to offer his good hand and help Lachlan down, Lachlan reached the ground.

“Oh, thank fuck. Land, sweet land.”

“If it wasn’t unsanitary and probably covered in alien germs, I think I’d start kissing the ground right now,” said Sam.

Lachlan turned to the tree, flashing a gesture at it that looked like a ‘peace’ sign with his palm turned inward.

“Are you… doing a peace sign at the tree?”

“What? No. I’m giving it the forks.”

“You’re giving the tree… kitchen utensils?”

Lachlan gave a comically exaggerated sigh and clicked his tongue.

“Typical Samurai. No. The forks. It’s an insulting gesture.” He made the gesture again. “It’s like… giving it the finger.”

“It still looks like a peace sign to me. Why not just flip it off the normal way?”

“Because I do what I want. Don’t question my choice of offensive hand gestures.”

Sam frowned up at the alien tree, then held up the backwards peace sign at it. He wasn’t comfortable sticking up his middle finger, but this unfamiliar gesture was easier. It just felt like doing a peace sign, but in an angry and contemptuous way. Like an anti-peace sign or something.

“Screw you, alien tree,” he said.

“Samurai, remind me to teach you actual swears some time.”

“I’m good.”

“Come on. How will you be able to visit me in Australia when this is all over if you don’t even know the word ‘fuck’? It’d be like not knowing the native language.”

“I know what the cuss words are, I just choose not to use them.”

For some reason, Lachlan started laughing at that.

“What’s so funny?”

“‘I know what the cuss words are, I just choose not to use them,'” Lachlan imitated.

“Shut up.”

“Sorry, that was just… unintentionally hilarious–” Lachlan trailed off into another burst of laughter.

“Shut the fuck up.”

Lachlan stopped laughing abruptly and looked up, meeting Sam’s eyes. Sam was suddenly more embarrassed than when Lachlan had been laughing at him.

“Was that…?”

This was one of the moments Sam would have squinted and looked away if he hadn’t gotten his strange abilities. He still kind of wanted to.


Lachlan’s face broke into a grin.

“Samurai! I’m so proud I could kiss you!”

Whoa, what?

Okay, no powers of outward emotional control could have prepared him for that sentence.

“Um, I…” said Sam.

“Sorry, I mean, uh…” said Lachlan.

“Well, our feet our on the ground now,” said Sam.

Lachlan raised an eyebrow.

“So we are.”

“You said when our feet were on the ground, we could talk about my, um… confession.”

“I did say that,” said Lachlan. “I didn’t mean the exact moment we got onto the ground, but yeah. We can talk about it now.”

Sam’s heart thrummed in his chest in a way that had nothing to do with the dizzying height he’d just climbed down from.

Then he remembered something that jolted him out of his thoughts and feelings like a bucket of ice water waking him from a deep sleep.

“Jen’s gone,” he said. “Where’s Jen?”

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