Little scenes often play out in my mind when I'm working on character development, or toying with ideas for a fic, or just mentally messin' around. Many of them end up in stories, but some only exist as vignettes. As I don't consider these full stories, I don't want to start a thread for each one, so here's a thread in which I'll post these bits and pieces, just as I post my artwork into the Slackbot Draws Stuff thread. The first one is a bit of business between Mokey and Boober that might happpen sometime after Red Versus Blue. I claim not to be a Mokey/Boober 'shipper, but it seems the evidence speaks for itself. Eesh. ***** Treading Waterby Kim McFarland ***** It was a quiet day in the caves below Fraggle Rock. Fraggles did not normally come down this far, as the rough, rocky terrain wasn't suitable for their typical high-energy activity. Very little of the ground was flat, and in places it seemed to be made up entirely of stalagmites, columns, gours, flowstone, popcorn, and other tricky shapes. It also had a clear, fresh pond that, while small, was deep. Mokey and Boober were alone in the cave. Mokey had found a particularly interesting formation that rose out of the pond, and set up her easel. She had been coming down here since Gobo had discovered it and described it to her, thinking she would be interested in the novel formations. He had been right; she found inspiration in a new bit of flowstone or unusual plant every day, and her room had been filling up with paintings of this cave. She would, in time, display them in the Great Hall for all to see, but not until she had completed her series of paintings. If she showed them too early, other Fraggles might want to come down here, and while she knew that its beauty must be shared, she wanted to have it to herself for just a little while. Boober was so quiet, she hardly remembered he was there. He had asked to come with her, and, surprised and pleased, she had welcomed him along. He did not want to paint, though. He was content to watch her paint, and to read silently from her notebook of poetry. Boober was a taciturn Fraggle who did not run around and play and swim. Feeling that he was missing out on life, Gobo, Red, and even Wembley often tried to pull him into their games. Only Mokey seemed to accept that he enjoyed different things. Peaceful, quiet, safe things. Of course she would understand; she liked painting rocks and writing pages and pages of free verse likening death to the migration of birds. When he thought about it, that did sound a little strange. But when he watched her paint, utterly absorbed in creating an image of a rock or a flower and humming happily under her breath, or when he read her poetry and let himself feel what she had felt when she wrote it, he thought he understood. ** Mokey put down her paintbrush. Her fingers were slightly cramped from holding it for so long. She flexed them and glanced over at Boober, who was still reading. Flattered that he devoted such attention to her poetry, he decided not to interrupt him to show him her painting. It would still be there when he finished. She capped her paint jars, rinsed the brushes out, and set them to dry. Then she climbed over some mounds of stone to the edge of the pond and jumped in. Boober looked up when he heard the splash. The reflections from the water's surface sent ripples of light dancing across the cave walls and ceiling. Boober put the notebook down and followed her. She was relaxing and treading water. The pond was small enough that she could not have swum more than a few strokes in any direction. He sat at the edge, dangling his feet into the water. It was pleasantly cool. Mokey smiled up at him, then ducked under the surface. Several rockbeetles later she came back up, her hair now soaked and plastered to her head. Boober was still watching her, oddly intent. "What're you thinking about?" she asked. "The water looks so nice. It must feel good to swim here." "It does," she replied, treading water. She didn't suggest he come in. He never swam. The others often tried to coax him in when he sat at the edge of the swimming hole in the Great Hall, which is why he never did anymore. Only Mokey simply accepted that he didn't swim and left it at that. Because of that, he gathered his nerve and said, "I wish I could." "Why can't you?" she asked. She held out an arm, and he leaned back slightly, as if afraid of her touch. "I'm scared of... of having water all around me. Once, when I was little, I, I fell through some ice and nearly drowned." "I didn't know," she said softly. "You're the only person I've told." "Boober... do you want to try again?" He shuddered. "Water all around me...I can't." "I'd keep you safe." She raised her hand to him again. He flinched, but did not back away. He did want to try. He remembered what it was like to swim without fear, and he wanted that again. Maybe... "You won't tell anyone?" "I won't tell anyone." He took her hand and slid into the water. His heart began hammering, and Mokey felt his hand squeeze hers hard. She wrapped her arms around him and held him to herself, softly saying, "I'll keep you safe." Boober whimpered. When the water enclosed his body he remembered with sudden, shocking clarity the sensation of sinking down in winter-cold water, weighed down by thick clothes. He felt as though only Mokey's arms kept him from falling like a pebble. Poor Boober, she thought as she stroked his hair comfortingly with wet fingers. He was rigid with terror. She could feel his heart pounding against her chest. He was barely suppressing panic. The one thing that made him feel less afraid was Mokey. If water was danger, she was safety and comfort. He'd be all right with her there. He told himself that over and over. The panic receded to the point that he could force his body to unstiffen. Mokey asked, "Do you want to get out?" After a long pause he replied, "Not yet..." "All right." "Mokey?" "Yes?" "Don't let go." "I won't." He focused on her, the solidity of her body, the gentle strength in her arms. She moved slowly, kicking her legs rhythmically to tread water while holding him up. He could do that, but as nervous and awkward as he felt, he was afraid he'd kick her. ** After a while Boober said, "I'd like to get out now." Mokey swam over to the edge of the pond. When Boober felt the stone at the edge touch his arm he let go of her and hauled himself out of the pool. She came out after him. Neither made any effort to shake the water out of their fur or wring out their clothes; when it was warm Fraggles were as comfortable wet as dry, and Fraggle clothes were made to be swum in. She went back to her painting and looked at it critically. It was an image of white, fluted flowstone descending in graceful curves, like folds of heavy fabric, into the pond. The water glimmered, fresh and inviting. "I like it," Boober told her. "Thank you. I'd like you to have it." She smiled warmly. At a loss, he said, "I... thanks." She smiled as she took it off the easel and handed it to Boober. He held it carefully by the edges so his damp hands wouldn't harm the paint. She gathered up her materials and folded her easel. She told Boober, "I hope we can come back here again." "I do too," he replied. As they walked back, Boober thought, he'd remember today with or without the painting. The water hadn't closed over him, hadn't swallowed him in its depths the way he had feared for so long. It would take much more than one day like this to get him used to being in water deep enough to swim in. But maybe, he realized, it might be possible after all. ***** Fraggle Rock and all characters are copyright © The Jim Henson Company. All copyrighted properties are used without permission but with much respect and affection. The overall story is copyright © Kim McFarland (firstname.lastname@example.org). Permission is given by the author to copy it for personal use only.