Juniper wandered. He’d been following his spirit as it leapt through the trees, mostly just out of boredom, but it had disappeared, like it did sometimes. It had its own life, and so did Juniper. But now Juniper was just kind of hanging out, not really going anywhere in the trees.
He wasn’t really sure what he wanted to do, and even if he found out, he wasn’t really sure he wanted to do it. He was a bit bored. That wasn’t the worst thing ever, though. Juniper certainly wasn’t unhappy. He had two boyfriends who loved him and no real responsibilities and honestly he was pretty happy like that.
Maybe he shouldn’t be, though. Maybe he should want something more than that. He should, shouldn’t he? So many people he knew wanted things, important things like the expansion of the clan or peace in the forest or stuff to do with the centaurs or stuff. He didn’t really want any of those things, and maybe he should.
Hemlock and Daffodil both wanted things, and had hobbies that were important to them, and people relied on them for things, and Juniper just kind of…smoked sometimes and slept with people he thought were hot. Probably he should want something else. Something better.
He looked around, realizing how dark it had gotten. He could barely see the forest floor anymore. Hemlock and Daffodil deserved someone better, he knew that. They both deserved someone better than him. Someone more like them. They deserved each other, and Juniper knew that someday they’d realize that and they’d just cut him out of the equation. They’d started dating because they both liked him, but eventually they’d realize they didn’t like him as much as they liked each other. Eventually they’d realize.
Maybe he should do the right thing and break up with them now instead of stringing them along. It was hard because he was so happy, but really it was the right thing to do, wasn’t it? At least for now, at least until he had some purpose in his life.
And if he found that and they didn’t want him back? That would be okay. At least they’d be happy. At least they’d…
No, no. Juniper knew better than this. They’d talked about this. This was what happened when Juniper was by himself. He started to spiral in weird ways. He touched the bracelets he had on, one from Hemlock and one from Daffodil, to remind him. They loved him. They would always love him. They’d promised.
“There you are,” Daffodil’s voice said. He landed softly on the branch beside Juniper, put an arm around him. “Where’ve you been?”
Juniper shrugged, leaning into his touch. He was so strong, so warm. The branches above them had parted, and they were sitting in the moonlight now, stars reflected in Daffodil’s eyes. “Was following my spirit for a while. Then I was just wandering around, thinking.”
“What? Hey, I’m allowed to think too, your Highness.”
Daffodil kissed him. “Of course you are. But you’ve got that look on your face.”
“The spirally look. The one you get when you start letting your thoughts go in big downward circles that make you sad.”
Juniper scowled. “I was not doing that. And I don’t have a look.”
“What look doesn’t he have?” That was Hemlock, joining them. He took Juniper’s free hand in his, kissing it. He was so pretty. They were both so pretty and perfect and he could look at them forever.
“He’s claiming not to have the spirally look,” Daffodil told him.
“Of course you do. You tend to get it if you’re by yourself for too long,” Hemlock said. “Were you by yourself for too long?”
“I…” Juniper sighed. “I guess so. I was just thinking about how great you guys are.”
“And that made you sad?” Daffodil asked.
“Yeah. I guess it did.”
“Because then he started thinking we’d be happier if he weren’t in our lives dragging us down. Right?” Hemlock asked.
“I…” Juniper coloured, his cheeks warming. “Yeah. Sorry.”
“Don’t apologize for thinking thoughts, June,” Hemlock told him gently. “But you know that those ones were wrong, right?”
“I know.” Juniper did know that. It was easier to remember that now that he was here, with them. “I know that. You guys didn’t let me finish. I was thinking stuff like that before you got here. But I stopped. I…remembered to stop.” He looked up, touching his bracelets again.
They looked at each other for a second, and they both kissed him. “Good,” said Daffodil. “I’m proud of you. Let’s get you home. It’s time to eat.”
Juniper smiled. “Okay. I love you guys, really.”
“We love you too,” Hemlock said, pulling Juniper into the open sky. “And we’re glad you know that.”
Juniper was too, and he went with them. He didn’t need to find something he wanted. He’d found it, and he already had it.