This story was written in response to the Tracy Island Writers Forum's 2006 Fic Swap Challenge.

Fic Swap Request: Kyrano's day off the island, on holiday.

Why was this so difficult? Of all the decisions he'd had to make in his life, choosing a place to go and take his next holiday should have registered practically nil on the angst meter...should have.

The man with the mild demeanor and long, flowing robes slowly uncrossed his legs and stood up from his spot on the floor in the center of the room. He walked to each of the still glowing candles that had surrounded him with their warmth and light and snuffed out their flames with his bare hands. Having finished that, he briefly took in his surroundings and released a sigh of resignation. He had hoped that the peace and tranquility of meditation would aid him in achieving his elusive goal, that of choosing what to do and where to go on vacation.

He had initially scoffed at the idea of taking one but soon came to realize that he was only human and just like any other man, needed a brief respite now and then to recharge his batteries. It was important that he remain strong in both body and mind because along with the duties he regularly performed for the Tracys, which he loved doing, there were the other, more malicious intrusions upon his psyche.

He decided not to devote any more energy to trying to come up with a solution himself. He needed a fresh perspective on the matter. So he decided instead to visit the resident authority on how to make good use of one's free time...

"Mr. Gordon!"

The auburn haired Tracy looked up to meet the eyes of the family's loyal friend.

"Hi, Kyrano. What's wrong?"

"Oh, nothing, sir. I simply wanted to seek your counsel on a matter of grave indecision."

"You make it sound like a matter of life and death."

"Not at all. It is just a matter that has not very often come up and I am not quite sure I know how to go about making the best use of my, uh, my vacation time."

"You want advice on what to do with time off? Gordon grinned. "Sure, I'll do anything I can to help." They ducked into Gordon's living suite and sat themselves down on the settee situated in the corner.

"Now, what's all this fuss about a vacation, Kyrano? It's supposed to be something that you look forward to, an enjoyable experience. You know, a break in your usual routine. I imagine you could use a change of scenery."

Kyrano looked up at this last remark. Although he loved caring for the Tracys and had come to think of their island home as his sanctuary, it wasn't truly and completely his.

Gordon continued on. "You need to find a place that centers you, makes you feel young and alive, like when you were a kid."

Yes, that was it. He needed something, a new activity perhaps, one not to be shared but that he could call his own. All that was left now was for him to decide upon something he had never before experienced.

Gordon observed Kyrano's expression and could almost see the gears of thought turning ‘round in his head. Then he leaned forward and whispered something in the elder man's ear. Kyrano's eyebrows went up and from his reaction, Gordon knew he'd made the right suggestion.

"Thank you, Gordon. You have been a great help."

"Any time, K-Man."

The kindly gentleman got up and quickly strode out of the room, his robes kicking up a breeze as they fluttered. Gordon sat there smiling and feeling rather pleased with himself.

Now that he had a plan of action, it was time to tell the head of the household about it. But, after observing said head in a fit of frenzy and standing over the crumbled remains of some baked goods meant for a charity auction, he decided to tell Mr. Tracy instead.

Jeff had perched himself on the corner of his desk while reading the morning paper and as Kyrano approached, he saw the elder Tracy's eyes peering at him over the top of page one, a cigar clenched firmly between his teeth.

"What's up, Kyrano? You look like a man on a mission."

"Mr. Tracy..."

"Call me Jeff."

"Yes, uh, Mr. Tracy..."

Jeff's eyes danced with amusement as he sighed. There was a measurable pause and he felt the need to kick start the conversation.

"Yes, go on."

Kyrano decided the best way to handle this subject was not to handle it but to just come straight out with his decision. Jeff listened quietly to the plans his friend had made and to the amount of time it would require him to be away from the island. When Kyrano had finished, he stood there waiting...waiting for a nod of approval...disapproval, some well wishes or even a Bon Voyage. He would have welcomed some reaction, any reaction at this point. He peered with curiosity at the enterprising ex-astronaut.

He detected a wisp of smoke still rising from the end of the cigar in his mouth. There weren't too many things known to render Jeff Tracy speechless and Kyrano started to think that he may have fallen asleep with his eyes open or perhaps even become catatonic. He was just about to ask Jeff if he was all right when the two eldest Tracy sons sauntered into the lounge.

"Good afternoon, Misters Scott and Virgil."

"Oh, hi, Kyrano." Virgil replied.

"What's up, Kyrano?" Scott chimed in absent-mindedly, his focus obviously on other matters. When he finally did acknowledge Kyrano's presence he paused. "What's wrong with Dad?"

"I've just finished asking him for permission to go on my holiday."

"That's great," Virgil said. "You deserve a break."

Scott continued to regard his father with a modicum of concern. Again, without looking directly at the kindly Malaysian man he asked "Uh, where did you decide to go?"

"Considering your father's reaction, Scott, maybe some things are best left unsaid until my return."

Virgil and Scott took another glance in their father's direction and agreed maybe that was best given the fact that he still hadn't uttered a word and seemed totally taken aback.

With that, Kyrano left to do some packing and book a flight. He would get Tin Tin to take him as far as Sydney and the flight from there to the mainland would be about 15 hours. It was a good thing he'd taken 2 weeks off given the travel time involved in both coming and going to his destination. He was sure his employer wouldn't mind after he had gotten over the initial shock of his announcement. After all, Gordon was right. He could use a change of scenery and hadn't had one in what seemed like an eternity.

As he stepped off the commercial airliner, he was already aware of a change in the air quality. For one thing, the sweet perfume of the blooming flowers on the island was absent and the blue sky did not seem quite so azure. No matter, he decided. He was here for the experience and that was what mattered. The accommodations Jeff Tracy had arranged for him, once he had recovered from his catatonic state, were quite comfortable, not that he needed much or even planned on spending a significant amount of time in them.

Early the next morning he set out in anticipation of the day's activities. Upon reaching his destination, he became intrigued by the strange rituals and unusual modes of transportation in use. There was a system by which visitors were corralled and made to wait up to two hours before they could take part in a number of the rites.

He was curious to see what it was they felt was worth such an inconvenience.

It seemed the "guests" spent much of their time, and indeed encouraged even their children to spend much of theirs, paying homage to objects of adulation, both stationary and mobile. Many of them even donned some sort of ritual head piece with animal-like protrusions coming out of the top. Kyrano was fascinated by it all and was surprised by the fact that he himself had gotten caught up in the festivities and had to purchase additional luggage along the way to accommodate all the artifacts he'd elected to take home with him. He was also disappointed when Tin Tin told him her small aircraft couldn't carry all that weight and the two of them back to the island. He decided the only answer was to donate the items to needy families in the hopes that maybe they could be sold on some sort of promotional internet endeavor.

It was no matter, he'd had a very interesting trip and was glad for the time away. Though, as they got closer to home and the jewel that was Tracy Island appeared on the horizon, Kyrano was suddenly very happy to be going back to his paradise in the Pacific. He knew he could travel to the ends of the Earth and back, but his heart would always remain here, in this sanctuary. It seemed to be there even more so than in his native Malaysia at times. He felt at peace there and that was a feeling hard to come by, wherever you happened to be.

Kyrano was welcomed back into the fold with a celebration dinner that included all his favorites. Later, feeling satisfied, he and Tin Tin returned to his room to unpack. Kyrano hummed softly to himself as he did so. Upon hearing the strangely familiar sound, Tin Tin froze.

Meanwhile, Scott and Virgil, after trying unsuccessfully to wrangle Kyrano's vacation itinerary out of Gordon, decided to include him in an after dinner game of pool so they might continue with the interrogation. They all happened to be passing by Kyrano's room at that particular moment. Upon hearing the sound emanating from within, the three of them stopped dead in their tracks and looked at each other in disbelief.

"Father?" Tin Tin wondered. "What on Earth is that strange music?"

"Oh, it is a chant that was repeated during one of the rites of passage that I experienced on my journey."

"Do you remember the words to the chant?"

"Yes. I believe it is a message of peace they were trying to convey. I heard it in a place known as The Kingdom of Magic..."

Outside in the hallway, Virgil repeated "Magic?"

Followed immediately by Scott. "Kingdom?"

"What is the message, Father?" Tin Tin wanted to know.

"It's a small world after all..."

Gordon couldn't help it. He burst into a fit of uncontrollable laughter, which ended up becoming quite contagious.

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