This show is making me think of so many ideas, so what about a fic for the road, shall we?
Content Warning: Mention of needles.
Somewhere far away, far deeper than any concrete jungle out in the North American coastlines, climbed a woman. Her gloved hands lifted her up slowly. Pulled her further into the itchy brambles as her saddle held her in place.
With the chirps of distant birds, Dr. Anne Savisa Boonchuy took a few breaths to calm her nerves.
She took in the azure skies. How the bright and humid lighting fit the gentle breeze of the canopies. Of the ever revealing Thailand's Khao Sok rainforest as it unveiled its vast greenery past the leaves around her.
There came certainty in how she motioned upward. The nerves of her prior experiences had gotten her this far, and since bouldering didn't fit well with the ethics of well...not doing rough handling with the bark, she grabbed each overhead notch carefully as the world got a little bit brighter.
A little bit fresher.
Her colleagues below had continued to whoop when she reached the halfway point of the tree. It made sense since the big guy had a forty-seven meter height, and a ta-kian tree was no laughing matter — the sucker can whoop her butt if she even dared tried to mess with its branches.
However, the ascent kept going. And what she found on the other side was her hovering far above the ground, her hair littered with gunk, the landscape quietening even further with the meters between her and the ground.
There it was, she thought. Far beyond her the Thai rainforest spread out in waves of green. With the whistle of the wind, the whole world seemed to sit still and move brusquely all the same, and for a moment she couldn't help but wonder how far she could squint until the mountains blocked her view.
And when she did, she smiled when another bird sang from nearby. A cicada creaking back in kind.
"Alright, alright." Anne rolled her eyes. She motioned her body forward to the tree's bark, and closed even further to the rings etched into the surface. "Sheesh, just because this is my job doesn't mean I can't enjoy it, you know?"
Of course, trees didn't talk. The last time a tree talked to her was way back when she was on another world entirely, and right now, Thailand wasn't really the kind of place to make her lose her marbles entirely. However, working on the field could be lonely at times. And sometimes, chatting to herself made the profession a lot more enjoyable than just letting the animals do all the talking.
And speak of the devil, the croak of a frog welcomed her when she squinted further into the foliage. The eyes of a curious amphibian right there between a branch and leaf.
The one amphibian her colleagues liked to call Jaikieow rather than Number Fifty-Three.
"Hey there, lil' bud." Her voice softened. In her line of work, any sudden or harsh movements had always led to a bad time. And since she had been assigned to keep tags on every new tree frog in the canopies, best not to scare him off. "I'm just here to keep an eye on you, okay? No harm done, I promise."
The frog continued eyeing her from behind the leaf. With how green it was, it was hard to find which part of the vegetation was him.
Until his forelimb moved slightly into the light. Just a teensy bit.
Anne grinned. "Yeah, just like that."
With her hands fumbling through her bag, the frog continued getting closer. Closer and closer until it pressed to the edge of her ring finger.
She brought out her kit and propped it carefully against her. Secure enough so she could prepare one of the needles from within — a viscous, red liquid now making its way inside the barrel.
When the frog tensed, Anne stopped.
Ten minutes went by. And maybe ten more if she didn't have the mind to count.
Regardless, she waited for as long as she could, coaxing Jaikieow further to her gloves until he moved once more. All secure now under her loose grip.
"It's gonna be a little pinch," she said. Her hands kept gentle in keeping the tiny frog in place.
And with silent hums she inserted the point into his hindleg. Never harsh. Never hesitant in reassuring the animal with whispers.
When she released him back into the branches, the frog looked back at her for a moment. His eyes grew in curiosity — never the same expression when one worked around them for so long — and without another word disappeared further into his home.
And Anne knew she would come back. She knew with all her heart that even when she descended back to the eager eyes of her colleagues, that the world of amphibians would be hers to jump back into.
It all came back to the croak of the frog when he spotted her.
Or how the curiosity in his eyes reminded her so much of a friend.