Old Fashioned Bananas
Men and women emerged from where their luau was held. The Doctor quickly spotted his red-headed niece out of the sea of black haired Hawaiians. Piper smiled in relief as she skipped to her uncle and hugged him.
“Hey, sweet girl. Did you eat well?” He asked, looking down at her cloudy gray-blue eyes.
“Oh yes! But not quite at the point of blowing. I controlled myself” Piper replied, grinning.
The Doctor chuckled. “Good!”
“Ah, Doctor, I see you have met my son Keonu” Puani announced. She looked at her son with a firm-mother look. “You have not been causing trouble, have you?”
Keonu rolled his eyes. “No makuahine, I haven’t.”
Puani smirked. Then she turned to the Doctor and Piper. “Do you have a place to stay, Doctor?”
“Oh yes, we’ve got a place…down on the beach” the Doctor replied.
“The beach is a bit of a treacherous walk at night. You can stay with us if you wish!” Puani offered.
“It’s really no trouble, we can handle it-!” The Doctor hesitated.
“Nonsense! You have a child with you! I insist you at least stay for tonight!” Puani insisted.
The Doctor and Piper looked at each other. Piper would have preferred the comfort of her own bed in the Tardis. At the same time, it wasn’t every day that one gets invited to sleep in a hut in a cool-night Hawai’i in 700 A.D. Plus, she wasn’t keen on trekking in the dark, outside no less. So, Piper just shrugged. The Doctor thought for a moment.
Then, he replied, “Very well, we’d be honored to stay with you.”
As they followed the family East, Piper heard a sound. She paused, the others walking ahead of her. It was a peculiar sound. It was almost like the cry of a whale, only it sounded more foreign. The sound seemed to project a wail of deep sadness with a hint of frustration in its tone.
Was it really just a whale?
Piper whirled around to see the Doctor behind a small grove of palm trees.
“Is everything alright?” He asked.
Piper nodded. “Yeah, absolutely, just thought I heard something strange, that’s all. I’m sure it was nothing.”
She caught up to the Doctor, and they walked together towards their hosts’ hut.
The sun peering through the cracks of the hut walls woke Piper the next morning. She shaded her eyes from the sun. She yawned then rubbed her eyes hard. She looked over her shoulder to see Puani, Nani, and Keonu still asleep on the other side of the mat, but the Doctor, who had been lying next to her (the family showed them that everyone slept on the same giant mat) was nowhere to be found. She slowly sat up as to not wake their hosts, got up from the mat and crept her way out of the hut.
The waves crashing against the seaside could be heard from the top of the hill. Piper looked around. In a small grove of fruit trees near the cliff, Piper could see a man in a brown suit sitting on a fallen tree and finagling with a peculiar device that looked like a metal box. Piper smiled and walked up to him.
“Good morning Uncle Doctor” she greeted.
The man turned around with a warm grin. “‘Ello Piper! Did you sleep well?”
Piper wrinkled her nose and made a face. “Kind of?”
The Doctor made a face as well. “Didn’t find that mat comfortable either?”
Piper put her hands in her pocket and smiled awkwardly. Then, she declared throwing her arms up in defeat, “I will never understand how they find those things cozy!”
The Doctor chuckled.
“But at least I had good company” Piper added, “I felt safe; and that always helps.”
Piper trotted around the fallen tree and sat next to him.
“What’s that?” She asked.
“I’m trying to figure out if —whatever it is we need to be here for— has something to do with the weather.”
“What makes you think that?”
“Keonu mentioned that the waves have been good for surfing. Hawai’i hasn’t exactly been shy to natural disasters.”
Piper went slightly pale. “You think it might be a volcano?” She hissed.
“Moloka’i has three active volcanoes! There’s a good possibility.”
Piper frowned. “If it is a volcano, then what are we gonna do?”
The Doctor sighed. “I don’t know…”
“We’re not…going to let anyone die, are we?”
“No!” The Doctor suddenly put his hand on hers and squeezed it tightly, “No we’re not going to let anyone die. I promise!”
Piper nodded, calmly. “Okay.”
She looked back at the sunrise, then reached into her bag and pulled out a camera.
“I promised myself I’d take pictures for Raiden” she stated.
The Doctor nodded. “You know you can’t show them to anyone else right?”
Piper looked over her shoulder. “I know.”
She raised the camera up to the sunrise and snapped a picture. Then, she turned around. “Smile Uncle Doctor!” She chirped.
The Doctor smiled informally as Piper took the picture. Piper grinned.
After a little while, the native Hawaiians we’re out of their huts. The fishermen prepared their canoes and hooks and headed out to the reef. The women and children were either preparing dishware for the upcoming meals, or weaving baskets and clothing. Puani, Nani, and Keonu shortly came out with bowls and other tools. Piper and the Doctor waved. “Good morning!” Piper called. The family waved back.
When they met up with each other, Nani asked:
“Piper, we’re going to go to the beach to get some fruit. Would you like to join us?”
“Okay” Piper replied.
She glanced at the Doctor, who nodded in approval, and she followed the two children to the hill. Puani and the Doctor watched them as they disappeared behind the cliff.
“You have a lovely child, Doctor” Puani commented.
“Thank you” the Doctor replied.
Puani shifted the basket she was carrying to the opposite arm. “Follow me?”
The Doctor nodded, and walked with her towards the back of the village and the outskirts of the jungle.
Puani bent down and began digging roots out of the ground.
“Piper mentioned that you come from across the sea” said Puani, “She mentioned a place called ‘Gallifrey’?”
The Doctor’s friendly mood soon blanked out.
“She did, did she?” He asked coldly.
“It sounds like a wonderful place, but she said little about it. Did something happen to it?”
The Doctor shifted his weight, a bit uncomfortable. “You could say that.”
“But she still has a mother and father?”
“Yes! Yes she does…”
Puani raised an eyebrow and lifted her head from her work and realized the Doctor’s dramatic change of expression.
She stood up. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to pry Doctor” she apologized.
“No, it’s fine. It’s fine” the Doctor mumbled, then spoke up more clearly, “It doesn’t matter now. Her parents were gracious enough to let her travel with me, so now we’re together again.”
Puani read his face carefully. She sensed a history of great pain and suffering that the Doctor was not obliged to tell. However, she also sensed a small light in the connection he had with Piper.
“I see…” she said slowly.
The three kids made it to the grove Keonu and Nani spoke about. Piper shielded her eyes as she observed exactly how high these trees were. Keonu, with a loud grunt suddenly jumped onto the trunk and grip it tightly. Nani started to do the same on the other tree.
“You coming Piper?” She asked.
“Ah, heh” Piper chuckled awkwardly, “I don’t exactly…climb trees.”
“You’ve never climbed a tree?”
“I have…! Once…! And the tree had more limbs. This tree is just round…and layered weird.”
“Doing things once seems to be a common thing for your family I see!” Keonu called from down below.
“It is not!” Piper retorted.
“Oh, Keonu! Stop teasing!” Nani rebuked, then, she decided. “Alright, you can stay down here I suppose. Just…Watch your head.”
Keonu climbed higher into the tree until he was within the palm branches. He waited patiently for his sister to catch up, them exclaimed:
“Look out below!”
Suddenly, round green fruits and coconuts were falling from the tree. Piper took a few steps back to avoid behind pelted. She couldn’t help but chuckle as she watched them clownishly shaking the trees as much as possible to get the fruit down. Finally, when there was about six large produce on the ground, Nani and Keonu slowly climbed down.
“Well that was…certainly something” Piper observed.
The two Hawaiian youth smiled mischievously.
“Come on then! Mother’s waiting!”
Piper assisted them in picking up the fruits. The coconuts were as heavy as a bowling ball, so Piper was only able to carry one. But the other fruit she was able to get more. It was difficult getting back up the hill, but Piper managed to climb up in her sandals without tripping.
“We have breakfast makuahine!” Keonu announced.
Puani and the Doctor has just returned to the house when the children reappeared. The kids plopped down their stash on the sand.
“Good. Thank you au’u mau keiki, and thank you Piper” said Puani.
“Oh, I really didn’t do anything, I just helped carry them!” Piper objected.
The Doctor bent down and picked up the fruit.
He Tossed Piper one.
Piper caught it, then stared at it. She had only now been able to get a better look at the fruit she helped carry to the hut. It had a stem, and was greenish-yellow with black speckled across it. It looked like a lemon if it was stretched out.
“Have you never had Mai’a before?” Keonu inquired.
Piper turned the fruit around and continued to examine it. “I’m…Not really sure.”
Then, she watched as Nani and Keonu took both ends of the fruit and, with grunts, split it apart at the middle. The Doctor did the same. Nani watched Piper as she slowly repeated what they did. What was inside the fruit, was a cream-colored mash, with multiple black seeds.
“Can you guess what it is yet?” The Doctor asked, with a mischievous grin on his face.
Piper was getting irritated. “I know what this is! What is it?” She looked at it closer. Then, it clicked. “No way! Is this a banana?” she asked.
The Doctor tossed his into the air, swinging it around, then catching it again. “You got it!”
Piper laughed in disbelief.
“Are you serious!?”
“Oh I’m very serious!”
“It looks so different! And strange!”
“I know! But this is what bananas used to look like back in the days before genetic modifications. Got the little seeds in it too! You know, how hard is it to just spit them out into your napkin? Blimey, does the human race get lazy!”
As she listened to her quirky uncle rambling on, she carefully navigated around the seeds and took a bite.
“They’re still good though” Piper stated.
The Doctor turned to her.
“Of course they’re good! It’s like I always say: ‘Always bring a banana to a party’!”
Piper snickered. “Truly, words of wisdom!”
The two islanders just stared at their visitors with such confusement, it just made them laugh harder.
“You speak very strangely” Keonu announced.
Piper scoffed. “Get used to that, mate! We’re full of it!”