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The worst part of being left on a split pad is the boredom.

There’s no fear, exactly, even though she knows Banjo frets whenever she runs off. It isn’t as if she thinks he’ll actually leave the world without her, or that he’ll disappear to Mumbo’s or go take a swim in Wumba’s pool. Her wings can cut sharp enough to handle any enemies that dare to come too close. But when Banjo’s gone, there doesn’t seem much point in that, so she just sits and stares at the sky.

It’s blue, like it is in most worlds, with white, fluffy clouds that don’t feel as welcoming as they once did. She used to have dreams of flying up there, but that was before she and Banjo took to it together and found just a lot of bees and angry flowers and paper-thin grumbling little fellows with salami. At least when they’re on the ground, she doesn’t have to worry about Banjo falling—he’s always just that little bit too heavy to carry.

Banjo says the clouds are like jiggies you can put together with your mind, but Banjo says a lot of silly things. Even if he makes more sense than most of the people they know.

By the time she finally sees him coming up the path, she’s worked herself into a bit of a fit, even more agitated than usual. She didn’t exactly worry about him—he’s the toughest bear she knows, and the most competent hero. But he still can’t even manage a steep hill without her, and goodness knows what he puts in his backpack when she’s not there.

When he’s close enough to hear, she squawks, “’Bout time, furball!” And Banjo slows, his normally chipper face falling into the shadow of a frown. She knows it’s more at her tone than the name-calling.

“Sorry,” he grunts in his deep voice, full of a sincerity she’s never had. “There was this jinjo just a little out of range—”

“You got a jinjo without me?”

“Well, it turned out to be a minjo.”

And Kazooie instantly groans, because they’re so obvious. It’s always the easy ones that are evil. She opens her beak to lecture him, but then she sees the guilt in his eyes, and she stops, feeling suddenly guilty herself. Only for Banjo does she ever soften. He understands it’s just her way, and he accepts her anyway, but she still mutters a little, “Sorry.” He’s the only one she’s ever genuinely meant it for. She does care about him, about his feelings. Mostly about his life, which is why she pecks. He gives her a soft smile and pulls off his backpack, holding it out to her.

She hops right in without hesitation, then takes a second to settle into place and coo happily. It’s warm and strangely safe, and she likes never being alone.

He asks, “All set?”

Kazooie nods, then abruptly flips them over for a talon trot, heading straight out of the world.