Work Header

Push Start

Work Text:

The broom closet was obviously not the most comfortable spot in the castle, nor the most convenient, nor, ironically, the most clean— but that was where Haggleman had been sitting for 4 days, 8 hours, 15 minutes, and several seconds.

It hadn't been long since he saved the world for the third time, and his body showed the evidence of his adventures. He was larger than he was when he was first activated, heavier and bulkier and much more dangerous. His chassis was undeniably that of an adult, even if he didn't feel like much of one most of the time.

As he sat he thought about everything he had been through, played the memories over and over in his head like a film. He had just reached his battle with Haggleman Lady for the second time when there was a gentle knock on the closet door.

Nobody would think to knock on a closet door unless they knew someone was hiding in it— and there was only one person Haggleman could think of who would have tracked him down.

Just as he suspected, the door opened and he was greeted with the unmistakable silhouette of Koume, closely followed by K9. Before Haggleman could so much as say hello K9 was in his lap, his artificial tongue leaving nothing behind as he licked Haggleman's face and tail clanking loudly as he wagged.

“Do you know how hard it is to pick up your scent when you're sitting in a pile of cleaning products?” Koume scolded, hands on her hips.

Haggleman simply shrugged. K9 settled on the floor next to him, resting his head on Haggleman's knee.

In an instant Koume's expression changed from stern to concerned. “Something's wrong, isn't it.” She closed the door behind her and tugged the drawstring attached to the bare fixture on the ceiling, filling the dank space with the orange light of a bulb on the verge of burning out.

Haggleman paused for a moment, the gears in his head clicking as he looked down at K9 and organized his thoughts. “I feel very... aimless.”

“Aimless? Like, you don't have any goals or something?”

Haggleman frowned, a feature of his latest chassis he was still getting used to. “Something like that. Now that the world is saved I feel... finished. Like my story has come to a close.”

Koume sat down, legs crossed, then rested her elbows on her knees and her chin in her hands. “But it's not. You're still here, aren't you?”

“I have nothing left to do,” Haggleman said. K9 raised his head from Haggleman's knee and tilted it to one side, quizzically. “The last chapter of my life closed, and the next one... it's as if it hasn't been written yet.”

“So write it yourself!” Koume said, raising her arms high and wide above her head. “There's a whole world for you to see, and you don't even have to worry about defending the castle or rescuing the Princess while you do it. It's perfect!”

“I wasn't designed to do that kind of thing,” Haggleman said, voice raising slightly in frustration. “I'm in here because I was trying to clean up around the castle, be helpful, but I can't even do that because I wasn't built to clean things! I don't even know where to start.”

Koume's arms dropped and she smiled, expression understanding and calm. “Nobody knows where to start. That's not a one-track robot thing, that's a human thing. There's nothing for it but to get started anyway.”

Haggleman considered that for a moment, patting K9's head gently. “You think I can do it?”

“Things are only hard because you've never done them before.” Koume smiled again, this time a delighted grin. “Haggleman, you managed to get good at saving the world— you can do anything.”

“I just have to start?”

“You just have to start.”

Haggleman glanced around at the walls of the closet, dimly lit and laden with mops and brooms and a thick layer of dust. “...I might start somewhere that isn't here.”

Koume stood, musty air dancing in the light and framing her like a halo, and offered a hand to Haggleman. “It's all up to you.”