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Drabbling At A Tranquil Valley~Lie Down And Listen To The Harmonious Wind

Chapter Text

He always chooses to ask me the same thing. You know, the usual.
"Do you remember our first meeting?"
I always deny and he starts rambling on, talking about the lucky time I asked him to assist with a school play. I let him continue on - I see my angel cheer up and talk about how he felt when he first saw my eyes and what lovely stuff he felt for me. It warmed me up inside, but at the same time filled me with cold melancholy as I tried to remember our actual first interaction.
It was way back in kindergarten.
I was a small guy back then - my quite short blue hair fell onto my eyes, my navy wellies stained and patchy, as I bravely dealt with the predicaments of...girls. Annoying the girls who played House and never allowed me to be the Dad, to be specific.
Oh Nova, was I bitter. The sound of my bubbling fury filled my ears whenever I heard their plastic kitchen cutlery clatter to the ground. 
Sometimes Ado, one of the girls who played House walked up to me and tried to strike up a conversation. Needless to say, she was being annoying.
"Hey Dedede!"
Her happiness sickened me when I was the only boy who wasn't liked by the rest of the girls, but secretly I love the fact that she bothered to talk to me.
"Hey Ado."
"Who's your girlfriend?"
I looked away from her then, my discontented eyes following the feet of the dancing girls in the plastic home on the colourful carpet.
"I have no girlfriend."
"Dedede, you know that you will have to get a girlfriend--"
"Ado, I don't want one!"
My slight outburst startled her a little, but Nova she was persistent little thing. She walked up really close to my face, her nose almost touching mine. Her fists were cutely curled up, and her fast breaths smelled of strawberry-flavoured mints.
"Dedede, look at all the other boys. They're really kind to girls. You're not."
"And? Ado, I don't care about other boys. I don't want a girlfriend."
"You're mean."
"Am not!"
I strongly wanted to show her. Just let her see that having a girlfriend wasn't my biggest priority and that I was a self-sustaining one-man pair.
Suddenly, I shot off the bench I was sitting on and left Ado without a goodbye. I ran to the paper flowers that wilted away on the teacher's desk in a pink-tinted glass vase and grabbed them haphazardly, almost sending the vase plummeting down onto the rug. Instantly, I scanned the chaotic class - I was trying to find a person that seemed independent enough and definitely wasn't a squeaky little rude girl.
Third table from the left, a meter away. Purple tshirt, green shorts, really weird lime-green hair. Viridescent eyes that shone amongst the others. Violet glasses that slid off his petite nose every now and then. 
Yeah, that was definitely the guy I wanted.
Immediately, in front of Ado and every single other student, I decided to rush off to that one lonely guy to prove that I was an independent man who don't need no man.
Oh Nova, actually from up close he was even more adorable.
Inside my little stomach was a warm fuzzy feeling that I didn't recognize, and so I decided to act quick. Upon hearing my booming footsteps, the little boy turned his head around to look at me and his eyes widened at what I had in my hands.
"Here."
I held out the paper roses bashfully, an embarrassing blush illuminating my face. He was still staring at me with his large, grass-green eyes as if I had just asked him to breakdance at a school fair.
"What?"
"H-Here, take them, fool."
He unsurely held out his hands, which was a cue for me to take the sweat-stained paper roses and stuff them into his hands like a maniac. He eyed them with morbid curiosity, and a smile was present on his face in seconds.
"Thank you."
"Don't even think that this means anything, idiot."
He gulped down nervously and nodded, his smile being momentarily wiped down his young features. All of a sudden, Ado was grasping my shoulders with her long fingernails and shouting out to the whole class.
"Haha! Dedede can't get a girl! He can't get a girl and so he chose a boy instead!"
"A boy? That's bad!"
"Can you see that that boy is Escargon? Oh Nova, anyone is much better than him. Even that nasty Tokkori."
I felt surrounded. Tens of kids were shouting insults at me, ridiculing me just because I didn't get a girlfriend. I couldn't comprehend how many there were in the crowd - the screams were so ear-splitting, I couldn't hear my own thoughts. The only thing I was able to hear were the quiet weeps from somewhere far away that seemed to echo from one wall to another. Noticing the shameful tears in Escargon's eyes, I knew that the cause of his melancholy was me.
"Hey, stop that! He never did anything to you!"
"Look who's talking. Boy-lover!"
"Ado, you're being very mean to him!"
"So? Who cares, I wanna see him cry anyway-"
I didn't let her finish the sentence before launching a full-on punch straight at her puny face. I only saw a split-second of my fist colliding with it and she collapsed, fell flat on the ground. Suddenly, all screaming stopped and the stuffy crowd left me and my friend alone to tell me off to Miss.
I turned to the boy right away to see him wipe up those final tears with a crumpled tissue and push the purple glasses to the top of his nose. He then started staring at me in shock, and I felt my face turn a totally different shade of red again.
"Thank...thank you."
"I-Idiot, don't stare at me like that. Say your last words 'cuz they'll probably take me to the Headmaster in a sec."
He continued staring at my eyes hypnotically, and I couldn't help getting lost in his. They reminded me of lush fields, the ones included in cliche-happy moments in romance movies. Ew, I hated them but I'd bear any movie for him.
"W-Well, I wanted to thank you. What's your name?"
"Dedede. You're Escargon, right?"
He nodded and pointlessly looked out of the square window at the end of the abandoned classroom. The screams at the end of the corridor and Miss' clanging heels were getting closer at a frightening pace. I really hoped he'd say something else to me before I was taken away.
"Will we ever...talk again?"
"What a stupid question. You're dense. Of course we will."
He smiled in response and I sat next to him at the table, closed my eyes and tried to imagine us actually getting married, what with the 'Here Comes The Bride' and the rings and all.
Twenty years later, and the only thing I have figured out is that he'll wear the dress.
He always gazed at me weirdly whenever I said that, giggling and saying -
"Do you know how ridiculous I'd look in a dress?"
Then, I always enveloped him in a loving hug and whispered -
"I'd look worse than you think, Angel."

Chapter Text

I bet you want to ask how the sky looked to me.
So first off, I'll say - it was night. A starry one. The moon was shining. You can fill in the obnoxious blanks.
And you? Well, you looked normal. Your hat was two-coloured - pink on one side and blue on the other, exactly reflecting your two-faced personality. Nova, did I hate you with all my heart.
"So... Kirb?"
"Dammit, I told you I tried. I told you that many times. He's not even a bit convinced."
You threw a stone down the hill, which then kind of 'galloped' away to make a crash landing into the lake below us.
You were stupid.
"I told you it was an idiotic plan."
I didn't feel like going overboard, but it had to be done.
"No wonder it's so idiotic - it was made up by the King Idiot himself--OW!"
Suddenly, I received a stone-hard hit straight to my head, and glared at the snarky perpetrator.
"Y'know what, don't even try - I was only telling the truth."
You started to unfold your wings, eyeing them with interest in the process. You wanted to fly away, desperately. But you knew that even though you were a heartless idiot, you wouldn't dare leave me alone.
"Hmph, don't expect more than a speck of dust for your next birthday present then."
I took the closest stone to me in my left hand and curled my fist around it. Immediately, I stood up and threw it in the direction of the cosmos, somewhere up, up where you wouldn't notice it. With my precise and powerful throw, it took minutes for it to disappear from the dooming horizon.
Only when I sat down did I notice your shocked eyes and unsure grin.
"What? Stop looking at me like that, idiot--"
"I just wanted to say that you're amazing at throwing."
That piece of praise was very unnecessary, and very useless. Nova, you were an idiot, I knew it. From the very pom-pom tips of your jester hat to the very underside of your lovely and small high-heeled boots. You were a total loser. However, I didn't want to let you see my blush, and so I quickly turned in the opposite direction. Instantly, in a casual tone, I whispered -
"Thanks."
You didn't expect those words at all. Maybe an indecent insult, a condescending comment, a sinister smile. Not a quiet, bashful 'thank you' in the middle of the night. I saw your exhaled breaths create magical images from steam - the night was pretty cold. You were shivering constantly, wanting to leave but not leave me. You were obviously trying to hide your excitement at my response. You were never bright, or clever - but I dare say you were...acceptably mesmeric. That's all.
"So, um, Mags?
"Yeah."
"I, um, I just wanted to say that you're...nice."
Once you saw my change in expression, you immediately took on a panicky appearance, looking a bit lost and also quite alarmed. You started waving your hands in denial at me like a maniac.
"But not like nice 'nice'! Like as a fellow pal and companion and all, I think you're pretty cool. But not that cool! Shit, what am I saying..."
I carefully laid my pointing finger on top of your rambling lips, silencing you in the most risky way and causing your eyes to dart straight at mine.
Nova, I loved you, but I hated you.
"Hey, idiot, it's okay."
My finger left your lips but my eyes did not, instead imagining what I could be doing with them right now. Somewhere on the edge of town, in an abandoned little house, you'd be tied up in scarlet ribbon, where no one would find us. We'd be enjoying the night, two idiots clearly in love but too selfish to admit it.
"Actually, I think you're pretty o-okay too. Idiot."
"Whoa, thanks."
Then you started whistling that tune, the one that you had a habit of remembering whenever you felt happy. It was very slow and I was pretty annoyed to be hearing it the thousandth time ever.
But you? You were smiling. 
Smiling at me, not anywhere else, not at anyone else.
I caused that happiness, and I wouldn't dare take it away. At least not now, when we seemed so close but so far away at the same time.

Chapter Text

Beep. Beep.
Is that it?
I could barely hear the weak whimpers of the fainted hero who also felt as defeated in this beast's centre. Screams of pain escaped from my lips as I realized what every hit meant.
I had to run.
However, as my eyes fully opened and took in what was happening, all I saw were neon patterns that looked like a complicated CPU of a familiar machine. In front of me stood a very shaken, yet still figure.
It turned around and whispered amongst all the chaotic background signals...
"Hello, Max."
Oh Nova, it looked like him. But the artificial skin I spent ages on, half of it was torn off to reveal a blinking computer system under, which was slowly going out of commission. His coat had looked terribly deformed and discoloured, looking no more than a rag on a dirty kitchen floor. His eyes had lost their usual heartless appearance, instead looking lost and catastrophic, and reaching out to me.
His steps had been airy and light, but every second there was a part of him that disappeared for a moment - glitched out as his heart was giving off the first of its final beats.
He kneeled and faced me with a manic smile before caressing my face, manoeuvring his bloodless fingers around my cheeks.
His heart was so close, so close I could feel it taking a last breath.
"Haltmann. You always had had hope in me."
I didn't know how to answer. I had to agree - I did think that he could solve many of my problems, even the ones that didn't exist yet. Like bringing back my daughter, for instance.
"You thought you could invade Popstar. Take its resources. Eliminate those savages. And now look."
Suddenly, he stood up and stuffed his broken hands in the ripped pockets of his coat. From below, he seemed to be more intimidating than ever, looking down on me and very close to laughing.
"You are just a pathetic little human. What can you do. Nothing. You cannot even bring your daughter back. Meanwhile, I am a machine. I had been engineered by a human, but I am far more superior."
Out of the corner of my eye, I observed the little pink puff crying in his frightened sleep - a worrying sight that had been soon cut off from me by my own creation.
I stood up to Star Dream, trying to move him away - but he was absolutely rooted in the ground, impossible to move. The harder I shoved, the more he cackled, until I tripped on my own feet and fell onto his chest.
He swiftly entangled his own hands around mine and neared his lips to my ears.
"I'm taking you with me."
I gasped, and realized just how much of a mistake I'd be making if I let him do that. I tried to free myself from his cold touch, but every time I attempted to pull my arms, his lifeless grip tightened.
"Star Dream, no... I can't--"
"Oh, but you will."
The sirens were becoming louder every second, and my mind felt as if its cells were being painfully obliterated one after another. 'FATAL ERROR's began to flash red across my vision like a dangerous firework display, distracting me and forcing my eyes to trace the movement of every single warning screen. It was a matter of seconds as the bomb inside me ticked, his heart beat out of comission, one two three--
"You are coming with me."

Chapter Text

Meta had been a good friend of mine. Meta Knight, probably the smartest man I had ever known, had formed a family. With his unbelievable wit and charisma, he met a partner who made his days brighter and nights much more fulfilling.
I remember the time when we used to be in the same class in college and he used to say, "Escargon, you're an intellectual. Intellectuals don't stay lonely forever."
Oh, how wrong he had been.
On a rainy Thursday afternoon I knocked on the doors of the Knights, shivering uncontrollably under the rough touch of the raindrops. The door was opened by the smiling, pink-haired individual - Meta's partner.
"Oh, hello. Who am I welcoming into our modest house?"
I smiled back, and already a million questions started hiking around my head - 'how is your life with Meta?', 'why did you marry him?'. But first, it was important to make a good impression.
"Hello! I have heard about you a lot from Meta. Your name is...Galacta?"
Upon mention, his eyes lit up like a campfire and he nodded vigorously.
"Yup, that's me! You're Escargon, right? And you're here to take Andromeda to his parents' evening?"
"Yes I am indeed, and I have arrranged to pick the little gentleman up. Is it too early?"
The doors opened a little wider, and Galacta's hand was ushering me into the warmth of the cozy and insulated home.
"No, not at all! However, would you like some warm coffee before you go? Tea?"
My mind was shouting at my lips to ask for a warm beverage, but I glanced at the grandfather clock just inside the house - we were ten minutes away from our drop-in time. I was worried we'd be late, and I didn't want to represent Meta in a bad light, thus I denied the request. Galacta claimed that he understood our time issue, and shouted towards the stairs behind him for his son to 'hurry up or no midnight parfaits'.
Suddenly, the little child shot down the stairs almost toppling his dad over and crossed the porch towards me. The shocked Gala gave his small imp a tiny cuddle before smiling at me from inside the walkway of the home.
"Now, Escargon, Andromeda has mountains of homework to do, so please don't take him out for hot chocolate after the meeting."
Andromeda grasped my hand with force and started waving it around in anger, his eyebrows crossed and eyes focused on the pink-haired father figure.
"But Dad! Uncle Goonie always gives me chocolate when we go out together! That's so unfair."
I kneeled down, my umbrella almost slipping out of my hands, and pat the purple hair of my 'nephew'.
"Now, Andromeda, listen to your dad. Otherwise, I'll be forced to ask your other dad to act on this matter."
He had been silent for the whole trip. No words, no nothing. I always thought that Meta had been a difficult kid to spite, but once you angered him, he was difficult to calm down. Luckily, Galacta was way more reasonable and could dish out a lesser punishment before Meta would even hear what happened.
"Andro?"
"Yeah, Uncle Goonie?"
"Do you like your dad?"
His sadness suddenly turned into a sarcastic smile.
"Which dad?"
"Ah, I totally forgot. I mean, do you like Gala?"
He was lost in thoughts for a few minutes, as we crossed pavements and puddles and murky abysses on our way to his school.
"Yeah, of course I do! Gala-dad is super fun, he takes me to the cinema and he never wants to admit it, but he loves shopping. And I really like it when Gala-dad goes red next to Meta-dad sometimes, because I know that they really love each other a lot."
My heart bloomed when I listened to this young child being so accepting of his parents. Several people could learn from this eight-year-old, big or small. He didn't hate them because he didn't have a mother figure - he loved them because of the bond that was present between the two men. I smiled at his awe-inspiring speech and pointed at the lit-up school in front of us, which made him almost rip out his hand from mine and run towards it in a joy-filled sprint.
Once he led me to the classroom that the meetings were supposed to take place in, I saw a mother leave with her cheery child towards the exit of the school. Inside of the room, I heard an exclamation of 'NEXT!' ringing around the spacious hall.
Me and Andromeda entered the little, yellow-walled classroom and saw his form tutor wave to us.
Oh Nova, that man was...well, quite appealing.
He beckoned for us to sit down and once we did, Andro gave me one of his most luminous smiles. Right off the bat I could notice that he really had to like this teacher.
"M-Mr Dedede! Sir, Sir!"
Andromeda started banging impatiently on the table whilst the teacher continued to calm him down.
"Alright, Andro, what do you want to say?"
"Sir, you're like, the best teacher ever and I hope you'll always be teaching me."
Mr Dedede laughed in response to my nephew's confession, but all of a sudden he stopped as if he forgot something and turned to me with a grin.
"And I presume you're Mr Knight..?"
I started to panic and manically waved my hands in denial, all whilst giggling nervously. It wasn't the best start to this evening.
"N-No, of course I'm not! Mr Knight couldn't attend today, but I'm a family friend, so I had been asked to fill in for him."
Mr Dedede nodded in reply and shook my hand honourably. His hands were the softest I had touched in a while.
"Well, I'm this little fireball's form tutor, Mr Dedede. Oh, but call me Dedede."
Hah, he was extremely friendly.
"I am his 'uncle', Mr Escargon. But no need to be formal - call me Escargon."
I think we both understood each other like no one else. I was so enamoured in his stare and the hand-shaking, I didn't realize when Andro climbed onto my chair and whispered to me - "Uncle, why are you red?"
I immediately released the teacher's hand and flinched in horror. Andro quickly hopped off of my seat, as to evade punishment for his extremely loud whispers.
"So, how is Andromeda doing at school?"
He outlined everything - that he had been Andro's teacher since kindergarten, and that the child had been simply delightful to teach throughout all these years. I heard so much praise about the boy - he had been punctual, kind, well-mannered, extremely energetic and millions of other positive traits.
"Overall, I think you should tell Mr Knight and his partner that Andro is one of my most favourite students, and that there is nothing that'll stop him from meeting or even exceeding his targets by the end of this year."
I nodded at the lengthy explanation of Andro's school life to show him that I understand - meanwhile, I didn't catch a single word. I was just looking at him, he was looking at me, and it felt that Dedede was just reciting a pre-written script. He didn't change his facial expressions or tone of voice - his eyes were concentrated on mine like in a hypnotized trance. I felt my face getting warmer every second as Andro's laser vision was slowly uncovering my feelings.
"Uncle Goonie?"
"Yes, what?"
He lightly stabbed my cheek with his thumb, accelerating my annoyance.
"You're red!"
Usually I had been very difficult to frustrate. I had a heart of steel which was welcome to kindness and also fully tolerated all annoyances. To anger me, you had to put effort into it.
I was about to shake that kid by his shoulders - he was making a fool of both himself and me in front of that kind gentleman.
"Andro--"
"Uncle Goonie, you're blushing!"
I completely turned around to him, hoping that Dedede wasn't looking at this mad situation. I had to tell Meta to teach this little imp the basics of subtlety.
"Um, Escargon--"
"Please do wait a second, Mr Dedede. Andro, stop that!"
"Haha! You're blushing, I'll tell Daddy--"
At the snap of a finger, I sent him outside of the classroom to let him think about his mistakes before sitting in front of a very amused and slightly ruby-faced Dedede. He bowed his head towards the door behind which Andro was probably guffawing at my indiscreet adoration.
"Kids, eh?"
"Yeah..."
He swiftly opened one of the drawers inside the desk and took out a haphazardly-ripped scrap of paper. Instantly, he scribbled a few numbers on top of the paper, and pushed it towards me.
"Um, well, I saw that you're an excellent carer for this child, and because you have to deal with him almost everyday... Maybe you'd like to go out next week? A small reward for suriving this ant-sized monster."
Surprised to no end, I took the paper into my hand and skimmed over the roughly-written sequence of numbers. Well, I thought, it seems like the attraction goes both ways in this situation.
"Of course! If you insist - I cannot refuse under such a plea."
We both laughed, and I ran outside to pick up the overjoyed Andro from outside the classroom. The two of us made a pinky promise, that Andro was to never mention me and Dedede. If he were to tell Meta even a snippet, I would never hear the end of it. After all of those groans of dull loneliness, he'd call me every single day just to shout out 'told you!' into my poor ears.
Besides, the man seemed nice. I mean, Andro treats him like a third dad, and if I can't trust Andro, then who do I trust?
I spent that afternoon with a cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows, knowing that an amazing person who reciprocates my feelings was just a phone call away.

Chapter Text

I could never be busy. No, I would never allow myself to have a night job which would keep me alive and fed by normal means. I especially couldn't afford to have a job when moody Dedede decides to call me at 2am and asks to 'come here right now'.
There I was, standing on tip-toes in a half-lit kitchen next to an ancient kettle, trying to keep my desperate yawns in.
"Hey, thanks for comin' pal."
"It is absolutely no problem, Dedede."
After waiting for the water to warm up, I grasped the boiling kettle with an unsteady hand and angled it, thus pouring steaming tea into two tall mugs. One was navy blue, with red uppercase letters spelling out 'best king ever', and the other was just plain indigo, no strings attached. Blinking my eyes repeatedly so I wouldn't fall asleep standing up, I walked over to Dedede who was cuddling to a black love seat. He was struggling for warmth, changing his sitting position every few seconds, trying to find a comfortable arrangement. Once I stood before him, he hungrily reached out for the warm mug and I carefully handed it to him, whereupon I sat down on the blue fluffy carpet on the floor. The television was blaring some kind of an after-dark classical sitcom, the white noise lulling me into a comatose state.
"So, how's life?"
"Ordinary."
In between sipping his warm liquid, Dedede seemed quite thirsty for a late-night conversation. It still surprised me to this day that he couldn't understand that I am not a talkative individual.
"So, what about work? I heard you're a pharmacist?"
"Well, I was. That is, until they fired me."
The man sitting opposite me, largely unfazed looked absolutely shocked right now. He was the one to think that I am a man without problems, someone who has the life skills to get a job and just get on with life, but being Dedede's friend wasn't that simple after all.
"What!? They fired you? How is that possible?"
"Dedede, last week you called me in the middle of my night shift in a half-asleep trance, asking whether my fridge was running..."
Deeply puzzled, Dedede stared at me with his eyebrows furrowed. That day was absolutely amazing. During the day I overslept for my normal work, then on my coffee break I realized I lost my purse somewhere in the rain when I was dashing for work in the morning, and at night, once Dedede called me to ask such a stupid question, I knew he was having one of his existential dread episodes again. Once I turned the key at his door's lock, I walked in to find him sitting down with widely open eyes, looking like a machine. From there, we talked about life topics in depth until 8am, when he fell asleep and my boss called me to announce that I had been fired and that no merciful future references shall be given.
"Fridge was running, huh? You better go catch it then!"
That line fell on a deaf sense of humour as nothing more got out of me than a dull, tired look at Dedede. He understood that he shouldn't mess with me at 2am when the next morning, I'd most likely receive a call from my superiors saying that I should find luck elsewhere. In my eyes, Dedede gradually seemed more and more guilty for what he had been doing lately.
"Y'know, just because I call ya, y'don't have to turn up."
I nodded despite not hearing his statement, and continued to stare at the floor, the now cold blue mug slipping from my fingers like my will to live.
"I'm sorry for causin' ya to lose your job so many times."
I inclined my head in affirmation, slowly letting go of my mug and allowing my head to hit the carpet in a comfy landing.
"Meta, ya listening?"
"Yes, I am..."
"No, you're not. You're falling asleep."
"No, Dedede...'f co'se I not..."
Suddenly, I had been pulled into a comfortable sitting position on a very soft seat. Still keeping my eyes closed, I fell into a deep sleep I had been yearning for days, feeling my loving friend's hands caressing my cheeks as I dreamed about us together.

Chapter Text

The sun was shining. The birds were chirping. The sunflowers had been waving happily at me since the moment I got out of bed.
I knew that this day would be perfect.
"So, eh, tomorrow?"
I thought deeply about my plans and sighed - Meta had been trying to arrange something with me since two weeks ago, but I always had the time to meet up with Escargon instead. Our relationship had been blossoming as of late and every minute spent away from his blooming presence was a very painful minute.
I wanted to really excuse myself out of this meeting, since me and Esky had already established that Saturdays are for lazy afternoon snuggles on the couch whilst watching movies.
"Um, y'know Meta, I just noticed I have an awful lot of work to do this weekend..."
I absent-mindedly glanced at my desk out of the corner of my eye, which had been absolutely sparkling clean since last month. There was nothing on it except for a dust-gathering printer and a shiny black desk lamp. I started to sweat frantically, even though I clearly knew that Meta Knight couldn't know I was lying. I just hated lying to my friends altogether, but sometimes it had to be done.
"A lot? Hm, I've visited you many times last month and observed that your desk had been empty--"
"Oh, but that was last month! I assure you that now I have oodles of work to do."
All this sweat made me feel like a frog in the hot springs, and I was desperate to stop the call altogether. I felt extremely uncomfortable to be lying to my best friend.
Meta grunted in response, and a few tense minutes later, he answered me nonchalantly.
"Oh, fine. Shall we arrange something different for an another time?"
I nodded to myself and instantly brightened up.
"Yeah, that'd be ideal! Thanks Meta, see ya later because I gotta take care of the work."
"Goodbye, Dedede. I'll see you soon."
I gently slammed the mobile on my clean desk once I heard the satisfying beep of a cancelled call and stared at a warm coat hanging in front of my wardrobe. I smiled.
"'Take care of work' my ass. Dedede, you're such a good liar" - I chuckled to myself as I gathered all my belongings and rocketed out of the front door.
I can't remember how many dates we have had. Maybe two, three, a hundred - but every one of them gave me a new reason to laugh again. Him, his smile, his gentle hands grasping mine, and then petting them softly like a newborn puppy. His eyes, whispering, observing, but at the same time quietly screaming 'I love you' at all times. His lips, quivering in embarrassment, moving and producing words that flatter me and which I reciprocate. There was nothing more ideal than him, me and that cafe at the corner of the street.
The weather fortunately aligned with my feelings, making beautiful cloudscapes in the deep blue sky as I crossed the familiar roads of the town. Almost every neighbour waved at me in joy, and I returned each wave with an acknowledging smile. I took a few deep breaths, taking in the early winter air in happiness as the sun's rays created patches of heavenly light on the bright grey pavement. Every step meant that I was closer to him, and being closer to him meant that I could readily express my love as much as I wanted.
Well, that's what I thought, until I set foot in the cafe - I opened the freshly-painted wooden doors, which in turn made wind chimes 'bing' cheerily to signify that I had walked in. Many cafe customers gave me knowing and respecting looks, and I bowed my head kindly in response. After taking off my jacket and hanging it in the doorway, I immediately noticed a green-haired individual sitting alone at a table for two.
"And who is this handsome gentleman sitting here?"
He had been reading a newspaper, and the second I uttered a word close to his ear he jumped in surprise, whereupon he dropped the paper onto the table. A small blush ran through his cheeks like a flustered sportsman before his lips slightly curved into a frown.
"So you finally came."
"Yeah! Sorry baby, I had a phone call--"
"I understand."
He seemed much different than normally, but I didn't pay proper attention to his behaviour until I sat down at the table.
Amongst the chatter of the busy diner, I noticed that his hands, rather than playing with the tablecloth absent-mindedly like usual, had been shaking alarmingly. My Escargon was visibly trying to smile at me, however his lip quivered at failed attempts of keeping the impish grin straight. I didn't require Sherlock-level deductive abilities to see that he clearly didn't know what he was doing.
"Hey, Esky? You okay?"
"Yes, I am."
His serious voice tasted like a luxurious meal made out of marinated hatred, I had to lean back in my chair in order to soak all this in. What did I do to him for him to be acting like this?
Before I could offer my help and support to his predicament, a kind waitress had hopped over to our modest table. Her long, auburn hair was moving so energetically I was worried she'd smack me with it by mistake.
"Geeeeeeeentlemen!! What could I offer you today?"
Everything was going so wrong. The woman had been exhausting her gums and teeth to form a smile so wide for us whilst both of us had been looking everywhere but at each other. In the background, children had been screaming joyfully at the new toys they received from their parents, making the whole cafeteria louder than a megaphone in a church. Teenagers were glancing at each other's phones from time to time and playing music so obnoxiously, one's head was more than ready to explode from the noise. And amongst all that bustle was us, and a problem that I wasn't able to solve.
Suddenly, the paper menu that had been resting in Escargon's hands a second ago had been swept off the table and slowly plummeted to the carpeted ground.
"I am not hungry."
Immediately, he stood up, gathered his belongings and left, slamming the door of the cafe furiously. None of us could hear it slam though, since the kids' voices were deafening. Me and the waitress watched him leave in total shock.
I was determined to put everything right.
I also caught everything of mine into my hands and dashed off into the street, frantically searching for my only love around the now dull and freezing pavements of Dreamland. I thought I could hear the waitress saying something in confusion as I was leaving - something like 'are his exits always so dramatic and powerful' but I wasn't sure by then. The second I spotted a small fragment of olive-green hair lazily hanging out of a coat a few minutes away, I instantly began to sprint towards that individual. I wanted to know what was bothering him. I loved him, I just wanted to make him the happiest boy in the world.
Once I caught up to the figure, I tapped their shoulder, cueing them to turn around in surprise and allowing me to get a glimpse of Escargon's startled features. Before he had a chance to flee once again, I madly caught him by his thin shoulders to make him face me.
The cars right next to us were so extremely loud, I had to hectically shout at him to be heard.
"Escargon! Why?"
"Look, I don't know! Just leave me alone! It's all done - we are done!"
I shook my head; that was not true. That was never true. We had our future planned out and he was not the kind of person to throw it all away for nothing.
"Does it look like I believe you?!"
"Well, you'll have to, since we just weren't meant to be!"
I had been madly huffing, slowly losing my breath and voice to shouting over the raucous traffic a few steps away. No, no, no! He was lying, I was convinced he was.
"Don't lie to me! You know that I love you, and I know that you love me! There, it's that obvious!"
"Well, I don't love you anymore!"
My heart sunk.
"I don't love you, or your looks, or your personality, or anything about you! You are nothing to me and I hope it stays that way!"
My hands feebly fell from his shoulders, and I felt like I lost grip not only of them but of reality too.
"I said, I don't love you! Now, get lost!"
I left him with a bitter goodbye and a few tears which spilled along the pavement and cascaded down the chaotic road.

-

As Dedede stormed away from my person in frail, manly tears, I picked up my frantically ringing phone in well-deserved melancholy.
"Escargon?"
I whispered regrettably - "Yes, Meta Knight."
He released a menacing laugh which sent shivers down my spine, and promptly answered - "Well done. This is exactly what I needed."
I sniffled gently before wiping my face with a used-up tissue I found in my pocket.
"I love him... I didn't want all this to happen."
"Oh, but Escargon!" - he lamented mockingly - "it was either this or a slow, painful death. The choice was yours, dear."
My voice picked up a furious quality and I screamed into my phone - "WHY DID YOU WANT THIS TO HAPPEN?"
All I heard was a giggle down the line.
"You weren't made for each other. On the other hand, he and I were."
Suddenly, on the other side of the line I heard a door slam open against a wall and gruff footsteps getting closer.
Meta's voice became sickeningly sweet towards the new guest.
"Oh, Dedede! Are you feeling alright?"
Dedede. He went to Meta Knight. For comfort.
"M-Meta... Escargon... he broke up with me... I love him so much... and he just left me... I don't know what to do..."
Tears began to trickle down my cheeks as I heard Dedede continue to weep and Meta Knight continue to coo kindly at him.
"It's fine, Dedede... I think us two we'll be much better."
I didn't wait for him to pick up his phone and answer before my mobile was violently thrown under a passing car.

Chapter Text

He still remembers it vividly, even though he wasn't there to see it with his own eyes. As he poured the umpteenth vodka into a glass that was already overflowing, liquid slowly spilling like a snake, he could visualise it all happening. Within his head, it all seemed like centuries, hours, when it all was a matter of a few short miscalculated seconds. Like his screams, those words spat out with agony in his voice, those panicked, shocked eyes that could do nothing. Like his mind, that had too much to think about to react to anything that was going on, those neurons not picking up the fright or the terror of skidding the vehicle right out of the way. Those tears that spattered along the car wheel like blood, and on his clothes, and then stained the car window like a mistaken splash of paint. It was all a mistake. But humans couldn't turn back time, as far as Galacta was concerned.
There was no limit to his patience. Meta could be late by two minutes, two hours or even two days - that was fine as long as he called him about the delay. Galacta was a good husband, always keeping tabs on him for his own safety, always being a little mother hen that cared about Meta more than anyone else. People mentioned that 'aren't you a little overprotective?' and things like 'he's gonna leave you, y'know, if you keep up being like that. Give him some space.' But of course, Galacta knew better. He knew that even his intensive affection and care wasn't going to deter Meta from him. Nothing would. It was the truest kind of love he had ever experienced, from crying over melancholy to celebrating over happiness. Nothing would be able to separate them.
"Nothing would be able to...*hic*...s-separate us."
Galacta picked up the phone that lied next to his elbow, and he monotonely sifted through all the messages from the very first one to his very last one, trying to take all the words in.
The first message felt nothing like Meta Knight - it felt like unrequited feelings being forcibly pushed into a glass jar, kept away from the light of day.

'Dear Sir,
Yesterday, I think I found something of yours lying on one of the park benches. It looked like a sketchpad, and I do feel that the common human decency is to return it to you as fast as possible.
Would you like to meet tomorrow over a coffee so I may return it to you?
Kind regards,
Meta Knight'

Galacta saw a small tear jump from his eyes to the cracked phone screen, resulting in a large stain forming on its surface. He smiled, his dead eyes glaring absent-mindedly at the table he was sitting next to. He quickly scrolled to the last message he received, keeping all those first-date tingly butterflies locked somewhere else rather than his stomach.

'Hey Honey, I'll be home soon! I'm sorry I'm taking so long. The delegation stretched itself out quite a bit, and I'm sorry I am only telling you that now.
By the way, which flowers are your favourite?
...Okay, that's kind of a stupid question to ask. Of course you like pink carnations. Uhh, sorry...
I'll see you soon, love you <3'

The tears started flowing faster, when he remembered what the death report was. What flowers were found in the back of the car. A giant bouquet of pink carnations.
Suddenly, Galacta's phone had rung. A surprised gasp left his lips as he mouthed the caller ID to himself, and placed the phone next to his ear with his fatigued hand.
"Why, hello there, Galacta. You feelin' alright?"
Galacta didn't even listen as he continued looking at the grey and dull kitchen windows, occasionally stealing glances at the regularly-supplied alcohol cabinet just a few feet from him. It was as tempting as sex.
A little manly giggle was heard at the end of the line as Nova whispered tentatively into Galacta's ear.
"Come on...do something for me. One last thing?"
Galacta's energy had left him. He had nothing to live for. Or even if he didn't, that still wouldn't fill and mend the large Meta Knight-shaped hole in his freezing heart.
But only one thing? Sure Galacta could manage. It couldn't hurt, right?
Galacta meekly pushed the liquor glass away from himself to the other end of the table, and squinted his eyes in suspicion using whatever will-power he had left. His voice was powerless and near silent as he pushed all mentions of the tragic incident to the back of his mind.
"What...is it."
"Oh, so you do want to listen! How nice."
Despite the grim atmosphere and the knowledge of the great Meta Knight's death, Nova's hatred and evil could be felt from the other side. It gave Galacta shivers, imagining that anyone would hate Meta Knight. He was a saint. His little knight, there was nothing to hate about him. But Nova's voice was so unimaginably cheerful, happy, ecstatic.
"Knock knock."
It was one of those silly jokes, again. Galacta knew that after this he'd be free. He could tell him to never call again, to just leave him to grieve in solitude.
"Alright. Who...who is it?"
Nova's toothy and malevolent smile was biting at Galacta's cheeks.
"Not Meta Knight, my darling."

Chapter Text

When you wanted to familiarise yourself with someone else's family, you always were invited to a family dinner. The classics - ornate candles slotted into silver decorations at the centre of the large rectangular table, the pristine white cloth that covered the oak, some never-before-seen meals that had unpronounceable names.
Oh yes, the dull, formal family dinner where one of the parents says nothing more than 'what's your job' towards the partner of their child and then sneers or smiles accordingly.
Dedede was sitting closely to me and I heard his heartbeat all over the place, as if I had his ears. It was noticeable that he was shaking uncomfortably, probably from being stressed at making a bad first impression. Dedede was not the most polite or respectable man at first, but he promised that he wouldn't launch a nuclear weapon on my parents if there was a problem.
He was just trying to be a peaceful little boyfriend.
My mom turned her head towards us both, her warm smile relaxing our muscles a little more. Meanwhile, my grumpy father continued to eat, his spoon beating loudly against the bowl of soup he was slowly eating from. He didn't pay us any attention, and something inside me sank a little.
"So, my boys, how are you currently living?"
Apart from that, the house was devoid of any sound, and outside it was extremely quiet too. It's as if the ground, and the grass, and the trees and the roads were listening to our dinner conversations, trying to determine what was actually happening. No one knew whether it was all against my father or my father against all of us as he ignored everything that was happening around him and instead concentrated on his fascinating meal.
I shook Dedede's hand, which was under the table and away from prying eyes, in comfort without making eye contact whatsoever.
He felt slightly frightened, although I knew he didn't want to show it.
I took a bite of chicken that had been ceremoniously lying on the table like a sacrificial lamb.
"Well, I think me and Dedede are living quite well. We have a cozy house in the central district of Dreamland."
My father could be heard growling in annoyance, which made my heart writhe with guilt but I continued to face my mother with a grin.
"That's excellent! I'm sure your dad is proud of you."
She glanced at my father who hadn't as much as blinked at him being mentioned.
"Right, sweetie--?"
"No, I'm not proud of him."
That is all he muttered in response.
The rest of dinner was spent in utter silence, no one dared to chit-chat as we all observed my father from the corners of our eyes, watching out if the ticking bomb inside of his mind ever decides to explode. It did not, thank Nova.
That is, until I asked for something. A small, insignificant salt shaker was positioned quite far away from me, and it would have been impolite to stand up and stretch my hand over the table to reach for it - thus, I was forced to ask someone else to pick it up for me.
"Daddy, can you pass the salt?"
It took two seconds. Two goddamn seconds for this all to go rapidly downhill. In those two seconds, brain neurones of two people at the table managed to somehow pick up the word 'daddy' and the two aforementioned people stood up without realising. One of their hands each met at the adored salt shaker, and then their eyes met in a shock.
Both Dedede and my father stood up to pass me the salt.
It remained silent like after a tornado stormed over our home and nothing had been left in its midst - the two men stood bravely, just looking at each other in nothing but grave surprise. They were probably wondering 'so he calls you daddy too?' or 'which one of us did he really call?' Nothing mattered to me more than dignity, however, once my mother quickly glanced at my red face, to Dedede's wild blush to my father's rather concerned features and released a booming guffaw that bounced off every known wall in the room. None of us dared to move but her, and after a few minutes she was already breathless and literally scrambling to sit on the ornate chair she had just fallen off of. She'd been pointing out at all of us, one after another, trying to suppress her laugh.
'You, Escargon? And...and him, Dedede? And then you--HAHA!'
I couldn't look anyone in the eyes, so I promptly jumped out of my chair in a hurry and fled out of the room, my mother's laughter still continuing at the back of my mind. Luckily, I found the back door of our house and I dashed outside to sit on the garden stairs. They were a bit rusty and completely drenched, but I sat on them nonetheless and stared out into the gloomy grey sky.
This day couldn't get any worse.
Dedede always wanted to make the best possible impression on my parents. He wanted to show he was a caring partner, a man that would go to the ends of Earth for me if I needed to. Right now, all my parents had seen was that his 'blushy dork' cover was actually a lie and that deep inside, he was only there for sex and nothing else.
I felt disappointed in myself as I burrowed my face inside of my hands and quietly cried out, the rain hitting against the windows persistently like a drill. The sound was eroding my mind like a small forest path being walked on by all kinds of people, trying to impress but instead becoming everything but special.
I didn't hear the back door opening silently, nor did I feel Dedede's comforting embrace once he sat on the stairs next to me. I didn't want to feel anything - I shut out everything I could.
"Oh c'mon, Goonie..."
I sniffled, tears streaming down my face in a constant reminder of the event that transpired today.
"Dedede, you don't understand! I...I disappointed them. I made a grave mistake that cannot be repaired."
His grip on my feeble shoulders tightened, and I felt like his love and care was slowly helping me recover from the incident.
"Esky, it's fine...hell, I think we made a brilliant impression. Your mama loves us together."
"My mother has always been to liberal for her own good - on the other hand, my father..."
Dedede lightly pulled my head onto his lap and, since I received the message about this dinner from my mother, I felt like I could truly relax.
"Look, if you're so desperate to call me daddy, then maybe don't do it in public--"
I softly punched Dedede's arm in annoyance, but I couldn't wipe that sincere grin off of his face.
"Look, if you're so desperate to hear me call you daddy, then maybe you shouldn't react to that word in public for the sake of dignity."
Dedede looked out into the horizon, and affirmatively closed his eyes.
"Hm, good point."
A moment of calming silence was shared between us, the only sound being the desperate raindrops hitting the creaking stairs like bombs raining on defences. I didn't want this evening to end like this, and I think Dedede understood this message. In a few seconds, he was already up on his feet and standing next to the doors, looking at with those warm and caring eyes of his.
He knew it would be alright.
"So, do we want a rematch?"
I smiled.
"Rematch? So you treat this as nothing more than a weird mark of territory? As a way to prove that I'm yours?"
His eyes sized me up and down, from my head to my feet, his smug expression making this moment so much less serious than what it should be.
"Are you saying you're not mine?"
I released an embarrassed giggle and, before he had a chance to catch me and really prove that I am his, I opened the back doors and ran inside, my wet soles making black marks on the carpet one-by-one. It was a pleasant squishy sound, which made this evening so much more fun than what it could have been. I felt so young and free again.
Dedede closed the doors behind him, and pointedly looked at the rooms upstairs. Then he expectantly glanced at me. I couldn't keep my wild laugh in as I realised what he meant.
"What?! No, first we have to solve this! We have to talk to my parents--"
"Didn't you want to have a reason to call me daddy once again?"
I shook my head and dashed back into the dining room, Dedede hot on my tail. We chased each other through numerous sitting rooms and other unnamed living spaces, each type of decor coming and going as fast as a childhood memory. It was a one of a kind moment, which reminded me of all those cheery afternoons I used to spend with my father who would play tag with me every day. He'd always smile at me, read books with me, treat me like a son he is proud of...
Yes, this evening had turned out much better than I supposed.

Chapter Text

This. This was the day I had been destined to become the lord of this house. No one would stop me as I'd cause devastation and leave scorching fire behind my heavy steps. This house would burn down fast along with its unsuspecting owner.

I'd be the king of this peasantry!

"You!" - I pointed at the owner, just as he walked into the kitchen - "You shall surrender to the flames that I will leave in my wake! You shall burn, BURN I say!"

The bored Galacta yawned in my direction, ignoring my display of sheer masculinity and bravery towards the bad monster that was him. He just arrogantly pushed my pointing finger away, lazily walking over to the coffee machine and pressing a few random buttons out of routine to see the sickly brown liquid gather inside the cup under the 'tap'.

I growled quietly - I hated being ignored. And, seeing as Galacta was slowly warming up to my antics, it allowed him more leeway into not taking me seriously even more. A man just wanted to have some fun, gosh, what was the problem?

Once the aforementioned cup was full, I saw Galacta take it away with him to the dinner table where a fresh, still smelling of print and ink, newspaper was waiting for him. Still not acknowledging me, he placed the cup on the table in front of him and sat down, reading the newspaper. His eyes were so tired they still didn't adjust to the morning light, and he was instead still reading through incomprehensible slits. Gosh, that must have been uncomfortable.

I was wondering how I could wake him up.

I put on the most convincing frown I could, and forced my eyes to bleed with tears as I laid on the ground next to Galacta's legs, screaming in pain.

"Oh Galacta, I am in need! Save me, my prince charming!"

After taking a gulp of his coffee, the man briefly glanced at me out of the corner of his eyes. I thought that this was the moment he'd fall for the trap and help me get up, but he ignored my shrieks of demand and instead returned to his paper.

It took two seconds for me to lose my patience - as I said, no one could ignore me. I, Nova, was the most important man on this earth and I was not going to be ignored by anyone, especially this run-of-the-mill peasant.

I gotta admit, he had nice eyes though.

But that's beside the point! In no time at all, my hands were clasped around his two hairy legs and I started to pull him off the chair. He didn't react until he had completely slid off and fell on the ground with a dramatic onomatopoeic sound somewhat similar to glass being dropped to the floor. By then I had left his side and I dashed out of the kitchen in excited panic, knowing that he'd chase after me judging by what he always did when I disrupted his breakfast.

Watching from outside the kitchen, my head poking into the doorway, he was sitting in a weirdly twisted position and his head was slowly raising until his eyes met my own. His face bore the most devious smirk I've ever seen from him, his irises ready for murder at any second.

"Nova... you do not mess with me."

I didn't reply in the slightest as he stood up and walked over to the closest kitchen shelf, which was, coincidentally, the cutlery drawer. He opened that one in a flash and, out of it, he slowly dragged out the largest knife in our possession, his maniacal expression reflected in the blade that gleamed under the half-dim kitchen lights. I've never been afraid of Galacta in my whole life - he was a dormant man who loved to stay silent. He liked to listen to people talk but didn't talk about himself at all. I always thought of that as a sly move, having a weapon in case your friends turn against you and if you turn against them then they have nothing, but as we became closer, I learned that it wasn't about gossip at all. His character was like that. In my family, people said that whenever a person is abnormally silent is usually when they are planning your murder.

C'mon, what dummy actually plans a murder out loud? They probably didn't watch enough film noir to know that that isn't effective at all.

Although Galacta being a bit more expressive would have allowed me to know why this was happening, I mused to myself as shudders rocked my body from side to side. I didn't even know what to think when Galacta started creeping towards me at a frighteningly slow pace. And he was smiling, baring his teeth at me in a display of real evil. I tried running through the Shakespearian book in my hands but I saw nothing useful, even about 'slaying thy villain'. It was just useless insults that wouldn't be of good use at all.

Hell, I had no weapons and my best friend was about to murder me. Nova, your life was looking very bright at this point. It's all that damn karma, I bet, I thought grimly to myself, noticing that Galacta was only about twenty inches away.

Yes, I have an extremely trained brain in terms of measurements, not that it matters.

Soon, we were both outside the kitchen, the large knife still in Galacta's shaking hands. Judging by the look in his eyes and my position of being pinned against our corridor's wall, he would have no regrets about eliminating me at all.

Hm, one just wonders what goes inside that guy's brain sometimes.

His smile was horrifyingly widening as one of his hands encircled my throat, pushing me against the wall so much I could barely breathe. I didn't understand any of this. I didn't understand what was happening as the imposing blade of his knife was nearing towards my scalp, his face absolutely ready for what was going to happen.

I, on the other hand, didn't receive at least two weeks' notice, and I wasn't ready at all. Even though I was being slowly suffocated into unconsciousness, I cautiously raised the Shakespearian book and quickly hit his face with it, making him lose grip on my neck and fall onto the floor, dropping his knife onto the carpet and massaging his forehead.

"Ha, die, villain! ...or something that the Shakespearians would say."

Before he had a chance to recover, I ran to the room on my right, judging the rest of the house inaccessible since I wouldn't want to be tripped up by Galacta's feet and stabbed to death. I was treating this incident like a game of cat and mouse, and that's what allowed me to deal with this situation. Otherwise I would have collapsed and cried like a baby. Literally.

Tripping over piles of my clothes on the ground, I was desperately reaching for the balcony door handle which was on the other side of the room. If I got to the balcony I would be able to climb down the block, and I'd be completely safe. Earlier this year, I bought new triple-glazed windows, and thus anyone with fairly normal, 20-year-old-male fists wouldn't even be able to make a scratch on them. He wouldn't be able to catch me, let alone attack me. Safe, safe from that knife and Galacta too. I loved him, he was my best friend, but at this point he needed serious mental help.

Once I reached the handle, both of my hands enclosed around it like a blessing from God and I started to push it upwards in order to open the damn doors.

It didn't budge.

As I heard Galacta's echoing steps, I pushed harder on the handle, the sweat making my hands slide out of control. I tried to calm down but the raising panic within me made me stress even more, like magma ascending inside a volcano, close to exploding. And his steps were so phlegmatic, so heavy, like the loud thumps of my desperated heart. When he was only a metre away I started to bang on the balcony window, very damn well knowing that I was fool to get that damn triple glazing. But maybe my raw power was enough. I mentally prayed to God, asking for anything, literally anything before I felt Galacta's alarming breath on my shoulder. His hands instantly pushed me at the glass doors just my manly tears started to drip from eyes uncontrollably.

I didn't want it to end like this. I was so young, we were so young, so much to see, I didn't know I needed him so much until now.

"Galacta, look... we've been friends for so long, you know how much I love you, this can't end like this!"

After processing my melancholic statement, Galacta's expression suddenly softened and he started to laugh. Y'know, release this kind of nice, gentle giggle that Galacta always used whenever I cracked a good joke around him. I exhaled in relief, patting the man on his shoulder and laughing in fear along with him. I had never felt so played in my entire life.

"Hey, g-good joke Galacta! Honestly..."

Wordlessly, Galacta's hands left my stomach they were pressing into the window moments ago and instead opened themselves invitingly. Aw, he wanted a hug. The guy was as silent as always and that's normal. Normal. That's what I really wanted to be around him from now on. All those tricks and pranks would soon contribute to high blood pressure or a heart attack.

Led by relief and affection, I walked straight into Galacta's embrace and felt a cold, should I say stabbing sensation in my stomach.

Promptly, I dropped to the ground, my vision going blurry in no time at all. I was struggling to breathe, eyeing the infamous kitchen knife that was wedged into my stomach, which was spewing blood onto the ground in waterfalls. Im seconds, I became nothing but a pool of red as a happily smiling Galacta lowered himself to my level and started to press the knife deeper into my stomach, making more scarlet liquid burst out from under my skin. He looked so cheerful, retrieving the Shakespearian dictionary I hit him with and quickly sifting through its pages until he stopped about midway, just as I was about to take my final breath. He slammed the book closed with a sincere grin.

"'Tis safer to be that which we destroy, than in destruction dwell in doubtful joy.'"

Chapter Text

I absolutely hated flying.


And I still do, either way. The planes always felt as if they were in the capital city of the entire world - everyone was bickering uncontrollably, excited about something I didn't understand. Why would you be so terribly excited about going on a flight which has a possibility of killing you? What if the pilot just coughs once, and closes his eyes for a second, and loses control of the plane, and the storm starts shaking the plane, and a bomb detonates, and half of the plane will be destroyed and you'll crash into the sea?


Yeah, what if? What if you won't come back?


I detested the start-up, when the plane starts to rattle madly like a toy in an infant's hand. And when the plane drives forward, getting faster and faster every second, trying to take off, it feels like that infant has gotten bored of the toy and attempts to throw it as far as it possibly can to get rid of it. I felt nauseous when I felt the wheels of the plane leave the solid, safe ground, that I knew I was going to kiss it madly once I ran out of the plane at my destination. I would drop everything, unbuckle my seatbelt and just push through the crowds to reach the dirty concrete on which millions of people had stepped on years before, and just kiss it. Ready my lips for their sweet release of freedom and lay them on the ground ever so gently, showing my relief and probably receiving strange looks from other passengers.


Did I care?


No.


Yes, this is probably as close as flying got for me. It was a chaotic journey of survival lasting roughly three and a half hours, forced into an uncomfortable seat, a seatbelt pushing at my lap. People were chatting to each other calmly, children were ecstatically looking out of windows or crying madly. No in-between. Although I so badly wanted to join the kids who were weeping.


Once I was stuck at my plane seat, shuffling around to arrange myself in a comfy way, I eyed other people. Most families were rushing to place their bags on little storage spaces above the seats, parents smiling at their children and children smiling back.


I frowned in disgust.


Everyone looked pretty ordinary, except for a single pair. Yes, two people - a woman and a man. Before the 'lack of girlfriend' feeling managed to hit my heart with sadness and regret, I decided to discreetly eavesdrop on their conversation.


The woman was anxiously pushing her bag into the shelf until one of her manicured nails broke.


She turned to her travel companion. Or maybe boyfriend?


"Look, I've had enough."


The man nonchalantly turned away from the window towards her, paying little attention as to why she was raging in the first place.


"Well, you're tall enough to put your bag where it must be."


"Yes, but being my lover, it would have been polite of you to put that bag in there for me."


She angrily shoved her broken nail at the man, who didn't care in the slightest. He continued to stare at her with his bored eyes, and I saw her shoulders shake more and more with each second.
I felt so intrusive by looking at them argue, but I couldn't take my eyes off the conflict once it had started.


"Because of your mood swings, my nail broke."


Instantly, he swiped his eyes over the nail and continued to stare at her without any distinct emotion.


"Alright. Do you have anything to say that I actually should care about?"


Her eyes widened in anger and she growled at the unfazed man.


"This is it. I'm breaking up, this is the final straw. You're an uncaring asshole, and all you care about is sex. Because you only care whether I've broken my nail in bed, and everywhere else you're as unresponsive as a wall."


Immediately, she pulled out her bag out of the storage above her head and dashed to the toilets without a word. The man shrugged at himself with a sly smile and continued to face the window on his left.


Only after everything had ended I realized that I had been sweating like mad, paying attention at the argument at hand more than I should have.


Oh boy, and that was one heated argument.


I decided to take my mind off of it and concentrate on the stewardess walking through the aisle between the seats, demonstrating how to use the emergency lifejackets. I was about to put them on immediately without an emergency, just in case, but I figured I'd look like a fool.
After all, all seats in the plane had been taken except for all seats next to me and the one which the woman had fled from.
Which means I didn't look particularly likeable to this flock.


Why didn't other humans like me? Maybe around the legions of kids with phones and tablets and game consoles, I was clutching a folded newspaper in my hands; maybe around people who wore t-shirts and shorts, I had a monocle and a suit, and I looked as if I had stepped out of a Victorian time machine? Maybe.
When I had just about settled in my seat and I opened up my newspaper to the page about Florexit, elections and Nova knows what else people could write about to sell the newspaper, I heard steps. Heavy ones. Heavy steps laced with hatred and fatigue.


The woman quickly walked to her row - her 'lover' facing the window on the left and me, lonely man sitting on the right.
It's an obvious guess as to who she'd choose - and I was honestly shocked when she turned to my near-empty row.
At first, she didn't notice me, but when her eyes looked over the empty seats, there was one that was full.


Magically, her frown flipped into a smile and she pulled my hand from my lap to shake it politely.


"Apologies, for I am having a few...issues" - that word was a growl, but her boyfriend didn't as much as bat an eye at it - "can I please sit here?"


I slowly took in how she looked. And, literary complications aside, she looked absolutely beautiful.


Her long blonde-azure blue hair was pooling around her bare shoulders, cascading towards the ground like adored silk. Adorning her slim but tall form was a gold-indigo summer dress with an immodest cleavage, slightly exposing her rather impressive uh, y'know what. The hem of the dress only reached until mid-thigh, and I'm not surprised - she was really tall for a woman. Her legs were stunning. Really stunning and alluring. But next to her, I looked like a little kid.
She looked at me with her hypnotically turquoise eyes once she put her bag away and sat down.


"I'm so grateful you allowed me to stay here. I didn't want to exchange anymore words with that man over there" - she obnoxiously pointed to that man she was arguing with.


I was about to open my mouth to make an affirmative sound before she again shook my hand with glee.


"Ah, where are my manners! My name is Sectonia."


Thoughts riveted around my head like a ball in a table tennis match being hit between two professional players. I was going absolutely mad - never had I ever met a woman who introduced herself because of pleasure and not because she was forced to.


This was a change I could get used to.


"T-Taranza."


Her smile widened at my display of embarrassment, and I mentally slapped myself that I was about to ruin my first ever meeting with a girl who's interested.


"I mean, m-my name's Taranza."


"Hello Taranza, that is absolutely great to meet you!"


She was so happy, so excited she was jumping in her seat and, well, her you know whats were jumping as well.
I may sound like a creep but this was my first extremely close encounter with a beautiful woman. I didn't know what to do, I was panicking. Do I propose to continue talking or do I just open my newspaper like nothing had happened?, my thoughts echoed.


Suddenly, she reached out for a hug and, since she was miles taller than me, it felt like an absolutely crushing hug. How unfortunate that when she pulled me towards herself, my face landed right in front of her breasts.


She grasped the back of my neck with both of her hands, her soft gel-painted nails pleasantly tickling me, and then she just pulled me towards herself. But she miscalculated the angle severely and my face ended up face-to-face with her huge melons.


And she continued to squeeze me, babbling something about being grateful, how polite I am and how fortunate she is that I'm here to protect her as I was suffocating quite quickly in the midst of her bosom.


Thank Nova that about five minutes later, she flung me back towards my seat, and noticed my extremely red face. She curved her head towards mine in curiosity and with it - I have no idea how that was possible, since I studied Physics and that was not how Physics worked - her chichis came bouncing along. I couldn't concentrate on her face at the slightest, instead I was eyeing the mysterious orbs which defied all laws right in front of me.


"Are you okay? You seem a bit heated right now..."


I honestly didn't know how to reply, and I felt that it would all be better if I didn't.
All of a sudden, her arms opened wide, ready to enclose me in a giant hug again. I put my hands in front of my own chest in defense.


"No, no it's fine! I don't need a hug, thank you."


In response, she sat back on her own seat and laid her hands upon her lap.


"Alright, but if you need something, you'll tell me, right?"


This time, facing her eyes, lips, cheeks and nose, I smiled.


"Yes, of course I will."


"Thank you."


This plane journey was one wild ride I'd never forget.

After all, how could I forget it if the woman who made it so amazing in the first place became my wife?

Chapter Text

Right now is the best time of my life. You can't deny me that, and anyone else can't as well. This is the best time of my life, and actually, I'm not sure whether it is happening. For all I know, this could be an illusion, work of black magic, sorcery that my mind can't understand - but what does it hurt to savour the moment?

Does it hurt to take in the colourful display of guests all races and all colours and all dialects, who are currently as happy as I am? Is it painful to appreciate that, after years of working in tandem with my beloved, we were able to save up money in order to pay for this luxury? No, of course not. I loved that period of time, despite the hours I had to work and how much suffering I had endured to put in the effort I did. I loved it because it rewarded me with this - her head on my shoulder, both of us lazily swaying with the jazzy tune played by the live orchestra in this amazing locale whilst showing each other love in the most relaxed way possible.

There was no better prize for our efforts than a week-long ride on a cruise ship that only kings and queens could afford for our honeymoon.

It took her months to pick clothes to take for this journey. Everyday after work, I found her scurrying around in her ironically small wardrobe, trying to find the ideal garments for this once-in-a-lifetime occasion. Personally, I found it adorable how much she cared for people's opinion about her - she wanted to show herself to those wealthy individuals in the best way possible. I respected her for that, and so I didn't need to bargain with her to take her shopping - after all, it was only my responsibility as a loving husband to make her life as comfortable as possible even if it cost me my life. I loved her, and she loved me back - there was no reason why we couldn't marry. It was the perfect arrangement, as if Nova himself had orchestrated it.

Right now, all those times were behind us as her hands were lingering around my neck, her smiling face staring at me in a display of most sincere affection I had ever observed. It warms my heart to know that she is enjoying this cruise.

"Kirby, this is...this is beautiful."

Her feminine lips are stuck in absolute shock, and she still cannot comprehend that we are here, enjoying our young life by dancing the night away. I find that endearing and silence her with a kiss, to which she replies with a tighter embrace.

"You don't have to say anything, dear" - her hands are locked around my neck, pulling me closer - "it's enough for me to see you smile when you're with me."

Instantly, her grin widened and I saw her stomach relax, drawing my attention to her amazing dress. It is a lengthy baby-pink dress, its bright skirt starting at her beautiful hips and tumbling down to her godly feet. Its neck style is a deep V-cut, one that exposes just the ideal amount of cleavage and makes her confident about her figure at the same time. My traditional suit to her enviable accoutrements is like cereal breakfast to a five-star meal in a famous restaurant. The dress' straps rest on her shoulders, making her petite shoulders gleam in the light of countless crystal chandeliers. The dress is cut-out at her back, which allows me to comfortably embrace her and even tickle her while we dance - also, the material of the dress is so soft to the touch, which gives me an even bigger excuse to be closer to her at all times.

We continue our dance, despite getting disapproving looks from other older guests for our calm youthful frolicking - I breathe calmly into her pink hair as she breathes at my neck, her head on my shoulder as we slowly rock to the live saxophone solo, the saxophonist on the stage smiling at me in congratulation.

She lifted her head promptly and again attempted to speak to me, but shock won her over again. Her mind seemed to have gone blank as her eyes shone in happy confusion.

"Thank you for helping me organise this. I still really can't believe we are here, together. Look around, darling."

I manage to glance at some of the corners of this ballroom - I see a variety of foods laid out on countless tables - I observe people with discontent envy on their faces, showing off their jewellery to other similarly rich individuals - I hear the hard steps of other pairs dancing, but none of them looking as encompassed within their own love as much as us. They look as if they're there for the attention, perhaps fame, or perhaps money. Immaterial and material concepts that me and her never had.

"Do you see all those people? Kirby, we have got here together. We spent such a long time raising money for this trip, and truly, I wouldn't give up this time for anything else."

I kiss her lips lightly, caressing them with my touch and out of the corner of my eye, I can see her arms tingling with excitement.

"I love you, Ribbon."

"I love you as well, Kirby."

I love her and she loves me. I wouldn't replace her for anyone else, and nor would she replace me. This moment is the best time of my life.

Then, the music stops as the musicians notice the silver platters on the tables rattle maniacally - and they fall off the tables along with the guests who drop to the ground, while the ship is rocking from left to right like a drunk dancer. There is an announcement - the speakers within the ballroom spit out a bizarre but alarming sound effect while Ribbon is clinging onto my jacket, frightened to see that some of the lightbulbs in the room are broken and that a chandelier has fallen down.

Promptly, the captain of the ship unsettlingly whispers into our ears with the use of the countless speakers around the room.

"To all present on the ship - we have an emergency collision."

A collective gasp erupts in the room, but the power outage waits for nobody as we become enveloped in darkness and the speakers go silent. The captain's words can't save us anymore. Ribbon is weeping into my sleeve and I'm thankful that, even though I can't see her, I can feel hear hands wrapped around mine. Everyone stands up and I hear crowds screaming as they rush out of the room in their leather shoes or heels. Faintly, I can trace little trails of light snaking along the floor from flashlights of worried crew of the ship, assisting all people in escaping the room. But the ship is sinking, and it's sinking so surely and decisively that I know already none of us will escape. There is a complicated network of halls on the level we're on, and however much we try, we will not be saved unless we confidently jump into the icy water from one of the windows of the ballroom.

I feel the ship shaking underneath us, slowly submerging us down into the depths. Although the water is far from reaching us, we have ten minutes at most.

The room is now quiet, save for the screams of people somewhere in the ship and Ribbon's crying. The musicians are still on their seats however, debating silently with each other whether they should really leave the ship. They decide not to when they see us lying on the floor like lifeless corpses, Ribbon shaking with fear on my lap. With us in mind, young lovers who have been doomed, they gesture for us to stand up. They quickly get their instruments in check and they begin to play, quietly, a tune I know but can't recognise.

I gently ruffle her hair and pull her up along with myself, but seeing her shaking legs trying to stand still pierces my heart more than any other pain in this world. I don't mind her smudged make-up, her dusted dress, all folded and no longer complimenting her features - she is my girl and I am hers, and nothing would change that, even if we are about to face of death.

"K-Kirby, we were saving up for this trip so long, and now it has become our very demise! Oh woe, why aren't we escaping? Where are all the other guests?"

Feebly, she attempts to run to the exit but one of the larger reverberations almost makes her trip and she stops in place, longingly staring at the doorway out of the desolate ballroom. She turns to the musicians, and they nod at her. She creeps back to me and I offer my hand to her.
Smiling through her tears, she takes my hand.

Our hands intertwine and her other hand grasps my shoulder - I grasp her hip accordingly and the friendly band begins to lazily roar Prokofiev's 'Dance of the Knights'. We perfectly fall into step, stomping on the ground whenever the music has its 'hesitation moment'. At first, it seems like all of us have forgotten about what is happening and we all just concentrate on the music notes that are cascading into our ears. The only thing that reminds me of disaster are the glass shards of a broken chandelier that I seem to kick around whenever I move. I glance at Ribbon's face - her eyes are closed, her expression is firm.

Then, there is the ceremonial break from the usual chorus of the music and we launch into a series of twirls - her feet seem to have caught the rhythm more than me and she flawlessly sails upon this darkened floor like a ship. I notice that she is now leading the dance, pulling me along with her than the other way around. Her sound coordination must be absolutely perfect sice her eyes are still closed as she dances, afraid of looking at anything else than pitch-black darkness.
The musicians launch back to the chorus, and we move back to our usual arrangements, but our moves are becoming more hectic and rushed. Fear is keeping us moving as we waltz here and there, from left to right, her shoes close to stepping on mine and vice-versa from the hurry. Her pink dress swishes madly around us, blinding my vision with bright colour in the gloomy hall.
Suddenly, the music stops and the ship begins shaking even more violently, and I feel as if I am in a descending elevator - Ribbon seems to be feeling the same as she has latched onto me for safety. Through the ship's windows, I see water slowly snaking outside, rising more rapidly every second.

It's not far from us at all, I think disappointedly.

It was the last dance we would have.

Now, she is shrieking into my suit in fright, not having the courage to look up at me in the slightest. Once I feel water slithering its way into my shoes, I begin to panic and I embrace her back, trying to whisper comfortingly into her ear.

"R-Ribbon, c'mon, stop that now, I'm here."

She lifts her red face from my jacket and looks at me with her terrified eyes.

"So what if you're here!? You won't be here in about five minutes, and nor will I be!"

Slowly, I pull her to myself again and feel the cold liquid pouring out of my leather shoes and making its way up my socks and trousers. I shiver from the freezing sensation, but never let go of her.

"K-Kirby, the water...it's soaking my dress, and the cold hurts."

"I know, Ribbon."

I hug her tighter.

"K-Kirby!" - she sounds extremely alarmed - "KIRBY! It's up to my stomach, Kirby oh my Nova I'll freeze!"

"Baby, it's fine."

The water travels to my arms and then to my neck, resembling her arms embracing me on cold Monday mornings.

"KIRBY! It's at my neck now! I'm going to drown! For the love of Nova I'm drowning, Kirby, HELP ME!"

But I can't help myself as my head is being pushed to the ceiling, both of us as close to the top as we possibly could be. There is little breathing room for both of us, and the two of us know that we only have a few seconds.

There was no escape.

"Ribbon?"

"Yes, w-what?"

"I love you."

She smiles and opens her lips to reply, which allows water to make its way into her mouth in excess.

"I love y-"