A/N I don't own A Bug's Life or its characters; they are owned by Disney and Pixar. What I DO own are my OC, Kimberly, and any other characters that weren't in the movie.
Dark Maiden95: I DO plan to put a snake in this story at some point ;)
The Queen of Water: Thanks.
Guest: Thanks :) I'm not quite sure yet, but I'm pretty sure there'll be at least one chapter in Hopper's POV, if not a big part of a chapter.
June: Thanks. I don't really have a set number of chapters in mind when I write stories. I just think up the plot, sometimes coming up with it as I go along, and just write until the story's finished. Sometimes I can't even make an estimate for how many chapters a story will have.
Despite being woken up by another nightmare the previous night, Kimberly woke up early three days after arriving at the resort. As always, she found herself near the opening in the crown, curled up on the floor. She sat up, stretched all four arms, and stood up, stretching her legs. Then, she sat on the edge of the crown, letting her feet dangle over the ledge. Today's the day we leave the resort for our actual home…my new home.
She began to feel butterflies in her stomach. She felt both nervous and, surprisingly, excited. When she was living on her own before she ever met the ants, she had no permanent home, sleeping wherever was fit. She avoided snake holes and birds nests, and if there was a hollowed-out tree branch, she always checked to make sure it was free of snakes and other insects. There were some days she slept out in the open with nothing but the grass to shade her, if there was any grass at all.
When she was living on Ant Island, she slept in an empty chamber in the anthill. It was dark, save for a luminous mushroom, and cool, proving to be very comfortable; especially if the weather outside was hot. But despite that, Kimberly needed to be able to have fresh air when she awoke. She was so used to sleeping outside, or in a hollowed-out tree branch, it took a long time to get used to sleeping in a cave.
But since it was mentioned that the grasshoppers' permanent home was in a tree, Kimberly felt a little better about the sleeping arrangements. As long as she was above ground, she was happy.
Her antennae perked up at noise behind her. Looking back, she saw the cockroach, whose name was Mac, standing to his feet, stretching and yawning. Mac was a silent insect, though Kimberly didn't know whether he was mute or simply didn't speak, but also quite friendly. He communicated mostly through head nods or shakes, and also used his hands to talk, pointing or gesturing. It took a while for Kimberly to understand, but Mac was patient.
"Good morning." She smiled, standing to her feet.
Mac nodded in response, placing a twig in his mouth. "Well…today's the big day, I suppose. Are you coming with us?"
He shook his head, and pointed to the ground. "You stay here?" Kimberly guessed.
Mac nodded affirmative. "I see." She stood in silence before sighing, "Well, I suppose I should eat breakfast before everyone else wakes up?"
Mac shrugged, smiling slightly, as if to say "I guess". Kimberly tiptoed past a still-sleeping Hopper, and leapt down to the lower level. All of the other grasshoppers were still asleep, though Thumper looked like he was starting to wake up. The mosquitoes, however, were up and about, eating breakfast and drinking cactus juice.
"Buenos días, Ms. Kimberly." The head of the mosquito family, Sr. Zancudo, greeted.
"Buenos días." Kimberly smiled, having learned some basic Spanish phrases and words. "Today's the last day we'll be here."
"Sí. Tuerto tells us he and the grasshoppers will stay the winter at their home, so we'll have a whole year to ourselves. It is a dream come true."
After several minutes, the rest of the grasshoppers, including Hopper, woke up. They gathered around the bar for one last drink. Finally, Hopper stood up, clearing his throat. "Remember, we're staying the whole year at our tree home." He said. "We'll return here the winter after." He turned to Kimberly. "You're gonna have to keep up with us. We're not gonna fly at your pace, or stop for breaks."
Kimberly's face flushed as the other grasshoppers snickered. "Hey, maybe she could be on Thumper Duty?" One suggested.
"What's that?" She asked, though she felt like she didn't want to know.
"Thumper has to be on a leash when we go long distances," The grasshopper who spoke, Alonzo, said. "So, one of us has to hold his leash as we fly so he doesn't go off on his own. Up to now, all of us has had at least one turn on Thumper Duty…except you."
Kimberly grimaced as Thumper chortled, ignoring Alonzo and Raul slipping the looped leash over his head. "Yippee." She said dryly.
"At least you'll keep up." Hopper smirked.
She rolled her eyes, taking hold of the thick leash in both top hands, as her top arms and grip were stronger. "And, uh, word of advice: hold on, tightly." The one-eyed grasshopper couldn't help chuckling.
"Thanks for the tip." She nodded sarcastically. She glanced at Thumper. "You're not gonna go easy on a first-timer, are you?"
He grinned, shaking his head. "I thought not. At least try to not pull my arms out of my sockets? My wing stumps nearly being pulled clean off by a bird was already painful enough."
"What?" A grasshopper asked in slight astonishment. "Whattaya mean?"
"That night when you guys were chased off of Ant Island, I was caught by a bird. Luckily, it only got my leaf-wings, and they were pulled off so I could escape, though they nearly took my wing stumps with them."
The grasshoppers gaped and chattered, shocked that one of their own was nearly eaten by a bird, and yet lived. "She can tell that story when we get home." Hopper said, silencing the chatter. "Let's ride!"
All of the grasshoppers whooped, buzzing their wings. Before Kimberly could react, all of the grasshoppers leapt into the air, following Hopper out of the hole in the crown and into the sky. She yelled in surprise as she was jerked along by Thumper. Clenching her jaw, she grabbed the leash in both hands and flapped her wings as fast as she could. Over the loud buzzing, she could hear the other grasshoppers ooh-ing and exclaiming about the orange and red blurs her wings made. But she ignored them, and concentrated on keeping a hold of Thumper's leash. How would this keep him from flying off on his own? He's not just strong, he's fast! He could go the opposite way and I wouldn't be able to stop him!
The trip lasted for several hours before they even got out of the desert region. Once they were out of the heat and into cooler weather, Kimberly felt better. She still wasn't quite able to keep up with Thumper, but she wasn't dragged behind like a dead weight, as she was still flapping her wings, though she gave them a break every now and then. She saw Thumper glance over his shoulder a few times, and she could have sworn she saw a smug grin almost every time. "Would it kill you to ease up on the speed?" She yelled. "We're not running a marathon!"
"I told you, talking like that to Hopper's suicide!" Axel exclaimed beside her.
"I'm not talking to him; I'm talking to Mr. Must-Fly-Fast here." Kimberly said, jerking the leash up and down, surprising the scrawny grasshopper. But it didn't deter his speed.
"To be honest, you're doing pretty well for your first time. The last person on Thumper Duty was Molt, and he's done it a few times, but he's always dragged along like he was weightless."
"Not only is Thumper fast, but he's also strong." Loco added, somewhat voicing Kimberly's earlier thoughts.
"If I had my real wings, and hadn't not flown for about nine months straight, I'd probably be just as fast as Thumper." Kimberly said, flapping her wings even faster.
"When you put it that way, it might not be a good idea to push yourself." Axel said.
"I'm fine," She waved a lower hand. "I need to get back into the groove of flying anyway." Furrowing her eyebrows and scowling in determination, she stretched herself out straight and flapped her wings as hard and fast as she could, almost mixing the red and orange blurs into one red-orange blur. To the other grasshoppers' astonishment, she got to the point where she didn't need to stretch her top arms out to hang onto the leash anymore.
"Hey, you ever notice Ms. Kimberly and Thumper look similar?" One grasshopper, Giovanni asked Axel and Loco.
"You mean when she went insane?" The freckled grasshopper asked.
"No, I mean now, and normally." Giovanni shook his head. "They both have thin faces, big eyes, and Ms. Kimberly has a green tint to her exoskeleton as well. And, like you said, they look almost identical when she went insane."
"Oswaldo, Edoardo, Carlo, and Stefano saw her when she first went into Insane Mode and attacked Thumper," Loco said. "They said if she was light-green, and her eyes reddish-brown, she would have been his twin."
"You don't think Ms. Kimberly's related to Thumper, do you?" Axel asked.
The three grasshoppers tapped their chins and hummed in thought. "…Nah!" They laughed.
Kimberly and Thumper were two totally different grasshoppers, who happened to have gone crazy and look similar. The difference was Kimberly looked different from him aside from her skin and eye color, and she was able to control her madness. Plus, she could talk and function like a normal grasshopper.
There was no way the two were related.
A/N I still have a bit of writer's block, but this seems like a good place to stop.
This is also kind of a filler chapter, with a lot of non-dialogue info. Kimberly didn't have a set home before living with the ants, so she slept wherever she could. As such, she likes either sleeping outside, or sleeping where the outdoors was easy access. In an anthill, you're already underground, and to get to the surface, you have to go through several tunnels. Sleeping underground sounds cool, but I don't think I'd want to do it; I like my windows.
I've decided that Mac would be the permanent name for the cockroach that was massaging Hopper's back in ABL. I'm not sure whether to make him truly mute, or just have so he rarely, if not ever, talks. He kinda reminds me of the Sandman from Rise of the Guardians in that he's silent, and kinda uses signs to communicate.
I laugh when I see Molt dragged along by Thumper when the grasshoppers fly back to Ant Island (fun fact: a group of grasshoppers is called a cloud) I'm not sure if anyone else calls it Thumper Duty when someone has to hold his leash, but it seems appropriate. I do volunteer work at the animal shelter, mostly walking dogs and playing with cats, and I've walked at least two dogs who like to pull hard on the leash. Luckily, I haven't had any major casualties, only falling once. Plus, my own family dog likes to pull on the leash, so I'm a bit experienced in that field.
The grasshoppers pondering the possibility of Kimberly and Thumper being related was a last-minute thing I added in, but at the same time is something that NEEDED to be added. I'm not gonna completely confirm if Kimmy and Thumper are related, but I'm definitely hinting it a few times: as stated, they look similar, with thin faces, big eyes, and Kimmy having a light-green tint to her skin; and the biggest one with her going into Insane Mode, acting like Thumper when he fights. And then there's the couple of quotes that said Kimberly looks almost like a female Thumper, save for having hazel eyes, yellow skin, and obviously being female.
Like I said, I'm not gonna confirm whether they're related or not, as some characters can look similar and be completely unrelated. But it's definitely for the grasshoppers (and readers) to ponder on...;)