Frida snuggled into the softness of her pillow as Manny sat on the armrest and fanned her, trying to cool her down. He currently had her laying on the couch in his living room with lights dimmed. He had given her some of his old gym clothes to wear. The shirt itself was like a dress on her. She had a cough and was running a slight fever, but she was alive. He leaned over and brushed her hair away from her face. "Hey," he said softly. "You alright?"
She looked up at him, face slightly red, and coughed. "Can I have some water?"
"Claro." He kissed her forehead and hurried into the kitchen, returning in record time with a tall, ice-filled glass. She sat up and gulped it down as Manny perched himself back on the armrest. Frida set the now empty glass on the floor, but didn't lay back down. Instead, she patted the spot next to her. "Sit with me."
He smiled and slid onto the spot next to her and she laid her head down on his lap. He rested one hand on her side and scratched her kitty ear with the other. She started purring and snuggled closer to him. "You saved my life." She whispered. "Again."
He bent down and nuzzled her cheek. "No I didn't. You beat that thing."
She rolled onto her back. "I wouldn't have made it if you hadn't kissed me." She laughed quietly. "I was getting my ass kicked until you did that."
He smiled, caressing her face. "Don't think about that." he said. "You're back now and that's what matters." He gently slid his arms around her back, lifted her and placed his lips on hers. Her eyes fell shut as she loosely draped her arms around his shoulders. He moved one arm to slide behind her knees and pull her onto his lap, then replaced it on her back. He could feel the even texture of the scar through her shirt and instantly moved his hand. He felt her chuckle slightly. He broke away and leaned his forehead on hers. "Sorry."
She laughed again. "It's okay." He was about to kiss her again when she put her index finger over his lips and turned away, followed by a series of coughs. When she was done, she looked up at him. "Sorry."
He laughed and nuzzled her face. "You're so cute." She giggled and laid her head on his chest, closing her eyes. He stroked her hair. "Sleepy?" She nodded. Ever so carefully, he picked her up, carried her into his room and gently laid her down on his bed. She rolled onto her side and purred when he climbed in and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her back against his chest. He smiled and closed his eyes.
It was silent for a moment. "Hey, Manny?"
He opened his eyes. "For what?"
She rolled onto her back to look at him. "For everything."
He held her tighter. "Frida, you have nothing to apologize for." He knew that she was trying to apologize for all the things she did in the Cat State. He wasn't going to let her.
"Yes I do." She said, reaching up to place her hand on his face. "I lied to you, I yelled at you for no reason, I hurt you…" She trailed off and looked away.
"Frida…" Manny started to say. Out of no where, she pushed him on his back, straddled him, and started to unbutton his shirt. "Frida, what are you doing?"
She said nothing. Her expression was serious. Once she had his shirt unbuttoned, she just stared at his bare chest for the longest time. She slowly ran her hands across his sides. "Look at those and tell me I have nothing to apologize for."
He looked down at his body and saw that his sides were covered in scars, some from claw marks, some from burns. She pushed the fabric off his shoulder and, straining his neck, he saw that he also had a pretty nasty mark where she had bit him that one time. He looked up and met her gaze. Tears were starting to come to her eyes and he was sure she was looking at the scar on his face that she had given him... No, that the demon had given him. He grabbed her and pulled her down on him. "That wasn't you. It's not your fault."
She trembled slightly as her tears fell. "But-"
"No buts!" He pulled her tightly to him. "Don't you dare blame yourself! I just got you back and I'm not going to let you spoil this moment by thinking that you did a bunch of terrible things. That. Was. Not. You!" The firm tone of his voice startled her. Her ears went back and she buried her face in his chest and sighed. She knew he was right. Technically, it wasn't her that had done those things to him… well, most of them.
She wiggled against his grasp to get him to loosen it so she could look at him. "Remember when you kept worrying about me and I called you nosey and told you off and all that?" He frowned and was about to say something, but she put kissed him once to keep him quiet. "That was me." She kissed him again. "That's what I have to apologize for."
Manny said nothing. She was right. She had done that stuff on her own, but he was sure she had a good reason for it. He pulled her to him again. "It still wasn't your fault."
"Dammit, Manny!" She tried to pull away from him again, but he brought his face level with hers and kissed her. She froze for a moment, but soon kissed back, her frustration quickly melting away. Maybe Manny was right. Maybe now wasn't the time to dwell on all the terrible things that happened in the past. Maybe now was the time to enjoy their time with each other. They were together again. That's all that mattered. Being there in his arms, she knew that's the way it was supposed to be.
One week later…
"Say cheese, mang!" El Oso set the timer on the camera and hurried to stand behind the group already poised in front of the water. Just as the timer was about to go off, Diego pressed a button on his wrist and a loud explosion could be heard behind them, on the other side of the lake. "Cheese!"
After the picture was taken, they all turned to see the massive fountain of nacho cheese pouring from the mess hall of the heroes camp. They laughed as they saw the campers there panicking and screaming, in totally shock of what just happened.
"Priceless." Frida said. Manny smiled at her. Over the past week, she had completely recovered from her fever and her strength has replenished itself. She looked better than she did before she died, if that was possible. She happen to glance over and catch him staring at her. "What?"
He shook his head. "Just thinking about how great you look."
She giggled as he wrapped his arms around her waist and nuzzled her neck. "You're too kind."
"Hey, love kitties!" They looked to there left and saw Django waving them down from their blanket they had laid out. "Get your tails over here!"
They laughed and join him, Diego and Sergio on the blanket. That day was the last day of the season at camp Robabank. As a end-o'-the-summer treat, they had organized a cook-out picnic by the lake and gone through with their plan to flood the heroes camp with nacho cheese. The grill sizzled with hotdogs and hamburgers and laughter filled the air. It was the perfect ending to a less-than-perfect summer.
"So, what are your plans for the school year?" Sergio asked, directed at no one person.
"Well, I'm planning a bunch of heists with my guacamole monster." Diego said.
Manny laughed. "Then I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot of my father."
Diego snorted. "Oh, c'mon, Manny, I thought we were considered friends now…. or at least allies."
"We are." He said, smiling. "My dad, not so much. The only reason he let me come back for this end of the summer thing was because of Frida's kitten eyes."
Frida took a proud bow. "Thaaank you."
They laughed. "So, what're you gonna do after this, Kitten?" Django asked.
She sighed. "Well, once my dad gets over the joy of having me back from the dead, I'm going to have to face the music about lying about what camp I was at and that I don't actually what to be a cop…. Not looking forward to that." She visibly shuddered. "So, what about you, Django?"
The skeleton leaned back on his hands. "Well, I think what I'm going to do is go visit Rida again…. You know, considering that the last time I saw her was under tragic circumstances… and after that… I don't know."
Frida laughed. "Give her a hug for me."
"I'll be sure and do that… if she doesn't re-kill me first."
Manny looked up at him. "Why would she do that?"
Django shrugged. "Not literally, but usually when I see her, she glomps me with enough force to knock someone out for three weeks." Frida and Manny laughed while Sergio and Diego remained a bit confused, as they didn't know who Rida was. "So, what's next for you, Manny?"
He shrugged and pulled Frida closer. "I don't really care what happens next. As long as we all stay friends, I'm fine." Django snickered. "What?"
"Dude, that was so cliché!" He laughed.
Frida thought about it. Manny was right. Even if she did get maimed by her parents for lying, she had him and that's all that mattered. Come to think of it, her position wasn't so bad. She was alive, to start with, which was a miracle in itself. And it was all thanks to Manny. Second off, she no longer had an arch enemy. Her and Zoe were at peace with each other, which, again, was a miracle. And third off, she now had a close-net group of friends to share the future with. No, not a bad position at all.
She smiled and leaned on Manny's shoulder. "It might've been cliché, but it's true. We've got each other, and that's what counts, right?"
There came notes of agreement from the others. Yes, the future was looking pretty good as far as she was concerned.
I want to thank all you guys that stuck with me through the whole story. You guys are the best.