(The Illustrious Crackpot)

The room was dark, enshrouded in a gloomy pallor. All was hushed, holding its breath, refusing to let a single whistle break the sacred silence.

Two small forms stood opposite each other, crouched into fighting stances. The one was rumpled, ruffled and unkempt, loud Hawaiian shirt wrinkled and patched, fur tousled into messiness, with two errant teeth protruding from the upper jaw at odd angles—the jaw curled into a snarl as twin fists tightened at each side. The other was clean, pristine and immaculate, fur-lined jacket brushed down and arranged perfectly, gray fedora spotless, the only mar on this stunning vision being the intense glower on his face and the extended fists matching his partner's.

The unclean one growled, feeling a burning sensation well up in the pit of his stomach, eating away at everything he stood for. The sight of his opposite infuriated him.

Perfect. Perfect perfect perfect. Perfect.

He, however, was flawed. At least by the perfect one's standards. Not a day went by that the perfect one didn't point it out.

"You're so CLUMSY!"

"Watch where you're GOING, stupid!"

"You dummy!"



All whirled around dangerously inside his head, mocking him in the high-pitched perfect tones, barraging him until he could barely feel it anymore. But still this newest insult reverberated freshly, loudly, clearly.

"Say it again," hissed the rumpled one through clenched teeth, back arching, stance tightening. "I dare ya."

The clean one didn't bat an eye, instead sliding further into his pose until it was a perfect replica of his opponent's.

"You. Can't. Do. Anything. Right."

The words were sharp and deliberate, giving the rumpled one more than enough time to halt their arrival. But it wasn't until after they'd been uttered that he sprang.

One moment was all it took for utter chaos to break loose, the pair tumbling roughly across the room, locked in desperate fighters' embrace, clawing at each other and yelling and screaming and letting loose with all the fury and all the rage and everything that could be put forth to damage the opponent. Doll-sized furniture was bowled over, spinning away or splintering, without heed; walls were crashed into, but with no effect on the ferocity of the battle. It was a cyclone. It was a tornado. It was a monsoon.

With one final crash and bang, it was over. And all was silent.

The rumpled one, scruffier than before, was belly-up, spread-eagled on the floor. Two small palms were planted on the ground just below each of the rumpled one's armpits, fingers still clenched, but now only with the strain of holding up their owner. The perfect one, hovering just above the rumpled one with only those two fists and his two feet to keep him aloft, no longer looked so perfect; the hat was crumpled, the jacket dusty, the fur matted into odd angles.

Their noses were almost touching. Their eyes, wide and astonished, were locked in an impregnable gaze.

Neither moved. Neither breathed.


"...It's just...I worry for you sometimes."

The statement was soft, a mere whisper, and the perfect one's forehead knotted with remorse as he let it escape.

The ruffled one, still flat on his back, simply continued staring up at him for a few moments more, jaw slack, lungs deflated. Then he cracked a thin smile, a small, glistening tear trickling out of the corner of one eye as he sniffled and hiccuped all at once.

"You dummy."