"I crept down here to help you defeat the old hag; it's about time she was taught a lesson!"
And about time it was! Brentilda never hated her sister, but enough was enough. She could never condone the use of innocent creatures in Grunty's sick and twisted plot of her self-beautification. And so, she made the promise to the bear and bird that had bravely ventured into her dark lair, all for the sake of a little girl.
But what of the girl? Perhaps it would do her heart good to know someone was coming for her. After all, it was her job to grant wishes.
Brentilda waited for her chance, when Banjo and Kazooie would be in another realm and Gruntilda would be preoccupied in watching them, waiting for their demise anxiously. When she could be alone with the girl.
At last, the opportunity came.
Tooty wasn't quite sure of how much time had passed. An hour? Two? More? It was difficult to keep track of time in her tiny little prison.
The girl bear was kept inside the machine that would 'make her old,' as the witch had cruelly put it. Walls of dirty metal enclosed in a small dome above her, and only the deep humming of the machine broke the silence. The door was shut nice and tight, the tiny window facing the wall. She couldn't even look outside into the green smoky air for a tiny glimmer of hope.
Sniffling to herself, Tooty curled inwards and sobbed quietly. She hated this place. All she wanted was to go home.
She missed her home, her Spiral Mountain. She missed their little blue house with the big bed and the warm fireplace and the cute little stove and the goldfish in the little bowl… so cozy, so warm…
She missed Kazooie. She missed her wisecracks and her sly nature and anxiousness and her tall tales, even though the cub knew most of them were too tall to be real. She missed the way the breegul vented out her stored energy by playing silly games or pestering Banjo…
"…Banjo…" Tooty moaned softly. She missed him the most.
She missed his warm smile, his deep, comforting voice, his calm, carefree attitude, and his endless amounts of patience and affection. She missed the way she would crawl up next to him in bed, or the way he held her close when she woke up from nightmares or thunderstorms, no matter how tired he was. His fur was always so soft and warm, and his soft whispers of 'everything's gonna be okay' chased all of her fears away.
Tooty shivered. It was so cold in here… so frightening… she caught herself wishing he was here now. She wanted nothing more than one of those warm embraces, those comforting words, from her caring big brother.
Ever since she was thrown in here, Tooty had been in constant inner turmoil, arguing with herself.
I know he really cares… Maybe he's coming after all.
But how could he? He's no hero! He can barely get out of bed!
Why wouldn't he come?? You're all he has left! Have a little more faith in him, will you!?
At this point, Tooty didn't know what to believe anymore. She just hoped someone, anyone, would come and rescue her before the machine finished charging…
As if one cue, the cub straightened up in alarm. Someone else was here. She could feel it. You'd feel it too if you had spent the last few hours in solitary confinement.
She gasped at a soft giggle, then scooted to the back wall when elegant sparkles began to float and flash before her. They came together in a pink and green glittering form, and after a tiny flash of light, there stood before her a plump little green-skinned woman. She wore a pink sparkled dress, her blonde hair in a cute little bun that framed her round, cheerful face. She hovered on tiny little wings, holding a wand in her dainty hands.
"Hello, young one," she greeted with a voice as light as bubbles.
Cute little eyes wide in fear, Tooty was absolutely still, except for her slight shivering.
"Oh, don't be afraid…" She squirmed away slightly when the woman placed a hand on her cheek. It was delightfully warm, however, and she stopped shaking. "I'm here to help you."
"…he…" Tooty's voice quivered in disbelief. "…help me…?"
"Yes… within my power's limits, of course."
"…oh." Tooty frowned, discouraged. She almost expected a rescue too good to be true.
"Oh, don't pout so! It ill suits one of your beauty!" She brought the cub's gaze back up by the chin, smiling sweetly in encouragement. "My name is Brentilda. What is yours?"
"…T… T-Tooty," she replied shyly. She felt embarrassed to ask her next question. "Are… are you my… my fairy godmother?"
The fairy giggled lightly. "Well… yes and no. I'm no one's particular fairy godmother…" Her smile itself seemed to glow. "… because I prefer to help ALL those in need."
Well, that was nice of her. Tooty smiled a little more openly, comforted by her presence.
Until she winked. "…including your rescuers."
Tooty bounced up a couple inches at that word. "R-rescuers? Really??"
"That's right!" Brentilda seemed delighted to no end in the cub's change of heart. "At this very moment, there is a quite determined duo journeying throughout Gruntilda's lair, slowly, but surely, making their way closer to the top. A bear and a bird, both very persistent in their goal of saving you from a horrid fate."
Tooty's eyes enlarged impossibly. It couldn't be! There was only one duo like that she knew!
"Hmm…" Musing to herself, Brentilda looked over the cub's face. "Ah, yes… You have his same aquatic blue eyes…"
"…h…his same…" Tooty could hardly believe what she was hearing.
The fairy's smile grows. "Do you, perchance, know him?"
Tooty was in too much shock to reply right away.
Finally… "…c-can you show me?"
"But of course!" She lifted her wand and began to wave it, pink swirls forming into a small cloud. "Let us both see what they're up to right now, shall we?"
Within the cloud, a moving image came into focus, and Tooty's heart took off like a jet plane.
"Oh my gosh!!! That's HIM!" Her hopes confirmed at long last, Tooty didn't hold any of her happiness back. "That's my big brother! He's here! He's HERE!"
There he was, unmistakably, trudging through one of the dark chambers of the witch's lair. Kazooie was sitting safety in his backpack, looking around idly as if strolling through a museum. They were moving at a steady pace to whatever realm they were venturing to next.
"Your brother, is he?" Brentilda spoke up. "Well, a very caring and loving brother he is! I deeply admire his determination to rescue you."
Tooty was softly sniffling, no longer tears of fear or loneliness, but of joy. Of course he was coming. How could she have thought otherwise? She was happy to have been proven wrong.
The cub calmed down as she continued to watch them, noticing something… different about her brother. He was still the big, cuddly Banjo she knew and loved but…
It was the look in his eyes. Something new was in them. They were clear, focused, and full of a confidence she had yet to see from him. A confidence that kept his head up and his feet moving onwards. A wall of fire wouldn't stop him now.
A peck on the head, however, was most effective.
"OW!" Banjo paused in his stride, rubbing his head and shooting Kazooie a dirty look. "What was THAT for?"
"Listen next time when I'm talking to you!"
"Oh… sorry… was a little too focused, there…"
"You've been moving around nonstop for hours. Take a few minutes to relax, or you'll burn out!"
Banjo gave her a very odd look. "I dunno what you're talking about."
"Running the sled into the wall?"
"Boggy pushed me!"
"Dozing off while Bottle-boy was teaching us the Beak Bomb attack?"
"Falling asleep in front of Wozza's fire?"
"Okay, alright, I get it!" Finding a place that was safe from Grunty's henchmen, Banjo plopped down irritably. "Sheesh…"
Tooty looked on in confusion. Odd. She'd never believe him reluctant in taking a chance to rest, much less giving it up in the first place. He seemed so fidgety, so anxious to move on… it was so unlike him.
"Hmm…" Brentilda seemed to notice this too. "…peculiar. Something seems to be bothering him."
Tooty couldn't have agreed more. Carefully, she kept watching.
Kazooie, meanwhile, was looking him over in equal curiosity and some annoyance. "What the heck's your problem?"
Twitching restlessly, Banjo let out a deep, heavy sigh. "I'm sorry, I just… I can't stop thinking about Tooty…"
The cub leaped a little at her mention.
"I just, I can't help it…" Banjo's voice cracked a little. "…the longer we take, the more she'll have to wait…"
"Yeah, well… hey, HEY! SIDDOWN!" Kazooie pecked him again until he moaned and dropped to his knees. "So she has to wait a little longer, big deal! (Tooty frowned a little at this) She's a big girl, she can handle it! What if you fall asleep at the worst possible moment, and we don't end up reaching her at all!?"
"I-I-I know, I know!" Dejectedly, Banjo fell back on his bottom, tugging his legs up to his chest. "I just… I see her all cold and lonely and scared and…and…"
"…this is all my fault…"
"What??" Kazooie exclaimed, reflecting Tooty's same reaction. "What're you talking about!?"
"If I had just gotten outta bed a few minutes earlier… If I wasn't so… lazy…" A dry sob escaped his throat. "If I was out there… m…maybe I could've… stopped her or… oh, I dunno, something to help, rather than sit on my butt and do nothing…"
Kazooie was genuinely taken aback. "Banjo…!"
"None of this would've happened… if I had just…been a bit of better brother…" He buried his snout into his knees, muffling his sobs. "…Tooty must hate me…"
All three shared the same appalled response.
Tooty began to tear up, her brother's woes tearing at her heartstrings. Even as she watched Kazooie trying to offer any words of comfort, Banjo would brush them off and continue to stew in his guilt.
Tooty sighed sadly. That, however, WAS typical of his character, taking full blame for things out of his control. It was slightly comforting to know he hadn't changed too much.
"Oh, dear!" Brentilda gasped as their image faded away. "I-I had no idea he felt that way! The poor thing!"
Almost forgetting she was there, Tooty glanced up her way. "…Brenty…?"
"Oh! Yes, young one?"
"…you… have to go soon, right?"
"Unfortunately, yes, before Gruntilda spots me." Even her frown is sweet. "I'm sorry I can't free you from your prison. I just thought you needed some comfort in knowing someone was on their way."
"I know," Tooty nodded. "Thank you, Brenty. But… before you go…"
"…can you deliver a message?"
"Come on, Banjo, that's crazy talk!" Kazooie squawked, getting thoroughly annoyed by her partner's self-pity. "Why would she HATE you? She's your sister, for crying out loud!"
"Yeah! And I could've protected her!" Banjo bit back bitterly.
"You also could've gotten your butt kicked! Grunty wanted Tooty only, remember? At least we're going to go GET her! So what's the problem!?"
"The problem is that I could've been a better brother!"
Kazooie gawked. Banjo never raised his voice directly her way. Ever.
When she didn't reply, Banjo turned away again, burying his face in his hands. There the duo remained for a few agonizing minutes. Kazooie growled to herself, wishing for something to happen.
The answer to her wish came in a series of sparkles and a flash.
"Hello again, young ones!"
"Hey, Brentilda!" Kazooie trilled, never happier to see the fairy godmother than right now. "Great timing! Banjo's… kinda in a funk."
"I know, dearie… I know."
Slowly, very slowly, Banjo dragged his heavy gaze up to meet hers. "…hi, Brenty."
"My word… such haunted eyes," Brentilda frowned in much concern.
"He thinks it's all his fault," Kazooie briskly noted.
"Kazooie…!" Banjo groaned.
"Calmly, now, both of you. We heard the whole discussion."
"We?" Kazooie made a face. "You got a mouse in your pocket?"
"I had been helping you this whole time…" Brentilda explained patiently. "So I decided it was only fair to do the same for your sister."
Banjo's face lifted up dramatically. "T-Tooty?? Y-y-you saw…?"
Brentilda giggled to herself, remembering that expression of hopeful shock. The brother and sister were more alike than she thought. "Yes, yes… I figured learning you were coming to rescue her would give her some comfort… and it sure did! Little one was bouncing off the walls in excitement!"
"…aw…Tooty…!" Banjo's paws rested on his chest emotionally as the news sunk in, beaming through his lingering tears.
"Hah, see!?" Kazooie smacked his shoulder with her wing. "Told ya she was doing fine! You big worrywart!"
"B-but… she's my…"
Brentilda nodded understandingly. "Your sister, yes, I know. But let me ask you something." She looked at him levelly. "Will wallowing in guilt do anything to help her?"
Taken aback, Banjo bit his lip, embarrassed. "…n…no…"
"No, it won't," Brentilda agreed. She stepped back, waving her wand and creating another pink cloud. "…but perhaps I should let Tooty continue. She worded it quite nicely."
They held their breath, and there in the cloud appeared the face of the very one they were fighting for.
"T-Tooty…!" Banjo whimpered, tempted to reach for her, though he knew it was only a hologram, nothing more.
"…N-now? Okay…" She seemed hesitant to begin, thinking of what to say. "…um… h-hi, Banjo…Kazooie…"
They both waved back feebly, knowing it was a prerecorded message.
"… w-wow…" She chuckled unbelievingly. "I-I… I still can't believe you're… you're really coming for me… I…" She sniffled, rubbing her nose to save face. "For a while, I… I didn't think you'd… actually…"
Banjo frowned. Of course she didn't. He couldn't blame her, not at all.
"B-but knowing you are… y-you have no idea… how happy that makes me…" She took a minute to compose herself. "I'm doing fine… lonely, mostly… a little scared, hungry… b-but other than that, really, I'm okay! I… I'm a big girl, Banjo. I-I can tough it out."
"Good for her!" Kazooie nodded approvingly. "I knew she could."
"…Look, Banjo, I… I saw everything. I saw you get upset."
He grimaced, ashamed that he allowed her to see him like that.
"Banjo… don't worry about me, okay?" Tooty pleaded softly. "You always said patience is a virtue, right? So I'll wait nice and patiently for you. If that means you gotta take breaks so you won't get tired, then I'll wait as long as I have to. I'd rather wait a little longer than have you not come at all."
"That's what I said!" Kazooie noted irately.
"Shh!" Banjo shushed her quickly, all his attention focused on his sister.
"And… I don't hate you. I never did and I never will."
Banjo's chest tightened up as tears freely ran down his face.
"I never thought this was your fault, ever! I mean, sure, you could've been out here, but then that smelly witch would've hurt you, and… and then I'd never be rescued."
"See, SHE knows what I'm talking about!"
"Kazooie, please…" Banjo begged her to be quiet, too emotional to grow angry at her.
"Just… don't blame yourself, okay? 'Cause I'm not blaming you. A-and really, if you were such a bad brother, why would you be going on a dangerous adventure for me?"
Banjo sniffled, shutting his eyes tight and nodding.
"So just keep going… take breaks," she stressed, and he nodded harder. "…and be careful, okay? I-I'll be right here, waiting for you, I swear…"
There was a pause and an illusion of a brother and sister making true eye contact.
"…I love you, big brother."
"L-love you too, Tooty," Banjo sniveled as the cloud dispersed, the message complete. Caught up in his emotions, he was left alone for a few minutes to get out the last of his cries.
"…you okay?" Kazooie finally asked when his sobs began to subside.
"Y-yeah…" He rubbed his face dry, taking a deep breath to calm himself down. "…yeah, I-I'm good… I'm good."
"Good. You look kinda pathetic when you blubber like that."
Banjo decided that was the best words of comfort he could get from the bird, so he didn't let it bother him much. Instead he looked up at Brentilda's offering hand.
"There, now…" She smiled as his large paw took her dainty hand, and she helped him back on his feet. "Feeling better?"
"Much," he replied, feebly returning the smile. "…thanks, Brentilda. I…really needed that."
"Of course, my dear!" Brentilda winked. "All part of the job."