I don't own Animal Crossing, or it's characters!
Katrina had never, in her small time working there, seen so many animals piled together in the city square. Sure, there'd been a lot when they threw Harriet a party, but this was just ridiculous. "Maybe it's a good thing that I emptied out my shop last night," she said aloud, cringing at the loud chattering of the animals, and single human, she reminded herself. Events were already setting up, despite the festival not starting for another thirteen hours. Why people started getting ready for something that didn't happen until ten that night, she'd never know.
Then again, she supposed it was similar to Halloween. Which would be coming up after the fireworks festival, actually... It wasn't the Fourth of July – in fact, they didn't even really have a reason to be setting these things off. Just boredom, she guessed, during the gap between holidays.
Sighing, she shook her head and made her way into the empty shop she'd gotten so used to, taking a last look to make sure she wasn't forgetting anything, save the stuff she would leave there overnight and pick up in the morning. She wasn't even going to try to cart that stuff back to her hotel after festivities ended. They'd probably get smashed while she tried to get on the bus.
Walking over to the wall, she slid down to sit and grabbed the small notebook she'd left to take names of people who got fortunes. Flipping through the mostly empty pages, as it was brand new, she went to the back, then grabbed a pencil and started drawing on the last page. Brief images of that symbol came to her mind; now that she knew what it meant, the mystery was taken out of it. It didn't bother her anymore, but for some reason, she almost missed the planning and scheming to figure the whole thing out.
Tracing it's outline onto the page, she started to fill in the details, her paw steady, despite not being the best artist in the world. Even without color pencils to top it off, it still resembled it in her eyes. It was more than a save point, really. It was a kind of beacon for fate, one beyond even a fortune teller's understanding. The future could be seen, sometimes minds could be read, but some things just didn't seem in her reach any longer.
She smiled at that thought, shaking her head slowly. "Maybe it's best to let it retain it's value," she muttered, continuing to detailed the lines of the picture. For a moment, she allowed herself to think back to the first time she saw it, when giving Redd his love fortune. Had that been the first time? Or had she just never noticed it before?
Why had no one else seen it, until they knew to look for it?
Her head tilted to the side. She stopped her work, sliding down further against the wall. How did they come to start looking for it in the first place?
"I'm a little surprised," Redd's thoughts were interrupted by a familiar, kind-hearted voice. He turned around from putting the 'sale' price tags on his wares for the night and raised his eyebrow in a silent inquiry. Kicks stood off to the side, watching him awkwardly, before dipping his hat in greeting. "I half expected to be hit in the back of the head with one of your couches after last night. But it's been and hour since I got here, and I'm awright."
The fox nodded slowly, motioning towards the couch. "I could still arrange for that, if you really want me to... You seem disappointed." He smirked, noticing the other flinch expectantly. Really, though, he kept his teasing to a minimum. At least for that day, he would allow himself to be somewhat kinder to the people around him. That way it'd make it twice more fun when he started poking fun at them again. "What are you going to do when Kat leaves tomorrow morning?"
Kicks shook his head, playing with the tip of his hat. "We... said we'd work that out in time. I don't want to stop her from going. It's what she wants."
"You and Labelle are polar opposites," he grumbled, sighing loudly. "No wonder she chose you; she needed stability." He paused for a moment, then snickered at the blank stare he got. "I'm kidding, I'm kidding. You take everything so seriously. Well, I wish the two of you luck. You with shoe-shining, and her with no falling face-first off of every bus she gets onto!"
Redd let out a hardy laugh, yet Kicks remained quiet. After a second, he spoke once more, "Do you really love her?"
Taken aback by the question, the fox in question stared at him dumb-found, then raised his hand up and coughed awkwardly. Something flashed in his eyes, but a smile came to his face. "No. I was just teasing her... about everything."
"I see." Kicks studied him a moment longer and seemed to catch something even the red fox himself didn't. Bowing his head, he backed up. "I'll see you tonight, Redd... enjoy yourself."
Lyle groaned as Navigale circled around him, a set-off sparkler in her hand. The blue-haired human yelped as the sparks popped off, her face surprisingly pale, as opposed to rosy like her normal self. He took it as a sign she was scared. "Fire! Fire! It's going to burn me, Lyle!"
She kept shaking it like it was wrapped around her arm or something, but didn't let go, as if she were afraid it'd take flight and burn into her hair if she did. Dr. Shrunk was laughing at the top of his lungs beside Labelle, whom stood there staring into space with that look that clearly said 'what have I gotten myself into?' All the other shop owners were helping set up.
"Y-You should just hold it still and it wouldn't go flying everywhere, silly, silly human!" Dr. Shrunk found his voice, the emotion speeches he gave clearly paying off, for Lyle could swear he had never before seen someone look so cheerfully amused.
"But if I do that it'll burn—owww!" Navigale dropped the stick, stomping on it hastily as she sucked on a swollen part of her finger. Lyle shook his head.
"See? This is why children shouldn't play with fire. Bang."
"Who ydou callinsh a childsh?" Navigale snapped, voice muffled by her finger, as she refused to let it out until it felt better. Dr. Shrunk went back into his laughing fit. Labelle didn't stir at all though, and Lyle noticed that. Leaving the human and axolotl together to continue their childish actions of sorts, he made his way over to the porcupine, leaning down.
"Something bothering you, young'un? Bang. You're not old enough to be stressed."
Labelle blinked at his words, then shook her head. "Oh, no, no! I'm not bothered by anything, just nervous." She laughed heartily, waving her paws in front of her face. Lyle was quiet for a moment, then got a knowing look, smirking at her. She twitched her ear and groaned. "What's that look for?"
"Nothing, nothing. Have fun working at Tom's though. I here he's a tough boss. Bang."
Slowly, one by one, lights started to come on outside. Katrina could see them lighting up from outside her window as she put the last detail on yet another sketch of the symbol. It was the last bit of beauty she'd have from the place. Standing up, she tore out the few pages she'd doodled on and opened one of the now empty desks drawers. Staring at the dusty insides, she carefully folded the papers and wrote Labelle's name on the front of them. Afterwards, she put it into the drawer, stepping back when she was done.
"It's your turn now," she muttered, some kind of amusement in her voice. She'd had a visit earlier from Tom Nook, while she was drawing. She supposed no one saw him come in, and she wasn't surprised. He was a slippery raccoon. Sighing, she smiled and turned, grabbing her headdress and crystal ball. It would be her last time working in the city, at least until she made her next round.
Walking out the door, she hurried over to the stand that had been set up for her, getting the crystal ball set into place. Her work took so little set up compared to the others, to the point it kind of made her realize how light-weight of a job it was. She laughed at the thought, then sat down. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the buses start arriving to bring more animals; Kicks wasn't among them yet, having told her he needed to run to the center of the city quickly.
Her mind didn't wander for long, as she was soon onslaught with costumers, all of which she assumed knew she wouldn't be for them much longer. Putting on her mystic expression, she brought her paw up and waved one forward, a mysterious smile on her features. "What fortune is it you would like tonight?"
She knew running a business was hard work, but geez, Katrina didn't realize how many costumers she actually had. Before anymore could come up to her, she pushed herself out of the chair, sighing exasperatedly. Walking to the fountain, she watched the sky. It was almost eleven, at which point the fireworks would finally be shot off for however many minutes straight. Most people were meeting up with their dates, friends, or family for that particular event.
She'd seen Kicks come back a while ago, but he graciously let her have her space, probably aware of how busy she was. That did make her feel a tad bit bad, but all-in-all, she was glad that that part of it was all done with.
"Katrina!" Ever on time, she supposed. Kicks bounded up to her side, nearly running into her. He had to grab onto her arm to keep from falling, his cheeks tinting red from beneath his fur. She smiled down at him, desperately holding back a laugh so she didn't come off as rude.
"Hi there, Kicks. Glad to see you made it back in one piece, what with Kapp'n being the driver all night." Both of them broke out into laughter at that, knowing full well how he got on days like this. He was bad on normal days, but when it went on this late, and he had to dodge people going across the streets twenty-four-seven, he might as well be blind, deaf, and buried ten feet under the ground driving that bus.
They both calmed down after a minute or two, taking a seat on the already crowded fountain. People were finding anything and everything to sit on and watch the show, be it the bushes, the ground, chairs... anything worked. Staring up at the sky, Kicks pressed tightly against her side due to being squished by others all around, both of them said not a word to one-another, entranced as the first whistle went off. Everyone in the square went silent until the first boom. Colors exploded did the sky, as did the screams and cheers of some animals.
She had always been the quiet type, though.
One another the after, no break in between, they started to go off, leaving traces of rainbows in the darkened night sky as colors mixed together, falling to the ground as embers. Each time they went off, her heart exploded, and yet there was something holding back. It wasn't just her, though; Kicks didn't look at her. He was thoughtful, lost in a trance of some sort, just the same way she was.
What was he thinking about? What was she thinking about? Were they contemplating good things, bad things? Why didn't she know her own thoughts?
She saw a red flash of fur move through the crowd to get closer in the front, and her eyes immediately locked on him. Redd stared up at the sky with lively, curious eyes, genuinely enjoying the show as a girl, whom looked like Navigale, bounded around him, idiotic smile in place.
Her heart sank suddenly. What was he doing with her? Wasn't Navigale supposed to be with Genji? ...Why did she suddenly care?
Kicks watched her, and she knew it, but she didn't say anything. After a moment passed, she felt a paw weave its way into hers, then he grew closer, his lips gently grazing her cheek. It was the softest kiss she'd ever received, and it always would be. She knew that. But it made her heart feel even more heavy when he spoke in a sincere, understanding tone. "You should go, Miss Katrina..."
Again with the 'Miss'...
Slowly turning to look at him, his eyes were sad, yet at the same time, happy, creating a sort of bittersweet look on his always kind-hearted features. She didn't have to ask him what he meant, and the stunned silence gave him all the answer he needed.
He drew her forward again, kissing her forehead in the same manner. "I'll be awright. Weally. So... go on..." He stood up, using his grip on her paw to gently pull her up with him. They stood there silently for a moment, before she opened her mouth, looking for any kind of way to apologize to him, but he silenced her before she got a chance, with his still friendly smile.
Without another word, he tipped his hat, bowing down with the motion. Keeping her paw in his for a moment, he squeezed it hesitantly, then stood up straight. "Have a nice night, Miss Katrina. If you're ever around the city sometime soon... come see me, okay?" With that, he finally released her, turning and disappearing into the thick of the crowd. Even with the facade of knowing he'd be okay, seeing his hurt was so easy...
Blinking stupidly, not exactly sure what had just happened there, Katrina took a step back, almost running into Dr. Shrunk in the process. The entertainer looked up at her and smiled brightly before going about his business, leaving her to be confused on her own. Without realizing it, as the cheering grew louder and the fireworks more persistent, her legs were carrying her towards Redd and Navigale. It wasn't until she reached out to grab ahold of his shoulder that she froze, her eyes widening.
What was she doing?
He noticed her, despite that, and turned to face her and her outstretched paw. He seemed confused at first, then worried. "Eh? Something wrong in love land?" he teased, a smirk working it's way onto his features. Katrina drew her paw back quickly, but didn't attempt a glare or quick quip as per usual when she was teased. Instead, she just stared at him.
"Why you?" She asked aloud suddenly, shaking her head. His ear twitched, and he regained a semi-serious expression. Navigale was staring at them off to the side, like it was some kind of movie.
"Huh?" He blinked.
"Of all the animals I could have... Kicks is perfect... you're just..." She babbled to herself under her breath, Redd straining to hear what she was saying over all the noise. She looked up at him, then turned and pushed through the crowd quickly, making her way towards the bus stop as the fireworks reached their grand finale.
Redd, surprised, followed after her, whom was followed by a very nosy human. "Katrina! Wait!" He seemed genuinely concerned for once, and that made her feel even worse. She kept pushing, until there were enough animals between them to give her a head start. She ran down the stairs to the square, never more glad to see Kapp'n there, waiting. Practically jumping onto the bus, she hastily made her way to the back, plopping down at the farthest seat possible. Hectic eyes staring out the window, she heard the bus doors close. Redd emerged from the crowd, panting, and locked gazes with her.
He mouthed her name, then tilted his head curiously. She felt her heart speed up as the bus took off.
The Final Hour – Morning
Katrina rushed into her shop, grabbed her items, which she could tell Kicks had put back into the shop for her due to the neat way it was stacked, and hauled her tail right back out. She had to get going, and fast. A new bus driver, a lot more safe than Kapp'n, sat at the stop, waiting for her to get everything together. He was a penguin, pretty friendly so far, and had been rented off with her bells from last night to get there early for her departure. "I'm almost done. Just gotta say a few momentary goodbyes," the cat grunted, setting her stuff down in one of the chairs. The crystal ball was packed the safest, the most secure.
That was also Kicks doing, and for a moment, she felt her heart break.
The penguin nodded in understanding. "It's hard to say goodbye. Take your time, I've got enough to spare, myself." He smiled at her and that lifted her spirits slightly. It was like she was making a new friend again... she missed that from traveling. Sure, you met people in Carniven. But it was always the same people.
"Thanks, Kaph. I'll be back in a second." She hopped off the bus and immediately made her way to Lyle's; she'd agreed to see him and Labelle off personally. She'd said her farewells to the others already, having caught them walking in to their shops. All except Redd, anyways.
Both of them were there; Labelle looked dead tired, for reasons Katrina would whether not ask about, and Lyle looked like he was about to kill her. Again, for reasons she didn't want to ask about. When she approached, though, a solemn happiness took them all over. The porcupine was the first to run and throw her arms around the cat, sniffling uncontrollably.
"Don't leave me with this prune!" She whined, sobbing loudly. She wasn't actually crying, though. Katrina knew she was a drama queen. Lyle came out from behind the counter and stood in front of her, pushing Labelle off to the side, which displeased the girl greatly. As evidenced by her pout.
"It's going to be a lot less exciting without you around. Bang. No more symbols to chase after, no more people to stalk..."
"I thought you said it wasn't stalking? You said it was just research." Katrina smiled brightly at him, tilting her head.
"No, no. We were stalking them. Bang." The faintest hint of a smile flickered on the stern otter's face, before he became a bit more serious. "You take care, kid. Don't want 'Ole Lyle to have to come find you and knock some sense into you if you get in trouble. Because I'll do it. Bang."
"I'll hold you to that." Katrina pat him on the shoulder, knowing he wasn't exactly the sentimental type. He grunted in appreciation, then went behind the counter again, stubbornly. Labelle took that as a chance to latch onto her friend again, and it continued that way for a long while.
Knowing she had to go eventually, she laughed and tried to get the porcupine's mind off of it. "Why don't you tell me how your time was at the festival?"
Katrina turned around, taking a last look at the city, before stepping up into the bus. Kaph smiled at her, patiently, and she got the impression he knew what it was like to suddenly move to a different place. She was going to like him, she could already tell. "I think I'm ready to go..." She nodded, turning to get out of the way of the door, when the sound of pawsteps caught her attention. Before she could even turn around to see who it was, a paw gripped the end of her skirt, holding her in place.
The cat's eyes widened as she recognized the voice. Slowly, her form turned around so that she was looking down at the animal in front of her. His hand slid up from her skirt, taking ahold of the paw she had still clutched on the door. "You were really going to leave without saying anything to me? For shame!"
The fox's voice was the same as ever, teasing and mocking, yet his eyes were so serious, even she had a hard time looking at him. "So you're really going, huh? Off to travel the world again? You won't have any competition. Well, at least, not any that can top me!" He smirked smugly, but she remained quiet, staring at him with impatient eyes. She wanted to leave. Now.
Kaph was being patient, though, minding his own business. She wished he'd close the bus doors.
Seeming to understand her silence, Redd sighed. "You're no fun..." Keeping her paw in his, he stepped up on the first step of the bus, regaining his height advantage over her. He was close. She squeaked and tried to wiggle away from him, but an arm around her waist prevented that. They stared at each-other for a moment, then he spoke again. "Navigale talked to Kicks last night about what happened. She came and told me afterwards."
"Of course she did," Katrina grumbled, cursing the human in her mind. Redd wasn't taking a chance at joking now, though, as a serious demeanor she'd never seen before took him over.
"Katrina, are you in love with me?" The question obvious caught her off guard, for she went completely shell-shocked for several moments, until Redd began to wonder if she was actually breathing. When he didn't get an answer, which basically gave him his answer anyways, his gaze narrowed thoughtfully. "Do you regret it?"
"..." She studied him, no longer caring that they were one step to falling out of the bus door. "No, I don't," she muttered finally, shaking her head. She looked down, embarrassed. She would lay money on that sign being somewhere around her, but she didn't look. She didn't need to see it to know this was one of the most special moments of her life.
Redd nodded slowly, then regained his teasing smile. "You still didn't give me my love fortune from last night, or rather, from all those weeks ago. Can I have it now? I paid you, you know." Without looking up, she nodded, and he took that as his cue. He released her paw and rested his under her chin, forcing her head up so she could look at him. He sighed. "You're really dense, kitty cat." She didn't have the energy to snap back at him, which seemed to happen more often, but it didn't matter anyways. Before she got the chance, his lips captured hers, and that time, it wasn't just a sweet moment. She felt everything she was supposed to; the heart skip, the urge to cry, the urge to break out laughing at the irony of it all.
He was the first one she'd noticed the symbol in. And he was the last one she noticed in her heart. She didn't know how that worked out, but it was perfect, at least for that moment. His paw found hers again, both holding onto her out of affection, and for a prop that kept him from falling backwards onto the road.
Redd parted the kiss, smirking triumphantly. Usually, that was a look that made her want to hit him, but now it made her want to hit him with affection. There was a difference. "Say it, Kat."
Katrina stared at him, then understood. Her expression dropped to a shy one, but for once, her oblivious mind clicked into play about what was actually going on. "I love you."
At this rate, she was beginning to believe that... perhaps visiting Carniven City more than 'once in a while' was a good thing to do. She didn't have to see the world; she could still stick close. Travel to distant cities, sure... but always close enough... to her friends. To him. To her home.
The triumph on his features only grew, as if he knew what she was thinking. "I love you, too. I've been loving you, but you were just too oblivious to see it..." As he leaned in to kiss her again, Kaph at this point hiding his face awkwardly in a magazine, she heard Redd's voice whisper upon her lips; "Just don't ever forget who said it first..."
To think it'd all started with him, her, the promise of a love fortune, and her crystal ball.
Her Crystal Ball: End.
My first long-fic to be completed... I'm so proud. :)
I seriously can't thank you all enough for reviewing, and hopefully really enjoying, this story. Before anyone throws anything at me, I'm a sucker for both pairings, and anyone who enjoys Kicks can rest in peace, because there will more than likely be some Katrina/Kicks one-shots from me in the future. XD (Not connected to this story at all, of course.) Same with Redd/Katrina, so don't think you're left out just because you won. :P
The first chapter to the "spin-off" from this story is already written and posted up. And since I know you all are just dying for details -cough-, I'll give you some here. The story's title is His Bag of Bells, and if you didn't manage to catch on to my hints throughout the last few chapters of this... yes, it will be Tom/Labelle. Instead of following the confused, oblivious girl around, our main lead for the story will be the greedy raccoon. It takes place during the very end of HCB, and goes beyond the events of it, after Katrina has left to travel. Basically, the first chapter picks up during the fireworks festival, then continues the day after. (It fills in a couple of obviously missing conversations from this chapter, as well as filling in what happens with Kicks afterwards.)
That's all I'm telling you. If you're interested, I hope to hear from you over on that story's reviews.
But, as for Her Crystal Ball, I bring it to a close.
Again, thank you for sticking with me. I wouldn't have got it done without all the support, and I hope this last chapter pleases you, regardless of the pairing you were fighting for. :3
-Matron of Madness.
P.S. Wonder who the big/support characters are in His Bag of Bells? Well, here you go!: Tom, Labelle, Tom's nephews, Navigale, Dr. Shrunk, Kicks, Redd, Cube, Genji, Kapp'n, Resseti, Camofrog, and of course, Lyle. :D
P.S.S. I respond to all reviews given on my final chapters, so don't be surprised if you review and finally hear from me directly. 8D