A/N: This is my first and probably only HHaW fanfic. It's basically Dr. Suess meets Dr. Phil, only without the actual bald Southern man. :3
This was it. The journey's end. All Horton had to do was climb to the top of Mt. Nool and put the speck on the sunflower. The spire went almost straight up into the dazzling sky, with few good footholds that Horton could see. But he no longer had to go alone: his friends believed him and stood behind him.
"I forgot to introduce you to all my friends."
"You forgot? That sounds out of character for an elephant."
Horton tilted his head. "Well, I didn't really forget, it just slipped my mind. There was a lot going on, you know. Anyway this is my friend Morton - he's a mouse - and Tommy, Jessica, Angela, and where's Katie? Oh well, I guess she went home. And here's Rudy - he's the joey who saved your lives at the last second - and-" He paused in front of the sour kangaroo. "Gee, I've known you all this time and I still don't know your name. Bizarre…"
"My name is difficult to pronounce, and there isn't a good way to shorten it," she said, folding her arms. "That's why everyone just calls me kangaroo."
"Really?" Horton's ears twitched. "So what's your name?"
"That's not important." She waved her hand and turned her attention to the speck on the clover. Taking a deep breath, she said, "Look, Mayor, I…I'm sorry I tried to destroy your city. I didn't believe there was anyone on your speck until I finally heard you, and after that…I wanted to keep control so badly that I would've done anything. But now I see how wrong I was." She clasped her hands. "If there's anything I can do to make it up to you, I'll do it."
Down in Whoville, the Whos all looked at each other and at the horn where the voice came out. No one said anything for a minute or two.
Then Jojo spoke up from the mayor's balcony. "Hey, we're Whos. We'll get over it. And no one died, so it's cool."
Ned clapped his back. "Well said, Jojo. You're gonna make a great mayor someday."
Jojo's smile turned into a grimace.
"Kidding," said Ned. "Sort of. We'll talk later."
Up in Nool, the kangaroo stared wide-eyed at the speck. She couldn't believe she'd been so graciously forgiven twice. But she still thought she ought to earn their forgiveness. "Thank you, Jojo," she said. "And Mayor. I meant what I said about making it up to you."
"Um…I don't think that there's anything you can do for us. We'll be fine."
The kangaroo craned her head to gaze at the mountain. "I could take you up Mt. Nool to that flower."
"Is ridiculous," said Vlad, flapping toward the clover and scaring the snot out of most of the animals. "I am only one here with wings."
Jessica cleared her throat from her hiding place behind Horton's leg.
"I mean real wings," he added. "Is no trouble for me to carry clover up mountain."
Horton curled his trunk away from Vlad so that the clover was hidden behind his ear. "No!" Then he added in a calmer tone, "Thank you both for offering, but I want to finish what I started. An elephant's faithful, one hundred percent."
"I don't know about anyone else, but I vote for Horton carrying us," said the mayor. The other Whos cheered in approval.
"See? That settles it," said Horton with a nod. "Besides, I already climbed Mt. Gool, and that's much higher than Mt. Nool."
"You climbed Mt. Gool?" asked Morton. "That's hardcore, dude."
Horton giggled. "Yeah, I was pretty impressed myself. So…" He looked around. "Does anyone else want to say something to the Whos before I climb up?" He was stalling for time, knowing it would be a while before he would talk to the mayor again.
"I would like to say something," said Vlad. "I am sorry for dropping you in clover field."
"Hey, it's all good," said the mayor.
"We are all good? Good." Then Vlad stared expectantly into Horton's eyes. "Where is cookie?"
Horton blinked. "Cookie?"
"Kangaroo gets cookie, why don't I get cookie?"
"Um…" Horton turned around, gazing over the grassy hills. "The other Vlad left with most of the mob. Maybe some other time."
Vlad hunched his shoulders. "Stupid bunny," he muttered.
"Can I say something?" asked Rudy.
"You just did," said the mayor. "You can say something else if you want."
"Okay. I always believed in you guys. Or at least, I wanted to believe." He smiled up at his mom and gave her a reassuring hug. She hugged him back, brushing her cheek against his.
"I believed in you too," said Jessica.
"Me too!" chorused Tommy and Angela. "So did Katie," added Tommy, "but she's not here. Are you gonna climb up the mountain soon, Horton?" He gestured up at the peak.
"Yeah," said Horton. "Let's do this. Are you ready, Mayor?"
"Ready when you are."
Horton put his forefeet on the steep slope and started to heave his bulk up Mt. Nool.
In Whoville, Sally kept peering at Jojo, who had been staring at the balcony floor with his hands in his pockets for a good five minutes. "Jojo, you don't want to be Mayor, do you." It was more of a statement than a question.
Jojo sighed. "No." He braced himself for the explosion, but both his mom and dad merely looked thoughtful.
"That does explain a lot," said Ned. "But why didn't you say so before?"
"I didn't want to disappoint you."
"I'm not disappointed, Jojo." He put his hand on his shoulder. "In fact, I know how you feel. When I was your age, I didn't want to be Mayor either."
Jojo raised his eyebrows. "Seriously?"
"Yeah. I wanted to be a firefighter," said Ned with a wistful smile.
"So why didn't you?"
"I did go through training, but the fire chief said I was too clumsy to be trusted with a ladder or fire hose, so," he shrugged. "I ended following in my father's footsteps."
Jojo frowned. "Are you saying I shouldn't even try to follow my dream?"
"No. If you want to keep building and inventing things, you should do that. You have an amazing talent."
Jojo beamed and stood straighter. He knew he had talent, but it felt good to hear his father say it.
"It's just that you don't know whether or not you'll like being Mayor until you try it," continued Ned. "It worked out pretty well for me. I could never afford to feed 97 kids on a fireman's salary, that's for sure."
"Not everyone wants to have a hundred kids, Dad."
"True," said Ned, smiling. "But I never would have heard Horton's voice coming through this drainpipe if I weren't the mayor."
"And you never would have had the chance to warn everybody that Whoville was in danger, or get them to make noise so the kangaroo would hear you," added Horton.
Jojo spread his hands. "Okay, so you found out you liked it all right after all. But I don't have to try it to know I'd hate being cooped up in an office from nine to five and getting yelled at by the Chairman."
"Honey, I'm sure there will be a new Chairman by the time you're old enough to be Mayor," said Sally. She gave the Chairman a pointed look over her shoulder, silently daring him to argue.
"That will be for the voters to decide," said the Chairman from his cherry picker balcony. "And they've already elected me for ten terms."
"But you've only been Chairman for one term, and a lot can change in two years. A lot can change in two days, as we've just seen." She turned back to her son. "Anyway, Jojo, what were you saying?"
"Well, I just don't see why I have to be Mayor when I have so many sisters who would be great at it." The short Who waved his hands. "What about Helga or Heather, or even Hedy?"
Sally smiled down at her youngest daughter, who had pulled her bow out of her hair so she could play with it. "Mayor Hedy McDodd. What do you think about that?"
Ned winked at Sally. "I think that it'll be a couple of decades until I retire, so we have plenty of time to figure it out." He squeezed Jojo's shoulder. "You be whatever you want when you grow up, Jojo. No pressure. Well, I might put a little pressure on you, but not as much as before, honest!"
Jojo half-smiled. "Thanks?"
Suddenly the balcony quaked under Jojo's feet, along with the rest of Whoville.
"Horton? Everything okay?" asked Ned.
"Yeah, sorry, I lost my footing for a second. Whew! I'm at the cave with the sunflower now. Here you go. You'll be safe here."
Ned was relieved that his world would be stable again, but he felt sad as well, like he was losing one of his best friends. "Thanks for everything, Horton." He wiped the corners of his eyes with his thumb, and Sally wrapped her arm around his shoulders.
"You're welcome. I'm sure you would've done the same for me, if that were possible," said Horton.
"Of course I would. But I can't even give you a medal or anything." He shook his head in dismay.
"Mayor, I don't need anything to prove I'm a hero. Just knowing you're safe is enough."
A smile tugged at Ned's lips. "You really are an awesome pachyderm."
"Hey Horton," said Jojo, "are you gonna come back to visit?"
"Sure Jojo. It's pretty far from my home, but I should be able to visit once a month or so if they fix the rope bridge."
"Excuse me, Horton?" called Dr. Larue from the crowd.
"Yes, Dr. Larue?"
The doctor grinned and scribbled in her notebook. "Would you mind anshwering a few queshtions to aid my shcientific inveshtigation before you go?"
"No, I don't mind."
"Good." She nodded and adjusted her goggles. "How much bigger than Whoville is the clover? How old are you? Are there any other elephants? What kinds of animals are Tommy, Jesshica, Angela and Katie? What is the chemical makeup of beezelnut oil? What is holding your world up?"
"Uh…Hundreds or thousands of times bigger, I guess. I'm 30. There are other elephants, just not many in the jungle of Nool. Tommy is a bear, Jessica's a bird, Angela's a deer, and Katie's a ziff. And I'll have to get back to you on the last two questions, because I don't know the answers yet."
Ned wrinkled his brow and looked at Sally. "Did he say ziff?"
Dr. Larue scratched frantically in her notebook. "Thank you Horton. Very good."
Horton sighed. "Well, goodbye for now."
"'Bye Horton." Ned waved even though he knew the elephant couldn't see him. "Don't be a stranger."
Ned turned to address the crowd of Whos below. "Hey everyone, let's give Horton one last cheer for saving us!"
The Whos responded enthusiastically, banging the drums and pots they'd brought outside.
Up on Mt. Nool, Horton smiled. "You guys are great. I love you." He blinked back tears and started to grope his way back down the rock face. It wasn't a permanent goodbye, he reminded himself. He would be back.
A/N: I'm a sucker for parent/child bonding. I know this fanfic is corny, but I hope it works anyway. I just loved the movie so much that I had to write a tribute to it before I lost interest.
And I'm not sure what Tommy and Katie are supposed to be, so I guessed for Tommy and made up something that sounds Suessian for Katie.