Disclaimer: Radah bladah—Klonoa characters—dadih dudih—Namco—rumdih humdih—other characters—ladih madih—me. Capiche?

AN: "Fwu—Another one?!" Yeah, yeah, I know... But I actually plan on finishing this one. I mean it! I've been getting better at that planning ahead stuff that'll stop me from getting writer's block and keep me from losing interest. So, even if I don't get any reviews, I plan on finishing this either way for my sake. And, yes, it is slash. Just guess who the lucky couple is. 8D

Forgive and Regret

Chapter 1: A Daily Outing

"This is where he goes every night to store his stolen goods."

"How do you know?"

"I did some spying last night."

"Oh, that's right. You get really into this, don't you, Guntz?"

"It's not very smart to just jump right into things, you know."

Klonoa gave a quick laugh. "You used to jump right into things all the time." Guntz didn't respond to the remark, distracting himself with one of his guns. There were a few clicks here and there as he fidgeted with it and a short-lived moment of silence ensued. Klonoa suddenly giggled to himself, hunching over slightly in his seated position as if anxiously restless.

"What's so funny?" Guntz dared to ask, almost smiling at the sheer randomness of it, yet wanting to scold him because it wasn't the time to be acting careless.

"Lolo's visiting Breezegale tonight. She's bringing some home-baked cookies. She's gotten really good over this past year. They're delicious!" Klonoa exclaimed excitedly. Guntz gave him a raised eyebrow as the younger boy leaned back against the old, toppled over dumpster behind them. "Of course, I'm excited about seeing Lolo and Popka again, too."

Klonoa looked up at the orange-tinted sky that always seemed present in Volk, even at night. It was midday now, or perhaps the sun was starting to set—it was so hard to tell from here. He could hardly keep himself still with the anticipation circulating through his veins.

Lolo had left again to the Sky Temple a year ago to continue training to become a priestess. Popka had gone with her this time, too nervous to leave her by herself again after she'd gotten kidnapped the last time. She was very busy there, rarely having time to come visit her old home where all her friends were. It wasn't easy getting all the way down to Breezegale from the Sky Temple, either.

Klonoa shifted impatiently as he and Guntz waited. Beside them on both sides were tall, abandoned buildings. Volk was filled with these vacant piles of stone and cement. This place was always going through some kind of war, whether it be minor between two groups, or huge among the whole city. Many people lost their homes during their battles. Klonoa wondered why innocent people lived here at all, instead of a more peaceful place like Breezegale or Jugkettle.

The fallen dumpster behind him leaned against a wall of one of the buildings and the two of them hide inside the 90 degree angle of which they formed. They were on a mission right now; bounty hunting for an outlaw who frequently stole precious firearms and weaponry from shops and warehouses. They only had to catch him and bring him in. No death was necessary—which Klonoa would never have agreed to assist in such a job, anyway.

He and Guntz went on these sorts of missions often. It'd only been about a month after the trio of heroes—them two and Pango—had defeated the nightmare devouring, self-proclaimed "hero" that was Nahatomb when Guntz had found Klonoa again and suggested they continue the partnership they'd started when they first met.

Klonoa had no idea why he did it, but he was grateful that he did. Life in Breezegale was just so unbearably peaceful after he'd returned home. Nothing was wrong with peace, of course, but it was just so boring. Lolo and Popka had left and Chipple was often too busy caring for his younger siblings. Klonoa could never find a way to make the monotonous days go by faster until Guntz had shown himself again.

Pango had joined them for a little while, too. The three of them made a great team together. Klonoa was happy that the end of their previous adventure didn't mean they couldn't see each other anymore. However, family matters became too plentiful for Pango to take any time off to go on jobs with them. So after that it was just Klonoa and Guntz.

Klonoa had been disappointed to see a valuable member go, but at the same time he saw this as a good opportunity to get to know Guntz better. The older boy was always so reserved toward everyone. Klonoa knew that despite his young age, he had a long and painful past lurking behind him in his shadow. He rarely, if ever, talked about it.

Klonoa stopped thinking about it and looked down from the clouded sky to his large ring. The golden color of the band was starting to fade ever so slightly. He didn't know what he could do to stop that from happening—he had no idea just how old the oversized jewelry was. Its emerald gem still sparkled brilliantly, though, so he didn't worry about it much.

Guntz glanced his way from peaking around the dumpster and followed his gaze. "You should take better care of that thing. A man is only as good as his w—" He stopped suddenly as Klonoa glanced up at him. With a thoughtful blink he looked away and sighed. "Never mind."

Klonoa gave a faint smile. Over the year he'd noticed a gradual change in Guntz' behavior and attitude. He wasn't nearly as mean or careless about what he said or did as he used to be. He was putting an effort into it, too, which only made Klonoa all the happier about it. Guntz wanted to be a better person—to change. Though Klonoa had already seen him as a good person before.

"You know what would make Lolo's visiting to Breezegale even better?" Klonoa suddenly asked with a smile, leaning to the side so that their shoulders were touching. Guntz didn't respond, already knowing where this was going. "If you came, too," Klonoa finished hopefully.

Guntz sighed, shifting himself to a more comfortable position. "I've told you over and over: guys like me don't belong in peaceful towns like Breezegale. I'll wind up scaring people and making them all uneasy whether I'm actually doing anything or not. No thanks. I'd rather stay here where I belong," he replied casually.

Klonoa didn't like it when Guntz referred to Volk as somewhere he belonged. This place was violent and mean. It certainly wasn't a place Klonoa liked to stay at for long. Unfortunately, Volk had the most crimes going on, so this was their most frequent place to hunt for outlaws. If Guntz was really trying to be a nicer person, then why was he still so attached to this place?

"This guy's got a gang and they'll probably be with him, so don't be careless," Guntz cautioned, discreetly changing the subject.

"I'll be fine," Klonoa answered confidently. "I've been getting better at this, right?"

Guntz made a smile in response to Klonoa's expectant grin. "Yeah, sure. I guess so. Though it's been nearly a year since we've started doing this. It would be pretty sad if you haven't gotten any better since then."

Klonoa pursed his lips in a pout. Guntz may have been changing in some ways, but some things never changed. The guy still loved to tease him. "But I am getting better, so it's not!" he protested childishly.

Guntz placed a hand on Klonoa's head to twist his hat back and forth teasingly. "Calm down, and don't raise your voice. I was only kidding," he sneered. "We don't want to be spotted. They'll be here any minute."

Klonoa quickly readjusted his hat to a comfortable position. "That's what you said an hour ago," he complained impatiently, leaning back.

"Look, kid, keep whining and I'll take back what I said about you getting better at this," Guntz warned.

"I'm not a kid!" Klonoa snapped, raising his voice again. He hated being called that.

"I'll call you a kid when you act like a kid," Guntz remarked simply.

Klonoa grunted unhappily with another pout, crossing his arms and closing his eyes with furrowed eyebrows. Guntz peaked around the dumpster again, his ears twitching carefully. He then looked over at Klonoa once more with an amused smile. "What do you say we get something to eat after this?" he suddenly asked.

Klonoa opened one eye and glanced at him without turning his head, still frowning. "We'll go to that place you like; the one with the hamburgers," Guntz offered. Klonoa smiled, opening his other eye and turning toward him.

"Okay! But I have to save room for Lolo's cookies," he chirped, suddenly happy again. Guntz breathed out a quick chuckle. Klonoa was the kind of person who was easy to make mad or happy. After a year, Guntz had mastered the art. He could have his fun teasing the kid and not even have to feel guilty about it later.

Guntz' ear then flicked back reflexively barely a moment before he actually heard the noise. "Quiet, I heard something," he demanded softly, interrupting Klonoa as he described half to himself what he was going to get to eat. The long eared boy looked at him quickly with a sudden peak of interest.

"Is it them?" he asked expectantly. Guntz peaked around the side of the toppled over dumpster carefully. Parallel to the corners of the two buildings beside them was the wall of another worn down building; where they expected their target stored his stolen goods. Guntz could pick up the murmurings of a group of several people. They were too hushed to be a casual group of friends, yet still loud enough not to make a surprise entry.

"I think so," Guntz responded, listening. They were coming closer at a moderately gradual speed. Obviously they expected no trouble.

"Great. My legs are getting sore from sitting around so long," Klonoa sighed quietly. Before long Guntz could see the shadows of the group as they approached their destination.

"Stay close to me. We're going to get them while their backs are turned," he instructed, heaving himself up to his feet while still crouched low. Klonoa nodded slowly, already knowing the usual routine. He still wasn't all that experienced with this sneaking around stuff and would just follow Guntz' lead until they actually attacked.

The group had stopped now, directly in sight down the alleyway from where the two hid. They weren't a very large group; only three men besides the one in front Klonoa recognized from a picture as the outlaw they were after. Handing in the lackeys as well made for some nice extra cash, which Guntz was always willing to go the extra mile for.

When the whole group of gangsters had turned from them, all facing the hidden door that their boss was carefully unlocking, Guntz flicked a hand in signal and silently moved forward. With Klonoa close at his heels, he stealthily moved to the other wall parallel to the one the dumpster was against. He stopped just behind a small group of tin trash cans, which were located further down they alleyway, closer to the gang.

Only one gang member peaked over his shoulder and, upon seeing nothing out of the ordinary, looked away again. Klonoa's heart was beginning to pound. No matter how many times he'd done this, this part had always excited him. Sneaking around, waiting for the perfect moment to suddenly jump out and see the unexpected look on their enemies' faces—it gave him a rush.

Guntz looked behind him, spotting Klonoa's familiar excitement. He gave a sly grin and Klonoa knew exactly what that meant. "Are you ready?"


"Then let's go!"

Probably the first time I didn't start off a story with a prologue. I just couldn't think of one that would fit so... Shwah! Let's just start it off from the get-go. 8D