Hello all.

This will be the second-last installment of the Days of Our Lives arc. So this fic takes place in the same timeline as the others. I've actually planned for this to be a multichapter fic but I thought that it'd be better this way.

I don't play Star Fox or anything, and I don't know anything about Falco's past, and furthermore apparently it isn't really confirmed in the canon either. Anyway, I won't be mentioning it much, and I hope I don't go off any established facts or anything.

Reflection will be slightly different from the rest of my other fics, the difference will be obvious enough. I've been itching to try out a new style, and hopefully it'll turn out all right. Thanks for reading; please do leave your reviews and criticism, I'll thank you for it –

hawk

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Reflection

Mah name's Falco.

Falco Lombardi.

Best sharp-shooter in an Arwing, even better than the fabled Fox McCloud himself, and he admits that.

Oh, does he admit that. And I'm not boasting, but I'll have ya know I'm the best pilot this side of the Lylat System. Actually, on both sides of the Lylat System, thank ya very much.

…an' if ya haven't heard of me, ya probably been livin' under a rock for the past couple a years. Brawl's been fun, yeah, but wait 'till you see a day in the life in Lylat. Just thinkin' about it makes me homesick, an' I don't get attached easy, too.

…all right, all right. Let's start from the beginnin'. How about that time I got Fox to buy me a free drink?

---

'twas a normal day in the Lylat System that day.

Yup, that meant a dogfight with Star Wolf.

There were clashes, bursts of gunfire and such, and I saw McCloud take a couple a' hits, but I emerged unscathed without so much as a scratched Arwing propeller. An' Arwing's don't have propellers.

Anyway, not to bore ya with details of a very long, yet very successful – of course, 'coz I was involved – mission, we fended off Wolf and his gang. Kicking back and relaxing, I radioed Fox over our communication system.

"Ya okay, McCloud?"

"Yeah, which is more than I can say for my Arwing," came the reply amid some static. I glanced out of my windshield, seeing Fox's Arwing pass by. It was beaten up, sure, but nothing that couldn't be fixed. Looked like that vulpine was still better in a Landmaster than in an Arwing.

While I was escorting his Arwing to the Great Fox's hangar – man that hangar's huge – I got pretty bored, like I normally do whenever I see McCloud tryin' to do stuff. That fox moves so slowly in an Arwing ya couldn't get 'im to move faster than a slow trot unless ya set his tail on fire.

So to spice things up a little, and to put up a show for Fox to see and admire my skills, I did a couple of loops and spirals and – yes – a barrel roll, I admit. Very well executed, might I add.

But, as I was enjoyin' myself, I came too close to the Great Fox. Nearly got a scratch on it, too, but I saw it at the last moment and pulled away in the nick of time. To tell ya the truth, I breathed in relief, 'coz I knew that Hare would give me a tickin' off if I so much as touched the Great Fox's underbelly with a feather.

Fox's voice broke into by earphones. "Cutting it pretty close, there, weren't you?" he teased. Yeah, coming from the guy who can't fly an Arwing straight! The nerve of tha' fox. I opened my beak to retort, but right on schedule, Peppy joined into the battle of words.

"Lombardi! You'd better watch your hide, or else –" "Yeah, got it," I nonchantly responded, reaching over and flicking a switch. Immediately, Peppy's irritating voice dimmed down, then cut out altogether with a burst of static.

There was a slight pause, and then Fox drew his breath. "Well, he's gonna kill you."

I twitched. It wasn't the first time that hare, fox – or anyone else – had peppered me with death threats. "Ah, no biggie," I shrugged, although he couldn't see it. "He can't afford to execute his best pilot, can he now?"

Fox's voice came tauntingly over the com. "Yeah, yeah, of course." Here he put on that annoying posh accent he always used to irritate me, the voice smooth and low through the speakers. "I'll carve it on your headstone. 'Here lies Falco Lombardi, Lylat's finest pilot and its most talkative birdbrain, killed in action because he couldn't keep his big beak shut.'."

I grunted, flicking a wing through my head feathers idly. I could just picture him making his little 'air quotes' as he sniggered out my future epitaph.

"Yeah, sure. And I'll carve yers once Slippy realizes that ya're responsible for that scratch in the Great Fox. "

Here I was rewarded by a sudden gagging sound over the intercom – that would be the great Fox McCloud doing a double take and gawking, and probably going rabid and turning white in his furry face, and then low muttered curses.

I smirked.

And then, once we landed, he bought me a drink, with the warning that the conversation never happened.

Until Peppy yelled at us to get a move on, we spent the rest of the hour lounging about, sipping from our cups and laughing at other peoples' weird hairdos. Strange, isn't it, coming from people who continually slick their feathers and fur with grease and sweat and Arwing motor oil.

Yup, those were good times.

---

That's why I like Brawl. I'm a social guy, as ya can probably tell from mah good looks. Captain Falcon can't hold a candle to this falcon, I'm the real deal.

So I was steppin' into the Mansion on the first day for Brawl, and seeing the reflection of the light off the newcomers' wide-open eyes, shaking paws and hands and whatnot with the others, lookin' forward for matches, ah, those were good times. Ya could see the excitement on their faces and all – and truth be told that same excitement was in me, just that I learned to keep things in.

Well, we had great time, the lot of us, I think. We've had our fair share of funny moments, awkward moments and such, but I think it was a pretty good time and I enjoyed myself in Brawl.

Even after that Tabuu incident, where the stereotypical bad guy tries to take over the worlds for some reason or the other, I think that helped us a little. I dunno, I for one had lotsa fun blowing things up and wreckin' his pretty Dark Cannons. Too much fun, on hindsight. Maybe I cawed too much or bragged just a bit about my awesome skills in Tabuu's face, but hey, it was fun to rub it in while it lasted.

But anyway.

Just the other day Fox, Wolf and I had a three-way brawl, just for old time's sake. That cretin's mellowed much since we've first met, but ah well, I guess I'm not one to judge. But I'm not complaining. Fox and Wolf still don't seem to get along much anyhow.

'twas just like old times when we had melee battles, Blaster shots flyin' everywhere and Cornerian reflectors bouncin' projectiles and stuff all over the small Lylat Cruise stage. Ha, fun times. 'specially when I was winnin'.

Which was, of course, all the time.

I chose that stage when Fox wasn't looking – both he and Wolf thought it was on Random.

Truth is, I really like that stage. It's the closest to flying I've experienced in Brawl; on the back of some "cruiseship" somewhere and somewhen in the starry backdrop of Lylat. I'm not sure exactly where it is – the dumb Hands nevar did say – but I think it's a hologram, because ya don't die when ya fall off the plane. In the middle of space.

Usually fatal in real life, I think.

Anyway. Even if it was an illusion or hologram or somethin', I liked it. Was nice, and was good to see Lylat sky again, even if it wasn't real. And being able to fight alongside Wolf and Fox, now that was something.

That night was special, 'coz for a treat we turned on the Smash Ball.

Ever got that feeling when ya finally get it? It's a sense of unimaginable power, and suddenly all yer current difficulties and pain melt away, even if it's for a short period of time. I sometimes hold on to that power a little longer, partially to feel that simple feel-good factor, watchin' the remarkable fiery-red radiance from the Ball glow all over yer feathers and get ya blood pumpin' real good.

An' partially to watch the others scurry away from me.

Landmasters rolling all around, doing – yes – barrel rolls, flying a little and such. I'm still a little miffed that I didn't get an Arwing, but a Landmaster's better than Fox's old rusty scooter, I always say. And mine flies for quite a bit – I could almost kid myself it was a really clunky Arwing.

Really, really clunky. Plus it weighed more than double. And had a gigantic cannon stickin' out of one end.

Regardless, it was a fun match.

I still insist it wasn't me. I bet ya that Fox didn't wake up early enough that morning to deflea himself. Even the day after the Brawl, Rukario apparently found him leanin' against the wall outside, fast asleep. Of all places… that Pokémon probably got himself into a right shock when he saw Lylat's finest blockhead droolin' against the wall.

Or he probably just forgot.

And then during that Brawl, he just spread it to the two of us. Right like that. I don't know which of the few hundred kicks he hit me with that did the trick, but I guess one or two was enough to get them bloodsuckin' cretin used to the taste of feathers. Same goes for Wolf.

And it was a twenty-minute Brawl, too…

And falcons don't get fleas! When will those two ever learn? Only after they spread it to me… urk, now I know why it's so irritating. Was scratching my everywhere. Everywhere. And that Fox still dared to accuse me of spreading it to him, hah. Wolf wasn't too pleased, either. Woke up in the morning with a head full of lice.

And to top it all off, we dragged that unsuspecting Rukario into it, too. Didn't know them Pokémon could get fleas, too. Or that that Snake carried around a bottle of Flea-B-Gone, wherever he got that from… Ah, ya learn something new every day.

…Perhaps it was for the best.

Maybe that Fox felt on some subconscious level that he had to make that particular Brawl memorable. I still fail to see how introducing yer avian teammate to fleas count as somethin' nice. Was still combing my tail feathers free from dead fleas. Maybe it's a fox thing. Or maybe he wanted to share his joy to the world, ha. But I still appreciate the effort…

…'coz that was the last proper Brawl we had together.

Trust McCloud to make things special.

---

Maybe it was the high-adrenaline life of Arwing flying and shooting and stuff, but I'd always thought I knew how I'd go. I wasn't going to die on the ground like some earth-bound cretin, or unspectacularly, getting around in a crutch or – no – becoming like Peppy. For all the many good things about that Hare, he just can't do a barrel roll.

No way, not me; not Falco Lombardi.

I'd go in a blazing burst of glory in the sky.

I always expected a fight of astronomical proportions to flare up in Lylat, with Star Fox caught in its center. Then we'd fight, and have a meteor shower break out in the middle of the most massive dogfight ever recorded in history, Arwings and Wolfens and who-cares-what other kinda craft shootin' different flavours of death lasers, glidin' and weavin' in and out of their ranks, and exploding in remarkable, respectable balls of flame against a backdrop of starry Lylat space.

We'd save it in the end, just like we always do.

But if I'd go, I'd go in one of those fights. Shielding McCloud, I suppose, just like I seem to be doin' more and more often. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I keep replaying scenes from the imaginary movie reel in my head, about my rather disturbing but immensely glorifying death. Don't judge me.

I'd block McCloud's Arwing at the last minute, and take the last shot from the leader of the rebellion – whether it was Wolf, Andross, or Andross' mom – hey, anything could happen. And then, I'd pilot my smoking Arwing into his gigantic aircraft, and sit back and smirk as both of our craft start to disintegrate into pretty 'lil bits, and then blow us both into oblivion and into history.

Yeah, believe it or not, I fantasize about the perfect death. Not quite all normal up there, but yeah.

Get involved in the mother of all dogfights, get involved in the father of all explosions, save the life of my teammates an' then some, an' then die in an awesome sphere of fire.

…Too bad life – or death – doesn't always work out as we've dreamt or planned.

---

So that's me, Falco.

Falco Lombardi.

Best sharp-shooter in an Arwing, even better than the fabled Fox McCloud himself, and he admits that.

Yeah, an' on both sides of the Lylat System too, and don't ya go forgetting that.

One bad thing about Brawl and such is that I never really got to fly again. Ya see, I was all right brawlin', firin' off Blaster shots and managin' to toast Wolf a couple of times, but in the end I'm only at home in the cockpit of an Arwing, slowly cruising amongst the stars and occasionally engaging in a little dogfight.

The thing about it is that it's free space, all open and all. Ya look out of the windshield and ya see the entire sight beyond ya, stars all around and nothing but empty wastes of space and maybe a planet or a hunk of rock here and there – I've never told Fox – but those sights never cease to amaze me. I guess that's why I prefer to spend all my time in the air, because it's just too beautiful.

Yeah, ya heard me.

And another thing. That Fox, never got his head in the clouds, ironically enough. Prefers to stay down-to-earth, rarely peeks outside of the Great Fox's windows or leaves his Landmaster. Too afraid to get his pretty fur in a mess, that's what I think.

But there's one thing one can say about the great McCloud, and that's that he's right forgetful.

Once he nearly forgot Krystal's birthday, could ya believe that? Peppy and I had to quickly scrape up something for a surprise party, Slippy got a cake, and Fox had to pretend and go along with the party, or Krystal would right scratch his eyeballs out if she'd known the truth. Hah, that vulpine was stutterin' and nervous for the entire thing. Took all I had from cawin' out with laughter; but then, if I did the game would be up.

On second thoughts, maybe I should have just have laughed, right out loud instead of bolting into the Great Fox's toilets – it would have made for some interesting times when confused Krystal finally figured out what was going on, then mauling Fox and leaving his bloody entrails all alon' the corridors, followed immediately by the immensely –

I sure hope Fox and Krystal don't find this.

…and another time he forgot where he docked was going. Just left and went a-wandering on his thunderin' Landmaster, and forgot the route back. It took Peppy and Slippy feeding the poor fellow coordinates for the rest of the journey back, and it was a good thing his Landmaster didn't run out of fuel, because he was one lost mammal. Took him a good long time to find his way across half that planet, he did.

When he finally made his way back to the Great Fox, Peppy told me that he could've mapped out the entire planet based on "The Eminent and Groundbreaking Travels of Fox McCloud", boldly going into cracks and valleys and wrong paths no one ever went before. 'Twas the day I found out beet red didn't go well with that Fox's brown fur, but that only gave me more reason to laugh that time.

Fox was so irritated, he swiped at the metallic corridor with his claws out – and blamed the scratch on me. Me! Slippy didn't believe it, of course – since it's pretty hard to make damage on metal with feathers – but he never really found out who did it. McCloud swore me to secrecy on that one, since the toad would slit his throat if he found out. Ah well.

That's one secret I'll take to my grave.

Good times.

One last thing. Fox an' I are – were – best pals – well, to me, at any rate. Never did have much close friends or anyone I could trust – no thanks to how I grew up, not exactly in th' most clean part of town – but that guy McCloud by far came the closest. In all my years of flying in and out of Star Fox I never really found anyone quite like him.

I guess it's hard to find such a fella' like him. Take it from me – I've grown up in a rough patch of town, and there's not much honour amongst thieves. Funnily enough, I suppose that's why I didn't fit in all that well with Star Fox, because they were such good friends.

And that Fox was the best one of them all.

When I saw him in the reflection of Wolf's Landmaster that last Brawl, I suddenly realized how much we've all changed. 'fer better or worse, I dunno, but even though even he's not stayed the same, he's still… well, pretty good for this dreamin', flyin' falcon from the streets.

Even though if he wasn't the best with rememberin' stuff.

We didn't think much of it then, of course. It was something said for fun, just joking, a laugh between friends – a precious laugh. Ya dumb fox – after that Krystal incident ya still so forgetful? Tsk, tsk, McCloud, ya never do learn, don't ya?

Still, if anything, I'm a little amused, a little regretful, and just a little bit disappointed, my dear friend. Even at this level of events, this kind of situation, ya still forgot something.

…you never did remember what we agreed for my headstone.

Ya forgetful fox.

---

Here lies Falco Lombardi

Lylat's finest pilot and friend