I Don't own these Characters*
This Chapter is dedicated three ways:
First to Monica, who was with me from the beginning,
Then to Jenna, for being with me till the end
And for all the readers and reviewers for sticking with me and supporting me no matter what :) It means the world.
I present the last Chapter of Done Up My Buttons And Unstitched My Seams
Calvin yawned widely, shaking his head slightly as he kept his eyes locked on the stretch of highway that curved languidly in front of him. The moving lights from the other cars filled his interior with shifting red and white glow that was beginning to lull him into a state of tiredness.
"You want to switch?" Susie asked, shifting in her seat, her own voice a little gravely with the lateness of the hour. "You look tired."
"I'm okay. We still have a few more hours till we can stop."
"Yeah, but I could drive those few hours."
"Honestly I'm okay," Calvin assured her. "You had your turn. You ought to be taking your boyfriends lead and sleeping."
Robbie gave an opportune grunt, rolling over to what looked to be an even more uncomfortable position in the back seat of the car.
"Someone needs to make sure you don't fall asleep," Susie smiled, covering his hand with her own for a moment.
"Thank you, Susie,"Calvin started. "For doing this, all of it. Teaching me to drive, coming with me. I don't think I could have done it without you."
"I've been happy to do it Calvin."
"And I'm sorry that I haven't always been as nice to you as I should. I know I'm kind of a jerk but I'm sorry for not being as nice to you as you deserve. So thank you, for putting up with me."
"You are worth "putting up with" Calvin," Susie urged. "You're one of my best friends. Best friends do these sort of things for each other."
"Well thank you for being my friend. And for dragging Robbie along."
"He wanted to come Calvin, he cares about you too. And however all of this works out, you still have us Okay?"
Calvin let out a light breath. "Okay...yeah, that's...okay."
"So what are you going to do?" Susie asked, propping her feet up on the dash. "When we get there, what are you going to do when you see him?"
"I don't know."
"I don't know. I haven't really thought about it. I figured I'd know when I got there."
"Are you worried?"
"Yes," Calvin admitted anxiously. "We didn't part on amiable turns, he probably hates me. He should hate me, I was terrible to him. And it's been months, he probably doesn't care about me at all anymore. I could be making a complete idiot of myself, so yeah, I'm worried."
"I think you'll be fine."
"The thing about you Calvin," Susie spoke gently, "is that in the beginning you are not an easy person to love. But once you're there, once we love you, it doesn't go away. It's kind of impossible to unlove you. If that makes sense."
Calvin laughed quietly, giving a little smile. "You know what Susie, it's kind of impossible to unlove you too."
After sleeping several hours, curled up in the seats of his car in a rest stop parking lot, they finished the last two hours of their drive, rolling into the city limit around ten in the morning. Susie spoke is slow measured tones as she directed Calvin for the last leg of the drive, towards Hobbes' new home.
Calvin pulled carefully up to the curb, his knuckles stretching pale over the black of his steering wheel, his throat drying out.
"Calvin?" Susie said softly, touching him carefully on the shoulder. "Calvin, are you okay?"
Robbie gave him a friendly punch in the arm. "Are you ready?"
"I think so...I...I'm not sure."
"If you don't want to do this you don't have to."
"No I have to. I want to, Come on, let's go." The three of them slid out of the car, heading towards the brick porch. Susie slipped her hand reassuringly into Calvin's, pulling him lightly along and setting him in front of the door.
Calvin swallowed, raising a slightly quivering fist to the door and knocking with as much strength as he could muster. The last knock echoing slightly until it fell into silence, leaving them to wait for an answer. The tense moment was gone in a few seconds as the door was pulled upon, reveling a familiar face.
"Hi Miranda," Calvin gushed. "I need to see Hobbes."
Miranda looked to the three of them, trying to contain her confusion. "He's not here."
"What?" Calvin all but gasped, not having taken the idea that he might not even be at home into consideration.
"He went for a run. He's been exercising a lot since we moved here. Trying to keep busy I guess. What are you even doing here?"
"I need to talk to him, it's important. Where is he jogging?"
Miranda folded her arms, looking put out. "He took his car to a park off of Bellview and Cyprus. It's got some trails and stuff, it's not far. You get back on to Main and go right, then make a left on Tustin and follow that for about seven minutes, the park's on the right."
"Thanks Miranda," Calvin smiled mischievously. "What time did he leave?"
"Maybe fifteen minutes ago? He's usually gone for an hour and a half."
"That's perfect. That should give me just enough time."
Robbie raised an eyebrow. "To what?"
"Execute my plan."
"What plan?" Susie asked.
"The one I just thought up," Calvin grinned, grabbing onto Susie and Robbie, backing off the porch. "Come on, I'll see you later Miranda."
"Calvin wait!" Miranda cried suddenly, hurrying after them.
Calvin stopped reluctantly. "What?"
"Look it's just...I like you and everything. But my brother was really messed up when he left, actually he's still pretty messed up. You kind of ripped his heart out. And I can't have you doing that again. I don't know why you've come here but if you're only going to end up hurting him again I think you should just go. He loves you. And it isn't fair for you to taunt him with something he can't have."
Calvin stopped and he licked his lips uncomfortably. "Miranda I... Look, I promise that's not what I'm here to do, I promise. You have my word."
"Alright," She smiled, finally looking like she was happy to see him. "Then is there anything I can do to help?"
"Do you have any sticky note pads and sharpies?"
Hobbes pushed his fingers through his damp hair as he made his way across the field of the park towards the lot where he had parked his car. He twisted his fingers through his much shaggier locks, the orange almost faded completely away. He hadn't been keeping up with it since he moved, feeling to listless to purchase anymore dye. The running was helping though. Endorphin's made people happy. Or they were supposed to.
He was almost to his car, and the closer he got to where he was parked the more confused he became. An odd attachment of color was floating where his windshield ought to have been. Curious, he jogged to his car, astounded to see many different colored sticky notes covering the glass. He reached out with slightly shaking fingers, pulling one carefully away. Written across the blue paper, in green ink was a single word in neat handwriting:
He stared at it for a moment, before leaning closer to his windshield, reading the others.
The way you smile
The first time I heard you talk
For Standing up for me, and to me.
They way you hug me
Because you shared everything with me
Rings and piercings
For loving me, even when I gave you nothing in return.
And on and on the sticky notes went, all different color combinations, words and phrases and little doodles that we're filling his heart with an uncontrollable whirlwind of bewilderment, hope and panic. Because all these things looked to be the result of something either truly impossible and wonderful or some huge and terrible prank.
The last sticky note and the top left of the windshield was simply the standard yellow and black, and it read : Turn around.
He felt his throat dry out and his heart halt its previous erratic beating. He nearly tripped in his haste to spin around, one hand catching him on the hood of the car, the other clutching fervently at a few sticky notes in his hand.
Miranda was a few feet away, still in her pajama pants, holding a cardstock sign between her hands. It was sloppy, and tacky, decorated with glitter and streamers, block letters taking up most of it said: I miss you.
Hobbes took a few steps towards her, a new body coming into view several feet away from her. It was Robbie, also holding up a sign. His was s lot less frilly than Miranda's, in blue and green with simply inked on words of: I'm sorry
With a few more steps he saw Susie, her smile wide and her sign looking perfect: Please forgive me.
Hobbes felt like he couldn't breathe, his body burned with the anticipation of what a few more steps would bring him. He moved slowly, afraid that if he went to quickly this would all disappear. But with a couple of unsteady steps the world stopped spinning and there he was. Blonde and blue eyed and even more beautiful then when Hobbes had left.
Calvin kept his hands in his pockets, mindful of his feet so they stayed clear of the carefully wrapped package he had set on the ground. Hobbes stood a few paces from him, his face flushed and his eyes wide. He appeared just as pale as ever, but his hair hung almost to his shoulders and the orange that had once decorated the tips were all but gone and there was a new ring placed around his eyebrow, but other than that he looked the same. Still Hobbes.
"Hey," Calvin said, a little uneasily while Hobbes continued to do nothing but stare. "Happy Birthday," he went on, moving his fingers nervously inside his pockets. "I wanted to...well I thought I should come, I..."
"Calvin?" Hobbes finally asked, his voice weighed heavy with disbelief.
"Yes, that's me."
Hobbes appeared to be struggling with understanding what was going and deciding what he should say, letting another weighty pause precede his less than articulate words. "Why...what are you doing here? What is all this?"
"My apology, and your birthday gift." Calvin bent over quickly, snatching up the package and holding it out to Hobbes. Still dumbstruck Hobbes took the present and began to open it slowly and cautiously, still unable to believe that this wasn't something he was dreaming. "I wanted you to be the first to read it, before I send it off to some publishing houses."
Hobbes held the manuscript tightly in his hands, his eyes glued to the front page, " 'The Many Misadventures of Calvin and Hobbes'?"
"It's about this little boy and his stuffed tiger that comes to life when no one else is around. They're best friends and they do all these crazy things...and its for kids but I...Well, it only happened because of you."
Hobbes looked up for a moment, looked down once more and then back up. "By Bill Watterson?"
"I wanted to use a pen name," Calvin explained. "Bill for you, Watterson for me. The books half yours anyway. It wouldn't have happened without you. It's for you," he confessed. "It's all for you."
"I'll never be able to tell you how sorry I am, for everything I did and said and for how I treated you. And I don't deserve to be forgiven, and if you don't want to see me or hear from me again I'll leave and burn the book and never bother you again. But I love you, and I know that doesn't change anything but–"
"Say that again," Hobbes interrupted.
"You just said you loved me," Hobbes breathed, "and I need to make sure I didn't make it up in my head, so I need you to say it again."
"I love you," Calvin repeated softly. "I was an ass and I pushed you away because I couldn't process what I was feeling, but I love you. I love you, and I would never believe that you still feel the same but I had to come here and tell you."
"You love me."
"I do," Calvin assured, "very much. More than anything I–"
And incomplete disregard for the gift, though he would apologize for it later, Hobbes dropped it to ground and launched himself so fully and completely onto Calvin it looked as though they would never be separated.
"I love you Calvin," Hobbes let out in a rush, his fingers fumbling through the blonde hair and brushing every surface of his face he could reach. "I love you I love you I love..." And fighting all thoughts and urges to cry he let his mouth fall onto Calvin's with such relief and desperation that it was impossible for him to imagine kissing anyone else and feeling the way he did at that moment.
Calvin clung to him, fingers digging into the warm folds of the wife beater trying to pull himself closer, the smell of Hobbes filling his senses with all the things he had been missing for months. All the misery he had felt began to ebb away while Hobbes held him securely in his arms.
"I love you too," Calvin gasped, pulling away and burring his face in the curve of Hobbes neck. "I love you so much."
"I'll never let you go," Hobbes promised, kissing his sweetly on his forehead and nose and cheeks. "Never, now that I have you can't. I love you too much, Calvin."
"You won't have to. Okay, I promise."
Hobbes pressed their foreheads together, brushing his nose gently against Calvin's.
He could hear his heart thudding heavily and irresistibly warm in his chest and he reveled in the feel of Calvin's flesh finally under his hungry fingertips.
This was undoubtably, the greatest birthday of his entire life.
So Thank you again for being with me through this whole thing! It was an experience and I never expected for it to take this long as it did, but I'm very glad I finished. And I actually feel pretty good about it.
And ummm, if anyone wants a sequel let me know. With enough want for one and a holiday break coming up fairly soon, it could be a possibility.
Love, forever and always,