Xion the Author: I blame Rudy for why Buck won't be in Ice Age 4. Buck would've been an AWESOME pirate. He just HAD to go back for Rudy – who also HAD to be alive. So, obviously, I had to include Rudy, seeing as how much of an impact he seemingly is in Buck's return to Dinoland. And finally, after the long dialogue-less chapter, we have a dialogue-full ending. If you've been keeping up for the entire one and a half year, thank you. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I had enjoyed writing it.
"Andrew, huh?" said Amelia, who rode behind Buck on the four-legged mammal. "Reminds me of your pet caterpillar." Amelia giggled at the reminiscent thought, finding humor in Buck's childish attachment to an insect. Buck shamefully blushed, hiding his face by not turning back.
"Hey now! I was just a lil' boy back then." Buck said, pleading her to stop laughing.
"I'm sorry," she chortled, "It's just funny when you think about it."
"Why did I even bother naming him with a stupid name…" Buck muttered. Andrews, capable of understanding their words though not able to speak them himself, uttered a low grunt, signifying his dissatisfaction at the comment.
"Buck," Amelia scolded, "You should be more sensitive with what you say about your pets."
"Wha- It's not mai fault you started talking about some'in' so stupid." Buck retorted.
"Geez, we probably won't even be having this situation if just flew out of here on Roger," Amelia said. "Funny thing why he would just leave like that."
Buck knew the answer why. After putting them down, Andrew came rushing in, panting like a dog. For a moment, Buck was worried as he approached Amelia. But after a quick sniff, the Andrewsarchus was completely complacent with her. A gentle lick with his slightly slobbery tongue even won her heart. Then Buck mentioned if Roger had kids now.
That was when he left.
"He's just a little shy around company, that's all," Buck lied. He took a look around thinking of a way to change the conversation. "Are we really going the right way?"
"As much as I could go for. You ruined my map after all."
"Not laike the'ah was 'much' in it," Buck replied.
Amelia pouted. "That map was the only thing I could virtually spend time on without having that psycho-relic after me. It took a lot of work with hiding and looking for writing materials and gathering-"
"Raight, raight. I get the idea," the male weasel cut in. So this is what talking with women was like. Kinda missed talking with trees…
"I said we might go the wrong way," she said, "We haven't run into any flesh-eating insects or anything, haven't we?"
"Flesh-eating insects, giant flying reptiles… this place is weird," he commented.
"At least we don't have to walk," Amelia mentioned. "You look like you'd fall off any moment know."
And it was true. Buck had leaf-fashioned bandages on nearly every limb. He was lucky he didn't have broken any bone.
"Oh come on, I'll be faine!" Buck boasted. "I've had worse."
Then, all of a sudden, arms crept around Buck's waist, holding him tightly. "Buck…" she called out. "I… don't like seeing you hurt."
Buck let out a breath. It was better off he said nothing but enjoy the warmth of her hug. The silence and his smile was all that was needed for an answer of reassurance. He placed a hand over her arms, responding simply by touch.
Then finally, they reached the giant mountain wall that separated the Lower part of Dinoland from the higher part. They went to a stop right in front of it. As soon as they stopped, it was time for them to get down from the Andrew. But Amelia kept her arms around him for as long as she could. It was a moments before she finally let go.
Buck went to inspect the tall mound of earth. He scanned around for a way to get all three of them – including Andrew – higher up. "I don't suppose we could all climb up by ourselves…"
"Buck!" Amelia shouted. "Over here!"
He turned around to see her pointing at trees not too far off. As he walked to it, he could see thick vines draping all over its branches. Amelia tapped his shoulder and handed him a piece of stone sharp enough to use as a shiv. With it, Buck started collecting vines, cutting them off from the tree and tying them together. Amelia helped out with tying while Andrew sat down watching them.
It didn't take long for them to tie together a very long rope fashioned out of the tough vines. Buck checked his hand to find it full of blisters. Holding a piece of jagged rock for cutting wasn't as comfortable as the knife he made from Rudy's tooth. He began to think how it wasn't even as sharp. If he were ever to settle down in this vast dino-populated wilderness, he'd better have the right tools.
Buck hoisted one end of the rope around his waist. He began to climb up the mountain wall, holding on to protruding edges to grip and hold. He carefully placed his feet down on footholds before making his way up any further. Halfway up, a loose rock slipped through and made him lose balance. Amelia and Andrew gasped worryingly, but not a moment too soon Buck managed to regain his composure.
"I maight be getting a little too old for this…" Buck muttered to himself.
The thought of him getting old reminded him of a certain man that felt like he was losing himself. He wondered how the old saber was doing, if he really found himself in the end. By the time he got to the top, he stared at the same yet more familiar scenery. He could say goodbye the same way Diego did and leave the life of adventure behind him. He envisioned himself as Diego for a moment, wondering what made him decide to leave adventure.
"Buck!" He heard someone call from below. "You okay there?"
Buck let out a short chortle. The answer was right next to him. He could give up the life of adventure for a more domestic kind – one that involved a wife, and maybe even kids.
After hoisting the rope to a strong nearby tree, threw the other end back down. Amelia picked it up after it landed on the ground and tied it to Andrew. She tugged at it, signaling him to start pulling. Buck pulled on the rope the same way he did with the pulley at the Chasm of Death. Thankfully, there weren't any laughing gas or technical difficulties involved this time.
The weasel heaved one last time to get Andrew on his feet. After untying his new friend, he handed the other end of the rope to his mouth. "Hold on to it a bit mate," he said as he grabbed one end of the rope as he jumped down the cliff. Buck let out a wild, joyous cry. He was falling, pumped up with as much adrenaline the entire mammal population had all together.
In a moment of panic, Andrew quickly went to pull the rope. Buck stopped right on his track, a few meters short from plummeting to his death.
"That's a shame," Buck chuckled.
Andrew calmed himself down before letting the rope slide through the space between his teeth inch by inch. Soon enough, Buck had landed safely on the ground.
"What was that about?" Amelia said in a strangely casual tone.
"Never know when I might ever get to have that kind of fun anymore," Buck grinned, tying up a nooseat the end to make a round foothold.
"Why not?" Amelia asked him.
Buck grabbed her by the waist and pulled her close to him, then tugged down the rope signaling Andrew to pull up. Amelia wrapped her arms around the masculine weasel, hugging him tightly. Their chests were close together, feeling each other's thumping heart beat.
"Because," he answered before pressing his lips towards hers. Andrew pulled them up, and the kiss went on even as they were in mid-air. Amelia felt like she was floating, holding on to Buck with nothing but a foothold. In that kiss, she understood exactly what he wanted to say.
He wanted to be with her, for the rest of his life. He was prepared to leave everything behind – all for her. The life of adventure, the adrenaline, the pumped up excitement; nothing could compare to what the two had found in a lost little world of their own.
Even as the rope rising came to halt, the kiss went on. Andrew skillfully tied the rope to the tree trunk. One seeing the two, he could only roll his eyes. He let out a loud bark so they could finally stop. Amelia giggled in embarrassment.
"So, what should we do?" Buck asked her.
To be honest, Amelia herself didn't know. As much as she was ready to spend the rest of her life with him, and how she spent years enough tired of the place, she admittedly had never grown to hate it. Sure, there was Drakon, but now that he was gone she could go wherever she wanted, and do whatever she liked.
But answering to questions like those would usually get interrupted. Amelia was about to tell him when they both heard a loud roar echoing from not far off. At the top of the tall tropical trees Buck saw a distinctive unmistakable grey part.
"Err… uh, Amelia c-could you just… wait he-ah foh a moment?" Buck muttered. "I-I gotta… do somethin' first. Be right back!" He quickly dashed off to the direction of the sound, grabbing the rest of the rope as he went off. Amelia watched him disappear into the jungle flora, but after waiting all her life it was inevitable that she no longer could.
Buckminster ran quickly through the vegetation, following the trail of fallen trees and giant footsteps. Soon the remaining trees could no longer hide vision of large grey scaly dinosaur. Despite Rudy could still swallow him whole, Buck found comfort at the different color of scales and the wingless back. With maybe one last epic stunt, he sneaked upwards to a tall tree shadowing behind him. He couldn't see what the beast was acting frantically about, but Buck had always been better off following instinct over intuition.
A moment before Rudy caught a whiff of his scent, Buck jumped into the air with a vivacious yell.
"Yeeeehaaaawww!" Rudy turned to see a tiny weasel silhouette from the bright lights of the ice ceiling. It took a moment too soon for him to realize that lasso had been thrown to his jaws. Surprised by the trappings, Rudy took a step back and tripped on a boulder dug halfway in the ground. A large dusty thud followed his inevitable fall.
As soon as the smoke cleared, you could see a weasel triumphantly clapping the dust off his hands. Rudy, the giant befallen beast, let out a shrill grunt. "Where have you gone?" his grunt translated.
"Sorry mate, I was a bit busy," Buckminster replied.
Rudy once again replied with a grunt, actually indicative with various tones.
"Eaten? Me? Nah, I'm too skinny. Not a dino crazy enough to eat me."
"Or any other weasel crazy enough to face dinosaurs a thousand times their size." Buck turned his head as he heard a familiar voice.
"Or any other mammal, for that matter," added a sabertooth tiger coming into view from the smoke.
The moment the smoke finally cleared out, Buck saw a wide variety of animals, strangely giving off a welcoming aura. "Wha- what are you all doing he-ah?" Buck bellowed both surprisingly, and joyfully. "Don't tell me you came to check up on me now did ya'?"
"Well seeing how things still are…" said Manny, indicating the tied-up dinosaur behind him.
"I don't think there's any reason too," continued Ellie, who went up and coiled her trunk around the weasel like a hug. "But we're glad to see you."
"Definitely. We would've been dino-lunch by now if he hadn't been here," Diego remarked.
Buck struggled a bit from the rather air-constricting "hug", but he couldn't help say what he truly feels, "I'm happy to see all of you too."
Diego turned around to see another sabretooth hiding in the bushes. "Still not used to seeing things that eat you, huh?"
"I've seen a lot of strange things, believe me. One for instance was being on a pirate ship. Another would be meeting your entire family. But even after all that, hearing about a story of you guys once venturing into a world full supposedly extinct dinosaurs – yeah, I still needed a bit more convincing."
The weasel turned his head to see a non-familiar face. "Well now, who do we have here?"
"Oh, um, this is Shira," Diego introduced. "She's my –um– we're… well I'm… uh…"
The female sabretooth giggled and finished for him. "You could say we're together." Diego tried to hide how much he was blushing by faking it, but try as he may he could never find a way to hide how red his cheeks and ears were.
"Good for you mate! Actually found a mate of your own now," Buck said. His flattering words didn't really help with Diego's blushing. "Name's Buck. Short for Buckminster, long for etcetera, etcetera."
Shira was quite flattered with the comment as well. "Nice to finally meet the real you. I hope you're not as crazy as everyone talked about you'd be."
"Oh they were probably just holding back with those stories," Buck said. "Try and make me sound more dignified and heroic."
"Well, we tried," Manny mentioned.
"Buck!" A voice called out from afar. "Buuuuuuck?" They all turned to the direction of the voice. Out from the woods, came another weasel, riding on an odd mammalian creature.
"There you are! The ground shook with a loud thud, so I came to check up on-"Amelia began to see the oddness of the scenery. A large dinosaur was lying on the ground, and Buck was with a pair of mammoths and sabertooth tigers. "So… anyone willing to explain things for me?"
"Aheh, you're probably not the only one wearing a face like that, dear," Shira commented.
Buck trotted towards her. "Amelia, I'd like you to meet the herd I was talking about," he said. "That's Manny, Ellie, Diego, and Shira," he said while pointing his finger to each one. "This is Rudy by the way," he slided in, pointing towards the grey gargantuan behind him.
"That dinosaur you said that took your eye?" Amelia asked. Rudy let out a growl, licking the rough scarred crevice at his upper lip.
"Yeah yeah, an eye for a tooth," Buck replied to Rudy. "By the way, I lost that knife. Any chance I could bother getting a new one from ya'?"
Rudy sounded off an intimidating growl. "Right, just a shot in the dark."
"You didn't tell me you spoke dinosaur," Amelia asked.
The weasel shrugged. "I thought I was just being insane at first when I started talking with them, but right now I'm as sane as I could possible get. Maybe after so long I just... kind of figured it out."
"So... you mind introducing her to us?" asked Diego.
"Ah, right. This is Amelia. We sort of just recently met here but she's an old friend of min- eh…" Amelia gave him a discontented look, clearly not satisfied with just that of an introduction. "She's my –um– we're… well I'm… uh…"
Amelia chortled as she went and hugged him. "You could say we're together," she cut in. Buck blushed profusely, considerately happy but still a bit embarrassed.
"Guess you two have more in common," said Ellie. "Apart from the occasional urge for adventure."
"Occasional?" Shira cut in.
A loud barking suddenly erupted from the scene, everyone turning their attention to it for a brief moment. "Oh, and this is Andrew."
"That your kid?" Manny asked. "You two seem to be moving awfully fast."
Buck snorted. "Not as fast as you two though, eh?" he quipped. "By the way, where is that supposedly grown up furball by now? And that sloth that smells like every dinosaur wiped their bums on the same tree, and those possum fellas that worship everything I do and say?"
"Exactly why we're here," Ellie answered. "They went off on some crazy adventure all thanks to Sid-"
"No thanks to your stories about Buck, encouraging her and all" Shira cut in.
"-and then Diego thought he found a shortcut-"
"I thought I found a shortcut," Diego cut in, emphasizing the word.
"-and we ended up here," Manny finished.
The weasel raised an eyebrow. "And you lot didn't bother going back the way you came?"
"There wasn't any time," Manny said. "Peaches could be anywhere by now, and we didn't have the time. We sort of gambled on the chance that you could help us again."
"Really, I don't know where she got all that courage from," Ellie remarked.
"You sure?" Buck asked. "Cause I once knew of a helpless pregnant mammoth that went and ventured into an abyss of peril and danger who might've taught her that."
"I wasn't completely helpless," Ellie said, getting his point.
"Anyways," Diego cut in, "we need you Buck. Could you help us out again?"
Buckminster made a pondering look. "I dunno… what's in it for me this time?" he asked.
"Buck," Amelia said in a scolding tone.
"I was joking!" Buck chortled. "Alright, alright, I'll help you out. I'm not sure how though. I don't have my knife anymore, and I don't think I was as fit as I was before."
"Never thought I'd hear that coming from you," Diego said. "Think of how the twins would react if they heard that."
Amelia walked up to the front. "Not to worry, I'm here," she commandeered.
"Wait – what?" everyone let out in a tone of disbelief.
She faced towards them with a confident voice. "I've been here just as long as you have Buck. All you guys need to do is follow a few simple rules and we'll be just fine."
"Like what?" Buck asked.
"Rule number 1!" she exclaimed. "Always. Listen. To Amelia."
Everyone else in the group looked at the other with suspicious faces.
"Rule number 2!" she continued, picking up a nearby stick and resting it on her shoulder. "Stay in the middle of the trail."
"And rule number 3!" Amelia said louder than the other two. "I'll just... leave that for now and we can make it up as we go along…"
"You're perfect for each other," Manny mentioned to Buck.
Buck watched a spirited Amelia walk of ahead of them. "Yeah, heh…" he said with a smile. "I guess we are."
"Come on! Chop chop!" Amelia called out for the rest to follow. Andrew walked up beside her. Buck took a few moments to digest the scene.
Buck was about to follow when another familiar voice rang out from behind.
"Sooo… what are we gonna do about this?" asked Rudy in the form of a dinosaurs grunt.
"Ahhhh you'll get yourself up in no time. No following us for now though. Go look and eat for some fish when you're up." Buck answered him. He was about to turn around until he realized he had one last thing to say.
"Goodbye snowflake. Might be the last we see each other, I don't know," Buck said as he set his eyes towards a certain weasel in the distance. "But I've got a new adventure now"
Rudy rolled his eyes with a disappointed grunt. "You used to be awesome"
"Hey now, I still am!" Buck said before running off to chase the others. As he left off, Buck thought that maybe settling down isn't the end to all his risky undertakings. But to him, the most important thing to him now was being with the one he wants to be with for the rest of life.
Life is full of twists, adventures, and upside-downs. The universe has a cruel sense of humor – always sneaking up out of nowhere for you to make a story to tell. You could go off finding adventure, or it could always end up finding you. It's inevitable. You're never fully prepared for it.
But when it comes, you just have to dig deep and take a leap of faith.