I heard a knock on the door to my room. In response, I sighed under my helmet before I sat up on my bed, clad in my power suit.
"Come in," I said, my voice echoing slightly. The door knob twisted before the door opened. Fox stepped in, slight smile on his face.
"Hey Samus," he greeted with a nervous edge to his voice. Despite the small smile on his face, I could tell he was somewhat tense. Even if he did manage to keep the nervousness out his voice, the way his tail moved in a slightly jerky motion, compared to smooth sways when he was calm, gave him away.
"Hi," I returned with a tone that was a little more emotionless than I intended. However, Fox didn't seem too fazed by it. He took a few more steps inside before closing the door behind him. He then took in deep breath, apparently to calm himself down a little.
"You wanted to speak with me?" he said, almost rhetorically. I stayed silent for a few moments, trying to find the best way to ask what was on my mind. I wanted to do so as smoothly as possible, with finesse. Thing was, vocal finesse wasn't exactly my strength. So took the usual route: the direct route.
"Do you like me?" I asked bluntly.
I guess I should rewind a little.
You see, for a while, I wasn't exactly the most sociable person at Smash Mansion. Sure, I had friends in Peach and Zelda, but very few beyond that. Maybe it was because I didn't really make an effort to really speak to anyone beyond the aforementioned two. Maybe because it was I spent all of my time around others in my power suit, keeping my face hidden from everybody (except for, again, Zelda and Peach). Whatever it was, the other people in the mansion tended to keep their distance. And I didn't want it any other way.
However, about a few months ago, that seemed to change for one person. Said person was Fox McCloud.
Fox McCloud was like me, not really associating with too many people. But, as I later found out, he was pushed to open up by his friend Falco. So, one day, while I was eating in the Lunch Hall, Fox came up to me and asked if he could sit with me. I looked up at him to see if he was joking. He wasn't. Not knowing how to react, the only I thing I could do was nod. So, he sat with me, introduced himself as if I didn't know who he was, and then started a totally one-sided conversation (which, in hindsight, was more my fault than his). This continued until I got up, said my goodbye, and left.
At the time I thought that would have been the end of it. But, over the weeks, Fox would continue to ask to sit with me. And, oddly, I kept on saying yes. Overtime, we started to develop a friendship, opening up little by little. Much to my surprise, we had quite a bit in common, right down to our childhood. We even teamed up in a few tournaments and held a friendly rivalry with each other. As a result of this, I started opening up to the other Smashers in the mansion, with varying results.
I know you're thinking. Yeah Samus, that's all and well, but what led to the whole "Do you like me?" situation?
Well, one day, I told Fox about what happened to this field of flowers that I helped these butterfly-like creatures cultivate (long story, but the field was burned to ashes). So, for my birthday, he had me out to the roof of the mansion to give me his gift.
His gift to me was my own personal field of flowers. It has many kinds of flowers, each of them group into their own little section. I was speechless. All I could do was just stand there, unsure of what to say. Fox merely turned to me and smiled before leaving me alone with my gift. For that whole week, I was all smiles.
And then that day happened.
I was walking back towards my room. Whenever I do go to my room, I usually pass Zelda's, and this trip wasn't any different. As I was nearing her room, I heard the voice of Zelda.
"Are you sure?" she said, her voiced muffled by the door and walls. She was obviously having a conversation with someone. I kept on walking until I heard another voice. This one belonged to Peach.
"Yes, I am sure," Peach said. "Fox likes Samus."
I stopped in my tracks, wondering to myself if I heard what I thought I heard.
"But, what makes you so sure?" Zelda asked, her tone showing disbelief. Coincidently, disbelief was the emotion going through my head.
"Well, Fox has been hanging out with her a lot, and he's always hanging on to her every word. Plus, did you see what Fox did for her birthday?"
"That doesn't mean Fox likes Samus… Not in that way, anyway. Maybe he cherishes his friendship with her."
Yeah, I thought to myself.
"True," Peach said. "But then I overheard him talking with Falco the other day."
Eavesdropping? Of course she would. At that moment, I had to restrain myself from barging into that door and putting my cannon into her face.
"You know you shouldn't be eavesdropping," Zelda said, also annoyed by Peach's antics. Though, looking back on it, I couldn't really be angry with Peach since I was eavesdropping as well.
"Anyway," Peach continued. "Fox told Falco to ask us if we knew what Samus likes to eat, because he wanted to take her once he gets back from the mission."
"Maybe he just wants to take her out for dinner," Zelda countered.
"What if I told you he said he wanted to ask her something in secret?"
I expected another counterpoint from Zelda. She merely stayed silent for a few moments. She then continued.
"I guess it's a possibility," Zelda conceded.
"Told you," Peach said, obviously feeling accomplished. "Though, I have to admit, I didn't expect it at all. Not a lot of people can look pass the metal exterior."
"If there's anyone here who could, it's Fox," Zelda said. "He is a great guy. Any girl would be lucky to have him."
I resumed my walk back to my room, that conversation playing over and over in my head.
Over the days, I kept on thinking about that conversation. Each day, I had a little debate with myself, trying to list the reasons why Fox would and wouldn't be interested in me. I knew he enjoyed my company. I knew that whenever I spoke with him, I can be certain that he'll be genuinely interested in what I had to say. I knew that we hung out a lot. Even more so than he does with Falco, and he's his best friend. But the one thing that kept me from believing that he was interested in me was the fact that, outside of my room, I never came out of my suit.
But you know what the funny thing was? I never really thought about whether or not I'd be interested him.
Now, let's fast forward, shall we?
"…What do you mean, Samus?" he asked, trying to feign ignorance. He may have pulled it off if that tail of his wasn't getting jerkier in its movements.
I was not amused.
"Don't make me ask you again," I said with an angry edge, twitching my cannon arm out of instinct, causing the normally unflappable Fox to take a step back. I wasn't really angry, however. I was just annoyed. I felt a little regret. Fox didn't expect this, and it wasn't really his fault that he was in predicament. I took in a deep breath before continuing in a calmer voice. "I just want to know."
"What made you want to ask me that?" he questioned, his eyes narrowing slightly. I paused for a few moments.
"I overheard Zelda and Peach talking. They said you wanted Falco to ask them what type of food I like so you could take me out to dinner." Fox nodded in understanding as he bowed his head.
"I see," he said with a hint of irritation. Through my visor, I could see the stripes above his eyes move towards the middle of his forehead as his brow became furrowed. I didn't know who he was annoyed at more: Peach and Zelda for talking about something that wasn't there business or me for eavesdropping on them talking about it. I felt a little guilty, but I wasn't deterred from finding out what I wanted to know.
"So, do you like me?"
He looked up at me, his eyes managing to make eye contact despite the fact he wasn't able to see them from where he was at. He stayed like that for a few more moments, making slightly uncomfortable. He then dropped his again before, sighing as he did so, before nodding his head.
Underneath my helmet, my mouth dropped, surprised by the answer. I just sat there, not knowing what to do or what to say. Fox pressed his lips together before turning away.
"I guess you want me to go," he said. Just as he touched the door knob, I spoke.
"Fox," I called out. He turned towards me. I then stood up. "Come here." Fox slowly made his way to me until stopping just two feet away. He bowed his, apparently finding the sight of his feet rather interesting at the moment. I still wasn't quite sure what to do. Yet, almost against my will, I stepped forward, shrinking the gap between us. I then brought the tip of my arm cannon up against the chin of Fox in a slow, gentle motion, getting him to look up at me and establish the closest we could get to eye contact. His brow was still furrowed, but it was from a mix of anticipation and confusion.
"Fox, I…" I paused slightly. I then took a deep breath before continuing. "Look, it's… It's that I don't know how to take to this. As a matter of fact, I'm having a hard time believing this. If it wasn't for the fact that I know you so well, I would have thought this was some type of cruel joke." At this, Fox's brow lowered, his visage showing more confusion than before.
"Why would it be so hard to believe?" Fox said, his voice matching his expression. Once again, I would have thought he was messing with me. But I knew Fox. He wasn't one to be so cruel.
"Fox… you say you like me. Do you know what you are telling me? You're telling me that you're interested in starting to if a relationship is possible with someone whose face you'll probably never see, whose skin you'll probably never touch. Do you really want to go for that?"
"Yes," Fox said simply. He then lifted his hands and gently grabbed the cannon underneath his chin. He gently lowered it, but kept his grip on it. His eyes never left mine. "Samus, you're an awesome person. You're tough, strong, and have nerves of steel. But under all that, you're nice and caring. With you, I can keep my guard down and go you to for anything. You're always there when I need it. Honestly, what more can I ask for? That's all the reason I need."
"Even if it means kissing metal?" I asked.
He didn't say anything. Instead, he moved forward, closing the distance between us. Before I could even ask what he was going to do, his face closed in on the side of my helmet. It wasn't until I heard an almost inaudible pop when I realized that he just kissed me on the side of my helmet. He pulled back a little, leaving inches between my face. Underneath my helmet, my jaw dropped and my faced heated up.
"Yes," he said in a whisper.
Before I knew it, my arms closed around him as I embraced him. While I couldn't feel it, I knew Fox was doing the same. I placed my forehead against him before whispering to him.
"Do you mind if we stay like this for a while?"
"Not at all," he whispered back.
I don't remember how long we stayed like that, but I couldn't fight the feeling that that moment was the start of something special.