When Ness came to, he had the worst headache. It was one of those throbbing pains where he could hear his own heartbeat pounding in his skull. He tried to remember his current situation, but it only made the pain worse.
He rolled around, trying to find a comfortable position. In doing so, he realized that he was lying on very soft linens. His pillow was extremely soft too. There was a quiet beeping sound in the background. He wasn't home. He moved one hand lazily to his head and confirmed that his hat was gone.
Finally, with the little energy he still had, he opened his eyelids just a sliver.
Staring back at him was a blinding white light. Then, the ceiling came into focus.
Ness sat up slowly, propping his back against the pillow. The beeping sound turned out to his pulse, which was displayed on a monitor hooked up to a device clamped around his index finger. He was wearing only a hospital gown, and none of his possessions could be seen, which worried him.
"Ah, you're awake!"
Ness jumped. The voice came from a blue-haired, half-bald man.
"It's great to finally have a patient. Not many adventurers out there, you see."
"W-where am I exactly, doctor?"
"You are at the Onett hospital. Also, I'm a healer, not a doctor."
What the hell is the difference? Ness rubbed his temples. His head still hurt.
The blue-haired healer fumbled around in his pockets before taking out some cash. He handed it to Ness, who counted $50.
"For your troubles," the healer said.
Ness stared confusedly at the $50. Normally, you lose money when using hospital services, healers and whatnot. The only time they gave you money was when…
"Mushrooms," Ness said suddenly.
"That's quite right. Little Lucas had quite a difficult time carrying you here. Almost passed out himself."
"Best you get some sleep now. I'll have some soup ready when you wake up again. Hee hee." And he shuffled away.
Ness tried to remember what had happened. There was a cave, and a present…
My head hurts…
Tired and confused, he gave up trying to think and plopped down on the pillow, letting his heavy eyelids bring him to sleep.
Ness woke up again to the tinkle of cutlery on china. His head was a lot clearer now, but his recent memories just as blank.
"Molokheiya soup?" It was the blue-haired healer again.
"Thanks." Ness was starving, and drank it all in one go, without the spoon. When he finished, he set it aside and looked at the healer anticipatingly.
The healer glanced around. "Well what?"
"What happened? Where's Lucas? I don't remember a damn thing!"
Ness also noticed it was dark outside. "Heck, what time is it?"
The healer smiled. "It is…" he pulled out a pocket-watch. "2:45 AM. Which isn't much of a surprise, of course. According to Lucas, you've been out since earlier this afternoon."
Since this afternoon… What was I doing?
"And what about Lucas?"
"He arrived at around 6, carrying you on his back."
Ness found that image slightly embarrassing and reddened a little. The healer didn't notice.
"He said you two were on a little adventure and there was a bit of a mishap. That's all he told me. He went home afterwards."
"Oh," Ness said, slightly relieved. So we went cave-exploring and I got mushroomized. That's all. Ness recalled wanting to go on an adventure yesterday morning. His thoughts were finally coming together, although there were still gaps in his memory.
"I'm a healer."
"Well, Mr. Healer, I feel fine now. Thanks for everything." He ripped the device around his finger off, slipped out of the bed and looked around.
"Wouldn't you prefer to stay the night?"
"Not really. Where's my stuff?"
The healer frowned. "All right, suit yourself. Your things are on your left, bottom drawer," the healer said. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some fungal business to attend to." He began hobbling away.
Ness took out his belongings and changed, which he noticed were still foul-smelling: a damp, mouldy smell. Yuck, he thought. The odour brought his mind back a couple of hours, to the cave.
There was a pitfall. He thought. And then…
"Oh, and Ness?" It was the healer, from outside the ward.
"Yessir?" Ness called back.
"A few words of advice - be careful about mushroomization. They tend to bring out strange sides in people…"
"What? What does that mean?"
But the healer was already gone.
It was almost three in the morning when Ness began to make his way home. It was a warm night, and the stars above Onett helped him see. North of the town, he ran into a coil snake which he carelessly hit aside with his baseball bat.
To his annoyance, the Coil snake didn't die. It lay there squirming around on the roadside. Ness reached for his pockets, planning to end its misery with a quick zip of his yo-yo.
Only his yo-yo wasn't there. Slightly panicked, Ness began feeling around his pockets - he rummaged through his bag - nothing.
Crap. Out of frustration, he hit the dying coil snake with a critical "SMAAAASH!" from his bat and ran back to the hospital.
The hospital was dark and asleep, and the blue-haired healer was nowhere to be found. Ness found his way to the ward where he came from. The lights were still on and the bed was unmade. The double-checked everywhere: under the bed, on the floor, in every drawer of the cabinet.
Completely beat, he came to the conclusion that he probably dropped his yo-yo in the cave. Ness knew where the cave was, but there was only one person who remembered where they'd gone within it.
Lucas' house was a humble little cabin on the outskirts of Onett, where he lived by himself. Ness paused at the door and considered waiting until the sun rose, but his anxiety took precedence over his manners.
Knock knock knock.
Knock knock knock.
Ness paused to see if there were any sounds coming from within the house. Still, nothing.
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KN-
The door flung open. Standing in the frame was Lucas. He was in blue striped pyjamas and his hair was a mess of gold on top of his head. He was shivering slightly and his eyes were still half-closed.
"Who on earth-" Lucas started.
"Good morning," Ness waved back.
"Heaven's sake, it's like three in the morning…"
"Sorry," Ness said, "but I need your help. I think I-"
"You stink. You smell bad." Lucas put a hand over his mouth and nose to clarify.
Ness looked down at his clothes. "Oh. Sorry about that…"
Lucas opened the door wider and turned on a lamp, lighting up the cabin. Ness let himself inside.
"Want anything to drink?" Lucas asked.
"Just water, thanks."
Lucas set down a mug of water for Ness and a glass of milk for himself. Then, he seated himself adjacent to Ness. Without taking his eyes off of him, Lucas drained his mug and set it down.
Something's not right… Ness thought. Lucas was wearing a very strange expression. Even as his best friend, Ness couldn't guess if he was being anxious, angry, displeased or just plain tired.
"Sorry about coming over this early…"
Lucas kept staring at him. I should have waited until morning, Ness thought.
"It's just that something's been bothering me."
"Like what?" Lucas said stiffly.
"I lost my yo-yo. I think I dropped it in the cave."
A wave of relief washed over Lucas' face. His whole body seemed to relax, and a small smile crossed his face.
"Oh, wait right here."
"You have it?"
Lucas didn't answer. He trotted upstairs, leaving Ness by himself.
Ness took this opportunity to drink some water and take a look around Lucas' cabin. There wasn't much furniture, and everything was kept neat and tidy. So much cleaner than my house… Ness thought.
Lucas returned a minute or so later with a circular object in his hands.
"You dropped it after taking a pitfall."
Ness took the yo-yo and let out a breath. He turned it over in his hand, confirming that it was his own signature yo-yo. "Well, I owe you one. If you ever need anything, just tell me. Anything at all." Ness grinned sheepishly.
"Nah, it's okay, really. Anyone would've picked it up for you,"
"What happened down there, anyways?"
The question made Lucas nervous again, which Ness noticed instantly.
Lucas is such a terrible liar. For a moment, Ness considered letting it go and returning home with his yo-yo, but his curiosity got the better of him. Also, it was fun to tease Lucas.
"Oh…" Ness was not convinced. He stared intently into Lucas' eyes, which averted their gaze.
Ness put down the yo-yo, got up from his chair and walked towards Lucas, who sprung up from his own chair and started stepping backwards slowly.
"Nothing happened, ok?" Lucas said, less bravely than he'd hoped.
Ness ignored the claim and cornered Lucas against a wall.
You can't hide your thoughts from me.
Lucas raised his arms in a sort of half-defensive, half-offensive position but Ness pushed them aside. With their faces now inches from each other, Ness whispered, "PK Telepath-"
He didn't get to finish calling upon his PSI because at that moment Lucas leaned forward and placed his lips Ness'.
Neither of them knew how to do. After around two seconds, or maybe two minutes, Ness pushed Lucas away and wiped his mouth on his sleeve.
"What did you do that for? Gross!"
Lucas was flustered. "I, I just-"
Ness gave Lucas a weird look, and without another word, made for the door.
"Y-you liked it when we were in the cave," Lucas croaked.
Now it was Ness' turn to turn red.
"Liar," he replied automatically.
"You did. You were all over me, kissing me. You said I was ad-dorable." Lucas had his fists curled up slightly, with an angry pout on his face.
There's no way I would've done that,Ness thought to himself. But as he thought about it, memories flooded back into his brain. There was a pitfall. He was surrounded by enemies. He fought them off best as he could, but there were too many. There was a Ramblin' Mushroom…
Ness didn't respond. He put one hand on the cabin door, and then stopped.
I forgot my yo-yo.
He turned around and spotted the yo-yo, still sitting on the kitchen table. Lucas looked down and spotted it too. They stared at each other for a second, and then Lucas made a lunge for it. Ness did too, but it was no use. Lucas got there first.
"Gimme back my yo-yo!"
Ness tried reaching his arms around Lucas, who turned his back against him and held it tightly with both hands near his chest.
Ness grabbed Lucas' hands, trying to peel the smaller hands off the yo-yo, but Lucas had a deathly grip on it.
They fell onto the floor and Ness continued his attempt to wrestle the yo-yo out of Lucas' hands, but his efforts were useless. The yo-yo stayed tightly clasped in Lucas' palms.
After a minute of struggling, Ness finally let go. He slid away from Lucas and put his back against a nearby bookcase, while Lucas kept his grip. They were both panting.
"I… I found the stupid yo-yo for you," Lucas began, "and I carried you all the way from the bottom of a cave, all because of your stupid adventures." He sounded close to tears.
Ness opened his mouth, but he couldn't find the right words.
Lucas let go of the yo-yo and rolled it on the floor over to where Ness was sitting. He stood up. "I'm gonna go back to sleep. Next time, wait 'till sunrise before you come banging at my door."
Ness took the yo-yo. It was still a bit greasy from Lucas' hands. He looked up to see Lucas headed for the stairs.
Ness rubbed his temples. He had gone from worried to relieved, disgusted, angry, and now guilty - all in the course of one night.
What am I doing, he thought.
Ness put the yo-yo aside, walked up behind Lucas and grabbed him by the wrist. He spun the yellow-haired boy around and they met face-to-face. Lucas' eyes were wet and puffy; Ness' were wide with determination.
"…I said I'd owe you anything," Ness began. "For the yo-yo. Anything you want."
"Forget it… you don't even wanna…"
He struggled to loosen himself.
Ness paused for a moment and surveyed Lucas' face intently. Well, other than the fact that he's a boy, he is pretty cute…
With that thought, Ness put one arm around Lucas' waist and pulled him close, planting his lips squarely on Lucas'. They held that position for a long moment, and then Ness decided to be more aggressive, forcing Lucas against a wall and kissing his cheeks, his cheekbone, and neck. They slid from the wall to the floor, Ness on top of Lucas, who was now smiling.
After a few more tender kisses, Lucas pushed Ness away and let out a wide yawn.
"Good enough?" Ness asked.
"I'm tired," said Lucas, rubbing his eyes. His eyelids were becoming heavy with exhaustion. Outside the window, a pale blue glow could be seen coming from the horizon. "And you still smell bad," he added, cuddling up beside Ness on the kitchen floor.
Ness wanted to say something, but he decided that he was also tired. He closed his eyes and slept face-to-face with Lucas, who was already fast asleep.
The following weekend, Lucas and Ness decided to revisit the cave. After getting lost several times, they managed to re-trace the steps of their original adventure. With the pitfall already collapsed, the two of them easily hopped over the hole that it left. On the other side was the present: still white, perfectly square, with the usual red ribbons tied into a bow on top.
"Well, I'll let you open it," Ness said.
"Huh? But you really wanted-"
"Go on," Ness insisted.
"Alright…" Lucas kneeled down in front of the present and untied the bow.
Well, they say anything can come out of a present box. A ghost can burp in your face. Some people have found fireworks. Others have found entire hot springs inside of presents. For Lucas, it was a face full of Ramblin' spores.
Lucas let out a few coughs and wheezes.
A/N: Who would've thought that I'd actually update... Well, hope you enjoyed part two of this TWOSHOT. Reviews are welcome.