So then, as promised, here is the winner by popular vote as to what story I should write next.
But I gotta level with ya, I am a bit... doubtful about this one. See, after thinking about the plot as I originally had it, I realized that there were some pretty hefty plot holes in it. This caused me to put it through a mental rewrite as it were, and... well, let's just say I'm not sure how well it'll work out. But, we shall see.
Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, don't own Calvin and Hobbes or Avatar, the last Airbender.
Sunlight simmered on Calvin's eyelids, attempting – and succeeding – to rouse the boy from his quiet sleep. Calvin blinked his eyes, glaring ruefully at the offensive ball of light in the sky. Warily, he stretched and yawned, slowly coming to full alertness.
Must've dosed off. Calvin thought to himself, numbly. As his senses were returning, Calvin glanced around himself, taking in his surroundings. He sat in a large, open field. Grass swayed gently in the breeze and birds could be heard singing in the distance. He glanced upward and gazed into the pastel pink canopy of the cherry tree he leaned against. The sight struck something in him. Wait a minute, weren't we just under a maple tree?
He senses had fully returned and were on full alert. He jumped to his feet and took a more acute survey of his surroundings. The trees that populated the landscape all looked quite foreign and alien – not the deciduous plants he was used to. And then there was the fact that there didn't seem to be any buildings around. He had just been walking down the street... hadn't he?... Yes, he had! And there had been houses on either side of him. Then a split second later he was standing in an empty field with plants that didn't look native; they looked, if he had to assign a region to them,... oriental.
Calvin grew more and more perplexed by the second. He scratched his head as he pondered this strange circumstance, running his fingers through his unruly blond hair.
He slowly walked around the tree, trying to piece together what had happened, when something at the base of the tree caught his eye – or rather, someone. A girl with short brown hair was curled up against the trunk of the tree, sound asleep. Her chest rose and fell in time with her soft breathing and a small smile spread over her face, as if she were enjoying a pleasant dream.
Calvin knew this girl – she was his classmate and neighbor. The sight of her brought some ease to his mind. If he had to go through this unfamiliar place, at least he wouldn't have to do it alone. (Even if his only company was Susie Derkins.)
"Hey Susie! Wake up!" he called to her. She made no response.
"C'mon Susie, up an' at 'em!" he tried again, gently nudging her shoulder. She sighed and rolled over onto her side.
Calvin was starting to get annoyed now. This time, he shook her shoulder vigorously. "On your feet, Derkins! That's enough beauty sleep for now!" Despite all that, the girl still remained inert as ever.
Deciding to give it one last go, Calvin leaned close to her ear. "WAKE UP!" he shouted. That did the trick.
Susie shot upright with a startled yelp; and like a reflex, her fist made contact with Calvin's nose. "... Calvin?" she said when her panic wore off. An irate grumble was the boy's only response. Susie looked in befuddlement at the stooped over boy, clutching his nose "... What are doing in my room?" she asked. But as she got a clear look at her surroundings, her outrage turned to confusion. "This... isn't my room."
"Ya don't say!" Calvin snarled in reply, still holding his nose.
"Calvin," Susie said as she rose to her feet. "... where are we?"
"Well, that's the million dollar question, isn't it?" Calvin curtly answered. When he was satisfied that his nose wasn't any worse for wear, he turned to face Susie. "C'mon. Let's see if we can figure out what this place is."
Susie started to follow, but something caught her attention. At first, she wasn't sure it was what she thought it was, but soon it came into full view and there could be no doubt. "Calvin, look out! There's a tiger!"
"A tiger? Where?" Calvin exclaimed, looking around in panic.
"It's right there – coming up behind you!"
He looked around. "Oh, hi Hobbes. Now where's this tiger you're so worried about?"
Susie was confounded. She looked at Calvin in utter bewilderment. "But,... it was – that is... How are you so calm with a tiger standing right next to you?"
Calvin looked at the tiger, who looked back at him. They then both turned back to Susie. "It's only Hobbes." Calvin said. "I don't know why you're making such a big deal out of it – you've seen him before."
Susie gave the boy a blank stare. "... I've seen a stuffed animal, Calvin! Hobbes isn't real! He's a toy! He's made of cloth and, and stuffing! This is a real, living, breathing tiger – with claws... and teeth!"
Both boy and tiger could only stare at her incredulously. "Boy, this ordeal must've really done a number on you." Calvin stated. "Look, he's till the same Hobbes he ever was. Tell 'er, Hobbes."
The tiger nodded; but when he opened his mouth, all that came out was a low, moaning sound. Calvin was confused by this – but Hobbes, even more so. He tried again, but rather than speech, there came a rumbling growl. Hobbes hastily placed his paw over his mouth, looking around abashedly. Once more, he put his paw to his chest, inhaling deeply. Once more, a deep throated growl sounded. Hobbes clamped his jaws shut, cutting off the feral noise. His expression was one of astonishment and worry.
Calvin scratched his head, also wearing a concerned expression. "That's odd." he said. "Hobbes, try standing."
Susie turned a confused look his way. Wasn't the tiger already standing? But as she watched, the tiger – Hobbes – tried to raise his front legs off of the floor. They stayed in the air for a split second before falling back to the ground. He pushed himself off the ground again and again; but each time his front paws wound up back on the ground. With a frustrated groan, Hobbes couched down like someone doing a push-up; and using the added momentum, he sprung his arms into the air and at last he stood on his back legs alone! A look of pride and triumph graced his face – and quickly vanished as he fell flat on his back.
Calvin sighed, shaking his head slowly. "Well, come on." he said. "Better get going."
Hobbes looked at him, making an irritated sound.
"Yes, I know this must be frustrating for you." Calvin replied to the tiger. "But we do have more pressing issues at the moment. Like, where the heck we are and how're we getting home." So he started walking.
Hobbes made a frustrated noise, but pulled himself to his feet and followed after him.
Susie, not wanting to be left behind, quickly trotted after the two of them – though keeping a wary eye on the tiger.
The unusual trio kept on like this for some time. Though the scenery changed, the landscape remained the same – unfamiliar trees sprouted all around, while there was not so much as a single building, let alone a path, in sight.
After a good half hour or so of endless walking, the three of them came upon a sight that lifted their spirits, somewhat. "Look, some kind of road, or something!" Susie called, pointing.
"Saints be praised." Calvin mumbled.
"So... At lest we know there are people around." Susie said in a relieved voice.
"Or were." Calvin replied. "No telling if whoever made this road is still around."
"Right. But at least if we follow the road, it's likely to bring us somewhere."
"True. But for now, I think we could all use a rest." Calvin seated himself under the shade of a nearby tree. His companions, feeling no need to argue, followed suit.
"So,..." Susie mused. "This whole experience is pretty weird."
"You got that right." Calvin replied.
"I... don't suppose you've figured out where we are?"
"And how could I have figured that out, huh? There aren't exactly any signposts around."
"There's no need to get snippy." Susie hissed. "Besides, you're always claiming you're a genius – you could've examined the plants we've seen and extrapolated our location that way!"
"By looking at trees? I'm not a... what's it called, a bootanist."
"... You mean a botanist?"
"Maybe I meant 'bootanist'!"
"So you've suddenly turned Canadian, then?"
Calvin grumbled; the smug grin Hobbes shot him didn't help matters. "Whatever! Maybe if we retrace our steps, we can figure it out!"
"Sounds good." Susie agreed.
"Alright. So,... Hobbes and I were under the big maple tree, looking at bugs."
"Why were you looking at bugs?" Susie asked, a queasy look on her face.
"'Cause they were there!"
"Ugh, You and your hobbies."
"Anyway. Then you showed up,"
"Sounds about right."
"You came over and asked what we were doing,"
"I remember that."
"And then we woke up under a cherry tree."
Susie looked at him blankly. "Is that all you've got?"
"... That's... pretty much it."
"... I think we might be missing a few steps."
After a few more minutes, they were well rested and ready to go.
Calvin stared down the road in either direction. "Now then, I suppose the question is which direction do we head in." he stated.
"I think we should go this way." Susie said, pointing down the path.
"I say we go that way." Calvin responded, pointing the opposite direction.
Susie glared at him, irritably. "Did you say that just to contradict me?"
"'Course not!" he replied with a smarmy smirk. "This way is clearly the better choice – it looks much more... civilizationy."
Susie glared at him again. "Well, I still say this way looks better!"
"Alright, tell ya what!" Calvin arrogantly strode up to her. "I propose we settle this with a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Whoever wins, decides which way we go."
Susie looked the boy up and down, sizing him up. "Best two out of three?" she asked.
"If that makes you feel better about your chances of winning." he replied.
The two of them took their stances, readying for the confrontation. Calvin counted to three and his paper bested Susie's rock.
"That's one for me!" he crowed, victoriously.
They went a second time. Susie threw rock again, this time beating Calvin's scissors.
"And one for me." Susie said, with no small amount of smugness.
It was down to the wire. One more move would be the determining factor. Susie was betting that Calvin would go for rock this time – the one sign he hadn't used. So when the countdown was sounded she thrust out her paper; but she looked at Calvin who had both his hands, with three fingers extended each,connected together. The negative space between his fingers formed a sort of zig-zagging pattern.
"What is that supposed to be?" she asked, incredulously.
"Superman. You lose."
"You can't throw Superman!" an outraged Susie yelled.
"I just did." Calvin simply stated, turning and walking down his chosen pathway.
"That – that's cheating! I declare foul!"
"Declare it all you want – you can't argue with the facts. Neither paper, scissors or rocks could beat Superman."
Susie was absolutely seething at this point. "You two-timing, lawless snake in the – oh wait, wait a minute! What if the rock was kryptonite? That'd stop Superman!"
Calvin stopped in his tracks. "... That's... a good point. I hadn't really thought of that."
He turned to look at her. "But you didn't throw rock, now did you?" With one last infuriating smirk, he continued his way down the road.
Hobbes looked at Susie, giving her a sympathetic look. Then, with a shrug, he followed after the blond haired boy.
Susie begrudgingly went along with them, grumbling all the way. "Cheating little toad." she put her fingers together in a crude imitation f what Calvin had done. "... I don't see how this is supposed to be Superman, anyway."
They traveled along for another ten minutes or so when the road turned in a sharp corner. And what they saw when they turned the corner was a welcome sight to them all. "Oh thank goodness, people!" Calvin shouted.
Indeed, there was a large group of men were coming up the pathway. They stopped and stared as the three of them appeared along the path.
"Boy, are we glad to see you guys!" Calvin cried, running up to them. "We seem to've gotten lost and we don't know where we are! Could you give us directions?"
None of the men made any response. They only looked at them with expressions varying between disbelief, surprise, suspicion and a few could even be described as contempt. Now that they were up close to them, Susie was a bit disconcerted by their presence. They all wore dark red armor and helmets; and many of them were carrying spears. All of them had the looks of men you didn't want to mess around with.
Calvin watched them a bit, his confidence wavering; it seemed the unease of the situation was getting to him as well. "So uh,... about those directions... anybody?... No?..." Still, no one made a move.
"Er,... do you guys speak English?" he asked. There was no answer.
"Uh,... S, se, ¿se hablas Español?"
"... Parlez-vous Français?"
"... Sprechen sie Deutsch?"
Finally, the lead man – a tall, harsh featured man with a sharp, black beard and a no-nonsense face – stepped forward. He barked at the three of them a quick succession of words that demanded a response.
Problem was, neither children nor tiger understood a lick of it.
"This could prove problematic." Calvin mused.
"That sounded like Japanese." Susie said.
"What makes you so sure?" Calvin asked.
"There's a Japanese man who works at my dad's office. Sometimes he and his wife ask me to watch their labradoodle."
"Oh great! Can you talk to him, then?"
Susie looked up at the man who glared back down at her like a hawk eying a mouse. "... I could tell him he's a good dog, but I don't think he'll take it very well."
The angry man stepped forward, right in front of Calvin. He shouted more harsh words at the boy, giving him the evil eye all the while.
Feeling the need to say something, Calvin looked up at the man. "Uh... Dōmo?"
"... Dōmo?" the man repeated with a sound of confusion.
"DŌMO?" Susie shouted, shrilly. She turned Calvin to face her."Some angry, scary looking man with armor and weapons and an army behind him shouts in your face, and you THANK him for it?"
"Well, excuse me if my Japanese vocabulary is a bit LACKING!" Calvin snapped back at her.
"Surly you know some words that'd be more appropriate than that!"
"Well, couldn't YOU have learned some more useful words while you were dogsitting?"
"Well, I never expected I'd have to explain myself to some irate SHOGUN!"
Behind them, the man barked some orders to the soldiers behind him, gesturing to the children. Some men in front of the group started moving toward them.
Calvin twirled around, putting his hands up in a placating gesture. "No, no,... uuh... Ko, kon'nichiwa. Uh,... Go, Godzilla... Yyyamaha, d'eh, gen-ki wasabi miso... sumo.... Ohayou ryu... Nin, Nintendo... Ah,... Suburu... ninjitsu dai katana... Doko, Hayao Miyazaki Mikado!"
"Mikado?" the man's eyes rose to his helmet as he gawked at him.
The man turned around and began addressing the assembled troops.
Calvin leaned over to Susie, his hand covering his mouth conspiratorially. "I think they bought it." he said.
A few short minutes later, the children had their hands bound and were being marched forward in the midst of the soldiers.
"Y'know, maybe we should've taken your way, after all." Calvin said to a very tart looking Susie.
Her only response was to kick him.