It's been a while since I've last looked at this. I've been busy with getting into a new school, etc. I'll probably go back and edit everything, try and make sure the plot makes sense...but until then, enjoy. Thanks for the follows and reviews!
"Can you say tomato?"
Fumu leaned closer to Kirby, showing him a flash card with a picture of a tomato on it. She sounded out each syllable of the word as if she were talking to a baby.
But, to be fair, she technically was.
"T-t…tom…toe?" Kirby's face was screwed up in absolute concentration, his mouth pulled up at an unnatural angle as he struggled to sound out the word, and the area where, (had he possessed one), his nose should've been, was scrunched up as if he smelt something rotten. Fumu stifled a laugh.
"Almost. Try again," she instructed, smiling.
"Mah-to?" The little pink puffball questioned, looking up to his teacher with a confused expression.
Kirby's language still consisted mainly of 'poyos', small, monosyllabic words like his favorite foods or activities, and even some names at times. Fumu's teaching hadn't helped much, but she was persistent. Maybe a little overbearing.
"To-ma-to." She repeated.
"Yeah, that's it! Now say may."
"Good! Altogether now!"
Fumu's face fell. She held back slapping her forehead as the little puff happily danced around her, chanting his favorite word.
"Alright, fine. That's enough of that today. You did…good." Fumu said, packing away the flash cards. She couldn't help but frown a little as she watched him waddle around, each 'poyo' some strange variation of an attempt at 'tomato'. It almost seemed spiteful.
"Poyato, pomayo, poyoto!"
"Still not taking to speaking, huh?" the sound of Bun's voice startled both Fumu and Kirby; they swung around from their seated positions to see him leaning against the doorway with a two lollipops in his hand.
"Popyopop!" Kirby squealed at the sight of sugar; Fumu had to hold him back from lunging at her brother.
"Calm down Kirby; you know one of them's for you." Bun held out a lollipop towards Kirby, who grabbed it immediately and shoved it into his mouth. Bun stuck the other one in his own, ignoring Fumu's pout when she noticed she had been left out.
"How long have you been at it, sis?"
"About four months, I think." Fumu said, giving a tired sigh as she rubbed her chin thoughtfully.
It was a gesture that was becoming more and more common for Fumu. Between watching over her own brother and his idiot friends, worrying about Kirby learning to speak was practically giving her grey hairs.
Bun shrugged and leaned towards his sister.
"What're you so stressed about?"
"I'm not stressed!" she retorted back, pulling away from Bun.
"Well you sure seem like it." He mumbled.
"I'm sorry, I've just been pretty tired lately. I haven't slept too well." Fumu sighed, yet again. Once she started, she couldn't help but yawn. "It's been three nights in a row."
"Why!? It's not that stupid book you've been going on and on about, is it?" Bun pointed behind Fumu to a giant, green tome sitting on the chair besides her.
"No, no; I gave up on that," she visibly shuddered, "It gives me nightmares."
"What's it even about, anyways?" Bun asked, taking a seat next to Kirby, who was still in ecstasy over his lollipop.
"Ugh, I've only told you ten thousand times!"
"Well tell me again, and without using big words."
"Fine. It's called 'The Complete History and Impact of Metaphysical-"
"I said no big words!"
"It's about Star Warriors and all the legends and history surrounding them, from prehistory up till modern times."
"Why do you wanna know about them?" Bun asked, cocking his head.
"Well I've been researching the GSA, and trying to find out more about Meta Knight. Like why he works for Dedede, or why he knows so much about Kirby. Mom and Dad always talk about him being pretty high up in the Armada, so why not start there. That's all we really know about him anyways." Fumu began flipping through the first few pages of the tome absentmindedly. "Every article, book, or diary I've read has sort of lead me back to the same thing: Star Warriors."
She (and to a much lesser extent, Bun, Lolol, and Lalala as well) had taken a great interest in Meta Knight's background ever since Kirby first appeared. She'd seen him around the castle, but never thought much of him. The baby Star Warrior's fondness of Fumu and Bun brought them into contact with Meta Knight quite often.
"What do they have to do with the GSA?"
"Don't you pay attention to anything going on around you bun? The GSA used to be entirely made up of Star Warriors. There were hundreds of thousands of them. Most were killed off when the Holy Nightmare Empire started to forcefully take over surrounding nations. Nowadays, the GSA is just made up of normal people, supposedly."
Bun looked mildly taken aback at this, though it was hard to tell with his bangs hanging over his eyes.
"Wait, that happened? Really?"
"Yes! I know you don't pay attention in school, Bun, but," Fumu just rolled her eyes. "Of course, back then they weren't called the Global Soldier Armada, they were just a united group of warriors with the common cause of upholding justice."
"Alright…why does that matter?"
"Um, well, it doesn't really. I got kind of engrossed with the history of Star Warriors; they're really interesting!"
"UURP!" Fumu and Bun both turned their heads towards Kirby, who sat in between them, staring back with vacant eyes.
Fumu gave him a look of disgust.
"Excuse you, Kirby!"
Bun, quirking an eyebrow, stared back at Kirby with interest, as if he hadn't even heard him burp.
"So, are they all gone?" he asked, still keeping his hair-covered eyes fixed on his the pink puffball.
"Well, according to what I've read, yes. Kirby may be the very last Star Warrior."
Bun cringed, not out of sympathy, but out of fear.
"So he's supposed to be our only hope?" Kirby looked up towards Bun at this, frowning slightly at the obvious doubt and discomfort on his friend's face.
"Let's not put that sort of pressure on him just yet, I'm sure the GSA is doing just fine holding off the Holy Nightmare Empire. That's what daddy says." Fumu gave a humorless chuckle, turning to give Kirby a reassuring smile.
Despite being young…innocent, naïve…and really, easily distracted, Kirby understood what Bun and Fumu were saying. He usually always did, except when Fumu rambled or screamed, which happened a lot, or when he smelt something tasty. Or saw a cool bug. While speaking was a bit out of his capability, listening wasn't.
He didn't like the look Bun had given him, nor Fumu's dismissive smile.
"Poyo!" Kirby muttered, turning away from both children to finish off his lollipop in solitude. He knew what Star Warriors were. Meta Knight had told him. And he knew he was one. The last? Even so, he was a Star Warrior. And he liked it.
He knew how to fight, how to inhale, how to fly on his Warp Star, and above all, he knew that he could 'save the day', just like everyone had always told him he was destined to.
He also knew he was just a baby, and that he had a lot of training and learning and garbage to go through before he could be considered a legitimate Star Warrior, but he didn't care.
The lack of confidence displayed by his friends is what bothered him.
Kirby plopped down and continued to slobber on his lollipop. It was a struggle not to swallow it outright.
"Aw Kirby, don't worry! You won't have to do anything you don't want to. Not for a long time, anyways." Fumu said, patting Kirby on the back as he faced away from her.
Kirby said nothing. All he could say was 'poyo' or 'suika' and sometimes 'Fumu', and none of those words meant what he wanted Fumu to hear. He pouted in frustration at the thought, his simple mind reeling through a poorly drawn picture of himself with a giant shield and a giant sword, standing in front of a cowering Fumu and Bun, all the while fighting off some sort of dragon-lion-serpent-all-evil-encompassing monster.
Fumu looked to her brother with concern, unsure of what had upset Kirby so suddenly. Bun shrugged, and turned to head back inside.
Fumu went to grab her book, and left without another word.
Parm and Memu Ebraum sat across from one another, neither speaking and eyes fixed on a plate of food in front of them. Only the sound of silverware clatter could be heard. Parm occasionally looked down to his lap where some important papers sat, scanning over them as he ate his dinner.
"Mom?" Fumu's shrill voice cut the silence with a suddenness that startled both husband and wife.
Gathering herself, Memu looked up from her meal.
"Yes darling?" she answered.
"I'm going to take Kirby home. Bun went off to play with Iro and I have to get to the library before it closes so I can renew my book!" Fumu ran in, towing Kirby along with a backpack stuffed with her oversized book on Star Warriors.
"Yes dear, be home soon." Memu answered. She watched as Kirby and Fumu left the room, and with hesitation, back to her husband.
"Hmm?" he mumbled, not bothering to look up.
"What is is, dear?"
"I know you've been quite busy with your work as of late, but don't you think we should maybe spend more time with our kids?"
Parm looked at his wife, confusion obvious on his face.
"Whatever do you mean?"
Memu, looking uncomfortable, twisted her napkin in her gloved hands.
"Well, it's just that I haven't eaten a meal with either of them in over a week. They don't want to bother you with your work, and so they're never around. I worry when Bun's out this late, and, and…" Memu let her words die, unsure of how to best voice her question. Parm still looked utterly confused.
"I must finish reviewing these proposals before Thursday, my love! If I don't, then his Majesty will have my head!"
"I know dear, but I'm just worried about the children; I feel like I haven't been a very good mother lately."
Parm bit his lip as he chewed on Memu's words. He had been working nonstop since the start of the week, on a very important speech.
"It's that nutjob, Katsu! If he wasn't so set on scaring the public with his war conspiracies and ridiculous ideas, then I wouldn't have to make a rebuttal case!"
Memu flinched as Parm pounded his fist on the table, making the plates and silverware jump and clatter. She eyed her husband with concern before choosing to speak in a hushed, mild voice.
"You can't take a break from it?"
Parm scoffed at the idea.
"I must finish it by Thursday, and I still haven't finished all my research on the matter. I only have notes!"
"Oh." Was all Memu said. She turned back to the door, looking regretful, while Parm returned to his notes.
After stopping at the library, Fumu and Kirby were en-route to one of Kirby's many temporary homes. Since no one could quite handle the small child's appetite alone, a handful of villagers and friends opted to take him in. Memu and Parm, along with Handel and his father Danny, Tokkori, and on the ever-rare occasion, even Meta Knight would offer their homes to Kirby. They rotated randomly, based solely on whoever got fed up quickest, or whoever happened to have a surplus of food and throwaway silverware.
For the past few weeks, he had been staying with Danny and Handel. Both parties seemed to greatly enjoy each others company, but Fumu was dubious as to how well two heavy drinking men could care for a baby.
She looked over to Kirby as they walked quietly along the cobblestone street. Still sullen, and uncharacteristically quiet, Fumu wondered if maybe the pink puff wasn't feeling well.
"Poy?" Kirby mumbled, not bothering to turn towards Fumu.
"Somebody's moody today." She commented, kicking a pebble as she looked down. "Are you hungry or something? Tired?" she tried, stopping on the road in hopes that Kirby would actually face her. She wasn't used to hissy fits or tantrums from him (let alone the silent treatment; Fumu was surprised Kirby even knew how to properly 'use' it), and it was sort of getting on her nerves.
"Poyo poy." He answered, still a touch of smug apathy in his voice. Fumu rolled her eyes.
"Fine, fine. Don't tell me. Just get over it by tomorrow, because you, me, and Bun are going on a picnic with Lololo and Lalala." Fumu said with false sternness. While it was true, Fumu used the reminder as a last ditch effort to get any sort of squeal or clap from Kirby.
Despite his best efforts, the inescapable force overtook his thoughts, his young mind yielding to the all-consuming gravitational force that was his stomach.
Kirby went to his happy place and let out a giggle, having completely forgotten about their arrangements to have a picnic. In remembering, he also forgot whatever it was that had him so hung before. He immediately began to drool as his eyes took on a glazed look.
Fumu smirked, perhaps a bit deviously. She grabbed Kirby by the hand as they continued down the cobbled streets.
The sun was just beginning to dip behind the silhouette of trees and hillside as the two arrived at Danny and Handel's house.
The cottage, if you could call it that, consisted of four large, completely wooden rooms and a pantry. Fumu always pictured it as a tavern or pub, not an unlikely assumption seeing as the kitchen had a bar.
It was cozy, in the only way that a home inhabited by two hyper masculine males could be. There was always food, always a fire in the hearth, and at least three flagon of mead sitting around somewhere.
Both Handel and Danny were blacksmiths, so apart from the arm chairs, chests, and end tables scattered about, the cabin was filled with cast iron tools and parts hanging from leather strappings, bound to the ceiling supports.
Not a very child friendly place, but Kirby seemed to love it.
"Alright Kirby, you're home. I'll wait here till you get inside." Fumu pushed the child forward. She was eager to get to the library before it got any darker.
"Poyo!" he waved back at her as he trotted up the walkway and steps, passing by the vegetable garden with difficulty. Danny had spotted the two through the window and opened the door.
"Hey, stop eying my carrots!" Danny's voice echoed through the empty streets, making Fumu flinch. It was a gruff, gravely voice with a Southern twang. Not unpleasant, but not quiet, either. Like a plucked banjo string. A short, stocky Burning Leo appeared, washed in an amber light from the inside of his house. Kirby scurried towards him. "Thanks for walking him here, Fumu."
"No problem Mr. MacAteer!"
Danny stepped aside, letting Kirby in, and shut the door. Fumu huffed.
"Couldn't he at least have offered me to come in?" she wondered aloud. She would have declined anyways, already in a hurry, but it was still a pretty rude thing to do. Then again, Danny wasn't known for his exceeding kindness. In fact, both father and son had a lack of manners that irritated Fumu to no end.
"Whatever." She muttered, turning back to head to the library. She made it to the road just in time to see the sun disappear.
"Great!" Fumu set off, her walk turning into a jog, and jog into a run. "Mother and father won't be happy."
She was making great time, halfway there. That is, until it started raining.
Three minutes in and Fumu was soaked to the bone. It was all she could do to keep her backpack dry beneath her arms.
"Ugh! November weather!" she cried as a biting wind blew tiny pellets of water stinging against her skin.
She couldn't even tell what time it was; rain meant the moon likely wasn't visible, and the wet, blustery weather meant the street lamps wouldn't be lit. Needless to say it was dark. Very dark.
Ignoring the set back, Fumu continued to run down the road, past the library. It was probably closed anyways, and she would much rather face an overdue fee than the wrath of her mother and father.
But something stopped her dead in her tracks. It wasn't a noise, or anything of the sort. It was a feeling, like she wasn't alone.
Fumu looked behind her.
She looked to the left, and to the right, and back in front of her. She swallowed. Her goose bumps didn't dissipate, but she ignored them.
Continuing her walk, Fumu couldn't help but feel nervous, almost disturbed. The minutes passed and her steps quickened until she felt that same tingle run down her spine. The niggling feeling of being a presence. Eyes on your back, baited breath behind a corner.
The splatter of rain against the pavement was almost deafening. Aside from her own deep breathing, she couldn't hear anyone else. She felt stupid calling out to no one.
Then again, making any sound would bring attention to her if there *were* anyone wandering around. The streets were deserted (as far as Fumu could see, which wasn't very far given the lack of light and sheen of rain), and the type of people who would loiter around outside, given the conditions, weren't the type of people Fumu wanted to run into.
Ignoring her instincts one final time, Fumu set off. Quickly. Quietly.
Not five minutes passed. She had to stop. The feelings persisted, growing in strength. Had it not been drenched, Fumu's hair would've been on end. Her eyes began to water. The feeling was too strong to be her imagination. She turned around, slowly, deliberately, half expecting someone to jump out at her.
Nothing. But turning back, *something* caught Fumu's eyes.
She did an about-face, catching a pair of luminescent yellow orbs lurking behind a shadowy alleyway.
"H-Hello?" The orbs lowered, then vanished. Fumu gasped, dropping her pack and backing up into a brick wall. Whatever was hiding in the dark began to move forward. It's breath, low to the ground, brushed the puddles of rainwater, strong enough to create ripples and waves. It remained out of sight until two massive talons moved from beneath the shadows, and Fumu knew then to run. She didn't have a chance to see what the creature was before she took off in the opposite direction, her feet carrying her as fast as they could go and her heart beating even faster.
She could hear the thing behind her; it's claws scrapping along the road as it drew long strides. She had to move; it would catch up in no time if she continued straight.
Without a second to lose, Fumu dove left, into a narrow gap in between two buildings, swooping beneath a dumpster.
Her hands, knees, and elbows scrapped along the pebbly road as she struggled, but in an instant she was still, her breath caught in her throat as the beast crept into the alley.
It was slow, almost quiet, but its breath too heavy and feet too large to keep below a steady swoosh and crunch against the wet gravel.
Fumu could almost feel its eyes on her. She had to keep a hand over her mouth to stifle the whimpers threatening to break loose.
The thing grew near, a low growl rumbling from its chest. It sniffed the ground and looked right, it walked up to the dumpster and looked left, yet, miraculously, it continued a few paces on, pausing so that its massive hind legs were parallel to Fumu's own terrified eyes.
Although she couldn't see the top half of the beast, Fumu could barely make out its paws and tail.
'A wolf?' she nearly asked aloud.
Almost as if it had heard her thoughts, the massive wolf threw its head up and least out a shriek. It took off down the alleyway, sending a shockwave of gravel into Fumu's face.
Had it heard, smelt, or seen something or someone else, Fumu wasn't sure. Maybe the rain threw off her scent, or the beast simply grew bored. Whatever the reason for its sudden departure, Fumu was glad.
She waited a good ten minutes before emerging from her hiding spot. Her joints were stiff, not from crouching and crawling but from fear.
"Did that really just happen?" Fumu asked aloud.