Hey, remember Arwing on the Lawn? Doubt it. It got less views in 4 chapters then Shots in the Dark got in 2. And one was a prologue. But I don't care. It's an old relic anyway.
But this is sort of its resurrection. Instead of trying to tie everything into a single coherent story, I decided to change it into a bunch of humorous shorts. These won't be in any specific chronological order, nor will they necessarily reference one another. I just want to make you guys laugh.
This first short certainly grew bigger than I imagined, but I hope you like it anyway.
Oh, yeah, and I don't own any of the Star Fox characters either. (I remembered! :D)
Compared to most people, Josh's and Jacob's lives have been short. They were twin brothers, born just fifteen years ago. They shared many interests, such as Star Fox, GameCube, PC gaming, and the furry fandom. They also had their differences. Josh liked to write his love of Star Fox, while Jacob preferred to draw it. Most of their work revolved around one concept, though. What would happen if human and Lylatian were to meet?
In summer of 2012, the two brothers got to experience their fanfiction/artistry firsthand, and in fact, they still experience it to this day.
It was a crazy enough story how Fox McCloud and Wolf O'Donnell came to be their new pals. Josh and Jacob, as the cliché goes, had been expecting a normal day. Instead, they were rudely awakened by an extremely loud scraping noise around 8:30 in the morning. The twins rushed to their window to see what the matter was, and found a crumpled Arwing sitting where their front lawn used to be.
Even though they thought they were dreaming, rescuing Fox McCloud was an opportunity they just couldn't pass up. Simply put, that's what they did. Josh busted open the cockpit with a sledgehammer while Jacob stood behind; ready to check if the vulpine was still alive.
A certain lupine falling from the sky put a quick halt to their plans. The twins would later joke about how even in unconsciousness, Wolf still had to prevent people from doing things, but when he squished Jacob underneath his six-foot-two, two hundred and ten pound frame, it was no laughing matter.
In any case, the brothers carried the two furries into their living room, barricaded their house against the press, and waited for the two to wake up.
They did, of course, and while the ensuing conversation was hilarious in its own right, that is not the point of this story. This story is about every day after.
A few important things should be mentioned first, though. Among the topics included in said hilarious conversation, there was the fact that Fox's Arwing had been stolen by the United States government, the implications of being stranded on a furless planet, and how Fox stars in a video game series here on Earth.
Plenty of time has passed since that day, but still, Fox and Wolf stay with Jacob, Josh, and their only living parent, their dad. Their friendship, while tenuous at times, still stands strong.
That's not to say there weren't some roadblocks on the way.
So enjoy these shorts and outtakes, and Josh wishes me to give you some advice: Never step on a furry's tail. EVER. You WILL have hell to pay.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, here are their Tales of a Coexistence.
Conservation of Battle Energy
Josh and Jacob Chase stepped off their bus after the tenth day of school. It had been a hard fought battle to reach this Friday, and Fox and Wolf weren't making it any easier.
Tensions had been rising steadily between the vulpine and the lupine ever since the day of their rescue in late June. The twins had been hoping things would calm down between Fox and Wolf by the time school started again, but the opposite was the case.
Things were just getting worse and worse.
However, Jacob had been more than ready to forget that little detail and just enjoy the warm September air. It was a five-minute walk from the bus stop to their house, and Jacob had wanted to smile blissfully the entire time. It only took Josh thirty seconds to take all the fun out of the weather with one sentence, though.
"I wonder how Fox and Wolf will be when we walk in the door," he mused, staring into space.
"Do we really need to talk about this, man? I just want to forget those two for now and enjoy the few warm days we have left."
Jacob had a point. Living in North Dakota did have its cons.
"I just want to know what you think," Josh said quietly.
"If you really want to know, I think they'll be sitting angrily at opposite ends of the house, with a few more scratches than yesterday."
"Come on, do you always have to be so pessimistic?"
"Maybe something different happened today. Something good."
Josh sighed and gave up. There was no budging of Jacob when he got this way.
The brothers had been walking downhill for four blocks. At the bottom of the hill, they made a right turn to traverse the final two blocks.
"I'm just saying, Jacob," Josh started up again. "Have a little hope for the two. Sure, we hid their blasters and most of the sharp objects, but they've been here for a month and a half and they haven't killed each other yet."
"Who's to say today's not the day?" Jacob replied curtly. "We have to spend seven hours away from them every fucking weekday now. You can do a lot in seven hours."
Josh stepped slowly away from his brother. Something was off with him today. Sure, he was pessimistic, but this was a new extreme for Jacob.
"Is…is something wrong, man? Did something happen?" Josh asked concernedly.
"No, I'm totally fine!" he practically shouted back, face contorted with rage.
It didn't take much for Josh to put two and two together.
"It's Daphne, isn't it?"
Upon hearing this, Jacob couldn't bring himself to face his twin. On hearing his ex-girlfriend's name, he was suddenly on the verge of breaking down. He roughly kicked a small rock down the sidewalk.
"Look, man. She broke up with you. So what? You can't let the memory dominate your life. All that tells me is that you've let Daphne win. Besides, if she couldn't love you, then she didn't deserve you anyway. Buck up, man, and maybe I'll tell Fox to let you scratch his ears. I know how you love doing that."
Jacob pulled a tear back into his eye, snorted loudly, and looked at his brother with admiration.
"Thanks, man…I…I needed that."
Josh gave Jacob a friendly slap on the back.
"You know what else will take your mind off her? Some video games."
"Oh, yes, please!" Jacob said happily. With all the emotional drama, Jacob had lost his sense of direction. He didn't realize that they were already on the front porch, and that Josh had set his backpack down to dig out the house key. Instead, Jacob just kept walking until his face collided with the front door.
Josh, hearing the thump, looked up and saw his brother clutching his face in pain.
"Dude, you gotta watch where you're going, excited or not," Josh said with a laugh.
"Ow, my nose," was all he had in response.
Josh wound up being the one to enter the house smiling. When he took his first step into the living room, though, his smile sank faster than the Titanic.
Fox was sitting in the recliner, watching something on the flat-screen TV. And, boy, did he look terrible. Parallel cuts and scratches pockmarked the vulpine's face like acne. Some of them were still open and bleeding, contaminating his red-orange fur with deep red streaks. In addition, his left paw was clutching his upper right arm, and Josh could make out more blood seeping between the fingers.
Fox acknowledged Josh's presence with a quick sideways glance, and then went back to staring at the television while grimacing slightly with pain.
Jacob stepped around his frozen twin, one hand still over his nose. When he saw Fox, he totally forgot his own pain. He was planning to talk to Fox and sympathize with him, but Josh grabbed him by the wrist.
"Follow me, Jacob," he ordered softly through gritted teeth.
Before Jacob could respond, he was roughly dragged into Josh's and Fox's bedroom. (Wolf and Jacob also share a room).
"Josh, what the hell are you doing?!" he asked after being forcibly sat down on the bottom bunk.
"I'll tell you, but first, go find Wolf and see how he looks. I don't care how, just find out," he replied while rummaging around on the other side of the bed.
Sensing Josh's sudden change of temperament, and having nothing better to do, Jacob stepped out of the room and closed the door behind him.
His and Wolf's room's door was cracked slightly. He peeked inside, only to find it empty.
He continued down the hallway, past the living room, and went into the kitchen. It was also empty.
The stairs to the basement were on the other side of the kitchen. Jacob looked down them to find that the light was on.
Bingo, he thought as he made his way down. As Jacob reached the bottom, the sound of another television grew louder with each step. Pulling a hairpin turn at the bottom of the stairs, he saw the small basement TV was tuned to the Military Channel. The back of the futon hid the lupine from Jacob's eyes.
Typical Wolf, always thinking about combat, he thought with a smile. Jacob took a few steps forward, just enough to see over the futon's top edge. Wolf laid there on his right side, cybernetic eye in full view. The human didn't see much in terms of cuts and scratches; in fact, Wolf's grey fur hid them quite well, even where they did exist. His slightly curled up posture, though, gave away that he was hurting.
Jacob had no idea if Wolf saw him or not, or even cared, but in order to not seem awkward, he greeted the lupine.
"Hey, Wolf," he said flatly.
Wolf didn't budge. He just made a soft grunt-like noise in acknowledgement.
Instead of going back upstairs right away, Jacob made things even less awkward by grabbing a Mountain Dew out of the basement fridge. Then, he made his way back to Josh.
Meanwhile, Josh had been busy digging up the lockbox underneath his bed. The Wolf check was simply an excuse to get Jacob out of the room so he could keep it a secret. Nobody knew about the box except for Josh.
He typed the combination into the keypad, which was simply his birthday followed by the day Fox crashed on Earth. The box beeped twice in acceptance of the code, and the tumblers clicked as they unlocked.
Inside was a small pile of papers. His birth certificate, his passport, and roughly $1000 in cash was stuffed into the box. Josh took $500 and shoved it into his pocket.
You see, Josh had come up with a "solution" to the Fox-Wolf War, but it required a lot of money.
Before he knew it, Jacob's footsteps were echoing back up the hallway. He hastily shoved the lockbox back under the bed, hid it behind its appropriate cardboard box, and crawled up onto his bottom bunk for Jacob's report.
"Wolf's in the basement," Jacob said. "He's not covered in cuts like Fox, but it looked like he was bruised instead."
"Makes sense," Josh remarked. "Wolf likes to use his claws, while Fox prefers the martial arts."
"I still don't understand why you care."
"I care because I have a possible solution. I'm fucking sick of coming home and seeing those two with a bunch of new injuries. So, I'll be back soon."
With that, Josh abruptly left the room and fast-walked towards the front door.
Jacob wouldn't let that stand. He chased after his brother begging for an explanation.
"Where the hell are you going?" he called out.
"I'll be back, don't worry," Josh said calmly as he put his shoes on.
"I don't care if you go alone, but just tell me where you're going, man."
"I'll be back, and calm down for God's sake."
With that, Josh went out the door and was out of sight.
Jacob was left standing next to the TV, utterly bewildered. Fox, of course, couldn't help but witness the entire spectacle. In spite of all the pain still throbbing through his arm and face, he felt he could help.
"What's going on between-ung-you two?" the vulpine asked through a grunt of pain.
"I have no idea, Fox. He was rambling on about some kind of solution to your and Wolf's 'little' disagreements, and then he just took off." Jacob sat down on the couch and glanced out the front window.
"Yup. There he goes on his bike now."
"I doubt anything will stop those fights, Jacob. Wolf's such a self-entitled prick. He thinks he's better than everybody else, even though I've shot him down more times than I can count," Fox said with a growl.
"Really? I've only done it twice in SF-64—"
"-And that's not the whole story. You should know that by now."
"Right. I don't know why, but sometimes I seem to forget I'm talking to the guy who did it all firsthand."
A quick smile crossed Fox's muzzle before he returned to his standard stoic face.
Jacob quit wondering about Josh's solution. Fox's opinion on it was exactly what the human had wanted to hear. Instead of saying anything else, he lied back smugly on the green couch and started to see what Fox was so interested in watching.
As it turns out, Fox McCloud likes Mythbusters. It was one of the newer episodes, and they were testing the myth that airplanes flying in a V-formation save fuel. He seemed to be genuinely interested in it, and if not, Fox is one hell of an actor.
Everything about Fox lately seemed to be about piloting or fighting with Wolf. The twins had been puzzling on why this was the case for the better part of the last two weeks. Seeing the airplane myth on TV just brought Jacob's mind back to this point.
Soon, the TV was tuned out once more as he tried to deduce the cause again. Not only was it annoying to always see the furries in some sort of pain, Fox had been continually relating current events to events in his "past life," so to speak, as a mercenary. It had been informative at first (especially for Josh's fanfiction), but it was becoming unbearable.
Jacob had no idea how long he sat there, idly tapping his finger on the side of his head, before a bit of inspiration came to him. The inspiration was in the form of something Wolf had remarked on a couple weeks after their arrival on Earth.
At that point in time, Fox had seemed to be losing that initial disbelief that he was stranded. As a result, he had begun to slip into a depression. Reasoning that nobody could possibly know Fox better than Wolf, the twins had gone to the lupine for some advice.
Apparently, he had been expecting that question. Wolf gave this very well thought out, sensible answer almost immediately:
"I doubt he's just missing his pals back in Lylat, despite what he tells you. There's something more there. The pup's missing his work. He misses it, even though it's hell, because, you know, war is hell, but peace is boring. And this forced, permanent peace is permanently boring."
Suddenly, things made much more sense. Fox was constantly talking about mercenary work and overreacting to trivial arguments because he was still bored. The vulpine still wanted that spice of conflict and combat, and those two activities were the only way he could get it.
The solution became clear, then. Relieve Fox's boredom, and relieve the tension.
Hopefully, Josh had figured that out, too, and would come back with something useful.
In the meantime, there was nothing Jacob could do but wait.
It was scarcely 15 minutes later that Josh returned. He stepped into the house carrying a plastic bag. It was strained into a cube shape by the objects inside.
Josh didn't even look at the characters in the living room. He walked quickly and with purpose down the hallway and out of sight.
Jacob, not used to being snubbed like this, followed him in a huff. After traveling down the same hallway, he saw the light coming through a crack in Josh's door.
He peeked in. Josh was bending over an open box on the floor, tossing plastic wrappers behind him, unwrapping cords and plugging them into his TV. He couldn't tell what was in the box, though. He needed a closer look.
"Josh, what the hell is going on?" he asked while forcefully opening the door.
Josh nearly jumped out of his skin. He turned around only to see his twin brother.
Thank God, he thought. I thought it was Fox…
"Jacob, close the door behind you, for God's sake!" he whispered furiously. Jacob complied, but he was still bewildered.
"Thank you. Were you followed?" Josh asked.
"No…I don't…I don't think so…" Jacob stuttered out, unsure how to answer.
"Good, then I can show you this."
Josh, who had been forming a shield with his body around the box, stepped back with a smile. Scattered on the floor was a brand new Wii, two Wiimotes, Wii Sports, and Super Smash Brothers Brawl.
Jacob couldn't believe his eyes. Altogether, that must have cost over 300 bucks. And Josh had gotten it within a half-hour.
"Pretty sweet, huh?"
"How the fuck did you get a Wii, two controllers, and two games within twenty minutes!?"
"Don't ask, don't tell," Josh replied with a smile and shrugged shoulders.
"You stole it, didn't you?" Jacob asked. "I can't believe it, my own twin's a thief."
"Don't jump to dumb conclusions, bro. I assure you it was legally acquired. No police officers are gonna storm our house," he replied matter-of-factly.
"But…why? That must have cost 350 bucks!"
"$365.78, and it's my solution."
"How is a new video game a solution?"
"I'd tell you, but I'm trusting no one with this information, so kindly leave, good sir," Josh said, extending one arm towards the door.
"Come on, man, I'm your-"
"I SAID kindly leave, sir."
"Fine, have your weird fun," Jacob relented, and he removed himself from Josh's room.
Josh closed the door and locked it, just to be safe. He finished setting up the Wii and inserted Brawl into the disk drive. Everything loaded up successfully. He wasted no time in starting up Subspace Emissary.
It's just my luck that the one character I need to unlock takes me through this adventure mode, he thought as he selected Ike and started the first stage.
Hours passed. Josh kept working his way through Subspace. His fingers were beginning to blister, and his eyes were beginning to tire. Fox pounded on the door many times, but Josh just ignored him. For all he cared, Fox could think he was having a five hour fap marathon.
At about 8:30 that Friday night, in a combination of hunger and finally realizing that Subspace could not be tackled in one day, Josh quit. He packed up the Wii, putting it next to his lockbox, and finally opened up his room once he was convinced the console would not be discovered.
He ambled out towards the kitchen, still seeing Brawl scenes in the back of his eyes. The TV was still on in the living room, but Josh didn't care to see who was watching. He started to rummage through the cabinets once he entered the kitchen.
A certain vulpine, though, must have used his twitchy ears, because Josh found his name being called roughly while he opened a box of mac-n-cheese.
"Huh? Oh, hey, Fox, what's up?" he said, turning around.
"Why in Lylat did you lock yourself in our room for five hours?!" Fox demanded, his tail swishing around angrily.
Josh thought long and hard on how to reply sensibly without revealing too much information. Frankly, it was difficult, especially when two emerald eyes were boring into him.
"All will be revealed in time, Fox," was what he came up with.
A little more time than I thought, he added in his mind.
Fox just rolled his eyes, sighed, and went back to doing whatever he was doing before.
The rest of the night was uneventful. Josh had his dinner in front of the TV with his twin and Fox. Wolf stayed secluded in the basement the whole time, which was pretty typical of him anyway. No more fights happened that night, to say the least.
Fox didn't really talk to Josh the rest of the night. It sort of made him sad that he had to lock the vulpine out again, but he knew that in the end it would pay off.
They dispensed with the usual "goodnights" at around 11:30 pm, and off they went to Dreamland.
The next morning, Josh awoke before Fox at about 8:45. He knew because he could hear Fox's even, regular sleep breathing.
Call him paranoid, but he didn't really want to leave the room, in case the leader of Star Fox tried to get revenge. One part of his brain was utterly convinced that the notion was stupid; the other part was utterly convinced it would happen.
Josh wasn't sure what to do, until he made a convenient observation on the floor. His iPod Touch sat there, headphones coiled nearby like a thin black snake. He decided he would wait out Fox by listening to music and pretending to sleep.
It worked. About an hour later, he heard Fox open and shut the door quietly. Josh let the footsteps recede, and then he jumped out of the bed and locked the door.
Now, you may be wondering, doesn't Josh need breakfast, or a shower, or something?
You underestimate Josh. He had already stashed a box of PopTarts and a can of Amp on his nightstand the previous evening. He wouldn't bother with the shower, because the best defense is to be offensive.
Wasting no time, he set up the Wii once more on his 16" TV. He popped in the Brawl disc, navigated to Subspace, and continued from where he had left off 13 hours before.
In hindsight, I should have put some padding on my fingers, Josh remarked as his blisters began to hurt again.
It took scarcely 20 minutes of Josh-style button-mashing for Fox to discover that he had once again been locked out of his own room. The vulpine began to growl and snarl. His ears angled back. His tail poofed up ever so slightly.
"Seriously, Josh?" Fox screamed at the wooden door. "Again with this shit?"
Wolf's voracious laughter echoed down the hallway and into both of their ears. Fox's temper worsened even more.
"What do you want, Fox?" Josh yelled back.
"To get in the room, you dumbass!" he snapped quickly.
"What do you want from the room, Fox?" the human clarified, eyes never leaving the TV screen.
Silence followed as Fox thought about the question before him. It was barely a compromise, but it was better than Friday night's ordeal.
"Uh…" he began, rubbing his neck. "Some clothes for a shower would be nice…"
Josh sighed and paused his game. He opened up Fox's half of the dresser and took the top article of clothing out of every pile. He also grabbed the vulpine's Android phone as sort of a peace offering so he wouldn't be bothered again. One by one, he shoved each object between the door and the floor.
Fox, who had expected the door to open in a civilized manner, was surprised when his clothing started piling up at his feet. He rolled his eyes. Sometimes, the humans absolutely baffled him.
He was about to take his items and go, when his phone landed on top of his Under Armour. It was a nice gesture, sure, but his phone had died, and he had meant to charge it later. Of course, that assumed that he could enter the freaking room!
"Uhhh, Josh? This isn't charged."
Ten seconds later, his wall charger and USB plug popped out under the doorframe.
Josh returned to his spot in front of the TV.
And that's how the better part of his day was spent. He sat in front of the TV, eating PopTarts, chugging Amp, and mashing buttons. His bladder plagued him several times, but he managed to stay hidden by going in an extra 2-liter bottle. Not glamorous, but super effective.
Fox knocked on the door only once more that Saturday. He requested his laptop around lunchtime. Like a vending machine, it slid out reliably from underneath the door. After that, Josh was left in peace.
He wound up finishing Subspace at around 5:00 pm that night. His journey was not over, though. There was one last step. Return to a specific stage in Subspace, find a secret door, and challenge the character to a one-stock battle.
Thanks to all the practice he had gotten over Friday and Saturday, it was absolutely no trouble.
With his goal completed, and the dopamine surging, Josh fell backwards and passed out almost instantly in an awkward position. Basically, everything above his rear was on the bed, while everything below hung off the end of the bed like a puppet with its strings cut off.
He was jolted out of sleep by more pounding on his door. He blinked several times, trying to adjust from the darkness behind his eyelids to the room's light. Josh slowly rose himself to a sitting position, and he heard the vertebrae in his spine crack and pop as he went.
When Josh hit the sitting position, the TV greeted his eyes. The character select screen was still up on Brawl, and he noticed that he had indeed completed his goal.
Someone pounded on his door again.
"Hold on, hold on," Josh told the incessant noise. He ensured that the unlocked character was saved on the Wii's memory, then he shut it off and hid it next to his lockbox.
Josh walked to the door. On his way, he stole a glance at the alarm clock on a cabinet next to his bed. He was shocked to find that it read 9:30 at night. It was no wonder that the person at the door wanted in so badly.
The human put on his best apologetic face, prepared himself for Fox's angry gaze, and opened the door.
Instead of finding an angry vulpine, he found a tired, freshly bloodied one. He was slouching tiredly, and his laptop was shoved under his left arm.
"Damn...Fox, you look-" Josh began, but he was cut off.
"Stop. I don't want to hear it. Just let me into my bed," Fox practically begged.
Seeing as his work on Brawl was done, Josh had no problem with the request.
"Try not to get your sheets bloody again, I guess..." Josh suggested. When Fox responded with silence, he was shocked. Usually he at least offered up some sarcastic laughter.
The vulpine climbed up into his bunk, and was snoring by the time he laid down.
Seeing as Josh just came off a four and a half hour nap, he turned out the lights for Fox and left the room. His legs maneuvered him to the living room, where he found Jacob and Wolf watching American Dad. Wolf was also visibly bleeding, although he did his best to hide it.
Josh took a seat on the couch next to his twin.
"So, what was today's fight about?" he asked flatly.
"Who the fuck knows?" Jacob responded. "They seem to fight about the most trivial things that it's not even worth it to ask anymore."
Wolf abruptly left the living room.
"I mean, it's like sibling rivalry, except all rival and no sibling."
Josh, noticing Jacob's sour mood on the subject and Wolf's sudden absence, could finally break the news on why he had spent the last two days as a shut-in.
"You remember that Wii I brought home, right?"
"Your supposed solution?"
"Yeah, that one," Josh confirmed excitedly. "Well, I bought Super Smash Brothers Brawl with it, and I've been spending the last 30 or so hours unlocking Wolf. And Fox is a default character."
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"...You really can't see it?" Josh asked disbelievingly.
"It's just another video game with Fox and Wolf, so what?"
"Wow. Idiot. Anyway, tomorrow I'm going to reveal it to Fox and Wolf. And it's a solution because they can play as themselves in the game and fight each other digitally instead of actually fighting. And, I'm gonna need your help."
And he thinks I'm the idiot, Jacob thought.
"You do realize that will never work, right, Josh?" he asked.
"These fight's have gotten so trivial that they'll probably argue about who's Player 1 before they even begin."
"That's why I need your help. So we can try and prevent that."
"...You've completely convinced yourself this will work, haven't you?"
"Yup," Josh nodded.
"And nothing I or anyone else says will change your mind, will it?"
"Nope," Josh shook his head. "Besides, do you have a better idea?"
"I guess not..." Jacob said after a few moments. "Fine, I'll help you. If only to get a front row seat to your disappointment."
"I guess that's the letter of my request, if not the spirit. We'll just have to get Fox and Wolf in the living room at the same time."
"Let's work that out tomorrow, ok? Right now I just want to take a shower," Jacob finished, getting up from the couch and heading towards the bathroom. Suddenly, though, the sound of rushing water stopped him in his tracks.
"Welp, looks like Wolf beat you to it," Josh commented.
"Son of a bitch..."
And thus, another day came to a close. Josh wound up awake until one in the morning. He snuck into his and Fox's room to find Fox still snoring. He stole a peek at the vulpine's position. It was actually quite amazing how spread-eagled he was on his back. It definitely explained the snoring.
Instead of trying to fall asleep with a snoring furry, Josh roughly shoved him onto his stomach. Fox didn't even flinch, much less wake up.
The next day, Josh and Fox both woke up at around 11:00 am. The human once again heard the vulpine's feet hit the floor, but this time, he greeted Fox.
"Morning, fuzzy buddy," Josh said cheerfully. He felt more well-rested and excited than most summer days.
"Stop calling me that," he replied while flicking on the light.
"Why? It's funny how you react."
"You make it sound like I'm a kit. I'm a 23-year-old fighter pilot, dude."
"Jacob tells me you've been getting into trivial fights with Wolf like a kit, so…"
"That faggot always starts those battles. I'm just fighting in self-defense," Fox accused, crossing his arms.
"Oh, really? Saying that makes you feel pretty high and mighty, doesn't it?" Josh said condescendingly.
"I can't help it then, because it's the truth," Fox snapped defensively.
"Well, Jacob may be pessimistic and obnoxious, but he doesn't usually lie. So, either you're lying, or Jacob wants to incriminate you." Josh finished his point with raised eyebrows. Fox looked like he had been backed into a corner.
"…I'm not gonna take this today. If you lock this damn door again, I will castrate you while your dad watches," Fox growled, and he left the room.
Josh rolled his eyes, laughed, and got himself dressed.
For the first time in a while, the four of them had a communal lunch. It wasn't anything planned, of course. Everyone was just hungry at the same time. The humans and the Lylatians sat opposite of each other around a circular table.
The tension was immediate and obvious. Both Fox's and Wolf's ears were back just slightly, and their eye(s) moved in short jumps, if they moved at all. Aside from the sound of chewing, it was quiet in the kitchen.
"So…Josh," Jacob began, trying to open up some communication. "When are you going to show them your solution?"
"Soon. I just need a little time," he replied.
"Solution? Solution to what?" Wolf asked.
"Ah, if only I could tell you," Josh teased, smiling. "But I can't yet."
Wolf just shrugged his shoulders, attributing the cryptic answer to something silly and human-related.
No other conversation permeated the kitchen after that.
Fox was the first one to finish lunch. Almost immediately after taking care of his dishes and such, he grabbed a house key off a nearby counter and told everyone he was going for a bike ride. The vulpine couldn't seem to stress it enough that he wanted to be alone.
Josh usually got nervous when the furries went out on their own, but the sight of Fox's Android and earphones was enough to calm him today. Now he only needed Wolf to be his antisocial self.
And that's what happened. When the lupine finished his leftover hamburger, he retreated into the basement again.
"Wow. This is perfect," Josh told his brother.
"So, do you need me to do anything, or…?" Jacob asked.
"Not really. Just go downstairs and do whatever. If Wolf's watching TV, get on the computer, and vice versa. If he comes upstairs, do something to warn me," Josh instructed, using classic lecturer gestures.
"Being instructed to slack off? Awesome!" He went to trot down the stairs when Josh had one last command for him.
"If Fox isn't back in an hour, I'm going to call him. When he does get back, it'll be up to you to get Wolf into the living room. Then, block the TV by standing in front of it. Got it?"
"Sure beans, even though I still think you're doomed to failure."
"Stranger things have happened, Jacob. If it weren't for stranger things, we wouldn't even be hosting furries in our house."
"Whatever," he said, descending the stairs.
"Pessimists, I tell ya," Josh muttered under his breath. He dispensed of his dishes, and went to his room to collect all of his Wii-related things.
After heaving them out into the living room, he went through the motions of hooking up a Wii to a TV. The Wii's main menu music blasted out into the room, and Josh practically sprinted for the remote so he could mute the noise.
Damn it, Josh, you can't make those mistakes, he scolded himself. Continuing with the motions, he set up a multiplayer brawl. It would be a 5-stock battle, nothing too complicated. He selected Fox and Wolf as the characters, with no CPUs. He also let Fox be Player 1, trusting Jacob's word that Fox was using the more trivial excuses to start brawls.
After that was done, all that was left was to hide the Wii and the controllers. Then, Josh changed the channel from the Game feed to Channel 51 and started watching TV, awaiting Fox's return.
One hour later, right down to the second, Josh dialed Fox's number. It rang four times before the vulpine picked up. He sounded a bit out of breath, but otherwise normal.
"Hey, Fox, feeling better?" Josh asked, trying to break the ice.
"Yeah, much better. I'm glad I did this," he remarked happily. Josh suddenly imagined Fox standing on the side of the bike trail, next to his bike, tail wagging as he talked. It made the human smile.
"Listen, are you on your way back?"
"At Maple Street, heading back, yeah. Why?"
"Well, something's come up, and we need you back here as soon as possible," Josh lied.
"I don't really have the right to talk about it, I mean, it's really Jacob's problem, but…you remember Daphne, right?"
"That hyper, not-exactly-thin-but-big-breasted girlfriend of his?" Fox replied amazingly frankly.
"Yeah…they broke up, and he's taking it real hard. I'm doing my best, but he keeps saying he'd rather talk to you, so…"
"Oh, alright, I'll see what I can do. I should be around in about twenty minutes."
"That's awesome. Thanks, Fox."
"No problem. What're friends for?"
"See ya when you get back."
Then they both hung up. Josh immediately got up and went downstairs to share the news with Jacob. He found his twin on the computer playing Alliance of Valiant Arms, their favorite PC game. He also saw his twin take a wicked headshot, and the resulting curse word.
"Hey, Jacob, twenty minutes," Josh announced.
"Huh? Oh, you mean that. Twenty minutes, gotcha," he said, and then he returned to his game.
To finish off his basement trip, he grabbed a Mountain Dew from the basement fridge, walking past Wolf's futon in the process.
To tell you the truth, the next twenty minutes were probably some of the longest minutes Josh had ever experienced. He was so utterly convinced that his plan would be successful, and so utterly ready for everybody's praise, that it was almost impossible for him to wait. Plus, the one thing he wanted to do to kill time was the one thing he needed to hide.
To make matters worse, he was drinking a caffeinated beverage. A highly caffeinated beverage. His fingers started to jerk and his feet started to tap.
Luckily, though, it was only twenty minutes later that Fox walked in, looking sweaty but cheerful.
"Hey, where's your sad brother?" he asked after removing his helmet.
"Hold on, I'll go get him," Josh said, keeping up the ruse until the last minute. He walked over to the top of the stairs and yelled down at Jacob. He returned to the living room and made sure the TV remote was safe in his hands before taking his position in front of the TV.
"It'll just be a minute," he assured Fox, who was suddenly looking decidedly more exhausted. The vulpine found the energy to nod first before plopping down on the couch.
Josh re-muted the TV, so all that could be heard was Fox's heavy breathing after what must have been a productive bike ride. And they waited.
Meanwhile, in the basement, Jacob had gotten the message. Convincing Wolf to tag along, though, was going to be the real hurdle. But, he knew he'd better hurry, so he closed out of his game and spoke up.
"Hey, Wolf, come on upstairs with me," he requested nicely.
"Why?" the lupine responded.
Well played… Jacob thought.
"Remember that solution we were talking about at lunch?"
"Yeah, but I don't really care."
"Are you sure, because it's time for the big reveal…Come on, you'll love it."
Damn, he's stubborn. Worse than Josh, maybe…ok, no, probably not, but still…
In his next argument, Jacob decided to use pathos and appeal to Wolf's sadistic side.
"You like watching people get disappointed, right?"
"…Go on…" Wolf said slowly and gruffly after a moment.
"And you like it even better when it's me or Josh, right?"
"Just make your point, pup," he replied. His grey-furred face popped up over the top of the futon, and the singular lavender eye was glaring at Jacob.
"I'm just saying, it seems that Josh is about to experience the letdown of a lifetime. And wouldn't it be a shame if you missed it."
Wolf squinted and looked upward, pondering the proposition before him. On one hand, he had to leave his favorite piece of furniture, but on the other hand, he needed some entertainment other than the crappy television here on Earth. Besides…letdown of a lifetime…it seemed too good to pass up. Deciding he had nothing to lose, he got up off the futon and sauntered over to Jacob.
"Alright, that's the spirit."
They headed up the stairs.
When Josh heard the two sets of thumps escalating up from the basement, he felt pride in his brother. Although he would never say it out loud, he wasn't really expecting Jacob to follow through with it. And now he and the lupine were walking into the living room before his eyes.
Fox, still thinking Jacob was sad and depressed, spoke up first.
"Hey, Jacob," he said softly. "How you feeling?"
He was confused at first, but his suspicions easily fell on his twin brother Josh.
"What did you tell him?"
"Just get over here and help me block the TV screen," Josh spoke with a fiendish smile.
"Wait, you mean Jacob was never depressed and despondent?" Fox accused.
"I told you a half lie. Daphne did break up with him, but he's not sad about it anymore. I just needed you back here as soon as possible for the big reveal."
"Reveal? Reveal of what?"
"Remember that solution crap they gave us at lunch?" Wolf supplied dryly.
"Ah...so tell me, Wolf. How did Jacob lure you up here?"
"I was promised letdown and disappointment, and I better get it," he said, taking a seat on the recliner.
"...Sadists," Fox scoffed. Wolf just smiled.
"Now that we've got your attention, it's time to begin," Josh started. Jacob stood by his side, not excited, but not angry either. Shoulder to shoulder, they were just wide enough to block the screen. Josh turned the remote around and switched it to the Game channel. The SSBB character select music played, but it's not like the furries had any way of knowing that. Hence the safety in doing it.
"Now, I don't know what yesterday's fight was about," Josh began seriously. "And frankly, I don't fucking care. All I know is that I'm sick of coming home every day to you two wallowing in your own blood and sweat. Now, I also can't speak for my dad on the matter, since he's still on that business trip, but I'm sure he's sick of it too."
Fox and Wolf looked regretful for maybe a couple moments, but then they glanced at each other. Boy, did those expressions disappear faster than the humans thought possible.
"I decided to do something about it, instead of finding one or both of you dead after school. Now, behind me on the television is a game called Super Smash Brothers Brawl. It is a classic violent player versus player video game. Hopefully, you'll settle whatever disputes you have through this computerized violence, as opposed to physical violence."
"And you expect this to work?" Wolf interjected. "You must be out of your fucking mind! Fox'll just fight over who's Player 1 before game even starts!"
Jacob nodded with a proud smile in Wolf's direction. Fox looked like he was about to defend himself, but a combination of Josh's death glare and the knowledge that arguing would only make things worse made him keep his muzzle shut.
"I expect this to work, Wolf, because there is an important detail that I intentionally left out."
Josh let the suspense build for a few moments before revealing the coup de grace. He nodded slowly to Jacob, his cue to step away.
"I expect this to work..." Josh stepped to the side. "...Because you can play as yourselves."
Fox and Wolf's eye(s) widened just a little bit. They leaned back just a little bit in surprise. They glanced at each other, seeing just a little common ground for once.
Josh grabbed the WiiMotes from their secret hiding place, separated them by their player light, and tossed one each to the Lylatians.
"Here are your controllers; have at it."
Their eyes just kept going back and forth between the TV and each other. It wasn't really because they were in a video game; they were kind of used to it. It was more because of their designs that they were in disbelief. The furries just found them to be so...bad.
"Eww...whose idea was it to dress me like that?" Wolf complained first.
"Yeah, they made it look like you're trying way too hard to be badass," Fox agreed. "...And it just ended in-"
"Yeah, failure, I know. And what's up with your giant eyes and tiny muzzle?"
"I have no idea. It looks like someone reversed the proportion between the two. And they're crazy if they think that I'd ever wear a lens like that."
"What's wrong with lenses over your eye? I've gotta deal with it all the time," Wolf pointed out.
"Yeah, but...I don't know, I just don't like it...Nothing against you, it's just..."
"It's cool, it's cool. Let's just try the game. With any luck, the fighting will be decent, even of the designs are far from it."
Fox pressed the plus button to bring up the stage select. Obviously, they went to Lylat Cruise. After Josh explained the preliminary controls, everything was up to the furries.
To say the least, they got into the game. They really, really got into the game. Josh could feel the tension loosen with every second. Fox and Wolf shouted taunts and jeers back and forth at each other, but they were of good fun instead of rivalry anger.
And as for Jacob...he was proved wrong. He sat back and watched them go through four five-stock games in utter amazement. Josh...he had been right.
It all made sense, though. Jacob remembered deducing that relieving the tension required relieving the boredom, and that's just what games do. They relieved boredom. Adding the Fox-and-Wolf-as-playable-characters was just a needed step to get them to play in the first place. Jacob would admit that it was a stroke of genius.
"I gotta hand it to you, you were right," Jacob whispered to Josh.
"I told you, Jacob," he replied. "I told you. All we need now is two more controllers."
And they sat and spectated the Brawl matches, loving the newfound peace in the Chase household.
There you are. Now, this is generally going to be worked on during downtime while I wait for Shots in the Dark to get beta read, so this may suffer from sporadic updating. And this is probably going to be the longest 'short' on here for a while, too.
So bear with me, and I hope I brightened your day just a little.