The Care Bear Family
The Christmas Adventure of Confidence
It was only two days before Christmas in the Kingdom of Caring, and the anticipation of the party was almost overwhelming. The streets were beginning to be festooned with garlands, colorful balls, candies, flags, little stars and other typical local decorations, while Grams Bear, Share Bear, Cheer Bear and Birthday Bear took care of preparing food for the Christmas dinner at next night.
It was not only in Care-a-Lot that preparations were beginning to be made. In the Forest of Feelings, with Braveheart Lion, Cozy Heart Penguin and Proud Heart Cat at the head of the group, little by little everything was being decked out, and that Christmas of 1993 would be the most prosperous and happy ever.
But of course, happiness varied from one to another. So Goodluck Bear, though happy to be with his family and friends, was sad that a month earlier his girlfriend Polite Panda and her brother Perfect Panda had to rush back to Paradise Valley, which had threatened to freeze again after several months without this tendency, allowing them to live with each other in the Kingdom of Caring.
Wish Bear was also sad because her boyfriend Shimmering Star Bear would not be present as he was traveling the world with Sky Heart Bear so that he could learn more about humans and their customs. Aqua Bear, Lonesome Heart Bear, and Redemption Heart Bear were also sad that their swordsman friend was not present, but what comforted everyone was that he and the old guardian would be back on New Year's Day.
Except for these, the others were very happy. It was about a year ago that No Heart, Professor Frozen Heart, and the other enemies of Care Bear Family had not been showing, which made everyone's life so much quieter. Although Care Bear Family still had to do caring missions on earth to help the children, they weren't as many as in the worst times of crisis, which was a real reason to celebrate, besides being a special date for all of them to gather and exchange gifts.
Indeed, for them this was the true motive of Christmas, for they did not believe in the religious rites that humans followed, which told of the birth of Jesus and His mission on earth to save men from death by sin. For the bears and cousins this was a legend, and even if it wasn't, it certainly wouldn't have been true for them, since they weren't human. So Christmas was stripped of their religious character, just a celebration party.
Celebration that began before, already during the preparations, when everyone helped each other. So while some bothered to decorate the village poles, Champ Bear and Bright Heart Raccoon were loading the car with a few more boxes of ornaments to take to Forest of Feelings.
- This will surely be our best Christmas, sport fan - said the bear, with a big smile on his lips as he brought another box to the car.
- Of that I have no doubt, without having our enemies to disturb, we will make a memorable Christmas party - agreed the raccoon, looking at the trunk - How many more boxes we have to carry? Soon I will have to invent something that expands the trunk of our car.
- Just one more, and then we can leave...
- Hey! Boys! - called a voice, and when they turned, they saw Cheer Bear and Treat Heart Pig approaching down Rainbow Street - Are you going to the Forest?
- Yes, we're going, Cheer - replied the sportsman excitedly - Why? Would you like us to take something there?
- No, but you brought something - the pink bear urged - Grams Bear needs happy apples to fill her pies. Could you ask Braveheart to provide two boxes of apples?
- Two boxes?!? - cried Bright Heart, surprised - Why so much? Will she hand out pies to children around the world too?
- Not really, is that in the end surely only one box will be used.
- And the other?
Cheer pointed a thumb at the female pig beside her, eliciting the laughter of both friends and the teenager female as well.
- You're right, I love Forest of Feelings apples, especially laughing apples - Treat Heart agreed, laughing - And since I'm going to eat a lot, it's good that Grams Bear has spare ingredients to make her pies.
- Just don't eat too much and then get sick - Champ joked - We don't want anyone ruining the party.
- Glad everyone is happy and eager to help us with this Christmas party - commented the vain female bear, looking around happily - Even Goodluck, Aqua, Lonesome, Redemption and Wish are helping us even though they're a little sad...
- You know not everyone is helping, Cheer - said the sportsman, a little saddened - Confidence did not appear today to help us...
The pink female bear frowned a little.
- Yeah... You're right - she agreed thoughtfully - That fennec is weird. Since she arrived she has done little to approach us, practically living in isolation from the rest of Care Bear Family.
- Maybe she just feels a little out of place still living here - Bright Heart suggested - But I think she'll get used to it over time. By the way, Champ, how did you get to be her friend?
- Simple, with sport it is possible to break down all obstacles - simply answered the bear, with a smile - Now, let's take this material to the Forest of Feelings, sport fan, and who knows later we do not help our friend to be happier with Christmas.
As the two teenagers boarded the cloud car, and the two girls drove back to Grams Bear's house, Noble Heart Horse walked briskly down the street, looking around to see how party preparations were going. But more than that, he was heading to the Care-a-Lot sports gym for a very special mission that involved the only person who was in that place at the moment, and who needed help.
In the face of others, it might seem that her not helping meant she didn't care about Christmas or just didn't want to make friends, an image reinforced by the misanthropy in which she liked to live. Friends, they only had them in Champ and Noble. Besides, despite talking to the others, she avoided their company, and that certainly would not be any different at the party they were preparing. But in fact, Confidence Heart Fennec loved the Christmas holidays, and loved making new friends, even if they didn't know how to fight karate, her favorite sport, hobby and activity.
But she didn't feel comfortable celebrating Christmas, after all, she was far from everything and everyone she liked. Why should she celebrate? Nor had she yet fully adapted to the Care Bears and Care Cousins' united, supportive spirit, where everyone helped each other, even when they were sad, uncomfortable, or quarreling with each other. It was strange to her, who had lived so long away from her family, to see such a union. Besides, she had her secrets to protect, preferring not to attend that fraternization so that it would not occur to her to say something she shouldn't.
All that remained was to train karate on her own, developing all her attacking and defensive techniques. That was when she heard, with her excellent hearing, footsteps outside the gymnasium, and stood, staring at the door, from which came the figure of Noble Heart.
- Good morning, Confidence Heart - said the horse with a big smile on his lips - How are you?
- Very well, thank you - replied the fennec, leaning forward in oriental style, dressed in her fighting kimono.
- I'm glad to hear this. I was worried about you, not seeing her helping others get the Care-a-Lot Christmas Party ready. By the way, why aren't you helping them? This moment is so fun and so good to bring everyone together!...
- Ah, it's just... Well... I don't feel in the Christmas mood. In fact, although I've been here for six months, I still feel quite out of place between you. So if you don't mind, I'd rather be alone, training my martial arts...
- For the sake of Care Bear Family, you should be helping others, as we do everything here collectively," the horse said in an educational tone - But if you're feeling bothered to help, because you still feel like an outsider around here, I won't force you to anything. And if you want to vent what saddens you...
- No need to worry Noble, and thank you so much for understanding me - said the fighter, with a smile on her lips - But I don't think you came here just to ask me that, do you?
Noble smiled sheepishly at that, seeing how keen Confidence was in identifying feelings.
- You really are right - he confessed - In fact, you're the only one who isn't busy with the party, and that's why you're the only one who can help me on a special mission if you want to help me, of course.
- And what mission would that be? - asked the fennec curiously.
- Kelly is a very cheerful Scottish girl, but recently her grandmother passed away because of diabetes. The two were very close, so the girl is still heartbroken over her grandmother's loss, and she doesn't want to celebrate Christmas ever again. Our mission is to go talk to her and try to make her happy by showing her how good it will be to celebrate Christmas with the rest of the family, reminding her of the good times she had with her grandmother, and how happy she would be if her granddaughter fraternized with others. Do you think you can help me with this?
Confidence was thoughtful, as she had never dealt with this kind of mission before. All right, she had joined others missions with Noble Heart, Tenderheart, Grumpy Bear, and Braveheart's team, which consisted of the lion himself and the four teenage members. But really this would be special, it would involve so many feelings that she herself had, and that she was afraid to arouse. However, she also felt that she needed to do something to prove herself worthy of continuing to live there, and to thank Noble for the vote of confidence he had had with her.
- Okay, I agree to help you - the fennec said at last, with a confident smile on her lips - Just give me a few minutes to change.
Quickly the fighter went to the locker room, put off her kimono, put on some clothes, fixed her hair and left. Good thing no one in the Kingdom of Caring had to wear clothes, as the furry cover worked perfectly. But since it was certainly cold in Scotland, she had no choice but to get dressed. Even so, it took less than three minutes for her to meet Noble Heart outside the gym, and the horse had prepared a cloud car for them to travel.
Kelly lived in Edinburgh, Scotland. The city, despite being the capital of that region of the United Kingdom, was not as big in itself as many other cities, retaining some of its old, medieval air. But several new neighborhoods, with pre-designed houses, stretched out on the outskirts of the city center, and in one of those neighborhoods, on a street completely festooned for Christmas parties, lived the girl who needed help, sitting in the back door of her house, with tears in her eyes and sulky air, hating that date. She could hardly imagine that she was being watched, and that her life would change in seconds.
As a good driver he was, Noble Heart approached the cloud car to the girl's house and prepared to get down in the yard. Kelly, hearing a strange engine sound, raised her head and was still as she watched that flying cloud car land before her, and the figure of a small horse and a sandy fox leaped, both smiling, driving to her.
- How are you Kelly? - asked the first cheerfully - Allow me to introduce us. I am Noble Heart Horse, and this is Confidence Heart Fennec.
- We are Care Bear Cousins - the fighter added with a wink - And we came here to help you.
The girl was still amazed, her mouth open. Was she hallucinating? Okay, she believed in the existence of Care Bear Family, but never, not even in dreams, had she imagined that one day she would come face to face with two of them.
- Ah... I... I don't think I'm fine... - she mumbled, wiping her eyes to see if those two were really there - Are you for real? Are you really here?
- Yes, we are, and as Confidence said, we are here to help you feel happier this Christmas - Noble replied - After all, you should be happy, not sad about that date...
"I'll never be happy again," Kelly murmured, lowering her head and crying again - Not without my grandmother... I miss her...
- And I can imagine how you feel - the fennec commented, sitting beside the girl and stroking her hair - It is very difficult to lose someone we like a lot, especially when these festive dates come and we remember everything we did together with that person that we are missing... Then the years go by and we kind of forget that pain, but...
- What do you mean? - exclaimed the girl, rising briskly - That I must forget my grandmother? I will never forget her!
- That's not what I meant, I just said that time heals wounds.
- Time will never heal this wound in my chest now! Much less you two, who will waste time with me...
- At least we waste time wanting to help these crying babies... -murmured Confidence, who was not quite used to caring missions.
- Are you calling me a crying baby?!? - shouted Kelly, who heard the fighter's comment very well - Oh, you... You... Stupid!
And huffing in anger, the girl got up without wanting to hear anything else, running into the house and slamming the door shut. The two Care Cousins stood there in the face of such a reaction, and the fennec slowly bowed its head in regret at that comment. Noble Heart shook her head no, and looked at his mission mate.
- That's not the kind of comments we should make, Confidence - the horse mused seriously - Especially when the child we're helping is so sentimentally hurt. Remember that when we go out on a caring mission, we have to leave our problems behind to fully dedicate ourselves to those in need.
- I know I did it wrong, I'm sorry... - she murmured sheepishly.
- Fine, you're not the first one to make mistakes, and you certainly won't be the last. You must keep trying to help the children. Now let's go after Kelly so you can apologize to her and continue the mission.
- But how do we do that?...
Faced with a caring mission, Care Bear Family did anything to help children who needed love and affection, even if they had to climb the walls. And that was what Noble and Confidence were doing now, or rather almost. As the girl had certainly gone to her room on the second floor of the house, the two care cousins soon climbed a tree beside her bedroom window, and crawling through the branches, then managed to get there and get in smoothly.
Seconds later, Kelly opened the door and entered, screaming as she saw the two caring guardians standing there.
- You here?!? - she shouted in surprise - But how...
- Do you really think we're both leaving without finishing our mission? - asked Noble Heart with a small smile.
- What is that for? Deep down you find me a really crying baby!
- No, you're not - Confidence said, lowering her head - Kelly, I'm sorry for what I said... I didn't mean to offend you... It's just that... I miss someone at Christmas too, and I just Discounting it on you. So I know how it feels to see everyone happy, and you can't share that joy... Sorry...
Kelly listened to the fennec with arms crossed and sulkily, but slowly her expression softened as she listened to the words of this new friend, who looked as sad and upset as she herself.
- Okay, Confidence Heart, I forgive you - the girl said, smiling a little before she turned serious again - But don't think you can make me happy or convince me to forget about my grandmother.
- Nor is that our intention - said the horse, approaching the young girl - We all have to deal with losses one day. It can be losing a friend because he has moved, losing a toy you like very much, losing a relative you are very attached to. No matter what it is, it always hurts a lot in the heart.
- When I said we slowly forget the pain, it didn't mean we forgot the ones we love, just that we get used to missing them - the fighter explained, also together to the girl - At such times, we have to remember all the good times we have by the side of those we miss. Think of everything you enjoyed doing with your grandmother, how much fun you had together, how happy you were... And think how sad she would be to see you like this, unhappy and unwilling to celebrate Christmas. Do you think she would rejoice?
- NN-No... Of course not - murmured the girl, starting to cry - She loved to attend the parties that our family had... She loved to play with her grandchildren...
- So! Don't you think you should attend your family's Christmas party as a way of remembering the good times you spent with your grandmother knowing it would make her happy if she were with you?
- Well... You may be right, Confidence. Grandma wouldn't like it if I wasn't present. She was going to be very sad.
- She may not be present in person, Kelly, but I'm sure she is here - said Noble Heart, placing a hand on the girl's heart - And so if you are happy, in a way you would be rejoicing her too, at least in your memories. It would be a tribute to your grandmother you attend the party.
The girl finally smiled brightly as the idea of celebrating Christmas as a tribute to her grandmother grew stronger and stronger. It took a few more seconds for her to wipe her tears and face the two Care Cousins with a happy, lively glint in their eyes.
- You're right, I should celebrate Christmas, as a tribute to the good times I spent with Grandma - she said happily - Thanks for helping me, Noble and Confidence!
The three soon gave a tight hug of happiness, with the girl thanking both guardians for helping her. Seeing a grateful, loving-minded child filling every corner of the heart was the best reward a bear or cousin could have, for it meant that their mission had been successful, just like that one.
- We're glad you decided to party with the rest of your family, Kelly - Noble Heart said cheerfully - Now, it's time for us to go. Right Confidence?
- Okay - the fennec agreed with a wink.
- But already? - asked the girl, surprised - I wanted to introduce you to Mom... She would never believe if I told...
- We'd love to, but we really have to go - said the horse.
- Where are you going out?
- Just as we entered. Now a merry Christmas to you, Kelly, and to your whole family as well.
- Yes, a merry Christmas, and always be happy, little one - said the fighter, as Noble and she crept through the tree branches to the ground.
- A merry Christmas to you too! - Kelly shouted, waving at the new friends and closing the window.
One more mission successfully completed. Another child who had his hopes for love reborn thanks to them. And that's why, surely Care Bear Family's story with Kelly would end right there, with the horse conjuring the cloud car with his Stare, as the fennec looked out at the street and played with the snow a bit before they left for home. Only that would not be what would happen...
Confidence well noticed that there was a light and power company truck parked in front of the girl's family house, and two men working on the pole opposite. As the two Care Cousins were protected by the trees, no one saw them, neither the workers, nor Kelly's mother, who went out to talk to one of the men, and the fennec heard the conversation thanks to her good hearing.
- So, how is this? - She asked curiously - I hope you can solve this problem, since I have lost several appliances in recent months because of power surges...
- Do not worry, madam, that everything will work out - answered the worker - If you can check if everything is working, we will thank...
As soon as she entered, the worker picked up his radio and said to his companion at the top of the stairs:
- Is that too complicated?
- Very much, is need to change the wiring up to the input pole to the transformer.
- Make a mend Bob, we'll be back after Christmas, or do you want to spend the holidays working on it?
- No way! - exclaimed the other, turning off the radio.
- It's all set, Confidence! - Noble Heart said happily, boarding the cloud car and calling the fighter to go with him.
With that, she stopped paying attention to that conversation, but something bothered her deeply in her chest, though she wasn't even sure what it was. Boarding the cloud car, soon the fox and the horse were flying across the sky, heading for the Kingdom of Caring, to take care of their own holiday party, or at least to continue the karate training interrupted by that mission...
At least that was what the female fighter had in mind when the cloud car landed in the clouds near the sports gym after a trip that took about half an hour, during which she was silent.
- Thank you for helping me on this mission, Confidence - said Noble, as the fennec got out of the car - Deep down you did very well. I think you are the most diligent student I have ever had, and surely you will soon be ready to be elevated to the position of Official Care Cousin.
- Thanks for saying that, Noble - she said thoughtfully - Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to finish my workouts...
- Aren't you going to help others prepare the Christmas party? - asked the horse maliciously with a wink.
- Maybe later, but I'd like to be a little alone. See you, Noble.
Saying that, she left the patriarch behind, and slowly walked into the gym, feeling very strange. There was a gigantic weight in her heart now, something that bothered her a lot, but she couldn't say what it was. She only knew that it had to do with the mission she had just accomplished, as if something warned her that something was going to happen. How she wished she had developed the power of clairvoyance, as her brother Snow Heart had. If he or Sage Heart were there now, they could certainly help her understand her feelings. How were they? It had been months since she had separated from her family for this mission in the Kingdom of Caring.
- Hope it's all right... - she murmured, heading for the locker room.
- Talking to yourself, sport fan? - Champ suddenly asked, stepping out from behind the door with a huge smile on his lips, making the fennec jump.
- Aww! What a fright, Champ! - she exclaimed, taking a deep breath - Is there no other way to appear without frightening others? What you want?
- Just wondering if you're going to attend our Christmas party. You know Confidence, I just got worried that you seem bothered about Christmas, not wanting to help us, not wanting to participate... And it would be very good you be present at the party, to rejoice and become more intimate of others.
- Thank you for your concern, sportsman. When the time comes I will decide.
And without giving the bear a chance to say anything else, she walked away in quick steps. Why did everyone want her to help? Why did they insist she celebrate with them? She was a stranger among them, and she realized that many were prejudiced about it. Not to mention that she didn't feel like celebrating anything, especially now, with that bad feeling that had come to her heart, and she couldn't tell where it came from.
For Confidence, the day passed very slowly, and in the early evening she was still troubled. Despite trying to ignore that feeling, it was growing stronger in his chest. It was as if something wanted to warn her that something was coming soon, and that she needed to be prepared. But what would it be? Without finding the answer, the fennec lay in her bed to sleep, hoping that the next day all the oppression she felt in her chest would pass, falling asleep quickly...
There was Kelly's house, with the twinkling Christmas lights, the garlands gracing the doors, and the peaceful, welcoming air that made the female fighter smile. How had she gotten there? It didn't matter, she was there, staring at the house, while making sure she couldn't approach for some strange reason. Suddenly, before she had time to think about it, an exploding sound reached her ears, and the transformer in front of the residence exploded. Immediately, as if by magic, her vision went into the living room of the house, where a heater that was on began to ignite. Flames quickly spread across the curtain, carpet, and Christmas tree, which burned like a gallon of gasoline.
Smoke rose in curls throughout the room. Screams began to be heard, and Kelly's mother and father ran downstairs. The mother ran out while the father returned to the room of his youngest son, a baby just over one year old, grabbing him to escape. But the fire, rising up the corner of the stairs, covered the corridor just as Kelly appeared at her bedroom door. She had no way out, no way her father could get in. With no choice, he ran with the baby in his arms out of the house, meeting his wife, already surrounded by neighbors, looking for hoses to try to control the flames while the firefighters did not arrive.
- "My God, George!" - exclaimed the woman - "Where is Kelly?"
- "I couldn't get there, honey!" - he replied, crying - "I'm going back there to get her out."
But before he could do that, the porch of the house was engulfed in flames, preventing anyone from entering, making everyone despair for the girl. Again Confidence's gaze returned to the house, to the girl's room, which had cowered in one corner, coughing through the smoke, weeping with fear.
- “Daddy!” - Kelly shouted in tears - “Mommy! Help!..."
There was nothing their parents could do. The fire was getting closer and closer. The girl was shaking with fear, crying in despair.
- "Someone help me! Noble Heart! Confidence Heart! Help me!!!..."
Confidence jumped out of bed, breathing hard and sweating with emotion. For a second she looked around, feeling her heart want to jump out of her chest. That scream! That dream could not be a simple dream! But at the same time, the fennec wished it wasn't a vision, otherwise it meant the girl was in danger, and needed help.
Rising briskly, the fennec ripped off her pajamas, opened her door, and ran to the caring observatory. Surely Bedtime Bear should have known what was going on, and could help her if necessary. But upon arriving at the caring observatory, the dreamy bear was not there, just a note that said he had gone on a mission.
- Just now! - exclaimed the fighter, grabbing the star-o-cope and aiming for the earth, still wishing it was just a dream.
Only it wasn't. Confidence choked on her own cry, seeing that Kelly's house was indeed on fire, and at that moment the porch was engulfed in flames, as in the sight she had had. He also saw the girl's parents outside, crying a lot, and Mr. George being restrained by the neighbors, for he wanted to go back inside, because the eldest daughter was still there.
- Oh heavens! - muttered Confidence desperately - I need to do something!
As she now wanted to know how to use her Stare to create a cloud car and go to earth. But she didn't know it yet, so she needed someone's help for this mission. Bedtime Bear could be there now.
But as he was not, there was only one option left for the fennec, which threw away the star-o-cope. Taking a deep breath to concentrate, she began to run, and created a trampoline of air that made her jump several feet forward, and then another, and another, to arrive a few seconds later in front of the teenage house door. She had never used that power before in the Kingdom of Caring, so no one would find out she was a magi, but since there was no one on the street, and the case was urgent, she made a concession to herself.
As soon as she reached the door, she began to ring the bell furiously, rousing all the residents. Champ opened the door, yawning in sleep, and Cheer, Treat and Bright Heart appeared soon after.
- What is Confidence? - asked the bear sleepily.
- I think she forgot the night we slept... - teased Cheer, who didn't like the fighter very much for some reason.
- It's an emergency! - shouted the fennec in despair - Kelly's house is on fire, and she's stuck in her room!
- Ah? Who is Kelly? - asked the inventor, his eyes widening.
- The girl Noble and I went to help with this afternoon. Her house is on fire, and she's trapped in the bedroom! We need to help her, otherwise...
- Are you sure this is really happening? Isn't that just a dream? - asked Treat Heart, looking extremely worried.
- Of course I have! Please help me save her! If we do nothing she... She will die in the fire!!!
- All right, sport fan! - said Champ bravely - Cheer and Treat, you'll warn Noble, True, and the others as soon as possible. Bright Heart and Confidence, you come with me!
Wasting no time, the two teenage girls ran toward the patriarchs' house, still in their pajamas, while the sportsman created a cloud car with his Stare, as he, the raccoon, and the fennec jumped into the vehicle that sped toward land.
Meanwhile, the fire increasingly consumed Kelly's house. The firefighters had not yet arrived, and the cold kept the water from coming under pressure from neighboring hoses. The girl's mother dropped to her knees in the middle of the sidewalk, begging God for her daughter to survive, while her father cried a lot for feeling a coward for not braving the flames to save the girl.
- What will we do? - asked Bright Heart as the cloud car approached through the smoke.
- Stop the cloud car at side of Kelly's bedroom window - Confidence said bravely - It's that window over there!
- What is that for? What are you thinking of doing? - asked Champ, coughing from the smoke.
Confidence looked at his sportsman friend earnestly, resolutely.
- What a Care Bear or Care Cousin does at such a time - the fighter replied, with unusual courage, which surprised both friends.
The bear and the raccoon looked at each other fearfully, but there was such confidence in her friend's words, and the situation was so hopeless that there was nothing to dispute.
- Fine, but promise to be careful - Champ agreed, parking the cloud car by the window.
At the same time, Bright Heart broke the glass and sashes with a screwdriver, allowing the fennec to break through. Covering her face with her hands, she jumped into the bedroom, which felt like an oven so hot it was. Fire rushed through the bedroom's heating system, and she could hear the door creaking from the pressure. In minutes, surely it would explode, so Confidence had to find Kelly as soon as possible.
- Kelly! - cried the fighter coughing - Kelly, where are you?
Just then the sound of a muffled cry caught Confidence's attention. Glancing sideways, she saw the girl crouching by the closet, crying with fear. Quickly the athlete rushed to the girl and gave her a tight hug to show that she was there, that the cry of help of the little girl had been heard.
- Confidence! - exclaimed the girl, crying with joy.
- C'mon, Kelly! We have to get out of here now! - asked the fennec, looking at the rising flames.
- I can't! I'm very scared!... My legs got paralyzed! I think I'm going to die!
They both coughed a lot from the smoke. The sound of the door hinges being forced by the heat came to Confidence's ears. They needed to get out of here now, she needed to give the girl strength.
- Not! You are not going! If you don't get up now, we both die because I won't leave you behind! Your grandmother wouldn't let you, nor will I! - She said, looking firmly at the girl - Now trust me, you can do it! Get up, Kelly. C'mon! Courage! Force!
Hearing those words of the fighter, the girl created enough courage to stand up, even with her whole body shaking. Confidence put her arm around Kelly's shoulders and helped her walk as fast as she could, speaking stimulating words all the time to encourage her.
They quickly reached the bedroom window, where Champ and Bright Heart were waiting with the cloud car outside. That was when the fennec heard the sound of the door hinges sagging.
- Fast! - she shouted at the friends - Get her! C'mon!
- C'mon, sport fan, you're safe now - said the sportsman bear encouragingly, as he and the raccoon helped the girl up onto the sill and ride the cloud car.
It had come Confidence's turn, too, as the bedroom door exploded behind her, flying toward her with a sea of flames to follow. It looked like the athlete was lost.
- Confidence!!! - Champ shouted in despair.
But something happened in a split second, and the sports bear couldn't quite explain what it was while Bright Heart and Kelly didn't see it. The fennec turned toward the flames, with a movement of the hand, the door coming toward her retreated, slamming against the wall as if in magic. With this movement, the flames subsided enough not to hit the fighter, who, taking an incredible leap from where she was, fell into the cloud car.
- You got Confidence! - shouted the raccoon happily as he saw the fennec safe and sound inside the car.
- How did you do that? - Champ asked, quickly leaving with the vehicle near the window.
- What? - said the athlete, staring at the bear.
- Pull the door back like that, along with the flames! I've never seen anything like it in my life... It was amazing!
- Oh, I did nothing, it hit the edge of the bed and the heat made you see too much - Confidence snapped, not wanting her sportsman friend to discover her secret. Just then she turned to Kelly, sitting in the backseat - Are you alright?
- I am! - Said the girl, crying with emotion - Thank you, Confidence! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! You saved my life...
- You're welcome, Kelly - the fennec replied, hugging the girl gently - Now, let's meet your parents again.
- But... Landing the midst of that group of adult humans? - asked Bright Heart, a little fearfully - Don't you think it's risky to do that?
- They've seen us so the best we have to do is come down and talk to them.
Indeed, the girl's parents and neighbors had been watching in awe almost all the rescue, especially in relation to the cloud car and the presence of the three caring guardians. Although a little afraid, Champ soon got down the cloud car next to the group of adults, who ran towards the vehicle, while the girl jumped out of it and ran to hug her mother and father.
- Kelly! - they shouted in excitement as they hugged their daughter and felt that all was well with her.
Everyone was silent for a few seconds until George lifted his head and walked over to the cloud car, looking at its occupants, and shaking each other's hands enthusiastically.
- Thank you for saving my daughter - he said in a choked voice - But who are you?
- George, they are Care Bears! - retorted the girl's mother, smiling at her new friends - Only them to show such courage and love to the point of trying to save a stranger in this way. I will be eternally grateful to you for what you have done.
At this point the cloud car was practically surrounded by neighbors, who greeted the sports bear, the fennec fighter, and the inventing raccoon, some of those humans knowing Care Bear Family by cartoons, others because of toys, and some not even believing them before that meeting. But they all had gratitude in their eyes for the act of courage these three had had.
That was when they heard the sound of fire truck sirens coming.
- I think it's time for us to go - Champ said to his two friends - The official forces are coming, and they don't need to meet us here.
- Exactly - agreed Bright Heart.
Suddenly, Kelly, who had been hugging her mother until then, ran to the three of them and hugged them tightly, crying with joy.
- Thank you for saving me from the fire - she said tearfully - You saved me twice this Christmas. The first time was my joy, and now my life. I will never be able to pay what you do... Especially you, Confidence.
- If you always have love, faith, and hope in your heart, then you will pay as well as you can - the fighter replied, trying to look tough but with a tear forming in her eyes - Now it's time for us to leave.
- Don't you want to spend Christmas dinner with us? - the girl's mother asked - Our house may not be in the best condition tomorrow, but your presence would be very welcome...
- We thank you very much for the invitation, but we can't accept it - Champ said ruefully - We'll have our own Christmas party already, and we can't miss it. Isn't that true, Confidence?
- Yes, it is true - the fighter hesitated a little, knowing that it was a tease from the sportsman - Well... Goodbye, Kelly. Goodbye everyone, and Merry Christmas!
And quickly the bear took off with the cloud car as they said goodbye to those humans, and especially Kelly, who watched her three special friends disappear into the night sky, as the firemen arrived at that very moment to control the fire, without even imagining what had happened...
On the way back, no one said anything, each of them given to their own reflections. And after a trip of about half an hour, the cloud car parked in the Kingdom of Caring, near the caring observatory, and was immediately surrounded by the other bears and cousins who had been woken up by Noble Heart, True Heart, Cheer Bear and Treat Heart. Everyone cheered and shouted “Hooray!” as the fennec got out of the car, surprised by the reception.
- But... What is happening? - she asked, her mouth open.
- Congratulations, Confidence! - exclaimed Braveheart, shaking her hand enthusiastically.
- Thanks to you and your bravery, that girl is safe and sound - Aqua added cheerfully, also saluting the fighter.
- Certainly Shimmers and Sky Heart will be very happy to hear about it when they come home - Wish Bear said with tears in her eyes.
- Few would have as much courage as you had, and such a great presence of mind - said Loyal Heart Dog with a broad smile.
- Today you demonstrated that you really are a Care Cousin altogether - Harmony said with a smile on her lips.
- Really, the way you saved Kelly was amazing - Champ agreed, placing a hand on her friend's shoulder.
That's when Noble Heart stepped forward and faced the fighter with a kind smile on his lips and a proud glint in his eye.
- I think now there is no doubt that you are really ready to be part of this Family - commented the horse gently, turning to the others - I propose that Confidence Heart Fennec is already elevated to the category of Official Care Cousin!
- How can we make her an Official Care Cousin if she can't use Stare or drive cloud cars? - said True Heart, who had already shown some tantrum for the young female - This is not fair to the others, who had to learn everything before of...
- Only the courage, love, and trust she has in her heart is enough to make her official - the patriarch said briskly - The rest, she will learn later, during her training course. So everyone agrees with that?
- Yes!!! - they shouted happily.
- Hooray to Confidence Heart! - Champ shouted enthusiastically.
- Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!...
When Confidence woke up the next day, it was after ten in the morning. It had been a long time since she woke up that late. But last night had been full of emotions. She didn't remember having had such an exciting night in her life, even when she lived on the streets, away from the rest of her foster family.
Your family. How strange now for her to think about that. Before, she only saw in Sage Heart, Life Heart, Love Heart, Snow Heart, and the other Terada clan members the protection and love of a family, although they often do not easily show their feelings for each other. And because she felt that only they were her family, she had not yet sought to team up with Care Bear Family so much, because she found herself an outsider within them, with no right to share their joys, feelings, emotions, and parties. At least until last night, when her heroic act of saving Kelly had made all the bears and cousins of the Kingdom of Caring definitely accept her as a member of their Family.
Now she was a Care Cousin, with all the rights and duties of others. Didn't that mean she should attend the Christmas party that had been organized for that night? Wouldn't it be good for her to get closer and strengthen friendships? Wasn't her mission with Kelly just a way for her to reflect on herself and her decisions?
If in the day before Confidence had no desire to go to the party, now that had changed completely, and she couldn't wait for nightfall and the celebration to begin. But she had not helped at all in the montage, had prepared no gift for anyone. How could she appear? Good thing, besides being a fighter, she was a reasonable cook, and all that day she worked to make various cheese pies. No big deal, but at least she wouldn't come empty-handed and embarrassed for not collaborating.
Seeing that the last pie was almost done, and it was time for the party, Confidence rushed to get ready. Not that it meant much. She just showered, combed her hair, braided it, and passed a deodorant before going into the kitchen, arranging a large tray of all those pies, covering them well so they wouldn't cool, and head to the Hall of Hearts, as the locals called the large heart-shaped building that was where they held the parties.
By this time, the entire Care Bear Family was already gathered in that place, partying. There was a large table with free food and drink, a sonata Harmony had brought playing Christmas or romantic songs for couples to dance to, and a nine-foot-tall Christmas tree was in the very center of the room, with hundreds of presents around it. While some bears and cousins danced, others ate happily, and some others talked, such as Noble Heart, True Heart, Champ, Braveheart and Funshine.
- I really think this is the best Christmas party ever - True Heart confessed with a twinkle in her eye as she watched everyone having a good time - After so many years with No Heart, Professor Cold Heart and our other enemies trying to destroy Christmas, we finally had a chance to have a peaceful Christmas.
- Too bad some of our friends aren't here - Braveheart mused thoughtfully - Shimmers, Sky Heart, Forest Ranger...
- I miss Sky and Shimmers too, but we have to think that they are not present for a good cause - said Noble Heart in a friendly tone - You know it's important that Sky Heart knows more about humans and their customs, otherwise he will hardly adapt to living on earth. And luckily Shimmers was willing to help him with that.
- And as for Forest Ranger, nothing prevents him from appearing - said the matriarch bear happily - Lotsa Heart invited him, didn't he?
- Yes, but you know what Forest Ranger looks like, I doubt he'll come - the lion answered with a laugh - In fact, if he comes, it can rain hail and ruin the whole party...
- I thought it was Grumpy who brought rain in the moments of happiness - Funshine joked, making everyone laugh.
- But what about Confidence? - asked the horse curiously - Do you think she comes?
- Well... I wish I could answer that, Noble, but deep down I think... - began the sportsman sadly, when he suddenly widened his eyes and aimed for the hall door - She came...
At that moment, everyone turned to the door to see the fennec standing there, a little afraid whether or not to come in, seeing the surprise that her presence had caused them. After all, she gave no hope that she would attend the party, much less have an interest in it. Her sudden appearance caused admiration in those bears and cousins, who smiled encouragingly at her.
- Good evening everyone - she said with a smile on her lips as she walked in - I brought you some cheese pies. It's warm, I hope you like it...
- If they're as delicious as the smell, you can bet so - said Wish Bear happily, taking the tray from the fennec.
- Are you a cook or a karate girl? - asked Playful Heart mischievously.
- The two, and a little more too, that you'll find out over time.
- We're glad you decided to join the party with us - said Noble Heart, approaching the fighter - We were missing you. Isn't it, Champ?
- You bet, yes, sport fan - replied the sportsman excitedly - You are now part of our team, and we feel helpless when one of us is not together to fraternize on those dates. This may seem strange, but Care Bear Family is very fond of being united...
- I already noticed - confessed the young female, looking at her friends - I thank you for accepting my presence here at the party. I had thought that, having not helped at all during the preparation, you all would not like to see me here.
- We should be really mad about that - True Heart murmured, arms crossed and her eyes glowering, but finally relaxing her features a little - But it's Christmas, let's forget about it.
- Exactly - agreed Noble Heart, smiling at his wife - And you will have the opportunity to help us, Confidence. We still have to do something very important for our party to be complete, and in a way we left it to the end, waiting for you to appear to do it...
That surprised the fennec, who looked at the horse and the sportsman bear curiously.
- And what would that be? - asked the fighter.
- The star is still missing from the top of the Christmas tree - Champ said, pointing to the empty end of the pine tree - Each year one of us is chosen to place the star so that the party is complete. And this year we chose you, the newest member of Care Bear Family.
- Do you accept this mission, Confidence Heart? - asked the patriarch, with a kind, hopeful smile on his lips that was reflected on the faces of each of those present.
Put the golden star on the top of the Christmas tree. Never would the fennec imagine being invited to do so, especially since she knew all the symbology it represented for Care Bear Family. And only one real member of this Family had that right, which meant she had actually been accepted. When Grams Bear emerged holding the shiny gold object in the hands, the fighter gave a small smile, happy with the confidence her new friends placed in her.
- Yes, I accept this mission - said the young woman cheerfully.
- So feel free to do it - Noble replied as he hugged that new "daughter" they were earning.
Carefully taking the object from the old female bear's hand, Confidence placed it delicately under her left arm, so that she could climb the large blue wooden staircase that Grumpy, Tenderheart and Cozy had set up and were holding beside the tree. But before she climbed, she glanced at her friends who were encouragingly smiling, and slowly started up the stairs.
And with each step up, scenes passed in the mind of the young female. Scenes from her childhood with the Canadian family, scenes from when she lived alone, thinking that none of her siblings lived or cared for her, scenes from when she became a karate master, when she found Love heart Bear, when the family came together again, when her youngest sister Sweet Heart Pegasus was born, from her departure for that mission to the Kingdom, from her first encounter with those she now also called family. Her heart had discovered in those last months new feelings, which had been hidden all those years under the fennec's hard way of being. Now she was beginning to understand what it was to be a Care Cousin, what it really was to help others. What it was like to be part of a big family happy and united by the feeling of love, something she had never understood before and hoped to share with the rest of her own.
Finally she reached the top of the stairs and the pine tree, and carefully placed the five-pointed golden star in its place, making sure that it was securely attached, so that the next instant the object would light up thanks to the magic of love, making the fennec smile with joy.
- Merry Christmas everyone! - shouted Playful Heart, throwing paper confetti into the air.
- Merry Christmas! - answered the others in unison.
- Merry Christmas - Confidence murmured, looking at the still smiling star before finally coming down and joining the others at the party.
The Care Bear Family had a tradition of waiting until midnight before exchanging gifts, so everyone was anxious when the clock announced that it was only a minute to go. So far, there had been a lot of dancing, a lot of jokes, a lot of food, a lot of happiness.
Playful and Bright made a cloud war outside, many of them participating in it. Some couples danced in the hall, such as Loyal and Proud, Bright Heart and Gentle, Champ and Cheer. At one point Aqua had invited Confidence to dance to the tunes Harmony sang and played on her stereo. Noble Heart and True Heart, on the other hand, celebrated seeing their family so united that day, and with such peace.
The seconds ticked by in that last minute of the 24th. It felt like a real eternity until the countdown began. Five... Four... Three... Two... One...
- Merry Christmas! - they all shouted happily, beginning to hug each other, congratulating each other for that moment, an incredible experience for the fennec, which had never felt so much affection in life.
Then it was time for presents, each exchanging his own. No one was left without presents. Not even the fighter, who had been empty-handed, but had won a beautiful tiara of Noble, a new karate kimono of Champ, a blue seashell of Aqua and Lonesome, a record of her favorite anime songs of Harmony, among a few other things, which surprised the female very much.
- Next year I'll have to provide a lot of gifts in return for these - she said to Champ, after the party was over and almost dawn, as they walked down the street - Honestly, I never imagined being so well accepted by you the way I was... Especially by you, who is my best friend here.
- You don't have to thank, sports fan - said the sportsman, who was helping the fennec bring his gifts home - And you don't have to give me any gifts.
- I really don't need to or you just want to curl up me?
- Well... If you want to give me some karate lessons, I gladly accept then. I already have my gi, bought it with your...
- Ah! So you gave me this gi with ulterior motives, didn't you?
- I confess so - said the bear shyly, when they reached the door of the young female's house, who soon came in and placed her presents on the couch, doing the same with those in Champ's hands without uttering a single word.
Suddenly she raised her head and looked at the athlete with a mischievous smile.
- Okay, so be it - she said cheerfully - If no unforeseen circumstances arise, I'll wait for you tomorrow after lunch at the gym to start your karate lessons.
- Thanks, Confidence! - exclaimed the bear, his eyes sparkling with emotion - Now we'd better go to sleep, sport fan. Especially for you, who have had a real adventure in recent days, and let me participate in it. How do you feel now that it's over?
- I don't know why, Champ, but I really think our adventure is just beginning - said the fighter maliciously.
- Maybe so, only time will tell - agreed the sportsman with a thoughtful smile on his lips - Merry Christmas, Confidence. Good night to you.
- Merry Christmas, Champ - said the female fox, closing the door of her house as the bear walked away.
Some time later she was preparing to lie down. Those last days had been very exciting for her. What could the future hold for her? She shook her head, as if to get rid of that thought, and shifted under the sheet, glancing at the moon shining through the windowpane.
- Merry Christmas, everyone - she concluded, falling asleep with a small smile on her lips, feeling that this really was the best Christmas of her life, a Christmas of peace, love and unity, as everyone deserves to have, no matter the country, no matter the origin, no matter the belief, religiosity. Christmas is the time to celebrate the unity of the family, the union of those who love each other from the heart, the union of peoples and languages. The moment to celebrate the union of the world...
So I wish everyone who read this short story a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!