Unwanted Allure, Impending Danger Chpt2
On a ship, docked in Corneria City...
“I still can't believe WE got hired to take out the most famous mercenary team ever, and we can't even take credit for it!” A coyote with tawny fur complained, leaning back against the wall of the training room. There was a chuckle from the other occupant of the room, and the sound of fists hitting a punching bag, a quick flurry of blows.
“We're only supposed to take out the two sidekicks that nobody cares about. The client wants McCloud alive.” A few more fast punches connected with the punching bag, before it's attacker jumped up, knocking the heavy bag sideways with an expertly delivered roundhouse kick. “Besides, it's not like we're taking them on in some epic space dogfight. They'll be dead before they realize they're being attacked.”
“I know, I know, it's just...COME ON! It's the STARFOX team! Heroes of the Lylat Wars, inspiration to all pilots, total badasses! And we won't ever get ANY kind of recognition for it? Sure, we're just gonna ambush them while they're busy, but its the only way to take them ALL out at once, and snatch McCloud alive!” The coyote let out a huff. “Nigel was a tad disappointed that their ace pilot wasn't with them anymore. He was actually looking forward to testing his mettle against Lombardi.” This earned another chuckle from the coyote's companion.
“As good as Nigel is, I'd probably have put money on Lombardi shooting him down. I'll admit though, Nigel IS the only one of us who would even have a small chance at taking down an ace pilot like Lombardi.” A powerful kick met the punching bag again. “But Nigel still wouldn't be fighting him in a dogfight, even if Lombardi was still on the StarFox team. He's the only REAL pilot we have, and the StarFox team would wipe the rest of us out without breaking a sweat, and then just all gang up on Nigel. No pilot can take on a team of 4 alone.” The coyote nodded his head in agreement of his companion's assessment. He watched his companion pummel the punching bag for a while, before speaking up again.
“I still don't see why you do so much of that hand to hand crap. It's not like you ever actually have to fight anyone hand to hand, we always just gun 'em down. Is it some sort of pride thing? You took all that time to learn it, and now even though you don't use it, you still want to get something out it?” The coyote's conversation partner stopped hitting the bag, and stopped to look back at him.
“Not at all. Even though I rarely get to beat someone down with my hands, when those times do roll around, there is nothing more satisfying than dominating your opponent in a physical fight. Especially if they think that they can beat you.” An excited glint appeared in the speaker's eyes. “The feeling I get when fighting hand to hand is so different from the adrenaline rush you get from a gunfight. The look that they get on their faces when they realize that they have no chance to beat me...that I'm just toying with them...it makes me shiver with anticipation. Once I see that look, I know it's time for the coup de grâce.” The coyote shuddered a little, a mildly disturbed look on his face.
“You know, Garvan...before I met you, I had no idea that a hare could be so fucking creepy.” Garvan let out a hearty laugh at that, giving the coyote a firm, but friendly punch on the arm.
“It must be our funny ears right?” Garvan wiggled his ears, earning a laugh from the coyote. “C'mon, Marley, lets head down to the blaster range. I bet Grey is down there practicing for the StarFox job.” Marley grinned and followed the hare out of the training room.
On board the Great Fox...
Peppy's eye twitched, as he stared at Falco. Slippy had a look of disbelief on his face, and Fox just stood with his arms crossed, an indiscernible expression on his face.
“So, let me make sure we have the gist of this...” Peppy began, “You ditched us in the middle of the night, to go begin a relationship with Katt Monroe, didn't contact us for over two years, and now that she's dumped your sorry behind, you come crawling back to us? Is that about right?” Falco cringed at the tone of Peppy's voice, it sounded like the hare was barely keeping himself from actually YELLING at him. Slippy's expression shifted from disbelief to anger.
“How could you do that to us Falco? Do we really mean that little to you, that you left us for Katt, without a backwards glance?” Falco looked away in shame, taking a short breath before answering.
“I can't say anything to make it up to you. You guys mean the world to me, and it was very difficult to just leave you all, but I needed to see if I had a future with Katt.” Peppy scoffed at this, and Slippy just shook his head. Peppy turned to Fox, who had been quiet throughout the whole story Falco told.
“Well, Fox? Are you really gonna let 'fair-weather' Falco back on the team? Clearly, we don't matter all that much to him.”
“That's not true! I just-”
“I believe he was speaking to FOX, Lombardi.” Slippy interrupted Falco.
Falco fell silent and looked at Fox, with a defeated expression. Fox stared back at him, with the same indiscernible look he'd worn throughout the whole explanation. There was a tense silence for a moment, before Fox spoke.
“He's back on the team.” Peppy's mouth dropped open in disbelief, Slippy mirroring his reaction. “He could have just stayed gone. He came back to us. That's good enough for me.” Fox walked past Falco, who also had an expression of shock on his face.
“We haven't touched your room. All the stuff you left behind is still there. Go get reacquainted with it.” Falco sputtered out a thanks before hurrying off to the crew cabins. Peppy stepped forward, gesturing in the direction Falco went.
“Are you SERIOUS!? After hearing that garbage excuse, you're just gonna let him come back?” Fox sighed turning to face Peppy.
“Look, I don't expect you to agree with me, but as RIDICULOUS as his story was, I kind of...sympathized with him.” Peppy sputtered, about to say something but Fox interrupted him.
“Honestly, Peppy? I might have done the same thing if I met the right person. Real love is something rare, something that you shouldn't pass up if you get the chance. I can't BLAME Falco for taking that chance, and doing what he did, but I'm not just FORGIVING him either. Alright?” Peppy's mouth opened and closed as he tried to think of something to respond to that with, before he just let out a huff.
“It's your decision Fox. I hope you don't regret it.” The gray furred hare started back for his station, and Slippy just shook his head in frustration, before heading back to his cabin. Fox let out another sigh. It was going to be pretty tense for a while. But he meant what he said. Katt and Falco always seemed to be attracted to each other, and he truly didn't blame Falco for taking a chance, but hated the way he had done it. Falco was going to have to earn his forgiveness. 'Heh, I wonder if I WOULD ditch the team, if I found the right guy...' Fox started to make his way to the ship's training room. He hadn't punched Falco, but he could at least picture the bird's face on the punching bag.
Falco stood in his room, still in disbelief that Fox had accepted him back after hearing WHY he left. He'd been more confident before boarding the Great Fox, but after seeing Peppy and Slippy's reactions to his story, he'd had doubts that Fox would let him stay again. 'I can always count on Fox to have my back. Even if I didn't have his...' Falco felt another wave of shame and guilt at that, and he sat down on his bed, letting out a sigh. 'At least he doesn't seem to HATE me like Pep' and Slippy...'
Suddenly, the door hissed open making Falco jump, startled. Slippy stood in his doorway, a look of angry determination on his face. He stepped toward Falco, the bird watching him apprehensively, and stopped just in front of him. Because Falco was still sitting, his eyes were just about level with Slippy's fierce glare. The toad kept up the glare for a moment before finally speaking.
“We were all hurt when you just abandoned us Falco. But Fox? He took it the worst. He was trying really hard to hide it, but Peppy and I could see that he was miserable. You're his best fucking friend. And you just left him a note, 'So long guys, I might never come back!'? He wasn't himself for practically the whole two years! He was short tempered, more reckless on missions, and I can count the number of times he laughed or smiled on one hand!” Slippy poked a finger into Falco's chest.
“You caused that Falco! He was angry at you, but he was so worried for you! You never contacted us, and that damn note was so ominous, that Fox thought you might have left for some impossible fight, and wouldn't be back because you would be dead! He even asked General Pepper to keep him posted on any signs of your whereabouts! He obviously didn't find you, and that just made Fox worse!” Slippy took an angry breath, “I know how kind Fox is. I know that as angry as he is at you, he's more relieved that you're back. And I know that he won't say this, but I will.” Slippy leaned even closer to Falco, getting right in his face.
“If you decide to abandon us again, hurt Fox like that again...don't bother coming back. I'll blow you out of the sky.” Slippy's voice trembled a little as he said the last part, clearly knowing that it was an empty threat, and he wouldn't stand a chance in a dogfight with Falco, but Falco still knew how significant just being threatened was. The small toad had NEVER threatened anyone, let alone a teammate. Falco felt more ashamed, at this realization. He'd driven SLIPPY to threaten him. And apparently, he'd hurt Fox far worse than he thought. He let out a shaky breath before answering Slippy.
“Slippy, I won't ever abandon this team again. I promise.” Slippy stood there, keeping up his glare for a moment, before turning to leave.
“You better keep that promise, Falco.” Slippy left the room leaving Falco to wallow in even more guilt. He'd just been feeling better that Fox was on his side, and now even THAT made him feel guilty. Falco laid back and stared at the ceiling as his thoughts continued to beat him up. First, Katt had torn his heart in half, and now, seeing what his departure had done to the team, to his family, was just making it that much worse. He let out another sigh, before coming to a sudden decision. 'I've gotta apologize to Fox.'