Unwanted Allure, Impending Danger Chpt4
Falco yawned as he walked down the hall towards the kitchens, dreading breakfast with the team. His thoughts were a mix of generally unpleasant apprehensions, having to deal with Slippy, Peppy, and Fox's no doubt cold attitude towards him, while also trying to not act any differently towards Fox, even though he'd just had the surprise of his life, learning that Fox played for the other team. He entered the kitchen, and saw that Peppy was sitting at the table, drinking coffee. He glanced up to see who had entered the kitchen, and narrowed his eyes as he saw it was Falco. Falco briefly considered saying good morning to him, but knew that Peppy wouldn't care for pleasantries with him.
He got himself some toast, and ate it at the kitchen counter. Slippy entered the kitchen, and made a point of ignoring Falco as he prepared his own breakfast. Falco endured the tense silence, and generally uncomfortable atmosphere, until finally, Fox entered the room.
“Good morning, guys.” The greeting broke through the quiet, and Falco gave a hesitant 'good morning' back to Fox. Fox gave him a curt nod, and started setting up his breakfast as well. As he sat down, he addressed Falco once more.
“Since you're one of us again, I should probably brief you on the mission we're on.” Falco nodded and continued to listen.
“Our client is a luxury starcruiser company. They're sending one of their new ships on it's maiden voyage, and they want us to protect it from any attacks by pirates. It's carrying a lot of wealthy passengers, and that will make it a big target. You'll be guarding the flank of the ship with Slippy. Any questions?” Falco shook his head, but hoped he didn't look as disappointed as he felt, about being assigned to the rear of the formation with Slippy. Slippy's eye twitched and it was clear he wasn't happy with the decision either.
“We'll be arriving at the company's spaceport in about three hours, so everybody be ready by then.” Fox turned his attention to eating his breakfast. Falco took the last bite of his toast and walked out of the kitchen, heading back to his room to wait. At least this job was better than anything that Katt and him had managed to scrounge up.
'Damn, I've gotta stop thinking about her...' Falco sighed as he felt the now familiar pang in his chest again. It was definitely hard NOT to think of Katt, besides the fact that she'd hurt him like this, just having the team treat him differently was a reminder that he'd left them for her.
'I can't believe I'm at the back of the formation. Well... I guess I shouldn't have expected to be back up front with Fox again... but to put me in back with Slippy? As if things weren't awkward enough, I've got to be right by the only teammate who said he'd shoot me down! ' Falco ran his hand over his face, letting out an exasperated sigh. 'I've just gotta deal with it. I still have to apologize to Fox, and not seem like I'm just sucking up to him, for my old formation spot. And I hope I can keep a normal expression on my face, not give away that I found out his secret. I still can't believe that he's gay...'
Falco shook his head, scolding himself. It didn't matter that Fox was gay, right? It's not like Fox was suddenly going to start declaring everything FABULOUS, and start making passes at him. It was just... a shock to find out that someone who he thought he knew better than anyone, had been hiding such a big secret from him. Hell, he was STILL keeping it from him. If Falco had just gone back to his room, and tried to talk to Fox again later, he wouldn't have found out Fox's secret.
'It's none of my business. It just... changes the way I see him a little. It's just going to be a little voice at the back of my head reminding me that he's attracted to men, whenever I talk to him. ' Falco entered his room, and took a seat at his desk, turning on his computer. While he waited for it to boot up, his thoughts turned back to Katt again. He sighed. He'd discovered Fox's secret while he was going to send Katt a message. He opened up his email, opening a blank message. And sat there. What exactly would he say to her? 'Katt, why'd you do this to me? Katt, why'd you stomp on my heart? Katt, you're a heartless bitch?' Falco growled in frustration. He closed his email, not bothering to send anything. He couldn't even think of a single thing to say to her anyway. What do you say to someone who dumps you, because they essentially got tired of being with you? Because they didn't feel a 'spark' anymore? Falco felt his chest ache, recalling her words to him. He walked over to his bed, flopping down, deciding to wait for the Great Fox to reach the starship spaceport.
Fox was in the hangar, running a last check on his Arwing, something he always did before a mission. As usual, it was in perfect condition, and he let out a satisfied sigh as he climbed down from the cockpit. He glanced over at Falco's Arwing, curious to see if Falco had been keeping up with maintenance on it. It looked like he'd been taking care of it well, but obviously he hadn't been able to afford same high quality parts and tools that the team had access to. Maybe he should tell Falco to fix it up a little, before they arrived at the spaceport? Usually, Slippy was the one who would fix up their Arwings, but Fox didn't think it would be fair for Slippy to have to deal with Falco at the back of the formation with him, AND have to fix up Falco's Arwing, while he was still so angry at the bird. Fox had felt a small pang of guilt at breakfast, seeing the look in Falco's eyes as he was told his new position in the formation. But putting Falco in the back was only fair. After all, they'd gotten used to their three pilot formation in his absence, and it wouldn't be wise to mess up the dynamic so abruptly just because Falco had returned. Besides, Falco had to earn his place back at the front, Fox hadn't seen him for two years, and didn't know if Falco's skill had diminished at all.
Fox sighed. He didn't know much at all about Falco's activities after he left, besides his relationship and breakup with Katt. Falco wasn't one to wear his heart on his sleeve, and a breakup with someone who he cared about enough to abandon his team for was definitely going to affect him negatively. If the team treated him like some kind of traitor, or pariah, because of his actions it would only wear away at Falco. Fox growled to himself. He did want to ask Falco how he was dealing with the breakup, but he couldn't help but still be angry at the bird. They were best friends, hell, Fox considered Falco the brother he never had. It had felt like a knife in the back when he'd read Falco's 'farewell' note. He'd felt as though he'd lost a family member again. He'd hoped that he had appeared stoic to Peppy and Slippy, but he had a suspicion that his two friends knew how awful he'd been feeling.
So many scenario's had run through his head in the two years Falco had been gone. Falco had been in a gang back when they'd first met in Corneria City, a member of the Hot Rodders. Had he gone back to settle some kind of unfinished business? Fox had written that theory off rather quickly, Falco hadn't had any contact with the Hot Rodders for a long while. Not since the Titania Incident where the team had worked with them to take out that insane Cornerian Army officer who'd tried to clone Andross. Fox had asked a favor from General Pepper to inform him if any info on Falco's whereabouts came through the military, but the General hadn't been able to find him. That had only added to his negative feelings. It had been a tough two years.
And now Falco was back. Fox had been pissed at first, but the moment he had stepped into the hangar to give Falco a punch, and saw the bird standing there, the flood of relief at seeing him again had overcome his desire to hurt him. Falco had even fully expected Fox to punch him, and had been stunned when he received a hug instead. Hell, Fox himself had been stunned that he had hugged Falco, instead of slugging him. Sure, he was still livid with the bird, but he couldn't deny that he was glad to see his best friend was safe.
Fox was startled out of his thoughts, as ROB's voice came over the intercom, informing him that they would arrive at the company's spaceport in about ten minutes. Wow, where had the time gone? Fox leaned against his Arwing, waiting for the team to arrive down to meet him. Hopefully, this mission would go smoothly, even with all the tension between Falco and the team. If pirates did decide to make a move on the starship they were guarding, a team effort was vital, and animosity between members of a team, was NEVER good for team coordination. Fox heard the sound of the elevator doors echo down the hallway, and moments later the sound of his team's footsteps.
The ride down the elevator with Peppy and Slippy was much worse than his ride up with Fox yesterday. Falco could practically feel the disdain for his presence, emanating off of the toad and hare. The unpleasant silence on the trip down was like some kind of crushing presence, only there to remind Falco that Peppy and Slippy once treated him like family. Would they ever forgive him? Falco didn't know if he could stand being treated like this forever. They had to warm up to him again at some point, accept his apologies and stop treating him like some kind of scumbag right? At least Fox was actually acknowledging his presence, and not flat out IGNORING him...
They stepped into the hangar, seeing Fox waiting for them near his Arwing. He gave them all a satisfied nod, and began to climb up into the cockpit. Falco got situated into his own Arwing, and waited for Fox to clear them for deployment. As Fox gave the order, Falco felt a small nostalgic rush, bubbling up through his anxiety. Going through this part was almost like a rehearsed play. Even after two years not working with the team, this was all perfectly familiar to him. They took off, flying towards the spaceport, as Fox's voice came over their comm channels, telling them to check their G-Diffusers.
“This is Peppy, all systems go.”
“Slippy here, I'm okay.”
“Falco here. I'm fine.”
It was a little less familiar, being the last one to reply, another reminder of his new position in the teams formation. Falco sighed in disappointment, but was determined to not let it affect his piloting. He'd show Fox that he was still worthy of flying in the front with him, that he could still handle some dogfight action. Well, if there was any dogfight action on this mission to show his piloting wasn't affected. He didn't know if pirate activity was very high in this sector of Cornerian space. He hadn't been this far out since he'd left the team, all the random escort or delivery jobs he and Katt had managed to get were all barely out of Corneria's orbit.
'Damn, she's popping up in my thoughts AGAIN! Just forget her, she doesn't give a damn about your feelings! ' Falco let out an irritated huff, ignoring the hurt in his chest. Fox's voice came over his communications, informing the team that the spaceport was hailing them. Falco let out a sigh of relief.
'Finally... let's get to work. '