Sage Heart sat on the front steps to the wooden cabin he had built over the last eight years and watched as Love Heart and Independent Bear sparred with their swords. Love Heart wielding a pair of straight swords with guards shaped like blooming roses from which the blades emerged and Independent Bear two-handing a katana with an oval shaped guard.
“Be careful. Just because you can’t harm each other with your sword doesn’t mean it won’t hurt,” Sage Heart called, one hand cupped to his mouth.
Love Heart jumped back to avoid a downwards slash from Independent’s katana and grinned, “I’m always careful dad.” He swung sideways with his right handed sword, which Independent Bear blocked, then swung his left sword upwards, barely missing the silver bear’s chin. He held the sword with the point tickling Independent Bear’s heart-shaped nose. “I…win…Indy.” Love Heart panted but smiled.
Independent Bear nodded and slumped back to the ground, panting as he let his katana vanish in a puff of smoke.
Love Heart let his swords vanish then turned and grinned at his father, “How…was that…dad?”
Sage Heart smiled back, stood up and walked over to Love Heart, ruffling the fur on green bear’s head. “You’re getting better. A little longer and you won’t be so tired when you finish.”
Indy sat for another minute to catch his breath before he stood up. “I’m still not good enough,” he kicked the dirt dejectedly.
Sage Heart walked over to Independent Bear and put a hand on his shoulder, lifting the silver bear’s chin so he could look his adopted son in the eye. “Indy, you’re still holding back. I know I said to be careful but if you keep this up then you won’t get better.” He released his hold then smiled, “I promise nothing that bad will happen again.” Independent Bear nodded, then coughed slightly as his stomach growled.
“Dad, I’m hungry,” Love Heart said, hands over his stomach.
Sage Heart laughed, “Alright then, I’ll get something ready.”
Ten minutes later, Sage Heart had a large cooking fire going, Indy was slicing up potatoes and leeks with a knife he’d created from his tummy symbol, and Love Heart had gone off to gather water from the nearby river. Once he was sure the fire was burning safely, Sage Heart started drawing a grid in the dirt with his finger.
Indy stopped chopping for a moment and watched his adopted father with interest, “What are you doing, dad?”
“Some advanced geokinesis,” Sage Heart put his hands over the grid in the dirt and squeezed his hands into fists, forming a crude grid-shaped metal grill in the dirt grooves. “Not bad.”
“Wow, so that’s how you do it,” Indy just stared for a moment until Sage Heart pointed back to the half-chopped vegetables. Indy shook his head and went back to chopping as Sage Heart positioned his grill over the fire to heat up.
A few minutes later Love Heart returned with a large bucket full of water. Sage Heart smiled, remembering the first time Love Heart had gone to get the water, staggering back under the weight of the bucket he’d created using his tummy symbol and the water inside. Now Love Heart carried the bucket easily in one hand. “Alright here it is. Is there room on the fire?”
Sage Heart nodded, “Right here,” he pointed to the side where he wasn’t currently frying the leeks and potatoes. Love Heart set the bucket down and watched, waiting for it to boil while Sage Heart turned the grilling roots over with a flat stone. Eight years on and still his tummy symbol wasn’t working. At least he remembered how it worked so he could teach Love Heart and Independent Bear how to use theirs. In a couple more years they could create a cloud car and all three of them could make their triumphant return home.
He looked up and smiled at the two boys speaking. He had told Indy some time ago that he was adopted but it didn’t phase him, he and Love Heart were brothers and that was all there was to it as far as either of them was concerned, what surprised Sage Heart were Independent Bear’s abilities. Indy was psychic, at least that was the best way Sage Heart could define it. From when their training began the silver bear displayed the ability to move things with his mind and even touch his and Love Heart’s minds, though he was hesitant to do so. Sage Heart had to work with just the basics when it came to teaching Indy, but at least the ideas of control and focus were fairly universal.
While he waited for lunch, Love Heart sat with his hands facing each other and stared at the empty space in-between his palms. Sparks jumped between his fingers and Love Heart smiled as a sustained field of blue electricity formed.
“Cool huh?” Love Heart smiled as he looked up at Indy.
“Cool…” Indy gazed at the lightning Love Heart was holding.
“I can do it without getting tired now, I can even shoot big bolts!” Love Heart grinned as he let the lightning disperse.
“Lunch is ready.” Sage Heart lifted the water, that had boiled to stand still, and the cooked vegetables onto a large clean rock they used as a serving plate.
“Alright, I’m starving!” Love Heart jumped up and conjured a pair of drinking glasses from his tummy symbol, passing one to Sage Heart before he took a dip from the now boiled clean water for a much needed drink, then gasped as he nearly scalded his tongue.
“Be careful,” Sage Heart scooped his own drink out and blew on it to disperse the heat and Indy did the same.
Indy paused mid-drink and looked up, “What’s that?”
“Is something wrong?” Sage Heart looked over to his adopted son.
“I thought I heard someone else nearby, in my head.” Indy searched the sky hoping to see someone. “Never mind.” He felt his stomach growl and reached for a cooled potato chunk that he popped into his mouth.
“Eight long years of waiting and finally you’re ready.” No-Heart opened the hidden safe in his laboratory wall and retrieved the amulet that held Life Heart Unicorn imprisoned, the red gem glowing like a miniature sun. “Hopefully this experiment is not a failure like the last ones I attempted with their kind.” He hung the amulet around his neck and immediately felt the energy surging through his entire body. “Yes! This is the power I’ve craved for so long!”
“BOSS!” Beastly came tumbling through the laboratory doorway. “I found them! Three Care Bears living on earth!”
“What!?” No-Heart turned. His eyes literally blazing as he stared down Beastly. Before Beastly could answer, No-Heart found himself peering into the brown creature’s thoughts, seeing the entire scene laid before him, even the path he’d taken to return to the castle. “So the unicorn’s mate and offspring plus one more. I can think of no more fitting victims to be the first to fall to her power!” Beastly dove behind a table as No-Heart transformed into a tornado, the winds nearly shaking the castle apart as he flew through the window.
Love Heart took another long drink of water finishing off his last portion for the meal. “That’s good!” He smacked his lips and leaned back, staring at the sky. “Looks like rain,” he pointed upwards at a dark cloud bank that was approaching.
“Odd, it doesn’t feel…like…” Sage Heart looked upwards and his eyes widened. A tingle went up his spine as he saw a dark twister approaching from the clouds as he whispered, “No-Heart.”
“What?” Independent Bear asked then blinked and looked up, wide-eyed. “That mind, it hurts!” he held his head.
“Indy, what’s wrong?” Love Heart grabbed his brother’s shoulders.
Sage Heart rounded on his sons, eyes wide with terror. “You two need to run, now!”
“Run, but dad!” Love Heart protested.
“Just run!” Sage Heart shouted right as a purple lightning bolt rent the skies and struck their cabin home, shattering it into thousands of splinters. Sage Heart threw himself in front of his sons and cried out in pain as his skin was pierced in dozens of places by the wood splinters. Sage Heart shouted one last time as the tornado approached the ground “RUN!”
Love Heart Bear and Independent Bear ran.
No-Heart landed with a fury, tearing the trunks off the trees surrounding the clearing as he transformed into his natural state. He and Sage Heart Bear stared each other down, No-Heart’s eyes widened as the last wisps of surface thoughts entered his mind. “After I kill you, I will kill your offspring then destroy the rest of the Care Bears!” he raised his hand, forming a massive ball of lightning and hurled it at Sage Heart.
Fear and adrenaline galvanized Sage Heart into action, the ball scorching his fur as he jumped away only to be thrown backwards by the explosion. He landed on his back and dragged himself to his feet only to be facing down a giant purple wolf. Sage Heart dove to the side as the No-Heart wolf bit at him, grabbing a tree instead and tearing it from the ground roots and all. He hurled the uprooted tree at Sage Heart, not bothering to see if it hit he changed into an elephant and raised up on his hind legs before slamming the ground, sending cracks through the earth, fissures only stopped by the tree roots that remained.
“Gotta… stall him,” Sage Heart was already beaten and bloody, barely avoiding having his head taken off by the hurled tree. He stood on shaky legs and raised his right arm over his head. With a sweep, he created and hurled a dozen razor sharp metal shards towards No-Heart, that bounced harmlessly off his thick hide.
“You are helpless!” No-Heart changed into a tiger and pounced on Sage Heart. Unable to dodge, Sage Heart was pinned and he felt sharp pains in his chest. No-Heart licked his tiger lips and moved for the killing bite, only for Sage Heart to hurl a handful of dirt into his eyes. No-Heart roared, loosening the pressure on Sage Heart enough for him to pull out of the way, using the earth to drag himself along. One more time, Sage Heart stood up to face No-Heart as he assumed his true form, and wiped the dirt from his eyes.
“Your resistance bores me, but I feel you should know something.” No-Heart tapped his glowing amulet. “This amulet contains the power of your mate, the unicorn, harnessed and stored for eight years for the sole purpose of destroying your kind!” No-Heart started gathering magic.
“Life Heart?” Sage Heart whispered, his eyes going wide. That’s what had happened, this sick dark wizard had imprisoned her, used her as nothing more than a tool to increase his magical might, taking her with her still infant son and torn away from their loving family for this?! Sage Heart bared and ground his teeth, his eyes narrowing. An unfamiliar rage bubbled up from within in and despite his pain he took a ready stance. “You did that to her, you you!”
For the first time in almost a decade, Sage Heart felt the warm glow from his tummy. His symbol was aglow and he shouted the first words that came to mind. “CARE BEAR STARE!” A beam of white energy fired off form his tummy symbol and struck No-Heart squarely in the chest.
No-Heart stumbled backward, the spell he’d been charging dissipating as he glared at the iridescent blue bear. “Your stare cannot-” He had no time to finish as Sage Heart charged forwards. His symbol glowed and a sword appeared in Sage Heart’s hands, an unadorned longsword with a cross guard. Sage Heart struck downwards at No-Heart, slicing his robe but only creating sparks as he struck the wizard’s skin.
No-Heart was still in shock which gave Sage Heart a moment to think. He looked down at the sword then to the amulet that still hung from No-Heart’s neck. “Life Heart, if you can hear me this is either going to save your life or end it,” tears leaked from his eyes, “but no matter what, I will free you from this prison today!” While No-Heart was still reeling Sage Heart charged once more, his tummy symbol blazing bright white and swung his sword with all his might, striking the amuelt’s crystal with a blade wreathed in the white glow of a Care Bear Stare.
At first there were just red sparks jumping from the amulet, then it cracked and there was a massive explosion.
Love Heart Bear and Independent Bear kept running, right up until a wake of energy that followed the explosion knocked them to the ground.
“Dad!” Love Heart pushed himself to his feet and stared back in the direction he had originally come.
“No don’t!” Indy grabbed Love Heart’s leg, “Dad told us to run!”
Love Heart struggled against Indy’s grip, managing to drag him forwards a couple steps, “I can’t leave him!” Love Heart finally wrestled his leg free from Indy’s grasp and charged back the way they had come. Indy pushed himself to his feet and ran after his brother.
Where once had stood a cabin in the middle of a clearing there was only an ash filled crater, and No-Heart. The wizard’s robes had burned, revealing gaunt legs and arms but his hood remained intact, enough to obscure his face save for his red eyes. Half the crystal of his amulet was gone and sparks continuously danced outwards from the broken crystal, “NO! Ruined! All of it ruined by her wretched mate!”
“Where’s my dad!?” No-Heart turned to see Love Heart standing at the edge of the clearing and panting.
No-Heart sneered, “He’s gone, along with the source of my power.”
Love Heart’s face fell, “No…”
No-Heart raised a hand and tried to shoot a bolt of lightning, only for purple static to crackle in his palm as the amulet around his neck sputtered and sparked. Love Heart cried out and whirled his arms around himself before firing off a bolt of blue lightning that struck No-Heart in the face, causing him to stumble as he clutched his eyes.
“We will finish this some other time!” No-Heart said as he forced the last of the magic from his amulet to turn him into a tornado that flew away.
“No!” Love Heart ran forwards, conjuring his swords from his tummy symbol, only to swipe at air as No-Heart fled. Love Heart let his swords dissipate as he fell to his knees. “No… dad…” Love Heart started to cry.
Indy was panting as he stumbled into the blasted clearing, finding his adopted brother curled up in the fetal position and sobbing like a newborn baby. “Love Heart?” Indy spoke softly as he approached him and got on his hands and knees, shaking his brother’s shoulder. Love Heart half-heartedly pushed Indy’s arm away and averted his gaze from Independent Bear.
“What?” Indy’s eyes widened.
“Dad’s dead. That purple freak killed him,” Love Heart raised his voice just enough for Indy to hear him.
“No… it can’t…” Indy closed his eyes and tried to listen with his mind, but it was just him and Love Heart, there weren’t even any animals nearby after the battle that had ensued. Indy fell into a sitting position, dropped his face into his hands and cried.
Tenderheart and Brave Heart were up in the attic of the Hall of Hearts digging around some old boxes. “How long have these been here?” Brave Heart asked as he staggered under the weight of a cardboard box.
“Not sure. As long as I can remember,” Tenderheart said. He blew across another box which sent up a cloud of dust, causing both of them to descend into coughing fits, Brave Heart dropping the box he was carrying which broke open and spilled out a dozen or so full binders.
“What’re these?” Brave Heart picked up one of the binders and dusted off the cover.
“Old photo albums.” Tenderheart stepped over to pick up one of the binders and opened it. “Looks like baby pictures.” Tenderheart smiled as he flipped through the album, looking at black and white pictures of himself and the other Care Bears as cubs. Tenderheart paused on one page where an adult bear stood with all the Care Bear cubs around her feet.
“Who’s that?” Brave Heart asked.
“I don’t know, she’s not Grams Bear.” Tenderheart scrunched up his face as he stared at the picture. Absentmindedly he turned to the next page and his mouth fell open.
“Tenderheart, what’s this?” Brave Heart stared at the picture on the page, a picture of an adult horse with all the Care Bear cousin cubs, and on the opposite page a picture of all of them together, along with Grams Bear.
“This makes no sense, we only met a couple years ago, even Grams didn’t know who you were, but if this photo is real…”
“We grew up together, and those two musta looked after us,” Brave Heart pointed to the bear and horse.
“So how- what’s that?” Tenderheart asked as the room began to shake. His question was answered as a wake of energy passed through the building, sending a surge of energy and pain through both his and Brave Heart’s minds, nearly knocking them out.
A moment passed as their minds recovered from the shock and the each spoke a name.
“True Heart Bear!”
“Noble Heart Horse!” Brave Heart hands shot to his head, “I remember, we did grow up together and Noble Heart and True Heart raised us until we fought Dark Heart,”
“And the old castle, that’s where we lived when we were cubs and…” Tenderheart paused, his mind growing fuzzy again, “There was someone else there too, I think.” He shook his head, “But where are True and Noble Heart now?”
“Maybe they’re at the castle, or on earth. Or maybe they’re…dead,” Brave Heart bit his lip when he saw Tenderheart wince at the thought. “I’m just trying to cover all the bases. Let’s go check the castle, we should run into them.”
Tenderheart shook his head, “No, first we have to gather everyone together. We need to tell everyone about this and hope they remember too.”
Brave Heart nodded, “Good idea, I’ll get on the horn and tell everyone to meet us here.” Both leaders stood up and headed down from the attic, leaving the pile of photo albums sitting in the dust.
It didn’t take long for the Care Bear Family to gather and all of them wanted answers.
“Care Bears, Care Bear Cousins please calm down!” Tenderheart had to shout to be heard over the racket the family was making in the Hall of Hearts. Some sharing old memories, some lamenting years lost separated from each other and all of them wanting Tenderheart and Brave Heart to explain what had happened. For what had to be the tenth time Tenderheart tried banging the gavel he had at the table to call to silence, and it failed miserably. Tenderheart looked over to Brave Heart pleadingly and the lion nodded.
Brave Heart stood up, took a deep breath and let out a thunderous roar, “ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRR!”
The whole room shook and everyone quieted down, staring at the lion as he finished and grinned over at Tenderheart, “That good?” he asked.
“Yes thank you,” Tenderheart pulled his hands from his ears and turned to the assembly while Brave Heart sat down. “I know you all have a lot of questions, believe me I have just as many, but the biggest one on my mind is: where are Noble Heart and True Heart.”
As soon as he spoke their names the calamity started up again. “Noble Heart and True Heart!” “How could we forget about them?” “They’ve been missing for half a decade!”
Tenderheart just stared out at the group then turned to Brave Heart. “What’s going on here?”
“Sounds like the same thing that happened to us. As soon as you said their named they just remembered them,” Brave Heart shrugged, “Who knows how much more we gotta remember. I’m sure I’ve forgotten at least one more person.” Brave Heart knocked the side of his head a couple times. “Want me to quiet them down again?”
Tenderheart sighed, “Not yet, let them process this.” He sat back and watched the conversations flying back ant forth, until the front doors of the Hall of Hearts opened.
“I’m sorry we’re late, but we had some trouble with our memories,” True Heart apologized as she stepped through the door with Noble Heart at her side.
The whole hall fell silent as Care Bears and Care Bear Cousins stared at the founders. The silence was finally broken by a young voice speaking up.
“Grams, who are they?” Tugs looked up to his grandmother.
“Oh my,” True Heart put a hand over her mouth as she started to tear up.
“Hugs, Tugs, look how much you’ve grown.” Noble Heart walked over to the twins.
“Who are you?” Hugs asked, stepping forwards curiously.
True Heart walked closer until both she and Noble Heart were in front of the twins. “My name is True Heart Bear and he’s Noble Heart Horse.”
“We’re your parents,” Noble Heart said.
“Go ahead, my little darlings, say hello,” Grams carefully pushed the diapered twins towards their parents.
“Hi mom, hi dad,” Tugs said.
“Oh goody goody gosh, are you really our mom and dad?” Hugs asked, looked up at True Heart and Noble Heart.
True Heart smiled and knelt in front of his daughter. “Yes we are.”
“Whee!” Hugs all but jumped forwards, wrapping True Heart in a tight hug and knocking her back into a sitting position.
“My you’ve gotten big Hugs,” True Heart ruffled her short pink hair, “Last time I saw you you were small enough to hold in my arms.
“I’m so sorry we missed you growing up, Tugs,” Noble Heart knelt down in front of his son, “You’ve grown so much and I didn’t get to see it.” Noble Heart started to cry as he pulled Tugs into a hug of his own.
“Ack! Dad!” Tugs tried to struggle free as several Care Bears laughed as the plight.
Hugs giggled, “Aww don’t be that way, Tugs. Dad’s just happy to see you.”
“Looks like I stepped into an impromptu family reunion.” A new voice from the doorway once again drew everyone’s attention. A red care bear with a smiling apple on her tummy, carrying a large duffle bag and dragging a large suitcase behind her stood there with a tired look on her face.
“Take Care!” Noble Heart smiled and released Tugs, “Looks like you chose the perfect time to come home.” He stood up, walked over to Take Care Bear and gave her a hug. Take Care reciprocated once she set down her luggage.
“Where was she, dad?” Hugs asked.
“School, non-stop school,” Take Heart groaned, “You do not know how badly I need to rest.”
Brave Heart laughed, “Well as long as we’re all here, we might as well turn this into a celebration.”
Tenderheart nodded. “Sounds good to me.”
As almost everyone set about cooking a huge meal, True Heart, Noble Heart, Tenderheart and Brave Heart filled Take Care in on what had happened while she had been away at school.
Take Care sat on a couch and sipped at some herbal tea that Gentle Heart had brewed for her. “Thanks Gentle Heart,” Take Care sighed, “You don’t know how much I missed seeing you.”
“It’s nothing. Can I stay and listen?” Gentle Heart asked.
“Of course,” Take Care scooted over to make room for Gentle Heart to sit down, “Just be warned, I’m probably going to start ranting about my time on earth.”
Gentle Heart nodded, “That’s fine, you need to unwind.”
“You haven’t changed much, physically at least. So you all lost your memories?” Take Care raised an eyebrow.
“Well, mostly. I remembered Noble Heart,” True Heart said.
“And all the Care Bears remembered each other, so did the Care Bear Cousins, we just forgot… each other,” Tenderheart crossed his eyes as he tried to figure out a better phrase.
Brave Heart took over, “He means we didn’t know about the Care Bears even though we knew each other, but not, I mean.”
Take Care held up a hand to silence the two leaders, “I get it, the two groups were separated by memory loss and had to find each other again. So how did you get your memories back. Actually, how did you lose them in the first place?”
“It was probably something No-Heart did,” Brave Heart said and nodded, eyes closed and brow furrowed.
“Wait… yes No-Heart!” True Heart snapped her fingers, “Right before we lost our memories we were going to confront No-Heart.”
“Hold it! Who’s No-Heart?” Take Care looked between the leaders and founders.
“An evil wizard who wants to rid the world of caring,” Gentle Heart put a hand on Take Care’s shoulder.
“So Dark Heart version two, got it,” Take Care sighed, “Do these people have anything else they do with their lives?”
“And Professor Cold Heart,” Tenderheart added.
Take Care pinched the middle of her forehead, “Tell me about him later, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the whole ‘No-Heart stole your memories’ thing.”
“It was right after you left for school and… wait. Take Care did you lose your memories?” Noble Heart asked.
Take Care shook her head, “Nope. If I had I wouldn’t be here and I’d never have finished school, ugg,” Take Care leaned back and held her head. “You do not want to know what I went through down there.”
Noble Heart reached over and took Take Care Bear’s hand in his own, “Yes, I do. You sound like you need to vent.”
“Are you sure?” Take Care asked, “Because I have a lot of frustration I have to unload and I don’t want to bring down the mood here.” She cast her glance over the happy and hard working family members cooking, cleaning and setting up for the big dinner.
Noble Heart nodded.
“If you insist.” Take Care took a deep breath, “First I couldn’t just start medical training I had to power through all twelve grades of school in three months and that was the easy part. When I started the post-secondary courses things went straight to hell really fast. I had to study all the time when I wasn’t in class and I mean All. The. Time. Every waking minute I was pouring over books in my dorm or in the library, that and doing all the homework that piled up. I can’t tell you how many times I woke up with my face literally planted in a book because I forgot to sleep. I don’t know how I absorbed everything that fast, by all rights I should still be at school studying right now but I kept pushing myself so I wouldn’t have to spent a single minute longer in that place than I had to,” Take Care shuddered.
“Was it really that bad?” True Heart asked.
“Yes, it was,” Take Care glared slightly at True Heart, “Schoolwork was hard but at least it was straightforward, dealing with the people there was an entirely different matter. The professors thought I was a joke even after three years of study there, always asking ‘who left a giant stuffed bear in the classroom’ and some even suggesting they wanted to study how I worked. I had to fight them constantly to take me seriously and not dumb down my lessons and even take on extra studies to speed things along. Then there were the other students.” Take Care drained the last of the tea from her cup, “I did my best to avoid them but they never let me hear the end of it. I guess seeing someone different trying to learn in their ‘sacred institution’ offended them in a way we can only imagine. Trust me when I say that you do not, in any way, want to know what they put me through. I’m just thankful they were just as busy with their own classes too or it could have been much worse.” Take Care sighed, “Thanks, I needed to get that load off.”
“That’s perfectly alright, Take Care Bear,” Noble Heart patted her shoulder, “Just rest until dinner’s ready.”
Noble Heart chuckled as he watched Take Care tear into the meal with abandon, “Haven’t eaten well recently I take it.”
Take Care swallowed and wiped her mouth then nodded, “I’ve been subsisting off of instant meals for years. This is the best food I’ve ever eaten.”
“Just take it easy, we don’t want you sick on your first day back,” True Heart cautioned.
Take Care rolled her eyes but sat back in her seat to let her last plate digest for a bit. She scanned the room, taking note of all the familiar faces in the crowd, then asked, “Where are Sage Heart and Love Heart?”
As she spoke those words a jolt seemed to travel through the assembly, but this time it’s didn’t stop or start conversations, just changed the topics. “Little brother Love Heart?” “He was so cute!” “Are they missing?” “Sage Heart? Didn’t he used to visit the forest every now and then?”
True Heart and Noble Heart exchanged nervous glances and Noble Heart spoke, “That has a lot to do with when we first met No-Heart. He kidnapped Love Heart and True Heart, Sage Heart and I went to save him. Sage Heart saved Love Heart and ran off to get help while we dealt with No-Heart and then… everything gets hazy and after that we lost our memories.”
“We should get a search together, find them wherever they are,” Brave Heart stood up from his seat, only to be pulled down by True Heart.
“And we will, but remember they probably don’t know who we are so it won’t be as easy as that. We do have other responsibilities,” True Heart said.
“Alright, but we’ll start searching the minute we have spare time,” Brave Heart pumped his fist then went back to his meal.
The meal eventually wound down and everyone dispersed except for Noble Heart and True Heart. Take Care had gone off with Grumpy and Bright Heart to discuss building both a clinic to accommodate her practice and medical equipment she needed to do her job properly. Hugs and Tugs had gone home with Grams Bear after giving their parents a goodbye hug. Despite their joy at finally meeting their long lost parents, Hugs and Tugs had lived with Grams for so long they just chose to continue living with her instead, and Grams said she’d grown used to looking after her little darlings after all these years.
True Heart sighed as she sat back on the couch they had set up next to one of the walls and Noble Heart came to sit down next to her. They sat in silence for a good while until they were certain they were alone.
True Heart cleared her throat and asked the question that was on both of their minds, “What about Life Heart?”
Noble Heart sighed, his face solemn, “I didn’t know what to say. Take Care doesn’t remember her, then again she never really met her so she probably just forgot about her normally.”
“Life was the one who made us forget, wasn’t she?” True Heart asked.
Noble Heart nodded, “She didn’t want us to put ourselves in danger, after what No-Heart did to her.” He clenched his hands into fists, “First Dark Heart and now No-Heart. We should go over there and-”
“And what? She wiped our memories so we wouldn’t throw ourselves at No-Heart and die in vain,” True Heart grabbed her husband’s arms, trying to stop his trembling, “If she’s the one who cast the memory erasing spell and it stopped…”
“Oh nooooo!” True Heart suddenly burst into tears and ground her face into Noble Heart’s shoulder. Noble Heart stroked her head, trying to be strong but was unable to stop himself from crying as well. He hugged True Heart close as she sobbed brokenheartedly as the realization set in.
Noble Heart helped her to stand, “Let’s sleep in the dorms here tonight. We can sort things out in the morning.” He wiped the tears from his eyes as he and True Heart headed to bed.
Love Heart and Indy had cried themselves to sleep the previous night and Love Heart was the first to wake up. He grumbled and rolled over, shooting awake when his arm was poked by a sharp stick. Love Heart sat up, rubbing the pained part of his forearm and looked around, memories from the previous day coming back to him. Love Heart sighed and looked over to where Indy was still sleeping.
“Dad…” Love Heart wiped his eyes and stood up, “hungry,” he mumbled as he went to search for food.
Indy was awakened by a burning smell. He yawned and sat up to see Love Heart standing next to a bonfire, blowing out a burning potato and onion he had dug up. His eyes were wet with tears either from sorrow or from the sliced onion, possibly both.
“Morning,” Indy muttered as he walked over. “Breakfast?”
“Yeah.” Love Heart nodded as he stuck the roasting stick in the ground to let the food cool off. The brothers sat in silence until the food cooled and Love Heart sliced the potato in half with a knife he conjured to get it off the stick and passed half to Indy. They ate half-heartedly, slowly chewing and swallowing each bite until the potato was gone. Love Heart pulled the two onion halves off the stick and handed one to Indy.
“Don’t like onions,” Indy said.
“Me either, but we need food.” Love Heart pressed the onion half into Indy’s hand then bit into his own half. The burning taste from both the scorched skin and normal onion taste made Love Heart gag and almost throw it on the ground, then he saw Indy grimacing and dong his best to power through the meal so he continued eating.
“What do we do?” Indy asked, looking up at Love Heart who was standing next to him.
“Uh…” Love Heart stared up at the sky, shielding his eyes from the sun. “We find the Care Bears!”
“How?” Indy traced random patterns in the dirt with his finger, “we can’t fly up there?”
“Then we umm… we find some humans and they can help us,” Love Heart answered.
“Where do we find humans?” Indy asked.
Love Heart winced, he hadn’t thought of that. “Lemme think,” he folded his arms and paced, trying to think. Indy watched him pace for almost five minutes before Love Heart snapped his fingers, “I got it!” He pointed to Indy, “You find them!”
Indy fell backwards, taken aback by his brother’s declaration, “What? But what can I do?” he asked. Indy rolled over and then pushed himself up into a wobbly standing position.
“Use your head,” Love Heart tapped his head with his finger, “Use those mind things you can do.”
“Yes that,” Love Heart nodded, a big grin on his face.
Indy averted his gaze from Love Heart. “I dunno, what if something goes wrong again.”
Love Heart flinched, a hand moving over his chest as a phantom pain sprung up. He shook his head then took Indy’s hands in his own, “Nothing bad will happen, I promise.”
Indy slowly turned to look his brother in the eyes, “Are you sure?”
“Uh-huh,” Love Heart nodded.
“OK, but go hide behind that rock until I’m done,” Indy freed one hand from Love Heart’s grip and pointed to a large rock nearby.
“Aww, but I want to see you do it,” Love Heart whined.
Indy smirked and pulled his other hand free from Love Heart’s. He folded his arms and shook his head, “Then no psionics.”
Love Heart scowled and stamped his foot. “Fine! But I’m still gonna look,” the lime green bear turned and marched away until he was behind the big rock Indy had pointed out, poking his head out so he could watch the silver bear work.
Indy took a deep breath and closed his eyes, finding that little spark in his mind that he had to so he could use his powers. As he did he felt his mind expanding outwards, taking in the senses of the world around him. At first he could only sense Love Heart’s mind, then he felt the smaller minds of birds and squirrels that lived in the trees. Indy began to fumble as his sense extended beyond the forest until he found what he was looking for: stronger minds, ones like his and Love Heart’s. Indy turned in place until he was facing in the direction he could feel the minds from. “That way!” Indy pointed as he opened his eyes and the world rushed back to him.
“Cool!” Love Heart popped out from behind the rock and darted over to Indy. “How far?”
“Dunno, pretty far,” Indy kicked the dirt.
“Let’s go!” Love Heart grabbed Indy’s hand and dragged him in the direction he had pointed, almost pulling Indy off his feet though he managed to get up and run along with his brother.
The day wore on and the sun rose overhead. Love Heart finally released Indy’s hand after the first hour of walking but they kept going. It was almost midday when they finally exited the forest. Love Heart shielded his eyes as he peered out at the small town nearby, “That’s gotta be it.”
“So what do we… Love Heart what’s your tummy symbol doing?” Indy pointed to Love Heart’s tummy.
“What?” Love Heart looked down and saw that his tummy symbol was glowing faintly red.
“Why’s it doing that?” Indy asked, looking closer.
“I think dad said is glowed before he found you as a cub.” Love Heart’s face lit up, “That means there’s more Care Bears down there, let’s go!” Love Heart took off as fast as he could run towards the town, leaving Indy in his dust for a moment before he took off after his brother.
“Betcha can’t catch me, Flash!” An eight-year-old fennec fox with sandy yellow fur, green eyes, long hair that hung loose, and wearing black shorts and a green t-shirt ran across a playground at the edge of town, leaving her parents sitting and conversing on a bench.
“Slow… down…Cassandra…” Flash, a bright yellow bear of the same age with blue eyes wearing blue jeans and a white t-shirt with his shorter hair done back in a ponytail, chased after his sister, Cassandra. The fennec grinned, not even winded as she reached the sandbox and jumped, landing halfway across the box then hopping three more short jumps to the edge, turning around to face Flash as he panted. He tried to jump over the sandbox, only to land a quarter of the way into the box then face plant in the sand.
Cassandra laughed and stepped back into the box to help Flash stand, “Not bad, little brother,” she grinned as she helped the yellow bear to stand.
“We’re the same age,” Flash stated as he dusted the sand off his clothes.
“My birthday’s a month before yours, so I’m older,” Cassandra folded her arms and smirked.
Flash Heart opened his mouth for a retort, then looked over her shoulder and stared. Cassandra looked at him then waved her hands in his face, “Hello? Earth to Flash.”
“Look, bears!” Flash said, pointing over her shoulder.
“What?” Cassandra turned around and saw two bears approaching, one lime green and the other silver and both panting. Cassandra’s face lit up and she started running towards them.
“Wait, Cassy!” Flash Heart took off after her.
“They’re like us! Let’s go meet them!” Cassandra called out as she ran closer.
Love Heart managed to catch his breath as the fennec fox came into view, “That’s gotta be them. Look, my symbol’s getting brighter.”
Indy nodded and stood back as the fennec approached, skidding to a halt on her heels to stop in front of Love Heart. “Hi!” She grinned, “My name’s Cassandra, what’s yours?” She paused and looked down, “Why do you have a glowing tattoo on your tummy?”
“My name’s Love Heart Bear and-” Love Heart was cut off as Cassandra stated giggling.
“I’m s-sorry, heehee, but Love Heart? That’s a funny name,” she giggled.
Love Heart glared and stomped his foot, “I like my name.”
“OK, so what’s he called? Quiet Heart Bear?” Cassandra asked, pointing to the silver bear over Love Heart’s shoulder.
“I’m, Independent Bear, but you can call me Indy,” Indy spoke just above a whisper.
“Neat, not as funny as ‘Love Heart Bear’ though,” Cassandra said.
“Hey!” Love Heart was about to retort when Flash finally ran up behind Cassandra, panting and holding his sides.
Cassandra turned her head back to Flash, “No my fault your so slow.”
Flash just glared as he caught his breath. When he finally looked up he got a look at the two bears and asked, “Why are you naked?”
Indy and Love Heart shared a quick glance then looked back, “What’s wrong with this?” Indy looked down and then back up at the two.
“Mom and dad say we can’t be naked in public, says it’s not right,” Flash replied.
“So why is your tummy glowing?” Cassandra asked.
“What? Oh yeah,” Love Heart looked up at them, “I think it’s cause of you two.”
“Us, what did we do?” Cassandra looked offended.
“You’re Care Bears like me. Hold on dad told me…” Love Heart took a deep breath and scrunched up his face for a minute, eliciting some giggles from Cassandra and Flash, until a replica of his tummy symbol flew off and circled around both of them.
Love Heart’s symbol whirled around both of them before splitting into two smaller copies and flying into their bellies. Cassandra and Flash felt a warmth spreading through their stomachs and, on impulse, the both pulled up their shirts to see a glowing white light on their tummies that finally settled into their own tummy symbols: a blue ribbon with a heart at its center for Cassandra and a bright flash of yellow light with a small heart at its center for Flash.
“You gave us tattoos?” Flash prodded at the weird picture on his tummy.
“They’re your tummy symbols,” Love Heart smiled, his symbol had stopped glowing, “I can show you how to you them, and other stuff too.”
“What kind of other stuff?” Cassandra asked, letting her shirt fall back over her tummy.
Love Heart grinned, “Magic.”
“Really?” Cassandra and Flash both asked.
“Yep,” Love Heart nodded, “But, I’m hungry…”
“OK, I’ll ask mom and dad, com’on.” Cassandra motioned for Love Heart to follow her and then took off back to the park, Love Heart taking off after her a moment later.
Indy and Flash decided to walk at an easy pace behind their siblings, relieved that they had someone else to channel their enthusiasm into.
“So do I need to change my name?” Flash asked.
Indy shrugged, “Maybe, if you want to.”
Flash shook his head then leaned his head back and put his arms behind his head, “Nah, but if I have to just call me Flash Heart.”
“How old are you?” Love Heart asked, as he finally caught up to Cassandra, running alongside her.
“I’m eight, so’s Flash,” Cassandra replied.
Love Heart brightened up, “Me and Indy too. So what about your name?”
“My name?” Cassandra asked.
“Yeah, if you’re a Care Bear you need a name like mine,” Love Heart said.
Cassandra hummed for a moment, then grinned, “If I have to, how about Confidence Heart Fennec?”
“Sounds good,” Love Heart nodded. “So what are your mom and dad like?”
“They’re great, you’ll love to live with me,” Confidence Heart took off ahead, leaving a somewhat perplexed Love Heart to play catch up.
BOOK 1 END
Next part: Ten years have passed since the Care Bears memories returned and many new and lost family members have joined the family, each with their own baggage and abilities to aid the family. But now a blast from their past returns, the Care Bear Magi and they bring with them not only new friends and family but new dangers and an enemy bent on their destruction. New adventures and dangers await in Care Bear Family Adventures Book 2: Magi.