My apologies to everyone for the delay. Unemployment, my father having a stroke, and two deaths in the family (and another one looming in the near future) take priority over this.
I thank a good number of you for your patience, I appreciate it. I hope the wait for this chapter was worth it and you enjoy it.
Some of you others though…seriously, this is not my job, unfortunately. So yes, real life will occasionally get in the way of regular updates. I do hope some of the comments weren't serious about me 'owing' it to anyone to update.
That being said, here's the chapter. The usual thanks to MummifiedCatHead for using her mad skills to take this from a mass of misspelled words and making it readable.
Chapter 36 - Minor Technicalities
"You gotta be shitting me!"
"Hey! It's perfectly safe! Rode my baby to two junior championships!"
Yakko didn't look at Kit, mostly because his eyes were locked onto the…thing…that the bear expected him to mount.
He cocked his head to the side and continued to stare at the neon green monstrosity that Kit had dragged him to. If sneaking off the lot and tempting the fates - again - wasn't stupid enough, even entertaining the idea of getting on the back of that thing was. He should immediately sneak back onto the lot to sit and wait for Monday morning and the arrival of Dr. Scratchansniff because he obviously needed a shrink.
Yakko closed his eyes and inhaled deeply while trying not to listen to Kit. He opened them when Kit paused, hoping that everything would disappear and he was still in the photo lab.
Yeah, he was just having a reaction to some chemicals or something…anything would be better than being where he was hallucinating what he was.
Cautiously he opened his eyes, continuing to ignore Kit's voice.
Nope, still in the alley across from the lot. Meaning that this nightmare was real. With his luck, TIS was probably right behind him watching all this and making notes. They were gonna throw him in an isolation room for the rest of his teenaged years.
He sighed. Fine, he could handle this. He took a closer look at the bike, trying to will his nerves to calm down.
It was sitting on a side street, near a dumpster, gleaming in the rays of the sun. If he squinted his eyes slightly and allowed his imagination to run wild, Yakko could almost imagine that it was alive and the headlight on the front was one giant eye glaring at him moodily. With all the green and just some black trim and highlights it actually resembled a pissed off dragon.
And Kit, that fool, expected him to get on it.
Yakko suppressed a shiver while telling himself he was acting like a child and repressing the urge to pull out his mallet and attack something…probably Kit.
Kit was a good driver…rider…whatever he did on that thing. Yakko knew that; he had been to a few of Kit's competitions now; he really had no interest in motocross, but he got to cheer Kit on and listen to Bugs and Ms. Cunningham both talk about how dangerous it was. Wakko got to drool over something that was motorized, and Dot and Molly could keep each other company.
The boy obviously knew what he was doing, even off the track. Kit had gotten to the lot with no difficulties…
Lucky little…Yakko shook his head, annoyed with himself.
" - and I got it road legal! No cop's gonna look at us - "
"You gotta be shitting me," Yakko repeated, still looking at the bike in horror.
This…was a stupid idea. The stupidest he had ever come up with.
Stupider than anything Wakko and his friends could have come up with. Dot, as young as she was and teamed up with a sugar-fueled Molly couldn't have dreamed up anything this stupid. And all of them had excuses, being young.
He didn't. This was stupid.
Yakko helplessly looked over his shoulder in the alley, praying he would see Bugs' car coming up the street towards the studio. All he saw was a tour bus, two bums, several parked cars and a few tourists shoveling cotton candy in their mouths as they gazed toward the wall surrounding the studio.
" - and I added the headlight and all; didn't have to do much to make the bike street legal…good thing too because - "
Yakko took a deep breath, only glancing at Kit for a moment as the cub prattled on about what he had to do to make the bike 'street legal' so the cops wouldn't pay attention to him.
He didn't care. He wasn't getting on that open-air deathtrap.
"You gotta be shitting me," Yakko moaned for the third time, taking a few steps back while hiding his face in his hands.
It wasn't too late; he could still sneak back onto the lot and continue to call one of the other adults who could attempt to stop the rampaging rooster. They hadn't been seen sneaking off the lot, he was sure of that. He had a pretty good idea where the security cameras were and had been able to avoid them.
He started to turn around, intent. He could continue to call Bugs on his cell phone. After all, at some point the rabbit would have to answer; what good was having a cell phone if he didn't answer it?
No, Porky, while much calmer than Foghorn, was still a bit out of sorts over the entire situation. Yakko sighed; with the way his luck had been going, Porky would suddenly flip, decide that Foghorn had the right idea and rush over to cheer the rooster on.
Yakko ran a hand through his hair before nodding firmly to himself. He could continue to call Bugs. Hopefully he could get in touch with the rabbit before the rooster actually killed the reporter. He idly wondered if Foghorn would beat him with his fists, or shoot him. Knowing Foghorn, perhaps he would do both.
And all this time he had been waiting for Porky to do something. After all, it was always the quiet ones.
He jumped when a car backfired and turned around, slightly spooked and annoyed with himself for being so. He was acting like a child.
"I'm going back - "
"What?" Kit grabbed his arm and held him. "What about rescuing Foghorn from himself? Or you gonna wimp out?"
Breathe. Just breathe. Calmly, evenly…
After a moment of watching Kit's smug expression, Yakko grabbed Kit's shoulders, shaking him roughly.
Watching Kit's eyeballs roll around dazedly Yakko screeched, "What the hell possessed you to drive that here?" Letting go of Kit and putting his fist to his own mouth in annoyance, he mumbled, "I can only deal with one crisis at a time and - "
"Ease off Warner!" Kit said smoothly while grinning. "You needed a ride - I got a ride - "
"You got a coffin on wheels!" Yakko snapped. "I'm not getting on that - "
"I told you it was legal!" Kit said excitedly, dragging Yakko towards it. "Look, it all checks out! See?"
With that Kit bent down, talking animatedly while pointing at gears and other things Yakko had no knowledge of.
" - and besides, do you really think anyone's gonna answer the phone? You tried already! I wanna see Foghorn beat - I mean - stop him from beating that twerp! And you know I'm a safe driver - "
"Well, I guess you have to be, if you got your license…" Yakko said, trailing off and only half listening to Kit as the cub continued to talk.
OK…a bad situation had been made worse. He could handle this - he had handled everything else life had thrown at him and managed to muddle his way through.
Bad enough he was considering leaving the lot without a chaperone. Bugs would strangle him if he found out. Especially when he found out that he was going to Natwick. Kit had informed him that he knew exactly where 'The Bakshi' was, since it was right in the middle of his old neighborhood and near the library where he had worked for Goose.
Of course, if Bugs would answer his damn phone, he wouldn't have to leave the lot…on a motorcycle.
If he didn't do something, he was gonna be short one friend and feel guilty as hell for the rest of his life. Wakko was going to be down a tutor and idol.
"Well, I - "
"I mean, no one in their right mind should have given you a license to drive this thing," Yakko continued, rambling to himself. Shaking his head he added, "I think I'll just go back inside - hopefully Ralph didn't see me sneak off. I can try to call…No way you - "
"Come on man - I wanna help too! I like the big dumb cluck - and you're my best friend! You think I would do anything that would hurt you?"
Yakko cut his eyes over to Kit, who was gazing at him with a look part pleading, part hurt, with a bit of excitement mixed in.
"Ehhhhh…it's gonna be…dangerous - "
"It's my home turf!" Kit exclaimed excitedly. "Or was anyway - know it like I know my own hand."
"Trust me Kit, I do not want to know how well acquainted you are with your hand…or any other body part - "
"I'm here in your hour of need Yakko, your savior in this cold friendless world, willing to risk life and limb to help you," Kit sighed, looking forlorn.
Yakko recognized the tactic and tried to steel himself. It didn't work; seeing Kit's short stubby ears droop, he cringed as the bear gave a theatrical sigh and continued.
"I want to help, your friend to the end, but here you are doubting my abilities…" Putting his wrist to his forehead dramatically, Kit moaned, "All my life it's been like that, no one wanted to trust me…"
"Well, it's not so much I don't trust you…well, kinda, it's more the whole bike thing. Oh, that and if I get caught I get hauled off quicker than you have a mood swing - "
"Even now, Mom won't trust me to even pick my own girlfriend - "
"But you have worst tastes - and less standards - than I do," Yakko pointed out, cursing himself for feeling his resolve waver with Kit's moaning and pleading.
" - now you…" Kit continued on as if he didn't hear Yakko speak. "Oh it's just too painful to think you too…after all we've been through…"
I am such a sucker…
Yakko watched, awestruck, as Kit hid his face in his hands and his shoulders shook in barely suppressed sobs. Hearing a few sniffs, Yakko shook his head. He knew what he was doing; if Yakko didn't know better he would swear Kit took guilt-trip lessons from Bugs.
Bugs…Bugs was gonna kill him if he found this out, sneaking off on a motorcycle of all things to go to some ghetto. Bugs had managed to refrain from strangling him the last time he snuck off the lot…
Of course that was for a date, with a girl Bugs had hated. This was different. This was a rescue mission. Not to mention if he didn't do anything, Foghorn was gonna kill the reporter, then Bugs would be recruiting Wakko to kill Yakko…
Yakko sighed in resignation. He didn't have a choice; if this mess was going to be straightened out and have any hope of a happy resolution, it was up to him. He wanted to be grown up, help make the adult decisions…
It wasn't like he didn't try to get help he reasoned with himself. He had followed every logical route he could think of. But since no one was answering their phones, what choice did he have really?
"Well…" Yakko trailed off as the sounds of Kit's sniffing became somewhat louder. "You're sure it's safe?" Yakko asked worriedly.
He narrowed his eyes when Kit nodded but didn't raise his head.
"It's just that I don't wanna end up as a slice of street pizza…"
"Would I…sniff…do that to my best friend?"
"Ehhhhh…hope not…." When Kit's sniffing became painfully loud, Yakko sighed and said, "Fine, fine, it's not like I have a lot of options - "
Kit quickly lifted his face from his hands, looked at Yakko and let out a whoop of joy, confirming to Yakko that yes, indeed, he was a sucker.
Grasping Yakko's arm and firmly leading him closer to the object that was sure to cause his doom, Kit said, "I even got an extra helmet - see?"
Kit proudly gestured towards a powder pink helmet that resembled a beanie strapped to the back of the bike. Yakko gazed at it before looking at the other helmet, a much more manly looking contraption in a bright blue with a large bear claw print design on the back. His usual motocross helmet.
He had a sinking feeling Kit expected him to wear the pink one. Perhaps he could convince Kit to wear it and at least let him wear the blue one. If he was going to die, he'd rather not go out wearing a pink beanie.
"Dare I ask why you wear a pink helmet?"
Unstrapping the helmet, Kit thrust it at him hard, half ramming it in his stomach.
"You have the pink helmet," Kit clarified. "It's my extra, for any chicks I get on the back of this thing."
Yakko gazed down at the helmet before looking over his shoulder again, this time almost wishing he saw TIS coming at him. He'd rather deal with them than get on a motorcycle wearing this thing. He wished the helmet was at least a full face one, in case anyone got a picture of this.
"I'm not a chick," Yakko said haughtily while glaring at the beaming cub.
"Tell me about it; just do me a favor and be careful where you put your hands; don't let 'em go too low, ya know?" Shaking his head Kit mumbled, "Never had to say that before."
Yakko stiffened as he asked, "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Put the helmet on then sit your ass on the bike Yakko," Kit ordered, ignoring his question as he put his own helmet on. "We're wasting time while you bitch. Swear, you complain more than Mom."
"She wouldn't mind wearing the pink helmet," Yakko muttered sourly as he slapped it on his head.
"She refuses to ride it - says it's 'too dangerous'." Kit wrinkled his muzzle as he mimicked his mother's high tone. "She flipped when she found out I put Molly on it - and she just sat on it! It's not like I let her drive it around or anything!"
"Oh, the injustice of it all," Yakko muttered, sending a glare up at the beanie perched on his head briefly before returning his sour look to Kit. "Let's get this over with before I rethink this and change my mind."
Kit nodded, smirked, and easily sat on the bike, gripping the handles.
"Hop on and enjoy the ride baby," he said, patting the seat behind him with a leer before smirking. "Damn I hope no one sees me; ruin my rep."
"You're only sixteen you don't have a rep yet," Yakko muttered, still staring at the bike before giving a woebegone look towards the end of the alley.
He really wished Wakko was there. As bad as it was, his little gear-head of a brother might be able to tell him how to hotwire a car. He was wishing he could do that instead of getting on the back of this thing.
"Cute Yakko. Ya know, this is the first time I've ever had an ugly girl on the back - "
"Shut up," Yakko muttered sourly as he gave one last look at the bike. He paused though when he saw the license plate. Figures Kit would have a vanity one - also figured Kit would get downright filthy on it for a laugh.
"Big taste? That's nasty Kit!" Yakko moaned as he began to gingerly climb on the back of the bike and worriedly looked around for handlebars to hold on to. "I mean that's disgusting, and that's coming from me - "
"It's not what you think Yakko!" Kit said hurriedly. Looking sheepish he said, "I said I made the bike road legal, and road legal means having a license plate."
What the hell am I supposed to hold on to? Not really Kit right? Isn't there seatbelts? What am I doing?
"So…" Kit trailed off as he turned the key, letting the bike roar to life. "It's…not exactly registered - "
"What?" Yakko yelled over the bike's noise as he continued to desperately look for something to hold on to. At least there were little pegs for his feet - why couldn't Kit put handles or something for him to hold on to back there?
"Well, I had to do something if I wanted to come see Daniella!"
"So, the flavor of the week does have a name."
"And I just sorta…" Kit trailed off before blurting out, "Dug through the 'HoneyComb' box - Molly actually likes that crap - and took the little license plate thing. Gotta see if I can sneak it back in later. She already claimed the thing - "
"This death trap isn't even registered?" Yakko asked, giving up on trying to find anything to hold.
He instead wrapped his arms around himself as he felt a cold chill run down his spine. He had to get off, now, while his common sense was still in charge.
"It's a minor technically!" Kit said with a grin. "The cops wanna see a plate, so - it's got a plate!"
"It's not legal you idiot!"
"Well…it will be soon. I mean I'm gonna have it registered as soon as I get my license - "
"What! You said you got your license!" Yakko yelped, already reaching up to take his helmet off.
Not registered, no license, a plate that proclaimed that the operator of the bike was 'Big Taste', Ms. Cunningham still thought he was at home sulking over his lost love…Kit was crazy. Yakko decided he really didn't need to be on the back of a bike with a lunatic.
"No, you said I got my license!" Kit yelled back as he throttled the engine, making the bike jump. "I tried to tell you that but you never stopped talking long enough for me to get the words out!"
Yakko removed his hands from his helmet and instead decided to clutch Kit. Then he thought better of it and hugged himself again.
"But you came down here!" Yakko hollered.
"Well, it's not like I can't ride the damn thing!" Kit said jovially as he looked over his shoulder at Yakko. "Been doing it for years! I'm safe on the track aren't I?"
"That's different!" Yakko snapped. "It's a track! You don't have a license for the road!" Inhaling and trying to push down a sense of panic and impending doom, Yakko asked, "How'd you fail the damn thing?"
"I didn't fail - my birthday's next month. I figured you'd know my birthday - I always have a party - think I didn't invite you?" Kit asked in a wounded tone. "This is my sixteenth one!"
Yakko was embarrassed to admit that mentally, even with the danger he was now in, he was relieved that he hadn't forgotten Kit's birthday and he was still invited to the party.
Not that it mattered because it was likely that neither of them was going to survive to their next birthdays, but at least he wasn't going to have to offer up an apology along with a 'Happy Belated Birthday' card.
"I mean really, what's a license but a laminated piece of paper you paid too much money for?" Kit waved him off as he flipped up the kickstand and began to creep the bike up the alley. "It's just another one of those minor technicalities - "
"Oh God I'm gonna get sick," Yakko moaned as he felt the bike began to move and his arms and tail thrashed around in fright.
He had every intention of jumping off, but was worried about breaking his ankle if he did. Jumping off of moving vehicles wasn't exactly recommended even if he was a toon who could Chuck and try to protect himself.
"If Bugs doesn't kill me for this, you're gonna kill me on this contraption!"
"Jesus Warner, you gotta stop doing that!" Kit yelled harshly over his shoulder as he neared the end of the alley. "You wanna tip this thing over?"
"If it gets me off this, yes!"
"Just relax, do what I tell you, and you'll be fine," Kit said in a soothing tone, slowing the bike to a crawl and lowering his foot to keep the bike steady. "First, hold on to me - "
"Oh you wish Mr. Big Taste," Yakko sneered.
"Just do it," Kit snapped. "Otherwise you're gonna tip us over, then I'm gonna feel bad because I'll have to get up and kick your ass and you'll already be a blinky little mess because you won't know when to Chuck and we'll miss Foghorn beating the stew out of old Seymour!"
Well, when put that way…
Yakko had blinked at Kit when the boy went on his rampage, being reminded of Molly briefly. Kit had managed to scream out an incredibly long run-on sentence at him.
He sighed, knowing he was out of his element in this situation. He was going to have to trust Kit; the bear was the expert when it came to motorcycles, not him. Unfortunately, this was slightly different than the usual thing he was going to have to trust Kit with. This wasn't as minor as trusting Kit wouldn't eat the last piece of pie when he left the room or wouldn't tell anyone about his sexual escapades.
No, those were minor compared to his life.
"Trust me Warner, this isn't my idea of a good time. God if anyone I know sees this…I'd rather have a cute brunette back there - "
"If you think I'm putting on a dress - "
"What, that little yellow number you wore? No thanks - you make an ugly girl. I suppose though that an ugly girl wouldn't damage my rep as bad as you…"
Yakko sighed at Kit's smirk and hesitantly wrapped his arms around Kit's waist. He sent a silent prayer to every deity he could remember that not only would no one ever see this, he also hoped that they were in time to stop Foghorn. The mood he was in, Yakko sincerely hoped they were able to stop the chicken because he now wanted to punch Seymour in the face for starting all this hassle.
"Not so tight," Kit grunted. "I gotta be able to move. And you, make sure you lean with me; you're sitting like you got a pole up your ass."
"I'm nervous all right?" Yakko snapped.
"Nothing to be nervous about," Kit said smoothly as he throttled the engine again. "Just relax, enjoy the ride. Oh, make sure you keep your tail up - don't want that caught in the spokes." With a shudder he added, "Saw a guy do that once at a rally - you know how odd a lion looks with a bobbed tail? Bet that hurt like hell…"
Yakko started before he hastily moved his tail, stuffing it up the back of his jacket. He wasn't sure how odd a lion looked, but he wasn't taking any chances with his.
"Just relax Yakko," Kit grinned. "You might like it if you stop being such a whiny bitch about it." Sighing in happiness he said, "It's awesome, the wind, the excitement, the adrenaline rush, sitting with all this power cooped up between your legs - "
"Ya know, I'd really rather have a blond between - "
"Oh yeah, and I'm the nasty one for my 'Big Taste' license plate!" Kit laughed.
With one final chortle, Kit gunned the engine with his right hand slightly, almost making Yakko fall off the bike as he laughed nervously along with the cub.
Maybe Kit was right, maybe this wouldn't be as bad as he was thinking. Feeling the bike lurch suddenly as the dull roar of the engine became louder, Yakko tightened his hold on the cub. If he fell off the bike damn it he was taking Kit with him.
"Don't have time for a real lesson, just hang on to me as we go off and save the day!" Leaning down lower, Kit turned briefly to look at Yakko and yelled, "I feel like a super hero! Guess you're my Robin…"
With that, Kit gunned the engine one last time and sped out of the alley, not bothering with such technicalities as checking for oncoming traffic or even slowing for a red traffic light. Kit leaned the bike to the far left as they went around the corner of Warner Boulevard.
With demented abandon that only the damned possess, Yakko clutched Kit harder and screamed in a high-pitched wail as the bike weaved in and out of vehicles stopped for a red light. Hearing Kit's maniacal laughter as he whooped and hollered in uncontained glee, Yakko closed his eyes and prayed that all this fear would be worth it.
"Oh damn, TIS…the jail…gang members, a cop…shit…all we need is a processing center- "
"Will you shut up already?" Kit demanded as he lifted his face shield with one hand and glanced back at Yakko. "I ain't gonna let 'em take you or anything!"
Yakko ignored Kit, instead tightening his grip on the cub's waist as they rounded the corner of Cummings Avenue and Cavanaugh Lane. He saw a TIS officer lounging against his bright yellow car, slowly unwrapping a burger while watching a group of youths on the corner. Worried, Yakko shoved his face down into the back of Kit's jacket, hoping that the TIS officer didn't look up and recognize him.
"Awww, wanna cuddle now honey?"
Yakko didn't answer; Kit knew how ticked off he was. With the pink helmet, he had gotten several whistles at traffic lights, until he looked up and the occupants of the other vehicles saw his face.
A few laughed and asked if he was wearing his sister's helmet.
A few recognized him, causing him extreme humiliation and had him mentally making a checklist of all the horrid things he planned on doing to Kit once this fiasco was over with.
A couple actually continued to flirt, offering him rides and phone numbers and saying he was a 'damn ugly honey'. One rather homely toon said just because the outside container was ugly didn't mean the juice on the inside was any less sweet.
Yakko had almost thrown the helmet at the man, gotten off the bike and just walked the rest of the way to the hotel. He couldn't get anymore furious and embarrassed. Kit had reached back briefly to grab his jacket to keep him on the bike and roared off though a red light, narrowly missing getting hit by a tractor trailer.
If that wasn't frightening enough, Yakko had been able to hear Kit's uproarious guffaws over the sound of the bike through half of ToonTown. It didn't help that the bear would begin singing 'Dude Looks Like A Lady' at every traffic light.
Instead of throwing yet another useless witticism at Kit for his comments, Yakko instead squeezed Kit hard, briefly smiling when he heard the bear grunt in pain as he slowed the bike for a traffic light.
Turning his head as much as dared, Yakko saw the officer look up briefly from eating his burger, but made no attempt to get in his car to follow.
Releasing a breath, Yakko asked, "How much further?"
"Couple of blocks. Relax Warner, you're too tense. Admit it, it hasn't been that bad has it?"
Had it? Maybe not, but it was hardly what Yakko would term enjoyable. Kit had managed to get them to Natwick without killing them, but Yakko wasn't feeling charitable enough to give the bear an award for that accomplishment.
Weaving in and out of traffic, speeding through yellow lights, changing lanes and only sporadically using any sort of signal…Yakko wondered if Kit actually read the driver's manual or just managed to get lucky guesses on all the questions on the written test. He had no idea how Kit managed to get anywhere without attracting the attention of local law enforcement; it was like he got driver training from Bugs.
Not to mention Kit was constantly distracted by the hookers plying their wares in some of the really seedy sections of town. Kit almost wrecked the bike into a light pole when he spotted a nudie bar, convinced that they could stop in and have a peek before rushing off to rescue Foghorn.
Luckily before he could though he had spotted a scantly clad rabbit on the back of another motorcycle and had been off again. Yakko appreciated a fine body as much as the next guy, but he honestly was surprised with Kit. He was truly worried that one day Kit was going to be leering at the wrong piece of ass and end up getting his kicked.
" - and you're such a worrier - "
"Well I have to be don't I?" Yakko said, snapping back to the conversation as he continued to look around the ghetto, trying to ignore most of what he saw. "I got people at home counting on me - I get caught, I'm gone and what's gonna happen to them?" Sighing, he testily added, "They can't do much to you anymore, but me…"
"Relax; I know all that," Kit said confidently. "And it's not like I don't have experience in eluding and evading myself; I ain't about to just hand you over. Besides, I probably know this area better than they do; I was born two streets up." Letting out a hollow sounding laugh he added, "No place like home huh?"
Yakko suppressed a shudder and didn't respond; he knew how the cub felt. Even having been gone for years, Yakko still felt a disturbing sense of familiarity when they had ridden past a downtrodden little park and continued on to Lilac Lane. Even years later, he could still hear a garish loud voice telling him to turn left and keep going until he saw the "All Night Liquor and Tan" and that the library was at the end of the block.
He had almost told Kit to keep going to the end of the block instead of continuing to cut through Plympton but had resisted the urge. It may have been Saturday, but there was no obese woman there now to greet him and harass him into getting into a goose costume. He did hope that whoever had taken over her position when she had to retire was as good to the children as Goose had been.
He had barely blinked at the other familiar sites of his old neighborhood; not much had changed in the years since he had been gone. The grocery store, the park, the video store…it was all the same, still a dingy decrepit place that should have a bomb dropped on it. The only thing that seemed to have changed was there were more signs of drug use, more pushers on the streets, more needles in the gutters, and more screams coming from the buildings they had passed. He hadn't relaxed until they passed a sign saying "Departing Plympton District".
Much like he had stiffened and gone quite at entering his old neighborhood, Kit had been the same way upon entering the Natwick District. As soon as the sign identifying the neighborhood came into view, Yakko had felt Kit stiffen and his mood turn a bit hard.
"The Bakshi is the one two blocks down to the right."
"Start looking for Foghorn," Yakko ordered, loosening his hold on Kit's waist Gently moving his cramped fingers to regain feeling in them from the horrifying ride he added, "Hope we see him soon; I don't want to hang out here too long."
"A six foot chicken shouldn't be too hard to find, even in this neighborhood," Kit answered as he began to scan the street and weave his way around several potholes in the asphalt. "Is it really wise though to just go riding up to the place? What's your plan anyway?"
Yakko paused. A good question. He had been in such a hurry to get to The Bakshi and Foghorn that he hadn't really given much thought of what to do once they were there.
In fact, looking back on the whole thing, Yakko was willing to admit that he really hadn't thought about any of this very much. If they found Foghorn, what then? He probably wasn't going to go 'you're right kids, let's go'. He was likely to murder them both in the street, then go find Seymour, if he hadn't already.
Looking around, Yakko wondered if they would even make it to Foghorn; the area was decidedly more seedy than he had thought. When he and his siblings had been homeless, they had certainly spent more than their fair share of time in Natwick, but never this far into the district, in the downtown area. He had preferred to spend their time exploring the outer sections in the hopes they would run into slightly less law enforcement and TIS, not to mention fewer drug dealers and other criminals that would want to rob or hurt them.
Even when he had been there that fateful night long ago with Athena, he hadn't remembered it being that crummy. He had been on the other side of the downtown section with her, but as horrid as that had been it was nowhere near as awful.
Not to mention, if - when - they found Foghorn and concluded their business down there…Yakko glanced at his watch. By the time they were done, he was positive that Bugs would have gone back to the lot to pick him up. The rabbit would notice his absence, and if Foghorn didn't kill him, the rabbit was likely to. Plus, he would have to get back to the lot, meaning he would probably have to ride Kit's bike back, and he felt a shudder run down his spine.
Yakko resigned himself to the fact that he probably wasn't going to survive the day.
Of course, if they found Foghorn and somehow managed to stop him in time and survive the encounter, that would be amazing. If they did accomplish all that though Yakko was confident he would have enough time to dream up an acceptable story for Bugs. Not a lie exactly, but some semblance of truth with a liberal dose of fantasy mixed in.
"Ehhhhh…I'll…think of something," Yakko replied with more confidence than he felt. "But…maybe we should park back here, out of sight, and just walk-"
"You lost your mind Warner?" Kit demanded incredulously. "Leave my bike here? You know how much it's worth?"
"Not a damn thing to me," Yakko answered. "But if you screech it out in the middle of the street, everyone's gonna hear, making it a target." He scanned the area before asking, "Don't you have a lock or something for this hunk of junk?"
"This 'hunk of junk' got us down here safe and sound," Kit answered testily. "Yeah, I have a lock, a few actually, but - "
"Trust me, no one in their right mind's gonna want this thing," Yakko assured him, tapping Kit's shoulder and pointing to the curb. "Avoid parking on the needles in the gutter and it'll be fine. It's broad daylight…not that that's ever stopped anyone in this place before…"
"That's comforting," Kit mumbled, but he slowly steered the dirt bike to the curb. "Maybe no one will notice it," he said hopefully. "Everyone around us is either stoned, high, drunk, or worse."
Yakko chose not to point out how many people were noticing the bike as he yanked the ridiculous helmet off his head. He hoped that everyone was noticing that Kit was securing the bike and that the two riders were one-hundred percent male.
Barely resisting the urge to throw the pink helmet in the trash or shoving it down Kit's throat, Yakko handed it back to the bear to secure on the bike. He prayed that if - when - they found Foghorn, he could talk the rooster into giving him a ride because he was never, ever, sitting his ass on a motorcycle again.
With the bike and helmets now more secure than Fort Knox thanks to the locks Kit put on it, Yakko started jogging down the sidewalk. Barely managing to avoid stepping in a pile of green slop that looked like Soylant Green past itsexpiration date, he began to ToonSpeed, ignoring the looks of the other toons as he passed them. Most of them were so screwed up on drink, Twink and other drugs they probably couldn't even use their HammerSpaces anymore, let alone ToonSpeed.
"You better hope nothing happens to my bike Warner," Kit called beside him, panting from the extra exertion from trying to catch Yakko. "I'm gonna kick your ass if anyone looks at it wrong, let alone - "
"Shut up and keep running," Yakko ordered as his feet rapidly pounded the sidewalk. "No one's gonna touch your bike - "
"For your sake I hope not," Kit said darkly. "I'm risking my bike - not to mention my life - just being down here with you."
"What happened to 'I know this area like I know my own hand?" Yakko asked as he slowed for the intersection. Even with as quickly as he could ToonSpeed and Chuck, he was still no match for a moving vehicle. Seeing the light for his side of the street turn red, he stopped and stated, "Thought you weren't afraid of being down here?"
"I'm not afraid of being here!" Kit snapped. "I'm afraid of what Mom will say if she finds out I'm down here…
"Or was at the lot."
"Hell, if I'm out of the house even."
"You're on your own there; remember, you volunteered yourself to come down here and I didn't drag you out of your house," Yakko replied with a shrug. "He wasn't unsympathetic to his friend's plight; Kit was helping him out after all, even with the danger to life and limb. "You still won't have it as bad as I will; remember, I'm gonna have to deal with Bugs."
"We're screwed," Kit sighed, beginning to run across the street as the light changed.
"Ehhhhh…maybe not…we've survived worse," Yakko replied, not confident.
He pushed any thoughts of his impending doom out of his head. The Bakshi was straight ahead; he could see the half burnt out marquee sign advertising its location. It even proclaimed it had vacancies, not surprising him in the least. With its crumbling roof, half broken apart awning out front and the general decaying atmosphere surrounding the area, he doubted that the only thing it was housing was filth, roaches, diseases and rats.
Perfect place for a certain reporter to be staying.
"Start looking out for the truck - "
"Hell, what does his truck look like?" Kit asked before shrugging. "Screw it, look for a nice vehicle I guess - if it's clean, it doesn't belong here."
Yakko ignored him, slowing more so he could carefully scan the streets. He didn't like what he saw. Not seeing the rooster's large black truck, Yakko had started to panic, then relaxed. Maybe Foghorn had changed his mind, regained his sanity before he did something stupid and irreversible, meaning that Yakko had just panicked - and risked his and Kit's lives - for nothing.
Or maybe he just hadn't arrived yet.
Or he had already come and gone, already killed the reporter and was laying low somewhere. It couldn't take that long to beat one reporter to a pulp…
"I just hope we didn't miss a show," Kit muttered as he looked around.
Yakko winced at hearing his prior thoughts voiced out loud, then felt a jolt as he glanced down the street.
A large black pickup was parked next to a trashcan, bright and shiny, chrome gleaming in the sun and standing out like a Ferrari in a used car lot. Parked behind the broken shell of a Gremlin in an otherwise empty section of the street, Yakko wasn't terribly surprised that Foghorn's truck attracted his attention.
Tapping Kit's shoulder to get his attention, Yakko nodded in the direction of the truck.
"Target acquired," Yakko said, pointing towards the vehicle and seeing Foghorn's reflection in the driver's side mirror. "He's even in it, meaning we don't have to go searching for him."
Kit turned to look, squinting his eyes before nodding. "He's by himself…looks like he's talking though. Beaks moving - "
"That's nothing unusual," Yakko pointed out, watching the rooster's reflection for a moment and steeling his nerves. "Doesn't look like he's chanting 'redrum' so we can take comfort in that."
Snickering, Kit asked, "Fine. So fearless leader, what's the plan?"
Yakko, who had been trying to study the area and try to being piecing together what they were going to do now that they had actually found Foghorn, dumbly asked, "Plan?"
"Yeah, plan," Kit snorted. "You got one?"
"Ehhhhh…" Yakko looked at the truck again. Even at the distance, he could tell the rooster was irate. "Well, I don't think going straight up to him is a good idea…course we can't just stand here either…"
"You don't have one, fantastic," Kit groused quietly. Leaning against a light pole he said, "We got two options. Option one; We just walk right up to him now and ask him to leave nicely. Option two, we stand here staring at him and wait for him to finish killing Seymour and he writes 'Helter Skelter' in his blood on the wall."
Yakko, startled at Kit's comment floundered for a bit as he thought.
He had been avoiding this part of the plan, as sketchy as his 'plan' was. Foghorn was unlikely to leave just because they asked nicely. But Kit was correct; standing there watching wasn't going to get anything accomplished. They had to swallow their fear and just go up to him.
Why the hell did he have to be the lone sane individual in a crowd of crazies?
"Yeah, we'll suggest strongly. I mean it's Foghorn - he's usually pretty agreeable. I bet I can just ask him to leave - hell, beg if I have to - and he'll go right home." Shrugging before walking towards the truck, he added over his shoulder, "And if he doesn't, well, you can mallet him for me and put him on the back of your bike. I'll drive the truck home - "
"Shit - me? I don't wanna fight him! He'll kill me - "
"Well, you can't expect me to do it," Yakko reasoned. "After all, you're supposed to be my savior, my friend to the end and all that crap you were waffling about before. You want me to get killed?"
"If only I was so lucky," Kit muttered sourly while falling into step beside him.
Gazing around him again, Yakko looked around the street. The usual things he expected to see greeted him; a drunk relieving himself on a light pole, not bothering to be subtle and going into the alley at least. A bum in a large ratty coat and a gigantic hat was half asleep on a dilapidated bench across the street.
A few women wearing more makeup than clothing were leaning against the wall of The Bakshi, looking bored. They perked up, grinning coyly when a car drove up and the driver gestured towards them. They went over, and after a brief conversation, one happily jumped in the passenger side door while the others went back to the wall and once again went back to looking disinterested.
A few dealers, a few of their customers, a few unidentified but equally uninteresting people. A couple cars dove past, a few slowing before stopping against the curb to purchase various items or services. Yakko, while not overly shocked by the area, still harbored some worry and looked at Kit for confirmation of his thoughts. As Kit proclaimed, this was his home turf, and Yakko wanted assurance that Kit was also checking out their surroundings.
Kit caught his eye and shrugged, silently telling Yakko what he already knew. Nothing out of the ordinary for the area; be on guard but don't overly worry about the locals.
If Kit wasn't worried, Yakko saw no reason for himself to panic, so he put it from his mind and turned his attention from the activities of the street and back to the truck. He could make out Foghorn's profile, his face hard as he glared at the hotel. Yakko figured he must have chased off the hookers and pushers earlier because everyone was blatantly ignoring the expensive truck and the evil glaring rooster behind its wheel. Everyone was conspicuously looking in any direction but the truck.
Hesitantly, Yakko approached the driver's door. Foghorn was still intently staring at 'The Bakshi' and didn't notice the approaching figures. Yakko hesitated and felt Kit bump into him and he turned to glare at the cub.
"Sorry; wanna make sure I'm around to protect you. Can't have the little honey getting dragged off because - "
Yakko took a step backwards and stepped on Kit's toes, smiling pleasantly when he heard the cub hiss in pain.
Hoping that Foghorn would merely be surprised and wouldn't reach out and wring his neck, Yakko leaned in the open window and cheerfully exclaimed, "What's up doc?"
Foghorn, who had been taking a drink from a bottle of water, did a spit take, spraying the windshield, getting backsplash on himself and Yakko.
"Hey big man, lemme hold a dollar!" Kit said, popping up behind Yakko after the spray subsided. Giving a cheery wave to Foghorn, Kit then quickly took a few steps back while calling, "Come on man, I'll make Yakko work for it! You'll see - he's ravishing in pink!"
Grimacing and ignoring Kit's self-satisfied chortling behind him, Yakko wiped his hand across his face to get the splatter off. He also moved back a few feet. Foghorn, wet and looking like he was in a very bad mood was opening the door and stepping out into the street.
Fists clenched, Foghorn locked his eyes on Yakko and stalked towards him, saying, "I'll give ya a dollar boys - after I take - I say - after I take it out of your hides!"
Yakko decided to make a strategic retreat, quickly back stepping onto the sidewalk and using the truck as a barrier. Foghorn was unlikely to attack him if he was that near his truck.
Kit, that coward, had retreated behind the Gremlin and was watching with a look of amused trepidation on his face.
Foghorn was large - why hadn't he ever noticed that before? Or taken that into account before deciding he could come down there and browbeat the rooster into leaving? Foghorn was out of his mind with anger at the moment and was unlikely to listen to them…
"What the hell are you two doing down here?" Foghorn demanded loudly, causing most of the surrounding toons to turn and stare dully at them. "Told you not to worry about what I'm doing! Trying to keep you all out of it and you all just waltz down here - "
Rounding the side of the truck with Foghorn still stalking him, Yakko said, "We didn't so much waltz as ride - we're trying to save your ass after all - "
"Boy you better worry about someone saving yours! I'm gonna steamroll over that Seymour in that there building and take you two out at the same time!"
The bum on the bench was fully awake now and watching with interest. Yakko dismissed him as he continued to move backwards around the truck; if the guy was even half as messed up as he looked, he wasn't going to be offering them any assistance. Hell, he probably thought he was having a hallucination.
"No place - I say - no place for a couple of kids!" Foghorn continued loudly. "Too young to be down here involved in these goings-on!"
Yakko went to speak again to point they weren't exactly 'kids' and they had both been involved in 'goings-ons' their entire lives but got cut off.
He reached the front of the truck and swiftly made his way to the other side, trying to keep several feet of space between himself and Foghorn who was still stalking him intently. Kit was on his own, still hiding behind the Gremlin. Yakko sent his savior a nasty look; Kit shrugged his shoulders and crouched a bit lower behind the abandoned vehicle to watch.
"You two find that half-witted hare and get out of here!" Foghorn demanded. "Man's gotta defend his honor - can't listen - I say - can't listen to two lippy teenagers and the rabbit at a time like this!"
"I'm not really lippy," Kit called from behind the car. "I'm more charmingly impertinent - "
"Will do. Yak, you're on your own."
" - rabbit won't stop running his mouth!" Foghorn continued to bellow, attracting even more attention to them. "Don't have the patience to listen to him, not gonna let him talk me out of this - "
"Well…I've got some great news for you then Foghorn," Yakko answered weakly, taking a look behind him to see what his options were for hiding. "You're not gonna have to listen to Bugs…"
Foghorn made a huffing sound and continued talking over Yakko, as if he didn't hear him at first.
" - and I'm not leaving until…" Foghorn cut off briefly from his tirade and narrowed his eyes at Yakko as if thinking.
Yakko gulped audibly and waited, watching as the enraged chicken finally began to figure out what he just said. He quickly went towards the back of the truck. Worse case, if Foghorn charged, Yakko thought he would throw Kit in front of him while he hastily ran down the road.
"Not gonna…have to listen…"
"Ehhhhh, yeah…great news huh? So, wanna leave?"
"Leave…hell no boy I ain't leaving! You are - I say - You are though…and where's Bugs?"
Ignoring the question, Yakko shrugged and replied, "Don't worry about that; let's get out of here. You're not supposed to be down here - "
"Neither are you boy." Foghorn put his hands on his hips and squinted his eyes at him.
Yakko crouched lower, intent on trying to hide under the truck if need be, and prayed that Foghorn would just nicely say he would give him a ride home and they could get the hell out of there. He felt his mood bolster a bit at the thought. Out of imminent danger, he could talk to Foghorn, maybe make him see reason -
"Out with it boy! Where's that silly rabbit?"
"I don't know," Yakko answered honestly while feeling his hopeful mood deflate. "Getting some Trix? The lot? Maybe his house? It's not like he's answering his phone or doing anything useful at the moment - "
"He's not - I say - He's not down here?" Foghorn asked, a momentary look of confusion crossing his features before he threw back his head like a rampaging gorilla and bellowed, "Are you telling me you two numbskulls came down here - "
'We came down here to rescue you!" Kit said helpfully. When Foghorn turned and began walking towards him, Kit raised his hands and retreated to the other side of the Gremlin. Pointing at Yakko he added, "It was his idea! Kill him!"
"My hero!" Yakko moaned in a low tone, crossing his arms to direct an angry glare at Kit.
"Well I can't get killed down here!" Kit said reasonably, rounding the car quickly so he could stand next to Yakko, who turned to glare at him. "I get killed down here, Mom will know I left."
"Son she's the least of your concerns," Foghorn yelled, advancing on them.
Yakko felt Kit grab his arm and drag him around the truck again. As he docilely followed along, he vaguely wondered how ridiculous the three of them looked. He sincerely hoped Globe wasn't watching; he could only imagine the story he could concoct if he was snapping pictures of what was happening out in the street.
"Down here - no chaperone - dangerous," Foghorn rasped as he continued to advance. "TIS all around! Criminals! If something happened to you I'd never - "
"Well, I didn't come alone - I do have Kit," Yakko interrupted while the bear nodded his head vigorously. "He's not much - "
"Damn man, last time I give you a ride."
" - but he is slightly better than nothing," Yakko argued. When Foghorn didn't look convinced he added, "Come on - a chaperone is just…Ehhhhh…a minor technicality." When Foghorn rolled his eyes Yakko said hastily, "After that phone conversation what were we supposed to think? You're down here to commit at least one felony - "
"Gonna be several actually," Foghorn said, making a grab for the two of them.
This time, Yakko was quicker and grabbed Kit's jacket. He dragged the bear as they once again indulged in a round of ring-around-the-Chevy. He decided to keep going for another go, trying to keep several feet between themselves and the enraged rooster. Finally, Foghorn paused, eyes narrowed at the back end of the truck as he looked around.
"Damn it stop pulling on my jacket," Kit groused while shooting Yakko a pleased grin. Smoothing it out he added, "Gonna stretch it - "
Kit broke off in a strangled gasp as Yakko felt someone grab his arm roughly, and he cursed himself for forgetting about Foghorn. In that brief moment of his inattentiveness, the rooster had charged back at them from the other side and was now holding on to their jackets.
Yakko shrank under Foghorn's glare as Kit began to attempt to shrug out of his jacket, muttering that while he liked the jacket, it was an acceptable loss to get out of the irritated rooster's hands.
"Boy, only thing getting stretched around here is both your necks. Don't worry though," Foghorn said grandly. "I'll make sure to leave enough of you intact that your mom will have a shot…" Turning from Kit to Yakko, he added, "I'll even - I say - I'll even let the rabbit take - "
"Can I talk to you please?"
Yakko went stiff as a cadaver at the hissing voice behind him. The voice, while low and annoyed sounding, had a familiar menacing tone to it.
"Oh damn it, not you too!" Foghorn said, sounding frustrated and exasperated as he looked up from glaring at the two boys. "Everyone down here trying to - "
"Let the boys go."
Yakko let out a breath he wasn't aware he had been holding. They were about to be rescued.
"They're in enough trouble as it is. TIS is around the corner kiddies."
Yakko exchanged a worried glance with Kit before they both slowly turned their heads to see who their rescuer was.
Kit let out a low groan of despair while Yakko closed his eyes, not believing what he was seeing.
Darkwing Duck, for once not in his flashy purple costume. Dressed in an oversized moth-eaten coat and a battered hat that hid most of his face and smeared in dirt, Yakko instantly placed him as the bum that had been observing them from the bench across the street.
If nothing else, Darkwing got some points for creativity. Yakko prided himself on usually noticing details, and neither he nor Kit had recognized the duck.
He chose not to be too hard on himself; after all he reasoned, they had been trying to flee Foghorn's wrath. They couldn't be expected to notice everything. Plus, he was still stressed from the situation and the hellish ride down there.
Yeah, that was it.
Yakko felt slightly better when he decided to think about it that way. He didn't want anyone lying to him, and he tried very hard not to lie to anyone else, but he reasoned that it was OK if he lied or made excuses to himself. Besides, he had a new problem to deal with.
"Hold on - I say - now hold on!" Foghorn said loudly. "You think I'm gonna let you walk off with - "
"Let's talk a moment," Darkwing ordered, wrenching Yakko out of Foghorn's grasp and pushing Kit aside and causing the cub to stumble out of arm's reach.
Yakko watched in a mix of curiosity and shock as the duck reached up and used one filthy hand to grasp Foghorn by the feathers on his head. He winced; when Foghorn roared in anger the duck began to pull. Yakko thought it looked rather painful.
Darkwing ignored the loudly protesting Foghorn and began dragging him into the alley. Yakko blinked as they both disappeared into the dimly lit spaced. Then he blinked again, amused and horrified and wondering if he too had finally joined the ranks of the insane. Glancing over at Kit who was wearing a similar expression, Yakko breathed a sigh of relief; this really was happening, he wasn't insane.
But now, a dilemma. Should they make a break for it? Escape while they could before TIS or any other unfriendlies appeared, or should they follow into the alley?
Foghorn, pissed though he may be, was unlikely to allow Darkwing to drag him off to a TIS home. The rooster would beat Darkwing down first. Then kill them before going to kill the reporter, getting caught up in several felonies.
Then again, Yakko thought he had seen sides of Darkwing he hadn't known about. Assertive, forceful, and competent - plus, he had that wacky gas gun. Who knew what else the duck had in his arsenal? Maybe he could take Foghorn…
Yakko was curious and really didn't want to miss a show.
"Ehhhhh….We have a decision to make. Watch or get while the getting's good?" Yakko asked.
"Shit on that, I wanna see this," Kit answered.
Grinning despite his worry, Yakko nodded.
"So do I. It's not any idiot that's gonna take on Foghorn."
Looking at Yakko, Kit added with a pained expression, "Darkwing's not…a total incompetent."
"God it hurt to say that."
"It hurts to hear it."
"You a gambling man Warner?"
"Ten bucks on Foghorn," Yakko quickly said as he watched Foghorn start to stomp out of the alley while still bellowing. "He's bigger and acting like he's possessed at the moment."
"Redrum redrum," Kit chanted with a quite snicker.
He raised an eyebrow as Darkwing briefly made an appearance, dragging Foghorn back into the alley, this time being tossed in. Then the duck stood, arms crossed, at the entrance of the alley. After a moment, he turned briefly to glare at them, beckoning them with cold eyes and a crooked finger to get over there.
"Let's go kiddies, you're drawing a crowd. The wrong kind…get my drift?"
They both ignored him, especially after the duck stepped back into the dark depths of the alley.
"Yeah, great, guess I'll take Darkwing," Kit said with a shrug. "Gotta stick behind a Disney figure. Besides, he seems more sane."
"I'll get in on that action boys," a voice said beside them.
Yakko turned to see a short squat rat dressed in a lime-green velvet sport jacket beside them. He looked up to see a few other toons watching them as well.
Kit jovially hissed 'sucker' to Yakko before saying loudly to the leering rat, "Sure thing pal - me and my partner here would- "
Kit cut off as two grimy hands, Chucked and extended, reached out of the alley and grabbed them by the front of their jackets. Startled, Yakko immediately grasped the hand holding him, futilely trying to pull it off.
Feeling himself flying through the air for a few moments and not having enough time to prepare any sort of defense, Yakko inhaled as he was forcibly jerked into the alley. He tried to ignore Kit's caterwauling beside him and hoped it wasn't as loud as it sounded.
The four of them were definitely causing a scene and he prayed again that Seymour Globe and his damn camera wasn't in the area.
Another moment and he felt himself being roughly deposited ass first on the alley's grimy cobblestones with a loud thud, followed by Kit, whose earsplitting yells ended abruptly. Then the cub gave a shaky sigh of relief.
Rolling his eyes at the cub's theatrics, Yakko stood to dust himself off and glanced up at Foghorn. The rooster, who had been looking livid at being held hostage in the alley, had started when Yakko and Kit were roughly deposited on the ground in front of him.
Darkwing stepped back momentarily out of the alley. From his vantage point in the muck on the ground Yakko couldn't make out what the duck said or did, but it must have been somewhat impressive because the pimped-out rat, who had started to enter the alley, scampered away in fear.
Seeming to get over his shock, Foghorn sprang into action, barreling between Yakko and Kit. Yakko felt himself stumble before falling to the ground again and sighed in annoyance; he had just about managed to get most of the dust and dirt of the alley off him, and now he was sitting in it again.
Foghorn stalked up to Darkwing who was watching with an air of bored disinterest and demanded, "Where the hell - I say - Where the hell do you - "
Yakko, who had cautiously gotten to his feet and was again dusting himself off, winced at the noise the rooster was making. He was now relatively sure that not only Seymour was watching this, but probably the entire neighborhood as well. There was no possible way they were going to escape this unscathed.
Darkwing seemed unconcerned. While Foghorn continued to rant and rave, the duck was calmly wiping his hands clean with a cloth he pulled out of his HammerSpace. A quick spin-change later and he was dressed in his usual cheesy outfit.
Foghorn had never paused his tirade the entire time.
Yakko gave him a huffy look before glancing back at Darkwing, prepared to let the duck know exactly what he thought about being manhandled into the alley. He paused though, nudging Kit into silence when he caught a glimpse of Darkwing's face.
Foghorn hands on hips was bent over and currently roaring in Darkwing's face about how he didn't need any help and that Darkwing could carry his garishly-colored ass somewhere else.
Darkwing wasn't backing down from the enraged pullet. He was up on the tips of his webbed feet, his own hands clenched as he and Foghorn went beak-to-beak and tried to out shout each other. Darkwing gave up first.
Yakko watched as Darkwing silently fumed while Foghorn questioned the ducks motivations and reasons for being there interfering. Darkwing again tried to speak several times without any success. Every time he started, Foghorn declared that 'no one can get a word in edgewise with you son' and how the duck was about 'as useful as a vending machine serving condoms at the Vatican'.
Yakko got the distinct impression that Darkwing didn't care for being called 'son'. The longer the rooster went on, the more the duck seemed to simmer.
Darkwing finally gave a chilly smile before smoothly taking a step back from Foghorn, giving off the air of one unconcerned. He brushed off an invisible spec of dust before grandly reaching up to remove his hat. He gazed at it with reverence for a moment.
After the moment passed, Darkwing took the hat and roughly smacked Foghorn over the head with it, sending a loud clapping sound reverberating throughout the alley. It also brought the rooster's wrath to a screeching halt, stopping him in mid-word and causing him to simply blink, dumbfounded.
Then…silence. In the alley, even the street outside, like even the rats and bugs and the wind itself was so momentarily stunned by what happened it couldn't even blow correctly.
Yakko stared for a moment before giving a startled blink, barely registering Kit give a breathy 'oh shit' beside him. He took heart in the fact that he just won ten dollars because there was no way Foghorn wasn't going to throttle Darkwing now.
He chose to ignore the fact that with Darkwing throttled and out of the picture, that would allow Foghorn to throttle him and Kit in the alley before advancing on Seymour, who probably had enough pictures to concoct a hundred stories out of at this point.
This had been a complete, stupid waste of time. Plus, Bugs was gonna kill him.
"Idiot!" Darkwing hissed dangerously in Foghorn's astonished face. "What part of I'll take care of it didn't you understand?"
"I…I say - "
"Say nothing!" Darkwing said darkly. "Surveillance! Do you comprehend the meaning of that word?"
"I didn't want - I say - I didn't want to survey anything!" Foghorn snapped angrily. "I wanted to - "
"Oh, I know what you wanted to do," Darkwing answered evenly. "Liable to get you thrown in jail and give our friend in there yet another story to write to get his name even more well known and give even more credit to his outlandish claims!"
"I was just gonna have a conversation with him, that's all - "
"And your other conversations with him have gone so well, I can certainly see why you would want another one with him," Darkwing sarcastically interrupted. "Must be why you had half your friends on the force keeping an eye out for Globe." At Foghorn's surprised look Darkwing added, "I'm a vigilante, and a bounty hunter, and a private detective…did you think I would know no one on the police force? Or not have any friends among them?"
"Didn't think you had many friends anywhere actually - "
"You didn't think…that seems to be an ongoing problem with you. You don't think before acting, that's been made clear hasn't it?" Darkwing's voice grew louder, drowning out the surprised Foghorn. "Why are you down here? Why are you depriving some village of its idiot? Do you think you can just waltz down here, stomp on a reporter's face - which is assault by the way - "
"Gonna use my mallet actually - "
Yakko slapped a hand over his eye in exasperation. Foghorn might as well just asked to be arrested.
"So…assault and Gross Toon Misconduct. Did you honestly think you could just waltz back home and there'd be no repercussions?"
Yakko had been watching in open mouthed astonishment that was rapidly turning into a moment of panicked hilarity. Out of everything that could have happened today, he didn't honestly think he was going to see Foghorn rendered speechless by Darkwing.
"Just wanted to approach that reporter…friendly like," Foghorn said desperately, his anger and astonishment beginning to be replaced with a small bit of logic.
"I've seen your approach, now I want to see your departure," Darkwing said in an authoritative tone before glancing over his shoulder. "Thanks to you, my job is now harder - everyone in the neighborhood knows we're down here - and that probably includes Seymour. Meaning I'm going to have to track him again if he's disappeared."
The fact that Foghorn was beginning to look a bit chagrinned by the scolding wasn't helping matters any, and with a slight bit of alarm Yakko felt a laugh bubbling up in his chest. He again wondered if he was going to survive the day with any bit of his sanity intact. Foghorn was now sputtering and spurting out words and sounded like he was speaking in tongues he was so flustered.
He heard Kit beginning to laugh beside him and finally gave in to the moment, joining in. The look Foghorn shot them could have curdled milk, but Yakko didn't care at the moment. He was relatively certain he could kiss his ten dollars good-bye but decided he didn't even care about that. To see Foghorn bested by Darkwing had been worth it.
"Yeah, it's all fun and games till the cops show up, right kiddies?" Darkwing asked, his tone light and amused but with a slight touch of malice to it. Crooking his finger at them, he said, "Come here, got something to share with you two."
Curious despite his better judgment, Yakko leaned in with Kit to hear what possible information DipWing could possibly have that would interest them.
Darkwing put one hand on Yakko's shoulder and his other on Kit's before grinning, raising Yakko's suspicions. The next thing Yakko knew, his head was knocked into Kit's.
"Damn it," Yakko snapped, reaching up to feel if he had a knot on the side of his head. The damn duck was stronger than he looked and Kit's head felt like it had the same consistency as a brick. "Keep your hands off me Duck," Yakko warned, feeling his badly strained nerves snap. "My brother deals in pies; I don't play quite as nicely."
"Yeah, I don't want to even contemplate what you had to do to get your hands that dirty Dripwing," Kit sneered. "Keep off my jacket."
"Drop the attitude kiddies; all bark and no bite," Darkwing said dismissively, waving his hand at them in a trivializing fashion before turning back to Foghorn. "TIS left the area for the time being, so no need to bark and snarl like a couple of frightened puppies. Your milk teeth don't scare me."
Yakko shared a look with Kit, mostly surprised that he was being dismissed by Darkwing. He barely restrained Kit when the bear pulled his mallet and pulled him back from Darkwing a few feet.
He sighed in relief though. TIS wasn't in the area, and Darkwing had his hands full dealing with Foghorn and whatever he planned on doing with Seymour. The odds were good that he wanted to get a piece of Seymour way more than he wanted to haul Yakko's ass to TIS.
Plus, Darkwing would think he was with Foghorn. He was, sorta; it didn't really matter if he came down there with Foghorn, just as long as he was with him now. That's all that counted.
Pointing his finger into Foghorn's chest, Darkwing growled harshly, "And you hauled kids down here to this hellhole? What's wrong with you? One's not - "
Foghorn frowned and said, "Didn't haul - I say - Didn't haul - "
"Well, they're here aren't they?" When Foghorn didn't answer, just sent a dark look towards Yakko, Darkwing glanced over his shoulder and asked, "And I just know you're down here with a chaperone…right Warner? Surprised the Bunny let you out of his sight."
Yakko glared back, but said nothing. Foghorn wasn't talking; he would stay silent as well. Darkwing had, unfortunately, proven he was no fool. Yakko prided himself on not being a fool either; the duck was trying to goad one of them into admitting something that would be better kept quiet.
"And…Cloudkicker…I mean Cunningham…" Darkwing said the surname with a slight sneer, as if it left a bad taste in his mouth. "I'm surprised Mommy let you come out, especially here of all places."
Darkwing gave a knowing look to all of them before shrugging and straightening his jacket. "And since I have both the rabbit's and Rebecca's number, won't be any problem to call and check that they know their kids - "
"Stop calling us kids," Kit interrupted.
Yakko roughly nudged him in the ribs.
"Well you are, for all your big talk," Darkwing shrugged. "I know you two - kids - wouldn't have come down here by yourself; I doubt you two would have found it without - "
"We managed to find this place all on our own," Kit snapped arrogantly. "I don't need Mom to walk…me…oh shit…"
"Shut up moron," Yakko hissed quietly while kicking Kit.
"Too late - I say – Too late for that," Foghorn sighed quietly, rubbing the end of his beak and sharing a brief look of annoyance with Yakko. "Boy done let the bear outta the trap."
"Oh, you did huh?" Darkwing said with a sly turn of his head. Squinting and rubbing his chin thoughtfully he paused before asking, "And all by your selves too. Bet that means that someone probably isn't down here with a chaperone…" he singsonged. "And I can bet that means that someone else's mother probably has no clue where her wayward son has carried off to."
Yakko jumped while Kit groaned, surprised that Darkwing had managed to put that together. He had been hoping that the duck would just question Foghorn's judgment but assume that he and Kit had come down with the rooster.
Darkwing actually could be competent, on occasion. It wasn't just a one time lucky fluke before when he had managed to find out the background info on Seymour before, or help out Ms. Cunningham with Kit's adoption.
Yakko scowled. Why did Darkwing have to prove to be competent now? He began to reach back towards his own HammerSpace; he'd be damned if he was letting himself be hauled off without a fight.
"Don't bother Warner," Darkwing said, not even turning to look at Yakko. "You either Kit. I've got a pair of HRC cuffs with your names on it."
Yakko felt a chill run down his spine at being reminded of the dreaded cuffs. Kit clutched his arm painfully but stayed still.
"Now hold on here Duck," Foghorn said, seemingly shocked back into the conversation by Darkwing's revelation. "Boys are down here with me."
"They are huh? So, let me get this straight," Darkwing taunted. "You came down here to commit at least one felonious act and you brought children with you? Without anyone else's knowledge? And to this neighborhood of all places?" He pointed across the street to where several teenagers were hanging out on a stoop, smoking and drinking and exclaimed, "They were lucky enough to get out of the hellholes they were born into and you drag them back?"
"Now hold on- "
"I ask again, do you ever think?"
"Well, it wasn't - I say - it wasn't like that…exactly - "
"And since we all know why you're down here - "
"Never said why," Foghorn pointed out. "Just said I wanted to talk to that reporter…"
"Uh huh," Darkwing said, turning to look out of the alley. "I'm not an idiot, despite what you may think of me. Just get out of here, let me handle things. You don't want any of this pinned to you or the kids."
"Not gonna be pinned on the kids - "
"If they're down here with you like everyone's been 'claiming' it will be whether you like it or not," Darkwing said quietly. "Get them out of here; go talk, go get a pizza, go strangle them if you want, but do it somewhere else. Just leave. I promise, this reporter won't be bothering any of you again when I'm done."
"Don't need anyone fighting my battles," Foghorn said in a snippy tone.
"No, but we'd all be better off if someone did the thinking for you on occasion," Darkwing snapped back. "I'm giving you the chance to leave, no questions asked."
Yakko, who had been watching in a horrified fascination, saw Darkwing stiffen a bit. Wondering what the duck saw, Yakko looked over the other toon's shoulder, and saw what had attracted his attention. Kit followed his line of sight and let a short hiss of air escape him.
Seymour Globe, speaking to the same rat toon in lime-green from before. Lovely.
And even better, Foghorn also had turned to look and saw the object he had been craving.
The rooster stiffened, turned to look back at Kit and Yakko, then began to walk towards the entrance of the alley.
"Fine, I give up," Darkwing said, throwing his hands in the air before turning towards Yakko and Kit while reaching behind him. "I'll arrest these two now - I'll arrest you after you're finished. Much as it pains me, you attack him, I'll have - "
There arose a large clamor in the alley, and Yakko almost tripped over his own feet to get around Darkwing, finding his mallet in the process and wincing slightly when he felt the envelope containing the pictures brush against his hand.
Kit had moved as quick and had his own mallet out and was already standing in the ready position, a stern determined look on his face.
Yakko, while brandishing his mallet, briefly debated on pulling the pictures out. He could hand them to Darkwing, who would probably be grateful to get them in his hands.
Grateful enough to let them go? Hard to say. Worse case, Yakko decided he could use them as bribery, threaten to go to the papers with them should the duck manage to actually get his hands on them and arrest them.
He could do it…It might get them all out of this mess.
He could…but he wouldn't.
No matter what happened, even if he did get arrested, he knew deep down he could never actually go to the papers with those photographs. He couldn't even threaten Darkwing with it. With his own personal distaste of the entire ordeal, he was pretty sure Darkwing would be able to see through the ruse.
While he had strong feelings about Darkwing, Yakko had no personal animosity towards Ariel or Jasmine and no desire to embarrass or humiliate them like that. Even if he didn't like them for some reason personal integrity wouldn't allow him to do that.
No, even if Darkwing somehow did manage to arrest them, the photographs were safe.
Yakko shuddered; he had a ticket to get himself and Kit - and maybe Foghorn too - out of the alley Scot-free and he wouldn't use it. All because of high moral principles and some sense of honor.
Damn honor. He hoped it wouldn't backfire in his face.
"Oh, pulling weapons too, more charges - "
"Now wait a damn minute!" Foghorn yelled, stomping back while glaring at Darkwing, who was standing there gloating at the larger bird. "Said the boys are with me - "
"Gotta make up your mind Foggy," Darkwing taunted. "They're either with you and you're not going to go throttle the reporter meaning you just dragged two minors to a ghetto on a joyride."
"No! I - "
"So, they aren't with you. Meaning you were down here to commit at least Gross Toon Misconduct…and the kids aren't with you."
"I - "
"Save it. The reporter or the kids? You don't get both and I can assure you I'm not leaving out of this hellhole empty handed. I'm giving you first choice of what you take with no questions or charges. Remember though, I will be taking whichever one you don't choose."
Yakko exchanged a quick glance with Kit and mouthed 'get ready to run', getting a nod in response. Foghorn wasn't in his right mind, meaning he might -
"You can't - I say - you can't be that low - "
"I have a responsibility to the law, such as it is," Darkwing said. "And I do have their best interests at heart - "
"Oh bullshit," Yakko burst out.
"These kids - this one at least," Darkwing continued, pointing towards Yakko with a HRC in his hand. "Are down here with no chaperone, pulling their mallets in public - in one of the worst sections of ToonTown. Can't just leave them here can I? Can't let you just go around beating up citizens either - "
"Fucking hypocrite," Kit laughed harshly. "You were gonna do the same thing. Hell - you do - vigilante - "
"You call me a vigilante like it's a bad thing," Darkwing interrupted in a wounded tone. "But I can handle the bad publicity; goes along with my image…and most things I do so brats like you can sleep safe in your bed at night don't make it in the paper," he pointed out. "So I've got a darker reputation…Foghorn doesn't…but he will…and I would think that since you two ding-dongs came down here you'd be concerned about that. Besides, I know how to work around certain laws that might prove troublesome for you three."
Yakko looked over at Foghorn, unsure what to do. He was prepared to battle to his last breath to get out of the alley and was cursing himself for even letting himself get into this situation. The next time he decided to help, he wasn't, that was for sure.
Foghorn looked conflicted, like he wasn't sure if he should still kick the reporter's ass, or just let that go and kick Yakko and Kit's asses instead. Yakko tightened his grip on his mallet, taking comfort in its thick wood handle.
"Make a decision Foghorn," Darkwing whispered. "Just make it a good one, and one you can live with. Remember, I'm not the only officer out here; we can and will catch them - and you - if we have to."
"Won't let you haul the kids off," Foghorn said gruffly, crossing his arms and raising an eyebrow at the duck. "Promise you that duck; those boys and their mallets will be the least of your worries you put your hands on them - "
"Fine," Darkwing said, spinning on his heel and putting his cuffs away and cutting a knowing glance towards Yakko. "Take your charges and get out of here. I don't want to arrest them anymore than I do you. Leave the reporter to me. You have my word, he'll never bother you - or anyone you care about - again."
"Foghorn, please," Yakko said, managing to keep most of the begging out of his voice. Darkwing was staring at him again, but he picked up the hint; get out and let him handle things, or else. Thinking quick he added in a quiet pleading voice, "If not for us, think of Wakko, what's he gonna think if his hero is out beating up people and getting arrested. Or worse, if you go off to prison…just like his Dad…"
Yakko, despite the situation, felt his lips tug upwards slightly in a self-satisfied smirk. Wakko was Foghorn's Achilles Heel, and Yakko knew Foghorn thought less than nothing of a supposed man who deserted their children. He wouldn't want to put Wakko through being taken from someone else he cared about.
It was a low maneuver, but Yakko didn't care; it wasn't all incorrect. True, he didn't want to see the big dumb cluck hauled off to prison for Gross Toon Misconduct or worse, and he sure as hell didn't want to be hauled off to a TIS Home, but he also didn't want to see his little brother crushed because his hero was gone.
It was low and dirty, but effective. He'd have to tell Bugs one day that he had learned the rabbit's method of trickery well.
"Nice one man," Kit said in amazement, watching as Foghorn's face dropped. With a flourish, he returned his mallet to his HammerSpace and added, "Damn, you're better at a guilt trip than Mom and Molly combined."
"Now boy that ain't fair - "
"He's right," Darkwing said from his position against the wall, where he was calmly surveying the situation and the surrounding street. "I got a responsibility to the law - your responsibility is to these two ding-a-lings who thought enough about you to come down, not to mention all the younger children who look up to you. Listen to these two; leave now."
Yakko reached behind him to put his mallet away, and felt the envelope containing the pictures of the princesses brush his hand gently, as if reminding him they were there and should really be in someone else's hands. He had been hoping to forget about them…until later. But he wasn't, and even though his HammerSpace was invisible and weightless, with them back there it felt like it was a fifty pound weight he was carrying around.
He sighed. While he would never let anyone else see the photos and they would be hidden away from sight, he wouldn't mind taking another teeny-tiny peek. Just one - not that he would ever forget how hot Ariel was without that damn shell bra.
It wasn't like anyone knew - except Kit - and Yakko knew the bear cub would never give him away. He tried to argue with himself to just keep them…
But, it wasn't right to keep them…
"Ehhhhh…wait a second…"
Yakko spoke before he thought, and was almost surprised when everyone in the alley turned at his quiet request.
"What is it now?" Darkwing snapped. "Take the break you've been offered and leave. We both know you aren't supposed be down here; hell, you don't belong down here. You never did."
Yakko blinked, surprised by the venom in the ducks voice and at the compliment. He ignored it though as he slowly pulled the photographs from his HammerSpace. With a small shrug at Kit and ignoring Foghorn's raised eyebrow, Yakko handed them to the annoyed Darkwing.
The duck sent him a glare but took them, ripping open the envelope in such a frenzy that Yakko was surprised he didn't destroy the pictures. As he began to flip through them, Darkwing's face contorted from annoyance to a look of dark neutrality.
Reaching the end of the stack quickly, Darkwing looked up and asked in a menacing tone, "Do I need to ask if there are additional photographs - or copies - anywhere around?"
Yakko bristled inwardly but answered in an even tone, "None that I'm aware of, but I don't know what Seymour's got do I? I can assure you that I don't have anything else."
Kit snorted and muttered, "Damn, was hoping for a copy…" Louder though he added, "Look DW, I was there when they came off the machine - not that I wanted to look at those smutty things," he assured Darkwing with a wicked grin. "But, I can ease your mind; as soon as we saw the pictures we started trying to call Bugs. No copies were made, no one else has seen them."
"No one else even knows about them," Yakko added. "I was going to give them to Bugs when I saw him but…" With a helpless shrug, he said, "Figured since you were going to see Globe, and you know them…I figured you would take care of them for me."
"Thank you; if these got out…" Darkwing trailed off for a moment, getting an odd look on his face before continuing. "They would have been humiliated, their reputations ruined…thank you for giving them to me." He turned to walk out of the alley, but paused and turned back to say quietly, "I was right; you really don't belong here. Anyone else around here would have sold them to the highest bidder, or tried to blackmail them. You might bear watching after all."
With that, the duck slunk out of the alley. Yakko blinked and lost sight of Darkwing and he idly wondered how the hell a duck dressed in dark purple could disappear in broad daylight. Houdini didn't have anything on the duck, that was for sure.
" - and you two - "
Before Yakko could register what was happening, he felt himself being roughly jerked by Foghorn, who looked supremely angry at having been denied his grand revenge. He glanced over at Kit, who was again trying to struggle out of his jacket, not that Yakko could blame him. The six foot tall rooster who was usually babbling was rather intimidating when he was in the best of moods. Now moody and silent, all Yakko could hope for was that whatever he planned, it was going to be quick and mostly painless.
"Come on Foghorn, just calm down," Yakko said soothingly. "We saved your life really - "
"Oh I agree," Foghorn said in a surprisingly agreeable tone. "Gotta worry about - I say - Gotta worry about yours now. My afternoon plans are shot, so I gotta find something else to occupy my time."
With those words, Kit dug his feet into the grime of the alley and declared he refused to allow Foghorn to drag him around like some drunken prom queen. Foghorn unhanded Yakko long enough to sling Kit over his shoulder like a brace of dead rabbits. Yakko seriously thought about running and abandoning Kit to his fate, but remembered that he didn't have the keys to the bike and had no idea how to drive it anyway.
With Kit now screeching like a histrionic idiot, Foghorn again grasped Yakko's arm and hauled him towards the truck. Yakko was going to protest this treatment and inform Foghorn he didn't need to drag him because he was perfectly willing to get out of there, but thought better of it. Foghorn had a free shoulder.
Kit's yelling abruptly ended when Foghorn unceremoniously dumped him on the sidewalk beside the pickup.
"Thank you," Kit said, smoothing his jacket down and trying to regain some sense of decorum as he gave the rooster a nasty glare. "Rather barbaric. Hope you don't treat the ladies like that. Explain a lot though - "
"Just get in the truck boy; ya bother me."
"Don't need to; rode my bike - "
"Get in the truck!" Foghorn bellowed.
Yakko bolted into the sanctuary of the Chevy's front seat; Foghorn was unlikely to kill him in the truck. He had heard blood was notoriously hard to clean from the cloth seats. Kit, mouth shut for once, clamored over him to claim the back seat, muttering something about attempting to stay out of harm's reach.
Deciding to be prudent and stay silent for the time being, Yakko gazed out of the windshield and saw Darkwing across the street, near some bushes at the hotel's front. After a second of staring at him, Yakko saw Darkwing look up and amazingly meet his eyes.
The both stared at each other for a moment, as if sizing an opponent up. Yakko felt his eyebrows raise when Darkwing, amazingly, nodded his head to him once and actually touch the brim of his hat like he was saluting. The next second he was gone from sight again and Yakko settled back into his seat as the truck was started.
"Not sure - I say - Not sure what those pictures were, and I ain't gonna ask," Foghorn said. "But the way that duck took off, think you just put the final nail in that reporter's coffin boy."
"Damn, was hoping to see it," Kit added from the back seat. "Oh Foghorn, my bike is a few blocks that way."
"Quiet boy; you don't need the bike right now."
Foghorn was probably taking them to some secluded spot to strangle them, but Yakko figured he had earned Darkwing's grudging respect, even if he lost a porno's dream.
Plus he had helped stop Foghorn from doing something incredibly stupid, so the trip down there hadn't been a total waste.
He tried to tune out Foghorn who was bellowing about them coming down to the ghetto and Kit who was quietly grousing about his bike while giving directions back to it.
They had accomplished part one of their mission; stopping Foghorn. Foghorn still seemed riled up but not inclined to commit murder in the near future.
Besides, Foghorn owed him now, especially since he and Kit were going to catch hell because of part two; facing Bugs and Ms. Cunningham. Somehow, he doubted those two were going to see reason, so he might as well Fritz a pair of earplugs and resign himself to getting screamed at for a few hours.
Yakko settled back in his seat and thought, but the adrenalin that had been coursing through him earlier was wearing off. It left him with a lethargic feeling that was making it hard to think. At this point, all he really wanted was a nap.
To take his mind off his troubles, Yakko decided to think about how much Foghorn was in his debt. Maybe he and Kit would be really lucky and could convince Foghorn when he shut up to not say anything about this to anyone.
June 22, 1996
- was found wandering the streets of Natwick, wearing only a demented look, a layer of purple paint, doused in feathers while carrying a toilet plunger.
Upon his discovery and subsequent arrest, Mr. Globe had only screamed 'Let's Get Dangerous' before attempting to beat the arresting officers with the plunger. Mr. Globe is currently being held at 'Panic Penitentiary' in the mental health ward for observation and treatment where he claims 'everyone is out to get him'.
"While it is unclear what happened to Mr. Globe to cause his mind to become completely unhinged, it is safe to assume that this has been a long time in coming," a statement released by an unnamed attorney at Disney Studios said. "It is our hope that Mr. Globe is able to obtain the treatment he needs at Panic Penitentiary while serving what is sure to be a lengthy prison sentence for his various crimes."
"We are extremely pleased to hear this fugitive from justice has been apprehended," another attorney from Warner Brother's Studios claimed. "The damage that has been done by his fabrications to our stars and their families is painful, but with time and the support of the studio and their fans, we believe that all involved will come out stronger because of it. We are relieved the truth has finally come to light."
Mr. Globe was instrumental in beginning a scandal that had rocked ToonTown to its core, alleging that many stars were engaging in inappropriate behavior with several minors, along with allegations of everything from assault to asking for special favors from local law enforcement in having tickets removed or having various charges dropped.
After these accusations, the stars and their respective studios denied the allegations. After several weeks, the studios affected filed paperwork in the courts of ToonTown, seeking a cease-and-desist order, along with an undisclosed amount of money in damages caused by what is clearly a case of libel. After several arrests for trespassing and harassment, Mr. Globe went missing. There were reports he had been seen in the Natwick District of ToonTown, but went missing from there before he could be apprehended by police.
After his discovery, police obtained a warrant and conducted a thorough search of Mr. Globe's room at The Bakshi, unearthing a wealth of information. Found among his possessions were several pictures of himself sneaking onto private property to photograph unsuspecting stars, several of them seemingly underage, along with many documents and interviews showing that this reporter falsified many of his claims. All items were neatly stacked on Mr. Globe's bed, tied with purple twine.
"While I'm not at liberty to say what these documents and photographs contained, I will say they lend credence to the claims made by numerous sources that said Mr. Globe was being a bit 'loose' with the truth," said Officer Cosgrove of Natick District Police. "While none of the photographs clearly identified any one person with any certainty, they all show Mr. Globe engaging in what could clearly be called illegal behavior. While we can't be certain, several of the pictures show what appear to be children as well, something that sickens myself and every other member of this department. When and if he recovers from his breakdown, Mr. Globe will have much to explain at a hearing and trial."
While Mr. Globe had been missing for over a week prior to his discovery, several articles and exposes had been printed by less reputable papers. While it is unlikely that these tabloids will print retractions, our paper is happy to report only fact-based claims, and any claims made by Mr. Globe have been deemed at best 'unreliable' and at worst complete fabrications.
Our sincerest apologies to our readers, along with anyone - star or private citizen - who was in any way injured or embarrassed by this reporter's scandalous claims.
While Mr. Globe never reported for our paper, he had submitted several stories at one time, none of which were published. It is our job to report factual news, and it is our policy for all our reporters to show verifiable sources before any story is printed. Mr. Globe's atrocious behavior reflects badly on all news agencies, especially legitimate sources such as ours. While it is not uncommon for the tabloids to -
*story continued on page 3
Yakko nodded as Bugs continued to read out loud to their group with a serene look on his face.
He had absolutely no idea what Darkwing had done, but suffice to say whatever it was had worked. Mr. Globe would no longer be bothering them or anyone else except maybe the mental health workers at Panic Penitentiary. His days as a reporter were over; no matter what he said or how much treatment he received, no paper, tabloid or otherwise, would print anything he wrote.
Growing bored with the story - he had read it earlier in the day - Yakko looked across Foghorn's large yard, watching as the younger children engaged in a game of tag, not having a care in the world. Dot, getting along well on her crutches, was currently 'it'. She had been 'it' several times now, but the other children were only barely walking away from her, allowing themselves to be tagged quickly.
He did have to point out to her though while using her crutches to tag them was a good idea - she had rightly pointed out it extended her reach - smacking everyone over the head with them wasn't a good idea. She had hit Buster so hard the rabbit had seen stars.
But if she knocked all of them out they couldn't play anymore. Then she'd have to sit there and be bored. After she thought about that, she went a little easier on them.
He was glad they were having a good time, and the suggestion by Bugs to have a party to celebrate Seymour's breakdown had been a welcome one. After all the stress and heartache caused by the man, Yakko didn't feel too guilty about celebrating his ruin.
Neither did anyone else apparently because everyone had shown up at Foghorn's house. Even Plucky was there with Jeeves and Max. Now that Foghorn and Bugs and the others weren't getting bad publicity, his parents had decided that it was acceptable for their son to associate with them again. Vindicated stars got lots of publicity, and they certainly didn't want their child to miss any photo opportunities.
There had been occasional questions or rude comments from the tabloid media or the average person on the street, but for the most part, the scandal seemed to be dying off, being replaced with new, legitimate stories. Any paper that was legitimate had killed the story or done interviews with the involved stars and their studios, thereby garnering good publicity and massive appeal with the general public.
Yakko also figured they were celebrating everyone's return to normal, or as normal as this group got. Foghorn, as loud and boisterous as always, was grilling hotdogs with Jeeves, making sure to place a few carrots and other such vegetables on the grills for the vegetarians in the group. Ms. Cunningham was trying to shoo him and Kit off to play with the younger children as she had been for the last hour.
He cut his eyes toward Kit when the cub laughed about something Slappy said before smirking himself.
Somehow, he and Kit had managed to escape their little ghetto tour unscathed. Foghorn, surprisingly, had covered for them with Bugs and Ms. Cunningham.
The rooster, still bellowing about them leaving the lot and bemoaning the fates that he wasn't going to be the one to punch Globe in the nose, had driven back to where Kit's bike was parked. Then he had promptly thrown a fit, mostly about the 'Big Taste' license plate, and asked which one of them had the bright idea to raid a 'HoneyCombs' box to get it.
Yakko had been more than happy to point out that it was Kit's nitwit idea, not his this time. Just to show how sporting he was, he had also pointed out Kit's lack of driver's license.
He had thought it hysterical; Kit hadn't been quite as amused.
Foghorn, in a fit of parental concern, had said there was no way in hell he was allowing either of them to ride anywhere on a bike that wasn't registered, especially with no license. Yakko hadn't been too surprised; he was actually pleased. Not only did he not have to make a return trip on it, but with Foghorn bellowing about them holding umbrellas when common sense was being rained down on Earth, it was a sign that the rooster was returning to normal.
They had gotten back to Kit's house with a surprisingly large portion of their hearing intact. In the middle of unloading Kit's bike though, Ms. Cunningham had driven up, roaring into the driveway at mach-one. Claiming she knew he hadn't been home because she had been calling the house for hours and seeing Foghorn unloading the bike, she had unloaded on Kit, right in the front yard. According to her, Kit was grounded until Pauly Shore had a number-one movie and won an Oscar.
If the situation hadn't been so dire, Yakko probably would have laughed just because of the expression on Kit's face. Of course she had directed a wrathful look towards him too so Yakko had decided to hold his hilarity in until later.
But, they were caught. Red handed so to speak. No way out of it this time. Kit was whimpering that he would sell his crooked horny little soul to the highest bidder if someone, anyone, could get him out of this. Ms. Cunningham had threatened to sell his bike too often for his comfort. If she found out he had been tooling around town joyriding on it…
Either fortune had smiled upon them or Foghorn just took pity on their stupid asses because he had jumped to the rescue, concocting a story about how Ms. Cunningham was just mistaken about what she was seeing.
They weren't unloading the bike - they were loading it. Because it needed work done to it. Foghorn was just towing it for Kit because she hadn't been home. With that, the rooster, who had already unstrapped the bike from the bed of the pickup, began strapping it down again while whistling 'Camptown Races' like he didn't have a care in the world.
Yakko had almost covered his face with his hands, thinking she couldn't possibly fall for that. He had dumbly nodded his head when she asked if it was true, not really liking the story but since he hadn't come up with anything better he decided to play along and just braced for her next round of screaming.
His jaw had dropped when she not only ate up the ridiculous story, she actually thanked Foghorn for 'coming to the rescue'. Ms. Cunningham mostly drove a Ford Taurus; however, they did own a large motor home they used when Kit had a competition to haul his bike and other gear. She despised driving the 'hulking monstrosity' and was grateful that she didn't have to haul it somewhere else right now, with these other worries on her mind. Then she had proceeded to offer such a heartfelt apology to Kit that Yakko had actually felt a bit guilty.
Kit had squirmed a bit, but shot him a shit-eating grin when her back was turned; he was out of danger for the moment. Later though, when Ms. Cunningham had gone in the house to get everyone a lemonade, Foghorn told him not to get too cocky; he and Yakko owed him now, wiping the grin off both their faces. He pointed out he could have a change of heart at any time and confess all.
Yakko hardly thought that was fair; if nothing else, they should be even. And he didn't feel like he owed Foghorn that much; he had doubted that even one of the rooster's fantastical stories was going to work on Bugs. He had agreed though; if they did he'd offer up whatever payment Foghorn had in mind.
Thankfully, Bugs hadn't pushed for the truth…much. When Foghorn eventually dropped him off at the rabbit's house, Bugs had come barreling out the front door, raising hell. He had been to the lot to get him, but no sign of the oldest Warner and there was a little rumor going around that he had been spotted sneaking out the parking lot…perhaps with a brown bear. Then he and his mystery partner simply disappeared to parts unknown. Bugs had spent the better portion of his day driving around or calling everyone he knew trying to find Yakko and his mood was decidedly less forgiving than usual…
Yakko had been about to tell him what had happened, thinking it might be wiser to face the music, but Foghorn had jumped in again. The rooster had said he needed to talk to someone, and had been unable to reach Bugs, causing the rabbit to look slightly guilty. Apparently, he had forgotten to charge it and didn't bother to leave his charger in the car. He had been making calls from various payphones around town.
But Foghorn had been able to talk to Yakko, someone he liked and respected as well. And it was perfectly legal for Yakko to be with him; he was a studio chaperone after all. And Yakko was with him now, safe; maybe this one time it would be better not to ask uncomfortable questions that he may not want the answers to.
Bugs hadn't looked convinced and had looked like he wanted to push the issue a lot further than it was obviously going, but finally agreed to not investigate further. Yakko was safe and standing right in front of him, alleviating most of his fears.
Foghorn - who Bugs pointed out hadn't been answering his phone calls or been at his house - wasn't in jail which had been his second fear. With a reluctant sigh, he finally agreed to ask no further questions. He still occasionally would drop a less than subtle hint about how he felt there was some malarkey happening under his nose though.
Foghorn had just said it was something he and Yakko would work out, and he wouldn't say anything further about it.
Looking huffy, Bugs had finally asked about the photographs. Yakko had informed him that the pictures had been of some stars in 'compromising situations', and they had been given to Darkwing, which seemed to please Bugs. Thankfully, Bugs hadn't asked how or where they had run into Darkwing.
Yakko had handed him the photographs of Dot's horse show, telling him to do what he wanted with them, but he personally had no desire to see them again. Yakko was pretty sure that Bugs had them and the negatives destroyed.
Foghorn hadn't said another word about payback the entire week. But whenever he was near Foghorn Yakko had a sneaking suspicion that the rooster was simply biding his time to find the most horrid thing he could think of. But, fair was fair; if the rooster upheld his end of the deal Yakko would be willing to do some sort of repayment with him. Hopefully it wouldn't be something too wretched.
He cut his eyes to Foghorn, slapping his knee in merriment as he, Jeeves, and Bugs laughed about something having to do with Seymour while Ms. Cunningham tut-tutted under her breath and said they were being a bad influence on the children who were listening.
The 'children' being him and Kit obviously; everyone else under the age of thirty was running around the yard playing. Yakko scowled at the reference, but felt his scowl melt into a frown at Foghorn's look.
It was a familiar look, but not one usually directed towards himself.
It was the look that screamed they owed restitution.
Payback for covering their asses, despite the fact they were risking their asses to help him in the first place.
"Yeah, don't wanna - I say - don't wanna be a bad influence on the kiddies," Foghorn said slyly, cutting his eyes in Yakko and Kit's direction while grinning.
Yakko stiffened; he didn't like being referred to as one of the 'kiddies'. If Foghorn had something planned, he was likely to spring it now, in front of everyone when it would do no good for Yakko to protest. Foghorn was devious like that.
Secretly though, Yakko was pleased to see the rooster had returned to his old self. Boisterous, loud, slightly obnoxious…that was the Foghorn everyone knew. And thankfully, the day following the incident down in Natwick, Foghorn had made a surprise visit to Bugs' house, grabbing Wakko and hauling him off to some car store and thrilling the boy.
"Now why would you say that you are a bad influence?" Jeeves asked from behind Yakko, where he was currently leaning against the pillar with his usual air of aloofness. "The children adore you - "
"It's because he and they are on the same brain wavelengths doc," Bugs piped in, never taking his eyes off the paper. "I'm surprised he's not out in the yard chasing them around a tree - "
"Wiseass," Foghorn muttered sourly before beaming again. "Know they adore me - "
"Well I know Kit does," Ms. Cunningham interrupted. "Why he rarely lets anyone touch his bike! When I saw you towing it, I just knew that he had to think the world of you - "
"Laying it on a bit thick," Kit muttered quietly to Yakko.
" - and I can't tell you how much that relieved me," Ms. Cunningham continued to gush. "Like I said, I hate towing that thing, and you fixed it too!"
"Yeah, engine was clogged with bullshit," Kit whispered to Yakko. "Foghorn kept my bike for four days too; said the engine was coated with a lot of gunk."
"Maybe he was actually looking it over," Yakko suggested.
"Nah, he was just being an ass."
Yakko almost choked while trying to restrain his laughter, seeing Foghorn paying attention to them. Luckily they were talking quietly; he doubted Foghorn's hearing was that sharp.
Then again it might be; the rooster had proven before he was no slouch when it came to keeping up with active rambunctious children. Chances were the rooster could read lips. Not to mention Bugs and Slappy both had proven time and again they had eyes in the back of their head. And all of a sudden, he and Kit seemed to be the center of attention.
With that thought, Yakko started to rise. He and Kit would be wise to stay clear of the chicken for the time being, especially since Ms. Cunningham was continuing to talk, this time about how much work Kit's motocross hobby was. Kit was complaining that he was bored and missing yet another 'hot date'.
Yakko was growing bored himself. He had been delighting in the relaxing time he was spending with the others, but was growing restless sitting on the porch. Debating on joining the younger children's game, he looked up and instead spied a tall brunette mink jogging on the sidewalk across the street.
Nudging Kit he asked, "Wanna burn off some excess energy?"
"Ten bucks says she'll want my number," Kit laughed, already eyeing the girl with an appreciative smirk as he smoothed his hair back.
"You already owe me ten bucks," Yakko said.
"Hell no I don't; Darkwing won! He hit Foghorn with his hat!"
"Minor technicality," Yakko said before pushing Kit slightly to the side so he could get a better look at the girl before she disappeared from sight. "Foghorn just…took the high road - "
"He lost - pay up Warner. I'll need the cash to take the mink out."
" - and then we had to drive out to the track yesterday," Ms. Cunningham continued, taking a delicate sip of her water. "Thank goodness I didn't have to take the bike out there. And it was filthy!" She gestured to her Taurus parked on the street. "Just look at my car! And that was only going to the parking lot of the track! Just imagine how disgusting…"
Yakko took a look at Ms. Cunningham's car while she continued to talk. It was pretty gritty looking at the moment, the usual bright crimson-colored paint a muted brown. The windshield had been haphazardly cleaned, probably by an overly-enthusiastic Molly and a bored Kit. All the glass was streaked with dirt and mud and reminded Yakko of when Bugs had planted his SUV in the creek when they went camping. He managed to choke back a laugh while wondering how the Cunningham's had managed to get over to Foghorn's house without getting in an accident.
"She's been complaining about it all day," Kit mumbled, turning to walk towards the street. "Like I knew the lot was going to be a mudfield."
"Be nice and wash it for her," Yakko suggested quietly as he fell into step beside him.
"Me? Wash a car? Don't be dense," Kit scoffed. "I'll spring for a car wash - "
"I think - I say - I think I know a way you can pay me back boys and burn off some of that excess energy."
Yakko looked over his shoulder as a large firm hand clasped down on it and saw Foghorn's face grinning down at him. He shivered slightly, not knowing what was coming, but having a feeling it wasn't going to be anything pleasant. Especially since Foghorn had his other hand clamped down on Kit's shoulder.
"Hey Becky - "
" - toss me them keys of yours!" Foghorn ordered.
"Gonna take care - I say - gonna take care of that dirty car of yours right now!"
Getting a puzzled look on his face, Kit asked, "I didn't mean I wanted to drive it to a wash this minute."
"Who said anything about driving to a car wash?" Foghorn asked. "Got the makings of a fine car wash right here in my yard. Lots of space, plenty of brushes and water and soap and polish…"
What the hell does that…
Yakko closed his eyes at Foghorn's words. Of course the rooster wouldn't take his truck to just any old drive through car wash.
No, the rooster lavished too much attention on his truck. And now, he apparently got it in his head that Kit - hopefully just Kit - should lavish that same attention on Ms. Cunningham's rolling mudpie.
Yakko thought quickly, wondering if he was expected to engage in car washing as well. When he had startled Bugs into falling into the creek, Foghorn had…strongly encouraged Yakko to clean Bugs' windshield. Yakko had a feeling that once again he was going to be strongly encouraged to participate in cleaning activities.
"Well…have fun Kit," he said, again trying to pull out of Foghorn's iron grip. He failed. "The car doesn't seem too bad - "
"Oh, doubt it will be, especially with two people doing it," Foghorn said, slightly tightening his grip. "Then you can start on my truck. After that trip the other day, it needs a serious cleaning - "
"Now wait a minute!" Yakko hissed. "Your car and hers? I said I owed ya one, not two - "
"You two said you were bored - "
"Not that bored!" Kit insisted. "I - "
"Now now boys!" Foghorn said jovially, putting an arm around each boy's shoulder. "You were both in for the destruction, so you're in for the restitution." Talking quieter he added, "And think about it boys…you'll be making Becky happy…and Bugs -"
Christ, Bugs' car too?
" - and Jeeves and Bernie and Slappy - "
"You've got to be kidding me!" Yakko groaned.
He really wished he had gotten across the street quicker or actually joined the game of tag. Foghorn wouldn't be likely to pull him away from the younger children to have him washing the cars of everyone he knows.
" - and me. Remember boys, keeping me happy keeps my beak shut."
"What about ours?" Kit asked as Ms. Cunningham rummaged through her purse. "You sort of owe us one too! I can - "
"But Becky - I say - Becky isn't likely to sell my beloved bike. You catching my drift boy?" Turning to look down at Yakko he added, "Course, Bugs might yell at me, for a few minutes; don't need him to sign for my license though. Besides, he gets in a bad mood I think I can take him. You got the same confidence son?"
Hell no I don't.
Yakko sighed. That was a factor to consider; he was only a few months out from getting his license, and Plotz and Bugs had both promised to allow it…if he and his siblings stayed out of trouble. Be a shame not to get it because he screwed up and his siblings actually behaved.
He seriously doubted Bugs would lose his mind and try to mallet him either, but the rabbit had been pissed when he returned to the house after his foray to Natwick. And he had been suspicious; he still was, even with Foghorn covering for him. He was liable to be more pissed if he found out Foghorn and Yakko had deceived him.
Deceived…it sounded so much better than lying. Bugs knew he was being deceived, and Yakko knew that Bugs knew, but like Foghorn said, sometimes, not knowing is actually better. In this case, Bugs had actually agreed, but if he ever did find out…
And worse than him being angry, Bugs might be…disappointed. Yakko shuddered at the thought. He didn't want to have to deal with Bugs expressing 'disappointment' in him again; once in his lifetime was more than enough.
He glanced over at Bugs, who was archly looking at him while dangling his own keys and sighed. Yakko supposed he could wash down his car as well. It would make the rabbit happy.
Besides, the mink was out of sight, and he couldn't exactly go wander the neighborhood looking for her.
Still though, it would be wise to put an end to this. If he didn't, Foghorn might still be trying to collect on this debt when he was of retirement age.
"Fine," Yakko sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose while Kit muttered foul oaths under his breath. "But this concludes our deal, correct?"
"Consider it paid in full. Was gonna have the boy do it," he added, gesturing towards Wakko. "Gets such a kick out of it. But, got a part in I'm gonna show him on the truck, get to work on that now that our other little problem is outta the way. Besides, having you two do this keeps you from staring down my neighbors." Walking away, he called over his shoulder, "Sorry boys, that girl's not only married, she's old enough to be your mother."
He watched Foghorn as he collected keys from the other adults, happily talking about how he had wonderful soaps and wheel polishes and Armor All and shook his head in resignation.
The debt would be paid in full. Everyone who needed to stay ignorant of what happened would stay ignorant, saving much unpleasantness for everyone. All parties currently on the property would have clean vehicles. And his brother would get another opportunity to do something car related with his hero, thereby completely snapping him out of his depressed mood and letting things get back to normal.
It wouldn't be relaxing, it wouldn't be fun, and Yakko had a feeling he had just been had by the chicken, but shrugged it off, not wishing for it to ruin everyone's mood.
Hell, even Dot had been in a great mood, despite the fact they were still arguing.
Well, not arguing. He had agreed to think about letting her go back to her horseback riding - once she healed. Dot wasn't happy he was agreeing to think about it.
She should be; before he had talked to Jeeves, he hadn't been willing to even do that. After he had talked to the butler a few times, Yakko knew in the end, he would probably allow himself to be talked into it. He would like some reassurance though that something like this wasn't going to happen again.
Lately though she had stopped pestering about it so much because she had developed a new hobby; she had discovered she liked talking on the telephone. A lot. He had walked into the den a few times to hear her giggling happily while chatting with someone.
When he had asked her why she seemed on cloud nine, she had happily replied she had a new friend…a boy friend. A mature boy who wasn't 'stupid and gross like the other boys, like Wakko and Buster'.
Yakko had blanched at the words. A 'boyfriend'? His little Dot? He was going to have to start intimidating and staring down boys and finding places to hide their bodies now? He thought he'd at least had a couple of years before he had to worry about that…
Then he had calmed down, smacking his head in annoyance.
He doubted at eight she had any serious 'boyfriend'. It was a boy, who was a friend, that was all. And she thought Skippy was mature because he never fought and wanted to play games like she did.
He smirked as he watched her hobble her way around the tree, using her crutch to tag Max while Skippy clapped. Plucky and Wakko both snuck around the tree and pied Skippy, causing him to scream and bringing Slappy's wrath down on them. Porky and Bugs stopped her from joining the game of tag, especially when she began waving her cane in one hand at them while pulling out an unlighted bomb with the other.
Yakko watched as Dot went over, putting one arm around Skippy's shoulder and talking to him in a soothing voice before beginning to wipe pie off him.
Shaking his head, Yakko laughed even as he saw Foghorn coming back toward him and a grumbling Kit with a handful of keys.
OK. He could wash the cars. It appeared he and Kit were even going to be trusted enough to drive the vehicles from where they were parked in the street into the driveway to wash them.
And Dot's 'boyfriend' was probably another little boy like Skippy. She thought all the other boys were gross and dumb. To be fair, most times they were.
He thought he knew all her friends; her closest friend that was a boy was Skippy. He made sure to stay involved in her life; if she knew another boy, he was positive he would be aware of it.
And he was happy to say he wasn't the only one; Bugs and Porky, when they were near her, kept sharp eyes on her as well. Dot was always well protected, even if she didn't realize it.
He grinned to himself. She even wanted to go on a 'date' to the mall sometime soon. That had surprised him; a date? He again told her he would think about it, making her happy. He honestly wanted to know more about this mystery child.
She told him her boyfriend's name was 'Ocho' and said he was a good artist and that he liked her with her ears undone, which explained why she hadn't been wearing a bow in them lately.
Yakko didn't like her ears down; he thought it made her look like she was trying to be older than she was. He had grown a bit worried when she announced she wanted to go buy some makeup; the firm no she got hadn't made her very happy.
When he questioned her about where she had met this 'Ocho' toon; she claimed it was at a function. She wouldn't specify which one and stopped being as forthcoming with details.
He wondered though; the tip of her tail had been twitching the entire time she talked. He wasn't sure if she was lying to him or not; she had no reason to he could see. He was just surprised she had a friend she was close to that he knew nothing about.
She was obviously closer to this kid than Yakko had thought; she even had a few pictures of him that she had happily shown him.
He seemed like a decent looking kid, but someone really needed to tell him and his family to update their wardrobes. The clothing looked old, like something out of the eighties. Yakko had cringed on seeing them; the eighties had enough bad fashion the first time around. None of the fashions really needed to make a return.
But seeing the pictures had relieved him and caused him a small bit of worry, though he couldn't figure out why. The boy was maybe a year or two older than her at most, certainly not a threat. And odds were, if they wanted to go on a 'date' to the mall, this boy's parents would also make an appearance. That eased Yakko's mind; he could ride along and meet this mystery boy and his parents and help chaperone the little 'playdate'.
Still though, odd that he had never seen or heard of this boy before. He was thankful that he wasn't the only one that seemed to have a sense of foreboding with no reason. Bugs had thought it sounded a bit fishy, but said he would go along, as chaperone and as backup if need be.
Not that they were going to need it of course. Two eight-year-olds. Not threatening.
Yakko thought about it for a minute before shrugging.
His little Dot, already turning heads at eight. He sighed; they really did grow up fast. One minute she was declaring she had a boyfriend, the next minute she was whining she wanted to sit in his lap and cuddle. But, if she wanted her playdate, she could have it.
He could let her play pretend.
And he could pretend that he didn't just hear Foghorn say that he expected every single piece of chrome on his truck to be polished.
June 25, 1996
Where is he? Is he going to come? Did I just get…what did Wakko say when Yakko told him to be quiet…
I bet he's not coming. Maybe the day is wrong. Or something happened. Or he decided -
Stood up! Yeah! That's what Wakko said it was.
Have I been stood up? He seemed so sincere…Like he really wanted to meet me, as a friend…
Dot fidgeted nervously, different scenarios going through her head as she glanced at her watch. Just to make sure the time was right, she even glanced over at the big clock in the middle of the food court.
It was. Ocho was late.
She anxiously looked around, hoping to see a gentle-eyed collie somewhere in the crowd. Maybe he was somewhere in here, with his family, just as nervous and anxious looking for her.
That thought relaxed her slightly and she mentally stopped her tail from twitching all over the bench. There was a lot of people in the mall. And a lot of those people had recognized her, wanting autographs and to talk and say 'hi'.
Normally she didn't mind - no, she never minded. She was ecstatic. Recognition by the fans was something she had always wanted. Now, she had it.
She just wished she didn't have it right now. She was already nervous about meeting Ocho; having people approaching her and asking for autographs or demanding she sing a refrain from 'I'm Cute' was wearing on her last nerves. Someone had even wanted her to dance, despite the fact she was sitting at the table with a big cast on her foot and crutches balanced against the bench. It had taken all her skill and training and a touch of charm to politely turn him down.
She glanced across the food court for a moment, barely registering that yet another fan, a small pig girl with a ponytail was shyly asking for her autograph while her parents stood a few feet behind her.
Dot sighed and signed the proffered piece of paper before looking across the food court again. Bugs was sitting on a bench about ten tables away, reading a newspaper, only occasionally glancing up annoyed. Dot was happy his annoyance wasn't directed at her. No, his annoyance was all directed at Yakko thankfully.
Her brother…she sighed to herself before shaking off her own annoyance with him. She was rather pleased with herself; she didn't think either of them was going to let her sit at the table by herself. But, they had, and it hadn't taken but so much convincing.
Ocho had claimed he was shy, a fact that amazed her. He seemed so…so self assured and confident in his letters and on the phone with her. It seemed so unlikely, but the way he had said it was endearing and cute and had charmed her even more, to know that someone who sounded so poised could be as nervous and bashful as she was.
But claiming he was shy, he had asked if perhaps he could meet her privately. It was enough of a privilege and honor and dream to meet her; he said he was afraid he would be overwhelmed if there were other people there.
She had frowned, trying to think of a way to have that happen. She knew her brother well; there was no way Yakko would let her meet anyone alone, not anyone he had never met anyway. Skippy or Molly or Porky, but not a stranger. Wakko said Yakko was overprotective and a worrier.
Dot sometimes thought the same thing. Just look at Yakko now; he still wouldn't give her a straight answer on if or when she could go riding again. True, she was still in the cast and on crutches, but she wouldn't be in them forever. She wanted to go back to one of her favorite activities. But he wouldn't say yes…but at least he had stopped saying 'absolutely not'. Now it was 'maybe' or 'we'll see' or 'can we talk about this later when I'm not having frightening images replaying in my mind?'
Yes, he was overprotective and a worrier but…
Dot sighed; that was Yakko. It was just part of who he was, just as much as his liking to take pictures or reading anything he could get his hands on. She loved him and was willing to accept what Wakko called his 'annoying quirk'.
Yakko loved them and was just trying to protect them. She could appreciate that, even if she didn't like it or always understand it or even know what he was trying to protect them from.
But on occasion, she saw no reason not to try to…go around the rules.
Wakko did it enough, and with big stuff too. What she was doing was minor. She just wanted to meet a friend without everyone hanging over her. She had overheard Yakko moaning about that to Kit once, that he couldn't even go out on a date without Bugs or Foghorn or Slappy hovering around him, messing up his potential for fun.
And Yakko had said before he didn't want Wakko and Dot to go through what he was having to go through, having such a messed up childhood and teenaged years.
Dot had the feeling she wasn't supposed to have heard that; Yakko had immediately clammed up and shooed her out of the kitchen without explaining what he meant, saying he hadn't been talking to her and she shouldn't have been eavesdropping.
She frowned, remembering that. She hadn't been eavesdropping; all she had wanted was a glass of Kool-Aid.
Ocho had seemed upset when she told him that there was no way that Yakko would allow her to go to the mall by herself. It wasn't like she could anyway; she had to have a chaperone. She couldn't invite Ocho to Bugs' house; when she mentioned maybe doing that, she thought Ocho was going to have a heart attack right there. He said he really liked Bugs on TV but he thought maybe the rabbit might be too intimidating.
Dot felt her frown deepen a bit; even when she explained that Yakko and Bugs were really really nice and not the least bit intimidating, Ocho still didn't want to see them. She hadn't liked that much; she liked having all her friends meet Yakko. She felt lucky to have gotten Yakko for a brother and always liked to show him off.
Not Wakko so much. The first time he had met Webbigail he had tried to burp in her face. She was smart and managed to get away before he was able to, but he laughed about it. Then got all his evil little friends to try to do it.
But, she hadn't asked Bugs beforehand either; he might have said no so it was probably better Ocho didn't want to come there.
Ocho had hinted strongly that he might be too shy and not able to overcome it if Bugs and Yakko were sitting right there beside her. It would be easier for him if she was by herself.
She didn't like it exactly; Bugs and Yakko weren't scary at all. Plus Ocho would be coming with his family; he never said anything about his brothers and parents maybe intimidating her. She didn't point that out though, not wanting to upset Ocho more. He had sounded really upset about not meeting her.
After a bit of thinking, she had finally come up with a reasonable solution. They had to be there; they were going to be there regardless of if she wanted them there or not. But, they didn't need to be right on top of her.
A bit of begging and a lot of pleading and coy wide-eyed looks to Yakko and Bugs had turned things in her direction. Yakko and Bugs didn't have to sit right with her, but near her. Near being the other side of the food court.
That hadn't gone over well. Bugs had stated that he wondered why he had never heard this friend of her mentioned before. He also said he was surprised this friend was so shy he couldn't even meet anyone, but had no problem hanging out in a crowded mall.
Yakko had frowned but hadn't said anything, unusual for him. He had been asking various questions about Ocho too, seemingly obsessed with how she had met him and why she had never mentioned this friend before now. Dot felt bad about lying to Yakko, she really did, but she had the feeling he wouldn't approve.
She knew better; she wasn't supposed to ever call any phone number she saw in a letter. They were supposed to be blacked out, but he had talked to her and Wakko before. Even if it wasn't blacked out for some reason, they were never ever to call. And they were never ever to give out any personal information in letters; no addresses or phone numbers. The fans were to write only to the studio. Yakko, Porky, Bugs; every adult she knew had stressed this to her, and normally she listened. This time she had not and had ignored their rules.
But it was OK, this one time right? Ocho was nice, he had been a source of comfort to her when Yakko was running around doing stuff because that nasty man was saying bad stuff about them and their friends. She was glad whatever Yakko did worked because everyone was happy again.
And now that everyone was happy again, things were going back to normal. And she and Molly had both been approached to do another modeling job, this time in a joint photo with April and another older model, a pretty polar bear named Anastasia.
But, she not only had to get out of her cast in a timely manner, she also hadn't asked Yakko yet, but she bet he would say yes. He had seemed proud of her last few modeling shoots, and he kept every page out of the magazines she was in.
Maybe answering the stuff in the letters wasn't so bad after all. Maybe like Wakko said, maybe Yakko just worried too much sometimes like lots of adults and this was going to be OK.
Not that she could ever tell anyone because if Yakko ever found out…she'd be in big trouble. Probably bigger trouble than Wakko ever got into and he was always into something. But even he never had done that.
Plus, if Yakko ever did find out, he would also have figured out she lied to him…
Dot almost gulped and felt her tail start twitching again at the mere thought. Yakko would be really mad and upset with her, and she usually strived not to get her brother that furious with her. She was rarely in that sort of trouble and she shuddered at the thought of whatever punishment Yakko would give her. She, like Wakko, knew the penalties for disobeying those sorts of rules. And even Wakko hadn't been that foolhardy…yet.
She cast a look over her shoulder at Yakko, momentarily forgetting her annoyance with him and her overwhelming fear he would discover what she had been doing.
He hadn't liked that she wanted to sit at the table by herself, she could figure that out without him having said a word. He looked so…unhappy. But, he seemed unhappy with a lot of this; she had found out he didn't like her wearing her ears down. She had finally put a bow in to make him happy.
But, he hadn't argued, not much anyway. He wanted to sit maybe two tables away at most. After her begging as sweetly as she could and a quick conference with Bugs, Yakko had finally agreed to stay about ten tables away. At most; and was still going to meet this Ocho kid he didn't care how shy he was.
Dot had nodded, pleased. Ocho had said he didn't want anyone else there because he was shy, but they wouldn't be there at the table. He wouldn't be intimidated by the two older stars. He and his family could sit and talk and Yakko and Bugs could come over and then maybe they could go to the arcade or get ice cream.
She smiled; she really liked ice cream and Ocho said he did too. He said he'd really love to see her eating it too, her tiny pink tongue hesitantly darting out before slowly licking around an ice cream cone.
She thought that was kinda odd; she never liked watching boys eat, it didn't matter what kind of food it was. She had asked Wakko if he liked watching girls eat but he had looked at her like she was crazy. Maybe she should have asked Yakko.
Dot had asked Molly, who had said it sounded fun, like maybe he wanted to share an ice cream with her. Molly at least hadn't thought her going to see this boy was bad; she was happy. She had shrieked into the phone about romance and fun and maybe she could meet him too. She said she never got to write or call fans back like Dot was doing; her mother always checked her mail.
And Kit had said something before too about how Molly should never call or write back with her home address because there were 'a lot of weirdoes out there that would love to get a hold of cute little girls'. He wouldn't elaborate, but Molly hadn't pushed either. She was just happy her big brother said she was cute.
Dot sighed before looking back at Yakko again.
Yakko had seemed grumpy that she wanted to sit by herself, and he wouldn't get out of site, but he wasn't looking at her at the moment. Right now he was talking to a pretty girl with silvery-blond hair at the ice cream counter. She rolled her eyes; it was OK for him to talk to strangers, but not her.
She told herself again though that Ocho wasn't really a stranger, not anymore. He was a friend now. Annoyed with her brother for being a hypocrite, she reached up and removed the bow and shoved the ribbon in her pocket. She smoothed her ears back like Ocho said he liked to envision them.
Yakko said she was way too young to wear makeup or wear certain clothing. Yakko said she couldn't talk to anyone he hadn't previously met or wasn't in the process of meeting. Yakko wouldn't let her do anything, but he could just wander over to food counters and just talk to whoever he pleased?
Wakko was right on occasion. Yakko was a hypocrite. She and Wakko couldn't just do whatever they wanted, but he could? It wasn't fair. When she met Ocho and introduced Yakko to him, maybe she would tell Yakko how they met. Then he'd see that she wasn't just some little girl and she could too make all these decisions.
He'd see -
A shadow fell over the table, engulfing her and breaking off her thoughts. She looked up, expecting another fan to have emerged wanting another signature or a song. She wished they would leave her alone; Ocho wasn't going to come to the table if it was surrounded by fans.
She started before blinking, confused for a moment.
This couldn't be…Ocho?
She cocked her head as she stared at the large collie, who looked almost like Ocho had in the pictures. He was a lot taller than she had first thought. A whole lot taller, and older.
She frowned a bit; even with her sitting down and him on the other side of the table, she could tell he was almost as tall as Yakko, and a bit wider than her lanky brother. His fingers, which had looked chubby in the photographs she had seen were longer and more slender, the face more angled than rounded and dotted with horrific acne that was poking up through the thick golden fur. There was even some on his shiny black nose.
Dot dreaded the day she got acne. Yakko got a pimple here and there. He had one on his nose once and said it actually kinda hurt. Wakko and Plucky had laughed at him, but Yakko had just shrugged, saying they'd get theirs one of these days. He only had to wait.
But who was this boy? Ocho's brother maybe? Ocho had two older brothers he had said.
"Hi," she said hesitantly before straining to look around him.
Maybe Ocho was hiding behind one of the big plants that were scattered around as decoration, too shy to emerge and show himself. She relaxed, that was it. He had sent his brother over to see if it was her and to make sure she was friendly before he came over. He had said he was worried about looking like a fool.
"Dot, it's me!"
Wary, Dot snapped her head back around to look up at the tall collie. Staring into his warm gentle eyes and listening to his voice; excited, hesitant, hurt, she felt her face break into a confused but welcoming smile.
It was him.
"Ocho?" She asked hesitantly. At his nod she gave a winning smile before relaxing more. "Ocho!"
She awkwardly stood, using the table to balance herself so she could hug him. She only reached the middle of his chest but she still threw her arms around his waist happily as he bent over to envelope her.
"Oh I'm so happy to see you!" Dot gushed. "I was thinking you weren't going to show - "
"Me not show up to meet you?" Ocho guffawed. "Don't be silly! This is my dream come true!" He looked around hesitantly before saying in a relieved voice, "And you're here all alone, just waiting for me! It's a dream come true; the happiest day of my life!"
She was about to point out Bugs, still hidden behind his newspaper, and Yakko still facing the ice cream counter, his arm casually flung around the pretty girl's shoulders before shrugging. Ocho seemed to relax when he thought she was by herself. She could point them out in a few minutes.
Ocho put his hands around her waist briefly before helping her sit back on the bench. He then sat down beside her and firmly grasped her hands. "You, waiting here for me like this…even with your ears down. You look better than I even imagined like this…"
She watched as he let go of her hand and stroked her ears. She barely managed to refrain from pulling away. Other than Yakko, she didn't like her ears being touched. That was Yakko's thing; not even a friend like Ocho could do it, but she didn't want to hurt his feelings.
"You're so adorable and cute; a hundred times better than on television. Worldly, poised, beautiful…"
Dot batted her eyes and said, "Thanks! You…You're taller than I thought…and older. Like my brother."
"Yeah, about that…" Ocho trailed off, stopping his stroking of her ears to awkwardly scratch his face. "Those pictures, they were kinda old, but all I had to send you." Grasping both her hands again he said, "Please don't be mad! I was going to send some more pictures, more recent, but I hadn't had the chance to get any taken!"
"Oh, it's OK!" Dot insisted, upset that she had distressed him. "I just thought you were…younger."
A lot younger.
Despite her delight at finally meeting Ocho face-to-face, and her flattery that an older boy - a boy Yakko's age - liked her so much, she was confused.
Yakko liked her friends. Despite his constant gripping about her constant hyperness, she knew he really liked Molly. He liked Webby. He even liked Wakko's friends like Babs and Elmyra and they were older than her.
But, he didn't like them like this. He didn't like them enough to want to watch them eat ice cream, or he never said he did. He liked taller girls too, older girls, the kind that wore heels and short skirts and makeup and were already 'developing' like Lisa said. Babs, the tallest of the girls, even despite her ears still only came up around Yakko's chin.
Yakko picked some really stupid girls to like sometimes, but he always seemed to like older girls. Not younger ones.
Maybe Yakko was a snob, to not like younger girls like Ocho did.
Dot shook her head; Yakko could never be considered a snob. But, he was always looking at her like some little girl. Not Ocho though; he had said he thought she was really mature and could make up her own mind about what she wanted.
She repressed all the confusing thoughts and feelings, and the slight feeling that something wasn't quite right about this situation. Ocho was not what she had been expecting, true, but he was still Ocho, still the same friendly open boy she chatted secretly to on the phone all the time.
"I knew you'd understand!" Ocho beamed. "So mature…it's one of the things that attracted me to you."
"Oh you too," Dot gushed. "It was so nice to talk to you, because you're so understanding about…everything! I mean I can't talk to any other boys about the stuff I talk to you about," she explained. "They never would listen to me…well, except Skippy."
Skippy, who was upset she was going to meet this boy. When Dot had told Skippy about Ocho, he had seemed upset. He had said he was going to tell his aunt too, but Dot and Molly managed to talk him out of it. If Slappy found out, she might tell Yakko. That would be bad for her.
"You can talk to me about anything," Ocho said, releasing her hands to gently grasp her face.
Dot gently tried to pull her head away. Another thing she hadn't been expecting about Ocho; he was grabby.
"So, are you going to be doing that ad?" Ocho asked, still stroking her face.
"I…haven't asked Yakko yet," Dot confessed.
That was another thing about Ocho, he seemed interested in her modeling, which was nice. Wakko and his friends were always bored when they heard about it.
"You should…I'd love to see some new pictures of you," Ocho grinned. "Heck, I'd love to take some pictures of you."
"You can take some now, if you want," Dot offered, grinning at him. "If you brought a camera - "
Ocho threw back his head and laughed before saying, "Oh Dot, you daring naughty girl!"
Dot blinked at him, confused. What was bad about that? She looked around her but saw nothing unusual. Maybe he didn't bring a camera after all.
"Or you could draw some," she offered helpfully, feeling a grin split her face. She wasn't sure why Ocho was laughing at her suggestions, but he seemed so delighted with them that his good mood was spreading to her.
"It's too crowded here for that silly girl." Looking deep into her eyes he added, "And I want to get to know more about you. Like all of you, without prying eyes getting in our way."
Dot wasn't interested in leaving; she glanced over her shoulder again.
Bugs was near Yakko now, roughly poking him in the shoulder. She shrugged; Bugs never liked the girls Yakko picked out any more than she did. But, if he was going to yell at Yakko about the newest girl that caught his eye, then he wasn't going to be bothering her about Ocho. For now. She was going to have to come up with a good reason why Ocho didn't look like he did in the pictures she showed them.
Darn, which meant probably lying again. She hated doing it the first time. That was the problem with lying though wasn't it? One lie could turn into two, then three, then who knows how many?
She pushed it out of her mind for the moment; Ocho was gazing at her like she was a glamorous movie star, and she felt all her worry disappear about Yakko and Bugs and even Ocho and his oddities. He phrased things weird, but he was OK. And, baring the acne, was really good looking.
She couldn't wait to tell Molly and Webby about this. And Skippy; Wakko was right, maybe Skippy was a drip, worrying about nothing.
"Like what?" Dot asked innocently.
"Like…what do you like for breakfast?" Ocho asked, rubbing her cheek before resting a hand on her knee, right over her cast. "I'm hoping I - "
"Know what I'm hoping?" A familiar voice asked behind them. "I'm hoping you're this kid's older brother and not this Ocho character."
Dot stiffened at the statement before slowly and fearfully turning around in her seat.
Yakko, looking…what? Furious? Enraged? Confused? Resigned? What? She had never seen that look on his face before, at least not directed towards her. He never even looked at Wakko like that, even when he was mad beyond belief at him.
He was standing by their table, his arms crossed and one eyebrow cocked as he gazed down at them. Directly behind him was Bugs, also with arms crossed and tightly gripping his newspaper with enough force it was bending in half.
" - and I just know you're not the kid I saw in that picture," Yakko continued on.
"Y-Y-Yakko!" Dot stammered, pulling away from Ocho who was radiating disappointment and worry from his every pore. Telling herself to stop stuttering like Porky and almost grabbing her tail to hold it still she added, "Um…I'd like you to meet Ocho - "
"Charmed," Yakko drawled in a voice Dot didn't recognize. He gave Ocho a chilling smile that didn't reach his eyes and stated, "You're the biggest eight-year-old I've ever seen."
"Yeah doc," Bugs chimed in behind him. Directing his gaze towards Dot he added, "Funny Yakko; think you would have remembered a giant eight-year-old at one of the functions."
"You'd think it would be memorable wouldn't you?" Yakko answered, never taking his eyes off Ocho.
"Can't say I've seen many kids that age with a case of acne that bad either - "
"Move away from my kid sister pussface," Yakko said evenly, not taking his eyes off Ocho.
"Yakko!" Dot gasped. "Don't be mean to him!" And she had worried about Wakko being rude! "You get acne too - "
"I'm supposed to; I'm not eight," Yakko sighed in an exasperated manner. "And ya know what? I get the feeling he hasn't seen eight in a while either." Slamming his hands loudly on the table, he leaned over so he was in Ocho's face and asked, "So, how old are you…kid? Or should I be asking how old those pictures you sent were?"
Ocho backed fearfully into the bench, one hand gripping it while the other went back to Dot's knee. She was still frozen in shock at Yakko and Bugs' rudeness, but she managed to regain enough decorum to put her hand briefly on Ocho's hand in a comforting manner.
Yakko let out a low sounding growl that started deep in his throat at seeing Ocho's hand on her knee. Before Dot could even respond and tell Yakko his behavior was bordering on insane, Bugs stepped back in.
"Yakko, calm down," Bugs said quietly. "We don't need to attract attention." He firmly put his hand on Yakko's shoulder, pulling him back in the standing position before directing a look at Ocho that showed pretty clearly he wasn't interested in meeting him either. "Though I agree with one of your previous statements doc; probably should continue this conversation elsewhere. All of us."
Dot looked over at Ocho, who seemed scared. Not that Dot blamed him, Yakko and Bugs were being nasty to him, and for no reason. Yes, she had lied about how she met him, and yes he was a bit older than she had previously said, but that was no reason to be rude to him.
Ocho asked in an offhand manner, "How do you know what I - "
"Long ears," Bugs answered tightly. "I hear a lot…a whole lot. Notice a whole lot too…might wanna remove that hand from her. Trust me, you don't want to see how I'll remove it doc."
Both of Ocho's hands shot back to the top of the table and Dot looked at Yakko and Bugs' in shock.
Next time she wanted to meet anyone, boy or girl, she was having Porky take her. Porky was never rude, not that Yakko and Bugs usually were. She had never been embarrassed by them, not once. She always wanted everyone she met to meet Yakko, but not anymore.
She felt tears spring to her eyes as her anger and confusion grew. She didn't have a lot of friends and she clung to everyone she had dearly. But she was always open to making new friends, friends that wanted to be her friend because of her, not because of what she was or who she knew.
And now they were ruining it by being mean and rude and scaring Ocho. She was going to lose a friend because of them. What if they started acting that way to Molly, or Skippy or Webby? Didn't they want her to have friends? It wasn't like Yakko was around a whole lot lately - so she made a new friend? Was it that big a deal? Did he have to act like a jerk?
"Yakko," she pleaded, hoping that sweetly begging her brother to behave himself would get him to listen to reason. "Yakko, please - "
"Quiet Dorothy," he snapped, as he shook Bugs' hand off his shoulder. "You're in enough trouble right now."
He directed a terrible look towards her as he put his fist to his mouth when he again looked at Ocho. Dot shrunk back in her seat, wondering what happened to her real brother because this monster wasn't her loving doting older sibling. And she knew his mannerisms well. Like Wakko said, when Yakko's fist went to his mouth, it usually meant his foot was going to go up someone's ass. It just usually wasn't her.
She hoped she wasn't going to get a spanking, or grounded, or have to do a bunch of extra chores; that was Wakko's department, not hers. She had a hard time not bursting into tears when Yakko sent 'The Look' towards her. If he actually yelled at her or got angry at her for some reason she never knew what to do.
But, she probably just broke more rules than Wakko ever did, at least at one time. Maybe he wouldn't punish her too harshly; after all, she was still in the cast. She took another look at his face and hoped she was correct; he didn't look very happy with her at all.
After a few uncomfortable seconds, he took a breath and crossed his arms again, seeming to make an effort to control himself. Dot glanced over at Ocho, who seemed to be smirking and she raised her eyebrows. The way he had talked before, he practically passed out if he met someone he was so nervous. She figured he would be cowering under the table now.
"So, wanna tell me how you really met Romeo here?"
Dot opened her mouth to speak, not sure of what to say to Yakko. It wasn't supposed to go like this, she thought she was going to have time to introduce Yakko to him. Instead she was cowering in terror on a bench in the food court.
And if Ocho said the wrong thing, Yakko was going to figure out that she hadn't met him at a function. She started to stammer out a reply and try to plead her case but he beat her to it.
"Think real hard before you speak. And if you even think of lying to me and telling me some shit about a function - "
"Yakko, doc, you're confusing her and attracting an audience," Bugs said quietly. "Not the place, trust me. Keep calm - "
Yakko hissed out something to Bugs that sounded like, 'he's the same damn age I am!' before the rabbit put a hand over his mouth and muttered, 'let me take care of it'.
"Yeah…Yakko," Ocho said, finally speaking. "Don't want to attract attention do you?"
Dot blinked, surprised that Ocho spoke, but happy he did. She knew he could speak, if given some time. She was almost proud of him; he wasn't backing down, he was standing up to her bully of an older brother.
"You guys just got the publicity off you; don't want to draw that back - "
Bugs grasped Yakko's arm, hard, to hold him back while directing a cold look towards Ocho.
"Might be wise if you left, now, before I slip and let rabid older brother go. Oh, and forget any number you were previously calling to talk to Dot doc," Bugs advised, still holding onto Yakko's arm. "You don't want to see what I'll do to the pieces of you that are left after this one gets done with you."
Dot was staring at everyone; Ocho, seeming smug and self assured as he glanced around. Yakko, livid. Bugs, a mixture of anger and…something else that Dot couldn't pick up.
She couldn't take her eyes off them. The food court, the toons and noises and smells of all the food cooking blurred out around her as everyone at the table went silent and they stared at each other like they were sizing up opponents.
This was all too weird; she knew Yakko would be angry if he found out what she had done, but she honestly hadn't thought he'd be this angry. And not Bugs, not like this.
Yakko appeared to be getting himself under control, or struggling to anyway. With a look, Bugs finally let him go and Yakko stood by the table, glaring at Ocho with a look of deepest loathing. Every now and then he would dart his eyes towards Dot while tapping his finger on the table in annoyance.
This didn't bode well for her. Bugs seemed mostly in control of his anger though; Dot nodded to herself, deciding to take a page out of Wakko's book. Try to stay a good distance away from Yakko until he calmed down. She was confident Bugs would protect her.
"Dorothy, get your crutches, we're leaving."
Dot turned a confused yet annoyed glare towards her brother before slowly reaching for the crutches, sending a sympathetic look at Ocho. She might have to leave and Yakko might kill her, but she didn't have to be in a hurry to get to her own funeral.
Dot started at his barking order, but quickly grabbed the crutches. There was no reason to make him angrier than he already was, and his order had attracted some attention. Even over the low din of conversation in the food court, his voice had carried enough to cause several people to turn in their direction and look at them.
Ocho was standing too, looking smug but slightly disappointed.
"I'm sorry," Dot said to him. "I'm not sure what - "
"Dorothy…don't…don't talk to him," Yakko ordered in a funny quiet voice. "Just, step away from him. I don't want you anywhere near his type."
Dot frowned but did as she was told, hoping that compliance now would bring about some leniency later and she could maybe find out what her brother was so furious about. This was going beyond his normal anger over some rule breaking.
"It's not your fault Dot," Ocho said grandly, offering a small bow to her.
Dot reached Bugs' side, giving a wide berth to her brother. Bugs didn't seem too angry; he even put his hand on her shoulder and gave her a gentle squeeze before saying they would all have a long talk later about this.
Yakko though seemed to be relieved as he looked over his shoulder at her, as if confirming to himself that she was right there and in Bugs' arms. She relaxed a little and even shot him a small hesitant smile; maybe he wasn't really too mad. Maybe he just wanted to meet Ocho face-to-face.
She grinned to herself; he was gonna behave, he was going to introduce himself properly after all. Maybe they would all go get ice cream after this and everyone would have a good afternoon and she could figure out what Ocho meant by wanting to cook her breakfast. Maybe he wanted to meet her early again tomorrow?
Ocho though was now standing and looking at her. With a toothy grin, he turned to look at Yakko and asked, "What, I don't get a good-bye kiss?"
Dot raised her eyebrows as Yakko, amazingly, grinned back, almost looking like her usual, fun, doting brother.
Yakko cheerfully answered, "Not gonna get one from her; how about one from me?"
Dot frowned, confused for a moment at the statement. She didn't even have time to figure out why Yakko wanted to kiss Ocho. Even Ocho looked confused at the statement.
Yakko's face though went from grinning to determined as he balled his fist, pulled his arm back and swung, landing a solid punch right in Ocho's face. Dot watched in horrified fascination as the world went into slow motion; Yakko's fist connecting, the sickening sound of Ocho's muzzle crumbling before he flew backwards, his butt landing in a chair before he and it tumbled backwards to the hard floor.
"Pow! Right in the kisser!"
"Damn it Yakko!" Bugs, still holding on to Dot's arm leaned over and smacked Yakko on the head with his newspaper before he could continue his cheer. Before Yakko could even react Bugs hit him again, harder, then grasped his arm too.
"What?" Yakko asked, batting his eyes in innocence at the rabbit. Then he shook his hand and let out a hiss of pain before adding in a low groan, "Ow I think I broke my knuckles - "
"I'm gonna break your neck!" Bugs muttered, tightening his grip on his arm. "What were you thinking? Don't answer doc," Bugs warned when Yakko went to open his mouth. "Just don't."
Dot struggled to close her mouth before her jaw was permanently stuck in the open position. Her brother just…just…just punched somebody. One of her friends. Yakko never hit anyone, ever. She was barely aware that Yakko knew how to make a fist.
She had seen Yakko pie people, threaten to mallet them, he could make someone cry with just words if he really wanted to, but never resort to physical violence like this. She knew the humans did of course; the humans couldn't pull mallets or pies or bottle of seltzer water. Toons could, and always considering themselves a bit more refined, never threw punches. The boys fought all the time and she had never seen them hit each other like that, though she had heard a couple of times they had gotten angry enough they wanted to.
Ocho was lying in the middle of the food court, holding his muzzle and swearing violently. Dot raised her ears to listen; even Wakko and Max together probably didn't know some of those swear words.
Bugs started to turn towards the exit before looking back down at Ocho with a look of distain.
"Like I said doc, forget about Dot, forget any number you called her on."
"I'm gonna call the cops," Ocho swore, shakily standing while holding his muzzle. "Sue the shit out of - "
"You do that - "
"It'll be worth it," Yakko said over his shoulder. "I'll pay double if I can hit him again - "
"Be quiet Yakko," Bugs ordered before talking to Ocho again. "Somehow, I doubt you'll get much sympathy for getting your tail handed to you for trying to hook up with his kid sister."
"You don't sca-"
"You're a bit old to be playing with the kindergarten crowd doc," Bugs said quietly, so quietly that Dot had to raise her ears as much as she could to hear him. "Best advice I can give is to go home and forget all this, Dot, Yakko, me, this mall." He sighed loudly before adding, "If you do, I can forget too, and I won't have to make some phone calls to my own friends, friends that tend not to like guys that can't date within their own age group."
"You're threatening me?" Ocho asked, woozily leaning against a table. "Can't wait to go to the papers with that, major star bullying underage - "
"Minor technically," Bugs waved him off while ignoring the curious looks of the mall patrons. "And it's not a threat doc, just good advice. And remember, you're the one trying to pull a little girl away from her tea parties and dolls to do…well." Bugs looked down at Dot and shrugged. "We'll see who comes out looking better in the papers after that gets out. Your call though."
With that, Bugs grimly picked up Dot while thrusting her crutches into Yakko's startled arms, telling him to carry them and to try to stay out of trouble on the short walk to the car.
Dot strained to look over Bugs' shoulder. Yakko was marching beside him, still looking furious but with a fairly pleased air coming from him regardless. Behind them, Ocho was gingerly feeling his muzzle while several people were watching all of them in open-mouthed astonishment.
Confused, Dot blinked and settled down in Bugs' arms, deciding to stay quiet for the moment.
It wasn't a very successful meeting, but it had been memorable. Molly was gonna love this story, if she was going to be allowed to talk to anyone ever again.
Though this probably wouldn't be the best time to ask Yakko if she could do another magazine ad for 'The Diamond Tiara'.
End Chapter 36