"Come on! You've got to give it a go, Gabin!" A brunette fairy wearing a cap adjourned with a tulip symbol grinned contagiously at his friend Gabin, who'd winced rather spectacularly when he heard his own name being mentioned.
"Ehh!?" Gabin whined in a bid to squirm away from a very enthusiastic Mambo. He slowly backed away, his hands raised upwards in panic. "Why me…?"
Mambo wasn't about to let the fleeing fairy go so easily. "Because I want a partner to race with when I'm skating!" he answered, lugging along two skateboards—one board propped up in each of his arms—to follow the retreating fairy.
Gabin winced, feeling a foreboding sense of dread. "R-R-Race!?" he sputtered out.
"That's right!" Mambo confirmed. "All the way from here to the Fairy School!" He glanced over to the Fairy School in the horizon, the tall structure quite the distance from where they currently were at a footpath along Mirumo Village.
"A-All the way there?" Gabin stared with impending horror at the direction Mambo was looking at. "No way! That's got to be at least four kilometers! Gabinnnn!"
"Ah, come on! Don't be like that! Skateboarding is ultra-cool!" Mambo continued to insist.
Gabin waved his arms in a shooing motion in response to Mambo's prodding. "Leave me alone, Mambo!"
"There's no need to be such a spoilsport." Mambo placed the skateboards that he had been holding down onto the ground so as to free up his hands, which he promptly used to flash the peace sign at Gabin. "You only live one time, so you gotta try it at least once! Why not now?"
"C-Can't you find someone else?" Gabin pleaded, his face turning pale at the idea of a skateboarding race with his eager friend. In his head he could only see it ending in disaster, and thus wanted absolutely no part in it. "I'm sure Peta would be enthusiastic to race with you!" He offered their common friend as an alternative, hoping that Mambo would take the bait and leave him alone.
Unfortunately for Gabin, his excuse was quickly foiled. "Peta and the others are all busy with their own matters right now. I couldn't find them," Mambo replied with a shrug before his expression turned sneaky for the briefest of moments. "So as of the moment, I've got nobody to race against except for you."
"You mean it must be me?" Gabin turned pale at the thought, fidgeting with his hands more and more.
"Ding ding ding! That's correct!"
Gabin looked at his friend with an apprehensive expression. The panic-prone fairy couldn't avert his eyes away from the skateboards—innocent looking yet very hazardous in his personal opinion—that Mambo had brought along. "B-But it's a dangerous sport!" he finally croaked out. "And that's not even mentioning the fact that I've never learned how to skate on a board before! I don't even know how to skate in general! Gabinnnn!"
"Relax, Gabin! There's a first time for everything. Y'know, back when I was younger, Rumba-neechan had to teach me how to skate," he recalled, "It was certainly hard at first, but pretty easy once I got the hang of it. There's no need for you to fret. I can even guide you if you're feeling uneasy about this."
"B-but what if I skate and then fall off at a high speed?" Mambo's persuasive efforts fell on deaf ears as Gabin instinctively tugged down on his bobble cap in a frenzy, refusing to listen to more of his friend's pressuring. "That would really hurt, Gabiiinn!"
"Yo, I doubt that would happen to you!" Mambo waved a hand, brushing off Gabin's fretting. "There's no need to worry with me at the helm!" he pointed his thumb inwards, proudly smiling.
Contrary to what Mambo was expecting, Gabin shivered in fright instead of feeling consoled after hearing Mambo's declaration. "The reason I'm worrying is because you happen to be the one trying to convince me that there's nothing to worry about," the mauve-clothed fairy mumbled, shooting Mambo a worried look.
"Geh!" Mambo flinched as Gabin fired the somewhat-intentional insult at him. "Bah! I get it, I get it! I'm not as trustworthy a fairy when it comes to opinions compared to someone like Mirumo." He wagged his finger in reassurance, "But still, I swear that nothing will happen to you if you're careful!"
Listening intently, Gabin was suddenly quite confused when his friend abruptly veered off topic. "Of course, if you act as cool as I do, then you'll also be safe as well! Our awesomeness will keep our fears at bay!" Mambo proudly declared, posing with a cocky grin. He was too caught up in his self-praise to notice that his proclamation had the opposite effect on Gabin from what he had intended.
"T-That's not true!" Gabin countered. He turned to Mambo, letting out an embarrassed sigh at the proud fairy's antics, "For starters, you're not cool."
The orange-clothed fairy flinched at Gabin's words. "Stop calling me uncool!" Mambo raised his voice, before inhaling a deep breath to maintain his composure. "I told you that you'll be fine! Do you really doubt my guarantee?" he asked, a frown tugging at his lips.
Gabin didn't even make the slightest attempt to be tactful. "Yeah." His admission was so blunt and to the point that even the talkative Mambo was stunned into being silent. After a few seconds that seemed like an eternity to the duo passed by, Mambo coughed into his hand in order to break up the awkwardness that had ensued. "Ahem!" he started, trying to change the subject, "Differences in opinions aside, I still think you're being too heavily negative about this. There's no need to be that cautious!"
"But I have to be! Anything can happen in a race like this!" Gabin's vocal tone was quickly approaching that of a whine. "In the best case scenario if I happen to fall down, I'll still get multiple cuts and scrapes." His face then morphed into one of pure panic as his speculations grew more and more wild. "But that's assuming the best. What if it's worse?" he theorized. "There's a possibility that I could end up in a coma from the impact of a crash. Maybe I'll wind up bedridden and unconscious, and then I won't be able to eat bubblegum anymore! Gabiiiinnnnn! It's the end for me!"
Mambo yawned, not having any of it. "Can't you just wear a helmet and protective gear just in case to protect yourself from injury?"
"It won't help!" Gabin brooded, his eyes widening further. "Knowing my luck, it'll be of no use! Maybe the helmet would break too…"
He couldn't help but roll his eyes in return. "Are you exaggerating just a tad bit?" Mambo held his thumb and index finger very close together to put emphasis on "a bit".
Gabin lowered his head. "I know…" he exhaled. "It's just… I don't know! I just can't see any positive outcome from this!" He began to hyperventilate, "I can't do this! I just can't! Gabbiinnnn—"
Before he could continue on with his fit of terror, he suddenly felt two strong hands gripping onto his shoulders. "Gabin!" Mambo yelled, cutting off Gabin's panic attack. "Calm yourself down!"
"No, no, no! I can't! Don't force me!" He visibly shuddered, his eyes continuing to linger on the skateboards on the ground.
Finally sensing that his constant coaxing was only making things worse for Gabin, Mambo decided on a different approach. "Are you okay, Gabin?" he tried to console the frightened fairy.
Gabin vigorously shook his head, squeezing his eyes shut. Mambo gave a worried frown at the scene. "I guess not, huh…" He hugged the petrified Gabin, giving his friend a hearty pat on the back as he continued to sob quietly. "There, there. Just let it all out…" he reassured.
After a good minute or so had passed, Gabin finally released himself from Mambo's grip. "Mambo…" he began as he sat himself down on the footpath, "How is it that you can always be so optimistic about everything?"
Mambo raised a confused eyebrow. He did not expect this question at all. It'd literally come from out of the blue. "What do you mean?" he asked, tilting his head slightly.
"You don't see it?" Gabin appeared to be puzzled by Mambo's response. "You're always the first to want to try something in an attempt to be cool, even if it backfires on you later." He gave a small sigh, looking down to the ground. "I can't ever be like you…" he lamented.
"Gabin…" Mambo reached his hand forward.
"So how!" Gabin snapped, swiping Mambo's hand away. "How is it that you can always look on the bright side of a situation even when it's hopeless!?"
"Um, well…" Mambo bit his lips, his mind blank. Truthfully, Gabin's question had caught him off guard. He wasn't sure how to answer his friend at all.
"Well?" Gabin perked up, anxious for his response. As Mambo remained silent, Gabin proceeded to tug on his violet hair to distract himself from the prospect of finding out the answer.
"I guess it's just my mindset," Mambo confessed, wrinkling his nose. "The consequences of any given situation is usually the last thing to come to my mind, especially since I've always wanted to show off and impress others…" He suddenly paused as a new realization hit him. "And I don't even know why I try so hard to do that," he uttered, staring at his own hands in disbelief of what he'd just said.
"I… really don't."
"So there's no particular reason as to why you're always this eager to show off?"
"I've never really thought about it till now, Gabin!" he maintained his stand, tapping his foot against the ground.
Gabin thrust his arms up. "But that eagerness is the reason you're always so carefree! How can it be that it's just a behavioral quirk without any underlying reason behind it?"
Mambo raised an eyebrow. "Exactly what's so wrong if that's the case?"
"A behavioral quirk is just a habit! It can be changed at any time with enough persistence!"
Mambo stepped forward. Now this was getting interesting. "So you're saying that me always trying to come out on top and throwing caution to the wind is something I can change if I try hard enough?" He'd never thought about it this way before.
He'd always been known for being a tryhard, and for getting teased at when those schemes eventually backfired. Even he got tired of the whole charade after a while. But the reason he had always behaved this way was because he had done so for so long that it was practically second nature. Never once did he attempt to change his attitude towards everything, since he'd expected for his reaction to always be instinctual.
"Gabbinnnn!" Gabin's outburst ended up thrusting Mambo out of his deep thoughts. "I just don't get how you can be like that without stressing about the situation! For me, that's impossible!" he asserted.
Mambo was about to hammer back a retort when another thought crossed his mind. Putting his finger to his lip, he quickly considered the new idea instead. Perhaps being diplomatic with Gabin would be a better outcome here. "Alright, let's turn the question around. You're asking how I can always throw consequences to the wind without reason whenever I try to act cool, but what about you?"
Gabin jolted as the conversation pointed back to him. "Me?" he yelped.
"Yep!" Mambo couldn't keep the curiosity out of his voice as he continued, "What's your reason for being negative all the time?"
"Isn't it obvious? I've always been like that." Gabin answered with a sullen expression as he adjusted his cap.
"Oi, oi!" Mambo placed his hands to his hips, sneering. "Then how is that any different from what you've just asked me earlier?"
Gabin's eyes widened as he realized the implications. "Um, I mean—" He hastily tried to backtrack once Mambo called him out.
All of Gabin's stuttering was ignored by Mambo. "Hey, Gabin…" He folded his arms, a smug grin on his face. "Don't tell me your negative outlook and constant whining has no reason to it either? It's just your natural instinct?"
"That's not true!" Gabin stubbornly jerked his head up in defiance. "I feel that if you don't prepare for the worst, then it'll catch you off guard!" Gabin looked up, right into Mambo's eyes. "If I was as carefree as that, I'll be toast! Gabin!"
"Hmph! That's true, I guess," Mambo conceded. "But on the other hand, if you overstress yourself and think about things too much, you end up like the way you currently are now, hesitant to even take a single step forward for fear of anything going wrong. Perpetually paralyzed by fear… do you really want to live a life like that, Gabin?"
Gabin got to his feet, sweeping dirt from the ground away from his clothes. When he finally made eye contact, he divulged the answer that Mambo was hoping for. "No… I don't. I don't want to," Gabin admitted in a soft but determined voice.
Mambo beamed proudly at Gabin's answer. "Just because you're known for always being negative doesn't mean you can't change, Gabin. Attitudes and habits can change! You don't need to let your fear dictate your own life! Let go of your worries and control your own destiny!" he declared.
At that, Gabin's frown slowly turned upside-down. "Y-yeah! If I don't try, I'll never find out the answer!" He pumped his fist lightly into the air in agreement. "From now on, I'll try to take things easy and not fret about everything."
"That's the spirit, Gabin!" Mambo cheered alongside his friend. "So?" He flashed an enthusiastic smile, planting one feet onto one of the skateboards. "Are you ready to skate with me?" he offered, rolling the skateboard back and forth with one of his feet.
"Ah, no. Sorry," he apologized with a sheepish chuckle, signaling his disaffirmation.
"Eh!? But why-woah!" Shocked by Gabin's refusal, Mambo leaned too far forward, unintentionally placing too much weight on the foot at the end of the skateboard. As a result, with the round wheels acting like the fulcrum of a lever, the other end flipped upwards just like a seesaw would. This sudden movement resulted in Mambo almost losing his balance. He hastily flailed his arms with a yell to maintain his center of gravity before hurriedly stepping off the skateboard as it clattered back onto the ground.
Gabin put his hands to his mouth, stifling a small laugh. "As clumsy as always?"
"Yeah, yeah," Mambo grumbled, kicking the toppled skateboard aside. "Now, where was I? Oh yeah! Why choose to refuse my offer after you've gotten motivated, Gabin?" he completed his question from earlier. "Was my speech all for nothing?"
Gabin held his hands up in denial. "Oh no, it has nothing to do with that. Your point still stands, I do still want to try to worry less."
"Then why?" Mambo raised his eyebrows in curiosity.
"It's just that in my opinion… skateboarding isn't a very cool sport."
Mambo felt his eyebrow twitch. "Gragh! Stop saying that I'm uncool!" he yelled right into Gabin's face, finally losing whatever little patience he might have had before.
"Gaabbiinnnn!" Gabin cried out as he burst into tears. "I knew it! I knew I was a burden all along…" However, before Mambo could mumble an apology, Gabin suddenly stopped his sniveling, breaking into a small smile. "Got you there, didn't I?" he cheekily grinned at the flabbergasted Mambo.
"What." Mambo stared at Gabin as though the purple fairy was crazy. He never would have pegged a serious fairy like Gabin to ever play a practical joke. The very concept was virtually unthinkable. He huffed, folding his arms in irritation. "Okay, I must admit that you got me good. But sheesh, don't play with my emotions like that!"
"Sorry." Gabin apologized with a cheeky expression, one that implied he wasn't really being sincere about his apology.
"Hmph!" Mambo grunted, shaking his head disapprovingly since the joke ended up being at his expense. "Anyway, can you please tell me the real reason now?" He folded his arms, slightly annoyed.
"Heheh, alright!" Gabin nodded in response. "I've thought about what you said and to be honest, I really want to give this 'attitude change' thing a chance. But can the race be some other time? First of all, I still have to learn how to skate."
Mambo slapped his head. After all that, it slipped his mind that Gabin had mentioned earlier that he didn't know how to skate.
"Also, I still think I need some time to get used to this…" Gabin said, referring to the challenge that he would have to face in adjusting his habits. Despite everything, his current mindset and behavior was hardwired. For Gabin to try to switch that manner of thinking would definitely be a hurdle he'd have to overcome.
"Sure thing," Mambo nodded in concurrence. "I understand. Take as much time as you need," he said as he gave a mock salute to Gabin in admiration of his determination.
"Thank you! I promise that I'll try to race you some other day!" Gabin vowed before he looked up at the reddening sky. "It's getting late…" he mumbled. "See you next time, Mambo," he bowed as he said his goodbyes.
"See you too, Gabin." Upon Mambo's acknowledgement, Gabin whipped out his fans and swiftly flew away. Mambo continued to wave at the retreating fairy until he was nothing more than a speck in the evening sky.
It was then that he noticed another speck in the distance. This time though, the faraway speck wasn't in the air, but rather the ground. It was also headed in the opposite direction, towards him instead of away from him.
Mambo couldn't help but grin. Even from the distance, he could recognize that shade of green anywhere. "Oi, Peta!" Mambo frantically waved his arms, jumping around to get his friend's attention.
He couldn't believe it, honestly. Perhaps it was fate that Peta had arrived exactly when he did. If he had been here a mere ten minutes earlier, Gabin would have immediately taken the opportunity to divert Mambo's attention away from him. If that had been the case, the two of them would never have had that fulfilling conversation.
"Oh, Mambo!" Peta cried out, jogging over in his direction once he noticed him.
"I thought you were busy, Peta?" Mambo yelled out to Peta once the fairy was within walking distance.
"I'm done cleaning my house. What's up?"
"Down for a skateboard race?"
"Sure!" Peta readily agreed. "You're on, Mambo!"
"Anyway, before we start, there's something I must tell you—"
"If it's anything I've heard before, please don't bother." Peta narrowed his eyes, brushing him off.
"You wouldn't have heard this before!" Mambo raised a finger triumphantly into the air. "Because it just happened to me! Now listen up…" He went on to narrate his tale, although mindful to leave out quite a lot of details, ones that he knew Peta would never believe.
"Are you for real?" Peta stared at Mambo incredulously after he'd concluded. "You're telling me that you somehow almost managed to convince Gabin to participate in a skateboarding race? Gabin, of all fairies? Seriously!?"
"I swear I'm not exaggerating!" Noticing the skeptical look on Peta's face, he hastily appended two words to his statement. "Or lying!"
"I never said you were. Don't jump to conclusions," Peta said, holding his hands out in a nonthreatening manner to show that he meant no harm, in spite of the fact that his facial expression screamed "Yeah, right!" instead. Still, Peta's curiosity eventually won over his disbelief at Mambo's claim. "So how did you do it?" he questioned.
Mambo tapped his foot as he found himself caught in a dilemma. When he'd relayed the story to Peta, he'd only given him the briefest of details. How he and Gabin had reconciled was not in that narrative. Honestly, he didn't want to admit some of the more personal moments between himself and Gabin. Those weren't meant for outside ears.
And yet, Peta was persistent when he wanted to be. Despite wanting to keep it to himself, Mambo knew that he wouldn't be able to get away without a response. Mambo pursed his lips, deciding to give Peta something else that would answer his question instead. "Sometimes, I guess even a pessimist like Gabin can learn from an optimist like me…" He flashed a rambunctious grin at the freckled fairy. "And the opposite holds true as well!"
Mambo couldn't help but snicker inwardly after Peta ended up being absolutely baffled once he heard his response. To tell the truth, he wasn't even sure if this cryptic statement could be deciphered by anyone besides from Gabin and himself.
He'd learned from the paranoid Gabin that there was an advantage in being more realistic instead of the way he currently was, perpetually idealistic. It would certainly bring him down to earth whenever people made fun of his outlandish tendencies.
On the other hand, he'd also taught the closed-off Gabin that while it was certainly okay to be cautious and wary, if a person didn't have the optimistic belief that everything would turn out alright, they would be paralyzed by indecisiveness and paranoia. Once Gabin slowly accepted that, even a pessimist like him was willing to try new things.
"Hey, don't leave me hanging like that!" Peta moaned, latching onto Mambo's arm in a feeble attempt to force the answer out of him. He certainly didn't enjoy feeling like he was being left out of the punchline of a joke. "Tell me!" he practically begged.
Once he realized that his pleading wasn't causing Mambo to budge in the slightest, Peta folded his arms. "Never mind, Mambo," he turned away with a pout, before a smug expression crawled onto his face. "Acting as though something had happened without any proof is quite uncool…" he teased, trying to get a rise out of his friend. As good friends, Peta was usually one of the first to instigate Mambo on his tendency to end up doing uncool things. After multiple instances of this happening in the past, Peta was all but certain that Mambo would spew out the actual answer to his question in his anger after he'd brought out this trump card.
And that was why Mambo's response completely dumbfounded him. "I guess that really was an uncool thing to do," he replied nonchalantly. "Oh well!"
Peta's mouth hung wide open. "W-W-Wha…" he could only stutter, unable to form any coherent words. The shock was so great that it was almost as though the sun had risen from the west instead of the east today.
Mambo kicked over one of his skateboards to his frozen friend, before jumping onto the other. "Race 'ya to the Fairy School, Peta!" he challenged. "3, 2, 1, zero!" he counted down, speeding off on his skateboard.
Even though he had a head start, Peta didn't chase him down. The last he saw when he glanced back, the green fairy was unresponsive, continuing to stare at the spot Mambo had been standing at in blatant disbelief. He was gaping as though Mambo was some sort of an imposter.
After a good ten seconds or so after he'd left Peta in the dust, Mambo finally heard Peta's scream ring out from the distance. "What's going on!?" Peta finally manage to yell. "Mambo isn't reacting at all when I tease him about doing something uncool! He's supposed to get agitated! Don't tell me he got over it? Noooo! There goes one of my best sources of entertainment!" he sobbed. Peta's devastated cry was so loud that Mambo actually stopped skating and turned around to look back in the direction of Mirumo Village. Even from this distance, he was able to see Peta flailing his arms in a panic.
Mambo gave a hearty laugh at that before turning back and continuing to skate to his destination. It appeared that it wasn't even going to be a race after the devastating blow he'd dealt to Peta. To be absolutely fair, even he would have reacted in a similar way if he was an outsider and had been there to witness Gabin almost taking him up on his offer. Still, it must have been sobering for his good friend to see his usual insult thrown back at him. For him to be unresponsive when people teased him about his tendency to shoot for the stars and end up disappointed was about the same level of craziness as Gabin willingly delving into a hazardous activity. Prior to their talk a few minutes earlier, it would have been practically unheard of.
It was ironic, Mambo reflected as he zoomed far into the distance, that both he and Gabin—polar opposite best buddies, one persistently pessimistic and the other hopelessly optimistic—had ended up learning to balance themselves out from their counterpart. He held his hands out, laughing heartily as the wind blew against his face. Sure, in the end, he didn't actually manage to race with anyone. But the ways things had turned out was definitely a satisfactory outcome in his opinion.
There was only one matter left for Mambo to resolve…
"I'll make sure I hold Gabin to that promise! One day, he will face off against me in a skateboarding race!"
Birthday fic for my younger brother after I've recently delved back into this fandom.
Minor sidenote, but this fic invalidates the Season 3 episode that introduces Mambo's sister, despite the fact that that episode heavily influences this story with its skateboarding theme. Why? Simply because it features the whole group of them skateboarding. Can't have that plot hole now, can I?
Anyway, the concept for this story came about after it occurred to me that despite all of Mirumo's friends constantly making fun of Mambo, he would always retort back only after Gabin harped on him being uncool. Nice relationship, eh? Thus, I decided to write a little fic on these two and their relationship. Hope you all enjoy!