Flaky reeled back when hearing Flippy’s announcement; he hasn’t been back very long, yet he loves her enough to want to marry her. And above all, he asks her this when they’re in the middle of a war. He never had shown signs of love towards her before he left, so this especially was surprising.
“Flippy… I… don’t know what to say.”
Flippy caressed her cheek.
“It’s ok. You don’t have to say now. We got a job to do now.”
She nodded, agreeing with him. But as he walked forward, she stayed behind.
“I… can’t believe he asked me to marry him. Me? Of all the girls he could’ve asked, he chose me? Does… he really care about me that much?”
She remembers everything he ever did for her, then she remembered what he did for her last night; she woke up slightly to see her being carried by Flippy, but she saw his yellow eyes and razor teeth. She also remembered the fact that he was carrying her on one leg.
“I… guess he does. So much that even Fliqpy would help me.”
For the first time in her life, she cried tears of joy. She placed her hands on her heart.
“Finally, someone who loves me like I love them.”
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING, DUMBASS?!”
“What I want to do, Fliqpy.”
“WE CAN’T GET MARRIED! WE’RE A RUTHLESS, AGGRESSIVE SOLDIER!”
“Maybe, but I have feelings for her.”
“BUT SHE’S FREAKING TERRIFIED OF YOU!”
“Maybe, but I can see it in her eyes; her love for me is stronger than her fear of you. In fact, she might actually be falling for you too.”
“I don’t want her! She’s too fragile for me! Besides, I like that Lammy girl!”
Flippy then remembered Lammy and remembered what Fliqpy told him before; she truly did understand his pain as he’s seen as an unintentional monster, as she was seen as one herself. But he knew that Flaky understood as well, so much as she starts to care for his evil side.
“If… Flaky doesn’t want to marry me, I’ll talk to Lammy more. If it’ll please you.”
Fliqpy took in what his ego just said.
“What? You… want to… please me?”
“You… did save me in the army. If you hadn’t broken us out of Tiger’s base, who knows what he would’ve done. So, just consider it my way of saying ‘thanks’.”
Fliqpy was almost emotional; no one but Flippy and Flaky had ever shown him kindness before.
But he still had his pride.
“Pfft. Keep your thanks, wuss. Just let me kill Tiger and then I’m gonna get the hell outta your head.”
Flippy only chuckled and kept walking, until he reached a tall, rusty gate and walked through it.
Pop was sitting on a bench, staring at a tombstone. He was in a cemetery, basking in the cold air that carried the expecting feeling of death. The tombstone was small, but can be easily read.
Here lies Jeannie Elizabeth Benson
Born April 12, 1968
Died March 28, 19XX
Mother to many, Friend to all
All Pop did was bow his head and put his hands together, muttering to his wife, hoping she was listening. Tears were dropping as he spoke to his wife.
“Jeannie… I failed… I failed you, and I failed our children. Now, as I speak, Cub is sitting alone in the one place no one will ever find him in. I placed him in your shrine, Jeannie, so you can look after him as I fight for him.”
When Jeannie died, Pop was so depressed and emotional that he refused to let her memory die with her. So with the only materials he had, he built a heart shaped shrine with her picture in the middle of it inside a small, enclosed room in the Haven bomb shelter. He hung her clothes all around the room on the walls and the ceiling. He hung her earrings and necklaces on the shrine with fishing line. And hanging on the wall above the shrine he and Cub wrote in tall purple letters…
DEDICATED TO MOMMY
Cub sat in the room, crying his little hazel colored eyes out. He held his mom’s picture in his little arms. It’s been 6 years since he last saw his mother; he and Pop were the only ones who saw her as she laid in bed and took her last breath, her body finally failed to cancer.
“Mommy… I miss you, mommy…”
“Jeannie, I know you’ll care for him during this time. Only his mother can protect him now.”
Pop was still praying for his wife to protect their only real child.
“Jeannie. I don’t know how they can still be with me. I’m really… nothing more than a stupid, clumsy oaf. I can’t save anyone. I can’t protect anyone. Not anymore. I’m just… too old.”
Pop was so ashamed of his past mistakes. He recalls the old days when he was looked up to by the kids. He wanted the old life he had back. He wanted Jeannie back. He wanted Cub back to being a normal little boy, instead of just another Haven soldier. He wanted to be…
“Please. Don’t let them die, Jeannie. Not now. Not by Tiger.”
Flippy found Pop; he knew the one place to find him in a situation like this was around his wife. This graveyard was special; it’s where dead Tree Friends, dead Haven and plenty other lost lives are buried.
They decided to name it, “The Bed for Long Sleepers”.
Flippy and Flaky decided to sit next to Pop on the bench. They stared at Jeannie's grave as well, mourning their lost mother. Flippy always loved her like she was his real mother. But his real mother never cared for him; all she cared about was her drugs. Flaky never felt motherly love before. So to feel Jeannie's love was like heaven for her, and hell when she died. Jeannie was the only woman who showed them real love, and for the rest of their lives, they’ll always be grateful to her for that.
Flippy turned to his father.
“She really was a remarkable woman, Pop.”
Pop looked up at his children. Flippy never saw him cry before, so this must really be eating at him.
“Pop, I truly do understand your feelings. But I can’t say I know how you feel.”
Pop bowed back down. Flippy then placed his hand on his back.
“But I can say I’m here for you.”
Flaky did the same.
“So am I.”
Pop looked back at them.
“Flippy… Flaky... why are you doing this? Everyone else hates me.”
“No we don’t. We were scared because they thought you didn’t care for us. But what you did back at the Tiger Pit, brought back hope in our eyes. You did the right thing.”
“If I did the right thing, how come I feel so rotten? How come I feel as though my life after you left has been nothing but hell?”
Flaky wanted to know as well; ever since he left she felt her life was just the same.
But she knew the right answer.
“Because we’re family, Pop. And we’re a family because of you. You took in all of us as your own and made us brothers and sisters, and for that we’ll always be thankful.”
Pop realized she was right. He stood up and wrapped his arms around the soldier and the redhead, like a father holding his children after they graduate school.
“Thank you. Thank you, my children.”
“You’re welcome, dad.”
“And Flippy, I’m glad you’re here too, cause I wanted to show you something.”
Flaky raised her eyebrows.
“Oh yeah. I forgot about that.”
Pop signaled Flippy to go to the inner fields and see for himself. He got up, with his walking stick in his hand. Flaky led the way. She led him to an area titled…
OUR NATION'S FALLEN HEROES
She led him to an area with two lone crosses. They had army berets on them. One was orange, the other was a sickly green color. Flippy stared at the both of them.
“Flaky… Is that…? ”
“Go ahead. Read them.”
He went to them. He read the orange beret cross.
Here lies Pierre Adrien Dubois
Born September 26, 1976
Died July 14, 20XX
Served in W.A.R., Explosive Specialist
He placed his hand on the cross.
He then read the green beret cross.
Here lies Jacob Daniel Stevenson
Born December 30, 1978
Died July 14, 20XX
Served in W.A.R, Stealth Expert
He grabbed his dog tags and squeezed them tightly.
“Guys… I’m so sorry you died so young. You didn’t deserve to. And really… I really wish I could’ve saved you both. You were two of the finest men I’d known.”
Flaky knelt down to him.
“Their bodies were sent here. Their families wanted them buried, so we volunteered to bury them here for free, cause they told us they were in your troop.”
Flippy didn’t even know there was anything left of his friends. He remembered the last time he ever spoke to the two before Tiger’s mortar cannon destroyed them.
They were camping just on the outskirts of the base, far enough for their radars to not pick them up. They were enjoying hot dogs and s’mores over the hot fire.
Flippy spoke first.
“Boys… tomorrow will be the biggest day of our lives. Any thoughts?”
Mouse spoke up. He had a thick, french accent.
“I hope we get to see our families again after tomorrow. Being away from here, away from my famille, it is not fun. My life was so much easier, especially in my country. But being here, helping my two meilleurs amis, makes me feel as though you two are my famille. So merci, Flippy. You too, Sneaky.”
“You’re welcome Mouse. How 'bout you, Sneaky?”
Sneaky was mute. He was born without vocal cords, so his whole life he signed his way to becoming a soldier, which was unique, but respected by many.
Flippy and Mouse met him and decided to learn sign language to understand their friend.
They watched him sign.
“I want to see my family again too. They, and you guys, are the only people who can understand me. And I like talking to people. So thanks for being there for me.”
“You’re welcome, Sneak. Me, I just want to get back home, to my family as well. My energetic brother, my strong and wise father, my grumpy cousin…”
Mouse nudged his shoulder.
“And you’re petite amie, right?”
“My girlfriend? I don’t have a girlfriend.”
“You told us about some girl named Flaky…”
“Well, I do like Flaky, but I don’t think she likes me… that much. I don’t think I’m her type.”
“Flippy, mon frère, with what you tell me about this girl, it seems like she is practically falling for you!”
“You really think so?”
“Oui! Of course! Amour works in many, many ways. I know. I am french.”
Flippy smiled and brought out his fist in front of him. Mouse put his on top of Flippy’s, and Sneaky put his on Mouse’s. This was their way of showing their friendship.
“You guys… I love you. And I hope after we’re done here, we can be friends forever.”
“We will be, Flippy. Forever.”
Sneaky mouthed… “And ever.”
Reality started to set back in as Flippy once again saw his friends graves. He felt them both, feeling as though they were still there. Then, he felt Flaky’s hand on his shoulder. He looked up and smiled, then placed his hand on hers. She smiled back. He then looked at Mouse’s grave.
“Thanks guys. You were right.”
He stood up and hugged Flaky, and planted a loving peck on her red head, as thanks for making a tribute to his fallen brothers. They walked hand in hand back to Pop, but he could’ve sworn he heard on the wind.
“Good luck, mon frère.”
He smiled and continued walking.
Flippy then told Pop about the plan, and told them about the Tree Friends. Pop agreed and led them away, back to the shelter. They were greeted with cheers and hugs from everyone. Flaky hadn’t seen some of these guys in years, so she was happy again.
But then, Lammy appeared and hugged Flippy. Flaky saw as she looked like she was in love. Then, she watched her pull back and put her arms around his neck
Then kiss his lips.
She felt her heart break and ran further into the bomb shelter. Flippy saw the red-haired girl run, crying silently. He knew she was hurt, more than ever.
“What’s her problem, baby?” Lammy said, still holding him.
Flippy never looked at her, as he limped after her, further into the dark shelter. She ran into a bedroom, probably belonging to Lammy. He knew it was gonna take some serious talking to earn her trust back, but he also knew he couldn’t live without her. So he took a deep breath and walked in the door.
And was surprised to see Flaky up on a chair, with a belt looped around her neck and a river of tears on her cheeks, and her foot about to kick the chair away.