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Brothers and Sisters

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Slackbot, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Yes, I'm ficcing again. Seems I never get this stuff out of my system. So here's the beginning of a story titled...
    *****
    Brothers and Sisters
    Part 1: Into the Woods
    by Kim McFarland

    *****

    It was not a dark and stormy night. It had, in fact, been weeks since the last dark and stormy night. A more accurate description would have been that it was a warm and sunny Tuesday midmorning in late June. Birds were chirping, children were playing, and adults were grumbling as they hosed pollen off their cars.

    In a basement apartment, Scooter was reading and occasionally tapping on the screen of a tablet while Janken Fraggle washed the breakfast dishes. That took very little time, as he owned only enough tableware to serve two.

    When he finished he sat on the couch beside Scooter. "Anything?"

    "The usual. Reactions to the weekend's show, and questions about this and that."

    "Uh huh." That was typical. Scooter had begun posting as himself on several message boards, and once the members had assured themselves that "Greensleeves" was really him the questions had begun flowing. He had expected that, of course. If he wasn't careful it took up more of his free time than he liked, but, he believed, someone ought to keep a line open to the fans. Thankfully, for the most part they accepted that he couldn't spend hours a day on message boards.

    He finished the post he had been typing, hit enter, then logged out. "You wanna get on?"

    "Sure." Janken took the pad and logged on. Using the screenname "Martin" he was still anonymous, although he doubted his identity would matter except to the few fans who knew the names of every background bird and Frackle. In any case, he was content to lurk most of the time. Conversations didn't seem real to him if they weren't face to face. He read a few threads he had been watching, then logged off again. He remarked, "I bet the boarding house is half empty by now."

    "Yeah."

    The Muppets had been filming a show a week for several months, and they were taking a two-week break to recharge their batteries, come up with new ideas, and generally avoid burnout. Those Muppets with the resources were going on road trips or traveling in other ways. Last week Scooter and Janken had been informed that they, too, had plans.

    Janken glanced at the door. "She's here."

    "How do you know?"

    Janken tapped the side of his head. "I remember what her car sounds like."

    Scooter hadn't heard anything. He said, "I'll take your word for it."

    Someone rapped at the door. Janken grinned smugly. Scooter said, "Okay, you have good hearing," and went to open it.

    Skeeter was at the door, wearing a sleeveless jacket that was white many years of wear and tear ago, cutoff jeans, and boots. "You guys ready?"

    "Yep," Scooter said. "Got the stuff you told us to get." He and Janken picked up their backpacks.

    "And you're leaving that behind," she said sternly with a gesture at the tablet on the couch.

    "Yes, ma'am," Scooter replied. "I'd lose my bookmarks if you used it as a skipping stone. But I'm bringing my phone. In case of emergency."

    "I guess I'll let you have that," Skeeter said. "Can you drive a stick?"

    "Yeah. Why?"

    She paused, surprised, then said, "You're driving first, then. It's a ways, and I'm not gonna do all the driving."

    Scooter shrugged. "All right. Tell me where to go."

    "Get on Highway 40. Drive down to exit 70. I'll take over there."

    "Right."

    They loaded their backpacks into the trunk of a rather old but well-maintained station wagon. Scooter and Skeeter got into the front, and Janken occupied the back. Skeeter watched warily as Scooter started the car, then backed it down the driveway. Looking in one direction, he said, "Am I clear on your side?"

    She looked, then reported, "Nobody's coming."

    Scooter backed into the road, turned, and drove down the road. After they made it to the highway with no difficulties Skeeter said, "I don't believe it. I didn't think you could actually drive this. I was just teasing you."

    He replied, "Sure I can drive a car this big. Sometimes I drive the bus to and from the theater."

    "Then why d'you putz around on that dinky bike instead of getting yourself a car?"

    "How much parking do you think we have at the boarding house? A bike suits me, anyway. It doesn't need gas. And it's paid for."

    "There's that," she acknowledged.

    When they got on the highway a window in the back opened, causing the air to eddy around strangely in the car. Skeeter twisted around to look back. Janken had opened the window and stuck his head out. "Janken! What're you doing?!"

    "Rowlf showed me how to do this," the Fraggle replied, shouting above the wind. "The bus never gets going this fast."

    "Get back in here and buckle up!" She yanked his tail for emphasis.

    He pulled his head back in. His hair was blown back and he was blinking rapidly. "How does Rowlf keep his eyes from drying out?"

    Scooter said, "They're not on the top of his head, for one thing."

    "Ow," Janken said as he buckled his seatbelt by touch. Then he leaned back, eyes closed and watering.

    **

    They drove for an hour before Skeeter directed Scooter to a rest stop. They got out to make use of the facilities, then swapped places. Skeeter drove down an off-ramp, then onto a street, then a smaller street, then a road that led into a wooded area. Now Scooter understood why she had him drive the first part and took the second half for herself. He'd never have been able to figure this out.

    The road ended at a small blacktop parking lot. When they got out it was quiet enough that they could hear their ears ringing faintly from the noise of the car. Skeeter said, "You guys get out the packs. I'll check us in."

    "Gotcha," Scooter replied.

    Skeeter turned and went to the cabin at the end of the blacktop. She pushed the door open and called out "I'm here" as she walked over to the desk. There was a wooden chair nearby; she snagged it and pulled it over, then climbed onto it so she could see over the desk.

    The man on the other side of the desk was used to this performance. "Hi, Skeeter. The usual?"

    She leaned on her elbows and said, "Yeah, plus two. I've brought my brother and a friend of his. We all have our own gear."

    "You've pretty much got the place to yourself for the next few days. Nobody's planned to come up 'til the weekend. Need a GPS?"

    She gave him a dirty look. "Get outta here! I got the emergency numbers on my cell phone. I'll program 'em into my brother's too, just in case."

    He took out a card and handed it to her. She said, "Frequently asked question, huh?"

    "Yeah."

    "Anyhow, I'll keep watch on the boys. See you in a few days."

    "Have fun."

    When she came back out Scooter and Janken had gotten out their backpacks and were parceling out the bundles of rods and canvas that would eventually become a tent. Not doing a bad job of it either, considering that Scooter's last camping experience had been with the Cub Scouts and all Janken knew about the wilderness was how to live in it. She helped them with their packs, then picked hers up, locked the car, and said, "It's all set. Let's go."

    **

    The packs were heavy, but nobody complained. Skeeter was used to carrying camping gear around, and Janken and Scooter both wangled heavier props on a regular basis. They walked side by side, chatting as they went. Skeeter asked, "Any of the others taking vacations?"

    Scooter replied, "Yeah. Lots of 'em, actually. Piggy's flying out to Paris today. She'll probably help the economies of two nations. And Kermit's already left for the swamp."

    Janken remarked, "I'd've thought he'd be getting a jump on the next set of shows."

    Scooter said, "Nah, he needs a break at least as much as the rest of us. And he really does like to go back home to his family."

    "I know how he feels. Oh, and Pepe and Clifford and the Electric Mayhem and some others are going down to New Orleans."

    Skeeter pictured the Mayhem happily jamming with other musicians down there, and Clifford enjoying the night life. But Pepe? "The shrimp'd better watch out he doesn't end up breaded."

    "He is a king prawn, h'okay?" Janken replied, imitating Pepe's accent.

    "Yeah, yeah, seafood by any other name."

    They emerged into a clearing. The grass was short, and the center was a stone-lined pit, clearly used for campfires. Skeeter swung her pack down and said, "Here we are. Let's set up the tent."

    Scooter and Janken put down their packs and took off the bundles of rods that would make up the tent skeleton. Skeeter had been carrying the canvas. She said, "I can set this up myself, but it's a lot easier with some help."

    "Tell us what to do," Scooter said.

    She arranged the rods, and all three put them together within the canvas loops and raised the tent. It was cozy for two humans, which meant it would be spacious for three Muppet-sized people. She checked the inside, then came back out and said, "Let's let it air out for a few hours. I'll show you the water supply."

    She took out a canteen, then put her pack inside the tent. When Scooter started to put his pack on she said, "Leave that here. There's nothing around here that'd mess with it."

    "You sure?"

    "Yeah. This isn't Jellystone. Hardly any critters live here, and they've never come into the camp area while I was there."

    "Okay." Scooter left his pack in the tent, and Janken followed his lead. The three went off into the forest carrying only their canteens.

    **

    After a short hike under the green canopy they saw the glimmer of sunlight ahead. It was on the ground instead of above the treetops. Then Janken heard the sound of water flowing. It was close enough now for him to smell, and it smelled like more than a little trickle. He rushed ahead. Scooter and Skeeter saw him dart between several trees, then stop, tail raised high.

    When they caught up he was standing on a boulder overhanging a slow-moving creek that flowed through a rocky bed that was ten yards across at the widest spot. In some places it was shallow enough to show the rock below, in others it was a deep blue-green. Dark shadows of fish moved about in the depths. Janken was looking all about, drinking the scenery in, tail wagging excitedly.

    Skeeter waved a hand in front of the Fraggle's eyes, and grinned when he snapped out of his trance. "Like what you see?"

    As Skeeter dipped her canteen into the water Janken asked, "You said this water's safe, right?"

    "Yeah."

    "No chlorine?"

    "Yep. Just water and fish."

    Janken tore off his jacket, dropped his canteen on top of it, and flung himself into the water with a cry of "Whoopee!"

    Scooter held up a hand to protect his glasses from the splash. He told Skeeter, "That went over well."

    "Sheesh! Yeah." She wiped her glasses off on her shirt. "That looks like a good idea. You brought your bathing suit, right?"

    "Sure. You told me to."

    "Let's suit up."

    Scooter turned back and called to Janken and said, "We'll be right back!" Janken waved acknowledgment, then dove again to look at the fish.

    Soon the fish darted away as the water was bombarded by two more cannonballs.

    *****

    All characters except Janken Fraggle are copyright © The Muppets Studio, LLC and are used without permission but with much respect and affection. Janken is copyright © Kim McFarland (negaduck9@aol.com), as is the overall story. Permission is given by the author to copy it for personal use only.
    muppetfan24/7 and GopherCoffee like this.
  2. mostlikemokey

    mostlikemokey Active Member

    Oh my gosh! CANNONBALLS? You have me hooked now!
    GopherCoffee and Fersureitsjess like this.
  3. charlietheowl

    charlietheowl Well-Known Member

    Looks like Janken's back in his element out in the woods!
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  4. Fersureitsjess

    Fersureitsjess Active Member

    Yay! Can't wait for more :fanatic:
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  5. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    mostlikemokey: Don't worry, they aren't under attack. The cannonballs in the story are dives done to kick up as big a splash as possible, not actual munitions.

    charlietheowl: After spending so much time in civilization, Janken is very relieved to ger back into the real world. I have a feeling they'll have to drag him out of the water by his tail.

    Fersureitsjess: You're in luck! More is coming! ;)
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  6. mostlikemokey

    mostlikemokey Active Member

    oh... oops. <blushes> but seriously, good story.
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  7. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    No problem. I promise that there will be no firearms in this story. In fact, I do not intend for there to be any weapons at all. Unless you count kitchen knives, and those should only worry you if you're a radish.
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  8. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    --------------
    Enjoying so far. Scene: a quiet woodsy getaway. Possible conflict: er...bugs? A really big rock? An angry catfish? :)

    Curious what you have planned. Certain bits I particularly liked: humans grumbling as they wash pollen from their cars (yep, done there, been that), Skeeter amazed that Scooter CAN drive a stick, and Janken's more animalistic qualities (head sticking out the car window, tail uplifted excitedly at the creek)...you paint a very appealing image of the little guy.

    More please!
    --------------
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  9. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Maybe they'll meet the Blair Witch out there. Hmm... The Blair Witch Muppet Project. That could conceivably be worse than MWoO.

    Glad you like the little bits. I've been quite aware of pollen this year. Last month Atlanta broke its previous pollen count record, which was 6500. The new record? 9,369. Oh, my poor head like to asplode. I was actually leaving footprints in the stuff. Thankfully it's died down to a sane level: about 1000.

    Scooter's a resourceful guy. I can't imagine him not being able to drive when need be (although I like the image of him on a bike), and I wanted to show Skeeter trying to out-butch him and failing. She still expects him to play the nerd to her tomboy, so she's got some surprises comin'.

    I like showing unique Fraggle traits; it adds flavor to the writing. Fraggles wag their tails when they're happy or to the beat of music. And Fraggles are congenitally silly. We haven't seen a lot of that out of Jan because most of the stories he's been in are heavy ones, but when he's relaxed and happy he's as goofy as the next troglodyte.
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  10. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Trog-lee-dite? What be that? Duh-huh.
    Blair Witch? Shaggy, there are no such things as Blair Witches. Ghosts, yes, but no Blair Witches.
    *Grumbles at being probably the only person on MC who liked MWoO. The bit where :rolleyes: goes on his 80's music song rant alone is trés amusant.

    Now if you please, and even if you don't please, post more story? Yes? Thank ju.
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  11. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Troglodite = cave dweller.

    Heh, I once wrote a ReBoot story in which a came cube came down and put our heroes into a cross between Scooby-Doo and The Blair Witch Project. It was an indecent amount of fun to write. I ain't doing that here, I promise.

    I wanted to like MWoO. It had its good points, such as incorporating bits of the book that weren't in the '39 movie. But there were so many things about it that made me cringe. It really could have been so much better.

    Yes, more will be coming soon, I promise. There will be swimming! And singing! And parkour!
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  12. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Was your Reboot/SD crossover anything like the Cyber Chase game? And why not do that kind of crossover? Heh, I remember AnimatedC9000 posting in one of the HV/dorm threads about having her roomies in the parts: Vicki from JHH = Velms, Lips = Norville, :flirt: = heiress, :halo: = Great Dane, and :electric: = trapster or something like that. Fun times.
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  13. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    I've never seen Cyberber Chase, whatever that is. My casting was: Dot Matrix as Velma, adult AndrAIa as Daphne, adult Enzo as Shaggy, Glitch Bob as Fred, Frisket as Scooby, and Hexadecimal as Old Man Jenkins the witch. The story is Sticks and Stones.
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  14. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Hmm, I'll probably go and read that then.

    Cyber Chase is the fourth entry in the now eighteen-long DTV (Direct-to-Video) animated movie franchise.
    Okay, Music of the Night which was released and aired on CN recently was #17, but there's the update announcement of Big Top Scooby-Doo following as #18.
    Anyway... In Cyber Chase, the gang visit a friend of theirs who's a university student and has come up with a multi-level video game where the object is to beat the baddies off in order to grab the box of Scooby Snacks so you can advance from level to level. Sure enough, once they get to the campus, they're attacked by the movie's true menace, The Phantom Virus. And because of their trademark meddling, the gang ends up getting digitized into the game itself, where the only way out is to beat the game. The Scooby-Doo Wiki has the article with all ten levels, the last is the gang meeting up with the already-programmed cyber duplicates of themselves who made it that far and were hiding out from confronting the final threat: The Virus and digitally real versions of five former haunts at the carnival funfair.

    Yeah, add SD to my list of fandoms, and I have my faves from the entirety of the run so far.
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  15. miss kermie

    miss kermie Well-Known Member

    You know...
    If Janken and Skeeter race...
    ...
    Skeeter's screwed.

    I kept thinking that for some reason.

    Anyway, great chapter!
    More pleasez! (Adding Z's make it cuter:p)
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  16. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Maybe, maybe not. They're both athletic, Skeeter by training and Janken by nature. If the race involves swimming, Janken would have a big advantage. However, if they raced through the woods Janken would probably get lost. He's a cave critter at heart, and all those trees look alike to him.
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  17. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Lookee! It's another chapter of...


    Brothers and Sisters
    Part 2: Yakkety Yak
    by Kim McFarland

    *****

    Eventually hunger called Scooter, Skeeter, and Janken out of the water. Knowing how blind the twins were without their glasses, Janken got their eyewear, which they had left on a rock by the side of the stream, and handed them to their owners. When Skeeter put hers on she was looking at Janken. His hair and fur was plastered to his body, making him look weird and scrawny. She stifled a laugh.

    "What's so funny?" he asked.

    "You look like a wet rat," she told him, giggling.

    Mildly Janken replied, "You've seen a lot of wet rats?"

    Scooter said, "I have. They shower in the morning like everyone else. Jan looks nothing like 'em."

    Scooter and Skeeter toweled off. Janken did not have a towel; the air was warm and he was comfortable wet. They made their way back to their camp. Scooter and Skeeter took turns changing back into their clothes in the tent. Then the twins built a campfire. Janken, never having made one himself, watched with interest. By the time the fire was big enough for them to break out their lunch Janken was merely damp. Fraggle fur dries fast.

    Scooter and Skeeter both spitted hot dogs on sticks. Janken, being an herbivore, carefully spitted several radishes and held them over the fire. After toasting their lunches, they ate them right off the sticks. Skeeter said, "Admit it, doesn't it feel good to get away from it all?"

    "Yeah, you're right," Scooter replied.

    "Yep," Janken agreed.

    Skeeter fed several more sticks to the campfire. "We've got several days out here with the forest to ourselves. They said nobody else is coming up 'til the weekend. So there's one rule I wanna set right now."

    Scooter asked, "What's that?"

    She looked up from the fire again and looked at Scooter and Janken, sitting together on the other side of the fire. "I know you're... boyfriends, or lovers, or whatever you call yourselves. I'm fine with that. In fact, I think you make a great couple. And you're good at keeping it a secret, otherwise it'd be all over the fan sites. But now there's nobody but me here, so don't put on an act, okay?"

    Scooter and Janken exchanged surprised looks. Scooter said, "Ah, what do you mean?"

    A little flustered, Skeeter said, "Just act like you want to. I mean, I'm not going to get weird about it, that's all."

    After an awkward pause Janken said, "I understand what you mean, but, well, we really aren't hiding anything. Single-sexed Fraggles don't act any special way, and neither of us got into the gay scene. We never learned to act different."

    Scooter said, "I know what you're saying, sis. And thanks." He put his free arm around Janken in a one-sided hug.

    Relieved, Skeeter said, "Yeah." She ought to drop the topic then, she thought, but she had one more thing to say. "Y'know... at first I thought, 'they're gay, so what, nothing wrong with being different.' But it doesn't seem like that any more."

    "How so?" Scooter asked.

    "The more I see you two together, the less different it seems. I mean, once you wrap your head around the idea that you're both guys, well, you just act normal. I mean, you seem like a typical couple. Doesn't really matter that you're both guys." She leaned her chin in one hand. "I bet if people knew more couples like you, they wouldn't think it was weird at all. Peoples is peoples."

    Surprised, Scooter said, "I never thought I'd see the day."

    She replied, "What, that I'd get some sense?"

    "No, that you'd quote The Muppets Take Manhattan at me."

    Janken nudged him. "I like her."

    She teased, "So when're you getting married?"

    That startled them both. After a pause Janken said to Scooter, "Why, are you pregnant?"

    Scooter replied in a tone of bafflement, "No. Are you?"

    Skeeter said, "Dang! I remember when that would've thrown you for a loop, little bro."

    "Hmmm...take two?" Scooter said. He handed Janken his stick and found his canteen. Unscrewing the cap, he told Skeeter, "Feed us again."

    It was her turn to be puzzled. "What?"

    "Say it again. The straight line."

    She rolled her eyes. "Whatever. When are you getting married?" she said as Scooter took a swig from the canteen.

    Janken turned to Scooter and said, "Why? Are you pregnant?"

    Skeeter jumped as Scooter spat a fine mist of water at the campfire, which flickered wildly, sending up a puff of steam. Wiping his mouth, Scooter said, "How was that?"

    She rolled her eyes. "Nothing worse than smart-alec theater nerds. Nice special effect, though."

    "Cheap effects are a Muppet specialty," he told her, clearly pleased with himself.

    Janken handed Scooter's stick back, saying "Mind if I field this one?"

    "Sure, go ahead."

    Janken told Skeeter, "We haven't really considered it. On one hand, that makes it public, and as far as we're concerned it's nobody's business but our own. And on the other, Fraggles don't marry. We form bonds, sure, but we don't claim each other, 'you're mine and I'm yours and nobody else's.' That's just not how we think. If love is real, it's real with or without a ceremony or legal permission. And it's real." He kissed Scooter's cheek.

    **

    The conversation faded as they ate their toasted lunches. After that, they set out for a hike. They only took their canteens with them, as they were going to come back by dinnertime. After a little while Janken asked, "How do you keep from getting lost?"

    "I know this place. Trust me."

    "I do trust you—but how can you tell where we are? All I can see is trees! They all look alike!"

    She told him, "There's the slope of the ground, and familiar paths, and little landmarks, and the direction of the sun, and a lot of other little things. If I got lost—and it may or may not have happened once or twice before—I could just go east to find the creek, then follow it upstream until I get back to familiar territory. Or walk north. Or, if all else failed, I could call in to the station and tell 'em to make some noise or shine a beacon for me to home in on."

    "Call the station? On what?" Scooter asked suspiciously.

    Oops. "Okay, so I have a cell too. Sue me."

    "Gotcha," Scooter said with a grin.

    "Anyway, if you get separated from us, just yell and we'll find you," she told Janken.

    "You can count on that."

    They came to what at first looked like a clearing, with sunshine on the other side of the trees. Janken looked through, and was startled to see low, covered mountains stretching off into the distance. In a low spot between two of them sunlight glittered off the surface of a lake. Up above, the sky was a serene blue, light at the horizons and vivid overhead, spotted by wisps of cloud.

    Scooter said, "Quite a view, huh?"

    Mesmerized, Janken said, "I can hardly take it in. I've never seen so much distance. Even though I know I can't, it feels like I ought to be able to reach out and touch the other side."

    Skeeter guessed that, being a cave-dwelling creature, he wouldn't be used to seeing things more than a few hundred feet away. But he'd been on the surface for years...in a city, with buildings blocking the way in every direction. "Scary?"

    "No. Strange. Overwhelming, I guess. Makes me feel tiny." Needing to change the subject to something more immediate and practical, he stepped back and asked, "Um. Is anything that grows around here good to eat?"

    "Huh? Yeah." She glanced around, then plucked a few tightly curled fern heads that were just starting to grow. "These, for instance. Fiddleheads." She gave one to Janken and offered the other to Scooter. "Have a taste?"

    "I'll pass," Scooter said.

    "Suit yourself," Skeeter said, and bit in.

    Janken did as well. He chewed thoughtfully—it was pleasant and crisp—then said, "Nice. Salady."

    "There are other things. Um, if you can eat what we can. You can, right?" she asked, suddenly concerned.

    "Yeah. Don't worry, I can tell if something's bad for me. We Fraggles are good at not poisoning ourselves," he assured her.

    "Good. Still, stay away from mushrooms. It's easy to mix up the good and bad ones without really knowing your biz, and with some one nibble is enough to do you in," she said seriously.

    "Okay, okay."

    Scooter said, "Sounds like you've spent a whole lot of time camping."

    "Yeah. Camping, hiking, mountain climbing. I thought that looked like a whole lot more fun than spending four more years in school, so I ran off to the national parks after high school. That's why you didn't hear much from me. I wasn't in range of a post office all that often."

    "Oh," Scooter said, nodding.

    "Anyhow, either of you any good at fishing? Wait, herbivores don't fish, right?"

    "Yeah."

    "Does it bug you if others do?"

    Smiling, he shook his head. "Don't worry about me. I'm fine as long as I don't have to eat it."

    Scooter said, "Take that part seriously, sis. You don't want to know what happened the one time he tried a hot dog."

    Janken made a face. "Thanks so much for reminding me."

    "Sorry."

    Skeeter said, "In that case, let's catch our dinner, Scoot."

    "Yeah."

    **

    Scooter and Skeeter fished in the river. Skeeter had brought line and hooks, but they had to supply their own rods and bait from what was available. The result was, in Scooter's opinion, Tom Sawyer-ish. But it worked, and they caught one decent-sized fish each while Janken swam upstream, safe from their hooks. Janken also absented himself while they cleaned the fish—and, truthfully, Scooter wished he could have skipped that part as well. But, he supposed, they were going to be doing this a lot while they were here, so he grimly did his best at the messy task, ignoring Skeeter's smug grin.

    It was worth it, however, when they roasted their catch over the campfire. Forget fancy cooking; there was something cool about catching and eating your dinner by yourself. Janken felt a little of the same pride, having gathered a meal of various greens and nuts and berries that he had found nearby. He had had Skeeter look it over, more for her peace of mind than his. He didn't have to wait for it to cook, either; he ate his salad raw. After he finished he sat back, looking at the patch of sky above the clearing and listening to Scooter and Skeeter's conversation.

    "Does this remind you of anything?" she asked.

    "No. Should it?" Scooter replied.

    "Remember how we used to have adventures when we were little kids."

    Scooter laughed. "Oh, yeah. We made up all sorts of stuff."

    "Expeditions, battles, anything neat on TV..."

    "We had one heck of a fantasy life back then."

    Skeeter poked at the fire with her stick. "Not much else you can do when you're cooped up in a nursery. But we didn't know that at the time. We just had fun."

    "Yeah."

    They both were quiet for a moment, thinking about those years. The earliest they could clearly remember was the nursery they had spent their time in before they were old enough to go to school. Scooter said, "You know, I can remember our nanny's voice clear as anything, but heck if I can remember what she looked like."

    "I remember she was real tall and wore striped socks."

    "Heh, the socks, I remember those too. But do you remember her face?"

    Skeeter paused, then said, "No. Now that you mention it, I don't. That's weird."

    "Yeah. But...I don't remember anything about our mother at all."

    "Ne neither. She died when we were just babies, you know. Who remembers back that far?"

    "Yeah..."

    There was another pause. Janken sat up and said, "I'm going to go for a swim. I'll be back before it gets dark."

    Skeeter said, "What, again?"

    Janken replied, "Yep, again. The water's still wet and I'm still a Fraggle. Plus, it sounds like you and Scooter have stuff to talk about. I'll be back at sunset." He patted Scooter's shoulder, then left.

    Skeeter remarked, "It's a wonder he's ever dry. He must be a real bathroom hog."

    Scooter said, "Not really. I think it's the running water that does it. He loves swimming—says it's the Fraggle Rock national sport—but he can't stand chlorinated water."

    "Huh. Go figure," she said.

    Scooter said, "Skeet...our nanny, I found out what her name was."

    "You did? Funny, I never thought of her as anything but Nanny. What is it?"

    "Barbara. After Uncle JP passed on, I had to dig through a lot of old records and stuff, and I found hers."

    "Did you try to find her? I'd like to see her again," Skeeter said with great interest.

    Scooter shook his head. "Sorry. I did try to look her up. She passed on too."

    She wilted. "Aw, jeez. I wish you hadn't told me that."

    "Sorry."

    "Never mind. Thanks. Um, when?"

    "Eleven years ago. Summer."

    "Huh...I think I was doing parkour in California then."

    "Parkour? What's that?"

    "It's when you go from here to there, kind of like a race, but with obstacles. Walls, fences, anything. You go over, under, through, whatever. It's less about speed than style."

    "Wow," Scooter said. "Mountain climbing, wilderness stuff, now that. You've done a whole lot I'd never have the nerve to try."

    "Eh," Skeeter said, looking away. "So what?"

    "Huh? What do you mean?"

    She shrugged. "Well, I spent years and years doing that stuff. But after a while I wanted to come back and see my nerdy little brother, and you've been making movies and TV shows while I've been wandering around in the woods and climbing rocks. People will remember you for what you've done. Me, all I've made are footprints."

    "C'mon, sis. You always said the Muppets were la-la land."

    "I guess some la-la is okay," she said sheepishly. "I just mean, my nerdy little brother's done pretty well. A career, a lot of friends, and Janken. Part of the reason I went back to college here was that, well, you were living here and I kinda wanted to get back in touch with you."

    "I'm glad you came back, Skeet."

    "Thanks, nerd," she said. They shared a grin. By now that was a term of affection, not an insult.

    They were quiet for a while, just watching the fire and occasionally feeding it more branches. Then Skeeter said, "This is something I've never told anyone about..."

    "Uh-huh."

    "It was years ago. I was touring national parks, hiking around and climbing the mountains and stuff. There are a lot of little groups that do that. You can find small, almost like villages, except they're temporary, all tents and things. Some people spend years there, climbing mountains. Anyhow, I met someone there. Her name was Idgie. She taught me a whole lot more than the Scouts ever did, especially about climbing and other rough terrain stuff. For a while we were a team. Had some great times together."

    Scooter had a guess as to where this was heading, but from the way Skeeter was telling the story, staring into the fire rather than looking at him, he couldn't be sure. "Okay."

    "We'd been camping together for, I think, half a year, going to this place and that. Sometimes we went into town to get supplies and things, and, well, get away from getting away from civilization, if you know what I mean. This one time she said, why don't we go dancing, there's a club she knows here. I told her I wasn't much on dancing with people I don't know. She said, well, you know me, silly. And I guess I just went blank for a second. Like, huh? Then I kinda laughed and said, what, what the heck do you think I am?"

    Scooter didn't say anything, and he was glad that she was looking at the fire rather than his face. After a pause she continued, "We saw a movie instead, and we got our supplies. And, well, soon after that we just kind of went our separate ways. At the time I didn't think much about it, but after you told us what it felt like, being treated like there was something wrong with you... jeez, I didn't have to be that mean about it, did I? It's not like she was being pushy or anything. I could've just said, sorry, that's not my scene."

    He got up, sat beside her, and put an arm around her shoulders. He didn't know what else to do.

    She continued, "Sometimes I wish I could get in touch with her again, just to say sorry I was a creep, and I hope she found someone to dance with."

    "Have you tried to find her?" he asked softly.

    "I haven't had the nerve," she replied.

    He offered, "I could give it a try. I have a black belt in google-fu."

    "I don't even know her last name. She was just Idgie and I was just Skeeter." She looked at him sheepishly. "I guess I had to fess up to someone. I can't say sorry to her, so I'm saying it to you."

    "It's all right," he said softly, patting her shoulder.

    **

    The sky was darkening when Janken returned, his fur damp. "You should have seen the sunset over the lake. It was beautiful," he said as he rooted around in his backpack. He got out a few radishes and crunched into one.

    "Oh, great. Now he's gonna have dragon breath," Scooter told Skeeter.

    "It'll be fine by the time I dry off," Janken said mildly, munching on the vegetables. He sat in front of the fire to dry his fur.

    They talked for a while longer, until the stars came out. By that time Janken's fur had dried completely and the campfire had burned down to coals. It was circled by stones, with nothing flammable nearby, and there was no wind to blow anything around; it'd be safe.

    They settled into their sleeping bags. One for each, to Janken's regret. He liked to sleep cuddled up to someone else, but he understood that that had a different meaning for Silly Creatures, who did not necessarily fall asleep when it got dark the way Fraggles do. Oh well.

    **

    All three awoke when one side of the tent bowed inward, as if something was scrabbling at it, trying to claw through. They yelled, and something outside cried out as well. Skeeter grabbed a heavy flashlight, one that she knew from experience would double as a bludgeon, and darted out. The fire outside the tent was nearly dead, but the weak light from the coals still managed to mess up her night vision. She could not see the fleeing creature clearly. She shone the flashlight at it, and saw a small brown and white shape disappear into the forest.

    "What the heck was that?" Scooter exclaimed.

    Skeeter shook her head. Probably just some critter that got curious about our fire." She walked around the tent and inspected the side of the tent. "No harm done. It's not even scratched. Ground's a little scuffled, but I don't see clawmarks in the dirt. Probably a fawn or something. After the welcome we gave it, it'll keep its distance in the future."

    "You're sure about that?" Scooter asked.

    "Yeah. Nothing dangerous lives around here. Don't worry about it."

    "If you say so, sis."

    They returned to their tent, and when nothing else happened, fell back asleep.

    *****

    All characters except Janken Fraggle are copyright © The Muppets Studio, LLC and are used without permission but with much respect and affection. Janken is copyright © Kim McFarland (negaduck9@aol.com), as is the overall story. Permission is given by the author to copy it for personal use only.
    muppetfan24/7 and GopherCoffee like this.
  18. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Mmm, a nice good slice of fanfic, just what we were needing. Love the references to MB what with reminiscing about their nanny named Barbara. And the implied reference that this is after VMMC since J.P. already moved on to the eternal boardroom. Also touched that Skeet's opening up to her brother, that's something I rully admire.

    Curious as to Idgei and whatever critter it was outside the tent. More when you can post it please and thankyou.
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  19. charlietheowl

    charlietheowl Well-Known Member

    Very interesting! I liked how you tossed in the references to Muppet Babies without everything coming off as too self-referential and cutesy. And I'm glad to see that Scooter and Skeeter and Janken, and then Scooter and Skeeter were able to be open and honest to each other. I'm also looking forward to see if/how you develop the story of Skeeter and Idgie's encounter.

    Thanks for posting!
    GopherCoffee likes this.
  20. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    ---------------
    I like this. A thoughtful examination, Muppet-style, of orientation differences. Peoples is peoples...and Muppets is Muppets. Nicely handled, without making it The Big Issue. And I loved Skeeter's confession. More than the story itself, her being able to actually display a weakness (regret? awkwardness?) to her brother says a lot about her maturity these days. Again, well done!

    Little bits that made me chuckle: "google-fu," Janken's drowned rat impression (bet he DOES look like one, no matter what Scooter thinks), the pregnant pause and spit-take, and Janken having problems with distance perception. (Nice take especially on that...I never considered what Outer Space must really look like to those guys!)

    So far, open hearts and a quiet mood...is there drama in store? Waiting... ;)
    ----------------
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