a/n: Hello, newbie here (to this forum, not to writing fanfics in general in case anyone is wondering) with a story that I think you all might like. As for the skit I referenced halfway through, it's here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnFQevPl_1o ---------- Rowlf had been silent for a long time now. Nearly six years. Such a quiet silence had gone mostly unnoticed- after all, the regular explosions from Beaker and Bunsen’s labs, the cannon exploding in Gonzo’s room, the rats and Pepe’s parties, and various other noises tended to catch Kermit’s attention more effectively then a single silent muppet. It was just… this was Rowlf. Good old Rowlf, who had known Jim Henson longer then anyone else- even Kermit. And Kermit knew that Rowlf and Jim had been quite close- probably even closer then Jim was with Kermit. That didn’t mean that Jim favored one above the other- it was just that Rowlf had been Jim’s very first friend, working with Jim ever since 1963. Kermit had come in two years later, in 1965- of course, he had interacted with Jim before, but Rowlf had been Jim’s first major character. The frog shook his head, dispelling the past. The main problem is the fact that Rowlf hasn’t spoken for six years. If I didn’t know better… I’d say he’s thinking about never speaking again. The dark thought seized Kermit before he could brush it away. That brought the frog to a halt outside of a room, a room that had been nearly as silent as Rowlf. No, Rowlf… He’s been appearing in the shows, he just doesn’t talk. The frog hovered indecisively in front of the door, pondering about whether or not to go in. The piano hadn’t been played for nearly a year now, where once upon a time, its merry tunes could be heard throughout the Muppet Home. Either way, Rowlf needed to have a good talking too. Or have a good talk, and Kermit was always one willing to lend a shoulder to be cried upon. “MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!” The long, terrified scream of Beaker caught his attention, as well as the sound of the crackling crumble of a wall being destroyed. It sounded like it was higher up- oh good; Sweetums would be able to fix it, because it didn’t sound like it had been that bad… Kermit’s face scrunched as he realized that explosions had gotten so common in his everyday life that he could even tell how serious they were. As the frog disappeared around the corner, the door to the room cracked open slightly, and a fuzzy brown head poked its way out of the room. Large eyes stared down at the hallway, looking after the flash of green, before shrugging. He began to turn away when Gonzo came running up looking desperate. “Hey! Rowlf! Have you seen Camilla?” Rowlf shook his head, and Gonzo groaned. “I keep telling her that I stopped crushing on Big Bird after finding out he’s just a kid! I mean, I like chickens, but I’d never go after a chick!” Rowlf smiled weakly at the incredibly lame joke. Gonzo turned away looking up at the ceiling. A squawk from the ceiling told Gonzo he had located Camilla. The dog closed the door on Gonzo chasing after his lady chicken, and said chicken running from the Whatever. He returned to the center of the room, where his perfectly tuned, cleaned off piano waited. Just because he wasn’t playing it, didn’t mean he wasn’t going to neglect his precious instruments… Alright, so the ukulele, banjo, harp, and violin were all out of tune, but they weren’t his main instruments like the piano was. The dog ran an appreciative paw across the ivory keys, smiling at the memories that were brought up. So many shows, so many places- the absolutely funny times, and the tear-jerking sad times- all of them melded into one fuzzy ball of memories he’d never give up. One paw began to press down on the keys, before Rowlf pulled it back. It was an interesting sensation, not being able to overcome memories long enough to play the piano. Every time he tried, he couldn’t. Oh certainly, when he was in front of the camera, and everyone depended on him, he could do it. Otherwise, he couldn’t. His head came down to hit the keys, as a low groan forced its way out of his throat. -------- The short brown bear mumbled to himself as he flipped through the cards, reviewing old jokes. “Just for the halibut! Aw, noo- I did that one with Rowlf. He’s not playing anymore.” The card flipped to another skit- once again a skit done with Rowlf. Fozzie stared at the card. “Aww, c’mon cards. Rowlf hasn’t appeared in a skit for six years now!” A partially opened door caught Fozzies foot, at the same time a discordant jangle caught his ears. The bear jumped in place, holding the offending foot as he peered into the room. Rowlf, head on the keys, was simply sitting there. The bears heart rose just a little. Maybe Rowlf was finally feeling good enough to play a song? “Heya Rowlf! You gonna play the piano?” The dog blinked at the bear’s voice. Fozzie entered the room, a dopy grin on his face. The brown bear didn’t really expect an answer, as he trotted over to the piano. The dog moved over, as the other took a seat. Sitting together like this, seemed to remind Rowlf of the sketch he had once done with the bear. Fozzie, remembering the sketch as well, reached over to press the first few notes of the song. Rowlf smiled at that, his hands automatically reaching out to play the keys, the old, familiar song returning to him with every note played. The bear laughed, and Rowlf laughed back, the two sets of paws pounding out the tune on the keyboard. The door creaked open, and a small frog peeked in, before creeping in. It had been awhile since Rowlf had played after all… The door opened softly again, as Kermit entered, and sat down next to his nephew. The happy notes drifted down the hallway, calling and beckoning to the other Muppets in the building. Gonzo was the next one in the room, settling slightly behind Kermit, humming along to the music. The door, now wide open, allowed the music to fill the house. The music died down for a moment. Fozzie pulled his paws away from the keyboard, smiling sheepishly at the dog. “Sorry, I don’t remember any other songs.” Rowlf looked thoughtful for a moment, and nodded in response. Then, he turned back to the piano. The next song he played was not made for the piano, but it was a song that everyone recognized instantly. It was one of Jim’s favorite songs. Kermit stood up, slowly walking to the dog playing on the piano. Then, he opened his mouth to sing. And sing he did. We come from the fire, living in the fireWe come from the fireGo back to the fire, turn the world aroundGo back to the fire, turn the world around Gonzo stood up, and walked over to Kermit, placing a hand on his shoulder, squeezing gently as the song went into the second verse. We come from the water, living in the waterWe come from the waterGo back to the water, turn the world aroundGo back to the water, turn the world around Fozzie and Miss Piggy stood next to the two singers, their own voices joining to the song. Now, all of the muppets were beginning to pour into the small room, their silence only broken by a few whispers as they spread out. Sweetums ducked into the room, still holding a few boards, a singed Beaker coming in right behind him. We come from the mountain, living in the mountainWe come from the mountainGo back to the mountain, turn the world aroundGo back to the mountain, turn the world around Someone had brought out drums, and other instruments. Rowlf almost pulled his paws away, allowing the drums and the shakers to take over the main music, when Kermit smiled down at him, a cold hand reaching out to squeeze his shoulder. The piano was an odd contrast to the music, but the words were heartfelt, as the song continued on. Oh, oh so is lifeAh, ha so is lifeOh, oh so is lifeAh, ha so is life Do you know who I amDo I know who you areSee we one another clearlyDo we know who we areOh, oh so is lifeAbatiwaha, so is lifeOh, oh so is lifeAbatiwaha, so is life Rowlf’s head nodded to the music, and without thinking about it, he sang out the next verse, and everyone instantly quieted to hear the voice of a dog that hadn’t spoken in six years. Water make the river, river wash the mountainFire make the sunlight, turn the world around The words were odd sounding, the result of a voice that hadn’t been used for a long time. Nevertheless they were there. Kermit broke into a relieved smile. Finally, finally, everything was alright. Now he could sing the song from his heart- just the way Jim would’ve wanted it. Heart is of the river, body is the mountainSpirit is the sunlight, turn the world around We are of the spirit, truly of the spiritOnly can the spirit turn the world around All of the muppets voices, even old Stadler and Waldorf’s, rose in the final verse, filling the air. Do you know who I amDo I know who you areSee we one another clearlyDo we know who we areOh, oh so is lifeAbatiwaha, so is lifeOh, oh so is lifeAbatiwaha, so is life ------ Rowlf was found sitting out on the curb a few hours later, watching cars pass lazily. Kermit approached him from behind, and Rowlf mentioned, low and soft, “I agreed to start working with Bill Barretta.” “That’s good. I’m glad for you Rowlf.” The frog sat down next to the dog. The two old friends were quiet for a moment, watching the cars pass, each sunk into their own thoughts. “Hey, Rowlf, what made you start speaking again?” “I... I was remembering Jim Henson before. Listening to the other Muppets, watching them- it was almost as if Jim was alive again. But…something…something was-” Kermits’ eyes softened. “But it was missing something.” A green flipper was placed on shaggy brown fur. “It was missing you. Because you’re part of the muppet family as well.” “Yeah, I guess so Kermit. I guess so.” Dog and frog sat there for a good few minutes longer, watching cars pass and life live, before Rowlf stood up slowly. “Come on Rowlf, I think everyone is waiting for us.” “Alright Kermit.” Together they entered the building. It wasn't until long after, did the tune of a merrily played piano filled the air, intertwining and weaving through the sounds of life, reclaiming its place in this wonderful world. Right were it belonged.