Captain Chonkers Chapter Thirty-One


The week passed, and Mrs. Doggo's wedding drew closer by the day. By now all of my family had seen me in my new suit. Even Mr Kuakini, who had dropped by for a chat one afternoon. Thicc Corgi had tried his on too and the two of us had paraded around the living room happily. He'd looked extremely proud and that was the happiest I'd seen him since the strange incidents had occurred. Two weeks had passed now since the Kokaua Town incident. Thankfully, the weird signs and horrible nightmares seemed to have stopped, much to my relief. I was still terrified climbing into bed at night, but I'd taken Mr Kuakini's suggestion into consideration and Thicc Corgi had set up equipment to monitor my sleep patterns. Often he looked tired and worn down. I knew he was staying up late, still trying to figure out what was going on with me.  Queen Floofy Floofer was brighter and much happier since Mertle had been dealt with. Classes were going well for the both of us and we were closer than ever. This did not pass by Mertle and a few times I'd seen her spying on us during class. Aleka and the other two kept their distance. If Mertle was upset or depressed by this, we couldn't tell. She never made it apparent. But I could tell one thing – she was jealous of us. Mertle was the least of my worries at that point. I was just glad her bullying had stopped. It was the following Thursday and a storm had set in, grey clouds greeting my eyes through the dome windows instead of the warm morning glow of the sun. We didn't have class that day, but I knew that Queen Floofy Floofer would be heading to the beach to feed Pudge. She was still asleep beside me. We'd taken to sleeping beside each other a lot more often now, and most of the time I snuggled up beside her in her bunk. She would kiss my nose each time she woke up and it made me giggle. I on other other hand, had started wearing my fur in that position across my face more often. Each morning I'd comb it down across my eye and  Queen Floofy Floofer seemed to love it. The rest of the family had noticed the small change, but never said anything about it. Thicc Corgi had figured it was because he knew I liked the idea of hair. Really though – I did it to impress Queen Floofy Floofer. I liked seeing her happy. And to be frank – I liked when she gloated over me, which she'd done a few times because of it. I knew she liked it more than she let on because so many times I'd caught her staring at me when she thought I wasn't looking. She was extremely shy about her feelings towards me and I knew she was terrified of the others finding out, especially Mrs. Doggo. We kept very hush about the fact we liked each other as both us knew the consequences to come should the others find out. Still, it didn't stop her displaying more affection towards me. She was possessive of me before, but that had almost doubled. I spent most of the day with her clinging onto me. I liked family nights now because instead of sitting with the family on the couch, we snuggled together on the floor under a blanket against our beanbags. Thicc Corgi was the only one who seemed to notice how close we were, but he never questioned me about it. I did see him tap his finger to his mouth in wonder a few times. There was one occasion he'd caught me giving  Queen Floofy Floofer a peck on the cheek as she was heading out to the shops with Mrs. Doggo and I'd been terrified since then, but he didn't seem to care about confronting me and I was thankful for that. I still had no idea how he'd react to the idea of me liking a human. Queen Floofy Floofer stirred beside me and sure enough, I felt a small kiss on my nose before a warm hand intertwined with my paw. "Morning Captain Chonkers..." she yawned at me. "Ahua sha..." I responded, grinning at her when she looked at me. She smiled and put her forehead to mine. "What we do today?" She seemed to think for a moment or so. "Maybe we could go out and look for things for your birthday?" "Ih!" I responded happily, sitting up. Queen Floofy Floofer sat up beside me when she noticed the weather. "Oh..." "No mind that," I told her and she looked at me. "But I need to feed Pudge today..." That's right. It was Thursday. "Well... go there quickly?" I said to her, ears perking up at a rumble of thunder in the distance. Queen Floofy Floofer looked a little scared at hearing it and I held her close to me. "Okay..." she responded. She sounded hesitant. I stood up out of the blankets, about to climb down but she pulled on my tail gently. I looked at her. "I... these storms keep coming back. Maybe Pudge is really mad at me?" she asked quietly. I sighed and hugged her tightly. "Pudge love you.  Captain Chonkers love you..." I reassured her and she sighed into me, but smiled. "Okay... I'll meet you downstairs..." she told me quietly and I proceeded down from the bed to go down the stairs. Everybody was up. All of them were watching the television. I walked over in front of them and stood before Thicc Corgi and he pulled me up onto his lap. The beach was on the television. I stared in wonder. They were reporting about a chemical spill that had happened overnight and most of the beach was closed off. It got me wondering. If the beach was closed, Queen Floofy Floofer wouldn't be allowed to go there. I was about to go and tell her, when she walked into the room in her bathers. She saw the scene on the television and a horrified look crossed her face. "Is... is that?" Mrs. Doggo sounded disheartened. "Yes baby. Remember that big storm we had a little while ago? It did some underlying damage to a pipe, which burst overnight. The ocean's been polluted. Nobody is allowed to go in until they clear it." Queen Floofy Floofer dropped her bucket in shock and her face paled. "<strong>PUDGE!</strong>" she screamed before she bolted out of the door. I jumped down from Thicc Corgi's lap and raced after her. " Queen Floofy Floofer, wait!" She ignored me. I knew the outcome of this would likely be very bad. I had to pull her back a few times once we got to the beach, but she managed to pull out of my grip and crawl through the legs of a crowd that had formed. " Queen Floofy Floofer!" I cried, chasing after her. She was stopped by a police officer, who picked her up. "Hold it sweetheart... nobody is allowed on the beach today. It's too dangerous. There's been a chemical spill in the water. You should head home, the storm is closing in pretty quick now."  Queen Floofy Floofer cried in his arms. "But... my fish!" "I'm sure your fish is okay, but for now, you should head on home. It's not safe." I looked up at him as he put her down. Queen Floofy Floofer looked distraught and I put my arm around her, leading her over to one of the picnic tables we often sat down at. I helped her up on the bench and wrapped her towel around her to keep her warm. She was visibly shaking. I'd never dealt with Queen Floofy Floofer being this shook up before. I didn't know what to do. The rational part of my brain knew that Pudge had likely already perished in those waters, but Queen Floofy Floofer was only a child – I knew that she believed Pudge was probably still alive. "I hope Pudge managed to get his friends to safety..." she said to me quietly as I rubbed her back. "Toaster and Pancake are much younger than he is." Toaster and Pancake? I shook my head. "I sure, he keep them safe..." I told her gently. " Queen Floofy Floofer, let's come back later, okay?" "I-I'll wait..." she told me. I lowered my ears, looking up at the sky. It had started to rain and a flash of lighting lit up the sky. The bang of thunder made me jump. It was very close and the storm was closing in fast. It would pass by overhead. Queen Floofy Floofer barely acknowledged it. It was a full ten minutes before she spoke again. "I want to stay." "Naga... too dangerous with storm," I told her, pointing out towards the sea. I pulled her hand. "Come on." "No Captain Chonkers," she said with such intensity in her voice that it made me blink in surprise. "I don't abandon my family." I stared at her at that, swallowing a lump in my throat. This had got awkward real fast, but she couldn't stay here. "Too dangerous Leelo..." I told her gently. "Need to go. Let's come back later. Naga abandoning, doing what right to protect you." "Pudge will protect me," she responded. I stared at her. She stared back at me. "I'm staying." "No." I responded, looking to my right and seeing that the crowds had gone. Now she was being irrational. One police officer spotted us and roared to us to leave. "Yes!" she crossed her arms. " Queen Floofy Floofer!" I threw my arms out. "Gaba bo taka! Lucha how close that is! You cannot stay here! Pudge not save you from storm, listen to  Captain Chonkers!" She glared at me. "As I SAID, I'm staying. I'm not abandon-" A bolt of lighting near us made her duck and hold her head. I felt mild static in my fur. Without hesitating, I grabbed her and ran as fast as I could away from there using my super-speed. I looked back to see another bolt of lightning hit only metres away from where we'd been. The noise was so loud I felt like my ear drums were about to burst. The super-speed Thicc Corgi had given me had literally saved our lives. Well, Queen Floofy Floofer's. "Choota..." I breathed as I carried her into the store closest to me – a hair salon. It took a moment for my hearing to come back. People in there stared at us as we went inside, but I didn't care. Queen Floofy Floofer was shaking. She pressed her hands against the glass and looked outside. "Now, you see?" I told her, rubbing her arms as tears streamed from her eyes. "Too dangerous. Pudge family, but you are too!" "Pudge..." was all she replied. "In water! Safe!" I told her. " Queen Floofy Floofer not, can be hit!" I showed her how my fur was standing up. She shivered. "W-what would happen if you were hit?" she asked me. "Nothing," I told her. "You, though – you die!" She looked away from me. "Is Pudge causing this...?" "Of course not!" I snapped at her, a little irritated at how she was willing to risk her life over a fish, but then I instantly felt terrible at how broken she looked. "Soka... course not..." I repeated softly. I rubbed her arms again. I went quiet when a few other people came over to us. One of the salon members asked Queen Floofy Floofer if she was okay. She just turned her head into my shoulder. The storm passed over eventually and the thunder became a distant rumble. Once I felt it was safe again, I hoisted Queen Floofy Floofer onto my back and started to carry her home. "Pudge..." she said to me quietly, tugging the fur on my head. "We come back later, when police go," I told her. "Naga allowed on beach." She sighed against me but thankfully didn't argue that.</p><hr size=1 noshade><p>Mrs. Doggo was terrified when we stepped back inside. She yelled at Queen Floofy Floofer about how dangerous it was running out into a storm like that. Thicc Corgi wasn't too impressed with me either. Both of us got a full lecture.  Queen Floofy Floofer seemed very distant throughout it all. I knew all she was thinking about was Pudge. Despite my best efforts to console her, even I didn't seem to be able to get through to her very much. We had been sitting down and watching the television when the beach was finally opened back up to the public. Queen Floofy Floofer didn't even hesitate – she was out of the door in a flash. Once again I had to chase after her. She made her way to Pudge's grotto. There was still mild rain, but that was it. A rainbow had formed as the sun started to shine through again. I stood back and watched as Queen Floofy Floofer tried to see into the water. It was still a bit murky though authorities had managed to pump most of the oil. It would take a few more days to clear away fully and this area of the beach had the least amount of pollution. Still, I refused to let Queen Floofy Floofer go in and she tried to slap me away. I could tell she was getting angry with me. "LET GO!" she yelled in tears, finally pushing me back onto the sand. I stared in shock before standing up and grabbing her again as she tried to run into the water. "NAGA QUEEN FLOOFY FLOOFER!" I yelled at her, just barely grabbing her. "WATER BAD!" She growled at me and slapped me across the cheek. I went into shock. "PUDGE IS MY FAMILY! she roared in my face. "WHY DON'T YOU CARE?!" I paused at that. I looked away from her and held my cheek. She glared at me before turning around, although she didn't go into the water. I sat down on the sand. She sat down by the shore ahead of me. It was a long silence. People passed by us on the odd occasion. It must have been at least an hour before I decided to speak. "I'm going home Queen Floofy Floofer. Don't go in water." She ignored me. I sighed. This was hard for me. I'd never had to deal with Queen Floofy Floofer being like this before. I knew she was deeply worried about Pudge but she was even pushing me away. Something she'd never promised to do again. I was a little hurt by it, but I know she didn't mean it. She'd already lost both of her parents and then had to deal with me dying too. Her fish dying would be the thing to push her overboard and I knew it was something I had to prepare for. I decided to let her be for the time being. I knew she wanted to be alone because each attempt I made to go and comfort her she just pushed me away. She turned her head slightly when she heard me start to walk away. I paused. "Be careful. I love you..." I said softly. I trusted her enough to know she wouldn't go in the water, though she never answered me. I sighed and started to head home sadly.</p><hr size=1 noshade><p>As evening approached, I sat at the kitchen table with my head in my paws.  Queen Floofy Floofer still hadn't come back home yet. Thicc Corgi had sent off his new B.U.G to monitor her the moment I'd come back. She was still in the same spot she'd been in before, although she had occasionally looked around the beach during the day. I was very worried about her by this point. I had no idea if she would let me in with how she'd slapped me before. Mrs. Doggo noticed how down I was and rubbed my back. "She'll come around Captain Chonkers. She was like this after our parents died. It's just how she deals with grief. She pushes everybody away, even those close to her, like you and me." I sighed. "Not know if Pudge even alive..." I told her. "It's unlikely..." Mrs. Doggo responded. " Queen Floofy Floofer won't believe that until she sees Pudge for herself. If she can't accept it now, she won't if she finds him. It's going to be rough for her." I looked at Mrs. Doggo. "Why... real reason Queen Floofy Floofer believe fish control weather?" Mrs. Doggo sighed. "Because the day our parents died there was a big storm, like the one we had when we went into space. She feeds that fish because she thinks by keeping it happy, it won't make storms and nobody else will be taken away from her. She doesn't want to lose anybody else. She's too young to understand that Pudge really doesn't control the weather. It's a coping mechanism she developed. She is aware of the fact there are still storms but she can't figure out why Pudge would still make them, so she just chooses to ignore it." I looked at her sadly. "If Pudge no alive then what?" "Then we'll have a very down and gloomy Queen Floofy Floofer for a while. She's going to push all of us away, but you need to stand strong and be there for her Captain Chonkers. I know she needs you." I nodded, rubbing at my cheek. I knew what Mrs. Doggo said was true, even if it didn't feel like it.</p><hr size=1 noshade><p>The evening wore on and Mrs. Doggo started the dinner with Sir Chonky's help. All of us were quiet. Queen Floofy Floofer still hadn't arrived back home yet so Mrs. Doggo put some dinner aside for her. "Right, her curfew is about to hit... Thicc Corgi, would you get her?" Mrs. Doggo asked my father. He stopped reading his newspaper and stood up. "Coming Captain Chonkers?" I paused, but jumped into his arms. He carried me outside to the buggy and we climbed in. As he started up the engine, he stared down at me and put his hand on my head. I gave him a smile. Thicc Corgi drove through town to the beach and parked. We climbed out and headed down onto the sand. A small, lone figure was there. Queen Floofy Floofer was still in the same position. Thicc Corgi looked at me and nodded. I sighed and walked towards Queen Floofy Floofer quietly. Hesitantly, I reached out and put a paw on her shoulder. She jumped slightly but barely moved. " Queen Floofy Floofer?" She looked at me. She looked like she'd been crying for a few hours. "Please come home..." I said to her gently and she looked away from me. She didn't respond. Thicc Corgi walked over and picked her up. She gave a cry of protest but I could tell she was exhausted. "Cannot be staying out here like this little one. Can come back tomorrow." "..." My father carried her back to the car. I followed behind them slowly. I heard  Queen Floofy Floofer whisper something to Thicc Corgi, who looked at me and just sighed. "In, Captain Chonkers." I climbed in beside Queen Floofy Floofer. I went to cuddle her but instead she pushed me away. I was surprised by that. There was silence between us as Thicc Corgi started up the buggy and headed home, though soon enough I heard a small voice. "...You don't care about Pudge. Do you." she said to me bluntly, though it was more of a statement than a question. "Gaba?!" I asked in shock, looking at her. "What you mean, yeah I do!" She looked angry. "IF YOU CARED, THEN WHY DID YOU DO NOTHING TO HELP ME FIND HIM!" she yelled at me. "How Queen Floofy Floofer?" I retorted, feeling offended by that. " Captain Chonkers cannot swim! I drown!" "You could have tried something!" "Like what?!" I cried. "Water bad! Could not be in storm, too dangerous! You know this!" "I don't care! Anything!" she sneered at me. "Anything at all! I stayed there <em>ALL</em> day looking for him. You just went home!" "You no want me near you, hit me!" "<strong>ENOUGH.</strong>" Thicc Corgi glared at both of us as he pulled up at an intersection. Queen Floofy Floofer went quiet. She looked out of the window. "Little girl, is being nothing you can do for precious fish. Captain Chonkers is right. Water is too dangerous for you to be swimming in at moment, and storm was deadly. Just be waiting and have patience, yes? You can always go back tomorrow and look for Pudge-fish." "Whatever..." she mumbled. Thicc Corgi just looked at me and shook his head before focusing on the road again.</p><hr size=1 noshade><p> Queen Floofy Floofer refused to look at me when we arrived back home. She simply said a blunt hello to Mrs. Doggo, Shiba Chonkers and Sir Chonky before she headed straight for the dome. Mrs. Doggo followed her up and asked her about dinner, me behind her, but as soon as Queen Floofy Floofer saw me she turned away. I walked over to her. Mrs. Doggo left her dinner on our desk. "Gaba ika tasoopa?" I asked quietly when she left, but Queen Floofy Floofer just ignored me. " Queen Floofy Floofer!" I cried at her. "Why like this to Captain Chonkers?" "Because you abandoned Pudge." I lowered my ears, but then I growled. No. Valuing her safety over protecting a fish wasn't abandoning family. What if Queen Floofy Floofer had been hurt? How would I explain that to Mrs. Doggo? She was being unfair and refusing to see the situation from my end. "Gaba cha tay?" She looked at me swiftly at that. I continued. "You did just as much as Captain Chonkers!" She looked furious. "What are you saying?!" " Captain Chonkers do nothing, Queen Floofy Floofer do nothing too!" "THAT'S NOT TRUE!" she roared at me. I knew I'd struck a nerve. "I LOOKED ALL DAY! <em>YOU</em> LEFT!" "But did Queen Floofy Floofer really look, or just sit on beach and look?" I asked her quietly. "Just as helpless as Captain Chonkers. No swim in bad water!" "AT <em>LEAST</em> I ACTUALLY TRIED!" she screamed, lunging at me. She knocked me to the ground and repeatedly tried to hit me. "Agabba Queen Floofy Floofer," I said to her. She refused and kept trying to punch me. She would tire herself out eventually, but she put up a good fight. I didn't retaliate because I knew I'd end up hurting her. "AGABBA!" "NO. <strong>YOU.</strong> <strong>DON'T.</strong> <strong>CARE!</strong>" she yelled as she pounded her fist on my chest, eventually slumping and her voice cracked. "Y-you don't care..." "I do care," I responded. "No." "Yes." "NO!" "<em>YES</em>,  QUEEN FLOOFY FLOOFER! I CARE!" She pulled herself away from me and glared at me, wiping at her eyes. I glared back at her. "If Captain Chonkers no care, why I save you from storm today! Why I stop you from going in bad water!" She had no answer. I pushed myself over to her and took her hands into my paws. "I know you're upset, Queen Floofy Floofer. I know, you scared. For Pudge. He family," I spoke to her softly. I saw her swallow. "But... Captain Chonkers also know, are limits. I not able to do miracle for Queen Floofy Floofer. Wish I could. I do anything for you. But Captain Chonkers cannot do everything. Some things, just naga can do. Keep Pudge safe for Queen Floofy Floofer one of them. Cheeka da beesa sota, Captain Chonkers skeena mi todo..." She let out a sob. I pulled her into a hug. "Wait, Queen Floofy Floofer. All we can do." She cried into my shoulder. "Pleechi-ba... naga take out on me..." I whispered to her. " Captain Chonkers... you hate me, don't you?" she said between sobs. "You said you were the monster... but look at how I've been!" That broke my heart. "Naga. Queen Floofy Floofer naga monster, she just very sad. Hard to deal with, ih? Captain Chonkers understands. No worry." "It's too hard..." she cried. "I already lost mom and dad... I lost you... and now... P-Pudge might be gone too!" I purred into her. " Queen Floofy Floofer, Captain Chonkers promise... will be there for you. Queen Floofy Floofer get through this, okeytaka? Though Queen Floofy Floofer need understand... I not allow her risk life for fish. What Captain Chonkers tell Mrs. Doggo, if something happen to you Queen Floofy Floofer?" She stared at that but I could tell she was thinking it over carefully. Eventually she nodded sadly. "I understand..." I leaned over and kissed her gently. She paused at that and stared at me. "Love you?" I said and she nodded. Finally, a smile from her, if only tiny. I stood up and brought her dinner over to her. " Queen Floofy Floofer, hungry ih? No eat all day... eat?" She sighed. "No I'm no-" she started, but I smirked when I heard her stomach growl. She groaned. "Well, maybe." I watched her as she started to eat. I left momentarily and returned with a wet flannel, cleaning up her face as she ate. "Hate seeing you like this Queen Floofy Floofer..." I told her as she finished her meal. In response to that, she hugged me. "And I hate taking my anger out on you. You didn't deserve that..." "Naga, but is understandable. Captain Chonkers not mad." She sighed and put her hand to my cheek. I closed my eyes. "I really don't deserve you." I opened my eyes at that and put my paw over her hand. "You do. Just as Captain Chonkers deserves you." She nodded, reaching over to kiss my cheek, before pulling on her pyjamas and climbing into my bed. I climbed in beside her. "No matter what happen tomorrow, Captain Chonkers not let you go through alone..." I told her as she started to drift. She could barely keep her eyes open. "Ih?" "Okay, Captain Chonkers..." she mumbled. "You're the best..." I nodded. " Queen Floofy Floofer still Captain Chonkers's angel..." She opened her eyes at that and I saw a few tears. I wiped them away. "No be sad." "I'll be okay, as long as I have you..." "Ih..." I snuggled up against her, clutching her hand in my paw tightly. "Rest. Queen Floofy Floofer need sleep." "Yeah..." she mumbled, eventually drifting against me. I was glad I didn't have to work over the course of the next few days. Mr Kuakini's wife was helping him out and I had been using the time to help Mrs. Doggo with preparations for the wedding. But now with this going on, it was going to leave a big dent. I wanted Pudge to be okay for  Queen Floofy Floofer's sake, but him being one little fish against a big sea of black oil, it seemed hopeless. I wished there was something I could do for her. But there was nothing I could do, only wait it out. I wasn't angry that Queen Floofy Floofer had been so violent towards me before. How could I be? Somebody so young already having had endure so much, her anger was a typical response to this situation. Everything was being taken away from her beyond her control. There was only so much a human could take before they snapped. Queen Floofy Floofer wasn't like me. She wasn't strong. She needed somebody to be there for her, even if she pushed them away. That somebody happen to be me. I wouldn't be angry at her if she pushed me away because I knew she didn't mean it. It was just how she handled her grief and some people handled their grief very differently to others. Queen Floofy Floofer's way was by pushing away everybody else. By being entirely alone. She knew she didn't have to. That I would always be there for her. I couldn't force her to let me in. But I could have a say over her risking her life. Pudge might be family, but I wasn't going to ever let Queen Floofy Floofer put herself in harms way for the sake of a fish. Clearly Pudge meant a lot to her with how far she was willing to go, but I wasn't going to let her be a sitting duck in a storm just to protect him. She was very immature in that regard and I was still shocked she had wanted to remain. When I felt the static in my fur I knew that was a warning to get out of there. Any longer and Queen Floofy Floofer might have been struck. She had been foolish today. I know she meant well though. She'd give anything to protect somebody she loved. I understood that all too well because I would do the exact same for her. Though I wasn't going to drown myself in oil stricken water looking for a fish. I hoped when Queen Floofy Floofer got older, she would come to understand why her safety was more important than saving Pudge. Then again, I had no idea if the fish was even still alive or not. I wasn't as emotionally attached to the fish as she was, however I was emotionally attached to her, and when she was sad, I was. Tomorrow would either be good or bad, but no matter what the outcome was, I knew I would have to be strong for her. I'd seen Queen Floofy Floofer sad before, but I'd never seen her in utter grief. If she went that way tomorrow upon discovering Pudge's fate, I would have to do my best to console her. I just hoped it was enough to save her from drowning in her sorrow.</p><hr size=1 noshade><p>The next morning, Queen Floofy Floofer looked at me forlornly. Once again, the weather was dull and grey. Nobody seemed in a good mood and with how Queen Floofy Floofer was, it was strongly impacting our normal routine. Mrs. Doggo hugged her. "Baby, no matter what happens, remember you have us... don't ever forget that." Queen Floofy Floofer drew in a breath. "I know. Thanks Mrs. Doggo." I smiled at her and clutched her hand in my paw. "We face together." "Okay Captain Chonkers..." she sighed. "I guess... we should go." I nodded. Queen Floofy Floofer and I walked down to the beach. She stared at the ground the entire way. When we got to Pudge's grotto, I walked over and inspected the water. It was mostly clear again. Most of the oil must have filtered out overnight. I did see some crews a fair way down from where we were, but people were going back into the water. The water still had a few dark patches, but they were a small distance from the grotto itself and further out to sea. I felt confident enough to allow her to go in. " Queen Floofy Floofer?" I gestured to my angel and she walked over to me. "You can go in water now." She bit her lip. "Okay..." I kissed her gently. "Good luck  Queen Floofy Floofer." She nodded and walked into the sea, diving beneath the waves. I watched her and sat down on the sand. She was down there for about a minute before she swam up for air. My ears perked up and I stared at her in interest. She looked sad. "I can't find him." "No give up..." I told her and she nodded, diving back down. I let her be for the time being. She surfaced a few more times, but I could tell it was the same result. I kept seeing seagulls gather out the corner of my eye and it kept distracting me as I tried to focus on Queen Floofy Floofer. But when they got worse, I finally realised they were gathering at something. Fighting over it, by the looks of it. I had a bad feeling seeing that and stood up, going over to see. I roared at the birds and they flew away. As soon as they did and I saw what was before me, my heart sunk. The oil had back-washed up onto the shore. Among some cans and beer bottle rings, I saw some seaweed. A small orange fish was nestled between it. While Queen Floofy Floofer was still under the water, I walked over and picked up the fish. There was no doubt in my mind that this was Pudge. He wasn't breathing. By the looks of it, he'd been out of the water for a while. Poor thing. I felt terrible and drew in a stuttered breath, carrying the small fish over with me and sitting down, placing the tiny body beside me on Queen Floofy Floofer's beach towel. Queen Floofy Floofer eventually resurfaced. This time, she knew something was wrong, seeing me hunched over. She walked over slowly. I put my hand on her shoulder. " Queen Floofy Floofer...?" "... Captain Chonkers..." she responded. I heard her voice crack. "W-what is it?" " Captain Chonkers..." I swallowed. "I-I found Pudge..." I put my paw to her cheek. "I'm soka Queen Floofy Floofer..." I stepped back and revealed Pudge on her beach towel. She stared in disbelief for a moment before dropping to her knees. I'll never forget her scream for as long as I live.</p><hr size=1 noshade><p>I held Queen Floofy Floofer close as we carried Pudge up to her parents graves. I had no idea how to react. I'd braced myself for this, but it was traumatising for me to witness her tiny frame go through so much heartbreak. She fell against me before slumping to the ground on her knees, rocking back and forth and crying out. "<em><strong>WHY?!</strong></em>... W-why?!" she wailed miserably. I clenched my teeth and looked away, putting my paw on her back. Eventually she stopped wailing and I pulled her close to me. She stopped long enough to make a small grave beside her mothers tombstone. She kissed her deceased fish gently before putting him in the grave and we buried him. I put my paw on her shoulder as she looked down. "Pudge... I'm so sorry I couldn't save you. You meant so much to me and I hope while you're up there with mom and dad, you can have as many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as you want. Thank you for being my friend. I love you..." Queen Floofy Floofer looked up at me. I picked up a tear with a claw. She turned back to the graves. "Mom... dad... please look after Pudge. Remember to feed him his sandwiches on Thursdays." Queen Floofy Floofer remained at the grave for at least another half an hour. Before she left, she put a few flowers down. She leaned against me as we headed back home. She'd stopped crying, but she was broken. Before we headed up the driveway to our home, I faced her. " Queen Floofy Floofer, I know Pudge would have ack...arr... a-appreciated all you done for him..." I told her, struggling a little, but I wanted to try and speak as perfectly as possible. "You so kind, feeding him. Just remember, what happen, not your fault. Not anybody fault, big accident. Queen Floofy Floofer mom and dad, look after Pudge until one day when you see him again, okeytaka?" She nodded. She put her arms around my neck and I purred against her. "You have me... okay?" "I know... thank you  Captain Chonkers. I need you so much right now." "And Captain Chonkers be there..." I responded. "Always." She tried to smile at me, but I could tell it was hard for her. I put my paw on her back supportingly as we headed up to tell the family the news.</p><hr size=1 noshade><p> Queen Floofy Floofer was treated like an absolute princess that day. Everybody went out of their way for her. It was beautiful to see. Mrs. Doggo let her watch her favourite horror movies, which she normally never allowed. Thicc Corgi let her help him with some of his 'most highly classified' projects, although I wasn't allowed in which annoyed me, so I just helped Mrs. Doggo during that time. Queen Floofy Floofer was only young, so I guess he felt okay about it. Sir Chonky put some make up on her and did her up, making her look very nice (even more so to me - I kept blushing around her and having to hide it) and Shiba Chonkers even offered to take her bowling, although she politely refused. At the end of it all, she just wanted to be with me. We sat down together on the hammock outside and I tried to braid her hair. She gazed out into the distance. "I wonder what happened to Pudge?" she asked me. I wasn't sure how she felt about talking about it, but perhaps talking about it was the best way for her to learn to deal with her grief. " Queen Floofy Floofer... want to know what Captain Chonkers thinks?" She sighed, but nodded. "I should face it... it will help me move on and feel less guilty." I drew in a breath. "Oil, too much. Poor Pudge die in oil. As result, body caught up in kachaka. Kachaka likely from spill. From pipe. Pollution..." I told her. "Pudge, wash to shore in kachaka." "Oh..." she looked upset. " how Captain Chonkers found." She just looked into the distance again. "I'm sorry for hurting you." "I fine, Queen Floofy Floofer. No hurt me. You needed to vent." "I vented on you. That wasn't right. I accused you of not caring, but I know you do care." "Ih..." I responded, continuing on her hair. "I care. But I think Queen Floofy Floofer life more important. Pudge, ohana, ih, but Queen Floofy Floofer human. Isa very different." "I know. Because humans are more valuable than fish, right?" I sighed at her tone. I knew it was a blunt thing for her to hear, but it was the truth. "Yes, Queen Floofy Floofer. Always will be." She sighed. "I feel like I'm the only one that cared about him." "Well, you were best at that," I told her. "Out of all humans, you cared. Isa special." She stared at me at that. I continued. "Only take one human to make difference. Was you." "Oh... well. I guess so." "Meecha was all Pudge needed." "Maybe..." she responded. "I never thought of it like that." "Ih..." I nodded. "You gave fish good life. Like you give me good life." She looked back at me again but this time she turned to face me. "Really?" "Ih. Even though Pudge gone now, tay maka na, Queen Floofy Floofer," I told her. "I know you will Captain Chonkers..." she responded. "I'm just scared. Now that Pudge is gone... what if I lose somebody else?" "Won't..." I told her. "Promise." She stared at me. "Okay..." she responded hesitantly before looking back out towards the sea. "I hope so." "Rumba..." I said to her and she looked at me. "Yeah?" " Queen Floofy Floofer oka kata da nay taga. Chachooka futa, ih? These things happen... but Queen Floofy Floofer will always have Captain Chonkers." She stared at me again for a moment or so before taking my paws into her hands. "I'm glad I met you." I nodded. "And Captain Chonkers glad he met you." Queen Floofy Floofer leaned back against me after that and we both looked out into the distance. It was mid evening by that point and the sun was slowly beginning to set. Beside us a few hibiscuses blew away in the breeze. Storm clouds were in the distance so the wind was slightly cold, but not unbearable. Queen Floofy Floofer watched the flowers swirl before us, illuminated by the dull glow from lit tiki torches beside us. I put my arms around her. "Pudge is saying goodbye..." she commented softly, gazing up into the first evening stars. "Goodbye Pudge..." I said nothing to that, just supported her as promised. I knew the next few days would be rough for her. I wasn't prepared to let her face them alone.  Queen Floofy Floofer reached over and plucked a hibiscus, putting it behind my ear before resting back against me.</p><hr size=1 noshade><p>It had been a long day. Queen Floofy Floofer had already headed up to bed and I was on my way up to her when Mrs. Doggo stopped me. "How is she?" "She okay," I told her. "For now. Very sad." "She will be, Captain Chonkers. I'm just glad she's not mute this time. I think, if you weren't here, she would be." I shuddered to think of what Queen Floofy Floofer must have gone through losing both her mother and father. Pudge was different being a fish, but just as important to her. Sir Chonky and Thicc Corgi appeared behind Mrs. Doggo at that moment. "Is Queen Floofy Floofer okay?" Sir Chonky asked me, twisting his finger around the brim of his nightcap. I nodded slowly. "I think talking helps her. She talked to me about Pudge." "As it would," Thicc Corgi responded to that. "If bottled up inside, can be bad. If she needs to talk about fish, let her." "Tomorrow I'm going to take Queen Floofy Floofer to find a dress for the wedding. I think it will take her mind off it some, yeah?" Thicc Corgi nodded. "Good idea. Tomorrow I am wanting to have talk with Captain Chonkers." I stared at my father at that. He looked back at me before turning and heading for the staircase leading up to his and Sir Chonky's bedroom. I walked after him slightly. "Papa...?" Thicc Corgi paused. He faced me. "Get rest, Captain Chonkers. I'll see you in morning." I turned to look at Mrs. Doggo and Sir Chonky. Mrs. Doggo looked alarmed and Sir Chonky just shrugged. "Good night Little Monster," he commented to me after bidding Mrs. Doggo goodnight, heading up after Thicc Corgi. Mrs. Doggo stared at me. I followed her out into the living room, sitting beside her on the couch with Shiba Chonkers. "I'm sure it's nothing bad, Captain Chonkers. Maybe it's about your birthday?" I didn't think that was the case at all, but just nodded. Shiba Chonkers scratched my ears. "How's Queen Floofy Floofer?" "Coping, I guess." "She'll be right. She has you." I smiled at him at that. He stood up. "Well, I think I'll call it a night too. See you in there Mrs. Doggo." He left the room and I looked up at Mrs. Doggo with interest. "Uh... Shiba Chonkers and I have started sharing a room," she smiled at me. "Now that we're getting married and all..." "Oh..." I responded to that in surprise. "Okay." Mrs. Doggo ruffled my head. "Everything okay?" "Ih..." I responded slowly. I'd been thinking about how Queen Floofy Floofer and I liked each other. I still didn't think Mrs. Doggo would take it well if she found out. I thought Mrs. Doggo and Shiba Chonkers's relationship was nice. How they were so happy around each other, always cuddling on the couch and now talking about their baby. I wondered how they would react to me feeling the same way about Queen Floofy Floofer as Shiba Chonkers did for Mrs. Doggo. I wasn't human though. They'd think it was weird. Maybe they'd think it was gross. My ears drooped. " Captain Chonkers...?" I rubbed my eyes. "Tired..." "You sure? You look like something might be bothering you. I know that look..." I sighed. "Naga... just... today. Rough." "Yeah... it was," she responded. "Well, if you need somebody to chat to, the door is open." "Takka," I uttered to her and she smiled and ruffled my head. "Head to bed, you do look exhausted." I was. "Gee tu jay." "Goodnight, sweetie." I sat for a little while longer before heading up to Queen Floofy Floofer in the dome.

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