Chapter 10: From the Heart
Be warned that this fanfic contains Marscott (Prescott x Markus) and Turbo (who is now known as Gremlin Speedo in here) from the movie “Wreck-It Ralph” as a little crossover thing to add. If you don’t like, please do not read any further.
~Gremlin Prescott’s POV
Waking up with my heart pounding from the fact that I’ve been out for two days straight was one thing, but waking up in the same room with both my special one and my unconscious rival within, was, well…pressuring. At this point, there was no need to show any sign of disapproval; it’s not like Jamface was conscious to speak to either of us. Also, it was only fair that I give some courtesy in the room, especially in my state now…
“Markus,” I sighed, laying my head back onto the bed.
“…is there something I must know of? Anything in particular?” I eyed at the quiet gremlin, seeing as to how he turned and held onto his chin, as if thinking of an answer. He then gave a good chuckle and turned back to me with a smile.
“Well, if there’s one thing that’ll keep you and all of Wasteland in good spirits,” he began, “that Spatter with the paintbrush tail hasn’t shown itself around in Mean Street or in any of the other sections of Wasteland.”
“Ha, it probably cowered away and drowned itself in a thinner pool,” I chuckled and smirked at the thought, to which Markus laughed along with. The image lingered in my mind longer than I wanted it to, and my cheeks ached from smiling. Not that it mattered too much, but this was probably my first time truly laughing in a long time.
“Let’s hope it did, or we’d be in big trouble!” Markus continued laughing along. Honestly, I didn’t think it was that funny for a gremlin like him. However, this was a good sign for two specific reasons. One, I was able to keep Markus in a positive mood, especially being that he was in the same room with his unconscious cousin; and two, this showed that nobody was suspicious about the Spatter’s former identity, giving me confidence about the work I’ve done in the code room. Not that there was anything to worry about, but at least I was given—what you might call it, technically—an “outsider’s opinion”. I continued listening to Markus trying to calm himself down from laughing, and—
Markus and I both gasped at the sound of that. We knew for a fact that it came from my left, at the very spot and bed where Jamface was placed. I allowed myself to analyze his physical condition, and from what my eyes and ears have gathered, it was clear as day that he was breathing audibly. One could see the increase and decrease of the size of his stomach whenever he inhaled and exhaled.
“…Jamface?” Markus lightly spoke. Like anyone going through a coma, he was aware of the sounds that pervaded the room. Unlike those in a coma state, though, one of his fingers under the blanket gave a twitch. The sight made Markus slightly gasp, but he was wise enough to keep his distance from the injured gremlin. The twitching then took place onto Jamface’s eyes. Through time’s progression, his eyelids slowly slid open, earning yet another gasp from Markus, and even I.
The awakening gremlin slowly turned his head to his right, facing us. With effort, his lips then slowly curved into a smile.
“Heh, fancy seeing you two in here,” he weakly laughed, only letting himself cough more.
“Jamface…!” Markus gasped in a warm smile and carefully fluttered over to Jamface’s bed, placing his hand onto Jamface’s unresponsive arm. I turned away, leaving them with their own conversations. But instead of Jamface welcoming his worried cousin, he coldly requested—
“Markus, mon cousin, I want to have a word with Prescott…ehh, maybe a couple of words…in private.” I felt a cold sensation coming from the very code and presence of Markus. Now if he was some other gremlin, I would have been pleased to hear that Jamface put me first to have a casual conversation, but this…it made my heart drop; especially in knowing how often Markus had worried about his very condition. I didn’t want to tolerate with it, but if Jamface wished to talk with me, then perhaps it had to be done.
“…I understand,” Markus sighed. From what I could see from behind his cheeks, he was giving a good smile to his fellow cousin. He turned to leave the room, but then took a halt before the door. “Well, I kind of don’t want to leave this room with you two in it; don’t want to hear you guys killing each other behind my back,” he joked, turning his head to us with a smirk and raising an eyebrow for emphasis.
“No need to worry, Markus,” I raised an arm, smiling back, “I won’t kill him…yet.”
“Neither will I,” Jamface softly laughed under his breath. Markus took a while to look at the both of us, and finally went out the door. The very moment he had left the room, all the positive energy I had felt were instantly drained, and I frowned from it. I turned to face Jamface, but neither of us spoke. There was never a time whenever this gremlin and I would stop by each other to talk. And even if there was, it happened ever so rarely. So this “talk”, to us, was all but endearing. Having the desire to let this conversation slide as quick as possible, Jamface gave in and let out a sigh, the first sign to say a word.
“So, Prescott,” he began, “I’ve heard from Markus that Gus has made you his right hand man…?”
“Well…yes, of course,” I replied, my eyebrows narrow. It took a while for Jamface to respond, mainly because he was glaring at me. My only response was to glare back. After a couple of more pauses, he gave a weak smile and chuckled, followed by a little headshake. “Are you mocking me?!” I grunted, but then put up a smirk. “You are in no position to think such things.”
“You’re right, I’m not,” he sighed, still putting an effort to keep a smile, “and if you must know, Prescott, I wasn’t mocking you at all…just a bit surprised.”
“Hmph, I suppose that’ll come to you while you’re forced to stay in here,” I assured to him. If the code room remains maintained and everything goes smoothly, it’s most likely Jamface will never see the light of day…out of this hospital, of course. As cold as that sounds, I enjoyed the very idea of that.
“Listen to me,” he sighed, his grin disappearing, “if you are what Markus says you are, then you had better know what you’re doing…for all of our sakes.”
“Oh, your insults are so touching,” I quipped, placing my left hand onto my chest.
“I’m serious,” he groaned, “even though Gus had entrusted you in taking my place, I’m not going to lay in here and remain in peace being forced to know that…”
“Well, look at you now,” I pointed out. I felt my lips curl up into yet another smirk, and I couldn’t help myself to escape from that.
“Aah, but that’s not what I wanted to say,” Jamface sighed, closing his eyes to calm his inner anger. His emotional state kept me grinning the whole way through, but I was civilized enough to continue to keep my ears open for him. “What I truly had to say was…well, if you plan to remain as Gus’s assistant, then I suggest for you to take it steady…”
“I don’t need you to tell me that…”
“Listen to me…as much as I’d hate to say…” Jamface then snarled and became quiet, as if hesitant to continue on. By the look on his face, if I say so myself, I had a feeling that things from here were going to get—well—mawkish, or if you need to know the better understanding of it: “corny”. We both knew neither of us wanted to hear what he had to say, but it was either now or never (I’d prefer never, to be honest). He couldn’t deny the fact it had to be done. Otherwise, it’d most likely scar him, if not plague his mind with a bothersome, nauseating idea for the rest of his life.
At last, he opened his eyes and gave in.
“…you’ve got potential,” he sighed, making sure to keep full eye contact to me. I should’ve expected to hear that, but never have I thought I’d ever hear that coming out of the very mouth of my rival himself. Though my nonexistent heart felt a little at ease, my mentality was clouded with pure disgust. Instead of bringing myself to show that, I continued to let Jamface speak. “Too big of a potential, in fact—like I’ve said before—you’ve got to take it steady…”
I crossed my arms and kept my stern eyes on him the whole time. Even with the sweet talk he was pulling off, he had no idea what he was talking about, or even who he was talking to. No matter what he had to say from this point, it wasn’t going to change the fact that I wasn’t ever going to let him take away what was rightfully mine; there was no way he was going to take away my future; and there was absolutely nothing he could do to get me to change my way of maintaining Wasteland. For that alone, he was nothing but a mere fool.
Jamface and I turned our heads straight towards the door. Because he kept quiet, I gave the knocker permission to enter. It turned out to be Markus, holding some sky blue clothes and a pair of shoes.
“Hey, Prescott,” he greeted as he walked over to my bed, “they said you were free to go whenever you feel ready.” I looked over to the clothes, and came to question…
“What happened to my other clothes?”
“What do you think, smart one?” he joked. “Your other clothes were so worn out from the fire you were in contact with that they threw them away.”
“Wait, what about my gadgets?!” I panicked, grabbing Markus’s collar out of sheer reaction (how embarrassing…).
“Don’t worry, I’ve got those taken care of,” he smiled, patting my shoulder, “they’re back at my place. So in the meantime, you got to wear these.”
“My old clothes,” I loosened my grip and released him, “I suppose it won’t hurt to be reminded of my past…”
“Ah, don’t be such a grump. Look! It seems like others have been worried about your condition as well!” Markus excitedly pointed at the “get well soon” cards. There weren’t that many, but there was one in particular that definitely caught my eye. If you’ve guessed that the card I spotted was one of Markus’s, you would’ve been half correct. No…there was a specific card in which the top and bottom of it was covered in black and white squares, like that of a finish line in a racing track. The words were written in red, reading: “Get Well Soon, Scotty!”
The moment I finished reading that last word, I instantly knew of whom the card was from. I smiled from that and took all the cards, keeping that specific one in the front.
“Well, you can take your time, Prescott,” Markus pointed out, placing my clothes onto my lap, “I’ll be waiting for you.” I noticed his eyes shifted to Jamface, who was now in a resting state once again. The look on Markus’s face read worry and relief, as anyone would with someone just waking up from a fatal injury. “You take care, cousin Jamface…” He then gave a simple kiss to my forehead, took a few seconds to look at me dearly, and left the room. I smiled and decided to give myself a few moments to adjust myself before having the doctor coming in and walk me out of this forsaken room.
“P…prescott,” I heard Jamface lightly breathing, “one more thing…” The effort he put in his voice to speak to me some more, it was definitely worthy enough to earn some pity from me. “Wh…whatever you do,” he gulped, trying to catch his breath, “don’t let anything happen to Markus…”
“…I wouldn’t dream of it.”
(Fifteen minutes later; Mean Street North)
Markus and I were taking a stroll on the sidewalk, allowing the breeze calm our worries. Of course the sight of the ruined Wasteland stressed us both—as it most likely did to all—but it was a rare break for the both of us; and what better way to spend it than to have a nice walk? Besides, I needed to do something to let Jamface’s talk with me in my mind fade away. With Markus by my side, I didn’t want to put any thought to any of it whatsoever. I wrapped my arm around Markus’s waist and pulled him closer to my side.
“Woah, Prescott,” he chuckled while blushing, “missed me much?”
“You have no idea,” I purred, giving him a hint of seduction in my voice. He blushed more to this, but it was only a little tease. As I was about to place my lips onto his cheek, a sudden screech occurred beside us.
“THCOTTY! There you are! Hello!” Markus and I turned to the street and saw none other than that familiar upgraded, red kart and the jolly white-suited gremlin who drove it fluttering right towards us. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you! Ha, I almotht didn’t recognithe you with thothe blue clotheth—hoo, hoo!” In less than a second, Speedo smashed his palm onto my head and slid one of my “get well soon” cards right out of my hand. The weight he was giving me while pushing my head down was aggravating and physically tiring.
“Who in their right mind gave you thith?” Speedo giggled nervously, peering onto the card that was obviously made by his own hands.
“Do you mind taking it easy on the gremlin that just got out of the hospital?” Markus advised with a tone that tried to remain calm. The narrowing of his eyes gave it away that he wasn’t very happy with Speedo’s presence, and of course, neither was I. Before I could make an attempt to push the irritating gremlin’s hand away from me, Speedo teleported away and reappeared behind Markus, wrapping his arm around his shoulder.
“Yeth, yeth, I’ll take it eathy,” he grinned, “but firtht, I’ll need to talk to him.” The cold sensation emanating from Markus came back, the same one that had hit me before my talk with Jamface. Other than today, the uneasy presence felt a little familiar, but I wasn’t so sure as to how it was. As a matter of fact, the only one I’ve ever felt this sensation from was none other than Jamface himself. I couldn’t understand why I felt it from Markus right now…
“Speedo, we’re busy…!” I stated firmly. “And shouldn’t you be working at the Gag Factory? It’s Monday, you know.”
“I know, but thith ith important!” Speedo objected. “I wouldn’t be bothering with you if it wathn’t thith theriouth!” I snarled under my throat with aggravation and tried to say something, but Markus then interrupted…
“Very well, then. I’ve got work to do, anyway…” I felt saddened by the sudden change of his attitude. I didn’t want him to leave…not when we were doing so fine earlier. “Alright, Prescott, see you later,” he then gave a strong smile and saluted to me as he dissolved into bubbles and disappeared. Even with the somewhat bright farewell he showed to me, it wasn't enough to help hold back my aggravation.
“Alright, Speedo,” I growled, “this had better be important. Is it about the groceries you’re carrying in your kart?”
“Huh? No, that’th for Clarabelle!” he shook his head. “You know, becauthe the bunny children—hoo, hoo—nevermind! Jutht hear me out, will you?” I said nothing, only crossing my arms and giving Speedo the stare. This didn’t stop him from leaving me with my space, and he breathed in to speak.
“Thcotty…do you remember what I wath trying to tell you two dayth ago before you went to the hothpital?”
“…refresh my memory.”
“Okay, tho I wath able to take Gilda to Autotopia, a plathe you all thought wath dethtroyed but we ficthed it—hoo, hoo—anyway! We encountered the Mi…ehm, the paintbrush Thpatter—”
“You mean Speck?”
“…you gave him a name?”
“Why not? It’s only suitable…”
“Huh…well, then Thpeck…we encountered the Thpeck Thpatter, and he and I had a little toon-to-toon combat—”
“Just get to the point!”
“Alright, alright! Sheesh! Tho, well, during my victory, I uhh…well, I thorta…—” Speedo was suddenly getting nervous with me, and this obviously meant bad news.
“Weeeell…?” I stretched out the word while raising my eyebrow for emphasis. In response, he gulped and clapped his hands together nervously, as well as awkwardly smiling.
“Well, maybe I got jutht a teenthy bit carried away with my victoriouth thpeech, and…—” Growing impatient with him, I squinted my eyes and leaned my face closer to his. His face being overshadowed by mine, he rubbed his hands together and chuckled nervously. “Alright! I almotht gave away hith former identity, and now he’th probably thuthpiciouth!”
“You did WHAT!?” I instantly grabbed onto his collar and pinned the frightened gremlin against the wall of the nearest building. I spoke closely, so that no one else was able to hear exactly what was going on. “Do you know what this could do!? It could ruin everything for me!”
“Thcotty, calm down!” Speedo demanded me, which only earned him another knock to the wall from me.
“Don’t you try talking your way out of this!” I threatened him, pointing a finger at him. “Oh, I knew I should’ve kept you in your original design, kept you in that Floatyard.”
“Okay, now you’re jutht thounding cold…”
“You never deserved to be one of us. What was I thinking?!”
“Wathn’t thith whole ‘tranthform me into a gremlin’ thing your way of thaying ‘thank you for showing me the code room’?”
"Well, igh...!" I tried to object, but I couldn't bring myself to say anything. He was right about that, and there was just no way around it. I despised this greatly, and I couldn't contain my anger much longer. Without hesitating, I punched his face sideways and harshly dropped him from my grasp.
"Don't think this conversation is over," I warned and took a few steps back. I looked away from Speedo, utterly disappointed with what he's done behind my back. On the other hand, if he really didn't care, he wouldn't have told me. To that, I turned back to him and questioned, "Why are you even telling me this???"
"What elthe!?" he angrily shot out, rubbing his face and spitting some blood onto the sidewalk. "You're the one in charge of the code room, geniuth! Geeth, I let the gremlin leader get you to the hothpital, I tell you the bad newth, and a punch in the fathe ith what I get in return. Ha, ha! If I wath thtill king, I would've had you be let into the Fungeon with that glitch!" I stayed silent and instantly regretted the very moment I hit him. Though that was the case, I didn't bother apologizing.
“Ehh, what'th the uthe? You're Gremlin Prethcott, you were programmed to be a jerk, anyway."
"Oh, I apologize, was I the one who interrupted a good time with my special one?" I mockingly mentioned, placing my hands onto my chest.
"You know what, you know what? Ha, ha! Fine! Have it your way!" Speedo laughed. "I wath going to take care of the Thpeck problem, but no-ho-ho! You couldn't hear me out all the way! Tho you know what? Thith ith your world, tho it'th your problem." He then looked over at the card he still had in hand. With a grunt, he handed the folded paper to me. "Here, in cathe you want a bootht of confidenthe, Thcotty." With that, he dropped it onto my hand, fluttered into his kart and drove off into the air.
I looked down at the card, seeing as to how much effort he put down on the piece of paper. It wasn't so great, but I could tell it wasn't bought off from money, either (then again, he didn't have any E-Tickets to begin with). I didn't want to read it, but my guilt overshadowed my nonexistent heart and repeated in my head open it, open it, open it. I gave a sigh and finally opened it. With the fast-paced handwriting, it read:
Hey! Grumpy Gremlin!
Your absence left a peaceful air in the house, and I had a good time to myself. I raced with Gilda, I showed off my kart to the citizens of Wasteland, and I even got to get the bunny children to like me. I hope you stay longer in the hospital, so that I can continue to star in Wasteland without you bossing me around. See you never!
…after reading the card, I absolutely wished that everything that had happened earlier ceased to exist. Why couldn't I listen to him? Why couldn't I just let him do the talking? Still, it was Speedo, the selfish, pompous racer; the character that destroyed two other worlds and got banished for it; so the whole thing hit to me as strange and a way of getting himself to look good. Really, there was no absolute way to describe this immense change of behavior. Because of that, I thankfully couldn't grasp the guilt for long.
I fluttered along the sidewalk, attempting to let the breeze blow away my worries. Other toons had passed by me, not bothering to say hello or checking my status (not that it was new to me, anyway). I looked up at the sky, seeing how the colorful background was able to let the gloominess of Wasteland still appear beautiful. Ever so often, whenever I'd gaze at it, I wondered lied beyond it. What other kinds of worlds existed outside of Wasteland? Were there others out there who was just as much of a genius as I? If so, would I be able to prove my brilliance greater than theirs'?
No, I thought to myself, you've already got this world under your control...there's no turning back from that, and there's absolutely no reason to leave it all behind.
Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, the image of the Mad Doctor had interrupted my content state. Now thinking about it, I should be more than glad that Speedo drove Markus away; otherwise, I could've forgotten about the invention I still had to work on to stop the Doctor's evil. Leaving the events behind, I teleported away from the spot and headed to Markus's home to retrieve my gadgets back.
None of this had ever happened, Speedo...