The group had made it back to the house together; they used up the last of Mochi’s teleporting ability to get back to Zero’s home. Grunt limped close to a room next to the one where Clover had faked being captured. He rested his head on the wall, and Zero walked up behind him. She could see tears dripping from his face, and his body shaking. She puts a hand on his shoulder and tells him, “Grunt…I know how you must feel. I’m…sorry. I really am… If there was anything I could have done to prevent this from happening, I would have, but-”
“Zero…It’s…fine. It wasn’t your fault, none of this was. C-Clover was… my best friend…” he choked. Zero’s eyes became teary as well, and she hugged Grunt. She brought him to the living room, and decided that she would give them a meal. However, as soon as she went into the kitchen, her friend Reikun stood holding a can of soda with the fridge open. He had come back. “Uh…I was just…” he started. Zero looked at him with a happy expression on her face, and she giggled. “Haha…welcome back, Rei.” She said. She tried her best to cover up the giant bloody hole she had on her stomach from Clover attacking her. “Oh. Thanks Zero. I was just getting a snack here and- … is that bl-”
“Blood? No don’t be silly Reikun, you make yourself comfortable. I’ll be in the bedroom.” She replied hastily.
“Er… okay.” Reikun said, grabbing things from the fridge again. Zero walked with Mochi into one of the bedrooms, and she laid herself on the bed. Mochi coughed up some of the special healing tea leaf that Zero had recently used for other purposes. Grunt followed them in, and closed the door behind him, just in case if Reikun came in.
“Is she going to okay?” Grunt asked Mochi.
“Eh, well she’s got a pretty bad gash here…but I think this here remedy might just do the trick…” he replied. Suddenly, the door opens and Reikun steps inside the room. “Okay, what is going on-” Reikun was interrupted by the slamming of a large cooking pan in his face. Mochi had come in just in time and taken a pan out of his endless-pit of a gullet, and smacked it right into his head. Reikun fell backwards and landed on the ground, unconscious. “It’s best we don’t let em know about this, eh?” Mochi said with a chuckle. He goes back on the bed and continues to help Zero. Grunt blinks, quite taken aback from what he had just done.
A few moments pass, and Mochi has the plant all set for healing. “Alright, I think it’s just about ready now…Oh, and uh, Grunt. You’re going to have to get out of the room for awhile.” He said. Grunt shook his head. “I’m not leaving this spot. Zero’s my best friend, and I cannot leave her alone just yet.” He said. Mochi shrugged and looked back to Grunt. “Suit yourself.” He said, starting to unbutton Zero’s flannel shirt. In an instant, Grunt was outside of the room, already getting himself something to eat. He put Reikun onto the couch, where he would soon wake up and think the whole incident was a dream. Night had fallen, and everyone had fallen asleep at quite an early time. They needed the rest.
When morning came the next day, Grunt had walked back into the room where Zero (who was quickly recovering and fully buttoned) and Mochi were talking with one another, having a funny conversation. Zero sees Grunt come in and she smiles at him. “Good morning Grunt! How did you sleep?” she asked. Grunt smiled back and replied, “Pretty good, pretty good. How are you feeling?”
“That’s wonderful! You passed out after lying down on the bed yesterday…you gave me quite a fright, you did.” He said, crossing his arms. Zero laughed quietly and replied, “Oh…well I’m doing fine now, mate. No worries here.” Grunt sighed in relief, and chuckled to himself. He started out the bedroom door, and looks back at Zero. “Ready for breakfast? I made omelets.” He said. Zero laughed, and nodded at him. She and Grunt both knew he wasn’t a very good chef at all, but when it came to breakfast, Grunt was very good indeed. They both sat down at the table, sipping juice and munching on omelets. Mochi had come too, and decided to hork down some chips in front of them. They all had quite a wonderful morning. As for Grunt however, his morning was slightly more depressing. He was still very sad about what happened the previous day, and had a heavy heart about losing his friend. It was more of a bittersweet feeling than anything, because he also knew that she had betrayed him and Zero.
That same morning, Gramps had come back. He had in his arms a giant tree he had found out hunting, and happily set it down on the side of the living room. “Well, well, well! Looks like we got a pretty jolly Christmas comin’ up! Haha!” he had said. Grunt’s feeling that morning however was anything but jolly, and he hadn’t ever felt the emotion he felt then before. It was even more deteriorating when Gramps had asked, “Hey Grunt my boy…Where’s that Clover lass?” Grunt hadn’t answered him, but Zero was left to explain to Gramps why he was feeling the way he was. She hadn’t told him what really happened; she had just told him that Clover had gotten into a serious accident. Reikun later had woken up and never even remembered what had happened. He merely went along with his usual routine and decided to spend the rest of the day polishing his bike. Grunt continued trying to forget Clover and everything they’ve been through as the day progressed, and Gramps and Zero did the best they could to comfort him. They all had a nice conversation later in the evening, where they all sat in the living room drinking coffee, except for Zero. Zero didn’t quite like coffee. Gramps that night had told them stories of how he would always travel through the world, going back and forth, north and south. He never really mentioned why he did so, but he really seemed to emphasize the fact that it was his job; and that his favorite holiday was Christmas. He even asked Zero what she wanted for Christmas, which took her by surprise. She didn’t really want anything in particular, but she did wish to continue the wonderful friendship she now had. “I want friendship, and nothing else, Gramps.” She had said. Gramps had replied with a hearty laugh, and told her that he promised the friendship with her new friends would last for a very long time.
Grunt that night had learned something that night; and that was to count his blessings. He surely was fortunate to have Zero still in his life, along with Gramps and Reikun, even Mochi. Losing Clover was still very hard on him of course, but he knew it had to happen. Zero and Grunt were sitting on the couch at about 9:30 PM, and Gramps had fallen asleep in another room. Zero noticed Grunt’s downed expression, and began to worry. “You feeling alright, mate?” Zero asked.
“I’ve been better.” Grunt replied. Zero sighs and pats Grunt on the back. “It’s going to be all right, mate. Trust me, as the days go by, you’ll begin to feel much better.” She said, reassuringly. Grunt smiles and stands up. “You’re right, Zero….I shouldn’t let this bring me down.”
“That’s the spirit, Grunt!” Zero said happily. Grunt paused for a moment, and then looked down. He turned around to look at Zero and he crossed his arms. “Clover deceived us… She is gone…I know she is. But, Zero?”
“Yes, Grunt?” Zero answered.
“…Why do I feel she isn’t?”
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