Hekapoo groans, and shifts under the covers. She feels a lurch, and the alarm stops. She pieces together that Star turned it off easily enough.
Star rolls over and presses herself against Hekapoo again. The latter woman decides to open her eyes. Hekapoo has to close her eyes again almost immediately, not yet acclimated to the brightness of day. Eventually, they do adjust, of course, and she sees it is rather early. The sun seems to have just risen, and they won't need to prepare for the festival for a while longer. It seems Star actually took the time to think ahead, strangely enough. Hekapoo feels oddly proud.
She looks at the girl in her arms. One of Star's arms is over Hekapoo's shoulders, the other under her head, being used as a pillow. Her hair is disheveled, strewn about on the bed like spaghetti. Her pajamas are twisted, facing sideways instead of forward. Makeup, which she forgot to take up from the night before despite Hekapoo's repeated reminders, is smeared all over her face. All in all, she looks like a train wreck.
Still, Hekapoo thinks she looks beautiful.
She runs her hands through Star's hair a few times, gathering it all up into one bundle. She lets the feeling sink in, and can't help but smile. She could lie here forever.
And she would very much like to, but unfortunately, duty calls and Hekapoo can never resist answering.
"We have to get up eventually, Star," Hekapoo whispers into Star's ear.
She groans, and adorably pushes herself into the crook of Hekapoo's neck. "Just a little longer. Please."
Hekapoo sighs. "I can't say no to you."
So they lie there, for another half hour. Hekapoo remains in a state of half sleep, eyelids drooping down and snapping up every so often. She continues to play with Star's hair, all the while.
Eventually does come, however, and soon Hekapoo forces herself off the bed and onto her feet. She haphazardly compiles a to-do list, rubbing her face to wake herself up.
First things first, she needs to get to her own room.
She opens the door but pauses in the door frame.
"I'm going back to my room, Star," Hekapoo says matter-of-factually.
The pile of blankets grumbles once or twice before a blonde hear pops out. "See you later, Poo-Bear." Star yawns.
Hekapoo smiles, then closes the door.
Hekapoo, the night before, had thought that the plan to sneak into Star's room at midnight was an awful idea. Now that it was morning, she was sure of it. The floorboards creaked with every step. Any time a gust of wind came by, Hekapoo nearly jumped out of her skin. She nearly turned a bird that landed on one of the windowsills into barbecue.
"God, why did I agree to this?" Hekapoo mutters to herself.
"Agree with what?"
Hekapoo nearly had a heart attack, but luckily, that crisis was averted. Unluckily, she did shoot a substantial amount of flame in the general direction of whatever had made the noise.
'Substantial' in this case is about the size of an elephant.
"Whoa. I'm, uh, pretty lucky I'm made of rocks." Rhombulus muttered.
"What was that all about?" Lefty asked.
"Oh my gosh, Rhombulus, I'm so sorry!" Hekapoo frantically apologized.
Rhombulus just shrugs. "Eh. No harm was done. Unless you count the tapestries, of course. And the windows. And that one guy over there." He points behind Hekapoo.
Hekapoo gasp and spins around.
"Gotcha!' Rhombulus playfully punches her on the shoulder. "But seriously, what's up with you? You've been acting all weird this whole time."
"Oh, yeah. I, uh, I'm just a little nervous. About, you know, the festival." Hekapoo answers. Rhombulus furrows his brow, if that's even possible, being you know. A rock.
"Rrrriiiiiight. Look, if you wanna talk about what's actually going on, give me a holler. Otherwise, I gotta go get polished for the festival." Rhombulus walks off after that, leaving Hekapoo behind.
Hekapoo lets out a deep sigh. She makes it the rest of the way to her room without being spotted and enters quietly.
Hekapoo's morning routine is pretty sparse, usually. However, with such a big event, she feels the need to doll herself at least a little. Rhombulus is even dressing himself up, for god's sake!
She mills around her room for a while, looking from outfit to outfit. Eventually she decides to wear a fancier dress, one with a long, billowy cape and weird headset thingy. You know, the thing that rises up behind your head and points out, that all the villains always wear in the movies? Hekapoo has to look up the name of it eventually.
All the time sitting around gives her a lot of time to think, and after letting her mind wander a bit, she remembers the encounter with Rhombulus on the way down the stairs.
Thank god Rhombulus didn't figure it out. I mean, he didn't really have much to work with, so even if he was a top-notch detective, he couldn't have figured it out, right? I didn't leave any obvious clues, did I? Maybe I-
Oh, shut up, me. Let's just be happy he didn't. Could you imagine who he would react?
Then, a small voice in the back of her mind said- How he will react.
Because he will know, eventually, won't he?
This can't be a secret forever.
Something shifts in Hekapoo's stomach, and suddenly she's very happy she hasn't had breakfast yet. Somehow, she hasn't considered this yet. God, how could she be so reckless? So impulsive? So stupid?!
Hekapoo forces herself to calm down. It's not that big of a deal, she can handle it. She's sure it won't be too big of a deal, Glossaryck is fine with it, everyone else probably will be.
Yeah, because being wise basically means everyone agrees with you, right?
Hekapoo lets out a sigh. Here's hoping.
In the midst of her inner turmoil, a part of her remembers some of the wisdom Glossaryck is known for.
Talk to her.
Hekapoo adds that to her to do list and heads to the festival grounds.
The festival officially called the Feast of Peril's End, was proportionally spacious to the magnitude of the event, according to Mewni tradition.
Which is to say, it was bigger than the entire capital city.
The tents and stalls had all been erected ahead of time, so all that was left was to set out the food. Hundreds, no, thousands of servants raced back and forth lining table after table with each and every type of corn, meat, and of course, liquor, you could think of. Guards stood watch over the event, making sure no one began picking at it before the event had officially begun. Not to say that they didn't take a bite or two for themselves of course. On top of that, there was the entertainment. Bards, jesters and the like filled every nook and cranny, entertaining party-goers with there antics for a few bits of change that the guests, ever generous in the light of such a great and prosperous age for their land, were more than happy to give. All in all, it was one of the most extravagant feasts ever held in the dimension.
This, however, was not the most historically important aspect of the celebration. Due to there efforts in the fight against Toffee, and because Star believed it would help Mewnian progression, monsters would be allowed to attend the event.
This announcement, as one might expect, was met with equal praise and condemnation. Hence the presence of an overwhelming number of royal guards.
Despite this, the royal family and their guests were confident that the event would be a success. The waves of unrest should easily be quelled in light of the sheer amount of national pride and free stuff being offered. The royal family was also very sure this festival, in due time, would come to symbolize Mewnie's ever-growing presence as a dimension of peace, tolerance, and power.
Hekapoo was not thinking about any of this. The only thing on her mind was how to get through the day with her dignity and relationship with Star intact. Star would want to spend the day with her, no doubt, which Hekapoo would be fine with if it didn't risk drawing attention to the two of them, and possibly revealing the true nature of their relationship.
On top of that, she had several speeches to administer. Rhombulus was right; she was acting weird, and she was more than a bit shaken. Hekapoo needed to find a was to steel herself and find the confidence and power she knew she had to put up a strong front and live through it.
Finally, Hekapoo needed to relax and enjoy herself. These past few months had been stressful, and she needed a way to deal with it. That was why this whole thing was being done in the first place, after all.
Hekapoo, now in the midst of the crowd, had been wandering around, simply taking in the spectacle of the event. Soon, she would have to head to the centerpiece, the castle, to deliver a speech to the crowd. Until then, she was just going to let herself breath a minute. Hekapoo just wanted to calm down, put away all her complex thoughts about her and Star, about the battle with Toffee, and simply find some peace in the midst of chaos.
So, of course, this would be when Star found her.
"Hug tackle!" Star screamed, landing on Hekapoo with a thump!
"St-Star! This isn't the time!" Hekapoo screeched back, face flushed. Star frowned, but nodded, and pushed herself off her partner before anyone took notice.
"Bit high strung today, are we?" Star asked hands on her hips.
Hekapoo sighed but nodded anyway. "Star, I don't need to be rude, but this is a bit much." Star cocked her head to the side. Hekapoo went on with the intent to explain, but remembered where she was, and motioned for Star to follow her.
Once out of earshot of the staff, she continued. "I mean you're smothering me. I can't be hugging you or talking to you or doing something with you all day every day. I just need some space right now, okay?"
Star nodded, frown returning. She picked at her hair a bit before responding.
"I, I understand. It's just, it seems unfair, is all."
Hekapoo raised her eyebrow. "How so?"
Star froze, sensing that this could come off very wrong if not phrased properly. "What I'm trying to say is, we both like each other and, and we should be allowed to express that." She spoke slowly, choosing every word carefully, but now began to speed up. "I don't want you to feel uncomfortable, but the entire time we've been together you've just been worrying about what other people will think. It's, it feels a little insulting."
Hekapoo's face dropped, now suddenly feeling guilty. "Star, I, I've been thinking about that. A lot actually." She looked Star directly in the eye. "We need to talk about, some things, if we want to stay together." Star nodded solemnly. "Let's do that later, though. How about for today, I'll come find you in a few hours and we'll hang out a bit. And then after we'll say up late and watch cheesy romcom's, sound good?"
Star nodded, then smiled mischievously. She leaned close to Hekapoo, mouth next to her ear.
"When we watch movie's later, can we make out?"
Hekapoo's eyes briefly widened, before she chuckled, shoved Star off and blushed. "Yeah, yeah, sure."
Star gave her a quick kiss on the cheek before running off.
Hekapoo grimaced at the use of her pet name but smiled nonetheless.
"Now, I stand before you, asking you to embark on a new journey; a journey greater than any I, or those before, have gone on." Star paused, letting her words reverberate through the crowd. "I ask you to follow me to a new Mewnie, one where everyone prospers, where Newman and monster alike can grow up safely, never worrying about where they'll sleep at night or whether there will be food on the table the next morning. It will be a hard journey, full of sacrifices, but I can assure you that the grass in greener on the other side."
A roar went though the crowd, cheers, and corn erupting everywhere. Star bowed and took her seat next to the other members of the royal family.
The speeches had all gone well; no troublemakers were to be found, thanks to the guards, no doubt. Moon stood up, to deliver the final words; she had always been better than Star at things like this.
"I, on the part of the entire royal family, and all of our faithful troops, would like to sincerely thank all of you for being here today. May the forces of nature look down on us with pride, and the forces of magic flow through us with strength."
One final cheer was given, all the representatives of the war standing up for a final encore. Soon after, they dispersed, and Star let out a sigh of relief.
Jeez, that took FOREVER.
She never could shake off the last bit of her rebellious teenager faze. She walked into the castle, in the dining hall where one of many extravagant feasts had been set up. She retreated the far left corner of the room, behind a tapestry, to wait for Hekapoo. Just like they had planned.
It didn't take long for her girlfriend to arrive. Star greeted her with an enthusiastic smile like she always did. Hekapoo embraced her shortly.
"What do you want to go see first?" Hekapoo asked with her nonchalant smirk.
Star almost said the roller coaster, before she stopped herself, as a stroke of genius (Or something rather close) stuck her.. "Everything I want to see is already here."
Hekapoo rolled her eyes. "Yeah sure." As much as she wanted to hide it, Star could still see how much she enjoyed receiving the compliment.
Star paused before answering. "How about the warnicorn jousts?" Star offered.
Hekapoo nodded, and they started off. "You really like warnicorns, huh?" Hekapoo casually inquired.
"Uh, YEAH!" Star said just a bit too loud. "They're amazing! They're the perfect combination of cute and deadly."
Hekapoo considered this, before shaking her head. "Nope. They're not even close."
Star snorted. "Well, what is?"
Hekapoo turned to Star. "You are." She wrapped one arm around Star's shoulder, rather, slowly, like it was some an offer or a deal.
Star gladly accepted
"COME ON, MY GRANDMA CAN JOUST BETTER THAN THAT, AND SHE'S DEAD!" Star yelled at the top of her lungs, body half suspended over the railing. Hekapoo chuckled nervously, and slowly pulled Star back.
"You might want to calm down a little there." They were in there own private booth, so no one could see them together, but Hekapoo still wasn't to keen on the idea of causing a distraction. Or, just a likely, having to watch Star be dragged out of the Colosseum by armed guards.
Star sat down moodily, arms crossed. "Can't even joust right, who does that stuck up knight think he is?" Hekapoo let out a snort/laugh.
They sat in silence for a while, enjoying the show. It was nearly sunset now, the sun hanging just a few inches above the horizon. They hadn't much time to celebrate after the speeches and had gone though at least three buffets on the walk over. (Hekapoo swore should gain a few pounds by the end of the day.) Suddenly, something pooped into Star's mind.
"What's that thing you wanted to talk about earlier, you know, before all the speeches and stuff?"
Hekapoo let out a long sigh and slumped in her seat. As much as she knew this was necessary, it didn't mean she was to keen to have this conversation. "It's, it's about something Glossaryck told me. Last night."
That caught Star's attention. "Glossaryck talked to you? When?"
"When I got up from bed, remember? Anyway, we talked about my guilt about dating you, because you're younger than me, and he basically said I needed to talk to you. That this wasn't about me, it was about us.
"So, I wanted to ask you, Star, what do you think about, this?" Hekapoo gestured to Star, then back to herself.
"I've already told you, I don't care how old you are, you're not hurting me!"
"Are you sure. Star? I haven't done anything that made you feel sad, or like you were worth less?"
Star held her tongue momentarily than stared at the ground for a second, wearing a very uncharacteristic frown.
"Well, to be honest, it does bother me how much you worry about how other people look at us. Like, you care more about them than me."
Star paused. "Sometimes, I think you're only staying with me because you feel obligated to."
Hekapoo was shocked, needless to say. How could she have been so blind? Of course, Star would feel insulted by her constant hiding, anyone would.
"Star, I'm not staying with you because I have to. I'm staying because I want to."
"Really?" Star said back. "'Cause nothing you do say that! Everything you do says I'm an embarrassment to you. Why would you want to stay with me?"
"Because I love you!" Hekapoo yelled, shutting her eyes to make sure the threatening stings didn't turn into tears. "I love how you're so nice all the time, how you're always so spontaneous and I never know what you're going to do next. I love how you challenge me, that, that you make me think and try and relearn everything I've learned." heat was building up in Hekapoo's chest, threatening to burst out. "I love how you don't care about what anybody else thinks, but you still care about all those people who look down on you. I, I-" Hekapoo began to stammer incomprehensibly.
She was stopped by Star's lips pressing up against hers.
"I love you too."
Under most circumstances, Hekapoo would never even consider kissing Star in public, not to mention at an event this size. Under these circumstances, however, she couldn't care less.
Hekapoo scooped Star up, kissing her passionately, refusing to give anyone else or anything else her attention, for even an instant. They fell to the floor, a mad tangle of limbs. In between each pause for breath, Hekapoo could hear Star's soft whispers. "I love you. I love you. I love you." She repeated those magic words, and Hekapoo said them back as if it was a spell that they would lose forever if they forgot it for a single moment.
"Star, I was looking for you-" Moon began.
Hekapoo froze completely, while Star started flopping around, trying to get loose. The end result looked pretty ridiculous.
"Oh, oh my." Moon, said, raising a hand to her mouth.
"It's, it's not what you think-" Hekapoo began.
"Yes, yes it is. " Star interrupted voice carrying absolute authority. "We're together, Mom, and there's nothing you can do about it. I don't care what the courts will think, how scandalous it will be. I'm in love with Hekapoo, and you finding out about it won't change anything. I-"
"Star, I already knew." Moon interrupted.
Star stopped dead in her tracks. "Say what now?"
"I've known for a while, dear, ever since that day on the balcony. The two of you weren't exactly quiet, you know. I was worried at first, as was you're father, but we spoke with Glossaryck and he said there shouldn't be a problem." Moon finished.
"Wait, Glossaryck told you there was nothing wrong with this?" Hekapoo asked. "Why that dirty little-... You know what, I'm not even surprised. Of course, with me, it's all riddles, but Moon, no, he just actually says what he means like a normal person!" Hekapoo continued to grumble to herself.
"Ahem," Moon called the center of attention back to herself. "I know this means very little to you Star, but for what it is worth, the two of you have mine and River's blessings."
"No, mom. It means a lot." Star smiled, and Moon returned the favor.
Later that night, the couple lied down next to each other, watching Greedier by the Dozen. They both wore simple pajamas and tired smiles. Chocolate wrappers lay all around the pair, crumbs of the assorted nuts and nougat scattered around the blankets.
"Why is he running away again?" Star asked.
"Star, you just asked that same question five minutes ago." Hekapoo scolded.
"Yeah. But I wasn't paying attention then." Star said with a smirk. Hekapoo sighed. "Oh come on, don't be a grump. Here, have some chocolate." Star grabbed a piece from the nightstand and offered it to Hekapoo.
"No, I really shouldn't." Hekapoo countered.
"Why not?" Star asked, popping the candy into her mouth.
"With all the food during the festival, I'm probably gonna put on five pounds by tomorrow anyway."
Star frowned. "You're not fat, Hekapoo."
"Yes, I am," Hekapoo grunted back.
"No, you're not! You're wonderful and cute and pretty and you have nothing to be self-conscious about!" Star yelled, throwing herself at her partner.
Hekapoo just sighed. After not receiving a response, Star followed suit. "After all this stuff about what my Mom thinks, we have to deal with this now? Why can't we just be happy?"
"That's how relationship work Star, they're hard," Hekapoo answered.
Star groaned. "Why can't we just cuddle and kiss all the time. That's our relationship should consist of."
Hekapoo smirked. "Well, they'll still be a lot of that." Star smiled, and they spent the rest of the night watching movies and kissing, as promised