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Burn Like a Star

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Oh shit my head hurts...

Hekapoo slowly woke up, laying on her left side, hungover to hell and back. As usual, after a night of bad choices, the hangover was too intense for her to focus on much, or anything, else. So she sat there for a while, collecting her composure and trying to ignore the pain.

The Magic High Commission is gonna give me so much shit for this... Rhombus is gonna have a field day.

Why'd I go out anyway? We've been chasing Toffee...

Right then, all the events of the previous night came back to her. Of course, she had been drinking, they had finally beaten Toffee! After ten years, sheesh. ten years wasn't as long to Hekapoo as it was most life forms, but still. They had been an incredibly grueling ten years, at that.

They had all gone out to celebrate, Her, the Magic High Commission, the Old Queen Moon, Star, Marco, and even that other Earth Girl named Jackie, who had helped after she, as Star put it, "Took a level in badass". They went to some interdimensional bar and drank themselves silly after saving the universe. (Not that the bartenders appreciated it. Still charged them full price, the bastards.)

After that, well, Hekapoo wasn't sure. She had gotten smashed, probably did some dumb shit, and gone home.

What had she done?

All these memories came to Hekapoo in a matter of seconds, so when she had become lucid enough to try to think clearly about her fuzzy memories, she had also simultaneously realized there was another body lying next to her.

Oh shit, did I?...

Hekapoo quickly checked under her poofy covers, and her worries were, unfortunately, confirmed once she noticed her lack of an clothing. At all.

God, Rhombulus is never going to shut up once he hears I had a one night stand. And Moon, oh shit. She's probably going to give me a whole seminar about how my actions are sending Star the "wrong message".

Hekapoo groaned and slowly got out of bed, careful not to disturb her partner. She really wanted to make sure she knew how to handle this before then. She rubbed her face, trying to simultaneously rid herself of her fatigue and headache while she walked to her wardrobe. She remembered Star's reaction when she first heard her clothes were actually cloth, not just something she had conjured. You actually sat down and sewed up a dress that looks like fire? That such a waste of time! Hekapoo smiled at the memory, remembering the now somewhat embarrassing talk she had given Star afterward about using magic responsibly.

After pulling out one of several identical dresses, which she identified as the same one she had worn the night prior, she walked into the kitchen and opened the cabinets. Yup. Jack shit.

Hekapoo gave another long sigh and contemplated going to another dimension to order fast food. Time went really slow in her dimension, so there was no reason to worry about her partner waking up before she got back. After going down a short checklist of things, on she had mentally wrote years ago to make sure she never left anything she needed behind, she quickly reached into her right pocket for her scissors and cut a door in reality, then quietly stepped through.

-------

I am going to burn this godforsaken dimension to the ground.

Hekapoo rubbed her eyes, still feeling the effects of her irresponsible consumption of alcohol the previous night, which had only been made worse by the last half hour's endeavors. Ever since Marco had taken her to a McDonald's on one of the rare occasions she had visited Earth, she had sworn that she had found the bottom rung of the culinary arts.

Of course, the multiverse was ever so eager to prove her wrong.

This, place, was an absolute abomination. The lobby smelled like rotten cheese, the customer service was nonexistent, and the price was ridiculous. It had taken ten minutes for her to stand through the line, all the while several small children had pointed up at her and asked their parents what was wrong with her. (Apparently, she looked like a zombie in this dimension, because after all it's not like zombies limbs were usually falling off and their eyes missing from years of decomposition.) The waiter/cashier was insufferable, and she had to repeat her order three times before he said, "Sorry, I had my earbuds in. What was that?"

And now she was sitting on one of the benches, a good fifteen minutes later, ticket in hand, waiting for her order to come while small children flung bits and pieces of food at her hair, waiting for two orders of hotcakes.

Hekapoo took a deep breath and looked down at the receipt in her hands. 207. It's okay. just a few more minutes and you can leave. Just a few more minutes...

"315! Anyone need order 315?" An employee called out. Hekapoo's jaw dropped in shock. She made herself take a quick second to calm down, then approached the employee.

"Um, excuse me, Miss," Hekapoo said very politely.

"What the hell do you want?" The employee screamed back.

"Well, the number you called out is way higher than mine, so I was just wondering if mine was done."

The woman rolled her eyes and sat the order down on a nearby counter. "Look, lady, I'm sure that wherever you're from you get served from least to highest, but shit doesn't work like that here."

Hekapoo narrowed her gaze. "Well, how does it work?"

"Simple." The employee said. "You take the ticket you just gave out, double its number, then divide by two, add the sum of all the digits in the date together, subtract however much the last football games were won by, square it, then you..."

"Wait wait wait wait wait wait wait." Hekapoo interrupted. "Why do you do all that?"

"I dunno. I just work here."

Hekapoo sighed. "Do you get a higher number at the end of all that, uh, work you do?" She asked. The other woman nodded. "So, therefore, if my number is less, it should be done by now."

"Well, that depends, sometimes if the stars line up a certain way..."

"IS TICKET 207 DONE!?" Hekapoo yelled.

The employee looked down at a clipboard. "Yup! Lucky for you, it's a Wednesday."

Hekapoo rubbed her temples, walked up to the counter to grab her food, and then reached into her left pocket. Strangely, a bunch of light erupted out, like a spotlight, and she pulled out a wand. Yes, a wand. It was red, had a glass ball at its tip full of molten hot magma, and a broken star in the center. Star's wand?!

Hekapoo shoved the now shapeshifted wand back into left her pocket, and pulled out her scissors from the other. Off to Mewnie, I guess.

-------

Hekapoo's portal opened at the exact spot she had wanted, of course. She decided to appear in the courtyard, so as to not make a big deal of her entrance but not be too comfortable in the Queen's home. Hekapoo had always made sure to respect the customs and traditions of whatever dimension she visited unless they were exceedingly stupid. She was not going to wear a catsuit.

It only took her a few minutes to find one of the servants who worked there. "Hey, do you know where Queen Star is?"

The servant looked around and then blinked as if he wasn't sure if he was supposed to answer. "Well, Queen Star is not here at the moment. But I'm sure someone else could help you with whatever you need, your majesty. Perhaps, her parents? They still live here at the castle. Their names are-"

"Thank you, thanks, really." Hekapoo interrupted. "Oh, and I'm not royalty, by the way."

"Oh, oh." The servant said. "You, aren't?"

"Nah. Just a super cool demon lady."

It only took Hekapoo a few minutes to reach Moon and Johansen's shared room. She knocked, wary that she may be intruding on something (Because who really know with the Butterfly family.), but was warmly welcomed in.

"Oh, hello Hekapoo. to what do we owe the pleasure?" Moon asked, as dignified as ever.

Hekapoo let out a small chuckle, always one for showmanship, and quickly thought of a dramatic answer.

"You owe the pleasure to this." She replied and pulled Star's wand out of her pocket.

Both River and Moon gasped, but their next reactions were very different.

"This fiend has stolen our daughter's wand! Quickly, my love, we must smite her!" Johansen yelled and threw a shoe at Hekapoo.

"OW!" Hekapoo yelped. "No, I was just-Did you just throw a shoe at me?"

"I sure did! And I'll throw anything I need to to get my daughter's property back!" Johansen yelled.

"Oh calm down, I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation for this." Moon said, the turned to Hekapoo with a small bit of apprehension and asked, "There is, isn't there?"

"Yeah, there is." She threw Johansen a glare. "I was trying to return it Star. Where is she?"

"Well, we don't know," Johansen said.

"Huh?"

"Yes, don't you remember, Hekapoo?" Moon continued her husband's thought. "I left early during last nights, celebration, and Star stayed behind. And if I recall correctly, you said you would look after her." Moon's eyes narrowed. "If anything, you should know where she is."

Hekapoo gulped, hoping that this wasn't going the direction she thought it was.

"Now when I leave my daughter under someone else's watch, I would assume that they would take the responsibility seriously." Moon began.

Oh god this is going exactly where I think it's going.

"I left Star under your protection, Hekapoo, and if any type of harm has come to her, I can assure you that it will not be taken lightly." Moon stopped her pacing and turned to Hekapoo. Suddenly, she lunged at her, hand around Hekapoo's throat. "And any harm is done to her will done to you as well. Understood?"

Hekapoo nodded wildly, unable to respond verbally. Moon stayed in that position, staring deep into Hekapoo's eyes. Hekapoo gasped for air but was too frightened to do anything about it.

Moon dropped Hekapoo after a good ten seconds, then walked back to her husband. "Good. I expect Star to be home soon, completely unharmed."

Johansen stood there awkwardly for a second, and then added, "Uh, Ditto."

Hekapoo walked down the hall, now with a pounding headache, a sore throat, and a riddle to work out.

Where could Star be? I wouldn't have let her just run off by herself, even if I was drunk. I just wish I could remember anything from last night. I need to start drinking less.

Dammit, Hekapoo, think. Where could she be? She's not at the castle. Could she be on Earth? No, she doesn't like to intrude on Jackie and Marco. That means she has to be with one of the members of the MHC. Rhombulus and the Chancellor don't have space unless he froze her again. Omnitrix doesn't even have a house. She's not in my dimension, the only people there are me and,...

And whoever I had sex with last night.

Oh, shit.

OH, SHIT!

Hekapoo quickly tore open a portal and launched herself through, closing it as fast as she could once she was on the other side. She had to force herself to walk slowly, making sure not to make much noise. Her heart beat furiously as she slowly rounded the corner. She started breathing heavily. She, she, she...

Calm down. Just walk in there. It's not that big of a deal.

After regaining her bearings, she closed her eyes and took one step around the corner, into her bedroom.

After several more seconds, Hekapoo opened her eyes.

And there she was, snoring adorably, cuddling up against a narwhal plushie she had no doubt conjured up in her sleep. There was Queen Star Butterly, lying naked in Hekapoo's bed.

See, no big deal. Hekapoo told herself.

"Oh my god, this is the biggest deal!" Hekapoo screamed out loud.

-------

Star woke up to the sound of someone screaming. Really, really loudly. She scrunched her eyes shut, trying to convince herself that she was still sleeping, but as the screaming continued, she was forced to get up. When she did sit up and open her eyes, she saw Hekapoo pacing around in a circle talking to herself.

"It's okay, it's okay. No, it's not, this is terrible, it, oh my god, oh my god." She mumbled, obviously in her own world.

"Hekapoo, what's, what's going on?" Star asked, barely conscious enough to speak at all.

"Star, you're awake!" Hekapoo yelped and turned to her. She clearly meant to say something else, but her face froze and her cheeks reddened, and he started staring at something on Star's chest.

Why...

OHMYGODWHYAMINAKED.

Star scrambled with the covers, trying to cover her chest. She succeeded fairly quickly. Now fully awake, she tried to piece together what had happened.

First, we fought toffee, and then, and then we won! Then we went out to celebrate, and Mom was all like "Be responsible; don't drink too much", and ignored her of course, and the Hekapoo said she'd look after me, and then we went back to her house, and then...

Oh.

Oh my god.

Star looked back at Hekapoo, now acutely aware of why she had been so panicked. Hekapoo's face was still beet red, or actually more like weird pink because of her skin color. She had turned away from Star, probably to preserve her modesty and didn't seem to have any intention of turning back around.

"Hey, Hekapoo?" Star asked. The other woman didn't respond. "Did we..."

"Yeah, I think so." She said her body as rigid as a board.

Star sat silently for a second, staring off into space. "I, I don't know what to do. I mean, about this. I haven't really, you know, done that before." Star said, a familiar heat rising in her cheeks again. "Ever."

Hekapoo turned back to Star, eyes (Or at least the one she could see.) wide. "You mean, I was your first?" Star nodded slowly.

"Oh my god," Hekapoo said. "You and I, and you never, and I, Oh my god." Hekapoo rambled and turned straight to Star. "I'm dead."

"What?" Star laughed.

"I'm dead. Moon is going to kill me." Hekapoo reiterated.

My mom? Why would she...? Oh, yeah.

Star let out a sigh. "Like hell she is."

Hekapoo snapped out of her weird trance, and for the first time, that day really looked at Star. "Wha-what?"

"I said, like hell she is. My Mom can't baby me forever." Star said, and Hekapoo, sighed? Not the reaction she had expected.

"It's not like that, Star." Hekapoo sighed.

Star looked at Hekapoo for a second, thinking everything through. "You know what, no. You don't get to do that. I'm old enough to make my decisions, you all can't keep treating me like a kid forever, acting like everything just flies over my head. I'm 26 now-"

"And I'm 10,000." Hekapoo interrupted her.

"Re-really?" Star said, taken aback. She looked Hekapoo up and down, and then offered her a thumbs up. "Lookin' good."

Hekapoo sighed, for like, the twentieth time. "That's not what I mean. I'm way too old for you, Star, I shouldn't be manipulating you-"

"Manipulating me?" Star asked. "Hekapoo, we both agreed to it. You went through this same whole rant last night, too, remember?"

Hekapoo paused, face contorting with guilt. "Actually, no. I, I don't remember any of it." And that, for some reason she couldn't quite pin down, hurt Star in a way nothing else had before.

"R-really?" Star asked. "None of it? You, you don't remember how we kissed, and, you told me how beautiful I was and, and, and we..." Star struggled to recall an entire night's worth of emotion and put it into one sentence. "You really don't remember any of it?" Hekapoo shook her head.

No, she has to, it was, it was so special, she can't just forget it.

Star's inner monologue was interrupted by Hekapoo's hand touching the side of her face, wiping away tears she didn't remember crying. "Star, it... it's fine. You still mean something to me, and to all of your other friends. It'll be okay." Star sniffled, and Hekapoo lowered her hand.

"Besides, this is exactly what I was talking about. There's just too big of a maturity gap between us." Hekapoo said. Hekapoo turned away slowly, so she didn't realize right away just how mad patronizing Star Butterfly made Star Butterfly.

"So just because you don't remember it your more mature than me," Star said in a low voice with a fierce, sharp tone.

"That's not what I said."

"No, it's not what you said. But it's what happening. It meant just as much to you then, and it would now if you could remember." Star countered. "And it's not like you being super old changes anything anyway. You still act like your thirty or something, what's the difference?"

"There's a big difference, and you have no way of proving that I care about you, now or then. I was drunk, that's it." Hekapoo snapped back, staring Star straight in the eyes. She watched as Star's look of hurt changed slowly to a scowl, then lightened, and realized what she was going to do just as it was too late. Star wrapped her arm around Hekapoo's back and pulled her against her body, brushing her hair to the side with the other arm.

And Star kissed her.

And... it was strange. Hekapoo's lips were somehow both soft and brittle, and her body was ridiculously warm. Not to mention that Star really didn't know what she was doing.

And of course, stubborn as she was, Hekapoo resisted at first, but then let Star go on. And after that, she wrapped her arm's around Star, and pulled her even closer. And after that, she started to run her fingers through Star's long hair, stroking it gently.

It had only lasted a moment. Star would have guessed maybe ten or fifteen seconds. But it was enough to stop Hekapoo's protests in their tracks, and enough to make Star jump over the moon.

Hekapoo slowly opened her eyes, letting out a breath she didn't know was caught in her chest, trying to hold onto the last bits of that wonderful sensation, and saw Star grinning ear to ear. "I knew it! You do like me!" Star yelled and hugged Hekapoo again.

Hekapoo awkwardly shoved her off, and Star's spirits fell. "What? I, I thought you liked that? Did I do something wrong? Don't you like me?" Hekapoo's face shifted to space somewhere between confusion, guilt, and worry, and Star picked up on her feelings.

She had never thought of this. Before right now, the idea of being with Star had never gone through Hekapoo's mind. Star had assumed it should be that way, that they were supposed to be together, because of what had happened last night, but that's not really how it works, is it? Maybe they shouldn't be together. Maybe what they did last night was just a mistake, something completely meaningless. Something wrong.

No. The one singular thought rang through Star's head all at once. That can't just be a mistake. It wasn't bad, it wasn't forced, it was just, a little weird. She laughed to herself. Like everything else I do.

Hekapoo was going down a similar line of thought, though it was much more apprehensive. She needed time. And she needed to talk. And unfortunately, now was the best time for talking.

"Star, I've never thought of you like that, not until, well now. I always thought that the whole age thing just made it impossible, but, maybe your right? Maybe, maybe I do like you, I, I don't know." Hekapoo started to deflect, not really wanting to have to go through all this all at once.

This is too much soul searching to do with a hangover.

"I don't really know either." Star put a hand on Hekapoo's shoulder. "But we can try."

Hekapoo smiled. 'You know what I always liked about you Star? You never just accepted anything. I mean, it was annoying having to answer a hundred questions every day, but it's worth it. You make things better for everyone, and you don't let what other people do or say hold you back."

Star smiled. "Thanks. I always liked how you always have something funny to say and don't take shit from people."

They both smiled and enjoyed the oddly comfortable silence for a moment. Hekapoo started to wonder if maybe it would actually work out. She didn't think the rest of the commission would mind, and Moon...

Moon will kill me.

"Star, under no circumstance, can your mother learn of this," Hekapoo said.

Star groaned. "Are you seriously still worried about that?"

"Star, listen to me. You know how protective your mother is of you. The fact is that I'm gonna have a lot more power in our relationship because I've been doing in a lot more of them and I am more mature than you. I'm gonna look like a predator to her, that's all there is to it. And until I can tell her that she's definitely wrong about that and that I really do love you, I don't want to have to explain all this to her."

Star sat still, thinking, before answering. "I guess your right. Gonna be hard not to let it slip through."

Hekapoo laughed. 'How hard could it be? I'm always in a different dimension and you're busy with Queen stuff."

"Yeah," Star said, "But there is the ceremony."

Hekapoo's eyes widened. "What ceremony?"

"I don't know, but there'll be one after all this Toffee business."

"We, we don't know that, right?" Hekapoo asked, desperately.

"Hekapoo," Star said, staring her straight in the eyes. "They have a ceremony for a song written about the new Queen that the entire Royal family knows is bogus, but we do it anyway. There's gonna be one for us saving the multiverse."

"Oh, god," Hekapoo said, turning pale. (Or more pale, at least.)

Star chuckled. "This may be kinda weird to say, but you're cute when you're scared."

Hekapoo took a deep breath. "This is fine. It's fine. We can fake our way through this. I mean, how would they even know?"

Star nodded, and Hekapoo looked her over again. Her gaze was caught by her shining eyes, soft hair, beautiful body...

"This isn't going to work at all."

"Yeah, no."

Chapter Text

As it turned out, Star was right about the ceremony. Moon had scheduled a kingdom-wide feast in honor of the "New Age" brought on by Toffee's defeat for the end of the week. And of course, Hekapoo and Star had to attend.

She tried to weasel out of it but unfortunately had very little cover for not going. Any excuse she could muster as to why she couldn't be there would fall flat, and would probably only raise more suspicion. Not to mention how much more explosive the "reveal" would be later on.

So Hekapoo would have to come up with a reason to not hold the celebration itself, which was even more difficult.

"Why are you so hesitant to celebrate now? You didn't say anything at the bar last night." Moon asked. Hekapoo noted how her eyebrow's raised and lips pursed. She showed confusion so much differently than Star did.

"Well, I mean, what if he comes back?" Hekapoo launched that verbal jab with less confidence that she went swimming with. Predictably, it faltered quickly.

"Toffee, return? Well, he already did that once, and that didn't work out too well for 'im!" The old king boasted, standing up on his chair and raising a fist to the heavens. Hekapoo could see him in Star, with her boundless energy and general bounciness. Strangely, she never felt the same way about Moon, who's quite a demeanor contrasted Stars quite perfectly.

"Yes, but..." Hekapoo frantically thought of a way out, roused from her thoughts. She panicked and said the first thing that came to mind. "But, that's so many seats!" Hekapoo blurted, mentally slapping herself for how stupid that sounded out loud.

Luckily for her, Star, who had mostly stayed out of the conversation for fear of dropping an awkward bomb, jumped into saving her before either of the older two Butterfly's could pry further. "Hekapoo! You, uh, shouldn't underestimate Mewnian architecture like that!" She yelled. Suddenly, her face lit up, and Star turned to her parents. "Mom, I'm going to take Hekapoo outside to show her just how many seats we have!"

Star jumped off her throne and dragged Hekapoo to the nearby balcony before any of the other three had any idea what was going on.

Once there, Star turned to Hekapoo and surprised her yet again.

"We should go on a date." Her voice was authoritative and dry like she was just stating some bit of common knowledge.

Hekapoo blinked twice. "What?"

"We should go on a date, so we're more comfortable around each other when the big ceremony thing goes on," Star explained.

Hekapoo sighed. "Star, I don't think that will work."

Star rolled her eyes and groaned loudly. "Hekapoo quit being such a worry wart! You should know as well as I do that relationships go up and down like this. At first your like, Oh My God I Love You, and you never stop texting or kissing or whatever you do, and you think the other person's perfect for you and you can only think of good stuff about them, like how I like your hair and dress a lot, but then it changes all quickly, and then your all riled up with each other, and suddenly I hate your hair, and then-"

"Star, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about us." Hekapoo interrupted her.

Star's eyes narrowed. "Is this about the age thing again." Hekapoo nodded, and Star let out her loudest groan yet. "Uh, how many times do we have to go over this! I don't care about what my Mom thinks, I won't care about what my Dad thinks, I don't care about what anyone thinks about us being together except for me and you. Why do you care so much, Hekapoo?"

"Because what if they're right?" Hekapoo yelled, eyes tearing up. "What, what it I am some kind of freak, Star? I knew you where you were two, for hell's sake! I never thought about this then, but now it's different, but, but I..." She paused. "I knew it would be. I, I noticed it. Waited for it. You changed over the years. Physically." Hekapoo closed her eyes. "I remember the first time I thought about how much, curvier you had gotten. You were sixteen. Do you know how creepy that is? I, I tried to forget about it, to just bury it down, but it never worked, and you grew more and you just kept looking better and got more fun to be around and more mature and I just couldn't stop thinking that way. I..." Hekapoo sat down, tears going down her face. "I'm a monster, Star."

Silence swept over the balcony. The only noise was the wind softly blowing. Star eventually moved towards Hekapoo, then sat next to her, trying to offer her some sort of company.

She wracked her brain for something to say, but, but what was Star supposed to say? Hekapoo thought that she was a pedophile from the sound of it, and Star wasn't sure if she was wrong. Technically, she did look at Star sexually when she was underage. But, that didn't sound like the monster Hekapoo was making herself out to be. She had never hurt Star when she was a teenager, she had never said anything sexual or looked, actually, physically looked, at her that way (As far as Star knew). She couldn't even imagine Hekapoo doing that to her back then.

Of course, she never would have imagined what had happened last night, either.

Hekapoo's crying continued, growing slowly louder. Her body trembled with every sob. Star just wanted to reach out and hug her, but that was obviously a pretty terrible idea.

What do I do? What do I say?

Star was lost in thought, ideas smashing together endlessly yet never forming one coherent picture. Nothing seemed to make sense. Everything was this but that, yes but no.

I don't know anything about this. I'm not certain of anything.

That last thought rolled around in her head for a moment, before Star changed her mind.

No, I'm absolutely certain of one thing.

"You're not a monster, Hekapoo," Star said, trying to be both forceful and compassionate.

Hekapoo let out a cynical chuckle in between one of her hiccups. "Yeah, sure. Face it, I'm a piece of-"

"No, listen to me." Star yelled, putting her arms on Hekapoo's shoulders. She turned Hekapoo around and made sure she was looking directly at her, giving Hekapoo no room to squirm. "You're not a monster. You didn't abuse me and hurt me for your own gain. You did everything you could to make sure that that never happened. Being a good person isn't about never thinking about doing something wrong. It's about doing the right thing even though it's hard."

Hekapoo sniffled and wiped away the last of her tears. She didn't respond immediately. At first, Star thought she had just ignored her until she heard Hekapoo softly whisper "thank you".

Star wrapped her arms around Hekapoo, and whispered into her ear, as soft as she could, "it's okay".

They stayed there for a while, still, listening to each others' breaths and heartbeats. Eventually, Hekapoo became restless, and she gently pushed one of Star's arms off of her shoulder. She gave Star a glance, and then a smile, and then stood up.

"I'm going back to my place. If you wanna go through with this date thing, come over later." Hekapoo said, voice still semi-coarse.

Star smiled that same, infectious smile. "You can bet your life on it."

--------

Hekapoo had a lot of time to prepare for Star's visit. Because, you know, time shenanigans. The first hour was spent getting over her emotional breakdown and reassuring herself that Star was right.

Afterwards, she finally went out for groceries. It didn't take too long, because after all, once you go to the same grocery store as many times as she has, you tend to figure out where everything is.

She contemplated cooking before Star came over, but decided against it. Seemed to formal, maybe even a little to forward. Besides, she was a pretty terrible cook. (There was a reason the before-mentioned groceries mostly consisted of TV dinners.) She paced around her home, anxious, until finally deciding to get some rest. It had already been something of a long day.

She tossed and turned for a few minutes, before calming down. Hekapoo fell asleep with the memory of Star leaning forward and telling her, "it's okay", on her mind.

-------

Hekapoo came to with Star's face a few inches from her own. In shock, she let out a very undignified shriek and fell to the floor just as unceremoniously.

"S-star?! What're you doing here?" Hekapoo screeched.

Star tilted her head to the side. "You invited me over, remember?" Star inquired.

Hekapoo stared up at her, still in a daze from her nap, before huffing. "Yes, I do." She got back on her feet, dusting off her dress as she did so. "Why were you staring at me?"

"'Cause you look cute when you sleep. Your cheek-fat gets all pressed up." Star demonstrated by pressing her hand against her face.

"You know it's usually considered rude to talk about another person's fat, right?" Hekapoo snarked with a smirk.

Star blushed. "Oh, I'm sorry! I just meant-"

Hekapoo interrupted her with an exaggerated chuckle. "I was just kidding, Star. It doesn't bother me."

Star smiled, now visibly more comfortable, and was about to say something else before how own biology decided to speak up.

Grrrurrrrrr.

Star winced, putting her arms on her stomach. "Oh, I forgot to eat again." She looked up at Hekapoo hopefully. "Got anything?"

Hekapoo smiled and gestured to the kitchen with her arm. "Help yourself."

Star literally skipped into the kitchen, and Hekapoo managed to catch get a good look at her. She was a bit more dressed up than before, now wearing makeup and a dress. Star didn't object to wearing dresses and the like but wasn't one for formality either, so she ended up saving them for what she deemed as special occasions.

Hekapoo decided that she looked nice, and felt somewhat under-dressed, though the thought passed quickly. She followed Star into the kitchen, reassuring herself that she looked perfectly fine.

She watched Star raid her cabinets, pulling out a few magically frozen TV dinners. She turned around looking for, something before Hekapoo remembered that she needed a way to cook it.

"Oh, I got that." Hekapoo took the tray form Star and cooked it."So, what were your plans for this, uh, date?" Hekapoo asked.

Star stared at the ceiling quizzically. "Not sure. Guess we could just, you know, talk." A smile crept up Star's face again, and she grabbed the food from Hekapoo and sat down.

Hekapoo considered that. It was strange that despite knowing each other for so long, the two had never had a conversation outside of battle tactics.

"Okay," Hekapoo said, starting the conversation. "I'm a demon from the Fuegoheim dimension, now entrusted with maintaining the stability of the multiverse and the space-time continuum. My father was-"

"Hekapoo, that's all super boring." Star interrupted. "I know all that already, my Mom made me study it when, I was like, five."

Hekapoo blushed. Of course, she would know all that already. God, that must have sounded so stupid. And of course, she just loved to be reminded of how much older she was than Star yet again.

"Oh sorry. Why don't you go first?" Hekapoo offered, trying to dodge another verbal bullet.

"Okay!" Star said cheerily. "So, I'm Star. I, uh. Huh." Star paused, smile fading away as confusion washed over her features, much to Hekapoo's amusement.

"Not so easy, huh?"

"Shut up!" Star yelled back, flustered.

Hekapoo chuckled more. "Well, if we can't skip over the small talk, we might as well be upfront about it. What are your hobbies?"

Star chewed a mouth full of lasagna, considering. "Well, I still like training warnicorns. I fight evil with mah magic wand." She shoved another forkful of lasagna into her mouth.

"Yeah, I remember you saying that when you were still a teenager, come to think of it." Hekapoo paused, not sure if she should pry further. "Though as I recall, you said fighting monsters back then."

Star let out a groan. "Yeah, I get it. I'm a bad person, yadda yadda yadda." Her guilt was so obvious a blind man could have seen it.

Hekapoo's eyes narrowed. "You really didn't like monsters when you were younger?"

Star let out an awkward laugh. "I mean, I only kinda thought they were inherently evil savages, but whatever."

Hekapoo's eyes widened. "Star, that's awful."

Star sighed. "I know." She paused. "You know what the weird thing is, though? No one ever said anything. I mistreated them for so long and never got called out on it. Hell, some of the monsters even idolized me." Star threw her hands up in exasperation. "And you know what's worse?"

Hekapoo let Star vent to her. Honestly, she wasn't that surprised to learn of Star's past prejudice. At all, really. With how much Star must have been sheltered when she was little, her view of the world was bound to be a little skewed.

Star finished her rambling of miscellaneous examples of her own elitist behavior with a huff. During the speech, she had been as energetic and bubbly as usual, but now seemed rather downtrodden. Hekapoo sensed that she probably needed to console Star, but was at a loss as to how. Star stared at Hekapoo, then at the lasagna, then at the wall.

"Star?" Hekapoo tried, cautiously. She turned to her.

Shit, now I gotta say something.

I really should have made sure I could back that up.

"I mean, at least your better now, right?" Star stared down.

"Yeah, I guess. It just seems, wrong."

Hekapoo considered that. "Wrong how?"

Star let out another sigh. "Well, you know about the Mewnian Integration, right? How the Mewmans and Monsters are coming together as one society, where everyone's equal? How my title's going to be Star the Compassionate?"

Hekapoo could fill in the blanks from there. "You don't think you deserve it." Star nodded. Hekapoo cleared her head, trying to formulate a response. "Star, it was going to happen eventually. If another Queen of Mewnie sometime down the road decided to desegregate, it would have the same effect."

"How is that supposed to make me feel better?"

Hekapoo sighed, trying to gather her thoughts. "I'm saying that no matter who made that change, they probably would have had those same problems. The important thing is that you overcame it. You did the right thing even though it was hard." Hekapoo leaned toward Star, and cupped her cheek with her palm. "It's not the absence of flaws that makes a good person, it's the presence of virtues."

Star let a smile creep over her lips. Not her big, joyous smile, but a small, sweet smile.

"Thanks, Hekapoo."

Hekapoo smiled back. "I guess neither of us are as secure as we seem, huh?"

Star chuckled, her voice more cynical than Hekapoo had ever suspected it could be."No one really is."

-------

Their first date ended pretty soon after that. Star finished eating, and the conversation carried on for a while. However, their responsibilities eventually caught up with them. They shared a short hug, and a shorter kiss and Star left. Hekapoo stood awkwardly for a second, staring at where the portal had been.

It's so strange to be with someone again. Hekapoo thought to herself. Well, back to grown-up stuff.

She went over to her forge and scanned the multiverse for instability. It didn't take her to long to find some. Some moron had decided to try and use Dimensional Scissors to create a perpetual motion machine. She grabbed her own pair and hopped over to give the bastard a good talking to.

Two days later, they went on their second date. It was, like most things in their relationship up to that point, completely on accident.

Hekapoo had just finished crafting a pair of scissors for Brutus, a general who had rebelled against his government for being too oppressive. Fortunately, he had defeated them, but forces beyond his own universe had started hunting him down. The scissors would help him protect himself, so Hekapoo hadn't protested much to his request. The scissors were shipped through space-time, via Omnitraxus, who had told her that Moon and River wanted to see her.

Probably just some problem with the ceremony's arrangements. Hekapoo reasoned.

Hekapoo got through her business with the former rulers of Mewnie fairly quickly. Too many people coming from other dimensions for the ceremony. They were afraid that it would be too hard on space-time. It was about as simple as she would have thought, though important enough that she didn't resent their request for help.

She and Omnitraxus worked it out quickly enough. A few cantrips here and there and the problem was solved. She was about to head back to her own dimension before a loud yell pierced through the air.

Star.

Hekapoo raced towards the origin of the cry with all the speed she could muster. It had come from the training grounds. She stopped outside the gate, catching her breath. She peered inside cautiously, to see...

Star, fighting an animated practice dummy.

Huh.

Star noticed her after a few swipes with her sword and a Cupcake Syrup Tsunami (Where did she get this stuff?). "Oh! Hey, Poo-bear, what're you doin' here?"

"I heard a scream. Thought something had happened." She answered truthfully. "Also, what did you call me?"

Star looked her over. "Aww," Star tilted her head to the side. "You were worried about me!"

"Don't change the subject," Hekapoo said, glaring daggers. "What did you call me?"

Star raised her eyebrow. "Poo-bear?" Hekapoo nodded. "It's your pet name! I spent all night on it!"

"We should burn every book it has ever been written in."

Star blew a raspberry. "Good luck. I don't think there are any."

Hekapoo considered that then smirked viciously. "Well, then I guess I'll just have to burn you."

Star giggled. "Good luck." Hekapoo raised and eyebrow.

"You don't think I could?"

"You don't become Queen for nothin', Poo-bear."

Hekapoo scoffed. "Well, I've seen a few Queens of Mewnie, Star. And trust me, your no Eclipsia."

Star's jaw dropped, then rose into a smirk. "Is that a challenge?"

"Hm." Hekapoo thought for a second. "Maybe it is."

"OH," Star yelled. "YOU'RE GOIN" DOWN, YOU HERE ME, DOOOOOOWN!"

Hekapoo chuckled. "Let's go find a more suitable arena. I don't want to be blamed for your castle going down in flames."

"Oh yeah, that would be bad. Mom was pretty mad last time."

---------

They had decided the fight on Blorgjorb, a swampy plain full of marshes and bogs. There was practically no native population, and while the environment provided cover, it wasn't enough to impede one's movement. All in all, it was a fine place for a sparring match.

"Okay," Hekapoo began, "Let's set some ground rules. If we worry too much about hurting each other while we fight, it will cease to be a fight."

Star nodded. "Yeah, I get that. So, just some light maiming then?"

Hekapoo nodded. "Yeah, but I think we need something more specific than that."

"So, no broken bones?" Star offered.

Hekapoo smirked. "I can work with that." Star grinned.

Hekapoo pulled out her scissors and split them into their dagger forms, getting into her battle pose. Star pulled out her wand and held it in front of her, a habit she had picked up whenever she tried to focus.

"3." Hekapoo began.

"2." Star continued.

"1!" they hollered in unison.

Instantly, Hekapoo dashed towards Star, but her swipes hit empty air. A familiar ring filled her ears.

Teleportation! Hekapoo turned around, trying to find Star amidst the trees. It was a fruitless endeavor, and Hekapoo's heart started beating faster.

 

Hekapoo's question was answered for her in due time. "Giant Rainbow Laser Light Show Omega Blast!" A laser fitting the description tore the landscape, tearing apart everything.

Of course, along with Hekapoo's reflexes, it wasn't a problem. She tapped Star on the shoulder lightly, before jabbing her dagger into her back with a sickeningly satisfying thunk.

"Just a word of advice, you shouldn't announce your attacks out loud. It makes it a lot easier to counter them." Hekapoo said cruelly.

"And you should pay a little more attention." Star's voice rang out from behind a tree?

What? Hekapoo turned back to the "Star" she had stabbed and noticed an opaque, yellow liquid oozing out of the puncture wound.

C-corn?!

"Corn Twin Explosion," Star said calmly.

*beat*

Ka-BOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMM!

The earth shook for a solid minute after the explosion, but Star's senses were still on high guard. She scanned the area for any signs of Hekapoo until she noticed a groan come from the pit below her.

Wha-?

OH GOD I ACTUALLY GOT HER.

She ran toward the smoking crater and pulled Hekapoo out, who honestly looked pretty bad. "I'm so sorry, Poo-bear! I thought you'd get out of the way!" Star held a hand up to her face in worry.

"Uh, it's, it's okay. I told you to try. I should have, been..." Hekapoo became somewhat delirious, her speech slurring.

"Oh god, OH GOD," Star brought her hands to the sides of her head and started to hyperventilate.

She caught herself and focused on breathing. "Okay Star, you can handle this." She closed her eyes and began to focus, remembering the healing spell she had learned.

"With a Butterfly's wings,

And a mother's tears,

Please aid those

That I hold dear."

Star's wand began to glow, and Hekapoo was enveloped in the same light. In a matter of seconds, all bruises and burns disappeared, and she came back to full consciousness.

"Hekapoo! You're alright!" Star screeched and hugged her.

"Yeah, yeah," Hekapoo chided with a grin, " Jeez, Star I've died before, it's fine."

"I know, it's just I felt so guilty," Star said. "I really thought that I had killed my girlfriend." Hekapoo's eyes widened. Girlfriend. The word felt strange, almost foreign.

Star's my girlfriend. Hekapoo tested the phrase out in her mind. Instantly, she felt a hundred ways at once. She was terrified, guilty and ashamed, but at the same time, she was elated, relieved and excited.

God, this feels like my first relationship again.

"Hekapoo?" Star questioned. She had noticed her partner spacing out. "You okay?" Hekapoo nodded. Star gave her a small smile and pecked her cheek.

-------

The next time they saw each other, it had been three days. Hekapoo, along with the rest of the Commission and many others who had been credited with Toffee's defeat, had been invited to stay over at the Butterfly's castle for the night. Star had been ecstatic. Hekapoo was much less so. Star had chastised her for being so skittish, but they didn't really have much time to argue anyway. In a few words, stolen when none of the others were watching, they had decided to meet up in Star's room that night.

The majority of the day was spent making menial arrangements, none of which Hekapoo took part in. The Mewan's were adamant that none of their guests would be bothered with such frivolous labor, so she spent most of her time with the rest of the Magic High Commission and a few of the other guests.

The room they had set up for them was huge, and heavily decorated. Hekapoo wondered how much tome they had spent on it alone. Even more than decorations, the room was full of people. Omnitraxus was talking to a human girl named Janna, who apparently was one of Star's longtime friends. Marco and Jackie were talking to Rhombulus and Lekmet. A monster, who everyone just called Buff-Frog, devoured plate after plate of food while a few of his friends, who were monsters as well, were cheering him on. Some demon boy named Tom stood in the corner, looking a little moody.

Hekapoo awkwardly sat at the table, an untouched plate of foot in front of her. Rhombulus, of all people, seemed to notice her being uncomfortable, and after his own conversatio0n broke up, he came over to talk to her.

"Hey, Hekapoo, you 'kay?" He put one of his arms around her shoulder.

Hekapoo shot him a glare. "Yeah, I'm fine." He raised his eyebrow but retracted his arm anyway.

"A little defensive, huh?" One of his snake arms asked, arching upward.

"Don't be so forward, you idiot, you're making her uncomfortable." The other snarled.

"Oh come on, guys, calm down!" Rhombulus pleaded. His arms started to hiss at each other, and despite his pleas, things escalated.

"You scaly moron!"

"Yeah, well so is your face!"

Rhombulus looked panicked. "That's it! You're in timeout!" He shot a couple of blasts at his arms, encasing them in crystals.

Hekapoo blinked. "Did you just freeze your own hands?" She asked.

Rhombulus chuckled awkwardly. "Uh, yeah that get a little rowdy. Kids, you know?" Hekapoo was sure that he knew that she had no idea.

"Okay, so. How are you and Lekmet doing?" Hekapoo asked, Rhombulus blushing green.

"Wha-what do you mean?" Rhombulus said, scratching the back of his head with one of his crystal encased hands.

"Rhombulus." Hekapoo looked him in the eye. "Your closet is as transparent as your crystals. Maybe more so."

Rhombulus tried to laugh it off and failed. "Yeah, well, I mean." He let out a sigh. "It's. It's going downhill. We get into it a lot, and I have a lot of trouble holding my anger down." He sat down. "I feel like I'll end up doing something I regret and it'll all just be over."

Hekapoo stared, blankly. "You seem to have thought about this a lot." She said only to fill the silence.

"I've talked to my hands about it a bit, but..." Rhombulus responded, voice heavy. "Maybe I'm not cut out for this."

Hekapoo looked at her long time friend for a good while, silent, unwilling even to just fill the empty air with white noise. Rhombulus sighed.

"I might just go home." Rhombulus stood up and turned away.

"Wait," Hekapoo said. She didn't have anything to say, but she couldn't let her friend just... leave like that. He turned to look at her. "Rhombulus, you're not exactly the 'Time-Out Guy' anymore."

Rhombulus paused, then let out a hearty laugh. "Yeah. Thanks."

The rest of the assembly went without much incident. The Tom boy set something on fire, but that was about it.

Hours later, Hekapoo walked up to the tallest tower of the castle. It took her inhumanely long, jumping at every gust of wind creak of the floorboards. Her hand trembled as she reached to knock on the heavy wooden door. It echoed through the halls, making goosebumps prick up down Hekapoo's neck.

Star opened the door looking, very unlike Star. A few bags were visible under her eyes, she was slouched over, and her hair was a mess.

"Star?" Hekapoo questioned.

"Hey, Poo-bear," Star said dryly. "You look nice."

"I wish I could say the same," Hekapoo responded immediately. "What happened?"

Star groaned. "The celebration. Preparations. Mom. Gets really stressful after a while."

Hekapoo nodded in acknowledgment. "I could come back later if you need the rest." She offered. Hekapoo noticed a feeling in the pit of her stomach, hoping that Star declined.

"No, it's fine. I just need to get to sleep before three." Star said casually. Hekapoo felt the pit in her stomach fill up. Star let out a yawn. "Maybe do something to stop being all wound up."

"I know some meditation techniques. Basic ones, but they should still work."

"Hekapoo, you're being super boring again." Star groaned. "Besides, that's just a bunch of hocus-pocus mumbo-jumbo anyway."

Hekapoo frowned. "No, it isn't Star."

"Uh, yeah it is."

"No, it isn't."

"Yeah huh!"

"We're not going to do this, Star." Hekapoo raised her voice, ending the argument. She let out a sigh. She was getting as stressed as Star now.

"Look, Star, when you meditate, you have to go in thinking there's a chance it will work. If you go in trying to prove it wrong, you'll keep your mind in the wrong place. You have to put yourself there, no one else is forcing you, got it?"

Star groaned. "Fine. Let's do this already." Hekapoo walked over to Star's side and nudged her toward her bed.

"Okay, so first you need to lie down and close your eyes." Hekapoo began.

"Hey, poo-bear." Star interrupted her.

"You're not supposed to talk, Star." Hekapoo frowned.

"I know, but I wanna make a deal with you." Star grinned.

"What?"

"After we're all done with this hypnotic-thingy, you gotta cuddle with me!"

"What."

"Come on, it'll be fun!" Star exclaimed, jumping up to her knees. She looked Hekapoo in the eyes, grinning ear to ear. Eventually, her charm wore Hekapoo down.

"Fine," Hekapoo said, shaking her head. "But lie back down, and do what I say, okay?"

Star nodded and fell flat on her back. "Okay," Hekapoo began, "first, focus on breathing. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Count each breath. One, two, three, repeat. One, two, three."

Star had followed her orders, so she continued. "Now, focus on relaxing the muscles in your fingers and toes." She could hear Star's protests coming before she spoke. "I know you can't focus on relaxing, just, don't move them. Let them go wherever they fall, and try to ignore them."

Hekapoo looked at Star. Her face was mostly expressionless, knit slightly at her brow. Her arms and legs twitching to the sides restlessly. Hekapoo did notice, however, that her fingers lay still.

"Now, do the same with the whole of your hands and feet. Then the bottoms of your legs and arms, until all your limbs are completely relaxed, almost numb." Hekapoo waited. Star stirred around, arms and legs rolling from side to side. After a few second, they fell motionless.

"Now, let this feeling consume your torso, neck, and head. Let your entire self-fall into this calmness." Hekapoo paused. "Now, imagine all your stress falling out of your body. All your worries and flaws, melting away, falling strait off your bones. Now imagine a cloud of positive things, all the love your family and friends have for you, filling you, coming in trough your nose with each breath and spreading to the rest of your body."

Hekapoo just noticed she had closed her eyes while speaking. When she turned to look at Star, she was amazed. The younger woman was in a trance, chest barely rising as she breathed, completely motionless except the occasional stir of a limb. She looked like she was asleep, dreaming the most perfect, peaceful dream. Hekapoo stared for a minute, thinking abut how beautiful she looked.

Not cute. Not hot. Beautiful. It was hard to explain the difference, but it was crystal clear to see. Star looked perfectly calm, serene, like nothing could ever shake or faze her. Hekapoo felt the desire to be near her, not to cuddle her or to kiss her, but simply to be with her, by her side. Hekapoo then had an unshakable and equally perplexing feeling, something that told her this person is strong, she can look out for me. It inexplicably drew her towards Star.

She put one hand on Star's face, disturbing her slumber.

"Wake up."

Star's eyes blinked open. She stared up at Hekapoo, the same old smile appearing on her face, the same old energy running through her limbs. Star was back, but the girl she had seen was still there, she was always there and had always been there.

Hekapoo doubted she would ever look at Star the same way again.

Star put her arms around Hekapoo, slowly, waiting for her response. Hekapoo leaned back and arched an eyebrow.

"Cuddle time!" Star yelled and pulled Hekapoo towards her.

Hekapoo made good on her promise and wrapped her arms around her girlfriend. Star grabbed the covers and threw them over the both of them before burying her face into the crook of Hekapoo's neck. She pecked a soft kiss on Hekapoo's skin and whispered, "I love you." Hekapoo froze, too frightened to respond, but luckily Star didn't seem to want an answer.

The two lied there like that for an hour or two, and Star eventually drifted off to sleep. Hekapoo stayed still, content to feel Star's heart beat against her chest and breath run over the skin of her neck. She once again found herself toying with Star's hair, blond locks cascading down her shoulders like a river of gold.

Hekapoo didn't focus on any one thing in particular, rather just letting the entire experience fill her. It was one of the few things Hekapoo had experienced completely untouched by greed or corruption, or by some other form of evil. It was absolutely perfect.

No sooner had she thought that than she had let her eyes drip down to Star's chest, and felt guilt rising up in her body.

This is wrong. This is all wrong.

Suddenly Hekapoo felt nauseous. She slipped out of Star's grasp and threw herself into the bathroom.

Hekapoo washed her face several times, rubbing her face furiously.

"God, what was I thinking?" She chastised herself.

"I know, going to bed without removing your make-up? Just asking for trouble."

Hekapoo nearly jumped out of her skin. "Wha-who? Glossaryck?"

"Yes, Glossaryck. That is my name." He agreed.

Hekapoo stammered, hyperventilating. "Why-wha-"

"Easy, easy Hekapoo! I'm on your side!" He said, raising his hands.

"You-you are?"

"Yes, of course. I have to do what is best for Star." Glossaryck responded with a smile.

Hekapoo froze. "You-you think I'm what's best for Star?"

Glossaryck scratched his chin. "It's, not that simple. Right now, Star needs to make her own choices, and see their consequences all the way through. If I came barging in telling Star she can't be with you, it'd be entirely counter-productive." He paused. "Besides, this isn't really about Star. This is about you." He pointed one of his twelve egregiously long fingers at her.

Hekapoo paused. "So, you know about Star and I, being together?" Her cheeks flushed.

Glossaryck sighed. "No, I did this because your diet's slipping. Yes, I know about you two."

"And you know what happened after the party?" Hekapoo asked, throat raw and voice tense.

"Er, no actually. I-" He paused, and looked Hekapoo over. "Oh, oh. Okay, that makes sense. Yeah, that adds up." Glossaryck rambled. He turned back to Hekapoo. "So, anyway." He waited for Hekapoo to speak.

Hekapoo shifted her weight back and forth, stalling. She knew Glossaryck was waiting for her to talk, to speak up about what was bothering her. Eventually, she complied. "I, I feel guilty about being with Star. I'm worried that I'll hurt her, and that I'll regret it for the rest of my life." Hekapoo stopped speaking and looked up to Glossaryck.

"What?" He began. "You want me to give you some sappy words of encouragement that will just magically take all your guilt away?"

"Well, I guess so."

"Well, not going to happen. The only person that can make yourself feel better is you." Glossaryck jabbed a finger at Hekapoo again.

"Well how do I do that?" She asked.

"Well that depends, you have a few options," Glossaryck said. "On the moral side, you can give up and flake out or stay with and pull trough. Though maybe you'll want to stay by starboard to be able to jump ship whenever you need, but that will probably just guarantee the ship will sink. Or you be can a total whee-hob and take the bad road, which seems like a full u-turn but I'm no judge,-"

"Dammit, Glossaryck, can you just be strait forward for once?" Hekapoo pleaded.

Glossaryck looked Hekapoo I the eye. "Okay fine. Look Hekapoo, what I said before is true. I can't solve this dilemma for you. If I just came in and said 'It's fine, spoon with Star all you want!' It wouldn't mean anything. This is your choice. The consequences are yours to bear. But not yours alone. Star isn't some abstract talking piece here, she's a real person. Talk to her, listen to her. If there's a problem, that's how you'll know."

Hekapoo took a deep breath. "Thank you, Glossaryck." He nodded and disappeared with a poof.

Hekapoo sat there for a while, letting everything roll over in her head for a little while. Eventually, the door opened.

"Poo-bear?" Star asked. "Are you coming back to bed?"

Hekapoo looked up at Star, silent. "Yeah, I am."

Chapter Text

Beep.

Beep.

Beep.

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.

"Later, Poo-Bear!"

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.

"But seriously?"

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.

"Hey, Poo-Bear?"

"Yeah?"

"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