Crush, crush, crush. Not love, not love, not love.
Bunnicula chanted that mentally several times. He wouldn't let himself fall in love with Chester. It was one thing to have a crush, he thought. Easy enough to get over and it wouldn't affect him too badly in the years after everyone had gone and he remained.
Love would absolutely tear him apart. He shuddered at the thought. The thought of living indefinitely sounded nice in theory, but overall it was absolute hell. It was fine before because he had Dracula, and Dracula couldn't die anymore than Bunnicula could. He didn't have to worry about it then. But mortals like Chester and Harold and Mina, every breath they took could very well be their last.
It made him sick.
Crush, crush, crush. Not love, not love, not love.
He looked at the sleeping forms on the bed with him. Mina, her hair down and her arms sprawled around as she snored peacefully. Harold, snuggled up at Mina's side, providing a comforting warmth for both of them. Chester, curled up and purring softly just next to him, his eyes twitching behind his eyelids as he dreamed.
Bunnicula sighed. He needed a snack.
He sank his fangs into the carrot and drained it, savoring every drop of the juice he got from it. He felt invigorated and more alert as he finished, already thinking clearer.
Of course he wasn't in love with Chester. He had just taken his little crush a bit too far, had thought about him too much and simply thought he was in love. No, all he needed to do was step back and look at the big picture - Why would he ever fall in love with Chester?
"Bunnicula? What are you doing?"
Bunnicula jumped and spun around, and realized that Chester was standing just outside the kitchen, rubbing his eyes in an attempt to fully wake himself up. Bunnicula stopped himself from thinking that it was cute and pointed at the drained carrot in his hands. Chester sighed.
"Well, now I'm awake too. C'mon, let's watch TV."
Bunnicula followed him reluctantly. He knew Chester could easily go back to sleep at this hour, especially because of how he was yawning. But he also knew that Chester knew that he didn't like to be alone.
Crush, crush, crush. Not love, not love, not love.
Chester turned on the television as Bunnicula climbed onto the couch next to him. He immediately passed the remote to Bunnicula, who hesitated before taking it. He flipped through the channels, seeing old reruns and news shows on but not much else. He turned, ready to give Chester the remote back, only to see that he had passed out.
The feline's head was leaned uncomfortably back, and Bunnicula sighed. He gently moved Chester so that he was asleep with his head against the armrest. After a moment of thought he went upstairs to find a spare blanket and a pillow.
As he started to cover up Chester with the blanket, his head already resting on the pillow, one of Chester's paws suddenly grabbed one of Bunnicula's arms. He jumped slightly, and looked with wide eyes up at the feline's face to find that he was still fast asleep.
Bunnicula blinked when he heard soft whispers, and came closer to try and hear better. All that came though were soft snores and sleepy purrs. Bunnicula stared at Chester for barely a second before he headed into the study. He found inspiration suddenly striking him, and he repeated his mantra as he collected his crayons and paper.
Crush, crush, crush. Not love, not love, not love.
So I'm just gonna go ahead and give a link to the article I got the 'denial' info from...
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Chester blinked slowly, his eyes blurry as he slowly got his bearings and began to realize that he wasn't in bed with Mina. He slowly sat up to see that he was covered with a blanket on the couch, and started to understand what had happened.
"That little creep covered me with a blanket..." he muttered. He would ordinarily have an insulting tone when referring to Bunnicula as a 'little creep', yet today he said it almost lovingly. He shook the thought from his head.
"I'll thank him when he wakes up later," he said softly, already collecting the blanket and pillow in his arms to put them away. One glance out the window told him that the sun had risen, and so Bunnicula was fast asleep by now.
He headed upstairs, the blanket and pillow piled into his arms and a small smile on his face. He'd have to greet Bunnicula with a carrot as soon as the sun went down.
As thanks for the blanket. Nothing more, he reminded himself.
That reminded him of Bunnicula's affection for him, and he frowned as he closed the door of the hallway closet. He felt bad for Bunnicula, now that he thought about it. It wasn't just that he had a crush on Chester - He tried not to linger on that for too long at one time. It was more wondering how he had gotten locked in that cellar. How long was he there? Had he just been asleep the whole time?
Chester sighed. He needed to get his mind off of Bunnicula in general. He headed down to the study to find a book to read.
He found the book he was in the middle of reading, in the chair where he had left it, but with a folded up piece of paper on top of it. He sighed, knowing that it was a drawing that Bunnicula had done, and would probably want him to keep. He unfolded it, and couldn't help but smile when he saw that Bunnicula had drawn him sleeping. He was just laid down with his eyes closed, a pillow under his head and a blanket on top of him, and a trail of Zs above him.
Chester sighed and went to the desk, and opened the drawer on the very bottom. It was one Mina and her father never used, so he had taken to filling it with the pictures Bunnicula would give him. That was pretty much every picture Bunnicula drew, and he drew a lot. Chester smiled fondly as he put the newest picture in the pile.
He hopped on the chair and opened the book. It was a psychological book, something he picked up on a whim. It wasn't usually his type, preferring more scientific books, but then, psychology is science of the mind. Besides, it was interesting.
"...In a psychological sense, denial is a defense mechanism which people often use to ignore severe realities which can drastically impact them in some way, in an attempt to say that it isn't real. Often times they will do this, regardless of any evidence supporting the fact that the thing they are attempting to ignore is true. In such a state, people are often not at their best, and can be easily confused, manipulated and fooled."
"Hey, Chester. Whatcha reading?"
Chester looked up and gave a smile to Harold.
"A psychology book. I'm at the part about why people go into denial," he replied.
Harold tilted his head in thought.
"Aren't you in denial?" Harold asked. Chester stared blankly at him.
"Harold, even if I were in denial about something, I wouldn't exactly admit to it. That's the entire basis of it," he said slowly. Harold looked like he understood, and grinned as he wagged his tail.
"Where'd you even get the idea that I'm in denial?" Chester asked, marking his place and closing the book.
"Bunnicula told me."
"Why would Bunnicula-"
"Anyway, Mina's serving the food! C'mon, I'm hungry!" Harold interrupted him. Chester sighed and followed Harold into the kitchen, dropping the subject for now. Still, he made a mental note to ask Bunnicula later.
Anyone remember in Reasons when Bunnicula- Well never mind you should just read it if you haven't... It should partially explain why Bunnicula would say that to Harold...
Bunnicula's first reaction when he woke up to see Chester standing in front of him offering a carrot was, naturally, to slap himself to make sure he wasn't still dreaming. He wasn't, and now his face hurt and Chester was staring at him like he'd gone crazy.
"I just wanted to thank you for the blanket," Chester said, looking confused and somewhat offended. Bunnicula let out an 'oh', remembering last night when he had covered Chester up on the couch. He took the carrot with an apologetic smile, and immediately sank his fangs into it. Chester shivered at the sight, but couldn't seem to look away as he watched Bunnicula drain it. It was like he was watching a horrific car crash, it was terrifying but he just couldn't stop staring at it. Bunnicula licked his lips when he was done, tossing the gray, drained vegetable behind him.
He grabbed Chester by the arm to drag him upstairs, wanting to watch TV with him. He was sure that there would be some pretty good stuff on at this hour, at least, since it was still fairly early.
"Hey, uh, by the way, did you really tell Harold that I'm in denial about something?" Chester asked, and immediately Bunnicula halted in the middle of the hallway. He dropped Chester's arm, and turned to look him in the eye. He raised one eyebrow, seeming to be searching for something. Then, he just shrugged and started to run again, and Chester followed quickly. He hadn't expected an answer anyway, but he had hoped for better than a dismissive shrug, at least.
Still, he didn't press the matter and sat next to Bunnicula on the couch. The creepy rabbit was already flicking through the channels, looking for something interesting. Eventually, he stopped on a movie. It was a bad horror movie, one that didn't even scare Chester. Not only that, but the acting was pretty terrible, too. Bunnicula looked at Chester, silently asking to watch it. Chester sighed and nodded, figuring that it was so horrible it wouldn't even matter. There was no way he'd get scared from this...
Apparently there was a way. Chester swore that as the movie went on, it just became more and more realistic and horrifying. Maybe that was the way they got people to watch it, he mused. He shrieked when a vampire suddenly appeared and grabbed one of the actresses. Bunnicula gave him a deadpan look.
"D-don't look at me li-" Chester cut himself off with a terrified squeak, staring out the window. Bunnicula raised an eyebrow and turned to look, but didn't see anything unusual. He turned to stare blankly at the feline, who looked like he was one 'boo' away from having a heart attack.
"I swear I saw something out there!" Chester said, shaking so much the couch was vibrating. Bunnicula shook his head and got off the couch. He held out his paw for Chester to take.
"N-no way! I'm not going out there!"
Bunnicula crossed his arms and glared at Chester. He was basically giving him two options. Go and look for an imaginary monster, or stay in here complaining with a real one. Chester soon stopped shaking, and finally stood, gulping nervously when he glanced at the window again.
"Fine," he said somewhat angrily. Bunnicula took his paw and gently led him to the front door. He reached for the doorknob, already hearing Chester trying to make sense of what he thought he'd seen.
"It was probably just a raccoon... N-not that those are any better, considering what happened the last time-"
He got cut off when he and Bunnicula opened the door and were faced with the last thing either of them had expected.
"Bunnicula? Is that you?" the oh-so familiar face said in awe, looking down at the two.
"D-d-d-d-DRACULA?!" Chester shrieked, and within seconds Bunnicula heard him running up the stairs, followed by the bathroom door slamming. Bunnicula resisted the urge to slap himself in the face... Again.
"It's nice to see you after so long," Dracula said, kneeling down. Bunnicula just stared at him, not really sure what to think of him being here. It was, of course, nice to see him, but he would scare Mina! And why did he suddenly show up, anyway? Something was off, here, he was sure of it.
"May I come in?" Dracula asked, seeming nervous, as though worried he wasn't wanted. Bunnicula hesitated before nodding, and opened the door wider to allow his former master inside.
The silence was long and tense, the clock ticking being the only sound as Bunnicula sat next to his former master. He kept waiting for Dracula to speak, to say why he'd come, but he didn't. Bunnicula wondered if he should speak, but he wouldn't know what to say, so he stayed quiet himself.
"B-b-Bunnicula?" Chester spoke, and Bunnicula turned to see him cowering next to the door.
"Is that your friend?" Dracula asked, his eyes resting on Chester. Chester flinched, and slowly stepped forward. Bunnicula gave a smile to Dracula. He babbled nonsensically, knowing that Chester wouldn't understand him but Dracula would.
"Ah, I understand."
Dracula gave a comforting smile to Chester, who didn't ease up one bit.
"Come now, Chester was it? I wouldn't hurt anyone who is so dear to Bunnicula."
Chester paused and blinked confusingly at Bunnicula, who just smiled innocently. He wondered what exactly Bunnicula had said, though he could make an educated guess. He relaxed, giving a nervous smile to Dracula.
"R-right. Um, how long are you going to be here? I mean, our owner would freak out if she saw you, so-"
"Don't worry. I just... Wanted to make sure Bunnicula was okay. It's been so long since I have seen him," Dracula explained. He gently patted Bunnicula on the head with a somewhat sad smile. Chester smiled softly.
"Yeah, I can... Understand that."
Bunnicula chattered up at Dracula with a grin, and Dracula smiled in reply to whatever he had said. He looked over at Chester.
"Would it be alright if I came to visit again?"
Chester blinked and thought for a moment. He didn't want to turn him down outright, so he tried to figure out when there would be an okay time for Dracula to visit again.
"Um, you can try visiting the night after tomorrow. I think Mina's going to be at a friend's house and her dad's going to work late."
"Very well," Dracula nodded agreeably. He stood to leave, patting Bunnicula on the head one last time before starting to leave. Bunnicula watched as he left, a somewhat wistful look coming to his face.
"Hey, you okay?"
Bunnicula blinked when he heard Chester's question. He hesitated before nodding and giving Chester a smile. Chester raised an eyebrow, and didn't seem to believe him. Still, he didn't press the matter, and Bunnicula took the opportunity to find something else to watch. The movie had ended a few minutes ago, and after a few seconds of channel surfing, he passed the remote to Chester.
Chester blinked, not really used to Bunnicula letting him choose what to watch. He smiled at Bunnicula in thanks, not that the little guy seemed to notice, already seeming lost in thought. Chester sighed. Something was clearly bugging him, he just didn't know what.
A thought came to him, and it scared him more than any monster ever had... Did Bunnicula want to live with Dracula again?
"Dracula's been visiting a lot," Harold said. He watched Dracula from where he sat in the corner, next to Chester, who only grumbled in reply.
"Yeah. Guess he misses Bunnicula a lot."
Bunnicula turned from his conversation with Dracula to wave over Harold. The dog beamed and walked over, but Chester remained where he sat, pretending to be engrossed in a book.
He didn't like how often Dracula kept coming. He had to be planning something, Chester was sure of it. Probably wanting to get the chance to take Bunnicula and do some horrific magic experiments on him... Or maybe he wanted to eat Mina! Chester shuddered at the thought. Dracula wanted something, that was all he knew. He just had to find out what.
"Your little friend doesn't seem to be very happy with my visits," Dracula said, looking over at Chester, who was pointedly ignoring them. Bunnicula frowned at the sight, and Harold just shrugged.
"I think he's just jealous cause Bunnicula likes talking with you so much," he said casually. Bunnicula blinked and stared at him, while Dracula nodded in understanding.
Bunnicula shook his head and looked at Dracula, babbling nonsense as he explained that there was no way Chester would be jealous of something so silly. He didn't even like Bunnicula, he was probably glad that he didn't have to deal with him!
"I thought you said Chester liked you but was in denial about it," Harold pointed out, keeping his voice low. Bunnicula looked away with a frown. Truthfully, he wasn't sure anymore. On one level, Chester had been behaving a lot nicer to him lately. But on the other hand he still didn't seem to like him, it was more like he was just getting better at tolerating him. He didn't know what to think about Chester anymore.
He felt Dracula petting him, and he gave a smile.
"Do not worry. I believe he likes you more than you think."
Bunnicula gave a somewhat bigger smile at that, though he somewhat doubted it to be true.
As Dracula was leaving that night, Bunnicula followed him outside to listen to him finishing a story.
"He ended up getting confused and throwing onions at me. At that point I was so tired and felt bad for him, so I just left."
Bunnicula giggled into his paw. He didn't understand how someone could confuse onions for garlic, but perhaps being as drunk as this man apparently was, he could confuse a car for an airplane. Dracula smiled, and knelt down to his height.
"Bunnicula, it's been so nice seeing you. I was wondering..."
Bunnicula immediately told him to come back again sometime, but Dracula shook his head.
"I was wondering if you would like to come live with me again?"
Bunnicula stared at Dracula in shock. Had he just heard what he thought he heard? It had been nice to see Dracula again, but he had his own life here! He felt the wind blowing as he stared in silence, not sure how to reply.
Dracula shook his head.
"You don't need to decide right now, of course. You seem very happy here. I will let you think about it, okay?"
Bunnicula silently nodded, not sure he could have spoken if he tried. With that, Dracula left, vanishing into the night. Bunnicula headed back inside, pondering.
He shouldn't have been considering it, not really. He adored Mina and Harold, and Chester... He frowned and shook his head. No way would he want to leave them behind.
"Are you actually thinking about it?"
Bunnicula jumped, and realized Chester was there in front of him.
"I heard what he said. You're... Actually thinking about leaving, aren't you?"
Bunnicula attempted to say no, he wasn't, but Chester just held up a paw. He turned and headed upstairs without another word. Bunnicula stared at the spot where Chester had been just moments ago, eyes watering.
Was Chester really upset with him? Did he honestly think Bunnicula would want to leave him and the others? He ran quickly up the stairs, almost stumbling in his haste to get to Mina's room, where he knew Chester would be.
Sure enough, Chester was curled up at Mina's side, while the girl giggled at whatever she was doing on her laptop. Chester either didn't see him or ignored him when he approached. Bunnicula cleared his throat, and Chester looked at him. He hopped down from the bed, and went to stand in front of Bunnicula.
"If you want to leave, then fine. Go. I'm certainly not going to stop you."
It was like those words had physically slapped him, and Bunnicula stumbled back. He felt a pain in his heart that he hadn't felt before, ever - And that was saying something, considering how long he'd lived. The pain felt like someone had taken a knife and shoved it into his heart, and just twisted it in the most hurtful way possible.
Chester wouldn't stop him from leaving. Then... He didn't care about him. Which meant Bunnicula had been all wrong. Chester never liked him in the way he had liked Chester. He didn't even like him as a friend, apparently, because at least then he would be putting up some sort of fight!
Bunnicula turned to go back downstairs, blinking away tears. He waited until he was alone in the study before he allowed himself to cry.
He didn't know how long he sat there crying. But he knew that the sun was starting to rise when he stopped, and so he had to go down to his cellar and sleep. As he went, he came to a decision.
If Chester didn't care about him, if he didn't like him and would probably be happy if Bunnicula left, then fine. That was what Bunnicula would do.