Your name is Kubo.
You are twelve years-old. Your hair is as black as ink, while your skin is tan – darker than your mother’s olive skin, but lighter than your father’s tawny complexion, your eye is chocolate brown much like your mother’s, and people tend to say you have your father’s smile. You’re wearing a red shirt with a black beetle on it, along with blue jeans, and your hair is tied up in a bun while your right eye has an eye-patch over it.
You were born in Japan, but for most of your life, you’ve lived in America and grew up in Hillsboro, Oregon. You only vividly remember a few things from your life in Japan – like how your mother and father once took you out to the lake when you were only a few weeks old, and the way your mother held you while your father looked over her shoulders and smiled at you. Those were one of the few good moments that happened before it all went to hell.
You remember the story your mother and father told you, about the reason you all moved to America. It was to escape your grandfather and aunts’ wrath. Mother and Father refused to tell you the story of how they met, but they told you the basic tale: Mother used to be a goddess – born as the daughter of the Moon King, while Father had been born mortal, and temporarily had been a samurai once. They fell in love, and Mother gave up most of her immortality so that she and Father could wed.
A year after their marriage, you came along, and then your grandfather had found out about their relationship and your birth when you were two months old. He took your left eye as a means of trying to strip you of your immortality, as a way of getting revenge on Mother for betraying him. He tried taking your other eye so that you could ascend to the heavens above with him, but Mother and Father had fought off Mother’s sisters and Mother grabbed her shamisen, and just in time, took you back. After running far into the woods, Father suggested boarding a boat that would take you all to America, and Mother agreed to it.
You lost an eye, but your parents still fought for you to keep your remaining eye. Your parents gave up their old lives in Japan, just so you could grow up safely in America – and you love them for that, for how they care so much about you.
But there is one thing you ask yourself every single day – it’s a question that can never leave your mind, no matter how hard you try to make it go away.
Just, why does Grandfather hate you so much?
Your name is Eggs, and you are eleven years-old.
Well, actually, Eggs is just what most of the boxtrolls call you. The truth is, your real name is Arthur – Arthur Trubshaw. But you go by Eggs because that’s the name Fish gave you when he took you in and raised you.
The reason he took you in as his own is because when you were only a month old, a man named Archibald Snatcher came into your father’s old house and demanded that he help build a machine to exterminate the boxtrolls. Your father refused, and quickly put you in a box and lowered it to the ground, so that Fish could take you and keep you safe from Snatcher’s wrath. Meanwhile, your father, Herbert, took a blow from a hammer to the head, causing him to have serious amnesia.
You and Shoe found Herbert one day, while visiting the surface during the night. He was in an alleyway. You don’t know how he escaped from Snatcher, but he did, somehow. At the time, you were unaware that he was your father, but Shoe knew – they had to have known, for they had told you to help them take Herbert to the sewers. Fish would later on help him, and soon after, tell him he was your real father.
But because Herbert didn’t remember you as his child, you felt that Fish was more of a father to you. Over the years, though, you’ve all tried to help Herbert regain his memory. One step at a time, he’s slowly remembering you.
But during these steps, each day, one by one – the boxtrolls are slowly disappearing. Snatcher and his goons keep on finding each of them, and they take them away to only god knows where.
There’s only a few left now – Shoe, Fish, Sparky, Oil Can, some others… and you. Even if you were born human, you feel more like a boxtroll.
And there’s only one question that lingers in your mind.
Why would anyone hurt a group of creatures who haven’t done anything wrong?
Your name is Norman Babcock, and you are eleven years old.
When you were born, you were gifted with a special talent: the power to see and communicate with the dead. Apparently, it's been a gift passed down from generation to generation on your mother's side—except, for some reason, your mother didn’t get this ability; neither did your older sister, Courtney, for the matter. You can’t tell why, and you’ll probably never know why.
Because of your ability, you’ve been mocked and cast aside by most of the town—even your father and sister think you’re freak (though your father will probably never say it aloud, you can still tell that he believes it). Your mother supports you, as her uncle—your great uncle, Mr. Prenderghast—has this ability, too.
However, even her support can’t cheer you up on the worst days, where you wish you never had this ability. The only thing that makes it worth it all is the fact that you can talk to your grandmother’s ghost. That’s it. Sure, there’s that one ginger-haired boy, Neil, who sticks up for you when Alvin bullies you, and he even hangs out with you. He’s nice, but his friend, Salma, seems to be a bit annoyed by you—and his older brother, Mitch (a jock, of course), thinks that you’re a freak, too. So, as a result, he sometimes drags Neil away from you after school.
(Sometimes, you wonder if that boy with the eye-patch and shamisen thinks you’re a freak. He probably does. Anyone who’s someone in this school does, and he is definitely someone, alright—with his abilities to fold origami with the single pluck of a guitar’s string, and his amazing storytelling. Ninety-nine percent of the town adores his story telling, even the mayor himself, Lord-Portley Rind.
The new girl with blue hair probably thinks you’re a freak, too, because even if she’s new, she’s still someone.
Even that boy wearing the box that sometimes runs around neighborhoods and the streets at night probably thinks you’re weird, because even he is someone. He isn’t as much of a freak as you are.)
Sometimes, late at night, you wonder often: should I be ashamed, or should I be proud of these powers?
You don’t know if there’s even an answer to that question.
Your name is Coraline Jones, and you're eleven years-old. You dyed your hair blue about five months ago, out of rebellion after your parents told you that you'd all be moving into an apartment in the Pink Palace. In your defense, you had friends back in your old state. And moving is just scary, sometimes.
But now, after all the horrors you've experience after opening a door in the living room of your apartment out of curiosity one day, you take it back. Moving isn't that scary, compared to meeting that vile witch who took the form of your mother, just to trick you into allowing her to sew buttons into your eyes so you couldn't leave her. She didn't care for you, no—that button-eyed (pardon your language) bitch merely wanted to get you at your weakest, softest moment, so she could feed off your essence like she’d done with those ghost children, one of which was Mrs. Lovat’s sister…
The Beldam was a horrible, wicked creature. There’s no doubting that. And to think of what she would’ve done to you, had you not escaped… it makes your stomach churn, just thinking about it.
As a result of what she had almost done, you’ve also kind of developed a fear of buttons—specifically, black buttons. Thank god your old stuffed animals and your sweaters have white buttons for eyes, or else you would’ve probably had a heart attack before you could’ve even packed your belongings.
With everything aside, you aren’t really scared of moving anymore. Yes, it’s sad to leave your friends behind—you’d left behind Jenny and Jake, and now you were leaving Wybie behind, not even a long time after you’d become friends. But, you can’t control your parents’ work. Your father got a job in Hillsboro—a permanent one, meaning you wouldn’t be moving out after this—and a nice house. You can’t blame him entirely, but you still do feel a little bitter.
But you’re not scared of going to a new school, and seeing new faces. No, you’re scared of the possibility of the Beldam coming back for you.
And sometimes, you wonder: would everything have been better if I hadn’t opened that door?
And so, we take a glimpse into our heroes' lives. I took the liberty of adding some elements from each film, while also going with my own creative flow. Mostly to incorporate some nice scenes, while also trying to hint at the conflict that'll arise, alongside the eventual meeting of our main heroes. I dunno, I did a mashup basically. I think I did pretty good with keeping true to the characters, since I could easily hear their voices while writing the dialogue (though watching clips and voice actor reels probably helped the imagery too).
And yeah, I realize Kubo gets a lot of narration but that's because... well, in canon, he literally loses his parents. Like, it's not just my love for crossovers that started this, it's the fact that this child didn't deserve to become an orphan. The movie's story is well-written and very emotionally engaging, but this kid needs a break from all the angst he's put through.
So, yeah, he'll have a bit more focus than the others. They'll get their spotlight and all, but yeah. I'm taking a less "parental death" approach with this. Not gonna spoil a lot BUUUT, let's just say I got my own twist coming up soon... ;)
By the way, I'm SO sorry for not updating sooner but I spent so much time going back and forth between editing this and working on projects, but now that I'm done, here's the second chapter!
Each and every day, you have this routine set up. In the morning, after you wake up, you get dressed and make your own breakfast – if Mother or Father hasn’t already woken up and made it yet, at least. If Mother and Father haven’t woken up, you wake them up yourself. Usually, they change after eating breakfast, so they usually sit at the table in their pajamas. Sometimes, however, Mother is unable to make her breakfast, for the guilt eats away at her sometimes – so Father sometimes makes food for her instead.
Today was one of those mornings where Mother merely stared into the distance, her mind wracked with the grief and self-loathing – she blames herself for the loss of your right eye, even though it isn’t her fault. It was never her fault to begin with. Father had comforted her, telling you to go to school and that everything would be fine when you got home.
And now, after school, you can begin the second half of your routine: going out into town – or village, as you liked to call it. The term gave you a familiar feeling, as if you were in Tokushima – in your father's old village, where you were born.
You pass by several shops, and even a few acquaintances – like Hosato and his daughter, Mari. You know Hosato mostly because he was one of the three people from the village who helped your parents get back on their feet when they first came to America – he offered advice to both Mother and Father. He’s kind of a wise guy, like Father says. He’s not your best friend, but he’s nice and sometimes you talk with him. His daughter, Mari, on the other hand…she’s a little too enthusiastic – she’s a living ball of energy, except her energy never seems to go out. But then again, she’s eight. You weren’t exactly the calmest child when you were eight years-old – then again, when has your life ever been one hundred percent calm?
Though, there’s one thing you envy about Hosato and Mari – while their family is similar to yours in regards to teaching this generation about their Japanese heritage, you still envy both of them because even if Mari’s mother is no longer with them, their family is more stable than yours will ever be. Their idyllic family life is a poignant reminder of everything your grandfather took away from you – your mother and father's spirits, your eye; it all boils down to the fact that Hosato's family life is more stable than yours will ever be.
You finally stop at a bench, where your best – and quite frankly, only – friend sits, holding a bowl with a few pennies and a bit of lint in it. Her name is Kameyo, an elderly woman – and the first person from the village who helped your parents when they came to America. Apparently, she was once your father’s babysitter when he was little, but she soon moved to America a few years later – only to meet Father again when he was twenty-nine, and already with a family of his own.
You properly met her when you were six years-old. Mother had started staying inside more, saying that it was more calming and less risky than going outside. Father chose to stay with her, not wanting to leave her alone. So, you left the house all by yourself that morning. You’d wandered out into the village, and stumbled across Kameyo, who’d been collecting some lint.
“What are you doing out here in town all by yourself, young man?” she’d asked you. You told her about your mother’s situation, and afterwards, she asked you to sit down next to her. You both talked for a while, collecting some coins and even more lint as well. That’s how you both became friends – because she didn’t want you to be alone for most of the day.
And you appreciated that – you still do to this day, because you aren’t the most social kid in school, despite being popular and all.
“Why, hello, Kubo!” Kameyo greets you as you sit down on the bench next to her.
“How is it today?” you ask her, glancing at the bowl in her hands.
“Wasn’t a bad crowd,” she replies. “I got two pennies and a lint ball.” She pulls the lint out of the bowl, and she looks over it. “This is pretty good lint.” She then puts the lint back in the bowl, looking back at you. “And what have you got planned for today?”
“Aw, you know, the usual,” you answer her.
“Monsters?” she asks, sounding hopeful.
“Of course.” You smile. Mythical creatures have mingled their way into your storytelling a long time ago – you used elements from Japanese folklore in your stories, not only to add to the growing excitement, but to also pay homage to your ancestry. And the audience – including your friend – ate it all up.
“You think you can work in a fire-breathing chicken?” Kameyo asks. You wish that it’s a joke, but it isn’t – it’s a genuine, honest question.
You roll your eyes. “The chicken again?” you deadpan. She can’t be serious – why, of all things, does she want to see the chicken?
Her eyes narrow a bit. “The chicken is funny,” she says, sounding defensive. “A touch of comedy to balance the whole thing out. They’re gonna be throwing money at you. I just know it,” she continues, sounding reasonable. She’s got a point; comedy does tend to balance out the suspenseful, heart-pounding moments of a thrilling tale. “Or they’ll throw something at you. I don’t know.”
“Okay,” you chuckle as you get up from the bench. You grab your shamisen. “I’ll see what I can do.”
As you head towards the center of town, you hear her call out, “And do you plan on finishing the story this time, young man?”
You turn around and shrug at her. The truth is, you’re not sure if you’ll ever finish this story – because you don’t even know the full details of the actual tale you based this story on. Your parents’ past was always such a hard subject – there were things they were willing to tell you, and there were things they kept rather brief, as if they were hiding something. But what was there to hide?
You snap out of your thoughts, and grab your bachi. You strum one of your shamisen’s strings as you cry out, “If you must blink, do it now!”
You look around, and you see a bunch of people gathering around. You see a few people you recognize, such as some of your teachers, Hashi, Hosato, Mari, Kameyo, a few classmates – and you can even see the mayor, Lord Portley-Rind and some of his friends, alongside his wife and daughter, riding on some type of float-like platform in order to get a closer look.
“Oh, good heavens – are you continuing that exhilarant story of yours, Kubo?” Lord Portley-Rind calls out. Sir Broderick laughs while he and Winifred, the mayor's daughter, wave at you. The mayor's wife, Cynthia, merely stares at you, seeming a bit intrigued. Sir Langsdale and Boulanger are simply smiling.
“Uh, yeah,” you reply slowly, looking at the mayor. You can’t help but feel a bit awkward – you’re not used to this type of attention. You're used to the overly-enthusiastic reactions from Hashi and Kameyo, but not from the mayor.
“Excellent!” The mayor clasps his hands together. Cynthia punches his shoulder, and he then coughs as he says, “Ahem, uh – you may continue, yes.”
You go back to what you were doing, slightly thankful for Lady Portley-Rind's intervention.
“I keep telling you, Neil,” Norman says as he walks along the street. “I like to be alone.”
“So do I,” the ginger-haired boy replies as he follows Norman. “Let’s do it together! You shouldn’t let some bully’s words get you down – they do it to me, too, but I don’t let it get to me.”
“Why do they pick on you?” Norman asks as he looks at Neil.
“Because I’m fat,” Neil says simply. “And my allergies make my eyes leak. And I sweat when I walk too fast. And I have a lunchbox with a kitten on it. And—I guess there’s a whole bunch of stuff.”
“Doesn’t it bother you?”
“Nah. You can't stop bullying, it's part of human nature. If you were bigger and more stupid, you'd probably be a bully too. It's called "survival of the thickest."”
Norman and Neil continue to walk away from the school along a tree lined street. At the end, there is a huge grotesque effigy of an evil witch from a local legend – which started in Massachusetts, but transferred to Oregon once the word came out that the villagers took the witch’s body to what is known now as modern day Hillsboro, and buried her out in the forest.
Mr. Prenderghast peers from behind the statue. “Psssst!”
“That statue just "pissst" at us!” Neil says, looking at the effigy, then back at Norman.
Mr. Prenderghast then leaps in front of the two boys, startling them as he staggers closer. “You know who I am?”
“That weird, stinky old bum who lives up the hill?”
“I wasn’t talking to you, boy – I was talking to him,” Mr. Prenderghast says as he points to Norman.
“Yes. I know.” Norman begins to back away. “I was told not to talk to you. Sorry.”
Mr. Prenderghast steps in front of Neil, leaning closer to Norman. “And you know why you're not supposed to talk to me?” he whispers.
Norman tries to back away again.
“I can see ghosts, too!” Mr. Prenderghast continues. “And I know that’s not all you’ve been seeing lately, is it? Tell me – have you been seeing bad omens? Things you can’t quite explain? Strange faces peering through the veil?”
Norman’s eyes widen as the man questions him, because it’s true – he’s been seeing so many strange things lately, silently hoping to find an answer as to why.
“Did anyone tell you about the witch’s curse?”
“We’re learning about it in school…? Kind of?”
“I’m a tree!” Neil beams proudly.
“There’s something you really need to know!” Mr. Prenderghast says, ignoring Neil. “This is the most important thing you will ever hear! The fate of everyone depends on it! Now listen close... the witch’s curse is real, and you’re the one who has to stop it!” Mr. Prenderghast grabs Norman’s arm and leans closer. “You’ve gotta use your gift of talking to the dead!” He then begins to cough violently. His face turns red, and his eyes are bloodshot. “Because if you don’t, the witch’s ghost…” he coughs. “This is the most important thing of all… you have to go up to the old graveyard and…”
Neil throws an apple at the old man. “Leave him alone!” He then grabs his hummus. “Don’t make me throw this! It’s spicy!”
Mr. Prenderghast is about to flee, but he then decides to hiss at Norman, “This ain’t done with! You’ll see it soon enough! Watch for the signs!” He then hobbles away.
“Jeez – what a dirty old creep!” Neil remarks.
“That’s my great uncle,” Norman says.
“So you can see ghosts?”
“Then do you think you can—” Neil is unable to finish his sentence as a voice loudly announces something from the opposite direction.
“Pay careful attention to everything you see and hear, no matter how unusual it may seem. And please be warned: if you fidget, if you look away, if you forget any part of what I tell you, even for an instant, then our hero will surely perish.”
“Did you hear that?” Neil asks, as he looks in the opposite direction with an excited look on his face, forgetting what he meant to ask Norman for a moment.
“Yeah, it’s that boy with the eye-patch and shamisen – I think his name is Kubo,” Norman replies, recalling his fellow student. “Now, what were you going to ask me?”
“It can wait – we’ve gotta check this performance out first, we just can’t miss it!” Neil says as he grabs Norman’s hand, dragging him with him as they run into town, heading towards the center.
Coraline sits in the back of her parents’ car, with an open notebook in her lap. She sketches a drawing of a black cat, coloring it with a grey pencil.
“Are you alright back there?” her father, Charlie, asks, looking at the mirror to see her doodling in the backseat.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Coraline replies, keeping her eyes on her sketchbook. At the bottom of the cat’s paws, she starts sketching what appears to be a broken button.
“So, how was school?”
Coraline shrugs. “Okay,” she replies, recalling her day. It was the usual school routine, except she’d been placed into a new music class – where there was a young Japanese boy with an eye-patch, strumming his guitar. A bunch of students were gathered around him, awing as origami began to fold with each pluck of his instrument’s strings.
It was strange, to say the least. Coraline knows magic is real, but this type of magic…it isn’t like any magic she’s seen before. From a fellow classmate, she had learned that this boy was pretty popular in town – even the mayor enjoyed his music and storytelling skills.
She had found it to be ironic, since in her science class, there was a boy who was apparently being bullied for seeing ghosts and speaking with the dead – sure, that type of stuff was a bit eerie, but technically, when comparing both instances of magic, both were just as believable as the others.
Coraline had eventually came to the conclusion that this town was going to be full of peculiar kids – and as soon as she came to this conclusion in homeroom, she could’ve sworn that a young boy ran across the fence, with two trolls – at least, she thought they were trolls – following him.
“…this town is kind of weird, though,” Coraline adds quietly.
“Yes, it may be, but everyone has to deal with oddballs in their life,” Mel replies, having heard her daughter’s comment. "Even with all of the odd things in this town, there are some positive aspects."
"Like that sweet guitar music playing just around the corner," Charlie adds, with one of his hands moving to the sound of the tune as he rolls down the window.
"Wait – I know who's playing that..." Coraline says, recognizing the tune. "...Kubo?"
"So you've made friends with a little musician at school?" Mel asks, a small smile forming on her face.
"Well—" Coraline tries to find a way to word it. Yes, she knows him, but not in the way new friends know each other. She only knows him because everyone was flocked around him in music class, and they were probably going to be saddled with each other in next week's project.
"Why don't we go and witness the show?" Charlie asks. "I bet he's just as nice as that Wybie kid."
Mel looks at her husband for a moment, before she sighs. "Well... it's not like we had much to do today."
Coraline looks between both of her parents. "Wait—" she's unable to finish, though, as her father begins to drive around the block. The blunette sighs, hoping that her father won't make a scene with his car.
And he doesn't, because there are already several cars parked by some shops nearby, as everyone else seems to be gathered around the center of town.
"Hey, you didn't tell me your friend was famous," Charlie says, as he points to the mayor's float.
"Wow..." Coraline gasps, but she soons focuses her attention on the floating papers, as they fold into little figures.
Nearby, Neil and Norman push through a few crowd members as they try to get a closer glimpse. Or rather, Neil drags Norman along with him.
"Do you see how cool that is?" Neil whispers to Norman as they watch a piece of red paper fold into a small samurai.
"Incredible..." Norman whispers, nodding slowly. And yet, he's a little disheartened, knowing that Kubo probably thinks of him as a freak, much like the rest of the school does.
Time passes, and just as Kubo is about to continue his story, the town's bell rings loudly, signaling that it is almost sundown. Kubo quickly gathers the origami papers and puts them in his bag before he starts heading back home.
"Wait! Where are you going?" the mayor's daughter, Winifred, calls out.
"Home," Kubo calls out.
"Oh, come on! People like an ending," Hashi protests. He watches as the boy begins to depart. "Where are you going? No, you... you can't... you can't leave!"
"Hmmph." Winifred scrunches up her nose as she steps off her father's booth. She looks back at him, noticing how he seems to care more about the performance ending rather than her walking off. She rolls her eyes as she passes by a few cheese carts.
However, she stops as she hears the sounds of small grunts. She decides to look underneath one of the carts and sees a boy along with a troll.
"You!" Winifred gasps. "You're the boy who hangs out with those boxtrolls!"
"...yeah," the boy says slowly. "And you're the mayor's daughter, right?"
"...yes, but--why do you hang out with these creatures?" Winifred asks.
"Because they're my family?"
"How can they be family when you're human and they're not?"
"Look, it's--it's complicated, okay?" the boy sighs. "I--I could show you, but...it's sundown. Fish and I gotta get back underground or else Snatcher'll find us."
Before Winifred can say anything else, the boy and the boxtroll quickly run towards the nearest pothole, quickly glancing around before pulling the cover over as they go underneath the ground.
When Kubo reaches his house, he knocks on the door carefully, pacing back and forth on the porch before finally, the door opens.
"Ah, there's you are, Son," Hanzo says, smiling softly. He steps aside, allowing his son to walk in before he shuts the door and locks it.
"Hello, Father," Kubo says. "So, how is Mother doing?"
"See for yourself," Hanzo murmurs as they both walk into the living room, only to see Sariatu sitting by the window.
Kubo smiles a bit, walking over to his mother and sitting beside her. The family watches as the sun sets, before Sariatu finally looks at her son and says, "Kubo..."
"Yes, Mother. I'm here," the boy says, grabbing her hands.
Sariatu smiles at her son, and he smiles back.
Hanzo then clears his throat. "So, anyone hungry?"
Sariatu and Kubo both nod.
Two chapters in one night?! Yup, I just love spoiling my readers. :D
Anyway, here's a family moment for the Three Strings, using a moment from the 'time spent with mom' scene from the film (which would be my fave scene, but I love all scenes equally because they're all beautiful so I cannot choose a favorite).
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"And even though he could barely see his own hand in front of his face, Hanzo and his army of loyal samurai pressed on through the blizzard," Sariatu says, moving her body gracefully as she tells the tale.
"Wow..." Kubo says, his mouth full of fish. He quickly swallows the fish as he listens to his mother's story.
Hanzo grins as he listens, recalling the old days, when he used to be a warrior. "Yup, those were the good old days," he remarks, looking at Kubo, then at Sariatu. "For the most part, anyways."
Sariatu giggles a bit at her husband's last comment, before she continues, "And suddenly, as quickly as it had started, the storm cleared before him. Hanzo breathed a sigh of relief, for he was home." She stands by Kubo's chair before she hugs her son.
"Your fortress?" Kubo asks, looking at his father. He looks back at his mother. "The Beetle Clan's castle!"
"Yes," Hanzo says, nodding. "It was hidden at the very edge of the far lands, from the Moon King's watchful eye, by the most powerful magic there ever was." He quickly winks at Sariatu.
"And then what happened when you got to the castle?" Kubo asks.
Sariatu and Hanzo both look at each other.
"Well, uh, then..." Hanzo stammers, trailing off a bit.
"Your father, he... he..." Sariatu sighs. "No, no, no... Hanzo, we can't continue this one," she says to her husband. She turns back to Kubo. "I can recall a different story, though."
"Oh." Kubo looks down, before he lets out a sigh. "It's- it's fine..."
"Sorry, Son," Hanzo apologizes, placing a hand on the boy's shoulder. "It's just that--there are some things that we can't talk about because...some things happened back then, before you were born. Those things are just--too complicated to talk about right now."
"...I want to know one thing, though," Kubo begins, "did the Moon King--"
Sariatu shoots a look at Kubo, as if she is saying, 'Ah, your grandfather, not the Moon King.'
"--Grandfather," Kubo corrects himself, "really want you dead? Did Mother's sisters want you dead, too? It can't be true, can it? They're family."
"No, they're monsters!" Sariatu cries out as she goes over to Kubo, grabbing the boy's shoulders. "They must never find you again. Never! You must always stay hidden from the night sky, or they will find you, and they'll take you away from me." Sariatu begins to shake her son. "Promise me you will never let this happen. Promise me, Kubo!"
"Sari--" Hanzo starts, before he is cut off by his son's reply.
"Okay, I-I promise!" Kubo sputters out, nodding quickly. He looks down, frowing. I shouldn't have said anything, he thinks to himself.
Sariatu frowns when she sees her son's upset expression. Then, an idea pops into her head. She quickly pulls a monkey charm out of her pocket. "Don't be sad, Kubo," she says in a husky voice. "Kubo. Remember what you must do, Kubo. Remember?" she drawls on the last word as she moves the charm closer to her son's face.
Kubo laughs a bit at his mother's playfulness. He gently pushes the charm away from his face. "Keep you with me at all times, Mr. Monkey."
"A-a-a-and? And..." Sariatu trails off, smiling a bit.
"Keep Father's robes with me at all costs," Kubo repeats his mother's rule. "...sorry I didn't wear it today, or yesterday. I'll wear it tomorrow, though, I swear."
"Good," Sariatu says. "And there's one more thing. Never, ever stay out after dark." She picks up the charm again. "Huh? Re-mem-ber."
"Yes, Mr. Monkey."
"Good boy." Sariatu then lets out a yawn.
Hanzo and Kubo glance at each other. "Bedtime," Kubo says, smiling sadly.
"Goodnight, Son," Hanzo says as he and Sariatu tuck Kubo into bed. "May you dream of mighty warriors, monsters, and golden armor."
Kubo yawns. "Goodnight, Mother. Father." His eye closes, and he soon drifts off to sleep.
Hanzo and Sariatu then leave their son's room. As soon as they're out, Hanzo turns to Sariatu and says, "Okay, I know this is a lot coming from someone like me, but... honey, you can't let your fears get the better of you. You need to stop living in the past, and start living now. Forgive yourself. Please."
"Hanzo," Sariatu starts, "I appreciate your concern, but I am afraid it'll take some time for me to do that. Especially since I know for a fact that they're still out there, looking for all of us--for him. At any moment, they could--"
"Stop it, Sari," Hanzo says, shaking his head as he grabs her hands softly, looking into her eyes. "Where is the woman I fell in love with? Who didn't pay any mind when the subject focused on her father and sisters?"
"She's buried deep underneath a sea of grief," Sariatu answers. "For she could not stop her father from taking her son's right eye."
Hanzo looks at her, concerned. He then hugs her tightly. "We'll discuss this in the morning. Let's try to get some rest for now. Hopefully, there won't be any nightmares tonight."
"Wouldn't count on that if I were you," Sariatu murmurs as they both head to their bedroom.
"No, Kubo..." Sariatu murmurs as she tosses back and forth in the bed. Papers float around the bedroom, and slip underneath the cracks of the door.
"Sari, wake up." Hanzo nudges his wife gently. "It's just a dream, Sari. Nothing more than that."
Sariatu shoots up as she and Hanzo glance at the doorway, only to see Kubo standing there.
"Mother, there's paper all around the halls, my room--everywhere," Kubo says. He takes a few steps forward, until he is at his parents' bedside. "Did you have another nightmare?"
Sariatu nods quietly, before she wraps her arms around her son, hugging him tightly. "Oh, Kubo, I'm so sorry I couldn't save your eye..."
Hanzo smiles sadly as he hugs both his wife and his son. "At least we're all together."
"That is really the least of it, though," Kubo murmurs.
I kinda typed this up quickly, but I hope you guys enjoyed it, nonetheless!
Chapter 4: author's note / update / farewell
Hi! So, it’s been a while since I’ve updated this story or even written a chapter – like, a year?
I’ve got my reasons – one is that I’ve been really busy. Earlier in 2018, I graduated at the age of 15 – and I turned 16 in August, days before entering the university. I’ve been focusing more on school as of late, trying my best to ace my math and cooking classes.
Another reason I haven’t updated, is that… well, I kind of left the laika fandom for personal reasons. I'm sorry to those who were expecting another chapter. I'll still leave this story up as a way to look back on the old times, but I can't bring myself to write any more for this.