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A Frayed Understanding

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When Master Hand had announced the newest contenders, Mario had made it his personal goal to be the first one to greet all of them. He had a reputation to uphold, sure, but also -- having new people added in was too exciting.

The nameless hero had arrived first -- he was very pleasant, had a firm handshake, and had started a rapport with some other sword fighters in the tournament very quickly. Mario knew he was in good hands, and couldn’t be happier. They had left a while ago, most likely to train and give the newcomer the rundown on how things were here.

The second newest contender, though, hadn’t made their way to the common room yet. Mario had tried to be patient -- after all, the fighters were coming from faraway lands! But after the sun had set, he couldn’t help but be a bit worried. While Banjo was ... a heavy sleeper, sometimes, it wasn’t ever this bad. Right? Kazooie usually woke him up pretty quickly, if he remembered right.

Mario continued to sit on the sofa, twiddling his thumbs, glancing up at the clock now and again.  He couldn’t stand to just sit there and wait anymore. What if they needed help? What if they had gotten lost, or hurt somehow? There would have been a notification if a fighter was out of sorts, surely ... but he couldn’t just sit here and let anything bad happen to his friends.

Mario hopped off of the sofa, and rushed out of the common room. The halls were deserted and oddly quiet; the sheer silence in the area made Mario slow down, eventually coming to a stop.

“Helloooo? Banjo? Kazooie?” he called out. The lack of an immediate response made Mario frown, but he pressed on. Maybe he just wasn’t close enough. All he had to do was keep trying. “ Hellooooo!

Still nothing. Mario rubbed his chin with a gloved hand, trying to narrow down where, in this massive mansion, those two could be. The back entrance was for those with ships - he could cross that out immediately. The side entrance was blocked off after Wario had broken through the door with his motorcycle. Again.

“Aha!” He snapped his fingers. They had to be coming through the front! There were plenty of twisty, turny hallways to get lost in - it’s no wonder they hadn’t made it. Mario changed course, and charged down towards the front doors.

It didn’t take him long to hear someone else.

“... Think it’s nervous?”

“It better stop being nervous, or I’ll give it something to be really nervous about! Hey! C’mon, fraying freak!  We’re talking to you!”

The voices of Banjo and Kazooie were unmistakable. Mario’s heart leapt at hearing his old, dear friends again after so long. He picked up the pace, hurrying to follow the voices -- and stopped dead in his tracks once he saw them.

Thankfully, they weren’t hurt! Not a scratch on them. They were too focused on the new tapestry that Master Hand had hung on the wall for their arrival to notice him, however. It had their logo on it, of course, and a vivid yellow as a background. He couldn’t really blame them for looking at it so intently. But ... were they ... talking to it?

“Don’t be rude, Kazooie!” Banjo almost sounded defeated at this point, but as usual, he soldiered on despite Kazooie’s attitude. “Mr. Tapestry? We just need to know to get to the greeting room. Can you show us the way?”

There was a beat of silence. Banjo and Kazooie were expecting an answer, and Mario was just ... staring. He knew it was rude, but he couldn’t help it. He covered his mouth, fighting very hard to not laugh outright.

“He’s not gonna talk, Banjo. C’mon, let’s try someone else.”

“Everyone’s so quiet. I wonder why?” Banjo mulled this over for a moment, frowning to himself. “I’m not scary, right, Kazooie? I mean, to them? I know I’m bein’ polite, but maybe ...”

“Come on, you couldn’t be scary if you tried.” Banjo seemed satisfied with Kazooie’s blunt answer, shrugged, and turned to start walking away. It was then that he noticed Mario just standing there.

Another moment of silence. This time, it was just a tiny bit more awkward.

Mario eventually cleared his throat, and smiled brightly. “Banjo! Kazooie! Good to see you!” He rushed forward to give the bear a huge hug, squeezing a bit tighter before letting go. “You made it safe!”

“Uh-huh! A while ago, too!” Banjo scratched at his head, grinning -- and clearly more at ease. “It’s pretty quiet around here, huh?”

“Not usually.” Mario blinked in confusion. “That’s strange. Usually there’s plenty of people to talk to around here.”

Kazooie rolled her eyes, making herself a little more comfortable in the backpack now that she didn’t have to sass a piece of fabric. “Yeah, well, that’s what we thought, but no one’s talking!”

“Uh ...?”

“You’ve got a lot of stuck up things, huh? None of them even wanted to help us. We’ve tried talking to everyone. We’ve tried the door, the carpet, the pots ... some hospitality!” Kazooie squawked indignantly.

“Um ...” Mario fidgeted with his gloves, looking down at the ground. “The furniture doesn’t really talk here? If that’s what you mean.”

Banjo groaned and slapped his own forehead so hard that Mario thought it was going to leave a mark.

“Oh, no -- they don’t?”

“Nope! Sorry about that. I’m surprised Master Hand didn’t mention that.” Mario smiled awkwardly, and was about to continue -- but Kazooie cut him off.

“Yeah, well, sure would have been nice of him!”

“I think he’s fighting,” Mario hurriedly added. “Why don’t I show you around? Everyone’s been excited to meet you!”

Thankfully, Banjo managed to speak up before Kazooie could interject again. “Sounds great! Let’s go!”

Mario waved them forward, and began his (very brief) tour of the mansion itself. They had more important things to worry about; the fights, what they could do, what they couldn’t, technical things like that ... but he couldn’t help but want to spend some time with them after being apart for so long.

It was good to have them back after they had been away for decades. It was good that he caught them before other people saw them talking to tapestries, too.

No one else needed to know about that bit.