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Stay Away From My Dad

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“Uncle Delbiiiin!” a baby purple dragon whined. “When is dad coming back? He’s never been gone this long. Is he okay?”

 

His red dragon godfather was more focused on the canvas in front of him than his anxiety about his father. “Trust me, Spyro, he’s fine.” Delbin grabbed a small canvas from a pile behind him. “Why don’t you paint with me? Painting always helps me when I’m feeling down.”

 

“But I already painted a picture.” Spyro nudged a still damp canvas to his uncle. It was a painting of his pet dragonfly, Sparx.

 

Delbin pet his godson on the head with a paint-stained hand. “And it’s a masterpiece, Spyro. Why don’t you make another? This time, put your emotions into it.”

 

“My emotions?” Spyro questioned. “Like...feelings?”

 

“Yeah,” Delbin replied, attention shifted back to his in-progress painting of a waterfall. “Think about something that describes how you feel, then just paint.”

 

The young purple dragon pondered for a moment, running over every possible thing that his 4-year-old brain could use to describe his emotions. Rain cloud? Nope. A boxing glove? Nah. Hmm...I got it. “I’m gonna draw fire!”

 

“Fire?” Delbin asked with worry laced in his vocal cords.

 

Spyro bounced up and down frantically. “Yeah! I’m angry right now, and I wanna burn something down!” Delbin watched in horror as young Spyro inhaled air into his mouth. Fortunately, all that was exhaled was a small puff of smoke.

 

“Thank the heavens,” Delbin mumbled under his breath. “Let’s save the fire for the paintbrush, yeah?”

 

“Look up here!” a voice called from the skies.

 

Spyro looked up as the familiar voice instructed and was filled with joy. “Dad!” Spyro was so excited that he knocked his canvas over with his wagging tail. “Dad! I missed you so much! Are you-“ Spyro took notice of another dragon that was next to his father. “Dad? Who’s that?”

 

The large green dragon that was Spyro’s father wrapped an arm around the big, blue, pink-bellied dragon standing beside him. “Spyro, this is my…” the green and blue dragons exchanged looks for a brief moment. “Friend? Friend. This is my friend, Bubba.”

 

Spyro’s eyes shifted from his father to Bubba. Bubba back to his father. Then his father back to Bubba. Spyro awkwardly wiggled his tiny foot. “H-h-hi…”

 

Bubba crouched down, which didn’t help much as he still towered over the miniature purple dragon, and extended his big, taloned hand. “Hi there, little buddy. Nice to meet you.”

 

Spyro’s gaze bounced from Bubba’s hand to his father. His father gave him an encouraging smile and a thumbs up. Spyro gently tapped his foot on the massive palm. “Nice to meet you, too.”

 

Spyro’s father faked a smile. He’d never seen Spyro act this reserved before. “How was he, Delbin?”

 

“He was great, Nestor!” Delbin sang. He grabbed the painting Spyro did of his dragonfly. “Look at what he painted! A true artist in the making!”

 

Nestor gasped with delight as he examined his son’s work. “You did this, Spyro?”

 

The purple dragon’s face turned as red as his godfather’s. “It was nothing.”

 

“No!” Nestor declared. “This is going on the fridge. No, the living room. I want everyone to see what a wonderful artist you are.”

 

Now Spyro was more red than his uncle. “Dad, you’re embarrassing me.”

 

Nestor cradled his son with his tail. “Thanks for watching him, Del.”

 

“No problem. Just let me know when the little guy needs a babysitter, or if he wants an art lesson.”

 

Nestor scooped his son into his has and waved goodbye to his godbrother. On the way back home, Spyro snuck stares at Bubba, but would look away when the blue dragon returned a glance. The walk was very uncomfortable to the point even Nestor felt the tension.

 

“So, Spyro,” Nestor said to air the stench of awkwardness out of the room. “Anything interesting happen today?”

 

“No.”

 

“Nothing at all?”

 

“No.” Spyro reassured.

 

“Oh, okay.” Nestor sighed with failure. “By the way, Bubba is going to stay for dinner. Is that okay?”

 

Spyro felt like he was just shot. “This freak is staying in our house?!” He wanted to shout to the Dream Weavers, but instead opted with, “Yeah.”

 

“Bubba’s making his family famous Southern Style Spicy Fried Chicken, and I’m making, your favorite, deep dish mac and cheese. How’s that sound?”

 

Spyro wasn’t too big a fan of spicy foods ironically. But if it meant getting his mac and cheese, he was open to it.

Chapter Text

Spyro sat at the table, waiting patiently for Nestor and Bubba to finish preparing dinner. His eyes were dead set on the big blue dragon, practically drilling an invisible hole into the back of his head.

 

Who does he think he is? Spyro’s inner voice rambled. Coming in here, stealing my dad! Now he’s ruining our dinner time! At least dad is making mac and cheese. I like mac and cheese! It’s so goood! Dad’s mac and cheese is the best though. Nothing can top it! Except maybe Devlin’s big ol birthday cake. I like cake. Especially with pink frosting.

 

“Spyro, dinner’s ready!” Nestor sang. He set a plate down in front of the purple dragon. “I gave you extra mac and cheese, just how you like it.”

 

Spyro examined the foreign object right beside his macaroni. It looked like chicken, but it was more red than brown, and it burned his nostrils upon closer inspection?

 

“Go on, little buddy!” Bubba cheered. “Try it! It’ll be good, I promise!

 

Spyro glanced at the chicken, then the macaroni, then the chicken, then the macaroni. He grabbed his plastic fork with his tiny limb, and dug into his father’s famous mac and cheese.

 

Bubba flashed a look of despair at his “friend” Nestor. Nestor pretended he didn’t see, and prepared plates for Bubba and himself. Nestor really couldn't pinpoint what was going on with his son, but he hoped it would pass soon. 

 

Bubba sat opposite to Spyro, and Nestor sat in between Spyro and Bubba. The little purple dragon continued chomping down on his macaroni, leaving the chicken, while Bubba and Nestor conversed about cooking, recipes, and related topics.

 

Dad’s ignoring me now? Even when I’m sitting right next to him? I didn’t even get to tell him about my day cause of that Bubba guy!

 

Spyro silently finished his macaroni, and snuck off to his room. He closed the door as silently as he could so no one would notice his absence. “Sparx! You won’t believe what kind of day I’m having!”

 

The yellow dragonfly buzzed at his owner.

 

“What do you mean you had a worse day than me?!”

 

Sparx continued to buzz, each tone sounding like he had somewhat of an attitude.

 

“I did too refill your water!”

 

Sparx replied with two long buzzes.

 

“No ice? Really?” Spyro flopped down onto his bed. “My dad being stolen from me is more important than stupid ice in your water! He didn’t even talk to me during dinner! He talked to this Bubba guy!”

 

Sparx buzzed a few times, paused, then continued buzzing.

 

“No, he’s not an assassin, he’s just and jerk. And if I kill him, then dad’ll ground me.” Spyro angrily puffed out a cloud of smoke. “I have a better idea!”

 

Back in the kitchen, Bubba had his head in his arms on the table, lamenting his already ruined relationship with Spyro. “Why does he hate me, Nestor? I haven’t done anything wrong, have I?”

 

Nestor comforted Bubba by rubbing his forearm. “I have no clue why he’s acting like this. He’s usually sweet, and caring, and loving, and energetic. This is new to me as well!”

 

Bubba fought back the tears welling up in his eyes. “Are you sure?”

 

“Yes, yes!” Nestor pleaded. “This isn’t normal for him. Do you remember when I caught that cold last week?”

 

“Oh yeah, and you had to blow your nose on a piece of cardboard?”

 

Nestor raised his bushy eyebrows. “Uh, yeah. Anyway, Spyro was the one who made me soup. It was a bit bitter. And lumpy. And rather cold. But I was still proud of my little Fireball.”

 

Spyro came strolling through the kitchen with a rolled paper in his tiny maw. “Gethlemem,” he muffled through the paper, “I haff a offer tho matthe.” He spat the paper out. “If you return my dad back to me for THREE easy payments of 900 gems, I will leave in peace.”

 

“Wait, am I paying you, or are you paying me?” Bubba stupidly asked.

 

Nestor nudged the blue dragon with his tail from behind. “Spyro, what do you mean ‘return my dad’?”

 

“He knows!” Spyro yapped. “He’s taking you from me!”

 

Nestor sighed deeply and cradled his son in his arms. “Spyro. I’m not going anywhere. In fact, I want Bubba to come here!”

 

“No, no, no!” Spyro grumbled. “That’s what he wants you to think! He’s gonna steal you away!”

 

Nestor sighed once again and placed the yappy dragon down. “I think I know what you both need.” Nestor grabbed a light jacket off of the coat rack near the door. “I’m gonna head over to Nils’s place in Town Square. I will be back in an hour.”

 

Spyro latched onto his father’s leg like an octopus. “No! Dad! Please don’t leave me with him!”

 

The green dragon gently wiggled his son off of his leg. “Spyro. I promise I’ll be back. If you behave yourself, I’ll let you have ice cream for dinner tomorrow night.”

 

Spyro sniffled and sobbed against his father’s foot. “You...promise?”

 

Nestor knelt down and pressed a kiss to the sulking baby dragon’s forehead. “Promise.”

 

Spyro released his father and waved goodbye as he walked out of the door. Through the entire exchange, Bubba remained silent. He had absolutely no idea how this plan of Nestor’s would play out, and he wasn’t liking the outcomes that formed in his head. The little purple and not-so-little blue dragons finally made eye contact, which Bubba broke out of nervousness.

 

“So, DAD THIEF!” Spyro barked like a feral wolf. “Are we doing this the hard way, or the harder way?”

 

“You know, you’re very articulate for a 4-year-old.” Bubba acknowledged.

 

“I’m 4 and a half!” Spyro roared, as loud as he could at least. “Now pick your poison, or face trial by fire!” Spyro coughed up a ball of smoke to seem intimidating, but failed miserably.

 

Bubba took a deep breath to remain calm, cool, and collected. He was dealing with a child. An angry child. An angry child that felt threatened. The last thing he wanted to do was escalate the tension. “How about we play a game?”


Spyro weighed his options. It was either make him drink toilet water, make him drink Sparx’s toilet water, or play his little game. “You got yourself a deal.”

Chapter Text

If one word could describe the atmosphere of the room, it would be uncomfortable. Sitting in his father’s recliner, you have a scowling, purple, draconic toddler, Spyro, with daggers, and maybe even chainsaws in his eyes. On the receiving end of the deadly glare was the muscular blue dragon elder, Bubba, feeling every pinch and poke of Spyro’s glare.

 

“So,” Spyro said in an unusually low tone. “Let’s play.”

 

“Oh, yeah,” Bubba answered in an unusually high-pitched tone. “The game we’re gonna play is, uh…” Bubba dug through his brain for a game to play. He didn’t actually have a plan. He just wanted Spyro to stop threatening him. Think dammit! You’re a grown dragon! I know you can outsmart a baby!

 

Spyro yawned theatrically. “Is what? I don’t have all day! I could be plotting your end right now!”

 

Think, Bubba! THIIIINK! “I got it! How about we wrestle!”

 

“Wrestle?!” Spyro leapt down from his father’s chair. “This is much better than making you drink toilet water!”

 

“Drink what?”

 

Spyro didn’t give Bubba a second to register what was going on. The toddler head charged right into Bubba’s knee at incredible speed.

 

The larger dragon winced in pain, but didn’t allow the accompanying scream to come out. “That...all you...got?” Bubba swooped up Spyro in his arms and held him in place, completely immobilizing him.

 

“Hey! That’s cheating!”

 

Bubba chuckled triumphantly, as he thought he had defeated the little dragon. “It’s not cheating. I’m playing completely fair. Maybe you should eat more and you’ll get big like me.”

 

“You’re right! I should eat more. Starting with YOU!” Spyro clamped down on Bubba’s hand.

 

Bubba wailed at the top of his lungs. “HOLY MOTHER OF THE DREAM WEAVERS! STOP! LET GO!” Spyro’s little teeth felt like razor blades in Bubba’s hand.

 

Bubba’s screaming and flailing eventually shook Spyro off. The little purple dragon smirked at Bubba’s agony. “That’ll teach you to steal my dad!”

 

Bubba dropped to his knees and began to sob. “My hand...you bit my hand…”

 

Spyro rolled his eyes. He felt no remorse for what he did. “Yeah, so? I closed my tail in the fridge last week and only cried for 6 minutes.”

 

A single tear rolled down Bubba’s cheek. “No, Spyro. You don’t understand. This is my good hand.”

 

“Your good hand?”  Spyro questioned with the first hint of concern in his voice.

 

Bubba nodded. “Yes, my good hand. When I was your age, I was in a horrible accident, and my hand was cut clean off.”

 

“C-c-clean?”

 

“Yes…clean off…” Bubba presented his ‘bad’ hand. “Luckily, they managed to sew it back on. But I can’t feel anything in this hand. I’m afraid that you might’ve messed up my other hand too!”

 

“No!” Spyro shrieked. “It can’t be! You’ll be fine!”

 

Bubba fell flat on his back. “Unfortunately...I don’t think so...the doctor said that if my other hand loses feeling...I’ll...I’ll…”

 

Spyro jumped onto Bubba’s chest. “YOU’LL WHAT?!”

 

“I’ll...I…” Bubba’s exhaled one last breath. His head fell to the side and his tongue lolled out of his mouth.

 

“NOOOOOO!” Spyro jumped up and down on the big pink chest. “Wake up! Wake up!” Bubba didn’t move a muscle. It didn’t even look like he was breathing. “Oh my goodness...I killed him! Sparx! Help! We gotta bury the body!” Spyro tried jumping on Bubba’s chest again, but still no progress was being made. “What’s that thing dad said to do if someone’s not breathing? CPS? NPR? Whatever, mouth breathy thingy!”

 

Spyro closed his eyes tightly and approached Bubba’s gaping maw at a snails pace. He couldn’t pretend anymore. Bubba exploded into a fit of laughter. “Stop! You can stop now!”

 

Spyro was sent rolling off of Bubba. He was completely baffled. “You’re...alive?!”

 

Bubba pushed himself off of the floor into a sitting position. “Yeah! I was just, hehe, kidding!”

 

Spyro didn’t look any less confused. “Did you actually lose your hand?”

 

Bubba’s laughter began to subside, ending with a few more chuckles. “Nope! You kinda hurt my other one, but I’m a big dragon. I’ve been through worse.”

 

Spyro glared at the large dragon. “You make me sick.”

 

“Oh, come on! It was funny! Smile, little dude! I’m trying so hard to be your friend!”

 

“Well, I don’t want new friends! Especially ones that steal dads!”

 

Bubba took a deep breath to make sure his ‘kid voice’ stayed with him. “Spyro. Your dad loves me. And I love him. He wants us to be friends. I want us to be friends.”

 

“Then why does he spend so much time with you instead of me?!”

 

“Spyro. Sometimes we need some alone time. He loves you, and he’ll never stop loving you. I want to do things with you and your dad too! The three of us together!”

 

Just in the nick of time, Nestor returned home early. He analyzed the scene taking place in the living room. “What do we have here?”

 

Spyro didn’t make eye contact with his father. Bubba was the one to speak up. “Me and the little guy were just play wrestling. I played dead and the poor guy thought he actually killed me.”

 

Spyro looked to his dad for a reaction, and Nestor surprisingly smiled at his son. “Really now? All it took was you guys spending a little time together to get along, I see.”

 

“Yep! Me and Spyro had a great time!”

 

Nestor looked to Spyro for his input. “Did you have fun, Spyro?”

 

“Um...yeah.” Spyro hesitated to say. “I guess it was okay.”

 

Nestor took off his jacket and placed it back on the coat rack. “Well, alright. In that case, you should be heading off to bed, Fireball.”

 

Spyro trotted over to his father and signaled for him to pick him up. “Not until you give me my goodnight kiss!”

 

“Of course!” Nestor planted a kiss on Spyro’s forehead. “Now off you go, Fireball. Goodnight.”

 

“Goodnight, Dad. Uh, you too, Bubba.”

 

Spyro strolled off to the bathroom to get ready for bed. Bubba threw his arms in the air as if he had won the lottery. “I got a goodnight! He told me goodnight! Kind of, but still! I’m counting it!”

 

Nestor laughed and pulled his ‘friend’ into a hug. “I honestly didn’t expect leaving you alone to work.”

 

Bubba returned the hug. “Then why’d you do it?”

 

“Because I take risks.” Nestor said, his voice dropping down an octave.

 

Bubba matched Nestor’s tone, but his naturally deeper voice resulted in a more promiscuous tone. “I like that about you.”

 

Nestor attempted to drop his voice lower, but couldn’t match Bubba’s. “You do?”

 

“Yeah. I love a man who‘s independent.”

 

Nestor glanced at toward the bathroom. He could hear water running from the sink. “Fireball will fall asleep in less than 30 minutes after he gets out. I’ll get the wine, you just wait in the bedroom.”

Chapter Text

dear dad

 

this intire time i thot that Bubba was trying to take u from me but I reelize i was ded rong. I get it u dont luv me anymor. i will make it ezier for u and just leave. i am sorry i cudint be as big or strong as Bubba but i hope u r very happy. good bye.

 

sinseerlee spyro

 

“BUBBA! GET UP!” Nestor panicked. He violently swung Spyro’s closet door open. There was no sign of him. “BUBBA, HELP! SPYRO’S GONE!” He checked the bathroom first. Every bottle, jar, and tube was ripped from the cabinets. Not a trace. He then turned the living room upside down. The insides of the couches were ripped out, decorations ans small furniture were aimlessly discarded, and still, nothing. The kitchenry was flung all over the floor. Pots, pans, silverware, all littered the floor’s glossy tiles. He still came up empty handed.

 

Bubba finally exited Nestor’s room still in a sleepy haze. “Hey, hot stuff-“ He was awakened by the sight of the house in shambles. “Uh, did a hurricane hit?”

 

“NO! SPYRO IS MISSING!” Nestor yelled from the kitchen. “HOW ARE YOU JUST NOW WAKING UP?!”

 

“Well, you sure did put me to sleep-”

 

“BUBBA THIS ISN’T THE TIME! HELP ME FIND MY SON!” The green dragon elder paced around the ruined kitchen running through all the possible places he could have gone. “He couldn’t have gone far...DELBIN! HE’S PROBABLY WITH DELBIN! LET’S GO!”

 

——-

 

“Alright, Sparx,” Spyro said. “This is my last resort. If this doesn’t work then nothing will.”

 

Sparx buzzed at his owner.

 

“I promise, this is foolproof. Remember that time dad couldn’t find me when we were playing hide ‘n’ seek?”

 

The yellow dragonfly buzzed ‘yes’.

 

“Do you remember how happy he was to find me? He was almost crying! Imagine him finding me after running away!”

 

The little dragonfly buzzed again.

 

“I...heard something last night...something that I can’t even say…” Tears threatened to break through the little dragon’s little eye sockets, but he held it together. “No, no crying. If this doesn’t work, then I’ll just go live with Uncle Delbin. He always has glazed donuts in his house, so that’s nice!”

 

“I don’t me to intrude,” the balloonist, Marco, intruded, “but I heard you say you’re doing this to get back at your dad?”

 

“Yep. Some big dumb idiot moved into my house, and is trying to replace me. I actually thought he was cool, until I heard...Ugh, it hurts to think about.”

 

Marco sighed. “Look, kid. I dunno the specifics of your situation, but I’m sure your dad still loves you.”

 

“UGGHHHH,” Spyro groaned. “You sound just like them!”

 

Marco shrugged it off. “I’m not even sure if I can even have you on this balloon. On a scale of 1 to ‘You’re going to jail’, you better lie about your age during my trial.”

 

“Yeah, sure,” Spyro said, completely dismissing the subject. “How much longer until we get to Gnasty Gnexus?”

 

The balloonist took a look at his GPS. “About...5 minutes.”

 

The purple dragon sat back in his seat. “Good, good. This will be my greatest plan yet!”

 

——-

 

“DELBIN!” Nestor called out to his godbrother’s window. “IS SPYRO IN THERE?!”

 

Delbin came to his window, still not completely awake yet. “Huh? Nestor? What’s going on? Is the apocalypse finally happening?”

 

“MY SON IS MISSING! I DESTROYED MY HOUSE! IS SPYRO IN THERE?!

 

Delbin blinked his semi-crusty, sleep-filled eyes, absolutely confused as to what was happening. “What? No. Hold on a sec, I’ll let you both in.”

 

Delbin opened the door for Nestor and Bubba. The red, green, and blue dragon all took a seat in the living room full of paintings, by himself, of course. Nestor bawled his eyes out on the loveseat with Bubba by his side to comfort him. Delbin sat opposite of the dragon couple on the larger sofa.

 

“He-he was-just t-t-there!” Nestor sobbed hysterically.

 

“Nestor,” Delbin began, handing Nestor a wad of tissue. “He couldn’t have gone far. He’s still a baby.”

 

“He’s one of the smartest babies I’ve ever seen,” Bubba added.

 

“He-he’s probably ha-ha-halfw-way across the w-world!” The green elder sniveled. “He left a n-note a-and he s-said I don’t l-love him!”

 

“Lemme see that note.” Delbin requested. Nestor handed the red dragon the anger-crumpled note. He struggled to read the poorly written note. “Something definitely set him off.”

 

“I have no idea what could’ve done so! He s-seemed f-fine! He said g-g-goodnight to us, brushed his t-teeth, and went t-to sleep!”

 

“We also had a little-“

 

Nestor gripped Bubba’s thigh and silenced him like an alarm clock. “Not...a...word…”

 

The blue dragon physically swallowed his words. He got the memo.

 

“You two are a strange pair.” Delbin said. “How’d you end up together?”

 

“Funny story,” Bubba laughed. “Ya see, Nestor was meeting with our leader, Bruno, about some new structures in the swamp. The moment I saw him, I knew I had to talk to him.”

 

The first sign of something other than agony spread across Nestor’s face. “You used a cheesy pick up line on me.”

 

“It worked didn’t it?” The Beast Maker said confidently

 

“No! It didn’t! I thought you were cute for using such a dorky line, so I threw you a bone.”

 

“So...it worked.”

 

The third wheel shook his head at the scene taking place in front of him. “You two will for sure have lots of stories to tell.”

 

Bubba constricted Nestor in a tight hug and kissed his temple. “You feeling ready to find the little guy now?”

 

The green dragon wiped his face one last time with his arms. “Yeah. Sorry about my little outburst.”

 

Bubba squeezed Nestor tighter. “You don’t have to apologize for being sad and scared. It’s not like you punched me in the face or something.”

 

The big blue dragon released his lover from his bearhug. Nestor took a long deep breath to ensure he was in a better headspace. “I have a plan to find Fireball.”

Chapter Text

“Well, kid, we’re here,” Marco said. “Gnasty Gnexus.”

“Thank you kindly, sir!” Spyro handed the balloonist a small black card. “Take as many gems as you want! I took that from Bubba’s wallet!”

The balloonist stared blankly at Spyro. Marco had seen his fair share of peculiar customers, but an actual child? This was a new experience. “You know what, kid? Keep it. I want no more parts in whatever this is going to turn into.” Marco’s balloon lifted off of the ground. “Stay safe, kid!” He called down from the sky.

“Thank you!” Spyro shouted back. “Alright, Sparx! Now all we need is a good hiding place and then we can start phase 2!”

Sparx buzzed in disapproval.

———

Nestor had reached out to the other leaders and they sent their best dragons to help. He stood in front of Bubba and all of the dragons. He put on his ‘leader face’, as he put it, and cleared his throat. “Good morning, dragons. I’ve summoned you all here today because I have an urgent task for only the most elite of their class. I have heard nothing but positive feedback from your leaders.” Nestor made eye contact with a big, round, amber colored dragon. “You. What’s your name?”

“Magnus, of the Peace Makers,” he said with a shake of his big belly. “Pleased to serve you on behalf of my region.”

“You will make a fine soldier, I’m sure of it.” Nestor moved to the next dragon: A skinny yellow dragon in a purple wizard hat and robe. He had cards levitating around him. “Excellent usage of magic. What’s your name?”

“Zantor of the Magic Crafters!” he replied. “Do you really like my magic?”

“I do,” Nestor assured him, “and it’ll be perfect for the task at hand.” Nestor moved to the last new face. It was an eccentric looking dragon. He had long, bright orange hair, striped lime green skin, and big, electrified horns. He wore what looked like a blanket tied around him and fluffy...house shoes? “And what’s your name?”

“Useni of the Dream Weavers, my good sir! Would you like a peppermint? I made them from hopping mushrooms!”

Nestor scanned the eccentric dragon from head to toe. “No...thank you.” Nestor declined as politely as he could. “Now that introductions are out of the way, I’m sending you all straight into battle. Now tell me, are you ready?”

“Sir, yes sir.” The dragons affirmed in unison.

“Are you ready to travel to the deepest corners of the realms?!”

“Sir, yes sir!”

“ARE YOU READY TO GIVE THIS MISSION YOUR ALL?”

“SIR, YES SIR!”

“ARE YOU READY TO FIND MY SON?!”

“Say what now?” Magnus said. “Your son?”

“Yes, my son.” Nestor grumbled, giving Magnus a vicious side-eye. “Is that a problem?”

“Not at all!” Magnus said, collecting the professional composure that he carelessly tossed away. “I thought the mission would be...bigger?”

“THIS IS BIG!” Nestor exploded. “MY CHILD IS OFF IN WHO KNOWS WHERE, SUBJECT TO WHO KNOWS WHAT, AND YOU WILL HELP ME FIND HIM, OR YOU’LL BE CALLING ME A CANNIBAL TONIGHT! DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?!”

Magnus fearfully nodded in agreement. He took a step back, along with the other dragons.

“Good!” Nestor chimed with an uncomfortably forced smile. “Bubba?”

“Y-yes?” Bubba hesitantly answered, awaiting his ‘friend’ to cut into him. Am I standing straight? Too straight? Is my fly down? Wait, I’m not wearing any pants.

“Relax. You look like you have a wedgie, and you’re not even wearing pants.”

Bubba released all of the tension in his upper body, shoulder and calf muscles sliding down to rest. “Uh, yeah. Thanks.

——-

 

Spyro scurried through a tunnel and dove behind a large steel crate. He tried to control his breathing like he’d seen secret agents do in the movies, but wasn’t doing a very good job. His heart was pounding, making it even harder to control his little lungs. Sweat streamed down his forehead when he heard the sound of metal footsteps.

“You saw that purple rat too?”

“It looked more like a lizard to me. Whatever. Let’s squash it!”

Spyro’s breathing kicked into hyperdrive. “Dad…” he whispered, hoping his pleas would reach him. “Help...me...please…”

The clacking of combat boots on steel began to fade in the distance. Spyro took the little window of freedom to release the breath of fear of anxiety that filled his lungs. “Sparx? Sparx, where’d you go?” The dragonfly didn’t answer. At some point of being chased, Sparx was separated from Spyro. A little dragon, all alone in a fortress full of heavily armed soldiers and dangerous machinery.

“This was a mistake.”

——-

Nestor and Delbin soared across the skies of the Artisans region. They stopped every now and then to land and check every inch of the area. As time went on, hope faded for the dragons. They searched every building in Town Square, every bush in Stone Hill, and every corner of Dark Hollow. They came up empty handed.

“He’s not here, Del.” Nestor said. His voice was cracking, and a flood of tears were leaking through.

“There’s no way that little guy left this region. Every dragon in our world is searching for him at this point!”

Nestor’s mind was completely blank. The only thing he could think of was what could have happened to his son. Was he kidnapped? Who has him? When I find them, I’m gonna have their head hanging above the fireplace. I just want my son. Please just give me back my son!

“Purple jelly bean forest?” Delbin said.

“What?”

Delbin raised his eyebrow. “I said, should we regroup with the other dragons?”

Nestor rubbed his scaled temple. He was beginning to get a headache with all of the stress he was under. “Y-yeah...I’ll call them all back…”

Chapter Text

Nestor and the other dragons regrouped in front of his home, the Artisans castle. Nestor already knew something was off by their body language. Bubba was tapping his foot and biting his lip, which were signs of distress Nestor picked up on early in their relationship. The other dragons also displayed common signs of uncomfortability. Magnus repeatedly patted his belly, Zantor shuffled through his cards over and over, and Useni refused to look Nestor in the eye.

 

“Dragons.” Nestor said, his voice cracking even more. The tears were at the front door. His ‘leader face’ was deteriorating, and so was the hope of finding his son. “I take it that none of you have found him…”

 

None of the dragons answered.

 

“Okay, then.” Nestor whipped around toward his home. “You’re all dismissed…”

 

The squad of dragons stood motionless until Nestor disappeared behind the grand entrance of the castle. 

 

“I guess that means we’re free to go.” Magnus said. He took off the ground and into the air. “Hey, uh, if I see the little guy, I’ll let Nestor know ASAP.” The big amber dragon then flew off back to his region.

 

“I’m gonna head back to the Magic Crafters.” Zantor said. “I’m sure he’ll turn up. If I see any signs of him, I’ll report back to Nestor.” Then Zantor was flying back to his home region.

 

Useni stretched out his limbs and yawned out loud. “You know, when I’m under stress I usually just sleep things off. How about we all take a nice nap? I’m sure Spyro will reveal himself.” Useni curled up in a ball on the soft grass and was asleep in literal seconds.

 

Bubba and Delbin were the only two left. “There’s no way Spyro left the Dragon Continent.” Bubba said. “Maybe we missed a place? He is really small.”

 

Delbin was thinking about something. His face contorted into an expression of dread, his tail began to whip around, and he mumbled something under his breath. “Bubba...you don’t think Spyro could’ve gone…you know, there?”

 

“Where?” Bubba asked, completely oblivious as to what Delbin could be alluding to.

 

“You know...it rhymes with Lasty Lexus?”

 

“GNASTY GNEXUS?!” Bubba screamed at the top of his lungs. Delbin shushed Bubba with a finger, so he lowered his voice to a whisper. “Gnasty Gnexus?”

 

“Yes, that place. How do we break it to Nestor though? I don’t even think he considered there.”

 

“How would Spyro even get there?”

 

Delbin shrugged his shoulders. “I dunno. But...”

 

Something caught Bubba’s attention in the sky. It was a hot air balloon, descending down toward the docks. “Hey, is it possible that Spyro coulda used a balloon to get there?”

 

Delbin was just as curious as Bubba now. “Y’know...I never thought of that. But there’s no way someone would take a random child somewhere as dangerous as Gnasty Gnexus.”

 

“Hmm...Let’s go check on Nestor.” Bubba suggested.

 

The red and blue dragon elders carefully entered the Artisan leader’s home. Delbin was immediately thrown off by the, still ruined, state of the house. “What in the-“

 

Bubba stopped Delbin by patting his shoulder. “I’ll tell you later.”

 

The duo stepped over all of the chaos until they were face to wood with Nestor’s door. The dragons swapped looks on uncertainty. Bubba bit his tongue, and gently knocked on the door. Nestor didn’t respond. Delbin took a shot and knocked, and still, no answer.

 

The dragons once again swapped looks. They both had the same thing in mind. 

The Beast Maker placed his hand on the knob. He turned the knob at a snail's pace and pushed the door open at the same speed.

 

The room was pitch black, only illuminated by the light from the hallway. The outline of a large dragon was buried under the blankets. The faint sound of sobbing could be heard under the thick layer of bedding.

 

“Nestor?” Bubba said softly. He placed his hand on the blanket and felt his ‘friend’. “Nestor, I think I know where he is.”

 

The sobbing grew louder.

 

Bubba carefully peeled away the covers, layer after layer of bedding, until he saw the green dragon’s soaked face. Bubba caressed his cheek. “Nestor…”

 

The tears couldn’t be contained any longer. Nestor had spent the entire day bottling up his sadness. In one big explosion of emotion, Nestor buried his face in Bubba’s shoulder and let everything out. The watery sadness cascaded down Bubba’s broad shoulders, down his wide back, and onto the mattress, soaking into the memory foam.

 

All Bubba could do was hold him. Take the tears. Be his pillow. Each tear that hit his skin made it harder for him to not break down himself. Before Bubba, Spyro was Nestor’s everything. The thing that woke him up in the morning. The thing that got him through the day. The thing that allowed him to rest easy through the night, even if it was 4 hours of sleep.

 

The tears began to subside. Nestor’s ability to talk returned. But he never left Bubba’s embrace. “He’s my everything, Bubba.”

 

Bubba’s hand never stopped caressing the Artisan’s cheek. “I know, I know…”

 

Delbin, who made a silent exit previously, popped his head into the bedroom. “Hey, uh, you guys good in here?”

 

Bubba threw Delbin a thumbs up.

 

“That’s good to hear. I tidied up around the house a bit.”

 

“T-thank you,” Nestor said, voice drained from crying.

 

Delbin made another silent exit. It was just the blue and green dragons again.

 

Bubba’s hand was still moving back and forth against his ‘friend’s’ cheek. “How’re you holding up?”

 

Nestor wiped his face on Bubba’s pectorals. “I think I’m fresh out of tears.”

 

Bubba chuckled softly and bestowed a kiss to the spot he was caressing. “In that case, I think I know where Spyro went?”

 

Nestor buried himself deeper in Bubba’s chest. “We checked everywhere…”

 

“There’s one place we haven’t checked.”

 

Confusion spread across Nestor’s face. He finally peeled away from the blue dragon’s broad muted pink chest. “Don’t say it…”

 

Bubba nodded. They were indeed thinking of the same place. “Me and Big Red saw a balloon land near the docks. Maybe he’s seen Spyro?”

 

“There’s no way a grown man would take a toddler somewhere as dangerous as that place!”

 

“It’s at least worth asking, right?”

 

The red, green and blue dragon trio took a walk down to the docks. They found exactly who they were looking for as well. There he was, the pilot of the balloon, walking the perimeter of his vehicle, examining multiple bullet holes in the basket.

 

“Excuse me, sir?” Nestor said, ‘leader face’ slapped back on. “Would you mind answering a quick question for me?”

 

The man in question rolled his eyes, smacked his teeth, and sighed. “Yeah, sure, but make it quick. As you can see, I have a situation here. My balloon got lit up.”

 

Nestor’s eye visibly twitched from the man’s rude disposition. “Have you seen a little purple dragon recently?”

 

“That guy?” The man chuckled. “Oh, boy, have I got a story for you! That had to have been the weirdest customer I’ve ever had! He had a pet dragonfly too? What kinda shit is that? Anyways, that guy was like, 4, or something, and wanted to go to Gnasty Gnexus of all places and went on and on about his dad replacing him. Ugh! I’m a balloonist, not a therapist. Plus, who’s dad is dumb enough to let his son run loose like that?”

 

Nestor aggressively tackled the balloonist to the ground and pinned down. “I’M GONNA FUCKING KILL YOU!” he roared, his voice almost demonic in tone. Bubba and Delbin attempted to pull Nestor off of the pilot, but the green dragon’s rage made him strong enough to fight them both off. “I’LL LET YOU DECIDE HOW YOU WANNA GO OUT! TELL ME, RIGHT NOW, HOW DO YOU WANT ME TO DO IT?!”

 

The balloonist tried to fight back. Tried. But the hulking dragon above him was too powerful. “AHH! PLEASE DON’T HURT ME!”

 

Bubba and Delbin both tackled Nestor from the side, successfully prying him off of the balloonist. "Nestor, you gotta stop." Bubba pleaded.

 

Nestor flailed under the dragons' weight, ignoring every word that wasn't 'kill' or 'him'.

 

"For the sake of your son!" Delbin cried out. "Stop, so he can tell us where he is!"

 

The green dragon's rage began to slowly extinguish. His limbs fell limp, and the heat in his eyes cooled. He looked into the worry-stained eyes of his 'friend' and his godbrother. "I blacked out, didn't I?"

 

Both of them confirmed with a head nod. "You did…"

 

Nestor sighed and covered his face in shame.  "What is wrong with me? I'm a complete and utter mess."

 

The large red and blue dragons rose off of Nestor. Bubba whisked Nestor up onto his feet and pulled him into a bearhug. "We'll find him, Nestor. We just gotta ask this guy some questions about everything, okay?"

 

"Okay..." Nestor answered.

 

The balloonist was still quivering on the ground, shaken up from almost losing his life. He backed further away as soon as he noticed Nestor on his feet. "No, please! Stay away! I'm sorry for-"

 

"I'm not going to kill you." Nestor's voice was low and calm. It almost sounded like he was apologizing with the tone of his voice. His head and tail were hanging low, in sync with his voice. "I just need to ask you a few questions."

 

The balloonist wasn’t letting his guard down. “You think I’m gonna trust you after that?! HA! Think again!”

 

Nestor’s anger was bubbling up again, evident in the pulsating on his forehead. “How about you talk, Delbin? If I have to stare at this kidnapper any longer, I swear, I’ll TORCH HIM!”

 

Delbin stepped forward and kneeled down to the balloonist. “I apologize on his behalf. The little purple dragon in question is his son.”

 

“HIS SON?!” the balloonist exclaimed. “He’s the dad that kid was rambling about?! I can see now why he-“

 

Delbin smacked his hand over the man’s bandana, where his mouth would be. “Shut up for two seconds, and just tell everything you can of his whereabouts.”

 

The balloonist nodded, still hesitant about helping someone who tried to kill him.

 

“Good,” Delbin said, withdrawing his hand from the man’s mouth. “Start from the top.”

 

The balloonist started from the top. Literally. He told them his name, Marco, a little bit about himself, even his family, then everything about what happened during the interaction from Spyro. Nestor listened in horror. The words that came out of his son’s mouth felt like needles stabbing a big, green, draconic voodoo doll. It was how Spyro felt about him being with Bubba. Everything Spyro wouldn’t say directly to him.

 

“And that’s the story,” Marco concluded.

 

Nestor wiped the tears from the corners of his eyes. “Delbin, you stay here and hold down the fort. Bubba, come with me to Gnasty Gnexus.”

 

“Affirmative, Commander Nestor, sir!” Delbin barked like a soldier.

 

Bubba stretched out his wings then took his place next to the Artisans leader. “I wouldn’t let ya go alone anyway.”

 

Nestor’s hand intertwined with Bubba’s. “Let’s go save my son.”

Chapter Text

The flight to Gnasty Gnexus was a quiet one. Neither Bubba nor Nestor spoke for the entirety of the trip. Nestor’s mind was heavy; filled with shocking images and scenarios of his son’s fate in the forbidden fortress. Please give me a sign that he’s okay. I’ll take anything. Anything.

 

Bubba was equally worried about both Spyro and Nestor. He had only known the little purple dragon for a day, but already felt some kind of connection to him. He wanted them to get along. He wanted to spend time with him. He wanted Spyro to welcome him as a potential parental figure. Then there was Nestor; losing his sanity with each moment that went by without Spyro. Bubba just wanted everything to be okay.

 

Out of the blue, a cannonball soared passed the dragons, just barely missing them. The dragons both looked down below and were greeted by a horde of gnorcs. They were heavily armed. Machine guns, bombs, and weapons that they had never even seen before.

 

“We come in peace!”  Nestor shouted down to the gnorcs. He raised his arms into the air. “See? Peace!”

 

Bubba mimicked Nestor. “Look! Me too! Peace!”

 

“Please allow us to come down and explain our presence!”

 

The gnorcs huddled together for a brief moment to discuss. The were only huddled for a few minutes, but each one was like another day without Spyro. The gnorcs finally disbanded and signaled for the pair to descend. Neither of them questioned it, and followed their command.

 

“Thank you!” Nestor gleefully said as he descended closer to the gnorcs. “Thank you so much!”

 

Before they could even touch a toe to the ground, the gnorcs dogpiled the dragon elders like a pack of wolves. Nestor’s head was so clouded by seeing his son again, he didn’t question their kindness. All he wanted to do was see his son again; alive and well. Now he wasn’t going to make it out alive and well. Nestor and Bubba were flurried with punches from steel gauntlets, kicks from combat boots, strikes from objects lying around until…

 

They blacked out.

 

——-

 

“Sparx? Sparx?! Where are you?!” The little dragon squeezed through a large steel door that was slightly cracked open. “Sparx? Are you-“ Spyro gasped at the sight in front of him. His eyes reflected the radiant golden light of the room; his nose twitched at the strong scent of metal wafting through. “T-t-treasure!”

 

The room was filled to the brim with gems, gold, and luxuries that Spyro couldn’t even pronounce. “Look at all of this! I’m rich! I can’t wait to show-“ Spyro’s high was shot right out of the sky. “Dad...I can’t wait...to show...Sparx…” The purple dragon flopped down in a pile of gold coins. “This was such a big mistake. How am I gonna get out of here? How is dad gonna find me?”

 

Echoed footsteps leaked into the room through the large cracked door. “You think he went into the boss’s loot room?” said one gnorc soldier.

 

“Nah,” said another. “You remember what boss said about his loot room? If we go in there, we’ll be sleeping with the fishes. And the sharks. And an octopus or two.”

 

The footsteps gradually faded into the distance, and Spyro let go of his breath. “That was close…” Spyro let go of another breath, but it wasn’t fear. It was sadness. “Dad. If you can somehow hear me, please come save me from this place…”

 

——-

 

“N...tor…”

 

I can’t move...Everything feels...heavy...Am I...dead?

 

“Nes...r…”

 

I see...light...Spyro? Is that you, Fireball?

 

“NESTOR! GET UP!”

 

Nestor’s eyes shot open like a revolver. He attempted to stand, but was weighed down. Chains. Chains, shackles, and locks. All over his body. “What the hell is going on?!”

 

“NESTOR?!” Bubba called from the other side of him.

 

“Y-yeah?” Nestor couldn’t turn his head to see him. His head was practically magnetized to the ground. “I’m up! What’s going on?!”

 

“Glad you’re awake, Lizard.” a third voice bellowed.

 

A chill shot down Nestor’s spine. His heart skipped a few beats. His vision blurred from a sudden dizzy spell. That voice.

 

A large, semi-exposed foot dug into Nestor’s back. “You know who it is! The GREAT! Gnasty! Gnorc!” A crowd of gnorcs, out of Nestor’s vision, began to cheer for their leader.

 

Nestor was completely immobilized, vulnerable to whatever Gnasty had planned for them. He couldn’t even turn his head to look. “Gnasty, please! I’m here to find my son! I want no trouble!”

 

Gnasty let out a long boisterous laugh. “No trouble?! I’d beat you down even more, but you look so pitiful and defeated already.” Gnasty grinded his foot into Nestor’s back. “How does it feel, Nestor? Being a filthy bug! Under the foot of the MAGNIFICENT Gnasty Gnorc!”

 

The crowd erupted into more praises of their leader.

 

“You tell that filthy lizard, Lord Gnasty!”

 

“That’ll teach them! You go, Lord Gnasty!”

 

“Don’t hurt them too much! Their kinda hot!”

 

“You heard the guy, Gnasty!” Bubba pleaded. “He’s here to find his son! This is cruel, even for you!”

 

Gnasty paced away from the dragons. “You expect me to believe your ‘son’ wandered into MY highly secured fortress without any of my reinforcements knowledge?” Gnasty turned to face his army. “You haven’t seen anything, have you, General Gniles?!”

 

Gniles nervously chuckled. “Actually…we did see a balloon stop by here early this morning.”

 

“WELL, DID YOU STOP IT?!”

 

Gniles flinched in fear at the sudden change in his leader’s volume. “We shot at it, but...I think it got away…”

 

“GOT AWAY?!” Gnasty exploded. “YOU LET AN OUTSIDER INTO MY BASE AND LET THEM GET AWAY!”

 

Two late gnorc soldiers scurried into the crowd. “Hey boss!” said one. “There’s some purple rat running around the base.”

 

“I told you, it was a LIZARD!” the other said.

 

Purple lizard. A purple lizard. It was a purple lizard. “SPYRO!” Nestor yelled to the wall he was facing. “It’s him! I know it’s him! Gnasty, please! Let us get him, so we can go! I promise I’ll leave and never come back!”

 

Gnasty was furious. His army let him down, an outsider was running around his base, and he was face-to-face with his mortal enemy. “You know what? I have a better plan. A plan that with benefit EVERYBODY!”

 

Gnasty walked over to Nestor and Bubba. The dragons winced, anticipating Gnasty to inflict his wrath upon them, but instead, he began unchaining them. He unlocked the shackles and dropped them onto the cold, metal.

 

“You’re...releasing us?” Bubba asked.

 

Gnasty chuckled ominously. “You could say that.” He winked. “ If you can get away.”

 

“Get away?” Bubba and Nestor repeated as one mind.

 

“Yeah. GET AWAY.” Gnasty turned to his crowd. “These two idiots have 60 seconds to run and find their precious little baby . In that time, you will all prepare to hunt them down. The first two to bring them back to this spot, dead or alive, gets promoted to captain, no matter what rank you are!”

 

As expected, the crowd went into a full-on frenzy.

 

“Can you imagine? A lowly foot soldier becoming captain?”

 

“Yeah, but imagine a janitor becoming captain!”

 

“I dunno guys, they’re kinda cute. I might just take them home with me.”

 

“SILENCE!” Gnasty commanded. “Your time starts...NOOOOW!”

 

“60 seconds isn’t enough time!” Bubba cried out.

 

“Not if we keep talking! Let’s go!”

 

“55 seconds!” Gnasty announced with a devilish smirk.

 

Nestor yanked Bubba by the arm and pushed through the crowd. “We gotta move! We gotta find Spyro!”

Chapter Text

The hunt was on. The dragon elders took off sprinting through the winding fortress. Left lead to right. Right lead to backwards. Forward lead to dead ends. Backwards lead to nowhere.

 

“This place makes no sense!” Nestor cried out in frustration. “We’re never gonna find him! Any moment now, the gnorcs will be coming for our heads!” 

 

Before Nestor could continue any further, Bubba shoved a metal bar into the Artisan leader’s hands. “I dunno how the Artisans get down, but today we fight like Beast Makers.”

 

Nestor analyzed the ‘weapon’ in his clutches. He ran his taloned fingers up and down the cool metal, balanced the weight in his arms, and stared into his oblong reflection. “Thank you…” he spoke.

 

Bubba gave him a quick peck on the cheek. “And don’t give me that ‘Artisans are peaceful’ bullshit. After what you did to that balloon guy, you have no excuses.”

 

The sound of 100 running feet echoed off the metal walls. They were coming. Bubba pulled his petrified Nestor behind a towering stack of large crates. “I’m here, Nestor,” Bubba whispered. “I’ll protect you with my life.” He gave the green dragon one more cheek peck.

 

The footsteps came closer and closer. The dragons were unsure how close the stampede of soldiers was due to the echo, but suddenly, the footsteps all came to a simultaneous halt.

 

“I smell dragons.” said one voice.

 

“Nah, I’m pretty sure that’s just Gnick.” responded another. 

 

“Shut up!” said a third, offended gnorc. “I’m pretty sure it’s one of their dragon powers. You know, to throw us off!”

 

The gnorcs rambled on about arbitrary and baseless information. 

 

Bubba and Nestor swapped looks of confusion. Neither of them needed to speak to know what the other wanted to say. This is Gnasty’s army?

 

The gnorcs’ bickering finally died down, and they seemed to have come to an agreement. “Okay, men! Half of you go that way, and the other half, that way!“

 

“Just move a little bit...there ya go…” Bubba kicked the tower of crates with all of his strength. The tower wobbled and swayed until it came crumbling down, smashing the gnorc army. “I dunno how long that’ll keep ‘em, but gotta move!”

 

And move they did. Bubba took the lead as Nestor’s shield in case there was any more trouble up ahead. They tried their very best to avoid conflict, hiding behind crates and machinery when the time called for it; stealthily creeping through alcoves; even tossing objects to throw the gnorcs off their trail. The couple finally made a breakthrough when they found an abnormally large door, slightly cracked open.

 

“You think anyone’s in there?” Bubba asked.

 

“They’re everywhere,” Nestor answered. “We’ll die if we just stand around here, so it would be wise to take our chances with the door.”

 

That was all Bubba needed to hear. He forced his hands between the large door and pried it open just wide enough for them to fit through. Bubba then grabbed his green dragon by the bicep and pulled him to the other side.

 

Bubba immediately pulled the door shut behind them, and the tension finally set in. Both elders dropped to the ground, their hearts nearly assaulting their chests at the rate they were beating. For a moment, they forgot that they still hadn’t made it to safety. Nestor took a look around at their surroundings and his jaw dropped. “Bubba...look!”

 

Bubba’s eyes dazzled like stars when he got a glimpse of the room. “Look at all this treasure! Gnasty’s loaded!” Bubba rushed over to a pile of gold coins. “If we get outta here alive, we’re gonna be billionaires!” Bubba kept scooping gold into wherever it would fit on his body, which wasn’t much. 

 

“Bubba! Focus!” Nestor snapped.

 

“Oh, yeah. Sorry. Spyro first.”

 

The room was enormous. Opulent decorations and rare riches were lying all around the room like discarded clothes after a long jog. The room was the complete opposite to everything they had seen. Bubba was still trying to scoop up what he could as they explored, but Nestor frowned at him in disapproval.

 

They turned around a corner and made a shocking discovery. Every emotion in Nestor’s system bubbled up to the top. A little purple dragon, sleeping on a pile of gold. They had finally found him.

 

“SPYRO!” Nestor yelled.

 

The little dragon’s head shot up from the gold. Before he could register what was happening, he was constricted in his dad’s arms, being pelted with kisses.

 

“I’m so happy I found you! I’m so happy you’re safe! I’m so happy to see you!” Nestor joy quickly descended into tears. “Why did you leave me, Fireball? I love you with all my heart! I wouldn’t be able to live without you!”

 

Bubba was even starting to tear up at the sight. “This is so beautiful...I think I might start crying too!”

 

Spyro was feeling a hurricane of emotions just like his father. “Dad...? You’re...not replacing me?”

 

Nestor was dumbfounded. “Replace you?! How could you ever think that?!”

 

“I heard him...the other night…”

 

“Fireball, I have no idea what you’re talking about!”

 

Spyro was even more confused. “So...you’re not Bubba’s daddy?”

 

“Spyro, I-“ It hit him. The pieces fell into place. The gears started turning. It all made sense. “I can’t believe this…Spyro, we were just playing a game, I swear!”

 

“An adult game!” Bubba added.

 

“Yes, an adult game! It was...House! We were playing House, but the hard version! It’s very very hard to play!”

 

Bubba wrapped his arms around Nestor’s chest. “That wasn’t the only thing that was-“

 

“If you say another word, I’m leaving you here.”

 

Bubba took the warning and backed away.

 

Nestor cradled his son in his arms. “You know you’re not leaving your room until you’re an adult, right?”

 

“What?!” Spyro protested. “That’s like...37 years!”

 

“37 years that you won’t get to see!” A familiar voice said from behind.

 

All three dragon turned to face the voice slowly. It was Gnasty, pointing what looked like some kind of magic staff at the dragon trio.

 

“Gnasty,” Nestor began, “I g-got my son. S-see? Now I just want to leave, and never bother you again! I beg of you!”

 

Gnasty pointed his staff at the smallest of the dragons. “He should have never came here in the first place! Maybe I should teach him a little lesson about trespassing.”

 

Bubba stepped in front of the staff. “You’ll have to teach me first!”

 

“Bubba?!” Nestor asked panicking. “What in the world are you doing?!”

 

Bubba tail swiped the staff out of Gnasty’s hands. “Distracting him so you can escape! Now get out of here! I’ll meet you back in the Artisans Land!”

 

Nestor watched as the blue dragon fought the gnorc leader. He was overwhelmed by how willing Bubba was to put himself in the face of danger. He picked the right one. The right one picked him.

 

“NESTOR! GO!”

 

Nestor’s senses returned to him, and he followed the orders he was given. “Please win this, Bubba. Please come home safely.”

Chapter Text

Because of Gnasty’s less than efficient army, Nestor and Spyro made a swift escape. They stared across the vast sea dividing their home and the hellscape known as Gnasty Gnexus. They were free. All Nestor had to do was take off.

 

But he couldn’t.

 

“Dad?” Spyro said. “Bubba said we had to leave. Why aren’t you moving?”

 

Nestor’s gaze was glued to the soft swaying waves, but his mind was anything but stationary. “I can’t leave him.” He dropped down onto his butt and crossed his legs. “Fireball? I know having Bubba around is a big change for you, but it doesn’t have to be a bad change. I love Bubba-“

 

“So you ARE replacing me!” Spyro shrieked.

 

Nestor calmly denied the claim with a head shake. “I love you too, Fireball. With all my heart. And Bubba wants to love you as well. He risked his life to save us both.” Nestor stood back on his feet. “I can’t leave him, Fireball. We came here together, and all three of us will be leaving together.”

 

Nestor retraced his steps all the way back through the fortress. Once again, dodging patrolling gnorcs and stealthily creeping through small passageways. He finally made it back to the grand treasure room door. He glanced down at the toddler in his arms. “Don’t worry. I’ll keep you safe, Fireball.”

 

The father and son crossed the doorway. The room looked completely different than before. All of Gnasty’s loot was scattered all around like a bomb had gone off. The grunts and growls of the ‘bomb’ could be heard not too far away. Nestor rushed around the room, only to find Bubba pinned down by the leader of the gnorcs.

 

“Weak little lizard,” Gnasty taunted. “You think you’ve done a good deed by letting Mr. Green and Purple Jr. go, but all you did was throw your life away.” A sudden force of heat blew Gnasty across the room into a pile of gold coins. The gnorc leader quickly recovered from the blow and locked eyes with his attacker. “Looks like the other lizards came back to play!”

 

“What are you doing here?!” Bubba called out. “I thought I told you to leave!”

 

Nestor ran to Bubba and guarded his weakened body. “If I left, you would’ve died. I’m not letting it end like this.” Nestor shot a flurry of fireballs at the enemy.

 

Gnasty was surprisingly agile for a guy his build. He dodged each ball of heat with jumps, spins, and flips, finishing with a graceful landing. “Is that all you got, newt?”

 

“Newt?!” Nestor growled in rage. Another storm of fire rushed toward Gnasty.

 

The gnorc leader had a more difficult time avoiding the blasts, but ultimately succeeded. “Not a burn on me!” But he spoke too soon. A ball of fire hit Gnasty directly in his face.

 

It didn’t come from Nestor. It didn’t even come from Bubba. It came from Spyro.

 

Nestor’s eyes grew so big, they nearly popped out of his head. “Fireball’s first fireball!” He squealed.

 

“I...shot a fireball?” Spyro questioned himself. “I shot a fireball!”

 

Gnasty wiped the burn forming on his face with his palm. “You think a little candle flame is gonna knock me out? That’s cute. I’ll almost feel bad about stomping you into the ground.”

 

Bubba regained enough strength to stand on his feet and took Nestor’s side. “Nestor...let’s get him…”

 

Gnasty charged at the duo, swinging his staff. Both dragons jumped out of harm's way and used their wings to their advantage. “You think flying will protect you?” Gnasty snarled. “How about I bring you back down to Earth!” The staff began to glow and rays of light chased the cool colored dragon trio.

 

Nestor shielded Spyro with his life, and Bubba shielded Nestor with his. Dragons are trained from a very young age to use their wings, and Nestor and Bubba proved it to Gnasty. Even with Bubba severely weakened, every blast was evaded. Bubba then quickly retaliated with a flying leg drop to Gnasty’s face.

 

Gnasty quickly recovered from the blow and went in to slug Bubba in the stomach. Before he could move his fist forward, Nestor caught the fist and returned the favor with the skull-shaking headbutt with extra horns. 

 

“That’s for my son,” Nestor growled.

 

The headbutt was so brutal, Gnasty couldn’t even focus his eyes. The gnorc stumbled back and dropped to the ground. “You think you’ve won, lizards?” He coughed a bit of blood. “My army will be here any minute to rip you all to SHREDS!”

 

Bubba silenced the opponent by grinding his foot into the now less protected chest. “I guess they’ll just have to settle for your corpse then.” Bubba twisted his foot into Gnasty, pulling screams of agony from his body.

 

The sight of watching Gnasty suffer gave Nestor a cruel rush of satisfaction. The same gnorc who had threatened him and his people on multiple occasions; the same gnorc who had kidnapped and beat him publicly; the same gnorc that kept him from finding his son. Finding his son. All he wanted to do was find his son. 

 

“Bubba, stop.” Nestor said.

 

Bubba looked to his partner in confusion. “Stop? How could you want me to stop? After all he’s done, and you want me to stop?”

 

“Yes,” Nestor said with the tone of a leader. He presented the shaking baby dragon in his arms. “We came here for Spyro.”

 

Spyro. They came there for Spyro. As much as Bubba wanted to obliterate Gnasty, Nestor was right. He stared down at Gnasty with absolute disgust then lifted his foot from the gnorc’s chest. “You’re lucky he’s an Artisan. I’m one scale short of a Peace Keeper.”

 

The gnorc laughed. Not a giggle, or even a chuckle. A long, drawn out, villainous cackle. “You’re also a coward. Both of you. Cowards! You have the opportunity to end me, and you’d rather take the high road. Well guess what, you filthy iguanas? I’ll be back! Stronger than ever, in fact! My army will be better than ever, and we’ll eradicate you all! Matter of fact, you would look nice as decorations! Two beautiful dragon statues made of crystal, standing elegantly beside my fireplace! Picture that!”

 

The dragons’ hands intertwined with each other and they stepped further and further away from the shouting gnorc. Every itching urge Bubba had to knock Gnasty’s teeth out, Nestor looked him in the eye and told him, “Ignore it.” Spyro was back. That was all that mattered. The cuts, bruises, and scars would remain, but it was time to finally put Gnasty Gnexus behind them.

 

For now.

 

Chapter Text

A familiar scene was playing out in the kitchen. Nestor and Bubba were making dinner. It was the same meal they made that pushed Spyro closer to running away.

 

“Extra mac and cheese, Fireball?” Nestor asked his son.

 

“Yes, please!” Spyro sang.

 

“W-would ya care to try my Southern Style Spicy Fried Chicken again, Spyro?” Bubba asked shyly. “It’s okay, if ya don’t want it. I don’t wanna force ya into trying something you don’t wanna do.”

 

Spyro stared intently at the red, glossy, crunchy textured chicken. It wouldn’t hurt to try it one time, right? “Okay.” Spyro said under his breath, hoping Bubba didn’t hear him.

 

Bubba definitely heard him, and his face said it all. His eyes were like the sun, his grin stretched all around his head, and the sound he made was so high-pitched, the windows almost shattered. Bubba rushed to throw a couple of wings onto the young dragon’s plate. “Bon appetit, little guy! I hope ya like it!”

 

Spyro couldn’t help but smile at how giddy Bubba was acting. But it was time for the test. Spyro tore off a small chunk wing. He sniffed it, and could taste the hot sauce with his nostrils. Hot.

 

Bubba quickly turned back toward the stove, hoping Spyro didn’t notice him staring.

 

Spyro was finally moving the chicken toward his mouth. Inch by inch, the fried food finally reached Spyro’s mini maw. The chicken made contact with his tongue, and his mouth closed around it. He noted the spiciness of the chicken first. It was definitely hot, but perfect for a dragon. The texture was also something to note. Crunchy like cookie on the outside, smooth like butter on the inside, creating a perfectly textured balance. He swallowed the piece of chicken and wiped his tiny lips.

 

Bubba was practically losing his mind. “So, uh, did ya like it, little guy?”

 

Spyro smacked his lips twice before answering. “It was...different...in a good way.”

 

Bubba wanted to fly around the kitchen and scream, bit he settle for a smile. “Good to hear.”

 

“Very good to hear,” Nestor said as he set two more plates on the table. “I’m glad my boys are playing nice.” He sat down between Spyro and Bubba. “So, Fireball, since you’re still grounded, I thought maybe later we could do a little training.”

 

Spyro sighed and shoved more macaroni into his mouth. “Training?”

 

Nestor nodded with chicken hanging out of his mouth. “Yup! We might as well use this time to improve your fire.”

 

“And I’ll even throw in a lesson on squishing and squashing!” Bubba added.

 

Another sigh came from the purple dragon. “This is gonna be a long 37 years…”

 

Nestor chuckled at his son’s inaccurate math. “It sure will, Spyro. It sure will.”