“Yo Xiaotian, are you ready!?” Xiaojiao shouted as she slammed the door of his apartment open. She could hear the sound of Xiaotian’s hair dryer roaring to life behind his bathroom door as she entered his home. ‘Sun’ shot her a glare from his chair at the ruckus, before turning so he was laying on his back. “He tripped and got noodles all over himself, but he should be out soon.”
“Cool.” Xiaojiao sat down on his bed, moving her green cape out of the way as she did so, and turned his TV on while she waited.
After a few moments Xiaotian stumbled out of his bathroom, his eyes widening in surprise when he noticed her before a smile came onto his face. “Xiao...Xiaojiao! Are you ex- excited… about the party?”
“Heck yeah! And I love your costume Xiaotian. Where did you get it?”
It was an amazingly well done costume of the Monkey King. Xiaotian had even dyed his hair a peachy color that matched Wukong’s. He had fluffy fur on his hands, covering a bit of the makeup on them that matched the makeup on his face. He gave her a shy smile, turning to look at the ground. “Thank… Thank you! I um… I actually - actually made… made it myself. While I was… recovering.”
She was happy he had turned away from her, because if he hadn’t she was certain he would have caught the flinch that ran through her body at the reminder of what happened months ago. “Oh… cool.”
That sounded too strained.
Time to go! “C’mon, Let’s go party!”
Xiaojiao pulled him towards his front door, ignoring Sun’s cry of alarm as she opened it.Xiaotian let out a wispy laugh at her antics, “Xiao-Xiaojiao, wait! I gotta… gotta get my keys first.”
She let his arm go so he could do so. He gave her a smile, “Okay, one… one sec.”
He ran back to his little kitchen, picking up a key with a monkey keychain. He then moved to where Sun, who made a loud meow, was now standing. “You ready to… to go bud?”
Xiaotian bent down a bit so Sun could jump onto his shoulders, fixing his cape and tubing once the striped ‘tabby’ was situated. “Okay… I’m-I’m ready!”
Xiaojiao, moved out of the way to let him leave first, then followed him as he locked the door and walked down to the noodle shop. Tang Shifu and Head Chef Zhu were at the counter talking, but paused their conversation as the metal cart hit the floor of the store. Tang looked at the two excited kids and chuckled, “Seems like you guys are excited tonight.”
“Yeah! We’re going to a Halloween party tonight.”
“That explains the costumes, I guess. Where’s the party you’re going to?”
Xiaojiao pulled a flyer out of her pocket and shoved it in Tang Shifu’s face as she quickly spoke. “Anti-Gravity Arcade! I thought it’d be cool if me and Xiaotian went, it’d totally be fun.”
The two adults shared a look before looking at Xiaotian.
Xiaojiao opened her mouth, ready to try and convince the two that he’d be ok-.
When Xiaotian moved in front of her and softly spoke. “I’ll… I’ll be fine Z-Zhu I promise! I’ll stay… stay with Xiaojiao and - and Sun is coming... with me. He’ll tell her… tell her if something is wrong!”
‘Sun’ let out a loud mrrow from where he was on Xiaotian’s shoulders, seemingly confirming the kid’s words. Head Chef Zhu looked the kid up and down for a moment. Then he sighed, “...Alright kid. But, I’m driving you over there!”
Xiaotian let out a breathless yell of excitement and grabbed his canister cart, excitedly following Head Chef Zhu to the truck. Xiaojiao ran out behind them, pulling the keys to her bike out as she did so.
Tang Shifu let out a laugh as he watched the three leave. “Have fun!”
Xiaotian stepped out of the truck, waving goodbye as he did so. He barely took a step away from the truck when Xiaojiao grabbed his hand, “Come on Xiaotian!”
She pulled him into the arcade. It was decorated in orange and purple lighting, with cut out creatures on the walls and the games. The dance floor and the area above it was filled with people in different costumes dancing and shouting and just having a good time.
It was… a bit intimidating for Xiaotian in all honesty. He had spent the past month away from everyone to heal, so maybe… maybe this wasn’t the best idea to reintroduce himself to the scene.
He gently pulled his hand out of Xiaojiao’s own. She didn’t seem to notice though as she ran over to the dance floor and joined the party. Sun turned to him, giving him a worried mrowww. Xiaotian brought a hand up to his head and gently scratched behind his ear. "I'm… I'm fine bud. I just… I don't think th-that going over there… considering this."
He lifted the cart up a bit.
Sun looked at it, then him… before yawning and settling back down on his shoulders.
He smiled at his little friend then headed towards an area a little ways away from the dance floor where a snack table had been set up. He grabbed some punch and turned to watch the other partygoers.
As the party continued Xiaotian found himself gently moving to the beat as well, making sure not to mess with Sun though as he did so.
The loud music made Xiaotian’s chest feel funny, but in a good way. He felt as though the beat of the music was a part of him, his heart moving in time to it.
It was surprisingly nice. He missed this-
"Whoa!" Someone fell onto the floor in front of Xiaotian, barely missing him with their own punch. He bent down as he asked, "Are… are you okay?"
The person groaned as they got up, "Yeah, yeah I'm good - whoa. Sick costume bro, who are you?!"
Xiaotian was taken back by the sudden change for a moment before he answered, "Oh um… I'm- I'm the Monkey King."
" Sweet . You here for the costume contest?"
The what? He opened his mouth to ask the other party goer about it-.
“Oh yeah! You should totally join it, Xiaotian!” He startled, accidently spilling his drink on the ground. She grabbed his shoulders which caused Sun to growl at her, but she didn’t seem to notice (or ignored it).
“I’m not… not sure Xiaojiao.”
“Why not? It’d be fun bro! Maybe you can even summon a clone or something to up the excitement.”
"W-what?! I… I don't even know if I can still do that Xiaojiao!"
She sent a curious look at Sun, which he didn't understand since Sun was just a cat no matter how smart the fluffy feline was, before shrugging. “Well it wouldn’t hurt to try right? If it works, then that’d add to your costume! If it doesn’t, then well no harm no foul - everyon knows the Monkey King can make clones with his hair and assume that you were making a nod to that.”
He looked at the stage near the front of the dancefloor. Usually filled with DJ equipment, the stage was actually mostly empty. The DJ had been pushed to the back to, at least he assumed to, make room for the contestants. He hadn’t… really been in the spotlight since his attack, hell this was the first time he’d really been anywhere.
...But, it did sound fun.
“O-okay. I’ll join in!”
“Awesome, let’s get you signed up!”
“Alright party people , look up here please!”
Xiaojiao pushed her way through the crowd with ‘Sun’ on her shoulders until the two were near the front, and she started to scratch his ear as she searched the lineup trying to catch her friend’s eyes.
He was number 8 in the lineup, shyly standing up there among the other costumed contestants. Maybe it was her own bias, but in her opinion he was the best contestant out of the lineup. He had clearly spent a lot of time on his costume now that she looked at it more closely. All the colors matched Wukong’s to a t, even the more complicated parts lined up like the cloth around his waist and thighs. He shifted a bit, messing with the red cape.
The DJ caught her attention again as he voice boomed through the area, “It’s time for our costume contest to commence, yo! Y’all ready to see some rockin’ costumes!?”
The crowd cheered at his question.
He gave them a grin, before holding his hand up to his ear, “I can’t hear you, party people! I said, are you ready to see some rocking costumes??!!”
This time the place shook with the crowd's cries. “Alright! Let’s hear it for our first contestant now!”
A girl dressed up like a cat came forward, turning and striking a pose to the audience who roared in excitement. “Nice job, contestant numba~ one ! Now~ let’s give a warm welcome to contestant number two!! ”
Xiaojiao let her mind wander as he went down the lineup, waiting for him to call Xiaotian up. She wondered if telling Xiaotian to try and summon a clone was a good idea now, considering how he still had issues some days just getting out of his apartment, and if he did summon one what would happen if one of their enemies noticed? Would they go after him? Would he be able to defend himself? But it was sort of… too late to stop him.
And besides, ‘Sun’ was almost always with him, so he should be fine.
“And now , let’s give a warm hello to contestant~ number eight !”
Xiaojiao came back to the present, quickly allowing her cheer to join the crowd’s.
Xiaotian walked forward onto the front of the stage, looking a bit worried.
Xiaojiao sent him a big thumbs up from her place in the front row, and he gave her a small smile of his own then took in a soft but deep breath.
He pulled out a bit of dyed hair.
Slowly he brought it up to his lips…
And gently blew it away from him.
The hair flew around the stage for a moment, then fluttered down onto it.
It sat there for a moment, long enough for whispering to grow within the audience, then it… it glowed.
It bounced up in a burst of golden light before bursting!
It blinded the audience, making them shield their eyes. When they pulled their hands away…
A clone was standing there, right in front of Xiaotian and dressed exactly like him minus his oxygen cords and tank.
The crowd stood silently for a second before erupting into chaos.
The clone stood proudly on the stage, basking in the light for a moment as he ate the praise of the audience up. Then he moved a hand to his ear...
to the gasps of the audience he summoned…
The clone summoned the Monkey King’s staff.
Xiaojiao felt her breath leave her at the sight, the roar of the audience become garbled as she focused on the staff.
She… she didn’t know the clones could do that. Hell, Xiaotian couldn’t even do that.
When he came back home from the hospital he had tried summoning it… only for it not to appear.
The Monkey King had thought maybe because of how badly he had been hurt still, the staff wouldn’t come out because it’s weight might hurt him more if he tried lifting it. So they had waited… but he still couldn’t summon it months later. Wukong had summoned it for him, and that’s when they discovered he couldn’t lift it anymore… but she could.
She came back to the present.
The contest, or at least the portion where the contestants showed off their costumes, had ended. The crowd was still around her though, milling around and discussing who they’d vote for. She was satisfied to hear many of them say they’d be voting for Xiaotian.
Oh, right. Xiaotian had been calling her. She stood on her toes and looked around the area, trying to find him.
He was standing near the stage, leaning against it as he stood on his tiptoes and tried his best to find her among the crowd. She quickly moved his way.
He shot her a beaming smile when they locked eyes and started quickly walking over to her. Once they were close to each other ‘Sun’ jumped from her shoulders onto his.
Her friend let out a wheezy laugh and brought one hand up to pet his fluffy companion and the other to fix the clear tubing. Once it was fixed he gave her the most excited look she’d seen cross his face in months. He quickly tried to speak, “Di-did you… you see me up - up there Xiajiao?! I - I think…. Th-think I did really well!”
“Yeah, you were totally awesome dude! You’re totally going to win.”
He gave her a bashful smile. “I… I don’t think I was that good.”
“You totally were.”
The sound of microphone feedback interrupted their conversation.
“Alright, porty peeps~! Listen up now as I tally in the votes!”
A hush fell over the crowd as they waited in anticipation. The two friends turned towards the stage, watching the DJ count the slips of paper within his hands.
It felt like an eternity for him to go through all the papers. Once he did he set them on the equipment, letting the crowd start to buzz with impatience.
He raised his hand, and the audience took in a collective breath. “The winner is…”
His finger shot towards Xiaotian, causing a spotlight to fall on him. “NUMBAH 8!!”
The crowd erupted into chaos.
The cheers shook the floor they stood on and several people close to them congratulated a blushing Xiaotian. Someone even picked him up in their excitement, getting an angry ‘Sun’ to the face for their efforts. All in all Xiaojiao found it pretty funny. “Congrats, bud! I told you you’d win.”
He sent her a small smile as he accepted the prize from the contest - a bag of candy and tokens.
“Let’s celebrate porty peeps!”
The DJ slammed the volume of the music up, drowning the place (and Xiaotian) in the synthetic waves of the music. He opened his mouth to say something-
The party goers crowded back onto the dance floor.
She didn’t join the others this time though. Instead she pulled Xiaotian to the side and started partying with him, being careful not to hit his cart.
The wind rushed against Wukong’s fur as he headed back to Xiaotian’s apartment.
Well, he guessed ‘home’ now, since he stayed there more often than not after Macaque’s attack. He looked down at the kid held in his arms, softly sleeping.
He had fallen asleep shortly after the excitement of the contest, which he wasn’t really surprised by. He was honestly impressed he made it to 11 considering how usually he’d be asleep by 9 after his attack.
“We got one block left till we’re there!” He was surprised though that Xiaojiao was still up though. In fact she had about the same amount of energy as she did at the party, so maybe she just never slept. He’d be fine if it stayed a mystery.
The original plan had been they’d use Xiaojiao’s bike to drive him back home, but sometime during the party someone had slashed the tires of it. So instead she had to call someone to tow it, but that left her without a way home. So Wukong had shifted back into his normal form and picked up Xiaotian’s sleeping form. Then he turned to Xiaojiao, offering a ride to their apartment as well. Xiaotian wouldn’t mind after all, she was basically family to him.
She jumped onto his back, and he quickly headed home. Xiaojiao shouted again, “We’re… we’re here!”
She sounded tired this time.
He slowed down, stepping onto the porch and opening the window with his tail.
He set Xiaotian on the bed, making sure to switch his tubing for his mask and turning the small device on. Then he set Xiaojiao on the couch, letting his thoughts wander as he did so.
He couldn’t think of anyone who would, and after a few minutes he decided to sleep on it. He turned in Sun and jumped onto Xiaotian’s bed, nestling against his neck so he could hear the kid’s heartbeat, and drifted off to sleep.
He didn’t notice the shadow in the window, glaring at the trio before disappearing.
Bonus little treats~! Happy Halloween y'all: