C.4 - Boys Will Be Boys
"Are you sure you'll be alright out there? I don't want to find out that you lost all your gear and had to find shelter in a creepy cabin!"
"Oh don't worry Nana, we'll be fine! We're all adventurers and outdoorsmen here!"
Nana, the heart of the Ice Climbers duo, reluctantly stood down as Popo reassured her. It was the weekend at the Smash Mansion and many of the fighters were off doing their own thing. Some liked to visit the nearby city or family while others stayed at the mansion to train or spar with willing partners. For Popo, he had the grand idea to pack up camping equipment and spend the weekend in the woods with a few close friends. There was Toon Link, Ness, the male Villager, and even Lucas. This whole camping trip, in fact, was organized to celebrate Lucas' return, as all the boys were overjoyed to see him back.
Though Popo and Nana were not participating in this year's tournament, they stopped by every now and then to catch up with old friends.
"Status report! Toony, no problems with the tent?"
"Tent and sleeping bags are primed and ready!" Toon Link exclaimed with gusto.
"I got the axe, fishing rods and bug nets!" the male Villager cheered. "I even brought a shovel in case we find something cool!"
"I-I have the m-map and compass, and other things," Lucas said as he struggled with his backpack.
"Okay! And I've got the water and food," Ness added with a nod of his head.
Popo clapped his hands and pointed to the woods beyond the Smash Mansion. His antics went unappreciated by Nana and the female Villager who stood nearby to make sure they all were really ready for the woods. Though everyone was happy to see Lucas return, it was Popo and Toon Link's idea to gather all the boys to celebrate out in the woods. And, seeing as they were boys, that meant no girls allowed. It was nothing personal of course. Boys will be boys!
"Alright everyone! Let's move out!" Popo ordered. With a wave of his hand the group began to make their way down a forest trail. "So long you two! We'll be back Monday morning!"
With a hearty whoop and the beginnings of a scout song the boys trudged down the forest trail and soon dipped out of sight. Nana sighed and looked after them, tempted to follow them along just to make sure they would be alright. She noticed the pink-haired Villager next to her and took comfort in her usual bright smile. Like many characters from Animal Crossing, the female Villager was no stranger to seeing good friends go away for awhile. She patted Nana's shoulder and turned her away to head back into the mansion.
"They'll be fine. Uno knows how to handle himself out in the woods, and I'm certain everyone else does too. The only thing they'll have to worry about is the weather, but if they're smart, they'll camp often," the female Villager, Hoa, replied.
"I guess you're right," Nana agreed. "Plus, if they run into any wolves, Ness or Lucas could scare them off with their PK powers."
"Aye, that's the spirit! You just gotta keep thinking positive." Hoa shrugged her shoulders. "I mean seriously... These are five stubborn boys who know how to handle themselves in the great outdoors. What could possibly go wrong?"
"Hmm... Poison ivy, splinters, insect bites, bee stings and terrible colds..." Dr. Mario looked down from his checklist and to the five boys occupying a bench in his clinic. "Looks like you boys had plenty of fun!"
Yes, what could possibly go wrong did in fact, go wrong. After the weekend was over and Monday morning rolled along, Nana and Hoa found the boys trudging back up to the Smash Mansion with mud up to their knees, bites and rashes over their skin and a distinctive lack of equipment. They looked like they had just been through hell and back instead of having gone on a lovely camping trip. It appeared that the boys had suffered too many setbacks out in the woods and got themselves lost while losing bits and pieces of valuable equipment. It was a relief that they managed to get back to the mansion at all!
Every boy gathered had something wrong with them from Toon Link's cold to Uno's stung face. Only Lucas seemed the most well-off out of the bunch with just a mild poison ivy rash.
"I'm afraid most of you will have to miss out on smash battles for a few days, at least until you're all better," Mario explained. He looked over to Lucas and Popo. "I don't-a want to keep any of you waiting for me, so... Lucas? Popo? Why don't you both go and take a nice warm bath and put on some clean clothes? The oil sticks well to clothes and skin, so wash well and come back."
"Ugh... I think I got a cold too," Popo whined as he sat up with Lucas. Both couldn't fight the urge to itch. "Nana's going to give me a stern talking to when I see her again."
As Popo and Lucas scampered off to take a bath, Uno the Villager looked to the others and groveled.
"I'm sorry guys, I didn't know about the beehives and insect nests."
"You didn't even hear the buzzing, did you?" Toon Link asked before sneezing. "Th-that was the first thing I noticed when we set up camp..."
"I just thought that someone was hungry, or that mosquitos were around! I'm not in Animal Village, so who was I to know what kinds of bugs there were around here?"
"True, true, but that didn't mean you had to pocket the beehive!" Ness shouted. He too was covered in stings and bites. "You brought a husk of destruction along. Didn't that seem like a terrible idea to you?"
"Hey! I thought it was empty after the first barrage! I was going to take it and sell it off to get some medicine!" Uno said in his defense.
"Well, it didn't work out now, did it?" Toon Link retorted.
Mario took the opportunity to step in.
"Boys, boys! Passing blame won't-a help anybody," he interjected with a comforting tone of voice. He clasped his hands together and looked over to Toon Link. "You should go and take a bath as well. With all that dirt on you I can't figure out if it's only a cold or something else."
The hero of the seas sneezed again and got up from the bench. When he went off, both Ness and the Villager glared at the doctor.
"Hey! Why do they get to go clean up before us?" Ness asked.
"Ah, well, their problems are minor compared to yours. Toon Link has splinters in his skin, but a good bath will help him out with that cold, along with some rest. As for you two, I want to make sure no stingers are left in either of you!" The portly plumber/doctor flicked on a small flashlight to examine Ness and Uno. "When were you stung?"
"I think it was... Sunday morning?" Uno wondered aloud as he looked over to Ness for confirmation. "Yeah, that, then the afternoon when they started coming out of my pockets."
"So it's been more than 24 hours since you both were last stung..." Mario rubbed his chin and hummed in thought. He turned off his flashlight and stood up straight. "I see you tried your hand at first aid. Not the best work, but every little bit counts. Let's-a-go and see what I can do for you."
Mario went off to his medicine cabinet and took out a pair of tweezers, a roll of bandages, some ointment and antibiotic cream. He glanced over his shoulder at Ness and Uno and took notice of how uncomfortable they looked before reaching back into the cabinet and pulling out a few antihistamines for the itching. A part of Mario liked taking care of children. Working in the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario had to take care of a few Toad children and found that he enjoyed every minute of it. Though impatient and somewhat annoying at times, they were very grateful for everything that was handed to them.
The doctor came back with his supplies and worked the two boys over with his tweezers getting stingers out. How on earth these boys managed to walk around with barbs in their arms and stingers in their necks was incredible. Luigi could hardly stand having a hangnail and yet these boys were sitting there without a problem. Well, of course they flinched, cringed and cried out when Mario pulled out a few thorns and the like, but on the whole they were troopers.
"I miss instant-use medicine packets!" Uno cried as Mario plucked stingers out of his cheeks.
"And I miss having PSI healing!" Ness added as he too went through the same torture.
"I'm not allowed to have rayguns in the clinic after last year's Franklin Badge incident," Mario reminded them. "And even then, I doubt I would shoot one of my patients, even if it had the potential to heal them."
"Oh! That's right!" Uno snapped his fingers and looked over to Ness. "The Hypoquatic Oath for doctors!"
"It's the Hippocratic Oath, dingus," Ness corrected. "It means doctors cannot harm their patients, and th- Hey wait a minute!"
Mario had already started on giving Uno his medicine and bandaging him up. He looked up from his work and to Ness with a confused, sheepish smile. Oh boy, this was going to be fun.
"If doctors are supposed to 'do no harm', how come you're fighting all of us, Mario?"
"Well my boy, it's quite simple." Mario stood up straight, clicked his heels together and tweezed his mustache. He smiled, though to Ness and Uno, it was an unnerving one. "You see, I do no harm here, but in Smash Brothers... Anything goes!"
The boys gulped at that and toned their complaints and groans down for the remainder of their visit. Toon Link, Popo and Lucas soon returned and received their own doses of medication for colds and poison ivy while Ness and Uno were covered up in bandages and given antihistamines. Pretty soon the boys were looking much better, though in need of some rest and perhaps a lecture. Mario wasn't the type to give the boys the latter. He knew that Nana and Hoa, the other Villager, were going to do that job for him!
C.5 - Break a Leg, Sonic!
"Now now, there's no need to be so hard on yourself. He'll be just fine."
"In your care, yeah, I know that doc, but I still feel plenty guilty."
The portly plumber in white packed a doctor's bag full with gauze, stockinettes, padding, fiberglass material and other casting supplies. Though most of the smashers enjoyed taking it easy when they had free time, there were those who trained to no end. The Fire Emblem characters, Link, Little Mac and the Wii Fit Trainers could always be found honing their skills in the Smash Mansion's training rooms. They were considerate and didn't push themselves or others too hard when they trained. However, there was always the possibility of injury, even out of combat.
Mario slung his bag over his arm and looked up to the male incarnation of the Wii Fit Trainer.
"Don't-a be. I was expecting something like this to happen ever since he joined us in Brawl."
"You were expecting this?" asked the male.
The two men exited the Smash Clinic and took to the stairs. On the upper floors were gender-separated bathhouses and fighter accommodations. It was required that all fighters had and maintained their own rooms during the Smash tournament, even if a fighter had a home or lodgings somewhere else. Master Hand explained that it was for security reasons as well as for fighters to interact with each other. Sometimes there would be problems between two residents, but in time the problems would be solved.
"Oh yes! I saw his legs and thought it was an accident waiting to happen." Mario chuckled and smoothed out his coat and scrubs as he walked. "So, let me guess. You and your sister saw Sonic and figured he could do with some leg muscle, yes?"
"Yeah," the male Trainer replied abashedly. "His cardiovascular health is impeccable in spite of those chili dogs he guzzles down, but his muscles are near nonexistent. I can't see him lifting anything heavy."
"Mhmm! That's Sonic for you. He's-a pure speed type of person."
"I figured he would have beefed up quite a bit if he went after it like he did running. When I told him about it he said he was willing and able." The male Trainer scratched his nose. "I wasn't expecting him to break his leg five minutes in, though."
"Sonic was actually willing to lift weights? That's unlike him," Mario replied with narrowed eyes and a thoughtful grunt. "Then again, some smashers have told me they've been having odd dreams and nightmares. Perhaps this is weighing on the mind and interfering with day-to-day activities? Ah, I'll have to sit down with Sonic and ask him what he thinks."
After a few more topics had been tossed around, Mario and the male Trainer reached Sonic's room. The blue emblem of the speedster's head was plastered to the door along with a few paper notices, usually about some kind of party hosted by one of the many princesses around the mansion. Mario bid farewell to the Trainer, seeing as he didn't need him for this house call, and raised his gloved hand to the door. He knocked six times, as fitting for the beginnings of his overworld theme.
"Yoohoo! Sonic! It's-a-me, Mario!"
"Huh? Oh Mario! Come on in buddy; door's open," Sonic said from beyond the door.
Mario saw himself into Sonic's room and took a look around. The blue speedster had a disorganized room with papers and clutter strewn about as if he was still in college. Various trophies and pictures of younger, better days could be seen propped up against the furniture and pinned to the walls. Like Mario, Sonic was a very sentimental person and held onto old knick-knacks. Further in Mario could see the blue hedgehog lying in bed with his leg propped up on a throw pillow.
"You look comfortable. That's a good thing," Mario started.
"You know I'd rather be out running, right?" Sonic retorted. He sighed and rested his hands behind his head. "I guess it takes a broken bone for me to finally relax."
"Mhmm. I know just how you're feeling, but any broken bone will put you back, not just a leg. Once I broke my collarbone when I was a teenager. I tried to keep moving and running about, but it only made the pain worse."
"How'd you break your collarbone?" Sonic asked.
"Cycling accident. Anyway, let's see what I can do to help you." Mario leaned over and examined Sonic's right leg. "Mr. Trainer helped prop this leg up, yes? How did you break your leg anyway?"
Sonic hissed when Mario's fingers rain over the point of fracture. He shook his head and uttered another sigh, this time layered with embarrassment.
"He talked me into doing some weightlifting and I said okay. He wanted me to try squats with weights, and I lost my balance and let a weight fall on my leg. Hey, you ever get this thing in your head when someone runs something by you? That little voice that says, 'yeah, that sounds like fun, go ahead'?" Sonic chuckled despite flinching away from Mario's probing fingers. "Lifting weights just seemed right at the moment. I can't really explain it."
The Italian doctor did a few more checks and touch-ups on Sonic's leg before reaching into his doctor's bag. He pulled out a few rolls of thin stockinettes and cotton padding and set them down nearby. Next, he reached up to untie Sonic's right running shoe and gingerly slipped it off along with his sock. With that out of the way Mario unrolled the stockinettes and began to apply them against the broken leg. The fracture wasn't that bad, so it only warranted a short-leg cast.
"Sonic, have you been having odd dreams recently? Any nightmares?"
"Why do you want to know?" Sonic asked. He looked over at his lower leg and noticed how it was being covered in white stockinettes. "I don't see h-"
"I'm just curious. Maybe there's a connection between odd dreams and odd behavior. I mean, I can't see you lifting weights."
"Yeah, good point doc." Sonic thought for a moment. "Uh... You won't tell anyone if I told you, right?"
"Of course! I'm bound by doctor-patient confidentiality. My lips are sealed," Mario reassured his speedy friend.
"Alright, well, I guess I was a little out of it when the Wii Fit Trainer came around. I've been having these weird dreams about fighting these undead creatures, shooting guns and leaping from rooftops into hay piles. Each dream it's like I'm someone completely different too!"
"And when did this start happening?"
Mario finished up on the stockinettes and moved on to cotton padding. He wrapped it around the hedgehog's fractured leg and made sure it was nice and tight before securing it with a little bit of medical tape. It wasn't a cast just yet, but at least Sonic's leg would begin to heal correctly and be comfortable. Mario heard Sonic's uncomfortable whine as he brought out the fiberglass cast material and dipped it in water only to plaster it against the cast in progress.
"Jeez, that's cold!" Sonic grumbled, but he did what he could to keep his leg still. "I guess these dreams started... About five years ago."
"I mean uh, it must have started since the beginning of this year's tournament. I don't remember having any trouble during the Brawl season."
"Odd, very odd, Sonic." Mario rubbed the fiberglass material over the blue speedster's heel and began to work up from there. "A few others have said they've had odd dreams as well. So far it's harmless, other than the loss of sleep and a bit of distraction. I'm sure it's just a passing thing, but if it isn't, I'd recommend a hot drink before bed, like tea."
"Tea? Ugh." Sonic shook his head and stuck out his tongue. "I could never stand that strong stuff. Tails loves it when he's working in the workshop, but me? Nosirebob."
"Not all tea is strong. You should see Princess Peach or Zelda if you're interested." Mario chuckled and looked up at his patient. "But I hear you. I'm not much for tea either. I prefer Starbeans coffee."
At that Sonic chuckled and laid back in his bed. Mario, as a doctor, was a little concerned about the whole dream situation, but he was known to fix problems with the body, not the mind. He wasn't a psychologist. The least he could do was offer odd cultural remedies and his support. Mario smoothed out the rest of the fiberglass material on Sonic's leg and produced some scissors to trim off excess bits. Once he was finished he dusted his hands and placed the remainder of his materials back into his doctor's bag.
"There we go! Now, I want you to stay still for a few minutes while the fiberglass dries out." Mario handed Sonic a piece of paper with a few notes written on it about how to take care of his cast. "I take it this isn't the first time you've had a cast, but just as a reminder, don't push yourself. Rest and relax, bathe with some sort of waterproof protection around the cast, like a plastic bag, and let me know if you experience any pain or swelling."
"Do you know if I could get a crutch?"
"Yes! Thank you for reminding me, as I've forgotten to bring one myself!" Mario slapped his forehead and laughed. "I'll bring one around soon."
"Thanks a lot, doc. I guess sitting down with my feet up isn't so bad," Sonic mused.
"Indeed! In a few days Master Hand is letting us all head to the beach for some well deserved rest and relaxation. You could get a good tan while you're there with the rest of us!" Mario cheered.
Sonic thought that over for a moment before grinning.
"As long as there's a hotdog stand nearby, I'm game!"
Unbeknownst to the plumber and speedster, there was something afoot. Somewhere in the Smash Mansion there had been a disturbance of peace and quiet, and it went under the radar of all but one of the smashers. Samus, having finished her own training, came out from the woman's locker room with a towel around her shoulders and went to head upstairs when she noticed a cardboard box in the corner of her vision. At first she paid it no mind as it was just an ordinary box of no significance, but she thought about just that and turned on her heel. The ordinary, completely inconspicuous cardboard box had disappeared without a trace.
And Samus, being the gung-ho bounty hunter she was, knew who was to blame. At least, that's what she thought at first...