Concept: a 3-5 year time skip while shiro has disappeared into the astral plane or whatever. upon his return the other paladins have aged while he hasn’t. any age gap there could have been is now irrelevant. antis finally shut their disgusting mouths once and for all. peace reigns across the land
Despite the fact that he lived in a big and fancy, futuristic-looking airship, Sportacus was actually not exactly the most tech-savvy guy. However, after HOURS of insistence from the children that his life would be so much easier if he had a cell phone to communicate with people, he finally caved and went to the nearest electronics store to pick out a phone of his own, with the help of Pixel.
It sure was a good thing that he had Pixel there to help him; these “smart phones” were really confusing. Pixel is a very smart boy though, and even someone as technologically inept as Sportacus still managed to figure out the basic functions of the phone, thanks to him.
It really WAS useful, he had learned. Not only had he and the kids grown the habit of texting each other good night before 8:08, but he was also able to easily catch up on current events, and the phone functioned as an excellent planner that reminded him of what he needed to do; which REALLY helped someone like him who had ADHD. He’s also been watching a lot of exercise videos on it and has even downloaded a couple apps to help him keep track of how much he has exercised.
Phones REALLY ARE nice…maybe he’ll write to his family about how useful they are. MAYBE, …he can even give them his new phone number. He doesn’t think that any of the elves back home had cell phones, and it was probably wishful thinking but- …he just really wanted to hear everyone’s voices again….
Getting letters from his family every once in a while really felt special, but sometimes…the wait in between letters made it feel like it wasn’t enough….
It was two in the morning when his phone started to blare out its default ringtone, vibrating from across the room on the floor, over by the outlet where he had it plugged in. The elf groaned, slowly sitting up and attempting to rub the sleep from each of his eyes, but he still felt really tired. He definitely didn’t get his full eight hours of sleep yet; who on Earth would call him at THIS hour? Was someone in trouble? That can’t be it; his crystal wasn’t beeping…
Drowsy and confused, Sportacus climbed out of bed and walked across the room, unplugging his phone. …That’s funny. He didn’t recognize this number…
“Hello?” He yawned. “This is Sportacus…”
“Oh! It works!” A female voice on the other line chimed excitedly from the other line, and Sportacus immediately perked up, feeling his heart jump in his chest and almost completely forgetting the fact that he was tired.
“Mamma!” He cried out into the receiver, his tone frantic as he clutched the phone tighter in his grip. Was it REALLY her? Or was he dreaming? This felt like a dream-
But no, he heard her familiar, warm laughter on the other end, laughter so unique and so distinct to him that he couldn’t rationalize it as possibly belonging to anyone else.
“Yes dear, it’s your mother,” the voice on the other end confirmed it for him, giggling once more before she let out a gasp. “Oh dear! I forgot about what time it is over there! Did I interrupt your sleep, honey?”
“N-no!” the hero immediately stammered, waving his free arm around frantically, even though the other couldn’t see. “I mean- you DID, but it’s really no big deal, mamma. I can stay up and talk,” he said quickly. “I WANT to talk-”
“Okay honey.” His mother laughed again, before letting out a soft sigh. “I’m sorry to have woken you up so early- actually, it’s still pretty early over here too. But your father and I got your letter last night about you getting a cell phone, so we went ahead and left the elf village to go buy one so we could talk to you.”
“You DID?” He asked, his eyes widening as he felt his heart swell in his chest. …They left the elf village and went through all that trouble to do that for HIM?
“Yes, we did,” his mother answered, and Sportacus SWORE that he could feel the warmth of her smile from the other end. “I was going to wait until a little later to call you, but I guess I got excited.”
“No no mamma, it’s NOTHING,” he insisted. “You guys can call me at any time that suits you.”
“Oh, but we want you to get your sleep, darling. We KNOW how important your job is. Next time, we’ll call you at a more reasonable hour. …Maybe we can even do one of those “video chats”…once we figure out how-”
…A video call? A chance to see his family? “…I would really like that,” he told his mother, his mind pulling back to the last time that he had seen everyone’s face. It’s…been a long time. A couple of years, even. He wondered if everybody even looked the same. Being that elves kept to their youth pretty well, they probably did, …but maybe his father was finally beginning to grey? Or his mother got a haircut? Perhaps his brother’s facial hair had gotten longer…
“We would like that too. It really has been a while, hasn’t it?” she noted.
Sportacus swallowed, a but more thickly than he expected. “…Yes,” he told his mother. The more he thought about his family, …the more that he realized that he was sort of forgetting what everyone looked like. “…It really has been a long time- …Umm, mamma, could you fill me in a bit about what’s been going on back home lately?” He asked, hoping that that would get his mind off of it.
“Oh, of course dear! As you know, May is just around the corner, so we’ve all been getting ready for the flower festival. Your father has been spending EXTRA time back in the garden these days.”
Oh! How are his apple trees doing?” he asked. “Has he finally gotten them to sprout sportscan- duhh, fruit?” he asked, correcting himself.
“He HAS,” his mother replied, beaming. “And your father is really proud of himself. It really WAS a stubborn tree. Perhaps we’ll send you a crate of apples- I don’t think your father will take no for an answer anyway-”
“I don’t think he would either,” Sportacus laughed. “Tell him that i’ll take them.” Sure, it was true that Lazytown had more than enough apples for him to eat already- but he still MISSED the distinct taste and crunch of an elvish apple from back home- actually, there were a LOT of things back home that he missed…
“Your brothers are doing well,” his mother continued. “Alfreð still has his job working with the human police,” she told him. “And Magnús and Reginleif are expec- ooh, I probably shouldn’t say more,” she hesitated.
“Shouldn’t say what?” Sportacus asked.
“Well…I feel like Magnús would want to tell you this himself, ..but I’ve probably already said too much. He and Reginleif are expecting a baby.”
“What? Really?” Sportacus sprang up, surprised by this news. “They are? That’s great!”
“Yes honey, they are. But promise me to pretend you heard nothing when he finally tells you that you’re going to be an uncle.”
“My lips are sealed, mamma,” he promised. Wow…he’s going to be an UNCLE. He’s never been one of THOSE before! It really did seem like a lot of fun, when he thought about it, teaching his niece or nephew to play games, and getting to spoil them…but then Sportacus realized something. He’s stuck in Lazytown. He’s going to MISS the birth of his brother’s child. He’s not going to get to meet his niece or nephew in person…
He’s been seeing and missing A LOT, the more he thought about it. This year’s flower festival, and the one the year before it. He’s already missed his brother’s wedding, and now he’s missing his firstborn too. He’s missed every funny dinner table conversation, …and now that he thought of it, he missed his father’s sense of humor. He missed the rolling hills, the streams and waterfalls, he missed getting big group hugs, tackles by his brothers and friends and tickles behind his ears…
“…Dear? You’ve been awfully quiet for a while,” he managed to hear his mother say to him through all of his thoughts. “Are you tired? We can talk again tomorrow.”
“NO, I-” Sportacus swallowed, suddenly feeling tears spring into his eyes. “Don’t go, mamma-” he begged, his voice breaking. “I miss you…”
Before he knew it, he was crying into the receiver, his breath hitching as his body began to rack with sobs. Why was this happening to him so suddenly? Why couldn’t he control it?
“I miss you,” he sobbed out, wiping at his eyes frantically, but the tears just kept coming. “I miss y-you and pabbi, a-and I m-miss Magnús and Alfreð, and I miss HOME…” he hiccuped, feeling his cheeks only get wetter. “A-and I feel b-bad b-because I feel like I’m m-missing out on e-everything that’s i-important to all of you-”
“Oh darling…” His mother put on a sympathetic tone, trying her best to hush her son. “I know, it must be really hard on you, only being allowed to visit once every eight years…and sometimes, it’s hard on us too,” she told him. “There isn’t a day that goes by that the whole family doesn’t think about you. Alexander darling, we love you SO MUCH…and we’re all VERY proud of you,” she said, trying to console him. “Me, your father, your two older brothers, the WHOLE VILLAGE is VERY proud of what you have been doing.”
“Y-you are?” he whimpered out, sniffling and wiping his nose on his wrist.
“Yes, Alexander sweetheart, we are,” she said warmly, comfortingly, using the same tone that she did back in his boyhood whenever he seeked comfort. “The elf council couldn’t have possibly picked a better elf to become the tenth Sportacus. Whenever your father and I read the letters that you send to us, we always smile when we hear about how you’ve been helping the children in your town stay safe and healthy. Yes, we read about what you’ve been doing sometimes and it makes us miss you, …but we’re always so HAPPY to see you write about how much you love your job and what you do. I’m not sure if we say it enough or not, but we’re SO proud of you. You really are making a difference in that community you’ve been taking care of.”
“You are. You’ve been doing EXACTLY what you were assigned to do, and the whole village is proud of that. …Are you happy with what you’re doing?” she asked him.
“I-I AM,” he nodded, wiping his eyes. He was sure of that much. “I LOVE what I do. I love it SO MUCH. I LOVE everyone in Lazytown to pieces.”
“We KNOW you do,” his mother responded warmly, and the hero could feel himself calming down. “And you’ll continue to make all of us proud, each and every day. We LOVE you, darling-”