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Hi all! First attempt at fanfiction, inspired by a discussion about the ridiculousness of the Kanohi Faxon. It got me thinking about creative ways one could annoy people using the mask- and what might happen to Jaller if he and Hahli ever had a massive argument. Basically it takes the good old "wife makes husband sleep on couch" cliche in a new direction. A bit fluffy, a bit cracky, and definitely shippy (Jaller x Hahli or Jaller x Hahli x Takanuva, depending on your interpretation)- I thought the style was more like a short story, though it could easily qualify as a comedy, so please move if appropriate. The idea was for a silly fic that was still mostly consistent with the canon "rules". Enjoy! The Argument For the third evening in a row, Toa Jaller was regretting not being a bit more discerning when he bought the furniture for his home in New Atero. Not that there had been much to choose from at the time- Bara Magna’s furniture industry hadn’t exactly been thriving since the Shattering… But if he’d waited a few more weeks for the Matoran to get settled back into crafting, he could have got something much nicer than the battered, threadbare brown couch he was currently stretched out on. It was probably well over a thousand years old, and parts of it had clearly been scavenged for other uses at some point. Something metallic was jabbing him in the back. He rolled over and shoved the wayward spring back down where it belonged. Jaller wasn’t fussy about couches. It wasn’t as though Toa spent much time sitting down anyway, he’d reasoned. And he certainly hadn’t considered the possibility that somebody might need to sleep on it at some point. Or that the “somebody” might be him. Now, beds- beds were a different story. He’d been very particular about the bed. Toa need to sleep properly when the lives of others are in their hands. Perhaps they’d gone a bit overboard with the bed. It was large and strong enough to withstand a bellyflop from a Toa Kaita (which he knew from experience- the Agori furniture salesman had nearly fainted at the sight), and the mattress was very comfortable. It was a great bed. Too bad he wasn’t currently allowed to use it. It was still light outside. He knew he wasn’t going to be able to sleep for several hours, regardless of how much he might want to. Toa really only needed to sleep every few days- they could go for about a week without if they had to- but he’d been helping build the new Great Furnace in Ta-Atero. His muscles ached, and he knew his ability to focus had been compromised. But it wasn’t just the horrible couch or the aches and pains keeping him awake. Takanuva had disappeared off to Bota Magna as part of an expedition led by Onua Nuva over three weeks ago and hadn’t come back- Jaller and Hahli had been out on another mission when Takanuva was unexpectedly recruited, so they hadn’t even been able to say goodbye. And as often as he told himself the Toa of light would be okay, his hope was fading by the day. He was starting to plan a search party of his own, but had no idea where to start looking. And then there was the whole mess between him and Hahli, which showed no signs of being – Click. Jaller sat bolt upright . Click. Rattle. Click click. Yes, that was definitely the sound of a key in the front door. “Hello? Anyone home?” called a familiar voice. Jaller leapt to his feet and ran down the hall. He was startled to see a mottled green figure hunched under a heavy pack trudge through the door, but relaxed upon seeing the familiar shape of the Kanohi Avokhii as the figure discarded his backpack and stood up straight. “Jaller!” cried Takanuva, flinging his arms around the Toa of Fire. “How are you?” “Tired, but a bit better now.” said Jaller vaguely, “More importantly, how are you?” “Good! Yeah, really good! I was-” “Oh? Are you sure? You’re looking a bit… green.” The pun would normally be well beneath Jaller’s dignity, but he was tired, and Takanuva was back, so it didn’t really matter. “Hm? Oh, yeah, the camouflage!” He switched back to his normal white and gold colouration, revealing a thick layer of mud and grime crusting his armour. “Uh… I guess I should get Hahli to squirt me down before I get any further…” “Don’t worry about that,” said Jaller a little too quickly, then had an idea. “Hold still”. He touched one of the dirty patches on Takanuva’s shoulder armour, causing only the surface to heat up without affecting the organic tissue beneath. The muck dried up into a brittle coating that flaked away easily. “You should get Nuparu to make a machine that does that,” said Takanuva, looking impressed as Jaller worked at the rest of his armour. “Water-free bathtimes! He’d make a killing with the Le-Matoran market.” “You’ll still need a bath later,” said Jaller with a sniff. “You’ve still got that boggy smell, but at least you won’t make the whole house look like a swamp-There,” he said when he had finished, handing Takanuva a brush. “Go dust yourself off outside.” Takanuva obliged. Jaller got a cloth and started wiping up the muddy footprints. He wondered how he was going to explain about Hahli… A few minutes later, Takanuva had flopped down on the couch, and Jaller was hearing tales of laser-powered lizards, plant people, and awkward rescues. “So you found him?” “Lewa? Yeah! He was sort of being held prisoner by a tribe of Agori, but he’d sort of made friends with them, so he was sort of happy that we rescued him, but… well, it’s complicated, apparently. Anyway, he made sure Onua didn’t beat anyone up too badly, so I think it went well. He promised them he’d come back to visit now and then.” “And what if they kidnap him again?” “Then at least we’ll know where to find him. Besides, I think they’re all too scared of Onua to try that.” Takanuva chuckled. “So, is Hahli not home?” “Not sure, might have to check,” lied Jaller. “Want some tea?” “Oh, yeah, that’d be great- I can make it if you like-” He moved to rise. Jaller dismissed his offer with a wave. “Faster if I do it.” he said, and then left for the kitchen. Jalle waved his hand over the dry wood in the stove, causing flames to instantly spring up. He filled a pot and hung it over the fire to boil. He could have snapped his fingers and boiled it immediately, but it never seemed to taste quite the same when he did that. Besides, he needed to do a quick detour before getting back to Takanuva. Jaller trudged down the hall, arrived at the bedroom door and thumped loudly on it three times with his fist. “Takanuva’s back, if you felt like being sociable,” he called gruffly to the room’s occupant. There was no response. Well, he supposed that was to be expected given how the last few days had been. He returned to the living room with two mugs of tea, setting them down on the table in front of Takanuva. The Toa of Light looked uncharacteristically serious. “Did… something happen between you and Hahli?” asked Takanuva. Jaller froze. His silence was as good as a “yes” as far as Takanuva was concerned. “How do you mean?” said Jaller warily. Takanuva gestured to the blanket and pillow crumpled in a pile on the couch next to him. “You’ve been sleeping in here,” he observed. “Long story,” muttered Jaller. “Short version?” Jaller sighed. “I’m sleeping in the living room because my bed has been hijacked by a giant blue Muaka.” he said finally. “You don’t need to be sarcastic.” “I’m not.” There was a pause. Takanuva’s eyes widened as he processed this information. “You mean there really is a Muaka?” “Yes.” “On the bed.” “Yes.” “A real Muaka?” “No.” A look of confusion crossed the Toa of Light’s face, but Jaller offered no further explanation. “Can I see it?” asked Takanuva after a few seconds’ silence. “Go ahead. Maybe you can talk some sense into her. Wouldn’t advise getting too close, though.” While Takanuva somewhat doubted his ability to “talk some sense” into large, carnivorous wild animals, his curiosity once again triumphed over his self preservation instincts. Forgetting about the tea, he jumped to his feet and made his way down the hall. Cautiously, he opened the bedroom door and peered inside. Yes, there was indeed a large, feline Rahi curled up on the bed, eyes closed, its massive head resting lazily upon its forelimbs. And yes, it did look like a Muaka, more or less… but there were a few odd features that stood out. Like the presence of two powerful, clawed hind legs in place of treads. And the colouring was all wrong. Muaka were yellow and black- this one was mostly deep blue, with occasional patches of lime green. But most peculiar of all was the pair of little silver fins- tiny and delicate in comparison to the rest of the beast- protruding ridiculously from the creature’s broad, muscular back. Takanuva wondered at first how it could have possibly got in there- it was too big to fit through the Toa-sized doorway, or any of the windows for that matter. His attention was suddenly drawn back to the strange creature’s fins- bizarre and out of place, and yet oddly familiar. His eyes widened in horror as he suddenly recognised the silver appendages- and the creature they belonged to. “H-Hahli?” he choked. The feline Toa of Water opened one amber eye and gave a soft grunt of acknowledgement before getting back to her nap. “What happened-?” Takanuva started, cautiously moving towards her. “Somebody figured out she could borrow the Krahka’s shapeshifting power using the Faxon, and decided to exploit it for the purpose of throwing a tantrum, that’s what happened,” said Jaller bluntly. Takanuva’s horrified expression instantly dissolved into a massive grin. Partly out of relief that Hahli hadn’t had an overdose of Hordika venom or lost a fight with Roodaka in his absence, and partly at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. Any delusions he’d had about Toa being unfailingly wise, majestic beings untroubled by petty concerns had been dispelled long ago (well, within a few days of first meeting Tahu, actually). He’d seen a variety of Toa sulks, tantrums and hissy-fits over the years- but this… this took sulking to a new level. He had to give points for Hahli’s ingenuity. Although, he supposed, her approach was much safer that angrily throwing fireballs around, at least. “I can’t leave you two alone for a minute, can I?” said Takanuva, shaking his head. “You’re one to talk,” Jaller snapped. Takanuva whirled around, surprised at his tone. Jaller composed himself and elaborated. “We were out for less than a day, and came back to find you’d trotted off to Bota Magna to go frolicking through the forest with the laser lizards for Mata-Nui-know-how-long, and we didn’t see you again for three weeks! What do you call that?” “Is that your way of saying that you missed me?” said Takanuva innocently. Jaller still looked stern. “Besides, that wasn’t my idea… for once… and Lewa sort of needed rescuing. Y’know how you’re always going on about that duty thing I’m supposed to do?” “Mmhm… fair enough…” Jaller murmured vaguely. “Just… just don’t take off like that again anytime soon ‘kay?” It was then that Takanuva realised how Jaller must have worried about him, and how much it had drained the Toa of Fire, though he’d never admit it outright. He put a reassuring arm around Jaller’s shoulder, and the two gazed at the Muaka-shaped Toa occupying the bed. Takanuva noticed that the Kanohi Faxon was now attached to Hahli’s cheek, like he had seen on some of Makuta’s infected creatures. “So,” he said to Jaller, “If you pulled her mask off right now, do you think she’d change back? Or would she be stuck like that?” “I’d be in even more trouble either way, so I can’t say I really care to find out,” said Jaller flatly, looking at the wicked talons on Hahli’s forepaws. “You can try… if you don’t particularly value your life.” Takanuva chuckled, and released Jaller. “Oh, no, I’m not taking sides in this one- ‘specially since you haven’t even told me what you two are fighting about.” A grunt from Jaller indicated that this was not about to change. “But I do want you to get some sleep, and… I want you two to get this sorted out… I don’t like to see you and Hahli fight,” he paused briefly as Hahli yawned and stretched out her forelegs. Her fins gave a comical little flap, and her head swayed from side to side, before she once again settled down, paws crossed, watching her fellow Toa intently. The Toa of light grinned again. “Even if it is ever-so-slightly hilarious.” “Oh, yes. Hysterical.” said Jaller curtly. He glared at the blue creature. “Well, Hahli, I’m glad you’ve found someone who thinks you’re funny. A rare and precious treasure indeed.” “Cheer up,” said Takanuva, nudging him. “I mean, it could be much worse, couldn’t it?” Jaller glowered at him. “She can use all the Kanoka powers of the Rahi Nui, remember?” The Toa of light continued. “Freezing… teleportation… shrinking… I mean, having to sleep on the couch might not be fun, but at least you’re not sleeping on the other side of the planet… Or in a matchbox.” Takanuva managed to keep a straight face for about half a second before the mental image caught up with him, and he burst out giggling. The blue Muaka gave a low, rumbling sound that might almost have been a chortle. A faint smile even tugged at Jaller’s lips, though there was a slight look of worry in his eyes. “Don’t give her ideas,” he told Takanuva, as if possibly ending up one inch tall and being used to light candles was a serious concern of his. Takanuva reasoned that regardless of her current appearance, if Hahli was in a good enough mood to laugh at his jokes, he was probably safe around her, so he plucked up the courage to get closer. “Hello Hahli,” he murmured, crouching down in front of the Muaka’s massive head. The Rahi-shaped Toa extended her neck forward, brushing her snout against Takanuva’s shoulder. “Yeah, I missed you too,” Takanuva told her, and then, resisting all of his body’s natural survival instincts, put his arm around the great feline’s neck. A growl of disgust from Jaller made Takanuva turn around. “I told you, Jaller, I’m not taking sides,” said the Toa of Light calmly. “Look, I don’t know exactly what happened between you two, and I realise it can’t have been good, but I still care about both of you, and that’s not going to change just because one of you has turned into a big, growling, surly sulk-monster and the other one has turned into a Muak- Aaaaah!” For while his back was turned, the beast of the bedroom had struck. A powerful foreleg had whipped around, seized the Toa of light by the waist, and in a split second he found himself sitting upright on the bed, held tight against the Muaka’s torso, like a plush doll being cuddled by a small Agori child. Hahli’s claws had never touched him- he was pinned down by the strength of the huge limb resting across his legs- powerful, but surprisingly light. The feline gave a low yowl at the Toa of Fire. Jaller thought it sounded suspiciously like the word “Mine.” He shook his head. “Great, now she’s started taking hostages.” “Little help here?” gasped Takanuva. Jaller just shrugged. “I did warn you not to get too close” he said, still having not quite forgiven Takanuva for the “sulk-monster” remark. He gave an exaggerated yawn. “Besides, as you know, I’m very tired right now, so if you two are all set up for the night, I think I should go have my nap. Good night.” “I don’t know why I bothered coming back to you jerks!” Takanuva called out as Jaller walked out the door. “I should have just stayed in Bota Magna with the laser-saurs!” And then, as an afterthought, “I didn’t even get to have my tea!” Resigning himself to his fate, Takanuva reached out and grabbed a pillow from the bedhead, stuffed it behind his shoulders, and tried to get comfortable against the wall of armour and muscle that Toa Hahli’s torso currently resembled. Hahli’s enormous head snaked around and nuzzled against his chest. “No, don’t start that, you horrible creature,” he muttered. But in spite of himself, he soon found his knuckles brushing gently against the Muaka’s forehead as he drifted off to sleep. --- Later in the night, Jaller, in spite of his intent on napping, was still wide awake. It hadn’t been fair on Takanuva for him to come back to this mess. Takanuva generally didn’t hang around awkward situations or difficult people very long. If they carried on like this, he’d be gone again before they knew it. And the fact that he was unable to tell Takanuva- of all people- what had happened- that was very telling. It sounded bad because it was. He knew it was his fault. And he had to fix it. He hauled himself off the couch and made his way towards the bedroom. “Hahli, ” he whispered. No response. Takanuva was in the same spot he’d been left in, curled up, fast asleep, but the feline was now stretched out on her back, all four limbs in the air. Jaller wondered how she’d got like that without waking Takanuva. “Hahli!” There was a high-pitched trilling noise, like Pewku used to make when woken, and the amber eyes cracked open. They regarded Jaller with a mixture of curiosity and annoyance. “I wanted to tell you I’m sorry,” he said. No response. “I am. And it’s okay if you can’t forgive me right away… but, I just wanted you to know that.” He pointed at Takanuva. “Just… don’t take it out on him, okay? We’re both being unreasonable idiots towards each other, and we’re gonna end up hurting him as well if we keep this up. But I know I started it all, so… just… don’t become a horrible person because of me, okay?” The Muaka sighed, and gave an upside-down nod. “Okay,” said Toa Hahli. Her voice was slightly growly, but still recognisable. Jaller was caught off guard by the talking Muaka- so much so that he didn’t see its head whip round to knock him to the side. “Oof!” This was followed up by a swipe of the paw, scooping him up onto her chest and pinning him there. “Still gonna be a horrible Rahi for a bit, though,” said the horrible Rahi, sighing with satisfaction at her most recent “prey”. Jaller sighed. At least they were on speaking terms now. The underbelly of the Muaka was mostly soft organic tissue, Jaller found, running a hand around it. Certainly softer than the couch, anyway. He might almost get a decent half a night’s sleep here... provided Hahli didn’t roll on him. The surface beneath his body began to buzz with a low growly sound. It caught him off guard at first, before he realised what it was. “Pretty sure Muaka don’t purr, Hahli,” he muttered sleepily. Within a few minutes, the purr was intermingled with his snores.