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by Sara
Rated: E · Short Story · Comedy · #2201522
Lifty and Shifty have the best birthday ever.
The sun slowly rose from the horizon, changing the sky from dark blue to a much lighter shade. The stars slowly faded out of view, just as slowly as the sunrise. It was a beautiful, cool and clear Saturday morning in the forest where the Happy Tree Friends lived.

Aside from every house and business building in the forest, one of the only apartment buildings was completely silent as the rays from the sun cast over it. Every part of it from the halls, to the apartment rooms themselves, to the elevators, were very quiet. The same was for the apartment room of two certain Tree Friends, but only for the beginning of this wonderful day...

In this apartment room, the sun shone through the windows and added a nice touch of brightness to the areas to which they led. In the bedroom, still asleep under the covers, two raccoons were still sleeping together in their double bed. The older of them, Shifty, was on the right hand side, while his slightly younger brother Lifty was sleeping on the left side.

After some time had passed, the digital clock close to Shifty reached 6:00 AM and went off with a repeated beeping sound. Shifty cringed, then opened his eyes slightly. Seeing that his alarm had gone off, he reached his hand up to switch it off, causing the beeping to stop.

Shifty then sat up in bed and stretched his arms, inhaling and sighing as he did so. He looked over at Lifty, who - as though sensing that his brother was awake - slowly opened his eyes as well. He yawned briefly into his hand, then rubbed one of his eyes with his fist.

“Good morning, bro,” Shifty greeted him.

Lifty smiled. “Good morning, Shifty.”

“Well... the day has finally come.” Shifty reached over to his fedora, which had been sitting on the bedpost at the front of the bed, and placed it on his head.

“I know.”

“I’m gonna take a shower real quick, then you can go, too.” Shifty lowered the covers from his body, sat on the edge of his side of the bed and stepped off.

“Alright, then.” Lifty reached over to his smartphone, unplugged it and turned it on. As he checked his email, Shifty went over to the bathroom, turned on the light and shut the door behind him. By the time Lifty was finished doing what he needed to do, he could hear the sound of the shower turning on - not that it bothered him, of course.

Lifty saw that he’d gotten a few new text messages from a few of the Happy Tree Friends. Among them were Lumpy, Sniffles, Cuddles, Giggles and Splendid.

He read Lumpy’s first, which read, “Have a great birthday! :)”, just like that.

Sniffles’ message read, “Hi, Lifty, hope you and Shifty have a happy birthday :3”

Then Cuddles’ message was opened next. “Happy birthday, buddy :D”

Giggles’ message was, “Hey, Lifty, happy birthday *Heart* Hope everything goes well. If not, come over to my house and I’ll cheer you right up!”

The last message, from Splendid, read, “Hoping all of your birthday wishes come true :)”

Lifty couldn’t help but smile. Just the fact that they remembered was enough to warm his heart.

Some time after Shifty had finished his shower and dried off, he stepped out of the bathroom as he put on his fedora. He’d taken it off right before his shower. He looked over at Lifty, still waiting in the bed.

“Your turn.”

Lifty smiled, sat on the edge of the bed and stepped off. Shifty moved out of the way so that Lifty could get in the bathroom himself. By the time he’d gotten in the shower, Shifty was already picked up his own smartphone and looked through it. It turned out he had a few new text messages that he looked at.

They were the same messages that Lumpy and the other Tree Friends sent to Lifty, except Sniffles’ message read, “Hi, Shifty, hope you and Lifty have a happy birthday :3” - that, and Giggles’ message had Lifty’s name replaced with Shifty’s. That being said, Shifty smiled, happy that they’d remembered. He sent a simple smile emoticon to both of them in response.

Finally, the door to the bathroom opened as Lifty stepped out, having just finished his shower as well as having dried off. However, he then saw that Shifty had just left the room. Lifty knew where he was, however, so he stayed calm, picked up his phone and walked out of the bedroom.

Shifty switched on the light to the kitchen, causing the lamp to switch on. He went over to the coffee maker and started making himself some coffee. While he was waiting for the water to heat, however, he got an idea that he smiled over. Shifty reached over to a nearby box and pulled out a silver packet from it.

Upon arriving in the living room, it occurred to Lifty that he hadn’t claimed the daily bonus from one of the luck-based apps he used. He pulled out his phone and opened the app. Just as he claimed the bonus, however, an ad played, but Lifty just turned away and waited for it to end. Once it finally did, the app resumed as normal, but Lifty had done all he needed to. He’d gotten his tokens, anyway.

His coffee now ready, Shifty poured himself a mug and placed it on the dining table, on the side where he normally sat. Finally, Lifty came in and sat on his side of the table as well. In front of him, he saw the silver packet - and instinctively, he picked it up and tore it open. He knew there were going to be a couple of toaster pastries inside, but what he didn’t expect was them to be his all-time favorite flavor. Smiling in joy, he bit into one of them and chewed happily.

“You must really like those, don’t you?” Shifty commented.

Lifty nodded, still chewing. He didn’t realize this, but Shifty was smiling at him. Shifty then picked up the remote and turned on the TV so the raccoons could find something to watch. Finally, they settled on an episode of Tootie. It was the first one, where she and Clara had been kidnapped by the Jet, but Tootie managed to outwit him by using pepper to make him sneeze - even if it later meant Tootie sneezing as well. A great way to start a show about one of the cutest female characters ever, Shifty thought.

Suddenly they heard a knock on the door that led into their apartment. Shifty got up and walked out of the kitchen, leaving Lifty to watch the episode by himself.

When Shifty looked over at the front door, he didn’t see anyone there. However, he did see an envelope slide underneath the door. Out of curiosity, Shifty went over to the door and picked up the envelope. It had the words “Lifty and Shifty” written on it in a small black font.

As soon as he realized it was for him, he opened up the envelope and pulled out whatever was inside. It turned out to be a birthday card - not that Shifty didn’t expect that, of course.

What he didn’t expect, however, was what had been included with the card.

When he opened it to see what the inside said, what looked like a gift card fell out onto the floor. Shifty saw it happen, but didn’t know exactly what it was. He reached down, picked it up and looked at it. It had the words “Chuck E. Cheese” on the front, along with the number “1,000” written on it with a black marker.

It was a $1,000 Chuck E. Cheese gift card, for Lifty and Shifty.

Shifty smiled in delight, but then looked back over at his birthday card. Aside from the text that was already there, there was some extra text that looked like it’d been written with a pen.

He read it to himself, “I bought you two a ticket to something special for your birthday, enjoy it! Wishing both of you the best day ever, with love from--“ But just as he read the last word, Shifty’s eyes widened and pupils shrunk in disbelief.

“Mom?!”

“Oh, my God... I, I gotta tell Lifty about this...!” Shifty said to himself.

Putting down the envelope, Shifty returned to the kitchen, where Lifty was still watching TV. He’d just finished both of his toaster pastries, but now he was waiting for the commercial break to end so he could resume watching Tootie. Just then, Shifty came back into the room.

“Lifty?” he asked. “You may wanna take a look at this.”

“At what?” Lifty wanted to know. Not long after he’d said that, Shifty showed him the card. Lifty read the text that was inside, only for his eyes to widen. “No way!”

“I know, right?” Shifty replied, hoping Lifty was reacting to the same thing as him. What his brother said afterward, however, told him quite the opposite.

“...Our mom is alive?”

Shifty looked dismayed at first, but decided not to be too upset. It wasn’t uncommon that Lifty would get distracted by the wrong thing, so in the end, Shifty should have seen this coming.

“I guess so,” Shifty replied, “but what I’m trying to say is, she sent us this!” He showed him the gift card that came with the birthday card. Lifty looked over at it and gasped in the kind of happy surprise a gamer has when encountering a Shiny Pokemon.

“Oh, my GOD! I... You’ve gotta be kidding me!” said Lifty.

“I can’t believe it myself! One thousand dollars worth of pizza and tokens? Tell me that doesn’t sound like the best birthday ever!”

“It doesn’t sound like the...” Lifty was going to echo his brother’s words, the naive raccoon believing he’d been told to. But it was only then that he realized what Shifty meant, and stopped before he could get the last few words out. “Okay, you got me.”

“Lifty! We gotta get to that Chuck E. Cheese before everyone else gets there first!” Shifty then said.

Lifty switched off the TV, and then Shifty started to look around for the car keys. Finally he found them on the counter, so he picked them up and put them in his pocket.

“Got your phone?” Lifty asked.

“Yeah,” Shifty replied with a nod. “The card’s in my wallet, but you oughta bring yours, too.”

“Of course I’m bringing mine,” said Lifty.

He and Shifty then exited the kitchen, then briefly went into the living room. Shifty opened the front door and left the apartment, as did Lifty.

Before he made it into the hall, however, Lifty turned to the living room and said quietly, “Ittekimasu.” He then headed outside with his brother, shutting the door.

After some time, Lifty and Shifty made it out of the apartment building. It was a beautiful day, with only a few clouds in the sky. Just about perfect weather for spending the day out of the house, let alone on a Saturday such as this. The raccoons headed out to the van, which Shifty unlocked with the push of a button. He got in the driver’s seat while, as usual, Lifty got in the passenger’s seat. Shifty inserted the key into the slot, turned it and started the engine. They then pulled out of the parking lot and drove down the road.

When they finally got to the Chuck E. Cheese, Shifty killed the engine, opened the driver door and stepped out of the van. Not long afterward, Lifty opened the passenger door and stepped out as well. Shifty locked the van with the little device that came with the car keys, and then he and Lifty headed into the Chuck E. Cheese.

The inside of the building was packed with young Generic Tree Friends, many of whom were laughing and enjoying themselves on the games and play equipment. Lifty and Shifty, however, were well over two decades older than they were, and so had more maturity than all of them - or at least, Shifty did. The only Happy Tree Friends they saw that they knew were Pop and Cub, the former of whom was helping Cub onto a kiddie ride. They didn’t seem to acknowledge the raccoons were here.

“Wow!! This place is awesome!!” said Lifty, excited. He pointed to one of the rides. “I wanna play on that one!”

Shifty inhaled and sighed to himself. This was one of the many reasons he didn’t like being the older brother, having to deal with his more annoying brother’s ideas on what he was thinking or wanted to do. But Shifty stayed calm as he went over to the male Generic Tree Friend that was standing at the prize area, working the cash register.

“Welcome to Chuck E. Cheese,” said the Tree Friend. “How may I help you?”

Shifty pulled out his wallet, reached into it and pulled out his $1000 gift card. He showed it to the Generic Tree Friend.

“Yeah, can I have a table for me and my brother?” Shifty asked. “It’s our birthday.”

Suddenly, the Tree Friend’s eyes widened as a familiar thought came to him. Not because of the last thing Shifty had said, but because of the sight of his and Lifty’s arrival.

“Hey... Aren’t you those guys I’ve heard about named Lifty and Shifty?”

“Yeah, that’s us,” said Shifty.

“That’s me, too!” Lifty added.

“Actually, we already have a table set up for you,” the Generic Tree Friend went on.

“Huh?” The raccoons both winced in partial disbelief. Did he really say that?

“Yeah, a couple of guys came in earlier today. They asked to have the best table reserved for you two.” The Generic Tree Friend pointed to the hallway that led into the dining area. “It’s in there.”

“So...” Shifty looked down at his card. “We don’t have to pay with this?”

“No, but if you’d like to use it to play the games, win tickets, trade them in for prizes... well, no one’s gonna stop you.”

Shifty smiled widely, then looked over at Lifty. He was smiling as well out of excitement.

“Thank you!” they both told the Generic Tree Friend, then they walked away from him. They headed toward the dining area, with Shifty briefly taking out his wallet just to put his gift card back inside.

“Hey, Shifty, who was that guy talking about when he said, ‘a couple of guys?’” Lifty asked.

“I don’t know, probably some of the other Happy Tree Friends,” Shifty guessed. “What are the odds it’s someone who doesn’t even live here?”

Finally, Lifty and Shifty had made it into the dining room. From where they stood, they looked around for those “couple of guys” the Generic Tree Friend had referred to. But there seemed to be no one in sight, nor did any of the tables look any different. For the longest time, Lifty and Shifty assumed they were the only ones in here, and that what the Generic Tree Friend had told them probably wasn’t true.

However, just when they thought they’d looked at every table in the dining area, two plumbers quickly arose in front of the raccoons before either of them could get a chance to react. One of the plumbers was fat with a crooked mustache, and wore a yellow shirt and hat, as well as purple overalls. The other plumber, however, was taller and skinnier with a razor-straight mustache, and wore a purple shirt and hat, as well as black overalls.

“Surprise!” the plumbers said in unison, the taller one in a rather squeaky voice in comparison to the fat one’s gruff voice.

“AHHH!!!” Lifty and Shifty cringed with a brief scream and embraced in fear. They also shut their eyes, trembling slightly in unison. Neither of them had been expecting those weird men to come out of nowhere and catch them off-guard like that.

But over their brief moment of unexpected terror, Lifty and Shifty heard laughter that seemed to be from who’d just scared them. They opened their eyes and looked over at the plumbers in front of them. Yes, they were laughing, but it didn’t sound evil; rather, it sounded like the scare had been done as a joke.

That wasn’t what calmed the raccoons down, however. Okay, maybe it was part of the reason. What calmed them down more, however, was who these plumbers looked like. They looked awfully familiar...

“Hey... you guys look like...” Shifty started, but couldn’t get the remainder of his words out.

“Are they really...?” Lifty couldn’t finish his question, either.

But as realization sunk in, the raccoons realized who these plumbers were. They were the characters that were pretty darn close to themselves, and the ones they’d played as most often.

They were Wario and Waluigi.

“Happy Birthday!” said Wario.

“Happy Birthday!” Waluigi said.

“To you, Lifty and Shifty!” Wario and Waluigi finished in unison.

At this point, Lifty and Shifty had lost every bit of fear that they’d just felt. What remained was surprise and disbelief... shortly followed by joy.

“Oh, my God...” Shifty said to himself.

“You... YOU remembered our birthday?!” Lifty asked.

“Of course we did!” said Waluigi.

“You remember us, don’t you?” Wario asked.

Lifty didn’t know how to respond. Shifty didn’t, either - but Wario had already gotten his answer.

“Ha, didn’t think so!” Wario went on. “But don’t worry, we remember you guys!”

“What? But... did we even meet before?” Shifty asked.

“Maybe. Maybe not. But what matters is we think you guys are awesome!” Wario commented.

“Your episodes are the best!” Waluigi added. “We’ve watched them all way more than the other Happy Tree Friends things!”

Lifty and Shifty stood where they were, both of them completely baffled.

“Happy Tree Friends is popular in the Mushroom Kingdom, by the way,” Waluigi quickly pointed out.

“So you guys watched Gems the Breaks? And Swelter Skelter, and Junk in the Trunk?” Lifty asked.

“Oh, yeah,” Wario said with a nod.

“And Sea What I Found?” Shifty asked as well.

“Wah-hahahahaha!!” Waluigi laughed suddenly, then wiped his forehead briefly with his hand. “That whole episode was a good ol’ riot!”

“That one’s our favorite of them all, actually,” said Wario. “What with you going after the treasure and playing chess and outsmarting that dumb otter and stupid moose guy...”

“But didn’t you see how we died in that episode?!” Shifty asked. “If I knew I was gonna die the way I was, I wouldn’t have even gone to the beach that day!”

“Listen, Shiftster,” said Wario, “even if you and your little bro got what you deserved, you died rich. And if there’s a great way to die, it’s to die with wealth in your arms!”

“Wow... I...” Lifty turned to Shifty. “I guess some guys do like our adventures after all.”

“Well, anyway,” Shifty then said to Wario and Waluigi, “I can’t believe that you guys, of all people, would remember our birthday...”

“Let alone choose this kid place to throw us a party for it,” said Lifty.

“Is there anyone else who’d throw YOU a party but us?” Wario asked. “And look, we already got your table set up right here!”

Wario and Waluigi moved aside to reveal one of the tables, with a card that read “Reserved for our birthday boys, Lifty and Shifty.”

“Wow... Thanks, guys!” said Lifty.

“I don’t know about you, but I think this is gonna be the best day we’ve ever had,” Shifty commented.

They sat down at the table with Wario and Waluigi.

“By the way, we also ordered some chow for us and you,” Wario stated. “Ya guys hungry?”

“Yeah, kinda,” Lifty replied.

“It’s not like you actually got us...” Shifty started to say, before the waitress - a female Generic Tree Friend - zipped up to the table.

“One large pepperoni pizza, four orders of fries, four colas?” she asked.

“Yeah, that’s our orders,” Wario said. The waitress placed the food on the table to serve him as well as the others before zipping off.

“Wow, how’d you know this is what we wanted?!” Lifty asked in surprise and joy.

“Well, we did watch that one Happy Tree Friends Break where you tried eating pizza...” Wario commented.

“Yeah, that makes sense,” said Shifty.

With that, the raccoons and their plumber friends began to eat. Although they were all satisfied before they even finished, it was clear that Lifty and Shifty enjoyed their food the most. Who really needed to eat cake on their birthday, anyway? Pizza was a great choice, too. The animatronic show went on behind them, but none of them paid much attention to it compared to the other Tree Friends in the room.

“Man, this is so cool!” said Lifty, having just finished his slice of pizza. “Of all the guys who could’ve remembered our birthdays, the ones we met up with HAD to be Wario and Waluigi!”

“I didn’t think Wario would spend any of his cash on anything...” Shifty replied.

“Hey, everybody’s gotta buy something sometimes!” Wario added.

When they’d all finished their pizza and fries, there was still some of the former left over. However, Wario and Waluigi saw some nearby party blowers, giving them roughly the same idea. They picked them up and turned to look at Lifty and Shifty, who had just had some of their sodas. Really, it took them that long before they wanted a drink? Not that this was the reason the plumbers would do what they were going to do, of course.

“Hey, guys!” Waluigi said.

The raccoons turned to look at Wario and Waluigi, who blew the noisemakers at them - and wouldn’t you know it, the ends tickled right under Lifty and Shifty’s noses. They gasped in surprise, but in less than five seconds, they both felt a sneeze coming on. They took a few seconds to inhale, then released their sneezes in unison.

“Aaah, haaaah... HAH-CHOOoooo!” Shifty threw one of his hands over his mouth when he sneezed. On the plus side, his hand didn't even get sprayed, like he was faking it.

“Ah, ahhhhhh... CHOO!” Lifty’s sneeze, on the other hand, was covered with both hands. It had to have been a coincidence - or perhaps not - that this was also a sprayless sneeze.

“WAAAH-hahahahahahahaha!” Wario and Waluigi laughed over their successful little joke.

Lifty and Shifty recovered from their sneezes, rubbing their noses with their forefingers as they did so.

“Oh, guys, did you have to?” Shifty asked. He and Lifty weren’t mad at the plumbers for making them sneeze; they just didn’t expect them to go as far as they did.

“How could we not? Hahaha!” Wario replied.

The raccoons finished rubbing their noses and chuckled with Wario and Waluigi.

“You know what? Given how much we’ve sneezed before, we should’ve seen that coming,” said Lifty.

“Yeah,” Shifty agreed with a nod. He then looked over at Lifty. "Alright, bro, what do ya wanna do now?"

Lifty thought for a few seconds, then came up with an idea and smiled at his brother. "What do you THINK I wanna do?"

Shifty didn't reply, because he had already read Lifty's mind and smiled as well. They emitted their signature snicker that Wario and Waluigi enjoyed hearing so much, although they'd never hinted it to them.

Not long afterward, Lifty and Shifty got up and left the dining area to play at the arcade. It turned out that Wario and Waluigi had bought them some tokens as well so that they could play whatever games they wanted. So the raccoons treated themselves to a few hours of arcade fun, for both enjoyment and tickets alike.

By the way, in case you may be wondering, Lifty started with the Karaoke for Tickets game. The first song he chose to sing was Fist Bump from Sonic Forces, followed by Jump Up, Super Star from Super Mario Odyssey. And unlike many other times where he played the game, he won almost a thousand tickets after completing both of the songs. He did considerably better at Jump Up, Super Star than Fist Bump, however, although he didn’t realize it.

He did slightly botch the chorus for Fist Bump, however, by adding the last part of the chorus to the song he was going to sing after this.

“All alone, we will never be!
The two of us are holding the key!
We see today, a world we couldn’t see!
Before I say goodbye to you, let’s do the Odyssey!”

Fortunately, his score kept improving, regardless of his mistake. It must have been because the game gave score by how good the player sang, not by how much they got the song right. Lifty took a quiet sigh in relief, not minding the small amount of giggles from any of the Generic Tree Friends watching him.

Shifty, on the other hand, discovered that they had placed a Super Smash Brothers game at this arcade, and whoever played could win large amounts of tickets if they made it through Classic mode without a game over. So Shifty played through the game twice - once as Link, once as Captain Falcon. He died a few times, but never got one game over.

“You’ll never take me alive!” Shifty said on his second battle with Master Hand.

It seemed to help, because once Master Hand’s HP had been totally depleted, he had won a little over a thousand tickets. Shifty did a fist pump to himself and claimed these tickets by the bundle, even as the game’s credits started playing.

After quite a few hours of playing the arcade games and having fun, both Lifty and Shifty had won more than two thousand tickets altogether. Once they’d reunited again, they went over to the prize area to see what was available for them to buy with their tickets.

“May I interest one of you in an Eevee plush for just 500 tickets?” the Generic Tree Friend working at the area asked the raccoons as they were looking around. “Or how about a life-sized Rosalina plush for 1,500 tickets?”

They didn’t look interested in either of those, however.

“Anything else?” Lifty asked.

“Well, we do have some Nintendo Switch games available for 450 tickets each,” the Generic Tree Friend went on. She picked up a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. “But if it’s your birthday, every game including this one is only 50 tickets.”

“We’ll take it! It’s my birthday and my brother’s, by the way,” Shifty immediately said, receiving the game almost as soon as he’d replied. “Oh, and do you have Super Smash Brothers Ultimate?”

“Of course!” The Generic Tree Friend pulled out a copy of that exact game and showed it to Shifty. “And since it’s your birthday, you can also have this one for 50 tickets!”

Shifty accepted the game and held it in his hands, eyes sparkling in both wonder and joy.

“Yes... YES!!” Shifty said to himself. “The only Smash game we haven’t played yet, and it’s finally ours!!”

Lifty looked over at a plush toy of Cat Mario - exactly how he appeared in Super Mario 3D World - and picked it up. Shifty personally found it ironic that Lifty was interested in Mario in a cat suit when Eevee was just as adorable, but he blamed this on Lifty’s unique interests to his own.

“Hey, can I have this?” Lifty asked.

“Of course! It’s only 250 tickets,” said the Generic Tree Friend, causing the younger raccoon to smile in joy.

Unbeknownst to Lifty and Shifty, Wario and Waluigi were roaming the prize area themselves. They’d won a considerably larger amount of tickets than the raccoons had, and they were going to use these to buy their gifts.

“Hey, who’s that girl they like?” Wario asked. “Tootsie or something? Cootie? What’s her name...”

“Probably that dumb girl with the glasses and the--“ Waluigi started, but stopped when he saw a couple plush toys of Tootie. He pointed at them with the next thing he said. “Ah-HA!”

He and Wario smiled, then each picked up a plush Tootie and handed all of their tickets to the Generic Tree Friend at the register.

“Excuse me, the Tootie toys are only 500 tickets each!” the Generic Tree Friend tried to remind them, but she was ignored.

“Keep the change,” Wario told her, even though it was something he’d never said to anyone before. “Or better yet, give it to the birthday boys.”

“Oh, sure.” The Generic Tree Friend accepted the tickets, keeping one thousand of them before looking around for Lifty and Shifty.

“I still don’t see why Cat Mario is still popular,” Shifty said. “I mean, that 3D World came out a few years ago...”

“Yeah, but there’s people who play Mario and people who like cats. Do the math, big bro!” said Lifty.

“Excuse me?” the Generic Tree Friend called for Lifty and Shifty, who went back over to her. She showed them the extra tickets that Wario and Waluigi had given her. “Someone asked me to give you these.”

“Cool, thanks!” Shifty said as he accepted the tickets. “But who the heck did you get these from?”

Just then he and Lifty felt a tap on their shoulders. They turned around to see Wario and Waluigi standing in front of them, hands behind their backs.

“Guys? We got you a little something for your birthday, if you don’t mind,” Wario said.

“Well, what is it?” Shifty wanted to know.

The plumbers both smiled and showed the Tootie toys to their raccoon friends. To say the least, Lifty and Shifty were ecstatic.

“Oh, my GOD!!” Shifty cried. “Th-THANK YOU!!!”

“No way!! This is SO AWESOME!!” Lifty agreed. “Thank you!!!”

“Don’t mention it!” Wario and Waluigi replied, secretly smiling at each other.

After quite some time, the raccoons had spent all of their tickets on prizes they wanted, which they considered their “birthday presents.” Aside from what they’d already received, they’d also purchased Sonic Mania, Sonic Forces, Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Party, and Pokemon Ultra Sun (for Shifty) and Pokemon Ultra Moon (for Lifty) for 3DS, as well as two copies of WarioWare Gold. The 3DS games were actually 1,000 tickets each, but as the birthday boys, the raccoons got to have them for only 100 tickets each. Either way, Lifty and Shifty were looking forward to playing their new games when they got home.

After a long, fantastic day, the sun began to go down. It was time for the raccoons to return home.

“Wario? Waluigi?” Shifty asked.

“Yeah?” the plumbers replied.

“Thank you so, so much for inviting us here,” Shifty said.

“Yeah, we had an awesome time,” Lifty replied. “Thanks, guys!”

“No problem, boys,” Waluigi said.

“We had the time of our lives, too!” Wario agreed.

“That’s great and all, but if anything...” Shifty said, letting the plumbers know that he and his brother were about to finish their final bits of dialogue together.

“This was...” Lifty went on.

“The best birthday we’ve ever had!” Lifty and Shifty finished in unison.

“You bet it was!” Wario and Waluigi replied, also in unison.

They all shared a laugh for a moment, and then Lifty and Shifty said their goodbyes before they left the Chuck E. Cheese. They brought their individual prizes and gifts - in a couple of gift bags that Wario and Waluigi had given them - out to their van and put them inside before they got in. Shifty started the engine and they drove out of the parking lot, as well as away from the building. They managed to see Wario and Waluigi waving goodbye to them, but they didn’t wave in return.

“Bro?” Lifty asked.

“Yeah?”

“Do you think the others will believe us if we tell them we met Wario and Waluigi on our birthday?”

“I don’t know, probably not,” Shifty replied. “But I didn’t realize how nice they were deep down...”

“Me either.“

“Well, at least it wasn’t Scratch and those other robots we work for. I bet those guys would’ve ruined it pretty fast.”

Lifty let this sink in for a moment, then smiled slightly. “Not wrong there...” The way he said that told Shifty that he was looking forward to seeing Wario and Waluigi again soon - and Shifty was thinking the exact same thing.

Finally the raccoons arrived back at their apartment building. Shifty killed the engine and got out of the van, with him and the younger raccoon bringing their respective gifts into their apartment.

“Tadaima,” Lifty said when he first made it into the apartment. Unlike his brother, Lifty knew enough Japanese to know what to say when leaving and coming home. Shifty figured it was just a side effect from the amount of anime Lifty had watched for about half a year.

They helped themselves to a couple of light meals for dinner, since they’d already eaten quite a bit earlier that afternoon. As the sun disappeared into the horizon and the sky turned dark blue with stars, Shifty went into the bathroom for a few minutes to shower and wash up. As usual, Lifty waited in the bedroom for his brother to finish so he could have his shower as well. In the meantime, he pulled his Cat Mario toy out of his gift bag and stared at it for a long moment, sparkles in his eyes. Finally he put it down and picked up his Tootie toy as well, looking at it with much the same expression.

When Shifty was done showering, he walked out of the bathroom, leaving the light on and the door open for Lifty. Seeing him do this, Lifty put down his toy, got off the bed and went into the bathroom himself. Since they had some time before they needed to go to bed, Shifty picked up the remote and switched on the TV. The “Meanwhile” episode of Futurama had just begun. Shifty smiled and went over to his side of the bed to watch it.

On account of being in the shower, Lifty didn’t catch as much of the episode as his brother did. He did, however, finish and leave the bathroom just in time for the final segment of the episode. The commercials had finished, and now came the part after Fry had broken the time button and left the world frozen, allowing him to spend some much-deserved time with his new wife Leela. Recognizing the whole ordeal, he sat down on his own side of the bed next to Shifty as they watched the episode together.

As they were watching Fry and Leela roam the world together, Shifty commented, “This is truly the best birthday we’ve ever had.”

“It absolutely is,” Lifty replied.

“We got to go to Chuck E Cheese, met Wario and Waluigi, won lots of cool stuff... and to top it all off, we watched one of the best animated finales ever.”

“I know... I don’t think we’ll ever be happier than we are now.”

“Maybe, but what matters is, it was awesome.”

“What do you say? Wanna go around again?” Fry asked to Leela, causing the raccoons to realize the episode had ended.

“I do.” Leela took Fry’s hand with a warm smile.

The raccoons smiled as well, and with a final kiss and hug from Fry and Leela, the professor pushed the time button and the credits began. Shifty picked up the remote, turned off the TV, and then put down the remote and switched off the light. He took off his hat and placed it on the front of the bed, then lay down. He looked over at Lifty, but he’d already gone to sleep - or so he appeared to be, with one hand on his Tootie plush toy next to him.

Shifty just smiled, moved over to Lifty and wrapped his arms around him, gently enough to not wake him up. And he whispered something barely audibly - but it was clear that his brother heard.

“Happy Birthday, little bro.”

“Thanks... and same to you, big bro,” Lifty replied, although it was a bit hard to hear. Shifty heard him, however. It wasn’t like he didn’t expect him to wish him the same thing, anyway.

What he didn’t expect was Lifty to let go of his toy, turn over and hug Shifty as well. But Shifty couldn’t complain; they were brothers, after all. He just smiled once more and blushed as he fell asleep, too, with his arms around his brother and vice versa.

This had really, truly been the best birthday that Lifty and Shifty had ever had, or would ever have. It had been quite a few months since they’d had a day as great as this, but it was alright. It was a day that told them something: enjoying their birthday and having fun was a much better idea than stealing things or causing trouble for their friends. It was a day neither of them would forget for a long, long time... or at least until next year.
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