Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Disney, RPF
Character/Pairing: Walt, Mickey, Minnie, Ensemble
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words Say What Friday: "The great art of writing is knowing when to stop."
Warning(s): Character Death
Word Count: 1,004
Date Written: 24 July 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Walt Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
“Walt,” a concerned voice squeaked in his mind, “why are you putting down the pen?”
“Don’t put down the pen!”
“Don’t put down the pen!”
“Don’t put it down!” chorused several other, tiny voices, none of which could have been heard by anyone else, had there been anyone in the room with the tired, human man.
He sighed and was about to answer his oldest creation when a fit of coughing seized him. He took out a handkerchief, covered his mouth with it as he coughed, and tried not to look at the blood that spoiled the previously clean, white cloth. That bright, crimson liquid was a sign of what was coming, and he was powerless to stop it. He could create whole worlds. He could bring characters from one world into another. He could give life to the dead, victory to the defeated, but he could not save himself. His death was looming; it was only a matter of time now.
“You should go to Roy,” he said weakly.
Suddenly there was a white, gloved hand covering his. He looked up at the giant mouse who he had once feared but who had since become his very best friend especially in a world where he’d once had none. “No,” Mickey said simply, stubbornly. “I’m not going, and neither is anyone else.”
“But I can’t continue writing your stories,” he said and coughed again. Mickey held a polka dotted handkerchief Minnie had once given him up to Walt’s mouth and caught his blood himself this time. Walt looked up as he lowered the handkerchief. “Aren’t you concerned you’ll get it?”
Mickey laughed, but there was no humor in the strange, high-pitched sound. “No,” he said, finally becoming solemn again. He looked up at Walt through big, misty eyes. “Cancer isn’t contagious,” he added simply.
“They don’t know that.”
“They do. We do,” Mickey explained. “It may be new to your world, but it isn’t to others.”
“What are we going to do, Mickey?” Walt asked. It was becoming increasingly difficult to breathe, and he gasped for air as his friend patted his hand with his empty one.
He tucked his handkerchief back into the invisible pocket on his red shorts and looked up at him. “We’re going to do what we’ve always done,” he answered. “We’re going to continue.”
“But how,” Walt gasped, “if you won’t go to Roy?”
Mickey smiled sadly up at him. “Do you really think you are the only writer who has ever been granted access to our world? You’re only the most famous,” he squeaked. “Roy may hear some of us, but he’s not open like you are. His mind is closed, not like yours or Lewis Carroll’s or A. A. Milne’s. Those who can hear us will continue our stories.”
“What about yours? Minnie’s? Goofy’s? Donald’s?”
“We’ll continue,” he said, patting his aching, wrinkled hand. Everything in Walt Disney’s body seemed to ache now; Mickey could feel it vibrating in his own being. “We may not want to go to your brother, but when the time comes, we will. We belong to the company you created now.”
“I didn’t create it for -- “ Another fit of coughing overtook Walt.
Mickey waited until he was done before reassuring him and patting his shoulder this time, “We know you didn’t do it for the money, Walt. You did it for us. You did it for love. You did it for all the right reasons. Your brother . . . “ He hesitated; his long, black tail twitched. “I know he’s your brother, but he may not have the same desires as you, the same heart.”
“He won’t hurt you,” Walt vowed.
“No,” Mickey agreed, “he won’t. But he won’t listen to us either. He doesn’t believe in us like you did. He doesn’t believe in many things like you did.” He thought of telling him that he already knew Roy would change some of the plans Walt had set into motion, but his friend did not need bad news at this time. He needed reassurance. He needed to know it was okay for him to go on to his own next chapter in his own story. Mickey humbly bowed his head at that thought.
“Gawrsh!” he heard Goofy say. He felt the same way but didn’t have the words to say it.
Walt coughed again and cleaned the blood from his mustache with his handkerchief. “They say the great art of writing is knowing when to stop,” he confided in his friend. “I suppose the great arts of drawing and animation are the same way.”
Tears welled in Mickey’s eyes. He didn’t dare lift his head, because he knew and Walt would both start bawling like babies if he did. A new voice spoke up. “We’re going to miss you, Mister Disney,” Minnie said, and then she was there too, patting both their shoulders. She had sobbed just the previous night into Mickey’s open, trying-to-be reassuring arms. She didn’t know what they were going to do without their friend, but they would find a way to continue. They had to, and unfortunately for their people, that way was Roy Disney. Mickey wondered if he could scare any sense into the man.
Donald quacked, even his anger seeming more sorrowful at the moment. Daisy patted his shoulder while Goofy openly bawled. Pluto sat down, thumped his tail once against Walt’s carpet, and howled. Mickey’s head remained hung. Walt started coughing again, and when the spasm finally passed once more, he and Mickey had been left alone again.
“It’s time,” he whispered, feeling as though he was still choking on his own blood and mucus, “isn’t it?” The friends both had tears in their eyes as they looked longingly at each other.
“This isn’t goodbye,” Mickey squeaked determinedly, patting Walt’s hand again. “We will see each other again.” He was still holding to Walt’s tired hand when the man called to his wife to make the call to take him to the hospital for the last time.