Back in Mexico, everyone had gotten cleaned up and Roundabout was sitting down as she watched DJ bounce around all excited for once.
“Ohhhhhhhhh I can’t wait!” DJ Fist exclaimed, “I’ve been looking forward to this! I can't wait to see mi madre y padre again!”
Roundabout giggled. “You are the bouncy one today instead of me!”
“I can't help it! This means so much to me!” DJ Fist smiled
“Woooowwwww man, look at him! I've never seen him this pumped about anythang!” Strikemaster Ice commented to MC Cobra
“I knoooowwww, yo! But I'm happy for him! After Danny and I get our backsides to Greece, we’ll all be complete!” MC Cobra smiled
“Yeah! Hopefully before your baby comes into the world. Pit Viper said she had a doctor's appointment for sometime while we're gone.” Vicky said.
“That's good, yo! I can't wait to hear how things are goin’!” Cobra smiled more
Melody and Manolo came into view and Melody’s long hair, which was usually white and blue, was startlingly black.
“Let's go, bro!” Manolo grinned at DJ.
“Yesssssss!” DJ Fist grinned back
“Whoa! Yo! You got a makeover, Mel!” Strikemaster Ice exclaimed in surprise as he spotted Melody
“Our parents are superstitious. Best not to raise alarms with Mel having an abnormal hair color, right?” Manolo asked.
“Good call” MC Cobra nodded
Manolo and DJ set off for their parents' house with their girls with them.
They got a few looks from other villagers as they walked over to the front door of their parents' house.
DJ Fist took a big, deep breath as he looked at the house for the first time in years.
“Are you ready for this, bro?” he asked Manolo
“Sombra, I've been ready since I was eight years old to come back here…”
“Who wants to knock? You or me?” DJ grinned a little
“Together.” Manolo replied with a little grin back.
DJ Fist nodded and the two knocked on the door together and anxiously waited for an answer.
A small five year old girl answered the door. “Mammiiiii!!!” she shouted as she ran back inside.
“What is it, Maria?” a woman asked. That was their mother's voice!
DJ Fist closed his eyes for a moment and his heart rate accelerated. He knew the sound of his madre’s voice! He automatically felt like a kid again!
“There's two really big guys at the door!” the little girl said
“Okay okay. Let's go see who they are.” their mother had said as she made her way to the door and looked out. “Hello, can I help you?”
DJ Fist was almost going to fall over from nervousness and happiness
“Mama!” DJ Fist exclaimed
She gasped and put her hands over her heart. “Dominic?!”
Manolo was on the verge of tears.
DJ Fist smiled huge and was about to cry as well. “Sí….oh Mama…” he said as he came forward and pulled his mother into a tight hug, holding her close.
She started crying as she hugged DJ back.
“Mama…” Manolo said, gently touching her shoulder.
She gasped as she looked up at him. “Manolo?!”
“Sí Mama, it's me…” Manolo smiled
“Dominic… You found your brother?!” their mother asked.
“Sí” DJ nodded with tears wet on his cheeks, “Only a few months ago. In San Francisco. Oh Mama I’m so sorry for running away...I was suffocated and unhappy and devastated that I lost Manolo...I was so happy when I saw that he was alive when I thought he was dead…” his voice shook as fresh tears spilled down his cheeks
She pulled Manolo into the hug and started sobbing “¡Oh mis bebés! ¡mis bebés! Mis niños pequeños.” ("Oh my babies! my babies! my little boys!")
DJ Fist wept more as he hugged both his mother and his older brother, overjoyed that his mother was finally seeing them again, and them her.
Roundabout and Melody hung back and watched the reunion with a smile on their faces.
They cried for a while before their mother pulled away. “Come inside. Come inside. Your father is at work. He’ll be home soon. Come meet your little sister.” she urged them.
DJ Fist’s jaw dropped. “The little girl is our sister?” he asked, shocked
“Yes. She was born after you ran away.” she told DJ.
Roundabout and Mel followed them inside as well.
“It all looks just like I remember…” DJ commented, “How much has changed since I left?”
“We didn't want to touch your and Manolo’s room. I go in to dust but we haven't changed anything… Your father turned his office into Maria’s room.” she told them. “Maria dulce niña ("sweet girl"), come here.” Their mother said to the little girl who was shyly peeking at them from the kitchen doorway.
DJ Fist smiled and he bent down so that he was at her level. “Hola Maria...I’m your big brother Dominic...call me Dom” he introduced
She came out from the kitchen “Hola…” she said nervously.
Manolo sat on the floor. His size and muscles did make him quite intimidating sometimes. “I'm Manolo. Your oldest big brother. Don't be scared. We’re the greatest big brothers on the planet.”
“We sure are” DJ Fist smiled as he patted Manolo on the back
She came out further and came over to them. “Who are they?” she asked, pointing at Melody and Roundabout.
DJ Fist turned around for a moment and smiled. “Melody and Emma...our wonderful, beautiful girlfriends...Emma is mine” he smiled more
“Hola, it's nice to meet you. I’m Emma.” Roundabout smiled.
“Hola” Maria replied.
“You girls are so gorgeous!” Mrs. Rodriguez said.
“Thank you.” Emma smiled.
DJ Fist smiled, beaming with pride at the praise towards their girlfriends, especially his!
“Well Mama...what would you like to do?” DJ asked
“You must tell me what you've been up to. What have you done while you were away?” Mrs. Rodriguez asked.
“Well…” DJ Fist began. He would give her a condensed version of the last six years of his life and was definitely planning on leaving out the bits about magic. “After I ran away, I met a boy my age named Shane who has been my best friend since then. We lived and traveled together for years and three years ago went to a monastery in Bhutan where we learned martial arts and met our other best friend, Drew. We...did some things we ain't proud of...but we’ve become better men since then. Now, we live in San Diego with our girlfriends and have been doing work for the United States government with our brothers and their girlfriends as well. All good stuff, Mama.” He looked at her to see how she was going to react.
“It sounds like you are doing quite well for yourself, hijo ("son").” she smiled.
“Yes” DJ Fist smiled back, relieved that she didn't get upset at the mention of him doing things he wasn't proud of. “I am very fortunate. Having my best friends and Manolo and my Emma in my life has been the best. We haven't been happier.”
“I am happy to hear it. How long are you planning on staying?”
“Yeah! Are you gonna stay with us?” Maria asked.
DJ Fist looked at Manolo and then back at his mother and Maria. “Not long, I don’t think...We have other matters to attend to with our government work but...We’ll definitely come visit, right Manolo?” he asked his big brother
“Absolutely. Now that we've reconnected, we’ll definitely come to visit. We’ll give you guys our contact information so we can keep in contact.” Manolo smiled.
“It makes me so happy to see both of my little boys alive and well.”
“And we’re happy to see you well too, Mama, and to meet our beautiful little sister” DJ Fist smiled, “Maria, would you like to show me your room? Maybe some favorite toys or something?” he asked the young girl
“Sì! Come on, Dom!” Maria giggled as she went and lead him to her room to show him her stuff.
She ran to her bed and grabbed her favorite rag doll and showed it to him.
“Bonita!” DJ Fist smiled, “What’s her name?”
“Anne” she replied.
“Very nice” DJ smiled, “What do you and Anne like to do together?”
“We like to play outside! But we're neeeever eeeeever allowed to leave the yard without Mommy or Daddy.” Maria said.
“That's very smart, hermosa” DJ told her, “It’s good that they keep you nice and safe.”
She nodded. “What are your friends like?” Maria asked.
“The best friends I could ever have” DJ Fist smiled, “Drew is smart, loyal, kind, loving to his girlfriend and a good fighter, always willing to step in and take the lead on things. And Shane is funny, nice, supportive, a good listener and loyal as well. He’s going to be a daddy later this year and I think he’ll be a good one. I have many other friends after that. Vicky, Lilith, Depthcharge, Da’Rell...I could go on and on but I would only bore you” he chuckled
“Can I meet them? Did they come with you?” Maria asked.
“They're around” DJ answered her, “I would have to ask Manolo about that one.”
“Okay.” she nodded
After a while, DJ and Manolo were persuaded by Maria to come outside and play. Their mother sat on the porch and watched as she talked to Roundabout. Manolo had told her that Melody was mute and couldn't talk but Mrs. Rodriguez loved both of the girls so much.
Not long after, Mr. Rodriguez returned home from work and was baffled. “What is going on here?” he asked, stunned as he saw the two young men playing with his daughter. He didn't recognize them!
DJ Fist turned around and gasped, stunned for a moment before he smiled huge. It was his father!
“Papa! It's me! Dominic!” he cried
“Manolo! Manolo! look!” Maria said as she held up a bug she had caught for him to see.
“Neat!” Manolo grinned before the bug flew away.
Mr. Rodriguez gasped. “Dominic… Manolo…” He strode forward and pulled his two sons into a big hug.
DJ Fist hugged him close and began to feel emotional all over again. “Hola, Papa….” he said quietly as new tears fell down his cheeks
“I missed you, Papa.” Manolo said as he hugged his father back.
“I thought I had lost you both…” Mr. Rodriguez said hoarsely.
“No no, Papa...We can explain...I was so upset and unhappy after I lose Manolo that I ran away...I’m sorry, Papa...But the good that came out of it were the wonderful people I met and finding Manolo again in San Francisco...but you will never, ever lose us again….” DJ hugged his father tighter
“Good. What happened to you, Manolo?” their father asked.
“That is not a story that should be heard by little ears.” Manolo replied with a sigh before glancing at Maria.
“I see…” Mr. Rodriguez replied
“We've had a lot of adventures...some very interesting to say the least...but what matters is that we’re all finally back together again” DJ remarked
“Most definitely. Where are you boys staying? And how long will you be here?” Mr. Rodriguez asked. “You boys have grown so much.”
“Our friends that we traveled down with are in another village nearby” DJ told him, “And I don't think we’ll be here for much longer, I'm afraid. Work business. Gotta get back to San Diego. But we have time. Manolo, Maria wants to meet my best buds” he told his older brother
“If they come over to the village, I'm sure Mama and Papa would let you take Maria with you as you showed them around, Dom.” Manolo replied “It would let me catch them up on what happened to me and what they need to know.”
“As long as you don't take Maria out of the village it is fine with me.” their father stated.
“How 'bout I take her to the local bakery shop, and they can meet my friends there?” DJ suggested, “Emma, will you come with me?” he asked his girlfriend
“Yeah!” Roundabout replied as she got up, hugging Mrs. Rodriguez before going over to DJ.
“Yaaaay!” Maria cheered as she went over to her big brother.
“Stay safe.” Mrs. Rodriguez told them.
“I will, Mama. We won't be gone long” DJ Fist reassured her before leaving with Maria and Roundabout, holding hands with both.
Back in El Toro’s village, Strikemaster Ice and MC Cobra both got a message from DJ Fist urging them to come to his village and meet someone.
“Whoa...DJ wants us to meet up with him to meet someone…” Strikemaster Ice said after he read the text
“Must be someone in his family!” MC Cobra exclaimed
“Could be!” Vicky smiled.
“Well let’s go, man! We gotta go back to San Diego and then to the City of Passion at some point so might as well not waste any time!” Ice said as he got up from his seat, “See ya’ll in a bit” he told the others as Cobra followed close behind
“See ya!” Jack called to him
The others waved as Ice and Cobra went to leave, with Vicky following them like a lost puppy.
While Jackie and El Toro spent time catching up, Jade had been following Micky and Paco around as the two young lovebirds spent time around each other. Though Micky and Paco made an effort to include Jade in activities, Jade was content to just watch them, spending time daydreaming about Mouse instead.
Paco had shown Micky around his entire village and pointed out all his favorite spots, his top favorite being the local wrestling ring where he and El Toro trained. Paco had started a more intensive workout regimen to help him work towards his dream of becoming a Lucha Libre wrestler like El Toro someday. He even did a whole workout which made Micky fawn and daydream to no end. They were currently in his bedroom and had just finished watching another episode of Super Moose.
“Mannnnnn I would so live here in this village with you if I could, Paco! It's asombroso (“awesome”) down here in Mexico!” Micky exclaimed
“Indeed!” Paco smiled, “When we are both grown up and done with school then you can consider coming down here to be with me! El Toro would love to have you down here with us!”
“Yeeeahhhhh...just sucks that I’m not like Kaysha’s age yet” Micky sighed, “I’m so glad Vicky let me spend time with you, though! And I’ve loved seeing where you live and stuff! I'm gonna keep learning and practice my español!”
“Excelente!” Paco laughed, “And I am glad you were able to stay too. I have something for you to take back, though.” He reached into his pocket and took out a brown leather cord with a small but beautiful green gemstone that was the exact color of Micky’s lively green eyes.
Micky gasped when she saw it. “Paco….” she said quietly
“I always call you mi joya (“my gem”) so I thought you were deserving of something as beautiful as you are” Paco smiled, “I found it when I was exploring the mountains north of here with El Toro one day. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it into something for you! For I love your green eyes and how they sparkle with happiness. I hope you like it” he held the necklace out for her.
Micky got teary eyed and gently took the necklace from him, admiring the stone before putting the necklace on.
“Oh Paco….I love it! Thank you so much! Oh te amo mucho, mi luchador! (“My wrestler!”)” Micky exclaimed as she pulled Paco close for several kisses, which he happily returned.
Jade chuckled to herself but smiled big at this sweet display of affection. She was impressed at how more mature Paco had become over these past months and was happy with how sweet he was to her best friend. And they hadn't had a Jackie-El Toro argument in months! They both agreed that Micky was the greatest.
Strikemaster Ice, MC Cobra and Vicky made it to DJ and Manolo’s home village and had looked around with interest at the place their dear bro had grown up before finding the local bakery shop where DJ, Roundabout and Maria were waiting.
“Yoooooooo, dude!” Strikemaster Ice greeted him as they came closer
“Who do you have for us to meet?!” MC Cobra asked
DJ Fist grinned wide. “Bros, I want you to meet my little sister, Maria” he introduced them to the sweet little five year old
Ice and Cobra’s jaws dropped when they saw her and heard what DJ said. He had a little sister?!?!
“Hi!” Maria smiled and waved at them.
It took Ice and Cobra a minute to snap back into reality but eventually they looked at Maria and smiled a bit shyly.
“Hi Maria….I’m Drew” Ice introduced
“And I'm Shane” Cobra introduced, “We’re your big brother’s best friends”
“I’m Vicky. I'm also a really good friend of your big brother.”
“I just met my big brothers today.” Maria said.
“How old are you?” Vicky asked
“Five.” Maria said, holding up five fingers.
“Very nice!” MC Cobra smiled. The little girl was adorable
“Yeah!” Strikemaster Ice smiled, “You're a pretty lil lady!”
“Gracias!” Maria grinned.
“Don't worry, bros. I had the same reaction when I found out I had a baby sister” DJ chuckled, “But she's a sweetheart, and I'm happy to have her” he smiled as he picked up Maria and kissed her gently on the cheek.
Maria giggled and hugged her big brother around the neck. “I have the greatest big brothers in the world!”
Strikemaster Ice and MC Cobra couldn't help but smile at this sweet spectacle. Maria was adorable! And DJ Fist looked like he absolutely adored his baby sister.
Still holding Maria, DJ smiled at Ice, Cobra and Vicky.
“C’mon, we’ll show you around the village and then you guys can come meet my parents” DJ grinned
“A’ight, man! Sounds like a plan, yo!” Ice smiled
“Let's see where our man DJ grew up!” Cobra smiled
DJ Fist and Maria spent time showing the three and Emma around their village. As DJ walked along, he couldn't believe how vividly he remembered everything. It's almost as if he had never left and six years hadn’t passed since the last time he was here!
Strikemaster Ice and MC Cobra looked around with fascination and interest. This village was definitely different from where they grew up, but it was still neat to see and they felt closer to DJ this way. It was also neat to dabble in another culture! This new fascination started upon finding and reviving the City of Passion.
Some time later, the six of them went back to the Rodriguez home and went inside.
Manolo had very clearly told them his story by the worried look in Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez’s eyes, but they quickly hid their concern once they saw Maria and DJ back with their friends.
“Hola! Dominic, who have you brought with you this time?” Mr. Rodriguez asked with a smile.
“Papa, these are my best friends Drew and Shane” DJ Fist introduced with a smile, “And my friend and Drew’s girlfriend Vicky”
“Hi, Mr. Rodriguez” MC Cobra greeted with a smile, “It’s really nice to meet you.”
“Yeah” Strikemaster Ice nodded with a smile.
“It's nice to meet you too, chicos ("boys"). Gracias for being there for my hijo ("son").” Mr. Rodriguez said.
“Hey, it's the least we could do” Cobra smiled, “DJ’s been my pal for six years and the three of us have known each other for three. We’re the best of buds and are lucky to have each other.”
“And I'm real glad DJ and Manolo found ya’ll” Ice smiled, “We can tell that he's completely happy, and that's great. I myself reconnected with my own folks not too long ago and Shane has yet to reunite with his parents as well.”
“I hope you find them.” Mrs Rodriguez said to MC Cobra. “They must be worried sick.”
“Yeah” Cobra nodded seriously, “My brother and I will find em before too long. Then we all can be happy, knowing that we found and reconnected with our parents again!”
“It's the most wonderful feeling, bro” DJ said as he hugged Maria again, “I know you’ll feel the same way when you see them again.”
Maria giggled again and Manolo chuckled a bit as he watched his two younger siblings.
Afterwards, as time was dwindling down before DJ and Manolo had to say farewell to their parents and little sister, DJ Fist took Strikemaster Ice and MC Cobra into his old room, where he showed them things that he was interested in as a young teen boy. Lucha Libre, Mexican cartoons, model cars and bikes made out of metal scraps that he had found lying around on the village streets and multiple wood carvings of favorite cartoon characters.
“Dang, bro! You did all this as a kid?” Strikemaster Ice observed as he picked some of them up to look at them closer, “These are BOSS!”
“Chyeah! But no surprise for the brains and artist of the group” MC Cobra smiled, “Man I’m so happy you found your family. And your little sister is a sweetheart! I hope you and Manolo come down here to visit tons of times!”
“I hope so too” DJ Fist smiled, “Heck I almost wouldn't even mind living here in the village. Be a dream come true to have all the family nearby again. But I like San Diego and our life there. Absence makes the heart grow fonder”
“You bet it does!” Strikemaster Ice agreed, “Lil distance is good. Then when you see em again, it makes it all the more sweeter! It's just that feeling of peace that matters most to ya, man” he smiled at DJ Fist
“Definitely” DJ smiled, “I’m really glad you guys got to meet them. It made me feel even closer to you guys. I got the best bros in the whole world, for sure.”
Eventually it was time to leave, and several pictures were taken so that the Rodriquez family had updated pictures of their two found boys and some so that they'd all have a good family picture to look at while they were far away from each other.
“I will miss you, little Maria” DJ Fist said as he picked Maria up one last time and kissed her cheek, “But be good for Mama and Papa and have lots of fun with Anne.”
“Okay. I’ll miss you too, Dom.” Maria said as she hugged him tight.
After he set Maria down, DJ went over to hug his mother.
“Te amo mucho, Mama” he hugged her close, “I hope it won't be too long before Manolo and I will get to see you again.” he said as he kissed the top of her head
She hugged him back tightly. “Te amo mucho, Dominic. Stay safe. Don't get in trouble, okay? And don't forget to call.”
“I won't get into trouble, I promise. And sí, Mama. I will try to call at least every other week.” he told her before kissing the top of her head once again. He then let go of her gently and went over to his father to say goodbye to him.
“Te amo mucho a ti, Papa” he hugged him, “I’m so happy that I got to see you again too.”
“I’m so happy you found your brother and brought him home. And that you're both alright. Te amo, hijo.” Mr. Rodriguez said as he hugged DJ back. “Be safe. I’m proud of you.”
“Thank you, Papa” DJ beamed with happiness and pride as he tightened his hug.
Manolo was hugging Maria goodbye and he kissed the side of her head.
“Stay curious and stay safe.” he told her.
“I will!” she said before kissing his cheek. “Goodbye Manolo. I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll miss you too” he said before setting her down.
Mrs. Rodriguez hugged Manolo and cried as they said goodbye.
DJ Fist stood back with Roundabout and watched. He knew the reunion with Manolo was the more emotional of the two because they hadn't seen him for so much longer and because they truly thought he was dead, just like he once did. For him, he had only run away and simply didn't return for six years. Nonetheless, he was so glad that they both got to be reunited with their whole family.
“Thank you for coming with me, mi dulce hada de la luna (“my sweet moon fairy”)” DJ told Roundabout quietly as he slipped an arm around her, “It’s always special when you introduce your sweetheart to your familia.”
“You're welcome, mi amor. Your mama is so sweet.” Roundabout smiled.
“She is” DJ smiled, “And mi hermosa Maria! Can you believe it?! I have a beautiful little sister! If I had stayed, I would have gotten to see her as a baby and grow up but then who knows if I would have ever found Manolo again…”
“It was our destiny to meet and for you to find your brother again. If you had stayed, you may have been dragged into the amulet quest when Manolo and the rest of us came looking for the mountain amulet.” Roundabout replied.
“Better that we met months ago then than now” DJ Fist nodded in agreement. “I can't ever want to truly change what happened when the path I took led to me finding the best buds and bros I could ever ask for and of course the most beautiful girl I could ever ask for” he smiled at her. “Everything worked out for the better.”
“Yeah. I'm so glad that that everything has happened the way it has. Everything happened for a reason.” she smiled and hugged him.
After the last goodbyes were said, DJ Fist and Manolo departed from their family home with their friends and girlfriends right behind them.
DJ Fist smiled as he clapped his older brother’s shoulder as they walked. “Hermoso I am so glad the mountain amulet brought us down here to Mexico...Man I can't tell you how good it feels to have our family back together! With a little sister included!”
“Yeah! She's so cute! I can't believe how lucky we are to have a chance like this.” Manolo smiled.
“I know! And now we can keep it touch with them and never lose them again” DJ smiled again. He then grew serious as something came to mind. “What did you tell them while Maria and I were gone? They definitely looked worried when we came back, even though they were trying to hide it.”
“They deserved to know the truth about what happened to me…” Manolo replied “I couldn't hide that from them.”
“Dang...So that means you brought up magic with them?” he asked, “What'd they think of that?”
“They're worried for us. But they trust that we know what we're doing.” Manolo said.
“Well since there's no secrets, I’ll help keep them up to date at least every other week if I can and make sure they know we’re ok” DJ Fist replied, “I think it's important for them, especially since we live hundreds of miles away from them.”
“Yeah. But when we come back to visit we gotta spoil our baby sis.” Manolo chuckled.
“Oh heck yeah!” DJ Fist laughed, “I gotta make sure I talk to her too! I missed out on the first five years of her life but no more of that.”
“We both missed out.” Manolo replied. “But… it's time to get home. We have to get to the City of Passion and meet up with our Raider friends and the heroes of the day-the Stronghammer boys.”
“Yes!” DJ Fist smiled, “Man I still can't believe they did all that! That jump was INTENSE! But they made things so much easier on us, and did it so stylishly too.”
“Yeeeeah man!” Manolo laughed.
“Besides, there's someone among us who's wanting to get home for other reasons other than a trip to Atlantis.” Vicky chuckled.
“You know it!” MC Cobra laughed