CONTENT WARNING: illustrated depictions of gore, violence and body-horror.
After living 1000 years on a wilderness island, surviving societal collapse (twice), and before heading on an emergency mission, Hewkii asks out his life-long crush for a date in a ruined city…. which could have come much earlier. Oh well, here we are!
A fluffy, context-independent Bionicle romance featuring the classic couple Hewkii and Macku as they goshdarn finally make a move.
You can also read this fanfic on Archive of Our Own!
Hewkii paced in his cabin.
It wasn’t much; a few empty cots laid out next to each other, some dusty furniture filled with tools instead of the clothes they must have worn a long time ago. This room was stale and cold. But out of all the buildings that survived a thousand years of disuse, there wasn’t much selection anyway.
Repairing a city, a home he barely remembered ever existed, was not on his mind right now.
His friend, Jaller, came by earlier. They had a conversation, an urgent one, where he detailed his intention to leave the city in search of their protectors, Toa, who had left on a mission… and have not returned. Jaller wanted to track them down, he somehow knew they were in trouble.
Jaller was understandably angry, that their elders failed to inform any of the Matoran-villagers about their Toa leaving on a…. suicide mission. That, despite promising them they will tell the truth about their collective past, the elders felt it appropriate to continue keeping the Matoran out of urgent matters.
Hewkii agreed to join Jaller’s team, or at least a secret group meeting with them. He trusted Jaller, who never made decisions in a hurry or in a fit, and likewise felt something needed doing as well. They will meet that same evening.
But that also wasn’t what was bugging him.
It was so benign he was almost embarrassed to admit it.
Hewkii drummed his fingers on one of the furniture pieces, leaving behind spots where his fingerprints lifted the dust off. He needed to do something before the meeting. He held it off for a long while, delegating it to ‘I have time’. Now that there was none left at all, he was terrified. And questioning if doing it now was a good idea at all.
“Argh! Don’t be a fool! Let’s go!” he barked to himself, put on his work kit and a dust cape (even though there was no desert wind to protect from), and dashed out. He dodged another villager coming down a hallway. They greeted him, but he only grunted a hello, leaving them in the dust – literally and figuratively.
He considered it good fortune that his district was right next door to the water district. If it were on the other side of the city, he’d never reach her before evening. Still, none of the liquid-powered chutes that transported capsules at high speed in their hay-day were active. So he ran part of the way and piggy-backed on giant domesticated crabs the rest of the way. He marched straight to the shore, towards a dome structure known as the Great Temple. A small army of water villagers, also known as Ga-Matoran, were busy restoring a big hole in its roof.
Hewkii knew that wasn’t her job at the moment, though, and made a detour towards the transport hub. The elders and leading architects among the Matoran made it clear that fixing the chutes would be too complex at this stage. So they worked on clearing out as much debris from the canals weaving through the city.
When he arrived, there were several water villagers assembling boats. Their work speed was impressive. It pleased him double that the material scavenging Hewkii’s team had done around the city was being put to use. But he didn’t see her among any of them.
Hewkii approached: “Hey Marka! Is Macku around?”
The Matoran called Marka jerked her head up from her task of pulling a thick wire taught on a boat. While still glaring at Hewkii, she ratcheted the tool till the wire groaned with pressure, latched the end into a hook, tied it with a clamp and cut the end of. The wire snapped into place with a twang. Hewkii sweated.
Seeing that his request was serious, she sighed.
“I’m not herding the roughnecks anymore. Thank Mata Nui. Saw her a few hours ago weaving ropes and sorting through wires.”
Another Matoran overheard the conversation as they passed by: “She was at hull-painting earlier! I mean, later than when Marka saw her.”
“Thanks!” Hewkii announced, and dashed in that direction.
Marka watched him leave. “Usually can’t get that guy off my back when he starts a conversation.”
“Are you complaining?” the other Matoran smirked.
Hewkii went to the hull painting area… and then the mast building, the paint mixing, the engine engineering, the canal clearing. Almost half-an-hour passed, and Macku was nowhere. His last option was to go to her cabin, so he began dashing in that direction. Unfortunately, another water Matoran got a hold of him and asked him for help with some heavy lifting. Not wanting to explain that he needed to have a conversation with Macku as if he might die the next day (which was feasible), he sighed and helped them out.
This Matoran, Amaya, saw his agitation and offered water to drink. He refused. She insisted. He relented.
“You’re not in the desert anymore, Po-Matoran,” Amaya laughed, “Here are plenty more things to trip over.”
Hewkii grumbled, seated, guzzling the drink.
“Yeah,” he said, “And harder to spot anyone too.”
“Have you tried sitting still? Makes it easier to observe,” Amaya said, and returned doing her work.
Hewkii shrugged, put the cup down, and was about to continue on his way, when he did a double take. On a bridge, above him, was movement. One figure moved in a way he was familiar with.
Amaya was right. This whole time he’d been searching the ground floor and canals, didn’t even bother with looking up. Then again, the concept of a multi-storey world was foreign to pretty much everyone here.
“Macku!” Hewkii shouted. She didn’t hear him. She talked to someone then walked away, her body and head disappearing from view, “Wait! Wait, Macku!”
He dashed. He had no idea what was the fastest way to get up. He couldn’t spot stairs or ramps anywhere, being right in the middle of this construction zone. He found a pile of debris and boxes, and figured that had to do. Hewkii clambered up them and wished for a moment he was as lithe as an air Matoran.
“Hey, hey somebody up there! Please, stop Macku! I need to–”
He grabbed onto the metal work of the architecture, reaching the edge of the bridge. When he looked up, he saw a set of faces staring at him. One of them was…
Hewkii’s foot chose an old, rusted swirl motif on the side of the bridge. Bad choice. The structure cracked and broke under his weight, and he hollered as he lost his grip. The boxes beneath him toppled and tumbled as he crashed through them, and the cacophony echoed through the narrow canals, culminating in a cloud of litter.
“If your goal was to meet me in private and cause as little fuss as possible, don’t you think you uh… kinda overdid it?”
Hewkii was glad for the swell on the side of his face. It served as a good scapegoat for his flushed mask as Macku dabbed it with a wet cloth and applied a salve. They were sitting in a small alcove, walled by tall buildings and scrap tarps, cloth and stacks of junk. Construction sounds were all around, but dampened.
“Ah… well. At least it’s in character for me,” he said, looking at the ground.
Macku snickered. He loved that sound. “You got me there. You’d be more suspicious if you somehow managed to not cause a fuss.”
Hewkii chuckled, and allowed her to continue the treatment.
“But… you did seem more urgent than usual. What did you want to tell me?”
Hewkii, in a hushed tone, relayed what Jaller told him: that a team of six of them would go after the Toa and get them back, no matter where they’d gone or the danger. Everyone’s survival depended on it.
“We have a meeting tonight, and I expect we’ll be departing right after. I don’t know who will stick around, but I don’t intend to back out,” Hewkii said, “And uh… you can keep that secret can’t you?”
“Of course,” Macku said. She remained silent otherwise as she pulled a knot in a make-shift bandage around his head. Hewkii rubbed his wrist.
“Well,” she finally said, after reflecting some more, “Thanks for telling me.” She smiled at him. But the stone Matoran could tell that it was pained.
“I’m sorry Jaller didn’t approach you with the same request,” Hewkii said.
She shook her head, “No, he chooses exactly what’s necessary, not more or less. I promise I’m not sad about that. I’m just… well, I wish you luck and hope you return!”
Hewkii’s heart warmed, seeing how much she tried to put on a brave face for him.
“Thank you. But you don’t have to pretend it’s fine, I can see it’s not. W-what I mean is… um. At least. I’ll miss you,” his mask blushed a bit again.
Hers did too, “Come on, you said it yourself once. ‘No point in mulling over a rock when you have the view to enjoy’.”
“D-did I? That sounds more like a Turaga Matau thing.”
“No, you waned sentimental once and blurted out such a wisdom,” Macku said.
“I know,” Macku giggled, “I’ll… miss you too.”
Hewkii smiled back. The water Matoran began standing up.
“Well, I better let you go to–”
Macku looked down and saw Hewkii’s hand grab her arm. Although she knew he was capable of it, it wasn’t a strong grip, but it was tense. She sat back down again.
Hewkii focused on the ground. He muttered, “That’s… not the only thing I wanted to tell you.”
Macku waited, the temperature in her face rising. He seemed to take in a few deep breaths. Years ago she would’ve blabbered to fill the uncomfortable silence, but now knew she could allow it to be.
Finally, he looked up. With some difficulty, he cleared his throat and engaged eye contact.
“I have another terrible idea, worse than that proverb. I know this is so, so last minute and I should’ve asked much earlier, and I don’t want to pressure you into anything. But I thought I’d be an idiot if I said goodbye and nothing else…”
He breathed in.
“Would… would you like to be my girlfriend?”
Macku sat stiff, staring into him. Hewkii could tell, through his hand holding her arm, her body heated up in the time he’d spoken.
She laughed, patchy and hysterical and nervous, and put a hand over her mouth.
“Weren’t we that already?” Macku said through her hand.
“We… we were?”
Macku laughed again.
“Okay… no. No, we weren’t. I imagined we were because it was less scary than talking about it,” Macku said.
“I’m kind of glad I wasn’t the only one who thought that,” Hewkii laughed too, “But, wow, we are both pretty dumb, huh?”
They shared mirth, their voices bouncing around the walls and back at them. A few bird-rahi squawked down in response.
“But yes,” Macku sucked in a breath, “What do you want to do?”
Hewkii raised a brow.
“What do you mean?”
“Come on, you didn’t gather so much courage just to sign the document ‘we’re dating’.”
“Uh,” Hewkii said, “Well, i-it’d be unfair to expect anything so short-notice…”
“Hewkii,” Macku said, scooping up his hands in hers, “You’re being sweet and polite, and I appreciate that. But you’re not doing either of us any favours here. Imagine for a moment you didn’t need to go; what’s the first thing you would’ve asked we do together?”
Hewkii’s heart rate could’ve jumped out of his chest by now and run through a crack in a nearby wall.
“I’d ask you on a date and… see how it goes, you know? But there’s really no time…”
“When are you expected at the meeting?”
“Oh, pff,” Macku scoffed, “That’s hours away. We can go on a date now!”
“You just want to drop everything you were doi–”
“Hewkii, you’re more important than work.”
He blushed, “W-won’t you get into trouble?”
She stuck out her tongue, “It’s in-character for me to get distracted and run away from responsibilities.”
“Ha,” Hewkii chuckled, and allowed himself to relax, “Right. Right, you convinced me. But… I can’t imagine there’s much to see or do in a city half buried in destruction.”
“Oh, please, have you forgotten your sense of adventure?” the water Matoran chided, and stood up, pulling her boyfriend with her, who stumbled, “There’s plenty to do.”
“I get the feeling one of those things is climbing to the top of a precarious spire to watch the sunset.”
“Actually, no, but since you volunteered, we can do that at the end!” Macku grinned.
“… me and my big mouth,” Hewkii grumbled.
“Which I look forward to kissing,” she cackled. Before Hewkii could respond, she dragged him through a gap in the buildings and they dashed through the alleys.
First, they trotted over tall walkways, on the way to the shore; Macku had something to show him. But she spotted some workers below, and a playful grin crossed her face. She pulled something out of her bag, a bottle and a hoop-on-a-stick, and dunked the hoop into the liquid contained inside. She blew into the hoop, which formed a bubble, but it crystallised into a solid form. Too heavy to float, it fell down and down. All they could hear was a chime-like ting as it hit the bottom…. And someone exclaiming in surprise.
Macku handed over the toy to Hewkii, which at first he was hesitant to use. But as he partook in the prank – tink, huh? plink, wah!? ploonk, pa-tunk – he relaxed in her presence and it was like as if they were goofing around back home… uh, the other island. They jumped from platform to platform, ducking out of the way of eyes searching the sky for answers. Then, some of the workers below pointed up at them, and their game was up. With big grins and cackles, they sprinted out of the scene, and slid down a ramp to the lower levels.
After taking many stairs down, they reached a dock, and Macku encouraged Hewkii to join her for a swim. They left their kits and gear at the stairs, and swam along the edge of the city. Macku joked she wanted to make sure her boyfriend – which made him almost swallow water – remembered her swimming lessons. He was doing fine, in fact… but still pretended he needed some help. Judging by her tilted brows, Macku knew exactly what he was trying to pull, but obliged with offering her hand or shoulder. She wanted the contact too.
Soon enough they reached a cove. Along its rocky wall was a giant vine network, running all the way to a sewer opening far above. The vine itself, in its murky maroons and greys, was dead. But out of it grew a different plant, completely satisfied with the salty winds and a dead roots as sustenance. It sprouted fruit, which Macku confirmed were safe to consume (she wasn’t that adventurous). They gorged themselves on them; tangy taste, but with a rich pungent aroma.
That wasn’t the end of the swim, though. After some diving, they emerged inside a subterranean chamber. Its walls were covered in murals and texts. Somehow, this room was almost untouched from the apocalypse, save for the collapsed door and cobwebs galore.
Neither of them were scholars, but they appreciated the elaborate, clean chiselled art and archaic text. At least, until Hewkii began making up stories what the murals could be about. He started off with one grumpy Ta-Matoran upset someone burned his dinner. Then the friends of the accused built a fort to protect themselves from cooking critique. Macku joined in and they went on and on; the fort was also the hiding spot for a magical drink, which when ingested turned people into sentient puddles, production machines put on a puppet show before finally everyone agreed to only ever eat rice for eternity.
They could scarcely breathe from their nonsense. The walls vibrated from a sound that haven’t been heard in centuries. Of course, they knew, the murals likely told a story about an industrial age.
Hewkii and Macku went back the way they came, and dried themselves by running through the city. This time, the stone Matoran took his girlfriend – he still wasn’t used to it – to his district. They explored the long-forgotten statues of great carvers. There were portraits of heroes or politicians, stunning rahi-animals, or practical components for machines. Hewkii found a sorry-looking sculpture, a half-abandoned bird, and insisted he must have crafted that one in his past life.
Finally, they walked through a wide-open court, where a few stone plinths towered over them. Macku pointed to the top of one, then grinned at Hewkii. He shook his head. No way.
“It was your suggestion~” Macku teased.
They dug through the abandoned workstations, and gathered a few picks and any rope that wasn’t rotten. At first, Hewkii was nervous about Macku climbing a steep stone sculpture. But then he remembered how the Toa of water used to have hooks as her tools, to climb rocky shore cliffs. She must have taught the water Matoran how to do the same. Indeed, Macku fell into a steady automatic rhythm, so that they both climbed at the same pace.
Once at the top, they panted and slumped down. They weren’t high enough to see the whole city, but high enough that the central Coliseum, the city’s crowning jewel, looked less like a mountain and more like a building. They could hear, carried on the winds, the occasional clank and rattle, of their friends, colleagues and family toiling away. Hoping to turn a place they didn’t remember into a place that mattered.
Hewkii observed the sky. It was then that he recalled there wouldn’t be a real ‘sunset’ here. The atmosphere was illuminated all-around by nothing in particular. He had no idea how it worked. He was certain that, when he and the villagers traveled to this place, that they were going through tunnels downwards. Meaning their old island Mata Nui, which they named after their god, was above. Not to mention their old island was completely surrounded by the sea. Yeah, no idea. So all he could guess was that this was a super-massive subterranean cavern.
If he squinted hard enough right above him, he could see the faint shape of two grey circles where two suns could be. Like planets. Except they appeared too flat to be planets.
Ah, it was starting to happen. Hewkii gestured at the horizon.
“See how the silver sky is being replaced by a darker blue?”
“Mm-hmm. Sort of like the night crawling up from the sea.”
“Yeah. Watch the seam between the two colours as it gets higher.”
Sure enough, once it went a third of the way up towards the ‘top’ of the cavern, there was a wobble. It was subtle at first, like observing air warping over sand or floors during a hot day. But at some point the whole seam between the silver and blue broke into a shimmer of turquoise, azure and the occasional gold.
“I haven’t seen this before!”
“It’s hard to spot, you have to be pretty high up, and the day needs to be uh… Crisp? I’m not sure how to describe it,” Hewkii explained.
“I guess you work on higher elevation when you work– Oh look there it goes again!”
An even darker gradient of night blue reached the one-third mark, and it broke into deep purples and orange glitter. The more the sky took on blue, the more ‘stars’ appeared, adding to the colour dance.
“Wow,” they both said.
They continued running through theories, things they’d noticed about the city. Macku shuffled, bit by bit, closer to Hewkii. When she was close enough, she leaned on his side and nuzzled her head into his shoulder. He tried his best not to leap to high heaven as she wrapped an arm around his.
They sat for a while, two heart lights blinking at a pace too fast for sedentary activity, until they settled into each other.
“Those murals I showed you made me wonder…” Macku said, “Do you think the two of us were very close before Mata Nui?”
“I have no idea,” Hewii replied, “All I know is that it would be even more embarrassing if it took us, not just a healthy thousand years, but even longer than that to date.”
Macku snickered, “Good point.”
She shifted again, propping herself up. They looked at each other, and Macku blushed as she said:
“I did say earlier I wanted to kiss you.”
“Do you want to?” she asked.
“Y-yes, I would…”
“Give me a moment, I need to wrap my head around this.”
“You can’t wrap your head around a kiss, silly,” Macku chided, batting her eyes in mock charm, “You have to wrap your lips around it.”
Hewkii buried his face in his hand, leaning forward as his lungs heaved. His shoulders were shaking as he was half-way between guffawing or crying. Macku only leaned on his shoulder with a satisfied smirk.
“I—I can’t,” he lifted again, wiping away tears, “Where do you pull those out from?”
“My heart,” Macku grinned.
“I can already tell you’re getting ready with another,” Hewkii said.
“If you want to stop it, you know what to do,” Macku continued flirting.
He sighed, shaking his head in bemusement. He twisted his upper body so he could face his girlfriend better.
“I just… can’t believe this is happening,” Hewkii whispered, as he took hold of her upper arm while the other curled around her back. Macku said nothing, shy and pleased, as she leaned closer. He pulled her in, her face closer to his than it had ever been before. His breath hitched as he glimpsed at her mouth. Macku’s eyes closed.
Hewkii kissed her. Uncertain at first, but when she kissed back he ‘wrapped around it’. It felt amazing. His arms traveled into a hug, and he felt her hand trace up his neck and settle on his cheek.
They kissed a few times, getting comfortable with staring into each other’s souls between each, until they tangled into a cuddle. Nothing needed saying as the light show in the sky dampened, and true dusk came.
With some reluctance, Hewkii said: “We’d better get back down. It’ll be too dark otherwise.”
“Okay Mr. Safe and careful.”
“Now you’re exaggerating.”
Macku snickered, “I’m always doing that, so technically I’m not!”
By the time they reached the ground, night fell, and only by the few lights set up by the villagers over the last few weeks could they navigate the streets.
Hewkii tugged on Macku’s arm, saying: “Before you go, there’s one more thing I want to give you.”
They went to his cabin. He peeked in, checking if anyone had come back yet, and to his relief it was still devoid of his flatmates. For once, he appreciated them being night owls.
Hewkii searched in his cot, through the furniture, muttering to himself.
“Come on, I hope one of the others didn’t move– ah!” buried under a pile of spare textiles no one bothered to turn into clothes yet, he pulled out his subject of search.
He presented it to Macku; a small stuffed plush version in likeness of her. A little frayed, made of bamboo material. One arm had a hole in it, where dried leaf stuffing poked out. In the past, he patched up another corner with haphazard sewing, with burgundy string instead of blue.
Macku lit up when she saw it, all the same, “Aw… you kept it.”
“Why wouldn’t I?” Hewkii said, handing it to her, “Could you take care of this while I’m gone? I will, of course, ask for it back when I return. But I think little Macku would be very alone in a dishevelled cupboard, she’d want her… boyfriend for company.” He referred to the fact that they each had a stuffed toy version of the other in their possessions.
Macku held the toy, smiling, “I will. Heh. You know, I find it funny when we made these that we called them ‘friendship plushies’. But they weren’t that at all, were they?”
Hewkii chuckled sheepishly, “Ahah. Yeahhhhh. We were so in denial.”
They both laugh. Then a moment of hesitation. Macku let out a sob and tears sprang from her eyes. She wiped them away in haste and scoffed.
“Oh no, I’m sorry,” Macku sniffed, “When you told me you were leaving on a mission, I thought to myself I shouldn’t get sad.”
“Nonono, it’s alright!” Hewkii rushed towards her right away, reaching out to hold her arms, “I mean… it’s normal. I would react the same way in your position.”
Macku smiled, “It better not change your mind, though.”
“Look, on one hand, after tonight, I’d like nothing more than to stay. But no. I have to do this,” Hewkii thought for a moment, “But I promise you I will come ba–”
Hewkii’s mouth shut in a snap.
The water Matoran shook her head. Even as tears still ran, her voice was steady: “Something tells me this isn’t going to be the same, like when we fought the possessed rahi, or were almost overrun by Bohrok. Forget what I said earlier today. You need to push through, no matter what.”
Hewkii stood stock still. He recalled those days, how sometimes impossible and hopeless they seemed. But something about this new situation was… severe. She was right, or else he wouldn’t have admitted his feelings for her with such urgency.
“So promise me instead,” she said, “That when you think of me, let my memory encourage your forward. I’ll be angry if I inspired you to be a hindrance to yourself and your team.”
The stone Matoran nodded his head, “I promise. Guaranteed.”
“Good,” Macku said. The serious expression held for a second longer, then it faltered and sadness returned. She leapt forward and hugged Hewkii, and he found out again how much strength she had. He clutched at her, hugging back with almost as much might as he knew she could handle. Macku sobbed into his shoulder, and he stroked her back, fighting his own tears.
“But I will,” sob, “miss you and think and hope about you,” she spoke, muffled.
Hewkii nodded with a fierce expression, started saying “I–” but his voice cracked and he sobbed also. He decided to show what he meant be resting his head in the nape of her neck. She understood.
They parted, Macku kissed him one more time, their wet cheeks mingling. Then they both cleaned their flexible masks, exchanged last well-wishes with genuine encouragement and happiness. Then, tearing herself away, Macku left.
Hewkii stood at the doorway, not quite sure for how long. Only once he heard the sound of distant footsteps did he pull himself together. With a humph, he ducked back into the room, grabbed the rest of his gear, and crept out, taking the back door into the night.