"And that wraps up our interview with the Doki Doki Duo! Thanks for all your janitorial work around the studio during the tournament, you both!"
"It was no biggie, Meowth!"
"Yeah! Thank-a you so much, for-a to letting us sweep!"
As Mario and Monika walked out of the room, Meowth's face lit up as the door closed. "That's it... That's a wrap, HyperCam!"
"That was our last interview of the tournament!" Meowth walked over to HyperCam, bending down slightly to meet his level. "Now we get to watch the final results and answer... the question on everyone's mind!" Meowth broke into a sing-songy voice, closing his eyes and belting a familar tune. "Who will be the king... FOOOOOR AAAA-"
"...day?" Meowth opened his eyes, put off by hearing Hypercam's slight noise of discomfort. "Oh, heh... sorry, HyperCam, I got a bit carried away there."
"nah ur good dont wory abt it" HyperCam sighed, hopping onto the desk. He looked around at all the photos pinned to the corkboard. The social media posts by the contestants, the art and comments by fans... the memories.
He wasn't ready to say goodbye to any of it.
"Hey, what's goin' on with you? Everything okay? You don't still have any of that crown energy in you, do you?" Meowth glanced over at the other side of the room, where HyperCam was sulking.
"no i dont hav the crown stuf in me anmore,, but like" The camera responded slowly, not very willing to talk about what he was going through. "i.m.. not r3ddy 4 it 2 end mouth"
"For the... oh, yeah, I know what you mean. I'm pretty upset about it, too..." Meowth admitted. "But I think I'm ready to go back to Team Rocket. Jesse, James... I miss those two. Plus, I'm pretty sure Giovanni's caught wind of the tournament! He'll be so proud, I'll get to sit upon his lap... his NEW favorite cat!"
Silence from HyperCam.
"...was I rambling again?" Meowth asked.
"nonononn ur stil gud mewth im jsut havin trubel talkign abt this u no" HyperCam sighed again.
"Yeah, I... I understand, HyperCam."
"cool" HyperCam nodded. "basicly um....... wutz guna hapen 2 me atfer the tornimnt"
"r they jus gona 4get abot me agen or sumtin" HyperCam asked.
Meowth's heart sank hearing that from his coworker and friend. "Hey... Hypercam, don't say that," He replied, an air of concern and confidence in his voice. "No one's gonna forget you, you're amazing! What do you mean they'll forget you again? Was there-" Meowth stopped himself from saying what was going to come next.
"I... w-was there a time you were forgotten?"
The cat and camera looked at each other for what felt like an eternity, neither of them saying anything. HyperCam looked down at the disc attached to his arm, stopping its spinning so he could see his own reflection.
"i wuz so kool in lik 07 or wenevr it wuz" HyperCam reminisced. "fingr 11... 0009 sond sistm... widows xp n movy makr....... it wuz a tyme,.."
"obs fraps n banicam cam thru" HyperCam shrugged. "took da sp0t i had az a scren racordr"
"That's... that's terrible, HyperCam." Meowth stood across from him, astonished. "No one forgot you though, right?"
"evr1 4got abut me moth" HyperCam's voice quivered. "i cant handl tht kinda thign agan i jus cant"
"Hey, hey, calm down, HyperCam!" Meowth put his paw on HyperCam's arm in an attempt to ease his worrying, when suddenly the door slammed open, the two finalists entering shortly after.
"Yo, yo, yo, cat and cam!" DJ Professor K greeted, not immediately analyzing the situation at hand."We came down to say our thanks and goodbyes to both of y'all before the final battle! Jet Set Radi- Oh, damn." He stopped abruptly, seeing Meowth and HyperCam having a moment of distress in the office.
"Is everything alright in here?" Mariya asked, already knowing the answer would probably be a bad one.
"nnah :'(" HyperCam choked. If cameras had tear ducts, his would be very active right now.
Both Mariya and K walked over to HyperCam, with the latter patting him on the back. "What's on your mind, little camera?" Mariya asked HyperCam.
"ii don wana b left bhind agian,,,.,," HyperCam told her and K through a shaky voice. "wen teh toraments ovr im over .,,:((((("
"He's... having a bit of an existential crisis right now." Meowth summarized.
"What?! That's plain baloney and ya know it, camera!" K snapped. "I can tell ya right now I've got a funk ton of unused jams in the archives samplin' your stuff! You're one cool camera, and people love what you're bringin' to the table!"
"I can tell you, HyperCam, I think I've felt something like what you're feeling right now, but at the beginning of this tournament." Mariya began. "Since I time travelled here, I was very nervous given the conditions. With it being this many years in the future, I was unsure of my relevance to the fans." She leaned down to HyperCam. "But I've seen people talking about my music, and the genre I've introduced them to... they've said it's introduced them to city pop and future funk, and that it makes them feel nostalgic for a time long ago... sound familiar?"
"noo..??? :'o" HyperCam wiped his face as if there were tears, which, again, there were none of.
"What Mariya is sayin', camera, is... hold up..." K pulled out his phone and opened the YouTube app. He tapped the video for Dreamscape by 009 Sound System, and scrolled down to the comments, then showed them to HyperCam. "People are... really diggin' your style, even all these years later."
"utube anthm..?? nustalgya?" HyperCam read the comments, puzzled at how positive they all were. "ppl.......rly like me?"
"Of course! No matter how long you've existed, your impact you've left will never be forgotten."
"........." HyperCam looked down, then looked back up at Mariya and K. He hopped to give them both a hug, but given his size, he could only really hug their shoulders.
"Heh heh... 'atta cam." K chuckled, patting the camera on the back.
"Hey, Professor," Mariya smiled. "Want to go bid farewell to the rest of the contestants?"
"You know it, Takeuchi!" K beamed, walking out of the room with her. "Yo, cat n' cam, are you lot comin'?"
"Well..." Meowth thought for a second before HyperCam responded.
"i thikn ill b here wit meowth 4 a few"
"A'ight then! Later, party peeps!"
"..thx alot 4 h3lpign me out" HyperCam sighed in relief, hugging Meowth as well. "i rly apreciat u an i r8 u a 7/5 pal"
"Well, you're an 8 outta 5 pal, HyperCam!" Meowth snickered.
"b0ld wrds comig frum an 9/5 frend thair"
"Well, look who's talking, 10 outta 5 friend!" Meowth pointed at HyperCam, both laughing with each other. They weren't overcome with sadness from the tournament's end anymore. They were overcome with gratitude that they had the opportunity to work together on such an ambitious event.