|The Problem with Flowers
Author: Ranlie PM
Stephanie is upset by one of Robbie Rotten's plans, and Sportacus tries to help her understand her own feelings. One shot!Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst/Romance - Words: 1,285 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 18 - Follows: 3 - Published: 01-18-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2759423
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Don't own it, never will. Sniff!
Stephanie studied the leaf with the practiced sullenness of the melancholy. Her knees were drawn up to her chest, and her arms hugged them tight, holding them there. Her cheeks were red and puffy, evidence of recent tears. A drop still clung to her chin, shivering briefly before falling to her dress.
"Stupid Robbie," Stephanie muttered, but her heart wasn't in it. Even to her own ears she sounded pouty, and that just made it even worse.
Normally she wasn't one to be affected by Robbie Rotten. But today, he had taken it upon himself to trample her flower garden in a fit of pique. She hadn't known it was him at the time--he had been disguised as a giant, rampaging squirrel, after all--but Sportacus had come to her rescue. He had tied the squirrel's tail around one of her sturdy cherry saplings, and Robbie had come popping out the other end when he pulled too hard on it. He promptly disappeared when his sneakiness was exposed.
Stephanie had tried to salvage what she could; burying exposed roots, rescuing thrown plants from the walkway, and clipping heavy flower heads to try to save their bearers. Sportacus had only watched, his shadow falling upon her frantic efforts.
She wasn't sure how long it had taken for him to put a gentle hand on her shoulder, but it must have been at least an hour. She had looked up at him, a brilliant smile on her face despite the tears that streamed down her cheeks.
"They'll be okay!" she remembered saying. Had her voice cracked or not? She remembered the lump that had formed in her throat, certainly. "I've just got to work a little harder, now. I can save them all, I'm sure of it! There's always a way!"
Sportacus had kept his hand where it was as he slowly shook his head. "I do not think so, Stephanie," he'd said. "I think Robbie Rotten had won today. We can plant new flowers..."
Stephanie had jerked away from him then, falling in a lump of soil and discarded leaves. He had reached out for her, to help her, but she pushed herself up stubbornly.
"I don't want to plant new flowers," she said, her cheeks redenning. Stephanie flushed with the remembering of it. To have acted like such a child in front of Sportacus...now he would always think of her as a little girl.
"It's not fair. He always comes and ruins everything. And I...I have to just sit and take it, and everybody expects me to be happy and helpful and to not mind but sometimes I do!" Stephanie had said, her voice rising as she spoke. Sportacus had watched her with his trademark calm, and it had only upset her more.
"Oh, you don't understand. You don't understand anything!" she had said, her hands clenched at her sides in frustration. "I'm going to go...go for a walk. Goodbye." And with that, she had stormed off.
It had taken her a good half hour to walk off her anger, and then another fifteen minutes to work through her embarassment. Eventually she had planted herself under the shedding oak tree, and hadn't moved.
"Mortifying," she groaned, and buried her head in her hands. Dried oak leaves rustled around her at the movement.
But wait, the rustle was getting louder. Stephanie looked up, her eyes bleary from the new threat of tears. She waited several heartbeats, then squeaked when a handful of wild daisies was suddenly thrust into her face.
"Hello, Stephanie," pronounced a cheerful voice. "It is hard to find you in a forest, you know."
Stephanie opened her mouth to laugh, but stopped herself short. She settled for an awkward smile, and took the daisies from Sportacus before he insisted on putting them in her hair or somesuch silliness. They were fresh, and fragrant with the perfume of flowers that had soaked up days of afternoon sun. Despite herself, she felt better for them. She didn't have the nerve to look up at Sportacus though, and kept her eyes on the daisies, studying their white petals and yellow hearts.
"You didn't have to follow me, Sportacus," she said quietly. "But thank you for the flowers. They're pretty."
There was another rustle beside her, and Stephanie felt Sportacus seat himself beside her, his back to the oak tree and his shoulder pressed against hers. Silence descended briefly, broken only by the sound of the wind in the trees. Then,
"You think I do not understand you."
"No, Sportacus, I didn't mean--" Stephanie broke in. She was finally looking at him, and stopped, startled. He was looking back, his face mere inches from her own, a small smile on his lips.
"Robbie only makes me upset when he bothers one of my friends, like you," Sportacus continued, as if she hadn't spoken. "But I cannot show it, because if I did, he would bother my friends even more. And I would be very busy trying to save everyone from being bothered all the time." His lips twiched with amusement, and Stephanie's did as well.
"So I try to not think about it," Sportacus said. He leaned over to pluck one of the daisies out of Stephanie's bouquet, and twirled the stem in his fingers. "I have Lazytown, and I have my friends, and I have all the Sport candy that I can eat. So everything is good. Robbie only makes things interesting."
Stephanie looked down at her lap, embarassed again. "I wish I could be like you, Sportacus," she said sadly. "I feel like that most of the time, but today Robbie just made me so mad. My flowers didn't even do anything to him."
"I know they didn't," he replied. He took his daisy and tucked it into her hair, securing it firmly in the pink mass. He waited until she looked back at him before smiling again. "Neither did you. And that made me a little mad, too. So maybe I do understand?"
Stephanie sighed, then returned his smile. "Yeah. I think you do understand, Sportacus."
"Good!" Sportacus said, nodding in satisfaction. "Because it would be very sad if I did not understand my favourite person."
Sportacus pressed his hands against the oak tree's trunk, and leapt to his feet with a little spin. He reached out to her with a flourish. "It is suppertime now," he said cheerily. "Let us see who can run back to the mayor's house the fastest."
Stephanie took his hand, and was drawn to her feet with a speed that made her hop a little bit. She looked stubbornly at Sportacus, perplexed by his change of topic. "But wait, you just said--"
"If you do not start to run, I will certainly win," he said, his voice solemn despite his boyish grin.
Stephanie opened her mouth to argue, but saw that it was pointless. She gave a little stomp of irritation, and then took off down the path, with Sportacus following a ways behind.