Marco stared down at the ground as sweat dripped from his face. It wasn't enough. He pushed against the floor with all his might, but the exhaustion was too much. Nineteen. He could do nineteen push-ups in a row. 23 sit-ups. He never realized how flabby and weak his teenage body was until now, and it pained him that he got to whatever belt in karate he apparently had without being able to do even a quarter of what his adult body was capable of. With a groan, he sat up and walked over to his closet, taking a look inside and noting the red belt hanging from a hanger. Oh, right.

A quick glance to the window told him it was probably about four in the morning. He had no idea what time everyone would be up in the house. Normally, he would be on the road already, following a lead or tracking her trail, but now he just had to wait and do nothing. For the first time in over a decade, he was bored out of his mind. He glanced around the room and saw a pile of textbooks under his bed. With a sigh, he picked them up and put them into his backpack. He would need them for class.

Oh god, class. He briefly remembered one time that he asked his dad for help with a math problem and his dad said he didn't remember how to do it. It sounded ridiculous at the time, but as Marco tried to recall any of the math he'd learned sixteen years ago (wait, no. this year, he had to remind himself), it all came up blank.

Well, since he wasn't tired and had nothing to do, he might as well try to catch back up to speed. He searched his room, and after like ten minutes, he found his notebooks. Hopefully he took detailed enough notes to reteach himself algebra or whatever class it was. Looking through the pile of color-coded notebooks, he pulled out one with a title written in glitter and completely indecipherable, which was most likely Star's doing. The chickenscratch written inside didn't help either. Marco had underestimated how bad his handwriting used to be. After squinting at a few different words, he realized there was no way he was going to translate it anytime soon.

With a deep sigh, he put the notebook down and looked back out at the window. It was about four ten now. At least the emptiness of the city was calming, though the faint buzz of technology had been giving him a headache. He looked back at his computer. The password was a hurdle he would have to overcome eventually, but he had no leads yet. He definitely couldn't go to sleep, and there was nothing in his room that could occupy the time.

Maybe a run. He stretched and put some clean clothes on. Sneaking through the house in the dark sounded easy, but he would rather not risk it, so Marco just cracked open the window and jumped down into the yard. Using perfect form, his feet hit the ground but catapulted him into a roll and then back to his feet. As a sharp pain reached across his soles, he remembered the first few months he'd been chasing Heckapoo and the dull fact that he had really soft feet. That apparently made landing hurt really bad, and made Marco instantly regret his decision to trust a body that he no longer knew anything about.

Bearing through the pain, he started to run through the yard. He gripped the top of the fence before him and attempted to pole vault himself over it, scratching his pants and leg in the process. He landed on the other side and let out an annoyed groan. If he couldn't even do this, how was he ever going to get back to where he was? Not the dimension, but his body. He was already kind of annoyed that he'd have to go through the physical act of growing up again, but he was hoping that it wouldn't take another sixteen years to get his body to work right. He took a deep breath and started running again, paying attention to which directions he headed so as not to get lost. The good thing about roads were that they were a little easier to remember than rocks and trees, so he had no worries about making it back.

At least one thing that Marco kept was the ability to pace himself. He could work his body to a sweat, but never reach exhaustion. He kept running until the dark blue of the sky began to turn purple at the horizon, and he ran back to the yard in time for morning. He hopped the fence again and climbed up to his window, annoyed that it took him twice as long as it would have in Heckapoo's dimension. His alarm started ringing just as he changed out of his sweaty shirt and bloody pants (that cut was apparently deeper than he'd given it credit for). He walked over to the alarm and pressed pretty much every button on the damn thing before it actually stopped ringing.

Marco walked through the dark hallway to the bathroom. Alarms blared from behind at least one of the doors, and it took him three tries to find the bathroom again. He locked the door behind him and walked over to the shower. He'd taken a shower the night before, and it was such a calming and surreal experience that he took almost half an hour to clean himself. Star had assured him it wasn't that long of a shower, but Marco hadn't spent that much time cleaning himself in years.

Marco turned on the shower and stepped inside. He took a deep breath as cool water cascaded across him. He started to scrub his body and then he heard the familiar voice of Star Butterfly echo through the room.

"Goooood morning, Marco!" How? He locked the- oh. Right. He gave her the scissors. Figures.

"Uh, morning..." He scrubbed harder and started to clean out the gash on his leg. If he'd only brought some ta'khu leaves with him. His leg would be better within the hour. He made sure the cut was sufficiently cleaned and turned the water off.

"Uh, Marco? Are you done already?" Star asked from where she was doing her hair with magic.

Marco grabbed a towel and threw it around himself. It took a minute to get the towel to wrap correctly so it didn't fall off, and then he opened the shower and stepped out. "Yeah, why?"

"You didn't even steam up the mirror. Are you okay?"

Marco nodded. "Yeah, I'm fine." He didn't want her to worry over nothing. Marco grabbed another towel and started to dry his hair with it. Star just stared at him suspiciously, and Marco smiled reassuringly at her. "I swear. I'm totally okay."

"Ooookaaaay. If you say so." She returned to doing her hair but kept an eye on him anyway. After Marco finished drying off, he left the bathroom.

"I'm gonna go get dressed." He didn't wait for her reply before going back down the hallway to his room and locking the door behind him.

With a deep sigh, he went to his closet, which was filled with his red hoodies, plus his leather jacket from the last stretch of the chase. It didn't feel right wearing it now, so he grabbed a hoodie and tossed it over his head.

It was going to be a long day.