Disclaimer: I do not own Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" the horrendous scream echoed throughout the hallways and stairwells of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!" closely followed the louder, higher-pitched shriek that reverberated from the top floor to the basement of the old, Victorian mansion.
Wilt and Bloo, who had been playing Go-Fish in their room, immediately darted out and raced down the long and winding hallway, startled and curious to know what was going on. Arms pumping, their breath coming in ragged gasps, the two sprinted off to where they heard the mysterious screams originate from.
"What was that? What happened?" a very spooked Bloo asked his lanky companion.
"I don't know!" Wilt gasped. "But those screams, they almost sounded like-"
Before he could finish, a nearby door flew open as a very flustered looking Mac literally dived out, quickly whirling around and slamming it shut the second he hit the floor. As he leaned against it, breathing heavily, it was quite clear to the two imaginary friends that he had witnessed something of the utmost unpleasant nature. Mac leaned against the door stiffly, mouth hanging agape and eyes widened to the size of saucers in pure and utter horror. Meanwhile, his entire face was rapidly changing from its usual peach-colored tone into a vibrant shade of scarlet. In other words, the poor kid looked as if he wanted to either crawl into a hole and die of embarrassment or faint right there in the hallway. Or both.
After watching this unusually odd spectacle, Bloo cautiously approached his best friend. "Mac?" he asked softly.
"Buddy? You okay?" he continued in the same gentle tone, as so not to startle his already clearly-rattled creator.
A few tense moments passed silently. Finally, Mac jerked his glance in the direction of the two figments.
"I…I…" he struggled to get the words out.
"It's okay buddy, it's okay." Wilt said reassuringly as he placed a comforting hand on the boy's shoulder. "Just tell us what happened."
"I…I just…j-just wanted to w-wash…my hands…and she…she…and I…" Mac sputtered slowly.
"What? Who? What do you mean by "she?" What happened?" Bloo asked a little bit impatiently. This was getting nowhere, fast.
Before Mac could finish gasping out what had happened, the door behind him suddenly opened unexpectedly from within. As it swung inward, the two imaginary friends and child were thrown forwards into the bathroom from the force, all hitting the cold, tile floor with a loud joint thump. Before any of them had a chance to react, Mac suddenly felt himself get roughly grabbed by the shoulders and hoisted to his feet, the utterly stunned child coming face-to-face with an equally horrified-looking Frances "Frankie" Foster.
Bloo and Wilt simply looked on from where they lay in complete bewilderment at the bizarre sight. Frankie, what with her eyes doubled in size and her face a fantastically bright color of red, stared at Mac with exactly the same facial expression the boy returned right back at her; a mixed look of disbelief, embarrassment, and above all, pure and simple horror. However, besides this strange similarity, the two imaginary friends also quickly the even more glaring difference between the two; whereas Mac was fully clothed in his usual attire, Frankie was soaking wet and clad in nothing but a green terrycloth towel that she had wrapped about her body.
"Mac! What did you see? What did you see?" Frankie demanded in a panicked tone, shaking Mac roughly.
"I…I…I…I…" Mac was stuttering so badly it was like the twenty-two-year-old was holding a broken record player.
"MAC, WHAT DID YOU SEE?" Frankie immediately raised her voice to the point of shrieking.
"EVERYTHING!" Mac sobbed violently as he broke down, covering his face in shame. "I'm sorry, I saw everything!"
"NO!" Frankie cried, releasing her grip and backing up against the wall, completely aghast. "Say it isn't so! Please, no! No! Oh for the love of God, no!" she pleaded desperately.
"I can't Frankie, I can't!" Mac wailed, throwing up his arms in hysterics. "I know what I saw, and I saw everything! Everything!"
"Oh no!" Frankie yelled, grabbing Mac by the shoulders again and lifting him into the air so that their faces were only inches apart. "Everything?" she whimpered.
"Everything." Mac moaned unhappily.
"You mean you saw-"
"And also the-"
"Both of them Frankie, both of them!" Mac cried. "When I say everything, I'm telling you I saw everything!"
"Oh God…" Frankie murmured softly, the bright red suddenly draining from her face until she resembled a ghost dressed in a bath towel. She looked as if she was about to keel over.
"What are we going to do?" Mac moaned. "Frankie, what are we going to do?"
"What?" Frankie shrieked. "You're asking me? You're honestly asking ME? How the heck should I know? You're the Voice of Reason, you think of something!"
A blank look suddenly appeared on Mac's face as his eyes glazed over, deep in thought. After a few seconds though he quickly snapped out of it, looking more panicked and mortified than ever.
"Nothing!" he wailed. "I got nothing!"
"No! You can't!" Frankie wailed along with him. "You gotta come up with something!
We just…you did…and I was….AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" she screamed at the top of her lungs.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" Mac screamed right back at her.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" the pair screamed jointly in unison. With that Frankie released her hold on the child and immediately both of them bolted out of the bathroom and into the hallway, still screeching loudly as they sprinted off madly in opposing directions.
"This isn't happening! This isn't happening!" Mac yelled miserably.
"I just had to lock the damn door! Why? Why didn't I press the stupid lock? Why?" Frankie shrieked as she ran off to her room. Finally, the horrible wails were roughly cut off by the loud slamming of doors coming from opposite ends of the house.
Bloo and Wilt still remained in jumble on the floor. For the longest time, they continued to stay as they were in their rather awkward position, unable to comprehend whether the bizarre spectacle that they had just seen had actually taken place or if it was in fact just a horrible dream. Finally however, Bloo slowly turned to Wilt.
"Uh….you gonna check on Frankie?"
"…You going to make sure Mac's okay?"
The two nodded determinedly at each other and managed to remove themselves from the floor without too much trouble. They then exited the bathroom, Bloo marching off downstairs, Wilt heading off down the hallway.
It looked like they were going to be very busy for a while.
"Mac? Buddy?" Bloo asked as he carefully approached his best friend. After a quick check around the back of the house, he had finally spotted the boy huddled in a miserable little ball under a tall oak tree. However, despite the fact that his imaginary friend was there, Mac still didn't seem to respond at all to any of what Bloo said. He just sat where he was, legs pulled up and staring ahead unblinkingly, never saying a thing.
"Mac? C'mon, what's up?" Bloo asked again. Still no response, not even so much as a blink in reply. The child continued to stare out dumbly into nothingness, looking for all the world like a shell-shocked soldier who had seen the horrors of combat.
"Hey man, c'mon!" Bloo whined. "Hello? Hello? Helloooooo? Anyone in there?" he yelled impatiently, snapping his fingers a few inches from his creator's face. Still he received absolutely nothing, just the same, vacant stare. Bloo, well known for his extremely short attention span, quickly gave up and turned around in a huff.
"Fine then!" he grumbled irritably as he walked off. "What do I care? If you're not gonna do any talking, then I-"
"I didn't mean it." Mac suddenly whispered softly.
Bloo quickly came to a sudden halt. "What's that?" he asked.
"I-I didn't mean it." Mac repeated apologetically, this time a little bit louder. In an instant Bloo was back at his side, putting a comforting hand on his friend's shoulder.
"C'mon man, let it all out." He coaxed gently.
"I-I…I just…I was just walking down the hallway, when I realized that it had melted in my pocket." Mac managed to choke out.
Bloo cocked his head in bewilderment. "Um, okaaaay…"
"The candy bar, the candy bar I brought from home." Mac continued. "I was planning to eat it on my way to Foster's, see? But I guess I forgot about it as soon as I left the apartment, and it melted in my pocket. So while I was walking down the hall, I finally remembered I had it with me. But when I stuck my hand in my pocket, it…it was all melted and gooey. It was everywhere!" he whimpered.
"Okay pal, I like candy as much as the next guy, but if you're going to go to pieces over a chocolate bar…" Bloo said as he rolled his eyes.
"No, no it wasn't that!" Mac protested. "Like I said, my hands were all sticky with chocolate, and I really wanted to wash it off. It was then that I saw that I was walking by a bathroom, so naturally, I went in to get cleaned up. So there I was, in the bathroom, washing my hands, The melted chocolate was all sticky and goopy, so I was really having a hard time getting it off. I just was focusing so hard on scrubbing it all away, and just when I finished…" Mac trailed off with a faraway look in his eyes.
"What? What happened? What happened? C'mon, Mac!" Bloo asked, the anticipation almost killing him.
"That was when Frankie opened up the shower curtain!" Mac wailed as he covered up his face in embarrassment. Bloo's eyes bulged in shock.
"WHAT?" the small blue imaginary friend gasped.
"I-I couldn't help it!" Mac moaned. "I couldn't help it, I saw everything!"
"That…is…so…COOL!" Bloo whooped excitedly. Mac gave him a look of complete disbelief.
"Seriously! That's like, the most awesome thing I've ever heard!" Bloo gushed ecstatically. "You, Mac, saw Frankie, Madame Foster's totally HOT granddaughter, completely naked! Oh jeez! That must have been the"
"It was the worst thing ever!" Mac cried.
Bloo gave him a bewildered look, completely taken off guard by his friend's response. "What? Mac, don't you get it-"
"No, don't you get?" Mac yelled furiously as he suddenly grabbed Bloo by the shoulders. "This is terrible! Out of anything that could've happened today, this is probably the worst!"
"Mac, I still don't get-"
"Bloo, Frankie's my big sister now!" Mac wailed. "Geez, don't you remember? She adopted me as a little brother! Her...little...brother! And you know what? That means I didn't barge in on my friend who was just coming out of the shower, I barged in on my older sister coming out of the shower! Do you have any idea how terrible that is?" Mac yelled, looking as if he was on the verge of becoming hysterical.
"Jeez, Mac, it's like she's your bibliographical sister or anything." Bloo tried to unsuccessfully sway him. "Wait…or is….hold on…wait, I mean…bifocal sister?"
"You mean biological! And it's close enough!" Mac moaned unhappily. "I should be more respectful than that! What's going to happen now? How can I look Frankie in the eye from now on, after just barging in on her privacy like that because I can't keep track of my stupid candy? How can things possibly return to normal now because she probably thinks I'm some screwed-up little peeping Tom? WHAT…AM…I…GOING…TO…DO?" He yelled, shaking his imaginary friend violently to emphasize the last few words.
Bloo just stared back blankly. "So…how was it?"
"Dammit! Dammit Dammit!" Frankie cursed uncontrollably as she paced back and forth around her room, still sopping wet and wearing nothing but her towel. Wilt placed a hand on her shoulder, desperate to get her to calm down.
"Frankie, please." He pleaded gently. "I know you're upset, but maybe if you'd just relax-"
"Relax? Relax? RELAX?" Frankie nearly shrieked. "How can I possibly relax? I just let Mac, the kid who's like a little brother to me, see me completely in the nude! In the nude!"
"Frankie, c'mon, it's not that bad…" Wilt said softly.
"Not that bad? NOT THAT BAD? Wilt, if you didn't hear me, he's my freakin' little brother now! Do you realize how screwed-up Macs going to be with all the weird, dirty thoughts of pseudo-incest that I just filled his head with? Oh, this is awful!" the girl sobbed as she threw herself on her bed. Wilt sighed heavily in exasperation.
"Frankie, please, I-"
"It's so wrong, it's just so wrong on so many levels!" Frankie cried into her pillow."Why? Why? Why didn't I show any common sense? Why, why, why, why, why?" she growled as she beat her fists on her bed furiously before she started up sobbing in frustration again. Wilt sat down next to her and began to pat her back sympathetically.
"There there, it's gonna be okay." He said reassuringly.
"No, it won't...I'm the worst big sister ever…" Frankie moaned.
"Shhhh, don't say that. Just tell me what happened."
"I left my brain in bed when I woke up this morning, that's what happened!" the girl snapped at him irritably before collapsing back into her pillow.
"Aw, c'mon, it's okay." Wilt continued to coax her gently as he soothingly rubbed her back. Finally, about a few minutes of this consoling treatment, Frankie finally relented to her friend.
"Well," she sniffled, "I had just finished cleaning up breakfast when I decided to go take a shower. No biggie, it's what I do every morning. So I was just taking my shower, everything seemed fine, then I yanked open the shower curtain…" the girl trailed off.
"And?" Wilt asked.
"…and then I traumatized Mac for life!" Frankie wailed unhappily.
"Frankie, it's not your…" Wilt tried to console her.
"Don't say it!" Frankie cried, turning around and jabbing her finger angrily at the lanky imaginary friend "Don't say "it's not your fault," because it so totally was all my fault! I'm the reason Mac just wanted to use the sink or something and ended up getting flashed! You would've thought I would have at least heard the little guy come in or something, but nooo-oo! I was too busy wandering around somewhere in La-La Land, singing to myself…singing…I was…" Frankie paused momentarily to muffle a hysterical sob.
"Um…singing…" Wilt said curiously.
"Backstreet Boys!" Frankie wailed miserably. "I didn't hear Mac come in because I was singing crappy boy band tunes to myself! I don't even like boy bands! But I heard one of their songs on the radio this morning, and pretty soon all their crappy hits all just got stuck in my head! just couldn't help it! And now I've probably emotionally scarred the little guy permanently!" she moaned before letting her head collapse back into her pillow. Wilt frowned as he persistently continued to try and comfort her.
"Oh Frankie, cheer up, it'll be okay!" he said as he tried to put on a weak smile. Frankie only replied with a muffled groan.
"Okay look, so maybe Mac did see you naked coming out of the shower, but that's okay. It's okay Frankie, it's no big deal! Um, uh…" Wilt searched his mind feverishly for any other possible consolations. "Er…oh! Like I said, it's no big deal! I mean, I've seen you naked, and we're still friends, right?" he blabbed before unfortunately thinking the whole phrase through.
"Willlllllt," Frankie whined, "Bath time when I was three years old sooooo doesn't count." She murmured sadly.
This was followed by a three-second pause before Frankie fully understood just exactly what Wilt had just said to "comfort" her.
"Wait, wait, WAIT!" Frankie gasped as she turned her head to face Wilt. "Oh my God, you did, you did! You did give me baths when I was little. Oh sweet Jesus!"
It was at this point that Wilt too comprehended what he had unfortunately decided to say all in the name of "reassurance." His good eye widened in absolute horror at himself as he tried to place a comforting hand on Frankie's shoulder.
"Oh no! I'm so sorry Frankie! I didn't mean it like that! I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm-"
"EEEK! Back off!" Frankie squealed as she furiously batted away his hand. "Oh sick! Grossgrossgrossgrossgross! You actually bathed me! You actually touched me when I wasn't wearing anything! Oh sick, sick, sick!" she grimaced, looking as if she was about to vomit.
"Frankie, please!" Wilt tried to plead with her. "Look, you wouldn't let anyone else give you your baths but me or your grandmother! Look, I'll even prove it to you! We'll just ask Madame Foster where the home videos are…"
"YOU'RE NOT HELPING!" Frankie shrieked hysterically before leaping off the bed and retreating into her closet, slamming the door behind her. Wilt groaned and slapped himself on the forehead.
"On the grand scheme of all things not okay, that was probably really not okay."
"Mac? Buddy?" Bloo called up into the branches of the massive oak tree.
"I told you, I'm not giving you any details!" came Mac's snappy response as the boy sat perched on one of the tallest branches.
"Aw c'mon man, give me a break!" Bloo whined. "Look, I know what I said back there was a little bit out of line-"
"What tipped you off? When I freaked out and climbed up here like a squirrel? Great job, Detective Bloo!" Mac sneered sarcastically.
"Mac, just come on down, we're gonna work this out, I promise!" Bloo yelled impatiently.
"No!" came the furious refusal. "I'm never coming down again! I just can't! I totally invaded her privacy, and now there's just no going back! This is even worse than the time I accidentally called her 'Mommy!'" Mac moaned.
"Mac, it's not that-huh?" Bloo cocked his head bewilderedly. "You called Frankie WHAT?"
"I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT!"
"Frankie, c'mon out of there." Wilt coaxed as he stood outside closet door. "Please? I'm so sorry! I know what I said a few minutes ago probably wasn't the best thing to say-"
"Oh great job, Sherlock!" came the angry, muffled response. "Waaaah! I'm never coming out of here, never again!" Frankie wailed.
"Frankie, I'm sorry about what happened, but maybe if-"
"No! No I just can't!" Frankie sobbed from inside her refuge. "It can never be the same again! I'm a horrible, horrible older sister! I've ruined the poor little guy for life! This is even worse than that time I had to shove Mac up my sweater to pretend I was pregnant!"
"Oh Frankie, if you'll just…wait, you did WHAT?" Wilt gasped in shock.
"YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW THE HALF OF IT!"
"Okay man, I may not be a professional or anything," Bloo proposed. But…"
"…since you're so worked up about this making things weird and ruining your relationship with each other…" Wilt said gently.
"…wouldn't it just make sense and maybe talk about it now…" Bloo went on.
"…just so you guys can get it over with before things get any weirder?" Wilt asked calmly. The closet door opened a bit and Frankie cautiously peeked out. "You think if I just sat down and talked to Mac now, everything would be alright?" she sniffled hopefully.
"Absolutely!" Wilt said with a big grin and a thumbs-up.
"...You really think that if I just go in there and talk to Frankie about the whole thing, everything is gonna be okay?" Mac asked as he slid down the trunk of the tree.
"Sure!" Bloo smiled. "I mean, why not? Maybe! It's worth a shot! I mean, it's not like it couldn't happen, can it? Possibly? I…" Bloo trailed off, rapidly becoming unsure of his response.
"Good enough for me!" Mac laughed as his confidence received a much-needed boost. "I'm going for it!"
"Yeah, now that's what I'm talkin' about!" Bloo hooted as Mac raced off into the house. "Go get 'em, buddy!"
"Thanks Wilt, you're the best!" Frankie laughed happily as she stood on her toes to give the unusually tall imaginary friend a thank-you kiss on the cheek.
"Aw, it was nothing." The ever-modest Wilt chuckled, his naturally vibrant red fur hiding his blush. "Now why don't you get dressed, find Mac, and go for it!"
"All right!" Frankie cheered as she gave him a high five. "Yeah, let's do it!"
"Tell me how it goes!" Wilt flashed his trademark smile as he exited the room, giving Frankie one last thumbs-up before he closed the door.
Quickly Frankie skipped over to her dresser and tossed open the drawers, searching for some suitable apparel. Normally, she would've gone with her usual T-shirt, sweater and skirt combo. However, after that morning's incidents, Frankie decided maybe something a little bit more conservative would be better for the time being. Maybe a nice pair of jeans and a long sleeved shirt. Or, possibly just some shorts and a shirt that covered up her entire belly. Then again, it had been a while since she wore her favorite-
"Frankie!" Mac cried as he burst into her room. "Frankie I want- to apologize for"
The boy stopped frozen in his tracks, mouth agape.
Frankie stood stock-still in horror.
Both their eyes then glanced over almost simultaneously at Frankie's towel.
Which she had neatly folded.
And placed on her bed before she went to get dressed.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" the joint screams echoed throughout the house, reverberating so loudly that it felt as if a tiny earthquake was occurring inside.
"Oh no!" Wilt cried in dismay as he bolted upright from the TV room couch. "No, not again!"
"All right, Mac!" Bloo cheered. "Twice in one day! Way to-OW!" he yelled in pain as Wilt roughly cuffed him. "What the heck was that for?" Bloo demanded as he furiously rubbed his aching head.
"What was that for?" Wilt shouted indignantly. "What was that for?"
Wilt however did not need to continue scolding Bloo to answer his question. For as if on cue, Mac raced by the TV room in a tiny blur, screeching to the high heavens as he ran to the front doors.
"My eyes! My prying eyes! They burn! They burn!" the little boy wailed as he bolted outside.
"Oh jeez!" Bloo cried in horror as dived off the couch and hurried after his friend. Wilt meanwhile bounded out into the foyer and to the main staircase, racing upstairs as fast as his long legs would allow him to go.
This was just not their day.
"Frankie, you okay?" Wilt cried as he skidded into the caretaker's room. Frankie shot him a nasty glance as she secured her bathrobe on tightly.
"Yes, yes Wilt, I am "okay." And by okay I mean that I gave Mac a head start for his middle school health classes with another five-second lesson on the female anatomy!" she sneered sarcastically before pounding her wall in frustration.
"No! No! No! I didn't even lock my door! I didn't take the two seconds to listen to my common sense, and I just threw my towel aside and skipped over to my dresser like some tree-hugging nudist! It just wasn't good enough to totally screw up Mac once today, was it? No, I had to do it twice in less than a half-hour, like the dirty tramp I am!" she ranted angrily.
"Frankie please, will you just-" Wilt desperately tried to calm her down.
"A slut, that's all I am!" Frankie groaned as she pulled at her soggy wet hair in aggravation. "Slut, slut, slut! Just some no-good tramp who can't even keep so much as a towel on for five seconds!"
Wilt sighed heavily in aggravation. "Frankie, look, I think you're overreacting a little bit-"
"No, YOU shut up!" the panicky redhead snapped, jabbing her finger at him. "Just shut up! You don't have to deal with the fact that you can't keep your clothes on around an eight-year-old kid!"
"Hey, will you just knock it off with the-"
"Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, my butt!" Frankie laughed sarcastically. "More like "Foster's Nudist Camp for Imaginary Friends," or even "Frankie Does Foster's" by the way I'm-"
"FRANKIE! THAT'S ENOUGH!" Wilt bellowed, the last comment pushing him way too far. "I'm sorry, but that's just not okay! That is not okay at all! If you're going to keep putting yourself down like that, I'm gonna-HEY! Where are you going?" he yelled as Frankie suddenly made an unexpected dash from her room, waving her arms wildly in the air.
The twenty-two-year-old caretaker just couldn't take it any more. The stress and embarrassment she was suffering due to the fact that she had inadvertently flashed her adopted little brother no less than twice, along with assumptions about how much emotional damage she felt that she caused Mac was just all too much to bear. Before Wilt could finish a rare rebuking, the absolutely humiliated poor girl simply just lost her wits completely, racing down the hallway and screeching as if she had just escaped from a mental asylum, wanting nothing more than to crawl in a dark hole for the rest of her life.
"Monster! I'm such a sick, sick monster! Don't even look at me!" Frankie screamed at the top of her lungs as she tore off to no particular destination in her temporary hysteria.
"No! Get back here! Frankie, this is so not okay!" Wilt moaned as he chased after her in hot pursuit.
"Mac, what happened?" Bloo asked worriedly as he spotted Mac curled up in a little ball under the same tree, rocking back and forth anxiously.
"What happened? What happened? I just totally violated Frankie with my eyes for the second time in a row today, that's what happened!"
"Mac, c'mon, I think you're stretching this just a teensy-bit out of proportion here…" Bloo said gently in an effort to relax his frazzled creator.
"Yeah, you're right, I think maybe I am making this more than it is." Mac murmured as he rubbed his temples. Just a moment later however, the boy quickly grabbed his imaginary friends by the shoulders and started hollering, "BECAUSE THERE'S ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH BARGING IN ON YOUR BIG SISTER WHEN SHE'S JUST GETTING OUT OF THE SHOW-"
The moment Bloo slapped Mac across the face, the boy instantly let go and began to rub his stinging cheek furiously. The small blue imaginary friend had finally had enough of this erratic behavior. Breathing hard, teeth gritted, and face distorted into an angry frown, Bloo glared angrily at Mac and growled,
"C'mon man, snap out of it! Okay, okay, I know you're upset, I know that things are probably really weird between you and Frankie, but…but...um…that's…not…"
Bloo rested his chin on his arm and contemplated furiously what to say next. In all the years of the pair's friendship, the role of the Voice of Reason had always been Mac's. Thus, now finding himself caught in a complete role-reversal, Bloo was very much unsure of how to play his new part.
"Um…you should…you gotta…er…get a…glass of… chocolate milk? No, wait! That doesn't make any sense. You and Frankie…gotta…hey! HEY! What tha-?"
Unfortunately, the four or five seconds Bloo had taken to muse over what to say next were exactly four or five seconds too many. Before his friend could say much else, Mac suddenly grabbed hold of the of the nearby oak tree and began to violently slam his head against it repeatedly, screaming each time his head whacked the trunk,
"Stoppit! Mac, you gotta calm down!" Bloo yelled as he grabbed hold of the boy's shoulders and roughly yanked him away. "Just what the heck do you think you're doing?" he demanded furiously as Mac struggled to free himself of his friend's grip.
"Lemmego! Lemmego!" the child growled, practically frothing at the mouth in his madness.
"Mac, what are-"
"I can't let myself get away with this twice! I gotta do penance! I gotta be punished! Don't you see?" Mac babbled, his wits clearly gone by this point. "I just can't let myself off the hook this easily! I can't! Not after what I did to Frankie! I-"
"HOLD ON A SEC!" Bloo involuntarily shrieked. With a strong burst of effort he spun the wildly thrashing Mac around and pinned him up against the tree. His breath still coming in ragged gasps from the violent struggle, Bloo angrily eyed Mac face-to-face.
"Mac, you gotta listen to me! Okay, I know that you accidentally walked in on Frankie when she wasn't wearing anything, I know that she's your 'big sister,' and I know that you're totally freaked out about this! But Mac, you're not going to get anywhere if you go completely bonkers on us all about it and try and bury your head three feet inside a tree trunk! Okay?"
With a heavy sigh, Mac suddenly stopped resisting and let his head sag wearily. "Yeah… you're right, Bloo."
"Good!" said Bloo with a weak smile as he loosened his grip. "Now that that's all over with, maybe we can-
OH NO YOU DON'T! HEY! HEY! WHY YOU…!
The instant he let go of Mac, the boy immediately darted off and made a mad dash for the house, waving his arms wildly in the air.
"Unclean! Unclean!" he screamed, completely overcome by his temporary urge to purge himself of his sins. Bloo groaned, having no other choice but to take off after his frenzied best friend.
"Mac! Mac! C'mon, you gotta calm down! You gotta calm dowwwwwwwn!"
"Hey, get back here! Stop her! Someone please stop her!" panted Wilt as he pursued the frantic Frankie. The tall imaginary friend was almost completely exhausted at this point, having chased Frankie everywhere throughout the house's all too numerous staircases and hallways. However, while he felt as if he wanted to collapse in a heap, his redheaded prey showed absolutely no signs of slowing down at all in her frenzy as she sprinted recklessly down the main staircase to the foyer.
"Just leave me alone! I'm just a dirty sicko! Tramp! Nudist" Frankie wailed dejectedly. "That's it! That's all I am! A no good, dirty wh-AAAUUGH!"
In a last ditch effort to take her down, Wilt gambled it all in a spectacular leap off the staircase, which allowed him to finally nab Frankie in a dazzling flying tackle. However, the momentum of this brilliant move sent both girl and imaginary friend hurtling through the air, colliding with the front door with such a tremendous impact…
Just as Mac dashed wildly up the porch stairs to head inside, the doors flew open like bursting floodgates under the combined force of Wilt and Frankie. Before the frenzied child could react, a swinging door caught him square on the head, instantly knocking the little boy out cold and sending his unconscious body sprawling. Meanwhile, Frankie and Wilt finally regained contact with the ground, thudding hard against the hard wooden porch in a massive disheveled bundle. However, as soon as they landed, in an instant Frankie was at it again, limbs flailing wildly as she shrieked uncontrollably.
"Dirty little tramp! Sick -OMPF!" As soon as Wilt managed to get a good grip on her, he clamped his hand securely over her mouth, effectively muffling her frenzied ranting.
"Mac! Mac!" Bloo cried as he rushed to his friend's side. "Buddy! Speak to me! Say something! Anything!" he shouted frantically as he shook Mac's lifeless body. The force of the swinging door unfortunately had done its work, and the child was knocked completely unconscious by the blow.
"Frankie! C'mon, knock it off! For Pete's sake, grab a hold of yourself!" Wilt yelled as he struggled to subdue his friend. The girl however still thrashed about madly under the imaginary friend's weight, even managing to rip his hand away from her mouth so as to resume with her crazed wailing.
"Dirty girl, dirty girl! I'm an awful, filthy…stupid...no-good..."
It was at this point that she finally glanced at Mac and Bloo out of the corner of her eye. Suddenly, her wild cries came to a halt as did all resistance to Wilt's efforts to contain her as she suddenly began to focus all her attention on Mac, working to crane her head so as to get a better view. Upon seeing Mac's closed eyes and total lack of movement, along with Bloo's panicked cries, Frankie gasped in shock.
"Oh no! MAC!" she cried in absolute horror at the sight.
In an instant all woes were completely forgotten as Frankie's unusually strong sisterly instincts fully kicked in. Within a moment Frankie was able to squeeze free of Wilt's hold on her in one liquid movement and she quickly gathered up the unconscious child in her arms, cradling him gently as she turned around and hurried back inside. Bloo and Wilt could only look on in complete astonishment, utterly amazed by her sudden transformation from raving lunatic to a perfect model of sanity.
"Tch, tch tch, Miss Frances, just what is the meaning of this?" Mr. Herriman clucked disapprovingly as he entered the foyer in his casual dignified hop. "Almost noon, and still clad in nothing but your bathing ware? Ms. Frances, I usually do not enjoy prying into personal affairs, but why-"
Frankie halted momentarily to glare at him.
"Oh, shut the hell up." She snapped grumpily.
"Ohhhhhhh," Mac moaned as he rubbed the large bump adorning his head. The eight-year-old, now fully conscious again, sat perched on top of one of the counters inside the Foster's kitchen.
"Hold on pal, I'll be there in just a sec!" Frankie shouted as she groped about in the freezer for an ice pack. "Aha! Now I gotcha!" she yelled triumphantly as she finally found the object of her desire, buried deep in the freezer's frosty depths. Quickly she snagged on to it and jogged over to her little patient.
"Ouch!" Mac whined as Frankie gingerly placed the ice pack on top of his head. The girl frowned as she tried to readjust it, causing him to wince again.
"I'm sorry pal, I know it probably hurts a lot, but this'll make you feel a lot better, I promise." She said comfortingly.
At this point, Frankie was now finally dressed, clad in her casual T-shirt, skirt and sweater ensemble. Only now though, she had her old green sweater fully zipped up, just in case due to the recent turn of events that had just occurred that morning. Also of course, there was no way she was going to tell Mac when she had exactly gotten changed. Knowing what had happened earlier, Frankie knew very well it would not help their "current situation" at all if she blabbed the fact that she had finally dressed while Mac had lain completely knocked-out nearby on her bed. Things were weird enough for her liking.
"There we are! Feeling better know?" Frankie asked gently.
"Yeah. Thanks, Frankie." Mac responded quietly with a nod and a weak smile.
"Anytime, pal." The twenty-two-year-old chuckled softly. However, rather than fuss over his hurts as she would have normally done in a situation like this, Frankie suddenly hoisted herself up onto the counter and scooted over on her rear until she was perched next to Mac.
"We gotta talk." She announced flatly. Frankie spoke with an air of grim seriousness, quite opposite of the flamboyantly hysterical behavior she had been vibrantly displaying just half-an-hour before.
Mac only replied with a weary groan as he looked away.
"Hey, hey! Don't be like that! Look here, over here pal." Frankie demanded as she snapped her fingers, until Mac finally gathered the courage to look her straight in the eyes. Frankie sighed heavily as she rubbed her temples.
"Look pal, I'm going not gonna sugarcoat it. Weird stuff has happened to us today. Really bizarre, messed up stuff. And they sure didn't get any better by the way we were freaking out about them, right?"
Mac only nodded wordlessly in reply, still gripping the ice pack to his head tightly.
"Now, we could play the blame game and point fingers at 'who wasn't paying attention while she was in the shower', or 'who didn't knock before he came in.' We could also try and avoid each other completely for the next week, or we can just continue to totally go nuts over it like we were doing an hour ago. But no matter what we do, in the end it's not gonna matter at all how much we say who-did-what or how far we try and stay away from each other as possible. The fact is, what happened today happened, and there's no changing that whether we like it or not. What's done is done, and we can't freak out and let guilt get the best of us like this."
At this point Frankie wrapped her arm comfortingly around Mac's shoulders.. "Now, I know it's not gonna be easy. Yes, you saw me bare-naked this morning. Yes, it happened twice. Yes, we both overreacted and went completely nuts about the whole thing, and yes I unintentionally knocked you out with a swinging door. I know that things are still gonna be a little awkward for a while after this. But you know what? I think that we just stick together and tough it out, I'm almost positive that we'll get through this like everything else we've faced. I mean, c'mon! If we can outrun twenty security guards at a shopping mall, if we can deal with super arrogant jerks like a certain boy friend who as if this moment will not be mentioned, than I think we'll be able to get through this no problem. You think you can do that for me, Mac?" Frankie asked anxiously.
Mac just stared at her blankly for a few seconds. "Can we just forget that this ever happened?" he whined sadly.
Frankie couldn't help but smile at his honestly. "Awww, c'mere you." She laughed as she swept him up in an affectionate bear hug.
"I'm really sorry, Frankie." Mac whimpered as he awkwardly adjusted his ice pack so as to return her embrace.
"I'm sorry too, Mac." Frankie replied warmly as she nuzzled him gently.
"Ow…" Mac winced as she accidentally touched his still-throbbing bump.
"Oh geez, I'm sorry pal!" the girl quickly apologized. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah." Mac said with a weak smile. "Don't worry, I'll be fine."
Frankie frowned as she checked the condition of his swelling. "Yikes, that's still pretty bad. C'mon, I think I know where we can get some aspirin, maybe that'll make you feel a little bit better. Up we go!" she whooped as she swung Mac around her back and placed him on her shoulders, carrying him piggy-back style out of the kitchen.
"Hey c'mon, I can walk on my own!" Mac laughed he clung on tightly for the bouncy ride.
"Not if I have anything to say about it." Frankie chuckled with a playful smile. Going at a steady jog, she carried the little boy up three stories of stairs before she finally relented to his mock indignant protests and deposited him neatly on the floor.
"Just six doors down, I think that's the bathroom we're looking for." Frankie mused as she led Mac by the hand down the hallway.
"I really wish we could just forget this whole thing." Mac muttered, half to his "big sister," half to himself.
"Me too, pal, me too." Frankie sighed as she reached for the doorknob. "If only that were possible. Thing is though, we'd have to get amnesia or something for that to all work out."
"Or at least experience something even worse than this." Mac suggested.
"Pfft! Yeah, right!" Frankie scoffed as she opened the door. "Like we'd really want to find out what that-"
She never finished her sentence. As soon as she glanced inside the bathroom, the girl was instantaneously struck mute by what she saw, eyes popping to the size of dinner plates and jaw dropping in utter disbelief. Mac likewise followed her example, mouth hanging agape and eyes practically bulging out of his head in absolute horror at the sight before them.
After only a few moments of this though, Frankie hurriedly shut the door and together the ashen-faced pair backed up to the wall on the opposite side of the hallway. Both looked so shocked it seemed as if instead of opening a bathroom door, they had just opened the gates of Hell and glanced into Satan's domain itself. After a few rather tense moments, Mac finally jerked his head over to Frankie and whispered softly to her.
"D-do you t-t-think s-s-she saw u-us?" he asked, stuttering uncontrollably.
"I-I d-d-don't t-think so." Frankie whispered back, shivering violently in shock and utterly unable to peel her eyes from the door.
"I c-can't believe t-that w-w-we just…we just…" Mac struggled in vain to get the words out.
"We j-just saw…" Frankie sputtered.
Before either one could finish, the bathroom door swung open. Wearing a pink bathrobe, matching slippers, and a towel wrapped about her wet hair, Madame Foster hobbled out into the hallway, humming merrily to herself.
"Nothing like a nice, warm soak to make you forget all your troubles, nosiree! Yep, nothing cures your woes like a good bath!" the old lady said cheerily to herself as she waltzed past Frankie and Mac, nodding politely as she hobbled by.
"Well, hello you two! Hope you're having a wonderful day!" she greeted in the same, upbeat tone, ignorant of the complete irony of her statement. As Madame Foster continued on her way, happy as could be, her granddaughter and the young boy continued to stand mutely together, rooted against the wall, so petrified and pale-faced it looked as if some careless artist had left two statues lying around the hallway.
Finally though, after what seemed like hours, Mac finally broke the agonizingly long, awkward silence.
"I need a hug." He whimpered piteously, turning to Frankie and reaching up to her.
"I think I need one more." Frankie whined back as she gathered him in her arms and began to cradle him gently. The two clung on to each other miserably, never taking their unblinking eyes off the horrid bathroom door, both caught in a state of utter disbelief about the forbidden sight that had just been revealed to them.
"Hey! Hey guys!" Wilt called cheerfully as he sprinted down the hallway towards the pair. "Mac! Frankie! Hey!" he yelled again as he finally skidded to a halt, with his large basketball shoes squeaking against the hardwood floor. He paused to catch his breath before flashing them his trademark smile.
"Oh, wow! Just look at you two!" he gushed ecstatically. "Geez, I almost didn't believe it when I saw you guys from down the hallway, but oh wow! Oh man, I never thought that you'd be able to work things out that fast! Not in a million years! And just look at yourselves! You're back together, you're even hugging each other, I don't believe it! It's almost just like nothing…ever…happened." Wilt finished with a rather puzzled tone of voice.
It was at that point that he realized that both Frankie and Mac carried that same, dull pale-faced look of complete and utter shock that the lanky imaginary friend had seen all too many times that day.
"Uh oh….Mac, you didn't….?" Wilt asked cautiously.
Mac shook his head quietly, his eyes fixated on the nearby bathroom door.
"Er…then how…" Wilt inquired, bewildered by the whole situation.
"Daily afternoon bath…Grandma…" Frankie whispered softly, struggling to reveal the horrid truth of their experience.
"Oh……..ewwwwwwww." was all Wilt could say in response, his face distorting into an ugly grimace as he quickly tried to wipe the awful image from his mind.
"So…s-so…wrinkly." Mac sobbed before finally burying his face in Frankie's shoulder.
For the longest time the three just remained as they were, standing frozen in place in a dead silence. Finally though, Wilt managed to snap out of his shock and managed to ask in his gentlest tone of voice,
"Um…do you guys…uh…wanna…er… get some ice cream in the kitchen or something? Maybe eat it outside on the porch?" he inquired softly.
Frankie slowly turned her head to meet his gaze, staring at him dumbly for a few seconds before she could gather her wits about her long enough for a sufficient reply.
"Yeah…yeah, let's go get some ice cream." She responded dazedly.
With that, Wilt took the stunned girl by the hand and began to carefully lead her in the direction of the nearest staircase, while Frankie continued to hold on tightly to the equally stunned Mac.
"We're not gonna sleep for a week." Mac moaned unhappily.
"Shhhh, don't say that pal." Frankie hushed him soothingly. She quickly added however with a look of dead seriousness,
"We're not gonna sleep for a month."
Okay, maybe I went kinda overboard adding that last scene with Madame Foster into the mix, but I won't lie. This was the most fun I've ever had writing a fic.
And just so as not to raise any eyebrows, when I wrote that whole thing with Wilt and Frankie, I based that all off the theory from stories like "Home Sweet Home" from Junolover, the whole idea that Wilt's been living at Foster's for years and in doing so lived with Frankie as she grew up at the house as well (after whatever fate befell her parents.) So to make it clear, Frankie was just overreacting when Wilt brought up one of the things he did when he looked after her, which was still just the wrong thing to say at the wrong time in the first place.
Please read and review!