Disclaimer: I do not own the Smurfs. I'm just here to play. Please don't sue me or steal my story.

NOTE: This is an old unfinished story I dug up from somewhere deep within my computer. Since it's Spring, I thought I'd take a chance and air it out. It's kind of a weird story, but it'll be a fun challenge to come up with a good ending for it. I hope you enjoy it!

NOTE II: I should probably warn you right off the bat - I love time, time travel, and complicated storylines. One of my earlier stories, Brainy's Glasses, explores a possible origin story for the Smurf Village. This story explores a possible future. I hope you'll enjoy my story, and maybe even take some time to let me know what you think of it. Thanks for reading! :)

And now...the story!

A Joke Gone Wrong
By Rowena Zahnrei

Part I

It was the first day of spring, but it felt more like summer. The happy sounds of busy creatures filled the forest. Birds warbled, frogs croaked, insects buzzed and, in their brightly colored mushroom village, the Smurfs sang as they carried out their morning chores.

Well, most of the Smurfs were singing. The Smurflings were far from thrilled by the prospect of spending a perfect spring morning helping Farmer prepare his fields for planting.

"This stinks," Slouchy Smurfling sighed, leaning against the handle of his rake. Snappy scowled and stood up, stretching out the kinks his back had collected while he was bent over pulling weeds.

"Yeah," he agreed, the thundercloud on his shirt looking especially stormy. "We should be down by the River Smurf playing Smurfball, not clearing weeds from some dumb field."

"It's not fair," Sassette spoke up, brushing the dirt from the knees of her pink smurferalls. "You don't see the grown up Smurfs out here smurfin' weeds, do you? An' d'you know why?"

"Because they're all busy with their own jobs in the village?" Nat said, smiling a bit as his friend Flutterby the butterfly glided over to perch on his wide straw hat.

"Ha, that's a laugh," Sassette returned. "Have you ever seen Lazy smurf his own weight? Or Poet? And what about Brainy?"

"What about Brainy?" Slouchy yawned.

"All he ever does is boss us around! He scolds and lectures, but he never actually does anything. Unless you count writing those boring books."

Nat smirked."Quotations of Brainy Smurf; More Quotations of Brainy Smurf; Even Smurfier Quotations of Brainy Smurf…"

"Yeah, those." Sassette made a face. "If you ask me, the only reason Smurfs like that are able to smurf out of real work is because they're older and can smurf it off on us."

"You said it," Slouchy nodded, dropping his rake to the ground.

"Yeah," Snappy agreed."I wish we were grown up. Then we could smurf the day off whenever we felt like it."

"Oh…"Sassette suddenly looked uncomfortable.

"What's the matter?" asked Snappy.

"Well," she said, rather hesitantly. "Weren't you three grown up Smurfs once?"

Nat and Snappy looked blank."Huh?"

"What are you talkin' about, Sassette?" Slouchy asked.

"It's something Pappy Smurf said," Sassette frowned. "I heard him talking once with Hefty and Smurfette. They were talking about Nat, but they mentioned the rest of you too."

"What did they say?" Snappy asked curiously.

"They said how they missed the way it was before Natural Smurf had his…accident."

"Accident?" Nat frowned, peering up from under his butterfly's wings. "I didn't have any accident."

"Well, you must have because Pappy Smurf said you did," Sassette asserted, her red braids bobbing."He said it happened when he sent you and Snappy and Slouchy to Father Time's house to smurf an hourglass or something like that. And Hefty said it wasn't right that you three get to have a second childhood."

"Ah, you're smurfin' though your hat," Snappy sniffed dismissively. "That can't be true! Don't you think we'd know if we'd been grown up?"

"No," Sassette snapped back. "Pappy Smurf said that was part of the problem. That you couldn't remember."

There was a long, uncomfortable silence while the Smurflings processed this news. Then, Snappy glared.

"If you knew all this, why didn't you say anything before?" he demanded angrily.

"Because," Sassette started tough but the wind quickly left her sails. "Because I was scared if you found out, you'd want to be grown up again. And leave me behind," she finished quietly, not meeting her friends' eyes.

"Oh…" said Snappy.

"Hm," Slouchy frowned.

"But Sassette," Nat started, "even if all this is true, you can't think that we would—"

"Now now, youngins, the day's a wastin'!" Farmer's voice called over from the melon patch where the industrious Smurf was hoeing along a row of newly sprouted plants. "You kids can gab later, when you don't have weeds to clear away."

The four Smurflings shared a look."Yes, Farmer," they chorused, and obediently went back to weeding. But Sassette had raised some disturbing questions, questions that couldn't easily be pushed aside by chores. And so that night, after Papa Smurf had tucked them all into bed, the Smurflings decided to hatch a plan—a plan designed to get the truth from Father Time himself.

"After all," Snappy said, "if Papa Smurf's been keeping something this big from us for this long, he must have a pretty big reason. That means the only way we're ever going to learn the whole truth is if we find it out for ourselves, without getting Papa Smurf and the other Smurfs involved. And the only other person who knows all the facts is—?"

"Father Time!" the others agreed, giggling and scheming together until, sometime after midnight, the four of them finally fell asleep.

"So, you really think they'll go for it, Papa Smurf?" Brainy asked eagerly. It was another beautiful morning, and Brainy Smurf had been up with the sun, busily researching his latest project with Papa Smurf. Unlike his other self-glorifying works, Brainy was planning this book to be about the constellations. Papa Smurf had willingly given him access to his library, and had even started pouring through the books himself, finding his own interest in the stars reignited by the young Smurf's enthusiasm.

"I think it's a wonderful idea, Brainy," the white-bearded wizard smiled. "One of the smurfiest you've ever had."

Brainy's happy grin was nearly devoid of its usual smugness, which only made Papa Smurf's smile wider. Clapping the spectacled Smurf on the shoulder, he said, "I'm very proud of you, Brainy. I think you're finally beginning to understand what it means to consider the needs of other Smurfs before your own. That's one of the hallmarks of being a truly grown up Smurf."

Now Brainy did look smug. "Losing my glasses to the Dark-Ness Monster was a bit humbling, I must admit," he said."It was so hard having to depend on other Smurfs to get around the village. Without my glasses, I had trouble performing even the simplest of tasks. I felt so stupid and clumsy all the time. But instead of mocking my mistakes, the other Smurfs went out of their way to help me—especially Clumsy. That's why I wanted to write this book, Papa Smurf. To give something back."

"Well, I think you're doing a splendid job, Brainy. I'm certain the other Smurfs will appreciate it. The Smurflings in particular could certainly benefit from a book like this."

Brainy's eyes widened behind his thick glasses. "That's right, Papa Smurf!" he exclaimed. "This book could be just the thing to get the Smurflings to finally show me the respect I deserve! We can camp up in the mountains, just the five of us, and I, Brainy Smurf, will tell them everything I know about the moon and the stars. With my brilliance and my book to guide them, their little minds will swell with knowledge, and I—"

Papa Smurf gave an amused shake of his head. "And he was doing so well," he thought to himself. Out loud, he said, "Brainy, Brainy! You seem to be forgetting something."

"I am?" Brainy looked shocked. Papa Smurf sighed.

"Brainy, this project isn't about making yourself look good. It's about providing your fellow Smurfs with a useful guide to the stars. Isn't that what you were telling me all morning?"

"Of course you're right, Papa Smurf," Brainy nodded sagely. "I mustn't get ahead of myself. After all, I haven't even finished smurfing the book together yet!"

"Well, you know my library's open to you if you need to smurf any more information, Brainy," Papa Smurf said. "Oh—and Brainy," he added, catching the young Smurf just as he was turning to collect his notes from the table. "Grandpa Smurf will be stopping by in a few hours. The two of us have been planning an excursion to gather fresh glowberries from the far end of the forest. We'll be gone all day and probably into the night. I'd intended to leave you in charge here, but if you think it'll get in the way of your work I'm sure I could find another Smurf to—"

"Oh no, Papa Smurf, it would be no trouble at all!" Brainy said with a quick eagerness. "I'd be honored to keep an eye on things while you're away! Why, I'll have the village running so smoothly you won't even—"

"Brainy…" Papa Smurf warned. "What have I told you about going overboard?"

Brainy blinked, then sagged, looking slightly sheepish. "You said I shouldn't try to enforce your rules so literally."

"And…?" Papa Smurf prompted.

"And other Smurfs have ways of smurfing things that are just as good as mine, and I should respect that," the spectacled Smurf sighed, rolling his eyes a little. "Even if my way is better," he mumbled under his breath.

"Very good, Brainy," Papa Smurf nodded."You just remember that while I'm away and everything should smurf just smurfily."

"Yes, Papa Smurf," Brainy said, brightening. "You can smurf on me!"

"I know I can, Brainy," Papa Smurf smiled kindly and opened the door for the notebook-laden Smurf. "Good luck finishing your book. I look forward to reading it when I get back."

"I'm sure you won't be disappointed, Papa Smurf," Brainy said. "You and Grandpa have a smurfy trip. Don't worry about a thing. You can trust me, Brainy Smurf, to remember every word your wise advice."

Papa Smurf waited until Brainy was well on his way home before he sighed and said, "Oh, I don't doubt you'll remember it. Whether you'll follow it…that's a different story."

To Be Continued...

Reviews welcome! Please let me know what you think so far!