A/N: This is a completely serious take on Bert/Ernie, as I feel it would be handled if (old style)Sesame Street ever decided to introduce gaity. The idea came to me when I saw how many people exaggerated the 'evidence' in their actions, rather than looking at any actual emotions in there. So if you expect smut, please leave now. For the rest of you, please enjoy now my take on Bert/Ernie. Sweet, innocent, but still fiery as anything. Note also that the pageant mentioned is actually a real sketch, and Bert really did have that song in it.

Ernie shuffled down Sesame Street, looking very much deep in thought.

It was not long after the Sesame Street emotions pageant, and Bert's impromptu song about love had left Ernie feeling very strangely indeed. Why, he had no idea Bert even had such deep feelings!

He heaved a sigh and passed the courtyard, where Susan was sitting at a table, reading. She heard Ernie's approach and looked up. Upon seeing his face, hers turned to concern and she got up to stop him. Placing a hand on his shoulder she asked, "Ernie, Ernie are you alright? You seem depressed."

Ernie stopped and looked up.

"Oh, hi Susan." he greeted, and looked down again. "I-I'm not really depressed, but I don't know what I am.."

Susan's brow furrowed in confusion and worry.

"Well, do want to talk about it with me?" she offered.

Ernie contemplated, and then nodded. "Yeah, I suppose so." Susan smiled warmly.

"Alright now, why don't you just come over here to the table, and we'll talk all about it. Ok?" she said, steering him into a seat. She sat down opposite him, and silence fell as Ernie twiddled his fingers.

"Ernie? You know you can tell me. What's wrong?" Susan pried as gently as possible.

Ernie shifted.

"Well," he started, "Well you know the pageant about emotions we just had not too long ago?"

Susan nodded. "Yes, I loved it! You guys did a really good job with it I thought."

Ernie nodded in acknowledgement.

"Yeah, well, you know the song Bert sang?"

"Oh, you mean the one about love?"

Another nod from Ernie. "Mhm. Yeah."

Susan looked confused.

"Yes. What about it?" she inquired.

"Well y'see," Ernie explained, "I think he explained it really well. And y'know, I feel that way about pretty much everyone I know. Why, I even feel that way about you Susan!"

Susan beamed, "Aw, that's really sweet Ernie. Thank you! But what's the problem? You love everybody. Ok. That's who you are."

Ernie shook his head in exasperation.

"I know that! But the problem is, I don't feel that way about Bert!" he exclaimed desperately.

Susan leaned back, surprised.

"You don't?" she asked incredulously, "But Ernie, I thought he was your best friend. Are you sure?"

Sniffling, Ernie nodded.

"Oh my, that is a problem!" Susan gushed in concern, "Well, well then what do you feel about Bert?"

Wiping his nose, Ernie told her, "Well, I really do like him. It's like the kind of love I know, but it's a lot of other things too! I always want to make him happy, and share in it, I hate it when he gets mad at me for a long time, and whenever he visits his aunt or something, I always feel all alone and sad. I don't feel quite so sad when Grover or Big Bird or-or Cookie Monster leaves for a while. I don't know, I guess, I guess I just never wanna be away from ol' Bert."

He glanced back at his hands.

"An'-an' when, in his song, he said that he-that he loved me, I-I felt so moved and glad! I'd never felt so glad about someone saying they loved me. At least that's what the knot in my stomach was saying."

He put a hand over his eyes.

"I'm so confused!"

Susan smiled and reached out to rub his shoulder.

"Well don't be," she consoled, "because I think I know what your problem is!"

Ernie straightened, alert.

"You do?!" he exclaimed. Seeing her laugh and nod he grabbed her sleeve and demanded, "Yeah? Yeah? Well what is it? Tell me tell me!"

Curbing her laughter, Susan put her arm around Ernie and said, "Oh Ernie, don't you see? You do love Bert! You love him more than you do anyone else! Why, I think you're actually in love with him!"

Ernie tilted his head.

"In love?" he questioned, "What's the distinction?"

Susan gave another light laugh.

"Well love is really any affection you feel for a person, a thing, a food, or anything!" she defined, "To be in love is to feel a really strong affection. A-A deep attachment. A connection of sorts. You never want to leave what or whoever it is alone."

"Oh!" Ernie realized, "Like Cookie Monster and cookies! Or Oscar and trash, or-or you and Gordon!"

"Yes! Just like that." Susan confirmed, grinning.

"Wow!" reveled Ernie, "I'm in love with Bert! Oh boy, I gotta go tell him! Thank you Susan!" He got up and started off, but then turned back and kissed Susan on the cheek. "Love you!" he added joyfully before bouncing off.

Laughing again she waved and called, "Bye bye Ernie! Love you too! And you're welcome!" Then, still beaming, she picked up her book and resumed reading.

-stream of assorted theme, letter and number clips-