A/C: My annoyance was great when I discovered that this thing doesn't have colors. That makes this a lot more complicated.
My first Calvin and Hobbes story. Try to enjoy, even if it does commit horrible and unforgivable transgressions against the comic.

--

I would lie if I told you I wasn't excited. Usually, there was no reason for that while visiting the house I was about to visit, but this time, there would be some special circumstances. For one thing, my archnemesis, the boy named Calvin, would not be home: I had seen to that. He had not been in the bus, and he was not walking with me right now (or running, trying to reach his home first and shutting me outside), which not only meant that there would be no stupid tricks to be expected, but also that everything was going according to the plan.

What plan, now? Oh, would you love to hear it. Just wait.

Ding-dong, said the doorbell. After a moment of waiting, it was opened by a woman with a dark hair: Calvin's mother. The usual conversation followed, one where she asked if my mother had a long day again, and invited me inside to wait for her return, since I was still too young to stay home alone without supervision. For the last two years, such occasions had been fairly common, and as mentioned before, I usually did not enjoy these visits - except the occasional times when I could outsmart and one-up Calvin, whom his mother now mentioned:

"Where's Calvin?"

"Oh, probably at a detention. There was something going on at school again, and I think I saw miss Wormwood calling him back when the rest of us were leaving."

"Oh." She seemed quite indifferent about this revelation. I suspected as much, Calvin being what he is. "Well, if you need anything else, just call me." With that, she left, leaving me alone to the hall (I couldn't help but wonder whether she ever left Calvin alone like that). As for me, I took away my shoes and jacket, and shifted my concentration over to my homework, which...

Unless...

I was at Calvin's home, with no living soul around but his mother. There was a single room remaining in the house I hadn't visited, thanks to the interventions of that kid, who considered a girl visiting his room "blasphemy". But he wasn't here now, leaving me free to do whatever I wish! And when a human being, even a mild-mannered girl, is left alone, isn't it just natural that she wishes to taste the forbidden fruit...? Who knows, I might even find something interesting.

With a gleeful, mischievous grin, I abandoned my books to the hall, and rushed upstairs, three steps at a time. From the platform I turned left, and within three seconds had reached my destination: A door with a picture on it, that displayed a crudely drawn tiger and several decapitated human heads, and said "WARNING! THIS ROOM IS GUARDED BY A MAN-EATING TIGER!" - with a footnote saying "(but he also likes fish)". I rolled my eyes, despite being alone: You could've recognized the room even if this was your first visit.

With a deep breath, I opened the door. This is a small step for a girl...

... Yikes. In retrospect, it was everything I had expected, but it hit on my face like a wet towel regardless. Like the boy himself, Calvin's room was beyond anything I had ever seen, or would ever see, most likely. There were shelves and closets, obviously, but they were almost empty, as all the stuff they could have contained were scattered across the room instead. The floor was littered with clothes, comic books, empty bubble gum wrappers and other trash, as well as various other items I would not take too close look on. The window was open, as it was a warm day of early spring. The blue walls were almost covered with posters, mostly about dinosaurs, with a few of them about men wearing colourful tights and capes - some great superheroes, I assumed, defending the world from evil. I wasn't into that kind of stuff. The bed was also a mess, and on it lay a few more comics and-

"Well, look what the cat dragged in."

--

Spaceman Spiff could feel his own heartbeat. He had not been this excited since battling the great alien Moezgarg, and that was several months ago. But today, he was in for his most important mission yet, approaching the lair of his arch-foe, the stupid, disgusting, mindless monster known as Suzierginz: The alien that had terrorized the entire galaxy for two years, would today finally meet the end of its smelly existence!

My thoughts echoed Spiff's almost compeletely: Today I was presented with an extraoridinary opportunity, to boldly go where no man or boy has ever gone before, to enter the house of a girl without supervision! And how would I do that, you may ask? Well, the matter of fact is, that today the home of Susie Derkins would be empty, for approximately ten minutes ago, she got off from the bus at my home (I had to walk, which was slow, and not fun). Her father would stay at work for long yet, and her mother... Well, sometimes she would be home, other times she would be doing overtime.

And guess which one was correct today? Oh, yes. For it was precisely because of her mother's absence, that she was entering my own house right now. For reasons beyond my imagination, perhaps just because of her gender induced stupidity, she had informed me of this fact the last week already, as well as casually mentioning that her family kept the key to their house under the doormat. This allowed me to plan all my moves well ahead, until I now had a plot of mastermind proportions!

The doormat said "Welcome!", and as such I welcomed myself to lift it, pick up the key from under it, and open the door. As I had discovered a couple of years ago already, to my surprise, her home was very much similar to my own: I guess I had expected something as different from my house as girls differ from boys. And since then, not much had changed: Still no pink or flowers.

Ah, yes! To enter the lair of a hated foe, the Annoying Girl! Such an adventure beyond anything else, and such a service for the common good if our nemesis is now defeated! The only regret Stupendous Man has is the lack of a decisive, epic battle!

Guys? Since we're alone in here and stuff, wouldn't it also be for the common good to, ahh, liberate the enemy of her cookie supply, to nourish our heroes and annoy her even further?

What a fantastic idea! I agree!

I let out a long, loud sigh, to emphasize my disagreement and annoyance. We were in a middle of an important, decisive case, to bring a great criminal to justice, and yet my comrades were only thinking with their stomachs...

Well excuse me, Mr. ever-serious detective guy! We have the time, and I'm starving! Would you want us to collapse from starvation and be discovered by the aliens?

Amusingly enough, I am not hungry in the slightest - which should defy all logic, as we are all sharing the same body.

I had to agree with the latter, and as much as I would've loved the cookies, too, our current objective was far too important for any mistakes, and so I set course upstairs (with Stupendous Speed!), turned right, and - logically, as girls are compelete opposite of boys in any sense - discovered the room of Susie Derkins at the opposite corridor of where mine would have been. Interestingly, there were no warning signs on her door: She clearly did not expect an assault of this magnitude. Such childish naïvety.

With a deep breath, I opened the door. This is a small step for a boy...

... In my work, you often saw many things disgusting enough to break a man's mind. I had seen countless bodies, many of them dismembered or disemboweled, and their blood used to paint the floor and walls, and those were bad. But this... I had had a ham sandwitch for a lunch, and it was currently making a good attempt in escaping my stomach.

This... This evil... A terrible assault against all my senses. It was as if what... what my eyes saw... however bad it was, was only the barest fraction of it, the little piece of the room that actually existed in the four dimensions we can see. It was worse than the Croaking Chaos, it was worse than... Oh... I felt like my brain was trying to escape through my ears...! I felt like... Aiiii...!

Uh-oh, Spiff is losing it! Guys?

There there, old buddy... I'm here, you're gonna be fine...

St- Stupendous Man? Is that really you? ... Hold me!

Okay, all right, shh... It'll be okay... Let's just head back to the subconscious...

Right, that leaves two of us. You still with me, Trace?

The terrors in front of me were almost unbearable, enough to make even the unstoppable spaceman Spiff fall, but I could not refuse the call of my superior. Not when so many lives were on the line. I could feel my heart all the way up at my throat. I was afraid. But I did not falter. My gun loaded, I stepped inside the room of horrors unknown to man.

Watching that room I finally understood. Boys and girls are different, that much is obvious. Until now, the house had seemed identical to mine for the sole reason that, in both cases, the two sexes were in a balance. There was one adult man and one adult woman in a house, and one small child couldn't make much difference in the matter: It was simply logical that the outcomes were similar as well.

But this was a different matter. Comparing the room of an eight-year-old boy to one of a girl of the same age was like comparing a night to a day. My room was perfect, aesthetically pleasing to the eye, a work of art, almost. Susie's room, then again... An abomination, compeletely out of this world, giving me a headache just to watch it. Nearly everything was pink. The wallpapers had flowers and bunnies on them. The window had laced curtains. Nothing had been just left lying on the floor: Everything was neatly at its place. On the bed, lying against two great purple pillows, lay poor Mr. Bun: He was already dead and beyond help when I first saw him two years ago, and she still had his corpse in her room. I was certain she had tortured him in terrible ways in the past. She was a monster like any other.

(I approached carefully, my eyes watchful for any trap or foul play. You might never know what moves in the mind of a monster.) Now let's see... There's bound to be something here I could use... Mr. Bun? Nah, I took Binky Betsy once. I wouldn't want to repeat myself. Something else, hmm...

Hey, what do we have here? I picked up a small book, with pictures of flowers on it, from the night table. It said: "Susie's diary. CALVIN DON'T TOUCH!"

Whoops, too late. I've touched it. Might as well go all the way through.

--

Hobbes. Calvin's toy tiger lay on the bed, in a relaxed, very feline fashion. He was wearing a tie.

I knew perfectly well he was merely a plushie. Yet what I saw with my own eyes was a real, full-grown panthera tigris, the mattress creaking under his weight, his tail waving behind him slowly, his eyes fully open and looking at me, grinning widely, revealing well-cared, white teeth. It was a happy grin, not the kind a predator gave to a pray, but the like a human would give to an old friend after years of separation. And yes, he had just talked to me.

"Come here often?" There, he talked to me again!

There was a short silence, a few seconds maybe, until I got my voice back. Or a half of it, anyway. "Y- You're not supposed to talk," I stammered. "You're just a toy. Not real. I know that."

His expression changed. His mouth shut, eyes half-closed, but just as smug as ever. He looked at me still, interested, for a few long, long seconds. And then, before I had noticed let alone had time to react, He had slid down from his place like a snake, closer, and, with a single paw, pressed me down against the floor and him over me.

His grin returning, he pressed his nose against mine. "Tell me, Susie Derkins," he boomed silently, almost whispering, "are you saying that to me... or to yourself?"

The last half of the last word was louder: I couldn't help but let out a single, low whine. He did have a point: I was kinda trying to make myself believe that there was not a man-eating tiger in Calvin's room. Where could he have got it? How much would it eat? Why wouldn't it eat him? I had always seen him carrying around a toy tiger, it couldn't carry itself around... I was more afraid than ever before in my life, of getting eaten, and simply in terror for having my reality torn apart: All the laws of physics, logic, and intelligence crumbled beneath the weight of the single, gigantic paw, that should not have been there, far too heavy or large for any toy. I was certain that, had he put his entire weight upon it, my ribs would have snapped like twigs.

"I could call for help...", I tried.

"...And Calvin's mother would come and see you being frightened by a toy tiger," Hobbes finished for me. "She can't see me. Calvin can. Uncle Max can. You can. But she can't, nor can anyone else. To them, I'm just a toy."

"H-how...?"

"You know, that is a curious thing," his face mellowed into that of a contemplation: He moved his gaze from my eyes to nowhere in particular, as his head lifted away from mine a bit. "I've never actually stopped to think about it before..." A silence: Obviously he thought about it for a second, before talking again: "I guess I'm well beyond your regular imaginary friend, now aren't I? Otherwise I'd go lifeless when Calvin wasn't around, and I couldn't talk to you."

Around this point, most of my fear was replaced by confusion, though quite a bit of dread still remained in me. "How can I even see you? I haven't seen you before."

He was silent again for a moment, becore darting his eyes back at mine again, and resuming talking: "Tell you what," he said, rather more enthusiastically than until now, "we can talk this stuff through together, and I'm not going to eat you - because I could eat you, don't doubt that - if," he rolled away from me, to his back. He smiled. "if you give me a tummy-rub."

My chest hurt still. I took long, gasping breaths as I sat up on the floor. Then I finally looked back at him: He was happy and smiling once more, and looked at me on his back with an upside-down face. "Come oon," he coaxed. "I'm not gonna eat you."

I was no longer afraid. In fact, I almost laughed: He was a harmless kitty after all. Funny how opinions change like that. "You weren't going to eat me to begin with, were you?", I asked, as I brought my fingers over to his white, furry belly. He squirmed under me when my hands stroked and massaged his warm underside, and let out a long sigh of contentment. "No, I wasn't," he admitted. "Mmm, that's nice... A bit to the left..."

--

Hello, new diary. My name is Susie Derkins. Said so the first line of the very first page. Yecch, the way she wrote, in cursive and pink, was no surprise, but disgusting still. I had been wondering if she would have the dignity and self-esteem to call herself "Susie the Great," or something similar. Well, I wouldn't wonder of that anymore. Not even "Miss Susie". Just Susie. What disgusting humility.

I am eight years old... Geez, really?! (Okay, I admit the diary probably didn't know.) I like school, reading, learning new things... Wait, she really does like school? She's not just saying it to annoy me or anything? Wow. ...annoying Calvin... That's no surprise. ... Yeah, I knew she gave me wrong answers at school when I asked her. And I knew she liked it. Sure. ... Snowball and water balloon fights? Even when she's the victim? Wow. ... Valentine's day?! Yuck! ... Oh, she likes walking in the forest too. And making snowmen. And peaceful winter days. ...(though all seasons have their good side)... Fair enough. ... Saturday mornings. I'd like to meet someone who doesn't like them! ... Hmm, I admit that money's good, but why would you want to save it all? ...animals, especially the cute ones you can pet, like cats... Well sure, who doesn't like animals? ...and definitely Calvin's tiger, Hobbes! What? He's so fuzzy and cuddly. I think Calvin's real lucky to have someone like him, Damn straight, and I'd really like to learn to know him better! I wish Calvin would let me. Hah, fat chance.

Things I hate: That so many humans are evil and rotten... Well, there's another thing we have in common. But then again, if you don't hate those people, you're probably one of them. ...like Republicans... So I'm not the only kid who follows politics. Too bad Democrats are kinda dumb, too. ...and Moe, this big kid from school who always picks on me. I'm just sure he's gonna become something awful when he grows up. Oh, I was always thinking if I was the only kid Moe picks on. Apparently not. ... War and pollution, tch, obvious... ... Too much violence on TV? There's never too much action on TV! And good action equals violence. ...Sure, I hate going to bed early too. But why don't you hate rising early for school? That I'd like to know! ...And that I can't have a pony. Feh, tigers are a lot cooler. Not to mention dinosaurs.

And I hate that the only kid about my age who lives even moderately close, Calvin, is always so mean to me and never wants to play with me. Ha. That's because your plays are boring and because you're a girl. You should know that. I'm sure we could be really good friends if we got to know each other properly. Fat chance. And I hate the discusting stuff he does with his food during lunch at school... You just don't have any sense of humor. ...how Jessica claims that I like him (I don't!)... I know how you feel: Hobbes just can't shut up about the subject. ...and those stupid snowmen he does. He's really good at building snowmen, but all he does is monsters! Why couldn't he do something sweeter for once? Hey! Don't tell me how to do my snowmen! If I started sucking up fans (like you), the quality of my work would plummet!

(I'd like to point your attention to the fact that she never stated she hates you. Just a lot of the stuff you do.) Really? ...Hey, you're right. Thanks for pointing that out. (You're welcome.)

Okay, what's next...? Favourite food... Yuck, how can she stand that stuff? ... Hey, she likes Captain Planet, too! ... Nancy Drew? Who's that? (An amateur. That's all you need to know. Sherlock Holmes could beat her any time.) ... How can someone's favourite color be pink?

Her friend list is empty. I could feel something sting in my chest when I read that. I wonder why? It's not like I'd feel sorry for her or anything! ... And I make up half of the entire enemy list all by myself (the other half's Moe). Typical.

And, that concludes the general information part. The actual diary entries would follow. And while all this information was fascinating enough, so far the only the only useful knowledge I have learned was something I already knew: That we have absolutely nothing in common.

Yes, you have.

Well okay, maybe there was a thing or two, but it's only some little insignificant stuff that just doesn't matter! (Riight...) How's Spiff, in any case?

He's still pretty bad. This place is more cryptic to him than to any other of us. Probably because he's the only one who actually regards girls as a compeletely another species.

I hate to disturb your little chat, but I really think we should be going now. Every second here is a terrible risk to take, and we can read on more once we get out of here.

What? No, I think we have plenty of time! Susie's mom won't be home for hours yet. I want to read this thing now.

I agree with Bullet. And if we leave now, we may still have enough time grab those cookies.

Oh, so you're both in this now? (Yes, we are.) All right, that makes two votes against one... But since I'm the actual Calvin and neither of you is nothing more than a stupid alternate identity, a product of imagination that went too far, that shouldn't even be able to voice its own opinion, I'd say it's just fair that one of my votes counts as three of yours!

Ouch.

Fine, then. Keep reading, but remember that I warned you.

Oh, shut it. We're going to be fine. And with that, I turned another page:

Dear diary, Eugh, did she just have to start every new entry like that?

Today is 27th day of february, 1993. This is the day I had you. So, this also makes my first entry to a new diary! (I left some empty pages to fill with some information about me later.) I'm still kinda sad because I miss the old one, but then again, I'm also excited and happy because I got you! I always feel this way when I switch diaries. Pff, sure. Keeping diary is serious business for girls, apparently. It was a fun day at school. Today I learned... Oh, please. I couldn't comprehend why some people would like to write this stuff down. ... Hey, that's quite a long list she had there. ... Oh, please, she writes down what she had for lunch as well!

5th of march. (Nothing even remotely interesting before that.) Almost missed the bus today: Forgot the book report on the table. What book report? 8th of march. Found a dead bird from under our window. Poor thing. Well, that's certainly worth writing down. I'm not being sarcastic this time. 13th of march. Succesfully threw a snowball at Calvin. The score, counting all the snowballs, water balloons, and other miscellaneous thrown weapons since we met, is now 377-389 for him. Wait, she's keeping record of that?! And she's... Yeah, she's correct. You've got two more victories since then, though. (And she counted those for 17th and 20th days.)

22nd of march. Woke up with some chest pain and cold limbs. We're about to go to a doctor as I'm writing this. It's probably nothing, but it never hurts to check.

I took notice that the following entries were not written on a clean, flawless handwriting like the rest of the diary: Her hand had been shaking, and at some points I had some difficulties to read what she had said. 22nd of march (cont.). Turned out my heart is failing. I have few months to live unless I find a suitable donor, which is said to be very unlikely. I've been said that any bit of stress or anger or the like could be lethal. ...What? For one reason or another, I not only could not believe what she had written, but I had a painful stinging feeling, too. No, that can't be right... Can't be.

23rd of march. (That was just yesterday.) I thought I'd feel better after a good night's sleep, but instead I'm feeling worse. I was depressed at school, and had to stop myself from taking hold of the person closest to me. I so wanted to tell everyone, but I didn't want to make them feel worried. I wouldn't have been worried. Really. ...I wouldn't.

--

"How can you always pounce at Calvin when he comes from school without breaking any of his bones?"

For the last half an hour, we had done barely nothing else than talking, apart from me cuddling and hugging Hobbes. He was easily big enough to let me ride on his back, which in fact was my current position, with him lying on Calvin's bed, cat-like. On one occasion he stretched himself and I fell on the bed, and we laughed.

Hobbes would get lonely when Calvin was at school. There would be nothing much to do than to read comics and stay in his room alone, because nobody else could see him. So he would always greet Calvin very enthusiastically when he arrived, something the latter didn't always appreciate. (Rather obviously, he was happy and thrilled of my recently discovered ability to see him.) And his violent habit would raise the question of safety, to which he, smugly as ever, responded with a single word:

"Physics."

"Physics," I repeated.

"Yeah, it's a tiger thing. You probably wouldn't understand." A short silence, before he added: "Oh, unless someone else comes by right in the middle of my jump. That's when it gets complicated." There had been a good ten minutes when we had tried to reason how it was possible for us to have this nice little chat, but the more we thought about it, the more all the evidence indicated to me either dreaming or having compeletely lost my mind.

And so we moved on to talk about Calvin, and I was surprised of all the things I had learned. From the beginning, I had known there was more of him than the crazy, bad at school, obnoxious little brat that was presented to me most of the times, and I had been given obvious hints that he was in fact very smart, but all this exceeded the wildest of my expectations. I mean, trying to fix a dripping faucet goes, and I could imagine Calvinball (though I'd probably suck at it), but how could he be so bad at maths, yet be capable of correctly calculating how much of his life had been spent at bath? How could he present complicated ethical and philosophical questions, yet not know who our first president was?

"It's an authority thing, I reckon," Hobbes had told. "He doesn't like authority figures, limitations, or people telling him what to do. Cue silly games with no rules and bad numbers at school."

"A free spirit." Or an anarchist.

"Yeah." I could imagine Calvin being upset about his best (and only) friend telling all this information to an enemy, but I could not imagine why he'd be upset. "In fact," Hobbes continued, "with the imagination he has, I'd go so far as to say that he has problems with reality. I mean, just look at me: I kinda defy logic, don't you think?"

"In a good way," I agreed, and he chuckled.

"Where is he, anyway? Shouldn't he have come home from school with you?"

"Oh... At a detention." I gave Hobbes the same story I had given to Calvin's mom, and he responded with nothing more than a face of understanding - although there was also a more mischievous look in his eye, which suggested that he knew of the boy's true whereabouts. As did I, of course, but as much as I wanted to, I could not tell Hobbes anything.

He was Calvin's best friend, and not trustworthy enough to hold a secret, especially since my epic plan would span for several months of time. He knew that I had slipped information about my mother's long day at work, as well as the hiding place of our key (a place where it'd usually never be), but he didn't know, and wouldn't know, that I had done it on purpose. We both knew, and I knew he knew, but he didn't know I knew, that Calvin was sneaking around at my room right now, and had probably discovered my diary (the idea of his filthy hands on my precious diary made me sick, but some sacrifices had to be made).

What Hobbes didn't yet know would be that Calvin now held some disturbing information about the state of my health, preventing him from angering me with his antics, on the risk of my death: If all went well, he'd get to know the truth only months from now, which not only gave me some peace after several years of war, but also prove that, despite what he always says and to further annoy and humiliate him, Calvin really does care about me. A flawless, ingenious plan, but Hobbes must not know about it.

"You two have a lot of common, don't you?"

"Huh?" The few seconds I had spent in thrill and excitement while thinking about my perfect plan - as any evil mastermind would often do - Hobbes had been silent as well. Now he was speaking again. "Well, y'know, before today, you thought that you two were compeletely different, and then you come here and it turns out you're not?"

"What's your point?" I was puzzled, but all I got for an answer was a sing-song "Oh, nothing" and a grin. There was no nothing, of course, and he did have a point, too: I had discovered more about Calvin here than I ever hoped to, and indeed, he was similar to me in many aspect. Before I could inquire him further, however, came a question: "So, Susie, why are you here?"

"Well, my mom's having a long day at work, and-"

"No no," he interrupted, "I figured as much myself. What I meant is, what are you doing in Calvin's room?"

--

When I thought about it, she had acted rather odd at school yesterday. She had been down in the dumps all day: When Claire had asked her whether she was okay, her smile had been rather empty as she had told she was fine. She had barely reacted when I called her names. She gave a correct answer to a math problem. She had kept shaking and sobbing.

I slumped down on the bed as the news really kicked in. I felt sick. My legs could barely carry me. There was something in my eye, and it tried its best to get out. Susie was going to...

This... must be how Captain Napalm felt when the Amazon Woman died in issue #447... The Annoyi- Susie Derkins was truly a worthy foe, and would deserve a better, more glorious way to leave this world.

It was the second time in a single day when I felt like throwing up. And it was the first time in my long career that I really begun to doubt my own abilities. I was a hard-boiled detective who had seen countless deaths. So why... why did it feel this bad?!

Sitting there on that bed, I already felt as bad as when that raccoon died. And that was even before the true terror of the situation hit me. When it did, when I remembered why I was there, I really threw up. Then I spent another few seconds lying crouched on the floor of Susie's room, the half-melted school lunch in front of me.

Because today, I might kill Susie Derkins.

--

"What?"

It was much better for my interests to maintain my guise and pretend to be surprised of the news. As I thought, Calvin had told Hobbes about his plans. Apparently, the boy still hasn't realized (as I just had), that the tiger was a double agent, and consenquently not trustworthy by anyone. I tried to look properly angered and surprised, without going over the top, lest he might discover that I knew more than he thought. Regardless, this would be when I had to take my leave: As much as I wanted to stay and talk, it would've been much too suspicious now. "That stupid brat!", I said, just for show, as I landed on the floor and made my way outside.

But when I stopped at the door, and turned back for a final, apologising look at Hobbes, that wasn't for show. "It was, uh, real nice talking to you. And I hope that..."

When I watched at Hobbes, however, I broke off. He had a great poker face: His eyes held no evidence that he would've been lying, or withholding information. But I wasn't looking at his eyes: The center of my attention was his tail, which was waving and wagging like crazy. And when I looked at that tail, that so clearly betrayed his miscievous intentions, it occurred to me that I didn't really know what Calvin was up to: But Hobbes certainly did.

What if it had occurred to Calvin that Hobbes was a double agent after all?

"Unless of course... There's something else I had to know...?" His tail stopped the instant I had said the words, but his face remained stoic. "Nah," he waved his front paw in a dismissive way. "I shouldn't have told you that, but to tell the truth, I kinda prefer you over Calvin."

That settled it, then. I was certain I had made friends with him, but not that much. After six years of the two being best friends, it would take more than a little whim for Hobbes to betray Calvin.

But he would tell me, regardless. "Hobbes... How about another tummy rub?"

--

They could prove I did it. They might put me in jail: I would totally be the youngest inmate at juvenile prison. I was only eight years old, and I would already kill someone. I never wanted to kill anyone...

I nearly fell down the stairs as I ran. I crashed head-first to the front door before I got it open.

But despite being afraid of being about to kill a human being, or going to jail, I couldn't deny that a big part of the terror I now felt was that it was Susie who was in danger. But why was that? Years I had been enemies with her: I had dreamed about her death. I once wrote that story where she was eaten by dinosaurs. I should be happy!

Then why wasn't I?

I ran across the front yard, to the street outside. I nearly got ran over by a car, but I didn't care.

What if Hobbes didn't tell her? What if, this one time, he would actually be faithful to us?

Yes, but we can't count on that! We have to do what we can, instead of hoping that something went wrong!

I had given Hobbes strict orders. I had told him to tell Susie, who would come sneaking up to my room for certain, that at the same time I had broken into her house. She would've come here and got a bucket full of water to her head when she opened the door. No matter what, Hobbes could never tell her that I was in fact hiding up in my treehouse all along! He couldn't have told her!

I got over to my house, and ran past it.

It was a perfect plan. Hobbes had betrayed me to Susie in the past, and would do so once more. Only there were certain details even he was unaware about... Please don't tell her, Hobbes, please be faithful for G.R.O.S.S, just this once! Please!

--

There was no one in the treehouse, but it wasn't empty, either. If there was someone inside, and there wasn't, he could see that someone else had taken great effort to fill it with water balloons. Two dozen in total, and though they were of all color, it betrayed the fact that each one was filled with black paint. The house had a hatch that could be opened from the outside, and when someone did, every single balloon would drop on to the unfortunate person.

Then the hatch did open. The balloons vanished. Half a second later, there were several great splashes that were to be expected, and a scream that was almost expected.

Should the unseen, nonexistant observer now peer down to the ground, he would see two children: The first, a girl, standing right under the treehouse, in a great black puddle of paint, looking like, well, a black-haired black little girl wearing black clothes. The observer could conclude that she was extremely pissed. The second child, this one a boy, stood some yards from the girl, looking at her in compelete and utter terror, as if expecting her to drop dead at any second.

--

"For his bravery, his cunning, his ability to manipulate one girl and one tiger to do his bidding, and succesfully compeleting the most glorious mission of G.R.O.S.S. to date, Dictator-For-Life Calvin is hereby awarded with three medals!"

The other two present in the small treehouse clapped, as Calvin, wearing a hat made out of newspaper, helped himself for two bottlecaps. Despite having a black eye, several bandages, and large black spots at the places Susie had attacked him, even after his mother had patched him up, he was now rather in a good mood, mostly thanks to flawlessly carrying out his mission, and thanks to no one dying after all.

"For showing great courage in the presence of an enemy, outsmarting her, and unwittingly furthering the Dictator-For-Life's goals, President and First Tiger Hobbes is hereby awarded with three medals!"

Hobbes, also wearing a hat, saluted as Calvin pinned the caps to this fur. Unlike the other two, he had survived through without a scratch, mostly by not being there when stuff happened.

"And finally..." Calvin turned his attention to their special guest. "For shameless lying, her particularly nasty plan, and making the Dictator-For-Life looking like a total ass, the Known Girl and Arch-Enemy Susie Derkins is hereby awarded with three medals!"

Hobbes clapped. Susie did not salute, but she was grinning widely - a grin that was even more noticeable against her still black skin: Despite taking a long shower and changing her clothes, she would look dark for a long time.

"And now, due to a horrible discrace the Dictator-Of-Life has brought to the club, by allowing a girl inside and - heaven forbid - awarding her," he now ceremoniously and self-ironically proclaimed, "the Get Rid Of Slimy girlS club is hereby disbanded forever!"

With one final salute to each other, a boy and a tiger took their hats from their heads, solemnly held them on their chest for a second, then tore them apart. But however formal and festive the moment had been, the silence that followed was rather an awkward one, as two children sat at the treehouse, trying to comprehend this new twist of events that just a couple of hours none had expected. The third one present, the tiger, however, looked rather more pleased with himself.

"Well... I guess I'm going to be off now," he finally said. "I think I'm going to leave you two alone for a while..." There was a curious tone in his voice, and before he vanished from the hatch, he gave a very noticeable wink at both of them. Now there were two people left, two rather confused kids, looking at the hatch, then each other.

"Wonder what he meant?", Susie finally asked. Calvin just shrugged.

--

A/C: Without the colors, might've made Calvin's alter egos "just a little bit" unnoticeable. Hope you made some sense of it regardless.