Author's Note: Okay, here's the deal. Every few months or so, I develop a new obsession. This month, it's Homestar Runner. I've been into it for a couple weeks now, and this scenario just recently popped into my head. I just thought it would make a good story. Take note, this is my first Homestar Runner fic, so it may not be perfect. Also, Coach Z is a little OOC in this, so be warned. Either way, happy reading! ;)-AMX


In One Night

Marzipan's POV

Before, I wasn't interested in learning a lot about my male companions who live in Free Country, USA. It's not that I was being a snob, or anything. I just figured it wasn't really…their "style" to want to openly share their personal problems with anyone. I made it my best not to be biased with anyone, but I will admit it's hard sometimes. It's also hard being the only girl here. I mean, I could probably talk to any of the guys…or, at least some of them…but it's just not the same.

But anyway, the point is, I guess before, I thought all the guys were just the way they were. I never really bothered to look below the surface.

That all changed last night.

---

The night started out like any other night. I was in my home, in my favorite chair, reading a book about practical ways to recycle an old washing machine. Or, at least trying to read it. For some reason, I couldn't concentrate. My mind kept wandering to all the guys. I finally stopped trying to concentrate on my book and began to let my mind wander; I must admit, this was a little out of the ordinary for me.

First off, my boyfriend, Homestar Runner.

Sure, everyone else seems to think of him as…scatterbrained, to say the least. And I'll admit, he's not exactly what you call the ideal boyfriend. But there's a side to him that the others don't really get to see. He really can be a sweetheart…when he remembers to be. And it does feel good when I happen to hear him tell Pom-Pom how much he loves me. The fact that he's a terrific athlete doesn't hurt, too.

That led to Pom-Pom. Pom-Pom was Homestar's best friend…though I'm not exactly sure why. I've seen more than one occasion when Pom-Pom has shown irritation due to my boyfriend's antics. But even then, I've never really seen him actually get mad or anything like that. He's probably the most patient with Homestar, besides me.

Strong Sad. I tend to tolerate him a lot better than his brothers. He is basically a really nice guy when you get to know him (granted, that's not the easiest task in the world). I'm glad that he's always willing to help me make the world a better place; but…sometimes I can't help but think he just uses that as an excuse so he can be around me. Plus…Strong Sad has a tendency to be very…morbid at times. I'm just saying that we don't need to be reminded that every day that passes is one day closer to all of us dying. You know?

Bubs…in truth, I didn't really have much to say about him. Of course, there are those rumors that he's running this shady underground business besides his store…but that's about it. He's very civil if you ask me.

The King of Town…oy. What can I say? He's not horrible, mind you, he's just…dare I say it…kind of a pig. Of course, as you probably already know, I was pretty upset that he ate all those candy corn lights I put up one year for Halloween.

The Poopsmith…don't ask. Just trust me on this one.

Homsar. Not too many of the other guys seem to like him too much. But I think he's okay, even though most of the time you can't really understand what he's saying.

And then there's Strong Mad, The Cheat, and…Strong Bad. Strong Mad and The Cheat are okay, most of the time. I mean, most of the things they do are only because Strong Bad tells them to do it.

Strong Bad himself, on the other hand, is a different story. Gosh, I could probably talk about him for hours. He just knows how to…needle people just right, you know? Granted, there are those very rare moments when he's actually civil to the rest of us. Emphasis on rare.

However, there was one particular resident I just couldn't seem to stop thinking about that night. And his name is Coach Z.

If I could talk about Strong Bad for a few hours, it would probably take me a few days to talk about Coach Z. Well…maybe just one day. You get the idea.

It's just…I don't really know where to begin with him. He's just…weird. He has this strange accent, sleeps in a locker room, walks around drinking Listerine and gets drunk off of it…the list goes on and on.

And then…there's the not-so-secret crush he has on me. Well…it's not so much a crush as it is some sort of creepy obsession.

I don't mean to be so hard on Coach Z, but I just thought he was a creep. He was always blatantly hitting on me (sometimes right in front of Homestar), I swear he follows me around sometimes, and according to Strong Bad, he once called me his girlfriend (I can't help but have doubts about that one, because it is Strong Bad).

But the final straw for me was the answering machine messages.

Coach Z had left me messages before, and by all means, they were harmless. But one morning, I was checking my messages like I do every morning…and found one of Coach Z, who apparently called me during the wee hours of the morning while he was drunk, with Bubs shouting something in the background. After spouting a bunch of nonsense, Coach Z suddenly started crying, spouting how I was a beautiful person, and how he couldn't live without me…

I'll be honest: the message was more creepy than flattering. However, as I checked the other messages I had, I found another one from Coach Z, apologizing for the first message. I actually felt a little better after that.

However, I didn't feel better when earlier that day, I got another message from him. In it, he accidentally let it slip that he had actually broken into my house.

That did it. Right after I heard that message, I immediately went out and got supplies to heighten the security of my house. Finding out that people could find ways to sneak into my house without my knowing did not sit well with me.

As I thought of getting my supplies, I remembered something else that had happened earlier that day. As I was walking back to my house, I saw Strong Bad and…Coach Z. The strange thing was…Coach Z actually looked angry about something. I found that surprising, because I don't think I've ever seen Coach Z lose his temper like that.

By the time I had walked up to Strong Bad, a fuming Coach Z was stomping away. I asked Strong Bad what he had said to make the coach so angry, but all he said was that Coach Z was having "a hissy fit."

But I wasn't so sure.

Coming back from my deep thinking, I decided that that was why I couldn't stop thinking about Coach Z. He may have been a creep, but even he didn't deserve to be put down by Strong Bad. I decided that first thing tomorrow, I would find Coach Z and see if there was anything I could do (within limits) to make him feel better.

With that, I decided I would feel better in the morning after a good night's sleep. I put my book down, got up from my chair, and went into my bathroom to wash my face. I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary; but let's just say I had no way of predicting what happened next.

I had come out of my bathroom, and was heading upstairs to go to bed, when…

"Aww, leaving so soon, Marzi-pan? We haven't even gaerten to have our foon yet."

I stopped dead in my tracks. I knew that accent anywhere. But what I didn't know was…how? All the security features should have made it impossible for anyone to get in! I whirled around to say so, but something stopped me. And it made my blood run cold.

There, standing in front of me, was Coach Z. Pointing a gun right in my face. He did not look happy.

"C-C-Coach?" I was able to squeak. "Coach Z?"

"Oh, you remeambered my name?" he asked, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "I'm terched." It looked like it was taking all his strength to keep from completely exploding at me. What made this even scarier was that I couldn't smell Listerine; he wasn't drunk.

"But…but how did you get in here?" I asked. "I just bought a security upgrade…"

"Yer back durr was open."

My face blanched. The word 'CRAP!!' screamed in my head. I must have been so preoccupied, I forgot to lock the back door after watering my plants.

"O-okay…" I said. "But that still doesn't explain why you're here."

"Oh, dearn't worry," he said, his hand holding the gun not moving an inch. "I'll get ta that soon enearph." He glanced back over to my chair. "Why don't ya take a seat, Marzy?"

What could I do? Say no? I carefully walked back to my chair and slowly sat down; to my horror, the gun followed me as I sat down.

I frantically glanced around, trying to think of a way out of the situation. I could try just talking to him and try to calm him down…maybe if things got out of hand, I could grab my book and whack him in the face-

"Dearn't get any idears there, sweetheart. I know how to use this here. It'd be unfortunate if an accident were to happen here, ya know?"

Coach Z's angry tone broke my thoughts. Maybe playing the hero wasn't the best solution at the moment.

"Uh…okay," I said, trying hard not to panic. "Is…is there something I can do for you, Coach Z?"

If the coach had a mouth, he probably would have smirked at this. "Actually, yes," he said. "But first, I just wanted to talk about you…and Hamstray."

My eyes widened. "Coach Z…" I paused. "…Did you hurt Homestar?"

"No, I didn't." It was his turn to pause. "At least…not yet."

I couldn't help but gasp. "Coach…" I tried to control my breathing. "Wh-why?! Why are you doing this? What did Homestar do to you?"

Apparently, that wasn't the right thing to say.

"Why…am I doin' this?" he seethed. This time, he did explode. "I'LL TELL YOU WHY I'M DOIN' THIS, DORM IT!!"

I jumped at Coach Z's sudden outburst. As he screamed, he began to swing the gun around.

"That…that little brort…that orse-hole…he's…keepin' you from me…"

I gasped. The Coach Z I knew…he was weird, but he would never talk bad about anyone, let alone curse.

"C-Coach Z…" I said. "I…I don't understand…"

Suddenly, his head snapped back toward me, along with the gun. "Oh, I think you do," he growled. "You'd rather be with an idjut instead of someone who's actually gerd for ya. You're jerst doin' it to terment me, aren't ya?"

"What?" I asked, suddenly confused. "Coach Z, that's not true at all!"

"Then why the horl are you still with him?!" he ground out. "What's Hamstray got that I don't? HUH?!"

"Homestar's a good person!" I blurted out. Coach Z stopped. "I…I mean…sure, he's absent-minded, and he's not always the best boyfriend. But he's still sweet. And…there are those little moments where he's just the sweetest person in the world. He'd never dream of hurting anybody." I felt tears start to come to my eyes, but forced them back in. "Coach Z, please don't hurt him."

Coach Z's eyes narrowed. "Hmm…" He brought the gun down and began to stroke it. "Well, if you put it like that, I guess he'll be okay." He turned back to me. "But I came here ta git somethin', and I ain't learvin' here without it." His gaze turned toward the floor. "That idjut Strong Bad thinks I'm too crazy for you ta like me, huh?" I just heard him whisper. "Well, I'll show him!"

My eyes widened in realization. That was what Strong Bad told Coach Z?

My thoughts were interrupted by something landing on me. I looked back up, and to my horror, Coach Z was sitting on my lap, pressing the gun against my forehead.

"Say, Marzi-pan…" he drawled. "I was jurst wonderin'…do you lurve me?"

Oh, no. I didn't want to betray Homestar, but…if it would calm him down, I'd do it.

"I…I…" I paused to swallow the lump in my throat. "Yes…I love you, Coach Z."

He actually looked surprised. "R-really?" he asked. "So…you'll love me ferever?"

"Y-yes," I said. "I'll love you forever."

"An'…that's a prermise?"

I sighed. "Yes."

Then, something I didn't expect happen: Coach Z's face softened. He slowly took the gun away from my forehead and set in on the little table next to the chair, right on my book.

"Oh, Marzy…" he said; it sounded like his voice was breaking. "I know ya durn't really mern it…but it's nice ta hare da wurds."

Then, without warning, the coach buried his face in his hands and burst into tears.

I immediately forgot the terror I was feeling just seconds before, and began to think of what to say to comfort him.

"Coach Z…" I tried to begin, but I was cut off.

"Oh…what have I durn?" Coach Z sobbed. "Now I'll never have a chaence with ya! Y-yer such a beautiful person, Marzi-pan…an' here I am, actin' like some nort-job!" He finally stopped crying, and gave a sad sigh. "Ohh…Strong Bad is right. Ya don't deserve a crazy weiordo like me." He started to get up, presumably to leave.

"Coach Z, wait!" I said. It worked; he stopped. Now I just needed to set everything straight. I exhaled. "I don't think you're crazy."

His eyes widened. "Really?" he asked quietly.

"No, I don't," I said. "And Strong Bad isn't exactly the person you should be listening to. We all know that." I paused. "You should hear some of the prank calls he leaves on my answering machine."

Coach Z gave a sad little laugh. "That so?" he asked. He sighed. "Just wish my messages came ort better. When I was in here the other day while you were out (this earned a glare from me), I couldn't herp but get a quick listen. But…there was a message I sent on there, and…oh, I just sounded like a downright frork!"

I shook my head. "Well…I'll admit, I'm not too happy about the messages…or the fact that you've been breaking into my house. But that doesn't mean I can't think of you as a…" I swallowed. "…friend."

The coach's eyes widened again. "A…friend?" he asked. "Huh…jurst a friend…" He looked at me again. "So…there's no hope of us bein'…ya know…"

I gave a sad smile. "I'm sorry, Coach Z, but I just don't like you like that," I said. "But yes, I'm your friend." I paused again. "And…I suppose I owe you an apology."

"Hmm?" he asked. "What fer?"

"Well…you see, I guess I've been judging you all this time," I explained. "I was so focused on how creepy you were acting, I never stopped to think about how you felt about all this. And…that wasn't very considerate of me." I took a deep breath. "So…I'm sorry, Coach Z."

"Aww…aperlogy accepted, Marzy!" he said; then, without a warning, he wrapped his arms around me in a hug.

I let him do it. It was the least I could do.

When Coach Z finally let go, I think that was when he realized that he was still sitting on my lap, because he looked down and suddenly looked embarrassed.

"Oh…uh, I should prably get orff now, huh?" he asked. With that, he climbed off, allowing me to stand up again. "Well, uh…I suppose it's best if I just lerft now, huh?" He began to walk toward the front door. "See ya 'round, Marzi-pan."

"Wait, Coach Z," I said. I suddenly remembered the gun that was on my little table. "Uh…don't you want this back…?" I asked, uncertain about how he would respond.

"Huh?" he asked; then he saw the gun, too. "Oh, yeah!" He walked back over and picked up the gun. Then, without warning…he pulled the trigger.

I jumped at the sudden BANG, and was about ready to yell at him, when I became shocked for a different reason. Sticking out of the barrel of the gun was a small, white flag with BANG written in big black letters on it.

"You…threatened me with a toy gun?" I asked.

"Uh…" Coach Z looked embarrassed again. "Guess so. Bubs left it at my house some time ago, an' I guess…it was the first thing I grabbed. I wasn't really thinkin' straight at the time." He paused. "Listen…Marzy? Do you think it's best if we…not mention this to the others? Don't think it'd be in anyone's berst interest if they knew I went psycho on ya."

I thought for a moment. "I guess you're right," I finally said. "Homestar would probably freak if he found out. So…I won't tell if you won't?"

"It's a deal!" Coach Z excitedly said. He calmed down again. "So, uh…I guess that's it, then. Bye, Marzi-pan."

I watched as Coach Z walked toward the front door again. I just couldn't shake the feeling that something still didn't feel right. Then, it hit me.

"Coach Z?" I asked quietly.

He stopped, his hand on the doorknob. "Yeah?" he asked.

I walked right up to him, and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. He went rigid.

"Don't worry," I said quietly. "Everything's going to be okay."

All he could do was nod. He quietly exited the door. I shut the door behind him and locked it. As I went to lock my back door, I heard an exclamation being made outside my door.

"I LURVE THIS SPOT!!"

---

"Man, Mawzipan, I've never seen you get that mad at Stwong Bad before," Homestar is saying to me. "Did he say something to you?"

It's the day after that incident now. I was just finished telling Strong Bad off for making poor Coach Z feel bad, and for talking about me when I wasn't around.

"Well…let's just say he said the wrong thing at the wrong time," I say back to my boyfriend.

"Oh…okay," says Homestar, letting it go that quickly. "Say, uh…you wanna go to Marshmallow's Last Stand for a miwkshake?"

I smile. "I'd like that," I say.

As Homestar and I walk to the restaurant, I see Coach Z hanging out near Bubs' store. He sees me, too. Only this time, all he does is wave at me.

"Hey there, Marzi-pan!" he says.

"Hi, Coach!" I say back to him.

I look back at Homestar. He's stopped walking, and has a stunned expression on his face.

"Whoa…" he says. "Coach Z an' you just had a convuhsation without Coach Z makin' a pass at ya!" He looks at the coach, who is talking to Bubs. "What happened? You think aliens came and pwobed his bwain or somethin'?"

I just smile. "I wouldn't know, Homestar," is all I say.

But the thing is, I do know. But that's a secret. It's Coach Z's and my secret.

I must say, it's amazing how much you can learn about a person in one night.


A/N: So…how was it? Was it good? Wasn't it? Tell me what you think!-AMX