A.N. This is LONG overdue. Honestly, I had this whole thing written out except for like one sentence for over four months. But a lot of stuff happened and it kept me from writing. It's ironic how I got terribly sick while writing this. I do plan to finish my other work-in-progress (Rebellious) eventually, but I'm a major slacker so it may be a while. This was inspired by one of my favorite's on here, and I hope you enjoy it!
Sneezes, sniffles, coughs, and other sounds that accompanied a cold, echoed throughout the small room. The ill red-head Mamodo pushed herself up against the wall of pillows behind her. She fidgeted around, trying to get herself comfortable. She crossed her arms over her chest, and as she did, slid slowly back into a lying position under the heavy covers of the bed.
She sighed exasperatedly and then proceeded to kick the blankets off of her. She felt too hot, but as soon as the blankets were off, an overbearing chill swept through her body. She quickly covered herself with the blankets once more, snuggling them tightly around her body. But then she was hot again...
She let out a loud moan.
"Tia, are you all right?"
With these words the ceiling lights turned on. They blinded the girl momentarily, causing her eyes to snap shut and her head hurt. She brought her hands to her brow in an attempt to block the light as she sat up. Her eyes crept open. Megumi was standing in the doorway with her head peeking into the room.
"Just peachy..." Tia responded in an irritated yet sarcastic way. Megumi let out a sigh at the girl's comment. She wasn't in the mood for Tia's smart-aleck ways.
"No I'm not all right!" She fumed. "My head hurts, my throat is all scratchy, I can hardly breathe, and—ah-choo!" Her tantrum came to a sudden halt by another sneeze. She moaned again and let herself fall backwards onto the bed. She stared into the bright lights above her, even though it was making her head hurt more. The lights soon went out as Megumi flipped the switch down. Tia blinked hard, trying to make the funny blotches in her sight go away. It didn't work. The young Mamodo closed her eyes, yet that too failed; she could still see those funny blotches. She let out a deep sigh.
Megumi also sighed. "I guess we'll have to cancel for tomorrow..." She began, although Tia's sudden protest cut her off.
"But we can't!" She protested, now sitting up once again. "We can't just ditch Zatch and Kiyo like that!" She stared at Megumi—whose face was, to Tia—still blocked by one of those blotches that lingered in her vision. She could just barely tell that Megumi was shaking her head.
"I'm sorry, Tia; but what you need is a good night's sleep and a doctor. We'll just have to take a rain check."
The door had shut, and Megumi was gone. She once again let herself fall backwards. Her hair was sprawled in an awkward manner. She blew upwards to get it out of her face.
She was rather upset now. Megumi, Kiyo, Zatch, and herself were supposed to spend the day together tomorrow. They were going to the amusement park; it had been a few months since they had first went. Everything was already set, too. She had Zatch's lunch packed—yellowtail this time—and was certain that this time it would be perfect. She could already see his smiling face.
"Wow, Tia! This is delicious!"
She could feel her face reddening as if it were really happening. She rolled over onto her side. Two dry coughs scraped at her sore throat. She then heard a voice. It was faint, but she could tell right away that it was Megumi. She listened intently:
There was a short pause during which Tia's hopes came crashing down. She knew it was canceled now.
"This is Megumi. I'm really sorry but Tia and I can't make it tomorrow. She's come down with this cold."
Another short pause.
"Yes, she's fine right now. It doesn't seem to be too bad but...Yes, I'm really sorry...A rain check is good...All right, after she's better then...Mhmm...Goodnight, Kiyo."
The small girl had been listening so closely that she even heard the soft clicking of the phone being set down. Her ears popped suddenly as she rolled onto her back. She almost didn't notice with the splitting headache she already had. She sighed deeply. Her eyes became heavy as she began to fantasize of riding the Thunder Coaster with Zatch. She tried to keep her eyes open, but the unnatural fatigue overwhelmed her.
"I sure had lots of fun today!"
Tia turned her head towards Zatch who had spoken. He was smiling at her with that bright, open-mouth smile of his. She nodded in response.
"Mhmm, me too!" She replied as she smiled. They both lay back on the blanket that was spread out from their lunch earlier. Kiyo and Megumi had left the two alone, saying that she needed help "carrying drinks" again.
Tia stared at Zatch, although it was more of a gaze. The orange glow of dusk made his skin seem tanned and his eyes like orange orbs. He turned to look at her, his eyes meeting with hers.
"What is it, Tia?" He asked curiously. He continued to look deep into her ruby eyes. She suddenly jerked her head up, turning back to the orange sky, although she kept her view fixated on him through the corners of her eyes. A slight tinge of red formed on her cheeks. She didn't try to hide her blush though, she figured the evening was doing just fine with that.
"Um, it's nothing." She replied with a stutter. She let out a sigh as a short silence formed between the two, during which she could feel Zatch staring at her. It made her feel a bit uneasy as her blush deepened.
"Oh, okay." The boy Mamodo replied in a cheerful manner, as usual. He turned his attention to the sky once more.
Tia suddenly felt something tenderly grasp her hand, and as she peered down to see what it was she felt her heart skip a beat. Zatch was holding her hand. She looked over at him, who also turned to look at her. She could feel her face burning from the massive blush that was there, and thought that she had to look like a cherry even in this evening glow. She watched intently as Zatch began to speak, however no words came out of his mouth. She was confused, but before she could say another word, the world around her started to sparkle. It was very familiar to her, this sparkling. Before she knew it, everything around her, including Zatch, had vanished.
She was suddenly woken up by a gentle shaking.
Her eyes opened instantly.
She quickly corrected herself upon seeing Megumi looming over her with a concerned face. Megumi's hand went from the girl's arm to forehead rather abruptly, as so did her face from concerned to shocked.
"T-Tia! You're burning up!" Megumi exclaimed. She helped the Mamodo sit up. Doing so made Tia feel very dizzy. She began coughing uncontrollably, but was partly relieved after gulping down a glass of lukewarm water. She was taking deep, labored breaths. For whatever reason she couldn't seem to catch her breath. On top of all this, her head hurt even more now. Even keeping her eyes open caused immense pain. She doubled over, her hands clutching her stomach. A sharp pain was manifesting there—it felt as if something was cutting her up on the inside.
"Tia!" Megumi called out the Mamodo's name. She didn't respond. Instead, the Mamodo began to cry from all of the pain. Her head, her breathing, her stomach; it all hurt so much...
What is wrong with me?!
She suddenly passed out, her body finally relaxing.
The black haired teen rolled onto his side upon hearing his name. He mumbled something in his sleep.
This time, however, he was met with a rude awakening. Something pounced on his stomach, instantly waking the teen up as he gave out a hysterical scream. Zatch jumped down from the teen's bed, laughing as he did.
"Kiyo, you should be getting ready for our big day today!" The Mamodo exclaimed excitedly. He placed a finger on his chin, "You don't want to be late, do you?"
Kiyo stretched out his arms and yawned. He began to rub his eyes as he spoke, "That's right," he started, "I forgot to tell you last night. Megumi called last night and canceled." As he finished, Zatch's expression changed to horrified-shock. His mouth hung open.
"B-B-But why?!" The Mamodo shouted. He jumped at Kiyo and clung to his shirt. "Why Kiyo?"
Kiyo summoned all of his strength to pry Zatch off of himself. "Because...Zatch..." Kiyo said between his gritting teeth. He kept trying to get Zatch off of him. "...Tia is sick." As he finished, Zatch suddenly let go and fell onto the bed.
"Tia is...sick?" He said, repeating Kiyo's words as a question.
"Yes," Kiyo said with a nod, "Megumi said that she fell ill about a day ago."
Concern suddenly overcame Zatch. "We have to help her!" He exclaimed.
Kiyo began to scratch the back of his head as he gave out another yawn. "What exactly are you expecting to do?" He asked as he peered down at his Mamodo friend. Zatch gave out a small gasp at Kiyo's question. His head drooped and he sighed as he realized that there really wasn't anything he could do to help.
"Can we at least go see her?" He asked hopefully as he returned his attention to Kiyo. The teen moaned at Zatch's suggestion. "Please Kiyo, can we? Please?" He was begging now, and from the look in his eyes Kiyo could tell that Zatch was about to pounce on him again.
"I'll give them a call, I guess..." He murmured. He reached for the phone near his bed, picked it up, and dialed Megumi's number. It rang and rang and rang. He was about to hang up the phone when a terrified Megumi suddenly answered. Kiyo became full of dread as Megumi hastily told him about Tia.
"We'll be right over!" He said as he slammed the phone on the receiver.
"What's wrong, Kiyo?" Zatch pondered. He could tell by the look in Kiyo's eyes that something terrible had happened.
Kiyo spoke softly, "It's Tia..."
Zatch's eyes widened.
As Zatch and Kiyo arrived, they brushed up against a doctor who was leaving the house. The man stopped for a moment and looked at the two, but then shook his head and continued on, mumbling something about a 'thing not of this world'. The two entered the house and soon met with a worried Megumi who was holding a bottle of medicine.
"How bad is it?" Kiyo asked with concern. Megumi shook her head, and as she did, Zatch took off, running straight for Tia's room. "Zatch, wait!" Kiyo demanded. He chased after the Mamodo.
Zatch entered the room and froze upon seeing the fevered Mamodo. He drew closer slowly. With every step he took he could make out more detail; her cheeks were red, her forehead glazed with sweat, and her breathing seemed difficult for her chest was rising and falling heavily with every loud gasp. He couldn't bear the sight.
"Tia!" He called out her name as he came to her side. He grasped her arm—it was very warm—and shook her gently. She began to stir slightly, her eyes slowly opening as Kiyo and Megumi entered the room. She was met with Zatch's face which was looming not far from her own. Like before, keeping her eyes open caused her pain. She immediately began to squint. Zatch became overjoyed to see her awake. His smile returned.
"What are you doing here?" Tia asked between coughs. She felt weak and could feel the pain in her stomach starting to return. Nevertheless, she forced herself to give a faint smile.
"Tia is sick, so Zatch and Kiyo have come to cure her!" Zatch exclaimed with much enthusiasm. Zatch spun around and ran up to Megumi. He snatched the bottle of medicine that she was holding and quickly returned to Tia's bedside. He fidgeted with the cap, unable to get it off. He tried and tried, but just couldn't seem to get it off. Kiyo was soon next to him, and in a simple motion, removed the cap from the bottle. Zatch returned his attention to Tia, who was now clutching her stomach. The pain was agonizing.
"If you take this, you'll get better." Zatch told her as he helped her sit up. He brought the bottle to her lips. She began to drink the thick pink liquid. She coughed lightly, a bit of the medicine escaping the corner of her mouth as she did. The boy Mamodo set the bottle down on the nightstand, and then proceeded to wipe the dripping liquid from Tia's chin with his thumb. Tia was blushing madly, although it wasn't noticeable as her face was already red from the fever. She was happy, but it soon ended as another sharp pain surged through her stomach. She did well to hide it, not wanting to ruin this moment.
Kiyo and Megumi exchanged glances. This certainly was a new side of Zatch that they had never seen before. Sure, he was always caring; but this was...different. Zatch helped her lay back down. He pulled the covers up to her chest and snuggled them around her. She let her eyes relax.
"Thank-you." She whispered softly. She was soon fast asleep.
The day progressed without any good news. Tia kept getting worse and worse. She was now stirring from pain even in her sleep, which was always followed by deep breaths. It was as if she were gasping desperately for air. Day soon turned to night...
Megumi reentered the room with a bowl of cold water and a rag. She set it on the nightstand, wrung out the rag, and placed the damp cloth on the ill Mamodo's forehead. She sighed at the agonizing expression across the Mamodo's face. She sat down next to Kiyo on the small couch.
Zatch stared at Tia as he sat next to her on the bed; he was on the verge of crying. He couldn't stand seeing her like this. Worst of all, there wasn't anything he could do to make her better. He cursed himself and was getting more upset by the minute. Kiyo and Megumi tried to calm him with little result. They sympathized with him though. Watching Tia suffer was hurting them all.
Zatch suddenly grasped the bottle of medicine from the nightstand. He squeezed it tightly as he brought it close to his face for examination.
"Why isn't it working...?" He asked quietly. He looked up at Kiyo with anger swelling inside him. "Why isn't it working?!" He demanded to know. Kiyo was taken aback by Zatch's sudden rage.
"Zatch, please try to calm down." Megumi told him. "She'll get better..." She reassured him, even though she too had doubts. "...Right, Kiyo?" She asked, turning her head slightly to face the teen next to her. Kiyo closed his eyes and sighed.
"I'm not so sure." He said. It startled both Zatch and Megumi.
"What are you saying?" Zatch shouted. "She has to get better! She has to...!"
"I'm beginning to think that this illness Tia has comes from the Mamodo World." Kiyo stated. He looked down at Tia. She was still taking deep breaths, her whole body trembling, and was now moaning in pain. "If that's the case, then human medicine isn't going to help at all." Megumi was shocked by Kiyo's words.
Zatch peered down at the bottle in his hand. "Not going to help..." he murmured. His gaze drifted to Tia. "There has to be something we can do!" He protested. He removed the rag from Tia's forehead. It had already lost its cool feeling and was now rather warm. He placed it in the cold water, and after wringing it out tightly, began to dab Tia's face with it. The cold rag seemed to ease her a bit, as her tense face began to relax. It was just a minor change, but Zatch was glad.
The voice was weak and none other than Tia's. She turned her head slightly to face the teen idol. Her eyes were squinted again.
"I understand. Let them...burn the book..."
Zatch was startled by Tia's words.
"Why would we...?" Zatch paused and examined the calm pair sitting on the couch. He was beginning to understand now, but...
He clenched his fists tightly.
"If we burn it, then you won't be able to become a kind queen!" He exclaimed.
A kind queen.
The thought of that made Tia smile.
Zatch cradled her hand between his own.
"It isn't fair..." He murmured. Zatch's action was making Tia smile even brighter now. His hands were so gentle.
"That's all right," She began after coughing, "I'll be just as happy when you become a kind king." She sneezed suddenly, but then continued, "Besides, I can't fight like this anyways." She concluded. She tightened her hand somewhat—tightening her grip to Zatch's hand.
The boy Mamodo didn't know what to say, and instead he just looked at her with tears welling in his eyes. He didn't want to believe this nightmarish reality, but it was very real; and yet she was still smiling despite it all.
"Zatch, look at me."
Zatch didn't budge upon hearing his book owner's stern voice. He wasn't going to fall for that trick again.
"No. I'm not going to let you trick me again!" Zatch shouted in response to the teen's demands. Losing Kolulu was hard enough on him, he wasn't about to lose Tia too. "She's going to get better." He stated in a more calm tone, trying to keep himself from getting angry. However more than that, it was mostly to try to make himself believe it.
"She could get better," Kiyo started. A faint gasp of hope could be heard from Zatch. "Or she could get worse, and..." Kiyo let his voice trail off, not wanting to finish. Another gasp came from Zatch, yet this time it was loud and caused by fear.
"Kiyo please..." Megumi insisted, trying to stop him. But with a sigh he continued.
"She's not going to get the treatment she needs here in the human world. It's possible she could get better without treatment, but even so," he paused and shifted his eyes from Zatch to Tia, "Look at her. She's suffering. Do you really want her suffering to continue?"
"No!" He quickly replied. He stared deeply into Tia's squinted ruby eyes. He could see the pain in them. He hated the fact that she was in pain; he hated the fact that he couldn't help her; and he hated the fact that Kiyo was right.
"Listen to him, Zatch." Tia spoke with a weaker voice than before. It was evident that her condition was worsening by the minute.
"I don't want to lose—"
"She could die, Zatch!" Kiyo's sudden explosion silenced Zatch. "Are you really wanting to risk that?!"
Anger swelled within the boy Mamodo. He turned to Kiyo with hateful, teary eyes. "Shut up!" He screamed at the teen. In that split second of a moment, their eyes met, and Zatch could tell that Kiyo sympathized with him, and that he was sorry. Zatch knew what was about to happen as his widening eyes caught sight of the two books that Kiyo was holding.
"Zaker." The teen whispered.
The next thing Zatch saw was Kiyo holding a book that was slowly being engulfed in strange flames. He could feel the hand between his own becoming lighter. He instantly turned his attention to the girl Mamodo that lay next to him. As his eyes fell upon her and took in the shimmering sight, he began to cry. Kiyo and Megumi watched in silence as Zatch took Tia into his arms. She moaned as he lifted her from the bed.
"I'm sorry." He said softly between sobs. He held her in an embrace and closed his eyes.
"No, it's okay. I like this." She mumbled as she summoned what little strength she had to wrap her arms around him. He began to stroke her hair gently as he lost himself in this moment which he wanted to last forever. But she was slowly fading away, and soon she would be gone.
"I wish...things could have been different" She said in her weak voice, "I had everything planned perfectly for this day. I even packed your favorite meal for lunch." She let her eyes close and relax as she finished.
"Yellowtail, huh?" He asked with a quiet voice as he began to sway her gently in his arms.
She smiled sweetly, "Mhmm." She responded. She was almost completely gone now, and he could feel his arms begin to lose hold of her.
"I was going to let you win this meaningless battle and become queen. I really wanted you to..." He suddenly confessed. She whispered something into his ear, and he could have sworn he felt a small peck against his cheek before his body fell slightly forward and he was no longer holding her.
She was gone...
Yet Zatch let out a faint laugh. It caught Kiyo's attention, as he was letting Megumi cry onto his shoulder.
"Zatch?" Kiyo called out caringly.
The boy Mamodo fell onto his back and stared at the ceiling, causing his last tears to roll from the corners of his eyes.
"She said...'Who says I won't be?'"
A.N. And that's a wrap! Another tragic ending to one of my works. Trajedies are so fun to write, I don't know why. Maybe I'll write something happier next time. On a side note, I know someone will possibly ask these questions, so I'll answer them here. No, Zatch will not get sick as it isn't contagious. And yes, it is possible for Tia to be sick with something from her world even though she isn't there, as things can remain inactive in your body for quite some time before they start messing you up. Hm, I'm probably missing one, but oh well. Hope you enjoyed!