Disclaimer: Wally, Abby, Mrs. Thompson, and anyone else mentioned in this belong to Mr. Warburton © Not me.
Author's Note: Boy, it's been a while, hasn't it? My muse has just been...well, it hasn't been, to be honest. But I'd been meaning to write something like this for a while. I just felt it was really needed; as sort of a post-DOGHOUSE story (at least, I think it was DOGHOUSE...) Yanno, at the end of the episode when Mrs. Thompson is like, " Because you're not very smart", or whatever the crud she said? Yeah. Or how she said his homework was lousy, that one other time. I don't know, I'm rambling. Just read. :3
With the door wide open like that, it was fairly easy to hear the groans of frustration that floated out of the boy's bedroom. It really wasn't all that strange, though he rarely did leave his door open. When he was up in his room, he liked his privacy, so he could often-time take whatever the crud he was feeling out on the poor punching bag in his wrestling-themed room without interruption. But even Abigail knew the difference between battle cries and cries of defeat. And his painful objections were enough to make her curiously step inside.
"What's all this groanin' about?" She asked no-one in particular.
She didn't even know what she was expecting to see, but it certainly wasn't him sitting criss-cross on the floor, surrounded by messy piles of damaged papers, and books. Not that she hadn't ever found him in this state before; she came across him like this just the other day. His blond head turned to see who had intruded on his feebish attempts at studying, eyes locking for just a moment, before looking back to the papers strewn out in front of him.
"Cruddy schoolwork." He sighed; his tone as if he didn't think she even had to ask.
"You need some help, again?" She asked, coming around so that she was standing right in front of him. She didn't fail to notice the way his expression seemed to darken for just a second at her question. And she wasn't sure why it had either, but it passed just as quickly as it came. He shut his mouth, tightly, eyes down though hardly focusing at all. She changed her tone, knowing all too well that she had said something wrong. "What's up?"
"Nothing." He shrugged, glancing up at her in a reassuring manner, though far too quickly to be reassuring in the slightest. There was nothing close to a smile painted on his face, like he should have thrown in there to make her believe him. But she could read him like a book, so it probably wouldn't matter if he had done it anyway.
"Nothing, huh?" She repeated, as if she were contemplating whether to trust his words or not. " Sure don't seem like nothing."
"It's just...", he slowly motioned to his homework, as enthusiastic as a zombie might, and continued, "I don't get any of this."
"Well, you know Numbuh Five would be glad to help you. You jus' gotta ask." She told him with sincerity, taking a seat opposite him on the wrestling mat. "So, what are we working on?"
His emerald eyes traveled up to find her dark pools of brown; doing nothing other than staring dejectedly for a moment or two. She took quick notice of this, eyeing him back in confusion, before he returned his attention to the seemingly untouched worksheet. Her eyes followed as well, though a few seconds late. "History."
She took the paper from him, hardly ignoring the way that his liveliness continued to falter, and read off the first line. "Okay, first question's easy enough. 'What year did the War of 1812 take place?'"
She looked away from the paper, waiting for his answer. And she half expected him to answer it correctly. She knew he could be slow sometimes, but anybody would be able to see that it was a trick question, and if he had noticed that, then she would get an answer. But it never came. It didn't even seem like he had heard her. He just kind of sat there, playing with his fingers and looking lost and distracted in his own thoughts. He ignored her question and produced one of his own.
"Numbuh Five..." She patiently waited for him to finish, "Do you think I'm smart?"
She furrowed her eyebrows, a mixture of loss and concern flooding over her features, as she set the paper down. "Now, what makes you ask something like that?"
Another useless shrug, "Because I'm stupid?"
"You ain't stupid."
"I feel stupid."
"Why's that?" She didn't get an immediate answer, once again. They both sat in silence for a moment, as he thought over what to say. And to Abigail, his previous actions began to ever so slowly make sense. She had asked him if he needed help, again. She didn't really think he should have taken it to heart so much, it had just been a simple, innocent question. But the look he had given her signaled that he didn't see the point in him wasting her time. And she understood, though she was still awfully confused by it all.
"That's what everyone thinks..."
She winced slightly, but it went unnoticed by him, "You know we're just messin' with you, Numbuh Four."
"No." He shook his head, voice raised slightly as he struggled to find the right words. "Bu- Mrs. Thompson said-"
And then it was painfully obvious to Abby that he hadn't meant them. He didn't care what they said about him, because they were his friends and he knew -he really, really knew- that they didn't see him as a complete idiot. But that didn't mean the rest of the world didn't. And unfortunately, it was strongly what he believed. But Abigail knew better than that. And she would have to teach him that he was wrong.
"Who cares what Mrs. Thompson said?" Bad word choice. She knew Wally cared. And he cared, a lot.
"It's not just Mrs. Thomspon, " he mumbled, continuing to look elsewhere as he spoke, "It's everyone else."
As much as she hated to admit, Abby could not dismiss that. It was plain to see that everyone looked down on the boy's mental capacity. They'd all heard the jokes (and even made some of their own, perhaps about how his I.Q. was smaller than his numbuh), the laughs when his answers were so far from the right ones, the way the teachers and staff around the school never seemed to take him seriously, nor even bother to have him read his reports because they expected nothing from him. And that was regardless of how proud and sure he was of himself. They underestimated his ability to comprehend pretty much anything, at times. And she also hated to admit that she and their group of friends had often taken part of his mockery (like when she called him Genius, when it was obvious she meant the opposite), but their's was more out of fun than to be mean. They all knew that he wasn't as dumb as he seemed. But it seemed nobody else did. And time after time again, he had endured people almost brainwashing him into thinking he really was worthless in that department, and perhaps that was why he rarely tried anymore. Because there really wasn't any point in it, when he would fail anyways.
"Since when do you care about what other people say?"
"When what they said started to make sense."
She shook her head at his answer, not liking the determination behind it. "Forget about what everyone else says. They don't know you."
"But, I think they're right."
No, no. This needed to end. "Boy, you stop right there." His eyes dropped again as she continued, "You are not stupid. Everyone else is wrong." It didn't seem like he believed her, though. And she didn't even miss a beat adding, "You know how Numbuh Five knows?"
His eyes flashed to her for a second, and she took this as a sign to continue.
"Because, Numbuh Five knows you."
It was evident by the awkward silence that followed, that he didn't have a whitty comeback for her. She merely waited, knowing that he was doing nothing more than ignoring her and trying to think of something to back his little theory up.
"...I have one of the lowest grades in the class."
"Well, that's because you never turn your homework in." She explained; a hint of amusement gracing her words as she pointed to the incomplete history worksheet between them.
"I can't do my cruddy homework!" He suddenly shouted, "I don't understand anything!"
She was unphazed by his outburst. "That don't mean it can't be helped. Numbuh Five will sit here with you, every single night, if that's what you need."
He watched her for a few seconds, ultimate confusion etched across his face. It was as if he was looking for an answer to something in her expression. Or maybe a reason not to believe her. But he did. He just didn't know, "Why?"
She wasted no time answering. "Because, friends help eachother out."
"I wouldn't want you to waste your time..."
"Numbuh Five will be here as long as you need help."
"But, I don't want your help." He groaned. She blinked in confusion, and he realised that he hadn't worded his thoughts properly. "Well, I do. But I don't want to need your help." He was much too frowny-frowny for Abby's liking, "I mean, I just want to be able to do it myself.."
"We can't always do everything by ourselves..."
He had no response, so she went on.
"...we've all got our weak points."
"I know, but-"
"Listen. Everyone needs help, sometimes. For different things. " But she knew that it was more than just tonight's history paper. "It's not just about homework, though. Is it?" By the look on his face, he told her she was right. "Then what is it about?"
"Everything. Like I said. I'm just stupid."
"Numbuh Five already told you you wasn't stupid."
"Come on, Numbuh Five! You know they're right!"
"What Numbuh Five knows, is that they underestimate you." He gave her an exhausted sigh, and listened. "Everyone's got smarts, y'know. Just depends on how you use 'em. And Numbuh Five's seen you use yours."
"Oh, yeah? Like when?" He challenged. She bit the inside of her lip and thought for a moment, scolding herself for not having already picked out an example. She knew that she'd seen his brilliance (if one could call it that) plenty of times before. She'd known him long enough to figure out that he was a lot smarter than he looked, or even acted. But her having to pause, for even a few seconds, forced his pained expression even further.
"Alright. How 'bout the time you knew the DNK wasn't us, after we'd all been kidnapped?"
"Lucky guess." He shrugged it off as nothing more than that.
"Was it?" She questioned him, thinking otherwise.
"I know my friends when I see them."
"Even though they looked exactly the same..."
"That doesn't mean I'm smart."
"Sure means you're not dumb."
"Okay. So, that's one time." He grumbled, "Big whoop."
"Or the time you knew not to trust Lenny, when everyone else did." She didn't even have to force her lips into a smile, it came all too naturally. "And you were right in the end, weren't you?"
"Well, I guess so."
"And what about Numbuh 30 C? You didn't seem to like him, either."
"No. But that was because he was a freak."
"Seems to me like you're good at judging people."
He thought this over for a moment, unsure of what to think. He knew who to trust, and he knew who not to trust. She was right about that. But, still. He wasn't completely satifised. "Judging people is wrong though, isn't it?"
"Yeah. But other people are judging you, too."
She had a point there, but he wasn't sure if he liked admitting it or not. "But they might be right, just like I was."
"No, they ain't right." She couldn't stress just how much she meant it. "Maybe Numbuh Five gave you the wrong impression. What Numbuh Five's trying to say, is that people make assumptions about people, and sometimes they're right, sometimes they're wrong. And Numbuh Five knows for a fact that they're wrong about you. Because Numbuh Five knows how you are, and Numbuh One, Numbuh Two, and Numbuh Three know, too."
In any situation, Wally would never ever doubt anything that Abby told him. Ever. Because Abby was wise, and she never lied, and she knew best. So he knew it was in his best interest to listen to her, rather than what the rest of the world was saying. But one person's opinion against many others? Well, it was more likely that the rest of them were right. But then again, this was Abby afterall. And Abby knew what Abby knew. And Abby knew that Wally was no moron.
"Look at me for a second."
He hesitated, but obliged anyway. Her jaw was set, and her eyes wide and serious. "You. Are not. Stupid."
And it took him hardly a second to believe her. "...Okay."
"Now, why don't we get to work on this paper, huh?" She turned her attention to the worksheet, picking it off of the floor. "What year did the War of 1812 take place?"
"I don't know," he shrugged, "1776?"
She eyed him with an unreadable expression. He only kept the look of innocence plastered on his face for a few seconds, until the corner of his mouth twitched into a smirk, and he burst out in laughter. "I'm just kidding!"
She smiled, hardly controlling nor containing her laughter as it intertwined with his. "Numbuh Five almost believed you for a second."
"Well, I'm not stupid, 'member?" He mumbled, just as they began to quiet down. And just as quick as his laughter came, his face grew serious, and he glanced down at the paper with dismay. " But really...was it 1776?"