A/N: I deeply apologize for not updating for those who read this story. I wasn't sure if I should continue it since it seems not that much people like this fic. But with some motivation again, here is the new chapter. I hope you all like it. I'm pretty sure I lost some readers, but I am still happy to those who still read it. Please review if you can. Happy Reading!
Robbie Rotten paced back and forth nervously. Lina and Stephanie would be coming back to LazyTown today. He couldn't seem to feel settled enough when he had the call from Lina. For some reason, he felt oddly calm to hear her voice. But after she ended the call, he felt restless. His thoughts were all muddled up, and his stomach had been attacked with a strange swirling feeling inside. He figured his stomach was feeling this way because he ate something bad, not knowing he was way off on his diagnosis. He also felt a mix of relief of her return. And oddly enough, he started whistling as he greased his hair in the mirror and made sure his hair was made into perfection. He also seemed to iron his clothes and made sure there was no speck on it when he wore it. After he thought everything looked perfect, he started to make weird expressions on his face as if he was practicing how to react when he saw her. There were plenty of smiles he tried to make. None of them seemed to look natural and odd looking than anything. Some of them are scarier than others, especially his big toothy grin. It was as if his trademark smile is the only natural smile Robbie could muster. It fit his character perfectly, but Robbie sadly wanted to try something different, something that didn't seem like he would eat children for lunch. It was then Robbie realized he was being unlike himself and frowned.
"What am I doing? I'm just meeting Lina," he whispered quietly to himself.
After his realization, Robbie made his way to the train station waiting for Lina's and Stephanie's arrival. Just as he got closer to his destination which was only a few more steps he needed to take, his nerves started kicking in and he froze on the spot. His palms started sweating and he suddenly gulped. He had forgotten to practice on how to greet Lina. And now, he was left standing there mortified even though he could see Stephanie's friends and Sportacus' backs, standing on the platform waiting for the girls' arrival.
Before Sportacus got to the train station, his thoughts were also muddled like Robbie. In doing so, he started practicing on how to greet Stephanie. He smiled at the thought of the pink-haired girl. Memories of them started replaying in his mind. Though he loved to continue his thoughts, he snapped out of his trance enough for him to get ready. For some reason, like Robbie, he made sure he looked perfect. After finally noticing how long he stared at the mirror, he sighed and shook his head.
"What am I doing? I'm only meeting Stephanie," Sportacus whispered to himself. He sighed again and hoped his friendship with Stephanie would still be there.
Just as he got onto the platform, his nerves started kicking in. His positive thoughts started becoming negative. What if Stephanie hates him now? What if she wanted to break off her friendship with him? What would Sportacus do if that ever happened? Sportacus suddenly felt sick to his stomach. Blue eyes stared blankly at nothing in particular.
On the other side, Stephanie and Lina were enjoying their train ride. They swapped stories of their lives. Lina mostly talked about her job and Stephanie talks about her first vacation in LazyTown. There was much to talk about between the two that they didn't notice they were already in LazyTown. The girls chuckled just as they got off the train. Right away, Stingy, Trixie, Pixel, and Ziggy greeted the two. They welcomed them with open arms. There were a lot of 'how was your little trip?' and 'I miss you' or variations of it.
Stephanie's uncle couldn't make it because he had so many papers he needed to go through as mayor. Mayor Meanswell couldn't help but mutter how unfair it is but still continued his work when his wife scolded him that it wouldn't happen if he had done the paper work in the first place. Truthfully, he wanted to but he injured himself plenty of times in which prevented him doing his work. And before he knew it, the papers piled up when he was still recovering from a small fall.
Just as the hero and the villain heard Lina's and Stephanie's voices, Sportacus and Robbie jerked awake from their stupor at their respective partner's voices. They tried to act as normal as they could be while Robbie strided towards the group from his rooted place. Robbie felt like his knees were being wobbly. Well, he was really wobbling since Lina gave him a worried look.
"Robbie, you okay? You seem shaky," Lina asked. Robbie's eyes widened for a moment before coughing and standing up straight. His usual cocky attitude returned in an instant.
"Of course I am. Just too much hot chocolate. Sugar, you know," he answered with an awkward laugh. Lina seemed to not believe him but thought it best to just take it as it is.
Meanwhile, Stephanie was chatting happily with her friends except for Sportacus. He stood there, just staring at Stephanie. He waited for her to notice him, and his heart slowly ached when she seemed not to call out his name though he was happy she came back safe and sound. He was also glad to see her usual cheery smile. He missed it the past three days. He sighed when he thought Stephanie was purposely ignoring him. In her defense, all her friends seemed to try to shield her away from Sportacus. They seem rather too energetic than usual and tried to get her attention, not knowing they knew how Sportacus broke her heart though Ziggy was just only in his sugar high and not really trying to get in the way between the blue hero and the pink angel. And her being Stephanie, she noticed Sportacus's dejected figure. She sighed and put her hand up, signaling everyone to stop being rowdy. It worked. They stopped and she thanked them for it. She made her way to Sportacus but Pixel tried to stop her. Stephanie gave him a questioning and intense look. Pixel gulped and got out of her way.
Stephanie stood in front of him and laid a hand on his shoulder. Sportacus jumped at the touch and noticed Stephanie's brown eyes looking into his blue orbs. Sportacus smiled and felt weirdly giddy. He was so happy she wasn't ignoring him.
"Are you okay, Sportacus?" Stephanie asked softly, a worried look evident on her face.
"Yes," he answered with a soft look, "Welcome back."
"I'm good to be back," she said with a big grin and then suddenly hugged him.
Sportacus was shocked and so did the rest of her friends, but he returned it quickly. Her hair smelled like fruits, and he missed it. He missed her so much even if it were only three days. Now that he realized this, he wondered if he would be able to take it if she went to college out of LazyTown. Sadly, he does not know he was falling for Stephanie. Ever so slowly, she took his heart piece by piece.
Lina stared at the hero and angel and smiled. She hoped they will become a couple. It would be a shame if they didn't. But who knows? Life is full of obstacles and even the most perfect couple may never get together.
"Robbie, tell me truth. How do you feel about me staying in LazyTown? If you don't like it, I will leave," Lina stated. She then looked at him, waiting for a response. Robbie was surprised by the question and started to fiddle with his vest.
"Wh-what? If you want to stay, just stay. You don't need to ask for my permission," he told her nervously. Lina sighed and shook her head.
"You're my friend, Robbie. If it makes you that uncomfortable with me here, I could move some place else." Lina placed a hand to his cheek. Her eyes staring straight at his, showing him that she was serious. Robbie was speechless and turned to look away, not from the intensity of it but how beautiful her eyes seemed to be to him.
"I didn't say I want you to leave, did I? So that should tell you something," Robbie mumbled. Lina stared at him before chuckling and giving him a hug. A bone crushing hug that almost took the oxygen out of Robbie. He didn't seem to mind though since a natural smile graced his lips. A smile that was never practiced on a mirror. It was no smirk either. It was just a smile that only belonged to Robbie Rotten for the girl in red clothing before him.
"Oh yeah, I brought you a souvenir," Lina said before taking his hand and placing a cake keychain on his hand. She quickly peck him on his cheek. Robbie's eyes widened in surprise and his face started turning red.
"Wh-wh-" Before Robbie he could ask his question, he fainted. Lina caught him on time though he was a little heavy. She laid him softly on the ground.
"Wow, that's one way to get rid of Robbie," Pixel stated. Lina smiled in amusement and shrugged her shoulders.
"Well, Stephanie has the rest of the souvenirs for you guys. I'm going to get Robbie back home," Lina said before giving Robbie a piggyback while making sure his arms are around her shoulders. She could feel him grab onto her properly even when he is unconscious. She quietly chuckled. "I see everyone later then. Bye."
"Bye!" Everyone said in unison. Lina turned around and made her way to Robbie's lair. A quarter of the way there, she started hearing Robbie mumble in his sleep. She smiled and started to softly sing a lullaby.
After Stephanie gave out the souvenires, Stingy, Ziggy, Pixel, and Trixie left Stephanie and Sportacus to chat alone. Trixie was reluctant at first but left them after Stephanie told her many times she would be okay, and she had to speak to Sportacus privately. While Trixie left, she kept on giving glances at Stephanie a few times as well as giving glares at Sportacus just as much. Stephanie sighed in relief when Trixie left.
"Sorry about the way they acted, Sportacus. This should only between us," Stephanie apologized, her eyes filled with guilt. Sportacus waved his hand to and fro as if it was unnecessary to apologize.
"No need to apologize. I understand how they feel. I would even be angry at myself too," Sportacus stated. Stephanie gave a small smile at him.
"I still love you, Sportacus," Stephanie said. Sportacus froze at the words. She huffed a sigh, knowing he would act this way. "I took the trip with Lina because I wanted to run away from the pain, but I found out I was being cowardly with my feelings. So here I am. I don't want to hide. I know you don't return my feelings, so I will try to move on. Until then, I think it is best that we don't get so close to each other or else I will continue to love you." She let out breath and looked directly in his eyes.
"We can still be friends, but we just can't have close contact like we used to until I can get rid of these feelings I have for you," Stephanie finished. Sportacus merely stared at what she said. He felt hurt for some reason when she told him that they can't have close contact, but he swapped the feeling away. He nodded.
"Thank you, Stephanie," Sportacus said, not knowing he would regret to agreeing to it.
"You're welcome, Sportacus." She smiled brilliantly.
They walked quietly home together. Sportacus gave a side glance to Stephanie and the space they had between them. Even though they were close to each other, they weren't as close as they used to be. He would even have his hand around her shoulder as they walked. He still wanted to, but he held his hand back, which was itching to be placed on her shoulder.
"So what did you do while I was gone?" Stephanie asked, breaking the silence between them.
"Oh, uh, nothing much. Saved a few kids and animals. I did a lot of exercising and some thinking," Sportacus answered. A lot of thinking actually, he thought. "And you?"
Stephanie giggled, excited at the thought of the trip.
"Oh, I had loads of fun. BusyCity is actually too busy for my tastes, but it is an interesting place. Lina's workplace is marvelous as well as her work. We also toured the country side there. Very calm and peaceful," Stephanie said with a smile.
"I'm glad you had fun," Sportacus replied, returning her smile with his own. None of them realized the space between them was no longer there. They still did not realize it when they continued to chat about other things.
Time seemed to pass by too quickly for them when they realized they were already at Stephanie's house. It was then did she notice how close they were and decided to back away. She blushed, finding out how she unconsciously closed the distance between them. Sportacus frowned and felt hurt when she put space between them again. He shook his head mentally and tried to be cheerful like always.
"Thanks for taking me home, Sportacus." Stephanie didn't look at him when she said it. She was still bothered by the close proximity from before.
"You're welcome, Stephanie. I'll see you later then?" Sportacus looked over at her hopefully at the question. Stephanie found it strange that the latter statement became a question. She looked up at him and found herself shocked to see Sportacus looking for permission.
"Of course, Sportacus," she answered without a doubt. She didn't like the look as if Sportacus thought he was in the wrong. He did nothing wrong. Nothing at all. Stephanie knew that, and she hoped Sportacus knew it too.
Sportacus smiled brightly. Stephanie sighed in relief to see Sportacus smile. She would never realize how impactful she was to him. After a minute, Stephanie decided to open the door. Before she widened it, Sportacus spoke again.
"Oh, and Stephanie?" Stephanie turned around and looked at him questioningly.
"Yeah?" Sportacus smiled and found Stephanie to be cute with her look of confusion.
"Thanks for the souvenir," he said, showing her the painting canvas of a sunset.
Stephanie giggled and nodded.
"I knew you would like it. Bye, Sportacus." Stephanie waved at him.
"Bye, Stephanie," he said with a big grin before waving at her in return and then leaving to his airship. And for the first time in the three days without her, he felt happy. And for some reason, he felt at home again.