Author's Note: Yeah yeah yeah, I'm still alive. You would not believe the trouble I've been having attempting to find a working internet connection. I miss having my own internet. ON with the chapter!


Chapter 16

Perched high atop the billboard of the purple cow was Sportacus. With him was Robbie Rotten. The two were bickering about something but Stephanie couldn't hear what from where she was. On the ground there was that nasty robotic dog that Robbie had made years ago. It was prowling around the billboard looking for a way to get at the two of them.

Stephanie had to admit it; she was baffled.

Making sure there wasn't a clear way for the dog to get at her she made herself known.

"How in the world did you two get into this mess?" She called to them from behind the low wall of the sports field.

"Stephanie!" Sportacus exclaimed. "You're awake!"

Stephanie quirked her head to the side and rolled her eyes up at him. Sportacus had a look on his face that said he realized the obviousness of his statement.

"What are you doing up there?" Stephanie asked again.

"Ummm..." Sportacus hedged.

"Oh yes, do regale her with the story of your vast stupidity." Robbie groused. He was hunched over and clutching to one of the lamps. He looked none too pleased to be there. Stephanie thought he looked a bit scared too. When Sportacus turned to him he almost flinched.

"It's a little complicated..." Sportacus informed Stephanie in a somewhat peculiar voice. It was a tone of voice that Stephanie knew, but couldn't place in Sportacus' accent.

But of course, the story was fairly simple...

[Flashback]

Sportacus made swift time on his way towards Robbie's house. He was going to get all of this cleared up immediately. He needed to make it clear to Robbie that Stephanie was off limits and involving her wouldn't be tolerated. He just hoped that he could get Robbie to listen.

Sportacus didn't knock. He didn't know if it would have done any good anyway. Even if Robbie could have heard it he probably wouldn't answer the door, … er... hatch, for him.

He found Robbie asleep in his fuzzy orange chair. It was piled high with papers that were full of scribbled notes, diagrams, and schematics.

"Robbie." Sportacus tried to wake him up. "Robbie." He tried again, this time tapping him on the shoulder.

"Gahhwhoseittherenow?!" Robbie hollered, flailing his arms about so wildly that he fell out of the chair. Robbie was still for a moment before sitting up slowly. He looked around warily, as though we was sure he'd dreamed the disturbance, but wanted to make sure nothing was in the room with him. When he caught sight of Sportacus' boots his whole body flinched.

"I've had nightmares like this..." Robbie muttered. He craned his neck upward to confirm his suspicions. Sportacus was looking down at him, his arms crossed over his chest and his feet planted firmly shoulder width apart. Robbie would have to say he looked none too pleased.

"Robbie." Sportacus said as Robbie shot to his feet. "We need to talk."

Robbie made a show of dusting off his arms 'calmly' and ignoring Sportacus.

"About Stephanie." Sportacus added. Robbie looked at Sportacus at that.

"What about her?" Robbie asked.

"Don't involve her." Sportacus said simply.

"Involve-?" Robbie started, then scoffed as he realized what he meant. "I wasn't trying to involve her. If the remote had worked on YOU we wouldn't be in this mess." Robbie said indignantly.

If Robbie was honest with himself he was feeling a little guilty about the whole thing. He was rather fond of Stephanie even if she was a complete nuisance. More than once she'd shown signs before that she generally understood his stance on things and she seemed to like him just the same even if he wasn't particularly into any more active hobbies. She was a nuisance, but she was sympathetic. It was hard to find a sympathetic ear in a town like this. He was sort of lonely.

"It was a worse than rotten thing you did to her this time. I don't want her directly involved in any of your schemes from now on." Sportacus went on, ignoring his reply.

"Sportakook I TOLD you. I wasn't trying to involve the brat. If she hadn't taken me by surprise I wouldn't have aimed it at her all." Robbie protested. He decided that voicing his sentiments might make his argument more credible.

"If you must know I'm rather fond of the little pink brat. I'd never actually-" Robbie stopped as Sportacus grabbed at the straps on his vest and jerked him a little. He caught sight of Sportacus' eyebrow twitching and figured he'd probably said the wrong thing.

There was a tense moment where Robbie honestly thought Sportacus would actually attempt violence. It was such a bizarre turn of character that he didn't know what to think. Sportacus took a few deep breaths and seemed to think better of it. He released Robbie's vest and relaxed.

"Just... Don't cause her any more trouble." Sportacus emphasized with a sharp jab to Robbie's shoulder.

Robbie's gasp of pain as he grabbed his shoulder turned into a gasp of terror as he noticed the red eyes that flashed awake.

[End Flashback]

"Nevermind that. Pinkerbella, you've got to shut the dog off so we can get down." Robbie said, not letting Stephanie inquire any further.

Stephanie looked at the dog. It had noticed her, but wasn't very interested. She remembered the way to make it attack was to say the word 'trouble'. She didn't want to draw it to her yet though because she knew she wouldn't be able to run away from it as successfully as she might've been able to otherwise.

"Don't listen to him Stephanie. I'm sure I can get us out of this." Sportacus said confidently.

"You've been saying that for the last hour." Robbie grumbled.

Stephanie wasn't really listening to them. She was surveying the situation and attempting to formulate a plan. It took a minute but she finally got an idea.

"You two just hold tight. I've got an idea, I'll be back in a minute." Stephanie said before jogging off as fast as she could.

"Steph-!" Sportacus started to call after her. He stopped, sighing as she went out of sight.


Author's Note: Dun dun dun! I'll leave exactly how they ended up on the billboard up to your imagination. But I might explain a little more of it in the next chapter since I did actually plan a lot of that scene out. Also I've started giving Sportacus a few believable character flaws. First one: Jealousy. *evil grin*

Thank you for missing me~! Or at least the updates.