We're finally getting back to Ted and the final parts to the Once-ler's tale!

Also I'm preparing to make a shorter fic about the Once-ler's childhood in my universe.

Freckles-is-god: There was a ton of potential in the movie! I understand that they can only do so much to it and in a way, the unfulfilled potential leaves a lot of room for imagination and creativity for us fanfic writers! :)

Ravenhearst: Thank you so much!

LilRockStar: Thank you!

Nagasha: Yeah, I stink at writing psychological stuff or at least I always feel it can be better, but I hope it all turns out well in the story. And as for his Thneed….well, you'll just have to read. :)

The Animanga Girl: Aww, I'm glad it tugged a heartstring! I always viewed the Lorax having some kind of fatherly role, being as how he's as old as time itself and has tons of wisdom.

AngetianPrincess18: I like it too! I kinda got the idea from the Harvest Moon games where the playable character can only see the harvest sprites.

Zara2148: Hehe, I always encourage my friends and others to find time to do what makes them happy, cause happiness is important!


The Tree with a tongue

Chapter 9: House Arrest


No one ever said parenting was easy, we all wished we could be that special case where it would be, at least that's what Helen Wiggins always thought as she watched Ted grow up; he was always well behaved, laid back and did things with little complaint. However, that peaceful way of thinking was disrupted as she observed her son over the last two days. She gave him a chance; he said that he wasn't getting into trouble and that she had nothing to worry about.

She wasn't so sure anymore.

She watched him discretely sneak into the house past town curfew last night, she may be a boring Mom and behind the times but one thing she knew for sure was any child that tries their best to hide what they do is always the obvious sign that they're up to no good.

I mean, if you're not causing trouble what are you trying to hide then?

She had gotten the phone calls; he missed two days of school, the staff explained and apologized for her son's absence and injury that he'd gotten on his motor bike.

Sneaking around, being out past curfew, ditching school and lying; she couldn't let this go on anymore. She'll have to have that talk with him which will most likely lead to punishment, she's never done this before and heaven knows she's not looking forward to it; no one ever likes to be the bad guy.

Just where in the world has he been going that he has to do stupid things like this? That was the question that buzzed around in her mind right before the doorbell rang one afternoon.

It was Mr. O'Hare.


The Lorax relaxed against the trunk of a tree with a content smile. Throughout the day he watched the animals follow Beanpole everywhere; they played a game of tackling him down to the ground in a group wrestle, the kid sang to them on his guitar and at one point he even helped the barbaloots gather fruit from some of the trees using the same system they used to rescue Pipsqueak from the storm, as they passed one piece of fruit down the line they gave one to Beanpole, he tentatively accepted it.

That was the true sign that the barbaloots accepted him as part of their pack.

Now here he was, leaning against the Once-ler's sleeping form on top of the covers, he was the only one left that was awake as he watched all the animals sleeping in every nook and cranny of his tent. It had been a couple days since his 'failed business attempt' in that human town and now that he finally put that stupid invention past him, the kid finally looked as happy as he was when he first arrived if not more, which he had to admit he preferred that over him acting all moody.

The kid wasn't half bad; the animals have grown to trust and accept him as family, the trees seemed to feel calmer around him now and heck even after the feud the two of them had in the beginning they now started to act like good buddies…

Wait a minute, buddies?

The Lorax jolted upright on the bed and pulled on his mustache, 'Whoa whoa! What the heck are you doing you idiot? You're getting way too deep into this! Repeat after yourself; the kid is not your friend!'

But no matter how many times he repeated it, the words just couldn't sink in like it normally did. The Lorax let out a defeated sigh and collapsed backward against the Once-ler's sleeping form, which caused him to snort and shift under the covers.

"Why do humans have to be so complicated?"

o~~~~~~~~~~o

The next morning came, everything was normal at first…..

The Lorax stirred from his sleep, he quickly discovered that the bed was vacant. He sat up when he heard the Once-ler exiting the bathroom area,

"I see you helped yourself to my bed," he said with a smirk.

The Lorax shrugged, "Hey it looked comfy," He bounced on it slightly, "It's acceptable."

The Once-ler rolled his eyes and walked over to his stove and gently picked up the half asleep barbaloot that made a bed out of it. He took a spatula off the one of the hooks on the wall and twirled it with his fingers, "So who's up for breakfast? I can make a mean flapjack."

The word 'breakfast' caused every animal in the tent to perk their heads up with interest. The Once-ler smirked, "Any takers?"

He beamed when every animal raised their wing, paw and fin at him, whining with eagerness. Pipsqueak cried with delight as he crawled up to the top of the counter, he stood on his hind legs and wagged his stubby tail excitedly. The Once-ler laughed,

"You want to be my helper Pipsqueak?"

After getting an eager nod, he let him hold onto the spatula while he got out pans and the mix. As he cooked he couldn't help but laugh when Pipsqueak wanted to flip a pancake just how he did; the pancake would fall apart but it was too cute to see Pipsqueak's victorious smile when he flipped it. This was the first time the Once-ler felt happy to cook, the last time he cooked for anyone was his family and all he ever got from them were impatient and stern looks.

An hour later, the Once-ler cooked a new batch of pancakes stacked high on a plate and set on the window sill, "Don't worry Melvin I didn't forget you."

As Melvin munched away the Once-ler turned and stared admirably at the animals lounging in his home, rubbing their full stomachs with content and almost on the verge of falling right back asleep. A small clinking noise began to reach his ears, he looked around and realized that his kitchen wear was shaking and clinking against one another and in no time at all his entire home began to shake along with it.

"What the…." The Once-ler tightly gripped onto the counter for support, his voice rattled by the vibration.

While the Lorax sat up from his relaxed full state and looked around in a panic, the animals quickly relied on their instincts; they all darted out of any opening to the outside they can find and hid behind the trees and shrubbery. The Once-ler burst out the door with the Lorax behind him, he rushed over to Melvin who was thrashing about in panic and calmed him down.

"What the heck is going on here?" The Lorax shouted.

The Once-ler strained his ears to try and recognize the sound, it seemed to be getting closer and it almost sounded like…..an engine?

Just then, a large mass flew over the top of a hill nearby. The three threw themselves to the side while the mass flew over them, it turned around as it screeched to a halt, leaving tire marks in the torn up grass. It was a giant RV.

The three carefully got up on their legs, the Lorax brushed the loose dirt off his fur, "What the heck is that thing?"

"No way…it can't be….." The Once-ler said slowly.

Melvin backed away, his eyes narrowed into slits and snorted threateningly at the RV.

The side door to the RV burst open, revealing a slender lady with fox fur draped around her neck. She opened her arms out with a sweet smile,

"Oh there's my little Oncie! My sweet suddenly successful baby boy!" Isabella rushed over as fast as her heels would let her and tightly wrapped her arms around him, "We finally found you!"

"Mom!" The Once-ler yelped through her tight embrace.

'Mom?' the Lorax stared flabbergasted.

The Once-ler stared as the rest of his family got out of the RV, "Wh-what are you guys doing here?"

"We came to find you of course!" Uncle Ubb laughed, "What a jokester! I love this kid!"

"Uh…."The Once-ler stuttered as he pulled himself loose from his mother, "I don't know what you're…Brett! Chet! No don't throw that!" He stopped his two younger brothers before they could play catch with a barbaloot that they pried out of the bushes, they quickly dropped it and it scurried back into a bush much farther away.

"Oh Oncie, you haven't heard?" Isabella asked sweetly.

"How the heck could he? Look where he's been living; such a filthy dump." His aunt Grizelda grumbled as she threw a glare to the sets of tiny fearful eyes she can see through the shrubbery.

The Lorax scowled at the woman….or man…..or whatever it was. He turned around and noticed Melvin was acting all flustered and angry since these people arrived, his brow furrowed as he listened to what the mule was muttering.

"Oncie it's been all over the news….." Isabella started.

Merely hours after the Once-ler's leave, a very powerful individual visited the town of Terraville to talk business and trade with the mayor and upon entering the town he had discovered a peculiar item that was carelessly tossed in the trash. He was astounded by the ingenious invention and was determined to find out what and how it was made, ever since then the mayor has announced a search for the man with a gray hat, a mule and a guitar.

"Wow…..I can't believe it…..they love my Thneed? They really love it?"

"Oh you better believe it!" Isabella playfully pushed his shoulder, "And shame on you Oncie! Throwin' wonderful things like that in the trash!"

The Once-ler tried to smile, yet there was a hint of pain coating it, "But…Mom, you said my idea would never work or amount to anything….that I would never amount to anything."

Isabella gave him a sharp look but it quickly disappeared. She reached up and cupped her hands around his cheeks, "That was motivation sweetie! You knew that!"

"Well…..not really…..you've always said it like…"

"Hush now Oncie! That's all in the past now, we need to start lookin' ahead to the future! I took my time to take us out here and help find you, we can't have you messin' this up now like you normally do with everythin' else."

The guardian's eyes widened.

The Once-ler rubbed the back of his head, "H…how did you guys even know where to find me?"

Isabella laughed, "Well that was easy! The town said they saw you disappear into this valley and we figured you couldn't have gone far, not with that filthy mule."

Melvin brayed angrily at her. The Once-ler pretended to ignore it, "Mom Melvin's not filthy, he's been very reliable."

"Don't sass yer Mama Oncie," She replied firmly. She grabbed his arm and attempted to drag him to the RV, "Now come on! We need to get you back to town! Everyone in town's demandin' for a Thneed and you have to announce how you're going to supply that demand."

The Once-ler laughed lightly, finally having everything that's happening soak in, "A-alright, lets head over there."

"Oi Beanpole!"

The Once-ler suddenly stopped, no longer letting his mother pull him. Isabella paused, "Oncie? Is everythin' okay?"

The Once-ler had his eyes set on the Lorax who was tapping his foot impatiently giving him that glare that he used to give him in the beginning. He quickly loosened his mother's grip on his arm and slowly backed away towards his tent, "Uh I'll be with you guys in just a moment, I uh….need to get something out of my tent."

As he marched over to his tent he looked at the Lorax and darted his eyes towards the door, quickly telling him to get inside. Once the Lorax was inside he closed the door behind him, he didn't want his family to see him talking to himself in their eyes,

"What is it mustache? We have to make this quick."

The Lorax gave him a staggered look, "You're serious about this? You're really going through with this."

"Well….yeah why wouldn't I? This is what I always wanted."

"If I remembered right, you always wanted to be a musician."

"Well yeah…." He grew frustrated as he ran a hand through his hair, "Look! That was when my Thneed was a bust but it's not! They love my Thneed!"

"Who? The same people who threw tomatoes, rocks and other things at you? The same people that wanted nothing to do with you or your stupid Thneed the moment you walked into town?"

The Once-ler glared, "First of all, it's not stupid. Second of all, I know what happened but it's different now, the business world is complicated that way."

"By complicated you mean stupid." The Lorax sighed, "Kid I know things may seem all bright and cheery now but I really don't think this is something you want to do."

The Once-ler took a firm step forward, "Look I appreciate all the advice you've given me but you're not my Dad! What I do with my life is my business! I decide what I want to do!"

The Lorax barked out a laugh, "Who are you trying to fool? Cause it sure as heck 'ain't me! You're Mom's been pulling your strings since she arrived! Do you even hear the way she talks to you?"

"I'm out of here." The Once-ler growled, he turned his back to the Lorax and opened the door.

"Hey! Get back here!" The Lorax shouted, "I'm not done talking to you!"

But the Once-ler ignored him, instead he stomped towards his confused family. Isabella looked at him warily, "Uh Oncie, who were you talking to in there?"

"No one. Let's go." He walked past them and entered into the RV.

Isabella glanced towards the inside of his tent before she shrugged and entered the RV along with the others. Once the engine came to life she did a U-turn and drove over the same hill that the family appeared from.

The animals, including Melvin and the Lorax all slowly gathered together and watched worriedly as the RV disappeared into the distance. Pipsqueak walked forward and reached out with his little paw, wanting his human friend to come back. When he and the rest of the animals looked at the Lorax for answers and reassurance, the Lorax looked at Melvin who lowered his head helplessly; the only one out of the group who was familiar with this situation.

The Lorax sighed and spoke softly into the distance, "A tree falls the way it leans. Beanpole please…..be careful which way you lean."

o~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~o

It had been several hours since the Once-ler was taken back to town with his family and nightfall began to arrive in the valley, when they returned the tension hadn't left.

The arrival of strangers had stressed out all the animals and the valley as a whole; the barbaloots remained in the shrubbery for cover instead of playing in the shade and eating Truffula fruits. The humming fish all floated as close to the bottom of the rivers as they could, no longer humming to the beautiful sunny day. The swamee swans all stayed in their nests, they become extremely protective and territorial with their young when strangers they don't trust hang around in their home, heck even the trees have become stiff as they normally enjoyed and whispered with the winds. The happiness and relaxed atmosphere that radiated from the valley had turned into worry and fear; it angered the Lorax.

The Once-ler was a good kid but he attracted bad seeds, very bad seeds into the valley. Perhaps it was best if the kid had never come here, that the Lorax should've been more forceful in kicking him out.

o~~~~~~~~~~~o

"Mom we already talked about this in the RV, I'm not going to do it."

Isabella planted her hands on her hips in a huff, the two had resided in his small home discussing future business plans with his Thneed, "Oncie, choppin' down trees will meet all those rising demands of your Thneed in record time! Why would you disagree with yer Mama?"

The Once-ler felt like he was frozen to the chair of his desk, "Because I made a promise to a friend that I wouldn't."

Isabella barked out a laugh, "A friend? Since when do you have friends? Besides you shouldn't let that get in the way, yer going to be running a business now and you have to start thinkin' about what's best for yer company and for yer Mama."

"Company? Mom we've barely started the business."

"And with that kind of attitude, it'll never become one!" As Isabella paced around the tent during their discussion she discovered a book settled on top of a pile of knick knacks.

She immediately recognized it.

She picked it up, "Oncie what is this?"

The Once-ler turned around and quickly tensed when he saw what she was holding, "Uh….it's uh…."

Isabella flipped through all the pages with her thumb, "My goodness I haven't seen this book in forever, this was the book that you would never stop readin' no matter how many times I told you not to….."

The Once-ler quickly threw a fearful glance at the wood burning stove that was currently ignited.

She held it out in front of her; holding it as if it were caked in mud, "Oncie why do you have this book?"

The Once-ler swallowed the painful lump in his throat, "I…I saw it the other day and I just thought it'd be nice to…..you know, read it again."

Isabella sighed and rolled her eyes, "Honestly Oncie, what am I….wait a minute." She peeked through the book and then peered out the small window. After exchanging glances between the two, she started to giggle, "Oh I understand what's goin' on here, you don't want to chop down the trees because this place reminds you of this ridiculous book."

"What? No! I mean…..sort of but…"

"Oncie when are you goin' to GROW UP!" With that, she slammed the book hard on a small table that caused the knick knacks in his tent to shake.

The Once-ler stiffened with fear, he recognized the snarl in her voice as she said that; that's when she was at her worst.

"Honestly, I thought I put an end to all of this when I burned this book!"

She eyed the stove. The Once-ler almost cried out.

She shook her head, "No, I guess it didn't work then and it won't work now." She crossed her arms and eyed him down, "I tried to raise you right Oncie; to be a workin' man but all n' all you just never were right to begin with. All that stupid guitar playin', makin' friends with a runt mule, wastin' yer brain on these stupid fairy tales and how can I forget that oak tree."

She pinched the bridge of her nose.

"Wastin' time goin' back and forth to water that thing; our water I might add, singing underneath it with your stupid guitar, talkin' to it." She glanced at him, "Oncie you understand why I made loggers chop it down right?"

The Once-ler didn't respond.

"It's because you needed to understand the bigger picture. When you saw that tree you, for whatever reason, saw some kind of friend. I on the other hand, saw it as needed lumber to support our family. You don't want anything bad happen to our family do you?"

"Of course not." He replied.

She regained her sweet smile as she walked over to him and tilted his chin up, "Oncie I'm just tryin' to help you out, you have a big opportunity here to make something of this world and clearly this friend of yours doesn't see the bigger picture. Family is whom you should always look to 'cause family is all that you'll ever have." She released his chin and promptly made her way to the door, "You best think about it, yer Mama's not a patient woman."

After she closed the door the Once-ler let out a breath he didn't realize he'd been holding. He really hated it when his Mom brought up that horrible memory; all those hours of crying after the tree was dragged away with only Melvin to comfort him and his mother nowhere to be seen. She always said that it was meant to be a life lesson for him; a milestone, but it didn't feel like he learned anything, all it did was create a sadness that he was forced to suppress while growing up.

Yeah he wanted his Thneed to succeed but was it worth breaking a promise to a friend? I mean, they were friends right?

"Ugh, where's mustache when I actually need him." he muttered.

He hadn't seen him since their little argument earlier that day and he couldn't help but feel a bit guilty. He knew mustache was only giving him advice and didn't mean to speak about his Mom like that, heck knows he wasn't the first one to do so. None of them understood though, his Mom only does what she does cause she knew what was best for him, who knew him better than his own Mom?

The Once-ler decided to get up and get some fresh air outside, maybe he'll bump into mustache along the way and hopefully any of his bossy remarks might help him out.

o~~~~~~~~~~~o

The Lorax paced back and forth in the soft grass, anxious of this whole situation. He felt it in his entire being; the valley was at risk, it didn't seem to show to anyone else but he could sense it, it shook his little bones in a bad way and it made him restless.

"I should've just listened to my gut from the beginning and just kicked the kid out."

He felt bad saying this about him, he really had grown to like him but as a guardian if he had to choose between him and his valley…..well, it was obvious. His growing friendship with Beanpole and his duties as guardian were now battling against one another and it was driving him nuts.

"Ugh, what am I going to do?"

The Lorax heard something behind him, he turned and saw it was Melvin giving him a concerned look. He rubbed the back of his fuzzy head and sighed, "Look, I think it was best if you two never showed up."

Melvin snorted in surprise.

"Well okay, maybe not you in particular but Beanpole is a different matter."

Melvin stomped towards him and brayed irritably. The Lorax took a step back, "Hey, I got nothing against the kid!….well I guess I do but….." He tugged his mustache, "Why did I let this get out of hand!"

Melvin tilted his head slightly, he was confused by the guardian's behavior.

The Lorax stared down at the river, his hands behind his back, "I'm an immortal deity; my only purpose is to protect this valley and other forms of nature. Friendships with mortals don't exactly work out for a guy like me so I was determined to keep myself from getting attached to anyone, including the animals here. Now look at me, I made friends with a human kid and now it's getting in the way of my decisions."

Melvin brayed at him again, more softly this time. The Lorax turned to him,

"Well of course it was fun having the kid around, the animals seemed to enjoy his company and the animals have a much better sense of that than anyone, including me." He sighed, "But now I'm not so sure anymore."

The Lorax shook his head and formed a firm look on his face,

"No, it just can't work out. The kid is not my friend and he never will be."

Melvin turned, he could have sworn he saw something move behind the bushes but he assumed it was just a barbaloot. He turned back and stared sadly at the Lorax,

"It's best for the valley…..and for the kid."

o~~~~~~~~~~~o

The air was definitely nice and cool tonight, it helped calm the Once-ler's nerves tremendously but he still found no sign of the Lorax. He really wished he had his guitar with him, if there was one thing that helped calm his nerves it was strumming on strings and hearing music in the air. Then he spotted two shadows beyond the patch of bushes and trees near the river, it was Melvin and the Lorax. With a smile, he began to make his way toward them but was stopped when he heard the Lorax's solemn words,

"Now look at me, I made friends with a human kid and now it's getting in the way of my decisions."

The Once-ler frowned, mustache was talking about him. What was going on? He remained still to keep himself hidden but he gently leaned forward facing his ear towards the two.

"Well of course it was fun having the kid around, the animals seemed to enjoy his company and the animals have a much better sense of that than anyone, including me. But now I'm not so sure anymore."

The Once-ler stiffened, what the heck was he trying to say?

"No, it just can't work out. The kid is not my friend and he never will be."

Those words struck through him like a knife and before he knew it, he stiffly turned around and rushed in the direction he came from. He had never felt so stupid in his life, oh sure they're had been close calls but none of them affected him like this moment. Before Melvin came into his life he had always been alone; he accepted the fact that he was completely different from his family in almost every way and half of the time they felt like strangers that humiliated him and made him do all the farm work.

When him and Melvin became friends, it was the best feeling in the world.

He felt that feeling when he came here, when the animals actually wanted to be around him and mustache who turned out to be the mystical Lorax, always seemed to be looking out for him in his own way. He thought me made another friend.

'Mom was right,' he thought darkly, 'Despite how they act, they're my family and family's all I have.'

He saw nothing but white hot anger fill his vision, or maybe he just mistaken that for tears. He didn't care, he was too upset to care. Before he knew it he was slamming on the door to his family's RV, Aunt Grizelda opened it,

"What is it?" she asked gruffly.

"Where's Mom? I need to talk to her." He replied firmly, for once not feeling intimidated by her presence.

Grizelda stared at him for a moment before she shouted behind her, "Sis! Your son is here!"

With that, she walked back inside the RV but the Once-ler continued to wait outside. He waited until Isabella arrived at the door,

"Oncie sweetie!" Her smile faded, "Oh baby what's the matter?"

The Once-ler took a deep breath, his anger controlling his choice of words, "I've thought about it Mom and suddenly I realized…..chopping down a few trees doesn't seem like such a bad idea…."


Ted kept his eyes focused towards his hometown that was rapidly getting closer as he rode his bike down the bumpy aged road. The Once-ler's last words before he left for the evening still echoed in his mind,

'You're just going to cut the story off like that? Why?' Ted asked.

The Once-ler sighed, 'Because when I tell you rest of my story, there is something I have to show you; something that I now feel I can trust you with.'

"I wonder what it is..." Ted muttered as he crossed the small bridge over the black dead river. He suddenly gasped, "Maybe it's a tree! Maybe I'll finally get one!"

He suddenly found himself putting pieces together leading back to why he started his whole journey in the first place. He screeched his bike to a halt, "Oh man! I forgot about Audrey! Her birthday party is tomorrow!" He gritted his teeth in a growl, "What horrible timing, what am I going to do?" He twisted his left handlebar, bringing his bike back into motion and before he knew it, he was riding down the artificially lit streets under the night sky.

'Ted don't be an idiot, you know exactly what to do.'

He slowly rode up to the side of his house and parked his bike, "Well, it's not like she officially invited me but it would've been cool to see her face if I surprised her with a tree. Heck, who's to say I'm even going to get a tree, maybe there aren't any left…"

He slowly made his way to the front door as he took off his helmet. Hey, maybe he could get Audrey to come with him and meet the Once-ler? I'm sure she would love to hear his story about the trees, that's…..almost as good as giving her a tree right?

Ted deflated, "Who am I kidding? There's no way Audrey would go outside of town with me and Mr. Once-ler would flip if he found out I brought someone to his secret lurkim, I don't know what to do."

He opened the front door as those last words left his mouth, he froze when he saw his mother standing a few feet in front of him with her arms crossed.

"Mom?" He glanced over to the living area and noticed O'Hare sitting on the couch, 'Oh no…'

He jumped when his mom spoke sharply to him, "So Ted, did you have an interesting day?"

"I….uh…"

Helen continued, "Cause I sure did. As you can see Mr. O'Hare paid me another visit this evening, he told me something very interesting. Do you want to take a gander of what it is?"

Ted knew that this wasn't like the first time he was confronted by his Mom, no this was much worse. He knew he was busted for sure, he knew without a doubt that O'Hare told her everything. All he could do was gaze down at the floor miserably.

Helen waited for her son to respond to her but his body reaction was all the confirmation she needed. Now was the time to become the bad guy,

"So all this disappearing during the day without anyone knowing where you are,"

Ted shifted, "Mom I…"

Helen interrupted, "Not coming home until after curfew, skipping dinner…."

"I didn't….."

"Oh and here's my favorite, ditching two days of school and getting your friend Kyle in trouble for lying!"

"I didn't mean….."

"All just so you can leave town? I assumed with the nightmares you had when you were younger you'd understand how dangerous it is out there!"

"Mom…" Ted shifted again, "Mom listen, I didn't mean for all of this to get out of hand but I swear it's for a good cause."

"A good cause?" Helen exclaimed, "Going out into the outskirts of town where that horrid Once-ler can attack you at any time is a good cause?" Her voice began to quiver as fearful thoughts entered her mind, "What if you gotten hurt? Or worse? I would never have known!"

"Mom nothing would've happened to me because the Once-ler isn't who you think he is."

Helen stared at him with disbelief, "He?"

Ted pointed at O'Hare, "O'Hare's been-"

"That's Mr. O'Hare to you." O'Hare interrupted with a smirk.

Ted glared at the shorter man with a pause before he continued, "As I said, O'Hare's been lying to all of us Mom, Mr. Once-ler's a person just like you and me, forced to live out there in that horrible wasteland because he's been labeled as a pariah."

O'Hare calmly replied, "I'll have you know that Aloysius O'Hare never fibs anything. In fact I have encountered the Once-ler during my younger days, such a terrifying experience it was; it attacked me in my own office!" He cringed dramatically, "Thank goodness I had the wonderful security I provided this town with otherwise I would have surely been a goner. When I knew for sure he was gone I had to make that drastic decision of putting up the walls, otherwise the next attack could be your mother, or someone's child…."

"You're a liar!"

"That's enough Ted!" Helen exclaimed, "Mr. O'Hare is only looking after the town's safety, just like I'm looking after yours."

"How do you know? I've actually met Mr. Once-ler in person, I know him a lot more than you do!"

Ted quickly snapped a palm over his mouth; Helen merely stared back with numbed shock. Never has Ted sassed her before let alone in such a tone, she almost couldn't recognize him like this.

Helen firmly replied, "That's it Ted, I'm putting an end to this. You're…." she had a difficult time getting the word out, "You're grounded. You are not to leave this house until I say otherwise."

Horror filled Ted's mind. No no he can't be grounded! Not now! He gave her a desperate pleading look, "Mom, please….don't do this."

Helen felt herself crumbling under that look but she held firm. A part of her wanted to listen more of what he had to say but with all the crazy things he's been doing; one of those things jeopardizing his very safety, she decided it wasn't worth the risk, she had to do what was best for her son. She closed her eyes and pointed upstairs,

"Go to bed Ted. Now!"

Ted deflated in defeat and with that, he slowly dragged his feet past his Mom and trudged up the stairs. He gave a darkened glare at O'Hare who merely gave him a victorious smile in return.

When Ted disappeared into the hallway upstairs O'Hare walked up besides Helen, "I know this is very difficult Ms. Wiggins but you made the right decision." He placed his hand in his pocket, fiddling with an unknown object contained inside it, "You know, young teenagers like him tend to be rebellious when they're in this state of mind, may I recommend some additional help to make sure he's obeys his punishment?"

For whatever reason Helen felt anger form in her mind but she remained calm as she replied, "Mr. O'Hare I do appreciate you telling me what my son's been up to, but I'm perfectly capable of disciplining my own son."

"Oh no please don't misconstrue that statement, your parenting skills are very impressive, it was just a small suggestion." He paused as he observed the pained look on Helen's face, "I can see you're still upset about all this, I'll leave you be. I'm sorry we had to meet on these circumstances Ms. Wiggins."

Helen nodded a goodbye, "Thank you again Mr. O'Hare, have a good night."

O'Hare took his time approaching the front door, waiting for Helen to take her gaze off him if only for a moment. Once he had his window of opportunity, he swiftly took the unknown object out of his pocket and discretely tossed it onto the carpet behind the sofa, with that he puffed up his chest and resumed his normal pace out the front door, closing it behind him.

He rubbed his hands together in a snicker as he made his way over the limo where his two bodyguards were he ordered to wait were waiting for him, "Time to see how well the prototype performs."

o~~~~~~~~~~~~o

As Helen turned off the lights in the living room, she retreated back into the kitchen to clean up for the night. The unknown object, which looked like a large silver marble, sensed that it was safe to engage. With that, it began to unfold itself until it looked like a spider like creature with a single camera scope popping out of the center with a glowing red lens. It paused for a moment as it watched Helen paced back and forth in the kitchen before he proceeded to find it's priority target.

It climbed over the furniture with its legs, and carefully made its way up the stairs. It scanned the darkened hallway with its camera lens and it quickly sensed noise and movement coming from underneath the closed bathroom door. When the door began to open, it swiftly retracted into a marble in the corner of the hallway, completely unseen by Ted as he exited the bathroom. The camera lens unfolded from the marble and it quickly scanned Ted, confirming that it found its target.

The prototype unfolded back to its travel form and as Ted entered his bedroom, it managed to sneak in before he closed the door behind him.


To Be Continued…

Yeah I know it seems like a rip off from transformers but this is what's playing in my head the entire time I thought out this story.