"Where do you get your strength,Sportacus?"
How many time has this question been asked?Enough to rival the amount of saves executed by the above-average hero. It's been many years since Sportacus came to town,12 fun years of being Lazytown's protector.
As he paced back and forth whilst walking on his hands in his airship,he echoed the thought again aloud,"Where do I get my strength?"
Before he could ponder anymore on it,his crystal erupted with a warning glow. Racing to the front of the ship,he grabbed his telescope and looked out into Lazytown,"Someone's in trouble!" he exclaimed,peering through his lens. He spotted Ziggy,now old enough to be a freshman in high school,was surrounded by a group of kids with their fists in the air and hostile faces. Seeing a second figure in the ring with Ziggy,it took Sportacus only a second to realize what was happening."Ladder!"
"I told you before and I'll tell you again!We're just friends!"
"Liar!Friends don't call each other late at night,or buy them expensive chocolates,or take them out to dinner at a fancy,black tie restaurant!" The crowed went wild and yelled their approval at the retort.
"It was her birthday!I don't need to explain myself to you,you're not her boyfriend!" The audience gasped,the started cheering again.
A chant went out,"Fight!Fight!Fight!"
Ziggy stood his ground fiercely, prepared to battle with his childhood friend, Stingy."Why should it even matter if we're not friends? You said you didn't like her!"
Stingy turn red with indignation,"It doesn't matter what I said,she's mine!" With no other words,Stingy threw himself at Ziggy,the two teens were to hurt more than just feelings.
The crowed was alive with roars and screams,cheering for Stingy or didn't care who won,they just wanted to see blood.
Ziggy was braced for impact,but it never came. Instead,Stingy collided with with something hard and fell backwards onto the ground. He scraped his hands,but hardly noticed when gazed up at what block his attack. Swallowing hard,he realized that the last person he wanted to had came to the rescue.
"Ziggy,Stingy,I thought you too were friends?What's going on?"
Ziggy turned his head scoffed,"Stingy's jealous that Trixie actually enjoys hanging out with me more than him!"
"Lies!All lies!"You stole her from me!She was mine until you came along!"
"Yours?All you did stalk her,interrogated her about agenda,and even expected more from her with no exchange of any kind?At least I share with her you selfish bastard!"
"Ok,I've heard enough."Sportacus looked at the two of them,sadden by this disgraceful display. By now,the crowd had dispersed when it became obvious that there'd be no fighting today."I can't believe this,you two are fighting over Trixie?Have either of you even bothered asking what she wants?Does she even have a say?She's a person,not an object-"
"Tell that to Stingy"Chimed Ziggy.
"I'm gonna take your nose off your stupid face!"
"Hey! Seriously guys,this is silly. You're both so young with so much ahead of you. Ziggy,what happened to your dream of culinary school?And Stingy,weren't you going to open The First National Bank of Lazytown?Come one guys,you are better than this. Now make up or else I'll have the Mayor lock you both up for disturbing the peace."
Ziggy grudging shook Stingy's hand and sighed,"I guess I should at least asked if it was ok to ask Trixie out...I'm sorry".
Stingy shook his head,"No,I'm sorry. I she broke up with me but I just wasn't ready to let it end. Still friends?"
"Friends,no. We're bros!" Ziggy smiled at Stingy.
Sportacus nodded approvingly,"There,now I don't anymore trouble out of you two. Now you kids get out of here,can't spend your youth standing around!"
With the confrontation over,and everyone gone back their respectable homes, Sportacus made his way back where he parked his airship. However, he stopped abrutply in his tracks when he saw someone standing next to the ladder.
Looking up with worried eyes, Stephanie clutched both her hands firmly together. She didn't meet his gaze,but instead stared passed him.
A few steps covered briskly, Sportacus was at her side in an instant, "What's the matter?" His icy blue eyes searched her face.
"My birthday's tomorrow."
"I don't want to turn 18. I'll be graduating,and leaving LazyTown. I just moved here! I don't want to move to again. Can I come up?Just for a little while?"
Sportacus hesitated,he normally didn't let the kids up in his airship; but the pleading look in Stephanie's tear filled eyes made him reconsider. Clearing his throat,he began slowly and softly,"Yes,of course you can come up. You look like you have a lot more to say,and it's getting chilly out here. Be careful climbing the ladder," he grabbed a wrung and stood to one side,the other hand gesturing towards it,"I'll hold it steady."
Stephanie smiled weakly and nodded. It wasn't until she started climbing did he take notice of what she was wearing. It was a pink v-neck blouse with a white silk top underneath and a solid pink thigh-high skirt with a white ribbon tied in a bow around her waist. As one of her legs,clothed in a knee-high white sock,passed by his face,he quickly adverted his eyes. She was still the little girl to him.
After she was safely up,Sportacus started scaled the ladder and made it in record time. His eyes locked on Stephanie,her knees drawn to her chest as she sat on his bed. It still made him uneasy to have a visitor in his airship,let alone a girl...A young girl...A young friend.
Looking up,Stephanie's gaze fell on Sportacus. Her lost,pleading look made his heart twist and ache. He was suddenly aware he had been staring,"Could I get you anything? Milk?" a glass shot out the wall and into his hand. He sat next to her,offering the beverage. She accepted the glass and took a few sips,hiding that she was secretly impressed by its appearance.
"Now,what's on your mind?"His hand rested gently on her shoulder as he spoke,"Why are you so afraid of turning 18,why do you have to leave LazyTown?"
Stephanie finished the glass and held it tightly in her hands,"After I turn 18 and graduate,I'll have to go to Madame Cantar's Petite Academy of the Arts and that's all the way in Lively-ville...I don't want to leave here,but that's the only dance school for the next 50miles from here..."She didn't realize it before,but the glass was now ¼ of the way filled with her tears.
Sportacus stroked her hair affectionately,"Stephanie,if that's the problem,then why not just open up a school her?I'm sure with 's and your uncle's help you could start a fine dance academy here!"
Sniffling softly,she wiped a few stray tear drops away,"That's not all...I'm also afraid that,when I turn 18,we'll stop being friends. I'll be an adult,and I'm afraid of losing you the way I lost Pixel..."
Kneeling down on the ground to meet her eye level, Sportacus spoke gently but firmly, "Stephanie, you will NEVER lose me. Be happy for Pixel,he's working to make the world a better place with his inventions. That scholarship he got to that technological science institute was the best thing that ever happened to him. He's going to do good things! Now cheer up,I'll hear no more of this nonsense! We have to plan for your birthday party tomorrow."
"Thanks Sportacus...But I don't want a party. Everyone has plans for tomorrow,so only my uncle and you know it's my birthday. I really don't feel like celebrating." She gave him a tired smile," I'd be happy with just a sugar free cake and your company. I came up with some new dance moves,so it would mean a lot to me if I could come over tomorrow and show them to you."
Sportacus smiled widely,his clear blue eyes aglow with joy. He was estatic to hear Stephanie wanted to dance with him. Especially since everyone entered high school,he had no one to play with. "Of course you can! I'll make the cake and you bring the music, we'll make it a great birthday one way or another. Tomorrow, you'll be a smart,funny,and lovely woman. But today,you are still a girl and little girls need their rest. I'll walk you home," with that said,he stood and extended his hand towards her. He couldn't help but notice the strange look she was giving him.