Cancer: chapter 1

Streaky picked at her food, chasing a piece of smurfberry pancake around in a pool of syrup on her plate with a fork; she was surrounded by her friends: Aiko, Gutsy, Vanity, Farmer, Chisette and her mate, Grouchy.

I frowned from my seat at the head of the table; her skin had paled a great deal, and she now wore gloves and jackets to hide additional bruises.

Aiko raised a brow at her, "Okay, what's going on?" she said bluntly.

"Huh?" Streaky blinked, snapping out of her deep thought.

"You've been smurfing weird Streaky dear… "He pinched at her jacket, "And your wardrobe hasn't improved."

She smiled, "I just felt like changing my style, that's all" reaching up to tuck a lock of her multicolored hair behind her ear, a few of her dark bruises were revealed as her sleeves slid down slightly.

Gutsy's eyes widened, "Streakeh yehr ahrms!"

Seeing her sleeves, she quickly tugged them back up, only to have Chisette grab her arm and yank the sleeve back down, revealing angry bruises covering her skin.

"Chi!" she gasped, wrenching her arm out of her grip and nervously holding her arms close to her body.

"Streakeh..." Farmer stared at her worriedly, "whut hahppened to ya?"

She fell silent, looking down and avoiding their worried gazes and biting her lip.

Grouchy put a hand on her back, getting a deadly glare from Aiko and Chisette, "What the hell did you to her Grouchy?" Aiko growled, her eyes practically glowing with rage.

"I hate what did I do to her-"he snapped, "You think I did this to her?! I would never-"

"Oi!" Chi barked, "Tell that to her arms you bastard…"

"Guys, Grouchy had nothing-"she was cut off by a powerful cough, Aiko and Chi still arguing with Streaky's mate as she secretly wiped blood from her mouth.

"I swear, if she gets another bruise while you're around her-"Aiko started, pointing her talon like nails at his throat.

"Enough already" Streaky wheezed, trying to catch her breath, "Grouchy has nothing to do with my bruises!"

"Then what, Streakette, caused them?" Aiko challenged, narrowing her eyes behind her crescent moon glasses.

Streaky froze, her posture becoming rigid, and a frightened look on her face.

Vanity gently put a hand on her shoulder, trying to search her apple green eyes, "Streaky… dear please talk to us."

For a moment she was silent; I watched as she stood up and gave them all an apologetic look, "I'm sorry guys… I just can't yet."

I could still see a droplet of blood at the corner of her lips, unseen by her friends as she turned and left the mess hall without another word.

The progress of the illness was getting worse; the blood she had just coughed up proved this.

Quickly I turned in my dishes and headed to my mushroom, determined to find a cure for Streaky.

Pressing a finger to one of the many bruises, and feeling no pain from the touch worried her as she sat by the river as always but feeling disheartened to sing or work on lyrics as she used to.

"A month." She whispered aloud, "That's how long it's been."

A month since she was officially diagnosed with Leukemia.

Streaky coughed again, more blood coming up with it as she wiped it away with her hand.

How was she going to tell Markyl? He was only seven years old for god's sake!

"Mom?" came a voice from behind; how ironic that he should pop up now.

Streaky turned to face him; he had messy, slightly curly, red streaked dark hair that stuck out from the brim of his white hat. In ways, he looked like a mini Grouchy! But he had the eyes, nose, freckles, and streaked hair like his mother.

His dark green eyes widened at her hand, "Mom, your hand! Are you hurt?"

She clenched her hand into a fist to hide the blood in her gloved palm, "Y-yeah… but don't worry, it's nothing Marks."

It was only the beginning.

"Markyl, there's something I have to tell you." She motioned for him to sit by her by the gurgling river, the sunlight causing it to gleam as it rushed on its way down.

The smurfling did as was told and looked at his mother with big eyes, "Am I in trouble?"

She raised her silver-ish brows, "Why would you be in trouble?"

"The way you're talking…" he bit his lip, a habit from his mother, "It's when I did something or when it's a serious talk."

A slight chuckle escaped her lips, "Sweetheart, you're not in trouble, I promise"

The soft smile on her lips disappeared, "But I need you to be brave for what I'm about to tell you… can you do that for me Marks?"

He nodded, puffing out his small chest, "I'll be the bravest for you mom!"

Streaky gave a weak smile and tousled his bangs, "That's my boy."

I jumped as Markyl ran in, his small freckled face pale with fear, "P-papa Smurf!" he wailed.

Streaky followed in behind him, a regretful look in her eyes as the smurfling ran up to me, "S-say it isn't true! M-my mom… she can't be…" he was cut off by his own tears, Brainy popping his head in.

"Papa Smurf, who's crying?" he asked before seeing Markyl and Streaky.

"Brainy, not now..." I said firmly, "Please, give us some privacy."

He adjusted his large glasses before sneaking a certain look at Streaky, who shoved him out and closed the door behind him.

"P-papa Smurf… I-is my m-mom going to b-be okay?" Markyl choked, tears streaming down his face.

"Shh…" I soothed, rubbing his back and letting him cry into my shoulder, "You're mother is sick Markyl. But I will do what I can to help her smurf better."

Markyl's lip trembled as he pulled away, sniffing and wiping tears away with his sleeve, giving a shaky nod.

I looked up, seeing Streaky giving me a questioning look when Markyl turned, "Mom."

She knelt down to him, "Yes Marks?"

He began crying again, throwing his small arms around her neck, "Please get better! Please!"

A sad look crossed over her face, "I'll try Marks. I promise."

Holding out his pinkie and looking up at her, Markyl whispered, "P-pinkie promise?"

Kissing his finger and he doing the same to hers, she whispered back, "Pinkie promise."

"So, there really is something for me?"

Streaky was sitting in a chair across from me; Markyl had left after he had calmed down, promising not to tell his closest friends Rebecca and Fenris.

I nodded, "Yes. But I must warn you that it's risky."

"What do you mean?"

"Well…" I stroked my beard," it would kill the cancer, but it's dangerous for your health."

She looked down for a moment, silence consuming us; finally Streaky looked up, a fierce look in her eyes, "When do we start?"

I blinked, surprised that she was so on board with the treatment, "I will have to prepare the ingredients first… perhaps a couple of days at the most?"

Giving a curt nod, Streaky stood up and started to leave, "Take as long as you need Papa Smurf… and thank you"

Streaky sat on the couch with Grouchy; Markyl was outside playing with Fenris and Becca as she told her mate of the treatment.

"I hate that it could be risky." He stated, clenching his jaw.

"I know…" she sighed, "But I don't really have a choice Grouchy"

He dumped his face in his hands, feeling utterly useless, and said "I hate not having a choice."

"So do I."