Once-ler may not have sold his Thneed, but after coming back to the Truffula Forest, he actually was enjoying himself with the critters. They were practically friends now. He loved playing games with them and he actually didn't mind them staying in his tent now. He even realized that the Lorax was not too terrible either.
As Once-ler was sorting through the stuff he packed before he left home, he came across his swim trunks. They were blue-green with a duck pattern. He decided he was in the mood to go swimming in a calm part of the river.
"Hey, guys, I'm going swimming!" After he undressed and put on his swim trunks, the forest creatures followed him out the door. The Humming Fish enthusiastically dove in and the Swomee Swans floated on the water right before Once-ler stepped in. It was kind of cold, but he did not mind as the air was warm enough.
Some of the Bar-ba-loots jumped into the water. Lou, the largest one, caused a splash that landed on Once-ler's head. He laughed after Lou rose to the surface after sinking like a rock for three seconds. Pipsqueak was still at the edge and did not want to step in.
"Hey, come on, Pipsqueak. What's wrong?" Once-ler asked.
"He can't swim," Lorax answered. "I should know. The river bed incident."
"Mmm-hmm." Once-ler did not like thinking about that. Then he grinned and said, "Well, then I can teach him. I wouldn't want him to miss out."
Once-ler reached his arms out to beckon Pipsqueak, but he shook his head nervously. Once-ler pondered before he smirked at the Lorax.
"Oh, no! Forget it, Beanpole! I'm not jumping in!"
"Hey, he needs some encouragement. Do you want to have to save him again?"
Lorax grumbled annoyed. "All right! But never again."
The furry forest guardian held his nose and jumped in the water. Pipsqueak giggled when he rose with his fur soaked and was spitting out water.
"Come on, Pip." This time Pipsqueak accepted Once-ler's arms, albeit reluctantly. The tiny Bar-ba-loot shivered at the water temperature. "Don't worry, you'll get used to it."
The Lorax climbed on top of a rock and shook his fur until it puffed out. Once-ler held Pipsqueak by both sides. "I'm gonna help you get to the Lorax. Can you start paddling?"
Pipsqueak did as he was told and was guided to the Lorax. Lorax patted his head. "Not bad, kid."
Once-ler picked up Pipsqueak and held him in the water again. "How about some breathing exercises? I'll hold you on your back, you close your eyes and breathe when I say. Okay?"
Pipsqueak nodded and shut his eyes as he was held like so. "Okay. In. Out. In. Out."
Once-ler repeated those words a few more times as he slowly removed his hands from beneath until the Bar-ba-loot was floating calmly on his own.
"Okay, Pipsqueak. Open your eyes."
After he saw Once-ler holding his hands up to his sides smiling, Pipsqueak grinned and made a few excited splashes with his arms. Once-ler clapped. "Good. Are you ready to go to the Lorax by yourself?" He picked a piece of fruit from a nearby Truffula Tree and tossed it to the Lorax.
Pipsqueak squealed excitedly and began paddling with all his might. The other Bar-ba-loots made cheering sounds as he worked his way over. Once Pipsqueak climbed onto the rock, everyone applauded.
"Dun-dun-da-DA-DA, Dun-dun-DA-DAHHH!" The Humming Fish hummed for Pipsqueak's accomplishment. He ate the Truffula Fruit as both Lorax and Once-ler patted his head.
"I knew you could do it, Pipsqueak," Once-ler praised.
"Yeah, you done good, kid," Lorax agreed.
"Well, I think I'm done for now." Once-ler walked out of the water and started drying himself off with a towel. "Who wants pancakes?"
Everyone cheered and quickly followed Once-ler back to his tent. Of course, they made sure they were dry first.
A/N: Just an idea I had. I don't know if it makes sense. I'm not sure how much time passed between his Thneed selling and the ninth helping pancake breakfast, but hopefully it doesn't bother you guys. BTW the Humming Fish hummed the Final Fantasy victory theme. I love those games so I couldn't resist. XD I hope my writer's block clears up soon. Anyway, hope you liked it!