Hey look, it's a new SpongeBob darkfic from yours truly!

Actually, this story is going to be much more of a tear jerker than an actual darkfic, but I would still say the premise isn't something you would see in your average SpongeBob episode. Then again, death is a subject a lot of kids' cartoons prefer not to touch (unless it happens in a more serious or "realistic" cartoon, I guess.)

Also, this one won't be as long as 'Felony', so don't worry about waiting two years for me to reach the ending (unless something catastrophic happens, which is hopefully unlikely.)

Enough with the chatter now – let's start the story!

Chapter One

To SpongeBob, it should have been just an ordinary day.

At least the morning started out normally enough. As SpongeBob went through his usual morning routine of waking up, getting changed, having breakfast and feeding Gary, he assumed that that day would just be like any other – pleasant and uneventful. Indeed, as soon as he stepped out of his pineapple house for the walk to the Krusty Krab, he began to sing a nameless tune in joy. Nothing at that moment was hinting that in a couple of hours, his life would change forever.

As soon as he arrived at the restaurant, he immediately went to work in the kitchen. Once again, everything seemed to be ordinary, with him frying patties happily and Squidward taking orders miserably. Like what he had thought at his house just previously, SpongeBob honestly assumed that the day would simply go by with nothing terrible happening.

But he was wrong.

A couple of hours later after SpongeBob's shift had begun, Mr. Krabs received a telephone call in his office. After listening to the conversation intently, he left his desk unattended and headed towards the kitchen. During that time, SpongeBob was cooling off by washing some utensils – it was eleven o' clock now, and in an hour, the lunch rush would begin. Suddenly, he heard the door to his work station open; he turned around to see his boss with an expression he had rarely seen on him – an expression of solemness. He quickly became worried – did he have something serious to tell him?

"SpongeBob," Krabs began with a concerned tone. "I've just received a phone call from your mother – it's about your grandma."

Fear began to circulate through the sponge's body. Grandma SquarePants? he thought to himself anxiously. Has something happened to her?

"She said she's had to go into hospital," the crab explained further.

SpongeBob's heart stood still at that sentence. 'Grandma'? 'Hospital'? With those two words whirling through his mind, he found it hard to not think of the worst.

The sponge went mute as he began to worry about his grandma further, his head falling down in thought and sadness. Understanding how he was feeling, Krabs went towards SpongeBob, put a claw on his shoulder and said, "Because of your family situation, I've decided to let you take the rest of the day off."

SpongeBob looked up towards his boss, surprised at what he'd just said. Usually, he was such a cheapskate that he wouldn't even let him take a quick break, let alone end a shift early – but Krabs' hidden kindness was shining through. He knew that a serious family matter like this was more important than the job, and he also knew how close SpongeBob was to his grandmother, if what Squidward had told him had any truth. If he didn't let him go to see her in hospital, Krabs would have had a guilty conscience for a long time.

For a short time, all SpongeBob could do was stare at Krabs. Learning that he needed more confirmation to leave, the crab said to him, "Go on, go see your grandma – before it's too late."

Before it's too late...

That last sentence was what SpongeBob needed. Leaving his post, he gathered what little things he had on him and made his way to the restaurant exit. In any other situation where he had to leave work early, he would have been genuinely upset; but right now, his beloved grandma was ill. He couldn't fret about the Krusty Krab now – and besides, Squidward would surely cover for him.

Speaking of the cephalopod... As the sponge approached the exit of the restaurant, he heard Mr. Krabs talking to him on the cash register. When he passed through the double doors, the last thing he heard in the building was a nasal exclamation of "NO!"

The sun was beating down on SpongeBob's head as he ran through the streets of Bikini Bottom, pushing his way through small crowds in a race towards the general hospital. People must have looked at him as if he was crazy, but he didn't care. He had to be there for his grandma, whatever she was suffering from. Nothing was going to stop him.

As he sprinted further across the town, SpongeBob knew he could no longer ignore the panic and fear that were quickly spreading throughout his heart. He knew for an obvious fact that Grandma SquarePants was elderly. At her age, if she either injured herself or fell ill, she could potentially...

...Oh dear Neptune. The thought was too much for the sponge to bear. Continuing to run, he began mentally praying for her, trying to hold back his tears as he did so. He had only just realized the true severity of the situation his grandma was in; and he needed to hurry up and be there for her right now.

After what seemed to be an extremely long journey, SpongeBob finally arrived at the Bikini Bottom hospital. As soon as he entered the building, he leaned his body against a nearby wall to catch his breath back from all the running. Another sponge then noticed his presence and began to approach him. SpongeBob looked up – it was his father, looking like his heart had been ripped apart.

Oh no.

Once the two met face to face, they didn't say a word. They seemed to let their facial expressions do the talking. Not wanting to stand around like an idiot, SpongeBob's father only nodded and led his son to the entrance of a ward. There, the sponge saw his uncles Sherm and Captain Blue, his cousins Stanley and BlackJack, and his mother sitting on the provided seats outside a double door – most likely the entrance to where his grandma was staying. But there was something horribly wrong with his relatives and the general atmosphere in the corridor – Sherm, Captain Blue and BlackJack were all holding their heads low, to the point of being unable to see their faces, while Stanley and his mother were holding each other, crying. None of them had seemed to notice that SpongeBob had arrived.

Please, no...

Suddenly, a doctor came through the doors, startling no-one in the corridor except SpongeBob. He quickly spotted the newcomer:

"Who is this?" the doctor asked SpongeBob's father.

"This is my son, SpongeBob," he replied dully. There was even something wrong with how they were speaking.

"Ah," the doctor said. Heading towards him, the sponge knew that the ultimate worst had already happened.

"Mr. SquarePants," he began, "I'm sorry to tell you this, but... Your grandmother has passed away."

This chapter took me much longer than I thought it would take... Already, I'm worried about procrastination and late posting. O_O;

At least I planned this one to not go on for long. Also, I don't think this chapter is very well written. But regardless, feel free to review.