This beautiful fic was submitted by someone who wants to remain anonymous. This is very close to my heart. So, disclaimer: I DID NOT WRITE THIS.
It had been looking like such a promising day. Robbie should have known it was too good to last.
He had woken up bright and early, just in time for lunch, and had fixed himself a cake of unparalleled chocolatey gooiness, piled high with whipped cream and dusted with cocoa. His back didn’t ache, he wasn’t tired, and for once the town above was perfectly, blissfully quiet.
He was just about to take the first bite of his cake when the knocking began. Someone was frantically pounding on the hatch that served as his front door. Robbie cursed under his breath, resisted the urge to cry out that no one was home, and waited until the banging stopped. After a few seconds of silence, he gave a sigh of relief and once again raised his fork to his mouth. Another round of desperate pounding began.
“Why?” Robbie moaned, his fork falling from his hand and splattering his favourite striped suit with cream. “Why? What did I do to deserve this? Other than the lifetime of villainy? Can’t I have one moment of peace?”
Evidently not. The knocking grew louder, and a piercing voice joined in. Robbie gave a cry of despair, set down his cake, and trudged miserably to his periscope. Jerking it down, he glared through it and found himself looking at the pink girl. The ringleader of Lazytown’s children. The infernal ball of energy and cheeriness that had ended the peaceful and perfectly lazy rule of Robbie Rotten once and for all. Stephanie Meanswell. The sight might have been completely intolerable, had she not been accompanied by the largest and most delicious-looking cake Robbie had ever seen.
“Robbie?” she called, peering into the periscope. “I need to talk to you! I need your help, and there’s cake in it for you!”
Robbie ground his teeth, muttering in irritation. On the one hand, helping Stephanie could seriously undermine his credentials as Lazytown’s Villain Number One. On the other hand, that was a truly magnificent cake.
“What do you want, Pinkie?” he grumbled. “And this had better be good!”
Stephanie drew a deep breath, wringing her hands. She looked genuinely worried, Robbie noticed. Almost on the verge of tears. He didn’t care in the slightest. He certainly didn’t feel a pang of concern in the heart he most certainly didn’t have.
“I need a favour, and Uncle Milford’s out of town, and I can’t find Bessie, and…”
“Why not ask Sportaflop?” Robbie asked, rolling his eyes. “Isn’t he the one you brats usually run to for help?”
“It’s Sportacus we need help with!” Stephanie replied, definitely on the verge of tears now. “He’s sick! Really sick, and I… We’re scared, and we need help!”
Robbie gave no reply. He pulled away from the periscope, quickly cleared his ears with one finger, then looked up at Stephanie again.
“You’re going to have to repeat that. I though you said Sportacus is sick. Speak clearer.”
“He is sick!” Stephanie replied hopelessly. “He’s pale and sweaty, and when I touched him he felt like he was on fire, and he keeps coughing and sneezing and he looks like he can’t breathe but when we try to get him to rest he just…”
Robbie slammed the periscope back in place, cutting off Stephanie’s rambling. Muttering under his breath all the while, he climbed up to the hatch and slammed it open in irritation. Stephanie was there, sniffling and wiping her eyes, the cake perched on a small trolley beside her.
“You aren’t kidding,” Robbie asked suspiciously. “That blue kangaroo is really sick, isn’t he? And you actually want my help?”
Stephanie pulled herself together with an effort and nodded firmly.
“We didn’t know who else to ask, and Sportacus likes you. We thought he might listen. We’ve already made soup and everything, and we have a bed and medicine ready, all we need…”
“And I get the cake? The whole thing?”
“All of it!” Stephanie promised earnestly. “We’ll even bake you another one if you like!”
Robbie considered. He would lose his peaceful afternoon. But there would be a cake of truly magnificent proportions in it for him, and the promise of another after that. Plus, a chance to learn of Sportacus’ weaknesses. Plus, Stephanie really did look upset, and she had written very fondly about him in her diary, and…
“Alright. Where is the blue kangaroo, anyway?”
Sportacus was in the town square, doing push-ups. No flips, no one handed variations, no clapping, no jumping, just regular, ordinary, very slow push-ups. Robbie began to see the reason for Stephanie’s concern. He saw it fully when Sportacus hesitated, arms quivering with exertion, and began to cough. What began as a quick clearing of the throat became a deep, desperate hacking. The hero collapsed, shaking with each cough, until at last the fit ended and left him shaking and gasping for breath.
“See why we’re scared?” Stephanie asked, looking up imploringly at Robbie.
“You said you had a bed and medicine ready?” Robbie asked. “Tell me where, then keep your little friends away. The less your overactive blue idiot spreads his plague around, the better.”
“It’s at my Uncle’s place. I’ll go and unlock the door and tell everyone to go home. Thanks, Robbie! It means a lot!”
Stephanie turned and ran in the direction of her Uncle’s home. The rest of the children, waiting at a distance, joined her. Even as they retreated Robbie could hear them plaguing her with questions. To her credit, she herded them away with great efficiency, only casting one glance back over her shoulder. Robbie waved her away in irritation, and set about earning his cake.
Sportacus had managed to continue with his push-ups. Up close, Robbie could see that ridiculous moustache twitching as the hero sniffled on every other breath. His eyes were dull, his lips looked cracked and dry, and sweat that plainly had nothing to do with exertion glistened on his brow. He did not appear to have noticed Robbie’s presence, and it soon became clear what was holding his attention.
“… One hundred and six… one hundred and s-seve-eh-en… one h-huh… huh…”
Sportacus sneezed so violently that Robbie jumped and covered his ears. He watched with not a bit of sympathy whatsoever as Sportacus sniffed desperately, pressed the back of his hand against his nose to stave off any further explosions, and attempted to resume his exercises.
“Ugh… Where was I?”
“One hundred and seven,” Robbie replied curtly. “You should be at zero, because you should be in bed, resting, and not giving the brats a nervous breakdown because apparently the healthy lifestyle you won’t shut up about doesn’t apply to you!”
Sportacus leapt to his feet with far less energy and grace than usual. He blinked at Robbie in apparent confusion.
“Exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle,” he protested, his voice hopelessly congested. He sniffled wetly and went on in confusion. “What do you mean, nervous breakdown?”
“I mean that the pink tornado ruined my perfectly peaceful afternoon because apparently you need a babysitter! She even promised me two cakes! Is that clear? Your little sportscandy-loving, healthy-eating prodigy bribed me with enough cake to give even me a stomach-ache, just to make you stop jumping around like a deranged kangaroo!”
Sportacus coughed miserably, muffling the sound into the crook of his elbow.
“I told her not to worry,” he rasped, when he finally got his breath back. “I was hoping they would all stay away so I don’t get them sick.”
“Well, you failed on that account!” Robbie said, rolling his eyes as Sportacus clearly struggled to follow the conversation. “If you wanted them not to worry, you should have gone back to your airship and not bothered anyone. Me in particular!”
“I can’t,” Sportacus replied miserably. “The altitude… I tried to go back, but by the time I got to the top of the ladder, I felt awful. My ears were aching, my head was pounding, and when I tried to stand up everything was spinning, and spinning… I felt like I was going to…”
Sportacus turned, if possible, even paler, and he swallowed hard. Robbie quickly waved his hands to shut him up.
“Yes, yes, I get the picture! No heights until your head clears up! Got it! No need to get graphic!”
Sportacus kept his eyes shut for a moment, breathing as deeply as his abused airways would let him. He looked utterly wretched, even after the nausea appeared to pass. Naturally, Robbie felt nothing. That anxious twisting in his insides was just revulsion at his rival’s disgusting condition. Nothing more. Nope.
“And so naturally, you decided to exercise yourself to death? It never occurred to you that being the local goody two-shoes might make someone willing to loan you a bed? Pinkie has one ready for you right now, and I mean to get you in it, get my cake, and go!”
Sportacus shook his head weakly, making a last show of desperation.
“She already offered. I can’t get her sick. I can’t get you sick. Robbie, you shouldn’t be standing so… so c-close…”
There were those desperate little moustache twitches again. Robbie flinched, watching Sportacus fight the inevitable. A few helpless whimpers and gasps, and he lurched forward with a sneeze that sounded outright painful, directed into the crook of his elbow in a pitiful mockery of his usual hero move. Sportacus moaned and sniffed wetly.
“Robbie? If you really want to help… Do you have any tissues?”
Robbie folded his arms sternly.
“Nope! If you want some, you’ll have to come with me and do as your little prodigy says. She gets her mind set at ease, you get to blow your nose and rest, and I get my cake. Everyone’s happy! Deal?”