Toby stared at Tekka from another table. Her head was buried in her arms. She wasn't reading her light novel or chasing Zim or shoveling damp epsom salt into her mouth with a spoon. She was still; a little too still. She was still breathing, but that was it.
What could be wrong with Tekka? He wondered. It couldn't be one of those random waves of nausea she gets every now and then. Severe or not, those only last a max of one minute. A cold? No, it must be something more than just the cold that's been going around to do this to her.
Toby got up and walked over to her. "Hey," he said, sitting down next to Tekka.
"Go away," she mumbled.
"Where's you're book and your epsom salt?"
"My epsom salt is in my backpack and I think Zim took my book."
"Aren't you going to make him give it back? Why aren't you trying to kill him right now?"
"I'll force him to give it back...eventually."
This wasn't like her. Was she sick?
Sick? Of course she wasn't sick. Tekka doesn't get sick! That would be so...un-Tekka, I guess you could say.
"Are you feeling okay today?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. I'm just a little tired." Tekka coughed violently. "I just need a little bit of sleep is all."
+ * + * + * + * +
During class, Toby couldn't keep his eyes off of Tekka. She had been acting so strangely. Her face was a lot paler than usual, too. What was wrong with her. She had to be sick! There was no other logical explaination, was there?
Tekka is not sick! Toby told himself. That's just not possible!
She took a spoonful of epsom salt and choked on it after a few seconds; it was like she could only breath through her mouth.
Or maybe she is...
No, Toby! That's not possible! Tekka doesn't get sick! She can't get sick!
She's a normal human being, though. Every normal human gets sick, right?
This is Tekka, though. She can eat epsom salt and it doesn't poison her in the least bit.
True, but she's the same in every other way!
Um, news flash!! She drinks PineSol and weedkiller. Oh, and she's from a whole different universe. She's definitely not a normal human.
But then she--
The classroom door slammed and brought Toby out of his thoughts. Tekka's seat was empty. He got up and raced out the door.
"Tekka!" he called. When her caught up to her, he grabbed her arm. "What's the matter?"
"Nothing!" she snapped. She broke free from my grasp and dashed into the girls' restroom.
Liar! Toby thought. He waited where he was. He wanted to make sure his best friend was okay.
She came out about seven minutes later, sucking on something while wiping her mouth with a paper towel. "Why did you wait for me? I told you already, I'm fine."
She stumbled forward a couple of paces and pressed a hand gently against her forehead, removing after a couple moments.
"I'm fine. Just some nausea. It'll go away in about a minute."
Liar. You're sick. A cold has been going around the skool, so you probably have the flu.
Toby put his hand up to Tekka's forehead. "You're burning up!"
Tekka prassed a finger against his lips. "Shh. If the teachers thing I have a fever, they'll think I have the flu, I'll have to call the parents I don't have and tell them to pick me up. I'm fine, just a little tired. I don't have a high fever, so keep your mouth shut."
"Okay, fine. Let's just get back to class, okay, Tekka?"
"Just promise me you won't say anything."
She sleeps in my closet, as creepy as that is, so tonight I'll find out for sure what's wrong.
Toby was ready for bed. It was eight thirty. He heard Tekka's coughing from his closet, so he opened it.
"Hi, Toby," she said quietly.
"Are you okay?" Toby asked. "You look even sicker now."
"I'm not feeling very well, I'll admit that. I don't know what's wrong with me. I just feel all...pukey." The sick eleven-year-old(A/N: I'm makin' her a little older!) held out twenty dollars. "I think I owe you about this much."
"For a new waterproof jacket.I threw up all over it...sorry."
"It's okay. You wanna take a bath? Baths always help me feel a little better when I'm sick."
"Um, okay. I'll see if that helps."
Toby helped Tekka to the bathroom.
"I'm not sure how hot you want the water, so you'll have to make it the temperature you want."
"Okay." She walked over to the tub and turned on the water, turning the knobs carefull but quickly. Toby pulled out a bottle from under the sink.
"Bubbles?" he asked. "All the bubble bath here belongs to Shelby, but I'm sure she won't mind if you use it just once."
"That would be nice."
Toby poured the instructed amount into the water and mixed it around with his hand. "I'll get some clothes for you for when you get out."
Toby left the room and closed the door. He returned with some of Shelby's clothes and a thermometer. It just so happened that Tekka had her bra almost off just as Toby opened the door. He blushed, dropped what he was holding, squeezed his eyes shut, and looked away.
"I'm sorry!" he gasped. "I am so sorry!"
Tekka giggled slightly as she got into the water. "What's your problem, weenie? Is there something wrong with female anatomy?"
"No, it's just I--Wait, you're not gonna call me a creepy pervert and go on about how I came in at that particular moment on purpose?"
"Of course not. A lot of chicks are way too...protective of their bodies, I guess you could say. There's nothin' wrong with a guy peepin' at a girl who he's best friends with."
Toby was surprised. That was one of the last thing he had ever expected Tekka to say. Well, technically, no it didn't. He hadn't even thought of what her response to something like that.
"I think there's some lavender stuff down here. That's supposed to help," Toby said to change the subject.
"Sure, I'll take some."
"Okay. Lemme find it. Here!" Toby got up to put some of the liquid into the bath water.
"Thanks." Tekka looked up at Toby. Her eyes, instead of being icy, were warm and sweet. "I mean that. When you get sick, will you let me take care of you?"
"I care about you just as much as you care about me."
"I'm sure you do."
"I just wanted to make sure you did..."
Toby woke up sometime in the middle of the night to...what was that? Whimpering...?
"What is that?" Toby mumbled to himself as he looked over at his clock that read "11:46."
The closet! It was coming from the closet.
The twelve-year-old boy got out of bed and opened his closet door. Tekka was sitting up, crying.
"T-Tekka?" Toby stammered. "A-are you okay?"
"No!" Tekka wailed, not even trying to stop crying. "It hurts...it hurts so badly! I just want it to end. Why whole body aches...my head hurts...my stomach won't stop flipping...the nausea is almost unbearable...I want it to stop!"
"Come here." Toby hugged the poor girl gently, lightly stroking her hair. "It'll be okay. You'll be fine, okay? I wouldn't ever lie to you, and you know that. It'll all be over soon."
The poor girl sobbed harder. "But I want it to be over now. It feels like I'm going through Hell."
The door opened and Shelby put one foot on the carpeted floor of Toby's room. "Hey, Toby, do you--"
"GET OUT!" Toby yelled at his sister.
"Jeez!" Shelby left and shut the door behind her.
"Toby," Tekka asked, "why did you yell at her like that? Did she do something wrong?"
"No, she didn't do anything," Toby replied. "I'd never let anyone see you cry. Never ever." He wiped away her tears with his left hand, but more fell down her cheeks in an instant.
"Why not? I know you never like the thought that I was into you, or that you were into me. I know that deep down you're not completely sure us being just friends is a good idea. You could humiliate me even more. You could even strike me down in an instant because you know I'm a murderer. But you don't. You don't take advantage of me. You're helping me. Why?"
"Because, even deeper, I love you. Not guiltily, no. I love you and never want to part with you. I'm glad you chose me out of everyone else. I was the one you chose to like--no, to love--and you thought I could do for you what anyone else could not. You thought I was special, and you still do. But I'm not."
"To me, you're the only one in this universe, in any universe, who's special. To me...you're...you're everything. If you were to die, I-I'd kill myself...slowly and painfully."
Toby teared up. "Promise me something, Tekka. Please just promise me one thing and I'll never make you promise me anything ever again."
The girl's eyes locked with Toby's. "What is it? I can promise you anything."
"If...if I die before you, promise me that you'll live until it's truly your time, okay?"
"No. I could promise anything else. Anything but that. Even if those were your last words, my reply would still be no. That I can promise. I can't live without you. But I can promise to kill myself quickly and almost painfully. Is that good enough for you."
"Okay...I'll take that then..."
Tekka coughed painfully and violently. More tears rolled down her cheeks. "Oh, God! Make it stop! It hurts so much!" Her voice dropped. "It hurts so badly..."
The door opened again.
"I SWEAR, IF YOU DON'T GO AWAY RIGHT NOW, I'LL TAKE ONE OF TEKKA'S DAGGERS AND KILL YOU MYSELF!"
The door shut.
Tekka looked up at Toby with her big, blue eyes. "Thank you." She rested her head on Toby's shoulder. "Can I have some soup please?" Her voice was sweeter than honey. The flu must have been doing something to her head.
"You gonna keep it down this time?"
"I seriously doubt it. I wish I could, though."
"Me too. The flu really sucks."
"Screw the flu. Now get me my food please." Tekka sat up.
"Okay." Toby walked over to his nightstand before leaving his room. He pulled a mint out of a small bowl next to his bed and tossed it to Tekka. "It's a sugar-free mint. It'll soothe your throat and help you stop coughing."
The sick girl removed the wrapper and tentatively put the small, hard candy into her mouth. "It's good. Thanks." She smiled weakly.
"I thought you'd like it." Toby smiled back before leaving the room to go make Tekka some soup. He came back to add one more thing before cooking the meal: "I have a song to play you when I get back."
"Here." Toby came back with a bowl of soup
"Thanks." Tekka took the bowl of soup. "What song are you going to play for me?"
"It's a song called 'Rotten Girl, Grotesque Romance' or something like that. I'm gonna play you the English version."
"I love that song. I heard it a couple days ago."
She nodded and began:
I was born only to share my love with you.
What is thrill I feel deep within my heart?
Still I whisper through these thin walls so sweetly,
You are mine and we will neveer be apart.
I will find all of your lovely little secrets;
Every one, discover all there is to see.
Oh, my my, do you have a guest in your arms?
Such a cute little thing with all those golden curls.
Tell me, tell me darling how much you love her.
Maybe I will slaughter your precious pretty girl.
I will burn in a fire photographs of your desire.
I wonder if she knows of me...
You can use and abuse, do anything, I won't refuse
To prove I love you more, don't you see?
I'll hold you close,
I'll break you in.
Let's raise a toast to our final sin.
Why is it your crying?
What's wrong baby?
What's the matter lover, don't worry your little head.
I'm only holding the box I built for you
That I can keep forever with me once you are dead.
It was I who placed the gift at your door.
I hope it was everything you're asking for;
A bloody kitten head just for you
Who loves cats as much as you do.
I will burn in the flames every trace of her name.
I wonder if her life's clock still ticks...
'I love you' is so cliche, filthy words that you've betrayed.
I know it makes me feel like I'd be sick.
I'll make you see.
Force you to be
In love with me
Her voice started to falter towards the end, but the rest was perfect and completely on-key. She didn't even stop to start coughing.
She started shaking a little and fumbled around in the closet and Toby could hear her being sick.
She stopped just long enough to say, "I'm fine!"
Toby raced out of the room and grabbed a glass cup and filled it with water. He took it back to his room for Tekka. She was lying on her back panting.
"There are so many restrictions in this dimension..."
"Huh?" Toby asked, confused. "What do you mean?"
"I definitely can't go without air for nearly as long. Oh, and I can't fly! How rediculous is that?!"
"For someone who used to able to fly, I bet that must be a huge change. Anyway, I brought you some water."
"Thanks." She took a sip of the water. "You're taking such good care of me. You deserve something in return, I think."
"No, I don't need anything. I'm only taking care of you, and that's what friends do, right?"
Tekka nodded. "I guess so."
"Exactly. Now get some rest. You have the flu, so sleep will help you."
"Screw the flu," she said, but went back into the closet, laid down, and closed her eyes.
"Night," Toby whispered.
Silence. Tekka must've already been asleep.