It was nighttime, the air was calm, the fireflies buzzed, one of them eaten curiously by one of the humming fish and his eyes glowed and he scared off his friends... And the Once-ler? Heh. That dang Once-ler...He was just about finished knitting his little "Invention". he smiled to himself once he finished sewing and biting the thread off.
"Now that's a Thneed," he smiled proudly. "Nothing unmanly about knitting. No sir."
Little did he know, Laura and her animal friends were watching the whole ordeal. She smirked. This was the perfect moment.
"This is it guys, Now listen closely. "She instructed in a motherly tone before revealing a fairly rusty frying pan to them. "I stole this from his little habitat. I don't know what it is, But I'm pretty sure that it's a weapon. when he least suspects it, I'll knock him out with it. Then, you steal the bed. Understand?"
The animals nodded in understanding. Laura smiled proudly at her little companions. Who knew they were so smart? Laura nodded to them in confirmation, and approached the Once-ler's window with such stealth, that she felt like a little ninja. Slowly but surely (and quietly), She opened the window, Just in time for her to see Once-ler grab his vocal device (As she called it.), and place the strap over his shoulder.
She paused and watched him place his fingers on the strings...and strum...She was puzzled. Was he going to sing or something?
? Sleep tight my dear, where your dreams will take flight...
And fire flies dance in your heart now, tonight.
Rest, Darling dear, and you hopes will ignite,
And I'll protect you, from the sorrows and fright...?
Laura gasped and stared. For a guy who doesn't consider others, he sure has a good voice...A really...REALLY...Good voice...
Laura felt something in her chest. Something she had never felt before...Her stomach felt light...what was this?
?Hush now, my dear and i'll be here, so true.
As long as you dream, That i'd be there with you... ?
Laura shook her head. She had a mission to complete! She had to get rid off this guy, once and for all.
? Rest darling dear, for there's no need to fear,
As long as you dream that i'd be...right..here... ?
In a blink, the Once-ler was lying unconscious on the bed, knocked cold by the merciless swing of Laura's weapon. She looked at the weapon, then at the young man, To make sure he was unconscious of course. She smiled to see him asleep and alive. Although, he did look kinda cute in his little jammies, and his ebony hair spread across the bed a little bit, the adorable noises he made when he slept...
She shook her head again.
No. She thought. You can't get distracted, Laura! Just get this over with.
She turned towards her animal friends and silently nodded. The Animals knew what that meant. With mischievous smirks on their faces, they snuck into the young man's house and lifted the bed carefully, making sure not to wake him up (Which was really hard, he was a heavy sleeper.). Laura snorted when they kept banging the bed on the door, trying to get it outside.
"Oh, dear!" She giggled. "Try it sideways, dearies!"
They nodded and obeyed. It worked like a charm, Laura smiled proudly at them as if they were her children.
"So,wait, wait,wait, wait." Ivy said, interrupting the story. "Let me get this straight. You knocked out Dad...with a frying pan?"
"Why, yes i did." Laura replied matter-of-factly.
"When he was singing our lullaby?" Poppy added.
"Um...yes. Back then I wanted to execute my plan-"
"In his bunny pajamas?" Buttercup asked.
"Yes. Now can I continue?" Their mother asked.
"Yes, mother." Petunia spoke for them.
"Thank you 'tunia." She said. "Now, where was i?"
Laura hummed to herself as she led her forest friends towards the river, where the fish were waiting for them, She smiled and curtsied politely to them, whereas the fish bowed back.
"Alright, little ones." She instructed quietly. "Place it in, slowly..."
The animals obeyed, and slowly but surely, the bed floated gently on the river bank, Laura watched the young man sleep clueless as he drifted away slowly.
"Sweet dreams, lover boy~" Laura teased as she waved goodbye to the handsome stranger before turning to her animal friends. "Good Job, my darlings! None of this could've happened if it weren't for you!"
The animals blushed at the compliment. Not only was This lady beautiful, she was really nice, she even acted like a mother to them! A caring, loving mother who knew their well-being and knew what was best for them. and they appreciated her for that.
But then, just as they were about to celebrate, the youngest bar-ba-loot, Pipsqueak appeared on the bedstead and waved at them, Laura gasped in a mixture of disbelief and horror.
"Oh no, Pipsqueak!" She called, only for him to giggle and wave again.
Laura turned to one of the Bar-ba-loots. "Please, tell me he can swim!"
The brown creature shook his head, much to Laura's horror.
"Oh dear!" Laura squeaked before turning back to the little brown creature, who was floating away.
She looked down at the water and froze. The water looked fresh, but she was too scared to even put a toe in it. She looked back the little one, then realized her fear was to worry about later, his life was at stake!
"I have an idea." Laura mouthed before sprinting towards the direction the runaway bed was floating. "Hang on, little one!"
The creatures followed their friend, while keeping and eye on the bed. Laura turned to the humming fish.
"Can you try to stop that bed, little fish?!" Laura called out, catching their attention.
The fish nodded and pulled on the covers of the bed and tried to pull, it would've worked...except instead of the bed itself, they pull the covers right off! The Once-ler shivered at this sudden chill and pulled Pipsqueak into a cuddle. Laura watched in amazement.
"Aw..." She tittered before continuing to run.
Just then, she saw a tree right next to the river, an idea popped in her mind. but first she placed a hand on the tree.
"I'm sorry, little sapling." She whispered before ushering the creatures up the stem. "Get up! Get up!"
One by one, the creatures climbed up the tree, their weight, bending the tree downward, It didn't take Laura long for her to realize that the weight wasn't heavy enough. She looked around, she saw Lou, the fattest bear in (almost) the entire forest! She rubbed her chin.
"Hey, Louie..." She spoke. "Would you do me a favor and climb the tree?"
The fat bear shook his head stubbornly. Laura frowned.
"Come on, Louis, we don't have time for this!" She groaned. "Your brother's in danger!"
The brown bear continued to refuse. Laura glared at him sternly.
"Listen. If you don't climb that tree, you're not getting any truffula fruits for a week!" She snapped in a motherly tone.
Lou's eyes widened, and almost immediately, he climbed the tree, followed by Laura, who hoisted herself upside down of the branch as soon as she reached the top. Pipsqueak looked up to see his friend.
"Alright, little one! Come on!" Laura smiled reassuringly. "Be a good boy, now! reach out!"
Pipsqueak reached out to her, but as soon as he did, Laura lost her balance, and landed on the bed, her face planted on the white mattress, Pipsqueak gasped and quickly crawled to her, checking if she was alright. She groaned as she slowly raised her head, turning to the worried bar-ba-loot with a smile.
"It's alright, little one. I'm safe." She whispered reassuringly.
She turned to the Once-ler and took a close look at this strange man. His pale skin reminded her of her favorite colored tree. She gazed in wonder at his hair, it looked like one of the rocks in the pond...So black, and so... smooth. She hesitantly placed a hand on his hair, it felt soft...Like the the tree's silky tufts. She looked at him in shock. He really WAS different from the forest, yet...she felt...deep down inside her...that it really wasn't the case this time around. She seemed to like it when he made those adorable noises while he was sleeping.
The strange feeling in her chest was back. So was the feeling in her gut and stomach, she felt like a thousand fireflies dancing in the air, as if she and the strange man were the only people in the place, she felt...connected to him somehow.
That connection was short lived, however, when she looked ahead of them, She gasped and shook the Once-ler up.
"Hey," She whispered. "H-hey, Beanstalk! Wake up!"
Pipsqueak watched Laura's attempt, then had an idea, he ran to the foot of the bed, his weight flipping it over. Laura was caught in surprised and coughed at the rude awakening, followed by coughs and splutters of the Once-ler.
His eyes popped open as he was now soaking wet and covered with fish, who went back into the water immediately. He turned to Laura, who was now soaking wet as well, and giggling nervously, not sure how to explain this to him.
"What's happening?! Where is- Where am I?!" He stammered in startle and confusion, before turning to the lovely maiden. "And uh...What are you doing in my bed?"
Laura giggled nervously again. "Well, uh... All that can be explained..." She pointed past him. "Once we get out of the raging rapids of doom."
"Wha...?" he croaked before turning around to see raging rapids roaring loudly. He screamed in terror. "WHOO! WE'RE IN A RIVER!"
Laura bit her fingers and turned to the trees. Her eyes furrowed in determination, for she had an idea. She lifted her hand, and immediately, two vines sprouted up from the ground and zipped towards them. Meanwhile, the Once-ler started screaming hysterically, bracing for impact, until...
There came none.
He opened an eye to see that he was in front of the rapids, yes, but he wasn't moving at all! He looked around to see what made him stop, only to see Laura, one arm stretched out, the other holding it to keep it up, her face filled with pain and stress, and vines gripping onto the bedstead. He stared in amazement. Wow, This girl was magical! Not only was she beautiful, she had powers! He smiled lovingly and gratefully at this amazing woman who had just saved his life.
Laura felt something wrap around her waist and weight on her shoulder, she turned to see the Once-ler, resting his head on her shoulder and...hugging her? She stared at him in confusion.
"What are you doing?" She asked, stunned.
"Look, I don't know what you know about us humans..." He replied in a low whisper. "But this is called: "Appreciation"."
"Appreciation? What...What's that?" She asked.
"Do you...ever get the feeling...when you love something so much, that you just want to thank them for being in your life?" He asked softly.
Her eyes widened a bit, then she smiled a little. "Yeah...yeah...Sometimes..."
"Then that's what it's called." He whispered.
"Hmm...You know...I kinda like this..."Appreciation.". It feels...nice."
"Yeah..." He sighed dreamily. "It does."
Pipsqueak watched this mushiness unfold, making barf noises and pointing his finger to his tongue. But then, they heard something snap. They turned to see the vines break a little bit. they're eyes narrowed as it began to snap more, the bed jerking forward each time it did.
"Oh..." The Once-ler spoke.
"...dear." Laura finished for him.
The vines broke, releasing the bed and allowing it to crash on to the rapids, the trio screaming as it did, The bed crashed onto many rocks (each one bigger than the last), surprisingly not damaged or broken each time it did. Laura screamed and held onto Once-ler, making him smile and blush before turning back to the rapids, scream, and cover his eyes. Pipsqueak held onto Laura's dress as they crashed their way out of the rapids. By the end, it was back to the calm river from before, The Once-ler uncovered his eyes to see the calm river. He smile spread widely across his face.
"We made it..." He spoke, excitement clearly in his voice. "WE MADE IT! WE'RE ALIVE!"
Laura opened her eyes and looked. He was right. They were alive! Laura laughed with joy and relief as she let go of the man. They looked at each other with dignity and respect, Their eyes just getting lost in each other. Pipsqueak interrupted them, however with his worried squeals.
"Oh, what is it, Pip?" She asked before turning to his direction. She froze, her eyes narrowed, and she turned the Once-ler to face the same direction as her.
"Oh...No." he spoke in irritation.
Apparently, they weren't done,for they were heading for a huge waterfall. The Once-ler screeched as he used a pillow as a rowing oar, trying to steering them around to no avail. Laura watched them in fright and bit her lip, looking around for something to stop them. She saw a huge boulder on top of them, and she had yet another idea.
"Hang, tight, Boys!" She yelled before pulling out a long, light green ribbon.
She lassoed the boulder with the ribbon and pulled, causing it to topple over, and just as they were about to face certain doom, the boulder landed on top of the bed, catapulting them through the air. The Once-ler reached out and grabbed Pipsqueak to protect him, Laura falling as well.
They all landed with a sickening thud. The Once-ler landed on his tush, holding onto Pipsqueak, who escaped his grasp. He touched his chest, overjoyed and relieved. He laughed.
"Laura, Laura, We're ok!" The Once-ler squealed before turning back. Only to his shock, Laura was lying limp on the ground, her face not visible, seemingly planted on the soft grass. Her dress and hair spread on the grass. The Once-ler crawled towards her, and turned her to face him.
"Laura...wake up! Y-You're safe now!" He pleaded quietly, shaking her.
No response. The Once-ler panicked, pressing his hands on her chest for revival. STILL no response. Tears filled his eyes as he tried again. No response. Not one. The animals surrounded him as he pressed his lips on hers, slowly...then he breathed his life into hers.
Slowly but surely, her eyes fluttered open, just to see a man on top of her! she screamed in alarm and pushed him off, startling him as well.
"Wha- What happened?!" She yelled. "Why were you on me?! Is Pipsqueak safe?! What happened to-"
She was stopped by a hug from the Once-ler. she felt something wet on her shoulders.
"Oh, thank goodness! I thought you were dead!" he squealed in a mixture of joy and relief.
Laura was hesitant, but she hugged him back slowly, stroking his hair tenderly. "I-It's ok...Sir."
He pulled away to get a look at her precious blue eyes and smiled. "Please, Call me Once-ler."
Laura seemed to smile back. "Alright...Mr. "Once-ler"."
"You saved my life...TWICE." He smirked. "Thank you."
"Ah, well..." She played with his hair to tease him. "You weren't so bad, yourself~"
He giggled like an idiot at her very arousing behavior. Who knew she was so adorable?
"You should've seen us! We were about to go over that waterfall!" He smiled, pulling Laura close to his chest. But then he realized something. "wait...by my bed- how did my bed get in the river?"
Laura shifted her eyes away in guilt. "Erm...About that, uh...Actually..."
She didn't even look at the young man when she confessed: " Weputyourbedinthewater."
The Once-ler's eyes widened in realization, his jaw dropped. He pushed her away from him, got up and started to walk away, tinged with betrayal and disgust.
"Look, I'm so sorry!" Laura pleaded, crawling to him on her knees, clasping her hand together. "I don't know what came over me, i swear!"
The Once-ler didn't buy it. He continued to walk away. Laura got up and followed him.
"I didn't mean you any harm!" She choked, standing in front of him and stopping him in his tracks and looked up to look at her. "I just wanted to calmly float you away!"
The Once-ler stared at her, innocence shining in her eyes. He decided to stop and listen contently.
"Look, I'm so sorry if it had to come to this and...I know you're probably mad..." She squeaked. "But...We need these trees... And you can't just...waltz in this valley and chop them down! That's just...messed up."
The Once-ler stared at her with sympathy and regret. She was right. He couldn't just walk into someone else's property, destroy that property, and act like you own the place. That's not what his mother taught him to do. He felt a light tug at his pants and looked down to see Pipsqueak holding onto it. He bit his lip. He knew what to do.
"Ok...Look," He knelt down to the animal's level."I hereby swear to never chop down another tree."
He stood up and held one hand over his heart, raising the other one. "I promise."
Laura's eyes filled with tears of joy. "Really?!"
Laura caught the Once-ler off guard with a hug and a slightly tight squeeze. "Oh, Thank you! Thank you so much!"
The Once-ler was puzzled at first, but gladly hugged her back. Until she awkwardly pulled away, not looking at him.
"Well Uh... Just so you know," She said sternly, pointing a finger at him. "I'm gonna be keeping an eye on you to make sure you adhere to that promise."
"Of course you will, you little pumpkin!" The Once-ler said in a cutesy manner, booping her nose. She, in turn, looked at him with cute bunny eyes. "But, I've got a big day tomorrow so i'm going to get some sleep."
"What's sleep?" She asked.
" Wha- You don't know what sleep is?" He asked.
"No...I suppose not." She replied shyly.
"Well Um... Sleep is what you do when you're Uh...Really tired and/or your body is getting ready for another day. Think of it like a computer shutting down to reboot itself. And when you're ready to use it, it'll be fresh as a daisy." He explained.
"What's a...Com...pu...ter?" Laura asked in wonder.
"Um...It's a kind of device you use." He explained before walking off to find his bed. "for work, and for play."
"But why do you need that when you can play in the grass?" Laura asked, following him.
"Society is plagued with technology these days." He replied.
"What's technology?" Laura asked.
The animals watched as the two youths walked until they could no longer hear their voices.