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Hypocrite Hero

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Robbie was planning something devious. Something maniacally mad and genius. But after his latest not so genius plan, involving carrots and a medieval trebuchet, he was low on resources. Which lead him to his current location, the LazyTown garbage dump. It wasn’t the most prestige location for good machinery parts, but it was free. And best of all, it was quiet.

No little children running around, making noise, and inducing headaches. Robbie rubbed his temple just at the thought. Aside from the two or three garbage men that dropped of new truck fulls of junk around midday, the place remained empty of people.

Robbie dug through a new pile, on a search for copper wire. He was currently stripping the wires from a busted TV.  Once that was finished he circled round a mountain of shopping carts, hoping to find a few discarded microwaves, but came to a jerking halt.

What the hell is the elf doing here! Robbie’s mind roared. Robbie ducked behind the shopping carts and watched his foe. Robbie would recognise that blue and white costume anywhere.  Sportacus obviously wasn’t aware that Robbie was there. His back was to Robbie, and he was sitting on a stack of cement blocks.

This wasn’t a part of Robbie’s plans, but he could work with this. He wasn’t going to ignore the gift of an unsuspecting Sportacus.

Robbie shuffled backwards and carefully, and quietly, constructed a net out of six pack rings. Stealthily he crept around the other side of the shopping cart mountain, ot Sportacus side. Where Robbie was still obstruction from his view by a pyramid of cardboard boxes.

Perfect, he won’t realize until it’s too late. Robbie thought. As he crept closer, and finally got a full view of Sportacus. He stopped dead. The makeshift net falling from his hands. Robbie’s normally active brain, grinded to a spinning halt.

Is that? No, couldn’t be. But it is……… a cigarette?

Sportacus sat, a cigarette in between his lips. A half empty pack, resting on his knee. He raised up his hand and pulled away the cigarette, blowing out a thick cloud of smoke that disappeared into the air.

Robbie stood there, five feet from the unaware hero. Too shocked to do anything, other than stare. Sportacus put the cigarette to his lips again and inhaled. His lungs filling with the toxic vapor. What alternate universe had Robbie stepped into?

Robbie shook his head, and reanalysed his surroundings and the situation.

“So, this is how the hero of LazyTown spends his free time.” Sportacus jumped up, dropping his cigarette.

“Robbie!” Sportacus yelped, like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He looked at Robbie, and then down at the cigarette he dropped. He quickly stamped it out with his boot.

Doesn’t want to start a forest fire, but is all for destroying his lungs with a cancer stick. Robbie thought.

“T-this isn’t what it looks like.” Sportacus said, eyes wide and pleading. But Robbie wasn’t going to let this go.

“Health this, health that. Eat your fruits and veggies!” Robbie said in a mocking Sportacus voice. “And don’t forget kiddies, the most important health lesson, always smoke your cigarettes!” Robbie said grinning smugly, arms crossed. Robbie was never one for healthy foods, he actively steered away from them. But junk food was one thing, and cigarettes were another. Two bad things, but one is clearly much worse, with well studied negative health impacts.

Sportacus looked down at the floor, shame written across his face. The look made Robbie instantly fell bad for some reason. But, he deserved the jab, didn’t he? All the incessant talk about being active and healthy, and he was a hypocrite about it.

“Don’t tell them.” It was a broken whisper that Robbie had to strain his ears to hear.

“What was that?” Robbie asked.

“Please, don’t tell the children.” Sportacus said, finally lifting his head to look Robbie in the eye. Throughout his life Robbie had never been known for his compassion or loving nature, but the look in Sportacus’s eyes broke his heart. Because believe it or not he did have one.

Sportacus sat back down on the cement block, head resting in his hands. Robbie glanced down at the empty cartoon, all of the cigarettes had fallen out and were now laying across the ground. Robbie sighed. He bent down, and picked them up one by one, slotting them into their proper place. He handed the package over to Sportacus and sat down beside him.

“What are you doing, Sportaflop?”

“I-I don’t know.” He wouldn't look at Robbie, his fist clenching around the cigarette carton. “This, I don’t do it everyday, but when the world is too much.…” He trailed off. Robbie was stuck by understanding. He did the same thing, but instead of cigarettes he’d smash old inventions. Or things that had failed him in someway.

“I get it,” Robbie said. “But did it have to be cigarettes?” Robbie couldn’t have even imagined where the health nut had picked up a habit like that. “You know better.”

“Yeah, I do.” Sportacus made no attempt to defend himself. He knew it was bad, and yet he didn’t stop himself. “Started when I was a teenager, and I’ve never tried to stop.” He sat up straight and ran a hand down his face. “Do you mind?” Sportacus asked, holding up the pack. Robbie shook his head.

Sportacus produced a lighter from his pocket and lite up another, taking a long drag of it. Robbie tired not to cough, but as close as he was to Sportacus now, he couldn’t help it. He went into a violent coughing fit, jumping up and quickly stepping a few feet from him.

“Sorry.” Sportacus went to put out the cigarette, but Robbie stopped him.

“No. No, it’s alright. It’s just my asthma, smokes a trigger, so’s running.” Robbie said quickly, gasping for air around every word. Sportacus’s eyes widened.

“You have asthma?” He questioned. Robbie shrugged his coughing finally settling down.

“Since I was a kid.”

“Wow” Sportacus shook his head, and then started…..laughing. It was quiet at first, he tried to contain it, his shoulders shaking. But then the dam burst and it was full, uncontrolled laughter. “N-no wonder, y-you hate exercise.” He wheezed out between laughs.

Robbie stood there for a moment, unsure how to respond. He settled on a soft smile. As much as he hated Sportadork, hearing him laugh made Robbie happy. Sportacus calmed after a few minutes, but he had a grin on his face.

“Yeah, you’ve found out my secret. Asthma is my secret reason for my hatred of exercise. Big whoop.” Robbie monotoned. He reached inside his vest and produced a red inhaler. He gave it a shake, held it up to his mouth, and inhaled the medicine.

“Sorry about this.” Sportacus said, holding up the cigarette.

“It’s fine. I’ll just keep my distance.” Robbie said. “But you know I’m never letting this go. I am never going to find dirt on you again that’s this good.” The serious look returned to Sportacus’s face.

“Just don’t say anything in front of the children, please?” Sportacus asked.

“Well, if you insist.” Robbie had no plans of sharing this information. As much as he’d love to see the downfall of his greatest foe, he wouldn’t feel any sense of victory by ruining him in the eyes of the children. Not like this.

Sportacus finished up the rest of his cigarette and threw the butt on the ground, crushing it with his boot. He tucked away the rest of the pack into his pocket. Out of sight, out of mind.

“You’ve never tired to quit?” Robbie asked, sitting back beside Sportacus. The smoke finally cleared enough to not send him away gasping for air.

“Not really.”

“Hasn’t anyone ever yelled at you for being an idiot with those things?” Robbie asked. He found it hard to believe that no one had ever given him a strong talking to about this.

“Well, no one’s ever caught me.” He admitted, but there had been a few close calls. The horror, if his father had ever caught him. Smoking is one thing for humans, it might as well be heresey for an elf. A being prided for its healthy attitude and excessive fitness. He shuddered at the thought.

“So, when you do misbehave, you’re good at hiding it. Good to know.” Robbie said.

“I only do it once or twice a month, when I’m stressed out.” Sportacus said. Robbie thought on what had been going on recently.

The trebuchet, and before that the JunkFoodinator 3000, before that the attempt to destroy the organic food market, and right before that the plot to turn all the water fountains into soda fountains. He’d been keeping Sportacus busy, not giving him any time to rest. No wonder he’s stressed.

“Well, as the first person to catch you smoking,” Robbie paused for dramatic effect, and then slapped Sportacus across the back of the head. “Stop! You idiot!” Sportacus smiled and chuckled lightly.

“Thanks, Robbie.” He said. “I’ll try, for you.”

“Don’t do it for me, do it for yourself.” Robbie muttered.

“As much as you hate me sometime, you’re a good friend.” Sportacus told him matter of factly.

“Friend?” Robbie questioned. Sportacus nodded as he stood up. He offered a hand to Robbie and pulled him to his feet.

“Friend.” Sportacus started again. “Unlikely friend, but friend all the same.” Robbie stared at him speechless. He couldn’t remember the last time, the last time anyone had called him, friend. It had been so long. A wave of sadness passed over him, and he felt tears prickle at his eyes.

“Are you alright, Robbie?” Sportacus asked. Robbie nodded meekly.

“I should be headed back home, lots to do, lots of evil plans.” He told him, his voice holding as steady as he could manage. He turned toward the exit and started walking, but he could her Sportacus following.

“Robbie, wait!” He called after him. Robbie reluctantly stopped and turned to face him. “I know we don’t get along a lot of the time, but if you ever want to get together and talk or anything, I’m fine with that. Because I really enjoyed that.” Sportacus said pointing back at the spot they’d been sitting.

Robbie swallowed a lump in his throat that was suddenly threatening to suffocate him. Why was Sportacus so nice to him, after everything he’d put him through? The questioned burned his brain. He wanted to ask, but not today.

“I-I’d like that too.” He admitted after a moment.

“Then I’ll see you around.” Sportacus smiled. “And next time, I’ll leaves the smokes at home.” Sportacus smiled brightly, and flipped away and out of the garbage dump. Robbie stood there for a few minutes, processing.

Once he was ready, he walked out, a smile plastered on his face.