Peter woke, shivering. He got out of bad, and paced, trying to shake the feeling. He felt like he had to check the doors….they might be open….
Nononono, they’re locked….he’d locked them….
But what if he hadn’t?
In utter misery, he went and checked the doors.
Feeling terrible, he sank onto the couch and began to cry. What was happening to him?
Halfway through his crying jag, he realised that he was straightening the pillows on the couch so that they’d be at the exact right angle. He wanted to stop, to rebel, to throw the pillow away…but instead, he simply adjusted it until it was exactly in the right place.
“Stop it,” he whispered, sitting on his hands so that he couldn’t do anything else. “Just stop it….”
Peter? Auburn’s whinny cut through the Pad as he unfolded himself from his bed on the windowseat. Unlike horses, unicorns slept lying down. Peter, are you all right?
“I don’t know, Auburn,” Peter whispered. “I just…can’t seem to…get things…right in my head…”
Can I help?
“I don’t know,” Peter whispered. “Can you make it go away? I have to…make sure everything’s just so, and…double check and triple check….I feel like I’m losing it, Auburn…”
The baby unicorn snuggled close and let Peter hold him.
He also sent out ‘wake up’ pulses to the others.
Peter would not suffer alone.
Shortly thereafter, the other three came stumbling out of their rooms. “What’s going on?” Mike asked, stifling a yawn.
“I think something’s wrong with me,” Peter said, trembling a little.
“Oh, yeah? Like what?” Micky asked, sitting on the edge of the couch and moving the pillow.
Before Peter could reply, Davy put the pillow back into place, adjusting it so that it was at exactly the same angle as before.
“Why did you do that?” Peter asked.
“Do what?” Davy asked, frowning slightly.
“Move the pillow.”
Davy shrugged. “It was out of place.”
“Oh, no…” Peter began to tremble again.
“Peter….you’re scared to death,” Mike said. “What’s the matter?”
“I don’t know if I can tell you,” Peter whispered.
“Why not?” Micky asked.
Peter bowed his head and burst into tears again.
“Peter…it’s messing you up inside keeping this to yourself,” Mike said. “Anyone can see that. And who knows…maybe we can help you.”
Peter sniffled. “You…think so?”
“Just try us,” Mike said gently.
So Peter told them. Everything.
And they had no answers.
Peter then sighed. “Maybe If I Linked Up, I could find out what this is.”
Davy went ash-pale as he looked frantically at Mike. Linking Up mean Peter was going to mentally connect with that damned computer again.
“I don’t know that that’s the best idea,” Mike said slowly. “I mean, y’know what happened last time. And I don’t think it’s a good idea to hook up with the computer every time you’re having a problem.”
“Then what do you think I should do?” Peter asked. “Because you guys don’t know. I don’t’ know. Auburn doesn’t know.”
“I think you should see a doctor, Peter,” Mike said gently.
Peter looked at Mike. “That’s really what you think?”
Mike nodded. “Yeah. That’s really it.”
“A…All right…” Peter said, shaking. He leaned into Mike’s shoulder, and Mike wrapped his arms around him comfortingly, as though he were a little boy needing a father.
Across the circle, Davy barely noticed he had done the same to Micky.
Micky frowned at Davy. “Davy…what are you doing?”
“Huh?” Davy asked.
“Well…nothing’s wrong, is it?” Micky asked.
“I’m…not…sure,” Davy whispered, sitting back up, then standing up and moving to the bedroom, confusion written on his face.
He only paused to straighten the pillows once more.
Peter stood up to follow Davy, but Mike held up his hand to indicate that hewas going to find out what was happening.
Mike went into Davy and Peter’s room, shutting the door softly behind him. “Davy? What just happened in there?”
“I don’t know,” Davy whispered, clearly miserable.
Mike blinked. Davy’s emotions were… this was really weird. It was like they were the exact mirror image of… uh oh.
Davy looked up, to see Mike ashen-faced and staring at him. “Mike?” he asked, slowly standing. “Michael, you’re frightening me.”
Mike licked his lips. “Davy… I’m scanning you…”
“And I’m… I’m finding… Peter.”
Davy’s eyes went wide…too wide, too round. “What?”
Mike nodded, trying to keep calm. “Yeah…that’s what it, uh…looks like.”
Davy trembled, and Mike laid a hand on his shoulder. In that same gentle voice, he said, “Davy….it’s looking like you didn’t--- come all the way back.”
“Yes I did,” Davy said, his voice rising in panic. “I did…. I’m all the way…I’m me, Michael! I—I can’t be somebody else!”
“You’re from England. And right now you sound like you’re from Connecticut.”
“I don’t hear it… I can’t help it,” Davy said. “What I sound like is what I sound like and I’m sorry if that messes you up but that’s just how I feel.”
“Whoa, Davy, relax! Look, let’s focus on Peter here. Let’s find out what’s wrong with him – cause I’ll betcha dollars to doughnuts you’ve got the exact same thing goin’ on.”
Davy nodded, and when he spoke, his voice was Peter’s soft, shy baritone. “I hope you’re right.”
Mike wrapped his arms around him, both for comfort and so Davy wouldn’t see the grief on his face. “I’m sure I’m right.”
Davy was the one to finally break out of the hug. “I’m okay,” he said. “Really. I’ll be okay. I think.”
Mike nodded. “Well…all right, but you holler if you need anything.”
Davy smiled Peter’s smile. “I will. Don’t worry.”
Mike swallowed hard and lied through his teeth. “I’m not worried.”
Nobody at the Pad slept for the rest of that night --- save Micky, who could’ve slept through anything.
Peter slid outside near dawn and had a long talk with Cotton. “…and I don’t know what to do….”
Do what big fish says, Cotton suggested.
Peter frowned. “Big fish?” then he laughed aloud. “You mean Mike?”
Cotton wiggled in a shark’s approximation of nodding. Big fish. He knows what to do.
“Okay,” Peter said. “But I’m afraid of what I might find out.”
What you might find out already is, Cotton said. But no name for it.
Peter nodded. “You’re right, Cotton.” He sighed, looking back at the house. “I guess I’d better see a doctor…”
Peter be well, Cotton said. Peter need learn better. And he swam off.
Peter sighed and rubbed his nose and eyes. “Again he speaks in riddles….”
When Peter got back to the house, he looked at Mike, who was nursing a cup of coffee. “Did you make the doctor’s appointment?”
Peter swallowed hard and asked the question he was afraid to ask. “How’s Davy doing?”
“He’s you,” Mike said softly. “We’re hoping once we get you straightened out, he’ll straighten out.” He looked up at Peter and smiled crookedly. “Does that make any sense at all?”
“Yes,” Peter said, “but…when you say he’s me…how much is he me?”
“Physically and identity wise, he’s still Davy – but the body actions, the mannerisms, the voice…is all you.”
Peter slumped back, leaning against the doorjamb. “I have to see a doctor, then, Michael. Otherwise… he might be like this for the rest of his life.”
“He might be anyway,” Mike said softly.
“Who might be how?” Davy asked worriedly from the doorway.
They fell silent, not knowing quite what to say.
“You were talking about me, weren’t you?” Davy said dejectedly, staring at the carpet.
“Uhm…only a little bit,” Mike hedged.
Davy glared at him. “That’s like saying someone’s a little bit pregnant, Michael! Why were you talking about me?”
“Because we don’t know what’s wrong with you or how to fix it!” Mike shot back.
Davy paled, leaning against the doorway. “I don’t know either,” he said softly. “I woke up… and I came down here and I had to check if the door was locked and… I talked to Cotton this morning and I still…”
Peter’s mouth opened, but no sound came out.
“Peter?” Mike asked.
Peter swallowed hard. “I did talk to Cotton…he’s remembering what I did…”
Davy’s eyes widened. “But it’s like I did it!”
Mike sighed and rubbed his head. “Okay, let’s back up here. Something you said struck a familiar chord. Davy… Peter… you did what to the door? And why?”
“I checked—“ Both Davy and Peter began at the same time. Then they looked at each other.
“Go ahead,” Davy said in a tiny voice, gesturing to Peter.
Peter looked at Mike. “I checked the door to make sure it was locked. I knew it was locked but… I couldn’t rest until… I’d checked it again…” Peter hung his head in shame.
Mike nodded. “I think I know what this is.”
Davy and Peter’s heads snapped up almost as one as they chorused, “You do?!”
“I think you might have OCD. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It’s… it’s a mental illness.”
Davy and Peter’s lower lips started to tremble.
“I…h-have a mental illness?” Peter asked.
“I’m crazy?” Davy asked.
Eyes still locked onto Peter’s, Mike said firmly, “You are not crazy. And a doctor will have to check you out, but yeah, I’m pretty sure you do.” Suddenly his hand flashed out and he took Peter’s. “Look – it’s treatable. This is not a sentence to live your life in an institution, drooling on a straightjacket. It’s not not kind of illness. It’s something that can be controlled by medication and behavior modification – just like diabetes. You’re not crazy. You have a treatable, controllable illness.”
Peter nodded, somewhat relieved. “Okay.”
“What about me?” Davy asked from the doorway.
Mike looked slowly up at Davy. “Well…as far as the illness goes…the same thing that goes for him goes for you. As far as anything else…” Mike just shook his head. “I have no idea.”
Peter went to the doctor the next morning – and on the way, caught Micky flying out over the ocean. He nearly drove off the road. “What in the world….”
Micky evidently noticed the car, because he swooped over and through the window, landing neatly in the passenger side seat. “Hey, Peter. Want me to come with you?”
“How did you do that?” Peter demanded.
Micky shrugged. “Oh…it’s just something I do.”
“Since I got the aura thing. I don’t know exactly since when. All I know is I like it,” Micky said.
Peter grinned and squeezed his hand. “Sure, come with me – and take me flying after! You better turn off the glowworm bit, though, or the doctor will be examining you instead of me!”
The Doctor’s diagnosis was just what Mike had suggested: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The doctor prescribed anti-anxiety medication to help control it.
On the drive back, Peter asked, “What about Davy?”
“What about him?” Micky asked.
“If he…doesn’t get better…he’ll need this stuff too.” Peter rattled the small cylinder full of pills.
“Then I’ll forge the doctor’s signature and get him some,” Micky said breezily. “You wanna fly?”
Peter’s eyes went wide with wonder and delight. “DO I!”
Micky laughed. He glowed and rose into the air, then turned the glow dark blue and tractor-beamed Peter up to him. Then he took off flying.
Peter looked down at the world beneath him. “It’s all so beautiful.”
Micky grinned. “Now you know why I come up here all the time.”
“Yes! I’m going to become addicted to this!” Peter laughed.
“I already am,” Micky said in all seriousness.
Peter frowned and looked at Micky. “You…huh?”
“I’m addicted,” Micky said as he touched down by the car. “If I ever become land-bound again, I think I’d go mad.”
“I don’t think that’s anything to worry about,” Peter said. “Besides, you were land-bound once. You’d adapt back to it.”
“Maybe. I don’t know,” Micky said. “It’s just so freeing…don’t tell the other guys about it, please?”
“I won’t tell Mike,” Peter said. “But Davy already knows, if he’s still…like he was this morning.
Micky nodded sympathetically. “Wanna check up on him?”
Peter nodded. If you’ll come with me.”
“Of course!” Micky smiled. “What are friends for?”
Peter smiled and went into the house with Micky.
Davy was not better. Not at all. Now he was obsessively counting spoons.
“Davy, what are you doing?” Micky asked.
“I have to make sure they’re the right number,” Davy said…still in Peter’s voice. “I have to…”
“They’re the right number. You’ve counted them three times since we’ve been here. Come here,” Micky said.
“I-I can’t, what if they’re not right?”
Peter put his arm around Davy and led him from the drawer. “They’re right. Trust me.”
“I know you’re right,” Davy said. “I know that, but…I still…I can’t…make it stop…” He shook his head. “Why can’t it just go away?”
Peter told him the OCD was confirmed. And he told him of the treatments and of the medication.
“Will it help?” Davy asked. “Because I feel like…my mind is coming apart at the seams…”
“It’ll help,” Peter said. “Trust me.”
And he gave Davy one of his pills.
The next morning, Peter and Davy both had slept through the night, undisturbed by obsessions and compulsions.
Micky and Davy, however, were up early in case Peter and Davy had not been able to sleep.
“Well,” Mike said, upon reaching the foot of the stairs and seeing that nobody was awake besides the two of them, “I guess that’s a good sign.”
“Good is right. It’s fantastic,” Micky sighed. “Now can we go back to sleep?”
“You can if you want,” Mike said. “Think I’ll stay up…read the paper…do whatever. Mess around.”
“In case one of them does wake up?” Micky asked.
Mike nodded. “This Davy thing’s gotta stop sometime. I mean, he’s gotta be fully himself again.
Mike’s words seemed like a joke two hours later. Davy was as Peter as Peter was without looking like him.
It was damned frightening to see.
Micky’s method of dealing with this was to pretend that nothing was happening.
“Micky,” Davy said timidly, holding his hands close to his abdomen the way Peter sometimes did, “do you know if we have any cereal?”
“Leftmost cabinet by the sink,” Micky answered without missing a beat.
“Thank you,” Davy said, turning around and bumping smack into Mike. “Oh…I’m sorry, Michael.”
Mike’s reaction, however, was to get to the bottom of this.
“Michael?” Mike asked, sounding just a tad irate. Davy stepped back nervously. “Who are you, anyway?”
“Then act like him! Not like this! You’re Peter in all but face and name and it’s damned scary! Come on, Davy – go back to you!”
Davy blinked, bewildered. “But I…me?”
“Yeah, you,” Mike said with some irritation.
“Mike, cool it,” Micky said.
“I’m not gonna cool it!” Mike said angrily. “This is ridiculous!”
Then I’ll cool it for you!” Micky’s auras flared on, flared dark green – and he fired at Mike.
Mike fell to the ground, immobile – in stasis. In a coma-like state.
“Micky!” Davy gasped, kneeling by Mike’s side and touching his arm. Mike did not respond; he just lay immobile. Davy started to cry, and when he looked back at Micky, his eyes were Peter’s shade of brown, not his own. “Micky…what did you do?”
“I…just stunned him,” Micky said lamely. “I thought it might be…easier for you if Mike wasn’t on your case about….things…” But Micky stopped cold when he realised he had done exactly the wrong thing.
Now Davy was afraid.
In the space of a few minutes, the person beside Mike shifted and changed to a shivering, frightened blond.
Davy was Peter again.
Micky flew into Peter’s room – literally – and collapsed on the floor, crying.
Peter gasped. “Micky, what…”
“He’s you again! All you again! I screwed up, Peter…so badly….”
“What happened?” Peter asked. “What did you do?”
Micky told him.
“So,” Peter asked, “will Mike come out of it on his own, or do you have to fix it?”
“I just stunned him for a minute,” Micky said. “He’ll be out by the time we go out there again…Peter, I thought I was helping and I just made things worse…”
“Gosh, Micky, I have no idea what that’s like,” Peter said innocently. He surprised a chuckle out of Micky. “Listen…Micky… you didn’t know how Davy would react.”
“I should’ve guessed,” Micky said. “He was thinking like you…I should’ve known.”
Peter shook his head. “You looked at him and you saw Davy. And that’s who you were trying to help. And we’ll figure out how to help him, Micky.”
Micky raised an eyebrow. “How’d you get to be so wise?”
“Must be that damned computer.”
Peter whapped him with a pillow. “I do have some smarts of my own, thankyouverymuch!”
“See what I mean? I just keep screwing up!” He sank onto the bed, his face a picture of misery under the hunter green glow.
“Micky, you didn’t screw up,” Peter said. “Sometimes you just….act before you think.”
“All the time,” Micky groaned.
“Maybe. But most of the time you end up all right.” Peter smiled. “Now, c’mon, let’s go see how Davy and Mike are doing.”
Out in the living room, Mike moaned as his eyes opened. His hand went to his forehead as he sat up gingerly, barely aware other hands were helping him. When he came to himself, he found himself bathed in an aura of worried fear that could only come from one person. “Thanks, Pete…I’m better. Man, what was that?”
“Micky hit you with some kind of beam, knocked you silly!” came the immediate, almost tearful answer.
“I gotta have a long talk with him.” He smiled at Auburn, who was staring at them with worry worse than Peter’s. “We’re okay, kid.”
The baby unicorn shook his head and shied away from Peter.
At that action, Mike knew something was horribly wrong.
Mike turned to Peter. “You didn’t hook up with that computer again, did you?”
“Computer?” Peter asked, furrowing his brow. “No…”
Mike frowned. (Then what could Auburn be so edgy about? Peter seems okay to….Oh. Wait.) Mike turned to the unicorn and asked, “It’s Davy, isn’t it?”
Auburn’s emotions were an emphatic YES.
He turned back to Davy and ran a hand over his arm. “It’s okay, buddy. It’s okay. I’m okay.”
“Are you sure?” Davy asked.
Mike nodded. “You bet.”
Davy nodded, smiling tentatively. “That’s good.”
He did not change back to himself.
Mike forced a watery smile. (This is not good. Not good at all.) “Uhm…Davy?”
He responded to the name, looking at Mike.
(That is a good sign…) “Did you realise you look like Peter now?”
“Well…it’s kinda…weird,” Mike said. “You know. Happened kinda suddenly.”
“You mean…I wasn’t trying to--? I don’t have control over it?” he asked, starting to tremble.
(Oh, no…c’mon, Nesmith, don’t get him scared again!) “No, no…we think you do…but we want you to be you again,” Mike said.
“I am me, Michael,” came the immediate response.
“Yeah, but I can’t tell which ‘me’ that is,” Mike said, making a supreme effort to sound calm and just a little puzzled. “It seems like maybe you’re scared of something and you’re hiding. I dunno. Can you tell me what it is?”
“I’m not hiding,” Davy said. “Despite what you think, Michael, I can’t control whatever’s happening to me. I can’t just change the way my mind works by thinking ‘I have to stop being this way’. It’s innate. It’s how I am. And I know I wasn’t always this way….but I’m a different person now.”
(No kidding,) Mike thought.
Davy sighed. “But maybe…” He lowered his head and closed his eyes. Slowly his body shifted back to Davy’s familiar form – only it was still Peter’s size. The hair was still Peter’s dusty blond and the large eyes that looked out from the Englishman’s face were Peter’s shade of brown.
Still….it was a start.
Mike nodded. “Okay, man. You move as slow as you need to. I can dig that.”
Davy nodded. “Okay.”
Micky and Peter walked into the room. Without looking at Davy, Micky began, “Listen…. I want to apologise for…. Y’know….zapping Mike. It was stupid, and I know I scared you, and I didn’t mean to, and….” Micky looked at Davy for the first time, and blinked. “Oookay….uhm… if you don’t mind me asking…who are you now?”
“I….I-I’m Davy,” he whispered, New England-accented.
Mike laid a hand on Micky’s arm. “He’s takin’ awhile to calm down. It’ll all be okay.” Then he glared at Micky. “And if you ever zap me like that again…”
Micky grinned slightly. “Understood.”
Peter just stood there, looking at Davy. Mike guessed he understood why; it could be pretty weird when somebody you expected to look like himself looked like you instead.
Davy squirmed a little under Peter’s gaze. “Well…say something….”
After another moment, Peter smiled. “Hi.”
Davy laughed. As conversations went, it was a stunner. “Hi,” he laughed.
“C’mon,” Peter said, holding out his hand. “We need to go talk about a few things.”
Davy took it and stood up. As they walked outside, Micky asked, “You think they’ll ever get themselves straightened out?”
Mike looked strangely at Micky. “What do you mean, themselves? Peter’s fine…isn’t he?”
Micky sighed. “No…I’ve not said anything yet, but he’s too calm. It’s almost as if that medication hyped up Davy’s emotions and wiped Peter’s out completely!”
Mike sighed in frustration. “Well, then what are we going to do, huh? I mean, Peter can’t just go around counting spoons and making sure doors are locked twenty-seven times in a row … and Davy sure can’t do what he was doin’ before… this obsessive-compulsive business was what messed up his mind in the first place!”
“I don’t know, man…but this way isn’t any good either! I wish Peter were here – maybe his animal friends have some ideas we’re overlooking.”
”Like what?” Mike asked.
“I don’t know; I’m overlooking them.”
“Even if they do have the ideas,” Mike said, “how are we going to ask them? The only one who can talk to the animals is Peter.”
“Hey, after what happened to Davy, I don’t think you or I should even attempt being Peter,” Micky said.
“Agreed,” Mike sighed. “Which puts us right back at square one.”
Micky nodded. “Perhaps if we talked to Peter about it – out of Davy’s hearing? Have him talk to his friends with us present – a kind of woodland family meeting, if you will. What do you think?”
“I think it could work,” Mike said. “Peter being placid has its advantages…so I think we could suggest this without upsetting him.”
When Davy went to bed that night, they broke it to Peter. He nodded. “Now?”
“Let’s do it,” Mike said.
They gathered Auburn and all Peter’s animal friends – Jade and practically every animal he’d spoken to that could get there – in one place near the water and asked them what they thought should be done about Peter and Davy.
After the question was asked, Jade curled up and put her lower jaw on top of Peter’s head sympathetically. Peter smiled up at her. “Yes, hon – my head’s not working right. Neither is Davy’s.”
A nearby crow cawed something, and Peter frowned, thinking. “You think that would work?”
“Peter, what’d he say?” Mike asked cautiously.
“About Davy…” Peter said. “He says Davy’s caught up in my state of mind, and it keeps cycling back on itself. That’s why there’s so much trouble. We have to force him back to himself, he says.”
“But what if forcing doesn’t work? What if he just finds somebody else to be?” Micky asked.
“Yeah, and besides, how do we force him?” Mike asked.
Peter shrugged. I don’t know. I’m just saying what he’s saying.”
“My state of mind is changing places all the time…” Micky sang with a smile, earning glares from everyone and a play-bite from the nonpoisonous snake.
“Cotton says…” Peter blinked. “Cotton says we need to get a girl from Davy’s past, one who won’t freak out to see him like this…and that she can bring him back.”
“You think it’ll work?” Mike asked.
Micky shrugged. “Couldn’t hurt, right?”
“Well, technically, yeah, it could, but…never mind,” Mike said, shaking his head. “And what do they say about you?”
“They want to dissipate it among themselves,” Peter said.
Mike frowned. “I don’t follow.”
“Well, this is what they say,” Peter said. “They say that, since I can hear them and understand them…they can kind of…all surround me and… I’m not sure about the specifics, but…they say it’d take about an hour, and they’d each take a little bit of the anxiety…so that I wouldn’t have it anymore, and so I wouldn’t have to be on the medication.”
Micky nodded. “Smart animals.”
Mike nodded as well. “Very smart. Let’s do this. Have them start right now – the sooner we get you well, the sooner we can all be back to normal.”
“As normal as we can be with powers,” Peter quipped.
“Monkees-normal,” Micky chuckled.
Peter looked at the animals, and then nodded. “Okay…it looks like…I’ll be out here for an hour. After that, I’ll come straight home…and I’ll be fine.” He smiled at them. “So don’t worry.”
“Worry? Us? As if we’d worry,” Micky scoffed, lying through his teeth.
Peter smiled. “All right. Fine. Just make sure Davy’s okay.”
“Right,” Mike said. “We’ll get started on that right away. C’mon, Mick.”
So they headed for the house.
They found Davy – still tall and blond – pacing the house, wringing his hands. “Can’t relax…” he gasped when he saw them. “I can’t relax…and I don’t know why!”
“Sit down, man,” Micky said, easing Davy into a seat and sitting beside him.
Davy continued to wring his hands. “I…can’t make it stop….”
“We know. We know,” Mike said, doing his best to sound comforting. “We were thinking… we were thinking maybe you’d want to visit with one of your girlfriends…you know…might help ease the tension.”
“At this point, man, I’ll try anything!” Davy wailed. “Who and when?”
“Whoever you want,” Micky replied. “We can go through your book, or you can pick somebody. Is there one girl you’d rather see? One who doesn’t’ get shook up easily?”
“Uhm…” Davy’s brow wrinkled in concentration. “Let me think…”
After ten minutes of wracking his brain, Davy sighed. “Get the bloody book.”
After a few minutes of searching the book, they found an old girlfriend of Davy’s named Tina. “She was a rock,” Davy confirmed. “Nothing threw her off.”
Mike nodded, dialing the number. “I think that’s just the kind of person we want to talk to.”
But Tina wasn’t home. They left a message for her to call.
Twenty minutes later, she did.
Mike explained the situation to her. “Do you think…would you mind coming over here?”
“I’ll be there right away,” Tina said firmly. “If Davy needs me. After what he did for me, I could hardly turn him down.” There was a click as Tina hung up.
Mike raised an eyebrow, looking over at Micky and Davy. “After what you did for her? Mind explaining?”
But Davy was sliding back into Peter-mode. “I don’t remember,” he slurred.
Mike sighed, looking at the door. “All I gotta say is, she better get here soon.”
Davy blinked confusedly at Mike. “Who’d better get here soon, Michael?”
Mike cursed low under his breath.
There came a knock on the door. “That was quick,” Micky said, springing for the door.
“Thank goodness,” Mike grumbled.
“Where is he?” Tina said as she – wheeled! – inside. The tiny auburn-haired woman was in a wheelchair. “Where is he and what can I do and how soon can we get started?”
Micky blinked. “Hi…Tina….”
Davy blinked as well. “Tina?” He rubbed his temples a little bit, confusion …and a little bit of recognition… on his face. “I should know that name.”
Mike gestured helplessly. “Talk to him, will ya?”
Tina nodded. “I’ll see what I can do.” She wheeled over and stopped by where Davy was sitting. “Hey, Dave…you’re not quite looking like yourself today.”
Davy’s face scrunched up as he tried to remember who she was. “I… I…” His face brightened. “Tina!”
“The one and the only,” she said, chuckling slightly. “So, what’s getting you down?”
“I’m not sure…I’m scared…my feelings are going everywhere and I can’t make them…stop….” Davy’s voice rose as he got more nervous.
“Hey, it’s okay,” Tina said, shrugging. Then she laughed. “Do I scare you?”
“You? Oh, no, of course not!” Davy said, shaking his head adamantly.
“Then how come you’re scared? What’s really bothering you?” Tina asked. “You don’t have to tell the other guys if you don’t want them to know…but I’d sure like it if you told me…”
“Life scares me,” he admitted in a strangled voice, then stopped, biting his lip. “No…living like Davy scares me. I’m so scared I’ll die alone, unloved…” Slowly, his hair and eyes darkened as he spoke. Physically, at least, he was all Davy again.
“Your friends love you, don’t they?” Tina asked. “They wouldn’t keep you around if they didn’t.”
Davy smiled timidly, but then the smile disappeared and he shook his head. “Not that kind of love…”
“You mean this?” She kissed him gently. “This kind of love?”
Much to Tina’s surprise, Davy blushed. “Yeah,” he admitted, ducking his head. “I mean…people don’t love Davy. Not really, not love….not like I’ve seen girls look at…Peter…”
She wheeled closer. “I could learn to love Davy – once I got to know him…” She smiled. “He loved me once.”
“I…he…y-you…” Davy stammered. “What?”
His English accent was back.
She touched his cheek. “I’ve loved David ever since he looked at me after my accident – and saw Tina, not the wheelchair.”
“You did?” he asked. His voice didn’t waver with Peter’s incredulousness; instead it was more modulated – more Davy.
Tina nodded. “Yes. I did.” She took his hands. “And I’ve missed him so badly.” She hung her head. “It’s my fault too … my family didn’t like him, so I left him. But now they’re gone back to Sacramento and I stayed here, always hoping for another chance with him.” She met his eyes. “Please, Davy…do I have it?”
Softly, almost too softly to hear, he said, “I guess you do.”
She enfolded him in a hug. “I love you, Davy. I always have.”
Davy hugged her back, blinking…and then he smiled. It wasn’t a Peter smile, either; it was a full-fledged Davy smile. “I’ve always loved you, too.”
Tina hugged him and kissed him full on the lips.
Micky smiled. “Well, that’s that, huh, Mike? Davy’s himself again.” No answer. “Mike?”
He turned to see Mike looking out the bay window over the beach, watching the goings-on below.
Upon joining Mike at the window, Micky saw that the entire group of animals was surrounding Peter, and they were swaying back and forth, as if listening to music that no one else could hear.
“I sure hope Mr. Babbitt don’t see this,” Mike grumbled. “He’s just looking for a reason to evict us, man…”
“I just hope it works,” Micky sighed.
As if on cue, Peter keeled over in a dead faint.
“That’s a good sign, right?” Micky asked uncertainly.
Mike shook his head. “I dunno, but I’m gonna find out. C’mon.” And with that, he and Micky headed out to the beach.
They arrived by his side just as Peter stirred. He smiled weakly at them. “Hi….guys….”
“How you doin’, man?” Mike asked carefully.
“I’m okay,” Peter said. He blinked, and then looked at them, a huge smile spreading across his face. “I’m really okay…for the first time in so long….”
Micky whooped and grabbed him in a huge hug. Mike looked around. “Thanks, guys,” he said to the animals, projecting a warm feeling of gratitude and joy.
“Davy?” Peter asked.
Mike nodded. “I think he’s gonna be just fine.”
Peter’s smile rivaled the rising sun.
Return to The Realm