Colby, Good Day

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“It’s gone,” Twila said.

Colby sighed, relief coursing through him. “You’re super sure about that, right?”

“Completely sure, look.”

Colby looked in the mirror Twila was holding up to his back. The weird mole he’d grown wasn’t there anymore. “Thank you. What if it comes back?”

“Then you come back. But it wasn’t a cancerous mole, so it wasn’t dangerous, Colby.”

Colby nodded. Twila was so nice. “It’s just…” His heart was pounding so hard in his chest. Why was this so hard? “It’s just my uncle started getting all these moles on his back, and everyone thought it wasn’t serious. But it was, and he died.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Twila told him, hand on Colby’s shoulder. “If you grow another one, come back right away. And if you’re worried, we can schedule you checkups every two weeks.”

Colby’s chest felt like it was about to cave in at that. He didn’t want that. He so desperately didn’t want that. He opened his mouth to say no. And thought of Jackie bullying him into coming to Twila in the first place. “Okay,” he said quietly, making himself nod. “Okay, every two weeks.”

“You seem nervous,” Twila said gently. She was super gentle.

“I just…don’t like healers much, I guess,” Colby admitted. “Sorry.”

“That’s okay. It’s a good thing you came, and in two weeks, if you’re nervous, you can bring someone with you.”

Colby nodded. Maybe he’d bring Jackie. Jackie had been in class so he couldn’t come. He’d offered to skip it, but Colby hadn’t let him. He should have let him. He felt so unbalanced. “Thanks. Can I go?”

“Sure. See you in two weeks.”

Colby nodded, heading for the door. “Colby?” Twila asked.

Colby looked over his shoulder, heart stopping. She’d noticed something. Something else on his back, right? Another mole. He really did have cancer, shit… “Yeah.”

“Do you want to put your shirt back on?”

“Oh,” Colby said, blushing. He’d forgotten he wasn’t properly dressed. “Thanks.” He took his shirt and pulled it over his head. “See you, Twila.”

He went down the stairs of the main tower, wondering why the fuck that had been so stupid hard. He’d stressed about it for weeks, and it had taken five minutes and now the mole was gone and he was so stupid, going for a checkup was such a stupid, basic, person thing to do that he should have just been able to do it on his own.

The whole way back to the dorm all Colby could think was that he felt so much lighter, and so happy that that was done, and that he’d done such a good job and that Jackie was going to be so proud of him and give him so many pats on the head and probably even a treat!

Colby didn’t even consciously decide to become Poppy, it just kind of happened when he got through the front door of the dorm. His last conscious thought was that he should vanish his clothes and he did that with Dark and Shadow, his bare knees hitting the floor. Poppy yelped, not having remembered his knee pads. But that was okay. He was okay. He felt so much better already.

Nobody was around, so Poppy sniffed around, sticking his face in one of Hemi’s boots. Hemi was here! Maybe he was up in his room! Oh! Or maybe he was down in the bath! Poppy liked baths! He hurried down there, bounded into the changing room. He sniffed around a bit, didn’t find any exciting clothes, so he went into the shower room.

It was empty, but Poppy went right over to the pool of water and started drinking. He was so thirsty! And then, because nobody told him not to, he put a paw in the water. Jackie didn’t appear to tell him no, so he put his other paw in. Then he climbed in. Poppy splashed around in the water for a minute, getting all wet and cooled off, before getting out, dripping water everywhere. He shook himself off, exploring around the shower room for a bit while he dripped. Nobody was in here, and he was bored, so he went upstairs. He wandered around the dorm room halls, but nobody was really around, even Hemi, so he just went to his room.

He jumped up—he wasn’t supposed to jump, but Jackie would never know!—pushed on the handle, opening the door. He was a bit hungry, but his food wasn’t down, and he whinged a bit. Poppy thought he should take a nap until Jackie came back, and went over to his bed on the floor. He paused, looking over. He wasn’t supposed to go on Jackie’s bed without an invitation, but…

He’d just go up for a little while! He’d wake up when he heard Jackie coming down the hall and get down, and Jackie would never know he’d been there! Pleased with how clever he was, Poppy hopped up on Jackie’s perfectly made bed, making the sheets a little damp as he settled in for his nap. He was having such a good day. Poppy felt like something had been bothering him before, but he couldn’t remember what it was, and as he curled up to nap on Jackie’s bed, all he could think was that he was really happy.



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