Hey, readers! This oneshot references the episodes 'Patch Game,' 'Cherish is the Word,' 'Win a Day with WordGirl,' 'Rhyme and Reason,' and 'Vocab Bee.'

Foreword:

Well, here we go. The theme of this oneshot was suggested by Ani-maniac494, and the story takes place the weekend after 'Cajole.' The theme provided me with an opportunity to explore a potential threat to Becky and Tobey's relationship that I have seen on the horizon ever since I was still working on my very first WordGirl fanfic. It's a subtle, subversive little issue, but one that I couldn't imagine NOT coming up eventually as they continued to grow closer. I'd like to thank you, Animaniac, for giving me this opportunity to flush it from the shadows. *cackles menacingly*


Diffident [dif-i-duh nt] – lacking confidence in one's own ability, worth, or fitness; timid; shy.

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Becky screamed.

She hung from the edge of a cliff, so high up that she couldn't see the ground below. For the first time in her life, the height terrified her. What had happened to her powers? She was one shaky handhold away from a fall that would surely kill her, and she could summon neither lift to fly, nor strength to pull herself to safety. She held desperately to the jutting ledge, heart racing with dread and confusion.

"HELP!" she called out desperately. "Somebody!"

She could feel her grip beginning to slacken as the strength ebbed from her arms.

A ray of hope jolted through her as the shape of a person appeared, standing over her on solid ground just beyond the edge of the precipice. "Tobey!"

He smiled down at her, loosely crossing his arms. "Well, if it isn't the once-proud WordGirl," he said coolly, playing up his false accent for all it was worth. "Having a bit of trouble, are we?"

"Tobey," Becky grunted, struggling to hold on, "Help me!"

Tobey tapped his chin and casually said, "Hmm… I don't know if I want to."

"What?" Becky gasped.

Tobey shrugged, his expression impassive. "I'm just not sure you're worth the trouble anymore. Helping you was entertaining for a while, but honestly, it's beginning to bore me."

Becky's heart froze over. She nearly gave up her handhold out of sheer horrified surprise. "But… you said you loved me."

"Indeed," said Tobey. "'Loved.' Past tense. And come to think of it, that may have been a bit too strong a word. Liked might be more accurate. I liked you for the mystique, the power, the thrill of the chase… and clearly I was right to. Look how utterly unimpressive you are without them."

Tears streamed down Becky's face. Tobey's words were as frigid and clear as they were condemning, yet still she grappled with shock and disbelief. "But…" she sobbed, clinging to the edge of the cliff with trembling hands. "I thought you'd changed."

"What's that?" Tobey chuckled. "Dear, simple Becky, I've changed a number of times since we've known each other. Why does it surprise you that I'm changing again?"

"But I—trusted you," she pleaded, her voice trembling with heartbreak. "I thought I knew you."

At that very moment her strength gave out, and as she was about to fall she felt a strong hand seize hers. She looked up and saw Tobey kneeling at the edge of the cliff as he held onto her. His expression twitched into a scowl as his cold eyes met hers, and he callously muttered, "I thought I knew you for three years before I found out you were WordGirl. You get to be two different people. Why shouldn't I?"

He let go, and indifferently watched her fall.

« … »

Becky bolted upright in her bed. The room was dark, and the blanket was strewn about her in a tangled mess. Bob hopped up onto the mattress beside her, chirping with concern.

Becky gasped a few breaths and experimentally levitated an inch or two into the air.

"A dream," she murmured in relief. "It was just a dream…"

Dream or not, though, it had shaken her soundly. It didn't help that it was the third and worst such dream she'd had for several consecutive nights. A recurring nightmare. She'd always thought those only happened in movies. Yet another addition to the rapidly growing list of things she'd been wrong about.

She hadn't even gathered her wits enough to answer Bob's questions before she heard footsteps approaching her room. In a panic, she zapped to the door and threw her weight against it, turning the lock in the same moment she felt the handle jiggle from the other side.

"Becky?" her mother asked in a nervous voice. "I heard some noises. Is something the matter?"

Becky swallowed, and managed with some effort to master herself enough to give a what she hoped was a convincing, "It's nothing."

She hadn't lied to her parents since before she'd told them she was WordGirl. A twinge of guilt pricked her, but she mollified it with the assurance that what she'd told her mother wasn't entirely untrue. It was nothing—nothing that she could help her with.

"Are you sure?" asked Mom in a dubious voice.

"Yes, it's fine," she said, desperately willing cheerfulness into her voice. "I'm sorry I woke you."

There was a moment of uncertain silence. Finally, her mother conceded in a reluctant tone, "All right, then. Sweet dreams, Becky."

Becky heaved a deep sigh, listening to her leave, then sank to the floor in a quivering huddle. Bob padded quietly over to her. She couldn't see his face clearly in the stark dimness, but she could feel the anxiousness in his touch as he wrapped his long arms around her shoulders and moaned uneasily.

Becky sighed and reached up to grasp his hand in lieu of a thank you. "Just another nightmare," she explained. "Nothing you need to worry about."

Though still clearly unsatisfied, Bob trustingly yielded.

Becky bit her lip to hold back a sob, and reluctantly admitted to herself what she had to do. If she was to lay this bizarre issue to rest, she would have to bring it to the last person on Earth she wanted to talk to about it.

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WordGirl held her hand up to the window and hesitated. This was so stupid. It was the middle of the night! She couldn't back down now, though. She'd rather face Tobey feeling petty and ridiculous than face another one of those nightmares.

Steadying herself with a deep breath, she tapped lightly on the window. Peering inside the dark room, she could see a lump on the bed stir. A moment later a disheveled blonde teenager in striped blue pajamas rose up and glanced over at the window. He squinted at her with bleary eyes and reached for his glasses, which he slowly and haphazardly put on. Once he saw her through the lenses, his eyes opened wide and all visible traces of fatigue left him. He hopped to his feet and rushed to the window, sliding it open.

"Becky?" he greeted.

WordGirl forced a wan smile and gave him a weak wave. It had been days since she'd seen him in person, and since then she'd seen him several times in increasingly horrible dreams. It made for a bizarre concoction of feelings as she stared at him now.

The initial burst of surprise over, Tobey yawned and reached under his glasses to rub his eyes. "Is something wrong?" he asked drowsily.

WordGirl bit her lip and morosely drifted inside. She landed on the floor, touched the star on her chest, and just like that, she was Becky again. She felt a little embarrassed at the realization that she, too, was in her pajamas, but at least this way if Tobey felt awkward about it, he would be in good company. She heard light footsteps approach and then Tobey's soft, genuine voice said, "Becky?"

Becky clenched a trembling fist and turned around to face him. "I'm sorry I woke you," she said, eyes trained on the floor. She raised a listless hand to grasp her limp elbow. "I… really need to talk to you about something."

A few minutes later they were sitting side-by-side on the floor with their backs supported against Tobey's bed. There was just enough moonlight streaming in through the open window that she could see the worried look on his face as she gathered her courage and tried to figure out the least risky way to open this can of worms.

"I—keep having this dream," she gingerly began, "where you kind of… abandon me."

She couldn't think of a nicer way to put it. Ashamed, she looked away from him and wrapped her arms tighter around her knees.

After a long silence, Tobey whispered in a pained voice, "Becky, you know I would never—"

"Yes, of course I know," Becky interrupted, her whole body tensing as she squeezed her eyes shut. She forced herself to look up at him and urgently added, "I trust you, Tobey, I really do! That's not the problem…"

She trailed off and let her eyes drift once more to the floor. Frustration bubbled in her heart and her eyes began to sting. She couldn't explain it… She couldn't even understand it. Why?

"Okay," Tobey murmured awkwardly, sounding like he was trying very hard to keep a lid on his tumultuous emotions. He had never been very good at that. "What… is the problem, then?"

Becky heaved a flustered sigh. She had seen the question coming, but still felt irked by her utter incompetence to answer it. "I don't know," she admitted, releasing her hold on her knees and slapping her hands against the floor. "I don't even know why I'm telling you about this, I just—I don't—Ugh!"

She coiled herself once more into a tight ball, pressing her face against her knees and stewing in her own insufficiency. The worst part was not being able to wrap her own mind around it. Somehow the guilt, the fear, and even the horrifying dreams themselves would surely be much easier to bear if she could only put her finger on why she was struggling with them. She was reminded of a quote from a book she'd read once—'The known, however terrible, is often easier to live with than the unknown.' She had never really understood that assertion until now. Now she was finding out the hard way just how infuriatingly true it was.

She felt a hand rest softly on her shoulder, the motion hesitant and gentle. "I don't know what to tell you, Becky," Tobey said. His voice was mostly sympathetic and concerned, but carried a faint trace of his own frustration. "I love you. I've always loved you."

Becky's whole heart rose up at hearing those words—good, bad, selfish, noble, and everything in between. She looked sharply up at Tobey, fresh tears stinging her eyes, and before she could even think about what she was saying she blasted, "No, you've always loved WordGirl! You didn't care about me until you found out I was WordGirl!"

Tobey gasped, and Becky's breath caught in her throat. There it was… The answer. The unfair, unconscionable, undeniable answer. Becky felt sick all of a sudden.

"I—I'm sorry," she spluttered, "I don't know why I said—" She stopped in the middle of her sentence, realizing that it was a lie. She did know why she'd said it. She'd said it because she'd felt it. It was the epiphany of her deepest, truest feelings. Tobey's feelings for her had always been contingent upon WordGirl. That had never bothered her before… but then, she had never shared those feelings before. Now that they were a couple, she suddenly hated the fact that Tobey had always loved WordGirl. She found herself thinking back on every frustrating moment in the fifth grade when he had praised WordGirl's merits while rebuking Becky's flaws—every time he'd compared or contrasted the two of them, lifting WordGirl up or tearing Becky down. They were like tiny pinpricks that came one after the other until their combined effect was a gaping wound.

Even as the anger and pain broke forth to wash over her, she knew that it wasn't fair for her to feel them. It wasn't fair to Tobey, who had sacrificed so much for her sake. No, her feelings weren't fair… but she felt them nonetheless.

Becky stared up at the stunned, anguished look on Tobey's face, and she wished like crazy that she could shove this whole awful mess back into the realm of the unknown. No way that would've been harder to live with than this would be.

Her heart sank as Tobey slowly withdrew his hand from her shoulder. "I…"

But he said nothing more. Becky could hear his heartbeat quickening as if in fear. At least they had that in common.

"I should go," Becky said in a choked voice. She didn't know what else to say or do.

Tobey shifted at her side like he wanted to stop her, but he neither touched nor spoke to her as she rose to her feet. She blasted out the window and somehow managed not to burst into tears as she flew back home.

Bob was waiting on her bed when she arrived back in her room, and she hung her head in shame when he hopefully met her eyes. "Could you… leave me alone, please?

She felt bad asking, but she knew she'd never be able to explain to him in her current state. Bob looked worried and reluctant, but he nonetheless solemnly nodded and left the room without putting up a fight. Once out in the hallway, he took one last sorrowful look at Becky, then quietly closed the door behind him.

Becky stood alone in the darkness and let the tears come. She staggered over to her bed and snuggled up in the covers, drinking in whatever feeble comfort their warmth could offer. There she wept bitterly, but never quite managed to cry herself to sleep.

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Tobey got up early in the morning, feeling frustrated and depressed. He hadn't been able get back to sleep after Becky's midnight visit. Now that the sun was rising, there was really no point staying in bed.

He reached automatically for his nightstand to grab his glasses and realized a moment later that they were still on his face. He'd never taken them off after Becky left. He sighed and removed them for a moment to rub his eyes, then put them back on and stared lifelessly at the opposite wall. It was lovingly adorned with all manner of things that reminded him of the girl he loved—photos, newspaper articles, mementos from battles, and so on. Most of them pertained to WordGirl. Those that pertained specifically to Becky were fewer and, perhaps more importantly, newer.

You didn't care about me until you found out I was WordGirl!

Tobey shuddered. Her cutting words implied something terrible—that he didn't love her for who she was, or that he only cared for her because of her secret celebrity persona. It just wasn't true! She had to know it wasn't true, right? Yet, there had been no hesitation or uncertainty in her voice. She had spoken the words with strong, sorrowful conviction.

The worst part was that her accusation, in and of itself, was true. Much as Tobey wanted to dismiss it as unfounded, he realized upon careful reflection that, indeed, he hadn't paid any special attention to Becky prior to knowing her secret identity. Before knowing she was WordGirl he had treated her with indifference at best. He'd long regretted that, but not until now had he realized just how great a double-standard his actions had shown. His behavior toward both WordGirl and Becky had been despicable, but there was a clear distinction between them. WordGirl he had fervently admired, while Becky he had merely tolerated. His tender feelings had not extended to the latter until the two had become one in his mind.

Tobey took a deep, sad breath, and got to his feet. He'd thought about it all night, and the only thing he'd managed to conclude was that Becky couldn't be blamed for the way she felt. That meant it fell to him to answer her insecurities. The problem was, he hadn't the foggiest idea how.

Downstairs he was surprised to find his mother already working on breakfast. Apparently, she had risen early this morning as well. He didn't know whether that relieved or disappointed him. Before he could decide whether to quietly retreat back to his room, she turned around and noticed him.

"Tobey," she greeted with a smile, though she sounded rather melancholy. "You're up early."

Tobey tried to smile back at her but lacked the energy to force himself. "Good morning, Mom," he unenthusiastically replied, stepping quietly into the kitchen.

"I made an ice cream cake this morning," she said, indicating the dessert on the countertop.

"For breakfast?" Tobey asked in amazement.

"Why not?" she said.

Tobey raised an eyebrow. He could think of several reasons off the top of his head she might say why not. He chose not to point any of them out, though. The cake looked delicious and smelled even better.

His mother quietly walked up to him. Without warning, she gently took his glasses right off his face and began to examine them. With a sigh she looked back at her son, eyes full of concern, and said, "So… you have been crying."

Tobey stiffened, realizing he hadn't bothered to wipe away the tiny telltale spots on his lenses. He hadn't thought about how his mother wore glasses too and was bound to notice such things. The embarrassment was enough to flush his cheeks and spark him momentarily out of his melancholy stupor. He snatched his glasses back from her and put them back on his face.

"How did you…?"

"I heard Becky last night," Mother admitted. "She was rather loud."

Tobey reflexively took a step back, flushing with shame. His mother took two steps forward, wrapped an arm around Tobey's shoulders, and herded him into the living room, where she sat him down on the couch and grasped his wrist with her free hand. Tobey was beginning to wish he'd stayed in bed. There was no getting around her invasive concern now, though, and he had neither the will nor the energy to fight her.

The woman stared at him with grave, sympathetic eyes and solemnly asked, "Did she… break up with you?"

"What?" Tobey exclaimed. "No!"

Goodness, he hadn't even considered THAT. The idea ignited a sense of urgency in him. If losing Becky was even a remote possibility, he couldn't afford to waste time feeling awkward or embarrassed. He would settle this today and have an answer for her before the sun went down. She would not have another one of those nightmares. Not if he could help it.

Mother sighed in relief. "But… she is upset. Why?"

Clenching his fists in determination, Tobey took a breath and looked up at his mother. "She's upset, because… I never had any interest in her as Becky Botsford until I discovered that she was also WordGirl."

It sounded so much worse now that he said it aloud. No wonder Becky was troubled.

"Well, that isn't true," Mother said casually.

Tobey's eyes snapped to her in surprise. "What?"

She just smiled at him, looking completely unperturbed. "Sweetheart, you always paid special attention to Becky. I noticed it from the moment the two of you met."

Tobey gaped at her for a moment before he could reply. "But… I was awful to her! I was rude, arrogant, condescending… I went out of my way to point out how beneath me I thought she was."

Mother nodded in agreement. "I know, and that's far more attention than you ever gave anyone else. I can't remember another classmate of yours—except the occasional bully—who you even mentioned."

Tobey stared wide-eyed at his mother, hope rising at her observation. He thought back to the day he'd first met Becky, and he remembered being impressed by her. What he'd said was, 'Interesting. Someone my age who actually has a brain in her head.' What he'd been thinking was a bit more complimentary. The more he dug through his memories, the more clear it became that his mother was right. He had taken special notice of her.

He hadn't been consciously aware of it until this very moment, but having her in his life had refreshed him. She was the first kid he'd ever met who could engage with him on an intellectual level, which automatically made her stand out. All his other peers were so distant from him in terms of raw intelligence that he had difficulty even holding a conversation with them. Becky was different. She challenged him, and that made her interesting. That was why he'd gone out of his way to insult her, lure her into arguments, or brag to her about his evil plans. Interacting with her stimulated his thirsty mind. Could it be that…?

Tobey shook his head to jar himself back to sense and reason before his hopes could climb too high. It was comforting to realize that Becky had been special to him even before he knew she was WordGirl, but he couldn't let himself stray off into unhealthy speculation that he might have always subconsciously known she was WordGirl or that he'd liked Becky all along and was projecting those feelings onto WordGirl. Such musings would be dishonest at best and would only cloud his judgment and make it harder for him to get to the truth.

"Thanks, Mom," he sighed. "Unfortunately, I think the problem is more about the attention I paid to WordGirl."

His mother gave an understanding nod. "Ah. I see. In that case, it's not a problem you can solve…"

Tobey shot her a desperate look and she gave a light chuckle and continued, "…without understanding why this is something that bothers her."

"So… I just have to talk to her about it?" Tobey asked, apprehensive at the thought. He was extremely reluctant to bring this to Becky again without first having some idea of what he needed to say. Besides, judging by the way she'd acted last night, she didn't even completely understand her own feelings about this.

"Perhaps," said Mom, thoughtfully touching her chin. "There are other ways to get to know someone besides talking to them, though. You can learn a lot about someone from the things and people they surround themselves with."

"General things, maybe, but this is specifically about Becky being WordGirl."

"True," conceded his mother. "I don't suppose you know anyone who has been privy to that secret for longer than you have?"

Tobey blinked at her in surprise. He couldn't tell if she was teasing him or speaking out of genuine ignorance. He didn't know how many details had been divulged to her when the decision had been made to let her in on WordGirl's secret identity. Either way, she made a fair point, though Tobey couldn't help but feel annoyed with her for it.

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A rocket-propelled robot came to an abrupt halt outside Tobey's window. It was carrying a large brown sack that bulged with undulating lumps while muffled but distinctly human noises issued from inside.

"Subject has been successfully retrieved," said the robot. It tossed the sack through the window into Tobey's room and it fell open on the floor. Not half a second later, Scoops scrambled out and glanced around in a tizzy, babbling indistinctly.

"Why, hello there, Todd," Tobey greeted impishly. He sat in a chair with his legs crossed and his hands clasped before him in a businesslike fashion.

"Tobey?" Scoops gasped. His body was tense, his expression wild with surprise. "Why did you kidnap me?"

"Oh, don't be dramatic," Tobey said with a dismissive wave. "I didn't kidnap you."

Scoops frowned and straightened. No longer in a panic, he managed with a respectable amount of pluck to retort. "Actually, I'm pretty sure sending a robot to throw someone in a bag and carry them off somewhere against their will falls squarely within the definition of 'kidnap.' Ask your girlfriend."

Tobey felt a pang of shame at the mention of Becky, but he couldn't show weakness in front of Scoops. Keeping a stiff upper lip, he stoically replied, "Call it what you will, but it was necessary."

Scoops raised an eyebrow at him. "Uh-huh."

Suddenly another robot lowered into view out the window, grasping a fancy seat upon which Violet was daintily perched. She was wearing a crown of daisies on her head.

"Whee!" she exclaimed with a smile. "That was fun! Thank you, Mister Robot!"

"My pleasure, your highness," the robot's monotone voice said in reply as Violet hopped into the room through the window.

"Hello, Scoops!" she said with a happy wave upon seeing him. Turning to her host she greeted in turn, "Hello, Tobey."

Scoops gaped at her, looking incredulous, then spun on Tobey with a flustered frown. "How come she got a throne and I got a potato sack?"

"Because chivalry is not dead," Tobey unabashedly replied. "Ice cream cake?"

The Fridgeratron, which had been standing by at his side, opened up to reveal two servings of cake with little forks sticking out of them.

"Ooh!" Violet exclaimed, and she dashed forward and took the plates out of the little robot, offering one to her boyfriend. Scoops took it dubiously, still frowning suspiciously at his host. Tobey decided to get down to business before he wasted any more time with pointless bickering. "Anyway, I've summoned the two of you here because I'm in need of your assistance with a matter of grave import."

Violet gave him her full attention and even Scoops abandoned his annoyed glower in favor of that curious look journalists get when they smell a story.

Pointing a warning finger at him, Tobey vehemently announced, "And no 'on the record' business, Ming, or you'll be catching the next potato sack to the city dump!"

Scoops shot him a challenging stare and took another bite of cake. Tobey noticed, however, that he did refrain from pulling out his notepad.

"What is it, Tobey?" Violet asked.

Tobey took a deep breath before replying. This was the part he hadn't been looking forward to. Already his ego was screaming in protest. He looked to Violet, then to Scoops, and finally closed his eyes. He kept his tone as steady and unperturbed as possible when he spoke.

"It's Becky. I've upset her, and… I want to make it right."

Violet, he could immediately tell, was sympathetic. Scoops, however, looked skeptical.

"Why would you want our help?" he asked.

Tobey frowned and stiffened. "Because," he reluctantly admitted, "you… know her better than I do."

The words were bitter on his tongue. Becky was so overwhelmingly important to him that it stung to acknowledge anyone knew her better than he did. It was true, though. Scoops and Violet were Becky's closest friends. They had been getting to know her throughout the years he'd spent chasing WordGirl. He wished caring for her alone was enough to fix every problem that came between them, but it wasn't. "She's complicated, and I'm complicated… so needless to say, our relationship is also quite complicated!"

Scoops leaned over to Violet and whispered audibly in her ear, "I'm sure glad we're not complicated." Violet nodded in agreement, and they took a bite of cake in perfect synch.

Tobey contained a growl and finished saying his piece. "Since the two of you are her closest friends, I thought that—perhaps—you could provide some insight into what's really bothering her."

He forced himself to look up, and he saw that Scoops had donned a resigned smile. The reporter swallowed and said, "Okay then. What's the issue?"

Tobey hesitated a moment before answering. "That's just it. I don't really know for sure… I think she's worried that I might only like her because she's WordGirl."

"Do you?" Scoops impertinently asked.

"Of course not!" Tobey lashed out, clenching his fists at his sides.

"Then why is she worried?" asked Violet, her voice level and composed.

Tobey grimaced in shame, and it took him a moment to answer. Though it pained his heart to remember, he knew that the best way to explain Becky's feelings was with her own words. He took a steadying breath and slowly replied, "She said that I've always loved WordGirl and that I didn't care about her until I found out she was WordGirl."

"Ouch," Scoops said with his mouth full.

Violet gave Tobey a worried look. "And that's… not true?"

Tobey couldn't answer. He felt like a trapped animal desperately struggling to get free from a snare he'd stumbled into of his own volition.

"Look," he muttered at last, his accent slipping as he began to lose command of his voice, "I admit that I was attracted to WordGirl first and that I utterly failed to recognize how dear to me Becky was until I knew she and WordGirl were the same person, but… I didn't even meet her as Becky until I had already fallen for WordGirl! Once I knew they were the same person I felt the same way about them both. Why does it matter which of them I liked first? I mean, they are the same person, yes?"

Scoops and Violet gave each other a knowing look, then turned back to Tobey.

"Well," murmured Violet, "yes and no…"

"What does that mean?" Tobey grumbled.

"Hate to break it to you, Tobey, but it's not quite that simple," said Scoops while Violet quietly resumed eating beside him. "Remember back when the City Scouts were competing to win the key to the city,?"

"Yes."

"Well, Becky really wanted to win it. I mentioned that she'd already won tons of keys as WordGirl, and you know what she said to me?"

Tobey wished the other boy wouldn't tease him with rhetorical questions, but he nonetheless conceded to say, "What?"

"She said that WordGirl had won dozens of keys, but Becky Botsford had never won one," Scoops explained with a fond smile. "There's definitely some kind of distinction she draws between her two identities. You know how she—?" He cut himself off, looking suddenly shy. "Uh… Never mind."

"What?" Tobey asked, curiosity piqued.

"Nothing! Forget it. Forget I said anything." Scoops averted his eyes and shoved a lump of cake in his mouth.

Tobey leveled a serious frown at him and flatly said, "Scoops, this is kind of important."

Scoops actually blushed a little, and he swallowed conspicuously. "It's just that... It's super-awkward. I mean, I'm a journalist. I'm okay with super-awkward, but—"

"Spit it out!"

Scoops heaved a resigned sigh. "Okay, well… You know how she used to have a huge crush on me?"

Tobey cringed like he'd just bitten into a lemon. In all fairness, he had asked for it. "Yes," he muttered through grit teeth, reflexively crossing his arms.

"Well, something funny happened on Valentine's Day a few years back," Scoops reported. "The day you challenged me to a duel, remember? "WordGirl had just saved me from your robots and she wanted to know who my special valentine was for."

"Who it was for?" Violet asked eagerly.

Scoops raised an eyebrow at her. "You, silly."

"Ohhhhh…" Violet said, returning his wan smile. "I remember that now."

Tobey rolled his eyes up at the ceiling and lightly shook his head.

"Anyway," Scoops continued, "when I told her it was for a girl, she actually asked if her name rhymed with 'Mecky.'"

He paused to take a bite of his cake. Apparently he hadn't been kidding about being 'okay with super-awkward.' Tobey tensed the muscles in his already crossed arms. "Is there a point to this story, or are you just getting back at me for the potato sack?"

"Here's the point," Scoops said with his mouth full. "She was in costume as WordGirl, and she used it as an opportunity to ask me how I felt about Becky." He paused to swallow, then proceeded to flick his fork around as he explained like he might've done with his pencil in different circumstances. "Back then, I didn't know she was WordGirl yet, and she didn't know I liked Violet yet. She did, however, know that I was dying to find out more about WordGirl. From her perspective, it would've been the easiest thing in the world to use WordGirl as a means of getting closer to me. I mean, you saw how hard I tried to win the 'Win a Day with WordGirl' contest."

Tobey nodded. "So… why didn't she?"

"Because she didn't want me to like WordGirl. She wanted me to like Becky."

Tobey blinked and offered no response. The comment was surprisingly insightful, and it was taking a moment to process the implications.

Then Violet gingerly spoke up. "Did… Becky ever tell you about the day I found out she was WordGirl?"

Tobey shook his head.

"Hey, I've never heard this story, either," Scoops commented. "Mind if I take notes?"

"Go ahead," Violet said with a soft smile.

Scoops pumped his fist victoriously, set his cake on Tobey's desk, and got out his notepad. Tobey was far too focused to try and stop him.

Violet set aside her own half-finished dessert as well and began with a somber sigh. "It was… awful. It nearly destroyed our friendship."

Tobey was taken aback. "Why?" he exclaimed.

Violet frowned and looked gravely up at him. "Because nothing is more important to me than honesty. I can't even describe how much it hurt to know that my best friend had been lying to me my whole life."

Her eyes almost palpably drilled into Tobey, rendering him silent. He never would've thought spacey, soft-spoken Violet could actually intimidate him. Little by little, he was coming to understand what Becky saw in these two.

Violet sighed. "Once I found out the truth, I started wondering why I hadn't suspected it sooner. There were so many signs, and I was her best friend. I should have noticed, right? But then I realized that her family hadn't noticed either, and they spent more time with her and knew her even longer than I did. Besides, other people in the past suspected she was WordGirl. Villains had, reporters had…"

"Even I did once, back before we were close friends," offered Scoops.

Violet nodded in acknowledgment. "So why was it that all those people were able to see through her before the people who knew her best?"

Tobey had no answer, and could only stare somberly at Violet and wait for her to continue.

"I realized the reason before I saw her again that day," Violet said sadly, "and it's partly why I was so upset with her when I confronted her about it. It's because knowing her actually makes it harder to tell."

Tobey blinked in surprise. "Come again?"

"WordGirl and Becky don't act the same," Violet asserted. "They act similar, but it's the way two similar people act similar, not the way one person acts similarly at two different times. WordGirl is bold and insistent where Becky is mild and accommodating. WordGirl is loud and forward where Becky is quiet and reserved. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part, they really do seem like two different people. You must have noticed."

Tobey blinked. He hadn't noticed… Or rather, he'd noticed, but it hadn't registered in his mind as something worthy of further scrutiny. To him, it always seemed natural for a superhero to behave differently when in costume. He'd never given any thought to what that discrepancy might signify about who they were as a person.

"It made me feel like I'd never really known her," Violet confided in a sorrowful voice. "Which of them was the real one? And either way, could I trust someone who spent so much time pretending to be someone else?"

She slipped off into silence. After a tense moment, just when Tobey was about to prod her on, Scoops beat him to it.

"Then what happened?" he asked in a curious but sympathetic voice.

Violet looked up at them, smiling for the first time since beginning her story. "Finally she talked to me about it as WordGirl. She took off her helmet and told me that she was the same girl I'd always known. I had never seen her so vulnerable and sincere before… So I went home and thought about it some more… and eventually, I came to a conclusion."

"Which was…?" Tobey asked, too impatient to wait for the silence to get awkward this time.

Violet smiled. "Becky and WordGirl are the same person, but they aren't exactly two halves of a whole. WordGirl is a part of Becky which she's cultivated out of necessity—the part she allows to be forceful and demanding even though she'd much rather be gentle and kind. Even when she's WordGirl you can see that she'd rather talk than fight. She fights because she has to."

It was so simple, but it made so much sense. Tobey was speechless. He recalled something Becky had said to him a few months after he gave up villainy. He had confided in her that he was struggling with his identity now that so many of the things that once defined him were now off limits. She had gently comforted him with the simple statement, "You choose who you want to be, and what you want to be like." If Violet was right, this statement was more to Becky than just a pithy collection of inspiring words. It was a creed by which she lived.

"The person she wants to be is Becky Botsford," Violet continued. "The mask she puts on as WordGirl isn't fake, but it's still a mask. It isn't as real to her as the person she is in daily life. But WordGirl is the one who gets all the attention. WordGirl is the one everybody loves. It must be hard to live like that… eclipsed by your own shadow."

Violet said all this like she was realizing it for the first time.

Tobey, once again, was speechless. He hadn't thought there was anything more he could learn about his dulcinea that would make him admire her more than he already did. This revelation about the nature of her double-life and the true weight of her personal sacrifice in order to maintain it… well, it tugged on Tobey's heartstrings to say the least. Yet another layer of respect and sympathy for her was quickly taking shape inside him, jolting his emotions and threatening his composure.

To think that all this time he'd been completely oblivious to how the duplicity of his attentions had affected her. It had been easy for him to simply think of Becky and WordGirl as the same person, but now he understood that it wasn't that simple for her. To her, Becky and WordGirl were not just two sides of the same person. They were, in a sense, two separate individuals, and they had a complex relationship.

Swallowing hard, he waveringly managed, "Well, that… definitely explains a few things."

"But does it solve anything?" Scoops murmured, tapping his chin with his pencil.

Tobey said nothing.

"At the very least, it's a step in the right direction," Violet encouraged. "Tobey, I'm going to ask you something that might be hard for you to answer."

Once more she caught Tobey's eyes with that surprisingly intimidating gaze, and he felt his body going stiff with anticipation.

"Why do you love her?" Violet asked.

Tobey averted his eyes and admitted shamefully, "I… don't know how to explain it."

"Try," insisted Violet. "She needs to know."

Tobey bit his lip and clenched his fists. "She… She's… I…"

His gaze was fixed on the floor, but he could practically feel Scoops and Violet's eyes on him. He took a deep breath and forced himself to look up at them. "I love her because… I owe her everything," he said, vomiting up the unprocessed overflow of his heart. "I was willfully spiraling out of control toward the bleakest future imaginable and she stopped me. She had every incentive to just stand back and watch me destroy my own life… but she didn't. She showed me kindness in spite of everything I'd done and stood by me through thick and thin. I can't even imagine what kind of person I'd be… without her."

For a long, uncomfortable moment Tobey just stood there while Becky's friends stared silently at him with indiscernible expressions on their faces. Finally, Scoops muttered, "Huh… None of that has anything to do with WordGirl."

"Exactly!" Tobey exclaimed. "That's what I've been—"

"So, why did it start with WordGirl?"

Tobey flinched. "I…"

"What drew you to her?" Violet asked softly. "What was it about her that touched your heart and made her a part of you?"

"I don't know!" Tobey blasted.

Violet looked into his eyes for a long moment. Then she said, "Then that's what you need to figure out."

« « « « « ж » » » » »

Tobey sat frowning in the chair by his desk, drumming his finger repetitively against a blank sheet of paper. His mind swam and his heart ached. It seemed like all his efforts, while they had been illuminating, had ultimately been ineffective. He understood the problem, but he still had no idea how to solve it.

Violet had told him he needed to figure out why he had fallen for WordGirl in the first place, and he'd been too ashamed to tell her that was something he couldn't do. There was no way for him to know. It had been love at first sight.

He remembered it so well… It happened on the same day he decided to become a villain. He had brought a little robot to show-and-tell in hopes of intimidating the red-headed girl who always made fun of his voice. During his presentation it malfunctioned spectacularly and destroyed the teacher's desk, provoking the laughter of the whole class and the ire of the teacher. For the first time the surly old woman had asked Tobey a question he couldn't answer. "Why can't you just be normal?!"

Later she'd addressed the whole class with a lecture of dubious relevance to mathematics, ending with the condemning statement, "Villains, delinquents, and criminals are sad, lonely people. They live in jails instead of houses, they have rivals instead of friends, and nobody likes them."

The mean red-headed girl had then discreetly slipped a note onto Tobey's desk that read, 'That's where you're headed if someone doesn't stop you!'

After that, he had stolen away from school without telling anyone.

As he wandered the dull gray streets, unsure where he should go, he had happened upon a crime in progress by a person he recognized. It was one of the villains who once complimented him on his robots—a man he now knew as Kid Potato.

Grateful for something to distract his preoccupied mind, he had fought his way to the front of the gathered crowd, and there became the only spectator who was smiling. As he watched, entranced by how the villain carried no concern for the negative opinions of others, he thought to himself how much easier life would be if he could be like that. If he could just not care what everyone thought of him, he wouldn't have to try so hard to win their approval. If he could make people afraid of him, he wouldn't have to defend himself all the time. Everyone always talked about how awful villains like Kid Potato were, but from where Tobey stood, life as one of them seemed a lot less awful than what he had now.

Right when it looked like Kid Potato was about to get away after immobilizing half a dozen police officers, WordGirl appeared in a streak of light, pointing at the villain and shouting for him to 'stop right there!'

She hadn't been nearly as confident or experienced back then, but she was every bit as beautiful. Tobey could remember the enraptured trance into which he'd fallen as he watched her battle her foe. After Kid Potato was defeated and tied up in a bent street lamp, WordGirl had given a triumphant smile, ushering forth a noisy crowd of reporters.

She was barraged with inquiries and the flashing of cameras, but she nonetheless honed in on the question of one specific journalist—a boy about her age. He had asked her how it felt to be a rising star in the battle between good and evil… and she had smiled. It was a warm, tender, disarming smile that had made it into the next day's paper. A smile that Tobey had cherished in its still, black and white form ever since. The smile that had captured his heart. She stood there beaming and resolutely asserted with a finger in the air, "Let me just say this to all the villains out there: if you stand in the way of justice for the people of this city, you can bet I'll be there!"

She had pointed out at the crowd, incidentally right at Tobey, and was met with thunderous applause from everyone except him. He was frozen stiff, staring at her with stars in his eyes. An unfamiliar feeling rose up inside him—a hopeful thrill, unlike anything he'd felt before. To this day he remembered the thoughts that rushed through his mind right then.

If he stood in the way of justice, she would be there. If he became a villain, he would get to see her. She would come to fight him, and that meant that he would be important to her. Someone she noticed instead of just a face in a crowd of onlookers. With his intelligence and his robots, he could do it… and he would.

Tobey came back to the present and sighed as he leaned back in his chair and stared up at the ceiling. What would Becky say if she knew that WordGirl had been the reason he'd become a villain? That he had started terrorizing the city with his robots for the specific purpose of engaging her to come meet him? Not that his poor choices had been her fault by any means, but his memory of that fateful moment certainly wasn't doing him any service toward the end of proving he genuinely cared for her apart from her alter ego.

How had everything gotten so twisted around from the way it was at the beginning? Somehow his feelings, which had at first been both inexplicably and inextricably connected with WordGirl, had transferred over to Becky and developed independently of their original source until they scarcely had anything to do with it. WordGirl was the reason he'd fallen for Becky, but she wasn't the reason he loved her. How could he make Becky understand that, though? How could he explain something that he couldn't even fully comprehend himself?

Love at first sight…

Tobey thought about the reasons he'd given Violet when she asked him why he loved Becky—the reasons which Scoops himself admitted had nothing to do with WordGirl.

If the reasons I love her have nothing to do with WordGirl… how could it have been love at first sight?

His mind reeled at this paradox. There was something there! Something so close that he could almost touch it and so important that it should be obvious. Something about him… about her… about that mysterious, invisible string that connected them.

"No, you've always loved WordGirl!" she had said."You didn't care about me until you found out I was WordGirl!"

The words still hurt, but thanks to Mother, Tobey now knew that they weren't entirely true.

"Sweetheart, you always paid special attention to Becky. I noticed it from the moment the two of you met."

He had noticed Becky. He may not have harbored any conscious affection for her, but she had been special to him.

"So, why did it start with WordGirl?" Scoops had asked.

Why indeed… Tobey knew in his heart that his feelings for Becky were sincere, not simply a byproduct of his preexisting feelings for WordGirl. Just looking at Becky made his heart flutter, whether she was wearing her flashy superhero costume or just jeans and a T-shirt. So why had his affections been first captured by WordGirl?

"What drew you to her?" Violet had asked. "What was it about her that touched your heart and made her a part of you?"

He didn't know. He simply didn't know. He had been drawn to her the moment he saw her, that day he'd left school in a rage after…

That's where you're headed if someone doesn't stop you!

Tobey caught his breath at the memory. That note had been deeply cutting, but only now did Tobey think back on the specific words and how his young, impressionable mind had processed them. The note hadn't said 'if you don't shape up' or 'if you don't get your act together.' The exact words were, 'if someone doesn't stop you.'

His own words came back in a flurry of similarity. "I was willfully spiraling out of control toward the bleakest future imaginable and she stopped me."

She stopped me…

The answer hit Tobey like the fist of a giant robot. His heart started beating faster, and a gasp caught in his throat. He was shaking with excitement as he turned to the blank page in front of him and began writing.

« « « « « ж » » » » »

Becky heaved a flustered sigh and flopped down onto her bed with all the grace of a dead fish. She hadn't slept all night and she hadn't been able to focus on anything all day. She'd used her schoolwork as an excuse to shut herself up in her room, but she could get precious little of it done in the state she was in. She couldn't keep her mind on anything for more than a few minutes before she was once again haunted by that heartbroken look on Tobey's face, her imagination overcompensating for the dim light in which she'd seen it.

What was wrong with her? She knew Tobey loved her! After everything he had risked, everything he had done for her, how could she not know? Alas, it wasn't an issue of knowing or believing… It was her feelings that were the problem. For whatever stupid reason, her heart was still struggling to accept what her head already knew. What a fickle thing her heart was. Such irrational insecurities it conjured up, and at such delicate times.

Yet, for all her guilt, frustration, and self-reprimanding, she still felt an undeniable shudder of jealousy whenever she thought back on all the wonderful moments she'd shared with Tobey… and realized that most of them had been as WordGirl, not as Becky.

An unbidden, unwelcome question arose darkly in her mind. If you actually were two people and he had to choose between you, who do you think he would choose?

With a noise somewhere between a sigh and a growl, Becky climbed out of bed and headed straight for the door. She needed some fresh air, and maybe a change of scenery. Anything that might help to clear her mind.

She opened the door, and Tobey was standing in the doorway, hand extended like he'd been about to knock. Becky gasped, and Tobey's eyes went wide. An awkward moment of silence passed between them, and they took turns opening their mouths to say something, losing their nerve, and turning their eyes to look at the floor.

Finally, Tobey took a deep breath and said, "Here," and he held out an envelope which Becky only now realized had been clutched in his other hand.

She hesitated for a moment, then reached out and took the envelope, looking him hopefully in the eyes.

"Read it now, if you can," Tobey said, and with that he proactively reached for the doorknob and pulled the door closed, cutting himself off from Becky and leaving her alone in the silence of her room.

A shudder ran down her spine. Perhaps she shouldn't be, but she was terrified to read that letter. She was also, however, curious. She was more curious. After only a brief moment's anxious hesitation, she tore the envelope open and ravenously pulled out the letter inside. Her heart hammered in her chest as she began to read.

My Dearest Becky,

I didn't know my own heart until today. Another piece of myself has fallen into place, and once again I have you to thank for it. I doubt you fully realize just how much of me is you, but if you don't, you certainly aren't the one to blame for it. With this letter I hope to shed some light on one of the many mysteries tangled up in my sibylline psyche, and in doing so perhaps ease your mind about the nature of my feelings toward you… toward both of you.

I've told you before about the difficulties I had in school as a small child. However, I haven't told you about the day everything came to a head. My classmates and teacher had predicted a future for me that, I now realize, struck fear into my heart. I left school without permission and begun wandering the city streets. I knew the way home, but I felt lost all the same. I was only nine years old and grappling with questions that confound philosophers—questions of identity, of morality, of destiny. I knew the direction my life was heading, and I had begun to wonder if there was any hope for me.

If I was praying in my heart, then there is surely a kind God in heaven who heard me. At the peak of my hopelessness, I happened upon a crime in progress which was stopped by WordGirl. It was the first time I had ever seen her. She foiled the villain and announced with passionate conviction that she would stop anyone who stood in the way of justice.

I have thought over that memory so many times, trying to remember the exact moment when I felt the spark of attachment that blossomed into near obsession. I used to think it was the second I saw her, but I've since realized that it wasn't. I remember thinking she was beautiful and wanting to see more of her right away, but the moment she became important to me was the moment she promised that she would stop me if I stood in the way of justice.

I was afraid of the destination my course was leading to. I wasn't aware of it then, but I have reflected enough to be sure now that I wanted to be stopped. I clung to WordGirl like a drowning child clings to a life preserver. On that day, in that precious instant, WordGirl became a symbol of hope to me—the one who would catch me if I fell, or stop me if I went too far.

Then I met you, Becky.

You fulfilled every subconscious hope I'd rested on WordGirl and then some. You were kind in the face of my cruelty and you met my aggression with patience and gentleness. You reached out to me in friendship when I was at my worst and showed me compassion when I was at my lowest. I fell and you caught me. I went too far and you stopped me.

Yes, I had feelings for you as WordGirl from the day I first saw her, and yes, those feelings only carried over to you when I learned your identity. I must admit, with a mixture of shame and relief, that my feelings back then were completely selfish. When I was a villain I admired you, but I didn't respect you. I depended on you, but I didn't value you. I longed for your attention, but paid no heed of my own to your needs and struggles.

That is no longer so. Today there isn't a soul on Earth I value or respect more than you, and your needs and struggles are as my own. Put simply, I have always liked you, but it wasn't until you saved me from myself that I became capable of truly loving you.

And I do. Please believe that I do love you, Becky, and that I love you for who you truly are. It wasn't your fame, your costume, or your powers that changed my life and rescued me from the darkness—it was your heart. The tender, dutiful, forgiving heart that you and WordGirl share. WordGirl symbolized hope, but you were the real thing.

Sincerely and Wholly Yours, Tobey

Becky held the letter in trembling hands. Had she not spent her tears last night, she would probably be crying. As it was, she just smiled and let the comfort of Tobey's words soak into her heart. She was so elated, so relieved, and so touched that she didn't even have the capacity to feel guilty for having pushed him to bare his soul so completely.

She wanted to read his letter over again a few more times, but she resisted the temptation. Tobey had taken great pains to reassure her about the stability of their relationship, and it wouldn't be right to make him wait any longer than absolutely necessary before she did the same. So, with a thrill of affection rushing through her, she set her letter down on her bed and dashed out the door.

Had she been a little more careless, she might've tripped over Tobey in her rush to see him. He was sitting on the floor just outside her room with his back to the wall and his arms wrapped around his knees. He looked up at her with an apologetic expression, but he said nothing.

Becky smiled, heart racing, and promptly sat down beside him. "I'm sorry I doubted you."

"Doubted me?" Tobey repeated, sounding surprised. "Becky, no one has ever had more faith in me than you. That's part of the reason I fell in love with you." He colored, turned to look at the floor, and softly added, "I mean, real love… with the real you."

Becky never ceased to be amazed by how bewitchingly sweet he could be in these vulnerable moments when he'd checked his ego at the door and instead wore his heart on his sleeve.

She leaned in and kissed him softly on the cheek. She had done this once before—as WordGirl—on the night she finally convinced him to stop being a villain. Back then he had been desperate, broken, and afraid, and his reaction to such an unexpected gesture was to go nearly catatonic with shock. This time she'd done it as Becky, and he was a little more composed, but every bit as affected. Just like last time, his whole body went stiff and the color of his face deepened a few shades. He swallowed, stole a quick glance at her, then trained his eyes nervously on the floor and bit his lip.

She smiled, unashamedly gratified by this reaction. It felt good to be reminded that she could be herself and still provoke such a powerful response. She leaned in even closer, rested her head contentedly against Tobey's shoulder, and closed her eyes.

"So…" Tobey muttered awkwardly, "you're okay?"

"Yes," Becky said sleepily. The combined influence of sleep loss and emotional overload were finally getting the better of her now that she was finally at peace.

"And…" Tobey added a moment later, "we're okay?"

"Mm-hmm…" Becky mumbled, barely registering his words anymore.

The last thing she was aware of before she drifted off was Tobey's hand closing slowly around hers.

« « « « « ж » » » » »

Sally Botsford trotted happily upstairs after getting home from work, and she was greeted by the most delightful sight. Becky and Tobey were sitting against the wall outside Becky's room—side-by-side, hand-in-hand. Becky's head rested on Tobey's shoulder, while Tobey's leaned against the top of Becky's head. They were both fast asleep.

Sally took a moment to silently gawk at them, then tiptoed into her own bedroom and returned with a camera and a blanket. She discreetly snapped a photo, grateful that neither of the teenagers stirred at the sound of the shutter.

Claire will certainly want a copy of this one, she thought with a wave of maternal satisfaction.

She set the camera down on the floor at her feet, then crept up to the sleeping couple and carefully drew the blanket about both of them.

"Sweet dreams, Becky," she whispered.

« ... »

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

1 John 4:18a


Author's Notes:

- "The known, however terrible, is often easier to live with than the unknown."— This quote is actually from a book I read a long time ago called Adoption by Jeanne DuPrau. Being that Becky is adopted as well as a ravenous bookworm, I figured it stood to reason she may have read that book.

- She Knows?!— Yes, in my headcanon, Tobey's mom knows about Becky being WordGirl. It was (surprise, surprise) a development from Time to Go Home.

- Tear Spots— Crybaby that I am, I noticed long ago that my glasses get splattered by little white spots after I've cried while wearing them. I always wanted to do something with that in a story. T-T

- Evidence of Becky's Identity Complex— I didn't just make up that issue of Becky's for drama, and that's why I tried so hard to include mentions of places in the canon that show traces of it. Scoops's mention of what Becky said about wanting to win a key to the City was in 'Patch Game.' What he said about Valentine's Day was from 'Cherish is the Word,' and the general stuff about her relationship with him can be observed in various episodes that focus on the two of them. What Violet said was extrapolated from the main conflict of 'Rhyme and Reason.' I didn't specifically reference them, but two of the episodes that best support my conjecture about the 'love triangle,' if you will, between Becky, Tobey, and WordGirl are 'Department Store Tobey' and 'The Robot Problem.'

- The 'Win a Day with WordGirl' contest— This was from the episode 'Win a Day with WordGirl' (duh) when Tobey, Scoops, and TJ were all competing to win a writing contest with the said prize.

- Scoops Suspected Becky Once— This was in 'Vocab Bee,' when Becky was being really obvious about her coming and going from a vocabulary bee while fighting The Butcher.

- "You choose who you want to be, and what you want to be like."— This quote of Becky's is from my oneshot The Real McCallister, which I wrote as a sort of bumper between Saving Tobey and Time to Go Home.

- Tobey's Flashback— I copy-pasted this from chapter 14 of Saving Tobey, with one small addition to the original version. I always wanted to dig deeper into Tobey's thoughts and feelings during that scene, and this oneshot gave me the perfect opportunity. :3

- Theme Song: "These Ordinary Days" by Jars of Clay— I think of this song as a sort of abstract representation of Tobey's feelings as he tries to work them out. He's realizing that he fell for her because she was an escape from the loneliness and frustration of what had become his normal daily life, and he's just hoping that honest, sad explanation will be enough for her.

- Theme Song: "Butterflies" by Reachback— And this is the abstract representation of Becky's side. She knows how she feels, and what she wants from Tobey, but she doesn't really know how he's supposed to give it to her. So she's just trying to fall back on how much she cares about him until she can let go of her insecurities and let their relationship be what it is. I particularly like how some of the lines that were probably meant to be strictly metaphorical can suddenly be halfway literal with Becky. Such as, 'I'm forgetting how to fly to you' and 'sitting on the frozen moon just looking down on you.' Like, she could actually do that! Feel free to imagine that's what she did after she left Tobey's house in the middle of the night and couldn't sleep.

- Theme Song: "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri— This one fits a bit awkwardly, but it was such an inspiration while I was thinking about this story that I couldn't not mention it. :} I see the first verse and chorus as Becky's internal feelings—she can't help feeling afraid and hurt by the shape Tobey's feelings for her took, but at the same time remembers how hard she fought to pull him out of villainy and knows that by now she loves him, and there's no turning back on that. The second verse and chorus are Tobey's internal feelings—he is determined to search out the honest truth that will allay Becky's uncertainty and convince her that he really, truly loves her. The bridge and final chorus, then, are the two of them coming together and laying all this out for each other to see so that their respective fears may be laid to rest and their relationship will be strengthened as a result. I love how there's even a "one step closer" for each of them. :3