Summary: A real friend will always dance the Snoopy Dance.
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Title: December, 1988
URL of original story: http://fwolfling.com/lair/dec1988.html
He could hear 'em, even on the other side of the playground. Not that he was paying attention, 'cause he didn't pay attention to babies like them, even if they were in the same class. Especially not Harris and Rosenburger. At least it was just the two of them, and their stupid third stooge Jesse wasn't there. Two of 'em were bad enough. Three of 'em was enough to make him wanna puke. On them.
Rosenburger had her arms crossed and was glaring at Harris. Her pigtails were doing the Pippi thing again, flying every way as she shook her head. Not that he ever watched Pippi, especially not Pippi in the South Seas.
It wasn't until Rosenburger's high voice said, "Prove it," that he really paid attention. 'Cause that usually meant Harris was gonna make a dork of himself. Harris did that a lot, for some reason. And it was better to laugh at Harris than to have someone laugh at him.
"Here?" He could almost smell the fear. Harris' voice squeaked almost as much as Rosenburger's. This was gonna be good. Maybe even 'steal Harris' cookies that Rosenburger gave him for a week' good enough.
He inched closer--couldn't help it, really. Harris didn't notice. He was still staring at Rosenburger like she was torturing his puppy. Or like she was a clown. No one had forgotten Harris' sixth birthday and the clown. Not that he had been scared of the clown.
He approved of the touch of whine in Harris' voice. You could get all kinds a stuff with the right amount of whine. Mom always caved. Except Rosenburger's lip quivered, and she got all big-eyed like Harris was the clown now. Or like she wanted Harris to bring her cookies for a week. 'Cept Harris wouldn't, 'cause everyone knew Harris' mom cooked dog food and made Harris eat it for breakfast since he was so ugly and no one liked him. Not that anyone ever said anything 'bout Harris' dad, 'specially after that black eye last year. And the clown thing. And the broken arm two years ago.
It looked like Harris was gonna be a man. He crossed his arms, puffed up his chest like Superman--and then caved when Rosenburger gave him The Eyes again. Those puppy-dog eyes that sometimes the babies give you right before you kick 'em, and then you feel bad and you just spit on 'em instead. He might even cave if Rosenburger gave him The Eyes. Not that she ever would.
"Show me?" Her voice sounded so small, he could barely hear it. And then came the gut punch. "Please?"
He groaned. Harris was doomed. Harris was so doomed that Rosenburger was probably gonna marry him someday. Unless McNally married one of 'em first. Or both of 'em.
But then Harris fought back with Eyes of his own. "I'm hiding behind you if Larry beats me up."
That kinda stung. He wasn't necessarily gonna beat Harris up. At least, he wasn't gonna before. Now, he might hafta. Because Harris gave in to a girl. And you didn't do that. It went against the Code. 'Course, beating up a girl went against the Code too. But he'd never tell anyone that. He was about to step forward to remind Harris of that fact when Rosenburger got this fierce look on that little face of hers, all daring, like she was gonna fight the clown for Harris.
No one ever gave him a look like that. It was like Harris was Jesus, or something. Rosenburger's own savior, since she was a heathen person who didn't believe in Jesus and always had a Hanukah bush or something. If Rosenburger gave him a look like that, he'd fight dragons and vampires and demons and all kinds a stuff for her. Harris was her sunshine, and she was his.
Suddenly, he felt really lonely. He almost missed whatever she said next, something about cooties. Yeah, like cooties really existed. Rosenburger'd forgotten how she'd looked it up last year, and told everyone on the playground that it was a disease only plants got. And he knew he wasn't a plant, because he didn't photosynethize. So that wasn't gonna work.
And Harris wavered and shifted and looked like he'd poop himself almost. And that's when he realized: Harris couldn't say no to Rosenburger. Rosenburger had some kind of hypnotic power. Maybe it was that whole sunshine thing. If they were each other's sunshine, they had to do what the other asked. It was part of the deal.
Harris sucked it up, closed his eyes, raised up his arms, and honest to God, did the Snoopy dance.
He flapped his arms up and down. He wiggled his butt. He grinned. And when Larry snuck a look at Rosenburger, she was laughing and clapping and crying and happier'n anyone had a right to be. Because Harris was her sunshine. And Harris would risk everything, every bit of playground rep, to be a doof and do the Snoopy Dance for her.
Harris loves Rosenburger. Except it wasn't that K-I-S-S-I-N-G kinda love. It was that kinda love mom sometimes talked about, when you do whatever you have to, to make someone else happy. When you're their sunshine, and you make them happy when skies are gray. 'Cause Harris somehow knew exactly the right way to make Rosenburger happy, and he liked to do it. Like he was saving the world somehow.
After Harris finished the dance, Rosenburger clapped and danced and hugged him like he had saved the world. Which made Larry wanna do all kinds of brave things. Not that he'd ever do 'em for a dweeb like Rosenburger. Even if she was smarter than him at math. And reading. And science. And everything.
"Nice dance," he couldn't help snickering as he walked past the two on the way to the second grade line. Wasn't worth it to beat Harris up, not this time.
"Cooties!" Rosenburger yelled, all red-faced and furious. "I'll give you cooties!"
Yup, sunshine and love and all of that baloney. But a part of him wished someone would do a Snoopy dance, all for him.