A/N: Ciao, everybody!

Yes, this one was very short. I don't think I'm done with this chappie yet, but this is what I've got so far. Help me out, please? I could really use some pointers!

And, as always, R-E-V-E-I-W! I don't even care if randomness is all you have for me- chuck it my direction! You will have my eternal thanks!

Yours truly, a needy BasketballChamp

CHAPTER 4

I was tired. I was so tired. But I knew I couldn't go to sleep.

It had been another week of drudgery: Make Bobby eat, go work a little, come back to make Bobby eat, go work some more, make Bobby eat, try to comfort Bobby…

It was sometime past midnight, at least I knew that. Our house didn't have a clock, though, so I couldn't be certain.

I had been up through that darkness, praying cursing, and cooing to try to help Bobby sleep. He was sweating, making the bedclothes damp. His forehead felt like fire. He refused to eat. He was wracked with horrible, chesty coughs … and the worse part? The past couple of days, with every painful cough, he would fleck the sheets with blood.

I was not a Doctor. I didn't know what coughing up blood meant for a person, but I at least had the brains to know that it couldn't be good. I was desperate. And worse yet, even though my father probably wouldn't have been a help anyway, I was alone, all alone … forgotten.

Even though I had sworn to never go to our neighbors for help, seeing as they might decide to put us somewhere else, I was considering even that last-resort.

Should I call an ambulance? Would they even come to us, if we didn't have money? I had never been taught these things. I was lost, clueless, and completely frustrated. I needed a parent. I needed my father, but he wasn't there for us. He never was.

So, as a result, I was rocking Bobby back, and forth … back, and forth … back … forth. I could hear his rasping breath, and every so often, a fit of violent coughs would send wracking tremors through his already shivering body. He had lost considerable weight, and his tiny cheeks were hollow.

I was surprised, though, at the simplicity of making him laugh. Even in this state. After work, it only took a few words or antics to get a hoarse peal of laughter that would ring through the room, and I would see a genuine smile. It made me feel like everything would turn out, and that we would live to see happy days, where Bobby was whole, and full of energy. I sometimes had dreams about that.

I don't know when I fell asleep, but the next moment daylight was streaming through the faded curtains.

Bobby was still in my arms. His flushed face was peaceful, and sleeping, and for a moment, a horror grasped at me, and I lurched down in panic to see if Bobby was breathing.

He was, of course- the slow, steady of breaths of one who is slumbering. I immediately felt undeniably silly, and my galloping heart beat slowed down.

My father … He wasn't coming. I knew that. He wasn't going to help me out. It was time to do what I had been doing all my life: take matters into my own hands.

I gently eased Bobby's sleeping form out of my arms. With a sense of purpose and determination, I stood up. This was it. I didn't care what my father thought, how he would react. He didn't care about me and my feelings. I was just returning the favor.

I pulled those self-same sneakers, and with a tear in my eye, I walked slowly as if in a trance to the scratched, black telephone. It worked, but we hardly ever used it- it helped shrink down the phone bill.

I felt the sudden paralytic fear of indecision. By making this phone call, I could bring our world crashing down around our ears. I could feel tears pooling in my eyes.

I mentally scolded myself. I was feeling this over a telephone call? No. It was not rational. Hurry, I thought, do it quick.

In a moment of dread I dialed the numbers … 9 … 1… 1.

What have I done? It was too late now to turn back.

"Hello?" I said. I hadn't ever dialed 911. I didn't have any idea what to expect. I felt the sudden twisting feeling of someone that has no idea what they've gotten themselves into.

"What is your emergency?" replied a clear, feminine voice, just a few moments later.

I took a deep breath. It was time to play the damsel in distress.

"I don't know what to do!" I said in desperate, childish voice, "My dad has been gone for a really long time, and brother is really sick!"

Yes, I am aware that I sounded like a five-year-old. Watch and learn.

"Where are you, sweetheart?" the girl's pitying voice replied.

I slowly hung back up. In the course of the last five minutes, I had told the lady my address, predicament, and name. You know- just the things that all little children are told to never tell people you don't know.

Supposedly, within the hour, someone would make their way to my house, and take me and Bobby away. "Somewhere safe" the spellbound woman had promised.

I hoped she was right.

You know what else I hoped? I dearly hoped that I would not be present when my father found out that I had sold him out. To an outsiders view, it would appear I did nothing but call for help. In reality, I had doomed my father. He would now have to answer questions like, "Why didn't you call for help sooner?" and "Why did you leave two minors alone for so long?"

I knew that my father might not be the guardian of Bobby and I for much longer.

So what? I asked myself, what do I care? I should be doing a jig!

But all I could feel was the hot, twisting cramps of dread and guilt churning in my stomach.

The next four hours were a blur. True to the word of that unidentified woman, help arrived. They asked me so many questions, my head was spinning.

"How long has your father been gone?"

"Where is he?"

"What's wrong with the boy?"

Half of the seemingly void questions I didn't know any sort of answer to. I just shook my head at the kindly, earnest police officer, who was the one asking questions.

I could later recall seeing many blurred faces. It wasn't until later that I realized the faces were blurry because of the crocodile tears welling in my eyes.

I was made to tell an official-looking person dressed in white my story. He was tall, and wiry looking, with kind brown eyes. As I described each symptom and pain, though, his bushy eyebrows drew closer and closer together, and his mouth grew thinner and thinner.

Bobby was bewildered, and in awe. There was a confused look on his flushed, sweaty face as though he didn't grasp what was going on. He would frequently look at me, and say, "Why, Sylvie?"

I didn't have an answer.

We got honorary treatment, and were given a ride to the nearest hospital. The ambulance we took in was small, serviceable, and had a sanitary, detergent kind of feel to it. They didn't make Bobby lie down on the starched, white stretcher, and instead let him rest his head in my lap, while I stroked his tiny, hot hand, and smoothed his hair back from his broiling forehead.

We pulled into a behemothic parking lot, and over to an official looking area marked for "Emergency vehicles only."

We walked into the crowded ER, full of people. Some of them were in pain, some of them looked rushed and flustered, some looked desperate, and a few looked like me. They were wandering in trance, with the look in their eyes as if they weren't sure what they were doing here.

In a daze, I watched them wheel Bobby away to somewhere I don't know, all the while promising Bobby it would "Be fine."

I sat on the edge of my seat, on a faded blue bench, for an agonizingly long time. The police didn't know what to do with me. My brother was here, and my father was someplace else, so they let me stay.

I watched the people come and go, each with their own lives and crises. There were so many stories here- so many upheavals of life and love. But everyone has places to go and promises to keep. Others stories are … well, forgotten.

A/N: What did y'all think? Was it ... lame? Awe-inspiring? Monotonous? C"mon- just review! :)

Your truly, a curious BasketballChamp