The sudden loud noise gave the mother a shock yet again. “Hm? What do you mean, Hayden?” She paused the operation, with the needle stuck halfway through Leon’s body.
“Leon is soooooo stupid!” He repeated, emphasizing somewhat to show his irritations. “Why is he smiling, even though you have poked to needle through him so many times?” From his expressions, one could easily notice that he was somewhat angry. His cheeks was flushed with cherry red and he was frowning rather seriously.
His mother was rather shocked that at that moment, she couldn’t think of anything to say. However, as soon as she thought about it again, she just gave Hayden a weak chuckle. “Silly boy, Leon is just a doll, he does not know pain.” She slid her hand to pat Hayden’s head, trying to make him more comfortable. “He is smiling, because he is made that way.”
Hayden didn’t seem to be satisfied with his mother’s answer. In his young mind, Leon was living. The Riolu was just like his dad’s dragon Pokemon, he should smile when he was happy and he should frown when he was in pain. However, it didn’t seem so. Leon was still smiling no matter how many times Mom had stabbed him with that cold and sharp weapon of hers.
“Now...” Hayden’s mother spoke again, patting his head somewhat, trying to get the young boy to feel better. “Let Mommy finish the job so that Leon is truly happy again, okay?” She kept her smile as warm as possible, while continuing to seal the gap.
Hayden said nothing, he watched again, but the frowns on his face didn’t seem to have dissipated. They only got deeper, so were his thoughts. He stared at the ever-smiling doll, nearly glaring with anger.
As soon as the ripped part was nearly sealed, the mother fetched some cotton wool and stuffed more into the doll, making him as puffy as before. She finally stitched the remaining portion and call it a completed job. With a twist of red string, she firmly tied a knot at the end of the ripped part.
“There!” Showing the finished product to Hayden, the mother was smiling rather brightly. She was quite proud of how it came out, for it was nearly as though it was new. “Leon is all healed and happy now!”
Hayden raised himself from the floor and reached to give a firm hug to his dearest doll, drawing it to himself. “Thank you, Mom...” There was a hint of reluctance in his voice, he was expressing his gratitude in an unexpectedly cold way.
“What is the matter, dear? Don’t you think Leon is happy now? You will make him sad if you’re still sad like this...” It worried his mother a bit to see her son still puzzled as she proceeded to pat his head again.
“No...” Hayden cast a glance over the sealed portion on his Riolu doll again. With the red stitches contrasting his deep blue fur, it seemed almost as though he was bleeding. “He is not happy. It is just that he is not showing it.” He gave the Riolu another firm hug, caressing him carefully to his own chest.
“Hayden, dear. He is fully recovered, don’t you see? He is no longer ripped apart. His wounds are all gone.” His mother felt a hint of gloomy air, but managed a smile in protest to the sinking atmosphere.
“No...” Hayden disagreed once again, with a more tenacious tone this time, but it was soon turned into a shaky one. “E-even if Mom has healed him, the wounds are still there... He is still b-bleeding.” With a rush of emotions, tears start falling from his brown-tinted eyes. Following the shape of his face, they dripped off his chin and landed onto the doll.
His mother was surprised how deeply her son had thought about this simple event. At the same time, she was glad that her son was caring enough to feel for a mere plushie.
It might be time to lecture him a bit more.
“Yes, you’re right, Hayden, dear...” Placing the knitting equipment away in a plastic tool box, she lifted him up by his arms and allowed him to sit on her lap. She caressed him and let him lie his head on her chest, all the while brushing his hair slowly.
Prologue for Round 1