By the time tomorrow had rolled around the fever was definitely worse. The light freckling of his cheeks was hidden by the feverish flushing. The Thneed was actually really useful, to the Lorax's surprise. It was able to cool his forehead and his neck at the same time simply because of its length.
The Lorax gently lifted a glass with a straw up to his lips. He'd squeezed a little bit of juice from the Truffula Tree's berries and watered it down a little.
"Come on kid, ya gotta try and keep your strength up," the Lorax said to him nudging Once-ler's ckeek with his fingers.
He noticed the young human's eyes trying to open. He was able to drink a little before falling back again. His eyebrows knit themselves together.
"Here come on sit up again bean pole, come on," he said offering him the cool sweet water again. He was able to get a little more into the boy.
Once-ler gave a little groan. "Thanks Mustache," he attempted a small smile.
"I speak for the trees, for the creatures, for the water, the air and for all of these. I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't help you kid."
Once-ler smiled a little the pain in his chest had abated significantly. However, everything hurt now. His head worst of all.
He'd had this happen to him only once before. He'd been able to hide it for awhile before it'd gotten severe. It was the only time he was cared for. Even at that one time, he did most of his own caring. He was receiving more care from animals then he had from his own family.
He'd again been successful at hiding it from everyone since the incident in the river; however, everything had happened so quickly this time around. He shrugged that off and closed his blue eyes once more.
The Lorax watched as the boy closed his eyes and fell back to sleep against the pillows. He wondered what could possibly be going on in his head. He had an eerie feeling he was going to find out sooner than he wanted to.
He was back in his old room. He was scared. His chest hurt. It felt like an elephant was sitting on it. He hugged a small stuffed bear to his chest. No one was coming. It wasn't like he wasn't used to that, but he needed help and no one was coming.
His father burst through the door. "Once-ler, oh shhh . . . shhh . . ." he dad whispered.
"You need to learn to let him fight his own battles," he vaguely heard his mother's voice.
"He can't breathe Cordelia," he said to her holding his son close to him. "Just breathe kiddo. I've gotcha."
"Oh poor baby," she remarked. "Nathan just leave him be."
"No," he said strongly against his over bearing wife.
It was his illness that drove his parents apart and he couldn't help but think it was his entire fault.
He coughed harshly and then heard, "Kid, Kid wake up, it's not your fault . . ."
"I'm FINE! Don't just listen to her! It's all my fault!" He screamed.
"Kid, kid it's okay just calm down, I don't know what you're talking about, wake up kid." The Lorax held his hand and doused the Thneed in water and started to pat the boy's cheeks and hair with it.
He woke up scared his eyes darting around the room. He was wheezing a little and finally settled back.
He looked around a bit calmer now. He saw the little Barbaloots anxiously looking at him. The Swamy Swans were ready to take orders from the Lorax, who was right next to him with Pip-squeak. The Humming Fish were still swimming in his mugs.
"Just settle down kid, 's all okay now." The Lorax said gently placed Pipsqueak in his arms. "Shhh . . . can you try a little more juice kid?"
He shook his head and then rested one of his hands on it. He really needed to stop doing that.
"Alright, just settle back kid, no worries you're alright now." He said squeezing Once-ler's hand again before letting the boy lean back again. This was going to be a long night.