His friend was having a hard time waking up. "Come on kid," the Lorax said nudging him a little. "Says here 'm supposed to put this under your tongue," he commented
"I got it," he said sleepily taking the small thermometer in his own hand and slipping it under his tongue. He knew it was bad when the red stripe steadily rose. He didn't have much energy left to look at it so he just closed his eyes.
"'s stopped what do we do with it now?"
He lifted his heavy eye lids and took it out and looked at it. His eyebrows rose a little. Had he really allowed this to get this bad? He set it down on his nightstand and looked back at his friend who was staring at him with a 'well what did it say?' look.
"It wasn't that bad," he bluffed.
"You're a terrible liar you know that bean pole." He stated.
"I'm not lying," he said sleepily.
He knew he was lying and he swore that was all over his face from the bright red flushing across his cheeks and the bridge of his nose to the glassy look in his eyes. He was pushing about 103.4, which he knew was bad, he just hated being fussed over even when he needed it.
"Okay I'll trust you," the Lorax said to him. He'd let Pipsqueak go for awhile. He could tell though that only minutes after being sent away the little Barbaloot had his head poked around the door.
"Do you want to try eating anything kid?"
"No," he gave a wheezy whisper. His chest was starting to hurt again. He bit his lip as tears began to form in his eyes.
"Kid what's wrong?" He went right about trying to calm him by playing with his hair.
His sales man outfit that he'd never changed out of was plastered to his body. The collar was stuck to his neck as was his messy black hair. He wanted to change out of these clothes but he felt too tired to try.
"'s okay kid, keep breathing. Come 'ere Pip-squeak," the Lorax said motioning to him.
The Barbaloot happily obliged. He climbed up into Once-ler's lap. The boy was covering his mouth with both his arms trying not to startle them with the force of the coughs coming up from his chest.
He leaned forward a little trying to breathe better but it wasn't helping. The Lorax took Pip-squeak and put him in his lap ready to help his charge in any way possible.
Once-ler curled on his side pulling his knees to his chest. He was still coughing into both arms. Tears were leaking hard and fast down his cheeks.
"Kid, bean pole, kid look at me," he turned his face toward the source of the noise. "Deep breaths kid, deep breaths."
"Wha . . . Mustache . . . 'm . . ." his head fell to one side.
"Kid? Kid? Come on wake up." He pushed the boy back up against the pillows and Pip-squeak ran under his right arm. He snuggled into the tall human's side making a soft cooing noise.
Once-ler's breathing was more even now at least. He looked peaceful for once. His eyelashes rested gently on his cheeks.
The Lorax took a large bucket to the river and filled it. He dragged it back, spilling surprisingly less than what might have been thought, and placed the Thneed in it. He dabbed the boy's forehead and cheeks.
"Come on kid, you're one of the first I've been able to convince. I've seen this forest up rooted and replanted but you're the only one I've ever met that really cares. You've gotta come through for me kid."