Jason was many things. He was a pilot, and a pirate; he was a firefighter, and a spaceman; he was a dragon, and a knight. He could count all the way to 100 and beyond, and he could add and subtract. Best of all, he was Timothy's friend. Not just any friend, either. He was Timothy's best friend, and they did everything together.
Just last month, they'd hidden under Timmy's bed—because Jason was also able to keep the monsters away—well past bedtime. It was only Timmy's mother hearing their laughter that made them actually go to sleep. It was sad when it ended, because Timmy had gotten in trouble for it, but it had been worth it. After that night, Timmy wasn't afraid of the monsters anymore.
That lack of fear had let Timmy talk to other kids at school. Jason was glad to share Timmy, because best friends didn't get angry or jealous. Besides, Timmy always came back to him, and they'd play until it was time for bed.
"Hey, Timmy," Jason said as the door opened, eyes shining with how happy he was. School was the one place he couldn't follow Timmy, because he was too distracting. He'd gone at first, but his friend kept getting in trouble, so Jason had to stop.
Timmy shook his head, brown hair flinging water all over the entry, and Jason laughed as some of it splattered on him. It was raining!
"Do you want to play outside?" he asked, just before his attention was taken by another boy entering. His grin faded, then returned fully. Timmy hadn't introduced him to any other friends yet.
"Who's this?" he asked, excited to meet the new kid. But Timmy didn't answer him.
"C'mon, Chris," Timmy said, "I've got the cars upstairs."
Jason watched the boys throw off their coats and shoes—only hanging up their coats when Timmy's mother made them—then rushed upstairs in a stampede of noise. Timmy didn't even glance at Jason, and his friend blinked after them in hurt and confusion. Jason remembered Chris' name, though. Timmy'd talked about him enough over the past week that he couldn't help it. He'd been looking forward to meeting him; he just hadn't realized it meant Timmy would ignore him.
Silently, for Jason never made noise when he walked, he followed the two boys upstairs to Timmy's room. Timmy had already dug out his toy cars—a couple race cars in bright colors, a firetruck, and a large dumptruck that all the others could fit in. It was Timmy's favorite, and he let the blond Chris push it around.
"You gonna introduce us, Timmy?" Jason tried, voice cheering at the sight of his friend's smile. Again, he got no response, and again his smile faded. "Are you mad at me? Is that why you won't talk to me? … Timmy?"
As he continued to get no response, not even a glance, Jason ran across the room to shake Timmy; to make him look; to—
It didn't matter what he intended, because his hand went right through the boy. For a moment, Jason stared at his hand in stunned disbelief.
"Oh," he said, as realization flooded him. He'd know this moment was coming, though it wasn't something anyone had told him. He'd known from the very beginning, when 3-year-old- Timothy Andrews had called him into being, that someday he wouldn't be needed anymore.
"I thought we'd have more time." But then, seven was already older than most kept their imaginary friends. Despite what he knew, he'd begun to believe that they'd be together forever. That's what best friends did.
But, as he watched the boys play, he realized Timmy had a new best friend. Seeing Timmy's smile, listening to their bright chatter, he couldn't even be angry. Sad, yes, but he could never be mad at Timmy, or anything that made him happy.
Jason sank to the floor beside Timmy, legs crossed in front of him, and he watched, taking in every change on his friend's face, watching him play with never a glance around for Jason. It was to be expected. The change would have been instant. For all that Timmy had seen, and played, with him just yesterday, at some point today, Jason was now nothing more than someone he made up when he was younger. He no longer believed Jason existed, and he blinked back the tears that threatened to fall as his heart squeezed painfully.
If he was lucky, if he'd done his job right, Timmy would remember him later. Perhaps he'd share their memories with a child of his own, so he wouldn't truly be forgotten. Not that it changed anything. Already, Jason could see himself fading. His arms were a little less solid, a little more transparent.
Unable to help himself, he looked at the new best friend.
"Don't hurt him," Jason told the boy, who gave no indication he heard anything. "Don't you dare hurt him. He forgot me for you, so you better be good to him. I'll never forgive you if you hurt him."
The boys turned away from the cars to pull out Timmy's box of small green army men, each choosing their favorites and lining them up.
"Goodbye, Timmy," he said, voice soft. "You're my best friend. You always will be."
Army men marched toward each other, shooting guns in a war that hadn't been explained, and didn't need to be.
"I'll never forget you." He looked at his friend once more. "I love you."
He faded without another word. All the while the two boys remained oblivious to the boy who'd just lost his entire world. But, such is the fate of an imaginary friend.
Here's the second story, about an imaginary friend whose child has outgrown him. Part of me hated writing this, but I am happy with how it came out. Originally, I'd wanted it to be longer, but the story just didn't call for that. It is the length it needed to be, and not a word more.
Hope you Enjoy it,
Allanasha Ke Kiri