TITLE: Teddy's Big Adventure, part 1 of 2

AUTHOR: "Matrix Refugee"

RATING: G (My first ever G-rate!)

ARCHIVE: Now that ff.n is being a BEAST, yes!!! (Permission given already)

FEEDBACK: Please, please, pretty please??

SUMMARY: Teddy is lost. What will David do?

DISCLAIMER: Nope, I don't own "A.I.", or else this would be a screen story for a one-hour DreamWorks TV special, maybe at Easter, on HBO.

NOTES: I thought I'd lay off on the Joe fics for a while, give his circuits a rest. I have to admit, being a maverick, I don't particularly care much for teddy bears. But Teddy fuzzied himself around my mental block the way David (and especially a certain green-eyed silicon hottie) got around my mental block about robots. I got this idea while watching "Toy Story" and its sequel, and that gave me an idea for a totally innovative fic (for me): a Teddy fic (and one long enough to warrant chapters, no less!). Very Alternate Universe: David has been reunited with his family after the "Blue Fairy incident", timeframe might be a year or so after the action of Act II of the film. Lots and lots of warm fuzzies here (ergo: cynics be warned!), so I guess this makes it kind of a kids' story.


Part One: Lost


It started, as these things usually do, in a very small way. One Tuesday afternoon, Monica had taken Martin and David to the Haddonfield library, David carrying Teddy tucked under his arm.

"Does he have to bring that fuzzball along?" Martin groaned as they piled into the car.

"But Teddy's my friend," David said innocently.

"The only kind of friend you'll ever have," Martin snipped.

"Martin, stop that," Monica ordered, glancing at David in the rearview mirror, making sure he didn't seem too disturbed. Putting David in the back alone with Teddy was the only way she could keep the two brothers from squabbling (although Martin did most of the squabbling.).

While Martin was looking for books on birds for his school science project and Monica browsed the new books, David sat, with Teddy at his side, amongst a group of kids in the main room of the children's department, listening while Miss Phyllicia, the assistant children's librarian, read aloud to them.

Miss Phyllicia had found David a little unsettling at first, he moved so quietly and he had that odd, blank look to his big blue eyes. But he behaved the best of the group, listening with rapt attention, his eyes wide, hanging on every word. Of course he always had a dozen questions to ask afterward, but he asked them so politely. And he always helped her put the books away.

This time, however, when David went up to her afterward to ask about one of today's stories, "The Ebony Horse", retold from 'The Arabian Nights', he left Teddy on the cushion where he had been sitting. At that moment, Martin came in, eyeing the kids in the children's room, spotting Teddy alone, no one taking any notice of him while David chattered away with a librarian, asking her silly questions.

"What happened to the Ebony Horse after the prince married the princess?" David asked.

"You know, I don't know, though I've wondered that myself," Miss Phyllicia said. "But I bet you could write a story about that yourself."

David pondered this, then he smiled his little-boy smile. "Teddy could help me write it."

"I bet he could. He's a good friend to you."

At that moment, Martin moved in: now was his chance. He grabbed Teddy by the ear. Before Teddy could protest, Martin stuffed him under a low, soft armchair covered with red and purple upholstery.

"Yes, he is," David said. He turned around, looking for his furry friend. "Where is Teddy?"

Martin plopped himself down on the chair under which he'd hidden Teddy. "You lookin' for that fuzzball?"

"I don't see Teddy," David said.

"He must be right here somewhere," Miss Phyllicia said. To the few kids left in the story hour nook, she said, "Has anyone seen David's Teddy?"

The kids shook their heads or rolled their eyes. "Nope." "I didn't see it." "It was on his pillow." "Dunno."

Monica came in with a satchel of books."Is everything all right?" she asked.

"Mommy, I can't find Teddy," David said, running up to her and taking her hand.

She clasped his little hand. "He can't have gone far," she said, trying to encourage him.

"Maybe he malfunctioned and started wandering around," Martin said. "Those things get funny when they need a new battery."

"Martin, come help us look for Teddy," Monica said.

Martin heaved himself up from the chair. "I think I saw him heading for the door."

"He could be anywhere," Monica said. "Let's keep looking."

The three of them went out. Under the chair, Teddy tried to wiggle free, but the chair was too low and his furry body too plump with stuffing for him to slip out easily. He lay still. Mommy and David would find him here when they had finished looking out there and came back here.

Time passed. He didn't notice its passing except by his internal clock. He lay still and quiet. It wasn't much unlike the time Mommy had him out away inside her hatbox, except he'd been switched off then.

But soon, some of the light that came to him through the gap under the chair faded and grew dim as the day passed into evening.

He heard someone moving about, running a small vacuum nearby.

A vacuum bot rolled under the chair and bumped up against Teddy. It whirred, moving about him and pushed at him, trying to dislodge him. But he was stuck fast. The bot beeped a warning.

Someone came and moved the chair away. Teddy stood up.

A man in blue coveralls stood over him. "Well, what have we here? How'd you get there, li'l fella?"

"Martin put me here," Teddy replied.

Biff, the building superintendant, had found lots of things in the children's room: hats, mittens, backpacks, but he didn't find Supertoys very often. He bent down and picked up the bear.

"I'll just have to put you in the lost and found so Martin can come back tomorrow and find you," Biff said. And he carried Teddy to the main desk of the children's department.

He set Teddy on the a shelf behind the desk, marked "Lost and Found" and went back to his work, making sure the vacuum bots did their job.

For a while, Teddy sat there. Then he heard the man going out. Some of the lights shut off and the children's room went nearly dark, except for a few lights near the windows.

Teddy of course did not feel lonely, but he knew David would need him. He looked down: it was not far to the floor.

Teddy rocked himself back and forth and jumped down, landing on all four paws. He stood up, his old joints creaking in protest at the jolt. He sat back on his nicely padded bottom and reset himself. Then he got up and waddled out of the children's room, out to the main atrium, and then to the entryway.

The sliding doors opened and he toddled out into the parking lot. He had an idea which way to go home since he'd seen the way they had travelled, watching the scenery flashed by as he'd sat in David's lap. Everything looked very different in the dark, but he had a simple sense of direction that helped him find hsi way around.

He waddled out of the lot onto a sidewalk and headed up it, retracing the way to the library, only reversing the sequence.

Cars on the street zoomed by him, but he took no notice: he had to get to David. He heard sounds coming from the houses and buildings he passed, but that meant nothing to him: he had to get home and be with David. He knew David was very much like him, very unlike Mommy and Daddy and Martin, but he knew that, like them, David had...feelings. And right now, David would be feeling very lonely.

@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--

"Are you sure you didn't leave Teddy in the car?" Monica asked David as she tucked him in on the divan in her sewing room.

"No, Mommy, I brought him with me into the library," David said.

The dejection in his eyes nearly broke Monica's heart. She loked about the room for another toy that might distract him, but the few that were there weren't as dear to his little "heart" as Teddy. Those two were inseperable.

"We'll go back to the library tomorrow, see if they found him," Monica promised.

A smile lit his sad little face. "Thank you, Mommy," he said and hugged her.

She kissed him and went out of the room.

@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--

Teddy kept walking through the night, untiring, though his joints creaked at every step. It rained for a little while, just enough to leave the road--and his fur--damp, but not enough to soak him.

He heard voices and laughter up ahead, but he hardly took notice of it. These sounded like older children, and besides, David wouldn't be out this late.

A group of older children, perhaps fifteen or so, not quite grown up, approached from the other direction. Most of them were girls, except for one boy, giggling and poking each other, the one boy looking slightly embarrassed. Teddy tried to wlk around them, but one of them grabbed him and picked him up.

"Oh, isn't he cuuuuutte!" she squealed. She had yellow hair and blue eyes, but her face would have been prettier if she didn't have quite so much "make-up" on it. She squeezed him a little too hard.

"Gladys, you say that about everything with fur on it that walks--or doesn't walk," the boy said.

"Oh, you're just jealous, Ringo, because she never said it about you," said another girl with dark skin and black hair.

"No, I'm not," Ringo said.

"What are you going to do with that? He looks all wet," the girl with the black hair said.

"Do? I'm not gonna do anything with him right now," Gladys said. "I'm just gonna take him home and dry him off for now."

"Can you take me to David?" Teddy asked.

"EEee!! It talks!" another girl with...green hair squealed, pretending to be scared.

"Oh, that's creepy", said a fourth girl with nice brown hair a little like Mommy's.

"Why, didn't you have one when you were little?" asked Gladys.

"Yeah, but I bearly remember it; my half-brother broke it," said the girl with brown hair.

"She BEAR-ly remembers it," said Ringo. "Get it?"

"You want him?" Gladys said, holding Teddy out to the brown-haired girl.

"Nah, you found him," said the brown-haired girl, stepping back. "Finder's keepers, right?"

"I belong to David," Teddy said.

"Who's David?" Gladys asked of no one in particular.

"Can't be David Braddock, he HATES Mechas and things like that there," said the green-haired girl.

"Guess you're coming home with me, little guy." Gladys said, holding Teddy to her chest as they headed on.

"You must help me find David," Teddy said.

"Does that thing have an off switch?" the girl with the brown hair asked.

"I think it's on his bottom," Gladys said. She fumbled at Teddy's stump of a tail and found it.

Everything went dark.

@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--

Next thing Teddy knew, he could see and hear again and his fur felt dry. He stretched his arms and legs and turned his head, making sure everything still worked.

He looked about him. The room was dark, but he could make things out: he sat on top of a dresser amongst the clutter of a girl's room: make-up and nail polish bottles and fashion magazines and a scrapbook with a brightly colored cover crusted with. It was a long way down to the floor, so he realized he should stay put if he did not want to break.

The girl named Gladys patted him on the head. "Hope you like it here," she said. He heard her get into bed and snuggle down under the covers.

She was still a child, although she was starting to look like a grown lady, so Teddy was tempted to climb down and creep into the bed with her, but it was too far down. So he sat there, listening to the night sounds. The night passed slowly.

The window slowly started to grow bright with light as the sun rose.

"Gladys, it's morning!" a woman's voice called. Teddy guessed that must be Gladys's mommy.

Gladys yawned, got up and got dressed. She took no notice of Teddy the whole time. As she grabbed an armload of schoolbooks and things to dump them into a bookbag, he spoke up.

"Will you take me to David?"

She just glanced at him and went out, nothing else.

The sunlight shifted, the clear square of light moving along the rug and up the wall, then vanished as the sun moved around to the other side of the house.

He heard the voice of a little girl chattering somewhere in the house. His ears pricked up. Of course this was not David's voice, but perhaps she knew David. There were some girls in the play-group Mommy and a few other ladies had put together. Maybe one of them, Sarah or Kellie lived here.

At length, a girl came into the room, a short, round girl with red hair, maybe five or six. No, he didn't know this girl.

"How'd you get here?" the little girl asked. She grabbed Teddy by the leg and hauled him off the dresser. She carried him upside down as she scurried out of the room.

"Kara, can I play with this?" she asked, running into the family room of the house. A woman who looked a lot like Gladys came in from another room.

"Effie, where did you get that?" she asked, puzzled. The little girl did not look anything like the woman, Kara. Teddy guessed the woman must be "babysitting" the girl.

"I found him in Gladys's room," Effie said. "Can I play with him?"

"I don't think you should, if he was in Gladys's room. You know she doesn't like it when you go in there and mess with her stuff," Kara said.

"I wanna play with him!" Effie said, squeezing Tedy's leg.

"You can't always do what you want. You can't always have things the way you want them."

"But auntie Melissa lets me play with whatever I wanna!" Effie said, beginning to cry. Her grip on Teddy's leg grew tighter. He felt his conductors start to bend inside his leg.

"Ouch," Teddy said.

Kara came over and took hold of Effie's hand in one hand, holding Teddy's leg with the other. "You're squeezing too tight: you could break him."

Effie let go, ran over to the couch and hid behind it, plunking herself down, making a lot of loud snuffly sounds like she was crying to get her own way.

Kara turned Teddy over. "Now where did you come from?" she asked.

"Gladys found me. I was trying to find David," Teddy said.

"Well, I'm afraid I don't know anyone named David who'd be looking for you, so I'm afraid you'll have to stay here for now," Cara said, sitting Teddy down on the couch.

Teddy said nothing to this, Perhaps this lady coud help him find David anyway. Perhaps she would take Effie and him someplace where David would be.

@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--
After breakfast, after Martin had gone to shcool, and after David had helped Mommy wash the dishes, she drove him to the library.

David went straight to the children's librarian's desk. "Have you seen Teddy?" he asked the librarian sitting behind it. "He got left here yesterday."

"I don't really know, but let me check the lost and found," she said, turning to the shelf behind her. David stood on tiptoes, watching her.

She took out a plump yellow stuffed duck. "Is this Teddy?" she asked.

David frowned. "No, that's a duck," he said. "Teddy is a bear, he has brown fur."

"Well, I'm sorry, dear, but I don't see a brown bear here," the librarian said, standing up.

"Thank you," David said, the eager hopeful look in his eye fading. He went to join Mommy, who stood some short distance away. She put her arm about him.

"We'll find Teddy somehow," she promised, leading him out, keeping him close.

"Maybe Teddy went looking for me the way I went looking for the Blue Fairy," David said.

It wasn't impossible, Monica thought as she led David back to the car. After all, Teddy had, according to David's account, gone looking for David when he had been captured by the Flesh Fair hounds.

@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--

"So let me get this straight," said Glover, one of Henry's friends at work, as he sat cross-legged on a work table, having his lunch. "Something that is physically a toy is upset over losing a toy?"

"Yeah, and he's really upset about it," Henry said, checking his email.

"You know, you oughta send a write-up on this to Dr. Hobby," Glover said. "He'd find this really interesting."

"He probably would," Henry agreed. "But I'll send it only after we've found Teddy or we get David a new one."

"I don't think gettin' him a new one would work: doesn't work with regular kids, so I don't think it would with Mecha ones," Glover said. "I mean, I remember going on a car trip with my little cousin when I was twelve and she was, oh, maybe three. She had this pink baby blanket she called Bub, had to take it everywhere, right? Well, we can't find it, so my uncle gives her a dishtowel that was about the same size and color. Sally takes one look at it and she yells, 'THIS IS NOT BUB!!!' Starts cryin' aaalll over again."

"I hear yah," Henry said, making a mental note to call the Haddonfield "Dispatch", one of the town's papers, when he got home, and place a 'lost and found' ad.

On second thought, he reached for the phone with one hand and opened the e-Phone Book on his desktop, looking up the phone number.

"Whatcha doing?" Glover asked.

"I'm calling in a lost and found ad to the paper," Henry said.

@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--

When Martin came home from school, he found David sitting on the front steps, looking down the garden path, expectation in his unblinking blue eyes.

"Hey, David, whatcha doin' out here?" Martin asked.

"I'm waiting for Teddy to come home," David said.

Martin wrinkled his brows. "You think he's gonna come home by himself? I mean, he may be a Supertoy, but that's sooo not gonna happen, bro."

David looked up, puzzled, his lower lip dropping slightly. "Why do you say that?"

"I'm saying it because I'm only tellin' you what could happen."

"But it might not happen. I came home."

"Yeah, but you lucked out 'cause Dr. Hobby was looking for you. Teddy's smaller. Besides, girls go hoopey over stuff like Teddy. I bet some girl found him in the library and took him home."

"Maybe she'll give him back."

"I don't think that's gonna happen either. Even girls my age think Teddies are cute, and I'm gonna be fifteen."

"Do they play with them?"

"Nah, they just like having them."

"Why?"

"I dunno. I'll tell yah if I find out."

"But maybe a girl didn't find him. Maybe he's still walking here. He's only little and the library is a long way away from here if you don't have a car."

"Not to bust you up, but I'd forget about Teddy," Martin said. "He's gone."

"But Teddy is my friend," David said, his lower lip starting to tremble. "He has to come back."

"He's just a toy," Martin said, going inside.

David sat on the front steps, looking out over Mommy's flower beds, watching and waiting for the moment when Teddy would come waddling up the flagstone path.

@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--

"You're always letting Effie get into my stuff," Gladys snapped at her mother as she stomped to her room.

"I didn't even know you had that bear," Cara said. "Did Ringo give it to you?"

"No. I found him last night when we were coming home. He was wandering around by himself." Gladys tried to slam her door shut, but her mother, who'd been following her down the hallway, held it open.

"He might belong to somebody," Cara said.

"I don't think so."

"He asked if we knew about someone named David."

Gladys rolled her eyes. "That could be anybody."

"I think we should put an ad in the paper's lost and found section and say we found him," Cara said. "It's the right thing to do."

"But who reads those?" Gladys groaned.

"You'd be suprised," Cara said, going for her datapad to send an email to the Haddonfield "Sentinel", the paper they got.

@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--@--'--

Meanwhile, Gladys had moved Teddy to her bed while she did her homework. Teddy sat amongst her pillows, watching her.

When the girl's mother called her to supper, Teddy was left alone. Now he could get down and find a way out.

He waddled down the hallway to the living room, where there was a sliding door opening onto the patio. He pried it open and stepped out onto the stone steps there, careful to stop and push the door closed. He clambered down to the ground and headed for the front yard and the sidewalk beyond.
To be continued...
Literary Easter Eggs:

The chair in the library--modelled after a chair in the children's library in my hometown.

"Bub"--Based on an actual story I heard; names, genders and relations have been changed.