Disclaimer: I wish they were, but they are not mine.

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The rewards of insomnia

By M-X

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It was useless... I couldn't make it. I hit my pillow one more time and shifted my position, but I knew the sleep wouldn't come. It was already 3:00 a.m. and I had not been able to close my eyes and rest for even 5 minutes.

Not that it was the first time it happened. Since my... change, it had been difficult for me to fall asleep. Professor Gilmore says that it's due to my speed; the excited molecules of my body leave the ones in my mind too energized during a large amount of time, or something like that, I didn't pay much attention.

Finally I sat up and gave a sigh.

Normally, when this happens, I often go out and take a long walk. I like feeling the sand between my toes, breathing the sea air. Sometimes it is more a run than a walk, if I feel too desperate, but the rain drops hitting my window convinced me to not bond with nature that night, so I just kept sitting on the edge of my bed, looking into a dark corner of the room, hearing the huge silence that surrounded the house.

I hate silence. It makes me think, wonder, remember, blame and even hate.

I was deciding rain was preferable than silence when a noise called my attention; it was the weak cry of a baby, so feeble that I could barely hear it, then I heard a door opening, light footsteps in the hallway and at last, another door being opened.

A minute latter the crying stopped.

I knew what it was, 001 had awaken and 003 got up to see him, it is just that I had never heard 001 waking up at this hour, but it was probably because I was either asleep or outside, taking one of those walks. I realized that surely this happened quite a lot, and 003 always went to 001´s aid.

003... other reason why I couldn´t sleep lately. In day time it was easy to deny what I felt as I interacted with other people and we had to defeat evil plans and stuff, but at night I couldn't avoid her image in my mind... her fair skin, her sweet blue eyes, her slender figure... I must confess that my thoughts were not always innocent about her, but my thoughts stayed with me and I treated her always with respect.

Some times those thoughts made me feel embarrassed. How could I look at her in the morning with sincerity when I had been fantasying about her the last night? I don't know how, but I managed to do it.

After a while I didn´t hear 003 returning to her room, and curiosity got the best of me, so I put a shirt on and silently, got out of my room and headed to the semi opened door of 001´s nursery.

I looked in, not daring to reveal my presence, and saw 003 in a blue pajama and a matching robe, her blonde hair was made in a pony tail. She was sitting in a rocking chair holding 001 in her arms. She was feeding him his bottle while she hummed softly some song that must be well known for all French children. 001 seemed to like it, for he was falling asleep again, between little baby smiles and some unconscious kicks that were slowly fading.

"I wonder if she could get me to sleep too." I thought for a second, half joking, half not.

The scene looked so quiet and tender that I didn´t want to interrupt, so I decided to leave and started to walk away.

"You don't have to leave, he is already asleep."

A voice called after me, I turned around. 003 was looking at me smiling, pointing her free hand to her ear reminding me of her super senses. My face burned, surely I was blushing. From all the involuntary reactions of the human body, blushing is the one I detest the most. of course, when it happens to me.

"Sorry, I didn´t mean to spy on you, I was just..."

She rose up and went to the crib. I decided to walk in and stand next to her while she lied 001 down. She covered him with a quilt and caressed his forehead. I was feeling very dumb, just being caught and now not saying a word, so I spoke the first thing that came to my mind.

"This is so strange, I am so used to 001´s logic and self consciousness that it is hard to remember that he is a baby after all."

" Yeah... after all. I think that even he forgets it, but it is often in his R.E.M. or in light slumber that he reacts like any other infant would, according to Dr. Gilmore."

Then she looked at me, smiled and then turned her attention to 001 again. Her smile was a tired one, but I'd dare to say that it was also a sad one.

"Why you tend on 001 with such love? I mean, we all are a team and we all care for him, but since the beginning you took him in like a... well, you know."

"Like a mother?" she completed the sentence for me.

"Well... yeah."

She took a deep breath and left the room, I followed her closing the door behind me. 003 walked towards the kitchen and put the empty bottle in the sink, then she went to the fridge, its light illuminating for seconds the dark room, and got the orange juice out. I took two glasses and put them on the table.

"Are you joining me with a glass of juice?." She spoke with a teasing tone and a half smile in her lips. I loved those lips, if only I could...

"Yeah, I can´t sleep anyway."

"Well, sleep is gone for me as well," she responded while she moved her shoulders.

We sat down, one in front of the other and for a couple of minutes nothing was said. Rain was still falling and now some thunders accompanied it.

"003..." I started, but I saw a disgusted gesture appearing in her face. I had noticed it before... Lately, whenever we are not on a mission or battle, 003 flinches at her number. I decided to ask her why, anyway, if she didn't want to answer, she could remain silent, like she did with my past question.

"You really don't like to be called by your number, do you?"

"Do you?" she asked back, "do you like being referred as a number? It just reminds me of what I lost... I try so hard to remain human, We try to remember constantly that no matter what is inside us, that our hearts and minds are still the same, and yet we call ourselves like if we were some kind of product that came out of a factory, not that it is away from reality."

Her words were calm as ever, but I could sense so much anger and bitterness... it hurt me deep, for her, for me, for all of us. I felt a knot in my stomach.

I always try hard not to think about what has been done to me, but see to the future instead, but there she was... talking about the very same things I try so hard to avoid. I suddenly felt the immense necessity to make her feel better.

"What if we use your name instead of 003?"

"I don't know that either, it's been so long since some one called me like that, I am just confused right now."

She turned her eyes to the window and then drank some of her, until now, untouched juice. I gave a sip to my own and added: "I haven't heard my name in a long time either". I wondered secretly how would my name sound in her lips. What would it be like to be called by her with joy, anger, tenderness... or desire?

"Joe..."

the sound surprised me greatly, for a moment I wasn't sure if I had really heard it or if it had been my imagination, but it had been real. 003 had called me by my name, and it caused a warm sensation to spread through my body. I looked in her blue eyes, she was smiling.

"Well, there it is, you heard you name again, how was it?"

I didn't know what to say, I opened my mouth twice, but all I could do was to give her a smile. Finally I was able to speak. "Sounds nice, hearing mi name from you, thanks... Francoise"

The last part of my sentence was said with insecurity, but still, it was now her turn to blush. She lowered her head shyly and said with a low voice: "Fran"

"Uhm?"

"They used to call me Fran"

I wondered who "they" were. Family? Friends? Boyfriends? I decided no to think about that.

"I like it, we using our names, would you like us to call you Fran from now on?"

She shifted uncomfortably and rested her elbows on the table.

"I am not sure..."

I decided to give it a shot. "Would you like it if I called you Fran?"

She looked into my eyes and grinned. "Yes, I'd like that very much, but not in front of the others, and of course, only if I get to call you by your name as well"

"Sounds fair," I said and took more juice. I wondered why she didn't want the others to call her by her name if the number 003 was bothering her so much.

Another silence fell between us while we drank our juice, but I enjoyed it; the sound of the rain outside and our low voices whispering in the dark. Occasional thunders illuminated her face in blue sparks. To me she looked beautiful.

It may be silly but I started to get scared, scared that once our talk was done, and our glasses were empty, she would leave and for a second, that thought terrified me. I didn't want her to leave, I wanted her to stay and I wanted us to talk and drink juice in the kitchen forever. Even if I felt confused by these feelings, I did want her to stay, so I decided to repeat my first question to talk some more.

"You didn't tell me why you care so much for 001"

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