Toya Midori brought her car to a halt in front of the only house around. After checking the address to verify she was in the correct place, she turned off the engine and descended her green Toyota.
Well, it seemed that beautiful beach house was the home of the Shimamura.
006 scratched his head, confused. But if he only had turned away for a second! Where had all his strawberries gone? He looked under the table, maybe he dropped them but… nope, they weren't anywhere. When he looked up again, not only the strawberries were missing but the sweet, hot, fluffy cranberry muffins he had just baked for breakfast were gone as well!
What the hell was going on?
He saw a glimpse of grey through the corner of his eye and felt a rush of air. When Chang looked back at the table, his chocolate cookies had also vanished! Those were for Marie!
A mocking laughter reached his ears.
006 grabbed a pan and started looking around, moving his kitchen utensils aside. Small paws could be heard running from one side to another.
"Alright baldy! Come out come out, wherever you are! I'm gonna get my hands on you and you're not gonna like it!"
And then, there he was, a small grey mouse with big eyes, hiding behind the flour bin. Chang snickered and raised the pan.
"You'll learn to leave my cooking alone once and for all!" he shouted and the pan went down, but the mouse was faster and dodged the hit and instead, 006 knocked the flour bin, sending the light powder flying all over his beloved kitchen and covering in it a fine layer of white.
"Hah hah hah!" A second later, 007 transformed in his human form and started laughing at his teammate's misfortune.
"Just look at you! You look like a giant marshmallow man! Hah hah!" He clutched his belly.
"007… you miserable failure of an actor!" 006 narrowed his eyes while his lower lip quivered dangerously. He had had enough.
"Wha--? Ahhg!" G.B. barely avoided the gust of fire that, if he wasn't already bald, would have burned his hair whole.
"Um?" 003 looked up from her reading; she heard an engine outside the house. She looked toward the source of the sound and saw, using her x-ray vision, that a young woman was now walking toward the entrance of the house. Who could she possibly be and what would she want at 10:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning?
"Joe." she called to his husband, who wouldn't separate his eyes from his Need for Speed videogame.
"Joe?" she called again. Honestly, didn't he ever get tired of cars? Wasn't it enough that, for a job, he already drove a racing car and was a top ten racer in the world? Men were such kids.
"Papa, maman is talking to you." Marie, who was sitting next to him, watching him play, tugged at his jacket.
"Huh?" he half turned to see her, not taking his eyes off the screen.
"There's a woman walking to the front door, I don't know who she is. We should go and check," 003 informed him.
"Yeah… right… just let me finish this lap."
003 rolled her eyes and left her book down. "Forget it, I'll go check myself."
"Yeah… bring me one too…"
If 003 rolled her eyes once more, they would fall right out of their sockets.
"I'll make you roast beef!"
"Calm down! Ah! Enough with the fire! Chaaaang!" 007 ran for his dear life as 006 chased him out the kitchen and out to the back yard.
The British, and possibly, soon to be roasted, man, transformed himself into a pelican in order to escape by air, and in that same shape, turned around the corner of the house. 005 was at the garage. He could save him from the cook's ire!
Toya reached the porch and was about to knock on the door when something caught her attention; it was a man, a very big one, with a Mohawk and red skin. His appearance was highly unusual, but that was not what made her freeze on the spot.
Apparently, he hadn't seen her, too busy moving a car out the way in order to, probably, pull his own vehicle from the packed garage. The thing was, he wasn't driving said car but lifting it with a single hand, with no more effort than if he were lifting a bicycle.
Was she dreaming? She rubbed her eyes, incredulous, and gave a step to the front, trying to get a closer look, but a sudden noise made her turn back.
"Come back here! You little—!"
"Ahhhg! Leave me alone! Geronimoooooo!"
The teacher opened wide her eyes when she saw a huge pelican coming at her, who she thought to have heard talking and who, apparently, was escaping from a man throwing fire at him… from his mouth.
"What is th--?" But she never got time to complete the sentence.
007 turned his head to see where he was going and saw that he was about two nanoseconds to collide against a petite black haired woman standing on the porch.
"Watch out!" he screamed and then tried as hard as he could to avoid her, manoeuvring to the right and indeed, he didn't crash against her. Instead, he left the way free between her and Chang's fire.
Toya barely opened her mouth, hypnotized by the bright ball of fire coming toward her.
And then, earth disappeared beneath her feet. As in slow motion, she saw the ball of fire charring to ashes the very spot where she had been standing, then she turned up to see a man with a big mane of red hair holding her in his arms. Amazed, she looked down again and distinguished, perplexed, their shadow silhouetted on the ground. Of course… that often happened when one was floating in the middle of the air.
"Ahhhhhhh!" She screamed and clutched to her rescuer, only to start hitting him on the chest with her fists a second after, not sure if to be grateful or afraid.
"Hey hey! Calm down! I saved you, you know?" said the man and then he landed, releasing her.
007 flew to them and transformed to his own self, worry apparent on his face.
"Miss, are you hurt? He asked. 006 stood next to him, playing nervously with his chef hat. 005 had noticed the whole mess as well and had joined them by now, but he had forgotten to leave the car behind, carrying it with him.
Toya gave a couple of steps back and fell on her butt, looking at them all with her eyes almost out of her eye sockets.
"What happened here?" She heard someone saying and then turned around to see a blond woman walking to them. She seemed pretty angry. She must be Marie's mother, Toya half thought within her bewilderment.
"This couple of idiots, what else? They almost burned this girl alive!" answered 002 while pointing at G.B. and Chang, who only looked away with their hands behind their backs. They almost whistled, 003 could swear.
"She's not a cyborg or anything by any chance, is she?" 002 then added and tightened his eyelids.
003 checked the woman lying on the floor and moved her head negatively, then she offered her hand to her in order to help her up. In that moment, Geronimo remembered he was still carrying the car and let it down very slowly, as if by doing so, the woman wouldn't notice what he was doing.
"Are you alright?" 003 asked.
"I… I… don't think so…" Toya Midori started to see the edges of her vision darkening and blurring and she felt her head spinning wildly. Then she knew nothing else.
They were all reunited in the living room, looking with concern at the woman sitting on the couch, holding a shaking cup of valium tea and eyeing the five persons around her with alarm.
"Feeling better already?" asked 003. The unfortunate guest looked at her and then pointed at 007 with an unsteady hand.
"H-how can I? He—he was a bird! And y-you can fly!" she pointed now to 002, who was leaning on the entrance, arms crossed.
"Yeah yeah, I did, and the chubby one threw fire at you, but s'alright, we're not going to hurt you so stop being so nervous."
Toya opened her mouth with indignation. How rude! For a second she forgot her fear and was about to reprimand him when a little voice made her turn around.
Marie came down the stairs, accompanied by a tall, chestnut haired man. The child gave her a broad smile and ran to hug her. The cyborgs were now officially confused.
"What's going on? We were upstairs playing and heard all the noise, so we came down to see," 009 said and found several pairs of eyes looking in his direction with desires to strangle him, probably.
"This young lady here had an unlucky encounter with us… we almost burned her alive…" answered G.B. while he massaged his shoulder, nervously.
But Marie was unaware of the tension present in the room. "You came to visit me?" she asked innocently. Toya nodded and tried to smile at the young girl.
"Ah look! This is my maman and my papa and uncle Chang and Uncle Jet and Uncle G.B. and uncle Geronimo. Everybody, this is Miss Toya, my teacher." Marie pointed to them as she introduced them to her teacher, but remembered suddenly that her mother had told her repeatedly that pointing was rude and lowered her arm.
"You… you're Marie's teacher?" asked 009. The woman nodded, nervously. 009 and 003 looked at each other, agape. This was their daughter's teacher? And their comrades had just done something surely, very, very stupid in front of her?
"Uh-oh," uttered Chang, apparently understanding how bad this matter could turn.
Toya lowered her cup to the coffee table and took a deep breath. She still didn't comprehend what had just happened out there but if this was Marie´s family, then there had to be an explanation… Funny, the situation remembered her of that drawing.
Toya gulped; suddenly she started to realize that Marie's drawing was not made out of pure imagination, after all.
"Miss Toya… right? We're sorry that this all happened, please, we apologize for anything that these three put you through," 009 said and sat in front of her, jerking his head toward 002, 006 and 007.
Chang and G.B. lowered their heads but Jet snapped at once, "What? I didn't put her through anything! I saved her ass! If not for me we'd have teacher a la barbeque!"
"And did you had to fly? Couldn't you just accelerate to get her of the way?" 009 answered. Marie, still next to her teacher, looked at the scene with a frown. Her dad and uncle almost never argued.
"I didn't have anytime to react! I did what came first to my mind! Any way, it's not like I made the situation worst! What else could she think after seeing a giant bird and a fire breathing man? Huh? Besides, what's she doing here?"
Now Jet turned to Toya. "What are you doing here?"
"Jet!" 003 tried to make him stop talking.
The woman frowned, upset. She had not come to receive this kind of treatment; being about to be run over then burned and tossed around in the air was not her idea of a visit to a student's home!
"I came here to speak to Marie's parents, not to be treated this way!"
"Talk to Marie's parents? On Sunday? Who are you trying to kid?" 002 retorted.
Toya stood up, puffing with indignation. "This isn't a joke! I'm here because there's an important issue I have to talk with Mr and Ms, Shimamura and I'm here on Sunday because it's my only free day!"
"Jet! That's enough!" 003 yelled this time. 002 sulked but complied, again crossing his arms, what indicated he would try to behave.
"Miss Toya, but why didn't you send us a request for an interview or a notification before coming all the way here?" 009 asked, as Marie left her teacher's side and ran to her mom, asking her why they were so upset. 003 just stroked her head and asked her to keep quiet for a moment.
"I did! On three occasions, but I never received an answer! And you don't have a phone!" said the teacher, defensively.
003 turned to her daughter. "Marie, did Miss Toya give you a paper to give to us?"
Marie rolled her eyes up, trying to remember, then her little face lit up when she gave with the answer. "Oh yeah, she told me to give them to a responsible adult."
"And what did you do with them, sweetie?"
"I gave them to uncle G.B." Marie smiled and pointed to the retreating English cyborg, whom had almost tiptoed his way out the living room.
"Great Britain!" shouted 009 and 007 put his hands up.
"I'm sorry I'm sorry, I forgot about them and besides you know I speak Japanese but I don't read Kanji, for Shakespeare's sake!"
"This is stupid! I'm out of here! I'm returning to the States tomorrow and Kathy and Jimmy still haven't seen half of what I wanted to show them!" Jet shouted. He lived now in New York, with Kathy and her son, and was only visiting his cyborgs family for a short time.
003 put a hand on her temper and sighed. "Listen Jet, would you mind taking Marie with you?"
"And everyone else, please. Could you step out? Françoise and I want to speak with Miss Toya, alone," 009 added.
There was a pregnant pause.
"Yeah sure, come on kiddo. Wanna play with Jimmy?" said Jet finally. Marie's smile broadened and after kissing her parents and her teacher, ran to her 'most favourite' uncle, clasping his hand.
"And I… um, have to go and clean the kitchen. Great Britain, care to help me?" said 006. 007 was smart enough to not complain and followed the Chinese man head lowered and with not a word.
"I was heading off to the grocery store any way. Miss, glad to meet you and we are deeply sorry for scaring you," 005 apologized.
A moment later, several doors closed and Toya Midori was left alone with Marie's parents.
"We are really sorry for all of this, I guess we should introduce ourselves properly now, I'm Joe Shimamura and this is my wife, Françoise." 009 rose from his seat and bowed to the teacher, 003 did the same. Toya responded the salute, but she was still shaking a little.
"N-nice to meet you I think but… I'm sorry if I'm rude but I have to know. What the hell did just happen outside? How's that those men were capable of doing such things? What's going on here, Mrs. Shimamura?" Toya blunted and blushed, not used to speak in such manner to anyone, especially not to a student's parents.
003 and 009 looked at each other and sighed.
"We understand that you're confused or even frightened, but please, believe me. We're not dangerous, we all—"
"Not dangerous? I was almost burned alive out there!" Toya interrupted 009's speech, raising her arms and pointing to the yard. Then she continued, "Once, Marie showed me a drawing where she described her entire family having all kind of weird supernatural powers, at first I thought she was only imagining it all but … but… I'm starting to fear it wasn't that way. Are you all some kind of super powered humans or something?"
009 closed his eyes and tried to think of something but his mind was a blank. What could he do? What could he say? But, his wife took the decision from him.
"Yes, Miss Toya, we are."
Toya blinked, not really expecting such a straight declaration. "And… and, Marie's like you? What does she do? Is she a danger for the other kids? What if she hurts them by accident? You should have told me something like this before sending her to school!" the teacher shouted, still shocked at the news.
"Please, calm down, we beg you. Marie's just as normal as any kid her age. She possesses no special abilities but perhaps, her talent to draw, that's it… You can trust us on that," 003 assured with a hurt tone in her voice. She just couldn't bear for her little angel to be targeted as a freak because of them. She felt like punching the good teacher, and knew her husband had similar feelings, but still, they understood Ms. Toya's worries.
Toya put a hand on her face and sighed. She hadn't really meant to say those things, she was just nervous, and now she was deeply ashamed as well. "I'm… I'm sorry… I was discourteous toward you and your daughter in your own house. It wasn't my intention, it's just that I'm very confused. I don't understand how you can do all those things."
009 met 003's eyes and she nodded, indicating her support.
Joe took a deep breath and looked at the woman eye to eye. "I'll give you the short story, some time ago, the persons you saw here, Françoise and I were subjects of several tests of an organization. As result of such tests we developed certain abilities, but these changes we suffered were made at a physical level, not at a genetic one, that's why Marie´s as normal as any other child."
Toya shook her head, trying to process the information she just had received. "Then, if I recall correctly, you are able to run at high speed and you can see through walls, I think," she said to the cyborg parents and they nodded.
"Oh dear… I still can't believe it."
"But as we said earlier, you have no reason to fear us, in any sense, we're not dangerous to you. We keep our powers in deep secret and I can assure you that Chang won't go to roast you if you give a low grade to Marie," Françoise joked and surprisingly, it did bring a little smile from the woman.
"Really? Well… I should feel relieved then." Toya massaged her nape as she said this and then gave a nervous laugh. "I guess you're interesting people to meet, after all. I'm sorry I had to stumble onto your private lives this way."
"Not to worry. We're glad nothing too serious happened today. So why did you say you came here in the first place?" asked 009.
Toya raised her hand to her forehead. "Oh yeah! I had absolutely forgotten! Well, the school board saw Marie's drawings and the want to put her in a special class for gifted kids to develop her talent. We only need your approval."
"I think Marie will love that," 003 smiled.
"Yeah, it's fine by us."
"It's done… then… I… I… feel a little dizzy" Toya took a hand to her eyes while her face wrinkled in a confused gesture. 003 and 009 watched her patiently, trying to look as relaxed as possible.
"What was I saying? H-how did I ge—I… Mrs. Shimamura?" Toya looked at the young couple sitting across her.
"Do you feel alright, Miss Toya?" asked 009.
"I'm not sure… I don't remember wha—"
"You were saying us that Marie will join a class for gifted children in order to improve her drawing abilities. We said it would be alright." 003 filled her in.
"Oh… oh yeah, that's why I came here. Where's the little angel by the way?" Toya still appeared to be confused and her eyes would seem unfocused all the sudden.
"She's off with her uncle Jet." 009 Informed her.
"Oh right, she's told me about him… I would have liked to meet him. Well, Mr Shimamura, Mrs. Shimamura, I won't take more of your Sunday time, sorry if I caused you any bother."
"Not at all Miss Toya, it was a pleasure having you here." 003 said and rose to her feet. 009 did the same.
Miss Toya rose as well and regarded the cup of tea on the table. Had she been drinking it? She really couldn't remember for her dear life. Also she hardly remembered getting of her car. Kami, she was working too hard, maybe she should ask for some time off…
009 accompanied their guest to the door and stayed there, waving at her until her car disappeared down the road. After that he returned to the living room and sat next to 003, only then, they let go of the collective breath they had been holding.
A young blue haired boy about seven years old came floating down the stairs. No matter if he could walk, he would always prefer to levitate.
"Thanks Ivan, you really saved us from this one," said 009 with a relieved tone.
It was not a problem, though you ought to be much more careful now, a memory can be modified only a number of times and I'd hate to cause poor Miss Toya a permanent brain damage, 001 said.
"Ivan, when are you going to use your mouth to speak?" asked 003, smiling to the child who she had taken care of since he was a baby.
The boy decided to please her and voiced, "Why? It's much easier this way, I can chew and speak at the same time, it's fun," he smiled to them and ran upstairs again.
"Well, that was close…" said 009 in a tired voice.
"Nothing of this would have happened if you hadn't been so engrossed with that stupid game!" 003 reproached, shaking her finger furiously.
"Hey! It isn't stupid! It's incredibly hard to drive that damn car in the snow pit! I can't pass that level!"
003 stood up and stomped her hoot. "That's it! I had enough of that game! I can stand hearing all those damned components working day and night while you play! I even can tolerate you not listening to me when I speak to you but that's all I can stand! You're about to change 'Need for Speed' for 'Need for a new PS2'!" And 003 dashed upstairs.
009 stayed there, sitting, trying to decipher what his wife had just meant. Then it hit him.
"Fran! Don't you dare touch my Play Station!" and he ran after her
Well, it was very funny to do this three parts one-shot. I hope you had as much fun with this as I did. Leave comments, please.
I also love imaging 001 grown up! I'd hate to think he will remain a baby forever.
Again, my gratitude goes to GoldAngel2. One of the most committed beta-readers I've met.