Jet and Joe stared at Francoise as if the young woman had said that she had decided to sprout another head and call it Dolores. She just gave them that sweet, tender and calm smile that they actually feared more than a Black Ghost attack because Francoise had a way for making all of the male cyborgs agree to whichever thing she asked for.
No, she didn't use this strange power very often… but when she did, oh boy. You really had to worry. There was simply no way (or if it was, they hadn't discovered it) of refusing her when she almost pouted and stared at them with those verdant eyes.
Just like she was doing now. Jet tried to move, but both Joe and he were trapped. He heard the door closing and, through the window, watched Albert, Pyunma, and GB trying to seem casual about the way they were fleeing of the house. Geronimo was helping Chang at the restaurant. And doctor Gilmore had gone out with Ivan. They were alone.
The American launched to the window, shouting towards their retreating backs, Joe still frozen on his spot.
- You cowards! Come here and act like true cyborgs! – his answer was seeing 004, 007 and 008 drop the calm act and start running for dear life.
That was it. He wanted revenge and he wanted it now. He was going to climb out of the window in that second when Francoise spoke again.
- Please, guys… - oh no, the sweet, hurt voice. Slowly, ever so slowly, Jet turned his head. Joe had paled and apparently he was trying to become one with the wall. Francoise almost-but-not-quite pout had increased and… crap, where those tears on her eyes? Shit! Shit, shit, shit!
- But… babysitting? Babies?– asked Joe in trembling voice.
- Mrs. Kino schedule was changed today, she didn't get a chance of getting a nanny and I said that I'd help her if my friends agreed…
- Perfect! We'll see you over the night! Come on, Joe, we can still catch them. – said Jet, trying to go out of the window again.
A sniffle stopped him. Panicking, he turned completely towards the French woman, whom now had a complete pout which was trembling.
- The twins are two years old. It'd be really great if you could help me… - another sniffle. – Since you get along with children, I thought that maybe you'd want to… - Francoise raised her head, trying to smile through the definitely tears that were threatening to fall at any second now. – It's okay. It was selfish of me to ask you this.
Oh no. Not tears. Not tears. Please, please, if there was any God in any world, Francoise wouldn't… she wasn't going to…
Another sniffle. A double one. They were doomed and, when they exchanged looks, both cyborgs knew this.
- Okay, Francoise, but... – sighed Joe.
The girl brightened up, gifting them with the same smile they both feared and loved, interrupting the Japanese.
- Oh, thank you so much! I'll go to pick Kasumi and Makoto. Meanwhile, be sure to put out of reach anything breakable. Oh, what should we have for dinner?
She was out before any of the two remaining cyborgs could utter another word. Jet and Joe stared at the closed door, not really sure what had happened.
- How does she do that? – asked Joe in amazement.
Jet shrugged. – I've no idea.
Now, Joe was usually very good with children. Living in an orphanage you had to or you would go crazy. He liked children well enough, and actually, when he had free time (and Black Ghost wasn't attacking them) he liked to play with children in town. Many times he missed those days on the orphanage where his only worry was which play wouldn't bore the kids.
But babies were a complete different thing (and no, Ivan didn't count as a real life baby. How many babies can tell you that their diaper is dirty, after all?). He had no experience whatsoever about children younger than six years old. Since where he grew up was run only by a priest, the kids that they received were mostly the older ones that probably wouldn't be adopted, so in all his eighteen years of life, his only experience with a wailing two years old had been when he himself was that age.
He held Kasumi as he did with Ivan, trying to bounce her up to see if that calmed her, but the little girl continued crying. It went worst when one of her fist connected to his head, immediately curling around his hair and pulling in a vicious grip.
- Ow! Kasumi, let go! Jet, help!
- I've my own problems! Makoto, come here! – trough the one eye he kept open, Joe watched his American friend running behind a very naked (and very happy to be) toddler, that was not only keeping away of the redhead but also, somehow, was able to drop a jar (over Jet's foot), tear down the curtains, and scatter the Go stones at the same time that Jet was going to put his foot down. Joe just heard a loud crash that made Kasumi's crying increase, and loud giggles followed by Jet holding the very giggly (and still naked ) Makoto, the red head rubbing his nose and muttering under his breath.
- Little menace, terror, pure torture, devil's brat…
- Jet! That is no way to speak to the babies! – Francoise appeared on the kitchen door, wiping her hands over her apron, and looking at them with half a scowl.
- But he deserves it!
- Nonsense. – The French woman went towards Jet, taking Makoto on her arms with no problems at all. Then, she went towards Joe and, just taking Kasumi, the little girl hid her face on the crook of her shoulder, her desperate crying gone. Joe's chin probably reached his knees then.
Francoise sighed before smiling softly to them. - I'll go change them, just keep an eye on the food, right? – again, not waiting for an answer, she went, humming lullabies.
Jet was still rubbing his nose, and Joe was trying to think if maybe Francoise was developing new abilities that included the calming of little monsters, pardon, babies. He sighed, finally, going towards the kitchen.
- I'm never going to understand women.
- Me neither. Specially this one.
Later, they both decided that Kasumi and Makoto had just simply put their little infant monster minds together and had decided to make their lives a hell. Not that they could tell this to Francoise of course, because with her they behaved like angels.
After they had destroyed half the house, gotten Jet on their bath, put more food on Joe than in their mouths, they finally fell asleep at the living room, curling around the cushions. Francoise stared at them, deeply touched.
- Aww… aren't they cute like this?
Jet (who was nursing his nose again because apparently, Kasumi had decided it made a good place to bit. He was seriously starting to wonder why little brats found his nose so great to chew) and Joe shared a look but, very wisely, didn't say anything at all, just sat over the couch, counting the minutes now for the mother to come and they had to admit (very reluctantly) that there was certain charm on the sleeping faces of the twins.
Francoise turned towards them, sitting near the twins, and smiled. Somehow, Jet thought it made almost everything worth it.
- Thank you so much for this.
- Francoise… can I ask you something? – Joe asked. When Francoise nodded, he seemed incredulous. – Why did you suddenly want to take care of babies?
- Yeah. – Jet agreed. - You hate us and you want to torture us?
- What? No! – she laughed softly, her gaze on them. – I really thank you for this. I heard and I know it was difficult for you… but I do appreciate it.
- It's just that… - Francoise lowered her head, watching to the sleeping twins. She softly caressed Kasumi's hair, sighing. – Sometimes I just wonder how would it have… I mean, if I had…
Both boys relaxed a little bit. Their friend didn't need to finish her phrase. Softly, Joe raised, bending a moment so he could put his hand over 003's shoulder.
- I'll go wash the dishes.
Jet sat down, and after a moment, he sighed.
- While he's on it, I'll pack all the brats' toys and clean the mess they did over Albert's room… if he finds out, we're doomed.
- Thank you, guys.
Mrs. Kino fortunately was on time (along with the cowards of Albert, Pyunma and GB) and she took the still sleeping babies with her, after asking Francoise if the babies had given any troubles.
Very wisely (again) they didn't say anything while Francoise assured that the babies have been angels. Although they did speak (or stutter) when Francoise said that they'd be happy to take care of the twins again.
- WHAT! There's NO way that I…
- Francoise, are you really sure that it is…
A kiss on both of their cheeks after the young woman closed the door shut them up quite well. Jet and Joe (holding the kiss on place) watched Francoise pass towards her room. GB snickered, Albert hid his smile with his cup and Pyunma with the newspaper.
Jet turned towards Joe, yawning.
- Next time her biological clock activates, I say we bring her a kitten.
Joe just had to agree.