Netto ran around the yard excitedly after the little flashes of light that appeared every so often around him. Laika and Enzan both sat on the grass watching their friend run after the fireflies in the warm dusky evening. "It's amusing to think what our enemies would think of Netto and Rockman if they saw then chasing after fireflies," Enzan noted.
Laika shook his head, "Well, it not like Netto is known for his maturity," Laika pointed out.
"I heard that!" Netto yelled.
"There's a firefly above you," Enzan yelled back.
Netto looked up just in time to see a small green glow fade into the darkness. "Mine!" he yelled and jumped up to try and catch the hapless insect.
Enzan and Laika both hid small smiles and continued to watch their friend run around the yard collecting the specks of light in a peanut butter jar with air holes in the lid.
"Netto-kun, there's one over there," Rockman's voice said from his PET.
"Where?" Netto asked.
"There!" Rockman said pointing outside of his PET.
"Rockman, I can't see you! Tell me where," Netto said crossly.
"To your left," Rockman said.
Netto looked to his left and saw a small starburst dim about two feet away from him. "I see it," he grinned and walked over to where it was floating. "Where'd it go?" he looked around. Another flash of light caught his eye and he cupped his hands over the green glow. "Got it," he said happily.
"There's one to your right," Rockman said after Netto put the insect inside of the jar.
Netto saw another burst of light that faded next to a tree. He ran after it but after the light faded the insect was lost in the dark. "Aw," he pouted.
"Don't worry," Rockman said happily. "There's one over by the tree over there."
"Over where?" Netto asked.
Rockman sighed, "To you left," he said.
Netto ran in that direction and caught yet another firefly.
Enzan and Laika both looked into the sky just in time to see the last dim red rays of the sun dip below the horizon like dying embers. "Netto, we should go," Enzan said while standing up and dusting his pants off.
"Aw," Netto and Rockman said together.
"Netto, it's dark. We need to walk back to your house, now come on," Enzan said a little irritably.
"But you two haven't even tried yet," Netto said. "Don't you want to catch some lightning bugs?"
Enzan and Laika looked at each other dubiously, "I'll pass," they said in unison.
Netto shrugged, "Your loss."
The three started to walk from the big field to Netto's house. Netto held the glowing jar in front of his face and watched the small bursts of light happily. "Aren't they pretty?" he asked.
"Yeah," Rockman said, also looking at the jar.
Enzan and Laika both looked at Netto whose face was illuminated with a light green from the occasional flash from the insects in his jar. It was just beyond them how running around catching little glowing bugs could make someone so happy.
"Netto-san, why are you keeping them in a jar?" Blues asked out of curiosity.
"Because, papa told me once that when you catch fireflies and leave them overnight they'll turn into pennies," Netto said happily.
There was a long, uncomfortable silence that even Netto couldn't miss.
"What?" he asked.
"Nothing," Enzan said while eyeing Netto. 'How can he be this naïve?' he asked himself.
Netto smiled at the jar, "I normally go firefly catching when papa is here. I'm surprised you two came with us," Netto said looking at Enzan and Laika.
Enzan and Laika both looked at Netto in some kind of shock. It was beyond them how someone like Netto and Rockman could be so childish in instances like these yet so terrifying while in battle. "I think Laika-san and Enzan-san just wanted to get out," Searchman said in his operator's absence.
"Right," Laika said, catching his navi's hint. They came to Netto's house and went inside making sure to shut the door behind them.
"Hello!" Haruka said happily. "Did you boys have fun?"
"Yes," Netto said. Laika and Enzan nodded.
Haruka smiled, "Good, would you two like to stay over tonight, it's a little late to be sending you two home."
Enzan and Laika blinked, after so many years of being treated like an adult or ignored it was odd to suddenly be reminded of their actual age with a simple line like 'it's a little late.'
"Sure," Enzan said apprehensively.
Laika shrugged, "Fine."
Netto grinned at them knowing the reason for the silence. He set down the jar of fireflies and walked into the kitchen. "What did you make for dinner, mama?" he asked.
"Spaghetti," she said happily.
After dinner they watched late night movies and before long Netto and Rockman had fallen asleep on the couch. Enzan was the first to note Netto's sudden drop out of the conversation they were having. "I guess running around in a field for an hour makes you tired," he said while looking at Netto.
Laika followed his direction and shook his head. "I guess."
Enzan reached over Netto's head and turned off the light. A small greenish glow in the far corner caught their attention. They walked over to it and looked down at the jar containing the fireflies. "Well?" Blues asked.
"Well what?" Enzan retorted.
"Are you going to put pennies in it?" Searchman asked.
Enzan and Laika looked at one another. "Why would we do something like that?" Laika asked while crossing his arms. "I mean, it's damn obvious that it's his dad that does it."
Blues looked at the jar, "I think he knows that."
"Then why bring it up?" Enzan asked sharply.
"Maybe he just wanted to tell you guys about it. I don't really know. I'm not quite sure I want to know how Rockman and Netto-san's minds work," Searchman replied.
Enzan and Laika looked at the natural night light again.
"Why are we doing this?" Enzan asked while picking up the jar and taking it out side.
"I have no idea," Laika replied as honestly as he could.
The two boys sat on the step and looked at the jar. "How many are in there?" Laika asked.
"Why should we care, shouldn't we just let them go and put some pennies in?" Enzan retorted.
"What if Netto-san and Rockman counted them?" Blues asked.
"Netto wouldn't count how many fireflies he caught, would he?" Enzan asked incredulously.
They looked at the jar again and silently they both began to count.
"Thirty-nine," Laika said.
"I got forty," Enzan replied.
"You counted one twice," Laika said.
"No I didn't, I counted twice, there's forty," Enzan said while still looking at the jar.
Laika opened his mouth but Searchman cut him off, "Okay there's forty. Now what?"
Enzan looked up, "Do either of us have forty pennies?" he asked.
Netto woke up the next morning after much mental poking from Rockman. "Go away," Netto groaned.
"No, come on Netto-kun, wake up," Rockman said.
Netto sighed and sat up, rubbing his eyes sleepily. He was amazed to see that Laika and Enzan were still asleep. "How late were they up?" he mused.
"No idea," Rockman said.
Netto shrugged and went over to the jar that previously had thirty-eight lightning bugs in it. He saw the pennies at the bottom and laughed. "Who knew?" he asked while picking it up.
"Are you ever gonna tell them that you caught papa switching them when you were ten?" Rockman asked while trying not to laugh.
Netto giggled, "Nah," Netto glanced over to where Enzan and Laika were still asleep. "Why ruin their fun?"
Rockman laughed, "They must have been up late counting the fireflies and getting the pennies."
"Who knew that they would actually care?" Netto asked amusedly while looking at the pennies in the bottom of the jar.
Blues and Searchman both heard the exchange between the twins but decided against saying anything about it. Sometimes it was nice for their net ops to remember that they were still children, and Netto was very good at doing that.
This came from my grandma. I used to catch fireflies in her back yard all the time and every time without fail I'd wake up the next morning to find pennies at the bottom of the jar. I seldom caught them at home because I lived in a very urban area so there weren't that many fireflies. After my grandma died I caught the fireflies one more time only to find the next morning very cramped fireflies instead of pennies. I was about Netto's age (at the beginning of EXE) when that happened. So, some memories brought up here for me. Hope you liked the little ficlet, this is for my grandmother :3