Because this is suppose to be read like a really long One Shot piece, I'll try not to include author's notes between chapters. The story's not fully completed yet as I've become a bit stuck on one area, where the chatacters chant "Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!" If you have a nice alternative to this, include it in your review. It must be something related to the Original or X series, not Zero, Legends, or Battle Network. I already have a cast of characters, though if you'd like to guess, be my guest.

The Wizard of ThOz

Shadow Delasangre

A large group of children gathered in a circle near a chair. It was story time in the newly created MHHQ daycare, and the children seemed rather excited about the event. Along one wall was a couch, where the most famed Maverick Hunter sat. Mega Man X had his eyes closed, his hands behind his head, enjoying his little break. He had spent a good amount of time playing with the little rascals, and they eventually tired him out. He had always heard that children had more energy than people could handle. But he never expected that they could tire a reploid! That's why he was glad Alia decided to take over for a while, letting Pallette and Layer handle the few missions that were going on today.

X heard the door open and opened one eye. He spotted Axl walk in, grabbing a chair. X merely lifted an eyebrow. Axl looked to the tired reploid and waved. "I decided to stick around, in case things got out of hand."

X suppressed a laugh, mumbling, "Where were you when I needed you?" Axl didn't seem to hear as he placed his chair near the other, talking to the little children as they hung on his words. X didn't pay much attention and looked to Alia as she searched the bookcase.

Alia explored the various stories, trying to figure out which story hadn't been told yet. After a sigh, she looked to the kids. She walked near the circle, looking to the little kids as they looked back, waiting. "Okay, kids. What story do you guys want?"

They all shouted so many different stories; she covered her ears to drown it all out. X chuckled, already used to the noise level. Alia screamed out, "Ok Ok! New plan!" The kids quieted down. Alia sat down without a book to accompany her. "Ok, I'm going to tell you guys a different story." She looked at kids nervously. "Hey X, wanna help me out a little here?"

X smiled, his eyes closed once again, his hands still behind his head. "Okay, sure. Once upon a time…" Alia glared as he stayed silent. Axl snickered, which got him a glare as well. "There was a girl named Roll."

Alia looked back. Oh! He was thinking. You couldn't really tell, as X had been too relaxed to strain his face in thought. Alia smiled at X. "Okay. This girl, Roll, lived with her family," Alia said slowly, trying to come up with a story, "in a little farm house in Kansas."

Axl's eyebrow shot up. "Wait a minute."

Alia glared at Axl, which silenced him. "Okay. So she lived with her family in the little farm in Kansas. One day, a huge tornado came, ready to rip right through their house. This tornado was huge!" Alia showed with her hands, the children now captivated. "Her family decided to run into the cellar to protect themselves. They had to be quick, because tornados are notoriously fast."

A little kid raised his hand. "What does 'otoreeus' mean?"

Axl decided to pitch in. "Notorious means that…" He then realized how difficult it was to explain to little kids such a word. "How do I explain?" he said to himself, biting his thumb, as if it would help him think.

X laughed to himself. "What it means it that that's what tornadoes do. They move really fast."

The boy was wide-eyed in understanding. "Oooh. Thank you, Mr. X." X and Alia smiled at the boy. How cute, thought Alia.

"Okay," continued Alia, "so the tornado was going really fast, so they ran into the cellar and shut the door. But when they looked around, they saw that Roll wasn't in there with them. They wanted to go save her, but it was too dangerous.

"Roll looked around, seeing the tornado coming closer. She decided to run inside with her dog, To…" Alia stopped. She didn't want to ruin the 'original characters' concept of the story.

And neither did X. "Rush." Alia looked back, confused. "The dog's name was Rush."

"Oh! Right! The dog's name was Rush." Alia smiled. X was really good at saving people, on and off the battlefield, it appeared.

But Axl wasn't convinced. "I know you're taking this story from somewhere."

Alia glared at Axl again. "Shut up, Axl." She looked back to the children. "Well, she ran to the cellar, but found it was locked, and the wind blew so loud, her family couldn't hear her knocking on the door. Roll looked to her doggie and shouted, 'Come on, Rush! Let's go inside the house.' She grabbed her doggie and ran to the house, locking the door."

"Wait, what's the point of locking the door? She afraid the tornado would come in through it?"

"I said shut up Axl. Now, from the window, Roll could see the tornado up close to the house. She was so scared, instead of just closing the window, she stared, not moving. The tornado somehow rips the whole house off the ground, the house spinning in the tornado."

"Is that even possible?"

Alia simply ignored him. "Roll kept staring out the window, watching as different things flew by, like pieces of wood from a fence, a mailbox, all kinds of stuff. Then, she saw something really weird. It was a, uh…" Alia thought for a moment, trying to come up with something original.

X, now really into the story, inserted the next character. "A man in a black armored dress, riding a wolf-like… air board." X smiled, liking how this was going.

"Wait a minute." Axl stopped him. "I know this story… Wizard something…"

Alia was visibly angry now. She gently put her hand behind his neck. An interesting feature with reploids was that because of their build, they had pressure points similar to humans. They were not all located exactly where a human's would be, but some were pretty close. Alia quickly found Axl's pressure points and made sure to squeeze nice and hard. "Axl, if you spoil this story for these kids, I'm going to have to hurt you. Please don't make me do that."

Axl, through her little speech, kept murmuring a continued "Ow ow ow ow ow!" Yet he heard, and responded with, "And what do you call this?"

Alia smiled, not letting go. "A warning." She then released and Axl gulped. She turned to the kiddies, who looked on, a bit confused. "Sorry kids. Where was I?"

A little girl raised her hand and spoke up in a hushed voice. "There was a funny man riding a wolf thingy."

Alia smiled. "That's right. Thank you. What's your name?"

The girl smiled, but kept her voice low. "Dorothy."

Alia blinked. X snickered, as he could tell from the moment of silence that Alia wasn't expecting that answer. "Well, Dorothy," she said slowly. "Thanks." The little girl smiled and blushed. Alia looked to the kids and continued. "Okay, finally the house begins shaking and Roll screamed, very scared. The house fell with a crunch, the window now closed from all the shaking. Roll and her doggie Rush, who had been hiding under a bed, stepped outside, and in front of them was a world full of colors. Roll looked to dog and whispered, 'I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Rush.' "

Axl snorted. "Gee, what was her first clue? The colors?"

Alia glared at Axl again, and he immediately put his hand behind his neck, covering his pressure points. Alia continued, " 'I think we're over the rainbow,' she said. Roll continued to stare at the beauty until she saw something floating her way. It was a large red bubble, filled with colors inside of it. The bubble popped, and out appeared another man. This man," as she said it, she held a finger in front of X to keep him from inserting something, "had a red dress on and a tiara on top of his head. He didn't seem to like it though, as it kept messing with his six foot long hair."

Axl and X immediately burst out laughing. The little kids were confused; of course they wouldn't realize that Alia had just turned the red menace known as Zero into a character for her story. Alia herself could barely keep a straight face. But of course, she had to manage, as she needed to continue with her story. "The man looked at Roll and asked, 'Well, are you a good witch or a bad witch?' Roll looked at the man as if he was crazy. 'Well? C'mon, I ain't got all day!' he said.

"Roll blinked once, then said, 'I'm not a witch!'

"The man pointed down and asked Roll, 'Well then, is that what you call a witch?' Roll looked at where he was pointing, Rush growling at the man's finger. The man said, 'I was told to come here because some new witch came and killed the Wicked Witch of the East.'

" 'Someone… killed someone?' Roll said sadly.

"The man sighed. 'Duh! Dropped a bloody house on the witch! Now who was it? The house is right behind you, so you have to know who did it.'

"Roll looked behind her, and saw a pair of legs sticking out. 'Oh, that's gross!' she said. Then she spotted a pair of ruby boots. 'Wow, shiny!' "

X giggled to himself as he listened. "It was a good idea to stick around after all," he said to himself.

Axl smiled and nodded, listening to the story now. Alia kept going, unaware of what X had said. "The man grew frustrated. 'Forget the bloody shoes! Are you a witch or not?' The man waves a sabre-like wand in the air to show how mad he was.

" 'I told you, I'm not a witch,' said Roll. 'Besides, witches are old and ucky,' she said, then stuck her tongue out at the man." X and Axl were having a bit of a giggle fit at the situation Alia had put Roll in, the children looking at the two hunters oddly. X could only imagine the fury that would have coarsed through Zero in that situation. Alia described that fury as best she could to the little tykes. "The man became even more angry, and waved his wand at her angrily.

" 'You care to run that by me again?' he growled.

"Roll looked at the man oddly. 'Why, what's wrong?' she said."

"You know," Axl interrupted, "she's pretty calm for having a beam sabre in her face."

Alia scolded him. "Would you like to know the feeling?" Axl abruptly shook his head, now fearing the Navigator. "Then hush! Now," she continued, turning to the kids, "the man explained that only bad witches were ugly and icky, and that good witches, like himself, were beautiful and cool and stuff. Roll nodded, since she didn't really know a lot about witches, but wondered if he was lying. Yes, this Good Witch was good looking," X eyed Alia, but he was behind her and she paid no heed, "but he was really mean to her, not nice. Then, a bunch of little…" Alia pondered. What could replace the munchkins?

"Metools," said X.

Alia smiled. "Right. A bunch of little metools came out and began singing and dancing for joy because the Wicked Witch of the East was dead. The witch had been mean to them, and now that the witch couldn't hurt them anymore, they were really happy."

"You know Alia," Axl interrupted once again.

Her eye twitched and she answered with a sharp, "What?"

Axl gulped. "I was just gonna say that you're really good at this story telling business."

Alia was shocked for a moment, then her face held guilt as he looked to Axl. "Um… th-thanks." She smiled, not really expecting a compliment from him. The little children giggled at her reaction. Well, she thought, at least they're having a good time. "Okay, so the metool are celebrating when, from atop a little hill, a whirl of smoke appeared. The metool ran inside their houses, and as the smoke cleared, there stood the man who had been riding the wolf thing from before. 'I,' he said aloud, 'am the Wicked Witch of the West.'

"Roll looked at the witch and decided that the Good Witch, who really wasn't all that good, was lying. Sure, the Wicked Witch of the West was scary, but he was still kinda cute." X snorted behind her. Alia glanced back to see him, eyes still closed, arms still behind his head, and a large grin across his face. She smiled, then turned back to the circle, and back to her story. "Roll watched as the Wicked Witch of the West walked right up to the Good Witch and began yelling at him. Of course, the Good Witch yelled back and soon they were having a really big fight. Roll looked around, because the witches had bored her. She looked at the shiny boots again, and decided to try them on. They were really comfy and shiny.

"The witches had now begun to attack each other, and the Wicked Witch was pulling on the Good Witch's hair," X and Axl immediately flinched and let their shock escape from their mouths. Alia decided that their reactions were helping to show that this was not a good thing, and made no comment against the interruption. "They fought like this until the Wicked Witch noticed Roll wearing the ruby boots. 'Hey,' he shouted, 'What do you think you're doing with those boots?'

"Roll looked to the witch. 'What? You want them? I don't think red's really your color,' she said."

X added with a snicker, "Yeah, but they matched his eyes so well."

Instead of glaring, Alia snickered as well, her tongue sticking out a bit to help suppress the laugh. "Yeah, okay. So the Wicked Witch got angry and said, 'Well, are you going to give them to me, or not?'

"Roll shook her head. 'No way, I saw them first!' The two began to argue. The Good Witch decided to stop the fighting by bopping both of them in the head."

Axl thought to himself, "Yeah right. First he'd straighten out his hair for a good 5-10 minutes. Then he'd bop them." He snickered, then said aloud, "You sure this Good Witch is actually good?"

Alia sighed angrily. "He's a good witch if I say he is. Now shush." The children giggled again as Axl was reprimanded. "Anyways, the Good Witch pointed at Roll and said, 'You, with the shoes. Don't take them off, otherwise he'll use them for evil to try to take over the world and stuff, and that's not a good thing. You,' He said to the Wicked Witch, 'go away. Your ugly bothers me.'

"The Wicked Witched looked at the Good Witch angrily. 'You're not so fabulous yourself, Mr. Sugar-Plum-Fairy-Reject.' " X and Axl laughed a little, as did Alia, but the kids only laughed when they saw the reploids do the same. They were still too young to get the joke, but they still were enjoying this new little story Alia was telling. "Well, the Wicked Witch decided to go, but before he left, he looked to Roll and said, 'Don't worry. I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!' He laughed evilly as a wolf trotted up and transformed into the air board Roll saw before. He jumped on the board and flew off, still laughing." Alia looked at the kids. That last part seemed to really do the trick, as they were now enthralled in her words. Maybe Axl was right.

"Roll thought about what the Wicked Witch said until the Good Witch waved his wand in her face to get her to pay attention. 'Yah!' she screamed. 'Don't do that! You're really starting to bother me you know.'

"The Good Witch folded his arms," Alia demonstrated as she spoke, "and said, 'Well, why don't you just leave then?'

" 'How?' asked Roll.

"The witch was about to answer when he realized he didn't know. 'Uh… I guess the Wizard could help you,' he said.

"Roll looked at the Good Witch, and asked, 'A wizard? You sure it's not another witch?'

"The Good Witch was so mad, he growled at her. 'Yes, a wizard. I know the difference between a witch and a wizard, and this is a wizard. A very important wizard.' The Good Witch folded his hands again and nodded." Alia demonstrated, and found a couple of kids imitating her.

X piped up. "Yup. He was important alright. He was the Wizard of ThOz."

Alia looked back at him. Did he saw "Taws"? Where in the world did he come up with ThOz? "Yeah," she said slowly. "The Wizard of ThOz." She looked back to the kiddies, who had no clue as to how odd this actually was. "Roll looked to the Good Witch and asked, 'Well, how do you get to this wizard?'

"The Good Witch said, 'Easy. Just follow the orange brick road to Sapphire City.' "

"Wait a minute." Axl once again couldn't help but interrupt. "Wasn't it a yellow brick road that led to Emerald City?"

Before Alia could choke Axl, X chimed in, "Wrong wizard. She's looking for the Wizard of ThOz, remember?"

Axl thought about it, and nodded. "You got a point there. Okay, continue Alia."

Alia blinked a few times, then looked to the kids. They didn't seem to understand what happened any better than Alia did. After a moment, she shrugged and decided to just keep going. "Okay then. So Roll starts off on her journey down the orange brick road. Now, along the way, she sees this, um… X, what does she see?" Alia turned to X, now somewhat dependant on his original characters.

X thought for a moment, then actually sat up to think. He noticed the kids watching, wondering why it was taking so long. "Sorry, kids. It's been a while since we've told this story. Gimme a sec to remember." X pondered for a bit, then decided. "Okay, Roll found this scarecrow hanging on a poll. This scarecrow was blue, with the front part of his arms thick," X showed his forearms in example, "and wore a lot of blue."

Another little boy, Bobby if X remembered correctly, raised his hand. "Mr. X, that sounds a lot like you."

X smiled. "That's right. He did kinda look like me, now that I think about it. Except he was smaller, and he didn't have chest armor like me. It was all smooth and light blue. And his eyes were blue too, not like mine. Mine are green, see?" The kids nodded, no longer in their little circle, but bunched up in a group between X, Alia, and Axl. "And he had a helmet too, but instead of a jewel, he just had another light blue bump kind like this," He showed the kids above his jewel the column that ran across his helmet.

Alia smiled at X, who the children seemed to adore. "Well, X, if he was so blue, how did Roll know he was a scarecrow?"

X smiled. "Well, cause there was straw everywhere of course! In his buster, under his helmet, sticking outta his boots. Straw was everywhere. Roll looked at the straw man carefully. He kinda looked like her brother, Rock."

Alia raised her eyebrow. Axl merely snickered. She looked to him, wondering what he found funny. He whispered, "Rock and Roll. Get it?"

"Oh," she said silently, a smile on her face. She looked at the kids as they seemed to turn to her now. They knew X was there to tell Alia who the characters were. But Alia was telling the story, and they wanted to know what happened next. "Well, Roll looked at the scarecrow a bit. Then, the scarecrow spoke! It said, 'Hiya! Wanna help me get down?' Roll nodded and helped the scarecrow get off the pole. It was hard at first, but once he was down, he seemed ok. She asked him if he was okay, just to make sure, and he put on a sad face. He said, 'No. I'm just a scarecrow. I don't have any brains.'

"Roll looked at the scarecrow all funny. 'What do you mean you don't have any brains?' she asked.

"The scarecrow answered, 'Well, you see, when the guy that put me on the pole made me, he made me with old pieces of armor and straw. That's it. He didn't give me a brain.'

"Roll looked a bit confused. How could the person who made the scarecrow give him a brain? Then, she got an idea. 'Hey, you think the wizard can get you a brain?'

"The scarecrow looked at her with a weird face, then he thought about it. 'Maybe,' he said. 'But how am I ever gonna get there?'

"Roll smiled. 'I'm going there,' she said. 'You can come with me, if you want.'

"The scarecrow smiled. 'That's a great idea,' he said. He stuck out his hand," Alia once again demonstrated, "and said, 'I'm the Straw Man.'

"Roll shook his hand," X voluntarily shook Alia's hand as she continued, "and said, 'My name's Roll. And he's Rush,' she said, pointing to her dog.

"The Scarecrow bent down and waved at the doggie. 'Hiya, Rush.' Rush licked the Scarecrow's face and he laughed. The two held hands and skipped down the orange brick road, singing about how they were going to find this Wizard of ThOz."