Happy Birthday Rockman!
-for Neko-chan. have a great day. -
A/N: Yes...I know I said the title would change...and then I realized that it was the same title (minus Rockman and plus Mega Man) as the Captain N episode where Mega Man wished on the Warp of Life to become a human. Har har! So I had to keep it. XD
"Ah, what to do, what to do..."
"Roll-chan?" Merrily skipping over to his baby-sitter, Trill put a hand on her knee to draw her attention. "Aren't we going to play?"
"Hm? Oh...sure, Trill. I was just remembering that tomorrow is Rockman's birthday." She materialized a calendar in the air, displaying the date marked in baby blue. "Meiru-chan is going shopping soon to buy something for Netto, too."
"Birthday?" Trill tilted his head and stared up at Roll with his humungous green eyes. "What's that?"
"Hmm, well, it's a little hard to explain, but you might be old enough to understand it now. The day someone is born is their 'birth date'...and then every year on that day they celebrate getting older. Sometimes they have a party and are given gifts by their friends and family." She smiled and picked the smaller Navi up so that he could see the calendar.
"Wow!" Trill's face implied that he had just discovered some wonderful secret.
Roll pointed at the flashing date. "This was the day Netto was born. It's not the same day that Netto received Rockman, but it's the day Rockman was first activated, so Netto calls it his 'birthday' too."
"So there's going to be a party?"
"Well, I don't know about that." Roll set Trill down and patted him on the head. "Navis don't celebrate the same way humans do. It's a lot more important to Rockman that Netto be happy tomorrow."
"Oh." Trill's enthusiastic smile had become a frown.
Roll fervently hoped the little guy wouldn't cry from the disappointment. "Is that okay? You can still wish Oniichan a 'happy birthday'."
"Come on now, let's play a game while we're waiting for your oniichan to come pick you up," Roll cajoled. "What should we play? You can pick."
"Ummm…hide and seek."
"With only the two of us?"
Trill nodded decisively. "You count first, Roll-chan!"
"All right, all right…" Roll covered her eyes with her hands and began to count slowly and loudly. "Don't go too far, okay? One, two, three, four…"
Gleefully Trill fled into the far reaches of the PET, crouching behind huge blocks of data containing Meiru's fourth-grade schoolwork. He was surprised to find someone else in his new hiding spot, though; a brown, animaloid program with black eyes and long, floppy ears. "Hi Rush! Are you playing too?"
"Oh. You can play too if you have a hiding spot you know. This is my hiding spot." He pointed at the floor to make it very clear.
"Oh!" Trill regarded the little dog with interest. "I didn't know that this was your sun-tanning-place. I don't see any sun, but…hey, Rush, I bet you can help me give Rockman a good birthday! You know about birthdays, right?"
"Yeah! I want to have a party! Will you help me? Please?"
"Aup…aup aup." Rush opened up a portal in the floor and gestured to it.
"Yay! Thank you!" Trill got to his little feet and jumped into it, pinching his nose with his fingers. After a moment, listening to Roll call "twenty-five, twenty-six….twenty-seven…" he shrugged to himself and dove in.
Two hours later, the pair had just finished cruising Net City, and Trill had armloads of gifts and decorations. They had earned a lot of zenny doing parlour tricks in the Meeting Square, and several female Navis had followed the two to Internet Higureya, where Rush wanted to sell some programs he had found. The girls had bought so many things that Numberman had given Trill some software as thanks for bringing him customers.
Settling on the sidewalk, Trill rearranged their purchases to make them easier to carry. He had a cat doll, a set of headphones, a digitized book, a locket, an Aki-chan music box, a huge bag of confetti, orange streamers, an automatic bubble-blower and a pen. He wasn't sure what most of it did, but Rush had told him that all these things would be essential to a good party. One by one he shrunk each of the objects and put them in his pockets.
"A special present?" Trill had something in mind, but he wasn't really sure how to get it. "I want to get him a Trill doll."
"I don't know how to make it."
"A Kawarimi chip!" Trill clapped his hands together. "That's a great idea! All we have to do is slot-in the chip to a PET and it'll make a doll-me, right?"
"Aup aup aup," Rush said seriously. "Aup awooo."
"You can do that? You can go to the real world?" Excitedly Trill threw his arms around Rush. "You're the best friend ever!"
Rush winked. "Aup!" Opening a portal, he instructed Trill to return to Roll's PET so he could insert the chip. Then he disappeared into the black hole with a wave.
"But wait! Can't I come with you?" Trill frowned, his eyes welling with tears. He reached into the portal to grab Rush and found himself overtaken by gravity, and then tumbling, into the digital abyss.
The warp Rush had opened deposited them both in the Akiharaversion of Higureya, where Higure was shining his display case of rare chips. Initially Trill had thought he'd be yelled at for coming through the portal, but it turned out that Rush didn't speak much human-language and Numberman was busy, so no one protested. Dubiously Higure sold the chip to the strange pair, on Numberman's promise that he would receive the zenny through Internet transfer later.
Clutching the chip, Trill skipped merrily out of the store, where the tinkle of bells on the door bid them good-bye. "Now we find a PET!"
"Yes, to Netto-san's! We can use his! But only if he keeps it a surprise from Rockman," Trill told Rush. "That's important that it's a surprise."
"Lead the way!"
And he did, marching down the sidewalk with Trill two steps behind. Gaily the little Navi patted his pockets, smiling as he thought about the grand party they were going to have. Fortunately, the Hikari house was not very far from Higureya, despite the very short legs and slow pace of the companions. After only ten minutes they toddled up the walk and stopped on the doorstep.
"How do we get in?" Trill asked, frowning when he couldn't reach the knob.
"Aup." Rush pointed at the doorbell. "Aup aup aup….awoo."
Rush climbed onto Trill's shoulders as the little Navi clung to the trim on the outside of the door. After a perilous stretch, his paw hit the button and they heard a chime ring throughout the house. The door opened.
"Well, hello, Rush! It's been a while!" Hikari Haruka smiled widely at them and held the door open to allow them to pass. "And I see you've brought a friend! Did you come for dinner? Or are you here to see Netto?"
"To see Netto!" Trill piped up, fearing Haruka wouldn't understand. "We need to see Netto about a seeeecret!"
"Is that so!" Haruka laughed. "Yuuichirou-san is home today, too. Why don't you say hello? I think he's in the living room."
"Aup!" Rush made his way without hesitation to the living room, with Trill on his heels, where Hikari Yuuichirou was seated on the couch, watching the evening news. The little program raised his paw in greeting. "Aup aup!"
"Hi!" Trill said enthusiastically.
Before Yuuichirou could reply they had bypassed him and were started up the stairs. "A secret! We're here to talk to Netto about a secret!" Trill admonished Yuuichirou with his index finger, even though the scientist couldn't see him. "So you never knew we were here!"
Rush led the way to Netto's room and peeked inside the open door, where Netto himself was seated at the computer desk. "OK, let me know when you find him. I'll go over to Meiru's now."
"Aup aup," Rush said in hushed tones.
"Rockman must have gone already," Trill replied, excitement creeping into his voice. They were really going to do it without Rockman knowing! How great!
They watched Netto rise and slide his PET into the holster on his arm, and when he turned to leave the room, Rush waved him over. "Aup!"
"Rush! Sorry, but I don't have time to chat, I have to—" He broke off, staring incredulously at Trill. "Here you are! Where have you been? How the heck did you get out of the cyberworld? Rockman and Roll have been looking everywhere!"
Tears immediately welled up in Trill's eyes. "I…I…"
Rush frantically waved his paws in a 'no, stop!' gesture until Netto got the hint and his expression softened. He knelt down and put a hand on Trill's shoulder. "Don't cry, I'm not mad. We were just worried. What happened?"
"Oh." Trill sniffled and wiped at his eyes with fisted hands. "We…we wanted to buy Rockman a birthday present and me and Rush were giving him a party…"
"A birthday party? For Rockman?" Netto looked interested. "That's a nice idea."
"Really? You think so?"
"Yeah! I didn't think anyone but me would be thinking about him. You're a good kid to be wanting to do something for your oniichan."
Trill beamed. "Then, can you help us make him a present?"
"Yeah! We bought him lots of things, and we got this chip…"
On the morning of the second anniversary of Rockman's first activation, came out of his standby cycle as usual at eleven o'clock, very surprised to see his Operator already up and dressed, working at the computer. "Good morning, Netto-kun! Happy birthday!"
"Good morning! Happy birthday to you too!"
"Thanks." Rockman stretched, regarding Netto with some curiosity. "What's up? You're awake before eleven on a Sunday?"
"Just making some party arrangements," Netto told him, sweeping a lock of brown hair out of his eyes. "I was about to head over to Meiru's to talk about it. Where's Trill?"
"Still sleeping. I wouldn't mind going over to Roll-chan's to apologize again for that stunt he pulled yesterday…I couldn't even get him to tell me where he went."
"You know, Trill may seem like a lot to handle, but he's not outright trying to cause trouble, I think," Netto said.
"That's what Roll-chan said too, but he should know better than to be running around with all those Zoanroids out there. Who knows what could happen?"
"Ah, let's not talk about Net Savior stuff today!" Netto complained. "It's our birthday! I don't even want to think about Zoanroids, you know?"
"Okay, okay, I understand," Rockman laughed. "Let's just go over to Meiru-chan's."
"All right. Do you want to link over, or should I bring you in the PET?"
"I'll link. See you in a few minutes!" Rockman used a bookmark to transfer himself over to Meiru's homepage, where he was surprised to find that it had gone under a total redesign since the previous night. The floor was completely black and it was difficult to see once he had stepped away from the warp. Had she been hacked?
Suddenly the area was flooded with light and the floor began to sparkle as though fireworks were being set off below it. Roll was standing in front of him, with a dozen friends gathered behind. "Happy birthday, Rockman!"
"What…what's all this?" He looked around, mouth agape, at the festive decorations. Bubbles and confetti were coming out of the ceiling, showering the Navis in coloured data, and even Searchman was managing a slight smile. "You guys didn't have to go to all this trouble."
Roll shook her head. "We didn't…it was all Trill's doing. He and Rush put together all of this just for you."
"Trill did?" Rockman looked at Roll in confusion.
"Yesterday he was out in Net City, buying party supplies. I guess it was my fault for telling him that you'd never had a birthday party." She blushed.
Without warning, Trill materialized in between the two of them, sleepily rubbing at his eyes. "Is it tomorrow yet?"
"Sorry for being so slow, Trill! I had to go back for you!" Netto's voice caused everyone to look up, where he and Meiru shared a vid-window outside of her PC. "Hope I'm not too late!"
"Rockman!" Trill ran to the blue Navi and Rockman scooped him up. "It's your birthday! Happy birthday!"
"Thank you!" he laughed, hugging the child. "This is great."
"You deserve a celebration too," Netto told him.
"Rockman! You have to open your presents!" Trill wriggled in the older Navi's arms and stuck his hand in his pocket to find them.
"You even got presents?"
"This guy really went all out," Tomahawkman said in a satisfied tone. "What a party!"
Rockman set Trill down so that the boy could fumble in his pockets for the miniaturized gifts. He loaded up Rockman's arms with what seemed to be a number of miscellaneous objects along with a large box festooned with colourful ribbons.
"These are so nice!" Rockman told him, looking at them one by one. A cat doll, a set of headphones, a music box, a pen…
"Those are from everyone but the box is from me. You should open it," Trill instructed with an enthusiastic smile. "Netto helped me make it just for you!"
"Sure." Rockman glanced up at his Operator, who winked. Slowly he freed the box from its haphazard wrappings, once he was able to find them underneath nineteen different coloured ribbons and bows. Inside the package, seated in tissue paper, was a tiny Trill doll.
"Do you like it?" the child asked excitedly.
"Of course I do!" Rockman said, hugging him again. "What a great present!"
"I'm glad!" Trill replied, beaming. "Now we can have cake!"
"Yeah!" Iceman cried, pumping his fist in the air.
Rockman allowed Trill to lead him by the hand, glancing upward at his grinning Operator. "Is that okay, Netto-kun? Do you need me to do anything? It's your birthday too."
"Nah, I only wish I could join in on your party!" the brunette said with a wave. "You have fun in there for as long as you like and I'll head back home for breakfast. Consider it a day off from all that boring stuff you do, like being my alarm clock. I'll keep my own time today."
"Thank you, Netto-kun!"
Netto drew away from the screen, leaving the Navis to their party. Meiru regarded him with a smile. "I think he needs something like that sometimes, you know. Navis are really just as human as you and me."
"Yeah." Together the two of them rose and left the room, heading over to the Hikari residence next door. "Rockman deserves a lot more than a little party for all the stuff he does. I'm glad Trill's thinking about him like that."
"A birthday party? For Rockman? How sweet," Haruka later sighed, one hand on her cheek. "That little boy Navi that came to visit certainly was adorable!"
"It sure is a funny coincidence that Rockman's activation day is also my birthday," Netto said as he sat down to a stack of pancakes.
Yuuchirou, who was drinking from a glass of water, hurriedly put his glass on the table and coughed loudly, waving off his son and wife's concerned looks. "I'm fine, fine."
"It's kind of neat, getting to share my birthday with my best friend," Netto continued, passing the syrup to his father. "He was the first person to say 'happy birthday' this morning, like it was more important that it was my day instead of his. It was kinda like having a big brother or sister."
Yuuichirou and Haruka exchanged looks. "Speaking of big brothers, Trill certainly is fond of Rockman, isn't he!" Haruka said, her voice high. "I hope he comes to visit is again!"
"Sure thing," Netto replied, taking a huge bite of pancake. As he chewed thoughtfully, he listened as the conversation turned to Trill's mysterious abilities and his father's plans to further study the mysterious Navi. The young Net Battler could see a stack of brightly wrapped packages on the counter behind his mother, set there (surely to tease him) until his friends arrived later for a party of their own.
It's funny…this year it's like I don't even care about gifts. I have a great family…and a great partner and friends to share my day with. If only the Zoanroids would lay off for just today, everything would be perfect. He wondered if Rockman was having a good time, too.
"Netto? Are you okay?" Meiru asked with some concern. "You're spacing out."
"Oh…yeah! Couldn't be better!" Netto grinned, and he meant it. Pancakes, friends, and gifts…what more could he possibly ask for?
Yes...I couldn't resist that little reference to Go Your Own Way. Hee hee.