Roddy sighed and put his chin in his hands, leaning on his knees while staring out at the dark harbor. The house suddenly lurged left, and he slid several feet before reaching the edge, and without a seconds hesitation, fell off the side. A hand whipped out and grabbed his arm, hauling him back onto the house as it swung right.
"Not too observant now, are you Roddy?"
He looked at his savior, smirking slightly, "It caught me off guard," he admitted.
Rita rolled her eyes, letting go of his arm now that he had his footing again. She flipped her red hair back, tucking a stray strand behind her ear, "You weren't paying attention. That's the number one reason why people fall off this house, you know."
"I didn't know that," Roddy stumbled as the house rocked left again. Rita merely shifted her weight, not even flinching at the sudden movement. Experience of living in the house for so long practically radiated off of her, like she was the ultimate owner of this crazy place.
She shrugged, "Why were you up here, anyway? You would have taken a midmorning swim if I hadn't been there to catch you."
Roddy chuckled, "I—I'm just bored, I guess."
One eyebrow raised, and her eyelids lowered to complete the 'you're kidding me, right?' look. "Bored?"
"Yeah. I mean, life is much more interesting here than Up Top, but there's nothing to do now. I liked it when we were on the run, doing adventurous things!" he got more excited the more he thought about it. Rita laughed.
"You know that peace and quiet is good sometimes?"
His face fell, "Yeah, I know…"
She smiled, "But that doesn't mean that I don't agree with you completely. It's boring here, and if we stay much longer, mom will make us help her with… spring cleaning."
Roddy shuddered, "I've never cleaned a house in my life."
"And this one isn't one that you should start with. Come on, let's get the boat ready and tell my family where we're going," she walked to the door, then looked back, "Where are we going?"
He considered, "Say that I have some cousins in another town, and we're going to visit or something."
She sighed, "Fine, but if they start asking questions, I'm holding you responsible."
Rita's mother looked from her daughter to her guest of almost six months. Her daughter grinned in the way that she used to when she was hiding something, and Roddy just looked innocent. Of course, being a house pet at one time, he would have had to perfect that innocent look in order to get extra helpings of food or something else from his owner.
"So you're leaving?" she repeated.
Rita nodded, "Roddy wants to visit some of his cousins in the sewers of southern London. We'll be back within the month, depending on how long it takes to get there."
Mrs. Malone resisted rolling her eyes. It was so obvious that her daughter was lying, but Rita was past the age where she had any power to stop the her. She glanced again at Roddy.
"And you'll take good care of Rita for me?"
Roddy looked shocked. He eyed Rita and shook his head, "There's no question about that. Rita's going to have to be the one keeping an eye on me."
The girl in question hid a laugh behind her hand, then turned her gaze on her mother once more, opening her eyes wide and innocent, "We'll be careful, mum."
"I'm sure you will be. Good luck to both of you, and we'll see you soon," the middle aged mouse smiled at her daughter, then pat Roddy on the shoulder.
"Take care of her anyway," she murmured to him before heading for the kitchen, wiping her hands on a dish rag. Roddy watched her go, but was pulled back into reality by Rita.
"Come on, we can't waste any more daylight waiting here. Let's go get the Jammy Dodger II ready."
Roddy frowned, "We're in a sewer. How do you know if it's daytime or not?" he followed her outside.
The Jammy Dodger II was sitting right where Rita had left it last, about forty steps away from her house. Roddy ran in front of Rita and bounded across the ruler that substituted for a plank to get on board. Then he held his hand out towards her, flashing her a charming smile.
"May I help you aboard, fair lady?" he asked.
Rita stared at him in disbelief, then smirked and walked across the plank, ignoring his hand. She was tempted to push him overboard, just to show him that she didn't need any help, least of all from a previous pet, but the look on his defeated face changed her mind.
"Don't look so sad. I appreciate the offer, but I'm not helpless," she waved a hand in dismissal at him and began preparing the boat for their trip. He sighed and began helping her. After six months of being her 'first mate', he had picked up a few things on sailing. And yet he still wouldn't let her sail the Jammy Dodger II.
"Why won't you let me steer?" he complained, leaning over the side while watching the water stream below him. Occasionally he'd catch a snippet of song coming from the slugs, but it would be gone within seconds.
Rita flicked her tail in agitation, "Stop complaining. I'm not about to let a city-boy drive my boat."
"I helped build it," he muttered darkly, "Besides. Don't normal first mates help the captain drive?"
Roddy rolled his eyes and pushed himself away from the rim of the boat, walking to Rita. She looked stunning, as always, clad in her normal attire: pants made of a British flag, a green t-shirt, and her red hair tied into a practical ponytail. As he approached, she eyed him warily, standing protectively in front of the wheel.
"Roddy, I told you. You can't steer."
He narrowed his eyes, "I'm not looking to drive. I just came to talk."
Her guard relaxed, "Oh. Okay. What do you want to talk about?"
Silence fell over them as he thought.
"You didn't have anything in mind?" she asked in exasperation.
Roddy laughed nervously, then his eyes widened as he looked past her. Rita scowled, "Stop that. I know you're just trying to get me to look away so that you can drive the boat."
"Look, Rita!" he cried, pointing in front of them. Rita kept her back turned away from the ever-approaching rapids.
"Nice try, Roddy," she told him, folding her arms. Suddenly, the boat lurged sideways, and she fell. He caught her, righting her with a smug look.
"I warned you."
She stumbled again as the boat jostled, "Shut up and help me!"
Roddy gaped, "Do I get to sail it?!"
Grumbling, he grabbed the rope and began tying things down so they wouldn't be lost in the rapids. Rita grabbed the wheel and began turning it frantically, narrowly avoiding the sewer walls. A couple of times Roddy lost his footing and once he almost went overboard. Seeing this, Rita called, "Careful, Roddy! If you fall off, I'm not going back for you!"
"I hear ya!" he yelled back, rolling his eyes. Still, after that he made sure to keep his balance better. They went careening down the rapids, and Roddy joined Rita at the wheel, finally finished with his task. She glanced around, frowning.
"What is it?" Roddy asked curiously, grabbing the side of the boat as the boat shook again.
Rita clutched the wheel tighter, "I have no idea where we are."
He stared at her, "You've got to be kidding me. I thought you knew where everything was for miles!"
"I'm a mouse, Roddy. Most mice are lucky to travel half a mile in their lifetime. Cut me some slack!" she spun the wheel right, and the boat instantly turned hard in that direction, narrowly missing the sewer walls.
"Well… I suppose this is the adventure we wanted," he supplied. She rolled her eyes and gasped.
"Oh no…" she muttered, eyeing the blockade that jumped in front of them as they rounded a corner, "Roddy, get the anchor! Drop it down now, before we hit that wall!"
He jumped into action, grabbing the small weight and thrusting it overboard, where it dug into the sewer waters and held the boat fast. They stopped just inches in front of the steel wall, and Rita sagged against the steering wheel in relief.
"That was fun," Roddy commented, panting slightly. Rita righted herself and walked to the side of the boat. They had stopped by a large walkway, big enough to fit a human. In front of them, a ladder stretched upward, towards the surface. She grinned and jumped onto the cement, motioning for Roddy to follow. He did so, curious to see what she was going to do.
"Let's go to the surface!" she exclaimed.
Roddy stumbled and nearly hit the floor, but he caught himself at the last minute, "W—what?"
Rita's eyes sparkled with excitement, "Well, it's right here, and it's a pretty big adventure!"
"No. Absolutely not."
Her eyes narrowed at his sudden stubbornness, "Why?" she asked slyly.
"Because, Up Top is not a safe place for any small animal, least of all a mouse. Humans hate us—unless you're a pet—and killing us wouldn't be a problem with those wooden boards with the cheese and metal on them," he shook his head, "It's far too dangerous."
Rita scowled, "You're such a stick in the mud. Fine. Stay here. I'll go by myself, just to see where we are if nothing else." She started for the ladder, hopping up one rung at a time. Roddy's eyes widened.
"What? No! You can't go up there alone!"
"I can do whatever I please, Roddy," she answered tartly, climbing up another rung.
"Oh, I know I'm going to regret this later…" he muttered to himself as he ran to the ladder, "Bloody wait for me, then!"
Rita smirked, "Decided to come, did we?"
"You may be smarter down here, but up there I am superior. I have the knowledge it takes to survive, and you'll need that. Of course I'm coming." He began delicately climbing up the ladder, grunting at the effort.
She watched him patiently, waiting until he was on the rung that she had stopped on before continuing upward once more. Within a half hour, they had reached the top, and Rita moved to poke her head through one of the holes on the sewer plate when Roddy grabbed her and pulled her back.
"What do you think you're doing?" he hissed, tail lashing in irritation, "You can't just poke your head up there! Most of the time, they're in the middle of roads, and you could be decapitated in a heartbeat!"
Rita chuckled, "You're exaggerating." Just then, a car rumbled over them, and the tunnel went dark as the vehicle blocked all light. Once the evening sun began to filter through once more, Roddy stared smugly at her. She smoothed her hair, holding onto the rung with her legs, "Okay, so maybe you weren't. Would you care to go up first, then?"
"Yes," Roddy quickly poked his head through the hole, ducking back down almost instantly as a car thundered above them. Then he poked his head out a final time, and with a quick motion, hauled himself topside.
Rita waited for his signal, and a second later she heard him calling, "Now, Rita!" Instantly she jumped up through the hole and began sprinting towards her friend, who was waiting by the side of the street. A car narrowly missed her, and she slid onto the sidewalk, panting from the exhilaration of the run.
"Don't be lagging around now, Rita," Roddy grabbed her arm and began sprinting towards the buildings. He followed them until he noticed an alleyway, and leapt inside, still holding onto her hand. He finally slowed to a stop behind a dumpster, and let go of her, huffing.
Rita noticed that several people were walking on the sidewalk they had just been on, ignoring everything but what was in front of them. It would have been all too easy to get stepped on, or kicked aside, and she felt grateful that Roddy had made sure they were safe before stopping.
Roddy noticed her watching the opening of the alleyway and smirked, "Not quite like the sewers, is it?"
She shrugged, "It certainly was different. Where are we, anywho?"
"Somewhere topside," Roddy grinned as she gave him a warning glance, "I'm not entirely sure where—"
"You chaps are on Allen St. right now," a voice said from behind them, and instantly they whirled around to see another mouse. He was about Roddy's height, though lacked his stature. A black jacket and jeans made up his attire, and his brown fur matched his eyes perfectly.
Roddy stepped level with Rita, "And who might you be?"
The mouse leaned casually against the wall, "I'd be Joe. And you two are on my turf."
"We're not staying," Rita said sharply, and the mouse looked at her for the first time. A grin spread over his face as he took in her appearance and body shape.
"You, babe, can stay as long as you want," he said in a seductive tone.
Roddy glared at him, "Actually, we were just leaving," he grabbed Rita's hand and began towing her back to the sidewalk.
Joe blinked, "I could show you mates around. Clearly you're not from Up Top."
"I live in Kensington, thank you," Roddy said indignantly. Rita said nothing, only allowed herself to be towed away from the alley.
"Do you know how to get to Kensington?"
Joe's remark stopped Roddy cold, and he reluctantly turned. Rita smoothed her shirt and watched Joe with wary green eyes. The mouse sauntered forward.
"You chaps will never survive on the sidewalks. People will walk all over you, literally. I can show you a back way to Kensington."
Rita glanced at Roddy, who was clearly contemplating. Finally he sighed, "We really just need to get back to the sewer."
"You won't be able to get back the way you came, that's for sure. Rush-hour is here, and now there'll be a never-ending line of cars. Besides, if you live in Kensington, then why do you want to get back to the sewers?"
Roddy stiffened, then motioned towards Rita, "I'm escorting her home."
Joe cocked an eyebrow, "And you got lost escorting a lady home?"
Roddy scowled and opened his mouth to retort, but Joe was already past him, flashing a smile at Rita, "You should let me take you home, doll. I know these parts like the back of my hand."
Rita smiled back just as sweetly, "Go stuff yourself."
The mouse recoiled, and his smile turned upside-down for a moment. Then he realized that Roddy was showing him up, and he tried again, his voice as slick as honey, "Come now. I'll make sure nothing happens to ya. This area's dangerous, 'specially for pretty fits such as yourself."
Roddy narrowed his eyes, "Now hold on here—"
Rita held out her hand to silence him, walking forward sexily, putting heavy emphasis on her body movement. Joe could hardly keep his mouth closed as she approached him, batting her eyelids. He leaned forward, and she smiled again.
"I'm sure that a big strong man like you could keep a girl like me safe up here, right?"
Joe nodded slowly, staring at her dreamily. Rita's smile grew, and her eyes became menacing.
"Well who said I needed protecting?!" she punched him upside the chin, effectively knocking him several inches away. Roddy cringed as he hit the ground, and Rita turned back to him, clapping her hands together in accomplishment.
"I've had enough fun Up Top today, Roddy. Let's get back to the Jammy Dodger II," she remarked, not even looking back as she started for the sidewalk again. Roddy cast one last glance at Joe, unconscious just a foot away from the dumpster, before following her.
Rita stopped just by the side of the street, waiting for a car to past before sprinting for the sewer plate and hopping inside. Roddy followed, narrowly avoiding getting hit as he joined Rita on the top rung of the ladder. Making sure he got down safely, she waited until he was sitting beside her before hopping down the ladder, one rung at a time.
Finally, after another half hour, they were both safely on the Jammy Dodger II, collapsed on the cushions that had been put in the back of the deck. Roddy glanced over at Rita, who had her right arm over her eyes, hand hanging loosely by her left ear.
"So, I tried to warn you that the surface wasn't as fun as it is believed to be," he said, trying to disrupt the silence around them.
Rita peeked out from under her arm and rolled her emerald eyes, "I had fun. I got to punch a guy in the nose."
Roddy winced, "The chin, actually."
She grinned and fell silent again, listening to the water rap quietly against the boat's sides, feeling the gentle rocking.
"Why didn't you go with him? He probably knew the streets, and you would have had more fun," Roddy's hesitant voice rose once more.
Rita sighed, "Because he clearly didn't want you to come along."
"I could have waited by the boat."
"Roddy…" a warning tone struck a cord in her voice, but curiosity got the better of him and he continued.
"I mean, he was good looking, I suppose. You would probably have had a great time with the chap."
Rita sat up, staring at the mouse across from her with an incredulous look, "He was a jerk. Seriously, any girl dim enough to fall for the whole sweet talk routine desperately needs a punch upside the head, because something must be knocked loose up there," she tapped her skull.
Roddy stifled a snort behind his hand at her comment, sitting up as well, "That's true. But you fell for the whole 'sing me a song' routine, which is just as sappy."
"Not the way you did it," Rita retorted, remembering the song Ice Cold Rita, which Roddy had made up on the spot to get her to forgive him when he had stolen her boat, "Besides, I'm not interested in picking up guys."
His face fell slightly, and he forced a smile on his face, "Ah."
She watched him, smirking, "I mean, who could replace my first mate?"
Roddy smiled for real this time, and Rita laid back down on the cushion. He copied that motion, and they were silent for a moment. Then Roddy opened one eye and grinned, "Does this mean I can drive the boat?"
"Good night, Roddy," Rita said in exasperation. The boat fell silent once more, and both of them drifted off into a peaceful sleep.
A/N: Hope you liked it. I saw this movie, and I was like, "Must write fanfiction." :D