Hello, guys, I'm back, and of course… (I'm back too! Yeah, the star is back in the house!) Angie, I wonder if you'll ever control that ego of yours. (Oh, I don't know… the day after you get on a diet.) Touché; well, girl, you know what to do. (Asking my parents for a new cell phone?) Angelica…
(I'm just kidding, Acosta. Okay, here I come. DISCLAIMER; the wannabe writer doing this stuff doesn't own any character portrayed on the story, all the Rugrats/All Grown Up characters owned by Nickelodeon, but please, don't arrest or sue the poor guy; he is doing this just for entertainment's sake, therefore the author isn't gaining money from this. Neither do I, but hey, any publicity is good one.)
Thanks… I guess. Okay, now, before we start, a last note; all the characters will be on their 'Rugrat' age, which means Angelica is 3 in this story, Chuckie is 2 and a half, and so. (And I'm beautiful, as always.) And bossy, and loud, and… (Cut that or you'll not get to write next line, mister!) Okay, okay, forgive me for living. (About time you asked for that… okay, I forgive you.) I was being sarcastic! (I wasn't.)
Well, that's enough with the author notes. (Finally! The readers are already leaving and the story hadn't even started.) Why I stand you? (Because, without me, you wouldn't write half of your stories) Good point; fine, go ahead and start the fic.
(And now… ON WITH THE SHOW!)
A Rugrats story by Acosta Pérez José Ramiro.
- Learning the Ropes.
"Hi, Aunt Didi."
"Hello, Angelica; come in." Didi Pickles greeted her favorite and (thanks to God) only niece, who was staying on her place for the day. "Your grandpa is at the living room and the babies are at the backyard."
Angelica nodded and, after giving a quick kiss to her father, ran inside the house. Drew waved bye to his daughter before turning at Didi.
"Thanks again, Didi; Charlotte and I will be quite busy today and…"
"Oh, don't worry, Drew; I'm already taking care of all the kids and one more isn't that much." Didi shrugged.
"Well, thanks anyway… oh, and, Didi…" Drew got an uneasy expression. "I have a certain… thing to discuss with you… since you're the one who reads all those child psychology books and all…"
"There's any problem with Angelica?"
"Not exactly… is just that Charlotte and I had to tell her one of those… 'Cover-up stories' and you're the only person I know I can talk with concerning this. Would be quite embarrassing with anyone else; and in Drew's case, I would never hear the end of it."
Didi nodded at her brother-in-law and they walked to the kitchen for a little talk while Angelica headed to the living room. Normally, she would go directly either with the babies to have her own kind of fun with them or to the kitchen to 'borrow' some cookies, but this time she needed to talk with her grandpa, and knowing he and Grandma Lulu were at the retirement home most of the time, this could be the only chance she would have to talk to him without anyone else listening.
"Come on, bat it! One good swing and that's it!" Lou, as many other men in his position, shouted at the baseball player on screen. "In my times we could have connected those balls with ease; that pitcher is slower than my digestion."
"Hi, Grandpa!" Angelica greeted the elder, Lou calming down immediately.
"Oh, hi, Angelica; your aunt is taking care of you today too?" Lou asked his granddaughter.
"Yes. How is Grandma Lulu?"
"Oh, she's fine, as always." Lou chuckled. "She and your uncle Stu went to the market to buy something for dinner, and they'll be back soon. Want to watch the game with me, or you're going to play with the other kids?"
"Actually, I wanted to ask you something." Angelica said to the man, in her best 'cute girl talking to an adult' tone and face. "Daddy said you used to be a rassler that fought bad guys and also made pretzels; is that true?"
Lou chuckled a little bit, shaking his head and motioning Angelica to seat next to him while turning off the TV; the game wasn't that good anyway.
"Well, actually, is 'wrestler', no 'rassler', but yes, I was an amateur wrestler when younger."
"What's an amateur?"
"An 'amateur' is someone who doesn't get money for playing a sport or game but does it for fun, and sometimes, if he or she is very good, stops being 'amateur' and turns 'professional', someone who gets money for doing it."
"You mean that, when I play rope jumping, I'm an amateur, and if someone likes how I do it and pays me I become professional?"
"More or less," Lou chuckled slightly. "Anyway, I was an amateur wrestler, and all wrestlers get funny names or scary ones, like 'The Bulldog' or 'The Undertaker'; my wrestling name was 'The Pretzel-Maker', but I didn't make or sell pretzels for real."
"Oh… and wrestlers fight, right?"
"Yes, they do."
"But you and everyone else always say fighting is bad."
Lou looked around and then whispered at Angelica.
"Well, your aunt doesn't like me watching wrestling or talking about it because she says it's bad, and yes, fighting normally is a very bad thing to do, but wrestling isn't like other fights."
"And how it works?" Angelica asked, the man noticing she was quite interested. Now, Lou knew Didi and, probably, Charlotte as well, wouldn't approve him having this talk with Angelica, but then again, no grandfather can resist having his grandchild's attention, and he also liked those memories.
"I'm telling you, but this is our secret. Okay?" Lou winked an eye to the blonde, who nodded and paid him full attention.
"Pass me the ball! Pass it!" Kimi laughed, getting Lil's attention, the pink-bowed baby carrying a little ball and trying to escape Phil and his attempts to grab it.
"Here goes!" Lil threw the ball, Phil falling on his belly, but Kimi couldn't catch it since Tommy intercepted it. The bald baby ran away with the ball while Dil, sitting in his baby chair, giggled at the scene; the youngest Pickles was still too little to even crawl, so he had to play spectator, as usual, but didn't mind at all, enjoying watching the older babies running around.
"Chuckie, get the ball!" Tommy, now with Lil and Kimi behind him, and Phil trying to follow them, realized the redhead baby wasn't covered and threw the ball at him.
"I got it, I got it…"
"And he got it." Phil commented as the game stopped, the babies dashing as fast as they could to check on Chuckie after he slammed against the backyard's fence.
"Are you okay, Chuckie?" Kimi asked her older brother while she and Tommy helped him up.
"Yes… I didn't remember this fence was so close." Chuckie said while rubbing his belly and face. "Your backyard is getting smaller, Tommy?"
"I don't think so, Chuckie. My daddy keeps giving food to it." Tommy shrugged.
"Ah, yes, the one that always have flies around." Lil added.
"And it feels funny when you stand on it." Phil chuckled.
The group cringed and turned, recognizing the voice. Angelica was approaching them, half-carrying, half-dragging a thick blanket.
"Hi. Angelica; what are you doing with that?" Tommy pointed at the blanket.
"Yes, it's too early for taking a nap… I guess." Chuckie added.
"This isn't for sleeping, dumb babies; is to play a new game. It's called wrestling."
"Grass Ling?" Kimi scratched her head.
"No, it's Gross Thing." Lil attempted to correct.
"Oh, I like it already!" Phil wide smiled.
"You dumb babies don't know anything." Angelica rolled her eyes. "Okay, look, is wrestling, no 'Gross Thing' or 'Grass Ling'; is a game some adults play."
"Then we can't play it." Chuckie pointed.
"No, but we can practice it to play it when we get growed-up." Angelica said. "Grandpa Lou explained me how to play it, and my mommy and my daddy explained me a little too, so I can teach you how it works… but this is between us. If Aunt Didi knows you babies are playing this game that's just for adults she'll get angry with my grandpa, and we don't want that, right?"
The babies looked at each other and nodded; they all liked the old man and the last thing they wanted, besides having nothing but peas for lunch, was causing him troubles. The blonde, of course, besides protecting her grandpa was also protecting herself, knowing she would be in trouble if a baby got hurt by her fault.
"Good. Now, I'll start." Angelica cleared her throat while the babies sat around her, with Dil next to Angelica, listening as well even if not fully understanding. "First of all, you must know this is a lot like a fight, but not the same thing. In wrestling, there are rules you have to follow so nobody gets hurt."
"People get hurt in this game?" Chuckie gulped.
"Finster, if you are not careful, you can get hurt with any game." Angelica pointed. Chuckie couldn't help but agree; after all, he just had an accident playing ball no more than two minutes ago. The girl then continued her explanation.
"Some adults hit each other when playing this; since we're just learning, and we don't want anyone getting hurt, we'll not hit. The game is like this; one player tries to the put the other's back on the mat…"
"Mat is the thing that you learn so you can count?" Lil raised her hand.
"That's 'Math', no 'Mat'." Angelica rolled her eyes. "A mat is like the soft thing on your beds where you fall asleep but is a little thinner. Some people do this on a place called 'ring', and before anyone says it, no, it's not like that thing adults wear on their fingers but a very big square-like thing with ropes at the sides."
"But those rings are round, Angelica." Kimi pointed.
"First… good thing you babies at least know shapes, and second, I didn't name it, I just know the name." Angelica continued. "Now, I don't have one of those rings, and since I can't bring a bed out here, we're going to use this blanket, and the grass is a little soft too, so it must work."
"Uh… I think my mommy has some little mats too, Angelica; we use those to take our naps." Tommy pointed; the girl wide-opened her eyes in surprise.
"Finally one of you makes a good suggestion; okay, we'll go bring those mats." The girl leaded the babies inside the house but Dil, who stayed at the backyard playing with his toys. The adults didn't notice them as they took all the mats and carried them to the backyard, as far away from the house as possible and using the backyard's tree for cover. Once the mats got set, Angelica kept explaining.
"Now, as I was saying, you have to put the other player's back on the mat, like this." Angelica explained as lying on the mat. "Look at my shoulders; they both have to be touching the mat."
"So, wrestling is like taking a nap?" Chuckie asked.
"No, Finster… but I'm glad someone besides me finally learned the word." Angelica rolled her eyes. "As I said, you have to put the other player's back on the mat, but that player, that is called a 'wrestler', is trying to do the same with your back. The whole game is trying to put the player's back on the mat without letting him or her doing it to you."
Angelica stood up and grabbed two of Dil's toys he wasn't playing with at the moment, a teddy bear and a soldier, to continue her demonstration. She put the bear on top of the soldier while explaining.
"To put the other player's back on the mat, you have to put your body over him or her like this. You can also grab the legs or the arms of the wrestler so it's harder for him or her to escape. While this happens, the player who's down tries to push you away." Angelica stood up the soldier, moving away the bear, so the babies could understand her better.
"Ah, is like when Phil and I play in the mud but without getting dirty." Lil smiled, getting the basic concept.
"And how do you know when someone wins?" Kimi asked Angelica.
"Well, Grandpa Lou said that when you do the back-on-mat thing it's called 'pin'…"
"You put pins on the wrestler? That must hurt!" Chuckie gasped.
"No, Finster, there are no pins in this game; that's just how the thing is called." Angelica explained. "Anyway, you have to pin' the player for three seconds to win; a person called referee does that."
"Ah, I know those." Phil said. "Those are the people who watch the adults when they play and ground them when they cheat."
"And how much is 'three'?" Tommy asked.
Angelica rubbed her chin; she already knew how to count up to ten, and even to twenty when not wearing shoes and socks, but remembered the babies only knew some numbers' names yet ignored their order. Luckily, one baby was old enough to know that basic information.
"I know how to count 'Three', Angelica." Chuckie pointed at himself.
"Really? Well, then you explain them, Finster." Angelica folded her arms and, like the other kids, looked at Chuckie.
"Let's see… 'Three' is like, Dil, Lil and Phil." Chuckie pointed at the mentioned babies. "Dil is 'one' baby; if we put him with Lil, we have 'two' babies, and if we put Dil, Lil and Phil together, we have 'three' babies."
"That's right, Finster." The blonde got a somehow proud look and then her expression brightened. "Actually… that gives me an idea."
Angelica kneeled in the mat and raised her right hand.
"When we get one of you to play referee, that person is going to count to three with Dil, Lil and Phil's names. Like this." Angelica hit the mat. "Dil", then she raised her hand again and slammed the mat back while saying 'Lil' and repeated the procedure a last time with 'Phil'. "There. Those are three hits in three seconds; once you keep the other wrestler on a 'pin' and the referee counts like that before he or she can escape, that player loses."
"Maybe that's why this is called 'math'; you have to hit it while counting." Lil said as pointing at the mat.
"Now you mention it, sounds logical." Angelica admitted before continuing. "Another way to win is to grab the wrestler so hard he or she can't escape no matter how much tries to do it, and then that wrestler gives up."
The babies nodded in understanding while Angelica stood up, satisfied.
"Okay, now we're ready to play. Since I'm the one that had the idea and is teaching you, babies, I'm going first." Angelica looked at the babies and got a sly grin. "And I want to wrestle… Finster!"
"What?" Chuckie gulped. "Uh… maybe I should just watch, at least this time, so I can learn too."
"No, Finster, you have to wrestle me." Angelica told him. "Look… you want me to hurt Tommy?"
"No, of course not!" Chuckie jumped in defense of Tommy; scared or not, the redhead wouldn't let Angelica or anyone else hurt any of his friends. "You don't need to be that mean or hurt anyone to force us playing with you."
Angelica actually jumped back at this display; it was hard to believe the same boy soft-glaring at her was the same one she could scare and boss with ease most of the time. The girl recovered after a few moments and smiled.
"Now, that's why I have to wrestle you, Finster." Angelica smirked at the boy. "You are the only baby here who is big enough to play this with me without getting hurt. I'm too big for Tommy, Phil, Lil or your sister, and Dil is out of question. Besides, my grandpa said this game is better when there's a chance of losing, and you might win… I doubt it, but hey, your chance is better than the others."
"Uh… but I'm not that big, Angelica. Look, you are still a lot taller than me." Chuckie got back his usual shy tone as standing next to Angelica, the boy barely reaching the girl's nose even if his hair made him look a little taller.
"Yes, but you still are bigger than the others. Stand up, Tommy." Angelica ordered her cousin, who did as said as she stood next to him. "See? His head doesn't even reach my shoulder."
Chuckie and everyone else gave a look at the pair; of course, they already knew Chuckie was the tallest baby, but it was more noticeable when Angelica compared their sizes with her own body; Tommy was barely at her upper belly's height.
"But still… uh… my glasses; I can't play like that with my glasses!" Chuckie thought about another excuse. "I can break them by accident, and if I play without them I don't see very well."
"Oh, don't worry; you don't need to see a lot for this. I'll be very close to you all the time and you'll see me just fine." Angelica shrugged; she knew about Chuckie's poor sight, but it was a sunny day, with lots of light, and Chuckie could distinguish simple forms without his glasses, eliminating that excuse.
"Fine, I'll do it." Chuckie sighed and looked down, gulping. "Just don't hurt me, please."
"I'll not, really." Angelica then cleared her throat. "Okay, now I need a referee and someone to announce the match."
"We can't play with matches, Angelica. Mommy says it's dangerous." Kimi pointed.
"That's another way to say 'game'; you babies really don't know a thing." Angelica rolled her eyes. "Okay, Tommy, I want you to be the referee; Grandpa Lou said the referee can't help a wrestler or like one more than the other, so you are the best for this. You are my cousin so you don't want me losing, right?"
"Uh… no, I don't… I guess," Tommy replied. "But I don't want Chuckie losing too, Angelica."
"Yes, and that's good. You don't want any of us to lose so you'll be happy no matter who wins." Angelica then soft-glared at her cousin, "Just remember, you can't count faster when I have my back on the mat; you have to count the same speed for Finster and for me."
When Tommy nodded, Angelica turned at the other babies.
"You are going to be the audience; you have to make a lot of noise… but not too much so my aunt can't hear us." Angelica cleared. "You can also cheer for the wrestlers; that means you say things like 'Get her', or 'Pin him now', or 'Win' or stuff like that."
Angelica then turned at Chuckie for a last indication.
"Oh, and you need a funny or scary name to play; that's your wrestler name. Think about one while I give Tommy some instructions." Angelica said to her 'opponent' before going with Tommy for some last minute indications. Chuckie scratched his head while thinking and hoping something would happen to stop what was coming.