Prompt/Challenge: One of the Rogue's is de-aged I couldn't just choose one! So I did a lot!
"Okay, who came up with this bright idea?" Weather Wizard asked, trying to capture the so called 'intruder'.
"I have no idea, but catch him before he gets into-- Too late." Captain Cold took a deep breath and tried to grab the books before they could fall to the floor.
"I think I got him! No. No I don't." Heat Wave corrected himself as the pint sized 'tornado' ducked under his hands and dived under the table.
"He's just a kid. How can one kid cause so much trouble?" Mark called out, as he looked under the table. "Come on, come here. We won't hurt you. We just want to talk to you." He told the kid, holding out his hands for him to come to him.
The kid took one look at him and blew a raspberry at him before taking off under the other side.
"Why you little..." Mark gaped and then tried to follow, banging his head as he stood up without realizing he was still too close to the edge of the table.
"You know, if we can't even defeat a kid? It's realllllly no wonder we've never really gotten anywhere in the business." Captain Cold sighed deeply, running around the worn out couch, trying to head the child off.
"Speak for yourself, Cold." Heat Wave said grimly. "This kid isn't normal!"
The child shrieked, and then flipped into the air as he jumped off the couch using it for a trampoline. He ended up on the other side, opposite of Cold and then ran off again.
"Whoa! Now that was a move. I'd think he was too small for that kind of thing!" Mark admitted, trying to block the stairs in case the kid came that way.
"FESSO!" The child yelled at them, and then did a hand gesture that was a bit familiar, even to them.
"Fesso? What the hell is Fesso?" Mick asked as he and Cold tried to herd the child into a corner.
"No idea. Hey, kid. You speak English?" Len asked.
"Figlio di puttana!" The child spat at them, his back to the corner, glaring at them.
"I'm going to take that, as a no." Len snorted in wry amusement. "Now, we're not going to hurt you." He repeated what Wizard had tried to tell him.
"He doesn't understand." Mick pointed out. "If he doesn't speak English, telling him in English isn't going to help!"
"No, but sometimes? It is all in the tone." Len said in what he hoped sounded like a soothing tone.
He held out his hands, and slowly approached.
The child promptly kicked him in the shin and dived to the side, rolling in a somersault and heading to the door.
"Stop him!" Cold tried to hop after him.
The kid grabbed the door handle in both hands and tugged at it. "Merda! Santo cuzza!" The child whined at the door, trying to get it open.
"Did he just call for Santa?" Mark half-asked as he tried to close in on the kid from one side. Mick on the other.
"Santo. Not Santa." Mick corrected. "I think the kid is cussing. I think he's speaking Italian or something."
"Italiano!" The child screeched, latching on to the word. "Si!" But he still wasn't going to give them the opportunity to grab him. He screamed an ear-piercing shriek and flailed as Mick nearly had him in his arms. One foot caught a precious area of his anatomy and he went down, letting go of the child.
"We just want to help you!" Len limped after the boy, while Mark was starting to back off a little. He was so far the only one not injured. He wanted to keep it that way!
"? pazzo!" The boy's voice shook as he tried to get to a window, but then realized it was boarded up.
Len held up his hands. "We're scaring him."
"I think we kind of figured that." Mark snorted with a half smile. "What with the yelling and trying to run away?"
Len pushed his hood down, and then slowly removed his visor. Unzipping the parka, he threw it toward the couch and then pointedly took off his cold-gun and went to the cabinet. Putting it inside and shutting the door. He put his hands up, and turned in a circle. "Not wanting to hurt you." He said in a very soft tone.
Mick nodded, catching on. He took the top of his costume off, and did the same with his heat-gun, holding up his hands. Mark removed his mask, and tucked his wand away. He put his hands on his head, and turned around.
"We're unarmed." Len said slowly.
The little boy huddled near the boarded up window, watching them, fearfully.
He pointed to himself, and said. "Len." Then he pointed at Mick. "Mick." And then, pointed at Mark. "Mark."
"Len. Mick. Mark." He said it again.
Then Cold pointed at the little boy and raised his brows and held his hands up while shrugging. A question.
"Giovanni?" The boy answered quietly, his voice going up in a question at the end. "Giovanni Giuseppe."
"Oh. My. God." Mick breathed. "It can't be."
"Stranger things have happened." Mark pointed out.
"But... he's dead. He can't be a... a... kid." Len shook his head.
"Giovanni Giuseppe." Mick repeated slowly. Then he, after a second of consideration, started to make the sound of carnival music. Thunder and Blazes, the Clowns polka.
The little boy made a pouty face and then stuck out his tongue and corrected him by humming The Man on the Flying Trapeze.
"He's right." Mark told him. "He was an acrobat, not a clown."
"What the hell do we do with a kid?" Mick asked, staring down at the little boy who was still terrified of them, but was no longer screaming.
Len and Mark looked at each other and then Mick before saying at the exact same time. "Call Piper!"
It seemed like a good idea at the time. And after a few minutes, Len decided it was probably a good idea regardless. Because leaving him alone there, was not a good idea. Talk about child endangerment?
The little redheaded boy was standing in front of them, his mouth wide open as he screamed loudly. He'd been screaming non-stop for the last three minutes.
"Okay. Well... why is he... um. He didn't die!" Mark pointed out, helpfully, while he held on to little Giovanni's hand.
"No, but I might if he doesn't knock that racket off!" Mick held his head and rubbed his temples.
Len held out his hands. "Shhhh shhhh shhh, Hartley? Hartley! Stop it!"
The kid did not seem to be ready to stop any time soon. In fact, he took another breath of air and let out another long shriek.
"It's okay! Hartley stop SCREAMING!" Len yelled over him.
But the boy just continued, as though he didn't... hear... him.
"How old was he when he had the implants put in?" Len yelled to Mick, trying to be heard over the minified Piper.
"I don't know!" He confessed. "But I think he was around two or three when they figured out he was actually deaf. They hadn't paid too much attention, I guess? I don't know. I didn't pay attention MYSELF! And then, then it took a while to find someone that could fix it. The technology wasn't as good back then, and he had to take other channels..."
Mark called out over the yelling by saying. "It could also be that whatever did this, simply removed the inorganic parts!"
Giovanni let go of his hand and moved toward Hartley, grabbing his face in his hands. "Stai zitto!" The child yelled and then put his hand over his mouth, blocking the sound. "Shhhh stai zitto!" He repeated.
Hartley promptly started crying and Giovanni gave him a boggled look.
Frowning, the blond boy looked back at the adults, and then at Hartley. "Cosa c'猫?"
Hartley didn't understand, which was understandable since the adults didn't either. So he just sat hard on his bottom and cried more. Giovanni knelt beside him and tugged his sleeve. Then he held out his hand, showing 'nothing in his hand' and then... pulled a coin out of his ear. Hartley sniffed, looking at the other boy, confused. But then turned his hand over to look at it. Giovanni beamed at him and pulled another coin out of his ear, seemingly from midair.
Hartley was amazed, and surprisingly quiet.
"Great. We have one kid that can't hear us, or understand us because he can't hear us. And another kid that doesn't speak a word of English, and therefore can't understand us." Mark groaned. "This is just great!"
"What I want to know is where he got the money." Len stated, a small smile twitching at his lips.
Mark paused and then patted his pockets down quickly. "Why that little..."
"Hey hey now. He picked your pocket fair and square. Isn't that so cute?" Mick chuckled. "He truly did start young!"
"Yeah, cute. Wait till he steals YOUR money!" Mark scowled.
"What steal? I'll give him an allowance!" Mick beamed at the children.
"You're not suggesting that we let them both stay this young, are you?" Mark asked, both brows going up in surprise.
"No, no, we're not suggesting anything." Cold assured, holding up a hand. "We're not making any decisions at this time. First, we have to determine what caused this! Then we go from there. I also think we should take a headcount? And since we have at least one returning from the great beyond, we should be on the look out for any more returning to us!"
"Good idea." Mick agreed watching the two children kneeling on the floor.
He wasn't sure what it was that Lil'Trickster was saying to Lil'Piper, but the fact that one couldn't hear the other wasn't deterring him one bit. He was happily babbling away in his own language without pause. Hartley wasn't really speaking so much as making noises in response. LOUD noises at that. But they were pretty much pleased noises as Giovanni did tricks for him. When he ran out of slight of hand tricks, the little boy started to show off by showing him back-bend overs and doing cartwheels. He walked a few steps on his hands, to the awe of the other boy who clapped loudly.
"Looks like they're having fun." Len commented as he joined Mick watching them. "But we need to round them up and get them back to the safe-house. Then you and Mark, try to contact all the other Rogues and their associates. See if anyone else was de-aged or brought back to life as a child."
"Giovanni." Len held out a hand, gesturing in a come here manner. Giovanni looked at him from between his knees, turned upside down, and frowned. "Giovanni?" He pointed at the other boy. "Hartley."
"Hartley." Gio repeated carefully.
Now Len held out both hands and gestured for them to come to him. Hartley frowned and shook his head.
Giovanni reached out and took the other boy's hand, pulling on it. Hartley shook his head again and made a sharp Unnnnnnh noise. Negative even if not fully a formed word. Giovanni put his hands on his hips and pointed at the adults, made a silly face, and stuck his tongue out before laughing. Then he danced in a circle throwing his hands up. He took both Hartley's hands in his own and pulled on them again. "Stammi vicino!" He said with confidence.
Hartley kept looking back and forth between the other boy and the adults, and then at the room he was in. It was in a lot of disrepair. And he had been alone when he'd woken up. He finally, slowly, edged closer to Giovanni and walked with him. Giovanni beamed, puffing himself up and obviously feeling important at this point.
"We're going to need car seats." Mick said in a doubtful tone. "You go ahead and take them to the safe-house. But while looking for others? I'm going to stop by Wal-mart and get some booster seats."
"Good plan. Safer that way." Len agreed, even as he led the little ones to the car outside.
Giovanni climbed in and then patted the seat beside him, smiling while Mark fastened him in. "Grazie!" He chirped at Mark and then repeated it again when he fastened Hartley in.
Hartley's eyes widened as the car took off with them inside. He hit the window and squealed, smiling. He didn't get to go places very often! He bounced in his seat and hit the glass again, his squeal running through Len's head and down his spine. He had a feeling the reason the kid was so loud, was because he just honestly couldn't tell that he was loud to begin with.
Giovanni was used to travel, but seemed to be enjoying it through Hartley's responses. He was pointing things out, and pushing Hartley's head from one side to the other to see it if he missed the first 'point'. Hartley didn't mind, because he was excited to see everything!
By the time they pulled up to where he generally hid the car, it seemed that Hartley had gotten used to the idea of 'going' with them and was trying to enjoy himself. Len helped both boys out, and was surprised when Giovanni grabbed Hartley's hand and ran to the door. Len opened it and was greeted to... sobbing?
A little blonde girl was sitting in the middle of the floor, rubbing her eyes and crying pitifully. Her dress was a yellow-gold, with ruffles toward the bottom. And she was young enough that she was diapered. The other two boys, which Len wasn't sure of their ages, were at least potty trained.
But, as Len approached any horror of the idea of diapers faded completely. "Lisa? Oh! LISA!" He rushed forward and swept her up into his arms.
"Da da da da da..." She babbled, sniffing against his shoulder.
"Oh, Lisa. You're alive!" Len whispered, holding her tightly. "Look at you? You're alive. And so tiny!"
Hartley edged closer, eyes wide and looking at the baby. Wooooow.
Giovanni didn't really care. He'd seen LOTS of babies in his young life. So instead, he just bounced on the couch, up and down, up and down. Then did a flip, landed and flipped again. Sproing sproing sproing.
Lisa tapered off, sniffing as she snuggled against his shoulder. Len reasoned that he probably looked enough like their father that she didn't know any better and therefore wasn't scared. Or, that she just responded well to attention and affection. Which, considering their childhood, was also possible.
He wasn't sure how long he sat there, holding his little sister in his arms when he heard the door bang and a loud commotion coming through. "You're not the boss of me!" Someone's small voice was sounding petulant.
"Ow! You little..." Mark bit off, once more. "We found some more!" He called out.
"I's HUNGY!" A little George Harkness called out as he ran into the room, followed by a little blond boy that was skipping happily in front of Mark.
Mark was rubbing his shin, again. "I found Boomerang and Axel." He nodded toward the two boys. "Or, rather they were left for me to find. I'm not sure who is doing this, but it seems they are making sure we're near enough to find them so they don't get hurt."
"HUNGY!" George bellowed again. "FEED ME!"
Axel skipped around and then saw Giovanni bouncing on the couch. Within seconds, he was also bouncing on the couch. One on each side. Hartley stepped closer to George, curious and tilted his head. George backed up a step and then yelled. "FEED ME!" Again.
Hartley just kind of shrugged and went off to bounce on the couch with the other two.
"This, is getting out of hand." Mark ran a hand through his hair while Len stood holding Lil'Lisa.
George decided to take care of it himself, and was rooting through the little apartment fridge by the wall. "EW!" He tossed down something vaguely green and sorted through more boxes. "Hungy." He muttered to himself.
Mick wasn't too far behind Mark as he opened the door. "Okay, in in in..." He prompted. "Inside you go!"
"Who is that?" Mark asked.
"Roy annnnnd..." He paused and then very carefully added. "I have no idea who this is." He admitted as he pointed to the little boy that was watching everyone with wide-eyed wonder.
"This is just great. The Rogues are now Daddy Daycare!" Mark groaned.
Axel and Giovanni had joined hands with Hartley and were bouncing together, higher and higher squealing.
"We're doomed." Mick pronounced. "Utterly, completely, and totally doomed."
As Lisa quietly sighed on Len's shoulder, her eyes closing, Len stroked her back. "Doomed? No. Not at all. I don't confess to know what is going on? But I know we're not doomed. In fact? I think this is the first break we've had in a long long time." He said softly against his sister's soft hair.
George sat down in the middle of the floor with a carton of last night's take out, and fed himself with his fingers. "WEEEEEEEEE!" He squealed, happy as the noodles slipped through his fingers. "WORMS!" He shoved them in his mouth, grinning a toothy smile filled with mischief. "Num num num num..." He made exaggerated noises as he ate.
"Okay, maybe we're a little bit... doomed." Len laughed. "But this kind of doom? I think I can handle."
But even he winced when he heard the lamp break seconds later. "Uh oh!" Giovanni gasped. "Scusi!"
With a sigh, Mick went to get the dustpan. It was going to be an interesting summer.