THREE DELIVERY - Sinister Balls of Fire

BY CRYSTALQUIRT

Chapter 1

Violence, angst, disaster. Tobey torture. Names have been changed to protect the innocent and any similarity between my secondary characters and anyone living or dead is completely unintentional, except those who already know I was describing them.

*don't take as medical advice – if you think you might be hyperventilating get real medical attention. I assume Sid knows Tobey hyperventilates sometimes [in my world] and already knows what to do.

Description: Tobey, caught in an innocent situation that looks real bad, is arrested for breaking and entering. Because of his 'dark' past, a security guard who blames Tobey for getting kicked off the police force, three years earlier tries to frame him for more and more terrible crimes to make him pay!

Introduction: It all started with a strong wish to get Tobey or Sid in handcuffs. LOL

Since Tobey has a dark past [that we don't know what it is yet] he seemed like the best fic really threatened to hurt my feelings so I felt the need to explain something.

I love cops! Really – all of my crushes have been on cops! I used to follow one around at night during his shift before we would meet for coffee. One night, I followed the wrong patrol car, and learned later from my friend, that the officer I mistakenly followed had called in panicking - saying someone in a white truck was following him! Oops.

I love real life cops, TV cops [fictional] – I love cops wherever cops can be found. Except, I don't like the TV show "Cops." I like the cops but not the reality of the people they have to deal with. I find watching the incredible ignorance of the people they have to deal with everyday extremely disturbing.

It gives me major "our society and our whole world is doomed," syndrome, and if I see even part of the show, I hide in a dark corner for days. I have huge amount of respect for police officers.

In this story I needed a bad guy with 'power' not magical. I didn't want to write about a 'bad' cop, but went with an ex-cop – someone who already couldn't make it as a real cop and got fired.

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"BARNEY! Hurry up and get out here!" Even when he was happy and excited about something, Mr. Wu sounded angry. He found a used Wrestling mat in a yard sale and bought it for Barney. It was already spread out in the garden and Nana, Sue, Sid and Tobey were already there to watch the first match.

Barney pulled his wrestling uniform on. He wiggled his hips while he pulled it up to get it to ride 'just right' before going to the garden. He couldn't figure why on earth his dad wanted to take a picture of him in his uniform in the garden, but he was used to doing what his dad said without a lot of questions. The answers often didn't make sense.

When he came out, he saw everyone was there, and his dad was in his old uniform too! It was a wee bit tight but somehow he got it on. Mr. Wu struck a pose when he saw him and Barney noticed that he was standing on a 'regulation' wrestling mat!

"Wow Dad! Where did you get this? This is great! What's the occasion?" Barney ran over and got on it. He jumped up and down enjoying the 'feel'.

"Come on Barney – Let's go! WRESTLE!" Mr. Wu slammed Barney and knocked him down on the mat. It took no more effort on his part than to remain still with Barney stuck under his belly for him to declare him 'pinned'. Barney could hear Sue chuckling.

"Hey I'm a little out-matched here wouldn't you say? Let me wrestle Tobey!" Barney looked over at him and grinned. Tobey said 'sure' and jumped up.

Barney stopped him – "No-no-no! You can't be on the mat with all the studded leather and those shoes. You'll rip holes in it."

"Oh man." Tobey reluctantly took off his belt and shoes and tossed them to Sid.

"Wrists too!"

"No way! They are like part of me man!"

"Hey come on, do you want to try and beat me or not?"

"Ok." Tobey very reluctantly took off the wrist bands and tossed them to Sid. Nana and Sue both looked at each other. Sid whispered "Why wouldn't he want to take them off? He's such a dork."

"Sid, be nice. I'm sure he has his reasons – he always wears them- it probably feels weird without having them on." Sue was feeling protective.

Tobey grinned at Barney, Barney grinned at Tobey they went low and started pushing on each other. Tobey reached under and grabbed Barney's leg but he couldn't budge it. So he tried tickling – Barney giggled as he grabbed Tobey's leg and put him on his back. Mr. Wu called "Pinned!"

"No fair! Let's go again!" Tobey smiled and faced Barney. This time when they went at each other, Barney leaned to the side just enough to get a good hold on Tobey's shoulder and thigh. He took a step and pushed Tobey down on his stomach on the mat. Tobey started to twist out from under him, but Barney put his hands on both of Tobey's wrists. He pressed one down on the mat and twisted the other behind his back.

Tobey thrashed violently and made sounds that sounded like a trapped animal. At first they all thought Tobey was just trying to get out of it, but then he screamed loudly, his voice cracked and he already sounded out of breath.

Tobey screamed, "NO! Get OFF!" Since Tobey sounded serious Barney loosened up, afraid he was hurting him. Before he could get off him though, Tobey twisted and kicked him in the stomach sending him into the fountain with the fish!

"Hey, no fair! There's no kicking in wrestling!" Barney yelled. Mr. Wu yelled 'disqualified', but Tobey was already running for the back door. Sid went after him with his stuff.

"He was no fun – how about you Sue?" Sue agreed and took her belt off and handed it to Nana. She felt giddy – wrestling with Barney! Sue was blushing already!

Sid found Tobey out front sitting on the sidewalk next to his bike. He was so upset, it sounded like he was hyperventilating.

"Tobey, what happened? Are you ok?" Tobey didn't answer him. He was breathing through his mouth too fast and shallowly to really be getting oxygen and he looked frightened. Sid handed him his wrist bands and belt, but his hands were shaking so bad he couldn't get the bands snapped on his wrists. Tobey gave up and put his head back to try to catch his breath.

Sid helped him fasten his wristbands while he spoke softly to him. "Tobey, slow your breathing, you're safe and nothing bad is going on." Tobey looked like he wanted to say something, but was still breathing too hard to form understandable words. Tobey put his head down and grabbed fistfuls of his own hair in frustration and fought even harder to breathe.

"Listen to me Tobey - breathe slower, pay attention only to your breath and my voice . . . in, out, in . . . out." After a minute of coaching, Sid saw Tobey's breath returning to normal. "Are you ok?"

"Yeah Sid, thanks." He panted. "I didn't think it would be that bad! I gotta go apologize to Barney."

"You didn't think 'what' would be that bad? What happened?"

Tobey blushed, "I guess I didn't want to lose."

"I know you don't mind losing that much – you don't react that way when you lose and I take you down."

"Hey, I win sometimes!"

Sid made a face and waited for him to continue.

"It's just I can't stand having my wrists held, and when he pulled my arm behind my back I guess I lost it. I felt like if I didn't get away, I might die."

"I didn't know that having your wrists held scared you so much Tobey, since when? Why do you think it makes you panic so bad?"

"I don't wanna talk about it anymore – I gotta to tell Barney I'm sorry."

"Ok then, why didn't you want to take off your wristbands? Doesn't wearing something on your wrists bother you?"

"No way, with them on my opponent can't get a good hold on my wrists!"

"Oh come on Tobey – that can't be true."

"It has worked lots of times – remember the shape shifter in the storeroom?"

"Well, I wasn't there for the whole fight you had with it, but I think it is your Kung Fu skill, instead of the wristbands."

Sid followed Tobey back out to the garden. Sue and Barney were on their third match. Sue let him win every time, and she was on her back on the mat again when they got there.

Sid could tell Sue was enjoying the 'Barney contact' a little too much and he chuckled and looked at Tobey. He thought Tobey would have some form of razzing to express, but he wasn't even watching. He was too distracted by his thoughts.

Soon it was time to open the restaurant for Sunday lunch so Barney went in to get a shower and change. Sue said she needed a shower too. Sid suggested she go get one with Barney. "You could wash his back!"

Sue punched his arm and he and Tobey roared with laughter. Barney looked confused, like he hadn't heard the whole conversation. He was almost to the back door when Tobey called for him to "Wait up."

"I'm sorry for how I reacted back there."

"No problem – maybe we can have another match later, between your deliveries!"

"You're on!" Tobey exclaimed and went to polish his bike. It was almost noon and he hadn't polished it yet that day so he was late!

Sue, Sid and Nana stayed in the garden. "Sid? Why was Tobey so upset, did he say anything?"

"Sorta. He said he didn't like his wrists held."

"Wow, he was really freaked out. Why does he wear wristbands then, I would think having something on his wrists all the time would bother him."

"I asked him about that too, but he thinks they protect him somehow. Like with them on, no one can grab his wrists."

Sue didn't want to say what she first thought, it would be too mean. "Strange." was all she said.

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It had been a very busy Sunday afternoon for deliveries and the evening got even busier. Sue, Sid and Tobey hardly even got to see each other as they came and went so Tobey's rematch with Barney never happened. When Mr. Wu finally closed it was after 1 am!

Sid yawned while they were putting their bikes and helmets away. "It's good tomorrow is "Memorial Day."

"Are you thinking the same thing I am?

"If you're thinking 'sleep 'til noon' then we are thinking alike."

"Wow, it's almost like were connected on another plane!" Sue giggled and beat her brother up the stairs.

The boys formed a line after Sue for the shower and when she finally came out, Sid said, "I told you to take your shower with Barney. Then we wouldn't have had to wait so long." Sue glared at him before she pinched his arm, and while he was distracted Tobey got in behind him and locked the door. "Hey! I was next!" Sid whined.

"You lost your place flappin' your gums in line!" Tobey yelled through the door.

When Sid finally got out of the shower and got to their bunks, he could hear Tobey breathing softly and regularly like he was already asleep. He got in bed carefully so he didn't wake him up.

Later Sid woke up. He could hear Tobey talking quietly in his sleep, but still loud enough to wake him up. "Oh man," he mumbled and rolled over with his pillow over his head.

"No-lemme go-lemme-go." Tobey repeated it a little louder and Sid moved his pillow to listen. He wondered if he was having a nightmare about the situation with Barney.

Tobey continued, "I didn't do it alone – wasn't my idea!" Sid sat up and thumped under the top bunk while he softly called Tobey. "Tobey wake up man, you're talking in your sleep."

The thump seemed to put Tobey into a different level of terror. "NO STOP! I'm not fighting!" and Tobey started screaming. Sid jumped off his bunk and hopped up on the ladder. He held Tobey's shoulders down and repeated his name softly until he stopped screaming.

Tobey soon stopped thrashing and looked at Sid. "You sure you don't have anything you need to talk about?"

"It's embarrassing, are you sure it will help." Tobey sat up.

"Come on, you know we won't tease you or anything. Well, not much." Sid messed up Tobey's hair. "Can I get sue, she cares about you and she will probably have better advice that me."

"Ok."

"We'll be right back."

"Sue, come on - Tobey's having nightmares and needs to talk."

"Awe Sid, I was sleeping so good."

"Come on maybe we can help him if we talk, it seems to have helped before."

"Ok I'm coming."

Sid went back to his room and Sue got up and found her robe before going. They all three sat on top, on Tobey's bunk.

"Tobey, do you remember what your dream was about."

"Yes, unfortunately and I've had the same dreams before, but it's been a long time." They listened quietly while he took a deep breath. "Remember when I was twelve, I got arrested?"

"Yeah, we remember. It was a really rough time for all of us. We were so worried about you." Sue was holding his hand.

Sid interrupted, "Yeah and you were released soon after, the police officer that arrested you was dismissed over something he did wrong and the charges against you dismissed – even though you were guilty. You really lucked out I guess. But you still paid for it, when you broke your arm falling out of the window. You shouldn't have tried to run from the police.

"I didn't feel like I had lucked out and I didn't tell you everything. I was dreaming about when that cop arrested me. His name was Gary something."

"What happened?" Sue asked him, leaning closer. Tobey took another deep breath and he eyes started to look wet.

"I didn't break my arm falling out the window. After Gary got the cuffs on me he twisted my arms behind my back so I couldn't move, and when he started beating on me with his baton, my arm broke. He continued to hit and kick me saying the court wouldn't be able to teach me how bad I really was as well as he could."

"We never knew. No wonder you don't like your wrists held."

"Yeah, that's why I get so freaked out sometimes about being restrained, though most of the time I have enough control to hide it pretty well. It doesn't affect me that much anymore, especially when it is someone I trust, like you guys during Nana's training. It surprised me when I reacted like that during the match with Barney."

"Oh man Tobey! That must have been really scary."

"Later I had to testify in court against that Gary guy, he had to serve a couple of months and got kicked off the police force."

"Wow, I remember when you went back to court, we thought you had to go about what you did, but it was about what he did to you. Sorry man."

"Yeah, it's ok now. But in my dreams just now I could see his face so clearly and he had me down again-I even thought I could feel my arm breaking." Tobey rubbed his arm like he was checking just to be sure.

"I'm glad you told us Tobey."

"Yeah, I won't grab your wrists anymore while were training."

"No, that's not what I want! Don't treat me differently! It's not logical for me to react like you are going to hurt me, if you just grab my wrist in training to learn a new throw or something. I have to get over this. Nana even said so."

"Nana knows?"

"She knows all of it."

Sid wrapped his fingers slowly and deliberately around Tobey's wrist and moved his hand behind his back. Tobey allowed it.

They smiled at each other and Tobey warned him, "Now don't do it just trying to get a rise out of me! I'll kick your ass."

"Ok, no worries – that was the only time!" Sid promised. "You think you can go back to sleep?"

"Yeah I'm exhausted."

Sid climbed down the ladder and flopped down on his bunk, Sue jumped down and opened the door to go back to her room, but Nana was standing right there getting ready to knock.

"Good! You're all up already! I have discovered the location of another recipe!"

Sid put his pillow over his face again. Tobey pulled the blanket over his head and made loud snoring noises. Sue was stuck with no place to hide.

[[[[[[[[[[[[Three Delivery]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]

"See!" Nana came in and showed them a stack of papers and books in her arms.

"I've been up all night researching. I found a lead and realized the urgency of getting this one back. I found copies of these ancient texts in the library. It speaks of a recipe for magic that I'm sure I remember being in my master's collection. In his notes he makes reference to a recipe with a slightly different name, and I think they all refer to the same recipe – and if it is, it is very dangerous."

"How did you find out where it is, Nana?"

"Look it said right here that it was stolen from my master by a man named Lewis. Lewis managed to keep it hidden from my master for many years and eventually bragged to my master that he had passed it on to his son who would use it one day to take over the world."

"Well, wonder what went wrong? No 'one' person has taken over the whole world yet, as far as I know." Sid was still yawning.

"The master passed away before he could get it back from Lewis's son, but in his notes he wrote where he thought he was hiding it."

"Where Nana?" Sue asked, but Nana's answer was interrupted by Tobey snoring. Sid poked him he woke up and stretched his hands out "Shrimp toast?"

"No Tobey, no Shrimp toast, magic recipe – stay awake!" Sid pinched him. Tobey pinched him back. Sue broke them up.

Nana continued, "Lewis's son, Mark Lewis runs his legal practice from offices in downtown Chinatown. It's the really fancy old building with the fountains. They say it survived the Earthquake of 1906 with only minor damage."

"So you think he will have kept it with him all this time, knowing what it is without trying to use it?" Sue was trying to make sense of someone else's actions.

"Yes, my master suspected that he kept the recipe in an antiquarian copy of a law book titled,

'Repetito Guiielmi Benedicti Juriscons' it's an exhaustive text about wills, inheritance and succession in Roman and canon law. By Benoit. From 1522!"

Tobey smiled sideways at Nana. "Wow, that's an old one but the only part I understood was the date."

"It's ok, I'm sure you won't have to look hard for it. He would display it in a place of prominence. It will be locked up, but not in a safe since he would want to show it off. It will probably be locked in a glass case. I have already made up some of the Black Liquid recipe to melt the side of whatever he has it preserved and locked in."

"But be careful with it – don't melt the book or the recipe - and be careful to not damage the book at all! It is likely to be very fragile. All we want in my master's recipe. Leave no other trace that you were there."

"But what if the doors on the roof and in the building are locked, can we melt the doorknobs?"

Tobey answered that one first. "No problem Sid, I will go with you, I can pick the locks."

"Another skill you picked up as a kid?"

"Well yeah – but now I can use it to help protect Chinatown from the Kong Li and the magic recipes."

"Oh how lucky we are that you are around Tobey," Sue smiled at him. He couldn't tell for sure if that was a compliment and frowned at her.

Sid was holding the vial with the Black Liquid recipe in it. "Nana, if it will melt glass, why doesn't the vial melt?"

"Good question Sid. The recipe won't be effective until it comes into contact with the air. But, I melted three of Calvin's cooking pots before I got it right, so as soon as the stores open after the holiday, I will have to replace them."

"I want you three to go now, before daylight. After daylight there will be more people out, and someone will see you. The few people that will be there on a holiday should be opening late anyway but I want you out of there and home before daylight. The office you need is on the top floor. All you have to do is get in the door on the roof and go down one floor. You should be in and out before the security guard even wakes up from his nap."

Sue giggled. "But Nana, it will take too long to climb up to the roof and then climb back down on the fire escape!"

"I already have a faster way up." She handed Tobey a cookie, and he started to break it open to eat it. "No Tobey, I'm not just giving you a cookie." Nana put her hand over his hand to stop him. Wait till you get there, you don't want to waste any of your flying monkey charm here do you?

"Monkey! Again Nana? Can't I turn into a bat? Oh! Or a raptor - with long talons."

"No Tobey, a bat or a bird would be too small. You wouldn't be able to carry the vials or open the heavy book."

"Besides, you make such a handsome monkey!" Sue offered.

Sid waved his hands for everyone to move so he could get up. "Let's get dressed and get out of here, the sooner we get back the sooner we can nap!"

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[Tobee continued . . .]