By Ryuu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary:Post-LAG. Bob gets de-shelled and he and Dot deal with S4 horror that has been dumped on their relationship. Sappy enough to give you cavities!
Disclaimer, notes, whatever:BobnDot, and all their friends belong to Mainframe Ent. The unnamed nerdy sprite technician is all mine. MINE, I tell you!
This was a post "Life's a Glitch…" therapy fic that joined the legions of others that were being written by all the horrified BobnDot fans. It contains an overabundence of sap to soothe all of our aching hearts. The author cannot be held responsible for cavities resulting from reading this. Enoy!
Feedback & Distribution:I like feedback. Send it to email@example.com. Send requests to archive or re-post this fic there too.
A small group of sprites stood outside of the infirmary room. The room was too small to hold all of them and the techs, but they had to be there. What was happening inside was far too important for all of them. They had to stay close by.
Matrix paced. His mouth was set in a thin, angry line. AndrAIa grabbed one of his hands as he went by. He looked at her, his face filling with sorrow for a moment before it was replaced by a scowl. He resumed his pacing. She sighed.
"He's going to be okay, right?" Enzo asked, his eyes full of worry. "This is going to work, isn't it?"
Mouse put a hand on his shoulder. "We have to keep hopin' so, honey."
"He's getting the best care he can, Enzo," said AndrAIa. "Keep thinking positive. That's the best thing you can do for him. Remember how much you love him."
She seemed to be directing the bulk of the statement towards the petite green woman who sat in a chair, staring at her feet, a few yards away.
They looked up as the door slid open. A binome technician stepped out, his face expressionless.
"We're ready to begin," he said. "The Prime told me tell Ms. Matrix and see if she wanted to witness the procedure."
Dot stood. "Please." Her face was composed, but she couldn't hide the grief and strain in her eyes. She followed the binome into the room. The door slid shut behind them with an odd finality.
The group of sprites looked at each other and went back to waiting and worrying.
"Beginning procedure 4.08," one of the techs called out.
The crew milled around the examining table, hooking various high-tech, esoteric devices to the rigid shell that encased Bob.
Dot and Turbo stood off to one side watching these proceedings. Turbo stole a glance at the young woman who'd led the resistance against Daemon. She stared at the inert form on the table as though she couldn't tear her gaze away, biting at her lower lip.
He took one of her hands. "Dot, these boys have more goin' on their brains each nano than you or Ah could process in a lifetime. Bob's in the best hands possible."
She sighed. "I know."
"He's gonna be okay."
She nodded. "I hope so..." She sighed again and gave him a quick glance. "Thanks, Turbo."
He gave her hand a quick squeeze and released it.
"Sir?" a brown-haired, somewhat nerdy-looking sprite technician signaled to Turbo. "We're ready to begin."
Turbo nodded. "Proceed."
A diagram appeared above the table of a blue wireframe surrounded by a writhing black mass of energy. Dot gave a small gasp. Turbo grabbed her hand again, holding it in both of his. One of the techs flipped the switch on a device over Bob, which emitted a concentrated beam that glowed green. It hit the shell and spread across it, casting the whole thing in a ghostly glow.
An unpleasant hum filled the room. The shell began to vibrate, shaking more and more as the nanos passed. Just as the hum reached an unbearable whine, a crack appeared in the surface. It spread over the shell until the thing shattered. The tech hit the switch, cutting off the glow and leaving Bob gasping weakly on the table.
Dot's grip on Turbo's hands tightened painfully as she watched the techs swarm over Bob, scanning him and eventually pronouncing him alive and well. She glanced up at the Prime briefly and saw his slight wince. She loosened her grip and pulled her hand away with an apologetic murmur. He smiled back at her before striding over to the table.
"Welcome back, Bob."
The man looked up at him, his eyes wide. "Turbo? When did you get to Mainframe? What happened?" he gasped.
"You're not in Mainframe, son." Turbo put and hand on the sprite's shoulder. "D'you remember what happened after you tried to split with Glitch?"
"Something went wrong. There was an explosion of some kind..." Bob winced. "It hurt." He shook his head. "After that? Nothing."
"I can fill that part in. You were frozen for several seconds. Your friends sent you here and our techs managed to get ya out."
Bob looked around the room, catching sight of Dot. His eyes brightened and he gave her a weak smile. She looked briefly startled, but gave him an extremely odd, sad smile back and turned abruptly to leave the room. Bob's brows knit together in puzzlement. Why hadn't she said anything?
Back in Mainframe, two cycles later, he still didn't have an answer to that question. Everyone else had gone home for the evening and he walked the halls of the Principle Office fuming to himself rather than go back to face his empty apartment.
Why was she avoiding him? In two cycles they had barely said a word to each other. He'd suspected she might be involved with the other Bob, but she seemed to be avoiding him too. Spammit, no matter what happened, they were friends! He'd thought she would remember that. Didn't she even want that friendship anymore?
He put his fingers to his aching temples and sighed. It was all horribly confusing. When he got down to it, the only thing he was certain of was how he felt about her. Maybe he was annoyed, but he still loved her, and if that meant he had to give her up, he would. It might break his heart, but that was worth it to make her happy.
Bob shook his head. Maybe it was time to just go home. He knew he wasn't going to solve this one tonight. He started for the exit and stopped, hearing a faint sound from somewhere to his left. It sounded like someone crying. He debated just leaving them to their tears. He couldn't solve his own problems and he wasn't sure he'd be much help with someone else's. Still, something about those sobs...he didn't know why, but he needed to find whoever it was.
The Guardian shrugged. Who was he to argue with his subconscious? He set off, following the sound. He soon found himself standing outside of a closed office. He tried to think of the proper etiquette for the situation. It was a public office, so could he just walk in or did he have to knock first? He decided to just go ahead and walk in and slid the door open carefully.
There was a gasp from the shadows. He could make out the shape of a sprite huddled there.
"I'm sorry!" Bob called out softly. "I didn't mean to startle you." He reached over and flipped on the light. His eyes widened. "Dot?"
"Bob? Oh no..." She turned away, wiping at her freely streaming eyes.
He walked over and sat beside her. "Dot? What's wrong?"
She sighed. "I-it's nothing. Please, just g-go away, Bob."
"You know I'm not going to do that, Dot," he answered. "Please, tell me. I want to help you. You're my friend."
She sniffled and seemed to droop more.
"What happened?" He took a deep breath. "Dot, is it me?"
She looked up at him and nodded. Then she shook her head, and buried her face in her hands, crying harder.
"Dot..." He reached out to pull her into his arms.
She pushed him away. "Don't, Bob. We shouldn't."
He looked confused and worried. "Why shouldn't we?"
She sniffled and looked up at him, fear and guilt in her eyes. "Look, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry, and I understand why you hate me now."
"Hate you?" Bob stared down at her, amazed. "Why would I hate you?"
"I gave up on you!" she cried out, "I pushed you away for the newer model, after saying I loved you! I hate me. You should too."
"I don't hate you, Dot," Bob said, putting a hand on her shoulder. "I know things have been tough for you-"
"Don't humor me, Bob!" she snapped. "That's not an excuse for what I've done and you know it!" She impatiently brushed away a few tears with the back of her hand and said, "How do you really feel? I don't deserve you. You don't need to be nice about it,"
"Dot, will you listen to me?" Irritation crept into his voice. "I don't hate you! I could never hate you. I love you!"
Tears welled in her eyes again. "You should-"
"I don't," he answered firmly.
She burst into tears again and fell against him. He held her tight and let her cry, glad to have her back in his arms.
"I'm so sorry, Bob!" she gasped between sobs, "If...if I'd known you were going to t-try and split with G-glitch, I would have stopped you!"
"Dot...shh," he whispered, stroking her hair. "It's all right. You couldn't have known what would happen. It wasn't your fault."
"It is my f-fault. Bob, I wouldn't change a hair on your head. You...you're p-perfect just the way you are!"
"I forgive you, Dot. It's going to be okay," he said, soothingly.
"You don't…" She took a deep breath. "You don't have to marry me, you know. I know I asked you to, but I don't blame you if you don't want to."
Bob gave voice to an irritated sigh and held her out at arm's length. "Dot. There's just one question. Do you love me?"
"I don't deserve you-" she whispered.
"That's not an issue here," he interrupted, giving her shoulders a little shake. "Do you love me? Yes or no?"
She sniffled and looked up, giving him a watery smile. "Yes."
"That's all I need to I know." He held her close. "Yes, I'll marry you."
Her eyes filled with an incredulous joy. "Really?"
Bob reached down and tilted her chin up. "Really," he answered, before bending down to capture her mouth with his.