A/N: You kidding? No stories about these two? Perish the thought! It's not technically a song-fic, but meh.
Disclaimer: I don't own Codename: Kids Next Door, nor the song A Modern Myth by 30 Seconds to Mars.
A Modern Myth
Did we create a modern myth?
"Congrats, kid!" Numbuh 438 said jauntily, thumping the back of his now retired ex-spy, who remained rigid at attention. "You're off spy detail! It'll be sad though, letting my best agent go!"
The nine year old Numbuh 362 displayed her 'excitement' by frowning. "I don't see what's celebratory about sitting behind a desk all day."
Her former boss shrugged. "Can't be helped. We need to keep a rotation, see? Besides, you know how many people want this job you're shrugging off so casually? To work directly beneath the great Numbuh 274, the most legendary operative on the planet?!"
"Then give it to them." She answered monotonously. "I was investigating a very delicate case regarding Father's---"
"---which is currently being held by your successor." He interrupted without a beat. "Besides, it was the Supreme Leader himself who requested you to take this post. Said you were the best of the best and that it's only natural that you serve as his right-hand ma—uh, girl."
Numbuh 362's gaze drifted down. Numbuh 274 definitely was a decorated operative. Some of his amazing feats were almost unparalleled in the entire era of the KND. The first time she ever saw him was before being sent away to KND Secret Intelligence after graduating from Moonbase. He was one of her mentors in demonstrative combat.
He had quite a prowess in combat, overtaking a dozen trainees at once in a free pot-shot at him---herself included. Managing to slam the boys all over the practice mat and restraining all the girls with a bit of rope hanging in the equipment rack under the span of five minutes was quite baffling.
She remembered being the last of the restrained trainees, opting to wait behind and calculate how he moved and where his weak-points were before striking. Believing that he favored his left calf more than the others, she tried to nail him with a good grab for it, only to miscalculate his strength. He easily caught her and effortlessly wrestled her to the floor, much to her dismay.
But always---he always lent a hand to pick everybody up and point out where to work harder in for a future battle. Always smiling charmingly, which brought a bunch of female trainees to develop puppy crushes on him. She admired his talents. Though, she did admit that he was quite the looker.
But that was two years ago. She hadn't seen him since graduation.
The doors that belonged to the office of the highest officer in the KND opened and both she and her boss stood in attention, her more stiff than her former superior.
An armor-clad Supreme Commander emerged, carrying a few papers with him. He had a boyish smile that oozed confidence and a longer, leaner body. She stared longer than she should. He was simply more dashing than two years ago!
She mentally shook off the awe and stood up straighter.
Numbuh 274 read through his papers before addressing them, his smile growing when he observed 362's profile.
"Oh, yeah! My new assistant! I almost forgot that memo!" His voice was a tad deeper than she remembered. "It's great to see one of my old students again. Especially one who's got quite the reputation these days!" He put out his hand to shake hers and she stared at it, unsure. Wasn't she supposed to salute to him instead?
He chuckled, dropping his hand and opted to pat the side of her arm reassuringly. "At ease, Numbuh 362! Admin positions are a bit more lenient with formalities than special offices."
She nearly forgot that she was a desk worker now and quietly blushed at her mistake. "My apologies, sir."
Numbuh 274's smile turned soft. "No worries, kid. And you can call me Chad when we're off-duty, Rach."
Rachel almost pouted at the little nickname.
Numbuh 438 snickered before turning on his heel and walked off, knowing that his prized spy would be in very capable hands.
Did we imagine half of it?
Her comm was ringing again. She answered it. "Yes sir?"
"I need you to file the paperwork that Sector C sent in concerning Mr. Boss' attempts to initiate Detention Day in all elementary schools," Numbuh 274 issued out from the comm. "And then I request your presence in my office."
Rachel searched her desk for the folder. "Right away sir---" She stopped a beat. "Sir?"
"Yes, Numbuh 362?"
"Should we also file the Toiletnator's rap sheet as well?"
She could have sworn she could see his grin from beyond the comm. It was an inside joke between them these days. During her filing a few months back, she discovered that there was no disciplinary reports regarding the Toiletnator and informed this to her Supreme Leader.
It was only after he personally took her to meet the Toiletnator face-to-face did she realize what a joke of a villain he was. Ergo, even giving him a place in the villain archives was a waste of paper.
Rachel was snapped out of her stupor by Chad's chuckle. "I'll leave that up to you then."
Despite the desk job consuming most of her time on-duty, she didn't mind working for Numbuh 274. He made sure she was given assignments she can finish on time that wouldn't slow her down and demanded that she spend off-duty time enjoying herself to ease the stress. He was a methodical, very compassionate leader.
It also seemed that his female fan-base grew astronomically as well. She was forced to endure thousands of love letters and gifts meant for him, to which she was told to burn in the Moonbase boiler room when it got too big, especially around Valentine's Day. He always caught her red-handed when she requested a day off on those kind of days.
Chad wasn't cruel to his admirers. In fact, these past few months he's been languishing in their love-struck praises, but even he had a limit. She remembered him pacing around his office debating whether he should set up a firm rule not to send Supreme Commanders any personal items during work hours.
Just as she finished filing Mr. Boss' rap sheet down in archives, she dispassionately found her desk overflowed with pink, white and red letters and gifts.
It wasn't Valentine's Day, but she knew they were for his celebration in achieving the decoration of Lifetime Achievement in the KND, one of the most notorious honors. No doubt his fans desired to let him know they were proud of him too.
She casually pushed all the flimsy items into a large bag set especially for these days and proceeded to haul that up with her to Chad's office.
Chad looked over his tall stacks of paperwork when she invited herself in, dragging the large bag behind her. He smiled apologetically. "Looks bigger than last time."
"Yes, well it's not everyday that someone receives a Lifetime Achievement award, sir." Rachel responded plainly. She fished out a random pink letter from the bag. They both stared at the sparkles disdainfully.
She cleared her throat, opening it. "Roses are red, violets are blue, puppies are adorable and so are you."
Rachel fished out another one. "'You are very, very---" She squinted at the letter. "Oh, a typo. ...handsome. I like you very much, I want to be your girlfriend. Okay so I.' Huh, that's an incomplete sentence..."
"Rachel, that's enough. I wanted to ask you something..."
She didn't relent, pulling out a white letter. "I watch you when your sleeping, I watch you when you ain't looking, I watch you when you eat. You don't notice me, but I notice you---"
Chad peered at her, frowning slightly at the words. "Okay, that's borderline creepy."
Rachel raised the letter down, no longer finishing it. He scratched his head at Rachel's strange antics.
"Are you seriously bitter over the letters?"
"I'm tired of having them fill up my desk every day," She clarified. "I will resort to reading every single sappy, grammatically incorrect and creepy love letters to you until I see a huge improvement in stopping it."
"I will work on it," His serious stare placated her. "I promise."
She nodded. "In that case, I will allow you to finish whatever you required of my presence."
Chad sat back in his seat, a smirk playing on his lips. "Sometimes I wonder whether I'm the Supreme Commander, or you are. You certainly have a knack for ordering me around." He raised his hand when she tried to respond. "I meant this in a good way. Ever think about succeeding me when I'm gone?"
Rachel blinked. Running the Kids Next Door one day? The thought never crossed her mind. She shook her head. "I haven't. I don't think I would be up to it, sir."
"Chad," He corrected. "We're officially off-duty, Rach."
She was usually sick of people shortening her name like that, but ever since Chad adopted that choice of informality, she couldn't dissuade him from doing so. Though, she made sure no one else could have the same leniency as he did.
"Very well..." She trailed off, refusing to say his first name. He huffed charmingly at her quick catch.
"One of these days, Rachel, I'll make you say my name!" Chad said. "You can't dodge it forever."
She shrugged, though the corners of her lips tugged up a bit. "Is that what you wanted to ask me about? A future promotion?"
It was his turn to shrug. "Half of it was. The other half was just a ploy for you to keep me company."
"I'm busy," She contested. "As your right-hand operative, I've got a lot of filing under your name. It is counterproductive for calling down someone who does half your work constantly for just mere trivial pursuits."
He frowned slightly, realizing that he's been checkmated...again. "You know, half of the girls on base would die to hear those words from me."
Her cheeks flared up slightly at those words. He grinned at her reaction. "You're incorrigible."
"And you're my best operative," He waved the insult away. "You always finish things on time for me. I say you spending time with awesome me is reward enough!"
"Ha, ha." She sarcastically muttered, though she conceded, sitting herself on the opposite chair across from him. His smile broadened.
"That's my girl."
What happened then, a thought for now.
"It's not fair!" One of the girls huffed.
"What's 'not fair'?" Rachel lazily asked, her focus completely on her computer.
A large haggle of girls crowded around Rachel's desk, each of them carrying handsome birthday presents.
The girl elaborated briskly. "It's our Supreme Commander's birthday and you won't let us visit him to wish him a happy birthday!"
"He's in an important meeting. Set your gifts over there or send it via hamster. He's not to be disturbed." Rachel answered and continued her typing, looking over decommissioned operative databases. It was the same drama as last year. They all want to see Chad and he barricades himself in his office, sending Rachel to her doom by trying to diffuse the situation. Even she couldn't fight against an army of vindictive girls.
"I think you're lying!" Another girl piped up. "You just want him to yourself!"
Rachel sighed heavily, stopping mid-type to glare at them.
"Now see here!" She snarled. "Why would I lie if it meant the whole lot of you would end up bothering me as I work? I'll gladly let you brats in if my orders didn't conflict, but it has, so you deal with it or I'll personally make sure you'll never get even have the chance to send one paperclip to him! Got it?!"
Their rumbling ceased and they stared at her in horror. It could not be helped. She was insanely busy and they were aggravating her time. Her operative files seemed to be tampered with as of late and she's trying to find the revision of the tamper. As she pursued this endeavor, a whole sea of girls flooded in, begging to be let in to give Chad birthday presents, hoping that he'll look at it and fall in love with them.
It was laughable.
Twenty minutes spent of forcing them out of her office and she was due to be off-duty in ten minutes. There was no way she will find the revision in time. She'll have to set it for another date.
She opened a drawer and sitting on top of a bunch of random knick-knacks lay a thin, square present with a simple wrapping. Rachel stared at it with indecision.
This was largely out of character for her. Giving presents certainly counted, but she couldn't help herself. Chad was a great friend to her and a compassionate senior operative. His friendship meant just as much to her as Fanny's or Patton's.
Of course, like all other operatives, birthdays aren't the best things to happen to them. It's a blatant reminder that they were one year closer to thirteen and she knew first-hand that Chad is a staunch grouch concerning his own birthday.
Steeling herself, she pulled the gift and inconspicuously juggled it beside the other presents that some of the girls left behind for her to deliver. It embarrassed her to no end. She felt like one of those love-struck girls...
The trek seemed long to her, but she was technically at the door in no time, opting to knock. The door buzzed and she was allowed entry.
The room seemed a bit darker than usual. Chad was meticulously at his desk, burying himself in paperwork.
"Yes, Numbuh 362?" He answered bitterly, not even looking up once. She lowered her head respectfully at the tone.
She set the presents on the side desk. "Gifts for your birthday." He stiffened at the sentence.
Chad finally looked up and set a chilling glare at the packages as if it were repulsive on their own. "Get rid of them."
"They just want to wish you a happy birthday," She reasoned, a little stung by his words. Of course, it's not like he knew she hid her own present for him in the pile. "It would be rude to destroy them."
"Seeing as they're my gifts, I can choose whatever I see fit with them," He answered darkly. "Burn them, trash them, give them away. I don't care. Just get rid of them, Numbuh 362."
"Do it yourself then, you ungrateful idiot!" She snapped, turning on her heel and stormed out, much to Chad's sheer shock.
She didn't realize that she fell asleep on her desk until she felt a gentle prodding on her shoulder. Groaning slightly, she raised her head up, a sheet of statistics sticking to her cheek.
"I'm sorry," Chad whispered quietly, brushing the paper off her face. "I didn't mean it. I didn't know."
He produced a square-like object in his other hand. Even in her groggy state, she recognized the item and minutely blushed.
"I wondered why you seemed sore today. Ten Minutes from Venus," He smiled encouragingly. "The latest album. I can't believe you remembered."
She stretched languidly. "You wouldn't shut up about it, from what I recall."
Chad straightened as she stretched and sat on the edge of her desk, gazing at the CD thoughtfully. "I get a lot of gifts---but they're not for me. Homemade chocolates, stuffed animals, knitted sweaters..."
"I can't knit to save my life," Rachel muttered dryly. "Else I would've knitted you a muzzle for your birthday..."
He laughed and she bristled nervously at the sound. It was warm and melodic and it always seemed to calm her down.
"I'm going to tell you something," Chad said slowly, which piqued Rachel's interest. "Something I've never told---well, to practically anyone."
"Is this your way of apologizing for being all Polly-Prissy Pants on me?" She inquired softly.
"In a way, yeah." She blinked as he turned to her, a little apprehensive at the closeness.
"You're the coolest girl I've ever known," He winked. "You put up with me like a champ. You put up with my fame honorably. You, Rachel McKenzie, are the epitome of coolness."
She blushed horribly, turning away quickly to hide this fact. "You---you should give me a promotion for all my efforts, then!"
He chuckled knowingly, tapping her helmet before retreating from the desk. "We'll see. But only if you've been good this year."
The secret is out.
"I have a query I must address, sir."
"Shoot, Numbuh 362. By all means."
She nervously flipped through her datapad, searching for her intended order. "Someone's been tampering with my operative files."
Chad did not move from his seat, instead eying her critically. "That's a serious accusation, Numbuh 362. Are you sure they've been tampered with?"
Rachel opened her mouth, then closed it, sighing. "It's been going on for months now, but there's too many files to leaf through to find the revision. I think someone's trying to change their ages so they won't become decommissioned."
There was a contemplative silence.
"Until you can prove there was tampering involved, I can't arrest anyone based on suspicion alone." Chad concluded, returning to his paperwork. "Is there anything else, Numbuh 362?"
She shook her head, slightly ashamed of bringing it up. "No. Nothing at all."
Rachel left the office, missing the calculating look Chad held at her back.
The secret is out.
To buy the truth,
She peered worriedly into her datapad as she shared lunch with Chad, a recurrent activity they had been doing ever since she started working for him. Rachel looked up when he stole a few sticks of fries from her plate.
"It's Chad, Rach."
She ignored him, placing the datapad on the table and pushing it toward him. Chad eyed it curiously.
"Not again, Rach. Are you absolutely positive that these files were tampered with again?"
Rachel sighed when he pushed the pad back to her. She looked at him in worry. "Your birth year seems to have changed."
Chad paused in his dining. Nodding slightly, he motioned to see her pad. She gave it to him.
There was a small silence between them amidst the usually noisy cafeteria as he looked through the file.
"There's no tamper," He finally said, giving it back to her. "The date is correct."
She shook her head in disbelief and stared at the revision. "I'm almost positive that your year is wrong, sir."
He smiled at her, quite the dazzling one that would have the usual girls swooning at their feet. Rachel was no usual girl, so she was only a quarter dazzled.
"I think I'd know what year I was born in, Rachel," Chad stated sweetly. "I think you're a bit overworked. I keep telling you to take those quarterly breaks, young lady!"
She looked to the side, confused. Maybe she was overworked. She finally nodded.
"You may be right, sir. I'm probably just overworked."
Satisfied, he proceeded to steal more of her fries.
And sell a lie.
It got worse.
Rachel returned to her desk one morning to find a black folder on it and her heart stopped. That only meant one thing. Someone was scheduled for immediate decommissioning.
Opening it, she was shocked to find Sector V's files in it as well as Sectors T and Q. It was virtually impossible for them to be turning thirteen all at the same time!
She quickly booted up her computer, quickly searching through their files. All of them state they have turned thirteen.
That was impossible. Numbuh 3 explicitly claimed that her birthday was in four months, three after Numbuh 2's. These dates have been cruelly tampered with!
Gathering her files, she ran as fast as she could to Chad's office. When Fanny had a job to do, she did it without question. Numbuh 274 would be the only person powerful enough to stop the order from being issued.
"Sir!" She intruded into his office without warning. Chad was busy putting on his gear. "We've got a problem!"
"The files have been tampered with." He stated in agreement, fastening his helmet on. "I know. This time it's too blatant to be ignored. You were right, Rach."
Rachel set the black folder on his desk and turned to him, worried. "Please tell me the order hasn't been acknowledged."
He looked away, buckling his weapon. "Afraid so. You know how punctual Numbuh 86 is when it comes to immediate decommissioning."
She grabbed his sleeve, desperate. "Sir, you've got to stop them! It's a huge mistake! I know for a fact that they're not thirteen yet!"
"I know, I know---I'll try."
"Don't try! You're the best operative there is! They're my friends, sir!"
"Okay, okay---" He grabbed a hold of her shoulders, calming her down. "I'm going after Sector V. That's where the Decommissioning Squad's heading first. They'll want to take out the big fish before the others. I'll take care of this. I swear."
She relaxed minutely and looked at him, torn. "You swear?"
He nodded. "I'd never betray you, Rachel."
The last mistake before you die.
So don't forget to breathe tonight.
She wanted to go after Numbuh 274---help him try to rectify this situation. But she could do nothing, remaining at her desk like a loyal pup.
Rachel never felt so compelled to scramble the fleet, inform them to stop the Decommissioning Squad from making a terrible mistake. She wanted the power to find whoever tampered with her files and personally stop him or her.
And yet, nothing. She can't do anything!
She slammed her fist on the table, causing some of the knickknacks to shake.
The comm beeped and she dutifully answered it.
"This is Numbuh 362."
Chad's commanding voice issued from the end, prompting her to attention. "Numbuh 362, I am requesting you for an immediate disembarkation to Earth."
This surprised her. "Why, sir?"
"I've found the culprit," He stated. "But I'm too busy going after 86. You'll have to do it for me."
His voice sounded strange, almost as if it was well-rehearsed. But if she had the chance to nab the traitor who messed with her operatives, she wasn't going to miss it!
"Affirmative, sir." She responded. "I'll set up immediately."
"Your shuttle leaves in ten minutes, Rachel. Don't let me down." He dropped the formalities as if her life depended on that ride.
She nodded, though it was useless. He couldn't see her through the comm at any rate. "I won't."
"And Rachel," The comm hissed a bit due to a change in frequency. "Whatever happens, I just want to say...thanks."
"For what, sir?"
"For being the best," He elaborated, his tone a bit whimsical. "And being the coolest girl I've ever met."
She smiled. "I will see you later, sir. Right after this whole situation is cleared up."
"Get a move on, now," Chad said confidently, as if her words rejuvenated him. "274. Over and out."
Just as she began to leave, she realized that she left the evidence in Chad's office. Doing a double-take, she proceeded to retrieve the documents.
Tonight's the last so say good-bye.
The secret is out.
Just as Rachel lifted the black folder, a small letter was pushed off the desk. She hurriedly picked it up and caught the words 'You are Invited!' before she set it down.
Curious, she opened the letter and read its contents, a curious expression on her face.
Her heart stopped in her chest.
The secret is out.
Chad Dickson's birthday party invite. His thirteenth one.
Dropping her bag of gear to the floor, she scrambled for the files laid haphazardly on his desk, uncaring of the invasion of privacy. She found a list of sent invites hidden underneath a stack of outgoing mail.
Invites were already sent to Nigel Uno and his operatives as well as Sectors T and Q---all of it clicking to the strange revision.
No, it was impossible. It couldn't be!
The secret is out.
She felt her heart drop down to her stomach and she felt sick. Chad could never do such a terrible cover-up! He couldn't!
But the evidence all pointed straight to him. The change of birth year, the strange revisions over the past few months...
Chad issued the order of decommissioning to those who would receive the invite, so he wouldn't be caught. He was a teen now.
She felt tears well up in her eyes. How could he lie to her like that?!
Everyone looked up to him---she looked up to him! He would never betray the KND like this! Deny the traditions so shamelessly!
Rachel gritted her teeth and let out a strangled sob. He lied to her---told her that the revisions were a mistake---lied about his age! And now, he was willing to sacrifice three innocent sectors just to cover himself!
Get a hold of yourself! You need to stop him!
Bracing herself, she took all the evidence she could and left the office. She wasn't going to take that shuttle down to Earth. There was no random operative to find. He just wanted her out of the way.
The secret is out.
She saw an unidentified space-craft flying in and knew it had to be Numbuh 1 going after his teammates who were shortly transported by Fanny. She informed space patrol to allow them entry.
The evidence clung like a vice in her arm, Rachel asked the computer to find Chad's whereabouts. He was near space dock.
Her comm rang. She knew it was Chad. She answered it mechanically. "This is Numbuh 362."
"Are you on the shuttle?" His voice rang with surprising clarity and with a hint of nervousness.
"Affirmative, sir," She lied flawlessly. "Is there a problem?"
"No," His voice sounded relieved which confused her to no end. "I knew I can count on you."
Her heart reached out to him, demanding answers, an explanation that could clear this huge conspiracy up.
She ended the comm prematurely and felt unshed tears slowly build up.
The ground beneath her seemed to be forced off its hinges and gravity from such a shake forced her to the floor.
She slowly crawled towards a computer panel, gravity forcing her back down until the opposite happened, forcing her off her feet as gravity was disengaged. She proceeded to swim towards it instead.
Reaching the screen, she quickly splayed her fingers over the keyboard, searching for the culprit of the anomaly.
Moonbase was uprooted---on a crash course to the sun!
The base rattled and the emergency gravity panel activated, causing her to fall down ungracefully on her belly. She grunted as she dodged every bit of debris that fell along with her---everything that wasn't nailed to the floor. She shielded her face and head from ricocheted shrapnel.
She can hear screaming and crying from all sorts of places. The others must know of the incoming course towards the sun as well.
Forcing herself up, she scrambled for an override panel beneath the computer, hoping to get the maneuver thrusters online to change the course.
She screamed in frustration. The thrusters were jammed.
This wasn't a coincidence. There's only one person who's allowed access to the Moonbase Uprooting password access. The Supreme Commander.
He was willing to kill them all to hide his secret.
Defeated, she rested her back against the wall, fishing for her comm.
"Numbuh 274 here," A rather breathless Chad answered. "Something wrong?"
"You lied to me," She whispered darkly into the comm. "You lied to us all."
There was an uncomfortable silence.
"Rachel," He stated slowly, regret laced in that name alone. "You don't understand. I had to do it---you all still need me!"
She would not have any of it. "You changed the files for months, set up those who received your thirteenth birthday invite for immediate decommissioning to cover your tracks. How could you?"
"I will explain everything when I return to Earth," He begged. "Okay? Just give me time to explain."
"You lied to me," She echoed again. "And I had to return the favor."
Her breath hitched in her throat and tears finally fell down her cheeks. "I'm not on Earth. I never got on that shuttle."
Chad's voice grew, immediately alarmed. "You idiot! Do you know what you just did?"
"You coordinated Moonbase's destruction," She responded back. "I know that. I'm staying behind. Dying with those who still remain loyal to the KND."
"I'm coming back for you." He snarled out of the comm. "Stay where you are!"
She hiccuped, a sad smile on her face. "Don't bother. I can't---I don't even want to look at you right now, sir!"
"That was not a request, Rachel! It's an order!"
She shook her head. "I trusted you, sir. I looked up to you---I wanted to aspire to be like you! You were my hero! And the 274 I knew would've died with his friends if faced with the same situation. So that is what I'll do."
"Rachel!" He yelled out from the comm. "It's not---!"
She rested the the comm on the cold metal floor. "Good-bye, Chad."
And promptly smashed it with her shoe.
Rachel stood at attention alongside the newly reinstated Sector V. They were to be awarded medals of valor for saving Moonbase.
For her? She was told that she was to be promoted.
Patton raised his arm to salute. "Numbuh 362, you are on high recommendation for the title of Supreme Leader of Global Command of the Kids Next Door. Do you accept the position?"
She saluted. "Yes."
Nigel and the others watched proudly as she was granted access to the podium, where every kid operative in the world watched her.
It still hurt. Chad's defection from the Kids Next Door. He had left with the Teen Ninjas and had now become their enemy. He was her mentor, friend and companion. He laughed with her, argued with her, talked to her.
He was loved by all, including her.
She vowed not to make the same mistake. They were all hurting---they couldn't stand another betrayal from another well respected operative.
She would not let them down.
Raising her fists up, she yelled to the crowd at the top of her lungs.
"Kids Next Door RULE!"
Loud cheers and an eruption of applause echoed the stadium, but it did not reach her ears. She could only hear a smug chuckle and words that would echo in her head until the day of her eventual decommissioning.
"That's my girl."