"The Birds and the Jet Packs"
"I'm okay, right?"
Rex's question was sincere. Incredibly. Really. But still Holiday had to bite her lip to stop a smile from creeping up. It wasn't funny. Rex may have been thirteen, and mentally was actually just a bit ahead of development according to her records, but she had to remember how little he actually knew. Most of his education came from Agent Six and underpaid assistants, and she doubted it had even occurred to either to cover material like this.
"You're just fine," she answered. "But where's Six? I've got to talk to him about a few things."
"But not about me, right?"
"Way more important things." The sort of things Rex needed to hear from someone very, very not female.
That was apparently enough for Rex. "He's waiting out in the hall." A sly grin she hadn't seen before came out as he continued, "I think he's afraid of you."
"Well, let's hope not." For both our sakes. "I'll just be a second."
Rex nodded, and with another smile she stepped out, shutting the door behind her.
Holiday jumped, but her brain quickly caught up: Six's voice. Because Six was in the hall. Like he was supposed to be.
She just hadn't expected him to be directly behind her.
Sure enough, she turned and he stood parallel to the wall, so stiff and upright he might as well have been a Six cut-out. Not that there'd probably be that much of a difference. Sometimes working with Six was like working with a rule book.
A very tall, very aesthetically pleasing rulebook.
Not the time! She shot the thought down quickly. Considering the topic, that was the last thing she needed.
"Rex is fine," she said, trying to look as professional as possible (every little bit helped). "Did he . . . well, did he actually say at all why he wanted to see me?"
"Not even a hint? Maybe?"
She sighed. Did she really have to say it then? This whole situation's like walking in on your little brother masturbating . . .
She shook the horrifying thought off. Right. Moment of truth. "Rex is . . . well, he's . . ."
Take it home, Holiday.
"He's going through puberty," she said, all in one go.
Too bad Six only stared at her as if she had only said that the sky was blue. This is going to take longer than I hoped.
"He's just trying to get out of training," he said, and it was only by fortune of her being closer to the door that she managed to stop him from going into the room. Slowly, she broke it down:
"He's thirteen. He doesn't know anyone over the age of twenty five—"
"—in chimp years. Because he's a chimpanzee. That's my whole point! Put a teenager in that sort of isolated environment and how is he supposed to figure out that sort of thing on his own?"
He reached for the door handle and without thinking she swatted his hand away. "You're his handler, Agent Six. I'm not going to tell you how to do your job. If you want to walk in there and ignore the issue, that's your prerogative. But I'm not going to do your job for you."
"You're the doctor. Not my job."
"And you're the one he listens to. The one he knows. Do you really think he's going to want to hear something like this from me?"
"He likes you."
"He—" Six stopped, seemingly thinking it over. "Oh."
Finally. "He needs the whole talk."
"The whole talk?"
"Flying animals and all."
Six grimaced—not that different from his usual expression, but she'd take it.
"So," she asked, "are you going to do it?"
Six nodded, and she smiled. "Good. You can use my office—"
"—You're not going anywhere."
. . . That was not what she was hoping to hear. "I thought you just said—"
"He's going to have to learn deal with not having a hormonal off-switch around you somehow."
Six raised a significant eyebrow from behind his shades, and Holiday felt herself blush.
. . . Fine. "He's not just a machine, you know. He's a teenager too."
"Not in the right proportions."
With that Six opened the door, Holiday just barely forcing back the laugh in time.
"You're going to grow hair."
Rex's face looked equally horrified but Six went right on with it:
"It's not a problem. Just deal with it. You're also going to smell. There's deodorant. Use it—I'm the one who has to train with you."
Has he never had this talk? Ever?
"You're going to want girls. Don't."
Okay, that's it. "He doesn't mean that," she said, shooting Six a glare.
"Yes, I do."
"It's totally normal—"
"Especially at this age, it can be hard to control your impulses—"
"—But he's going to."
"And while I know there aren't any girls on base—"
"—But you're not going off-base—"
"—You still have to know the procedure."
Six turned his sunglasses-shielded glare towards her but she ignored it. She might have given him a leg-up but she was determined that he was going to do the rest of the job himself. This was a conversation for a father and son to have.
Not that Rex was helping either, when he finally regained the ability to speak.
"I don't really think I want to, thanks," he said, already hopping off the observation table.
That was all Six needed. "Good. We're done here."
"Thanks for the help, Doctor Holiday!"
. . . I swear, it's like they're conspiring against me. But they weren't getting out of this that easily.
"We are not done! Rex," she said, stepping in front of him and gently pushing him back onto the table, "you came here because you were curious. Agent Six—" she turned back, forcing him to meet her eyes—"if you don't do this now, you're just going to have to do it later!"
"Or not at all. That'd be totally okay too." Rex. Of course.
Holiday sighed. If it had to be her, then so be it. She didn't want to get too into the scientific details though; that'd probably only scare him off. She decided to go with the classic:
"Rex, have you ever heard of the birds and bees?"
"Why are we talking about birds and bees?"
Wrong choice. "It's an expression."
". . . And how? Exactly?"
"It's not a very good one," Six agreed.
Too bad you've lost your say, she thought. "It works fine."
"If it doesn't work anyway, could it be something else? Like birds and jet packs. They at least share the same airspace, you know?"
"It's more like puzzle pieces."
Oh, God, because that isn't suggestive at all.
"Wait, you mean—"
"Okay, now we're done," Holiday, said, reaching over to the intercom. When all else failed, you went to the experts. "Miss Cherry? Could you get me something? As soon as possible?"
It was the first thing Six said to her, as they stood outside the door, and Holiday startled. She'd been trying to hear the drone of the sex education video from inside the room, hoping to make out Rex's reactions. Now she did it just to avoid the stare she could practically feel blazing at her.
Why does he have to always be so intense? It'd be a lot easier if he wasn't intense. With a sigh, she said, "It's okay."
He only kept on staring, so she amended. "Okay, not really. I didn't want it to be like this. It's so . . . impersonal. And some of those videos can do more damage than good."
"Seems easier to me."
Only because you made it hard. But whatever—the issue was done with now. Or, about to be done with.
"Guys?" Rex yelled, the sound muffled but audible enough. "How exactly do the nanites fit into this?"
Or maybe not.
Generator Rex does not, and will never, belong to me. This fic is written for pleasure, not profit, with full respect to the correct copyright holders.
Many thanks to Audley, for being the bestest friend ever and saving me from my inability to time comedically.