Time: 9:17PM

Howdy all! I keep getting messaged about how I should update this. And now fanfiction is saying that my password isn't the correct one! Augh! I'm fighting the system. But anyways, here's an early Christmas present from your's truly. ;) My pardons if it doesn't make any sense. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Don't own Jimmy Neutron.

Gently blowing on the warm surface of my tea, I brought it to my lips and tested the temperature out. Burning my tongue immediately, I pulled away in disgust, and wrapped my hands around it even more, letting the warmth seep into my hands instead of my mouth. From my perch up on the railing edge, I leaned back against the wall and looked over the distance of the outskirts of Retroville. It was Christmas time, and the entire gang had gotten back together for the after high school years to celebrate. It seemed like everyone from our graduating class two years ago was here.

Dubstep Christmas music was blasting out the tall condensation-covered windows, keeping the warm pulsating bodies in and my cold, slightly-shivering sweater-bundled self out in the snow. I could have joined them whenever…but what was the use? I didn't feel like partying tonight, even though it was literally the merriest time of the year. Instead, I was hiding out here on the balcony, sipping tea. Very un-Cindy-like indeed.

I watched the snow fall quietly down on Retroville. The hidden thoughts of what was I doing with my life sprang forwards again. My mother had kicked me out of the house as soon as she heard that I wasn't pursuing college, and instead "working with Neutron on nonsense that would never help my future." Closing my eyes tight, I tried to push my mother back to the corners of my mind.

I heard the glass door sliding behind me and glanced ever so slightly out of the corner of my mind to find someone joining me on the balcony. His short hair was slick with perspiration and he was fanning himself and tugging off his ugly sweater-vest. He was grinning from ear to ear, seemingly worn out from dancing. Sheen only seemed to get more in love with life every time I saw him. My heart tugged slightly for the happiness he and Libby had, and jealousy was nibbling at the edges of my mind.

"Figures I would find you out here Cindy," he said happily.

Grumpiness started to trickle into my voice as I said, "Oh, and why is that?" I brought my tea back up to my lips, finding it luke-warm now and kicking myself for getting lost in thoughts for so long. Tea was supposed to be drunken warm, not cold.

He brushed some snow from the railing and leaned his elbows against it, looking off into the distance as well. He was silent for so long, I decided he was ignoring me and my mind racked for some stupid comeback, but nothing came to mind. Sighing sadly, I took another sip of tea.

He looked at me. "See," he said softly, "That right there. You're different." He looked back out over Retroville, reaching his hand out and trying to catch some snowflakes. "Ever since you and Jimmy started your secret experiments, your personality seems different. It's almost as if…" he paused, "You're unsettled."

I looked up at him cautiously.

Unsettled. That word described what I felt perfectly.

His eyes met mine, and he smiled sadly. "You sure the experiments aren't messing with your brain?" I narrowed my eyes at him. "Seriously Sheen? That's all you got? I thought you'd grown smarter in the last few years. Guess I was disappointed."

He shrugged and smiled another sad smile, looking back out in the distance. "You're strong Cindy. But…I can't help but feel that things might be getting difficult for us…very fast." He had a starry look in his eyes, something that reminded me of his Ultra-Lord phase oh-so-long ago.

Now it was my turn to grin. Holding the cup to my lips I teased him. "You're just saying that because you are trying to find the right time to propose to Libby."

He looked back at me, his eyes wide and child-like. "H-How do you know about that?"

I laughed haughtily, leaning my head back. "Seriously Sheen? You think you're the only one that notices differences in people? I've been seeing changes in you too." I tilted my head slightly, "You've become more nervous around us all lately, and you're more silent, which is very unusual."

He ran his hand through his hair, now stiff from freezing in the cold. He shook his head. "I'm just so nervous Cindy. I know she'll say yes…but….I want it to be perfect for her. I will only do this once in my life…and she deserves the best." He breathed out a heavy breath. I stayed silent. And then in a voice so quiet, I had to strain to hear him, he said breathed, "I just don't know if I'm the best for her."

I shook my head. "Unbelievable."

He looked at me carefully.

"Stop. Just stop." I said grumpily, putting my legs down off the railing. I glared at him. "Sheen. She loves you. Believe me. I've known her longer than you have, and even though I have to hand her off to someone someday who will be her new best friend, I…" I paused, trying to find the words. "She's happy when she's around you. For whatever reason." I rolled my eyes. "But when she talks about you…her eyes glow. She can't stop smiling. She loses her breath from talking about you so much. So much that it makes me jealous at how she gets a happily ever after, and I don't." I scrunched up my face, beating myself up mentally for letting that slip. I took a step closer and poked him in the chest.

"Trust me. You're the best for her."

A boyish grin crossed his face and he looked out at the snow again, and then far down the twelve stories high that we were. I grumpily look back through the windows at the disco colors bouncing off the foggy glass.

Sheen was leaning over the railing now. "How were you sitting on this without falling off?" He asked in awe.

I finished my cold tea and set it down on the ground near the door. "I don't know. I just did."

"But it's so far up. Weren't you afraid of falling."

I leaned over as well. The height was impressive. "I suppose." I mumbled, "But that fear isn't the greatest I have." I guess in the back of my mind, I knew that if I slipped, I would be able to teleport back up here or to safer ground.

I felt his eyes on me for a few minutes. He was challenging me to look at him. Finally I turned to him. "What?" I asked defensively.

He brushed some snow off the railing. "You don't need to be jealous Cindy."

My stomach burbled. Great, what had I gotten myself into? Another Oh-Cindy, you'll one day find true love. Just keep looking. You're still young. Blah-blah-blah.

I held up a hand. "Sheen." I said sternly. "Don't."

"No," he said sternly, so sternly in fact that I was momentarily confused and taken back by his attitude. "Cindy, Libby is worried that you are stretching yourself too thin."

I opened my mouth to say something sarcastic back, when I heard a low humming sound.

Sheen obviously heard it too, as I followed his eyes out to the black darkness of night.

My breath caught in my throat as I saw the largest metal contraptions I've ever seen floating out of the snow-filled clouds and descend upon Retroville. The humming became a high pitched squeal and my eyes instinctively closed as a bright white light filled up the sky. I heard Sheen howl from the pain and throw his hands over his face.

Wind was whipping my hair around me like a shield and chunks of debris were hitting my face. I wanted to cover my face as well, but pushed myself to open my eyes and shade them enough to look up at the floating object. It seemed as if the bottom of the ship was….opening! And there were creatures coming out of it!

Grabbing Sheen's arm, I tried to pull him back into the hotel room, but he was wobbly. "Sheen!" I yelled over the wind and humming, "Sheen you have to get back inside and get everyone out of here!" I tossed my head back over my shoulder and looked at the creatures again. I let go of Sheen as he got on his feet and crept closer to the railing, trying to get a better look.

My heart stopped. They were here. I knew they would come sooner or later…but I thought their planet was eons out. I didn't think they'd get here this soon. Neither had Neutron.

Sheen coughed from behind me, still covering his eyes. He had the door open now, and people were starting to congregate near the glass, pointing and shouting and chattering among themselves like a bunch of loose gibbons. Gritting my teeth I looked back at the creatures. They were looking around, hovering in the air, like it was the most natural thing in the world. They looked strong, and yet peaceful at the same time. Dammit all.

"Sheen!" I screamed this time, "Get everyone out!"

He was pushing people back into the room who were trying to get out on the balcony with their phones to take video. He turned to me in the chaos, and yelled over the humming. "Come on Cindy, we need to get out of here!"

I waved him off. "I'll be right behind you. Just get everyone else out of here!"

People were screaming now, and I could hear people from the hotel leaving and running into the streets below. I turned back to Sheen. He was just standing there, a sad look on his face, standing tall despite debris hitting his face and chest.

"Don't be a hero Cindy." He yelled over the wind.

I put a hand on the railing, and steadied myself.

I had to get up there. I was the only one made to do this. I needed to do this.

"Sheen, trust me! I'll be right behind you! Now GO!"

I didn't stay around long enough for him to latch on to me and drag me away. That wouldn't have done much anyways. I could flip him flat on his back before he would even know what had happened. But before he could even think about grabbing me, I already had a picture of where I needed to be in my mind, and I felt the familiar tug of molecules coming apart and meshing together again as I landed on a metal ramp of the ship above me.

The creatures, their elegant green glow radiating off their skin, turned their attention to me from their floating spaces a hundred yards away. Their large white iridescent eyes studied me curiously.

Swallowing the lump in my throat, I raised my voice to yell at them, but realized there was absolutely no sound up here. The hum of the ship was gone, the wind was gone. All that belonged was silence.

I stood up, gripping a pole to my right. "Who are you?" I said, my voice strengthening as I studied them more, sounding confident, trying not to give my identity away. They floated on over to me and the female (I was guessing she was female by her softer features) opened her mouth. A series of complicated words few at me, and got jumbled in my brain waves. It tinkled like bells and bounced around inside of my ear canal.

I shook my head. "I don't understand you," I lied.

She spoke again, frustration covering her face. She came towards me, her voice getting louder and her green glow shimmering faster and brighter. It was as if she was bending light, and I was having a hard time focusing on her form. My eyes ached to close and stop the swirling headache I was starting to feel.

Anger bubbled through me. "Stop!" I yelled, putting my hands up in front of me. My palms were itching, and I wasn't sure whether or not I should summon my power. My inner fire.

The male creature sped up to where we were and floated in between the female and I. His low voice shook over the distance as he seemed to chastise the female. Her eyes grew bright with white light and she glowed brighter, her hand gesturing towards me, yelling at the male.

I wiped my hands on my palms and tried to quiet the urge to set something on fire, or even get away from here.

The male stopped talking, and looked at me over his shoulder. My breath caught as he lowered himself to the ramp and watched in confusion as his features twisted and fell in on themselves. No longer was there a beautiful, smooth face of peace, but now it was replaced by a face of pale skin, bushy eyebrows and a brown trimmed beard. His long, green, muscular legs morphed into jeaned, human, short legs. He looked down at me with curious brown eyes.

"Now can you understand me?" He asked in his low baritone voice.

I nodded, taking a step back and trying to take it all in. I'd seen plenty of strange things in my life. Why should this one bother me?

He glanced back over his shoulder to the female. "Don't be bothered by her. She's just grumpy because we had to fly all the way out here. She was meant to be bound to her beloved soon, but had to put it on hold when she got this mission. So, if you please, let's just get this over with and we will be on our merry way." His eyes, the human eyes pleaded with me thoughtfully.

I shook my head, raised my chin and took a step towards him, feeling more confident now. "With all due respect sir, I honestly don't know what is going on here."

The man's eyes narrowed, almost sparking, but he controlled himself. "We are with the Intelligence System. And we've come to collect payment."

It was as if a film fell off my eyes. "Wait? What? Intelligence System?" I shook my head, as if trying to shake loose my thoughts. "Sorry fellas, but nobody here has ever head of the Intelligence System. I think you might have the wrong country. Or planet for that matter." I smirked. "I could help you if you're lost."

The man frowned at me, obviously understanding my reluctance. "Sorry, but this is the right planet, and the right city. We came to collect James Neutron and take him back to headquarters. His payment is long overdue."

James Neutron.

My heart skipped slightly, and I felt my palms itch more angrily than ever. I was going into possessive mode now. I tried to keep my face calm. "Sorry, but I don't know any James Neutron."

The female behind him chittered loudly, her bright white eyes flashing at me.

"I know she's lying," the man yelled back at her, "Just let me handle it."

Facing me, he stared down at me. I felt my fingertips grow red hot and I glanced down to see them already on fire. Crap. I looked back up. The man was staring at my hands, his eyebrows in an angry shape. He looked back up at me now. "But now I know who you are."

He morphed back into his green, flawless skin, long slenderarms and legs, and bright eyes. In his own language he raised his voice, "I do not like being lied to Cindy Vortex. You and your counterpart have already caused enough trouble, and now you must pay for it one way or another."

Something changed in his eyes for a moment as he looked at me. "But you would be payment as well. After all, you are what he has been using our knowledge for anyways. It seems as if you could be just the thing we would need to reel him in. Yes, you would be the perfect bait. His little experiment." His form seemed to grow, as he stood over me. He reached to grab for me, and I jumped away quickly, thankful that I had kept up with my training over Christmas break.

"Elder!" The woman barked from behind. Oh how annoying her whiny voice was. Why wouldn't she just shut up already? "Elder I spy James Neutron below on that balcony."

My head whipped up. No. I pushed past the Elder and looked. Sure enough, there was Neutron, leaning over the balcony, yelling at us, even though we couldn't hear him. I saw the Elder's eyes flash. "Finally," he grumbled.

I pulled at the energy in my core and transported to the balcony, where Neutron was all but jumping off the railing. "-tex! Get back here!"

"I'm right here," I said loudly, anger peaking my very essence. It was getting difficult to hold all my fire inside my palms. I would have to let it go sooner or later. Hopefully sooner.

He turned, his eyes wide with satisfaction. "You're okay," he breathed.

There was an explosion to our right as half the balcony crumbled. I threw a glance at the creatures in the air, and saw the woman glowing brighter than ever and a sleek chrome weapon wielded in her hand. Where had she gotten that?! I grabbed his arm roughly and drug him through the door. "Yeah, but you're not going to be if we don't get out of here soon! What are they doing here anyways? I thought you said it would take years for them to get here!"

He ran his hand through his hair and shook off my hand, keeping up with my pace. "I guess I miscalculated their technology innovation."

I looked at him incredulously. "You miscalculated?!" I thought of a few colorful things to spout out at that moment. "They are here for your blood now! I've got to get you out of here and clean up your mess now!"

He shoved me against the hallway of the hotel. "You will do no such thing Vortex! You hear me? I can't let you go out there and get yourself killed."

Shaking my hair at him and out of my face, I shoved him off. No matter what, I was still stronger than him. I would always be stronger than him. "Get off! And don't worry about it. I can do this. This is what we've been experimenting for right?" I cast a glance at him out of the corner of my eye. He opened his mouth to say something, when another blast hit the wall next to me and sent us flying.

The woman looked Amazonian now as she crashed through the wall, her eyes aglow and teeth bared. I didn't even have to think, I just let my anger control my hand as I raised it and fired off a rope of fire, that looked suspiciously like lightning(in fire form of course). It wrapped around her throat, and she screeched, her hands dropping the weapon and hands going for her entrapment.

Without thinking, I grabbed Neutron and said harshly, "Hang on."

His eyes got wide. "What're you-?"

I concentrated on his lab and held on tight.

We crashed on the concrete floor of his lab, and I shakily crawled to my knees and doubled over breathing hard. I'd never teleported with anyone before. But now I had.

And I didn't like it. It felt unnatural.

Neutron lay on the floor, his eyes wide with horror, sweat covering his face. He tried to push himself up on his hands, but collapsed again and tried to catch his breath. "What….what just happened?"

I pulled myself to my feet and tripped over something on the floor and caught myself, and trudged to the weapon room.

He tried to get up again, and still failed. "Did you just teleport me?" He asked heavily. I strapped a weapon belt on over my sweater and skinny jeans. It wasn't the best fighting attire, but it would have to do. "Shut up Neutron. I just need you to stay put, and hide. They are after you, and we can't let them get ahold of you or your brain." I grimaced to myself. "I'll take them all down."

I heard a noise and turned around to find him struggling to prop himself up on a lab bench. "You can't go out." He wheezed, "I'll lose you."

Something fluttered in the pit of my stomach, and it made me want to throw up.

I put on a helmet and strapped myself in. I looked at him, his eyes boring into mine. They mesmerized me. They tortured me.

"Bye Neutron," I said, trying to smile, "I'll be right back. Don't worry."