by lightning bird
A/N This was written in response to a writing exercise proposed over on the Fusion Fallers forum by myself, Jet Knight 00 and KatieKatAttack. The prompt was to look at the way Number Three and Number Four would each prepare for a mission. My thanks to deserthaze for her priceless input and feedback. Enjoy!
"You're not serious, mate."
Kids Next Door Sector V operative Number Four (otherwise known as Wallabee Beetles) stared at the clipboard being displayed by Eddy and the manifest it held. His eyes, barely visible behind the shelf of thick blond bangs, were filled with equal parts disbelief and horror.
"This is what was ordered," Eddy glibly replied, unaffected by the KND's ire. As the army's chief quartermaster (a title he embraced wholeheartedly once Double D had pointed out the irony of it), he was used to dealing with irate customers and smoothing ruffled feathers, though usually they were upset about the things he couldn't get, not the things he could.
"I did not order – what's this? Sparkly stickers? Or this . . . smelly spray stuff!"
"It's called perfume, genius. You should give it a whiff. You can thank Double D for that. He went to four stores to find the right kind and he got it on sale."
Wally dug further through the box at his feet, shaking his head as he compared the garish contents with the packing slip. "No, thank you! And what's with these hair bands?"
"Pink hair bands," corrected Eddy with obvious pride. "Another requisitioning score brought to you by Eddward."
"What – what the . . . ?" Standing up straight, he stared in horror at the fuzzy, white unicorn plushie in his hand. He held it out, waving it under Eddy's nose. "What is this?"
"Limited edition Pony Puff Princess Fantasy Friends series plushie toy and don't mess up the tags or the collectable value will drop."
Tags or no tags, Number Four opened his hand and let the unicorn plummet back into the box. Through gritted teeth he said, "We are going on a mission to Nowhere. We need packs. We need rations. We need all-weather gear. We need boxing gloves! We don't need sparkles or frills or smelly stuff or all this – this gross girly stuff! This is not what I ordered!"
"I should hope not, Dumbozo. Pink's not your color. I never said you ordered it," the quartermaster replied. "I said it was ordered for pickup before this mission. And why the heck do you need boxing gloves?"
For a moment Wally sputtered, hardly able to believe another boy wouldn't see the very obvious need for boxing gloves. "Reasons!" he barked crossly.
"Reasons," echoed Eddy, folding his arms in disbelief. "Riiight."
"Who ordered this?" Number Four all but yelled, pointing at the offending box, but he was drowned out by an ecstatic, gushing exclamation as the doors burst open and Number Three came bounding in.
"Weeee!" She hugged herself tightly, the overlong sleeves on her green sweatshirt giving the impression that she was in a straight jacket. "We're going on a mission! We're going on a mission!"
Before Wally could respond, she spotted the box at his feet and the tail end of the unicorn sticking into the air. She gasped in awe, drawing close to gape down at the rounded rump. Her dark, almond eyes were as large as plates and Number Four swore if she started bawling, he was leaving.
"Eddy," she breathed. "You found a limited edition Pony Puff Princess Fantasy Friends Cornelius Unicorn plushie! And the tags are still on it!"
"Hey, I owed you one for getting that Rainbow Monkeys CD set for Ed to give to Sarah," he replied, ignoring Number Four and the fact that his fury was reaching volcanic proportions.
"Oh, I'm just glad she liked it! It looks like everything is here. And – ooooh!" She dug in the box, pulling out the perfume. "Jungle Love II! Don't you just love this stuff, Wally?"
Eddy smiled smugly as the Australian boy made a sound of disgust as he waved his arms and tried to escape the cloud of perfume sprayed his way. He held out a pen to Wally to sign for the box since Kuki was too absorbed in talking to Cornelius to be of any use. "Care to do the honors, Numero Four?"
He snatched the pen away, growling, "Where's my stuff?" He scratched and scrawled across the slip, keeping one eye on the army's quartermaster all the while.
"Don't get your panties in a twist. Ed's bringing it now. This was a special order." His smile grew wider as he took back the clipboard and detached a copy of the packing slip for Wally. "You make it way too easy, Beetles. Now everyone will think you order perfume and ponies." Unable to keep from bragging, he displayed his evidence.
Wally grabbed his copy and glared from behind his mane of hair. "That's what you think . . . Skipper."
"I – what?" Eddy smirk turned to a panicked look as saw his own name forged across the bottom of the form with his middle name spelled out loud and clear. This development completely turned the table on this prank. Growing pale, he tried his best to play it cool with indifferent success. "Touché, Number Four."
"Nice try." Wally's stern look never wavered, though he clutched the paper tightly. "I'm willing to forget this if you are."
Eddy knew a bargain when he was offered one. "Deal," he quickly agreed, then hesitated. "Uh . . ."
"What?" demanded Number Four, his fists clenching.
"You mean that?" he confirmed, talking fast. "This is forgotten? Never to be mentioned again?"
Teeth clenched, the quartermaster did his best to grovel without seeming to. He edged toward the door, giving the KND his best endearing, smarmy smile as he inched away. "Well, I . . . put together a little insurance in case you didn't sign. I . . . I'll go replace all those boxer shorts with boxing gloves right now!"
He yelled the words over his shoulder as he dashed out the door in a swirl of dust, moving so fast that Number Four didn't stand a chance of catching him. Number Three looked up from her stickers as the doors banged shut.
"Where's Eddy going?" she wondered.
"To save his hide," muttered Wally, wondering why it felt as if he'd lost this round when he'd really won. He plunked down beside Kuki, taking comfort in her oblivious enthusiasm.
"Oh. Okay." She smiled happily at him. "Well, I'm all set. I've got some perfume and new hair bands and my very own Pony Puff Princess Fantasy Friends unicorn! Where are we going?"
Wallabee Beetles sighed. "Nowhere fast."