Hello everybody! Long time no write, you say? Actually, I've been busy on the Mayhem Boards and this little ditty is a result. Yes, my series continues. I've been toying with the board members on story number eight, while trying to get some ideas on the rest of story seven, Life Spans. Anyway, hope you all enjoy this little romance comedy about getting what you want and finding out what's really important.

Trading Spaces

It had been almost a minute since the evil virus Megabyte had been defeated. It had also been that long since he had returned, in the guise of Guardian Bob, and had since ruined the lives of the sprites who lived there. They had tried to move on, look at the incident as another fight for the free Net, but it just wasn't true. This wasn't Megabyte trying to take over the system nor was it him trying to access the Super Computer.

This was much closer to home. Way deeper than anything that had ever happened.

This second seemed like all the others in that minute. Everyone went around as though they had gotten over it, acted like nothing was wrong, while deeply hiding their pain and hurt from the outsiders. It was this second Enzo Matrix had had enough. He just couldn't take it anymore. He was tired of watching his sister mope around in their apartment and then be Dot Matrx, Command.Com and Dot Matrix, businesswoman, putting any kind of feelings in the back of her processor.

And he wasn't the only one.

It was as plain as Frisket was red and yellow for everyone to see. Both she and the sprite she loved, were completely miserable. The only good that had come from the whole mess was the fact that Enzo got an older brother out of it. Putting their differences aside, Enzo and his older version Matrix had joined forces to get Bob and Dot back together.

They just didn't know how to do that.

The young sprite sat in a booth, watching the vidwindows that covered his sister in the booth across from him. He stared as though he could burn a hole through those basic windows she always looked at. He absentmindedly began tapping his fingers, concentrating on burning that hole through those basic windows.

Dot Matrix heard the drumming on the table, knowing it could only be one person. At any other time, it would annoy her and disrupt her work, but seeing as she was just staring blankly at several screens just seemed to get her even more depressed than she already was. She let out a sigh, trying to stop the constant thoughts she couldn't get rid of.

How could you do that to him? she asked herself. He loved you more than anything in this Net and you go and break his heart like that. Dot vividly remembered those moments of heartache, as she turned down Bob, the REAL Bob in order to marry his replacement, the very virus himself, Megabyte. The look in his eyes as she chose the other Bob over him could've deleted her then, but she thought she was making the right choice, the right decision.

The very moment she had watched her wedding go up in smoke. From that moment on, she second guessed herself, wasn't sure if what she said was really how she felt or...whatever. She just new she had ruined things.

And then, on top of that, Megabyte gets her again, trapping her and everyone she cared about in the Principal Office. But it wasn't that, it wasn't just that. It was how he had changed them, tried to turn them against each other...

Mouse grabbed Bob, while AndrAIa got Matrix. "Calm down!" Mouse exclaimed, trying to keep the guardian away from the renegade.

"How dare you even think I could be Megabyte." Bob growled.

"Hey," Matrix defended. "It happened before."

"Yeah." Bob muttered, sarcastically. "There seemed to be a wedding going on while I was DYING! How COULD I forgot that!"

"If you had told Dot how you felt..."

"Me? What your sister can do it herself?"

"She asked you to marry her!" Matrix shouted. "You should've done it then!"

"Well, at least I didn't nearly marry a virus!" Bob shouted.

And then everything stopped, as three sprites turned to the side.

No matter how hard she tried, Dot could never get that scene from her head. As much as Bob said he loved her and didn't mean it, it would always come back to haunt her. Her complete and utter stupidity had lead to the system nearly being taken over again. All because of her.

Sure, they had defeated Megabyte, or rather she had, but still. The guilt just wouldn't leave her psyche. She had put everyone at risk and when she couldn't take it anymore, she had lost her cool and explode, nearly deleting herself in the process. Yes, Megabyte was gone, but things would and could never be the same.



Bob lay wide awake in bed, eyes drained of the normal sparkle. Outside, the waning sounds of construction was soon fading into the distance. The guardian turned to see his clock and realized he had been up all night.

Sitting up like a zombie, he sat in bed for a bit, his eyes slowly closing. This was the third night he had gone sleepless. Well, in the last minute, there were tons of sleepless nights, but these three were all related to the construction outside his apartment. He had to admit, the construction crew were dilligent, working through the second and far, far into the morning.

They were on orders from the Command.Com to continue building throughout, in order to get the sector back in shape after the battle they had gone through with the ABCs. All that was left was Kits, the very area where Bob's apartment sat nestled in the quiet. His eyes closed, Bob began drifting into the sleep he had been robbed off. Others in the area had moved out, courtesy of Dot Matrix, but Bob decided to stay.

He lived in the Web for at least six minutes. A little construction wouldn't hurt him.

His mind drifted to the very sprite in charge of the renovation. Bob knew she was still suffering, blaming herself for what happened. Some part of the guardian still blamed her too, but his love for her had already forgiven the confused nature of her feelings long ago. He just wanted to be with her, but Dot had made it clear...

"Bob, I just can't right now." she said. "Things..."

"Listen," he said. "I understand, I do, but Dot please don't push me away. Not again. Please."

"I need some time, Bob." she sighed, lowering her head and her eyes from him. Even still, he could see the hurt on her face.

"Okay, Dot." he said. "Take all the time you need."

And that was the end of it. They hadn't talked since then and it was driving Bob mad. He wanted Dot in his life, carried a small box with him everywhere he went, hoping she would see the light and he could give the contents of said box. But it never happened. The seconds turned to cycles, and then to a minute. Bob was beginning to think perhaps it was over.

There would never be a "them" or a "Bob and Dot sitting in a tree..." It was over.


Matrix and AndrAIa headed down the sidewalk towards the Diner for breakfast. The game sprite was in good spirits, giving out a smile to those that past her. Matrix, on the other hand, was rather moody, a normal occurance most seconds, but today he was just...moodier than ever.

"Come on, Lover," she said, taking his hand in hers. "Are you gonna frown all second? Lighten up. It's a beautiful morning."

The renegade just nodded, causing his girlfriend to roll her eyes at him. He was lost in thought again, something that had drastically become a problem for them. True, he was usually lost in thought, but with recent events, he was more so, more withdrawn than she had ever known him to be. And it was starting to worry her.

Matrix paid no attention to his girlfriend's cheerful blabber. He always got quiet when going to the Diner. He always knew one or the other would be there, but never both. Like his sister, he was shouldering some of the guilt as well. Like everyone, he too had been taken in by Megabyte's charms and words, causing him to completely forget about the real Bob, HIS best friend, HIS mentor and hero lying a Super Computer chamber, while he and Dot planned for the wedding of the hour.

Above all, Matrix knew this was his fault from the get go. If he had only deleted the virus when he had the chance. He had deleted tons of virals in the games, with no remorse, and when it comes to deleting the very one that put him there, he gets a case of morals and lets him live. And now because of him, he had ruined any chance Bob and Dot at had for being together.

For them to be a family.

The renegade shook his head. He was thinking like Enzo again, something he couldn't stop. It was actually kind of...refreshing in a way. He had spent so much time trying to be an adult, he forgot what it was like when he was a kid and how he always hoped he, Dot, and Bob could be a family, a real family one second.



"You nearly walked past the Diner." AndrAIa replied, holding open the door.

"Oh." he said, somewhat confused. Ignoring the head shake she gave him, he went past her and walked inside.

As soon as AndrAIa walked in, she heard the incessant tapping. Looking forward, she saw the small sprite who was making the tapping with his fingers. Enzo wasn't having any luck. No matter how hard he tried, his just couldn't get his processor to burn a hole through that vidwindow.
A soft hand covering his made him look up.

"That's really annoying, you know." Andri said with a smile.

"Sorry." he grumbled, moving so she could sit down. He stood on the bench, his head now coming up to Matrix's shoulder, as the two watched one vidwindow shrink and another one pop up.

"Hi Dot." AndrAIa called. The young businesswoman waved a green hand above the windows.

"She's been like that since I woke up." Enzo whispered to his counterpart.

"Figures." he said.

"We gotta do something you know."

"How about sitting down and having breakfast?" the game sprite suggested.

The two looked at each other, as th ough a knowing thought passed between them. Enzo slumped down, while Matrix sat across from them.


Bob zipped along the ground, trying to keep himself awake. He had nearly collided with a pole on the way over, he was so tired. He banked his zipboard as soon as he realized where he was headed. He was only a few feet from the entrance of Dot's Diner. The guardian stood there, contemplating on heading back over to Al's in sector 31, but Al's didn't have a breakfast special and Bob was hungry.

He sighed, knowing he couldn't avoid the place all together and headed for the door. He stepped over Frisket, who didn't even bother to growl like he usually did. Even the dog could see Bob just wasn't in the mood to be eaten. Matrix was the first to spot him and noticed he did not look good. Bob made his way over to the table in order to say hi.

He purposefully ignored the back booth where he knew Dot was.

"Bob," AndrAIa replied, smiling at the guardian. Dot heard the name and peeked over her windows. Sure enough, there was Bob. Ducking back down, she tried to calm her heart, as it flip flopped in her chest.

"Care to join us?"

"Sure, why not?" he said, sitting next to Matrix. "Can't get the best breakfast over at Al's."

"Looks like you need it." Enzo said. "You look horrible."

"I'm sure there's a more tactful way of saying that." AndrAIa replied.

"Sure." Matrix said. Turning to Bob, he said, "You look a null just threw up your face."

AndrAIa shook her head and sighed. Bob couldn't help but grin. "You think the little one's bad?" she asked, pointing at her boyfriend. "Live with this one for ten hours."

"I haven't been getting any sleep." Bob confessed. "You know that construction in Kits, makes it hard for me to sleep at night."

"Man, they're really working second and night, huh?" Matrix asked.

"Tell me about it."

"Why don't you just move?" AndrAIa asked.

"Cause I've never been comfortable staying any where else." Bob defended. "I'm funny that way."

"So what're you planning on doing?" Matrix asked.

"I just gotta take it." Bob sighed. "It shouldn't be too much longer. I hear they're moving to the other side of the sector in a few cycles."

But poor Bob didn't even last the night.

Later in the second, he and Enzo had gone circuit racing and the guardian had dropped the boy off at the Diner, then he returned to his darkened apartment. He sat on the couch, and listened to the nice quiet that overcame the apartment. The construction crew was on a dinner break and would be for some time, which meant Bob could get a head start on sleeping.

He walked into his bedroom, changed out of his web armor (because he's Glitch Bob again, damn it!), and into a t-shirt and boxers. He checked himself in the mirror and sighed. Though he still retained one or two scars, his face was that of his youthfulness of hours ago. Though he looked fatigued, his blue and boyish features were still there.

He sighed again, noticing the 0500 shadow that appeared on his chin. He finally got some compromise when it came to his looks. He was once again merged with Glitch, but now looked like his evil counterpart from a minute ago. Dot finally got her "safe" guardian and now, she didn't even want that.

He shook off his woman trouble and turned back to the bed. Not bothering to turn back the covers, he just fell over on top of it, grabbing his pillow and burying his head in its softness. He wasn't sure how long he had been asleep, when the sound of drilling began. Checking his inner clock, he realized it had only been a milliesecond, a freaking milliesecond.

He sniffed and and closed his eyes tight, trying to block out thr noise drifting to his window. But even as he tried in vain, he knew he wouldn't be sleeping this night either.


The next morning, Dot was hard at work, putting everything she felt and worried about in the back of her processor and was back in the Principal Office, doing her duties as Command.Com. Phong, the system administrator, took it as a sign she was emotionally over wrought. But, there was nothing he could do. He couldn't push her to come to him, she would have to come on her own accord.

All he could do was support her and be there when she needed him.

Right now, they were looking over damange and tear reports coming from every sector. It was minimal, but still needed to be fixed. Dot looked at the tear reports coming from Wall Street and Baudway, knowing she would need Bob in order to fix them. Mouse and Ray had left a few cycles ago, Dot assuring Mouse she was fine and would be fine.

She could really use Ray right now.

She just couldn't face Bob. She had broken his heart, that was plain to see and even she had doubts about whether he still loved her. Truth be known, she was crazy about him, always would be, but knowing she had betrayed him left her cold and her heart in pieces. Phong looked over her shoulder and could feel her resitance at calling Bob.

"Perhaps I should call our guardian and notify him of this." he said.

"No." she said, managing a smile for his sake. "I'll do it, Phong. I'll be in my office if anything comes up."

"I shall notify you if something does."

Dot took the report with her into her office and closed the door. She sighed, knowing what she needed to do. Walking to her desk, she sent out a vidwindow to Bob, who she figured was still at home. Sure enough, his haggered blue face appeared before her, looking incredibly tired and sad.

"Another rough night, Bob?" she asked, gingerly. The blue guardian just nodded. "I'm sorry to bother you then, but we're having a problem with tears in Wall Street and Baudway. You will take care of it, won't you?"

Again, Bob just nodded, tiredly.

"I'll also need to come over tonight, to go over these files." she continued. "You don't mind, do you?"

Bob shook his head.

"Good. I'll see you tonight then." She then closed the vidwindow.

Bob sighed, really not hearing anything she had said. Just as he closed his eyes again, they popped wide open. Did she just ask him over tonight? He quickly brought up a vidwindow to Dot, who was surprised when he called back.

"Did you just invite me over?" he asked.

"Yes," she said. "To go over the reports from today. Weren't you listening?"

Bob stared at her and blinked. "Yes." he blurted. "Yes, I...I heard you. So...so like what? 1900?"

"That'll be fine." she said, looking down at her file. "See ya then." she again closed the connection.

Bob stared blankly at the small space where the window had been. He shook his head, wondering if he should call back, ask if she had really meant it. He was sure he was suffering from fatigue and lack of sleep, so surely he couldn't have heard her right.

A small smile of triumph came to his lips. There might be hope for them after all.


Later that night, an almost exhuasted Bob came over to the Diner and headed downstairs to the small apartment. Knocking on the door, he did a breath check, straightened out his uniform and had a smile waiting as she opened the door.

"Hi, Bob." she replied, opening the door wider so he could enter. "Thanks for coming over. I really want to get all of this stuff done by the end of the cycle."

"As is the job of command.com." Bob joked, heading for the sofa and taking a seat. The comfort of the chair was almost too much for the guardian. He could feel the sleepiness and awaiting dream state starting to take hold of him, but he had to stay awake. Hopefully this meeting wouldn't take too long and then he and Dot could discuss...other things.

"All right." she said. "Let's get to it."

The time seemed to go by, at least to Dot, as she checked and re-checked status reports and the like. It was a hard job to do, but she was getting use to it and was enjoying it. It was just like running the Diner. Hard work that greatly paid off. Bob, on the other hand, didn't s ee it that way. The time seemed to dwindle and the more they went over stuff, the more he sank deeper into the confines of the couch, the sleepier he became. It was so quiet right now. Enzo was off to bed, probably sleeping soundly and Dot...well her voice was like music to Bob's ears.

He couldn't help but be lulled to restful sleep.

"So I was thinking Wall Street would be the first place we check for tears again." she had been saying. "What do you think?" Dot waited for an answer, but non never came. "Bob?" she called. Getting frustrated at his lack of attention, she turned to yell at him, but stopped.

There, looking relaxed, was Bob, sleeping contentedly next to her.

Dot couldn't help but smile at the sight, though she also felt extremely guilty. It had been on her order for the construction crews to get going at night and she did foresee the problem, but she never thought Bob would actually want to stay, especially when the major construction was now on his side of the apartment building.

Standing, she went to the bedroom to retrieve a blanket and then draped it over the guardian's sleeping form. She stood and watched him sleep for a few nanos, before sitting back down and going back to work.


The next second that Bob awoke, he realized he had just had the best sleep in his life or at least in the last couple of seconds. He stretched and yawned and looked around in confusion. This was not his apartment. It took a couple of nanos for it to register, but soon he gathered he was still in Dot's apartment.

He then heard the slight morning scuffle of trying to get Enzo off to school and Dot's nagging him to get up and get dressed. He soon heard approaching grumbling, as the boy, still dressed in his pajamas, came out for a glass of juice.

"Ugh, just once I'd wish she'd lay off." Enzo growled under his breath. "Of all the basic and ridiculous things I could be doing...you gotta go to school, Enzo. It's helpful, Enzo...blah, blah, blah."

"Hey Enzo." Bob replied, as the boy passed him.

"Hey Bob." he said, not breaking his typical morning rant. "Blah blah school, blah blah learning, blah blah..." The rant continued as the boy entered the kitchen. Within a micro, Enzo was back in the living room, staring at the blue guardian.

Enzo looked around, as if he was in a dream. "Bob." he said.


"Bob." he repeated. "You're...when...how..."

"I stayed the night." he answered.

"Really." he said, before turning back and going to the kitchen. Bob shrugged, surprised the boy hadn't exploded yet. Oh well, he thought. Maybe he's just outgrow...

Suddenly, a blur of green was on top of him, scaring Bob half to deletion. "OhmyUser, Bob, Ican'tbelieveyou're here!" it shouted. "Ithought Iwasinthewronghouseor something, butno, hereyouareandhereIamandthere's Dot..." Giving a nervous laugh, the being murmured, "Hiya Dot."

Dot stood, arms folded, staring at her little brother. "Breakfast." she said. "Now."

"Bye Bob." the boy said, jumping off Bob and running into the kitchen.

"That boy." she muttered, shaking her head. "And to think, now there's two of him!"

"Hey, thanks for letting me stay last night." Bob replied.

"No thanks needed." she said. "I know you haven't been sleeping and...well, you need your rest."

"It was great, believe me."

The two were silent, just gazing in each other's eyes. "Bob..." she started, turning away. "I've been thinking. It's not right for you to be staying at the Eight Ball. I know you're not sleeping and well...I think you need to stay somewhere else."

"I'll forgo pride and agree with you." he chuckled. "But where? I heard you say all the spare rooms at the hotel were filled."

"They are." she sighed.

"So where's that leave me?"

The two were quiet again, each trying to think of somesort of compromise. "You could...stay here." whispered Dot.

Bob looked at her, as though he didn't hear what she said. She looked up, meeting his gaze, and quickly said, "On the couch, of course."

"Of course." he said, nodding. "Are you sure?"

"Bob, you need your sleep." she said. "Besides, it wasn't fair of me to have construction start right outside your window. Think of it as...an apology."

Bob smiled and held out his hand. "Then I accept your apology."


Meanwhile, somewhere in the Principal Office, a simuliar discussion was taking place. Matrix lay on his bed, staring up at the ceiling, while his girlfriend paced the floor. "We just have to, Enzo." she said. "We have to."

"I know, I know." he muttered. "But where, Andri? We both said we wanted to live in Kits, but it's kinda hard when there's no where to go. Especially with that construction."

The game sprite whimpered and fall next to her lover, face down on the mattress. "This really isn't that bad, is it?" Matrix asked.

AndrAIa just looked at him.

"Right." he said. "Phong was cool enough to let us stay, Andri."

"I know." she sighed, turning towards him. "But we can't stay here forever. Besides, I want our own place. Just the two of us. Or...three of us." She gave him that look, which made him melt and smile.

"I know." he whispered, stroking her cheek.

Just then, their door busted open and then slammed, revealing an out of breath Enzo behind it. "What are you doing?" Matrix asked. "Shouldn't you be in school?"

"No time." he wheezed. "Big thing. Really big. Totally big. Bigger than you."

"Then it must be big." AndrAIa joked. "Come over here and have a seat and tell us what's going on."

Enzo just stood there, trying to regain his breath. When he finally got enough in order to say something, he continued. "Bob...moving in...with us." he stuttered.

Both AndrAIa and Matrix looked at him.

"Okay, that ain't funny." replied the renegade. "Not at all."

"No joke." huffed the boy, sitting down on the corner of the bed. "True live story as of this morning. Heard it myself AND it was DOT who asked."

Again, the two just stared at him.

"No really." AndrAIa said. "This is really not funny."

"Guardian honor." Enzo said.

"Yeah, well that proves it." Matrix smirked. "You're not even a guardian."

"Hey," the boy said, pointing at his counterpart. "If you're a guardian, I'm a guardian."

"And how do you figure that?" Matrix challeneged. "I'm twice your age, stronger, bigger, and I've got AndrAIa for a girlfriend."

"I'm gettin' there, I'm gettin' there." Enzo told him.

"Boys," the game sprite interjected. "Focus please? Now about this Bob moving in thing..."

"Right." Enzo replied, continuing his story. "Anyway, I heard this morning, yeah? See, Bob spent the night last and..."

"Whoa!" Matrix interrupted, raising an eyebrow. "Seriously?"

"Yeah." Enzo said, shaking his head. "On the couch. Anywho, I'm in the kitchen, minding my own business, okay? When Dot asks Bob to move in, because of the construction and everything."

"Wow." Andri breathed. "I didn't think she had it in her."

"Whadda mean?" her boyfriend asked. "She asked him to marry her!"

"Yeah," she replied, rolling her eyes. "And that was before the whole my two Bobs, Megabyte cloning, taking over the system thing. Officially, it can be counted as null and void. She almost married Megabyte, you know."

At the mention of the now historic almost wedding, the brothers shuddered in rememberance. "We will never speak of that again." Matrix said. Suddenly, the renegade had a thought. "If Bob's moving in with you," he started, "Where does that leave his apartment?"

Enzo was about to reply to the question, but then stopped. He looked at Matrix, who looked at him and an idea, though fairly small at first, began to come to them. AndrAIa too could see the seeds of thought, or rather trouble, starting to form in their processors and right away, she had a bad feeling about it.

"All right, you two." she said, looking at them. "What're you conspiring?"

"Conspiring?" Matrix asked, indignantly. "AndrAIa, Enzo and I are not 'conspiring' as you so put it."

"Don't give me that." she replied. "I can see that look you both got."

"AndrAIa, really." Enzo piped up. "Do we look like the kind of sprites who would 'conspire'?"

The game sprite didn't hesitate. "Yes."

Both brothers looked at her. "Now that hurts." Matrix said.

"It's not our fault!" Enzo cried. "Can I help if, say I thought of a plan in which we keep Bob and Dot together so you and Matrix can move into Bob's apartment? I mean really! I'm just a boy."

Matrix was about to respond when Enzo's words came to him. "Enzo, you're a genius." he said, a far off look in his eye.

"I am?" Enzo asked, confused. Clearly his throat, he said, "Of course I am! And for the sake of AndrAIa, we'll just remind her what brilliant idea has just continued my genius. For her sake."

"It's what you just said." Matrix replied. "If we could somehow get Bob to move in permanantly, then we could move into Bob's apartment."

"No." AndrAIa said, exasperated. "Now you're talking crazy. I know you guys want to see them together and all, but stooping this low in order to...to...set them up in a parent trap?"

"A parent...what?" Matrix asked,incredulously. "AndrAIa, this is not a parent trap. This is just two siblings, trying to reunite their wayward...their..."

AndrAIa just looked at him.

"Okay, so this is simuliar to a parent trap." he sighed. "But it's for a good cause! Don't you want to see Bob and Dot together?"

"Of course I do." she replied. "But I wouldn't resort to trickery."

"Trickery?!" the renegade exclaimed. "How is this trickery? It's just a simple plan to put Bob and Dot together without their knowl...okay, so it's a bit like trickery." He then folded his arms and pouted.

"Must you ruin our scheme?" Enzo whimpered.

"I'm not ruining the scheme." AndrAIa replied. "I just think there's a better way."

"Well then, by all means, girl genius, think of one." Matrix said, sarcastically.

"You know I can't think of one!"

"Not so smart now, are you?"

"GUYS!" Enzo exclaimed.

"Look," Matrix said, slightly calmer. "You don't have to be involved. In fact, you've heard nothing, forget this entire conversation."

"I will then." she said.

"Fine." he replied. "I would just hate for people to find out about that little...incident."

The game sprite turned to him, glaring at him with suspicion. "What incident?"

"You know," he said, coyly. "That incident you had in...oh what system was that? Gamamead? Gary? Oh! Gammond!"

AndrAIa gasped in shock. "You promised you would never bring that up again!" she exclaimed.

"Bring what up?" he asked. "I'm simply saying that...that small...incident could haunt you...if you were...needed for something..."

"That's blackmail!"

"Now sweetie," he soothed. "Blackmail's such a strong word. Think of it as...you'll be doing something for me as long as I kept this little secret a...okay, so it's a little like blackmail."

"Andri, all we want you to do is just keep quiet about it." Enzo said. "It's our plan..."

"Scheme." she said.

Enzo rolled his eyes. "Scheme, if you will, but it's ours. You just gotta keep quiet about it."

"Especially from Bob and Dot." Matrix added. "Which brings something else up. We're gonna have to keep him there. Listen, if I know Bob and Dot, and thankfully I do, they'll be having some real second thoughts about this, so what we'll do is, I'll talk to Bob and you go talk to Dot."

"What'll I say?" asked Enzo.

"You just have to convince them that moving in is a good, no...a great idea."

Part II
Later in the second, Matrix returned to the small living quarters inside the Principal Office. He burst through the door, scaring AndrAIa in the process, and smiling like a little kid. Times like these the game sprite could tell the likeness to his smaller format.

"I take it things went as planned." she murmured, watching as her lover smiled giddily at her.

"Andri," he said, barely containing himself. "You won't believe...oh, it was like...man..."

"Now you're stuttering, so it must be good."

"It was like..." Matrix began again, then shook his head. "Let me start from the beginning..." [flashback, but told by Matrix, so all of Bob's lines will be spoken by Matrix...does that make sense?!]

"I went over to Bob's, just to see what was going on right? Well, he's in his garage, working on his car. I always tell him the same thing, so I didn't bother this time. Anyways, we greet each other and I start telling him how Enzo has been blurting about him moving in. So he says..."

"No really, it's true. I'm moving in with Dot and Enzo."

"So I said, but I thought you guys called it quits. And he says..."

"It's random to say the least. It was Dot's idea."

"And I say no way. And he says..."


"So are you actually doing it? I asked and he says..."

"Odd as it may seem, yeah. I kinda don't, but I kinda do."

"That seems reasonable." AndrAIa mused.

"That's not all though." Matrix continued.

"Right as I'm about to ask what would happen to his apartment, he says..."

"Hey Enzo, about my apartment. I was wondering if you could watch it while I'm gone."

"I wasn't sure if I should laugh or cry. So I say, yeah sure Bob. I'll check in every once in a while. And he goes..."

"Well, I know how you and AndrAIa hate staying in the P.O, so why don't you move in for a while? The construction will be going for at least another couple of weeks and if you guys can stand the noise, the apartment is yours."

"Bob actually just handed over his apartment to us?" AndrAIa asked.

"I couldn't believe it myself." Matrix said, shaking his head. "It was like he already knew the plan and was going along with it, which of course is silly because only three of us know the plan." He paused. "Right?"

The game sprite rolled her eyes. "Yes, the plan is safe between the three of us." she sighed.

"Just checking."

Suddenly a vidwindow popped up in front of them with Enzo's smiling face on the other side. "Well?" Matrix asked.

"It went just as you said." the boy began. "When I asked Dot about it, she was totally embarassed and thought about calling Bob and taking it all back, but, as the young businessman that I am, I simply stated the good points for the 'merger'..."

"You actually used the word, merger?" AndrAIa asked.

"Yep." Enzo nodded. "And you should've seen the look of respect I got. Using big words makes people think your smart. Anyway, I'm not sure if the word impressed her or distracted her, but it worked well enough I got her to stay with the plan."

"Alphanumeric." Matrix said, a grin on his face. "Part one is in effect. Now, on to part two..."


Dot felt odd.

It felt like that second of the wedding. She held fear, knowing she was about to enter a big part of her adulthood, but yet happy because she was with Bob. Of course, there was no horror this time...or was there? She actually couldn't believe she had actually suggested Bob move in with her.

They weren't dating.

They were only friends.

This was only a business decision.

Yes...YES! As Enzo had mentioned earlier, this was business and nothing more. With Bob around, she could concentrate on running the system and the Diner without trying to run around after Enzo. And the boy liked Bob. With Bob there, it meant Enzo wouldn't be alone...

The sound of the door opening alerted her that Bob was bringing the rest of his stuff into the living room. Her tidy apartment now looked like a rumage sale. The guardian was lugging two boxes in, which he placed near his other stuff. "We are going to move some of this stuff elsewhere, right?" she asked, eyeing his stuff.

"Yes dear." he joked, missing a slap aimed for him.

"Is that everything?"

"Well, everything I can carry in my car over here." he replied.

"So, there's more coming?" she asked, jokingly. "I mean, your car can hold so much before falling from the sky."

"Funny not."

The two were caught staring at each other, each with something on their minds. The moment was short lived when the knock came on the door. Both went to open it, slightly embarassed at their brief contact being near each other. The door opened to reveal a happy Matrix on the other side.

"Hey." he said.

"Hi Matrix." Dot replied, smiling at her brother. "What're you doing here?"

"Just wanted to see how the moving went." he said. "And to take Enzo to a quick time. If that's cool with you, I mean."

Dot was about to say no, when something occured to her. "Actually Matrix, that's not a bad idea." she said. Turning to Bob, she replied, "We can finish those reports from the other second."

"See?" the renegade replied. "Aren't you glad I came over? I figured you guys would want to get busy. With those reports, I mean."

Enzo bounced into the room, just as Bob and Dot gave Matrix a look for his last, though seemingly unnoticed, comment. "Matrix!" he exclaimed. "What a pleasant surprise! I was not expecting you at all tonight."

"Well, I figured Bob and Dot could get some work done and they didn't need you driving them up the walls." Matrix smirked.

"Aw..." Enzo whimpered. "I wanted to spend time with Bob."

"You'll get to see Bob plenty of times, especially now." Dot replied, ruffling her youngest brother's hair. "Bob and i really do have a lot of work ahead of us, with these reports and clearing some of his stuff out of the living room...you'll have a much better time watching a movie."

"I guess." the boy sighed. Looking up at the guardian, he said, "I'll see you when I get home, Bob."

"Sure will, Little Man." he said. "And we'll do something tomorrow. Promise."

"Alphanumeric!" Exclaimed Enzo. "Having you live with us is going to be the best!" He happily jumped outside, while Matrix smiled and closed the door. Outside, Enzo stopped his jumping and looked up at his double. "How was that?" he asked.

"Not bad." Matrix replied, as the two starting walking away. "I thought the last part was a little much, but it played well with the scene."

Enzo smirked. "And you thought the acting classes weren't helping." he mocked.


It had been just a few seconds since Bob had moved in with Dot and Enzo and already the system of Mainframe was buzzing with the news. Dot had to do two press conferences in order to dispel rumors. She was currently talking to AndrAIa about the news, almost knowing full well who leaked it.

"So what did you tell them?" Andri asked.

"Like I told everyone else." Dot said. "This is strictly a business merger between Bob and myself. Nothing else. I'm not happy about it being known and all but at least I can take confort in one thing."

"That being?"

"Mouse and Ray being gone." Dot smiled. "If she ever found out..."

"Dot Matrix!" came an exclamation. Both women turned to see the purple hacker, a sly grin on her face, as she headed towards them.

"I think she just found out." AndrAIa whispered, much to Dot's horror.

"You sly little mink." Mouse replied, hand on her hip and looking at the commander.

"Mouse, what a surprise." Dot said, trying to pretend she didn't know what was going on.

"Don't try to lay the sugah, Sugah." she replied. "I can't believe you and Bob are shacking up together."

"We are not!" Dot cried, scandelized. "This is strictly business!"

"Oh sure it is."

"Of course it is.' Dot insisted. "What makes you think otherwise?"

"Oh, gee, I don't know." Mouse countered. "Maybe cause you got the cravin' for the blue guardian and he's got that itchin' for you." Mouse shook her head. "You sure are the last sprite i thought would be living in sin."

"We are not living in sin!" Dot shouted.

"All right, all right." The hacker said, surrendering. For the moment. "I just came to get a little refuel before heading back out. See y'all."

Dot stared at her back, watching as her best friend left. "AndrAIa," she began.

"Yes Dot?"

"Am I living in sin?" she asked, a petrified look on her face.


"I mean," she continued, her words starting to connect together. "What if I kinda jumped the gun with this whole moving in thing? I mean, Bob and I aren't dating and so of course people are going to think that we're shacking up, but I don't think we're shacking up because this is business, although Mouse has a point..."

"Dot, you're not living in sin."

"Because Bob and I do like each other, well I'm sure it's a little more than that, but how can I poissibly face him after what I did? I mean, it was a terrible thing and feel absolutely dreadful about it and..."

"Dot listen to me," AndrAIa replied, trying to interrupt the ongoing monologue. "You are not living in sin."

"But what do you think?" Dot barreled on. "You and Matrix have lived together for hours upon hours, but then again you really didn't have much of a choice, so of course you ended up being together, which of course I'm happy for but..."

"Dot!" she screamed. "You are not living in sin!"

Dot looked at her with a blank look on her face. "Well User, AndrAIa," she said. "There's no reason to scream. I'm standing right here."

The game sprite glared at her.

"Let's talk somewhere less audience maintained." Dot suggested. "My office?" Her friend nodded and the two headed for the small office in the command room.

"So?" Andri asked. "How's living with Bob?"

"It's...nice." the commander replied.

"Nice?" she asked. "Like living with Little Enzo nice or living with Mike the TV nice?"

'Well, both can be annoying as a null sometimes." Dot joked. "What I mean with Bob is...it's only been a few seconds and it seems we've already gotten in a routine. A weird, married routine."

"Must be fate talking." the game sprite giggled.

Dot shook her head, trying to hide the smile she had. "How's the apartment you're in?" she asked.

"It's great, even though technically it's not ours."

Not yet , they both thoought. They both looked at each other, almost embarassed to be thinking along those lines. "Well," Dot said. "Time to go dispel some rumors." she laughed nervously, as AndrAIa just smiled. She then left to do her tasks.


Bob sat on the couch, or rrather his makeshift bedding, flipping through the channels on the small apartmemnt's non-talking television set. Every once in a while Bob would miss Mike and then he'd shake his head, saying he was losing it.

He perked up when he heard the key code beep and the door opening, as Dot walked in. "Hey." he said, jumping up and walking over to her.

"Hi." she said, facing him. She turned away quickly, hiding her blush from staring. "Where's Enzo?"

"Matrix and AndrAIa took him circuit racing."

"Again?" she asked. "That's the fourth time this cycle." She frowned in concern, then dismissed it. "So, what've you been up to?"

Bob shrugged. "Nothing much." he answered. "Just waiting for you."

"Me?" she squeaked, then cleared her throat. "Me?"

Bob fought to control the smile that was fighting to get to his lips. Even when she was embarassed, she was cute. "Well, Enzo's gone and that kinda left me and I was kinda bored and lonely..."

"Oh." she said.

"I was hoping we could do something tonight." he said. "No business stuff either. That's for...well, business time. This is fun time now and I wanna see you have a fun time."

She looked at him and shook her head. "Bob, I would love to, really," she began. "But I do have..."

"Blah, blah." he said, taking her hand and pulling her towards the couch. He sat down and made her plop down next to him. "Just try having fun for a millisecond and I'll let you go to that boring stuff." he said. "Just one millie. Okay?"

She rolled her eyes and turned to say no to him. She was caught by his pleading face and gorgeous brown eyes. How could she possibly say no?

"Okay," she agreed. "Just one, but after that, it's work."


The seconds turned to cycles and the cycles started to end the minute, and with each passing cycle, Bob and Dot grew closer and closer into the couple they had originally dreamed about. And while they drew closer, Matrix and AndrAIa drew more attached with living in Bob's apartment, and Enzo spent more time with them at night while Bob and Dot stayed by themselves.

Dot had conflicting feelings as she grew closer to the blue sprite. On the one hand, she was thrilled they were getting so close. Their short and sweet pecks goodnight had already started to become deeper kisses and soon, their time alone was perfect opportunity for make out sessions, which always threatened to become more if they weren't careful.

But Dot wanted that, didn't she?

The other hand was the business side and scolded her for taking this simple business arrangement to a personal level. If this continued, it would be hard to convince Bob to move back to his own apartment. The other hand also told her to keep her distance, that all this was leading Bob on to something they, or at least she, wasn't ready for.

So she sat on the couch, home earlier than Bob for once, and read a small note from him about taking Enzo jet bowling. As she read, there was a knock at the door. Still lost in thought, she opened it. "Hey." replied Matrix, leaning against the door frame.

"Hi Enzo." she said. "If you're looking for Bob..."

"Nope." the renegade said. "Little me."

"Ah." she said in understanding. A frown came to her face though, as she continued. "Actually Matrix, I think Enzo should stay in tonight." she said.

"No!" he cried, then calmed himself. "No." he said more gently. "I mean, he's a handful, as you know."

"Yeah," she sighed. "But I think I want him to spend some time here. Not that I'm not thankful for you and Andri taking him for this last minute. It was very sweet, but I'm sure you two would like a night to yourselves."

"What? No." he said, chuckling. "We love it, we enjoy it. We don't even like each other all that much, so Enzo's good company."

At Dot's look, Matrix faltered, realizing his choice of words. "What I mean is, Andri and I have always been together, so the break...I mean..." he stopped for a moment, then said, "We like having him over."

Dot just nodded, then sighed. "Well," she said. "He's out with Bob right now, so I'll have him call you when they get back, okay?"

"Cool." the renegade replied, before turning to leave. "See ya later, Sis." he called over his shoulder.

Later of course when Bob and Enzo returned, the little sprite just turned around and headed over to his brother's "apartment" while Bob and Dot stayed there. Bob couldn't help but smile. He knew what happened when Enzo left... but this time, Dot didn't seem as eager as she usually was. She held a look of concern on her face as she watched her youngest brother leave.

"Something wrong?" he asked. "Dot?"

"You've seen AndrAIa and Matrix, haven't you?" she asked, still staring at the door.

"I see them occasionally." he began. "Why?"

"Do they seem...happy to you?"

"As happy as Matrix can get." the blue sprite laughed. He soon stopped when he noticed the joke got no reaction from Dot. "Why?" he asked. "Is something wrong?"

"Don't you think they've been spending a lot of time with Enzo lately?" she asked.

Bob shrugged. "You told me you thought they should." he said. "They're brothers after all."

"I guess..."

"Listen," he said, taking her in a hug. "How about you take a shower and get all fancy and I'll take you out for dinner?"

Dot looked at him in surprise. "Really?" she asked.

"Yeah." he grinned. "Unless you want to stay home..." his voice trailed off into a mischievious smile.

Dot smiled back. "I'd much rather stay home, just in case." she added, seeing his smile get bigger.

"Well, offer still goes." he whispered. "I'll make dinner."

"You can cook?"

"Yes, I can cook." he said, feigning hurt. "I didn't become a guardian to look pretty, you know. There are definite advantages. One standing before me as I speak."

Dot blushed, trying to hide her amused smile. She gave him a quick peck on the lips before heading towards the back. Bob watched her move, never getting tired of seeing her walk away. He then heard the shower starting and the door to the bathroom close.

That's when he panicked.

Of course he couldn't cook! He could barely make toast, hence why he always ate at the Diner, that and seeing Dot, but he was completely hopeless in the kitchen. He gulped and turned towards the room of dread. To her or even Enzo, this was probably a place of familiar ease. Even after a minute of living there, he still didn't know his way around the place.

Did they have pans? What about utensils? Did they have utensils? What about pots? Did they own pots? Bob sniffed, knowing he was on the verge of tears.


"Bob, I can't believe you did this." Dot raved, as she and Bob sat down for dinner.

"Told you I could cook." he said, matter of factly. Of course, Bob had gotten help. After standing there and crying for a few nanos, he wiped his tears and tried calling Mike the TV. It was a desperate act, but Bob was a desperate man. But of course, of all the times the guardian would need the annoying set, he couldn't get in contact with him, so he called Matrix and AndrAIa.

The three were watching a quicktime when Bob appeared before them in a vidwindow. "Hey Bob." they all said, turning back to the movie.

"You guys have got to help me." he pleaded.

Instantly, Matrix was alert. "What's wrong?" he asked. "Is something wrong with Dot? Bob, I swear if you..."

"What?" he exclaimed. "No! Nothing's wrong and I would never...Matrix...now, I love your sister, hence why I'm on my hands and knees pleading with you to help me!"

"All right, all right." AndrAIa said, bringing calm and ration as always. "Stay frosty here. What's the file?"

"I need the name of a really good, but so very inexpensive local resturant."

They all looked at him in confusion.

"You're kidding, right?" Matrix asked.

"No." he said.

"Hmmm, let me think." Enzo replied, sarcastically. "Have you tried...the DINER?!"

"The Diner is too obvious." Bob retorted. "Besides, Dot would know in a nano that dinner was from the Diner and therefore my whole thing about me being able to cook would be ruined."

"But Bob, you can't cook." Matrix said.

"You can barely make toast." Enzo added.

"I know!" He exclaimed, exasperated. "That's why you need to help me!"

"Okay, okay," Matrix said. "No need to get a twist in your bitmap. We'll think of something. Now, where's Dot?"

"In the shower."

Matrix inhaled slowly. "Cutting it kinda close, Bob." he muttered. "Okay, no probs. I got Enzo here, he can tell me what's in the fridge and we can get something going here."

"Make your chicken parm." AndrAIa said. "That's good."

Matrix made a grimace, saying, "Yeah, but it's Dot's favorite too. She'd know."

"Ooh!" Enzo said. "We could make angel hair pasta, with clams and creamy sauce."

"That sounds like a romantic type dinner..."

Bob just stared at the two, listening as they rattled off delicious, yet complicated sounding food items, all in which they could make in the time Dot showered. "How do you do that?" he asked in awe.

"Bob." Matrix chuckled. "Do you know how long Dot's had that Diner?"

"We've been working in there since we were little." Enzo added.

"I think we'd know a little something about cooking."


Dot smiled, glancing every so often at the blue sprite seated across from her. Of course she knew he hadn't made the meal, he could barely make toast, but the idea that he'd go through so much trouble in order to make her favorite - four cheese alfredo, something both her brothers were masters in making - made her heart soar even made than it already did.

"It was sweet of you to make dinner, Bob." she continued.

"Hey," he shrugged. "It was sweet of you to let me stay for so long."

"Not that I haven't enjoyed it." she blurted, her face turning crimson.

"I've enjoyed it too." he whispered, taking her hand in his.

"Um..." she started, clearing her throat. "How was...how was jet bowling today?"

"Good." he said, knowing a change of subject when he heard one. "Enzo's getting good. He beat me twice today."

"I think it's because Matrix's been giving him tips." she giggled. "Or you're getting rusty."

"Rusty?" Bob asked, raising an eyebrow. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say that was a challenge, Ms. Matrix."

"You wouldn't stand a chance against me." she said, smugly. "The Matrix gene pool are just that damned good."

"Not to mention competitive." Bob mubled under his breath.

"I heard that."


After dinner, the two were content to lay on the couch, Dot using Bob as a pillow. The television was on, but the volume turned down low, as neither sprite was watching in the first place.

Bob looked down at Dot, once again noticing how beautiful she was. When he was gone in the Web, all he could think about was her and how if...no, no WHEN... he returned to Mainframe, he would tell her, show her how he felt. It seemed things were going well. Their kiss on the P.O steps seemed like his hopes and dreams were coming true.

And then the Daemon War started and he couldn't even get close to her anymore. He had seen a rare change in her. She was someone who was taking bigger risks than even he had and it slightly scared him. And then when she almost married Megabyte...he closed his eyes. Even though he said he forgave her, there was still a little part of him that still hurt, still couldn't believe what had happened, how their dreams could be ruined so quickly.

Dot rested her head on Bob's chest, listening to his heartbeat. How many times did she wish they would spend times like these? Instead of taking the chance and being together so many minutes ago, she pushed him away like she had before, still afraid to open her heart, even though she'd already lost it to him.

And even after she had almost lost him completely, asked him to marry her, finally took the plunge, a better, more safer looking Bob comes along and she dumps the true one into the gutter. A small sniff came from her, an overwhelming amount of grief and guilt just crashing down on her. She had done her duty to the best of her abilities, tried to keep the personal and private from the business and leadership responsibilities and it was finally coming together.


She buried her face in the crook of his neck and he could feel hot tears dropping from her eyes. He hugged her tightly, soothing her. "Shhh." he whispered. "Everything's gonna be all right. I promise, Dot. Thing's will be okay." She looked up at him, her version slightly blury. He dried her eyes and smiled slightly at her, before kissing her gently on the lips.

Like most of their kisses, it started out sweet, then became deeper, more urgent. Breaking it, Dot looked at his face, his brown eyes, inwardly cursing herself for recognizing the real guardian in the first place. His eyes showed concern, but most of all love and a hint of desire and wanting, something that Bob could see reflected in her own eyes.

Not wanting to back down again, but taking the null by the stripes, she stood up and held out her hand to him. Bob got up, flipped the tvv off and followed her down the hall.

Part III

Matrix and AndrAIa walked down the street, heading for the Diner. They were whispering, mostly about how Dot would have both their bitmaps for not bringing Enzo home sooner. As for said smaller version of Matrix, he was sound asleep, his head resting on his brother's shoulder, as the group silently entered the Diner.

The lights were out, of course, which only made the couple even more nervous. "She's probably sitting on the couch, waiting for us to walk in." AndrAIa grumbled.

"You were the one who wanted to see the movie." Matrix muttered.

"Yeah, at like 1500 this afternoon!" she exclaimed, quickly quieting her voice.

"Look, let's just leave him on the doorstep." Matrix suggested. "I'm sure we've got baskets around here."

His girlfriend glared at him. "Don't you even dare."

They continued down the stairs and reached the door to the little apartment. Punching in the code, Matrix slowly opened the door, knowing the fate that awaited them. But peeking his head through, he saw nothing. He then entered, seeing nothing astray.

"Coast is clear looks like." AndrAIa whispered.

"Yeah." he said, taking a few more steps into the living room. "A little too clear if you ask me."

He was about to call for Dot, when AndrAIa stopped him. "She could be in bed, you know." she said.

"Yeah, and where's Bob?" he asked. "He's not on the couch."

AndrAIa shrugged. "Maybe he's in bed, too." she said, giggling. Matrix gave her a look. "What?" she asked. "Now, you know that..."

"I don't want to hear it." he said, quickly leaving his girlfriend and going to his brother's room. AndrAIa followed him, noticing Dot's door was closed.

Matrix booted Enzo into his pajamas and laid the litle sprite down in his bed and tucked him in. The renegade stood looking over the sprite, his face devoid of the excitement and energy he had during the seconds to one of peace that even his brother took on at night.

He smiled and ruffled the boy's hair, before turning and nearly running into his girlfriend.

"You're quite good at that, you know." she said, smiling up at him. He just shrugged.

"Good practice, I guess." he said, knowing immediately what she was thinking. "Now if only I knew where Bob and Dot were."

AndrAIa gave him a look, to which Matrix shook his head. "Come on, Lover," she said. "Surely you didn't think..."

"No actually," he said, leading them out into the hallyway. "I try not to think about those things when thinking about my sister and best friend, thanks."

"I thought I was your best friend." AndrAIa said, her mood changing.

"Yeah, but I'm also sleeping with you." he said, with the wink. "There are certain things I enjoy doing with you that I can't do with Bob. That's..."
"That's what Dot's for." she said, finishing his sentence.

"That's not what I was going to say." he said.

"Was too."

"I was not." he insisted. "You think he's in there right now?" he asked, pointing at the closed door.

"I'm positive he's in there right now." AndrAIa said. "In fact, I'd bet money on it."

"Well, I say he's not." Matrix replied. "In fact, I think he's taking a walk right now."

"He's taking something right now and it's no walk." AndrAIa smirked.

"Stop it, stop it right now." Matrix exclaimed in a hushed whisper, covering his ears with his hands.

"All right, all right." she relented. "He's not in there."

"Thank you."

"But I'm not leaving until I prove you wrong."

Matrix raised an eyebrow. "What do you suggest?" he asked.

"Take a look." she said, most to her lover's horror. "Look, if he's in there, then he's in there. If he's not, he's not. Plain and simple. So go look."

"No!" he said, scandelized.

"Shh! You're gonna wake everybody up!"

"You've lost your motherboard." he said.

"Oh, just go look." she said, pushing him towards the door. "Dot's a big girl, Bob's a big boy...I guess." she said, trying to cover a barage of giggles.

Matrix glared at her and then turned from the door. "Well, right there. That's it." he said. "I'm not looking."

"Just a peek."

Matrix gulped and opened the door slowly. "Well?" she asked.

"I don't see anything." he replied.



"At all?" Matrix shook his head. "That's weird."

"It might have something to do with the fact that my eyes are closed." he responded. AndrAIa huffed and pushed him out of the way. A few nanos later, she closed the door and smirked at him.

"You owe me money." she said, walking past him and heading towards the door.

"You mean...Bob and Dot...they...no way!"


The next morning, Dot awoke and stretched. She sighed, remembering last night and trying to hide the smile that came to her face. He was gone, of course, probably in the kitchen to avoid Enzo peeking in. She stretched again and rolled over to her side.

That's when she saw the hologram card on the pillow.

She looked at in amused curiousity before opening it up. Mike the TV immediately popped up, talking about how the card had brought to her by the Holomark Company. Then there was Bob, smiling at her.

"Hey." his image said, smiling. "Sorry I couldn't be there when you woke up, but Phong needed me to close a tear. I already got Enzo off to school so you could have a nice peaceful morning and sleep in for a change." He paused slightly, before grinning. "Last night was incredible." he whispered. "You have no idea how long I've waited..." his voice trailied off.

"I love you, Dot." he said finally. "I'll see you later today."

With that, the image disappeared and Dot closed the card, smiling to herself. They had waited, skirted around their feelings, just so she could push him away. But last night, she had pulled him in and showed him just how much she loved him and needed him with her, feelings and desires he echoed. She lay back, holding the card to her and sighed.

Things seemed to finally be going right.


Later that second, Dot was seated in her favorite booth, finding the time to go over figures from her various ventures. "Hey Tiger." said a voice, interrupting her thoughts. Dot turned to see Matrix, his arm slung loosely around her shoulder and resting on the back, and AndrAIa seated across from her, trying to keep from laughing.

"Hello." she said, giving the two looks of her own and then going back to her work.

"Sorry for bringing Enzo home late last night." Matrix began.

Dot's eyes widen some and then went back to their normal size. "Oh, that's...that's okay." she stuttered. She hadn't even noticed they were late, seeing as she was involved in...other things.

"Yeah, that's what we figured." Matrix said, smugly. "So...how was dinner?"

"Fantastic." she sighed, then catching herself, said, "Dinner was fantastic. It was really good."

"I bet." AndrAIa said, her fit of giggles beginning.

Dot looked between the look her brother was giving her and his girlfriend's hysteric laughing. "You know, don't you?" she asked, a slight reddening appearing on her cheeks.

"Know what?" Matrix asked innocently and was slapped on the arm for it. "Ow!"

"Don't you dare tell a singel solidtary soul!"

"Dot...Sis..." he said. "I'm not one to kiss and tell, am I, AndrAIa?"

"Oh no." she said, a few giggles escaping.

"Don't worry." he said, winking at her. "Your secret's safe with me." With a small smirk, the renegade got up and walked over to the bar counter.

"You...didn't hear anything, did you?" Dot asked in a hushed tone.

"Oh no," the game sprite replied, shaking her head. "You two were totally asleep." Her eyes widen, while Dot's narrowed.

"Matrix did it." Andri blurted. "It was his fault. He tried to get me to look and I said no. I was very firm about it."

Dot looked at the game sprite, knowing there were still some things being hidden. But it also brought up something else. "Speaking of which," she began, leaning in closer. "Are you and Matrix okay?"

"Yeah, sure." she said, looking at her friend in confusion. "Why?"

"Well, you're spending a lot of time with Enzo and just the other second when I asked, Matrix said you two weren't getting along."

"When did he say that?" she asked.

"The other second, when he came to see Enzo." Dot repeated. "When I said you two would probably like sometime to yourselves, he said that Enzo was good company and that you two didn't even like each other all that much."

"Really." AndrAIa said, her laughing fit turning to an anger management course in the making. She cast an evil look towards her lover and then a smile at Dot. "He's just joking. she said, calmly. "In joke. You had to be there in order to understand it."

"Couple joke." Dot said, with a grin.

"Yeah." AndrAIa muttered.

"Besides," Dot said, laughing herself. "It's not like the three of you are planning something."

AndrAIa started to laugh when she stopped. "What?"

"I mean," she continued, having her own fit of hysterics. "What're you doing? Trying to keep Bob living with me so you and Matrix can have his apartment?"

AndrAIa's mouth dropped. How in the Net...? She knew Dot was good at finding out stuff, but the information hadn't even gotten past anyone except the three of them, so how in the Web could she possibly...Dot looked at AndrAIa's astounished face, before it break into laughter as well.

"That's...that's funny, Dot." she said, laughing along with the joke. "What an utterly ridiculous idea. We...we would never think of that....how in the FAQ did you?" The last part was under her breath.

"What was that?" Dot asked.

"Nothing." AndrAIa gulped slightly, somehow knowing their perfect plan had been corrupted.


AndrAIa stormed into Bob's...almost theirs...apartment and saw Matrix immediately. He was sitting on the couch, smiling, but seeing her expression his smile quickly faded. "Something wrong, babe?" he asked, tentively.

"So we don't like each other all that much, huh?" she asked, her arms folded across her chest.

Matrix's eyes widen, knowing the statement. "Andri, now I didn't mean that." he started, standing and walking towards her. "She wanted to keep Enzo there and we couldn't have that. It just came out!"

"I bet."

"Aw, come on Andri." he said, rubbing her arm. "She's getting kinda suspicious, I had to say something."

Her features softened. "I know." she sighed. "Speaking of which, I think Dot knows more than we gave her credit for." She repeated their conversation to the renegade, who sat down on the arm of the chair.

"You really think she knows?" he asked, quietly.

"You said she's getting suspicious." AndrAIa replied. "But don't forget. Bob and Dot have a more...intimate relationship now. We could just be overacting."

That seemed to perk him up a bit. "Yeah, huh?" he said. "They aren't exactly friends anymore, not really. There's no she'd make him leave now. That means he can stay there and we can stay here," He took her in his arms and hugged her. "Man, AndrAIa, this plan is going better than I thought." He pulled back and looked at her. "And you thought it wasn't going to work."


Dot was in her restuarant office, trying to go over figures, but having a hard time concentrating. The look AndrAIa gave her when she made up that plan made Dot wonder. It did seem a bit odd that those three spent so much time together, especially with Bob living with them. If anything, she would think Enzo would want to stay home.

The more she thought about it, the more she figured it could happen.

And the more she figured it could happen, the more she figured it was happening.

As Dot thought, she suddenly felt a pair of hands on her shoulders, scaring half ot deletion. Turning around, she saw Bob backspacing away. "Bob!" she exclaimed.

"Hi to you, sweetheart." he said, keeping his distance.

"You scared me." she said, relaxing back in her chair. Bob approached again, massaging her shoulders. "How did you get in here in the first place?"

"I can make portals and the like, you know." he whispered, planting a kiss on her neck. "I missed you. I wish I could've stayed this morning."

"Me too." she admitted, slowly coming under his control. She snapped out of by pulling away from him and turning to face him. "Bob, there's something I have to tell you."

"I kinda wanna tell you something, too." he said. "Ask you something really..."

"Bob, this whole thing has been a set up." she said.

"Dot, will you...what?"

"I was talking to AndrAIa today and in no uncentain she basically told me she, Matrix, and Enzo planned this whole thing." she continued.

"What're you talking about?" he asked, confused.

"This whole thing!" she cried, standing up and pacing about. "They wanted you to move in so Matrix and AndrAIa could have your apartment."
"But...you asked me to..."

"I know," she sighed. "But I was having second thoughts and Enzo was right there to talk me out of it. I should've known something was up when he actually used the word 'merger'."

Bob stood, slightly confused....perplexed was more like it. "But that's okay." she continued. "I just got word from the foreman that they've moved the construction to the other side of the building, so you can move back in. Don't worry." she said, seein the look on his face. "I'll get AndrAIa and Matrix an apartment."

"So..." he started. "That's it? I move back in?"

She looked at him and was suddenly at a loss for words. "Bob..." she started. "You knew you couldn't stay. Didn't you? You have to go home, Bob."

"I thought I was home." he whispered, looking at her. Dot looked away, not wanting to see the look of hurt on his face. "How long are we going to do this, Dot? This little dance of ours? What about last night or was that part of the 'merger' as well?"

"Bob!" she exclaimed, turning to face him again, his accusation stinging. "You know that's not true, but now that you mention it, this was supposed to be just a business venture and then things got personal..."

"Dot," he said, taking a step towards her. "Things between us have always been personal. At least to me anyways."

"To me, too!"

"Oh?" he asked, sarcastically. "Is that why you almost married Megabyte?" He regretted it as soon as it came from his mouth, but a part of him felt satisfied seeing the look of pain that flashed across her face momentarily.

"That was low, Bob." she growled.

"You're right." he said. "Maybe things between us just...you're right, Dot. I should go home. I'll get started packing my things." Instead of portaling out, he used the door and slammed it shut behind him.


Matrix and AndrAIa were just starting to pack their things when Enzo walked in and sat with a sigh on the couch. Matrix looked at his counterpart and went back to packing. "Come on guys," AndrAIa pleaded. "It was a good try, so don't feel bad. Things just didn't work out this time."

"I guess." the boys said, the same despression in their voices. Andri sighed. At any other time, the two would look at each other, surprised they'd been thinking the same thing. But this time....she shook her head. She wasn't sure if it was the news of the moving or if they had just gotten used to it by now.

Bob soon walked in, seeing Enzo ruffled his hair, and then walked into his bedroom. The group stopped to watch as he returned a few nanos later, suitcase in hand and headed for the garage. The trio followed him slowly as he checked his classic car and looked at the keys.

"Um....hey Bob?" Matrix asked. "Whatcha doin'?"

Bob walked over to AndrAIa and handed her the keys. "You'll take care of my car, huh?" he asked.

"Sure Bob." she said. "What're you doing?"

"I just wanted to let you guys know you can keep the apartment." Bob said, with a smile.

"Yes!" the boys cried.

"We knew you'd convince Dot to let you stay." Enzo said.

"I knew you weren't moving out, Bob." Matrix replied.

"Actually guys, I am out."

"Oh, you found another apartment?" Andri asked.

"You could say that." he said. He looked at the three, trying to find some way to tell them. He ust decided to them straight out.

"I'm leaving Mainframe."


Bob was preparing for his departure from Mainframe later that afternoon. He hated seeing the looks in the Matrix brothers' eyes when he told them he was leaving. They looked crushed almost. He knew once he left, Dot would take the heat for it and that was something he really didn't want to happen.

The guardian sat in the driver's seat of his car, saying his goodbyes to the classic 262. He loved this car, but he knew in AndrAIa's hands it might actually work. He looked up and said, "I didn't think I'd see you."

"I thought you had left." she said.

"I was about to." He looked over and saw her standing there, her eyes pleading with him to probably stay, but he had made up his processor to leave.

"Bob, you don't have to do this."

He sighed and stood from the car, closing the door tightly. "I have to, Dot." he said, picking up his bag.

"Bob, if this is about the apartment..."

"It's not the apartment, Dot." he said, his voice cracking slightly. "Turbo offered me my old teaching gig at the Academy. It'll be great going back."


"I just...I just have to think about a few things." he said. He was quiet for a time, trying to hold his emotions. "I love you, Dot. So much it hurts. I forgave you a long time ago, but there's still a little part of me that just can't."

She laughed a little, biting her bottom lip. "I guess I deserve this." she said. "I finally pushed you to the breaking point, huh? Now it's my turn."

Bob shook his head. "Dot..."

"You're coming back, aren't you?"

He closed his eyes and turned to look at her. "I don't know." he said. He held out his hand for her to take. "It was nice knowing you, Dot Matrix."
She grabbed his hand. "Likewise." she whispered. In an instant, he had pulled her towards and their lips met passionately. Pulling apart, she finally let the tears fall. "Don't go." she said.

Bob fought to hold on to his own tears. He kissed her forehead before turning, opening a portal, and stepping through it.