“Here ya go, brats,” Cree taunted, throwing the kids back into the cell room, “enjoy your extended stay here at ‘day care’…” She slammed the door and locked it before walking away.
Numbuh 652 glanced at her companion – he was already looking at her, so she ducked her head to avoid eye contact. He brushed himself off and checked her over, reaching his hand out to take hers. She whipped her head around while he held her hand – he was beginning to recognize her features, including her gloves.
“I believe we’ve met before,” he said, breaking the silence. Numbuh 652 gently pulled her hand away and stood up. She sat down a minute later on the metal bench on the very edge of the left side while he stood in front of her with one hand holding his elbow and the other under his chin.
“Oh now I remember,” he continued in less friendly tone, “you’re that girl I briefly spoke to before coming here.” The girl lowered her head and hushed her voice, nodding.
“You called me a foreign alien and said it was a shame I’m in the Kids Next Door…”
“Ah, yes, that sounds about right,” he replied, snapping his fingers. A silence followed between them until she made a comment.
“Your insult made me cry until I went to bed that night.”
He lowered his hands and slowly took a seat with her; he remembered seeing the shock in her face when he had said that to her days ago, but now he regretted it.
“I didn’t realize it would hurt you that much,” he admitted. He scratched his head and added, “I suppose it was uncalled for since you did nothing wrong to me.” The girl said nothing in response yet, so he swung his feet and proceeded with one last comment: “I’m sorry for being rude to you.”
“I forgive you,” she said with a shy smile. When he saw it, he smiled right back at her and slid a little closer, but not too closely.
“So tell me - what is your name?” he inquired simply.
“Nora,” she said, returning his gaze – she liked the color of his eyes. They were intriguing and she had trouble looking away from them. She thought they were the very shade of blue in the sky of her Ocean Eyes CD cover, which relaxed her, and so her uncertainty was repealed.
“I should’ve guessed. After all, a name so beautiful can only fit a girl of equal beauty,” he complimented, raising an eyebrow, “I would tell you my name too, but unfortunately it escapes me.”
“Aw, I’m sorry,” she replied, placing her hand on his shoulder, “maybe the code module will have you stored in the memory base.”
The boy seemed confused: “We didn’t have a device that contained information on every Kids Next Door member back in my day, and besides, I’ve already been decommissioned, as I’ve been told.” Numbuh 652 held her hands together in her lap with her hopes dwindling. He looked away for a moment: “Then again, we did have a large book…”
“Well…we’ll figure something out.” Her words of reassurance lifted his spirits – he was glad to have somebody who wanted to help him, especially now while he was trapped in a torturous environment. Though he hadn’t liked her at first, he admitted to himself that he would have wanted no one other than her with him now.
. . .
Back at Sector R, Numbuh 593 was checking the other kids’ rooms before going to bed just like he did every night. After shutting off Numbuh 641’s light and talking with Numbuh 650 that she should get some sleep, he turned a corner and climbed a flight of stairs to the next level of the tree house. Then he proceeded down the hall past the main control room and knocked on a door with a skull n’ crossbones sign nailed on it.
“It’s me, James,” he said. When he didn’t get a reply, he twisted the knob and opened the door – there was nobody inside which rose his suspicions, but he remembered that every now and then his comrade would be up later than the others. Figuring that would be the case, he closed the door and made his way to the last bedroom needing checking: his best friend’s.
When he reached it, however, he found a note taped to the door with his name on it. He removed it and read what she wrote:
Numbuh 666 and I are out on a mission to rescue Numbuh 19th Century. I got his coordinates from the moon base and found out that he’s in trouble. We’ll be back in a few hours – Nora
(P.S. My Piper is on my desk in case you’re wondering where he is now.)
His suspicions grew stronger as he tucked the note into his pocket and entered his friend’s room. Just like she wrote, the P.I.P.E.R. was smack dab in the middle of the desk, so he picked it up and looked at the coordinates. It showed a big red dot blinking in a small enclosure in a dark building not too far from Sector V, but he wasn’t sure if it was entirely correct; he turned it off, turned it back on, and then recalculated the ex-operative’s position using his the technical scanner in his bionic eye – it gave him the ability to track objects or persons without informing any of the moon base operatives. To his disbelief, the red dot was still in the dark building. Now feeling worrisome he tried to locate his teammates, starting with his best friend – he almost stopped breathing when another red dot appeared next to the first one.
“She’s in trouble?” he thought aloud, “Why isn’t James helping her?” He found Numbuh 666 in Sector V’s tree house, but his dot moved consistently, unlike the other two. In fact, he was starting to think that he was just as scared as he was – the thought strained his conscience. Nevertheless, Numbuh 593 always backed his teammates and ran off to his room to find a weapon or two, taking the P.I.P.E.R. with him.
. . .
Numbuh 666 woke to find that he’d been sleeping on the floor; he knew that he’d paced around the room until he dropped some time last night. He jumped up and saw Numbuh 2 asleep on the couch not too far away snoring with some drool at the corner of his mouth, so he jostled him awake.
“They won’t rescue themselves, you know,” he nagged him. The scientist adjusted his goggles and gave him a disapproving glance.
“Okay, okay, geez. I’m on it,” he replied. He got up and stretched while the darker boy huffed and rushed out of the room – he wanted to find the other kids and get them moving too. To his surprise, he almost bumped into his leader when he rounded a corner.
“Forsythe!” he exclaimed, “What’re you doing here?” He stepped back to give him some space, already able to see the anger in his eye.
“Numbuh 652 needs help, so I came here as quick as I could,” he said, holding his chicken pox gun over his shoulder, “Who’s in charge here?”
“I am, Numbuh 593,” answered Numbuh 1. He stood behind the boys with confidence despite knowing the other leader was far from happy.
“You have a plan established, right?” he asked, turning around to face him. His fellow leader nodded and put his hands on his hips.
“Absolutely, and I’d be happy to include you into it upon your request.”
“Good. She’s my best friend and I’m not about to sit idly while she’s in the hands of a villain.” With that, Numbuh 1 led him back inside and called the rest of his team up so they could all review the layout of the rescue mission.
. . .
The lights flashed on in the halls of the prison, awakening the kids in their cells. First to rise was the former operative - he opened his eyes and discovered that he’d slept on the bench cuddled up to his companion. When he pulled away from her, he also found that the room was actually much colder than he expected. His movement caused the girl to wake as well.
“Good morning,” he said, rubbing his eyes. Numbuh 652 yawned and stretched her legs before bidding the same to him.
“I hope you didn’t mind me falling asleep on you,” she said bashfully. The boy smirked, looking away as he slid closer to her, and took her hand in his. How he enjoyed seeing her cheeks flush with color at his approach each time.
“It was my pleasure having such a gentlewoman under my arm,” he charmed with a dashing spark in his eyes. Numbuh 652 touched her other hand to her lips as she attempted to veil a smile, but her blushing let her companion see through her rouse. With safe assurance that she was gradually becoming more comfortable around him, he slowly removed the glove and kissed the top of her hand. In response, her eyes lit up as they gazed at each other. Now he was certain she could be manipulated…
The title for this chapter's a bit of a misleader because the next chapter is when they're actually rescued.