Disclaimer: I don't own ReBoot, or Apple, or Microsoft. I also don't own Bob or Noah Wyle, although I wish I did. I do own me, however, so please don't use me without permission. :)
The door opened and then shut with a definitive, yet satisfying slam. Dripping wet, tired, and mildly pissed-off, one very agitated Bootnik, namely, Paige, stood in on the wet linoleum in the front entry of her home. She stood there for a full two minutes until a crack of thunder snapped her into action. She stumbled towards the computer, slipping on the wood floor, trying to make it to the computer before a unlikely but certainly viscous bolt of lightening hit the townhouse and fried the apparatus.
Upon skidding to a halt in front of the surge protector that lay next to the desk, she discovered that it had already been unplugged and switched off, along with the AC adapter for the speakers.
"Huh," was all she could offer. With a scratch to her wet hair, she turned and headed towards the upstairs, hoping to flop down onto her bed and die.
"Hey, Paige." He sat at the foot of the bed, watching the thirteen inch TV that was sitting on a cheap coffee table. He was wearing a large pair of sweatpants and a Washington DC shirt. He was blue.
Oh, right, Paige reminded herself. Bob lives here. She dropped her bag onto the floor by the door, and sidestepped to her bed, sitting at the head of it.
"You know, Bob, if you sit on the floor, you don't have to look down to see the TV. It's more at eye-level that way."
"My butt falls asleep on the floor. You need one of those beanbag chairs."
"Use a pillow. There's one in the linen closet.
Bob shrugged. "I'm good for now. This is almost over." Bob gestured towards the show he was watching. It was some show on Lifetime, presumably a movie about Woman A becoming empowered after screwing over Man A who ruined her life, with help from Woman B, the token well-known actress who also produced the movie. Paige sighed.
"It's better than the soaps, I guess," she muttered.
"What?" Bob asked, not turning away from the screen.
"Nothing." Paige waited for the final scene in which Woman A and Woman B hug and feel empowered, and when the credits started rolling, she took the remote from Bob's hand and clicked the TV off. She turned to Bob. "So tell me what happened today, O captive of mine."
"Your mother called."
Paige blinked. "You picked up the phone?"
Bob shook his head. "No, but when the caller didn't leave a message, I star sixty-nined them. It was your mom."
"She knew I was at school."
"Well, no offense, but she's almost as paranoid as you sometimes."
Paige looked hurt. "Gee, thanks."
"I meant it with love. Honest."
"You're just saying that because I feed you."
Paige glanced at the alarm clock on her nightstand. Two thirty-five. The whole, stormy afternoon was ahead of them. It was still a long way until dinner. Withholding a sigh, she headed over to the left side of her room to grab a dry pair of pants from her closet. Bob politely looked away while she pulled on the torn jeans and threw the wet pair into the dirty clothes basket.
"It's safe," she said once finished, and Bob looked back. "Thanks for unplugging the computer, by the way. I don't want it to fry."
"Well, I had to think of all the people who live in there."
Paige laughed. "The thing's an antique. All sentient life either died or moved out years ago. That's why Windows Media Player doesn't work."
"Windows Media Player doesn't work, because it's Windows."
"Well, why does my computer crash every time I try to open up Quicktime? That's made by Apple, isn't it?"
"You have a virus on the computer, that's why."
"I do not!"
"You haven't updated your virus files since '97. You've opened three suspicious e-mails that crashed Outlook Express this past week alone. If you don't have a virus by now, my name isn't Bob."
"Nice to meet you, Larry."
Bob threw his hands up in the air. "You're such a pain in the ascii sometimes! Update your virus definition files."
Bob crossed his arms over his chest and gave Paige a tired look. "Why not?"
"Downloading things scare me."
"You're lame, you know that?"
"So says the BLUE man who yodels!" Bob glared at her, annoyed.
Paige felt a sudden urge to keep the peace, and not upset Bob. "I'm sorry, Bob. I didn't mean to be difficult."
"Sure," Bob replied stiffly.
"Well, okay." Paige went back to sit on the bed, this time next to Bob at the foot of it. She bounced on it slightly, trying to think of a way to change the subject without being too obvious. She had to be as nice as possible to Bob so as not to incur the wrath of all the Bob-lovers online. They were a crazy bunch at times, and even though Paige was one of the more nutty ones, she still feared them and held them in enough respect not to torture the blue guardian. Plus, Bob was just so damn cute, and she liked watching his shoulders move as he talked. He wouldn't do that if she was mean to him, or mad him mad at her. "What else did you do today, besides watch Lifetime movies?"
"I read some of your old Clue books. I solved some of the mysteries without having to flip the book over and check!"
"No kidding?" Paige was instantly jealous - she always had to check the solution.
"No kidding. I really like Professor Plum. He's kind of like Phong."
Paige hadn't thought of that before, and she voiced this. "Maybe later we can play Clue."
"You have the boardgame?"
"Oh, sure. It's in the basement."
Bob looked at the short girl in awe. "That's so cool."
"Um, I've got Jenga down there too. And Chutes and Ladders."
"Well, I like to use the Jenga blocks to make marble tracks. Do you have marbles?"
"You have Jenga in Mainframe?"
"Um..." Bob blushed. He hadn't wanted to let on that he had secretly been playing with the Jenga blocks, but now he was caught in his deception. Pooh, he thought to himself with a sigh. "I also watched some movies!"
Paige blinked at the sudden change of subject. She wasn't sure what to do or say, but then remembered her pledge to keep Bob happy, and she mentally waved the statement off. "What did you watch?"
"And 'Pirates of Silicon Valley'."
"Ooh, that's a good one. It's awesome for a TV movie, don'tcha think?"
"It's all about computers - that's why I like it."
"Yes, well, sure. But it's got Noah Wyle in it, too. I like him."
"As apparent by the fact that you demand I tape ER for you all the time."
"Well, you know, he's hot!" She paused for a moment, then added quickly, "But not as hot as you, of course." They sat in silence for several moments, until Paige started speaking again. "You don't think..."
"But it'd be really cool if -"
"I mean, I know I'D like it -"
Paige made a face and looked dejectedly at the floor. "Fine."
"Paige, you are not writing a story in which Noah Wyle and me get it on. I forbid you."
"Just a short one?'
"I wouldn't even post it!"
"No. You've tortured me enough."
"I have not," Paige grumbled. Petulantly. She crossed her arms and stared sulkily off into space.
"You've kept me here for the last three years. Against my will."
"I feed you."
"I miss Dot."
"You did see Season Four, right? You miss that?"
"I don't hurt you. You have free reign of the place while I'm gone. You have clothes and food. And I'm nice to you, right?"
Bob sighed. "That's not it." He rubbed his forehead and tried to sort out what he wanted to say. "Look. When I came here, you were writing 'Initials'."
"And I stayed, because we both agreed you needed a fictive - me - to inspire you to not to totally mischaracterize me."
"Right. And I did good, didn't I?"
"Well, besides making me miss Dot in the Web, sure."
"Season Three was angsty, too, remember."
"I was in less than half of the season. But this isn't just about 'Initials'. What did you do after that?"
"I...I wrote 'Paladin'."
"When did you finish that?"
Paige blushed. "Um...August, I think."
"L-last, year." Paige looked at Bob worriedly. "What are you getting at?"
"Hear me out, here. How long after 'Initials' was finished was this?"
"Like, maybe a year. If that. Bob, I had things to do!"
"And since 'Paladin', what have you done?"
"I've done stuff!" Paige's voice was becoming quite shrill, and she didn't seem to care that the neighbors could probably hear her through the walls and were also probably telling everyone else in the complex that Paige talked to herself.
"It's something! And I've written poems!" Paige jumped up, tears in her eyes. "Bob, you can't force creativity!"
Bob jumped up now, too. He stuck a finger in her face accusingly. "Wrong! You've got creativity up the wazoo - I've seen the EIGHT comic book fics you've written in the past year. You're just lazy. And when you're not lazy, you're negligent!"
Bob started pacing. "Whatever happened to that story where Dot and I got trapped in that elevator?"
"Season Four came out. It was outdated!"
"Change it around a bit! Finish it! What about the post-End Prog. story? You didn't get farther than a page with that. And you made pages of notes on it!"
"I thought the plot was lame."
"That Frisket story?"
"Bob, that was years ago."
"The pre-Season One story."
Tears were streaming down Paige's face by now, her voice choking with sobs. "I got bored! I'm sorry! This isn't fair; I'm working on a fic right now."
"Oh, right. Great story, Paige. I've read it. You torture me again in it."
"I do not! I meant it to make you a bit happier. And it's kind of a redemption, after what happened in Season Four." Paige sniffed and wiped her runny nose with the back of her hand. Bob felt a twinge of pity and tossed her a box of tissues. Paige collapsed onto the floor with it and hiccuped. "I'm sorry," she said in a small, choky voice.
"We need to set some rules."
Paige sat up straighter, sill crying softly. "Right," she said in a beaten voice.
"If you don't want me to go to the police and tell them you've been keeping me here against my will for three years, you have to do what I say."
"They - they won't believe you. You're blue."
"I can try. Will you listen?"
Paige nodded and rubbed her left eye with her palm.
"Good. Quit drafting so many comic book stories. I'm sick of hearing about this Lame-O, Nightwing. You're not getting much done with him, anyway. ReBoot stories now take first priority."
"You must work on that new fic you're writing for at least fifteen minutes a day. I want a draft by the end of August."
"Mid-September. I have work and school."
"Fine." Bob sat back down onto the bed. "And don't make that story too weird. People are going to be freaked out anyway with what your doing to me in it."
"I can make it good."
"I'm sure you can. See to it that you do." Bob nodded to himself, then looked back at the small girl on the floor. He had actually made the creature cry. She was just too attatched to him; it wasn't healthy. "So are we in agreement?"
Paige nodded again, wiping her face dry.
Bob smiled. "Good. Can we go play Clue now?"
Paige looked up hopefully. "Can I write that Noah Wyle story?"
"You said you wanted fic!"
Bob sighed heavily. He missed Dot.