Author's note: After being instructed by Claire to write a mushy Bob and Dot fic, I came up with this. It is mushy. Halfway through it changes from cute to bizzare and then plunges into sappy romance. I'm actually pretty happy with how it came out, and apparently so is Claire.
E-mail comments to me. Blame everything on Claire. :)
Disclaimer: Guess what? I don't own ReBoot. This is just a fan fic. I have no intention of making money on this. So nyah to all you lawyer.
I now present,
She strode into the diner and locked eyes with Guardian 452. It amazed Bob that such a short woman could tower over him like she was a goddess.
Bob reconsidered that thought. Dot Matrix could tower over him like a goddess, because if she had her way - and she always did - she’d have Bob treat her like a queen for the rest of her life. The way it was looking, Dot would get her way once more.
Dot slid into the seat next to Bob. Bob offered his energy shake to her and Dot finished it off. How she managed to get the last drops from the bottom of the cup /without/ making those slurpy noises was a mystery. Bob thought it best not to try to figure out these things.
“We are going out,” Dot announced. At this, several binomes turned in their seats to watch the action.
What was for Bob and Dot, a happy little relationship, was for everyone else in Mainframe, the main attraction in their lives. Forget Daemon threatening their very existence - this was the cover story of everyday life. Everyone would be counting on the few in the diner to repeat precisely what each of the sprites said.
Cecil looked like he was going to shoo everyone out of the diner, then had second thoughts and turned on a mini recorder.
“Where are we going?”
“Well, I was thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if we went...rollerblading?”
“What?” Several diner occupants whipped out notepads. Dot continued, “I must not have heard you clearly.”
“Well, Dot, I can’t - ”
“Nonsense! I really want to go rollerblading, and it’s my turn to pick the thing we do.”
“Dot, I don’t think - ” Bob was silenced by Dot. She had leaned over and given the guardian a full lip-lock. When she pulled back, Bob’s head was spinning clockwise and the rest of his body felt like it was going counterclockwise .
Dot smirked. “Now!” She look Bob straight in the face. “We are going to go rollerblading. Tonight.”
“The thing is - ”
“Or, I can knock the dork out of you in front of everyone here.”
Bob tried to consider his options. “Dot, what I wa - ”
“Great. Pick me up at eight.” Dot pecked Bob’s cheek and hopped up. Before disappearing into the back of the diner, she blew a kiss to him. From out of seemingly nowhere, a flashbulb illuminated the room.
“I am a dead man walking.”
From the other side of the diner, a certain Matire’d commented, “He ez a dead man walking.”
“I don’t know,” Dot Matrix said as she fumbled with a zipper on her shorts. “Do you think I’m too hard on him?”
“No way,” AndrAIa called from the next room. Her voice was louder than usual, to be heard over the almost flawless Beethoven that drifted from the living room. “You have to let him know who’s boss.” She looked over Matrix’s shoulder. “Six letter word for varied? Motley.”
“Hmm.” Matrix wrote that into the crossword.
“You’re right. I mean, it IS my turn to name the date.” Dot pulled a big T-shirt over her head. “It’s not like I’m making him go watch a ballet.”
“Ballets are stupid anyway,” Matrix muttered.
“They’re a cultural experience.”
“Cultural experience my ascii.” It was then the almost perfect ‘Moonlight Sonata’ paused. “D sharp on the left hand!” Matrix snapped. “Sheesh, kid can’t even appreciate a piece like that.”
Dot came out of her room with an amused look. “You were saying?” Matrix shrugged and went back to his crossword once more.
Enzo came out of the living room. “Your hour of practice isn’t up,” Dot said, tapping her wristwatch.
“My sharps sound flat. I’m getting the tuning fork.” Enzo exited the room.
“I think he just is hitting the wrong keys,” Matrix said conversationally.
“Anyway, Bob’ll be here in a minute. You guys know the drill.”
“No TV after nine, food’s in the freezer, and be sure to tape ‘Who Wants to be Really Rich.’”
Dot tossed AndrAIa a grin and grabbed a helmet that sat on the table just as the doorbell rang.
Bob had been incredibly nervous the entire afternoon. As he went out to buy a pair of rollerblades and all the safety equipment that went with it, he had been plagued with flashbacks of his childhood. While other boys had whipped each other at roller hockey, Bob frightfully turned his head. It was kind of embarrassing for his wimpy baby sister to be showing off with her little skates while Bob cowered.
Yet, he had survived the teen years. After all, he could zip board pretty well, and the academy didn’t require you to be able to rollerblade to graduate.
Now, Bob had tried rollerblading. Once. According to the guardian’s journal, the fence came out of nowhere. Perhaps those things are best left in the past.
And so, the blue sprite had thrown his brand-new rollerblades into his car, hopped fearlessly in (more or less) and drove over to Dot’s place. He tried his best to ignore the violent butterflies in his stomach as he rang the bell.
“Hey, Bob,” Dot greeted him as she opened the door. Then, turning her head back into the apartment one last time, “Be good! Have fun!”
“I parked illegally so we have get to the car,” Bob grinned.
“Are you going to arrest yourself?” Dot teased.
“No,” Bob said as he took her rollerblades. “I planned on letting you have the honor.”
Dot laughed and led the way to Bob’s beat up vessel of transportation. Better know as his car.
As Dot talked excitedly about what happened at work that day, Bob felt his fears subside. When he thought about it, rollerblading might not be that hard, now that he was an adult. It couldn’t be any more so difficult than riding a web creature through a data storm, trying to avoid enemy webriders in a 50 pound suit made out of dead webcreatures that offered minimal flexibility, and trying to keep his helmet on at the same time.
“Anyway,” Dot concluded as she slipped into the driver’s seat. “Mind if I drive?”
“By all means.” Bob took all of Dot’s gear and put it in the back with his stuff.
“I thought we’d go to Floating Point, where they have trails and so on to use. Have you ever been on them?”
“No, can’t say that I have.” What Bob didn’t know was that while he cringed at the sight of rollerblades, Dot had been on an all-boys roller hockey team during her pre-teen years. In the course of one season, she had beaten up an average of 10.7 twelve to fourteen-year olds a game.
In short, a little skate around Floating Point would be a piece of cake.
Bob had been deep in thought, pondering things like kneepads and helmets when a sharp poke brought him back to reality.
“We’re here,” Dot said in a tone that suggested it wasn’t her first time saying that.
“Sorry,” Bob mumbled as he scrambled out of the car. Dot killed the ignition and slipped out of the driver’s seat. Bob looked around and noted that the park was pretty empty. There was a binome family a ways off, but that was it. He decided that was to his advantage.
Dot handed Bob his rollerblades and then proceeded to primly sit on the ground and put her own on. All of Bob’s fears came rushing back as he examined the heavy footwear in his hand. He instantly regretted not having asked the salesperson teach him how to put these things on.
“Bob, why aren’t you getting geared-up?” Dot looked at Bob, trying to hide a smirk.
Does she know? Bob wondered. User, is she does... Bob shuddered slightly.
But then he made a discovery! The rollerblades had these clever little ribbed snaps! If you can get those undone you can made the opening wide enough to fit your ankle in. He wasn’t doomed!
“I’m fine,” Bob announced as he flopped to the ground and started putting the blades on. There. One hurdle jumped.
Now there was the matter of the assorted safety equipment. Grabbing a hard plastic object, he started strapping it to his knee.
Dot poked the guardian. “Bob, hon? That goes on your elbow.”
“Eh...right.” Bob corrected his error.
Dot sighed and grabbed the hand that held the elbow-pad. “Bob, you can’t rollerblade, can you?”
“It’s not that. It’s just - ”
“It’s just you can’t rollerblade. Why didn’t you tell me?”
Bob turned to Dot, blushing profusely. “I /tried/ to tell you, but I couldn’t get you to listen. Anyway, I thought I’d be able to figure it out when I got the cursed things on.”
“Hmm. I’m sorry, baby.” Bob grimaced at the nickname but Dot continued. “Why don’t I teach you right now? It’s not that hard. You up to it?”
Well, of course he was up to it. Sit here like a doofus while Dot skated circles around him? No way. But all Bob said was, “Yeah.”
“Great. Now see,” Dot picked up another plastic article. “This goes around your wrist, just like this...”
Ten minutes later, both Bob and Dot were properly protected by knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and helmets.
“Now all you have to do is push - and glide.” Dot demonstrated by pushing off with her left foot and gliding with her right. “Push. Glide. Push. Glide.”
“Uh-huh.” Bob was more or less standing, his arms wrapped around a pole for support. Dot skated back to where Bob was and offered her hand.
“Ready to try?”
Bob nodded and took Dot’s. “Push and Glide?”
“Push and Glide,” Dot said.
Bob pushed. And then he glided. About one foot. “Ah!”
“Steady!” Dot yelped as she grabbed Bob’s other hand to keep him from tumbling. It did not keep him from trembling.
Dot giggled, not at Bob, but just at the absurdity of the whole picture. It was truly a miracle that no one was hanging around that part of Floating Point that day. “Try again.”
Bob pushed -
Dot held her breath...
- and glided.
Dot grinned in a totally un-Dot-like way and kept a slow pace with Bob.
“This isn’t half bad,” Bob amended as he cautiously skated. He sped up a bit and Dot kept up holding his hand to keep him steady the whole time. “Okay, how do you turn?” He asked, sneaking a quick questioning glance at Dot.
“Just turn your body in the direction that - woah!” Bob had already turned and Dot was swung along for the ride. He did that twice more, and now Dot was prepared.
“This is cool. Very cool,” Bob announced. He ignored Dot’s eye-rolling.
“Okay, Bob. I’m going to let go, and you just keep on going. All right?”
“Mmm,” Bob nodded and skated around a bit while Dot watched.
And then Bob allowed himself to gloat a little. He was doing pretty good, he thought. So, the blue sprite sped up a little more. He started skating down the sidewalk and away from Dot.
“Bob!” Dot called. “Be careful!” She skated up to keep pace behind him and make sure he didn’t do anything stupid. Well, anything that was more stupid than normal.
“Don’t worry, Dot,” Bob yelled over his shoulder. Still facing Dot, he continued, “I’ve got it covered.”
“Bob!” Dot had been watching the space in front of Bob and... “Watch out for the -”
Dot stopped and stared in horror. Bob just watched Dot, the pole, and the world around him go black...
“Ugh.” Bob opened his eyes and made the observation that his vision was blurred. “Man, I must’ve really knocked my head...”
Bob was laying down on a bed, and was staring at the ceiling. How he got there...well the guardian was not entirely sure. In fact, he wasn’t sure at all.
He sat up, resting on his elbows. He tumbled out of the bed and looked around. He was in a bedroom, and from what he could see through his blurred sight, it was as neat as a pin.
Bob rubbed his eyes with a fist and slowly the world came back into focus “Much better.”
However, that did little to answer all the questions that were swimming through his brain. Who’s bedroom was this? How did he get here? And who was yelling in the next room?
The guardian decided it wouldn’t hurt to wander out of the bedroom. He opened the door and peeped his head out into the hallway. It branched off in two directions: left and ahead. Bob followed the voices, which were coming from ahead.
The room he entered was a typical living room. Couch, TV, doorway to a dining room, front door, and two teenagers. Wait...two teenagers? Bob scratched his head.
“Okay, Jason,” the girl was saying. “If I don’t get my money back in five seconds, I swear, I’m gonna scream and wake Dad up.”
“I told ya! I need it for my date!”
“One...,” the girl began. Bob guessed she was about fifteen.
“Alex, don’t....,” Looking at the boy, Bob thought him to be about seventeen. But then again, he stunk at guessing ages.
“Ahem,” Bob cleared his throat. Both of the kids looked up so fast Bob was surprised they didn’t get whiplash.
The boy laughed nervously, “Hehe, um, hi Dad.”
“Dad?” Bob scratched his head.
“Daddy, are you feeling better?” The girl hopped up and hugged Bob. The poor guardian just blinked. “Mom said you had one of your migraines.”
“Mom?” Bob was almost certain that he was dreaming. One, he didn’t have children. Two, he didn’t get migraines.
“Yeah. She’ll be back from work soon,” the boy nodded.
Come to think, they /did/ look an awful lot like him. The girl, Alex, had the same shade blue skin as him and the same nose. Jason had his color hair and skin.
And then he noticed another thing. Alex had very dark green hair and violet eyes. Jason’s eyes matched hers. Alex had a pair of red lips that were at the moment shaped into an all too familiar smile.
Jason looked at Bob. “Mom? She’s not here. I just told you that.”
“Yeah. I...” Bob sighed. “Sooo. Do you know what Mom’s doing at work?”
Jason shrugged. “Work.”
Well, duh, Bob thought.
“Dork,” Alex reached over to hit her brother. “She’s getting the shake machine fixed and dealing with the Briar account.”
“So, she’s at the diner?”
Bob looked down at his left hand. A wedding band. He thought it kind of tacky. “Erm, I gotta go talk to her. Um...be good.”
“What about dinner?” Alex looked expectantly at Bob.
Bob bit his lip. “Order pizza.” He ran to the door and got his blue butt out of there.
Out into Mainframe. Bob looked around, as if expecting someone or something to tell him what was going on. Of course that didn’t work. He looked back at the ring he was wearing and took it off. There was something engraved on the inside. ‘Bob, if you’re looking at this ring you must not be paying attention to me. Back to work.’ Typical Dot.
This dream, or whatever it was beginning to make him one p.o’ed guardian. He had forgotten a zip board and he didn’t want to see what this reality had done to his car, so he walked.
He steadily approached the diner. At least /that/ looked the same. Well, except that Frisket wasn’t waiting by the door to terrorize him. Still, that dog could be anywhere.
Walking in, he noted that the diner was beginning to empty out. It was the slow time between lunch and dinner.
He turned toward Dot’s favorite booth and smiled.
There she was.
He wanted to run up to Dot and give her a big kiss and make sure that this wasn’t some twisted version of Dot that his dream had created. Something stopped him.
Well, actually, a few things.
Dot sat there, glaring at her organizer with about half a dozen vid windows open. She was typing into another data pad and her lips moved as she read whatever her organizer displayed.
That was normal. The only part that wasn’t normal with that first picture was that Dot wasn’t conferring via vid window at the same time she did everything else.
Dot was dressed in a gray skirt and blazer with...
Dot was looking up. She spotted Bob and jumped up from her spot.
“Hey, sweetie,” She said as she approached him.
Two things Bob hadn’t noticed were now very apparent as Dot kissed him. Dot’s hair had been cut. It was a blunt chin-length style that was a very Dot-like-do. There was just one thing wrong with her hair. You couldn’t notice it unless you were up close. Tiny, tiny little flecks of gray speckled her dark green hair. She was graying.
Dot wasn’t supposed to be graying..
Okay, maybe she was /here/ but Bob had just made out with her the other night and didn’t noticed any little gray hairs then.
Another thought hit the guardian. “Dot, do you have a mirror?”
The green sprite looked slightly confused. “Yeah...why?”
Bob sighed. “Can I just see it, please?”
Dot went back to the table and dug through the hand bag that sat there. She produced a compact and handed it to Bob. He peeped in the mirror and...
Bob’s hair was grayish, but that was normal for him. However, he had those interesting little wrinkles on his forehead that he always heard people complain about. And, oh yeah. His hairline didn’t start were hairlines normally start.
“I’m old,” Bob whispered in half disbelief. Dot laughed.
“Baby,” It didn’t matter if this was a dream or not, Bob still hated that nickname. “Forty-five is /not/ old.” Dot wrapped her arms around him. “You, my pooky are in the prime of your life.”
Forty-five? Bob would have made gagging sounds but he was too busy experiencing pure shock. “I’m over the hill!”
“Bob, sit down.” Dot led the very upset sprite to a table. “Now, haven’t you talked about this with Dr. Wohin? C’mon, are you okay?”
Okay, keep your cool, Bob coached himself. This is only a dream. Aloud, he said, “So, um, how was your day?”
Dot gave him a weird look. “Fine. You asked me that at lunch. Don’t you remember?”
“Of course!” Bob tried to laugh. “Sure, I’m just in a redundant mood! Yeah.”
“Uh-huh.” Dot handed Bob her glass of water. “Did Alexandria get her homework done?”
Alexandria? Oh, right, Alex. “Um...I don’t know,” Bob sighed.
Dot held her hand up to Bob’s head. “Are you feeling okay? You’re acting weirder than usual.”
“I’m fine...just tired,” Bob was running out of things to say, and he wasn’t sure the third degree was over yet.
“But weren’t you just sleeping?”
“I..er...hit my head!” Bob jumped up. “We went rollerblading and I hit my head. I hit it on a pole! Hard. Very hard.”
“Well, that’s how it happened! And than I woke up...and I’m old! Like right now. And you’re old too and - ”
“Hold it right there. I’m not old.” But Bob didn’t hear her.
“Well forty-five is old to me. So tell me why I’m...you know.” Bob gestured wildly to his head.
“It’s hereditary Bob, it’s just because -”
“Because I hit my head! I am balding because I hit my head.” Bob flopped down onto the floor. “What am I gonna do?”
“Um...Cecil? Call Phong, I think we have a problem, here.” Dot leaned down next to Bob. “It’s okay... We’ll get your medication and everything will be all right.”
Bob sat on the hospital bed and swung his legs nervously. Dot was holding his hand and talking to him as if he were a baby. It was then the door swung open and Phong rolled in.
“Phong, I’m glad you could...come.” Dot shot a glance at Bob. He could hear her whisper to Phong, “I think he’s really lost it this time.” Dot turned back to Bob and kissed him. “It’s okay. Just relax.”
Phong turned to Bob. “So you say you hit your head rollerblading and woke up old. Do I have that right, my child?”
“Right.” Bob pointed a finger at Dot. “It’s her fault. She took me.”
“I swear Phong, I didn’t take him.”
“Hmm.” Phong poked Bob in the stomach. “Have you experienced any weight change?”
“No.” Bob sighed. “Look. I think this is all just a dream. So maybe if you just let me sleep I’ll wake up and everything will be back to the way it was.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to lock him up? Or divorce him, perhaps.”
“No!” Dot grabbed Bob’s hand. “I made vows that I’d take care of this man in sickness and in health! Seventeen years later I plan to stick by those vows in his time of need. I don’t care how crazy he is, I love him!”
“Wow, Dot. That was beautiful.” Bob looked at Dot.
“Thank you, muffin.” Dot hugged Bob and then directed her attention back to Phong. “So just give him some pills or something.”
“Are you sure? I mean...he /is/ old.”
“Well at least Phong believes me,” Bob muttered.
“Bob,” Dot sighed. “One, you are not old! Two, I love you any way! I’d love you if you were eighty-five!”
“I’m not eighty-five, right?” Bob looked alarmed.
“No!” Do shook her head. “Idiot.”
“Ah!” Bob yelled suddenly. Dot’s face had turned into Cecil’s. “Bob?” Cecil blinked.
“Bob?” Slowly, Bob opened his eyes to be greeted with the face of Dot. She didn’t have any gray hairs. He reached up to touch his head and his hairline was not receding.
“Woah,” was about all Bob could muster at the moment.
“Are you okay? You really hit your head. You were knocked out for awhile.” Dot’s forehead was creased with concern. Bob reached to touch it.
“Don’t crinkle your forehead like that. You’ll get wrinkles and look like you’re forty-five.”
Dot stared at Bob for a long minute before bursting out with laughter. “Where’d that come from?” She managed to gasp out between giggles.
Bob sat up and rubbed his face. “I don’t know.”
“You were yelling, ‘You’re not my wife!’ You had me worried."
“I had a weird dream.”
“I can imagine.” Dot stood up. “Anyways, we’d better get you home. You’re all cut up, and I want to have a look at that bump on your head.”
“Ow!” Bob bit his lip. “Does it have to hurt?”
“That’s how you know the alcohol is killing the germs. I told you it’d hurt a little.” Dot resumed gently cleaning Bob’s scraped knee. Once finished, she put on a bandage and kissed the knee. “All better.”
“Good.” Bob adjusted the bag of ice that was on his head. Dot climbed onto the couch and curled up beside him.
“You feeling better?”
“So what was that dream about?”
“Well...” Bob told her everything, letting it all spill out.
“Wow, Bob.” Dot raised her head to look at him. “And did you learn anything?”
“What?” Bob blinked.
“Well, normally, when people have dreams like that it’s supposed to mean something.”
“Um...,” Bob pondered this for a minute. “Appreciate being young because one day you’ll wake up and go into mid-life crisis!”
“Somehow, Bob, I don’t think that’s what it was about.”
“Well, what do you think it meant?”
“I think...” Dot paused. “I think it was just stating a fact for you to see.”
“But, what fact?”
“Well, you were getting all worried about rollerblading, right?”
“Because...because...,” Bob blushed. “Because I didn’t want you to think I was a wimp.”
“Aha. But you see, I didn’t care, right?”
“Right. Dot, what are you getting at?”
Dot straightened up and leaned her face in close to Bob’s. “In the dream you were old, and I didn’t care. So, the dream was trying to say that you don’t need to sweat over all those little things and worry about what I’m going to think.”
“Because I love you, silly!”
“Oh!” Bob laughed. “So I shouldn’t worry about all the silly things like being old and not being able to rollerblade.”
“I think, maybe you should start charging people to get advice from you.”
Dot laughed and laid her head on Bob’s shoulder. Bob wrapped his arm around her. “I think I’ll just stick with advising you.”
They kissed. And just like the old black and white movie that Mike and been showing, the scream fuzzed out on the couple to save the audience’s decency.