A/N: I haven't written anything Tobecky-related in ages. It feel so good to write for this fandom again. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I started writing this fic.
Over on Tumblr, a few friends and I are hosting a "Tobecky Week", where we celebrate all things Tobecky and create content based on the themes of the day. If you want to participate, feel free to! You can even submit stuff late. We won't mind.
If you don't have a Tumblr, that's fine, too! You can still create stuff as long as you send the links to your work here: : / /
So this is just a short AU for the first day's theme "Role Reversal". My take on it was basically the idea of Tobey being a hero and Becky being the villain (who also has a crush on him). It's sort of a rewrite of how the episode "Have You Seen the Remote?" would go in this AU. Hopefully you all enjoy this first installment of fics I'll be writing for Tobecky Week!
Have You Seen My Robut?
"Another relaxing day begins as Tobey and his mother finally get to watch that movie they'd been wanting to watch for a while!" the Narrator began, his voice upbeat.
Not a moment after that announcement was made, his mother had to rush off to take care of some emergency at work. Of course, right when they found some time to themselves, something just had to come up. Something always came up.
Well, that was fine. His mother usually took care of things quickly enough.
In the meantime, he could just finish up his latest project to help the city.
But then his new robot had to go and malfunction on him and run off in a blaze of smoke. That certainly wouldn't help with his image.
He repressed the urge to scream and instead put that frustrated energy into making a tracking device that he fitted in the middle of his dotted heart insignia on his supersuit.
Yes, he, Tobey McCallister the Third, was the resident superhero, Techboy, but it had taken quite a long time for the people of Fair City to warm up to him. He thought this city would have learned to trust him after all the times he'd used his robots and gadgets to save them, but no. The masses could not be won with mixed signals.
He sighed. This blasted city had watched too many old movies, it seemed. Just because the odd robot went awry every now and then did not mean he wanted to destroy the city on purpose. There was a big difference between a boy genius and a mad scientist. His many battles against his old mentor Doctor Two-Brains made that perfectly clear. So why couldn't anyone accept him? What did he have to do to make everyone believe he was the good guy?
Still, he kept at it. His mother had instilled a strong sense of justice in him ever since he was born, so it was only natural that he turn to heroism when this city needed it most.
He didn't do it for the recognition, although being recognized and awarded the key to the city several times certainly was appreciated. He didn't want fame or money or any of that guff.
Mostly, he just wanted to be left alone.
He grimaced as he reluctantly thought back to his stubborn classmate, Becky Botsford. She was always so incessant in her accusations of him being Techboy, but, luckily, she was never able to find enough evidence to prove it. Not that that ever deterred her.
It was exhausting having to combat her every school day when she came up to him with another crackpot theory he could easily disprove.
"You have to be Techboy!" Becky would always insist.
This particular time, Tobey had been sitting under a tree reading a book, hoping he wouldn't be discovered. Most people had the good sense to leave him be, but not her. Never her.
He turned to her with a pained smile. "Oh? And what makes you think so today, Botsford?" he asked, shutting his book with more force than was necessary.
He'd only indulge her for the moment. It would get her to leave faster, anyway.
"I mean, you're the same age, the same height, you have the same sparkling blue eyes—"
Her pet monkey slapped his hand over his face.
"Er…the same attitude that I despise. Yeah, you're both so…so haughty!" she huffed, crossing her arms.
Tobey rose an eyebrow. "Haughty, hm?"
Becky blinked. "Oh, when someone is haughty, it means they arrogantly think they're superior to everyone. Like…Techboy may be a hero, but all his bragging about how much this city needs him can come off as pretty haughty sometimes. Or how like you scoff at everyone for…just being them. That's being haughty."
Tobey's face fell into an unimpressed deadpan. "I know what haughty means, Botsford. And I do not—I mean, Techboy doesn't brag. He's a hero. It's only natural he take some pride in his work."
"There's a fine line between proud and arrogant, Tobey."
"And Techboy manages to walk that razor-thin edge," he snapped back. "Now, if that's all you have today, then I suggest you leave. I'm in the middle of something, as you can see."
"Is it a book about robots?" she asked, her eyes gleaming.
"S-So what if it is?" he said, shoving the book behind his back. "I don't go up to you whenever you're reading a dictionary and proclaim you're WordGirl just from that."
Becky flushed red.
Tobey had long since suspected Becky Botsford to be the villain (and his self-proclaimed rival), WordGirl, but he had as little proof to go off of as she did. Only hunches, only vague feelings spurred on by small clues here and there that could ultimately mean nothing.
He supposed it wasn't so different from her suspecting he was Techboy, though he never went out of his way to bother her about it like she did with him. Whether Becky was WordGirl or not, though, it was clear that both she and the villain had feelings for his alter ego.
Clear to everyone but herself, anyway.
Becky gave a nervous laugh. "Don't be silly. Psh, I mean…me? WordGirl? Nah…."
He shrugged affectedly. "If you say so."
"I do say so! And I also say…I'm leaving!" she announced and whirled around.
He watched her and her monkey friend trot off with a faint smile then went back to his book.
And that was just yesterday, too.
He sighed yet again as he took off his glasses and stepped into his robotic supersuit. The suit automatically fit to his body, assembling itself piece by piece until it reached his neck. He slipped his black goggles on, blinking to adjust his vision back to normal. These goggles had been fitted with his latest prescription lens, so he had no trouble seeing as Techboy. In fact, these goggles were much better than his simple glasses. They alerted him to incoming dangers, helped him zero in on moving targets, and zoomed in on far-off objects he wanted to get a better look at. If this invention wasn't a dead giveaway as to who he was, he'd opt to just wear these all the time.
The suit itself made him ten times stronger than he really was, gave him the ability to fly, and had a number of other useful features and little gadgets that helped him stop the various criminals running amuck about Fair City.
He tapped the little tracking device on his chest to make sure it stuck, then finally hovered out of his shed to look for his robot. His mother would just have to wait a bit longer to finish the movie with him.
Techboy zoomed about the city, listening for any sign of citizens screaming or for his tracking device to beep. He made a mental note to tag all his robots from now on, regardless of their purpose.
Much to his utter shock, he suddenly slammed against someone else floating amongst the skyscrapers right as he turned a corner.
"Ow! Hey, who—"
"Techboy!" a high-pitched voice squealed, sounding equally as surprised.
Of course it had to be her.
"WordGirl. What a…lovely surprise," he grumbled.
"Fancy seeing you here!" she said, leaning much closer than she needed to. Her henchmonkey let out an impatient squeak that went ignored.
Techboy pinched the bridge of his nose and said, "Look, what are you doing here?"
"Just flying around hoping to catch your eye. I mean, seeing if anything catches my eye. My eyes, not your…amazing…sapphire….eyes…."
Techboy gave her a weary once-over, but let it go. "Well, you've also taken up my time, so if you could just…."
He reached for the tracking device on his chest, but it wasn't there. He patted his suit all over then glanced down in horror. The device was in little pieces on the sidewalk.
Techboy slapped his hand to his face with a groan. "Oh, joy. How am I going to find my robut now? You've wrecked the only thing that could find it."
WordGirl hunched her shoulders up. "Sorry…."
He took a deep breath. "It was an accident. It's alright. We just have to keep an eye out for it, and—"
"'We'? You said 'we', right?" she asked, her eyes sparkling.
He cleared his throat and floated a comfortable distance away from her. "Yes…we. Unfortunately, you are the only other person in this city that can fly, so I'll need your help in tracking it down. It shouldn't be too difficult. After all, six eyes are better than two."
Captain Huggyface shrieked in disapproval, and she quickly hissed, "Huggy, c'mon! He needs our help!"
He chirped again, gesturing at Tobey like he was nothing more than trash on the sidewalk.
"Yeah, I know, he's a hero, but we did destroy his tracking device, and…. Oh, I know that's good for us! …No, just…. I'll buy you something before we get home. Deal?" she whispered.
The monkey seemed to consider this, then glared over at him. He stuck his tongue out at him once then nodded back at WordGirl.
"So he'll help, I take it?" Techboy asked.
"Yup! I managed to persuade him."
Captain Huggyface rolled his eyes and muttered something under his breath.
"Alright, so where should we go first?" WordGirl asked, already scanning over the city.
Techboy gestured vaguely at all the skyscrapers. "I don't know. It could be anywhere now."
"This might take us the whole day then. Weeks, even. Let's just take our time with it. Maybe hold hands so we don't get lost." Her eyes flickered to his for a second before they darted away again.
When he threw her a deadpan look, she blushed and said, "What? It's a big city!"
Techboy just looked away to scan over the rest of the city. "If you were a giant malfunctioning robut, where do you think you would go?" he muttered, mostly to himself.
"What about there?" WordGirl said, pointing over at the convention center.
His goggles zoomed in on the banner hanging just above it. "Ah, the Annual Future Tech Convention," he mused. "I've been invited to give a few talks there every year, but I never go."
She tilted her head. "Why not? I'm sure they'd welcome you with open arms."
"Of course they would," he said, waving at her dismissively. "I'm the most formidable boy genius this world has ever known."
She continued to stare at him. "But…?"
"It's just…I…." He sighed. "I don't know…."
"No, c'mon. Tell me." WordGirl sat cross-legged in the air, waiting patiently.
Techboy hesitated. If he told her this, he was sure she would never let him live this down. And yet, her face was open, honest.
WordGirl stole and lied and poked fun of people's weaknesses until they crumbled, but all words were important to her. It would mean a lot for him if, just once, she would keep his secret.
"I'm not sure I'd be able to give a good speech," he admitted.
He laughed a little under his breath. The irony of being so aloof and haughty all the time meant that he wasn't good at being much of anything else. He tended to fumble over his more heartfelt words more than his standoffish ones. It was just so easy to save people at a distance. Facing them head-on was another matter entirely.
"I'm not that great with words," he continued, throwing her a wry smile. "Not like you are. You know exactly what to say all the time. Even if you use them as distractions or to bring people down…it's still a skill I admire."
WordGirl blushed at this then looked away. "Not all the time…. But thanks, Techboy."
He smiled, genuinely this time. "Yes, well, the convention does sound like an excellent idea. Perhaps my robut thought it could repair itself there."
She returned his smile with one of her own.
"Alright!" she said. "Let's go!"
"Later…" the Narrator said.
Techboy and WordGirl strolled out of the convention center, their arms full of all kinds of free stuff the convention center had handed out to them.
WordGirl had attached a headband with a fuzzy robot antennae on top of it to her helmet while Techboy had bags full of stuff that a number of his fans had given him while they were over there. He didn't even know he had such fervent fans. It was flattering, to say the least.
He reached out and flicked the antennae on her head, and the two laughed at the springy noise it made. Huggy just stuffed a handful of fries in his mouth, undeterred.
"Well," Techboy said finally, "my robut wasn't there."
"No…" she admitted. "But at least we got all this cool stuff."
Her bright smile fell as she watched him look over the city block, vigilant once more.
"We spent far too much time in there…. My robut could've wrecked half the city while I was here being foolish…."
He flew higher before she could say anything to him. A small pout tugged at her mouth as she reluctantly floated up with him.
The two scoured the park, only to get sidetracked by the playground per WordGirl's suggestion, then the library, only to stop and read a book on advanced robotics that she so happened to find.
There was no sign of his robot anywhere.
Techboy sighed as he finally took a seat on the edge of a building. WordGirl was kind enough to buy him ice-cream from the stand below, and the two sat eating in relative silence.
Captain Huggyface took the liberty of eating four different cones all at the same time. WordGirl had put the robot antennae headband on him, hoping to garner a small laugh from Techboy, but he wasn't even paying attention.
"Where is the confounded thing?" he grumbled after finishing off his cone. He would think a smoking six-story robot would be fairly easy to find, but their efforts had been maddeningly fruitless so far.
WordGirl sighed as she leaned closer to him. "I don't know. But it is nice to take a breather and watch the sun set," she sighed.
The sun set today was unusually breathtaking. The oranges and pinks and purples inked the sky in a colored haze as the sun continued to sink into the ocean. The cool breeze that wafted up from the sea below made him smile, just a bit.
He shook his head. They had no time for this. "Yes, but we still need to find my robut."
Just as he was about to glance at the docks, WordGirl flew in front of him and yelled, "Hey, we, uh, haven't checked out the movie theater yet!"
He blinked. "Why would my robut be at a movie theater?"
Someone screamed behind her, and she shut her eyes, resigned.
"That was a seagull!" she yelled, throwing her hands in front of his face. "Just a seagull! It certainly was not a person who found something scary on the beach!"
He squinted at her. "But it sounded like a person…."
"It's probably nothing. Why don't we head over to the theater and—"
He floated high above her and saw his robot collapsed and smoking on the sand. A few late beach dwellers had just come across it, based on the terrified looks on their faces.
"My robut!" he yelled.
When he caught WordGirl's panicked expression, he narrowed his eyes and asked, "Wait…did you know it was there the entire time?"
She smiled nervously. "Uh…not the whole time…."
When he glared at her, she added, "At least we had a good time together….right?"
He was so utterly taken aback by this that he was at a loss for words. Her puppy dog eyes certainly didn't help in that regard.
"Wha—I just…I mean…."
WordGirl beamed at him. "You did have a good time with me!"
"I didn't say anything!" he snapped. "And besides, I don't appreciate you wasting my time when you could have simply pointed out where my robut was right from the start."
"Wasted?" she repeated, incredulous. A flash of hurt shone in her eyes before it was replaced by an abrupt anger. "I don't think any of that time was wasted! When something is wasted, it means, you use that thing carelessly! And I don't think getting to meet your fans for the first time, getting all that free stuff, and having some fun for once means your time was wasted!"
Techboy flushed. "I still would have liked to find my robut sooner rather than later, WordGirl. I don't appreciate you lying to me yet again."
He began to float down to the beach, then paused after a few inches. He let out a weary sigh and glanced at her from over his shoulder.
"Look, if I admit that I had…somewhat of an alright time with you today, can you help me out with one more thing?" he asked.
WordGirl perked up. "What's that?"
"I can't carry my robut and all this stuff we got at the convention, so…if you could hold my things until I fix my robut and put it away…I would very much appreciate it."
"And finally say that you had a good time with me?" she asked, smiling excitedly at him.
"And go out with me for ice-cream again?"
Techboy smirked at her as he handed her his stuff. "Oh, now you're just pushing it…."
Her laugh rang against the last remaining light of the day.
The sun peeked over the horizon just a bit longer to watch the two. Satisfied with seeing their echoing smiles, it winked one last time and vanished.
A/N: I have...mixed feelings about how this turned out, tbh. I hope I'm not too rusty with characterizations or anything. It's been a while.
I am kind of interested in exploring their dynamic in this AU though. I might write a longer fic elaborating more on this AU if I feel up for it.