I don't know WHAT I'm doing starting a new story…ugh. This one is actually going to be pretty short, though. Maybe three chapters? Five at most? I hope. Anyway, for people who don't know:
Billy Numerous-William Jones
Kyd Wykkyd-Elliot Knight
Private HIVE-Bailey Frinze-Perez
This story picks up at the end of the Mother Mae-eye episode on the show. For those of you unfamiliar with the personalities, names, concept, etc. for the HIVE presented here, please check out Jinxed For Life, Old School, Spoiled Rich Kids, And So Another Day Began, and The Stupid Idea (written by me) and Mind Control, Pillow Forts and Distractions, and A Wykkyd One-Shot (by the Metronome Maven). Some differences exist between our stories, but most of everything was developed by Maven and me.
Not Funny-Part One
The first thing Billy did when he walked through the entrance of the HIVE's new lair was trip on a pie tin.
Three thoughts crossed his mind:
1. That's really annoying.
2. I probably deserved that.
3. I really hate pie.
He kicked at the pie tin viciously. He couldn't think of anyone from HIVE who had ever developed a taste for pie. None of them ate enough to develop a taste for anything. Freaking anorexics.
Billy was not an anorexic. He was a snob. Common-people food was gross. He simply refused to eat anything frozen, or out of a can. This greatly limited his options.
The visit home had sucked, he and his dad were off speaking terms again, and worst of all, his dad actually seemed genuinely hurt this time. Dad wasn't supposed to actually feel things. That was really annoying too.
And he'd gotten a new secretary. Blonde, and all the right proportions. Ugh.
Billy picked himself up and rehearsed what he was going to say in his head one more time. This needed to look good. This needed to look like he actually wanted to be here, back in California with the hippies. This needed to look like he wasn't just doing it because he knew how much it would piss off dad. Dad had developed a vendetta against California. Give the old man a chance and he'd build a bomb-testing site in San Francisco…
Billy wrinkled his nose. It smelled like blackberries, and weird, warm, vaguely sweet scents he didn't recognize, and didn't like.
He stood and brushed himself off. Then he thought better of it and mussed himself up a little again. Looking a little roughed up might evoke some sympathy.
"Uh, hi?" He called out into the hallway. "Anybody home?"
Hopefully Angelica would be there to smooth things over. Angelica was probably the only one who liked him anymore.
Billy hadn't exactly meant to disappear the way he had. There certainly wasn't any way he could have known what was going on the school, anyway. Teen Titans? Students disappearing? Brainwashing? Jeez. It wasn't his fault he had good timing.
And then the call came. Seymour had had unusually bad timing.
Dad had dragged Billy to a big public function; another "image thing" they just had to do because the Jones family dealt in weapons of mass destruction, and if you wanted to stay in business, you needed to make nice about it. When in America, it was all about patriotism; when in England, it was just business, so sorry for the inconvenience, fancy a smoke? When in China, well, everybody knew who the Jones really sided with, and the Japanese were also under the impression that Jones was their man all the way. India was a tough sell; they were a smart bunch, and they weren't exactly in the habit of blowing up other countries. And North Korea…well, it was just a matter of time.
Anyway, right in the middle of the big opening speech, the warm welcome, the blah blah blah, Billy had felt his communicator buzzing away in his pocket. He dodged out between caterers and security detail to find a corner of the hall to sit and answer the communicator he was supposed to have left in the hotel room.
"Well, look," the communicator hissed. "If it isn't Daddy's boy."
Billy tried to remember if he and Seymour had been fighting more than usual before he left.
"Oh, shut up. It figures Daddy'd pull you out before things got bad."
"So now what? Are you CEO yet? Selling nukes to Iraq? I can't believe you. We have to deal with all this CRAP here, and you're off in god-knows-where drinking champagne and eating, eating diamond sushi or something! You spoiled-rotten, rich bast-"
"Jeez! What's with you?"
It was then that Billy felt a tap on his shoulder, and snapped his communicator shut before he could even think.
It was the Indian ambassador's daughter, Madhvi. She smiled thinly. "Are all Americans this rude?"
"My father would not even let me bring my cell phone to this function. He said if it were to go off during the chamberlain's speech…but I suppose you are an exception, since you are not exactly...politically offiliated," She finished with a sly smirk. "I suppose this is just another business opportunity for you and your father."
Billy narrowed his eyes. "Yeah, I guess so."
After a moment's hesitation, Madvhi knelt primly next to him, and sat there with an air of expectation. Billy raised an eyebrow. "What?"
Madvhi smiled again, a little more broadly. "You have got cigarettes, right? All Americans smoke, do they not?"
Billy sighed and pulled out the pack and lighter he'd hidden in his dinner jacket. "Knock yourself out."
Soon the twin teenagers of the English ambassador found them, and then the Chinese ambassador's son, and they were having a regular old party outside the party when dinner was finally called, and Billy had all but forgotten about Seymour's call.
Until he finally got back to Jump City, and found what was left of the school.
Trashed equipment. Rubble. A few dead bodies, kid-sized. Billy didn't dare to venture further into the wreckage.
Finding the HIVE's new hide out had taken longer than it should have, but at least it gave Billy time to prepare a nice-sounding apology.
He peered down the entrance hallway of what had to be the HIVE's new lair, and tried again. "Um, hello?"
He began walking down the hall, keeping one hand against the wall to steady himself. And in case of booby-traps. They'd been learning a lot about booby traps at school…
…school. What the hell had happened?
"Uh, I like the new place," He called out. "It's very…secret lair."
He came to a fork in the hallway, and chose to go left. Left generally worked out well for him as a directional choice.
"Um, I got a good look at the school. Holy crap…I mean, I had no idea. I went home because Dad wanted me to go to some foreign embassy thing…I didn't know anybody was going to freaking blow up the school."
There were a couple rooms along this new hall. Billy knocked on a couple doors; nobody answered.
Billy was feeling stupider by the minute. They were probably ignoring him on purpose, if they really thought he had something to do with what happened to the school.
"I'm really sorry I wasn't there when you guys needed me," He said, and then stopped to consider the phrase. Did that even sound genuine? Of course, it wasn't genuine, but it needed to sound genuine. That sort of thing generally required a nicer tone of voice, one that he didn't consider a part of his repertoire. And who said they needed him? They'd probably just find that insulting to their physical prowess or something. But if Seymour hadn't been calling him about not being there to help with the school, then why had he sounded so angry? Was it just because Billy hadn't been there to…participate in the emergency? That was so dumb.
And the fact that it was only Seymour who had called him really wasn't good. That was the really annoying part. Angelica hadn't tried to contact him. He hadn't heard from Xilo is ages. Even a call from Jinx would have been welcome at this point…
Jinx. Oh. There she was.
The lighting in the HIVE's new hide-out was dim, and Billy had to squint to get a good look at Jinx's silhouette. It didn't look right, from where he was standing. Jinx generally looked thin and stickish and spiky, not round and…frilly.
She ran down the hall towards him, and Billy began to piece together the details of her outfit. Her combat boots were gone, and her hair had been yanked down into tightly braided pigtails with big bows. Her dress was white, emphasizing her pale skin in a way Billy knew she hated, and had possibly two hundred petticoats under his skirt, poofing it out every which way.
Billy looked her up and down and sighed. "Well, I was going to say that I'm happy you're over your punk phase, but I think this might be worse."
She giggled hysterically, and Billy wondered Jinx was suddenly so happy to hear his criticism of her appearance. Usually a comment like the one he'd just made warranted a solid kick in the ankle with her combat boots…
…which had become shiny ballet slippers with laces wrapping up her legs. Hoo boy.
Billy shook his head. "Alright, so you're on a new phase. Whatever. Look, like I was just saying, I'm really sorry about-"
"Brother!" Jinx cried. She dove onto him and wrapped her arms around him, rubbing her head against his chest like a cat.
Billy stood, frozen and horrified. Finally he gathered his senses enough to say, "You are touching me."
Jinx mmhmm-ed and squeezed him tighter. Billy tried to pry her off of him, which only made her dig her nails in and giggle. He winced a little.
"Look, this isn't funny. What's wrong with you? What happened to the school? It was a wreck when I go there-"
"Jinxy-poo! Let your big brother breathe a little sweety!" A warm voice cooed. Jinx let go of Billy abruptly and skipped down the hall, singing, "Mother Mae-eye, Mother Mae-eye! Billy's home, Billy's home!"
A plump, short little women met Jinx at the end of the hall and handed her a pie. "Go eat up, sweety! You are so thin! Make sure not to get any on your pretty white dress!"
Jinx skipped off merrily with her pie. Mother Mae-eye advanced on Billy, who was looking at his shirt. When Jinx had hugged him, she'd rubbed stains into his shirt. He touched one of the stains gingerly and smelled it. Blackberry. Well, that was one mystery solved: the case of the mysterious smell in the HIVE's new hide-out...
"Welcome home, dearest deary Billy-Willy! My goodness! Did you get taller while you were away?"
Billy looked down at the woman who, amazingly enough, he was taller than. But the occasion didn't allow him the opportunity to enjoy being taller than someone else. "Uh, who are you?"
"I'm your mother, silly! Mather Mae-eye!"
Billy inspected the woman a little more carefully, and said, "I find that claim highly suspect."
Mother Mae-eye blinked, her enthusiasm faltering a little. "Dear?"
"Well, I mean, I wouldn't know. I mean, I've never met my mother," Billy admitted. "But…you really don't seem like my dad's type. He generally likes women who are more…you know. Attractive."
Mother Mae-eye pursed her lips and wagged her cooking ladle at him. "Silly boy! That's not the sort of conversation to be having with your mother at your age!"
"But you're not my mother."
Mother Mae-eye smiled warmly. "You sound very confused. You must be hungry! My poor baby, so dizzy from starvation! You need pie."
She grabbed for his hand, but he shook her off. "I don't like pie," said Billy. "I never liked that home-boy, all-American, southern, you know, connotations that came with apple pie."
"Well, it doesn't have to be apple!" Mother Mae-eye said brightly. "We can try blackberry, strawberry, rhubarb, cherry-"
"Woman, I said no," Billy said coldly. "Are the others here?"
"You mean your brothers and sister?"
"Um…no. I don't have any brothers or sisters. Are you referring to-"
"Jinxy-poo and See-Saw More, and Mammy Mothy, and Gizzy-momo and-"
"Actually, I don't know who those people are," Billy said quickly. "At least, I hope I don't."
Mother Mae-eye narrowed her eyes. "Oh. Is that so? Then you must be an intruder."
Before his eyes, Mother Mae-eye began to darken and grow until she was a hook-nosed, wart-faced, scraggly looking monster who was, unfortunately, taller than Billy.
Billy could be very good at picking up social cues when he felt like it, and he could tell that this transformation was his cue to leave. He turned tail and ran faster than he'd ever run for gym at HIVE. Their coach would have been proud.
Billy didn't know where else to go. He drove back to the secret entrance to the school he had found and sat in his car for a while, smoking and thinking.
Going back home to Texas was out of the question. The HIVE apparently weren't going to have him, under their…new management. There was always Johnny Rancid, but he was probably sick of being bothered by dumb kids. He was also probably sick of the trouble Billy inevitably brought with him every time he stayed over. And Kitten…well, it wasn't as if she could facilitate a place for him to live, not with Daddy and Fang all over her all the time. As nice as Kitten was, she was pretty much useless. Billy tried to think of other people he liked that were willing to put up with him, and couldn't think of any.
He sank a little lower in the driver's seat. The whole point of coming back to Jump City had been the convenience of having people who were willing to put up with him.
The car was filling up with smoke, the way Billy liked it. He took a deep breath, which turned into a horrified gasp when someone knocked on the window. Before he could roll down the windows to let out the smoke and see who it was, Elliot teleported into the passenger's seat and began pawing Billy's pockets for cigarettes.
Billy tossed him the pack, laughing. "Jesus! You nearly gave me a heart attack!"
Elliot nodded and gestured for a lighter. Billy gave him that as well. To his own surprise, he was actually genuinely happy to see Elliot, despite his usual misgivings. Elliot rarely spoke, making communication difficult, and tended to be very cryptic in his sign language. He was also...well, Billy wasn't entirely sure what Elliot had been doing with Angelica lately, but the two appeared to be dating. Or just sleeping together. Who knew anymore. Billy didn't know, and he didn't like it. But it was nice to see a familiar face that wasn't gussied up with frilly ribbons and berry-pie stains.
"Uh, so a lot's happened?"
Elliot shrugged as he lit his cigarette.
"I got a good look at the school. Jeez. I mean…people died."
Elliot shrugged again, and blew smoke at the window, which hit the glass and rebounded back at him. Coughing, he began rolling the window down.
Billy took a careful look at Elliot's back, and decided to try the angle he's been preparing since he'd gotten into California. "Look, I mean…I don't know what happened, but I'm really sorry I wasn't there to help."
Elliot stared out the window as if he hadn't heard the other boy speak.
Billy coughed slightly. "Everyone I've seen so far looks okay, out of our group anyway. I mean besides the weird…the, when…I guess…but Angelica's okay, right?"
Elliot turned and stubbed his cigarette out hard on Billy's hand. Billy stared at the burn mark the usually silent boy was making on his hand.
"Shut up," said Elliot. "Do you have any idea how stupid you sound?"