Chapter 1: Testing
Neutral Zone was undergoing another winter evening as normal. Sheets of snow fell down quickly becoming layers upon layers of piles. It had barely lightened up at all since it first began. The sun was more or less suffocated behind the thick clouds, leaving the many zones like this.
"Come on Fink, Venomous asked us to do this," spoke K.O., a young Level 4 aspiring hero who was getting ready to go out into the snow, putting on a puffy blue coat for the cold weather. His usual red headband legwarmers and matching wristbands were on him as well.
"There's literally NO point! It's just gonna get undone in an hour anyway… what kind of idiot wants to go out into the snow without any shoes on either?! Ever heard of frostbite?" responded Fink, a similarly aged minion with long green hair who was probably the loyalist henchwoman of all, her allegiance sworn to Professor Venomous.
"I've walked through worse without my shoes," K.O. shrugged. He was the son of Venomous, though he had stopped calling him dad a few months back. He came over every other weekend to spend time with his semi-estranged father, despite his mother's continued detest at this idea.
"But he asked us to do this before he got home tonight. We should've done it a lot sooner too," K.O. repeated. They had been asked to just clear the driveway of snow. The mouse growled, knowing he wouldn't quiet down until they did it. She just wanted to stay inside by a virtual fireplace and play games.
"Yeah, and I know boss, he won't care. He's been out with Boxman all day anyway," Fink responded, hating the thought of doing any work that might get immediately undone.
"I guess they're excited for the wedding?" K.O. spoke up. His biological dad marrying someone that the bodega cleaner had considered a rival for a really long time still was an odd concept to the young hero.
"Yeah? What about your mom? Isn't she getting married soon too?" Fink asked, not liking the sounds of going to two weddings so close together. It was just a coincidence, one that could only be described as violently awkward. The soon to be newly-weds all running into each other regularly now, nobody really knew how to feel in that regard.
"Uh huh! Mr. Gar gets more and more nervous by the day though," K.O. responded, still remembering how happy his mother had been when his boss proposed, the bodega team were all happy for them, though it did just hit him that he would soon have four parents technically. The young boy paused to ponder and absorb this.
Fink just raised an eyebrow as she saw him get lost in his thoughts. That cute single fang stuck out from his mouth. The innocent expression always caught her attention. She found it adorable since the first time she saw it, like they were personal quirks, even though she knew the true nature of them.
"Do you think anything'll be different after the weddings?" K.O. chirped to the minion, noticing her slightly dazed look. She shook it off when she finally registered his query.
"You mean do I think Boxman will stop attacking the plaza? Yeah… for like a week," Fink gave a toothy grin. K.O. immediately felt his hopes of peace between the two families wane. Even if they all got along decently, their workplace rivalry was still strong.
"At least that means we can hang out together more, right?" the bodega cleaner said. He treated everybody like dear friends. Trying to get closer with the mouse was high up on that list. So far Fink had stopped going for his eyes in fights, he hoped that was a sign that he had made progress.
"When's your mom coming to get you again?" Fink asked, trying to dodge that subject.
"I dunno… depends on if she can get through the snow," K.O. shrugged. He was meant to leave his dads home this evening, though with how bad the snow was getting, he thought he might have to spend an extra night there.
"Dang it. I was looking forward to helping boss…" Finks voice trailed off as an idea sprung to mind. She noticed K.O. looking at a nearby table that had something familiar to her resting on it.
K.O. picked up a scarf that he had seen resting on the table. It was orange and had an indistinguishable pattern on it. A few strings seemed to have got yanked and as result the scarf had started falling apart gradually. "What's this?" he asked her.
"It's a scarf boss gave me last year…" the young henchwoman got up from her seat with a grin spreading on her face, as an idea formed, trying to ignore that her scarf was long beyond gone in terms of usability. Fink cherished every little thing Professor Venomous gave her, this scarf was definitely one of them. "You wanna get to know me better?"
"Yeah!" K.O. nodded, "The only thing I know about you is that you want to be a researcher and a pro at videos games one day," he explained. He learned so by watching her and Venomous mainly, K.O. always thought it was cute seeing the mouse trying to play junior mad scientist.
Fink grabbed his wrist with one of her pink gloved hands and began to lead him along. "Come on then! Boss has a new machine that I'm sure he'd love having someone test for him," Fink insisted. She was planning on using him as a guinea pig, to make him feel like he had been helpful and to get him to quiet down.
"Really?! Dendy says I'm a great tester," K.O. was happy to hear this. He left the tattered scarf behind on the table where his bags were set, hoping this test would at least be safe. He never knew what it was Professor Venomous and Boxman might be crafting in their labs, and that was not even thinking about the Boxbots tampering with anything.
"Yeah, sure, whatever," Fink didn't care much after getting him to agree. She just hoped hoping this would make the Level 4 hero quiet down for a while and at the same time make her boss happy to have one less thing to test.
When they got into the lab, K.O. could see the many machines, gadgets and tools lining the walls. He always got awestruck by the laboratory, everything seemed to change in it with each couple of weeks. It was nothing like Dendy's, that didn't change how amazing it truly was to him. K.O. was always easily impressed, even if he didn't understand it all.
"Hey, snap outta it, you stink'n hero. I don't know much with this," Fink commented, forcing K.O. to break out of his astonishment. The young rat stood by a rather simple yet strange looking machine.
"What is this?" K.O. asked innocently enough. The device was attached to a table. It had two metallic arm cuffs welded in place. The center held an octagon shaped container with a million different empty vials in it, and the center of that held a ball that looked mostly clear yet tough.
"Gimme a second. I'm trying to find boss's notes," Fink said. Normally Professor Venomous left his notes for his inventions near the creations. This time however, there was barely anything beyond a few sticky notes. Like all the real documents got hidden away, or misplaced. "This is seriously all there is?" the rat couldn't really believe this. She guessed this meant the invention was the newest of Voxman industries creation. Venomous had been talking about some big project with Boxman for months that Fink had tried to learn about, but her eavesdropping resulted in nothing, just bits and pieces, like they were being extra secretive.
"Is it missing parts?" K.O. asked, wondering if it was just unfinished. It reminded him of a few science fair projects he had seen at school a while back. It was too advanced for him to remember all the details.
"It's done… just… not really anything here, notes of its name, settings, and how to use it," Fink guessed there had not been any form of testing done. It made her even more eager to get it tested to make her boss happy. "It's called the… L-C-U, I think? It's a little hard to read but the rest of the writings okay," Fink flipped through the single sheet of paper with many sticky notes all over it. She used her tail to begin turning all the dials and knobs on the machine to set things up, as the notes read.
"It takes samples from two individuals and reads them thoroughly, then it spins them with all the mixtures to combine them," Fink read it exactly as it said, looking over it, the rest of the paper was just telling them what they needed.
"Combine them to do what?" K.O. requested, taking the paper from his green haired friend, seeing the list of items they needed. They were dumbed down with cute little drawn images, presumably for the sake of Boxman's robotic children.
"Dunno. That's what we're here to test," Fink pointed to the cabinet stuffed with beakers. The brushy haired hero hesitated a moment before going to get them.
"Are you sure this'll be okay? The last time I tested something without knowing what it did, I wound up with a second tongue for a week," K.O. exclaimed. Doing experiments for Dendy was one thing. Doing tests for someone like Venomous that he still had trust issues with, despite their continuous apologetic efforts, was another thing.
"Boss isn't like Boxman. He puts a lot of planning into something before he makes it," Fink argued. Once he got the beakers for the list, he took them and loaded four of them into slots of the machine at her orders as she pointed out.
"Don't you know everything your boss does?" K.O. raised an eyebrow, finding it rather suspicious for there to be an invention that she did not know about.
"I've been busy helping with the wedding planning!" Fink replied irritably. She was more impressed that her boss was able to invent anything with the stress that came naturally with setting up a wedding.
"Did I do it right?" K.O. asked, looking at the four beakers. Its diverse colors stick out from the corners of the machine. She looked at the many sticky notes again and nodded.
"Looks like it," the young minion threw the papers aside. Staying at the control console. "Ready to do this?" she asked, trying to hide her eagerness to see what this machine could do.
"I-I think so," K.O. nodded nervously, trying to stay enthusiastic at the concept of helping someone like he always loved to do.
"Okay. Take a seat and put your arm through that cuff thing," Fink pointed a gloved finger at the metallic brace. K.O. could have sworn he saw something like that at the dentist's. He wanted to ask more questions, yet complied, just wanting to be friendly.
K.O. took a seat and slipped his right arm through the cuff. "O-ok, it's in," he confirmed. Fink flipped the on switch, and she watched as the cuff tightened around her young friend's forearm.
"Subject one prepared," the console spoke out. Fink watched intently to see what would happen. The young hero felt more anxious than excited. The mouse began to turn the rest of the machine on. "ERROR! Cannot begin without subject two being prepared," the console suddenly spoke up. K.O. had his eyes closed, expecting pain, opening one cautiously.
"Subject two? What? This thing won't work on one person?" Fink pounded the console in irritation. Though she swore she could hear Jethro scolding her in the back of her mind already about trying to beat things into working.
"Does that mean I have to put my other arm in too?" K.O. asked, looking to the other cuff hesitantly. He could break out of them easily if this was a trap, yet it still made him worried about what the invention did if it took two people to use it.
"No. You're too short to reach the other one… Fine. I guess I'll tag in," Fink finally decided, hopping over the console and approaching him, taking the seat beside him. Her long time boss would only be prouder at her for testing this herself as well.
"You're the same size as me though…" K.O. mumbled, only to then realize what she had said a moment afterwards. "W-wait! I don't want you to hurt yourself!" K.O. tried to stop his game loving associate.
"I'll be fine," Fink scoffed at his expressed fears, seeing the cuff latch onto her left arm. She didn't show it, but she was grateful that he at least cared. Then again, he treated everybody the same. Their alignment to good or evil didn't matter to him. It was a major strength and weakness, something everybody knew about him.
"Subject two prepared. Subject one prepared. Bringing up health displays," the console droned after registering them, both being locked in place as monitors popped up for the two. K.O.'s fear only increased. His heart rate matched that.
"Okay, maybe you were right," Fink gulped, trying to stay relaxed. They saw the beakers beginning to release their contents into the machine, filling up the various vials it held.
Something suddenly stabbed K.O.'s trapped arm. "O-ow! Hey!" he whined. It felt like something was being threaded into the new opening in his flesh, a thin wire being guided throughout his body. He did not like it whatsoever, it was creepy.
"Yeow! What in the name of Cob is this thing doing?!" Fink yelped, feeling the same happening now. It wasn't painful after the initial cut, it still made her feel equally as uncomfortable though.
"Genetic sequence samples harvested, turbonic gene samples harvested from Subject one and Subject two. Preparations complete," the console continued. The young hero and villain felt a lot better when whatever it was that had been snaking all through their body finally got removed. The cuffs on their arms released them.
Fink could see a band aid covering the nick on her forearm that the machine gave her, same for K.O. They watched the last of the empty vials of the machine get filled. All the colors looked rather beautiful, circling that clear ball in the center of it all.
"I-is it over?" the Level 4 hero murmured. He didn't wish for any more weirdness like that to happen. Even Dendy's experiments weren't that invasive most of the time.
"How am I supposed to know, blockhead?!" the minion retorted, not hesitating to take her anger out on him. Though their micro argument got interrupted when they heard a whir. The machine began spinning rapidly and every vial began to get injected into the clear ball.
"Specimen is complete. Shutting down," the console finished, and the machine slowed to a halt. The center opened to reveal the sphere, no longer clear, but a rainbow of colors.
"Whoa…" K.O. awed. After a moment, he reached in and grabbed the ball, taking it out. He found it beautiful. Fink was just as mesmerized. Eventually those rainbows of colors faded, settling on a light blue liquid. "What is it?" K.O. asked her. She took it from him and looked it over with a raised eyebrow, wondering if this was her boss's invention or something dumb Boxman made. Honestly it looked like an over sized fake glorb toy meant for a child to use as a makeshift nightlight.
"How am I supposed to know? All I got is a bunch of sticky notes on how to just work the hunk of junk," Fink responded, not sure what the L.C.U. was supposed to do. She handed him back the clear ball full of light blue liquid.
"Should we put it back?" K.O. asked. As nice as it felt to just hold it, he didn't know if they should touch it without Venomous seeing the results since it had never been tested before according to the henchwoman.
"Nah, it's probably just a health ball. You can keep it," Fink shrugged, assuming it was some special healing item. "And thanks for helping test it, I guess, hero…" she rolled of her eyes. K.O. loved hearing that. He pulled her into a tight hug. The young mouse felt heat rushing to her face.
"It was a little creepy, but I'm just happy to help!" the Level 4 hero spoke. The clear ball was held between them as they embraced. They heard noises upstairs.
"Peanut? Hey! I'm here to pick ya up! Sorry I'm late," the familiar voice of Carol, K.O.'s mother, called out from upstairs, after she had finally gotten through the snow to this lair. Her son not answering his phone made her come inside on her own. The young hero realizing he had left it in his bag upstairs.
"Oh! I'm coming, mommy!" K.O. called back, breaking apart with Fink as he hurried off. "Bye Fink! I'll see you later!" K.O. told the mouse, knowing she'd probably get sent to attack him long before the next visit to his father's house.
"Yeah, yeah, take care," Fink gave a wave. Watching him vanish up the steps, holding the ball like a cherished memento. The mouse turned back to the machine they had tested.
"Whatever you are, you sure are creepy," Fink said to it. She got to cleaning everything up, to save her boss the trouble. Something felt wrong to her though. She couldn't put her finger on what. The only thing she could actually do was ignore it.
K.O. rode along in the passenger seat of his mother's car, looking at the beautiful snowfall as they drove through the snow covered roads. The tires had safety flamethrowers set to max to help along the icy roads.
"Did you have fun at Professor Venomous's honey?" Carol asked, keeping her eyes on the road. She always had to query about this with her son, more so out of her own personal worry for her son's well being. She didn't trust his biological father one bit.
"Yeah! I baked cupcakes with Shannon and Fink! I got to help Boxman pick out their wedding cake too," K.O. declared, looking happy to be around the ever growing Boxmore family, even if they all considered each other rivals too.
"You're becoming a regular wedding planner," Carol jokingly laughed, rubbing his head and messing up his brushy hair a little. She took notice of the ball in his hands. "What's that you got there, peanut?" she asked. It looked strange to her, like some kind of new toy meant for stress relief.
"Oh, I dunno what it is! It glows and feels warm though," K.O. held it up in his hands for his mother to see in a proud manner. That warmth it emanated was minor. He could feel it in his palms and fingers.
"Venomous didn't give you that, did he?" Carol cautiously asked, looking ready to chuck it as far out of the car window as possible the second she heard 'yes'.
"Nope! Fink and me made it, but we don't know what it is," K.O. showed that same innocent smile. His mother felt relieved to hear that, since Fink tended to be a lot more trustable by herself, as confusing as it might sound.
"Alright, K.O. make sure you don't lose it though," Carol said, recalling how she had to watch over Fink often as well, since the young mouse wanted to spend time with her, just like how her son spent time with Venomous.
"Don't worry mommy, I won't!" K.O. reassured. He never had a problem with losing things. He would treat it as well as he treated his own POW card collection.
The Level 4 hero returned to watching the falling snowflakes, keeping the tough ball of light blue liquid inside his puffy coat, not noticing the throbbing pulse that it gave off with the light.
Later in the day, when night had fallen, Fink fell asleep on the couch, peacefully snoring away. Cleaning up the lab had exhausted her.
"Fink!" she was snapped awake by the familiar call of her boss, quickly scampering on all fours back down to the lab where she had heard his voice.
"H-hi, boss! I didn't know you were home!" Fink panted, not knowing she slept through his return home. The purple skinned scientist looked over everything in the lab.
"Sorry. I wanted to let you sleep, but then I noticed something," Professor Venomous went over to the LCU that Fink and K.O. had tested, without his knowledge. The mouse wanted to initially announce what they had done, but her boss looked unhappy. "Have you used this machine?" he glared down at his loyal minion like a snake startling its prey, freezing her in place.
"W-whaddya mean, b-boss?" Fink requested clarity, now losing all her usual nerve. Her boss's emotions ran high lately from the stress that came with the wedding preparations, and trying to make amends with his son made that stress paramount.
"There's supposed to be a ball within this device, and it shouldn't have been able to be removed without it being used," Professor Venomous elaborated, his arms crossed. The tiny mouse felt her fear escalating further. She didn't wish to take the blame for it, especially now that she knew he was mad about it. Fink decided to gamble.
"Y-you tested it before bed last night, boss! R-remember? You wouldn't let me help because you said it was a secret…" Fink answered with her best fake sadness from the obvious secrecy that came from her boss's strange invention.
Professor Venomous raised an eyebrow as he looked over the machine. It wasn't like there was a tracker to it that noted whoever used it. The fiancé villain shook his head, running a hand across his eyes like they were sore.
"I really need to get some sleep. I'm becoming paranoid…" Professor Venomous exhaled, believing the lie, much to Finks immense relief.
"Can you tell me what it is, boss?" the young rat immediately requested. Her boss rubbed her hand, making her purr, enjoying his hand in her hair comforting her.
"It's a surprise, Fink. Not just for you or just for Boxy, but for all of us… I've been working on it since he first proposed," Professor Venomous smiled fondly. It wasn't unusual for him to look proud with an invention, but Fink never saw him get utterly filled with pride like this. She wondered what he meant by it being a surprise for every one of them. "By the way, did Carol come and get K.O.?" the villain asked.
"Yeah. It was a while ago," his loyal minion nodded, following him back upstairs. Though when they got back upstairs, she noticed her scarf was missing. She tried not to pay it much attention.
"Alright. You should go to bed. The snow's gonna leave a lot behind by tomorrow, we'll actually get to play some," Venomous told her. Fink nodded, giving her boss a quick hug as high as she could reach before she left to return to her room.
"Cob, I hope that machine isn't dangerous…" Fink muttered to herself out of worry. She was disappointed in herself for not being able to tell her boss about how she and K.O. had tested it and he had left with the apparent results, at her approval no-less. She still wasn't going to be put at complete fault for it though.
"I'll find a way to pin the blame on K.O. later… After the wedding."
Chapter 2: Revelation
Authors Note: Hey all, I appreciate all the support. I am scared that I'm not doing this well since I have so many ideas in mind, but either way I hope you enjoy. I'm making this note mainly to let you know the cover art is from Mysterious Skull on amino.
The next day at Lakewood Plaza Turbo, everything was going normal. The plaza regulars were all enjoying the leftover snow this morning. Some were making snow statues and others were having snowball wars.
K.O. stood at the window inside Gar's bodega, happily watching as he mopped away at the floor, wearing his usual blue vest.
"It's days like this that make you wanna stay inside all day, huh?" the Level 4 hero heard Enid's voice. He looked to see her relaxed behind the front counter in a sweater. Her purple hair was pulled up into its usual ponytail.
"I think I'd like to be playing outside with you all a while longer, but we gotta stay warm in case Boxmore attacks," K.O. stated. There was no such thing as a day of rest from Boxmore industries, even with the upcoming weddings, though he appreciated his dear friends and co-workers joining him outside in the snow for a short time before they had to open the bodega.
"How was your weekend at Venomous's? Anything interesting happen while you were there?" Enid questioned, curious. Her young dear friend put the mop aside now that he finished, coming over to the front register. The ninja hated the Boxmore family a lot, yet she was curious how K.O. interacted with them all.
"I had a lot of fun! Me, Shannon, and Fink baked cupcakes, I got to help pick out Boxman's wedding cake… oh! And me and Fink made something!" the brushy haired boy reached into his vest pocket and pulled out the glowing ball of light blue liquid, showing it to one of his best friends.
"You guys made a glorb?" Enid quirked an eyebrow, taking it into one hand, throwing it up and catching it a few times like it was a baseball and she was trying to think. The tough ball was warm, yet felt comforting to just even touch, like it had a soothing effect.
"I dunno… maybe! It helps me stay warm, so I always keep it close," the young hero said, catching the tough ball full of liquid during one of the throws. He even kept it close when he slept. It felt wrong to leave it alone. For Enid though, an artificial glorb making machine sounded exactly like something Venomous would create.
"You're too cute for your own good, y'know that?" Enid leaned over, rubbing his head and messing up his hair. K.O. was adorable every day. Everyone he interacted with was made happier by his presence. It was just his mindset and personality that did it.
"Thanks Enid! Have you and Elodie been doing okay?" K.O. asked. The question made the high-leveled ninja pause, as well as damage her mood slightly. She and her childhood friend Elodie had got together recently after her last girlfriend had left the neutral zone for professional reasons, it had left the bodega cashier in a deep depression for a while to say the least.
"We're… having serious talks about a lot of things, really," the winja answered. Normally she would lie and say nothing was wrong, but one of the serious topics that the clerk and her girlfriend talked about was being more honest and open with their feelings and thoughts, who better to practice just that with than the cleaner himself.
"Can I help with any of those things?" The level 4 boy offered, eager to do whatever it took to help someone as always. He kept the ball close to his chest, feeling its pulsing warmth.
"I want to say no, you can't, but… honestly, you're the best therapist I know in my life. Maybe you can help us both, soon," Enid responded, giving him a small hug as thanks. It was like having another little brother ever since he entered her life.
"You got it Enid!" K.O. gave a thumbs up, assuring he'd be there for her no matter what, just like he would for all of his friends.
"Guys!" the doors burst open to show the Level 5 alien, Radicles, standing there, half of him coated with snow.
"What's going on Rad?" Enid raised an eyebrow, wondering why he was panicking, though she had a pretty good guess in mind.
"Did something happen?" K.O. added worriedly, stuffing the ball of light blue liquid away into his vest pocket again.
"We're under attack! The alarms must've frozen up, they've already took a chunk out of the parking lot!" the alien exclaimed. Boxmore was attacking the plaza once again. The three quickly ran out of the bodega and into the cold weather to confront their rivals.
The bodega trio arrived at the parking lot and saw the remnants of a large Boxmore crate. Three familiar robots stood over it, wearing various winter attires, having been waiting for them to arrive after they had did damage to their immediate surroundings.
"You guys sure took your sweet time," Shannon chuckled with a buzzsaw swirling. They had already scared off the other plaza regulars around.
"I must say, I was hoping to just enjoy today inside with a nice book," Raymond, the sports loving egotist of the robotic family, commented.
"We were supposed to be helping Daddy pick out flowers and the snow ruined it," whined Darrell, the one-eyed robot. He enjoyed helping with the weddings more than anything lately, especially helping everyone find great outfits to dress with.
"Don't worry. We'll send you back faster than you got here," Enid scoffed, not caring for their usual pre-battle banter right now. She hated having the peace ruined, even if she appreciated the save from a rough conversation.
"I was having plenty of fun in the snow, then you hunks of junk ruined it again!" Rad added, looking ready to destroy them now. He looked more annoyed than the bodega ninja when her breaks got interrupted.
"Can't we call the fight off and just have our own snowball fight?" K.O. requested with the first chance he got to speak, not wanting to get stuck cleaning up scrap bits in the snow despite how much he loved his job.
"Nope," Enid cracked her knuckles, "They're cutting into my break time."
"Sorry little buddy," Rad spoke.
"Apologies, our soon-to-be-stepbrother, but the answer is no," Raymond shook his head.
"We already came all the way out here," explained Shannon, "So we're gonna get some exercise while we're here!"
"Sorry shrimp, Daddy's orders," Darrell bluntly repeated.
"Dang it…" K.O. sighed, slightly frustrated by his soon to be robotic step-siblings' stubbornness. Even if they all got along better lately, that didn't change their behavior in battle. Both groups charged at one another, to tackle their opponents and to separate them into one-on-one duels like normal.
Buzzsaws were coming at Enid like rapid gunfire as she dodged left to right. Shannon tore up anything those saws hit that wasn't tough enough to stop their blades.
"I'm impressed! You're actually getting faster!" the teenage ninja witch grinned, having to throw herself back first into the snow to duck under a large spiral attack. Fighting the orange robot was like fighting an ice skater.
"Just because my brothers are too lazy to train right, doesn't mean I am!" Shannon fired several dozen more buzzsaws like shuriken. The high-leveled cashier could not deny how weird it was to her.
Enid suddenly vanished in a puff of smoke, leaving a log in her place, which a saw cut in half. Shannon had no time to react when the ninja reappeared behind her.
"Meep!" Boxman's daughter squeaked. Enid lit her leg on fire and front flipped, delivering a heavy axe kick on top of the orange bots head hard enough to bury her into the snow.
Shannon groaned. The ninja crouched down beside her, holding her phone.
"Smile for the camera," Enid smiled before beginning to snap a few pictures of the two of them.
Rad jumped over a bowling ball that had gotten chucked his way, hearing Raymond laughing as he made several baseballs appear in his hand.
"Come now, Radicles! You can't lose your cool that easily," the egotistical machine threw a hail of the baseballs. Each one that made contact, with either Rad or the ground, exploding instantly.
"Blorp!" the Level 5 alien growled out, feeling the intense sting from them as a few hit him. "No holding back today?! Alright! Just my style!" Rad began firing blasts of rays from his fingers, shooting several of the projectiles out of the air. He fired out several psychic rays as soon as he got breathing room.
"Hm?" Raymond was surprised when his explosive baseballs all began to get caught by the beams that stretched out like a rubber net. His pitching arms eventually ran out of ammo. With every baseball rounded up like sheep, Rad made his beams wrap around the explosives, trapping them all together.
"My turn now!" Radicles dug his feet into the ground, gripping the end of the psychic beam hard. He began to spin, swinging the net around several times overhead. Raymond tried to stop him with several more sports related weaponry, but the alien tanked through the attacks or destroyed them with the overloaded makeshift net.
Rad cheered as he dunked the large net of explosive baseballs onto Raymond, they erupted into one giant explosion, turning the sports machine into scrap.
"Heh! Maybe this is better than a snowball fight," the alien smirked, wiping some of the snow that had gotten splattered onto him off of himself.
"Just stand still!" Darrell whined as he continued to fire blasts of plasma at K.O., who dodged and rolled around to avoid each.
"Stop shooting and I will!" the Level 4 hero retorted with a laugh, blue aura radiating from his arms. He punched one blast into the air, a Power Fist as K.O. called it. He treated this more like a small game. It was nothing unusual compared to all the times he played with the Boxmore bots whenever he visited.
The brush haired boy quickly made a ball of snow before chucking it, hitting Darrell in his one eye.
"Hey! No fair, that's cheating!" cried Darrell, blinded. K.O. ran up and delivered a strong uppercut. Nuts and bolts ruptured from the robot as he was sent flying back first onto a car, denting it heavily upon impact.
"Fink told me to play as fair as your enemies," the bodega cleaner shrugged with a smile. With the last of the Boxmore bots handled, the three bodega workers regrouped.
"You two okay?" Enid asked. She saw Rad banged up but K.O. unscathed, the fight had been rather easy as if the robots had wanted to get it over with just as fast as they did.
"I'll be fine. I've dealt with way worse injuries," Rad smirked, looking down at the Level 4 hero.
"Darrell didn't even hit me," K.O. reassured with a sense of pride. The three were relieved to have gotten the fight over with before time was really wasted. They all began to make their way back to the bodega, walking through the snow as it crumpled beneath their feet.
K.O. suddenly gasped, like someone had stabbed him in the chest with an icicle. "Oh gosh, that's cold…!"
"What's up little buddy?" Rad quirked an eyebrow. They wondered if his shoeless escapades in such cold weather had finally caught up with him. K.O. pulled out the tough ball he had brought with him. As they could see, it had changed from light blue to a dark purple.
"I-I don't know! Me and Fink made this last night and it was warm a moment ago. Now it feels like ice!" K.O. exclaimed, barely able to hold it. The purple liquid in the ball made it feel like it was giving him frostbite on the mere touch.
"What is that anyway?" the Level 5 alien hit it with a psychic ray which grabbed it, taking it off their friend's hands to save him from the minor juggling act, as cute as it might be, though the teenager did not even need to directly touch it to feel how cold it was.
"I thought it was a fake glorb, but I don't think glorbs do that," Enid commented. Glorbs were a strange, yet naturally made source of power. If anyone could find a way to make counterfeits of glorbs, it would probably make them a fortune. It's why she thought it was right up Venomous's alley to try and make fake ones, since he had made several attempts to outright pilfer the plazas.
"D-did it break in the fight?" The level 4 hero asked, looking upset, hoping he didn't break a cherished item so soon after he got it by being careless in his rolling around.
"Nah. Prolly a weird heat absorber or something. I'm sure it'll be fine if you throw it in the microwave," Rad reassured as they continued back to the bodega, carrying it for their friend.
"That or make it explode…" Enid mumbled, having witnessed that a lot with items that were advertised as trendy and helpful, they would wind up on their shelf one time, and never again after a few customer complaints.
"I don't want to break it worse…" K.O. worriedly spoke as they returned into the bodega. He jumped up and took the ball of purple liquid from Rad's latching ray. The dark aspect of it lightened up as they re-entered the bodega. It was reacting to something. Whatever that something was, they didn't know. "Oh, I know!" K.O. spoke up with an idea springing to mind.
"What is it?" Enid asked, returning to behind the register.
"I'll call Dendy! She'll figure it out," K.O. smiled. His kappa of a classmate had an IQ that could rival everybody they knew, he knew she would be able to help.
"Good idea, K.O.! If you're worried about heating it back up though, you can use a blaster gauntlet set to really low and it'll act like a heater," Rad explained, mainly speaking from experience he had when he needed his own fair share of heat treatments to treat his past injuries.
"Thanks, Rad! I'll take my break early," K.O. took off, holding the chilly clear ball, needing to get it warmed up and call his friend over for help.
"You're a lot more resourceful than you think," Enid commented to her friend, guessing someone that interacted with so many small tools daily would naturally find more uses for them than what they initially were intended to be for.
"I just know the supplies, that's all… I'm gonna go handle cleaning the Boxmore scrap up this time, since K.O.'ll be busy," Radicles volunteered, though he merely wanted an excuse to go back to enjoying the snow.
"Alright Rad, have fun," the purple haired ninja nodded, and chuckled, not arguing against it. Their boss was out today, working on more wedding preparations with Carol, so there was no risk of being yelled at for their slacking. The bodega workers returned to their own tasks.
K.O. sat alone in the break room, resting on one of the beanbag chairs, having made the call to Dendy already. He was staring at the tough ball as it was in the gentle grip of a blasting gauntlet, which was heating it up as it was being held.
"Maybe it's a heating ball…" the Level 4 hero pondered. The color had changed from purple and was slowly turning back to blue. He felt very worried though. He didn't want to tell Fink next time he saw her that he broke it, especially given how painful and creepy it had been to create it in the first place, he didn't want to get her in trouble with Venomous either.
"Maybe mommy'd know what you are?" K.O. spoke to the ball as he held the gauntlet, looking over the ball, unsure why he felt so bad about this. How something could be so tough yet need such tender care was the most confusing part.
"…I guess you're kind of like me then huh?" The young boy joked after that thought crossed his mind. His mother described him in this way before. "T.K.O. You awake?" He spoke up to himself, trying to get the twin in his head to speak up.
"You know I hate winter…" T.K.O. replied, grumbling.
"Sorry, but you know sleeping too long isn't good," K.O. apologized. T.K.O., his inner twin, was why he had a single fang sticking out from the corner of his mouth. They shared the body, but they could change who controlled it or combine their powers into one.
"Do you know what this is?" K.O. asked, referring to the ball of liquid. The two had advanced schedules on who would control the body and when, though once winter hit, T.K.O. wanted to just stay in the mindscape like a hibernating bear.
"It looks like one of those stupid emotion toys…" The turbonic boy commented, though knew normally that was more meant for jewelry. Having something that read emotion sounded useful in a sense, but to hear his twin put his feelings on such prominent display also felt creepy if that was the case.
"Alright… sorry for waking you up," replied the young hero.
"Don't worry about it, just make a pizza appear for me, and I'll call it even," T.K.O. assured it was fine. He heard his twin lightly laugh.
"You got it," K.O. nodded, though now he wished he had a warm pizza. He hadn't eaten lunch or even breakfast today, slept past the first an attack interrupted the second.
"Apologies for my tardiness, K.O.," a familiar voice spoke from the doorway. He smiled at the sight of Dendy the kappa in her usual jumpsuit and technologically advanced backpack.
"Dendy! You got here fast," the brush haired boy pulled his close friend into a hug, leaving the blaster gauntlet resting on the nearby table.
"Yes. You sounded distressed, so I made my way over immediately," Dendy gladly returned his embrace. After which, K.O. led her over to the table to let her see the ball itself.
"This is my problem. We don't know what it is. I helped make it last night and…" K.O. felt his voice trail off, letting her see for herself. The kappa adjusted her leafy beret to keep her head pond covered.
"I've never seen anything like this before," Dendy commented, removing it from the blasting gauntlet and letting an extension come out of her backpack, creating a small circle grip to keep it still.
"Me and Fink made it when we were messing around with a machine last night," explained K.O., "It was really warm and felt nice to have, but after I fought with Boxmore, it got colder than ice."
"You two created this with a Voxmore Industries Device? Fascinating," Dendy said. She understood why he was afraid. She knew he had a tendency to cherish new items and to store them away like Carol did with her old items from her P.O.I.N.T. days. Breaking something so soon after he got it would naturally dampen his mood.
The young boy watched the kappa as she set up several things from her backpack. A small virtual monitor, a microscope and another hand to help keep it steady. The bodega cleaner did tell her to be careful despite how tough it was.
"Now to begin the examination… if I can just find out the contents of the ball, I should be able to tell you what it is with ease," Dendy claimed, bringing herself down to the microscope to view the ball through it.
"Thanks Dendy. I owe you one," K.O. smiled, feeling a lot more relieved already just by her being there. He guessing his co-workers were both busy with customers.
After analyzing the strange ball with another extended tool of her advanced backpack, a hundred different things appeared on her monitor that made him confused instantly. He wasn't that smart. Advanced science wasn't for him, science in general really wasn't for him.
"This appears to be a special mixture of chemicals. They change color according to the temperature to show when it's in distress and what it needs," Dendy spoke as she looked over the monitor. She started to look more confused than her dear friend did, "That doesn't make sense…"
"What doesn't make sense, Dendy?" K.O. questioned, wondering if he could help.
"The fluid makeup is of a consistency one would see with… embryonic cells," the highly intelligent kappa stated.
"Embro…? Err… I don't know what that is," K.O. reminded her. His friend tended to get like this whenever she started in on something that she found fascinating, like a trance overtaking her.
After another minute of looking intensely through her microscope, the kappa looked up. The expression of realization spreading across her face.
"…K.O., do you know what a fetus is?" Dendy queried. He paused, trying to think deeply, swearing they had been taught something about this in school before it let out for the winter.
"Uhm… O-oh yeah! It's a baby, right?" K.O. answered. She nodded, motioning him over. He was getting more and more confused by the minute.
"Look," She motioned to the microscope, the young boy peeking through it. All he saw was a bunch of weird stuff he couldn't recognize.
"I appreciate you treating me like I'm smart, Dendy, but what is it?" The level 4 hero asked.
"K.O., this is an artificial womb, with modified chemicals to act as the embryonic fluid. There's signs that a newborn is forming within it as we speak," the level 3 genius exclaimed, looking torn between being excited at this and disheartened.
"W-wait… you're saying that… that machine made a-a baby?" K.O. stammered as he stared wide eyed, feeling his heart sink to his stomach as everything fell into place with the revelation. He was also realizing why his biological father made it now as well.
"Yes, with parts of genetic material it harvested from your bodies… frankly, it's quite the amazing miracle of science, but there's a lot of concerns I have."
"…oh…" gulped K.O. With that lack of reply, Dendy decided to list them off so he would know, assuming he would want to either way.
"There's no means of providing nourishment to the ball, so that means one had most likely not been developed yet, so the invention this was made with was probably incomplete. There's also the worry about what will happen with a hybrid creation between a rat and a human, that has a strong turbonic genetic sequences, as well as dog genes in their body… and that most likely means the survival rate for this fetus is most likely zero as well…" there was a crash that cut her off mid sentence. "K.O.?" She turned around to see him laid on the floor, fainted. She came over to shake him slightly but couldn't get him to wake up.
"Oh dear… I forgot to factor in your fainting rate," Dendy sighed, cursing herself for being too absorbed in the moment of scientific revelation. She got out her phone to text Enid and Rad for help, as well as K.O.'s mother to let her know he had fainted and most likely suffered a concussion.
"I suppose I'll help keep it secret for your sake as well, at least until you reawaken," the kappa thought, though was more so interested in studying everything about this for her own research. She did however feel a pang of jealousy in her heart from realizing that Fink was the mother in this situation, but shook it off trying not to let it bother her.
"I wish I could congratulate you on your fatherhood, K.O.… I'm sorry though. Without the ability to be fed or absorb nutrients through the artificial womb, your first child is going to starve long before it's even remotely viable," the young girl sighed, looking to the child carrying ball, letting a few of her cables from her backpack reach over and put the artificial womb onto the blasting gauntlet again to let it continue warming it.
"I just hope you take the news better when you're conscious once again."
Chapter 3: Breakdown
K.O. groaned. His head stirring as he felt someone shaking him. His eyelids fluttered open. Enid was sitting there, looming above him.
"He just fainted for no reason?" the Level 10 ninja asked, sounding distressed from the news of their young friend fainting.
"Affirmative," replied the young Kappa, though she was lying for her classmate's sake.
"I swear, if this is something that Voxmore did, I'll tear them apart," Enid growled. Both sides had agreed to not use any underhanded tactics or overly complex plans until the weddings and honeymoons were all settled.
"E-Enid…?" K.O. chirped, feeling his head rested on her lap. She looked down at him.
"K.O.! Hey. How are you feeling?" Enid ran a hand through his hair, trying to make sure he stayed relaxed. He looked to Dendy who gave a small wave, the artificial womb still rested on the blasting gauntlet.
"I-I… yeah… I'm just really tired," K.O. felt his memory come back. He wanted to faint again, but resisted since his brain was in fifty different places now. He tried to stand up, only to be stopped by his co-worker.
"No, no, just stay relaxed. Your mom will be here soon to take you to the hospital," Enid told the cleaner. He shook his head, forcing himself back up onto his feet.
"I-I'm fine. I don't need to go to the hospital. Thanks for taking care of me," K.O. felt bad for making his friends worry. Enid let out a frustrated sigh. She knew the kid really hated hospitals, though she still wished he would get a checkup at least.
"I'm gonna go chase out the last customers and start closing. You stay here," the high-leveled ninja ordered. The young boy nodded, watching her stand up and leave to finish up today's work early.
"Where's Rad?" K.O. looked around for the alien. Dendy came over and put a hand on his shoulder, making him relax.
"Radicles went to talk to Shannon about whether they used any new secret weaponry in their last assault on the plaza," the Level 3 genius stated. According to the alien, she was the most trustworthy of Boxman's children. Dendy let them go along with this lie to save them from any further stress.
"…Did I imagine everything?" K.O. asked with a dim hopelessness on his face. His dear friend took in a breath.
"No, K.O. This is your child… and Fink's. But without a means to feed it, there is no chance it will survive past a week of gestation," Dendy repeated, ready to catch him if he passed out again. Just mentioning Fink in the sentence made her skin crawl, but her brain was deeply fascinated in many ways.
"I-I created something just so it will die?" K.O. whimpered. He approached the artificial womb, taking it from the blasting gauntlet and holding it in his hands, feeling that warmth the light blue liquid in it held.
"You didn't intend on its creation, just like thirty percent of children out there," explained Dendy, "There's no need to feel guilty. They will expire without any pain…"
"No!" K.O. shouted as he held the unborn child's orb, carrying it close to his chest, beginning to shake. "I can't just let it die, Dendy. It's my c-child…" he trembled, wanting to be happy at this news yet it was hard with the overwhelming sense of sorrow in his heart.
Dendy wanted to say something further as she saw him appear genuinely upset. The kappa couldn't fathom as to why. She decided to be blunter.
"It's not going to become a child. It'll die long before the cells can form a proper mass, the umbilical cord, or anything further. And that's before considering the genetic sequencing that might have long term consequences on its health," Dendy elaborated, repeating her points thoroughly to get them through his normally thick skull.
"I don't care!" countered K.O. He cared for everything and everybody. Dendy understood it herself. Of course he would get upset at the thought of his own child dying. "There has to be something! I-I have to tell Fink. Maybe Venomous or Boxman knows a way to help… or we f-forgot a part of the machine," K.O. felt his emotions shattering, his brain in fifty different places. He just wanted to be responsible for the life he had a hand in creating, even if it was an accident.
"You want to go telling everybody that you and Fink have created a child, right before their weddings?" Dendy found that preposterous to even consider. He was the one that said months ago that he'd make sure nothing ever got in the way of either wedding.
"What do you want me to do?!" K.O. asked, looking to her with his watery eyes. They shed more tears than she had seen him shed in a long time, clearly he was desperate for guidance of any sort.
"I-I believe it would be best to… pretend it never existed. Give it a burial and properly allow it to pass peacefully. As I said, it won't feel a thing," Dendy stated her opinion. She was nervous at how he would react in this unstable state, half expecting T.K.O. to appear.
And alas, K.O. broke down, collapsing onto his knees into the floor, it was too painful to even consider imagining. Dendy stared at him. She never expected him to have this kind of reaction at all. The goggle wearer eventually began to put together what his thought process might be.
"K.O.… doing this would make you nothing like your biological father. Your desire to simply take care of your offspring is a natural reaction of your emotions," Dendy spoke up to the crying child. She knew his own father ignored him and abandoned their family altogether before he was even born. It was no surprise to the kappa that he held his own fear about being a bad parent.
"I-I… I need to talk to Fink…" K.O. whimpered. He had to get her opinion on it. He would give anything for this child to be alright. Just anything in the world, he felt responsible.
Dendy then heard boots against the tiled floor before she could reply. "K.O.? What happened, peanut?!" Carol rushed over to her son's side, alerted to his sobbing.
"I'm f-fine, mommy… Really…" K.O. looked up to his mother. He wanted to tell her everything, wanted to beg for her help, but he didn't wish to ruin one of the happiest parts of her life. K.O. loved having his mother's attention, he knew he would have to give that up eventually. He decided to keep it secret.
"What's going on?" Mr. Gar's strong voice sounded from the doorway. Enid came beside him, both alerted to the sound of the young boy crying.
"Does he need to go to the hospital?" Enid questioned. They could barely get a response out of him at this point.
"K.O. will be fine," Dendy decided to speak up for him, "He just needs to go home. He is suffering from massive stress."
"If this is the fault of Voxmore, then we should take him to get checked up just to be safe," Carol argued. Seeing her son upset always tore at her heart strings. She had not seen him this broken down in quite some time.
"M-Mommy… please…" K.O. whimpered out, the small ball held tightly to his chest. The fitness dojo owner sighed, looking to her fiancé.
"There isn't a scratch on him, Carol… come on, let's get home so he can get some sleep," Mr. Gar insisted. Enid had told them already that they had not been able to land a single hit on K.O. during that last attack. Whatever was happening, he would surely tell them when he calmed down.
"Alright… thanks for taking care of him, Enid and Dendy," Carol spoke, and the small family of three made leave. K.O. kept his eyes closed as the tears rolled down his cheeks. His heart and his mind were torn at this horrific discovery.
"I-I can't ruin the weddings… I need help but... W-what do I do? Fink's going to kill me." K.O. pondered, trying to find some coherency in his mind. He wanted to be happy at the thought of having a child, but he had no clue what to do now. All he could think about was Fink and how she'd take the news.
The sound of platforming swirled around the room of Voxmore Industries as Fink played a video game by herself. She had tried inquiring more about the machine that she and K.O. tested the other day. She found nothing out and resigned to giving up on her curiosities until Venomous decided to announce the LCU's purpose.
A familiar set of laughter made Fink snap her head up from the screen. She saw Radicles passing by the doorway with Shannon guiding him along.
"Subtle," the minion mumbled. She scurried on all fours to catch up to the two teenagers. "Hey! What's crooked antenna doing here?" she called out to the two, startling them. The orange robot nervously grinned.
"Hey! My antennas are not crooked!" Rad huffed, crossing his arms.
"R-Rad just came over to ask if we used any secret weaponry or new tools during our last attack on the plaza. I-I wanted to show him the planning log to prove we did nothing," Shannon explained. Every attack on the plaza had a preset log attached to it now. Boxman started this system up when the amount of attacks the robotic siblings launched increased.
"Why? Did one of you self-destruct on accident again?" Fink asked. As far as the rat knew the Boxmore bots got torn apart immensely in the last assault. She wanted to join them for the attack, but to her anger, was denied.
"No. We have safety measures for that now," Shannon rolled her eyes. That was Darrell's problem anyway, not hers.
"It's cause K.O. fainted for no reason," Rad answered, "I'm here to make sure nothing shady is going on."
Fink's jaw dropped. She jumped up and grabbed onto Shannon's chassis, scaring her. "Why didn't you tell me?! I swear if you did something to him, I'm taking you hunks of junk apart one by one!"
"W-whoa, whoa, whoa! Fink, calm down! We didn't do anything! I-I promise!" Shannon insisted in terror, aware the young girl very well could do that scrapping by hand.
"I know you did something!" sneered Fink, "People don't faint for no reason! You better tell the truth or I'll tell Boxboss about your secret late night visits from Rad here!"
"H-how do you know about that?!" the Level 5 alien gawked in horror. He and Shannon had a relationship in the past. Raymond and Darrell tore it apart. One accident led to another, and before the teenagers knew it, they were back to being a regular couple, and it stayed that way for a couple of months now.
"Jethro told me, now tell me the truth," Fink growled. Shannon wanted to comment on the whole Boxboss name for Boxman but kept quiet out of fear.
"W-we didn't do anything. He fought Darrell and beat him bad... Please don't tell Daddy!" the young robotic girl went on her knees. Professor Venomous's loyal minion could tell she wasn't lying in that regard. Rad was also on his knees.
"Y-yeah Fink. K.O. fainted for no reason in the back. He was with Dendy," the Level 5 stockroom worker added after another violently awkward moment. The rat had an idea cross her head suddenly.
"You two are idiots… Fine. I'll keep quiet, but only because I have to go look for something," Fink said, before she ran off on all fours, leaving the teenage couple there.
"What was that about?" Rad asked, helping his girlfriend back up.
"I don't know. Some days she treats me like a mom. Some days she treats me like sister. Other days she treats me like an enemy," Shannon looked to her boyfriend, leaning onto him, "Your place from now on?"
"M-my place? Sure! If you say you guys didn't do anything wrong, then I believe it," Rad sheepishly grinned. He knew though he would have to text Enid that he had found nothing to make sure she knew Voxmore had not broken their side of the semi peace treaty.
"Say… You don't think Fink might…?" Shannon's voice trailed off. Her boyfriend realized what she meant and nodded with a toothy grin.
"Oh, yeah. Definitely," the Level 5 alien laughed as they continued on their way, taking his girlfriends hand into his own as they left.
K.O. currently was lying in his bed, keeping the ball close to his chest. His parents were in the kitchen, trying to go about things as normal, both looked equally concerned.
"Voxmore really did nothing?" Carol asked, finding that hard to believe. She and Mr. Gar had gotten the call from Enid that Rad had found nothing suspicious going on at Voxmore Industries. It seemed K.O. had fainted from just stress.
"Rad is thorough. I think he's right," Mr. Gar stated. He was more than happy to be K.O.'s stepfather, though the step part seemed irrelevant. Carols son was proud to call the high-leveled hero his dad, and it made the muscular man all the happier.
"Do you think he figured out that surprise we planned on announcing after the wedding?" The fitness dojo owner quirked. Mr. Gar paused, rubbing his head sorely at the thought.
"That'd explain his fainting, but not the breakdown. If anything, you think he'd start waiting on you hand and foot when he heard you're pregnant," Mr. Gar felt his fiancée's gloved hand cover his mouth without warning.
"Shh! If he doesn't know, I'd like it to be that way until the wedding, Eugene! And you know how sneaky all his friends are," Carol reminded him. They found out they were pregnant a week or so ago. It was all an accident, yet they were ecstatic nonetheless, and they knew K.O. would definitely be happy to know he would become a big brother, neither could see him in the role of jealousy.
"R-right, sorry, Carol," Mr. Gar apologized, though the conversation left them with nothing more than further confusion. What could possibly be wrong with the kid. All the betrothed couple could do was try to talk to him once he calmed down.
K.O. didn't know what to do. Dendy's words really had torn at his heart and mind. He wanted to beg everybody he knew for some help, but he didn't want to steal attention away from the happiest moments of their lives. K.O. hadn't felt this hopeless in a while, it was like his heart was in a pit. If Dendy couldn't help him, then who, he asked himself. Did he really have no choice but to let the life he had accidentally made die before they could begin to live?
His phone started ringing. He wanted to ignore it, though he recognized the ringtone. He sat up on the end of his bed, letting the artificial womb lay in the blankets as he answered.
"H-hi Fink," K.O. answered, trying his best to stay calm, but was having a harder time than he expected.
"K.O.? What's going on? You sound like a wreck and I heard you fainted today," Fink responded after hearing that shaky voice of his, though despite trying to sound like her usual self, the minion couldn't hide how worried she was now.
"I-I'm fine… I mean I'm not just… I need to talk to you, it's really important," K.O. finally got the words past his lips.
"Okay, sure… I found papers on the LCU in Boss's safe. It's not much, but I wanted to look at them with you too. I'm already on my way to your house," Fink stated. It seemed like a good reason to meet up, yet she felt anxious both to read the papers alone, since they were still very flimsy. Whatever it was K.O. wished to talk about, given how upset he sounded, it was definitely important too.
"How'd you know where I was…?" the Level 4 hero quirked an eyebrow, casting a glance to the ball full of light blue liquid to make sure it was still there, as if he was expecting it all to be imaginary.
"Don't worry about it, blockhead! I'll be there soon. I'm kind of stuck on foot," Fink hung up, not wanting to tell the bodega cleaner about how she had stashed a tracking chip in one of K.O.'s wristbands upon hearing Dendy had done similar.
The young boy looked down at his phone and nodded. He rested it aside on the nightstand, letting out a sigh. He didn't know what to tell Fink. He could only stare at the floor and wait. He hoped the rat had found something that could help them, yet he didn't know how she would react to the news either.
"Please, Cob, help me…" K.O. gulped. All he could do now was wait for Fink to arrive.
Chapter 4: Hope From A Mother
Fink had been running through the snow on all fours in her thick grey colored coat, beanie cap and pink scarf. Her small bag was on her back. She didn't know why she was doing this. Her heart had drowned when she first heard K.O. had fainted. She had the idea that it was because of the LCU, so she wasted no time in breaking into her boss's safe to find these documents, getting her snow clothes on and then running out by herself. Usually Professor Venomous stored all private information on USB sticks, so finding real solid documents only made their importance stand out to her.
"Almost… there!" Fink panted, hopping over a small hill of snow, keeping up the speed that rivaled a gazelle. The minion couldn't stand the thought that she might have critically injured K.O. with testing that machine. It made her feel terrible, yet she didn't know why, normally she would laugh that kind of thing off.
"Haah... haah... Finally," Fink arrived at the small neighborhood K.O. lived in. She had to sit down on the steps for a moment like an exhausted dog. The front door opened up, she saw Mr. Gar and Carol stepping out in a hurry, but not to address her.
"Fink? What're you doing here?" the fitness dojo owner asked.
"I-I came to check on K.O. I heard he fainted," Fink answered, wondering what was going on with the couple.
"Your timing's perfect! We got a call saying there was a fire at the fitness dojo. We gotta get to the plaza, fast. Can you stay with him while we're gone?" Mr. Gar requested. They didn't want to leave K.O. alone right now when he was upset, though knew the young girl might hate the idea of glorified babysitting.
"Wuh? S-sure, yeah," Fink nodded after absorbing the initial shock at the news of the dojo being on fire.
"Thanks, Finkie. We'll be back as soon as we can!" Carol promised and the two hurried off. Venomous's minion watched their car practically launch out from the driveway as they headed off.
"Oh… I think I know who's behind this," Fink took out her phone and dialed a number, mostly trying to gather herself before going inside, feeling anxious to read these documents, though more so nervous with whatever it was that K.O. wished to discuss with her.
"Hey Fink, it's done," Darrell answered the phone.
"Seriously? I asked you to create a distraction to draw them away! Not burn down part of the plaza!" Fink shouted, very upset at this concept. She had requested Darrell do something to draw Carol and Mr. Gar away from home so she could be alone with K.O. She didn't think the red robot would go so far as to commit arson.
"R-relax, Fink! I didn't do anything like that! I just lit a barrel on fire out back and called it in anonymously," Darrell explained. Blind, pointless destruction was not his goal or the rest of his siblings and father's. They couldn't take over the plaza if they destroyed it anyway, taking over a pile of rubble was simply not the same.
"Okay, you're not as dumb as I thought… thanks, Darrell. I'll get you that special oil you like," Fink reluctantly complimented him and hung up. After taking in another deep breath, she made her way into the home, shutting the door behind herself.
"Hey, K.O. I'm here!" Fink called out, starting to get her winter clothing off to leave by the door. She heard K.O. approaching the second he heard her.
"H-Hi, Fink… Where'd mommy and dad go?" K.O. questioned, noticing the two's absence conveniently, holding the ball of light blue liquid in his arms.
"They had to go handle something… what happened to you? You look horrible," Fink questioned, leading him to the living room, letting him take a seat on the couch. The Level 4 hero looked exhausted, broken, yet that small sense of joy he radiated at all times was still there underneath, even if barely noticeable.
"I… fainted after talking with Dendy," K.O. wanted to come out with the truth immediately, though he knew he had to find the right words. He didn't want to cause Fink to faint as well.
"I got the document for the LCU here," the young henchwoman rummaged through her bag, pulling out a folder, which looked so old, like it was ancient. It also looked nightmarishly thick. Two-hundred pages long at least.
"It's gonna take a while?" gulped a nervous K.O., it was like a worse version of homework.
"Relax, I won't read all of it. Just the medical stuff on this junk," Fink declared. They would only do one thing at a time. She just cared about making sure that K.O.'s fainting episode was not a symptom of a larger problem.
"You really stole this from Venomous's safe and ran all the way here for me?" The young cleaner had to admit, it made him feel warm inside hearing this. He never expected her to care this much.
"…y-you're not the only one who tested that cruddy machine!" Fink retorted, combing through the documents, ignoring the light crimson color tinting her cheeks.
K.O. saw one of the many pages that got separated slide in front of him on the coffee table. He picked it up. It seemed to be the first page of a report, that came off more like a proposal. He began to read it.
"The L.C.U. also known as the life creation unit was designed for several reasons, one being to help those that are unable to have children the natural way go through the next best option available… the primary reason though, is to create stronger heroes through good breeding as a colleague has theorized.
- Dr. Jint Barrows"
The name on the signature didn't mean much to him, but he made note of it nonetheless. What caught K.O.'s attention was that the documents were covered in stamps and the familiar logo of P.O.I.N.T.
"…Fink, this is eighty years old…" the Level 4 cleaner suddenly pointed out the documents' age when he saw the date, which only confused the two of them further.
"Okay, it's outdated, so what?" Fink spoke, not caring for the page he held, though he could not answer, since she finally found the medical section of the documents. "There we are! Lessee here…" the young mouse's tail flicked eagerly as she began to go over the paper.
"Side effects of the LCU are next to none. One may feel a heart arrhythmia, since that is where the purest gene samples are located, and thus are extracted from," Fink read it word for word, though it only confused her further. K.O. just listened intently, feeling it was important to know, "The chemical cocktail that the ball contains will change color to show what they require. Light blue is warm. Purple is cold. Yellow is hungry. Red is hot. Green is content."
"Light blue, purple…" K.O. murmured, looking to the ball, flashing back to those times that it changed color earlier today.
"The caretakers should make sure that it remains in either light blue or green at all times. If more than twenty-four hours pass without them, unforeseen damages may begin developing," Fink, after reading the rest, growled. She had the answer to Professor Venomous's most recent secret yet couldn't understand it.
"F-Fink, before you flip the table over, I know what this is…" K.O.'s voice trailed off toward the end, aware how she got anger prone when she didn't quite grasp something fully, especially when it came to her boss.
"What? Speak up blockhead," she turned to him, her irritated glare facing his upset expression. She couldn't stay angry at that nervous look. She forced herself to relax, aware he also had something important to discuss with her.
"I-I know what this is, Fink! It's what I wanted to talk with you about…" He forced the words past his lips, holding out the artificial womb for her to see. The young girl took it, raising an eyebrow.
"Tell me then!" Fink demanded, wondering why he didn't say that on the phone. K.O. felt himself freezing up in fear at how she'd react.
"A baby what?" Fink's confusion doubled. She glanced all over the ball like she was hoping to find the answer written down on it.
"T-the machine is for making babies. T-there's a child growing in the ball… o-our child," K.O. exclaimed. He didn't remember Dendy's exact words. Some were too big for him, and the minor concussion he gave himself on accident didn't help his memory.
"…Come again?" Fink gave an innocent enough smile, as if she was expecting him to tell her it was a joke.
"Professor Venomous wants to make a child with Boxman s-so he made the LCU. When we tested it the machine made a baby from us. The machine wasn't done though. There's no way to feed our baby through the ball. Dendy said that… that they'll starve to death in a week," the Level 4 hero continued, all the while Fink's hopes of it being a joke faltered when she saw how upset he was exactly. K.O. hated to repeat the phrase. He didn't want to believe it himself. There was no response though so he decided to just put it out there more bluntly like his genius friend would do, it didn't take an intelligent person to figure out why Venomous had made it in the first place either.
"It's our baby."
Fink gave him a million-mile stare, almost like she got hit by a tranquilizer. She blinked, took in a deep breath, handed him the artificial womb and exhaled. "I know why you fainted now," she collapsed onto the couch. K.O. looked at her with worry, relieved that she didn't hit her head on anything like he did during his fainting episode.
"I guess your mom isn't good with bad news…" K.O. murmured to the ball, resting it off to the side, turning his gaze to the giant folder on the coffee table. He began to go through it one page at a time to try and find out what the invention was missing so that the newly created child could be fed, hoping the answer to it would be within the many pages.
Fink felt herself wake up. After two hours. She realized she was sleeping on the couch with a blanket covering her and a pillow under her head. She wondered what just happened.
Fink grumbled, rubbing her eye tiredly as she sat up, seeing the paperwork neatly stacked on the coffee table. A small cup of hot chocolate and a sandwich rested beside it. She also saw a note resting beside the small snack. She took it and began to read it.
Sorry about making you pass out. I didn't mean to scare you like that. Thank you for bringing me the papers. It was a lot to read through, but I finally found the answer! I had to go to the plaza." Fink felt terror wash her as she read the other side of the note. "I understand if you're upset. I don't expect you to take responsibility for this either. I'll take care of them no matter what though. I promise you that.
P.S. Sorry if the food isn't much for a dinner."
"Sweet cob, I remember now!" Fink gasped as her memories were refreshed. Night had fell and everything was getting colder with each passing minute, why would K.O. go to the plaza at this hour, she wondered.
"Wait a minute…" she reached over to the folder with one of her pink gloves, opening the top of it. There was a page that she had a feeling K.O. read last before he had left, since it was randomly numbered. She picked it up and read it.
"There is no means to feed the artificial womb that we've had success with. Naturally, that is. Unnaturally, however, we had a breakthrough. The best way for the fetus to get nutrients is with glorbs. It has been discovered that they can be absorbed without actually eating them."
Fink flipped it over to the back page.
"They act like a quarter meal, which is more than enough for a full feeding for a developing fetus as needed. Sadly, we are not permitted to test this theory, due to how rare and expensive glorbs are. As result, the project is most likely ceasing here."
Fink put the pieces together which formed a scary picture in her head.
"That idiot! He isn't doing what I think he's gonna do, is he?!" Fink stood up in disbelief, stuffing all the papers back into her bag. She cannibalized the sandwich, shoving it into her mouth, before chugging the hot chocolate, consuming them both in one gulp each.
"I swear, K.O., I'll kill you!" the rat growled to herself. She quickly put on all her winter wear as she got out the door, she jumped off the porch and darted off on all fours into the snowy night. Thankfully the snowflakes no longer fell as hard. A raging fire had lit inside her, and her animalistic face expressed it.
K.O. was at the plaza, having had to walk most of the way there. Most people around at this hour he noticed were gathered around the fitness dojo that had police blocking it. He could also see his mom and Mr. Gar standing outside the dojo talking, looking equally perplexed.
"I guess this is a lucky thing for me," K.O. brushed it off. The ball carrying his child was in his vest pocket, and he had a small backpack on his back. He began to walk away, not wanting to get seen by his parents during this usual dark afternoon.
K.O. had made his way to another part of the plaza, where a large pipe rested. Lava would protect it through most of the day, though at night, the boiling magma tended to retract enough for anyone to safely enter. He paused though at the entrance.
"…Am I really going to do this though? I'd be no better than Shadowy had been…" K.O. questioned himself, remembering the shadowy figure that had possessed his biological father for the longest time until T.K.O. literally blasted them apart. K.O. felt his heart throb in guilt.
"I have to do this," the Level 4 hero snapped, shaking his fears off. He climbed into the pipe and started making his way through it. It led him to the underground area of Lakewood Plaza Turbo. The ball of clear liquid acted like a light source to him, as it glowed in the dark. It was pretty convenient, which K.O. thought in delight. Though before he continued any deeper he blasted the security camera apart with a power fist before it could see him, he remembered Mr. Gar had installed it there a long time ago after the last incident down here.
K.O. followed the large pipe along until he arrived to a pair of thick steel doors, he put his hand on one, feeling himself starting to freeze again. He hated what he was about to do it went against all his heroic efforts for the plaza.
"I wish I could talk to T.K.O. about this," the young boy murmured to himself, his twin would have to hear the news eventually, maybe he would even be able to encourage K.O., right now he couldn't even say to himself that Mr. Gar owed him this, that the plaza could owe him this. K.O. had to resist having a breakdown as he fought with himself.
K.O. snapped his head up from the floor, pulling back his arm and forming a power fist. He punched through the pair of strong double doors, tearing them wide open.
There it was. The glorb tree. Such magnificent glory. The pool of clear water filled the area around and beneath it. Small, glowing balls flowed in the air. Those were natural glorbs. K.O. always had to stare in awe whenever he found himself down here. He grabbed one of the glorbs floating near him.
"It's beautiful… don't you think?" he asked the artificial womb, taking it out from his vest underneath his jacket, holding it in his other hand. K.O. hesitated for a moment. There was no going back from doing this.
The Level 4 hero held the glorb against the exterior of the artificial womb. There was nothing at first, but after a moment, the glorb got absorbed slowly into it, vanishing after another second.
K.O. felt a wave of joy wash over him when the liquid inside changed from light blue to green in color, remembering what Fink had read earlier in the document.
"You're going to be fine," he smiled, confident now that the biggest problem was able to be dealt with, he rested the artificial womb down on his coat, letting it stay by the door, so the developing child wouldn't remain in the cold. He made his way down the steps to the pool of water below.
He rested his backpack down on the last step and opened it. The bag was full of empty jars and a pair of tongs. He took one of the jars out and took the lid off, taking in a deep breath as he took the tongs.
Carol, Mr. Gar, Dendy, Enid, Rad, just about everyone he knew had made such effort to protect this place. And there he was, about to betray all that effort. He mentally apologized to his loved ones, unsure how he could make up for this act if they ever found out. He knew glorbs could come and go, and they would get replaced. It took time to though. He began to fill up the jar with glorbs, grabbing the balls of glowing energy out of the air, one by one, and gently placing them inside.
K.O. didn't enjoy doing this. It was for his child though. He kept telling himself they needed food to survive and there was no other way to get glorbs without stealing them from Voxmore Industries. Those under the plaza went unused for the most part.
As he worked, he continued to flash back to how Shadowy did the same, taunting him both times all the way, pilfering glorbs. It made K.O.'s breathing shaky, his hands trembling violently. Time at least was thankfully passing fast, two jars already filled to the brim with glorbs sat by his backpack.
"Maybe I'm more like my dad than I thought…" the bodega cleaner sighed. Venomous and Shadowy were two different people. That didn't change how he felt though.
"K.O.!" Fink's booming voice echoed through the area, startling him. He turned around. A furious Fink stood at the top of the steps.
"Fink?! What are you doing here?" K.O. questioned. Fink scampered down the steps on all fours and leaped at him, tackling him down. They rolled through the water, K.O. dropping his third jar during the struggling.
"I'm here to stop you from making the biggest mistake in your life!" Fink shook K.O. angrily, sitting on his stomach, pinning him there. She looked ready to claw his eyes out. The exhaustion from running all the way here had caught up with her.
"I-I'm doing what has to be done!" K.O. replied, "I'm taking from here instead of Voxmore, so I don't hurt you or anyone else!"
Fink jabbed him in the face, dazing him slightly. "I don't care about those cruddy glorbs!"
"What were you talking about then?" K.O. questioned, puzzled as he looked to her.
"You think I'm going to just sit around doing nothing after you told me I'm going to be a mom?!" she growled, her tail twitching in fury, "You're a real big idiot if you think that!"
"I… was just trying to be responsible. I don't want you to be forced into this," K.O. stammered. He felt another violent shake while he was held by his lapels.
"Do you not know what the term ours means?!" Fink asked, genuinely upset, "I'm not gonna be like my mom or how my boss was back when he had that freak possessing him! I want to be responsible! I'm the one who made you do that stupid test in the first place!"
K.O. looked her in the eye as the air around them turned tense. Fink truly wanted to be involved and be a mother to their child. "…Your mom?" he asked, though as he finally got the chance to sit up. The mouse sat in the water beside him.
"Boss saved me from a hero, when I was really young," Fink looked down to the ground, "She was as bad as any villain I knew."
K.O. wrapped his arms around Fink, hugging her. "Are you sure…? That you really want to be involved in our child's life?"
"Yeah…" Fink accepted the embrace for a short moment, clearly appreciative of it. "We both know what it's like to only have one parent," she replied. Venomous was the closest she had to a father, and when he took her in, she cut her mother out of her life. K.O. only had Carol in his life, with Mr. Gar acting as the best role model. "But you need to get one thing embedded into your thick skull," Fink poked his forehead as she refocused her attention fully on him, ignoring the glorbs floating all around them.
"What?" K.O. asked with a quirked eyebrow, scared of getting the rat upset further.
"Anything that has to be done, we talk about and do together. You got that?" Fink tried to show anger in her glare, though her eyes held hurt. She pleaded for him to understand.
"Of course, Fink," K.O. gave a nod with a cute warm smile gracing his lips. It meant the world to him to hear Fink say those words. They helped each other to their feet, looking to the ball of green liquid that rested by the doorway. K.O. tried to lead them away from the glorb tree.
"Where are you going?" asked the mouse.
"Uh, to get out… I thought you wanted to stop me?" K.O. confusedly replied, watching her grab the jar that had gotten knocked over when she had tackled him.
"No. You already started, so we can't go back, blockhead," Fink exclaimed. "The baby needs a constant glorb supply, right? I got an idea, but either way, we need the glorbs."
"Okay…" K.O. nodded, watching the mouse begin to head for the doorway. "Should we tell anyone the news?" he called out to her.
"No way! I'm not stealing the happiest moment of boss's life away just because we did something careless," Fink retorted, sharing that thought with him. A while's secrecy wouldn't hurt anybody. "You gather up the glorbs, find a good place to hide them. I have to go work on this idea of mine. It'll make taking care of the ball there a lot easier."
K.O. was watching as Fink then headed up the steps, though before she left through the door, she stopped, crouching down and running a hand over the artificial womb.
"I'll see you later." She hummed, continuing on her way.
"Wow… I never expected her to do that," K.O. muttered to himself. He felt renewed now thanks to her. Dendy's other concerns were distant memories to him. Fink wanted to be involved with the child's life. He was happy to know this. That she would take care of him and their baby, the same way he wanted to care for them.
"…I better hurry up. I don't want to make mommy and dad worried," K.O. focused back on the glorb gathering, since there were a lot of jars to go still. He figured his parents would be home soon and get worried about him being missing, yet he wondered what the young mouse girl meant when talking about her mother. He would have to ask her about it later.
"I'll take care of you both either way, because I know you'd do the same for me, Fink, don't worry."
Chapter 5: Blooming Love?
Authors Note: Hey all, just wanted to say thank you for all the support, it really keeps me going! I hope you all have a happy thanksgiving! Take care!
The early morning arrived, with another cold snowy winter day following the sunrise. Professor venomous was making his way through Voxmore industries, having only woken a little while ago. His partner Boxman was still deeply asleep.
The purple skinned man was confused when during his walk, the villain saw four of the robotic siblings gathered around the doorway to the workshop, whispering amongst each other.
"What are you four doing?" Professor Venomous questioned. Jethro, Shannon, Raymond and Darrell all turned to him, relieved to see him awake.
"It's Fink. We think she just fell asleep," Raymond claimed, letting the professor see for himself. Things at the Voxmore workshop looked a bit disorganized, normally it was very organized. Fink was snoring, her head rested on one of the workbenches with a lot of tools around her.
"Why is Fink asleep in there?" Venomous asked, wondering why none of them took their practical sister to bed. The robotic siblings looked to one another.
"She said she'd tear us apart if we got in her way," Darrell claimed. They all knew the young mouse was very capable of doing as she said too.
"She was out past curfew too…" Shannon added. The Voxmore family had a curfew. Letting them stay up all night and day doing as they pleased would be a disaster, so the owners of the company enacted a curfew so no one would be out past eight in the evening. This was a rule the many robotic children and Fink followed well.
"I am Jethro," a trash can on treads – no, a Boxmore bot, chimed up. Venomous held his head, sighing.
"Kids, go start working on breakfast, please," the Level -7 villain requested. The four robotic siblings looked eager at this. They never got to cook ever since the explosive bacon incident.
"Really?! Thanks Dad!"
"We'll do good this time, we promise!"
"Oh, daddy is going to love it! I know!"
"I am Jethro."
The stepfather to the robotic family watched as the four hurried off, excited and talking about what to make. He tried to not focus on the sounds of destruction in the kitchen. Venomous regretted that choice immediately, the enthusiasm was always welcomed.
"I'll deal with the consequences later…" he huffed, beginning to make his way into the workshop, approaching the young mouse as she slept. The LCU remained idle nearby with a new empty artificial womb in the center.
Venomous was about to wake Fink up when he saw what she had been working on. She had been dismantling her glorb pack, which he had made so she could stay in turbo form for a lot longer by having a steady stream of glorbs fed to the transforming collar, the collar itself rested nearby, untouched thus far.
"Fink? Wake up," the purple skinned man shook her by the shoulder. Fink looked absolutely exhausted. Her hair was messy, and she had bandaging on her hands. Her pink gloves were off, it was odd since she usually never took them off. Fink had not wanted them to get in the way while she worked, so she simply stuffed them away in her pocket. The bandaging did little to hide the prominent permanent scars underneath the many scratches and scrapes that came from not being too experienced with the tools she was using.
"Wuh? O-oh, good morning, boss! Sorry, I fell asleep," Fink gave a sheepish grin when she saw her boss. He watched as she took up a wrench to continue dismantling part of the glorb pack, like her boss had been nothing more than an alarm clock.
"What are you doing?" The professor asked. Normally Fink cherished literally everything she received from him and by extension Boxman, to a small degree. Seeing her actively dismantling one essentially was quite off putting to him.
"I had an idea and I wanted to get it done," the young mouse's tail twitched eagerly. Last night came rushing back to the front of her mind like a slew of memories.
"I never thought I'd see you actually building something," Venomous had to confess, though got no real reply to that comment. Fink still had trouble believing it, she was going to be a mother, and that filled her with… joy? It was fulfilling to imagine the future now. Beforehand, she would say planning for the future was the most boring pointless thing in existence, since she and everyone else she knew couldn't predict it.
"I'm still better working with chemicals," Fink confessed with a light laugh, though when the last bolt was taken off the back, the top half of the glorb backpack fell apart, giving her that large opening she had been trying to make by modifying it all night now.
"So… where were you last night that made you late for curfew?" Venomous bluntly requested an explanation. He was busy with the upcoming wedding, yet that didn't mean she could do as she pleased.
Fink felt herself pause, swallowing hard. She gave a hesitant look up to her practical father. He didn't seem mad. He looked concerned and disappointed. Venomous would be angry if Fink had gotten hurt, but right now she was working on something personal, and it was her first invention. To him it was a very proud moment.
"K.O. fainted yesterday. I lost track of time taking care of him," Fink stated. It wasn't exactly a lie. It wasn't exactly the truth either. She did not want to steal her boss's attention away from the wedding he so looked forward to.
"Overworked himself again?" Venomous sighed. It wasn't the first time K.O. had done that and they both knew it would be far from the last. Fink nodded, going along with the lie. "Can I ask what you're making? Or is it a surprise?" he gave a toothy smile, thinking it might be a wedding gift.
"Personal project," Fink flatly said, throwing the wrench aside, letting out an exasperated sigh, like it had taken everything within her to even think of a successful way to build this alone. She'd rather die before going and begging that stupid turtle for help either.
"Well come get breakfast, and next time you stay out past curfew, call me, okay?" Venomous began to walk away, quite pleased that Fink was taking her first real steps to becoming an evil scientist.
"I gotta keep working, boss. I want to finish this…" Fink chimed up. Her boss paused and looked back to his loyal minion. He could tell she was determined, yet he had no clue why. Venomous gave a proud nod.
"We don't allow food in the workshop, but I'll make an exception this time… make sure to clean yourself up though. You look rough," he stated. Fink smiled and nodded, grateful for his support.
Fink mentally reminded herself to keep going for K.O. and their baby. Everything the two did was for all three of them now, as she had told him last night. Not just their newly created child. The young mouse smiled, picking up a small welding tool as well as a pair of goggles, continuing to work away on modifying the glorb backpack, unsure why K.O. was so prominently on her mind lately. She tried to not dwell on his cute face and focused on her work, she would see him later during an attack on the plaza anyhow.
K.O. was in his room, getting ready for work. He felt immensely better since last night, though the guilt of stealing from the plaza still rung out hard in him. It wasn't easy for him to suppress it.
K.O. reminded himself he still needed to talk to Dendy as he slid on his vest. He wanted to let the kappa know the great news about finding a way to feed the unborn child. He looked over to the artificial womb resting beside his bed in his jacket.
"Oh, it's time for breakfast?" K.O. had already eaten, but the yellow color was back within the liquid of the orb indicating it was hungry. The Level 4 hero went and lifted his mattress. There was a jar full of glorbs hidden inside of a part of the bed that had been cut out. He had taken only one home and hidden the rest in the plaza, in a place where he knew no one could find them.
After taking out one of the glorbs, K.O. took a seat on his bed, holding the tough ball carrying his child in one arm. He used his free hand to hold the glorb up to the artificial womb, letting it begin absorbing it slowly while he rocked back and forth.
"I wonder if they taste good?" K.O. mentally pondered. T.K.O. had eaten glorbs before, he himself hadn't. He was happily rocking his future child in his arms as the ball consumed the glorb. He felt pride, feeling the warmth the artificial womb emitted as the liquid turned green.
The door suddenly opened without warning. "Hey peanut! You ready to go?" Carol's voice startled her son. K.O. forced himself to relax. She saw that tired expression on her sons face. "You feeling okay, K.O.?"
"Thanks, mommy, I'm fine!" the brushy haired hero hummed. Last night had been long for K.O., he had been able to get home before his parents somehow. He hopped up over the bed, trying to get his usual enthusiasm back up past his exhaustion. He felt happier thanks to Fink. She was his miracle that had helped save their accidental creation's life. Despite her prickly exterior emotionally, she truly cared for him and their child.
"Can you tell me what happened last night?" K.O. asked while following his mom, letting the artificial womb rest inside his coat's inner pocket, despite how he always wanted to hold and cradle the unborn child in his arms.
"Oh, well, we got a call from the police that the dojo was on fire… turned out to just be a barrel that was burning out back," Carol explained, unsure what happened. They presumed it was just the work of a careless homeless person, and thanked cob that the dojo was unharmed. "But enough about me! Was Fink good to you last night?" she asked her son as they made their way out to the car. Mr. Gar had already left to open the bodega early in the morning just like always. Carol still wondered what had caused her sons severe breakdown from before, however she did not want to go tearing open wounds that had already healed.
"Fink… was really good. She helped fix all my problems," K.O. stated, with a bright smile forming on his face. He had to think of a way to repay the young mouse for her help. He knew that Fink would probably try to be around more often now with the revelation that she was going to be a mother, though the level 4 hero pondered what the mouse had planned since she had mentioned an idea coming to mind last night.
"That's great, peanut! Just know if you ever need anything, you can come to me and Gar, okay?" Carol reminded him as she started up the car.
"Thanks Mommy, but I'm better than ever now, really," K.O. reassured, leaning back on his seat and closing his eyes, wanting to try and catch some extra sleep during the car ride to Lakewood Plaza Turbo, all the while thinking up a few ideas to show his gratitude to Fink.
K.O. tried to go about the day, though he had a bit of anxiety during his cleaning. He was in the plaza. It made him feel guilty. The Level 4 hero tried to suppress it. He had to keep relaxed.
"He looks better," Enid said, watching the cleaner from afar. Radicles was close to her, restocking items at the front register that would get overlooked by customers even after they asked for it, like gum.
"I'm telling you, Enid, Voxmore did nothing… Shannon and me looked over everything three times. A few of the bots even offered to come help when they heard what happened," Rad repeated what he had told the Level 10 ninja several times over now. Enid had a hard time believing it, but at the same time, couldn't see them doing anything so low during such a happy time in their lives.
"You know as well as I do, K.O. breaking down is a sign of something bigger…" Enid reminded the Level 5 alien as they watched their friend continue cleaning.
"Relax, mama bear, he'll come to us if he needs help," Rad assured. They both were glad to see the young boy happy again. The Level 5 stockboy never hesitated to tease Enid for her over-protective big sister mentality. She sighed, unable to help it. She owed a lot to K.O.
"You should have seen how Fink reacted when she heard he fainted, she took off like a rocket!" Rad exclaimed, chuckling at remembering it, though he was not too fond of how Fink knew about his and Shannon's secret relationship.
"Seriously? …Guess that's why Dendy hates her," Enid gave a smirk. They were aware of the kappa's feelings for K.O. they both immediately ended the discussion when they saw the young hero approaching them.
"Hey guys, I finished cleaning," K.O. chirped up happily. He saw the two staring at the bodega. It had barely been open for a couple of hours, yet he had apparently cleaned it all up in record time.
"W… Wow K.O. that's impressive," Enid commented, staring down to him.
"I've never seen you work that fast, little buddy," Rad was unable to deny it. It was impressive. It certainly contrasted yesterday since K.O. had been broken to the point that the alien himself had to finish the cleanup.
"I'm feeling a lot better and wanted to make up for yesterday," K.O. claimed. It made his co-workers wonder if their friend was trying to get a raise or something, since he was not really getting a real paycheck. Mr. Gar first hired K.O. it was more like babysitting him, and he got a few technos a day at most. Yet the young cleaner was happy with just having the job, so the stockroom worker and cashier went along with it.
"So Elodie is going to be coming by next week for your mom's wedding… You still feel up to playing therapist, K.O.?" Enid tried to just focus on making sure K.O. was happy. No point in dwelling on yesterday, or at least letting him think on it too hard since something had upset him severely to begin with.
"I'm ready for anything, Enid!" The level 4 cleaner proudly declared, wishing he could tell his friends about his accidental fatherhood, yet he knew they would tell his parents. He couldn't have that though. K.O. swore to himself he would tell them all one at a time, after everything settled down, and he figured out a plan with Fink of course.
They all heard the familiar alarm blaring and saw flashing red lights following. "The plazas under attack!" Mr. Gar's voice boomed over the loudspeaker. The three bodega employees went back out into the snow to fight their Voxmore rivals.
The trio got outside and could see the familiar Voxmore brand crate, which fell apart moments afterwards, revealing Fink, Shannon, Jethro, Mikayla and Darrell.
"Ah, jeez, it's a Fink attack…" Enid held her head. Dealing with the mouse in her turbonic form was a pain. K.O. seemed just as enthusiastic for this battle.
"Aw, man…" Rad groaned, "My back just healed from the last one."
"We're going to do some real damage today," Darrell grinned eagerly, priming his blaster. Mikayla hissed like the robotic cat she was.
"Yeah! We've got some new tricks!" Shannon proclaimed. She worked a lot yesterday to make a new combo with her siblings.
"I am Jethro," Jethro, as usual, didn't hold back with his words.
"Hang on!" Fink suddenly shouted, startling the robots and confusing the plaza workers. They saw her holding the modified glorb pack. It now had a clear glass window on the top of the back of it. All the tubing that used to be on the exterior was instead redirected inside. It looked sleeker.
"What is it Fink?" Shannon whispered, she and Darrell crouching down to her height. Mikayla and Jethro waited patiently, though hoped the young mouse was alright since she had barely any real sleep last night.
"I'm not in the mood to fight anymore. You buckets of bolts can do it without me," Fink spoke, stepping out from the robotic siblings. The robots were awestruck. This was the most out of character thing Fink said. Even Enid, Rad and K.O. were surprised.
"K.O.! I got you a present, come here," the young mouse pointed a pink gloved hand at the bodega cleaner. He nodded, hurrying off to follow the rat as he was taken aside, away from the rest of the group to talk with him privately. Everyone else was left in a violently awkward position.
"Sooo… do we fight or wait for them to get back?" Shannon chirped up curiously. Her secret boyfriend laughed a little.
"Nah. I'm sure Fink'll be in the mood to fight when they get back. Let's wait," Rad knew how explosive the rat could be. They expected to hear the sounds of her and K.O. dueling later.
"I hope K.O. can make her feel better at least, she's been acting WEIRD lately," Darrell stated, hoping their frenemy who'd soon become their step-brother would be able to cheer up Fink.
"Really now…?" Enid made note of that, doubting the two acting weird at the same time was a coincidence. The ninja kept quiet, resisting her desire to go spying at the moment as most of the group waited. Rad and Shannon casually talked like this was just a neighborly visit.
"Are you okay Fink? You look really tired," K.O. asked now that they were mostly alone. A few other plaza regulars were around but not close enough to run away in a panic at the sight of the evil mouse.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine… here I finished this a little while ago," Fink rested the modified glorb pack on the ground. The brushy haired boy recognized it well. Every time they fought the mouse would utilize it to be stronger after all.
"Did Venomous make you a new one?" K.O. questioned. The young girl put her hands on her hips with a big smile.
"Nope! I made this all by myself! I call it the glorbucator!" Fink proudly declared. Her first real invention. Even if it was an intense modification of a cherished item of her own, it was still impressive. "Hand me the baby," the young rat held out her hands. K.O. nodded, taking the artificial womb out from his vest. The green liquid still radiated warmly. Fink took the ball, though she paused when holding it. She gave it a small hug with one arm, feeling like she couldn't resist the desire the second that it sprung to mind.
K.O. gained a small smile, glad he was not the only one coddling the ball like it was already a fully grown baby. It was just natural instinct. He watched as Fink opened the top of the glorbucator, revealing the inside.
There was a circular divot – the special collar that Fink used to power up was now being held along by small metal clips to keep it held open, there was a large spiral tube connected to the divot that he could see too. "Is that your collar?" K.O. asked.
"Yep! It's perfect for the baby," Fink leaned down, placing the artificial womb into the glorbucator. It fit snugly and perfectly. Her eyes lit up with joy, glad that it fit like a glove.
"Can you tell me what it does?" eagerly asked K.O. as he stared at her, finding the sight cute. It made him have a strange feeling in his chest that he couldn't describe.
"It can hold a week's worth of glorbs in the compartment below, and it feeds the baby on a timer! It'll keep it warm and cool as needed by going off of the color of the inside of the ball. And best of all, it's extremely durable, it can even withstand an explosion!" Fink exclaimed. She had made a special automatic feeding incubator for their child. Treating it like a chicken egg though was probably questionable, morally speaking.
"You really stayed up all night working on this?" K.O. found it hard to believe. He was more so amazed that Fink had sacrificed her direct power ups for this one invention. It showed how dedicated she was to their child and made the bodega cleaner feel very comforted.
"It was weird. When I thought about it, I couldn't stop working until it was done… just like boss," Fink sheepishly confessed. Professor Venomous taught her that efficiency was important to any long term project. Same had to be applied to the longest and biggest project of her life after all.
K.O. pulled her into a tight hug. Fink initially wanted to jab him in the face and tell him to quit smothering her, though she relented and simply accepted the embrace, meekly returning it herself.
"You're the greatest, Fink. You'll be an even better inventor than Boxman and Venomous one day!" K.O. expressed his gratitude. When their hug ended, he reached down and closed the top to the glorbucator. The glass part seemed extremely durable and allowed them to look inside to check on the artificial womb whenever they wanted.
"Thank you, K.O.," Fink got those words past her vocal chords. They weren't cooperating with her for some reason. Her chest felt light, like something had tickled her heart with a feather.
"Oh! That reminds me, I got you something too, to thank you for helping me yesterday," K.O. reached into his vest again, trying to find the present he had gotten Fink shortly after he had first arrived at work.
"I swear, if you try to hand me one of those jars of glorbs to give to boss…" the green haired girl grumbled. Venomous would be proud of her for delivering a jar of stolen glorbs to him, yet she was not going to take any glorbs. They belonged to their unborn child, he had already committed a massive crime just by stealing them.
"No, I got those placed somewhere safe… oh there it is," K.O. pulled out two decently sized cans from his vest. Fink stared, unable to resist drooling.
"Is… Is that spray cheese?" Fink gulped, practically drooling.
"Yeah! I remember how much you loved that cheesecake from mommy's birthday, I know it isn't the same but I thought you'd like it." K.O. handed the cans of spray cheese over to the young mouse. Her addiction to cheese was astounding, though only Venomous and Boxman knew about it. Fink had to resist pulling the caps off and just chugging the cheese away.
"T-thank you, K.O. If anyone says you're a crummy person, send them my way and I'll deal with them," Fink swallowed, stuffing the cans of spray cheese away into her coat for later. K.O. had a bright smile on his face as he slid the glorbucator onto his back. Being able to carry it like a regular backpack made it a lot better, having it strap onto his chest securely.
"Thanks, Fink. Should we get back to the fight?" the Level 4 hero offered.
"We should, yeah," Fink nodded and tried to leave.
"Do you think we can hang out sometime? You know, as a family?" K.O and his words stopped her for another second. Fink didn't look back to him right away, though his question made her feel hesitant. The snow falling around them felt like it paused in place. After a moment, the minion turned to him.
"Are you… asking me on a date?" Fink put it bluntly what it seemed like to her. As much as her brain screamed at her to just say yes, she resisted, wondering if they would be in this position at all if it wasn't for the accidental creation of their child.
"Sure! Is there something wrong with that?" K.O. obliviously responded. The comforting innocence on his expression gave Fink the answer. Child or no child, she had a feeling they would still have wound up in this position anyway. The mouse stepped up to him. The bodega cleaner expected a punch to the face, but he waited nervously while closing his eyes.
K.O.s eyes sprung open as he felt a small kiss against his forehead. His face turned bright red, only realizing what Fink did when her small show of affection ended. He merely saw her standing there with a toothy grin, finding his reaction adorable.
"I'd love to," Fink answered with joy to her voice and began to hurry off to return to the fight. K.O. could only stand there in the snow, awestruck, his cheeks warm. He never saw Fink act like that before, and now that he did… he loved it.
"…Is romance a part of the path to becoming a hero?" the brush haired boy mentally pondered, thinking he could ask his mom about that later, though before he could think any further on that, he heard a small explosion and other sounds of a fight breaking out.
"H-hey! Don't start the battle without me!" K.O. ran off on all fours to catch up, that minor part of him that was dog having taken over without him realizing. Fink had started the fight right away for their sake, or maybe to fight the confusing frustration that came from her feelings.
Chapter 6: Dendys Deal
The early afternoon arrived. The day had been pretty calm after the initial Boxmore assault. K.O. was on his second break for the day and was at the food court area that had come to the plaza recently, about a month or so ago.
"How's it in there? Does it feel good?" K.O. asked the artificial womb resting in the glorbucator. The Level 4 hero knew it'd take a little while longer before he could see a baby starting to grow in it, but he was going to treat them like they were able to hear his every word from start to finish. The young boy looked around, seeing no one coming to him still.
"Where are they…?" K.O. mumbled after another moment. He had texted Dendy and Fink hours ago asking them to meet up once they had the chance. The brush haired boy understood that Fink was most likely trying to not draw any unwanted attention just yet, and Dendy was most likely caught up with an invention.
"I guess while I wait for them, I can have that important talk with T.K.O.…" K.O. gulped, not looking forward to this. He tapped the side of his head several times "T.K.O.? Can you wake up? I need to talk with you about something," the Level 4 hero spoke up. He could hear the familiar groggy growl from his twin in the mindscape.
"What now? I told you not to wake me unless it's very important or 'til spring comes!" T.K.O. retorted in irritation. The turbonic half of K.O. hated the cold more than anything, acting a lot like a hibernating bear in that sense.
"I-It is very important! It's about a lot of stuff… I have to ask you something first," the Level 4 aspiring hero stated. His edgier clone gave a reluctant grunt, but did not argue further, deciding to at least give the chance to listen now that he was awake.
"What is it?" T.K.O. grunted, wanting the chat done with so he could get back to sleep.
"Uh… have you ever wondered what it would be like if we were parents?" K.O. decided to try and pose it as a hypothetical. There was a pause. The brush haired child rubbed a hand along the glorbucator's glass window for them.
"Nope. Why would I ever wonder that?" T.K.O. replied, confused already. K.O. opened the glorbucator and took the artificial womb out of it, holding it.
"I… me and Fink are having a baby. That means you're going to be a dad, just like me," the Level 4 hero came out and said it. There was a long silence. Afterwards the bodega cleaner felt afraid. He suddenly felt a sharp sting of pain in his head. K.O. tried to tolerate it. He knew how shocking the news was to his twin, it was natural.
"You did WHAT with FINK?!" T.K.O. gawked, hoping he was being pranked right now. Fink, pregnant? From them? The turbonic boy didn't even want to imagine it. K.O. was supposed to be the innocent oblivious one out of the two of them. Did he even know how people make a baby? T.K.O. was having a panic attack. Mainly because he didn't agree to anything of the sorts.
"We tested out this machine a-and it combined our cells or something in this ball, and now there's a baby forming in it! I already had to do so much just to make sure they could live," K.O. responded, though was too afraid to go into exact detail about what he had done, doubting T.K.O. would be happy to know they had stolen a glorified lifetime supply of glorbs from the plaza itself. "And… I'm going on a date with Fink in a few hours, too," the young hero held their future child in his arms for comfort.
"What about Dendy?" T.K.O. asked, sounding extremely upset.
"Dendy?" K.O. gulped, "I…"
"Yes, K.O.?" Dendy's voice caught his attention. The kappa had just arrived, right on cue, and sat on one of the chairs. She looked disheartened to see her classmate with the artificial womb, whose change in color since she had last seen it perplexed her.
"O-oh, hi, Dendy! Sorry, I didn't see you come up I was talking to T.K.O." K.O. apologized, though there was no further word from T.K.O. now. The turbonic child presumably stopped talking to absorb the information.
"It's my fault for being late, apologies for that," Dendy responded, watching K.O. rest the baby ball back in the glorbucator. He noticed a glare forming on his kappa friend's face. When the Level 4 hero followed her eyes, he saw Fink.
"Hey K.O." Fink greeted the young boy. She was a lot more upbeat than usual. Dendy was made all the more uncomfortable by it. Like they expected a surprise attack any minute now.
"Hi, Fink. Sorry about calling you both out here like that… we just needed to talk with Dendy about the baby," K.O. exclaimed his reason for calling the two out here.
"Sure, it can't hurt," the young mouse shrugged, taking a seat beside the father of their child. Fink was far more agreeable today, normally in any other situation she would want nothing to do with the Kappa. Her good mood permeated the tension quite easily.
"K.O., what is the meaning of this? I thought we weren't going to tell anybody the news, what with the weddings being so close," the Level 3 genius requested an explanation. Why would he go emotionally torture Fink with this revelation of a doomed child as well?
"Dendy, we found a way to feed the baby through the ball! Fink even made this cool special incubator for them!" K.O. excitedly announced the news.
"I gave up my glorb pack and turbo collar to make it," Fink proudly stated her sacrifices to make her first invention, she wouldn't be able to ask Venomous for replacements either without explaining what happened to the prior ones, and the young minion didn't want to push her luck when it came to lying.
"So you ignored my warning about the genetic disaster that could possibly happen during this child's gestation?" the kappa found this hard to believe, since there was a chance of a lifetime of possible torment for this child, if there was any medical problems with them, but the reality was they would never know until they were a couple of months along at least.
"And what'd you want him to do?" Fink raised an eyebrow. The Level 4 hero felt increasingly anxious now, the two girls always were on the verge of fighting whenever near one another, he didn't like that at all.
"I advised K.O. to simply forget the child ever existed, due to your ages and a lack of method to feed them. I said he should give them a proper burial," Dendy repeated what she had insisted before to K.O. with slightly more detail. Her dear friend looked upset from just remembering that.
Fink felt her heart throb in anger as she looked to the Level 4 hero, he looked guilty. It hurt him that he even considered giving up on their unborn child. "For a supposed genius of a hero, you sure are evil and stupid," Fink turned to Dendy and crossed her arms, "Instead of helping K.O., you go straight to telling him to abort the baby," her words made Dendy freeze up.
"Abort? What does that mean?" K.O. nervously whispered but got no response. It was better if he didn't know, as far as the mouse cared.
"W-wait, now I was simply…" Dendy stammered, feeling shaken by that accusation, yet she had no clue why exactly. Perhaps because it was so aggressively spoken, no hesitation no doubt, Finks aggression and blunt nature worked quite well when it came to shaking up a conversation.
"You were what? Jealous?" sneered Fink, "If I knew any better, you probably wanted the baby to be yours instead. You'd give away anything in the world if it was. I gave up a lot of my power to make that glorbucator, and you couldn't be bothered to put one brain cell into thinking of any way to help your 'friend'."
Dendy stared in awe. For her to be denounced for jealousy more than anything, and by Fink of all people.
"Calm down, you two, I don't want you to fight!" K.O. exclaimed. The Level 4 hero might have trouble understanding all of what they were saying, since it felt like there was an underlying context to this conversation he didn't know about. He still didn't want them to try and maim one another again.
That tense silence came back. Dendy was asking herself if she really was wishing that K.O.s child would just vanish, all because Fink was the mother. She knew that immense jealousy in her heart was shining through partially, even she couldn't hide it.
K.O. leaned over and put an arm around Fink, pulling her close to himself. "Fink cares, Dendy. She really cares as much as I do about this baby. She proved that to me a lot in the last day. She made me promise to not do anything, or decide on anything about this baby, without her. We're going to raise them, together."
"K.O.…" Fink was unable to resist the crimson crawling onto her cheeks. K.O. was really comforting her.
"We're going on a date tonight, and we'll do our best to make things work. I've never felt so happy in my life, I mean, I'm going to be a dad," K.O. explained, it was the greatest feeling in the world to him. He and Fink had been harboring feelings toward one another for a while now. This was just the coincidental push they needed to give dating a real shot.
"As sappy as K.O. sounds, he's not wrong or alone there. I've felt really happy ever since I first heard the news… y'know, after fainting…" Fink added past her growing embarrassment at how open K.O. announced their gradually blossoming relationship they had barely just started.
"Do you two have any idea what you are doing?" Dendy questioned. She was immensely hurt, though she wanted to hide it. The young parents looked to one another confusedly.
"What do you mean?" K.O. asked hesitantly, not liking where this was going. Fink quirked an eyebrow. The young minion now knowing why her date for tonight left out the fact they were feeding the baby glorbs, doubting the kappa would take that well whatsoever without any questions on where they got such a vast amount of glorbs either.
"It's one thing for a hero and a villain to date, yet it's another for them to create a whole new life-form together," Dendy began to rant. The young couple felt uneasy, "When word of this gets out, as it inevitably always does, you two will be in a lot of trouble. Your families aren't going to react positively. And even by the end of all of that, there will still be a myriad of health issues for the child, who, might I add, will be a genetic hybrid! You two are entirely different species, three technically for goodness sake!" The kappa was on the verge of shouting now. K.O. stared in shock, having never seen one of his best friends this angry before.
"That's not even considering the turbonic element behind it all. What are you going to do for technos? What if they do need a great deal of medical aid? The bills would pile up twelve times more than even one person can handle alone," her semi-jealous rant over, Dendy needed a second to pant for breath. Most of her points were at least valid. So many challenges for two young children to go up against. Although Fink looked good and ready to strangle the kappa, K.O. shook his head and gave an honest smile.
"I know that, Dendy," he hummed, "I've been making plans already."
Fink snapped her head toward him in surprise. "You have?"
"You have…?" Dendy parroted in a similar fashion, the level 4 hero was not known for being the hardest thinker after all, hearing he was fabricating plans was out of character.
"Yeah, and I wanted to tell you them during our meeting, because I wanted you to be our baby's doctor, since you're so smart," K.O. stated. He knew Dendy could help remedy any possible medical issues during the child's gestation, her intelligence was through the roof.
Dendy felt herself freeze up at his compliment. That innocent face gave the impression that nothing could get through his joy. Especially not all the worries about their child's health, as well as trying to convince T.K.O. that it was a wonderful event.
"K.O., what are you saying?" Fink asked, perplexed. K.O. motioned her to relax.
"It'll be a lot of work, and it'll be easier if we have more support... But you have to accept that we're going to have this child no matter what happens, and that we're gonna give it the best life we can," K.O. declared, picking up on the jealousy a little. He and Fink had wanted this from their parents. Even if the Level 4 hero had no clue about Fink's upbringing before she met Venomous, he knew it wasn't a good one, and K.O.'s own was rather empty without a father in his life. It made him cling to heroes as father figures to fill the void. Now they were going to have full families once the weddings were done.
Dendy bit her lip. She couldn't accept it. She had envisioned her own future a lot. Imagining it without K.O. as her significant other hurt her. She could not withhold her jealousy at Fink no matter how hard she tried. "I'll do anything you wish," Dendy finally spoke up her agreement, which took some weight off of the Level 4 hero's chest. "But I request one thing in trade."
"Oh no…" The young minion had a bad feeling she knew where this was going.
"Sure, Dendy, what is it you want?" The bodega cleaner gave a bright smile, thinking it would be a small favor.
"I want to create a child with you. In a similar way you created one with Fink," the Level 3 genius spoke what she wanted in a rather matter-of-fact fashion. Fink's eyes bulged out, her brain feeling overloaded by what she just heard. There was no way Dendy could be serious... could she?
"Y…you want to make a baby? With me?" K.O. had to repeat it, unsure why it made him feel embarrassed and nervous.
"Because having a child is a dedication for life. I'd like to treat it as an experiment. If I am going to help take care of one genetically unpredictable child, then I'd like to take care of my own alongside it," Dendy's description terrified K.O. Having children so robotically, like she just made it out to be. This wasn't right at all.
"You really are evil. Let me guess. If he says no, you'll tell everybody about us becoming parents?" Fink leaned towards the Level 3 genius with fire in her eyes, ready to attack her.
K.O. could not say anything more. He stood up from the table, taking the glorbucator holding the baby ball, the green liquid resonating a peaceful energy despite the tense atmosphere, and beginning to walk away.
"Don't be absurd… He's my best friend. I'd never jeopardize his life in that manner," Dendy responded, unfazed by the rat's anger. This was the offer though; if they wanted the genius to aid them in making sure their child would remain healthy, they had to give her a child of her own.
Fink saw K.O. starting to leave the plaza food court. The young rat wanted to strangle the kappa now. Even if Dendy didn't mean to be evil, she sounded like Shadowy Figure. Fink was terrified by just the comparison alone. She ran off on all fours to catch up to K.O.
"K.O.! Wait!" Fink panted, catching up with K.O., who had the glorbucator strapped to his back like a baby carrier. She put her hands on his chest, stopping him in place. "Talk to me, what are you thinking?" the mouse pleaded, not wanting T.K.O. to get dragged out unwillingly because of K.O. becoming too upset from the feeling of helplessness.
"I'm not doing it," K.O. responded. Fink paused for a second. She could feel the Level 4 heroes heart rapidly beating. He tried not to show it, but he was upset. The optimistic boy who cared about everyone around him was upset. One of the ones he cared for the most hurt him emotionally in that discussion, and in no small manner either.
"You aren't?" Fink repeated in surprise, having assumed he would agree to what Dendy wanted in a heartbeat. The bodega cleaner nodded.
"T.K.O. tried to tell me something about Dendy. I didn't know what he meant until now, now I do… I'm not going to go making a baby for her just so she'll help us. I don't know why she can't just help right away, but it's unfair to take advantage of me like that... It'd be a giant insult to you, too." K.O. exclaimed, unable to hide how truly hurt he was by Dendy's actions. He doubted it would be safe to use the L.C.U. back to back like that either.
She didn't know how, but the level 4 hero was maturing so fast. Before if something like this had happened to him, he would have spent a lot of time trying to think of a compromise to make sure everyone was happy, even if it resulted in himself being unhappy in the end. This time, K.O. refused to budge entirely, without a second thought, not bending himself to someone else's will.
"Is there anything I can do for you?" Fink offered, hating seeing K.O. upset whatsoever. The bodega cleaner saw this look of distress on her. It was surreal. Fink usually only expressed hostility or passive aggressive tolerance towards all but her own boss, it was going to take some time for him to get used to her being like this.
"Just look forward to our date tonight. I promise it'll be a good one," K.O. tried to look on the more positive side of things with a smile.
"What'd you have in mind for it?" Fink giggled, deciding to do similar. She took his hand into her own as they began to walk toward the bodega. They wanted to stick together, even for this short time.
"It's a surprise, but… meet me at the park around eight. I'll be there," K.O. replied.
"Gotcha," Fink nodded. The twos walk ended shortly as they arrived at the bodega. "I look forward to it. See you there, lover boy," Fink planted a kiss on his cheek, making him blush. He watched as she left to get back to Voxmore. K.O. watched her footprints vanish in the snow shortly after.
K.O. entered into the bodega. He saw Enid relaxing behind the front counter.
"Oh, there you are, K.O.," the Level 10 ninja greeted him.
"Sorry, Enid, I lost track of time. I was talking with Dendy," K.O. explained, aware his break had taken a lot longer than it was supposed to.
"Ohhh, trying to ask her if she'd dance with you at your moms wedding?" the purple haired ninja teased him. A lot of their friends joked about Dendy and K.O. being a best match.
"Nope…" K.O. grunted, shaking his head.
"Oh," Enid wondered why he looked so annoyed at that joke. The Level 4 hero wanted to begin cleaning up since it would be closing time soon. She could tell he was upset about something. She assumed it was the same thing that made him break down the other day, she was afraid to touch upon it though.
"Where'd you get the backpack? It looks good," Enid asked as she went to help the youngest employee clean up. The glorbucator looked like the strongest backpack she had ever seen. She could see the weird ball inside of it from the other day. She mentally pondered why, but decided not to query, assuming it was just being stored there.
"Thanks. Fink gave me it," K.O. responded with a smile. The winja didn't need to touch it to tell it was extremely durable too.
"Really? It looks a lot like that glorb pack she wears to fights… wonder why she wasn't wearing it to the last one?" Enid stated. She saw it as odd. She'd just assumed Fink was not in the mood to go turbo that fight, the backpack was different enough as well that the winja didn't put the pieces together at all.
"O-Oh, I wouldn't know anything about that," K.O. nervously responded, not trying to let his fear show. He took in a breath. He had an idea in mind and knew it was a long shot, but he needed to talk with Elodie. "Enid… What kind of questions is it you want me to ask Elodie when we talk?" K.O. hesitantly asked. Enid stared at him. That question sure come out of nowhere. Enid brushed it off, understanding that K.O. could get nervous over that sort of thing.
"Like I said, we're having serious talks about a lot of things, and that's why I want you to play mediator for us. Your personality is great and you notice things we overlook," Enid explained, trying to be reassuring. She would think her friendship with Elodie ended by a supposed betrayal, if K.O. hadn't pointed out one flaw in her story that turned everything on its head. "I just want you to ask anything you think is important, like questions you'd ask your mom, y'know?" Enid simply said, feeling herself becoming anxious just imagining it. But having one of her closest friends there would help a ton with handling a serious conversation calmly.
"Okay," he hummed, "I'll do anything for you, Enid. When can we talk?"
"The day before the wedding sound good?" Enid asked.
"Sure!" the brushy haired child nodded. He wanted to talk to Elodie as soon as possible, though knew he could not force it, or show how desperate he was. If anyone would know anything about what he needed, it would be P.O.I.N.T. prep academy's manager.
They remained rather quiet after that, like they had ran out of things to say, when in reality, Enid could sense that tension the Level 4 hero was withholding from sharing. This wasn't like him.
"If Dendy won't help us…" K.O. ran through the thoughts in his head, "Then I'll have to find Dr. Jint Barrows." He still remembered the name of the doctor he wanted Elodie to help him find. It was on the many documents for the L.C.U. Except, they could have already passed on by now, so many problems had piled up and were starting to get to the young father in the making. He had to find them though and talk to them. They were the only person left in his mind who could help. That was only one of the two things K.O. wanted to inquire with Elodie about as well.
"And that's the least of the problems in my plans..."
Chapter 7: Planning?
Authors Note: Hey all, just wanted to say that I hope you all have a merry christmas and a happy new years, I don't know if I'll be able to update again before 2020 since things are getting busy. I just hope you all are enjoying the stories nonetheless, take care!
Carol sat outside at a small bench near Gar's Bodega, in her coat and winter attire. She had closed up the dojo earlier and was just enjoying the snowfall with a zapbrew coffee takeaway in her gloved hands.
"It feels like everything's changing so fast… Getting married, having another baby before my first baby is even grown up," the fitness dojo owner spoke while she watched the snowflakes slowly descend to the ground. She rubbed a hand on her stomach with a smile. She may not even be two weeks along in the pregnancy, yet she was excited. The stress was a bit much though. She feared for K.O. and T.K.O.'s well being's after that breakdown the other day. The young mother tried to not dwell on it, since everything seemed better now and nothing shady had been going on at Voxmore.
K.O. stepped out of the bodega in his puffy blue coat, the glorbucator on his back. The betrothed mother waved, getting her son's attention. The Level 4 hero went over to his mom.
"Mommy! You're off early," K.O. exclaimed, rushing up and hugging his mother happily.
"Heh, it was a slow day. I figured I'd earned a bit of a break this week since the wedding's coming up," Carol responded, playfully messing up her son's brushy hair. The young aspiring hero loved feeling his mother's soothing hands on his head. It was comforting, especially for all the stress he was going through recently. "You ready to get home?" His mother offered.
"Well… no, sorry, mommy," K.O. shook his head, normally being more than eager to go. "I-I have to go somewhere tonight… I came to let you know I have a date, and that I'll miss dinner," he then explained without hesitation, not wanting to keep it secret. The fitness dojo owner took a moment to process this, but she got a large grin on her face.
"You are!? That's great, K.O.!" Carol excitedly picked up and hugged him tightly. She was confused by the backpack though, since it looked a lot like Fink's whenever she attacked the plaza. "I bet Dendy is going to love whatever you have in mind!"
K.O. felt himself deflate a little. "It's… not with Dendy, mommy." He mumbled the words out, refusing to keep any detail about who it was he was going on a date with.
Carol quirked an eyebrow, confused. She put her son back down. She caught a glimpse of the artificial womb in the glorbucator. Its coloration had changed from yellow to green, she thought it was strange but could not focus on it currently.
"R-really? Who's it with then, sweety?" Carol crouched down to her sons height. She didn't really expect this. Everyone in the plaza practically bet on when him and Dendy would get together. It was a constant joke in the fitness dojos older clientele too.
"I'm going on a date with Fink…" K.O. hesitantly confessed, not wanting to hide his relationship with Fink from his family, though it was too early to reveal his fatherhood. His high level mother stared, feeling like everything paused in that moment.
"F-Fink? You're going on a date… with Fink?" Carol repeated, finding it hard to believe. She hardly cared at all for the whole hero and villain dating taboo, yet she felt her stress and worry increase anyhow.
"Yeah," K.O. gave a warm smile, "I asked her earlier when she attacked the plaza, and she said yes." Naturally his mother had to pause to absorb the information. It was clear he was very happy though, and Carol could not argue with that.
"I'm happy for you peanut really… but, why Fink? What happened to Dendy?" Carol requested an explanation at least. She was not going to stop her son from doing what he wanted if he truly desired it. The Level 4 hero paused for a moment.
"Dendy's nice and all, but… Fink makes me happy. She cares a lot about me too. She ran all the way to our house when she first heard I had passed out and made everything better. I want to give Fink a real chance, mommy…" K.O. explained, holding a hand to his chest. Just thinking about Fink made his heart feel warm. Any possible feelings he had for Dendy beyond friendship, were withered after their discussion earlier.
"Well… Alright, honey," Carol patted his head, "Have fun on your date, okay? And let me know how it goes tonight."
The bright smile shined on his face, which never failed to make her cheer up. "Thank you, mommy! I will!" With her approval and permission granted, K.O. ran off. He had been preparing all day for this date during his off time working at the bodega. He was sure everything he had in mind would work out. Tonight was a night to relax, and was hopefully the start of something even better.
Fink was in Voxmore's training room, beating away on a punching bag. She was ecstatic for tonight, but that meeting with Dendy tainted her emotions with pure black hatred. That kappa's face when she realized she had the upper hand on them remotely sickened her. Fink wound up releasing a flurry of punches into the punching bag with her pink gloved fists.
"Freaking jerk… trying to take advantage of K.O. like that… some friend she is…" Fink grumbled bitterly to herself, stepping away from the training gear. The young mouse felt irritated, her tail twitching to show it. The minion tried to focus on the date tonight. That succeeded in cheering her up slightly.
"Fink? Are you okay?" Shannon's voice alerted her to look behind her. The Voxmore bot stood by the doorway to the training room, alone. Fink was relieved that it wasn't all three mechanical stooges. She couldn't handle their routine antics right now.
"What do you want, Shannon?" Fink asked. She was about to get ready for her date tonight with K.O. that she looked forward to. She had been passing the time just training mostly and trying to deal with her thoughts, the mouse was not good at dealing with her emotions in some aspects. She put so much effort in resisting the desire to try and murder Dendy.
"I came to see if you were okay. You've been acting weird today and yesterday," Shannon replied, trying to stay relaxed, though worried about the young mouse. She did see her as a little sister.
"What're you talking about?" Fink requested her to clarify, doubting there was a good way to play it off or escape this conversation at all.
"You stayed up all night last night working on something after you were out past curfew and then earlier today. You weren't in the mood to fight, you didn't even go turbo for it. Is something wrong?" Shannon put her question as simple as possible, worried that maybe Fink was upset or jealous about Venomous getting married and having his attention taken away from her and needing to be spread amongst all of the robotic family.
"I've never felt so many different emotions in my life until now..." Fink grumbled, after a moment making a decision since she doubted she could get out of this conversation. "I'll tell you what's going on, but you better not tell anyone else!" Fink stated, thinking she could at least trust Shannon with part of the truth, since the young mouse knew about the robot and Radicles's relationship that had really grown a lot.
"Of course, Fink. You can trust me with anything!" Shannon tried to reassure.
"I…" a sheepish blush appeared on Fink's face, that sudden confidence had weakened quite fast. "I kissed K.O.…" she mumbled, her tail curled in embarrassment, looking to the floor, flustered.
"You did what…?" Shannon wondered if her circuits had malfunctioned, making her mishear things. Fink's face shined with embarrassment, that was enough of an answer to the teenage robot.
"I kissed K.O.… Twice. A-and we're going on a date tonight," Fink explained, mainly telling this truth to hide the secret about them becoming parents. The two young ones would tell everyone inevitably. They just wanted to wait until after the weddings were done and everything was handled.
Fink was picked up without warning and pulled into a tight hug. "Wha- HEY! Put me down you bucket of bolts!"
"I'm so proud of you, Fink! Finally opening up to another person instead of just being angry or working all the time! Your first actual love!" Shannon exclaimed in extreme delight. All this did was worsen that blush on the rat girls face and make her want to tear apart Boxman's daughter three times over.
"Oh, quit being over dramatic!" The henchwoman demanded to be put down, but was unable to get released from Shannon's tight embrace.
"I'm happy for you, Fink!" the buzzsaw loaded robot continued happily, "K.O. is the perfect boyfriend! I'm sure you two will be great together!"
"He's not my boyfriend! Tonight's our first date!" the young minion responded in growing irritation, with a violent crimson red growing on her face. K.O. was so much more than that to Fink already. He was sweet, kind-hearted and pure. He even promised to be a great father, despite this all because of one careless test. Even if T.K.O. was a side to him Fink would have to accept as well, hoping that K.O. would be a great romantic partner. Fink felt happy inside at the thought of their future, as challenging as it may come to be.
"So you're saying you've kissed K.O. twice BEFORE the first date?" Shannon gave a smug grin. The mouse's embarrassment shot up, her tail stiffening in annoyance. She suddenly took notice of the time and quickly got free from the orange bot's arms.
"I'm going to be late! Tear you apart if you tell anyone! You know the drill! Shut up! Bye!" Fink shouted in a hurry, scurrying off on all fours, leaving Shannon standing there with a satisfied smirk on her face.
"I just hope this goes smoother for Fink than it did for me and Radicles when we first tried to date," the female Voxmore bot smiled, glad that it seemed like Fink was doing great and not dealing with any true problems but her own emotional stress from a blooming romance. Shannon was just happy that Fink did not take much convincing to get her to open up with her problem.
K.O. waited nervously, standing stationary at the decently sized park. Several heat lamps were set up in various places for people to try and warm up at when they needed to. The park seemed pretty empty tonight though.
"I hope Fink likes it," K.O. murmured, anxious. He had the glorbucator still strapped to his back, the artificial womb nested safely within. There was a lot of thoughts rushing through his head.
The level 4 hero looked up to the dark snowy sky, the moon barely peeking through the cloud lines like it was a fishing line drifting over the water line. K.O.'s gaze fell to the ground and frowned. He was disappointed that his friendship with Dendy had gone so wrong, especially after all they had done together. He couldn't forget what the kappa had asked him for in trade to get her to help. 'Why couldn't she just help?' He wondered again.
"Sorry, I'm late!" Fink spoke up, her footsteps against the snow catching his attention. K.O. turned around and saw her breathless from the long run to here on all fours, the mouse was feeling very sore from all the exercising lately in terms of running on all fours several times over.
There was a pause between the two. Neither had dressed differently than their usual winter attire the pink gloved mouse could see a smile on his face.
"You look good, Fink," K.O. smiled. He saw an annoyed expression on her face.
"Don't do that," she crossed her arms.
"Do what?" K.O. replied, unsure what she meant. He worried that he already screwed up this date before it could even begin.
"No sugarcoating, K.O.," Fink exclaimed, "Don't tell me I look good when I don't, I'm a mess and I know it because I spent two hours running here. No treating me like royalty just because we're gonna be parents either."
"Oh…" The young hero was surprised. He knew that she hated being pampered by anyone other than Venomous. He just didn't realize how serious she would take it for this scenario.
"If we're gonna give this a real shot, then I want us to be our honest selves with one another… please," Fink calmed down. The snow continued to fall around them as K.O. absorbed her words. He never saw her expose herself emotionally to him before... Or anybody, in a matter of fact. She had trusted him with so much and had sacrificed some of her powers already. She seemed like a whole different person.
"Alright, Fink. You got it," K.O. smiled and nodded, offering his hand to her. Fink hesitantly put her pink gloved hand into his, feeling a reassuring squeeze in response. They began to walk into the park.
"So," Fink smiled, "What'd you have in mind for this date?" she wondered if it was just a simple walk in the park. Cheesy romance flick, she'd comment, but calm and serene. She saw the artificial womb shimmering. The liquid was content green in color.
"Well… when you said yes to me, I started working on preparing something special during my break times at work," K.O. explained, leading Fink off the path a little to a small hill. Underneath one of the heat lamps a small blanket was laid out with red and green stitches holding it together with a more cute pattern to the quilt.
"I thought a picnic would be good for a first date," K.O. let her see the picnic basket that sat by the heat lamp for herself.
"A picnic in winter? You sure know how to make a first date stand out, that's for sure," Fink laughed, slapping his shoulder playfully. K.O. just kept that smile and took it as a compliment. The two of them headed over to the picnic area the young hero had set up.
"Well, mommy's first real date with Mr. Gar was a picnic too… or at least she said it was," K.O. explained, taking off the glorbucator backpack from his back and resting it down beside them, letting the glass window facing them so they could see the ball carrying their child.
Fink took a seat beside her date for the night, it felt nice to be under the heat lamp. It kept the falling snow off them as well. K.O. made to get out the food. The contents he gathered wouldn't be bothered by the cold.
"Is… is that cheesecake?" Fink gulped, feeling that cheese loving craving springing back.
"I know how much you love cheese. I bought it from that new sweets shop," K.O. stated, letting her see the dessert containing the delicious looking cake for herself. He didn't want to admit he had spent a fair amount of technos on the cheesecake. The level 4 hero wanted them to have a great dessert.
"Isn't that place expensive?" Fink quirked an eyebrow, having heard some of the customers visiting Voxmore talking about it.
"Nah, it wasn't too much," K.O. tried to lie, not wanting to focus on that for now. He handed her one of the sandwiches he had prepared. It wasn't a fancy picnic, but it at least looked healthy for the most part, something that Fink took note of. She didn't complain though. The young mouse swore she could hear her family telling her to eat better, considering all the junk food she ate during videos games sessions.
The sandwiches K.O. had prepared were surprisingly tasty to Fink. The magma tomatoes' extra warmth made it all the more appealing. The young mouse looked to her date. "I didn't think you were any good at making food."
"I've been trying to learn so I could bother mommy less," K.O. smiled, trying to get more self-reliant ever since his mother announced she was getting married. The young hero knew how busy she would become with all the wedding planning. The least he could do was not distract her.
"I'm sorry about Dendy acting like that. I don't know why she did all that," K.O. sighed.
"No, don't be," Fink swallowed another mouthful of her food, "It's not your fault that she's crazy… She actually said something I wanted to ask you though."
"What is it?" K.O. tilted his head confusedly.
"She said you had dog genetics… what was that about?" the minion questioned. It had been on her mind since the kappa had brought it up in the first place.
"Yeah, funny true story," K.O. smacked his lips, looking nervous, "A little after I started working at the bodega, we had to fight Mikayla, and… me, Rad and Enid thought the best idea would be to become wereanimals ourselves to fight her better. Enid became a bunny, Rad became a cat and I became a dog. Dendy cured us… mostly."
Fink silently blinked, and then she burst out laughing. Of course, becoming a wereanimal to deal with a robotic animal like Mikayla was the most natural answer instead of just training to fight animalistic behaved enemies.
"I know I know it wasn't our brightest move," K.O. began to lightly laugh too just at thinking back on it. The young pair's laughter died down after a minute.
"You said you were making plans…? What was that about?" Fink asked. K.O. looked over at glorbucator. The artificial womb shined bright green as it was fed another glorb. Everything about the backpack worked perfectly.
"Well… We need technos to get better, so I was going to ask Mr. Gar for a raise before the wedding," K.O. began, trying not to give away the whole plan while he was working out the finer details, yet he stayed smiling, optimistic for the future.
"And what happens if he says no?" Fink replied, aware that he had been working at the bodega for a long time now, at least a few years, so the Level 4 cleaner earned a raise by now. Except T.K.O. had damaged the plaza a few times before, which could lessen the chances of a raise.
"Well it doesn't matter if he agrees or disagrees, but… Fink, I have to ask you something important," K.O. looked to her. This was one of the rare times she had seen him get a serious expression on his face.
"What is it?" Fink nodded, her tail twitching curiously.
"If this dating thing works out, would you… move in with us?" K.O. sheepishly offered. The mouse's face tinted with rose. She suddenly pulled him into a just as sheepish hug. K.O. put an arm around her in return.
"It'd be safer to raise a baby at your home then mine that's for sure…" Fink murmured, recalling how unpredictably crazy the now growing Voxmore family was, and that was before taking into account the fact it was a giant factory. Though she had a feeling K.O. had deviated from confessing what plans were going on in his head. The mouse wondered how badly her family would react to this decision. "I won't let you do all the work alone. I'm throwing myself headfirst into my plans too when things calm down," Fink promised as they stared at the beautiful winter fall before them.
K.O. merely nodded, hesitated, though after another pause he leaned over and kissed her cheek. Her crimson hue increased three times over. That was the first time K.O. had kissed her instead of receiving one from her. It had taken so much work to break his shyness to really do this.
"We both have plans in the works, I just hope yours aren't too evil." The level 4 hero jokingly teased.
"Just because I'm a villain doesn't mean everything I do is evil... then again you stole glorbs so maybe I've rubbed off on you." Fink giggled, he just laughed in response, not wanting to dwell on that. The young minion leaned into her date, a small smile gracing her lips.
"Whatever we both have planned, we're going to be ready for the future... No matter what."
Chapter 8: Putting Plans In Motion
Six days had passed since K.O. and Fink's first date, which went well. They had been on two more since then, both of which weren't exactly fancy, yet they still deemed as romantic. They both had enjoyed them very much. The two felt their bond growing stronger and stronger by the day as well, always meeting up or talking to one another once a day at least.
K.O. currently was relaxed at the bodega. The snow had gotten a lot rougher today, so he had made his way to work a lot earlier. He held the artificial womb, feeding it a glorb like he was feeding a baby their bottle.
"Take your time growing, little fella. Don't you worry," K.O. smiled. So far nothing had formed within the womb. It was only a matter of time though until it did. He had tried reading a book about babies one night and how they grew to find out more... It was like reading a book that Dendy wrote.
K.O. tried to figure out what to do today. He remembered he had to talk to Elodie, alone, but he also wanted to talk to Mr. Gar as well. He felt it was a better idea to talk to Gar first. He doubted his talk with his boss would go well either way. His other co-workers had not arrived yet today. He had arrived along with Mr. Gar to open up early, and to avoid the intense snow.
K.O. decided to talk to Gar first. He had been practicing negotiating each night anyway. For once, he decided, he wished to come out on top in one of these conversations. His young mind literally thought that, instead of wanting to just make everyone happy for a change. As soon as the artificial womb finished absorbing the glorb, K.O. returned it to the glorbucator, closing the cover.
"Here I go," the bodega cleaner swallowed his nervousness, putting the backpack incubator on his back and strapping it on securely. He made his way down the back towards Mr. Gar's office.
Mr. Gar stood in front of a mirror. A picture of Carol's face was taped high up on it.
"C-Carol, ever since we first met I... No, that's no good," he groaned, holding a piece of paper in his hands. He had been trying to practice writing and reading his wedding speech, in anticipation for tomorrow, to little success.
"Whoa!" K.O. suddenly landed at the entrance of the underground office.
"K.O.? What are you doing down here? We're supposed to be opening soon and I'm working on very important business stuff!" Mr. Gar stated, though stuffed the paper in his pocket out of paranoia, hoping the kid would not notice the giant pile of crumpled papers overrunning the trash can.
"I-I know Mr. Gar, I'm sorry... I really have something important to talk with you about," the Level 4 bodega cleaner said. His soon to be stepdad took a moment before nodding.
"Fine… I could use a short break myself," Mr. Gar agreed, going over to his desk and taking a seat behind it, appreciating any excuse to take his mind off of the wedding tomorrow. The anxious high-leveled bodega owner never thought this day would come. It made him scared of screwing up.
K.O. tried to be brave. He came over and took a seat in front of the desk. His glorbucator still strapped onto his back. This office always made him feel worried since being called in here alone was usually a very bad sign for any of the employees. The level 4 hero tried to remain confident, determined, and strong as he looked to his boss.
"So, what is it you wanted to discuss with me?" Mr. Gar questioned, finally breaking the silence. It was rare that any of his employees wanted to talk with him privately in his office. K.O. took in a deep breath, trying to remain brave.
"Mr. Gar, I want a raise," K.O. said the words that all of the bodega workers feared to utter to their boss. His boss stared at him for a moment. At first, he thought that maybe K.O. was joking to try and help him relax. It only took a second to realize he was being real.
"I… what brought this about, K.O.?" Mr. Gar questioned. K.O. was the last person he expected to ask for a raise. He was content with everything about his job before.
"I know you haven't been giving me a real paycheck since I started working here... You were babysitting me," the brushy haired boy explained, unable to sugarcoat it or hesitate. Even his own childish mind could see the truth behind this. He was paid only a few technos a day for his work on cleaning and fighting bad guys, he had realized it about a month after joining the bodega crew.
"K.O., it's… yes, at first I hired you so we could be looking over you, because your mother wanted it… but you've proved your worth every step of the way since we first hired you," Mr. Gar began explaining, remembering that day all too well. Customers loved K.O. Everybody loved K.O. Even villains had a hard time hating the small boy. The entire plaza shined with him around.
"Thank you, Mr. Gar. Does that mean you'll start giving me a real paycheck and a raise?" the Level 4 hero repeated his question, flattered by his boss's compliments, yet staying focused.
Mr. Gar was feeling anxious from K.O.'s hard approach to this topic. It was so far out of character for the bodega cleaner that it was rather scary. "Is something going on, K.O.? If you need money you can just ask," Mr. Gar assured, though this felt more like a wedding request where K.O. came to play on his boss's joy to get money.
"I don't need money, Mr. Gar," K.O. shook his head, "But I need to save for the future. I can't think about myself anymore. I need to be an adult."
"Well…" Mr. Gar pondered on this for a moment. He remembered what he had talked about with Carol that K.O. had a girlfriend now, the bodega owner had no clue who it was, nor could they press their luck on finding out, so he just assumed it was Dendy. He wasn't aware that Carol knew already. Mr. Gar wondered if having his first real girlfriend made the young boy want to plan and prepare for the future, if so, it was impressive and rather sweet.
"Have I not earned it?" K.O. looked desperate now, it was all a part of his plan though, "Is it because I'm not strong enough? I know T.K.O.'s caused problems, but… I think I've more than earned it."
"You have earned it, K.O. More than Radicles has, really. You've helped me grow as a person, you've helped everyone grow and change for the better. You definitely deserve thanks for that, for being a hero in more ways than one." Mr. Gar sighed, "I'll think about it but... Stuff like that can't happen overnight, K.O., and I can't make any promises. Again, if there's anything you need though, you can come to me, okay son?" he put a buff hand on his shoulder. K.O.'s heart was warned. He put one of his small hands on his stepdad's giving a smile that shined with hope.
"Thank you… Dad," the Level 4 hero warmly spoke. He swore he could see a tear in his boss's eye through his pitch black sunglasses. K.O. got out of his seat and left on that note to let his father get back to work.
Gar stepped up, taking in a proud breath, looking over at the mirror once more with a newfound confidence. "I don't need no stinking paper to know what I need to say," the bodega owner crumpled up the wedding vows and chucked them aside onto the overflowing pile of other paper wads covering the trashcan. "I just need to speak from the heart," with his newfound confidence, the man approached the mirror with Carol's picture on it and went to keep practicing with his vigor returned once more.
K.O. exited the office, happy with how that went, though had a bad feeling if Mr. Gar had not given him a real paycheck. There seemed to be something else preventing him from doing it this entire time.
"K.O.? You're here early! You're usually last to arrive," Enid's voice caught his attention. She stood nearby in surprise as she took her coat off. K.O. was normally the last of the three to get to work, although always on time.
"Hi Enid! I rode with Mr. Gar so we could get to work early," he greeted his Level 10 friend. Enid was more shocked by that since. Usually he disliked being the early bird.
"And… why were you in Mr. Gar's office?" the winja hesitantly asked, hoping he was not in trouble.
"I was telling him I wanted a real paycheck, and a raise!" K.O. proudly declared. Enid showed a look of horror. She remembered the first time she asked for a raise from Mr. Gar. He angrily lectured her and listed off all the reasons the ninja had not earned one.
"You did what? K-K.O. what happened when you asked?" Enid guessed the cat was out of the bag. It was no large secret since Mr. Gar had told her and Radicles to keep quiet about how much they were paid if K.O. asked. She wondered how long he had known, though was more worried about what Mr. Gar's answer was to such a bold approach.
"He said he'll think about it and that things like that can't happen overnight," K.O. answered. Enid was in awe. He actually succeeded on getting a raise after merely asking for one. She guessed any real paycheck would be a raise compared to what the child was getting beforehand.
"I gotta say, K.O., I didn't think you had the guts to do something like that. I guess there's no better time to ask for a raise than the day before their wedding," Enid praised. She would ask why he wanted a raise later, "Elodie arrived last night. She's staying with me until she heads back to P.O.I.N.T. prep," she explained as she led him over to the front counter, taking her seat behind the register.
K.O. followed and stood on his toes to be seen over the counter, his head tilted up to look at her. "Is she excited for the wedding?" the bodega cleaner asked. Enid looked at the glorbucator, which changed color. She was as confused as before by it. She and Rad saw the thing do so before several times over the course of the week. They still had no clue what it could be with the stockroom worker.
"Ohhh, yeah, she's been really eager," Enid nervously laughed, gaining a light blush on her face. She quickly shook it off when she remembered he was her conversational partner. "S-she'll be stopping by around lunch so we can have our serious talk. Is that okay?"
"Sure, Enid! I'm always ready to help," the Level 4 hero smiled. He felt bad for using Enid like this, yet he still wanted to talk to Elodie. He'd still be helping the couple with their serious discussion, yet this also was a chance for him to take steps toward a better life for his child.
"I'mma get to cleaning the bathrooms now, so just let me know when she comes," K.O. stated.
"You got it K.O.," the winja gave a thumbs up and a smile. Though she stared at the glorbucator as they walked away. The artificial womb practically shined the same radiating aura of hope K.O. did.
"I'm just imagining it. That's what I get for staying up so late with Elodie catching up," Enid giggled to herself, trying not to dwell on it. Tomorrow was the big wedding day. Today, however, was the large step for the two girls and their relationship. The bodega cashier was confident in K.O. and his talking skills despite his age. "I have to think of a way to thank K.O. after this."
Venomous sorted through the mail, like any normal morning. His fiancé was off handling errands. The many Voxmore bots handling their own tasks or keeping themselves entertained.
Venomous eyed a letter addressed to Fink from a surprising duo. "A letter to Fink, from Carol and Gar?" Venomous was surprised by that, he noticed a few of the robotic children looking to him upon hearing that.
"Do you want me to take that letter to Fink?" Shannon asked, though admittedly they all were worried about the young mouse. The orange robot wanted to try talking to her again if she had the chance, yet Fink had been so busy lately that she told them all to leave her alone to work whenever they neared her in the last few days.
"Yeah! Maybe we can convince her to take it easy today?" Darrell added. Venomous stood up, holding the letter, deciding not to open it himself.
"I'll go talk to her. You two just take it easy," Professor Venomous left the room to make his way through the facility, to check in on his very loyal minion.
When Venomous arrived at Fink's room, he could see her asleep at the table with her head resting on her laptop. Stacks of medical journals surrounded her, a few of which were open already, some going back two decades at least, some as recent as a month ago.
"You've been studying hard, huh?" Professor Venomous chuckled, looking at the large collection of books that were taken from his and Boxman's personal library. It made him feel all the prouder. "Fink, it's time to wake up," the professor shook his minion slightly.
"Wuh…?" Fink's eyes fluttered open, though she was still heavily exhausted. She instantly got nervous when she saw him here. "O-oh! Hi, boss!"
"Good morning to you too, Fink… You've been busy studying yourself to sleep for a week now. Is everything okay?" Professor Venomous requested, mostly worried for her well being. He knew Fink wanted to be a scientist like him when she got older, yet suddenly going headfirst into so much studying like this was unhealthy.
"Yeah, yeah, just… I'm trying to learn, that's all," Fink nodded, trying to fix her messy hair, "I have to be an adult. I can't keep being just a young assistant."
That much confused her boss immensely. "I'm proud of you wanting to learn more, Fink… but you have to take it easy or else you'll lose what you do learn in burnout," Venomous informed her. He had fallen victim to similar in his younger days, back when he was a hero. He did not like looking back on that time of his life.
"You got a letter by the way, from Carol and Gar," he informed his loyal assistant. It made him feel proud to see Fink wanting to grow up so fast. He assumed it was just a phase like any most children went through, the 'wanting to be bigger and better' phase.
"Why would I get a letter from those Lakewood losers?" Fink went to open it. The young mouse felt a lot lonelier lately. She wanted to just be with her child and boyfriend right now, whenever they weren't around things felt wrong.
"I'm more interested in what it reads," Venomous gave a smirk, watching his loyal henchwoman throw the envelope aside and opening the letter. What it read surprised her, and it surprised her boss too.
"Dear Fink, you have been cordially invited to attend our wedding?!" Fink read it aloud in shock. There was also a small signature at the bottom. "See you there! From K.O.!" The tiny signature had a small heart drawn by it too.
"Wow… that was nice of them to invite you to the wedding. Did you do something?" Professor Venomous quirked an eyebrow curiously, since as the Voxmore family was frenemies with the ever-growing Kincaid family and Lakewood Plaza Turbo, the professor doubted any of them would be invited in trade.
"I-I… I helped K.O. with his breakdown the other day! I helped him a lot lately… I guess he talked them into sending me the invite," Fink felt very flattered, an ever-growing smile and blush appearing on her face. It made her heart warm to know K.O. wanted her at the wedding.
"So, are you gonna go?" Asked Venomous.
"Yes! Gotta go now and make sure I have everything ready for tomorrow!" Fink hurried off on all fours to her closet to dig out her best outfit for tomorrow. As much as the mouse hated dresses, she would happily make an exception for this occasion.
"Heheh… I better thank Carol later," Professor Venomous smiled warmly, just enjoying watching his minion eagerly rummaging through her closet. He ignored the many books. As such, he did not spot that any of the unrecognizable books that belonged to someone else entirely... Shadowy Venomous. The books were overloaded with research notes about going turbo, both artificially and genetically. Creating a turbonic child being a keynote in some of the books as well. Fink had gone through these books a dozen times in the last week to learn everything about them and had no intentions of stopping her research anytime soon.
She hated having to use anything related to Shadowy for help, but this was for K.O. and their child. She'd do whatever it took to deal with any possible problems that might appear, learning about medicine and science was the least the young mouse could do.
The day went by as normal as it could. For Lakewood Plaza Turbo, there were no attacks from Voxmore today either, which was the robotic siblings mostly being kind that the first wedding was tomorrow.
"The little dude seriously asked for a real paycheck plus a raise from Mr. Gar and won?" Radicles laughed, unable to believe this. Never in his entire life would he expect K.O. to have the courage to do it either. He and Enid were on break.
"I don't know if he won, I didn't hear any yelling or felt the ground shaking when I first came in, so it looks pretty positive," Enid smirked, unable to disagree with the alien on this one. K.O. really had pulled it off by some miracle that they did not know about. "I don't know what K.O. could need the money for though… I mean, why else would you ask for a check and a raise unless you needed money?" She asked. Neither of them were paying attention to the sound of a customer entering the store.
"To save up for the future when you will need it, like any responsible person would do of course," a posher voice chimed up. There stood a blonde woman in a red dress with white trimming at the end, she also had a feathered red cap on her head.
"Elodie! H-hey!" Enid jumped over the counter and ran over, hugging her girlfriend warmly, practically picking her off the ground.
"As bright as ever aren't you, my favorite moon?" P.O.I.N.T. Prep Academy's manager smiled warmly, hugging her girlfriend in trade.
"You're always my precious sun, but please… no pet names in public! We agreed!" Enid hushed her. Rad held back laughter.
"I'll leave you two alone, don't worry," Rad went away, deciding to end his break early and return to restocking items.
"Come on, K.O.'s in the break room. I've been looking forward to this all week," Enid began to lead her girlfriend along, holding her hand.
"Oh, certainly… though I admit, getting all of our tough questions that we're too afraid to ask one another with the help of a child is a little concerning," Elodie confessed. She was questioning if this was alright for them to do this. It could build stress on the bodega cleaner.
"K.O. has been really eager for this! And he's been so… well… mature, lately. It's like he's changing, I'm sure he can help us a lot." Enid's explanation confused her girlfriend, yet she did not query further. She just followed along to the break room for this relationship discussion of theirs.
K.O. sat in the break room, enjoying a salad topped with lot of fruit for lunch. His glorbucator backpack rested beside him.
"T.K.O.? You there?" the Level 4 hero tried to talk to his turbonic half, yet he didn't hear a word. It seemed like he was being given the silent treatment. He had even missed his turn when he was meant to take control of their body.
"Guess he's still absorbing the news…" K.O. frowned, looking to his still growing child. He was happy though with his developing relationship and his changing life, even if the attempts to eat healthier and train more were getting hard for him. The young hero didn't notice the two teenage women entering the room.
"Hey, K.O., Elodie's here," Enid announced. K.O. looked up to the two.
"Elodie! Hi! It's been so long," K.O. went up and hugged Elodie.
"How are you doing, K.O.? I thank you for taking the time to help us," Elodie returned the hug. The two bonded a lot during their times together. After a moment, K.O. took a seat, while Enid and her girlfriend sat on beanbag chairs.
"It's no trouble, really! I'm happy to help you. What is it you'd like me to do?" the Level 4 aspiring hero requested, knowing they wanted him to talk just not exactly how specifically to help the young couple be more open.
"Just talk, we've been both working on being far more open… What we need though is someone to help the discussion as a mediator… as well as someone to ask the questions because…" Elodie's voice trailed off, looking sheepish to confess.
"Because we have no idea where to start," Enid finished for her girlfriend. The Level 4 idol nodded sheepishly. She noticed the glorbucator and gave it a confused look, though decided not to ask about it.
"Okay… what do you want me to ask first?" K.O. asked. The winja stifled a laugh.
"Ask whatever you want, no matter how tough of a question. Go ahead, I'm ready for anything," Enid laid back in her beanbag chair, her usual confidence intact. Elodie nodded, motioning him to start whenever he desired.
"Well alright," K.O. nodded, trying to think of a first question. He still wanted to talk to Elodie privately. He had to wait for his chance though. He looked at the artificial womb for ideas and managed to get one. "Do you want to have children?"
Enid's eyes practically bulged out of their socket. That one really tough question right off the bat first. "K-kids? Us? I Uh… Who would even…?" she started to visibly sweat between her nervous laughter.
"Well, I for one would love to have a child one day," Elodie did not hesitate on her answer. Her girlfriend looked over towards her.
"R-really? Uh… O-okay, wow… I mean, I want kids, I just didn't think you'd want that at all," Enid confessed, though still seemed too nervous to be exposing such details in front of a child, she was more surprised that her girlfriend wanted them as well.
"Of course, I do, my moon… but first I'd like a few years with you all to myself, of course," Elodie gave a deviant smirk. That just increased Enid's blush tenfold.
"I-I Uh… I have to go to the bathroom. I'll bring back some drink before we continue. W-why don't you two catch up?" the ninja made her leave, vanishing in a puff of smoke, leaving behind a log in her beanbag seat.
"Ah, she's so adorable when she's shy," Elodie giggled.
"Yeah…" K.O. dumbly nodded. He had never seen Enid like this before. It was a strange change to him. "Uh, Elodie… I wanted to talk to you about something," he then told her.
"Hm? Yes, of course, K.O., what is it?" Elodie looked to him since they were alone in the room. K.O. inhaled deeply and exhaled, needing his confidence to stick around.
"Do you think you could do me two big favors? Since I've helped you so much… I need you to keep it secret, too," K.O. hated to word it like a favor. Elodie and Enid might not even be together if he hadn't helped after all.
"What is it K.O.? You can trust me to keep everything secret. I have to hide tons of Enid's secrets after all," the magic bow user smiled reassuringly, though if he wanted it to be secret, he had to hurry. Enid would be back anytime soon if they waited too long. That was just a ninja for you, always fast unless it is time to go on break.
"First, I need help finding somebody, and..." K.O. began, looking at the sweet idol that sat before him, he couldn't hesitate, he told himself this and tried to keep his confidence high.
"I want a scholarship to P.O.I.N.T. Prep academy."
Chapter 9: Wedding Day News
The day of the wedding had arrived for Carol and Mr. Gar. Everyone was gathered and waiting around in the cathedral to be called before the ceremony would begin. The last of the guests were yet to arrive.
"You okay, Elodie? You look exhausted," Enid asked, she was wearing a purple dress, her special occasions outfit as she called it. Nothing overly fancy, unlike Elodie's light red fluffy trimmed dress.
"Hm? Oh, apologies, Enid… Important matters came up yesterday and I had to stay up late on the phone to sort them out," Elodie tiredly rubbed one of her eyes. She could not believe what K.O. had asked for yesterday, and when he explained why, it was enough to make Elodie agree to his requests and get to work on it immediately, while also promising to keep secrecy. "But don't worry, my favorite moon, I'll be fine," she held Enid's hand, giving a comforting squeeze.
"Well… if you're sure," the Level 10 winja nodded, just trying to look forward to the wedding since they doubted it would be long before it began.
K.O. fixed his cleaned-up tuxedo top. He still had the glorbucator strapped onto his back. He was looking around cautiously. "I hope she actually shows up," the Level 4 hero mumbled. He had convinced his mom to send Fink that invitation. He just hoped it wasn't on too short of a notice. Either way, his lover was nowhere to be seen yet. "Are you okay, T.K.O.?" K.O. asked himself as he made sure the rings were okay. He was the ring bearer for the ceremony.
"Nope," T.K.O. grumbled in response. After a few visits to the mindscape they had been talking again. The turbonic twin was upset though, more so about Dendy than he was about the child K.O. accidentally bore with Fink.
"I'm sorry, T.K.O. I don't know why Dendy did what she did," K.O. murmured. He never thought Dendy would turn insane. He felt guilty for it, feeling like he himself had caused it, all because he didn't know about her feelings. And he understood why it hurt T.K.O. as badly as it hurt him, maybe even more-so.
He shook his head though. No matter what the kappa said, he loved Fink, and he was starting a family with Fink. That was the end of that, even if it was all one big accident. "Are you… happy we're going to be parents?" he asked his turbonic twin with a moment of hesitation, breathing for a minute, as if they got anxiety from the mere question until he started thinking about what the future would bring for them and their plans.
"I'm not happy that you did all of this without talking to me about it," T.K.O. sighed, "But, I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm… proud? I don't know why. I started feeling this way the more I thought about the baby," the turbonic child tried his best to elaborate it. For some reason just imagining the child, what they would look like, their hair, their genetics and their possible powers and techniques, really got into T.K.O.'s heart, which he could not shake off.
"You're not the only one excited. I Just hope Elodie comes through for us," K.O. gave that same enthusiastic smile of his, seeming all the happier now to know that his bad half also looked forward to their future, and their child's.
K.O. decided to head toward the cathedral entrance. When he got there, he could see that most of the people had left. He guessed that meant the ceremony was about to begin. Just as he took a step forward though, the front doors opened with a familiar person stepping inside.
"Sorry I'm late, K.O." Fink stepped inside. K.O. stared in awe. It was Fink for sure. But today her hair was smoother, wavier and flowing in its appearance. The pink dress she wore perfectly matched the color of her gloves. There was a strange silence as the Level 4 hero kept staring at the young henchwoman, his mouth agape. "Are you going to say anything?" she was becoming nervous as she asked. The staring was making a small tinted blush creep onto her face.
"O-oh! I… you look great, Fink! I never thought I'd see you like this," K.O. pulled her into a hug without hesitation. Fink after a moment planted a kiss on his lips, smiling as they hugged.
"It's your mom's wedding and we're going to announce something big. I want to at least look good for it," the mouse insisted as their embrace ended, the two beginning to make their way walking towards the gathering hall.
"How's the baby doing?" Fink chirped, holding her boyfriend's hand as they walked.
"They're doing great as far as I can tell. Your invention works wonders," K.O. answered, the artificial womb glowing a content green. The glorbucator had really been doing a perfect job. "I've got good news to share for you too. I'll wait until the after party though," he explained as they stepped into the hall, seeing the large crowd all in their seats.
K.O. and Fink took their seats beside one another in the first row that had an opening they could find. Fink got some looks, curious glances and confused murmuring, just as she expected, but at least no one did anything.
"Fink? What's she doing here?" Enid chirped in surprise from her seat. K.O. was willingly being so close to the rat girl when their relationship was never the strongest.
"She must have gotten an invitation…" Elodie shrugged, not acting too surprised. She knew why already. The bodega cleaner had told her everything about it while he made his requests to her.
"Ah…" Enid nodded, just focusing on the ceremony. She would check on K.O. later if needed. For now, the bodega cashier kept her focus on the wedding. They could see Mr. Gar standing at the altar looking anxious despite his best efforts to look calm.
The crowd heard the music start, and they witnessed Carol entering wearing her gorgeous white wedding dress, her hair down. Mr. Gar flashed back to when they first met as Silver Spark and El-Bow. History was a scary thing, but in this moment, it was nothing short of great that he planned on never letting go of.
Mr. Gar felt his nervousness increase tenfold, as he saw his fiancée, the woman he was going to spend the rest of his life with, step up to the aisle. Their history practically rushed through his mind, a momentary though heartwarming flashback.
There the two stood at the altar. All eyes were on them and several pictures were being taken at once. K.O. held onto Fink's hand as they joyfully watched. Radicles was doing his best not to tear up and failing. Enid had merely a satisfied smile on her face, while Elodie leaned onto her.
The bodega owner reached up and removed the wedding veil from Carol's face.
"Dearly beloved," the pastor began, "We are gathered here this evening, to unite this man and woman in holy matrimony. Have you prepared your vows?"
Carol was surprised when she saw her fiancé not pull out a piece of paper immediately. She expected him to write down everything he wanted to say. It was how the high level hero always handled speeches after all.
"C-Carol… Ever since we first met, I've been in love with you. I wanted to work with you. Every day I was amazed by your bravery, and your passion," the former P.O.I.N.T. member focused on nothing else in the room but his bride. K.O. showed to the man a look of encouragement, "You are the spark I desperately needed in my life, and I felt horrible for every time I let you down. I'd not be the man I was today if it wasn't for you… I promise to do everything to make our lives as great as I can."
Mr. Gar breathed shortly after his speech was finished. It was simply amazing that he was able to speak from the heart like this when years ago, he would just have locked up and grown tomato red with sheepishness around Carol.
"That was wonderful, Eugene," the fitness dojo owner held a pleased smile. She began her vows. "I always felt happy with you Eugene, you always made me feel stronger and were there whenever I needed someone to go to. I doubt I'd be as strong a woman as I was, but you've helped me and my son grow so much, that I can't imagine our lives without you. I promise to be there for you. Just like how you always were for me. No matter what type of evil or hardship comes our way we'll make sure to get over it together."
The pastor smiled at how sincere their vows were. Neither were particularly long. Yet they were sweet and endearing for everyone listening.
"Well, it sounds like you both did a fine job compared to me," the pastor jokingly commented, getting a few laughs from the room. K.O. got out of his seat and headed up the altar, holding the wedding rings. His boss and his mom took one each. He stepped aside afterwards.
"Do you, Eugene Garcia, take Carol Kincaid to be your lawfully wedded wife? In sickness or in health, through the best and worst of times?" the pastor began. The muscular hero slid the ring onto the fitness dojo owner's finger.
"I do," Mr. Gar smiled, his heart racing. So much of his life he had that dream, and it was coming true. It made him more than happy. He just wished his mother could be there to see it.
"And do you, Carol Kincaid, take Eugene Garcia to be your lawfully wedded husband? In sickness or in health, through the best and worst of times?" the pastor continued, watching as Carol put the ring onto the bodega owner's hand.
"I do," Carol said warmly. She never imagined a full-blown wedding in her life, even back when she was infatuated with Laserblast. She was happy nonetheless, not wishing for her life to change in any way whatsoever.
"Then by the powers vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride," the pastor announced. Mr. Gar and Carol leaned in and pressed locked life. Everyone else gave a standing ovation, throwing out flower petals watching them rain down from above.
Fink watched with a smile on her face. She could imagine Venomous and Boxman in the same position. Their wedding was next week after all... Then her imagination began to warp to another thought, imagining herself in the same position with her and K.O. She herself going up there at the altar. It made her blush as she tried to suppress the thoughts since they were flustering her, it was too early in the relationship for that kind of thinking, right?.
"Fink?" K.O.'s voice stirred her out of her daze. She felt herself get shaken by the shoulder slightly by him.
"Wuh- oh sorry, I-I was daydreaming, that's all," Fink mumbled, looking confused when she saw the lack of crowd. She realized everyone else was gone by now. K.O. stood there holding her arm.
"Come on, we're going to miss the after party," K.O. helped his girlfriend to her feet. Fink nodded, the two heading out of the hall to go join the others at the after party, though admittedly they were both nervous about the announcement they wanted to make during this.
The after party was going pretty great. Everyone was happy, and the music was going quite calmly, with Enid at the helm of playing as the DJ.
"It's so weird to be around so many people while they're happy. I'm not used to this," Fink had to confess. Even with her large Voxmore family, she wasn't used to it, however she welcomed it.
"It's great to see so many people from the plaza and P.O.I.N.T. around too," K.O. commented, holding Fink's hand, trying to be reassuring. The glorbucator rested on his back, which he still refused to take off. Dendy, unbeknownst to them, was across the room, glaring at them in pure unaltered jealousy. As if the kappa had nothing short of sheer frustration knowing her 'trade' had failed miserably thus far.
"Hello, you two," Elodie came up to them, seeming a little stressed, yet she was happy, nonetheless. She took a seat beside the two. "I have news regarding your requests, K.O.," she showed an optimistic smile on her face. She knew about their relationship and later parenthood. She was surprised nonetheless, yet she agreed to the secrecy about the artificial womb, as well as the fact they were aware of stolen P.O.I.N.T. technology.
"Really?!" K.O. eagerly grinned. He didn't expect her to get the news for them this fast. Fink didn't say a word, letting the two talk. The hero prep academy manager reached into a pocket of her dress and took out an envelope and a piece of paper.
"Yes. I was able to locate Doctor Jint Barrows. She was quite a renowned researcher in P.O.I.N.T. before retirement. Here is where she resides now," she handed the note to Fink, which had the address written on it. The mouse felt happy to know they could talk to the doctor who invented the L.C.U.
"It's a retirement home," Fink claimed, viewing the address and recognizing it. It was no surprise. The doctor had to be an elderly woman by now. The L.C.U.'s paperwork did date back to decades ago.
"Yes, and as for the second request, K.O., I was worried it would be hard to do, yet the teachers were more than glad to fulfill it," Elodie handed the envelope to K.O. He opened the envelope to see for himself.
Sure enough, the inside of the envelope contained the scholarship to P.O.I.N.T. Prep academy, with very strong letters of recommendations as well. K.O. smiled widely, and gave Elodie a very tight hug, Fink looking on in shock. She had no idea what his plans had been initially, they began to come to mind quite fast.
"Thank you so much, Elodie!" the Level 4 hero praised her. The Level 3 idol gave a smile as she rubbed his head reassuringly.
"It's the least I can do for you, K.O. I'm looking forward to your participation. Congratulations on your parenthood, I wish you luck on when you announce it as well," Elodie told him and made her leave to go get some of the wedding cake to fill her rumbling stomach. It took a lot of phone calls and staying up late to fulfill K.O.'s requests after all.
"So, this is what your plan was, huh?" Fink asked with a smirk on her face. It wasn't hard for her to figure out.
"Yeah! I'll head to P.O.I.N.T. prep academy in three years. Sorry I didn't tell you. I know it was rude, but I wanted it to be a surprise," K.O. explained. The academy was a multi-year commitment before becoming a professional hero.
"I feel happy for you. It's just… I know what that means for me and the baby," Fink sighed, giving a glance around to make sure nobody would be listening in. She knew that meant that K.O. would barely be around for two years of their child's life before he headed off to the academy. They would be able to see him whenever they wanted. After all, it wasn't a prison. Yet it was heart-crushing to imagine it.
"Hey, don't go getting sad now. It's for our better future. I mean, you don't need to go to school to be a great villain, right?" K.O. chimed reassuringly, though guessed that fell short since his girlfriend was enrolled in his normal school too. She would have to raise their child more or less alone.
"I'm not sad, just… okay I'm sad, yeah…" Fink confessed, looking at the artificial womb as it rested in the glorbucator. "You're not the only one who's been busy. I've been researching and studying everything I can about turbonic children… with Shadowy's books."
"Wait, who?" K.O. blinked, already feeling nervous and uneasy.
"It's okay, K.O. he's dead. I blew him apart remember?" T.K.O. tried to calm his twin down, talking to him through the mindscape.
"R-right…" K.O. reluctantly nodded, though still nervous "I guess if anyone would know more about turbonic beings, it would be him," K he was happy that his girlfriend was willingly going so far to learn so much for their child. He simply hoped that Jint Barrows would be able to tell them more when they next met.
Their conversation got interrupted when they heard a spoon tapping against a glass, catching everyone's attention. Carol stood up.
"Sorry, everybody, for interrupting, we have an announcement to make," the former P.O.I.N.T. member started. K.O. raised an eyebrow, wondering what they could have to announce.
"Me and Carol we're… going to have a child. We just found out about our pregnancy a week ago," Mr. Gar continued with his new wife. There was a moment of silence in the room before it erupted into applause. This news only made K.O. more ecstatic.
"Wow… I was not expecting that," Fink commented, though was happy to see her boyfriend smiling.
"I'm going to be a big brother… wow," the Level 4 hero laughed. He was happy for his mom and new dad. It just was so unexpected though. Now K.O. felt even guiltier. He was dreading the moment he would have to tell his family and friends the news about his P.O.I.N.T. prep academy scholarship. He could feel Fink holding his hand with her gloved paw to try and reassure him.
From there on, the party seemed to be going as normal as ever. By now the music was more or less cranking up. Several couples were dancing. K.O. sat by the punch bowl with his co-workers currently, just having a light snack now.
"This has been one impressive wedding, dude," Radicles smiled, looking happy with all they had done to help out. Ignoring all the times the alien had failed to resist crying.
"I knew they'd for sure have another kid soon, but yeah… was not expecting that announcement," Enid laughed. She was more than pleased with it though, and by now her music was just on loop. DJ Fireball at her finest. They looked at the several couples out there dancing. It was starting to turn into a slow dance though.
"Hey, K.O. Maybe you should go dance with your girlfriend now," Rad gave a toothy grin while elbowing the young hero. It seemed like as great a time as any, motioning towards Dendy, who was still off to the side. She seemed rather lonely, even cold for her normally expressive monotony self.
"Yeah! You should loosen up! You've been working really hard lately. You deserve a break," Enid insisted. She still remembered the courage K.O. built to demand a raise from Mr. Gar. Anyone would be stressed out by it naturally afterwards.
"Heh…" the bodega cleaner gave a smile. They were right. Now was as perfect a time as any to share some of the truth. K.O. put the cup of punch aside and got up. "You're right... I'm going to go dance with my girlfriend."
"Yeah! Go get'em, little buddy!" the Level 5 alien cheered for him, wondering if this was the moment that they had been anticipating for years now.
"You got this, K.O.," the Level 10 winja applauded him too, more impressed that he was not as embarrassed as before. K.O. would become sheepish whenever he was teased about his romantic life. They watched him walk away. "He's growing up so fast…" Enid could not understand why she felt so proud. The Level 4 hero would not be who he was today after all if it was not for all of his friends in the bodega and the plaza.
The cashier and stockroom worker watched. They didn't see K.O. going to Dendy, instead he went over to Fink. They were talking for a moment. The two employees were confused.
K.O. stepped into to the dance floor with the minion for all to see, and locked lips with her. It was shocking enough, and they could notice whispering and chatter immediately as they looked at the young couple barely starting to slow dance together once the kiss ended.
"Well," Radicles inhaled, shocked, "That explains why Dendy's looked mad the whole time… And why Fink was here…"
"Yeah… wow. K.O. has uh… gotten brave," Enid looked over to the just as shocked Mr. Gar. Carol just stared, she knew her son was dating Fink yes though she had no idea how close their relationship had become already. Yet the young couple didn't seem to care. They were just dancing away, ignoring rest of the world. They had wanted to announce their relationship at the wedding. What better way than by simply showing it.
"But K.O. looks so happy… I'm glad for him."
Chapter 10: Aftermath
It had been only a few days since K.O. and Fink more or less announced their relationship publicly at the wedding. It had a very mixed result. Some people seemingly becoming more afraid of K.O., as if they were expecting him to be corrupted to the side of evil, though those that knew him well enough did not even have the thought cross their mind.
Fink felt like her life was seemingly indifferent, at first. Shortly after however, people actually seemed to become friendlier with her, even when attacking the plaza. None of the Voxmore bots beyond Shannon or her family a whole knew about her and K.O.'s relationship yet. She knew that would change when it was time for Venomous and Boxman's wedding in a few days.
Fink waited outside of Gar's Bodega, gaining a few greetings from passersby, which she confusedly waved back to in response. The mouse was simply passing the time waiting for her boyfriend now.
Fink expected it all to be a lot different. It felt weird to be able to be near the bodega without having to attack anybody or sneak around. She was a henchwoman, a villainess loyal aid to Professor Venomous. So why was she so happy to see heroes being friendly with her? For all she knew, they reminded the green haired mouse of her mother, and that began to frustrate her. Unbeknownst to Fink, she was being watched by two of the bodegas employees.
"It's weird seeing Fink around and having her not trying to beat us to a pulp," Enid commented. She was still absorbing the shocking news. They still had trouble trusting that mouse.
"Yeah… I wonder how K.O. wound up with Fink. I thought for sure he would've been dancing with Dendy at the wedding," Radicles said, in spite of his secret relationship with Shannon. He hesitated with what to say, mainly out of the subconscious desire to not look like a hypocrite. He didn't even know that Shannon knew.
Before they could talk further, K.O. himself came over, the glorbucator strapped to his back. "Hey guys I just finished cleaning up everything, so I'm going to punch out early," he informed the two of them. His two friends were shocked to hear that.
"You, leaving early? K.O., that's not like you at all!" Radicles exclaimed. K.O. had just demanded a raise from Mr. Gar not too long ago after all. He would spend every waking moment of the day at the plaza if he could. Those two things combined really made his behavior confusing, he was changing a lot recently. It made his co-workers wonder if his parents had noticed his change as well or not.
"Is something going on?" Enid requested an explanation. They really were getting worried for the Level 4 hero who had been changing so much lately. He was growing up too fast for them to even believe. The winja had tried talking to Elodie about him before she went back to P.O.I.N.T. Prep Academy, and the idol had been behaving weirdly when the topic came up as well.
"Yeah. I have to go to the Nuts & Bolts Retirement Home to see somebody," K.O. answered, though still keeping his child a secret.
"The Nuts & Bolts Retirement Home? That place for old geniuses? Who do you have to visit there?" The level 10 hero asked. K.O. didn't have any genius relatives in retirement as far as she knew.
"An old inventive doctor. Her names Jint. Fink and I are paying her a visit," K.O. then noticed her girlfriend outside. "Oh, I should go! Fink gets mad when she's kept waiting! Bye guys, I'll see you later!" The bodega cleaner hurried off. The alien and winja stared as he left, still shocked at the fact K.O. clocked out early.
"Something is going on with that little dude," Radicles shook his head. His worry was only increasing by the day. They just hoped it was nothing to actually fret over. He went back to work in the stockroom.
"He'll come to us if something is wrong… Right?" Enid tried to reassure herself, though for the first time in her entire career at the bodega, she was welcoming the distraction that came with customers this time.
K.O. and Fink were making their way across Neutral Zone, seeming happy and a lot more comfortable away from Lakewood Plaza Turbo, not having to deal with the strange new behaviors of everyone around them recently.
"Have you been doing okay?" K.O. asked his girlfriend as they walked. Fink had asked him to let her wear the glorbucator. She was feeling a lot more disconnected with her surroundings emotionally without the artificial womb or her boyfriend being near her. She had no explanation for how lonely she felt, the mouse's constant research work and learning had been doing decent at distracting her from it all thankfully.
"Yeah… just… people have been acting weird ever since we announced we were together," Fink told him.
"It's okay. They just need to get used to us, that's all," K.O. reached over and held one of her gloved hands with his own, looking over and seeing the artificial womb changing from blue to green with a bright shine.
"I know, K.O.… I'm just not used to heroes being nice to me like that," Fink explained as she got closer to him while they continued to walk. K.O. felt the blush on his face light up as they continued along. It felt nice to not have to hide anymore that they had hooked up. They still had to hide that they had a baby coming though, they still didn't know for how long however. The two enjoyed their peace while they continued along to the retirement home.
When they arrived at the Nuts and Bolts Retirement Home, they could see that the place lived up to its name – a home that looked like it was taken straight from the steampunk era. A set of several gears in the side of the home rotated, presumably keeping the heat going. Elderly people were cozy in steampunk machinery, and the nurses looked very intelligent.
"I can see where Dendy's going to wind up one day now," Fink joked, and to her surprise, actually gained a laugh from her boyfriend. K.O. felt bad for it, but he was at a point in his life where he would get mad if he thought too much about Dendy for her actions. He still hoped to one day be able to fix things and get her to change her mind.
"Come on, I've been waiting to meet Dr. Barrows ever since Elodie gave us the location at the wedding," K.O. went on ahead into the retirement home without a second to waste. The mouse hoped that the former P.O.I.N.T. inventor would not be senile.
The inside of the home looked pretty advanced. They could see some damages though, probably from inventions gone wrong. The young couple headed to the front desk, where a nurse stood behind it.
"Excuse me, we're here to see somebody," K.O. got their attention politely while Fink was adjusting the glorbucator on her back. It was heavier than she knew – it was impressive that her boyfriend was able to deal with it without issue since he seemingly wore it all the time.
"Okay, may I ask who?" the worker requested.
"Jint Barrows," Fink answered. The woman was surprised, it seemed to make them happy.
"Wow… she's never had any people visit her since she first got brought here. I'm sure she'll be happy to see you," the nurse stated while she typed at her keyboard. "Room 202," she pointed to the stairs.
"Thank you!" K.O. eagerly replied, grabbing his girlfriend's hand and running off.
"S-stop pulling so hard, ya blockhead!" Fink scolded him in irritation. She never enjoyed being pulled without warning. It happened a lot at Voxmore whenever one of her many large family members got too eager (discounting Jethro Mikayla and Earnesto).
The next floor's hallways were rather empty, though the floors had conveyor belts on them that moved rather slowly and could be stopped and started by one of the many buttons on conveniently placed panels. The place really took into account the elders here. That or the elders took care of themselves quite well.
"Alright, Fink. Before we go in there, we're both on the same page, right?" K.O. asked as they stood outside the door.
"We both have questions and don't be rude, I got it," Fink rolled her eyes and crossed her arms, not arguing with her boyfriend on that topic. They were just here to learn and get information from the former P.O.I.N.T. inventor. Fink knocked on the door to the room a few times.
"Come in!" a nice, elderly voice spoke up. The hero and villain gave each other a glance, opened the door and stepped inside the room.
The small room felt like small home, impressive and highly advanced. K.O. guessed if someone like Barrows were smart enough to improve her home with technology, she would do it with the time she had.
"Hello?" Fink chirped up to an old lady in a pink sweater and grey dress, her surprisingly blonde braided hair was resting upon her shoulder.
"Doctor Barrows?" K.O. added. This seemed to catch the elderly woman off guard as she stepped out from the kitchen.
"I haven't heard anyone call me that in over forty years," Jint gave a weak laugh as she looked the two preteens over. "Well… I know you," she pointed a finger to the brushy haired hero. He tilted his head.
"You do?" Fink chirped, rather surprised.
"Yes, yes. You were all over the news once for being Level 100. I have to say, the youth these days impresses me," Doctor Barrows claimed. K.O. got a small blush on his face. He remembered that incident from where it happened, not long after he started in the bodega, having caused a zone-wide news burst when he broke the P.O.W. Card Machine on accident and made his Level 0 card turn out reading Level 100.
"Uh… th-thanks, but it's not what we're here for," the Level 4 hero felt nervous, with his girlfriend looking at him with a raised eyebrow. She could tell it embarrassed him, and the henchwoman was more than eager to tease him about it later.
"Well, what brings you two to see a woman that's far past her prime?" the former inventive doctor asked with honesty now that they thought about it. She had to be at least over a hundred years old now, and she still didn't look geriatric. The two guessed it was the aid of tools or medicine doing this.
"We're here to talk to you about… uhh this," K.O. opened up the top of the glorbucator on Fink's back and took out the artificial womb, presenting it to the very creator of the L.C.U. Jint looked stunned at what she was seeing before her.
"Is that… what I think it is?" the elderly woman asked, reaching her hands out. The bodega cleaner let her hold it, even if it made Venomous's loyal minion anxious. They could tell how fascinated Jint was with the artificial womb, like history itself had come to greet her with open arms.
"Yeah, from the L.C.U.… We used it and didn't know what we were doing until afterwards," Fink explained before the good doctor could get any wrong ideas.
"The L.C.U. was dismantled and sent to safekeeping and all of our research was sent to the potential future ideas storage lockers… Yet you have it all?" Jint questioned as she ran her hand across the small green liquid filled ball. She handed it back to Fink who cradled the ball carrying their child in her arms.
"Professor Venomous got it," K.O. said. It was clear that the doctor knew who that was. Anyone who worked in P.O.I.N.T. knew who the glorb dealer was at some point or another.
"And we have enough glorbs to feed them," Fink added, recalling that information from the documents well. She had read through that large pile of paperwork a dozen times.
"So that's why you came to find me? To show me that my biggest work in my career was a success? I appreciate the thought, but I don't hold much candle to it," Jint Barrows replied, at least looking more than happy about it. She had not seen any news on anything she created in a long time.
"No, we came to ask if you could help us… We're scared about what might happen to the baby and what we can do for them to help, since we're different species," K.O. explained. The elderly woman shuffled over to her shelf of books and began to scour through the vast collection of big books.
"I must say, I admire your gumption if you are willing to take care of this. Not many adults would even do that when it comes to accidentally creating life. Unfortunately, due to the expenses that came with the L.C.U., we never had a living test subject… so all I have is a set of theories that I had to do during my work, though a lot of it may help ease your genetic worries," the inventor took out another large book. It had no title, yet its old age was clear.
"I'm sorry we used your machine like that… and that my dad stole your machine," The level 4 hero felt terrible for it. He remembered his father Professor Venomous's history as a famous P.O.I.N.T. hero, Laserblast. He could only assume that Venomous had used his knowledge to steal them from P.O.I.N.T. without anyone even noticing.
"Couldn't just leave that implied, huh?" Fink raised an eyebrow at her boyfriend as she loaded the artificial womb back into the glorbucator. Though the henchwoman became confused when Jint handed the book over to them.
"You're letting us just take it?" K.O. couldn't believe it. This woman was giving up the last of her life's work after the rest of it had been more or less locked up in storage somewhere. It was clear that the L.C.U. was something that Dr. Jint never moved on from, especially if they never stopped coming up with theories and solutions like in the book to treat any potential problems that might happen to their unborn child.
"I don't have much use for that in my life anymore… nor a lot of things, really… so if I can help someone else save their future child's life, then so be it," Jint laughed, not seeming to mind as much, as if she had no other purpose in her life other than for one of her inventions to actually succeed in some regard.
"Thank you! We promise to make sure your invention doesn't get used for evil," The bodega cleaner exclaimed. Fink gave a nod in agreement to this promise as well, however she doubted there was much intentional evil that could be done with a life creation machine, though guessed T.K.O.'s existence proved that possibility wrong. Breeding the right heroes or villains or both could lead to many powerful results.
"I'm happy to hear that… you take care, you young lovebirds. Come see me if you ever need anything again," Jint Barrows teased them, looking more than proud to see anything like this. The former P.O.I.N.T. doctor knew the preteens were facing a lot, especially given that only one of them looked like a hero.
"Bye, Dr Barrows. Thanks again," Fink nodded and the two made their leave. They hoped the good doctor would be alright. It was an emotional roller coaster she had been on in the last hour or so they were talking.
The two stood outside of the retirement home. Fink opened the book and one glance at it showed that it was very complex. Old age did little to slow down Jint Barrows's intelligence. They could see that it was now starting to get later into the afternoon.
"Well, we should probably get home now before anyone gets suspicious… I got Shannon covering for me and I don't know how long she'll last," the young henchmouse said. Her boyfriend nodded in understanding, though she seemed to get sad when she realized she had to turn over the glorbucator and their child to K.O., not because she didn't trust him, but because the minion was missing being near her child, for a reason she had no clue about herself.
"That's good of her… Are you okay Fink?" the Level 4 hero saw the look of sadness. She pondered on this for a moment, yet sighed, deciding to tell him.
"I've been feeling… I don't know, really lonely without the baby, or you near me," Fink held onto the large book full of information in slight embarrassment at the confession. K.O. wondered if his girlfriend got those feelings from her own mother, since supposedly, Venomous had saved Fink from her biological mother. The bodega cleaner wasn't a deep thinking psychologist though.
"I'm sorry, Fink… You can still move in with me whenever you want. Offer's still there," K.O. claimed. He knew she at least wanted to wait until after Venomous and Boxman's wedding to consider it.
"I'm worried about how your family would react," Fink said, that news of Carol being pregnant was still surprising.
"Don't worry about them, Fink," K.O. shook his head, "I can handle anything," he put the glorbucator onto his back and strapped it on, and he pulled the young mouse girl into a tight hug before giving her a kiss. "I love you!"
Fink's tail curled in joy, feeling her heart warm. "I love you too, K.O.," the minion smiled. She knew just to call him if she ever needed anything.
"I'll see you at the wedding!" K.O. replied, and the two went their separate ways. He had to get home before it got dark, Fink wanted to get back to Voxmore so she could throw herself headfirst into researching again. She felt lonelier, even if she knew she was truly never alone as long as the level 4 hero was a part of her life.
"I need to distract myself…" she murmured,
"Hope this new book can do just that."
Chapter 11: A Big Sisters Worry
Authors Note: Hey, sorry if this is a short part. I kept rewriting it because I wasn't liking how it turned out. Just a small bit to tie up loose ends before the next wedding. Hope you all enjoy!
Fink worked away in her room at Voxmore Industries. The book from Jint Barrows had been full of information. It proved much for the young mouse to glance at, let alone begin to absorb.
"Fink?" Shannon's voice got Fink looking over at the doorway.
"What do you want Shannon? I'm busy," Fink briefly replied, not turning her head while she was focused more on researching.
"I came to check on you. You've been drowning yourself in research… I don't think I've even seen you play one video game this week, or eat much at all today," Shannon stepped over to her practical little sister, seeing the book from Jint that the henchwoman was going through. It looked largely complex, even for her circuitry to handle.
"So? I can't keep being a little kid. I need to actually learn and get smarter if I want to be a half decent villain one day," Fink responded, trying her best to just get her older robot of a sibling to buzz off so she could focus on her own work.
"Did something happen with you and K.O.? I know you've been sneaking out for dates," Shannon knew it would be stressful, keeping a romantic relationship secret. She wanted to not see Finks first love fall short. First loves tended to be more for the experience than anything, yet with K.O. Shannon really had no clue what to expect. All she could do was act as a support if needed.
"No, me and K.O. are doing great. We just realized we have to grow up sometime soon," Fink retorted while she continued to write in her own little journal about her research findings so far that could be of help to her future child.
Fink felt a pair of arms wrap around her. Shannon had decided to try and give her a comforting hug, since even she could sense that the rat girl was lying, yet somehow telling the truth at the same time. All the while being immensely stressed out. Shannon decided maybe it was time to consult with her siblings about this. Secrecy did not seem to be working out.
"If you're jealous because of Venomous and Daddy getting married, I understand. Just know that I'm here for you, okay?" Shannon insisted. Fink appreciated the comfort, and she would be lying if she didn't confess that she was bothered by her practical father and savior's attention dividing up amongst the whole Boxmore family.
"Thanks, Shannon… I've never felt happier though than I do right now," Fink insisted. She had a child on the way, unconventional as the method of creating it was, and it made her happy. Having someone like K.O. that cared by her side each step of the way, made it all the better.
"It's no trouble at all, Fink. You know we're all here for each other," Shannon smiled, glad that Fink seemed to be warming up to her. Boxman's daughter though, had to do something. She walked away, needing to go to the plaza.
K.O. and his mother rode along in their family car. A layer of silence loomed this otherwise peaceful day that even the not so bright Level 4 hero himself couldn't miss. The glorbucator containing the artificial womb still rested on his back.
"So… are you excited that you're going to be a big brother?" Carol tried to break the ice, hoping that her new husband was wrong about K.O.'s seemingly changing personality being caused by him being jealous that her attention might avert to their new baby.
"Yeah! I'm really happy! I never thought I'd have a little brother or sister to take care of. I bet dad is happy too," K.O. responded. He has been calling Mr. Gar dad since the day after the wedding. Unless they were at work, that was the rule, though one that the kid had been trouble following, and it led to some playful teasing from his co-workers.
"Eugene is really happy," Carol smiled, still remembering how her new husband wound up crying in joy when he first heard the news. The muscular high level hero was not as tough as people thought, at least emotionally. "How have things been with you and Fink?" she asked, knowing that her son had been dealing with this relationship's issues, more so how people reacted to it. Even some of the fitness dojo regulars had been talking rather poorly about it.
"They've been great! We go on dates every other night and we see each other every day during plaza attacks," K.O. exclaimed to his mother happily. It was clear that so far, his relationship had worked out with Fink perfectly well, even if the context was still left unannounced. Carol was very happy for him. "…mom, do you think I'll be a good dad?" The Level 4 hero questioned, out of nowhere. It was so out of left field that it actually surprised his mom, and she wound up almost losing control of the car during her shock. After another moment, they came to a stoplight. She looked down to her son.
"Peanut, where is that coming from?" Carol asked, failing to hide her surprise. It was his first relationship and he was way too young to even be thinking about children. She guessed her newfound pregnancy might have brought the question, though she was surprised that her son was thinking that far ahead into his and Fink's relationship.
"I just… I always wonder if I'll be good enough to be one," K.O. answered. He felt bad for all the news about the baby and his P.O.I.N.T. scholarship that he was going to inevitably drop on his family. Nobody was going to take it well. His mother certainly wasn't going to be happy as soon as she learned the truth about what was inside the orb that the glorbucator contained.
"Sweetheart, that's a normal worry! Everyone feels afraid about that sort of thing. I was terrified of being a bad parent when you were first born," Carol assured her son that it was perfectly normal, even if she was still rather put off by the query. Though thinking back on her first pregnancy, the blonde woman did not like recalling how two of her ribs had been broken by her son during gestation. It's how he got his name after all.
"K.O., you have a great heart. You know the difference between right or wrong. You're strong, kind, plus confident! A lot of people don't have half of those traits when they have a kid. I'm positive you'll be the best dad ever when you have a child one day," the high-leveled hero promised, still rather perplexed that her son thought that far ahead in the future. He wasn't the kind of person to do that.
"Thanks, mommy! Really," K.O. felt his heart warm, and he felt more confident for his future child, though it also struck a chord of guilt in him, since he was going to leave for P.O.I.N.T. Prep Academy in that future.
The car pulled up at the plaza and he stepped out from the car, as well as his mother.
"You have a good day at work, peanut! I love you!" Carol bid and headed towards the fitness dojo to get to work.
"Bye, mommy! I love you too!" K.O. then made his way towards Gar's bodega, though before he could step inside the bodega cleaner, he was grabbed and yanked off to the side into one of the alleyways of the plaza.
"Whoa! Hey, what's-mff!" K.O. felt Shannon's hand cover his mouth.
"Hush! Relax, I'm not here for a fight, brush head," Shannon insisted before letting him down. The boy wanted to disagree, but he remembered they still had the practical peace treaty until Boxman and Venomous's wedding was over as well. He relaxed, just adjusting the glorbucator on his back.
"Hey, Shannon… What are you doing here?" K.O. tried to just ask. He knew Fink had already told her about their relationship.
"I… came to ask you somethings, that's all. It's about Fink," Shannon confessed, not even trying to put on her usual brazen act but trying to act warm and friendly. She did not want to go pressuring the young boy anyway.
"Sure! What do you want to ask about?" the Level 4 hero was more than happy to answer any question his frenemy had. It was how he saw the Voxmore bots after all.
"Is everything going okay? Between you two I mean?" Shannon requested to know that first.
"Yep!" K.O smiled, "Things have been great! We go on dates every other night now. Fink's really affectionate and sweet… even if she teases me a lot. …is something wrong?" he ended up asking, more so wondering why she was so interested in his relationship with Fink. He hoped his girlfriend was okay.
"I think there is. Fink has been practically drowning herself in work and research. She keeps saying she can't be a kid anymore, and Rad told me you had been acting more mature lately…" Shannon tried to explain the train of logic she had followed. It was prying into Fink's personal life, she knew that, yet it did little to stop the orange robot.
"Yeah! I even asked Mr. Gar to start giving me a real paycheck and a raise so I can save up the money," K.O. stated in a matter-of-factly tone, more than happy about it even if he had to keep his reasons more than secret, "Fink just wants to get strong and smart, so that she's ready for anything that comes our way. I support her no matter what," he looked up at Shannon, who sighed. It was obvious they were lying about something, yet she could not simply force an answer out of him. He could see how worried she was, and that made him feel bad.
K.O. took in a breath and tried to gather himself. They had to tell everyone sooner or later.
"The reason she's trying to learn so much is because me and her played with a machine of Venomous's and… well it made this," K.O. showed the glorbucator to Shannon, letting her see through the viewing window.
"What is it?" the Voxmore robot gazed upon the artificial womb, watching the elegant green liquid within. To her, it just looked like an over sized miscolored glorb.
"It's a-an artificial womb, and…" K.O. gulped, "it's carrying me and Fink's child. The machine made it."
Shannon swore that her circuits glitched suddenly. "It's… what?" she breathed out, struggling to absorb it.
"Please keep this all secret," K.O. begged, "We don't want to tell anyone yet, like I said, it's a womb… me and Fink are having a baby, and we think Professor Venomous wants to do the same thing with Boxman."
Shannon's eyes short circuited for a moment. After a few sparks, she fell over, she had fainted.
"Shannon? …uh oh," the worried K.O. hurried off to go get someone to help, thinking that he had to work on his news breaking skills.
Shannon felt herself being shaken, though everything was still fuzzy from her circuits being overloaded by the news.
"Shannon! Come on Shannon wake up!" Radicles' panicked voice caught her attention. The buzzsaw loaded robot sat up, holding her head sorely.
"Rad…? H-hey, what are you doing here?" Shannon groaned out. She noticed a lack of K.O. She guessed he had taken his chance to escape a tough conversation as soon as she passed out.
"K.O. came and told me you were passed out here! What happened? Did someone attack you!?" Rad asked, still visibly worried about his robotic girlfriend, forgetting that she could merely reload into another body if her current malfunctioned.
"N-no no, don't worry! Nobody attacked me! I just… passed out from the stress," Shannon assured, though as her memories refreshed, she grew slightly more distressed, unable to decide what to do. K.O. had asked her for secrecy about him and Fink becoming parents.
"Stress over what?" asked the stockroom worker, wondering what he could do to help his secret girlfriend. She did find it to be a funny coincidence to run into him here. She smiled, thinking this was a perfect opportunity. She had this on her mind for now.
"I… wanted to invite you to Daddy and Venomous's wedding. That way, we can tell everyone we're together!"
The buff alien stared in awe. "R-really? You want to go public… about us?" he was in disbelief. This had been something he had wanted to do. This was so unexpected though. They had talked about it a few times yet nothing ever came of it.
"I mean, Fink knows already and Jethro probably does too, knowing how sneaky and clever he can be," Shannon said looking a little sheepish now. She was then pulled into a tight hug.
"I'm totally up for it Shannon! We'll do it together," Rad promised. The robot nodded and happily returned the embrace. Though upon looking up, she could see K.O. watching from the end of the alleyway, trying to hide and failing due to his large, brushy hair.
"Fink is going to kill me…" K.O. held his head in shame. He just hoped Boxman and Venomous's wedding would be a calm one. Otherwise, this was going to be a storm.