[Almost immediately after BKWillis' 'Bete Noir'. The first two paragraphs come from the end of that story. Sorry about that... I needed them as a recap.]
...As Number One looked at the toy, and at the happy little children, she couldn't decide whether to laugh or scream...
A very small girl in a diaper and 'Star Blazers' t-shirt crawled over, plucked the action figure from Ace's hand, and immediately stuck it in her mouth and started sucking on it. A moment later she spat it back out with a look of disgust. "Icky," she declared. 'Tastes like spam.'
Baby Izzy stared at Number One, whose eyes were by now bugging out of their sockets. 'What? It's a doll. You suck dolls. That's what they're for. And that one tasted _horrible_.'
'Sorry about this...' Baby Liz apologised. 'We tried introducing her to dummies, but she won't give up sucking on dolls...'
Number One let her head fall back on the floor. 'I can think of a couple of dummies _I'd_ like you to meet...'
Baby Coyote looked at her. 'What a coincidence...We've got someone we'd wike ya ta meet... Hey, giwlboy!' he yelled. 'Get your fat baby butt over here!'
'Don't call me that,' the newcomer, a little red-haired girl with a heart-shaped face and sunglasses, said. 'Once I get that bath...'
Coyote rolled his eyes. 'Yeah, yeah, you'll give me such a spanking I won't be able to sit down for the next hun'wed years... I'll bewieve it when I see it, toots.'
'_Never_ call me that, you understand?! I am _not_ your 'toots'!'
' 'Couwse you're not... toots.'
'That's _it_,' the little girl said through gritted teeth. 'Where'd I leave my ping-pong gun...'
Then she caught sight of Number One. And Number One caught sight of her.
The double thumping sound that came shortly afterwards was the sound of two heads hitting the floor simultaneously, out cold.
Coyote appraised the situation. 'Damn. I wanted more bwud...'
'We noticed, Coyote. No chance.' Baby Liz said.
Baby Izzy raised a hand. 'Umm... what we gonna do with 'em? The Adults'll be turning up any minute now...'
'...and there's that blood on the doorstep to explain, too...' Baby Nyssa mused.
'The nasty people aren't a problem...' Liz said, darting a sideways glance at the action figures baby Ace was playing with.
Baby Charley raised a hand. 'Look innocenth and pretend none of it's here?'
'Charley, are you _nuts_?!' Izzy said. 'What self-respecting Adult's gonna fall for that?'
'Most do,' Liz observed. 'That's why we keep suggesting it...'
'We do?' Charley asked in surprise. 'I thought it wath becauthe we couldn't... think... of... anything...' She trailed off as she suddenly found herself the centre of attention. 'I'll juth go and thit in the corner...'
'Right, right... Solution... Need solution...' the baby Eighth Doc muttered.
Then they heard the front door open.
'Oh_no_... We're in _deep_ doo-doo...' Adric moaned.
'Wuss,' Coyote told him. 'Stuff her in the cwoset. No-one's gonna notice...'
'And how do you suggest we do _that_, doggie-boy?' Nyssa said. 'Look all innocent when the closet starts groaning?'
'Hey, if you can come up with anything better...'
The door to the playroom opened.
The toddlers, as one, turned to the door and chorused 'Hi, Izzy.'
Izzy boggled at the devastation. 'Mad. Just mad. What were you _doing_ last night?'
The toddlers looked at each other. Then they put on their wide-eyed, most innocent look-
(_Oh pants, not the Bambi thing again.._, a tiny part of Izzy's mind
- and chorused 'Nothing, Izzy.'
(_Oh yeah, they did something *deep* doo-doo last night..._, Izzy's mind muttered.)
She gave them a stern look.'Okay. Anyone wanna tell me what _really_ happened, or do I have to get the mallet?' She made a 'reaching into the air' gesture.
Because, from where she was standing, Izzy could see the back wall of the playroom.
And it was rippling.
Izzy's mind put together the subliminal clues...
(__Injured girl on floor, weird gizmo next to her, used first chemistry set, sticky mess on doorstep, rippling wall..._)
...and jumped to the wrong (or right, depending on your perspective) answer.
'Anime?' Izzy groaned. 'You guys got caught in an anime crossover?'
Baby Liz simply *blinked* at her, but before she could open her mouth, baby Adric, thinking quickly, clapped his hand over it.
'Mm,' Izzy considered. 'Which means... mistaken identities, love triangles, supernatural curses, kawaii children, big tentacle monsters, girls with incredibly developed chests...' She paused. 'Hold on, that sounds familiar...'
She paused again. 'Okay, I can handle_those_... And you wouldn't _believe_ how many tentacle monsters we have around here...'
She reached into the air, pulled out a bung -
And stuck it in the rippling wall. Immediately, the wall stopped mid-ripple.
'Just let me get my head 'round what's happening _here_, 'kay?' she told the wall. '_Then_ we can talk about this...'
Baby Doc's jaw dropped open. 'I don't believe it. I just do not _believe_ it...'
'There, there...' Baby Izzy said comfortingly, patting him on the back.
'Blind luck, that's what it was, blind luck!' Doc muttered. 'By sheer _chance_, she manages to stop the nasty people from getting in...'
Meanwhile, somwhere completely different...
The wall was stuck mid-ripple.
And something had fallen out.
The High Priestess of the Order of the Cross-Post covered her eyes. 'Yes, I can _see_ it's a message, Brother Epsilon, but what does it _say_?'
_Dark, damp and dirty. Why does it *always* have to be dark, damp and dirty?_ she moaned to herself.
Another drop of water fell on her head.
Brother Epsilon stood up, and shuffled nervously. 'Umm...'
'_Yes_, Brother Epsilon?' she snapped.
Brother Epsilon swallowed. 'Umm... That is to say... It... um... says "Nyeh nyeh, nyeh nyeh nyeh! You can't get us! PS: Get an Internet connection. Next time, you're paying".'
'On an _Etch-a-Sketch?_' the High Priestess demanded.
Wisely, Epsilon kept his mouth shut and nodded.
'Very well,' the High Priestess said. 'Oh, and Brother Epsilon?'
Epsilon closed his eyes. 'Yes, milady?'
'You're on Spamite feeding duty for the next month,' the High Priestess said sweetly. 'Enjoy.' With that, she turned and left the chamber.
_Morons... Just *morons*_ she thought. Well, at least it suggested why Brother Phi and his Spamites hadn't come back last night. And it meant _someone_ out there knew they were back. Well, best of luck to them. This time, the Order of the Cross-Post was *unstoppable*.
Of course, this is how main returning villains usually think.
The High Priestess stopped in mid-stride. 'Oh, _crap_! _We're_ the main villains. That means we're up the creek without a paddle, doesn't it?'
>not this time< the unvoice said, its absense ringing in the air around her. >this time... a few tweaks to the story here, a push of the plot there... and we'll see just _who_ the main villains around here are...<
'Really.' the High Priestess said.
>yes, really< the unvoice said, mimicking the Priestess' sarcasm. >now, if you don't mind, I have minions to torment<
The High Priestess looked at the ceiling. Why, by the Ultimate Post, did these formless, nameless evils from outside continuity always -*always*- have to be imprisoned in deep, dark, subterranean chambers, which were usually a) wet, b) cold, and c) crawling with vermin? Hmm? Why couldn't they be imprisoned somewhere _nice_, like a penthouse, or a restaurant, or a mansion? Just once - just _once_ - she wished the Order could at _least_ meet in a lair with central heating...
Izzy tapped her foot. 'Okay, you guys, I want an explanation...Oh, smeg it, it'll have to wait.'
'Why?' Liz asked.
' 'Cause _she_ needs medical attention, alright?' Izzy said, pointing to the unconscious redhead. She held up her hands. 'Yes, I _know_ you're all very good at Doctors and Nurses, but I think she needs somewhere to recover from the blood loss, 'kay?'
Baby Nyssa and Davros pouted. Baby Harry simply nodded. 'Fine with me, old girl.'
'Great. Now, I just need to see if the Supervisor's gonna lend me the Threshold ring' Izzy muttered. She turned to the toddlers. 'And _you_ make sure she stays here, all right?'
' 'Courthe, bosth.' Baby Charley said.
Izzy shook her head, and headed for the Supervisor's office.
'Think we should tell her?' Baby Sam said.
' 'Bout the nasty people, and the toybox... and who _she_ is?' Baby Adric said. 'Ummm...'
'She's already got her own idea 'bout what happened...' Sam pointed out. 'Shouldn't we _warn_ her?'
'Let's.' Doc said. 'We tell her about the nasty people, and what we did to them, and that they were after the "funny lady"...' he used Coyote's phrase as if he were trying to spit out a slug. ' ...then we introduce her to
Number One...' He gestured to the unconscious redhaired toddler. '...And let her work it out from there.'
Baby Izzy raised a hand. 'Isn't that gonna throw a spanner in the Adults' works?'
Doc shrugged. 'You know how this works... If she's not meant to find out, then there's going to be a series of bizarre coincidences, mind-boggling freak accidents, and improbable chains of events preventing it. Or blabbing about it if she does. If she _does_ find out, and she _tells_ people...' Doc grinned. 'Anyone for popcorn?'
'Err...Doc?' Charley said. 'Umm... the "funny lady" knoth we know, remember? And she thaw 'our' Number One...'
'Oh. Oh dear...'
'You can say _that_ again...' Baby Izzy murmured.
'Oh. Oh dear...'
Baby Sam slapped her hand over Doc's mouth. 'Sorry 'bout this.... nothing I can do with him...'
Baby Coyote raised an eyebrow.
Izzy came out of the Supervisor's office. 'Right. Gimme a minute to get her ready, then I'm taking her to the hospital.' She pointed to the toddlers. 'Now...don't get in _too_ much trouble while I'm out... and _no_
'Would we?' Baby Coyote said.
Izzy closed her eyes. 'Just leave the place standing while I'm gone, 'kay?' She blinked. 'I can't believe I said that...'
'I can...' Coyote said.
Izzy hunkered down in front of him. 'And you and me... we are gonna have a _long_ talk when I get back, 'kay?'
'Sure,' Coyote smirked. 'See ya, toots.'
'I'm not your type...' Izzy said. 'See you later.'
She helped Number One to her feet, grunting with the effort. And caught her with her arm as the unconscious Number One fell back to the floor. Eventually, she managed to get in a position where she could move Number One *and* stay mobile at the same time. 'C'mon, you. Time for Racer S to ride
After Izzy left, baby Coyote frowned.
'What did she mean, not my type?'
Baby Izzy looked around, crawled up and whispered in Coyote's ear.
His scream could be heard halfway to the 'Round.
'/What do you mean, "Interested in girls"?/'
'_WHAT?!?! YOU?! TOO!? BOTH OF YOU?! ERK...!!!_'
Baby Izzy grinned.
Nyssa high-fived her. 'Yes, Izzy!'
Izzy grinned even more. 'Heh. He's gonna be sleeping for a _week_...'
Copyright 2001 Imran Inayat