“Why don’t you come to the lab with me?” Norman prompted his sister, as he hoped for a different answer than the same one he’d received every day since her recovery.
“I have too much work to do.” Wanda replied simply, furiously working at cleaning one of the manor’s many rooms.
“Why can’t you take a day off? No one’s asking you to do this.” He said. He knew that she wouldn’t respond, or take him up on his offer, but he hoped one day she would. He wanted to see the spark return to her, but nothing happened. He had his suspicions about why she had attempted suicide that day, but he never brought that up to her.
Silence. He had his answer. He gave a small sigh. “Well, you know where to find me if you change your mind.”
He walked to the lab, only about 20 minutes, the fresh air and exercise was good for him, he decided a long time ago. He hung up his coat as he walked in, Heather was already there, like he had expected. “Hello, Heather.” He said, walking past her to grab the tools he would need to continue his work.
“Good morning, Mr. Becile.” She replied. She didn’t look up from the delicate wiring she had on the table in front of her.
“You know you can call me Norman.” He took his seat at the table across from her.
“And you know my stance on a strict professional relationship, Mr. Becile.”
He didn’t push the subject as he discreetly rolled his eyes. “How is he coming along?” Norman inquired. He knew that despite it being his property, Heather clocked a good deal more hours on the project, though she never handled the green matter mechanisms, only he did that.
“He’ll be operational within a week.” She stated calmly as she finished the wiring, and slid it into its silvery casing. “Only a few more pieces and The Skull will be completed, provided you finish the green matter contributions.”
“They’ll be done by then. Hopefully he’ll be enough to draw Wanda out of the house…” He examined the pieces in front of him with an inquisitive eyes. “There has to be a better way to power them…” He commented to himself, the gears in his head had already begun to turn.
Bunny had seen to it that things in the manor were straightened out. Within a matter of days things were remarkably improved. The atmosphere seemed to be calmer, and less worrisome. She had somehow gotten Rabbit to get basic repairs, though no one is quite sure how, and had gotten Hatchworth to slow down his sandwich production, keeping the kitchen a good deal cleaner. She sat down in the living room after getting rid of the demon chair once more, and took a few moments to relax. Carolina was keeping Rabbit entertained, and Hatchworth was with The Spine. She no longer bothered to keep track of her employer, he was too unpredictable and always moving, she was about to close her eyes for a few moments and relax, when she saw someone out of the corner of her eye, the cut and color of the Walter Girl dress unmistakable. Maybe Carolina wasn’t with Rabbit…
She stands up, trying to catch her attention, to no avail, and only then does she catch a glimpse of the hair, high pigtails, black and blue, it’s obviously a Walter Girl, but not one she’s ever met before. She tried to pursue the Walter Girl as long as she could, but she got away before Bunny can catch up to her.
She put her hands on her hips and gave a huff of annoyance. She’d have to ask someone about her later. Hatchworth? No, he would probably just get confused. Rabbit? With as much as he loved to attempt to prank her, he would never give her a straight answer, or if he did it would be a joke. Peter? He’s too difficult to find. The Spine? Maybe. He seemed to be the one most in tune with the manor, and the most knowledgeable. She nodded to herself in confirmation. She would ask Spine, and maybe he could explain the mysterious disappearing Walter Girl.
Lil’ Mike snickered as he snuck towards the kitchen, a few of Lil’ Steve’s ‘lost’ toothpick arrows in hand with a smirk on his face. He saw no one was in there, and moved towards Carlisle’s water bowl, he remembered how mad Steve had been last time Lil’ Steve had used it for target practice. With one last look around to make sure no one else was around, before he quickly stabbed one into the side of the bowl, and then another, and left the third on the ground nearby. He hurried out of the room, but didn’t tell anyone what he would have claimed to have found. He knew that would make him look more suspicious later.
Sure enough a few minutes later, The Spine walked into the room, headed for the sink to refill his water boiler. He stepped into the puddle of water from Carlisle’s water bowl and looked down i confusion. Upon seeing the tiny toothpick arrows, he rolled his eyes and let out an annoyed puff of steam. “Steve!” He bellowed out, knowing that Steve would want to know. He already assumed it was Lil’ Steve, and grabbed some paper towels to mop up the puddle, not removing the ‘arrows’.
Steve made his way to the kitchen within a matter of minutes. He quirked an eyebrow when he sees Spine on his hands and knees, cleaning up something that he guessed had spilled, he didn’t see the arrows yet. “What’s going on, Spine?” He asked.
“Your doll was shooting at Carlisle’s bowl again.” He said, a little bit bitterly. “I’m cleaning up his mess right now.”
“He’s not just a doll, he’s a… Wait… Lil’ Steve did this?” He’s more than a bit confused and surprised at that.
Spine merely held out one of the toothpick arrows for Steve’s inspection so he could see they were in fact Lil’ Steve’s, even if no one except Lil’ Mike knew who had actually used the arrows.
“That does look like his…” He sighed and pocketed the tiny arrow. “I’ll talk to him about it later, I can finish cleaning that up for you. Looks like I need to buy Carlisle a new bowl… again.”
“No it’s fine, I’ve almost got it.” Spine sighed, slightly annoyed, though it wasn’t directed at Steve. He waved a dismissive hand at Steve, “Just go take care of Lil’ Steve, he’s probably off hiding somewhere.”
“Thanks Spine, I’m sorry you had to deal with this…” He gestured to the bowl and the water spillage, before he ran off to go find the crochet doll.
“Where are we?” Carolina asked, as she eyed Rabbit with a certain level of suspicion.
He had refused to tell her where they were going up until now, he simply deterred her by continually saying, “Not yet, you’ll see when we get there.” His smile only grew, never faltering as he led her down the hall, stopping only once he’d reached his destination.
Carolina’s wariness reached a peak as he stopped outside of Spine’s room.
“Rabbit, what are we doing here?” She asked, unsure if she really wanted to know.
“Y-you’re gonna stand w-watch, you’re not d-d-doin’ anythin’ else.” Rabbit said with a slight glitched giggle, as he carefully peeked behind the curtain, Peter VI’s concession to Spine’s desire for privacy. The blue and green optics glanced about the room before he slipped inside. “J-jus’ keep watch ‘nd let me know if S-spine is comin’.”
Refusing to take no for an answer, he set about his work, leaving the Walter Girl to stand outside, trying to decide if she should alert Spine. Considering that it was a harmless prank, at least she hoped so, and that it seemed to make Rabbit happy, something that was slowly becoming more common, she decided she would let it slide, at least for now.
After a few minutes of standing guard, she could hear the heavy steps of the automaton on the stairs to the floor that deposited at the end of the hall. “Rabbit-” Carolina started as she peeked her head past the corner, her eyes widening at the sight that greeted her. Everything was exactly as it had been when they arrived, with one change, everything had been turned inside out, even the bedding was rearranged, and she could only assume the dressers and closet received the same treatment.
Rabbit was placing the finishing touches on his prank as he looked back at the Walter girl with a crooked grin. “P-p-pretty good, huh?” He asked.
“Spine’s on his way.” Carolina managed to force out, “We need to go.”
Rabbit looked out into the hallway and listened. “We g-got about th-thirty seconds ‘fore he’ll be able to see us. We gotta go.” He thought for a moment before he grabbed a black box from Spine’s closet. He knew it would probably be the last time he would be able to get into Spine’s room for a while, and the curiosity of what his little brother might keep a secret from him.
“C-come on, we gotta go.” He said, as he grabbed Carolina’s wrist and half lead, half dragged her out of the room and down the hall before she could question why he’d grabbed the box, as they rounded the corner seconds before Spine stepped into the hallway.
As they sprinted down the hallways, a loud shout of Rabbit’s name could be heard as The Spine stepped into his room, sending Rabbit and Carolina into fits of giggles as Rabbit led her off into one of his hiding spots to be sure The Spine wouldn’t find them.
The copper bot winced as the Walter WiFi was suddenly filled with the voice of a very angry Spine.
“What’s he saying?” Carolina asked, raising an eyebrow at the wince.
“Pappy said I-I-I shouldn’t use those k-k-kindsa words in front of a l-lady.” Rabbit said sheepishly, causing Carolina to laugh.
“I d-don’t think I’ll be able to c-come outta hidin’ for a few days.”