"Back To Basics" by NobodyAtAll

Note: read “Two Point Hospital”, “Parks and Recreation”, “The Supermarket” and “Getting Stoned” first.


Hey, it’s Cal.

It’s been a couple of mostly uneventful weeks.

We found a fluffy in Greece, Petra, who discovered her petrifying gaze when she turned her owner to stone.

She accidentally knocked him over and shattered him.

So we couldn’t save him.

We could, however, save everyone else who had been petrified.

Petra is now living at the School, wearing a power dampener at all times. She can’t turn the petrifying gaze off, unfortunately.

It makes bath time kind of tricky, but we can manage.


And I ran into my ex at the Foundation, got her divorced from my brother, ran into my ex again at the supermarket, and openly laughed at how low she’d sunk.

I knew about Gilda’s PornHub career for a while, so I had been biding my time. I had been waiting for my chance to get payback for cheating on me ever since I heard about Scott and Gilda getting engaged.

This is what happens when you cheat on me, Gilda. Hopefully, the bitch’s gold digging days are over.

Eh, she’ll probably find some other rich schmuck to latch onto.

From what I hear, Scott’s now dating another girl who is just as bad as Gilda, but that’s not my problem anymore. If Scott wants to make all of the same mistakes again, that’s his problem. I bailed his ass out one more time than he deserved.

He beat the shit out of me when we were kids, and it’s a miracle I haven’t given him everything he gave me plus interest. I could turn him into a black mark on the floor now, just like I did to Demeter. I could vaporise him, just like I did to Zhala.

Just.

Like.

That.

But I won’t. That is not how I do it.

He isn’t worth the effort, Cal.

Hey, for once you’re not suggesting murder!

Anyway…

To be completely honest, I didn’t do it for him, I did it for me. Blasting Gilda with all of my powers just wouldn’t have been as satisfying as getting her kicked off the gravy train was.

I want to see Gilda suffer.

Anyone who says that Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned has clearly never seen me get angry.


While I’m still working as leader of the ChaotiX, I’ve made the decision to take a day or two off work once a week, so I don’t start getting frazzled again.

Deston is happy to fill in for me while I’m away.

So today, I’m spending the day at home, doing certain things that I must be doing, even though I’m the strongest man alive:

Normal things.

I really wasn’t lying to Miles about how important that is.

So he’s at home today too.


My fluffies are on the couch, watching the lastest episode of Captain Fluffy.

“Captain Fwuffy, stawp! It nu am paw-see-buw tu num yu shiewd!”

“If Captain Fwuffy nu du it, Foaw Wundew, den Captain Fwuffy wiww gu foweba sweepies!”

“Mawwey am kyoo-wee-yus how Captain Fwuffy am gunna git outta dis wun.”

The Sword of Kings, in its scabbard, is propped up against the couch. Fi is aware of everything that happens around the sword.

So Fi is watching with the fluffies, and she finds it fascinating.

And I’m rummaging in a drawer.

I’m not really looking for anything. I just like to rummage in my drawers to see if there’s anything interesting in there that I forgot about.

“Oooh, look at that!

Like now.

Marley turns to me.

“Wut did yu fine, daddeh?”

I hold up a device.

It’s small, small enough to fit in a child’s palm, and egg-shaped. It has a small LCD screen, and three tiny buttons.

“Wut am dat? Am nummies? It wook wike an eggie.”

“Nah, it’s not food. It’s my old Tamagotchi! I thought I’d lost it.”

“Wut am a Tamma-goh-chee?”

“It’s well, it’s a virtual pet. Kind of a precursor to fluffies, in a way.”

“Weawwy? How it wowk?”

“Lemme put a new battery in it, I’ll show you. Do I have any of those batteries?”


I manage to find a new battery, and I install it.

After entering the current time, I show the fluffies the screen, and the tiny digital egg inside it.

“See, in a minute, that egg will hatch, and then we can start feeding it.”

Snowball peers at the Tamagotchi in curiousity.

“How Tamma-goh-chee can num? Tamma-goh-chee nu haf mouf.”

“I’ll show you.”

A minute later, the digital egg hatches, and the newborn Tamagotchi starts beeping in hunger.

beep-beep beep-beep beep-beep

“Dat soun kinna wike a chiwpy babbeh.”

“Ha, it does, Piccolo.”

I show the fluffies how to feed the Tamagotchi.

You had one as a kid, right? So you know how it works, dear readers.

Wario watches the Tamagotchi eat pixellated loaves of bread.

“Dat am big nummies fow babbeh. Wah. Shud babbeh nu be dwinkin miwkies?”

“It’s not a baby fluffy, Wario. It’s, erm, I think it’s an alien?”

“Wike mistah Gene? Am dat wut mistah Gene wookt wike as babbeh?”

“I dunno, Ziggy, but you could ask him next time we see him.”


Then I show them how to play with the Tamagotchi.

“It’s a simple game. All you gotta do is guess if he goes left or right.”

“Den-day say weft.”

I move my index finger to the left button.

“Nuuu, da udda weft!”

I press the right button.

beep-beep

“Dawn! Den-day wuz wite da fiwst time!”


Judy enters with the Quins, seeing me and the fluffies gathered around the Tamagotchi.

“So this is how you spend your days off, hun?”

I turn to Judy, grinning.

“The fluffies seem to love it, Jude. I think the Fluffigotchi is gonna be a smash hit.

Marley points a hoof at the Tamagotchi.

“Su, wike dis, but wif fwuffies?”

I stroke Marley.

“Oh yeah, they’re making versions for humans and fluffies. The buttons on the version for humans are too small to work with a hoof.”

Marley attempts to do exactly that.

“Mawwey can see wut daddeh meen. Dis nu am yoo-suw-fwend-wee.”

“Ha! True. Miles is handling the programming, Val’s designing the actual Fluffigotchi. She said something about a handle that could be gripped by the teeth for the version for fluffies, I think.”

“Mawwey nu can wait tu see dat.

“Well, when it’s ready, just say the word, Suzy will give you one.”

I turn back to Judy and my son. Or sons. Yeah, it gets confusing sometimes.

“How was everything at the School today?”

Future Quin beams happily.

“I’ve been copying powers like crazy, I’ve almost got as many as you now.”

“Did you copy Tommy’s healing hands yet? That’s an important one. I usually have to heal a few injuries, at least, during a mission. I’m lucky there’s a break between each fight.”

“That was one of the first powers I copied, Dad.”

“Oh, right. Still, good work. Word of advice, son: you can never have too many healers on a squad. Speaking of healing–”

“I copied Uncle Victor’s regeneration too, yes.”

“Good, good. That way you can heal yourself and keep fighting. I think you’re almost ready for the Omega Squad, Quin.”

Marley nods.

“Daddeh, Miwes, big Quin an Mawwey. Am gonna be wun heww of a skwad.”

I pick Marley up and hug him.

“Damn right, Mar. I just hope we don’t have to form it too often. Four Omegas on one squad is overkill.

Then I turn back to Judy.

“What about François? Is he still behaving?”

“As far as we can tell. He’s not causing any trouble at the School or the Sanctum. Valerie’s monitoring the drones, and he’s just doing normal stuff at home. He spends a lot of time watching TV, from what we see.”

“Huh. Maybe he’s not up to something, then. Still, we should keep monitoring him. I’m not letting my guard down again.


Meanwhile, in François’s townhouse, in the master bedroom, François himself talks to a small mirror in his hand.

There is a large stack of gold ingots on the bed, next to the staff that somehow did the impossible and conjured up that gold, and the safe usually hidden behind the ridiculously tacky painting of fluffies playing poker is stuffed to the brim with cold hard cash.

The mirror contains no silver, so the face of a handsome young vampire is visible in the mirror, where François’s own reflection should be.

“Is that thing almost ready, Ed?”

Ed, the vampire, replies in a helpful, cheery tone.

“Almost ready, Boss! We just need a few more herds.”

François sighs in resignation.

“Take your time. I’ve only been waiting three hundred years. Though it was a lot longer on my end.”

“We’ll get it done as quickly as possible, Boss! We don’t even need to stop to feed, we can drain the shitrats before we chuck 'em in.”

“Let me know when you’re ready to teleport out.”

“Will do, Boss! Aly’s just gotten back with the next herd, I’ve gotta go.”

Ed’s face is replaced in the mirror by François’ own reflection.


Meanwhile, in the Russian forest, Ed smirks at his vampiric sister, who is carrying a large box containing about a dozen feral fluffies of various ages and genders.

One less feral herd on the streets of Moscow.

The pile of fluffy corpses in the vast pit has gotten even bigger.

Ed speaks in a tone that doesn’t sound helpful or cheery at all, but instead sounds snide and mocking.

Will do, Boss! Ha! I can’t believe the stupid old man bought it.”

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