"Well, here we are everyone." The rusty car screamed in protest as it rolled to a stop, popping and hissing as smoke began to slip through the hood. A family of three tumbled out of the car, each coughing and gasping for clean air as the car continued to smolder.

"And miraculously, in one piece." The mother of the family, a young woman with wild, frizzy orange hair, retorted with a playful smile. She looked at the old rust bucket, her gaze drifting towards the father of the family, a man hidden within the grey haze. She laughed, seeing a black tophat jet out from the column of smoke. "I warned you about that deathtrap, McCoy! I told you we should've gotten a new car before driving out here!"

"This car has been in my family for generations!" McCoy coughed, waving the smoke around to try and clear it, "And everything fit, didn't it?"

"Daddy, I think you killed it." A little girl slipped out from behind her mother, patting the wheezing vehicle's hood, "Mama said this car is why she taught me how to walk, you know."

"This was going to be the car I taught you to drive in." McCoy sounded disappointed as he tumbled out of the smoke, catching his hat as it threatened to fly off.

"Well, that dream's dying along with the car." The mother went towards her husband, kissing him lightly on his sooty cheek. "We'll talk about its fate after we save our things? I think I see a bit of orange under the hood."

"But Olive," McCoy protested as she yanked the door open and leaned inside, "I'm sure I could repair it again! I just need to go shopping and replenish my stock, and of course find my tools—"

"Let it die, McCoy." Olive's muffled voice drifted out through the open door as she pulled out a few open boxes, "Let it die."

The little girl giggled, "Daddy, what if the car blows up?" She asked, peering at the hood, "Was mama talking about fire? How fast are we going to unpack? Will it take forever like packing did? Because that took a really long time."

"No, I'm sure there'll be significantly less to unpack," Olive snickered, sticking her tongue out at her husband, "Your father's become a pro at burning family heirlooms and everything I hold near and dear to my heart."

The girl looked stricken, running over to her father and seizing the hem of his shirt, "Daddy, Daddy, do you really? Tell me you don't cause Yogini said-"

"Yogini!" Olive visibly paled, "Y-you two have been talking again, Addie?" Olive shrilled as McCoy began to slip behind the smoking car. She tried to force a smile, though it looked more like a grimace, "But I thought Daddy's been giving you your special candy for months?"

Addie blinked and turned to her mother, expression still distressed, "She said just now that Daddy-"

"McCoy!" She snapped, hearing a satisfying thunk against the car door, followed by a yelp of pain, "Don't even think about slinking away! Get over here and give her the medicine!"

McCoy slipped out from behind the car, his head tipped down to the ground as he fished out a small medicine container. "Come here, Addie." He knelt down next to his daughter, forcing a smile as he cracked the cap open.

"Ooh, that's that stuff that makes her be quiet, isn't it?" Addie asked, wide, lime green eyes momentarily flashing an iridescent pink. As this happened, her expression turned furious, but with a small grunt, Addie forced herself back to the front.

Her father tipped a few, rainbow-colored pills into her hand. "Go ahead," He said, "All of them at once, remember?"

Addie made a face, but she was still visibly struggling, and so readily took the pills as her father instructed. She relaxed a moment later, her smile returning, "Do we get to go inside now?"
"Why don't you take your box in," Olive started, her tone icy, though she forced a smile, "I need to talk to your father, alone."

Blinking, Addie hugged as high on her mother's body as her tiny frame would allow, around Olive's hips, sensing that she was upset, before nodding and collecting one of her smaller boxes, full of pencils and crayons, and scurrying into the house. McCoy swallowed uncomfortably, "Olive-"

"It's rather nice here, isn't it." Olive started, tucking her hair behind her ears in vain, "The countryside, I mean."

Slightly confused, McCoy nodded, "Yes, it's beautiful. Wasn't that why we chose it?" He asked, watching his wife's nearly teal eyes carefully.

"McCoy, get the hell out of my face!" Olive snapped angrily, pushing her husband away, "I'm fine! Unlike our daughter, which you've decided to use as a lab rat!" She crossed her arms, huffing angrily as she continued, "We CHOSE the countryside to get you away from this, this obsession of yours! I thought no lab would mean you'd actually become a father!" Her voice softened as she added bitterly, "Become the man I married again."

"That had nothing to do with the experiments." McCoy said, his voice soft and injured by Olive's words, "Yogini has always been strong. You know I didn't intend for anything to happen to Addie, Olive... I'm still me, I'm not obsessed."

"You're not pulling this with me again!" Olive snapped angrily, "You do this this every time! From the day I said 'I do', you've been giving me this same dialogue!" She winced, her hand flying to her head as she began to rub it furiously.

McCoy's eyes widened, he stepped forward to see if Olive was all right, "Olive, please... I'm not-"

"McCoy!" She hissed, sticking her hand out, "Just give me some damn pills, before I strangle you."

Knowing better than to try to mete out an amount on short notice, he handed her the bottle, "I'm sorry." He said sincerely, eyes downcast.

"McCoy." He looked up, biting back a gasp as his wife's eyes took on an orange glow, "Please stop groveling, it's hardly attractive for a man of your stature." The pills danced in her hand as she smiled coyly, "Yet, I feel my heart fluttering. Strange what can turn a girl on, mm?"

McCoy nodded, "That's wonderful, dear." He said softly, gritting his teeth and taking hold of her wrist, guiding the pills toward her mouth, "Now let's all take a moment and go back to normal, shall we?"

"What, you're saying I'm not normal compared to her?" Olive held her wrist in place, sneaking close to McCoy's face, "I can do everything she can do, and more, you know. She's so loud and nasty." Her voice nearly dropped to a whisper, "I know you want a soft, obedient girl to dance around your finger."

McCoy smiled wanly, "I want normal, but not your normal, Odile." He said, taking a gentle but firm hold on her chin and placing a separate combination of pills on her tongue, "And no, I really don't want 'soft and obedient'. It's unnerving."

She shuddered slightly, shaking her head as she groaned. "God damn it…" She hissed, looking back up at her husband, "Bitch got out again, didn't she."

"It didn't last long." McCoy said, vaguely shaken as he took the excess pills from Olive's hand and took every excuse he could not to look at her now that he knew she was in control. The guilt in his expression was overwhelming.

"McCoy," She tipped his head towards her, smiling slightly, teal eyes staring into his own forest green, "I'm fine, it's fine." She sighed tiredly, "I'm sorry I snapped." She propped herself against the car, sinking down to the ground, "I'm so tired of moving around."

"It took you four years to find somewhere that didn't have a basement, barn or shed..." McCoy joked weakly, "And don't lean on the car, the door might fall in." He pulled her toward him, into a tight hug.

"Yeah yeah, it's broken like everything else in this family, huh?" Olive sobbed, burying her head within McCoy's shoulder.

McCoy wasn't sure how to respond to this beyond, "We aren't broken. We won't be. Addie's fine, right? An alternate as strong as Yogini... I struggled with... never mind, but she's doing better than I did, and that' Odile's first appearance in almost two years, right?" He'd started thinking aloud while stroking Olive's hair.

"McCoy?" Olive looked up, tears brimming, "You're rambling."

He laughed stiffly, "So I am. We should probably join our industrious daughter and start unpacking, you know." McCoy said, reluctantly releasing his wife.

"Of course," She started towards the door of the car, reaching in to grab another box. "Can't let the five year old do everything, right?"

"Not that she wouldn't be glad for the distraction from the two of us. Two days of driving probably took its toll on the poor girl. There's only so much parental bonding one can take." He said lightly, grabbing a large box full of textbooks and binders and hoisting it up so it sat on his forearms.


Olive resisted waking up as long as she could, despite the fact that the next part of the memory dream would involve dropping a box on her foot. She felt Addie curl closer to her side and gathered the tiny girl into her arms, calming herself with her daughter's shallow, even breathing.

"Mama?" Addie murmured a moment later, stirring awake, "S'too dark to be up, huh?"

"Yup." She whispered, brushing her daughter's hair away from her face. She glanced at the clock, blinking at the neon numbers as she tried to read the time. "Oh forget it." She sighed, snuggling down into the comforter. "You know," She chuckled, looking over Addie to see her husband at the end of the bed, loosely covered under the sheets, "I think Daddy's lonely over there by himself. What do you think?"

"I think Daddy stays up too late and gets all cold." Addie giggled, "And then we won't hug 'im 'cause we're already warm, so he can't get warm and it's all his fault, huh?" Addie stopped and blinked, remembering that her father had had to lock himself away for several hours that morning and regain control, he'd been upset the rest of the day, no matter what either she or Olive said. She squirmed over to her father, crawling over top of him so she could get to the other side and snuggle into his chest. She knew he was awake, he was breathing too fast not to be, so she looked up to smile at him.


Addie tensed, the smile frozen on her face, "M-mama...?"

"What, too cold?" Olive climbed over her husband, poking his stomach teasingly, "Come on McCoy, stop stealing our daughter's heat. It's not nice, you know."

"Please leave a message..." Addie murmured, already shutting down her every instinct. Her eyes stayed locked with the red ones looking out from her father's face, "The red light is blinking."

It only took Olive a second to grab her daughter and pull her over her husband's body, and begin to tug her off the end of the bed. A small scream escaped her throat as McCoy's hand shot out and grabbed Addie by her ankle.

Addie's eyes were wide and her mouth was clamped shut. Olive pulled again, gritting her teeth, "Kick." She hissed at her daughter.

Addie looked for a moment like she would protest, not wanting to hurt her father, but when she felt McCoy pull back, she obeyed, turning into a vicious ball of flailing limbs that Olive could hardly keep hold of, let alone anyone else, "Leggoleggoleggoleggo!"

He let out a howl of pain as a foot struck his face, tumbling off of the bed and landing with a heavy thump, thought it was followed by the sound of something scrambling under the bed. Pushing her daughter up onto her back, Olive slide off the bed, wincing as her foot smashed McCoy's jetting hand.

Addie waited, her ear pressed to the mattress, "How d'we get papa back out?" She murmured to her mother, her stomach trembling as she caught near-silent strains of laughter through the springs.

Her only answer was the sound of shattering glass. Without another word, Olive grabbed her child around the waist, and flew out the window, tumbling on and down the roofside. She dug her heels into the tiling, catching herself on the edge of the gutter, and quickly shifting Addie to her back, took off across the roof, too terrified to turn around to see if she was being followed. A larger crash behind her clued her in, however.

Addie looked back for her, and her soft, frightened squeak indicated that their pursuer was gaining fast. Her arms tightened slightly on Olive's neck and she hid her face in her mother's back, shaking.

Without even hesitation, Olive leapt across the roof, momentarily hanging in the air, until she crashed loudly into the drain pipe. Crying out in pain, she began to slide down as quickly as she could, forced to look up as her husband took a running leap off of the roof.

"Okay, mama, so we're gonna run long enough for daddy to get tired and then we're gonna make him take the medicine, right?" Addie asked softly, her voice tremulous.

Both parents hit the ground at the same time. They each took a moment stare one another down, before Olive tightened her grip on Addie and took off in the opposite direction.

Addie watched her father lose distance, struggling with himself, "Mama, when are we stopping?" She asked, pushing herself up to better see the distant McCoy.

"Is he following us?" Her mother panted, ignoring her daughter's question entirely.

"He's slower. Mama, we hafta go back and help him!" Addie pulled on Olive's collar, trying to pull an answer from her.

"Addie no!" She snapped angrily, "Stop tugging on my collar, you're choking me!"

"But we can't leave him!" Addie leaned back so she could see her mother's face, "Please, we have to go back soon!"

"Adelaide Lillian McCoy, stop squirming around and hold onto me before I drop you!"

"But what about Daddy?" Addie asked, tears finally gathering in her eyes, "We're going to help him, right? Mama?"

"Eventually." Olive hissed, "Just, stay quiet and hold on, okay?"

Obviously not satisfied but unwilling to argue the point, Addie settled and rested her head on her mother's shoulder, nervously braiding and unbraiding a strand of Olive's long hair.


Oh dear, oh dear, this just simply won't do-diddly-oo! I've gone and let them scamper away! I wish you didn't pull at me, Magic Man, I might've been able to catch the little rats. We know how fast little creatures run when they're scared out of their socks. It will be such a bother-other to try and get them now, especially with you throwing such a hissy fit! Now now, calm yourself, won't you? My head is pitter patter pounding!

It's only fair I get my turn! I've been blinded by your colorful trick for far too long.
Why don't you sit back-ity-ack, Magic Man? Watch your own light show, and let The Mister entertain you tonight.