Six Days The Animorphs Were Idiots
The Day Tobias Had a Date: Part Three
Rachel had descended into irate silence, and Tobias was not sure how to get the conversation started up again. He had a feeling that trying to get her to see the funny side of his mishap would only result in his head being removed from his shoulders and drop-kicked across the room.
It wasn’t his fault that he was so bad at being human now.
Tobias poked at his steak with the fork. Honestly, they called this rare?
"Do you know…do you know there are no War-Princesses?" he said, in a desperate bid to get Rachel’s mind on something other than what an embarrassment her boyfriend was.
It worked. Rachel looked up from her food. "What?"
"I asked Ax. He said girls don’t really join the army. There’s never been a girl Prince, as far as he knows."
Rachel’s reaction was just as Tobias expected it would be. "That’s not fair!"
"Also, females don’t have tail-blades."
"You’re lying!" Now Rachel was officially pissed off, but at least it wasn’t directed at Tobias.
"You can ask him yourself. He said they’re smaller than the male ones, and not really good for fighting. I guess it’s like antlers on deer."
"That’s stupid." Rachel was frowning deeply into the middle distance, as it was not immediately evident who she should be beating up to resolve this issue. "When they get here, they better make me a Princess. They better give me my own team of warriors and call me War Princess Rachel-Naomi-Berenson. With dashes."
"I’m sure they will."
"Also, I will acquire a male and a female Andalite and combine their DNA so I can have a female Andalite with a male tail. That will show them."
That was sort of unexpected. "You’re gonna to make a transgendered Andalite?"
"I guess. If that’s how it turns out."
"Why not just a male one?"
"Because they need to be shown that girls are just as good at killing things. Hey."
"How does that work? With Andalite girls and not wearing shirts?"
"I dunno, I never thought about it before," lied Tobias.
"Hm." Rachel went quiet again, and Tobias wasn’t sure if he wanted to know what she was thinking. "Well, are you almost done eating?"
"Yeah, just about," said Tobias. Now they would have to fight their way out of here. At least he could do it on a full stomach. "Do you want to strategize, so we can get out of here alive?"
"No," said Rachel. "I want to morph to elephant and mess this place up."
"…I thought you had a plan."
"That is the plan."
"That is not a plan." In Tobias’ opinion, it was pretty much the opposite of a plan.
"What are you talking about? It’s a plan! It’s the best plan! It took me hours to work it all out!"
Tobias gave up. "You’re right, Rachel. It is the best plan. You are the best strategist to ever live, Princess Rachel-Naomi-Berenson with dashes. What do you want me to do?"
"Hm. I dunno. What’s the biggest scariest morph you have?"
"Well, I’ve got a hammerhead shark."
Rachel’s response caused people at nearby tables to glare.
"I know you didn’t really mean that, so I’m going to ignore it," said Tobias. "Where do you want to hide while you morph?
"Bathroom. I need to change out of this dress, after all. Or it’ll get all ripped up."
"Great. Priorities. Just one problem: how will you get back out once you’re an elephant?"
Tobias sighed. "Okay, fine. But we can’t both get up at once, they’ll think we’re ripping them off."
"Tonight is supposed to be free, remember? Mass hallucination?"
"Okay, but we still can’t both get up at once because it will be suspicious."
"Then you wait here," Rachel got up, grabbing her purse, which Tobias supposed could be large enough to hide a morphing suit. His was just under his clothes, like a normal person/superhero/whatever. "I’ll be back in a few."
And he waited.
And he waited.
And just as he was about to get up and see what was wrong, the entire building shook and an African elephant came crashing through one of the walls. It held a pink purse in its trunk, but he was probably the only one who noticed that detail.
<Ok,> said Rachel. If she hadn’t been using private thought-speak, Tobias would have never heard her above the screams. <You can go morph if you want. Just watch out for the dessert cart. If you step on that Black Forest cake, I’ll kill the hell out of you.>
Tobias couldn’t reply—he couldn’t use thought-speak in human morph, and there was no way she would have heard him even if he spoke aloud.
In the chaos, absolutely nobody saw a fourteen year old boy crawl underneath a table. Or if they did, they probably thought, "Oh, that’s a good hiding spot." But Tobias wasn’t hiding. He was morphing. Demorphing, actually. He felt very vulnerable in his human form, and really, any excuse to be a hawk again.
<Rachel?> he called, once he was able to.
<Tobias! Hey, where are you? I don’t see you.>
<I’m under the table. So don’t step on it. What took you so long? I thought the Yeerks got you.>
There was a smashing sound, like a chandelier had just been knocked down. <What? No way. I had to take off my make-up, of course. Or it would have gotten on the dress. And then I had to put the make-up back on. Because duh.>
<But then you morphed an elephant.>
Tobias decided that he would never, ever understand girls.
In the chaos, absolutely nobody saw a red-tailed hawk hop awkwardly out from beneath a table, trying to get himself untangled from the tablecloth. Or if they did, they probably thought, "I cannot believe I was part of a mass hallucination two nights in a row."
And for the second time in as many nights, all the occupants of the restaurant fled the building in terror.
* * *
The neighborhood was quiet. They sat together on Rachel’s front porch, eating the stolen Black Forest cake between them with two forks. Rachel was back in her dress. Tobias had left Jake's loaned clothes in the chaos, so he was stuck in his morphing outfit.
It was a clear night, and they were far enough from Los Angeles that they could see the stars easily.
"I wonder which one is the Andalite homeworld," said Rachel, tilting her head upwards.
"Ax showed me once, but I forgot," admitted Tobias.
"Do you think they’ll get here soon?" Rachel took another cherry off the cake. She had eaten more cherries than cake so far. She’d admitted that she could probably eat a whole jar of maraschino cherries with a spoon.
"Maybe," said Tobias.
"And then they’ll make me a Princess. That’ll be weird, though, won’t it? I mean, when the whole world knows about us and the Yeerks and everything."
"Yeah." But Tobias had a feeling that it would affect Rachel and the other Animorphs far more than it would a hawk living in a nature preserve. "I bet they’ll want to talk to you on TV."
"Oh! Really? Do you think we’ll be famous?"
"Sure, why not?"
"That might be fun. But only for a little while. Then I’m going back to fighting Yeerks. Someone has to protect the universe. Man, I can’t wait ’til they get here. The Andalites. It’s gonna be awesome."
Tobias looked over at Rachel. She was smiling, her teeth reflecting back the light, and he smiled too, because it was contagious.
"I can wait a little longer," he said.
end of day four
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Next Week: The Day Jake Got So Wasted