Author's Note: To keep this short and sweet, December 31 is Bill's birthday, and every year, I like to celebrate it with fanworks. Unfortunately, this year, most of my time was chewed up by real-life endeavors, so I couldn't go all-out like I did last year (wherein I did a fanmix, chapters of AEM, and all kinds of other bells and whistles). So instead, I decided to go the less extravagant route: fanfiction. Lots and lots of fanfiction. While this means you'll eventually get a chapter of AEM (although it won't be a main chapter) and a request fic I've been sitting on for months, it also means that this thread you're in right now is a thing.
This book -- which seriously needs a better title -- is actually a series of ficlets that clock in under 5000 words a piece. Quick fics, in other words, with each one focusing on Bill one way or another. Some of them (like this first one) are going to be silly. Others are going to be serious. There might even be AEM-level dark fics mixed in. Point is, one fic a day until Bill's birthday... and maybe even a few after that. Depends on how busy I get, how my internet is, and whether or not people actually like these.
So without further stalling, I hope you enjoy the first in the series!
Table of Contents
Spoiler:- Story Links and Summaries:
Book of the Hermit
Story One: Noodle Incident
There were certain traditions when it came to inducting new members into the programmers’ circle.
To be more accurate, there were certain traditions according to Bebe. There really weren’t any traditions at all because most of the programmers met each other before the storage system came into existence, and Celio didn’t really count because Bill declared that he was going to be a part of the group. One just didn’t argue with Bill if one wanted to either win or walk away in any other kind of mental state besides utterly confused.
That was part of the reason why Lanette didn’t argue with Bebe’s statement that there were traditions. Bill had asked her not to because Bebe was going to be Bebe, and Lanette didn’t really argue with that because it was Bill who asked. She could have argued with Bebe all day long until she asphyxiated, but that would only happen when Bill or Brigette (usually Brigette) didn’t try to stop her.
Still, Lanette couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for Amanita. The girl couldn’t have been older than ten — too young to be on a pokémon journey, even — before she was subjected to Bebe’s idea of induction. Luckily, the proceedings, from what Lanette could tell, seemed to entail gathering the programmers in one place (Bebe’s house naturally), testing the newcomer by having them crack the security codes on one of the storage system’s ports, forcing them to recite an oath Bebe apparently made up on the spot, and briefing them on the eccentricities of the group. Fennel, who came to Hearthome with her sister, failed miserably at the test and disappeared into another room with Brigette, no doubt to partake in a calming tea in order to avoid choking Bebe. However, Amanita was a natural.
Lanette, who sat in a corner of the lab with her feet on her chair and a cup of tea in her hands, had to marvel at the kid. She really was something else. Code-cracking came as easily as breathing to her, she picked up on Bebe’s fast-paced run-down of the programmers instantly, and when her elder finally stopped, she was well-equipped with the right kinds of questions.
Or, rather, she was equipped with the only one that mattered in Lanette’s view.
“So what’s Bill like?”
Across the room, Amanita sat at the computer with Bebe standing beside her. Amanita was nearly obscured by Bebe’s computer chair; Bebe had been leaning over her for the entirety of the proceedings. As soon as the question crossed Amanita’s lips, Lanette craned her neck, trying to see around Bebe’s chair in order to catch a glance of the young girl’s face. She could see part of her profile: the round nose, the sharp frown, and the tiny hand gripping Bebe’s mouse. Nothing about that sliver of an expression signaled anything troubling to Lanette, but Bebe immediately straightened, her visage shifting into seriousness. Whatever was on that girl’s face, it had to be enough to shock Bebe.
Lanette had a feeling she was going to like that kid.
“Whadda ya mean?” Bebe asked as she slipped her hands to her hips. “Haven’t you talked to him already?”
“Through e-mail, yeah,” Amanita replied. “And I know what Bill is like, but I want to know what he’s like, you know?”
Suddenly, Bebe’s expression flitted from blank to understanding and then to something sly and snake-like. “Oh! You mean you want dirt on him, do ya?”
Lanette shot her legs out from under her and smacked her feet onto the floor, preparing to bolt for Bebe’s neck if need be. “Bebe, don’t you dare!”
At that, Bebe flashed her a smile. “Oh, c’mon! It’s not like Bill’s hiding anything really stupid! Besides, it’ll help her to feel more comfortable around him if she knew not even our little English patient is all that perfect.” Then, before her colleague could respond, Bebe turned back to Amanita. “Okay, first thing you’ve got to keep in mind is that his accent’s fake, okay?”
“Really?” Amanita breathed.
At the same time, Lanette set aside her cup and stood. “Bebe, really! Do you know how rude it is to talk about someone who isn’t even here?”
“Oh come on! Like he’d care! Can you imagine Bill flipping out if we told the ickle newbie about the Post-Finals Incident?”
Amanita’s frown deepened slightly. “Post-Finals Incident? What’s that?”
“Nothing,” Lanette said quickly. “Bebe, if you share one detail of that—“
“I don’t see you diving for me, so I’m going to take that as a go-ahead!” Bebe interrupted happily. “And it’s only nothing because the details get a little weird at the end, but anyway, yeah, Bill’s accent is fake. He’s definitely not as posh as he makes himself sound; he only forces himself to speak that way because he hates it when I make fun of him.”
“No,” Lanette added harshly. “He uses that accent because people have difficulties understanding his native one!”
“So it’s true?!” Amanita gasped.
Lanette blushed and hid her face in her hands as Bebe, knowing her companion tripped herself up on her own, laughed raucously. It took a moment for Bebe to breathe properly again.
“Oh yeah! His real accent’s this thick, ridiculous Scottish thing, ‘cause you know, he came from that weird part of Goldenrod where all the immigrants settled, right?” Bebe continued through breaths. “Anyway, keep that in mind because that’s going to be important for the best part of the story. Got it?”
“Got it,” Amanita replied obediently.
“Good. Lanette, sit down. You’re embarrassing yourself,” Bebe said. “The Post-Finals Incident. It’s probably the best story we’ve got on him. See, it all started back in college. Brigette, Lanette, Bill, and I all met when we were going for our undergraduate degrees at Saffron University. Well, at Saffron, there’s also this thing called the Scream. That’s this event that happens every semester, right after finals, where anyone who’s still on campus runs around screaming their heads off to let off steam. Sometimes, you get people who streak—”
“Oh no!” Amanita exclaimed. “Don’t tell me he was streaking!”
Bebe cracked a grin. “Patience, little one. He wasn’t. See, there’s this other group of people who like to take advantage of the chaos to inflict a little chaos of their own on the campus. We like to call those people ‘seniors.’
“So anyway, it’s our senior year, final semester, final day of finals, hence why we call this the Post-Finals Incident. Celio and Lanette just came out of their last exams, and we’re all hanging out at the library… except Bill, who none of us can find. He just up and disappeared that morning without a trace. Wouldn’t answer his pokégear. Wasn’t found in any of his usual hiding spots. Nothing. But he was a pretty quiet kid in terms of troublemaking even back then, so we figured he was just off somewhere tinkering with machines in a computer lab or something, right?
“That day, the Scream was going to happen in the afternoon because the last exams concluded during daylight hours so the underclassmen could get the hell—“
Bebe shot Lanette a glare before continuing. “So the underclassman could get the hell off campus. And as the Scream got closer, we still couldn’t find Bill. We were all starting to get worried before he just texts us to meet him in the campus quad for some reason. Nothing else to the text. Just ‘meet me in the quad at this hour,’ and that’s it. So because Bill’s, well, Bill, we go and do what he says, and we wait and wait until the Scream starts happening all around us. People are pouring out of the dorms, screaming their lungs out, flashing all the bits that would offend Lanette’s delicate sensibilities, you name it.
“And then, all of a sudden, the crowd parts, and Bill comes bolting right down the middle of the quad with four campus police officers right behind him. Swear to Arceus! Four of them! And he was in nothing but pants and what we’ve all hoped to gods was just blue body paint, and you know what he was screaming as he whipped past?”
Amanita shook her head.
With a broad grin, Bebe struck a pose, fists up in a fighting stance, as she mimicked a Scottish accent as best as she could (which, to Lanette, translated into the worst Scottish accent imaginable). “You may take my life, but you’ll never take my freedom!”
At that, Amanita lost it. She burst into laughter and drew her head away from Lanette’s view. What Lanette could see instead was the girl’s feet kicking frantically over the armrest.
“What-what did he do?!” Amanita asked.
“To get four campus police officers on his butt?” Bebe leaned into the chair and smirked. “No idea. No one who wasn’t directly involved’s been able to figure out exactly what he did, and the people who know for certain won’t talk about it. We’ve got hints, though. One, all of the card readers throughout campus — even the ones bolted to concrete walls — went missing for the entirety of graduation week. Two, no one ever did find out where the dean’s car went. Three, the only reason why Bill didn’t end up being the only senior ever to be expelled after completing his education but before he received his diploma was because Professor Oak secretly thought whatever he did was simultaneously revolutionary and bloody hilarious. Technically four if you count the rumor that Bill supposedly used whatever he did to the dean’s car to build the transporter for the storage system. The dean still hates him, though. That’s why Bill did his other degrees at Celadon instead.”
Amanita burst into another fit of laughter as Bebe fired a smug glance at Lanette. Lanette, meanwhile, fiddled with her pokénav in irritation as she waited for Amanita’s shrieking giggles to die down. She was about to get up and move to another room (because calming tea in lieu of choking Bebe sounded like a great idea) when the door swung open to let Bill walk in.
“Sorry I’m late!” he called. “Hello!”
“Ah! Just in time!” Bebe responded. “I was just telling Amanita a few stories!”
Bill hadn’t even taken three steps into Bebe’s home when he stopped short and allowed his expression to darken slightly. “Which one?”
“The Post-Finals Incident,” Lanette told him tonelessly as she drew her knees to her chest again and stared at her pokénav.
“Oh.” Bill said the word as if it was a relief that Bebe was only talking about a mildly humiliating part of his past. “That’s okay then.”
“Speaking of which, what did you do that day? To get those cops on you, I mean.”
Bill gave her a genuine smile. “Funny story about that, actually.”
There was a pause as Bill took off his jacket and scarf. Amanita peeked out from around the chair, and she and Bebe stared at him expectantly.
“Well?” Bebe asked.
Bill blinked at her. “Well what?”
“Are you ever going to tell us?”
With that, Bill calmly walked across the room and disappeared into the hallway. Lanette followed suit not long after.
Calming tea sounded like an incredible idea at that point.