Subject: "Fake-A-Wish Foundation"
Posted on: 2016-11-01 04:30:00 UTC
This got long, folks. I'm not even sure it will fit in a single post, and I don't know what happens when it doesn't. It got long enough that I probably should have gotten a beta for it, but I want to hit as many of these prompts before the thread falls off the front page as possible.
I also know this is throwing a lot of new characters at you all. I've tried to balance explaining a bit about them without bogging down the pacing. I'll be making a separate story eventually about Millie/Mollie and Olsen/Ollie adjusting to life in the Nursery that will hopefully flesh out the other kids better. For now, enjoy my token single story of the year!
"So . . . this clearly doesn't have an actual plot."
"Yeah," said Laquisha. "It's super-fun, though!"
Mollie and Ollie exchanged a glance. Ollie asked, "But . . . aren't we supposed to be learning new canons?"
"This is a canon!" Laquisha protested as her Lucina launched Mollie's Villager off screen. "Agents have done Smash Bros. missions, I swear! I can pull some mission reports off the net if you want."
"That's all right," Mollie said. "Just—"
"Relaaaaaaax, girl," Laquisha interrupted. "It's the weekend. That means—"
She cut off as a ghostly wail sounded around them. An orange figure flew through the door to Mollie's room. It had large, exaggerated facial features, turned down into a heavily pronounced frown, and a swirling hairdo that pointed upwards. Its torso trailed off into a little wisp at the end.
Mollie and Ollie ducked down against the floor, but Laquisha just said, "Time?"
"Yup!" replied the orange figure.
"I wish for a mozzarella-flavored lollipop."
"Done!" the floating creature replied happily.
A whitish lollipop appeared in midair next to Laquisha, who grabbed it and popped it straight into her mouth.
The ghostly figure, who was now the same off-white color as the sucker, clasped his hands and said, "Thank you!" Then he sank through the floor.
Mollie and Ollie stared at Laquisha as she swirled the lollipop around in her mouth. She stared back for a few seconds, then finally relented. "His name is Banda. He's a genie—Augh, I mean jinn. Grants one wish a day."
The new kids sat up straighter. "Any wish?" Ollie whispered reverently.
Laquisha glared. "It's not for fun. Banda hurts until he grants the wish."
The pair shrank a bit. "Oh," muttered Ollie.
Mollie asked, "But why mozzarella?"
Laquisha raised her eyebrows. "Because it tastes good? Obviously. Pick up your dang controllers, I'm unpausing in three, two . . ."
"Yikes," Mollie said as she left the classroom. "An essay on how the Mane Six's personality traits match up to their Elements of Harmony? This is going to take all afternoon." She marched along between Ollie and Laquisha through the corridors of the Nursery's classrooms hallway.
"Don't forget the extra credit question about Spike!" Laquisha chimed in.
Ollie scoffed. "There's no way I'm spending time on—"
"I always do the extra credit!" Laquisha continued. "It's fun."
"Good for you, Hermione!" Mollie teased.
"Psh. Hermione's got nothing on me."
"Wish!" came a cry from a side hall. Banda flew around the corner, still white like the previous day. "Someone wish something!"
Laquisha tapped Mollie on the shoulder. "Go."
Mollie froze. She stared at the jinn for a moment, then realized he was clutching at his stomach. She blurted out, "Uh, I wish for a, uh, a, hot dog?"
A hot dog appeared before her, sans bun or any condiments. She grabbed for it, but jerked her hand away as the meat burned her a bit. She fanned her hand as the hot dog fell to the ground.
Banda, now a pinkish-brown color, frowned. "A thousand pardons!"
"Don't apologize, honey," Laquisha said gently, then turned to Mollie. "Need to be specific. Banda doesn't control the wish, he just lets it happen."
Mollie noticed Banda's gaze drop to his right wrist, and the stamped gold circlet around it.
“What do you think?”
“Still reading.” Marty flipped to the next page of Ollie’s essay. “It’s good so far.”
Marty glanced up briefly. “It’s homework. It’s never as good as when we’re writing something for fun. But it’s good so far. No worries.”
“Mm. Yeah.” Ollie put his head in his hands. “Sorry.”
There were still a few minutes left before class would start. Although Professor Beans hadn’t shown up yet. Another group of their classmates trickled through the door, chatting. Banda floated in the air above the heavily dressed Riso and Edwin, the little rolling robot. Ollie waved to them as they all moved to their usual places, still talking.
Suddenly, Banda went ramrod straight, then hugged himself, making a slight “urgh” noise. Ollie felt Marty’s fist pound into his shoulder. “Go.”
Ollie straightened up. "I wish for a soda."
A green and pink metal can popped into existence on Ollie’s desk. He picked it up and read the name. “Slurm?”
I think not. A slim, leafy vine snaked around the can and pulled it away. Professor Beans lobbed it through the portal it had just used to enter the classroom. I’m told it’s highly addictive!
Marty pointed in Ollie’s face. “Specific.”
Ollie chewed. “Wow.” He chewed some more. “Wow,” he said again. “This is so much worse than I even imagined.” He pulled a white chunk out of his mouth. “Why is there cartilage in this cabbage sandwich?” He let it drop into the pile of grey film the bluish bread of his sandwich had left on the tray.
“And the grown-ups actually eat here? Every day?”
“Shush!” Anne whispered. “We don’t need the agents finding out about the secret good food in the Nursery.” Anne was a middle eastern girl who kept her black hair short and really liked wearing denim.
“And keep in mind,” Riso added, “the smell’s not usually this bad.” After the kids had sat down, a hulking, demonic agent dripping with yellowish fluids had arrived and claimed the table directly behind them.
“It’s not exactly helping,” Ollie admitted, forcing down another bite.
“So, um, with Banda . . .” Mollie began.
“Ugh,” said Riso.
“Newbies always get so hung up on that.”
Mollie plunged forward anyway. “It seems like no one ever wishes . . . big?”
Anne and Riso sighed. Anne fixed Mollie with a hard stare. “You’ve already seen how it is. The wishes don’t always come out right. It’s King Solomon’s fault.”
Riso corrected, “Suleiman the Great. Banda’s magic isn’t supposed to be used like this. Suleiman enslaved all the spirits in his empire to serve people.”
“Typical grown-up,” Anne muttered.
“It’s not that Banda is screwing things up on purpose. The magic itself is fighting back against being forced to do things the wrong way.”
“And the bigger the wish, the bigger the screw-up. Banda feels awful when he messes things up, so there’s no reason to make things harder on him and risk causing a big problem. And if you really have to go for it for some reason, you have to be a total lawyer about it.”
A Slurm-green figure rose up through the table. “Sorry to interrupt . . .”
Anne leaned in close to Banda and whispered, “I wish for this agent—” She pointed directly to the demon. “—to have a smell that smells good to the majority of human noises until he leaves the Cafeteria.”
Banda grinned. “Done!”
Behind them, Agent Chliever raised a pulsating arm and sniffed under it. “Ugh,” he growled, “better get that checked out.”
The human students all inhaled, then sighed in relief. Anne said, “Banda, thank you. That was perfect!”
Banda, now unfortunately the same color as the demon agent, moved into a reclining position in midair. “I have my moments.”
For P.E. that day the class split into two teams of seven to play baseball in the Miss Cam Courtyard. Edwin sat out, due to its inability to roll fast enough to participate, but robots don’t need exercise anyway. Alfajiri, having no hands, remained in the outfield all game and played against whatever team was batting at the time.
Up to bat, Mollie talked quietly to Fox, who stood behind her as catcher. “So, Banda . . . his wish thing goes off a different time every day?” She let Anne’s pitch fly past, and heard Fox shift as he caught the ball.
“Ball one!” called Who.
“Um. I guess?” Fox said quietly as he returned the ball to Anne. “I mean, if you’re still trying to measure time . . . don’t try measuring time.”
From the outfield, Harry called, “So if I catch the old bally baller, I brosat to Who?”
“It stopped being funny the first class period, Harry,” Anne called over her shoulder. She threw again.
Mollie hit it this time, and the ball headed for the left side of the outfield. Banda floated over the ground towards it, with Harry and Alfajiri heading the same way.
“I’ve got it!” the jinn yelled. “I’ve goooaugh!” He clutched at his head, and the ball passed straight through him.
Alfajiri brought all four legs to a skidding halt. “Wish time? I’m hungry! I wish for a zebra!” Then Harry slammed into the young spotted hyena, leaving them both prone on the ground as a striped unicorn with a scraggly black beard appeared next to them, towering over them.
Who called out to the Courtyard, “Someone contact the Waterlily Commander!”
Harry swore as the zebra unicorn raised up and on its hind legs, but Marty suddenly appeared out of nowhere and yanked both his classmates away with a savage twisting motion, leaving the unicorn to stomp down on empty grassland. It gave a high, yelping cry and pointed its horn at the three students. It started to charge just before a pair of snow wolves crashed into it from the side, latching onto its neck and hind leg. The unicorn stumbled, then turned its horn towards the side of attack.
“Now, sisters! Strike at the exposed flank!” Five small, bronze wolves ran in from the other side and got between the unicorn’s legs, biting into its stomach.
Alfajiri was giggling. “Yeah, yeah, a hunt a hunt!” He ran forward to join roman’s pack
Mollie had been watching over Anne’s head, but suddenly realized the other girl was giving her a hard look.
“Now then, let’s have a bit of a review from last week,” said the male copy of Professor Vector who had been recruited from the Rose Potter missions. “What is the one number you can never divide with?”
“Zero!” Laquisha blurted out.
“Correct! Incidentally, you also can’t divide by skadzz, but most universes haven’t discovered that number yet. We won’t be covering it for several years. Now.” Vector wrote “1/0” as a fraction on the whiteboard. “In World One, it was Brahmagupta who first examined the concept of dividing by zero, though of course the wizarding world had a for more complex understanding centuries earlier, thanks to arithmancy . . . how curious . . .” He leaned closer to the whiteboard, where a tiny dot had appeared in the middle of the “0” he had drawn.
Banda dropped his pencil and grabbed one zebra-striped hand with the other, wincing.
“All right, keep all your rots closed,” Harry yelled, leaping from his seat. “It’s my turn, and I’m like wishing for Superman and Goku to reenact their Death Battle right here in the skolliwoll!”
Meanwhile, Professor Vector was distracted watching the hole on the board slowly widen. He gently felt the edge of the opening with one finger, which was promptly sucked into it up to the knuckle. “Oh, Merlin.”
Laquisha slammed her pencil down and stood up, glaring at Harry. “That. Isn’t. FUNNY. Make a real wish. Now.”
Harry smiled smugly. “Make me, little kisa.”
Laquisha stepped around her desk to stand over him, and Harry returned her glare. She quietly said, “You know that wish won’t work. He can’t pull main characters out of their worlds. Make a real wish.”
Harry blew a raspberry. “You all assume like, but we haven’t tried everything. Maybe a great, bolshy wish takes a while longer. Shall we have ourselves a little nokky?”
Vector’s hand was now up to the wrist in the slowly spreading hole. He held his wand awkwardly in his other hand. “Carpe retractum!” A rope slithered out of his wand, but was sucked all the way into the hole like a wet noodle. He stared for a moment. “Finite Incantatem?” He aimed at his wrist. “Accio hand! Impedimenta! . . . Ow.”
“Banda is hurting.”
Harry shrugged. “I’m not.” He smiled and folded his arms behind his head, leaning back.
The jinn held his hurting hand in close to his stomach, and tears dripped from his eyes as he looked from Laquisha to Harry.
Marty started to say, “I wish—”
“NO.” Laquisha’s gaze never left Harry’s face. “Harry will do it.”
“Aaauugh!” Professor Vector cried. His entire shoulder had sunk into the whiteboard, and the edges were straining against his neck and ribcage. He had dropped his wand in favor of pressing his hand against the board, trying to shove himself out of the ever-widening hole. He cried, “I wish this wasn’t happening!”
“Done!” Banda cried desperately.
Professor Vector fell to the floor. The hole disappeared. He stiffly got to his feet and said, “And to, er, to summarize, it’s an . . . exceedingly poor idea to divide by zero. Er, yes.” He took in the shocked expressions of his students, and the very perturbed looks worn by Laquisha and Harry. “Oh, there’s no need to be upset, children! See: I’m perfectly fine!”
From their seat on a couch, Mollie and Ollie watched across the main Nursery room as Laquisha talked to Banda. She was in tears, and Banda was holding her shoulders, looking down with a look of pity.
Eventually, Laquisha gave Banda a sad smile and left for the girls’ dorms. The jinn began to float away through the crowd of children.
Mollie and Ollie looked at each other for a second. Then Mollie called, “Hey, Banda!”
Banda heard and peered at them, then floated closer. Once he reached them, he said, “Greetings, new classmates!”
“Hello,” Ollie said, awkwardly. “Um, have a seat?”
“Surely,” said Banda. His wisp trail immediately popped into a pair of legs, which were white with math equations all over, like the rest of him. He floated down gently into a reclining position on the cushions between the human kids, who giggled.
“I didn’t know you could do that!” Mollie said.
Banda shrugged. "We haven’t really had a chance to speak before, no?”
“No,” Mollie admitted. She cleared her throat. “So, how . . . have you been?”
Banda didn’t answer immediately. He stared at the coffee table in front of the couch for a few moments. Eventually, he just said, “I am well.”
“Mmm.” Now Ollie cleared his throat. “So, um, Mollie and I wanted to ask—”
“You have a wish,” Banda stated, not looking at either of them.
“Well, kind of,” Mollie said. She took Banda’s hand. “We wish . . . we could get to know you better . . . and be your friends?
Banda raised his eyebrows and look both kids in the eyes, one after the other.
Then, he smiled.