I forgot to buy the batteries. Now how am I supposed to get him to work?

My shoulders slumped in time with my pout. I had all the necessary parts, all but one; the one thing I needed to get him running. A heart was fine for me but not him. He needed a battery. A large one.

Using the corners of my desks, I pulled myself up. My room was a complete mess. Books were strewn carelessly about, clothes were in a pile near the closet rather than in the linen basket, and my unmade was a sad sight. Thankfully none of it was a problem. Since my parents were away for another week, I had full run of the house. Sure, my aunt and uncle agreed to watch both me and the house, but they didn’t get in the way. They were easy to talk circles around.

“Yes!” I shouted stupidly before clapping a hand over my mouth. I couldn’t risk them waltzing in just when I found the piece I needed.

I gave a second long funeral to my robotic science project. It did win me third place. Then I gleefully ripped the battery from its hub and set up shop to start my next project. It would be my best one yet. I may have been a cast off from my biological parents but that didn’t mean I couldn’t make a family of mine. Okay, so maybe not the top of the tree but a little brother would be great.

The front panel sprung open and I smiled. I’d have a little brother just like the ones in anime. He’d be able to do all the things I could and more. He’d be indestructible….my brows furrowed. With the simple scraps of spray painted metal and basic technology, indestructible was a bit of a stretch, but he’d be the first robotic little brother on the block and he’d be mine.

 

—–

 

An annoying buzz broke through the sweet haze of sleep. Thinking nothing of it, I reached over and slapped the alarm clock. No computer was going to wake me before I was good and ready.

“Big brother. Mother and Father will be arriving shortly. You must wake up.”

So there was one computer that could wake me. “I thought I fixed your speech.” My bones groaned as I sat up. I was a stationary kind of kid, not an athletic one, but every time I tried to tell the gym teachers that, they made me do extra laps or carry the equipment or demonstrate how to do some exercise.

“You made a valiant effort but, in the end, it was a fruitless endeavor.”

Sadly, he was right. I tried and tried and I only made it worse. “I think I need to uninstall the voice pack.”

He hopped up, nearly hitting the ceiling, and backed away from me with his hands over his front panel. “No!”

It was my turn to shield myself. His voice rose three octaves which wouldn’t be a big deal if he didn’t also get louder. He sounded more like a shouting whale than a robotic little brother. “Nico, calm down! I promise, I’ll do it quick. I’m only changing your speech pattern.” I also planned to alter his word choice and diction but I kept that potential freak-out worthy information to myself. My eardrums depended on it.

Luckily, he calmed down and apologized. First for waking me with his alarm, one I stupidly thought would be cool at the time, and then for over-reacting. It wasn’t long till he was also apologizing to our parents for hugging them too tight. As for me, I didn’t get off so easily.

“Zoey? What is i-“ dad started only to be stopped by mom’s hand.

Like me, she understood the next word wasn’t the best one for Nico to overhear. “What do we call…” Him, I mouthed. “…him?”

“Pinocchio but we both prefer Nico.”

“Yes, yes.” He cheered, his metal fists pumping the air in excitement. The light that shined behind his eyes brightened but that wasn’t what I stared at. I watched the five bars I created as his mouth light up in what I called a smile. That was the first time dad praised me for tinkering. I did good, me and my little Nico.

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