Willow was dancing around her bunk in her pajamas to relieve some stress when there was suddenly a loud knocking on her door. She started to grin sheepishly as she turned down the music, and went to look through the peep-hole to see who it was here to tell her to be quiet. What she saw was just a giant eye, as someone was pretending to look back through the peephole at her.
“Marcy.” She laughed to herself, and swung the door open. She found Marcy really close, and Frankie leaning back against the opposite wall. “Hello, Marcy, what can I do for you?”
“Frankie said that we can go down to the lower security vaults and take a look at some of the fun little toys, and maybe get me a hair color changing bracelet. Want to come with?” Marcy was grinning widely, which Willow found reassuring. It was proof that Marcy wasn’t panicking. And it was always good to know that Marcy wasn’t panicking.
“Yeah. I’d love to come. Give me a second.” She shut the door again, turned off the music, and put on some real clothes. When she opened the door again, Marcy almost fell into the room because she was trying to look through the peephole again.
“You’re a freak, you know that?” Willow shook her head.
“But you love me.” Marcy sing-songed. They started down the hall towards some of the low security vaults.
“Something like that,” Willow countered. “So, what dragged us out of bed at this hour of the morning to go to vaults?”
“It was Frankie’s idea to go down there, and I thought it might be fun to bring you along.”
“So, Frankie. Why did you want to get up early and go play in the vaults?” Willow turned her attention to him instead.
“Well, I’ve been losing my temper in training recently, so I thought this might be a good way to apologize for that. Also, I was kind of hoping that if I got can get her to go a little bit easier on me if I appease her with shiny toys.”
“I wouldn’t count on it.” Marcy smiled.
“Yeah, I thought not. It couldn’t hurt to try though, right?” Frankie smiled.
“We’ll see how nice the cool thing you can find to give me. Then we can discuss potentially making you look better in front of the teachers.” Marcy teased.
“I—yes, well—thank you.” Frankie responded, a bit of a blush creeping up on his face.
Willow watched Marcy and Frankie jab back and forth with each other. Clearly, they had become closer than Willow realized throughout all their training together. That was good. To Willow, it meant that Marcy had someone to hang out with while she was busy, and Frankie was certainly a nice enough guy.
But for some reason, Willow was uncomfortable with them being so friendly. Why, she had no idea. She pushed the thought to the back of her mind, and just tried to keep smiling.
“Here we are.” Frankie smiled with a grand gesture of his hands in front of the sealed door of the low security vault. “Eyes shut ladies.” Willow closed her eyes and heard the slight smack of Marcy slapping her hands over her own eyes. There were the beeps of Frankie entering in his security code, and the click of his agent charm being used as a key. “All right then, in we go.”
Willow had been in the low security vaults several times over during her time in the agency. But it was fun going in there to see it all with Marcy. It was almost like seeing the whole room again through fresh eyes.
The low security vault was a massive room, filled with shelf after shelf, stretching to the hundreds of shelves containing thousands of items that had been categorized and stored away as low priority items.
“Oh, wow,” Marcy muttered, “All of those items I can use to do a variety of things?”
“Oh yeah. Some cooler than others. I got permission from Laurel for you to use anything in here, so have at it.” Frankie probably should have given Marcy free range like that. She was off like a flash. She ran to the nearest shelf and started pulling items down from the shelves, reading the labels attached to them, and the putting them back up on the shelf. She had just finished the first row of shelves in mere minutes, and then disappeared out of view. “I shouldn’t have said have at it, huh?” Frankie asked, looking slightly concerned.
“No, probably not.” Willow laughed, “She loves new toys and can go a little bit crazy when she gets the chance to play with them.”
“Only a little bit crazy?” Frankie teased.
“I can hear you!” Marcy called from somewhere out of sight.
“Oops,” Frankie grinned. “Should we try to find her that hair changing bracelet, yeah?”
“Do we have one here?” Willow asked.
“The records say we do, and I believe in the records.”
“Well of course. If you can’t believe in the records, then what can you believe in?”
“Precisely. Shall we?” Frankie headed off down a different aisle than the one Marcy had disappeared down, and Willow followed him down the Row.
“So, what’s that you’ve got there?” Willow asked, finally taking notice of a gadget that was clipped to Frankie’s belt.
“Ah, it’s a low range sensor that watches the way items and users effect each other’s power. There is a little bit of research in this for me. You don’t think Marcy will mind too much, do you?”
Willow considered Frankie for a moment. “No, I don’t think she’ll mind too much as long as she gets to play with the shiny toys while you do all of your research.”
“Yeah. The point is to have her play with the shiny toys.” Frankie turned down an aisle and stopped half way down the row, and plucked an item off one of the top shelves. “Here we are. Hair color changing bracelet. Highest rated for black hair to auburn hair.” Frankie tossed Willow the bracelet, and she caught it easily. “You think that will do?”
“I think it’s perfect,” Willow smiled, spinning the bracelet between two of her fingers.
“Frankie! Willow! Where’d you go?” Marcy’s voice echoed through the room.
Frankie and Willow walked to one of the larger main aisles and Willow called back “We’re right here!”
There was a moment of silence and footsteps before Marcy’s voice rang back with a loud “Marco!”
Willow rolled her eyes at Frankie, who laughed and called back “Polo!”
They went back and forth with the “Marco” and the “Polo” for a while, until Marcy finally turned onto their aisle, and waved at them.
“Well. Hi! What do you have there, Willow?” Marcy asked, as she came down the way.
“Your hair dye.” Willow smiled, spinning the bracelet out on a finger so that Marcy could see it clearly. Marcy grinned and rushed forward to take the bracelet out of Willow’s hand and slip it onto her own arm.
“Yay. I’m going to have pretty hair.” She smiled to herself.
“You already have pretty hair,” Willow answered almost automatically.
“Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.” Marcy waved Willow off. “So, do tell, Frankie. What is the strongest item in this vault?”
Frankie stood very still for a second, and almost looked like he was going through the complete file of the Vault in his brain. Willow couldn’t help but wonder if that was actually what he was doing, and wondered how pissed off and slash or embarrassed he would get if she asked him if that was the case.
“Follow me,” he said after a second. Marcy raised her eyebrows at Marcy, and then followed him as he started to weave through the aisles. He finally came to stop at a plastic looking disc, about the size of a garbage can lid. “It’s a pretty powerful item. It can only be used by Top Tier and Tier Nine Users. However, it is mostly just something silly, so we don’t think it needs a whole lot of security or protection.”
“What does it do?” Marcy asked, picking it up and starting to fidget with it.
“Well, it hasn’t been tested in about seventy or eighty years, but the idea is that it’s, well, it’s kind of like that hover board from back to the future except fantastical instead of technology based.”
“Cool!” Marcy through the board down on the ground and stood on it. Very shakily, it started to rise, but it was only a centimeter off the ground when it crashed to the ground again.
Marcy made a frowning face at Willow, but Willow just shook her head and grinned. “It will take practice, crazy lady. Try again.”
Marcy tried once more to get the board up off the ground, and Willow watched out of the corner of her eye as Frankie unclipped the sensor off his waist and started fidgeting with it a little bit. Suddenly, Marcy shot down the aisle, and Willow winced as she crashed into a shelf.
“I’m okay!” Marcy called, standing up and trying again.
“Willow?” Frankie asked, seemingly oblivious to Marcy’s crash landing, “What tier are you?”
“I’m Tier two. Why?”
“Because, the sensor says that there are only two users in here.” Frankie showed Willow the screen of the little gadget, but it didn’t make a lick of sense to Willow. “Sure, Frankie, if you say so.”
“I’m tier eight, and Marcy’s Top tier, and we’re both here, but you’re not on the screen at all.” Frankie pressed a couple of buttons, and then muttered to himself. “Marcy!” He suddenly called out. Willow looked around and realized that Marcy had disappeared with the board out of view. “Marcy, really quickly I need you to stop playing with that.”
“What’s wrong?” Marcy called back.
“Have you stopped?” Frankie called, running quickly towards Marcy’s voice. Willow trailed after him for a moment.
“Yeah. Yeah, I’ve stopped. Frankie, man, you are freaking me out.”
When Willow, Frankie and Marcy were all on the same aisle, Frankie whipped around and gave Willow a huge smile. “I’ve just figured out how to find the Marbles.”