House Hunt

by Jaelle and Orla
(the insane twins and drooling Matrix fans)

This story is set after the last episode of season three and before the Mainframers go off after Daemon.

If you're looking for something serious, involving death and depression, go away. You won't find it here. What you will find is immense silliness (and pure evil). Enjoy.

This is a FANFIC, and all the characters in this story belong to Mainframe Entertainment who we worship fervently and wish long-life and financial success in their works so that they can make season four *gasp for air*. No copyright infringement is meant by this fanfic, we love you guys, really.

I come from the Net.

Through systems, cities, games and peoples, to this place.

Mainframe, my home.

My format? I have no format [But we're working on it - Authors]

What the heck was that?

Ahem, I am a Renegade, finally home from the games.

Home at last with my friends, to prepare for the war with Daemon. [I think we'll skip over that storyline, yeah? Author
#1. Yeah. Author #2]

What the hell is going on? *Targeting eye comes on line* I see you viruses!

[AAAH! RUN FOR IT!!! - the authors, fleeing for their lives.]


Matrix looked down as the zipboard neared Dot's Diner. It was unbelievable, everything was back the way it had been before Megabyte's takeover. Except, of course, for the missing Tor. Even Lost Angles had regenerated, eventually. It was hard to believe that they'd been through so much, and that, only a few seconds ago, the entire system had been destroyed. Now it was exactly the same as it had been before he had... left. He walked into the diner.

*Bang* "Ow."

Except of course, for one small detail.

Matrix rubbed his head and ducked under the door to Dot's Diner. "I keep forgetting about this."

"Ve know," sniffed Cecil. "You are costing madame a FORTUNE in plastering."

"Sorry Matrix," said Dot. "I plan to fix that soon. Be with you in a nano," she turned back to her conversation with Bob, Matrix noted the vid window open to the Principal Office.

Matrix grumbled and looked at Cecil.

Cecil looked back.

"Well?" asked Matrix.

Cecil sniffed again, and looked around at the almost entirely empty diner. He looked back. "Wait at the bar. Wait at the bar."

*click* A *BIG* gun aimed itself at the centre of Cecil's screen. The waiter turned a paler shade of green.

"Now now honey." said a calm voice from behind Matrix. "You promised Dot you wouldn't do that again."

"Then he shouldn't tell me to wait at the bar." growled Matrix.

AndrAIa, his girlfriend, partner and "control mechanism", pushed his arm down. "Oh come on, he does that to everyone. Even Bob." She brushed her blue hair out of her eyes and smiled. He loved that, but _still_...

"Bob's a Guardian. I'm a renegade. And I DON'T like waiting at the bar!"

"Or anywhere else for that matter," muttered AndrAIa. Matrix gave her a surprised look.

"Come on lover, lose the piece." she said. "At this range any shot would just go through him and break something else."

"Can I hit him then?" Matrix lowered the gun. Cecil took the opportunity to scarper.

"Quit it with the tough guy act, Bob and Dot are waving at us." AndrAIa set off. Matrix looked after her, "What do you mean _act_?" Behind him Friskett growled in agreement. "Women."

"Hey Matrix," Bob greeted the tall, muscular green man. "What are you up to?"

"Not much, been checking all the old spots. Everything's so small."

"Did everything reboot back okay?" Matrix's older sister Dot asked, still looking shellshocked about the size of her "little" brother.

"Looks that way. It's just that he's a lot, well, bigger now." laughed AndrAIa, affectionately swiping Matrix.

Matrix tried to squeeze into the booth. There was a loud crack.

"Yeah." he said, standing back up again. "Maybe the bar wasn't such a bad idea."

"How're things doing otherwise?" asked AndrAIa.

"Well," said Bob. "Mouse and the Surfer are both out checking out the system connections, so that we can put out a call to other systems for help dealing with Daemon. We may be back from the dead, but we _don't_ have the equipment to deal with a threat like that. Not to mention all the infected Guardians."

"I've got all units working on the weapons front," added Dot. "But with one war just over, noone is keen on launching into another."

"We may not have a choice," rumbled Matrix. "If _we_ don't take the fight to Daemon, _she_ might bring it here. And we can't count on the User rebooting us again."

"That might be just a tad optimistic." agreed AndrAIa.

"I can't believe I've got the Diner back," said Dot. "I know I should be with Phong at the principal office, but I just can't help coming back here. It's... it's..."

"Home." said Matrix. "It's good to be home."

"Welcome home." grinned Dot. She looked at Bob. "Both of you."

"_All_ of us." said Bob, looking at AndrAIa and Friskett. Friskett growled at him and Bob laughed. "It's nice to know that _some_ things don't change." he said, looking up at Matrix.

Matrix grinned.

Dot sighed, "Not only do I have to get an attack force ready, I have to get things back to normal, and adjusted, here! It's time for some renovations."

Bob sighed. "We come back from the Net, win a war against a virus, save the system from deletion, and for an encore she wants to redecorate." He grinned as Dot's elbow slammed into his ribs.

"Yeouch!" Dot rubbed her elbow. "That damn armour better be coming off soon!"

"Sis," Matrix's grin got wider.

"Oh, you... you know what I meant."

Bob laughed and stood up, "I better check on Phong."

Just then, they heard a sound that made even Matrix flinch.


*patter patter patter THUD, THUMP*

"Oh, hi Enzo." said Bob resignedly.

"Hey Bob you know it's so cool that you're back and that the system is back but when are we going to go out and have some fun? Oh hi Matrix I mean me and AndrAIa and Frisket and Dot now that I know how I'm going to grow up do I have to go to school?"

AndrAIa threw back her head and laughed. "Oh, this brings back memories."

Bob grinned from his prone position, having regained his breath. "In that order, as soon as I get back from the Principal Office, and yes you do!"

Enzo pouted. "But he didn't go to school and he turned out just fine, right AndrAIa?"

Dot and Matrix glared at AndrAIa. AndrAIa grinned. "No he didn't, but that didn't mean that we were fine, we could have avoided alot of discomfort and a lot of embrassment if he had just paid attention in... oh... Ancient Languages."

"COBOL? FORTRAN? Those are such dinosaurs!"

"Oh no, I've _seen_ dinosaurs. FORTRAN doesn't have big sharp teeth and a hungry look in its eye."

Matrix decided it was time to defend himself. "Come on AndrAIa, you went to school and you didn't remember those languages either!"

"Honey, I was only at school for a few seconds, you on the other hand..."

"Uh... So, tell us about the renovations, Sis"

"Nice change of subject, Lover."

"Well, obviously, you can't have your old room, because Enzo will be sleeping there, so I need to create a new room for you and one for AndrAIa too."

Matrix and AndrAIa exchanged glances. "Uh... that's really sweet, Dot," said AndrAIa. "But we prefer to be together."

"To... together?"

"Yes, I appreciate your concern, but I'm used to his snoring now."

"I snore??"

Dot processed this information and went a deep shade of green.

Enzo smiled "So can I sleep in the same room as you guys? You can tell me all your stories!"

"Uh..." Matrix looked helplessly at AndrAIa. She smiled reassuringly "We don't tell stories"

"That's _not_ what I'm worried about!"

Dot cleared her throat. "Okay, this is going to sound weird, but I'm not used to this, I'm finding it rather hard to process. I would prefer if you all had separate rooms."

Bob took Dot's arm. "Perhaps it would be better if Matrix and AndrAIa found their own place, they _are_ older now, you don't need to take care of them."

Matrix nodded. "That might be best."

Dot looked dismayed. "But I want you here, you've been gone so long."

"Sis, I'll always come visit, besides you have Enzo."

"But... but it won't be any fun if you leave." complained Enzo

Friskett walked over to Enzo and looked up at him. Matrix smiled. "Good thinking, boy. Friskett will be with you, always."


"You can crash at my place tonight." said Bob.

"Thanks Bob. Well," Matrix looked at AndrAIa, "We better get househunting!"


The Next Morning:

"Mornin' lover!" AndrAIa hugged Matrix. "I found us a virtual estate agent!"

"Well that was fast work." Matrix commented.

"You don't win games by sitting around cleaning your gun." AndrAIa teased. Matrix replaced his gun and grinned. "Bob and I were just talking."

"Where is he?" AndrAIa looked round. Bob rolled out from under his car.

"Don't tell me," Matrix said. "It's the interocitor." Bob nodded. "You kids off?"

"Yeah, you'll be okay?"

"Yeah, I'll just shove on the headphones and work on the car. Phong doesn't need me till later this cycle." Bob grabbed for some headphones and waved.

"Later." Matrix stood up and walked into the living room. "So, where is the agent?"

"You called?"

"Oh no." said Matrix, "I know that voice."

"Yes, it's the one, the only, the fabulous MIKE the TV! Virtual estate agent at your service." The obnoxious mouth on legs jumped out at Matrix.


"Oh come on lover, how bad can it be?"

"Bad. VERY bad."

"I've got some prime estate. You'll be laughing, you'll be dancing, you'll wonder how you ever felt happy before! I'me gonna show you the spots of Mainframe that you've always wanted to live in. The most bit-byting, the most..." Mike was abruptly shut up as he was lifted off the floor by Matrix's hand.

"Will you SHUT UP!!!" Matrix dropped him.

"Ow, now that was unnecessary media violence to a TV, I could sue your bits off, y'know!"

"Not if you were deleted!" Matrix's cybernetic eye glowed red.

"Ummm... well, lets move on to those properties shall we? Follow me, you lovebits."

"Lovebits?" muttered Matrix as AndrAIa giggled. "This is going to be one random day."

"Behave, honey, or I'll give you a love _bite_ and you can try explaining _that_ to your sister."

"Alright, though I always thought that there wasn't enough violence on tv." grumbled Matrix. "Let's get this over with."

They followed Mike down the stairs. "You'll love it! It's prime virtual estate! Great neighbourhood, great neighbours, fantastic views!" He stopped. "And here we are."

"What?" Matrix looked around. "This is the apartment directly under Bob's!"

"Told you it had great neighbours." said Mike smugly. "Ah yes, neighbours. Everybody needs good neighbours, just a little understanding makes a better day!"

AndrAIa looked at Matrix. "You know, he has a point. It's a great place, local, and you'd be near Bob! Let's at least look at it."

"Good point," said Matrix. "Let's take a look."

They entered the apartment. "It's great!" cried AndrAIa. "It's beautiful! So spacious!"

"Wow," said Matrix. "Mike, looks like I misjudged you."

Mike sobbed, "I know, why does that always happen? Is it my nose? You know, looks aren't everything."

Matrix looked around and nodded again, "No, this is great. It's big and high and it's..."

The most godawful caterwauling suddenly invaded the room.

"Oh oh oh yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah, AH AH AH AH AAAAAIOOOOOO!!!!"

"... not soundproofed. WHAT is that NOISE?!"

AndrAIa winced and covered her pointed and _sensitive_ ears. "It's AWFUL!"

"It's TERRIBLE!" said Matrix.

"It's Bob." said Mike.


"He's kind of a musical guy - in his own processors. He sings in the shower, in the morning, and while he's working on his car."

"Well," said AndrAIa. "If it's just on those occasions. I mean, how much time can he spend working on his car?"

"Well," said Matrix. "Since it's broken pretty much ALL of the time..." he trailed off.

AndrAIa looked sick, "I can't take it. We're outta here."

"So you don't want it just cos of ONE little feature! The rent is cheap you know, it is a beta flat."

"We're leaving NOW! You can stay if you like it that much."

"Wait wait! Okay I've got another place you're just going to love. It's a little far away, but it's isolated, big, handy to the shore, artistic, only one other person nearby..."

"Sounds nice." said AndrAIa.

"Alright, let's try it." said Matrix.


"We're in Lost Angles." said Matrix.

"Oh he's processing quickly today!"

"You crummy eight-bit machine! This is where Hexadecimal lives!"

"Yes, but she's a lot better now."

"In what sense?"

"Well, her face is whole."

"Oh, there's a big difference."

"Aw come on," Mike begged. "Don't write off the place before you've even seen it."

He looked so pathetic that AndrAIa took pity on him. "Okay okay we'll have a look." She glared at Matrix, who sighed. "You haven't been to Lost Angles." he said.

"It can't be all THAT bad."

"Don't say I didn't warn you," he said.

"Which way?" AndrAIa snapped at Mike.

He pointed both arms in different directions.

"Hoo boy!"

AndrAIa took a step in the direction of one of his gestures and suddenly found herself going in the other direction.


Matrix took her arm. "Come on, let's go."

"No, no! You have to look at the place and it's just uhhh somewhere... it was here, or was it there?"

Matrix shook his head and grabbed Mike, he and AndrAIa walked forward and suddenly they were all falling towards the ground.



"This would be a lot better if we were on zipboards." growled Matrix.


"Yes AndrAIa?"


Matrix stood up and helped his rather bruised girlfriend to her feet. "Where's Mike?"

"He was under me."

They looked down. Mike peeled himself off the ground. "Owww.... I liked it better when you were smaller."

"Oooh, do I have visitors?"

"Oh no..." They all turned around.

Hexadecimal stood before them, a broad smile on her face and Scuzzy on her shoulder.

"If I'd known you would be dropping in," she said. "I would have made cookies!"

Everyone remembered the last cookies Hex had made and swallowed, hard.

"That's okay Hex," said Matrix. "We just ate."

"Well, if it isn't little Enzo. Not so little anymore are you? I'm so glad to see you."

"Oh?" Matrix blinked, it was weird watching Hex's mouth move.

"Yes, I never got to hear about your battle! I want to hear EVERY little detail of how you kicked my beloved brothers behind into the web!"

"Uh, actually it was Mouse who sent him into the web. I just fought him."

"Oh but that's not what I heard!" Hex's eyes glowed brightly. "I heard that you punched him and hit him and PUMMELLED HIS UGLY DOUBLE-CROSSING FACE INTO THE GROUND." she grabbed Matrix's arm and held it. "And I want to heeeear about it."

AndrAIa unsheathed her trident and watched Hex.

"Oh my, and who is your pretty little friend? Why, could it be the little game sprite? How you've grown! Soon you'll be having little sprites of your own!"

Matrix paled and AndrAIa blushed. "Maybe later, after we've dealt with Daemon," she muttered.

Matrix looked terrified.

"Men, they're all the same." said Hex. "Fight manfully against hopeless odds, sure! Stay home and spend time with their family and suddenly they start sweating, quivering and stuttering."

"Th-that's not true!" said Matrix. Damn.

"Really?" asked AndrAIa, shooting him a look. "Noticed it much?"

"Oh my yes, let me tell you about it? I presume you have time?"

"Oh sure, we're just here... OW!"

"To check on you," said Matrix, lifting his foot off of AndrAIa's. "Everything okay after the reboot?"

"Of course. Now, tea?"

"Why not?" AndrAIa linked arms with Hex and strolled off.

"Oh boy." Matrix looked around, "We better get going Mike. Mike? MIKE!"


Bob looked up as Matrix stumbled in the door. "Oh the binarity!" he cried.

"How'd the hunting go?" asked Bob.

"Not so good, only looked at two places." AndrAIa said.

"Oh well, tomorrow's another second. I'm about to take a shower so feel free to crash..."

"No, that's okay. I think we'll head round to Dot's for an energy shake before we offline for the day." said Matrix, jumping up. "Later!"

He rushed off, AndrAIa in close pursuit. Bob watched them go and shrugged.

He headed for the shower, humming to himself, working up to a song.

"Fighting virus on zipboard, trying to save the system baud, never running from a null fight..."

Oh the binarity.


The Next Day (again): Take One

"What about this one? It's clean, it's comfortable."

"I don't know," said AndrAIa, "It seems a little small. What do you think honey?"


"It's definitely too small. Uh, lover, you've got some plaster in your hair."


Take Two

"This one doesn't seem too bad. I... _what_ is that _smell_?"

"What smell?"

"It's disgusting! It's foul! What is it?"

Matrix looked out the window. "It's Old Man Pearson's data dump."

AndrAIa screwed up her nose. "Next."


Take Three

Mike opened the door and walked in.

"This recently renovated flat is perfect in every way."

AndrAIa and Matrix walked in and took one look.

"No WAY!"

"I don't think so."

They turned and left Mike standing in the plaid and striped flat.

"What? What? Hey! I decorated this with my own two hands! It's unique! Come back!"


Take Four

Matrix walked up the eighteenth set of stairs.

"Ow, my feet!" AndrAIa complained. "What's wrong with the lift?"

"Broken," said Mike. "But don't worry, we intend to fix it within the next two seconds. Probably."

"I told you you shouldn't have worn those heels."

"That isn't what you said the first time you saw me in them."

Mike took this in and began mentally composing headlines for the Mainframe Baudway Trashfile, all the news that's unfit to input. He could see it now, 'The Private Lives of Guardians - why they wear those shiny boots'. He started sniggering, and stopped when a cold object pressed against his back. He trembled and looked up. "Care to share?" asked Matrix menacingly.

"Uh, here we are. A lovely little flat, perfect for a first home!"

Matrix and AndrAIa looked around. "Well, it _seems_ ok..." said AndrAIa cautiously.

"Are you totally random?"

"What did you call me!" AndrAIa looked around. Matrix and Mike looked at each other and shrugged. AndrAIa frowned.

"I told you NOT to put that in the trashcan!"

"Waaaaaaaahhh! Waaaaaaaaahhh!"


"JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAne, where's my toothbrush?"

"Where you left it!"




Matrix shook his head. "I think we can rule out apartment buildings from now on. Next."


Take Five

"Well, I have to admit, this one's pretty good." said AndrAIa as they closed the door behind them.

"I agree," said Matrix. "Let's close the deal."

"Well FINALLY! You two are the pickiest sprites I've ever met! I'll take you to meet the landlord." said Mike. "Follow me!"

They followed him to a strangely familiar location.

"Hi guys," said Dot. "Can I get you an energy shake? How's the house hunting going? You can still stay here if you can't find anything else you know. But I have to insist on separate bedrooms! So, what were you after?"

"Uh, nothing! Nothing!" said Matrix, "Just... passing by." He grabbed AndrAIa in one hand and Mike under the other arm. "See you later sis." He despondently headed out the door.

"Wonder what he was sighing about?" Dot said out loud.

"CURSORS!" a deep voice bellowed. Everyone in the diner jumped, looked at each other, and shrugged.


Take Six

"Huh," said Matrix. "Level 31. Not a great neighbourhood." He smiled. "I like that."

AndrAIa rolled her eyes.

"And the rent is so reasonable!" Mike pointed out. "Plus the neighbours are not insane, loud or annoying!"

"So you don't live here then?" Matrix grinned.

Mike frowned. "Are you trying to hurt my feelings?"


"Fine!" snapped AndrAIa, she was beginning to feel a little short-tempered herself by now. "Let's see it."

They looked around the property.

"It's a little rundown," said AndrAIa.

"A little upgrading, that's all it needs!" said Mike. "A lick of paint and some RAM and you'll never know it's not new!"

"Well, it _is_ the best we've seen so far." said Matrix. "And I'm tired."

"_You're_ tired? How do you think _I_ feel? Not to mention my feet!" snapped AndrAIa, who was in a really bad mood by now. "But you're right. Let's go see the owner."

They walked into another strangely familiar place.

"Al's diner?" asked Matrix. He grinned, "Cool!"

"Right, let's get this over with. Where's the owner?" Growled AndrAIa.

Matrix, recognising the danger signals, ie the twitching of her hands near her trident and the toying with her starfish, ushered AndrAIa to the counter.

Al's waiter looked at them. "Whaddaya want?" he asked slowly.

Mike leapt onto the counter. "This is your lucky day!" He cried. "I've got two happy buyers for the property on Packard Street! So get Al out here and we'll close the deal!"

Matrix felt his stomach sink. He knew what was coming.

"Al!" yelled the waiter. "There're some sprites out here who wanna buy that house!"


The waiter sighed. "Al, get out here!"


AndrAIa started drumming her nails on the counter and hissing slightly. Matrix took a prudent step back.

"Hurry him up," she hissed at the waiter.

"Hey lady, we specialise in slow food." the waiter drawled. "Al only runs in eight-speed. Right Al?"


"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!" Shrieked AndrAIa. Her claws extended fully and she lunged at the waiter. Matrix grabbed her and clasped her to him in a bear hug.

"AndrAIa! NO!"

Mike jumped off the counter beside the waiter and they clung to each other. "I thought only _he_ was dangerous!" Mike wailed.

Matrix dragged AndrAIa, kicking and hissing, towards the door.

"AndrAIa, stop fighting me! You're more likely to hurt yourself than me." he yelled.

She twisted and slammed an elbow into his ribs, right where Megabyte had broken several of them.

"Argh!" he dropped her and doubled up in pain.

"AAAAAHHH!!! I... oh... honey! Are you okay?"

"Oh don't worry, the pain will pass." grunted Matrix. "Ow. I take it back. You can hurt whoever you want."

"I'm sorry, I just snapped. I don't know what came over me! I went totally random!"

"That's okay... let's call it a second and head back to Bob's for the night." said Matrix. "We'll try again tomorrow."


Take Eighteen

"Well, that's the last place I have!" said Mike. "You've seen every empty place in Mainframe, that's not owned by Dot!"

AndrAIa sighed. "This is impossible! I don't want to sleep alone!!"

Mike edged away. "You're not going to go random on me again are you?"

"What do you mean?!"

Matrix sighed and leant back on the park bench gazing at the skyline, it seemed empty, what had been dominating the sector before? Oh, yeah, _that_ place. Wait a nano... He sat up abruptly and an evil smile spead across his face as his eye focused.



AndrAIa snarled and extended her fingernails. "Knock it off!"

"Mike, does Dot own _that_ area?"

"Uhh... I don't think she does. No one in their right mind would want to live there... Oh!"

Matrix lept to his feet and grabbed AndrAIa and started to whirl her around.


"What's up, lover?"

"We've got a home!"

"You mean...?" her eyes followed his pointing finger.


"Pixelacious!" AndrAIa hugged him. "But we'd have to build it."

"That's even better. Don't you see, we can make it _our_ home!"

"We can make it big!"


"With a pool!"

"Ooh... honey..."

Matrix smiled. "Yesss" he muttered under his breath.

"I can get you good rates for construction workers," offered Mike, who was caught up in the spirit of the two.

"Let's go stake it out for ourselves, get some ideas together and go tell Bob and Dot!"


Matrix shoved open the doors to Dot's Diner.

*BANG* *THUD* "Ow!"

Matrix rubbed his head and sighed. AndrAIa giggled.

"Not again," said Bob, watching from the bar. "You're too big."

"I'm not big, I'm just rendered that way." said Matrix with a grin.

Bob chuckled and passed Matrix an energy shake. "So, have you found a place yet?"


"You have, that's great!" said Dot, walking up behind Bob. She looked up at the hole in the doorway and sighed.

"That is good news sugah." Mouse walked in behind Matrix, followed by Ray.

Ray grinned at Matrix and AndrAIa, "So, where is the place mate, and will you have room for me and Mouse to crash when we swing by?"

"We will eventually," grinned AndrAIa. She and Matrix looked at each other and proudly pointed out the window.

"We're going to live, RIGHT THERE!"

Everyone looked where they were pointing.

"But there isn't anything there."

"There will be soon."

Dot and Bob stared at them. "You mean... you're going to live..."

Matrix and AndrAIa smiled fondly at each other.

"... on the TOR?!"

The End

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