Title: Boys Toys
Disclaimer: Gatchaman is owned by Tatsunoko, and I make no money of this work of fiction. I would, however, like birdies of my own to play with. Please. Pretty Please.
Summary: Change is not necessarily good - especially when the things that you love most get changed!
Dedication: Ste. You've held my hand and cosseted me, listened to my rantings, and been there when I needed. You also inspired my imagination when we brainstormed my ideas about this series.
Joe was purring as he examined himself in the mirror of the bathroom that seemed to take up most of the space in his trailer.
He turned this way and that, a predatory smile on his face as he contemplated his body. It wasn't all bad, this waking up and discovering you'd changed overnight. Of course, he still wasn't as pretty as Ken, but then Joe Asakura had long discovered that girls loved his "bad boy" attitude, and now that he had the body to match - woohoo!
He eased the bracelet on his wrist. It was heavier than his old one, but he would soon get used to that. He frowned at the band next to it. A downer that, to have to go back to the ‘out for revenge loaner' persona, but he could live with that.
Besides, it went with the tattoo he had discovered on his arm.
Yup. The new bod was certainly cooler than the old one. The hair, and he pushed it back from his face, that would take getting used to, but he could do that too.
He wandered out into his trailer and pulled on his ripped jeans, making sure his pendant with the number 2 on it was firmly around his neck.
Another good thing. No stupid numbered shirt! The pendant was much more discreet, and the clothing he could wear was much cooler.
He frowned. The memories. That he was having difficulty with. It was like he had two sets of memories, ones that he knew, that he had lived over the past years, and these new ones.
Memories that said he was younger than he knew he was. That the years spent fighting Galactor had not yet happened. That the people he loved, was closest to, were almost strangers to him. His team mates, and yet, not quite his friends, his family.
The strangest thing was the faces. He could see them in his minds eye, and yet these new memories said that they didn't really look like that.
There was also a nagging feeling, right in the back of his mind, that there was something important about him, something vital, and yet he couldn't remember what it was. His new memories were telling him it had been the residue of a nightmare, and yet, in his core, he knew that whatever it was, it was something that helped to define his own perception of himself.
He raised his wrist to call Ken, and was surprised at the voice that came over. It was Ken, and yet, it wasn't. His own voice, he knew was different, but Ken's wasn't that. He sounded, well, distressed. Panicked.
"Ken? Ken, what's wrong?"
"Has it happened to you, Joe? Are you all different?"
"Yup. Must say, I don't mind the changes."
"Stay away from me, Joe. I'm not in the mood to take your opinions right now."
"Ken, what is wrong?"
Joe heard sounds like Ken was moving around and then all of a sudden he heard a yelp. "Ken? Ken? What the hell is going on?"
"It's a moped, Joe! A damn moped! What do they think I am?"
Joe took a deep breath. Ken sounded hysterical. "What moped, Ken?" He tried to sound patient, encouraging and failed dismally.
"It's bad enough that I look like I do, but my bike's turned into a moped."
"Look like you do?"
"I look like an escapee from a boy band."
Joe couldn't help himself, and started to shout with laughter.
"That's right, Condor. Laugh away. Just you wait."
"I look great." Joe couldn't help it, he just had to rub it in. "Six pack, chiseled features. Real bad boy look."
Joe was giggling now as he imagined Ken on a moped. The Mighty Eagle, feared by all Galactor, tootling around on a moped. "Don't even think about it, Joe. If I find one picture, you're a dead, plucked and BBQ'd Condor."
"Look on the bright side, Ken. They can't have done anything with the plane."
"Oh my god! My plane!" Joe heard running feet and laughed again. Their vehicles were fixed. They couldn't have done anything else with them? Then he looked at himself, and at his trailer.
"Shit!" He sprinted out towards the tarpaulin covered car in front of his trailer ("Tarp? I don't cover my car with a tarp!"). He stopped. It was too low. The whole shape was wrong.
He reached out and twitched the cover off, his face going pale and he dropped to the ground, screaming.
"Joe? Joe? What's wrong? Are you under attack?" This time it was Ken's voice that was anxious. "The Plane's OK, by the way. What's wrong, Joe?"
Joe's answer was a whisper. "My car," he whimpered. "They've changed my car!"