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If You Weren't...-

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"Alittledustinghere-" Rev races through the living room with a half empty bag of coffee filters and some windex that's got about a centimeter of liquid left sloshing in the bottle.

"alittlewindexthere-" A mist of the glass cleaner falls over Duck's piece of free pizza, curtesy of the recently saved pizzaria owner, leaving a foul look on the narcissist's face.

"abitofrearrangingtotheleft-" Rev shoves a game chair over into a corner before placing a perfectly folded quilt over the back.

A quick trip to the kitchen has Rev freaking out, spastically scrubbing what little single celled organisms that were on any plates in the cupbourds to a quick santitizing death, "CANANYONEELSERUNTHEDISHWASHER?!?!?!"

"Rev, what's the rush? Dig in." Lexi coaxes gently, holding up a particularly spinach overloaded slice of pie.

"Sorry.Can't!Notime,Gottacleanup.Gottagetorganized!"He garbles as he frantically nitpicks at every possible little imperfection in the HQ living quarters. Even going so far as to brush Tech's teeth and harshly swab Ace's ears. Which earns him a glare from their leader and a raised eyebrow from the coyote.

"Gottagetya'llreadyforvisitorswhoaremakingasurprisevisitasofthreeminutesago.I'm-sorry-for-not-telling-you-but-they're-always-like-this. Andtheywillbehereanysecondnow." Rev stutters, brushing Slam's hair with a fork as he wipes Duck down with a coffee filter in his frazzled state of mind.

Ding-dong

"WhichwouldbE-tHiSsEcOnD!" Rev meeps, sprinting to the door and holding his speed back just enough to make sure he doesn't catch the carpet on fire.

But when Rev opens the door he's greeted by a tornado of feathers, swirling around him almost as quickly as Taz's own powers with the three bodies combined. "THEREHEIS!How'sthatsonofminewhowehaven'tseeninsuchalonglongwhilewithoutseeinghim.Butwe'refinallyseeinghimnowinhisnewdigswherehehangshisfeathers."

And just as suddenly as the spinning whirlpool of birds started, it's stopped. And there standing before the team is what they never expected, but in all honesty, felt like they should have. "Ohthesemustbethenewcrimefightinggroupourfinefeatheredboyhastoldusabout! I'mRalphRunnerandthisisHarriet, justcallusMa&PaRunner. AndthisisourothersonRip."

"Heeeeeeeeey." Rip nods at them, his speech is a lot easier to understand than the whirlwind tongues of his family.

"WOW!Settledownson, letthegrownupsgetawordinedgewise!-" Pa Runner chastizes, patting his son's crown of feathers down a little heavy handedly. But the aroma sends him into a sort of feeding frenzy.

"AndIseeyou'veorderedPIZZA, whichIlove, especiallywiththoselitttledelicioussesameseeds-" Not able to help himself, Pa Runner helps himself to the pizza, or should it be said, just the toppings on every slice.

Lexi and Ace share a grossed out look as they keep up their smiling even though they're cringing on the inside for Rev.

"Itissogoodtoseeyouagainhoney, butIshouldscoldyoufornotcallingme, butjustlookatyou, you'rejustfeathersandbones!" Ma Runner nags, poking and pinching at every little fault she can find in Rev's uniform. even slicking back his feathers with a wet saliva covered hand. "Youneedtoeatmorelikeyourfather, nowthere'samanwithanapetite! Youshouldcomehomeandeatwithyoufamilyonceinawhileyouknow! OhandlookatthatPizza! OhbutIcouldn't, butmaybeIshould! Butmaybejustasliver! Abit!Abite!Asmudge!Asmidgen!" And then she's joining her husband in gorging herself.

"AAAH! My brain is melting! There's a whole FAMILY of them!" Duck yells overdramatically, disgust written clear on his face, "I'm checking into a hotel."

"A-folks-I-think-you-need-to-slow-down-just-a-little-bit-for-their-sakes-ok?" Rev requests, handing his mother a napkin. She nods her head as she daintily dabs at her mouth beforre rushing over to the only other woman in the room.

"NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Toooooooooooooooo MEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEt YOOooooUUUUUUUUU!" His mother says, her mouth twitching at the uncomfortable amount of time it's stayed in one oval shape.

"O-Kaay-not-quite-that-slow-Ma." Rev grimaces from the sidelines.

"How-are-ya-nice-ta-meet'cha. Don't-tell-me-I'm-really-good-with-names. Mace!" Pa Runner zooms over, shaking Ace's hand much to Ace's confusion.

"Alexis." Lexi almost yells in outrage, but thinks better of it and shuts her mouth with a click of her teeth.

"Spam!" Slam shakes his hand enthusiastically, but blinks and scratches his head for a moment.

"Dork!" Pa Runner nearly lifts Duck up with swing.

"Oh-yeah-and-the coyote." Pa Runner sweeps his hand back swiftly avoiding the willing hand Tech had held out, not judging Rev's family's quirks for a second.

But it seems judging was the other way around this time.

Ma Runner rushes forward, grasping her husbands arm with a tense grin on her face, "oh dear, he meant no offense."

Tech narrows his eyes at the father of his best friend. Prejudices still held even to this day, Rev new that. The team had even had situations where they had to rescue less than willing citizens who would much rather beat them up with their words rather than sing their praises. He knew his Pa was narrow-minded, but he didn't think it would be this much.

"Pa-this-is-Tech, my-best-friend. Me-and-him-have-saved-each-other's-hides-more-times-than-we-can-count." Rev zooms to Tech's aid, grabbing his shoulder and turning him around. Rev can feel the vibrations of a deep but quiet growl run through Tech, his canines on full display, something Rev knew his Pa could never see if he hoped for Tech and his family to be on good terms.

"He didn't mean it Tech. I'm sorry, he just has Coyote issues." Rev furvently whispers.

Tech huffs, shaking Rev off his shoulder, "I should get back to work." Tech looks back at the man who's currently looking at him with outright disgust.

"Before I accidentally decide to eat your Ma and Pa."

Rev's eyes bug out in alarm as Tech stomps away. The rest of the team choose this moment to make their escape as well.

Before he can even slam the door on the happy family reunion Pa Runner is already next to his son and Ma Runner is wiping a sanitary wipe over his clothes.

"Now-son-let's-talk-about-you-joining-the-family-business." Pa Runner grasps his sons arm, crushing him to his side with white knuckles.

"No-but-Pa-I'm-a-crime-fighter! Not-a-gadget-salesman, let-Rip-help-you-out!" Rev jumps back. He knew this conversation was going to happen, as it was always brought up, no matter how many times he declined his father. And his poor overlooked little brother, who came up with some of the best business ideas and second best gadget designs he's ever heard of, the best being Tech of course. But Rip got brushed over everytime they were in a room together, which was one of the reasons, one of the many reasons he moved out in the first place.

"Rip? Ohno,businessisnoaplaceforaslacker!" Pa Runner declines.

Rev wanted to calm the headache growing behind his temples. His father, Ralph Runner, was a man who sold machinery of any kind to those who would pay for it, many of which were in the medical field, especially in the neuroscience department. But still he denied the existence of Bradykinesia. Rip was diagnosed with it in 3rd grade after he got knocked out by a baseball straight to the side of his head in a little leagues game. Yes, he was rather slow in road runner terms, but for any other species that didn't actively have a heart rate of 6 beats per second, Rip's speed was perfectly NORMAL. His father called him lazy, when it was a medical condition that dictated Rip just couldn't move as fast as his healthy and heavy weight father.

Rip stood behind his father and in front of his brother, a hateful glare was directed at Rev in that moment. And honestly, Rev couldn't blame him.

"There he goes again. I am soooo out of here." Rip mutters, turning away and walking out the front door, much to the displeasure of Ma Runner.

"BoytalkssoslowIcanbarelyunderstandhim!" His father grouses.

Rev rolls his eyes at that.

"NowsonIknowyou'vealwaysbeenexceptionalonwhateveryousetyoursightsondoingbut- tsk-savingtheworldisadeadendjob." Runner nags.

Ma Runner slides snuggly into her husband's side, magicing a wad of cash out of her purse in the same motion. "Hereyougoson, justalittlesomethingtotideyouoveruntilyournextpaycheck."

"Payche-we-don't-get-paid-Ma." Rev murmurs, feeling the oncoming, increasing pain in his skull that that statements going to bring on.

"ugh! WhatdidItellya! Volunteer Work!" Pa Runner berates, Rev already walking down the hallway, the sooner he got the tour over with the sooner his family would leave, "SoI'mguessingthefamilybusinessisjustbeneathyounowisit?"

****************************************

And last on the list of where to lead his overly handsy father, is Tech's lab. He can already hear future arguements now.

"And-this-is-Tech's-lab. But-whatever-you-do, do NOT! and-I-mean DO NOT touch-anything-in-here. Tech-forgets-to-turn-the-safety-on-most-of-his-toys-when-he's-working-on-them-and-I-don't-want-to-know-what-errands-he'll-make-me-do-to-turn-you-back!" Rev mutters the last part quietly.

Pa Runner looks at it all in awe, striding over to the worktable Tech's tinkering at as slow as Rev has ever seen him,"Well-speakin-of-gadgets!" And what does he do?

The one thing Rev told him NOT to do.

"WAIT DON'T TOUCH-!" Tech yells, holding his hands away, but too late.

"SweetMeepMeep!" Pa Runner is shot with the gun, shrinking before their very eyes. Ma Runner is plucking out her feathers as she bends over to look at her husband. Rev looks at his father, then at the gun, and then at his friend. The only one he knows that could reverse what his stupid father did to himself.

Tech sighs at those pretty green eyes, flipping the switch and pressing the same button that had caused this madness. Ralph Runner was lucky Tech had been nearly finished with the gun before he had pressed that button or his atoms would have popped from the shrinking without the dampener he had finished installing. But he was luckier still that he had a soft spot for his son, otherwise knocking the obnoxious road runner down a peg or two would be largely exagerated an expression in this case, and likely long lasting, as long as Tech was entertained by Ralph Runner's size.

"WoW-Ho-Ho-YEAH! Sweet MeepMeep! This-place-is-a-gold-mine-of-gadgets! I-mean-not-bad-for-a-coyote-. Hmmmmm-so-how-much-for-one-of-these-babies?" Ma Runner is swatting her husband's hand before he can blink, having already seen him shrink once she's not going to take her son's warning lightly. Rubbing the smarting pain, Pa Runner turns to Tech in askance, all business now with nearly all of his disdain for the coyote hidden behind his smile.

Tech crosses his arms, if the man couldn't even follow such a simple instruction as to not touch, he wasn't going to be liable for any mess Ralph Runner was going to get himself, or anybody else, in with his inventions. Keeping in mind the fact that most all of his babies were meant for violence in the name of peace and highly dangerous in anyones hands let alone someone who'd likely buy it off the road runner with malevolent intent and little to no training.

"My inventions are NOT for sale."

Ralph's grin spreads, either enjoying the challenge of bartering, annoyed in the fact that he was going to have to lower himself to barter with a coyote, or a bit of both if Tech were to take a guess. "I-see-playin-hard-ball. But-I-can-play-hard-ball-too! 70/30 split-that's-my-final-offer."

Tech got better offers than that just to tutor genius's at the university, "No."

"I-meant-65/35."

A 5% difference? This was what he thought was bartering? "No way."

"60/40?"

Tech starting to feel a little better about this now. "Not today."

"55/45!"

And boy was he enjoying rubbing his denial in this man's face. "I've got to go~"

"54/46-"

Tech turns with a smug smirk. "See ya~"

"52/48?"

He waves behind him, mile wide grin of triumph hidden, and trusting Ma Runner and Rev to smooth the feathers he'd just ruffled. "I'm gone~"

Pa Runner grunts in anger after Tech leaves, business facade gone in a blink. Rev sighs, "Pop, he's really not interested. Not-only-that, some-of-his-stuff-Tech-can't-even-legally-sell-you-because-they're-not-finished-or-the-gorvernment-has-outlawed-it's-comercial-use. Any-malfunction-from-one-of-these-could-likely-level-a-city."

Ralph Runner was many things, and one of them was petty, "WellIthinktheCoyotehas-Road-Runner-issues."

"Paaa-if-you-want-a-gadget-so-bad-why-don't-you-look-at-what-I've-been-working-on!" Rev tries, fighting his stubborn old man never ended well. But the art of changing the subject was one that had become vital early in his life because of him.

******************************

"What's-this?" Ralph asks, eyes lighting up at the small dismantled robot on the table.

Rev chuckles nervously, tapping his fingers together sheepishly, "It's-a-Roboamigo."

Rev always new his father would want whatever he had to offer. Being the genius son and never being able to do anything wrong in his fathers eyes was both a blessing and a curse in and of itself. "Now-we're-talking!"

"That old scrap? He's been working on that thing forever." Duck slaps it's head clear across the table. Rev grabs it before Duck can put another dent in it via the fall to the floor, silently seething Yeah, I have, because you and Slam like to play soccer with it's head whenever I leave the room unsupervised.

"We'll-finish-it-back-at-home-together-just-like-the-old-days!" Pa Runner cackles happily, petting Rev's crown of feathers with tender care. Something he distinctly hated his father doing.

"hmmm-well-I'd-really-like-to-but-I-have-important crime fighting duties... here." Rev rejects, looking to Duck and Ace for help.

Duck started playing with the detached metal arm on the table completely ignoring Rev at this point and being more of a nuicense than anything close to help.

"No sweat Rev! Spend some time with your family!" Shit.

"If any end of the world crissis comes up... we'll give you a buzz." I should have known better than to count on Duck the self-absorbed and Ace the mother hen of the gang seeing as his own sister couldn't get away from him and Duck has the attention span of a squirrel.

******************************

A few days at his parents house was driving Rev up the wall. With his pop's constant hovering and praise and his cold shoulder to Rip any time his little brother so much as opened his mouth, Rev was ready to strangle his old man.

And then he added the time constraint, thinking Rev's the stuff of miracles he'd be able to magic up a working interactive a.i. in the span of a few weeks, alone.

"Super-speed-won't-help-me-make-this-work-but-there-maybe-a-certain-Tech-genius-who-can~!"

******************************

"Ohpleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasehelpmemakemypopproud, becauseI'veneverlethimdown, andIcan'tdoitalonewithoutasupergeniustohelpmefinish. AndbythewaydidItellyouhowsharpyoulooktoday??"

"Ok, ok!" Tech blushes at the compliment, even though he's wearing what he's always wearing since a new crisis could happen at any time. Tech calms himself, "Since you're admitting you're out of your league, I'll help. But... what about your dad and his" Tech waggled his eyebrows and quoted in the air, "Coyote Issues?"

Rev had already prepared for that one, "Weeeeeell, I-told-them-you're-a-vegetarian, so-if they-offer-you-birdseed... go along with it?"

Tech sighed as he looked at the emerald-eyed bird begging at his feet. He never could deny Rev.

*******************************

"Itdoesn'tfeelright,himbeinghere,evenifheisavegetarian."

"Oh-he-just-wants-to-learn-from-the-best, right-Tech?" Rev chuckles nervously, his high pitch giggling going unacknowledged in favor of eyeballing the sweat running down his face as he was lying through his gritted teeth.

"That's riiiiight~! And the best is definitely in the room." Tech snarked. But Ralph Runner seemed to be impervious to sarcasm.

"Well! I'm-glad-to-see-a-coyote-who-knows-his-limitations!"

Rev wrung his hands and changed the subject quickly after that. Because when Rev saw Tech's face as his father walked away he was restraining himself from turning around and slapping his own father. But Tech? Tech looked like he was ready to go through with that threat he had made jokingly, when he'd unfortunately made the aquantance of Ralph Runner. And the snarl that Tech made when he knew Rev's Pa was out of earshot.

Although Rip still was and he just shook his head. "He's a stubborn old ass, don't really blaming you for leaving Rev, Dad's a dick on the best of days. Just ignore him Tech-y, best way to deal with him."

*******************************

The work was difficult, Rev's finger's ached from the tiny cogs and chains he'd had to pinch and the constant turning of the small screwdrivers he'd had to use.

Even Tech was impressed with Rev's tenacity. Although Rev botched a few things, had him jump off the cliff a few times, the damn thing the Runner family had annoyingly been perched precariously on for generations and electrocuted him so badly it took a few minutes to regenerate, Tech was proud of his partner, even if his father wouldn't be.

The reveal was simple, and Harriet and Ralph even patted Tech on the back. Which was a step forward in his books even if they took out sanitizer wipes once they thought they were out of his sight.

But what really made it worth it?

Was the blinding grin on Rev's face, he seemed almost revitalized by his family's praises.

*******************************

Pa inviting Rev into the family office and denying Rip was the straw that broke the camel's back. Rip was done with them.

"Super speed, super inventor, super salesman... I'm super sick and tired of it!" Rip grouches on the couch, throwing the remote across the room. It knocks over Rev's bag and something catches Rip's eyes.

"Hmm... what's this?"

*******************************

And just when everything was going good, something went wrong. Rev didn't believe it until he saw his and Tech's invention eating it's eyes out.

*********************************

"pleasePLeaseplEAAASEpleasepLeAsE,PLLEEEEEEEEEASEdon't-make-me-beg!" Rev cries, latching onto Tech's leg like a child being difficult when it's parent was dropping them off at daycare.

"uh, you are begging." Coyote huffs in annoyance, eyes rolling, even though he felt a bit smug in the fact that Rev was coming to him, the coyote, likely behind his father's back, which irked him a little bit, but Rev came to HIM just the same.

"Then-please-make-me-Stoooooop!" Rev pleads, eyes tearing up as desperation tears his heart apart. The family business was all his family had to fall on in hard times, and times kept getting harder with every destructive diabolical scheme that accompanied every new villain that sprung up out of the wood work like an annoying rough patch you could never sand down.

"OK, OK! But only because I want to know how something I designed malfunctioned this badly." Coyote placates, patting the crown of fluffy red down that Rev kept rubbing against his thigh. His main reason going unsaid But only because you asked for my help. Indecent thoughts kept popping into his head lately, and with Rev innocently doing things that did not equate to innocent in his filthy mind, Tech was finding it hard to restrain himself from pouncing. If it was your dad then I'd have said no.

"Thankyou!thaaaaaaaankyouTECH!!!Ifyouweren'tacoyoteora-guy-I'dkissya!!!!!" Rev exclaims, dropping Tech's leg in favor of squeezing Tech's organs into mush with a bone crushing hug and then racing off without even a glance back at the broken hope in Tech's golden eyes as he stared after Rev's dust trail.

"Then lucky for me, I'm both." Tech whispers, a soft red feather that had come loose still sticking to his hand. Tech spins it between his fingers, eyeing the small silky fibers that latched so seemlesly together like a zipper. A small imperfection near the end catches his eye. But oh so fragile, one little tear... One of his own nails gleams deadly sharp as a small bit of light reflects off of it's smooth surface. And it's irreparable.

Tech sighs, going to one of his white boards to distract his mind with the possible bugs his invention might be causing so many cases of deadly recalls. Clutching onto the small seemingly insignificant problem rather than drowing himself in his love life problems, or lack there of.