Disclaimer: I do not own Mortal Kombat or any of its characters.

Fire, Ice, and Smoke

Lin Kuei Headquarters, three days later…

Sub-Zero had returned a day before with an unconscious Frost. After their battle with the Deadly Alliance, Frost revealed her true intent to be Grandmaster herself. She managed to take Sub-Zero's Dragon medallion, but could not handle its power and she froze. She would have died if he had not taken back the medallion and reversed the effects. She was unconscious and he carried her back. Now he had to figure out what to do. Punishment wouldn't be enough. She had to truly learn what it meant to be one of the Lin Kuei.

It was at this time that a lightning bolt struck the ground. It was Raiden, the thunder god. Sub-Zero knelt down respectfully before him.

"You and your student have done well. Because of your help, we were able to defeat Quan Chi and Shang Tsung. The Lin Kuei will be well known for this."

"Thank you, Lord Rayden."

"I believe you should know that Scorpion's soul is now at rest."

"Oh?"

"During the battle, his body was destroyed in the Soulnado. However, at a last act, he pulled Quan Chi into it as well, killing him."

So...it is truly over. His quest for vengeance has ended.

"I wish to pay my respects to him."

"May I ask why?"

"We have spent years fighting each other. But even then, he always protected me as well. We never saw anything eye to eye, but we both have suffered enough. It's time to truly make my peace with the specter."

"Very well. I will take you to a portal to the Netherealm."

With that, Rayden grasped the ice ninja's shoulder and they both disappeared in a bolt of lightning.

Shang Tsung's Palace...

The place that was formerly the housing place of the Dragon King's army was now deserted. The lifeless creatures were now gone, removed by the inhabitants of the land. This was also the site of the final battle with Quan Chi and Shang Tsung. From what Sub-Zero learned, Shang Tsung was killed by Kung Lao after he was betrayed by Quan Chi. Quan Chi had learned of Shang's backup plan with Moloch and Drahmin, two creatures of the Netherealm. He managed to kill the two Oni while they were weakened from their battle with Scorpion and then turned on Shang Tsung. Shang fate ended at the bladed hat of Kung Lao.

The ice ninja looked over the ground from his place in the rafters. He saw an area that seemed to shimmer in a green circle, the former place of the Soulnado. In the middle of it was a yellow object. He was about to make his way to it when he heard a slight hissing sound. Sub-Zero saw a gray cloud of smoke hissing out of the crack of the ground. The cloud slowly began to form and take shape. A shape Sub-Zero was all too familiar with.

Smoke.

The form solidified into a machine. A robot of the former Lin Kuei and the first with a soul.

"You can come out, Sub-Zero."

Sub-Zero quietly came out of the rafters and stood next to the cyborg. As his namesake indicated, Smoke had puffs of gray smoke emitting from his body, which was purple in color.

"I figured you would come, Smoke. It's been a while."

Flashback…

It was the time of the second Mortal Kombat tournament. The Lin Kuei decided to send their best warrior to compete as well as to finish the mission to assassinate the sorcerer, Shang Tsung.

"Sub-Zero. Enter."

The ice ninja walked into the chamber of the Grandmaster and bent down before him.

"Sub-Zero. Your mission is to eliminate the sorcerer, Shang Tsung. In order to do so, you will enter the Mortal Kombat tournament."

"Yes Grandmaster."

"Unfortunately, your predecessor was lost in this tournament and we can not afford to lose any more skilled warriors."

My predecessor was also Sub-Zero. My elder brother.

"Therefore, you will be given backup as well. Smoke, enter."

Another ninja walked in, clothed in gray robes as opposed to Sub-Zero's blue. Gray puffs of smoke emitted from his body as he bent down.

"Smoke. Your assignment is to watch over Sub-Zero. You will not be able to aid him during the bouts, but you can stay in the shadows in case another threat presents itself. But you will not openly interfere. This mission is Sub-Zero's, understood?"

"Yes Grandmaster."

"You two may go now."

Later...

As the duo traveled to the island, Sub-Zero regarded his partner. As far as he knows, there was very little knowledge about Smoke. As far as ninja go, they aren't supposed to know or reveal much anyway. However, Smoke was far more mysterious than all the rest of the Lin Kuei. At least they knew about their families, living or not. Sub-Zero himself was the fifth one of his family; A generation of ninja with the power to freeze the vapor around them. But nothing was known about Smoke, his family or even his past. But that is not important. I have to focus on the mission.

"Have something on you mind?"

He was…speaking to me? I turned my head slightly, but Smoke's face was still looking ahead.

"The mission."

"Will this be personal for you?"

I hesitated. Was it? I have my chance to complete my brother's mission and possibly find out what happened to him at the same time. But I couldn't afford it to be personal. I had to stay focus on the mission. That's all.

"No."

He seemed to accept that and stay quiet. I don't know how he can act the way he does. We are around the same age, that much I know. Yet, he seems to act older. Something…authoritative about his demeanor. I wouldn't be surprised if he was one day Grandmaster. But right now, we were on even terms and would have to act that way.

"And what about you?"

Although he didn't show it, I think he was surprised by my remark. I must have hit a nerve.

"Yes and no."

"What kind of answer is that?"

"The only one I can provide."

He said nothing else and we continued on our way. Eventually, we reached the island, the site of the first Mortal Kombat. But that wouldn't be the place. The island was merely a portal for us to enter into Outworld where its ruler, Shao Kahn would personally host and compete in the final battle of the tournament. We reached the portal and it opened before us. As we entered the new realm, the first thing I became aware of was the smell. The stench of blood hovered in the air as we approached the site of the tournament.

"Do not worry. You will not die here. I will make sure of that."

I was surprised. I never expected him to say a thing like that.

"Thank you."

Present…

The cyborg turned his head slightly, "Yes it has, Grandmaster."

"So you know."

"I was there. Your skill against Sektor was remarkable."

"So where have you been?"

"Everywhere. And nowhere."

Sub-Zero shook his head, He hasn't changed. Still answers in riddles.

Smoke bent down to the ground and held up the arm gauntlet.

"It's been almost ten years."

Flashback…

Lin Kuei HQ

"We have decided that you will be one of the candidates for the cybernetic upgrade. You will be converted and your power enhanced through use of cybernetics."

Sub-Zero remained motionless, but inside he was enraged. Me, a machine? That is unacceptable. It's a disgrace to my skills.

"Through this program, you will become the ultimate ninja and the Lin Kuei will flourish once again."

Sub-Zero looked at the Grandmaster with cold eyes (colder than normal) and left the chamber. As he walked, Sub-Zero was deep in thought. I can not allow this to happen. It would disgrace the Lin Kuei. But...I can not defy the Grandmasters orders. I would be marked as a traitor. But is it worth it?

"Sub-Zero."

The voice broke him out of his thoughts.

"Smoke."

Smoke peered at his friend's eyes, "So they told you."

It was a statement, not a question.

"Yes."

"And?"

"It...will help the Lin Kuei."

"Perhaps. But you do not accept it."

Another statement.

"No."

"You know the consequences."

"I am aware."

"So what will you do?"

Sub-Zero hesitated. Should he tell him the truth? He could easily tell the grandmaster and that would be the end of him. No. He is my friend. But still...

"What can I do?"

"Leave."

"Huh?"

"Leave the Lin Kuei."

"But..."

"I will go with you."

Sub- Zero face showed surprise and Smoke continued, "There is no honor in giving up your life for mere power. I have no intention of becoming an automaton."

Sub-Zero blinked, "You too?"

Smoke nodded.

"Fine. We'll leave."

"Yes. And hope that we can survive long enough for the Lin Kuei to realize their mistake."

Present…

"But they didn't, didn't they? Instead, they captured you and changed you. And I am to blame for that."

"I've already told you. This wasn't your doing. There is no honor in giving up your life for mere power. But for the life of a friend, that is the greatest honor."

The remained quiet and Smoke looked at the gauntlet. A yellow scorpion inscribed on it.

"If only he knew."

Flashback…

Sub- Zero stepped on the bridge to face his opponent. The warrior was one of Outworld grisly mutants. In fact, this one was one of the mutants from Baraka's group. Like Baraka, his arms were decked with wickedly sharp blades.

"Round! Fight!"

Immediately, the mutant charged. Sub-Zero remained motionless until the last second and ducked the charge. His fist now clenched, Sub-Zero gave the creature a powerful uppercut, causing him to hit the ground hard. However, the creature was not so easily bested and rolled upward on the ground. It charged again, but this time it stopped short and jumped. Sub-Zero managed to roll around the mutant jumped and hit him from the back. But the mutant recovered again and slashed out, cutting a part of Sub-Zero's garb. The creature came again and Sub-Zero began to gather the cold around him. When it was enough, he shot a blast of ice at the ground. The mutant was caught and began to slip on the slick floor and Sub-Zero hit him with a roundhouse kick. Now the mutant was enraged. In a fury he came again, swiping at Sub-Zero in a frenzy of slashes. Sub-Zero avoided them for the most part, but then the mutant slashed at him and severed one of the ropes of the bridge. Has he lost his mind? As in answer to that, the creature continued, not caring that he just cut the rope. The next swipe maneuvered Sub-Zero into the second rope. In a sadistic grin, the mutant raised his blades high, ready to strike down. Sub-Zero had to stop him from cutting the ropes. Quickly, Sub-Zero dodged the blade as they came down on him. At the same time, he gathered another surge of energy and hit the mutant, freeing him still. Unfortunately, the mutant's blades had already come down on the second rope and it snapped. The bridge snapped underneath and both fighters fell down. Thinking fast, Sub- Zero focused his energy. A swirl of cold energy formed and Sub- Zero pointed his hands downward. The cold energy hit the ground and solidified into a long ice-pole. Sub-Zero grabbed hold and slid down the pole, landing hard on the ground, but still alive, which was more than he could say about his opponent whose body had burst all over the ground. Sub- Zero looked at the carcass without a hint of emotion on his face. However, his eyes did move in another direction. He felt...something. Someone was there.

"So you are still alive after all."

Sub- Zero turned around. Behind him was another ninja, dressed similarly to him except that he was colored yellow. But what grabbed Sub- Zero's attention were the stranger's eyes. They were blank, completely white, with no pupils or eyeballs at all. Could this be...him? So the rumors were true. Then that means...this is...Scorpion.

"You will die now, Lin Kuei."

Instantly, Scorpion disappeared and reappeared behind Sub-Zero. Sub- Zero turned as Scorpion attacked with a high punch. Sub-Zero ducked it and flipped back. Scorpion then let his hand down and a metal harpoon extended out. Scorpion flung the weapon and Sub-Zero dodged it, but Scorpion pulled it back and it wrapped around Sub-Zero's neck, hooking him at the other end.

"Get over here!"

Scorpion pulled and Sub-Zero was forced to follow. When he got close enough, he grabbed Sub-Zero by his neck and slowly began to crush it. Sub-Zero struggled against the vice grip.

"Guhhhhhhhh."

I must...remain...calm.

Sub-Zero's hands began to bristle with cold energy. Scorpion looked down to see the cold form and quickly released him before Sub-Zero could get it to deep freeze level. Sub-Zero grasped the harpoon and froze it, causing it to shatter and fall from his neck. Looking up, he saw that Scorpion had disappeared. Instinctively, Sub-Zero rolled just as a leg flew out of nowhere. Twisting back, he kicked the specter in the chest, backing him off. Sub-Zero continued his offense with a double kick, pushing him further. Sub-Zero then lashed out a punch, but Scorpion managed to catch it and flipped him to the ground. Sub-Zero landed hand, but kicked up before Scorpion could capitalize. Sub-Zero rolled up and summoned the icy energy again. Scorpion rolled just as it shot out and it froze the boulder behind him. Scorpion then leapt up and kicked out. Sub-Zero blocked and punched out, hitting Scorpion straight in the face. But the specter recovered quickly and punched back. Sub-Zero rolled again and Scorpion sent out...another spear! The spear was off-target, but Scorpion had it spin around a nearby tree and wrapped Sub-Zero against. Scorpion pulled and Sub-Zero was being crushed.

"Ugggggggghhhh."

Scorpion began to tighten it even more and Sub-Zero was being crushed by the rope of the spear. Sub-Zero began to black out.

Swwoooooooooo!!!!

Sub-Zero then barely felt the pressure ease off of him and eventually disappear. His body slumped to the ground and he didn't move for awhile. He was able to discern sounds of fighting, but what he remembered was that last moment before he blacked out. Scorpion was about to finish him when he let go to avoid the point...of another spear. One that wasn't Scorpion's.

It was Smoke.

Present…

"I've known since that day. The weapon you used was exactly the same as his. I figured that you were like me. The powers are generational."

"Yes. When I was taken into the Lin Kuei, many were confused and even feared me because my techniques were similar to the Shinrai Ryu clan. I managed to reform it so that it was an actually power rather than a mere weapon. My father must have had the same technique which is why he was so deadly."

"Yeah. But you still saved me. Three times. I owe you a lot."

"No. You paid that debt when you restored my soul."

Flashback…

"Smoke? Is that you?"

Sub-Zero was in the subway under the city which was under Shao Kahn's control. Unfortunately, he was now faced off with a purple cyborg. One that he recognized.

"Target Sub-Zero located. Preparing to terminate."

Too bad the machine didn't share that recognition.

Smoke jumped at Sub-Zero, leg extended. Sub-Zero dodged and Smoke landed and snapped his leg out in the same instant. Sub-Zero blocked the blow, but was pushed back by its power. Sub-Zero rolled and slid on the ground, tripping the machine. He then ran at him and punched him and followed up with and elbow, another punch, and three roundhouse kicks. Smoke hit the ground hard, but the cyber-ninja simply sat up. Sub-Zero quickly shot an ice blast, freezing Smoke in his place. He stood over the machine, ready to finish him. But he hesitated and stopped.

What are you doing? Finish him. He's just a soulless machine.

Sub-Zero gripped the cyborg's head, ready to rip it right off. But he found himself unable to do so.

Even if he is a soulless machine, he's still my friend. I can't do it.

With this in mind, Sub-Zero ran toward the stairs. But he suddenly heard a whistling and jumped back before a missile smashed into him, exploding on the stairs before him and destroying it. Sub-Zero got up and looked as a red form jumped down the destroyed stairs and stood before him.

"Target Sub-Zero located. Preparing to terminate."

Sektor attacked with a flying kick, hitting Sub-Zero squarely on the chest. Rising up, he saw Smoke standing up beside him. He noticed that sparks were coming out of parts of him, but he was still battle ready. How am I going to get through this? I can't fight two of them at the same time. I barely survived the fight with Cyrax. He then noticed Smoke seeming to flinch and twitch. Sektor stood before Sub-Zero and a device opened on his arm. A flame thrower.

"Terminating."

Swwwoooooooo!!!!!

Suddenly, a trident ejected out of the front of Sektor. Sektor turned to follow the spear to its source. It was Smoke. Sub-Zero looked at him wide-eyed.

"Sub- Zero, run!"

Sub-Zero barely processed the information before he realized that Smoke was holding Sektor back.

"Run now!"

Sub-Zero blinked and then ran toward the destroyed stairs, already summoning the cold energy. As he reached them, he shot his hands out, creating a path up the stairs. He took a look back to see Smoke and Sektor grappling with each other.

Run.

Sub-Zero shut his eyes and continued forward, running down the street. As he did, an immense explosion sounded behind him. Hiding in the shadows, he looked back. There was no sign of either cyborg, just flames and ...smoke. Sub-Zero pondered this possibility, but cut it short. The elimination squads will be coming. I must get away.

Present…

"I'm sorry."

"Stop apologizing for things you have no reason to. The truth is that I owe you."

The black gauntlet suddenly began to shimmer and flare to life. Smoke looked as the flames began to surround him. Sub-Zero moved back as the fire swarmed around Smoke. But strangely, Smoke didn't seem harmed by the flames and they touched and attached to his metallic body. Soon, his entire body was engulfed in flame and Sub-Zero could only see a shadow of him. The shadow then began to change, becoming less like before and more...human? The fire then began to die and Sub-Zero's eyes widened in shock. Smoke was clothed in a garment similar to Scorpion's, except it was gray. The hood and mask covered over his face the same way too. Wait? His face? His face...and body. Smoke was human.

"How? What...happened?"

Smoke was in utter shock as he examined his hands. Human fingers. Smoke then removed his hood and mask and ran his hands over his face and hair. Skin, not metal. He then checked his arms. There, fitted on his right arm, was the black gauntlet. The scorpion symbol seemed to glow a bit as he looked.

"Smoke. You're...you again."

"Yes. The gauntlet...restored me."

Sub-Zero looked at the gauntlet, "It would seem that even though he is no more, Scorpion's spirit lives on in you."

Smoke took in his words, "That...that...I don't know what to say." His face then became solid and he put the mask and hood back on and bowed to Sub-Zero.

"I am Smoke, of the Lin Kuei. My services are yours, Grandmaster."

Sub-Zero gave a slight look of puzzlement before his face turned serious as well.

"Very well. Rise, Lin Kuei warrior."

Smoke stood up and even though he couldn't see, Sub-Zero could tell that his friend was smiling underneath the mask.

"Actually, I have an assignment for you."

"What is it?"

"I want you to help train one of my students. She has potential, but is too ambitious. I want you to help teach her some humility."

"Very well. Who is she?"

"Frost."

(AN: A little side story to the previous fic, but just as important. I personally believe that Smoke should have been in more of the MK's. I hope they make another and bring him back. He is my personal favorite.)