A/N: So...I've been playing a little game called Nier: Automata since its release date on March 7th, like many others...and pretty much had my mind blown by just how amazing it ended up being as an experience. (Technically I'm not through with that experience since I'm still playing, but I digress.) Anyway, I adore 2B and 9S. Their interactions were charming, hilarious at times, and just...oh don't get me started. To put it simply, I want to write a lot of little stories for these two and this one I've been working on for the last week and a half will be my first entry. I hope you guys will enjoy it.

Secondary note: This story is going to be roughly...three to four chapters long in length. I could have made it one giant one-shot, but...I doubt you guys would want to read something that's 10,000 to 12,000 words in one sitting. (And besides, more chapters equals more potential for reviews. Yes, I am shameless. Haha!)

Regular font: Normal narrative/speech

Italics: Thoughts/memories/emphasis

Disclaimer: Nier: Automata is the property of Yoko Taro, Platinum Games, and Square Enix. This fanfiction is was made for entertainment purposes only. Enjoy!


Machines are the enemy. Never forget that.

YoRHa Unit 9S repeated the words of his comrade, YoRHa Unit 2B, like a mantra in his mind following a particularly grueling mission in which he was forced to hack into the memory data of a grotesque machine songstress. Ironically, that machine's sole goal was to attain beauty, an illusory human concept rendered meaningless by the continuous warfare throughout the ages.

The songstress had committed all manner of sins in her quest, including but not limited to devouring her own kind, while wearing the bodies of androids executed by her mechanical hands.

A disgusting creature like that deserved death.

Still...

What was the motivation behind those actions? What meaning did beauty hold for this machine?

As a combat unit, 2B wasn't one to ask a lot of questions. An enemy was an enemy, so in hindsight, whatever their supposed reasons may be, it held no meaning for her. Everything that lives is designed to end; therefore, machine lifeforms who dared to stand before her with weapons raised would meet their end by the pristine blade she carried.

9S, however, is one of the scanner models of YoRHa, and a curious one at that. Thus, he questioned things more thoroughly than 2B dared to, primarily as a means of reconnaissance but also to satisfy a genuine interest in machine functionality.

Of course, this time had been an entirely different matter altogether.

Upon hacking the data of the machine songstress, 9S found himself flooded with a multitude of thoughts he knew weren't his own. Clearly the machine's memory data had poured into his system, granting him access to words and images from various moments in time.

Piecing them together, 9S discovered the story behind the brutal adversary. Her tale was one of unrequited love, rejection, and sorrow.

He never looks my way. He never looks my way. He never looks my way.

That was another thought he kept hearing over and over.

9S deduced the despair emanating from the memory data was merely an imitation of human emotion the alien technology had observed at some point. After all, machines didn't have real feelings...

Even so, the scanner model did feel sorry for the machine, to the point where it showed. It was why 2B chided him in the first place.

Machines are the enemy. Never forget that.

He hadn't forgotten; however, lately he felt as if he were losing sight of the truth both of them knew.

The downward spiral started with Pascal and his village of peaceful machines, who had themselves cut off from the network in which the rest of the machines operated. Thus, with the severed connection, the machines residing there lived quiet lives behind carefully protected barriers.

At the same time, Pascal often worked with Anemone, leader of the Android Resistance, engaging in trade where both parties greatly benefited.

For 9S, the idea of machines and androids having a harmonious relationship with one another was so jarring that he outright refused to believe it, even going so far as to suspect the village leader of foul play at one point, but eventually the suspicion ebbed away into general wariness as he found himself working alongside 2B on various tasks aiding the machine residents.

It was a surreal feeling, helping machines...their sworn enemies.

The wariness dissolved shortly after the suspicion died, and when 9S couldn't get answers from the Commander about A2, a rogue YoRHa unit he and 2B had come across, he went to Pascal for assistance without any hesitation at all.

2B had chided him about that as well, but complimented him seconds later, calling his curiosity admirable before reminding him once more of the truth.

Machines are the enemy. Never forget that.

She said those words often enough, but 9S wasn't sure whether or not he was the only one she was directing those words to.

Something was changing. He could feel it but couldn't properly decipher what was happening to either of them.

And though 9S was usually the one to accept the tasks offered to them, it was 2B who put more effort into them, conducting herself in a far kinder manner than when the two of them were first assigned to gather data on Earth together.

Granted she was still sterile and cold towards him half the time, but even that was lessening now. She came so close to calling him by his nickname the other day...

...

Today the two androids were playing escort to a tall machine, who dubbed herself the Little Sister Machine since she had no actual name to go by. There were no active missions from the Bunker or from the Resistance Camp, so 9S had volunteered his and 2B's services.

Not his best idea...

The tall machine girl kept asking him questions about humans and seemed particularly interested in what makes children...a concept neither 9S or 2B were willing to explain.

Apparently, both of them discovered what it means to find themselves in an awkward situation and were very happy to fight off any hostile machines gracious enough to interrupt the conversation.

When all three of them returned to the village, the Big Sister Machine-who was tiny mind you-was so delighted and relieved that she rewarded the two androids with items worth ten thousand G, and two ribbons resembling the ones both machines wore around their heads. 2B thanked them for the gifts, smiling softly at them without a hint of hesitance.

And right there was another change in 2B's attitude. A week ago she had bitten his head off about how gifts were a useless ritual then followed up with, "It's rude to give a person something without their permission. What if they don't want it?"

9S remembered trying to explain it was more about the feeling behind a gift than the gift itself, but she responded with a line she often used when annoyed with him.

Feelings are prohibited.

And yet now, she was actively accepting a gift from machines, the very creatures responsible for their endless days of fighting, with a look of pure bliss on her face.

The sight was so strange, unnatural even, and yet...

Uncomfortable, 9S departed from the village ahead of 2B, though it didn't take her any effort to catch up to him.

"Something wrong?"

The scanner model answered by stretching his arms over his head. "I'm fine, but man was that tiresome."

He could hear 2B's light footfalls a short distance behind him as well as her scoff. "You really need to work on your whining habits."

"Whining!? I'm not whining!"

A light, almost inaudible chuckle filled the air around them, surprising 9S on a whole other level when he realized his comrade was the one making the sound. "Yes you are."

Though slightly peeved at her wrongful assessment of his comments, he figured he shouldn't argue. He rather hear her laugh than for her to be totally silent as she tended to be when they traveled from place to place. Maybe the two of them could actually have a normal conversation for once.

"We're soldiers," he told her jokingly, faking a rebuttal to her previous statement. "We take pride in our service."

9S was hoping to hear her soft chuckling again, but when the footfalls behind him came to a sudden halt, he stopped also.

"2B?"

"I..."

At her lack of a response, 9S moved to face his fellow soldier and for the first time in a very long while, took a moment to truly study her.

Lean and tall, 2B stood with her gloved hands clenched tightly by her sides, and while her stance had become completely rigid, the skirt of the black YoRHa uniform she wore swayed lightly in the breeze along with the ends of the short, platinum-colored hair framing her face.

The black-out visor, a mandatory accessory for all combat and scanner units, prevented 9S from seeing her eyes. He could see everything else easily despite the covering on his face, yet 2B's eyes were entirely blocked from his sight.

But he had seen them once, so he knew they were blue, like the eternally blue sky so high above them.

Often he wondered why hiding their eyes from one another was such a big deal, or to a point, why the "blindfolds" were necessary. The covering neither aided or hindered their ability to see.

Perhaps it had to do with the rule prohibiting expressions of emotion, but 9S decided not to speculate upon the idea. It was a thought to ponder on at another time and place, but not now.

Besides, even without a view of 2B's eyes, he could still read the expression on her face.

Her nose was crinkled slightly, while her lips...

Her lips...

Suddenly, 9S found himself unable to properly focus on anything else but on the perfectly shaped, peach-colored mouth slowly pressing into a thin line.

From that alone he knew he had upset her deeply in some way, but this fact didn't really register properly. He felt as if his mind were short circuiting or something, and the rise in his heart rate didn't help matters, for he could feel the artificial organ beating against his chest in a relentless, almost painful rhythm.

"What in the world is going on with me?"

Luckily, something else caught his attention, drawing away his focus from 2B's delicate yet intense frown.

"Is that..." He stuttered, still shaking off the effects of whatever had happened to him before. "You're wearing the ribbon Big Sister Machine gave you?"

2B's mouth parted, clearly shocked back into reality by the sudden question directed toward her, which caused 9S to wonder just what it was she had been thinking about.

Keeping her tone neutral, she answered him as nonchalantly as possible.

"I decided to put it on."

The wind shifted into another direction, showcasing how the conversation had taken a turn as the branches of the trees encircling them shook, creating a distant hum of sound. A few leaves separated from those same branches, drifting to the dirt path they stood on like petals.

Standing in silence once more, 9S took another moment to study his partner, noting the care she had taken to tie the blue ribbon into an elegant bow along the side of her head.

The smile, the laughter, the sudden intensity, the ribbon in her hair...

All of it was so unlike her.

Tilting his head in confusion, he asked her...

"Why?"

2B started to answer, but found that she needed a little time to figure out how to phrase her reasoning, and truthfully, a part of her wanted to ignore the question altogether. After all, no real benefit could come from expressing her thoughts to him.

Even so...

"Unit 2B should answer the inquiry of Unit 9S."

The female android let out a sigh. "Pod. Please halt all speech functions until told otherwise."

"Affirmative. Now deactivating all speech functions."

With the order given, 2B walked around 9S, her pace brisk as he fell in step behind her. The silence between them was nothing different from normal. If 2B didn't want to answer his questions, he wasn't going to try and force her to.

The unanswered question will still gnaw at him relentlessly, as all his unanswered questions did, but his respect for 2B outweighed the yearning to understand what was going on in her mind.

Fortunately, 9S' patience was rewarded after only a few minutes of silence.

"We promised to go shopping together at the end of this war," 2B reminded him once they reached the outskirts of the City Ruins. Slowing her pace she added, "You said you wanted to buy me a T-shirt."

9S nodded, his focus still on the bow in her hair. "Yeah, I did."

The combat model seemed to struggle saying her next words, which was a sharp contrast from her usual stoic confidence and all-business attitude.

"I...decided that I like this color."

"Really? I thought pink would be more your style."

2B didn't respond to his attempt at a joke. "I also decided...I like the idea of Androids and Machines living together in peace."

9S stopped walking then. "But 2B, you..."

"Of course I know," she cut in, also ceasing her movements. "Such ideas are a far cry from reality. But...it's still an appealing idea."

Unsure of what to say, 9S chose to stay silent. After all, whether 2B knew it or not, she was granting him the rare opportunity to examine a different side of her, a side he was certain no one else had seen.

Her trust in him was his badge of honor, more so than any number of accolades he had received after a number of successful missions.

"My heart rate is picking up again," he thought, fighting a smile. "But at least this time...I know why."

2B turned to face him fully, her hair following the flow of the wind as she continued speaking, saying, "We are not permitted to feel, and yet we were programmed with emotions." She paused briefly, her frown deepening. "I always thought such programming to be cumbersome."

Once again, 9S asked her...

"Why?"

"Because...emotions...create pain."

"2B..."

She shook her head, another laugh escaping her, but this one was a bit more bitter.

"Forgive me. That was unprofessional conduct."

"No, it's fine, 2B," he told her, moving a little closer. "I don't mind. You can tell me anything you want."

His words caused the briefest of smiles to appear on her face and in that tiny moment, 9S felt real happiness for the first time.

"The appreciation from those machines made me..." she stopped and shook her head again, deeming whatever she was about to say pointless.

"9S."

"Yeah?"

"If the day ever comes where we can be free from this war, I would like you to buy me something matching this ribbon."

The scanner model would have responded, but before he could, both YoRHa units caught the distinct sound of metal clanging against the dirt.

"Enemies detected."

9S unsheathed his sword following the warning from Pod 153. "2B, you should probably let your pod have his speaking functions back."

"Right." Withdrawing her own blade, the combat unit addressed her support unit while keeping a sharp eye on their surroundings. "Pod, restore speech functions."

Pod 042 responded immediately. "Speech functions restored."

Locked in battle stances, 2B and 9S carefully assessed the situation. A handful of small machine lifeforms were slowly hobbling toward them, accompanied by three more robust machines with spears sharpened and ready to tear their artificial flesh apart with no knowledge of how outclassed they truly were.

2B was the first to leap into battle, her sword glistening brightly as she wove her way past several crimson and maroon bubbles of destructive light. With precision and ease she sliced through the larger enemies, weakening them as 9S battled the smaller enemies through means of swordsmanship and hacking, but more were closing in from a distance.

In less than a minute, the two YoRHa units found themselves caught in an encirclement with their backs pressed against each other.

"It's a deal."

2B's eyebrow raised slightly from beneath the visor as the grip on her sword's hilt tightened. "What?"

"One day I'll buy you something really special to match the ribbon in your hair," he clarified, more focused on the enemies before them than on her. "But you have to find something nice for me too, alright."

Unable to stop herself from smiling, 2B gave a small grunt of acknowledgement. "Sure. Thank you, 9S."

"No problem," he replied, a grin on his face as well. "After all, supporting combat units is what we scanner models do best."

His words were rewarded with a soft laugh. "You still don't have a shred of modesty though, do you?"

Returning the chuckle, 9S moved into a combative stance. "No. I guess not."

Without another word, the two flung themselves into battle again and though the two fought on different ends of the battlefield, they moved in perfect harmony with one another, creating a wondrous melody of hope and hidden despair.

"2B, even if the ideal you wish for never comes to pass, I'll stand beside you...always..."


A/N: And that's the end of this first chapter. If you guys enjoyed it, feel free to leave me a comment saying so. Also, if there's anything grammar wise or character wise that's a little funky up there, please tell me and I will do what I can to fix it. Because I love these two characters so much, I want to make sure they get the proper respect that is due them through this work. Constructive criticism is welcome! Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful day!