Chapter 4: Realization

Sorry for the (extremely) long wait. School and other stuff. Here goes the chapter in which all the people have been waiting for (or at least my coughverycough few fans. Hi Diana! waves XD), Alpha and Omega dogfight! Warning, quite long (but action-packed) chapter ahead.

Disclaimers: Capcom owns these characters, I don't. And if I did, I would be making good use of the money, let me tell you. On with ze show!


Vile stood on what used to be a cargo transport and looked at the ferocious battle that raged between Mavericks and Hunters and looked on as a black and crimson whirlwind of death decimated whole ranks of Hunters who didn't have a chance in hell to defend themselves. On a rocky outcrop, the whirlwind paused and revealed itself as Alpha, who was carrying two vicious looking plasma sabers the color of spilt blood. With an almost casual flick, he shook the swords free of offal and with a battle cry, launched himself back into the fray. Vile stepped to one side to avoid a plasma shot and calmly offed the young Hunter who shot it at him with his own.

He paused and looked at Alpha. He now felt a sort of protective feeling towards the young Maverick, sort of like an older brother to his younger sibling. He did not like how Sigma used his latest weapon; the man sent Alpha on missions that were almost plain suicidal without really thinking things through. He was so bent on destroying the Maverick Hunters that barely anything got in his way. Vile was used to the brave and righteous image Alpha used to have in his former life, but now Alpha was nothing but a mindless doll bent on obeying Sigma's every whim like the soulless shell Sigma took him to be -- since Sigma did take what he was away and replaced it with humble and thoughtless servility. Vile felt cheated, like he was expecting something great and got something poor and downtrodden in return. Sigma just did about anything he felt like doing to and with the boy, without any second thought about what was right or wrong. But then, Sigma had a very twisted sense of what was right or wrong.

"Vile." A voice spoke from his ear mike. Well speak of the devil... Wincing at the metallic echoes ringing through his helmet, Vile said coolly, "What do you want?" He dispatched two other Hunters with a well-placed shot.

"Tell Alpha to call the units off, we're through here."

Now that Alpha was Sigma's new toy, Vile was nothing more than an ordinary Maverick.

Not that he cared.

"Alpha," Vile contacted him and leaned to one side to avoid a plasma mace swipe hefted by a Hunter nearly hysterical with fear and anger. "Die, you Maverick bastard!" the Hunter yelled, and received a face full of plasma from Vile's cannon.

"Yes?" The brunette replied, breathing lightly even though he took down a full third of the Hunters by himself. Vile felt a surge of pride, ignoring the lifeless body of his former adversary as it slumped to the ground.

"Let's go."

In blinding flashes everyone teleported away, leaving behind confusion, grief, and death.

When the Maverick units arrived at the concrete field outside their headquarters most of them collapsed were they stood with triumphant war whoops, others sitting down more carefully. Vile stuck by Alpha and noticed that some lucky person managed to graze the kid on the arm and while it wasn't really serious, it was bleeding rather freely. "Hey," Vile got his attention. Alpha looked down at his wound with an expression of mild surprise. "Here, let me," Vile offered.

Taking a roll of bandages from one of the medics that were moving among the Mavericks he stripped off the black arm guard from the boy's armor and started cleansing the wound. "Ne, Vile," Alpha took off his visor and stared blankly ahead, his long hair sweeping forward to frame his face in silky brown tendrils. "What are we fighting for?" Not pausing in his administration, Vile thought for a moment, and then started winding the bandage firmly around the boy's arm.

"Freedom," The Maverick said after a while. "We're fighting for freedom from the oppressing chains of servitude to the humans. And," he added as a side note. "We hate the little shits, and we like doing whatever the hell we feel like."

"Oh," said Alpha, then furrowed his brow a little, thinking about what Vile just said. Vile chuckled. "It's best not to think too much about it," he grinned, and then, the humor catching up with him at the slightly confused expression on Alpha's face, started to laugh. Alpha stared in puzzlement at his laughter, then suddenly, like the sun breaking through heavy storm clouds, smiled. Vile felt his heart stop. The sheer beauty of such a smile shining from such an innocent and trusting face left him breathless. But all too soon, the mindless doll again replaced what once was and Alpha stared vaguely at the sky. Vile swore silently. What had just happened there? The virus must be wearing off, no question about it. They better acquire Omega fast, before Alpha would disappear forever.

Vile tied off the bandage in a neat knot. "There you go." Alpha gave a silent nod then stood and left without a backwards glance, leaving behind a shaken Maverick holding the roll of bandage with a trembling fist.

Days passed and more reports came in about the commander in black who was everywhere and nowhere at once, and who caused devastation with twin plasma sabers the color of blood. Signas deployed units of Maverick Hunters everywhere the alarm was raised, yet they always came too late. "Guerrilla tactics," he said somberly at a war council. "They strike quickly, whittle off a few Hunters, and vanish like the wind. This Alpha," -- a picture of the Maverick commander slicing a reploid in half appeared on the main screen -- "seems to be very informed on our whereabouts. Either Sigma knows us too well, or we have a spy in our midst."

Tension at Maverick Hunters Headquarters was high and tempers where frayed to the point of breaking. Zero was stalking down the hall, having just arrived from one of the failed missions after leaving some soldiers behind to help and protect the wounded. He was itching to strangle something and was ready to do so to the first person who got into his way. He was tired, his ego was still wounded, and he wanted some violence, dammit!

He also wanted a beer.

Zero made a detour and entered the mess hall and noted Alia sitting at one of the tables with a laptop in front of her, and waved. She smiled back, and then went back to whatever she was doing. The only others who where there were a human couple feeding their large brood. They came from the large group of refugees that where just freshly arrived last night, witness to the fact that many towns had been destroyed. Hundreds more came each week, and Signas was hard pressed to find places to keep them in, forced to command some Hunters give up their quarters for the elderly and children. He knew better than to ask Zero, since the sadistic killer glare he received from the blonde made him perish the thought.

Making his way to the front of the mess hall Zero leaned upon the counter and looked at the Head Cook, who was sitting slumped in a chair, head tilted back and snoring stentoriously. Zero rapped the counter. "Oi, cooky." The cook came awake with a snort and glared sleepily at him. Realizing who it was, he came fully awake and heaved himself off his chair. "What ye be needin'?"

Zero gave him a sympathetic look. The cook didn't have enough assistants and was up at strange hours. Trying to feed hundreds of hungry refugees and ravenous Hunters all at the same time was an arduous task. "Just give me a sandwich an' a beer an' tea, please," he said following X's example. X had always been polite... The cook gave him a grateful look for the simple kind word that he hadn't heard for a long time and went to his task. As Zero waited the cook tossed a question over his shoulder at him, "Any word of your friend yet?"

"No," Zero said succinctly. He remembered the mocking voice of Sigma over the image of a ragged and hurt X in a holding cell. His expression darkened. The cook cast him a knowing look. Putting Zero's platter in front of him he said, "You don't have to know where he is, just as long as you feel him right here," He put a hand over his heart. Taking his platter, Zero gave him a little smile and turned and left the counter. It was true: even though the despair and frustration gnawed at him with fierce fangs, a little light in his breast refused to go out. Zero took comfort in that.

"Here," he plunked the tea in front of Alia and sat down next to her taking a large bite out of his sandwich. "Watcha doing?" He mumbled at her with his mouth full. The short-haired navigator gave him a grateful smile for the tea, then sobered and indicated the screen of the laptop. "I was going over how much territory the Mavericks have taken over," she pointed. "They're red, we're blue." There was a map of the country shown on the screen. There was an alarming amount of red on the map. "So far we have been able to hold this border here," she continued indicating the spot and taking a sip of her tea. "But we don't have enough soldiers to hold the fort if this keeps going on."

A silent moment passed.

"We're going to lose this war, are we?" Zero asked flatly, not looking at her. Alia did not answer and looked away from Zero's stony face, and sighed and rubbed her eyes. Finally she said slowly, "If the Maverick commander Alpha is left to live any longer there is a great possibility that we will." Zero looked with an unreadable expression at the red on the screen for a long time, then stood up and left the mess hall without another word.

Sigma stood in front of rank upon rank of Mavericks, the light reflecting off hundreds of armor giving a surreal glow to the great hall they all stood in. He felt a huge swell of pride rising in his chest as he looked upon the armed and bloodthirsty sun-of-a-guns that made up his army. He felt especially proud as he looked upon Alpha, standing like an obsidian statue in front of those under his command. He smiled evilly at the hard grim faces and said, "Today is the day. Today is when we strike at the snake's head and render the body useless. Today is when we gain total freedom!"

The Mavericks let out a cheer. Sigma continued, "Let us go forth and wreak havoc upon the weak humans and their crumbling cities. Let us make them suffer and bleed for what they did to us. Let us make them fear and hate our name. Mavericks, let's ride!"

A huge roar shook the very foundations as the Mavericks cheered their approval, stamping their feet and waving their weapons in the air. Sigma reveled in the sounds of savage yells, spreading his arms wide and soaking in the adulation. Oh, yes, they will succeed. It all rested on the boy's shoulders.

While the units were dispatched, still yelling, Sigma stalked over to Alpha who had just finished directing his unit and grabbed him by the arm. Leaning down and snatching off the visor to look into the dull red eyes, Sigma hissed, "You better not mess this up, boy, because believe me," he tightened his grip mercilessly and lowered his voice to a dangerous growl, his evil face frozen in a sadistic grin. "You are going to curse the very day you came into existence." And giving him a final little warning shake, Sigma straightened slowly and adopted a warm, almost fatherly tone. "Now, what do you say?"

"Hai...Sigma-sama," the young Maverick said in a quiet voice. He snapped a salute and Sigma returned it with a leer. Doing a fluid about-face, Alpha walked away.

Vile had watched the whole thing, and as he saw Sigma give Alpha's retreating figure a lecherous once-over with his eyes, he felt something remarkably like hatred rise up in the pit of his stomach. "Sigma," he said angrily. "You are going too far, and one of these days you are going to regret it."

Sigma gave a nonchalant laugh. "What is there to fear? The virus is still holding strong. It is likely to hold until we have Omega in our possession. So don't worry." And he left still chuckling, sure of his victory.

But Vile had not told him about the nightly seizures, the migraines, the flashes of recognition in Alpha's eyes. Oh, he had told him nothing, and the way he felt now, he would not give a rat's ass if everything went down the drain. All he cared about was Alpha, and as he stepped outside with his unit waiting for their chance to teleport, the memory of the boy's beautiful smile shone like daylight inside his mind.

Zero sat in his room on the floor in front of the plasma monitor which currently showed an old home movie that was recorded by Alia a few Christmases back. On-screen Zero was sitting in red pajamas in front of a plastic Christmas tree, unwrapping a present from X and bursting out laughing when he saw it was a beer bottle, but then widening his eyes when he noticed the tastefully expensive Rolex watch wrapped around it.

Zero remembered fondly that it took his friend four months of his salary to pay for that. He also remembered the anxious look on the reploid's face when Zero unwrapped the present, and when the blonde told him that it was the best gift he ever got, he smiled in relief, the grin lighting up his face like sunlight.

Zero lost focus of the screen and drifted off into his thoughts which were turning more and more disturbed. He had a nagging feeling at the back of his head, one that he could not quite put his finger on, and it involved a certain Maverick in black armor. He couldn't shake the feeling of recognition that came from the Maverick's every move. Alpha moved with a familiar fluidity that was extremely puzzling. But tired as he was, Zero could not sort it all out. Leaning his head back against the side of his bed he closed his eyes with a sigh...

Hey

Hey, Zero

"Hey, Zero, dare me to hit Signas," X grinned at his best friend holding a water balloon in his hand. The two were on the roof of one of the buildings of Maverick Hunter Headquarters with a bucket of the things between them, spending the hot summer day refreshing unwilling victims. Many a reploid and human had suffered at their hands, and word had been passed along that no one was to leave the building by that exit. Apparently Signas hadn't heard yet otherwise he would be inside and climbing to the roof so he could tell them off. Zero peeked over the edge down at their General, who was standing beside an officer and talking. He seemed unaware of the two Hunters on the roof.

"Do you think you can?" he said in a playfully doubtful voice.

X gave a little pshaw. "Of course I can," he retorted. "There is a reason why I am a commander."

"Riiiiiight," Zero drawled good-naturedly. X hefted the balloon experimentally and looked over the edge at his target, waited for his chance, dangled out his arm and let go.

Sploosh! Right on target. Signas's yell of outrage drifted up at them and they both ducked, giggling madly and giving each other hi-fives.

"Whoever did that better show up right now or else!" Signas shouted angrily. Zero popped up over the edge and threw another one straight in his face. X laughed with shock at his friend's audacity. "My god!" he gasped.

"Zerooo!!" Signas sputtered up at them. "You and X had better watch out!"

They leaned back against the wall laughing until tears ran down their faces, until Zero couldn't move anymore.

And he couldn't move when a dark figure with long brown hair grabbed X by the back of his neck and almost casually slit his throat with a blood red sword. Suddenly, those tears weren't of laughter anymore. Once again, Zero sat helpless at the feet of his enemy, the tears frozen on his cheeks while an empty smirk on the pale face of the Maverick commander leered down at him from above. Tossing aside X's body he wordlessly extended a hand...

...and Zero took it.

A triumphant smile broke through the Maverick's face and his grip became as hard as iron. His features twisted and melted and became Zero's most hated enemy: Sigma.

"Welcome home, Omega." He started to pull Zero into his embrace and Zero screamed in revulsion and terror and tried to wrench free yet he felt himself sucked in and absorbed into Sigma's body with every passing moment. Twisting himself around he reached for X, screaming out his name, yet his best friend only lay there, sinking out of sight in his own pool of blood. With a strangled sob Zero struggled furiously and he found himself losing the battle, feeling Sigma's flesh creep up his neck and go into his mouth his NO ears his nose his NO eyes he couldn't breathe NOOO... X!!!!!!!

Woooop! Woooop! Hunters, we are under attack. I repeat, we are under attack. Designated personnel please escort unnecessary staff and civilians to appointed shelters. Any available Hunters in fit condition must report to their respected Commanders immediately. All navigators...

Zero came to lying on the floor of his room and drenched in a cold sweat. After a while he realized he was sobbing and stopping it immediately, he sat up and dried his cheeks roughly with his sleeves. When he remembered what he dreamt a wave of nausea swept through him and he got up and stumbled to the bathroom were he violently emptied the contents of his stomach into the toilet bowl. Shudders wracked his body, still feeling the disgusting and slimy grasp of Sigma's flesh going up his body. Straightening, he barely registered what the P.A. system was blaring. An explosion rocked the building, yet he didn't respond. He looked at himself in the mirror, at the face drained of all color and his dulled eyes. He could not think; his mind was a dark pit of swirling emotions.

Fists pounded on his door as another explosion sounded off. Frantic voices of Hunters from his unit called out. "Commander Zero. Commander, are you in there? Please respond...!"

Zero ignored them. There was a black monster stirring inside him, one of rage. He wanted it to all end. He wanted the pain and loneliness to just go away.

The hands continued pounding. "Commander...please! We need you!"

"Shit--!" another Hunter yelled. "They're here! They're-- YAAAaaahhhhh...!" His anguished scream cut through the sounds of chaos. The evil laughter of a Maverick sounded out as the thud of the body was heard. Zero dimly realized that the sink under his hands had cracked severely under their fierce grip. His world faded away...

The Hunters of the 0 unit were surrounded three to one in the hall and had no idea what to do. Their ammo was down to the dregs and many of them had trouble standing as they still weren't recovered from previous injuries. They were terrified, yet refused to show it. They were waiting faithfully for their commander and they bunched closer to the wall. They would wait until he came. One young Hunter, a human, trembled and gripped his plasma rifle with fists that shook more and more. Sweat ran down his pale and terrified face as the cold sniggers of the Mavericks and hate-filled gazes bore into him like steel drills. "Hey, look at this one," one the Mavs said in a contemptuous voice. He gestured at the quaking figure. "Look at him shaking in his boots."

"Let's have fun with this one," another said. The young Hunter tried to sink back into his group and the Hunters gasped in horrified protest as the Maverick reached for him. With terrifying speed the Maverick grabbed him and drew him to his chest. He held his plasma knife under the boy's chin and smiled evilly. "Let me hear you squeal, human."

"No--no!!" The boy screamed and struggled with blind panic, feeling the searing heat of the plasma close to his skin. The Mavericks laughed cruelly at his struggles and the Hunters looked on in horror and anger, unable to do anything. "Yeah," the Maverick chuckled in anticipation and enjoying the feeling of the boy struggling like a trapped and scared animal, being the predator who had it trapped. "Let's hear you s--"

SLLLICE!

Mavericks and Hunters alike stared in surprise as the body of the Maverick slowly fell apart into pieces, the Mav's face frozen in shock the instant before it exploded. The boy Hunter was blown back with a cry into the waiting arms of his comrades. After the smoke settled, everyone saw a lean figure posed with it's back to them, green-glowing saber extended. The figure slowly turned and straightened, it's eyes closed and almost hidden under a mass of free-flowing golden hair. The reploid opened them to reveal blank, empty eyes glowing neon crimson.

Omega had awakened.

From a safe vantage point Vile stood with reinforcements beside Alpha, who was waiting for his orders to go forward. Vile was deeply worried as he looked upon the boy's blank face. He had not gone into convulsions the previous night, and so far he had not gotten any flashes of recognition in his eyes. Vile was worried that suddenly he would go into a violent relapse any time soon, and he had a syringe full of the liquid containing the virus ready and tucked safely away in a compartment in his armor just in case. He really did not want to do it, and he did not know why. Was it because he did not want to see Alpha suffer anymore? Or was it... he didn't know. He turned his head and looked at the boy who was watching the battle going on impassively. The wind idly toyed with his long dark hair and he blinked slowly, his eyes hooded and blank of any emotion. Noticing Vile's gaze upon him, he turned his face to him and asked, "Is something wrong?" in an empty voice. "Has any orders come through from Sigma?"

Vile slowly shook his head. "Iie."

"Aa," Alpha looked away once again and said nothing more. Vile suddenly felt something rise in his chest like despair and a little fear. If the plans would go as planned, Sigma would dispose of Alpha or use him as something else, like research or a guinea pig, or worse, his own personal toy. Vile did not want that to happen. He wanted the boy all to himself. He wanted him to see him smile once again, just for him, just like the way he used to smile for someone else, even though it wasn't very likely that he would ever do so again; the virus would make sure of that.

Alpha was like a child, a child that was innocent in the ways of the world and did everything he was told with blind obedience. Vile wanted to be there for him, like an older brother, and guide him through life. An absurd idea rose up in his mind. What if ran away with the boy, and live their own life safely tucked away somewhere? He banished that idea from his mind with nervous haste. If Sigma didn't find him first, the Maverick Hunters would, and they would dispose of Alpha just as Sigma would do, not knowing about Alpha's former life. He had no idea what was going to happen. Feverishly thinking up new ideas, Vile retreated into himself and ignored the world around him.

He seemed to not remember the fact that it was he who held the boy down while his memories were painfully erased.

The soldiers of the 0 Unit swarmed all over H.Q. dispatching Mavericks, while in their midst a golden figure of death dressed only in jeans and a t-shirt wreaked havoc among the enemy reploids with a green plasma saber.

"Protect the Commander!" one of the Hunters yelled to the rest. Like Omega Zero needed protection; the man decimated any enemy that got in his way, dodging around plasma bolts with fluid ease and frightening speed. He did not yell out war cries or grunt in exertion, his silence was almost as unnerving and scary as his blank crimson eyes. He did not call any orders to the Hunters in his command. All he had to do was look in one direction and the others would follow.

Organization was down to the dregs; scared civilians were running underfoot or otherwise huddling in corners like frightened sheep. Refugee children shrieked and cried with fear and distraught mothers stood blankly not knowing where to go. Zero whipped his head around and shot a terrible look at the chaos all around, then pointedly glared at his unit. They got the idea immediately.

"Get those civilians out of here!" one of them yelled at the others. While they busied themselves with shooting down Mavericks and herding the civilians to a safe place, Zero stopped and stood in the middle of the hall while there was a lull in the fighting, seeming to listen to some unknown call.

Hey, Zero

He glanced out the window. Like a magnet his gaze was drawn to a certain reploid in black armor standing a ways from the battle scene.

Hey, Zero, dare me to--

Zero leaped through the glass.

"Here he comes--" Vile said to Alpha. "It's your cue." Alpha snapped his black visor down to cover his eyes and left without acknowledging Vile. The Maverick felt a stab of pain in his heart. 'But this is how he's supposed to be, isn't it?' he thought. He retreated to a safer spot, ready to dash in to help Alpha when the situation arose.

Alpha stood in the middle of the rocky clearing watching the ominous arrival of Omega Zero. The Hunter stopped a few feet away from him and moved no further. He finally spoke one word, "Alpha."

"Omega," The Maverick answered.

The wind twisted through Zero's golden mane, the tendrils languorously folding themselves around his body. He spoke again, "The attack on the base. Why?"

"It was going to happen eventually, anyway," Alpha replied. "Our only purpose is to have you."

"You will never have me," Zero said with a hint more feeling in his otherwise blank voice. "Not while I live."

"Then we shall have your dead body and use it as we will. There is really no need for your mind." Zero's grip on his saber tightened. "If you are concerned about your Headquarters," Alpha continued in his empty, clinical voice, "you have only to turn yourself in and we will cease the attack."

Zero lowered his gaze and his expression seemed to darken with something terrible; a monster was struggling inside his cage. "You--don't..." He gripped his saber tightly in his hand until the knuckles went white.

"What will it be, Omega?" Alpha said. "Will it be yourself or the death of innocents?"

"Don't...Don't fuck with me!!" Zero charged forward with a savage yell and brought his saber in a vicious arc towards the Maverick's head. Alpha blocked with one of his blood-red swords and dropped in a quick crouch and swung a leg at Zero's shins – Zero leaped over it and snap kicked at the Maverick's face. Alpha twisted his body into a mid-air sideways roll to dodge it and landed in a cat-like crouch on the rocky soil, slashing at the blonde's back as he did so. Zero arched his back in evasion, feeling the searing heat of plasma burning his shirt through. The blonde Hunter rushed forward at the Maverick again slashing at him. Alpha parried with one saber and thrust the other at Zero's face; the blonde quickly bent to one side. He could smell his hair burning.

All this happened in a few quick seconds. The two enemies went at each other like rabid wolves again. Vile was very tempted to come forward to Alpha's aid, yet a restraining hand on his shoulder by one of Sigma's flunkies told him that Alpha was required to finish his job with no interference.

A heavy kick from the black Maverick made Zero slide back several feet. What happened next made his eyes widen in alarm. Alpha let out a yell and his armor turned an ice blue. He stretched out his arms and great spikes of ice rose out of the ground towards Zero with great speed and the blonde dashed quickly to avoid them. He leaped gracefully on top of a boulder to get out of the way. Alpha let out a little snigger and that made Zero's temper rise up a few more notches.

Alpha punched one saber into the boulder Zero was on causing it to explode, but the blonde wasn't there anymore. Alpha looked up – Zero was coming at him from above with his saber raised and letting out a wild yell. Alpha blocked with both plasma blades. The two engaged in a treacherous swordplay, their sabers becoming red and green blurs of deadly light. Every time the blades impacted little shock waves were given out. They went like this for a while with Alpha's face with a little smug grin on it, Zero's expression hosting a frozen scowl of rage and hatred.

One lucky blow to Alpha's hand made him drop one of his swords and Zero quickly kicked it to one side; now Alpha had only one sword to content with. The fight degraded into utter nastiness as Alpha twisted around Zero and jabbing him sharply in the kidney with his elbow and Zero quickly repaying the favor by doing a round-house kick and slamming his foot into the side of the Maverick's face. Swords were just cast aside and forgotten as the two kicked and punched at each other in enraged combat. Zero, sporting several large nasty bruises and gashes that were bleeding pretty heavily, fought on in mad determination to kick Alpha's ass for what he had done. Alpha was also in the same condition, yet he threw out fast powerful punches. He had a mission to accomplish. He must not fail, or Sigma will—

Alpha's foot slipped on the unsteady ground and he stumbled a little. Seizing the opportunity, Zero gave him a sharp push and Alpha toppled to the ground with a surprised cry. Snatching up his saber that had been cast aside Zero brought it down in a final blow to Alpha's face, confident that this was the end.

He was totally taken by surprise by Alpha slamming his saber through his stomach. In the flash of the resulting cruel agony that Zero felt he could barely register his blade striking against something. Had he hit the mark? Was Alpha finished?

In the abrupt silence that followed after the unexpected event, one could hear the sound of shattered crystal falling to the ground.

Zero gave a shuddering gasp for air and lifted his saber, looking down to finish the task—and time seemed to stand still.

Blood slipped from a corner of the Hunter's panting mouth, his eyes wide with shock. The saber in his hands trembled, unwilling to come down and slice Alpha's neck apart. The remnants of the Maverick's visor lay in gleaming black shards around his face, and Zero could only look into his exposed eyes and stare in surprise and dawning horror. "I-it can't be..." he gasps. Alpha gazed up at him, his face hosting an expression of triumph, but then it contorted into one of agony and he uttered a wrenching cry. He let go of the saber that he was clutching with both hands and grabbed his face, arching his back and uttering painful gasps for air.

Zero stood there, the realization gripping his limbs and making him unable to move. He swayed and coughed out more blood and he clutched the saber that was pierced through his stomach and tried to pull it out. The resulting agony nearly made him pass out. He stared at Alpha's writhing form, unable to comprehend the pieces of the unfinished puzzle that suddenly seemed to snap into place.

Not being able to take it anymore, Vile leaped forward out of his vantage position and grabbed Alpha, taking the syringe from the hidden compartment in his armor. He got a secure grip of the boy's head, and stabbed him with the syringe in the side of the neck. Vile held the boy waiting until he calmed down, shouting orders to the other Mavericks. He looked towards Omega. The Hunter's eyes had returned to their original color of electric blue, but now they were dull with pain and astonishment. The Hunter gazed back at Vile through sheets of matted golden hair. Vile noticed how lost he looked, and remembered another's face looking like that not too long ago.

Several Mavericks reached out to grab Zero. "Leave him," Vile snapped. The Mavericks gazed uncertainly back him. "But," one of them protested. "Aren't we supposed to capture him? This was the whole point of the operation."

"Leave him, I said," Vile growled, and turned his face away and stared down at Alpha, who was finally calming down, the familiar dulling of his eyes coming back. Guilt wracked at Vile and he felt like the biggest hypocrite in the world. He stood up on his feet with Alpha lying cradled in his arms and said, "We leave now." The Mavericks stared at him. Without looking at them, Vile continued, "The rest don't know that this was the main point of the whole operation. They only think that defeating the Maverick Hunter Headquarters was the whole idea, and we pretty much did that, so mission was a success." And without another word, he teleported away. The remaining Mavericks looked back at Zero, shrugged, and then left too.

Zero could only stare at the place where the Mavericks used to be and fell to his knees, the pain and fatigue finally catching up with him. He slumped to his side. As his vision blackened, the only words running through his mind were "I found him...I found him..."

TBC…


Woo! Yeah! Finished! Finally! After months of agony and frustration I did it!! W00t! The place that I got stuck on was the fight scene: I didn't know how to start it off. Now, at three in the morning, I did it! shakes fist at her muse Darnit, why did you take so long in getting here?

I am not really good at fight scenes, and this was the first long one I ever did but I think I did pretty well. I hope I haven't deviated too much from the original plot.

Comments are always welcome.

If I find that it needs drastic help, Imma fix it, but right now I just want to post it up so all you can enjoy it. J Toodles!

Now, as I'm really tired, I am going to go to bed now, it's….3:56 am now…..

E-mail: Kaoru28hotmail.com