By: Wildfire Sky


My own contribution to the growing market of Cyborg 009 fan fics Who the hell reads this stuff anyways? For those who are curious, Ante-Mortem is Latin for "before death". So, technically my fanfic is really called "Before Death".

Just a little note for everyone, many of my fanfics will have Latin titles for them, my own little trademark idea. Although I'm not stopping you from doing it, I would kindly ask that this idea remain my idea and that others not claim it as theirs. If not, well enjoy and have fun with it! The Greeks and Romans had some kick ass words!

A/N: I purposely declined from telling who the person is in the beginning, I'll leave it up to your brilliant minds to figure it out. Another crazy writing style of mine.


Chapter One

The dreams were back again, ripping his mind apart in the darkness of his thoughts. They were a constant torture, reoccurring every night, a vicious cycle of mental destruction and pain. Every night he'd awake drenched in a cold sweat, hands gripping the sheets, eyes wide with fear, his breath catching in his throat.

Tonight was no different.

His body jerked forward, a trail of sweat dripping down his neck and face, into his eyes, stinging them. With a sharp curse, his hand shot up to wipe the burning liquid from his eyes. He blinked his ruby eyes rapidly, trying to dispel the sleep from his eyes and glanced around his dark room before throwing off the heavy bedcovers and standing upright on the cold hard floor of the Dolphin. He opened his room door and glanced down the dark hallway, the doors to his comrade's rooms all dark as their occupants slept peacefully. A sleep he was beginning to believe was robbed of him. The groggy cyborg slowly made his way towards the front cockpit, the one place where he felt at peace and with purpose.

He sat at the center console, staring out at the panoramic view of the deep Sea of Japan. He watched the colorful sea creatures' shift across the ocean floor, dark forms against swimming through the murky waters. This was the fourth night in a row he'd come here to clear his mind of the murderous dreams that plagued him. He had killed the priest again tonight, burned down the church around his ears. He laughed viciously when he drove the knife deep into the priest's chest, blood spraying his face in a hot, red shower of death. He grabbed the statue of Mary and baby Jesus, bringing it above his head as the priest begged him to stop, but he wouldn't listen…couldn't see the man's lips move as he slammed the statue down on the priest's head, the body thrashing with each blow, until the entire face caved inward, blood oozing from the savage beating. As he stood up, a laugh escaped from his throat and he slowly picked up a holy candle, touching it to the priest's blood soaked clothing…

"Trouble sleeping again, 009?"

The cyborg looked up at the silver haired man above him, "Yea…"

Albert smirked and nodded at the seat next to 009, "Mind if I sit?"

Joe shrugged and looked away, cupping his chin in the palm of his hand as he sat, still brewing over his disturbing visions. He could almost feel the blood splashing across his face, the priest's cold hands gripping his clothing as he died, blood running over his hands in endless rivers.

"Something wrong with your hand, 009?" 004 said quietly.

The cyborg looked down at his hand, watching it twitch, as if still itching to kill the priest again. With an uncontrollable shiver, he quickly balled it into a fist to stop the shaking, casting a nervous glance at Albert. The latter arched an eyebrow, but remained silent. Joe quickly looked away, eyes instinctively looking for a way out.

"You can always talk to us, 009," Albert said softly, "We're not your enemy remember? Black Ghost is. When we all first met, we told you that we---"

"Were my brothers…" 009 finished with a harsh sigh, "I never had anyone to call family before."

Albert winked, "Well you do now, right? We're your family, always will be. So…tell me what's bothering you?"

"It's these dreams I'm having. They keep coming back and I can't control them," 009 leaned forward and put his head in his hands.

"Can you ever control your dreams?" 004 asked with a small smile. At Joe's silent response he continued, "When did they start occurring?"

"Almost a week ago."

"Any idea what they mean?"

009 laughed softly causing a smirk to cross 004's face, "Something funny, 009?"

The cyborg stopped laughing and looked over at the blue eyed fighter, "Nothing," Joe stood up, "I'm going…I'm going back to bed," he paused at the door and looked over his shoulder, "If you don't mind my asking, 004, why are you awake?"

Albert shrugged, "Couldn't sleep. Good night, 009."

Joe nodded and quietly left the room. 004's smile faded and he stood up with a sigh, "Time to go talk to Gilmore again…"

The Dolphin was so deep underwater that when Joe awoke, he couldn't tell if it was morning or still night. He'd slept better when he went last night, the nightmares didn't return to haunt his sleep. Besides, today he and the other cyborgs would be going into Tokyo for the day. Francoise, 003, had insisted that they all needed some time away from the cramped living area of the Dolphin, but Joe thought it was more than that. He knew that they all desired to feel human once more and perhaps a day away from their daily cyborg routines would give them that. Even Dr. Gilmore had agreed to it.

"And maybe you can give us a tour of the city," Gilmore had said to Joe the night before, "the last time we were there, none of us really had the chance to enjoy it, with 0010 and 0013 causing havoc."

"Yea," GB agreed, "I would absolutely love to see some of the ancient temples there."

Chang smirked, "And I understand Japanese cuisine is extraordinary…second only to Chinese dining, of course."

Joe had reluctantly agreed after being pressed by his comrades, not totally trusting of his own body and mind. Would he unconsciously lead them back to the rubble of his old home and finally tell them about his cruel past? He might possibly run into some of his old friends…if they weren't dead due to the trickery of Black Ghosts and his minions.

A soft tap sounded through the room and Joe sat up in bed, "Who is it?"

"It's 004, can I come in?"

Joe threw off his covers and quickly pulled on a pair of jeans before answering, "Sure, come on in."

004 silently entered, watching 009 ready himself for the day, "Uh, breakfast is almost ready and 006 wants you to hurry." (A/N: No this is not a yaoi. Don't be nasty!!)

Joe nodded and moved towards the door, but Albert blocked his path, "009…I'm worried about you, all of us are. This 'no-sleep' thing has got to stop."

Joe looked away, "Listen, I don't need your help. They're just nightmares, that's all."

"No they're not," Albert said shaking his head, "I can see plain as day that they're tearing you apart."

Joe glowered, "I'm telling you, nothing's wrong with me!" he quickly moved around 004's form.

004 turn and placed a firm hand on 009's retreating shoulder, "Look, 009, if you don't want to go to Tokyo today, we can always hold off until you're ready…I'm sure the others will understand. Besides, 006 suggested a trip to China instead."

Joe shook his head, "I'm fine 004," he flashed a grin at the stoic cyborg, "Anyways, I promised 003 I'd show her around Tokyo."

Albert nodded and released 009. Worried blue yes followed the young, tall cyborg out of the room. With a heavy sigh Albert slowly walked out of the room and to the dining room.

Everyone was gathered around the table, chattering endlessly and passing around 006's freshly cooked meal. From Albert's view point, it looked as though 002 and 007 were having an eating contest. Food was flying into their wide mouths as they glared evilly at each other, occasionally mumbling curses at one another. 005 and 008 sat next to each other, each trying to ignore the competition around them. 009 and 003 also sat next to each other, Francoise feeding baby Ivan while trying to calm Jet and GB. Joe, who usually had a small smile plastered on his face, was unusually silent, staring at his untouched food with a frown. This, however didn't go unnoticed by Francoise.

She leaned closer to her ever loyal friend, "What's wrong, Joe?" she whispered, "Are you ok?"

Joe looked up and flashed a grin, "I'm fine, just a little tired."

Francoise reached under the table and grabbed his hand, giving it a small squeeze. Joe silently squeezed back before releasing her hand and standing up.

"Done already, 009?" Albert said walking into the room.

Joe nodded, "Yea."

Chang leapt up, "But you've hardly touched your meal, 009!"

"I'm just not hungry right now."

Before anyone could argue further, Joe left the dining room, leaving the rest in a disturbing silence.

"What's wrong with him?" Jet asked, barely pausing in his eating, "He almost always eats his breakfast."

006 flopped to his seat, "Yea, and I made his favorite too…fried rice and egg…a masterpiece gone to waste!!"

Jet rolled his eyes, "Oh please, it wasn't that good!"

Albert took 009's empty seat and whispered to 003. The young woman frowned slightly and stood, "Excuse me everyone."

The men's eyes followed her out of the room. Jet leaned across the table and smirked, "So what did you tell her, 004? Still trying to hook them up together?"

Albert rolled his eyes, "Hardly. I just thought she looked tired and could use some rest. That's all you need to know."

Jet held up his hands with a smirk, "Ok, ok…just askin'. I think it'd be cool if those two hooked up together."

GB sneered, "Weren't you trying to get with 003 at one time, 002?"

Jet's smile disappeared instantly, "No I was not."

GB's smile grew, but he leaned back in his seat and stared at Jet, a twinkle in his eyes. Jet simply glared back, occasionally glancing at the others to see their reaction. Pyunma looked in the direction of 003's and 009's exit.

"Whatever's wrong with him, 003 will find out…that's for sure."

Francoise cautiously knocked on Joe's door, her mind still struggling with 004's words.

"003, I know that you are worried about 009…I also know that you care about him. I think right now would be the best time to tell him your feelings…he needs you help now more than ever."

She sighed and brought her hand up to knock again. The door suddenly opened, causing 003 to lose her balance and fall right into the hands of her ruby eyed savior.

"Sorry, Francoise," Joe chuckled as he helped her balance herself, "I guess I should have warned you before I opened the door."

Francoise smiled, "No, I'm alright, Joe…I should have been paying more attention to what I was doing."

The two stood facing each other, the awkward silence dragging on endlessly. Finally, Joe cleared his throat and nodded towards his room.

"Do…you want to come in?"

Françoise smiled, "If that's alright with you."

Joe merely nodded and stepped aside to allow Francoise entry. Her gaze was instantly dragged to the bed. Albert had mentioned Joe's nightmares to Dr. Gilmore before, and her sensitive hearing had caught bits of the conversation.

"…definitely something wrong…"

"…probably just homesick…"


"…can't sleep…always screaming out…"


"…something's wrong…"

She felt a strong arm encircle her waist, "What's wrong?" Joe asked, as he placed his chin on her shoulder.

Francoise didn't realize she'd said the last sentence out loud. Well, there's no way to back out of it now, she thought, "I'm worried about you, Joe…I know about your nightmares, how you can't sleep at night."

Joe's arms left her waist and she heard him step back, "Did 004 tell you this?" his voice had a hint of anger.

"No…I could hear you at night," she turned slightly to look at him. His head was down, the bangs of his hair covering his face in a dark shadow. She stepped in front of him, lifting his chin with her hand. Still he refused to look at her directly,


"I can't stop them," Joe said, cutting her sentence short, "I can't stop them from coming back. I can't stop myself from murdering the priest."

This actually shocked Francoise into silence. She grabbed Joe's hand and led him over to his bed, sitting down on the edge of it. Joe hesitated, looked as if the bed might devour him alive. Finally, with a little urging from 003, he sat, head bowed.

"I loved the priest…he was the closest thing to a father I ever had. He always looked after me, and tried to teach me the good ways of life. Even after I punched him, he still forgave me and treated me the same as before. But now…now I find myself killing him over and over…every night a different, bloodier way."

He looked over at her, his eyes brimming with tears, "Do you know how I killed him last night?"

Francoise shook her head.

"I took a statue of Mary and Jesus, and smashed his head in."

Francoise didn't know what to say. She just stared at Joe in shock, "You....what?"

Joe looked away again, "If I could stop it from happening I would but…" Joe looked at her, tears beginning to stream down his face as a grim smile crossed his face, "I'm sorry…I'll bet you never thought you'd see a boy cry."

Francoise quickly enveloped Joe in a tight hug, gently kissing his forehead. He wrapped his arms around her waist as she planted small kisses over his face, pausing at his lips. She stared at the young boy whose eyes had always captivated her. Slowly, she lowered her head and slowly kissed him, sighing as his arms wrapped around her tighter, bringing her closer. Her hands traveled through his thick mane of hair, traveling down to his neck, arching it to deepen the kiss, his tongue entering her sweet mouth to taste her, battling for dominance.

It was he who broke the kiss, staring at her wondrously; eyes filled with love and care, despite the tears that fell from them. He wiped them away, a gathered the young French girl into a fierce hug. He brought his lips to her ear and spoke so softly, even with her super hearing she wasn't sure of what he said.

"I love you, Francoise Arnoul…"

She closed her eyes and sighed, "I…love you too, Joe Shimamura."

Ah me, young love!! Well, what do ya'll think?? It's definitely not done yet, I'm not one to deal out too many one-shots unless it calls for it. I want your opinions, even your flames are welcome, just remember this: Hell hath no wrath as a woman scorned. Just a warning to the simple fool. Anyways, please R it'll be very much appreciated!! Your ideas can help me come up with the next couple of chapters!!

Mary and Jesus Statue: In Episode Three you see a statue in the rubble of the old church. That's the statue of Mary and baby Jesus.