Author's Note: Well, finally decided to take a break off X-Box Live and complete the campaign of Halo 2. And I'm glad I did, since I got this little idea for a one-shot. I love Halo; it's my favorite video game in the world. Unfortunately, I never really found a good idea to write a Halo fic, till now. You can say it's a bit of a John/Miranda fic, but I wouldn't call it a romance fic. So...read!

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An empty magazine fell to the floor, joining the discarded weapons, blood, and bodies that were already on the floor. Elites, Brutes, and even a pair of Hunters lied sprawled on the ground in their own gore. But no matter whatever name they were called, or how they are different races, they were all still Covenant.

And to the Master Chief, the races that made up the Covenant were his enemies.

His hand having disappeared for a second, it suddenly came back, clutching a fresh magazine. Almost automatically, having been trained since he was six, John slid the magazine into his battle rifle. The weapon had been slightly unbalanced with its empty magazine, but now it was balanced again. Unable to help himself, he looked at his handiwork.

Having fought and killed every race that made up the Covenant for years and years, the Master Chief was used to the sight before him. Usually there was a moment of satisfaction, of success, of having killed them. But over the years, years which the Master Chief did nothing but kill Covenant, he had lost that satisfaction.

He had killed thousands of these warriors. And yet, there seemed to be no end to them. He had killed them in every way he can. Shooting them, blowing them to pieces, nuking them, burning them, bashing their heads until their skulls caved in and brain matter spurted out. But with every Covenant that John killed, only more replaced them.

John had fought the Covenant again and again, planet after planet. He would beat them on the ground, Spartans always won on the ground. But even if he won on the ground...that still wouldn't be enough to save the planet. No matter how many victories he won on the ground, the Covenant were just more superior in space.

The Master Chief was trained to fight, and fight he did. But what has fighting gotten him? Planets were glassed, Marines had died, and probably the greatest heroes that the human race were able to bring into existence were dying. One of those heroes was Captain Jacob Keyes.

John had always respected his superiors, it having practically been programmed into his mind. But Keyes had been...different. He had been a brilliant strategist, had gained victories over the Covenant, and he loved the troops under his command. Despite how people thought of John and his Spartans as freaks, Keyes had treated him like any other one of the men and women that he led into battle.

But Keyes was gone. Having ended up as a causality of war, he had died a hero.

And John couldn't help but think that he had failed the man.

He was a Spartan, trained to fight in all manner of combat in any kind of environment in any situation. He was trained to eliminate anything that was considered an obstacle, anything that stopped him from completing his objectives.

So why had he failed to save Keyes?

The Master Chief did his best, just like he would to complete any other mission. But...he had lost. He had never lost, not once. Every mission that had been given to him, no matter how impossible it sounded, he was able to complete them. And he still failed.

He had tried so hard in saving Keyes. He had tried so hard to not let Keyes fall to the Flood. And it ended up in failure.

The memory haunted John, while he was awake and when asleep. The image of Keyes, being twisted and morphed into a tool for the Flood, would always remind John how he had failed. And as if to further taunt him, Fate had decided to play another cruel joke.

Miranda Keyes, Jacob Keyes' daughter.

He had a daughter. Keyes had a daughter. And it was a daughter that no longer had a father, because John had failed to save him.

She was there to remind him how he had failed. He had been trained to protect every single man and woman of the human race. But he couldn't save Keyes, and Miranda had appeared to further haunt him of his failure.

But he will not fail, not again.

The Master Chief's grip tightened around his battle rifle as Cortana told him that Miranda and Sergeant Johnson were being brought to a landing pad, where Phantoms would take them elsewhere. He will not fail. He couldn't save the father, but he will save the daughter.

Unfortunately, as he turned to the door, a vicious roar caused him to turn around. Stumbling out of the darkness, a Brute came into the light to face John. Blood spilled from the three bullets holes in the creature's chest, but it didn't seem to be weakened. Instead, the wounds seemed to strengthen, its determination and bloodlust fueling it to make sure that the Master Chief would fail.

But John will not fail.

In a flash, the battle rifle was raised, but the Brute had already sprung into motion. A large powerful hairy hand slapped at the weapon, sending it flying from John's hands where it clattered to the floor several feet away. Before John could react, the Brute smashed its shoulder into John, sending the Spartan flying back.

Landing heavily on his shoulder, John rolled and sprung back onto his feet to face forward just in time to see that the Brute was already coming forward in another charge. John's mind clicked.

This Brute, this Covenant, was an obstacle, an obstacle trying to prevent John from completing his mission. And like any other obstacle, John was going to neutralize it. He was going to save Miranda.

That single thought seemed to bring John strength, erasing the exhaustion and pain that he had been feeling a moment ago. He stood straighter, hands clenching into fists as he narrowed his eyes at the approaching Brute. His mind seemed clear, and to him, the Brute suddenly seemed slower then it really was.

The blow was equally slow, as John sidestepped the fist that the Brute brought down, causing it to slam into the floor. John sprung forward, sending an elbow at the Brute's head. Even with the metal faceplate, the armor dented from the power of the blow. The Brute took a few steps away from John, caught off guard by the counterattack.

John pressed his attack. The Brute roared in pain and rage as an open hand blow hit its wounded chest. It swung another fist at the Demon, but John ducked under the attack as easily as the first. The Brute roared in outrage, but was silent as a gauntleted fist connected with its chin, sealing its mouth shut. It staggered back, roaring in outrage as two hard blows connected with its chest.

The Brute's vision went red, the bloodlust taking over. A single thought blossomed within its mind, one that outshone all others. Kill the Demon. Roaring once again, it charged.

Its eyes were on John, only John. Its mind centered on the thought of ripping the Spartan limb from limb. It didn't allow anything else to be processed in its mind. Not even when John bent down to pick up one of the dropped weapons. Not even when John raised the weapon, a brute shot, up. And certainly not even when the grenade was launched from the weapon and blew a hole in its chest.

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The doors to the landing pads opened and John's gore covered form burst from them. His eyes looked this way and that as he scanned the landing pads, his retrieved battle rifle raised, the muzzle pointing forward.

No!

The Phantoms were already in the air. And even as John ran after them, they had already shot forward and left so that he was the only one on the landing pad, him and the Prophet that had a Flood infection form attached to its neck.

But it didn't matter to him. They had Miranda, he had failed. His heart seemed to sink, as all he could do was stand on the landing pad, staring at where the Covenant ship had disappeared to.

Behind his visor, John blinked and shook his head to clear his thoughts. No, he hadn't failed. Miranda was still alive, just taken elsewhere.

And he will find her. He had failed Keyes, but he won't fail Miranda. He won't allow it.

He will not fail.

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Author's Note: So how was it? Good? Bad? Well that's what reviews are for! If this fic seems to go well with you guys, I might decide to type up another one-shot that I had been thinking about doing while typing up this one. But until then...-yawns-...goodnight everyone!