A/N: Way back when, I fell in love with a game called Megaman 3. Couldn't get enough of it, so when I found it was an ongoing series and that the series actually had a tv show in my country, I was estatic. Getting up every Sunday at 6, even if I had to set an alarm clock just to get up in time to watch it, wasn't anything to me. I was a sad, obsessed little kid.
Anyway, long story short, I loved that show, despite how much it shamed the original series. I still do, and I'm a humungo fan the idea that Protoman/Blues should've joined his brother and put Wily out for good. Anyone remember the episode where that "happened?" The actual ending fit the story of that series well, but I wish it would've gone a little something like this.
By the way, this isn't yaoi or even shounen-ai.
Brother, My Brother
It had been two days since the parade disaster and not much had been out of the ordinary, that being the only exception. Disturbances were nill, attacks were none, harrassments (aside from a few petty human incidents, which were the norm in the city) had all but disappeared. Yet, he knew there would be more eventually. Wily would not rest, therefore, he would not rest. For the moment, had there not been the newest addition, he would have been relaxed; however, he could not.
The name appeared in his head again and with it, the image of the red and gray robot. He flinched, staring blankly down at the post-it note in his blue, armored hand. The message was simple, consisting of a time and a location and the words "Be there" underneath. It seemed innocent enough. Even Dr. Light had approved. Not that he needed permission - he knew he was trusted in full to go out and do as he wished. A device in his right arm, something of a walkie-talkie, would be able to call him back home if he was needed, so he was never out of contact. But he wasn't the reason for his own hesitation - it was the one who had left the note for him to find.
The name again. The image. The robot. My br... They were enemies. More than that, though, they were brothers. Two days ago, the parade... then the attack... then Protoman's wild assault on his own comrades in a display of his change of heart. The city had been hesitant to accept him, and there were those who, even still, refused to see him as one on their side. He was one of those hesitating. He flinched again, face scrunching ever so slightly.
How could he trust one who had, ever since he could remember, tried to kill him... or at least helped in an attempt? Protoman was faking it, he was certain. Just another of Wily's hair-brained plots to rule the world, and Protoman was helpi-
Another flinch. With it, a twinge of something in his chest... a feeling, gnawing at him from the inside out. Megaman whimpered softly at it, crumpling the paper in his hand, well aware of the presence behind him.
"Something the matter, Mega?" came the familiar voice. A warm hand, soft from age, yet calloused from years of work, was placed on his shoulder.
Megaman relaxed under it almost instantly, letting his eyes close in defeat. "I don't want to go," he admitted in a hushed voice, "but at the same time, I want to." Dr. Light occupied a seat beside the blue robot, his hand still at rest on the boy's shoulder as he listened intently. "I don't know what to do. What if he's just tricking me again?"
The man sighed, leaning back in his chair and staring thoughtfully at his son. He knew well the conflicts Megaman endured when it came to his brother - there was a time years ago when they would talk about it nearly every night. Those conversations came less and less frequently as Megaman fought Protoman more and more. To an outsider, it would have seemed as though he'd simply stopped caring whether or not Protoman considered their would-be relationship as anything at all, but Dr. Light knew Megaman too well. He had, after all, designed and built him.
"I know," he said finally after a spell. "But he seems honest enough. He did take out Cutman and Gutsman, and he did ask that he be allowed to stay with us, having no where else to go. Yet, you have a point. This could be no more than a nasty plot once again."
Megaman looked up at him emotionlessly, yet he could hide nothing from his creator, and in his voice there was a telling sadness. "Then I should stay."
The scientist shook his head slowly. "No, you should go. Find out what it is that he wants with you. Remember, Mega, we have no reason to doubt him as of yet. You may be surprised, but you'll never know unless you go to him. If he is indeed trying to change his ways, giving him the cold shoulder isn't going to encourage him any."
Silently, Megaman turned to gaze out the window of the lounge as he considered his choices for a moment more. Eventually, he decided his father was right, and, on impulse, leaned over and embraced the elderly man. Dr. Light returned the embrace welcomingly, not at all surprised when the boy whispered, "I really hope he's here to stay, father."
He said not a word, but gave his son a small squeeze before they separated, and Megaman left for his date.
Half an hour later, Megaman found himself somewhere near the center of Central Park, wandering down one of a number of paths he could've chosen. It was relatively empty that day, being a sunny Tuesday with most everyone at work. Oddly enough, even the robotic police, generally stationed at every other corner or monument, were few. At any other time, it would have been relaxing. Given his current situation, it only made the blue wonder that much more anxious. What if Protoman had known beforehand that no one would be around that day? There would be no one to stop him if it was a fight he wanted. At the same time, if he wasn't there for a battle, the privacy was exactly what they needed - it was obvious they had much to sort out together.
Megaman sighed heavily as he came back to the crossroad that would take him to his brother and stopped at the intersection. He had taken the right path twice now, stalling as much as he could. Perhaps he thought the longer he delayed, the less likely it was that Protoman would turn on him. For the second time that day, he considered turning back. Just as he started back on the right path, he paused, sighed again, and went down the left. Better to get it over with, whatever was waiting for him.
Before he knew it, he found himself gazing at a park bench from a distance. Occupying the bench, a familiar robot sat, his arms crossed impatiently over his chest. His leg would shift from time to time, and every once in a while he would mumble variations of "Where is he?" just loud enough for the other to hear, although he couldn't have known "he" was already there.
Well, what do I have to lose? he thought, and something in the back of Megaman's mind gave him a reply he roughly shoved away. With a sigh, he stepped back on the path and allowed himself to be noticed.
Protoman jerked his head over to him as he approached, a wide grin spreading over his face as he realized he wasn't about to be stood up. "So, you finally came!" He stood to greet his brother, grin wavering slightly into something indignant when Megaman stopped before him, expression just as grim as it had been when he first set eyes on him that day. "What? No 'Hello, how are you? What's this all about?' Not even a 'Kiss my foot' or anything?"
Finally, Megaman forced a small smile and shook his head. "You just took me by surprise, that's all." Well, it was half true. "Not that we've ever had the chance to, but you never want to see me in private to do anything other than fight me."
Protoman lost his smile completely, but his mood didn't seem to take so much of the blow. "So you thought I brought you out here to kill you?"
"I didn't say that." He decided to ignore whatever would come next and hastily took up a spot on the bench. Protoman watched him with a huff, then sat next to him, stretching both arms along the back of the bench, something Megaman carefully noted. The gesture suddenly made him uncomfortable - he leaned forward, elbows on his knees, to avoid the contact. In the silence that followed, he took a few quiet, deep breaths, trying to calm himself. It was something Protoman couldn't possibly have missed, but the former Wily bot said nothing about it.
"Alright, what do you want?" Megaman finally asked outright, unable to hide his discomfort any longer.
From the small tilt of his head, Protoman seemed to glance at him before he responded, but with the visor there was no telling. One thing was certain, Megaman knew, yet at the same time, he wasn't sure what it was. There was something different about his brother, as though he were... he wanted to say nervous, but it didn't seem likely. The red and gray robot gave a response before he could pin point it. "Just some quality time alone with my little brother, if that's alright with you. I've been no good to you all my life, and I realize that now, so I want to make it up to you by helping you put Wily away."
Megaman narrowed his eyes slightly, feeling the familiar tightening in his chest again. "So suddenly?" Beside him, the other robot gave him a direct stare, one he couldn't and wouldn't try to read - his gaze was locked firmly on the gravel path below him. He was only aware of the glance by the movement in the corner of his eye. "We've fought each other for years. Now, out of the blue, you decide you want to help me instead of kill me." At last, he did turn to meet the stare of his brother, his gaze one of disbelief. "How can I believe this?"
At first, Protoman seemed as though he were about to snap back at that, but he turned away quickly, his patience holding for the moment, crossing his arms again. "Is this how you treat people who just want to help you? To be your friend?"
That struck a cord, and Megaman remembered his father's words. Protoman was right - he did deserve the benefit of doubt, as hesitant as Megaman was to give him that. Yet he would, and he sighed heavily. "Okay, okay, don't get upset. It's not that I completely don't believe you. It's just... This is too good to be true." His eyes widened, and he cursed himself for letting that slip.
At his side, Protoman relaxed back into his former position, arms over the back of the bench, as he stared up into the sky above. "It's just new to you," he said softly, not seeming to have noticed the slip up. Megaman knew he had though. "You'll get used to having me around eventually."
Megaman seemed to consider that for a moment, and in the next instant, his face was void of emotion again as it had been before. Silence lingered between the two for a while, the only things to be heard the wind or an occasional pair of birds. It eventually got to the older robot before long. He and sitting still just didn't go together very well. "So, what do you want to go do?" Protoman asked suddenly, causing a small jerk from his brother. "We could go see a movie... or I heard there's a car show downtown. It's up to you. I never get out much, so you're going to have to tell me what's the best entertainment around here."
The last statement bothered Megaman, though he wouldn't let it show outwardly. He'd never before considered what life was like for Protoman as Wily's right hand man, and it shed a whole new light on things. It must have been lonely there, perhaps even unbearable, knowing the man who dominated them all. On the other hand, Dr. Light took painstaking measures to see that his creations were comfortable, no matter where they were or what they did. He thought of them as his children, not as machines or weapons. There wasn't a time in his entire, digital memory that he recalled the man ever yelling at him for any reason. Wily, he knew, was just the opposite. Certainly would explain a lot, he thought, then wondered what, exactly, had his brother's life been like at the other end of the spectrum.
It struck him then, what he had sensed in his brother before. It was discomfort. Perhaps he was even right assuming the elder had been nervous. Protoman was forcing himself into doing something he either didn't want to do or wasn't used to doing. The question was why had he done it, obligation or something out of the ordinary? He didn't want to think that it was a hidden mission from Wily, a secret plot to bring the world to its knees, but if that was the case...
Megaman stared at the ground, his entire array of senses focused on his older brother. He had to find out what was going on, and to do that, he needed time... and a distraction. "How about we just stay here for a bit longer? It's usually not this vacant all the time."
"Really?" Protoman shifted restlessly. "Well, I guess that's alright, but this silence thing isn't cool. Anything you want to talk about?"
"Honestly," Megaman began, then fell quiet as he considered a white lie. "I have nothing on my mind right now, but if you want to talk then go ahead." He was immediately found out.
"Aw, come on, bro! If you're gonna lie to me, make it a good one." Inwardly, Megaman swore lightly, but it seemed luck was on his side. "I don't know you that well personally, but I get the impression that you aren't the type to sit around all day locked in your room. Judging by your expansive range of friends, I'd say you've got a lively social life. What's with this silent treatment then?"
A mental sigh of relief, and Megaman shook his head slowly. He wasn't truly discovered, but he suddenly didn't feel like talking either. Protoman soon discovered this and tried to sweet talk him into opening up just a bit, but Megaman wouldn't budge. After some time, the red and gray robot finally realized there was no convincing him, so he lapsed back into his own silence until an idea came to him. Maybe he could coax his brother into a lighter mood with a little good natured joking around. On a whim, he reached over and gave the younger robot a shove. Megaman let out a yelp as he flailed comically for a moment, catching himself just in time to save himself from a close encounter with the grass. He gripped the bench tightly afterwards, glaring daggers at his smirking other, half expecting another assault.
"What was that all about?!" he demanded angrily.
"You really are too tense today," was the amused reply. "Look at you. Can't even take a joke. Is this how you always are?" Protoman seemed to give it a bit of thought while his brother blinked at him, lost. "Maybe you don't get out as much as I thought."
The blue robot blinked, suddenly realizing what the "attack" had been all about. He felt a smile cross his face at the thought, and he suddenly began laughing. Protoman stared at him, his obvious confusion lasting but a few seconds before he himself burst out into a fit of laughter. It seemed like a perfect moment, two brothers laughing and having a good time, but before long, Megaman snapped back to reality, effectively silencing himself. Who he was, but more importantly, who he was with came back to him. It was something his conscious wouldn't allow him to ignore. The situation at hand had slipped his mind during that one brief moment, and he stood quickly to walk away from it a bit, cursing himself for letting the moment get to him. Protoman, bewildered into silence, could only watch him as his brother stood with his back to him.
I let my guard down. He could have done anything to me... He could have, but he may still be just acting. What if he wasn't?
"Cripes, I forgot myself for a moment there," said the blue wonder, his anger at himself well masked. "No more than three days ago, you would have been glad to kill me, now here you are, teasing me as though we were best friends! You really are messed up!"
For a moment, Megaman considered that maybe he shouldn't have put his thoughts into that kind of statement, but it was too late. Protoman shot up out of his seat behind him, fists balled tightly in frustration. Even the light reflecting off his visor seemed to glint viciously at the insult.
"Look you!" he growled, forcing himself to keep from yelling his words. "For the first time in my life, I'm doing something meaningful here. I'm trying to set myself straight! Is this the kind of reaction I'm going to get from you for making any attempt at doing something right for once?! Or is it that you're so full up of praise and glory from the world that you can't stand the thought of me at your side?! You think you're too good for me, don't you? Your own brother!"
As infuriated as he was, Protoman simmered down considerably when he witnessed the younger robot actually wince with his last words. It was something he had not expected. Although he would have been hesitant to admit it, Megaman knew he didn't have to say he had been stung, and he turned slightly, enough to cast a glance back over his shoulder at the robot behind him. Protoman stood defensively, hardly any indication given that he had been at all calmed, but the words he would hear next would melt his guise effortlessly.
"You've got me wrong," Megaman began, his tone softer than any he had ever used with his brother before. Deep sapphire eyes, already staring somewhat sadly at the former Wily bot, glistened with what was almost certainly the beginnings of unshed tears. They were gone, however, when he blinked. "Since day one, when I first discovered I have a brother, I've always wanted you here by my side. You have no idea what it's been like for me to have to fight you as I have all these years, not knowing if what you would say to me in battle was true or if it was just an act. I was convinced that you hated me. Having nothing to prove myself wrong, what else could I believe?"
The elder retreated a step, his stance slackening to bare his vulnerable state. Megaman knew then that, whether or not Protoman was indeed acting on orders from Wily, he had reached his brother in that instant. His tactic had worked perfectly, and it shocked him. By revealing a part of himself, he had taken down the other's barriers, if even for a short time. Whether or not he wanted to, his brother had revealed to him that he did, on some level, care for him. Had he not cared, Protoman would have shown no reaction when Megaman allowed his pain to show. He knew the other also realized what had happened, but most likely didn't realize it had been done intentionally. Either way, he took his chance then, while he still had his brother's attention, and struck as hard as he could.
"Tell me, what am I supposed to think now? How am I supposed to see you? As an enemy in disguise or as my brother? I honestly don't know. For all I can tell, at any moment, you're going to snap my neck in my sleep or something along those lines. That's what Wily wants, isn't it? My death? With me out of the way, he could do anything he wants and no one would be able to stop him." The thought ran through his head a few times before he quickly banished it. But there was more truth to his words than he originally intended, and he turned his gaze aside, slightly embarrassed.
After a silence and a bit of stuttering on Protoman's part, Megaman decided to take his assault one step further, continuing on in a voice barely above a whisper. "I want you to know something, Protoman. I don't care what you fight for, and I don't care why you fight me in particular. You might be my greatest opponent... and possibly the only one who could ever take me down or at least match me in a fair fight... but you're still my brother. Because of that, I believe you can't be completely evil like Wily is. Somewhere inside you, I know you carry a light among the darkness, which is why I don't want to hurt you." He hesitated, sighing deeply, shaking inside as he contemplated what might come of his next statement. "And in all honesty, if the world was gone and I had no sister or father or even my crazy pet dog to protect and you still wanted to fight me... if it would make you happy, I'd let you win."
Protoman stood in stunned silence, the best he could muster. He hadn't even been aware that he was backpeddling until his lower leg bumped into the bench where he numbly let himself slump back into the seat. His mouth opened and closed soundlessly a few times before he finally became frustrated with himself and stared at the ground, his entire body limp on the bench. A few minutes' time found him his voice once more, and it returned in a stunned, almost broken form. "Y... you'd... really do that... for me?" It was a question and it wasn't all at the same time. No response was given; he needed none. He hadn't expected any, anticipating the answer right off, but confirming what he already knew moved him farther. "Bro... I..."
Once more, Protoman's mouth gaped awkwardly, a fish lying on dry land, until he finally closed his lips and sat in silence, his head bowed. It was then that he knew he couldn't finish it, Wily's plan. Everything had gone perfectly, like clockwork. The parade, the false alliance, everything. All up to now. He knew in an instant where he would go from that point. It had been a path he would have followed anyway, given time and motivation. His will had been bending ever since the beginning of the crazy operation. Now, it had finally broken, and he sat, slumped passively in his seat and completely humiliated. His voice spoke for him before he even chose his words, but he let them flow as they would, seeing no reason to stop them. If he didn't tell Megaman now, he knew he might not again work up the nerve to do so.
"Bro... there's something I've gotta tell ya."
Megaman turned slowly, curious eyes blinking in surprise at the other. Something had changed again - he felt it even - and it slowly weaved its way into his chest and stomach, griping both regions of his body lightly. "What is it?"
"I don't care what you do with me after this, but believe me when I say I can't go through with it anymore. You were right to be suspicious of me. It was Wily's plan all along to have me earn your favor and get past your defenses. Everything up until this point had been planned out every step of the way, and today was supposed to be the day I brought you under his control."
Upon saying this, the older robot reached up to a section of his chest and popped open a small compartment there. While one hand held the door open, he reached inside and retreived a small black object. The thing couldn't have been much larger than a marble. As he closed this door, Megaman squinted in disbelief at the tiny thing, even more in shock as his brother slowly extended his hand towards him, encouraging him to take it, which he hesitantly did. Megaman examined the object for a moment, then turned a stunned gaze back to his brother. "This..."
Protoman lowered his head guiltily. "Yeah, it's a disruptor. Wily gave it a few kinks too. Not only will that one send out a jamming frequency in your circuits to disable your thoughts, it'll also give you a shock too. I'm not sure how powerful that'd be, but I wouldn't try it. I was supposed to slip that on you today - that was the next part of the plan. But I can't do it... Honestly, I was considering turning on him this time anyway, but now I'm really done. I've just... had it."
As his brother had only moments before, Megaman soon found himself gaping in astonishment. In an instant, he knew what he had to do, at least about the chip. For his brother, however, he stood back at square one. Protoman had confessed - the tiny device in the younger robot's hands was proof enough of that. But, as he had so many times before, the elder had lied. Megaman wasn't certain he could believe Protoman anymore, and on some level, he realized that it was his heart rather than his mind that had made that decision for him. He eyed the red and gray robot with a serious stare, already knowing what he would ask and yet unsure if it was what he truly wanted.
"I'm taking this back to Dr. Light," he said finally, casting his gaze down at the little black chip. He turned it over in his hand twice, watching as the light glinted off its smooth surface and distorted on the other side, the side meant to be attached to something. After a moment, he looked back up at his brother, his gaze hardened distrustingly. "If you really mean what you said, you'll come back too, but I'm not expecting anything."
When he turned to walk away, his stomach clenched. His own footsteps were the only things he heard. It wasn't until he was back on the main path out of the park that he heard the other running up behind him. Turning back, he barely bit back a sigh of relief. There was his brother, jogging across the park toward him, his trademark yellow scarf whipping from side to side at his back.
A/N: Yes, the title came from a song. I was listening to the Pokemon: First Movie soundtrack one day, heard Brother My Brother by Blessed Union of Souls and started writing. This was originally a song fic with the lyrics and all, but I decided to take them out and make it what it is now. I love this fic so much, even if it doesn't sound as good to me as it might to you. -happy-squee-
About Protoman giving in. All I have to say is this: hey, it had to happen. I couldn't see it any other way.