Written for a challenge at insertphrase on livejournal. Zero belongs to Capcom. Woe is me.


"You look unwell."

Heavy footsteps paused by his head, a metal-clad toe prodding into his ribs. He coughed, could feel something warm and wet clogging his throat, dripping down the back.

No shit, he wanted to say, armor cracked and repair systems struggling to close even the mildest of the burnt, ragged wounds in his synthskin.

He tried to move, needed to move, but could only force sound from his mouth.

"I'm not unwell, I'm fucking dying."

His companion laughed, crouching down to brush tangled golden hair away from his face. He waited, bleeding coolant on the jagged rock, until the fingers came near his mouth, and bit. The maverick howled, a line of artificial blood splashing over his cheek as she jerked away her hand.

He felt something strain and fracture, the bend of overstressed metal in his chest when she kicked him, sending him sliding and sparking across the stone. His ears were ringing, the static of damaged systems echoing in his head, but he could still hear her speaking.

"You're scrap now, Hunter."

She was practically spitting and he was, even while something blared a klaxon in his skull, perversely reminded of a fluffy, irritated cat. She kicked him again, viciously in the stomach, and something else snapped as he was sent flipping onto his back.

Whatever had broken, he thought that it was probably something important, judging by the starbursts the pain was igniting in his vision.

He watched with an odd, dreamy sort of fascination as one arm bled fluid into a dark, viscous pool, spreading and dirtying the sides of her boots.

When she moved to kick him a third time he rolled, ignoring the scream of protesting limbs, and stood in one smooth motion. It was oddly satisfying to be able to smirk at her expression of shock.

"You were dying."

Howling, the high pitch of her voice turning to a shriek, and he thought that he would never get tired of listening to that stunned rage.

He grinned, the barest hint of what might have been fangs. She fell to the soft hiss of his beam saber, frozen with her death-mask of disbelief.

"I came back from the dead again," he told her corpse, and turned to the rest of the battle.