Imbri- …I have no legitimate excuse. Life happened, I guess. This is a total 180 from what I originally planned for this chappy. Anywho, feel free to read on, I'll try and start writing again soon. On a side note there are a ton of theories on reploids and how human they are, and I'm not going to align with any one- for this fic they can heal through nanites or something close to it. I'll try to work that out more later.

Imbri still does not own Rockman or any of its related games.

Chapter 4: Words of comfort (mean the world)

If it wasn't a book on X, he'd have thrown in a, 'oh yeah, and remember that the universe hates me.'

Obviously things had been going much, much too smoothly. A quick getaway to the city after a few hours of work again? No way, said karma. That'd be too convenient Zero. And if he thought about it, it had been a while since they'd seen any active duty- the smaller squabbles were usually shot down before what Zero lovingly dubbed 'the Suicide Mission Go-ers' could be called in.

That didn't mean they couldn't be taken by surprise. This was a sad state of affairs, and usually meant that /someone wasn't doing their job/ back home, and there was most likely a Maverick on base doing a happy jig- it didn't help that Zero and X were both high up on Sigma's wish list. X might despise his job on the bad days, but he wasn't going to let that affect Unit 17's performance. Field training fell into that requirement, and if they knew what was good for them they'd follow procedure.

If all the training and preparation for the job took place indoors, Hunter HQ would have been blown up and rebuilt several times over by now. There were smaller training facilities throughout the country (world!) and target and shooting ranges in their nearby area. Old buildings that were no longer in use and older districts that needed to be torn down and remodeled were sometimes donated or bought. Personally those were Zero's least favorite places, because oftentimes the higher ups found it funny to include shoot-me-nots in the simulations and would cut points for taking out granny or the pig-tailed child. X enjoyed the real-life what ifs of the latter and used them often.

X had two Hunter assigned to Communications and recon on each outing, and they had the go ahead with no Maverick activity reported within the nearby area. Drills had been going as smoothly as he could have hoped, with no injuries worse than scrapes and scratches from jumping around avoiding friendly fire. There had been no telltale wave of destruction. If a pin had dropped within fifty feet of him X would have investigated it and probably blown it into a large crater in the ground just to be safe. When the random encounter showed up X took control of the situation in under five seconds and managed to avoid serious injuries to anyone under his wing.

Zero knew X- none of that meant a damn thing in the long run.

23: X goes through too many games of break the cutie. And after he snaps and kills off everything in the area, he's most likely to check on his unit for casualties and then go reflect on How This is His Fault.

"Hey," He rapped his knuckles on the door; it wasn't always a good idea to surprise a Hunter who was injured and just out of battle, and stared at X with a slight frown. His helmet was off, and he was in the process of tearing a string of tape off his injured arm with his teeth. He didn't bother looking up or otherwise recognizing Zero's presence.

"Shouldn't you be in the medical wing letting Lifesaver patch that up?" This finally caught X's attention, though he didn't stop in his self-treatment.

"I stopped there first to check on the others; I can handle this on my own." Still not looking up, still not openly inviting conversation or company.

"...right." Zero had crossed the distance in a couple of long strides and batted X's hand away from his arm, shaking his head at the poor patch job. At least his first-aid kit was in better condition than Zero's, it looked like X actually re-stocked it on a normal basis.

"That plate isn't sitting right." Zero muttered, destroying what probably took X ten minutes to do with his one arm in three seconds. X let out a whine when Zero pulled off the metallic plate X had more or less just glued over the hole and tried to pull away.

"Damnit Zero, I just fixed that!"

"You did a craptastic job of it too. Now sit or I'll drag you to Lifesaver, or one of his nonsentient look-alikes." Aka the Lifesaver monkies.

X puffed at him but otherwise handed over his arm without further comment. He winced every now and then, or wriggled unhappily from Zero's more unsympathetic hand, but didn't put up a fight in the long run.

"They're probably done by now." Zero finally said, looking at his wrap-job with a slight sense of accomplishment. It needed to be looked at by a professional, but if X really didn't get Lifesaver to look at it his self-repair would handle over time. He didn't know how long it'd take for his cute little mesh-skin to patch itself up, but that wasn't the problem, much as he liked to focus on it. The problem was there were the little cuts here and there, and Zero really didn't have the patience for this kind of work.

X let out a non-committal sound and started digging around for some smaller bandages, and Zero felt his patience stretch.

"If you don't fix these right and you start to develop a flesh eating rust that kills you, Signas will be pissed off at me for not dragging you in."

"Uh huh." X scowled at his first-aid kit, obviously it had failed him once again and he was going to have to dig around his room for something to make due.

"X."

Said hunter continued to avoid eye contact, and Zero had a decision to make. He could force the X to look at the elephant in the corner and deal with the bomb afterwards, or he could throw X over his shoulder and drag him to see a Lifesaver monkey.

"X?"

"Um… I need- tape. Th-the tape Zero." In the presence of the *wibble* option two became almost impossible.

Zero sighed, grabbed X's still rummaging hands and turned them over, running a thumb along a scratch that was already fading, and waved them back and forth in a teasing way. This was not his area. He could deal with anger, death threats and gore. Normal Emotions fell into that dark area he had trouble navigating.

"Your unit's fine. They don't blame you for this. Signas is not angry at you for going mama bear under fire and the world is still spinning. Calm down."

24: The best way to knock X out of a fit of angst or bout of self-loathing is to completely derail him.

X's gob smacked expression at least meant he was making eye contact. If Zero had really listened, he could probably have heard the gears in X's head stop in shock before firing violently again.

"Mama… bear?" He demanded, edges of his mouth curled down in a cross between upset and disbelief, eyebrows knitted together. "What the hell Zero-"

"Well Alia told me you went from 'let's have a productive family outing to 'you're shooting at my kids, prepare to die' in about three seconds. So yeah, mama bear." X's palm smacked into his forehead and he let out a soft groan.

"You are to never speak of this again." But it had a slight teasing lilt to it.

"Like the rest of the base doesn't know. Then again, maybe they don't. Half the time I think the only people who know that you're a walking nuke are the Mavs and me." Zero shrugged it off before X could try and find something to say to that, "And your pups want to make sure /you're/ okay. So hurry up and escort me to the medical wing before they start breaking the door down, I don't think Signas would find the extra problem funny at all at the moment."

X let out a snort of possible annoyance, probable amusement, and actually let Zero pull him up and out the door this time, half open first-aid kit and messy room losing their hold on the forefront of his mind against the feeling of Zero's warm palm and the continued teasing banter that was only meant as an attempt to cheer him up.

…Only.