By Ryuu

Rating: K+

Fandom ReBoot

Pairing: Bob/Dot, possible hints of Dot/Mouse if you really, truly want to see them there, Dot/angst

Spoilers/Keywords: S3, maybe parts of Daemon Rising, angst, some romance

Notes: Obviously, I do not own ReBoot, but I assume Mainframe Ent/Alliance still holds all the copyrights. This is a non-profit work of fanfiction and all ReBoot characters are used without permission but with a great deal of affection and respect. This is a short, short fic that just barely avoids being an honest-to-Thor drabble by that much. I really didn't plan on ever writing ReBoot fic ever again, but Dot and her angst grabbed my brain and just wouldn't let go, so here it is. Anyway, comments, critique, and howls of fury are all welcome either on the review board or at my email address. Archiving, MSTing, or whatnot is also okay, but just drop me an email and let me know you're doing it first, okay? Oh, and do keep my name attached. After all, it makes the subsequent flamewars over my "One-Chapter Wonder Fic" just that much more fun

Sometimes Dot wakes up at night and misses him so fiercely that she almost can't breathe. She never tells anyone. She can't tell anyone. The commander of the rebellion during Mainframe's last desperate struggle for freedom can't show weakness. She has to keep morale up and can't openly cry for a man she's never dated, never told that she loves him, never even kissed.

Mouse worries about her in a quiet way. Knows she never really sleeps if she's alone. Dot suspects that if Phong was still here, he and Mouse would be comparing notes and quietly managing her. As it is, Mouse finds ways to check up on her and make sure she can't simply work herself to death as she's feeling more and more of an urge to do these days. And somehow she can't bring herself to resent that fact.

She knows that she's lost a lot in this war. She knows that she still has more to lose. She misses her brother and AndrAIa and Frisket with an ache in her heart that refuses to leave. She wants Phong, needs him with the same longing that she used to reserve for her own father in those first horrible days after the loss of the Twin City.

Although she'll never let it show, she's terrified, every single day, of losing those last remnants of her family that Megabyte, games, or other catastrophes somehow haven't stolen from her. The thought that one day, any of them, Mouse, Specky, even Hack and Slash, won't be there anymore and she'll be even more alone causes an icy sensation to settle deep in her gut and she desperately tries to think of something else.

The rare thought that she might be the one who dies only fills her with some sadness, regret for things left unsaid, and a curious sense of relief. She's too good of a commander to seek death, but she's also ceased fearing it. It couldn't be any worse than what she lives now.

But it's only Bob who causes this ache in her chest that steals her breath and makes her just want to hide somewhere so that she can scream and cry and rage until she falls down in a senseless huddle.

She thinks it would be easier if she could hate him. She thinks she should hate him. He failed. He left them behind and he never promised to come back. She almost does hate him for it. And she sort of hates herself for still loving him and for that part of her that still waits and still believes that he's going to survive the Web and come back with reinforcements and make Megabyte regret the day he was ever processed.

Dot takes a shaky breath, rolls over, and tries to go back to sleep.