I closed my eyes as the hot water of the shower spilled over me, taking with it the dust and grime of the day's work. It had only been two months since X was defeated and Omega destroyed but already the world was looking up. The three guardians took over in X's place and after some negotiations, accepted the Ciel system of energy. Plants were being converted by the day, producing a new energy that was seamless. In days the difference could be told. The war was seemingly over, reploids were no longer being blamed for the disaster and celebrations were thick in major cities. But to me it still didn't feel right. I was a copy myself, and I was starting to wonder if I would ever do something like the fake X did….
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Zero looked over his room one last time before zipping the duffle bag closed. He could really use a vacation away from everything. His help was no longer needed since Neo Arcadia was no longer actively persecuting innocents. The peace treaty they made with the Arcadians said as long as the now named "restorations" didn't go back to a "resistance" then there would be no more arms being held against each other. The guardians would protect everyone along with the old resistance, and that alone was more than enough to stop any small uprising that might take place.
The bag strap was thrown over his shoulders and he made his way out of the space he lived in the past few years. His armor was on its stand, no longer needed. The only thing he took with him was some change of cloths and his light saber. Ciel would surely be more than pissed when she read the note left on his desk.
I'm going on a journey to find myself and see the world that I fought for. Please don't try to look for me, I'll be back later.
'Finding himself' is one thing he never thought he'd ever hear come from his own mouth. He was Zero, and that's all that mattered to him at the time of realization. But now, he wanted to be sure he was still himself, whatever that might have been before he lost his memories.
'No point in staying around any longer than necessary,' He thought to himself and opened the door leading into the dark hallway. His shoes made soft squeaking noises as he treaded, not being quite worn in yet. He had chosen night to leave because he was well known for walking around after hours doing nothing while he couldn't sleep. If anyone did see him they wouldn't question what he was up to. When asked to enter a security code to get into the hanger, he pushed it in quickly and was granted entrance.
He chose a ride chaser that had only just recently been completed. It was a cruiser model so the armor was light and was meant to go fast and not survive combat. This was fine with him, as for right now he just wanted to get away. His duffel bag was shoved in the side compartment and after checking his money supply one last time; he turned the key and slowly moved forward and out the newly opened hanger door.
It had been a month since Zero went out on his own. He has been from town to town, but still the answer that he was looking for still eluded him. Who was he really? What was his purpose, and why was he removed from his original body? Would he eventually go insane like X did? The question haunted him as he rode around the town looking for someplace to eat and think about his situation.
A loud explosion made him slide his bike to the side in an attempt to stop. Several screams rang out around him as he tried to pinpoint the cause of the disturbance. It came to him a moment later, a little in front of him a five story had apparently caught fire somehow. "What happened?" He asked someone running out of the building as he hopped off his chaser. "Did someone attack?"
"No, something just caught fire somehow! It blew up something inside and spread before I knew what was happening!" The woman he stopped tried to run past him, but he grabbed her arm to stop her.
"How many are in there? Is everyone out safely?"
"I-I don't know."
Zero scanned the windows that seemed to be quickly engulfed in flames. "A wire shortage or something," he mused to himself. "I don't see anyone at least…"
"Wait, where's Tommy?" someone standing around suddenly started looking around frantically. "Tommy? Tommy?"
"Dad, help me!" a childish voice called out from the burning building. "I can't get out!"
"Damnit," Zero cursed under his breath and looked around again. There were a few people trying to put out what they could before the fire department got there. He grabbed their bucket and drenched his coat with the water before throwing it over his head and running inside.
The wet jacket was more for the kid he was after than himself, as he could withstand temperatures several times higher than what the fire could put out. But he still didn't like the heat on his skin without the armor protecting him from it. Growling, he called out for the person he was after. "Hey kid, where are you?"
Zero ran up the stairs and paused as a section of ceiling collapsed above him. Running around it he managed to find the boy that was trapped inside after kicking open a door. "Stay sharp kid, we're getting out of here." He threw the hot wet jacket over him and looked around. Best bet would be jumping through the window.
Unfortunately for him, another section of the wall decided to flare up and break, allowing items from the upstairs room to fall and block his escape. 'I'll have to cut my way out…' He gripped the light saber handle in his pocket and was preparing to pull it our when he heard a female voice calling to him.
"Hey! Hey you, are you okay?"
He turned and saw someone else running up to him, wet blanket around herself. "I'm fine but this kid here is inhaling too much smoke, we got to get out!"
The female nodded and turned. "Follow me, I came in this way!"
Zero nodded and chased her, surprised as she leapt through a hole in the wall covered in fire. He picked the kid up and jumped through himself. Landing, he slid and looked around. The girl waved at him to follow and then proceeded down the stairs of a less flamed stairway.
The outside air tasted good in his lungs, and eagerly drank it up to replace the soot ridden smoke he had been breathing inside. The kid he rescued was given and oxygen mask but other than that seemed to be fine. His jacket, however, was ruined.
He sighed and tossed it in a nearby garbage can as people started running over to him. His eyes scanned for the person who helped him but could no longer seem to find her. "Everyone safe and accounted for?" He asked no one in particular. After receiving a positive answer he nodded and started walking back over to his chaser as the fire department went to work on controlling the damage.
"Wait, what's your name?" Someone called out to him as he started up his bike.
Zero paused. He didn't want his name to be spread around, as Ciel would probably track him down and drag him back to the base. "Alex." He called over his shoulder. "My name is Alex." He waved over his shoulder and drove off, now even hungrier than he was before the whole ordeal.
"So this is where you've been……Alex, was it?" a female voice made Zero pause, a slice of pizza half way to his mouth. "You've made a lot of people upset by leaving like that you know." The female sat across from him in the booth and removed the hood of her jacket, revealing light blue hair and eyes. "Ciel is driving us nuts with worrying about you."
"Leviathan," he spoke her name more shocked than anything else. She was no danger to him now since the peace treaty and even if she was he knew that she wouldn't attack around humans who could be hurt in the process. "What are you doing here?"
"Looking for your sorry ass." She sighed and took a slice of his pizza without asking and began to eat. "I have to make sure you uphold the treaty, not harm anyone, blah, blah blah. Legal mumbo jumbo. And you just have to run off making it difficult for me." His lip turned up at the corner as he watched her take a bite and then frantically try and get the bubbling cheese from being stuck at the top of her mouth. Finally she grabbed his drink and took a long swing from it. "You jerk; you could have told me it was that hot!"
He shrugged and grinned. "You ate it, not me." He took a bite despite his previous statement and chewed thoughtfully, seemingly no longer realizing she was there with him.
Not one to be ignored, she spoke again. "Why don't you go to the base? Everything is calming down now, no more war or anything. Believe it or not even Fefnir is complaining about you being gone. Wants to spar with you."
" 'Spar' wouldn't be the right word for that battle," he replied. He never liked fighting the generals. They reminded him too much of himself. Fighting to protect humans, hurting so others wouldn't know pain…
"So you'll come back?"
"No," Zero looked out the window and into the evening sky. "I still have answers I need to find." He stayed silent a moment, waiting for Leviathan to say something back to him. Instead he saw her hand something to him.
"Here, it's for you."
"Huh?" He took the device from her and blinked as she stole another slice of his meal. Without thinking it brought the cell phone to his ear and spoke into it. "Hello?"
"Zero where are you?" Ciel's voice made him wince and pull the speaker from his ear. "Do you have any idea how worried I was about you? Leaving with only a note into a world that could still try and kill you at any given moment! Report back to base and report back now!"
"Feisty one." Leviathan mused at his bewildered face and chewed.
"Um, I can't come back right now," He told her gently, afraid she may start screaming at him again. He never liked it when she was upset with him. It always made him feel bad since he was the one that she trusted the most out of everyone at the base. "I have stuff I need to do."
Ciel sighed. "Okay. Okay, you can stay out then. But you have to promise me you'll contact me twice a week."
"Sure." He answered her lazily, knowing full well he would forget to do it.
"Give the phone to Leviathan please."
"Here ya go." Zero tossed her the phone, where she caught it gracefully.
"Leviathan speaking. Yes mam. Yes mam. Eh? Me? ……… Yes mam……." She sighed into the phone. "Understood. Commencing mission….." She flipped the phone shut and glared at him.
She took a deep breath. "Under article seventeen B of the peace treaty, the reploid Zero will not individually take any actions against any humans or neo Arcadians in a hostile manor or directly avoid anything relating to the best interest of maintaining peace."
"….So?" He knew that line. He was the resistance's main fighter; of course he would be in it.
Leviathan rolled her eyes. "Commander Ciel placed me in charge of seeing to it that the article is upheld."
"I'm stuck with you."
He blinked once, then again. Finally he put his head in his hand and sighed. "I want to be alone."
"I want to go home as well. Deal with it. Go to the base and we'll both be happy."
"Leviathan, it was nice talking with you. Go away."
"Fine. At least let me go tell the guy I'm paying for you as well since you devoured half my dinner."
"Oh. Oh thank you." She blushed lightly, never having a guy buy her a meal before – even if she did kind of steal it from him.
Zero left the booth and walked up to the cash register. "Hello there my good man. That lovely young girl back there said she would be buying my dinner tonight." He moved away lightly and waved at Leviathan, who meekly waved back. "Please tell her I said thanks again when she pays out?"
"Sure thing mister." He nodded at Zero and when Leviathan's attention was turned back to the last piece of food, the crimson wonder bolted for the door. Before she could even realize he wasn't in the room anymore, she heard his ride chaser fire up and fly out of the parking lot.
"Why you!" She leapt from the booth and ran to the door, only to be stopped by the manager. "Out of my way, I have to catch him!"
"He informed us you would be paying for the meal, missy." The manager held up a receipt and showed it to her.
Leviathan turned and growled at the receding figure on the street. "Zero, I swear, when I find you again…."