By Erico


X had found Zero at a sandy beach at the edge of Cornus, resting and recharging his stamina after a grueling battle. Hearing that X had succeeded over Sigma and that the last of the Mavericks under his reign were destroyed set them both in good spirits.

Yet they merely lay there, resting and recuperating from their wounds, their talks sparse until the few minutes before sunrise.


Jim Dacker…



Now you can all rest in peace.

"Earth to X?! HELLO?!" Zero bellowed. X blinked, snapping back.

"Huh?" Zero frowned.

"Just where were you?" X smiled weakly.

"Just saying goodbye to old friends."

"Cain and Hazil are gonna be beaming like suns when I drag you back." X grumbled. "They really missed their golden boy."

"I thought you were their golden boy." Zero retorted with a wry smile. X waved his hand.

"Natch that…I'm talking about as a Hunter." Zero frowned.

"Meaning what?"

"I don't have the ruthless attitude like you do." X replied meekly. "I don't like killing, and I only do it when there's just cause."

"Like protecting innocents?"

"Yeah, and…"

"X, I'm gonna do you a favor." Zero snapped. "I'm gonna tell you to SHUT UP and LISTEN." Zero leaned back, setting his hands with their ruined gauntlets on the sand. "You don't need to be ruthless to be a good Hunter. Look at you. Twice now, there's come a threat far bigger than anything I could handle on my own, and yet through a combination of rage, of incentive, and a genuine desire to make sure that the danger never returns, you've stepped up to the plate and hit grand slams." Zero's eyes shone with respect. "X, you and I can argue on about who's the best Maverick Hunter. The simple answer is you and I fight differently, we think differently. I can learn from you, and you learned from me." Zero pulled out his yellow beam saber and lightly flipped it in the air a few times. "And Hell, I'd say we came out on top of this deal…I finally got a beam saber…although yellow's not my favorite color."

X couldn't help but grin.

"Well, how about a green one?" Zero's eyes brightened.

"Like Sigma's old one?"

"It IS Sigma's old one." X replied with a grin. "Hell, I've been waiting more than six months to give it to you…It saved my ass in the First Uprising, I'll have you know." Zero laughed.

"You really ARE the golden boy!! I'm gonna have to dredge up something special to give you back." X shook his head.

"Zero, just having you around is present enough." X got up to his feet, as did Zero. "The Maverick Hunters are still in a state of recovery from our almost complete annihilation. They need a strong leader…more than one. They've got me, they've got Cain. And now they've got you as well."

Zero paused and turned to face the East. He grinned wider.

"It's a new year." X looked up as well.

Sure enough, the sun was rising over the horizon, in an orange and pink state of coloration. Zero laughed.

"X, do you know what today is?" Mega Man X nodded, all too aware of the irony of it.

"Yeah…January 1st, 2119." He turned to face Zero. "A year with no Sigma, no Maverick regime, and the return of a lost friend." Zero clucked his tongue and stared out at the sun again.

"A world of peace…can it truly be??"

"It might." X muttered. "My father dreamed of a world at peace, where my kind and humans lived without strife." Zero nodded.

"Then I'll help you make that dream a reality, X." Zero put a hand on his shoulder reassuringly and smiled. "The world will be a better place by our efforts."

"You promise?" X asked, looking up into Zero's eyes. The taller Crimson Hunter grinned and nodded.

"On my grave, I promise." X couldn't help but realize the irony of the statement, like Zero had planned it.

The two friends burst out laughing, and were soon rolling on the sand in a howling fit of laughter.

And the world laughed as well.

Now they could all laugh…

In peace.

The place was Cornus Island.

The effects were worldwide…

A mere prototype, a man in blue came to aid the world in its time of need once more.

Reaching out beyond himself, he grew stronger…he reached more of his full potential, and ended the final vestiges of Sigma's regime.

That figure was Mega Man X.

In an age where so many still cowered in fear, and where reconstruction was still a part of life, it almost took a turn for the worse…had not a child of Light stepped up to end the threat.

For every age since Wily, for every threat, there has been a Mega Man.

But all heroes have a beginning…and not all heroes are heroes when they begin.

Mega Man X was no exception to the rule. And he found himself…

He found his true power on that island.

On the Island of Awakening.