The Past

Shion awoke with a start. She had just had another memory of her time with Kevin, her late fiancee. They were at his house in the country, and she was watching the stars after making love. Then, U-DO had visited her again and caused her to feel pain in her head again. Shaking her head in an effort to shake away the cobwebs, she looked over to the bed in front of her. After arriving in what appeared to be the past, she and the others had rescued a younger Lieutenant Virgil from a pair of Realian combat soldiers, then met up with Febronia and saved his life. Afterwards, they entered the Dabrye Mine to find the Elsa, which they did after fighting Mai Magus and her Leupold. They hurried to the Elsa, where they were reunited with the crew and Allen.

Unfortunetely, they had recieved terrible news about KOS-MOS. Her core had been severely damaged, and amazingly enough (or terribly if you looked at it differently) she had lost a significant amount of blood. They couldn't fix her at all, now that her core and black box had been damaged. So she lay there, sealed in her bed... possibly forever...

Shion looked at the figure in the bed again. And then another heartbreak. Cerberos was lying under the white sheets, unmoving, unbreathing, unresponsive. He had died as well. T-elos' attack had damaged his body far beyond repair. The flesh on his hands had been completely melted away, revealing silverish bone underneath, most like the alloy he had been fused with. His forearms were also terribly burned and missing flesh as well, revealing bone from the wrist to about halfway each. His special DX medicine bangle had been shattered from the attack as well. His torso was heavily damaged, and horribly burned and disfigured. His beautiful face... half of it was a black mess, and his hair had been burnt at the front, leaving a short, charred fringe.

At the moment, Shion could have cared less about how he looked. If only he were alive...

It seemed as if the bad news kept on coming. Their E.S.' Vessels of Anima had dissapeared, rendering them useless. Cerberos' A.M.W.S. had also become lifeless, no doubt due to the symbiosis it and its master shared. They were completely without their big guns.

Shion stood up and looked back at Cerberos' corpse. Corpse... It sounded so wrong. It was Cerberos' body, his body.

"Goodbye Cerberos," she whispered, tears dripping down her face. "I really did fall in love with you..."

-----

It had been many hours later when Shion and Allen returned from their trip to Miltia. They had found out a huge number of new and startling things about the past, and Shion learned more about her father, whom she began to hate. They found basic theory of KOS-MOS' OS in the younger Kevin Winnicot's room and she quickly made a copy of it to bring back to the professor. The old man and his assistant Scott began to work on it right away.

KOS-MOS had been completely repaired within a few days, but she still wouldn't boot up. Tony and the crew of the Elsa had transported Cerberos' body to a cryogenic freezer tube in the hanger so he wouldn't decay, and they would bury him as soon as they returned back to their own time.

Later...

"Professor, the reactor output is unstable," Scott said worriedly as they checked over their repairs on KOS-MOS. "Maybe we needed those parts that you had left over."

"Don't worry about little things like that!" the professor chided. "Besides, have you seen her physical composition now? She's nearly on par with Realians! You can't simply put a machine part in the body where a human organ would be! Your gauge is probably malfunctioning. Just give it a smack."

They continued to tweak KOS-MOS' condition, not noticing the Black Testament that appeared behind them...

-----

Shion walked beside Allen as they headed down to KOS-MOS' storage area. The man had nearly swallowed his tongue when Shion appeared on the display outside of the shower, half naked. He had told her in a stammering voice that the professor wanted her help on rebooting KOS-MOS, and she hurried out to comply. Suddenly, an explosion could be heard from the Elsa.

"What?!" Shion gasped, picking up the pace.

"It came from KOS-MOS' room!" Allen cried.

"Hurry up!" Shion yelled, running faster.

They ran into the hanger area just in time to see the professor and Scott lying on the ground, as the Black Testament walked out of KOS-MOS' maintenence room with her bed floating next to him. Captain Matthews, Tony and the rest were shooting at him, but the pale faced, red eyed Testament's barrier just shattered their bullets harmlessly. The Black Testament knocked Ziggy down and Shion caught sight of KOS-MOS' bed next to him.

"KOS-MOS!" she cried, leaping at the Testament known as Voyager.

"No! Shion!" chaos shouted.

Voyager stopped Shion in mid air and forced her to drop her M.W.S.. He then tried to attempt to choke her telekinetically. Shion began to gasp as she felt a force grip her throat.

"Let KOS-MOS..." she wheezed, "Let her go!"

She felt the life draining out of her, but all of a sudden KOS-MOS' bed activated the Hilbert Effect, flooding the area.

Suddenly, the side of KOS-MOS' bed shattered, and a slender hand gripped the hand that was mentally choking Shion. The bed completely opened and KOS-MOS hopped out and threw Voyager across the hanger, breaking a robotic arm off the wall in his flight. He mentally stopped himself from slamming into the gate door. KOS-MOS picked up her maintenence bed and hurled it with lightning speed at Voyager, but he used his purple barrier to disintigrate it. She teleported her plasma gun out and began to fire at the barrier, which absorbed the shots. She jumped to the hanger floor and faced off with Voyager, in front of the tube that held Cerberos' body. He used telekinesis to attempt to strike her with the robot arm, but she grabbed it and went to hit him with it in a swing. He dodged it and destroyed it with his powers.

Shion and the others ran down to the hanger area and stood with KOS-MOS as they faced the pale Testament. Jr. was in awe of KOS-MOS.

"Whoa, she's way more powerful than before!" he said in surprise. Shion ran up to KOS-MOS.

"You're alright!" she said, but Voyager suddenly gripped her by the throat again, dragging her through the air to him. Everyone made to attack, but he backed up, holding Shion in the air in front of him.

"Heh, heh, heh," he laughed ominously, stopping in front of a chilled over tube. "No sudden movements or her time is up!"

Time seemed to slow down for Shion. In slow-motion, she heard glass shatter behind her as Voyager turned around in surprise. She in turn, turned with him and watched as ice cold clouds shot out of the hole in the glass of the tube behind them. A silver object burst out of the tube, shattering the glass some more and a silver, skeletal hand gripped Voyager by the neck, its pointed fingertips digging into his flesh.

Voyager began to choke and he dropped Shion to the floor, while scrabbling at the skeletal hand with his own. It looked as if he forgot he had mental powers. Shion backed up to the others, who surrounded her protectively as the fleshless hand of Cerberos continued to strangle Voyager.

"Impossible!" Jin breathed, watching the horrifying scene. "But he's - I don't understand!"

Suddenly, the hand went slack and dropped Voyager, who floated down to the floor, hacking and coughing. The hand slid back into the cryo tube, and was covered in white clouds as the unit continued to pump freezing air into the tube, which escaped out of the holes.

"Cerberos?" Shion whispered, not noticing that KOS-MOS had attacked Voyager again, driving him out of the Elsa. She stumbled towards the cryogenic tube. "Cerberos? Are you alive?!"

She frantically pushed the buttons on the controls of the tube and it brought up vital signs. Her heart sank. Nothing. "I - I don't understand!" she cried in frustration. "What's going on!?"

She suddenly had a splitting pain in her skull and collapsed to the floor. The others ran up to her.

"Chief!" Allen yelled, picking her up. "Chief, wake up!"

"Shion!" KOS-MOS said worriedly, hurrying over. "She's fainted again."

"Quickly, get her up to the sick bay," Jin ordered. "We should give her something to allow her to rest."

Suddenly, the door to the cryo tube began to open, causing great billows of icy cold clouds to flow out. Everyone backed away nervously.

"He's dead, isn't he?" Tony asked hysterically. "I mean, what the hell is up with this guy!?"

Cerberos' body fell to the ground on his stomach, and lay there for several moments. Everyone could see the bones showing from his fleshless arms. Amazingly enough, his hair had completely grown back, and was covering his face. He lay there, unmoving for several minutes while everyone watched anxiously. His right arm twitched. They all held their breath as it moved, his metallic fingertips clicking against the steel floor as he began to prop himself up.

"Unbelievable..." MOMO whispered.

Cerberos sat up fully, and they saw that his face was completely healed, without a mark on it. His torso still looked wounded, but the burns were much smaller now, and they were more pink than searing red. His arms however, were still half-skeletal. Cerberos shook his head groggily and blinked his eyes open. He looked up at everyone, then at his freakish clawed bones on his fingers. He blinked some more.

"How long have I been out?" he rasped.

KOS-MOS walked up to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Nearly a week," she answered softly. "Cerberos... how...?"

He furrowed his eyebrows. "For once... I don't know," he said quietly. He saw Shion in Allen's arms. "Is she okay?!"

KOS-MOS pushed him back down as he made to get up. "She fainted again," she said. "Cerberos! Try not to move so much! You are still very weak, and you have just come back from the dead!"

"I - what?" Cerberos stopped moving in confusion. "I thought I was just in another coma! Was I... Was I really dead?!"

"Yeah," Jr. answered solemnly. "T-elos killed you."

"That bitch."

Everyone laughed.

"Listen, we should get you up to the sick bay with Shion," Jin said, and everyone nodded. KOS-MOS helped Cerberos up. "I'll give you a check-up to make sure you're okay."

"Thanks Jin," Cerberos said gratefully as KOS-MOS led him through the hanger as they followed everyone else. "I definitely need some painkillers, my arms are killing me!"

-----

Shion awoke with a groan. "I fainted again, didn't I?" she mumbled to herself.

"Yes, you did."

She turned to see KOS-MOS smiling down at her at her bedside. She smiled widely back at her KOS-MOS.

"KOS-MOS!" she said, pulling the woman down for a hug. "You're okay now! You're okay!"

"I'm not the only one," KOS-MOS said with a smile, nodded over Shion's shoulders. Shion curiously looked behind her and squealed. Yes, squealed.

"Cerberos!" she cried, jumping out of the bed and into his. "You're alive!"

"So they tell me," he chuckled, wrapping his bandage-covered arms around her waist. "I still can't get used to the whole 'I died' thing."

"You're amazing," Shion said, snuggling into him. She then socked him in the gut. "You asshole!"

"OW!" Cerberos moaned, clutching his stomach. "What was that for?!"

"That's for sacrificing yourself again!" she scolded, lightly hitting his cheek. "You lovable fool!"

"Yes, you do have a hero complex," KOS-MOS agreed, settling on the bed with them. Her new frame built by the professor was significantly lighter than her previous ones, and more organic due to her metamorphosis.

"You too?!" Cerberos sighed. He pulled both women into a hug. "Ah well, I'm just glad that we're all okay."

He glanced at his bandaged arms, which were on the womens' shoulders. "Well, most of us."

"Mmm," Shion murmured, leaning against his chest. He could feel her beginning to fall asleep. Soon, her soft snores filled the quiet room. Cerberos looked at KOS-MOS' beautiful face.

"Wanna sleep?" he asked quietly. She smiled back at him.

"I'd like that very much," she replied, lying down beside him. He lay down as well, carefully bringing Shion down on his left, while KOS-MOS lay on his right.

"Sweet dreams KOS-MOS," he mumbled, as the heat from the womens' bodies made him incredibly drowsy. "Nigh'..."

"Good night my love," KOS-MOS whispered, stroking his cheek before she too, fell asleep.

-----

"Allen, remember what happened last time you screamed?" Jr.'s voice asked through Cerberos' subconsciousness. He began to wake up.

"Bu - but - BOTH?!" Allen's voice sputtered.

"That is one lucky dude," Tony commented. A thwack was heard and he cried out in pain.

"Quit pervin' you idiot!" Captain Matthews barked. "Ah, Cerberos, you're awake!"

"Morning," he grumbled back, raising his arm to scratch his head. He stopped when he saw the heavily bandaged appendage and sighed. KOS-MOS' hand snaked up and scratched his forehead for him. "Thanks."

"So what, is the Chief not good enough for you?" Allen asked furiously, stomping into the room. "You have to corrupt KOS-MOS as well?!"

"Uh, are you sure you want to make Shion angry again?" Cerberos asked nervously, looking down at Shion, who was waking up with an irritated look on her face.

"Shion and I both chose to be with Cerberos," KOS-MOS explained. "It is a satisfying agreement between the three of us, but if it helps ease your mind, Cerberos was initially unsure about it at first."

"Allen," Shion's sweet but wickedly frosty voice asked. Everyone froze. "Is there something you'd like to say?"

"I - But Chief," Allen pleaded. "You can't be okay with this! I mean, it's - it's wrong!"

In a flash, Shion had gotten out of bed, stormed up to Allen and slapped him on the cheek. Everyone stared at the two as Shion glared at Allen and Allen held his red cheek.

"I've never felt more right about anything in my life Allen!" she snapped. "I have my KOS-MOS and someone who unconditionally loves me and is willing to - and already has a few times - prevented me from being hurt by sacrificing his own body! God Allen, no one's ever cared about me this much before!"

"I do!" Allen shot back, then stuttered, "I - I mean..."

"Where have you been these past few months then?" Shion asked. "I've been so alone this whole time and yet no one came to see me, or make me feel better!"

She began to cry, and Cerberos hurried up behind her and hugged her. She glared at Allen from his embrace. "Cerberos was the only person who cared about my well-being!" she said defiantly. "I don't hurt whenever he's around! Can't you understand that?"

She huffed. "For God's sake, he even cooked for me!" she said.

"You cook?" Captain Matthews asked with a raised eyebrow. "Hmm."

KOS-MOS stepped up beside Shion and Cerberos. "Shion, I'm sorry," she apologized. "I did not check up on your well-being these past months. I regret that now."

Shion sniffed and smiled at her. "No, it's fine KOS-MOS," she said. "What matters is that you're here with me now. And it's not like you could have up and left Vector without a fuss anyways."

KOS-MOS smiled. "Thank you Shion, that puts me at ease," she said, placing her hand on Shion's cheek. "You're still soft."

"I know," Shion said with a grin.

"But wet," KOS-MOS added, wiping Shion's tears away gently. "And your nose is excreting mucous."

Shion embarrasedly ducked her head away and wiped her nose on Cerberos' bandages, making him yelp in disgust. "Hey!"

"Oh, I'll change them for you, you big baby," she said. She turned to the others.

"I'm sorry Allen, but I really needed to get that off my chest!" she said sadly. Allen nodded slowly.

"I understand Chief," he said. "But even though I - It doesn't matter, because I'll fight by your side no matter what!"

She smiled brightly this time. "Thank you Allen," she said gratefully.

"Don't think you're without us," Jin said, as the others smiled at Shion. "You're not going to be alone any longer Shion."

Shion's smile began to hurt her face. Yes... I know that now.

-----

"Well, these are healing up nicely," Shion announced as she changed Cerberos' bandages. "Everything seems to be regenerating quickly."

"Cool," Cerberos said as he leaned back on his bed while Shion tenderly wrapped his arms up. "Are you feeling better now, Shion?"

She finished wrapping him up and got onto the bed with him, snuggling up to his side. "The best I've felt in years," she admitted. "Everyone has been so supportive of me lately."

"They all love you, you know," Cerberos said, raising her chin with his stumpy bandaged hand as he stole a kiss from her. "I... love you."

Shion smiled into his lips. "I know I love you," she whispered, feeling her heart beat faster. They began to kiss more intensely, and soon she was underneath Cerberos as he attacked her tongue with his.

"This might get awkward," he muttered, pausing to look at the thick stumps that covered his arms. Shion giggled underneath him. Using a martial-arts move, she flipped him over so that she was on top, straddling him.

"Don't worry, I'll take care of all the work!" she said, unzipping her top.

-----

"Labyrinthos, huh?" Cerberos asked as he lay back in the couch as everyone stood around him. They were all having a meeting about invading the facility and stealing the Vessels of Anima. "I'm in if you're in."

He shared a secretive look at Shion, who returned it with a light blush on her cheeks. Earlier had been wonderful. And then KOS-MOS had come in after that, demanding that he break in her new body. It would be tough keeping up with two women.

"We have to," Shion said with conviction. "The Miltian Conflict will start in a few days, so we have to hurry."

"Not to mention that we can fight much better with our E.S.'," Jr. said. "I agree with Shion."

"First, let's make sure we're prepared for this infiltration," Shion said. "The online store has been updated somehow, and we should stock up on medical kits and whatnot."

Everyone began to file out, but Cerberos remained on the couch. KOS-MOS went to prepare her weapons and Shion walked up behind the couch. She leaned over and draped herself over Cerberos' shoulder. "Hey," she said softly.

He craned his neck and kissed her thoroughly. "Hey yourself," he greeted back.

"Are you sure you can handle this?" she asked worriedly, looking at his arms. "They're healing nicely, but you're hands are still skeletal."

"I'll be fine," he answered, tugging on her waist with some difficulty with his bandaged arms. She complied and eased herself onto his lap. "I'm more worried about you."

"I think I had a good enough nap after, you know," she said with a small smile. He grinned back.

"I know I did," he said, waggling his eyebrows. She pushed on his chest.

"Dirty boy," she chided playfully. He tugged her closer and kissed her, battering her tongue with his own. "Mmm."

"Think we have enough time?" he asked, as she dragged him to the sick bay.

"Of course!" she replied, pushing him in and locking the door behind her. KOS-MOS looked up from her spot near the bed. "Hi KOS-MOS!"

"Again?" the organic android asked in amusement. Shion didn't answer and just threw Cerberos on the bed, before snaking on top of him as she began to kiss his neck.

"Damn it Shion, if my hands were fully functional I'd be torturing you right now," Cerberos panted as she began to strip him of his clothes. The bed shifted with extra weight and his eyes bulged out as KOS-MOS joined them.

"But since you cannot, I think that we should torture you," she said in a husky voice, totally out of the norm for her. She helped Shion strip out of her clothes shyly, and took hers off as well. Shion continued kissing and massaging Cerberos' body while KOS-MOS' hand dissapeared around his thighs.

"Oh shit," he groaned as his eyes rolled up into his head.

-----