Evolution: Together

Chain Gun looks around her at the walls of the dungeon she found herself and Mag in. They were on an independent expedition looking for anything they could sell. Both of them had been running out of cash lately, and they needed some pronto. All they had to do was find something valuable. A simple task for the best explorers in the world, right?

She just wished those explorers were here at the moment, they'd both been lost for hours in this maze. She hated admitting she was lost, and she'd never say it out loud, but she was. From the worried expression on Mags face she knew he was just as confused as she was.

"Come on, can't you even find a simple exit?" She asks irritably of him, trying to lighten the mood from their depressed, lost feelings.

"Hey I... I'm sure it's this way somewhere." He says, continuing on his way with her behind him. They were alone in the ruin because Linear had been sick that morning for some reason. He stated that that was the only reason he'd asked for Chains help, but she knew he liked her. She was just too irrisistable.

"Who am I kidding?" She whispers softly to herself so Mag wouldn't hear. She was crazy about him, she knew it, she just wouldn't admit it. She liked to think he was secretly liking her too, but that was a very off chance. Why would he? She was a little runt with an oversized cyframe that all but hid her whole body from view. She didn't even have anything to show off if she DIDN'T have the cyframe. Nothing compared to Linear anyway. She was beautiful, and Chain knew she couldn't compete with that.

"Ah great another dead end." Mag says, stopping in front of a... Dead end. Chain sighs a bit wistfully and picks herself up.

"Good going Mr. Leader. We're more likely to stumble into a monster den than the exit with you leading." She remarks with her usual irritability.

"Hey ease off a bit okay? We both got lost here, not just me." He looks at her a bit defensively.

"I was just following you, if I'd been leading, we'd be out of here by now." She retorts,

He finally whirls on her angrily, his voice rising to a shout. "Then lead us out of here and stop your whining!" Chain just stares at him in surprise. In all the time they'd known each other she'd never seen him angry. He actually looked kind of cute with his brow furled like that. "If you CAN'T then SHUT UP!" He snaps, turning away from the dead end and walking away abruptly, not looking at her. She stares after him for a few minutes before she realizes he's leaving her behind.

"Hey wait up!" She activates her cyframe and flies quickly after him, landing behind him and deactivating it. She walks along behind him kind of demurely. She hadn't intended to make him so upset. She just thought he enjoyed their fights as much as she did. "Look Mag..." She begins.

"Zip it." He says sourly. "This is the last time I'm adventuring with you. I take this from you all the time and I'm tired of it." He walks on, not noticing her head hanging slightly. She'd gone too far, she shouldn't have pushed him so hard, especially on this expedition. It was depressing enough already without her adding to it.

She felt really bad about this, she'd never seen Mag like this before. He'd always been a conservative boy, preferring to agree or debate than to shout someone out. She hated that she'd made him so upset.

Mag walks on down the tunnel, looking around kind of nervously. He hadn't meant to snap like that and knew he should apologize, but he just couldn't stand that she was probably right. He'd led them right into an endless maze. He wouldn't feel so bad if it was just him trapped in here, but he'd dragged Chain into it as well. He didn't want to be responsible for anything happening to her, or anybody for that matter.

"I wish you were here Linear..." He whispers softly to himself. She always made him feel better when he was depressed. And she always seemed to know just where they needed to go. Then again he probably would have doomed her too and that wouldn't have been good either. More guilt on his conscience. There just was no right answer...

"I'm so STUPID!" He shouts suddenly, throwing his fist against the ground at his feet. His cyframe responds automatically, its fist slamming into the ground as well, putting a good sized crack in the floor at their feet.

"Mag!?" Chain exclaims in surprise behind him, looking at him worriedly.

"I killed us both..." He says, leaning to one side against the wall, propping his back against it and just lying there.

"Mag no you didn't..." Chain begins.

"I dragged you in here just to get us both lost..." He hangs his head in despair. "I'm sorry..."

"Mag..." She stares at him for a few minutes, then walks over and sits beside him. "You didn't get us both killed. We're both still very much alive."

"Not much longer if we don't get back to town. Get some food and water."

"Well we'll find our way home."

He doesn't even seem to hear her. "And I'm sorry I had to drag you here with me..."

Chain stares at him amazedly. He was worried about her? She couldn't believe it. She thought he hated her guts right now. "W... Well..." She watches as Mag just sits against the wall, his head hanging down to his chest. "Mag, we'll find our way out of here, I promise..." She steels herself up a bit to reach over and take his hand gently.

He looks down at her hand on his. "Chain?"

"W... What?" She blushes, but doesn't let go.

"I've never seen you like this before." He says, looking over at her eyes almost confusedly.

"I know I haven't..." She says taking a deep breath. "But I'd like to be like this..."

"What are you talking about?" He says, genuinely confused.

"Mag I..." She trips over her own tongue trying to get the words out. She'd wanted to say them so long. "I like you..." She rubs her finger on his hand to get her point across.

"Oh... Chain..." He says, looking down at her hand.

"And I don't want you to give up. We're getting out of here. With or without an exit." She stands up determinedly

"What are you talking about?" Mag asks.

"This is a tower, if we can find the side we can punch a hole through and escape. We can use your cyframe to make the hole and mine to make the escape itself."

"How do we know where the side is?"

"How else?" Chain says, walking over and tapping on a wall. The hollowish think from the wall gave away the outside of the tower.

"Wow Chain. One try." Mag says, getting up and joining her at the wall.

"Hyeah well..." Chain blushes a bit, then quickly regains her composure. "You just bust through this wall mister!"

"Aye aye." Mag says, smirking. His cyframe pulls back, then thrusts forward, slamming into the wall. It cracks severely, the sound echoing through the empty hallways. He strikes it again, punching a hole through it. The sunlight outside pours in, already late afternoon. They'd entered the tower early that morning to get a good head start.

Chain walks up to the hole and takes a deep breath, smiling. "Smells like heaven after this musty old place."

"Yeah. We have all the artifacts we need to live for a few weeks. Let's go home." He says stepping close to her. For a moment she thought he was coming onto her until she remembered they had to use her cyframe to get down the tower. She takes him in her arms, both of them making sure he wouldn't fall off. Then she steps up to the edge of the hole, the forest expanse right beneath them almost.

"Hey Chain..." Mag says thoughtfully.


"Can your cyframe carry two people?"

She thinks about that for a few minutes, then says. "Let's hope so."

"... What!? CHAAAAAIIIIIIINN!" He yells as she steps out of the tower, her cyframe activating immediately. Their decent slows somewhat, but they can't stay in the air.

"Hold on! I'm heading for town!" She shouts, turning toward Pannam Town. They fly as fast as she can make them go, almost horizontal as they whiz over the treetops, coming down slowly. She reaches past the trees just as they sink low enough to slam into them, but now they're heading right for the ground near Pannam Town, still flying almost horizontally, and too fast to stop.

"Chain! Up! Up! Slow down! Stop!" Mag screeches, the ground almost at his back.

She yells loudly as she flips them over, putting herself on the bottom. She slams into the ground, her cyframe crushed on impact, pieces of the blade embedding themselves in her back as she rolls along the ground now, the momentum having thrown Mag clear of her. Finally she stops moving, lying still on the ground, her cyframe in pieces along the ground and embedded in her back.

"Chain!" Is the last thing she hears Mag yell before blacking out.

She hears voices over her, hushed and worried. Mag's voice ringing most clearly in her mind. She opens her eyes slowly, squinting as she looks around her. Mag, Gre, and Linear are all crowded around her.

"Are you alright Miss Chain?" Gre asks.

"I... I'm fine of course." Chain says, smiling a bit weakly. She knew she must look like a sad sight lying in the bed like a hospital patient, which she now saw she was. It was then she notices that her cyframe is gone. "My... Cyframe?"

Mag looks down at her uncomfortably, then turns his head away while he talks. "It was destroyed in the crash..."

"Oh..." Chain just stares at him. Without her cyframe, she couldn't adventure into the ancient ruins. That was her livelihood, her future. Without it...

"Come Miss Linear and Master Mag. We should let Miss Chain rest and recover." Gre gently guides both of them out of the hospital room, but Mag sneaks back in a few minutes later.

"Forget the cyframe, how are YOU really feeling?"

"Me? Why I'm in... Tip... Top..." She stops, unable to finish as some tears sting her eyes.

"I know..." Mag surprises her by leaning over and hugging her gently. She hugs him back fiercely, crying into his shoulder a bit.

"What am I supposed to do now?" She asks, leaning back to stare him earnestly in the eyes, her face tear stained. "That was my life..."

"I know..." Mag looks back into her eyes, brushing her tangled red hair out of her face with one hand. "You'll... Have to find a new life I guess."

"Doing what?" She smirks at him, knowing he had no good answer. Exploring was what she did, what she was good at, she had no other skills.

"... I don't know..." He says softly. "But I'll help you with whatever you decide to try to do. Since I was the reason you lost your cyframe, I'll even support you by going into the ruins and getting double what I normally do. You can even live in my house if you want, it's big enough."

"In your... House?" Chain says, caught off guard. "Well I..." She gulps a bit. "Now I wish I hadn't told you that I... Like you..."

Mag puts one hand on her cheek, stroking it softly. "I'm glad you did." He leans forward and kisses her tenderly. Her heart jumps at this, she had never expected or even thought about this kind of thing, but she found she definitely liked it.

She just stares at him after he pulls away a bit. "Did... you just... Kiss me?"

Mag looks a little confused. "Uh... Yeah..."

"Good. Then I'm not dreaming." She smiles and pulls him to her again, kissing him passionately. He kisses her back, both his hands holding her tightly, massaging her back a bit through the thin fabric of her hospital gown, which was all she has on.

Chain feels a hand sliding up her leg under her gown, despite that she could still feel both of Mags hands on her back. She looks down curiously and sees Mags cyframe on her leg. She looks at him curiously.

Mag blushes a deep, deep red. "Uh... Sorry... It kind of... Got carried away with my... emotions..."

Chain stares at him a few minutes, then can't help but burst into laughter. Both at his cyframes actions and his extreme nervousness about it. "Oh Mag..." She says, smiling at him. She pulls him toward her and kisses him again, putting her own arms around him again.

They kiss a few more times, Mags cyframe remaining carefully away from her this time. Chain looks at him again. "What about Linear?"

"Linear is my best friend Chain..." Mag runs a hand through her hair tenderly. "I would never dream of getting together with her like this."

Chain smiles at him again. "Then I have you all to myself."

Mag chuckles slightly and smiles a bit. "Yeah."

Chain pulls him in again and hugs him tightly, resting her head on his shoulder. She'd lost her cyframe, her livelihood, her heritage... But she'd gained Mag... All in all, it seemed like a good trade to her.