Author's note!: 'Ello, there! Well, this is my first Zoids fanfic. I don't think it's very good, but that's for you folks to decide, isn't it? I'm rambling, haha. Oh, it may sound like it, but there's no Reese bashing in here, Raven just hates her, lol.
Reviewing wouldn't hurt. ;D
(Oh, tell me if there are any grammar/spelling errors please. My eyes aren't good for spotting that stuff, hehe. kthx.)

Rated T for smoking and cussing. Yay!
Set right after Shadow died. That's important, lol.


Inhaling slow and deep as if he were savoring some type of rare delicacy, Raven took a long drag of his cigarette. With what could have been mistaken as a sigh, the smoke poured out of his mouth, swirling around like a grey phantom until it vanished into the invisible chilly air. The head-rush from the nicotine and tobacco never ever seemed to get old or lose its calming touch, which Raven was forever grateful for. He picked up the nasty little habit post-first-destruction-of-Death-Saurer, after he had discovered a seemingly untouched pack in a zoid he defeated, then proceeded to raid the cockpit for anything useful. In all honesty, he couldn't care less about the side-effects; five minutes off his life for each one was a blessing if you asked him.

A genuine sigh escaped from his lungs this time as he gazed up with hazy eyes upon the celestial specks that dotted the canvas of the pre-nighttime sky. This was his usual routine at the curtain call of the day, when the sun collides with the horizon and the moon arose like the nocturnal bat. He and Shadow would just stargaze until sleep engulfed them in its blanket of exhaustion. Something was missing though, something that carved a monstrous hole in his chest like a jack-o-lantern in its untimely and undesirable absence; his partner.

The day's contents had been the epitome of the ninth circle of Hell, and even that was a complete under statement. Shadow was dead, making Raven's almost non-existent heart erode enough to break down, and in front of an audience for that matter. 'Devastation' didn't even scratch the surface of how forlorn, pathetic, and just plain dead he felt. Sheer vengeful rage was the only saving grace helping him keep his composure steadily constructed at that moment, vowing that Hiltz would die by his hand. Now, just pure weariness flooded in with the nicotine and smoke; he had spent the last hours in a tiny fit of insanity, a tantrum of anger and tragedy controlling him with a formerly unknown might that had made itself known with his partner's death. Raven was stripped of every last drop of energy he had; punching, clawing, and throwing himself up against whatever he could find until he was heaving and crying to the point where it was borderline hyperventilation. He was finally calming down, but with that tiny taste of placidness came dread, the situation settling in like a cloud of dust does after a violent whirlwind.

Another drag began to slide down his throat, but to his irritation was cut short by a voice spoiling the silence of the twilight. Catching him by surprise, it caused the smoke to enter the wrong passage in his throat, initiating a coughing fit.

"Those can kill you, ya know."

The keeper of the feminine and smooth voice strutted to his side, snatched the cigarette, and proceeded to take a deep, lengthy drag.

"Goddam it, Reese." Raven spat, nearly finished throwing the choke out of his system. She flicked the cancer-stick to the dirt-dominated ground and crushed it with her boot.

"A simple 'hello' would be nice every once in a while."

"Not when you constantly make entrances like that," He retorted. "It gets old. What do you want, anyway?"

"What? I can't just stop by to check up on you?" She smirked, obviously content with some unknown satisfaction. Raven scoffed a firm 'no' for an answer, side-stepping away from her. "With Shadow gone," she continued, paying no regard to the fact that he seriously did not want her anywhere remotely near him. "Someone needs to keep an eye on you."

"Oh yeah?" He scoffed, flashing a look at her from the sides of his eyes. "And why's that?"

"I have you on suicide-watch." She kidded, but with an underlaying seriousness of the issue at hand hidden in it.

"Oh look, Reese has jokes." He huffed, the words saturated in sarcasm, which was his favorite dialect by far. He departed from the Zoidian beside him and closer to his Geno-Breaker, plopping down on its clawed foot, his main priority falling along the lines of getting away from that wretched woman. As expected, the Queen of Stubborn followed, uninvitedly taking a seat right next to him. To Raven's relief, a silence befell the pair as they both gazed upon the brilliant sun setting over the barren desert. To his surprise as well, nothing felt awkward, the atmosphere shifting into a comfortable deafness. As much as he'd hate to admit it, 'peace' would be the only word he could find that would describe this moment; sure, the dead, hollow, stone statue that used to be his partner was a mere few yards away, but he was so damn drained that it didn't even matter.

The sun dipped down even more, engulfed by the horizon like a tidal wave. No vibration of sound travelled to Raven's ears except the occasional shaky breath that he made himself. In fact, he was almost dozing off to sleep right where he sat, his head and eyelids feeling like they were giant boulders of stone getting ready to tumble into sleep.

"Sorry about your cigarette." Reese broke the silence, reaching into her own pocket, fetching a pack and retrieving one, lighting it for him. Raven denied it with a 'hmph,' but not before snatching it from her and mocking her actions from earlier, except with more malice and irritation punched into it. She chuckled, "I guess I deserved that."

No response came from him, mostly because he had nothing to say to the girl. A few more moments passed by and neither one of them moved, Raven still not quite sure why the hell she was there and why the hell she kept pestering him; she was like a fly, you can swat and swat and swat, but it just doesn't get the hint that you'd rather it be dead. Maybe flies were just lonely.

Maybe Reese was lonely too.

Well, that's one thing we have in common, he snorted in his head. That's when something dawned on him, causing him to scan the immediate area for it. Coming up short, he turned his head a few degrees towards Reese, who was giving more attention to the ground than anything else. "Where's Specula?"

"Guarding the Psycho Geno-Saurer, about two miles that way." She pointed to a direction Raven didn't particularly give a shit about, concerned with something else.

"Two miles is quite a bit to walk, you could've been killed."

"I'm a big girl, Raven. No desert-monster was gonna eat me."

"There are a lot of sleeper-zoids out here."

"Then what are you doing out here? Without Shadow around, you could've been killed too."

"I'm a big boy, Reese," He retorted, mocking her like a parrot. "I don't need him."

"You're a horrible liar." She smirked, and with that she got to her feet and stated making her way back to the Psycho Geno-Saurer, leaving Raven behind to watch her go. A thought crept into his mind, one that truly convinced him that he was insane and should've been committed to a mental hospital for even the notion of it. He looked at the stone cadaver of Shadow, then to the departing Reese. Then to Shadow. Then once more to Reese.

It was crazy. It was dumb. It was impulsive. It was rash. And it was the polar opposite of what he'd do if his mind was in the right place.

But it was also necessary to keep his sanity intact.

"Reese," He called after her, a small part of him hoping that she didn't hear him, yet another portion wanting her to come sprinting back. "Don't go..."

She turned around, a small smile dancing across her face.