He had that face again.

That austere glint in his rather dull red spiked eyes.

That straight, slight frown on his lips.

That quick, affront resentment of a breath that escaped from his mouth every few seconds.

Yep. He was upset about something.

Antauri and I are about the only ones who know when Mandarin is apprehensive about something. Gibson, Otto, and Sprx, however, can only tell when it's too late, when Mandarin finally snaps and starts flinging things around the room, suddenly turning aphotic with threats and force.

So when he has that face... Antauri and I know we have a limited amount of time left to calm him down before he reaches his point and blows up, releasing out all his anger on the unfortunate teammate who didn't notice and "peeved" him off.

I gazed at the black simian; he stared quietly back at me. He cleared his throat and closed his eyes, slowly tipping his head toward Mandarin, and quickly jerking it back. I sighed in protest, already guessing what he was secretly trying telling me...."It's your turn."

"Alright, alright," I muttered, taking off the faded leather gloves from my hands. I put them down and eyed our dark orange leader, not a bit baffled by his abnormal behavior. His chest was out in objection, his arms folded neatly against each other, hiding each intense, impatient clenched fist underneath, his flat eyes holding the glowing flame of wrath stealthily within as he continued to stare at his training pupils. I had to be really, really careful.

"Mandarin," I stated, making sure to stand as tall and diligent as I could. He didn't even blink; his usual reaction when he was this way. "Mandarin." His chest fur bridled. I bore down the need to shudder in fright. This sign meant he was just amid seconds before explosion. I took a deep breath, let it out, and took his hand, walking him out into the robot's corridor, leading him away from the other monkeys. I don't want anyone to get hurt this time; if he's going to unleash his fury, then it might as well be mainly on me. I was the one who disturbed him, after all...

"Mandarin," I whispered again, this time a bit serene and gentle. Sometimes this worked, depending on how angry he was. In a couple minutes I saw no response. My anxiety began to grow as I saw Mandarin's chest heave high, and slowly release his breath.

"Nova." I winced, expecting a rash, nasty beating of inbearable pain against my side. For seconds I stood there, my head ducking, my eyes squeezed tight, my hands shielding my body. Nothing. I blinked in utter surprise. Nothing. When I looked back up I saw Mandarin with this sort of puzzled twinkle in his wet midnight eyes, his brow cocked with befuddlement.

Suddenly the dawn of realization showed in his face. "...You thought I was going to hit you, didn't you?"

Now this answer I wasn't prepared for. He sounded so soft, so surprised, so hurt, so... full of regret. My mouth opened, but nothing came out. My voice abandoned me like that, standing there like a stupid idiot who had forgotten what she was about to order at a fast food restaurant.

"Didn't you?" He repeated, his air tinting the rise of tension and aversion. I couldn't close now; my leader was expecting a reply. But what could I do? I had nothing to say. He lunged at my arm and pulled me closer to his chest, insisting me to look deeper into his eyes.


He wrung his hand tighter on my arm before he eventually let it go. Mandarin plopped on the floor, staring at his hands as I carried on gawking at him.

"It was Sprx," Mandarin muttered, huffing under his breath. I sat down next to him, rubbing my handprint-stained arm. He hung his head down, resting his elbows on his knees, mentally counting each finger. Once he got to the sixth one, he dropped his hands and stared blankly at the ceiling.

"What about Sprx?" I asked, tilting my head to the left.

"He... I'm worried..."

"About what?"

"I'm afraid he's going to steal something... something very valuable to me."

I batted my eyes back, aghast. Sure, Sprx likes to fool around sometimes, but...

"How are you sure?" I inquired, twisting my tail around in suspense.

"I can just tell," Mandarin growled fiercely. I heard his tail bristled lightly, flailing the metal tip almost endlessly against the grey tiled floor.

"...Do... do you mind telling me what it is?" I put my hand purposely on the titian colored simian. I smiled reassuringly. "I'll help you protect it. You know Sprx can't go through me and you." I nudged him comfortingly, hoping he would let out some more. This information was increasing my curiosity.

"Sure," Mandarin smirked, turning to me. He leaned toward me, his dark eyes glistening with want. I swallowed nervously, incredibly tempted to back away. "Nova..." Mandarin stroked his hands eagerly on my cheek. I cringed upon feeling the ice cold metal against my fur, a strange feeling entering my chest. He was so close I could feel the warm breath tickle my nose, the spirit in his eyes burning with a desire.... a desire for... me...?

"Hey!" I snapped, pushing Mandarin away. "What's the big deal? I just wanted to let to know what was so dear to you so I could help you-!"

"It's you."

I paused, staring at him with disbelief and revulsion. "...What?"

Mandarin chuckled gently to himself and stood up, brushing some dust particle off his fur. He gazed down and offered me his hand, adding in a kind whisper, "...So will you help me protect it?"

Once again, I stood there like another stupid, indecisive, unfortunate customer that's words flew out of her mouth.

What should I do? What should I say? Mixed emotions swirled and twisted viciously together. Heavy masses of... of such and such sank deep into my chest, trying to awaken me from my own inner thoughts into the actual world... back to me facing Mandarin. The strange feeling from before erupted in my heart and I suddenly knew what I wanted to do.

I nodded slowly.

And took his hand.

Please don't flame; I understand I'm not very good at these stories; *glances up* ugh. I just wanted to write this because I believe that not all Mandova stories should have to have some triangle with Sprx; and Sprx stealing Nova away leaving Mandarin in anger so unspeakable.... I wanted to make a sweet one for once. Hope you enjoyed.