For my dearest Cat, who loves them as much as I do, and agrees with me when I say Dr Light built Mega and Roll FOR Proto.
Title: Of cookies.
Fandom: Rockman Classic Saga (MM)
Genre: Humor, fluff.
Word Count: 3447.
Characters/Pairing: Protoman, Megaman.
Disclaimer: Rockman, its characters, places and themes belong to Capcom, Keiji Inafune, etc.. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warnings: Slightly OC, if you don't think that Proto can relax and mollify a little when around Mega. Mega also sorts of short-circuits when around Proto, so… *shrugs*. Possible shounen-ai, depending on how you want to read it.
A/N: As usual: Proto=looks 21-ish, and is the "perfect man, unbeatable machine" sung in the Rock Opera. Mega=looks sweet 16-ish, and acts adorably child-like.
Take it as either… fluffymushycuddly brotherly love, or a more romantic (but chaste) love. Your pick.
* * * * *
If anyone were to glance at the patch of trees crowning the cliff, they wouldn't see him, crouched expertly as he was in the tall grass.
He had taken great care to move as silently as he could, taking advantage of every possible cover provided by the irregular and woody terrain to remain hidden. He was but a few feet from his unsuspecting target now, who was laying with his back against a tree, gazing to where the sun was sinking gratefully towards the sea.
As he gauged the distance for the final leap, he felt a twinge of regret: it wasn't nice of him to disturb Protoman in a rare moment of peace, was it? Yet, regardless of the regret, there was a bubbly excitement rearing up inside him, a wave of emotion threatening to spill over and submerge him at any moment.
He was about to surprise Protoman. Protoman! The One, the First! He was about to do it! At last! After so many wasted chances, after so many fruitless traps, he would finally, finally, become victorious over the legend, ending Protoman's reign of supremacy, forcing him to surrender and declare that the best Robot Master of all time was…
…undoubtedly not him, because that was approximately where he was caught by the wrist, and yanked face-first into the grass beside his brother.
"Hello there, Mega,"Protoman offered, not bothering to turn. He heard Megaman expel an exasperated huff, and smirked. Years of experience told him that Megaman had his arms folded indignantly against his chest, and his bottom lip was sticking out like a wounded child's.
"Not fair! I almost made it!"
"If you mean you made it on my radars, then you'd be right. I spotted you approximately twelve minutes and forty-five seconds ago."
He glanced to the side and, as predicted, Megaman's lips were pursed together. The tip of his nose was smeared with dirt, and he was rubbing it clean with the palm of his hand.
"I'm not mean, I'm realistic."
"You're not realistic; you are bragging."
Protoman smirked benevolently down at his brother.
"Well, it might have been twelve minutes and forty-three seconds," he conceded.
Megaman promptly stuck his tongue out at him.
"That's not funny, Proto!"
"No! Do you know how hard I tried to get you?!" he crossed his arms again. "Meanie," he reiterated a second time for good measure.
"And you're a sore loser," Protoman retorted good-humouredly.
Before Megaman could answer - or even notice that something was happening – he'd been caught in a playful chokehold. He started to struggle, of course; but only after mulling for a second or two over that fact that he could take down almost any enemy (from huge giants of Jell-O to Bass in full battle gear), but still turned into a powerless mush whenever his brother got him in his arms. Feh.
"Don't even start with that."
"I will get you next time, anyway."
"Next time as in, tonight in your dreams?"
"You know I will."
"Dream of me?" Protoman's shoulder was shoved none too lightly at that point in time.
"Get better than you!" Megaman squeaked.
"You've got the potential, I won't deny that."
"It's the 'next time' bit I've got serious doubts about."
And Megaman pouted.
"You know I'm more advanced than you!"
"And you know I've got more power and experience than you."
"You," he said, jabbing Protoman in the chest. "Are just scared of being outclassed."
"Watch me, I'm quaking."
"No matter what you say, you know I almost got you today!"
"Me?" Protoman hoisted an eyebrow his brother's way. "You'll have to try for another one hundred years before you can catch me unaware, Cookie."
Instead than doing what was expected of him – retaliate with either a pout or a smile - Megaman went stiff for an instant, then jerked his head downwards, but not before Protoman could catch the flash of unease in his eyes, and the tremor of his mouth.
"Will… uhm… do," Megaman muttered, picking at the grass around his knees.
Protoman's eyes flickered, narrowing into slits behind the shaded lenses. The atmosphere between them had gone from playful to chilly, and he'd no idea why, or how to remedy that.
"What's wrong?" he asked with that not-quite-tender, not-entirely-rough tone of his.
Megaman merely offered a shrug as an answer. He was still busying himself with picking at the grass. His fingertips were green with sap and brown with mud; a prickly, green smell came from the mesh he'd unwittingly made, a strong but subtle scent that tickled the back of his throat.
He ran his tongue over his lips, then gave a shrug.
"It's just… could you stop calling me… that?"
There was a soft, painful quality to his voice that bothered Protoman.
The nickname was a novelty in itself – one that had made Roll squeal in approving delight when it had first slipped from Protoman's mouth – but it was also too fitting to be dropped.
Megaman had reacted oddly to it since the beginning. But what used to be an almost endearing coyness had quickly developed into a painful, ever-increasing mortification that Protoman found hard to explain.
Megaman shrugged, not quite looking at his brother yet. Everything about him – from his slouched posture to the downward curve of his lips – spoke of anxiety, even agony.
Reaching out, Protoman caught Megaman's chin between thumb and forefinger, tugging firmly but gently until their eyes met. What he read in the wide, green gaze did nothing to quench his worry.
"Why?" Slower now – a command, not a question; from a Robot Master – The Robot Master – to his peer.
Megaman's face scrunched up, and he pressed his mouth into a thin line. His body went stiff, like it did before battle, as the answer slipped from his mouth, forced by obedience protocols.
"Because I know what it means."
"And what does it mean, Cookie?"
Protoman's voice was low, husky with emotion. The commanding tone was gone, replaced by something gentler; but the usage of the nickname soured his words in Megaman's ears.
He jerked back and away from Protoman, looking betrayed. He tried to avert his eyes, but his brother wouldn't let him, pulling gently until their faces were level again, and barely an hairsbreadth away. The silence thickened between them, and Megaman's look flickered from vulnerable to pleading to bitter.
"What does it mean?"
The Voice of the Master again, cool and levelled, impossible to deny.
"It means I'm no good," Megaman admitted in a rush, and suddenly something inside him seemed to snap or broke. He sagged bonelessly against Protoman, clinging to him as thought scared that the Red lightbot would leave or vanish were his hold to slacken. His fingers tightened and relaxed rhythmically around Protoman's coat as he spoke, the words rushing out of him as though he didn't want them to linger too long in either his mind or mouth.
"My name's supposed to be Rock, but you won't call me that, because rocks are tough. They can stand up to anything, and support anything. They're durable. Reliable. But I'm not any of that. Not to you. To you, I'm a cookie. Something small and easy to break, a weakling that crumbles under the smallest pressure."
He felt Protoman's hand go in his hair, and for a mad, breathless moment, he thought the fingers would tighten and yank him away from his Master - his brother. But the touch of those fingers was soothing, a barely-there caress that made him drowsy.
"Foolish child," Protoman chided him. His fingers cupped the back of Megaman's head for a moment, before lifting to slide down his cheek, a tender caress.
Megaman chanced a glance up at Protoman, and found him smiling. It was nothing more than a small, secretive quirk of his lips, but with a fond quality to it that set off a sort of aching echo inside Megaman.
"Cookies are easy to break, you say. Then go ask Dr Light how he chipped his front teeth. He'll tell you all about easily-breakable cookies."
Megaman laughed, a watery, damp thing that sounded like the promise of sunshine during rain.
"Dad doesn't knows what's good for him."
"He over-indulges, that's what he does," Protoman countered. "Besides, small and weak is how you see cookies. It has nothing to do with my vision of them."
"You have a vision of cookies?"
Protoman's lips thinned.
"Not funny, Cookie. Try again."
Megaman subsided at the jibe, so much and so quickly that Protoman felt a twinge of guilt deep in his systems. He chased it forcibly away; looking into the distance, he rearranged Megaman against his chest, unmindful of the surprised squeak coming from him.
"Now, back to my vision of cookies."
Megaman squirmed feebly, looking for a away out of his arms. Without thought, Protoman leaned down to place a small, soothing kiss on his temple, smirking when he heard his blue counterpart draw a sharp breath and go still.
"Cookies… they're small, I'll give you that. It's part of why I choose the nickname for you."
Megaman's face coloured slightly, and he pulled a little away.
"Ohi! It's not my fault I was built…"
"A midget," Protoman supplied matter-of-factly.
Caught in mid-sentence, Megaman could do nothing but gape, voicing another squeak when Protoman yanked him back to his rightful place against his heart.
"Not your fault at all," Protoman conceded. "Still, it's part of why I think 'cookie' is a fitting nickname."
Megaman mumbled something about getting a taller body next time, and shifted until he was blanketing Protoman completely. He buried his nose in his brother's scarf, marvelling at the scent of sea and storm he found there.
"So, I'm a cookie because I'm short?" he asked after a while. His voice was soft and sleepy, so much so it caught him off guard.
"And sweet. Cookies are sweet."
Megaman peered up at him.
"I thought you hated sweets?"
"I hate things that are too sweet. Cookies aren't. Their flavour is a blend or many other flavours – the bitter tang of cocoa, mixing with the sweetness of sugar and the richness of butter. I like that. It's an addictive taste, in its own fashion."
Megaman thought he would detect a very-very nice compliment hidden in there, if he looked hard enough. A double-entendre of sorts that made him blush even as it put a silly smile on his face.
"What else," Protoman repeated thoughtfully. He was touching Megaman still, rubbing circles across his back, but it wasn't a conscious gesture as much as a sort of instinct.
"Well," he began, slowly. "I already said they're small and sweet, didn't I?"
"And addictive," Megaman supplied gleefully. "So, what else?"
"For starters, they aren't 'weak', as you put it, as much as being friable. That's a huge difference. There is such thing as a weak person, but not a friable one... people can be forgiving, though. And kind. I think that's just about the right equivalent. Kind. Ready to bend for the sake of others."
"I bend over for other people?" Megaman asked, and Protoman had to fight down a chuckle.
"You are lenient with people, Cookie. Lenient. Don't say things that can be misunderstood, will you?"
"What did I…" he flushed. "Oh. Err. So… I'm sweet, small and kind? Is that why I'm a cookie?" It has nothing to do with being weak?
"Unless you also taste good, that's just about it."
"And I'm addictive?" with that glee again, wiggling about like an oversized, over-joyful puppy.
"I don't know. Are you now?" Protoman made a thoughtful little pause, considering; and seized Megaman up with one long look that made him squirm. "Besides, the real reason I call you cookie is…"
"…is that I enjoy taking a break, from time to time."
Megaman blinked, brows furrowing in confusion.
"Don't repeat everything I say, Cookie. Yes, a break. That thing humans take, every now and then, in order not to go crazy?"
"I know what a break is."
Puffing out his cheeks.
Protoman smirked benevolently down at him, and refrained from mentioning that that round fullness was also part of what made Megaman a cookie.
"Humans need to enjoy at least one moment of quietude each day; their defensive systems just about demand they sit down, ingest carbohydrates — which helps replenishing their low energy reserves — and ease away the tension at least once every 24 hours. Robot Masters need that kind of break too, unless we want to shortcut."
Protoman rolled his eyes, as though asking whoever was above for mercy, and ruffled Megaman's already messy hair to new levels of messiness.
"Pay attention, Cookie. What do humans get, during these breaks? A wild guess."
"Uhm… cookies?" he ventured politely, though he knew by experience that many humans preferred salty snacks.
"They get carbohydrates. Because sugar is energy for the brain, I told you. You wasted your guess," he pointed, after a pause. Megaman flushed again, endearingly so. "Since sugar is a very important aspect of these emergency-breaks of theirs, sometimes these are referred to as 'sweet times'. With me so far?"
Megaman nodded, rearranging himself against Protoman's chest, until he was leaning with his nose brushing the line of his brother's jaw, watching his eyes.
"And us Robot Masters need our sweet times, too?"
"Very much so." Protoman gave a nod. "Which leads us to the simple but undeniable fact that I need breaks; ergo, I need my dose of sweet."
"Cookies?" promptly this time, and with no hesitation.
"Cookies are the only sugary food I find palatable, yes. But, unlike a certain human that won't be named here, I do not overindulge. So, what do I do, when I need a break, and need something sweet? And don't say cookies again. Three's not the charm."
Megaman, who was about to do just that, got caught with his mouth open, and his eyes wide with wonder. He snapped his mouth shut after a while, grappling for an answer.
"What do you do?" he asked after a while, tone cautious.
Protoman cocked one eyebrow in what could be either surprise or indulgence.
"You really don't get it, mh?" and he might have sounded disappointed… if only he hadn't looked that amused. He raised one finger, which became two, and then three, as he enunciated slowly: "Robot Masters need breaks. Breaks are comprised by time off, relaxation, and a side helping of something sweet to boost-up their recharge process. I am a Robot Master. This," he moved his hand, palm up, in a gesture that encompassed the whole scene: the sun setting lazily, lowering itself to kiss its own flaming reflection over the Ocean; the scent of pine and sea and grass lingering in the air; the clouds like filaments of pink sugar-cotton stretching along the sky; their own entwined shadows, wavering across the grassy carpet. "This is a break. You," he leaned down to tap his brother on the tip of his nose. "Are sweet. Make the math, Mega. It's not that hard."
He relaxed back against the tree, the hint of a smile tugging at his lips. But when Megaman did nothing but gape unblinkingly at him for a full minute, Protoman rolled his eyes and rapped his brother's noise a second time.
It got him a reaction, at the very least; Megaman reached up to nurse his abused appendage, and finally managed to close his mouth.
"…you hit me."
"Indeed." Protoman pointed a finger at Megaman's face. "I got you on the nose," he pointed out helpfully. "Twice."
Megaman glared cross-eyed at the offending finger; then, surprise-surprise, pouted.
Protoman was chuckling, amused at how his mere presence all but sent his brother's systems haywire, pausing when he felt smooth, slim arms wound themselves about his waist. Megaman was sinking his head in the hollow of his neck; a grateful sigh spilled against his skin, the warmth moistness of it fanning in a pleasant circle to the underside of his jaw.
"I'm your cookie because I'm the one sweet thing you need to truly relax," Megaman said, voice caught between a question and a statement.
Protoman ruffled his hair.
"The one thing that I enjoy," he corrected.
Laughter bubbled out of Megaman throat.
"So you don't think I'm weak!"
"I think," Protoman offered diplomatically, "that you've got potential to match me. One day. Or the other."
Megaman shoved him once more, grumbling and grinning at the same time; then, with no warning whatsoever, he dived and went to nuzzle his brother's neck, delighted all over again. A waggling tail was the only thing he missed to complete the picture of an overjoyed puppy welcoming master home.
The silence that came over them this time wasn't thick or uncomfortable. Both brothers turned to watch the sun sink the last few inches behind the horizon. A sudden wash of blue spread through the red sky like ink through water, making the early moon-sliver hanging above them all the much brighter.
"Mh?" Protoman's voice was lazy, and lazy was the motion of his hand as it carded through Megaman's hair.
Megaman nuzzled closer, rubbing his cheek against his brother's scarf.
"What goes well with cookies?"
"I don't know," he shrugged one shoulder, trying not to jostle Megaman from his perch on his chest. "Milk?"
Megaman made a sound of disagreement.
"Coffee…" Megaman repeated thoughtfully. He squirmed about some more, which soon escalated into full-blown fidgeting.
When Protoman looked down at him, it was to see his face scrunched up in thought. Protoman arched one eyebrow in enquiry, but it went unnoticed as Megaman sank deeper into his thoughts, pushing his mouth this way and that. After a while, he gave a nod, as though ending some sort of internal debate, and gave his brother an appraising look.
"Can I call you Coffee?" he asked, and no, he didn't bat his eyelashes up at Protoman in appeal. He just got something in his eye. That was the official version, anyway.
Protoman's forehead creased in thought.
"Coffee.. something dark… and bitter… nutty." He shrugged. "It's fitting, I guess."
Megaman rapped Protoman's shoulder, with a lot more strength that the situation called for.
"Rich and hot," he retaliated. "And strong. That's why it fits. So," he prompted, after two whole seconds of quietude. "Can I?"
Protoman shook his head in fond exasperation. Scattered through his quiet laughter were whispered words that Megaman didn't quiet catch, but dearly hoped weren't addressing the fact he'd just called the Original Robot Master "hot" to his face.
"I suppose," Protoman conceded after a while. The slanted light hit his glasses just so, revealing one thick-lashed eye squinted in mirth and affection.
Megaman's breath caught with the surprise, and he beamed in response. Words were sparkling in his throat, but he kept them at bay, knowing he'd end up saying either too little or too much. If not – knowing how he was around his brother – something that made no sense at all.
Wordlessly, he laid his head back against Protoman's chest, releasing a long breath when his brother wrapped the scarf he had undone around the both of them.
The light was almost gone now; stars had appeared in the deepening tableau above: cool little fires, blinking like silver sand across the sky. A bird called from the branches high above the two Lightbots; as though summoned, a second one came to land beside him in a blur of feathers, and they huddled together, their warm little bodies moulding one against the other like pieces of a puzzle.
A chorus of crickets rose from all around them; timidly at first, then gaining volume. The grass rustled in the wind, adding to the concert. The waves crashed lazily on the shore, and the sea shone like a mirror, cradling the opalescent pearl of the moon.
When it came, Protoman voice was as much a creature of the night as the other noises, the husky and lilting ghost of itself.
"Warm, little Cookie?"
"Mh-mh," Megaman burrowed closer to his brother, raising his forehead to meet the kiss Protoman was dropping there. "Just comfy," he paused, weighting, testing, tasting the word,as it came out of his mouth for the first time. "Coffee."
He closed his eyes to Protoman's near-silent laughter, listening for the hum-thump of their cores echoing one another as they worked. He could feel the smooth vibration lull him into sleep, and eventually he surrendered to its siren spell, finally at peace in his bother's arms.
All together now: FLUFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!!!!! XD;;;
To clarify something I hinted at vaguely in the text: Robot Masters such a Guts, Elec, Cut, Ice, etc. were made to master lesser robots. To command and guide and utterly own them.
However, it's my personal belief that, being the original Robot Master, Proto can do more than the rest of them: he can master both robots AND Robot Masters. He just needs to switch his voice box to the right tone (or switch on the right protocols/mode, etc) and Mega, Bass, Roll, Shadow and all the others turn into his… well… 'slaves' sounds harsh, but that's exactly what they'd be. His devoted little followers who can't deny any of his requests or orders. But Proto is too honourable to ever do something like that to them, so he usually employs a different tone, that allows his half-sibling the freedom to deny him, if they so want.
In the fic, Proto resolved to use his mind-control ability twice, mastering Mega and forcing him to answer his questions.