Title: Wish I Was Older
Author: Sybil Rowan
Pairing(s)/Characters: No real pairings, more of a plain friendship between 002 and 004/ This story is about 001, 002, and 004.
Summary: Jet has a nightmare about the rival gang member he killed and has two conversations, with 001 and then with 004, that changes his mind about his trust issues. This is a maturing moment for Jet.
Warnings: Very light Shounen-ai 004 and 002; non-yaoi fans can read it with no problems. One whole curse word!
Author's Notes: Sorry, I needed another break from my vampire story. It's almost done, by the way!!! Yeah!!! This is kind of the same type of thing I've been writing for a solid month now; Jet and Albert stories. I just hadn't found enough of them floating around in English. This story would take place early in the series, but after 0011. The song is by Metro Station. It's called Wish We Were Older and it was my inspiration for this one. There really is a movie from 1958 called I Bury the Living as well.
Disclaimer: Cyborg 009 is owned by Shotaro Ishinomori.
Beta Reader: None, just a small piece I came up with last night while I drifted off to sleep. Enjoy and be forgiving.
Date:June 23, 2009 (6: 03am)
Word Count: 3,627
Jet watched the blade sink into the teen-boy's stomach. A knife fell from the other boy's hand when he grabbed the chain link fence and sunk to the ground. The two gangs grew silent as Jet stepped back from the boy dying at his feet.
All Jet could do was look from the twitching boy to the bloody knife in his right hand. He couldn't look at the shocked faces of his gang members. Sirens broke his concentration along with the warning shout of, "Cops!"
He ran to the left of where all of the rest of his gang scattered. He darted down a dark alleyway, leaned against a crate, and panted. Jet was startled by footsteps behind him; he sprang up and brought the knife to bare. He snarled at the two men in black suits, "Wha...? Who are you?"
The one on Jet's left chuckled and said, "Hey, son, you want your legs back?"
"What?" Jet looked down to see his legs were melting away, the flesh dissolved and bubbled. The two men in black suits both sounded like hyenas as Jet struggled to turn, pain shot up through his legs.
He struggled to run away from them; he turned the corner to find himself in the cold, steel embrace of the boy he had just killed. The boy was covered in blood over his rancid skin; he wore a vicious smile. "Hey, greaser, time to join me in hell."
Jet tried to scream and struggle, but he couldn't fight against the Puerto Rican boy's arms. A voice shouted in his head :Wake up, 002!:
Jet bolted upright and stilled his rapid breath. "Ivan? What the...?" He looked around to see he was in the darkened room he shared with Joe and Pyunma. They still seemed asleep.
:You were having a nightmare and grew very distressed.:
:What are you doing snooping in my head!:
:I couldn't help it. Your brain waves were too strong for me to ignore,: Ivan's reply was calm. :You know I would never deliberately invade your privacy.:
:You better keep all that to yourself.:
:It's just between us.:
Jet settled back into his bed and released his aggravation and shame. He put his arm under his head and tried in vain to banish the Puerto Rican face from his memory. The teen-boy's face was hard and mean, but Jet wasn't afraid him at the time. Now that face caused him an undefined pain.
:Quit bothering me,: Jet glared at the shadow play on the ceiling.
:But there is something I need to know. I'm also hungry, and since Frances and Dr. Gilmore are still asleep, could you please do it?:
Jet sighed and got out of his bed. He threw a wrinkled, long-sleeved shirt over his tank top and boxer. He quietly slipped out of the room and walked down the hallway. He opened the nursery and walked over to Ivan's cradle where the baby cyborg rested on a small pillow.
:Thank you for feeding me.:
"Yeah... yeah... Don't let me hear you gripe to the others how I don't do anything. Especially Chang. He's on my tail all the time. So how do you do this thing anyway?" Jet picked up Ivan and carried him to the kitchen.
:The milk is in the refrigerator. Just put it in a bottle by the microwave and put it in for thirty-five second. Test it on your skin and see if its too hot or cold. It should feel the same temperature as your skin.: Jet fixed the bottle and yawned as the microwave chimed. Jet thrust the bottled towards Ivan.
:I can't drink it like this. Hold me on my back.:
Jet sighed and sat at the table. He settled Ivan on his left arm and gave him the bottle. Ivan started to feed. "Would the gentleman like to see the dessert cart tonight?"
:You aren't nearly as good as sarcasm as 004, but at least you don't scorch the milk like he does.:
"Well next time wake Frances up!"
:But I wanted to talk you tonight. That dream you had, it was partially my fault.:
"Yeah, weren't you in the middle of one of your ten day stupors?"
:Yes, but I had a nightmare myself. It was so powerful that it disturbed everyone's REM sleep. No one had a dream that related to mine as close as your's did. It brought out things from your memories, dark things you have so much regret over. Just like me.:
"You?" Jet snickered and shook his head. "What kinds of dark thing would a baby dream about?"
:The same thing you did: murder,: Ivan thought, sending a shiver through Jet. A small ember of ire started to flare hotter in the pit of Jet's stomach. He tried so hard to keep that part of his past a secret because he knew the other cyborgs' perceptions of him would change.
His eyes narrowed as he looked down into the round, small face. He whispered, "Murder? What about murder?"
:You can't hide it from me. I've known about it ever since the Black Ghost caught you. I read your mind when they put you under for your first surgery. You still have a strong emotional attachment to that memory. You need to resolve your feelings about it or you will continue to have this dream.:
Jet's stunned silence was broken by a sudden clap of thunder. Another flash of lightning bathed the kitchen in an eerie blue glow before another rolling rumble. Jet shivered again and looked back at Ivan. His ire was getting more intense.
"Listen, it's none of your business. So what? I had no choice. That's how it is on the streets. Until you lived out there, why don't you save the lectures for someone who gives a sh... well... for someone who cares," Jet softly snapped. He was still unable to bring himself to use profane words in front of Ivan, even though Ivan was technically over fifty years old.
:You don't really feel that way. You blame yourself because you were the one who stepped up to fight first. You keep trying to push the blame off on the environment you raised in and the rival gang, but you are afraid to accept the guilt gnawing at you.:
Jet started counting backwards in his head while clenching his eyes and jaw shut; he was trying to cool his temper. There was a part of him that wished Ivan was older so he could at least confront him in a way he was familiar with. Instead it was words that assaulted him and he had never learned to vocalize deeper feelings. It was a safety measure he had learn too well around his volatile parents.
:Why are you picking at me! I don't need to deal with this. So what if I feel guilty over it? That's not going to bring that kid back. There's nothing I can do about it.:
:Yes, but there is more to it. Deep inside you feel as though you're being punished for it. You believe your cybornization was an instant act of karma brought on by the murder of that other boy. While you see it like that, you'll never be able to accept what happened to you and find a sense of peace. You also have to forgive your gang members for leaving you alone in that alleyway where the Black Ghost agents were. I could tell you miss them...:
"...but I hate them for it," Jet admitted, feeling his face grow hot in the cool, dark kitchen. A flash of lightening grabbed Jet's attention.
:You need to find forgiveness towards them and yourself for everything that happened.:
"Forgiveness? How about you?" Jet felt Ivan still himself. Jet set the bottle aside and gave the silent baby a scrutinizing look.
:No. I've been a hypocrite with you. I haven't forgiven the things that happened to me either.:
"Your father was one of them, after all. That can't be easy," Jet said as his anger quelled into a pity.
:There is more. The reason you had a nightmare was that I had a nightmare. It agitated grisly memories because it was inadvertently projected telepathically. You see, I dreamed of my mother's murder.:
"Your ma was murdered? I didn't know. What happened?" Jet's shock evaporated the rest of his anger.
:It was Dr. Gamo. My mother was trying to rescue me after he did the initial surgery on my brain. He beat her to death when I was still in her arms. That's when the Black Ghost came and took us away. There will always be a part of me that hates him for it. I can never call him 'father' after everything he has done.:
"Wow. That's a lot worst than I thought. He really was crazy." Jet shook his head and gave Ivan a rueful smile. "Guess it's true what they say about someone always has it rougher than you."
:He had a dream about making the human brain superior. He didn't care about me or Erika.:
:My mother, Erika Gamo. I wish I could know more about her.:
"I wish I hadn't known my ma... or my old man. Funny, hun?"
:Not really. She let people hurt you. Your father hurt you deeply. There is no humor in the shame you feel.:
:You know more about me than you let on,: Jet thought, a panic bubbling up in his stomach.
:Your family life is your secret as is what you did before becoming a cyborg. Just like I would ask that you keep my mother's murder between us.:
Jet sighed in mix of relief and discomfort. He detested being so exposed.
:The sooner you can also work through the resentment you have towards your old gang, the sooner you can learn to trust and rely on the others and me.:
"The only person I can trust is myself. I don't want to get to the point where I'm relying on them all the time. I mean the escape, and everything since then, they've come through. I'm just waiting for the day when one of them lets me down."
:No, your afraid of growing attached to us and getting hurt. That's why you're so abrasive. You push us all away because you don't want to feel any more pain.:
Jet's head flinched back; he glared at the baby resting in his arms and was about to make a tart remark. :You need to burp me now.:
"What? Burp you? What's that?"
:003 has a good method. Sit me upright and rock me back and forth slowly. That seems to do the trick.: Jet propped Ivan up on his knee and rocked him three times before he made a loud burp.
"That had to feel good." Jet stood up with Ivan slung over his arm like a sack. The rain started to pound against the kitchen window as Jet reached for the radio beside the refrigerator. He pressed the on switch and turned the dial away from news and tuned in a techno dance song. "I hate the quite. I didn't realize how noisy New York really is."
:The real reason you're turning that on is that you want me to stop talking.:
"You know it's really annoying having you read my mind."
:Sorry. I did promise I wouldn't snoop. How about I pretend to believe you?:
"You're impossible," Jet mumbled and turned the volume to a softer level, not wishing to wake the others. He leaned against the counter and shook his head.
The song drifted to his subconscious and he started humming along. It was one he had heard last weekend when he, Joe, and Frances snuck out to a dance club to distract themselves from the stress of being pursued by the Black Ghost. It had been a fun night until they got home and Gilmore castigated them.
Frances and Joe remorsefully agreed with the man to be more careful, but Jet boisterously fought back for his right to come and go as he pleased. Albert, out of nowhere and to Jet's irritation, jumped into the fight on Gilmore's side.
That's when the argument grew ugly and cruel, when it was between Albert and Jet. Jet resorted to biting insults to cut through Albert's condescending attitude. Jet quickly got to the point where he was about to swing on Albert.
Dr. Kazomi stepped between Jet and Albert just before the redhead gave into his impulse to punch the German; he made them all calm down and pointed out that no harm had come to anyone. The whole thing had caused a silent nastiness to settle over Dr. Kazomi's house that hadn't alleviated itself yet.
Jet pushed back the curtain over the window and peered out into the dark night. That one other cyborg, Albert Heinrich, could always manage to bring out Jet's most volatile side. Jet wished he could figure out what it was about Albert that drove him so crazy.
"Just trust in me, I'll never run away, You kiss my lips, And you taste like pain, And while I'm pushing it, I'm moving, Somehow you manage to say... Whoa-e, whoa-e.... I wish we were older..." Jet softly sang while gazing at his reflection in the pitch black window.
:I'm tired once again.:
Jet shook off his thoughts and walked back towards Ivan's nursery. He tucked Ivan back, leaned over the cradle, and sighed. "I have a feeling when I let go of my past, my life will turn complicated pretty quick."
:You're right. Just keep in mind that the others have a lot of pain too. They are having to rely on you as well. It would be good to show them you have some faith in them. It may surprise you to see all the support the other are willing to give you if you just allow yourself to open up to them a little.:
"Whatever... I'm still not sleepy so I'll go watch some television. 'Night."
:That's a very good idea. You should definitely go watch television. Good night, 002.: Ivan then turned his head and fell back into his deep sleep.
Jet left and walked to the livingroom where he saw the one person he was avoiding seated on the sofa: Albert Heinrich. "That little turd..." Jet mumbled as the German cyborg turned to see him standing in the doorway.
"Ivan, not you," Jet snapped. "I'm beginning to get a fond hatred of telepathy when used by evil babies."
Albert gave him a lopsided smirk. "That must have been you feeding Ivan in the kitchen. I couldn't figure who left out milk and tuned Chang's radio to dance music."
"What are you doing up anyway?"
"I can't sleep through GB's snoring like Junior does. Care to trade rooms?"
"Not on your life. We all drew straws fair and square. You'll just have to cope."
Albert chuckled. "I figured you'd say something like that. So Ivan woke you up to feed him? That's strange."
Jet shook off his impulse to agree and meet Albert's eyes. "I had a bad dream. Ivan picked it up and decided he was hungry."
"Are you okay?"
Albert's question took Jet off guard. He expected Albert to mock him like his parents or the boys in his gang would have. He didn't know how to respond so he looked down at his modified feet.
"Why don't you join me? It's one of those lame movies your country cranked out in the late 50s." Albert turned his attention back to the old black and white movie playing on the television.
"Hey! I remember going to see that one when I was fifteen. Me and the guys snuck in. It's as lame as can be. I Bury the Living... something should have been buried alright, the film."
"Well that makes this movie almost fifty-four years old."
Jet snorted and sat at the farthest side of the sofa from Albert. "Great... now I feel like an antique."
"Four of us are."
"Don't remind me. I always wished I was older when I was out on the streets. Bam! I got my wish alright... not the way I meant."
Albert gave him a weak smile and shook his head. "This isn't the life any of us picked."
They were silent for a few, long moments while Richard Boon's character received the task of becoming the new supervisor for a haunted graveyard. Jet leaned on the armrest and looked over at Albert. The man shook his head and said, "I had my reasons for chastising you last weekend."
"I had an old man already, he wasn't worth a shit. I don't need you riding my ass and acting like one. That time has come and gone."
"I wasn't trying to be a father to you, nor would I ever want that monumental task. I was just trying to be a concerned friend. Not only to you, but everyone else. You were right about some of the things you said when we confronted 0011. We have to be careful who we trust and the moves we make. If one of us falls back in with the Black Ghost it could spell disaster for everyone."
"So you've lost your willingness to trust the enemy and try to see good in them?"
"Let's just say I'll be more demanding towards anyone who approaches us in the future."
They were silent once more as the story continued to unfold. Jet sighed as some guilt roiled through his stomach. He frowned as he realized that Albert and he were having negative influences on each other.
"Maybe you were the one that was right. Maybe some more trust, just between all of us, needs to happen. I guess I felt like you didn't trust my judgment."
"You're right. I didn't trust you. Your fresh mouth and hot temper seems to get you into trouble." Jet about interrupted Albert while he sneered at the man's statement. Albert held up his hand and continued, "I was wrong for that. You are trust worthy. We've always been able to depend on you. The problem is that you project a lot of mistrust towards others and it cause people to mistrust you from time to time. When I don't keep in mind everything you've done to help us escape and hide from the Black Ghost, I have to fall back on the way you treat us."
Jet flinched back. He hopped up, drew his legs underneath him on the sofa, and faced Albert. The German's eyebrows shot up. Jet's shoulders slumped. "I'm trying to learn how to change so I can survive all of this. I'm really trying to trust people, but I've never had anyone who didn't let me down. I'm just not used to having faith in people."
"I can be more patient with you. We can help each other find a health balance between cynicism and trust. It'll end up aging us both. The problem with youth is that you rest in the extremes of trust or cynicism."
"Oh." Jet flopped over on his back and dangled his feet off the footrest. He threw his arm behind head and looked up to Albert's face. "I guess I'm afraid if you knew the real me... the things that I've done and the things that have happened to me... you'd look at me different."
"Nothing you'll ever tell me about yourself will put me off."
"Fine... I'll test you." Jet sat up suddenly and slid over towards Albert. He clenched his hands together in his lap and kept his eyes firmly glued on the white knuckles. "Before the Black Ghost caught me, I did something really horrible. I stabbed another kid from a rival gang. He died and I was running from the cops."
Jet was startled to feel Albert's cool hand on his shoulder. He looked up at Albert; his face was full of concern and not critical. "If you want to talk about it, I'll stay just between us?"
Jet nodded and started trembling in relief. He couldn't believe how freer his breathing was or how the artificial muscles in his shoulders ached from the tension release. A small, irrepressible grin came to his face as the sound of thunder grew lighter. "I would like that. You know, I always had to be tougher than the guys in my gang. I think that why I stepped up to the kid first."