Pairings: Slight Rallen/Jeena
Time line: Starts before the first game, then continues somewhere between the first and second game.
"Okay, Rallen, watch carefully now!" said a tall young man with a long mass of orange hair to the much smaller boy watching him anxiously. Slowly, the man, took a deep breath, then bent through his knees while pulling his heels off of the ground. Then he turned his upper body slightly so that his left leg stood out, and brought up his hands, curled into loose fists, his right one resting 20 cm near his chin, while bringing his left shoulder to it.
The child watched anxiously even as the young man's left hand moved forward while his weight shifted onto his front leg. And then, as the young man pulled back his left, his right came forward to add another punch to the empty air before him. He held that pose for a little longer, before he pulled back his arm. "Well?" he quipped cheekily. "Think you can manage that, little man?"
As expected, the boy puffed up his cheeks angrily, before he hopped to his feet. "I can! And way better than you!"
The young man laughed at the kid's enthusiasm as he eased his stance. It was always so easy to rile him up. "Then go ahead and show me you're a better man!" he challenged, stepping aside to allow the child to have some room.
He wasn't surprised when the boy managed to copy his stance almost perfectly, but the slight shaking of his limbs indicated just how uncomfortable and unfamiliar the stance felt to him. However, the child made no verbal response to it, the look of sheer determination on his face speaking volumes.
When the boy's fist moved forward, he wasn't surprised to find that the kid had managed to do a perfect straight. Even when the second punch flew, he was not surprised. He had been expecting it, after all.
The bright grin on the boy's face when he finished was rewarded with a similar one on that of the young man. Still grinning, he stepped up beside the boy, giving him a tiny nod. The boy gave him a nod back, then focused on looking straight ahead.
Their left fists flew forward at the same time.
The left fist retreated to make room for the right.
"One! … Two! … One! … Two!"
After ten consecutive punches, the words no longer needed to be uttered and they merely focused on their punches, throwing them forward with perfect precision and as much force as they could muster. Their movements were fluent and kept getting faster and faster and time wore on. Despite the differences in age, the small boy could easily keep up with the young man and did not stop at all even when perspiration started dribbling down his chin to hit the floor.
For that brief span of time, the world around them seemed to fade away as they focused solely on punching.
And if he had not set the timer before they had begun, they might have been going on until the middle of the night when their energy was totally drained and they couldn't even move to their beds. Stopping quickly, he reached down and put a hand on the child's shoulder. "That's enough for today," he said solemnly.
"Eh?! B-but we just got started!!" the boy cried out, pouting, but he could tell that the exercise was taking its toll on the boy. He was panting for breath, and he looked ready to fall over in exhaustion. And yet, his sheer determination was pushing him to continue. He knew he could probably handle it, but he figured the kid was going to have enough sore muscles as is, and he didn't need even more.
"Maybe, but you have to get enough sleep or you're not getting up in the morning," he said simply.
"I don't wanna go to bed yet!!"
He rolled his eyes a bit, before looking to the kid with a predatory grin on his face. "Reaaally now?"
The boy realized where this was going and immediately tried to back up, but he wasn't fast enough to avoid the man's arm as it snagged him up or the other hand as it slipped under his shirt easily. And less than a split second after, the boy was howling with laughter, kicking with his feet as he tried to get out of the hold as he curled up to try and evade the attack.
"Nooooooooooooooooooooooohahahahaha! Brother! Sstttttoooohahahaap!!" the boy managed to get out amidst his laughing.
"Oh I don't think so!" the young man laughed out, keeping his little brother right there in his grip, though making sure not to injure him in any way.
Only when oxygen became an issue did he finally let go. After about a minute of Rallen panting for breath, he looked up and glared at the young man. "That was unfair, Rex!" he whined.
Rex only laughed. "Oh I beg to disagree. Now! Off to bed with you, you little troublemaker!" he quipped, promptly tossing Rallen over his shoulder.
"WAH! Brotheeeeeer!! I dun wanna go to bed yet!!!" Rallen protested, starting to kick and punch, but Rex merely smirked and carried the smaller boy down the hallway. Because, if he knew his little brother well enough, his struggles would seize once they were three-fourth of the way there.
And no sooner had they passed that point, or Rallen's kicks lost their vigor and he finally fell limply against his brother's back. Rex allowed a small smile as he walked into the room his brother and he occupied. The room was very tidy, with two simple beds, a single desk, two closets in the back, and a trunk at each bed's feet.
Moving over to the bed on the right, Rex moved aside the covers and let his little brother slide off his shoulder onto the mattress. The smaller boy was definitely out for the count, so he would not be getting any help with this. It would not do to sleep in sweat-soaked clothes, even for someone as energetic as Rallen.
He pulled up Rallen slightly so that he could rid his brother of the sweaty articles, tossing them into the hamper hidden next to a closet. Once done with that, he reached under the pillow, pulling out Rallen's bedclothes and putting them on the small boy. Considering that Rallen was nearly entirely limp, this took a bit of time, but finally, he had the boy dressed for bed.
Quietly, he tucked the boy in, lightly ruffling the boy's short orange locks before he began to get changed himself. He had been doing these exercises for much longer, but he was still equally soaked in sweat as the younger boy.
Yawning widely, he finally just dropped on the bed, not really bothering with getting under the blanket. It wasn't really that cold right now, so it didn't matter much.
When he heard something move on the other bed, he looked over briefly. He allowed a small smile when he saw Rallen had just turned on his side. He always seemed to sleep better on his right side for some reason. Shaking the matter off, Rex put his arms under his pillow and dropped his head on it, falling asleep almost immediately.
Even though Rallen said nothing the following morning, Rex could tell the boy's muscles were aching like all hell. But he also knew that there was no way that Rallen would admit to the pain, nor would he voice how much it actually hurt. So, Rex did the only thing he could do right now to make it go away.
"Rallen, come over here."
"Huh? Okay…" Of course, Rallen didn't question it as Rex climbed off his own bed and settled on his knees. For a moment, Rallen just blinked, before the intention seemed to click and he followed his brother's example and dropped to his knees.
Rex smirked as they both moved forward and put their hands on the ground before stretching out their legs.
With that said, they both lowered themselves down, until their noses nearly touched the floor, before they pushed up again. Rex kept count as they continued, keeping an eye on his little brother as they did. Normally, he would do two sets of thirty push-ups, but he wasn't sure if Rallen would be able to handle that, even if he pushed himself to it. Especially with his aching arms.
To many, it would seem to be a cruel treatment, but Rex had personal experience and knew better than anyone that this was the best way to take care of the aching.
When they reached 15, Rex could tell that Rallen was really straining to pull it off now. And at 16, his arms began to shudder, even as he forced himself back up. Not that he made it up before his arms gave up on him, making him fall flat on his face.
"Ow!" Rallen looked ready to cry, but he held it in as he tried to get up again. Rex didn't attempt to help him up, since this was a matter of pride. The boy somehow managed to get back up, panting slightly, though Rex assumed it was partly to stop his tears. He wasn't really hurt, he knew; the tears he was holding back were tears of embarrassment, since he probably felt like he let Rex down because he couldn't even do 20 pushups.
However, Rex reached over and ruffled Rallen's hair good-naturedly, allowing a grin when the kid looked up. "Don't worry 'bout it. We all have to start somewhere."
Those simple words made Rallen smile up at his big brother, his fears of letting Rex down forgotten immediately.
With the morning exercises out of the way, the duo headed toward the closet, grabbing some fresh clothes before heading to the washroom to get freshened up. After all the exercises from last night and that morning, it was a welcome relief. They spent about 15 minutes in there in companionable silence, before they both got dressed as they started hearing movement downstairs.
The duo exchanged a look before smirking and dashing down the hall. Rex was in the lead and he took bigger steps, and he managed to rush down the steps without skipping a single step, then jumped the last few steps onto the ground and immediately whipped around. Because he knew, the second he did, Rallen would jump down after him.
"Gotcha!" Rex crowed, as he grabbed the smaller boy and proceeded to hang him upside down, making the boy howl in laughter.
"Reeeex!! No fair!" Rallen laughed out even as Rex spun around several times, before he finally relented and put his little brother back upright on the ground. Naturally, Rallen wobbled around a bit, before he managed to stand up without falling over, earning him a hair-ruffle from Rex.
"Are you boys finished?" came an amused voice from the kitchen, making the duo look up.
"Yes ma'am!" both quipped with a playful salute to the red-haired woman watching them with a warm smile.
"Oh stop that," the woman laughed. "Now come on, breakfast is ready."
Neither of the boys said "no" to that and followed their mother into the kitchen. They could have smelled the food from upstairs, but when it was this close to them, it was almost enough to make their mouths water. Luckily, they both had enough experience with it to stop themselves from drooling too much and just started to eat.
The table was silent for a while, with the exception of their quiet munching, before their mother spoke up. "Rex, when is your next assignment?"
Rallen instantly stopped mid-bite, before he turned to face Rex, who didn't seem that bothered with the question and merely kept chewing on the food he had in his mouth. Once he swallowed, he looked up to their mother and said: "Not for a few days, at least. I'm still on leave for the moment." It didn't escape his notice that Rallen visibly relaxed at those words, though there was still that nervous glint in his eyes.
"Alright." That was all their mother had to say, and once again, the table fell silent.
Rex acted like nothing was wrong, but his brother's behavior kept distracting him. He could figure what was wrong, though.
Rallen looked up to Rex like a father figure ever since their father had disappeared, and the mere thought of Rex leaving would've brought tears to his eyes in the past. The second time he had left on a mission, Rex had feared he'd need a crowbar to get Rallen off him. Not that Rallen had actually been allowed in the hangar, but he had somehow made his way over there.
Shaking the thought away, Rex just focused on his own breakfast. He still wanted to finish a few things today while Rallen was at school, anyway. Something that would, hopefully, make his next assignment a little easier for Rallen to handle.
When they finished breakfast, Rallen hurried to the hallway to get his shoes and jacket, while their mother went to do the dishes. Rex stood and stretched for a moment, before following his little brother, smiling as Rallen was hopping into his shoe with his jacket half on.
"Rallen, seriously…" Rex laughed, walking over and aiding the boy with getting ready.
Once Rallen had grabbed his bag, the duo was out the door and hurrying over to the airbus. Well, Rallen was hurrying, Rex was just being pulled along. The people in that neighborhood knew them very well, so they were already used to seeing Rex being pulled along like that and didn't look up as they stopped at the busstop.
Rex took a seat and Rallen climbed up next to him, grinning up brightly. Rex just returned the favor, before they both settled to wait for the bus. Luckily for them, it didn't take that long before it arrived. As they stood, Rex reached into his backpocket and pulled out the two cards he had for them both, giving one of them to Rallen.
When the bus stopped and opened its doors, Rallen climbed in first, and Rex was right behind him. Passing the cards past the reader, they proceeded to find some seats (though Rex nodded to the driver beforehand, who returned the favor with a smile). Rallen always wanted the window seat, which didn't really bother Rex that much, since it allowed him to keep a better eye on his little brother. Thus far, it had proven to be unnecessary, but Rex didn't like to take the chance.
Glancing to his brother, he saw that Rallen was sitting up on his knees (feet off the seat) and staring outside to watch the scenery flash by. Rex allowed a small smile, since he knew that Rallen would recognize when they were almost there by the scenery rather than the name of their stop. So he wasn't surprised when, halfway to their stop, Rallen reached up his hand and attempted to reach for the stop button.
Rex waited for a few seconds, watching, before Rallen frowned and promptly hit the button from below. That was enough, though, and the light in the bus lit up red to show it would stop at the next stopover. Rallen grinned brightly at Rex, and Rex chuckled briefly, before he got up from his seat. Of course, Rallen was fast to follow and hurried after Rex as he headed for the bus's exit. Once it finally stopped, Rex pressed the button to open the doors, and the duo quickly moved down the steps and out into the open again.
From there, it was a five-minute walk to the school Rallen was going to. Which, coincidentally, was the same one as Rex's old school, though it had undergone such changes that the elder didn't even recognize it at times. He felt like an old man sometimes with how everything he knew was changing into something different so fast.
When they were almost at the school, Rex reached down and stopped Rallen from going through the gates.
"Rallen," he started as he bent down to one knee, "you know the rules, right?"
Rallen groaned a bit. "I knoooooow… Don't pick fights, don't be a bully, and don't use violence to solve problems."
"Good." Rex smiled and ruffled Rallen's hair. He knew very well that Rallen knew it through and through, especially since Rex had threatened to stop teaching him to fight if he broke either of those rules. Rallen really did want to be as strong as Rex, since he desperately wished to have Rex's love, and he believed that this was the best way. Not that he really needed to go that far for that, but oh well. It was a good way to keep Rallen out of trouble at school, at least. "Glad to see that you still remember! Now! Let's go!" he said and got up.
Rallen grinned and nodded energetically, before running ahead with Rex right behind him.
Rex tapped the small stylus on his desk in thought. He was looking at the jumble of numbers and letters silently, and while programming wasn't his best subject, he could do it well enough. He just hoped he could finish it before he was off his leave and head to go on another assignment. He wanted to get it done as soon as possible, and he knew that once Rallen came home, he had more important things to do.
Thankfully, he was almost done. All he needed to do now was install the IP-addresses and that was only a matter of the correct numbers.
He heard the phone ring downstairs, but he knew his mother would take care of that, so he started scribbling down the numbers he knew by heart. At this point, he was VERY happy with his good memory, since it spared him the time of having to look it up.
Just as he finished, though, he heard his mother calling. Silently he saved his work and shut it off before heading out of the room. "Yeah, mom? What's up?" he asked from the top of the stairs. The response was not what he had expected, or wanted to hear.
"It's Rallen! Something's happened at school!"
When he arrived, he wasn't in the best of moods, which should have been an understatement. But what he found only made his mood worse.
Rallen was sitting on a chair just outside the director's office, his head down and his hands on his knees, and his condition did not appease Rex's mood one bit. His knuckles were bruised in a way that Rex immediately recognized, and the boy's face was littered with bruises several small cuts. His clothes were ruffled and dirty, and it didn't take a genius to figure out what had happened.
Now, most people would have started yelling as soon as they saw this, but Rex stopped himself from doing so and took a moment to take in Rallen's behavior. The fact that Rallen was not looking at him was one thing; either he was scared of a rebuke, or he was sorry for whatever he had done.
He'd spoken with the principal on the phone, and apparently, Rallen hadn't spoken to anyone after the incident, so they couldn't take his statement, and it was, apparently, the word of 6 to 0 like this. Rex wanted to believe that Rallen hadn't started this, wanted so desperately to believe it, but the bruises on Rallen's fists did little to ease that, even with the bruises on his face.
Taking a steady breath, Rex walked over to where Rallen was sitting and crouched down to one knee like he had done that morning, though this time, Rallen's position made him look up at the smaller boy. "…Rallen…" He had kind of expected that Rallen wouldn't look up, so he wasn't surprised when he didn't move. "Rallen… hey… look at me…"
Rallen tensed briefly, before slowly raising his head to meet Rex's gaze. The look in the boy's eyes was closest to that of a whipped puppy with its tail between its legs. That alone raised his hopes that Rallen wasn't fully responsible.
"I promise I won't get mad…" Rex promised, though he feared it would be an empty promise because of his temper; the same one he knew Rallen had at times. "So tell me… what happened?"
Rallen started shaking then, another sign that the boy was afraid. He probably knew very well that Rex wouldn't be able to keep his promise if he lost his temper, no matter how hard he tried. Rex wanted to try, though, and he wanted to try very hard. He disliked breaking promises, but in this matter, he might not be able to stop himself.
Reaching over, he placed a hand on Rallen's, nearly making the boy pull back. "Hey… talk to me, Rallen… please…"
For a while, neither of the two spoke, or moved, but after what had to have been a small eternity, Rallen slowly moved his fingers around Rex's thumb, perhaps as a small reassurance that Rex might not get angry after all. Rex didn't mind, and just lightly squeezed Rallen's head for a moment. Rallen gulped a little, still shaking a bit, before he slowly opened his mouth.
"It… it wasn't my fault…" Rallen managed to get out. "I… I was just… I just wanted to help her… th… those guys they… th-they threw… threw the first… punch…" It ended very small and pathetic, as if he realized how stupid his reason was, and he looked down, biting his lip.
Rex had managed to relax a bit when he understood that Rallen had merely retaliated in response to whoever had thrown the first punch. And if it had been 7 again 1, then Rex was surprised at how few injuries Rallen had.
Worry starting to eat at his mind, Rex moved his other hand and carefully poked one finger at Rallen's ribs. Instantly, Rallen howled out and curled up, his entire frame shaking in agony. Rex winced painfully at that, realizing that his little brother might actually have a few bruised ribs, if not cracked.
His mind was made up before he really had a chance to stop and think it over, and in less than a minute, he had Rallen picked up, who yelped a little in surprise, before the kid was up on his shoulders and Rex was stalking toward the exit.
"R-Rex?" Rallen stammered, managing to hold onto Rex's head securely, even with his bruised hands,
"Shut up," Rex grumbled, trying to act like he was grumpy, but he could tell Rallen didn't buy it one bit, since he slowly started to calm down. "Next time; try not to get hit if you're trying to impress a girl."
At that, Rallen gasped, and Rex could imagine his face going red. "I-I was not trying to impress her! I just wanted to help!!"
"Suuuuure ya did, Rallen. Suuuuure ya did."
"I did!" Rallen argued, bopping Rex on his head, but Rex merely smiled a bit.
And just like that, it was like the whole thing never happened.
But Rex did make a note to talk to the parents of the boys who did this to Rallen. He'd pull out his badge if needed, but he was not going to stand for this.
They both knew that this would come eventually; Rex couldn't stay at home forever, and even patrol missions could take a day or two, depending on the ship used. Rex's ship was fast, but still not fast enough to complete his usual patrol within a day. But, Rex suspected, Rallen must've been dreading this day to come ever since their mother brought it up.
"Rallen…" Rex tried again, sighing softly as his brother refused to move from the doorway to let him pass. Normally, Rex would've attempted to push his way past, but that would only hurt Rallen's feelings even more at this point.
"Don't go!" Rallen begged, looking close to crying, though he was clearly trying to stop himself from doing so.
"Rallen… I don't have much of a choice in the matter; I still have my duties as an NPP officer."
"Look, Rallen, as much as I want to stay, I can't." Walking over, Rex bent down to Rallen's level. "I want to stay here with you and mom, Rallen, I really do, but if I don't go, I fear that people might get hurt. I know I probably can't help everyone, but I want to help those that I can."
Rallen was absolutely silent.
"You have the same as I do, right? You wanted to help that girl, even though you knew you would get hurt in the process." At Rallen's wince, he knew he hit the right mark. "Just like that, I want to help people, even if it ends up hurting me." Rallen looked down, biting his lip and trying not to cry. But just then, Rex reached over and ruffled his hair. "Now listen carefully; while I'm away, I want you to protect everyone close to you, okay? And that includes mom."
Rallen blinked stupidly for a moment, before he smiled amidst his beginning tears. "O-okay! I'll do that!"
Rex allowed a small smile at seeing his brother try so hard, but he knew that everything would be okay in the end. So, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a simple object. "Also… take this."
Blinking, the small boy took it slowly. "What's this?"
"I suppose you can call it a 'journal' of some kind, however, each entry you make can be sent to me. I have a similar one, and I can send similar messages to you. This way you can report to me how things are going here and vice versa. With this, we can still stay in touch even if we can't see each other."
For a moment, Rallen only stared at the little gizmo in his hands, and Rex feared he wasn't breathing, but then Rallen looked up and promptly jumped Rex, hugging him tightly around his neck. Rex blinked once, before he smiled and returned the hug.
After some time, the duo finally broke apart, and Rex ruffled Rallen's hair again. "Well, are you going to see me off?"
"Hmhmm! You bet!!"
"Good! Let's go then!"
Okay, now, Rex is a character I designed for this, but if you want to use him in a fic about Rallen's past or something, you can, as long as you ask permission first. Anyway, hope you liked part 1 of this story. 3 more parts await.