Holy Carp Fish. I've been away for far too long, haven't I? My deepest apologies my loves. You thought I was dead, huh? Or lazy. Well…truth is…

I was sucked into a little thing called adulthood. Can you believe it? I'm freakin' 21. Ugh. And so I had to make a decision. Continue acting like a kid and writing fanfiction or grow up. Yet here I am. Guess I'm still a child at heart.

That, and I just couldn't leave this story unfinished. Hopefully some of you are still willing to read this fanfic. Please continue to be patient with me. And continue to grace with your encouraging reviews. They make me want to keep going. If you stay with me I promise, I will update as much as I can. Because this is for you, too.

Now...enough with this mushy crap. Who wants a naked Rundas? Huh? YOU DO. YES YOU DO.

I don't own Metroid…because then I'd be rich and wouldn't have time for any of this.


Automatic lights blinked to attention. The dim interior flickered to life.

The first thing one would notice was the surprising amount of room. Despite the fact that it looked rather small from outside there was space sufficient for up to three average sized people to sit and stand comfortably. There was a small corner at the back right that housed a miniature appliance used to cook pre-prepared meals. The other back corner lead to where one could take care of any hygienic needs. Between these two is where any spare tools or equipment was stored. The dominant colors were dark greens and blues. Making any who entered feel as if they were suddenly within a cave. The whole place was immaculately clean and smelled of sanitized steel.

Spacious yet compact. The huntress's space vessel was something that inspired hope, as it brought with it the one who liberated galaxies. Yet it was also an object of scorn, as it brought with it the one who annihilated evil ambitions. Countless buttons and switches glowed warmly, giving a silent welcome to their master. But on this occasion she had no time even to spare a glace at this kind reception. For the first thing she did upon entering was stumble toward the bathroom. After throwing her helmet aside, she proceeded to discard some very troubling sapphire sludge into the porcelain white bowl.

She felt a sudden rush of relief. Samus had been holding back the urge to throw up for quite some time. And there was no way she would risk losing face in front of Rundas. He would never let her live it down. It took quite a bit of concentration to be able to prevent turning the inside of her visor into a vomit display case. She somewhat recalled Rundas trying to speak with her. But if she had bothered to pay attention to him, let alone attempt to reply, the first words out of her mouth wouldn't have been words at all. But noises. Disturbing, disgusting, distraught noises.

After wiping her mouth and catching her breath she did what any inquisitive human would have done. She scooted closer to take a look. Curiously it did not look or smell at all like the meal she had ate that morning. Rather it closely resembled the gunk that had shot out of the eye ball she had popped not long ago.

The huntress decided it was best not to stare at one's mess for too long. So she promptly flushed it away.

All at once she felt rather dirty. It had been a very long day filled with Bryyonian heat and sweat. If not for the automated temperature system of her armor she would have baked within the thick shell.

Shell. She thought for a moment before mumbling, "Computer." A digital sound chimed. Computer was listening. "Clean Varia suit." Right away mechanical claws reached out from behind the walls. They took apart the Chozo technology like a delicate puzzle, pulling each piece away for cleansing. The talons did not neglect the helmet that had been tossed aside and quickly scooped it up. She pressed the symbol on the left side of her chest, retracting the zero suit.

The water was boiling. But she could not take her showers any other way. Perhaps her tensed muscles couldn't relax otherwise. Absentmindedly she scrubbed the shampoo into her hair. Just because she was a bounty hunter didn't mean she had to smell like one. She did it mainly for herself. Her own sanity and identity as a woman. Mating Season.

Samus paused. Considered something. And then rinsed the fragrant film from her locks. She grabbed a rather rough bristled brush. Exfoliating was rather important to her. Being the terror of the space pirates was no excuse for have rough, dried skin. She was, after all, only…

Human.

Again she hesitated. The Admiral's voice intruded into her thoughts. "…Phyrigisian mating ritualnothing but a shellhuman-like body."

Wrapping a towel around herself, the distracted blonde almost didn't notice the slight beeping noise. One that was coming from the direction of the cockpit. A quick dry and she dropped the towel, reactivating her zero suit. "Computer. Equip Varia Suit." The fragments were put back together again. And once more she felt complete.

Taking a seat she pressed the topmost button, activating the communicator. The Aurora Unit's voice echoed across the ship. Samus listened intently as it explained details of the missing hunter, Ghor, and the next planet to be saved from the grips of phazon.

The transmission finished. She punched in the coordinates.

"Elysia…"

(…)

A friendly sort of shimmer emanated from the walls. As if it's very cells were aglow with blissful thoughts. Before, when the end had been quite near, the walls had been grimly dull. Upon seeing it one would have cringed at the cold reception.

It was significantly smaller. Meant for one person and one person only. There was no kitchen, but rather a very large cooler in the very back. The freezer housed any and all nourishment needed. As well as any trophies acquired from battle. An undersized shower with no sink or toilet was stuffed in an odd angle. Making it look like an awkwardly placed closet. There weren't many details to hold one's attention, as the whole of the interior was smooth as sanded glass. The only colors present were hues of blue and silver. The odor of fresh water and blood dominated the air inside. Any who entered were hit with the immediate feeling of being suddenly trapped in a meat locker.

Cold and simple. The hunter's ship was something that inspired fear, as it brought with it he who ends wicked ones. But it was also an entity of optimism, as it brought with it he who ends suffering. The idyllic azure blush welcomed a very flustered master. He did not stop to benefit from the joyful shine. Instead he stomped toward the back of the ship, mumbling angrily to himself. He stood motionless for a short moment. It was then that a soft hissing escaped from the edges of the protective layer. The front of the casing was slowly detached. Globs of azure slush drained from the open crevices. Without much though he cantankerously flung the outer cover across the floor. He'd pick it up later.

Stepping out of his armor his bare feet touched the chilled ground. His whole body shivered at the sudden sensation. It was only a few days out of the year that his inner flesh was allowed to experience such things. That he was able to see the world around him with his true eyes. Feel the tender numbness of ice with his true skin. He took a deep, steady breath. The cold that filled his lungs made his heart quiver.

Phyrigisians do not produce the same biological odor as humans. For they are all like children within a protective womb. Kept in a state of decontamination and incorruptibility. Only during a certain season is it deemed acceptable to dirty oneself in the outside atmosphere for the sake of the continuation of the species. It was perfectly acceptable for him not to wash himself in the way most humanoid species do. Because it was customary for a Phyrigisian to never bathe until the 'night of ice and fire' as it was called. The cleansing of the body on that night would symbolize the washing away of childhood. And the ensuing act would cement one's status as an adult.

In this way, despite all of his grand experience and strength, on a certain moon in a certain galaxy Rundas was still considered a child.

In spite of the ridicule the hunter stayed firm. For it was also the Phyrigisian way to have one partner for the length of one's life. He had not found his mate yet. All the mockery in the universe would be worth it when he found her. He was sure of it.

Rundas stretched out his sculpted limbs. Naked yet perfectly at ease he walked about his ship, touching everything in site with his smooth finger tips. Toned muscles still apprehensive from battle rippled with each movement under his pale blue flesh. His skin had a sort of shimmer about it. For he was covered head-to-toe with a thin film of gel. Making his body shine as if it had just been polished. He scratched the back of his head; scattering small bits of the placenta-like gel onto the floor. The small specks instantly froze after making contact with the iced surface.

Then he suddenly let out an irritated grown. "Damn it…she's making a fool out of me." His arrogance was not something he struggled with. Rather, he quite enjoyed it. "Landing the finishing blow on that golem…killing the core without me…then walking away without so much as a 'Thanks Rundas. You were such a big help!' I mean, seriously. Is that too much to ask? Not that I need any thanks from her. Stupid bird girl." He was beginning to doubt this partnership.

Perhaps they were too much alike, she and him. Both were quite used to and comfortable with working alone. And having to share the load of saving a galaxy between two people who would rather bear it all themselves was close to impossible. Had the Federation really thought this whole thing through? He was beginning to think not.

"I bet they thought she would keep an eye on me… It's not like I can't take care of myself. Sure, I might have been caught off guard before. But hey, she's not perfect either…" He then tried to think of an instant where Samus had made a mistake as he had. Her reputation was well known throughout the systems and he had heard most of the tales. Try as he might not one came to mind. In all of the stories she had saved the day. Single handedly and against all obstacles.

But that didn't mean anything. He was still better. He was still unrivaled. The amounts of bounties he had collected over the years were the greatest on record. Greater than the sum amassed by one Samus Aran. So that meant he was better. It was pure logic. And if he was better then it clearly meant that he was not the one who needed looking after. She was the one. Because he had been though his fight with phazon and had emerged victorious. What of her? She had not fallen…at least not yet.

Rundas paused. Considered something. And then scratched the back of his head habitually. She was only human, after all. They were such weak creatures. Sooner or later it would happen. There was no way she would win the struggle if he hadn't.

Not that he was worried.

A low-pitched bleep interrupted his thoughts. He was getting a transmission from the bird girls' ship. She had come to her senses at last.

Still in the nude, he answered her call with a gruff, "The first thing out of your mouth best be an apology." His tone showed no anger. He was as cool and as confident as he has always been. But the long pause that followed irritated him. "You walked right past me like I wasn't even there. Like I hadn't just busted my ass helping you. I gotta say, Samus. I didn't take you for the snotty type. I though you were above all that." Again, no response. He was getting tired of trying. Voice naturally rough and deep, he always sounded somewhat aggravated. But this time his annoyance was obvious. "Fine. Just send me the coordinates for the next mission and I'll stay the hell out of your way from now on."

His finger hovered above the end transmission button for a brief moment when a sudden, "I'm sorry," caused him to stop. He couldn't help but smirk. "About time you said something. I was beginning to think you'd been corrupted." He meant it as a joke. It was only after it left his lips that he wished he hadn't said anything. For all he knew she was worried sick about that very issue. It was a definite possibility. One that weighed on both of their minds. Heavily. This time he waited patiently for her. It wasn't very long before she said, "Listen. Rundas. I wanted to…thank you. For your help. I'm sorry I didn't say anything before. I was…distracted. My mind wasn't clear. You really helped me out back there. It would have been ten times for difficult without you. So…" She sounded different than before. Not as callous. Not as cold. It startled him. He wasn't a fan of warmth. But this. This he could get used to.

"The next planet is Elysia." And just like that, the professional huntress was back. "We have two missions. Ghor is the primary target. But we are also to purge the infected Aurora Unit located on the planet. This is important, as the station on Elysia holds valuable Federation information. We leave Bryyo in ten minutes."

She hung up with him. Rundas was left with only the infuriating silence that followed. "…She's just asking for it…"

(…)

Meanwhile, Samus covered her eyes with her hand in utter disbelief. "Idiot. You pressed the live video transmit button…" She lowered her hand and looked off to the distance blankly. "I saw it…I saw…everything…"


So here you are loves, after a long long wait. Hope you enjoyed it. You know Samus did…

Review. I wanna see how many people actually read this. If its still a good amount I just might be motivated to give a speedy update. : )