Title: Damage control.
Fandom: Rockman Classic Saga (MM)
Word Count: 3212.
Characters/Pairings: Bass/Roll; Protoman, Megaman, Dr Light, Treble.
Rating: T (for swearing!).
Disclaimer: Rockman, its characters, places and themes belong to Capcom, Shogakukan, ShoPro, TV Tokio, etc. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: Another speed-writing exercise. Neme englobing MM10 – Bass mode in her continuity.
A/N 2: Unrelated (sort of), but Capcom keeps stealing my fanfic ideas and turning them into canon before I have a chance to post the fic in question. *POUTS* Wait for a fic when Mega is infected by a Wily-made virus real soon. It was written last year – it's long overdue, I think.
Warnings: Unbeated. Speed-written. Bass's got a potty mouth.
Summary: Bass wasn't configured for this kind of crap. He sure has Hell hadn't signed up for damage control over rampaging Robots-with-the-flu. And why the Hell did his father go and put Roll in danger again?!
* * * * *
Bass wasn't configured for this kind of crap.
He gave the Robot Master lying at his feet a well-aimed kick, watching the metallic skull as it bounced against the wall and rolled over into oblivion.
Beat Megaman to a pulp? Check. Become Strongest of the Universe? Check. But he sure has Hell hadn't signed up for damage control over rampaging Robots-with-the-flu.
Satisfied with the corpse-state of his opponent, Bass put two fingers to his lips and let out a piercing whistle. Treble's low, whining howl answered him not a second afterwards.
The wolf's powerful frame emerged from the distance, barely-visible through the thick cloud of smoke, red-ruby eyes glowing like dying embers. He reached his master's side in four long, powerful leaps, then squatted at his feet with an almost affectionate purr.
Bass patted the massive beast on the forehead (the spot right between the eyes, where the nuzzle is attached seamlessly to the head: it blisses him out), and idly checked world satellite coverage, looking for Dr Wily's signature.
Bass wasn't configured for dealing with such crap, but he also wasn't stupid – not by any stretch of the imagination.
Impulsive, rash, with a much-too-deep fondness for things that went BOOM!, but never stupid.
The media said what they willed, but robotic viruses didn't just spontaneously develop themselves on their own. They didn't pop out from a barley flower; they weren't delivered by storks straight to a person's doorstep. Robotic virus were man-made products, like everything even remotely technological that ever graced the planet's surface. It went without saying that if there was a virus running rampage, there had to be a man behind it all.
Translation: his father was fucking dead.
The last thing Bass needed was to catch a disease that'd impair his plans of Megaman-pwnage. Plus, Treble was already showing the first symptoms of Roboenza, however light. And if there was something Bass would protect with his life, that was his partner.
In short, his father was fucking dead.
His hand paused in mid-caress, frozen.
Speaking of impairing and dead bodies and pwnage- the Blueberry twit had yet to show up. Bass's systems refused to calculate just how wrong it was, and opted for a quick scan of his surroundings instead.
…nope. His sensors couldn't pick up nary hide nor hair of the dweeb. Airborne telemetry data was useless. Even switching visuals to the high ultraviolet spectrum revealed nothing he didn't already know.
Concern wasn't part of his primary program, but Bass could admit that unprecedented happenings did cause his slave drive some clutter. Clutter equalled errors, equalled pain, equalled repairs, equalled time lost, yada, yada… so he picked the quickest (if unpleasant) way to solve the conundrum.
He contacted Protoman.
An experimental ping was sent from his systems to those of his trice-damned, visor-wearing, older half-brother (to the records: an "experimental" ping from Bass was as loud, powerful and demanding as the highest-ranking red-code-signal from any other Robot Master), and set to wait.
As usual when the Blueberry's safety was concerned, he didn't have to wait long. The answer took 0.3 seconds too long for his liking to arrive, but he'd survived worst.
The body of the message though, was disconcerting in and for itself.
Mega has been infected with Roboenza.
His father was fucking dead.
Bass had been waiting for a showdown with the twit for three fucking years. He'd be damned before he let something as trivial as a virus come between them, or ---but wait, the message wasn't over.
Bass's eyes narrowed into slits as binary was decoded into actual words.
Roll's condition has worsened.
Roll has worsened.
Not to repeat himself or anything, but his father.
* * * * * *
Bass teleported into Lightlabs in the blink of an eye, privately grateful that either Protoman or Roll had inserted his stats in the security systems and granted him access to the building.
A quick assess of the situation revealed that Dr Light had tipped from overtly-worried-parent straight into tearing-my-hair-out-at-the-roots-panic, and was in no condition to address his timely, if unexpected arrival.
Megaman himself was doing a valiant attempt to convince the good doctor that everything was a-okay with his systems; but he sort of looked too-close to death for anyone to buy it.
Protoman, he just looked cool, the bastard.
Bass strode purposefully up to him, Treble padding silently behind him. He didn't manage to get one single word out, that Protoman hushed him – and I mean Hushed him, using a half-whistled word that activated one too many an alpha priority for Bass's liking.
He opted for glaring murderously at the Red bot (who had the gall to look unaffected by the threatening vibes), and turned just in time to watch the aging doctor pull his oldest son to a sitting position, cradling him carefully to his chest.
Bass would've snorted at the display of paternal love, but it seemed the commanding whistle had took that from him, too. Rolling his eyes conveyed the message just as well. Too bad no one was watching him close enough to notice.
"I should've known this was Dr. Wily's doing all along!" Megaman was wheezing, voice soft and full of static.
Eyeroll number two from Bass. That's right, dweeb, he thought. You should have known. But duh. You're a dweeb. 'Nuff said.
"I have to....stop... unghh..."
"No," Dr Light shook his head. The lines of care on his face were carved so deep they looked like a scalpel's doing. "You're in no condition to do anything! You… Roll?!"
Bass started. Dr Light started. Megaman started. Protoman kept looking cool (the bastard) as Roll came in from a secondary door.
She moved daintily, as if she had to think each step carefully through, and looked unsteady on her own feet. She looked up through her lashes, pupils trembling oddly in the harsh neon lights. Her mouth moved as tentatively as the rest of her did, but produced next to no sound.
She glided to a stop before her twin, looking him over with such devotion and concern that something inside Bass seemed to snap. Violently. Sending echoes of pain down each nerve, each sensor, each damned chip of his mechanical body.
Roll struggled for breath for a second. Her lips parted, but her tentative words were drowned in a gasp. She swayed. A mirage in the desert. Her knees gave out on under her.
Now, there was one thing Bass liked above else about his fighter's training – light-speed reflexes came in handy even in out-of-contest situations.
Roll had barely stumbled, that Bass was already there, catching her and keeping her upright. She was stubborn enough to fight him for a nanosecond or two, but slumped against his chest the moment she realized the rotors in her knees were about as steady as jell-o.
Her arms trembled tellingly when she put them around his neck. She pushed herself against him and – Crap, Bass thought.
She was soft.
He'd forgotten it, so long it'd been since he'd last had a chance to hold her, but she was so, so soft.
What business did robots have being soft was beyond him – he distinctly thought that had to be introduced as the fourth Law of Robotics: "Thou Shall Not Be Soft" – but she was. Soft and…
"You're burning up."
She stiffened briefly. Megaman made a soft noise of surprise somewhere outside of Bass's visuals. Protoman might as well been an ice-statue, he was so silent.
Bass's eyes zeroed in on the base of Roll's neck, her head tilted to bare the soft skin at the back of her nape, the gold hair so thin it seemed translucent. When she looked up, her cheeks were glowing, and her eyes gleamed. Her forehead was bathed with drops of coolant moisture, and Bass could hear her internal fans overworking themselves in a vain attempt to cool her systems.
She shivered again, made an effort to pull herself up straight, and gave up after a valiant thirty seconds. She curled closer to him, face hidden against his neck, her fingers digging into his neck not for support, but rather to convey the annoyed anti-swearing reprimand she couldn't lash out.
Fiery till the last drop of her energy fuels, she was.
"I thought you took your medicine already?"
After a moment of silence she shook her head, carefully, left and right. Bass felt her push weakly against his chest, struggling for freedom. The muscle in his jaw clenched almost automatically, but he let her go.
She turned, took a step out of his arms and towards her father and twin. His feet followed, almost on their own volition. His hands were hovering at her hips as she made an effort to stay upright.
"I… saved it…" she held her hand out, finger curled loosely against her palm. "in case… a…" her curled hand opened, like a flower. "…really sick robot was brought in."
Bass eyed the medicine she was offering as if it was something foul. Her other hand flailed towards him, briefly, then fell down as though she didn't have energy enough for anything more.
Bass caught her fingers before he was fully conscious of it. Squeezed them hard enough that he heard a subtle crack – his joints, not hers, never hers – and let out what could only be described as a growl.
"You stupid little…"
Even flashed from over her shoulder, her smile was blinding. It shut him up for good.
She turned gingerly towards her twin brother, pushed her hand closer to him, smiled wider when Megaman expelled a soft, worried whine.
"B-But Roll! You need it."
She shook her head, gold ponytail flopping behind her neck. She faltered a moment, used Bass's solid frame to steady herself.
"If I use it, I still can't stop Wily. But if you take it, you can stop him..."
Megaman watched her, mouth open, eyes pained; the look on his face was half shock, half sorrow, and one under percent love. He looked entirely torn.
When he didn't move, Bass wrenched the cursed little capsule from Roll's hand, threw it at Megaman with more force than warranted, aiming straight to his face. He felt a thrill of glee when Megaman hunched onto himself, preparing to receive the hit instead than ducking, but of course – of course, Protoman stepped in, caught the capsule – smoothly, as if he hadn't just crossed the room in the blink of an eye, as if the capsule hadn't been hurtled at neck-breaking speed.
Bass bared his teeth in annoyance, but knew better than to say anything, not even when Protoman thrust the medicine in Megaman's hand and forced him to swallow.
The medicine was quick. The reaction immediate – Megaman's eyes unfocused briefly as his systems cleaned and rebooted themselves. One second later, he was up to his feet, internal processors working at 100%.
Bass barely noticed any of that. He didn't care when Megaman struggled upright, proclaimed something about an imminent victory and justice restored. He didn't bother answering when his name was called. Didn't react when the room was emptied quickly, a vague offer to follow Mega and Proto in battle lingering in the air like smoke.
That medicine was for Roll, the miracle should've been worked on Roll – not Megaman, ROLL – but the relief he felt at his rival's recovery almost equalled the rage,forcing his systems into stalemate. He couldn't find a proper comment, a proper reaction, anything.
He squeezed Roll around her waist before he was fully aware of it. Her weight against his chest was hot and comforting. And her hair smelled nice, so close, and he buried his face in it. Some sort of fruity mix, it seemed. Sweet and heady, almost evanescent.
Her eyes flashed up to his own, not worried as much as wondering. She tilted her head, made a small little noise of inquiry.
Bass tightened his hold around her waist almost on reflex; made his face look as threatening as he knew how.
"'I saved it'" he said with a mock-pitched voice. Then, growling: "Fuckin' little idiot."
She grinned. A certified, heart-throb, Lightbots-only grin that glued together whatever part of him had broke in two before.
"Hey now. It could've been you who came in sick. Then you wouldn't be so mad I saved the only medicine sample we had."
Bass's eyes narrowed even more. It was luck that robots didn't need to breathe – he was squeezing her so hard there was no room for her chest to move against his own.
Funny, how he could say all swearing words in all languages known to man, and couldn't bring himself to call her anything worse than that.
Roll slapped him half-heartedly on the shoulder. The gesture lacked any heat, and worry zapped through Bass's systems before he could tamper-proof lock them. In that moment – be it the light, the film of coolant, the glowing gleam of her eyes and skin – she didn't look like she was made of metal.
She looked like she was made of glass.
Roll wasn't fragile, he knew she wasn't. He knew it. Hell, her broom would forever remain in the History of Most Dangerous Robot-Master Weapons, and she had more fire in her pinky that most of her brothers could claim.
But she was in danger, and something whisper-thin and invisible inside her could die out at any moment. Something sneaky and subtle that had no regard for all her marvellous strength was eating her up from within, threatening to take her away, and he fucking had no one to pound into the wall for that.
Damn him for sounding like a broken record, but his father was dead for real this time. He made a top priority to find a loophole or something in his programming, and get rid of the old man once and for all.
"I told him not to!"
His voice was gruff, sudden. Roll had started to doze off against his chest, and the tone alone was enough to startle her awake.
She glanced up quizzically at his face. He was looking anywhere but at her, looking as if his vocal box had expelled the words without consulting his central processor first. No matter how hard she tried, catching his eye proved impossible. If she didn't know better, she'd say he looked… shy. But shyness and Bass didn't mix, at least not that she knew of.
She opened her mouth, banter ready on the tip of her tongue, but swallowed dry instead, voicing no sound. His fingertips were moving smoothly over her naked shoulder, tracing idle patterns that sent ghost-shivers all through her sensors, adding another sort of weakness to her already-week knees.
She made an inquiring noise, something he luckily translated as the "Whom did you tell what?" she'd intended to say, and not the blessed little sound of surprise it had sounded like.
"The old geezer," Bass elaborated. "I told him not to ever touch you again." He frowned. Hard. Harsh. His face was a study of contempt, but it didn't make him any less handsome. "He didn't listen. The fu—" he caught himself in time. "—fool."
She smiled. And it held no trace of mockery.
He chanced a glance. Her voice had been all soft and tingly, and she was smiling like he'd imagined she would, all right. But her eyes were all soft too, liquid even, and they were getting bigger, too, or coming closer, rather, closer to…
For all his fighter's reflexes, Bass couldn't stop her in time. Didn't even try to, probably, which speaks volumes on him.
Last time she'd done this, it had been an innocent, barely-there peck on the cheek Bass had endured for the purely selfish pleasure of watching Protoman and Megaman turn green.
But this wasn't innocent. Wasn't barely there, wasn't a peck and most certainly was not on the cheek.
Holy fu--- WOW.
It wasn't a secret that high-tech beings such as Lightbots and Wilybots could create a connection with the simple act of kissing. They could replenish each other's energy tanks, if need be. Upload and download into each other whatever file was in the frontline during the connection, even core-files, if they so wished – which was the equivalent of their soul.
And those were core-files she was sharing with him.
It was fireworks and heady wine and hot honey and a power surge and a bolt of lightning and a nuclear reaction and a super-nova exploding. It was chains of data looping firmly against every bit of him, squeezing and reeling him back, hooked, like a fish.
His last barely-coherent thought before his firewalls failed (apparently) and he flooded her systems with as much emotions as she was flooding his own was: So though. So fiery. She'd have made such a great Wilybot…
Megaman yelped in surprise – not because he was watching his twin-sister kiss his self-proclaimed worst enemy, but rather because he was not. Something had clamped upon his eyes, effectively blinding him, and he struggled half-heartedly as he was dragged down and away from the window.
"Stop peeping in, Mega. It's unbecoming of a Lightbot."
Mega held his pout for a full three seconds, before the lopsided grin won out, breaking onto his face like the dawn. He looked excitedly between his brother and the window, puppy-dog mode on and running at full capacity.
The older robot rearranged his shield on the soil, leaned his shoulder against it, biceps flexing as he crossed his arms against his chest.
"Do you think that Roll will win Bass back to our side?"
Protoman released a sound from deep within his throat, something raw and not completely amused.
"First off, Mega, there's no such thing as 'our' side." Megaman deflated visibly at the low, level tone. "I'm neutral in this child-game you call the Wars, and you'd better remember it. I let myself be involved this time only because Roll was caught in the crossfire, nothing more."
Megaman searched his brother's face and had an hard time not yanking off the mask he wore – he hated that thing. He really did. Not least of all because it reminded him of Protoman's days as Breakman, their horrible first meeting, their first fight, the one to the death.
He repressed a shudder, gulping down a bitter mouthful to better concentrate of what else Protoman was saying.
"Second off, he can't ever be 'won back', because he was never anything but an enemy – a Wilybot."
"But…" You're a Wilybot too, he wanted to say, but wasn't given the chance.
"And third…" he turned briefly towards the window. When he turned back around, his voice, as well as his posture, had softened visibly. "Yes, she will. Give her time, and she will."
"You think so?"
Protoman nodded minutely.
"I know so. Lightbots have a way of turning Wilybots from their evil ways."
Megaman had an inkling that Protoman wasn't talking about himself, or even Bass. But his voice had taken that distant, pained quality that told Mega he'd better not pry.
For better or worse, he didn't.
He hoped he wouldn't regret it.
~*~おわり [x 2]~*~