A/N: Well, I really had to get this out of my head or I would be unable to sleep at night. Actually, I was unable to sleep all night since I've written this piece till now (5.30 am. Yay me!).
I'm actually on a Rockman rush thing and I am really sad that my favorite character (up to par with Rockman himself) doesn't have more time in the anime (still have to watch Stream). Anyway, for the fic… forgive me for any errors you might find. This piece wasn't betaed and it was a spur of the moment thing. Yes, the idea was running loose in my head for days, but I didn't had anything in mind beside… well… read and find out. I just hope I had them in character. I'm pretty much new at this…
Also, I might continue this, but it can be considered as a one-shot thing. So, uhmmm… keep an eye on it? I also might change the title if I continue this.
BTW: Not important, but if you are still reading the disclaimers I have written here, this fic is placed sometimes after Stream or even Beast (Beast+). Up to you, really.
Also, I don't own Rockman and/or any other related characters. If I did, I wouldn't be here… no, wait. I would, only with much more money…
By Az The Dragon
You despicable, little, insignificant and filthy human!
Netto rubbed his temples and groaned as he tried to ignore the angry voice and at the same time tried to recall how things had gone and why. So far, all he could remember was a blinding light and a pain that could be easily described with the simple words of "being torn in pieces".
I swear that I will destroy you in the most painful way so that you'd wish you were never born in this accursed world!
And the searing headache that followed after he woke up – mostly thanks to the yelling voice that he was trying to ignore – wasn't helping at all. Now he was sitting against a tree, looking up at the sky and trying to come up with the strength necessary to get up and go back home, or at least find a way to talk with his father at SciLabs and just ask for help.
Stop ignoring me, you filth!
The screaming that reached his already pained brain made him wince and bring his hands to his head. Out of all the NetNavis in the world, he had to be stuck with him. Not that he had anything personal against him, but coexistence right now was impossible because of his loud and angry voice.
"Forte, if you don't just shut up I will have a permanent brain damage, drop here dead and you'll be stuck out here with me for eternity."
The voice paused for a fraction of a second as the navi actually thought about the dreaded possibility. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere for who knows how much time and without a reliable access to the net – and freedom – was something that Forte couldn't afford to have happening.
Fine, human. But you better get up and undo this… Forte paused again, and Netto had the strong feeling that the navi's face morphed from anger to utter disgust …whatever it is!
Thankful that Forte had actually listened to him after hours of unsuccessful negotiations, Netto rubbed at his forehead again and took a deep breath to relax his aching muscles. "Do you really think I enjoy this whole situation?" he asked in a tired voice. "To think that I ended up in a Cross Fusion with you, a navi that I have zero compatibility with… no, scratch that. We are completely opposite… with a zero we'd still be too close to each other…"
Trailing off and closing his eyes, Netto tried again to recall what had happened. Now that Forte had stopped his tirade of insults he had an easier time thinking, but memories were still sketchy at best and all he could recall was… a dimensional area?
Feeling something extremely wrong with the whole bad situation, Netto snapped his eyes open, gaining a new level of a headache in the process, and looked up at the sky. It was a cloudless night, with no moon and hundred, maybe even thousands of stars winking down at him, but no psychedelic colors belonging to the Dimensional Area.
"Ah hell… this is… so wrong…"
Worried about his own safety and well being, Forte stopped brooding to himself and turned his attention back to the current bane of his existence. What? I swear that if you did something wrong with my body I'm going to tear you apart limb from limb!
Netto sighed again. Even if the black navi currently residing in his head wasn't yelling, the continuous threats were starting to get tiring. And as much as he wanted to counterattack the verbal assault with his own, he knew that if that happened, both of them would go nowhere any time soon.
"The sky…" the boy explained before Forte could go into another anger-induced rant. "There is no Dimensional Area. Cross Fusion shouldn't work without a Dimensional Area."
Strangely enough, Netto couldn't bring himself to panic over it. His sore body and headache were already enough to handle. Or perhaps he was just too tired to even care about this new detail.
That, however, couldn't be said for Forte, who took the news in the worst way and resumed ranting loudly right in his brain. Not that Netto cared about it since he instantly tuned the black navi's voice out and focused his attention to the world outside, entering into some sort of trance.
Blinking lazily, Netto stirred and groaned faintly. The way he was sitting against the tree, although the most comfortable he had found, had been unkind to his already sore body.
Damn it, human! Stop ignoring me!
For some reason, he pictured Forte stomping his imaginary foot on an imaginary floor in frustration and anger. It was a picture that brought an amused, weak smile to him, but it still didn't help in bringing back the life to his stiff limbs.
You accursed human! Stop zoning out and get your ass somewhere else! I don't want you to freeze to death and leave me stuck here!
At those words, Netto frowned. "How long have I been out..?"
Muttering something about "weak humans" and "bane of my existence", Forte accessed his internal clock program and did a quick calculation. Roughly four hours and half, you cretin.
"You know, Forte. It'd be easier for us to communicate if you'd stop with all those insults…" the boy shifted his right arm and lost his balance, flopping unceremoniously on the ground in a heap. "I bet you wouldn't like it if I started to insult you, right? At least you could try to be civil for as long as you are stuck in my brain…"
He felt Forte seething somewhere in his brain, but otherwise the black navi remained silent. Thankful that none of the two could read each other's thoughts, Netto did a small victory dance in his mind and proceeded to haul his uncooperative body off the damp earth and back into a sitting position.
"Any idea on where I should go?"
Tiredly looking around at the dark surroundings, he noticed for the first time that he had landed into a pinewood. To his left there was the crater he had originally crawled out of when he had regained consciousness while to his right the earth dipped downwards in a steady slope. In front and behind him there was nothing worth mentioning.
Look, don't take this as an act of kindness towards you, human, but if you go downhill you are bound to find something.
Relieved to have Forte to at least be civil, Netto forced his body to stand up and staggered to the incline. Despite having sharper eyesight thanks to the Cross Fusion, the darkness of the night swallowed everything that was past the forty-or-so feet mark. And all he could hear was the rustling of the branches overhead.
Seeing the kid pause, Forte grunted and mentally crossed his arms. So, are you moving?
Netto nodded, knowing that the navi would feel his movements, and took a careful step downwards. "Yeah, yeah…" he muttered as he gracefully slid down a few feet and stopped against a tree. "I was just trying to see which way was best. You know… to avoid crashing on an unseen tree or trip on a rock and end up rolling all the way down. You wouldn't like that… especially the nauseous part."
Not having anything else to share with Netto, Forte grunted one last time and returned brooding to himself. As soon as he was back to being able to control his own body, he would go as far away as he could from the "real world" and back to the quiet and empty Undernet. And perhaps plot an effective way to gain power and erase the human race from the face of the planet.
During his slow and rather uncoordinated descent, Netto had to stop several times to rest. Something that greatly irked his unwilling companion and made him rant under his breath about how weak humans were.
What you want now?
Netto winced at the barked reply. Forte was still far from being civil to him, but the fact that he had stopped insulting him was a good breakthrough. Especially after only a few hours of being stuck together.
"Can't you tell me how to float, or whatever you do, so I could reach the bottom of this mountain faster than I'm already doing?"
When Forte didn't reply to his request, the boy sighed and slid another five feet downwards, stopping in front of yet another tree. To keep the coexistence to the best civilized level they could gain, he had silently vowed to himself that he wouldn't press the navi into helping him out even if it meant spending all his energy going down an unknown mountain for days.
The sliding, stopping, avoid the random tree or whatever the mountain had to offer as obstacle went on for several more hours. The sky now was starting to brighten bit by bit and Netto felt so exhausted that he thought he was going to drop unconscious at every jolt, and when he thought that he was really at the end of his energy supply, he finally reached the bottom of the slop.
Which promptly turned into a cliff complete with a raging river at the far bottom.
"Well… at least you were right," Netto commented in a weak and raspy voice. "We got somewhere. Too bad it's not what we needed…"
After releasing a short stream of breathless laugh induced by too much exhaustion, the boy turned right and, staying as far as he could from the cliff, resumed walking.
Gone was the stiffness and soreness. Even the feeling on his limbs was gone and after that delirium-induced laugh he felt strangely well. He knew that after having a good night sleep he would regret physically pushing himself so much, but at the moment he just didn't care.
All that mattered was finding some sort of sign of civilization.
"Is there no signal out here? You know… to send an email, a phone call, or… something…"
Forte remained silent for a few seconds and focused his attention on the boy he was stuck with. Thanks to some programs that had suddenly popped up after this whole Cross Fusion thing he was able to tell how his host was doing. And at the moment it was as far from sufficient as it could ever be.
Still annoyed at the fact that the human was asking so many things out of him, the black navi did a quick scan of the air. No. Nothing. Zero. Nada. He grumbled out, not happy at the lack of signal and a quick and easy way out of their current problem. Now keep walking, human.
One foot after another, Netto struggled through the pinewood for several more hours until he finally reached the end of the sea of trees and the beginning of a meadow. "Well, hey… we're out…"
Too exhausted to rejoice the fact that he was finally out of the wood, Netto limited himself on laying against a large trunk and observe what lay before him. In the middle of the valley, the river had become calm, slowly twisting towards what appeared to be southwest, while the rest of the land was covered in grass that reached his waist.
Netto blinked blearily at the postcard-like sight. "I bet there is no signal, uh?"
Nothing. Now keep walking. The sooner I get out of you, the better.
The boy pushed himself away from the tree and started to trudge through the tall grass. "You know, as much as I'd like to cancel this Cross Fusion, I don't think I can go on much further…"
Weak human, I swear that if you stop you are going to regret it until the end of your days.
Netto sighed and silently struggled through the meadow. As much as he tried to stay civil with Forte, the black navi was seriously starting to exaggerate. He could accept his hate for humans, even if he couldn't understand it. He could accept that he was thirsty for power and he could even accept the fact that there was no way to dissuade him from not hunting down Rockman for his core program. But this… this was just too much…
And the fact that he was wearing black and the summer sun was right over his head didn't help.
The two remained in a comfortable silence for a few more minutes until Netto narrowed his eyes and tried to focus his blurry sight on something in the distance.
"Hey, Forte…" he mentally smiled in amusement when he felt the navi shudder in his head and take a second or two to force himself from not verbally lash out. "Is that… a house that I'm seeing?"
Forte shifted his attention from whatever he was doing to what the boy was seeing. The image he was receiving was quite blurred, but the gray of the stone structure was impossible to mistake. Yes. Now keep walking.
Although the black navi still pushed him around, Netto felt that he too was weary and ready to lay down and rest for an unknown amount of time. Sure, Forte would never admit that to him, but one of the many advantages – or disadvantages depending on the situation – of the Cross Fusion was to feel what the other could feel. And the more navi and operator were emotionally close, the more they could feel.
Feeling a sudden rush of adrenaline run through his body, the boy pushed onwards with renewed determination. If there was a house out there, then it meant that other people would be close, and that meant communication, and communication meant getting a hold of his dad and put an end to this insane journey.
Literally wading through the grass – and tripping at least twice – Netto reached the house and clung to the wooden door with his fingers to prevent himself from sliding down to the ground.
"Hey!" he called with as much voice as he had, which wasn't much since he could barely hear himself above the bubbling water from the river behind the house. "Is anybody home?"
When no answer came, Netto slammed a fist against the wood in growing desperation. "Heeey!" he hit the door two more times, feeling his desperation morphing into frustration and anger. After all he went through, no one bothered to at least answer him.
At the third slammed fist, Netto's rage exploded and he backed away from the door. "Damn it!"
With a spent scream, the boy lifted his right leg and slammed it against the wooden surface. The old hinges and lock few apart with a shower of splinters and the thick door fell to the ground with a defeated groan and a bang.
"Ah! You got what you deserved!" He commented as he pointed a finger at the downed door and making Forte unconsciously raise an eyebrow at the odd antics of his human host. For a moment the navi had even the feeling that the boy would stomp on it, but as Netto was slowly making his way to it, they both caught sight of the inside of the house.
No wonder no one would answer. The place looked like it had been abandoned long years ago, leaving what little furniture that couldn't be easily carried away with a thick layer of dust and dirt. Netto, rage and frustration forgotten in favor of confusion, further walked inside and looked around.
The house was small, but it had two floors, and although it had been abandoned long ago, it also appeared that with a good clean up it could become a nice place to live in during the holidays. Not that he would start cleaning up… he had his hands full enough as it already was…
The stairs to the second floor were near the entrance and seemed to still be sturdy enough to be able to sustain the weight of a kid. To their left another open door led to the kitchen and on the other side of the house from where he was standing, a large table with a few broken chairs was placed in the middle of the room. On the wall opposite the kitchen there was a fireplace complete with burned wood and a pot.
Too tired to care why people had left and why they had left so much stuff behind, Netto turned around and had the strange idea of grabbing the fallen door and letting it lay slightly against the entrance's doorframe so that it could almost close it.
Forte didn't say anything as the boy took a step back and observed his handiwork. From the readings he was getting out of him, the navi could clearly see that he was beyond exhausted and wasn't thinking clearly, and coupled to the fact that he himself was weary too, he limited himself to a snort and crossed arms.
Netto ignored him and started wandering around the house. The kitchen had no food, as expected, and the only source of clear water seemed to be the river in the back. The dining room, or sitting room, or whatever it was had nothing interesting to offer so the boy trudged towards the stairs and looked up.
"I hope they left behind a bed…" he muttered as he started climbing the groaning steps painfully slow.
The second floor didn't have much to offer either, but when he wandered into the bathroom he stopped to look at the encrusted mirror hanging from the wall. Lifting one hand, he wiped the dirt away as best as he could and looked at himself for the first time after waking up the night before.
What he saw was Forte, alright. Those fin-like things on his helmet were something like a trademark, but there were subtle changes to his appearance. Like his eyes, which were his usual brown instead of red. Another difference was the purple line running down his upper arms until they reached the armguards, and looking down at his legs he noticed that the line running down them on the front had shifted to the side, ending in two rings much like the ones he had when he used Cross Fusion with Rockman.
The symbol on his chest remained Forte's, but he had never noticed the diagonal slash running across it. Netto returned his eyes back to the mirrored image and idly brought a hand to the scar on his chest, feeling the line. Any deeper and Forte's core program would have been heavily damaged, maybe even rendered irreparable, thus deleting the navi.
Stop prodding, human.
Netto blinked and looked in his own eyes reflected in the mirror, almost hoping to see the black navi staring back at him. "Sorry…" he mumbled out as he let his hand fall and walked out of the bathroom and down the short corridor. "I won't ask."
Forte's displeasure subsided, but he still felt unsettled by what he had felt when the boy had found about the scar on his chest. It had been muted by the exhaustion, but there had been something else amongst the scattered emotions of the human kid. Something that had made him stop from lashing out again with a slew of insults.
Momentarily giving up on making his host leave him alone, Forte turned his attention to the kid and grunted in reply.
"Is it ok if I lay down for a bit and get some sleep?"
There was a long pause which Netto filled by staring at the bed he had found in one of the rooms. It was broken, tilting to the side and with a mottled mat that seemed to be just perfect in his eyes. And the half eaten blanket on top of it was even better. Too bad there was no pillow, but after the day he had, he could do.
Fine. Just stop bothering me now.
Netto wasn't sure why he had asked Forte for permission. After all, he was the one in control of the body they were sharing, but as soon as the black navi had agreed on letting him sleep, the boy happily flopped face first on the mat, lazily grabbed the blanket and covered himself. Perhaps this was something coming from Forte, but he felt safer with it wrapped around his tired body.
Forte's left eye twitched and the navi had to call forth all of his patience to not scream in frustration as loudly as he could. What did I just say, human?
"Yeah, yeah…" Netto muttered in reply, eyes closing against his will. "Just… thanks."
For the first time in his life, Forte was left speechless for several seconds before he closed his eyes, crossed his arms and turned his attention away from his human host with a loud snort.