Disclaimer: Generator Rex and all characters therein are owned by Man of Action. This story is non-profit, and done totally out of fun and love.
Author's Note: I had to start writing for these two, since I not only like the dynamic, but Six/Holiday actually includes my favorite phrase in shipping nowadays: Consenting adults. These are just all ficlets about random times, so they don't all go in chronological order. Hope you guys like!
Rules of Engagement
Following orders and protocol was second nature to a man like Agent Six. He was trained to respect the chain of command, and never to question it. And for years, he did just that. He was the perfect, obedient soldier. Every mission done by the letter, all "I's" dotted and all "T's" crossed. In fact, if he hadn't shown outward signs of natural aging, he supposed the old rumor that he was actually an android probably would've stuck around a lot longer than it did.
It wasn't that he didn't have his own thoughts and opinions. He did, on just about everything. It was just that Six knew better than to voice a dissenting one to his superiors. In his line of work, speaking out of turn was a good way to retire early. And no one who retired early did so still breathing. No matter how talented the solider, there was always someone out there who could efficiently replace them. So, Six made sure they never had a reason to do so to him.
He wondered when his attitude about the whole situation began to alter. When did he start actually caring about Rex's emotional state, even at the expense of a mission? When did he start lying to White Knight to cover up for the little ragtag team that he got assigned to?
"Six, can you please stop making that face while Rex is training?" Holiday asked beside him, portable monitor in hand.
"And what face is that?" he frowned.
She pointed an accusing finger at him. "That one. That look of total displeasure. Rex is doing fine. Stop glaring at him like he's making mistakes left and right. His biometrics drop whenever he looks at you. You're making him nervous."
"Are you telling me that if he crashes out it's my fault?" Six questioned.
"In short, yes," Holiday nodded.
He grunted, annoyed.
"All he wants is your approval," she pushed. "It couldn't hurt to give it to him every so often. Especially when he's doing a good job."
"I'm not here to give him pep talks. Or help him with his math homework, or drive him to school," he added. "I'm not his father, Doctor Holiday."
"True. But, you're the closest thing he has," she said. When he turned to stare her down, he found her more than prepared with her own glower. "I'm not asking you to go outside and have a catch with him, or do some other male bonding activities. I'm just asking you to spare a few kind words. Really. Would it kill you?"
Well no, it wouldn't. But the point was that he wasn't that type of guardian, and Rex wasn't that type of ward. That his orders from the top were to keep Rex in line, and to make sure he did his job at maximum capacity. He wasn't supposed to grow attached, because there was no guarantee that either of them would still be around in a couple years. Wars tended to throw away certainties. Besides, Six knew all too well the drawbacks of becoming emotionally invested in people who worked in the same field he did.
But there went Holiday, giving Rex an all sunshine and kittens greeting when he finished his final lap, telling him how well he did. Broke his best time, even. And Rex seemed pleased, and blushed at the attention, while Six did his best not to roll his eyes. He'd known the boy was going to beat his flying record about halfway through the course. He was taking his turns a lot sharper now. Must've finally gotten used to how his jetpack worked. He could've done better, though. He kept elevating when he didn't have to, losing speed as he did so. He liked to joyride too much. Too busy showing off for the good doctor to actually handle the track seriously.
And Six had all the plans in the world to tell Rex his little critique, until both the boy and doctor looked at him expectantly.
"Don't you think he did well, Six?" Holiday asked, and the look in her eyes begged, "Just this time, please?"
He looked at the boy, all thirteen years of him, and watched as Rex's eyes slowly went from meeting his hopefully to looking at the ground in resignation. Unlike Holiday, Rex held little expectations save for the negative comments he was used to getting. But that didn't mean that Six missed the looks of optimism the child showed every so often. It was getting harder and harder to ignore them. Especially when he had a certain doctor constantly talking his ear off about it.
Finally, Six cleared his throat. "It was okay," he said, gruff. "It needs work, but it'll do for now."
Six supposed he could give the boy that.
And it seemed to be more than enough for Rex, who beamed like he had just been told he was going to have chocolate and ice cream for dinner. Holiday, in turn, gave Six a grateful smile, before telling Rex that he was done for the day. As Rex ran past him, he caught Holiday walking to him out of the corner of his eye.
"Thank you," she whispered.
He shoved his hands in his pockets, turning away. "I didn't do that for you."
"I know. You're a good man, Agent Six," she said, patting his arm before walking away.
It was supposed to be a compliment, and he knew he was supposed to take it as such. But being a good man didn't necessarily make one a good agent. In fact, one rarely could be both. He really needed to stop listening to his partner, before she got him killed.
Growing up in a family that was very open in their affection, Holiday unsurprisingly turned out the same way. Not that she didn't keep up proper decorum in the workforce, but when your main test subject was a soon to be sixteen year old boy, it was hard to be purely professional. She figured given time Rex would eventually grow out of his crush on her. And while that seemed somewhat true, he never completely stopped with his compliments. A part of Holiday couldn't help but feel a little happy.
And then there was Agent Six, who did anything but flatter her. At all. Something that Rex could not get over, and more than once the teen would mutter, "I don't get how someone can work with a hot babe all day, and never smile."
Holiday had to reassure Rex that she was quite used to the agent's behavior, and no, she found nothing wrong with it. And yes, really, she wasn't lying.
Really, she wasn't.
Six was not meant for those types of words or displays. He had tried holding her hand in public once, likely to humor her, and he had been awkward and uncomfortable the whole time, until she showed mercy and released him, watching him pull his hand back in relief. At the moment, she'd felt stung. Soon, however, she began to realize that it had absolutely nothing to do with her, and everything to do with what type of man Six was.
It's not as if she went into the relationship thinking that Six would suddenly changed. She didn't, and he didn't, except for a few obvious exceptions. But maybe Holiday had still held out hope for a little something more. Some sort of sign that she wasn't wasting her time, or just conveniently there to satisfy certain needs.
The rumor mill in Providence didn't help matters. With the way gossip spread like wildfire, Holiday would've figured that she worked with a bunch of chatty office staffers instead of highly trained agents and scientists. She supposed it was to be expected, given that the organization had so many missions and programs that were either on a need to tell only basis or flat out top secret. If you couldn't talk about your work, you talked about your coworkers.
And her fellow scientists were usually the worst in the bunch. Not surprising, since they were normally stuck in labs together for ridiculously long hours, with only their readings and test tubes to keep them occupied. They did seem to love talking about her, and Holiday couldn't quite figure out if it was due to jealousy given her standing, or honest curiosity. Probably a bit of both. Of course, they never deliberately gossiped about her when she was around, but tired brains equal loose lips, and things slipped out from time to time. She comforted herself in the knowledge that they didn't really know if she and Six were together. If Agent Six didn't want people to know something, they didn't know it. In fact, her coworkers had suspected them to be a couple well over a year before Holiday had summed up the courage to confront Six about their relationship; and yes, it had been a confrontation, because Holiday knew the only way to get an answer out of Six when he didn't want to give one was to corner him and not let him go. Really, her fellow scientists didn't need to know that the beginning of her current love affair (if she could call it that) involved what was almost an interrogation.
That didn't mean she was entirely immune to the whispers that floated about. Especially the darker ones. She would've had to have been made of stone not to be somewhat unnerved about them. After all, who wanted to think that the only reason their significant other stuck around was because they ordered to? That he continued the relationship only to make sure she remained placid and obedient?
No, Holiday didn't like those particular rumors, at all.
But that was okay, because Holiday reminded herself that her coworkers simply didn't know or understand Six. They probably never would. If they did, they would have noticed all the things she did. Like how he started standing behind her chair during morning briefings. Or how he'd always restock the sugar container at the coffee station if it was empty, even though he never touched the stuff himself. How he'd hold a door a few seconds longer than he normally would if he knew she was behind him, then let it swing in the face of whatever unfortunate soul happened to be behind her.
There was nothing earth shaking. No fireworks, candlelit dinners for two, or moonlit strolls on the beach. Just chairs being pulled out, a hand being offered when she was getting out of a car, and if she had dolled herself up particularly nice for the evening, an offhanded compliment.
Holiday supposed it was a good thing she never really dreamed of a knight in shining armor or a prince charming. She certainly didn't get either. But she was quite content with the man who scowled more than he smiled, didn't think twice about barking out orders to a hotheaded teenager, and would wake her up early in the morning going through his numerous katas. Because he would stop what he was doing when he noticed her eyes on him from the bed, casually offer her a cup of coffee (always already prepared), and would brush her tousled hair out of her face when he gave her the drink. During those moments, before the sun had even risen and she sat there with a steaming coffee mug in her hands, Holiday was certain she wouldn't want the man next to her to be any other way.
"What are you doing, Holiday?"
Six normally wouldn't ask such a frivolous question. Normally wouldn't say anything at all unless he felt he had to. He wasn't a talkative person to begin with, and when his mood soured (which, granted, didn't take much), he became even more prone to brooding silence. Being forced to go on all of Holiday's little excursions out shopping to ensure her safety -and even more importantly, her return- never failed to make him miserably mute. It's wasn't that he didn't appreciate the doctor's company, but he already had to baby sit an authority hating teenager. He certainly didn't need to watch over a grown woman too, did he?
But there she was, staring up at the sky with a wistful expression, and the question came tumbling out of his mouth before he could stop it.
"The first star of the night is out," she answered, like it explained everything.
It didn't. "So?"
"So, I'm making a wish."
He didn't even bother hiding his incredulous look. "Aren't you a little old to believe in magic, Doctor?"
Holiday waved a hand in dismissal. "Shush. I used to do this all the time with my sister," she smiled, sadly. "She used to say the harder you wished, the better your chances of it coming true."
As he watched her with her bittersweet face, Six realized this wasn't really a matter he should try to debate on. So, he took a safer route. "What are you wishing for?"
She finally turned to him with eyes wide, and waggled a finger. "I can't tell you that! It won't come true."
"Really, now?" He couldn't help but raise a brow.
"Really," she folded her arms. "You better make your wish, by the way. It won't count if another star appears."
The need to argue against such a childish act rose up again, but somehow it just didn't seem worth the effort. Even if he bothered trying, Holiday would pout, and tilt her head in that way that somehow made her look possibly pretty to him (and only possibly, thank you), and then she would tell him he really needed to lighten up. So, like he always did to save himself unneeded frustration, Six just went along with her whim. Pushing his glasses up a moment to wearily rub the bridge of his nose, he cast his eyes towards the lone speck of light in the darkening sky.
"And don't wish anything bad on Rex."
He scowled. "I wouldn't think-"
The scowl deepened and mixed with disappointment. "...Fine."
Three minutes, twenty-three seconds.
"Six? Six, respond."
Four minutes, thirty seconds.
She tried again. "Six! Answer me!"
Three minutes, forty-seven seconds.
The call on this operation had been desperate. The EVO large. Larger than they were used to, and in the middle of the ocean, no less. They'd usually not rush in for something so far from land, but it had already taken out two cruise liners, and something had to be done. Whether it used to be a squid or an octopus had been argued back in forth jovially between Rex and Bobo until they had arrived at the drop zone, and had actually seen the size of it. Suddenly, it wasn't funny anymore.
Of course it didn't seem to phase Six, who had simply gotten on to his hover board, snapped out orders over his commlink, and took off. Rex had soon followed.
Holiday had kept a close eye on both Rex's biometrics and the video feed she was getting. Something about the EVO made her unusually uncomfortable, as she watched the water darken around it from its ink as it was attacked, and she just wanted this fight to be over with as soon as possible. But that wasn't in the cards, because whatever the monster used to be it had far more tentacles now, and was more than willing to use them all at the same time. Holiday had never seen so many hover craft be taken out so quickly. And she could only watch with horror as they erupted on the water's surface from the gas that had managed to leak out of cracked fuel tanks.
The explosions, however, did double duty, as they not only took out whatever unfortunate Providence agents happened to be nearby, but also did a great deal of damage to the EVO. Dying, it thrashed out in its death throes, whipping about desperately, before finally succumbing to blood loss, its remaining tentacles hitting the surface hard enough to cause breaking waves.
"Rex?" Holiday prompted over their link. "Are you all right?"
"Fine, Doc," the teen responded, voice a little shaky.
She watched his biometrics dip a little, and she gripped her station's panel. "Rex, are you sure you're okay? Are you injured?"
"I-I don't see Six," he said.
Holiday felt her heart drop. "What?"
"He got hit off his board right before the explosion," Rex explained, tone rising with panic. "I'm looking everywhere, and I don't see him. I don't know where he is! I don't know where he is!"
"Rex, keep calm," Holiday ordered, for herself and for the teenager. "Just keep looking." She switched the frequency on the communications line. "Agent Six, this is Holiday. Do you copy?"
"Six, I repeat, this is Holiday. Please, respond."
And it had remained that way for going on four minutes, with Rex stubbornly flying around the wreckage, and Holiday sending out at constant stream of response calls. She was beginning to feel sick, and dizzy.
"Answer me, please, Six!"
Four minutes, fifteen seconds.
She needed to sit down, or get some fresh air. When did it become this hot in the room, and when did her legs begin to feel like they couldn't support her anymore?
Four minutes, twenty-five seconds.
Her heart hurt. No, her entire chest was aching. On fire. Her throat was tight, and her breaths came in shallow gasps. The scientist in her knew she was having a panic attack, and that she should order someone else to take care of communications. The rest of her gripped her microphone like a vice, and tried again.
"Agent Six, respond!"
Four minutes, forty-two seconds.
This wasn't right. It wasn't right, at all. Even though she knew it wasn't really true, Six had always come off like some unstoppable force of nature. If he wanted it done, it got done. He may get injured from time to time, but nothing in the world could ever take him out permanently. It just didn't seem possible. He was like an immortal legend among his colleagues, and some random EVO out in the middle of nowhere should not have the honors of being the one that changed that.
"Six, please! Please, answer me already!"
Five minutes, six seconds.
Holiday clenched her chest, a sharp pain stabbing through her. But Six was human, she reminded herself. She didn't care how well trained he was in so many martial arts that she had nearly fallen asleep the night he had tried to list them all for her, he wasn't some undying god. He was all too human, and no one could stay under water for so long without-
Her commlink crackled to life in her ear. "Six here," was the coughed, wet response.
If she hadn't had already been holding onto her computer console for dear life, Holiday would've fallen to the ground as her legs finally gave way. Instead, she leaned forward eagerly, as if she could somehow pull the man right out of the microphone in front of her. "Six!"
"I said I'm here, Holiday," he grumbled, and she could hear him cough a few more times. "I'd appreciate it if you stopped shouting in my ear, by the way."
Somehow, the grumpiness of his tone brightened her mood considerably. "I'll make a note of it, Agent."
Over dinner once, Rex had told Six and Holiday about the Zag-RS program that had attempted to cleanse the world of nanites through mass genocide. Holiday had found it fascinating at the time. The thought of a computer program's AI developing that far to seek out what it considered self preservation was something any scientist would like to study.
Really though, Holiday had no desire to study it in such an up close and personal manner as her own lab room in The Keep.
She had to give it credit. It had taken control of the airship so fast, no one had time to prepare or form a proper counterattack. Before it had locked her out of the server completely, Holiday noted that it had even gone through all her data on Rex, and had taken the necessary measures to make sure that his nanite controlling powers would do him no good in taking back the ship. And then the doors had all locked, and the lights went out.
For a moment, Holiday feared that it was going to simply crash The Keep into the earth. And maybe it still planned it, but she didn't feel them descending, and that actually made her more worried than before. While the ship wasn't Providence headquarters itself, it still held a massive amount of equipment, all of it routed to every server the organization had. If Zag-RS wanted to, it could easily take hold of every base Providence controlled on the planet. That was... a lot of places. Many of which housed their own Petting Zoo. The chaos that could be unleashed was potentially catastrophic.
Instead of standing there and waiting for whatever the program planned to do to come to fruition, Holiday decided to fight back as best she could. She wasn't a computer expert by any means, but she could still take a chair and smash a few important towers full of nanite research where she was. It might not do anything in the long run (she didn't have a clue if it would affect anything else going on in The Keep. she really should've paid closer attention to the tech guys the last time they were there), but she hoped it at least angered the program. Holiday never liked being the damsel in distress.
And apparently, anger it she did, as she felt cold metal grip her throat, and yank her backwards to the ground. Her head hit the floor hard enough to see stars.
"Please, don't do that," she heard a feminine, stilted voice plead. "It's bothersome."
If she had the breath to do so, Holiday would've told it to go to hell. As it was, she was too busy trying to pry the metal from off her neck. Looking to her left, she could see the small worker drone that usually shuffled around harmlessly, dusting and vacuuming. But now its arm was slowly crushing her larynx, and every time Holiday tried to pull away or even sit up, it would pull her back down with a surprising amount of strength.
She was going to die. She was going to be asphyxiated to death by a hi-tech feather duster, and the thought nearly made her laugh through her choking. The hold tightened, and she made an odd, guttural noise as what little air she was getting vanished. Her eyes shut tight, tears forming at the corners from the pain. She wondered if it was pure fear that was making her hope that she'd submit to unconsciousness before expiring.
She felt something hovering above her in the darkness, the sound of steel slicing neatly through steel echoing in her ears. The grip on her throat gave way, and she greedily took large gulps of air. Her eyes fluttered open, widening at the sight of Agent Six propped over her, his katana still embedded into the floor where he had severed the drone's arm. Without a single facial twitch, he fingered her neck far more gingerly than she'd expect from him. After assessing the damage to not be enough to hinder her, he stood up, hauling both Holiday and his sword with him.
"We're leaving," he said, simply. Behind him, she could see that he had made short work of the lab door.
"I don't believe you are," the same mechanical woman's voice that Holiday had heard earlier reverberated. "I think you are going to stay right here."
She didn't so much see them, as she did hear and smell them. The high pitched scream, and burning odor of the security lasers. Holiday had nearly forgotten those things had even been installed. She'd always thought they were too extreme, even with the possibility of escaped EVOs on the ship. Now more than ever, she damned herself for not arguing harder for them not being added to the ship's defense.
But even as she did this, Six had managed to reflect the necessary shots, both katanas now out and in ready positions.
"I said 'we're leaving,'" he repeated, an edge in his usual flat tone. "I keep my word." He turned his head slightly to Holiday. "Don't move," he ordered. "We're getting out of here."
If it had been anyone else, even Rex, Holiday would've had her doubts about that. But somehow with Six, it didn't seem so impossible. Watching him just stand there without hesitation in front of her calmed her down, made her even feel safe regardless of the circumstances. He said they were leaving together, and she believed him wholeheartedly. Even when the lasers went off again, Holiday did as she was told and stayed still, her faith in her partner stronger than her fear of the guns. As long as Six was there, she didn't have to be afraid.
Six had said he was one to keep his word. This day was no exception.