Warnings: Sex between an alien and a human in later chapters. Xenophilia and mild violence. Body horror I suppose? I think that goes with the D9 territory.
Disclaimer: I do not own District 9. All characters are property of their respective copyright holders and I am making no profit from this work of fiction.
The rising sun had not yet driven the dawn chill from the canyon when Kkrokpe made his way to the open stone shelf where he would face Nkosi. Nearby ridges and paths were already lined with his people. They watched him pass, the soft clicks of private conversation a steady hum in the background.
Nkosi had not yet arrived and Kkrokpe took a few moments to walk the perimeter of the arena, watching for uneven patches of earth, stones which could turn beneath an unwary foot. Satisfied, he perched on a rock.
He did not have to wait long. Nkosi swept up the path, several soldiers in his wake.
Kkrokpe rose from his seat and moved to stand a short distance away, making a sign of respect as he did so.
Nkosi did not acknowledge the gesture. His posture was stiff with irritation, antennae twitching.
An old soldier let out an extended trilling call and they walked closer, stopping within arm's reach of each other. From this proximity Kkrokpe was sharply aware that Nkosi topped him by at least half a head. Black exoskeleton gleamed in the pale light and large mandibles, the vivid red of a Qadi's wings, clicked against each other; marks of a leader in his prime.
He would have to take care and stay out of reach.
The spectators were silent. The air was tight.
Kkrokpe half-expected the leader to offer him another out, half-hoped that he would, but Nkosi was silent. Momentary cowardice rose, to be crushed beneath thoughts of his mate and son.
They were counting on him. He must not fail.
The soldier cried out again.
Kkrokpe leaped away just in time as large black arms shot out. Fingers brushed his plating as Nkosi tried to pull him in close. Dancing back, he dodged to the side and lashed out. His blow glanced off Nkosi's side and he retreated as the leader turned to strike him. Darting in, he risked another swipe as Nkosi tried to turn and face him head on.
Too slow; Kkrokpe's claws caught him on the shoulder, gouging into a seam where exoskeleton came together. The leader grunted in pain and whirled, grabbing for him.
A cacophony of clicking shouts rose around them as Kkrokpe ducked and leaped back, away.
Their eyes locked.
Red trickled down Nkosi's arm, nearly invisible against the dark plating.
Nkosi shifted his stance and Kkrokpe lunged forward to meet him.
The struggle dragged on, an endless cycle of strike, feint, parry as they circled each other. Kkrokpe tried several times to goad Nkosi into attacking him, pull the leader off balance, but he was too cautious, relying on his bulk to keep Kkrokpe at bay. He could feel himself beginning to tire. The sun was at its zenith and the canyon walls provided no shade.
He would have to end the fight soon; he couldn't keep this up indefinitely.
There: an opportunity. The forelimb he'd injured at the start of the match was being favored. He lunged forward, trying to get under Nkosi's guard, zeroing in on the weak spot, but then Nkosi was moving towards him, into the blow. Kkrokpe's claws bit into black exoskeleton even as he realized his mistake and tried to withdraw.
Too slow! Arms wound around him with crushing strength and he was dragged forward. Nkosi wasted no time in bringing his superior weight to bear.
They grappled, Kkrokpe struggling to break Nkosi's grip on his shoulders, pushing and scratching against the leader's abdomen even as he was borne to the ground.
Kkrokpe could feel his legs beginning to buckle. Desperate he reached up and struck at Nkosi's throat, tearing at the delicate gills. Fragile tissue parted beneath his claws and he heard Nkosi cry out in pain.
The leader's grip loosened and Kkrokpe wrenched himself away. Staggering back a few steps he looked for his opponent. Nkosi was bent over, curled into a defensive position, hands at his throat. Blood dripped between plated fingers into the dust.
He's weakened, distracted. Now is the time to strike.
Kkrokpe hesitated. Nkosi was not moving to attack.
Could he end this without more bloodshed?
He took a cautious step forward, "Nkosi?"
The leader curled further into himself and did not answer.
Pain exploded against the side of his head, knocking him from his feet. Weight crushed him, his arms were pinned. Mandibles clamped around his throat.
Kkrokpe struggled, clawing at Nkosi's back and sides, but the mandibles were immovable, biting into his flesh. Strength drained from his body.
I am sorry, my son, Wikus.
Nkosi's mandibles tightened further.
The shrieks of the crowd were deafening.
Kkrokpe closed his eyes.
The mandibles opened and released his throat. The leader's weight lifted off his body.
Startled, Kkrokpe opened his eyes. Nkosi was standing over him. He planted one foot in the middle of Kkrokpe's chest and looked out into the crowd.
Kkrokpe attempted to raise his head, but warning pressure from the leader's foot told him to stay down.
"You are all witness," Nkosi announced, "the challenger has been defeated. I am still your leader and, according to law, I will remain so until I am overthrown." Red mandibles clicked together, "And my first order of business is the revocation of the execution order placed on the alien creature."
Nkosi stepped off Kkrokpe's chest and offered his hand. Hesitant, he reached out and was pulled to his feet.
"I realize there has been some uncertainty in regards to the creature's presence," Nkosi said, "but let it be known that Kkrokpe has taken the creature into his nest and has full sanction to do so. Wikus is hereby accepted as a member of the Hive," Nkosi made a commanding gesture, "Dismissed."
Kkrokpe stood, dumbstruck as the crowd began to disperse, the rapid clicks of conversation a dull buzz in the afternoon heat.
"That went better than expected," Nkosi said.
"I do not understand. Why did you revoke the execution order?"
"Because the threat to our Hive is gone. The ship left during the last solar cycle."
"Then why not tell me?" Kkrokpe said, bewildered, "I would have retracted the Challenge."
"You think that I retained my leadership through brute strength alone?" Nkosi made a noise of amusement, "There is more at work here than you can see. And you played your part perfectly, Kkrokpe. Though," he raised a hand and gingerly felt along the torn edge of a gill, "I didn't expect you to be quite so quick."
"I am sorry."
"It was a necessary risk. I thought that I could subdue you easily."
"But why allow the fight to go on?"
"Conceding prior to the fulfillment of the Challenge would have been seen as a sign of weakness," Nkosi said, "But appearances are also something to be manipulated. It takes more courage to defeat an opponent and allow them to live; my peers now risk appearing as cowards if they kill drones, particularly as infants," he hummed in satisfaction, "The changes may be slow, but they will come."
"And if I had won?"
"Then you would be the new leader," Nkosi's expression was mild, "And I would have trusted you to spare my life."
Kkrokpe could think of nothing to say.
Nkosi glanced up at the sky, "It is growing late. You should return to your mate and child."
Dazed, Kkrokpe made a respectful gesture and headed down the path. He passed Khiwa, walking in the opposite direction, but did not turn to watch, allowing Nkosi privacy to reunite with his own mate.
Xesibe was waiting for him at the base of the path, Deyi tucked in his arms. At the sight of Kkrokpe his hatchling immediately began to squirm.
Xesibe put him down and Kkrokpe knelt to gather his son into his arms. Deyi chirred and clicked and Kkrokpe purred in response, stroking back short antennae.
Deyi buried his face against Kkrokpe's shoulder, "I was frightened, Father."
"I am sorry, little one. But there is no reason to be frightened any longer."
"Xesibe would not tell me what was going on. There was so much shouting and Wikus was gone and you were gone—"
Kkrokpe hushed the hatchling.
"I will explain later, my son. For now we must retrieve Wikus. Don't you want to see him again?"
Deyi clicked in agreement.
Kkrokpe rose to his feet, his son's hand clasped in his own.
"Thank you for looking after him, Xesibe."
His friend waved off his gratitude, "Thank me later, when I am feeling less inclined to strangle you. When I heard the crowd screaming I feared the worst," he shook his head, "You took a good ten revolutions off my life with that stunt."
Deyi tugged on Kkrokpe's hand, "Father…"
Xesibe clicked in amusement, "Go on, Kkrokpe. You can make it up to me later."
His son at his heels, Kkrokpe hurried off to find his mate.
Though both he and Deyi were eager to find the human, neither Kkrokpe or his hatchling knew exactly where Wikus was. Returning to the prison only produced an empty cell and the soldiers had changed shift since Wikus had been removed, which left the two of them wandering about, searching high and low until a passing worker took pity on Kkrokpe and informed them that he'd seen the human being carried off to the infirmary.
The medical center was bustling with activity and Kkrokpe scooped Deyi up to keep him from underfoot. Reaching out, he snagged a passing worker.
"Excuse me; I'm looking for the alien creature that was brought here?"
The worker raised one brown arm and gestured to the far corner, beyond a fine mesh screen.
Kkrokpe pulled the screen aside.
A green shelled individual lay on a metal table, mostly covered beneath an insulating layer, eyes closed. An orange shelled worker stood nearby, adjusting a monitor.
Kkrokpe approached the table, hesitant. His antennae waved with anxiousness; the scent was different, the body changed.
Was this really his mate?
As if he sensed his presence, the individual's antennae twitched and eyes opened, squinting against the light of the lamps. One was the sharp gold color of his people.
But the other was a soft blue.
Kkrokpe breathed again.
The sight of his mate and child had Wikus jolting off the examination table, a mangled group of nonsense syllables spilling from him.
Deyi chirped with delight and reached for him. Wikus lifted his arms, the right one still human near the shoulder and accepted the hatchling, allowing the little creature to nestle against his chest. Deyi chirred in contentment.
"Is he alright?" Christopher asked the orange alien, who'd introduced itself with a double click-chirp.
The orange alien gave a buzzing laugh, "He is not used to his new mouth; he will need to learn to speak again, that is all."
"Then you are not capable of changing him back?" Christopher sounded alarmed.
"We are, but—"
"Well then do so!" Christopher clicked sharply, "This was not his choice. I promised he would not be trapped like this."
Wikus grabbed for his mate's arm, clicking loudly.
Christopher started and stared at him.
Certain that he had the alien's attention, Wikus shook his head slowly.
"I…do not understand. This was unwanted…"
Wikus pressed a hand to the fronds of Christopher's mouth.
Silently grumbling over his inability to express himself, he stroked the alien's face. His new fingers were not as dexterous as they had once been, but he could still feel the ridges of Christopher's plating. The alien trembled beneath his touch, a flicker of uncertainty in his gaze.
Sliding his hand behind Christopher's head, Wikus pulled the taller alien down, allowing their foreheads to press together. Long labra, which he was just beginning to learn to control, reached out to touch Christopher's primary mouthparts.
Christopher shuddered. Slowly, short tentacles lifted and entwined with Wikus' own.
It didn't feel anything like a human kiss, but as Christopher's antennae dipped down and brushed against his, sending pleasurable tingles down his back, Wikus thought that it might be just as good.
He withdrew, bumping his head lightly against Christopher's as he did so. Tension had drained from the alien and he looked peaceful, if a bit dazed.
Fokking alien. Wikus thought fondly.
Christopher turned to the orange alien, "Can he come home soon?"
The creature unclipped a wire from Wikus' hand, "As long as you make sure to keep the parts still changing clean, I don't see why he can't return now."
Eager to see the last of the cold infirmary, Wikus struggled to stand, Deyi still tucked against him. Christopher caught him as he wobbled for a moment on unfamiliar feet, tugging aside the blanket.
"Are you sure he's alright to leave?" Christopher's tone was concerned.
"What he needs is rest and he can get that more easily in your nest than here," the orange alien made a sound of amusement, "now go; and don't let me see you back here until that new hatchling gets a bit bigger. It would be smart to keep an eye on the development."
Wikus froze, staring at the orange alien.
Christopher went rigid beside him.
The orange alien continued blithely on, "Congratulations, by the way. I was a bit concerned to see that the embryo had taken so soon, but it's impressive all the same."
"Of course. Ah, thank you," Christopher replied, his clicks rapid, "It's getting very late and we should get back home."
Stupefied, Wikus allowed Christopher to tow him all the way through the infirmary and outside before he pulled himself together. Throwing his weight in reverse he pulled away from the alien. Christopher looked intently at the ground, embarrassed.
"I am sorry, Wikus. I did not anticipate that this would be a problem, but I should have been more careful," Christopher hesitated, "it might be safer, if you would prefer not to carry it to term."
Deyi squirmed against his side and Wikus automatically hiked the hatchling up before he could slip from his grasp. He stared at the alien. Christopher was silent, his posture hunched.
Wikus gave an internal sigh.
He stepped up to Christopher. Slipping a hand beneath the base of his jaw, he tilted the alien's head up until their gazes met.
Then he grasped one of the long tentacles and gave a sharp tug.
Christopher yelped in pain.
That is for getting me fokking pregnant, you bastard.
Wikus stroked the labra, soothing it.
And that's for giving me a home when I thought I'd never have one again.
He reached down to grasp his mate's hand, tugging Christopher in the direction of their nest.
Let's go home.
Once again, feedback is greatly appreciated. Hope you enjoyed reading this.