I tried to write this as close as possible to canon. Since the Defiance didn't interact much in the show, and we never saw their non-serum sides, so this is all strait from my imagination. Also, I figured that their names are last names, and in a less casual setting, some people would use their first names instead. I took exception with Kronos, Cross and Helix because they don't seem like they would be "casual" even pre-serum. Xero has his own story.

Disclaimer: I do NOT own Aaron Stone. I wouldn't have killed of the Omega Defiance after one friggin' season.

Six Years Ago

When he had been a child, Dr. Andreas Necros had thought that the smell of caramel cooking on Christmas morning was the best thing a person could ever wake up to. When he woke up this morning, it was to find his face full of thick blonde hair. Ironically, her shampoo was caramel scented. Not wanting to move, he snuggled his face carefully into her hair. He heard a small half-giggle. "You're snorting my hair again," came the voice, muffled by a fluffy pillow.

"Maybe you shouldn't use caramel shampoo. I didn't even know there was caramel scented shampoo before I met you," he teased.

"My other choice is strawberry, and then I spend the entire day wondering why it doesn't actually smell like strawberries," she laughed, rolling over and sending streaks of her hair trailing over his face. "Mmmm, is it already morning?" She sighed contentedly.

"No, those are the lights from the alien mothership," Necros said casually. "Which means that we can just stay in bed some more."

"Sounds lovely," Carol Cerebella smirked. "But I smell breakfast."

She slid from under the covers and set about recovering a full set of clothes from the crevices in the room, some normal places for clothing, others… heaven only knew why her dress was being used as a curtain for the window. Andreas groaned. "Food has been chosen over me once again. Why did I have to fall in love with a breakfast crazed woman?"

Carol grinned. "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!"

"It's Sunday!"

"It's noon."

Sighing, Andreas rolled from the bed, recovering his pants. Carol was already dressed in a black dress over a white t-shirt. Andreas fished his shirt from under the bed. Why it was there, the world may never know. Carol waited for him, tapping her foot and hiding a smile. When he was done, she hopped into a pair of flip flops and raced out the door. Andreas was tempted to pound his head into the doorframe, but a smile was frozen annoyingly onto his face.

Outside, his first view was a teen playing ping pong. He was strong and well built. His partner was thin and scrawny, and he had a full set of braces. "Morning," the older one grinned. He was around sixteen.

Behind him, his father read the paper. Besides his cropped hair and serious expression, he had a strong resemblance to his son. "Is Cera scarfing eggs again?" Dax asked.

Andreas rolled his eyes expressively. "How long have you been up?"

Dax gave the twelve year old Xero a look, his face a mask of total exasperation. "Don't even ask," he said, a smile twitching at his lips.

-X-

It was four in the morning. He could tell because he woke up among a ring of glowing clocks. He collected clocks. At first he have no idea why he could have possibly woken up at this ungodly hour. Dax was the patron saint of sleeping in. Slowly, he became aware of a rustling in the room, followed occasionally with a little wheeze-like squeak. He stifled a groan, swinging his legs out of the bed.

Xero peeked at him as he sat up. "I didn't mean to wake you up," he wheezed. "I can't find my inhaler."

Dax rubbed his stinging eyes, running his fingers down the bridge of his nose. He felt as if he should console the littler boy, but at four in the morning, the words didn't come easily. Somehow "blagrfinit" didn't seem like it would make Xero feel any better about waking him up. He stood up, staggering slightly, and started searching around the room, waving at Xero to sit down, as his thin frame was shaking with constrained gasps. Dax flipped on the light.

After four years of living with Xero, some part of Dax's subconscious reacted to even the quietest of coughs, knowing that Xero's most annoying trait was trying to keep his asthma quiet at night. Well, right after his voice, and his braces sticking to things, and his… everything, but Dax felt like the kid was his little brother.

Now here he was, at four in the morning, turning the room upside down looking for the elusive inhaler. "I thought you kept in the drawer," he asked.

"That… one… empty," Xero managed. He was coughing and gasping now, shakily trying to pull in a breath. Of course he would have a full blown attack right when his most available inhaler ran out. Why would anything be easy with Xero?

"Okay, I'll find Hall and get you another inhaler. You… don't stop breathing, okay?" He tried to keep the worry out of his voice, since that only managed to make Xero's attacks worse, but the kid's lips were turning blue, for God's sake.

Xero manage something between a laugh and a wheeze. "Wha… don't… feel like… breathing?"

"Your sarcasm fails you in your attacks," Dax said dryly, already halfway out the door. "I'll be back as soon as I can."

He darted out the door, running down the hall as fast as he could, smashing into a few walls at the sharpest turns. Cross and Helix were playing chess, probably left over from the previous evening. "It's past midnight, you goddamn hooligan!" Cross yelled after him. Dax ignored him and jumped down the stairs, finally falling into Hall's room.

Hall was doing paperwork. Dax wondered if Hall ever slept. Tatiana was sitting in the corner reading a book. She took after her father. Hall looked at him expectantly, at least from what Dax could see. He had to bend over to catch his breath, one hand on his knee, the other up with a finger out. "Words fail him," Tatiana said dryly.

Dax tilted his head to glare at her. His first meeting with the girl had ended up with him spending three hours trying to pry Xero's braces from the kitchen sink with pliers after she had super glued them there. "Xero's inhaler is empty," he gasped, finally managing to catch his breath to some extent.

Hall nodded and took an extra inhaler from his desk drawer. Dax was running as soon as the little tube was in his hand. "Tell your pet dweeb I say hi!" Tatiana laughed after him.

Dax ignored her barreling back to their room, barely dodging something Cross threw at him. He stumbled into his room, tripping over his own feet with the left over motion of running. Xero was sitting on the floor, his head tipped back onto the bed, twitching with dry gasps. His lips were a terrifying shade of purple. Dax extended the inhaler to him squatting in front of the littler boy. Xero took it with shaking hands and quickly raising it to his lips.

To Dax it seemed like every click of the inhaler hurt. He sat down next to Xero and put an arm over his shoulders, letting the boy manage his own breathing. It was five in the morning before Xero was breathing normally. "You okay now?" Dax asked tiredly.

Xero nodded, leaning his exhausted head against Dax, who nudged his shoulder with his hand, pulling him closer. Xero closed his eyes. Dax counted backwards from a thousand. "I can't sleep," Xero whined.

Dax stood up."Alright, let's get something to eat." He pulled Xero to his feet, putting his arm around the little boy and guiding him down the hall. In the kitchen, Xero immediately rooted in the fridge for milk, while Dax fished the cookie jar from the top shelf where Cross had attempted to hide it.

Getting out a plate and a pair of glasses, the two boys sat down and ate cookies and milk. Dax grinned. "If Santa can get fat on cookies and milk only once a year, how do you still stay so skinny?"

Xero took another cookie. "Santa gets a whole plate of cookies for every household he visits. That's several million cookies. If I ate that much in one night, I'd explode. Also, considering Santa visits households all over the world in a few hours, the normal laws of physics don't even apply to Santa. Who knows if he even eats the cookies? Maybe he absorbs them."

Dax snickered. Xero didn't disappoint. After more cookies than they cared to count, Dax packed away from the table. Turning back, he saw that Xero had fallen asleep, his long hair falling into his face. Dax shook his head, picking the boy up in his arms and carrying him back to the room. He kicked the door closed and slid the boy into his bed. After he was sure Xero was sufficiently settled, he returned to his own sweet, sweet bed.

He slept exactly twenty three minutes before being woken up by Xero's inhaler again. It was seven thirty then, and afterwards, he couldn't fall asleep. Thus unfolds the story of why, exactly, they spent four hours playing ping pong.

-X-

Benjamin Zefir found it odd that of seven people, only he and Carol knew how to cook anything at all, despite the fact that, besides Xero, the rest of them had all lived alone for a long time. After a very long discussion on what meal they were preparing, the two of them were making casserole. Xero and Dax were outside proclaiming that it was absolutely dinnertime, while Andreas was telling them that it was still early dinner, and therefore it was lunch, and Kronos was trying to convince Helix and Cross that it really was late afternoon.

Benjamin shook his head. "Just imagine what it would be like without this as background," he said. "It would either be wonderfully peaceful, or it would be insanely lonely."

"Both," Carol said, slipping a piece of salami into her mouth.

"My dear, you are supposed to cook your food before you eat it, not the other way around," Benjamin scolded.

Carol scrunched her nose up and made a face at him. Xero came screaming into the kitchen, snatched up by Andreas. "Help! He's tickling me to death!" Xero yelled before being carried away kicking and screaming. There were several crashes from outside.

Benjamin smirked and looked at Carol sidelong. She was still smiling when she caught his gaze, and she rolled her eyes, her smile fading slightly. "When he proposes, you'll be the first to know," she said.

Benjamin held up his hands in a sign of peace. "Cera, dear, you know I just want to best for you!"

"Of course I know!" Carol exclaimed, laughing slightly. "But we have a… meal to finish."

-X-

Dinner (or lunch, whichever it was) was the only time the eight of them were all together, since eight people were hard to gather for long periods of time, especially when Helix and Cross were included. They weren't exactly people persons. Naturally, it was Helix who brought up the intelligence serum. Carol didn't like the man very much.

"We have eight doses prepared, one for the seven of us, and one for Abner. Why even test it?"

"There's this thing called a side effect, Helix, you may have heard of it," Carol said sarcastically. "It could be dangerous."

"We've gone over the formula and the simulations," Andreas said, slowly, as if he was weighting the effect of his words. "There's a very small chance of anything severe." Carol felt like kicking him.

"And think of what we could destroy if we compromise ourselves," Benjamin added, his voice a warning. Many of our projects could change the world, but only if we are around to continue them."

"You heard the doctor. The serum isn't going to kill us," Cross cut in.

"We're going to be messing with our own DNA. What if we change ourselves in ways we didn't want to be changed?"

"Oh, and then we'll turn into evil geniuses, right?" Cross said, lightly mocking, but it still made Carol furious. "Testing the serum could take years, decades."

"Slow and steady wins the race," Benjamin said, cocking his head slightly.

"I say we vote," Kronos said, startling everyone. He'd been quiet throughout the discussion. Carol paused for a moment, then nodded. Benjamin, seeing her, shrugged. "Not in favor of the serum. Benjamin and Carol put their hands up. "And in favor?" Cross and Helix put their hands up quickly. After a long time, Andreas put his hand up, looking at Carol apologetically.

"And what about you, Xero?" Cross asked, raising his scarred eyebrow.

Xero poked at his food with his fork. "I don't know. I mean, it's cool, yeah, but… I mean, you can't even use medicine without testing it." He shrugged, avoiding Cross' gaze.

"I agree with Xero. The idea has its pros and cons," Kronos said. "So that leaves us two not in favor, three in favor."

Carol sighed. "Well, if we're going to be trying it, we should try it together. Our strength is in our team work," she said. Benjamin nodded.

The serum was tried the next morning. Later, if you asked the Seven what it was like, they would have been incapable of describing it. The only thing that Carol remembered was waking up to find everyone but Andreas and Cross sprawled across the floor. Xero was nearest to her, and her first impulse was to run to his side.

She didn't. She didn't, because she was no longer alone in her head. There was something else there. And that something was more in control of her body than she was.