I guess I have two people to blame for this. Kagha's the first person to blame, since he was the one that made this pairing so appealing to me despite the fact I've been shouting it down ever since he brought it up for the first time about two years ago. The second person to blame is myself for giving into the Dark Side, since anything H&H related that I posted would pretty much be canon to that story, regardless of the fact this is not so. (Though it sure was fun to work on!)

ANYWAY. Just to make it Library Olympics official, this ties into my epic Heroes and Halflings, namely as a bridge between the Prologue and Chapter One. This is mostly a "What If?" story – I don't consider it to be something that actually happened, but it could've happened. Make of that as you will. (Warning: I wrote this in Human-Bionicle format, so go away or be quiet if you don't like that.)

Note: Purple text indicates when Kronus is narrating, grey text is when Stara is narrating, and black is when the story is being told in third-person.

Disclaimer: Story and characters belong to me, song belongs to Drake (chorus is shortened for convenience; listen to the song if you want to know just how much I shortened it), Bionicle belongs to Lego. 'Nuff said.

Find Your Love

The tunnel was quiet and dim, lit only by the sparse lightstones that were embedded at various, strategic intervals in the walls. The narrow passages twisted and turned like a rabbit hole, the rough spurs that extended out to trip an unwary passerby telling the tale: these were the paths least traveled.

But when the crazy shadows began to be cast onto the walls, dancing madly as they flicked on and off the sides, they abruptly began to tell a new story.

Two tall, lean figures, skin turned waxy by the lightstones, flitted by as quickly as they dared, faces drawn into grimaces of fear and exertion. Their ankles twisted painfully in their dance to avoid tripping, but neither dared to voice complaints. In their race, a single syllable that escaped their lips could spell doom; their escape had no margin for error.

I'm more than just an option

[Hey, Hey, Hey]

Physically, they were different in every way: the leader was male, with the female half of the duo hot on his heels. She was dark-skinned, the lightstones' illumination barely lifting a few shades from her deep chocolate color; he was pale, the glow bringing out sallow undertones in his pigmentation. His brown hair was cropped short; her black hair was in long braids to her shoulders, artfully decorated with interwoven beads of gold and silver. They looked so different that an onlooker wouldn't think they had much in common, let alone be blood-brother and blood-sister.

Yet they were. And if the rocks had voices, the ones they sprinted past would whisper their names after them: Kronus, Toa of Gravity, first member and leader of the Toa Rohaya, and Stara, Toa of Lightning, final member of the Toa Rohaya, but the toughest of them all.

Now all that was left of their team.

Refuse to be forgotten

[Hey, Hey, Hey]

They came to a fork in their road, and they paused, trying to snap-decide a course. Before they could, though, their keen ears picked up cries that were steadily gaining volume behind them. They exchanged panicked looks, than tore down the left fork, high-stepping to evade tripping over the crags that could ruin them.

In the oilskin bag slung over Stara's shoulder, jolting painfully against her hips as she moved, were tablets – half a dozen, all carved from thick, heavy stone; taken from their own library just moments earlier. Normally they didn't use the back passage to leave or enter, or fled whoever happened to follow them in.

But nothing on Rohaya was normal these days. Not since the halflings came and killed their blood-brothers and blood-sisters days ago, while they had been blissfully ignorant and away from their home.

Dim light – twilight – seeped out of the opening ahead, and the seeds of relief began to sprout in their soul, though neither dared to nurture them until they had escaped. As they hit the lip that overlooked their hidden harbor, cultivated by the waves and the steep cliffs of Rohaya, both dove into the icy waters, letting goosebumps erupt all over their skin and making their muscles stiffen from cold shock.

I took a chance with my heart

[Hey, Hey, Hey]

Neither voiced the suggestion of hiding from their pursuers: they would be discovered too easily that way. Striking out with powerful strokes, they powered towards the harbor's exit, Stara ignoring the heavy weight that slowed her and threatened to drag her down. The drive to escape alive gave them wings, and neither dared look over their shoulders to check when a screech split the night.

Finally, after what felt like millennia, the comforting, familiar shape of their small boat came into view through the eternal fogbanks of Rohaya. Both scrambled up the ladder attached to the side, piling into the cabin and turning on the engine as they powered away from what had been home. Neither looked back until the fog had swallowed them.

And I feel it taking over

"I'm sorry," Stara gasped the moment we'd allowed ourselves to collapse and catch our breath. "I knocked over that stupid flowerpot, that brought them there –"

"Enough, Stara," I said sharply, cutting her off. We have enough problems without one of us piling self-blame on our shoulders; I should know. "We're in one piece, we have the tablets, and the halflings don't have us. Be thankful for that, and don't fret about who's to blame about missteps like that."

Despite my own attempts to reassure her, I have a feeling that her screwing up isn't what concerns her; Stara's no perfectionist. I think what worries her is the question What's next? What will the Halflings do, now that we've escaped their claws with the texts that could spell their doom?

In a more gentle voice (which might explain the odd look Stara gave me – me and gentle don't exactly hang out all that often), I keep going. "We're safe for now. You go below and get some rest. I'll keep us going for Shi-Nui; I'm not that tired."

Stara has that look that indicates she intends to argue, but a yawn cuts her off. "Very well," she manages afterwards, sparks running down her braids and clustering around her beads. "But you rest soon, too. You've never been able to fool me, Kronus."

I better find your lovin'

I better find your heart

Despite the fact my muscles are still sore and my skin is clammy, I can't seem to pull off the best wanderer's trick: the ability to fall asleep in a minute. Maybe the adrenaline from our death-cheating earlier tonight has something to do with it; my rushes tend to take a while to wear off, thanks to my power over electricity. So I'm left staring at the ceiling, head resting on a pillow and my body wrapped in thick blankets, the better to counter the chills I'm so susceptible to.

Unbidden, the image that greeted us upon our return to Rohaya swims in my mind's eye, and I squeeze my lids shut in an attempt to block it out. I've seen a lot of unsavory things in my time – caused and participated in some when I had to – but all that doesn't prepare you for coming home and seeing your eighteen teammates dead, with their bodies hanging off your fortress walls like an all-you-can-eat buffet for the carrion birds.

It's even worse when you find out that your enemies are nearly indestructible, your island's Being isn't able to bypass the laws of biology to take care of the problem, and the ones tying your enemies to life are beings from legend. It doesn't make your job very easy – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

But Kronus is right, in a sense. We still have hope, and we still have each other. We have the faint outlines of a plan. And with those three things combined, we have hope that we can avenge our brothers and sisters.

I bet if I give all my lovin'

Nothin's gonna tear us apart

Shi-Nui was an island with a noticeably small slum area. With the strong worker's code that was enforced on the island's namesake city, it wasn't all that surprising, especially coupled with the low unemployment rate. (Though frequent pirate attacks that destroyed parts of the city probably had something to do with it as well.) What most didn't know, however, was that a small group of islets that sat to the northeast made up for the lack of slums with a vengeance. Crime flourished on these sad excuses for ports, and the poor tended to make their home here, alongside criminals and sailors that were down on their luck.

Despite their seedy reputation, the islets was a fantastic mine for information and gossip, even more than the taverns and inns of Shi-Nui itself. Not wanting to be seen on Shi-Nui again – at least not so soon after leaving – Stara and Kronus directed their eyes to the islands, hoping to get more information on the halflings that had invaded Rohaya. Since their team was notorious for cracking down on the inhabitants for Turaga Sorath of Shi-Nui, the pair had to disguise themselves to move about unnoticed and unmolested.

I'm more than just a number

[Hey, Hey, Hey]

I doubt you'll find another

[Hey, Hey, Hey]

One of the drunken consumers at the crowded bar suddenly grabbed at Stara's waist, hauling her close while she stiffened. "Yur a preshy gurl," he slurred into her ear, trying to sound alluring but failing miserably. "Whey dun ye ditch him –" (indicating me) "– and hava pint?"

"Lay off her," I ordered, brandishing the sword I took off the boat as I help pry Stara from his grip. The guy looked like he intended to press his point, but Stara takes the opportunity to knock him out with a quick jolt of lightning. "Thanks," she muttered as we push our way through the crowd, making a point of lowering her hood again and pulling her cloak tighter about herself.

"No problem," I reply, already scanning for more ruffians that might try to have their way with her. Saying Stara's pretty is the understatement of the millennium: if my friends and I had been forced to put together a list of the most attractive members of the Toa Rohaya, Stara would be somewhere in the Top Five. (That being said, I would always say that Eos would rank higher than Stara on said list –although, considering the fact we were together as Vhalentain for nearly nine hundred years, I'm probably biased.)

I shake off images of "Who's Hot, Who's Not: Rohaya Version" and procure a pair of seats at the bar for us. When the bartender gets around to asking us what we want, we get our hands on a couple glasses of rum, but we intentionally nurse our drinks. We're here to listen to the gossip, not to get drunk.

So every single summer

[Hey, Hey, Hey]

I be the one you remember

A couple hours pass. We both drink a couple flutes of rum (somehow keeping our heads clear). We hear a lot of gossip, ranging from the activities of Dark Hunters that supposedly managed to go beyond the sky to what happened to so-and-so's third cousin, but nothing about the Brotherhood. I'm staring into my glass, considering draining the dregs and asking for something stronger (my tribe is notorious for having a high tolerance to alcohol) when an outburst of loud noise comes far too close for comfort for my ears. I cringe, grabbing the handle of the hand scythe I took from the boat for comfort, and I'm just about turn my frayed nerves on the speakers when a word that escapes their sphere of influence and saves their skin: Makuta.

I grab Kronus' attention with a quick snap of electricity to his shoulder, and then points at the speaker when he looks up at me. We raptly listen as the mostly-drunk Menirun spins his tale.

Apparently, he was on some island that he can't remember the name of a few weeks ago (I'm betting that has something to do with the glass of scotch in his hand), and he saw an airship get blasted out of the sky by a Makuta ambush. (I'd like to know how he knew they were Makuta.) When he went closer, somehow unseen (that's a bit of a stretch), he saw three Toa climb out of the wreckage, only to be attacked and captured by the ambush.

Around then, I decide it's time for me break into this. As casually as I can, throwing a bit of a slur into my voice for good measure, I ask the Menirun what elements they were; he replies that they were of the Air, Water, and Earth tribes. I would've asked what weapons they were carrying, but there's a lady clinging to his arm like a pilot fish, and the nasty look she directs in my direction persuades me not to press my luck.

And I better find your lovin'

I better find your heart

"Well," Stara mutters as she turns towards me again, "that was certainly helpful."

"I'm not sure if it was them, though."

"Good enough for me. We just need to convince the Toa Metru that their friends are on Rohaya; if we need to stretch the truth a little, so be it."

I'm not quite sure about that. Though then again, I might've been hanging around the others for too long; they're the ones that needed serious convincing. Over the years I've been a Toa Rohaya, I've come to the sad conclusion that Toa in general don't need much convincing, hence why the Dark Hunters and Makuta think we're so gullible.

Regardless if I think so, Stara seems convinced, and I know from experience that she'll take off if I'm not going with her. Hastily, I down the rest of my alcohol, Stara following suit, and after we pay up to the barkeeper, we make our exit. Stara makes a point at staying near the center of the room, away from drunk men slumped in the corners.

I bet if I give all my lovin'

Nothin's gonna tear us apart

I admit that minor scare when we entered the bar is lingering on my nerves. Paytah and Alvis would laugh to hear me say that I – Gerilmi extraordinaire, Rahkshi killer, and general badass – was shaken by a person that wasn't thinking clearly, but it reminds me too much of my two hundred years before I joined the Toa Rohaya. Back then, I was desperate to make a buck, just trying to survive in the nastiest parts of the concrete jungles. I've done a few things I wouldn't do otherwise in those years, and even eight centuries after washing my hands of that life – I'm still afraid.

Walking the streets of these island slums, watching the inhibitions of other people – people that might've been decent – break down on the way back to our boat isn't pretty; it isn't fun. When you have your own ghosts haunting your footfalls, it's even worse.

By the time we make it back to the shabby dock, I'm shivering again, and hardly from the nippy air. I can't wait to wash the stains of this place off my skin.

It's more than just a mission

[Hey, Hey, Hey]

I can't really blame Stara for being eager to ditch this place; I can hardly say I enjoy it myself. Twice a year, Sorath commissions my team to help Echidna crack down on these islands and scrub them clean. The dates change every year, sometimes with seven months in-between each time, but its' always as tough as the time before. Trying to completely eradicate criminals from these islets is like trying to get rid of a stubborn weed: No matter how many leaves and flowers you yank out, no matter how many roots are severed, new ones spring up in a hurry if they spread the seeds.

The water that make up the ports is murky with dirt stirred up by boats, but it still can reflect images. By the light of a cracked lightstone set in a crooked post nearby, my face is echoed in the liquid of life: pale, worried, tired. My eyes, the color of molten gold, have bags beneath them: I can't remember when I last had a good night's sleep.

"Kronus!"

Turning around, I realize that Stara's in the boat already and eager to get rolling. The cloak she was wearing is already gone; she has nothing to fear now, since her face is hidden in the night's veil. Even with the lack of light, I can faintly see the tattoo on her left shoulder that she inked when she was a Gerilmi, years before saving my life.

The four interlocking triangles faintly shine on her dark skin as she adds in a lower voice, "I thought we were in a hurry to leave?"

Nodding, I hustle to the wheelhouse to join her. When the lights of the islets finally vanish from the horizon, Stara wasn't the only one who breathed a sigh of relief.

You hear but you don't listen

[Hey, Hey, Hey]

You better pay attention

[Hey, Hey, Hey]

And get what you been missing

By the time the suns rise, I've been in the wheelhouse, all on my ownsome, for about six hours. We made good time through the night, and I managed to convince Kronus to get some sleep when we were about halfway to the passage that leads to Metru Nui. It was the path least traveled for over a millennia, ever since the Great Cataclysm ripped through our universe and flung the islands into chaos. War has ruled for years, with only the strongest warriors surviving; Toa like myself, Kronus, and the rest of the Toa Rohaya were amongst the ones that flung aside the Toa Code and lived to not regret it. Take prisoners only when you can afford to – that's our Code now. It's seen us through countless ships we've raided, fortresses we've helped rip down, and enemies we've fought on the fields of war, and by Mata Nui it'll see us through now.

For some reason, though, my mental motivational speech doesn't help my mood get better; I'm still at some low point. My face, reflected in the glass and framed by my salt-incrusted black braids, attempts to smile, but only half of my mouth goes upward. That's normal, but it takes more effort than usual. My brow creases as I frown. I've never been able to get myself to smile all the way, not since I was exiled from my homeland, but it seems harder than usual to just get my half-smile on. What's up with me now?

Almost like it was waiting for me to ask that question, the answer strikes me like my own lightning.

We're on our own. Kronus and I have been too busy lately – stealing tablets, motorboating, drinking, more motorboating – to really recognize it, but with the suns come comprehension. The grief settles on my shoulders and heart like a heavy weight as I finally realize that I'll never see the others alive again. I'd be a fool to say I don't believe in ghosts – Kronus' power to release his spirit is enough to convince anyone – and I know they are that now. An old belief amongst our people – Matoran, Toa, and Turaga – is that if murdered, a person's spirit can't rest until their body is buried and their death is avenged. I wouldn't be surprised if all of them – Eos, Alvis, Egan, Ares, Sirien, Baird, all eighteen of the Toa Rohaya – are circling this boat now, waiting for us to give them peace.

Unsurprisingly, the thought makes me shiver again.

I better find your lovin'

Stara cut the power on the motor, letting the boat bob in a small cove. The Lightning Toa had made her way to the passage between the Great Barriers; their destination was close by. Yet, despite this knowledge, it couldn't revitalize her tired muscles to haul for the last few kio.

The dark-skinned woman made her way down to the cabin, a yawn escaping her lips as she rose her hand to knock – then reconsidered and quietly pushed it open, rationalizing that her friend and leader was probably asleep.

To her surprise, the Toa of Gravity was sitting up on one of the berths, rubbing his eyes. When his fists were removed, Stara was startled to see his eyes seemed red, like he had been weeping. "Hey, Stara," he said tiredly, managing to offer a smile to his blood-sister. "Why'd you stop?"

"We're about twenty-two kio from hitting the Ga-Metru docks," the green-eyed Toa of Lightning said, stifling another yawn, "but I couldn't stay up there anymore, not without slamming my nose into the wheel when I fell asleep." After what she felt was a tasteful pause, she sat down on the berth next to Kronus. "Something wrong?"

"Other than being virtual exiles from Rohaya, thanks to those freaks?" he replied dryly. She flinched from the words, and Kronus quickly realized what faux pas he'd committed. "Sorry, I didn't mean to say it like that –"

" – You just didn't know a better word," Stara finished, managing a tiny half-smile. Relieved, Kronus added, "Yeah, like what you said. Its' just …" he trailed off, grasping for the words that could communicate what he was feeling, "I just can't get over the fact I'll never see them again."

The same sadness she had felt in the wheelhouse swept through the Lightning Toa again, but she controlled herself just enough to catch Kronus' hand in her own long fingers when he tried to rub his eyes again. "We're alive," she murmured, trying to reassure him, the same way he had reassured him just hours earlier when they had fled Rohaya. "We won't see them again in life, but we can avenge them. And once our time comes, we'll see them – the Toa Rohaya, reunited in death as we were in life."

I better find your heart

For a few moments, the Toa just sat there together on the berth, just like that: not moving, not releasing the other's hand from the loose grip they were held in, not trying to leave as sorrow filled them. Unconsciously, they found each other leaning on their shoulders, Stara's head gently resting on her friend's shoulder. Somehow, they needed to feel the other's closeness as grief packed into their hearts until they felt like they had to wail; the physical nearness of the other acted as a talisman, giving them strength.

When their lips touched, both were momentarily surprised, but neither pulled away. There was none of the stereotypical passion in them, but both instinctively realized that this was hardly an innocent kiss; nothing like what full-blooded siblings might do, much less siblings-in-arms.

Just as quickly as it started, their abrupt moment of intimacy ended. Both Toa froze, faces masks of awkward embarrassment. Their eyes were locked in each other's gaze, like they couldn't tear themselves away.

"I … excuse me," Stara finally managed, marking the first time she had a hard time finding the words she wanted. She staggered out of the room, a breeze of ozone marking her exit, leaving Kronus alone.

I bet if I give all my love

Nothin's gonna tear us apart

I couldn't believe what just happened. How could I? I've always been faithful to Eos, my dear Vhalentain, and I never gave a thought about Stara in a romantic way. How could I betray Eos' memory like this?

A rumble makes the ship vibrate, conveying the sense of movement, and I smile in moment of grim, self-mocking humor. Apparently, that little moment had convinced Stara to get back to steering again, although I doubt it was the jumpstart to her muscles and mind either of us were imagining when she moored.

I shake it out of my head, trying to think of a way to make amends with Eos. The only thing that comes to mind is a faint whisper, edged with my guilt and imploring hopes: "I'm sorry."

[center][i]Too many times

I've been wrong

I guess being right

Takes too long[/i][/center]

Being outside, feeling the air passing me by, helps clear my head. It's almost as good as smelling salts, though in my biased opinion, electric zaps work better.

I inhale the sharp smell of sea salt, trying not to dwell on what just happened.

Unlike Kronus, I didn't have a steady relationship with another member of the Toa Rohaya. Sure, me and Egan kissed a few times (mostly when the others hung mistletoe over our heads on Naming Day, with the delivery methods ranging from telekinesis to twine to fishing rods), but our romantic ties were on and off. One day, we might just be friends, and then the next day we'd be planning a date or something along those lines.

If I'm confused by what just went down, poor Kronus' head must be getting torn in half.

I'm done waiting

There's nothing left to do

But give all my love to you

I think that when we were sitting there, finally accepting that our brothers and sisters were dead, our grief made us look to each other for comfort – comfort that went further than expected. That's my theory.

Though then again, I'm wrong as often as not. I shake my head and focus on steering.

And I better find your lovin'

I better find your heart

I better find your lovin'

I'm not sure how long I sat down there, trying to reason things out and appease both my conscience and Eos' spirit, but by the time I made it out of the cabin it was dark outside. Stara didn't greet me when I entered the wheelhouse, and I can't say I blame her for that. If our positions were switched, I wouldn't say hello either.

After Mata Nui how much time passes, the slowly-resurrecting skyline of the City of Legends comes into view. I take over the helm as Stara catches a few winks and gathers our things: our favored weapons, the precious tablets we stole from our own library – and a few Bula from the galley. We're a bit more resilient than most Toa, but even we must eat.

She comes back with everything, passing me a large purple fruit that matches my armor. I personally prefer Bula with red skins, but I don't really care right now; biting into the firm flesh and steering our boat in to moor in Ga-Metru's rebuilt docks at the same time isn't the best place or time to complain.

The moment we tie up, a Toa of Water with the strangest Faxon I've seen in a while buttonholes us – and judging solely from the strange talons on her left hand and the Cordak blaster in her right, I have a feeling that convincing her that we need to have an audience with the Toa Metru will be rather difficult.

"Who are you?" she demands, brandishing her talons at me. I do my best to not flinch as they come within a few inches of ripping a hole or three in my armor, and reply as peacefully as you can when you're dog-tired and almost threatened by Toa with more weapons than you. "My name is Kronus, and this is Stara." I indicate to her – though I doubt our would-be adversary could miss her, considering the fact she's just behind my left shoulder in all her electrifying glory – and keep going. "We need to speak with the Toa Metru as soon as possible."

The cold gaze in her eyes doesn't even lift. "There are only three here."

"I know that." I can see her tolerance to us dropping by the second as she asks, "Just how do you know? What business do you have with them?"

"That is for their ears alone," Stara breaks in before I can try to be diplomatic. Static electricity snaps off her braid ends as she adds, "If we speak to them, and they decide you ought to know, then you will find out – but no sooner than that."

A long silence stretches after that, with me praying to the Great Spirit that Stara didn't botch our chances with that. Finally, the Toa says that she'll pass the message along, and come back if our request is granted or not. She makes a point at giving Stara a sidelong look, conveying her lingering suspicion of us before she stalks off into the night.

I bet if I give all my love

Then nothin's gonna tear us apart

The moment that Water Toa leaves, Kronus rounds on me. I have a feeling that he's gonna try and chew me out for that last remark, but I cut him off. "I got us the chance, didn't I? We have a chance that we'll talk to them. Slim, but she didn't seem moved by your diplomacy."

Kronus gives a huff of annoyance and looks away, staring off towards the dark horizon. After our conversation remains still for a few minutes, I decide to try and clear the air. "Kronus?"

When he turns around, I plow on. "What happened in the cabin … it stays back there. You don't bring it up, and I won't bring it up. It never happened. Alright?"

He's quick to nod agreement, and then we drop the subject. But despite what we said, I know that ultimately did happen … and we can never, ever, forget it.

I bet if I give all my love

Then nothin's gonna tear us apart

XxX

-Inferna