Craaaack. I haven't managed to do a real crack oneshot for this fandom since Gender Roles. I love my crack.
Disclaimer: I don't own Rockman/Megaman, X or otherwise, or any associated properties that appear in this fic. No infringement intended or money made.
"How on earth did you manage to convince Zero to do this?"
"I scored a perfect on the marksmanship trial," Axl told X happily as he dragged him along. "So he owed me something. It was either this or having him dress up like a female model so people could take pictures." Many, many people had offered Axl bribes if he picked the second one, but Axl thought, and most of the guys agreed, that Zero could use this one more.
"You'd have had a better chance of getting him to put on the dress." Since Zero didn't give any sort of damn about that sort of thing, or at least that was what he pretended after having put up with comments on his appearance for years. "Unless he figured out that it won't work on him."
Axl skidded to a halt and let out a squawk. "What?"
"It wouldn't work on the two of us, either. 'Replibeer' uses a specific form of hacking nanites. They're configured for the average reploid. Zero's systems would chew them up the way they do the virus, you function too differently from a reploid for it to work on you, and my anti-hacking protection is too powerful."
"…You mean I can't get drunk?" Axl looked crestfallen. "But, but, it's like a rite of passage and everything!"
X patted Axl on the shoulder. "Axl, you walked right up to Sigma and shot him in the face. No one is questioning your right to be a hunter, not after something like that." It was widely agreed that the kid had big metaphorical brass ones.
"…So he tricked me?" Axl knew fair was fair, he tricked people so it was only fair when they tricked him, but he'd worked really hard to get that perfect! Zero had seemed really proud of him. "Wait, does he know? He said it was okay only if we both were at the party, since we're immune. And that it you said it was medically contraindicted, then he couldn't."
"Now that I think about it, it's possible he doesn't know," X said thoughtfully. "And it's a documented phenomenon among humans and immune-atypical reploids, like Signas, that thinking that you're drunk can induce drunken behavior. That would almost be the best of both worlds, wouldn't it?" Zero might be a little more honest and impulsive without actually being out of control. "He could use something that would help him unwind." X looked at Axl conspiratorially.
Axl grinned. "And if he doesn't get drunk, or even think he got drunk, I can still put him in the dress? Alia has this one that she really wants to see him in, she says it'd be great."
"Zero has a very aesthetically-pleasing physical design, and Alia does wonderful makeovers," X agreed. "Have you managed to copy him yet?"
"No." Axl shook his head. "I can't figure either of you guys out. It's like you're not all there, or something. Well, that's obvious, but I meant something else."
"Who else has Alia done makeovers for?" Axl asked, hoping for funny stories.
"Half the spotters, Iris when she decided that she didn't want to look the same as her twin brother…"
"Are you sure it's okay for both of us to be drinking?"
X laughed. "Zero, we're in the middle of headquarters, there are other hunters here, and there's a third immune person now. You don't need to be that paranoid." He took a glass. "And I really have been curious about what they've done to simulate the tastes of normal beverages."
"He makes me want to tear my hair out!" Zero gestured wildly at Axl with the arm that wasn't over X's shoulders. "X, you need to be more careful. X, don't try to give first aid until you've brought them back here to be tested. X, you need to not be so damn trusting. And does he ever listen to me?"
X almost giggled. "No." This was really nice, just the camaraderie and how fun it was to see Zero like this. Maybe he was experiencing a bit of this psychosomatic drunkenness himself? Well, he should pretend to, anyway.
"No, Axl, no. Seriously. Bad idea. Never date a spotter, never. Back me up here, X."
"But she's really nice when she's not telling me what to do, and…"
"Zero's right on this one, I'm afraid Axl. Spotters are never not on duty, and they're trained to be extremely…" X tried to find a diplomatic word.
"They're trained to be cast-iron bitches who tell you how to do every single little thing and won't take no for an answer. When they've been around for a few years, then maybe they learn to stop applying that to their personal lives, but seriously, Axl. You hate taking orders. Never date a rookie spotter, never. That way, they date each other and we have pretty snuggling female models to look at." Zero pointed at the couch under the palm tree as an example.
"I want your hair," Alia told Zero, refusing to let go of it. "How did your builder afford to make something like this, it's a work of art!" She buried her face in it. "Mmm, it's so soft… I want it… Can I have it the next time you get blown up? Please?"
"Sure, they'll just make me a new one anyway." He waved his cup at her, some of it spilling over the sides. "Isn't it great?" Zero told Axl happily. "Learn how to copy this, and you'll have female models falling all over you too." He walked back to where they were serving the booze, with Alia following him, happily rubbing it against her cheeks.
"I miss Iris. She had this cute little beret, and this little upturned nose, and she was like X, only cuter." Zero told Axl. "She was newbuilt, and she actually listened to me! Except about the not letting all humans be killed thing. And sucking it up and just killing mavericks the way X does. Well, Colonel was the sucking it up and just shooting people part of her. Which sucked because she was really hot when she was trying to kill stuff, and she only actually did that once and it was me, which meant no sex, and..." Zero started to tear up, and switched from having one arm around Axl's shoulders to having both arms wrapped around X. "Iris…"
X hugged him back, rocking a little. "I know, Zero, I know."
He'd been hoping this would happen, it had been years and Zero still hadn't let it out of his system.
X hadn't expected Zero to shift his grip and start kissing him.
X hadn't expected Zero kissing him to make him weak in the knees. He'd known that Zero was chased after, but Zero's only serious relationship had been Iris.
Zero pulled back, looking as though he was going to force himself back to his senses.
"Are you really that good, or do I just have that little basis for comparison?" X pulled him back. He was the son of a scientist, after all.
"Yes, yes, yes!" They heard Layer scream in the background. "I'm rich! They're doing it, they're finally doing it, and I had a hundred zenny on tonight! Axl, I love you!" She tackled him.
Or tried to. "Zero, help!"
"Axl, turn into Palette! No, Alia!" Zero was distracted by the potential for a catfight.
X sighed, shaking his head.
So did half the room. It was really kind of creepy.
"I wish Iris was alive. And then you could turn into her, Axl."
Zero snorted. "Like you could turn me down. And Iris was almost as hard to turn down as X is. Iris and X and, and two Irises! Three, if X had decent hair. Whyyyy couldn't Dr. Light have made you decent hair? They had the technology, unless mine was just better." He rolled over on the couch, looking over at where was Lifesaver pitifully. "Hey, stupid doctor!"
"Zero, don't call people you're trying to get to do you favors stupid." X sat on him. For some reason, it seemed as though that would teach him a lesson.
Zero, the chief unarmed combat instructor, easily twisted around under X so that he was pinned. "You ask him for me. Nobody can tell you no."
"Sigma can," X pointed out, feeling a bit spinny, probably from the sudden movement.
"I can't." Zero nuzzled at his cheek, getting comfortable on top of him. "Going around wearing just human clothes is stupid. Your armor has all your weapons and defense systems. Stupid. Comfy, though."
"Comfy's nice." If X was a human, Zero's armor would be digging into him annoyingly.
"-Stop calling me that!"
"Look at this!" Zero sat up so that his weight was off X's chest and he could try to take his shirt off.
"What are you doing?" X wondered, letting him do it just because it was funny.
"He's got nipples and a belly button! Seriously, who designs an android with those? Nothing down below, though. Dr. Light was weeeird, huh?"
"Un?" Alia looked up from where she was draped over Layer and unsteadily walked over.
"That's a very well-sculpted chest," one of the rookies who had consumed less than the rest by virtue of being on the dance floor most of the night complimented X. They'd still drunk enough to be tilting a little from side to side.
"And he blushes… Aww, you're not blushing."
X didn't, but he did giggle. "I'm used to being examined, Zero."
"But I want to show Axl that you blush," Zero said petulantly.
"Why don't you make me?" X dared him.
"Alright, you asked for it!"
"Yes!" Alia cheered. "Take it off! Take it all off! This is the best birthday party ever! Axl, I'm going to kiss you!"
Axl decided what the heck.
"Tell my unit I'm not going to be there today, I have a hangover," Zero commed Axl to say hurriedly, hanging up before Axl could argue or crack a joke.
Axl knew that he really should tell Zero that it had all been psychosomatic, but last night had been really great (and hilarious), and X's birthday was next month.
Alia yawned, petting his hair distractedly as she felt around in the bed for her own com unit, to check the time. Axl cuddled up to her.
Um, yeah, definitely doing this again.
The several million zenny betting pool on the nature of X and Zero's relationship and if/when they will get a clue figures in another of my fics, X's Virus. This does not take place in the universe of my fic Gender Roles (since X, Zero, Iris and Alia are not an established sort-of-foursome), but some of the concepts addressed in that fic figure in this one (the key one being that reploids do not have human gender, just aesthetics). Also they have the same brand of crack humor, although this one's less on the science side.
I tend to give Zero a rather strong aesthetic preference for female models because Iris was in many ways 'X Lite' as opposed to X Light. She (plus Colonel) was even specifically built to be just like X! And it's her failure to be like him, to possess his strength, that's why Zero basically rejects her and her dream as she's dying. The one difference between the two of them that might possibly have been helpful in overcoming barriers to a relationship (X would have been in some ways taboo due to being Zero's former student, but Iris was very young and emotionally unstable, and I'd like to think that would have made Zero worried about the relationship being destructive for her, just an outgrowth of her trying to be like X) that I can see is that she was a female model.
The question 'what am I fighting for' is answered in Zero series: Zero fights for specific people that he believes in and wants to protect. Human cultural gender roles would probably have very odd impacts on another species derived from ours for whom they were entirely optional labels. Hunters who choose to be female models also choosing staying on base where it's safer, as spotters... Zero wants to keep his important people safe, and that would overlap oddly with human ideas of gender. I tend to see the fight at the end of X5 as, 'No, you go back to base where it's safe,' more than anything.
Alia I tend to see as the Roll of the X series, and Roll, especially in the manga, is quite the Queen of that household... No, species, in a fairly awesome way. The Alia of the 4koma strips has some resemblance to that characterization. I ship Axl/Cinnamon/Marino more than Axl/Alia, but hey. For a species without risk of pregnancy and so on, I hope there'd be little stigma attached to social bonding sex between friends (which is one of the things we have it for), unless they got our hang-ups.