This is AU. The extent to which it is AU will be revealed later. The only hint that I'll drop is that I've received a few requests to write a fic with this premise when I've mentioned it.

Something that crops up in all of my Rockman 'verses is that they are AU in the sense of things being more logical and characters being less stupid. For instance, I doubt that the first reploid would have been built to look as threatening as Sigma eventually became, as head of the Irregular Hunters. It would make sense to give reploids a basic template, like X, that could be easily be upgraded into other forms. Until the wars started in earnest, and complete redesigns were a costly luxury so it made sense for people to be purpose-built for their 'destined career…'

References to Day of Sigma OVA, which can be found on youtube, by the way. Definitely worth watching for a lot of character dynamic stuff. Aww, Zero crushing on Sigma…

Disclaimer: I don't own Rock/Megaman, X or not, in any forms, or any relatives or related properties thereof. Capcom and the legal owners do.

X remembered how lost, how terrified he'd been when he was woken up. He hadn't expected anything like what he'd found. He'd thought his family would be there, and instead?

At least Sigma's database was, well, current. He would know who they were, where this was, what was going on, and so on, but this was the first reploid they'd built. X couldn't help but be worried about him.

This era's best parts were so clunky, so inefficient: they had X's plans, they just didn't have the chips or the infrastructure to start building the tools to make the tools to make anything like his components. They were using X's nanites, a sort of 'starter' set they'd managed to remove most of the personality ones from (or rather, they'd removed themselves), and hopefully his systems would be able to adapt.

Dr. Light had built X to be able to adapt to anything and remain himself, so he could only hope. Hope that the chips and nanites would be able to integrate. Hope that Sigma would live instead of dying of compatibility problems and cascading errors.

Hope that this first child would be okay, despite everything X could not do for him.

This was a historic moment, Dr. Cain knew. The moment when the first reploid, the first replica android, opened his eyes should have spectators and cameras. Proper procedure hadn't really been followed when X had been unearthed, they'd been too excited (and this was a trapped person, not just a clay pot or something), but at least there had been a camera.

There were all sorts of monitoring devices, to check Sigma's health, and Dr. Cain was watching them closely, but there weren't spectators, government officials or otherwise.

X had asked for that, quietly, and no one had been able to deny him. Not when he was the last child of Dr. Light. Not when this was his child. Not when he was placing the lives of other children in their hands, by being willing to spread this technology and let reploids be built at other people's factories.

Reploids would save countless human lives. It was only right to begin as they meant to go on, by showing them the respect they would surely earn, treating them with the compassion fellow sentient beings deserved.

The first reploid's first moments might be awkward, as his bastardized systems tried to operate. Something might go wrong and he might die.

That was why X was hesitating to turn him on, Dr. Cain knew.

He was nervous too. He was the one with the contacts, with the knowledge of today's technology, needed to get the parts. Or at least try to have them built as well as they could be. If something was going to fail today, it would be his responsibility. Not his fault, he'd done the best he could, but that wouldn't matter to a dead body. A dead child.

X was trying to gather himself, be ready for disappointment, and Dr. Cain didn't begrudge him that. Not when he needed it, too.

Finally, X hit the button for startup, and sat on the rim of the capsule when it opened, putting his hand on the reploid's forehead.

"Wake up?"

He somehow knew that careful, coaxing voice. It wasn't a command, just a request, the whisper carrying threads of concern and a desire for him not to press himself.

It was an odd feeling to have someone else query his diagnostic readings, and he thought that it was probably silly of him to think that things were odd when he didn't have any context at all. He queried them too, since the other person was worried, maybe he should be worried too because of that, and they were his diagnostics. His system regulator nanites pushed the foreigners away from those interfaces.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to pry." Instead of being hurt the other person felt fond. Almost proud of him. Because he was sticking up for himself? "They're your systems. This is your body, your life."

He could feel the other person's happiness at that.

It was… nice. He didn't mind them doing things, not as long as they asked first. As long as they cared. "Alright," he tried to say back, and was annoyed when it didn't work.

"It might be a good idea to activate your sensory systems one at a time, so you can make sure you don't have any problems integrating the data – I'm sorry, I'm trying to do your job for you again, aren't I." Recently-activated sound sensors identified an incoming noise as quiet laughter. "Don't do anything you don't think is a good idea on my account, but when you can, open your eyes? Dr. Cain would like to meet you, too."

Who was that, he wanted to ask, and wondered why that just wouldn't work. There was supposed to be another way to talk, the main way, but it involved generating complex waveforms and looked more than a little daunting.

Opening his eyes and beginning to process visual data was much easier by comparison.

Part of his field of vision was blocked by the wrist attached to the hand the person sitting nearby had put on his forehead. When the hand was removed, the sense of the other person quickly vanished, their nanites removing themselves from his systems.

"Hello, Sigma."

The other person – X – smiled, and Sigma knew that was his name. X had greeted him.

"It means several things, but one of them is a measure of how unique someone is, how much they stand out. You can change it if you don't like it," X assured him. "Dr. Light thought that I would change mine, since it just means random variable, a symbol that can be anything, but that's why I like it. You're going to become your own person, and I thought I should give you another name that meant that. Sorry, I'm talking too much. I'm just happy you're awake. This is Dr. Cain."

Someone else came forward, and Sigma did not know this person. They weren't reaching the way X was, and was he supposed to be polite and say hello when he wasn't sure he could talk yet?

"Hmm?" X frowned, worried, and carefully put his hand on Sigma's arm this time, watching Sigma's eyes to see if he objected to the connection. "Oh."

"Is he alright?" Dr. Cain looked over him from head to boot, concerned.

"It's a little overwhelming. His nanites are adapting to deal with the compatibility issues just fine, but it's still a lot of work. He hasn't started on vocals or motor systems that aren't connected to the sensory systems. I think he feels a little bad because he doesn't know how to deal with social situations at all. When I woke up, there were so many of you there, and…" X shrugged. "You were all very nice about it, but…"

"I don't blame you for panicking when confronted with all sorts of unfamiliar people and equipment." If anything, X's reaction had been very moderate, since Dr. Light had armed him and he hadn't shot at the looming figures (X was surprisingly short) or even made any threatening gestures.

"I was right that using my nanites might give me a bit of connection to his systems. So he was already aware that I was here. I don't want you to leave, but that might be a good idea, at least until he can talk to you."

"It's probably stressful enough to have to deal with systems that aren't quite what his nanites are programmed for." Dr. Cain looked sympathetic. "I'll keep an eye on the readings from the other room."

X gave him a rueful look of thanks before turning back to Sigma. "Would you like me to leave too, until you pull yourself together a bit?"

Creating 'speech' was still looking too complex, but his neck joint was simple by comparison, so Sigma shook his head. No, he wanted X to stay.

They never were able to copy X's ability to interface with the systems of other reploids, even mechanaloids. Dr. Cain's theory was that Dr. Light had been trying to give him a capability something like robot masters had, to network.

It was adequate for diagnostic purposes, operating machinery X hadn't seen before, and communication (even if only one-way), but not much more than that. It was a perfectly adequate system for the things that came up in day-to-day life. A lot of X's systems were like that. Dr. Light could have given him more elaborate armors and weapons: instead X had very serviceable light armor and a buster. He'd probably intended for X to later customize himself, expand on the systems he used the most, later on, but they couldn't even replicate X's systems, let alone improve on them.

In any case, the ability, as X grew more practiced with it, became incredibly good at pinpointing exactly what was wrong with irregulars. Which was necessary, because X's generosity had its consequences.

Some factories didn't have the precision tools necessary to detect problems in the components. Some programming errors slipped past, and it was hard to debug someone who was already walking around, and often terrified of the strange person coming at them with chains or heavy electric stunners. A normal computer system couldn't run away.

Or defend themselves… Luckily it was already standard policy for reploids to only wake up with another reploid there, or preferably alone so they had a chance to sort themselves out, so there weren't many injuries. However, everyone was advised that until reploids had a chance to adapt to the world, the constant pressure of so many new things was stressful enough that it was very, very easy to put them into panic mode.

At first, X's petition to join the Irregular Hunters had gotten a flat no. Sure, his and Dr. Cain's lab was the center of the operation, since they were the best at fixing the poor things, but even with X's armor and all his capabilities, including his ability to soothe newbuilts who often ended up too scrambled to know what words were, it was too dangerous.

Sure, it was less dangerous for X than a reploid, but X was the sole living example of android systems, and Dr. Light had made sure that no one would profit from his son's dead body. If he died, they would have no hope of giving reploids his capabilities, since there would be nothing left to examine.

That was the practical reason.

The impractical reason was that X would put himself at risk over Sigma's dead body, and those of more than half the hunters besides.

The number of irregulars had been on the decline, as people got enough experience to identify the things most likely to go wrong and make sure they didn't.

Then the Red Demon Incident occurred.