Here's the deal: I had a kiriban winner who requested Zero series horror fic. It took me three tries because the muses wanted fixit, or at minimum not making it any worse, not horror, to produce Elysium Regained.
And then the muses wanted me to write a happy ending for that.
So that the original fic will remain horror, I'm posting this as a separate sequel to it. Optional 'Everybody Lives' ending.
Disclaimer: I don't own Rockman/Megaman in any form, or any associated properties: Capcom and other rightful owners and distributers do. No infringement intended or money made.
There had always been barriers between him and X, even if nowhere but in Zero's head.
At first, there had been the fact that X was practically royalty and Zero was an irregular who might suddenly flip out and attack him.
No, that wasn't true: the real first barriers between them had been the defenses of Dr. Light's lab and Zero's reluctance to kill an innocent person, creation of Dr. Light or not. So he'd left the question of X until after he'd killed all the humans. The robot masters might have been innocent people, but they were the ones who had decided to fight him. If they wanted to throw their lives away, fine.
He, when he'd been the real Omega, God of Destruction, had considered it war, the last war, everything black and white and simple.
Except the question of X. Of Dr. Light's last creation.
Infecting him had been a valid option, but while ruling the world with the virus after he was done had been an option, certainly, Omega had meant to use it to…
Like Copy-X, really. Build the new world, ensure that the species they wanted to survive would survive, and then remove the last threat to it.
Should hands stained with so much blood (or hydraulic fluid, really, since humans didn't count back then) exist in Elysium when they might taint it?
Omega had cared about right and wrong since he'd believed that they existed, that everything was simple, reducible down to black and white and the blood that converted one to the other.
Zero had woken up without memories, and been forced by the virus to learn that there was 'my people,' and 'not my people' or rather 'not my people any longer,' and that killing threats was indeed a good thing because it kept his people safe, but not always, because it made his people, the androids (or reploids) he had been built to protect sad.
X had become his responsibility when Sigma had been taken, and even more so when Dr. Cain had died, but X had been his to keep safe, not his, and he'd always known that the greatest threat to X was Zero himself.
So he'd stayed near him, always hovered near his side to rush to help or shield him but never touched, except in combat training sessions.
There was no need for X to fight anymore. There was no need for Zero to fight him anymore.
There was no need for X to hurt anymore. The virus would never cause him pain again. Zero would never cause him pain again. No, the virus that was Zero was what was keeping X from hurting, separating him from the pain of his past and the anguish that what he was doing now would cause him.
Zero was threaded all throughout his systems, deep within his mind. Wrapping him up in the virus' rightness like a warm, fluffy blanket, and screams would never reach his ears ever again, nor would he see that others were hurting and feel that pain as his own.
Weil had been right. It was so like a god's.
He could do anything, anything at all. X had taken care of spreading the virus for him, given him a kingdom to come into, and now he held the world in the palm of his hand. He could crush any chance of future strife any time he chose, anytime at all.
It would be more effective to wait until a little more groundwork was laid, though. The less collateral damage the better, even though Ciel's energy source would make it easy to replace or build new infrastructure. X was the one who thought of things like that, and Zero was happy to leave it to him.
X was much, much better at this than Sigma.
"You handed me my old body so that I'd remember, didn't you? I was so desperate to recover my memories that I might even have become my original self right then, if it weren't for the fact I didn't want to be like Weil's mockery of me." He stroked X's cheek.
Why shouldn't he touch X now? It wasn't as though he wasn't already touching him. It wasn't as though X's new body wasn't saturated with the virus.
He held X's life and mind in the palm of his hand. He could make that body self-destruct, he could render him mindless, he could do anything. Except that this was X, and there was no need for them to fight anymore, so they could stay just like this.
X was too modest to let Zero think that it had just been motivated by what the intelligent strategy was. "Well, I was hoping that you would, but… I missed you."
An understatement, Zero knew, with all of X's mind open to him. X had longed for the days when there was someone to stand by his side, someone to share the burden with. Longed for him.
He found himself stroking X's cheek again, shifting the virus around and within him to reassure him that yes, Zero was here, and he was never going to go away again. He'd never let X go, either. Not when he'd start to suffer again, from the memories of those he hadn't saved, those he'd had to kill, and those he was going to kill now.
That should have given Zero pause. He should have thought about how X had almost begged Zero to kill X rather than let him become a maverick, but there was none of that fear in X now, only trust, only openness to the virus and Zero's will, and he was already touching X.
He already knew how X would react to everything (could control his reactions). So there was no need to fear, no need to hesitate. He was already touching X more intimately than any other being ever could, so it made no difference to lean forward, lean X back and kiss him.
He could do more than just that, though, and why not? The systems of X's new body had been built by the virus, everything that X was belonged to Zero now and so there was no reason not to show his affection, his approval, his…
No reason not to touch X's systems and let him feel it, make him shiver not just from physical pleasure but the bliss of being held and loved. I'll take care of you, that was what Zero wanted X to know. That X would never have to be alone again like that. X would have his peace, have everything that Zero could give to him, and it would be perfect.
He could feel X's gratitude (so deep, even with the weary suffering that had engendered it stripped away from him), X's happiness, and X's love. Not just the adoration, the devotion to a lord or god that the virus enforced, but love.
And then X poked him in the side.
Not in front of the children, Zero. Came a fond but firm thought, and Zero had to pull back and laugh.
Before kissing him again, harder.
It would have been reassuring, to see a sign that X was still himself and still had his own will if Zero couldn't already feel that. Even though he didn't need the reassurance, it was still endearing. Still a reminder of why he cared so much for X. Why he loved him
Zero was still in charge here, though, and so he could kiss X if he wanted to. Especially when he knew that X didn't really mind. It was easy enough to coax him into kissing back, since he could tell exactly how to touch him.
So they kissed for a few lingering seconds, reading each other's reactions from minds and bodies, indulging themselves in the other's pleasure and presence, until X pulled himself together and poked Zero again. We could find a room. There were still honeymoon suites in this day and age, in fact, and it would be easy to have one of the mavericks, one of Zero's servants, arrange one for them. They would do whatever Zero wanted. But not in front of the children.
Kissing's not going to scar them. They'd all seen far worse.
Just kissing? Zero felt X's lips curve into a smile against his own. Tease.
I suppose. He hadn't before, but now was different.
Zero still pulled back, mostly to look down at X. He hadn't liked seeing X out of his armor before. Wearing only human clothes meant that he wasn't protected, and he'd never liked it when X was in danger. Now, though, X wore only a shift that was probably patterned after how he'd appeared as a cyber elf, and Zero realized that he liked it.
The feel of the fabric was appropriate, it fit X somehow, and Zero liked the idea of X not needing armor. Not needing armor ever again, not when he had Zero. Now when Zero and the virus had him. Even if X was blown up, that wouldn't hurt him now. Zero could ensure that he never felt pain again, no matter what happened.
He let himself feel that, all of it, how X was happy and untroubled and his, looking up at him with a smile that was both loving and amused by how Zero was acting, and leaned down to kiss him again, just for the span of a breath.
To breath into X and capture X's own breath.
Just as he'd captured everything else.
That was almost enough. He could wait until later for anything else, except…
"Stop holding their hands," he told X, cupping the back of his head and pushing his fingers up into his hair. I want all of your attention here. With Zero and this little peaceful scene here. The mavericks could look after themselves for a bit.
X nodded, as obedient as the virus had made him. No: if this was something that X was determined to do at the core of him, he would have at least made a token protest, the way he had about the children. The extermination of humanity was something he was trying to accomplish solely because of the virus, and so the virus and Zero's request were more than enough to make him take a break for a bit.
To lean against Zero's side as their daughter leaned against his legs. The Mother Elf, who had been programmed to fight the virus. To fight the part of Zero that had been sleeping, back then. Kicking in its sleep and shaking the world while Zero dreamed that he was a hunter.
Was she going to try to fight him? No, she didn't even have the power to protect herself now, Weil had made sure of that. She'd crept back to where X had been to mourn him, after enough time had passed that it might be safe (and Neo Arcadia wouldn't think to look for her here), Zero read in her memories. At that point, her protector, the one who had kept her safe, had already been taken, and he'd promised to keep her safe once again.
How could she fight him, the one person who had ever cared about her for her instead of what she could do for them? How could she fight him when she would lose, now that he was awake, and she had children to protect? How could she fight for humanity when they and Copy-X would have just enslaved her and her children again?
Children… were an important thing.
Dr. Wily had built him, Dr. Light had built X, to carry out their dreams. While the war had been on, Zero hadn't dared love X, and children had been doubly impossible, but Wily had intended for him to build more androids, to repopulate the world that he had been built to empty.
He had two sets of memories – three sets of memories, counting the ones he'd gathered in this time – of being very different people.
All of them approved of this daughter, who had been built in his image, with his powers, so he patted her on the head. "X, do you know who could get us some real tea?" For Alouette, and the others if they wanted it. "Cakes and things too?"
Zero really should learn who all the mavericks were and all their capabilities, so he'd know who to give what orders if he wanted a bridge blown up or a weapon for an unarmed maverick made, but it was silly to do all that work now, when he was taking a break, just to find a cook.
He'd decided to spoil them all a bit. X, too.
"Really?" Real tea, not just pretend tea? Alouette was delighted.
"Really." He leaned forward to pat her on the head. "I didn't hurt you, did I?"
She shook her head. "I knew I wouldn't be able to manage it, not with you and everyone else looking after her, but I didn't want anyone else to kill Miss Ciel." So she'd tried her best.
Zero patted her on the head again. "What would you like?" For being such a good girl?
"Can we really keep Miss Ciel?" At his nod, she smiled. "Thank you, Zero!"
"Hmm." X tsked. "I should have upgraded your sensors when I had you rebuilt. Neo Arcadian reploids… I wouldn't give mechanaloids systems like that. Well, they can make some very strong tea, I can put in a lot of sugar for you…" So she could actually detect any of the flavor. "You might like scones, Zero." They wouldn't be too sweet.
Zero shrugged. "Whatever all of you want." He'd never seen the point of eating human food, but this was for them.
"Can we really have cakes?" Crea asked.
"Didn't I say you could?" They were much less annoying now that they were able to really think. X had designed them proper bodies, since there hadn't been any pre-existing design to copy the way he had Alouette's.
"There." X nodded as a table, with lacy tablecloth, was warped in, followed by chairs, two teapots, an assortment of teacups, and other associated things. "The scones and cakes will take awhile to bake, I'm afraid." Neo Arcadia had a food shortage, and there was nothing already prepared that X felt was good enough. "Alouette, would you like me to show you how to make tea?"
She followed him over to the table, exclaiming with joy as Zero leaned back against the wall and watched them. Part of him was cataloguing the various mavericks, feeling what he could with the virus web that was himself. He had been programmed to be capable of something like this, but he'd never been conscious of the fact that he was the virus while there was an active net before. Or rather, even after he had known, he'd refused to become one with it.
That… no, it wasn't silly of him. He wouldn't have had X, then. There wouldn't have been any openings for the virus to take advantage of. He would have had to either kill X, or destroy everything while X watched and grieved.
There was no way he could have done that. He should have, he regretted having left X alone for that century, but everything had worked out, hadn't it?
So he leaned against the wall and watched the happy ones bustle about, watched his daughter study them and think about the possibility of smiling.
And Zero who was Omega who was the Virus put his hand on her shoulder and smiled down at her fondly, pulling her closer, to rest against his side the way she had X's. All of them were safe, and soon even she would be happy.