Disclaimer: Nope, I don't own Generator Rex.
Chapter One: Ice Cream and Assassins
Agent Six watched from his bird's eye view on the back of his hoverboard as Rex did a little victory dance below him while Bobo extracted himself from a small pile of debris. They had just taken down a particularly nasty cat EVO and even Six couldn't blame the kid for wanting to celebrate.
"Alright Rex," Six said as he circled down to ground level, "the party is over. Shut its nanites down."
"Uhhh, animal EVO," Rex pointed at the unconscious mass of purple fur, ridges of spikes and crowbar-length claws, "wouldn't you rather just—shkk?" Rex mimed cutting its head off.
"Killing is a last resort. Cure it." Six's tone left little room for argument.
"O-kay…" Rex put his hands on the EVO cat's back and closed his eyes, focusing. The lit-up circuits spread outwards from Rex's hands at a much slower rate than normal, but bit by bit the purple fur changed back to tan, the spikes fell off, the claws receded, and the giant EVO shrank back into a normal sized house cat.
Rex was bent over panting when it was all over, but he was also grinning ear to ear, "Hey! Whatdya know, I actually did it!"
"Nice job Rex." Six felt obliged to praise him lightly.
"I think this calls for ice cream." Rex said.
"I want pistachio." Bobo piped in.
"Ice cream." Six said flatly.
"Yeah! I only wrecked that vacant lot and one city block, and I cured the over-grown alley cat."
"It was two blocks and we are not stopping for ice cream."
"Oh come on Six!"
"Pretty please with a cherry on top?"
Rex put a hand to his ear and whined into his com, "Holiday! Six won't let me go get ice cream!"
Six's comlink crackled into life, "Be nice Six," Holiday told him, "Rex did a good job, he deserves a reward."
"Yeah Six, I deserve it!"
"So do I," Bobo said, "that cat almost ate me."
"…It's no use if you're all going to gang up on me," Six mumbled.
"YES!" Rex high-fived with Bobo.
"But no mocha flavored ice cream Rex, it took all day to get you off that caffeine-sugar high last time."
"…Fine." Rex surrendered.
"Someone better make sure they bring me back two scoops of mint chocolate chip." Holiday added.
Six just stood there and rubbed his temples, wondering how he ever got into this kind of thing.
As Agent Six's jet touched down in an empty parking lot near the ice cream shop Rex had found, Six couldn't help but comment as Rex and Bobo jumped out of the cockpit.
"Seven hundred and fifty million dollars to make this jet," Six said, "and we're using it for an ice cream run."
"Oh come on Six, what's the point of life if you don't live a little?" Rex grinned up at him and asked, "You want me to bring you something?" Six was silent for long enough that Rex turned and started to walk away, "Okay, your loss—"
"…One scoop of double chocolate fudge."
Rex stopped dead in his tracks and stared back at Six, "Say what?"
"Double chocolate fudge," Six said again as he fiddled with the jet's controls and then added, "in a cup."
Rex blinked slowly, "Huh. Always pegged you as a vanilla kind of person."
"Just hurry up so we can get back to base." Six replied as he climbed down from the jet to stretch his legs.
As Six watched Rex disappear into the shop, a voice drifted to his ears from the sidewalk behind him.
"Children certainly grow up quickly, don't they?"
Six turned to face the man, taking in his appearance. He was around Six's own height, albeit an inch or so taller, with a medium complexion and dark eyes. He had pin-straight black hair long enough to reach the bottom of his shoulder blades, pulled back into a horsetail. His clothes were neither wrinkled nor pressed, the cream slacks and dress shirt rather non-descript looking. His deceptively relaxed stance belied a predator's movements and if Six was right, the hands clasped behind his back were within easy reach of weapons.
"He's not mine," Six said.
"I see," the man simply replied with a smile, "that's good. You are Six aren't you?"
"That depends. Who are you?" Six asked, but he already had a good idea of the answer.
"That's not entirely important," he said pleasantly as he unclasped his hands and placed them at his sides, "but I suppose you can say I'm Seven."
Someone with less training than Six who understood the meaning of that statement may have flinched, adopted a defensive position or simply attacked the man who called himself Seven outright. Agent Six simply swept his eyes around the suburban downtown that was filled with civilians.
"Not here," Six said quietly, "not now."
"That isn't really your call to make," Seven told him.
"Alright Six!" Rex called out from behind, "let's take off before Doc's ice cream melts! Oh and by the way—" Seven's eyes flickered over Six's shoulder towards Rex as Six saw the tiniest movement of the muscles under the skin of Seven's hands—
"—They were out of the chocolate so—"
"Rex! Duck!" Six shouted without turning away as Seven's materialized throwing knives left his fingers, heading for Rex at the same time Six's katanas slipped into his hands.
Rex dropped the ice creams he was holding and brought his Smackhands together to block the projectiles instead, Bobo taking cover behind him. Rex had startled Seven, who'd been expecting Agent Six to intercept the attack and now Six took the opportunity to charge at the man.
Rex shouted out, "Who's your friend?"
Seven rolled out of the way of Six's attack as Six yelled back, "Get out of here Rex! Go back to base!" Six dodged a stab from one of the twin sai now in Seven's hands, "That's an order!"
"Pssh. Like that works on me." Six could hear the smirk in Rex's voice as the clang of metal echoed behind him; Six spent precious seconds to glance behind him and see Rex with the BFS; the distraction almost cost him his face as Seven tried to slam the blunt end of the sai into his jaw.
"I dunno Chief, they're playing with sharp pointy things and I don't like sharp pointy things." Bobo said to Rex.
"Too bad I do." Rex replied.
"Let the boy join in our game if he wants," Seven grinned as Six blocked a stab with one katana, "I'm sure he's a wonderful Six-and-a-half." Seven turned into Six and brought up the other sai running backwards along his arm, swiping at Six with a sharp prong. Six had only been a second slow in dodging it—it ripped into his shirt and the skin under it, a marginally deeper than hairline laceration stretching across Six's chest.
Six gave no answer, not even wincing at his screaming nerves, only bringing up his swords for a return blow.
"You're not very chatty are you?" Seven sounded disappointed as Six nearly landed a kick, "The last Seven wasn't a talker either…Eight was though, that was nice."
Six's next kick connected and sent Seven tumbling back; it was about then that Rex ran in with a war cry, swinging the BFS over his head.
"No!" Six shouted as he flung out an arm to stop him, "I told you to stay out of this!"
"Why? What's the problem? This guy is messing with you so why can't I help?" Rex argued facing Six, settling the BFS across his shoulders.
"You're not trained for this kind of combat" Agent Six tried to push him out of the way but Rex wouldn't budge, "and I don't want you involved." Six told him. Rex opened his mouth to argue, but suddenly his eyes went wide as he let out a little gasp of surprise. There was an eerie ring of metal blades as the sai Seven pulled out of Rex's back moved against the one he had used to brace the stab. Rex lost his hold of the BFS, the pieces breaking apart all around him as took a step towards Six.
"I'm okay," Rex took a deep breath but then coughed like he was choking, "I think."
Six was wide-eyed behind his shades as he grabbed the short-of-breath Rex by the shoulder, looking to see the deceptively small, dark stain on the back of Rex's jacket. "Bobo—" Six called out.
"Already ahead of you Green Man, you just do what you need to. C'mon kid," Bobo pulled Rex towards the jet, "you're sitting the rest of this one out."
Watching them retreat to the jet, Six spun, turning on Seven while in-between a flurry of attacks Six told him, "Rex has nothing to do with this!"
Seven grunted with the effort of avoiding the angered Six, "You associate with him, so he has everything to do with this." Seven lost a sai with a flick of Six's katana that was too fast to follow and Six took a moment to tap his com as he heard the scream of his jet taking off.
"Providence Keep this is Agent Six, over," he said as he dodged another strike.
"This is the Keep, go ahead."
"Dispatch an emergency medical team to the jet hanger—" Six lunged at Seven "—Bobo is flying Rex in with a dorsal penetrating trauma wound to the thoracic cavity. Do you copy, over?"
"Rodger Six. Do you require assistance, over?"
"Affirmative. Dispatch a shuttle to my location for pickup only," Six delivered a slash on Seven's hand, "over."
"Providence," Seven asked before he sucked the cut on the back of his hand, "I'll admit that I thought that's an interesting use of your talents…but then, you and White Knight are old friends aren't you?"
"You're too talkative for someone working in this…profession," Six observed.
"And you're too content with your life as it is."
"Really? That's not what I've seen," Seven grinned.
Six didn't answer.
"What? You won't ask me if I've had you followed?" Seven raised a sai to block a strike, "then how can I tell you I know you've played basketball with that boy—Rex, when you've gone to retrieve him and the blond kid didn't show up? Or how I know you're always assigned to the security detail for that pretty little Providence scientist when she goes out in public—?" Seven's grin fell from his face as with another twist of his sword Six sent Seven's last sai spinning into the air, following through with a series of nerve strikes that left Seven nothing more than an unconscious heap on the ground. Agent Six raised his blades—and then he lowered them.
Six's own words to Rex from earlier echoed back to him. Killing is a last resort. Killing this man would be easy, just like the last Seven had been, years ago now. Mercy within this system was almost unheard of, death was the expected price of failure and yet here Six was hesitating to deliver it. Why?
He could say it was because it was too easy now with this Seven unable to fight back, that now it would be murder. Or Six could say it was because he had quit this part of his life, even though he knew this was something you couldn't get out of unless you were dead.
The truth was Six was tired. Six was tired of the blood that had been used to mark his place near the top of the scorecard that told people he was the sixth deadliest person in the world—because there was a big difference between killing rampaging EVOs and dealing out death to a handful of people trying to prove something. So Six did something he never had before.
Six folded up his katanas and he walked away. If this Seven was smart, he would too when he woke up.
When the dispatched jet finally picked Six up and brought him back to Providence headquarters, he could see Holiday waiting for him in the hangar. She was firing off questions before he could even get out of the plane.
"What happened Six?"
"Nothing important." Six told her as he stood.
"Like heck, nothing important! The Keep comes in with Rex who had to have an emergency needle aspiration and all you can say is—oh my gosh!" Holiday's eyes had suddenly gone wide after Six had gotten out to face her.
"What?" Six followed he gaze down to where it landed on his ripped, bloody shirt. Oh. Well, now he knew why the pilot was staring so hard; most of Providence thought he was an android.
"Let me take a look at that," Doctor Holiday said softly, moving slowly like Six was an animal she was trying not to startle.
"I'm perfectly capable of taking care of it myself," Six said and turned to leave.
"Quit with the stubborn male masochism and just let me see," Holiday almost growled, "from here you look like you're going to need stitches and at that angle it'd be hard to do it right on yourself. At the least I can tell it's going to need more than some Neosporin and a Band-Aid."
Agent Six bit down on the retort that not only had he given himself stitches in harder to reach locations than this one, he had a full trauma kit in his room upstairs. Instead, he only stood there and let Holiday peel back the cloth plastered to his chest by crimson liquid, blatantly ignoring one of the most basic medical precautions by gently examining his bloody chest with her bare finger tips.
"It looks a lot worse than it is, but you are going to need those stitches," Holiday fixed him with a look as she accepted the white handkerchief Six offered her to wipe her hands on, "are you going to let me treat you?"
"If you're going to insist on it," Six told her as he took the handkerchief back. For a second Doctor Holiday looked taken aback as her brain translated Six's answer into a yes.
"I have what I need upstairs in my lab…God knows I end up patching Rex up there enough times…" Holiday trailed off as she led the way out of the hangar; she was still shocked when he followed her to the lab upstairs. It didn't help matters that Six was entirely silent the whole way there and Holiday found herself having to constantly resist the urge to check out of the corner of her eye to see whether or not he was still following her.
But sure enough, he was true to his word and took a seat on the exam table normally reserved for Rex when they got to the lab, removing his jacket, tie and ruined shirt as Doctor Holiday gathered up her materials.
"Is Rex alright?" Six asked while Holiday cleaned off the blood and dust in and around the cut.
"Yes," Holiday answered a little stiffly. "We'll probably need to keep him off active duty for a couple of days, but his nanites had already begun repairing the damage before the medical team even touched him. He's resting in his room now—I told Bobo to keep an eye on him."
"Good—no lidocaine." Six abruptly said upon seeing the syringe Doctor Holiday was holding.
"Agent Six," Holiday said sternly, "I am not stitching you up without administering a local anesthetic."
"Then I can—" Six started to stand.
"Sit!" Holiday ordered and tone of her voice was enough to startle him into doing so.
"It's unnecessary," Agent Six argued.
"No it isn't."
"It'll throw my movements off if I'm needed in the field, I don't want it"
"Yes you do. Now sit still, your acting worse than Rex and he's afraid of needles!" A thought struck Holiday, "You're not scared of needles are you?"
Six's eyebrows raised in a 'are you kidding me?' expression before he answered, "no."
"Good. This stuff will wear off in two or three hours, it usually takes the Keep that long to mobilize and arrive on scene, right? Now relax."
An awkward silence settled over the room as Holiday slowly stitched Six's skin back together. From out of nowhere Six finally answered Holiday's earlier question.
"My past caught up with me earlier; Rex got in the middle of it."
"Oh…" Holiday said, understanding the meaning behind words. "Did you….take care of things?"
"It wasn't necessary."
"They got a little too close for comfort though, didn't they?" Holiday murmured as she brushed her fingers across his chest, ghosting around the now sutured wound. The entirely un-clinical contact gave Six goose bumps.
"Does everyone think I kill all my enemies?" Six deadpanned.
"Yes." Doctor Holiday answered bluntly as she turned away to pick up dressings. Six was silent again as he watched her come back to finish dressing the cut. It was only after she began working again, too close into Six's personal space for his comfort, that he began to talk to distract himself:
"I took a long, hard look at myself one day Doctor Holiday. I didn't entirely like what I saw."
"People often don't." Holiday admitted.
"I can't change who I am now. I wouldn't want to. But that doesn't mean I can't get tired of it. That sometimes, some days I can't just wish I could get a new start."
"Being involved with Providence is a funny way of showing it," Holiday muttered as she tied off the bandages.
"That's not what I mean."
"Really?" Holiday asked.
Why was he trying to explain this? "Not…starting over, there's no changing what I am. Just being able to let go of the kind of person I've been before and what I've done because of it. To be able to move forward instead of looking back."
A long pause stretched between them as Holiday was unsure how to reply to Six's statement. Then Six said "that doesn't leave this room."
Holiday smiled lightly "Doctor-patient confidentiality…now, I know I don't need to tell you not to get these wet for two days or lecture you about taking it easy, do I?"
"Not at all."
A monitor behind Holiday turned on, displaying White Knight's image.
"Doctor Holiday, could I have a word alone with Agent Six?"
"Yes Sir. I was finished here anyway," Holiday told him as she finished discarding the used supplies, "I'll go look in on Rex now." Knight waited until Holiday was out of the room before he spoke.
"I take it that someone looking to move up in the world found you."
"Yes," Six confirmed.
"And you let Rex get involved?" White Knight accused.
"No. He just got caught in the middle."
"I had hoped that would be the case. We don't need any of the wackjobs looking to become the new number Six thinking that Rex is a part of that suicidal number game…at least we won't have to worry about this one again."
Agent Six stayed silent.
"Right?" White raised an eyebrow.
"I didn't find it necessary to eliminate him. He was no longer a threat."
"Agent Six," White Knight said incredulously, "these people don't just go away. You know that."
"You can't gamble on this Six. This behavior isn't what I've come to expect of you, if this problem persists, I expect you to fix it. Understood?"
"…Yes."Six answered. Without further comment from Knight, the monitor turned off and Six knew he'd been dismissed.
After that, Agent Six had been on his way through the dormitory wing heading for his own room when he ran into Doctor Holiday again.
"You alright?" she asked him.
"Did you want to see Rex?"
"No; I don't want to disturb him."
"It's okay, he's still out like a light, come on," Holiday backtracked down the way she had just come, punching in the access code for Rex's room and standing off to the side as she waited for Six.
As he looked in on the still ashen-faced Rex, who asleep looked much more like a fifteen year old boy than the secret weapon of Providence, Agent Six realized he had done something insanely stupid by letting Seven live earlier. White Knight was right; the people like him didn't just disappear. They would keep coming back unless something was done and one of them could think—mistakenly—that Rex, or someone else, meant something to him. That they could use them as a bargaining chip, or bait, or harm them in an attempt to throw Six off. Just like Seven had tried.
Six stepped back out the door and closed it and Holiday smiled at him before she turned to leave.
"Holiday," Six grabbed her wrist before she could go away, stunning her with the unusual touch. "This is why."
"What?" Holiday stared at him, utterly lost. Six talked to the ground.
"One time you asked me why things wouldn't work," Agent Six clarified, annoyed he was even having to do so, "with us. And this is why. People get hurt when they're around someone like me."
"That's ridiculous." Holiday glared, "people get hurt regardless of whothey're around. In any case, do I need to remind you I'm not another helpless, hapless, or half-witted female?" Holiday rounded on him.
"That's not the point."
"You said you wanted a new start," Holiday jabbed a finger at him accusingly, "To just move on from what you've done, who you've been in the past. But you won't."
"It's not that easy."
"No. You're just afraid of trying, afraid of letting go."
"Only because I wouldn't want something to happen to you. Because I wouldn't want you to get killed."
"Sure Six," Holiday told him as she pulled away. "But who are you trying to convince with that? Me, or yourself?" When Six didn't answer, she shook her head angrily.
"Typical," she said before walking off, leaving Six with the echo of her footsteps.
Just before Agent Six finally reached his room, his com chirruped in his ear down the empty hallway.
"It was callous of me to attack a child, I regret it now," Seven's cool voice said, sounding remorseful "but to be perfectly honest I expected he would dodge that blow."
"How did you get a hold of this frequency?" Six demanded.
"I'm calling to offer you a fair fight," he disregarded Six's question, "All on your terms, you chose when, where and then we will finish this."
For a long time Six was silent.
"I'm assuming you must already know how to find me."
"Tomorrow afternoon then. If you follow the river upstream there's an out cropping of rocks above the cliffs that some say looks like a person."
"Dead Man's Bluff. Yes. My, my, you have a taste for the dramatic don't you?" Seven laughed.
Six ignored the barb, "Be there and you'll get your duel."
"You are a gracious opponent," Seven said courteously. "I look forward to meeting you again." The line went dead in his ear. Alone where no one could see him, Six let out a sigh and allowed his shoulders to slump.