We Have Control
The Protomen fanfic by Teribane
Rating - T
Summary - Hope rid alone. Hope fell. A fallen angel? Ha! No, I never was an angel. But I tried my best. Oneshot. Based on the Protomen songs.
AN - I felt inspired, basically. Yeah... Enjoy?
Also yes I am working on the next chapter of Fortissimo, it's just going rather... slowly. -.-; Yes.
Somewhere, there was a city. And inside that city there was a fortress, a fortress built quite eccentrically in the shape of a skull, and inside that fortress there was a cell, and inside that cell there was a prisoner.
Ha! It was like a fucking children's book, like the simple ones his father had read to him when he'd just been created, before he'd been sent out to fight. And fallen. And that was the only difference, wasn't it? In the children's books, good always won, evil always lost. Good never fell, good wasn't supposed to fall. And yet, apparently it did.
He fought the darkness.
Protoman couldn't stop himself from shivering, even with his knees tucked up against his chest. Not that it was cold - or, more accurately, it was cold, but to him it didn't matter. It would only matter to those people he'd sworn to protect, those people he'd fought for. Those people who had just stood there and watched as he fought, who had just stood and watched as he lost.
And the darkness won.
No, the cold wasn't the reason he was shivering. Simply enough, the reason was fear. Funnily enough, the reason he was fearful was simply because he was still alive. Or as alive as he could be as a robot. Certainly the city's humans, other than Dr. Light, seemed to have not cared about him as a living being. Just as a machine. And maybe even Dr. Light had thought that? Or why had he been sent out to fight a hopeless fight? To battle straight to his own death.
Protoman shuddered again, burying his head in his arms. It was all very well to be brave when he was winning. When he had his helmet on, his eyes hidden, his fear hidden. But his helmet was gone, and his visor was gone, and he was locked in one of Wily's cells, preparing for torture or who knew what, and the fear was still there.
He didn't want to know what Wily, the so-called "hope, safety, and control," was going to do to him. Hope? Hardly! Safety? He doubted it. Now control? Oh, Wily certainly had control. Control enough to rule over all the people of this city like frightened sheep.
The people of this burning city.
Protoman knew he wasn't going to see Dr. Light again. Ever. He could only hope he wouldn't reveal his creator's identity when he was being tortured.
There was a click, a creak, and Protoman started, his gaze snapping upwards towards his cell door. But it wasn't his door opening. Should he be thankful for that? For the fact that he was getting a longer reprieve? But no, he was going to die soon anyways, and probably die in pain. And if he was going to die, it was better to get it over with.
There was a strangled scream, a frightened whine from the cell next door. Protoman lifted his head again, glancing to the side. A human? A little boy. Maybe ten years old. What could he be doing here?
"We are the dead." A whisper. From somewhere farther on. The boy huddled against the corner of his cell, crying silently.
We are the dead.
Protoman reached out a hand, hesitantly, paused, then put it on the child's shoulder, scooting closer to his own corner. The boy leaned toward him, calming slowly - although Protoman was quite sure that he wasn't recognized. Not without his helmet, not with his armour cracked, battered, bloody with machine oil. It was just that he was a bigger presence, a kinder presence than the silent walls, someone you could depend on. Someone the boy could trust to protect him.
Where was the someone Protoman could trust to protect him?
There are no heroes left in man -
How long had he been in here, come to think of it?
Surely at least a day, if the cells were already this full of people Wily had captured for watching him fight. Not that they had done anything but watch. Not one of them. Maybe some of the children, some of them without their hope already leeched from them, with their hearts and minds aflame with those stories full of dragons and princesses and heroes, would have tried to help. But either they had been held back by the "responsible" adults, or they had not been there.
And maybe they would not have tried to help. Maybe they were there, and simply didn't want to. Not that he'd have wanted children to die, not for him, but...
It would have been nice to know somebody cared.
How long had he been left here to stew?
A click. His cell door opened, and he was quickly surrounded by Sniper Joes. The boy in the cell next to him, black haired, blue eyed, whimpered, pressing against the bars, but closer to him, not further away. Protoman gave him an apologetic squeeze, then let go and stood. Hiding his fear. Trying to. And, somehow, succeeding.
- are there?
The fortress walls were as gloomy as the burning ones outside. Just not as run down. Or, at least, not yet. Protoman, his eyes as blank and emotionless as he could make them, still couldn't stop himself from looking around.
He caught a small glimpse of a robot factory, through two large doors that were struck wide open. Conveyer belts, winches, switches - and it was all run by other robots. Most of it was taken up by the Sniper Joe production, but there was one corner full of Metools, and then another by those surveillance robots that he'd never really had a chance to learn the name of...
And all supervised by one of the "Robot Masters." Cutman.
One of the ones he had taken down, right? Apparently rebuilt. Not that Protoman had managed to damage him much, not beyond repair, before another of them had attacked him. The one called Elecman. And after that he'd been somewhat - well, let's say distracted. And then...
We are the dead.
Cutman turned his head in time to see Protoman passing, still surrounded by the Snipers, and smirked, then shouted a final order over his shoulder. As he looked back again, the smirk was still on his face. I know something you don't. And yet, somehow it seemed almost joking. Almost... friendly?
Protoman ripped his own gaze away, a shiver running down his spine again.
But he couldn't stop himself from glancing back just three seconds later - although, by then it was too late to see anything, his view blocked by the Joes. And then they rounded a corner and it was gone.
The Joe right behind him pushed him, unsatisfied with his slightly slower pace, and Protoman stumbled, barely managing to hold himself up. It was times like this he was reminded of just how damaged he had gotten in those last few minutes against the horde of robots.
Around another corner, and another, a sudden brisk turn to the side, and Protoman knew he wouldn't be able to find his way back to - to anywhere in this convuluted fortress without some help. Not that it would matter.
And then they were in front of another pair of doors. Not nearly as large as the ones for the construction factory, but still impressive, imposing. And leaning against them was another of the Robot Masters. Fireman. His eyes were closed, and his mouth obscured by a hunk of metal. His head was tilted downwards, as if in sleep, but it rose as he heard the Snipers' metal footsteps.
The Robot Master's eyes slid open, revealing a startling shade of blue. He gave a nod - again, disturbingly friendly - and slid aside.
The Joes stopped, and the one behind Protoman - who really seemed to have built up a grudge against the red robot - shoved him forward sharply. Protoman staggered, and this time he would have fallen but -
Fireman caught him by the arm, steadying him, then glared behind him at the Sniper. Protoman gave him a confused look, yanking away, and his hand brushed against the doors -
- which flew open.
"Ah, good. You're finally here."
Protoman froze, his head slowly rising. Behind him, Fireman and the Sniper Joes faded away. And in front...
"Wily," he hissed.
The one named nodded, smirk hidden behind his bristling mustache. "The very same."
Protoman suddenly felt very small.
"First of all, don't think that you can just shoot me and be done with it. I'm protected, and besides, if you do, you'll be overrun by robots again. And this time you won't be spared. Secondly..."
"I have an offer for you."
Protoman huddled in his cell. Somehow, he was still alive. Somehow. But the boy was gone. The whispering, doomed humans, were gone. And he couldn't even be sure he was in the same cell.
"Join me. You've already seen that the humans don't deserve to be spared."
"Oh, very dramatic. But did even one of them raise a hand to help you? Did even one of them move?"
"They... I... they were scared!"
"And, forgive me if this offends you, it is obvious that you were too. But you fought. Did they?"
And that was the problem. Protoman knew Wily was just trying to twist his mind. But - but he couldn't deny that he had been thinking along the same lines earlier.
Some of the humans could have helped. Some of the older, infirm, handicapped, younger, smaller, weaker ones - they couldn't have. But the rest? And they hadn't, had they?
"I'll give you until tomorrow to think on it. Be ready."
Protoman shuddered, his eyes showing emotion for the first time that day.
A little later, he cried.
He was dragged out if his cell again the next day, round those corners and through those passageways. But this time, it wasn't a pack of Joes or even Metools. It was Elecman who took him there. And this one, he wasn't exactly friendly, but he wasn't hostile either. Just curious. Cautious? Curious.
And then he was through those doors again, and he was greeted by a "Well?" - and his answer?
His answer was a "Yes."
"But on one condition."
Wily's eyes narrowed carefully. "That depends on the condition."
"You spare my creator. I don't care about any of those other humans, but my creator gets immunity. And not just from me. From any kind of robot attacks."
"And what guarantee do I get that he won't build any more robots to battle me?"
"None. But if he does build more - well, you've managed to convert me. You should have no problems with them. And if you can't, I'll - I'll destroy them. But my creator will be spared."
There was silence. It was heavy, pushing down on the red robot. Yet, in one corner, Elecman gazed upon him, with an impressed, almost approving look on his face, and that was what let Protoman stand there instead of just breaking down.
Then - "Very well. I suppose it's a small enough price to pay for your loyalty." Wily shifted, standing up from his almost-throne. Almost, but not-quite-throne. He stretched out a hand.
They shook. In that moment, Protoman felt like he'd just struck a deal with the devil himself.
Ha! What does that make me, an angel? A fallen angel? I doubt it. I never did think I was an angel. But I tried, I tried so hard - and then I fell. Good fell.
Then the moment was gone.
"You'll see. I expect much from my robots, I expect them - and you, now - to be willing to fight for me, to be willing to die for me. But I give much in return. You'll see."
Wily strode forward almost impetuously, giving off an aura of command, and Elecman fell into step behind him, nudging Protoman gently to follow.
"I am interested to know who your creator was, though."
Protoman was feeling woozy, tired now. The tension was gone, and he just wanted... to... sleep. He slurred out a name without thinking much about it.
There was silence. But this time it wasn't heavy, it was light, and through eyelids half closed he heard Wily begin to laugh.
"Really? That old fool? I'm impressed. I never would have expected... ah well, a promise is a promise. He'll get his immunity, for all the good it'll do him."
And then Protoman staggered, and Wily grabbed him, supporting him, giving him a shoulder to lean on, and he was just so tired...
And he felt safe, leaning against Wily, and for a second he felt guilty too, like he was betraying Dr. Light - because he'd only felt this safe before with his creator. But - It's too late for regrets. I've shaken hands with the devil already, and the deal has been made, and my father is safe. That's all that matters.
"Hmm. I hadn't realized how much my robots damaged you."
"Let's get you fixed up, Protoman. Really, be a little more careful!"
"Sorry, Doctor Light. But I couldn't just leave the little girl to be snatched, could I?"
"...You're right. But... I do worry about you."
"Let's get you fixed up."
And... he was... just... so... tired...
Sometime in the next few minutes, Protoman slumped against Dr. Wily and fell asleep.
AN: So... if you enjoyed, a review is always appreciated. If you didn't, what are you doing still reading this author's note? Go on, shoo! XD