A/N: Honestly, I don't expect too much about this pairing since most love Fou-Karen but, I find the awkward relationship of Fou and Karin quite interesting… hehe…read on.
Disclaimer: I used to think I can own B't X…so much for wishful thinking
I live in the bounds of the Machine Empire. I am used to the blank faces of the soldiers about me. I amused to the blank stares of the walking dolls as they pass by me. There was a time that I thought I was a doll myself, a doll ready to serve the Empire. Ready to die—since to die only meant rest for us. And we would be resurrected by the Emperor.
But I was wrong. I once had a chance to look at Rafael's cage and I shuddered. A monster. All my life I had been serving a monster. I was prepared to die and to be sacrificed. I started questioning whether my life was only meant for it. I felt a deep heartache for the Empire, such feeling that I never knew before, I did not even bothered to know the word to describe it. Now I can say—bitterness. And to be bitter means being something more than a doll.
I ran and ran thinking I could somehow figure it out. I thought I could search or even come across the answers while running. Wasn't there any room that could give me the answers?
I felt a hand on my wrist. A cold one.
"Where are you going?" came an unfriendly voice. The face itself was unfriendly. Metal-Face. "Want to play with me?"
I felt his hand tightened its grip. I was in the hands of a predator. But compared to Rafael, he was nothing. The fear I had for the half man, half machine was nothing. It was but a fraction of a bigger thing. I looked at him defiantly. To my surprise, he loosened his clutch.
A commanding voice resounded from the end of the hallway. Just then I figured out I had been running toward the office of the person who I knew could answer my questions. The Major. "What do you need?"
"Nothing. I was checking things."
"Karin is not a thing."
Metal Face smirked at the major but she dismissed him nonchalantly. Before he completely walk away, he said, "Karen might still be alive. I am sure of that."
"I know that."
And he walked off.
I knew that I was not related to their conversation and Major Aramis was just in time to save me, not that she was obliged to. I doubted that she cared in the first place. However, there was something in Metal Face's last statement that affected me, Perhaps it was his look. His eyes bored at me when he said "Karen is still alive" and it was my fault that she was.
I bowed my gratitude to the major. I could not see her face but I felt rather than saw that she was looking at me.
"Come with me."
I followed her through different corridors and hallways. I never dared to look up nor ask where we were going. She suddenly stopped that I finally paid attention to where we were. It was a place I had never imagined I would be in. The lounge of the four guardians of the Machine Empire.
It was grand.
It was different from the rest. It was a piece of earth we have left behind. Chairs and tables made of wood, cushions made of cotton. It was refreshing to be inside that room. And not only that. It was also filled with a heavenly music from the piano.
When we entered, the man reading a book acknowledges the major beside me with a nod. He was The Doctor. His brown eyes flickered and he flipped his straight long brown hair to the side to get a better look at what he was reading. I became conscious of my hair which did not even reach my shoulders.
The other guy, waking up from his nap, yawning as consciousness returned to him, muttered a greeting to the major. He tried straightening his a little crumpled Chinese attire and like the doctor, he seemed quite particular with his hair. A little vainer, even if he did not look like it.
The last person was playing the piano. His blonde spiky hair, flowing behind him, swayed as he moved his hands to reach the different keys. He was tall, anybody could observe that. His eyes and his whole being were focused on the music he was making.
The sweet notes started to be dangerously fast. Then it suddenly stopped in a single note, ever so gently pressed.
Applause broke out in the room. I realized that I was not the only one looking at him: the raven haired soldier looking at the source of raucous—by nature he does not want somebody to overshadow him; the doctor checking as to how a soldier could refuse to greet a major; the major waiting for the musician to finish her passion…and I …
The soldier turned and a small red stone on his forehead caught my eyes.
"Good day, Major," he said in a melodious voice just like his music and he took my breath away.
They were the three best soldiers of the Empire. Doctor Hokuto of the North, Chinese Ron of the East; and the musician Fou La Fine of the South.
"Good music, Fou La Fine. Are you going to teach us that?"
"No. That was for the children."
The major gave a smile. "Karen is still alive. Find her."
He did not say anything but he stood and bowed. However, before he could leave, Major Aramis spoke again. "And when you come back, please put Karin under your wing."
The doctor looked at me with his deep and searching eyes. Captain Ron passed his eyes from the major to me back to the major. Then I felt him looking at me. I looked up at him only to be intimidated by his blue eyes.
I bowed in shame. I wasn't sure if I heard the command right. "Karen is still alive. Find her. And when you come back, please put Karin under your wing."
Those were the major's words right? I forced myself not to believe it. I even thought I heard it wrongly. I tried not to expect. I bore the wait in the Empire's garden. A collection of Camilla's flowers were there. I kicked a stone and started listing the "whatifs" in my mind.
He finally came.
"Take your clothes off."
I gaped at him. "S-Sir?"
He smirked. "That was a command, Karin."
I began to take the soldier's uniform off. My hands, cold and clammy, trembled as I fumbled with the belt of my outer coat. Then the green coat itself, bearing the symbol of the Machine Empire. Next came the green polo shirt. I stripped to the white undershirt that was s.o.p for soldiers like me. I had been looking at the grass, trying not to cry but I decided to look at him—
"That is enough. Come."
I looked at my clothes strewn on the floor.
"Oh, them," I heard him say from my back. A lightning appeared from nowhere and my clothes were turned to dust.
Numbly, I followed him to his majestic B't, Jet'aime, a red Phoenix gleaming under the sun.
"Jet'aime, we have a passenger. Please bear with her. I think she is only a few kilograms heavier," he addressed the B't in an affectionate way. I thought it was not normal for a soldier to say something to his B't aside from orders but he talked to the phoenix like he was talking to a friend.
That was the reason that I found it uncomfortable riding B't Jet'aime. I felt I was riding a person. The fact that he sat behind me made it worse.
"Jet'aime is quite fast, unlike the usual B'ts you've been given to ride."
I nodded, not saying anything, afraid that my voice would give something away.
"Are you sure you don't need to hold unto anything?"
I shook my head.
In a flash, everything became a blur. I saw the main tower of the empire...the stations surrounding it…then the desert. I felt Jet'aime rounded a corner but I did not know why. All I knew was I almost fell and his hand was just there to catch me in time. Once he corrected my sitting position, he wrapped his right arm around my neck and shoulder and pulled me toward him.
"Daijobouka, Karin-san?" his lips grazed my ear as he spoke. His deep voice in its lowest whisper was husky to my ears. I wondered how I could hear his voice in all the noise that the wind was making. I felt slipping from Jet'aime again.
At last we arrived in his base.
I was still in a state of shock that I could not move my body. He was not kidding when he said that Jet'aime was fast. In fact I felt cheated because his warning was an understatement of the B't's speed. I became aware of how strong the legendary B't's and their donors are.
He tugged me by the arm and I fell on him. Like the good soldier that he was and still is he saved us from stumbling just with his foot. I could not even match his reflexes.
"Now, I believe that the empire trained you well."
I was still thinking of what he told me when I felt his lips pressed to mine. Several thoughts exploded in my head but they all melted as I melted into him. It was then that I started to dream that I was somebody important and we were in a different place. I was reminded of the music he played earlier that day. It started with a gentle note, then crescendo.
And it all stopped. It suddenly stopped in a single note, ever so gently pressed.
He looked at my eyes and I tried to look away but he held my head firmly
"What did you feel?"
I could not answer. How was I supposed to tell him that I—I…I felt my cheeks burn. He shook me. The teasing grin was gone. "What did you feel?"
What answer did he need? What answer would he like?
"I… I felt …I felt happy…"
For the first time I saw him smile. A genuine one. He patted my head. "You are not a doll, Karin so you should stop acting like one."
So it was all just a test…
Before I had the opportunity to wallow in my bitterness, Jet'aime spoke, "Fou-sama, the empire wants you to report."
He stopped patting my head. I felt being pulled, half-dragged since my feet did not want to budge. I felt frustrated, then blissful, and disappointed in a matter of hours.
"Wait for me here," I heard him say then I became aware that I was in a small abode. I saw his retreating back. He was going back to the war field.
The flying Jet'aime became a blur in my eyes. Maybe it was because of the desert wind, or the B't's speed…or more accurately because, for the first time, for as long as I could remember, my tears fell.
It has been three days since he left. I have welcomed myself in his abode, looked at his piano books and room, ate using his utensils, slept on his bed since it was the only one. I have welcomed the possibility that he won't return, that the Empire has found a better use for him since he was able to dispose of Karen.
Maybe he has a nobler duty more than taking care of me. I look out at the desert. It is still the same. I scan the skiers. Even the magnificent Jet'aime is not in sight.
I sigh. What will I give to see a red spot on the sky? Perhaps I will sacrifice being human and be a real doll? I guess by being such I won't be able to feel anything completely.
For the knowledge of feeling these emotions and learning that I am a human, I have given up the idea that I am invincible and no one can hurt me.
A gloved hand on my shoulder.
I grab it and prepare myself to carry the weight of whoever the intruder is…to be intimidated by fiery blue eyes. He is back.
"How have you been?"
"C-captain Fou…" I can only say, aghast because he is wounded all over. Blood is running across his chest. He smiles…
And he falls on my shoulder.
"My, my…Fou sure is strong," A raven haired guy in Chinese clothing tells his companion who is in an immaculate white coat. Both are looking at the punishment chamber where fou has been earlier.
Hokuto nods. "Three days of electric shock. No wonder he controls the lightning rod."
"Demoted, isn't he? Tsk. All because of Karen."
"You would do the same if you were in his place. I myself would not be able to kill Karen nor even bring myself to look for her."
Ron yawns, careful not to show his honest eyes, transparent of his feelings. He quickly diverts the topic. "At least he got her sister. When Aramis showed her, I almost believed that she was a doll. Good at hiding her emotions, right?"
"Whether or not she is a doll, only Fou can say," the doctor answers, smiling as he senses the slightest change of topic.
"He has got a good bargain."
"I am not sure about that. I think it only means that the empire still has a control on him and he knows it."
A/N: Yippee…after waiting for 10 years, I am able to publish a story about these two…hehe.