A/N from A.C.: Oh my! It's been so long… I am saying that I'm NOT going to let this fic die. I promise! *firm nod* I want to finish this fic!

Two sets of crimson eyes went wide as the shot rang out in the small cave. Smoke from the gun rose and wavered in the air before being swept out into the fresh air. The cave was silent as shock sunk in before Nero dashed to where Weiss fell to the ground after jumping in front of the shot to save him.

"W- Weiss?" His voice was strained as he practically begged whatever gods may be out there that Weiss wasn't fading from the planet and into the Lifestream.

The white-haired man shifted a little, his fingers twitching a little as his head turned to the side. Foggy grey-blue eyes opened and stared into panicking crimson orbs. "Nero… Are you alright..?"

"What does that matter, Brother? You're hurt! He shot you!"

A faint smile spread over Weiss' pale lips, "I'll be fine, Brother… He didn't shoot me anywhere important… I just have to get back to the town... I need to get to a doctor…"

The raven-haired twin gave a small nod and scooped his brother up in his arms, standing to his full height and snarling at the would-have-been murderer. "Get out now unless you want to lose your life like you almost caused my brother to do!"

The stranger's cold eyes widened slightly and he said nothing as he turned on his heel and ran in the direction of the nearest town. The lights streaming through the trees vanished and reappeared as the man ran through and past them.

Nero stood up with his brother in his arms and started out of the cave, his mechanical wings flexed and the mechanics in his back whirred as he used his superior eyesight to find the small building that served as a hospital. He moved quickly, running around trees and jumping over fallen rocks as fast as he could to the building once he had found it. Once there, Nero noticed that his sibling had gone unconscious from the blood loss and the pain. He forced the door open, his intense crimson eyes settling on one of the people in medical outfits.

"Help! Now! My brother is hurt!"

Unconcerned with how the black-haired twin looked, the female nurse hurried over and looked Weiss over, speaking quietly, "He needs to get the bullet removed immediately, follow me."

Nero hurried after her as turned and walked off down a hallway and turned into a room. He silently put Weiss down on the bed and looked over at the nurse. "What… What will happen?"

She handed him a cloth, "Put pressure on his wound so it will stop bleeding."

He gave a slight nod and did as she said, holding the cloth to Weiss' stomach, pressing down on the wound.

"I'm going to get a doctor; they'll remove the bullet or do the best they can. We don't have an emergency room because we're just a small hospital. We'll help to the best of our ability, Sir."

Nero nodded once more and looked at her with sadness glistening in his eyes, "Please… can you get the doctor?"

The nurse went silent and left the room. Nero could hear her shoes as she walked away, he kept the cloth pressed against the wound on his brother's stomach. He whispered quietly, more to Weiss than to himself, "You'll be okay, Brother…. They'll fix you up and you can come back to live with me if you want… I promise I won't be mean to you again…"

He looked over at the door as he heard someone walk in, noticing that it was a doctor, Nero gave a small respectful bow. The doctor nodded in reply and looked at Weiss, "Young man… if you'd please leave so we can help your… brother?"

The raven-haired man closed his eyes and stepped away, "Of course, Sir… please help him."

With another little nod from the doctor, Nero left the small room as two nurses walked in. He sighed softly and went out to the waiting area, sitting on the arm of one of the couches so his wings wouldn't cause him any pain. He let out a soft sigh and looked down at his lap, drifting into his thoughts and memories as time passed slowly.

NWNWNWNWNW

Cold yellow eyes stared down at him as he tried to press himself into a corner of the room. He didn't want any more pain. He couldn't take any more. His scraggly black hair hung in his crimson eyes as he hung his head, trying to melt into the wall. He was only about eleven and he already had lost all the memories of his previous home.

"I have something to show you, Nero." The cruel voice purred alluringly at him. Deep in the back of his mind, the young child wanted to believe that he would get something nice from his new 'father' but he knew that was not the case.

Against his better judgment, he looked up at the scientist with a tiny smile, "What is it, father? Do I get a toy?" Of the four toys the boy had to play with when he was away from harm, only one of them worked.

"No, no. It's not your birthday."

Nero got to his feet as the smile faded, "My… My birthday was last week…"

The scientist nodded, "And you got a present."

The boy shook his head, "No! You made me get more of the tattoos! That's not a present, father!"

Chuckling low, the scientist took hold of the young boy's arm and pulled, tugging him forward a few stumbling steps. He took hold of Nero's chin, digging in his sharp nails, "My experiments are almost finished with you. I only have a few more tests… just a few more and then I'll let you go free."

Hope sparkled bright in the crimson orbs as they went wide and the boy stared up at his adoptive father, "Really? How… How long will the experiments take, father? Will I get to leave soon?"

A sly smirk curved the scientist's lips, "You will need to wait a few more years, Nero…"

"You… But you said I could leave soon!" The boy cried, "You told me soon!"

"Yes… Soon you will be free of this room and I will be moving you to a new one. Doesn't that sound wonderful?" The scientist let out a dark laugh and pushed the boy to the ground. He turned and walked away, his chuckles echoing off the walls of the near empty room.