A/N: This story was a prompt giving to me by Jameis. It's my first time writing Van/Raven, and I tried to keep them as in-character as possible. Please feel free to review! I own nothing.
"I'm getting tired of this shit!"
"Van, calm down. It's only been half an hour."
"You don't get it Fi, I'm tired of being the only one out to take care of sleeper zoids when I should be doing some high-top, high-class secret Guardian Force shit! Besides, where's Thomas? He was supposed to back me up by now!"
"Thomas sent us a message saying he would be a little late. Herman has him running an errand to New Helic City."
"He's probably getting all the attention and praise from the Madame President while I'm out here fending off some stray zoids," Van huffed as he leapt the Blade Liger far into the sky to land down on a Hel Cat, cracking its machinery and snapping its control systems. Van jumped off the Cat, and raced around to begin firing at a Command Wolf.
"Van, that's not very fair," Fiona frowned. "Thomas is a hard-worker, and if he could be here to help, I know he would be!"
"The only reason that idiot would be here would be if you were in danger. I don't know why you don't just tell him upfront how you feel," Van whined as he blasted the Command Wolf just in time for four more to surround him and commence firing.
"Because maybe I don't want to let him go," Fiona pouted. "Thomas is a gentleman, and he treats me far better than you do half the time."
"What's that supposed to -" Van was cut off as the zoids started firing on him.
"Fiona, hold on!" he shouted as he tried to fire open a hole in the surrounding.
"Van, we can't get through!" Fiona replied as a second brigade of zoids surrounded the first circle, all firing at the Blade Liger. "Van, we're taking on heavy damage!"
"Zeke, get us out of here!" Van shouted.
Zeke grumbled in response; "What do you mean you can't get us out?" Zeke grumbled again, and Van cursed.
"Zeke, take Fiona out of here!"
"Van, no! You need Zeke's help -"
"Zeke, get her out of here!" Van shouted as warnings started flashing on the Blade Liger's control system.
"Van, this is ridiculous, you can't - "
She was cut off as Zeke took her and blasted out of the zoid.
'How are these sleepers so powerful?' Van thought as he leapt the Liger high in the air in an attempt to escape. However, a powerful shot from a GunSniper froze the Liger's controls, sending the zoid crashing to the ground. As Van hit the ground screaming, the zoids continued to fire at the Liger, causing the controls system to catch on fire. Van struggled to free himself from the cockpit, but as he pushed at the ceiling, the cockpit wouldn't open. He knew Zeke wouldn't have left the Liger unless the situation was dire, and as much as he had hated to use it, Van had needed to use his master-sense against Zeke. Organoids were naturally born to serve a master, and since Van had befriended Zeke and awakened him, Van was, in an Ancient Zoidian sense, Zeke's master.
"Zeke!" he called out, but his voice came out in a cough as smoke filled the cockpit. "Zeke!" he tried again. As a Command Wolf began stomping on the Liger's side, Van tried one last time to push on the cockpit before an electrical shock from the Command Wolf surged through him, causing him to scream.
As Van drifted off into unconsciousness, he heard Fiona's scream.
Van could hear the faint sound of rushing water from somewhere below him.
'What happened to me?'
He could vaguely remember being surrounded by a gang of powerful sleeper zoids when he had heard Fiona's scream.
"Fiona?" Van asked as he struggled to open his eyes.
"Fiona this, Fiona that. Whenever I see you, you're always going on and on about that Zoidian. I don't get what's so special about her."
Van opened his eyes and found himself lying on a cot in a small cave, most likely dug into the side of a cliffside. Inside the cave there was a lantern hanging on the wall, a box of medical supplies and food, and another cot on which a shadowed boy sat.
"Raven?" Van asked as he tried to sit up.
"Don't bother getting up. Those sleeper zoids not only shocked you, they bruised a couple of your ribs and forced you to sprain your right wrist. You need time to heal."
Van subconsciously tried rotating his wrist only to meet a horrible sense of pain. Gritting his teeth, he moved his left hand to his waist, and realized his knife was missing.
"You took my weapons, I see."
"Of course. I may have saved your life, but I'm no soft idiot like some of your friends."
"You saved my life?" Van asked as he propped himself onto his elbows. This was the first time he had seen Raven in months, and to be honest, the boy looked different. Examining the dark-haired man, Van saw that Raven had grown a lot in the last few months. His voice had gotten even deeper, his eyes had a different shine to them, and his body...
Raven interrupted Van's musings by taking a swig from some kind of dark liquid and nodding. "You were outnumbered badly."
"I've been against worse before," Van smirked.
Raven raised an eyebrow but said nothing as he straightened up. "They were obviously being controlled by someone. Hiltz?"
"Maybe. His organoid Ambient certainly has the capability to control that many zoids. I should phone in to Herman."
"No can do, Van. I don't have a radio, and you know as well as I do that Herman would send his men in to arrest me on the spot and I don't look good in those prison jumpsuits."
"You still haven't told me how and why you rescued me," Van reminded him.
Raven smirked as he reached into his medical container and took out a roll of bandages and a pill.
"Take the pill for the pain, and remove your shirt."
"Wow Raven, I didn't know you were into that kind of kinky stuff," Van smirked.
Van thought he saw a faint blush on the man's face as Raven shook his head and kneeled beside Van.
"The pill is for the pain, and I need to redo your bandages. I'll explain everything as I fix you up."
"Why should I trust you? You've tried to kill me on several occasions, remember?" Van quipped.
"If I wanted you dead, I would have let those sleeper zoids kill you, or I would have thrown you into the river while you were unconscious," Raven replied.
Van took the pill and a small cup of water from his supposed rival and downed both in a single gulp.
"Feel better?" Raven asked, his shining lavender-purple eyes sparkling slightly.
"Yeah, actually," Van rotated his wrist slightly before swinging at Raven. However, the boy caught his fist before it collided with his face, and the two of them glared at each other for a few seconds as Raven held the boy's fist in his own. Van's face contorted in pain as Raven squeezed slightly, causing a wave of anguish to travel through Van's injured wrist. Raven gently pushed back on the other boy's arm, not letting go even as Van lowered his arm to his side. Their eyes never left each other's.
"Van, you're hurt, and until you are 100% better, I cannot let you out of my sight. Your organoid and Fiona are fine, and I'm guessing when they regain consciousness they will be on their way to the nearest base. They'll probably start a search party out for you, but I know you, Van. You don't want to return to a base where you can sit around being used by other people all day. You want to find the person who attacked you, and to be honest, so do I. Why don't we form a temporary alliance, Van?"
"What's in it for you?"
Raven smirked as he let go of Van's hand and leaned back on his haunches.
"Whoever attacked you, whether it's Hiltz or not, has a great deal of power over zoids. If I can obtain his organoid for myself, or whatever his power source is, then I will have the power in these parts, and everything will go back to the way it was."
"Way it was?" Van ventured as he stifled a yawn. The drugs were making him sleepy.
"When you were the most renowned and respected military hero in all of Planet Zi, and I was your Number One Enemy."
"You're power-hungry, Raven. You always were."
"You're wrong, Van," the boy whispered as he moved to lift Van's shirt up slightly to reveal the blood-stained bandages. "Our rivalry was never just about power."
Raven watched as Van drifted off to sleep. Raven tenderly peeled off a few of the old bandages, trying not to marvel at Van's abs. They were the same age, had experienced relatively the same training, yet Raven could simply not figure out how Van had such a better-built body than him. Van had a six-pack going for him, whereas Raven still had some of his baby-fat. It simply wasn't fair.
Van had everything Raven wanted.
Van had grown up with a family and a town who loved him and cared for him. Van had friends and a permanent home he could always return to.
The only two things Van and Raven had equally were organoids that truly cared about them, and saw them as more than simple masters...it was a fact that took Raven a long time to learn.
Re-bandaging Van was easy, but the emotional toll was what was killing Raven. When he had been patrolling through the area with Shadow, looking for some poor pathetic soul to rob or something, the last thing Raven had expected was to stumble upon Raven's Blade Liger being ambushed. As soon as Raven had appeared at the scene, however, the sleeper zoids had all took off in flight, as if they were afraid of the boy. Raven had driven his Genosaurer down to where the Blade Liger lay, and examined the damage. Van's organoid and Fiona were lying unconscious about a mile from the Blade Liger, but Raven didn't care about them. They were of no use to him. Allowing Shadow to briefly take control of Van's Blade Liger, the black organoid popped open Van's cockpit. As Van's body had fallen out of the zoid, Raven had easily caught him and carried him away in the Genosaurer.
'I should be able to get a nice ransom for Van's body and still be able to figure out who was behind this sleeper attack,' Raven thought with a smile as he finished Van's wrappings. Sitting back, Raven took a closer look at his sleeping enemy.
The Guardian Force had truly done wonders for Van's body, and Raven couldn't help but feel jealous.
A quiet rawr at the entrance of the cave led Raven to wave a hand in greeting.
The organoid moved over to stand beside Raven. Slowly the organoid moved down to sniff Van's body before rearing back and growling.
"Relax Shadow. He's too badly hurt to do anything to try and escape. We've got him right where we need him."
Shadow growled again and moved over to snack on some fruit in the corner of the cave while regarding Raven and Van warily.
Raven lowered the boy's shirt and watched Van's face for signs of movement.
"The greatest hero on Planet Zi, and he's sleeping like a baby."