So, like with a few of my other Aarias oneshots, I revised this one and made it better. I changed the POV, added a small part at the end, made them more in character and changed the categories.
Have fun reading and reviews are appreciated. ;)
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"Who would have thought, that Hall's toy robot would be his downfall?" Aaron hears Elias say in amusement as the teen lurks in the shadows, Elias thankfully not knowing he's here.
The momentary rest feels better than he would have thought; his legs are numb from running around town to avoid being roasted by those lasers, but now he's ready to end this game and put a stop to Elias' plans.
Business as usual.
Aaron jerks out of his thoughts and Elias walks closer to a monitor while S.T.A.N is striding towards a monitor. It looks too eager and too forced with a string of endless protests coming from his mouth that Elias remains indifferent to. Aaron knows it was the virus Elias had mentioned previously.
He's smarter than Aaron cares to admit; using the word virus as a double-edged sword so he'd be running around - literally - worried about a flu epidemic breaking out, when in reality, it's a computer virus designed to steal all of Hall's intel, changing his life in the way that the Omega Defiance would finally know about everything he holds dear.
Or worse than the Omega Defiance - Elias Powers himself. Aaron's often thought he's worse than all seven put together, and he knows Elias would probably admit that in a moment of smug narcissism.
Just trying to think about the intricate workings of Elias' borderline sociopathic mind gives Aaron a raging headache.
"You'll never get away with this!" S.T.A.N yells suddenly, Elias raising his eyebrows with a blank look on his face.
The virus walks S.T.A.N towards a monitor, near a large computer, with a few smaller screens surrounding it. They're off, but they're giving off incessant buzzing noises, driving Aaron absolutely mad. How Elias has stood that for all this time is slightly impressive.
"Please, this way," Elias says smugly, gesturing in front of him and grinning as he knows S.T.A.N can't do anything to stop himself. He watches S.T.A.N's frantic movements and his grin decreases into a smirk that sends chills down Aaron's spine.
"Stop moving!" S.T.A.N tries to order himself, trying to overcome the virus, but it's far stronger than he is and for a split second, Aaron's actually dreading that Elias is going to win this round. Win in a way that could be fatal.
"I order to you stop moving," S.T.A.N tries again, but as if to contradict himself, his hand is brought up, a USB port sticking out of his middle finger. "No!" Against S.T.A.N's will, his hand shoots forwards and plugs him into the monitor.
Aaron clenches his fist as S.T.A.N bleeps, the virus slowly but surely, leeching Hall's intel from S.T.A.N's servos; every mission he's recorded, everything about him, everything about the workings of Hall Industries as Elias is no doubt planning to undo it from the inside out.
"Know that in my mind, I am breaking Asimov's Law and pounding you," S.T.A.N spits at Elias, who chuckles and continues to watch. He seems to be delighting in the android's inner struggle. As more and more intel is sucked out of S.T.A.N, Aaron bites his lip.
What if Elias finds out who I am? he thinks to himself. He has to intervene before something happens, no matter how much Elias actually does frighten him.
Taking a deep breath, Aaron emerges from where he was stood, feeling oddly exposed. Thankfully, both S.T.A.N and Elias have their backs to him and Elias seems oblivous to him. Almost too oblivious.
"Powers." Aaron's voice breaks the silence and S.T.A.N turns to look at him, his eyes lighting up, while Elias doesn't move; his posture doesn't change and he doesn't make a sound. The fact his expression's hidden makes this all the more nerve-wracking.
"I'm here to beat the boss level," Aaron adds and Elias finally moves; throwing his head back as a mocking chuckle escapes his lips. He turns and looks Aaron dead in the eyes, making him swallow hard. He can't back down from this.
"Aaron Stone," Elias greets with a wry smile that soon turns into a sneer. "Interesting, but I've already won," he says confidently, and that would deter Aaron if he wasn't stood right here. But maybe Elias just wants the pleasure of finishing him off in person.
It's that thought that Aaron swallows hard at, and Elias notices.
"Game's not over yet," Aaron continues, trying not to let his voice shake. The malice in Elias' eyes is throwing him off; he looks capable of ripping the teen to shreds with his bare hands.
"It was the second I implanted the virus in S.T.A.N at the gravel quarry," Elias says, his voice sounding like hard edged steel. "Plus, you're on my turf now," he adds, again giving Aaron that chilling smirk.
Aaron just stays quiet.
"You really wanna play?" Elias asks as if he's speaking to a little five-year old. He chuckles dryly at Aaron's silence and picks up something from the unit beside him. "Let's see how you do against my laser scalpel," The brillant red glow of the laser flickers in Elias' eyes - giving him the look of the Devil - as he swipes it down a metal container splitting it clean in half.
Aaron tries not to let his fear show, but he can't help the brief moment where his eyes widen faintly in alarm. Elias seems almost insane in his quest to get that intel and it frightens him to think what actually went down between him and Hall all those years ago for him to hate the man, and anyone associated with him, to the point of wanting to kill him.
"You may have defeated me in Hero Rising boy," Elias hisses, fist clenching around the weapon he's holding. "But this game, is the only game that counts," he all-but growls, the green in his eyes seeming darker with the hatred he holds for the boy in front of him.
"When will you learn you can never defeat Aaron Stone?" Aaron taunts him, but Elias looks unfazed; he probably wouldn't be able to muster even an eye-roll if someone told him the world was going to end in ten seconds.
"Aha!" S.T.A.N suddenly yells from his corner, sounding triumphant and both Aaron and Elias look at him. "He said 'Aaron Stone'. You're in trouble now mister!" He narrows his eyes and Elias rolls his eyes, catching sight of Aaron's smirk.
"Please," Elias snarls and Aaron clenches his fists. "I've played the game perfectly," he boasts smugly, before lunging for Aaron.
Aaron ducks expertly out of the way, twisting up to stand where Elias was besides the table. Elias' eyes are narrowed and he looks ready to attack him again, almost beastial in his anger, like his teeth are going to tear him apart.
Aaron ignores it - as best he can - and pulls the small tracking device from his utility belt, bringing himself back into the fight. "Except, for this," he says as he holds the key up, it being his turn to be the smug confidentiant.
"The key's just a tracking device," Elias says, seemingly in disbelief. "I knew the gamer in you would never throw it away." Aaron's slightly scared about how he knows that, from only having one civil, maybe-not-so-civil conversation with him, but then again, he is dealing with Elias Powers, who is smart without the effects of a serum and terrifying without even trying.
"Exactly, because in videogames, even the smallest object" - Aaron pulls out the epoxy aersol with his spare hand - "can save the Hero." Aaron sprays a small surface of the table, Elias watching impassively, and slams the key down onto the already-drying residue.
Aaron presses on his headpiece, looking at Elias as if trying to goad him for a reaction. "Emma, the key's in place, turn off the scrambler," he orders, feeling a smirk almost identical to Elias' usual one curl up onto his lips.
Elias' eyes widen slightly and he moves forwards to the key, as if he cannot believe that Aaron's actually done that. "No! The satellite's gonna lock in on it and fire on us!" He grits his teeth and tries to pry the key off of the table, but the glue is too strong, even for him. Aaron feels sorry for a split second - he's not Elias, and actually can - but it's the only way to win and Elias would have no qualms about killing him to win.
"Strongest glue in the world," Aaron says plainly, the lack of emotion in his voice scaring him. "I guess it's your time to run now." He was nothing short of smug about that; about the fact he had gotten one over Elias.
Aaron turns his attention to S.T.A.N and kicks him hard in the side. He stumbles back as his finger with the USB connector rips from the monitor, severing the connection between him and the virus, and then realises he's back under his own control and a huge grin spreads across his face.
"Oh I'm me again!" he celebrates jovially, flexing his hands. "Oh glorious me!" He smiles, hugging himself.
"No time S.T.A.N!" Aaron grabs S.T.A.N around the shoulders and pulled him towards the warehouse's exit, turning to look at Elias, who is still set on removing the key from the unit, but he can't.
"I can't lose Hall's intel now that I've got it!" He growls out through gritted teeth, and Aaron isn't sure what makes him call out to him, but he's certain it isn't to do with his real identity being on those files.
Elias raises his head at that, anger in his eyes that rivals the Devil.
"You gotta get out of here!" Aaron urges him, in complete disbelief that Elias is willing to stay in a place which is going to go up in flames just because he wants some intel to destroy a man who is still to this day secretive about what he did to him.
"Never!" He's stubborn and his jaw switches in agitation before he starts insistently tugging on the key again. Aaron grimaces in a short-lived moment of pity, and opens his mouth to try and persuade him again, but S.T.A.N's hand on his arm pulls his gaze away from Elias.
"Aaron!" he says urgently, pulling him towards the exit, and Aaron looks back at Elias, trying to catch his eyes, but he can't. He's too far gone in the pursuit of revenge.
He sighs and finally gives up, letting S.T.A.N drag him out of the warehouse. Usually when he completes a mission, there's a sense of pride and accomplishment about him, but this time he feels nothing. Nothing except a gnawing feeling of guilt - that really shouldn't be for his enemy - that he's left Elias to a possible death.
The SSJ is hovering in the sky above Aaron and S.T.A.N and Aaron steals a glance at the warehouse - which is going to be engulfed in flames soon - before the tractor beam desends down and sucks them both up.
Aaron straps himself in as S.T.A.N begins programming the co-ordinates for Eastland, and why the hell Hall's maxiumum security prision had to have been in Indiana, Aaron doesn't know.
Suddenly, the Hall Industries logo brightens up on the screen and Mr Hall's voice sounds throughout the SSJ as S.T.A.N begins flying it.
"Aaron, congratulations on saving Dark Tamara, Vas and Ram and stopping Powers from stealing my intel. I'm very proud of you." The message ends and Aaron manages a small smile, but it doesn't feel right.
He turns around abruptly as something golden whizzes past the SSJ and cuts through the clouds. Aaron guiltily knows what it is, where its going, and what its target is. The sound of an explosion seconds after makes him wince; it's the warehouse. Even though Aaron can't see the warehouse, the sound of crackling of flames fills his ears and vivid columns of bright orange fire dance across his brain.
Elias is going to die.
But Aaron doesn't care, does he? Or maybe he does, even a little? He's conflicted right now, and doesn't know what path to choose. There's path A, leave Elias in the burning warehouse with the intel and letting him find out who he is on the off chance he survives, or there's B, go and save him.
He sighs and rubs a hand over his forehead as S.T.A.N continues to fly the SSJ over the clouds.
Elias may be on the wrong side, but Aaron knows he still doesn't deserve to burn to death. He remembers when Necros had come running to him asking for protection, and he was wary, but he had taken pity on him.
Aaron won't admit it to anyone's face, but as well as being scared of Elias, he pities him, often wondering how someone can become so angry and bitter, twisted by his own hatred, when he's actually supposed to be doing homework.
Aaron decides then and there he's going back for him. It'll probably come back to bite him in the ass later, but he doesn't care right now.
"S.T.A.N..." Aaron's voice trails off as he spots the android's power down button on the back of his neck.
"I'm sorry," he apologises quickly.
"Why are y-"
Aaron slams his hand into the back of S.T.A.N's neck before he can finish his sentence, and he emits a strange sound, before his head slumps forward with closed eyes. Aaron takes control of the SSJ's navigator, and sets the co-ordinates for the warehouse.
Once he's dropped down in front of it, the warehouse is completely engulfed in flames. Aaron can barely see the entrance; it's just a black smear in the constant flicker of brilliant orange flames. Elias is inside and Aaron steels himself before he walks inside.
Aaron breaks out into a heavy coughing fit as thick black smoke fills his lungs. The rational part of him wants to turn back and let Elias die to save himself, but the other part is making him stay.
Menacingly dark flames whip and flicker throughout the warehouse and Aaron wastes no time in running down the corridor he used to reach Elias and S.T.A.N a few moments earlier and he's thankful it's untouched by the flames.
But not for long.
He jumps and raises his gauntlet at the sound of a loud SNAP! A beam from the celling thuds down, and it's completely covered in flames. He looks around guiltily. He did this, it's his fault and he has to find Elias now more than ever.
Aaron's eyes widen as flames from the beam touch the floor, and begin claiming everything in it's path. He hopes Elias had came to his senses and left, but he was so stubborn when he denied your help, and how determined his green eyes looked while he was trying to get the tracking device off the table.
Aaron squint through the smoke as it billows into the main room and he sees a mess of dark brown hair splayed across the floor, arms lifeless and unmoving.
He rushes over to him and see he's trapped under the table which you glued the tracking device to. Elias is barely concious and there's several cuts on his face and a dark trail of blood starting from under his fringe.
Aaron crouchs down next to him and picks his head up gently, and there's a nasty cut down the side of his face, which continues to ooze blood. But as Elias has told him many times: He can't feel pain.
But it doesn't mean he doesn't need help.
Aaron carefully puts his head down and immediate relief washes over you like a tidal wave as Elias' eyes flitter open and he coughs quietly. His scarred, ashen face is lit up by the constant flow and build up of flames, which begin to slowly trail across the floor.
The lack of emotions there scares Aaron beyond belief.
"Aaron?" he moans quietly, his voice is cracked and barely audible. A faint growl comes from the back of his throat and he tries to glare at him, but he isn't even looking at him straight. "What the hell are you doing here?"
Aaron doesn't answer him and presses his feet to the table, his X5's propelling it a few feet away from the both of them. Elias coughs again and tries to stand up. Aaron bends down and helps him up, noticing again that he's trying to look at him, but he can't. Aaron looks carefully into Elias' eyes, and one's almost black, and the other has virtually no pupil.
His eyes widen as flames start to spread further across the floor, and crawl up the monitors which have Hall's intel in them. Aaron can't say he feels sorry, because he doesn't. If Elias and the Omega Defiance found out about him... who knows what would happen?
"What's more important?" Aaron calls to him over the roaring of flames. "The intel? Or your life?"
Elias just stays silent and thankfully lets Aaron pull him from the room without a fight, none left in him. They both walk through the cloud of black smoke, coughing and staggering and Aaron sees the door, running towards it while practically dragging Elias with him.
Aaron and Elias both make it outside just before the warehouse explodes into flames, pieces of metal and shards of glass flying everywhere, and Elias suddenly becomes heavy in Aaron's arms, collapsing onto the ground.
Without a moment of hesitation, Aaron crouches down beside Elias, gently turning him onto his back. He nearly reels; his injuries look worse in the natural light and a god awful gash that he didn't even notice before, looks ominous. Aaron hesitantly puts his hands on Elias' shoulders, recieving a faint groan in response, but he doesn't move and his eyes doesn't open.
As much trouble as he's going to be in for this, Aaron can't just leave him here. He won't.
Elias is none to pleased about waking up in a hospital the next morning though - "Idiots," he had murmured, rubbing a hand through his hair after a Doctor chided him like a young child for 'not taking care of himself' - and Aaron's wondering after about the third time he's growled obscenities at a Nurse, why he's actually stuck around. To see if he was alright? Why would he care about a dangerous psychopath that had threatened his family and tried to kill his friends several hours ago?
Apparently, that was the question on Elias' mind too. He sat up and looked at him, eyes - tired looking, yet quizzical. "Why did you come back for me?"
The teen looks down momentarily and bites his lip. He doesn't think he's ever heard Elias sound like that; his voice geniune without any malice or anger behind it; like he's actually shocked anyone can give a damn about him.
Aaron tries to stop sympathising with him, tries to tell himself that Elias isn't someone who knows the meaning of the word sympathy and does what he wants to suit his needs, but he can't. He saved him because...
He doesn't know.
Aaron just turns away, no doubt Elias is smirking at his brief moment of vulnerability; he honestly doesn't know.