Title: Mars: An Elseworld's Story (Revised)

Chapter 11: Kryoya and Bruce

Getting the kids out of the horrible building was step one. Step two was supposed to be loading them up into the transporters but that was delayed by the fact that they kept staring up at the sky. The Officials watched them and after a moment, Kryoya decided to ask Bruce, who seemed to be the most stable of the bunch. "What're they doin?"

The Lhix was then subjected to a most eerie-stare and had a feeling he was being sized up. Not surprising, given all that had happened - they'd probably have have intense trust issues for a long time.

Apparently Bruce found something he liked; his lips did that odd twitching thing as he answered, "A lot of them gave up hope of ever seeing the sky again." Blue eyes drifted upward. "For me...it's the first time."

Well if tha' donna add onto th'guilt I donna wha' will. "Whatcha think of 'er?"

"Isn't it...supposed to be blue?" He sounded confused, probably thinking of his home planet.

Malefic shook his head. "No. It's always this color around this time. Earlier in the day it's yellow."

"Yellow?" Bruce glared up at the sky as if insulted. "What kind of color is that?"

Kryoya took offense to that. Though not his original home, the Lhix had long started to think of it as such. A gruff sound rose from his chest, a show of annoyance. "Yea? Where y'from 'en?"

The fire in the blue eyes died quick, as if a breeze of wind had snuffed it out. "Nowhere." A short laugh. "My home doesn't exist anymore."

It was like being hit in the gut, hard to breathe, because Kryoya knew that look, had seen it in his own reflection for many a year until the pain of losing everything had finally lessened.

"S'rry t'hear tha'," he grumbled.

Though they didn't talk anymore for the duration of the ride, the Lhix couldn't keep his thoughts free of Bruce, a strange alien he had a lot in common with.

Curiously, the passion in the blue eyes was re-lit the moment a blood-curling scream rang out from Malefic's room. Bruce took off in the direction of the sound, Kryoya following close behind and silently cursing his luck. It figured that the moment the Boss stepped out to handle business that something like this would happen. The Lhix made it only a few moments later, just in time to hear a sharp, "Release him! Now!"

Not liking those words, Kryoya yanked back the curtain and hissed sharply, recognizing the stiffness of Malefic's form all too well. The Medihealer was keeping him immobilized with her mind. "Let 'im go!" he growled out. "Y'crazy? Kid's been tied down 'nough as is!"

"He started to attack me!" she argued, eyes flashing. "I had no choice!"

Kryoya turned to gaze questioningly at the younger Martian, who flushed."She tried to enter my mind after I told her NO! Of course I attacked her -she's just like Them!"

"If you had been listening instead of shutting me out you would have heard -"

"I will not have your disgusting thoughts inside of my head," Malefic spat, the hatred apparent in his tone, managing to tremble despite the hold. "Yours or any other h'wluho here. I don't have your perverted skills anyway!"

She sputtered at the insult. "H'wluho?! How can you even - our gifts are the envy of half the galaxy! And it's not perverted! "

Bruce smirked. "The ability to violate people with only a twitch of mental effort? Sounds like perversion to me." The air suddenly crackled with dangerous energy. "I will not tell you again. Release my friend now."

Either stubborness or blind confidence had the Medihealer scoffing. "Little one I am well beyond your skill set. Do not threaten m-" The rest of her words are swallowed, a harsh blow knocking the wind out of her, as well as sending her through the curtain to be slammed up against a wall. Air supply was cut off and she struggled to breathe, panic rising because the boy hadn't so much as moved.

Fearfully, she released Malefic just as the Lhix swooped forward, pressing his claws up against the boy's neck. "Bruce," he rumbled dangerously. "Release th'healer." Claws gently broke the skin to allow the venom entrance, just a mild sedative. "She let Malefic go, s'you do th'same t'her. Now."

He tensed as the blue eyes suddenly shifted to pitch-black. 'How messed up are ya?' Just in case, Kryoya allowed a bit of extra venom to seep into the boy's blood, relaxing at feeling the body go limp.

The Medihealer was released - well, thrown rather harshly to the floor but still, released. Heh. The little one seemed a bit angry at having been so easily subdued. Malefic was glaring something fierce from his position but he didn't lift a finger or say anything to help the boy out. Kryoya sighed and helped Bruce to a bed, mentally going through the explanation he was going to have to give M'yrnn when the little one tensed up and started to thrash about.

A rash broke out across his skin and Kryoya let out a curse, recognizing the symptoms. Little one was allergic to his venom?! Swearing, Kryoya ran off to get the antidote after a quick bark at them to stay put.

Malefic glared at the Medihealer the entire time, disappointed that she'd managed to get through the experience with her mind intact. It would have been so amusing, watching her scream and writhe...

"Why did One make you break out?" He couldn't help but ask, knowing that the Medihealer might think it strange, but so what?

Bruce smiled slightly. "He thinks it's funny."

The young Martian eyed the prone form warily, thinking back to how the twitching and changing of colors...A laugh escaped despite himself. "Well...it kind of was."

His friend snorted. "Glad you think so. Itches like crazy."

Kryoya came back with a large cup, a sheepish look on his face. "S'rry. Bu' it's y'own fault, attackin Medihealers an' whatno'."

"She deserved it," Bruce scowled. "I'm not sorry."

He sighed, rubbing a hand against the edges of his thick neck. "Look, y'think there's no'loads of people I wanna thrash abou'? Y'can't g'about thrashin everyon'. Kinna pisses 'em off an' then they go tryin t'get you back, an'tha' gets old aft'r a while."

Bruce actually looked thoughtful at those words, taking them into consideration. "So then I just don't leave them in that good of a condition."

Malefic nodded. "Makes sense to me."

Kryoya felt chills race up his scales again. "I think I'mma call your v'lmna an' let 'em know wha' happened. Drink this." He placed the cup on the side-table, giving the two a fanged grin. "He'll prob'bly freak, so ge' ready for tha'.."

As predicted, M'yrnn hadn't been pleased. "So not only did you almost kill a little one-"

"M'venom don' kill an' you kno' it!" he objected heavily, suddenly glad that he'd chosen to speak to the Boss outside and away from youngling ears. "Donna even go there! An' tha' was aft'r 'e ment'lly threw th'poor healer ou' th'room!"

Golden eyes flashed. "He was protecting my son -"

"Who attacked 'er for doin 'er job - no' very good bu' still -an' THEN called 'er a..." His voice lowered slightly. "A H'wluho."

M'yrnn fell back, agast. "Wait- what? That doesn't -he's Martian. I don't -why would he hate his own kind?"

That got him a disbelieving look. "R'lly? You tha' thick? Almos' all of th'people we took inta cust'dy are Martian. Kid's go' reason t'hate 'em."

His Boss sighed, walking over to sit on one of the nearby benches. "Malefic has never had our gifts but that didn't matter to us. We loved him regardless." His fists tightened, anger rising toward the bastards who'd taken his son and turned him into such an angry child. "And now he's this...do you know why I had to leave earlier?"

Kryoya shuffled awkwardly. "No' really. Saw y'had a talk with y'son an' then y'left f'r business." Even though Ti was more than capable of handling things on her end.

"I told Malefic about the Sickness, about Sha'sheen and Lhelum and do you know what he asks me? If it was fun watching them die." Hid his face in shame, admitting, "It was either leave or risk hitting him. He's this...twisted person that laughs at horrible things like the White Room and Sickness, hates his own kind and ...and I haven't the first clue on how to help him."

Normally M'yrnn was confident, sure on the right plan of action. Seeing his Boss so distraught was unsettling to say the least. "Jus'..I dunna. Jus' love 'im. S'what they all need. Love."

A bitter laugh. "Really? Then most of them are going to go without." Rubbed his face tiredly. "Almost all of them were orphans. The chances of a family taking in such a damaged child..."

"Even Bruce? Bu' e's ador'ble! Kinna Creepy bu' still!" The idea of the little boy being left to an orphanage didn't sit right with the Lhix . The kid needed discipline and stability, not less of it!

M'yrnn finally stood up, stretching slightly. "Your 'adorable' Bruce attacked a Medihealer. I doubt people are going to be lining up to take him in once that gets out."

"Bu' she wasn' even good at 'er job!" Kryoya protested as he followed his Boss back inside the building. "Wha' abou' you? Y'could take 'im in!"

"Absolutely not!" the Martian hissed, whirling around to glare at his Second heavily. "Malefic is twisted enough as is! I don't need that boy - whatever he is - tainting him even further. And what about J'onn? I have to do what's best for them."

Kryoya gawked. "Wha'ever 'e is?!" he repeated incredulously. "Wha' 'e is is a los', hurtin' child tha' needs a home!"

"Well he can find it somewhere else," M'yrnn stated firmly, shaking his head. "There's something wrong about him. He feels weird, more so than Malefic or any of the others."

The Lhix's ridges fluffed out, rage evident but forced himself to keep his voice low as they neared the ward that the kids were in. "S'instead of helpin' 'im, y'jus' gonna toss 'im aside? Leave 'im t'rot?"

"Take him in yourself if he means that much to you."

"I canna an' y'know it!"

M'yrnn stopped right outside the entrance. "So stop trying to guilt me into taking the boy; it's not happening." Palmed the door open and headed toward Malefic's room, relieved to see that his son was alone.

"We need to talk."

In his own room, Bruce laid on his floating bed, staring up at the ceiling and trying not to listen. After being separated from Malefic, no body had come to see or check up on him - not even a Medihealer. It was understandable, given what had happened and might have even been peaceful, were it not for the thoughts and whispers he could hear so clearly, as if they were being shouted right in his ear. About how 'wrong' he felt, a cursed freak that no body wanted to deal with. He could even make out the Medihealers arguing among themselves about who was to do his examination.

Their harsh words were confusing so he turned to his Creator for answers.*She was hurting Malefic, tried to break into his mind - how could they not expect me to do anything?*

One thought for a while (for it was just as puzzled as its Chosen) and finally answered, *It could be that the entire Martian race is like Them.*

Bruce glared at nothing. *So am I supposed to just let them hurt whoever they want?*

A rumbling laugh, the swirling mass growing in amusement. *Perhaps that is what they expect. But when have you ever conformed to fit expectations?*

He went to respond when Malefic's voice echoed throughout the wing. "WHO ARE YOU TO TELL ME WHAT I CAN AND CANNOT DO?!"

Without even thinking, he leaped out of bed and ran towards the room that housed his friend, pausing outside the curtain upon recognizing the shadows behind it. M'yrnn was talking to Malefic. Probably no danger then but... What if One was right and the entire planet really was just like Them?

So he decided to wait and see, just in case.

"We need to talk."

Malefic hated those words, the disappointing gaze that managed to get under his skin in a way that just wasn't fair anymore. "What about?" he snapped.

Golden eyes narrowed even further. "You know what. Attacking a Medihealer -"

"She was trying to get inside my head!"

"-calling her a H'wluho?" M'yrnn continued on as if not interrupted. "Those things are not acceptable. You cannot-"

"WHO ARE YOU TO TELL ME WHAT I CAN AND CANNOT DO?!" Malefic shrieked angrily. "You weren't there! You left me -"

"For a moment!" His fists tightened. "I left you for a moment!" Saw the flinch, how his son was trying to discretely move away, and struggled to calm himself. Right. Anger and loud noises would probably be bad for a long, long time. The Official cleared his throat and tried again. "I did not expect..I didn't know you'd be taken. And now that you're back - I can't let you go around calling people horrible names and attacking them. It's wrong. Don't you understand that?"

Malefic was now staring at him, head tilted oddly. Silence stretched between them for a bit and then, "Can Bruce stay with us?"

Great. Not M'yrnn got to have this fight with his newly-found son. "No. No he cannot."

As predicted, the younger Martian's face screwed up in anger. But then it smoothed out. "What if I say sorry to the Medihealer?"

"I'm sure she'd really like that. But Bruce cannot stay with us."

"But why not?!" Malefic exploded and a few things around the room started to vibrate nervously. M'yrnn took a careful step back, keeping his face passive even whilst he was internally freaking out. 'Malefic doesn't - didn't have this type of gift. What's happening?!' "Because I said so," he replied calmly, left hand deftly moving to his side belt.

The vibrating increased in size with the tempter tantrum, items falling off the wall to shatter noisily on the floor. "But he's - he can't - he doesn't have anything else! You're going to make him be alone! That's not right!"

Digging through the side pocket with only one appendage was more difficult than originally thought but eventually the device slipped into his hand. "Malefic," he kept his voice steady, level. "There is something wrong about that boy. I can't put my finger on it but he's not safe."

Had expected those words to start an even bigger tantrum and was fully prepared to activate the device, when Malefic surprisingly settled down. "Oh. Well that makes sense."

M'yrnn blinked. "It does?"

"Yes. I'll tell Bruce to work on it."

He sighed. "I don't -"

"Yes, yes, I know. He's too creepy." Malefic suddenly leaned back, a sharp grin taking over his features. "Bruce, be less creepy. Can you do that?"

The curtain suddenly moved back to allow Bruce entrance into the room and M'yrnn tensed, realizing that their entire conversation had been heard. Wasn't Kryoya supposed to be watching the kid?

Eerie blue eyes shifted upwards to stare at him. "I'm creepy?" There was just the faintest tinge of hurt but it was mostly swallowed by dark amusement.

M'yrnn scowled at the kid. "A bit, yes. Why were you listening in on our conversation?" Had it been Bruce or Malefic who'd been causing everything to shake? '

There went that strange not-smile again. "I dunno. Just being creepy, I guess."

Malefic snorted. "Don't let him fool you. He heard me screaming and ran to help again, am I right?"

It was Bruce's turn to scowl and there was just the slightest flush of pink to his skin that had M'yrnn almost reconsidering taking him in. He'd been trying to protect Malefic earlier, so obviously there was kindness to him... But the feeling, the chills weren't going away and J'onn was too fragile to be near someone like Bruce and not get tainted.

He doesn't have anything else! You're going to make him be alone! That's not right!

M'yrnn forced a wry smile. "Be less creepy, little one. It'll help. Malefic, by some act of the gods you've been cleared so...it's time to go home now. J'onn's waiting for us. Tell Bruce your goodbyes."

His son did, in the form of a tight hug. "Less creepy Bruce."

"I'll try," Bruce promised, voice soft.

M'yrnn forced himself to not look back.

/Author Note/

In case anyone is wondering, Bruce calls One a 'he' because to him that's what One sounds like. But One doesn't see itself as a 'he' because it has never been named, so One doesn't know what it is.

Could be both, but Bruce and I hear him as a 'he'.

And that was Malefic causing the items to shake and fall to the ground, not Bruce..