Stray Dog

What she finds herself doing is something only for the bored, the insane, and the masochistically stupid. Zero would have never considered herself any of the three. She had never considered herself anything, before, really. Maybe the last one fits now. It's certainly a good description for her passenger, at least.

Awed and whispering, the little one shifts inside her heart, almost on tip-toe. "Look!" Twisted underneath and between the bottom of a ridge, their skull hits dead rock when her chin shoots up. Any discomfort disappears immediately, purple eyes locked onto a trio of black boulders down below. Thick, lava-like veins weave across their surface, bulging with life. The lines pulse steadily with an orange glow, regular like a heartbeat. "Are they going to hatch?"

There's so much warmth! Zero knows her companion is excited, though she can't figure out the other emotions just yet. She desperately wants to. They feel good. But she knows to be the voice of reason before Nora talks her into doing anything. "Not touching."

"I know." Annoyance. And a persistent desire to do just that. Zero realizes she's smiling –both of them- and thinks they've stayed long enough. There are no dragons here to see, maybe luckily, and she has no desire to be found in one's nest when they come back.

Even backwards, climbing back into the cavern proper is only a little harder than it had been getting out. In the dark, her little one's mind tries to nudge closer to her own without being noticed. Zero returns the sensation with something like a hug, catching a hint of exhaustion. "Go home."

The dark haired girl's arms prickle, hairs bristling. "Don't wanna."

Something's off. Doesn't sound right. Still, Zero tries anyway, pushing before Nora can dig in and root herself in place. Letting her go to sleep here had ended badly before, and the thorny memory still squeezes the older girl's heart painfully. It hurts now, in fact. "Walk's long."

"You promised to let me see one!"

Suddenly, the feeling of hair brushing against her face and fingers twitching inside metal gauntlets is magnified tenfold. So is the way her body shudders, disturbingly because that's never happened before, arms moving to cross themselves in a makeshift hug when the full force of the cave's draft catches Nora by surprise. She's not used to being tall and it's not usually dark when they're together, so startled lips are already trying to ask for help. "Ah-" Eyes readjust to the lack of light, somehow able to see the cavern floor far, far down below and how irrationally small the foothold they're on is just before they tip forward.

Zero pulls the younger soul back gently, barely snagging her out of their shock before it's over. Not much time is left to land upright and the fighter's just relieved they don't end up speared on one of the many stalagmites snarling up from the cave floor. Uneven rock slams into her back with an uncomfortable crack anyway, jaw and everything else rattling. It feels like something important has snapped behind her and one hip is definitely too high compared to the other one, lurching up over the bottom of her stomach to glare at her for treating it so roughly.

"I'm sorry!" Terror, guilt that seems to be cracking her chest open from the inside. Unable to hide anymore, an aftertaste of salt and deep loneliness comes to the forefront full-strength, dragging its way through everything slowly. "Please don't get mad. I didn't mean it. Let me stay. I.. I d-don't.."

Zero's eager to do anything to make the deep-seated ache resonating with the pain in her bones go away, opening her mouth maybe a little too quickly. The short slip of being a marionette has made her uneasy, even if the puppeteer is the little girl she's turning inward to wrap up in hopeful arms now. "It's fine."

Reassurance only seems to make things worse, and Nora's crying again while Zero holds tighter, a jolt stabbing through her shoulders. "Stop."

"Hic.. p-ple..ease. I-I'm s-sorry!"

Just worse and worse.

An: So, instead of studying or working on SL, I end up wasting time with this. Just a little nothing snip born of the desire for cuteness and the question "what happens when other people kill Dragon Slayer's dragons?" Didn't get quite that far though and the cuteness kind of died. As for why I picked Ninja Zero Two and random young OC... they're just unlucky.

Whether this continues as its own thing or turns into a kind of dump for refining ideas I'd like to use elsewhere who knows? *shrugs* Likewise, any connection to other fics is questionable at best. Enjoy if you can.

Disclaimer: ... anyone going as a lawyer for Halloween?