"LIKE AN OLD MARRIED COUPLE"
Sometime in the year 21XX…
Maverick Hunter HQ was home to a small army of Reploids- intelligent and semi free-willed robots- who willingly gave their lives to preserving world peace. Like any well-established group, they had their share of misfits and hotshots, some more famous than others… And then there was the duo of X and Zero- one was soft-spoken and with a heart of gold, the other battle-scarred and riddled with inner demons. They were the best of friends, often accompanying each other on missions. This did not go unnoticed, and it was only a matter of time before some of the other soldiers began to make slight comments about this dynamic duo.
At first, the jokes were harmless enough; someone once commented that X and Zero were like "an old married couple." Soon this comment would escalate into its own inside joke amongst certain soldiers. Someone would call out, "Zero is on the way," and while snickering they would reply, "Is he bringing the Mrs.?" Of course, which was the "Mr." and which was the "Mrs." would rotate, depending on whose name was mentioned first:
"Hey, do me a favor and take this report to Zero. I think the Mrs. will want to see it too."
"X is going on a special mission. He's bringing the Mrs."
"Alia wants to see Zero. I think the Mrs. is staying home tonight."
"Hey, guy? Can you help me get in touch with X?" "Sure thing, I'll just call the Mrs."
It was only a matter of time when the two soldiers would catch wind of this little joke. It would be a confrontation that all parties would soon regret.
One morning, the youthful Reploid named Axl was walking up to a receptionist's desk to deliver paperwork regarding his latest mission. To the female android behind the desk he kindly asked, "Can you make sure this goes to the captain's office?"
"Sure thing," she said.
"…It's really important."
"I'm sure it is, officer."
"'Cause I was a day late last time, and he threatened to demote me to valet if it happened again."
Feeling as though she was ignoring him, Axl snatched up his stack of papers. "You know what? Forget it, I'll deliver them myself."
As he walked away from the receptionist, a green-armored soldier was passing him by. From the soldier's perspective, he could see two distinct figures approaching, a blue one and a red one. He muttered to young Axl, "Heads up. The Mister and Misses are coming."
What the soldier didn't know was that Axl wasn't in on the joke. When Axl turned around and recognized the faces of his mentors, X and Zero, he was suddenly overcome with joy and shock. He dropped his all so important papers and dashed over to the older Reploids.
Catching his heroes by surprise, Axl threw his arms around them, his left around X;s side and his left around Zero's. "You guys!" cheered the auburn-haired teen. "When did it happen? Why didn't you tell me?"
"What happened?" blinked X.
"When did what happen?" echoed Zero.
Axl pulled himself off of them with the biggest smile on his face. "I always knew you guys made a great pair, but honestly, I didn't think you'd actually tie the knot! Congratulations!"
Eyes bulged and lips shrunken, X and Zero blinked twice. "…What?" muttered Zero in an unusually high pitched voice.
"That one guy over there just told me!" explained the youth, who pointed out the green soldier who was now trying to run toward the nearest elevator. "He said, 'Look the mister and Misses are coming.' And here you two are. I just assumed…"
"Wait… Me and Zero?" As innocent and naïve as ever, X turned to Zero with his eyes shrunk down to dots. "We're married, and you never told me?"
Zero's face flushed blue. "Nyuh- Tee- Wau- ARE YOU CRAZY?" As his fury rose, so did the puffiness of his hair, giving him the impression of a startled cat in fight or flight mode. His mouth gaped open with sharp fangs as he roared, "Axl! Who told you this? Show them to me. Now."
Just as the green soldier's elevator door swung open, a white glove with a red armored sleeve slammed it shut. The solider was now trapped between a wall and a very disgruntled Zero, with X and Axl standing by.
"Uhh… g-g-good morning Zero," stuttered the soldier, who couldn't hide his terror.
While trying to remain calm, Zero was no longer the sharp-toothed feral cat he was just moments before. Instead his icy blue eyes were narrowed, staring right through the hapless solider's visored helmet. "So X and I are a married couple. That's the rumor going around here, is it?"
"N-no, sir!" swallowed the solider. "It-it was just a joke, sir! We didn't mean any harm, honest!"
Zero's eyes narrowed even further, as though he was aiming for a target.
"It's just a harmless joke, sir. Everybody knows you two are inseparable, so it was easy to make the comparison."
"Just one question," said the red android with a deep breath. "Which one's the 'Mrs.?'"
The soldier's knees began to knock together, his teeth chattering, his hands trembling, a cold sweat beginning to stream down his neck. Only a miracle could save him now.
Suddenly, that miracle came in the form of X. The blue Reploid raised his hand like a child in a classroom. "I have a question: When's our Anniversary?"
"GODDAMN IT, X!" Zero turned his back on the ill-fated soldier to chew out his partner for just one second, more than enough time for the one in green to slip away. "You don't get it do you? These jerks have been laughing behind our backs for who knows how long! We can't let them get away with that!"
"He just did," frowned Axl, who motioned at the elevator door.
Zero looked back and realized that Axl was right; the culprit was gone, as was his chance to track down the other joksters.
After a moment of awkward silence, the innocent blue officer blinked his eyes and sheepishly stated, "I just feel bad for poor Axl here; I would have made him the best man."
"Right on, brother!" smiled the young Axl, who rewarded X with a high-five.
Zero, feeling defeated, lowered his head in humiliation. "I want a divorce."