A Protomen fanfic by Neo Qwerty

The battle between Protoman and Megaman, in the City, had caused results no one would have anticipated. The bomb inside Protoman's body, implanted in order to take both sons of Light out with a single blow, had been suppressed, and had only done enough damage to be fatal, but repairable. When Wily had done so, he'd made sure to show Protoman the footage of the battle, of how his grief-stricken brother had reacted and something had broken inside, and then abandonned the City and its cowards for the deserted wasteland beyond its walls.

He had felt something, then, a tiny twist deep inside that immediately was washed away with fresh waves of impotent rage, and trembled in silence deep inside the body that was his, yet moving on the will of another. When Wily had decided to send him outside the walls of the City, he was enraged at being sent to hound his brother, but a small piece of him was hopeful that maybe something would happen. His hope found itself rewarded when he first realized that the farther away from the City and Wily's transmitters, the more easily he could ignore the pressing, haunting call in his ears for Megaman's blood, and the more easily his brother could draw him back into control of himself.

But nothing was easy. Wily had sent copies of him before, and not even the sight of Protoman's keytar had been enough to convince him. It had only been when he'd finally built up enough pent-up rage, accused of being an impostor one time too many, and screamed out that the grave the humans had been using for their martyr, to enable their fear and laziness, was empty and that Wily had brought him back to life again that his brother finally believed.

Their confrontations continued, but Protoman had seen that something had changed, that his brother's notes had been resolute once more, determined to break through. And they did, enough to break Protoman free of Wily's plague of lies and let Megaman move on. One battle in particular had caused a decisive shift; Wily's control had been stronger in the area, and the sons of Light had fought without mercy. His brother had fought, used every trick, and finally had been forced to use the Mega Buster to launch a shot right at Protoman's head. It had damaged his face, ear and vocoder, but had also damaged Wily's control device, reduced its efficiency enough that he could then keep Megaman in his sights longer before being driven to battle.

At first Protoman had thought that… This wasn't so bad. For all their battles, for how damaged both he and his brother were, for how twistedly he'd "grown" under Wily's control, and how neither of them could tell when he'd next lose himself, they had managed to salvage something almost healthy. Protoman ghosted after his brother as the other wandered the world, a lingering presence that was ally in one moment, enemy in the next, but always there, ignoring Wily's orders to return for repairs.

They'd pushed themselves beyond their limits after a battle, and then the rain had fallen on them, seeping into wounds and causing them harm. Seeing Megaman in obvious pain had been more discomforting than usual, although, reflecting back on it now, he wondered just how fucked up he was to want to be the only one to cause him pain. He'd slung the guitar over his back, resting heavy against his own keytar and hidden from the rain by his worn, old poncho, and then dragged his brother into an abandonned, creaky little wooden shed for shelter.

And then, after his brother had laid down, giving in to utter exhaustion, and Protoman had sat on the floor, shifting with the uncomfortable weight of the two instruments pressing against his back, the unknown arrived. It came, unfurling slowly from under the driving force that his anger and hate and grief formed, barely visible to him but there, as surely as anything else. The softness and strength of it made it all the more alluring as it warmed him, slowly, and dared him to move closer.

He'd almost given in when fear made him stop and hesitate. He was no more familiar of fear than he was of that unknown emotion, but the concept of fear was a bit more familiar. He knew that fear was what kept the humans from fighting against Wily, that fear had been the reason Light had wanted to cage Megaman and hide the truth from him, that fear was why Wily wanted to have control over him so badly. He tasted it for the first time, and found that it dulled his ressentment and frustration at the humans and his father, if only a little.

But Protoman was not ruled by fear, not even one of the unknown. He simply used it as a form of temperance, used it to rein himself in and simply stare at his recovering brother, supressing impulses he did not understand. He let his eyes roam over his brother's form, looking more fragile than his own in that old army coat, examined him carefully for the first time. He gazed at what he could see of his brother's face from under the helmet, looking at the colored skin and soft lips, his eyes closed and lightless in sleep.

His brother's voice, strong and defiant and free, even through pain and grief, came out of that body. The one thing he'd always been able to hear through Wily's poisonous noise snaking through his neural circuits, even if he was helpless to react and call back to him sometimes, came from that body. Another unknown rose, this one draping itself over him, stilling the fear, and sent a refreshing wave through his body.

He moved carefully, crawling with small movements and trying to avoid triggering Megaman's sensors and proximity alerts, until he carefully laid down on his front, close to his brother and with the heaviness of their instruments pushing against him, strangely pleasant. At some level, he understood that the presence of the guitar and keytar would impede his movements, should Wily decide to control him while he slept and his defenses were relaxed, and give his brother the time to counter the attack, but this seemed like it was more than that.

Protoman reached out slowly with a hand, sliding his forearm until he just barely brushed against one of the sleeves of his brother's coat, and then fell still, pacified for the moment. He let his eyes grow heavy, recalling his brother's voice ringing out, always clear and true and vibrant, and let out a slight exhale. Shivers raced down his spine, even though he felt warm, and settled as a weird, comfortable weight deep and low inside him, just as he fell into stasis mode.

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