A Mega Man X related fanfic by
Kia Purity

Note: This is my first lousy attempt at a MMX fanfic and if it sounds like it's not quite MMXish, hit me. :P This supposedly takes place after MMX4 or so... but cripes, I haven't played either MMX4 or MMX5 o_O;;;

(X, Zero, Doctor Cain, and pretty much any references to MMX are copyrighted by Capcom. Damaru, Fruit Tree, Pine Tree, Zexandra, Seth, and any one else who doesn't sound MMX-ish belong to me. =P) 

    A purple haired figure was standing amongst the smoke steaming from the recent explosions with maverick pieces scattered all over. The figure turned off the gleaming light sabre and shoved it back on the hip, bending over to examine the remains. A light flickered on the chip as the hand grabbed it.
    "Maverick confirmed."
    The most disturbing thing was that the logo on the chip was concealing something written on the chip. Determined to uncover this, the figure scrapped away the logo and blinked at the words.
    Mavericks will  
    Rest of the words were damaged by the explosion so the figure shook its head at the chip and shoved it away in a portable case in the armor. The figure activated the communicator and exhaled, waiting for some kind of connection.
    "Damaru, is that you?"
    "Affirmative. Status report: I may need some repairs due to the recent battle with a maverick. Located the maverick chip and there's something suspicious about it."
    "Oh? Alright, bring it in for analysis."
    "Orders confirmed. Will be there immediately."

    Doctor Cain sighed loudly and banged his head against the wall. "Why does Damaru have to sound like a machine?"
    "Because she's a reploid?" One of the assistants called out.
    "...reploids can THINK for themselves... and have some emotions. Although, the ones I made... aren't exactly like X and Zero."
    "Oh yeah!" The assistant quickly whisked out of sight as Doctor Cain sweatdropped.
    "Still, Damaru refuses to reveal the name of her creator... but I have a strange feeling that she is somehow connected with these two other reploids."
    Doctor Cain fell over at the valley girl sounding voice coming from a pink haired reploid named Fruit Tree. "Hello to you too, Fruit."
    "Doc! Hehe! What's up with Damaru-chan?"
    "She's coming... Fruit, I expect you to be able to get the repairs ready for her."
    "Ooh! She got hurt?" Fruit Tree gasped in sheer horror. "How badly injured is she?!"
    "Fruit! Are you giving him any problems again?!" The annoyed voice blared through the halls, knocking both Doctor Cain and Fruit Tree over.
    "HI PINE!"
    Pine Tree twitched at his older sister, obviously annoyed with her airheadness that was bubbling at the moment. "Anyways, Fruit, why don't you find something useful to do?"
    "O'tay!" Fruit trotted off merrily with a huge box of medicinal supplies.
    Soon after Fruit left, Damaru entered the room as Pine and Doctor Cain stared.
    "Where's Fruit?"
    "...Fruit? She walked past."
    "That idiot!" Pine groaned. "She was supposed to help you with your repairs."
    "I don't need any help. I'm fine." Damaru pulled the chip out and dropped it besides Doctor Cain. "Here's the chip. Anything else?"
    "That's all, thank you."
    Pine Tree and Doctor Cain both watched Damaru whisk out of the room in an instant.
    "I'd have thought she was the type to go maverick." Pine groaned. "Except she's just... I don't know... I wish she'd be more emotional sometimes... perhaps that's a programming error."
    "Let's just say that... my creator's brother goofed up."
    "Uh... yeah, didn't you know?"
    "NO!" Doctor Cain yelled at Pine, sending him crashing to the ground.
    "Uhhh... well, Zexandra Pepper's brother Seth is Damaru's creator. However, Seth did something that Zexandra wasn't able to do with Fruit Tree."
    "A sane reploid?"
    "That too... and... reliability."
    "How nice! It'd be so nice to depend on reploids who can do things around here instead of that loopy Fruit."
    "WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" Fruit shrieked through the halls, riding on a little cart. "This is fun!"
    "My point proven." Doctor Cain grumbled.
    "What's up?" Zero shuffled into the room, narrowly dodging Fruit. "Everything still insane around here?"
    "How many mavericks have you killed?"
    "Uhm... about ten... found nothing though."
    "Damaru found a chip." Doctor Cain pulled out the chip. "It looks like Sigma's not quite dead."
    "..." Zero face faulted. "You mean the dork's still alive?"
    "Unfortunately... it MAY be Sigma or not... I'm not really sure about the chip. It seems to indicate that he's alive or that someone's in a higher position."
    "Uh... we're screwed." Pine sweatdropped.
    "That's nice..." Zero muttered. "Any others back yet?"
    They heard a loud scream and a high pitched giggle out in the hall and everyone sweatdropped.
    "Fruit has captured a victim."
    They peered out into the hall to see who Fruit had crashed into... unfortunately, it was X.
    "WHEE-HEE! X-chan! Sorry 'bout dat!" Fruit hopped off of the cart and helped X off the floor. "The brakes broke on my car!"
    "... uhhh..." X blinked, looking at Fruit, somewhat warily. "Uhmm... just don't run over me again."
    "O'tay!" Fruit picked up her cart and bounced out of the hall and yes, she bounced.
    The males in the area except for Pine suffered from a nasty nose bleed and a case of red faced-ness.
    "Cleaning up crew!" Pine sighed and hit the button to activate the robots who would have to clean up the mess. "Fruit, you fruit!"

    Damaru was sitting on the roof of the Maverick Hunters Headquarters, over looking the city.  She pulled her blue ribbon out of her hair and looked up, sighing.

    "Mama! Papa!" The younger version of Damaru was running through the flower field in a forest. "This place is so pretty, can we live here forever?"
    "Of course. Anything you wish, Kristis."
    "Thanks so much! I'm going to be so happy here..."

    "Going to be so happy..." Damaru sniffed and cried. "Happy... happy? False feeling! I should've known that everyone would die... that I would be dead too... if it wasn't for him who resurrected me in this body..."
    "You alright?"
    Damaru turned around, gaping at Zero. "..."
    "I heard you crying. What's going on?"
    "Nothing. It's just nothing." She barged past him but didn't have a chance to take another step because Zero grabbed her in an instant.
    "It certainly doesn't sound like nothing if you're crying over a past. Now, tell me because you've stirred my curiosity."
    "No. My past is nothing of your business, Zero. You should know."
    "Even so..."
    "You're shutting up like this. Stop it. I know you're a good reploid and all... but you're so locked up. So emotionless."
    "I have my reasons." Damaru narrowed her eyes. "Emotions are only a weakness."
    "No, they're not! You're abusing yourself."
    "Are you following me around just because I'm out on the battlefield? Face it Zero, I am not Iris. Nor her replacement. So un-hand me!"
    "..." Zero relaxed his grip on Damaru and looked away. "...I know... but..."  Once he looked up, Damaru was nowhere to be seen as he sighed. "I was never looking for a replacement."
    "What happened?" Fruit peered out of nowhere.
    "She jabbed me with some sharp words." Zero shrugged and turned around to leave. "If you see her, tell her that I wasn't even looking for a replacement... also, tell her that she's very skilled in choosing weapons of pain."
    "Love hurts!"
    Zero bugged out at Fruit.
    "Yeah! You two make a good couple! Zero and Damaru make babies!"
    "...You fruit!" He sweatdropped and fled from a loony Fruit singing a song about Damaru and Zero in the tree.

    "Doctor Cain... why is Zero hiding in the closet?" X looked around. "Did something happen to him?"
    "Fruit Tree scarred him for life once again."
    "What did she do?"
    "...you had to ask?" Doctor Cain put on a pair of earmuffs. "X, can you do something about Fruit?"
    "I don't want to... the last time I tried, she sung about me and Zero."
    "FOR GOODNESS' SAKE!" He fell over at X's comment. "Shut her up before we have a maverick Damaru on our hands."
    "O-o-okay!" X sweatdropped and ran out into the hall, searching for Fruit Tree.
    Soon after, there was a muffled sound and some clattering sounds along with a couple of screams.
    "..." Doctor Cain peered out in the hall to watch Zero flee as X hammered the closet door shut. "Is everything under control now?"
    "I think."
    "You think? I'm not going to ask again."

    "One of these days, I have to figure out what draws everyone to the roof." Pine grumbled, sitting on the roof. "Memories always seem to come out on this roof..."

    "Someday, we'll get to visit Kristis and her cool cottage in the forest, don't you think so?"
    "Huh?" Pine looked up at a younger Fruit. "When are we going there?"
    "In about a hour. It'll be so nice to see our cousin again."
    "I suppose so..."

    "Oh man... now I remember clearly. We were all little kids when we..." Pine was interrupted by a blast flying at him, smashing him in his stomach. "UNGH!"
    "Heheheh." A voice cackled. "My, my, we have a surprised Christmas Tree."
    "PINE TREE."
    "Whatever. You're going to be a part of the new army! Our new army!"
    "Who cares." Pine Tree slammed the door in the enemy's face, sending him falling off of the roof.
    "DAMNIT~!" The enemy landed in a trash heap. "I'll get you, Christmas Tree! I swear or my name's not Electric Bee!"
    "You suck."
    "..." Electric Bee sighed and climbed out of the heap. "I'm serious."  When he got no reply, he shook the trash off his wings and fluttered home in defeat.

    "Can I have some medic assistance?"
    "Why... what the hell happened to you?" X stared at a gaping hole in Pine's armor with a chunk of bleeding flesh.
    "I got surprised by a stupid maverick named Electric Bee. I'll go to the med cente---" Pine Tree passed out.
    "Lovely. Help me." Doctor Cain gestured to X. "We gotta get him there as soon as possible."

    "What's the commotion?" Damaru peered out of her bedroom at the reploids who were crowding around the med center. "Hey, people..."
    "Oh! Damaru-san. Pine Tree got shot."
    "He's losing his fuel!"
    "He's about to be terminated!"
    "..." Damaru grunted and shoved her way into the med center. "Alright... PERRY! What the hell happened?"
    Pine's eyes flew wide at the name. "...Kristis?"
    "What the hell?" Doctor Cain looked at Damaru.
    "Nothing... is Pine alright?"
    "He's repaired and all ready to go but he need some rest." The tech sighed and finished wiping away at the dried fuel 'blood'. "Damaru, will you watch over him?"
    "Affirmative... come on, Perry..."
    After Damaru and Pine left the room, Doctor Cain wrinkled his nose. "Now, why does these two names sound familiar?"
    "I don't know?" X offered a somewhat of a helpful answer.
    "X, why don't you go and release Fruit and inform her of this situation, maybe she'll CALM down."
    "If that's even possible."
    "I'm sure of it. Pine is her brother after all, the older sister thing will kick in. And hard enough."

    "PINEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" Damaru grimaced at Fruit's loud shrill as she hovered over Pine. "PINEPINEPINE! Are you alright?"
    "Pine? Who's Pine...?"
    "... You are Pine!" Fruit started to whimper and cry.
    "No... I'm not... what are you talking about, Berry?"
    "Berry?" Fruit blinked, bewildered at that name. "Who's Berry?"
    "This is stupid!" Damaru threw her hands up. "Fruit, don't you remember?"
    "... You really don't? Maybe you were programmed to forget the incident... I can see why..."
    Pine was staring at the armor as if he had never seen it at all in his life. "What is it? Can I remove this?... it feels odd..."
    Damaru glanced at Fruit. "You gotta watch over him, I'll find the person who blasted him."
    "WHOA, hey! You're only THE cousin! I'm the older sister, it's my responsibility."
    "Even so, you're useless in battles." That statement was like a slap across Fruit's cheek as she flared angrily at Damaru.
    "I am not useless. You're the PUSHOVER. Because you feel like you have to be the protector... well, why don't you just shut up for once and consider people's feelings?!"
    "...feelings are useless."
    Damaru's head snapped at the sudden punch and nearly fell to the ground but maintained her stance. "...That was a good punch."

    Zero somehow managed to escape from the building for a moment to gaze upon Iris' grave.  He knelt before it and placed a single flower on it, lowering his head.
    "I wonder if it's peaceful for you there. It's been crazy lately what with the three reploids that arrived... they're a bit odd. I still remember all the times with you and I regret not having cherished them sooner. I'll be back here, same time, same day, ok? I gotta get back to the headquarters before they send out a search party for me. Talk to you later, Iris... I'm still sorry for what happened."
    He turned around and started on his way back to the headquarters as an explosion rocked the ground in front of him.  He slid slightly, and grabbed his beam saber, activating it.
    "Alright, who's there?"
    A group of mavericks appeared from the source of the explosion. "Heheh. Hi fellow Maverick Zero."
    "...What the?!"
    "Don't you want to be back with us? Or are you too focus on killing your own kind?"
    "I'm not a maverick anymore! I'll never be one again!"
    "A pity. You're betraying your creator Dr. Wily's plans."
    "...the hell? What the hell are you talking about?! Dr. Wily?! You're just sprouting out crap just to con me into this stupid business!"
    "Tsk." Electric Bee stepped out from the group. "You're the most powerful one... perhaps, even more than X. Why are you turning down our offer? What could humans offer you?"
    "A chance for peace!"
    "Peace? WAHAHAHA! Peace will only be achieved IF the humans are gone! They are the penance of the world! Now, you die for standing in our way!"
    A bright beam of light shot between Zero and Electric Bee, sending them off guard.  The robed figure stepped out of the light and pointed at Electric Bee.
    "Let's not waste our time on him. He's useless. Come on, let's go back to our master and await further plans."
    "Yes." Electric Bee lowered his weapon as the group of Mavericks walked into the light, glaring at Zero.
    The figure turned to Zero. "I hope you see the right light."
    "...the hell?" Zero blinked as the light was gone in an instant. "Who was that...?"

    "Berry! Perry!" Kristis called out for them. "Come on, let's play by the lake!"
    "Alright! I'm there!" Berry hopped out of the cottage. "I'm ready for anythin'!"
    "But I don't want to get my books wet!" Perry whined and hid behind a pine tree. "I like being here... it's much cooler and nice."
    "Come on! Your trees don't have nummy fruits on 'em! I love apples, pears, peaches, and oranges!"
    "Even so..." Perry groaned. "I don't wanna be dragged out to this!"
    "Let's go!" Kristis exhaled, annoyed and grabbed Perry's arm with the help of Berry. "We're going, no matter what!"

    "..." Fruit's eyes glazed over with tears as she glanced at a sleeping Pine. "Pine... Perry? You're accessing the ancient memories, aren't you? You've become your old self... getting lost in the time. I see what Damaru meant by poor programming of memory sealing. I...I've been acting like Damaru... ignoring the past too... except I'm more cheery by it."
    "Huh?" Fruit turned around to the door. "Oh, hi Doc."
    "You're unusually sane."
    "It's just a part of my programming that I act like an airhead valley girl. I'm actually normal."
    "What the hell was your creator on?"
    "Too much caffeine. Anyway, why are you here?"
    "Was curious as to why Pine seemed to act like someone else. When he arrived to the med center... he was going into shock... seemed like something trigged a part of himself."
    "I don't know..."
    "Tell me... who is Berry?"
    "I am. It was my name. I was once Berry Alexandris."
    "That name... you three were the first casualties of a maverick."
    "A maverick...?"
    "You don't quite remember all of it?"
    "No... I'm just getting into it... but that might explain why Damaru's always out to get mavericks... she's already seen her demise."
    "That's nice..." Doctor Cain groaned. "Damaru... Kristis Collins... right?"
    "Yeah. I'm going to look for her... but yet, I wanna stay here and watch over Pine. I'm worried that he'll have a bad reaction to the memories too."
    "You seem to be taking this so calmly."
    Fruit smiled weakly at Doctor Cain. "I try my best not to be scared. I wasn't even scared when I died. I just smiled and closed my eyes... and waited. Then it was all over."
    "Indeed. I knew there wasn't anything to be done about it... so I had to accept my fate. Here, I am a reploid... a second chance at life. Second chances are so special... when you're given a second chance, you gotta grab it before it disappears."
    "Hmm. I like you much better when you're not so hyper. Say, where's Damaru?"
    "I don't know."

    "Please... please don't kill me... please...!"

    Damaru's eyes narrowed sharply as she perched on the roof, waiting for Zero's return.  She seemed to be lost in her own world of anger and sorrow, thinking about that moment in the past.

    "Don't kill me... mister... I have so much to live for!"
    "Sorry, kiddo. You're a human. You have to die."
    "No! NO!"

    Damaru closed her eyes and rocked back and forth on the ledge, cradling her light sabre handle as if it was a little doll.  Zero blinked and stared up at her, mystified at what she was doing, seemingly in a trance.
    "Alright, what are you doing up there, Damaru?!"
    "...!" Damaru woke up and disappeared inside the building.
    "She's getting weirder every minute." Zero muttered, shaking his head as he opened the door as X greeted him. "What's up with the new guy?"
    "He's doing okay... just acting weird. He thinks he's some guy named Perry."
    "Strange name..."
    "He's been babbling about two girls named Berry and Kristis. He's probably still in shock from the wound."
    "Odd, a wound wouldn't do that to a normal reploid... maybe it's faulty programming."
    "Yeah... I agree with you, but however... Fruit's actually calmed down."
    "You mean, she's SANE? Did the world just end?"
    "Not really. We're still alive, Zero."
    "Hrm. It's getting late... see ya later, X." X nodded towards Zero as he headed off towards his room. "Man... what's with Damaru... and that figure?"
    Zero removed his helmet, placing it on the table in his room and sat on the bed, putting his face in his hands. "..." He fell over on the bed, staring up at the ceiling and he felt his eyelids drooping.  It happened before he could expect it, what had happened to him? He passed out?!

    "Who are you? Why is the house on the fire?"
    "..." Zero looked down at the girl, covered in blood. "Nothing that you need to know. You're cute for a little girl, but you're human. So you have to die."
    "Die...? No no.. no...! Please... please don't kill me... please...!"
    "Don't kill me... mister... I have so much to live for!"
    "Sorry, kiddo. You're a human. You have to die."
    "No! NOOOOOOOO!"
    Silence.  Zero put away the Z-sabre and looked down at the girl's lifeless body with blood splattered all over the ground.  He rose his eyes to meet with the two other frightened children. "You're going to the same place. Don't deny it."

    "AAAAAAAGH!" Zero shot off of the bed, breathing heavily. "What the hell was that... my past... oh god... why did I kill them? They were only children... why? Why? WHY did I go insane?"
    "Why, indeed. Why did you decide to kill me?"
    "...?!" Zero stared up at Damaru. "What the hell are you talking about?"
    "I was the girl you killed. I was Kristis Collins. Don't you remember? I begged you to let me live."
    "... that can't be..."
    "Oh, but it is." Damaru activated the light sabre. "I'll kill you for stealing so many years off of my life. You should have listened to me the first time."
    "I wasn't myself at that time! I was a maverick... I was under the influence of that nasty virus."
    "That's no excuse. You shed my blood, I shed yours. Fair enough."
    "You're insane. Have you gone maverick this time?!"
    "Not quite. I want to see what was so exciting about killing me."
    "You could've asked that when I was a maverick! I don't even remember why I wanted to kill so that's pointless now, Damaru! Damnit, stop acting like an idiot and put down your weapon!"
    "..." Damaru slashed at Zero but missed and Zero tackled her, pinning her to the floor. "Let me go!"
    He forced the light sabre to de-activate and roll out of her hand while keeping her from attacking him. "You really have to sit down and chill out. You can't just think about trying to kill me! It's all over."
    "And your little weapon of using Iris against me WON'T work. Not this time, Damaru. I'm going to have to restrain you somehow."
    "And ho--MMFPH!?" For some odd reason, Zero planted his lips on Damaru's, muffling her... unfortunately, that wasn't enough to muffle her for the door suddenly opened.  Zero and Damaru stared up in shock to see X, Doctor Cain and Fruit Tree.
    "Oh my god..." Fruit Tree bugged out. "We shouldn't have come... kinky! Damaru, I didn't think you REALLY wanted him!" She cackled and sped off.
    "Uhmmm... I think I'm out of here." X sweatdropped and dashed off.
    "You kids." Doctor Cain groaned and closed the door.
    Zero and Damaru were still staring at the door, in disbelief. "Maybe I shouldn't have done that."
    "No kidding. We're NOT going to live this down."
    Zero blinked, staring at Damaru and wondered how she suddenly snapped out of the revenge mode. "Damaru?"
    "Are you still mad at me?"
    "That's good, I'm going to have to handcuff you to the bed or something."
    "KINKY!" Fruit Tree sang.
    "Who let her back in here?!" Zero groaned, his head against Damaru's breasts. "I can't believe her..."
    "...sorry." Zero let go of Damaru. "Will a simple sorry make you feel better?"
    "Go figure. I realize I can't make up for what happened to you, but at least try to understand that I was being influenced by something at that time."
    "..." Damaru looked at the ground. "I'll think about it."
    "By the way... about you bottling your emotions up. Was that why you decided to do that because you were so scared?"
    "Yes. Fear is not an acceptable emotion."
    "I see."
    Damaru walked over to the door and clicked on the button. "Goodnight."
    "Hrm. Goodnight to you too, Damaru."

    "Are you sure you want the bodies?"
    "Yes. I feel so sorry for the children... they never had a chance to live... they need a second chance." Zexandra looked at the capsules in the cold sleep chamber. "I plan to resurrect them as reploids and seal away their painful memories."
    The body of Kristis looked so sad... as though it had been stuck in eternal state of crying.
    "Especially that one." Seth looked at the capsule. "She looks so sad. Whatever happened to the other family members."
    "They were destroyed in the fire. These are the only three bodies that weren't burned. Are you sure about your decision?" The man walked to the capsules. "I  mean, are you two willing to take the responsibility of resurrection?"
    "We are." Zexandra pulled out what seemed to be a briefcase of a million dollars. "Money is no objection."

    "Zex-sama... thank you." Fruit shut her eyes, still standing guard over Pine Tree. "Damaru and Pine should be more thankful for you and your brother. Life is so wonderful."
    "Mmm..." Pine stirred as Fruit glanced at him.
    "You awake, Perry?"
    "Somewhat, Fruit."
    "Aha. Anyway, Pine, are you alright now?"
    "Yeah... I don't know what exactly happened to me. It was like I was in deep trance."
    "The memories came."
    "Fruit... I have a question..."
    "Why was Zero a maverick?"
    "Huh? What do you mean?"
    "I mean... he killed us. I remember Damaru being the first one to fall then I was next. You were the last one, weren't you?"
    "Yeah. I didn't know... and 'sides, it wasn't really his fault. I'm pretty sure no one else knows 'bout this so... don't worry about it. Although, I saw Damaru and Zero on the floor earlier in his bedroom."
    "WHAT?" Pine boggled. "They were on the floor? Doing what...?"
    Pine fell out of the bed on his face.
    "Hey, Pine, get back in the bed, you're not supposed to hurt yourself anymore!" Fruit picked Pine up and whisked him back in the bed. "Stay in bed."
    "..." Pine groaned. "Does Damaru know?"
    "Yeah. She was actually trying to kill him."
    "But you just said..."
    "A moment of my programming kicked in."

    Doctor Cain was hard at work at the computer as X walked into the room, yawning loudly. "X?"
    "Are you getting ready for your routine patrol?"
    "Be careful. Zero mentioned a new group of nasty mavericks."
    "I'll be on guard. Thanks."
    X stepped out of the building, trailing along the path, looking all around himself.  About a hour later, he had reached his point and turned around when the robed figure floated in front of him.
    "! Who are you...?"
    "Your savior. I'm here to save you from the humanity and ties that bind. Zero rejected the ties so we felt you were more fit."
    "..." X looked lost. "Huh? You want me to be a maverick? No thanks."
    "Ah! Another rejection! We'll have better chances with the other reploids and make them more powerful than you and Zero! It's such a sad... Zero was more than perfect choice for the job due to his past experience. My, my, Dr. Wily made a powerful reploid but... the sad flaw was that it didn't stay Maverick."
    "...Zero was a maverick? Dr. Wily made him?" X blinked, stepping backwards. "What the heck are you talking about?"
    "Yes! He was one of us! Why can't you be?"
    "Destroying humans is just stupid. Working with them is much easier."
    "No, it is not. They're stupid. They fear our power. They are such pathetic, sad life forms."
    "... You're not going to convert me that easily."
    "Impossible tasks are such fun, aren't they?"
    A force field formed around X, trapping him as he yelled out in surprise, staring down at the form who revealed her face to be... "IRIS!?"
    "I'm not Iris." She smiled. "However, I'm her clone. Alas, I was never given a name so I'm simply Dark Iris."
    "Oh nice." X's face turned blue. "I bet the mavericks created you just to shake Zero up."
    "You're very smart. It's too bad that you'll have to be tortured senselessly just to see the true light."

    "Where the heck is that reploid?" Doctor Cain looked up at the clock and sighed. "He's late. Assemble the search party."
    "What's going on?" Damaru yawned, walking into the room, wearing normal clothes instead of her reploid armor.
    "..." Doctor Cain boggled at Damaru. "Damaru?"
    "Your armor?"
    "YOUR ARMOR!" Doctor Cain flailed his arms. "Damnit, Damaru! You're a part of the search party?"
    "THEN PUT ON YOUR REPLOID ARMOR!" The force of Cain's yell sent Damaru crashing into the wall. "...Damaru, I hope that's you and not Fruit dressed up as you."
    "..." Damaru stood up and wiped the dust off. "Yes, it is me. Why do you have to be so weird? Anyway, I'm getting ready... sheesh."
    Doctor Cain boggled as Damaru left the room and wondered if he had been drinking too much sake.  He turned to the chip that was clamped onto the computer.
    "What the--?!"
    "Heheh." A face appeared on the computer screen. "Hello, Doctor Cain."
    "I am the Sigma Virus... and it's so nice that your reploids are already exposed to the virus. Let's see YOU cure them!" The voice cackled.
    "Aw, shit." Doctor Cain started to beat the computer with the cane. "GET OFF, STUPID CHIP! GET OFF!" He stopped beating the chip off and started to sweat while breathing heavily. "Oh no... I better get the programming cure started..."

    "SETH!" Zexandra marched into Seth's apartment. "What are you doing?"
    "Sleeping?" Seth grumbled from the mess of blankets. "GO AWAY."
    "I have a question to ask of you, brother."
    "...there's one?"
    "Seth, you moron. Damaru's probably infected by now and going Maverick! Isn't that what we promised that we would NEVER let this kind of thing happen!?"
    "First of all, how do you know about the Sigma Virus?"
    "Because I stole the scripts to Mega Man X3, NOW, get off your lazy bum and help Doctor Cain!"
    "Or I'll made Daddy DISINHERIT you from the family fortune again!"
    "I'm always disinherited! So what's the point?"
    "The point is... we'll have a maverick that's going to kill everyone and the blame will be ON YOU."
    "... good point." Seth quickly darted out of the apartment.

    Damaru set off with the search party. "Let's go this way." She blinked once the search party went off in a different direction and sweat dropped.
    She turned around and saw nothing despite the fact that the voice was calling for her.  Curious, she walked towards the voice, passing through the debris of maverick bodies into the heart of the city.
    "Damaru Yuuwaku... Kristis Collins... don't you want revenge for your death?"
    "So what?" Damaru sighed. "I can't avenge my death. There's no point."
    "But... Zero has killed so many more than just three children... he also killed me!" Dark Iris leaped down in front of Damaru. "I'm Dark Iris, and I want to get my revenge."
    "Hrm." Damaru crossed her arms. "I'm sorry, I cannot help you with your revenge. I'm just going on my way."
    "Searching for X?"
    "I kidnapped him. Tee! You won't believe how easy it was... I'll free him once you agree to give into the Sigma Virus."
    "...Sigma Virus?"
    "Didn't you know? The maverick chip you picked up... once scratched, the reploid is infected... and a perfect host for Sigma."
    Damaru's face turned pale in horror. "Sigma?... no, I'm not infected with the virus... you have to be kidding me."
    "Tell me the times you got really violent, didn't you?"
    "...Only time..."
    "When you were trying to kill Zero? Maverick eyes are everywhere, Damaru." Dark Iris cackled. "You didn't  know? We've had a Maverick along your group for a while. However, I won't reveal his name... but you, are going to be a part of the army! There's no denying your true maverick nature. You always wanted to kill, didn't you?"
    "..." Damaru dropped her head. "Yes."
    "Ah! The Sigma Virus has waken up the fury within you once again. Come with me..."
    X watched in horror as Damaru stepped into the light and all of the sudden, the energy field around him broke, sending him crashing to the ground.
    "Oh no..." X clenched his fists tightly. "I have to warn the others! ...Why did they let me go...?" X blinked and dashed back towards the building.

    "X!" Doctor Cain turned around. "You're back..."
    "Yeah, but..."
    "Damaru... uhm... Damaru's a maverick now."
    "It was that chip."
    "I know." Doctor Cain held up a broken chip. "I beat the bloody thing to a pulp. Now, I've cured every reploids in this building except for Pine and Fruit."
    "But there's a traitor!"
    "...That's just great. Now I'm going to have to beat the traitor with my stick."
    "Doctor Cain... also... uhm... I think I know who's behind it?"
    "Other than him."
    "Dark Iris!"
    "X... what the hell?"
    "Yes, Dark Iris! She's Iris' clone."
    "I bet Sigma created her just to get back at Zero. But then, Sigma wants to destroy you, X. There should be something else that he's planning. I wonder..."
    Seth barged into the building. "Where's Damaru?!"
    "..." X and Doctor Cain stared at Seth. "Who are you?"
    "Damaru's creator."
    "...you're kidding."
    Zexandra appeared next and kicked Seth. "Smooth entrance."
    "Now, that's definitely Pine and Fruit's creator." X sweatdropped. "Hello..."
    "I'm Zexandra Pepper, and this is my useless brother, Seth." Zexandra picked Seth up by the back of his dark blue jacket. "He forgot to program Damaru with defenses against Sigma Virus."
    "Damaru's a maverick now." X sweatdropped once again.
    Fruit Tree hopped into the room and hugged Zexandra, stopping her from mauling Seth any further. "HI ZEX-SAMA!"
    "Hi, Fruit. Are you doing alright?"
    "Yup! I heard the news 'bout the Sigma Virus. I'm thankful for your clever idea into getting the anti virus program!"
    "You're welcome, Fruit."
    "...okay, I'm going to have to examine the search party once they return." Doctor Cain sighed as he picked up the communicator. "Search party... report!"
    "..." Came from everyone, including Pine Tree who just arrived.
    "Maybe they're just delayed? Search party! Report in!"
    Silence again.
    "Okay, something's happened. X, Fruit Tree, Pine Tree... find Zero and get ready to fight."
    "Why?" Pine looked up at Doctor Cain.
    "Mavericks might've gotten the search party. Seth, Zexandra, help me with the programming on how to prevent future infections."
    "Do I have to?"
    Zexandra smote Seth as the reploids plus X quickly scrambled into the hall, crashing into Zero.
    "What the hell's going on?" Zero yelped. "And where's Damaru?"
    "Oh..." X sweatdropped. "I don't know."
    "Damnit. I hope nothing's happened to her."
    "Zero wanna fluff Damaru?" Fruit Tree giggled.
    "..." Zero smacked Fruit. "NO!"
    "Enough with the fight, let's get going now."

    About ten minutes later... X was scouting the area. "I'm sure this is where they were. Although... Zero, I need to tell you something."
    "What is it?"
    "Um... in private?"
    "O'tay!" Fruit Tree dragged Pine and they scooted over to another spot.
    "Anyways, Zero... um, I don't know how to explain this... but..."
    A blast exploded between the two, sending them flying into rubbles.  A maverick appeared out of nowhere, cackling at them.
    "What the?" Zero looked up. "Who are you?!"
    "I'm Toxic Skunk!" The maverick aimed some cannons at them. "Prepare to get a whiff of the stink bombs!"
    "..." X and Zero face faulted.
    All of the sudden, they were blasted by the bombs 'cause they were too stunned to move.  That's why staring is bad, mmkay?
    "*KOFF!KOFF!*" Zero coughed. "What the hell? ...Turning smell receptors off."
    "Same here."
    "Aw, damn!" Toxic Skunk cursed. "I have an even better weapon to eliminate you two!"
    "Like what?" X crossed his arms, while wearing a clothespin on his nose, despite the fact that he already had turned off his sense receptors.
    Zero ignited his Z-sabre and ran towards Toxic Skunk, jumping over his head and slicing the cannons to pieces.  They exploded as X charged up the X-buster, shooting at Toxic Skunk over and over while Zero slashed.  It seemed like a pattern in their attack, as Toxic Skunk barely escaped from the impact of the brutal attacks.
    A splash of acid smashed Zero into a nearby building as X charged towards Toxic Skunk, intent at stopping him at all costs.

    "Where do you suppose Damaru could be?" Pine sighed and looked at the ground. "... isn't that one of Damaru's discs?"
    "Yeah... why'd she drop it?"
    "...I'm going to try to read it." Pine picked up the disc and popped it into the crystal in the arm. "...Damaru?"
    A hologram shot out of the crystal as Pine and Fruit stared at it in horror.  It looked like Damaru, but... the colors were too dark and her hair was black.
    "I am Damasu Yuuwaku." The hologram pointed at both of them.  "Do not come after me. If you two do, I will have to kill you both. I am a maverick now."
"MAVERICK?! No. No. No. NO!" Fruit Tree yelled. "MY COUSIN AIN'T A MAVERICK!"
    "It's probably a trap, but unfortunately, the encryption on this is definitely Damaru's."
    "Why!? Why did she have to..."
    "Because I'm useless at taking care of you two. Sigma has a better purpose for me."  The hologram instantly disappeared as Pine blinked at the disc.
"WELL, FUCK SIGMA!" Fruit ground her teeth angrily and charged up her arm cannon. "ALL THE MAVERICKS ARE GOING DOWN!"
    "..." Zero and X peered out at them after defeating Toxic Skunk.
    "P.U." Pine turned around, staring at the two. "What the hell did you two walk into?"
    "D'oh!" Fruit fell over. "Who was it?"
    "Just some guy named Toxic Skunk." X blinked and was instantly pelted by tomatoes. "What was that for?"
    "Tomatoes are fruits and they help get rid of the stinky smell!"
    "It's true!"
    Zero was also pelted by the tomatoes. "HEY! Don't ---! Damnit, Fruit! Haven't you EVER heard of turning your smell receptors off?!"
    "Yeah, but I like to be somewhat closer to being a human!"
    "Come on, we have to defeat seven more Mavericks." X sighed. "Then two mid-bosses... then the final boss and his lousy three stages."
    "What makes you think the final boss would be Sigma?" Fruit eyed X.
    "He's ALWAYS the final boss of every X games out there!" Pine hit Fruit with the scripts. "Use your common sense!"
    "Moving along..." X sighed.

    "..." Damasu looked upon the situation from a darkened room. "You do realize that they'll beat the mavericks two times in a row... then come after you."
    "What makes you think that they'll spare you?" Dark Iris glared at Damasu. "Since you're a maverick now, they're not going to let you live."
    Damasu crossed her arms and walked away from Dark Iris. "Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows?"
    "You're certainly so sure of yourself." Dark Iris turned to the computer. "Sigma, this reploid isn't going to be very loyal to us!"
    "She will. Be patient. I have no doubt that she'll lure them into our trap."
    "I don't trust her. That virus of yours turned her into a completely different person instead."
    "Hrm. The virus must be playing on with her dark emotions."
    "After all, she was a human girl."
    "A human? I would've never thought the virus would affect humans..."
    "Perhaps, this is a different strain that's created. She's still mostly reploid, but she certainly contains human emotions and everything else."
    "Maybe we should try to infect the other reploids... see to it that you send Flame Ant after Fruit Tree and Pine Tree."
    "Yes, master."

    "OW! OW! THAT HURTS!" X yelped as Fruit scrubbed him in a tubful of tomatoes.
    "JUST STAY STILL! Doctor Cain wouldn't want you two inside if you two smell that bad!"
    "Man..." Zero sniffed at his armor. "Smells like tomatoes."
    "At least she's not using ketchup." Pine sighed while sweat dropping at X's plight. "Be lucky that she's not crazy enough to try to lick it off of you."
    X bugged out at Pine and Zero sweatdropped as Fruit threw an apple at Pine's head, knocking him over.
    "That's too kinky for my refined taste." Fruit exhaled and went back to scrubbing the smell off of X's armor. "There! I think we're done for now!"
    "...I feel like a pizza." X fell over.
    "Fruit, can we get back on track?" Pine grumbled while rubbing the sore spot on his head. "After all, we do have to get to the mavericks."
    "O'tay." Fruit shrugged as they walked to a fork in the road. "Cripes!"
    "Looks like we're splitting up. We're going that way." Zero sighed. "You two go that way."
    Fruit Tree seemed to be really confused to as why X and Zero started running away from them, however, Pine already knew why.  They just wanted to get away from the two for the sake of maintaining their sanity.
    "Fruit. Let's go." Pine dragged her by her arm.

    "Excellent, Fire Ant, GO!"
    As Fire Ant left the headquarters, Damasu peered from the shadows, her eyes glowing purple. "... Splitting them up, eh? Clever plan."
    "Hm?" Dark Iris turned around. "Do you have a better one?"
    "Yes. I want to play around with..." Damasu chuckled. "Zero." The way she had said his name, one would think she was considering him as a toy to manipulate or even worse.
    "Zero is mine."
    "Says who? You're a mere clone of a silly reploid that got herself killed by Zero. My... certainly a common trend. Anything female Zero kills, they tend to be after him... but for what? Love? Lust? Death?"
    "You may be the second in the command, but I obey no one... except for Sigma." Damasu faded within the shadows, leaving Dark Iris to fume over the situation.
    "Sigma!" She spun around. "You can control her through the virus, right? Tell me what the hell is with her new-found obsession with Zero. You said I could be the only one to have him."
    "The deal's been changed. Damasu is more suited for the task."
    Dark Iris gasped in sheer horror as her face turned white. "...How can you do this to me?! I'm loyal... why?"
    "You're simply not powerful enough."
    "I'm the clone of Iris, that's more than enough to shatter Zero! So why are you letting her do this?! She doesn't have very much influence on him..." Dark Iris' eyes darkened as she walked away.
    "Heh. She'll certainly gain enough power... enough to kill everyone." Sigma grinned, very pleased with the fact that he had manipulated the clone into a fit of rage.

    "Damn. Another split in the road... guess we'll have to split up, X."
    "Zero, are you sure this is wise?" X looked up at Zero, eyes wide with fear. "I mean... what would happen to one of us...?"
    "Hey, don't worry. We're both strong enough for this. If anything happens, I'll contact you on the communicator."
    X still felt uneasy as he watched Zero walk off in the opposite direction and he realized with shock that he had forgotten to tell Zero all about Damaru.
    "ZERO! ZERO! ZERO!" X yelped and spun around.

    Zero never knew what hit him as he fell to the ground and the last thing he had heard was his name being shouted by X.  The only thing he felt at the moment was pain echoing through his body as if he had been electrocuted.
    "Zero... soon, you will be mine." Damasu held onto him as they teleported away.
    "Zero!" X ran to the ground, panting and looked at Z-sabre. "...I should've warned him about Damaru... why didn't I?"
    "Huh?" X pulled out the communicator. "Pine?"
    "Affirmative! Need you for a second, we think we've found something."
    "Be right over there." He put away the communicator and picked up the Z-sabre. "...I'm sorry, Zero."

    "... what are these?" X boggled at the piles of maverick chips.
    "A trap designed to turn us Maverick." Fruit scoffed. "It's not going to work."
    She walked towards the chips as X freaked out because the chips reacted and latched to her body, clamping on every part of the armor.  Suddenly, the chips fell off of Fruit and crumbled to dust as she cackled.
    "The Sigma Virus is no match for Zex-Sama's programming! Behold the power of linux."
    "..." Fire Ant glared at the reploids. "You could NOT be immune to the virus."
    "I am so!" Fruit sang. "I'm so immune, I jiggle my cute buns in your general direction!"
    Pine Tree and X sweatdropped while Fruit jiggled her butt in Fire Ant's general direction, causing both X and Fire Ant to nosebleed.
    "CLEAN UP CREW!" Pine hollered as the clean-up crew appeared out of nowhere and they disappeared once the mess was cleaned.
    "I'm cute!" Fruit giggled and tangled Fire Ant in her feather boa. "Ooh, tell me your name, Mavvie!"
    "Fire Ant." He struggled to get free from the feather boa but failed.
    "...What do you say we get some popcorn and watch this?"
    "Fine with me, Pine... but..."
    "Zero's gone. I think Damaru or Dark Iris got him."
    "WHAT?" Fruit looked up, eyes wide with surprise. "Well, then..."
    Fire Ant was booted into low-earth orbit as Fruit exhaled while X and Pine sweatdropped once again.
    "We're getting back on track."

    Zero grunted softly as he tried to get up but his arms were held down by something as his eyes flew wide open at the kiss.
    "...so, my darling Zero is awake?"
    "Damaru...? What's going on?"
    "I don't know how to break this to you..." Damasu sat on Zero's lap, smiling at him with an evil grin. "I've gone maverick. It feels so wonderful... I don't know why you were reprogrammed to forget the incredible senstation."
    "..." Zero grunted again, trying to break the restraints. "Damaru, are you INSANE?!"
    "The name is Damasu." Damasu sighed as she jumped off of the metal table. "It's really so sad, just seeing that you refuse to accept the fact that you were once a maverick. Why?"
    "I refuse to kill any people."
    "Tsk, you should've thought of that before killing the three children."
    "And even when you became a goody two-shoes, you still killed people! Look at poor little Iris. Such a sad girl to have to die by your hands."
    "...Damaru... don't..."
    "Don't, what? Am I making it too painful for you? Come on, Zero. Don't you just want to slap my pretty face?"
    Zero's eyes darkened as he exhaled loudly. "No."
    "...Huh. I'm not doing too much of a good job if you're this stubborn. But..."
    "But?" He glared up at Damasu as he struggled with the restraints some more.
    "Heheh... the one called Damaru... she had such a silly crush on you. Imagine how heart broken she was when she realized that you were the one who killed her before."
    "...What the hell are you talking about!? You don't have a crush on me! You're... uh, too evil to have crushes?"
    "Maybe so... maybe not. But... you're certainly handsome... and witty... mmm... I think you're just cute enough to eat up! Rowr."
    Zero sweat dropped at Damasu, staring at her with dots for eyes and he suddenly realized that he was really helpless at this point. "Even if I'm cute enough for that... shouldn't you be more focused on turning me into a maverick or killing me?"
    "Nah, that's no fun."
    "... I'm serious."
    "I don't listen to Dark Iris or Sigma. They both don't control me, really. The Sigma Virus only allowed the real Damasu to surface... Damaru's just simply a shell."
    "...why am I dealing with a horny evil woman?" Zero groaned, staring up at the ceiling while breaking out in sweat. "Honestly, I don't think I'm that appealing to screw!"
    "But you are... to both of us. I'm sure Damaru's horrified at the thought."
    "Then let her speak!"
    "No." Damasu turned her back on Zero. "She does not need to speak. She's spoken too much."
    Slowly, half of Damasu's body seemed to become lighter in the color as purple hair began to show through the black hair.
    "Zero... I didn't think this would happen... I'm so sorry about this situation!" Damaru cried out. "I didn't think the virus would do this to me--- Enough, Damaru."
    Zero's eyes faded to dots once again as he stared at Damaru/Damasu and the fact that the body seemed to be struggling with each other. "Damaru, don't kick yourself around. It's not your fault. How long were you infected...?"
    "Ever since I picked up that chip..."
    He closed his eyes. "I don't blame you. It was a clever trick."
    "Zero... I want you to hold me."
    Zero eyed the restraints. "Going to be a bit hard to hold you, Damaru."
    "Oh." Damaru loosened the restraints. "Sorry, Zero."
    He sighed and put his arms around Damaru's body, holding her close. "It's okay to cry if you need to..."

    "You know, we haven't found another maverick... so far, there's only two mavericks that has been encountered... then where the hell are the others?! This isn't so typical..." Pine opened a portable dimension and came to face with Kia Purity. "Miss, uh, could you think up of names for the other mavericks so the plot can go on?"
    "Uh...." Kia Purity boggled at Pine. "I guess."
    "Good." Pine closed the dimension and received weird looks from both X and Fruit. "What?!"
    The dimension opened once again as Kia Purity causally stepped out from it. "I have an announcement to make."
    Pine, Fruit, and X stared at Kia Purity, sweat dropping.
    "I am playing MMX4 right now and have beaten all four bosses... gotten all items except for that DAMNED EX Tank! Stupid Snow Base stage." Kia grumbled and stared at her aching hands. "Time to work on this fan-fic. Bye!"
    The three watched the writer disappear into the portable dimensional hole and they looked at Pine, sweat dropping.
    "Er... I didn't think she would pop out after I told her to work on the story. I didn't know she was playing MMX4."
    "Actually, Rockman X4." Fruit corrected. "She got the United Kingdom version... and it's a rather bad rip because it doesn't have all the movies, so no Iris death scene."
    "..." X face faulted. "Uhm, okay, let's get back to the plot."
    "What the hell?"
    They stared at a Maverick who was dressed somewhat like Cats from Zero Wing. Obviously, it seemed that there was a rush of "all your base are belong to us" fever running around on esper.net and it was affecting the writer.
    "Uh?" Fruit's orange eyes turned into dots. "Who the hell are you?"
    "I am the maverick... Freeze Cat."
    "Uh-huh." Pine mumbled as Fruit started to lean close to Freeze Cat. "X, do you have that Flame Sting from Fire Ant?"
    "Yeah. But how did I get it?"
    "I have no clue."
    "SWEETIE-POO! You'd look nifty with some make up!"
    "Uh... no." Freeze Cat started to edge away from Fruit. "I think I'll rather retreat!"
    "..." X and Pine stared at Fruit who had a big makeup desk out of nowhere.
    "Never mind. I got the Ice Spray. Let's go."
    "PINE! You know, that's the third maverick so far! SO... that means... seven more Maverickie-poo's to scare!"

    "..." Zero opened his eyes and looked up into a pair of purple eyes. "Damaru...? What happened?"
    He reached up to touch Damaru's face and blinked. Where the hell was his reploid armor?  Warmth surged through his body as he glared at the blanket that was barely covering both of them.  Suddenly, he registered this in his mind that something inexplicably had happened and the fact that he didn't remember what even happened!
    "Zero? What happened?"
    "I... I don't know!" He sat up with such a force that Damaru nearly fell out of the bed. "Did we...?"
    "..." Damaru sat on the edge of the bed, staring at the wall. "I don't have any records of such memories in my system."
    "Damaru-chan... if it really happened... I just don't know what to say."
    "Maybe my dark side knows. It should be one of her plans. After all, she did want to screw you... she probably won."
    "Don't say that. You do still have a chance of getting your body back... after all, she left you in control."
    "She's just doing this to make me suffer."
    "Suffer from what...?"
    Damaru stared at Zero's body, somewhat gawking at his finely toned muscles that weren't too bulky, but just right. "...that?"
    "Your body." Her forehead turned blue when her eyes trailed down to where... ahem, underwear should've been.
    Zero failed to notice that he was totally naked and the fact that Damaru was freaking out at the sight. "Damaru? What's wrong?"
    "I... I... I've never seen a naked guy!"
    "Naked? Erh, OH! Can I have the blanket?"
    "Nuh-uh-huh! I'm naked too! I need it!"
    "Fine, I'll tear the blanket in half."
    "It's not going to be enough!"
    "Heh, I suppose I might as well start searching for armor and clothes..." Zero looked under the bed.
    "Not in this room. Damasu isn't that stupid. She takes pleasure in this whole situation...why yes, I do. It's just so nice seeing you naked and the fact that poor little Damaru is fretting."
    "Damasu... why are you doing this? What is the purpose of this?"
    "I was curious to see something like you was well equipped. Heheh. My theory was correct." Damasu chuckled and threw the sheet to the floor. "However, I'm not going to tell you what really happened. I'll rather leave you two burning in suspense." Damaru blinked and looked at herself. "HEY! How dare you, Damasu!"
    Zero was bright red in the face the whole time and yet, he managed to say nothing while just... gaping at her curved body. "Yeah well, don't you need the blanket?" He finally stumbled the words out.
    "...I give up. Since you've seen the whole package, what's the use of hiding it?" She slumped on the bed besides Zero.
    "..." Zero put his arms around Damaru's shoulders. "Don't worry, we'll get through this."
    "But... something's wrong?"
    "What?" Zero was overwrought with buzzing sounds as the reality around him cracked to pieces, sending him crashing to the ground.
    "Damnit!" Damasu was standing in front of Zero. "I can't believe you broke out of that illusion!"
    "Illusion..." He stood up and looked at himself, at the armor that was suddenly back on his body.  Out of the corner of his eyes, he could see the shattered visor on the ground, crackling with electricity. "So nothing really happened. It was all in my mind, wasn't it?"
    "Damaru shouldn't have warned you like that. She will be removed from this body forever."
    "Ah!? You'd rather have Damaru around? You do have soft feelings for her."
    "She's better to stand than you. You don't care about anyone, so why should I care about you, Damasu? Damaru knows that I never meant to kill her... that I simply went insane and now you're doing that. LET HER GO."
    "Why should I?"
    "She was given a second chance." Zero stepped closer to Damasu. "Don't deprive her of that chance. She needs to be at least a bit closer to what she was. She should have the ability to feel like a human."
    "Humans may be worth for something, but they don't deserve to make us suffer! Zero... only if you would remember the true power of being a maverick, perhaps, you would reconsider your words."
    "You know my answer." Zero smiled. "I would reconsider if there was a real reason to."
    "Damaru isn't?"
    "Eventually, Damasu, you would lose. Only time will tell."

    "Sheesh, I can't believe that Maverick never stood a chance." Pine sweatdropped, watching Fruit Tree punt the latest Maverick into the orbit.
    "Ta-ta! It was so nice meeting you, Tornado Falcon!" Fruit sang. "We'll meet later!"
    X sweatdropped. "At least, she gave me a chance to get all the weapons... except for one."
    "And armor upgrades too!"
    "Well, that too. I'm missing the X-Buster upgrade."
    "I'm sure it's in the Power Plant over there! That should be Electric Bee." Pine exhaled and put away the map. "It's just nice that we went through the mavericks while the useless writer's still playing Rockman X4."
    "Hasn't she even beat the game as Zero?"
    "No..." Pine glanced at X. "Apparently, the writer decided to *cough* use a secret code that allowed X to upgrade to the full armor just with the leg upgrade."
    "...GEE, THANK YOU, KIA PURITY!" X opened the pocket dimension, yelling in it.
    Kia Purity promptly fell out of her chair. "What did I do?!"
    "FINISH THE STORY and stop drooling at Zero."
    "... okay." Kia groaned and closed the dimension. "Sigma blows Dekim Barton and his goats."
    "...who is Dekim Barton?" X sweatdropped at that remark, already afraid of the thought of Sigma around goats.
    "Just some annoying old fart from Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz. It has nothing to do with this universe." Pine twitched slightly at Kia Purity's intelligent choice of words.
    "Hum." Fruit rolled her eyes. "This is really boring... looking out for Mavvies while walkin' along this road... you would think we would've ran into a second mid-boss."
    Something smacked Fruit in her stomach, sending her falling over as Pine sweatdropped. "That IS the second mid-boss."
    "Of course you're right!" A little droid, about a foot tall stuck out the "middle" finger. "I'll make sure you three won't get to the Power Plant!"
    "..." X sighed and punted the droid into orbit. "Next time, pick on someone who's YOUR size."
    "Now, let's take on Electric Bee!" Fruit sang as Pine bashed the door in with his shoulder. "Here we come, cutie!"

    Suddenly, Electric Bee looked frightened at that tone of the voice echoing through the power plant. "It's... her."
    He paced around the room and spun around, screaming at the robots to go forth and stop the heroes in their tracks while working on a plan to capture them.
    "I can't afford to be near that fruity reploid... she's going to punt me like the other mavericks."

    Meanwhile, the mavericks were swiftly trying to get their arses out of the low-earth orbit, but it seemed to be somewhat unsuccessful since there wasn't any spaceports or ships in sight.

    "You know, killing all these metools are getting too repetitive, don't you think so?" X sweatdropped.
    "Plus, they're bad kissers." Fruit wrinkled her nose. "And what the hell are they spitting at me?"
    Pine and X just didn't say anything and went back to shooting whatever the hell they could at the annoying metools.
    "Aha!" Pine blasted the pine needles at one door, cutting it neatly to pieces. "I think we're almost there."
    "That tickles. I'm turned on by that."
    Everyone stared at Fruit, gawking at her and at a huge loss of words.
    "..." Electric Bee sweatdropped. "Uhmm... just be in pain."
    "Pain also turns me on."
    "Come on, Electric Bee!"
    "Stop that. Get away from me."
    "What? Am I not cute or sexy enough?"
    "Uh, Fruit..." Pine glared at her. "Could you JUST not scare us like this?"
    X exhaled and struck Electric Bee with Tidal Wave, creating a lovely networks of sparks flying everywhere.
    "All your weapon are belong to us." X smirked as Pine and Fruit both crashed to the ground. "Er, oh, sorry, I had to have my moment..."
    "Uh-huh..." Pine watched Fruit kick the door down. "I feel so queasy... getting ready to face Sigma."
    "Don't throw up."
    "I won't."
    Fruit shoved away the rubble in the dark passage as they walked towards their destination.  She glanced at the writings on the wall which seemed to had been left by humans and one particular writing leaped out at her.
"I can barely make out this writing, Pine." Fruit brushed away at the words. "... oh my."
    Zero has gone out of control! I've escaped to this place and hopefully, I can try to activate the last resort code... just to stop him from killing humans. I never expected this to happen... where did I go wrong? -- Dr. Wily
"So he did create Zero after all...?" X blinked. "This is confusing..."
    "Hmm... look at this one." Pine brushed away at another section of the wall. "Who's Bass?"
    "What does it say?"
    "Something about everyone being gone all of the sudden and that the "girly robot" seemed to be insane. Very odd."
    "No time for mysteries. We gotta go on." X sighed.
    They reached what seemed to be a dead end but with some effort, they managed to shove the wall in a 90 degree circle until they could all fit through the opening.  What sight behold them was so much complicated than they thought or had ever seen.  Robot parts were scattered everywhere and there were several pods containing some older robots from the past and the computer screen was glowing dimly.
    "The computer's still online! I'll access the information from it!" Pine ran to it and typed out the commands. "Let's see..."
    A video flickered in the screen, showing Dr. Wily's face as he paced back and forth.  He seemed to be staring at a partially constructed Zero as a robot was gawking.
    "Hmm? What's this? Dr. Light tape?" X stared at the cassette he was holding and popped it in the slot.
    The video changed to show Dr. Light and Dr. Wily sitting in a dark room, looking as if they were depressed over their fate.  Dr. Light mumbled something about X and he got a sudden fierce glare from Dr. Wily.  His body language indicated that he didn't expect that Dr. Light had sealed the pod for X and flailed at him, saying that X was the last hope to save them.
    X's lips trembled as tears burst from his eyes, trailing down his cheeks. "I'm fated to fight Zero...? How could this be?"
    "There's more... it doesn't really say what happens to them, but we know Dr. Light is dead, right?"
    "Yeah... Pine... can you tell me the rest?"
    "They were talking about Dr. Cain and how he would be able to get them out of this situation. Apparently, we have some huge questions to ask him later on."
    "Look, Pine! X! We need to hurry up and save Zero and Damaru."

    Zero exhaled deeply, staring at Damasu who was still smirking at him. "You're not going to try to manipulate me this way, are you?"
    "I  know just how much you care about saving people... but, you can't save little Damaru because she gave up. Poor little girl just can't fight against me. She knows that I've won."
    "You're lying..."
    "Am I?"
    "Get the fuck away from him, bitch."
    Zero and Damasu spun around as Dark Iris pointed a bazooka at Damasu.
    "You think bazooka's going to hurt me? Stupid girl."
    "Iris...?! No... but... you're... dead?" Zero turned pale, stepping backwards. "So what the hell is this?"
    "Zero, darling... I'm just going to kill her and we'll be happy!"
    "You are so not going to be able to kill me that easy, brat." Damasu smacked Dark Iris away. "You have to realize that I'm much more powerful than you are. Your previous counterpart was so weak that she had to depend on a stupid mech just to try to destroy Zero. If you were constructed so much better, you would be able to at least do something useful! You're just a useless reploid."
    Dark Iris stared up, smiling cruelly. "Useless? Huh. I'll show you useless... ENERGY ENCIRCLE!"
    Two dark red hands grabbed Damasu by the throat, catching her off guard. "What the hell..."
    "I'm going to enjoy tearing you to pieces. Zero is mine! You'll NEVER have him! Ever!"
    "STOP IT IRIS!" Zero stepped forwards. "Killing isn't going to you any good."
    "I'm only doing it for you."
    "Killing in my name isn't going to make me happy, now stop this!"
    "No." Dark Iris turned her head and threw Damasu against the wall with the sickening crunching sound echoing through the room. "If you won't accept it, then... I guess you're next. I'm so sorry, sweetie... but I tried... agh!"
    A pine needle struck one of her hands as Zero glanced at the door. "X! Fruit! Pine! What are you all doing here!?"
    "Saving you of course!" Fruit looked at Damasu. "Is she...?"
    "I don't know."
    Dark Iris was trying to dig the pine needle out of her hand. "How dare you... you're gonna die too, Perry Alexandris! You'll stay dead for once and all!" She lunged at Pine and there was ripping sound that clashed against the metal.  Her body crashed to the floor as Pine broke out in sweat.
    "Is she... dead?"
    "Definitely. No one can live with a shitload of pine needles sticking out of their torso." Fruit muttered. "Nice job."
    Zero picked up Damasu. "She's alive... just out cold. X, do you have the antidote?"
    X sweatdropped. "Antidote?" He squeaked quietly.
    "To the Sigma Virus?"
    "I believe I forgot all about it..."
    The ground rumbled loudly as Sigma stepped out in the room, glaring at them. "I don't believe it..." his tone was becoming something of a cruel snicker and shock.
    The reploids glared and started to back into the corner as Sigma rumbled with laughter while Fruit stepped out from the group.
    "Hey, baldy! I'd flirt with you, but you're... ehhh... ugly. You're ugly enuff to make me de-horny."
    "... How the hell do you de-horny?" Pine yelled at Fruit.
    "It's easy. All you have to do is create somethin' like that!"
    "..." Sigma didn't look very amused and threw a chip which smacked right in middle of Fruit's forehead.
    "Y'know, Sigma virus doesn't affect me. Why TRY?"
    "That's not the virus." He said calmly while Fruit yowled and scratched at her forehead in pain. "Electricity is very dangerous, indeed."
    Pine ran out and charged the P-Blaster, shooting fierce pine needles towards Sigma's stomach but it didn't quite seem to have the same effect it did on Dark Iris.
    "Very sharp..." He pulled the needles out of his stomach and crushed them. "But not fatal enough!"
    SLAM! Fruit went flying into Pine, sending them both crashing into the wall as X glared ahead, trying to figure out which Maverick weapons would be the most effective against Sigma.
    A blur dashed past X and Zero looked up with pain in his eyes. "Damaru!?"
    Sigma was totally unprepared for the barrage of brutal attacks brought upon him by Damaru.  Each slash struck at his chest, sending him staggering backwards to gain some footing.
    "I won't forgive this... turning me to a maverick... then harming my cousins... I, Damaru Yuuwaku, will see to your death!"
    The gleam of D-Sabre flashed as she lunged at Sigma, preparing to impale him as everything turned blue.  Suddenly, Damaru's eyes widened with horror as she crashed to the floor.
    Dark Iris dropped the blaster, laughing quietly as wires stuck out of her side, crackling with electricity. "You are not going to kill him that easily..."
    Damaru's eyes fogged over as she struggled to get up and stared at Dark Iris. "Alive..."
    "You won't be for much longer!"
    "X, charge the buster!" Pine yelled as he removed the chip from Fruit's forehead. "Do it now!"
    Sigma shoved himself out of the wall, ignoring the current bitch fight as he stepped towards X and Zero with a sneer on his face.
    X rose the X-Buster, charging it up as Sigma unleashed a wave of electrical charges.  The two blasts clashed each other, X trying to overpower Sigma but soon found himself trying to fight off Sigma's ever-increasing strength.  X looked as if he could be breaking out in sweat in the struggle to bring the battle to a conclusion for once and all.
    "DAMARU!" Zero yelled while he jumped at Damaru, trying to get her out of Dark Iris' warpath.
    "Why hang on her? She's nothing to you! I'm worth more to you... isn't that right, Zero... weren't we such a lovely couple..."
    Zero ground his teeth as he remembered the memories of everything that had happened in X4 and looked at Dark Iris.
    "Were we even a couple? I treated you like a friend... why are you so intent on trying to get me to treat you more than a friend? There's no time for love in such situations! These situations are merely life and death... the humanity is at stake and there's no time for love between reploids! Friendship, maybe, but... love, forget it."
    "Such cruel words, Zero." Dark Iris glared at him, shuddering with rage. "I loved you so much... why is it that you're denying me so?"
    "...didn't I already say that!?" Zero held onto Damaru's body as if he was trying to protect her. "Why don't you just see the truth or are you going to let yourself be led to doom by Sigma?!"
    "Sigma tricked you twice now... and it's killed you before! Do you want to die again? Do you?"
    "...no..." Dark Iris turned around and saw X was starting to break under the pressure from battling with Sigma as Fruit and Pine tried to help X, but it seemed to be in vain. "You're right... I was wrong... I need to correct my mistakes."
    Sigma yelled out as Dark Iris latched onto his back. "What are you doing!?"
    "This ends now, dear master! If I'm going down, you're coming along! Self destruct... mode...!"
    An explosion rocked through the room, sending the heroes crashing through the ground as the tattered remains of Sigma fell along with them.
    "According to this script... this should be his second form now." Fruit Tree glanced at Sigma who was increasing in size. "We only have to worry about his last form."
    "GEE THANKS, FRUIT!" Pine yelled. "We don't have enough energy cells left!"
    "Then we give 'em to X-chan!"
    "WHAT?" X bugged out at Fruit. "It's not really necessary, really! I think I have enough to finish off Sigma..."
    "Please?" Fruit clenched her hands together, pulling off the cute, innocent look on her face. "Pretty please?"
    "Oh, alright..." X was partially red in the face as he sighed in defeat while Pine and Zero looked stunned. "So, what plan do we have for now?"
    Sigma's increasing size was ripping through the building as he started to step towards the reploids, but soon found his head jammed in a toilet.
    Everyone stared at Sigma frantically waving his arms around, trying to remove his head from the ceiling from whence it was stuck.  His body was squirming under the pressure as he slammed his hands on the ceiling and yanked his head out.  Unfortunately, the toilet was still on his head as he lifted the lid and glared at the reploids.
    "Do not laugh."
    No such luck due to the fact that the reploids were in utter pain, laughing their behinds off at the ludicrous sight of Sigma with a newfound necklace... that is, a toilet necklace with a lovely lid.
    More laughter as Sigma screamed in frustration and ripped off the toilet, throwing it at Pine.  He instantly got clobbered in the face and was thrown back against the wall once everyone stopped laughing.  They froze, staring in shock and tried to figure out a decent plan of action.
    A huge pineapple landed on Sigma's head and exploded, leaving pineapple rings on his head.  He screamed again and ripped them off while Fruit was digging up more fruit bombs from hammer-space.
    X was starting to power up the X-Buster once again as Pine dragged himself out of the wall, looking up in disbelief.
Sigma rose his arms as lighting struck through the remains of the ceiling, shattering them as the debris hurled down along with the rain.
    Fruit yelped while shielding her and Pine from the debris as X did the same while Zero had his body covering Damaru's.
    "We need to do something now..." X muttered through his clenched teeth and blasted the fully charged X-Buster beam at Sigma.
    The beam blasted at Sigma's leg, sending him crashing to the ground as Pine yelled. "The building's not stable! It's gonna fall apart! Everyone out!"
    Zero activated the Z-sabre and sliced a huge hole in the wall. "Everyone, jump!" He picked up Damaru and jumped out of the hole as Pine followed while X stopped and turned around.
    "Fruit, ya coming?"
    "Yeah... Just need to do this." She spun around and hurled one of her last bombs. "Okay!"
    They both jumped out as the building exploded as thunder boomed through the air while the reploids were falling.
    "Um... shit, how many more feet do we have to fall?"
    "Approximately 40 more, Perry!"
    "Thanks a lot, Fruit..."
    "Use whatever abilities you have!" X yelled out as he activated his ultimate armor and used the jet pack while grabbing both Pine and Fruit, landing onto a roof. "Zero!? Damaru?!"
    "They're gone..."
    "This can't be... I hope they're alright."

    Am I dead? Have my power cells diminished? What happened to me...?
Zero stood up, staring up at the remains of the building as Damaru moaned softly, as she struggled to push herself up.
    "Damaru! Are you alright?"
    "Barely... I'm so weak. I can't even walk. It's like... I have something broken inside me... I can't tell what it is."
    "Just rest, it'll be alright."
    "Sigma's not defeated. He's going to come for us, we have to get away from here!"
    "..." Zero stared at the rising rubble. "I'm going to have to teleport to wherever the others are... damn! My coordinate controls are broken!"
    "Mine isn't... let me transfer them to you." Damaru opened a console on her arm guard and the coordinates flashed in a form of hologram. "They're not too far from here... they're on another building."
    "I thought..."
    "Separate power sources. My reploid armor operates on a much different source compared to my body. My armor runs on a special fuel while I rely on food."
    Damaru laughed weakly. "My body was built to mimic a human in hopes that I would someday be able to walk along with the humans without having to even fight at all. I don't think that'll ever happen if mavericks are going to be..."
    She passed out as Zero sighed, picking her up and teleported once the figure rose from the rubble with an ominous red aura reeking of evil.

    "Zero! You alright?" X ran over to Zero. "Damaru's still out cold?"
    "No... she woke up and mentioned that she was severely injured and passed out."
    "I bet I can fix her!" Fruit hopped. "Just put her down!"
    "Uh, ok."
    Once Damaru was on the rooftop, Fruit began examining her thoroughly, making hmming sounds as she scanned the armor and the body.
    "Seems that her armor is damaged in the back... which means that her metal spine has shattered, leaving her paralyzed. She needs to be recharged, and oh yeah, she has some internal leaking which means that she's going to need major repairs soon. I'm going to try do something, but it won't help much."
    Fruit was thrown aback by Zero's yelp and stood up, glaring at him. "No, she won't die. Just chill out and let me fix your girlfriend."
    Zero was now stunned. "Girl...girlfriend?! What the hell... look, Fruit, she's only a friend. Damnit, stop being loony and do something sane."
    "Hey, look..."
    Everyone stared in shock as Sigma rose from the rubbles, transforming into his final form which seemed to rival that of his previous final forms or ANY final bosses!  His aura glowed even brighter, revealing the spiked shoulders, clawed hands and feet.  His arms and legs were covered in armor with small poison tipped spikes as his torso seemed to be totally dark red.  He had two capes flowing out of either shoulder blades as he floated over to the reploids.  He waved his hands and two huge floating heads that resembled Sigma but rather disfigured with wires sticking out everywhere.
    "This time, I will not fail in my journey to become the ultimate form of evil! You have no chance of resisting! Prepare to be destroyed..." Sigma cackled gleefully as the head on his right discharged electricity at X.
    X howled in pain before he could even start charging the X-Buster while Pine attempted to shoot at the head but soon got caught in the electricity discharge as well.
    Fruit gasped in horror as Zero's eyes widened while he charged at Sigma with his activated Z-Sabre.  The head on Sigma's left spat a huge chunk of ice at Zero, encasing him as Fruit stood up, shaking over with rage.
    "Hmm. Weak."
    "You... you..." She spat. "I'm not going to let you destroy us..."
    "Oh, yes, but you will. Just like you allowed yourself to die so easily. How ironic... I found your corpses... I didn't think you three would be resurrected... alas, your time has come to a end, Fruit Tree!"
    Fruit was thrown off guard as Damaru charged at Sigma while he blasted fireballs at her.  It didn't seem to stop her in her charge, she felt nothing but anger as the fire tore at her body, shedding every layer of metal and artifical skin off.  Burning away at the remains of her hair and the ribbon that held it back until her skeleton was totally revealed.
    Fruit's face froze in horror as she stepped back. "Damaru..."
    Damaru's metal skull didn't even make any expression as she rose the D-Sabre and drove it into Sigma's chest as everything exploded all around them.
    Fruit gasped, snapping out of the vision as Sigma cackled at her. "What's the matter? So afraid for once?"
    "No, I'm not afraid." Fruit glanced out of the corner of her eye to see Damaru standing up. "However..."
    "I'm not going to let you destroy us..."
    "Oh, yes, but you will. Just like you allowed yourself to die so easily. How ironic... I found your corpses... I didn't think you three would be resurrected... alas, your time has come to a end, Fruit Tree!"
    "... she's dead! You'll be dead along with her!"
    "No." Sigma looked shocked as Damaru stepped out from behind Fruit. "I'm not dead. But... you will."
    Fruit grabbed Damaru. "You are not going to try!"
    "I'll do it!"
    "No... please...this isn't necessary! Life is more important! This is our second chance, you wanna waste it?"
    While Sigma was distracted, the head crackle and exploded, causing the area to be covered in smoke.  Pine grinned craftily for he had blasted at the head with the pine needles when he had the chance.
    "What is this?! Left Head, go and cover them in ice! Freeze them to their deaths!"
    A column of fire blasted through the ice as Zero leaped backwards while X slowly charged up his X-Buster to the full power as Sigma blew away at the smoke with a fireball.
    "Do you reploids think you can live peacefully along humans!? It won't work! I promise you...!"
    X let the blast burst loose and it charged through Sigma's body, destroying every piece by piece as he fired off the blasts repeatedly.
    Sigma screamed in horror as his body melted away and his power cell exploded, turning everything bright white as if heaven had come to take the reploids away to peace.

    Few days later, Fruit was packing her things as X walked into her room, staring at what she was doing.
    "Hi Fruit... what's going on?"
    "Oh, X-chan, I'm getting ready to leave. Pine and I are supposed to return to New York." She smiled. "It was fun while it lasted. I wish I could spend some time, but with Damaru in eternal sleep... Zex wished it was necessary for us to remain with her."
    "Because we've proven how powerful we are, but I think you're more strong for a cute guy."
    "..." X blushed. "You didn't have to say that..."
    "Aw, it's true." Fruit picked up her luggage and smiled at X.  X realized that she looked so different, wearing normal clothes and not a reploid armor.  "See you later, X!"
    Fruit walked out of her room and tossed the key card to Dr. Cain who blew his nose with a hankchef. "I'm going to miss your antics, Fruit. I must admit, you're awfully a nice gal when you're quiet and sane."
    "Thanks, doc!"
    "See ya!" Pine waved as the two walked out of the building towards the airport as Dr. Cain frowned.
    "Where's Zero?"
    "...uh, I think he's moping." X sweatdropped.
    "And why would he mope... oh. Damaru... well, since Seth hasn't been able to remove the virus completely, he decided it was for the best to just repair her and seal her away. Looks like Damaru will never get to experience anything anymore... it's sad in a way that she has to be locked up for everyone and her own good."
    "Yeah... I agree. She was so helpful... I wonder if Zero is going to be alright... oh, well, he was alright about Iris, wasn't he?"
    "I think Dark Iris may be still bothering him to this day."

    Zero stared at the sun slowly fading into the horizon as he held onto one of Damaru's hair ribbons.  He sighed and looked up with what seemed to be tears running down his cheeks.
    "Damaru... it feels so empty without your friendship. Iris... same with you too. I'll never forget both you two."

The End

Sequel: The Resurrection of The Shadows

Some pictures that'd go with this story.

-My Artwork-

[Damaru, Fruit, Pine] A group picture of the three reploids.
[Damaru/Damasu] Half of Damaru's face, half of Damasu's face.
[Damaru and Damasu] Note how Damasu is positioned behind Damaru like... a shadow! :P
[Damaru and Zero] Just a simple picture of Damaru and Zero standing. Gasp, Zero doesn't have his helmet! c.c;
[Damaru] Just Damaru in the darkness... lots of purple. v.v
[Fruit] Same thing with Fruit... only lots of pink this time.
[Pine] Pine in green! (and in the buck... only you see his back :P)
[Sorrowful Damaru] Damaru's just kind of drifty... with a sad look on her face.
[Blank Pine] He doesn't really have any emotions to him.
[Happy Fruit] FT in her usual hyper mode. XP
[Damaru and Damasu again] Kind of like the second picture from the top... only different.
[Damaru with no hope] She looks very ready to just give up.

-Others' artwork-

[Fire Ant] DR drew this spiffy piccie of Fire Ant for me. XD

[Zero holding Damaru's ribbon] Thank you, AlfonZ! =) The picture is very nice! :D