Butterfly

_____________________________________________________________
 

Notes:

The fic that never seem to let me end it. ^_^ I'm still not to happy with how it did end, but I'll live with it.

_____________________________________________________________
 

He raised a hand and knocked on the door, tentative at first, then harder as he figured that the first knock might not be heard.

Silence.

Rock bit his lip and looked down at the address again, double-checking the door number. Right number, right building, right street. Maybe I wrote it down wrong? Even the landlady -- though she raised her gray eyebrows and eyed him with speculation -- had confirmed that he was at the right place.

Silence.

Sighing, Rock turned to go, balling the paper up in a fist and preparing to throw it aside as useless. He lied to --

The sound of a bolt sliding and the door opened, a black-haired head poked out, "Rock? What are you doing here?"

His head jerked back around to smile at the figure with relief, "Blues! I thought, I mean, I just ... when you didn't ... " Looking sheepish, Rock rubbed the back of his head, ruffling chocolate brown hair into a more unruly mop than usual. "I thought you lied to me," he stated with bald honesty.

The elder bot cocked his head to the side, the golden hall lights flashing across the thick black visor that covered half of his face, "Are you coming in or not?"

"I can, I mean, yes!" Rock blurted out as he darted through the space Blues opened between himself and the door.

Dimly, the smaller bioroid noted the sound of the bolt sliding home again, but most of his attention was focused on the apartment itself.

"Want anything to drink?"

Rock nodded his head absently, "Tea, please?"

Blues disappeared to the kitchenette, a wraith moving silently through the mess of papers that covered the floor, the sparse furniture, the bookshelves, and every single open space that could hold a pile of papers. The papers sat in stacks and towers, slowly slipping into disorderly piles of white. Here and there, Rock could make out the shape of a chair or low table. Not that there was only paper, no, far from it. A confusing array of other items mixed with the white; paint brushes, sketchpads, sunglasses, a flute, a trio of gaudy hand-puppets, news-store manga, a profusion of computer disks, random CDs, a programming tome, batteries, a tangle of equipment that could have been a homemade radio, several lonely plushies, photographs, a throw pillow, and even an old piano stood shoved into a corner.

Who knew my brother was such a ... a ... slob. Grinning to himself, Rock picked up the sheaf of papers nearest to him, which had been stacked neatly under one of the hand-puppets. He giggled as he scanned the contents.

German puppets are rather funny. They have exaggerated features, long noses, and bushy hair. This one town's greatest tourist attraction is it's puppets. I sat through one of the shows and it was quite odd. Reminiscent of the Japanese. The audience was behaved, but loud. In America, at the children's museums, it's completely wild. And they look at you funny if you aren't an adult with kids. Really. I think I should be able to enjoy a good puppet show when I feel like going to one.

Gathered data is attached. Date: 20XX July 28

Smiling fondly at the back of the figure working in the kitchenette, Rock set the papers down and looked instead for a place to sit. After a moment he saw one, a small couch and coffee table near one of the outlets, cleared for a person and a laptop to sit comfortably. Wading through the stacks, the blue-eyed bot moved a little more paper out of the way before folding his legs and sitting down in front of the laptop.

Not meaning to pry, he only glanced at the screen in preparation to closing it. It was running a search, a circling radar icon indicating the status until completion. Curious, he looked at it again, wondering who it was Blues would be looking for at this time of night.

A hand dropped into his vision and closed the laptop with a snap, "Your tea."

"Thank you," he said with a guilty blush, taking the proffered mug. Bringing it to his nose he took a deep whiff, smiling at the aroma of raspberries. A marshmallow bobbed indolently in the red tinted liquid, "What's this?" he asked slightly incredulous, indicating the marshmallow.

"It's a marshmallow," Blues informed him evenly, moving some paper out of the way so he could sit next to his younger brother.

"Tea doesn't have marshmallows. That's hot chocolate."

Blues looked down at his own tea and poked at his marshmallow with a spoon, "I like tea with marshmallows. They melt and make it sweeter."

Rock gave both Blues and his mug a long look before giggling, taking a careful sip only after his mirth has died. "Oh, don't look so injured, niisan," he said with a smile, "You know you did it just to see what I would do. All that rebellious thinking."

"I really do like marshmallows in my tea," the older bot grumbled with good nature.

"I know. You're weird."

"What are you doing here, Rock?" Blues asked bluntly, taking the conversation far away from marshmallows and tea.

Swirling his tea around with his spoon, Rock didn't answer immediately, just looked down into the red depths. "It's ... kinda silly. I've been having ... dreams. And well, you said that if I needed you, you might be here."

"You got lucky then. I only stopped here for the evening."

"Yeah ... " The blue-eyed bot flicked a glance at the closed laptop, suspecting it might be the only reason his half-brother was there at all.

"You had one tonight," It was more a statement than a question. Rock blinked, puzzled, before realizing what Blues meant. Nodding, he put his cup down and folded his hands in his lap, absently noting that his jeans were more ragged than he remembered. One too many attacks in normal clothes. "Tell me about it."

Startled, Rock looked up at him, surprised that Blues had even said it. The older bioroid put his own tea down on the table and settled into a more comfortable position on the couch. "Tell me about them. That's why you're here, right, Rock?"

His gaze wandered across the room, briefly alighting on the piano, "I didn't know you played the piano."

"I play a lot of things." If Blues was annoyed at how he had changed the subject, he gave no sign.

"Well, I knew you played the flute ... " Rock said with a smile as he stood and made his way over to the piano. It was an old fashioned instrument, made of white-painted wood and carved with decorative curly-cues. Sitting down on the matching bench, he looked back at the kagemusha and found that Blues had followed him. "Could you teach me how to play?"

"It would take more than one lesson."

"I know," he looked down, fingering the smooth black and white keys. In every light there is a little bit of darkness.

Black clad arms moved around him as hands gripped his own, moving them into the correct position; fingers down, wrists up. "I might only be able to teach you one."

"I don't mind," Rock replied, turning his head to look up, only to find his nose a hair's breadth from his brother's cheek. Heat rushed to infuse his face as Blues turned, bringing them nose to nose. This close and he could see the outline of eyes behind the other bot's shades. They blinked and Blues straightened, giving Rock a view of his black turtleneck instead.

"Sit straight, Rock."

"Ah ... hai ... " he stammered as he turning his attention firmly back to the piano, sitting up as straight as he could.

Fingers meshed neatly with his own, guiding them to each individual key. The voice next to his ear named each one as his fingers touched them and pressed down, making them chime. Somehow, though each word was spoken clearly, Rock didnít really grasp them. Either because the piano was out of his range or because he was hopelessly distracted.

His hands were guided through the slow measure of a song. "It's so dark and violent," he murmured.

The movement ended, "What?"

"It's so dark and violent," Rock repeated, then more quietly to himself, "Like my life."

Blues released him to move his hands to Rock's shoulders instead, "It bothers you."

"Yeah," he said, slumping a little, "So much violence, so much killing ... I wonder, sometimes, if, maybe, I enjoy it too much. That ... I like the winning. So much so that I like the killing too ... "

"You worry about it because you have a warm heart, Rock, and as long as you keep that, you will never enjoy it." The hands squeezed his shoulders gently. "Is that what's bothering your sleep?"

Rock looked to the side, "You draw?"

One of the hands lifted to ruffle his hair. "So evasive." A warm chuckle as Blues sat down next to him so they could be eyes to shades, "Did you learn that from me?"

"Maybe ... " he replied, looking off to the side

"No, I can't draw."

Rock's head jerked back as he focused on his brother, "Eh?"

"I can't draw."

"Then why do you have those?" he asked, gesturing at the sketchbooks and paintbrushes poking out of the clutter.

"Just because I can't draw doesn't mean I didn't try."

The smaller bot glanced around the room, taking in the seething mess, their abandoned tea mugs, the lonely puppets ... "Do you stay here often?"

"No." Only when Rock continued to look at him expectantly did he keep going, "Maybe once a month, if that. It's just somewhere to keep things I find or things I wanted to try." He paused, looking around the room himself, "I should probably get rid of it."

"No!" Rock blurted out before he actually thought about it.

Blues shot him a sharp glance, an eyebrow raising, "Oh?"

Blushing, Rock didn't meet his gaze. Instead, he rose and went to the coffee table to retrieve his mug, peering into the depths where the marshmallow had long since disappeared, "It has your personality in it."

"Should I be insulted by that?"

Turning even more red, Rock continued, "I like it. It's comfortable here. A ... a place you made all for yourself all on your own."

The kagemusha didn't answer, just stood to join him.

"I'm ... kinda ... jealous of it, I guess," the younger bot murmured, gazed fixed firmly on his tea. Before Blues could reply to that, Rock turned, only to find himself almost face to face with his brother again. The red that had been seeping away from his cheeks returned in full force as he lifted the mug and managed to stutter something out, "S-see? This is w-why you don't put marshmallows in tea."

Blues dropped his gaze to the cup, taking in the marshmallow residue floating at the top of the liquid like a cloud scudding across an evening sky. He lifted his gaze to Rock again, "But the question is, is it sweet?"

"Hm." Lifting the mug, Rock took a tentative sip, licking away the marshmallow mustache, "It is!"

"See," Blues said with a hint of a smile.

Rock gave him a prim look even as he took another sip, "That's no reason to put marshmallows in tea."

"Of course it is," he replied

"Is not."

"You're never going to tell me what you dreamed, are you."

It was a statement, not a question. Rock gave his brother a cautious look and was relieved that Blues didn't look annoyed, just ... amused?

"Tell me this, Rock, if you never intended to talk about it, why come to me?"

"I wanted to be with someone who'd make me forget what I dreamed?" he offered tentatively.

"And Roll or Dr. Light couldn't do that?"

Rock looked away, "I wanted to be with you."

Blues said nothing, but Rock could almost feel him blink in puzzlement.

"It did chase it away, being here with you ... instead of being examined and poked at home ... " Blushing a little, he dragged his gaze back to his brother, "You don't mind, do you?"

A oddly sweet smile danced across Blues' face, "No. I don't mind."

"Can ... can we go on a walk? Just you and me?"

"This late? Where would we go?" Blues asked even as he gently removed the cup of tea from Rock's hands.

"I don't know ... anywhere, everywhere." A whisper.

Blues treated him to another one of those sweet smiles, "I like your rebellious ways of thinking."

"Are you teasing me?" Rock demanded with a grin, hands on hips as he leaned up at his brother.

The elder bot bent just enough to bring them nose and nose, voice lowered, "Maybe."

"Well, stop it," he said, still smiling as he stuck his tongue out at Blues.

Straightening suddenly, the black-haired bot moved away from Rock and in the direction of the door. Removing a long trench and yellow scarf from wall hooks that the younger boiroid had overlooked on his previous observations of the room, Blues proceeded to put them on.

"Why do you wear that?" Rock asked, joining his brother by the door.

"I like it."

The blue-eyed bot unbolted the door, "Silly reason to do something."

"What? You can think of something better?"

Rock smiled as he opened the door to let them both out, stepping outside, "Well ... maybe not."

"Then why say anything?" Removing a key from one of the trench's pockets, Blues shut the door and locked it, replacing the key.

"I think I like watching you look indignant."

"Fhn. Brat." With that, Blues started down the hall, Rock close on his heels. It was a quiet trip to the elevator, but it was comfortable quiet. At this time of night, the elevator opened almost immediately for them, having stayed on the floor from Rock's trip up. Only after they had begun the descent, did Blues speak again, "I never liked elevators."

Rock looked at him curiously, "Why?"

There was a moment of silence before his brother spoke again, "We all have our nightmares, Rock."

Before Rock could answer, the elevator doors slid open onto the dimly lit lobby entrance and Blues was exiting with purposeful strides. He didn't catch up with his brother until they were out the door and into the cool night air.

"Anywhere you want to go?"

Looking up, Rock smiled quietly, "Somewhere to see the stars ... "

"I know a place."

"You do? Where?"

Blues turned and leaned close. Rock could feel the intensity of the gaze though the shades, burning, "Catch me, Rock, and you'll find out."

Rock's breath caught in his throat and he flushed, but Blues had already whirled and leapt. Looking up, he caught his brother out of the corner of his eye, perched lightly on a fire escape, smirking. One moment he was there and the next he was moving again.

"Run away all you want, Blues, but I'll always find you!" Rock called as he too leapt, hot on his brother's heels. Rock scaled the building in three carefully placed bounds, clearing the ledge in one smooth jump. Landing, he scanned the darkness.

A murmur on the wind teased his ears, "So you say, little brother~!" The tell-tale flicker of a yellow scarf caught his eye and he was off, chasing Blues from rooftop to rooftop.

Rock's world narrowed to the dancing scarf and the wind in his ears. He was going to catch Blues no matter what. The gap between began to close, first a block's length, then a building, until finally his brother was just a length ahead. An edge loomed up as they leaped almost as one, Rock throwing himself out to wrap his arms tightly around Blues.

"Got you!" thrilled, he shouted over the wind as they fell, landing heavily on the opposite rooftop with enough force to knock the breath out of both of them.

Blues groaned and shifted underneath the younger bot, "Oof ... you got me ... "

"Sorry ... " he managed to gasp out, focusing on pulling air into his mechanical lungs.

A breathless chuckle was Rock's only answer as the elder bot moved again, managing to shift the smaller bioroid off of him, "You did indeed ... get me ... " he said, reaching out to ruffle the unruly brown hair.

Rock smiled, pleased, as Blues slowly pushed himself up and then offered him a hand. Taking the offered hand, Rock let his brother pull him smoothly to his feet. "I won. So what do I get?"

A smile ghosted across the black-haired bot's face, gone before it was fully realized, "Look left and up."

Doing as he was told, Rock looked left and up ... and up ... and up. "Wow," he breathed, eyes riveted the sky-scraper that rose in elegant silver splendor into the sky, so tall it's top seemed a needle's point from where they stood.

"Up there is where we can see the stars."

"But ... how do we get up there?" Rock asked, a little overwhelmed.

Chuckling to himself, Blues answered, "I have the coordinates programmed into my teleporter ... unless of course, you want to climb it .... ?"

"No, no, teleporter is fine!" he said emphatically, shaking his head.

"I thought as much."

Rock moved close to Blues and wrapped his arms around the other's waist, smiling up at Blues as the elder bot gave him a startled look, "We need to be close for the teleporter to work, right?"

A arm slid around him to hold him tight, "Right."

The world faded out in a stream of red and blue light as they beamed up, reflected off the satellites that relayed their teleporters, and bounced back to beam down on the slanted roof of the tallest skyscraper in the city.

Rock found himself clinging tighter to his brother as he looked out at the city, the dizzying familiarity of vertigo assaulting him, "Oh ... dear ... "

"Better sit down, Rock, before we both fall," Blues said, lowering himself and Rock to sitting position on the roof.

After a moment, as the vertigo receded with his firmer position, Rock slowly released his brother, looking out onto the vista that stretched before them, "The city's like a mirror of the sky ... "

"A million points of light ... "

"Yeah."

Rock slowly lowering himself until his back touched the roof and his view held only the sky, "Hey ... there's the North Star."

"And over there is Mars," out of the corner of his eye, he saw the darker shadow of his brother lean back until he too was stretched out on the roof.

"Mars? You sure?"

"It's a little red looking."

"You don't know a thing about astronomy, do you?" he asked, grinning smugly in the dark.

"I have an internal global map. Why do I need to know which star goes where?"

Rock giggled at that, "So practical."

"Hmph. What do you know about the stars, then?"

"I know that the bigger twinkly dot is the North Star."

A hand reached over to poke him in the shoulder, "Little brat."

"One more bit of knowledge I know that you don't."

He heard Blues chuckle, "You really enjoy that, I see."

"Oh yes. You always seem like you know everything. It's nice to know I know stuff that you don't know."

"Just don't let it go to your head," Blues said with a smile in his voice.

Rock shivered quietly, rubbing his arms at the cold that seemed to get worse the longer he was up the roof, "Can't let it get as big as yours, right?"

"You're cold," his brother stated, sitting up suddenly and moving closer Rock.

"I'll l-live ... oo!" Rock squeaked as Blues wrapped an arm around him and pulled him close, wrapping the trench he had undone around the both of them. His breath caught in his throat as he found himself pressed close against the other's side, suddenly warmed in the close space beneath the trench.

"Better?" Blues asked as he carefully lowered them both to the roof so they could see the stars once more.

"Y-yeah ... so this is why you wear this, keeps you warm on rooftops," he said, struggling to keep his voice even and his tone light, "Besides that whole mysterious thing."

"Comfortable?"

"Mmmm ... " Rock murmured, cuddling closer as he shifted to lay half on Blues and half on the roof, winding his arm around his brother's neck as he tucked his nose into the hollow of Blues' neck.

"Good." Fingers ruffled his hair and he smiled, not minding that he could no longer see anything except the warm, yellow fluff of his brother's scarf and the smooth curve of his brother's neck. Don't mind at all.

"Tell me a story now that you've ... tucked me in?" Rock felt his brother's near-silent laugh, a vibration and contraction of muscles, even as the fingers in his hair curled to give him an affectionate noogie, "H-hey~! Stop that!" The knuckles dug in a little more before lifting to slide down his cheek, caressing.

"What type of story did you have in mind?" Blues asked with amusement.

"A happily ever after one," Rock murmured, shivering to himself as Blues' finger trailed aimlessly up and down his cheek.

"Even though there's no such thing as happily ever after?" The finger stopped and pulled away.

Rock tipped his head back enough to try to peer under his brother's shades, "Do you really believe that, Blues?"

Silence.

Pushing himself up on his elbow, Rock stared down at Blues, "Don't believe it."

Flat, "Why not? Can you say any different? For every army of Wily's you've put down there's always another to take it's place. For every good deed you do there is a bad one done. There is no such thing as happily ever after."

Tentatively, the blue-eyed bot lifted a hand to cup his brother's cheek and tilted the face that stared fixedly at the sky towards him, speaking with quiet intensity, "There is such a thing. Some day there won't be a Wily, even if it takes defeating another twenty armies. For every bad thing, something wonderful happens. Like now. Just sitting up on this roof and watching the stars. Just living."

Stubborn silence.

"You'll never make me believe it, my dear cynical brother. And I'll never stop until you believe it too. I'll make a happily ever after," nose to nose, trying to convince Blues of his intent despite the barrier of dark glass that kept him from truly reading the other bot's eyes.

A long moment passed as they stared at each other and finally, finally, Rock was satisfied, "Now tell me a story," he said with a smile as he lowered himself back into his former position, rubbing his cheek against his brother's scarf. Blues chuckled quietly, seeming to concede to the inevitable.

"Once upon a time there was a little blue robot -- "

"Wait. Why does it have to be a little blue robot? Why can't it be a little gray robot?" Rock asked with a grin.

"I'm not telling a story about a little gray robot. It's a little blue robot."

Rock shifted to wrap an arm around his brother, "But I already know all about the little blue robot, I want to hear all about the little gray robot ... I don't know him."

"You know everything you need to know, Rock."

"No. I don't ... don't really know anything at all about him."

"You know he's an ally. Perhaps even a ... friend ... "

"What if ... " he floundered for a moment, "What if I wanted him to be ... I mean, to know more ... "

Blues was silent, and for a long moment Rock was afraid he wouldn't answer at all, "Perhaps ... another time."

"Is that a promise?" he asked quietly.

"I thought you wanted a story," his brother said lightly, poking his cheek.

"Do you promise me?"

"Once upon a time -- "

Rock's voice was cool when he spoke, "Don't evade me, Blues."

His chin was caught in a firm grip and lifted as Blues shifted to bring them face to face, quietly intent, "I can promise you nothing, Rock. I can only promise a maybe ... when I'm ready to ... "

They regarded each other in silence, frozen in a stubborn tableau until something beeped, distracting Rock from his attempt to see behind his brother's sunglasses. Slowly releasing Rock's chin, Blues averted his gaze to check his watch, an accessory Rock hadn't noticed him wearing before now.

"I have to go."

"What?" the blue-eyed bot asked as his brother slowly stood, pulling Rock with him.

"I have to go," Blues repeated, shrugging the rest of the way out of his jacket as the younger robot just blinked at him.

A hand latched onto his scarf and pulled as he turned away. He looked back, mouth open to snap at Rock, only to shut it again as the shorter bot slid his arms around his waist and hugged him gently, "If I said anything ... I'm sorry."

"It wasn't you."

"Just remember that you owe me a bedtime story, Blues," Rock said, tilting his head up to smile at his brother.

Carefully unwinding his scarf from his neck, Blues looped the long, fuzzy yellow cloth around Rock instead, tucking the ends into the trench that even now still hung off the younger robot's smaller frame. "'Till next time, little brother," a thumb brushed Rock's cheek and then away, "Keep warm."

In a flash of red light, Blues teleported away.

Rock scrunched his head down on the warm yellow fluff like a turtle, inhaling deeply as the cold wind whipped futilely around his small form, "'Till next time ... " he smiled, hitting his own teleporter "And I will ... thanks to you."

_____________________________________________________________
 

If you should return to me
We truly were meant to be
So fly into the sky ~
Butterfly ~

Unknown's Butterfly

_____________________________________________________________