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Chapter 2

Posted by Terminator98, 29 February 2004 · 1,438 views

Chapters

Chapter 2




Five years have elapsed since the last event. Five long years where Alex tried to live an ordinary life, live as a normal citizen, burying away his tormented past.
Having attended and graduated from secondary school, he was now doing a part time job, working as an employee in one of Crest's main cities.

Life was fine, he had a decent job with a nice enough pay, he didn't have to over-exert himself about his work.
His daily routine was suitable. Everyday, when he returned to his private appartement at around 5 o'clock in the evening, he would turn on his computer, check his mail and then spend his time watching random videos or playing computer games. Sometimes, he would go out with his old school mates to a party or to a cinema.

But he didn't really have any friends. The repeated cycle was already getting boring, and he felt clearly that something was missing from his life. He could not find true happiness. What he sought to achieve in life, even if he didn't know what it was clearly, it wasn't the life he was leading right now.
There was only one time when he felt happy. That was when he read Haruka's mails. Even though separated, they still kept talking to each other. Alex had a photo of him, Haruka and Yuji right next to his bedside. They were the only people who had really understood him. They were the only ones that were really like him. He was missing them. He was starting to regret his decision.

The plan of living in Mirage city 5 years ago hadn't worked out well for Alex. Haruka and Yuji settled down nicely into the orphanage that took them in, but Alex wanted more freedom, more independence. He could not stand being watched again by other people.
Alex spent some time in the orphanage, but decided later to move to Crest city, where he started renting a flat and study by himself. Taxes and social aid was better in Crest controlled areas, so it would be easier for him to make a living for himself there.

Before he left the siblings, Alex promised them that they would keep in touch via writing letters and mails to each other. Haruka said that she'd gladly do it, and in the end, they had a final parting party where they swore to each other that they would meet again..

Alex had this promise on his mind, and wondered when he would see them. He thought of how much they must had changed in those five years, much like him.
Little did he know though, that he wouldn't need to wait much longer.

One day, as he was coming back home from his routine work, he noticed two people were standing at the doorway of his flat. He couldn't see who it was precisely from afar, especially as they had their backs facing him, but it clearly was a young man and a young woman. Both wore long trench coats that covered most of their body. Pretty odd, Alex thought. Indeed, the area here was kept at a moderate temperature. The woman also had cap on her head. As he approached, he could hear they were having a conversation. Their voices somewhat seemed familiar.

« It seems as if he isn't back from work yet... » the woman told the man with a weak voice.

« He should be back soon though... perhaps he had some stuff that held him over at his work » the latter replied.

« I wonder how he looks like now...- »

« Excuse me, but may I know who are you looking for? » Alex asked

« Oh, we're looking for... »

The Girl froze still once she turned around. Looking at Alex with a surprised and marvelled look. Alex was in the same state. Those Red Eyes of hers, that soft and gentle voice. At first, when he heard her talking. Alex had some doubts, but now, seeing these eyes, there was no mistake. It was Haruka. The man behind her was tall, had slicked back black hair, dark blue eyes and seemed to be around his early adulthood. He also had that somewhat cool aura surrounding him. The man was Yuji. The latter, after turning around nodded while scrutinizing Alex's visage.

« Wait a second... that face... oh yes, that's indeed Alex for real. » Yuji approved.

« Ha... Haruka? Yuji? » Alex muttered in disbelief.

Yuji put his hands on Alex's shoulders while looking at him in the eyes. He admired him for a few more seconds, as if Alex had become someone else.« So it is really you... my, oh my, since when were you that much of a bishonen? »

« Wh... what? » Alex said visibly embarrassed

« Hehe, well, for how long will you be keeping your guests waiting outside? »

« Oh yes, that's right, please come in! » Alex said while unlocking the gate as fast as he could.

Haruka remained silent and smiled while watching her brother and old friend chat. Alex noticed her tranquility and threw a glance at her. She seemed timid and confused. Perhaps it had been such a long time that she was simply lost with her words.

This was so, unexpected. Who would've thought that one day that these two would appear out of nowhere at his house. Still, this was a pleasant surprise.

« You two go and take a seat, I'll go get us some drinks. »

As Yuji and Haruka made themselves comfortable, Alex rushed to the kitchen and grabbed some of the finest fruit juice he had. Coming straight from KISARAGI's biological farms, this was as close as one could get from the real juice that was once made on earth's surface.
Taking back this treat to his living room, he was immobilized once he set his foot inside it. Haruka had removed her cap and her trenchcoat, revealing her long flowing silvery hair. She was in a very attractive outfit composed of a cyan shirt and a skirt that went down to her knees. Stockings hid her white legs up to her upper tibias, and nice white high heeled shoes amplified the beauty of her exotic clothing choice. But it was her body that stoned Alex the most. He thought that he had never seen something as beautiful.
After standing there for a few more seconds in a shock from his latest discovery, Alex regained his composure.

« Hmm? Is there something wrong? » Yuji asked as he noticed that Alex had stood still for a small while.

« Oh! Well, I was thinking about something. My bad. I have a habit to space out as you know. »

« Still the same eh? Thanks for the drinks. Come, hurry up and get seated as well... »

Alex sat down on a stool opposite of his guests.

« Anyways... » Yuji interrupted his sentence, glancing at Haruka on the side. « Why are you so silent Haruka? »

Haruka looked down with an embarrassed look. « Me? Well, I don't really know what to say... It's been so long... Ehe, what can I say... I don't really know. Alex-san has changed so much... »

« Haha, feeling shy sis? »

« Not really... »

« So anyways... Alex. How has your life been? I know that Haruka has been keeping a constant correspondance with you, but tell me... is everything ok here in Crest's dominion? »

« Yes... So far, I've been living a rather quiet life. It's boring, yes, but it isn't that bad. The fact that Crest follows the will of the controller kinda annoys me... but I can understand them. They want order, and that's what the controller is giving us... for now. »

« So that's how it is then, good for you. Well, you see, we wanted to come by and visit you since a long time, but we hadn't been able to do so because we do have a rather hectic life... And getting I did not really have the time to mess around with Mirage officials so that they give me and Haruka the permit to come and see you. I have quite a lot of stuff to attend to that is. »

« I see. What are you working as anyways? You've both finished school right? » Alex asked curiously.

« I don't really have a job. Haruka works part-time as a waitress, but she's most of the time at home... she has some health issues. But more importantly, I was thinking... if you could give us a hand. We need your help. »

Alex was puzzled. Help? What kind of help could he give them?

« Yes... it's concerning a job I've decided to do. Haruka, being my stubborn sister, wants to follow me around, but we thought about you and we do believe that this job would fit you quite nice... perhaps that is. »

Yuji's tone quickly changed from a casual, relaxed one to a solemn and serious one.

« I was thinking that we could all three become Ravens. »

Alex took a few seconds to process the sentence. Once his mind grabbed the word 'Raven' though, he immediately swallowed his drink wrong and choked.

« What?! » Alex exclaimed in disbelief.

« Yes... I knew that you would have this reaction. But let me explain this to you... »

« No need to explain, I am not going to touch an Armored Core again. What happened to me at that facility five years ago... I don't want to relive it. That, and I'm done through with killing people. »

« Do you think that me and Haruka want to as well? There is a reason why we're doing this. Think a little, you'll see clearly then... And by the way... I still feel that murderous intent within you. Since you approached us, I can still hear that voice coming from inside your head. »

Alex remembered how Yuji and Haruka could mysteriously feel some of his own feelings and talk to him telepathically. He couldn't hide much from them. But killing people was unacceptable. Alex could not bear removing someone's life with his own hands. It was... repulsing. Still.... whenever he thought of killing, contrasting with his disgust, some sort of pleasure would begin germinating in his head.

To kill. The thought of it had showed up again. This triggered the same voice that plagued him for 5 years to manifest itself again « Kill, you have to kill to live, to survive, everything must die! »
As the voice became louder, Alex covered his ears and threw his head down, as if hiding from the voice. But it kept becoming louder and louder. He would lose his head if he didn't go and take 'these' medications again. Rushing off to his kitchen, Alex quickly swallowed three pills. They left an extremely unpleasant taste, and once they started taking effect, he felt as if all his strength was leaving him.

« Alex! » Haruka cried out while following him in the kitchen, worried about what was happening. Alex fell on his knees, trying with all his willpower to subdue the voice and his pain.
When Haruka saw the scene, she remembered Alex, slumped down against a wall, refusing to eat, lost in a sea of agony and pain, just like what was unfolding right in front of her.

« So... you're still suffering from that effect... » Haruka said while gently patting Alex's back.

The pain was slowly going down, the voice was starting to fade away, and Haruka's gentle touch and comforting smile seemed to be helping into smoothing out the suffering faster.
But the medicine's secondary effects were taking their toll on him as well. He was becoming very weak and tired.

« I'm... I'm alright... blah, it had to be right when you visit me that this has to happen... » Alex told Haruka with a disappointed look on his face.


Yuji walked around the kitchen, looking at the various cutlery and medicine that was stored all around. He then leaned back against the wall opposite of Alex. Looking at him directly through the eyes, complete with a solemn glare, he told him: « You're not exempt as well from the experiments' drawbacks I can see... We all have those issues that keep plaguing our daily life... »

« You two seem fine... I don't see any problems. »

« I am fine indeed. For some unknown reason... I have yet to grow any negative symptoms from that tampering the Kisaragi scientists gave me. For Haruka's case though, it's a whole different story. »

Alex remembered the health issues that Yuji had mentioned earlier, and the different times Haruka said that ''she didn't feel to fine at times'' when he wrote to her.

« Alex. Her body has been degrading itself since she was operated on. At least, that's what I thought, until I discovered something. I actually used to work in a laboratory for Mirage. I had quite a succes in school, and managed to get myself a spot as a chief researcher's assistant. With all the tools there, I was able to check on Haruka's body, and somewhat find a way to help her. She needs blood, badly. Her own body isn't producing enough haemoglobins, and she can't seem to get enough nutrients, no matter the amount of food she eats. »

Haruka, who had been lwatching over the slumped down Alex, trying to comfort him, looked away as a sad expression faded her smile off.

« That's also why I'm odd and have those red eyes and this silver hair... My canines can also morph now, elongating themselves and becoming very sharp. » Looked at him again, but this time, with one very sad and depressed smile. « I don't want you to become a Raven Alex... nor do I want my brother to become one... But we've talked over it a lot, and I guess he won't change his mind. I cannot stand him shouldering everything for me, that is why I will become a Raven as well. But I don't want you to join us... I know you don't want to experience the past traumas that we ran away from. My brother won't listen to me though... »

« No... let me explain why Alex. Haruka's the one that's not understanding. I am giving her blood packs. This quenches the literal thirst for blood that developed within her, but that's far from enough to stop the decomposition of her body. She needs fresh blood, and someone's else blood. I tried to give her my blood, but it doesn't work for some reason I've yet to determine. Even if we are able to make a lot of cash as ravens, if it's only me and Haruka won't be enough to get the amount of money fast enough. »

« The question is though, why do you need money? What will you do with that money? There's no possible was of recovering our humanity. There's no treatment that exists that might heal us. »

« No, you're wrong. I've met someone while I was at work. He seems to know a lot about us and about NEO-PLUS. He showed me that it is possible to heal our problems. The thing is, the cost of this treatment is beyond anything we can get with normal jobs. It's only by becoming Ravens and using the actual ''gifts''' that were bestowed upon us that we can get that cash fast enough. And we won't cure Haruka only, we will rid you of that inner voice of yours and your occasional double personality. »

Alex did not know what to do. The occasion to remove the pain that plagued him since 5 years was presenting itself. He would also be helping those that freed him from his plight. He owned a debt to Yuji and Haruka, as without them, he would've most probably died in the Kisaragi testing center.
Perhaps he should help them out, as a sign of gratitude.
This was not only for his sake though, it was for Haruka's sake as well. Something in his heart compelled Alex to help her. Perhaps is it that he had a crush on her, or that he did not want to be separated from the one he longed so much to see. Or perhaps he just wanted to protect her. He did not know why he was doing this, but he knew he needed to do it. He couldn't bear the idea that she had to constantly suffer, and perhaps die prematurely.

After taking a deep breath, Alex said in a sten tone: « Alright... I'll join. »

Haruka tilted her head forward ashamed upon hearing Alex's response.
Yuji on the other hand smiled, and lifted both of them up to their feet while saying:

« Well, bad manners like sitting on the floor aren't that good... Come on you two. »

He started walking away towards the doorstep and said:

« I've already made arrangements... I just need to add you on the list. We'll be enrolled into Global Cortex's recruits in the coming days. I think that Haruka might enjoy a little break from being with me every time. Why don't you stay here sis? I'll get our stuff packed up and will come back in two days. I do believe anyways you two have a lot to tell each other. Oh, Alex, if you do anything odd to her.. » A dangerous, killing intent started emanating from Yuji. One could easily feel that if anything was done to upset him right now, something VERY bad would happen to him « .. you'll regret that you've escaped from that facility... » Yuji said with a little, seemingly innocent smile.

Yuji left Alex's house, headed to an unknown destination, most probably to Global Cortex.

How to describe the situation? Alex was still a bit in the aftermath of a shock after his head trauma recurred once again. Hii tiredness started to fade away, his head wasn't feeling dizzy too much.
Haruka went and sat on the sofa, taking a deep breath in.

« Please forgive me for having pulled you into this... I tried to stop Yuji, but... »

« It's ok. » Alex said while sitting next to her. « I can understand him to a certain extent. »

« But Alex... why did you accept? I remember how you were horrified when the last test begun before we escaped. Your thoughts were flooding through my mind... I could sense your sorrow, your sadness, your repulsion. »

« So you could sense all that... That's a bit worrying... »

« Oh... Yuji will have to train you.. I also had that problems at times... you'll have to learn how not to think out loud. I guess »

« Haha, right. » Alex smiled. It had been since quite some time that he actually enjoyed a chat with someone. « By the way, your hair and eyes don't look odd. They're very becoming of you if you want my honest opinion. »

Haruka smiled back upon hearing these words. « Oh... thank you. You and brother are the only two that ever told me this. Most of the other people either make fun of me or are rather scared... »

« I guess they must be pretty dumb then. Ah well... I'll go cook something for us two I guess then. You stay here... it's not everyday that I have a guest.. »

As he went to prepare the ingredients for tonight's meal, he started thinking about Haruka's canines. This part of her story had impacted him quite a lot. The idea of Haruka biting him like in those Vampire movies creeped him out... But for some odd reason, he found it quite interesting and wouldn't mind it if it was done by her.« Oh, what am I thinking... » he thought to himself.

« Stop thinking about this kind of stuff please Alex-san... I could feel everything you were thinking before... could you think more... ehm... quietly? »

Haruka had just sensed what he was thinking. And perhaps, she had seen all his previous thoughts from the beginning. That was perhaps, why she was so embarrassed.

Alex was all red of shame. « Oh damn, better not think. »

« I heard that too. »



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So this is a special place where the characters can have a little voice on what they're being casted as:

Alex: I do have a question, why must YOU mister writer make me victim of the ''accidental pervert'' and have me fall for a hot chick in like the first chapter? WHAT THE HELL IS THIS DOING IN AN ARMORED CORE universe?

Writer: You're not an accidental pervert. You are an ACTUAL pervert my friend... well, perhaps a mix of both. And excuse me, but YOU WA SHOCK proves that love is a good stuff to add in most mixes... You might even say to people that ''you're already dead'' and make em explode just because of the power of love.

Yuji: So I get to be the badass guy with a sister-complex perhaps? ANY H-SCENES!?

Writer: Sadly no, this is not Yosuga No Sora.

Haruka: Did you rip me off from Rosario + Vampire? Might I be a shinso that's been strapped into a mech?

Writer: Pretty much. I like vampires. I could've turned you into a groovy succubus as well who would've been saved by a vampire full of epic narm, but luckily for you, I decided not to. Narm is a trope if you're puzzled about it's actual meaning.

ACU Fanverse: WHEN ARE WE GETTING A CAMEO?

Writer: Perhaps you might get one, perhaps not. It all depends on how good your name is and how plausible it is for me to fit it in the story. Oh, and there's a high chance that you'll die or get violate by something or someone if you're in... so don't rush ok? And no, no colon maxing.
(Perhaps TM, but that's another story.)




Hey, this looks much, much more well organized and thought out than before. Good job!

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