Lost and Found|
`Isn't going to be happy' turned out to be the understatement of the year. Furious couldn't even express how mad Gerbera was. Zeong was actually afraid of the professor when he showed up at the infirmary with Zapper. His mind had gone numb as well so the general couldn't talk to Gerbera when he was asked what had happened to the colonel.
Grappler had been sleeping when Zeong had first showed up, but when the shouting started he was up and pulling Zapper out of the fry. Now the lieutenant colonel was sitting on one of the beds with the unconscious colonel in his arms, watching as Gerbera verbally abused Zeong.
The child had his eyes closed and was back up against a wall, his ears ringing. Finally Zeong looked up at Gerbera, his eyes shining with tears. “Why are you yelling at me?!” the general managed to squeak, sobbing. “The only damage I did was absorb his energy and you know he'll recover from that fairly quickly.”
Gerbera had stopped shouting and was glaring at Zeong as the child started to cry. Then he sighed and kneeled down in front of the general, hugging him. Despite the fact that Zeong was the leader of the Dark Axis, a five star general, Gerbera had to remember that he was still talking to a child. “You're right. I'm sorry. I was just didn't know what had happened.”
Gerbera caught Zeong's eyes that were now back to their usually curious stare. “But it did look pretty suspicious with you bringing him back like that. I mean,” the professor glance over at Zapper who Grappler was still holding in his lap. “He's in worse condition then he was when he left. What happened?”
“Long story short, our prisoners escaped and he got in their way as they were heading out.” Zeong said, sighing. “And he had a cardkey with him so they took that too.”
“Dammit!” the professor growled. “Zapper took my cardkey. That must be the one they took.”
“Well, luckily, they left it behind.” From his sleeve Zeong produced Gerbera's cardkey and handed it back to the professor. Gerbera thanked the general, putting the cardkey in his pocket. Then the professor turned his stare onto Zapper and Grappler. The lieutenant colonel flinched, clutching the colonel's unconscious form tightly. He was pouting as Gerbera walked over and took Zapper from his arms.
The professor gave him a weird look, but decided not to ask. Zeong, meanwhile, seemed to start a mental conversation with Grappler as Gerbera fixed up Zapper's old and new wounds. After a while Zeong left and Grappler moved back to his own bed and watched the professor work.
It was weird how with the way the room was so quiet, but Grappler finally spoke. “Is he going to be okay?”
Gerbera was relived that he had an excuse to talk. “Yes. After a few days here he should be able to go back to the Magna-Musai.” The professor looked at Grappler. “And you should as well. Presuming you actually try to get better that is.” Grappler smiled sheepishly and the professor smirked. “But if you don't,” Gerbera stood up and went back over to his desk. “I've got some mixtures that need to be tested. I'm sure you'll be able to stay here longer.”
“N-no! That's okay.” The lieutenant colonel said nervously. “I'll cooperate from now on. I promise.”
“Good.” Gerbera walked back over to Grappler's bed, holding a syringe. “Now I need a blood sample. Hold out your arm.” Grappler facefaulted, but did as the professor said. He flinched when the needle pierced through his skin, but didn't make a sound.
“You're not going to experiment with it are you?” Grappler asked once Gerbera was done. The professor chuckled and walked back over to his desk. “Of course not. It's just been so long since I've given you a proper exam. Your blood will tell me all I need to know.”
Grappler sweatdropped, not really wanting to know what Gerbera had in mind for his blood. “As long as you don't try to clone me or something I guess you can do whatever with it Gerbera. You're the doctor after all, not me.” The professor smirked when Grappler said this, but the lieutenant colonel ignored him. “So what am I supposed to do the rest of the day? I'm sick of sleeping and since I can't really go anywhere.”
There was a pause and Gerbera thought for a moment. “Cards?”
“Sure.” Grappler responded, getting up and walking to one of the few tables in the room. The professor joined him, deck of cards in hand. “The usual?”
“Yeah. It should keep us entertained until lunch.”
“And by then Zapper should be awake and I can watch you two verbally attack one another.” Gerbera teased, shuffling the cards. Grappler glared at the professor and scoffed. “Why does everyone assume that we're always going to fight?”
“Because you always do.” Gerbera responded. Grappler glared, but quickly forgot his anger once their game started. The two sat and played for two or three hours, occasionally striking up random conversations. Eventually Zapper woke up and it was then Gerbera decided to go get them lunch and left the two alone.
This left Grappler with about ten minutes to do as he pleased, but, instead, sat quietly in his bed, watching Zapper cautiously. The colonel had managed to pull himself into a sitting position and was now examining some of his wounds. The lieutenant colonel took this opportunity to try and talk to Zapper without starting a fight.
“So how're you feeling?” he asked. Zapper looked over at Grappler, his eyes dull and half closed. He seemed exhausted and didn't answer the question. The colonel just sat there, his eyes hazed over. Grappler was somewhat concerned, but then remembered what Zeong had said earlier.
“What did Zeong do to make you so dead tired?” Grappler asked, more concerned then curious. Zapper just turned his head and stared at the lieutenant colonel, his eyes showing no life or emotion. Grappler flinched, the stare scared him somewhat and he had to avert his eyes.
Even after he looked away, however, Grappler could still feel the colonel's stare and shifted uncomfortably. Then Zapper coughed and whispered something.
“What?” Grappler asked, moving over to the colonel's bed and listening intently.
“Don't upset Zeong. Not fun.”
Grappler sighed and shook his head. “Well duh. Everybody knows that.” The lieutenant colonel knocked Zapper lightly on the head, causing the colonel to flinch. “But I guess it takes a more drastic method to get that message through your thick skull.”
Zapper glared, but didn't respond. Instead he made a pathetic attempt at pushing Grappler away. The lieutenant colonel smirked and stood up as Gerbera reentered to the room. He glanced at the two as he set two trays down on the table before giving the third to Zapper.
“You guys didn't start fighting without me did you?” the professor asked. Both Zapper and Grappler glared at Gerbera before turning their attention on the food he'd brought them. The professor took the hint and was quiet for the rest of the afternoon.
As the evening rolled around Gerbera gave both Zapper and Grappler a powerful drug that knocked both of them out almost instantly. He then examined them both thoroughly, making sure he hadn't missed any cut of fracture before putting all his tools away, turning all the lights off and leaving the infirmary.
Usually he left the door unlocked when he left, but Gerbera thought it better to lock the place up before heading off to get some well deserved sleep.
(Few days later- Magna-Musai)
Zapper had wandered off somewhere once he'd gotten back to the Magna-Musai while Grappler went off to see Destroyer. Both soldiers' wounds had healed faster then Gerbera had expected, but he still put heavy restrictions on what they could do. Unfortunately neither had any intention of following those rules.
The first thing Grappler did when he found Destroyer was drag him to the soldier's quarters where they found Zapper. From there they claimed a gym and began their training routines. Grappler started with running, quickly discovering he had a lot of work to do.
“This is what I hate about getting stuck in the infirmary; having to get my strength back afterwards.”
“I don't see what the big deal is with you?” Zapper said glancing down at the lieutenant colonel. Grappler turned to glare at Zapper, but then did a double take and stared in confusion. “What are you doing?”
“Something similar to what you call gymnastics.” Zapper stated as he walked across a balance beam on his hands. He then arched over and jumped back to the ground, landing lightly on his feet. “Where I come from usually only the girls can learn it, but my mom taught me at such a young age that my body adapted.”
“So in other words it's some easy girly exercise.” Grappler muttered boredly. Zapper growled and clenched his fists.
“No! It's a lot more difficult then you think.”
“Of yeah, walking across a board and doing somersaults is so difficult.” Grappler said sarcastically. Again Zapper fumed, but decided not to respond right away. Instead he walked back over to the equipment and continued his warm up routine. “If you think this is so easy then why don't you try some of this?”
“Because I don't feel the need to embarrass myself like you.” Grappler responded before going back to his own exercises. Zapper's eyes glowed with anger, but he decided a fight wasn't worth his energy.
For the next few hours the two worked nonstop, pushing themselves well beyond their limits. Eventually Grappler got to the point where he could hardly stand and Destroyer helped him to a nearby bench. The lieutenant colonel was panting heavily, his body slick with sweat.
Zapper was still working though despite the constant shouts from the zakos that he should stop. Grappler watched some of the moves the colonel did before looking over at Destroyer. “He shouldn't be able to do half that stuff Dom. It hurts just to watch him.”
“But he did say that, since he started at an early age, his body adapted. I'm sure there are certain things he can't do, but I'm still amazed by what he can.” Destroyer glanced at the other lieutenant colonel who had gone back to watching Zapper. “Maybe we should try to learn some of these moves. They'd come in handy in battle.”
“No way.” Grappler scoffed. “Besides, if we ask him to teach us his ego would just get bigger and we don't need that.”
“I guess you're right, but…” Destroyer couldn't think of anything for a good argument so, like Grappler, he watched the colonel, studying his movements.
He was standing at the edge of a narrow balance beam with one of the zakos opposite of him. After a while he'd started to teach the soldiers simple tricks and the particular one he was facing off against seemed to have a knack for gymnastics. “They gonna fight or something?” Destroyer asked no one in particular.
His answer came when the zako did a front handspring, landing in front of the colonel. Zapper jumped when the soldier swiped at his feet and landed behind him before countering with a roundhouse kick. The zako easily dodged this and threw a punch at the colonel. Zapper managed to escape the attack, but he nearly fell off the beam.
With his balance off the zako tried to run and push Zapper off, but the colonel used the soldier's momentum to trip him, knocking the zako off and onto the mat below. The soldier was uninjured when he stood up and smiled up at the colonel. “That was fun zako.” He said excitedly.
Zapper managed to smile weakly at the soldier before jumping off the balance beam himself. Unfortunately, like Grappler, the colonel had pushed himself way too hard and collapsed to his hands and knees as soon as his feet hit the floor. The zakos all rushed forward, trying to help him.
Destroyer jumped up to help as well, leaving Grappler on the side lines to watch. “I'm okay.” Zapper growled, pushing everyone away once he was back on his feet. The colonel took two steps, however, and fell right back down. All his strength was gone and his muscles were all aching.
“No! I told you I'm fine.”
“But sir!” The zakos all cried, crowding around the colonel again. “You can hardly stand. You should let Lord Destroyer Dom help you.”
Zapper groaned as he tried to look away from all the huge violet eyes that were staring at him, but they had him surrounded and the colonel was forced to submit. Destroyer helped Zapper to his feet again, supporting the colonel's weight. “I just want to go back to my room okay.”
Dom pouted, but nodded before helping Zapper towards the door. As he passed Grappler the lieutenant colonel grabbed Destroyer, using the other man for support. “I'm coming too.” Again Dom whined, but helped Grappler as well. The zakos followed the three cautiously until they got to the soldiers' quarters. There they each hugged Zapper's legs (since that was as high as they could reach) before running into their own room.
“You're so good with kids man. How do you do it?” Dom asked as they neared Zapper's personal quarters. The colonel unlocked the door and opened it, stumbling inside. “Past experience.” The colonel muttered, allowing the other two inside despite his better judgment.
“You have little brothers and sisters or something?” Grappler asked as Destroyer helped him onto the futon. Zapper flinched, turning away from the other two.
“I….yeah…..I mean no….my sister died right after she was born….I never really saw her.”
Both lieutenant colonel's suddenly felt a stab of guilt and tried to apologize. Zapper just shook his head. “It doesn't really matter. She was probably better off…..she wouldn't have gotten any love if she'd lived anyway.”
“How could you say something like that?!” Destroyer shouted, glaring at the colonel. “You would've loved her and your parents would've too!”
“They cared about you didn't they?” Grappler asked, causing Zapper to cringe. The colonel was quiet for a moment, but then he clenched is fists, obviously suppressing a whimper. Destroyer cocked his head, “You okay Zapper?”
“I'm fine. Just…tired.” The colonel answered, his voice choked. Grappler's eyes widened when he noticed Zapper was shaking slightly and stood up. “Hey! What's wrong?..... Are you crying?” the lieutenant colonel asked. Zapper turned around, trying to hide his eyes. “Of course not. I'm not crying. I've never cried in my life…I'm not gonna start now.”
Destroyer gawked, “You've never cried? Ever?!” Zapper shook his head. The lieutenant colonel was brought to tears just thinking about such a horrible thing; never crying in your life was...well, sad. “What kind of horrible childhood could you have lived through without crying? It's just wrong!”
Zapper glared at the two; not wanting their sympathy. So the colonel tried to retreat to his room, but Grappler stopped him. “What's wrong with you? Is your past an emotional subject or something?”
“Just drop it.” Zapper growled. “It's none of your business what my past was.”
“I never said I wanted to know it. I just want to know why you're crying.” Grappler said softly, lifting Zapper's chin so he could see the colonel's face. Zapper wanted to pull back, but he couldn't look away from Grappler's eyes. At this point the colonel had pretty much lost the fight to hold the tears back and collapsed to his knees.
“Zapper?!” Dom quickly kneeled down next to the colonel, putting his hands on Zapper's shoulders to show he was there. “Are you okay? Was it something we said? I'm sorry. I didn't mean to-”
“Shut up!” Zapper managed to shout. Grappler had kneeled down as well and caught the colonel's eyes with his own again. The two stared at each other before Zapper looked away. “Get out of here.” The colonel said threateningly, still crying. He then stood up and moved back over by his futon.
Grappler and Destroyer stared at each other, having no intension of leaving. “What's your problem Zapper? Suffer from mood swings or something?” Grappler asked. Zapper didn't bother to turn around or even answer the lieutenant colonel. “I just want you out.”
“Sorry, but if you can't tell me what I did I'm not going anywhere.” Grappler stepped up next to the colonel, watching the steady flow of tears slid down his cheeks. Zapper turned and glared at the lieutenant colonel who glared back. But then Zapper did something unexpected; he grabbed the front of Grappler's shirt and pulled him back onto the futon. The colonel was lying beneath his comrade, who was now practically in shock, and was glaring up at him.
“Y-you really wanna know? Now that you've dug the memories b-back up…I guess I can t-tell you.” There was a pause and Zapper took a shaky breath, trying to calm his sobs. It didn't really help, but he continued. “Neither my mother nor my father loved me. They tried to act like they did, but I always knew… My mother would always cry when she saw me and my father, if he was ever home, would take his anger out on me. That's why I never cried. It showed weakness to my father…and my mother cried enough for everyone. I didn't have any right to be sad.”
Destroyer gasped and Grappler was staring in shock down at the colonel, almost feeling like crying himself. “How could that be though? No parent could hate their child; a mother couldn't at least.” But Zapper turned his gaze away, staring at the wall. Grappler reached down, gently pulling the colonel up. “I'm sorry.” He whispered, hugging Zapper tightly. “I didn't know….I shouldn't have….I'm sorry.”
In his mind Grappler was cheering though. His hormones were going crazy; he was holding Zapper in his arms and the colonel was totally defenseless. But he knew he couldn't do anything more so Grappler just tightened his hold. Then Zapper pushed back, staring at the lieutenant colonel with a far away look in his eyes. He was smiling and chuckled, confusing Grappler. “What's so funny?”
“Just imagining your face when I do this.” Zapper pulled Grappler down into a passionate kiss, catching him completely by surprise. Destroyer fumed in the background, but Grappler wasn't listening. He'd long since zoned out, melting when he'd felt Zapper's lips against his own. But the colonel pulled away, looking slightly confused. “Is something wrong?”
“N-no! I mean yes. Uh…why did you do that?” the lieutenant colonel managed to ask despite his confusion. The colonel kept his arms around Grappler's neck, still staring at him. “I need you to help me. I don't care if you hate me and there's no passion, but…I need someone….”
Destroyer chose this moment to walk up behind Grappler and pull the lieutenant colonel away. “What are you talking about Zapper? You're not making any sense man.” Dom said, worried. Grappler sighed and shook his head. Somewhere along the line Zapper had sunk too far into depression; now he was acting like a suicidal. “Now's your chance! When someone's like this it's easy to get between their legs. You can show him what it's like to be loved.” The nagging voice shouted in the back of Grappler's mind.
The lieutenant colonel growled, having a hard enough time restraining himself from jumping Zapper without the voice urging him on. Destroyer was keeping a firm grip on Grappler's shoulders though, knowing what the lieutenant colonel was thinking. “He's gone Grappler. We can't do anything, but I think we should stay here for the night. There's no telling what he'll do if we leave him alone.”
“Yeah.” Grappler muttered. Zapper was still lying down as he stared up at the two, a longing in his eyes. Both lieutenant colonels wanted to satisfy Zapper's want, but knew it wasn't right. It was going to be the longest night either of them would have because they were going to sleep together and have to resist the urge to do anything.
“You're going to have to sleep in the middle Dom. I won't last if I'm next to him.” Grappler said quietly. Destroyer nodded and the two left to get ready for the long night.