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Zero had been released from the med lab, having been deemed fit and recovered enough that he no longer needed to be monitored. However, it would be another day or two before he was allowed to return to active Hunter duty, which left him prowling the townhouse restlessly. Oh, he could have gone out into the city...

But that inclination had been shot down when he had heard what happened to X. Now he was waiting, biding his time until X was allowed out of the lab.

Sure enough, X was patched up and released in due time.

He would barely have a few minutes to himself in his room before Zero was there, pushing the chime on his door.
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Three trips to the ruins. Two had ended in disaster. Only Zero's encounter with Serin, his apparently amnesiac alternate, had gone reasonably well at all - assuming you ignored the little X that had tried to bite Zero's nose off.

To be fair, the second trip to the ruins hadn't been a complete disaster. His beam saber had been damaged in the encounter with the energy leeches and X had been drained of energy, but at least they had made it out relatively intact and with specimens to study.

This time, however... There was nothing to prevent Zero from labeling his last trip into the ruins as a complete and utter disaster. Not only had the wraith-like Zero he and X had run into made fairly short work of him, but he'd gotten away, too.

And this time the damage was not so easily fixed. A fact which frustrated Zero to no end, as it meant that he was stuck in the lab with cables connecting him to the computer to monitor his condition constantly.

Anyone passing by would have to be deaf not to hear Zero's snarls and muttered oaths.
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X versus future alternate son Fafnir versus Zero. Snowball fight is declared victory. Champions proceeded to have hot chocolate.

And X is probably too kind to wear cold, wet clothes to bed in revenge. >3
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These past few weeks have been rough, but having Signas and X and the other Hunters around has really helped. Especially X. It's not the same as being with my universe's X, but... I don't know what I'd do without him.

Probably get drunk and have no one to stop me from doing something stupid.

Speaking of getting drunk, I need to make a note never to do that again. Besides the potentially embarrassing and/or dangerous things I might do, the morning after just plain sucks.

Other than the obvious downer, the holidays have been pretty good. Planning things to do can be just as much fun as actually doing them. There's been no shortage of food around here, and snowball fights have been an interesting change in routine "training."

Speaking of which, I think I'm going to go see who I can rope into another fight. I could think of any number of people around here who could use the practice in dodging things.

If only you could see me grinning now.

Zero out.
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Today really had not been a good day for Zero. The more time passed without any contact with his world, the more it got under his skin. Unfortunately, his methods of dealing with stress weren't always healthy. If Harpuia hadn't intervened, he might have drunk himself into a stupor despite knowing full well what his limits were. In a public and seedy place like that particular floor of the Reality Vanish building, that would have been a recipe for disaster.

Still entirely unhappy, Zero returned to his quarters. Maybe if he could just get some sleep...

But no matter how long he lay on his bed, sleep eluded him. His thoughts kept turning to his universe, to his friends, to his X, and the possibility that they were all gone forever. Zero felt his chest constrict as his emotions threatened to overwhelm him. Maybe getting drunk isn't such a bad idea after all...

Some hours later, a loud thud that might have been a knock sounded on X's door.
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X ran into some trouble when he tried to respond to a report of a Maverick. Turns out that 'Maverick' was a version of Axl who was suffering from personality bleed, and he's in our custody now, but the people X ran into, alternates of X and me, thought X was Axl. They attacked and injured him pretty badly. Fortunately, I was able to convince them to let me take him to a medic.

I don't know why it was so hard to reason with them.

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And to cap off this wonderful, lovely week, I haven't been able to patch a call through to my home universe. Maybe there's something wrong with their equipment, or maybe it's just a good old fashioned case of "tinfoil in the radar," some kind of interference or other, but it's just one more thing gone wrong that I really wish had not.

I'm going to bed before something else happens to make me grumpy.

Zero out.
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Looks like I'm going to have an occasional bedfellow. X has been having nightmares, needed someone to talk to. Considering what we talked about, I figured it was better to keep him with me than let him go off on his own again. I honestly can't say I mind. It's nice having company.

We've got an honest to goodness navigator in the Hunters now. A version of Layer has offered to work with us on a part time basis. It's good to see Layer again, even if she's not the Layer from my universe. Signas was still tying up loose ends in our universe, so I handled most of the process of paperwork and interviewing her.

Harpuia ran into a kid in the ruins the other day, ended up calling me about it. I talked to her and her guardian, Prairie, for a bit. Hopefully, she won't try to sneak back into the ruins without getting a license first.

Speaking of encounters, I met someone who I thought was an X at first, but wasn't really. His name is Xiao and he was apparently created from X. I've invited him to visit anytime he likes.
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That night really couldn't have gone better if Zero had planned it - oh, wait, he had planned it. Still, he'd only been in control of the basic outline. The actual details could have easily thrown a wrench in his plans. For instance, if there'd been a Maverick attack...

But there hadn't. The worst he and X had had to deal with on their patrol was a drunkard trying to sneak into his own house, a glitching mettool, and X being hit on at the bar they'd stopped at afterwards. Nothing too bad at all.

The drinks, the conversation, the company, and the hot springs, now... Those had definitely made his evening. Zero smiled to himself as he laid down for the night. He really wouldn't mind a repeat of this some other time.
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Well. That was certainly interesting. I think I'm going to start encouraging Nightmare to use the training facilities the next time he gets that worked up. If he's going to break things, it might as well be things that are meant to be broken.

Still, can't say that I entirely blame him. It's tough enough for adults to deal with what he's going through, and I wasn't lying when I said I peg him at being a teenager. On the bright side, he's a mature enough 'teenager' to know his own strengths and skills and see how they can be best used to fill a need for the Hunters. I shouldn't have to argue with Signas too much about letting him try his hand at maintenance and auxiliary. Hell, Signas might approve wholeheartedly. Guess I'll find out soon as I can unearth him from his study.

The other person I need to find is Netto. Harpuia's right. Letting the kid give Nightmare some of those jumping beans is too good an idea to pass up. Besides, Nightmare needs something to distract himself for a bit.

But first, I want to call Harpuia or set up a video camera. Or both. I have a feeling this is a moment we'll want to save for posterity.
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Well, it's certainly been an interesting couple of weeks. Nightmare ran into Cobra. Thankfully, he had the presence of mind to call for back-up. Too bad Cobra got away.

We got a new X in the Hunters. He's younger than the one I know, just came fresh from the Fifth Uprising. Things didn't go as well for him as they did in my universe. Given some time, though, I think he'll cope.

In fact, he came to the gym today to work on training with a beam saber. He's had some training before, though he's still little more than a rookie. But between me and the simulator, he'll be a decent fighter in no time.
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