[personal profile] obfuscobble posting in [community profile] mmxwritingcircle
Boils of burnt city blocks marred the flesh of Arcadia. Some toppled overpasses still smouldered, and a plume of smoke scrambled out of the burning gas lines. The city was pockmarked by explosion craters and seeping sinkholes. Ash-dusted mets worked hard on the perimeter of each disaster zone, trying to fix the earth and bring the inflammation of war under control. Bass salivated just looking at it.

There was no question as to why X had called for a diplomatic meeting sooner than scheduled, and why his new rules of court behaviour were more than ever preoccupied with the safety of the humans. But things still sat uncomfortably for Rock. He didn't like having to keep his group out of human culture, even if it was for their safety. It was as if X were expecting them to fight. He didn't want to fight. He hadn't come to deliver troops. This was an aid mission.

##

"Mmm, hexagonal columns and majestic thrones— I love what you've done with the place." Lumine gave a compliment as soon as his curtsey touched his knee to the floor before X's throne. He mostly meant it, too. The purple palace was in perfect taste for him.

X leant his cheek on a limp fist and sighed. This was going to be a long, long meeting. Mostly because Rock brought the entire family. He and Bass had never gotten along, and he and Lumine had, well, history. "Th-thanks."

##

"X! Are you all right?" Rock rushed over and immediately began brushing up the slivers of glass with his vest. With the bulky ceremonial garment off him, he looked younger than ever when compared to his little brother.

Little Brother X put his hand to his head again and ambled back to his throne. As soon as he sat down, holographic displays of Arcadia's maintenance popped up again to remind him of all the responsibilities that were ageing him by decades a day. Junk Man came over with his vacuum to help clean up the mess. Holding Rock's shoulder as a gentle encouragement, he freed Rock from the task. Rock followed X back to the throne, sucking in the worry from the blue lit screens into his eyes. X hated seeing him like that because it meant the Moon would only make things more complicated, as usual.

"X, please, trust us. We'll help you with the energy crisis, and if we can, we'll heal the damage caused by Heaven's Army too," Rock said. He wanted to touch his brother. He wanted to run up and hug X like he used to, even during the ELF wars. He looked so tired. That's why he needed a hug, and that was why he didn't want one. Rock knew X always held himself up to an inhumanly high standard that not even a reploid could reach. He took punishment for other people to absolve them of their sins with his own suffering. That was a habit he'd learned from Zero. Rock wished he hadn't.

[[Chapter 2 is up on A03.]]
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