Chapter 1: Dance
The yellow robot’s displeasure with the current situation was made incredibly apparent through his various grumbles and offhand comments, as he stiffly stood, head positioned at an odd angle as Ikki fiddled with his collar.
“What’s th’ point of makin’ suits for Medabots, anyway?” He frustratedly asked. “ ‘s no use if I get into a robattle-” Metabee was abruptly cut off as Ikki gave him a hard poke and told him to stop moving. From against the nearest wall, another voice piped up.
“It’s a dance, you doof. Nobody’s gonna challenge you there, and the chances we’ll run into any trouble are pretty low.” Arika explained, already clad in her formal garb. Metabee’s grunt in response sounded more than a little disappointed. Nearly a minute of near-silence followed after that as Ikki continued to try and get the collar to sit correctly.
“You’re being very patient, Metabee. It’ll only be a little longer, he’s almost done.” Brass broke the silence with her own quiet voice, surprising everyone else in the room.
“I-er.. Thanks. At leas’ one person knows this ain’t easy.” Metabee replied. Ikki suppressed a groan.
Several attempts at getting the collar to look nice later, Metabee was finally freed. He immediately attempted to stretch and was met with the suit’s limitations. For the umpteenth time that evening, he let out a groan. The four individuals certainly were an interesting-looking bunch- aside from the inherent strangeness of a clothed Medabot, Ikki had been made to fix up his hair, and neither had ever seen Arika in such a frilly dress before (Metabee had nearly burst out laughing when she stepped out of the dressing room, but a cold glare from Brass had been enough to shut him up). In fact, the only normal-looking one out of them was Brass, having seen no reason to put extra clothes on over the skirt she already had built-in.
“You look very dapper like this, please try not to mess it up too badly, alright?” Brass said with just a hint of exasperation as she once again straightened out her friend’s tuxedo. They were barely twenty minutes into the actual party and Metabee had already been fiddling with it.
“Easy for you t’ say,” came the reply. “You don’ have to wear this.” He pulled a disgusted face as he gave the sleeve another tug. Brass silently sighed. Well, if that wasn’t going to work, she might as well try a different approach.
“Please, just leave it alone for a while, okay?” She said in a softer tone. “I’ve got something to show you. C’mon.” Before her companion even had a chance to reply, she had taken him by the arm and was pulling him along, the latter complying only out of surprise and a desire to not fall over at the sudden tug.
Brass led her companion over to one side of the main room, where a small patch of the floor had been covered in hardwood. Metabee scoffed as soon as he realized what it was.
“Dancin’? Really? I can barely move, and I can’t dance all fancy-like.” He made a slight gesture at the last couple words signifying how ridiculous he thought the notion was. However, Brass was not so easily deterred.
“It’ll let you move at least a little bit, and I can teach you easily enough. It’d take your mind off the suit, right?” She pressed. Metabee actually paused to think this time, putting a finger to his chin in thought. After a short while, he made up his mind.
“... Arright. Why not? Jus’.. promise not to laugh, okay? I dunno what I’m doin’ here.” Brass offered a small smile in response and offered her hand for her friend to take.
“Comfortable or no, I think you look quite handsome dressed up.” She shyly offered. Metabee smiled confidently in response, and for a second, the getup didn’t seem all that bad.
Chapter 2: Nightmare
Though after two years in relatively close contact meant that Brass knew a lot about her friend, Metabee still managed to surprise her sometimes. The call at 2:30 in the morning was one such surprise. Brass reached up to grasp Arika’s cell phone so as to not wake the girl.
“...Yeah?” she blearily answered the ringing, squinting at the phone’s bright light.
“Brass? Izzat you?” Came Metabee’s voice on the other end. He sounded oddly… panicked, though Brass was too tired to consider it an immediate need for alarm.
“.. Yeah, ‘s me..” she paused to stifle a yawn. “What’s up?”
“I, er… Can you say… something? Anything’s fine.”
That struck Brass as a strange request, especially for Metabee. Regardless, she complied.
“Hm… My name is Brass Amazake, I am a Beetle-type medal in a Sailor-Multi kit. I was first activated six years ago. Does that work?” Talking had helped her wake up a bit more, though in the back of her mind she wondered how she was going to get back to sleep after this.
“... Yeah. Thanks.” Metabee fell silent after that but didn’t hang up.
“... If I may ask, why did you call me? Do you know how early it is?”
“Uhh… “ He went silent again, and for a moment Brass thought he had meant to hang up until he spoke again.
“Look, don’t mention this t’ anyone else, aight? This’s just between you and me.” Out of instinct, Brass glanced behind her to make sure Arika still slept soundly.
“Of course. Is something the matter?” Yet another long pause followed.
“I.... Y’know, nevermind, ‘salright now. Sorry for wakin’ you up.”
“Metabee..” She replied with a sigh.
“..Okay, fine. I had a nightmare. Been havin’ ‘em kinda often... since th’ whole deal at the tournament. I jus’... just wanted to make sure you were still… y’know.”
She actually didn’t. Metabee had always been cagey about his vision at the WRC, though he regularly complained about the resulting dreams, so she could only assume it had a definite negative effect on the bot’s psyche. This had been the first time he had actually called her about it, however. She decided to probe a bit deeper.
“... I’m afraid I don’t know. What happened?” With any luck, Metabee would finally be tired and trusting enough to actually tell her what was wrong, especially if it involved her. Metabee, however, hesitated.
“Telling someone might help- you know, getting it off your chest?” She continued.
Finally, after a long period of silence, her friend let out a sigh and began to speak again.
“I can’t explain everythin’ that happened… an’ I don’t think I’m ready to. But… ya kinda deserve to know why I called, dontcha? Well… you were there. ‘Course, it wasn’ really the same you, but you get what I mean. Anyways, there was a huge battle, an’…” He paused momentarily “.. You didn’t make it out. The worst part was that I found--” Brass wondered for a second if the line had cut out before realizing Metabee had stopped himself. It didn’t take much to figure out why.
“So yeah… it’s usually that, or another part of it, or… something worse.” He sounded even more tired than before.
“... I’m so sorry, Metabee. That sounds terrible.” Her friend let out a halfhearted chuckle in reply.
“Well, you’re the one who wanted t’ know. I dunno if I can fall asleep again, though.”
“Would you like me to stay on the line?” Brass had a feeling that was what he was implying, at least. Metabee gave an affirmative noise in response, to which Brass chuckled.
“Alright, then. What do you want to talk about?”
The conversation continued on for a little while, each talking about their troubles or whatever came to mind, until between one word and another, Metabee simply dozed off. With a slight smile after hanging up, Brass soon followed suit.
Chapter 3: Ballerina
“No, no, no- you’ve got it all wrong.” the cat-type berated. “It’s like this.”
Peppercat demonstrated the complex ballet move once again, patience notably diminished from the last time. The two shooter-types stared at her in mild bewilderment.
“Y’know- ya think it might not just be coincidence that the only one who ‘gets it’ is the only other cat ‘bot here?!” Metabee exclaimed. Sumilodon appeared incredibly nervous at the sudden outburst, especially since he was the subject.
“... Besides, these feet ain’t exactly made for dancin’” He finished with a low growl. Peppercat scoffed in response.
“You were doing a lot better at the WRC, that’s for sure. Even Brass’s doing better than you and she’s never done it before!” She expressed her comment further by waving a paw toward Brass, whose demeanor quickly changed to one of unease as well. Neither Sumilodon nor Brass could really blame the other, since both Peppercat and Metabee had reputations for being… firey. It didn’t help that three of the bots’ medafighters had all landed in after-school cleanup, and Koji just hadn’t shown up yet after allowing Sumilodon to meet up with the others. So, with an hour or so of freedom, somehow the general consensus had been an impromptu dance lesson from Peppercat (learning from careful observation of Samantha’s lessons, of course), especially since Metabee and Sumilodon already technically had experience.
“Alright-” the cat-type finally said after a bit of bickering, “Let’s try with a partner. I’ll take Sumilodon, you take Brass.”
“Oh, sure. Pair up the two worst dancers. That’s a good idea for sure.” Came the snappy reply.
“Would you rather have Sumilodon, then?”
Metabee’s sudden hesitation spawned not from the concept of ballet dancing with another male Medabot, but from how the difference in their skill levels would make it blatantly apparent how bad he was at it. Eventually, he let out a huff and stepped beside Brass, sharing a quick look with her.
“Alright, now, straighten your back and place your hands on either side of your partner’s waist-” she explained while also demonstrating.
“Wait, what now-?!” Metabee interrupted once again, turning to look at Peppercat. Unbeknownst to anyone but her, he had a slight blush, which caused her to smirk slightly.
“What’s wrong now? It’s a simple enough movement, shouldn’t even require anything other than arms to do.” Peppercat responded in a purr-laden, teasing voice. “Maybe you really would do better with Sumilodon, after all.” The look in her eyes told Metabee exactly what she was implying by that, and it was enough to send him off the hook once more.
As the two descended into a shouting match once again, Sumildon and Brass could only exchange exasperated expressions.
Chapter 4: Fear
It wasn’t like Brass meant to be afraid of thunderstorms, or even knew one was going to happen. It was a silly fear, she had to admit, but a strong one nonetheless. It still would be embarrassing to explain exactly why her head was currently buried in Metabee’s chest, especially since the two of them had been sitting alone. She noticed she was still quivering slightly as she looked up at her friend with wide eyes.
“I-- yes, ah, I apologize. I..-” The female Medabot stuttered, pushing off of the other. She kept her gaze averted, sure that Metabee was going to burst out laughing any second.
To her utmost surprise, it never came. When she finally looked back up, her friend looked more curious than gleeful.
“Ya never told me you were scared of a lil’ thunder.” He finally said, clearly suppressing some form of enjoyment. Brass couldn’t help but feel a little hurt, though she appreciated the effort.
“I… haven’t told many people. I believe before now, only Arika and her parents knew about it.” She was about to continue but paused when she felt him brush her shoulder.
“S’alright. C’mon.” He stood in front of her, offering his hand. Brass took it, and Metabee led her to the nearest window. He looked back when he felt a tug of resistance. Brass gave Metabee an unsure look about her proximity to the tempest outside.
“Ya gotta get over your fear one way or another, right?” He asked, a hint of a smile in his eyes. Steeling her composure, Brass took a couple steps forward so she was right by the glass. A strong gale whipped outside so harshly she could hear it clearly.
Suddenly, another crack of thunder sounded. Brass had no idea how high she had jumped, or how she had wound up on the floor, but judging by Metabee’s laughter it must’ve looked ridiculous. She shot him an annoyed stare, picking herself up off the floor and refusing to meet his gaze from that point on.
After a few moments of Metabee’s giggles slowly dying out, he tried reaching out to touch Brass’s shoulder.
“Brass? Sorry fer laughing, it’s jus’-” he proceeded to snicker a small amount more before clearing his ‘throat’ again, “-sorry. I thought that… y’know, maybe it wouldn’ be so bad if ya just saw it.” Brass remained silent. She already knew the way lightning and thunder worked- Arika had looked it up as soon as she noticed her Medabot’s fear. It helped only a little.
“If you don’ wanna talk, that’s… okay.” he trailed off, not seeming to know what to say further.
“Just…” Brass finally spoke, still looking away. “Don’t tease me for it. Or laugh. It’s not something I can get over easily.” Metabee sensed his friend’s serious tone and remained silent. They both stared out the window for a time.
“I suppose… The storm itself isn't so bad…” Brass quietly commented. Another crack of thunder shocked her out of her momentary peace. At her reaction, however, instead of laughing, the yellow Medabot simply placed a hand on her back to steady her.
“Ya sure you don’t want to do something else?” He asked. Brass looked at him, then looked down.
“As long as you… don’t tease me, I guess it’s alright.” She murmured, glancing back outside.
Metabee smiled softly and scooted slightly closer, keeping his hand where it was.
Chapter 5: Coherent
“Are ya sure that’s healthy, Brass?” Metabee’s voice barely registered in the female Medabot’s mind, despite its uncharacteristic concern. After their Medafighters had left for an overnight school trip, Brass had been invited to stay at the Tenryous’ house so she wouldn't be too bored on her own. Still, she had used the time to work on typing a couple reports she’d fallen behind on.
She said that it would only take a few hours. It was now nearly midnight and she still hadn't moved. Noting Brass’s lack of response, Metabee tried again.
“Yo! Earth to Brass, are ya readin’ anything?” He tapped her shoulder, then her helm, then waved his hand in front of her face. The third attempt worked, and the female Medabot turned to face her friend, a tired and somewhat annoyed expression on her face.
She sighed. “Metabee, I need to finish these drafts. I've let them sit for far too long.” She explained, gesticulating. She made the mistake of taking both hands off the small laptop’s keyboard, allowing Metabee to push the lid down.
“You can finish ‘em when it’s light out, bud. Right now ya look terrible.” He said bluntly. He realized his mistake when Brass’s expression shifted into pure annoyance. She yanked the laptop out from under Metabee’s hand and scooted as far as she could away from him. The yellow robot stepped back a bit to think of how he could get her away from the laptop’s alluring screen.
Brass had just gotten settled back into writing when she was suddenly pulled away. She was about to turn and face Metabee when she realized her feet were no longer touching the ground.
“Wh- Metabee!” She yelped, struggling to get free. Metabee grinned as he trotted over to the couch and unceremoniously dropped her. Then, as she got up, he darted back over to the table and hid the laptop in the closest drawer. By the time a bewildered Brass looked over the couch’s back, Metabee was in front of her, grinning. Brass crossed her arms indignantly.
“Metabee, give it back. This is immature.” the sailor-type asked, irritated. Metabee responded by vaulting over the couch back with one arm, landing messily on the cushions.
“Not until ya go to sleep, Brassy. You can finish this stuff in the morning.” He laid back casually on the couch cushions with his head resting on the arm. Brass huffed.
“It’s important I get these finished, Metabee-”
“Awwh, shush. You couldn’t even get down from me pickin’ ya up. You’re worn out.” the yellow robot interrupted. However, as he was talking, Brass had already started climbing over the couch. She felt a sudden yank on her leg and barely had time look over before being pulled unceremoniously into the other Medabot’s lap. She angrily glared up at him.
“You were gonna fall!” he defended. “You’re too tired to think straight.” Carefully, he placed both his arms around her back, hoping she wouldn't notice.
“I’m not tired! I’ll stay up and prove you wrong.” With that, she propped her head upon her arm, elbow placed right beside Metabee’s chestpiece.
It wasn't before long that the SLR was fast asleep. She still rested her chin in her palm, but was completely unconscious.