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The Double-Edged Sword of Emotion

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The message was unexpected.  Kurou made it a point not to monitor Isra’s life, to allow the man privacy and freedom while they were  apart… which was increasingly less frequent as time went on.  All the more reason to be unconcerned about him, the android reasoned; not to mention that even with his abilities, it was very unlikely he would be able to find the man if he didn’t wish to be found.

He might have experienced a fraction of a second’s worth of regret (.003 seconds, precisely, amidst other emotions) as he scanned the text: im sorru

In under thirty seconds, he’d managed to slip on his shoes and grab his coat, having easily picked up exactly where Isra was: the warehouse.  A place he’d left behind when he’d finally abandoned Ouroboros and took Argente with him.

There was time to text a quick note to the clone on his way out the door, precise and vague at once: Apologies for the sudden exit.  I should return relatively shortly.

 


 

Despite some of Dr. Saito’s best work and his own enhancements, the motorcycle hardly went the speed Kurou desired.  He had not technically broken any traffic laws, but that wasn’t to say he obeyed them with the same stringency he normally would.  He couldn’t quantify how very much he’d hoped to never see the facility again as his long-distance visual   sensors made a quick three-dimensional wire map of the area, seeing mostly destroyed buildings.  The warehouse, while partially ravaged, remained intact enough to be a visual marker.

He pinged Isra cell phone, receiving a ping back but no indication that it had been used since he’d received the text.  Silent mode activated on his motorcycle, he was forced to slow down and take stock of heat signatures, movement.  There was nothing–

Save one warm shape laying on the floor.  Outline: humanoid.

It was strange, the way processing a very strong emotion could “warp” his perception.  The logs were there, present when he called upon him, of parking and locking the motorcycle and dismounting; but he could not actively  "remember" doing so.  Just as he did not immediately feel that he had spent any amount of time between being outside and inside the warehouse itself,  not entirely aware that he had already dialed Kotetsu’s number even before he’d  automatically begun to take stock of every layer of visual perception he had  available to him.

Isra. Unconscious.  Blood loss: significant; precise  amount unknown.   Temperature: below standard.  Heart rate: below standard, but present.  He knelt.

“Kurou..?”  Kotetsu’s voice, worried.

The android quickly accessed logs, then dismissed them.  Yes, he’d called upon approach.  Fine.  "I–  Apologize.“  A pause, sending location  data and a slightly scrambled report of the current situation as he reached to assess the damage with the gentle manipulation of his fingers and tactile sensors.  Beaten.  "Isra–”  Things were broken… and his standard logic programs were all stuttering, unable to provide him with the most appropriate solution.  No shadows could only mean that his powers had been inhibited somehow, though scans of the area revealed nothing amiss.

“Bunny.  Go."  They were just whispered words, Kotetsu neither talking into the phone nor completely pulling away from it.

"Wouldn’t you prefer..?”  Barnaby’s voice, equally soft.

“Think we’re better off like this.”  The older man responded, a quiet   determination in his voice.  After the sounds of a door opening and closing,  Kotetsu’s entire demeanor changed; he was warm and careful, attempting to calm and instruct.  "Kurou.  First aid training, right?“

Logic-related programs restarted, one by one.  Along with his extensive library of how to care for injuries by type.  "Yes.  Correct, thank you.”

A silence was followed by some sounds of movement, then Kotetsu’s  gentle prodding.  "So he wound up back… there, huh?“

As much as Kurou didn’t wish to partake in that particular conversation so soon, he was grateful for the interaction as he worked.  Loss of blood was not technically critical, but a tourniquet to stop the bleeding from one arm was necessary.   "Yes, I–  Have my suspicions.”   Another infamous understatement, the sound of tearing fabric on the line proving that his was not a perfectly direct  connection.  He wanted Kotetsu to listen, to be able to hear and instruct as  necessary.   “Regarding unwise decisions, for the most part.”

The man on  the other end of the line chuckled, a little of the carefully hidden (but not  quite, never completely) tension dropping.  "Yeah, well.  I know someone like that.“

"Yes.”  Kurou agreed without preamble.  Finding nothing particularly decent to act as a splint, he rather easily pulled a bit of wood from the exposed and long-damaged floorboards away, discarding the nails.  He decided not to point out that Barnaby and Kotetsu both had perhaps “mellowed some”, or at least that  was the phrasing which seemed to suit the situation.

Noting the lull in conversation, the man was back to cautious, hushed tones.  "Still breathing,  right?“

"Yes.”  Steadily, though perhaps a bit “wet”.  Conclusion:  evaluation from medical doctor required.

“Heart still beating, yeah?”

“Yes.” Kurou hadn’t even realized he’d closed his eyes for a moment, optics unnecessary; he could hear that pulse easily even if it was  worryingly less powerful than he was used to hearing.

“Good.”  Kotetsu summarized quietly, able to hear the rumble of a car in the distance.  “Old man” or not, he knew Barnaby’s oh so carefully chosen car; the one he barely ever got to drive.  "Okay, Bunny’s gonna help you get him to  the HERO wing of the hospital, yeah?“

"Yes.”  He repeated himself, calculating the exact best way to lift Isra and secure him for the ride.  "Thank  you, Kotetsu.“

"Yeah, uh.”  Even if there was no one there to see,  Kotetsu ducked his head and pulled his hat over his face.  "Lemme know, okay?   Don’t forget to send stuff to the police, too.“

"It is unlikely that I  would."  Kurou responded, slowly raising Isra from the floor and transporting  him to the waiting car.  "Though I thank you for all of your reminders, as  well.”

 


 

(I HAD TO STOP THERE BECAUSE THIS WAS ALREADY TOO LONG but  of course Isra lives and Kurou stays at his bedside acting as a heart monitor  because the hospital staff knows him by now.

He also tries to get Isra to willingly eat Jell-O with mixed results.)