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Either Way, You're Going To Lose Me

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Blues had gotten off to a rough start in life, to say the least, but he was on his way to feeling content with what he had, and how far he’d come in his own ways and his relationships with others.
He wasn’t really sure how he’d come to like Bass the way he did. The concept of love, both platonic and romantic, had always been foreign to Blues, and even when he did begin to understand what it meant to be in love with someone else or be their friend, he didn’t want to bother. The robot knew his core was going to give out someday, so what was the point? He never would have expected someone like Bass to be the one to change his mind. Despite his pushy personality and chaotic aura, Bass was incredibly patient with Blues, making sure he didn’t rush into anything that would make the other uncomfortable or nervous. They took things incredibly slow, but it made even the littlest of things, like holding hands or kissing each other on the cheek, more sweet and rewarding for the both of them.
After some very lengthy apologies, in addition to hours of crying and hugging it out, Blues had gotten the chance to get close to his siblings, who were once strangers and enemies to him. A couple times a month, him and Bass came to visit and look after Rock and Roll while Light was away for robotics conventions, important meetings, and other events that required him to take leave for a few days. Blues still hadn’t forgiven Light for the things he done, and was far from moving past it, but he watched the kids because he wanted to, not as a favor to his dad. When they came over, Blues would help Rock get past difficult levels on old, obscure video games they had discovered in boxes in the basement, and Bass, who normally didn’t like kids but had a soft spot for Roll, would let her use him as a patient when she wanted to play doctor. On the second-to-last night of their visits, Roll would cook them all a big dinner, and the four of them would end the night by watching a bunch of cheesy 80’s movies, like Robocop and The Outsiders.
When they weren’t hanging around Rock and Roll, Bass and Blues lived life day-by-day, going wherever it took them. After the two of them had eventually turned against Wily, they didn’t really have any place to go. Ignoring invitations from Light to permanently move in with him and the kids, the two of them would sleep in the spare rooms at different scientists’ labs, or find shelter in abandoned, run-down buildings they found along the way. They didn’t have an specific purpose for traveling around like they did, other than Blues wanting to see new places and take in the scenery. The pair never wandered too far off the grid, though, so they could always come back to see the other Light kids, and get a chance to recharge if they were running low on power.
. . .
If it were up to Blues, he’d spend every night like this; his head tucked into the crook of Bass’s neck, their legs intertwined together, their arms lazily draped over the other’s torso. Tonight, they were camping out in a half-destroyed barn in a barren field, sleeping on a beat-up mattress in the corner of what was left of the building. While the ceiling of the structure had remained intact, the wall at their feet had been blown out during a recent attack by Wily, allowing moonlight and crisp air to spill over and encase their exhausted bodies.
The only thing that was stopping Blues from being at peace like this more often was his core. His source of power had been unstable since day one, but he’d grown so used to it acting up that he could usually go days without even thinking about it. Lately, however, his core was malfunctioning so badly and so frequently he couldn’t continue to ignore it. The pain it caused him was getting to be unbearable. Now whenever Bass and him turned in for the night, he’d sneak off as soon as he was sure his boyfriend had fallen asleep so he could try to temporarily repair his core himself, or at least give it a chance to cool down.
Tonight, Blues’ core was sizzling so loud he could hear the crackling with his chest plate closed. Bass, an extremely heavy sleeper, remained unaffected by the sounds and kept his eyes shut, his unarmored chest rising and falling with each artificial breath. Blues tried to ignore the stinging sensations as he usually did, and when he felt the familiar yet painful shocks sent throughout his body, he simply clenched his eyes and tensed around Bass. When the pain finally became too much for him to handle, Blues carefully wormed his way out of Bass’s arms and left through the hole in the side of the barn, not bothering to put back on his visor or helmet he’d removed earlier. With one hand grasping onto his chest in pain and the other tugging at the yellow scarf around his neck, he started down the hill where the barn sat, trying to get away as quickly and quietly as possible. Spotting a tree about halfway down the length of the trail, Blues decided to make his way to it and sit beneath its lanky branches and dying leaves while he tried to repair his core. The further Blues walked, the more worked up his core became; he quickened his pace, trying to reach the edge of the tangled roots that spilled across the soil, but he only made it a few more steps before he dropped to his knees. With heavy breathes, he reached down to remove the screws on his chest plate, but continued to fumble before he finally let out an agonizing, piercing scream, and let his head fall flat against the browning grass.
. . .
A couple of hours later, Bass stirred awake. He normally slept throughout the whole night without a problem, his eyes never opening until the morning sun danced across his face, so waking up when the stars were still out and the moon was high in the sky was unusual for him. Bass reached out for his boyfriend, intending to run a hand through his hair or pull Blues closer to him, only to find the other side of the mattress completely empty. Bass propped himself up on his elbows and glanced around the barn, looking for any sign of Blues, but all that was there was their joint pile of discarded armor and accessories on the hay-covered floor. Cursing under his breath, Bass got up and groggily dressed himself.
The black and gold robot walked up to the hole in the side of the barn, his red eyes scanning through the grass and bushes below him as he pulled his helmet over his mess of wavy, white locks.
“Blues?” he shouted into the empty night. “Blues? Where the fuck did you go?”
No reply.
“This isn’t fucking funny,” he scoffed. “Come back to bed. We need to conserve our energy until we can charge again.”
Still nothing.
“If you’re trying to scare me, it’s not going to work.” Bass stepped over the mess of snapped wooden planks and peered around the sides of the faded red-and-white barn. “I know you got me that ONE time, but-” he cut himself off as he pinched the bridge of his nose and shut his eyes, trying to forget the embarrassing memory before it had a chance to completely resurface.
“Seriously, babe. Come on,” Bass continued, pouting. “I’m not dragging your ass around tomorrow if you end up wasting all of your battery.”
He sighed heavily and started down the dirt road, his eyes darting from side to side as he watched intently for any sudden movement. In a short matter of time, Bass had gone from being annoyed to being incredibly worried.
“Blues?” Bass screamed as he cupped his hands around his mouth to magnify his voice. “Blues?”
Bass furrowed his eyebrows and frowned. Why would Blues suddenly up and disappear like that? He turned over a million different thoughts in his head; did he say something to make Blues upset? Did he want to go for a midnight jog and forget to leave a note for Bass? Did someone kidnap him, and Bass slept through the whole thing?
Before he had made it a whole two steps, Bass noticed a grey and red form laying in the distance, with clouds of smoke billowing from underneath. Bass let out a flurry of swears as he sprinted towards Blues and knelt at his side.
“Blues?!” Bass cried out in a panic as he rolled Blues onto his back. “Blues?”
Blues winced at the sudden movement, his shoulders tensing in discomfort. His pressed his chin down against his chest.
“What the hell happened?” Bass half-shouted, half-cried as he propped his boyfriend up in his arms. “What’s wrong?”
Blues gestured to his chest plate as tears spilled over his cheeks without warning. “It hurts,” he whimpered, wrapping his arms around his torso and trying to turn his face away from Bass.
Bass rested Blues back on the ground and undid the screws and bolts on the other robot’s chestplate, revealing his overworked core behind a shield of smoke and steam, glowing bright and pumping fast.
“What the-?” Bass cocked an eyebrow up. “I thought you said Wily fixed your core?”
Blues shook his head before finally opening his eyes, revealing his mismatched and sad irises. “Wily could only temporarily repair it. He offered to look into actually fixing it so long as I pledged loyalty to him and continued to be Break Man, but-” Blues was interrupted by a fit of coughs and voice glitches. “Obviously, I didn’t stick around long enough for him to do anything.”
Bass started to slip his arms underneath Blues. “Come on, I’m taking you to Light’s-”
Blues pushed Bass away and shook his head violently. “No!”
Bass was taken aback by his refusal. “What? Why the hell not?” he asked. “He’s your creator, he knows how to fix you, doesn’t he?”
“He might be able to repair my core, but he’s just going to end up reprogramming me,” Blues stated, pain laced in his voice. “He’s tried to do it before. If he gets his hands on my core, I’ll become someone completely different. I’ll lose my memories, my personality- everything.”
Bass glanced down at Blues’ failing core, then at the inside of the chest plate. Blues had taped pictures of Bass, Rock and Roll to the inside. All of their edges were burned and curled, and the photo paper had begun to warp.
One picture was of the four of them on Christmas. They didn’t have much money, but Bass and Blues worked together to get Rock and Roll something; for Roll, they got a Hello Kitty themed doctor playset, and for Rock, a DVD collection of some bad 80’s cartoon he just couldn’t get enough of. In the photograph, Roll was sitting on Bass’s shoulders, smiling and pointing at the pink stethoscope around her neck. Sandwiched in between Blues and Bass, Rock was excitedly holding up the DVD case, smiling so big his cheeks looked like they burned. Bass had one hand on Roll’s ankle to keep her steady, and the other on Blues shoulder, which was also flipping off the camera. Blues had his arms crossed, but had the biggest, goofiest smile plastered across his face.
He looked happy. Bass wanted him to be happy.
Bass closed Blues’ chest plate and sunk down on his knees.
“He’ll kill me,” Blues said quietly.
“So what am I supposed to do?” Bass started. His face was beet-red with anger, and the tears that streamed down his face practically evaporated. “Just let you die here?”
Blues looked away. “Either way, you’re going to lose me. Either my core kicks it, or Light fixes it and I forget about everything that made life worth living.”
Bass’s voice began to shake. “But I won’t be able to forgive myself if I just let you sit here and suffer.”
Blues smiled weakly and reached out to hold Bass’s hands. “It’s okay, Bass. I had everything I could’ve ever wished for. I’m not going to die in vain.”
Bass clenched Blues’ hands so hard he thought he was going to pop them off. “Blues, I’m sorry.” He brought Blues hands to his head and pressed his forehead into his palms. “I’m so sorry.”
“You didn’t do anything wrong. There was nothing you could do.”
“But there is something I can do, and that’s what I’m sorry for.”
Bass put one arm under Blues’ back and the other below his knees before standing up. Blues steadied his arms on Bass’s shoulders.
“What are you-?” Blues gasped. “Bass, don’t!”
Bass started walking down the hill again.
“Bass!” Blues started thrashing around in Bass’s arms, trying to break free. “No! I don’t want to see Light!”
Bass ignored Blues’ pleas, calculating the quickest route to Light’s lab in his head.
“If you take me to Light, I won’t forgive you,” Blues said coldly.
Bass remained silent.
Blues started to scream and kick his legs, no longer caring if he accidentally whacked Bass. “Put me down!”
Bass stared ahead, tears continuing to fall down his face. As they trailed to the end of his chin, they plopped down onto Blues’ chest plate.
“I don’t want to forget you.”
. . .
The procedure on Blues’ core was a success. Doctor Light was able to operate as soon as Bass brought him to the lab, despite the scientist’s grogginess and lack of sleep. Because his core had to be replaced in its entirety instead of simply being altered, everything was wiped out- Blues was a blank, clean slate. His rebellious nature was gone, he obeyed Light without question, and his only desire was to fight evil; any trace of Blues’ past life and personality was gone.
Roll and Rock tried their best to console Bass. Roll promised to do everything in her power to help restore Blues’ memories from his old core, and, against his better judgement, Rock suggested that Bass try and get to know the new Blues. Bass didn’t entertain either suggestion; as soon as Blues came online after the procedure and didn’t recognize anyone or recall anything, he left the lab without another word. Bass went back to living life day-by-day, going wherever it took him, but this time, he did it alone.