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A Tactical Machine

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"Game!" A loud voice boomed through the entire arena. "The winner is... Robin!"

"I'm always three steps ahead!" The white haired male announced proudly as he spun around with his Levin Sword sparkling. A short fanfare played to signify his victory. He had just come out of his very first Smash match since becoming a Mechon, defeating Peach in a one on one match. Thanks to Master Hand's magic, he was able to battle as he normally did before being turned into part machine, and fighting like he did in the past seemed to reinvigorate the tactician and steer him to victory. After the match finally ended, Peach strolled over to her opponent and gave him a serene smile. The princess of the Mushroom Kingdom extended her hand to Robin, who promptly shook it while smiling back. She then spoke up after a short giggle.

"You fought very well~" She congratulated. "This was your first Smash match with that body, wasn't it? I wouldn't have been able to tell, really." The white haired male chuckled before putting his hands behind his back and looking off to the side.

"You really think I fought as well as I did back when I was fully human?" He said, looking down again at his Mechon body. "I'm sure there's plenty of work I still need to do to get back into shape completely, though..."

"I think the audience thought you were great too!" Peach continued. "All eyes were on you! They probably really like you fighting with your new body. You should definitely love your body more, as everybody else thinks it's wonderful."

"Everybody else thinks it's wonderful..." Robin repeated, staring at his metal hands. "Somehow I doubt that's actually the case..." After a sigh, he finally started moving to leave the results room. Upon opening the door, however, the tactician was greeted with the sight of a brightly smiling Heir to the Monado. Even if nobody else liked Robin's machine body (despite that not being the case), Shulk loved him regardless. The taller male practically pounced upon his metal friend after he got out of the doorway, wrapping his arms completely around Robin's abdomen and unintentionally pinioning his arms to his side.

"I'm so glad you won!" Shulk cheered in Robin's ears. "You did great out there! Oh, you should have heard the whispers in the audience when you appeared before them looking like you do now. Everybody was a bit skeptical of your new look, but the fact that you held your own against Peach proved to them that your looks don't matter." Shulk then readjusted his grip so that his hands now rest upon the piece of flesh that still remained over the mage's bosom, making sure that Robin could actually feel his hands. A gasp found its way out of Robin's mouth as he felt the other's warm hands pressed against his skin. "In fact, I think you've gathered some new fans from how cool you look now~" He then added. "A cyborg magician with horns on his head and mechanical limbs? It makes you stand out at the very least." The ivory haired tactician sighed with disgust.

"...They're probably just gawking at me because I look weird." He grunted. "They don't really care about my body at all..." Shulk shook his head.

"Robin, this tournament has a plethora of strange looking competitors already." The seer answered. "I mean, there's everything from talking animals to giant turtle dragons, and several humanoids who aren't human at all. I mean, I'm one of said non-humans, what with being a Homs instead. I really don't think anybody cares all that much about the fact that you have a machine body now. You're hardly the oddest looking competitor, after all." This seemed to be enough to make Robin feel a bit better.

"You have a point." Robin relaxed back into the grasp of the taller male, letting Shulk just gently hold onto him for a moment. "We should head back to our room, though..."

"Huh? How come?"

"Because we're cuddling in the middle of a hallway, you silly." With that, Robin reached up and flicked Shulk gently on the nose. The blond male quickly afterward raised his hand and rubbed at the spot where he got flicked, muttering something under his breath about being hit by a metal hand. The tactician somehow caught wind and his mood soured right away. "...Oh right..." He muttered dejectedly. "I'm a robot now... I can't do things like that so thoughtlessly. I don't really know my own strength anymore..." Shulk quickly shook his head to attempt to calm the cyborg he was holding onto down.

"You can't be expected to know everything about your new body immediately." He cooed soothingly. "It'll take time to get fully used to things. Besides, you didn't hurt me that badly anyway." Shulk then returned the favor by flicking Robin's nose in retribution. That elicited a short chuckle from the ivory haired male before he continued.

"Perhaps we should finally get out of the hallway now, first and foremost." Nodding with agreement, Shulk let go of Robin and took one of his metal hands, leading him back to a room that had a light purple Falchion and a magenta Monado insignia affixed to it - just as it used to be prior to the incident that had resulted in Robin's Mechonization in the first place.

Early the next day, Robin had stepped out of the room for a short period of time in order to get the mail for both him and Shulk (the Heir to the Monado lent his boyfriend the key to his mailbox in order to allow him to do the deed for him). When he came back, however, the tactician's skin (or what was left of it) was almost the same tint as his hair. This of course was cause for concern to Shulk, who immediately rose from his desk and walked over to provide comfort. Arms quickly wrapped around the smaller male's mechanical body, trying to get Robin to calm down and explain what was going on. The terrified tactician said nothing, but he held out a sheet of thin metal for Shulk to take from him. The seer's stomach lurched, as he clearly remembered getting a letter much like the one Robin was pushing in his direction. It was the invitation for the duel with Obsidian Face - a duel he would have died in had he put the letter away properly... A duel in which Robin would have directly contributed to Shulk's death within had it not been for the Metroid hunter and the Lightning Mouse Pokemon.

Still, Shulk couldn't help but take the sheet from Robin and look it over. What he discovered written upon it was enough to make his skin turn pale white as well.

To Robin,

You have greatly disappointed me. I found out what happened to Obsidian Face. I had hoped that you had fallen victim to the explosion, but today's Smash match proved to me that you're still alive. As you are a soldier of Mechonis now, you will do what I want you to or else I will be forced to take action. Your mission is to kill the Heir to the Monado and bring his sword back to Mechonis. If you return to Mechonis without the Monado, you will be destroyed.

"Dear gods..." Shulk's voice was shaky after he put down the letter. "You're actually being blackmailed into killing me? Just who even is the guy who sent this?" Once again he picked up the letter and looked over both sides of it in order to find some kind of confirmation as to whom it came from, but there was nothing. They didn't sign the letter, nor was there any other kind of distinguishing feature. Robin looked visibly uncomfortable as he stared at his hands.

"...Can that silver man really control me all the way from Mechonis or something?" He asked shakily, memory finally clicking back to the moments between his revival and assimilation into Obsidian Face's system. The mage could barely remember his face, but definitely not his name - did he even mention it at all during the whole time he was imprisoned on Mechonis, anyway? "He's clearly watching my Smash matches... What if he takes over and makes me brutally hurt somebody during a tournament match? I can't fight anymore knowing I might snap..." Chocolate colored eyes darted up to Shulk's face before he continued. "And the alternative... I couldn't possibly murder you, Shulk... You're the only one keeping me sane while I have this dumb body!" It looked like the white haired male was about to cry, and Shulk immediately tried to calm the other down upon realizing this.

"Robin, settle down..." He stated in a calm voice, reaching out to cup the smaller male's face into his hands, seeing as that was one part of the Mechonized tactician's body that still had nerve endings in it. "You're not going to get controlled during a Smash match, nor do you need to kill me. I promised I would take care of you, after all, even if it means opposing all of Mechonis to protect you. It's my fault you're like this to begin with." Robin's eyes darted to the ground. He didn't like it when Shulk blamed himself for what had happened to the tactician - after all, he was convinced it was his own fault, as he was the one who got careless with sneaking out to Bionis in the first place just for an insignificant gift that he never ended up giving in the end. The only thing Robin ended up giving was an endless amount of misery to everybody close to him, not only with his apparent death, but his dumb new body. Even worse was the fact that the tactician could possibly end up causing even more agony if he lost control of his body to the silver man who created it.

"...I should go give this letter to Master Hand and use it as an excuse to resign from the tournament..." Robin pushed himself gently out of Shulk's hands as he turned to leave the room. "I don't deserve to be here anymore. I'm a burden and a threat to everybody with this stupid body..." The blond seer was quick to grab the cyborg's arm before he could depart, however, briskly shaking his head once Robin spun around to acknowledge him.

"Robin, you can't resign from the tournament." Shulk said with an intense seriousness. "If you go back to Ylisse and stay there, you'll be dead within a month. Master Hand even said so. Nobody on Ylisse has any kind of knowledge on how to take care of your mechanical body!" Robin snapped his arm back from the Monado wielder, shaking his head.

"I'm better off dead - I should be dead to begin with!" He barked back. "What would you think if I had legitimately hurt Peach yesterday during that match? Hmm? What do you think everybody in the Mushroom Kingdom would think? I'd get stomped on by Mario before you could even say 'here we go'! I'm burdening everybody by being here. Just let me go shrivel up and die on my own world where the silver man won't be able to do as much harm if he takes over my body..." Shulk wasn't about to let Robin run off and let himself die, but he had to come up with something fast to stop the other. Gods, if only he had the same kind of genius idea hatching prowess Robin possessed, he'd have probably cooked up an idea to stop the other from going to Ylisse.

...Or maybe he didn't need to stop Robin from going to Ylisse. An idea finally found its way to Shulk's head as he hurried out and stopped Robin again, this time with a smile on his face. "I have an idea!" He chirped, placing both of his hands on the tactician's metal shoulders. "You can go to Ylisse, but it'll be a planned vacation from the tournament! Scratch that, we'll go to Ylisse together so that I can make sure your body doesn't fall apart on you. Get your mind off the stresses here at the mansion and just relax on your own world with me. How does that sound?" Robin frowned.

"Shulk, you know as well as I do that there's no Ether on my world. You'd probably shrivel up and die before I do, especially if we plan to take any kind of extended vacation to Ylisse..." Shulk took one hand off the tactician's shoulders and moved it up so that it wrapped around the bright red sword that was affixed to his back - the Monado.

"I'll be fine as long as I have the Monado." The blond answered. "It maintains the Ether in my body as long as it's attached to my back. I won't lose enough Ether to feel any kind of negative effect on my body for a while if I have the Monado. The only reason I was in such bad shape last time we were there was because those bastards got a leg up on us and I lost my sword for a while. This time we'll be a lot more careful though. Really, it'll all be fine..." Shulk tried to reassure Robin with a smile, but he was having none of it.

"This is a ridiculous idea..." He muttered. "You should stay here and continue participating in tournament battles. At least Reflet can be backup for me when I'm gone." Mentioning the female tactician seemed to be enough to start another protest.

"You said you weren't going to disappoint Reflet again!" Shulk gesticulated as he spoke. "She doesn't want you dying again, and I'm sure the same can be said for Chrom and Lucina. And speaking of Chrom, does he even know that you're alive? ...The one from your realm, I mean." Robin sighed and hung his head.

"He should know if he's been watching the tournament, you know..."

"You should still go say hello and reassure him you're all right. Chrom was the last person to find out about your apparent death, after all." The tactician rolled his eyes.

"Shulk, you're asking me to say hello to one of my close friends before I resign myself to my doom again within the month. Doesn't something sound a bit awkward about that to you?" Shulk started to shake his head, but then he stopped and put a hand on his chin.

"...Well yes, that sounds odd, but I said I'm coming with you to Ylisse, and I'm not changing my mind. If you're leaving for Ylisse, I am too. Now, what's it going to be? Either leave the mansion with me or stay here. The decision is yours." Robin could see the determination in Shulk's ringed cerulean eyes. He wasn't kidding when he said that his mind was made up. The Monado wielder was going to stay by the side of the tactician no matter what. Sighing with defeat, the ivory haired male hung his head again and shook it dejectedly.

"All right. Let's go on vacation to Ylisse. I just want to spend some time getting my mind off that threat from Mechonis, and I'd be better off doing so if I just left the mansion entirely." The blond Homs beamed as he took both of Robin's metal hands.

"In that case, let's go find Master Hand and tell him we're both going to take a break from the tournament for a while~"