Megaman X, X and Axl, 886 words.
Summary: Axl is good at video games. X, not so much.
Notes: Challenge #6 for insert_phrase--incorporate the phrase "oh, that is unbelievably pathetic!" I...I have done what I told myself I would never do: I took a cheap shot at Zero's hair. Forgive me, for I have sinned. And yes the title sucks I know go away.
The arcade was the kind of place that could send an unprepared person into sensory overload--crowded, noisy, full of flashing lights and teenagers bickering, chattering, challenging each other and generally having a good time.
It wasn't the kind of place X would normally bother coming to. He preferred to spend his downtime in a quiet park with a good book, but there had been a film Alia wanted to catch playing at the movie theater, and Zero had mentioned needing to stop by the salon to pick up more shampoo, and everyone's leave times coincided rarely enough that they usually looked for something they were all willing to do. And thus they had ended up going to the mall--something X normally didn't enjoy that much, but he wasn't averse to taking one for the team, and there was a nice bookstore next to the food court...
But five o'clock had come and gone, with no sign of Axl at their designated meeting point. He knows better than this, X thought irritably as he stepped into the arcade. You'd think that he'd have picked up enough military discipline to know that when I say five I mean five... He picked his way past a few giggling preteen girls, past the DDR machine, and headed for the back of the arcade, where he knew Axl would be found--with the shooting games.
X knew that voice anywhere--he'd certainly heard similar outbursts on enough missions. He walked over to the machine--House of the Dead 7, by the looks of it?--and tapped the player on the shoulder.
"Hang on, can't you see I'm in the middle of--"
Axl immediately turned, recognizing X's voice. His bangs hung in his eyes--even in a ponytail as he usually kept it, Axl's hair was incurably messy and prone to sticking out all over the place--but his guilty expression was nonetheless clearly visible. He brushed his bangs out of his face and grinned sheepishly. "Hi, X."
"Hi, yourself." X frowned. "We were going to leave twenty minutes ago, you know."
"Well, yeah, but I wasn't expecting them to have this one--I mean, it's classic, you know? Most places got rid of their machines for the new ones ages ago! And I guess I got distracted..."
X sighed, but any anger he'd felt was already fading. He's young. At least he's enjoying the chances he does get to act his age. He shook his head. "Well, I'm glad you had fun with it, but--"
"Do you want to try?"
"I've still got a few tokens left. It would be kinda stupid to waste them, wouldn't it?" Axl shrugged. "It won't take that long..."
X frowned. "Alia and Zero are still waiting for us, you know."
"It's just a couple games' worth, and this game sucks tokens like you wouldn't believe, so it'll be fast. Please, X?"
"Fine," X sighed, stepping next to Axl and picking up the second gun. "Point and shoot? Anything else I need to know?"
"Nah, not really." Axl fed a few tokens in and the game started.
X leveled his gun at the screen and took a few shots at the zombies, but he wasn't really focusing on the game, and it showed--only one of his targets went down, and the others were on him before he had time to attack them. "GAME OVER" flashed across the screen in large, red letters, and the demo sequence started up again, the sound effects punctuated by Axl's snickering.
"What?" X asked, raising one eyebrow.
"Oh, that is unbelievably pathetic," Axl laughed. "Come on, X! I know you can do better than that! It's not like you don't know how to aim."
X shook his head. "I never really cared for shooting games...I get enough of that in real life. Just finish off your tokens and let's go, Axl."
Axl shrugged and put the last few tokens in the machine, then picked the two-player option.
"Axl, I'm not--"
"I know," Axl said cheerfully, swiping the second gun from X's hand. "Stand back and watch a professional at work!"
The game started again, the zombies dropped like flies, and X had to work to keep the smile from his face. For all the times he'd criticized the kid's behavior in the past, it was refreshing to know that even after putting his life on the line in two major uprisings and countless smaller incidents, Axl was still a normal teenager at heart. "Is that how you learned to shoot? Spending half your life playing video games?" he asked with amusement as Axl finally finished the game.
"Nah, other way around. I never really got the chance to play any before I got to the Hunters. Red taught me."
"Ah." X didn't press the issue--he'd long ago learned that Axl wasn't always in the mood to talk about his days with Red Alert. "Ready to go, then?"
"I guess so." Axl replaced the guns and followed X towards the door. "Though...you sure I can't get you on the DDR machine before we go?" he asked, a sly grin on his face.
X rolled his eyes and punched Axl lightly on the arm. "Let's go, hotshot. They're still waiting on us."