A/N: Chapter 3. A look into the past and present. Well here's chapter 3 all ready to go. Nothin much to say except enjoy the read.

Normal talking: "Blah"

Thinking/Online messages: "Blah"

Dream sequence: He winced as he felt himself standing

Emphasis: "Do not piss me off"


Chap 3.

"So what did you say a moment ago?" Damien looked at the two and noticed the one wearing the mask had taken it off revealing his dark brown eyes, tan skin and black disheveled hair. He noticed that on his hip was a gun similar to the one that took him out last time. "You." Was all that was heard before an enraged Damien attempted to attack Dan.

A second later, he lay on the ground with his arm being held back almost to the point of snapping by Kayla who had an irritated look on her face. "You're not supposed to be here." She hissed out as she picked him up and held him close in order to keep him from charging at Dan again. "and why is Delta here?"

Zetsuo narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms. "Commander Cross is currently meeting with Maria. They have some personal matter to talk about." His reply was cold and it somewhat disturbed her. "He attacked first and if he actually did make contact. That would be grounds for an immediate execution."

"Wait a second!" Damien replied but was stopped before he could say anything else.

The growing argument was calmed down when Cross stepped out of the room and slid the door shut. "Sorry for taking so long. We had some issues we're trying to work out." He sighed as he noticed the tense atmosphere in the room. "Geez to think this would happen only after a few minutes of leaving you all alone. Zetsuo and Dan stand down and just relax." Both saluted and ended up sitting on the floor.

Kayla looked over at Damien who was trying his hardest to avoid her piercing gaze. "And you need to get out of here and do what I told you to do earlier today! Do you know what time it is?" She glared at him which caused him to become very uncomfortable.

"five?"

"Try ten o' clock at night!" She kicked his leg out from under him causing him to fall onto his behind with a loud thud. She followed suit by sitting on the ground. "By the way. How do you know Maria? If I may ask."

Cross chuckled as he slid his helmet off causing his silver hair to slide down to the base of his neck. "Well it's a long story and from the looks of it. You two are busy."

Damien quickly jumped in and smirked. "I have time to do what I gotta do so this won't really make a dent in my time." The comment caused her to glare at him so intensely that everyone felt the pressure she was exerting. "I'll get it done." He reassured her with a grin. "I promise."

"Fine but I'll keep an eye on you Damien.." She replied as she looked over at Cross. "I don't mind hearing your story.

He chuckled and rubbed his temples. "Alright I guess I can spare a tale." He sighed as he looked up at the ceiling. "Do any of you know what this place's name originally was?" Everyone replied with a quick no which caused him to sigh. "Then I guess I'll start all the way from the beginning."

"I'm twenty seven and the tale starts about eight years ago when Maria and I were just beginning our years in college. She fell Ill and I took care of her for a while. By that time the Neural Link was out and the doctor recommended that she get one so I decided that I would do that with her." He quickly cleared his throat and adjusted himself as everyone listened in carefully.

"About a few months after we received the Neural link we both got into the virtual gaming scene. We became avid players of the classics and the new games. We became familiar with all kinds of things when War-zone came out. Being so into gaming at that point, we both joined the beta testing and ended up getting within the top ten alongside your friend over there." He pointed at Kayla and chuckled again.

"Once the actual game began there was a popular place in the war-zone called Moonlight Peak. A place where the moon would always be full and it was an amazing place where people could enjoy the sights but it was eventually turned into a battlefield when a man by the name of Sieg attracted the attention of all players in the area. I, Maria and three others joined forces and fought Sieg." Kayla quickly interrupted with a quick question.

"So what exactly was the point of fighting him?"

Cross stretched and reached into his pocket. A few seconds later he produced a chain and at the end of it was a badge with a dragon on it. "We fought him to prove we could still take down everyone that came after us but it was my fault that we lost. I tried to overpower him but failed. He attempted to take me down in one shot only to hit Maria in my stead. She was out of the fight permanently and soon after we were all wiped out." He placed the chain back into his pocket and closed it. "If you're wondering how this place came to be. It was originally a place called the Mercenary Headquarters. A place where anyone could leave a request which would be completed by a member."

Damien took the opportunity to interject while he could. "So I guess you two staged the revolt that happened in the early stages of the game where the Mercenary guild was destroyed and instead replaced by the mysterious 'Monastery'?" Cross nodded as he looked back at everyone again.

"Afterwards we became successful but I became obsessed with power and ended up clashing with her time and time again. I actually ended up hurting her feelings by saying something stupid one day and it led to a fight where she beat me to a pulp. I left soon after and locked away my fighter which was replaced by this class. Now I lead Delta Force and there's the history between me and Maria."

Kayla nodded as if she understood every last detail. "So that's why she always rants about the useless Cross." The statement caused a sharp pain in his chest almost as if he was just stabbed. "Oops." She said with a nervous laugh.

Cross shook his head and stood up. "It's fine. I deserve any harsh feelings she has towards me. At least I realize this now." He pulled his helmet and placed it on as he signaled the other two to stand. "Alright I guess its time for us to go. Dan, Zetsuo let's go." Once they left both Kayla and Damien were left to wonder about what else happened between the two as they each left the game.

A man in a bed woke up and rubbed his head as he looked over at the wall. A picture of a man with short silver hair and a woman with long brown hair holding hands and making a heart sign with the other sat in a glass frame with the words 'For my knight in shining armor I owe you so much and I thank you for it every day My knight.' written on the lower left corner of the picture. The man chuckled as he stood up and walked to the bathroom where he looked in the mirror.

His eyes were a cool blue with a tinge of gray and his silver hair was long enough to reach the base of his neck. He quickly tied it back and used some bobby pins to keep the sides from going out too far. After he was done he put on a white shirt and on top of that he wore a black jacket. He slipped on a pair of black jeans and left his apartment.

He walked down the street with silent steps until he reached the entrance of what looked like a hospital. He walked inside and signed in with the receptionist who pointed him to an elevator which led to the top floor of the building. "She'll be in room 807. She's been expecting you." She said with a smile as the man departed for the elevator. His mind thought back to when that picture was taken which caused him to smile warmly. Good memories he thought to himself until he heard the beep which signaled his arrival to the eighth floor.

His footsteps echoed in the hallway until they stopped in front room 807 which had the name Maria Salvatore. He knocked which was greeted by a come in. "How are you feeling today?" He sat down on a chair which was next to the bed.

"I'm fine but what we discussed back there..sorry. The stupid game gets to me sometimes." He chuckled as he leaned forward and caressed her cheek.

"Calm down Maria. You need the neural implant to just be able to move around normally minus the use of your legs. It's obvious you'd get bored and anyways we both agreed we'd try our best to put all of this behind us." He responded as she placed her hand over his. "The implant is keeping the decay from reaching your brain. Even if you'll never be able to walk again, I'll never leave your side."

She sighed as she slowly pushed his hand away. "Don't make a promise to a girl if you know you won't be able to keep it." She looked away and reached behind her neck where the implant was. "I'm only a test subject as far as anyone knows so let's just leave it at that."

"I get it. I'll leave it be." He replied as he rested his chin on his knuckles. "Well I got the O.K. for the operation. We meet up tomorrow afternoon. Have those two that I met come with you. I want to see how they react under pressure."

She nodded as she looked around. "where is the wheelchair?" She mumbled to herself until she felt a pair of strong arms gently pull her up. "W-w-what are you doing?!" She clung to him as if her life was in danger until she felt the soft padding on the wheelchair. "Ehehe.." She laughed nervously as he opened the door and allowed her to leave the room first. "Thanks."

"Tired of being locked up in a pale white room?" He called out with a chuckle as he pushed her wheelchair.

"Yes. That room gives me a headache. A very big headache." She frowned as every time she reached to move by herself, he would grab her hand and place it on her lap then continue pushing her. "My legs are the only things that don't work you know. I can more than easily move myself." She mumbled as she crossed her arms.

Cross chuckled as he continued pushing her until they reached the same elevator he had come in from. "A knight can't let his princess fatigue herself now. Can I." The statement caused her cheeks to emit a light blush. "See. Now where to?"

She looked around then noticed the elevator could only reach to the top floor and not the rooftop. "the roof."

He tilted his head in confusion then he chuckled as he realized what she was talking about. "Right away." He said as he set the elevator to go to the top floor.

Meanwhile Damien was racking his brain trying to figure out how to finish all the work he had to work on before the end of the semester. He looked through the worksheets and essay topics he'd have to cover and realized one thing. This was impossible without some help. As much as it pained him, he looked at his phone and began to dial Kayla's number when the phone began ringing. He sighed as he picked it up. "Hello. Who am I speaking to?"

"It's Kayla. I'd figure you would want some help with your work. That and the fact that I need to make sure you get that work done or else it compromises my seat in the student council."

"Yaaaay." He replied in a monotone voice.

"Sound more excited won't you. You get a cute girl to yourself for the day and all you can say is 'yay' in a monotone voice. Geez something must be wrong in your head." Damien at this point could swear he felt an oppressive force from just talking to her on the phone.

"Do you know where I live? Or would you rather I wait for you at the café we met at yesterday?" He said as he readied his jacket and shoes.

"I guess I'll wait for you at the café." She replied as he walked towards the door.

"Alright I'm heading there now." He quickly hung up and put on his jacket as he stepped out of his apartment. "Ngh…..just a little more and I'll be free from these stupid school assignments which are nothing more than a nuisance. Then I can go back to working on perfecting War-zone." He said to himself.

Once outside he began walking down the street until he stopped and looked at the sky which was a calm blue with the bright white clouds. He chuckled to himself as he thought that this would be a perfect day to spend with friends that were non-existent. "Hmph. Whatever.." As he continued his stroll he looked at a large building with the word hospital running across it. As he stared at the sign and building he felt a light push as a stranger collided with him.

"Oh sorry about that." The man said with a chuckle as he helped Damien back up. "Didn't notice you there." The man had silver hair and blue eyes which immediately told him who he was.

"Cross." Was the only word that left his mouth which caused the man to take a few steps back. "It's you isn't it?"

The man cautiously stared at Damien until a smile found its way to his face. "Yeah that's what they call me. So I'm guessing you're one of the new guys who joined. No they haven't met me yet.. So the only person you can be is. Aha! You're the newbie!" He exclaimed as he planted his fist into his hand as if he had made a rare discovery. "Nice to see how you really look Damien."

He grinned as he quickly patted down his jacket to get rid of the dirt. "Yep it's me. The only thing that would surprise me more would be if Maria was here too." The mention of Maria caused Cross' eyes to narrow slightly. He figured it would be a bad idea to let him know she was in the hospital. "Well I gotta get going so I guess we can talk some other time." He called out with a quick bow as he ran off in the direction of the café.

Cross on the other hand decided it was best to go home since he and Maria had spent the morning together. "Maybe things will go back to how they were before any of this happened to us. Right Maria?" He questioned aloud as the sound of his footsteps became drowned out by the sounds of the city.

By the time Damien arrived at the café, Kayla was sitting with an increasingly annoyed expression on her face. What was taking that idiot so long she thought all while taking a drink from her coffee here and there. After twenty minutes had passed she decided to give up on the idiot and let him fail until she heard a person calling her name. "And he chooses to make his entrance now." She mumbled under her breath as she packed her things and left some money on the table where the waiter had left her bill.

"Sorry…for…being….late." He said in between deep breaths. He was obviously running on his way here since he was either sidetracked by the game or one of his friends. After a few minutes he composed himself and to her surprise he held his hand out which caused her to raise an eyebrow in amusement. "I'll be escorting you now." He said in a gentlemanly voice as she gently grabbed his hand. Once her hand was in his, he lifted it towards his mouth and planted a light kiss on it. "Think of this as an apology?" The nervous grin was enough to ruin the moment which caused her to sigh and shake her head.

"You're forgiven. Don't let this happen again. Alright?" Damien quickly nodded let go of her hand as they both walked back towards his apartment.

On the way there, Kayla asked many questions about him such as where he grew up and where he was planning to go after school was done with. The talking took up most of their time as their fast walk slowed down to a crawl as they found out more about each other. "To think you want to perfect the neural link. I think you'd screw it up pretty quickly." She commented after he mentioned how he noticed some of the smaller design flaws of the link which he wanted to address.

"How so?" He retorted as he looked for the key to his apartment. He hoped he hadn't forgotten to take it with him like he did the last time he left while annoyed or in a rush.

"Well.." She took a deep breath and then began to speak. "You hate taking notes, you never double check your work, you always believe you're right even when you're not, AND you hate working with people that don't understand your way of thinking." Every last reason she gave hit him like a boot to the head as he fumbled on the lock.

He decided to ignore it and finished opening the lock when he door opened on its own. "Hello?" He called out as he stepped into his apartment. "Hello?" He called out one more but no response. After a few minutes of silence he heard a rustling noise. "Kayla stay here and get ready to run if anything happens." He whispered as he walked inside and grabbed a nearby umbrella which he held up as a weapon. "Whoever is here come out and I'll let you leave! If you don't I'll beat you to a bloody pulp!" As he walked in deeper he noticed that his kitchen light was on. He quietly walked towards the kitchen and when he was close enough to jump and scare whoever was there. The person looked up from the fridge and instantly dropped what he was holding.

"Ah. Damien what a pleasant surprise!" The man called out. He was an older gentleman. Graying hair and chestnut colored eyes greeted the young man as he walked over to a nearby chair and sat down. "Oh and you shouldn't really let your lady friend stay outside alone." He commented which caused Damien to quickly run over to the door and let Kayla in who was waiting outside with a worried expression.

Once both of them were inside, the old man let out a low yawn. "Well then. Now that you're here." The man had pulled up a bag and opened it. He looked through it until he let out a simple aha followed by a rather large manila folder. "This is from your father. It seems your grades have been falling a bit shorter than average so he requested that I come to deliver this personally since I was your supposed favorite." He then set the folder in Damien's hands and allowed him to open it. "This is simply this months expenses since you wish to live alone."

Damien sighed and tossed the folder to his side. "I still have enough to last me another two months. Why is he giving me more? It's not like him." He looked over to Kayla who was waiting patiently. "On second thought. Don't answer that. I'd rather talk to him about it later." He walked over to the folder he had tossed to the ground and picked it up again, this time he left it on the table. "Thanks for coming by Elm. I think I can handle myself still." Elm sighed and shook his head in a disapproving matter.

"He wants you to raise your grades. That text message you received a few days ago was from the head of the board who wants you to succeed in your school career. Please do your best master Damien." The words 'master Damien' caught Kayla's attention as she looked around and noticed a door. "I will take my leave now. Until next time." Elm bowed quickly and left before Damien could say anything else.

"Umm. Is this a bad time?" She asked sheepishly as she noticed Damien was looking at the folder intently.

"No. Let's get started on the work I need to catch up on." He said in a low voice as he opened the door behind her which led to his room.

-End Chap.