Cole and Jay walked up front, talking excitedly among themselves, Zane walked a few feet behind the two, enjoying the forests around him, they needed to be out of the sanctuary for a couple weeks, something Jay had complained about quite a bit at first, although fortunately that had stopped by now.

After a few minutes, the two in front stopped abruptly, Zane didn't notice and ended up running into them, the two turned to look at him, "get your head out of the clouds space cadet" said Cole, not unaffectionately.

"I am sorry" said Zane, moving back, "its alright Zane" said Cole, starting to take off his pack, "yeah" said Jay, smiling at the android "everyone gets a little distracted sometimes, it's nothing to be ashamed of"

"thank you, Jay" Zane responded, smiling in return before he went about preparing the camp, Jay's gaze lingering a moment before he joined them.

The three ninja-in-training sat around the fire, Cole and Jay laughing uproariously at one of the inventor's jokes, Zane chuckled politely, despite not really getting it, just happy to be near them.

The laughter died down.

Jay glanced between his companions, "so, what did you guys do before" he waved his hand "all this?"

Cole leaned back "climbed mountains, fought bears, that sort of thing, you?"

Jay smiled, and began excitedly explaining his past, helping his parents with their restorations and discovering his interest for inventing, when he had finished, the two turned to Zane, who said nothing, only glancing between them. Cole looked away.

"You don't have to tell us" he said, "we understand"

Zane blinked, "understand what?" he asked, brow furrowing.

Cole shifted "if you don't want to talk, about your past, I mean"

"oh" Zane thought about it, "I awoke in the snow, after a few days alone someone found me and brought me to a village, I lived there until a month before Sensei found me"

Cole looked over at him, "what where you doing for that month?" he asked.

Zane looked at his hands, which where beginning to clench.

"I acted in a way they did not approve of, I spent the month looking for a new home"

He though back to him, not much older then Zane's own assumed age, the two never talked much, but neither had been much for talking anyways. They did share each other's company, though, and Zane was close to him in a way he wasn't with anyone else.

He hadn't known that would be a problem.

"I do not wish to discuss it"

There was a moment of uncomfortable silence, they knew Zane didn't have the best social skills, but it was hard to imagine the android doing anything bad enough to warrant such treatment.

"we won't throw you out" said Cole "promise"

No one spoke for several moments more, until Jay changed the subject

"So, wanna see the invention I'm working on?"

Much later that night, as Jay was returning to camp, he noticed Zane sitting by where the fire had been, staring into space, he was about to return to his tent when Zane spoke.


Jay turned to look at him, "yeah?"

Zane twisted the bottom of his shirt in his hands "how do you know you are a person?"

Jay went to sit down next to him, but didn't answer right away: he'd never had to think of it.

He looked at the man sitting next to him as he thought of it, he... really did look human. If he hadn't fixed him with his own hands, he would never believe he was anything else.

The two sat together, and Jay realized how close their hands where to touching "knowing you're a person" he inhaled softly, the action bringing Zane's own lack of breathe too the forefront of both their minds "I think- I think it's vulnerability"

Zane turned to look at him, but didn't speak, the subtle shift of his body causing his icy fingers to brush against Jay's, causing the redhead to shiver.

"If you're scared, or sad, o-or uncertain- I'm not sure there's anything more human then that"

Zane smiled, looking down "I guess I am" he leaned against Jay, who felt his heart-rate rise in response, "thank you Jay, I feel better now"

Jay entwined his fingers with Zane's "I'm glad" his voice was uncharacteristically soft, Zane didn't answer, only shifting closer to the shorter boy, the slight chill of the android's body seeping through his clothes.

Abruptly, Zane pushed him off, quickly climbing to his feet, "it is late, we should rest for tomorrow"

"oh, of course" said Jay, disappointed, he stood, "goodnight"

He glanced at the robot one more time before going to his tent, settling down for the following day.