Hi! I decided I wanted to write something for the anniversary of Battle Network... Three days before the anniversary... And now it's obviously past the date. Oh, well. I got it done, and that's what matters.

This takes place in Battle Network 3, after the fire in SciLab and after Dr. Hikari is hospitalized. Mayl and Yai visit Lan after school and then Chaud visits him after, but I wanted to write Chaud visiting Lan before Mayl and Yai. Mayl and Yai would visit Lan after Chaud, but I didn't go far enough for that.

I'm near the end of Battle Network 3, but I haven't beat it yet.

I hope you enjoy, and happy 20th anniversary! I only got into Battle Network recently, but I've been enjoying it a lot.

In order to defeat WWW, there was a mission to be done.

The problem was that Chaud couldn't do it.

None of the officials could do it, but Chaud and ProtoMan especially were too recognizable. This was a stealth mission: someone needed to infiltrate the Undernet. They needed someone they could trust who wouldn't be recognized in the Undernet. The officials didn't know of many people that fit that fit that criteria, but fortunately, Chaud knew someone personally that fit the bill.

This fight should be personal for Lan now, with his father put in the hospital by WWW. Chaud didn't anticipate too much trouble convincing Lan to help out. All he needed to do was ask, but this wasn't the type of thing that should be asked by email or over the phone. Chaud needed to ask in person.

Lan wasn't visiting his father in the hospital, apparently. Chaud didn't know where else to look for him besides his house. All he could do was knock on the door and hope he was there.

No one answered the door. So now what should he do? Chaud was used to living his life by a schedule, his presence expected everywhere he went. Should he leave? Knock on the door again? Knock louder?

"If he's here, the door might be unlocked, sir," ProtoMan suggested.

Chaud wasn't sure what else to do, so he grabbed onto the doorknob and turned it. The door opened without any difficulty. Relieved, he entered the house.

It appeared deserted. The TV was off, the kitchen was untouched, no one was at the table.

"Did they leave it unlocked by accident?" ProtoMan asked.

It was then that Chaud heard something. It sounded like a voice, but sounded far off. "No, I hear something." He turned in the direction he heard the sound come from and saw a staircase. "They might be upstairs, then." Only one way to find out.

Once he reached the top of the stairs, Chaud found himself in what had to be Lan's room given all the toys that were in there.


Lan's PET was sitting on the bed in front of Lan. MegaMan's face was staring at Chaud, mouth open in shock. Chaud could understand that, since he did come over complete unannounced. Lan himself was sitting on his bed, his blankets wrapped around him almost like a cocoon. His eyes were red and there were bags under them. He looked like he hadn't been sleeping well. Chaud supposed that was to be expected with a family member in the hospital.

"What are you doing here?" Chaud asked. He sniffed, and instantly regretted it. "And why do you reek?" He wasn't sure if the smell was Lan, his blankets, or even something else entirely, and he sure wasn't interested in finding out.

"It's my house." Lan glared at Chaud. "I should be asking you that."

Chaud would rather give Lan the benefit of the doubt on this one. Lan wasn't implying that he smelled bad, or at least, he better not be. "I'm here to pass on a request from the Officials."

This was where Chaud expected Lan to get excited. Lan was constantly getting mixed up in his business, interfering where he didn't belong. As an Official, this was all part of Chaud's job. But Lan kept getting in his way, usually because he wanted to help someone or because he wanted a chip or something, and he never got out of Chaud's way when ordered to. A chance for the two of them to actually work together to save the world without butting heads? Surely Lan would be all over that.

Lan turned away. "I'm not interested. Go away."

What? "You're not interested? You mean you're not interested in saving the world?!"

"I mean I don't want to do it." Lan buried his face in his blankets, muffling his voice. "Leave me alone."

"What's gotten into you?" Chaud demanded. "Requests from the officials aren't exactly something you can turn down. And I know your dad's in the hospital, but you're always trying to get involved even when I don't want you around. This isn't like you."

Having a father in the hospital wasn't a very good excuse to turn down something like this, anyway. Chaud could easily imagine what his father would say if he was in the hospital and Chaud slacked even a little bit.

"I don't care." Lan pulled his arms out from under his blankets and leaned forward to push Chaud away. "Someone like me has no right taking missions from the Officials, anyway. So get out of my house!"

Chaud took a step back.

Did Lan really just push him? What a child.

He stepped forward and pushed Lan back. "I have no idea what you mean, but fine. I don't know if anyone else can do it, but we'll let WWW destroy the world because Lan's sulking like a child."

"I'm the same age as you!"

"Both of you, stop!"

MegaMan looked angrier than Chaud could remember seeing him. Immediately, Lan and Chaud both shut up, and Chaud took a step back. MegaMan seemed equally upset with both of them.

"What would Mom think if she saw this?" MegaMan asked. The question seemed more directed at Lan than Chaud. That made sense. Chaud had no reason why his mother would be here to see a fight. "Lan, I know how you feel, but you can't just yell at Chaud because you want to feel bad by yourself. That's not fair." The words came out slow and careful, like MegaMan was choosing his words carefully. MegaMan peeked up at Chaud. "He came all the way here. We should hear him out at least, even if we still say no."

Something was off here. Was MegaMan trying to hide something from Chaud? Actually, if MegaMan was hiding something, Lan probably was hide it, too.

"Fine." Lan sunk back into his blankets. He was staring at MegaMan. "What do they want?"

Chaud shoved his hands into his pockets and cleared his throat. "Do you know what the TetraCodes are?"

After Lan said that he did, Enzan went on to explain the situation. The TetraCodes, the WWW, the Forbidden Program, everything that he'd been briefed on. Lan told Chaud that he should do it himself, but Chaud pointed out that the Undernet would recognize him.

"I hope you find someone else. I'm still not doing it." Lan was still staring at MegaMan. He'd barely looked at Chaud at all the wntire time he was here. Why? "It's not that I don't want to help, I just, I shouldn't, okay? The Officials shouldn't want me—"

"But, Lan!" MegaMan interrupted. "Maybe this could be a good way to—" He cut himself off.

Chaud sighed. "Okay, what's up with you two? I know Dr. Hikari is in the hospital, but this has to be more than that. Something's being hidden here."

"Nothing," MegaMan said.

Lan spoke up at the same time. "I don't want to talk about it."

"So there is something." Chaud glared at MegaMan, who was now staring at his feet.

"Okay, you really want to know? If it'll get you to leave me alone, then fine! Match tricked me. The fire at SciLab was my fault! He tricked me into helping him, and-"

Chaud held one of his hands up. "Stop, Lan. If you say anymore, I'll have to arrest you as an Official."

Lan laid back with a sigh. "Would you trust someone like that to help the Officials? Find someone else to do it."

He really was trying his best to frustrate Chaud, wasn't he? Chaud had a feeling part of it might just be to get him to go away, but he didn't appreciate Lan taking everything out on him. It wasn't like Chaud put Dr. Hikari in the hospital, or tricked Lan into doing...whatever Lan did. Chaud had no reason to put up with this. "Look, I won't say anything. I owe you. But if you decide to stop feeling sorry for yourself and help out, meet me in the Virus Lab. I'm leaving."

Chaud left the room without another word. Lan didn't say anything, either, or even look at him. Chaud didn't care. All Chaud needed to do was what was required of him, and that was all that mattered. If he needed to find someone else for this mission, then he would. It certainly didn't matter whether he got along with Lan Hikari or not.

"Lord Chaud." Chaud pulled ProtoMan out of his pocket when he spoke. "We've yet to identify any candidates better or even as good for the job as Lan Hikari."

"Then he better change his mind."

"If Chaud is so much better, then he should do this mission himself," Lan muttered through the blankets that surrounded him. "He could probably get the program without blending into the Undernet, anyway."

"Lan, that's not fair." MegaMan folded his arms. "Chaud isn't perfect. There might be things he and ProtoMan can do that we can't, but there's also things that we can do that he can't. If ProtoMan just entered the Undernet, this Navi named S with the program would probably try to run. We don't know how strong S is, either. They could be stronger than Chaud and ProtoMan. If there's a way to get the program without fighting, it would be much better."

"Anyone can can sneak into the Undernet besides the Officials. It doesn't have to be us," Lan grumbled.

"How many skilled NetBattlers that aren't Officials or working for WWW do you think there are? There aren't many. Even if a rookie could sneak into the Undernet, there are deadly viruses in there."

"Well, there has to be someone besides us that's capable."

"I'm sure there is, but do you know of anyone?" MegaMan asked. "It doesn't seem like Chaud does. How long will it take to find someone? The WWW already has the TetraCodes."

"I'll just make it worse again."

"Or you could make up for the mistakes you've made."

Make up for what he'd already done? Lan wasn't sure that was possible. His father had nearly died in that fire, and he wasn't the only one who had gotten hurt. Lan couldn't even sleep without seeing what happened to his dad all over again. Seeing what he had done all over again.

"I want to talk to Dad," Lan said.

"We should see him. I think we'll both feel better after we see how he's doing."