Arknights: Rekindling

Description: Kal'tsit knows the past is the past, but the Doctor is the living reminder that the past continues to exist in the present, will she learn to finally let go of the past, or will she embrace it? - Kal'tsit x Doctor short story.

Commission by: Palik


Part 5: Ghost of the Future

Part 5: Ghost of the Future

Perhaps it was the alcohol in the cocktail doing its work, but Kal'tsit felt a lot more uninhibited after having drank it all. Her body had never gotten accustomed to any kind of alcoholic beverage, more often than not burning the toxic substance before it could impair her bodily functions —most of the time, that is. It would always take a few minutes before the toxicity was gone, and she was using those few minutes to her advantage.

Whether the Doctor knew about her condition and bought the cocktail with that intention in mind, Kal'tsit didn't really care —couldn't bring herself to care, even if the voices at the back of her head told her that she should.

Voices that she shut out because for once, she wanted to snuff out the analytical, somewhat pessimistic, part of herself for the rest of the day so she could 'try to enjoy the moment' as most of R.I. operators often said to her.

Besides, there was something downright exhilarating about not needing words to make everyone in the vicinity stop what they were doing solely because of her presence and actions; true, her presence alone had that effect on people most of the time, but it had more to do with what Kal'tsit presence meant rather than herself.

She knew she would regret her actions in about 2 minutes if her body's natural recovery rate was to be trusted, what with how out of character it was for her, but for the remaining minute and fifty seconds that the alcohol still ran through her veins…

"What?" Kal'tsit bundled her dress over her taut belly, "Cat got your tongue?"

The voices in her brain cringed after those words left her mouth, but it had the desired effect of stunning further the man that had dared to forget about her not once, but twice already.

Was it done in a cheap way? Certainly.

But if the Operators who desired for the eyes of the Doctor to trail after them had gone anywhere near as far as the silver-haired feline wearing a two piece black bikini on the volleyball court then why could Kal'tsit herself also wear something similar?

As much as Kal'tsit hated to admit it, Closure had truly chosen something that emphasized her normally hidden figure well. The colors were much like her usual ensembles, those being shades of green with specks of black on certain parts. Her swimwear had no strings to be tied, all pieces were connected together so she wouldn't need to worry over useless things such as a wardrobe malfunction.

Two strings looped around the back of her neck, connecting at the front just above the valley of her bosom wherein it split into larger pieces that covered and pulled up her breasts and at the same time leaving the crevasse in the center exposed, then it looped around her middle back and below her ribcage again where it connected to the bottom part over her breasts so they would never be shown unless she willed it.

Then it continued looping around, strings contouring her defined waistline, looping around again, then contouring her hipline before it connected in different sections with the bottom piece that was not so different from a bikini bottom.

Her waist and glutes; however, had a small semi-translucent skirt which hid them from view unless she moved about, which was exactly what she did when turning around to place her folded dress on the beach chair and gave another stunning eyeful to the Doctor who had yet to utter a single word.

Kal'tsit didn't need to look in the Doctor's direction to confirm where his eyes looked, a downside of being whatever he was being that wherever his eyes fell, his gaze could be felt. And feel, Kal'tsit felt, giving birth to a rather peculiar emotion in her chest that had no real source or reason to be there.

But for the minute remaining where the alcohol had yet to fade away, she entertained the emotion which made something move —something that hadn't moved in a long time.

Kal'tsit's feline tail swished.

Short, incredibly short compared to Schwarz tail, and black-tipped. It swayed, back and forth, just as the eyes of the Doctor did when following the movements of what almost nobody except him and a select few in Rhodes Island had ever seen.

Then Kal'tsit finally turned around again, facing the Doctor and the Operators at the volleyball court, with a raised eyebrow and a hand on her hip.

"What?"

"Oh," The Doctor peacefully waved one hand before giving Kal'tsit a thumbs up, "It fits you."

Kal'tsit stared.

The Doctor coughed.

"You look… good?"

Kal'tsit sighed, knowing that she wouldn't get a better compliment than that, and if her body was to be trusted, wouldn't be affected by it for the next thirty seconds. So, Kal'tsit merely nodded before walking past him, towards the mouth-open Amiya.

"Miss Kal'tsit," The Doctor made her pause just before reaching Amiya, however she did not look back at him. "Thank you for playing along with Amiya."

Her tail twitched again, but she refused to look at him. She didn't even respond, at all; instead, she took the Ball from Amiya's hands and pushed her mute protegee back to the court.

And even as Skadi waddled away to sit where beside the Doctor where he tended to the injury to Skadi's face, Kal'tsit could still feel his gaze search for her when she spiked the ball over the net with a bit too much force, right onto the glaring feline bodyguard on the other side.

Without words, the fight for attention —his attention stared anew.

And Kal'tsit would win, alcohol or not.

- 0 - Arknights: Rekindling- 0 -

"Miss Kal'tsit, I know the idea of the trip was to let Operators loose if only for a bit…"

The Doctor spoke as he applied ointment to a certain feline's red face, an unconscious silver-haired feline laying on her back on the beach chair.

"Do not finish that sentence."

Kal'tsit warned from the other beach chair, laying down in the same was as Schwarz, except Amiya hovered over her while pressing an ice pack to Kal'tsit's red stomach.

"I'm just saying…" The Doctor murmured, waving Lady Ceylon away as the sheltered girl tried to wake (again) Schwarz. "I will not be the one paying the repair fees for the volleyball court."

Kal'tsit hissed as Amiya pressed the ice pack to her head instead, though the pack did nothing to hide the glare she threw at the Doctor.

"If you do not want me to take it out of your pay, then shut up."

The Doctor nodded before setting a towel over the scantily clad Schwarz, hiding her from the curious onlookers trying to get another eyeful of the bodyguard whose top had been almost destroyed by Kal'tsit on one powerful spike.

It all had been going well, or that's what the Doctor wanted to be believe at first, but once the volleyball ball gained a bit of color with every spike, he knew things wouldn't end well.

Then Kal'tsit served, almost destroyed Schwarz top as she rebounded the play for Ceylon to spike back at Amiya, leaving Schwarz to hastily cover herself before Kal'tsit spiked again, leaving Schwarz little to no time to react before the ball hit her in the face —much like she had done to Skadi on the previous game.

Then all bets were off, it seemed. As Schwarz disregarded her state of dress to spike back with as much fury to the other feline, then it only became worse from there.

He wasn't surprised that Schwarz managed to land every single spike onto Kal'tsit stomach, nor was he surprised that Kal'tsit managed to hit the topless Schwarz on the face either, and he was of the same mind as Amiya and Ceylon to not get between them despite how… heated the game had become, for better or worse.

And worse it became, if the current unconsciousness of one and the swelling injury of the other could attest to.

"Doctor," Amiya spoke up, pointing to the distance, "Blaze is almost here, should I call for anyone else?"

"No need," The Doctor shook his head, "Ceylon, would you guide us to an inn or somewhere we can put Schwarz to rest?"

"Yes!"

- 0 - Arknights: Rekindling- 0 -

Kal'tsit nursed her forehead as she watched a blank-faced Skadi carry on her back the still-unconscious Schwarz and follow behind Ceylon, leading the walking catastrophe to one of Ceylon's family houses for their bodyguard to rest.

All the while, Blaze jabbed at the Doctor asking if he had enjoyed the volleyball game between Kal'tsit and Schwarz to which he intelligently kept quiet, though Blaze's use of the word 'catfight' at one point did make him break character and cough-laugh.

One piercing glare from Kal'tsit and both were whistling innocently.

She sighed. Perhaps, the cocktail must've been mixed with something else because there was no way that she would've gotten so incensed over him looking at someone other than her. Even if that someone had been playing topless.

"Um, Miss Kal'tsit?" Amiya pulled on her arm, "Thank you for playing! Do you think we could do something else tomorrow too?"

If it had been anyone else but her protegee asking her that question, Kal'tsit would've flicked them across Siesta.

"As long as it does not involve the beach again."

Amiya grinned from ear to ear and tried to give her a hug, to which Kal'tsit tactfully pulled on Amiya's don—rabbit ears and threw her in the Doctor's direction. Kal'tsit eyes twitched again as, by her own actions, the Doctor ended up smacking visor-first into Blaze's chest again when Amiya impacted against his back.

He was quick to disentangle himself from the laughing bodyguard who attempted to hug him, just as Amiya was unknowingly doing to his back, but another piercing glare from Kal'tsit and only Amiya remained glued to the stumbling Doctor.

"Say, Doctor, aren't you hungry?" Blaze asked once she recovered from Kal'tsit's glare. "I found this restaurant not too far away from here with a buffet going on, thought you'd like to give it a look and see if there's anything you can eat."

"That…" The Doctor paused, glancing in Kal'tsit's direction.

'Good boy'

Kal'tsit nodded, glad that he still understood who controlled his diet and needed permission from to do just about anything.

"If you could guide us there, Blaze. Thank you."

And that was how the group of four walked, with Blaze ahead and Amiya one step behind as the two spoke of what they would be doing the next day since Kal'tsit decided against changing their group's bodyguards despite seemingly not getting along with one of them if her actions today were anything to go by.

Kal'tsit eyes fell on the Doctor walking in front of her, in the middle of the group to be exact, and noticed something peculiar…

"Are you alright?" The question left her mouth before she could place her hand on his arm.

"Yes."

Kal'tsit glared.

The Doctor coughed.

"I'm just feeling a bit tired, that's all." He admitted and pointed at the Sun that glared down on all of them.

Right, even if she had made those gears of his specifically to help against the environment, he would still feel the effects albeit diminished as they were.

It was a wonder that he hadn't shown his discomfort earlier, perhaps it was his attempt at alleviating some of his presence from her mind as they both knew that she cared about him —err, his wellbeing, otherwise, who knows when the future that she needed to see would arrive.

"If it's not too much trouble," He fixed his hood, probably trying to clean some sweat off his face, "Could we stay at the restaurant until the weather cools down a bit?"

"You're not eating more than needed."

And despite her roundabout way of saying yes, yet still showing who was in control of his health…

"Sure, thank you."

He still thanked her.

How vexing.

It was moments like this that brought back the memories that he had forgotten; memories of how he treated her as if she was anyone else among the many. Just one more person, and not… her.

How annoying, too.

Her pride would always get wounded when he spoke to her like that. Living a long life as someone who was always feared then suddenly being treated like she was no such thing was incredibly annoying. Did he not understand that with just a flick of her fingers, he would be all over the place in several pieces?

Sure, Mon3tr adored him more than her summon did her, but she didn't need her summon to put him in his place.

Then, as if sensing her somber thoughts, he glanced at her.

Kal'tsit tail bristled.

"Did I do something wrong?" He asked innocently, but there was nothing innocent about what laid beneath the visor that she created for him.

Where she anyone else but Kal'tsit, they would've run away with their tail between their legs and begging for forgiveness, despite having done nothing at all.

But her?

Well, she smacked his arm.

"Stop glaring at me and look ahead."

He laughed.

Shivers went down her spine.

- 0 - Arknights: Rekindling- 0 -

Perhaps a buffet wasn't the best of places to take the Doctor to, because he was a glutton despite Kal'tsit strict diet for him.

A glutton for food, and a glutton for punishment it seemed.

"No."

"But it's within the range…"

"I said no."

"Then how about the lobster over there, it's sauteed with…"

"No."

"Steamed potatoes?"

"No."

"Fried chicken?"

"No."

"They have a salad low on calories too…"

She sniffed said salad, her nose immediately scrunched up as hints of meat clung to the leaves used for it.

"No."

"But it's a salad!"

"I said no, again. Pick something else."

"You'll keep saying no." He sighed, quite loudly. "I'll just go sit with Amiya and Blaze while you pick something I can eat, then."

"You're not going anywhere." Kal'tsit grabbed his sleeve. "I refuse to be the only one on this line and be thought of as a glutton for carrying two plates."

"Alright, fine." He grumbled, "But I get to pick something out of the diet."

"As long as it does not make you sick."

"The lobster it is, then."

"I said—"

"It won't make me sick."

Kal'tsit glared, "You know what. Sure, pick the lobster. See if someone else will give you the medication required for you to purge the over excess of vitamins out of your body."

"… Fine, the shrimps then…"

"Three only."

"Five."

"I said three."

"… Four."

Kal'tsit rubbed the bridge of her nose as she inhaled deeply, "Fine."

"Yes!" He celebrated with a quick, if slightly hidden, fist bump to himself, "You heard the lady, four shrimps and those vegetables over there."

"Finally!" The server and the people behind them chanted as the couple finally chose what to eat and stopped holding the fucking line.

- 0 - Arknights: Rekindling- 0 -

He was playing around, Kal'tsit realized thirty minutes later as one of the four shrimps remained un-eaten on his plate that the server took away to clean their table by the restaurant's patio. Not that either Amiya or Blaze seemed to notice, as Blaze had brought with her cards for the four of them to play poker.

Obviously, Kal'tsit abstained from joining. More so once the Doctor expressed his desire to play the game.

She was not going to embarrass herself trying to win against him, his analytical mind, and the damned luck that seemed to follow him —If she didn't know any better, she would think he was bending reality to his will.

Nor did she give him the satisfaction of showing that she noticed his way of teasing her with the food, though knowing him, he had already noticed despite her best attempts at hiding it, and merely kept the joy to himself —the sick bastard…

At this rate, she was going to punch him with more strength than usual if he kept playing around with her… which now that she thought about it, wasn't this longest time she had actually spent by his side outside of when they worked together on research?

Huh.

It… probably was… if she didn't count that one time in which they got stuck in one of Babel's elevators for thirteen hours due to an Operator losing control over their abilities. Perhaps, that was one of the reasons of why she hated elevators so much after that incident?

Mind you, that happened when Theresa had just brought the Doctor to Babel and Kal'tsit still hadn't gotten used to his otherworldly presence…

"Royal flush." His voice snapped her out of the memories.

Just in time to see Amiya's head connect with the table, depressed; and for Blaze to angrily throw her cards against the table and point at the Doctor's visor.

"You're cheating!"

"No."

"It's the fourth royal flush in a row! You're cheating!"

"Again, no." He laughed, "And you're a sore loser."

"Arghhhhh!"

Definitely made the right call to not join them.

- 0 - Arknights: Rekindling- 0 -

By the time the Doctor had somehow swindled Blaze of her entire paycheck, used said paycheck to pay for the buffet, and made Amiya wonder if he was a prophet with his use of ten straight royal flush, the Sun had already set and made it easier for him to walk around again with the group.

Not that group stayed together for much longer anyways.

The Doctor had sent Blaze and Amiya away, to check on Schwarz and Miss Ceylon, and make sure that no other Operator in the near area had suffered something similar. Neither was happy to part with them, but orders of making sure that Rhodes Island was behaving were orders, and both Operators had to obey in the end.

Without either of their bodyguards around, Kal'tsit insisted that the two return to Rhodes Island before the Doctor's uncanny luck reared its ugly head again and some unexpected event that would require his attention occurred in Siesta.

And while she could take perfect care of him on her own, neither wanted to have to deal with a situation wherein she would be forced to do so.

So, that's how the two walked alone through the darkened streets of Siesta, retracing their steps during the day; all to find the vehicle that they had used and would take them back to the landship.

There were less people hanging around, most likely because Siesta residents were either on the beach to enjoy the sunset or hanging around in one of the many events currently ongoing in the city. Events that both researchers could hear from the distance with how loud the music and the dj's were.

At least the noise made the walk in silence less awkward, since both seemed to have spent all social energy they had left after a full day of mishaps and… other emotions.

"Miss Kal'tsit."

Or at least, she was exhausted, because he still had something to say it seemed.

"Yeah?"

The Doctor glanced around, making her curious as to what he was looking for before he surprised her.

An alien-like feeling crawled up her hand, up her forearm, all the across her shoulder and back, making her bristle and stare aghast at the gloved hand suddenly holding hers.

"It's been a while."

Kal'tsit stared.

He continued, looking ahead. "Thank you." His thumb ran across the back of her hand which hung lifelessly inside his.

Her mouth clacked shut as her brain finally finished processing the feeling of her hands inside his, before she too looked around with narrowed eyes, and, once she confirmed that there indeed was nobody that would see… She wrapped her digits around his.

"Do not mention it, ever." Kal'tsit warned him as she looked down at her own feet as they walked, hand in hand.

"I won't." He promised.

Then the silence with far-away noise returned, but it was far more comfortable than when it started because neither really cared about it.

As much as Kal'tsit always thought about how much she hated him, how she hated the way he made her feel… She knew that he too had equal thoughts to hers, because while he may not have said so after the last time that he lost his memory…

He had once admitted that her presence made him feel at ease, when they researched together that was, but… For a being like him… for one that would always calculate all possibilities, for one that could make legendary monsters tremble with his presence…

Those words meant a lot.

And Kal'tsit found some sort of reassurance in them, a twisted feeling born out of fear and gladness of having found someone that could stand by her side.

Someone willing to play around with her, despite her bouts of anger.

Someone willing to go against her orders, if it meant making sure she wouldn't regret her choices.

Someone that was as much of a monster in Terran's skin as she was.

"I hate you."

Kal'tsit's words were filled with hatred as she uttered them, but the grip of her hand belayed her true feelings.

"I know." He sighed, "I hate myself too."

"Thank you, for sticking with me."

They arrived at the place where they had parked the vehicle, one that would take them back to the landship, but they merely stood there, watching the thing as words still needed to be said, with hands that had yet to be taken away.

"… I'll stay with you, as long as you accomplish the promise that you made us."

"I'll do my best."

Kal'tsit stared at his visor, seeing past it, to the ashen and broken man behind it staring back at her.

"Make sure you do."

Kal'tsit looked away first.

"Because I'm not too keen on losing you for a third time…"

And that was as far as they would go, because while emotions and words were of the same wavelength, the history behind them wouldn't let them do anything else…

At least, until the future that they promised to make together would finally be upon them.


- 0 - Part 5 End - 0 -

A/N: Open ending… kinda? As I said before, while this may be a commission, I may return to it at a later date out of my own volition if I feel like writing something more about these two… That is, if Hypher doesn't annoy me to no end, again*.

- Jas / Shiiva

P.S: If you want to know how many times I rewrote this chapter, count all your fingers including your thumbs and it would still not be enough. :sadpepe: