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never forget you

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his mind is blank.

or, rather, his memory system is blank, void of anything besides access to his weaponry. he doesn't even know if he's ever been activated before today. for all he knows, this is the first day of his life. his birthday, some might say.

but there's this girl--

she introduces herself as mai. she has purple hair, a band-aid on her cheek, and she smiles a lot. she has a dog, momo - he swears a lot. 7723 has to turn his language censors on as not to hear all that foul language.

mai likes soccer, and 7723 plays it with her. she helps him learn the way of the game, and he stores that in his memory bank.

but there's something about her… she feels familiar, but he can't ever remember meeting her before. he feels connected to her, like he’s hers, or she's his, or… something. he doesn't know how to put it.

all he knows is that he likes her, he likes being around her, spending time together.

he’d do anything to keep her happy and safe.

(wait, where did that come from? what danger could she be in? why would she ever be sad?)

“you’re my best friend,” she says to him that night, long after the soccer game is over, when she’s lying in bed to go to sleep. he’s never been in her room before - well, of course not, he has no memory of her house, even - but he feels as though he shouldn't be here, that he should be in the shed in the backyard. he doesn't know why.

it’s cold, too. he doesn't get cold, he can only sense the temperature changes in the atmosphere, but mai shakes and shivers, and 7723 engages his heating censors - he didn't even know he had those.

mai smiles from where she lies next to him. he doesn't really fit on her bed, it's too small for his large form, but she’d insisted he stay with her, and she seems comfortable enough tucked against his side, his arm wrapped around her, so he doesn't comment on it.

it's in noticing all of this that he realizes he missed what she said. he can go back and replay the memory, and almost does so, but then mai speaks again before he can.

“i love you,” she says, smirking before she adds, “stupid robot.”

that sparks something in him, creates an image that he doesn't recall ever seeing before - her, standing before him in a laboratory of some kind, staring at him in confusion and frustration. the image glitches away before he can hold onto it, try and trace back the date and time in which it took place. he doesn't fight it, instead lets it be, letting himself smile at the nickname.

“i love you too, mai,” he says, softly, as not to disturb mai. the soft, even rhythm of her breathing indicates that she’s asleep, that she hadn't heard his reply. but 7723 doesn't mind.

somehow, he’s sure she already knows.