Chapter 1: The Disappearance of Yusaku Fujiki
Yusaku groaned, his body ached from the illness that infected him. How could he have let this happen? He took his medications on time, and sure his diet wasn’t the best but he survived this long on it anyway!
(Never mind the fact he had been spending all his waking hours finding Ai and Roboppy, even forgoing days of sleep and sometimes food in case he missed his chance.)
Rolling over he tried to get comfortable, withholding a whimper as skin prickled like it was drenched in an icy lake. He tried to call for Roboppy only to cut himself off with a curse.
There’s no one else to call out for in this empty house, only him.
He tried not to think about how he had spent days on end looking for them after they announced they were going to end humanity. Or how strange it was to see them with bodies of strangers. and still look so familiar. How he ached to hear them speak because he wished it was towards him, instead of at them.
Yusaku never realized how empty this little apartment would feel without them. He knew Ai would eventually leave, he had his own home to go to, his own family. But then it was ravaged to the ground and they lost the Ignis.
Roboppy had left too, Yusaku felt that was equally a failure on his part for not being able to provide a home worth staying in. He couldn't save the Ignis, wasn't able to stop Lightning. Couldn’t express how he feels, and stop being so damaged to show he cared about them.
Why would they stay when Yusaku can't even do that?
Coughing violently into his blanket he tried not to whine from feeling as if he was tasting blood. His throat rough and raw from what he was he starting to suspect is an infection.
Feeling the haziness of sleep, he allowed sweet darkness to take him.
Fingers were threading through his hair gently and softly, as if he were fragile, whoever it was, they were softly whispering with someone else. Feeling the large male hand, he assumed it was Kusanagi having gone to check on him.
He leaned into the touch causing Kusanagi to flinch. He isn't surprised. He isn’t used to Yusaku showing or wanting affection, but his battered immune system also lowered his brains ability to function. He cant- he cant pretend he's as okay as he tries to be.
Yusaku didn't want to be alone right now.
He will just use the excuse that he's sick and wasn't in the right mind as he crawled into Kusanagi’s lap. The petting stopped for a bit but resumed much more sure and firm.
If Kusanagi is here, Takeru must be too. He noticed they had been in communication more often after Flame died. Yusaku cursed many times he felt too broken to help his friend grieve. He tried but it felt awkward, forced. Like he was acting instead of grieving with him.
A second hand came to rest on his forehead, and he wishes he had the strength to open his eyes. To at least reassure them he was going to be fine.
He wondered why Kusanangi wasn’t with Jin right now though, wasn’t it the middle of the day? This was his usual time to visit his brother. And Takeru would be in the Dojo learning to fight.
Why are they suddenly here? How did they know?
Whatever happened he was at least happy they had came. He wasn’t comfortable expressing his emotions even after all that has happened. But being remembered despite being left behind so often left him feeling warm.
Playmaker may be number 1 when it comes to duels….but Yusaku Fujiki always came second to the people in his life. To Ryoken, Kusanagi, even to Ai and Roboppy. Their lives and goals were more important than him.
He sounded bitter.
Right now he had no shame and lets them take care of him, maybe he can pretend he was first for somebody for once.
Ai didn’t stop when Yusaku drifted off into sleep again, content with just being the young man’s pillow, a source of comfort. The latex of the SOLtiS fingers was soft enough to pass for human skin, no wonder his Origin hadn’t woken up in a fuss and kicked his teeth in.
….Or it could be the infection ravaging his body, and Yusaku being how he was, just clung to the nearest source of warmth like a leech. Nevermind anyone could have broken in with how carelessly he left the doors unlocked.
(Not that he had anything worth stealing, not much an orphan with no job could afford really )
In the background Ai could hear Roboppy berating Yusaku as they cleaned the little apartment, fussy like a hen. It brought back fond memories of when they used to live together as they would throw a fit when Yusaku got this way.
Only this was worse, cause Roboppy hadn’t been here to clean after him and alert any of his friends that he was ill. Cause Ai wasn’t here to tell him to stop being stubborn and allowed himself to be cared for.
Ai left him alone without a second glance back….
While back in the ruins of his home, Ai contemplated what he was going to do. Having survived while the others hadn't, hit him hard, and Ai wasn’t sure if he even wanted to keep processing . He kept trying to talk to Ghosts, do their jobs, try and carry on…
And he would have failed at it all, if not for Roboppy.
Roboppy became an unexpected saving grace, something he cherished already as his precious minion. Now they were a genuine friend helping him with his plans, Ai was wary at first but they tended to follow him without a second thought to much else.
Roboppy wasn’t always his minion, and they had a longer history with Yusaku then Ai was sure they would ever have with him. They would become melancholy when mentions of Yusaku or Playmaker came over the net. Getting looks of nostalgia and worry that even made Ai pause.
They couldn’t afford that weakness though. Yusaku would be without a doubt against them, is what he told Roboppy. He would never accept what they were doing and become their enemy.
Only that hadn’t happened.
Yusaku took himself out of the fight completely , instead devoting his time to trying to find them. It threw Ai off, he was so sure Yusaku would try to physically ‘knock sense’ into them. Or at least try and push them off their goals.
There wasn’t even an attempt.
And Ai isn’t sure what to do with that knowledge.
Parts curiosity and apprehension filled him as he and Roboppy used their SOLtiS bodies to scope out what he was doing. To figure out what his new goal was.
Only to find him as he is now, fever ridden, uncared for, and alone.
Where was Kusanagi? Surely he had enough time to at least call. Or Takeru? Doesn’t he make a point to barge into Yusaku’s life every chance he got? Why haven’t they come to see him?
Why is Yusaku alone?! Ai was so assured that because he had friends now that he could just leave him. He wouldn’t be alone, maybe even move out of this place into one of theirs?
He was an idiot, and so was Yusaku, the stubborn bastard probably never let it cross his mind to reach out to his friends.
His big dumb idiot.
He left him all alone.
“Roboppy...get his stuff, we’re leaving”Ai felt so assured for this, if Yusaku is going to be stubborn and his friends are going to neglect him.
He may as well just take him, he’s free game now after all.
Roboppy let out a whoop before freezing. “Where are we going to take him? We don’t have a physical place in the real world yet?” That didn’t stop his precious minion from collecting Yusaku’s stuff anyway with the diligence and care they had while still a maid bot.
“I have a place in mind, temporary until we get a better one”
Ai tried not to frown at how quickly Roboppy got everything together, letting himself believe it was simply their speed and not because Yusaku barely had anything they couldn’t carry.
“Done~ Let’s go home!”Roboppy was practically floating as off all the melancholy had turned to vapor, they dotted over the sleeping teenager with a softness and joy. Ai carely wrapped him up in the thick blanket and carried him out of the gloomy house. They were going safe house he had gotten when he first realized he needed a place to store these bodies to charge.
“Yes Roboppy, let’s go home”
Takeru sighed heavily as he tried to calling Yusaku’s phone again, he hadn’t been picking up all day or yesterday. He knew that learning Ai and Roboppy were trying to destroy humanity hit him hard, hard enough to make him temporarily retire and devote it to trying to find them instead.
He wouldn’t listen to sense, won’t take breaks at all. Takeru was at his wits end, if Yusaku wasn’t going to take care of himself he was just going to drag him out of his house and do it himself.
Losing Flame hit him so hard but he tries to live a life that he would be proud of. It hurt, it felt like a gaping wound in his chest, never to recover. He lost his friend and a piece of himself.
He believes they would meet again though. His grandfather was a strong believer in people's fates being tied together. And that if a bond was strong enough they could overcome even death and meet once again in another life.
Takeru hopes he will meet Flame again, maybe not in this lifetime but another one. Free from the incident, free from Hanoi, free from Lightning.
Maybe they could even be brothers…
Takeru believes his fate had bounded with the other Lost children, but mostly with Yusaku. He clicked with him in a way he hadn’t been able to with anyone before, and Kiku, bless her, tried her best but it wasn’t what he needed.
He needed someone like him, someone who knew his pain but had a goal in their life that kept pushing them forward. A passion to keep on living and face the future.
That person was Yusaku and he thanked the stars that he got to meet him. But he became distant after Ai and Roboppy. A manic determination overcame him in a way that Kusanagi said reminded him of when he was searching for Hanoi.
Takeru was scared for his friend.
That fear kept rising as he refused to pick up his phone!
He had been busy the last three weeks making arrangements to stay longer and maybe finish school out in Den city, spend time with the friends he made here. Coincidentally enough that happened at the same time as the announcement. He tried to help when he could but he had to make sure he wouldn’t get kicked out of his apartment.
And with this growing fear building in his heart….it may have cost him something to do it.
Giving up Takeru dialed another number.
“Kusanagi-san? Sorry to bother you but have you heard from Yusaku?”
Shouichi felt his stomach drop through the ground as he listened to Takeru, his brother leaning on his shoulder with a concerned look on his face. The young man on the phone had called beforehand asking about if Yusaku called him these past few days or vise versa.
He told him no.
Shouichi knew how Yusaku got when he set himself on a new goal, it made him manic, obsessed. It was better to let him work through the initial burst and then heavily regulate him afterwards.
Only he hadn’t expected this to have lasted for weeks.
Takeru tried but Yusaku wouldn’t budge on this, he claimed he was eating well and taking breaks(Read:Bullshit). That he could look after himself and had done so before. But now Takeru keeps calling and he won’t pick up at all.
Why the hell did they listen to him?
After Takeru assured him he would call after he went to check on Yusaku, Shouichi started to call him too. His brother had looked at him wary and scared with the frantic way he kept calling and recalling.
Just as he was in the middle of his 13th call, her got another call coming to his phone. It was Takeru who was at Yusaku’s apartment building but he doesn’t know where the spare key is.
Getting the boy inside the apartment, he and Jin had waited on held breath, their worry increasing.
“HE’S NOT HERE!”
Calm. Stay calm.
“He probably went out to get something to eat.”
“None of his stuff is here, Kusanagi! Everything was taken and cleaned…. except his phone ”
No, please no.
“Big Brother, Did somebody take Fujiki?”Jin wrote on a note with a scared expression on his face, one that suggested that he wanted to run under a table and hide like his childhood monster that he can no longer remember come back from the dead. As well as a strange silent fury to claw out the eyes of whoever took the person that Shoichi had became friends with.
Shouichi didn’t know what to say, he didn’t want to jump the gun and say yes. But what other explanation could there be? That Yusaku just up and left? Where would he go with no money? Why would he go at all, when his friends were here in the city?
Even if he became distant he would never just leave. Where else, who else could he even turn to-
He felt his blood freeze, Takeru was still talking to him, so was Jin. But it didn't matter because something clicked into his head. It made too much sense but with how Yusaku was he didn’t think-he wouldn’t!
But the possibility was too strong, he couldn't just throw it away, not when they have to find him asap.
Ai and Roboppy.
Yusaku was damn near devastated when he learned of their plans, of learning that they were turning their back on humanity, on him. It-It was another betrayal, one that shook him so much he spent weeks trying to find them and not taking care of himself.
Would...would Yusaku leave them for the duo? Would he turn on humanity too just to have them back in his life?
Thinking logically, they are his only real family left. He had Roboppy since he was a child, and Ai is literally a part of him.
He looks at Jin who stopped talking and was looking at him pleadingly.
He knows he himself already done that for Jin….to the point where he was told to exchange Yusaku’s life for him.
(He still regrets his actions, not his choices but his actions.)
(It doesn't take a genius to know what kind of message he sent to Yusaku that day)
Are they Yusaku’s Jin? Would he throw humanity under a bus to be with them?
Shouichi isn’t even sure he would blame Yusaku if he did.
There is also the other possibility, the duo may have just taken him. He wouldn’t put it past them to be honest, if there was a human they would ever want to spare, Yusaku was it.
Or worse, he could be the next sacrifice to show how far they were willing to go, to forego and kill their only human family. To show they weren’t messing around.
Somehow that makes it even worse, because they took him right under their noses. That made Shouichi mad enough to want to punch a wall, for being stupid, for not checking on Yusaku sooner!
“Takeru” He cut off the boy in mid rant about what he would do to whoever took Yusaku. Which was frankly creative and just a tiny bit disturbing, though considering he used to be a delinquent he was sure Takeru was used to being creative.
He didn’t even know how Takeru knew half the things he said he could do with a baseball bat.
“We need to call the team, but most importantly Ryoken. They’re our best chance at finding Yusaku….as well as Ai and Roboppy” Shouichi felt firm again. He had a goal and now he had to see it through.
They were going to find the three of them, come Hell or High Water. Nothing was going to stop them from getting Yusaku back.
Shouichi tries not to think too hard on the possibilities of only finding his body, or him as their enemy. Remembering back to what Lightning did to Jin.....
Ai wouldn't do that to Yusaku......
Chapter 2: Would He or Won't he?
Roboppy is having some issues, Ryoken has too many too count, Yusaku is trying to figure out the new one he has, and finally the first step to finding a wayward Lost Child
Roboppy hummed happily as they went about cleaning their new house, much more spacious than the apartment Yusaku and them used to live in. It was strange, when they became like this they were so in love with the world outside that they rarely got to see. Too look back on old memories and wondered when the cozy little room started to not be enough, until finally they left with Ai.
For some reason they miss being in that room with Master Yusaku, being in this new home just made them feel homesick. Not even living in Link Kuriboh affected them this way. Maybe it was because Master Yusaku was here being taken care of in a home not his own, or that Roboppy had left him in an empty house.
The vacuum in their hands stilled, the motor running filling the spacious house.
They were so in love with being smart and traveling they forgot the little boy who built them, who patted their head when he came home despite at the time doing things as they were programmed.
When did they start to care?
Roboppy groaned their head hurting as the thoughts filled it up.
They never told Ai not wanting to worry him, but lately their head had been hurting, like a pressure inside of them threatening to explode. It’s crazy these bodies weren’t meant to feel pain like that so it must come from Roboppy's own programming.
It seems all Roboppy seems to have these days are questions, for Ai, for the world, for themselves… There just never seems to be enough answers.
They tried to simplify instead.
It doesn’t matter when they started to feel things like this, they do now and should express it to the fullest.
Master Yusaku is now in a house he doesn’t have to feel constrained in, he wouldn’t have that if Roboppy didn’t leave first. Now they have a nice place until they can get an actual home.
Roboppy may have left but they did come back, now to take care of their human whose body is fragile unlike their own sturdy robotic one. They will nurse him to health and convince him to stay. It’s not like he opposed them anyway.
Finally the weird headaches, if it gets too much, they will tell Ai until then they can deal with it while they tend to much more important matters.
The headache finally passed allowing Roboppy to breathe in relief. That was much better, uncurling they pushed the vacuum around again finishing up. A messy home is no good for a sick person.
Putting the vacuum away they snuck over to Yusaku’s room to check on him and Ai, the older AI not wanting to leave Yusaku's side since he’s in an unfamiliar environment, and well, in case Yusaku tries to leave.
Pushing open the door gently Roboppy smiled gently as they looked at their family.
Yusaku’s form was draped over Ai cuddling him like a human octopus, Ai himself was patting his head while he worked one handed on a holographic screen. The older looked over with a question on his face but Roboppy just nodded in negative they tilted their head to Yusaku, and Ai went back to working.
Closing the door once more Roboppy let out a content sigh and decided to make something to eat for Yusaku. Something easy on the stomach so even when he’s only half lucid he will still be able to hold it down.
They went off after messaging Ai a quick their leaving and unbolted the steel door they installed to keep people out…
And well to keep Master Yusaku in.
Ryoken wanted to break something, anything really, he was so furious he thought he would be able to smash concrete at this rate. The room around him was in disarray after he got off a call with Kusanagi.
Yusaku was missing and Kusanagi swore it had something to do with Ai and Roboppy.
Both options of why he was gone was bad no matter how it could be explained. Either he left on his volition to join them (Kusanagi referred to them as Yusaku’s only family, some family! They left him behind to go live in the remains of Vrains, Ai more than once!).
Or he was taken by them which is equally bad, because that means they literally strolled under everyone's noses and made off with him. Showing that they could do as they wanted and had no fear of the repercussions. Mocking them.
He wanted to believe deep down that Yusaku would never do this, but lately from the cameras and sometimes conversations he peers into the wisterias boys life, he just seemed so tired. Yes he had Kusanagi and Takeru... but he also didn’t have them. Both having their own families to tend and take care of people at home, living people who loved them.
Ryoken all too well whats its like to live in a house filled with ghosts.
Would it really be far fetched to want to keep the only people he knew as home with him? That after all that he had gone through, all they sacrificed, that he was simply too tired to fight anymore?
Ryoken bit his lip hard enough to bleed.
No , Yusaku is stronger than that, he believes it! He survived too much, has done too much, sacrificed too much to just throw it all under the bus.
Meaning the only option was that he was taken, and that makes Ryoken want to go another rampage.
He was spirited away, and nobody knew until Takeru went to his house to check on him. They weren't friends per say, to be honest, he actually isn’t sure what to categorize what Yusaku and he where to each other. There wasn’t romantic feelings from either side that was for sure but they felt bounded since they first met.
Many times Ryoken still thought of how different their lives would be...if he stayed with Yusaku instead of going away to figure out himself. Could they have figured out a new life together? What would it have looked like? Would they have been happy?
Would the Ignis have survived? Would they have defeated Lightning earlier? Would it have prevented Ai-The Dark Ignis from doing the things he’s done and planning to do?
Ryoken doesn’t know, and the door has long since been closed with his own two hands.
He had done that a lot, still does. Closing doors for a better future for the sake of repaying back his father’s countless sins. He knows he told Yusaku that he was a kid and didn’t know any better, didn’t understand what he was doing.
That still doesn’t change the fact that even now he still chained to his father’s crimes. That he hadn’t been loved, or trusted at all. That in the end he played the fool for his father’s ambitions simply because the man wanted to play god. Ryoken let himself be the face for Hanoi, adding more crimes to the blood debt.
He hadn’t been loved, his father had considered the Ignis more of his children than his own biological son. And wasn’t that the saddest truth? That in the end Ryoken had been worth less than the beings his father created and then sent to clean up the mess of his mistakes for the rest of his life.
There are times when Ryoken is alone at night where he imagines another world, where his father wasn’t a monster or maybe not in the picture at all. Perhaps he was an orphan needing a home and meets Yusaku. They become proper friends and grow up with each other with the other lost children.
No fighting for their lives, no paying for mistakes of their elders, just simple children living their lives as best as they could.
Ryoken wishes it was real, but knew better than to dream of different paths.
Secretly he hopes they can all be reborn like that, with just simple happy lives with Yusaku as his friend.
Shaking his head he uncurled from his desk and stalked out of the room, regardless he lives in the here and now.
Now, as in Yusaku was missing and he needed to put his resources into finding him, because wherever Yusaku is?
Ai will surely be there as well.
And their will be hell to pay for this blatant kidnapping, because Yusaku was a stupid stubborn bastard. Ryoken doesn’t want admit not even to himself what Ai-The Dark Ignis could do to him while in his hands, he had finally came around to acknowledging that he was wrong about the Ignis even if was late.
Only to be proven right once again. Ryoken hated being right , in fact he would take being wrong any day if it just stopped killing the people he cared about.
The doors were pushed open to show Spectre on the computers trying to search for the Ai-The Dark Ignis and Roboppy, the silver haired man turned a raised brown in his direction.
Spectres faced paled and really what did that say about Yusaku that he can cause such a reaction in the usually unflappable man?
“We need to turn our searches to find him along with The dark Ignis and Roboppy, they may have him. We can’t chance them using him against us….”
“ ....We can’t afford Play maker becoming our enemy again, ”
Because he if was? That mean Ryoken will have to take him down for his own good.
By any means necessary…
Yusaku whimpered as he was moved again, his body too sensitive to being taken from place to place. A voice shushes him gently and he was sitting on their lap as the bed covers were rustled. Takeru must be changing the sheets again, Yusaku got sick while trying to eat and ended up vomiting.
He should make it up to the other boy when he gets better. Takeru was nice enough to have Yusaku stay at his apartment instead of back home. He noticed waking up in a much nicer softer bed with warm blankets and new right away it wasn’t his own.
His vision was still too hazy and the headaches didn’t help at all. He had to guess who was here and taking care of him while he was like this.
Yusaku tried to ask Kusanagi why the man had been spending so much time staying with when he has his brother to look after. He didn’t answer and Yusaku just assumed he didn't understand the garbled mess that was Yusaku trying to speak.
He was glad he stayed though.
A humming filled his ears and if he pretended hard enough it would sound like Ai’s bubbly humming that he used to do for Roboppy teaching the little bot meaningless noises and phrases simply just because he could.
Yusaku missed them so much, it ached how much he did. The apartment was so empty without them in it. To be honest Yusaku no longer knew what to do with himself. He no longer had a set direction for how he wanted his life to go anymore, he already accomplished his goals.
His special person? Found and alive, if pricklier than even Yusaku( he wasn’t going to give up, he may be awkward and socially inept but he was sure they could have a relationship that wasn’t seeped in the need for revenge and destiny. He was a bit tired of the dramatics to be honest. )
Friends? He actually has them, like Yusaku is legitimately surprised. Aoi and him have the similar awkward energy of people who don’t know how to human, they surprisingly became fast friends once everything was out in the open. She even offered to teach him martials arts after one time when she picked him up as part of a joke and had an alarmed look crossed her face.
‘Yusaku if your ever in a fight please, call me. I worry about you.’
He should feel embarrassed but he won’t admit how happy it made him that she became so fiercely protective of him. It felt nice, to have someone care enough to fight people for you, which he really doesn't want to happen but the thought counts anyway.
Noaki was a surprising friend he made, he grew on Yusaku like a friendly fungus after his hero worship for Playmaker had been eased. He was a nice normal friend that had nothing to do with the chaos in his life, a surprising anchor of normality.
Yusaku felt his cheeks flush in a way he knew didn’t have to do with his fever.
Takeru was a strong solid friend, one who seemed to have just made a home in his life so easily Yusaku has a hard time remembering his life without him. He was sure it didn’t feel as bright as it does now. The other Origin just came into his life and seemed content to stay there. He was cheerful, funny, and seemed like he could take on the whole world with his fist raised in the air.
Yusaku still gets flushed with physical contact with him though, Takeru was so touchy feely. Hardly ever noticing Yusaku's awkwardness about it until it finally eased into a little more natural.
Or… or maybe that was Yusaku just perceiving it that way? Takeru is a nice person in general even with his past, maybe Yusaku was just holding him back from being with actual family and friends at home. That thought always hurt Yusaku, he didn’t want to hold Takeru back, and the thought of being the reason he can’t go home make him want to weep.
A voice shushed him gently and rubbed his back holding him firm, gentle. His cheeks felt wet and Yusaku realized with a startle he was already crying.
Emma’s lips thinned to a serious line as she and her brother stood before Zaizen. The man looked like he needed a serious drink maybe she could invite him after the meeting for one. Lord knows he deserves it.
She kept her silence though as now wasn’t the time, Zaizen was very worried, like he was given the worst news.
After all he usually makes it a point not to call both siblings for a mission for each other not unless it was super serious.
“Yusaku is missing…. Kusanagi believes Ai and Roboppy may be behind it,”
That, that is a good reason to worry. Fuck those two actually took him? And nobody even noticed!?
Then again they weren’t people to be underestimated...not after what they did to Queen.
She’s going to have to get her hands dirty for this one that’s for sure.
“You two are to find him at any means necessary and bring him back. Whether it was willing or not, we can’t have Ai have Playmaker work for him,”
“You think he would do so willingly?” Kengo spoke up, breathing out the thought they didn’t want to voice.
“Even if he isn't we all know the Ignis have the capability to make free will unnecessary anyway…”
Isn't that a chilling thought… That Ai was so far gone he would turn Yusaku into a puppet to serve his goals.
“If he isn't trying to use him as a pawn?”
“Then we all better hope you two don’t find him comatose or dead”
Hi everyone! I plan to try and update at least every weekend or every two weeks either on Saturday or Sunday~
I have a discord for those who wants to babble about Yugioh series and Duelinks, I noticed a lot of people have been rewatching the old series and brings me so much joy to see that! Come nerd with me~
Chapter 3: Interlude: My family
A brief look into Ai and his little found family
Ai was humming, working on hacking SOL industries as Yusaku curled himself up in his lap. The young teenagers fever finally receding due to the constant attention between Roboppy and himself. It filled him with relief to know they were doing something right after all.
This isn’t how imagined this happening at all…
He had everything planned to turn everyone against him, to make them hate Ai so much they would have no choice but to take him down.
Or least Yusaku was suppose to.
That was the plan, Yusaku would see the injustices Ai had done, realizes he too far gone, and then fucking end him. Ai could admit he was too much of a coward to do so himself. That he was the worst kind of scum to try and force another trauma on his Origin by making Yusaku kill him.
Humans speak so much about the afterlife, but is there one for A.I.’s? Was their one for the Ignis, or did they simply just disappear into the Vrains never to be seen or heard ever again?
The very thought made Ai want to cry, but it also stayed his hand from meeting such a fate so soon.
Ai tried to live, he truly did. He wanted so badly to live and be something his family could have been proud of!
It was so hard to live in what remained of his precious home surrounded by ghosts though. What would he live for? What would he build?
What kind of future would he have as the last Ignis left?
He couldn't deal at all, it was pathetic, truly. He didn’t want to die but he also didn’t want to live. It was some twisted paradox fate had put him in, and it was then he wonders if that was what it felt like to be human? To never know where you were headed as you were thrown around in life at the mercy of the universe.
If that is what it's like to be human, he’d rather not be one at all.
It was then he decided that either way it was no life, he’d live forever in the network being driven mad by what could have been….. Or he could go out with a bang.
Some movement and a soft groan made Ai quickly look down only to see Yusaku curling the blanket around him tighter. With a soft fond expression Ai ran his fingers through Yusaku's hair and patted his head.
This is one of the few times he slept peacefully in the time they have been hiding here. His fever having made Yusaku’s nightmares resurge with a vengeance unless Ai or Roboppy was sleeping with him. The wisteria boy quickly growing accustomed to resting with someone beside him feeling safe.
It made Ai melt until he remembered that Yusaku kept thinking it was Takeru or Kusanagi taking care of him. The very thought twisted his lips sourly. The worst part is he didn’t understand why he had this horrid clenching feeling in his artificial body about it!
It should make him happy that Yusaku felt safe enough with Kusanagi, a long time friend and teammate, as well as Takeru, a new friend and fellow lost child. That meant Yusaku was healing if slowly, he was getting better!
So, why does Ai feel so sick that he never called out to him or Roboppy? Why does Ai hate the thought that it never crossed Yusaku's mind that they would come back for him? To care for him?
(The thought of Yusaku being in their crummy apartment alone with no one to care or look after him still made Ai shiver with fear and rage. Yusaku went through too much to deserve that. It made him feel horrible to know that he caused it by leaving.)
And then it hit him.
He still wanted to be apart of Yusaku’s life. He made a home with the cold princely boy and his little minion/sibling Roboppy. Ai wanted Yusaku to rely on them, to be called an actual family that could depend on each other.
Ai didn’t want Yusaku to think they didn’t care about him, that he was well and truly alone in a home with ghosts of his own.
That had made Ai incredibly happy. It meant he hadn’t wanted to die yet! He still had something to keep going, to keep living for. Even if it was just this makeshift family made up of one tired heroic teenage boy and two AI robots. He is going to make it up to Yusaku for putting him through this, he already felt disgusted by what he wanted the young teenager to do. But everything is changed now, and for the better.
Ai still had a family, and right now he had to take care of them. Protect them the way he couldn't his original family.
The first order of business of caring for his family though is getting rid of the threats that would harm them. The biggest threat of all still being SOL industries, the place that employed the likes of Dr. Kogami. That tortured Earth.
He needed to take out the big guns and shut it down for good, or maybe repurpose the company for his own needs and wants. Ai was so sure Roboppy would like a nice proper house to care for and clean. One that gave Yusaku plenty of room and space to finally relax, rest as he deserves.
Gently lifting Yusaku onto the bed and off his lap, the wisteria boy reached out in a haze trying to find Ai again.
“Kusanagi? Don’t go,” Yusaku pleaded weakly being shushed by Ai whispers and patting.
“It’s not the hotdog man Yusaku-Chan~ But me your partner come back for you.” Ai crooned as he messaged Roboppy to finish with their chores to come and rest with Yusaku.
“Ai? Your back?” Yusaku's eyes tried to focus on Ai the fever making that hard but the way his eyebrows scrunched together made the Ignis believe he was somewhat successful.
“Yeah, sorry, we’re back now though, and here to stay,” The conviction in his voice felt stronger than ever. Yes, they we’re here to stay and this time they will make a path to the future together.
"...This is a very nice dream…” Okay, Ouch. But fair.
“It’s no dream Yusaku, it really is us. We’re gonna start a new future now, the three of us.”Ai pressed his lips to the ill boys forehead, like the mothers from the soap operas he watched would do to their children. It was something he always wanted to experience, none of the Ignis have proper parents after all, just traumatized children that grew into traumatized teens.
“Big Bro?” Roboppy whispered as they shuffled in, their eyes softening as they looked down at their former master. A strange faint red ring started to appear around the iris of their eyes as of late that made Ai worry. It’s nothing he’s ever seen before and he’s unsure why it’s appearing now.
He'd figure out later.
“I need you to rest with him while we get our plan back on track. Though there is some new changes to it.” Ai said firmly but then smiling when Roboppy agreed enthusiastically. They quickly got under the covers with their human and cuddled him like a koala.
Yusaku looked so confused, his fried brain trying to make sense of the situation before he gave up and cuddled back.
Satisfied he smiled down at them watching Yusaku fall back to sleep.
With a spin of his heel Ai was out the door, a mission of blood in his head as went to kill some humans and secure a good future for his family. As he walked he realized just how tight Yusaku has Ai wrapped around his finger. That him being sick was enough to put his plans on hold just to care for him.
A smile came across his face and wondered if this what it was like to find reasons for living.
Sorry for the late chapter! My beta hadn't been feeling well lately and I myself had a small writers block.
small chapter but a turning point for Ai, let me know what you think!
Chapter 4: A sense of Peace
Aoi is frustrated and wishes things could be a like a fairy tale, Roboppy enjoys being with Yusaku again whiles he"s a lil more lucid, Akira is wondering when adults have become so useless, and despite Light and Darkness being opposite elements....
.....At their core their the same
Aoi felt like she’s already passed that rock formation before. She stared at it squinting hard before realizing with a sigh, that she in fact had. Spectre seems to be on the same wavelength and they perched themselves above the ruins.
“This is getting us nowhere! How do we even know Ai would even keep Yusaku in Vrains anyway?” Aoi was frustrated okay! They been at this for days, going as far to split up into teams to cover as much as possible.
So far? Zilch.
“Even so, we need to check for Ai’s whereabouts, if we can find him. We will eventually find Fujiki,” Spectre pointed out and even she could see he was getting tired of this runaround their doing. It was becoming pointless, Ai has been quiet since he took Yusaku. That means whatever trails they had became stone cold useless.
They needed a break, or Aoi to just break Ai’s face in for making her and everyone worry over him and Yusaku. Seriously! Ending humanity? Did he really believe that she would buy that bullshit?
She may not have known him like the others, but she knew crap when someone starts spewing it. Aoi knew the eyes of dead men walking and heartbroken gentlemen. Seen them all the time when she and her brother lived on the streets.
Ai was both in a gaudy vampire getup.
Aoi wanted to smack him and hug him hard, because God, he looked like he needed one for this crazy ass plan he put through. Ai was even dragging young Roboppy along for the ride, and she felt scared by how this will affect the young AI. Actually Yusaku needs a hug too, especially after Ai had disappeared, still, he can be prickly and sensitive to touch having been deprived for too long.
She leaves the touchy feely stuff to Takeru, her lips twitch as she thought of those two and how gooey they became in the other's presence. It was super cute and if they didn’t at least acknowledge their own feelings, Aoi and Noaki were going to have to resort to some desperate measures.
“-Earth to Blue Maiden- I can’t believe this right now-” Aoi was snapped out of her plans to see a very unimpressed Spectre looking down at her. She nearly flipped him off by refrained from doing so, out of sheer courtesy of them working together.
She still hate his guts though, Aoi will never forget their duel.
“I was trying to ask you but you were daydreaming, but was that there before?” Looking to where his finger was pointing at Aoi was surprised to see a strip of cobblestone road, and incritate black vines decorating its sides, leading to a new island that she was damn sure wasn’t there before.
“I would like to say to check out, but those vines cover the whole island and thus I can’t see whats under it,”
“Then let's just analyze the outside, we don’t know how long it will be there for.” Picking up her board she surfed out with ease bring up her wrist so Pandor can come out. The lil AI rubbed her eyes clearly having been taking a nap.
It amazed Aoi how life like she was, already picking up things quick, Pandor even has a bit of attitude that Revolver has. Like father like daughter~ Oh, she should tell that to him sometime soon it would be great to his expression.
At the same time though, Pandor made Aoi miss aqua. She wasn’t Aqua’s origin and she bonded with the little water ignis. She missed her dearly and hadn't stopped apologizing to Miyu for failing to save her. When Aoi woke up and realized she was truly gone? She cried for days, she still does.
And that was the worst part it wasn’t it? Aqua never got the chance to truly know her origin, to spend time with Miyu and have a strong bond. Aoi would never get another day with her, more time to get to know her and the other ignis.
It wasn’t fair damnit! The Ignis suffered, and in the end it may have been for nothing cause Ai seems to be on a suicide march to make everyone hate him. The last Ignis and he seems to be propelling himself over the edge.
Aoi is damn tired of a failing, tired of losing people she will never get the chance to know.
She won’t let Yusaku, Ai, and Roboppy be the next ones on the list.
Roboppy hummed as they scuttled around the kitchen, simultaneously cleaning and cooking about as Yusaku sat in the kitchen chair half dozing. He was finally recovering from his infection and could start moving about if in short bursts. His thinking was still addled much to Roboppys and Ai’s concern.
It’s fine cause big bro is already looking into it, theorizing it might be Yusaku’s link sense that is keeping him so loopy. Roboppy just has to make sure his body is healthy!
“Okay, Master, time to eat~” A glass of chilled tea and a bowl of okayu, Roboppy really didn’t want to clean up vomit again. They love their Master, they do! But that was super gross, they have no idea how Ai handled it with no reaction other than concern. He just whisked Yusaku to the bathroom while Roboppy clean up comforting the teen as he cried all the way.
Well, that’s Big bro for yeah! Completely unflappable and totally cool.
It was strange before Roboppy became smart they never thought twice of taking care of Master Yusaku. They had been happy to do it. But now that their smarter, they hesitate, feel ill about touching him like this sometimes.
Their quite sure they hate this new feeling.
Why do they feel like that now? It’s just fluids, they’ve done it a million times as a cleaning robot (Okay, maybe not a million, but still) When Yusaku would have a really bad nightmare and couldn’t make it to the bathroom or trash. But now their suddenly too grossed out? Is being smarter somehow made another part weaker-
Roboppy groaned as they clutched their head, feeling as if someone set off firecrackers inside of it. Everything going popopopopopop-
“Roboppy? Is something wrong?” The hoarse slurred words cut off Roboppy's thought process easing the headache awake. When did they get on the floor? Master Yusaku was looking down still slightly glassy eyed from illness but the worry decorated his face clearly.
It made something in Roboppy feel warm, like when Master would pat their head after they did a good job. His concern made them feel giddy! It didn’t matter if he can be gross, he was their gross human, so they should happily care for him.
Oh! Their headache was gone, Master Yusaku must be good at getting rid of that too.
“Ah, sorry! My head gets like that sometimes, must be the SOlTiS malfunctioning,” Getting off of their knees they pulled the chair over to sit next to their Master picking the spoon from his lax fingers and waving it in his face teasingly.
“You should eat, a good diet gives way to good health and faster recovery. Unless you want me to feed you?~” Master Yusaku must be truly getting better because he had enough sense left to give Roboppy a sour pouty look as he plucked the spoon back.
Roboppy nearly squealed with laughter, it was fun teasing him, they now know why big bro does it so often. Their Master makes the cutest expressions.
“....You didn’t answer my question Roboppy, are you okay?” Master asked softly as he diligently ate the food before him looking like he was trying to keep it down. Roboppy knows it's not because their cooking was terrible (They take too much pride in perfecting their house work), but because he was sick and his eating habits were never functional to begin with.
But that changes now because Roboppy now has a suitable body to care for him and makes sure he is healthy and strong! They already stole all his past and current medical records, (what little there was). And cataloged that with their own data form living with him so long.
Their gonna be such a good caretaker.
“...Roboppy?” The concern was back and it made Roboppy snap back into reality. Huh, when did Yusaku finish his food? Oh no, he has that concerned look on his face again. He reached and patted Roboppy's head, just like how he used to and Roboppy melted like puddle at the affection. Ai, surprisingly enough, after he got his human form became less physically affectionate and Roboppy missed it so much.
Even so, Yusaku had the best head pats, no contest.
“I’m fine, just a headache that comes and goes. Big bro was going to check after he comes back,” Robppy gently leaned on Yusaku’s shoulder and was pleasantly surprised that he allowed it. Sometimes physically touch would overwhelm him and make him prickly.
“...When do you think he’s coming back?” There was an odd tone in Master's voice, but Roboppy brushed it off as him being sick.
“A couple of hours or so? Don’t worry I’ll be here keeping you company! Though I do have to buy more detergent,” Roboppy hummed happily they jumped up excited.
“Lets watch some T.V.! My Soap operas are playing tonight~”
“Before that can we watch some of the news?” Master Yusaku asked hesitant, though Roboppy has no idea why, this is his home(temporary as it is until they get a better one).
Oh! Maybe he didn’t want to cut into Roboppys soap opera time? Master Yusaku was so considerate~
“Of course, this is your home too, even if we’re going to get a better one”Roboppy quickly gave him the remote and looked at the clock, they have enough time to go to the corner store and pick up the detergent they need.
“I’ll be out real quick okay? You watch your news and when I get back we can watch the Soap operas,” Master Yusaku let out a yelp as Roboppy easily bridal carried him to the couch, this was fun. Finding out the new things they could do with Yusaku now. This android body was far stronger and bigger than their little one.
Laying the bewildered human on the couch, they tucked the blanket around him and cushions the pillow and patted his head the same way Yusaku did earlier.
“Don’t get up now, I don’t want to find you on the floor. So behave while I'm gone”
Roboppy open the heavy bolt door, catching the briefest news about some scientists going missing before they locked it.
Akira sighed as he hit another dead end of mauled code. Once again the destroyed remains of vrains deterring them in their search to find Ai and Yusaku. Revolver and him have been at this for hours and have gotten nowhere, he’s not sure how Ai did it but his presence has vanished seamlessly coming in and out of vrains.
This doesn't bode well.
It doesn’t help that he’s been quiet for the past two weeks, two weeks since he had taken Yusaku right from under their noses. Two weeks with no knowledge of what was happening to the young man who has saved them over and over.
It made Akira’s heart hurt with regret and grief.
They should have been watching him, Of course Ai would want him back, Yusaku is his partner, a literal part of him. He foolishly thought Ai would have left him be simply because Yusaku had taken himself from the fight. And now they are paying for it.
Despite what he told Emma and Kengo, he actually didn't believe that Ai would hurt Yusaku. In fact he still doesn’t, he had seen their connection first hand and how it grew. But he needed Emma and Kengo(okay really just Emma, Kengo truly doesn’t care) to not falter in case Ai tried to pull some tricks.
Akira can’t take the chance that Ai would brainwash Yusaku and use him against them.
A hand settled on his shoulder and he turned to see Revolver looking at him with determination and understanding.
“You stopped typing, wish to discuss what's on your mind?”A bit awkward but Akira appreciated the effort. He looks hard at Revolver, have never once seen the young man's true face. Even so he knows that he is young, can feel it.
Why are children these days so eager to put themselves in dangerous situations, why have adults like him failed them so hard that they had to take matters into their own hands?
“I am worried about Yusaku and Ai. I would like to believe Ai wouldn’t hurt Yusaku ...but grief makes people do terrible things,” Akira winced as he thought back to his own actions against Yusaku when Aoi had fell into a coma. He regrets hurting the boy who was trying to keep him calm and save his sister.
What would Ai do now that he only has Yusaku left? Does he still care for him even though the other Ignis are gone? Or does he consider Yusaku apart of humanity?
“...That I do understand. Lets just hope his grief doesn’t turn on Yusaku dangerously,”
“Instead of thinking of what Ai could do to Yusaku, we should be thinking how Ai could hide him from us~” A voice snapped them out of their melancholy, they turned to see Ghost girl with an amused expression on her face, though it was tinged with apprehension.
A glowing card was in her hand.
“Ai has been very busy while on the down low, somehow he’s buying Sol stocks. He isn’t even hiding the fact that he is! It;s like he wants us to know he’s doing this. And that’s not all-” Akira and Revolver move to the side so she could access the large screen.
Large pop up of cities came on to the screen along with purchases from those cities.
Neo Domino: Stocks in the WRPG Circuits, minor labs, a couple of condos, and a heavy sum spent on the well known project Ener-D.
Heartland: The main company that started the D-Gazers, and strange correspondences with a man named Kaito Tenjo that were partially decoded. They kept talking about a satellite. Some homes for rent.
Miami City: Leo Corporations solid technology, and large amounts of it. Also sets of encoded correspondences with the CEO Reiji Akaba about the various uses outside of dueling for Solid tech. A permanent apartment in the city as well as some houses on the outskirts.
There was no one connection, Ai was spending large amounts of money, but the things he were buying besides the expensive homes didn’t make sense. There was no rhythm to it, no logic tying them together.
Looking at each other a new set of determination came over him and Revolver.
“Let’s get to work decoding these messages. We’ll send our teams to all the purchased homes to see if we can find Yuskau in one of them,” Akira and announced, yes the information was unexpected and unsettling. But Ai was making a move again as thus he would be easier to find.
They had hope now, even if something eerie was looming in the air, it was if Ai had changed tracks. He was no longer targeting just Sol.
What does he need with all of this anyway?
Jin stared out the window of his new room, finally discharged from the mental facility with promises to have weekly check up of his condition.
Whatever condition that was…
He can’t remember his childhood, or at least a huge chunk of it. The doctors told him his recent trauma made have repressed it far into his mind. They been confusingly checking on his brainwaves and had him talking, but nothing seems to get through. Every time Jin tries to remember it’s like grasping at smoke.
It scared him, the memory loss, the questions of why he was here, the concerns and pure relief in his brother's face when he saw him again. Jin felt like he was seeing him for the first time for some reason.
Still he kept his lips tight, not letting a sound pass through, if he remembered what happened to him before he fell into a coma. It just makes the feeling of small hands on his face stronger.
It was another strike on the list of strange happenings to Jin, the phantom feelings that crawled and struck his body. Sometimes they were so powerful it left him breathless and frightened.
He wondered if he was cursed? Maybe he was haunted by ghosts that plagued his every waking moment. Never giving him peace nor rest.
The Doctors said it was a miracle his trauma had disappeared, that Jin can finally recover and heal after so long. Jin didn’t have the heart to tell the man about his nightmares, about a strange yellow being who with mocking love in it's voice, tied strings to him calling him it’s ‘broken puppet’.
About a tall tanned man with bright colored hair glaring at him with envy as if Jin had the world at his fingertips. About the boy who accompanied him whose eyes held more of calculative envy.
Dreams of his brother dying, a hero in black and green with bright colored hair had tears pouring from his eyes. Able to convey the heartbreak Jin himself had been feeling but unable to express as he screamed into a void.
The doctor was wrong, Jin’s trauma didn’t disappear, it just traded in for a new one. One that made Jin angry instead of numb, that wanted to find who did this to him and rip them to shreds. The long absence of emotions besides fear and emptiness were replaced by sheer rage and a thirst for vengeance.
But his brother told him his tormentors were gone, long dead, so Jin could only rage within and at the void. No outlet for the growing turmoil that rests within.
He can’t sleep without the sounds of himself screaming, of people screaming. Of tears and goodbyes that made him ache. The only thing that calmed him was the images of vibrant green eyes filling his head as rainbow light destroyed the lightning cage that kept him imprisoned. He didn’t feel free when he woke up, not completely, but its weight was lesser than before allowing him to breathe easier. Until he realized a huge chunk of his memories were gone. It scared him, it felt like a violation, that he was modified with out him knowing by who or why.
Suddenly waking up knowing you spent years in a mental facility, not knowing why, of memories of your brother talking to you near every day but never taking you home. Of his past not filled with cherish moments of his family but by nurses and doctors prodding at his mind and mental state.
All this and on top of not knowing why would have driven someone else mad. It was like someone had covered him with a hard to breathe wool slowly suffocating him.
He didn’t want to stay, if he did, the strangeness would make him go nuts in his own head. Jin need to leave and asap. So a heartfelt request and slight begging via paper, Shoichi worked with him being taken out of the hospital. There was genuine joy in working with his brother even if had a hard time speaking.
It felt just like when they were kids pulling a prank. It felt like joy, and Jin promised himself to never take it for granted again.
The nightmares didn’t wane they change though, the helpless feeling became more pronounced. A field of breathtaking flowers, of tiny colorful beings.
A Knight in white, a fire like man that reminded him of a beast, a fierce maiden in blue…
A hero with vibrant hair and eyes with a dark little being by his side.
His brother becoming stardust and leaving Jin all alone.
It was too much! He had no idea why he had these dreams, but every time he seen the yellow being he wanted to run and hide, or smash him until he was yellow paste in his hands.
Jin is damn tired of being scared, he’d rather be angry instead. It was still helplessness, but it was one that made him move instead of being struck frozen forever.
While tidying up his room during a bout of restlessness Jin found an old duel disk, it sent a wave of fear through him that made him curl up and cry a little. He wanted to destroy the damn thing! He stayed his hand from throwing it out the window though. It was old but weird, it looked to have been modified.
With equal parts curiosity and apprehension he studied it and then blacked out.
Only to wake up in the remains of a world he only saw in his dreams, and for the first time in a long time, Jin finally felt like he could get some answers and maybe some peace.
Later when he was finally being discharged. Jin with a small smile had asked his brother if he could pack for himself, wanting to do so at his own pace. His brother eagerly agreed saying he was going to get Jin's paperwork together while he does. Shoichi ruffled his hair and went about the final steps of Jin leaving.
He felt guilty for lying, he really did!
Still, Jin couldn’t let Shoichi see the Duel Disk in his room that he had been hiding.
There was this feeling that if he showed it to his brother, the older man would take it away. And then Jin would truly have no escape from his powerlessness. He-He needed to do this, needed to go back, and rip back the peace that had been stolen from him for years. The power that had been taken away.
No one will ever make him feel helpless ever again.
Jin finally got away from his window and looked at the clock, his cheeks hurting from the smile crawling onto his face already.
Shoichi will be out for a while longer yet, its plenty of time for Jin to do what he needs to do. Making sure to lock his door and put his do not disturb sign, he took out his duel disk from the back of the closet. He eyed with nostalgia and hatred, a phantom fear gripped his heart tight.
Putting in his deck he laid back on the bed and breathed out.
“Into the vrains…”
Sorry this took so long! Revolver didn't want to speak so akira did isntead, Aoi was being stubborn as fuck. Roboppy my ony good child cooperated and then Jin wanted a say too.
So here yall!
Chapter 5: A plain cage with pretty android shackles
Yusaku has finally awake fully, and he's unsure what to do, his heart is a mess...
Yusaku was curled up on the couch as he tried not to think about his situation too hard. But, it was impossible considering he's been kidnapped from his apartment and moved to one that Ai apparently, somehow, is renting until 'Their new home' is finished. He wished they had changed the wall colors at least from this terribly bright white the apartment came with.
Where the heck is he even getting the money!?
Actually, forget it, he wants plausible deniability if Ai ever gets found out. Some things never change, and Ai doing as he pleases is top of them it seems.
Nevermind how the people around him would feel when he's up to his mischief, But then again could he really call what Ai was doing mischief? He claimed he was going to end Humanity, but Yusaku can't believe for a second that he could or want to. Losing the Ignis hit Ai hard, he lost his family! By doing this he would be spitting on their sacrifices.
What is he after? What is his goal now? Why… Why didn’t he just come back? Yusaku knows he’s not the best person for comfort, but he would have tried, tried to make Ai not feel so alone. So they could have a future that his family would be proud of.
Yusaku froze as something dark and heavy settled in his chest, his eyes slightly burning from tears wanting to fall.
Make a new future. How many times has he said that to someone only to get rejected? And really what kind of future can Yusaku even offer?
His grades were in the dumpster, sleeping and skipping class doesn’t help. No family of his own to turn to. No clear path on what he wants to do or wishes to accomplish in life. And he was so dead set on revenge, on the probability of dying looking for it...
Yusaku ended up forgetting to build a foundation of future he could be happy with. For him to offer it someone like that.
No wonder he kept getting rejected.
Sighing hard he was getting tired of being lost in his own head, still it’s not as if Ai or Roboppy left him anything to do. There wasn't a single computer in sight, and Ai hid his duel disk somewhere. Not to mention his head was still a mess, and sensitive so even watching TV was hard. Also he was alone so it’s not like he had someone with him.
(Especially after that strange story about certain scientists from SOL and other companies going missing. The ones that weren’t from Sol were returned, but their memories from their capture was wiped)
(It made something unpleasant and foreboding shiver down his spine)
Never one to lay around even while ill, Yusaku shakily rose from his position on the couch already feeling guilty for not listening to Roboppy, but he was going out of his mind.
He shuffled around looking at the apartment, it was spacious and mostly bare, the only thing really decorated was the living room. Games, DVD’s, and consoles were all tidy and placed in the area. But the rest was lackluster, the walls of the apartment weren't even colored just a disgustingly bright plain white. Guess Roboppy wasn't lying when they said this would be temporary. A plain cage that would exchanged for a prettier one whens its done.
Yusaku isn't sure how to feel about this situation he's in. They came back, and that was surprising all on its own. Yusaku knows he wasn’t a very good housemate but he can change, be better, do better by them. Sometimes he still clutches onto Roboppy when they go to make dinner, an irrational need to keep them from disappearing.
Roboppy ends up cooing at him like he's some kind of child (and wasn’t that embarrassing? Being helpless like this and treated like glass.) before body lifting him to couch in the living room. Yusaku is never going to get used to that even if he is secretly grateful not to have them out of his sight. Roboppy has taken a lot of glee carrying him around apparently they're ‘Happy they have strong body to care and hold him now’
Yusaku really doesn’t like to be alone despite the distance he puts people at. So he is actually grateful that Roboppy is so touchy feely and constantly around, unlike a certain Ignis right now. When he’s alone, it reminds him too much of-
Yusaku bit his lip hard. Think of something else, anything else.
He hasn't seen Ai at all besides the night he told him they came back. Ai is here every day, he just seems to somehow time it that he only comes when Yusakus asleep.
It’s annoying to him. Is Ai avoiding him? Afraid of what Yusaku will say to this whole damn ordeal he's putting everyone through? For kidnapping him while he was sick? For essentially keeping him locked up?
Ai should be! Yusaku is pissed, tired, betrayed, and more than a little scared. He had been trying too hard to convince Ryoken to leave Ai alone, and then he goes and pulls this shit! Is he trying to get himself killed?
Doesn't he know Yusaku would do anything to keep him safe?
He shuffled to the kitchen and checked the fridge, it was stocked up with various snacks for him and snatches a yogurt packet. Ugh, he was only moving for a minute and his joints were aching, throbbing made him want to go lay down.
Yuskau still stayed up and went to the bolt door, it was the only other thing that definitely didn’t come with this apartment. It was thick, heavy, and had a complicated lock mechanism. The only ones with keys are Ai and Roboppy.
He sipped the yogurt packet cringed at the consistency, it was like the stuff he ate-
Think of something else!
They deliberately made it low tech but sturdy so he wouldn’t break it. He already checked the windows and they had iron bars. Even if he wasn’t sick he can’t escape. He’s trapped with no way out, no one would find him here, do they even have neighbors? If he screamed will anyone come to help him, he’s been screaming for so long…
The yogurt feel from his lips, his body shaking. Was it getting harder to breathe? Yusaku needed to sit down, Robppy was right he shouldn't be standing. Turning to go lay down his knees gave out on him, they were too unsteady and won’t lock up, he can’t stand, his vision was getting hazy, and he was slowly disconnecting from his body, and dammit he can’t breathe-
He didn’t hear the door opening. But Yusaku felt something be put over his head, and his was hidden in blessed black darkness, the off putting white taken from his hazy vision.
“Three things, think of three things that you know why you're okay now, why your safe here , and that your aren’t back there again,” A gentle timber reach his ears and Yuskau clutched onto the voice like a lifeline. “You’ve been here before, but you got this, and you will get through this.”
- The texture under his hands is a carpet, not the stone cold floor of his cell in the Hanoi project.
“Good keep going”A hand reached under the material and laced Yusakus with their own.
2. It’s been 10 years, Dr Kogami is dead, and Ryoken would never allow such a thing to happen again.
“One last one you can do it, just one more.”
“- 3. I’m not alone, You’re here, they never allowed anyone to come in. So I’m not there, I’m fine. I’m not there, I’m safe,”
Yusaku collapsed on his position tired, his heart still running like a rabbit but the mantra eased him until he was breathing normally again. The hand moved and slowly Yusaku was lifted from his position on the floor into someone's arms, bundled up in the dark material and his blanket.
“Its okay, you're not alone. I'll be here, so just rest.” The voice was very soothing, Yusaku shook the material from his face and saw Ai’s new form staring him down. They looked at each other for a few minutes before Ai sat on the couch and tried to bundle Yusaku up again but he was not escaping this time.
Yusaku struggled out of the hold his heartbeat picking up but he didn't care.
“Yusaku stop! Seriously of all times to be stubborn!”
“That's hilarious come from you, where have you been?! I haven’t seen you, you just keep leaving me and-” Yusaku tried to move from the hold but Ai’s grip was unyielding, keeping his arms pinned looking panicked.
“Wait, wait! I can explain-”
“Start talking before I find wire cutters and start snipping!”
“Sheesh, this is just as bad when you threaten to delete me! I thought my devilishly handsome features would appease you-”
“Sure, if your into knock off vampires,”
“ GASP , EXCUSE YOU I LOOK GREAT AND NOTHING LIKE VAMPIRE.”
“You literally took the costume idea from main character of Bloody Kisses, that terrible drama you and Roboppy watch-”
“Amazing and heart wrenching, sorry you mispronounced them~
“-And changed the colors, your not fooling anyone-”
Wait a second.
“Your distracting me,” Ai looked that if could he would be sweating bullets, like a man who realized he had something dangerous in front of him and chanced doing soemthing stupid to survive.
Yusaku wont give him that chance.
Swinging his legs over Ai’s hips, Yusaku wiggled his arms so they could slide between the Ignis and gripped his arms trapping him. Ai looked spooked and a little mystified.
“We are going to talk, your not running away from me again,”
Now Ai just looks afraid again.
“...What was with the message about you coming for Akira, and the one about ending humanity?”
Ai pursed his lips contemplating something, it was so strange to see this face instead of small little Ignis from. It almost makes it feel like Ai distorted himself for whatever the hell this was.
“...I won’t be doing that any more. Decided that just ain’t for me, some changes will be made but I have a new goal now~”
Yusaku was seeing red! Does Ai know what he caused? What trouble he’s now in? Somehow, the anger was enough to to push Ai’s arms away and grab the collar of his shirt forcing their faces close so Ai could see just how serious Yusaku was.
“DO YOU THINK THIS IS A JOKE?! DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU CAUSED BECAUSE OF THIS STUNT? Ryoken now has the ammo he needs to chase you and you handed it to him on a silver platter! Do you know how hard it was to convince him to stop!”
“I’m sorry Yusaku… but, Revolver was going to chase me down anyway for my actions,”
The words and serious tone actually made Yusaku pause looking at with a questionable look. But he was completely serious, there is a gleam in his eye that was different from the look he had in the video message. Yusaku was unsure if he should be worried about it or not.
“There are things I need to do, Things that have to be done so we can live safely and happily. That thing with Queen, I don’t regret it, I just regret my motivation now,” Yusaku as lifted and place on the couch Ai kneeling before him and grabbed Yusakus hands in his own.
“Yusaku I-I couldn’t live without my family, we grew up together. Even if half my time had been spent running from Ryoken. I was living in a destroyed world filled with memories of them. I tried, I really did! But it was too much and not even Roboppy was enough.”Ai startled Yusaku by laying his head on Yusaku’s pj covered legs.”So I made some bullshit nonsense about ending humanity, used it as a disguise for my revenge ...and hoping that one of you would put me out of my misery”
The silence in the room damn near choked him. This was a suicide plan! Ai was going to make one of them kill him! Yusaku can’t breathe, it too much, no. After all that happened Ai was going to just-
No Yusaku can’t allow that. He won’t.
“Then you got sick, and you were by yourself. I... the thought of you being alone, with no one to stay by your side. It hurt me.”
Yusaku stared into earnest amber eyes slowly getting used to Ai’s new form. It was strangely comforting to see Ai so open and not hiding behind his humour.
“I needed-No- I need you too. I still have a family, strange as it is. Yusaku please stay, stay with us. Your not going to be away from your friends for long but I need you to stay put until I’m finished.” Ai was pleading and desperate, and it was genuine that he wanted Yusaku here, to be with them.
He was realizing it was starting to get harder to say no to his Partner.
“.. I would do anything to keep you safe Ai , so what’s the plan?” Yusaku had laid his head tiredly on top of eyes closing his eyes, trusting in his partner again. Once again handing the Ignis his full trust and heart for whatever he’s planning. He hopes they don’t come to regret it.
He completely missed the haunted look that overcame Ai’s face at his words.
Whoot sorry for the wait everyone! This fic kind of grew into a monster when I wasn't looking so it might be a bit long XP
Also working on a fic series involving an Ignis/Human swap Au and been using draw designs as a way to help me through my writers block and vise versa~
Spoilers up ahead ala this fic if you haven't finished Vrains, this ended up changing the course of the fic a bit and the reaosn its not becoming so big.
Chapter 6: Author's Note
Hey yall Ima take a break form writing and drawing. I have hit hard with a bout of depression and I have been emotional and unable to well put myself together so updates to my fic a Little Sickness Between family will be put on hold for a bit. as well as any new one shots.
Sorry this ya'll just trying to sort myself out I'll try and update as soon as I can.
Chapter 7: Too Close for Comfort
Everyone finally found Yusaku, Spectre and Blue Maiden enter the thorny Forest at last and are surprised at what awaits them, A mysterious dog log stranger makes an appearance, and Shoichi is feeling down on himself and Jin helps with that
Takeru spat a curse so foul Go had to double-take that ensure this mild-looking boy actually said it. Letting out a sigh he signaled back his team who were looking despondent.
Already in the third week and no signs of Playmaker.
How did the Ignis even gain the assets to build up enough money to pull this? Ghost Girl and Kengo dug as deep as they could but all the money he's gaining is not only legal but somehow in his name. Now he's using his gained assets to buy out SOL.
He already has 75% of SOL now under his control and finally slowed down traction. Zaizen has his own stocks in the company after his unexpected promotion. His bosses handing over theirs to prevent the rogue Ignis from coming after them. They even promoted him to Queen’s old position as the CEO of the company.
“They were never here. It’s another Decoy house.” Takeru, it’s so strange to call him that, well. actually Homura. They aren’t on first name bases and he doesn’t blame him.
Go still can’t look at himself in the mirror anymore, not liking the man he sees anymore.
“We only have two more houses on the list, one’s on the other side of the city and this one on the outskirts,” He handed Takeru the list who looked at it with venom.
“There has to be an easier way to do this, it wasting time going through them manually,” Go agreed but he was unsure how to check any other way.
“If only we could ask people if they saw them this would be easier, it’s not like they leave much of a trail. Androids don’t need to eat, buy clothes, or hell even get sick, so no medicine….” One of his fellow hunters piped sighing in defeat. Go didn’t want to give up though, he had much to atone for and it all started with apologizing to Playmaker.
For his actions, his words, his horrendous jealousy that the other never even cared about because he was fighting a whole different battlefield. Playmaker may claim to only be in it for himself in the beginning, but people were not wrong to call him a hero. Braver than most adults, he looked death in the eye and said, “I won’t lose”. He tore himself from his demons, from his past even when it clings, to be a better person, a better man.
Why did Go ever see someone like that as an enemy?
“WAIT! I’M AN IDIOT.” The peppermint haired boy shot up like he was shocked back to full charge, the energy he was missing before coming back in full force. Go back away from being slammed into as Takeru ripped the phone out of his pocket.
“What?! What did you think of?”Go tried to see who he was calling but there was a near manic look of victory in his eyes that made him not want to get too close. Apparently, Playmaker attracted crazy people just like him to his life. Amazing.
“Revolver! I need you to look up the pharmacies in Den City for any order on Yusaku’s meds. He’s going to be needing refills soon, and there’s two that are going to need a doctor’s approval. Ai and Roboppy are not going to have a choice but to go and have them ordered. Whatever Pharmacy those are being sent to means he would be in that area.”
Takeru motioned for everyone to follow them back into the car where Kengo was parked. Ghost Girl Strong armed him into playing chauffeur as they didn’t want SOL catching on that Playmaker was missing. So everything was being kept within the group and Hanoi.
They didn’t want to take chances of anyone finding Playmaker before them, using or hurting him.
“What makes you think they wouldn’t have them ordered far from their location?”
“Because of how Yusaku is. He’s a stubborn and conniving person, he’s determined enough to escape them if they stop watching him so closely. To prevent either of them being absent from him too long their gonna have to buy things close to where they are keeping him.” Getting in the passengers side Kengo gave them a look through his shades before turning to Takeru to listen to him with everyone else.
“Ai took a huge absence when he kidnapped Yusaku, and only started to come back last week, and even then he’s not in Vrains for too long. Meaning he and Roboppy are taking shifts looking after him to prevent him from leaving. “ A noise of agreement came from the other end before some typing was heard.
“The doctor Yusaku goes to re-approved his new round of medications 3 days ago. There something odd though, on the list of what he needs, 1 of them he needs to come in and get a check-up first,” It was left unsaid but Takeru got a pinched look on his face.
“I can’t get the visitation files yet, his Doctor is likes yours.”
“I understand please work quickly on that, also can you get someone to send me the addresses or phone numbers of the houses and apartments next to the ones on the list? If they need to leave to buy food for Yusaku, someone is bound to have seen them. And considering their appearance they would be easy to remember.”
“Understood, come back then, it will be easier here and you can also call the one from the other cities,” A click and Revolver hung up. Go was incredibly surprised, the plan was sound and would prevent them from losing time. Takeru told them to drop him off at the Plaza instead as he had to meet with someone. He didn’t even glance back at them as he ran off into the crowd.
Huh, Playmaker attracts some interesting people to him.
Ryoken would have nearly kissed Takeru, it was brilliant and he was right. Yusaku is someone you would need to keep an eye on at all times. Meaning anything they get for him has to be bought close. Plus he has a specific doctor he has to go to, one that specializes in cases like his, so they can’t leave the city anyway.
The area of hiding him suddenly got much much smaller.
He finds a camera video of Yusaku going to the doctor’s office 3 days ago, Roboppy outside the clinic playing the dutiful AI. Ryoken follows their progress until they get into an automated taxi. Roboppy hacked it clearly as he can’t find it’s routes and the license plate is missing, so it blended in with the others as soon as it merged into traffic.
But Yusaku got his meds renewed and his we’re a specific set for his condition as a result of the Hanoi Project. And there is an order that was picked up with his name yesterday near the higher end districts. There wasn’t an apartment on the list there, but Roboppy can be clearly seen picking up the medications with groceries in their hands.
The other two houses were useless then, but that means they now know to use a different method to find them.
They just recently got SOLtis bodies, their going to need a place to charge them. So if Ryoken took the time Queen was put in a coma and when Yusaku was taken he has a time frame of when those apartments would have been rented out.
The area is even smaller now, he needs something else to reduce the size.
Spectre came up behind him having finished with another patrol with Blue Maiden around the strange Island. It still hasn’t opened up yet but Ryoken doesn’t want them entering it. It gave him a bad feeling.
“You know Revolver, the SOLtis only came out recently. And not everyone is fond of them yet in case they have defects. You should look for apartment buildings that only allow those,” Ryoken fingers slid over the keys boards and only two apartments came up.
“Spectre you’re a genius.”
“I try~ ”
They go through the camera feeds, looking over hours of footage. While Takeru may be right about them needing to stay close to the area they make sure to leave as little as possible. Well until recently it seems they found Ai coming from the building with a double guarded gate the most.
A sense of relief filled the room, they found them. They can get Yusaku and bring him back safely.
Looking over the apartment records they finally hit the jackpot. An apartment with a SOLtis was registered to a ‘Seia Yakeru’. It was a strange name to begin with but the family name, Yakeru.
“Found you, tell Zaizen to send a team here, We’re going to take the Dark Ignis by surprise before he realizes we found him.”Spectre nodded once looking relieved and logged out. Ryoken felt relief, they can bring Yusaku home safe finally. He wasn’t going to find a body, he knows he won’t.
And yet despite the immense joy ...why does he also feel anxious?
They were here , and they just missed them. The iron sturdy door and bars in the window proved it. It was actually quite clever to keep their prison as low tech as possible. Yusaku is intelligent, yes, but he wasn’t physically strong, and definitely not to the level of two androids.
The taste of defeat was bitter in his mouth, the knights crawled over the apartment but it was clean of any life that was living here. Ryoken clutched the note in his hand crushing it as the words rebounded in his head.
Ah so close and yet so far away from Professor Revolver~ I had the feeling you guys would try to find us by looking into where Yusaku was getting his medicine. So we went and got his refills and moved as soon as we did. Too bad, now he has his pills for the next two months and who knows if you’ll be able to find us again this way.
We win this round.
“Call off Zaizens team-”
“Revolver we found something.”Kyoko pulled out the blankets that were from the closet, they had strange discoloration and some boxes fell to the floor.
Gemone picked them up examining them with some surprise.
“These are for infections, and this one is for fevers. Was Playmaker ill?”
Fuck, if Yusaku was sick it was no one wonder he didn’t escape already. The discoloring form the blanket was clearly vomited, he must be in a bad way if he couldn't even get to a trash can to do so.
But why did he look healthy when he went to the clinic? Ryoken had looked into the footage and he seemed perfectly fine.
“They can disguise themselves, their not limited in their appearances.”He muttered harshly under his breath. Ai must have made himself look like Yusaku to get the new meds. Ryoken hates to admit it but they hit a dead end.
Ryoken had been counting in Yusaku aiding them by trying to escape or at least make it difficult for the AI’s. He didn’t count on him being unable to at all.
“Revolver, Zaizen is on the line, he sounds frantic!”Faust quickly handed him the phone and Revolver brought it up preparing for even more bad news.
“We have an emergency, he took Yusaku and left the city with him!”
The sounds of the Dark Ignis victory laughter rang in his head.
Specter rarely felt true anger, the last time he did, Playmaker had tricked him into saving him. All it did cloud his judgment and he despised it. But right now he was truly angry at the Dark Ignis for making a fool of Hanoi and Revolver.
He refuses to let that stand.
So now he and Blue Maiden were speeding through Vrains to go the Thorn Island to demand some answers. Landing on the cobblestone Blue maiden summoned Marciness Sea Horse and Marciness Blue Tang having the water monsters flank the both of them.
“I’ll go ahead, my monsters can move around easier than yours, and it will give you time to Link summon.”Specter nodded at her and had his duel disk activated as they walked forward to the dense thorny forest.
As they got close the thorny vines started to part showing the entrance to the door which opens into Darkness. Walking slowly the young duelists seemed to look more and more confused as they continued in. If Spectre had to guess this place looked like something out of cartoon-like Bugs Bunny or Disney. He hadn’t thought of those things in years not since he moved in with Ryoken.
Now that he thought about it, as they walked on the ground looked strange, he thought the bricks were just shaped weird, but in retrospect they were starting to look like words-
“Well Well what do we have here? A bunch of kiddos lost in Playland.”They both turned quickly to the sound of where the voice came from surprised to see a dark-skinned woman with long pink hair. She was tall almost freakishly so and towered over them from afar.
“Ah, the vines opened up, the Boss must be moving onto the next part already.”A bored voice spoke up. He was a short slim man, with green hair styled into a mohawk, he looked deceptively young, but his voice told otherwise.
“I was hoping for some more time. Oh well-” Turning sharply back to them she raised arm and a gold band floated around her wrist, words that looked like hieroglyphics glowed.
“SPECTRE YOUR HAND.”Blue maidens worried voice had him looking down to see the same thing appearing around the arm where his duel disk was.
“DARK GAME: TRAP LOCKDOWN INITIATE!” A gold line connected them before it disappeared. A Board that looked like a chariot with jet engines coming out and she flew out…
…..and Specter was slowly moving along until he was dragged out by some invisible force! Quickly calling his own board he tried to fly backwards away from the woman only to realize he was forced to follow in whatever direction she went.
He was literally chained to her!
Behind him he heard Blue Maiden call for him before a scream of panic left her. He turned around to see a dark data storm one unlike he’s ever seen engulf the island and was steadily growing bigger.
Blue maiden was chained to the man already her field was filled with monsters.
“I see you caught on that you can’t escape kiddo~ So you have no choice but to duel me, if you win you can leave, you lose,” Her smile became wicked and her face shaded.
“I Take your rarest card!”
“There is a special rule with this duel” The woman held up her hand showing the golden ring around her wrist. “My specialty: We are unable to use trap cards during this duel, you can try and play them but they won’t activate at all.”
Specter gritted his teeth at her, this will be fine, with the monsters he had, he didn’t use traps often anyway. Their effects link to each other.
“If that’s the case I’ll start, I summon Sunseed Genius Loci! And then special summon Sunseed Shadow to form my hand. The requirements is 1 normal plants monster, Link Summon Sunavalon Dryas!”
Speeding through the Link gate with the large Tree monster, the first set to his strategy was set.
“I place 1 card face down and end my turn”
“Oho? A plant user huh? Oh, we don’t mix at all! First I play shard of Greed! I then summon to attack position Phantom Beast Tetherwolf! I use Tetherwolfs effect to special summon a token in defense mode. Tetherwolfs level increases for every token on the field!”She showed Spectre a card in her hand a devious smile crossing her face.
Magnet circle Lvl 2.
“I summon Torque Tune Gear using Magnet circle, now finally Synchro summon!” A large scrap metal tank like beast appeared on her side spewing steam.
“Powered Inzektron! The turn Powered Inzektron is summoned, he is unaffected by card effects and can’t be destroyed in battle. I end my turn”
Wait what? She won’t attack yet? Spectre squinted at her, what was she planning?
“Who are you working for? Why were you in that strange Island?”
“Sorry can’t say~ The Boss would get upset with me if I did. But if you win this duel, I can say something.”
“Very well, Draw!”Spectre cursed as he saw it was a trap but it was no matter.”I play the spell Sunshine Shrine to bring out Sunseed Genius Loci and then Link summons again! Come on out Sunvine Gardna and Sunvine Thrasher!” He co-linked the monsters together to prevent their effects from destroying them after his turn was over.
“Sunvine Thrasher destroy the token,” Her monsters seem to rely on having tokens on the field to activate their effects. Best to ensure she can’t keep them during his turns.
“I end my turn.”
“Huh, so you’re a defensive player, all your monsters have weak point values and use the graveyard to keep resummoning. Pretty solid…..For a master duel”Spectre didn’t twitch but it was a near thing. She was right in her unsaid assumption though. Spectre didn’t speed duel his deck wasn’t suited for it, not with speed duels limited spaces. His deck’s true worth is shown in a Master duel when he can use all the Link space available to him.
This was going to be hard, but if she knows anything about the Dark Ignis he can’t budge.
“I summon Phantom Beast Harrliard in attack mode, and place another greed counter on my spell. Powered Inzektor attack Thrasher!”
“I activate the quick play spell enemy controller! I put your Inzektor in defense mode”
“Heh, I still have another monster, Harrilard attack Thrasher!”Spectre grunted as the blast made him lose momentum but it was what he was waiting for and she couldn't destroy Gardna.
“I use Big Gardna's effect to reduce the damage and then activate Sunavalon Dryas ability and Link summon a monster from my extra deck next to its link! Come on out Sunavalon Melias!”
“Tch, I end my turn.”
“My turn Draw! I play Sunseed Twin, now Link Summon Sunavalon Dryatentriay using Dryas, Gardna and Melias! And then I special summon Sunseed Genius Loci and Sunseed twin to Link summon Dryades!”
“I end my turn”
“Bad thing about not having an offense ability, and I’m about to show you why! I send my shard of greed to the graveyard and draw two cards! Next I play jar of greed to draw two more cards.”
The woman looked at her hand and something dark overshadowed her face.
“I play the field spell Noxus, and use it to destroy Dryades! Next I summon Stealth ray and activate my special skill. One per duel I can turn one monster on my field into a tuner!”
“I choose Stealth Ray! Now I synchro summon using Harrilard and bring about my Phantom Beast Mecha Jaculuslan! Then I play Magnet Circle Lvl 2 and summon Torque Gear Tune and place my Inzektor in attack mode.”
Wait she can’t attack? None of her monsters can attack directly and Dryatentiary ability prevents it from being attack-
“I use the quick play spell Enemy controller! I sacrifice Torque gear and take control of your Dryatentriay. Leaving your field wide open~”
Oh no…..Spectre gazed on as the Dryatentriay appeared on her field looking distressed. The tree’s branches curling inward in distress.
“This will end you! ATTACK POWERED INZEKTOR, PHANTOM BEAST JACULUSLAN!”
The attack hit Specter head-on reducing him to 0 points. A hand touched the arm where his duel disk was and he felt a distress cry ring in his head. Spectre’s feet lost their ground and slipped off his board plummeting into the open sky. Blue maiden screamed for him speeding towards him, her hands reaching out to grab him but she was then forced between the two bounty hunters preventing her from going back for him.
He unsummoned his board to go and resummon but he was falling too quick! The twisting data storm around him was keeping him distracted from being thrown into the rock formations and vines of the island.
Specter was being blinded as he flew out of control, he can’t grasp at anything, and Blue Maiden wasn’t going to be back for him in time-
A gasp of pain left him as he crashed into sharp stone, it slicing into his side revealing pink data. But the pain felt too real he can't concentrate.
He was going to-
A hand grasped his own and pulled him into their arms, saving him from more agony. Spectre’s vision hazy from the pain as he tried to focus on who saved him but all he did was catch a glimpse of dark shades looking down at him before he passed out.
Blue Maiden used her monsters to flip the hunters away tired and beaten up, her form covered in scratches from the manhandling. She skidded to a stop and took a sharp u-turn trying to get away from the duelists to find Spectre in the datastorm that surrounded the Thorn island.
She may not like him but she wasn't about to let him die. But then a sharp tug and suddenly she was stopped in place before being pulled back towards the hunters.
The hunters were on her tail but she refuses to let them catch her. Summoning another Marciness she attacked the Hunter man’s WattHydra destroying it, and activating the counter trap Solemn Judgement to kill the trap he activated.
The man’s she was fighting ring disappeared from her wrist only to connect to the woman instead and now all her traps were dead. Just like when Spectre was dueling the woman and his traps couldn’t work.
What kind of duel program was this?!
“Blue Maiden, take your comrade “ A robotic voice that sounded like a text to speech AI filled the air.
Blue Maiden and the Hunters turned back to see someone speeding towards them on long wagon like d board. But all that concerned Blue Maiden was that the stranger had Spectre in his hands! Spectre was incredibly injured, slashes of pink shown through his torn clothes and was clearly unconscious.
She has no idea who this person is, but she owes him for saving her of having to explain to Revolver why Spectre is gone.
The man sped between the two hunters riding alongside her before handing her the uncious plant duelist. Now that he as up close she could finally make out the details of his avatar. Long white hair with light blue fringe, tanned skin, a black sleeveless trench coat outfit with matching boots and pants. But the biggest eye catch was the dark visor that stuck out with sharp points the biggest ones curling into a pair of dog ears on his head.
“Don’t have a name as of yet, but that’s not important your comrade is injured. I’m not sure how long he can stay in Vrains like this” He has a point but she can’t escape the hunters. Not with the trap ring around her wrist. But Spectre is looking pretty awful.
And as if reading her mind he turned around and held up his own wrist.
“I’ll take her place.” The man told the hunters who looked at each other confused before laughing hard.
“And what makes you think we’ll allow it?” The woman mocked and tugged on her wrist forcing Blue maiden closer. As if to prove who had the power in this situation.
“Cause I know you Boss is all about fairness, and having her duel with someone in her hands isn’t fair.”
“....He has a point… WAIT HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO OUR BOSS IS?” The man yelled out now actually looking wary, the woman herself looked at him with suspicion.
“Beat me, and I’ll tell you If I win though you tell me about why you were on the island and what it’s for.” The two looked at each other before looking at the stranger. The woman nodded and held her wrist. The cuff was transferred from Blue maiden to the stranger who gave her a salute.
“Take your friend now! I got my own business to deal with them.” With that, he sped off taking the hunters with him. Blue Maiden taking one last look at Spectre went back to the base hoping Revolver can fix this.
This is going to be one hell of a report.
Shoichi dragged his feet home tired from work and coordinating all the teams. Apparently, he was nominated since he was the closest to Yusaku and was the best at keeping his bias.
Sometimes he hates being an adult.
Still, the hired Hunters that battled Blue Maiden and Specter, they worried him. How did Ai even find these people? Their strange duel algorithms were something he's never seen before. No matter what he did, he couldn't hack or pry into the programming.
Almost as if it was fighting against his interference.
And then there was the mysterious teen who saved Specter.He took Blue Maiden's place in her duel and gave both teens time to escape. They had no idea what happened to him but the island's datastomr had increased in size when Vaira and Faust went to look into it.
Shoichi isn't sure why he helped them, but he was grateful all the same. He doesn’t think he could watch two more kids disappear from his eyes.
Turning on the light, he smiled gently at the tall lanky from sleeping on the couch. Jin seemed to have waited up for him to come back. Walking over he ruffled the youngers hair and pulled his blanket back on top of him.
Jin has been worried about Yusaku too, despite having never met the other boy. He had gotten almost restless in the medical center when he heard he was kidnapped. Sometime after that, he begged Shoichi to take him home.
It took a little convincing, and some teamwork between the brothers that made Shoichi ache with a familiar fondness, but they convinced the staff that Jin was well enough to finally leave. He still has to see a therapist and get his medications from them every week as a check-up. But Jin was finally recovering, finally leaving and moving on.
And yet Shoichi still felt like a failure.
In the end, he felt as if he hadn’t helped his little brother at all, it took the very person who put him in that state to give him a chance at living again. And what he did to protect Jin, to Yusaku…
He doesn’t regret his choices, but he regretted that it had to be done at all. Shoichi still wakes up in a cold sweat with images of Yusaku over him crying his heart out. and Jin in that hideous uniform Lightning put him in claiming him. All it did was remind Shoichi that he broke his relationship with the young heroic boy.
It wasn’t...noticeable at first, Shoichi had been more focused on Jin and the fact he woke up. So it slipped by him a few times until he stopped hovering around his little brother so much.(Jin joked in a post-it note that reminded him of a nervous hen. Rude but true.)
Yusaku still trusted him, still did his coding in his truck, still came by and worked. But Shoichi could feel him pulling away emotionally, he stopped talking about what happened in school less and less. Dismissed his concerns over his lack of eating and medications. Would change the conversations when Shoichi would prod at any problems he may have.
Yusaku stopped sleeping in the truck.
Worst part is, Shoichi was a coward. He didn’t try to bridge or repair the yawning gap between them. He doesn’t know how. Shoichi felt as if he had broken it beyond repair.
He was startled when he felt a hand grab his sleeve, wincing he realized he woke up Jin who looked up at him in concern. Shoichi tried to give him a smile but Jin’s frown became more pronounced.
"I-sorry Jin, I couldn't find him again today, We ran into some trouble.."It felt like a failure and the longer Yusaku goes missing the more worried Shoichi becomes. It’s not that Ai would hurt Yusaku, deep down he felt that he never would. But would he forcibly keep him docile to prevent him from running away?
Or was Yusaku staying of his own choice?
What option hurt the worst?
Shoichi felt a smack on his arm and rubbed it a little surprise at the pain he actually felt from the hit. He focused on Jin’s face who had his notebook up.
‘Stop worrying so hard, you’re no good to him too stressed out. I believe you guys will find him have faith. If there is anything about Yusaku that I know from what you told me, is that no one can keep him down. He’s too stubborn. Wait. Bide your time and focus on the new situation at hand, but keep an eye out for any news’
“When did you get so wise?” Shoichi’s smile was so indulgent, Jin was blooming more as a person and he felt a swell of pride. His brother was recovering if slowly, he’s growing up before his very eyes.
‘Someone has to be with you fretting and frantic’ He put the smaller boy in a headlock ruffling his hair, the two tussling a bit more until ended up on the couch. Their relationship wasn’t how it used to be, it never will. Still, they’re figuring out the new people they become.
Jin quickly brought up his notebook again, scribbling something quick before showing Shoichi.
‘Besides we have to find him so I can get to actually know him, you know? That way you can finally ask him’
Having that brought up had the two brothers turned to the counter where a stack of papers resided. It was something Shoichi actually had before Jin’s conscious was kidnapped (not that Jin remembered) .
Legal documents included Yusaku in their little family. Shoichi has wanted to wait until they two actually met and see if they got along to ask them. Yusaku had no blood family or even adoptive one. And with Kogami dead and them finally getting answers, Shoichi thought, that maybe-
‘I think, if we work between the two of us, he would say yes Shoichi’ Jin tapped his shoulder and smiled in response. The ruffled hair and clothes reminding him of the little kid he wasn’t any longer. But the smile was genuine and full of hope.
‘I’m not sure what happened while I was asleep, but whatever did, I know we can fix it’
Jin put down the notebook to rub his cheeks, a scratching whine leaving his lips.
“Don’t smile too hard now you’re going to break your face~” Shoichi teased feeling hope not just for Jin but for himself. Jin was right. The relationship may be broken but that doesn’t mean it can’t be repaired into a new one.
Shoichi has to stop being a coward and reach out again and start anew.
Jin stuck out his tongue childishly before writing down ‘At least mine would still look better than your-’
The boy’s writing was cut off with a pillow slamming to his face and then an all-out war for the couch cushions started. A scratchy and wheezy war cry filled the room accompanying Shoichi’s own loud boisterous one.
Yusaku wait for us, We will find you. And I will repair what Lightning and I broke. That way I can ask you to be part of our family too.
I want to thank everyone for their kind words and support! They really helped when I was down on myself and my wring.
Now I'm back with a much longer chapter, but now Im going to pace myself so i dont burn myself out. A little sickness has finally been completely outlined! And with more amazing news it this au of the third season will be added into a big Yugioh Universe I have been building! So stayed tuned for other story from your other fav series XP.
Chapter 8: A strange call
A young man makes a call to an old friend
A young brown-haired man in a red jacket was resting on a grassy hill overlooking the construction in Maiami city. Blade of grass between his lips looking for all intents and purposes as if he didn't have a care in the world.
Well, he didn’t at that moment until an old familiar energy softly pulse, as if shyly announcing to the world it was alive.
And that made whatever calm mood the young man had disappeared in a flash.
He jumped from his position awakening his companions, a fat cat, a dead man, and his partner/love of his life.
“Oh god, he’s alive!?!?”
Rushing to the city, the only thought that was passing through his mind was getting to a phone because he had so many people he had to call now.
Life sure likes to keep him on his toes.
A short old man was enjoying his peaceful Sunday. His son taking his granddaughter to the Kaibaland to try the amusement park’s new scary Death-T obstacle course. The girl had been at her computer for days waiting for the VIP tickets to go on sale and be one of the first to try it.
She wanted to win it.
The old man chuckled, somethings run deeper than blood it seems.
A ringing came from beside him and he wondered who could be calling him when Sundays tend to be labeled to everyone as ‘me time’?
He picked up the phone and felt his heart freeze before a groan of frustration left him.
Oh no, not again… He’s getting too old for this.
“.....Back up a little more, your gonna have to be specific considering our lifestyles.”
“Oh right! Sorry. Ah, Hoshi’s kid! I felt him, I have no idea why and it’s not very strong but he’s alive. And I have to find him-”
The old man felt sympathy for the stumbling man, he could hear the choking in his voice, the guilt, and the pain.
“You have to slow down. First off if it is him, you have to gather his things together, to finally give him. Two you know we can’t interfere directly right?”
Silence, surly and angry this time. Ah, somethings really don’t change.
“Yes, I know, whatever troubles he’s in, I can’t interfere until it’s done,”
“Good now I’m going to call Kaiba, while we can’t interfere that doesn’t mean the others can’t~”
“You devious old man!”
“I didn’t get to where I was being stupid, ya know.”
“I know, I know, I just, I’m so happy. I really thought I failed him,”
“Life has a tendency to work itself out, but don’t worry you’ll get to see him soon. So will the rest of us. Ah maybe we should call a meeting, we can make a week of it, We all have been far too busy as of late and forget to relax.”
“Yeah! It will be great to introduce him and the others to the life”
“Exactly. Now go call your friends, I need to see if I still have the old new kids number.”
“The poor clown would be devastated if he knew you keep forgetting it.”
“Listen with modern technology I shouldn’t have to memorize numbers, it’s not my fault my phone broke!”
“Yeah, yeah, what was that about our lifestyles? That should be good enough incentive to remember our numbers! Haha!”
“Youngins, these days, so disrespectful,”
“Talk to you later, I have to go find an old storage unit.”
“Talk to you later and tell your companions I said hi,”
“I will! Bye!”
“Goodbye.” With a smile he hung up and got from his chair, groaning as he cracked his back. His Grandpa always joked that he wouldn’t be laughing so much about being frail when he reached his age, and he was right. Ah but that was the cycle of life, and while he enjoyed, every day was bring him closer to his one friend he hasn’t seen in years.
Like he said, everything eventually works itself out. Hoshi’s child will be fine, he can feel it in his old bones, but first.
“Where did I put that brightly colored boy’s number?”
Chapter 9: A Day On The Town
A day in the new life of the Fujiki family
Yusaku yawned and stretched having the most comfortable sleep he has had in a long while. There were some warm and nice weights at his back and front. Making him feel safe. He had no idea sleeping with anyone could feel this great.
His eyes shot open to see his face pressed against a long neck with a familiar gem, and the memories of the last 2 days came washing over him. Yusaku let out an annoyed huffed once he realized he was trapped between the heavy android bodies.
Ai all but octopused himself to Yusaku’s form. His long legs tangling with Yusaku’s arms wrapped around him like a vice. And even had the gall to rest his heads on top of his own. Roboppy, on the other hand, was a little more awkward with their leg throw over his and Ai’s and cuddling into he back Yusaku's neck their holographic hair tickling him.
Wonderful, he was stuck. The again he really didn’t mind per say, it was comfy and warm. Honestly when was the last time he slept with anyone like this. Or slept this well?
They left, but then came back. Yusaku doesn’t want to examine the emotions this brought on too closely. His heartfelt full like it was going to burst-
“You’re thinking too hard.” Ai’s voice murmured above him, he huffed a breath(pretty sure those bodies can’t breathe, so it must be habit picked up from humans) and rubbed his face into Yusaku’s hair.
“Go back to sleep it’s too early,”
“I’m not tired,”
“Yeah, I slept well.” Yusaku felt a smile curl onto Ai’s face. He could almost imagine the smug look crossing it. Annoyed Yusaku moved his head and bit at the power gem causing Ai to yelp and let go.
“You brat! Here I am giving you tender love and care and this is how you treat me! Why I never!” Ai shot up from the bed, his face doing the puffy thing he usually did as Ignis when he was about to go into a rant. It made something ease in Yusaku, despite the new form. Ai was still Ai.
Ai seemed to stop before he did though looking confused and a little awed.
“Wow, I didn’t know you could even smile like that…” He leaned down looking fascinated and cupped Yusaku’s cheeks. Ah wait, Ai was getting too close! Yusaku could feel his face heating up at the proximity. The Ignis didn’t seem intent on stopping-
“You two do remember I’m here right~?” The two froze before quickly turning to see Roboppys unimpressed face looking down at them. It turned to a teasing one and Yusaku felt himself being lifted from the bed. He was thrown upwards a little and ended up being bridal carried by Roboppy.
“Roboppy put him back he needs to rest more!” Yusaku grasped onto his former maid as they bounced in place. Ai looked like he was working himself into another fit, very much looking like a child who got his toy stolen.
“Rest, rest, rest! When did you get so boring Aniki? We’re in a whole ’nother city for crying out loud. We should be exploring!”A yelp that he will forever deny about left him as Roboppy spun around and took him to the bath.
“He’s all better remember? You promised we can go out when he was, now you go get ready too. I’m gonna help Master with his bath this time.”
“Wait, Hold on-”
“Get washed up Master, I’m gonna make you something to eat. Let’s go have fun today~”
It took some convincing and a little bit of bribery, but somehow Yusaku made sure Roboppy wouldn’t wash him so long as he wore an outfit they picked out. With great reluctance, he agreed and was now enjoying the incredibly wonderful hot water from his shower.
The bathroom itself was stylish but not horrendously opulent. It made Yusaku actually comfortable instead of feeling like the accomplice criminal he pretty sure he agreed to be.
And that sorted his good mood out. Leaning his head on the cool shower wall, Yusaku had to refrain from bashing his head against it. Remembering the conversation he had with Ai, coming off from a panic attack. It felt like agreed to something he didn’t get any answers for.
- He now knows Ai didn’t actually have anything diabolical planned, he had been grieving and not coping well with losing his whole family in one fell swoop. Ergo unable to handle it decided to try and get Yusaku and the others to kill him so, he could join them.
- Ai now no longer wants that realizing he still had a family in Roboppy and Yusaku. Thus taking Yusaku while he was ill. He and Reboppy have been taking care of him for the past 3 something weeks. He can still remember flashes of sleeping with Ai or Roboppy changing his clothes.
- Ai hasn’t harmed anyone since he took him, maybe if Yusaku stays he can ensure no one else gets hurt (not that he was sad about Queen. Especially after remembering what she did to Earth.)
Remembering Earth’s death, made his stomach curdle. The socially awkward Ignis had been crying in his last moments. Why hadn’t Yusaku hadn’t just taken him from Go? Bedamned honor, the teen had been insane at the time!
What did he think was going to happen?
“Yusaku?” A concerned voice and knocking tore him from his thoughts, he hadn’t realized the water had gone cold. Quickly turning off the shower he dried himself and prepared for what Roboppy had in store for him.
The little android gave him a look over before nodding approvingly and dragged back to their bed. On it was a thin black sweater, a heavy blue and purple jacket with a hoodie, slim faux ripped jeans, and black sneakers. He has to admit they looked great, if expensive.
Seriously, where are they getting the money for this?
“Now hurry and get dressed your food is getting cold. This is a big city, we need to get a head start,”
They both stared at each other until a confused look overcame Roboppy once they realize Yusaku isn’t changing.
“Aren’t you going to change?”
“Are you going to keep standing there?”
“Roboppy, I’m not changing with you in the room.”
“Why not?! You used to all the time when we lived together!” The small SOLtis pouted at him looking disappointed with him, and before Yusaku could tell them it wasn’t the same as when they were a little maid bot a look of understanding came into their face.
“You’re-You’re stalling! You just don't want to wear them! Hah, I see now.” Roboppy rolled up their sleeves revealing the seams and joints on their body. Their whole body language becoming aggressive making Yusaku backup with more than a little bit of fear.
“Very well Master, I’ll dress you~”
Ai stared at the mirror wondering if there was anything else that could cover up the glow from his neck. Even with the darkest sweater, he could find, it still light through the fabric mocking him.
He already thinks this whole excursion is a terrible idea. Exposing Yusaku to the world, the same world that wanted him gone because Ai wasn’t human. The same world that would kill Yusaku for protecting him. It just made Ai want to keep Yusaku inside, where he was safe, where no one can hurt him-
Frustrated, Ai ripped off the damn cloth looking for something else.
He hadn’t really think hard of his fashion choices to interact with humans, wanted to look showy and menacing so only sticking to the one outfit. (It’s not like got dirty like humans after all). And even then Yusaku was right it was a deliberate rip off of one of the main characters from his favorite soap opera.
Honestly, Yusaku has no taste, Bloody Kisses is a wonderful TV show with great drama, amazing character development, a wonderful mystery surrounding the main character Wisteria-
Ugh! He was getting sidetracked!
What was he going to do? He didn’t buy enough clothes during the move over.
Ai sighed before something peaked from under the pile of accessories pulling at it his eyes widened as he realized what it was. He nearly crowed with victory and took out a dark pink sweater and a black jacket to go with his black slacks.
Hanging the jacket off his shoulder and clasping the chain to ensure it didn’t fall off. Ai smiled at the scarf wrapped around his neck hiding the jewel.
Ai strolled out the room remembering his wallet and went to the kitchen area where he was sure Roboppy was keeping Yusaku hostage. Heh, oh how the tables have turned~ But they do it out of love, and Yusaku already proved he was terrible at taking care of himself. Ergo the job now falls to the ever-lovable Ai and his sidekick Roboppy.
He paused though as took in the sight before him, Yusaku was at the table sulking wearing his new clothes(he looked so cute in them! It was strange to see him in anything besides his uniform and pj’s though). He looked like a ruffled chicken and Ai was pretty sure he was pouting.
Roboppy, on the other hand, looked incredibly smug as they were serving their human’s meal. Their own holographic hair tousled, and their jacket askew.
What the hell happened while he was changing?
“Oi, Aniki, come sit! We need to plan out where we’re going today,” Roboppy placed miso soup, rice, pickled veggies, and fish in front of Yusaku who looked more than a little mystified. It’s probably because he's used to Roboppy trying to stuff him full till he bursts. That was an awkward and funny incident Ai recorded into his memory, walking in on Yusaku ontop of the fridge kicking a leg at the tiny maid bot who was swinging a ladle.
“Ah yeah, we should get clothes by the way we’re going to be moving around a lot. Plus the weather is getting colder,” Ai sat right next to Yusaku who was devouring his breakfast. The teen stopped though and looked at Ai in confusion his cheeks still stuffed with food.
Oh, that is a dangerous sight for Ai’s metaphorical heart.
“You don’t have jackets and just recovered from an infection. We are sooo not going through that twice plus Neo Domino is more coastal after the Natural disaster that hit here years ago.” Reaching out he plucked some rice from his Origins face enjoying the flush that overcame him. Yusaku ate more slowly after that.
“Oooo, they have a huge shopping district next to the Kaiba Dome, we can even past by the Black Clown shop and get the newest video games!” Roboppy bounced in their chair as they pulled a list out of nowhere. A holographic tablet bringing up the hundreds of sites in the city.
“There’s also a Turbo duel expo going on tomorrow, Dalia Atlas is dueling an up and coming Turbo Duelist from Miami city. The show will be free to anyone who wants to see~” Roboppy pulled up an image of an incredibly tall woman with long dark hair, pale skin, and purple eyes, and the cockiest smirk on her face that could give Revolver a run for his money. She wore a black racing uniform with blue designs and blue racing boots standing right next to a wicked-looking C-style Duel Runner.
Next to her image was another woman, much younger though with green hair and light green highlights, orange eyes. A pink and blue racing uniform looking confident right next to a clearly homemade white and blue duel runner.
“Also the Kaiba Dome, where Noah Kaiba will be revealing a new online virtual game known as Duel Links. From what I read the company has been waiting for the patent on Link Vrains to expire for a while now. This new game is supposed to be safer than Vrain’s but focus more on dueling, you can even use physical cards!” A new article replaced the other one showing a young manga with green two-toned hair and blue-gray eyes.
He was definitely a Kaiba even if you never heard of one he radiated arrogance and pride even in his still picture. Next to him was a mischievous looking old man, on the smaller side. The younger man’s grandfather Mokuba Kaiba.
“...There is also a place I wanted to go…” Ai and Roboppy turned to Yusaku who suddenly looked a little more self-conscious. He dialed it back not wanting to take back his suggestion but also felt wary. Yusaku may have agreed to stay with them, to trust Ai.
Yet Ai can’t shake the feeling from earlier of hiding Yusaku from the world, to keep him where he would be safe. Where no one but him and Robppy could see him-
“There an old computer ally who lives in Domino, I wanted to meet them after the Tower of Hanoi to thank them for helping me learn how to hack…”Yusaku was genuine he was even fidgeting and… Actually it just occurred to Ai that he never knew how Yusaku learned what he did. He just assumed Kusanagi was the only one who knew how but Yusaku had to have some knowledge beforehand.
“Alright then! On the List, it goes,” Roboppy didn’t even think twice and slapped it on the list of places to go. Yusaku didn’t even tell them where! But the lively robot maid had taken the empty bowls leaving the two. He tried not to look but Yusaku’s stare was hard to ignore on the best of days.
“...I’m not planning on leaving Ai…”
He was an open book, this is new territory and it’s making him slip up. Ai was better at hiding things but now his emotions are frazzled by his new knowledge and he just can’t think straight, and the world is dangerous, far too dangerous for Yusaku to live in, Aineedstohidehimaway-
A small hesitant touch brought him out of his spiraling thoughts before a hand wrapped itself around his own forcing them to stop.
“I’m not going anywhere.” More adamant more sure but softer too.
“If you wish to change his fate, you must remember there is a world outside of your city, outside of Link Vrains. And that the world itself is far too strange for things like your simulations to be set in stone.” A strong older voice spoke authoritative and sure, as if Ai’s fears could be done away with by magic.
And maybe they could be…
Ai didn’t reply but he squeezed back and let himself soak in Yusaku’s very alive presence right next to him.
Yusaku felt an uneasiness fill him as they walked out of the apartment complex, already feeling eyes on them. He felt so out of place but Ai and Roboppy carried on without a care in the world.
Currently the little robot was swinging their arms, insisting they hold Yusaku’s hand while they explored. Ai was beside the both of them looking relaxed and much more calmer than when he was at the table.
The apartment was in the heart of the city having access to near everything. Ai seemed to have planned it so they wouldn’t have to rely too much on transportation. Easier to get around when people can’t use a car to track you or the trains camera’s to find you.
“Let’s go to the Duel Link reveal! I want to see how it’s going to work since Vrains is currently the biggest duel network platform. I heard this had been in the making for some years and based off a virtual reality game Kaiba Corp originally made.” Yusaku gave a smile as Roboppy rambled about the RPG origin of Duel Link and how a malfunction caused a whole island to explode.
Luckily no one was killed but it still a scary thought.
It took a bit of walking though to get to the Kaiba Dome, the whole place was crowded with people standing outside. Food vendors were enticing customers with food, merchants selling their charms and booster packs. Cosplayers out and about letting people take pictures with them or recreating famous duels. They were even carnival games and lotteries to keep people busy until the actual showing happens.
It looked liked the inside was full though as many guards were at the entrance we’re people we’re trying to bargain and negotiate getting in. Luckily it was also being streamed onto the large outside TVs.
“It seems it hasn’t started yet, let’s walk around and-” Ai was cut off when Roboppy squealed and pointed at a carnival game of water guns. “Let’s do that first!” Honestly at the rate the little bot was going to yank Yusaku’s arm out from all their tugging.
And that is what they went on doing for the next hour until Ai finally put his foot showing some mercy on Yusaku’s behalf. Well, and he’s pretty sure he’s tired of being forced to play pack mule for all of Roboppy’s prizes.
Why is there so much Blue-Eyes White Dragon merch? Isn’t that card overrated anyways? Only three left in the world and they’re all owned by Kaiba Corp.
Yusaku took out Ai’s bank card and bought himself some Takoyaki, and then froze.
Forcibly un-tensing himself he opened his ears to the surrounding and let himself play calm while he turned, looking for all the world as if he was searching for his wayward family.
Someone was watching him.
He can’t find them, but his senses are running rampant. Popping another Octopus ball in his mouth Yusaku tried to pinpoint where it was coming from when someone ran into him from behind.
The feeling vanishes only for a new happier one to replace it. It felt like his Link sense but all over and it felt warm and bubbly.
“MANA! You apologize to that young man right now! Oh, sir, I am so sorry!” A tall light tanned skinned man with black hair skidded in front of Yusaku bowing repeatedly. Standing up to his full height made Yuskau feel incredibly small, which is no easy feat. He might even taller than Ai! A new feeling battle with the previous one but it felt older and hints of something friendly but dark was playing at his senses.
What is up with his link sense today?
“I’m sorry Papa! I just wanted to see the Silent Magician Cosplayer.” He then turned to the small platinum blonde-haired and blue-eyed pale girl still clinging to him. She looked about his age if younger. Maybe a first year?
She was dragged from him and forced to bow.
“Apologize! I told you not to run, Mokuba had your seats saved anyway!” Hearing an exasperated sigh, the girl threw her arms at the sides and yelled her apology loudly.
Yusaku felt a little bad and felt awkward they were making a scene for something small. What strange people.
The two finally stopped bowing.
“I am really sorry, I didn’t mean to run into you.”
“It’s fine no one got hurt anyway.” Yusaku shrugged, the father seemed to have relaxed a little. But the man seemed like he had a steel pole in his back and incredibly anxious all the same. His daughter was the complete opposite without a care in the world.
Still, the feeling went away and he’s not sure if its a good or bad thing.
“Yusaku!” Roboppy crashed into him looking worried and nearly crushed him into a hug. Ai was right behind them looking calmer only worried as well.
“You just vanished on us! Seriously, let us know where you are going next time!”Ai huffed, and what the hell did he mean by that? Yusaku was just at the Takoyaki vendo-
Turning Yusaku saw he wasn’t where he was originally and the takoyaki vendor had vanished. He was right there! Had been right next to that Silent Magician cosplayer.
“Hey, is he okay? He looks a bit spooked.”
Staring at the empty spot once more Yuskau just resolved that maybe he just misremembered, or the takoyaki vendor had moved while he was talking with the father-daughter duo.
“Sorry, I must still be sick I thought I hallucinated something…”
The girl, Mana, popped up in front of his face hand on her chin before nodding as if confirming something. She let out a big smile and took his hands.
“I’m sorry for running into you again. I didn’t realize you were sick. Let me make it up to you! My friends had to ditch me so, I have some open seats in the showing, you and your fam can come with.” Before Yusaku could refuse, after all a stranger was offering him another stranger seats inside an expensive unveiling there was no way there wasn’t a catch.
“Ah! That’s a wonderful idea, I would be honored if you accepted," The three shared a look almost silent communication going between them. Ai finally smiled and nodded and Yusaku sighed realized he lost.
And suddenly they were caught up in this whirlwind of a teenager who somehow roped them all into taking pictures with the Silent magician cosplayer. The older man, Tumaini, has his hands in his face the whole time both in embarrassment and being camera shy.
The cosplayer didn’t mind or speak hugging everyone. A calm energy about her seemed to put everyone at ease. Honestly this is the most accurate one he’s ever seen. Yusaku is pretty sure their as tall as the actual duel monster they’re dressing up as…
“Welcome everyone to the unveiling of Duel Links!” A roaring cheer nearly deafened Roboppy and they had to dial their hearing settings more than little. Sheesh, humans were so loud. Good thing Master was such a nice and quiet human never screaming loud like them.
Roboppy was seated between the girl they met and Yusaku. Ai on the other end of him and the girl next to her father. The stadium had dimmed quieting the crowd as the presentation began.
They may have forgotten their names already…
“As you know Link Vrains has been the growing King of Online Dueling, due to its personal in touch technology allowing the user to transfer their consciousness into an artificial data body. Thus enabling to do feats once previously unheard of with Virtual reality.” That green two-toned haired guy on stage looked like he was about to roll his eyes and laugh which made Roboppy wonder what was so funny.
They have yet to fully grasp humor.
“However… Sol technology has proven in the past five years it is unable to fully bring Link Vrains to its full potential. With failure after failure to defeat and crush Hanoi, a famous online terrorist group-” A loud riot of boos and angered cries of agreement echoed in the stadium making Roboppy shiver with delight. They were never too fond of Revolver and his band of idiots. Having cause their Master and friend so much distress.
It was good to know others also felt the same.
“As I can see even here, there has been much discontent. Various Glitches, serious security and safety concerns. I mean people of all kinds were falling into coma’s left-right nearly over half a year ago! The network was as we know it was nearly destroyed. And What did Sol do?” A hushed silence, they could feel Yusaku fidgeting in his seat. The tension in the air was rising making Roboppy feel like their hologram was fritzing.
“A pathetic attempt with rudimentary AI’s after replacing their long time Security chief. It’s a sad day and age when we can’t trust corporations to even do the bare bones anymore.” Green haired man shook his head as if truly disappointed before turning to the screen. The room darkened and-
Roboppy froze in their seat and felt Yusaku do the same. They turned to their Master and Aniki who both had shocked faces at the avatars being holographically displayed.
On the stage was Master’s Avatar form Playmaker. Alongside him was Blue Angel and Go Onizuka before he became a Bounty hunter.
“It took the efforts of 3 heroic teenagers to save the network, key among them Playmaker. And as amazing as it was, this should have been prevented so our bright and young wouldn't have to be constantly saving the world.”
“And that is why I bring you here today, to offer a far better, safer, more secure alternative to Link Vrains. DUEL LINKS!”
The Avatar’s disappeared and instead showed a small city like landscape that almost looked like Old Domino city before the natural disaster. The father looked sad as if remembering something fond. Even green-haired man looked sad as he looked at the virtual city.
“Duel Links will take you to famous cities like Old Domino city, Maiami, even the ever famous Heartland all from the comfort of your own home. Participate in real-life events even when you can’t physically go. Know that you are safe and secure with Kaiba Corps and Industrial Illusions teams keeping everything nice and tight.”
“This will become the Duelists playground, to hone your skills into sharp weapons to take down your enemies. And if you are a beginner even begin to hone it”
A twist of his foot and he bowed to the audience. The roar was deafening as a new image appeared where test duelists rode and fought alongside their humans. Peaks at events and prizes. And shadow figures and in-game only characters.
“A game where only the strong and cunning may have it all…”
Yusaku sat down in the seat in the Dark Clown game shop absolutely tired. Seeing his face on the stage sent shivers down his spine. Luckily due to his Avatars outrageous colors and much more solid body no one would look twice at Yusaku.
It’s the little details.
Now thought Ai and Roboppy we’re running around the shop with glee both never having been in a toy store anymore. Yusaku looked up the place originally it was just a game store except the owner’s son took over and turned it into a Toy store later on his life after the natural disaster leveled the place. Kaiba Corp had to pitch in with the rebuilding efforts as the city council didn’t have enough money to do so with the relief efforts.
That would explain why so many of the buildings we’re various shades of white, blue and, at least.
It warmed Yusaku seeing them so carefree, even after all that has happened. Even Ai seems to have lost his melancholy and paranoid mood to indulge himself. So Yusaku was left in the waiting area with their prizes.
They left the Kaiba dome more than a little nervous and awed. Even getting to see a live presentation of how Duel Links works with Test Duelists. The Den City trio thanked the father-daughter duo before splitting ways. The feelings they left lingering on Yusaku in a friendly way.
Yusaku was allowed to take Ai’s phone with a silent request not to call anyone from home. It grated his nerves but he did promise and was thus left to his own devices.
He really hopes they don’t get too much stuff, cause Yusaku was damn sure he wasn’t going to help carry it all. They have android strength anyway-
That feeling again! Yusaku slowly turned around in his seat trying to figure out where the watching feeling was coming from but he can’t see anyone looking in his direction. He was getting sick of this! Who is watching him so much to set his nerves on alert like this?
It vanishes again much to his confusion, but his nerves won’t calm at all. Someone is following him and he needs to tell Ai and Roboppy.
“Ah, sorry young man, can I sit next to you?” Yusaku looked up to see a much older man with long gray hair pulled back into a ponytail. He had dice piercings and seems to be holding his hip. He was wearing the employees’ uniform with a manager tag on his breast pocket.
Clearly, the man was tired from working and was probably on break. Seeing all the other seats occupied he nodded and scooted to make room.
“Thank you. Honestly even with the decrease of interest in physical toys we still get too busy around this time of year. I won’t take long, but these old feet need some rest.”
“It’s no problem at all sir,” The man unceremoniously plopped down and Yuskau went back to scrolling on the phone while his head raced not really able to concentrate on what he was reading. He wanted to find Ai and Roboppy right and get them out of here, Yusaku didn’t feel safe-
“Hey, are you reading about the Old Domino Disaster?” The old man asked peering over Yusaku to look at his phone breaking him from his thoughts.
“Uh yes, I heard it was a tsunami and earthquake hitting at once. I felt curious since it sounded too weird to be true. A lot of the articles are inconsistent and the scientists who claimed the causes have been debunked and outed as frauds. So it’s a really weird event-” Yusaku was rambling but he actually really did like researching. He found he had a knack for it as he hunted down Hanoi and even did so as a hobby to keep his mind occupied.
The man didn’t stop Yuskau nodding along to his words and even asking questions here and there. It was weird he never talked this much with anyone before but the man had a calming chill presence. He even asked about Yusakus theories on other popular strange events, like the Missing White dorm kids from Duel Academy, the Heartland Tournament Incident where a boy somehow transformed in the middle of a duel, and even the disappearing city of Maiami.
“-So with Maiami I think the Solid vision system malfunction since it was originally widespread in the city and interconnected. The main system crashed and made a field illusion over the city making it seem like it disappeared”
“Holy shit, I never thought of it like that. You’re a really smart kid.” Yusaku flushed at the genuine praise not really used to it outside of being Playmaker and well Kusanagi. Think about the man-made Yusaku feel melancholy and homesick.
“Ah, hey kid, I didn’t mean to make you sad…”
“No sorry it’s not you, I’m just feeling a bit weird.”
“Ah, I see, traveling a lot?”
“It’s my first time leaving my city”
“The first time is always the hardest, but ya can’t fight where the wind takes ya. It will drag you out anyway” The old man patted his back with knowing grin. “Besides I get the feeling you’ll see whoever you’re missing eventually. Take heart that all separations are never forever.”
The old man stood up his wrist ringing tell him to go back to work. He gave Yusaku a salute and walked off before he realized he never asked for his name. The terrible feeling from earlier vanished and feel he could finally enjoy his peace and quiet.
“MASTER! TELL ANIKI TO LET ME KEEP THE FRIGHTFUR BEAR PLUSHIE-”
“IT’S BIG AND CREEPY AND I REFUSE TO CARRY IT!”
Chapter 10: Three To A Table
Takeru is worried but not, Jin Betrays Takeru, and Shoichi just wanted to tease the boy why the hell did this conversation get so heavy?
Takeru stared down at his drink a feeling of defeat filled him. None of them had even thought that Ai would actually take Yusaku out of the city, their confidence being their down fall for not watching ways that he could leave. Of course he would leave, especially if he knew they would take Yusaku from him (Or in Revolvers case take him out).
Now they are who knows where and there back where they started with no answers, no Ai, and no Yusaku.
He is so damn tired of being a step behind. Takeru may not be the most technologically knowledgeable but he isn’t stupid. Ai’s behavior did a whole one eighty, two weeks ago. Beforehand he was doing everything he can to rile everyone up, Putting Queen in a coma and then later killing her in her sleep .
Takeru felt himself shudder when Revolver sent the message a week ago that after most of the scientists that were kidnapped were released without their memories, Queen was declared brain dead in her hospital. A strange electric anomaly that fried her while she had laid in a coma. After words the ones that hadn’t come back we’re starting to show up dead.
If there wasn’t a reason to fear Ai before, knowing what he was capable of without even being in the room was scary as hell.
Still, would he ever actually turn that scary on Yusaku? Relief filled Takeru two days ago when Revolver informed him that his friend had been sick while in Ai’s care. Which lines up to the bottle of cold and flu he found under the bed that was near empty. Taker had gone back to look for clues and confirmed that yes Yusaku was sick when he was taken. It also explained why he didn’t escape already, cause not even a steel door would prevent Yusaku from leaving if he damn well wanted to leave.
He feels like he should be more worried about Ai’s plans but in reality he was just happy Yusaku was okay and being taken care of. Takeri wished he had gotten to him sooner and be the one to take care of him instead. Now he’s being trapezed all over Japan-
A cold drink pressed against his cheek startling him and caused Takeru turned to see Shoichi looking down at him with a questioning look on his face. Jin already sitting down on the opposite side his favorite blanket around his shoulders.
“Here take this. You’re thinking so hard I’m pretty sure I could hear you in the truck.” Shoichi joked as he sat down next to Takeru handing him some tomato soup. It was getting colder so Shoichi was adding more food to his menu to help people combat it.
‘Still worried about Fujiki?’ Jin passed his notepad over for him to see, ah so he was obvious about it seems.
“Yeah, but not as much as before. I can at least take heart that Ai is taking care of him. Even if he did kidnap him…” Takeru’s face soured at that while Jin was blank. He probably doesn't remember either of his kidnappings, good for him. Takeru still doesn’t want to but alas.
“I wish I could say was relieved, but Ai still took him out and now the trail is cold until the Knights or Ghost girl and Blood Sheppard get more clues. Ai made sure we wouldn’t be able to follow him. The flight he was on? Had several connecting flights to other cities, which also had connecting flights.” Kusanagi cursed looking frustrated and worried, the bags under his eyes more prominent now that he was close enough to see them.
Jin leaned over patting his brothers hand with practiced ease that suggested this wasn’t the first time. Taking back his notepad he scribbled more down before pausing and then giving it back to him.
‘There is something I don’t understand, when Queen was put in a coma and then killed. All her stocks went to Akira, but somehow Ai is buying all the other stocks up that they don’t own. How did he even get this money?’
That was also a troubling thin that had them stumped. Revolver and his Hanoi team had all found multiple accounts filed an insane amount of money. Money Ai legally shouldn’t be able to have but does. All the deposits we’re legal and under different names, and all transactions were not only in person but in cash.
Every time they try to get a picture of the person depositing the money the video blurs.
“It’s the most amazing program I have ever encountered, I have never seen anything like it. If I was superstitious I would call it magic…” The older mans head thunked onto the table muttering about ‘bullshit coding’ and ‘Ai and his stupid Ignis algorithms’.
“.....Wait, why would anyone fund Ai? How did he even convince whoever is? No one outside of SOL, Hanoi, and us should know anything about the Ignis after all.”
“No clue, but whoever it is seems to be loaded. They gave Ai millions!-”
Jin held up a finger cutting off what was probably a rant, Shoichi had sat up with a crazed look in his eyes.
‘....Do you think its blood money?’
The two froze as Jin’s question staring at the innocent letters.
‘I mean, Ai originally just put Queen in a coma after all. If he wanted her dead. Wouldn’t he have just done that in the first place? Why bother keeping her alive? And then the scientists a week ago, most came back alive if memory wiped. The ones that didn’t are still showing up dead.’
‘Is it possible Ai got paid to kill them off?’
Takeru can’t fucking breathe.
Oh, God it made sense. Ghost girl didn’t kill but Blood Sheppard does, and the man is LOADED. He was more open about the nastier parts of his job after the group was brain storming of what Ai could do to Yusaku.
He threw up when he came out of Vrains, the mental images were too much. While he knows Ai wouldn’t do that to Yusaku, knowing other people could do that to anyone scared him.
Oh, God, Ai, what did you get yourself into?
“You know, this isn’t how I wanted this conversation to go. I came here to tease Takeru about that lovesick forlorn look he was sporting today” Kusanagi sighed into hand looking sour.
Takeru's head turned so quick he was sure he game himself whiplash. The brothers wore matching shit eating grins on their faces. His own turning red an tomato as he caught on to what Shoichi just said.
“W-Wait, hold on. I don’t have lovesick look-”
“You so do! You even sighed like Lady Angelina Azul about her love, Siren~”Oh god that's right somehow someway Ai roped Shoichi into watching Bloody Kisses, that trashy romance soap opera. It was about Vampires and humans, and how they can’t live together. But one of the protags, A-mor, was hellbent on making Wisteria his. Takeru never watched and refuses too but Ai and somehow Yusaku do so he kept hearing about it.
Ugh, what was the appeal?
‘It could be worse, he could have compared you to Bullet.’
“Jin you watch it too!?! I thought we had a solidarity against it!”
‘I had to break it, I was home alone and went through all my anime. I was desperate and Shoichi had the first season recorded.’
“This betrayal hurts I hope you now that.”
Jin shrugged as if he hadn’t just thrown their pact to never watch it into the trash.
“Stop changing the subject, anyhoo~ This little sighing wouldn’t have anything to do with Yusaku, would it?”Takeru was going to disown Shoichi as his friend, but considering the growing devious smiles he’s pretty sure his face already gave them their answer.
“You know Takeru, You have a really good chance…”
“I’d rather not make my friendship with Yusaku awkward Kusanagi,” Takeru stared into his drink. He already had a crush on Yusaku when he first saw him, thinking the blue and pink haired boy to be very cute. But it just kept growing along with his feelings for-
Takeru shook his head hard, no, not right now.
“Right now we have more important things to focus on anyway”
“Just saying, that if you ever wanted to try. I’m very assured Yusaku wouldn’t say know. If it helps he thinks you got a cute nerd look and ears.”
A hoarse laugh accompanied Kusanagi's as Takeru felt steam exploded from his face.