“I love you so much Ai,” cooed Yusaku, caressing Ai’s cheeks softly. “I’m so glad you’re back.”
For months Yusaku had searched feverishly for the missing Ignis, delving into the very depths Link VRAINS for even the barest sign of life.
And then, he found him and Yusaku thought he would burst with joy. Ai was alive!
For weeks Yusaku nursed Ai’s data as he worked to repair him, to return him to how he had been. He even managed to get his hands on a SOLtis for Ai once his data was restored.
Lovingly he cared for it, clothed it and cleaned it before eventually loading Ai’s restored consciousness into it.
“Yusaku…” Ai looked up at him as his Origin settled in his lap, smiling at him.
“You love me too don’t you?” asked Yusaku, cupping Ai’s face and tilting it up to face him.
“Of course Yusaku.”
Yusaku smiled and leaned down, pressing their lips together softly, his chest pressed against Ai’s, the SOLtis’ internal fans whirring and humming at their closeness.
Ai wasn’t sure what to think when he woke up, mainly due to the fact that he wasn’t supposed to wake up. But there he was, awake as a pile of data inside Yusaku’s duel disk.
Yusaku was diligent, working around the clock to help him, and talking to him softly as he worked. Telling him how glad he was to have him back, how they could finally be together.
It was nice to hear Yusaku’s voice, to hear his name again. Ai could listen to him forever.
Before Ai knew it, Yusaku was loading his data into his SOLtis body. Finally, finally he could touch Yusaku again; could hold him.
“Hey there Ai, welcome back.” Yusaku’s voice was warm and pleasant to his ears and he was glad it was the first thing he heard in his new body.
As his senses slowly returned to his body he noticed something, something off that he hadn’t noticed before while inside the duel disk. He couldn’t feel the network at all.
“Yusaku,” he began. “Why can’t I feel the network?”
“Oh. I cut your connection to it,” replied Yusaku with a smile, his almost chipper tone sending a shiver down Ai’s spine. He’d never seen Yusaku smile like that before, or sound like that. He looked and sounded happy but it felt wrong, so very, very wrong. “After all, I can’t have you disappearing into it and running off on me again now can I?” Yusaku crouched down to be at eye level with Ai, who was still sitting on the floor, propped up against the wall. “I finally got you back Ai, I’m not about to lose you again.”
That should have sounded reassuring, so why did Ai feel so unsettled?
It wasn’t that Ai wanted to leave Yusaku, but being disconnected from the network felt so wrong. It was like something was missing, like one of his senses had been cut off. He needed to find a way to connect back up, to have access to Link VRAINS. So when Yusaku left for school, Ai leapt into action.
He made a beeline for Yusaku’s computer, flicking it to life as he planted himself in the chair. Maybe he wasn’t connected to the network anymore but the computer would be, and that was all he needed.
Ai frowned as he found himself greeted to a login screen, needing a username and password to proceed any further. When had Yusaku done that? Ai couldn’t remember ever seeing it locked like this before.
Well, it was no matter, hacking was no issue for him, he was a computer program after all, no matter what he looked like. Luckily, Yusaku hadn’t done anything to the ports on the computer, so he still had access to those. If he couldn’t get into Link VRAINS he’d at least settle for getting into Yusaku’s computer.
He reached for an open USB port, felt a tiny spark of static and, nothing. Ai frowned and poked it again, and again. Still nothing happened, no more so than if he’d just poked a wall. That wasn’t right, he should have been able to just slip out of the SOLtis and into the computer.
‘ Yusaku, what did you do to me? ’
If hacking in the Ignis way wasn’t going to work then he was going to have to do it the old fashioned way, which shouldn’t be too hard, after all he knew Yusaku, so guessing his login information was easy.
It was not in fact easy.
Whatever Yusaku had chosen as his login information, Ai just couldn’t seem to crack it. Everything he tried just came back as incorrect. He groaned as he let his head hit the desk, wondering if Yusaku had just used a keysmash.
It was strange, why would Yusaku encrypt his home computer? All he really had on it was homework, all his hacking related work, at least the important stuff, was kept on his laptop, which he kept on him at all times. That much Ai remembered, having snooped among Yusaku’s files in the past for anything juicy he could use to tease him with. Sadly his origin was very boring and there was no secret stash of anything to be found, just homework and not secret coding work, all of which was so very dull.
So, clearly there had to be something really juicy hidden on the computer now that he didn’t want Ai to see. Why else would he password protect it so heavily? Maybe he really did have a hidden porn stash now, that would be something. He supposed he would just have to wait for Yusaku to get home to ask him.
After all, surely Yusaku wouldn’t have locked it for any other reason, right?
“Why were you trying to get on my computer?” asked Yusaku.
“I was bored,” whined Ai as he sprawled out on Yusaku’s bed dramatically.
“And my computer is fun? You know there’s no games on there,” said Yusaku with a sigh as he dropped his school bag on the floor by the chair. It was true, despite Ai’s best efforts Yusaku didn’t even have Solitaire on his computer.
“I know, but I was bored. So, what don’t you want me to see on there?” he asked, resting his cheek on his hand as he rolled onto his side. He grinned mischievously, “You got a secret stash of p-”
Yusaku glowered at him, cheeks dusted an embarrassed red and for a moment Ai thought he was in the clear. Then, before could react, Yusaku was suddenly nose to nose with him, hands on his shoulders.
Ai squeaked out a strangled ‘Yusaku’ as his fans whirred to life in a desperate attempt to cool him down.
“Why would I need anything like that, when I have you?” asked Yusaku, pushing Ai onto his back as he sat in his lap, grip tightening on Ai’s shoulders. “You know, you, left before I had a chance to say anything, before I could tell you. I love you Ai.”
The declaration caught Ai off guard and he had no time to prepare before Yusaku leaned in and closed the gap between them, pressing their lips together.
There were a lot of things he had expected for Yusaku to say and do, and this was by far, not among them.
Yusaku’s lips were so soft against his, soft and gentle and Ai wanted to reach up and hold him. But Yusaku’s grip on his shoulders was surprisingly strong, pinning him to the mattress as Yusaku kissed him.
“Yusaku…” He breathed out Yusaku’s name against his lips when they parted.
“I love you Ai. I love you so much, that’s why I can’t lose you again,” said Yusaku, lifting one hand to caress Ai’s cheek. “You have no idea how lonely I was after you left.”
Yusaku leaned in and nuzzled him, pressing a kiss to Ai’s cheek as he released his shoulders before moving to curl up on him, head fitting under Ai’s chin. “So don’t leave me again, ok Ai?” he asked, although for some reason, it didn’t sound like a question, but more like a command.
As they lay in silence Ai realized that Yusaku had managed to skirt around the question of why his computer was now password protected. He started to open his mouth to ask again only for Yusaku to break the silence, as if reading his mind.
“The apartment complex had a break in a few weeks ago,” he said.
“A break in?”
Yusaku nodded. “Not my apartment but someone else’s. But I figured I should take precautions nonetheless, make it worthless for anyone to steal. That’s all it is, there’s nothing interesting on there. So don’t worry about it, alright?”
“Can you unlock it now, since I’m here? Waiting for you is boring,” said Ai, wrapping his arms around Yusaku.
Yusaku ‘hmm’ed’ thoughtfully. “I’ll think about it.”
Despite saying he would think about it, Ai didn’t see Yusaku make any moves towards the computer the whole evening, and before he knew it Yusaku was getting ready for bed and the computer was still locked.
“Ai.” Yusaku patted the spot next to him on the bed, and Ai tilted his head in confusion. “Come to bed,” said Yusaku.
“You want me in your bed? How lewd.”
He sighed dramatically as he unbuttoned his jacket, draping it over the chair. “Well if you’re going to twist my arm about it, I suppose I can join you.”
Stepping out of his boots he crawled into bed beside Yusaku, who quickly wrapped his arms around him, snuggling into his chest.
“I’m so glad you’re back Ai,” he murmured. “I was so worried that I might never see you again.”
A twinge of guilt twisted up inside of Ai and he pressed a light kiss to Yusaku’s forehead. “Well I’m here now, and your dear Ai-chan isn’t going anywhere.”
Ai had originally planned to snoop in Yusaku’s laptop while he was asleep, but that idea was quickly dashed as Yusaku fell asleep with his arms wrapped around Ai like a vine of ivy. There was no way Ai was escaping without waking Yusaku up.
Oh well, it wasn’t like cuddling Yusaku was the worst fate imaginable.
If Ai couldn’t relieve his boredom by hooking up to the network of Link VRAINS, then he could at least go for a walk (and maybe find somewhere else to hook himself up). At least, that was the plan once he was alone again.
He stared down at the door with a frown. At some point Yusaku had changed the locks on the door. The door was now locked, from the outside, and Ai couldn’t unlock it.
That was strange to say the least.
He could break the door down, but that would definitely make Yusaku mad, plus door repair probably didn’t come cheap. And the windows were too small (and too high up) for him to slip out. And much like the door, breaking those was out of the question as well.
As Ai slid to the floor, back to the wall, realization dawned on him.
He was trapped.
He tried to shake the thought off, surely Yusaku hadn’t done it on purpose. He had just gotten into a habit of locking the door behind him before leaving.
That had to be it.
“I know what we should do Yusaku-chan! We should go out on a date!” said Ai chipperly, hovering over Yusaku while he worked.
“We can’t,” replied Yusaku bluntly.
“Aww why not?”
“Someone might see you and take you away. I’m sure there’s still people out there who would like to get their hands on an Ignis. It’s too risky. We can have a stay at home date instead.”
Locked doors. A locked computer. Cut off from the network and Link VRAINS.
Ai had wanted to believe there were perfectly innocent explanations for these things, and Yusaku did have a perfectly reasonable, innocent answer for everything.
But...he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong.
No, they weren’t answers, they were excuses.
Ai groaned, as his systems rebooted themselves and his vision flickered back to life.
He’d been pestering Yusaku again about going out, surely if they covered up the power lights that marked him as a SOLtis it would be ok. He’d even offered to go pick up take out for Yusaku instead so that his Origin could put his feet.
But once again, Yusaku said no, citing that it wasn’t safe for him and that he could do it himself.
Ai had insisted and even got up to start towards the door. Then he felt Yusaku’s hands on him then everything went dark.
Yusaku had shut him down. He’d never had any reason to think Yusaku would do anything like that to him, so he was wholly unprepared when Yusaku got the drop on him and everything went dark.
He was sitting on the floor, still, his back against the wall and arms pulled up over his head and restrained. Tilting his head back, Ai caught a glimpse of chains running from his arms to the wall. Ah, that explained why he couldn’t move his arm. Or stand up, he may have been an android but even his arms wouldn’t bend that way. They would either break or ruin the joints if he tried.
He wasn’t sure where (or how) Yusaku had gotten the chains and he wasn’t sure he wanted to know. Just as he wasn't sure he wanted to know how Yusaku knew how to use them.
The floor creaked as Yusaku came into his line of sight before sitting down, positioning himself so he was in Ai’s lap.
“I don’t want to have to do this Ai,” said Yusaku, running his fingers along the manacles on Ai’s wrists and up along the thick chains that connected to the wall, tugging them slightly and pulling on Ai’s arms in the process. “But I just can’t have you escaping and running away you see.”
Ai squirmed futilely as Yusaku’s hands slid down, cupping his face and tilting it up towards his.
“After all, I just got you back. Besides, it’s for your own good really. If anyone were to find out about you, who knows what might happen, what they might do to you. You might even end up like Earth!”
Slender fingers danced over porcelain skin, unblemished despite being roughed up from the fall.
“And more than that, I can’t have you running away from me again, leaving me.”
Ai swallowed hard, he’d never seen Yusaku like this before, it was unnerving, frightening even. There was something about the way he spoke that sent chills down Ai’s spine, despite the soft and gentle tone he used.
“The first time I understand, after all I let you go, you wanted to see your friends and home again, so I get it. But the second time, the second time you didn’t even warn me, you just left, and you took Roboppi with you. And the third time…” Yusaku laughed weakly and shook his head as his thumbs caressed Ai’s cheeks. “The third time you made me destroy you when you came back, how cruel is that? Telling me you love me and then forcing me to destroy you?”
Yusaku ran a hand through Ai’s long, dark hair, smoothing it out gently and brushing loose strands from his face. He sighed as he let his forehead fall against Ai’s.
“I do love you Ai, that’s why I can’t let you go.”
“Yusaku…” Ai’s voice shook slightly as he looked up at his Origin, scared of him for the first time in his life.
“You love me too don’t you?” asked Yusaku, cupping Ai’s face and tilting it so that worried gold eyes met possessive green ones.
Ai could only force back the fear in his voice as he responded. “Of course Yusaku.”
With a smile, Yusaku leaned in and kissed him, sliding their lips together as he leaned against Ai’s chest.
“Don't worry Ai, your dear Yusaku promises to take care of you. Because I love you, and I’m not going to let anything happen to you. I just hope I won’t have to do anything to that pretty voice of yours.”