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Never the Right Time

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Ryoga leaves Yuma’s house hating himself, because he knows he’s going to have to tell Yuma sooner or later and just when he thought he had the courage to tell him, Yuma starts crying again because of Astral so Ryoga just kind of hugs him awkwardly and lets Yuma wipe snot and tears all over his jacket and decides that he should wait a little longer because he’s pretty sure Yuma doesn’t even have the emotional capability to deal with Astral’s death right now, let alone what Ryoga needs to dump on him.

But he needs to dump it on someone because it’s destroying him and he’s scared because he had to watch his sister die in a past life and he’s even more terrified because he knows he died too and he doesn’t want to know how.

He’s about to climb on his bike and go for an aimless ride around the city when Kaito arrives with his ridiculous wannabe-superhero flying mechanism and lands next to him.

“Yuma?” Kaito asks and Ryoga just kind of shakes his head and looks at the ground. 

Kaito glances at Yuma’s house, where they both hear someone throwing things and looks like he wants to barge in there and shake Yuma but Ryoga shuffles his feet until he’s standing between Kaito and the house, and Kaito lets out a frustrated sigh. 

“Have you been crying too?”

Anyone would possibly tear up after a friend dies and another friend goes through a complete mental breakdown, and Ryoga is no exception. “Shut up.”

Kaito shrugs and turns to go but Ryoga is struck with the overwhelming desire to talk to someone about what’s bothering him, and he feels like he can trust Kaito after all they've been through so he tells Kaito to wait.

Kaito pauses and lifts an eyebrow.

“I…” Ryoga makes a weird flapping motion with his hands and shoves them in his pockets because that probably looks really stupid but he can’t look at Kaito because he’s about to ask for help and Ryoga Kamishiro does not ask Kaito Tenjo for help. “I need to talk to you about something.”

He feels like crap because he can feel his face turning red from the embarrassment but Kaito sighs again and holds his hand out like well?

“Can we go somewhere else?” Ryoga suggests and Kaito narrows his eyes in irritation but assents. 

They walk along in silence for a while, and Ryoga’s hands get sweaty as he pushes his bike along and his chest feels constricted and he has the entire conversation he’s about to have mapped in his head and as soon as they reach a secluded part of the walkway by the canal he stops and takes a deep breath. 

Kaito interrupts before he can say what he plans on saying. “If you’re going to tell me you think you like Yuma, save it, because I already know.”

That isn’t what Ryoga expects Kaito to say and words fail him as he stares at Kaito with his mouth half-open while Kaito stares right back impassively. 

“How… that’s not… that’s not what this is about!” and Ryoga manages to put a credible amount of annoyance in his voice as he crosses his arms. 

“Then get to the damn point because I don’t have all day to stand here waiting for you to figure out what you want to say.” He mutters something that sounds like damn middle school kids but Ryoga clenches his fists and manages to blurt it out, except it’s undignified and high-pitched and quivering and nothing at all like he’d been rehearsing it in his head.

“I’m a Barian.”

There, he has Kaito’s attention now, and Kaito’s eyes widen. There’s a long pause as they stare at each other, Ryoga clenching his fists and Kaito leaning on the railing with pretended casualness.

Finally, Kaito looks away. “I… had a feeling that was the case.”

“You what-” and Ryoga’s angry now because it took him a lot of guts to tell someone and it was supposed to feel better but now he’s feeling slighted because Kaito is surprised that he told him but not surprised at the fact that Ryoga Kamishiro, the angry teenage kid who proclaims from rooftops that he’s going to kick every Barian I meet’s ass, is actually not only a Barian, but a high-ranking Barian lord. 

“Yuma told me about your sister’s… premonitions. And about how you somehow managed to restore Durbe’s broken bracelet just by touching him.”

“And you figured that I was a Barian emperor from that how?”

Kaito shrugs again. “Maybe not that you were one of them, but that you had something to do with the Barian World.”

Ryoga goes to sit on his bike, misses, and almost falls over, but composes himself before Kaito turns back around. 

“When did you find out?” Kaito sounds weary.

Ryoga grips his bike’s handlebar and recounts the story of the undersea palace, and how Rio was possessed, and Vector showing up and how Rio killed herself to save him…

“Except I didn’t see the end of the vision,” he says quietly, “so I don’t know how I died.”

“Do you want to know?”

Does anyone want to know how they are to die? Would anyone want to know how they died in a past life? It was no wonder the other Barians were denying it. “Yuma doesn’t know about it.”

“Were you planning on telling him?”

“I couldn’t. He’s going through enough.”

Kaito nods and stares out at the canal again. “You’re going to have to tell him sooner or later.”

Ryoga knows, and he feels a sickening lurch in his stomach even though he feels a little lighter inside, with his secret finally out there, and Kaito doesn't hate him or look at him in disgust. He and Kaito stand in silence, not looking at one another, as Ryoga fervently hopes that when the time was right, it wouldn’t be too late.