To ensure Kamishiro Ryouga's continued existence, IV is a necessity.
Ryouga is selfish.
(Kamishiro Ryouga is nothing like the guy Durbe compared him to.)
Ryouga would never give his life for Barian World.
(Kamishiro Ryouga was not a king in another life.)
To hold on to these traits, he needs someone who brings out the worst in him.
Someone who is equally selfish, and depends enough on him to go along with this.
Ryouga hates doing this, but that's precisely why it works. It is that selfish.
He traces the scar on his shoulder, sighing in relief when he feels it's still there.
I am Kamishiro Ryouga.
(Sometimes Ryouga wonders if he can really do this to IV, if it's alright to keep this relationship going—
sometimes he wonders if IV knows.)
Ryouga looks over to IV who's sleeping next to him.
IV's been sleeping at Ryouga's place for a week now, on Ryouga's request.
Ryouga strokes IV's hair, eyeing IV's scar, the scar that connects IV to Rio and makes Ryouga wonder if maybe, at least Rio is human. Then again, Rio healed without scars, and it's obvious she's a—
I mustn't think like that, Ryouga interrupts himself. I am Kamishiro Ryouga. Even if my body was that of a Barian, it's not like I...
"What's wrong?" IV cracks open the unscarred eye and looks at Ryouga, a faint expression of worry on his face. "Rio, again?"
"Yeah." This time, it's only half a lie.
"She'll wake up. She did last time, too." IV pulls Ryouga closer, wrapping one arm around him.
Ryouga isn't sure whether IV knows how far Ryouga really is from him or if he's just a cuddly person.
Perhaps it's both.
He looks at anything that isn't IV's eyes, "Yeah."
Softly— in an almost unusual way, because everything of IV is the opposite of soft— IV lifts Ryouga's head a little. "Look, you can't tell me it has nothing to do with me when you avoid eye contact with me all day."
Ryouga wants to say that he'd also avoid eye contact with Yuuma; that the red in their eyes reminds him of the Barians, that one of his own eyes will be red if he accepts this fate, that he can't avoid it for much longer—
Instead of saying any of these, he pulls IV's head down slightly, kissing him.
He can't close his eyes, he can't get lost in it.
I don't even know if I feel anything for this guy.
Part of him wants to say he's at least having a crush, but the part of him that knows he isn't Kamishiro Ryouga tells him that he's lying, that he's just making IV the tool of his self-deception.
IV breaks the kiss, and he whispers against Ryouga's lips, "At least try to come up with another lie, Ryouga."
"What do you want to hear?"
"Something more believable than what you've been telling me for the last nights."
Ryouga feels IV's fingers intertwine with his. "Why?"
"Why are you here if you—"
"You know that all too well." IV's glare is piercing right then.
'You're my first and only friend'. That's what he said.
Ryouga grits his teeth.
IV waits a whole minute, scowling.
Ryouga thinks that even after what IV has done, he doesn't deserve this.
IV sighs. "Fine. Let's go back to sleep."
Given what he dreams of every night, that's no surprise.
Losing Rio, losing himself, losing himself and Rio, looking into the mirror just to see a Barian with one red and one blue eye...
These nightmares won't stop.
Ryouga waits a little, then he quietly gets up and slips out of the house.
Maybe I should visit Rio.
sense fellow Barians
—Rio's sacrifice and her Number and the fact that her eyes are red.
Ryouga's D-Gazer buzzes. He takes the call, assuming it's Kotori (who keeps trying to make him talk to Yuuma) again. "Kotori?"
"Get out of the hospital. We need to talk."
Ryouga sighs, but right now he prefers arguing with IV over thinking any more about this.
"Are you trying to break up with me, but you're too incompetent to say it?"
Kamishiro Ryouga wants to say 'No' and 'don't go', another part of him thinks 'Yes, we might be enemies soon' and 'get lost', and—
"Come with me."
Ryouga feels his right hand— the one he wears the ring on— tremble, and he swallows. "Just come."
"'Kamishiro', that's...?" IV's eyes widen.
Ryouga nods. "Car crash."
"Is that what was bothering you?"
"Yes and no. It's definitely not you, though."
IV scowls, definitely not satisfied with Ryouga's half-assed explanation.
I'm not, either.
Ryouga stands on tiptoe and lightly kisses IV. "Remember me."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Ryouga feels a tear roll down his cheek, but the rain mixes with the tears and he doubts IV notices. "Just do it."
IV nods, and he pulls Ryouga into his arms.
It's not gentle, but it's not a rough gesture either. It's not even possessive, like IV tends to be.
Ryouga appreciates it.
'United Lands of the Poseidon Ocean'.
'Some of the royal family's descendants survived the great war that was started over princess Merag's death and if rumours are to be trusted, their bloodline goes on to this day.'
"Damn it," he curses quietly, hoping to not wake IV.
There is no doubt about my past now.
Ryouga gets up and goes to the bathroom, facing the mirror.
His left eye is red.
Ryouga blinks once, twice, but it doesn't go away, and he feels nauseous and like he's a monster.
He rushes to the window and rips it open, and he feels like can't breathe—
Ryouga turns around in a reflexive manner, then he immediately hides his left eye. "I—"
"I don't know what's wrong, but you need to calm down."
"Don't you see what—"
"I see that you are acting nothing like yourself and panicking."
That's because I am not myself. At least not who I thought I was.
Ryouga realizes that if IV doesn't see his red eye, that means he's imagining it, which means he's slowly going crazy over this.
It's better than there actually being a red eye.
He tries to behave naturally, "Says the right one. Since when are you the more mature one?"
IV shrugs. "Not like you ever were mature."
Ryouga takes a moment to breathe in and out to calm his heartbeat. "Hey, IV."
"At this time?"
"At this time. Without Numbers."
"You've got quite the nerve to ask me for a duel at this time..." IV yawns. "I'll take you on."
IV is smiling, and Ryouga feels like he can be Kamishiro Ryouga for just a little longer.
Ryouga looks up and, "Oh, that. Cross Draw of Destiny. I don't really like its name. Destiny isn't my thing. That's why I don't use it."
(He feels like his past self would disagree.)
"I see," IV says, but he doesn't look Ryouga in the eye. "Destiny is meant to be beaten."
Ryouga doesn't think he can sleep alone at this point, because he keeps waking up with his hands desperately clutching at IV's shirt, and he dreams of Rio dying over and over and over again, Yuuma turning his back on him, IV not forgiving him for his lies anymore.
These dreams felt too real.
"I'm not a monster."
He waits until the sun is out to visit Rio once more.
There's no avoiding this. Even if he runs now, he'll get captured and that'll make it even worse.
But Kamishiro Ryouga isn't dead.
He knows he'll meet IV again.
This time, he'll tell IV a lie that he can believe.
Nasch can't extinguish the flames in his heart, and he's positive it's IV's fault.
Even after all of Nasch's cruelty, after becoming what he'd feared to become, IV managed to get in and bring out Kamishiro Ryouga anyway.
IV bought the lies, but it didn't last long, and Nasch wonders if he didn't not try hard enough, but that's not it—
He underestimated IV.
He underestimated IV's feelings towards Kamishiro Ryouga, and that's why they got through.
It won't change my fate.
Because Nasch accepted that part of him will always stay Kamishiro Ryouga, but he himself is Nasch.
He'll fight, for Barian World.
The next one is to go is Yuuma.
And the last one is Nasch himself.
Thank you, IV.
He didn't expect to feel again, to live again, and—
Kamishiro Ryouga and Nasch are the same person now, huh?
Perhaps they were all along.
He recalls himself chasing Vector out of revenge, a genuinely selfish action, something he always associated with Kamishiro Ryouga and never with Nasch.
Sometimes I'm a fool.
Ryouga's decisions wouldn't have changed anyway.
He gets up from the ground and pulls out his D-Gazer.
A message from IV, from before Ryouga left, from right before hell started.
[Red eyes don't look good on you.]
"This bastard," Ryouga hisses and dials IV's number.
"Oh, you're back, too."
"'Oh, you're back, too' my ass. Why didn't you say anything?"
"You read that message just now only? Well, not telling you was my fanservice. It's my job to please my fans."
"Mind opening the door? It's getting cold and I want a rematch."
Ryouga hears his doorbell ring.
"IV, why do you—"
"I had no regrets when I died, so why should I have any now? Isn't it the same for you?"
A smile creeps onto Ryouga's face. "You're right. Rematch?"