When he opens his eyes, he is alone.
The darkness does not bother him; instead, it grants him a sense of peace. He does not remember why he is here, only that he should be here -- and being here reassures his mind (heart) that all is well.
Time does not matter here; gradually, he becomes aware of another's presence. Who are you? (Do I know you?) He wants to ask, but he cannot speak. He can move his mouth, but no breath escapes his parted lips. He stretches his hand forward, but he is caught by -- by chains? He hears it: the soft rattling of chains coming from something (someone) other than himself.
The presence bothers him; that he can feel something (someone) in the darkness with him in a place where he is supposed to remain forever alone -- it grants him a sense of (painful) hope. He moves his arm, hears his own chains clink against one another as he tries to move beyond -- beyond what is allowed and what is right -- to reach out to --
Who are you?
Who are you?
They have the same thought. It makes his lips curve into a smile as he wonders who the other person is. He laughs soundlessly and, somehow, he knows the other person is laughing too.
Me? I'm... I don't remember. How about you?
Who is he?
He knows he's alone. Or he was supposed to, before he had felt the other's presence. He knows he's ... guarding something. (Someone?) He knows... He does not know who he is.
So he tells the other person that and feels (hears) them laugh again.
Then, we are the same!
It's an (lighthearted) observation that makes his lips curve even more. Yes, we are, he thinks. We are the same.
The thought is (painfully) strange.
Not being alone hurts.
They think (say) it at the same time. Neither of them laughs this time.
Don't you have a place to return to?
The question catches him off-guard. A place? (Home?) To return to? He blinks slowly, moving his hands and feels the (chill of the) chains bite him.
Your -- he senses a struggle in that person's thoughts (words) -- friends?
My friends... There's a flash of something inside his mind (heart) and there is somebody, a girl, smiling at him, holding her hands out towards him--
"Minato, I love you."
He remembers who he is.
He speaks his name and watches the darkness dissolve, feels the chains around his wrists melt away into nothing. Nothing holds him any longer, nothing bounds him any longer -- so he turns his head up to look at her.
She manages a wave even with her hands chained and smiles at him. Even from this distance, he can see how brilliantly red her eyes are, like a beautiful shining jewel.
"Why are you here? Who are you?"
The girl laughs, but her laugh is soundless (gentle). I am the same as you.
He feels angry. His thoughts, no, his heart is unsettled. There is something -- still something he does not understand. "Why? I should be the one--"
I should be the one who is alone.
Her thoughts (words) echo his.
You have a place to go back to.
He remembers: a brown-haired girl, a heart choker, a pink sweater lying on the ground beside the bed.
Minato raises his head, looking straight into his sister's eyes, just as the light takes him away.
When he opens his eyes, he is not alone. Yukari is crying over him, gently holding his hand. When she finally notices his consciousness, she gasps, lets go, covers her mouth and touches him again. "Hey," he says, his voice hoarse. She grabs him in a fierce hug and sobs into his chest as he places a hand on her hair and another on her back.
Aigis stands by his bed, smiling. "Welcome back," she whispers.
I'm back, Minato thinks wearily.
But at what cost?
They sat in the darkness.
"You can't change your mind after this."
I know that.
"You might have to stay here forever..."
It's fine! It's okay, Ryoji-kun. I've already made my mind up.
The chains that held her tightened quietly around her wrists.
This burden... This time, I'll take it for myself.