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Domesticating the Dark Lord

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The Hero respawns, white armor gleaming in the light as the dents and kool-aid red blood fade away to nothing, and debates, not for the first time, switching to a server without friendly fire turned on.  The co-owner of his guild jogs up to him, dark mage robes pristine as can be, and starts looting the singed corpses around them.

 

hero_0f_light: I swear if you light me on fire one more time…

DaRkLoRd: sorry

hero_0f_light: -.-

DaRkLoRd: (notsorry)

hero_0f_light: that’s it.  I’m out.  I’m taking @bork_bork and @jazzhands and starting a new guild.

DaRkLoRd: don’t leave me with @SirStabby and @TooHoot please im sorry come back

DaRkLoRd: babe?  lover?  light of my life?

DaRkLoRd: I’ll give you the rest of my fruit snacks if you don’t leave me

hero_0f_light: be still my heart.

 

Asahi shakes his head and ventures away from his computer to fix himself lunch.  He loves Tooru, he really does, but some days he wonders why he ever thought listening to Ryuu and searching for his soulmate was a good idea.

 

Soulmates are unusual.  They aren’t exactly taboo but they’re not exactly the kind of thing you bring up in ‘polite company’ and all that either.  They’re rare and strange and hard to find and harder to prove and Ryuu likes to describe them as a type of cryptid: they can't be entirely confirmed nor disproved by science.  No one knows for sure how soulmates are decided or the details of what kind of talents or powers they might have.

 

Asahi woke up on his fifteenth birthday with a dark flower blooming over the pulse of his left wrist with dark lines swirling down the inside of his arm to his elbow.  Makki had studied it, carefully turning Asahi’s arm this way and that in the light before yanking his shirt sleeve down and giving Asahi a bone crushing hug.  Daichi hadn’t said much about it but for the next week he had been a near permanent fixture at Asahi’s side, tugging Asahi’s sleeve down to keep the mark covered and diverting everyone’s attention away from Asahi by reminding them that he turned fifteen the other day too and why wasn’t anyone curious about if he had any special changes.  Ryuu had taken one look at his arm and insisted that he needed to start searching for his soulmate immediately.  He didn’t really feel comfortable diving into the seedy parts of the online world and even if he did he wouldn’t know where to start.  So he poked through what was readily, and safely, available and decided that for the time being he would leave it at that.

 

He had stumbled upon Tooru by accident when he was seventeen.  They were both beta testers for a new MMORPG game - Tooru was apparently very much into them and Asahi had recently gotten hooked when he was home for nearly a week with the flu and had run out of movies to watch - and Asahi had happened to log on while Tooru had been in the middle of a World Chat rant about soulmates.  One thing had led to another and after four days of worrying over it he finally sent Tooru a private message.  Well Daichi sent it for him while Makki did his usual octopus latch of comfort around Asahi’s chest while Asahi tried not to worry and panic too much.  

 

But it had worked and they started talking and now Asahi’s here: back from grabbing a sandwich and seeing Tooru and Makki on screen apparently planning a wedding.  He’s not sure if they’re talking in game or real life.  Either way it’s bad enough he’s Tooru’s soulmate.  He’s not marrying the guy.



hero_0f_light: I am not marrying you because you gave me fruit snacks

hero_0f_light: also you have not actually given me said fruit snacks so.  no.

DaRkLoRd: will you marry me for tax and medical benefits and so you can legally visit me when @bork_bork inevitably puts me in the hospital some day
DaRkLoRd: also check out this link

DaRkLoRd: >>>3 aliens walk into a diner and take it over, what happens next will SHOCK you

hero_0f_light: …

hero_0f_light: I’ll consider it

hero_0f_light: the marriage not the link



A sound outside of the game catches his attention and Asahi taps his headphones off one ear to listen to his apartment.  He doesn’t hear anything unusual or out of place but he leaves his headphone pushed to the side for a few minutes while he focuses back on the game and gets his character set up to run the dungeon with Tooru again.  This time hopefully without getting lit on fire.  He hasn’t heard anything but the normal ambiance of his apartment by the time they’re both ready for a second run so he pulls his headphones back on and focuses on their game with a shake of his head.  He’s really gotta stop letting Makki convince him to watch all those cop shows with him on the weekends.



He also really needs to stop staying up until the wee hours of the morning playing games with Tooru, he decides when he stumbles out of his apartment just before noon and glares blearily at the sun shining brightly down on him.  These kinds of hours are easier for Tooru who gets by thanks to a large inheritance from a favorite uncle who passed away a couple years ago and the large number of followers on his various blogs.  Asahi, on the other hand, actually has to drag himself out of bed and into a work uniform and go to a job.  It’s not so bad, really.  He enjoys his work for the most part.  The few coworkers he deals with on a daily basis are decent people.  He just sometimes wishes that he could be like Tooru and play games and dazzle people with his wit and charm and get paid for it.

 

Though that would require him to have the kind of wit and charm Tooru does and actually interact well with people and he prefers working in the kitchen of the bakery a few blocks from his apartment, doing random small tasks and cleaning and helping with loading and unloading trucks, just so he can avoid that kind of interaction.  Asahi pauses as he reaches for the handle of the shop’s back alley entrance, torn from his thoughts by the sight of a flash of purple cloth from the corner of his eye.  He turns to tell whoever it is that the alley is off limits to the public, mentally preparing himself for the confrontation and to perhaps ask them not to stare at him so much - he can feel the heavy weight of an intrigued stare as easily as he can feel the sun shining down on him.  His stomach drops when he turns and no one is there.  A quick glance around the eerily empty and silent alley has his fingers quivering and he pushes open the door to the shop and rushes inside, nearly slamming into one of his coworkers in his haste.

 

A shiver works its way down his spine as he recalls the crystal clear sensation of being stared at despite the apparently empty alley and he decides that he really, really needs to stop watching cop dramas with Makki on the weekends.

His grocery bags hit the floor a step inside his door and Asahi wonders if he could get away with just going straight to bed.  He can’t remember if he has anything cold or frozen in them, though - it’s been a long day, okay, and he’s only been awake about nine hours - so after he slips out of his shoes and jacket he decides to just go ahead and put them away.  

 

It had been hard enough to concentrate at the convenience store when he had been trying to pick up a few groceries for the week and Tooru had been scribbling little messages of warning in silvery scrawls along their matching marks.  The messages themselves aren’t so bad even if they are often a bit dramatic.  It’s kind of nice to know that they’re always connected no matter how far away they are and even as irritating as it gets sometimes it’s nice to know Tooru is concerned for him.  The part that’s hard to handle is the fact that every single stroke makes Asahi’s arm itch like Tooru is writing directly on his skin with a pen dipped in poison ivy.  Which makes it a bit awkward to try to concentrate on menial everyday tasks like paying for groceries or unloading a truck at work when he is also trying not to scratch the skin off of his arm.

 

After he puts away his groceries - since apparently he is incapable of being lazy like that despite how tired he is today -  he heads to his room to change but backtracks and squints suspiciously at his computer screen when he registers what he sees.

 

It’s not his normal login screen nor is it the login for any application he can remember having on his computer.  A quick glance around his apartment shows that despite his door being unlocked all day, though he could have sworn he locked it when he left earlier, nothing seems out of place.  No used glasses in the sink or clothes left scattered in his room like there would be if Ryuu or Makki had let themselves in.  Just his computer.  And its black screen with blocky white text spaced across it.  That alone wouldn’t really make him pause much because sometimes his computer does that when he turns it on or reboots it and it runs through all its scans and stuff - he is not a computer expert nor does he want to be one he just wants to watch silly animal videos and play ridiculous games with Tooru and watch Tooru try not to set their teammates on fire so he’s not entirely sure what all the specific processes are.  No.  The part that makes him pause is the little purple blotch in the middle of the screen.

 

After another cautious peek into his kitchen and down the short hallway to the bathroom and bedroom he carefully steps to the chair he left his laptop sitting on that morning.

 

The purple blotch is a small apple icon.  At least he thinks its an apple.  It kind of looks like some weird rendition that would come out of describing an apple to someone without using the word apple.  Also it’s purple which is not exactly standard apple coloring that he’s aware of.  The little mint green login box under the purple apple is waiting for some kind of input, white cursor blinking steadily at him, and he stares back at it, trying to figure out what he’s supposed to do with it.  Is it waiting for him?  Is this some sort of new security update he’s unaware of?  The text on the screen doesn’t help him figure anything out.  The letters look vaguely familiar and entirely alien at the same time, like something on the poster in the background of a video game.

 

His eyes are drawn back to that blinking cursor.

 

It’s strange how soothing a blinking cursor can be.  Usually he finds them a bit stressful.  But this one, in that nice mint green box, reminds him of napping in the sun and watching clouds high in the sky drift past.

 

He reaches out for the keyboard.

 

His fingers spasm when he feels the poison ivy scrawl of Tooru writing on their mark and he pushes up his sleeve to see what Tooru’s pestering him about this time.

 

He misses the series of stars and hash tags filling the box and only looks up from Tooru’s worried words when he catches the screen flicker back to his usual desktop out of the corner of his eye.

 

The computer looks the same as always when he gets back from changing out of his work clothes and he loads up Leaves of Astrye and prepares himself for the onslaught of messages no doubt waiting for him from Tooru.



DaRkLoRd: DANGER!

DaRkLoRd: DANGER WILL ROBINSON!

DaRkLoRd: DANGER!!!

DaRkLoRd: DANGER!!!

DaRkLoRd: DANGER!!!

DaRkLoRd: DANGER!!!

DaRkLoRd: DANGER!!!

DaRkLoRd: DANGER!!!

DaRkLoRd: DANGER!!!

[141 new messages below]



He is not prepared enough.

 

Asahi drags his hand down his face with a groan and debates just ignoring Tooru and his messages and logging back off of the game.



hero_0f_light: One: plz tell me you didn’t send me danger over 100 times

hero_0f_light: Two: I thought we decided you wouldn’t watch that movie again for at least another month

hero_0f_light: Three: I was just getting breakfast and a few groceries and there was no one around except for the cashier.  No danger.



It also doesn’t help that Tooru often does it when he gets the niggling sensation that Asahi is in some kind of danger - yet another of their strange set of soulmate skills - which seems to be every day lately.



DaRkLoRd: one: I sent you DANGER! once DANGER!!! 137 times and ASAHI WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU ANSWER ME PLEASE about 10 times

DaRkLoRd: two: you decided.  I do what I want

DaRkLoRd: three: I can’t shut off the danger sensing thing you know this what if I ignore it and you’re dead in a ditch or something huh?

DaRkLoRd: what then?

hero_0f_light: if I’m dead in a ditch I doubt you’ll sense it

hero_0f_light: since, you know, I’ll be dead

hero_0f_light: but thank you for your concern



Sometimes Asahi wishes they understood their soulmate quirks better.  But he’s still wary to go looking for more about them.  Despite Tooru being neck deep in government conspiracy and cover up stuff and Asahi being more on the skeptical side of things it’s one thing they both agree on: trying to search for more than just a general knowledge of soulmate information is practically asking for trouble.



DaRkLoRd: idk why you act like tis nothing important

DaRkLoRd: ik when you’re in danger why don’t you believe me

hero_0f_light: I do.  I just don’t think the danger of indigestion from fast food is something you need to warn me about.

hero_0f_light: do you want me to worry and panic?

hero_0f_light: cause i can.  im good at that

DaRkLoRd: NO.  NO PANICKING.  BE COOL.

DaRkLoRd: IT’S JUST… I CAN SENSE IT!  WHY WON’T YOU LISTEN?

hero_0f_light: i swear if you tell me one more conspiracy theory about cameras in fire detectors i will personally throw you off a bridge

DaRkLoRd: THERE IS PROOOOF!  I SENT YOU THE LINKS!  YOU-

DaRkLoRd: you didn’t click on them did you?  you click all of @SirStabby’s links

DaRkLoRd: TRAITOR



This was it, Asahi decides as he rubs at his temple and contemplates going back to bed, this was the day he kills his soulmate.  No one could blame him.  Not even Tooru’s aliens and government agents in dad shorts and snapbacks that, according to him, were on every street corner.



DaRkLoRd: okay but seriously.  you’re good?  no creepies following you around?

DaRkLoRd: you’re not still seeing that car everywhere are you?

hero_0f_light: haven’t seen it for a few days

hero_0f_light: I thought I saw someone in the alley outside work but when I went to say something to them there was no one there

hero_0f_light: but to be fair I was running on 3 hours of sleep, an energy drink, and a double shot espresso

SirStabby: dude

SirStabby: no

SirStabby: you and espresso and energy drinks are not a correct combination

SirStabby: my friend.  we talked about this.  we had a Discussion (tm)