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a cyberterrorist and a traumatized teen walk into link vrains,

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To live without a force of overarching control in his life was something Jin was not used to, to say the least. When he was six, it was Kiyoshi Kogami– when he was anywhere between there and sixteen, it was the trauma said man had inflicted– and now, it was Lightning, the product of his suffering. He assumes that to anyone else, being released from the clutches of yet another “evil” would be relieving, but at this point it’s just depressing. It leaves Jin with a sort of stockholm syndrome, if he’s to be presumptuous about his own mental state; though stockholm syndrome isn’t necessarily the word, he figures it’s the one closest to the conflict he feels within his chest.

Perhaps that’s why he took solace in the man he did. Being related to Dr. Kogami and all, of course Ryoken, with more emotion inside him than Jin thought one person could hold, would feel guilty about the destruction of Jin’s entire life at the hands of his father’s cold, calculating hands. He only catches glimpses of him throughout Lightning’s duel with him, only catches small peeks from inside Lightning’s fist clenching tighter and tighter around his brain. Some part of him is intrigued by the guarded, steely grey eyes behind his visor, and another part of him is furious, thinking that is what I could have been.

Maybe he figures that since Ryoken can somewhat relate to having something all-consuming control his life, even if he doesn’t realize it, that they’re the same, in a way. He couldn’t possibly think he was seeking the Ignises of his own free will, could he? He had to have known that he was just fulfilling the wishes of someone who didn’t even live to see whether they were granted or not?

It’s times like this at night, plagued with thoughts about the faraway and more recent past, that Jin tries fruitlessly to sleep alone on the couch, still in what he would call the “initial” phase of the only relationship he’d ever had besides his brother. That one wasn’t even romantic, though, so it couldn’t really be compared, he guesses. If Ryoken can tell he’s just blaming his lack of experience for refusing to leave the Kogami mansion, or if he can tell Jin’s obviously lying when he says he’ll have nightmares if he goes home now, he doesn’t show any sign of it. He simply offers him a pair of bedclothes (though Jin’s own clothes are pretty much the same thing– common courtesy, he supposes) and brings him a pillow and a quilt before retreating to his own bedroom.

That’s the thing about Ryoken– if you don’t ask, you won’t get an answer. If you don’t want him to notice something, he’ll notice, and he’ll make sure you know, but you wouldn’t catch him dead confronting it. Jin thinks that he prefers that, though– most assuredly to Shoichi’s constant questions if everything’s alright, and Yusaku’s badly-masked pitying gaze. Just barely, they’re the same– Ryoken will answer smoothly with a different reply every time, and Jin will too– though his responses always tend to be a bit darker and a bit more stuttered than Ryoken’s joking-and/or-annoyed ones, rolling off his tongue like pearls.

But tonight, Jin has grown exhausted with their game of hide and seek. That is why instead of tossing and turning the night away before falling into shallow sleep only to be awoken by his own whimpers (which threw the whole nightmare excuse into the trash, come on!), he stands, unceremoniously throwing the comforter over his shoulders like a cape and marching down the hallway to Ryoken’s room.

The other stirs immediately when the door opens (probably a side effect of living with his father while his father was, how do you say, like that), and blinks groggily at Jin standing at his full five-foot-six height in his doorway. “What’s the matter?” He asks, sobering up from slumber relatively quickly at the look on Jin’s face (it can’t be pretty– he feels like he might either start to laugh, cry, or yell). Jin doesn’t say anything in response, instead walking over and pulling Ryoken’s covers back slightly to burrow into his bed like a mouse sans a tail. Ryoken blinks owlishly down at him, raising an eyebrow when Jin meets his gaze, but doesn’t say anything more when Jin refuses to reply immediately. Eventually, however, he gets his answer– “Come here.”

If Ryoken expects anything, it’s not Jin tugging him down and planting a warm kiss smack dab on his mouth. He must look a bit confused, because that scary expression disappears for a moment and Jin giggles, a small smile gracing his features as he breathes out a quiet laugh. The sound makes Ryoken’s ears go red, but before Jin can notice his complexion darkening even in the dim room he pulls him in closer, tucking Jin’s head below his chin and wrapping his arms around the other, who’s successfully burrito’d himself between the comforter on his back and Ryoken’s body.

If Jin notices that Ryoken’s heart has accelerated from what he knows is his resting pace, he doesn’t say a word.