Yusaku groaned, his body ached from the illness that infected him. How could he have let this happen? He took his medications on time, and sure his diet wasn’t the best but he survived this long on it anyway!
(Never mind the fact he had been spending all his waking hours finding Ai and Roboppy, even forgoing days of sleep and sometimes food in case he missed his chance.)
Rolling over he tried to get comfortable, withholding a whimper as skin prickled like it was drenched in an icy lake. He tried to call for Roboppy only to cut himself off with a curse.
There’s no one else to call out for in this empty house, only him.
He tried not to think about how he had spent days on end looking for them after they announced they were going to end humanity. Or how strange it was to see them with bodies of strangers. and still look so familiar. How he ached to hear them speak because he wished it was towards him, instead of at them.
Yusaku never realized how empty this little apartment would feel without them. He knew Ai would eventually leave, he had his own home to go to, his own family. But then it was ravaged to the ground and they lost the Ignis.
Roboppy had left too, Yusaku felt that was equally a failure on his part for not being able to provide a home worth staying in. He couldn't save the Ignis, wasn't able to stop Lightning. Couldn’t express how he feels, and stop being so damaged to show he cared about them.
Why would they stay when Yusaku can't even do that?
Coughing violently into his blanket he tried not to whine from feeling as if he was tasting blood. His throat rough and raw from what he was he starting to suspect is an infection.
Feeling the haziness of sleep, he allowed sweet darkness to take him.
Fingers were threading through his hair gently and softly, as if he were fragile, whoever it was, they were softly whispering with someone else. Feeling the large male hand, he assumed it was Kusanagi having gone to check on him.
He leaned into the touch causing Kusanagi to flinch. He isn't surprised. He isn’t used to Yusaku showing or wanting affection, but his battered immune system also lowered his brains ability to function. He cant- he cant pretend he's as okay as he tries to be.
Yusaku didn't want to be alone right now.
He will just use the excuse that he's sick and wasn't in the right mind as he crawled into Kusanagi’s lap. The petting stopped for a bit but resumed much more sure and firm.
If Kusanagi is here, Takeru must be too. He noticed they had been in communication more often after Flame died. Yusaku cursed many times he felt too broken to help his friend grieve. He tried but it felt awkward, forced. Like he was acting instead of grieving with him.
A second hand came to rest on his forehead, and he wishes he had the strength to open his eyes. To at least reassure them he was going to be fine.
He wondered why Kusanangi wasn’t with Jin right now though, wasn’t it the middle of the day? This was his usual time to visit his brother. And Takeru would be in the Dojo learning to fight.
Why are they suddenly here? How did they know?
Whatever happened he was at least happy they had came. He wasn’t comfortable expressing his emotions even after all that has happened. But being remembered despite being left behind so often left him feeling warm.
Playmaker may be number 1 when it comes to duels….but Yusaku Fujiki always came second to the people in his life. To Ryoken, Kusanagi, even to Ai and Roboppy. Their lives and goals were more important than him.
He sounded bitter.
Right now he had no shame and lets them take care of him, maybe he can pretend he was first for somebody for once.
Ai didn’t stop when Yusaku drifted off into sleep again, content with just being the young man’s pillow, a source of comfort. The latex of the SOLtiS fingers was soft enough to pass for human skin, no wonder his Origin hadn’t woken up in a fuss and kicked his teeth in.
….Or it could be the infection ravaging his body, and Yusaku being how he was, just clung to the nearest source of warmth like a leech. Nevermind anyone could have broken in with how carelessly he left the doors unlocked.
(Not that he had anything worth stealing, not much an orphan with no job could afford really )
In the background Ai could hear Roboppy berating Yusaku as they cleaned the little apartment, fussy like a hen. It brought back fond memories of when they used to live together as they would throw a fit when Yusaku got this way.
Only this was worse, cause Roboppy hadn’t been here to clean after him and alert any of his friends that he was ill. Cause Ai wasn’t here to tell him to stop being stubborn and allowed himself to be cared for.
Ai left him alone without a second glance back….
While back in the ruins of his home, Ai contemplated what he was going to do. Having survived while the others hadn't, hit him hard, and Ai wasn’t sure if he even wanted to keep processing . He kept trying to talk to Ghosts, do their jobs, try and carry on…
And he would have failed at it all, if not for Roboppy.
Roboppy became an unexpected saving grace, something he cherished already as his precious minion. Now they were a genuine friend helping him with his plans, Ai was wary at first but they tended to follow him without a second thought to much else.
Roboppy wasn’t always his minion, and they had a longer history with Yusaku then Ai was sure they would ever have with him. They would become melancholy when mentions of Yusaku or Playmaker came over the net. Getting looks of nostalgia and worry that even made Ai pause.
They couldn’t afford that weakness though. Yusaku would be without a doubt against them, is what he told Roboppy. He would never accept what they were doing and become their enemy.
Only that hadn’t happened.
Yusaku took himself out of the fight completely , instead devoting his time to trying to find them. It threw Ai off, he was so sure Yusaku would try to physically ‘knock sense’ into them. Or at least try and push them off their goals.
There wasn’t even an attempt.
And Ai isn’t sure what to do with that knowledge.
Parts curiosity and apprehension filled him as he and Roboppy used their SOLtiS bodies to scope out what he was doing. To figure out what his new goal was.
Only to find him as he is now, fever ridden, uncared for, and alone.
Where was Kusanagi? Surely he had enough time to at least call. Or Takeru? Doesn’t he make a point to barge into Yusaku’s life every chance he got? Why haven’t they come to see him?
Why is Yusaku alone?! Ai was so assured that because he had friends now that he could just leave him. He wouldn’t be alone, maybe even move out of this place into one of theirs?
He was an idiot, and so was Yusaku, the stubborn bastard probably never let it cross his mind to reach out to his friends.
His big dumb idiot.
He left him all alone.
“Roboppy...get his stuff, we’re leaving”Ai felt so assured for this, if Yusaku is going to be stubborn and his friends are going to neglect him.
He may as well just take him, he’s free game now after all.
Roboppy let out a whoop before freezing. “Where are we going to take him? We don’t have a physical place in the real world yet?” That didn’t stop his precious minion from collecting Yusaku’s stuff anyway with the diligence and care they had while still a maid bot.
“I have a place in mind, temporary until we get a better one”
Ai tried not to frown at how quickly Roboppy got everything together, letting himself believe it was simply their speed and not because Yusaku barely had anything they couldn’t carry.
“Done~ Let’s go home!”Roboppy was practically floating as off all the melancholy had turned to vapor, they dotted over the sleeping teenager with a softness and joy. Ai carely wrapped him up in the thick blanket and carried him out of the gloomy house. They were going safe house he had gotten when he first realized he needed a place to store these bodies to charge.
“Yes Roboppy, let’s go home”
Takeru sighed heavily as he tried to calling Yusaku’s phone again, he hadn’t been picking up all day or yesterday. He knew that learning Ai and Roboppy were trying to destroy humanity hit him hard, hard enough to make him temporarily retire and devote it to trying to find them instead.
He wouldn’t listen to sense, won’t take breaks at all. Takeru was at his wits end, if Yusaku wasn’t going to take care of himself he was just going to drag him out of his house and do it himself.
Losing Flame hit him so hard but he tries to live a life that he would be proud of. It hurt, it felt like a gaping wound in his chest, never to recover. He lost his friend and a piece of himself.
He believes they would meet again though. His grandfather was a strong believer in people's fates being tied together. And that if a bond was strong enough they could overcome even death and meet once again in another life.
Takeru hopes he will meet Flame again, maybe not in this lifetime but another one. Free from the incident, free from Hanoi, free from Lightning.
Maybe they could even be brothers…
Takeru believes his fate had bounded with the other Lost children, but mostly with Yusaku. He clicked with him in a way he hadn’t been able to with anyone before, and Kiku, bless her, tried her best but it wasn’t what he needed.
He needed someone like him, someone who knew his pain but had a goal in their life that kept pushing them forward. A passion to keep on living and face the future.
That person was Yusaku and he thanked the stars that he got to meet him. But he became distant after Ai and Roboppy. A manic determination overcame him in a way that Kusanagi said reminded him of when he was searching for Hanoi.
Takeru was scared for his friend.
That fear kept rising as he refused to pick up his phone!
He had been busy the last three weeks making arrangements to stay longer and maybe finish school out in Den city, spend time with the friends he made here. Coincidentally enough that happened at the same time as the announcement. He tried to help when he could but he had to make sure he wouldn’t get kicked out of his apartment.
And with this growing fear building in his heart….it may have cost him something to do it.
Giving up Takeru dialed another number.
“Kusanagi-san? Sorry to bother you but have you heard from Yusaku?”
Shouichi felt his stomach drop through the ground as he listened to Takeru, his brother leaning on his shoulder with a concerned look on his face. The young man on the phone had called beforehand asking about if Yusaku called him these past few days or vise versa.
He told him no.
Shouichi knew how Yusaku got when he set himself on a new goal, it made him manic, obsessed. It was better to let him work through the initial burst and then heavily regulate him afterwards.
Only he hadn’t expected this to have lasted for weeks.
Takeru tried but Yusaku wouldn’t budge on this, he claimed he was eating well and taking breaks(Read:Bullshit). That he could look after himself and had done so before. But now Takeru keeps calling and he won’t pick up at all.
Why the hell did they listen to him?
After Takeru assured him he would call after he went to check on Yusaku, Shouichi started to call him too. His brother had looked at him wary and scared with the frantic way he kept calling and recalling.
Just as he was in the middle of his 13th call, her got another call coming to his phone. It was Takeru who was at Yusaku’s apartment building but he doesn’t know where the spare key is.
Getting the boy inside the apartment, he and Jin had waited on held breath, their worry increasing.
“HE’S NOT HERE!”
Calm. Stay calm.
“He probably went out to get something to eat.”
“None of his stuff is here, Kusanagi! Everything was taken and cleaned…. except his phone ”
No, please no.
“Big Brother, Did somebody take Fujiki?”Jin wrote on a note with a scared expression on his face, one that suggested that he wanted to run under a table and hide like his childhood monster that he can no longer remember come back from the dead. As well as a strange silent fury to claw out the eyes of whoever took the person that Shoichi had became friends with.
Shouichi didn’t know what to say, he didn’t want to jump the gun and say yes. But what other explanation could there be? That Yusaku just up and left? Where would he go with no money? Why would he go at all, when his friends were here in the city?
Even if he became distant he would never just leave. Where else, who else could he even turn to-
He felt his blood freeze, Takeru was still talking to him, so was Jin. But it didn't matter because something clicked into his head. It made too much sense but with how Yusaku was he didn’t think-he wouldn’t!
But the possibility was too strong, he couldn't just throw it away, not when they have to find him asap.
Ai and Roboppy.
Yusaku was damn near devastated when he learned of their plans, of learning that they were turning their back on humanity, on him. It-It was another betrayal, one that shook him so much he spent weeks trying to find them and not taking care of himself.
Would...would Yusaku leave them for the duo? Would he turn on humanity too just to have them back in his life?
Thinking logically, they are his only real family left. He had Roboppy since he was a child, and Ai is literally a part of him.
He looks at Jin who stopped talking and was looking at him pleadingly.
He knows he himself already done that for Jin….to the point where he was told to exchange Yusaku’s life for him.
(He still regrets his actions, not his choices but his actions.)
(It doesn't take a genius to know what kind of message he sent to Yusaku that day)
Are they Yusaku’s Jin? Would he throw humanity under a bus to be with them?
Shouichi isn’t even sure he would blame Yusaku if he did.
There is also the other possibility, the duo may have just taken him. He wouldn’t put it past them to be honest, if there was a human they would ever want to spare, Yusaku was it.
Or worse, he could be the next sacrifice to show how far they were willing to go, to forego and kill their only human family. To show they weren’t messing around.
Somehow that makes it even worse, because they took him right under their noses. That made Shouichi mad enough to want to punch a wall, for being stupid, for not checking on Yusaku sooner!
“Takeru” He cut off the boy in mid rant about what he would do to whoever took Yusaku. Which was frankly creative and just a tiny bit disturbing, though considering he used to be a delinquent he was sure Takeru was used to being creative.
He didn’t even know how Takeru knew half the things he said he could do with a baseball bat.
“We need to call the team, but most importantly Ryoken. They’re our best chance at finding Yusaku….as well as Ai and Roboppy” Shouichi felt firm again. He had a goal and now he had to see it through.
They were going to find the three of them, come Hell or High Water. Nothing was going to stop them from getting Yusaku back.
Shouichi tries not to think too hard on the possibilities of only finding his body, or him as their enemy. Remembering back to what Lightning did to Jin.....
Ai wouldn't do that to Yusaku......