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“I’m just...not sure.”

“It’s okay. Here. Comb your hair like this, and it hides most of the eyepatch.”

“...thank you for letting me borrow this shirt. It hides the prosthetic better.”

“It’s no problem, really. And hey, if anything goes wrong, we take the videos down, and they’re gone. You don’t have to keep doing this if you don’t like it. That’s the point, we’re seeing if this is something you like to do.”

“Something I like to do…”

“Yeah. Don’t worry, you’ll do great. You already filmed the intro video, that was the hard part. Now you just get to talk about your favorite show when the episode is over. It’s fun.”

“...okay. Okay! I can do this. It’s just like those interviews.”

“...not really. We’re supposed to be having fun. C’mon, Goro.”

“...right…”


Welcome to Phoenix Talk
PhoenixTalk
Published on July 9, 2017

“Good day, Featherfans. My name is...Goro Kurusu, and welcome to Phoenix Talk.”

The young man sitting in front of the camera was clearly uncomfortable. The smile on his face was too cheerful for his stiff posture, like a newscaster trying to get through a story they knew wasn’t good. He shifted awkwardly, conspicuously keeping one hand out of sight below the table he was sitting at, though it didn’t change the fact that his face was clearly marked with some kind of scars.

“This is just a short introductory video, to give you an idea of what this channel will be about. I have been watching Featherman since I was a child, ever since the second airing of Featherman R. I’m a big fan, and I wanted an opportunity to share my knowledge of lore with other fans, and provide points of discussion to help get the fandom even more involved with the story and the show as a whole.”

It was hard to see, but as he shifted, it became evident that there was a blanket covering his legs, and crutches leaned against the wall in the background. “I hope to do videos looking at each episode, but also about interesting lore and lesser-known facts about the different series. I hope that all of you enjoy my content; the first video should be posted soon. Thank you for watching. Until next time~!”

With one last too-bright smile and a wave, the video faded to black.


Featherman X - Episode 25 Discussion
PhoenixTalk
Published on July 9, 2017

“Good day, Featherfans, my name is Goro Kurusu...and welcome to Phoenix Talk.”

Goro was still smiling his interview smile, sitting up straight and formal against the backdrop of the attic space. “Episode 25 of Featherman X premiered tonight, bringing with it the much-anticipated first appearance of Feather Gold Osprey, who was first teased during a creator interview back in December. But before we get to that, and the possibilities for the identity of our new teammate, I want to talk about the first half of the episode and how builds on the themes from the rest of the season so far.”

He looked down at his notecards, then hesitantly lifted his free hand from his lap so he could use both to flip to the next one. The newly-revealed hand looked clumsy and metallic, but he didn’t acknowledge it, just continued, “This episode almost directly parallels episode one, which highlights how far the characters have come since then. It opens with a scene at the diner, but instead of the three main characters that we opened the season with, we now have an entire team, laughing and joking together. Even ‘Ritsu’ and ‘Aria’ are present, showing that they’re strengthening their new bonds and growing used to being on Earth. The destruction of the secret base might actually be a positive thing, because they won’t be able to close themselves off anymore. They have friends now, who can help them grieve their planet and fight with them, together.” His voice grew a touch wistful as he said, “They did their best to keep the others at arm’s length for a long time, but in the end, the best thing for them really seems to be embracing the new family they’re building for themselves on Earth.”

Taking a deep breath, he flipped to the next card. “Anyway, the episode continues to parallel the first, as several of the rangers find themselves in a battle that they are ill-equipped to handle due to being caught off-guard. I really hope we see more of the Knights this season, since they mostly served as background antagonists during season one. We didn’t even know Crimson and Navy were acting specifically as Karragald’s subordinates until after Crimson’s introduction. But, let’s get to the important part. Just like the original trio stepped in to help Feather Black Rockhopper in episode one, the embattled rangers are helped by the appearance of a new ally: Feather Gold!”

The more he talked, the more he was starting to relax. It was obvious that his initial stiffness had been nerves, because his enthusiasm was coming through more and more with every passing moment. “It’s hard to pinpoint who might be beneath the mask at this point, because there are plenty of recurring side characters in town, and the slight distortion effect they use when they have the helmets on makes it difficult to tell. I’d say at the moment our strongest candidates are Rin, Seiya, and Tomoda, but we’ll have to see more to take a better guess.”

The video went on for a little longer, as Goro discussed theories about where the season was going to go from there. And then, as he wound down, he seemed to catch himself, realizing how unrestrained he’d been while he was talking. “S-So… Next week, we’ll see the result of the cliffhanger, and hopefully get to see what Feather Gold’s weapon and special attack are.” The slightly stiff smile had returned, but less so than when he started. “There will be a new video next Saturday. Feel free to leave comments with any speculation you have or things you’ve noticed. This has been Phoenix Talk. Thank you for watching; until next time.”


Once the videos were uploaded, Akira tugged Goro away from the table and over to the sofa he’d moved in front of the TV. He’d finally gotten a better one at Futaba’s insistence, so the picture no longer occasionally flickered or ended up tinted pink.

“You did great,” he said, helping him get comfortable. “Kurusu, though, really?”

Goro looked away. “I don’t want to take a chance that using my real name triggers any kind of memory in anyone. It’s...better, not to be remembered like that.”

“That’s true. I don’t mind, it was just a surprise to hear it.” Akira waved the DVD case, as if trying to distract from the slight pink on his cheeks. “And now, we’re not going to stress, we’re going to watch a movie that isn’t Featherman, and we’ll see what the numbers look like tomorrow.”

Goro looked reluctant, but settled into the couch with a sigh. “You won’t let me look no matter what, so I might as well give in. What are we watching?”

Akira flopped down beside him with the remote, smiling fondly. “You said you’ve never seen Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ann and Yusuke both said that was a crime against art and anime. So I got it from the rental place.”

“All right.” Goro tried to relax. Akira was right; it wasn’t worth worrying about the numbers until there were enough to see a trend. So gradually he settled against Akira’s side, subtly burrowing in closer as the movie unfolded.

Akira just curled an arm around him, cheek resting against his hair. They’d moved back to Leblanc only a week ago, with Goro finally deemed well enough to handle the stairs. Sojiro had replaced the crates-and-mattress combination with a proper bed, and the old booth seat with a real couch. So Goro had been sleeping in the bed while Akira took the couch, rather than bothering to unroll the spare futon on the floor. Akira liked being back; Leblanc was home, and Goro had settled in easily to the cozy space. They’d briefly discussed looking at apartments, but it wasn’t an urgent task.

Onscreen, the wizard was trying to reassure the heroine that he wasn’t going anywhere, but that their found family was going to be okay even if something happened to him. Goro felt Akira’s arm tighten around him, and in a moment of impulse, looked up and kissed his cheek.

Akira froze, wide eyes still focused on the movie, but it was clear he’d short-circuited a little. He took a single, slow breath, then looked down at Goro. “Hi?”

“Don’t talk during the movie,” Goro replied, laying his head back on Akira’s shoulder with a small smile.

“Wh—” Akira started to say something else, but caught himself. Instead, he just pulled the blanket closer around them and kissed the top of Goro’s head. Fine, if that was how he wanted to play it.

When the movie was over, he asked casually, “Do you want to go out to dinner tomorrow? I know being out in public is still weird for you, but we were fine getting crepes last week.”

“That sounds nice. Are you picking the restaurant?”

“Haru mentioned a very nice Italian place that just opened in Ginza, if you feel like Western food. Or we can do sushi.” Akira pulled away at last to change into his pajamas, and Goro did the same. It was so much easier to put pants on with two functioning arms, even if the crutches were still a challenge sometimes.

“Italian sounds nice.” Goro hesitated next to the bed, glancing from it to the small AC unit Sojiro had let them put in the window. “...you should come here. It’s cold.”

Akira felt a smile creeping onto his face. “Cold? It’s July.”

“So? I’m cold. Just come here.”

“We could just cut the AC off.”

“Akira.”

“All right, all right, jeeze. Demanding.” But the teasing didn’t stop Goro from pulling him into bed and curling up beside him, head on his shoulder. Akira wondered, briefly, if Sojiro had purposefully picked a bed just wide enough to fit two people comfortably, but in the end it was a moot point. The fact that it did was the most important thing.

And it was a comfortable realization, to know that for the first time, they didn’t have to talk about something. There didn’t need to be any grand declarations or ridiculous gestures. They had simply acknowledged what they were, what they had been for a long time now, if both of them were being honest. Uncountable small gestures and tiny steps, as gradual and instinctual as breathing, until any kind of verbal confirmation would have felt like pointing out the obvious.

That didn’t make it any less nice to hear when Goro mumbled against his shoulder, “Goodnight, Akira. I love you.”

“I love you too. See you in the morning.”