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Migration takes me far from you

Chapter Text

It wasn’t much of a plan: hop to another universe, ask around if they knew about Ultras. It didn’t necessarily mean they hadn’t or wouldn’t make contact, but he needed to get away from that constant reminder of what he’d failed to achieve centuries ago on top of that cursed mountain. Away from the intense spiral of anger and resentment those feelings of failure triggered in him.

He needed to give himself space away from those triggers to work through those experiences, or so the doctor had said. The medication should help with the violent mood swings, he felt rather steadier already after just a few months, but the physical damage done by the kugutsu poisoning was far too old to be repaired. Disrupting cycles. Building new habits. Discarding maladaptive coping strategies. Work, work, work.

So one thing at a time. Mood stabilizers, check. Now he’d find a nice quiet place to settle down for a while and work on himself. Somewhere not obviously infested with Ultras. A place where he already spoke the language. A little primitive, so it would be easy to fake documents, but not too primitive. One with a dominant species he could easily blend in with.

And it needed to have good coffee.

This was the third version of Earth he’d visited this week. One was too advanced and he’d been immediately spotted as an illegal dimensional traveler. The last one didn’t even *have* coffee, how do you even develop a civilization with no coffee? This one was earning full marks for coffee, at least. And no Ultras had yet shown up to help the humans who were trying to fight an enraged Gubila with some rifles and some kind of big clumsy robot. 

Juggler was sitting on the grassy slope of a berm leading up to the road, sipping his iced coffee and watching the robot try vainly to drive the monster back before it could destroy more of the waterfront. The sun was pleasant yet this morning, although it would probably grow hot later. The robot took a swipe at Gubila’s legs and Juggler jeered.

“Oh come on! You can’t knock it down like that, look how short it’s legs are!” True to his words, the Gubila stumbled but didn’t fall down and fetched the robot a heavy blow in the side with it’s head and drill. The robot staggered sideways, barely recovering it’s balance in time to bodily block Gubila from advancing further inland.

A loud announcement played from a canopy on the flat ground at the bottom of the slope, a computerized voice declaring one minute of power remaining. The robot was landing punches on the monster’s sides, but they weren’t having much effect. It would roar in pain and try to shove past again.

“Oh, big robot gonna let a sickly Gubila beat you? What a shitty weapon.” Jug yelled towards the fight. Someone was running up the slope towards him now.

“You know what this is?” A man in a drab uniform yelled up towards him

“It’s just a Gubila! Have the robot slap it right on the end of the drill a few times, it’ll retreat!” Juggler yelled back. The man must have relayed the instruction because the robot did just that, delivering several open handed smacks to the point of the drill until the monster backed away. It shook its head in confusion and displeasure, pawed ineffectually at its face, then turned and clumsily galloped back into the sea. Juggler took the last sip of his coffee and laid back on the grass to enjoy the sun.

A shadow fell across him soon enough and he opened his eyes. The same human. On the older side for a human, hair and neatly trimmed beard mostly grey. Thick rimmed glasses, a bulky headset around his neck, dull grey coveralls with a nametag and a pocket full of pens. There was something kind about his eyes, even as he stared suspiciously at Juggler.

“Do you mind? I was enjoying the sun.” Juggler didn’t have to be perfect immediately, he reasoned. He could be a little bit of a jerk if he wanted, on the way to being better. The human moved to the other side, taking a seat next to Juggler’s duffel bag.

“You’ve seen that monster before?” The man’s voice was actually very pleasant, now that they weren’t shouting.

“Of course, practically every version of Earth has Gubila.” Juggler teased.

“I see. Will smacking it on the drill work again if it comes back?”

“Probably, it’s disorienting and they hate it more than actual pain. If it comes back it’ll be because of whatever was dumped in the sea around here making it ill.” Jug said, dripping just a little more information like bait.

“Ill, eh.” He rubbed his bearded chin. “That’s a good tip. If it pans out and you’re still around, let me buy you a coffee.”

“Hmm. If I’m still around.” Juggler agreed. The human was interesting. They were an irritatingly curious species, but this one didn’t rise to the bait. He took what was offered and played coy, neither asking for more nor revealing any of his own. Gai’s current pet human friends would have been practically climbing him trying to find out more and telling their whole life stories at the same time.

The man walked away with a wave, heading back down to the mobile facility that was being rapidly broken down by more humans in dull jumpsuits. Juggler didn’t lift his head, but followed him with his eyes, noting the name on the back of the uniform. 

STORAGE. 

K. Inaba on the name tag.

Perhaps it would be worth remembering. His hand rested on his bag above where a certain grinning plush toy was packed.

Humans could be quite nice, sometimes.

Chapter Text

He hasn’t decided if he wants to leave or try settling down here. No one seems to be aware of Ultras, although even if they don’t exist in this universe that’s no guarantee they won’t show up anyway. He got here, after all. And some Ultras can just tear right through the walls between worlds like Gai blundering through a shoji door. 

That had been a disastrous vacation. They’d broken up rather spectacularly before the second day.

He shook his head. Recognize the start of a spiral and interrupt it. Do something you enjoy to boost your mood. The shopping street was crowded but the bustle was rather pleasant, and he was looking for somewhere good to eat. Gai didn’t appreciate fine food, preferring cheap street food in large quantities, and Jug had been taking himself out to wherever struck his fancy and just enjoying it. There was a large selection of earth cuisines available, and he’d found one alien eatery so far. And this world’s coffee really was very good, rich and bold.

He was debating between a Tapas restaurant and a place billing itself as Cantonese-Jamaican fusion when someone reached for him.

The motion came easier than breathing, almost faster than thought. It was just a human, just that human, that was now on his knees with his arm twisted behind him. He could snap the man’s arm with a movement, if he wanted to. Instead he released it and offered his hand.

“You should be more careful approaching strangers.” Juggler said, pulling the STORAGE man to his feet. He had a strong grip, aged but not fragile. He wasn’t in uniform today. Still wearing those thick glasses, but casual slacks and a soft black shirt with the sleeves rolled up above the elbows.

“My mistake.” Mr. Inaba rubbed his arm ruefully. He showed no signs of anger at being manhandled, which was interesting. In Juggler’s experience one aggressive reaction had humans screaming and shouting, no matter how justified it may have been. “I believe I owe you a coffee, Mr. Traveler.” 

Ah. Jug had seen the story on the news a few days ago, illegal toxic waste dumping discovered off the coast. The cleanup cost would be astronomical and the company responsible was most likely done for. He’d learned a bit more about STORAGE in the past week. Considered dropping in and introducing himself, but ultimately couldn’t make up his mind.

If there was such a thing as a sign, perhaps this was one.

Nice things don’t happen to you if you shut them down first. 

“I was just trying to decide where to go for lunch.” Jug said, keeping his tone light and friendly. “Perhaps you know a nice spot, Mr. Inaba?”

“Kojiro, but people call me Bako-san.” Bako smiled. A very nice smile, the kind that shone in the eyes and made all his smile lines crinkle. “I know a nice cafe, the food is just good, but the coffee is the best in the city. I could take you there.”

“Call me Juggler.” He allowed himself a little smile and picked up the bag he’d dropped earlier. “That sounds delightful, please lead the way.”

He would let himself go with the flow, just for a little while.

Chapter Text

The cafe was a little place, down an alley off a street of shops. A homey, classic coffee shop type with a dark wood bar that wouldn’t have looked out of place at the Black Star, and a few small tables. Low, warm light. Small windows filtered the sunlight through curtains. It was only the Master at the counter, a chubby woman who greeted Bako by name and brought them menus when they took a table.

The food menu was simple: sandwiches, salad, a few pastry offerings for sweets. The handwritten list of coffee specials included beans from specific estates, with notes on flavor and character. This was definitely Juggler’s kind of place. He’d have to remember the location, if the coffee was as good as it sounded.

They made small talk, meaningless pleasantries. STORAGE had some evidence the Gubila from the other day had moved to another territory up-current of the pollution. Bako hoped it was doing better. Jug stopped listening when his coffee and sandwich arrived.

He breathed deeply, feeling the heat of the cup and inhaling the aroma before sipping. 

He sighed in absolute bliss.

“If this place doesn’t turn out to be the harmonica capital of the galaxy, I might just have to stay.” Jug said dreamily, more to his coffee than his table mate.

“What’s a harmonica?”

Their eyes locked. 

Bako broke first, his mouth twitching until he started laughing. 

“Rude.” Juggler said, but he was smiling a little too. “Don’t give a guy false hope.”

“Sorry, sorry.” Bako apologized and sipped his own coffee. “Not a blues fan, I take it?”

“Just the instrument, gives me a migraine every time.”

“Quite understandable. I don’t think they’re terribly common outside of a few styles of music.”

“Hmmm.” Juggler had to admit he was enjoying himself. It was nice to talk to someone who was kind, but not in the bullheaded way Gai was. Clever enough to make a little jab but know when to stop. And probably not scheming some kind of world domination or genocide. “I’ll have to keep thinking about it.”

“Juggler is an unusual name.” Bako offered an observation, but didn’t ask where it was from. Waiting for Jug to respond as he chose.

“Mmm.” Jug savored his coffee before answering. The sandwich was quite good, too. “If I decide to stay I suppose I’ll have to come up with something that sounds more… japanese.”

“I should get a bag of these Brazilian beans to take home, this is too good.” 

Juggler nodded in agreement. This little waiting game, carefully circling each other, waiting to see who would request information first, was fun. Give just enough to keep the other interested, but nothing truly important.

“If I’m not being too intrusive, what brings you to our area?” Bako’s question was a win for Jug.

“I’m looking for somewhere peaceful, somewhere I can work on some self improvement.” Juggler mused. Then, because he reasoned the game was more fun with the score even: “Somewhere I’m unlikely to run into an old friend.”

“Ah, an old friend who plays the harmonica?”

“The only song he knows.” Jug lamented. “Constantly.” Dragging Gai did not count for keeping score, that was just for fun.

“The new haircut looks good.” Bako changed the subject. “I almost didn’t approach you, but then I figured, what are the chances there’s two handsome guys walking around the city in sharp charcoal and burgundy suits with duffel bags?”

Juggler genuinely smiled into his cup. The salon had been a spur of the moment decision, but he was tired of how long his hair had gotten and wanted a change. A little flattery didn’t hurt, and Gai had literally never named the colors of his favorite suit correctly.

“Thank you.”

“You’re still carrying that bag around. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay…”

“Why, Bako-san.” Jug rested his chin in his hand, newly straightened bangs falling rakishly across his eye. “Are you trying to pick me up?”

Bako set down the cup he’d just picked up again. “I was trying to offer you my spare room.” He looked away for a moment, fist resting against his mouth. “Although…” When his eyes met Jug’s again they had a sparkle of mischief, and it was easy to tell he was smiling behind his hand.

Jug couldn’t suppress his own smile. He’d definitely stay at least a little bit longer here, it was proving to be quite fun. “Buy those beans, then. I’d like to have this with breakfast.” He said, and drained the last sip of coffee.

Bako raised his hand to get the Master’s attention.

“I’ll take the check. And a bag of those Brazilian beans, please.”

Definitely stick around, at least for another week or so.

Chapter Text

It was a warm day, not hot enough to justify turning on the aircon but enough that all the windows were open to let the soft breeze in. It gently dried skin damp with sweat, and tickled at the small hairs on the back of Jug’s neck. The pillow under his cheek was cool. His hand was draped loosely across Bako’s chest, fingers occasionally idly toying with the greying hairs right in the center.

He hadn’t felt this relaxed in… Well, definitely a long time if he couldn’t think of anything. 

His brow scrunched with annoyance when Bako-san gently moved his arm.

“Sorry, I really have to get up.” The human said, apologetic.

Jug rolled onto his back and put an arm behind his head. The apartment was otherwise quiet, he could hear Bako clearly. Using the bathroom, then puttering around the kitchen a bit. He was humming a tune softly now. 

Jug hadn’t paid a lot of attention to the place when he’d arrived, more interested in other things. This bedroom was nice. The bed frame was solid and hadn’t creaked and groaned despite the stress they’d put it through. The mattress was firm but very comfortable, probably expensive. Nice cotton sheets, very clean, much better than the sort of places he usually stayed. Very tidy. No old clothes on the floor, a neat wicker hamper in the corner. A bookshelf, a dresser, all neat and looked to be regularly dusted.

He tried not to think of Gai using the floor as a wardrobe. Smelling his crumpled clothes to find out which were the least offensive.

Bako tapped on the pocket door before coming in. Jug stretched like a cat and sat up to accept the bottle of water offered. It was cold, fresh from the fridge, and he downed half of it while Bako-san climbed back into bed. 

“Hope you don’t mind me sitting up.” Bako said. He adjusted the pillow so he was sitting up against the headboard. “If I lie down too long I’ll fall asleep and wreck my whole sleep schedule. I don’t recommend getting old.”

“I don’t mind.” Jug relaxed against the pillows. Full stomach, body relaxed, pleasant company. A nap sounded rather good, honestly. “Hope you don’t mind if I doze off.”

“By all means, I have a book I’ve been reading.” Bako smiled down at him. “I admit I'm a bit curious, though. That’s quite the scar.”

Jug realized he was touching it again. He did it unconsciously. Fingers tracing the dark crescent cut into his chest, rubbing at the edges that were puckered and piled like a bad weld. It didn’t actually hurt anymore, but it had for years afterwards. That light was so powerful it had burned right through the thick armored carapace of his majin form and boiled his flesh past his ability to heal it properly.

“I did something…” Jug trailed off. He meant to say ‘something stupid’, but maybe that wasn’t true. He hadn’t achieved what he’d wanted, impressing Gai so he’d come back to him when his latest human infatuation inevitably expired. His intentions had been miserable and selfish. But maybe that didn’t matter. She’d thanked him. She was happy to be alive. She’d never seen either of them again and lived the rest of her life in a normal human way. Found love again, raised children even. 

“Maybe it was the only good thing I’ve ever done.” And maybe if he’d done one good thing, he could do more. For better reasons. He could feel his pulse through the tough layer of scar tissue, so thin that vivid red muscle showed through. Maybe the drugs were helping, it was so much easier to think about this without being overwhelmed by his own raging emotions.

“Ah, sorry.” Bako-san sounded a little embarrassed.

“Don’t worry about it.” Jug said before he could apologize further. “Just something that’s been on my mind lately.” And he rolled onto his side again, close but not quite touching Bako, and let himself doze off while his companion read.

Chapter Text

Jug wasn’t sure why he’d bothered getting dressed. He didn’t want to go anywhere. He’d eaten some junk from the vending machines and now he was just lying here, mostly wearing his favorite suit, on his cheap motel bed. Staring into the goofy face of the plush toy that stood on his chest.

“What do you think I should do?” He asked the plush shiisa, which just grinned silently back at him. The garish, grinning toy had been a gift from Leito Igaguri. Whom he’d been absolutely awful to the entire day. He could’ve told Zero what Juggler had been doing to him all day, but he didn’t. He got him a present and wished him well. And seemed to mean it.

Gai was the only one who put up with his shit, and he would’ve at least given Juggler the cold shoulder after a day of being harassed and molested. Instead, Leito had been kind to him.

Juggler had no idea what to do with that and it had been eating at him ever since they’d returned  from Geed’s Earth. Gai had tried to talk to him when they arrived, but he’d brushed him off immediately. That was a few days ago. He hadn’t left the area, and he was sure Gai hadn’t. The proximity to Orb’s light still made the hairs on his neck prickle.

That, and the familiar sounding boots in the hallway told him who was at the door before he actually knocked. Even the knock was familiar. He should just leave. Most of his stuff was packed, it would take literal seconds.

“It’s not locked.” He said. Getting up was too much effort. Throwing his stuff in his bag was too much effort. Gai might as well see him pathetically wallowing, it’s not like he hadn’t seen worse. 

He didn’t react when Gai came in. Just kept staring at the ceiling and absently petting his little shiisa. The plush fabric was pleasant to touch. A long silence stretched on.

Finally, Gai cleared his throat. Jug sighed.

“Say whatever you came to say.”

“I, uh. I wanted to say…” Gai fumbled with his thoughts. “I wanted to say I’m sorry.”

Juggler sat up and squinted at him, jacket and vest open, shirt half unbuttoned. His tie was still draped over a chair.

“I’ve been thinking about this a lot,” Gai was fidgeting with that awful hat he always wore, turning it around and around in his hands as he tried to speak. “And I want to apologize. There’s things I’ve done that hurt you, and ways I was a bad partner to you when we were together. And I’m sorry about that.” Juggler stared. It felt very unreal. His hand tightened on the shiisa in his lap.

“And, um, I want to thank you.” Gai continued. “For what you did for Natasha, back in Rusalka. I…” He paused, clearly struggling with his words. “I didn’t know. And I didn’t try to find out. I just ran away from what I’d done, and that was cruel to her and to you. I’m sorry.” Jug remained silent, staring.

“I can’t just make everything right between us, but if there’s something I can do that would help you then I want to do it.” Gai continued, clearly nervous. “Um. I brought this up once and we fought about it, but there’s a doctor that researches neurological damage in victims of kugutsu poisoning and-”

“I remember.” Juggler thought his voice sounded oddly hollow, like it wasn’t coming from him. “It got physical. I pulled my sword on you for saying I’m crazy.”

“I think it went something like that, yes.” Gai wasn’t looking at his face. His gaze was fixated on something lower.

“You want to see it?” Jug said with the same flat affect. Gai’s eyes snapped up to meet his.

Jug set his shiisa aside and walked unsteadily up to Gai, pulling his shirt to the side to expose the crescent shaped scar carved into his chest. He could feel the anxiety radiating off Gai.

“You can touch it.” Jug said, and Gai raised his hand cautiously. His fingertips brushed ever so gently along the curved shape of it. “It doesn’t hurt anymore.” Gai froze.

“I’m sorry.” Gai said, his jaw clenched.

“You shouldn’t be, I saved that girl for purely selfish reasons.” 

“I am sorry, and it doesn’t matter what your reasons were.” Gai said sternly. “You saved her life, and she got to live the rest of it instead of dying cold and alone in the forest because I couldn’t control myself properly.” He took his hand away from Juggler’s chest, although Jug could still feel the heat of his fingers. That numb feeling was starting to melt.

“I know there’s good in you. And I know you’ve been trying. I’m grateful for the help you’ve given me, these last few years.” Gai was saying.

“I molested that nice man all day and you’re thanking me?” Numbness was starting to turn into a familiar knot of hate, and somehow he hated that. “I saved that girl to manipulate you into loving me again. I molested that man because he was cute and I could. And you are thanking me?” Life was starting to creep back into his voice, and not the pleasant sort.

“Juggler, I’m not going to fight with you.” Gai was trying to sound stern again but his voice was wobbling a little. “I think you can change, and I think you want to change. And if there’s something I can do to support you, as an old friend, I want you to let me know.”

Juggler swayed on his feet, the fire of hate suddenly collapsed into sad embers.

After what felt like a solid minute of silence Gai started to move towards the door.

“Do you…” Jug’s voice felt like it came from outside of him, or maybe inside but not the parts that usually did the talking. “Do you really think that doctor can do something for me?”

“I honestly don’t know, but I think it’s worth asking.” Gai said gently. “And I think if you were to apologize to Leito, he’d definitely accept it.”

Murky feelings were bubbling up inside him now. Anger at being told what to do (although he wasn’t), the twin desires to smother the light out of Gai once and for all and to be burned away to nothing in that same light, to fight, to spill blood, to kiss him, to fuck-

It was too much. Juggler grabbed his head, migraine coming on as surely as if Gai were playing his stupid Orbnica. He shook his head when Gai made a cautious move towards him, and Gai stepped back.

“The best thing you can do for me right now, is to go.” Jug said carefully. 

“If there’s anything, you always seem to know how to find me.” Gai said, framed by the light from the hallway. Juggler nodded and the door closed behind him.

He threw himself into the bed and screamed into a pillow until he felt, if not better, at least more tired and numb. 

He needed to do some thinking.

Chapter Text

“Sorry, you seemed agitated.”

Juggler blinked at Bako, slightly disoriented. It hadn’t been a hard touch or a vigorous shake, but it was more than enough to jerk him right out of his uncomfortably vivid dream and into wakefulness. He exhaled and tried to let his body untense. No fighting, no danger. Just a comfortable urban bedroom and the nice human who’d woken him out of concern.

“S’alright.” Jug mumbled, rubbing his eyes. “Just remembering something.” Not completely accurately, but close. He really didn’t like when his brain made him relive things. Or these feelings.

He spent a long time in the shower losing arguments with his recently reawakened conscience. It was familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, this nagging feeling that needled at him for doing “bad” things. Obviously, a bad person does bad things. So when he was bad, it had nothing to nag him about.

Now that he was trying to not be a bad person it was always poking him about something. Right now it was on his back about toying with Bako-san and being dishonest with him. Very easy to imagine as an image of the principled warrior he’d once been, before he’d climbed that damned mountain. Before tagging along to Planet Kanon and every horrible thing that had happened afterwards.

He turned off the water with a deep sigh. He wasn’t getting anywhere and it wasn’t productive at all.

It was only his own reflection in the bathroom mirror, no disapproving warrior with traditional ponytail glaring over his shoulder. He’d straightened the waves out of his hair back then, too. Funny how things circle around.

Teeth brushed, face moisturized, and hair combed he turned to his duffel bag. He flipped through some small plastic bags of tiny clothing, nothing really catching his fancy. Finally he settled on a pair of black trousers and a black dress shirt. Plain, but presentable. With a snap they were full size garment bags again, and he swapped his worn suit for fresh clothes before returning them to their diminutive travel size. Baltan miniaturization tech was far too useful to go without, especially when you travelled the galaxy a lot.

Maybe traipsing around the universe with one change of clothing (He could just hear Gai’s voice saying “One to wear and one to wash.”) and a few knick knacks was fine for some people. Juggler would be damned before he went full native on some backwater planet with a primitive tech level. He swapped the earrings he was wearing for one of his favorite ear cuffs, a twining snake with a tiny red gem for an eye.

Juggler regarded his reflection critically. It was a good look. It would be nicer if his eye bags weren’t so pronounced, but it wasn’t like he could reasonably fix that. Even if he found affordable time travel, his younger self would definitely not be receptive to being told to take better care of his skin.

He’d just have to tell the truth like this, give the ponytailed bastard in the back of his head what he wants. Then maybe he’d stop nagging.

The kitchen was small, only semi-enclosed with the cabinet island dividing it from the living and dining area. There were stools at the island, which served as both counter and dining table. Juggler pulled one on the outer side out and seated himself, not intruding in Bako’s kitchen. The grinder whirred and the delectable scent of fresh ground coffee filled the air. He sighed in appreciation.

“Would you like a cup, too?” Bako asked, pouring the ground beans into a ceramic pour over.

“Yes, please.” Juggler replied. The human winked and Juggler savored watching him as he set about doubling the ritual. A second pour over was produced from a cabinet, along with a mug. More beans were ground. The gooseneck kettle guided the stream of water gently, circling and swirling above the cups one at a time.

Juggler inhaled the fragrant steam with a satisfied sigh. He drank, the brew just as rich and complex as it had been earlier that day in the cafe. He sighed again, more resigned now.

“So.” He started awkwardly. “There’s something I should tell you before we go any further.” Bako just nodded and sipped his coffee, leaning against the far counter. Waiting. Attentive, even.

“I’m an alien.”

“Mmm hmm.” Bako sipped his coffee, nonplussed. “Well I didn’t invite you up to my place hoping you weren’t.”

“...hmm. I suppose that makes things a bit easier.” He sipped contemplatively. “Thought it might be more of an issue with your job.”

“I’m just an engineer, my job is designing and building robots.” Bako’s eyes twinkled. “Director Kuriyama is probably trying to put together an investigative department, but STORAGE is just the anti-monster robot unit. If they’re under three stories tall and not crushing buildings then that’s none of my business.”

A pregnant pause. “And it’s not the GAFJ’s business who I decide to sleep with, either.”

Juggler nodded. An extremely practical position. One that was to his advantage, to be sure.

“Would you like to see some of my designs?” Bako changed the subject.

“That sounds delightful, actually.”

There were innumerable sketches and blueprints in a cabinet with wide, flat drawers. Bako selected several and spread them out on the coffee table, already talking before they’d settled on the matching couch. Everything matched, actually. Quality furniture constructed of a solid, blonde wood. Light colored fabrics with colorful geometric designs. Quite a few houseplants tucked here and there around the room. It made the place feel very airy and open.

The robot he’d seen trying to repel Gubila was a prototype, a very rough version of a design Bako was clearly very proud of. It still seemed quite primitive by his standards, but for an Earth that had barely explored its own moon it probably wasn’t so bad. And “Sevenger”’s face was oddly cute. It didn’t really need the big eyes, but they gave the design a lot of personality.

It felt nice to talk, to have an intelligent discussion. And Bako-san was very easy to talk to. About everything. Coffee, trying to make your giant piloted robot armors fly so they could respond to monster incidents more efficiently, what sounded good for dinner, what their expectations were after today.

It was nice to be on the same page about that. Bako-san wasn’t looking for anything serious or long term. That was a relief (his fledgling conscience couldn’t nag that he was leading the human on if he was also looking for casual) but just a little tiny pinch disappointing at the same time. Part of him wants to be wanted, even if that would be a problem right now. Its a dumb part and he wills it to shut up while they decide where to have dinner.

Cantonese-Jamaican fusion turned out to be delightful.

After dinner sex was great, too.

‘This planet,’ Juggler thought to himself as he dozed off with a full belly and a relaxed body. ‘Would be a nice place to settle down for a while.’