There were so many times he had dreamed of this scenario in his head. This exact moment that he wanted back the moment he’d lost it; the one he thought over, wished for, and hoped to be if he were to ever obtain it again. Having this one chance to return, to gain back all that had slipped from his fingers.. wasn’t that all he needed? It would all be the same, then. Life as he knew it would come back in this place; this city would still hold all of the memories he held dear, the moments that could never replaced by anything in any world. Everything.. everything could just be as it was when he had left it; untouched by time, or people, or any factors that tried to take it all away.
So long as they were there.. it would be as though they had never parted. If they could be together again, the weeks spent away would be washed into nothing; turned into long forgotten days to be replaced with a present that held everything they once had. If he were ever granted the chance to come back to this place, Watanuki knew.. that would be enough to lead him back to where he belonged. He could finally.. finally be with that one person who held the largest part of his heart.
But even if he had returned, even if everything seemed the same.. no matter how much he looked, no matter how far he searched, the most important piece was still missing. Fate was still holding back the only thing he ever wanted.
Wocky wasn’t there.
The places he deemed familiar were empty. It was as if the city had completely swallowed Wocky away the moment he and Watanuki parted; there were no traces, no signs to show that this had once been a place where they met, where they spent every minute of their days together. When had he.. left? How much longer had it been after Watanuki first slipped away? They were always afraid of losing one another, but the teen believed that no matter what came between them, they would always find each other in the end. They.. had to. This place was their connection. If he was there.. if Watanuki had been brought back, then Wocky should have too, shouldn’t he? He’d wished for this for what seemed like so long; and if one wished hard enough.. couldn’t they grant what they wanted the most?
" .. I don’t.. think I’m dreaming.. " a tired, ragged voice escaped the boy’s mouth; distinct sadness showing through the different hues in his eyes. " Even though it.. seems like it.. because it’s just me. It’s.. just me.. " Fingers scraped against the bark of a tree he stood next to; to feel that he was there, to remind himself.. of this place. He could hear the quiet ripples of the creek; wind gently brushing through his hair, keeping the memories in his mind alive. It was the only place- the last place that he could think of to look. After all, it was there.. that they had told one another what their hearts had been wanting to. The place where their feelings for one another were brought to life.
But Wocky still wasn’t there. Despite that.. despite everything..
" But.. I shouldn’t be sad, right.. ? Because.. you’re home.. you have to be with your parents.. " lips trembled as a smile was forced to break through; squeezing his eyes shut, lifting the head that had previously been lowered. " That’s where.. you’re supposed to be.. even if I want to see you.. even if I keep looking.. you’re not.. "
" .. y-you’re.. not.. "
The moment Watanuki’s eyes opened once more, warm tears began to trail down his cheeks; unknowingly, without control, as the slow beating muscle in his chest suddenly seemed to freeze. Everything had stopped. No longer was he aware of what was around him; only before him, that was mere feet away. Mouth parted, optics widening; shaking hands being the only thing keeping him standing. He thought.. he thought he was alone again, after fruitless efforts began to pile up; after thinking he had lost himself in another dream, fated to live the rest of his passing days with no one. His feet moved beneath him, barely inching forward, disbelieving- but it.. had to be true. Before him, the one he loved, the one he wished to see..
He was there. He was there.. he was..
" .. Ta.. kita.. "
He’d almost forgotten how easily time passed in the city. It was always the same, wasn’t it? Even before, the days melted into one another before he even realized; spending more weeks away in another world, growing farther and farther apart from the place he was taken from. Though, previously.. Watanuki had things that distracted him from ever feeling lonely. People, cherished loved ones that brought him joy, and made it possible for him to enjoy the time he was forced to spend away from his home.
Because.. they had turned it into a new home.
But this time.. it was much different. And no matter what, he couldn’t get used to having so many missing pieces. Even on a day he used to try to ignore, having his friends bring meaning back into it, only to have it be quiet like it used to.. made Watanuki feel even more distant from himself than he had already been.
" .. it’s been a while since I’ve spent my birthday alone.. hasn’t it? "
Looking over the skyline of the city, a particular yellow-coated detective was rubbing her forehead in exasperation. Last thing she knew, she’d been ‘investigating’ a case back home again, and now she was at this place once more. How she ever had forgotten anything that previously happened here was beyond her. (Just another fact of how these scientists were jerks, toying with memories like that! Especially ones considering her close friends and…well. One person more than that.)
Nonetheless, for a moment she had thought the scientists were thinking of not being any nastier for once at actually returning the memories: but no. Her actually useful gun was gone again, too! As if she didn’t have enough of a headache from those memories all rushing back to her at once, now she had to go and get it back eventually, again! Nursing her headache as she was, the approach of someone walking by had caught her off-guard, she jumping in alarm at footsteps right behind her.
“…! Jeez, my detective skills must still need some work if I let myself be sneakily approached so easily. You’re not some kind of thief or something, are you? …Not that it really matters, thinking about it. I mean, I’ll have to re-get my ‘detective’ job here again. If you are a thief, you’re REALLY lucky right now!”
(It didn’t occur to Lynne just yet that was probably NOT something she should say so casually to someone who may be a total stranger.)
There were still moments where Watanuki couldn’t believe that this was all true. That for once, he wasn’t dreaming; the memories from a year ago surfacing and washing over him like an incredible force. All of it was so familiar, so vivid and real; yet the world that lay behind closed eyes always was, too. Even now, it was still difficult for him to determine whether he was seeing, or merely sleeping.
But two days had already passed, with barely any notice from the teen. Even though he’d dreamed of this for a year, losing himself in reminiscence; only to find himself alone when he woke from his slumber.. this time, he knew it was more.
It was real.. even if he was alone, this time.
But he still couldn’t help himself from roaming the streets; passing familiar places, and those of which he never got the chance to see. People walked by without any notice, despite that at times, he desperately glanced up to try and find something he once knew.
He had remained unsuccessful, until a chance came by him.
He hadn’t noticed her at first (which was surprising, with her incredibly bright appearance), although Watanuki was the one to catch her off guard as he walked up from behind her. As soon as she spoke, his eyes widened; recognition rising inside as he caught her gaze.. and his heart began to quicken, a fast pace he couldn’t ignore.
" Lynne… san? "
It was her. It really was.. !
" L-.. Lynne-san! I— h-hold on, no! I-I’m not a thief or anything, I’m— " did she.. not remember him? It.. had been a long time since they’d seen each other, and they never did become incredibly close.. but the boy still cared greatly about her, unable to control himself from smiling in her presence. " It’s— i-it’s me! Watanuki, Kimihiro.. do you.. recognize me? "
His initiative was clear. So why couldn’t he speak?
Kamui had made up his mind. In fact, he made his decision the moment this whole thing started. But he couldn’t move. He couldn’t act. Fuuma’s, Subaru’s, and everyone else’s words were beginning to run together. He couldn’t make sense of it all.
There he was, staring up the blade of a sword to see the face of a man he once knew so well. It wasn’t the first time he had seen this sort of expression on Fuuma, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last, either.
At least, that’s what he thought.
He squeezed his eyes shut, mentally scolding himself for doing so. He was sure that Fuuma would continue to dog on him, how could he let his guard down?
Wait. Things had gotten….eerily quiet.
Kamui opened his eyes to a completely different atmosphere. He was in a room with only a TV inside. He stared at it, wide-eyed, as the person on the screen began talking directly to him. The man appeared to be a doctor or a surgeon. He was hardly listening — he just stared, while his mind raced. Why am I here?! What happened to Fuuma… the others?! He looked around the room, and by this point the TV screen had turned off. A door was revealed to him, but he was hesitant to move. What exactly had just happened…? The person on the screen had mentioned something about transferring him here from a different dimension, but…
His heart started pounding. He sat up quickly, ran over and swung the door open without a second thought. Outside, he saw…
“….Tokyo?!” Kamui said out loud, staring up at the tall buildings. The atmosphere of the place certainly felt like Tokyo — but didn’t look quite the same. It was certainly missing a few destroyed buildings… He walked down the sidewalk from the door to the board that the surgeon had mentioned. The top of the board read, “Welcome to Hive City”. Definitely not Tokyo…
It wasn’t difficult to remember how much dislike Watanuki once harboured for this place; but those memories were now distant things he no longer felt. Which.. perhaps, was strange. He was so relieved to be home after so long; to see each and every one of his friends, where they all belonged, instead of stuck in a world which held unpredictable dangers around every corner. He was able to work normally for Yuuko— as normal as his job for her got—, and was able to be there, each time, when something bad was happening to someone he loved. The mundane routines in his already strange life, once more, were beginning to fall back into place again.. but when he left Hive City, nothing was the same.
Those feelings became torn, between one world and the next.
To know how his new loved ones were. To know if they managed to get home alright, that they were happy, and not alone— all over again, the worried feelings consumed Watanuki without his control. He hoped for them, wished in every way he could that they would be alright.. but not being with them, never knowing for sure.. it ate apart at him, forming a new hole that could never be filled purely by hoping.
Until.. he was finally brought back. But even then, even if he was there.. would they be? Or would it have been better for them to be where they came from.. ?
In the midst of his thoughts, a voice suddenly rang out to the boy; blinking in slight surprise as he turned his head to see who had spoken. Again, even though they had brought back those who had been there before.. were they really continuing to bring new people? Watanuki instantly frowned, concern showing on his features for the person who seemingly just arrived; even though a part of him was glad to be back, for the chance to reunite with those he greatly missed.. that didn’t mean that he wanted to see this happening again. But standing around would do nothing for the confused stranger, by himself in the middle of an unknown place. It was a nostalgic occurrence that was perhaps one of the loneliest he was still able to remember.
" Excuse me, did.. you just get here? " he spoke gently, as not to surprise him; smiling just a little. " It’s.. all pretty crazy, I know- that video that they show doesn’t exactly help either, but.. "
" Everyone.. was brought here, too, from their home worlds. It may look like Tokyo, but.. Hive City is a very different place. "
indignari replied to your post: a hand slaps the taller teen’s back. “hey, roomie!…
he nods, but not without a little apprehension. “sakamaki izayoi, but just call me izayoi,” he says, hand held out as a mostly-empty formality.
This boy.. really didn’t seem very interested in speaking with Watanuki; for some reason, the air between them felt a bit forced. Although, he could understand why- they were strangers, brought to a place where they would be forced to adapt. He had already been there before, so Watanuki was already somewhat used to it.. but Izayoi, on the other hand, was probably in a much different situation than him. He really couldn’t blame him for that.
Mismatched eyes blinked at the hand he was given, but a sheepish smile appeared again, reaching out to shake it. ” Ah, Izayoi-kun, then? ” he hoped they could get along, at least; they would be living together, after all. ” Have you been here for very long? I.. haven’t met our other roommate yet. “
Yawning, the small child rubbed her eyes and looked around her. It felt like she had just woken up from a very, very long nap.. But, things were different now. This place, Hive City, felt so very.. Lonely.
Where was everyone? The last thing she remembered were various, warm memories of the friends she had made in this place, but they seemed like a long time ago — Just like the memories of her Dad, and her friends back home..
Thinking about her loneliness, she began to cry softly. She was still so young, and couldn’t cope with being alone, and the confusion of her predicament was not helping her emotions.
“W… Wahh! … Uuu..”
She sobbed quietly for a moment, and then looked around her again. There was hardly anyone in Sector 3, and she wasn’t used to that. It was difficult being a little girl in the sector of Hive City known as the “ghetto”, especially when she had no friends to keep her company..
It had been so long since he’d last been there.
Everything seemed so different, so far off from what he remembered; but all the same, Watanuki still knew this place like the back of his hand. He could notice the little changes all around him- ones that could hardly be seen by newcomers, that were passed by without a single glance-, and could recall where all of the places he visited before were. The streets he walked down, the stores he shopped at; the sights he used to take in.. .. with those very important people. The ones he could easily call family; that took hold of his hands, laughed with him, and spent every minute, every day together..
It was the same. But there was much, much more missing.. that he still longed to have back.
Despite the fact that he had been situated in a different sector this time, one much more clean and safe compared to his previous one, Watanuki found himself back in the ghetto, not long after he exchanged words with this new roommate. He had been wanting to come back since the day he left; something anyone would be surprised by, considering that not one person who had been brought there had any choice on the matter. He wanted nothing but to return home, at first.. until everything for him changed.
He left too quickly. He never got to say goodbye, or had the chance to remind everyone how much they meant to him.. but finally, after a long year, would he be able to? Or would he be alone, with no chance to ever grant his wish?
Just as Watanuki began to turn a corner, weathered blue and gold eyes fixated on the cement beneath his feet.. the sound of quiet, yet familiar sobs were enough to answer his question. And he stopped, immediately; lifting up his head as his eyes began to widen.
”.. Y-.. Yotsuba-chan.. “
It couldn’t be. She was.. she was really..
" Yotsuba-chan! "
Without thinking, without any hesitation whatsoever, Watanuki felt himself move again; embracing the young girl within seconds. He didn’t want to frighten her, but he couldn’t help himself from pulling her close, keeping his arms wrapped around her as his own tears threatened to fall down his cheeks. Yotsuba had been brought back, to the place where they lived together- she was really there, after all this time..
" Please.. please don’t cry, Yotsuba-chan.. I’m here.. " he pulled back for just a moment, gently cupping her petite face in his hands as he wiped her tears with his thumbs; and he smiled, for what seemed like the first time in ages. " You’re not alone.. everything will be okay.. "
" I missed you.. I missed you so much, Yotsuba-chan.. I’m so glad to see you again.. "
The sudden action was more than enough to catch the boy off guard; letting out a noise of surprise as his shoulders jumped, whipping around to see the person who was greeting him. Although many things were different.. Watanuki couldn’t help the nostalgia that suddenly built inside of him; memories of his first visit to Hive City flooding in.. and reminding him of the first encounter he had with his former, very important roommate.
But it.. really wasn’t the same.
“Ah! Oh, e-er, it.. seems like it.” he smiled toward the shorter boy, attempting to match the friendliness in his own words, at first not noticing the hint of sarcasm from the other. “Hopefully.. we can get by here alright.”
“My name is Watanuki Kimihiro, by the way- it’s nice to meet you.”
To be honest, Tsukiko wasn’t exactly sure what drove her to leave her apartment today and get on the train to Sector 3. Well, maybe she had some idea…
It had been some time since she had last seen Wocky and Yotsuba… And she missed them. They were her closest friends here and yet she didn’t even see them that often. It was odd for her to experience loneliness, but that’s what drove her out of her apartment today. As an excuse, she made some scarves and gloves to give if she was a bother.
Which she was sure she would be.
Taking a deep breath, Tsukiko lightly knocked on the door of apartment T-3. What if neither of them were home? Well, she guessed she would just have to give up for the day and come back some other time….
After being gone for so long, a quiet apartment was something Watanuki wished he could have avoided.
Of course, it was something that he’d always been used to before he came to the city; but now, being by himself was rare. Whenever he came home, he was greeted by two very bright and cheerful people, while in Japan, there was no one waiting for him. No smiling faces or warm arms to hold him close, no words of love to say how much they’d missed him— but that was unfamiliar to him now, and he was grateful for it. Being alone every once in a while was nice, of course. After long, hectic days and petty arguments, Watanuki didn’t mind enjoying the peace and quiet.. but things had been quiet for so long, to him. And after everything that had happened, he wished that he wasn’t by himself, despite how selfish it may have been of him to think that way.
Quietly thumbing through a book, mismatched eyes raised to look at the clock on the wall every few minutes, heaving a tiny sigh as he tried to direct his gaze from it once more. Wocky and Yotsuba had gone out for the day, and although Watanuki wanted to come with them, Wocky grew increasingly angry at him, telling him that he needed to stay home and rest. Though Watanuki knew he was just worried more than anything, he still wanted to go with them— and it wasn’t as though Wocky was completely fine himself, but the other wouldn’t have it. After being asleep for so long, he didn’t want Watanuki putting any more strain on his body, and wouldn’t listen to anything the younger boy had to say.
It frustrated him greatly.. but he decided not to fight him, in the end. There was a lot he had to think about, in any case.. physically he would recover from the events that had recently happened.. but—
Blinking slightly, Watanuki startled when he heard a quiet knock on the door, although it was barely audible and he almost didn’t hear it. That wasn’t.. Wocky and Yotsuba, was it? No, they would have let themselves in if it was- but who else could it be?
" Ah- coming! " he called out to the person behind the wooden frame, placing down his book as he got to his feet, making his way to the door. Fingers circling around the knob, he went to turn it- but stopped, quickly fixing the collar of his sweater to better cover the purple bruises colouring his neck. Breathing in a bit, he finally opened it— and was surprised to find a short, but very pretty woman.. whom he had never seen before, standing before him.
Who.. could this be? Was she a friend of Wocky’s, or even the even younger resident of their apartment? If so.. why had he never seen her before?
" Oh, uhm.. " the boy blinked again, gaze falling down on the stranger. " Can I help you with something? "