Title: Painful Memory
Series: Ultraman Orb, The Origin Saga
Characters: Jugglus Juggler, Manager Black, Kurenai Gai, mentions of Yumeno Naomi, Micott
Summary: Gai came looking for Juggler again, and perhaps found him at his most vulnerable time.
A/N: Set in the present, but there were mentions of stuff from Origin Saga. As well as assumptions of what might have happened later on.

---------------------------



Memories could be so annoying, at times. Just when you're about to forget it, there would be something that would bring it back.

"Manager... can't you make the coffee much more stronger?"

Manager Black extended his head slightly over the counter towards him. "Juggler-boy, the coffee's already strong enough to keep you awake till next morning, how much more do you want?"

The man just bumped his head hard on the wall. "I just want to forget... this shitty memory..."

The Manager just looked at him worriedly as he started making another coffee brew with an extra ingredient...

xxx

The sound of the ringing bell caught his attention as the Owner glanced up to greet his customer. But as expected, it wasn't just any other customer. It's Kurenai Gai.

"Manager, may I ask? Is—?"

Manager Black just resumed cleaning his utensils for the next day. He huffed at him. "If you're looking for Juggler-boy... he's there at the corner table."

Gai just gave him a surprised look before turning around and finally noticing the man who has already passed out on the table. The young man immediately hurried over to check on his friend.

"Manager! What happened to him?" asked Gai again as the old man shrugged.

"The kid asked for something that could make him forget everything. I'm just a coffee shop manager! Not a pharmacist or anything! What kind of coffee that I could give him that could do what he wants?" Manager Black just gave Gai a shrug. "So, I added some liquor to his coffee. Good stuff, Babalian ale. Was contemplating between this and the Baltan liquor I had at the back."

The older man turned to look at Gai, before gesturing towards Juggler. "Kid didn't really have a good tolerance for it, did he?"

Gai let out a soft sigh, before shaking his head. "Not really..."

xxx

"Before I knew it, I was trying my best to save her life..."

"I had no idea what I was doing... so I ran away with my tail behind my legs..."

No... that's not true. That time... wasn't the first time that he saved someone by his own choice. There was another... much, much earlier. There was someone else that he once saved and always wanted to protect. The first person he had ever opened his heart to.

"The need to save the weak was Gai's weakness. How could I be the same?"

How could he be the same as Gai? He wasn't like him who recklessly fights without knowing the odds. He wasn't someone who jumps into a fight without thinking like Gai. He didn't have the need to save every unfortunate person that he sees around him. How could he and Gai be considered the same type of person?

"Of course the two of you were different people. But, was it that bad if you did something that was similar to how Gai act? Was it so bad to act based on what your heart wanted to?"

Juggler turned around to see a silhouette of a woman, walking towards him. At first, he thought he saw Yumeno Naomi approaching him... with smiles on her face. But the closer she gets to him, the more he doubted that it was her. Yet the woman's face seemed somewhat familiar to him. Who? But then recognition started to dawn on him and slowly he started to remember. The swordswoman whom he met by chance, who... without his realising started to become a very welcoming presence by his side. A treasured presence. The woman whose presence alone could make him smile without reason. The person, whom he once protected from harm with his own body. Also the one he...

How could... he forget her?

The woman smiled at him. "It's been a while... Master."

xxx

Gai stopped walking as he thought he heard something. He turned his head around before feeling something wet falling on his neck. He immediately turned to look at his old friend, whom he was carrying on his back.

Juggler was still asleep, yet... he was crying?

Suddenly Gai began to notice how Juggler's arm started to tighten its hold around his neck as he continued to eye his old friend worriedly. Juggler started to cry even harder, did he have a sad dream?

"...uh... I told you..."

Gai tried his best not to suddenly drop his friend as Juggler started burying his face on the side of his neck.

"...don't... call me, Master... Micott!"

He gasped. That name... was a name he hasn't heard for a very long time. Especially not from Juggler. So why...?

Gai tried to recall the time... long, long ago back when their journey first started. The two of them had embarked on a new journey, to fulfil the new mission they just received. Along the way, they met with the two girls, Ricca... and Micott. It was at that point when everything started to change. Since then, everything around them started happening so fast. Good things... bad things, everything seemed to breeze past them too quickly.

Did the two grow close back then during those very short time? Was there something between them that he never notice before?

That reminds him, back then... when Juggler was in control of those... Bezelbs; how did it happen? His friend was a skilled swordsman, how could he be careless enough to—he remembered enough times when Juggler used to reprimand him for the many times he fought recklessly by himself as well as Orb.

But then... Gai suddenly remembered an instance of a memory. That time when that Shinra gave Juggler the seed from the 'Tree of Life' supposedly given by Queen Amate to save him—when Juggler regained consciousness, he and Micott were looking at each other meaningfully. Could it be... those two—? And come to think, that time... aside from that other girl and Shinra, Juggler had also been affected deeply whenGai shook his head hastily. He didn't want to recall even more of what happened back then. In Kanon.

A lot of things had happened back then. And not just that incident. There were a few more things. And it was around that time that the two of them started to break apart...

"The kid asked for something that could make him forget—"

Gai frowned. He thought of the last few conversations they had before, and how Juggler reacted badly when he talked about 'love'. And how Juggler was taken aback when Naomi boldly taunted him to kill her already. And now that he thought of it, Juggler did seem to act differently when he was with Naomi—and Naomi told him that Juggler used to open up to her, talking about the past. And surprisingly later when Naomi told him the things Juggler used to tell her, he realised that most of it were truthful. And he ended up finding out about the things he never knew his old friend had kept in his heart, all these times.

He might be overthinking this too much, but Naomi... did seem to resemble her a lot. Not just in appearance, but also in personality. Perhaps that was why...

Gai again tried to check on Juggler again, who has fallen back into an uneasy sleep. He smiled weakly.

Perhaps he made a right decision to come looking for his old friend again today. Juggler would have hated it to see him later when he woke up, but for now... perhaps he could act a bit selfish and kept his old friend company tonight. For old times sake.

It might still be a bit hard for him to convince Juggler to stay by his side like how they used to in the past, but he won't give up yet. For now...


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