honou_no_izumi: (Juggy)
Title: Tears
Series: Ultraman Orb, The Origin Saga
Characters: Jugglus Juggler, Kurenai Gai, mentions of Micott
Summary: It took him a very long time to get to this point, but it was better late than never.

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


When he woke up, the sun was already up. And he was alone. He sat up, and looked around in alarm.

When he saw the dark suit jacket; still lying crumpled at the side, he started to calm down. That person... should he still be around? Gai hastily got out of the small shed. Lucky for him, it didn't take him long to find his old friend.

Juggler was sitting by himself, on a bench at the park. Somehow, it seemed that his friend was deeply in thought. Or maybe he was just staring at the clouds. Regardless, his old friend was there in front of him and that alone made him happy. Grabbing Juggler's jacket, Gai skipped over towards his direction...

xxx

He let out another sigh. It's been a while. To think that right now he could just sit here by himself, not up to no good. Or up to some odd mischief. Was he losing his touch? His purpose?

Without warning, Juggler sensed someone nearby and something heavy and warm being dropped over his shoulders. He turned his head slightly to see that it was only his jacket that he left behind. Was he out that long? He hadn't noticed the cold until someone dropped his jacket over him. How peculiar...

He turned his head to greet the person. "Uhm... m-morning. Fancy seeing you around. Then again, waking up to see your stupid face so early wasn't in my schedule." Juggler gave Gai a once-over. "It's that time of the week again, is it? Not off to protect some silly humans, are you?"

Gai was silent, despite his taunts. How boring.

"Why are you out here so early? You'll get cold."

Juggler let out a snort. "Heh... as if something like that would bother me now."

"Are you all right?"

He glanced again towards Gai. That tone he was using didn't sound like a shot in the dark. But considering he'd woke up somewhere else other than the place he last remembered, that would mean Gai would've picked him up from there. And people from that place might have said some unnecessary things. Still, there shouldn't be a lot for him to find out.

"Of course. Why won't I? Just because I no longer following you around, doesn't mean—"

"Last night..." Gai suddenly spoke. "... you talked in your sleep."

Juggler frowned, before looking away. That didn't mean anything. Even if he talked in his sleep, Gai wouldn't possibly be able to know—he turned back towards Gai. The idiot still wearing his serious look... but it's not the usual 'I-am-a-warrior-of-light-and-I-am-judging-you' look but it's the kind of look that he hasn't seen directed towards him for a long time. That 'I'm-worried-shit-about-you-and-I'm-being-serious-about-it' look.

It's really been a while. Juggler let out another long sigh.

"Fine... I had a dream last night. And it's been a very long time since I had it. That's all."

"Can we..." he could hear the hesitation in Gai's voice, "... talk about it?"

He couldn't help laughing at the concern.

"Why would you even care to talk about it now? It's been a long time... and you never bothered to care about it last time..."

Seeing that troubled look on Gai's face strangely felt so satisfying. Since it reminded him of something Gai said to him before, which vexed him a lot. How Gai always assumed he knew whatever it was he kept talking about so confidently. In which Juggler always wanted to spit back at the guy telling him how wrong his assumptions have been.

"Juggler..."

He got up, turned around and started walking away. If he had to hear another of Gai's stupid speech again, he'd rather...

"Juggler, wait!" Gai grabbed his arm and forced him to turn around. "I'm not going to let you walk away from me again!"

Juggler yanked his arm away angrily. "I don't think we have anything to talk about with each other—"

"Micott—"

He winced. Why the hell Gai started mentioning her name now? He glared towards Gai.

"What are you scheming now, Gai? Are you going to start making more assumptions on why I become like this? Are you planning to give me even more ridiculous lectures on what things I supposedly abandoned or thrown away to show me what wrong choices have I made? Are you thinking that—"

"I'm sorry... Juggler."

Juggler cocked his head at him. "Hah? What are you suddenly—"

"I'm sorry..."

He laughed. Tens of years... a hundred... how long has it been he couldn't even recall. And only now... he finally decided to say that word? Only now?

"Sorry? For what? What did you think you're apologising for?" He had raised his voice slightly as he spoke, but that wasn't even half of the anger that had brewed inside of him.

Gai showed him a very hurtful expression. But that wasn't enough to make him start to care about what Gai felt. For all he knew it's just Gai's usual line of thinking that went off the mark again.

"About Micott... all of the things I did wrong to you in the past... the things that I never noticed before, I wanted to ask for your forgiveness," Gai stepped closer towards him. "I'm sorry that I never realise how much you've been hurt."

Juggler backed away.

"What're you suddenly talking about? What—" Juggler brushed his cheek as he stared at it, confused. Tears? After all these times? He glared back towards Gai. "What is it do you think you know about me? You know NOTHING!"

Gai nodded. "Yes. I knew nothing of your suffering. I thought I did... but I was wrong! I'm sorry it took me this long to realise that—"

"Shut up!"

Juggler placed a fist at the side of his head as his eyes started to gather even more moisture. "Shut up, shut up... SHUT UP! Don't you assume you know what I'm feeling right now! Don't!"

He cried. Even though he refused to want to let Gai see him like this. The tears kept coming down. Despite how many times he tried to wipe them all away. Why did the tears come out now? They don't even come out that time when he—the memories kept flowing back into his consciousness. Micott's smile. The cries of the Bezelb. Micott lifting his sword high to attempt to cut the creature down. That moment when time seemed to stop flowing for him. The moment when he witnessed Micott's death helplessly, unable to do anything to stop it from happening.

And the penultimate attack on him back then, making the hurt even worse. Gai's words saying that he also felt sorrow over Micott's death. He could remember his anger back then. How could Gai understand his sorrow? He didn't even spend that much time getting to know those girls back then, let alone actually have enough reason to feel the loss!

Ah well, at least he did teach Gai that lesson. When Gai thought that that Natasha woman had died. Gai should have understood that feeling, at least for a long while... before he found out that the woman hasn't actually died because of him. Heh!

Suddenly Juggler felt someone wrapping their arm around his body, pulling him out of his reverie. He blinked, before trying to push Gai away to no avail.

"Get off!"

xxx

He gritted his teeth as he kept a firm grip over Juggler. Because it finally dawned on him. The many puzzle pieces that didn't make much sense before, things that used to allude him. They were making more sense now. The reason why Juggler kept trying to do everything he could to try to bring him down.

It wasn't just because Juggler was obsessed with power. It wasn't just because of Juggler's hatred of him. It wasn't also just because of his fascination of the darkness. It was none of those reasons and all of those reasons. The more he started noticing the little things, the more he started to understand. Whether or not Juggler was doing all these consciously or unconsciously, it did seem the answer were always in the past. Their pasts.

Gai tried to recall the many things Juggler had said to him ever since they arrived on this Earth. How Juggler had mocked him for being too depressed over the 'death' of a single human. Natasha's. How the very thought that he might have caused Natasha's death made him lose his original ability as an Ultraman. And why... Juggler kept trying to show him what 'true hell' could be for him. He suddenly felt all of the emotion inside him to be a bit suffocating.

Suddenly it dawned on him on why Juggler tried so hard to achieve so much power.

"Juggler..." he finally spoke up. "Were you... there when Micott died? Did you saw it... with your own eyes?"

Immediately, he felt Juggler's response. His friend had stopped struggling. He could also hear Juggler let out a choked cry. And he might have imagined it, it also felt as if all of the strength had left his friend's body, before Gai hurriedly made Juggler sit on the bench.

"Juggler..." he started to say. Juggler's eyes were blank as he tried to get his friend to pay attention to him. "It's not your fault."

Juggler's mouth twitched before he started shaking his head slowly. "No. It's my fault."

His friend let out a sigh. "If only I wasn't so stubborn about not teaching her my sword technique, she might have had a better chance of surviving that confrontation. She wasn't used to fighting with a longer blade. Or one that was heavier than the one she usually wields. If she had been able to practice using the long sword and get used to fighting with it, she could have been able to swing the sword faster and moved quicker. If only I wasn't too stubborn..."

Gai pulled his friend into another embrace again. And this time, Juggler didn't put any resistance. His heart clenched as he thought of how much hurt his friend had been facing alone by himself all these time.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry that it took me this long to reach out to you."

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