None of the orderlies ever thought of Hoshikawa Akane as an easy patient to take care of. Oh no, she took all her meals and her medication, and she gave the doctors no trouble at all. But grief was always heavy in the air around her, and none of the nurses could go in without feeling its weight. Her backstory was a sad one. Not particularly because of its content, many patients had gone through worse. But the fact that it happened out of nowhere, and broke what was once a perfectly functional human being was jarring. Her appearance combined with this air around her…it felt wrong. She shouldn’t have been here. It made dealing with her…awkward. Like they were doing little but taking care of a doll.
Akane, on the other hand, felt nothing of what the orderlies and doctors thought of her. Even if she knew, she wouldn’t have cared. She was insensate to everything in this world. She had often told her little boy to be careful, because what would she do if she had lost him as well? At the time, it was a simple thing to say, just a word of warning. But then…
They dared to call her child a murderer. Her gentle little boy, who did nothing but look at the stars, wouldn’t want to associate with others long enough to even have a chance at killing them. They knew nothing about her boy, and yet…
But if he wasn’t a murderer, why hadn’t he come home? Had he really been with an alien this whole time? Had perhaps been kidnapped? She wished she knew…
Akane leaned back into her bed, looking at her dark, empty room without really seeing anything at all. It was all the same. Nothing but this never ending darkness in her heart and her mind. Nothing to see here…
She blinked, and sat up. That voice. It had called out for her. Was he here? Had he heard her?
“Subaru? Subaru, is that you?” Her response was a childish giggle.
“Subaru? Maa, I haven’t been called by that name in a long time…it’s a little startling…” And then he was there. Right at the foot of her bed. He was dressed oddly, but…her baby boy, he was back. He came back to her.
“Subaru, it really is you…you’re back…do you know how much I worried about you? All this time, and I didn’t know where you had gone to…” Her eyes welled up with tears, obscuring her vision. By the time she had wiped her eyes clean, he had already come closer, sitting down in a chair next to her. He didn’t look like he had aged a day…
“I’m really sorry, kaa-san…leaving you like this…but I had to!”
“It’s alright, Subaru, I’m just glad to see that you’re okay…now that you’re here, you’ll tell your mother everything, won’t you?”
“Uh-hm. You won’t believe what I have to say, but listen! I know where tou-san is! I’ve been looking for him for so long, and I found him! He was up in space, like I said all this time!”
Akane gasped. After all this suffering, suddenly the world seemed it fit to give her the two things she had wanted most? Her son, and her husband, finally back?
“Really? Is he here with you? Did you bring him back? Is that why you were gone for so long?”
“Mmhm. I needed some things, but I’ve got them all together now. He’s not here yet, but don’t worry! You’ll be together with him soon, kaa-san!”
“Together…” Akane smiled blissfully. “All three of us?”
“Uh-huh! Eventually, all three of us will be together. Promise!”
Akane noded, before her smile eventually settled into a serious frown.
“Did…did you really…”
“Did I…what, kaa-san?”
“Those people…almost three years ago…did you really…” She swallowed. “…hurt them?” That word…she couldn’t bring herself to say it, to accuse her child the same way that those others called him. Murderer.
“Hurt? What are you talking about, kaa-san? I saved them!”
“Uh-huh. They were hurting really bad, kaa-san, they were suffering so much. And then the FM-ians came, and made them do bad things…I had to stop them, and save them, so that they wouldn’t have to hurt like that anymore, knowing that they were being used to do bad things because of how they were hurting…” He looked downcast.
“Are…are you mad, kaa-san? I was doing my best to help them…”
She couldn’t stay mad with him. Not now when he was back home. Not when he was trying so hard to do good.
“…I understand, Subaru. You were trying your best to do what’s right. You did what you had to, didn’t you?” She reached out, stroked his hair. He had certainly inherited his father’s hair, even if it did have a touch of her delicate softness in it. The little smile he returned after her action only affirmed it in her mind. He was still her little boy.
“Thanks, kaa-san.” She chuckled.
“Oh, Subaru, I’m so happy to see you again…”
“I’m happy to see you too, kaa-san. I’m just sorry that I left you for so long…and I have to go again. I only came to visit once I found out where you were…”
Go? So soon…
“Well, I have to go take care of tou-san, right? And there are some other dangerous things…I have this power, kaa-san, I can stop it. I can save this world…no, this universe! Just like tou-san wanted to…”
“Oh, Subaru…” She stroked his hair again. “You’ve grown up so much, and I never saw it…”
“Don’t apologize.” She let out a short laugh, before reaching out to cup his cheek. “Subaru…you’re such a good boy.”
He giggled, before reaching out to hold her hand with both his own.
“Thank you, kaa-san. You should rest.”
“Oh, probably…I’m just so happy, Subaru, I don’t know how I can sleep now, after all this.”
“Go to sleep, kaa-san. We’ll all be back together again. I promise.”
It was late, Amachi knew. But he was permitted to visit after hours. The orderlies knew him well enough by now, and he was the closest thing Akane had to family left. Oh…if his senpai could have seen his family now. One missing and declared a person of interest in a spree killing, one driven mad by grief…
I’m sorry, Daigo-senpai. I failed you…I wanted to support your family in your absence, in return for all you’ve taught me, but…
“How is she tonight?”
The orderly that he had stopped looked confused for a moment, before his eyes lit up in recognition once he realized who had addressed him.
“Oh, I believe she was just given her medication some time ago…if you visit her, you’ll catch her just before they take effect and she falls asleep…you’re late today, Amachi-san. Almost everyone has left now, except for the few night shifters…”
“Sorry...had to go a bit overtime at the lab today, the rocket just didn’t have enough energy output…”
“Haha, well, I’m not going to pretend to understand what you’re talking about. You should hurry!”
“Right, right! Thank you!” And he jogged off, raising a hand carelessly in farewell. He really should hurry. Akane depended on his visits for some sort of stability, at least one familiar, friendly face. He wouldn’t let her down tonight.
The hallway was empty. No big surprise. With the way the shifts were run, and how it was staffed, only every other hallway had orderlies on it at a time. Right now, the floors above and below were being administered their daily medication, Amachi knew.
So why did he feel a sense of dread? Why did the back of his neck suddenly go slick with sweat? And that smell…
He sniffed. Once. Twice. It smelt…coppery…fresh...blood?! That wasn’t right. How could there be so much…and it was coming from the door next to him…
No. Not her room. Any room but her room…His throat tightened. He didn’t want to open the door. But he had to…he reached a shaking hand out, grasped the handle, and turned it.
He opened the door just in time to watch in horror as Hoshikawa Akane’s head fell from her shoulders, landing on the floor with a serene smile still on her sleeping face.
“W…what…” He looked up from where her head fell, saw the bloodied sword change back into a small hand. Saw the blue-clad boy turn to face him, regarding him with a neutral expression. That outfit…
“You…you’re that boy who stopped Utagai…when he was that monster…”
“Ah…” And the boy smiled, a sinister smile that could have passed as gentle had Amachi not seen him murder in cold blood just a few seconds before. “I’m surprised you recognize me.” The boy chuckled, a low, amused sound that made Amachi feel sick just hearing it. His eyes closed for a brief moment, before focusing straight on him, making Amachi flinch back instinctively.
“I didn’t expect to see you again so soon…Amachi-san.”
That voice…the way he addressed him…no. It couldn’t be.
“Ah…” The boy chuckled again, before stretching. “Again, calling me that name…first kaa-san, now you…it’s a bit overwhelming! I haven’t been called that name in years…Rockman. I’m Rockman now, Amachi-san.”
Amachi felt his whole body go numb. No. He couldn’t have…he didn’t become…
“You…have you really been taken over by…”
“Eh? Oh, no, no! War-Rock and I have been partners from the very beginning, Amachi-san! Sure, we had some…disagreements…” He giggled, a high-pitched sound that made Amachi’s ears ring and his stomach lurch. It was so different from the low chuckles from before…
“But War-Rock came around to see things my way soon enough. Now, we’re working together to achieve a great goal…”
“Y…your…way…” So…he had been working with an alien lifeform this whole time. But…he couldn’t believe it! Subaru…that young child…he couldn’t have wanted to kill all those people…his own mother…
“Yep! Wouldn’t it be great, Amachi-san, to eliminate all the suffering in this world?”
“…Subaru-kun…that’s impossible, you know that. Without suffering, we can’t feel joy…without suffering, we wouldn’t band together to form bonds, what your father found so important…” He stopped talking when he noticed the ugly scowl growing on the boy’s face.
“Why? Why live our lives with something so fickle, Amachi-san? Why should we have to feel pain just to feel happiness? It makes no sense! Living a life of suffering, searching for those few nuggets of happiness to cling onto, before passing away from this world, wanting more?”
Slowly, the scowl was changing. As he continued to talk, it became a crazed grin, his eyes alight with madness.
“It’s illogical, Amachi-san. If we must live this way…wouldn’t it be better if we could make it so we didn’t have to feel such things at all?”
Amachi felt his breath hitch in his throat. How could Daigo’s son fallen so far astray?
“S-Subaru-kun…don’t you understand? It’s those emotions that make us who we are…that make us human.”
“And what’s so great about being human, Amachi-san? I haven’t been human for a long time…” He chuckled.
“I can do so much more this way, Amachi-san…I can save the world…the entire universe…” The boy cackled, an unnerving sound that started out low and slowly rose in pitch until he was outright laughing. It made Amachi want to turn away from the sight. But he couldn’t.
All laughter stopped. The boy stretched his neck, rolling his head on his shoulders, as if working out any cricks that might have been there. He regarded Amachi through half-lidded eyes, his head still slightly tilted to the side as a small, thin smile slowly appeared on his face, barely showing teeth.
Amachi’s eyes involuntarily slid down as those words were spoken. He watched the left hand materialize into a glowing sword. Slowly, wordlessly, he watched transfixed, followed the path of the sword with his eyes as the boy raised the sword up, eventually locking eyes with him again. The smile had become more sinister, calculating…
“It’s Rockman, Amachi-san.”
There was a split-second moment of silence as they stared, sizing each other up.
Amachi broke eye contact first, turning away to run. He didn’t register where he was going. Instead he ran to the end of the hall, where the alarm was. He broke the glass, pulling the handle down to signal the orderlies. When he heard the blaring noise of the alarm, he let out an involuntary sigh, let his body relax…then it tensed again. He turned.
Rockman slammed him against the wall with his right hand pressed against Amachi’s chest. He still wore that same unnerving smile.
“Ah, look at the time. I suppose I must be going. It’s a shame that I couldn’t get you to understand, Amachi-san…”
Amachi didn’t move even as he felt heat on his neck, the energy-laced blade just barely brushing against his skin. He looked down into Subaru-kun’s…no…Rockman’s eyes, trying to probe the depths of their madness, trying to find out just what happened. Even when he knew it was too late to fix it.
“No matter. You’ll understand soon enough, Amachi-san, when you see kaa-san again."
When the orderlies came to the hall where the alarm had been sounded, they only saw Amachi’s freshly decapitated corpse, his body still sliding down against the wall.
Doctor Orihime fumed at Dealer’s latest move.
“How dare he! Destroying the center of where the intelligent lie…WAZA was full of potentially brilliant minds, perfect to strengthen the Neo Mu Empire! And he would obliterate them, merely because they pose a threat to his plans? They barely knew of Dealer before he pulled this stunt! It was a foolish display of power, nothing more!
“Rockman! I thought you were going to prevent him from making his move!”
“And so I have, Doctor Orihime.”
“Explain yourself. This certainly looks like he’s made a move.”
“Oh, he’s made a move, Doctor Orihime, but it has hardly been successful. Look beneath the surface and observe...All the scientists save one had evacuated once they had heard his announcement being broadcast. The only one that has perished is Doctor Goodall. A heavy blow, to be sure, but she has saved WAZA’s network in the process. Your brilliant minds are safe, and it shows a glaring hole in Dealer’s plans, Doctor.”
Rockman smirked. “King grows impatient. He attacks with Meteor G even while he lacks control. Meteor G is being hindered from using all of its power, and it shall be so until Ra Mu is completely awakened. Once Ra Mu is awake, it will be able to handle an inferior object like a space rock with ease…perhaps even take its power for its own. It is the origin of all this wondrous Noise control technology, is it not?”
“My, you are one for subtleties, aren’t you?”
“Of course, Doctor. Allowing King to make the first move will only increase your influence and power once you soundly defeat him, while exposing him to the world. The entire world will be focused on him, while you prepare your empire. Perfect, no?”
“I see. You are a crafty one. King lost a valuable ally when you agreed to work with me that day.” Orihime chuckled. “And the status of Ra Mu?”
“Still absorbing power from the OOParts, Doctor. Empty believes it will be fully functional by tomorrow. Make your move then. Declare your intentions to the world, but don’t single out a specific target. Make the whole world shake. You are to be a god, after all.”
“Then so it shall be. Tomorrow, the Neo Mu Empire will begin their conquest of the world!”
King was displeased. Somebody had been constantly hindering his efforts to control Meteor G. Oh, he had full control of it, of course. But it still wasn’t effective enough. The Jamming strike at WAZA should have completely blocked off all denpa beings and transmissions, plus have automatically killed all the humans inside. And yet, the Satella Police Wizards had eventually been able to tear open an entrance by utilizing their self-destruct features. Granted, they were not quick enough to save that old bat, Doctor Goodall, which was a heavy blow to their resources considering she was heading their own Noise department research. But she had lived long enough to transmit WAZA’s data to the environmental system in Alohaha, which had been only recently fully repaired from the time when Jack and Tia had driven Strong out of control. The people of Alohaha had learned their lesson once the Wizard had been fully burnt out by the surge of Noise in his circuits, and had a multitude of people regulating the environemental system now. It would make suitable headquarters, and it was a place for them to rally around.
This was no good. No good at all! His control over Meteor G was absolute! It should use one hundred percent of its power! King fumed over this dilemma with Heartless, who had still not been able to find the cause.
“Ne, King. Don’t be so hard on her, eh? You know she’s one of your most competent minds.”
“Silence, Rockman! This is a major problem!”
“Of course, King. But I wonder…if Heartless has not discovered the origin of the problems by now…is the interference really coming from someone else on Earth?”
“What are you implying, child?” King had learned to listen whenever Rockman had a theory. The child really did seem to love thinking out of the box, and so while whatever he proposed sounded completely off the wall at the time, it often worked once implemented.
“I’m saying that maybe there’s a problem with Meteor G itself. Its Cyber Core could be unstable. Permission to check, King?”
“…Yes. Very well.” He had no one else. Acid Ace was out doing recon on WAZA. Joker needed to stay with him during a crucial time such as this, he needed some semblance of protection. And Queen Tia was still grieving over the loss of Jack, and had been very hostile towards nearly everyone else save for Ace himself. “I expect a status report as soon as possible.”
“Of course, sir.”
“What a strange piece of data…” Rockman mused as he picked up what appeared to be a splinter of some sort of whole piece of data. “It doesn’t match anything else inside Meteor G…and it doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen before…it looks almost alive.”
“That signature…” Rockman raised an eyebrow, as he always did whenever he heard War-Rock talk. It had been a long time, hadn’t it? It was a prompt for War-Rock to continue, but he looked reluctant to speak, as if he had regretted saying those words.
“…It’s very familiar to me. I think I…recognize it…”
“You know who it is.” It wasn’t a statement. It was a demand. And War-Rock knew it.
“…It’s Daigo. This feels like a piece of his memory. The Noise is starting to scatter him, which means he’s been in here for a long time, so he’s probably what’s been holding back Meteor G.”
"He is starting to lose himself. Breaking apart like this…what a cruel state to be in.”
Rockman crushed the memory splinter in his hand, smiling as he watched it disintegrate in the palm of his hand as he opened it.
“We’ll have to release him from his torment soon, won’t we, War-Rock?”
It was difficult, trying to sense out the fragments of memory. They really were very tiny, and if he didn’t have the Andromeda Key backing up his sensory abilities, he wouldn’t have sensed them at all without some other locating device. But he managed to find them all, and had forced his way to the center of the Cyber Core in the process. There, it was easy to locate what he had been looking for. After all, he was right there, straining to keep the Cyber Core in check.
“Tou-san.” Rockman smirked as Daigo turned around, watched his eyes light up in recognition.
“Maa, maa, you too, huh? I’d say that name brings back fond memories, but I don’t really feel anything for those times, you know?” Rockman laughed, even as Daigo blanched.
“Subaru…don’t you realize what you have been doing?”
“Well, of course I do, tou-san. I’m saving this miserable world.”
“By cutting off any chance it has of forming bonds with other planets? By destroying it?!”
“Well, of course. Relying on something as fickle as bonds, something that can hurt more than it can help…it’s illogical.”
Daigo didn’t know what he could tell his son, convince him to stop. For once in his life, the words didn’t come easily or naturally to him.
“Bonds are so much stronger than you think. They can bring so much joy and happiness, and fill you with strength like no other…”
“That may be so, but inevitably, they will break, tou-san. Whether by death, or by personally severing it…it will happen. Nothing is permanent in this universe, tou-san, not even your so-called strength.”
“…Subaru.” Daigo stood firmly, brought himself up to his full height. “I gave you the name I chose for a reason. I wanted you to uphold the strength of bonds, to know that power and to be able to live a long, happy life, surrounded by people you loved…Is that such a bad thing to wish for?”
“Then it’s a good thing I’m not Hoshikawa Subaru anymore, isn’t it?” Daigo was rendered speechless as his son started to cackle. He had brushed off his argument so easily...
“I’m Rockman now, tou-san. And as Rockman, I don’t fight for bonds. I fight to break them, and to make sure they never reform. I fight for destruction. Earth will be relieved of its suffering first…then the rest of the universe will follow. That is all.”
Daigo tried to say something else, but he was cut off by a cry of pain as a sparking sword was shoved into his chest. His body, converted to purely denpa, was slowly being destabilized by the electric shocks coming from the blade.
“You’ve already suffered so much, tou-san. Being captured, lost in space, and then scattered throughout this Cyber Core, slowly and painfully having your memories being torn from you…why did you do such things? For a family that it wasn’t guaranteed you’d return to? For a planet that forgot your existence, assumed you were dead? For those fickle bonds? It’s enough, tou-san. Rest. Say hello to kaa-san for me, if you see her…and tell her I’ll keep true to my promise. We’ll all be together again in oblivion very soon.”
Daigo’s only response was to scream out his son’s name in one last effort to reach out to him, his cry echoing through the Cyber Core as his body exploded into shards of light.
Rockman let a small relaxed smile cross his face as he watched the bits of data disintegrate in the air.
“Well. That’s it. There’s nothing left stopping us, War-Rock.”
War-Rock said nothing, only bowing his head to hide his emotions.
I’m sorry, Daigo.
The moment of quiet was shattered from a beeping noise from the Hunter as Rockman began to call Mr. King.
“Sir, I’ve found the disturbance.”
“Excellent. Has it been taken care of?”
“Hai. A denpa lifeform that resembled a human was working to restrain the Cyber Core. I have just deleted it, but it had a strong presence. There’s still scattered pieces of its data around the core, destabilizing it. It will take time to eradicate them all and stabilize Meteor G, sir.”
“I see. Do you have an estimate on when this will be completed?”
“I should be able to have everything done by tomorrow, King.”
“Good work, Rockman. Tomorrow, Dealer shall reign supreme!”
Rockman chuckled as he shut off the connection. Idiots. One day was all he needed. He already had a drain set into Ra Mu’s inner workings, slowly siphoning away its power at a steady rate. While Empty was positioned to watch Ra Mu…he would notice nothing, especially not since Rockman had attacked him while he was alone with the so-called “god of Denpa” and deleted his memory banks. Oh, Empty could still function normally. But he listened to him, now. He would report nothing suspicious to Doctor Orihime, who was in her hideout, monitoring Dealer’s actions effects on the world as Rockman suggested she do once Dealer’s attack on WAZA had been made. He would only send her statistics on the “growth” that Ra Mu was going through.
Empty and Orihime…what a sad tale they shared together! Rockman was thoroughly amused by what he had seen in the memory banks. Orihime really was the epitome of the misery bonds could bring, wasn’t she? Having her only love taken away from her, constructing Empty in a futile attempt to bring him back to her and only being disappointed when it didn’t work…and then going on to be so attached to him that she kept him close even when his presence only brought her pain. To conquer the Earth just to alleviate that pain…what a great pain she must have felt! And her efforts had been set back to zero once again. Whatever connection she and Empty might have had was gone now, and she didn’t even know it. How terrible.
Rockman set up a similar drain on Meteor G. It was connected to Andromeda, who was stationed nearby and already receiving power from Ra Mu. With Andromeda being so close and slowly receiving Meteor G’s power, the sensors wouldn’t even sense the drain. It would only sense Meteor G’s energy being moved around. And slowly, Andromeda should gain a slight coating of bright red Crimson, just enough to fool any visual monitors observing Meteor G. It was perfect.
Tomorrow was the fated day when all three of them would reveal their plans to the world. Only one would succeed. And Rockman was already well on his way to making sure that it was his own plans that would triumph over all.
People all around the world felt dread building in their stomachs as all their electronic devices ceased to function. Was it that King again? What would he declare now? Would they all be bowing down to him by the end of the day?
More than one person felt no small amount of surprise as a young woman appeared on their screens instead of King. Her message, however, was no less worrying.
“Greetings, simpletons, and rejoice! For today, you are now all under the sovereign of the Neo Mu Empire, and its ruler, myself-Doctor Orihime!”
Great. Two insane megalomaniacs trying to rule the world. It was just what the Earth needed. She didn’t get to say much else, however, as her broadcast was interrupted, and suddenly the screens were split in two as a second display showed up next to her-King.
“Murian reject! You would dare try to parade around the work of a failed people as superior to Meteor G’s might! “
“You would never understand the true power of Ra Mu, Dealer scum! It is a literal god!”
“Pah! Unscientific and baseless claims! Your so-called god will never be able to surpass the power of Meteor G!”
“Hah, do you really think so? Ra Mu, give these commoners a taste of your power! Eliminate that red shooting star that has been plaguing them for so long!”
“Not a chance! Unleash the Jamming, and show how false that god is, Meteor G!”
A minute passed. Nothing happened. People expected to feel some sort of rumbling tremor, see something clashing in the air as whatever Ra Mu had and the bright red beam of Crimson Jamming fought against each other. But there was nothing. Both King and Doctor Orihime looked panicked as they realized that there wasn’t any display of power at all.
“Empty! Empty! What is the status of Ra Mu! Report!”
“Heartless?! Heartless, you useless wench, get over here and tell me what’s going on with the meteor now!”
Their panicked demands were cut off by childish giggling.
“You might as well stop trying, nothing will work anyway.”
Everyone looked confused, except for the Doctor and King themselves-they looked downright furious as the screen split yet again into thirds as a third person hacked into the systems. This time it was a young…boy? He couldn’t have been any older than thirteen or fourteen, and what was that strange costume he was wearing? The boy grinned, and waved.
“What-you?!” Doctor Orihime fumed.
“Rockman! What have you done?!” King bellowed, clearly furious. The boy didn’t seem bothered at all by the threats, instead observing the fingers of his left hand.
“You know, you could be a little more polite. I wasn’t going to stop by at all, you know, but watching you two fight so vainly was rather amusing, so I decided to have a chat. You should be happy to see your little ally for one last time before I go, you know?”
“Enough with the nonsense, child. What did you do?!” demanded Orihime.
“You are no ally of mine, boy, if you’ve done what I suspect you have. Out with it!” King growled, his face getting angrier even as Rockman’s face grew more amused.
“Hm? Oh, I didn’t do much. I just drained all the power of Ra Mu and Meteor G for my own personal project, you see.”
“WHAT?!” both Orihime and King yelled, while the people watching weren’t sure what to feel. It was good, that these two people had lost all their power but…what did the boy have planned? Why did they still all feel so much dread?
“You sneaking brat! How dare you betray-“
“-why, I never, of all the stunts you’ve pulled, this is-”
“-where are you now, you little-”
“-you will rue this day, Rockman!”
Through the angry onslaught of words, Rockman did nothing but giggle amusedly.
“Now, now, settle down. I’m surprised that you’re this shocked, really. Why did you assume that what I wanted was the same as you wanted? I might have agreed with you on some points, but that doesn’t mean you should assume that I would automatically want to follow your cause. And Doctor! I even blatantly told you that I had my own plans, and yet you assumed that they wouldn’t clash with yours! I thought you didn’t like fools, Doctor Orihime!”
Rockman stopped giggling and let out a relaxed sigh. “Then again, I probably shouldn’t have expected so much from humans, eh? So eager to avoid seeing your own faults, in order to avoid the pain of having to deal with them; ignoring smaller details in favor of seeing what they want to see…really, you humans are all so silly! That’s why I’m here, you know.”
“What are you planning, Rockman?!” King demanded, to which the boy only chuckled.
“You ask me this now, instead of when you first met me? Of course…” The boy let out a twisted grin, an expression far more terrifying than what either King or Orihime had done so far.
“I’m here to save this world from its own suffering. That’s all.”
“What nonsense are you talking about, child?!” Orihime shouted, her eyes alight with both fear and anger.
“Well, isn’t it obvious? I did say I agreed with you two. The human race is full of nothing but fools. We live, struggling from day to day to achieve desires that either grant limited happiness or that will never be won. All good things come to an end, yet we gladly go through countless amounts of pain just to feel a sliver of happiness. Thus we live, and then we die, only wanting more joy in our lives…it’s painful, isn’t it? Wanting to make bonds, and seeing them break. Seeking our heart’s desire, only to have it change again on a whim, or to have it shattered before us…what a strange way to live. It’s inefficient, illogical, and far too painful of a life…wouldn’t it be better, if we didn’t have to feel such things?”
“You would remove our emotions from us, then?!” cried King. “You would remove our reasons for living from us?”
“Why, of course not. That would only leave you with an empty life, wouldn’t it? No, I don’t talk of removal…I talk of destruction.”
There was a long moment of silence as his words sunk in, before the first hint of terror started showing itself on both King and Orihime’s faces.
“You…you plan on destroying our world?!”
“Not just the world, Doctor. This whole universe. Earth is simply the first step…or second, I suppose. Planet FM has already met its merciful end.” The boy chuckled. “It’s nothing to be scared of. Everything comes to an end. I’m just bringing it about sooner, so that you all don’t have to suffer as long. Isn’t that nice?”
“Do you think we’ll take this lying down?! We’ll stop you, boy!”
“Ah. But how? And why would you want to? It’ll be nice and painless, you know. Besides, Andromeda is already ready…all I have to do is turn it on. I don’t feel like wasting time with threats and time limits, you know. It’s not like I need you all to comply with my wishes or something. And you will all understand anyway, once you feel the sweet bliss of oblivion, won’t you? In fact…” And Rockman held his hands to his chest, where the key-like emblem began to glow, the gem set into it gleaming with a bright light.
“It’s just about time in ten, nine, eight…”
King and Orihime looked astounded, before they began to panic and call for both Empty and Heartless. Neither responded. Empty had no commands from Rockman to respond to her once Ra Mu was “finished awakening,” and Heartless had silently left Dealer once she realized that she had failed her mission to save Daigo from the meteor and had no allies to help her take over the organization to stop King.
“Seven, six, five, four…”
People looked on with dread. Slowly, they began to look up at the sky, hearing nothing but the countdown. Some cried. Some screamed. Some thought it was all just a joke…that the world wasn’t ending now…it couldn’t. And there were others who simply didn’t care, didn’t see the problem with their lives ending.
“Three, two, one…”
It felt all too surreal.
[A/N]: And...that's it. That's all I had planned in my mind. Gabe and Sol have both come up with some great ideas, though, so if I ever write them, or if they write them, they'll be after story oneshots. Also yes, Jack is dead. Gabe had an interlude planned out, but he hasn't finished it yet. It'll pop up soon enough.
So yeah. 104+ pages. 49,440 words. I haven't written this kind of monster fic in a long time. And to think it was supposed to just be a series of oneshots. Well, hope you all enjoyed it! Until next time!