That Feeling of Falling That Jolts You Awake
a Kagerou Project fanfiction by The Overlord Bear
Summary: Even though he could remember everything, he still needed to be reminded about how he wasn’t the only depressed half of the couple. Thus, he would make sure to catch her every time she felt like falling. He even has a funny story for her today!
He could feel the orange glow of the sunlight reminding him of sunspots as they tried to seep past his eyelids. He let out a soft grunt too.
The thing, though, is that he wouldn’t have felt and done that without his ears and his skin.
His wife was crying again. Maybe it was a nightmare, maybe it was the weight of their work lately, but whatever was the reason, she was crying again, and he needed to help her.
He opened his eyes, but he never met hers, because they were closed.
That wasn’t much of a problem, though. In fact, it was the better thing to do, since she was experiencing her brand of eye power control struggles, something that each and every member of the Mekakushi Dan experienced…even Hiyori, who also struggled with staying asleep, but more because of a mad Snake than clinical depression.
(Fortunately, that Snake could only be a possessive and sentient jackass that had to fulfill one wish before another…and it was in the eternal loop that is fulfilling Konoha’s wish of keeping Hiyori alive. She had to be bound in place and watched over whenever she was forced to stay awake by the power of the Snake, though, since it could attempt to escape its imprisonment by driving her into madness and suicide.)
And speaking of which, Ayano had to keep her eyes closed tight whenever she felt like falling into the void again, because her eye power would transfer her feelings to whoever was nearby, causing sympathy at an extreme level.
Shintaro was the first one who learned that, and he learned that the hard way. He learned about the dark side of her power a few days after that August 15th when they broke free of the temporal looping, and it involved finding her crying alone in the living room of the apartment unit which served as the Mekakushi Dan headquarters.
He also had to be reminded that closed eyes didn’t necessarily shut eye powers off, which he was reminded about through the feeling of a more slowly crushing weight upon his psyche.
At least today wasn’t as bad as when he first knew about her struggles with her eye powers.
Shintaro had his own depression, but depression wasn’t something that was easy to overcome, and experiencing his lover’s depression as if he were experiencing it first-hand along with his own was something that made him feel like he was close to choking to death…as if he were close to kicking the hanged man’s chair off from underneath him.
But now was no time for him to wallow in dark memories that he already knew how to live past. His wife needed him again, and he knew he could help her get back up and be more of the hero she was really meant to be.
It was time to break another fall and roll into a cool squat, complete with bridal carry eye contact!
“Hey…do you still remember how I dealt with you being gone back then?” he asked, a small smile on his face.
“U-Uh…you turned into a…NEET…?” she answered, her lips scrunching up.
“Yeah…I don’t think I’ve told you everything about it, though.”
“R-Really…? Don’t you have…photographic memory or something, though…?”
“It’s eidetic memory, honey. And all those stories I told you about were more serious. I still find it a miracle that Takane-senpai still hasn’t ratted me out there any further, too…”
“Huh…? What…W-What do you mean…?”
At that, Shintaro started blushing, turning his head away slightly. Seems like she had forgotten, then. Probably had gotten so used to Takane-senpai using that threat on him as a joke, too.
“You know how Takane-senpai had been living as Ene the whole time I was a NEET, right?” he then asked.
“Yeah…” Ayano answered. “I remember…She was quite peppy, even annoying to you…right?”
“Yeah. She annoyed me into staying alive, and there was one particularly embarrassing way she used a lot…”
“What was it, then?”
Shintaro noticed how Ayano had opened her eyes at that, and he also noticed how there was less of a weight beneath those glowing red eyes of hers now.
He smiled bigger at that, but still, he was blushing.
“Well,” he continued, “She would threaten to upload and spread my digital porn stash online if I died.”
“Oh…” she responded, eyes slowly widening. “Ohhh…”
“You remember now?”
“Yeah…I forgot about that…I’m sorry…”
“Hey, don’t be. Not everyone can remember as much as I can, and I wouldn’t really say that this power is always a good thing. But back to the point, have I ever told you about what was in my porn stash?”
“Uhm…lots of pretty legs?”
“Heh…” he also said with a smirk and a look away, “I thought you didn’t remember.”
Ayano giggled at that.
“I don’t have a powerful memory like yours,” she said with a smile, “But it’s not like I’m that dumb.”
Shintaro’s blushing cheeks went redder, but his smile widened and brightened along with that as well.
“Oh yeah…” he went, blushing some more as his smile curved into goofiness, “That thing also led to our first time…”
“My, what a perverted husband I have!” she declared, pinching his cheek as she giggled again with a blush. “But I don’t think you’re just talking me into sex again, right?” she added with more weight beneath her curious look. “I mean, you get to see my bare legs whenever we’re here at home…and you know I want to be better at things beyond those things, too…”
“I know, Ayano,” he said, blush vanishing and smile straightening. “I just wanna say that even the stupidest things can be a good enough reason for us to stay alive and improve ourselves. Like not dying an exposed lady leg fetishist with matching porn.”
“But I don’t have a porn stash.”
“Well, how about an anime episode that’s yet to be broadcasted?”
“But don’t we have work to do?”
“Who cares? If you’re drained, and anime restores your sanity, then forget the work for a while and just watch anime. I’ll even binge-watch with you, if you want to watch multiple seasons’ worth of ’em. And hey, I won’t mind if you ask me to be your all-knowing commentator, complete with funny snarks!”
“How about if I ask you to not give me depressing stuff? W-Would it be weird?”
“I don’t think so, Ayano. We do have to deal with such things eventually, but if you need to rest and recover, then I’ll keep your mind away from those until you feel more prepared to deal with them.”
“But what about – ”
And then Shintaro immediately silenced Ayano by hugging her close, her mouth muffled by how her face was stuck to his chest.
Maybe it was how high she dreamed that made her more susceptible to internal attacks like this, but guessing aside, he had to keep her from doing more self-loathing.
And after Ayano managed to break free of his silencing hold on her, she gave him a pout as she made eye contact with him.
Shintaro could feel the slowly crushing weight coming in again from her glowing red eyes, but it was overshadowed by the itching feeling of annoyance and the towering feeling of arrogance.
“I want to be a good leader!” she declared, hands now on her husband’s shoulders. “And you’re being an idiot again!”
“And you’re dreaming too big again, Madam Last Boss,” he replied, eyebrows raised upon his wife. “Leaders hold groups together, not do all of the other members’ work. Though you do have a point about how I’m an idiot. I mean, I have a memory like this, and it still took multiple loops just to get to the good ending!”
“Well, I’m sorry that I can’t do it right!” she shot back, and Shintaro could really feel a towering sense of heat with that. “And stop putting yourself down, Shintaro!”
“You can, Ayano,” Shintaro answered, voice level now as he straightened his lips and sharpened his eyes. “It’s hard, but you can. And I’ll reassure you about that again and again, every single day of our lives. And I’ll stop putting myself down when you stop putting yourself down.”
The answer he received was silence.
And then she threw her face upon his chest again, soaking it with her tears.
“T-Thank you so much…a-and I’m so sorry…” she told him in between teary hiccups. “I’m so sorry…t-that I’m being such a burden to you…to everyone…”
He held her close as she cried and thanked and apologized, while he whispered reassurances to her.
“I’ll still love you even when you’re like this,” he told her as he reassured her. “I’ve seen how beautiful you can be…just by seeing how plain you are.”
“…is that last part supposed to be a compliment, Shintaro?”
Again, there was that itch, and it was going past a crumbling feeling.
“Trust me,” he answered with a small grin and a look into her eyes, “Your plainness isn’t of the selfish sort, after all.”
“…are you sure about that, though?” she asked back as she looked down. “I made myself too hard to notice back then, after all…and you know how big I dream…”
“Kido and Kano have you beat there, though,” he answered, pushing her chin back up, “And I remember you everyday, even if those two were to cover you up with their powers.”
And then he moved his face closer to hers, their noses touching.
“And most of all…” he added, “Without your big dreaming, there wouldn’t be a Mekakushi Dan.”
A dropped jaw.
Tears staining her face.
A feeling of warm light cutting through cold darkness, like the sunrise which had just happened minutes before.
“Good morning, you old married couple!” Kano greeted as he swung the door inward and open.
“Heh…” Shintaro went, eyes closed and smile calm, “Just in time, everyone.”
Two suns had just been allowed entry and exit, their light shining forth.
One was the sun outside.
The other was Ayano Kisaragi’s smile.
“Good morning, everyone!”
Author’s Note: “Additional Memory” and its MV had me doing this. And speaking of which, I can actually handle singing that song, much to my great surprise. Thank you very much, then, Jin! Whoop-dee-doo!
Anyway, Ayano’s eye power control problems. Has anyone else in the fandom even thought about that before? If there is, then hey, send me your thoughts, yo!
Also, Merry Christmas again to all you nuts out there! And hey, I hope this is a nice sort of red to add to your holiday enjoyment!