There was something confusing about Jr.'s sudden outburst. Gaignun felt as if the elder knew, to some degree, what he had done. Yet if that were the case, wouldn't he have confronted Gaignun on it right then and there? Jr. wasn't one to beat around the bush or hide from things that bugged him; oftentimes he would jump on the chance to prove someone was wrong, or in this case, betraying him. Maybe it had to do with Gaignun's true use? He could have suspected Gaignun was a rat, yet he must have wanted to believe it wasn't true. He thought about the night, the way he had spent it alone. Perhaps Jr. had a rough time sleeping himself? Was he on edge? Maybe it had to do with MOMO, her appearance so close to Sakura's, the thoughts keeping him up at night. That didn't make sense though; Jr. always was one to vent to Gaignun first about things that bothered him, or even suspicions he might have had. So, what had changed? The thought bothered him for a long while, throughout the time he spent working away to keep their business afloat and long after the last piece of data had been inputted.

Gaignun released a heavy sigh, staring at the mechanized door of his office and refraining from getting up and locking it. He wanted to be alone, no Shelley or Mary to keep him updated on the status of their course, nor the implied 'relationship' the three had. He didn't want comfort, he wanted answers, and his brothers were beginning to stress him out, breaking that air of seriousness and aloofness that surrounded him. He was once confident in all things surrounding him and Jr. and Albedo. He was always the solemn one, always the voice of reason. So, when reason began slipping away, Gaignun became confused, nearly lost in the situations that sat before him. There was radio silence from Albedo, something he took some comfort in, yet his mind still swarmed with thoughts of Jr.'s stance. He knew his elder brother had no idea about Gaignun harboring his father's spirit, keeping watch on the smaller of the two like the good spy he was. He couldn't have known Gaignun's affiliations because of this; Dmitri had even linked him to U-TIC, spreading information that did nothing but hinder them.

There was something strange, though. Something that bothered him just a little more than Jr.'s outburst. His connection with Albedo was strangely silent. Initially, upon returning to the Durandal hours after leaving, Gaignun could feel Albedo's 'touch', feeling around for somewhere good to put himself. Gaignun's body was unnecessarily cramped, undoubtedly making it harder for Albedo to stay. After the initial contact, however, Albedo had left him alone, as if bored with the searching, feeling Gaignun out and inspecting the curious box he'd locked his father away in for now. His father. Gaignun had laughed at that. The man was not his father, he was the older version of himself. Nigredo was solely created to keep tabs on the others, cloned to harbor the demon that the man he called 'father' had become. The thought brought unwelcome memories back, and he found himself leaving his office, desperate to finally land them somewhere, to free himself from the ship for a few moments. He had heard the call for the approach of the Foundation and their eventual docking as though summoned by Gaignun's wishes. The time of landing was enough to get him out and about, checking the residential area for any of their strange passengers. Here, he met with MOMO and Ziggy.

"Hello there, Mr. Gaignun!" The Realian smiled at him, albeit nervously. Ziggy stared at him wordlessly, as if trying to analyze him. "Did you come by just to greet us?" They had met briefly upon the Elsa's landing but Gaignun had something more important to tend to, so he did not quite get to officially meet some of its new additions. Gaignun offered the girl a smile.

"To be truthful, I've finished most of the work for the hour. I thought I'd formally introduce myself to you all." His gaze shifted to the cyborg, the smile not leaving his face. "You particularly fascinate me. What is someone so outdated doing with the- with MOMO? Surely you report to someone."

"MOMO's expression seemed to drop, Ziggy's remaining stoic as usual. "Who I worked for is of no importance. I was sent to rescue her from U-TIC and to bring her safely to Second Miltia. We're both kind of skeptical of that order, though." The cyborg observed the Realian for a moment, then returned his stern gaze to Gaignun. "And you? Do you work for anyone?"

"Let's just say I know some things, and I don't know some things. Which organization I know those things about is of no importance." Gaignun's clever use of Ziggy's own line made MOMO giggle.

"You guys sound like you're family! Bickering even though you barely know each other!" Her expressions, her voice, her very existence reminded Gaignun of painful memories, though he kept those feelings to himself. He decided he wasn't going to let those kinds of things rule him, not too much. The conversation continued, Gaignun explaining his work to them in as little words as possible and the two recounting their experiences up until then. Gaignun seemed quite impressed by this; with MOMO's keen ability to keep them safe even in hyperspace and Ziggy's advanced combat skills, Gaignun could hardly believe their stories.

Their goodbyes were spoken as Gaignun received a new wave of information he had to deal with. He became particularly light-hearted with the Realian, speaking to her as if she was an ordinary girl. And wasn't she? It made his smile grow into something sorrowful, and she made notice of the shift in his expression. Despite keeping quiet, Gaignun could see the understanding behind her unique eyes. Ziggy was another subject. The cyborg did interest him, and he questioned the possibility of him going AWOL, defying the directive he'd been assigned to keep the observational unit alive. It was something else that made him feel bittersweet, like before.

As he made his way to his office leisurely, he passed the strange woman behind KOS-MOS' creation. She seemed to know what he was and appeared to have an idea of what Jr. was, too. It unnerved him, yet he smiled at her all the same. "Miss Uzuki."

"Oh, hello, Mister Gaignun. Did you hear we'll be docking soon? I can't wait to see what the Foundation's station looks like."

"Indeed I did. I'm sure you'll be quite surprised." There was genuine pleasantness behind his statements, and he gave Shion the same soft smile he'd awarded MOMO with moments before. The interaction lasted for mere seconds, yet he could feel Shion observing him, even if just slightly.

Once returning to his beloved office, Gaignun feels something foreign. It jarred him, causing him to lean against the wall, a hand on the side of his head. His eyes were squeezed shut, the pain being forced upon him making it difficult to see straight. There was suddenly a sharp grasp on his mind, claws digging into his brain and causing his vision to fill with static. The mental link with Jr. had been forcefully severed, his mental cries unheard by those he desperately sought out for help. It wasn't Dmitri that governed him, no, it was something tamer than that, yet it still brought him much pain. The reason had suddenly become clear to him as he opened his eyes, vision bleary. The room that surrounded him was foreign, even though he knew exactly where he was.

"Albedo. This is your doing, i-isn't it?" The mental question elicited a quiet but bubbly laugh in response. Gaignun knew then, the laughter a grim confirmation.

"Mmm, Nigredo… How amazing this feels, hurting you even though I am not there. I was eager to try it out. Is this what 'father' does to you? When you misbehave?" Albedo's voice was strangely even, less tinged with insanity. "It looks like you're worried about the poor Little Master. Doesn't that make you furious? He won't talk to you, I bet he hardly even trusts you, N-"

"Let go of my head, Albedo." The childish part of him cried out. It hurts, he thought. It hurts.

As if hearing his pathetic cry for help, Albedo's grip on Gaignun's mind began to slowly loosen, so to speak, the pain taken with it. Gaignun became overwhelmed by Albedo's sudden presence within him. This was nothing like Dmitri's; it was vulgar, invasive, the probing mental hands feeling their way through his body without his permission. "What are you-"
"Oh, shut up." Albedo barked out the order and it caught Gaignun off guard. He should have known Albedo would try and antagonize him in some way after their 'agreement' was made. Albedo had become far too quiet for Gaignun's liking, and now he knew why. Still, the feeling was no longer entirely unwelcome; it felt as though Albedo was touching him from the inside. His breath hitched just a little, his eyes slowly fluttering closed.

Albedo's gleefulness was not hidden from Gaignun. He found amusement in every reaction and it seemed he wanted much more. He fed into Gaignun's quiet obsession, digging into his brain to extract some of his deepest secrets, things he felt no-one should ever know. Albedo giggled softly, 'touching' every part of him, relishing the responses he'd get from the younger brother. "Isn't this what you want? I'd keep my arguments to myself, if I were you, you know, so I could keep experiencing something good, something I'd want, more than anything…" As Albedo spoke, his presence welled up In Gaignun's chest, cold tendrils slipping down his abdomen, coiling in the pit of his stomach. He could practically taste the beginning of Gaignun's arousal as his mental grasp took to his throat and between his thighs for just a moment. It was no surprise to Albedo that Gaignun wanted more, almost mentally demanding it without as many words. Or any.

"I want to hurt you," Albedo thought, sending an intense wave of 'feeling' throughout Gaignun's body, taking ahold of him, digging his claws into his throat.

"I'm sure I wouldn't mind," Gaignun's thoughts seemed just as out of breath as he was. "I've been hurt before."

"No fun, no fun… you're never any fun. You never have been. At least try and fight me. It's not fun if you're too willing." Albedo's obsession with enjoying himself matched that of Gaignun's, making the black-haired U.R.T.V. tremble. His breathing was labored, caused by the strengthening grip of Albedo's mental touch around his throat. The rest of him clawed through Gaignun's chest, along the insides of his thighs, pulling the inherently sexual feeling away from him, ripping it away with glee.
"No," Gaignun spoke aloud, his hand finding his own throat as if to remove the ghost that held on too tight. This, however, was not the case, not even in the slightest. Gaignun's hand had traveled up to his own face, his eyes slowly closing again. He moved from his cheek to his jaw, then his lips, slowly dragging his fingers down to his chin, his lower lip pulled down just the slightest by the fingertips that met with the 'hand' around his neck. "Not yet. You don't deserve the effort." Gaignun's mental voice wavered just the slightest as Albedo's mental presence overflowed within him, rewarding him with yet another wave of delicious arousal.

Then he vanished. His presence completely disappeared, and Gaignun found himself squeezing his own neck despite this, as if to trigger the feeling of Albedo again.

All that was left of Albedo's presence was the soft echo of laughter, his mind being flooded with what could have been had Gaignun just listened. Albedo left him with a lingering touch, something that curled around his heart and made him gasp. Gaignun straightened after taking a few moments to recompose himself. He stared at the ground, wondering how he looked then, touching his own face and holding his own throat.

What have I gotten myself into...?