Netto shook his head and blearily opened his eyes. He immediately rubbed his forehead, trying to ward off the headache that had arisen. He groaned as he sat up, looking around. Everything around him was white, as if he was just floating somewhere. His eyes suddenly widened in realization; this was what happened when he was brought to the other world!
"Hello, Netto." came a voice above him. Blinking, Netto looked up to see the girl's face staring down at him.
"Y-you..." he muttered in wonderment. The girl gave a small smile at him.
"Yes. I am sorry for all the trouble my sister has caused to both you and Forte..." she said while squatting down to look at him in the eye, "But for all that has happened, I cannot say if it was for better or worse."
Netto looked around again before looking at the girl again. "Where am I?" he groaned as he stretched a bit, wincing at how painful some of his joints felt, "And where are we going?"
The girl shook her head. "That's a secret." she winked, "However, for where we are going...I'm taking you home."
Netto's mouth opened in surprise. "Home?" he repeated, shocked. The girl nodded.
"Yes...I'm taking both you and Forte back to your world." she replied.
The boy looked down at the PET still clutched tightly in his hands. "Forte..." he murmured, staring sadly at it. "Tell me, is Forte going to be alright?" Netto asked. The girl smiled.
"He will be thanks to you. You saved his life by linking him to your lifeforce." she answered simply. "However...due to that, both of your fates have changed drastically...even I don't know what will happen now."
Netto blinked in confusion before putting forward a question. "Who are you anyways?"
The girl closed her eyes and smiled. "I am Yuna...I am the goddess that has been assigned to watch over your planet."
Netto gulped, a bewildered expression forming on his face. "A goddess?" he choked out, looking wide eyed at Yuna. "Gods and goddesses are real?
Yuna nodded. "Yes, they are very real." she giggled as she held up a hand to stop Netto from interrupting. "And for the record, the one who brought you to the other world was Sera." she said, frowning at the name of her sister.
Netto suddenly took on a thoughtful expression. "That big bird..." the brunette mumbled while looking down, "Geetz or whatever its name was...it said that someone named Sera ordered that we were to be killed. Why?"
The green haired girl stared at Netto sadly. "I'm going to be honest with you. Sera planned to eliminate you because she grew bored of just watching you."
There was silence as Netto stared disbelievingly at the goddess. "You're kidding me..."
Yuna only shook her head. "Unfortunately not." Netto then scowled at her, and to her surprise, the cold look in his eyes returned.
"So our lives are but a game to you?" he asked icily, glaring at her. "We are nothing more than playthings for your kind? Is that it?"
Yund suppressed a shiver. It looks like this is one of the repercussions of the link... she thought. Drawing in a breath, she shook her head. "No, it's not. Sera went way beyond her jurisdiction and broke many rules in doing what she did."
"And why didn't you interfere earlier if that was the case?" Netto cut in, his eyes still having the cold look to them. When Yuna didn't answer, he snarled. "Answer me!"
Yuna winced at the boy's tone. "I'm sorry, Netto...but Sera also used some loopholes in the laws we follow to their full extent." she said while shaking her head. "Believe me, I did my utmost to help you two as much as possible without being caught...but I should have done more..." she said while looking down sadly.
Netto's eyes softened and lost the cold look to them. "You were helping us all along?" he asked, surprised.
The goddess nodded. "Yes. Sera was planning much worse for the two of you...I do not know why, though." she replied, smiling at Netto. "I'm sorry for not doing anything more to assist you two."
Netto stared at her for a long while before he sighed. "No, it wasn't your fault." he finally sighed, making the goddess look at him in surprise. "You said you were helping us along the way...does that mean you were responsible for how lucky I've been in getting stuff?"
Yuna nodded slightly, albeit hesitantly. "Well...a bit. I placed the card with the money inside your bag, and put the battle chips and charger at the junk shop. However, that was the most I could do without being discovered."
The brunette sighed. "I suppose it can't be helped..." he muttered. Yuna blinked.
"You're taking all of this in stride...why?" she questioned. Netto shrugged as he yawned.
"I don't know...I should be angry, but...I'm just so...tired..." he muttered as he laid down again, clutching Forte's PET tightly to his chest. Yuna stared at him sadly.
"I cannot ask that you forgive me, nor can I ask you to not think lowly of us. We've been doing more harm than good lately..." Netto merely looked at her.
"I know something that you can do to make amends." Netto said. When Yuna looked at him in surprise, he continued. "Help the people of the world I was taken to. That's all I ask."
Yuna blinked. "To help the people of that world...what exactly do you mean by that?"
Netto grunted. "It means exactly that. Just help them in any way possible, and I'll consider anything that you think you've done forgiven." Netto yawned again as he closed his eyes.
Yuna stared at him for a few moments before nodding. "I promise."
Netto grinned. "Thanks..." he said before clutching the PET again and drifting off to sleep. Yuna kept staring at him for a while before she turned around.
"I'll make sure that world is helped. Count on it." Yuna said softly before turning around. They were almost there.
Yuuichirou frowned as he kept typing away at the computer. What he was seeing wasn't making any sense at all.
Hours earlier, Blues had come into the house's network with an unconscious Rockman in his arms. Yuuichirou immediately took action and plugged Rockman into his personal computer and started a diagnosis. Enzan had arrived shortly thereafter and with Blues' help, managed to explain what happened.
That was what was puzzling the head scientist. The diagnosis had shown that there was nothing wrong with Rockman's system. Slightly frustrated, he had started an advanced scanning on Rockman's system, looking for anything that was odd.
To his dismay, there was still nothing showing up. The only oddity he saw was that the Saito.bat was still functional. If what Enzan and Blues were saying was true, then it didn't make any sense at all.
Why is this happening? Yuuichirou thought to himself, Rockman's system is fine, but from what Blues said, Rockman felt the connection between him and Netto being severed...but it shouldn't be possible! I made sure that the link established with the Saito.bat couldn't be broken at all... Sighing, the doctor rubbed at his temples. He was starting to get a headache.
Turning back to the computer, he continued typing. Although the computer didn't pick up on anything, he felt that something was off. He couldn't quite place his finger on it.
Suddenly, there was a knock at his door. "Come in!" he called out, not bothering to turn around. The door opened as he heard someone walk in.
"How's Rockman, Dr. Hikari?" came a voice. Yuuichirou turned around to see Enzan, who immediately sat down in the nearest chair.
"Ah, Enzan..." the doctor sighed, removing his glasses so he could rub his eyes, "Rockman is fine. However, from what you and Blues have told me, Rockman managed to say that the link was being severed as he collapsed, right?"
Enzan nodded. "Correct. Blues knows the full story himself, though, since he was there at the time." he said before rubbing at his forehead. "To be perfectly honest, I don't know much more than that. All Blues did was call me and brief me on what happened."
Yuuichirou shook his head. "Be sure to thank Blues for me. If he wasn't there..." he said while eying the PET on Enzan's waist. It seemed Blues was in rest mode for the time being.
Enzan stood back up and lowered his gaze to the ground. "I'm more worried about what happened to Netto. It's only been a week since he's gone missing, and then something like this happens. It isn't coincidence."
The brown haired doctor nodded. "You're right..." he muttered as he slumped backwards in his chair, "Whatever happened to Netto may have caused this." Yuuichirou then buried his face in his hands. "God, so many things are happening too quickly. Netto first goes missing and now this. It's getting to be a bit too much..."
Enzan opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by a loud explosion from outside. "What was that!" he exclaimed, momentarily knocked off his feet in surprise. Yuuichirou quickly grabbed the edge of the desk to keep himself from falling.
"I don't know..." he whispered as Haruka came into the room, somewhat shaken.
"Honey!" she cried as she stopped in the doorway, "That explosion sounded like it came from the park! What do you think happened?" Yuuichirou walked over to her and pulled her into an embrace.
"Enzan." he said while looking at the netbattler, "I want you to go phone the police. I don't know if they've been called or not, but better safe than sorry."
The boy opened his mouth to object, but instead nodded and headed out the door. However, instead of heading towards the phone, he put on his shoes and left the house, heading in the direction of the park.
"Enzan-sama?" Blues called from his PET. Enzan unhooked the PET from his waist and frowned. "Aren't you going to call the police?"
Enzan shook his head. "No, I'm not. Something is up, and I want to check it out." Blues didn't say anything more as Enzan sprinted towards the park.
He finally arrived there after a few minutes of non-stop running. Pausing to catch his breath, he looked around to see if anything was amiss. Oddly enough, he saw no smoke rising from anywhere. "What's going on?" he asked himself, starting to walk around, "If there was a huge explosion over here, then there should be lots of smoke..."
Enzan then heard some sirens in the distance. "It looks like the police are coming after all..." he murmured, "I should get out of here."
The netbattler started to run the opposite direction of where he came from when he notice a piece of cloth sticking out of the bushes. "What's this?" he muttered as he looked at it in the palm of his hand. Narrowing his eyes, he parted the bushes where he found the cloth and his eyes widened.
Sitting up against a tree, unconscious, was Hikari Netto.
After overcoming his initial shock, Enzan quickly leaned down to check the boy's pulse. He sighed in relief when he found one. "He's alive..." he said dazedly.
Taking his PET, he quickly contacted the ambulance. Enzan then decided it was better to get Netto out in the open, and started to drag him out of the bushes. It was at that time he noticed that Netto was wearing some strange clothes. Puzzled, he looked at the cloak the brunette was wearing for a few minutes.
"Enzan-sama!" Blues called out from his PET, making the netbattler snap out of his daze, "Maybe you should call Dr. Hikari and tell him what we've found?"
Enzan nodded. Immediately, he sent a call out to Yuuichirou's computer, hoping the scientist would pick up. Thankfully, he did.
"Enzan, where did you go?" Yuuichirou asked, slightly narrowing his eyes. "I thought something was up when you didn't answer..."
"Never mind that!" Enzan interrupted hastily, "I've just found something...or should I say someone?"
"What are you talking about?" the scientist asked in exasperation.
"This." With that, Enzan lowered the PET's screen to look upon the unconscious Netto.
Yuuichirou's eyes widened in shock. "Is that...?"
"Yes, it is." Enzan said while nodding. Yuuichirou blinked and ran a hand through his hair, looking relieved.
"Thank god!" he said while he started to smile. "Enzan, I trust that you already called the ambulance?" When he saw the boy nod, he continued. "Good. I'll meet you at the hospital then." With that, he cut off the connection. Sitting back in his chair, he let off a huge sigh. "We've found him..."
Yuna watching all the proceedings through an image in front of her. She was relieved when the one named Ijuin Enzan found Netto, thankful that he decided to check out what was happening instead of calling the police. Now both Netto and Forte were in good hands.
Dispelling the image, she needed to go see The Master. She had made a promise to Netto, and she was intent on fulfilling it. She found him in his chambers, merely staring at an image of the world that Netto had been on.
"Master?" Yuna asked tentatively, "May I ask something of you?"
The Master merely looked at her and smiled. "I already know what you're going to ask. You wish to help this world, don't you?" he said while pointing at the hologram. Yuna blinked.
"Yes...I was. How did you know?"
The Master chuckled. "I have my ways. Anyways...I've been wanting to help this world for a long time as well. Now that Sera has been relieved of her duties, however, this world is now without a guardian." he murmured. Yuna merely stared at him.
"You need a new guardian for that world, correct?" When she saw The Master nod, she stepped forward. "I volunteer for the task, Master. I wish to make up for the mistakes Sera has made." The Master only stared at her critically for a few moments before sighing.
"I was expecting that..." he remarked as he turned towards her, "Overseeing two worlds is a difficult task, and I want to make sure that you're completely serious about this. Are you sure you want to be the guardian of both worlds?"
Yuna thought it over for a few seconds before she nodded. "Yes. I made a promise and I intend to keep it."
"I see..." he murmured as he walked back over to the image, "Alright, I now appoint you to the post of guardian for this world."
Yuna bowed low. "Thank you, Master."
The Master smiled. "Ah, but we're not done yet..." he chuckled as he gathered some energy into his hand. "If I recall, you wanted the world to be helped, right?" seeing the goddess nod, he smiled again. "Very well then..." The Master said as he touched the hologram with his glowing hand.
"Mommy! Daddy!" Michiru cried as she ran into her parent's bedroom, "Something is happening outside!"
Karin looked at her daughter in confusion. "What's happening, Michiru?" The girl kept silent as she looked between her parents.
Shinta blinked as he looked at his child. "Tell us what's going on, Michiru." he said.
Michiru shook her head. "I have to show you! Come on!" she said as she rushed towards the door. Both parents looked at each other and shrugged, following their daughter out and up onto the surface.
When they got outside of the ruined building, they gasped.
"W-what is this...?" Karin gasped, her eyes wide as dinner plates.
"Impossible..." Shinta breathed, staring upwards.
Michiru smiled. "It's so beautiful..."
Above them, the sky was blue again.
Yuuichirou, Haruka, and Enzan were in the waiting room in the hospital, waiting on a doctor. Haruka was silently crying, but they were tears of happiness. Yuuichirou looked relieved, and Enzan looked like he wanted to lie down somewhere and sleep. Finally a doctor walked out into the room, where the three immediately swarmed him.
"Calm down you three!" the doctor laughed as he held up his hands in a placating mannet, "Netto is fine; he's just really exhausted."
Haruka smiled as the tears kept running down her cheeks. "Thank you, doctor."
The doctor smiled as he turned towards Yuuichirou. "He may be fine, but we would like to keep him in for an additional day just to monitor him, just in case we missed something the first time. Is that alright?"
The scientist nodded. "It would be alright."
Enzan then yawned. Haruka checked her watch and looked startled. "It's past midnight already!"
Yuuichirou chuckled. "Really?" he said as he stretched a bit, "Doctor, can we spend the night in Netto's room? We want to be there when he wakes up."
The doctor smiled. "Of course." he chuckled, "We'll make some preparations and then show you to his room. I won't be but a few minutes." the doctor said while heading back through the door.
Yuuichirou let out a huge sigh of relief. "He's going to be okay…" he murmured happily. Quickly unhooking the PET off his waist, he rebooted it just in time to see Rockman waking up.
The blue navi groaned as he awoke, shaking his head to clear his mind. "Papa?" he asked in surprise when he saw the scientist's face, "What happened?"
Yuuichirou slightly frowned. "I don't really know, Rockman…you suddenly collapsed and Blues brought you to me. I ran some scans, but I couldn't find anything wrong with your system." He saw Rockman look at him, bewildered.
"That can't be right!" Rockman cried, looking at the scientist with wide eyes, "Before…I felt my link with Netto being cut somehow…it just happened so suddenly!"
Yuuichirou sat back in his chair and took a thoughtful expression on his face. "Maybe the shock of it caused you to temporarily faint…" he said while shaking his head, "But I have some good news for you, Rockman."
"You do?" the blue navi asked, looking confused.
"We've found Netto!" Yuuichirou said happily, smiling down at Rockman. The blue navi looked shocked.
"R-really!" he asked in surprise. When he saw the scientist nod, he smiled happily. "Netto-kun is safe…where is he?"
Yuuichirou turned the PET so the screen was facing the door the doctor had gone through. "Right now, we're inside the hospital. Netto is resting in a room, and the doctor is going to escort us there shortly."
Rockman sighed in relief. That was when the doctor returned.
"Alright," he announced, "we've got everything set up so you can spend the night. I'll lead you to the room he's in."
"Thank you, doctor." Haruka said softly as she followed the doctor into the hallway. Enzan was right behind her, yawning again. It seemed that the boy hadn't slept much over the past couple of days. Yuuichirou couldn't blame him.
"So Rockman, are you ready to see Netto?" he asked. Rockman nodded fervently.
"Of course!" he said while smiling. Yuuichirou chuckled and followed Enzan out into the hallway, eager to see his son again.
Netto shifted slightly as he groaned and opened his eyes. He was in some sort of dark room, lying on a bed. Looking around, he stared outside a window as he spotted some large buildings in the distance. He also saw various hospital equipment scattered around the room.
"I'm home..." he whispered to himself, almost unbelievingly. Blinking a bit, he noticed that he wasn't wearing his cloak. Turning his head a bit, he saw it hanging on a clothes hanger nearby. He then spotted Forte's PET on the nearby table, which he then grabbed hastily and turned it on.
The PET fully booted up, and Forte was there on the screen, waking up. Netto smiled. "Forte...you're alright..."
The cloaked navi blinked and looked around. "Where are we?" he questioned, looking around the dark room.
"We're home." Netto said simply as he sighed and fell back against the pillows. "It's almost unbelievable..."
"Maybe, but we're back. That's all that counts, right?" Forte stated as he looked at his operator. Briefly, he wondered when he started calling him that, but he quickly shrugged it off.
"I suppose..." Netto sighed as he continued looking out the window. Some minutes passed before he turned his attention back to the ceiling. "What do you think is going to happen now, Forte? Where do we go from here?"
Forte was silent for a moment before he answered. "I do not know. I think that all lies up to what happens in the days to come."
"Possibly..." Netto murmured before letting out a slight yawn. "But we'll leave it for tomorrow...for now, let's just sleep. I'm really tired..." he let out before closing his eyes. "Good night, Forte." Netto said before falling asleep.
Forte stared at him for a few seconds before he shut his PET down. "Good night, Netto-kun." He murmured before initiating his sleep mode.
"Alright, he's in here." The doctor said as he opened the door to the room, "As you can see, we don't have many things to accommodate you three, but…"
"It's alright doctor…" Yuuichirou cut in, "We'll manage. We're not going to be sleeping that much tonight anyways since we're worried about Netto."
The doctor sighed and nodded. "Very well then. I'll return in the morning when he wakes up. I'll see you all then." With that, he bid the three of them a good night and left the room.
Yuuichirou, Haruka, and Enzan immediately crowded around the bed to look at the sleeping boy. The brunette was sleeping peacefully under the covers, only lightly breathing. Haruka shared a relieved smile at Yuuichirou and Enzan.
"He really is alright…" she breathed, smiling happily. "It's almost unbelievable that he's come back unharmed."
The scientist nodded. "I know…but I want to know what happened to him."
Enzan yawned again before he headed over to the couch to sit down. "I want to know what happened too, but he can tell us tomorrow, I suppose." Haruka smiled at him.
"Go to sleep, Enzan." she said, "You look like you're about to topple over." Haruka held up a hand to silence him; "And don't worry, Yuuichirou and I will watch Netto for you. Just get to sleep."
Enzan found that he couldn't object to her. Saying good night to both Hikaris, he laid down on the couch and fell asleep almost instantly.
Yuuichirou then brought out Rockman's PET and held it up so the blue navi could see his operator. Rockman smiled upon seeing the brunette in bed. "Netto-kun…"
That was when he noticed something. Netto wasn't wearing his bandanna. Rockman frowned; he knew Netto cherished the thing and wouldn't take it off unless he was forced to. Shrugging, the navi figured that Netto could explain it later.
However, he couldn't shake the feeling of unease that suddenly came upon him. Looking at Netto again, he gasped when he saw something slightly peek out of the covers before disappearing again.
"Rockman?" Yuuichirou questioned, looking at the screen, "What's wrong?"
The navi was about to tell the scientist what he saw before he shook his head. "Nothing, papa…I was just thinking. I'm going to turn my PET off for the night, if that's alright." Yuuichirou sighed as he nodded before he turned back to the bed.
Rockman narrowed his eyes slightly as he prepared to shut down his PET. The thing he saw in Netto's hands was certainly a PET from what he saw. However, what bothered him the most was the insignia that was on it.
Frowning a bit, he shut his PET off. Netto…what has happened that you're suddenly carrying around Forte's PET? he thought before it fully shut off, Tomorrow will be when all our questions are answered…
...but will I like the answers?
Summary of the Sequel, 'Affinity': Netto and Forte have finally returned home, but now they both must face upcoming challenges. Netto must struggle with Forte's memories, while Forte tries to reintegrate into Net Society. Furthermore, both must prove to the Science Labs that they are trustworthy.
Meanwhile, in the deepest areas of the Ura Net, a malevolent energy grows as parts of the Ura Net are thrown into chaos. What is happening there…?
All this and more in the sequel!
Author's Note: Well, here we are at the end of a long road. Thank's for reading everybody!
I would especially like to thank JK Fie'r and Quatre Winner for betaing my chapters all the way through. And a special thanks to Neko Salosa for betaing for me while I was in a hurry.
As for the story…yes, I know I left some plot details wide open. That was intended. This chapter is intended to lead right into the sequel, which will answer some questions that I have left unanswered.
Unfortunately though, the sequel will have to wait for some time. I now have other duties to attend to, and I'm putting off writing until I can get some stuff in order. See my LiveJournal for more details.
Anyways, thanks go to everyone who put up with my delays in writing and continued reading. I appreciate it!
Alright, see you in the sequel!