When Enzan closed the door after him, all sound seemed to depart with him. It remained away for what felt like hours to the two remaining occupants of the room, though only minutes had passed. Finally, Rockman, fidgeting nervously, brought it back.
"Did you really mean it? What you said just now?"
"Do I strike you as the lying type?"
"Well, no, it's just that… um…"
"It's out of character for me? Well, I… suppose you have a point there. Nonetheless, yes, yes I was being sincere."
The smaller navi smiled shyly and averted his eyes. "To tell you the truth, I've… felt a connection with you for quite some time now. I especially remember when I woke up with a heavy feeling in my chest calling your name after Forte took me. At the time, I had no idea that Gospel had deleted you, I just got the feeling that something terrible had happened." A deep breath and a smile. "I… I'm glad you came back."
"Rockman…" The smile was returned. Another hush wandered in.
Again the cobalt navi chased it away. "Although… Am I really that hyperactive?"
A small chuckle. "Well, you can be. But you're much more levelheaded than your operator, I'll give you that. Though considering Netto-san, you'd have to be."
Just then, the aforementioned boy's excited exclamations wafted into the room.
"Must be curry night," Rockman commented, laughing. The laughter proved contagious, as Blues soon joined him.
After it died down, more silence followed.
Finally, the crimson navi cut through it. "So… want to spar? I'll try not to be too rough." Both hands rose and clenched into fists as one foot slid forward, the knee bending slightly.
"Heh, and here I thought you were going all soft on me." He smirked, lowering into the same stance. "And I did say I wouldn't lose next time. The game will be mine."
"Is that so?"
They lunged, fists raised.
The sight that greeted the two boys stopped them in their tracks, their mouths and eyes forming Os.
"Mama… don't you think you went just a little overboard?"
Haruka waved away his incredulousness. "Nonsense, honey, there's no such thing as overboard, considering your appetite and the fact we have a guest. Enzan-kun, I hope you brought your appetite."
"W-Well, it does smell appetizing, Hikari-san…"
Netto pumped his fists. "All the same… Curry! Yum! It must be my lucky day!"
"What are you two standing there for, then? Sit down so we can eat!"
They both promptly obeyed, taking seats across from each other while Haruka sat at the head of the table.
"Itadakimasu!" the three chorused before taking portions of the large supper before them, Enzan doing so first, then Haruka, and finally Netto.
"Netto! Slow down! The food is not going anywhere!" the short haired woman scolded, gesturing to the frenetic pace at which his spoon ferried food from the bowl to his mouth.
"Mama," the reprimanded boy groaned, slowing his spoon down and slumping a little.
A laugh. "Don't worry, I've seen Netto eat before."
"Well, that's no excuse for eating like a dinosaur."
Their guest interjected, "He must really love your cooking. Which is delicious, by the way."
A beaming smile. "Well, thank you. I'm glad you're enjoying it."
"Suck up," mouthed Netto, putting his hand up to his face so only Enzan could see.
The only reply was a smug grin and a quiet snort.
Haruka, oblivious to the silent exchange, turned to her son. "So Netto, how was your day?"
"Fine, Mama, just had to do some small time task. Piece of cake."
"Only because I was there," the dual haired boy interjected.
"Pft. You wish, Enzan."
"Hmph. You know it's true."
Haruka shook her head, smiling. "You boys… So… Enzan-kun, how are you doing?"
"Just as usual."
"It must be a lot of responsibility, running a company and being a Net Savior at the same time, especially for one so young."
A shrug. "Nothing I'm not used to."
"Netto could learn from you. He talks about you a lot, you know."
"Mama." Netto shifted slightly.
"Does he now." A raven eyebrow arched.
"Yes, he does. And Netto, you're lucky to have such a good friend. He told me that he came because he was concerned that something was wrong."
"Did he now," Netto replied while shooting Enzan a "We'll talk about this later" look.
A nod. "Keep it up, and Meiru-chan could get jealous."
Netto's impression of a water fountain was a comical sight for all save one – the person sitting across from him.
"Netto! Honestly, what's gotten into you?"
"It-It's because of what you said! Meiru-chan and I are just friends!"
"Well, hurry and get Enzan-kun a dry shirt to wear!"
"It's alright, Hikari-san," Enzan reassured as he dried himself off with a napkin and Netto went to obey. "It's just a little water."
"You could catch a cold!"
Enzan sweatdropped. "I'm not that wet. And it's the middle of spring."
"Ah... well, there I go again. That's always been one of Netto's complaints – I mother his friends too much. Does your mother ever act this way?"
The damp boy's gaze lowered to the table. "My mother… died when I was young."
Her hands flew to her mouth. "Oh, I'm so sorry! I shouldn't have brought it up…"
A headshake. "It's alright, you couldn't have known."
"Well, you're welcome here anytime. Please look after Netto."
"I will." He let out a small laugh. "But although Netto can be reckless at times, I think he can take care of himself. And thank you." He gave her a grateful smile as he snuck a peek at the stairwell. 'I wonder how Blues is doing…'
For the second time that night, smoky quartz eyes widened into Os. "What happened! Was there an attack? Why didn't you call us?"
Both navis lay on the ground panting. Rockman got up and responded first. "No, Netto-kun. We're fine. We were just sparring."
Blues also rose to his feet. "Netto-san? Why are you back so soon? Where is Enzan-sama?"
"Aha, well, I… kinda… spat water on him, so I'm getting him a dry shirt to wear."
Blues raised an eyebrow, though none could see it. "Spat water on him? What for?"
Netto put up his hands, waving them in protest. "It was an accident! Mama said…said…" He walked quickly over to his dresser, opened the top drawer, and started frantically rifling through shirts.
"Said what, Netto-kun?"
The brunette lowered his head in an attempt to hide his face, which was well on its way to resembling a cherry. "Said… said something about Enzan - and Meiru-chan being jealous – Ah, this should work." He retrieved a white T-shirt from the bottom of the drawer. "I better go give this to him. I'll be back with him soon, guys."
The two navis stared after him. "Did that mean what I think it meant?"
Silver hair bobbed slightly with the nod. "Probably."
"I'm back. This should fit." The shirt flew through the air and was almost immediately caught.
"Thanks. I'll go change."
"The bathroom's upstairs, first door on your right."
"Alright." Enzan headed up to find said room.
Once he was out of sight: "So…what did you and Enzan talk about? I hope you didn't smother him too much while I was gone, Mama."
"Oh, nothing much, dear. He really is a sweet boy."
"Yeah… right, I guess…"
Haruka's gaze went to the stairs. "He seems like a good friend." It turned back to Netto. "Although… what do you and Meiru-chan being just friends and Enzan-kun have to do with each other?"
He gaped, looking mildly boggled. "…Huh? You mean you weren't implying… well, you know…?"
A giggle. "Honestly, Netto, what did you think I meant?"
Just then Enzan came back down, wearing the shirt Netto had given him.
"Well, it's a bit small, but it works." The shirt was slightly snug, and the bottom just barely hit the top of his pants. The color matched the top half of his hair perfectly.
"Hm, it fits pretty well. I'll wash your clothes."
"No, it's quite alright, Hikari-san, I can-"
"Oh no, it's no trouble at all." Before he could protest further, she scooped up the black, yellow and red bundle he was holding and headed to the back of the house.
"It's better not to argue with her. She's a bit of a fanatic about housework."
"Well, anyway, let's go back up, Blues was asking about you. I think the whole spitting water on you bit made him raise an eyebrow, to say the least." Netto started up the stairs.
"How would you know if he's raising his eyebrow?"
The brunette paused and shrugged. "Dunno… tone of voice? That slight tightening of his lips, one corner raised?"
Enzan just stared at him, actually a bit dumbfounded by the insight the younger boy had just demonstrated. "There's more to you than it seems," he mused quietly to himself.
"I heard that."
Enzan started slightly, but Netto failed to notice. He made sure it remained unnoticed by coolly replying, "…Your point?"
That elicited an eye roll and a groan. "Let's just go."
They proceeded to Netto's room. Their navis appeared to be engaged in more sparring, with Rockman blocking one of Blues' punches and Blues ducking under one of Rockman's kicks. They stopped and looked at the door as soon as it opened.
Blues gaped. "Um… E-Enzan-sama…"
"What? It doesn't look that bad, does it?"
"W-Well, no, sir, it doesn't look bad at all. It's just that it's… kind of… small."
The taller boy jabbed a thumb at Netto. "Blame him for being so small."
"You're not that much bigger than me, you know. And that was the biggest shirt I had."
"Why you-! I'll show you small!" The so-called small boy gave Enzan a playful shove, which was immediately returned in kind. This exchange continued for a couple of minutes, until Enzan had managed to shove Netto onto his bed.
"Looks like I win."
"No," Netto reached up and pulled Enzan down with him. "I win."
"Hmph, not bad, Hikari, not bad at all." The skunk haired boy sat up. "Fine. For your benefit, we'll call it a draw."
Netto looked mildly surprised, but decided to let it go and sat up as well. Silence settled in as both tried to catch their breaths.
"Y'know," Netto remarked out of the blue. "I used to think of you as annoyingly arrogant and, to be blunt, a complete jerk."
Enzan turned to him. "Do you still think of me that way?"
"Well… you can be those things at times, but you do have your good points."
"Heh, of course."
Netto shot him an irked look. "Arrogant as ever, I see."
A smug grin. "Why would I be otherwise?"
A snort. "Oh right, this is you we're talking about." Another pause. "So, what do cocky filthy rich genius vice presidents do for fun?"
"My schedule doesn't allow for many leisurely activities. Most bore me anyway."
"Hmph, just like you, stuffy as always. Don't you even know what fun is?" A devious grin spread across his face. "Well, I'm going to make sure you learn, if it's the last thing I do!"
"You mean if it's the last thing I do."
"Oh come on, a little fun won't kill you."
"Somehow I have a hard time believing that."
Another snort. "Aren't you Mr. Sunshine." His grin widened. "Hey, I know! I'll show you what fun really is! This Sunday! How about it?"
"…Even if I say no, you'll just come to my office and drag me out. So very well, I will do it, hazardous to my health as that decision may be."
"There's no way to get you to stop being so gloomy, is there? Alright, Sunday it is then. We'll meet by the Metroline at ten."
Enzan raised an eyebrow. "So, what are we going to do anyway?"
Anyone who thought Netto's grin couldn't widen any further thought wrong. "It's a surprise!"
"You're making me regret my acceptance more than I already am."
"Geez, Enzan, with that attitude, you'll get grey hairs – oh wait, you're halfway there already."
"For your information, my hair is white."
"Or so you say, geezer."
"Don't blame me for your inability to distinguish between two distinct colors."
"My eyesight is just fine, thanks!"
Enzan's lips formed a small grin. "Heh, you seem to be your old self, at least. I take it this means you'll stop acting weird?"
"I do not act weird!"
A soft chuckle. "Enzan-sama, I think you just exacerbated the problem."
Netto's jaw dropped and he put his hands on his cheeks exaggeratingly. "Blues actually made a joke!"
Rockman sweatdropped. "N-Netto-kun…" while Blues replied, also sweatdropping, "I…hadn't intended that as a joke…"
Laugher sounded from all but one, who rolled his eyes and looked ruffled. "What nice friends I hav-" A yawn punctuated the sentence.
"Tired already, Netto? It's only 8:30."
"Netto-kun was up late last night trying to finish some assignments," Rockman explained for him.
"Rockman," groaned his operator.
That elicited a chortle. "Why am I not surprised?"
"Netto-kun, you have school tomorrow. And you still have homework to do. Math homework, to be specific."
The bandanna donning procrastinator looked dismayed for a moment, then turned to Enzan with a grin he tried - and failed - to pass off as innocent. "Enzan, buddy old pal…"
A chuckle. "Don't even think about it, Hikari." He glanced at the computer. "Besides, isn't that what Rockman is for?"
The aforementioned navi sighed. "Oh believe me, he tries it on me all the time. So don't encourage him. Please."
His operator gave his a disgruntled look. "Hey, c'mon, you're supposed to be on my side here."
"I'm only speaking the truth, Netto-kun."
Netto came close to face palming. "I think Blues is rubbing off on you."
"Who, me?" The shaded navi donned a thinly veiled devious smile.
A brown eyebrow arched. "You really need to work on your innocent face."
"Netto. You and your navi are corrupting my navi. Stop it."
Operator and navi exclaimed at the same time, "We're not doing anything!" Netto added, "Yeah, it's all him!"
"How, pray tell, would he learn such behavior other than from you two?"
Netto stuck out his tongue. "Well, certainly not from you."
"I'm… not corrupted, Enzan-sama," Blues cut in.
"See? He's fine!" Netto exclaimed.
"That's what he thinks. I'm getting him out of here before he's further affected by you two." Enzan took out his PET. "Don't worry, I'll have your shirt washed and returned."
A pink tint emerged on Netto's cheeks. "Actually… you can keep it if you want. And I'm sure Mama will have your clothes ready by tomorrow. I'll get them back to you as soon as they are."
A dismissive wave. "No need to bother. You can keep them if you want. I have plenty."
"Why am I not surprised? Although…" He wrinkled his nose. "Why would I want to dress like you?"
"Because my clothes look better? And that's something I should be asking you."
"…You really are arrogant."
Enzan's lips rose into a large smirk. "And dashing and perfect, right?"
Netto made a face. "I hate you, you know that?"
"Of course you do. Well, I better let you get to your work."
In the computer, Rockman turned to his companion. "Good night, Blues. I'll see you soon. Feel free to come by anytime."
"Why? So you can get beaten again?"
"Hey, I won that last round!"
Rockman pretended to look indignant. "Hey!"
A chuckle. "Like operator, like navi," Blues commented to himself before Enzan plugged him out, then pressed a couple more buttons before replacing the PET into its holder.
"Um, hey… you need a ride or someth - Oh, right, you can just call a limo."
"Which I just did. Good night, Netto. Try to actually get some work done."
Netto puffed out his chest and proclaimed, "I always do!" That earned him snorts from Enzan and Rockman, to which he responded with an eye roll. "Anyway, 'night. I'll see you Sunday."
"Yeah. Don't be late."
"Hey!" Netto protested.
With a wave Enzan made his exit. Netto watched him until he closed the door, then sighed, sunk into his chair, and turned to the books on his desk. He took one and opened it, squinting at it as he read. After a couple of minutes, he pushed it away with a groan.
"Man, no matter how many times I read this, I may as well be trying to read Greek or something."
"Well, if you paid more attention in class, maybe it would make more sense to you."
"I do pay attention!"
"If you call nodding off paying attention."
"Well, if you'd help me more, then I wouldn't have to stay up late. And then I would be able to stay awake during the day."
"That's faulty logic, Netto-kun. You learn more if you do the work yourself."
"Oh please." He sighed, then pulled the book back towards him and again attempted to comprehend its contents.
The addressed boy looked up. "Yeah?"
Emerald eyes lowered. "I feel bad about earlier. If I hadn't brought up your feelings for Enzan-san, he wouldn't have heard and… and…"
A large grin. "Well, you couldn't have known he was there. Besides, something good came out of it, so it's fine, don't worry about it. I guess I should be thanking you for it."
Another smile in kind. "Netto-kun…" The grin turned teasing. "But try not to daydream about him too much now."
Netto's cheeks immediately reddened. "R-Rockman!" He quickly recovered, however, as he mirrored his navi's expression. "So… you were alone with Blues for some time. Did you two have fun?"
Rockman's face matched the color of his insignia. "N-Netto-kun! That was low!"
"You started it!"
They both burst out laughing.
The limo had come quickly, just two minutes after Enzan made the call. He wordlessly slid into the back seat and closed the door. The vehicle proceeded forward.
After a couple of minutes: "Enzan-sama?"
Enzan took out his PET from its holder. "Yes, Blues?"
The taciturn navi bowed his head. "I'm sorry."
"Sorry? For what?"
"I… shouldn't have spoken so frankly about your feelings and embarrassed you like that."
A headshake. "No, it's good you did. Otherwise I would've just kept denying it."
"I just… want to see you happy."
A grateful smile. "And that's one of the reasons why you're the best partner – and friend - I've ever had."
"Enzan-sama…" The smile was reciprocated. A momentary hush passed through. "Although… I must reiterate that Rockman and Netto-san have not corrupted me."
"Nor will they," Enzan replied with a small laugh. "By the way, Blues, mark 10 o'clock Sunday on my schedule."
A/N: Itadakimasu is a polite phrase that is said before a meal. Not quite sure how to translate it, sorry.
Setsu: Don't worry, it seems to confuse a fair amount of people. Blues' name is such because he and some of the other characters Rock(man), Roll, Forte/Bass, Gospel/Treble, etc. are named after musical terms. Although you probably knew that already, seeing as it took me so long to update, eheh.
As always, I appreciate the reviews, guys!