The last chapter! Gah! We're done! Thanks for all of you who have read until the very end! I hope you enjoyed my first, full-length story! I had fun writing it! And reading all your wonderful reviews too! I'm so happy! XD
Disclaimer for ONE LAST TIME (at least, for this story): I do not own RockmanEXE.
Netto hummed happily to himself as he walked down the halls of Sci-Lab. In his hands he carried a couple of sandwiches, neatly wrapped in plastic wrap, one BLT and another peanut butter and jelly. All he needed now was the chips and his brother was getting the drinks. Netto turned the corner to the vending machine, silently wondering in his mind why the vending machine that dispensed sandwiches was so far away from the one that provided the chips. Maybe he should have gone to the cafeteria after all…
Netto began to look over the selection of chips when he noticed a young man wearing a Sharonian uniform sitting next the vending machine.
"You're new here, aren't you?" Netto asked friendlily. The man looked up and smiled at the young teen, an action that Netto could not help but think was a stark contrast to a certain other Sharonian soldier he knew.
"Is it so obvious?" the man asked with a slight chuckle.
Netto shook his head. "Nah, it's not obvious. I just happen to know a lot of people around here and I haven't seen you before."
"You seem to be pretty young to have to spend so much time here at such a place," the man said.
Netto shrugged. "My dad works here and I like to come here a lot," he explained. "So what are you doing here?" Netto asked.
"Training," the man said. "Though right now, I'm waiting for my superior."
There conversation stopped as they heard someone call, "Raza." The man immediately stood up to face his superior. "Laika-sama!" Raza said, coming to a salute.
Netto froze. "Laika…" Netto dared to look up down the hall and froze as he saw his friend, though he was quite a bit older now. "Oh crap!" Netto cried out. Seeing nothing else to do, he bolted back the way he came, forgetting the chips.
Raza looked at the boy and then back at his companion. He was surprised that Laika himself had frozen in place and had a startled look on his normally emotionless face. "Laika-sama?" Raza asked.
"It can't be…" Laika mumbled. "I'm not seeing things, am I, Searchman?"
"No, I saw it too," Searchman responded. "However, I have no explination."
"Sir?" Raza asked.
"Did that boy tell you his name?" Laika asked.
Raza shook his head. "No. But he said his father worked here."
"Well," Laika mused, "maybe we should ask his 'father'."
"Sir? May I ask what's going on? You seem very startled," Raza said.
Laika sighed. "I am. That boy…he looks exactly like someone who died 7 years ago." Raza looked at his superior with concern, but Laika shook his head and adopted his normal stoic visage before continuing down the hall, the same one "Netto" had disappeared down just moments before.
Saito stopped as he sensed a feeling of alarm from his brother. Netto-kun? What's wrong? he asked over the link.
We're in big trouble, came the response. Get back to Papa's office now! Or better yet, log into the net.
You know the computers are down right now, Saito responded, still confused.
Just hide! Netto said.
Saito sighed. What the heck was wrong!? Netto could be so scattered brained. Regardless, Saito grabbed the second cup of beverage before turning to return to Papa's lab, as per instruction from his younger twin.
He grunted as he accidentally ran into someone, spilling the drinks.
"Gomen!" Saito cried out, bowing to the person he had just ran into.
At hearing his brother's name, Saito looked up. His heart sank much like his brother's had a moment before as he saw who he had run into. This had to be why Netto was so panicked.
Saito laughed hesitantly. "Ah, no. My name is Saito." Saito bowed again as he introduced himself, hoping Enzan would fall for it.
"Nii-san!" Both Enzan and Saito looked up as Netto darted around the corner, but once he caught sight of his other former comrade, he once again froze. "What the…!? Not you too!" Netto then broke out in a full run again, grabbing Saito by the wrist, and ledding him past Enzan and down yet another hall.
"Netto…" Enzan stood there for a moment, too stunned to move. However, he quickly collected his wits and dashed after the "Nettos".
"Netto-kun, what's going on!?" Saito asked as he followed his brother.
"Laika and Enzan are both here!" Netto said. "And they've both seen me! We've got to hide! Dang! Of all days to do maintenance on the computers!"
Netto and Saito turned a few more corners and then dashed into their father's lab, where Yuuichiro and Meijin sat looking at the progress of the computer checks. They looked up startled as the twins came crashing in.
"Those copy-bots are not going to hold up if you abuse them," Meijin said.
Netto and Saito ignored them as they searched for a place to hide.
Meijin's eyebrow raised a bit. "What's wrong?"
"Enzan and Laika are both here," Saito explained quickly as his brother dragged him around. "And they both saw him. Enzan also saw me."
Both scientists' faces fell.
Yuuichiro quickly stood up and opened a large closet for his sons to hide in. "Here, you...". But it was too late. As Yuuichiro held the closet door open, the room to the lab opened, revealing a rather breathless Enzan. Everyone in the room froze.
"Netto…" Enzan breathed heavily, eying the twin in the identifying bandana. "How…?"
The twins looked at each other, a thousand thoughts rushing through their heads and across their link. What should they do!? Should they tell? But what would he think?
They briefly looked at their father's guidance, but they could tell that he was leaving the decision to them. They then looked back at Enzan and their faces fell even further as they saw Laika also enter the room. Both now young men looked at the twins, somehow maintaining there normal stoic faces, though Laika did slightly raise an eyebrow when he also saw Saito.
"What…is going on?" Enzan finally asked.
Netto fidgeted awkwardly, still unsure what to do. He was leaning on wanting to tell and would have already except he knew that his secret was also his brother's secret and he could not ruin that secret without Saito's consent.
Saito grabbed his brother's hand and sighed. "Its okay, Netto-kun. You can tell them. I always figured they'd find out someday anyway."
Netto smiled at his brother appreciatively and then looked back at his former comrades. It still took a moment to say anything as he collected his scattered thoughts, but Enzan and Laika were patient in waiting.
"I am Netto," he began slowly. "And…and I did die. But when I did…" This was the hard part. Would they accept the choice he had made seven years ago? But it was too late now and there was no turning back. He continued, "When I died, I made the choice to come back as a navi. So I could be with Rockman."
Not even Enzan and Laika could hide their surprise at such a seemingly impossible thing.
"You mean…" Laika began.
Netto nodded. "Yes, I'm also Lightman. Papa gave us copy-bots recently so we can appear like this. We were using them today because they are doing maintenance on the computers."
"And you're Rockman?" Laika said, turning to Saito.
Saito nodded. "My real name is Saito, Hikari Saito."
"Wait, you were once human too?" Blues asked.
Again, Saito nodded. "Yes. I'm Netto-kun's older brother. I died when we were a year and a half of the same disease that eventually killed Netto-kun."
"Why…why did you not tell us?" Enzan said.
Netto frowned, seeing that his friend was rather hurt. This had been one of his biggest worries if his friends had found out who Lightman really was: that they would be upset that he had never told them who he was.
Saito, feeling his brother's discomfort, took over. "It's complicated. Mostly, there are so many ethical issues with taking a dying human and converting them into a navi. We can't let there be any chance of something like this coming out." Saito paused, debating if he should continue. "Also, I guess, there is a little fear. Something like being human sets us apart…and we, well I know at least for myself, did not want that to do anything to our relationships. Even if everyone knew and still befriended us, there would still be that separation, even if unintentionally. I don't know exactly how to explain it. I'm sorry. But I will say this…," at this point, Saito looked kindly at his brother, "I know it hurt Netto-kun not to tell as well. It was harder for him to be a navi than it is for me because he, unlike myself, had already spent so much time as a human and had made those relationships." He bowed his head. "It was probably me who kept him from telling."
"Don't say that, Saito-niisan!" Netto burst out. "It's not your fault."
"Thanks, but it sort of is," Saito said, giving a small smile. "OW!" Saito rubbed his head where his younger twin had sit him just moments before.
"Stop saying that, dang it! It is what it is!" he said. "Stop blaming yourself!"
Saito simply nodded.
Laika shook his head. "This is all really complex, but I can see why you kept it a secret."
Enzan nodded in agreement with what Laika had said, but added, "But I still wish you had told us."
Netto bowed his head. "I'm sorry."
Enzan smiled. "Apology accepted. I'm just glad that you're still here."
"Ah, did you miss me?" Netto teased, quickly regaining his normal energy.
"Mostly," Enzan said. "Some parts not so much. And I swear, if you start coming up to my office again just to bug me, I'll kill you and won't miss you."
"Hey! I thought it was you who hated death jokes!" Netto jabbed.
"Well, you're not dying," Enzan said.
Saito shook his head and he and Laika both smiled, being reminded of the old days back when they had fought together as comrades.
"Maybe I shouldn't have been so worried," Saito said quietly to himself as he slightly bowed his head. He looked up as he felt an arm wrap around him. "Papa?"
Yuuichiro smiled. "You two always seem to make things work out," he said.
Saito nodded and laid his head against his father. They did make things always work out and now their dreams were becoming reality. He and Netto were together and now they could even enter the real world to be with their parents. They also now had close friends to share their secret with. Though it had taken a lot of pain and sorrow to get here, in the end he felt rather spoiled to have so much.
Saito yelped as he was suddenly dragged away from his father's embrace. "Sorry, Papa, but I'm taking my brother," Netto said. "Come on, Saito-niisan. Let's go show Enzan and Laika some of our new projects."
"But the computers are down!" Saito said. However, the words fell on deaf ears.
As they passed Enzan and Laika, who turned to walk after the two, Saito could here them say, "Same old Netto." Saito could not help but smile. It was true: it did not matter what form they took, they would always be the same.