Author's Notes: Spoiler warning for Yuuto's plot past episode 40, also Hints at Yuuto/Ryoutaro, hints at some sort of unexplored backstory for Naomi, Naomi being awesome and putting strange things in coffee, etc.
"Ah! It's Yuuto-kun! Sorry, but Ryoutaro-tachi are away at the coffee shop right now," Naomi exclaimed, grinning excitedly, as the brown-haired Rider boarded the Denliner, Deneb in tow.
"Oh?" was Yuuto's only reply, as a frown formed on his face. He sighed and all but flopped down in one of the booths, Deneb scurrying to sit across from him. Naomi blinked and tilted her head to the side. Yuuto looked almost...depressed?
"Is Yuuto-kun not going to go visit them at the shop?" she asked. He just shook his head in reply. Deneb looked back and forth between them and jumped up, rushing over to Naomi.
"Ah...Yuuto is, um, trying to stay away from Airi-san for the moment," he whispered to her, almost conspiratorially. Yuuto twitched but stayed in his seat, resolutely facing away from the two of them.
"Ah? Why?" she asked, whispering back equally as loudly as Deneb, grinning all the while.
"It's...sort of...it's hard to explain, umm..." Deneb flustered, bowing deeply. "Sorry..." Naomi just smiled back at him and ducked down under her counter, producing two white coffee cups. She began busying around her station, mixing together ingredients for her special blend of 'coffee'. Deneb just watched, intrigued. She seemed to size up Deneb for a second, looking him up and down, then added green and yellow icing with a fluorish. She then looked over at Yuuto for a moment, her face suddenly becoming a pout that was almost a frown.
"Yuuto-kun coffee...?" she asked herself, looking back at her array of whipped cream and icing intently. This was her biggest challenge yet. Yuuto was slumped over the table, head resting on his arms, which were folded across the surface. Deneb leaned forward to inspect the one full cup of coffee. When Naomi noticed, he backed up a bit. She just smiled and pushed the cup over to him.
"May I?" he asked, gesturing at the green and yellow concoction.
"Go right ahead, Odebu-chan!" she chirped. He sighed.
"It's Deneb..." he corrected, taking the cup and sniffing, before taking a bit gulp. He gasped.
"It's...delicious!" he exclaimed, then rushed back over to Yuuto.
"Yuuto! Try this, it's delicious!" he exclaimed. Yuuto just sighed.
"Idiot...I don't feel like coffee right now," he replied, the gloom nearly tangible around him. Naomi suddenly perked up and ducked back under her counter, reaching into the back for one of her more rare ingredients.
"But Yuuto, it really is delicious, and Naomi-san worked so hard making it..." he tried, his voice projecting the pout that he most certainly would have been wearing had he been human. He just received an icy glare. He sighed and went to go sit in one of the neighboring booths, taking another drink before draining his cup. A few seconds later, his head thumped to the table and he was fast asleep. Yuuto glanced over at him in alarm.
"Deneb?" he asked, concerned.
"Nothing to worry about, he's just asleep. It's Naomi-chan's Special Relaxation Coffee~!" Naomi announced. He gave her an "are you kidding" look and she just grinned back.
"Odebu-chan looked like he was having a rough time. I just wanted him to relax," she replied, her voice a bit softer than usual. Yuuto gave her a suprised look, then looked back over at Deneb, who was sleeping peacefully. He sighed.
"I suppose things have been a bit hard for him lately," he said, softly. Naomi came to stand beside the booth he was in, the cup of coffee resting on a round tray perched on her hand. She placed the tray down in front of Yuuto and sat down across from him.
"Things have been hard for Yuuto-kun too, right?" she asked. He sighed.
"I suppose..." he replied, inspecting the cup. He looked back up at her, suprised.
"There's no whipped cream," he said. She nodded. "No icing either." She nodded again. He picked the cup up and smelled it.
"It doesn't smell funny, either," he added. She nodded once again.
"It's Yuuto-kun Coffee!" she announced, motioning for him to take a sip. He did and blinked first at the cup then at her.
"It's...good," he said, as if unable to believe it himself. She gave him a 'v for victory' sign.
"Yay!" she exclaimed. He took another sip.
"What did you put in it?" he asked. Then, as an afterthought, "Normally I hate coffee." Naomi grinned and began to list, ticking items off of her list by counting on her fingers.
"Sugar...milk...cinammon...nutmeg and," she started. Yuuto took another sip. "...chili powder." Yuuto choked, but managed to swallow the gulp of coffee.
"Chili powder?!" he demanded.
"Yep~!" she responded. He frowned.
"But I can't taste any of that," he said, questioningly.
"That's why it's Yuuto-kun Coffee. It's complex and subtle, but you like it...right?" she asked. He stared at her for a second. If he didn't know any better, he would have thought she was talking about him and not the coffee. Maybe she was. He'd never stopped to think about what sort of depth of character the perky coffee server might have.
"...yeah," he finally admitted, taking another gulp.
"Now, does Yuuto-kun have anything he wants to talk about?" she asked, her tone much softer than normal, almost the tone of an older sister trying to coax her younger brother to tell her about his problems. He gave her another "are you kidding" look and she dismissed it with a wave of her hand. "I promise I won't tell Ryoutaro-kun or Momotaros-tachi...okay?" she asked. He sighed, took another gulp, and finally gave in.
"What would you do if your fiancée...from the future...forgot about your very existence?" he asked. She looked thoughtful for a few seconds.
"I don't really know. That's not a very common occurance, now is it?" she asked. He sighed.
"I knew this wouldn't do any good..." he started, moving to get up. She stopped him by flailing her arms.
"Sorry! Sorry! I didn't mean to upset you!" she exclaimed. He gave her a grumpy frown but sat back down.
"What I mean is...what would you do if everyone forgot about you?" he asked. She looked thoughtful for a second, almost melancholy. The change was so dramatic that Yuuto almost didn't believe it, before she was back to her grinning old self.
"I'd just keep serving delicious coffee and...make new friends. That's all," she said. A thought suddenly struck him, making his brows furrow.
"Did...did you come from a-" he asked, but she just silenced him by holding up a finger.
"So Yuuto-kun is worried that everyone will forget him again, right?" she asked. He sighed and just nodded. "Well...I don't think Ryoutaro-kun will forget. He didn't forget last time, right?" she asked. Yuuto nodded.
"Well then. Yuuto-kun has at least one person that will never forget him. That's better than nothing, right?" she asked. "And we still remember you, too. Even if we did forget that one time, our memories came back," she pointed out. He just nodded.
"Now, why is Yuuto-kun not going to see Airi-san and Ryoutaro-chan?" Naomi asked. Yuuto just sighed.
"Airi has...already forgotten about me. The future me and who I am right now. Thanks to the Zeronos cards," he started. Naomi nodded, listening intently, leaning forward a bit as if he was telling her some big secret. "I just... I don't want her to have new memories of me because they'll just get erased the next time I transform."
Naomi was silent for a few seconds.
"You are afraid of hurting Airi-san?" she asked, her voice almost startlingly quiet. All Yuuto could do was nod. "And are you also...afraid of hurting Ryoutaro-chan?" He hesitated for a few seconds before nodding again. She smiled at him, a much smaller smile than her normal cheerful grin. But the impact was bigger, somehow it seemed more genuine. "You care about them both so much that you don't want to hurt them. But...what you really want to go is go see Airi-san and Ryoutaro-chan, right?" Yuuto nodded, frowning at her as a blush formed on his cheeks. She was strangely a very introspective person for someone that appeared so ditzy and bubbly. Suddenly she giggled, and the strangely tranquil mood was dissipated.
"Ryoutaro-chan worries about you all the time, you know," she said. Yuuto stared at her, almost in disbelief. "He's always fretting about whether or not you've gotten yourself into danger, or about what using the Zeronos cards will do. He told me once that he was really scared that he'd forget you too because of the cards." All of a sudden, all Yuuto could do was stare at the endless landscape of colorful sky and sands, trying and failing to reign in the blush that was threatening to engulf his entire face. She giggled again and jumped up, merrily making her way back to her station.
"Enjoy the coffee, Yuuto-kun!"