KINDRED SPIRITS

Rika and Shinichi sat on the veranda outside their house, looking up at the stars in the sky.

"Ne, Rika-chan?" Shinichi spoke up.

"Hm?" Rika glanced at her foster brother.

"I think I have an idea of what you went through when you had to repeat your life over and over," he said, recalling the Endless December 31st time-loop he'd experienced.

"You had to watch your loved ones die," Rika concluded.

"Yes, and it was horrible," he confessed. "Even with my power I couldn't save them so I reset time so I could protect them and yet…I failed." First his mother died, and when he reset time to protect her, Rena died. After that it was Keiichi, Shion, Satoshi, Satoko and Mion and then it happened over and over, forcing him to perform the Return to the Past in order to save them, in order to protect them. "Was it like that for you?"

"Yes, it was," Rika replied honestly. "I knew that my friends would die one way or another. Scenarios would play out differently but someone would always die." She recalled how Keiichi had killed Mion and Rena, then she recalled how Keiichi had killed Teppei, and then she recalled the time Shion had snapped and went on a mass-murder spree, killing everyone she suspected to be involved with Satoshi's disappearance. The worst was when she herself died and then the Hinamizawa Disaster. The death of the villagers was always the worst. She went through it for over a hundred years.

Shinichi had seen those scenarios in his visions. "How do you cope?" Shinichi asked. "I mean…how could you handle it all?"

"I had Hanyuu, and I knew that with each bad ending there would be a new beginning," Rika answered.

"I wish I was there," Shinichi said honestly. "Maybe I could've been of help then."

"It's over. You don't have to worry," she told him. "Don't fret. Fate has changed."

"I'm glad…" Shinichi nodded, smiling.

"Shinichi, I don't doubt that if you were there during those other worlds that you would've made a difference," Rika assured him. "Your powers...Takano would not have been prepared to face a Kamen Rider."

"No, definitely not," Shinichi agreed. As great as a tactician Takano was by faking her own death in order to allow herself more freedom to accomplish her plan, confronting and subduing a super-powered Kaizo Ningen with highly advanced technological armor would definitely not be something she could be ready for.

"But I'm glad you came now, to fight GIN-SHOCKER. What they had plan was way worse than what Takano had in mind," said Rika.

Shinichi had seen what GIN-SHOCKER had planned. Prisoners would be used as slave labor or made into Kaizo Ningen or Cyborg Mutants to add to their army. Innocent people would be sacrificed to achieve their goals.

Shinichi had been one of those innocents, until Gebok warped and corrupted him. Fortunately, one of Gebok's experiments had backfired leading towards Shinichi's escape. Unfortunately, someone Shinichi had loved died in the process.

He would always love Rina…but now he loved Rena and he would not let what happened to Rena happen to Rina. He'd rather die than let that happen. He'd kill himself before he would kill Rena.

"And I'm glad that Shiori-mama took me and Hanyuu in," said Rika. "It's been a long time since I had a mother. I forgot what it was like."

"Let me tell you," said Shinichi. "When Kaa-chan says she loves you, she really does." What he remembered from his old life before GIN-SHOCKER took him was how much Shiori doted on him. Once he got really sick and she stayed by his bedside, taking care of his needs. He may have grown up without her, but he never stopped needing her. He just wished she didn't have to suffer for over ten years when he disappeared.

"I got that feeling too," admitted Rika. "She's eccentric but she means well."

Shinichi smirked and cocked an eyebrow. "Did she give you 'The Talk'?"

Rika grimaced with a blush as she recalled 'The Talk'. Shiori had sat Hanyuu and Rika down in the living room to talk with them about sex, using her books as teaching aids. Rika and Hanyuu now knew more about sex than they ever wanted to know. Fortunately, Rika was mature for her age. "Yes…and it was very enlightening."

"If it makes you feel any better, she gave me 'The Talk' too, and had me read a few of her books so I knew what to do with Rena-chan," Shinichi told Rika.

Rika was already growing into a beautiful teenager and the boys in school were giving her appreciative looks. Heck, even Hanyuu and Satoko were growing up into fine young women. Hanyuu already had eyes for Chiaki. Shinichi wasn't sure if Satoko was interested in anyone. As for Rika, Shinichi remembered that she'd liked him. She'd liked him because she saw a kindred spirit in him.

Unfortunately for her he didn't reciprocate her feelings. He was in love and totally faithful to Rena. Shinichi only saw her as a little sister. At least she could be content with him loving her in that sense.

Maybe one day she could meet someone like Shinichi who would return her feelings. Anything was possible, right?

"Shinichi, remember when you pretended to be the High Commander?" asked Rika.

"Yes, I did," he said apologetically. "I really scared you guys, didn't I?"

"You were the last person I would have expected to betray us and join GIN-SHOCKER," she responded sincerely, "But then again I did see my friends turn on each other, so…" It was painful. She thought it was going to be another bad end for her and everyone.

"I had to make it look real," he told her. "You know that."

"Could GIN-SHOCKER really clone my parents?" Rika asked.

"They cloned me, didn't they?" he responded. Rika recalled. WHITE 14 had been a clone of Shinichi's, made to take over his life and assassinate the NEO-NUMBERS. "To be honest, they could, but it wouldn't be the same."

"I see…" Her eyes were downcast.

Shinichi decided to change the subject to cheer her up. "The stars sure look nice tonight," he commented as he gazed up at the night sky. Rika scooted closer to his side and leaned her head against his shoulder.

"Yeah, they're beautiful," she smiled.

They were friends and family. Rika didn't want anything more than that. She was content. He too was content to finally have a real family.


Kamen Rider Chrome: Just a one-shot about Shinichi and Rika being like brother and sister.