The TV flashed as the character jumped off a building and slashed at a zombie killing it on the spot. Yuma punched the air, the controller almost slipping from his hands, "Yeah that's right, you can't handle this! I'm the best! The hero, the magnificent- ah!" he was quickly re-engulfed into the game as 15 more showed up and threatened his character.
Astral looked away from the screen and looked at Yuma. His thoughts were not focused on the zombies, but rather, something else. Something Yuma would never be able to explain like he had with the games, letting him know that zombies were indeed not real. This something that held his attention was very much real.
He sat silent and still for a while, then stretched out his hand to touch the boys back, but stopped. He remembered back to when Yuma had gotten fed up with him and punched him, but went right through him. 'It didn't work then, it won't work now.' he thought folding his arms over his knees and looking at the floor.
He flashed through his new memories he had with Yuma and his friends. Kotori, Cat, Tetsuo, Shark, Yuma… all of them could touch. High five, punch, hug. The good and the bad this physical touch worked with them. 'Why not me?' he thought.
He looked up again; Yuma got a game over and was back at the beginning. He flashed a look back at Yuma, but tried to stay focused on the game. But before long he found he was looking at him again. Thinking.
He reached out again, this time following through… maybe last time he didn't want the touch. He didn't want the punch or the pain. But now was different, he wanted it, just to see. He reached out, and his hand slipped through the seemingly unaware boy. He brought it back and tried again, and a third time. Nothing. Aggravated, he floated up and around in front of Yuma. Yuma looked up at him for a moment then back at the TV, "Astral you're in the way."
He floated closer; maybe it wasn't a single effort. Maybe they both had to want it. "Yuma, want me." he commanded.
He now had his full attention, "Eh?" he cried out in shock.
Astral said nothing but moved closer, his hand moving out slowly.
"A-Astral what are you doing?" he asked leaning back.
Astral went closer and Yuma just backed up more until a wall stopped him. "Astral you're acting weird, what are you doing?"
Astral looked at the key, he lingered above him. Not sure if he wanted to try again. Yuma, shocked at his outburst spoke up after a little bit, "Astral, what are you-"
"Yuma." he said looking up at him now, "I want to try."
"Try what?" he asked, almost yelled back at him in confusion. "What are you doing?"
"I want to touch you." he said plainly.
"EH? What the hell are you talking about?" he said, his mind taking a trip south to not so pure thoughts. 'No... he can't… he doesn't know what that is. Or does he? I mean he watches a lot of TV so maybe he saw it… but no he can't. He's got no… That means I would have to- oh my god I can't do that. How did he even think of this?' he thought trying to back up more but to no avail as his thoughts went in circles.
"Yuma I want to know what it's like to feel." Astral continued. "I want to feel the warmth that you feel when Akari holds your hand. And the closeness you fell when you shake hands with Shark after a duel. " He said his fingers twitching slightly into a loose fist. "I want to know what it's like."
"You want…" Yuma stumbled over the words as his brain realized what was really going on. Astral didn't mean sex, not even close, 'He just wants to feel human…' he thought. He nodded sitting up straight, looking at Astral with a new passion in his eyes, "Alright." he said determined, "Go for it."
"Ah! Really?" Astral responded, somewhat surprised.
"It's not fair to not know what a hug is." he said wondering what it would be like to not be able to touch anything. Or anyone. "I want you to feel!" He patted his chest few times, "Go on, touch me!"
Astral's eyes relaxed and he smiled slightly, he looked at his hand and relaxed his fingers. He looked back at Yuma, ready. He reached out to his friend…
They stayed like that for a while, neither one looking away or down at Astral's hand which had gone right through Yuma's chest. Neither one wanting to see what they already knew. It was a while before either one spoke, "Astral…" Yuma started, slouching.
Astral pulled his hand back and looked at it, he could see through it and to the floor. He had felt nothing, no warmth, no chills. Nothing. A somber expression filled his face.
Astral put his hand in a fist and floated back so he was no longer over his friend and sat. "Thank you Yuma."
"Thank you for believing in me."
Yuma looked down to the floor, looking for something to say. He would offer a hug, a handshake, a pat on the back, anything, but he couldn't offer that. He was just left with his words, which he knew was the worst gift he could give to Astral. "I don't… Astral I wish I could-"
Astral just nodded and slowly faded into dust as he withdrew himself into the key.
Yuma sat there now alone. He clutched the key in his hand. "Astral..."