Ayako carefully touched Dumpson's face as not to wake him. What outsiders could have seen as an intimate gesture was just a poor attempt at comfort.
Comfort for both him and herself, as selfish as it was.
Even asleep he looked exhausted. As if the worry for his friends had sucked the life out of him. The idea didn't seem so far away – he had slumped in her embrace, beginning to tremble as he let go of his fear, worry and shame instead of maintaining that façade of strength.
It wasn't Dumpson's fault he had been the most unscathed to leave the explosion that had caught Super Built Tiger. He blamed himself all the same. Why could Todou-san transfer his mind to his spare body? Why were the others so damaged, the same couldn't be done for them? Why was he talking, walking around and his friends still in their mangled bodies, sedated, Super-A.I.s threatening to fail with a chance of 64 %?
All this had poured out of him in a static-y voice when leaning against her. It broke her heart. She knew the guys weren't invincible, for that she had seen them been hurt too often.
This desperation, exhaustion she saw also on the others, working for the sake to do something as not to go crazy in fear for their friends – it was on an entirely different level.
And she saw it close-up on Dumpson. Face incredibly old, incredibly young: broken, vulnerable.
The numbness in her arm, where he was sleeping against her, meant nothing against this pain. She leant her head back, listening to the low rumbling of his engine, warm air washing from his vents over her.
Ayako prayed the three would pull through. She didn't want to see them in pain anymore – any of them.