"I haven't seen you in two years and this is how you look? You should go to a spa, Enzan. Let moi recommend the best masseuse for you."
It has been roughly two years since he last talked to Yai. She calls him twelve hours after Shuuseki Ijuuin's death made it to the public, and she keeps telling him that she would have called earlier if she wasn't so busy with some joint project she's working on with Meiru, who (and Enzan isn't really surprised to find out) is now a net designer for the new game Gabcom is making.
"She composes piano pieces on her spare time as well," Yai says. "They're really beautiful. Even Netto likes them. You should listen to them sometime. They might help."
Enzan finds his eyes softening at the sound of Yai's bratty voice over the PET. "Maybe when I have the time," he says.
"You never have the time."
"Then I'll make some for her."
Yai snorts. "That'll be the day."
Blues just smiles and shakes his head at the exchange.
Yai says that the best way to understand one's feelings is to write them out. "You can't edit your thoughts," she says. "You don't need to think hard. Just write them out. This is why girls keep diaries, and why we are emotionally more mature than you silly little boys."
(She says it like she's sharing an inside joke with herself, but Enzan doesn't bother to know because Yai has always wanted to take the opportunity to poke fun at him since they met. And Enzan knows those opportunities are few and far in between.)
"Write them out, huh?" Enzan says.
"Don't say it like it's some stupid idea!" Yai pouts and catches herself before she could childishly make a face. Enzan could almost laugh.
He wouldn't call himself a close friend of Yai's, but they're close enough. He's not one to keep in touch with a lot of people in his life, but he listens to Yai whenever she calls simply because he doesn't mind listening to her. She understands him as well as he does her (somewhat), because she knows what it's like to be an important figure in the business world. While Enzan doesn't give much of himself away to her as much as she does to him, he knows that they can both relate to the feeling of having the whole world watching them. Waiting for them to crack.
"You're strong," Yai says softly. "But sometimes I think that's the only part of you that you want other people to see."
"What's wrong with that?"
"It wouldn't hurt to be a little bit more honest, Enzan. You should learn a thing or two from Netto."
"I'll keep that in mind."
"You better!" Yai says, pointing a finger to the screen.
Enzan doesn't say anything, but he admires Yai because she is a lot more honest about herself than he is. And he admires Netto more so for the same reason.
So he buys himself a little black notebook and a pen, and starts writing. He isn't a born writer though. Most of the things he writes are codes, formal letters, speeches, and recommendations. Most of the things he writes are for the company and for other people in general. He doesn't write for himself for the sole purpose of enlightenment, or whatever Yai thinks he'll get.
He writes anyway.
"This is stupid," he tells her two hours later. Yai keeps talking him to doing it though. So Enzan keeps writing. And he builds this habit for the next few days.
Five pages in, and his notebook is full of crossed out words because Enzan doesn't think they sound right. The first time they sounded too formal. The second time, it was like he was trying too hard. The third and fourth time becomes a jumbled mess of words; they are scattered enough that it almost makes Enzan sound sincere, as if he's writing in a stream of consciousness. And that's just strange, because he doesn't really think he's that honest of a person.
(On some nights though, when the world seems too quiet that the white noise filters in through his ears, Enzan writes his words lightly in pencil – light enough so he doesn't have to see the words take a solid form on paper.
And when Enzan goes to sleep, he keeps the notebook right next to him in case he wakes up in tears.)
The title of an article on the seventh page of Vector, issued one week ago in big, bold letters:
The Rise and Fall of Shuuseki Ijuuin
Another one, on the third page of Young Entrepreneur's Magazine, issued six months prior:
Vice President To Become New IPC CEO
And just recently, in obscure websites and places as far as the Undernet, are a myriad of vague pictures of two young men; one with messy brown hair and a cheeky smile, the other with striking blue eyes and a fond expression. Stories crop up around forums and boards; stories that pass on from whispers and the rumor mill. There's a story going on, but whether that story is true or not is still up for debate.
And just like that, history repeats itself.
The reporter holds the microphone too close to Enzan's mouth. He can barely evade him even with Kisaki pulling him away. "I don't know," he says with an irritated look as he tries to make his way out of the crowd. There are cameras and recorders and flashing lights everywhere.
"People have reported seeing you together with Hikari-san last week, supposedly on a date," says a different reporter. She holds out her recorder enthusiastically. "Do you have anything to say about it?"
Enzan could almost sigh. "No comment," he says. He resists the urge to rub his temples in front of the cameras.
"How do you think this scandal will affect the company?" asks one of the more intelligent interviewers. Enzan almost glares at her for asking that question. Since when did going out with Netto become a crime all of a sudden? "Pardon me?"
The crowd hushes into silence, giving their rapt attention to the interview. It's the first question Enzan didn't actively avoid thus far. Kisaki glares at him for stopping.
"Surely you have realized that the rumors will affect the company's image," the interviewer says.
Enzan frowns. He narrows his eyes. "My personal life is, and will always be, separate from my career. I'd appreciate it if the media would stop making up stories and fuelling the rumors."
"Are you implying that the rumors are true, then?"
God, how can people be so… "I said nothing of the sort. Stop assuming things."
IPC once had an efficient receptionist named Kisaki Midori. Enzan remembers her well because Netto used to flirt with her back when he was still in college. She was never a serious crush, but Netto admired her a lot because she was pretty and nice and really perceptive. She's the one who tells Netto to hide whenever Shuuseki is around, and she's one of the few who can read through Enzan's obscure mood swings.
She's also the one who would often scold Enzan whenever his relationship with Netto went from good to complicated. In many ways, she's like the big sister Enzan never had.
So when she calls him up one night and asks him to meet her in a restaurant, well, he couldn't really say no. When he arrives at the restaurant, he is surprised to find that Kisaki booked them a private room. She motions for him to sit down and order something.
"It's been a while, Kisaki-san," Enzan says as pleasantly as he could as soon as the waiter leaves them.
"Yes it has. And I want to know this: what the fuck have you been doing lately?" she asks in an even tone. She slams a couple of newspaper articles down on the table forcefully. Enzan jumps back in surprise. "I leave this country for a while and now I find you in this mess?"
Enzan sighs. "Good to see you too, Kisaki-san."
"A lot, apparently." Enzan takes the articles from her hands and glances over them. His hands start shaking as his eyes recognize the pictures in front. They are pictures of his dates with Netto, him crying on his shoulder in the middle of the night in a park, him battling Netto in some run-down arcade, him sharing an ice cream in an evasive café.
Blood drains from his face as he processes the information before him. He feels himself growing cold, and all of a sudden his heartbeat is beating faster and louder than the white noise in the room. It's like reliving a nightmare he thought he had forgotten. "Where…. What? How?" He looks up at Kisaki, searching for answers.
Kisaki sighs. "Don't tell me you've holed yourself up in your house all week and didn't read the newspaper."
Enzan curses quietly. Nailed it.
"I was grieving," Enzan says. "Could you blame me?"
Kisaki's eyes soften as she looks at Enzan. "No, I suppose I couldn't." She sighs. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be," Enzan says awkwardly. "Please."
"Alright. I won't touch on that then. But tell me, what are you going to do with these pictures?"
Enzan doesn't answer. Some part of him just wants to run away from all this, to escape from planning a funeral and confronting the media and facing a cheeky, brown-haired friend with whom he has shared kisses with in the middle of winter. He wants to wake up from this nightmare and never face this reality again.
It's like fate loves repeating itself.
"You can't keep running away," Kisaki whispers, as if she could read Enzan's mind. Enzan wouldn't be surprised if she could, actually.
"Well what else could I do?" He stares at the pictures blankly, feeling lost all of a sudden. He spent four years avoiding this problem. How could he have been so careless?
Kisaki takes an article from Enzan's hands and tears it apart, ripping it in shreds. The sound rings loudly inside the private booth, and all Enzan could do is follow the frayed papers as they fall back on the table slowly. He looks back up, and Kisaki looks at him in the eyes determinedly. "Face the music."
Enzan swallows hard, his eyes lingering back on the torn paper. He isn't sure if he can.
Ever since Shuuseki Ijuuin's death made it to the public, Enzan's privacy suddenly disappeared off the face of the Earth.
Though to be fair, he was lucky enough to have avoided this much attention for a week, given his social standing. His vice must be doing one heck of a job of covering for him if it took people a week to realize that the former president of IPC passed away and that the current president is hiding away in the suburbs. Enzan thinks that buying that small little apartment in the niche of the city has been his best idea yet.
("Netto," Enzan says last night. "Maybe we shouldn't go around town together for a while."
"Alright," Netto says, nodding. He doesn't smile or start a fight. It bothers Enzan to hear him be nonchalant about it. It's as if something feels off.
He shrugs the feeling away and concentrates on the situation at hand.)
He spreads different articles and pictures on his desk and frowns at the sheer amount he has piled up. Some of them came from forums and boards, others from magazines and newspapers. Some came from whatever tabloids he could find.
The subjects vary from article to article. Some speculate about the death of his father, others about his relationship with one Netto Hikari. Some of the rumors got so out of hand that some of the more idiotic people started saying that Enzan killed his father to get away with gay marriage. Enzan nearly tore the paper up when he read it. Just how far can people twist the truth?
(In hindsight, he shouldn't have taken that limousine ride to his apartment. It's just begging for attention.)
He glances back at his work station and sighs. His desk is a mess. Half of it is filled with gossip material, and the other half is filled with stacks of progress reports he neglected to go over. He could hardly see the glass underneath all these papers.
There is a knock on the door.
"Enzan? Hey, I'm coming in, alright?"
Enzan hurriedly hides all the articles in his desk drawer just as the doors to his office open. Netto enters with a smile that slowly turns less cheery as he notices the trash can behind Enzan, filled with torn up papers and crossed out newspaper articles.
"Is that work related?" Netto asks in a wary voice, his arms crossing in front of him. He eyes the pile of balled-up papers with an eyebrow raised.
"Somewhat," Enzan lies. He hopes that Netto wouldn't go through them; it's pathetic enough that he can't sort through his own feelings on the matter.
Netto shifts his gaze to Enzan, and Enzan can already predict the incoming lecture.
"I thought you said you'd stop working by six? You promised," Netto says. The clock on the computer says it's more than half past eight. "You said you were going to plan the funeral this week."
Enzan keeps silent at the mention of 'funeral', simply because the word sounds so… definite. Finished. Done. Like an irreversible concept. Enzan can easily see his father being buried deep in the ground, but he couldn't make himself agree to the implications of the action: that he can't change death, he can't cheat anyone's death. His father's tomb will always be a tangible reminder of the time he wasted.
(Why is it so hard to let go?)
"I lied," Enzan says. His grip on the drawer tightens considerably.
"You put your father in a cryogenic freezer," Netto points out. "Wouldn't it be cheaper to hold a funeral? It's much more respectful, Enzan."
"Shut up. And I thought I told you not to visit me when I'm working? You're not supposed to be – how'd you get permission to be here anyway?"
"Easy. I just asked Blues. He tweaked the security for me."
Of course. Enzan glares at his navi. "Blues…" he says warningly.
"You did promise Netto-san that you'd be home by now," Blues says in a matter-of-fact voice.
"Mm. Netto-kun has been waiting for you for hours," Rockman adds with a hint of teasing. His smile is cheeky and wide. "He kept asking me 'Why isn't Enzan here yet?' or 'When is he coming back?' You should have seen how many times he kept looking at the time."
"I didn't say any of that!" Netto exclaims.
"You sure about that?"
"You want me to shut the PET down?"
They continue to bicker and Enzan smiles in amusement. Of course Netto would be worried. He's Netto. Excepting the smiles and encouragement, he's almost as worse as Enzan is when he is worried… and that's saying something. Enzan silently chuckles to himself.
He relaxes his shoulders and releases his grip on the drawer. He's glad for the temporary distraction. "Missed me already?" he asks. He stands up and walks around the table.
Netto glares at him, crossing his arms. "Shut up. I only came to get you because your dinner's getting cold, and you probably forgot again that your body necessitates food to live. 'Cause, I don't know. You think you're a robot." He deadpans the last word for added effect.
Blues snorts. "Right," he drawls out.
"He sounds like a clingy girlfriend, doesn't he?" Rockman says. He laughs.
"I'm not even surprised at all anymore," Blues says, smiling in that smug way of his. Enzan almost snorts in amusement.
"I'll pretend I didn't hear any of that that," Netto grumbles. Cue more snorting and chuckles. Netto harrumphs and doesn't even bother to respond after that; instead, he looks at Enzan and says, "So, you gonna stop working yourself to death or what?"
Enzan sighs, leaning a little on the table. "Just let me finish something first. I'll be done in a few minutes."
Unfortunately, Enzan knows that Netto wouldn't buy that. Netto's translation of 'a few minutes' (at least, when the coffee-addicted Enzan says it) is usually some variation of 'let me use up all the caffeine in my body for work'. Which could last from somewhere between thirty minutes to a few hours. Enzan can already see Netto giving him the look – that look of disbelief that Netto was able to perfect after all the bantering he does with him.
He's an honest man, but his sense of humor gets dryer with prolonged exposure to Enzan, it seems. The thought amuses Enzan to no end.
"Really," Enzan says, giving Netto one of his own looks. As much as he loves to banter with Netto, there are just some things that come first. Namely, an unfinished letter and a few progress reports. Netto shouldn't mind.
Netto keeps staring at him for a few more seconds, but he gives up when Enzan doesn't give in. It's a mini-fight of wills (and stubbornness), and Enzan won. "Alright, fine. I'll wait for you in the lobby then," Netto says in resignation. "Don't keep me waiting too long, alright? The security guy keeps staring at me, and it's giving me the creeps."
Rockman says something from the PET and laughs heartily. Enzan couldn't hear the quip, but he imagines it to be amusing.
Netto walks towards to door, but stops just as he was about to turn the knob. "Oh, and Enzan?"
There is a slight pause, as if Netto is trying to piece his sentence together in his head. "You don't mind being friends with me, right?"
"What?" Enzan immediately reacts, taken aback by the question. Well. That was... sudden. He arches an eyebrow. Did something happen between them without him knowing or something? He would have thought it was obvious by now that he doesn't have qualms with being friends with Netto. In fact, barring his father's death (which is still kind of a big deal, but at least it's now a manageable big deal) and the pressing issue of the media deforming his and the company's image, he's never been happier. "What kind of question is that?"
He looks at Blues, silently asking him if he knows what's going on, but navi just shrugs. Clearly, Netto is being weird again.
Netto doesn't turn around to face Enzan, but he laughs. And it's weird. "Nevermind! That was a stupid thing to ask, huh?"
He steps out and closes the door. Enzan turns to Blues again, but he seems just as clueless as he is. As soon as Enzan hears the click of the door, he felt like he's missing something.
In the end though, Enzan wasn't able to finish all his progress reports and angsting. Blues wouldn't let him stay in the office for more than fifteen minutes, and Enzan isn't really looking forward to a complaining Netto. So he leaves his office and walks towards the elevators exactly fifteen minutes later. He tries not to look like he's rushing his walk.
(It's funny how a single person's presence can change his way of walking.)
"Slow down, Enzan-sama," Blues says in an amused tone of voice. "Netto-san won't disappear that easily."
"Yes, but if I don't hurry up I'll get a hearing from him," Enzan says dryly.
"Of course," Blues says, smirking a little. They both know that's not the only reason, but Enzan wouldn't admit it if he can.
Netto stands up the moment the elevator doors open. He looks at Enzan impatiently. "Took you long enough," he says. "Come on. I'm hungry."
Enzan raises an eyebrow. "Didn't you eat already?" he asks as they make their way outside the building. It should be past nine by now. He couldn't imagine Netto skipping dinner this late.
But the look Netto gives him says that the thought never even crossed his mind. "I was waiting for you," Netto says, as if it was obvious. "Anyway. You bailed out on your promise, so you're making it up to me."
Enzan's hand subconsciously moves to take Netto's (because it has become routine for them to just link their hands together like that), but finds his fingers grasping empty space instead. That's… odd. It's almost like Netto's hand is avoiding his. "How so?" he asks instead.
Netto shrugs and puts his hands at the back of his head. He looks up at the night sky. "Hm… Take me out for ice cream?"
Enzan contemplates the pros and cons of doing so. Really, he shouldn't even be walking outside with Netto right now if he doesn't want to aggravate the media. But then he looks back at Netto and sees that stupid smile on his face, and he thinks maybe he could afford just one more date.
"Alright. Want to go to Moonshine, then?"
Netto literally jumps for joy. And yet, Enzan can't help but feel like the other man is forcing out the enthusiasm. It just doesn't seem natural.
It bothers him, but it's apparent that Netto wouldn't talk to him about it if he's putting an effort to actually hide his thoughts and emotions for once.
"Enzan, you've grown a lot. But there's still a lot for you to learn," Shuuseki says.
Enzan frowns. He balls his hands to fists and looks up at his father defiantly. "Like what?" he yells. There are so many emotions raging inside of him that he could hardly control himself. He's almost one step away from truly lashing out. "What's so wrong with me liking someone for a change?"
"That's exactly it," Shuuseki says, his voice booming through Enzan's ears. He stares down at his son. "You still need to change. You're not strong enough."
"What did you say?" Enzan breathes in and starts counting to ten. He fights the urge to punch the man in front of him.
Shuuseki puts a hand on Enzan's shoulder. "I'll let you do what you like when I think you're ready."
"You don't seem to be looking well, Enzan-sama," says one of the board members. "Must be hard to lose a father at such a young age." He says it with just the slightest twitch of his lips, like a half hidden smirk. A sufficiently veiled condescendence.
Enzan grits his teeth. The least they could do is try to put an effort in masking their holier-than-thou attitude. He's sure that his snarky side would have already thought something along the lines of 'If I had a dollar for every time' – if it weren't for the fact that he's already the president of an international business company, and therefore, already filthy stinkin' rich.
At least he has yet to hear someone say that they know what it's like, because fuck if they ever really say that. They don't.
Though, all things considered, returning to the natural order of things (that is, being boss of the company again) isn't as difficult as he assumed it will be. It's almost like an ordinary work day if you take away the sympathy of his workers and the media he has to avoid. If anything, he is even more focused now that he has work to distract himself with. Enzan knows that Blues is conflicted with whether or not he should stop him, so the navi rakes in more than his usual share of the load. He is obviously worried, especially when Enzan starts spacing off.
Well, it's not like Enzan could help it.
The moment he enters his office, he plops down on his chair ungracefully and looks up at the ceiling for a long, long time.
"Maybe you should rest for a while, Enzan-sama. You look tired," Blues says. At least when Blues shares his concern, Enzan knows it's genuine (if annoying at times). "I can always check the progress reports for you."
"I'm fine, Blues."
Blues hums in reply, giving Enzan that look that says he doesn't believe a word of it.
Enzan sighs, sitting up straight to look at his navi. "Okay, tell you what. Whether or not I'm finished with these, I'll be sure to stop working by four. Alright?"
He would have pushed until six, but then he would have Netto breathing down his neck, and Enzan doesn't really want to deal with another stubborn person. As well-intentioned as they are, sometimes Enzan thinks that he is being spoiled too much by Netto and Blues. They may as well run a daycare center with all their fussing.
Blues nods, clearly happy with the proposition. "That's fair. Oh, by the way, you received several emails earlier while you were in the board meeting. Some of them are from your father's colleagues."
Enzan picks up the folder he was supposed to be checking on and grabs a highlighter. "What did they say? If it's not important, then just delete them," he says absent-mindedly, his mind already shifting to 'Efficient Worker' Mode.
"They are asking about the funeral, and also about your well-being," Blues says. Enzan doesn't say anything in response, nor does he move. "There's another email from a small startup company called Scientia. They are asking if IPC would like to sponsor a project they are working on. With more funding, they can digitalize humans and simulate their whole being in the 'Net."
"The email isn't very descriptive. Enzan-sama, I don't think it would be a good idea to support this project. The project looks vague at best, and with Scientia being a startup company and all…"
Enzan nods, spinning the highlighter in his hand absentmindedly. "I know. But something smells fishy about this. Can you set up an appointment with them?"
"Will you be going personally, Enzan-sama?"
"Alright, I'll send a reply then. Netto-san also sent you an email."
At this, Enzan tilts his head a little in response. "Why?"
"He says he has something to do, so he might come back late."
"I don't know."
Enzan chews on the end of his highlighter. That's strange. Rockman told him that Netto stopped procrastinating at work. That's why he's always hanging around in Enzan's apartment, and that's why he always comes back to the apartment earlier than Enzan does. There's no reason for Netto to suddenly work overtime. Did something happen in the lab or something? But then again, he's been acting a bit off for the past few days ever since Enzan started working again.
Enzan couldn't exactly pinpoint it, but there really is something off about Netto lately. Or rather, he feels there's something he's been missing for the past few days. And he couldn't help but feel like he should know.
Enzan blinks and stops chewing on the highlighter. He looks at Blues and says, "Remind me to grab curry for dinner tonight."
He notices Blues crack a small smile at that. "Yes, Enzan-sama."
"What is it, Enzan?" Shuuseki gives him a tired look.
"Why didn't you visit her?" asks eight-year-old Enzan.
"Mother's grave!" Enzan cries out. He tugs at his father's coat incessantly."It's her death anniversary, isn't it? Why didn't you visit?"
"I have a tight schedule today, Enzan. Don't bother me right now."
"At least give me a reason!"
Shuuseki sighs. Enzan could have sworn his father's eyes shone back there. "Leave me for a while, Enzan. Please."
He flips through the channels until it's nine o'clock. At which point, Blues starts harping on him (again) about how human beings necessitate food for survival, but Enzan refuses to eat simply because he wants to wait until Netto arrives. He tries contacting Netto once (okay, three times, but that's only because it's getting really dark outside and it's a bit worrying) to ask him how late he'll be out, but the other man doesn't answer.
(He admits to himself that it feels silly; it's like he's the housewife waiting for her husband.)
He decides to waste his time with more writing, mainly due to Blues not letting him do anything work-related because he's a good nanny, and also because Yai said it was good to let his emotions out.
She couldn't have been any more correct. (Not that he'll say it to her face.)
This time though, he doesn't write on his journal. This time he writes a letter to his deceased mother.
He hardly knows her, but he starts the letter with something along the lines of I miss you.
Enzan doesn't remember his mother, but he knows that he would love her unconditionally if she's still alive. He only saw her in pictures and photographs, and most of what he knows are from what people (i.e. the maids) are willing to tell him. They keep telling him that she's gentle, kind-hearted, and brave. She met his father in the airport as she was catching a flight to Belgium. They hit it off, then she died two years after she gave birth to a son. Her death was primarily because of some severe sickness.
Enzan doesn't know her, but he loves her nonetheless. He wonders what she'll say to him if she's here right now. Would she be disappointed? Happy? Proud?
(He imagines her smiling, kissing him on the forehead and telling him he's been doing a good job.)
His father doesn't talk about her much. He doesn't know why. He never visits her grave or sends flowers. It's almost as if she never existed; just a ghost of a memory and an untold past. Enzan resents his father for it, but he couldn't bear himself to hate him for it either.
(His mother loved him, after all.)
He asks Blues to search the net for any information about his mother, just because he knows so little about her. Sometimes, when he's feeling pessimistic, he thinks it's a psychological thing; he's deluding himself by thinking that knowing more about her would bring them closer. Knowing more about her would bring him to an understanding with his father. What kind of person did he fall in love with?
Most of the time though, he thinks he's doing these things because he's just a little lonely.
Blues comes back with a grim expression, and reluctantly spills everything he found out when Enzan pries him. He talks about the topic cautiously; emphasizing the positive points and downplaying the negative ones. He tells him that his mother was sweet and adventurous, always smiling and laughing. She was beautiful and very young.
She was caught in a web of lies, rumors, and scandals. No one knows how she died, but rumors say it was because of suicide.
Enzan stares at the screen blankly. For the past two decades, he only knew few, choice pieces of information about her, and they all slip through his fingers like sand because everything he has ever known about her was a lie. Or rather, he hardly knew anything about her when he should have.
(Was his father hiding this from him the whole time?)
Blues looks at him worriedly throughout the night, but there was nothing could say to get through Enzan.
That night, Enzan grabs a blanket and cradles the PET to his chest again. He doesn't cry, and he doesn't think. All he could feel is exhaustion and shock.
Two hours pass.
He charges the PET and sets Blues on Stasis Mode when it got really late. "I promise I'll sleep in a few minutes, okay?" he says. He actually almost goes through with his promise because he's about to fall asleep in front of the television when the door suddenly opens ten minutes later.
It is long past midnight by the time Netto walks in. His eyes are weary and tired, and his movements are sluggish as he drags himself inside Enzan's apartment with an annoyed look on his face. Enzan wonders what got the man worked up, but all his thoughts come to a halt when they lock eyes.
(If not for his tired expression, Enzan would have voiced out how he finds it amusing that Netto never rings the doorbell. He just waltzes in like he owns the place, not that Enzan doesn't mind.)
Netto arches an eyebrow and immediately livens up a little. "Have you been awake this whole time?" He checks the time and frowns. "Dude, I know you've had worse nights when you were working, but seriously? What have you been up to?"
Enzan shrugs. "Not work, if that's what you're thinking. Blues wouldn't let me."
"With good reason." Netto heavily plops down on the sofa next to Enzan, letting gravity do its work. "Did you eat?"
"Yes," Enzan lies. He thinks about whether he should tell Netto that he brought curry from Maha Ichiban, but then he would have to reheat it and Netto would be snoring on the sofa before that's done. "Did you?"
"Yeah," Netto says with a distant voice, as if his mind is busy with other things. "Sorry Enzan, but I'm tired. Rockman's already in Stasis Mode, but I have to charge the PET. You should sleep too."
Enzan nods. Netto is acting strange, but he'll postpone his questions for another day. "Yeah, you look like you're on the brink of dozing off. Think you can make it to bed?"
Netto yawns in response. "Yeah," he says sleepily. He stands up, and he is about to make his way to his room when Enzan grabs his wrist and stops him.
"Netto," he says from the sofa. "I know this isn't the time, but I'm ready to arrange the funeral. When you wake up, can you take a day off and accompany me?"
Netto turns to Enzan and his eyes widen slightly. "Yeah," he says, smiling a little.
Enzan nods appreciatively. He stands up and captures the other man in an embrace. He doesn't realize he's burying his head in his shoulders until his words come out in a muffled reply. "Thank you, Netto," he breathes out. He means every word of it.
Netto brings his arms up awkwardly and hugs back. "Mhm, sure thing Enzan," he says. Then he abruptly lets go. "Sorry Enzan. I'm really glad that you're doing better, seriously I am. It's just… is it alright if I go to sleep now?"
Enzan laughs. "Right, of course."