"Our victory is nigh! We've overcome all conspiracies, upholding out ideals to the last! We have fought through the battle of Ragnarok! I thank those who have worked so hard for me to ensure this victory!" Okabe monologues as Mayuri and Daru look on in stunned perplexity. "I am grateful to all those I have had to sacrifice, what comes next is the world I wished for! This is all the choice of steins;gate! The world will be rebuilt!" Kurisu, I'm sorry, he thinks as he presses the key that will erase the very first D-mail from SERN's database.
"Okabe!" Kurisu calls bursting down the door. "Okabe! I'm also…!"
"Kurisu!" He calls shocked at her appearance, his Reading Steiner is active, his heart working overtime to keep his memories intact.
"I'm also in-I'm also in love with you, Okabe!" She yells, just a fraction of a second too late.
"What?!" Daru asks surprised looking at Kurisu in shock.
"I knew it!" Mayuri squeals in happiness.
Everyone turns to Okabe for his reaction. He's still slouched over the computer, one hand clutching the desk for dear life, the other balled by his side. His head's turned at an awkward angle, looking straight through Kurisu. He blinks as his eyes regain awareness.
"How long have I been just standing here?" He asks, eyes locking with Kurisu's.
"Maybe a minute…" She replies softly.
"Did it work? No, that's a dumb question, if it had you wouldn't be here…did we delete it?" He asks turning to Daru.
"Yeah man, it's gone." Daru affirms after double-checking.
"Then why am I still here? I felt the Reading Steiner activate, I should have moved beyond the one percent barrier…why didn't it work?" He mumbles to himself eyes unfocused again. "It should have worked…" He states after a few minutes, lost, he looks to Kurisu. "Why didn't it work?" She looks thoughtful for a moment, while he straightens himself out.
"You said you felt your Reading Whatever activate?" She asks softly. "The same as any other time?" He nods. "Then perhaps…it did work." He opens his mouth to argue. "No. Listen to me. Your Reading Steins;gate" his mumbled 'steiner' goes on ignored. "did activate, and you moved back to the other world-line."
"But why then, am I here?"
"The world couldn't just erase your memories, for whatever reason you're the only person with the gift of remembrance. But there was an Okabe here before you arrived, so there must be an Okabe here after you left."
"You don't mean…?"
"You're stuck here…even if we were to change world-lines again, some version of this you would remain."
"And all the other world-lines I've been to?" He asks, voice shaking.
"Are in the same situation."
He thinks on that for a moment, remembering the other worlds and just what they contained, before coming to a realization. A horrified look crosses his face. "And even if I were to change something?"
"Some version of you will be forced to stay here." She theorizes sadly. He sinks to his knees as his face goes blank.
"No…" He whispers, hands balling into fists on the floor. His eyes become unfocused, staring off into the middle-distance.
An awkward feeling envelops Daru and Mayuri, who've been hereto left out of the loop. Even though Okabe's back is to them they can see when it begins shaking…and Kurisu's usually impassive face looks like it'll start crying at any moment. They're confused but Mayuri tentatively steps forward to comfort Okabe. She lays a hand on his back, but he quickly pulls her into a hug. He clutches her tightly, his face the perfect picture of abject defeat and Mayuri's now close enough to hear that he's been mumbling to himself.
Daru looks past them to Kurisu in confusion.
"Mayuri…is going to die…" She whispers watching as Mayuri stiffens and Okabe sobs louder.
Daru's shocked before attempting to shake it off. "Everyone does, eventually."
"…in two days." Kurisu continues wiping tears from her eyes. Mayuri's eyes begin watering.
"No way." Daru whispers eyes locking with Mayuri's before she shuts them tight.
"I've tried…I've tried…I've tried…Mayuri…Mayuri, I'm sorry…I'm sorry…"
Mayuri looks down at her broken friend thinking 'I did this!' She wraps her arms around him as she cries on his shoulder for what she's going to put him through. She doesn't understand everything, but she knows the basis of time travel, and that Okarin's been changing things. She understands that Okarin's seen the future and knows him well enough to know he wouldn't be this broken up about it if there was anything he could do to change it.
"It's okay, Okarin. I don't have to be your hostage anymore, it's okay."
"…I'm sorry…Mayuri…I'm sorry…I tried, I tried…I'm sorry."
AN:/This came out a lot sadder than I thought it would. Believe it or not, I was tearing up while writing it.
Next chapter: TBA (this is the end of my pre-written pieces...hopefully more inspiration will strike soon!)