lazchan: (Default)
[personal profile] lazchan
Title:New Steps
by:[profile] lazzchan
Rating:Gen
Characters: Philip, Shotarou




It still hurt—it was still hard for him to believe, really—as to what happened to the boss. As to the reason why he was sitting in the chair, instead of Narumi. Why there wasn't a smell of badly made coffee or a lecture in his ears about how he needed to be more of a man.

He closed his eyes, face hidden by a magazine and tried not to cry. He was the one that was leading here now, he had to be more hard-boiled, stronger- he had to be able to take care of Philip, like the boss had requested. That had been unexpected, that Philip was still around. No one had come to collect him; not that he'd trust anyone waltzing up to the door to take him, though. At least Philip was a suitable, needed distraction.

He wondered if they'd have to fight again, like before, if someone did attack them. Shotarou winced as he remembered that overwhelming feeling, the absolute shockwave of something overtaking him and then Philip so close to his mind.

And then the reverse—that had been more terrifying, though and his mind shied away from it, not wanting, not able to think on it at the moment. He was jerked out of his thoughts by Philip's voice.

"Fascinating…" Shotarou shot to his feet; he'd already learned the word could spell trouble; it seemed everything was new to Philip in a way and he'd either delve into whatever weird place he went when he discovered things, or he'd eat himself silly or any number of things. Praying that nothing had been dismantled in the building, Shotarou went over to where he could hear Philip talking to himself and then suddenly stopped.

That door hadn't been there before, he was certain of it.

The garage was just as big of a shock and Shotarou leaned against the door, just staring and trying to take it all in.

"Boss had some sort of secret lab?" he muttered to himself, watching Philip as he examined all corners of the place, taking special interest in something in the middle of the floor, eyes glazed and expression distant.

"I suppose it was hidden, but not quite a lab, Shotarou," Philip's voice carried easily back to him and Shotarou found himself walking closer in spite of himself. "But there are some fascinating things here that I wonder at…" his voice trailed off and then he turned to Shotarou, more serious than before.

"If I am correct, then we can adapt these to help us when we combine together again. I believe that Narumi Soukichi used the equipment here and …" he trailed off at the expression on Shotarou's face. "What is wrong, Shotarou?"

"Why do we have to do that again?" he swallowed hard, eyes fixed on Philip. "We…we got you out of there, didn't we?"

"Shotarou…" Philip's voice was too patient, that of a parent speaking to a child. "It's reasonable to think that the organization that held me will not cease looking, simply because one of their locations was destroyed. The advance of Gaia Memories will not cease because I am not there. There are several hundred already in existence and you already know what they can do."

Shotarou winced. He had seen what they could do, he knew what they could do from what the boss had told him—and that organization was ruthless in how they employed it.

"And Shotarou…" Philip's eyes never left him, it was unnerving the intensity that they held. "We should practice combining. You will have to be the main part; my body…" his voice faltered a little. "My body cannot handle being the main component. If we practice being one, then will be more efficient as a fighting team."

"I don't think I could do so well at the moment, either," Shotarou muttered, sitting on the top step of the garage area, resting his head on his knees. This was all too much at the moment. "I just… I don't get it."

"There's time—" Philip is almost tentative as he sat closer to Shotarou and it suddenly hits him how ridiculous it all is. A high school dropout and some kid genius, sitting an oversized garage, talking about using something so ridiculous to transform into a combination of one person. He started to laugh, body shaking as he tried not to cry, not again.

"Ah… yeah. I guess there's time," he swallowed a sob as he shook his head. "Neither of us has anywhere else to go."

Philip nodded and pulled out the suitcase again—the one that Shotarou was supposed to protect—and his calm way about doing things started to effect Shotarou. He wiped away the last bit of tears and started to pay attention to what Philip was saying about the Double Driver—more than just 'riding with the devil'—as to what it actually does, what it means and how it will affect them both.

Shotarou ran his fingers over the Memories that Philip gave him, nodding with each explanation, but his mind was already seeing a way that he could protect the city, the way his boss had wanted him to do. It wasn't going to be easy.

"And so, we have to practice, Shotarou," Philip's voice broke into his thoughts again. "Even just practice with the drivers. Unless you mind so much having a devil inside your head?" The little smirk, the tilt of the head made Shotarou snort. It seemed that Philip had more of a personality than he had given him credit for. Unless he had looked up sarcasm.

"No more a devil than I am," he muttered. "Let's start this."

~

Using the Double Driver was bizarre—and now that Shotarou was actually calm, actually aware of what was going on, it was weirder. He wanted to pull it off, shove Philip out of his mind, but it wasn't like an invasion, precisely. It was more like something fell into place.

It felt almost right and that scared him more than anything.

Closing his eyes was a mistake, linked to Philip's mind as he was.

He could see Philip next to him, surrounded by more books than he could ever imagine. This was the inside of Philip's head? He blanched a little. No wonder he thought I was an idiot …

"Not true, Shotarou. You simply are not as smart as those that are employed by the organization and you certainly cannot match me." Philip's voice came from next to him and his expression was bland, as if he hadn't just insulted Shotarou.

"You…" Shotarou growled and shoved himself away from Philip, to find himself back in the garage, heart pounding.

"So it seems that we can connect quite easily," Philip was matter of fact again. "Although we do not always need to go that far."

"That… that was inside your head?" Shotarou managed. "Or was that the Gaia Library thing you were talking about?"

"In a sense, both," Philip nodded. "Was it so bad, Shotarou?" He was avoiding a direct answer, but his expression was calm as he tried to assess what Shotarou was feeling.

"No… not bad," Shotarou shrugged and rubbed his forehead. "Just…how can you live with all that inside your head?"

"I like it," Philip said simply. "It seems that we sync quite well, at least." The drivers were still on and if Shotarou concentrated, he could still feel Philip in the back of his mind, lingering, but not invasive. There, but not there at the same time and if he pushed a little more, it was almost as if he could see out of Philip's eyes.

"Two in one, hm?" he murmured, half to himself. His hands closed on the Joker Memory as he looked up at Philip. "Let's try this as well. I… I don't want to be shocked if we have to do it suddenly."

"Very good, Shotarou." Philip gave him a pleased smile, a similar memory already threaded in his fingers. "Practice will make it easier, after all."

He all but dragged Shotarou to his feet, positioning him on the left side with a little smile. "It's in your name, after all," he teased—teased—with a smile, with Shotarou gave him a questioning look. "And don't you think it looks much cooler this way?" He had that almost manic gleam in his eyes again. "I read that every fighter has a pose of some sort and a name. We should have one too, Shotarou."

Shotarou almost protested that if no one could see them, there wasn't a point, but… it did sound better and he would know they looked cool. "Well…" he said slowly, "you already call it the Double Driver. Why not just call ourselves Double?"

Philip blinked at him, then smiled. "Aa, that sounds good." It sounded like he was making another joke in a way and Shotarou hadn't quite caught on yet. He lifted the Gaia Memory in the air, activating it, the English word of 'Cyclone' echoing through the empty garage. Shotarou followed suit in the opposite direction and then gave a faint laugh, catching on.

Their arms made a "W" shape and he had that moment before he found himself uttering the transformation phrase in sync with Philip, before fumbling the Gaia Memory into its correct slot. Having Philip in his mind ahead of time made the experience less terrifying. Not having anything trying to kill them as he did so even more so.

He felt more of what was Philip slide into his mind and he wasn't able to react fast enough to catch the other as he fell to the ground, unconscious.

"Oi!"

He couldn't control his right side, because Philip was there, not in his body---but again, it wasn't as horrifying as it could be, should be—it was just … odd. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. "Philip?"

"I'm right here, Shotarou." His right hand lifted and it was almost like Philip was standing right next to him, but it was more than that. He couldn't find the words to describe it. "It's a new sensation for me too," Philip continued. "Fascinating, now that I have time to examine it…"

Shotarou looked again at the inert body on the ground and felt for Philip again. Things like this—they just didn't make sense. He knelt down, sensing Philip moving along with him as he and Philip examined his body.

"Very fascinating. I can sense the link there still, but it seems that my consciousness has completely moved from my body to yours. What an amazing device, the driver," Philip was a little too excited, a little too happy over it.

He pulled out the Memory and Shotarou came back to himself completely with a jolt. He had complete control over his body again, but he felt oddly incomplete without Philip there, inside his mind.

Philip sat up a moment later, shaking his head, but already getting to his feet and pacing. "I have to do more research on this—" he looked like he was about to vanish back into his mind again, but Shotarou caught him arm, flushing a little.

"Look—uh… it's obvious you're going to be staying here a while and… it's time that I…" he coughed and looked away. "That I started taking better care of you."

Philip's look was simple curiosity. "I'm not a child, Shotarou."

"No, but… you're my responsibility and I can't just… I have to think better. Especially … " Especially since we're going to be Double. Since you sat inside my mind and know more about than I probably know about myself. Since you don't deserve to be a prisoner again.

"Let's just get you some clothes and a bed and stuff," Shotarou finished hastily. "You can't just stay in those pajamas forever." They both were still worse for the wear, Shotarou and Philip having both not yet changed out of the clothing from their escape.

Philip smiled up at him and there was a sense of understanding in that smile that Shotarou hadn't seen in anyone else. Philip had to know, in a sense, what it meant to him to push forward like this, to take a handle on his life again and push the guilt away. He had a promise to keep.

"That sounds good, Shotarou."

It was a good start to a partnership. The Narumi Detective Agency was still in business.
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