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Memories of You

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Asahi felt like he was seeing a ghost when a dark-skinned warrior with pink hair walked into Mac Anu. Akira had been gone for so long, he hadn’t even had a god scraped together to look like her to remind him of her… He had, in fact, almost forgotten what her face looked like.

But here she was, eyes wide as she stared at him. As if she hadn’t walked out of his life for years.

“Asahi!” She threw her hands around him without a moment’s notice, giggling happily. “It’s been so long! I can’t believe you’re still in Mac Anu!”

“I…” He returned the hug after stiffening under her touch for a moment. “I just recently moved here. I didn’t expect to see you, though, Akira… I thought you’d moved on from most of the bigger towns in Alba.”

“Well.” She pulled away, placing her hands on her hips. “I ran into Balmung and Orca, and we decided to come for a visit, for old time’s sake!”

“Oh, just the three of you?” That might be something he could handle…

“Well… Ryoko is here, too…” Akira flushed a bit, scratching her cheek. “We ran into each other a few years back and did some exploring together, and, well…”

“Well…?” Asahi rose an eyebrow, fighting back the less-than-pleasant feeling in his chest.

“We… we ended up falling in love, Asahi! We’re engaged.” She held out a hand, small smile on her face, showing off quite the fancy engagement ring. “We were thinking about getting married somewhere in Mac Anu, so she came along.”

“O-oh.” The bad feeling in his chest became worse, almost crushing. “I’m happy for you.”

He had Ryou and Tokio now, and he couldn’t be happier… but Akira had been his first love and best friend, someone he hadn’t truly forgotten about, even with all this time. To know she had moved on faster, to know she was getting married…

“Asahi…” Akira frowned, clearly worried. “Are you okay?”

“I… I’m fine.” He shook his head, forcing a smile onto his face. “Say, where are Yasuhiko and Sora? Anyway I could see them?”

“Oh, sure!” She nodded, a small smile returning to her face. “They wanted to check out some of the temples around here, see what worship for the Phases is like, though… Are you okay with that?”

“I think I can manage that.”

“Alright.” She grabbed him by the hand and he swore his heart skipped a beat. “Let’s go!”

He allowed her to drag him along, and soon enough, they were entering the Temple of Skeith. It didn’t take long for his eyes to land on Yasuhiko and Balmung, both interrogating… oh. Oh no.

He pulled his hand free, walking towards them. “Yasuhiko, Sora. It’s been a while.”

“Asahi!” Yasuhiko turned to look at him, his frown becoming a smile. “It’s been a while.”

“It sure has…” He put a hand on Sora’s shoulder, sighing. “Say, Sora… can you back off him a bit?”

Sora frowned as he looked to Asahi. “I suppose, but… he speaks for Skeith, as if Skeith did no wrong…!”

“It’s a bit hard to understand, at first, but…” He shrugged. “Ryou has the right to think what he wants of Skeith, he’s been through enough because of the god, anyway.”

“You know them, Asahi?” Ryou rose an eyebrow and Asahi nodded. “Good to know your friends are the type to harrass me, too.”

“They don’t mean anything by it, Ryou.” He shook his head, stepping forward and holding Ryou’s hand in his. Soft, warm, comforting… “Don’t be too hard on them.”

“Mmm… alright, but it better not become a trend.” Ryou leaned closer, even as he grumbled, placing a kiss on Asahi’s cheek. “Maybe tell your friends about me in the future, okay?”

The look on his face was so cute… how could he say no to that? “We… Well, if I run into any of them, I will. I haven’t seen many in a while.”

“Wait, wait, wait!” Akira held a hand up, eyebrow raised. “Are you two an item?”

“Sure are.” Ryou leaned his head against Asahi’s. “Guessing that’s a shock?”

“Given how he felt about Skeith, it is…” Sora furrowed his brow, arms crossed. “I would expect your ability to speak with him to be… an issue.”

“...What can I say?” Asahi shrugged, tightening his grip on Ryou’s hand. “There’s just something about Ryou that… attracts people.”

“That’s still a little scary…” Yasuhiko gave a nervous laugh. “I-I’m not sure I could be in a relationship with someone like that…”

“I… understand.” Asahi finally released Ryou’s hand. “I hope it doesn’t bother you that he and I are together…”

“N… no! Not at all!” Yasuhiko shook his head. “If I’m upset, it’s because you beat both Sora and I to finding love…”

“It’s not all that important to me.” Sora huffed, shaking his head. “Most women don’t want to see me after the first date, anyway…”

“That’s because you’re a total dummy when it comes to love.” Akira rolled her eyes. “You need someone just as oblivious as you to even attempt a relationship.”

“Wonder if the god of the sky would fit there…” Ryou mumbled under his breath with a snort.

“Excuse me?” Sora narrowed his eyes. “What did you just say?”

“The god of the sky… he’s based off you, didn’t you know?” He tilted his head to the side. “You are Balmung of the Azure Sky, aren’t you?”

“I… I am… but…” Sora frowned, deep in thought. “I didn’t realize there was a god like that.”

“It happened after our adventures.” Asahi shrugged. “There’s two based off me and Yasuhiko, too.”

“Whoa…!” Yasuhiko whistled. “I… didn’t know that.”

“I sorta want to meet them…” Akira tapped her chin. “Though I can’t imagine having two Asahis or two Balmungs in one room…”

Yasuhiko frowned at her. “What about two of me?”

“Your personality is a little less… uh… bold, so I think I could handle two of you!”

“I don’t know if I should be flattered or insulted…”

“That makes two of us, Orca…”

“Flattered, of course!” Akira paused. “Orca, I mean. You take it however you want to, Balmung.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You know exactly what it means.”

“You--”

Asahi sighed, shaking his head. This felt like old times, but… it made his heart ache. It felt wrong, after so much time without this… It felt like he didn’t deserve to be here, watching them.

“Asahi…” Ryou’s voice was soft as he placed a hand on his cheek. “Are you okay?”

He placed his hand over Ryou’s, letting out a small sigh. “I’ll have to get back to you on that.”