A/N: All characters belong to Bandai Namco and Monolith Soft
Story is for Karen Hart
With a push of a button. Jr. and a mass produced realian arrived at a casino.
Everyday, the Durandal's gambling area would open up at around five in the afternoon.
Things only got a whole lot louder and livelier at night.
Without a doubt, it was the complete antithesis of the Foundation's much quieter nature.
Ah, but the drinks! Jr. never forgot to supply the sweet, sweet alcohol.
People absolutely loved the liquor too. It was a bloody shame, that Jr. was never allowed to a touch a damn' drop.
A satisfying drink was what he needed, to rid away with all the worries that he carried.
But of fucking course, the bartender HAD to ask.
"Having any drinks tonight, Little Master?" With an annoyed eye roll, Jr. painfully admitted. "Would love to... but I can't."
"Gaignun would definitely kill me otherwise." Heartily, the bartender laughed with a push of a few pint glasses.
"Oh I understand completely!" Indeed, Jr. would've definitely had some explaining to do if he did.
After-all, he was the commander of the Durandal itself. Not every day could Mary take over.
After the barkeeper washed some dishes, he looked over his shoulder. "I assume you're after the slots right?"
With a nod, Jr. smiled. "Oh hell yeah, I bet the our favorite hasn't been used in ages!"
With a wave of "excitement" in Jr.'s eyes, he turned towards his companion.
The realian hadn't left her post in such long time. She'd never seen such intense, and flashy little lights before either.
The area was packed with people. But more abundantly, were the sounds of coins clinking about.
With a bit of anxiety escaping her, she looked around. "So, this is the place that Master Gaignun talked about." "But won't he get mad at us for taking a day off?"
Invitingly, Jr.'s hand reached out. "Nah, he knows all about it." "C'mon let's have some fun!"
Their first destination was the slot machines. The lucky rate was pretty high in comparison to a few games of blackjack.
With a press of a button, the slot machine turned on. "All you've gotta do is pull the lever, and hope that four symbols match."
To be frank the poor realian didn't know that it was all luck-based. But regardless she still pulled down on the lever. Hoping to win big.
The two patiently waited for the slots to arrange, rapidly it span through all the possible matches.
When it finally slowed down, the machine matched up four cherries. At the same time, Jr.'s heart nearly stopped. With beginner's luck, she'd hit the jackpot.
After Jr. impressingly nodded, he spoke highly of her win. "Whoa, not bad." "It's not everyday that we get winners around here."
"Maybe that's why the addiction gets pretty rough..."
With a yawn, Jr. entered his bedroom.
For many days, he struggled to sleep at night.
So many thoughts raced through his mind. All of his missed opportunities constantly haunted him.
Unbeknownst to the public, Jr. was falling apart. Everyday he'd blame himself. If only he was stronger. If only he saved Albedo.
Perhaps, the future could've been different.
Although Gaignun reassured him to think otherwise, the guilt was still there.
The many lives of his comrades were irreplaceable. They were dead. Killed by someone that they'd long trusted.
The standard units felt betrayed, it was as if he'd refused to acknowledge their existence.
Jr.'s lesser comrades only thought that their consciousness' were just fodder for U-DO's taking.
Eventually, the standard units found Jr. repulsive. But despite being "awfully associated", Gaignun still stayed by his side.
They relied on each other, since the very world was against them.
The staff weren't be trusted, the two couldn't even turn to their father. Not even their mother existed- or so they thought.
Before Jr. had the chance to reflect upon the past further, someone knocked on his door.
With a gentle push, Gaignun revealed himself on the other side.
It took him only a matter of mere seconds to cotton on.
Ever since the red twin had abandoned Albedo, he'd completely changed. Jr.'s usual happy and confident demeanor diminished.
As time went on, he stopped going out to meet with the public. Most of the time, Gaignun had to take his place.
Although the dinner plan with Shion and others was arranged, Jr. spoke ahead of time to not attend as well.
It was that very reason why Gaignun grew concerned, it just... wasn't like him at all.
"Is everything all right?" It took a few moments for Jr. to respond, but once he did his voice dryly spoke out.
"I've been thinking about a whole lot of things." "I just wish... I wish that I could've done better, that's all."
WIth a acknowledged nod, Gaignun turned around. "I assume that you're thinking about Albedo, correct?"
As much as Jr. wanted to he couldn't spit out another reassuring lie. Gaignun knew him well, better than anyone else.
He knew exactly what took place fourteen years ago. Jr.'s relationship with Albedo was unforgettable.
Their youthful days were odd. One day the two twins would be around each other. Then the next, Jr. would completely distance himself away.
From the very beginning, Albedo's behaviour towards his adored twin was unorthodox. But as time passed, his anxiety-driven dependence grew into a twisted obsession.
Out of the two, Jr. truly loved Gaignun more. He understood everything about him. His fear of letting people down.
It was the reason why the two had stuck by each other. Even through the bitterness which came from war.
After Jr.'s hands comfortably wrapped themselves around, he nodded. "Yeah, I feel incomplete without him."
"Ever since we left the Institute. I've been worrying bout' him." "It makes sense though, I did abandon him."
"But I know that I can't stay here." "Mary and others... everyone's worried about me, aren't they?"
Gently, Gaignun nodded. "They are." "Especially MOMO, she hasn't seen you since the tour." "I can bet without a doubt in my mind, that she'd be happy to see you again."
With a warm smile, Jr. committed himself to getting up. "Right, I should check up on everyone." "Just gotta' remember where she is."
When the two met by the bedroom door, Jr. peeped his head out to see. Walking by were mass produced realians on duty. Amongst them, walked Durandal staff members.
Happily, MOMO prepared the rice and meat. Her stature was so small that she had to stand on a little stool. Shion was also beside her. Putting ting various spices into a steel bowl.
In a circular motion, Shion's hand stirred the mixture around. From time to time, she checked to make sure that all the flavouring had been fully mixed in.
After Shion prepared herself to do the dishes, she turned around to check on MOMO. "Is on the meat on the right setting?" The realian hopped off her adorable stool.
"Yeah, and the rice is all fluffy too!" "Do you think Ziggy and the others will like it?" Gently with a smile, Shion agreed.
Within a few short hours, the curry was ready to be served.
It's spicy aroma filled the room, even from outside the curry could still be smelt. Moments after MOMO plated up the food, the rest of the crew arrived.
But out of all of them, Jr. instantly caught MOMO's attention. "Jr.!" After her hands reached out. Jr. caught the realian, and span her around into a warm embrace.
Adorably, MOMO pulled a relieved and cute little smile. Her cute face then happily nestled into his black longcoat. of course, Jr. didn't mind.
It had been such a long time, since she'd had the chance to finally relax. It'd been only been a few days since she'd been captured.
Never did she see the outside world. MOMO hadn't no idea what it was like. She'd only grown to see dull-colored walls, and long metal bars.
Thank god for her friends, she was glad to be alongside them.
As per usual, the curry tasted great. Shion always cooked her family recipe well. Even when Jr. went into his bedroom, he still smelt it's mouthwatering aroma.
After the lights were switched out, Jr's eyes closed themselves to sleep. However moments before he could drift off, his chest cautiously churned.
With a deep breath in, Jr. took a rough guess. "Albedo?" "Is... Is that you?" As soon as he asked, an unsettling warmth overwhelmed him.
It felt tangible and possessive, it felt... all too familiar to him. Not long after he looked around, a voice deeply spoke.
"You speak as if you've missed me, Rubedo." Wordlessly, Jr. suddenly leant forward. He simply couldn't believe his own eyes.
Out from the shadows, Albedo leant uncomfortably close. As always, he wore a anticipative smirk.
With surprise and shock combined into one, Jr. looked up. "I have." "But I just can't believe that you're... alive."
"Painfully", Albedo replied. "Tragically, I am." "But my heart here still beats, even now... it's still aching for you."
For a brief moment, Jr. felt guilty. It was almost as if Albedo had changed... again. Where was the hysteria, the obsessiveness?
This was the same person that haunted him at night. Spiritual link after spiritual link. Whisper after whisper. His disturbing persistence never went away with time.
Since when wasn't foul play Albedo's le favori? Rage in his eyes, was only a means of unleashing one's purest persona.
It was a sense of arousing delight that only Jr. alone could instill.
Curiously, Albedo stared into the eyes of his brother. It was unlike him to remain so quiet.
The youngest twin had grown used to Jr.'s weak little protests. Easily, they'd turn into bittersweet rancor.
One thought of his imagined that Jr. was deeply gathered with his thoughts. But the resonance between them suggested- something else.
Albedo felt Jr.'s calculative breaths, his little heart racing. It had been years since he'd been put on the spot like this.
Moments ahead in advance, Jr. knew the exact question that Albedo was about to ask.
"That girl, does she know that we're both monsters?" "There's little difference between us, after-all we were prodded by the same scalpel."
It was eerily true. Without a doubt, Albedo referred to his beating heart being attached on his twin's back.
The scientists in the Institute were cruel. No matter how loudly young Albedo had screamed for his brother, they didn't stop.
It felt like they were continuously impaling needles into his flesh. Eventually, the scientists had drug Albedo to sleep.
Of course, Jr. was braver. It killed like a bitch but he still acted as if it was like nothing.
"I know all about it, but still that doesn't give you damn' privilege to screw around with me like this!" "This doesn't involve MOMO!"
Only barely was Albedo able to contain his laughter. Thank god, Jr. thought. To be able to have the slightest amount of breathing room, he was at least thankful for that.
"Oh, I believe it does." "After-all, consideration is what ma pêche lacks... unlike me."
Whilst Jr.'s hands delved into his pockets, he spoke back. "Right, like you've ever felt damn' concerned before."
"But enough of this crap, just... hurry up and get on with what you want."
As soon as Albedo replied, a smile broke through. Never was Jr. the submissive type.
"You of all people should know what I'm here for." With a sigh, his hand traced down to Jr.'s heart. Cautiously, it beated.
"I'm merely here- to take back what's mine." Suddenly with silent swear, Jr. pushed away in another attempt to search for his guns.
But no matter where he searched, he simply couldn't find them.
Instead, Jr. threw his fist forward. It almost struck hard, and incredibly fast.
Thanks to Albedo, he managed to catch it in time. Delightfully, it rattled in his hand.
"Decided to fight without those beloved toys of yours?" "How fun." With a hard push, Jr.'s back slammed against the wall.
Furiously, his teeth grinded themselves together. Just hearing another round of Albedo's cryptic bullshit pissed Jr. off.
"Well to answer your question from before, I sure as hell haven't been missing you!" "So do me a damn' favor and back off!"
Disbelievingly, Albedo shook his head. Never was Jr. a good liar. "Feisty feisty, just what have I done to deserve this bitterness from you?"
Whilst Jr. attempted to fight back, he panted rapidly. The odds were disturbingly stacked against him.
"D-Damn, If this keeps up... I won't hesitate to...!" After his adrenaline overflowed, Jr. managed to at last find his guns.
Immediately, his finger pulled down on the trigger. With a loud bang, Albedo's blood splattered across the wall.
After the dust had cleared, his twin just managed to barely stand.
There was something so nostalgically orgasmic about the way Jr. fought.
Always, even now he knew exactly how to put on an interesting show.
With a hand held out, Albedo approached.
Laughter soon broke free, due to the sight of Jr.'s eyes. They shined the bloodiest shade of red.
"I was so precious to you back then, ...wasn't I?" "Even now, you still insist on despising me."
"Don't you remember me?" "Your adorable little Alby?"
With a scowl Jr. fired, shot after shot. His barrage didn't once waver, constantly it was relentless.
"Shut up, just shut up!" "I don't give a damn for whatever it is that you have to say!"
Still, Albedo' wasn't convinced. "Such lies you speak of, Rubedo." "I've merely grown blasé, for so long you've bored me with your deception."
From where Albedo's hand moved, electric sparks gathered in place. Like a ball, the bolts conjured around. Zapping about to break free.
Seconds after the Red Dragon mode emerged, Albedo rose up. Completely enshrouded with electricity. "How about it, shall we continue our little game, Rubedo?"
Rapidly, Jr.'s blood pumped with adrenaline. His instincts coursed through like a crashing rivertide. "I'm not done yet... with ripping your damn' face off!"
The battle began with a dash from Albedo's side. His hand suddenly swiped outward to claw across Jr.'s face. He'd missed, just by the very edge of his brother's flesh.
Jr. retaliated back with a few shots. Each one gorily pierced through Albedo's insides.
Fighting back almost seemed pointless, since each time that he'd fired Albedo's limbs would merely grow back.
Satisfyingly, his fingertips ran up his reformed arm. "Have you already forgotten my power? ...figured as much."
After Jr. stepped forward, his aim refocused. "How the hell could I, it's the very thing that you've always been afraid of!"
"Was afraid of." Albedo corrected. "That very fear brought upon the most valuable amount of insight."
"Helpless and afraid I was back then. how could I simply refuse it's offer?" "The both of you had abandoned me, so for your sake I sought to become your equal."
"The other half of you that you've been missing this entire time." With clench of Jr.'s fist, he looked back up.
"The dichotomy between us proves damn' otherwise, how the hell are we the same." Disagreeingly, Albedo shook his head. "En masse, we were rejected as merely weapons." "Always, we'll remain that way." "Protest as much as you desire, but know this." "Running away as you are now, won't get you any further from me, Rubedo."
Moments before Albedo was about to disappear. He smiled. Of course, this wasn't going to be last appearance.
"Because in the end, we're inseparable."