sincere: KH: Xemnas and Xigbar talking (in cahoots ;;)
Kay ([personal profile] sincere) wrote in [community profile] insincere2015-08-26 12:11 pm

The World Ends With You, "Unresolved Issues" (Kariya+/Uzuki)

After seven days of hell, Yashiro Uzuki was still dead. She hadn't made peace with herself. She hadn't become a better person. She hadn't learned the value of life - or whatever you were supposed to learn. But all of that was part of why the Reaper who tormented her decided to come get her.
Contains approximately 100% headcanon. I did a lot of thinking about why Uzuki was in the Game, what was holding her back, and what her entry fee would have been. It's not even half covered in here, but I really liked writing in Kariya's POV. Written to the [community profile] fic_promptly prompt, "they meet again as allies the day after her Game ends".

.unresolved issues.
When Kariya woke up, he had the nagging feeling that he should really do something about the new girl. He wasn't a big fan of doing things -- or nagging -- or, strictly speaking, feelings -- but it shadowed his whole morning, making his breakfast taste sour and distracting him from his favorite variety show.

He threw out the remainder of his breakfast, turned off the TV, and went back to the Shibuya River.

Yashiro Uzuki was right where they'd left her the day before, sitting with her back against the wall and curled over her knees. She'd been slumped like that out of disappointment and frustration before, but she'd probably fallen asleep that way.

She looked like someone who'd been through literal hell. Kariya could sympathize. Playing in the Reaper's Game was rough for everyone -- and he knew exactly how rough she'd had it.

"Hey, princess." He nudged her with a boot. "Wakey-wakey."

She didn't move, but she did say direly, "Touch me again and lose that foot, asshole."

"Oooh, so scary." Kariya felt his lips quirk up, amused. "You could go anywhere in the city and you chose to sleep in a sewer, huh? I was hoping you had better taste than that."

"Screw you." She lifted her head finally, and he wasn't surprised to see that her immaculate eyeliner had been smudged by tears. "Sorry I didn't have some luxurious private apartment to crash in for the night. I'm still dead, aren't I? What was I going to do -- go haunt my uncle? Screw him too."

"Yikes. Girl, you've got some issues."

He expected her to explode at that, and frankly he'd have preferred it to the moping, so he was mildly surprised when her anger took a quieter form. Her eyes narrowed. "I hate you," she hissed. "This is all your fault."

Kariya shrugged. "I didn't kill you," he said. "I didn't recruit you to the Game. I didn't take your entry fee. I didn't give you a partner like a walking bowl of seaweed. I just threw some obstacles in your way, because that's my job."

"Don't pretend like you didn't target me in particular! You got the hots for me, creep? Good luck with that!"

"Calm down, tiger. I didn't say I didn't target you in particular." He lifted his eyebrows. "I did it because I think you've got something special."

"What's that?" she asked suspiciously.

Kariya grinned at her. "Mean," he said.

After a beat, she looked away, burrowing a little tighter into her legs. "I'd have won if I hadn't had that dead weight dragging me down," she said thinly.

He said, "Maybe."

He'd been around for a little while and he'd seen Players come and go. He still couldn't guess why the Composer picked who he did, but he could make out some of the signs. There were some people with an edge that you knew wouldn't go down easy, and then there were some that wouldn't make it past the free-for-all on Day 1. The winners often surprised him, but he could pick the losers easily enough.

Her partner hadn't been especially gifted with intellect, but he hadn't been a loser. It wasn't hard, really, to see when a person was dragging themselves down.

Yashiro Uzuki had issues.

Kariya rubbed the back of his neck. "You did win, though," he pointed out. "You made it all the way to the end. You just... didn't have enough points to come back to life."

She was mute for a beat before rallying herself to lash out again: "So what if I get angry?! That's supposed to be a bad thing? If someone pushes me, I'm just supposed to fall over and die? As if!"

"Come on, girl," he said, gentle. "The peanut gallery's all gone home. Who do you think you're fooling?"

She buried her face in her arms. "Don't act like you know me," she mumbled.

Part of the benefit of being a stalker was being around when important discussions cropped up, and he'd overheard enough of hers to know what she'd been wrestling with.

Anger was one thing. Defense mechanisms were another.

"Anyway, you get to be a Reaper now." He gestured with one hand. "It's fun -- you get to harass losersĀ for a living. I'll show you how to make their afterlives miserable. You'll be good at it."

There was a long moment when he thought that this brilliant tactic had failed, but she looked up at him, measuring him suspiciously. It was a curiously vulnerable evaluation, as if she couldn't trust what she was seeing and hearing but she desperately wanted to.

"What's your deal?" she murmured.

"If you want me to leave you alone, just say the word," he told her.

He didn't think he was quite telling the truth there. If she'd said it, he imagined he'd wake up tomorrow with the same sour taste in his mouth, and the next day -- so he'd be back, sooner or later, to straighten her out. Why he was taking it so personally even he couldn't have said.

He'd been doing this for a while now, and it could get a little monotonous. But no one said that Reapers had to work alone.

Maybe he'd been looking for someone whose issues would complement his.

The word 'alone' worked like magic on her. Her fingers curled into fists, and she shoved herself straighter up against the wall with a sigh. "I guess it's better to be able to keep an eye on you so I know you're not peeping up my skirt or anything."

"I am hurt, Uzuki." He pressed a hand to his chest to demonstrate his woundedness. "Hurt."

She still didn't get up, though. She wasn't quite ready. "Can I ask you something?"

"You just did," he pointed out benevolently.

She ignored that. "I won, right? So... my entry fee was returned."

Ah, this. He should've known it would come up. Kariya tilted his head thoughtfully, watching for her response. "Yeah," he said. "You want to go see him?"

Every Reaper had to deal with it. Their lives weren't terribly compatible with families and day jobs. They could be in the Realground if they wanted, but it wasn't their natural state -- not anymore.

Reapers who couldn't learn how to leave the RG behind usually got erased fast.

He'd seen Uzuki's boyfriend. Good-looking guy; a little straight-laced. Model student, sporty type, probably into some sort of student government or something. The only kind of person that a Type A queen bee bitch would be interested in dating, but probably eminently forgettable.

So it was ironic that he'd been the one who'd forgotten her.

She lifted a hand to toy uncertainly with a lock of hair in front of her ear before finally -- with the slow care of someone whose body did not appreciate movement after so long in the same position -- standing up.

"Nah," she said, affecting an airy, unconcerned manner. "I just wanted to make sure he was going to be pining for me. I want him to spend the rest of his life thinking about his dearly departed first love."

Kariya chuckled. "'Atta girl," he said approvingly. "In that case, come on. You're probably starving. My treat -- let's go get some ramen."