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at the end of all things

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"Hold on a second." Moritsuka says, and everyone's attention jerks to him. The smile freezes on Gamon's face.

"Is something wrong?" Myu-pom asks.

"Odd Eye is booting up tomorrow afternoon, right?" Moritsuka says. His eyes disappear behind the brim of his hat. A sinking feeling solidifies in Gamon's stomach. He almost misses Ryo-tas'- or, Nikolai Tesla's daughter's- noise of assent. "And if we don't aim for that instant, we can't destroy the Odd Eye, so Gamon has to wait until then."

Sarai makes a choked sound.

"Odd Eye can only be destroyed by Gamon in his supercharged mode!" He says, and Gamon suddenly knows why he's been feeling so apprehensive. His gut twists. He races through the thoughts, and considers the circumstance, and his mind feels like a stuck watch, with the second hand refusing to move past a certain point. He's staring at them, and suddenly everyone is staring back at him, because they've realized the same thing.

"So..." Sarai says, sounding disbelieving, "Gamon alone will go over the time limit for resuscitation!"

Gamon's hand clutches at the strap of the Sky Sensor for a moment. He looks blankly at Sarai.

There's a moment of silence. Sarai won't meet his eye. Everyone else won't look away.

"Gamo-senpai!" Miyu breaks the silence, clutching her delicate hands- hands that had been covered in blood only recently, the blood and gore of her best friend in the world, and a surge of sudden feeling rises in Gamon's chest- "I'll stay with-"

They all have families. They all have friends, or co-workers, or fans who will miss them. Gamon is opening his mouth before he's made a conscious decision to.

"It's fine!" He says.

They all jerk in surprise. In unison. It could be an act in a play.

"I'm not saying this out of desperation," Gamon says, and he smiles, because maybe this is what everything has been coming to, and he wants his friends to smile, too. He shakes his head, and grins, and waves his hands. "You know how I am, right? Like a special existence?"

He's going to die. Or, stay dead. Whatever. The smile slips off his face, because his friends have a terrible torn expression on their faces.

It would be the brave thing to do, right?

Gamon presses his hand to his chest, just above the strap for the Sky Sensor that hangs so heavily over his shoulder.

"If there's something that only I can do right here in my hand, I want to fulfill that with my own hands in the end." He says, looking up at them again. He smiles. "That makes me awesome, despite being a NEET god!"

For some reason, his friends are starting to cry. Moritsuka's eyes are still hidden behind his hat. Sumikaze won't look directly at him. Aveline, who's possessing Ryota looks at him with a sad, understanding expression on her face. One gloved hand is pressed to the side of Sarai's face, and his gaze is downcast, features pinched behind his glasses. Tears are beginning to bead in the corners of Miyu's eyes.

"But you being the only one who can't come back to life..." She says, voice cracking, shaking, over Gamon- they're all this way because of him-

Gamon beams.

"I'm only a trashy NEET who runs an affiliate blog even if I were to stay alive!" He laughs, but his inhale on the last word comes in more of a gasp. His voice starts to tremble. "Sarai, Touko, if all of you are alive, you guys'll be of use to someone." He starts to trail off, still smiling, but there's a watery edge to it. "You too, Myu-pom."

"That's not true!" Miyu wails, shaking her whole body along with her head in her vehemence, and Gamon feels a rush of fondness for these people who have become his closest friends. They deserve to live. If he can make that happen, and save the world while he's at it- its a worthier use for his life than anything else could be, he thinks, but that doesn't stop tears from glittering at the corners of his eyes.

"Right!" Sarai shouts, and he looks angry again for some reason, but he always looks angry, and this time there's an edge of desperation to his voice. He looks sad under it. Sadness isn't a good look on him. Gamon would rather he be happy. "If I'd never met you, I would've been trapped in the box of technology!"

Gamon remembers their first meeting. Sarai had scared the wits out of him. He had been furious, and restrained, and had believed in Gamon when he had thought no one would, and Gamon wishes they had had more time together, because he's going to miss him. Maybe if circumstances had been different, he could have explored the clutching feeling he gets in his chest when he looks at Sarai- but if circumstances had been different, someone like him and someone like Sarai would never have met in the first place, really.

Sarai's eyebrows start to come together, and now he looks so despondently sad even when he's clenching his fist and shouting. Is he crying? Gamon can't tell in the low light. Everyone else can't bear to meet his smiling gaze.

"You, um," he stammers, the cold, analytical, disapproving, condescending mask shattered at last in the face of true desperation, "were the one to allow me to mature!"

That's just like Sarai. He has to sound so mature, even when he's communicating his feelings for the first time. Gamon laughs. His voice is watery, and trembles at the end.

"Man, I wish I heard that line a lot sooner," he giggles, tears leaking down his face, a smiling expression so sad that no one can look him in the eye. Besides Sarai.

"Gamon..." Sarai says quietly, fist falling from his chest, voice rough, trailing off.

Touko straightens herself up. Always the pragmatist. She beams at him.

"Gamon-kun... we'll run a special about you in our magazine!" She says, corners of her mouth lifting, and she leans forward slightly, and Gamon knows she's trying to make him feel better. "How about 'Hero of the Spirit Realm! Approaching the NEET God!' as a title?"

Gamon laughs again. He seems to be losing control of his voice. Tiny tear-tracks streak down his cheeks, and his breaths are rough, ragged, harsh and visceral in the evening air. It seems fitting that everything ends at sunset. The shrine framing his friends' silhouettes is bathed in rose-tinted afternoon light.

"That sounds really good!" He smiles, choked, because his chest is tearing in two, and everyone is crying, and if Gamon is good at anything it's turning the mood around. "But you forgot the 'handsome' part, Touko-san."

Hs voice at the end is filled with cheer as wobbles and tapers off.

"That's right." She says, looking gently at him, kindly. "You're the Spirit Realm's handsome hero."

"That's good, use that." He says, glancing to Moritsuka. "Oh, Agent-"

Moritsuka looks back up at him with a calm expression on his face. A small, accepting smile tilts the corners of his mouth. "What is it?"

"Asunyan doesn't seem to be so well physically, so make sure she doesn't come over to this side," Gamon says, hesitantly.

"Of course!" Moritsuka says, as though they're friends parting for only a little while after a brief re-encounter. "Thanks for looking out for her!"

Gamon's voice wavers.

"You're welcome," he says, and it feels like he's tying up his loose ends. What's the saying? If you have matters that need to be settled, do them now? Get your affairs in order?

"Gamo-senpai!" Miyu wails suddenly, tears streaming down her face. "I don't want that after all! Gamo-senpai not coming back to life-"

"Myu-pom!" Gamon shouts, gasping for air, words rough against his throat, every breath tearing at his chest, looking at his friends who are gathered on the opposite side of him, struggling for the smile on his face through the tears dripping down his reddened cheeks, because it's what a hero would do, and if there's something he never thought a useless person like him would be afforded in his life, it's the chance to be a hero, "please..."

He tries to keep his lips from trembling.

"Let me be a hero!" He sobs, turning his face to the sky, looking away from his friends who can't meet his gaze, wetness soaking into the collar of his coat, and he hears the sound of sobbing, and he's not sure if it's his own or Miyu's. "Aveline, hurry!"

He turns away. Turns out, he can't meet his friends' eyes, either. His shoulders shake.

The Wardenclyffe gun goes off.