Hiromu looked out onto the horizon, breathing in the fresh country air as he tried to get his bearings back. He looked into the distance to see an Enetron tank being serviced by Megazords, and wondered when he got used to not being tense seeing that sight.
Six years had past since the Go-Busters defeated Messiah for good.
Many things have changed since then. The Special Missions department still existed, but now instead of focusing on the threat of Vaglass they expanded to keep an eye on any threat Japan might face, as well as assisting new Sentai teams with things like the evacuation of civilians and damage control so they could fight without having to worry about those things. They still investigated crimes regarding Enetron but it wasn’t as prominent as it was when the Vaglass were active. Commander Kuroki still headed the department, but was grooming his successor who would take over in a few years time.
Miho and Toru had both been transferred to the rebuilt Dainan Research Center, where their expertise on subdimensions was far more useful. It was during this time that Morishita got the nerve to ask her on a date, and just last summer the two were married in a beautiful traditional wedding. The Morishita couple was expecting their first child, and were ecstatic to become a family.
Ryuuji, of course, went on to fulfill his dream of being an engineer. Using the Buster Machines and Tategami Lio as a basis, he created several Megazords which are now in use all over the world. There were even rumors (which he neither confirmed nor denied) that he was being recruited to fix the mechas of old teams which had either been destroyed in battle or simply degraded in quality over time. Unsurprisingly, Gorisaki stayed by his side, trying- and failing- to get Blue Buster to settle down with a nice lady.
As for himself, he was the very successor Commander Kuroki was training to take over Special Missions. Between his tour of duty, his rapport with other Sentai teams, and his studies into Enetron systems, he was the perfect candidate for the position. Currently he was an assistant to Commander Kuroki, shadowing him when he wasn’t required on the field. Nick still went to work with him, nagging him to get more sleep and to eat on time and to visit Rika-nee-san more often.
Youko had, much to everyone’s surprise, applied herself to schoolwork quite vigorously and graduated high school with honors. She then took up an engineering degree as a precursor to her pilot training, even earning a JAXA internship as part of her credentials. Upon earning her license, she became the test pilot of choice for nearly engineer affliated with Special Missions, though she would always priortize Ryuuji over everyone else. Usada was always by her side, of course, and the two still got into comical verbal spats that would make everyone wonder how they ever got along.
She also grew up into a very beautiful young woman, one Hiromu couldn’t help but be attracted to.
Yes, at age twenty-six, Sakurada Hiromu finally admitted that he had feelings for his bunny-themed teammate. He hoped Ryuuji, Usada and the commander never found out.
He sighed bitterly to himself. Of course, he’d have to work up the courage to tell Youko first.
Speak of the devil…
“Youko. You should be asleep.”
“So should you,” she returned. She walked up to him in her ratty yellow t-shirt, rabbit-printed pajamas, and flip-flops. Her long hair was free of its ponytail, fluttering in the breeze.
He smirked. “You got me there.” He tried to keep his breathing even as she joined him, leaning her back on the railing of the rooftop.
“Hiromu, are you okay?”
“Hm? Why wouldn’t I be okay?”
Youko worried her lip, a sign she was nervous. “I heard you screaming.”
Hiromu turned to look at her surprised. “Oh.”
It was Hiromu’s turn to bite his lip, this time out of hesitation. “It’s nothing you need to worry about, Youko, really,” he replied.
“That’s bullshit and you know it.”
Hiromu was flabbergasted at the profanity. “Youko?”
“You were having nightmares again, weren’t you?” She demanded. “About the Vaglass, right?”
She ignored his protests as she continued. “You’re such an idiot. Why don’t you just tell me? I’m your comrade, right? And if you could trust me with your life, why can’t you trust me with this? I…” Her voice went higher and shriller as she ranted about Hiromu apparently mistrusting her.
“My nightmare was about you!” He finally burst out, reaching out to grab her arms and shaking her slightly to snap her out of the rant.
Youko stilled. “M-me?” She stammered, eyes wide in shock, mouth agape. “What do you mean?”
Hiromu sighed. “I dreamt that… That when we destroyed Messiah’s core, in the subdimension… You didn’t forgive me. You blamed me for your okaa-san’s death. You never talked to me again, you ignored me when I tried to ask for your forgiveness… or worse, you keep telling me that I’m a failure because I broke my promise.”
Youko stared at him for a long moment. “Hiromu… I…”
But he wasn’t done, and the words kept coming before he could register he was saying them. “You looked at me with so much hatred, like you couldn’t even stand the sight of me. And it hurts, so much, because I can’t live with myself if you hate me. Youko… I…”
Youko continued to look at him wide-eyed. “Hiromu? Are you crying?”
He blinked. Indeed his eyes were moist, water dripping down his face.
“Come here.” Youko gently wrenched his hands of her arms, and reached up his shoulders. She pulled him into her, so his head rested on her shoulder, hands carding through his hair.
All thoughts came to a halting screech. His arms automatically came up around her waist to return the embrace, and he subconsciously buried his face in her neck, comforted by the scent of the lavender soap she used before bed.
“Hiromu. I wasn’t angry at you. Not then, not now. I never hated you. I won’t ever.” Youko reassured.
He stayed silent, revelling in the fact he was in her arms, that she was in his, that she never truly hated him for breaking that all-important promise.
Gods, what had he done to deserve her? Smart, beautiful, badass, sweet and feisty…
They stayed like that for what seemed like hours on end, until the wind dried the last of Hiromu’s tears. Eventually he found the strength to draw himself away from her. “Thanks, Youko. I… I didn’t know how much I needed to hear that.”
Taking a chance, he pressed his chapped lips against her forehead. He felt her shudder under his kiss, and when he drew back he saw her looking at him with a strange mixture of awe, shyness… and desire?
Is it him, or did she want him too?
“Hiromu…” Youko’s voice came out as a moan. It sent shivers down his spine. Her eyes fluttered shut and she rose on her tiptoes.
Almost by instinct, he too closed his eyes and met her halfway.
He felt like he was on fire, struck by lightning, and drowning all at once. He had the urge to jump around like a moron, and if he died at that moment he would die content with his life. He saw fireworks and sparks and felt the earth move under his feet. All those cheesy things the romance novels said about kisses was true after all.
After what seemed like days and weeks and months, the pair broke their embrace and shyly looked into each others’ eyes. “Come to bed with me,” Hiromu whispered. He hadn’t meant anything sexual by it- he just wanted her in his arms for a while longer.
“Okay,” Youko replied softly, leaning on his chest, smiling contently.
Hiromu didn’t have any more nightmares that night.
Ryuuji impatiently knocked on Hiromu’s bedroom door, tapping his feet as he waited for him to respond. The man had already missed a scheduled meeting with the commander, and was about to run late for his lunch date with his sister. Both the commander and Nick had noted that this was highly unusual for the slightly neurotic man.
Not to mention that Youko had gone missing and hasn’t been seen by anyone since she went to bed. She wasn’t in her room, and Usada claimed that he didn’t notice any unusual activity to suggest foul play (though Ryuuji thought wryly that Usada didn’t detect Youko leaving the room either).
Blue Buster sighed. He was already feeling irritated, and that was never a good sign with him. He reached into his pocket for one of his cooling packs and pressed it into his neck, trying to cool off, then pushed Hiromu’s door just ajar…
…Only for his cooling pack (and his jaw) to drop to the floor at the sight of Hiromu and Youko, cuddling under his blanket on his bed, arms and legs tangled together and smiling in their sleep.
He rubbed his eyes, wondering if he was seeing things, only for the image to remain there. Then it hit him:
Hiromu and Youko were sleeping together. On the same bed.
No one can blame him for his assumption, right?
“SAKURADA!!! YOU BASTARD!!!”
“Ow what the hell-“ SWICK! “Ryuuji, what- Oh fuck!”
“Ryuu-san, put the Sougan Blade away, nothing happened I swear!”
“You little shit, you defiled Youko-chan!”
“Defiled? What the fuck?” SWICK SWICK! “Argh! Fuck that hurt! Where’s my Transpod when I need it?”
“Ryuu-san! Don’t hurt my boyfriend!”
Meanwhile Commander Kuroki stood by door, watching the Busters’ shenanigans, and looked up at the ceiling, thinking of his lost comrade and friend and a bet they made years ago.
“I guess I owe you those ten thousand yen after all, Jin.