While Ryoken has never admitted it in conversation, Yusaku is aware that he almost only visits cafe Nagi when Yusaku and Kusanagi are the lone staff.
Yusaku supposes avoiding Takeru is wise on Ryoken’s part, but he finds it amusing nonetheless. He can’t quite figure out how he’s able to determine which days are optimal for his visits. Perhaps he knows which days Takeru practices martial arts after school, or it’s possible he searches social media for pictures of the cafe to determine who is manning it.
However, because of this habit, Yusaku is surprised to see Ryoken approaching them on this particular day, because while Takeru isn’t with them, Jin is.
Since his return, he’s been staying with his brother, more for safety and support than anything else, and while the noise of the city is a drastic change from the quiet countryside his inpatient program was located in, Jin has found ways to cope.
Today he’s reading a book (Yusaku suspects he’s still suspicious of screens, perhaps wary Lightning will drag him back into the vrains from any nearby portal to the digital dimension). He doesn’t look super engrossed in it, and typically responds rather quickly if Yusaku or Kusanagi call him. Yusaku thinks it’s more of a distraction, a place to rest his eyes to help filter out the visual noise of Den City, and he thinks he understands.
Yusaku isn’t even sure Jin has noticed Ryoken when the white haired man stops next to the table to acknowledge them.
“Fujiki Yusaku” he nods his head in greeting.
“And Kusanagi Jin.”
Jin blinks at the mention of his name, but doesn’t look up.
“Revolver.” Yusaku looks at him expectantly. But Ryoken doesn’t speak immediately. He seems confused, as if he had expected something else, and has now had to readjust his plans suddenly.
He clears his throat and looks off in the distance for a moment, but Yusaku’s stare doesn’t let up.
“You came here to see what I’m doing, right?” Jin says flatly, not looking up from his book. Yusaku and Revolver both snap their heads around to face him, and Yusaku takes a step back (when had he put himself between Jin and Revolver?)
While Yusaku knows firsthand how Jin has great difficulty speaking to strangers or generally in stressful settings, Revolver seems just as shocked to hear Jin address him.
“What are you doing?” Revolver answers back.
Jin shuts his eyes for a moment before focusing on his book again, frowning, then turning the page.
“I’m just trying to catch up on some of the school I missed. I want to try going back next year, if I can,” he finally responds.
Typically when he needs to explain his plans, Jin sounds stressed, already exhausted by the thought of dealing with a new place, and new people. But now he sounds almost flippant about it.
Yusaku sees Revolver tense up, seemingly aggravated that Jin hasn’t looked him in the eye once, and Yusaku realizes Jin seems to be playing with him.
“What did you really come here for, Revolver?” Yusaku asks him. Revolver finally turns his now intense glare from Jin to look at Yusaku quizzically, as if he should know why he’s here, but Yusaku doesn’t.
Jin gives a sad smile. “He’s checking up on me. He doesn’t know what to make of the light ignises origin.” And it’s so obvious, Yusaku can’t help but feel a bit embarrassed not to have seen it earlier. Of course Ryoken Kogami, leader of the Knights of Hanoi, would want to know where the most detestable ignis who threatened to subdue mankind came from.
Yusaku nods, but he falters, torn between giving the two space to talk, and staying to protect Jin for some reason. While he knows Ryoken isn’t a threat to them, he can’t help but remember how he had to beg him to spare Jin’s life in his duel against Lightning. He knows Ryoken doesn’t regret what he did, but he still can’t help but feel a bit obligated to prove Jin’s worth to Ryoken somehow.
Ryoken is the one to finally break the silence after a moment. “You’re right,” he admits, “I hadn’t been considering the differences between the ignises themselves much before. But I also didn’t know enough about their origins to determine how their individual personalities would have affected their development.”
Jin seems to shudder at Ryoken’s almost clinical language, his eyes seeming to focus on something beyond his book.
“The ignises are very much their own beings. I can’t think of a lot of things I have in common with Ai, or Takeru has in common with Flame,” Yusaku almost glares at Ryoken.
He hums in response. “Yes, I have my theories about that,” he admits.
“What do you mean?” Jin demands, leveling an intense look at Ryoken for a brief moment, before turning his eyes back down again.
Ryoken’s purses his lips for a brief moment before he answers. “The ignises developed by watching you duel. It’s possible they picked up on your weaknesses. That would explain why Homura’s hotheaded behavior and playstyle now benefits from the partnership of his more strategic ignis.”
Jin furrows his brow, as though he’s trying to remember something, but is unable to. Yusaku frowns.
“But it’s also possible they modeled themselves after your own desires,” he continues. “Yusaku’s ignis is very protective of its friends, perhaps because he thought he needed to save me for all those years.” Ryoken smiles sadly. “It’s difficult to say. Personality isn’t a very exact science. But it’s safe to say the light ignis was an error. Something in it’s development went wrong.” He frowns. “So perhaps it’s not worth thinking about at all.”
Jin’s eyes shoot up again. “We all something go wrong early in our lives that messed us up too,” he snarls. “But not thinking about it isn’t really a choice we have. It changed everything.” He glares at Ryoken. Yusaku begins to notice he’s almost shaking now, so he pulls up another chair next to Jin, and puts a hand on his, hoping to ground him a bit.
Jin takes a deep breath, and with a bit of effort seems to calm down a bit. Ryoken continues to watch him in a wary but almost distant way.
“I understand,” he finally says, pausing for a moment, then turning around to leave. “I miscalculated how much the ignises could affect their origins.” He pauses, as if considering whether or not to add something else. "It won’t happen again," he promises.
Before they can respond, he’s gone.