Written for Trey
Series: Kamen Rider Gaim
Characters: Any characters for gen settings fine, heavy fondness for Ryouma, Kouta, Takatora, and Mitsuzane.
Prompt: AUs are the best setting for this pairing. An idea would be- what would happen if Ryouma had gained the Fruit and become analogous to Mai in-series (The “First Woman”). There's also the AU concept of Kouta needing Ryouma's assistance to unlock Kiwami Arms.
Yes Please: Mental and emotional distress and manipulation are fine, and honestly pretty implied by the pairing of choice.
Never Ever List: Anything mentioning/indicating Kaito/Kouta. Anything mentioning/indicating Kaito/Mai. Basically I don't have any particular desire for Kaito at all. Also, any spelling other than “Micchi” for Mitsuzane's nickname.
Preference for Fic versus Art: Slightly prefer fic, but art is fine.
AN: I realize this fic doesn’t quite fit into the Gaim timeline perfectly, but it is basically an AU, so we’ll just pretend the shit hasn’t hit the fan yet. We’ll pretend Takatora is currently missing and Sid is cherry crush, but none of the Overlords take over just yet.
* * * * *
The Kiwami lock sat on the otherwise empty lab table, the dim light of the surroundings gleaming off its every surface of the half organized lab.
Truthfully Ryouma was very surprised to find that his favorite experiment was beginning to come around and ask him for help. It just so happened getting a chance to play with one of the only locks whose origin he didn’t know was a welcome bonus. Still, what sort of scientist and new world leader would he be if he didn’t exploit this opportunity for all it was worth?
“I’ll help you with that, but I do have my own conditions.” Ryouma warned and he sashayed to stand in front of Kouta.
Kouta gulped nervously, very much not liking the sound of that. He’d known this was a bad idea from the start, but what other options did he really have? He had to protect everyone and become even stronger, and unfortunately Sengoku Ryouma was his key to being able to do that. He’d have to give the man whatever he wanted, even if it made Kouta uncomfortable to agree to something before he knew what he was agreeing to.
“Wh… what do you want?” Kouta asked, failing miserably at trying to appear calm about this while being circled like a piece of meat. It was only now occurring to Kouta how out of his league he was and that he was dealing with a questionably sane genius.
Ryouma smirked, like he’d already won. “You’re going to be my assistant then! At least until I figure that out.” Ryouma declared, indicating the lock seed he was only too excited to start experimenting with. It’s not like he had to tell the boy when it was honestly done. “You were looking for employment anyway, were you not?” Ryouma didn’t give Kouta time to argue that Bando had asked for his help at the café, swiftly moving snatch up the lockseed and head over to his computer. “Come back tomorrow morning, anytime really. I’m always here.” Ryouma instructed before focusing all his attention on his experiment. He began muttering scientific equations under his breath, quickly forgetting anyone else was in the room.
“Do I need to leave my belt here?” Kouta asked, floundering around behind Ryouma as the other man was already all but ignoring him.
“No.” I’m good with this for tonight.” Ryouma paid him no mind after that, and Kouta slowly snuck towards the lab exit. When the engrossed scientist didn’t say anything or move to stop him, Kouta escaped and all but ran from the building.
What the hell had he just gotten himself into?
* * *
“I need you to get me the Grape lockseed.”
Kouta frowned, knowing the only Grape lockseed available was Micchi’s. Why would Ryouma even want that? “But!” Kouta tried to protest but Ryouma quickly swooped down upon him. Kouta backed up a step, but was quickly pressed up against the table behind him and let out a small noise of fright.. Ryouma leaned in close, narrowing his eyes at the frightened rider.
“Do you want me to make Kiwami work?” Ryouma asked, to which Kouta could only nod vigorously. “Good. Get me the grape lockseed. I need it. For reasons.” Ryouma smirked, knowing full well he only needed it to put Mitsuzane’s pants in a bunch. Really there was no greater joy than annoying the Kureshima brothers. Too bad he was down to one of them. At least it was going to be great fun watching the little orange flounder with concept of stealing from a friend. Ryouma was enjoying his new toys. He didn’t need Takatora at all.
Ryouma patted Kouta on the top of the head before returning to his work.
He didn’t look up again until Kouta had returned triumphantly with the Grape lockseed in tow. He’d tried to come one or twice to ask the scientist questions, but had been summarily ignored without the requested object. Ryouma was training him well. “I’m impressed Kazuraba. I truly wondered if you had it in you.” Ryouma complemented, twirling the Grape lockseed happily between his fingers.
“Do you need any of my lockseeds?” Kouta asked, hoping he could offer the professor something he already had instead of taking things covertly from those he knew.
“That’s ok, but I could use a coffee.” Kouta sighed in relief, but not for long.
From then on the requests never ceased.
“Bring me a cup of coffee.”
“I need a sample of soil from under this bridge where a crack appeared.”
“Chocolate cake. This address.” Really, there wasn’t enough cake since Takatora had stopped bringing them. Not that it was his own fault or anything. Well, problem solved.
“Bring me a fresh cup of coffee.”
“You forgot to add an extra creamer, Kouta.”
Honestly, Ryouma didn’t give two shits about the creamer, he just enjoyed getting a rise out of his new pet. He’d had a few assistants before, Takatora had insisted once up a time until everyone learned that was not the greatest idea. But having Kazuraba around was better than an assistant. He was simply entertaining. Ryouma didn't usually find himself so distracted by others, but found his thoughts often drifting to what he could possibly have Kouta do next. What reaction would he get? What reaction did he want after all this time? Hm. Perhaps it was time to up the ante.
Setting the coffee down without so much as taking a sip, Ryouma turned to the smaller rider decisively. “Let’s go for a walk. There’s something I want to explore.” And to his credit, Ryouma sounded genuinely excited. Still, Kouta wasn’t so sure that sounded like a good idea. Usually the professor’s requests involved him retrieving things and Ryouma doing science stuff. He might not be the brightest, but Kouta was suspicious of ulterior motive.
Ryouma led them outside to the company parking lot that exited onto a nice long strip of road. “Well, where’s your Sakura bike?” Ryouma inquired expectantly, like Kouta should have assumed this was the obvious avenue of thought. Kouta just balked at him, but scrambled to get out his bike. Hmmm. He was getting almost too good at taking Ryouma’s direction.
Ryouma couldn’t help but laugh as Kouta hopped behind the wheel and turned to look at the professor expectantly. “I’m driving” Ryouma said simply, nudging Kouta to move back on the bike and make room for him. It wasn’t often that his work took him outside the lab, and he would be taking full advantage if this little holiday. “Hold on!” the scientist advised as he revved the bike’s engine and they sped off.
Kouta squeaked, quickly flailing to wrap his arms tightly around the taller man’s waist as they careened around the first corner that Ryouma took entirely too fast. Well, that as an interesting reaction indeed. The professor decided he liked having the small rider so close, so dependent on him for support.
* * *
With Mitsuzane powerless to stop him, and Kazuraba under his thumb, Ryouma was feeling very cheerful these days. The golden fruit would be his soon, so long as he could maintain control over Kouta. Ryouma knew what his next step needed to be.
After their forest excursion, late nights and weekends became part of Kouta’s job description. He’d all but been formally fired from the café and could hardly remember the last time he’d seen his friends. Strangely he didn't mind as much as he should. Life as an assistant was much easier than a reckless vigilante fighting for justice. He knew the world still needed saving, but his own resolve was slipping. What if they never figured out the strange lockseed? What if Ryouma was just messing with him? Using him to get closer to an ultimate power even. Kouta was willing to give his friends that power if it would make them happy. He didn’t want it, not really. Maybe it would be ok to give it to Ryouma instead? Kouta stared at the Kiwami lock wistfully.
Surely Ryouma would be the one to unlock its secrets. He understood the forest better than anyone, had been preparing for all these inevitabilities for so long. Kouta secretly commended the professor for his lifelong work trying to discover the forest’s secrets. Who was he to barge in acting like he was entitled to that?
The hesitation was clear on Kouta’s face, and the professor honed right in on it. Ryouma had been waiting to pounce.
“You don’t look very excited about this.” Ryouma commented pointedly, leaning in close to Kouta’s personal space. He was pleased with the immediate flush Kouta gave off. He quite liked having that effect on the goofy boy.
“It’s just… a lot to worry about. I can’t let everyone down.” Kouta replied, repeating his dull mantra. Ryouma resisted every urge to roll his eyes. He’d have to take a better angle.
“That’s a heavy burden to put on yourself. Even if it was done, would you want it back?” Kouta shouldn’t have hesitated to say yes, but no protest was forthcoming and Ryouma’s knowing grin spread across his face.
“You don’t really want it back, do you?” Ryouma questioned delicately, curious as to what the good rider would say. Curious if Kouta could commit to what he really wanted, what he wanted more than what he was supposed to want.
To his credit, Kouta looked conflicted, knowing he was supposed to get this great new power at any cost to save everyone. But truthfully, he was terrified of it. Terrified of what it meant his destiny was, of what he would really do to his friends after doing anything Ryouma had asked. Afraid of what he would inevitably become. Kouta couldn’t trust himself with that kind if power, and even if he could he didn’t really want it. So much of him was tired of having to make the tough choices, of having to play the hero. Maybe, just this once he could let someone else take on the burden.
“You don’t have to decide now.” Ryouma cooed softly while patting the short confused rider on the head. But in essence he already had, and Ryouma knew he’d already won.