Ghost In The Shell Fan Fiction ❯ Ghost in the Shell: Once Burned, Twice Shy ❯ Afterward: Arisugawa's Locket ( Chapter 10 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Afterward: Arisugawa's Locket

"So Mason's dead?" Yayoi asked, drinking her beer happily.

Motoko nodded slightly, "Completely erased, as far as I can tell." A slight smile as she had some vodka, "Lain's little virus was remarkably thorough."

"I can still barely believe it all happened," Yayoi murmured, considering what had happened only a few hours ago.

Motoko had awakened in the cyberdive riggings not long after her convulsions finally came to an end, a worried looking Batou and Yayoi looking down at her. As she stiffly got up and started to disconnect from the computers Motoko explained what had happened to her in there, then the three of them went looking for Lain.

The body that Lain had been using was gone, no trace of her left. They tried the security systems but the records showed no images of her, it was as if Lain was some kind of ghost. A report had to be written, the three of them collaborating on the details then Yayoi and Motoko left Batou to write it as they retired to talk.

"Have you checked your email?" Motoko surprised her by asking.

"Not yet," Yayoi blinked, wondering why Motoko was asking that.

"There was a message on mine from," Motoko said quietly, "that she owes us and can call the debt due if needed."

"Damn," Yayoi murmured. She took another drink then quietly asked, "Do you think she really was....."

"I don't know," Motoko admitted, "but she clearly thought she was and had the power to back it up." She flashed a grin, "Other than that, who can say?"

Something drew Yayoi's eyes to the kareoke stage where a familiar looking young woman stood alone, smiling slightly. Short brown hair, long dangling earrings, a single braid on the left side of her face and dressed up in a red shirt and black mini-skirt, she looked beautiful. But there was something... odd about that beauty, an almost unearthly feel.

"Speak of the devil," Yayoi managed weakly as Lain began to sing.

"And you don't seem to understand

A shame you seemed an honest man

And all the fears you hold so dear

Will turn to whisper in your ear

And you know what they say might hurt you

And you know that it means so much

And you don't even feel a thing

I am falling, I am fading

I have lost it all"

There was a gentle smile on Lain's face, and she was meeting the gaze of another young woman who was sitting out in the crowd. She seemed sorrowful as she sang, her voice taking on a touch of regret as she finished off the song,

"I am falling, I am fading, I am drowning

Help me to breathe

I am hurting, I have lost it all

I am losing

Help me to breathe."

"Arisu," Motoko blinked as the girl met Lain at the base of the stage, the two walking off together. She shook her head as she looked over at Yayoi and muttered, "You know, I don't think I really want to know."

Yayoi smiled slightly, "Maybe, but I want you to explain that to me later, thanks." They sat there in silence for a few moments then she quietly asked, "So what do we do now?"

"You can't close your case, I'm sorry to say," Motoko said quietly, "but if you want I can have Section Nine take it over so you don't have to deal with it."

"That's not what I meant," Yayoi looked up to meet Motoko's eyes as she asked, "what are we going to do about us?"

Motoko looked down uncomfortably, finishing off her drink then signaling the waitress for a refill. "I screwed up," she finally said, "I hurt you because I just wasn't strong enough to balance a career and a relationship."

Yayoi nodded slightly, giving Motoko a gentle look. "I didn't help back then, either," she said. "After you moved out I didn't even try to contact you," Yayoi reminded her.

"I haven't changed in that way, Yayoi," Motoko said uncomfortably, "the job still comes first." She took a breath, "But I want to try to keep you in my life, if you'll let me."

"Oh?" Yayoi smiled slightly.

Motoko smiled back hopefully, "I'd like to try to be your friend, Yayoi. We never really had the chance to do that back then, our affair was too hot, but I'd like to get to know you."

Yayoi reached out, gently putting her hand on Motoko's tense arm. "Friends, huh?" she smiled, "I'd like that."

The End

Final Author's Note: I didn't plan to actually make this a 'Lain' crossover, but the direction of the chapters seemed to require it. This is loosely part of my 'Eternal City, Crystal Tokyo' continuity, where Motoko appears in a version inspired by the new 'Man/Machine Interface' manga for GITS. Part of this chapter first appeared in Arisugawa's Locket, a bit I wrote after first seeing Lain. The song Lain is singing is Duvet, the opening theme of Serial Experiments Lain, of course. I got the lyrics off of: