66: Views of the Future
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Somehow it seemed inevitable that they wound up cuddled together on Shinichi's bed a bit later, with their phones occupying most of their attention as they completed the latest guild quest together.

They had actually spent awhile just cuddling together first, but the conversation turned toward their shared game again and the next thing she knew, they were playing. Danika glanced at Shinichi and smiled a little.


A couple of hours later they had stopped playing and gone back to just talking and cuddling together. Even the talking was dwindling, as Shinichi hadn't commented on anything for a few minutes. Danika shifted so that she could look up at him questioningly and discovered that he'd fallen asleep.

For a moment she was indignant, but then she checked the time. She hadn't meant to choose where she was going to spend the night quite so randomly, but it looked like she'd already made her decision. After a minute she tried to change her position so that it was more comfortable for sleeping.

After a few more minutes she decided that she was hungry. She carefully disentangled herself and Shinichi stirred. She stopped to apologize for waking him up, but he just wriggled down the bed and adjusted his pillow before sinking back into sleep.

Her chair was about half a meter from the bed, instead of positioned beside it like she'd parked it when staying in the hotel during her training weeks. Shinichi's bed was also about a handspan too low for convenient transfer.

She used the chair's app on her phone to reposition it, and then had an idea. "Can you control my chair through its app?" she whispered to her celestial dragon assistant.

"I can if you give me permission, but I don't have any navigation capacity," her assistant replied promptly.

"I just need you to move it forward if I push it back while I'm moving to it and don't have a hand free for the controls," Danika assured her assistant.

"How can I tell if the chair has moved?" the little dragon asked doubtfully. It's icon displayed a confused emote.

"If I lay my phone so that the camera is looking at it, is that ok?" Danika asked.

"I'm sorry, I don't have any way to interpret those pictures in the manner you're requesting," her assistant apologized.

"Doesn't it look just the same as something moving in 'Living Jade Empire'?" Danika asked with confusion.

"Everything in the empire exists in three dimensions, there is always data about where everything is in relation to everything else," the little dragon explained reasonably.

"Everything exists…" Danika began and then stopped. Maybe in the way that the digital entity existed within its natural environment, the real world didn't really exist. They always spoke to each other as though they were seeing the same things, and the little dragon had been able to identify her food from pictures of it, but maybe they really weren't seeing the same things.

"You can push the forward control when I ask though?" Danika asked instead.

"Of course," her assistant assured her promptly.

Danika scooted to the edge of the bed and lifted herself awkwardly between chair and bed, then had her assistant move it forward as she moved back so that it helped scoop her up. Once she had enough of her weight onto it to shift her hands, she was able to lift herself into position normally. Then she stretched out and picked up her phone and quietly exited the room.


She decided that Akito must have gotten up and eaten more too, because there was almost nothing left of the supper leftovers. There were lots of fresh vegetables and eggs though, so after a moment she decided to make an omelette. The kitchen was unfamiliar, but logically organized so it was pretty easy for her.

It felt like her heart almost jumped out of her throat when Ryuske spoke from behind her, "I thought Shinichi was getting a little carried away when he wanted to put in the elevator, but it was really only a bare minimum wasn't it? That doesn't look comfortable at all."

Danika spun and gazed at him with wide startled eyes. He was still fully dressed, and walking lightly down the stairs. "Sorry, you startled me, but I'm fine, I was just hungry," she babbled.

Ryuske held up his hands and immediately apologized. "No, sorry, I'm the one who should apologize. I didn't mean to sneak up on you, I just got back. Please don't mind me."

"You just got back?" she questioned.

He ran a hand through his hair like Shinichi would and grinned at her. "Yeah, we stayed up talking after the babies went to sleep."

Danika indicated the omelette and asked, "Oh, do you want some?"

"No, I just want a drink," he said quickly and stepped into the kitchen area and opened the refrigerator. He surveyed the contents and suggested, "I guess you had to cook when you got hungry because the boys finished off the entire thing eh?"

"Shinichi didn't eat more," Danika defended him.

Ryuske laughed and pulled out the bottle he wanted before closing the door. "Okay." He waved at the stove and asked, "How can that be adjusted to be more accessible to you?"

"It's fine," Danika objected.

Ryuske surveyed her for a moment and then said, "Maybe so, if you don't visit or cook often. But I think Shinichi's hoping that you'll be around a lot?"

She blushed and then nodded. "I can't believe you guys actually installed an elevator just to make your place convenient for me," she blurted.

"It's not very convenient for you though," Ryuske pointed out. "We at least need to get you a couch or chair that you can easily move yourself in and out of."

Danika stared at him. "You don't have to change more things," she objected.

Ryuske rubbed his nose and then said, "Sorry, I can't think how to ask this politely, and it's fine if you just say that it's none of my business, but… don't you intend to build a long-term relationship together?"

"Yes," she agreed simply.

"Well, I admit I'm no expert. None of my romantic relationships ever worked out, and all of my long-term relationships are built on music… but why shouldn't we change things to make you comfortable? Are you expecting to disappear from our lives anytime soon?" he questioned bluntly.

"No," she protested. "But, I don't know… I don't want to be extra trouble."

"That's easy then, just clearly communicate anything that you'd like to change, and I promise I'll tell you if making that change would be inconvenient for me," Ryuske replied teasingly.

At least, Danika thought that he was teasing until he added, "If you're afraid of taking up too much space someday when you're ready to move in, or you want to create an area that's set up exclusively for your convenience, the residence directly over the parking garage isn't in use. And the space it occupies could be remodeled to add more to this one or to give you your own place here."

"Shinichi learned to move too fast from you didn't he?" Danika asked accusingly.

Ryuske didn't deny it, but even though he grinned at her, his answer was serious, "Because of his career, your security and privacy is already directly linked to his. It will affect him for as long as you are together, or maybe even longer."

"I'll try to keep that in mind," she said nervously.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to turn this into one of those 'talks' that everyone dreads," Ryuske said ruefully.

Danika straightened and said more firmly, "It's OK. Like you just said, just clearly communicate things I need to be aware of, and I'll tell you if it's inconvenient for me."

His grin was just as brilliant as it would have been as Ryullusion, despite the wrinkles in his face. "Shinichi is really lucky to have met you Danika, no matter what happens in the future."

"I'm pretty sure that his theory that the game arranged it is true," she admitted.