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Hands linked in mine

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The first valentine's Day had been special.

It was back when they had first started dating. He could remember how the idea of asking them out had been hanging around in his head, persisting no matter how hard he tried to get rid of it. Astral, however, was the one to ask him out in the end. Back then the feelings that he had held towards felt strange, confusing even. Questions of how exactly a relationship would work between another being that would constantly move back and forth from planet to planet.

They were complete opposites when it came to their in contrast to duelling. While Astral seemed the one to hesitate when it came to duels, when it came to their feelings they didn't. From the way that they looked at him and smiled at him, it was obvious that they loved him.

At the beginning he had felt guilty about how he was the opposite. That he couldn't even say a simple “I love you” to them or how he would be so slow to respond when they did. In a way their first valentine's Day had been one to help solidify those feelings. It had been spent in heartland, and when they had gone into the Ferris wheel they had shared a kiss that had made him feel so certain about his feelings, that he didn’t feel so unsure anymore.

As the passage of time happened, the both of them had begun to change. Astral had sacrificed their form as an Astralian to stay with Yuma on Earth as a human. No longer an observer to the outside world they were now a participant. Throughout the rest of middle school and high school they had been with Yuma. He had studied archaeology at university while Astral picked economics, something that seems so far fitting from the life that they used to lead. But in a way: he was happy. The struggles of the past were slowly moving behind them and Yuma was happy to spend his future with Astral.

Valentine’s day still held a special place in his heart, however. While it wasn’t exactly as luxurious as their first ones together the pair still took the time out to go out and eat. Even with the stress of university, they had been planning to have a movie night in.

“What do you mean you can't make tonight?” His words came sharp across the phone, disappointment evident. “We've been planning this for ages.”

“I'm sorry, Yuma.” Astral's voice comes across as sincere through the telephone, the sounds of people talking in the background overshadowing their voice. “It's just tonight has been a rather busy night at work. I can't get out of it easily.”

“Well, fuck them!” A small part of him realises he's being unfair but at the same time, he had been looking forward to this so much. “Tell them that we've booked a really expensive restaurant and you can't get your of it.”

“We're students Yuma.” Astral bluntly points out. “I don't think they will even believe we can afford to eat out.”

“Don't be such an ass.” Mutters Yuma, knowing that Astral had a point. He takes a deep breath before trying again. “Are you really going to be gone the entire night? Can we not fit something really late into the evening?”

It's hopeless optimism, confirmed by Astral's sigh.

“I can't.” They sigh. “We can do something tomorrow. I’ll treat you out to what ever restaurant you want me to go to.”

Still, tomorrow isn't valentine's day. While he knew something like this would happen after a week of assignments and deadlines - he was looking forward to just relaxing.

“Yeah, I guess we can.” Murmurs Yuma, looking outside his window. “But be prepared to spend the most expensive item on the menu, okay?”

“Of course.” From their light tone, Yuma can tell that Astral is smiling. “I’ll see you tomorrow. I hope you have a nice evening.”

In the end, Yuma spends valentine's day with Kotori. Somehow she has found herself in a similar situation, Rio being unavailable for tonight. Despite everything the pair are still close friends, seeing each other almost everyday. Now his valentine’s day has instead become one in which he pigs out in front of the TV screen, watching his favourite anime while eating a bucket load of ice cream.

“So, if you were here with Astral, what would you be doing tonight?” She turns to look towards Yuma taking a break from slowly devouring a packet of popcorn to talk.

“Probably go out and eat at some fast food restaurant.” Shrugs Yuma. “I don’t think we could have afford to do anything else at the moment.”

“Why don’t we try and do something then?” Getting up from the sofa, she looks towards Yuma with a look of enthusiasm. “ I’m sure we can do something better than spending the evening in our pajamas.”

“I was looking forward to it though.” Groans Yuma, not having the same enthusiasm. It wasn’t the same with Astral. “It’s been forever since I’ve seen this series.”

However, Kotori is somebody who once she has an idea set on something she will not stop. She stands in front of Yuma, turning it off the TV.

“It’ll be fun!” Insists Kotori and despite his protests, Yuma feels as though he is being dragged out of the house than anything. She passes him his coat and wallet before he can object, pushing him out of the apartment and into the cold outside.

In the end, the pair walk a lot further than he was expecting. He had expected Kotori to take him to their usual spot ramen shop however when he had stopped she had grabbed hold of his hand and continued going. Eventually, the pair ended up in the part of town that was known to only have expensive restaurants.

“Kotori, doesn’t this place seem a little bit too high class for us?”  Kotori ends up stopping near a restaurant that looked far out of his league. There was an actual bouncer outside and the entire exterior seemed to be covered in gold. “I don’t think I’ve ever been in a place like this before.”

“It’ll be fine.” Reassures Kotori, acting as though it was completely normal to do so. “I think that they’ve got a special offer on at the moment.”

Special offer or not, Yuma doesn’t exactly feel confident in his queue. He’s pretty sure that other people are staring at him. It’s made worse when there is a ringing at Kotori’s side and she picks it up, looking towards Yuma.

“I’ve gotta catch this, sorry.” It’s probably the worst time to do so, the pair being next in line to go in. She gestures towards Yuma to continue, before saying “You go on. I’ll just be a moment.”

It doesn’t hide the fact that he’s nervous and he considers finding an excuse to leave but the bouncer looks straight towards him, asking -

“Are you Yuma Tsukumo?”

“Uh, yes I am.” The question comes as a surprise. “How do you know me?”

“Come inside.” Replies the man, stepping to the side. “You’ve got a table reserved.”

“Ah but I’ve - “ However, looking back the spot that Kotori has been was now empty, his friend now gone entirely. Just what had he been expecting? The bouncer looks towards him with a look of expectation and suddenly he finds his will to leave vanishing. “Yeah, sure.”

Yuma is led through a brightly lit restaurants, the main room filled with people eating. The aroma from the food smells great and he isn’t sure what exactly to expect. It’s only when he is lead through an empty corridor into a private room that he finally gets an idea.

“Good evening, Yuma.”

There, standing up from the table was Astral. Instead of being at work like he thought they would be they are there. And suddenly, everything that has happened tonight makes sense. Why Kotori had decided to leave the house so suddenly and why she had left him in the line.

“How long were you preparing this…?” Yuma can’t help but ask, surprised. He approaches the table slowly, pulling the chair backwards. “When did you tell Kotori about the plan?”

“I’ve been preparing this for the past couple of weeks or so.” Astral hums, already satisfied with his reaction. “Kotori was a willing accomplish.”

“This is…” While Yuma is a lot more confident in talking to Astral about his feelings, there are still times in which he is taken back. “I don’t really know what to say.”

“You don’t need to say anything.” Is Astral’s answer. “Just enjoy the meal and the food.”

For the rest of the evening, the pair spend it talking. While they are used to seeing each other nearly every day, it feels as though this is perhaps one of the most recent times in which he can fully relax. There is no mention of work, assignments or the other things that are stressing him out.

Yuma had thought that tonight would have just consisted of dinner, however, there was more.

“Why don’t we go for a quick walk outside?” Both of them were outside now, the street seeming quieter than before. “It might be a nice way to end the night.”

The two walk away from the busy streets of the city, heading towards one of larger hills that is situated near the outskirts. From here, the city is one of various lights and colours - but that isn’t the only reason Yuma loves it. Here you can get a clearer view of the night sky, both him and Astral enjoying the view up here.

“I can’t help but love the night sky here.” Sighs Yuma when they finally reach the top. “It’s beautiful.”

“I agree.” Hums Astral, before smiling towards him. “But not as beautiful as you.”

“That’s so cheesy Astral.” Despite that, Yuma finds himself blushing at the compliment. “Don't you have something less cheesy to say?”

“But it’s the perfect way to describe you.” Before Yuma can even protest, Astral speaks again. “Have I ever told you how much you mean to me?”

“You have, multiple times.” Even if more comfortable with affection, Yuma founds himself struck by how upfront Astral was being right now. “What’s gotten into you? Was there some kind of alcohol in your food?”

“No, that isn’t it.”

Yuma expects Astral to stop then, or say something else. But what he doesn’t expect is for Astral to kneel down before him. In their hands is a small blue box, his eyes going wide at the appearance at it.

“Astral…?” His voice is shaking, not sure how to take what is happening right now. “Are you - are you being for real?”

“I’m not the kind of person to joke about this, Yuma.” While he feels as though he is about to have a meltdown, Astral continues. “The reason why I did everything tonight is because I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

“Astral…”

Yuma is too overwhelmed to say anything else right now. About how much his heart is leaping and soaring at the very thought or that he wants to shower Astral in kisses.

“You’ve made me the person I am today. Before I had met you, I was created for only one purpose and that was to serve my homeworld. That was all I could ever think about.”  

Somehow though, Yuma finds his hands reaching towards Astral’s hand. Their finger intertwine with his own, squeezing tightly.

“But when I met you, I found my world began to open. I discovered myself and finally begun to make my own path. To find my own purpose.”

“I - I feel the same.” Finally says Yuma through his tears, voice shaking. His entire body and chest feels warm, the happiness seeping out around his body and through his tears. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you”

Letting go of his hand, Astral places the ring onto his finger. It fits perfectly around his finger, a light blue gem sitting in the middle of it. Yuma reaches out towards Astral before softly wrapping his arms around them, embracing them.