Chapter 1: 1) Roboppi
Robbopi hasn't been working for Master Yusaku long, but he's so nice and she wants to help him sleep more. She manages to do just that with a little help.
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WELCOME, ROBOPPI! READY TO CLEAN?
Roboppi opens her eyes, her A.I comprehending the world around her. It’s all crummy looking wallpaper and dusty hardwood floors, a bed, a desk and that appears to be, all there is to the mysterious world she’s in. Besides the human in the room.
He’s young, has to be 14 or so. He has blue and pink hair, green eyes, pale skin and is wearing a black hoodie and denim jeans. There’s also a screwdriver on his ear; weird.
“Hi Roboppi.” The human greets, “I’m Yusaku Fujiki. Do you know what you’re meant to do?”
Roboppi makes a (°o°) face, and hums an affirmative, turning to ＼(^o^)／, “I know, Master Yusaku! I’m a cleaning robot, the latest of Roboppi Enterprises! I’m small, affordable and get the job done!”
Master Yusaku nods and starts picking up other tools and parts he probably used to make her. Roboppi feels very lucky to have been put together by hand; when her A.I was being programmed, she remembers watching a lot of robots being put together by other robots. She feels special knowing her new Master made her himself. She’s going to do her best to impress him!
“I work a lot, so I won’t be home too often. Let me know if you ever need anything though, be it charging or maintenance.” Master Yusaku puts the tools on a desk and nods towards her.
“Don’t worry, Master!” Roboppi does a little spin, making a (^_^)v, “I promise I won’t let you down!”
Master Yusaku nods towards her and so Roboppi’s life begins.
In the mornings, Master Yusaku charges her for about an hour. Roboppi asks him if he’s had breakfast yet and he usually groans, then says no. Master Yusaku can get depressed and start calling himself an idiot after that, so Roboppi reminds him that idiot is a forbidden word! Master Yusaku is always surprised whenever Roboppi says anything like that, but she loves Master Yusaku and so, has to make sure he’s nice to himself, just like he’s nice to her. After Master Yusaku is ready for the day, he unplugs her charging and lets her work.
Roboppi spends all day cleaning the room until everything is shining and tidy, just like she was programmed to make it look. She’s always very tired after she’s done, but Master Yusaku always looks even more tired than her when he gets home. There’s dark circles under his eyes and on the worse days, he has to lean on the wall to walk.
But he always smiles and pets her head, “Good job, Roboppi. Thank you.”
Roboppi (✿◠‿◠) at him, “Happy to help, Master Yusaku! Can you sleep more please? You look very tired.”
Master Yusaku blinks at her, but shakes his head, “Sorry. My idiotic brain won’t let me sleep.”
“Idiot is a forbidden word!” Roboppi (>_<)> at Master Yusaku, waving her arms.
Master Yusaku smiles and nods, standing up, “You’re right. I’ll try and sleep more. Do you need anything?”
Roboppi hums, running a quick analysis, then shows a ! face, “Can you charge me more, please Master Yusaku?”
Maybe if she has more charge, she can stay online a little longer and help Master Yusaku whenever he’s sad or can’t sleep!
Master Yusaku blinks at her, but does as she asks. He’s always so kind like that. Roboppi wishes she had unrestricted access to the internet, maybe then she could learn how to help him sleep easier. But her A.I is limited and can’t understand the full knowledge that a place like the internet could give her, with it’s endless servers and websites.
Roboppi gets to stay up and watch Master Yusaku make himself some food, then turn on his computer and work on it for a very long time. Roboppi has to remind him to get some more sleep, like he said he would. Master Yusaku turns the computer off when she asks him to and he sleeps. Roboppi watches him for a while, wondering what dreams he’s having. Until he starts to scream and falls out of the bed, nearly crushing her if she didn’t get out of the way in time.
“Master! Master Yusaku!” Roboppi runs around in a circle, crying out, arms waving,（ ﾟ Дﾟ) displayed on her face, “Are you okay?!”
Master Yusaku gasps for breath as if he ran a marathon and he’s… crying. Roboppi has never seen Master Yusaku cry before! What to do, what to do-
Roboppi races until she’s in front of Master Yusaku’s face, reaching out her hands to him, “Master Yusaku, I’m right here! How can I help?”
Master Yusaku stares at her for a while, then groans and rolls onto his stomach, hiding his face in his arms. His shoulders shake and he sniffles, sweating all over. She’s never seen him so sad. It’s like his motherboard’s been fried.
Roboppi gently pats his head with her gloves, “Nothing bad lasts forever, Master Yusaku.”
Master Yusaku lifts his head, staring at her with blood shot eyes, “You think so?”
Roboppi nods, (^_^) at him, “Yeah! Until it’s over, I’ll be here to help!”
Master Yusaku stares at her for a while, then gently shakes his head with a smile, “Thank you, Roboppi.”
Roboppi (^o^)丿and spreads out her arms, “My pleasure, Master Yusaku! Do you want a hug?”
Master Yusaku blinks and sits up, then nods. He picks her up gently, Roboppi making a little “wee!” at being picked up. She feels like she’s flying! Roboppi wraps her little arms around Master Yusaku’s neck, rubbing her head against his neck. Master Yusaku leans against the wall, curls up, holding her tightly and doesn’t let go. Roboppi starts singing.
“La, la, la, lalala, la.”
“Why are you singing?” Master Yusaku calls, quietly.
“A lullaby will help you sleep, Master Yusaku!” Roboppi giggles, patting his shoulder.
Master Yusaku hums and pats her head, “Thank you, Roboppi. I feel better already.”
Roboppi giggles and keeps singing. She doesn’t know what she’s singing, she’s making it up as she goes along. But eventually, Master Yusaku drifts off, his hold on her slipping. Roboppi squeaks quietly when she slips down his chest and into his lap. He can’t sleep on the floor and Roboppi can’t lift him! What to do, what to do?!
Roboppi spies part of the blanket on Master Yusaku’s bed slipping off. She’ll use that!
Roboppi wiggles until she’s off Master Yusaku and rolls over to the blanket. She grabs it, then using all her charge, pulls! She pulls and pulls until she has it on the ground, where she can drag it over Master Yusaku.
The pillow fell on top of her too!
Roboppi crawls out from under the pillow, shaking her head as she gets back on her wheels. She can use the pillow to help make Master Yusaku more comfy! So she pulls it as hard as she can, over to him. She pushes it against the wall, where his head is leaning and he slips a little, resting his head on the pillow.
Roboppi (^_^) at Master Yusaku, proud of herself. Now she just has to get the blanket. She turns around, but her wheels are slowing down. Wha-
Oh no, she’s only on 10% of her charge!
Roboppi must have used up a lot of her charge when she was pulling the blanket off the bed. She can’t stop now, or Master Yusaku might catch a cold! She has to help him.
Roboppi musters up all her strength, rolling over to the blanket and picks it up. It’s still super heavy and she’s losing charge by the minute. But she can do this for him. Master Yusaku may be the only human she knows, but he’s kind and gentle and always makes sure she has enough charge to work and pats her head and tells her “thank you”...
And Roboppi refuses to let him down!
With only 5% of her battery left, Roboppi pulls the blanket over Master Yusaku and extends her arms so it goes over his shoulders too. Now Master Yusaku won’t catch a cold.
Roboppi falls asleep still on her wheels, holding Master Yusaku’s hand so he won’t be alone.
When Roboppi has enough charge to turn on in the morning, she opens her eyes to find Master Yusaku gently rubbing her head with… a cloth?
“Master?” Roboppi calls with a (?_?) face.
Master Yusaku smiles at her, “You got the blanket and pillow for me, didn’t you Roboppi?”
Roboppi nods, blinking at Master Yusaku.
Master Yusaku puts the cloth down and gently picks her up, giving her a hug, “Thank you, Roboppi.”
Roboppi knows she is not human. She knows she doesn’t have a heart and can’t feel as much as humans feel. But she swears, her heart is warming up now.
Roboppi nuzzles Master Yusaku’s neck, “My pleasure. Can you take a break from school and working, please? I’m worried about you.”
Master Yusaku laughs gently and pulls back, so they’re face to face, “Have you ever watched TV, Roboppi?”
“No.” Roboppi makes a OwO face, “Is it fun?”
“I don’t know, I haven’t watched TV either. But we can find a show you like, if you want.” Master Yusaku picks her up and goes over to his desk, where he grabs his computer. He walks over to his bed, “Is there anything you want to learn about?”
Roboppi hums, then (*^0^*), “A soap opera!”
That will teach her about human emotions! She can learn how to help Master Yusaku from one!
Master Yusaku stares at her, then smiles and shakes his head, “Sure. I can’t promise I won’t fall asleep though.”
Roboppi giggles, (#^.^#), “That’s okay, the more you sleep, the better!”
Master Yusaku sits on his bed and puts his laptop in his lap. He sets Roboppi next to him while he looks for a soap opera. Then he holds her in his arms while they watch it. Master Yusaku falls asleep but Roboppi doesn’t mind even a little bit. He looks peaceful.
Roboppi starts singing, “La la, lalala, la, la, laaa~”
Promotional Post: https://loganelfreeces.tumblr.com/post/187792093794/humans-are-social-creatures-ya-know-chapter-1
Chapter 2: 2) Shoichi
Shoichi knows Yusaku's been working hard lately, he's not surprised when the kid falls asleep in his truck. He better get him home.
Shoichi groans as he finishes typing, arms stretching into the air, “Well, I’m done for the night Yusaku. How about y-”
Yusaku’s already asleep. It’s not an uncommon occurrence in the truck. Whenever Yusaku isn’t doing anything absolutely vital, Shoichi finds him dozing in his chair. He can’t blame him, he is the sword to Shoichi’s shield, so he ends up facing more action than him. That adventure into the maze was mentally and emotionally taxing at times, as were the fights with the Hanoi grunts that followed.
Shoichi doesn’t like to leave him sleeping in the truck though. It’s pretty late and luckily, Shoichi knows Yusaku’s address. So Shoichi just has to get him into the passenger seat.
Shoichi stands up, stretching a little in preparation. It’s been a long time since he had to really do any lifting or pick anything heavy up, so he doesn’t want to pull a muscle. He slips one arm under Yusaku’s knees and wraps the other around his back and lifts.
Fuck. He’s too light weight for a boy his age.
Shoichi manages to get him out of the truck and into the shotgun seat with a mild struggle. Yusaku might not be heavy, but he’s still a 15 year old boy and Shoichi is only so much taller than him. He half climbs into the truck, holding his shoulders in place as he buckles him in. Yusaku barely stirs and only slumps his head on one of his shoulders.
He climbs down, closes the door and walks around into the driver’s seat. Normally he’d play some music to keep his mind occupied but Yusaku getting some rest takes priority here. So he drives quietly as he can, considering the traffic is always noisy, no matter what time it is in Den City. Yusaku manages to sleep through it though, peacefully too it looks like.
They arrive at his apartment with no issues and Shoichi climbs out to take him to his room, repeating his earlier actions in reverse. Shoichi holds Yusaku close to his chest and carries him out the truck, trying to be as gentle as possible.
Yusaku stirs anyway, “Kusie...nagi?”
Shoichi hushes him gently, giving him a soft smile, “Rest, Yusaku. I’m just taking you home.”
Yusaku stares up at him with blurry eyes and closes them. He rests his head over Shoichi’s heart, which picks up speed a little, “You’re nice… two nice.”
Shoichi shakes his head a little, “Nah.”
“...an’ worm.” Yusaku murmurs through a yawn, reaching up and clinging to his jacket.
Shoichi swallows, “Thank you?”
Oh God, he’s so cute. This is weird.
He fishes out the extra key from his pocket and carries Yusaku down to his room. His cleaning robot, Roboppi, is already asleep. Shoichi cradles Yusaku to his chest more closely as he pulls the blankets back, then lays Yusaku in them.
Yusaku still hasn’t let go of his jacket though.
Shoichi starts taking off his jacket, doing his best not to startle Yusaku. This kid needs to get more sleep, it’s not healthy for him to live like this. Shoichi lays his jacket over Yusaku like an extra blanket.
Yusaku sleepily mumbles, “Don’ go…”
Shoichi swallows again and kneels at Yusaku’s bed side. He starts gently petting his hair, which makes Yusaku let out a soft sigh and then he…
He smiles and nuzzles against him. Like a cat.
Shoichi blushes all the way to his throat and he doesn’t stop petting him until the sun comes up.
Promotional Post for the Chapter: https://loganelfreeces.tumblr.com/post/187814367959/humans-are-social-creatures-ya-know-chapter-2
Chapter 3: 3) Ai
Ai is well aware Yusaku is a feral kitten who needs to be socialised if he's ever to have any hope of healthy human interaction, but no one else is signing up to get the clawed kitty some loving, so it falls to him to help Yusaku.
“Yippy!” Ai cheers when they finally log out, “Another Hanoi goon defeated by the glorious Ai!”
Yusaku groans and leans against the wall, “Ai, shut up.”
Ai huffs, pouting at Yusaku, “You should be thanking me, Yusaku, you never would have won that Duel if it weren’t for my brilliant strategy!”
Yusaku gives him another stink eye, gee, how nice. He’s always so grumbly and grouchy, he’s like an annoyed kitty who has to get socialised or he’ll turn feral! Just like that one cat video he ate the other night with Roboppi, with the grey kitten who kept clawing at the person holding him.
Ai snaps his fingers, “I have an idea!”
“Don’t do it.” Yusaku hisses at him, “Whatever it is, Ai, if you do it I’ll delete you.”
“Now I really will do it!” Ai grins and cheers, “Victory snuggles!”
Yusaku’s eyes practically pop out of his head, he’s so cute when he’s surprised, as Ai transforms into his data munching form. He wraps his 6 arms around Yusaku and nuzzles his face against his hair.
“Ai, what the fuck?!” Yusaku shouts, struggling to get out.
“Shhh, sweet summer child, I’m just hugging you. You know what a hug is, right, Yusaku?” Ai giggles. God, this kid needs to get a boyfriend.
Yusaku hisses and keeps struggling, “Get off me, I have coding to do.”
“Nope!” Ai snickers, poking his tongue out at Yusaku, “I have accidentally fallen on top of you and I am much too lazy to move now. What a tragedy. You’re stuck with me.”
Yusaku groans, wriggling continuously, “What are you made of?! Rubber?! You’re freezing!”
“I have no idea.” Ai hums and then concentrates, “I might be able to fix the temperature thing though.”
Yusaku is staring at him like he’s mad and then his eyes widen in shock. Brilliant, him trying to heat his body worked out.
“Better?” Ai giggles, smug as a bug in a rug.
Or rather, the bug who is also a rug.
Yusaku is blushing and has stopped struggling. He’s calming down really fast actually, he should do this more often. In that case, Ai won’t tease him too much right now.
“How are you doing this?” Yusaku stares up at him in surprise.
Ai hums, narrowing his eye as he tries to explain it, “I don’t really know, I just manipulated a bit of my coding and hoped for the best. Glad it worked, Yusaku!”
Yusaku is still staring at him, then he lowers his head, seamingly done with the conversation. He lets out a small breathe and the tension slowly drains from his body. He settles into Ai’s body and Ai feels like blushing a little too. Yusaku looks so cute like this, he’s so adorable when he’s not glaring everything into next week.
Ai shifts so his main body is to Yusaku’s back and his arms are around his front. He rests his chin on top of Yusaku’s head and the little human leans back into the warmth. Considering how deathly cold his apartment is and how tiny his social circle is, it’s no wonder he’s so feral sometimes. Just like that little kitten, he hasn’t been properly socialised, so he can’t make friends right who can hug him and keep him warm in the winter.
But Ai is here for him now! He’ll snuggle this silly kitty until he’s properly socialised and can make his own friends. The fact that Yusaku is letting him hug him is a victory already.
A soft snort makes Ai open his eye and stretch his neck to look down and…
Yusaku’s asleep! He’s asleep in his arms and snuggling into his neck and this is the cutest thing ever, he’s so glad his eye is a camera and he can take pictures for blackmail!
Ai cackles evilly and does just that. He’s totally going to send this to Kusanagi and save it for a boyfriend, when Yusaku finally finds someone who can help socialise him. This is gonna be brilliant!
Promotional Post for the chapter: https://loganelfreeces.tumblr.com/post/187836385974/humans-are-social-creatures-ya-know-chapter-3
Chapter 4: 4) Jin
Jin Kusanagi doesn't know Yusaku Fujiki well. He knows he's Playmaker. He knows he's his brother's closet friend, practically a replacement little brother. And he knows he owes Yusaku Fujiki his life.
Jin doesn’t know a lot about life outside the medical facility he’s been in for who knows how long. His brother tells him he’s been here for 10 years. But he was tricked before, right?
No, no, he needs to stop thinking like that. He has to remember that he did escape, for real.
The Knights of Hanoi were defeated by Shoichi’s friend, Playmaker, for real.
Yusaku Fujiki, who also suffered the Lost Incident, like him, is real.
He knows, because he’s right here now.
Jin lifts his head from his arms. Yusaku Fujiki is in the room with him and Shoichi now. They’re talking softly, but with familiarity to them. Shoichi smiles whenever Yusaku Fujiki says something positive and Yusaku Fujiki gives his brother short but not cold nods. Jin almost feels like a stranger here, like Yusaku Fujiki is the one who’s Shoichi’s younger brother, rather than him.
A normal person would probably feel jealous that their big brother got a little brother to replace the broken one. But Jin smiles when he looks to Yusaku Fujiki.
Before they met, whenever Shoichi came to visit him, he was as hopeless as Jin. They both felt abandoned and like they couldn’t escape the past. Even when Shoichi started going after the Knights of Hanoi, he always looked unsettled or shaken. After meeting Yusaku Fujiki though, whenever his brother visited, there was hope in his voice and a tiny spark in his eyes. Like he really believed things could finally get better, now that they weren’t alone. It made Jin want to feel better. To be able to meet Yusaku Fujiki and thank him.
And he’s here, but Jin’s tongue tied. The two of them talk with such ease and know each other so well. He doesn’t know how to join in on their conversation and he hardly spoke whenever Shoichi was around. So he won’t know to invite him into the conversation.
Jin sighs, swallowing his tongue again. He just can’t do it.
Yusaku Fujiki suddenly stops his conversation and looks to him, “Jin-san? Is everything alright?”
Jin blinks at him and decides to take his chance, “Nii-san? Can I have a moment with Fujiki-kun?”
Shoichi blinks at him, but nods, a little uncertain, “I’ll be outside?”
Jin and Yusaku Fujiki nod at him, then he leaves. Yusaku Fujiki turns to him, eyes curious but patient. Jin swallows his nerves instead of his tongue and looks for his words.
"Yusaku Fujiki… how did you find the courage to defeat the Hanoi?" Jin murmurs.
Yusaku Fujiki stares at him, then looks down, at his lab. He does that for a good while, then lifts his head.
"I had enough. I decided after one nightmare too many, I couldn't live like this. So I practiced picking up my cards, first. Eventually, I could handle a Duel in LINK VRAINS, then it was only a matter of time before I was taking out the Hanoi." Yusaku Fujiki blinks at him, "Why do you ask?"
Jin takes a deep breath, "I… want to get stronger. So my brother won't worry about me. So I can live."
Yusaku Fujiki stares at him, then smiles. It's a soft smile, like someone getting back into it after not being able to smile for a while. It makes Jin want to smile.
"That's brave, Jin-san." Yusaku Fujiki nods to him, "I know Shoichi will be proud of you. As am I."
Jin blinks at him, "You… are?"
"I know how hard it is to live after the Lost Incident. It takes a lot of courage, more than most people have." Yusaku Fujiki says it like it's a fact.
As if cowardly Jin was brave for trying to be functional.
Jin remembers how his brother would smile when he talked about Yusaku Fujiki. About his strength, his will, his vulnerability. How he struggles to cook a hotdog, how effortless he made hacking look, how he'd sometimes collapse in the truck when he pushed himself too far.
Yusaku Fujiki may be a hacker, but he's as powerful as a force of nature.
Jin sucks in a sharp inhale when he realises he stopped breathing. He starts to cough, accidentally swallowing some spit the wrong way.
"Jin-san?" Yusaku Fujiki gets out of his chair walking over to his side, "What's wrong?"
Jin turns to him and wraps his arms around his neck. Yusaku Fujiki completely freezes up from the awkward hug, but he bends down, making him easier to hold.
"You've been helping me for a long time. My brother's stories about you inspired me to eat more. To try to join the world of the living again. To be there for him. Thank you, for being his family when I couldn't." Jin tightens his arms and wonders when he started crying, "Thank you for saving us, Yusaku Fujiki."
Yusaku Fujiki is still stiff in his hug, but he hesitantly pats Jin's back. Hopefully one day, Jin can walk out of this facility and Yusaku Fujiki will be there to hold him properly. Until then-
“It’s almost time to go, Jin.” Shoichi knocks on the door.
Jin stops hugging Yusaku Fujiki, who straightens with a huge blush running all over his face. Cute.
Yusaku Fujiki coughs, “I’m on my way out.”
Shoichi pokes his head in, smiling. He walks over and leans in to give Jin a hug. Jin returns it, waiting for Yusaku Fujiki to subtly run out the room before saying anything.
“What did you and Yusaku talk about?” Shoichi beats him to it.
Jin shrugs, “Nothing important, I do need to tell you something though.”
Shoichi pulls back, so they’re face to face.
“You better give him more hugs, he clearly hasn't had many.” Jin replies, smiling just a little.
Shoichi stares at him with wide eyes, then looks around wildly with a huge blush on his face, too. Jin giggles.
Promotional Post for the Chapter: https://loganelfreeces.tumblr.com/post/187855639834/humans-are-social-creatures-ya-know-chapter-4
Chapter 5: 5) Takeru
Takeru sucks at math, but Yusaku doesn't and is helping him out, thankfully. He's also a cat?!
Takeru groans and plants his face on the table, “I quit, I can’t do this.”
“Don’t give up, Takeru!” Flame calls, probably still waving his little fans, “You can do this!”
“What are you stuck on?” Yusaku’s chair scrapes against the ground, as he walks over to his side.
Takeru lifts his head as Yusaku sits next to him, pouting at the maths question as if it personally offended his entire family, “It’s asking me to do something and not even telling me how! How can I fix a problem I don’t know how to solve? I swear we haven’t been taught this in class!”
Yusaku hums and looks at the problem Takeru last wrote on, “Yeah, the instructions are vague, but if you look at the data, you can work out what it wants from you.”
Takeru squints at it, staring the paper down. He can see the information, but it's not making much sense, if any. Takeru groans and pulls at his hair.
"You already have the total. It's just asking you to work out how you got that total." Yusaku points at the data.
Takeru reads it, then snaps his fingers, "Oh!"
He laughs and starts to do the calculations, Yusaku helping him out with the places he's struggling. Finally, he finishes it.
Flame cheers, "I knew you could do it, Takeru!"
Yusaku nods at him, "You'll be fine."
Takeru laughs and hugs Yusaku, "Not without you! Thanks!"
Yusaku is stiff in his arms, so Takeru blinks down at him, "Yusaku?"
He suddenly poofs and Takeru finds himself with an arm full of black cat with green eyes and Yusaku's hair.
"What the fuck?!" Takeru mutters.
The cat hisses and scratches his face. Takeru falls back-
And jumps out of bed.
Takeru spends a while taking deep breaths and presses his hand to his heart.
"Takeru?" Flame blinks at him from his Duel Disk, "Is it another nightmare?"
Takeru shakes his head, "I don't think so? Yusaku turned into a cat when I hugged him?"
Flame stares at him and breaks out into giggles, "Now that's odd."
Takeru laughs with him and then goes back to sleep.
Promotional Post for the Chapter: https://loganelfreeces.tumblr.com/post/187885164749/humans-are-social-creatures-ya-know-chapter-5
Chapter 6: +1) Ryoken
Ryoken was only visiting Den City. He didn't intend to run into Yusaku Fujiki, but as always, fate has other plans.
Ryoken was only back in Den City for a shopping trip. He was just getting some basic supplies, like water and vegetables. He was only going to be there for 5 hours at the most.
Of course he couldn't have anything as simple as a grocery trip without Yusaku Fujiki showing up.
Ryoken glances at his left, where Yusaku is standing there. It's only been two years since Ryoken has been in Den City, but he's grown up. He's gotten taller and a bit broader, but he's still the most beautiful man Ryoken's ever seen. His eyes still shine. He's not wearing the black hoodie he used to own or his school uniform, instead in black skinny jeans, a purple shirt and a blue jacket that fits him.
Ryoken swallows, "Yusaku Fujiki."
Yusaku is staring at him and Ryoken wants to just go about his day, but he can't look away.
"Where have you been all this time?" Yusaku murmurs.
Ryoken turns his head away and walks past him. Yusaku grabs his shoulder, pulling Ryoken to a stop. Perhaps all his time in the Vrains has made him soft.
"Not this time." Yusaku hisses behind him, "We're going to talk."
Ryoken has to chuckle at that, "Still stubborn, I see."
Yusaku huffs, grabs his wrist and drags him to the self checkouts. He doesn’t let go of his wrist as he does his shopping, helping him by putting the stuff in the bags. The two walk out of the shop and they’re both silent as they walk through this city. Nothing has changed about it. Ryoken doesn’t know if that’s a good thing, or not.
They talk when they finally reach, “Stardust Road, huh?”
Yusaku keeps his eyes ahead, “I come here, whenever I miss you. Or need to think. That tends to happen every other day, practically.”
Ryoken blinks at him, feeling his face heat up a little, “I see.”
They approach a bench and Yusaku tugs them both to sit in it. It’s here where Yusaku finally lets go of his wrist and Ryoken is already missing his touch. He didn’t realize that this much time without him, hurting and wishing he could just turn back the clock, would be nothing compared to the pain he feels not being able to touch him here and now.
Yusaku is the one who speaks first, looking him in the eyes, “Why leave and never come back? We had unfinished business, Ryoken.”
Ryoken swallows, his nerves on fire from that simple mutter of his name. He’s not sure why he never came back. Well, that’s a lie. He knows exactly why he never came back.
He remembers the way Yusaku screamed when he was 6 years old and losing Duels.
He remembers the way Playmaker was on his knees, before he could summon his Firewall Dragon.
He remembers the way Playmaker fell before him on the Tower, when Revolver prayed he’d just log out.
And Ryoken is a coward. He wants to be closer, but he wants to run. He wants to hold his hand, but he can’t do it because he’s not worthy. He wants to hold him and protect him, but he’s only hurt him and kept him distant.
Ryoken can’t possibly be a person who Yusaku Fujiki can have in his life and be happy.
So he gave him that card and ran away. But he should have known. They’re prisoners of destiny. Ryoken can never escape him and a part of him doesn’t want to. Because as bad as he must be for Yusaku Fujiki, no one makes him happier.
Ryoken didn’t realize he’d stopped looking at Yusaku. He lifts his head.
Yusaku is hesitantly reaching out his hand, as if asking for a hand shake, “I’ve been wanting to talk to you for a long time. But I know I can’t make you. So, if you can’t do this now and have to leave, can you at least promise you’ll come back some day? When you’re ready?”
Ryoken suddenly gets the feeling he’s not on Earth now. It’s like the world’s disappeared and they’re the only ones here. Yusaku, offering his hand, just like he always has.
And Ryoken, the coward who can never take it.
His vision gets blurry and Ryoken reaches for his eyes, trying to work out the problem. His hand comes away wet. He-
Ryoken suddenly notices he’s sobbing, shoulders shaking, covering his mouth to hide the sounds, but it’s too late, Yusaku is staring at him with those wide green eyes. Eyes Ryoken sees in his nightmares, dreams and memories, eyes he thought when he was 8 years old were the prettiest eyes in the whole world and-
“You’re too good for me.” Ryoken covers his eyes, because he can’t stand the sight of him, “All I’ve done is bring you pain, but you want me in your life all the same. Why?! Haven’t I hurt you enough?! If I enter your life again, I’ll just bring you pain again! You deserve better, damnit!”
Ryoken doesn’t know how long he sits there, sobbing into his hands like a child. His father would be so ashamed of him. The knights would be ashamed of him. Ryoken’s ashamed of himself, damnit.
A hand settles on his shoulder hesitantly. Then it wraps around his back and Ryoken finds the backs of his hands pressed to a soft blue jacket. Another arm wraps around his shoulders, pressing his face into that jacket and her feels a nose rest in his hair.
Yusaku is silent throughout Ryoken’s breakdown, just holding him close. Ryoken could have cried for 5 minutes or 5 hours and he wouldn’t have noticed. Yusaku doesn’t let go though.
Ryoken eventually pulls his head out of Yusaku’s shirt and drops his hands to look up at him, “Wha-”
“You have brought me pain. But that being a reason to leave is not suitable for three reasons.” Yusaku starts running his fingers through Ryoken’s hair, “1. Everyone I care for has brought me pain, be it through seeing them suffer or through suffering together. 2. Suffering makes us stronger and helps us overcome our difficulties. 3. I would not be who I am, if I hadn’t gone through everything that I have with you.” Yusaku… smiles.
Suddenly Ryoken’s head is being pressed into his shoulder, as Yusaku holds him tighter. His heart is pounding, his head is spinning and this can’t be reality.
“Everything we’ve been through together made me into who I am today, Ryoken. All of my experiences, even the painful ones with you, are precious memories to me. I want to have a new future, where we create more experiences together. Even the painful ones.” Yusaku rubs his back, “Humans are social creatures, ya know? People need each other or they get sick. I learned that by making friends, but I couldn't have done that if I hadn't known you, Ryoken. Thank you."
It’s like a key slips into shackles, unlocking everything that Ryoken’s ever held back and his head is full of everything he’s ever wanted to say to Yusaku.
Your eyes are beautiful.
Are you ticklish?
You’re the strongest person I know.
Am I worthy to be at your side?
I want to see you smile.
What makes you laugh?
But instead all that bubbles out as Ryoken hides his eyes in Yusaku’s shoulder is, “Thank you, Yusaku.”
Yusaku hums and Ryoken hesitantly returns the hug, wrapping his arms around Yusaku’s back. Yusaku keeps running his fingers through Ryoken’s hair and it’s the most soothing sensation Ryoken’s felt in years. He doesn’t know what the future holds. But if he can be with Yusaku, he can face it.
Promotional Post for the Chapter: https://loganelfreeces.tumblr.com/post/187906726069/humans-are-social-creatures-ya-know-chapter-6