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Day 1, Chapter 2: Temperature; Takeru/Yusaku (firestormshipping); rated G; fluff; established relationship of sorts

Day 1, Chapter 3: Temperature; Ignis!Ai/Yusaku (aiballshipping); rated G; fluff

Day 2, Chapter 4: Touch; Naoki + Yusaku; rated G; this is me wanting to see Yusaku laugh

Day 2, Chapter 5: Touch; Android!Ai/Yusaku (aiballshipping); rated G; definitely shippy 

Day 3, Chapter 6: Three Things (actually, just three works better here); Ryoken/Yusaku (datastormshipping); rated G; shippy or platonic, you decide; pining 

Day 3, Chapter 7: Three Things; Spectre/Yusaku (wisteriashipping); rated G; definitely shippy

Day 4, Chapter 8: Family/Found Family; Yusaku + Roboppi; rated G; a little angsty I guess;;;

Day 4, Chapter 9: Family; Shoichi + Yusaku; rated G

Day 5, Chapter 10: AU (actually, fairy tale AU to be precise); Takeru/Yusaku (firestormshipping); rated G; snippet from a longer fic I would like to write—includes dragons and curses and princes! 

Day 5, Chapter 11: AU (another fairy tale AU!); Ai/Yusaku (aiballshipping); rated G; this is more like a quick version of an AU I’m sort of writing;;;

Day 6, Chapter 12: Memories; Ai/Yusaku (aiballshipping); rated G; ANGST ANGST ANGST I'M SORRY THIS IS ANGST but I think it's a happy ending... bittersweet? Something between those two;;; ALSO NOW CANON-DIVERGENT with more of a "what if they actually did fuse" spin 

Day 6, Chapter 13: Missing a Friend; Takeru/Yusaku (firestormshipping); rated G; can be platonic or shippy; post-canon reunion

Chapter Text

Word Count: ~400
Rating: G
Pairing/Characters: Takeru/Yusaku (firestormshipping)

x

Yusaku hates winter. Hates how cold his fingers and nose get when he has to walk to school at the break of dawn. Hates how the snow dampens his clothes just enough to let the cool breeze penetrate his jacket. Hates how not even the matching scarf and glove set Kusanagi bought him last year helps keep the afternoon gusts of wind out.

“Yo, Yusaku!” Takeru calls, rushing up beside Yusaku, cheeks rosy. “It’s cold today, huh?”

Yusaku nods, gaze wandering down Takeru’s body. “You’re not cold?”

Takeru laughs, shrugging, “Nah. I keep pretty warm. See?” Without a warning, Takeru reaches his hand out of his pocket and touches Yusaku’s cheek. He was right—there’s warmth to his skin. Warmth and tenderness and sweetness. But he pulls away too quickly, robbing Yusaku of the promise of spring.

“I guess it’s gonna snow tonight,” Takeru continues, frowning at the sky. He isn’t particularly happy at the prospect of snow, but then, Yusaku isn’t either.

A sneeze interrupts Yusaku’s thoughts. Takeru eyes Yusaku with worry, but Yusaku grumbles, “I’m cold,” before Takeru can voice his concern.

They fall into a comfortable silence, neither realizing Takeru didn’t turn right to head to his flat. He’s following Yusaku home instead, keeping a careful eye on his shivering friend.

The traffic light changes. Yusaku stops at the corner across the street where he lives and angrily glares at his flat and the fact that the heater doesn’t work. He’s about to say something—some off-handed comment about winter and snow—but Takeru’s arms wrap around him before he’s able to part his lips.

Takeru is warm. Warmer than sunshine and knitted blankets and campfires. His arms are strong, pulling Yusaku into a tight embrace, promising nothing but protection against the rush of wind that threatened to turn Yusaku’s nose red.

“The heater at my place works,” Takeru murmurs, warm breath gentle against Yusaku’s ear.

Yusaku rests his chin on Takeru’s shoulder and closes his eyes. “It does?”

A nod. “Yeah and I can make us some tea.”

Takeru’s become accustomed to Yusaku’s silence. Welcomes it. Understands that when Yusaku’s arms come up to return the embrace, he’s thanking Takeru for the warm hug. For always looking out for him. For the hint of heat dusting his cheeks. 

It is much warmer in Takeru’s flat, sitting by Takeru’s side, melting in Takeru’s arms. Yusaku never wants to leave.

Chapter Text

Word Count: ~310
Rating: G
Pairing/Characters: Ignis!Ai/Yusaku (aiballshipping)

x

It was the first time Ai experienced a real winter. Not that he could feel the cold. His body wasn’t like Yusaku’s. He didn’t tremble when the small heater in Yusaku’s room broke, nor did he begin to feel numb from the chill. Still, Ai could tell the temperature was steadily dropping. Frost was kissing the window sill, and every time Yusaku coughed, a puff of vapor left his lips.

As if on cue, Yusaku groaned and tossed in bed until the blankets covered his head. Ai didn’t think Yusaku was faring well. Besides wearing two hoodies, he was wrapped beneath three thin layers of blanket, and now the sad lump was a shivering mess. 

Poking his head out of the duel disk, Ai tried calling to Yusaku. To make sure he was still alive and all. “Yusaku! You awake?” There was no reply. “Did you freeze? Does this mean I’m no longer your hostage?”

“Shut up,” came the quiet mumble. 

Ai knew Yusaku was somewhat okay, but something told Ai that, if he didn’t act quickly, his origin was going to die! Shaking his head, Ai jumped out of the duel disk and allowed his body to expand and transform.

Yusaku didn’t notice his ignis was up to something until a much heavier Ai plopped onto his side and six long tendrils wrapped around him. “Ai! What do you think you’re do--”

“Shh,” Ai hummed, pulling the blanket off Yusaku’s head to nuzzle into Yusaku’s hair. “You’re too stubborn to get the heater fixed, so I’m helping.”

“This isn’t helping,” Yusaku lied, brows knitted in frustration.

“It’s not? What about this?” Ai’s tentacles squeezed Yusaku tenderly and brought him into a tighter embrace. “That feels nice, doesn’t it~?”

“No,” Yusaku muttered, eyes closing, body relaxing, easing into slumber.

Ai chuckled, claiming the soft snores vibrating in Yusaku’s chest as a victory.

Chapter Text

Word Count: ~350
Rating: G
Pairing/Characters: Naoki + Yusaku

x

Naoki’s intention was not to surprise Yusaku, although the reaction he received was endearingly cute. A bit threatening, but cute.

Yusaku had fallen asleep in class. It wasn’t uncommon for Yusaku to doze off, and as Yusaku’s best friend, Naoki stayed behind after classes ended and trotted over to wake him so that he didn’t accidentally spend the night in an empty school.

“Oi, Fujiki, wake up! Duel Club’s starting!

Yusaku didn’t budge.

“Oi, Fujiki! Did you stay up all night or what?” Naoki wrinkled his nose and shook his head. It was very irresponsible of Yusaku to sleep during lectures, but there were days when Naoki stayed up late too, logged onto LINK VRAINS with the hope of seeing his soulmate, and ended up going to bed past midnight. So he understood. To some extent anyway. “Oi, Fujiki, look! It’s Playmaker!”

No response. Naoki sighed, frustrated, and decided it was time to take matters more seriously.

Yusaku’s initial reaction to the tickling was laughter. It was an odd, foreign sound, but definitely nowhere near as strange as the expression—the smile!—Yusaku made while laughing. His immediate response thereafter was an angry stare, one that might have served as a warning for Naoki to run away had it come from anyone but Yusaku.

“Shima, wha--”

Naoki laughed. The pout on Yusaku’s face and his sleepy glare gradually becoming cuter as Yusaku tried to stand and hold onto some form of dignity. “Fujiki, you should laugh more often. That serious face doesn’t suit you.”

Yusaku sighed, grabbed his school bag, and made a turn to leave. Naoki, however, wasn’t quite done with their conversation, so he threw his arm around Yusaku’s neck as best he could and pulled him into a playful hug.

“Shima,” Yusaku mumbled, too tired to break away, legs moving in the direction Naoki led him.

“Wait until I show you my cool new cards,” Naoki announced with a giant smile. His awesome new cards would wake Yusaku up for sure! But if they didn’t, the least Naoki could do was make sure Yusaku made it home.

Chapter Text

Word Count: ~290
Rating: G
Pairing/Characters: Android!Ai/Yusaku (aiballshipping)

x

It wasn’t the first time Ai touched Yusaku. Ai recalled plenty of instances when he would press his face against Yusaku’s cheek or reach out to hold onto Yusaku’s face. Sometimes, when Yusaku’s gaze had been glued to the computer screen for too long, Ai would sit on Yusaku’s arm and nuzzle into him, memorizing the way Yusaku’s fingers tapped at the keys. There had even been times when Ai would place his hands over Yusaku’s in an effort to grab his attention, boredom unbearable though Yusaku was a terrible conversation partner. 

“You’re soft,” Ai murmured, voice a lot gentler than he expected it to be, but then, he wasn’t quite ready for the feel of Yusaku’s skin against his, for the warmth that seeped into his pseudo-flesh and the tenderness with which Yusaku intertwined their fingers.

“You are too,” Yusaku observed, eyes caught in wonder at how perfectly their hands fit together.

Yusaku was right. The SOLtiS were machines made flesh, as real as possible considering Ai didn’t need oxygen nor food to live. But the difference existed in their body temperature—in the way Yusaku’s cheeks turned into a light pink when Ai reached for his chin and leaned down for a kiss. 

Yusaku melted into Ai. Weaved his fingers through Ai’s hair. Pulled him close. Ai smiled into the kiss, releasing Yusaku’s hand in favor of wrapping both arms snug around Yusaku’s waist and keeping him there, plastered against his chest, wrapped in the warmth of his arms and cape.

Hugging Yusaku was comfortable, for they fit together seamlessly, as if they had been created to complete each other and only each other. The only problem was Ai didn’t know if he could ever let him go. 

Chapter Text

Word Count: ~530
Rating: G
Pairing/Characters: Ryoken/Yusaku (datastormshipping)

x

The yearning had taken a hold of Ryoken’s heart at a young age, back when he first heard Yusaku’s screams. Back when he helped free all the victims. Back when he wanted nothing more than to run and comfort the small boy he had inadvertently lured into hell.

The first time he had sense to act on his desires was a complete failure. Ryoken hadn’t seen Yusaku in three years. Hadn’t so much as initiated contact on LINK VRAINS or any network Yusaku—Playmaker—frequented. Hadn’t thought too long about how he was going to greet his former enemy-turned-comrade if—when—he saw him again.

Fate had linked them. Joined their lives before they even knew each other’s names. Tied it with a frayed red thread and left them to undo the knots. 

Yusaku blinked, confused to see Ryoken buying a hot dog at Café Nagi. 

“Fujiki Yusaku,” Ryoken said, greeted with a nod and a half smile. He watched as Yusaku stood and walked up to him, the proximity alluring. Tempting. 

“Ryoken,” Yusaku replied, a faint smile gracing his lips.

Ryoken left without another word. 

x

The second time was just as embarrassing, made worse only by the fact that their accidental collision scorched his skin. Scarred it. Left him longing for the remedy he was still too afraid to grab a hold of.

Ryoken hadn’t seen Yusaku turning the corner. When their bodies crashed, Yusaku groaned, the familiarity of his voice instantly ringing bells in Ryoken’s head. Reaching out, Ryoken grabbed Yusaku’s arms to hold him up, to prevent him from falling like they both had on the day they met. 

Spring grass green met clear sky blue. Ryoken’s arms felt empty, but he released Yusaku after an awkward minute of staring and glanced at the books scattered on the floor. 

“Let me guess. Computer science.”

Yusaku nodded, gaze lingering on Ryoken’s face, eyebrows thoughtful. “I’m late for class,” was all he said as he leaned down to gather his books. 

It was Yusaku’s turn to walk away. 

x

The magic number had always been three. It was how a young Ryoken coped with the stress of his father’s crime. How he taught Yusaku to clutch onto hope. How he first recognized whom Playmaker—his enemy, his what-could-have-been—was.

The stars glimmered overhead, dancing upon Stardust Road, illuminating the two wandering souls. They hadn’t planned to meet, but their connection needed no words, only action, only Ryoken’s conviction to reach out, to wrap his arms around Yusaku and bring him into a safe embrace.

Ryoken knew Yusaku never blamed him, that there was no reason to apologize, but the whirlwind of regret had always been inside Ryoken’s heart, shaking his beliefs with the strength of Yusaku’s determination to save him. It was a childish, foolish fear, but he was only human, and his desire to hug the terrified, lonely boy he ached to call a friend and say he was sorry never ebbed. 

Yusaku smiled. Wrapped his arms around Ryoken. Returned the hug with a squeeze of his own.

Ryoken closed his eyes. It had taken him thirteen years, but he finally felt whole again. 

Chapter Text

Word Count: ~395
Rating: G
Pairing/Characters: Spectre/Yusaku (wisteriashipping)

x

They had little in common, save for the three things that brought them together in the first place.

The first was their inability to communicate properly, which was perhaps the reason Spectre never officially asked Yusaku out and why Yusaku never assumed they were dating. That is, until Valentine’s Day when Shoichi asked Yusaku if he had plans with his boyfriend. The conversation was awkward, but Shoichi seemed convinced the two were dating. Yusaku, however, continued to ignore the signs even as they were clearly presented to him on the dinner and dessert platters Spectre spent all day preparing. 

The second had less to do with verbal communication and everything to do with constant physical contact. Spectre never said it out loud, but he knew there was charm to their bickering. Magic to their constant disagreements and arguments. Desire in their glares and eyerolls. It reached a point where, whether on the street or standing side-by-side in the kitchen, Spectre’s body swayed, moved toward Yusaku’s until the tiniest sliver of skin brushed against skin. 

Yusaku, too, couldn’t stop himself from bumping into Spectre, especially after an argument. From reaching over him as they sat on the couch and allowing his arm to caress Spectre’s. From sweeping soft locks of hair behind Spectre’s ear and letting his fingertips linger against a reddening cheek. 

“You do that a lot,” Spectre commented, light turquoise eyes burning holes into Yusaku’s gaze. 

“Hm?” Yusaku hummed, trailing his fingertips across Spectre’s temple. 

Spectre rolled his eyes. “Touch my face. You do it a lot.”

Yusaku blinked, mentally noting all the times he accidentally slid his hand against Spectre’s cheek over the last week. When he concluded Spectre was right, Yusaku pulled away and shrugged. “I guess I like your face.”

Spectre didn’t believe him, but he brought his arm around Yusaku’s waist and pulled him close. Close enough for the scent of pine and jasmine to tickle Yusaku’s nose. Close enough for Spectre to press his lips against Yusaku’s forehead.

It was comfortable in Spectre’s arms. Comfortable enough for Yusaku to close his eyes and lull to sleep.

The third commonality was their longing to nap locked in a half-embrace. It didn’t happen too often. Not with their conflicting class schedules. But it happened enough, which wasn’t to say either acknowledged it, but neither did they deny their bodies what they craved.  

Chapter Text

Word Count: ~500
Rating: G
Pairing/Characters: Roboppi + Yusaku

x

The first thing Roboppi registers upon awakening is her master’s face. She is a newly created program, so she does not know much about humans, but she thinks her master has a kind face, albeit he looks rather young. 

“Hello, master,” she repeats from her bank of programmed greetings and waits for the young boy to reply. When he offers her a small smile, Roboppi beeps in excitement. 

“I’m Yusaku,” he says, wrapping his hands around her small body and placing her on the floor. “This is our home.”

Roboppi logs the name, looks around the small room, and begins her work cleaning the flat. He was right—the room is small, but she immediately realizes she has plenty to do to keep busy. 

x

Yusaku does not talk much, but Roboppi doesn’t mind the silence. She can keep to herself just fine, and she likes listening to the birds that chirp in the mornings and the beat of the keys Yusaku creates when he sits to do homework. The only sound she doesn’t like is the sniffling she sometimes hears coming from her master’s bed. Sometimes, the sound is accompanied by sobbing, which she also does not like. Other times, her master will sit up in bed, fold his knees to his chest, and hug his legs. 

“Master, would you like some tea?” Roboppi asks every night she sees him hug himself. 

Her master never replies verbally, but he smiles sadly and shakes his head. 

x

As the months pass, Roboppi’s master cries less and less. He is also out more often, and sometimes he does not come home at night. Roboppi grows concerned, but it is not her place to question her master’s whereabouts. Instead, she makes sure the apartment is sparkling so that, when he does come home, a smile will grace her master’s lips.

It always works. When Yusaku enters his room, Roboppi welcomes him home, and a small but genuinely happy smile appears on his lips. Roboppi likes that reaction. Likes it when her master smiles, for he seems lonely and doesn’t have any friends, but the smile means he must be happy. As happy as she is!

Yusaku kneels in front of Roboppi one day. Reaches out. Rubs her head. Roboppi does not know why the tender pet means so much to her, but her circuits feel warm, and her tiny arms vibrate when she peers up and sees Yusaku smile directly at her.

“Master looks happy,” she observes, wiggling as Yusaku wraps his fingers around her small body and brings her closer to his face.

“Thank you, Roboppi,” is all he says before he gives her a small hug.

Roboppi feels appreciated and vows she will always do her best for her master. But first, she returns the hug by extending her tiny arms and reaching them around Yusaku’s neck. She didn’t know why humans hugged, but she gently squeezes Yusaku and thinks she might like to do it again someday soon.

Chapter Text

Word Count: ~390
Rating: G
Pairing/Characters: Shoichi + Yusaku

x

Yusaku’s affection had blossomed from the start, ever since Kusanagi first laughed off Yusaku’s awkwardness and told him he could have as many hot dogs as he wanted. Yusaku didn’t like the idea of running his only ally out of business, but Kusanagi would never hear it and always had a meal ready for Yusaku. It might not have been much, but the gesture touched Yusaku, made him feel cared for and loved. 

The food was nice, but it was Shoichi’s constant support that warmed Yusaku. That made him feel as if he wasn’t alone in the world. That made him feel a part of something more than just a couple of hackers working together because they had a common goal. 

Yusaku didn’t consider himself the sentimental type. He wasn’t sure how feelings worked. Didn’t like the idea of touching or sharing secrets or being vulnerable with just anyone. Yet he knew, as the days crept by, that Shoichi was important and that all his body wanted was to embrace the warmth Shoichi unconditionally showered on him and bask in it during moments of uncertainty.  

Yusaku never said a word though, right up to the very end. Instead, all he could muster was a firm, “Thank you, Kusanagi-san,” as he mentally prepared to duel Ai. He knew his gratitude was enough for Shoichi, but a simple thanks didn’t seem quite enough to convey just how much Shoichi meant to him. Still, it was all Yusaku could say, and the smile was all he could offer.

Shoichi laughed. “That sounds like a goodbye,” he replied.  

Yusaku stood, not saying a word. His duel with Ai had many uncertainties, but he didn’t say that out loud.

Shoichi had always been good at reading Yusaku, though the hug was unexpected. Pleasant. Warm. But definitely not what Yusaku anticipated. Still, Shoichi’s arms around him made pink kiss his cheeks and the smile on his lips grow. It was exactly what Yusaku needed—a reassuring gesture from the one whom he trusted the most.

“I’ll have dinner ready for you, so you better hurry back. And bring Ai, too. We’ll have a party right here in my truck,” Shoichi promised, rubbing Yusaku’s back before he gave him one final squeeze and released him. 

Yusaku couldn’t contain his smile. “Yes, Kusanagi-san,” he replied, nodding, meeting Shoichi’s gaze.

The gray in Shoichi’s eyes reminded Yusaku of home.

Chapter Text

Word Count: ~910
Rating: G
Pairing/Characters: Takeru/Yusaku (firestormshipping)
Notes: It’s 3 in the morning OOPS! This is some type of fairy tale AU. More about it below!

x

Takeru couldn’t stop shaking, no matter how sharp the blade he wielded was. The fact that the entire kingdom had raised him for the sole purpose of slaying the dragon that had taken up residence on the outskirts of their small land was something Takeru could never accept. Sure, he liked heroics. Liked horseback riding and fencing and galivanting in the countryside, but when it came to slaying an actual beast, Takeru wanted nothing of it. He didn’t like the idea of hurting anything, much less drawing blood, and he didn’t think he could kill something, even if the dragon was scaring his people into leaving.

The dragon’s roar made the floor tremble. Takeru swallowed, grasping the hilt of his sword tighter.

No one alive had actually seen the dragon, but descriptions of its ferociousness and blood-thirsty savagery infused countless tales Takeru had heard as a child. Many lives had been lost to the beast, Takeru remembered hearing. The dragon won’t hesitate to bathe any intruder in fire, was another popular ode Takeru had been told.

Taking in a deep breath, Takeru resolved to make one strike, in its heart, and be done with the bloody task. If he succeeded, his people would be happy, and if he failed, he wouldn’t have to live with the guilt of hurting another creature.

In one fell swoop, Takeru pulled his blade our of its sheath and dashed around the boulders hiding the entrance to the dragon’s lair. If he were lucky, the attack would be a surprise, and he could get the upper hand before being roasted alive.

The dragon was smarter than Takeru. Unfurling its wings, the dragon turned, hearing Takeru’s footsteps the second Takeru began sprinting closer. Takeru faltered in his step. Stopped. Swallowed the shriek that threatened to escape his throat as the beast stood on its to hind legs and spread its wings wide in a show of strength.

Lavender blue eyes met a vivid green gaze. The dragon was much smaller than Takeru expected, its eyes more humanlike than he imagined, its roar not as intimidating as he had thought. In fact, the dragon seemed almost timid, as if afraid of Takeru. Reluctant to attack. Wary of every movement Takeru made, but hesitant to make any sort of strike.

Dropping the sword, Takeru realized he couldn’t hurt the dragon, no matter the expectations of his people. “I bet you haven’t hurt a soul, have you?” Takeru asked, kicking his sword away, hoping the dragon understood.

The dragon watched Takeru carefully, finally curled its wings back into itself, and huffed, emitting something between a roar and a whine from its fiery throat.

Takeru laughed nervously, “Sorry, I don’t understand dragon.”

The dragon knew, of course, so it followed by turning around and showing Takeru its back.

There was some kind of blade between its wings, a blade with a hilt the resembled Takeru’s. “You want me to take it out?” He asked, blinking when the dragon nodded once and bent closer to the ground.

Takeru almost asked the dragon why it could understand him, but he figured he’d have a better chance conversing a toddler than a dragon. Instead, he moved closer to the beast, climbed up its side, and wrapped his fingers around the blade.

Pulling the sword out wasn’t the problem. It was not hitting his head on a rock or skewering himself alive as he rolled onto the floor that was the issue. Somehow, Takeru managed to survive the fall, but when he looked up, he quickly realized removing the blade had triggered some type of light show within the dragon.

The stripes on the dragon’s wings glowed a vivid blue, while its grayish-white body began to sparkle. Takeru furrowed his brows, heart sinking when he realized he had been tricked, when he realized the dragon might indeed perish by his hand. Tossing the second sword aside, Takeru lifted himself from the ground and lunged himself at the dragon, unsure of what his actions might accomplish, yet desperately trying to save the beast from an untimely death.

“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to hurt you!” Takeru yelled, wrapping his arms around the dragon’s long neck in an attempt to hug the pain away. “Please, I didn’t mean it!”

The dragon roared, its wings wrapping around Takeru while its body illuminated the cavern. Takeru closed his eyes, the light blinding, the roar unbearably loud. Though he couldn’t see what was happening, he could feel the dragon’s body transforming in his hold, morphing into something not quite as scaly or cold or--

“I think you broke the spell,” came a soft voice.

Takeru opened his eyes and met his gaze to the same vivid green stare. This time, however, he wasn’t peering into the eyes of a dragon, but into the eyes of a young man who appeared to be no older than he was.

“Spell?” Takeru asked, arms still snug around the boy’s neck. “What spell? Hey wait, you’re not actually a dragon?”

The boy shook his head. “I was cursed, but you broke it when you hugged me,” he explained, his own arms loosely wrapped around Takeru’s waist.

Takeru blinked, light pink dusting his cheeks. “I guess this is where I introduce myself, huh?” He laughed nervously, but added, “I’m Takeru.”

“Yusaku,” the once-cursed-dragon murmured.

“Yusaku,” Takeru repeated, smiling at the boy in his arms. He wasn’t sure what he’d tell the kingdom, but something told Takeru he and Yusaku were now bound by destiny.

Chapter Text

Word Count: ~1020
Rating: G
Pairing/Characters: Ai/Yusaku (aiballshipping)
Notes: This is my “What if VRAINS was loosely a The Frog Prince type fairy tale in which Ai only wants to transform back into his princely self and save his kingdom but Yusaku refuses to kiss him to break the spell” AU. A quick version since I have so many random plot points I’d want to cover in this AU if I actually ever wrote it all out;;;

x

“Hey, Yusaku! If you give me a kiss, I’ll transform into a prince!”

The first time Ai suggested such a thing, Yusaku sighed heavily and tossed his duel disk against the wall. Ai whined, but he always whined whenever Yusaku was concerned, so Yusaku ignored his cries and firmly told him to be quiet, unless he wanted to kiss another wall.

That had been their interactions for the better part of two months. When Ai first made it to LINK VRAINS, he had hopes of finding a hero and persuading them to help him retake his kingdom, Cyberse World. Unfortunately, Yusaku ruined all of Ai’s plans when he captured him and held him hostage without knowing who Ai was.

Apparently, Yusaku thought Ai was the one responsible for attacking LINK VRAINS, so he refused to release Ai. No matter how many times Ai tried to explain the curse placed upon him and his home, Yusaku ignored him and promptly told him to shut up. That certainly wasn’t the way to treat a prince, so Ai devised a new strategy—he would convince Yusaku to kiss him! That way, he could break the curse, and bam! They could save LINK VRAINS and Cyberse World together. Plus, depending on Ai’s mood after his kingdom was saved and how well of a kisser Yusaku was, Yusaku might score himself a ridiculously hot boyfriend. It was a win-win for everyone!

Ai was prepared the second time. He waited until Yusaku was in bed, until he was out of reach to ask Yusaku his burning request. “Are you sure you don’t want a kiss? Ai could be your boyfriend~!”

Instead of hitting the wall, Ai was knocked onto the ground by a pillow. “You’re an awful captor! Treating a prince this way!” Ai complained, crossing his arms. 

“Be quiet,” was Yusaku’s reply. 

Ai had a lot of work to do if he was going to save his kingdom.

x

It became apparent very quickly that the two shared a common enemy. Whoever was attacking the Cyberse World was also attacking LINK VRAINS. Once Yusaku and Ai realized the attacks were launched by the same people, it was natural for them to come together, to work together, to learn to depend on and trust each other. There was strength in their bond, even if they looked the other way and never acknowledged it, and only through their partnership could they defeat the Knights of Hanoi, the real enemy, and save their worlds.

“You know, if you kiss me, I could be of more help!” Ai appealed, watching in horror as Yusaku’s—Playmaker’s—life points dwindled against his opponent.

“Now’s not the time,” Playmaker countered, planning his strategy, setting his cards, anticipating his opponent’s next moves.

“You’ve never outright told me no!” Ai retorted, waving his arms to get Playmaker’s attention.

Playmaker called an attack. When it connected, he smirked, then looked down at Ai. “I don’t believe you’re a prince,” he admitted, smile growing when Ai began to whine. “But I now know we can win this. We’ll save our worlds together, Ai.”

Ai blinked up at his partner, Playmaker’s confidence illuminating his face, instilling excitement within Ai. For some reason, if Playmaker knew they could succeed, Ai was willing to forgo his plans of breaking his curse until after his kingdom was saved.

With a firm nod, Ai agreed. “You’re right, Playmaker. We’ll do this together!”

 x 

The war was finally over. The Knights of Hanoi were defeated. The destruction of LINK VRAINS was halted. And the enchantment on Cyberse World was lifted.

“You did it, Playmaker! You saved LINK VRAINS! You saved Cyberse World!” Ai cheered, flailing is arms in the air, small tears gathering in the corners of his eyes.

Playmaker smiled, but the weariness in his body caused his legs to give in. He almost didn’t hear Ai’s cry as he fell, but he managed to catch himself on his hands and pushed himself into a seated position with what little strength he had left.

“Playmaker!” Ai repeated, pulling out of the duel disk in order to rub Playmaker’s forearm. “Yusaku, you need rest.”

“Ah,” Playmaker hummed, gaze falling to Ai. “We did it,” he corrected, smiling, the green of his eyes sparkling when they met Ai’s sunshine stare.

A pang of happiness rushed through Ai, followed by a wave of warmth. He tried to call to Playmaker once more, but his voice faltered, eyes distracted by the sudden burst of dark clouds that wafted around him and consumed his small frame.

“Ai?” Playmaker’s eyes widened, watching in a mix of horror and confusion as the clouds surrounding Ai grew in size and floated free from his duel disk. “Ai, answer me!” Playmaker tried again, brows furrowed, heart racing in fear as he watched the strange smoke billow into a funnel and spin dramatically. “A--”

“Yo, Playmaker,” Ai’s voice greeted from the shadows, except it didn’t sound quite like the typical Ai. His voice was slightly deeper, and the way he said Playmaker was much throatier than usual.

Playmaker raised a brow. “Ai?”

The clouds dissipated, and all that was left before Playmaker was a man. A very beautiful man with long dark hair, golden eyes, and thick curled lashes. 

“Oh no,” were the only words that came out of Playmaker’s mouth before Ai threw himself on the ground and wrapped his arms around his neck.

“You did it, Yusaku!” Ai shouted, squeezing Playmaker tightly, nuzzling his cheek against Playmaker’s.

Playmaker winced, his arms subconsciously wrapping around Ai’s waist in an effort to steady himself. “I thought the spell could only be broken by a kiss,” he mumbled, pink kissing his cheeks.

“Hm,” Ai hummed, trying to think back to the original curse. “Oh! It wasn’t a kiss!” Pulling away slightly, Ai looked down at Playmaker and smiled. Grinned. Blushed and leaned down until his nose touched Playmaker’s. “Only true love can break the spell.”

The blush spread across Playmaker’s entire face, but before he could mutter a very stern shut up, Ai pulled Playmaker back into his arms and fused their lips.

Chapter Text

Word Count: ~1200
Rating:
Pairing/Characters: Ai/Yusaku (aiballshipping)
Notes: My version of an ending I guess. Angsty. I’M SO SORRY I DIDN’T WANT TO WRITE ANGST FOR THIS EVENT, BUT I’M SAD VRAINS IS ENDING AND ALL I WANT IS FOR THESE TWO TO BE HAPPY

x

Yusaku hates memories. Hates living in the past. Hates being unable to let go. To move forward. To push away the recollection of safety wrapping around him, holding him, embracing him, protecting him from anyone who even dared to look at him with so much as a hint of animosity.

The memories are vivid. The first time Ai hugged him, all tentacles, no warmth. All long and slippery and data, no hint of humanity in the flesh and skin. All laughter and teasing. All gentleness and delicacy. All sweetness despite Yusaku’s narrowed eyes and Ai’s obvious drive to fill Yusaku with a sense of discomfort.

Before that time, Yusaku couldn’t remember being hugged. Couldn’t remember if he had ever been hugged as a child. But Ai hugged him. Playfully. Stupidly. Warmly. He brought his tentacles around Yusaku’s waist and torso and arms and held him against what would have been his chest had he only been human.

“Aw, Yusaku-chan, you’re blushing~!”

“Shut up.”

“Would you let me hold you like this if I were human? Hmm?”

Yusaku never replied, but Ai received some sort of answer when they met for the first time after Ai acquired his SOLtiS body.

“Since you came here, let me show you what’s inside,” Ai said, arm extended to the side, almost as if proudly displaying the foolishly elaborate welcome elevator he had designed just for Yusaku.

Yusaku nodded and followed Ai. He didn’t try to hide his emotions, his disappointment and disenchantment with the situation. His poker face came naturally, after years of loneliness and despair, of hopelessness and anger, of sadness and resentment. But he thought Ai could sense his frustration, could feel it despite not having a real beating heart.

Before the elevator moved, Ai turned to Yusaku. Wrapped his arms around him. Brought him close. Yusaku flinched. Tensed. Furrowed his brows and felt his eyes sting. The hug was tender. Squishy. Adoring. Yet it was brimming with a familiar hopelessness Yusaku never wanted to meet again.

“Ai…”

There was no verbal response from Ai. Instead, Ai tightened his hold and buried his face into Yusaku’s hair.

An array of emotions swept Yusaku’s heart. Made him tremble. Made his cheeks feel warm. Made him want to clutch onto Ai and promise he would protect and shield him the way he had done for Yusaku countless times in the past.

Fingers desperately folded into the fabric of Yusaku’s school jacket, all loneliness. All despairing. All melancholy and yearning and pure and utter lov--

The floor moved. Ai released him, robbing Yusaku of warmth. Of stability. Of strength. But there was little Yusaku could do to take it back and nothing he could do to prove to Ai that he could be saved. That he could belong, with him, in his arms. That they could belong to each other and only to each other if he only let Yusaku pay him back for all he had returned to his colorless, empty life.

“Hey, Playmaker. Come with me.”

“What do you mean?”

“Be one with me. Change your consciousness into data and fuse with me. Only you can stop me. If we’re one, lifespans won’t matter.”

The words registered slowly, each syllable striking Yusaku’s heart with pinpoint precision, chipping away at the roughened edges.  

“We can live in the network world for eternity.”

It was a tempting proposition, to live with Ai for evermore, to be by his best friend’s side endlessly.

“Ai...”

“Playmaker,” Ai beckoned, hand extended.

Playmaker wanted nothing more than to reach out and take Ai’s hand. Hold it. Kiss it. Keep it folded in his, the way it was always meant to be. More than anything, Playmaker wanted to accept the proposal. To be with Ai. To envelop him in warmth. In comfort. In a promise of everlasting unity. 

“Ai, humans aren’t meant to live eternally,” Playmaker replied, smile fused with sadness, eyes glistening with tears, heart crumbling to ash. He closed his eyes and shook his head, breaking the spell Ai’s words seduced his soul into yearning. But he had a better proposal, one he hoped Ai would accept. One that, if realized, would ensure both of their happiness, till death did them part. “Okay. If you win, I’ll fuse with you. But if I win, come with me. Please. Ai.”

The way Ai smiled—anguish kissing the corners of his lips, misery lacing eyebrows, sorrow lining golden irises—it broke Playmakers heart all over again. But Ai, like Playmaker, was good at masking his emotions.

“Have it your way, Playmaker!” Ai shouted, grinning, confidence making his eyes sparkle. “Bring on your final attack!”

Playmaker did just that. He placed all his faith in his next draw and attacked, knowing very well there may be dire consequences. That he might lose Ai, forever. That he might be the one responsible for bringing an end to his other half.

It was easy to hold Ai, to wrap his arms around data, to hold him after his lifepoints hit zero and Playmaker’s tears ceased to stop falling. Playmaker had made choices in the blink of an eye before, but the speed in which launched his final attacked shocked him. He wanted an end to the pain. He wanted the hurt to stop. He wanted their fighting to cease so they could both carry on living. But he didn’t know how he would execute his end of the proposal. How it would affect them. How, if it could even be done, Ai would feel about it.

“Playma--Yusaku,” Ai whispered, smiling, wrapping his arms around Playmaker in a tight embrace. It was a sweet hug. The exact antidote Playmaker’s withering strength needed at that very moment.

“Ai,” Yusaku breathed, letting his body lean into Ai.

Ai squeezed Playmaker. Whispered a soft thank you. Disappeared slowly, leaving Yusaku with nothing but memories of Ai’s body pressing into his and residual wetness against his cheeks.

“Is that reeeeeally what you’re thinking about?” Ai hums, body phasing into Yusaku’s view.

Yusaku blinks, staring straight into Ai’s gaze.

Only a month had passed since they fused. Yusaku is still getting used to sharing his thoughts with Ai, but, at the very least, it is easier to communicate. Easier to show Ai how he truly feels.

With a chuckle, Ai adds, “If you want a hug, just say so, Yusaku-chan~!”

Yusaku narrows his eyes. “Shut up,” he mutters, turning onto his side, gazing falling onto his duel disk. A heavy sigh leaves his lips. He doesn't feel a weight on the bed—Ai’s body is no longer tangible—when Ai settles onto it, but he can almost feel the warmth around him when Ai rests his arm atop Yusaku’s side and wraps it around his chest.

“Are you happy like this, Yusaku?”

Green eyes peer down, watch the way Ai’s hand rests above where his heart is. A small smile kisses his lips. It isn't how he expected the two of them to live—bound in one body, thoughts linked, souls connected—but he can't think of a better alternative.

“Yes, Ai. I’m happy.”

Ai might tightened the embrace—Yusaku cannot tell—but it is his laughter that truly fills Yusaku with warmth and brings color to his lifeless memories.

Chapter Text

Word Count: ~540
Rating: G
Pairing/Characters: Takeru/Yusaku (firestormshipping)
Notes: Full circle because I started with TakeYusa and am ending with them. Thank you to the host of the event! It was very fun!!! Yusaku should be getting hugs 24/7 tbh!!! If I had a Tumblr, I would leave you a message somewhere, but all I have is Twitter and AO3 xD;

Also, thank you to everyone who read and commented and left kudos! All the feedback made me so happy! Thank you, thank you, thank you so much! <3

x

What was actually only a year and a half felt more like a decade times two.

Moving back home had always been Takeru’s intention, partially because he had family in the country and didn’t want to be far from his only living relatives for too long. His other major reason had been financial, an issue that could be resolved as soon as he graduated high school and applied for jobs. He would be a terrible liar, though, if he said he didn’t miss Den City and, more important, Yusaku.

It had always been hard for Takeru to make friends. Besides Kiku, Takeru either pushed or scared people away. He preferred being alone. His attitude wasn’t the best. And his self-loathing was probably not something most people wanted to be around. Takeru didn’t mind, of course, but meeting Flame changed his outlook, made him realize that friends were important, made him realize he actually wanted friends.

Takeru wasn’t expecting that desire to come crashing out the moment he met Playmaker. He wasn’t expecting to like Yusaku either, not as much as he did the instant they spoke. And he sure as hell wasn’t expecting to crave Yusaku’s friendship more than he craved the familiarity of his hometown.

Playmaker had sparked Takeru’s hope. Restored his will to live. Lit the fire within Takeru’s heart and given him a new purpose in life. But Yusaku was the one Takeru befriended, slowly, despite the reserved glances and no-fun, all-business attitude, and he missed him. Terribly. Unequivocally. Every single day after they parted at the train station with nothing but a fist bump, a smile, and a promise to meet up again in the future.

 

yo, Yusaku, guess what?  

Hm?

  i got a job in Den City! ^o^  

You’re coming back?

yep! there’s no escaping so how ‘bout we get a coffee? :3 my treat!

 

After returning home, Takeru never quite felt whole again. He hadn’t since he lost his parents. Hadn’t since he lost Flame too. But he now spent days mourning distance. Spent days texting Yusaku and waiting endlessly for replies. Spent days missing Yusaku’s blank stare and rare but beautiful smile.

 

Sure. I’d like that.

 

Takeru was the first to spot Yusaku. He was wearing the same hoodie he always wore on the weekends. The same jeans he wore whenever he was feeling lazy. But his expression was different. His eyes caught the sun, and Takeru swore he could see a smile on Yusaku’s lips.

“Yusaku!” Takeru said a little too loudly. Laughing at his own excitement, Takeru bolted down the street, threw open his arms, and caught Yusaku in a hug before Yusaku had a chance to speak.

“It’s been way too long,” Takeru mumbled, squeezing Yusaku tightly, nuzzling into him the way cats nuzzle their human’s palm.

Yusaku smiled and returned the hug. He probably didn’t notice the blush gracing his cheeks, but Takeru saw it. Saw the way the pink kissed his pale skin and the way his green eyes sparkled when he met his gaze to Takeru’s.

“It has been,” Yusaku replied, smile remaining in place. “But I’m glad you’re back.”

It was Takeru’s turn to smile. “Yeah, and this time, I’m here to stay.”