"You’re sleeping over?" Yuma asked him, though he knew the answer already and knew he wasn’t about to stop III—wait, no, Michael from making himself at home on the floor. Michael turned his head to Yuma and chuckled nervously.
"Yes? Yuma don’t you remember the sleepover we talked about?"
Yuma could barely remember, he had probably agreed to it without thinking, more used to people coming over and leaving in the middle of the night to go duel someone or do science or something. His head had been so preoccupied with all the changes in his life that he must have just…forgotten, or hadn’t been paying attention at all in the first place.
Michael grew concerned of Yuma’s worried expression and silence. “Yuma, if you’d prefer me to leave, I can—”
"No!" Yuma jumped back into life, his body completely animated into some spread-legged pose with his arm held out. "No, no, it’s fine! I’d love it if you stayed over!"
Michael shifted his weight to his other foot with unease, but Yuma smiled at him just then and he felt all of the budding anxiety melt away. He had spent plenty of time with Yuma to know when the smiles were genuine or not—or, rather, when they were more genuine that less genuine, seeing that Yuma wasn’t really one for fake smiles. There was always something to smile about for him, which was only one of the things Michael admired him for.
He laughed into his hand and returned Yuma’s smile. “Great! We could duel if you want, I’m up for anything!”
The following three hours were spent by dueling on an old crate in the corner of the attic that probably once held some artifact from another country, and trying to come up with other ways to have fun like normal teenagers do. They had their moments of stop-and-go realization that nothing was looming over them, no danger or threat of dying, and they could just be normal students who spent their days off playing around instead of studying. When they both started yawning nigh constantly, they decided that they could try this sleepover thing again sometime, hopefully with less fumbling about at a loss of what to do with themselves, and even settled on the fact that being with each other was honestly fun enough.
So Michael crawled into his sleeping bag and Yuma scrambled into his hammock, and they bid goodnight to each other. Michael was taking in the serenity of being in this full attic, filled with relics and artifacts that he knew almost everything about, and the moonlight shining through the window, coupled with a cool breeze that set everything at ease. He almost forgot about his observations of Yuma from today, the little quirks of his head to the side pointed to where Astral used to hover, the long pauses during his turns when Astral would encourage him, the brief mentions of his long walks around Heartland that he did back then with his “patrolling,” the—
Michael jumped in his skin and was jolted from his upset thoughts when Yuma spoke in the midst of the silence. “Y-yes, Yuma?”
Yuma barely moved in his hammock, but when he curled a bit in on himself, Michael was hyper aware of it. “Could you…I mean, do you mind if the TV’s on?”
"No, I don’t mind. What channel?" Michael was already sitting up to grab the remote he saw placed on the floor by his feet, and consequently where the TV about was. Yuma sighed and crunched himself up more.
"It should already be on it. They do marathon reruns of ESPer Robin starting at midnight on Saturdays,” he mumbled without any hint of excitedness or anything that Michael would expect to come out of a marathon of, he guessed, Yuma’s favorite show.
Michael turned on the TV and, sure enough, the opening for ESPer Robin was playing, and it was already set fairly quietly. Someone could probably only hear the dialogue exactly if they were perched right in front of it, which, Michael noted, was not at all the position Yuma was in. In fact, the more he stared at Yuma’s back and took in the fairly intense fetal position, the more he started to realize that maybe this wasn’t Yuma’s favorite show. Michael sighed quietly; there were a lot of holes in Yuma that he couldn’t ever hope to fill, but he did hope that he could at least ease the pain.
"You know…I have the first season box set of this show," he lied in the gentle tone he took with Yuma when he was like this, "I could give it to you, I haven’t touched it. And that way you won’t have to wait every Saturday for the marathon."
Michael knew without being told that this is probably what helped Yuma sleep at night, and when he saw the way Yuma had begun to unfold himself he knew he’d hit the hammer on the nail. Yuma inhaled and exhaled a loud, deep breath. Michael wondered if he had been crying, or at least trying not to.
"Thank you," Yuma said, though it was nearly on the verge of a whimper.
Michael settled back into his sleeping bag just as the Galaxy Queen had rambled off her plot again, and he turned himself onto his side so he could watch over Yuma whenever his eyes were open. “I am your sword and shield, Yuma,” he reminded him, “I’m happy when you are. Goodnight.”
He couldn’t sleep until he saw that Yuma had fully relaxed, and when the snoring began in time with the next episode’s “last time on ESPer Robin!" segment, he found himself finally able to put his concerns to rest, and clung to the hope that even if Astral was gone that maybe he could shed protection over Yuma in his place.
As he fell to sleep, he wondered how many seasons of ESPer Robin he was going to need to watch ASAP.