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time has brought your heart to me

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Nasch never got married. That much Durbe was sure of.

Remembering their pasts was one thing - but they still had so much time, and multiple lifetimes to keep track of, easy for them to get lost in the details, but yet, Durbe was sure of this one. He remembered visiting Nasch every now and then, easier to get close to him with Mach, but whenever there was peace in his home country, or when Nasch needed his help, he would be there.

He remembered Merag too, from childhood, before becoming a priestess, vowing to never marry. He did not remember anyone on Nasch’s side, he didn’t have a second throne in his throne room, he was certain.

He couldn’t recall if it just never happened, were there plans for it, or if not, why not. He couldn’t even remember if he asked Nasch about it or not.

Durbe was vaguely aware, he very vaguely remembered that his parents wanted him to get married one day. Can’t be a knight forever, they said. You need to have children who will carry on our name. Did he not have siblings? He wasn’t sure about that either.

He remembered Nasch and his sister more than he remembered his own family from back then. He wondered what that said about him.

He remembered finding Nasch.

He was dead by that point.

He had no idea what happened - the enemy was already gone by the time they got there, Vector was also already gone.

And Nasch was also gone.

And Durbe remained alone.

He barely remembered the way back to his kingdom, but he remembered the state he found it in. He remembered his comrades’ swords turning against him, he remembered Mach refusing to leave his side.

He remembered the red glow and his own scream.

 

~*~

 

That was a long time ago. Durbe remembered more from the Barian World - and even that was in the past now, the Barian World having merged with the Astral World, they did not need to show up there all the time to look after their people.

They could live a normal life.

Well.

As normal as anything could get for them.

Even as years passed, and one by one all graduated middle school, and went to different high schools, they still did not go far from each other. Especially as most of the Barians did not have a place to live and a family to go back to - but Nasch and Merag technically still had ownership of the Kamishiro mansion, it was a good place for all of them to live at.

Well.

Almost all of them.

(Nobody really knew where did Vector live, and Durbe himself thought they should have known, it was better to keep an eye on Vector after all, but also… it was also better if he wasn’t anywhere near them. Not like it really kept him away, but still.)

And of course, it meant there were a lot of visitors all the time.

And one of these regular visitors was obviously Yuma Tsukumo.

 

~*~

 

Yuma was… well, himself. Hard to define.

He was constant movements, endless energy, and unrelenting optimism and enthusiasm. He was naive to a fault, and Durbe never understood how quick and ready was to trust any of the Barians, even after they had tried (and succeeded) in killing his friends before. Just a little time after the disaster at Sargasso, he was fully trusting when he ran into Durbe right next to the ruins where there was a Number… and even after realising who Durbe was, he was still thankful for everything, and open to the idea of working together.

Durbe did not get it.

Yuma also was ready and willing to forgive Vector - Nasch told him at one point that even after he proved over and over again he was a liar and someone always ready to backstab everyone, Yuma still ran over there, and was ready to die for him.

It was baffling.

(And yet, ever since that time, Vector had been on his best behaviour that Durbe had ever saw him. He was still a menace, and absolutely exhausting to be around. But he hadn’t tried to double-cross anyone for years, and there had been a distinct lack of murder attempts. And that was always something.)

(Not counting that time when someone actually tried to kill Yuma. But that time almost everyone around their group went downright murderous, so that one was hardly something Vector could be blamed for.)

Not to mention being around Yuma was tiring. He was restless, enthusiastic, and his energy was actually infectious. Durbe wondered how did his other friends, who were around him more than he was could handle him.

He wondered how could Nasch handle him.

Truth to be told Durbe wondered a lot about Nasch when it came to Yuma.

 

~*~

 

Durbe always thought that once he finds Nasch, it will be all simple - that he will come back without question, that he will lead them again and save them all.

He was both right and dreadfully wrong.

Nasch did lead them again, and they all got saved, but the details were different than what Durbe imagined - and most of them were different because of Yuma Tsukumo.

He did not think about it that much first, but it was Merag who pulled him aside after they all revealed themselves, and told him gently.

“Durbe, if we can, we should try to take Yuma out before Nasch has to face him.”

“What do you mean?”

Merag shook her head.

“It would kill Nasch if he would have to be the one who… has to take Yuma’s soul.”

“...why?”

“Durbe…” Merag’s voice was somewhat annoyed. “What do you think why did Nasch ask Vector to kill him if his resolve would waver? Because he knows the effect Yuma has on him. And I don’t want him to… he already had to make a hard choice to come back to us.”

“Why would it be a ha---”

“Durbe, listen to me!” Merag snapped, pointing at Durbe, now clearly annoyed. “Nasch would do anything for the Barian World. He is shouldering all this responsibility, the least we could to is to… make sure he doesn’t have to face the one who would be the hardest one for him to face.”

“...I understand that he would be a challenge bu---”

“I am not talking about the challenge,” Merag hissed. “I am talking about the fact that Nasch cares about Yuma the most in the human world, and having to… defeat Yuma and take his soul might actually break him. And I don’t want that.”

Then Durbe got it.

He didn’t get it - Nasch was Nasch, his leader, his friend for centuries, surely a boy that he had known for such a short time wouldn’t…

Then he saw the way Merag’s eyes were full of pain as well, as much as she seemed to try to harden her resolve.

“...Merag…?”

“Yuma isn’t going to be an easy opponent, and Astral is there with him,” Merag said, grabbing Durbe’s wrist. “But the two of us together can defeat them. I’m sure we can.”

“...why?” Durbe asked, confused. “Why is he… and if he is, will you be fine with fighting Yuma, then?”

Merag straightened her back.

“Yuma is a dear friend of mine,” Merag admitted. “But I owe it to Nasch to try to take this weight off his back. And it will be easier for me than for him, as Nasch was always closer to Yuma than I was. And… I owe Yuma this as well. I would much rather be the one to take him down, as a friend, than to leave him to Mizael or Vector.”

“Then why are you asking me?”

“...because you are my friend, and I’m not sure I could do it alone.”

Her voice was surprisingly honest and blunt - Durbe wanted to ask her if she meant it in duelling or emotionally.

He did not ask.

“Alright. I’ll help you, then. Let’s spare Nasch from that weight.”

Of course it did not happen like that, but Merag’s request did not leave Durbe’s mind.

 

~*~

 

Despite everything - despite what every Barian had done to Yuma’s friends, despite the fact that he broke down screaming and crying during that horrifyingly long day… Yuma greeted them back with a smile, and never brought it up.

He accepted all of them with open arms, even Vector, and never once blamed them for anything. Honestly, Durbe wondered if given a bit more time and chance, Yuma would have befriended Don Thousand as well, seeing that he gained Eliphas’ respect after all.

Probably that was a bit too far.

Probably.

Seeing Vector actually behave himself for the first time since forever, made Durbe question things.

Even outside of Vector - Alit and Gilag were both fond of Yuma, which was obvious, Merag also considered him a dear friend… Mizael was harder to read, but there was a slowly growing sincere fondness.

And of course…

Nasch.

 

Durbe tried to wrap his head around Nasch and Yuma, but… couldn’t.

He had known Nasch for so long - a trusted friend, a caring brother, and most of all, a responsible leader.

None of these changed, and yet.

Nasch was leading all these centuries but now, he was following.

He was following Yuma Tsukumo, and his endless enthusiasm. He always had an exasperated expression on his face, and never stopped himself from voicing his opinion and calling Yuma an idiot, but he was following him, and Durbe did not get it.

He asked Nasch once, and Nasch looked at him, shrugging.

“Because Yuma is an idiot. Someone needs to keep him out of trouble, because even if I tell him to do otherwise, he will do whatever he set his mind to.”

It made sense, but also it was something that Durbe could not stop thinking about. 

 

Especially after one time.

 

They were at high school by that point - the group splintered into different schools, but Durbe and Nasch of course were at the same one, as so was Yuma, even though in three different years, and Durbe was already worried about the future when he will have to leave school before Nasch does, when…

 

It was early morning, Nasch, Merag and Durbe walked towards the same school, and there was a commotion.

“Someone is climbing the school’s walls!”

Someone yelled, Nasch snorted, rolling his eyes.

“I hear the idiots are out early.”

Then he froze in his steps, his eyes finding the person - and the very distinctive spiky hair the person had.

“Fuck.”

“It looks like it’s your idiot,” Merag said, amused, and Nasch immediately took off running in Yuma’s direction.

Durbe just stood there, legs not moving.

“...his idiot?”

Merag looked at him, raising her eyebrows.

“Please, Durbe. Try to catch up.”

And with that, she also went after her brother, obviously not wanting to miss the spectacle.

 

~*~

 

It’s not like Durbe did not notice.

It’s not like it was easy to ignore the way Nasch’s eyes would turn fonder when just watching Yuma from the distance. The way that he would jump to his defense at the nearest sign of trouble.

He noticed that when he thought Nasch was just Ryouga, how viciously he clung into Yuma, protecting him tooth and nail, scolding him when Yuma was too trusting of Durbe. But he thought that once Nasch would be back, all of Ryouga’s memories would fade away, and…

But they did not.

The memories he got while he was Ryouga, they stuck with him, and all the feelings and bonds as well. The same was true of Merag as well, but…

But Merag wasn’t Nasch.

And it felt like Nasch wasn’t just Nasch anymore.

And Durbe… he was just Durbe.

Durbe was not Yuma.

 

He would have done anything for Nasch, but all Nasch saw was Yuma.

 

~*~

 

“Can I ask you something, Yuma?”

“Sure! What is this about?”

Yuma was sitting outside on a bench, looking through his phone, but immediately putting it down, all his attention focused on Durbe, as he sat down next to him.

It was some school event - there were a lot of duels going on earlier that day, and now it was mostly just dancing and talking, and it was hard to find Yuma, and even harder to catch him alone.

“Can you tell me how did you befriend Nasch?”

Yuma tilted his head to the side.

“Shark? Why do you ask?”

“I…” Durbe hesitated. “I know Nasch. But I do not know Ryouga Kamishiro, so I’m… curious about that.”

“Huh…” Yuma was obviously deep in his thoughts for a few moments. “I don’t think there is that much of a difference. Shark is still Shark.”

“But he isn’t,” Durbe insisted. “He is Nasch.”

“Yeah, sure,” Yuma nodded. “But ever since he remembered being Nasch he did not change much. Was Nasch that different?”

Durbe hesitated a little.

“No,” He admitted in the end. “But… please. Just tell me. How did you two meet?”

Yuma looked at Durbe, still obviously confused, but he started to talk.

Or rather - ramble.

“Well, hard to tell, really. I always knew he was in my school, a year ahead of us. A bit of a celebrity, you know, being that great at duelling, but then became a troublemaker… I probably ran into him a few times before but not like we really talked, until he took Tetsuo’s deck on a weird power trip after coming back from the Championship, and then--- hey did you know he was actually the first one Astral and I duelled together? He was! He also got possessed by a Number. It was also my first win! He wasn’t too happy about it. Kinda sulking, actually. And then decided to quit duelling, so I chased him down to get him to duel again. Joined a gang and everything. Then we tag duelled! My first ever tag duel was also with Shark! And he gave me Armored XYZ. I still have it in my deck, actually! Get a lot of use out of it. And then---”

Then he went on, and on, and Durbe just listened, trying his best to keep up.

It was… weird, listening to Nasch doing things like that - then again, he remembered, back when they were humans, Nasch as a teenager would sometimes sneak out of the palace, running into small fights with thugs on the street. He always had a rebellious streak, and Merag would always run after him to bail him out, and later Durbe would be there too. Durbe also knew that Merag as Rio Kamishiro had an accident, so it was not unlikely that without Merag or Durbe there he would have gone off the rails.

The thought scared Durbe. Nasch without Merag and Durbe? Neither of them being on his side? It was a horrifying thought.

Then he looked at Yuma, who was rambling about the Duel Carnival and Tron’s plot, and how Tron wanted to use Nasch as his assassin…

“How come he didn’t do it?”

“And the--- huh?”

“Nasch. I can’t imagine him not going through his revenge. You saw him against Vector too. I saw him against Vector way back then as well. He is very determined when it comes to avenging the ones he cares about.”

“Oh well…” Yuma looked a little sheepish. “We faced each other in the semi-finals. I took control of Shark Drake away from him and I… I couldn’t choose. I didn’t want to give Shark Drake back as he caused him so much pain, but if I would have lost, then Astral… I couldn’t pick between Shark and Astral. So Shark he… made the choice for me. I didn’t win that duel because I was better - he made the choice to help us go forward and finish it all for the sake of… all of us. For Shark and his sister. For the three brothers. Tron wasn’t really… in a good place back then. And Shark saw I was not able to make the choice.”

“...that does sound like something Nasch would do.”

“That’s what I mean,” Yuma beamed. “I don’t think he really changed all that much.”

Durbe was silent, not really knowing what to say.

All the things Yuma said they sounded like things Nasch would have done and yet…

And yet.

“...you don’t really like me, do you, Durbe?”

He looked at Yuma, taken aback, and saw the twinge of sadness in his eyes.

“I…. what are you talking about?”

“It’s alright, you know, but I can tell,” Yuma shook his head. “You always look at me so weird. And… Shark’s sister mentioned you and Shark were always very close friends. Are you scared I want to get between you two? I wouldn’t do that! Shark is very important to me but I know you are very important to him as well. So you don’t have to worry!”

“It’s not that I---” Durbe started, before shook his head. “It’s not…”

Was it really not that?

“...I just don’t understand you, Yuma, that’s all.”

“Oh? Well we can solve that easily!”

“We can…?”

Yuma jumped to his feet, and then pointed at Durbe dramatically.

“Duel me, Durbe!”

“What?!”

“We all understand each other better if we duel,” Yuma beamed. “That’s how I befriended almost everyone! Duelling them, duelling alongside them. Through a duel, we can all understand each other better. That was one of the first things I learnt from Astral, you know. And it helped me a lot. Besides, you are the only Barian Emperor I never duelled against at all! So now, we gotta!”

Yuma was still full of restless energy and he was still pointing at a dumbfounded Durbe, but really, there was no saying no to Yuma when he was being like that. (Nasch and Kaito were the best at saying no to Yuma, in Durbe’s experience, but even they were quickly worn down and eventually dragged along with whatever Yuma thought up either way.)

So Durbe just stood up, and faced Yuma, whose face immediately lit up.

“Alright, I will duel you. But don’t expect me to go easy on you.”

“I wouldn’t even want you to! I want you to go all out, Durbe, and so will I! And that way, I’m sure we will understand each other!”

 

Duel disk, set!

D-glazer, set!

Duel!

 

~*~

 

Durbe once ended up asking Vector about what was it about Yuma that made Vector act like the way he did - how come he hadn't tried to double-cross them in a while. Vector just looked at him like he was an idiot, before shrugging and saying that it is nothing complicated. That Yuma is just a simple soul, not hard to understand, so if Durbe doesn’t get it yet, he will one day.

And also mentioned he will laugh at Durbe the day he understands it all.

Which, obviously was no help at all.

Duelling Yuma was just as challenging as he expected it to be, and couldn’t really let his thoughts wander off - he had to keep concentrating on the sheer chaotic nature of Yuma’s duelling.

Yes that was the best description - Yuma was a being of pure chaotic energy, in his everyday life just as in his duelling. Which was ironic, as he was apparently a part of Astral, who was supposed to be a being without Chaos.

Maybe that’s why Barians were that drawn to Yuma? They were all pure Chaos energy as well, after all.

No, that was not it. Maybe a part of it, but that would not explain all of it - and would not explain the non-Barians all ready to follow Yuma to hell if needed. The Arclight family, Kaito and his associates, all of them were also there.

It did not explain it.

 

Yuma laughed through their duel. Even when Durbe took out a big chunk of his Life Points, he laughed, kicking himself to his feet. He complimented Durbe and--

“Just watch me! I will make a comeback, so you better watch out!”

He was sincere.

There was nothing fake about Yuma Tsukumo.

He wore his heart on the sleeve, and his heart was ready to forgive everyone, and take everyone by the hand, and help.

He would run after a guy who destroyed his most prized possession, just because he seemed like he was not himself.

He would grab the hand of a guy who tried to kill him and his loved ones multiple times and even succeeded in some cases.

And he would do it completely sincerely, without any hidden agenda.

 

In the end, Durbe lost, and fell to the ground - Yuma was there almost immediately, extending a hand towards him, and Durbe took it.

Yuma’s hand was soft and surprisingly strong as he pulled Durbe to his feet, and Durbe realised he was smiling.

“So? Got your answer?”

Yuma asked eagerly, and Durbe realised two things.

One, he was still holding Yuma’s hand.

Two, yes. Yes, he understood completely now.

Yeah.

He understood.

 

~*~

 

Durbe did not know what to do with this new situation. It was actually quite troubling, and he did not expect this development at all. He wanted to understand, but he didn’t think he would understand. Not this way. Not like this.

What was he supposed to do now?

He could just carry on like nothing happened, he supposed. In a way, nothing did - they still went to school, Yuma still was an unending ball of energy bouncing off from everyone. Nasch still only had eyes for him.

And…

It was not hard to see how much Yuma adored Nasch. There were two people who were most important to Yuma. One was back in his own world, occasionally meeting up with them, and the other one was Nasch, never too far from Yuma.

And even after that, Durbe could make a list of people who were most important to Yuma - Kaito, definitely. His family. Vector, bafflingly. Kotori and Tetsuo, and the rest of the Numbers Club.

And Durbe, Durbe somewhere down the line.

He would never, ever look at Durbe the way he looked at Nasch.

And while Nasch genuinely treasured Durbe, he still only had eyes for Yuma.

So…

He really could not do anything.

 

~*~

 

So he decided to not do anything in the end. There was no point to it was there?

Nasch and Yuma…

Everyone could see it.

People liked to hang out at the Kamishiro mansion - it was huge, with a big area around it to fool around, and as most of the Barians did live there, visiting them there was the most reasonable.

Obviously Yuma was also hanging out there a lot as well, which attracted even more visitors.

Durbe was standing on one of the balconies, looking down, where Yuma was having a playful duel with Nasch, and he couldn’t look away.

“So, Durbe. Jealous?”

The taunting voice still made the hairs on the back of Durbe’s neck stand up, as he glanced up - as Vector was sitting on the roof above him.

“You are talking nonsense, Vector.”

“Sure. I see your pining puppy eyes. Still wondering about what you asked me?”

Durbe looked away, back at the duelling pair.

“No.”

“Ooooh? Reallly now?” Vector was snickering. “You can join the club. You all should make T-shirts.”

“No.”

“C’mon, cheer up,” Vector seemed very amused. “At least Nasch won’t strangle you for it.”

“He isn’t strangling you either.”

“Well no, but he wouldn’t strangle you either way. The only reason he doesn’t strangle me is cuz Yuma would not like that.”

Durbe sighed.

“We are all painfully aware of that, yes.”

“Either way, the discussion wasn’t about me now! Do not change the subject!” Vector leaned forward. “Whatcha gonna do about this?”

“I don’t plan on doing anything.”

“Awww. Lame.”

Durbe opened his mouth, but then another sharp voice spoke up, as a new person walked out to the balcony.

“You aren’t doing anything either, Vector. So you have no high ground here. Now get lost before I throw you off the roof.”

Merag appeared on the balcony, glaring up at Vector, who just snorted, and stood up.

“Well, I am literally on a higher ground than either of you.”

“You won’t be if I throw you down.”

“Gotcha, gotcha. I was just trying to help the lovesick knight over here. Is that such a bad thing?”

Merag just glared up at him, and Vector disappeared with one last snicker, and Durbe let out his breath, fixing his glasses.

“Durbe…”

“Thank you Merag,” Durbe interrupted her. “He was getting on my nerves.”

“Well you are getting on my nerves.”

Durbe was taken aback, looking at Merag’s annoyed expression, as she put her hands on her hips.

“...Merag?”

“Vector is an annoying pest, but he does have a point. How much longer do you intend to pine here?”

What was he going to do?

Deny it?

To Merag?

So Durbe just looked away, back to the dueling pair - the duel already ended, and Durbe realised he had no idea of the outcome. To be honest, it seemed like neither of them particularly cared about it either.

“...what would be the point?”

“...talk with my brother. You idiot. And not just vaguely. Tell him everything. We had known each other for how long? Do you think it would go badly?”

“...it’s different now.”

“Why? Because of Yuma?” Merag shook her head, annoyed. “If anything, Yuma just makes things less complicated.”

“I wonder about that.”

“That is the problem,” Merag rolled her eyes. “You wonder too much, think too much. Just go there and talk about it.”

 

~*~

 

Catching Nasch alone wasn’t actually hard - Nasch always knew how to sneak off when he really wanted to, which really, just showed despite how often he would complain about the others annoying him, he did not really mind it at all.

“Nasch?”

Nasch raised himself up from his position on the sofa in one of the Kamishiro back rooms, and laid back when he saw who it was.

“Ah. Durbe. I thought it was gonna be Alit again because he can’t find something. That guy forgets where everything is. What am I, his mother?”

“Most certainly not,” Durbe agreed, as he walked in, and sat down into one of the armchairs, dropping his hands into his lap.

Nasch glanced to him, his eyes immediately focused, and alarmed.

“Is there something wrong?”

“No,” Durbe shook his head. “I just… I recently talked with Yuma.”

“Ah,” Nasch nodded, as if that explained everything. “How did that go? Did that guy get on your nerve too much?”

“No, it’s just… he thought I disliked him for some reason.”

“Did he now?”

“So he said we should duel to help me understand him.”

Nasch snorted, closing his eyes, and there was a small smile on his lips - a small, fond smile that made Durbe’s heart ache, a smile that Nasch might have been fighting, but he was unable to.

“Of course he did. That’s what he always falls back on. So, who won?”

“...he did.”

“And did it work?”

“Yeah. I think it did.”

“It’s kind of odd,” Nasch said, opening his eyes, but he only stared up at the ceiling. “How much all of you guys grown attached to him as well. None of this would work without him, I suppose. All those centuries of work and planning, and it all falls back to just one guy who just refuses to give up, or to sacrifice anyone.”

“You are also attached to him,” Durbe found himself saying, and Nasch was quiet for a few moments.

“It’s different. I had known him before I remembered all of you. It’s hard to tell what would have happened if I had met with him with having all my memories. But I guess there is no use dwelling on it now. It is what it is.”

“...we talked about you, you know.”

Now that made Nasch look at him, and Durbe just continued with a soft voice.

“I was curious… Ryouga Kamishiro did remind me of Nasch, but I wanted to know… it was odd, not having been at your side for years, and you forming new friendships without… it was odd. So I asked him, and he talked to me about you. About your life without us.”

“Durbe…”

“And I think I understood it that way,” Durbe kept going. “Why you look at Yuma the way you do.”

“And what way is that?”

“...like he is the best thing that happened to you.”

Nasch was silent for a few moments, before he snorted, and kicked himself to his feet.

“That is a stupid thing to say,” Nasch said, with an annoyed voice, slowly walking closer to Durbe. “In a way, Yuma is the best thing that happened to all of us. The whole conflict would have had no chance to wrap up as nicely as it did without Yuma.”

“You still asked Vector to kill you, in case you would have a lapse,” Durbe pointed it out. “And don’t tell me it wasn’t because of Yuma.”

“Of course it was because of Yuma. That guy once chased me through the town demanding that I duel him,” Nasch’s voice was annoyed. “He is just like that.”

Durbe looked up at Nasch, who looked down at him, with a frown.

“What bothers you, Durbe?”

“...I think I was… I was wondering why you were looking at Yuma the way you were, and not at me.”

A lot of different emotions ran through Nasch’s face, and Durbe looked down, his heart beating in his throat.

“But then I talked Yuma and duelled him and I started to understand it. He really is like… really just like that. Like a magnet, pulling you in, and just there is no way to resist. It’s easy to… start loving that smile of his.”

“...Durbe, you…”

There were sounds of scuffle from outside the room, and then the door opened, and there was Merag, dragging a bewildered Yuma inside.

“You all need him for your little heart-to-heart,” Merag said, with a voice that accepted no arguments. “I hope none of you will come out of here until you sorted it out. I had grown tired of you dragging this out.”

“Rio---”

“Shark sis---”

“Merag---”

The three of them called out after her, and she listened to precisely none of them, before closing the door behind her, leaving them alone.

There was silence around them.

Yuma scratched the back of his neck, as he looked at the two of them.

“So… do you two know what this is about?”

Nasch turned to face Yuma, completely, one hand in his pocket.

“We were just talking about you, actually.”

“Huh?” Yuma tilted his head. “About me? Why?”

“I heard you two duelled,” Nasch said, putting one of his hand to his pocket. “You won, huh?”

“Yup!” Yuma nodded, standing up, and looked at to Durbe. “You want a rematch, or…?”

“I don---”

“It’s a great idea,” Nasch interrupted Durbe’s words. “How bout all three of us play? Battle Royale rules. Everyone on everyone. One winner.”

Both Yuma and Durbe stared at Nasch, who smirked a little, and Durbe felt his heart skip a beat.

“Furthermore, obviously the winner gets a prize,” Nash continued, raising a finger. “Let’s see. The winner gets to ask something the two losers. And the losers have to be honest.”

“Ooooh?” Yuma blinked rapidly, and Nasch grinned.

“Win or truth. Are you two in?”

“What are you playing at, Nasch?” Durbe asked, but Yuma already was jumping around in place.

“Of course I am in!”

Nasch looked at Durbe, raising his eyebrows.

“What about you, Durbe?”

Durbe sighed, and pushed himself to his feet.

There was a light in Nasch’s eyes that Durbe had no idea how to define, but his heart was up in his throat.

So he just went with it.

 

Duel disk, set!

D-glazer, set!

Duel!

 

Between Yuma’s chaos and Nasch's almost ruthless, pointed tactics, Durbe had to be on his toes, and at the very least, the other two seemed like they had to pay attention as well.

But in the end, Nasch came out winning - Yuma had stumbled backwards, and Durbe also crashed back on his couch, with a sigh.

But he couldn’t help smiling a bit.

“Well, I won. So I get to have a prize.”

Durbe looked up, and Yuma perked up as well.

“Oh right! You get to ask something from us.”

What would Nasch ask?

There was a small smirk on his face, as he closed his eyes.

“Get over here. Both of you.”

Durbe pushed himself to his feet, and walked closer, and so did Yuma, standing on Nasch’s two sides - and Nasch put his hands on their wrists, holding them there.

“I have the same question to both of you. Would the two of you be willing to go out all together? The three of us?”

Silence.

Durbe opened his mouth.

“Huh? I mean… where? Just outside?”

Upon Yuma’s clueless question, Nasch’s face suddenly turned into a scowl.

“Really?! You ruined the mood, idiot!”

“But?! What do you mea---”

“You still don’t really know the effect you have on people, do you? Clueless.”

“Wha---”

He couldn’t finish it.

He couldn’t finish it, because Nasch leaned forward, pressing his lips by Yuma’s lips, cutting his words short, and he still did not let Durbe’s wrist go.

Then Nasch pulled away, and Yuma looked at him like he hung the moon - and Nasch turned away, and Durbe realised what was he going to do, and he still was not prepared for when Nasch kissed him as well.

It was doubtful he could have ever been prepared for it - after all these years, centuries of watching Nasch, being on his side, suddenly he was here, kissing him, and nothing could have prepared him for it.

He unknowingly leaned after him when Nasch pulled away, and when he opened his eyes, Nasch looked kind of annoyed, especially as he looked back at Yuma.

“Do you get it now?”

Yuma let out a soft ooooh sound, and Durbe stepped forward, reaching out his free hand, just to grab Yuma’s hand to pull him closer, so he could kiss him as well - and Yuma kissed him back, enthusiastically, his kiss was just as electric and comforting simultaneously as everything Yuma was doing.

“Good,” Nasch sounded pleased, as Durbe and Yuma parted. “I’ll take this as an answer to my question.”

“So… is this why your sister threw me in, Shark?” Yuma tilted his head.

“I assume so,” Durbe replied. “Merag had been bugging me as well.”

“Seriously…” Nasch shook his head. “She just can’t mind her own business.”

It made sense, Durbe figured. Merag was always there, even from way back there.

Figured she would have a hand in sorting this out as well.

Durbe will need to thank her.

But he did not feel like letting go of their hands yet.