As the Parliament Building shook from the numerous battles against the distasteful dragons that loitered abhorrently amongst the halls, Yuma felt his impatience begin to peak. They were coming. Unit 13. The so-called ‘hope of humanity’. The so-called chosen ones.
The ones that were trying to steal his purpose away from him.
The Military Station was the perfect place for him to show Nodens’ precious Unit 13 what he was capable of. He was the one who was going to defeat the True Dragons and save humanity. Not Unit 13. Not a bunch of emotional humans.
A sense of satisfaction washed over him at the sound of a familiar voice. He continued to lounge causally against the control panel, clenching and unclenching his reptilian hands in expectation. He knew that voice quite well.
Bursting into the room, his weapons sheathed by poised for battle, a samurai with orange hair and vivid green eyes behind red-rimmed glasses was at the forefront, as per usual. His white clothing was stained in numerous places with the blood of dragons. His purple scarf, flowing over his shoulders and down his back, however, was untouched.
Haruki. His favourite.
The two others that were with him were rather inconsequential. A Rune Knight with light purple hair and dark red eyes, while the other was a scruffy looking light-haired butler that was a surprisingly buff God Hand.
Hm? No more? They usually travelled in a group of nine. Ah, the others must still be clearing the way of dragons. Quite clever, actually. If one team fail, the other two could still continue. No doubt precious Unit 13 leader, Haruki, was the one to have thought of it.
“I was wondering when you would arrive, Haruki,” Yuma said as he slid from the control panel where he was perched and slowly approached the small group. “You kept me waiting.”
Haruki swallowed thickly as he took a half step forward, his movements jerky and unsophisticated. “What have they done to you, Yuma?”
“Hm?” Yuma felt a grin spread across his face as he tilted his head to the side. “Whatever do you mean?”
“You know exactly what I mean,” Haruki returned with a desperate shake of his head. “You’ve…changed so much.”
Yuma chuckled mirthlessly. “My power? Are you saying that I was weak before?”
Haruki’s face creased into a look of pain. “You know what I mean!” he said as he took another step forward.
“Ah, are you simply startled by my appearance? A little too dark for you, Haruki?” Yuma continued to question before growling lowly. “How pathetic.”
Haruki winced while the two standing on either side of him, just a step behind bristled protectively. Everyone from Unit 13 was protective of their precious leader.
“Yes, I've always found you pathetic,” Yuma said easily as he kept his full gaze on Haruki, finding a strange sense of pressure in his chest upon realising the expression of devastation on the samurai’s face. “And infuriating that you were always trying to defeat me, to take away my purpose.”
“I-I never wanted-” Haruki stuttered pathetically.
“Behold me now, Haruki,” Yuma interrupted as he allowed his powerful aura to manifest into physical form, creating a darken haze within the room. “I am the strongest being on this entire planet. I'm sure you won't be disappointed in how powerful I have become. But,” he chuckled lowly. “You may be disturbed...”
“Get back, Haruki,” Haruki’s God Hand team said as he grasped him by the shoulder and pulled him back behind him.
“Hn,” the Rune Knight murmured as he whipped out a knife, wielding it with one hand. “We’ll take care of this.”
Stumbling back pathetically, Haruki looked stunned at his teammates. “B-but…”
Tch. He didn’t want to battle those two. Slender, sensual Sachiel and heavily scarred but powerful Michio. A Rune Knight and a God Hand. Not remotely interesting.
Just dispose of them quickly so that he could get back to Haruki. He held a special sense of hatred for him.
It was with sheer annoyance that he engaged the two, Haruki pitifully staying back like he was told, simply watching with a lost expression on his face. The punches, the attacks, the highly trained skills; they were nothing more than annoyances from a mosquito. Honestly, he had expected more from the almighty Unit 13.
A quick backhand would be enough.
“Hng-!” Sachiel cried as he skidded across the floor from the power of Yuma’s attack, his weapon falling from his hand that was bent at an odd angle. He pushed himself up to his knees and clutched his arm, an expression of pain on his face.
“Sachiel!” Michio called out in alarm and concerned, sprinting forward and scooping the purple-haired Rune Knight off the floor and into arms, taking him a safe distance away from Yuma. He cradled the other against his chest as he glared with intense hatred in Yuma’s direction.
Hm? Just a broken arm? Well, that was a surprise. The fragile appearing Rune Knight was stronger than first thought. Not strong enough, mind. Still, it was amusing. But they were wasting his time. He needed to get rid of them. Now.
As Yuma took a step towards the two, Haruki abruptly appeared before him, his twin blades unsheathed and ready for battle. “Yuma, stop!”
“H-Haruki, no!” Sachiel was heard yelling, fear obvious in his voice.
But Haruki shook his head before looking straight into Yuma’s eyes, a desperate expression on his face. “Don't leave…” he unexpectedly said. “You're all that I have. You said that to me, Yuma. You meant it.”
He did, didn’t he? Yuma felt a chuckle escape his lips. “Humans are really such simple minded beings, aren't they? So easy to manipulate.”
“No!” Haruki cried out, his desperation deepening further. “You meant that, I know you did!”
There was a fleeting image of Haruki lying on a bed beneath him. His tussled hair sprawled upon a pillow, his lips parted as he whispered breathless words, his green eyes half-lidded as he stared intently up at him, his lethal but lean body arching under his touch, his nimble fingers raking down his back, his head thrown back in a gasp as their heated bodies became one…
It had felt better than he had expected.
“Yuma…” Haruki’s breathless voice echoed through his head. “Don’t let go.”
“Haruki…” his own voice was pathetically weak. “Don’t leave me. You’re all that I have…”
Yuma abruptly shook his head. What a useless memory. An experiment. Nothing more.
“Just you and me now, Haruki.”
His eyes were…somehow alluring. A vivid green that would light up when he laughed. A green that would turn into shimmering emeralds when he had tears in his eyes. They were…rather beautiful.
And yet…utterly infuriating the way they seemed to glisten from betrayal and anger. And something he can’t quite put into words…
“You’re truly wretched, Haruki. After I kill you, I’m killing all your teammates. One by one. It’s for the best. It’s for humanity.”
He raised his hand, ready to strike Haruki down with one single attack.
It needed to be done. He needed to be removed. For his own sake.
“This will end quickly-” Yuma suddenly stopped and looked down upon himself. There was…a sword. No, two swords in his chest. His gaze unwillingly followed along the sleek blades to the hands holding them tightly. And then…into a pair of sorrowful green eyes.
“You...are no longer the man I know and love,” Haruki whispered before harshly ripping out the twin blades.
Yuma’s breath left him in a rush as he staggered backwards, watching in muted shock as blood, deep red blood, sprayed through the air between them. He tried to lift his arms as such an attack should have futile against him. And yet…
He fell down to one knee. “I…lost? H-how? I…”
“You…hesitated,” Haruki murmured with a sense of confusion in his voice. “Why?”
Hesitated? No, he wouldn’t have…couldn’t have. He was the most advanced being on this planet. He was the pinnacle of evolution. The zenith of power.
Emotions. Feelings. They were insignificant to a sentinel being such as he.
But…Haruki…why? Why was he always thinking of him? How did he manage to ensnare him so easily? So completely?
Yuma fell onto his back. He felt simultaneously cold and warm. But it was an empty warmth. Completely empty. How could he have lost?
“Why am I so useless…?”
“No,” Haruki said desperately, his voice thick with emotion. “You’re not useless, Yuma.”
If he wasn’t useless, how could he have lost? Was it because he was…emotionally attached to Haruki? He did feel that way once. On their first date. At the arcade. Watching the refugees fruitlessly play 7th Encount.
Feelings. Emotions. He tried to get rid of them. He tried.
“All these feelings…no matter how much I tried to ignore them just would not go away,” Yuma murmured and let his head roll to the side, desperately searching for the white-clad samurai. “…Haruki?"
The twin blades he wielded so easily fell noisily to the ground and he collapsed to his knees. Haruki was by his side. “I'm here, Yuma," he said as he crawled closer to him, leaning over him in a comforting manner.
Yuma looked up at the samurai in confusion. “You were…always in my thoughts. Why? It's illogical."
Unexpectedly, Haruki released a mirthless chuckle. “Hah, you were always in my thoughts, too."
Yuma suddenly noticed something on his cheek. Something he felt compelled to brush away. A tear? Haruki was...crying? N-no, he didn't want that. He never meant to hurt him. He just wanted...to be stronger. Haruki he...wasn't meant to fight the dragons. To put himself in danger like that. No, no, no...
Haruki suddenly collapsed against his chest, lying partly on top of him. “It'll be ok, Yuma. Just...hold on, ok?”
“I’m sorry,” Haruki murmured sorrowfully as he pressed his face against his collar bone, his orange hair tickling his chin and throat. “All I wanted was to protect you. I wanted you to see your own worth, but I drove you to this. I’m so sorry.”
“Haruki…” Yuma murmured as he raised his hand, wanting to touch the man crying over him. To comfort him. To apologise to him.
But…as he lifted his hand, all he saw was a horribly deformed, ghastly appendage. His hands were dark and scaly, the nails large and black. Claws. Made for ruthless tearing of flesh and bodies.
“M-my hand?” Yuma choked. “No…I’m a…dragon?”
Haruki immediately lifted his head up off of Yuma’s chest, his hand seeking out to touch his. He wrapped his fingers around the back of his hand and tugged it forward, to allow Yuma to gently caress the side of his face. “No, you’re still Yuma.”
“My eye…why can’t I see from my left eye?”
Haruki squeezed his eyes shut, allowing for more tears to roll down his cheeks. “Oh god, Yuma.”
“Tell me, please.”
“H-horns,” Haruki whispered as he kept his eyes closed. “You have horns growing from your left eye.”
Yuma’s breathing became increasingly more laboured and difficult. “What have I done...? I never wanted this...”
Although his eyesight was failing, he could still see Haruki. His spiky orange hair. The tears on his smooth cheeks. And yet there was an oddly peaceful expression as he turned his beautiful eyes to look directly into his. “What do you want, Yuma?” he unexpectedly asked. “If you could go back and change things, what would you want?”
“What I want...?” Yuma whispered.
What did he want? Admiral Yoritomo was always asking him that. And he had always thought that it was power to destroy all dragons. To be the one to annihilate the True Dragons. He wanted power. Absolute power. He was a weapon for humanity. That was his purpose. His only purpose.
But…Haruki made him feel something, no, many things he had never experienced before. Peace. Happiness. Passion. Love. To hold someone, to touch them without inflicting pain. To simply be in another’s presence and not expect to act a certain way.
“I want…to be with you,” Yuma breathed, his chest burning. It was hard to keep his eyes open. But he had to. He had to let Haruki know. “How or why, I don’t know. I don’t care. I want to make you happy. Just you, Haruki. Just you…”
Haruki nodded his head as he gently caressed the side of his face. “We still have more dates to go on, remember? You promised.”
Yuma coughed, blood pooling in the back of his throat. “I-I did, didn’t I?”
“Go to sleep now, Yuma,” Haruki said as he leaned forward to gently kiss his cheek. “When you wake up, this would be nothing more than a bad dream. I will fix this, Yuma. The 7th True Dragon will not come to be. I won't let it. I’ll fix this universe. I’ll take care of everything. Humanity will continue. And we’ll be there to see it.”
Hm, yes…Haruki would take care of everything. He could be trusted. He could shine the light on despair, no matter what.
Yuma closed his eyes and allowed the comforting embrace of darkness consume him. He still felt it, though. The weight of Haruki lying against his chest. The pain. The sadness. The betrayal. It was still there. He could still see it, too. The look of utter devastation on Haruki’s face. The guilt that he had to rightly defend himself and his teammates. The sorrow. The fatigue.
Suddenly, he felt something gently touch the side of his face. And then a voice. A familiar voice. A beautiful voice.
“Wake up now, Yuma.”
Yuma snapped his eyes open, his body tensing, and his breathing heavy and laboured. There was a ceiling above his head. A residential setting. Somewhere dark and small. And yet…there was a reassuring warmth pressed against his side and a comforting weight on his chest.
Lowering his chin, Yuma found his gaze locking intently with a pair of vivid green eyes. Even in the sparse light of the room he could see that those green eyes were shimmering gently with an expression of concern. And relief.
“Ah, good, I was worried,” Haruki said as a soft smile appeared across his lips and he lowered his hand that had been gently touching the side of Yuma’s face, allowing it to instead rest against his chest. “You were groaning in your sleep. Was it a bad dream?”
Yuma could only stare at the man. “What…?”
Haruki cutely tilted his head to the side in question. “Hm?”
Reluctantly tearing his eyes away from Haruki, Yuma did a quick surveillance of his position. He was lying in a bed, in a room that was decorated with pictures and personal items that he knew and recognised.
He quickly turned back to Haruki, finding the orange-haired samurai laying on the bed next to him, comfortably pressed against his side, his arm draped loving over his chest. They were under the blankets of a large bed, curled up together. Holding each other warmly.
Yuma sighed loudly as he sunk back against the mattress of their shared bed. “I had the most terrible dream,” he murmured as he ran a shaky hand through his hair. “I was-I hurt you and-”
“Shh,” Haruki whispered as he placed a finger against his lips. “It was just a dream.”
Yuma nodded his head. And yet, he still felt…uneasy. “It felt so real.”
“It’s ok,” Haruki immediately said as he shifted slightly, scooting up the bed so that he was resting against the headboard. He then wrapped his arms around Yuma’s neck, cradling his head against his chest as he ran comforting fingers through his hair. “The remnants of that dream will fade away soon enough. We still have a few hours until we need to get up. How about I tell you what we have planned for the day?”
Yuma immediately wrapped his arms around Haruki’s waist and pressed his nose against his chest, drawing in a deep breath to take in his scent while he listened to his reassuring heartbeat. “Hm.”
Haruki’s chuckle was like the chimes of angels. “Well then, the first thing we always do is to try, and ultimately fail, to convince everyone not to plan our up-coming nuptials as the event of the universe.”
Ah, yes, they were…getting married, weren’t they? He remembered now. It was hard keeping it from Haruki until he worked out the best way to ask him to marry him. Unit 13 was supportive, as usual. Although, some of their ideas were a little…how could he put it? Unorthodox?
“Can you believe they are still fighting over it?” Haruki continued, chuckling softly once again. “Allie and Julietta insist that we have the wedding here in Nodens. Ulania wishes for it to be in Atlantis, while Emel and her sister Aytel are both very adamant that the event will go ahead in Eden.”
Yuma chuckled as he remembered their bickering. Leaders at loggerheads for such a reason. It was comforting. However, with the furore the three leaders of the three different time periods were creating, it was a high possibility that they’d be force to hold three weddings just to appease everyone and to ensure that a war didn’t break out.
“Of course, we mustn’t forget your little sister, Mio,” Haruki said with a hum as he twirled a strand of Yuma’s brown hair around his finger. “I’m still in two minds whether allowing her to take care of the wedding preparations was a stroke of genius or something we never had any control over anyway.”
Again, Yuma chuckled as he thought about his little sister, Mio. And then there was, of course, the fight for the roles as best man, ring bearer, and flower girl. What the catering would entail. Who was going to wear what. The vows. The rings. Mio’s insistence that their dad, Yorimoto, walked him down the aisle. Not to be outdone, Unit 13 was squabbling amongst themselves about who was walking Haruki down the aisle as well.
All this while they try to complete their task of gathering as much information on the differing range of species that could be found, and ultimately harvested for medicinal purposes within the three different time periods.
Familial love and companionship. It was incredible that they cared so much. However…
“…We should just elope,” Yuma murmured against Haruki’s chest.
Haruki’s laugh was light with amusement. “Don’t tempt me,” he said before placing a gentle kiss atop of Yuma’s head. “Are you feeling better?”
“Hmm,” Yuma hummed happily, contently in response, the horror of that nightmare fading further and further away with each stroke of Haruki’s fingers through his hair. “Don’t stop, though.”
“Spoilt,” Haruki teased, but continued with the loving caresses.
“Haruki…” Yuma murmured as he tightened his arms around Haruki’s waist, pulling him closer toward him before suddenly shifting the two of them, gently placing Haruki upon his back against the pillows and mattress before leaning over him.
“Yuma?” Haruki questioned as he ran his hands along Yuma’s arms before coming to a rest against his chest.
Yuma lowered his head to kiss him softly, but longingly before pulling back slightly. “I will make you the happiest person in this universe.”
Haruki flushed lightly but smiled nonetheless. “Practicing your vows already?” he teased once more.
Yuma shook his head; the strange feeling of needing to tell Haruki, to convince him how important he was to him was almost overwhelming. It was probably a by-product of his dream.
“This is a promise,” he said as he pressed his body against Haruki’s, earning a soft gasp from the orange-haired beauty. “As you said, we still have a few hours before sunrise. Let me indulge in you.”
Haruki chuckled softly as he wrapped his arms around Yuma’s neck. “We do have all the time we want in my little universe. But, it doesn’t hurt to cherish every second, now does it?”