It’s almost ironic, Yuuki thinks, that less than half an hour ago, he was ready to accept death, totally and completely convinced that not a human on this earth cared if he lived or died. He’d walked into The Anchor assured that his life meant nothing, just as he’d walked into Dream Kingdom, just as he’d lived his life up until now with the same assurance. After spending an entire life failing, after screwing up so badly that if he was unable to pay off the millions of yen in debt that he’d brought upon himself, he’d done his best to build up the most empowering persona he knew how, to show up at Dream Kingdom as a whole new person, someone who didn’t care about the lives of others, who was hardcore enough not to care even about his own life, and for the first few days, he’d thought he was succeeding. It had felt too good to be true when Seigi had accepted him, listened to him, relied on him, but he should have known that it really was too good to last, and when Seigi had suddenly changed after whatever it was Zero had done to him in the Meikyuu no Triangle game, Yuuki had known that he really was on his own in the world— or so he’d thought. He’d gone into The Anchor prepared to take out Zero or die trying, or… he wasn’t even really sure what he’d been thinking, but one thing he was most certainly not thinking was that Seigi would be sitting there waiting for him when he got out.
But there he had been, and the worry in his eyes had been plain as day, and Yuuki had felt as if both his brain and his heart had just ceased to function. “Come on. We’re going,” Seigi had said, as if Yuuki coming with him was as obvious and natural as could be, and Yuuki hadn’t known what else to do but follow, because frankly, he didn’t want anything more in the whole world.
He follows Seigi out of the building, out of the cluster of other contestants swirling around the main square in ebbs and flows. He doesn’t know where they’re going, but he doesn’t care; as long as it’s with Seigi, it doesn’t matter. And besides, his mind and heart are too full now to question anything; he’s too overcome with questions and confusion and all sorts of feelings swirling around inside of his chest that he doesn’t know how to understand. He’s so lost in thought that he doesn’t notice for a second that Seigi slows to a stop in front of him, doesn’t notice that he’s absentmindedly walked past him until suddenly, he feels a strong, broad hand suddenly wrap around his wrist from behind, stopping him in his tracks.
When he looks back over his shoulder, surprised, sure enough there is Seigi staring back at him, his dark eyes staring at Yuuki so intensely that Yuuki feels as if they’re burning him, but before he can sort out his head enough to effect his usual cute, carefree demeanor and ask what’s wrong, Seigi is suddenly tugging on his arm, hard.
Yuuki isn’t able to stifle a small yelp as he’s suddenly pulled off balance, but before he can even figure out what’s happening, suddenly, he’s pressed up against Seigi’s chest, Seigi’s arms wrapped around his body so tightly that he can barely breathe. The world stands still, and Yuuki’s first thought is that this can’t be real, he must be dreaming, he must actually have died back there in The Anchor and this has all been some strange delusion on the brink of death…
But then Seigi’s voice is snapping him out of his thoughts, and his eyes widen as the words ring in his ears. “Are you a fucking idiot?!” Seigi is practically yelling, because, he knows, Seigi struggles to express his feelings except in anger, but somehow, the meaning comes through louder and clearer than possibly anything ever before in Yuuki’s life, and the visceral response is overwhelming.
He doesn’t know how to describe the feeling that suddenly rushes through him, welling in his stomach and bubbling up through his chest and into his throat, his face, but somehow, suddenly, the only thing he can do it laugh. And so he does, the laughter shaking his weak frame as he goes limp against Seigi’s body, dropping his head to rest on Seigi’s shoulder. He is an idiot, he thinks, he always has been, ever since he was a little kid constantly getting into trouble for the mistakes he made, ever since he’d ended up alone in the world with no one who cared if he lived or died, ever since he’d gotten in millions of yen of debt… and ever since he’d come to Dream Kingdom and somehow made the mistake of caring too much about what Seigi thought of him. But somehow, maybe that hadn’t been a mistake at all, and maybe not figuring that out was the stupidest thing he’d done yet, and so he just laughs (or maybe cries; his eyes feel wet and he’s not even sure what his heart or his body is doing anymore) weakly into Seigi’s shoulder before replying, “Yeah… I am.”
It isn’t that he was expecting any specific reaction, really; he hasn’t been expecting any of this no matter how much he should or shouldn’t have, but he’s still startled despite himself when Seigi’s arms tighten around him, squeezing him even tighter. “What the hell is, ‘it doesn’t matter if I die’ supposed to mean??” he demands, and Yuuki laughs again, because it all seems so strange and surreal and ludicrous now.
“Who knows…” he replies at length, leaning all his weight on Seigi at this point— if he’d had any strength left after The Anchor, it’s gone now. “You’re right… I’m just an idiot.”
Seigi doesn’t respond, but he doesn’t let up, either, his arms unwaveringly tight around Yuuki’s back, and in any other situation, maybe it would be uncomfortable, but right now, Yuuki wants nothing more than to stay this way forever. Still, it’s impossible to wrap his brain around everything that’s happening, and so, after a moment, he adds, “So then… why…? If I’m such an idiot…”
Seigi is quiet for a moment, then, unwaveringly, replies, “Because we get along well… right?” and it’s all Yuuki can do to keep from both sobbing and bursting into laughter all at the same time. It’s the same thing that he had said to Seigi when they’d first met, when he’d chosen Seigi as what he had naively thought at the time would be his meal ticket but somehow had turned into his reason for living, the most dear and important person to him in the whole world, and somehow, to hear Seigi express the same sentiment back is too much.
But at the same time, maybe it’s just enough, because his body, frozen with shock and confusion this whole time, suddenly seems to come back to life, and what had seemed impossible just moments before suddenly feels simple. Just like that, he’s able to lift his arms, just like that, he’s able to hook them around Seigi’s shoulders in return, his fingers curling in the fabric of Seigi’s jacket, and it feels good, it feels better than good, it feels like home and love and all the things that Yuuki never in a million years thought he would be able to call his own. His eyes are definitely wet now, leaving damp spots on Seigi’s shoulder, but he can’t help it, can’t hide it, and for once, he thinks, maybe he doesn’t have to. Maybe he’s normal, maybe this is normal, maybe for once, he doesn’t have to be afraid, and in that realization, a small smile finds its way onto his lips, and he replies, “That’s true.”
They remain that way in comfortable silence for another moment, Seigi’s arms, Seigi’s body, Seigi’s strength holding Yuuki together, but now that, somehow, Seigi has soaked away all his fear and worry like a sponge, Yuuki feels strangely light, strangely free. He’s always been one to weigh his words before speaking, but here, with Seigi, he feels as if he can safely say anything, and before he really knows exactly what he’s thinking, he finds himself saying, “You know, I always felt like there was so much irony in my name… that it means courage, but I’ve never been able to show any.” It’s true; it’s so true that’s its a little scary to hear it out in the open in his own voice, but Seigi’s arms don’t loosen around him at all, and so he feels safe enough to continue.
“… it probably sounds really pathetic, but it’s true… I’ve always been a coward.” He can’t count the number of times he’d thought it, throughout his childhood, through his adult life, throughout the past few days that have made up this insane competition. But somehow, despite that all, his voice doesn’t waver as he adds, “But… for some reason… when I’m with you, I suddenly feel like I can show it.”
And then suddenly, he knows where this is going; it’s building up inside of his chest, inside of his heart, and he can’t stop it. It’s scary, but at the same time, everything he’s saying is true— with Seigi, somehow, he feels safe enough to do things he’d never normally have the courage to do. And so, “…I feel like I can say it,” he continues, filled with a million emotions bubbling up inside of him at the same time and yet strangely calm all at once, “…I feel like I can say… that I love you.”
And somehow, he doesn’t even feel nervous in the half a second that Seigi hesitates before replying, “…Yeah,” in that way that Yuuki knows that he means it. There’s still a long way to go from here, in terms of the competition and everything else, but right in this moment, he somehow feels uncharacteristically confident that together, they can overcome whatever life throws their way. And as Seigi hugs him tighter yet again, Yuuki smiles a little wider into his shoulder and thinks that maybe, just maybe, he isn’t as cowardly as he’d always thought.
Your turn, su_jin!