They were just talking. Skye, Yusaku, and Takeru- mostly Skye and Takeru- up on the roof during lunch. They had taken to hiding up there from the rest of the duel club, and to use it as a chance to speak with Ai, Aqua, and Flame as well.
But sometimes, they would just eat in silence. She never minded that. Skye began to see a pattern in those days. Quiet days would always be filled with Ai or Flame, or both on some occasions, fretting over the Origins. Ai would pop up like a phone alarm, sometimes even risking it during class. Remind Yusaku to eat something, usually a bite of a granola bar, something he could easily hide in class, and urge him to sit between Takeru and Skye.
On other days, Flame would be more vocal, giving Takeru the same reminders, pushing him to drink whatever Takeru had on hand- Skye noticed that more often than not, it would be a smoothie in a water bottle. Well, smoothies could count as food at least.
But she never failed to notice how the boys would not only gravitate towards each other and the Ignis, but to her as well. Skye wasn’t dumb, she knew the shift in attitudes had to be linked to the Lost Incident. She also never brought it up, leaving everything unspoken, and just being there for them as well. They trusted her, tentatively, and she wasn’t going to break that.
Especially not when she felt a soft weight on her shoulder. Skye turned her head slightly, her eyes softening when she saw the familiar blue and pink hair resting there.
“He finally fall asleep?” Takeru whispered, peering past Skye from his spot on her other side.
“Yeah.” Skye whispered back, neither wanting to raise their voices and risk Yusaku waking up. Ai had been all over him all day, so they knew last night had to be a rough one. He had been sneaking more snacks than usual too.
“They starved us.” Takeru saw Skye looking at the empty lunch box on Yusaku’s lap. He was usually the slowest eater, taking his time and using food as an excuse to not talk much. “If we lost duels, we didn’t get food. Sometimes… we got worse. And for a six-year-old… it’s hard to sleep hungry.”
Skye didn’t reply, just leaned back more, letting Yusaku stay comfortable against her shoulder. She looked around before looking at her duel disk. “Aqua? It’s safe for you three to come out.”
“Oh good.” Aqua appeared first, sitting on Skye’s duel disk. “We were starting to get worried. Ai mentioned Yusaku had another nightmare…”
“It was a bad one from what he said.” Flame hummed, looking at Skye and Yusaku. “At least he seems to be catching up on his sleep now. If none of you are opposed to skipping class, we can lock the door to the rooftop and ensure you aren’t found.”
Takeru nodded. “Skipping for something like this wouldn’t hurt. But let’s just stay up here for an hour.” He suggested. “After that, we can call up Kusanagi to get him checked out of school. I’ll call my grandparents about it too, they’ll understand.”
“And I’ll call Akira.” Skye agreed, already grabbing her phone to text her brother. He would be informed if she skipped class, better to tell him why she was before the school could contact him. “Where’s Ai at?”
Aqua giggled. “On Yusaku.” She pointed to Yusaku’s arm, where a smaller form of Ai’s monstrous one was wrapped around him, eye closed, almost as if he was sleeping as well. “We don’t need sleep, but going into a low power mode can really help us feel refreshed sometimes.”
Skye smiled softly. “Well, let them sleep for now. Between nightmares and saving the world, I doubt either of them really get a chance to rest.”
- (AU) Yuya and Yuto (Dragons are on par with Ignis when it comes to free-will and intelligence. There’s a fifth dimension in Arc V simply called Vrains)
Obelisk Force was unforgiving in their attack on Heartland. Yuya had been visiting the XYZ dimension with his father, meeting up with a boy he had been in contact with through Yusho and became friends with, when the attacks had begun.
It didn’t take long for the entire city to look like a warzone. Yuya stuck close to Yuto, gripping his hand tightly. It had started a year ago, and nothing seemed to be going right for them. The resistance was dwindling, with Shay hurt and Ruri focused on protecting him, Kite going rogue, Dennis missing, Yuya and Yuto felt as if they were the only ones left at some points.
The only ones except…
“Firewall Dragon! Attack now!”
The Link user, Yusaku. Or rather, Playmaker as he usually went by in duels. Maybe he had the right idea, taking on a different persona while dueling. It was supposed to be fun, not for war. Yuya shivered.
Maybe distancing himself, separating his dueling for war from being who he was, could help make things easier.
“Playmaker!” Yuto called out, walking over to the other resistance member just in time to see three Obelisk Force members hurry away. “Seems like you’ve had a busy day.”
The other duelist hummed, letting the vision of Playmaker fall, leaving Yusaku standing there instead. “With so many injured, and Kite and Dennis missing, I had a feeling I should bring the fight to Obelisk Force. Before they cause any more damage.”
“And bring it you did!” Ai chirped from his duel disk. “Too bad we couldn’t card them and get some data on Duel Academy off of them…”
“You’re a glutton.” Yusaku sighed. “Has Odd-Eyes finished decoding that last set of coordinates?” He asked Yuya.
“Oh! Right!” Yuya held up his duel disk, Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon sitting on the screen. “Hey buddy, got the location of the next portal? We should cut it off before anyone gets through.”
The dragon roared, letting the location pop up on Yuya’s duel disk. “Ta-da! Looks like it’s nearby, we should- hey Yusaku… you’re bleeding!” Yuya’s eyes widened, looking at a large cut on Yusaku’s side.
The older grimaced. “I’m fine. We should get going.”
“No way.” Yuto shook his head, walking over to Yusaku. “That looks bad… we’re heading back.”
“We can’t, we’re the best duelists here and Shay and Ruri can’t come out instead.” Yusaku protested. “Not to mention we need Ai to close the portal, and he’s stuck in my duel disk.”
“Yuya. We have precisely seven hours and twenty-six minutes before the portal is open.” Odd-Eyes growled, the noise sounding like static.
“I believe that is plenty of time to administer first-aid.” From Yuto’s duel disk, Dark Rebellion spoke up as well.
“Hmm, yep! The two scale-brains are right. And would you look at that! We got bandages.” Ai nodded, slipping back down into Yusaku’s duel disk.
Yusaku sighed, seeing himself outnumbered five to one. And unlike with fighting Obelisk Force, he couldn’t just duel them to get them to leave him alone. Yuya makes sure Yusaku follows him and Yuto, watching how measured the older’s steps are. He was in pain, that much was clear.
How many more would be injured? Yuya frowned. They had to find a way to stop Obelisk Force, and all of Duel Academy.
He stayed still, letting Yusaku lean on him as Yuto bandaged his side, thoughts swimming. Of course, there was only one clear option in stopping them. “We have to go to Standard and Synchro.” Yuya whispered.
“You finally realized that?” Yusaku asked. “And to Vrains.” He winced as Yuto poured more alcohol on the wound.
“If we can get Lightning, Duel Academy won’t stand a chance!” Ai boasted, appearing out of the duel disk again. “Windy might be a bit of a glitch, but he’d get the job done too. Or Flame could just torch ‘em all!”
Yusaku shook his head. “We’d have to get Kusanagi first.”
“I’d have to find Yuzu.” Yuya said. She was probably worried, his mom too. “Then… I guess Declan would be the best bet in getting reinforcements. Too bad we don’t know anyone in Synchro.”
“I do. His name is Yusei. He helped us stabilize the Ignis project using Ener-D.” Yusaku admitted, relaxing as the painkillers Yuto gave him began to kick in. “It’s how we stopped Lightning and Windy from going on a murder spree like this.” He waved his hand out towards the destruction. The movement was shaky.
“You should sleep off the painkillers.” Yuto told him, ushering Yuya and Yusaku to sit down. “Come on. We have seven hours. I’ll stand guard.”
Yuya was certain it would take more convincing. But then he realized just what Yuto had given Yusaku. Something that would knock him out for at least five of the seven hours left. He gently guided Yusaku down as the tranquilizer began to work, seeing the stubborn look in Yusaku’s eyes as he laid down with his head on Yuya’s lap.
“You’ve been up for three days, battling almost non-stop.” Yuya murmured. “Sleep, Playmaker. We can handle things for now.”
- Kusanagi (idk when this happens but there’s a happier Yusaku who’s basically adopted, and there’s no evil Lightning.)
Sleeping in the truck was nothing new to Yusaku. He would often catch some sleep there, under the watchful eye of his friend, his shield, his guardian. Yusaku tried to not make a habit of it, but there was just something… something about the truck that put him at ease. Something about Kusanagi that made him feel safe enough to sleep. Not the fitful sleep he would have at his apartment, or the power naps he could catch if Takeru and Skye were with him for lunch at school. But a deep sleep that left him feeling calm and refreshed when he woke up.
Unfortunately, there were still times when sleep escaped him. He would be too wound up, too tense, not exhausted enough. Or he would be tired…
But the dinner rush would be around. Yusaku would busy himself then with making coffee and getting drink orders done. It didn’t require him to interact with customers, he could easily hide behind Kusanagi, and lean against him too when things would hit a quiet time before the next wave of customers.
“I do have those headphones you could wear, you know.” Kusanagi smiled, making another hot dog for the next customer. “If the noise keeps you awake. I can set ‘em up to play some music.”
“I’m alright. I can wait until the rush is over.” Yusaku murmured.
And he did. Soon enough it was closing time, and the second everything was shut, Kusanagi was pushing him over to the cot in the corner. “Alright. Come on, you look asleep on your feet!”
“But we have to work on decoding the coordinates Emma found.” He gave a light protest, even as Kusanagi lifted him up when he stumbled.
“Kid, you can’t even walk straight.” Kusanagi chuckled. “I know I joke that you could hack in your sleep, but we’re not gonna test that out today. Now go to sleep, or I’ll call your mother and tell her to ground you from working until you do sleep.”
Yusaku gave him a stubborn look even as he laid down. “She’s not my mother, Cal.”
“Uh-huh. You can say that all you want to. But since you started calling me ‘dad’, you know she’ll be your step-mom if we get married.” Kusanagi smirked.
“I’ll go back to calling you Unknown.” Yusaku curled up on his side, sulking as Kusanagi pulled a blanket over him. “I’m serious, dad.”
Kusanagi grinned. “You’re even being more open about calling me that! See, you’ll get used to calling Emma ‘mom’ in no time!” He chuckled when there was no reply, seeing Yusaku fast asleep.
He would remind Jin to keep the two Ignis outside so Yusaku could stay asleep. No doubt either their chatter or Ai’s excitement to see Yusaku finally sleeping would wake him up.
- Takeru (And Flame)(semi-AU where the Ignis all have one other form aside from Eyeball/Anthro/Tentacle Monster(/SOLtiS). Flame is a cat, Lightning is a rottweiler, Ai is a fox. (and for future reference: Aqua is a ferret, Windy is a snake, Earth is a hawk))
When the two of them were able to sleep, it was more like they were dead to the world.
Takeru slept like that anyway, only waking up on his own, if someone yelled at him, or if Flame’s higher temperature threatened to burn him. But for Yusaku, it was a rarity for him to fall into a sleep that deep. So when he did, Ai made sure to take plenty of photos.
“If Yusaku ever finds out about this, he’s going to delete you.” Flame commented. The four of them were in the back of Kusanagi’s truck, recovering from fighting against the latest threat to the Ignis. For Flame and Ai, recovering simply meant relaxing and making sure all of their data was where it should be. But for Takeru and Yusaku…
It meant a large nest of every blanket and sheet that could be found. Which, to Flame’s surprise, had been quite a few. Jin admitted to stocking up on them before, since protecting everyone was a full-time job that sometimes involved all-nighters. And Lightning had stressed the importance of not just sleeping on the hard floor or in a cot all the time. A cot that could hardly fit even one of them.
Yusaku had been the first to fall into the pile of blankets, sheets, and pillows. Not even bothering to move anything around, exhausted beyond what he would usually feel. He was asleep before he even laid down. Takeru hadn’t been far behind him, draped halfway across Yusaku’s side.
“Oh come on Flame! Look at them, like two sleeping kittens.” Ai laughed. “Yusaku seems to sleep better with someone nearby- or in this case, on top of him- anyway.”
“Keep it down you two.” Kusanagi warned them. “If either of you wake them up, I’m putting you in time out. No wifi, no escaping the duel disk.”
“And I will make sure you both comply with that punishment.” Lightning added, looking back from his spot between the two seats in the front of the truck. His dog form, a smaller rottweiler, made for a good mascot for Café Naga. On top of being listed as a service animal as well, though a rather oddly colored one.
Flame huffed. “The last thing I want is to wake them. Yusaku was only able to get two hours and seventeen minutes of sleep last night, Takeru reached four hours and twenty-eight minutes.” He said, pulling himself out of Takeru’s duel disk and shifting his form. The feline Ignis trotted over to the two sleeping humans, sneaking his way between them and settling down. “With the temperature in here, they’re bound to wake too early…”
He narrowed his eyes, adjusting a few lines of code before he could feel himself heating up. He moved around a few more when Yusaku curled up more around him, beginning to purr softly. “There. They should stay asleep for at least another few hours.”
He noticed a thicker tail draped over Yusaku’s leg then, a narrow muzzle laying on Takeru’s back. “Might as well join the pile.” Ai gave him a toothy grin, looking as terrifying as some depictions of foxes made them seem.
“Just don’t wake them up.” Flame said, laying his head down. He didn’t mind playing heater for Takeru. Or for Yusaku. Two of the Lost Children, who were used to bring the Ignis into creation.
He would do what he could to protect them.