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New Year's Dueling

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Disclaimer: I own nothing involved in this story unless I invented it myself. This is written for fun, not for profit.
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal
Title: New Year's Dueling
Romance: Ryouga x Kaito x Yuuma
Word Count: 2,158||Status: One-shot
Genre: Humor, Romance||Rated: PG-13
Note: This was written for Zexal Shark Week on tumblr. It takes place a few years into a theoretical future, where all those who are currently deceased have been conveniently brought back to life.
Feedback: All forms eagerly accepted. Concrit is loved the most, but everything is welcome.
Summary: [one-shot, Ryouga x Kaito x Yuuma, Stolenshipping, written for Zexal Shark Week] It's New Year's Eve, and Yuuma is drunk and wants to duel. Poor Ryouga. His work is never finished.

“I want to duel!”

Ryouga closed his eyes and tilted his head up to the ceiling. “Who gave him that last drink and do I want to know what was in it?” He didn’t expect an answer, so he wasn’t surprised when all he heard was Kaito snorting something. “I’ll take that as a ‘no’.” He also suspected that he should take it as a ‘IV’, for the first part of his question.

Regardless, he didn’t bother opening his eyes. He knew what he would see if he did. Yuuma would be trying to shuffle his deck and right now, failing miserably at it. It seemed every scrap of the younger man’s co ordination vanished the moment he had any alcohol in him at all.

“What about you? What have you been drinking?” Kaito had a glass in his own hand, but it was still mostly full. Ryouga wasn’t surprised by that. Kaito didn’t like losing control and never had. He wouldn’t have been surprised if the glass itself held something utterly non alcoholic. There were plenty of those kinds of drinks here anyway, for the sake of the designated drivers.

Not that Kaito needed to worry about that; he wouldn’t be going anywhere tonight except his bed. Ryouga would make certain of that personally if he had to.

“I wanna duel!” Yuuma declared again, an octave or two higher. No one paid any attention to him; while sober he was probably one of the best duelists of them all, when he was drunk he tended to get distracted by pretty colors on the cards, or long rambling monologues about other duels he’d been in.

“When you’re sober.” Ryouga muttered, though he didn’t think Yuuma heard him. He was too busy trying to pick up all of his cards where they’d scattered all over the floor. For the third time that night.

Astral floated near to Yuuma, murmuring something about drinks and why Yuuma did this every New Year’s. Ryouga had an answer, though he didn’t think Yuuma would appreciate it: Yuuma was an idiot. He doubted anyone would argue his point on that, either.

Still, Yuuma was his idiot. His and Kaito’s, and they would both be there in the morning when he cried and whined and complained about how much his head hurt. Ryouga could already foresee the conversation: Yuuma knew this would happen, so it was Yuuma’s own fault for drinking too much in the first place.

He almost wished he could get drunk sometimes. But that was one benefit of being a Barian: human alcohol didn’t do a single thing to his system that water didn’t, other than taste different. The others shared the same ability, gift, or curse. They still hadn’t decided what to call it.

As if to prove his own words to himself, he glanced over to where Alit and Gauche sat at a side table, Gauche matching Alit drink for drink. Gauche looked about ready to fall flat on the floor even more than Yuuma did, while Alit could’ve been drinking soda for all the reaction he showed.

Guess we should get some perks from all of this. He mentally shrugged, distracted a heartbeat later as Yuuma reached for a card that fell out of his hand almost before he grabbed it and ended up facedown a bare inch from Ryouga’s shoes. He sighed and held himself back from flipping Yuuma over.

“Yuuma. Give it up. You’re not going to get any dueling done tonight.”

Yuuma looked up at him and whined. There was no other word for it. “But, Shark, I wanna duel!”

“You’re drunk.” Kaito pointed out. “Anyone here could beat you while you’re drunk. Including Haruto.”

Yuuma blinked owlishly at his boyfriend. “Haruto doesn’t duel. Does he?”

“No. He doesn’t.” Kaito took a long sip of his drink. “And he could still beat you.”

That got another blink, and something that might well have been a sniff. Ryouga could never be certain of Yuuma’s mental age once alcohol got into his system. He either turned into a five year old, or just pretended like he was one to make them feel guilty. Yuuma sober wasn’t that much different, in his opinion.

“If you want to duel that badly, I’ll duel you.” Ryouga decided when he caught a glimpse of tears shining in Yuuma’s eyes. The last thing he wanted was waterworks all over the living room.

In a moment, Yuuma all but glowed with joy. “Really? You really will?”

“I said I would.” Ryouga reached for his deck. He didn’t think this would take long at all. Sober Yuuma was much more of a challenge than drunk Yuuma, and maybe once drunk Yuuma had a duel, he’d settle down and be adorable instead of annoying.


It didn’t take long for most of the others who were still sober enough to notice what was going on to do just that. Rio, Droite, and Kotori came from wherever they’d holed up talking about who knew what – there were things that neither men nor Barian were meant to know, in Ryouga’s opinion – and settled in to watch the show. All three of the younger Arclights (IV with a smug little smirk that told Ryouga he really was responsible for Yuuma’a last drink) converged from somewhere or other. Mizael, Alit, Durbe, and Gilag also settled in, each of them as sober as Ryouga himself was.

There were ways to get a Barian drunk, or a reasonable version of it, but Ryouga had no intentions of doing so at any sort of party. That was the kind of thing that he preferred not being common knowledge, even among his friends.

“Oh, yeah, this is gonna be fun!” Yuuma laughed, still trying to get his deck put into order and all in the correct position. Kotori sighed in a way that Ryouga suspected meant she wished she’d brought her frying pan along with her, reached over, and went through the deck, making sure all the cards faced down. “Thanks, Kotori! You’re the best!”

The duel began, and ended, much quicker than most of theirs did. True to what Ryouga had seen at other times when Yuuma drunk dueled, he wandered off into a long ramble about Hope and how it had been the first Number he’d ever dueled with and how he’d fought against Ryouga that time as well. What was annoying about that was that he hadn’t even played Hope in this duel.

Ryouga just waited patiently for his turn, then pulled off one of his better combos, one that he’d been working on for a couple of weeks. It didn’t entirely wipe out all of Yuuma’s life points, but it bit hard enough into them that Yuuma fell backwards over the couch, legs up in the air and eyes wide.

“Whoa! Where’d you pick that one up from?” Yuuma managed to ask as he wriggled himself back into position. He even looked a little more sober, which hadn’t been part of Ryouga’s plan at all.

Well, maybe not all of it.

“Turn end.” Ryouga only answered with that, and Yuuma pouted some before going on to his next move.

Ryouga could see the slightly approving glimmer in Kaito’s eyes and almost wished they’d arranged this as a battle royal. Fighting both of them at the same time delighted him.

Well, to be honest, it delighted all of them. They’d done it enough times already, mostly in preparation for other things, to have a good idea of each other’s moves, which was why he’d started working out new combos. Kaito had won often enough in his opinion.

Yuuma managed to take a few nicks out of his life points, but despite being a little more sober, he still wasn’t together enough to finish Ryouga off properly. Neither of them bothered using any Numbers; partially out of a desire for Astral not to be hurt and partially because Yuuma still wasn’t in any condition to strategize properly with them. Even his kattobingu couldn’t work miracles through the haze of alcohol.

Ryouga managed to catch IV’s eye as Yuuma’s life points depleted, and the middle Arclight brother only flashed a slightly amused smirk at him. Ryouga rolled his eyes; he’d have a talk with him later about giving Yuuma unidentified drinks.

Better yet, he’d let Akari do it. If that didn’t put the fear of God (or worse, the fear of Akari) into IV, then nothing in three worlds could.

“It’s almost midnight!” Haruto declared, popping his head around the corner. Everyone checked whatever it was they tracked the time with, and settled in with fresh rounds of drinks or significant others or whatever/whoever it was they wanted to spend the hour of midnight with.

Yuuma, still pouting a little, settled himself in between Ryouga and Kaito, both of whom slid arms around him in such a fashion that allowed them to brush against one another as well. Ryouga breathed in quietly; he could catch the different scents that came from both of them as easily as if they came from his own skin. Yuuma’s was flavored lightly of alcohol and sweat from the duel, with a faint undertone of soap and shampoo. Kaito held a faint hint of cologne (probably that new brand that Haruto had given him for Christmas).

He didn’t know if he had any particular scent to them. He’d never asked, mostly because he didn’t really want to know. He simply woke up every morning amazed that after all that he’d done and all that had happened that not only were they there with him, but they wanted to be with him.

Only a minute or two remained. No one moved; all of their attention on the floating screen before them. A few whispered the countdown, among them Astral. Ryouga had asked once why he did it. In retrospect, he felt he should’ve already known.

“Yuuma informed me that if one doesn’t recite the countdown, then the New Year will not begin properly.”

He wondered if Yuuma had ever gotten around to telling Astral that wasn’t true.

Then he wondered if Yuuma had ever figured out it wasn’t true himself. Probably not, since he was whispering the numbers as they wound down in near unison with Astral.

“Ten…nine…eight…” Moment by moment whispered by, with more and more people taking up the countdown. “Seven…six…”

All but one voice fell silent.

“Five.” Chris Arclight.

“Four.” Thomas Arclight.

“Three.” Michael Arclight.

All the others took it up again.



“Happy New Year!” The same three words exploded out of almost everyone in some form or other. Yuuma turned to Kaito and pulled him into a deep kiss, then twisted around and did the same thing to Ryouga. Drunk or not, Yuuma was still a reasonably good kisser. Ryouga chalked it up to all the practice they had together. He leaned past Yuuma to touch his own lips to Kaito’s as well. The first kiss of the New Year was always one of the best, in Ryouga’s opinion.

Toasts were made and resolutions declared – most of which would be broken within a week, if not sooner – and people who were going home for the night began to pack up and locate their designated driver. Yuuma curled up on the couch as Kaito and Ryouga got up and made the usual polite noises to their guests. Neither of them were very good at being polite, but their friends all understood that. The door had scarcely closed when Orbital 7 and Obomi moved from wherever they’d been doing whatever it was that robots did at human parties and started to clean up.

“Save that for tomorrow.” Kaito ordered, moving back over to where Yuuma had begun to snore loudly. “We’re going to bed.”

Ryouga raised an eyebrow just a little. “It’s barely twelve-thirty.”

“Did I say we were going to sleep?”

That got a slash of a smile across Ryouga’s lips, the kind that made it plain why people called him ‘Shark’. “I like the way you think.”

“After the last two years, I’d hope so.” Kaito hefted Yuuma over his shoulder and headed for the bedroom. Ryouga was only a step or two behind him. Astral had already vanished back into the Emperor’s Key, well aware of what happened when the three of them – or two of them – were alone together.

“I won that duel, so that means I’m in charge tonight.” Ryouga said as the bedroom door began to close behind him. Kaito turned as he set Yuuma on the bed.

“You won against Yuuma. You didn’t win against me.”

Ryouga tilted his head, a savage little smirk playing on his lips. “Did you want to get laid or did you want to duel?” He knew which one he wanted, and answered his own question by pulling Kaito closer for their second kiss of the year.

“We can duel tomorrow.” Kaito decided.

The End