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All In the Cards 2017

Chapter Text

   It was a little disappointing, at first, but Ayu cheered up quickly. She thought she had a good chance but her opponent – Reira – had really come out of the blue to deliver some amazing strategies. With a pinch of Yuya’s motivational speech, it didn’t take long at all for Ayu to cheer up.

   Her parents applauded her as she exited the arena. Her father picked her up and she squealed as he swung her around. Her mother cooed over her. Losing wasn’t that bad. It kind of felt the same as winning except a lot less duelling was involved which kind of sucked.

   Her father put her down and took some more photos. Ayu curiously glanced towards Reira. He had finally plodded off the stage and had gone to collect his teddy bear. It was a very cute teddy bear but its cuteness didn’t excuse Reira’s rudeness. He had dumped it with the reporter lady without asking… and now he was toddling off with it, completely ignoring her. Ayu sighed and wistfully wished that she had been one to have won.

   She already had her speech ready: ‘I’d like to thank the Academy, my parents, my friends, my cards, oh, and God, and my goldfish – Aqua – and my stuffed dolphin, Delphine and my fans!’

   It was somewhat bittersweet but it made her heart pound and smile through the drying tears on her face. It felt good to lose, sometimes. Tatsuya could be a jerk about winning sometimes but sometimes, losing could feel good. But, more importantly, Ayu snuck another glance towards Reira after getting distracted by her reverie… and he was gone. Oh.

   Still, Ayu smiled to herself as she walked away with everyone else – onto the next match. She held her hands and thought of Reira. She wondered if she had made a new friend in that duel. She didn’t normally feel so excited after a match but it had been an exhilarating duel. Not as exhilarating as the ones between the older kids and the LDS students but it had been just as good. She’d never met someone as talented as Reira before; and to think they were the same age!

   She really hoped that she made a new friend. She wanted to know what kind of person Reira was; beneath all the shyness. She bet he was a real sweet boy. After all, only real sweet boys carry around such cute stuffed toy. Ayu resolved that one day soon, she would meet Reira again and ask if they could go on a play date together. They could host a tea party; just them, Delphine, and his stuffed bear. Oh, it’ll be delightful. Ayu just can’t wait.

Chapter Text

   Mieru’s eyes narrowed smugly upon seeing Shun enter the cluttered and smoky living room. He pushed through the beaded curtains and huffed. He wrinkled his nose and frowned. The smell of incense – lavender – appeared to displease him. He wiped his face with his free hand.

   ‘I brought what you asked for.’ he announced.

   ‘Thank you.’ Mieru replied.

   He roughly handed her a mauve, velvet pouch. She pinched the top of it and pulled it towards herself. She suspended it by the golden twine around its mouth. It dangled and the fabric caught the sunshine streaming in from outside. Mieru smiled.

   ‘Wonderful.’ Mieru noted.  

   ‘You’re not going to check it?’ he asked.

   ‘I don’t need to. From watching it spin, I can already tell its fifteen grams worth of falcon feathers, just like I ordered.’ Mieru replied.

   ‘Yeah, right. No one can accurately weigh stuff like that.’

   ‘Oh, but I can.’ Mieru boasted. She stuck her nose up in the air and looked down upon Shun despite the immense size difference between them. ‘Still don’t believe the rumours regarding the village witch, Kurosaki, dear?’

   ‘I believe they are right when they call you an eccentric.’ he replied. He rolled his eyes and crossed his arms. ‘I’m not your delivery boy.’

   ‘And yet you delivered my feathers.’

   ‘Only because its moulting season… and you’re the only person on this planet with a need for moulted feathers.’ Shun said.

   He unfurled one of his arms from around his chest. He rubbed his fingers together.

   ‘Ever impatient, why not have some tea and biscuits? You look parched.’ Mieru chattered.

   She placed the pouch in one of her many haphazardly sewn on pockets in her extremely lacy and bouncy, impractical dress. She drew forth a different pouch – emerald green in colour and velour in fabric – from a different pocket. She thumbed it open and then dumped its clanging contents into her palm. She shifted through the coins.

   ‘Do you want a reading whilst you’re here, Kurosaki, dear?’

   ‘Not interested in the slightest. I don’t believe in such things.’ Shun grumbled.

   Mieru feigned offence. She pilfered a coin from the pile on her palm.

   ‘Do you believe in fiends and dragons?’ she asked.

   ‘Like the sides of a coin? I suppose so.’ Shun replied. ‘It’s fifty-fifty. Probability. Nothing more, nothing less. You can only divine “yes” or “no”.’

   ‘Would you like to test that theory?’ Mieru asked.

   Shun met Mieru’s eyes suspiciously. She had feline eyes: unnaturally bright, eerily green, and glassy. She smiled a sinister smile.

   Shun huffed. ‘As a man of science, I suppose so.’

   ‘Alright, what do you pick: fiends or dragons?’ Mieru asked.

   ‘Fiends.’ Shun snapped.

   Mieru flipped the coin and caught it. Her eyes gleamed. ‘You guessed right.’

   ‘Equal chance of it having been dragons though.’ Shun reminded.

   ‘But the fact you chose “fiends” is interesting though. I’ve heard rumours of the village falconer too and it is safe to say your past outside the village influenced why you chose “fiends”. Those who pick “fiends” are well aware of the deep turmoil brewing. Your sister… such a tragedy.’

   ‘…How do you know I have a sister?’

   ‘Kidnapped and killed on her wedding night by a jealous suitor-’

   ‘Shut up! How do you know that?!’

   Mieru sauntered towards Shun. The sunset leaked through the heavy curtains and the wind rustled the dry bone trees outside. Shadows painted the once innocent room as something far more haunting. Mieru cocked her head. Her eyes remained illuminated.

   ‘I thought you would know by now, Kurosaki dearest, the village witch knows everything about everyone. It’s all so simple… written in the stars.’

   Her voice was light and airy. Shun swallowed and took a step back. He knocked into one of her cabinets. All her ceramics and knickknacks clinked together and rattled and shook.

   ‘Here, take your payment for your feathers. I appreciate that you only took the black feathers.’

   ‘H-How did you know…?’

   ‘I told you, I know everything.’

   Mieru took his hand and placed the first coin against his palm. It was warm and its design pressed into his skin. She then turned his hand over and gave him the rest of his payment. She smirked.

   ‘I look forward to future business between us.’ Mieru said and she wandered off into the kitchen.

   Shun shook himself free of the cabinet and Mieru’s ghostly clutches. He felt like there was something clawing at him and trying to take him around the corner; past another set of bead curtains.

   ‘Like hell I’ll return to this madhouse.’

   ‘I know. That’s what they all say but,’ Mieru paused for dramatic effect, ‘I have reason to believe you will be different.’

   Shun grumbled inaudibly as he made his escape from her dwelling. Mieru sighed. They always leave like that but she was certain. Shun would be different. Mieru weighed the bag. The bag was twenty-three grams usually but it weighed as thirty-eight grams right now. Therefore, it had gained an extra fifteen grams; no doubt from the feathers. She drew a feather from the pouch and examined it.

   It was a very fine quality feather. Mieru knew she could rely on Shun for such lovely feathers. His birds were the talk of the town. The butchers were worried they would be put out of business if Shun ever decided to rear chickens over hunting birds.

   She inspected this feather closely. She traced the discolouration with her eyes and concentrated. She thrummed her fingers through the strong and healthy quills. She noted the smell of it and its texture. She could feel the designs of destiny between her and Shun through this feather. She wasn’t certain as to what that design was but her cards this morning appeared to suggest much sensitivity to change.

   Mieru wondered what sort. She was a practitioner of occupation quickly becoming obsolete. Shun described himself as a man of science. This could only be as ill-fated as his sister’s – Lulu? Ruri? – wedding night. Not to mention the fact that Shun had chosen “fiends” over “dragons”. That could be an ill omen too. However, there was only one way to find out. Mieru resolved herself and could feel her magic heighten. She would simply have to burn this feather and read the flames; maybe sneak into Shun’s farm too and watch the birds for a spot of ornithomancy too.

   She brought the feather to her chest and sighed. Shun was an awfully dreamy and handsome-looking fellow. Mieru wanted to hope for the best. She let out a sigh. Oh, and she would have to ask Shun for some bird bones next time she saw him. Those could be useful as well. More useful than unfounded hope anyway.

Chapter Text

   If the journalists and paparazzies had bated breath when they saw the Leo Corporation limousine pull up to the entrance of the red carpet, then they were practically purple-faced by the time anyone exited the sleek, black vehicle.

   The chauffeur opened the door slightly; just enough for someone to elegantly come through. First, there was a black trouser leg and a black-and-white saddle shoe. Then appeared the rest of the young CEO himself: Akaba Reiji. He strode through the gap and people erupted into cheer and camera clicks. Lights flashed and he kept his eyes low so he wouldn’t get dazzled. He readjusted his tie.

   He looked stunning this evening. Simple, elegant: nothing less to be expected. A nice charcoal black suit with a white blouse behind the unbuttoned blazer: no waist coats or anything extra like that. He had diamond cufflinks on his sleeves though; to match his earrings, of course, but not to match the clip on his tie. His tie was not to be expected though. At all. It was navy blue with some sort of feather-like pattern and it had a silver clip on it; studded with a rounded, raised flourish with a purplish-blue gem embedded in it that was completely unlike the translucent diamonds accenting Reiji’s other accessories. Still, he did look charming nonetheless.

   Reiji stepped aside and faced the limousine. He angled himself so that his face would not be easily captured by cameras from either side of the velvet rope. Though, it was apparent that he had a smug, nigh-sadistic smirk upon his lips. It was like he knew something that no one else did and was relishing the superiority of it all.

   Then, the second person came out of the gorgeous interior of the company limousine. And here it was ladies and gentlemen: the moment the two-bit gossipers were waiting for… who had Akaba Reiji brought with him as his date tonight to the first ever Winter Gala fundraising effort for Heartland?

   Anyone who knew anything about the Lancers knew that their founder and leader, Akaba Reiji, was an intensely private young man and that’s why the rumour mill loves him so much. So little is known; so much to learn. Especially in his love life. He’s quite the man of mystery. He’s been spotted on romantic outings a few times but not enough to build concrete evidence of, well, anything in that department. He’d been repeatedly spotted in those sorts of locales with two of his fellow lancers: Bracelet Girl Serena of Fusion but also the rebel Kurosaki Shun of Heartland. Problem is… it has been assumed that one of those two is primary, monogamous partner and the other… a, um, adulterous partner. After all, monogamy is the only acceptable relationship and Akaba Reiji is all about meeting acceptable standards of, well, anything. Most of the time. Eccentricity comes with wealth and youth.

   Which is why many celeb journalists breathed a sigh of relief when a small, feminine foot in silver pumps came first then followed slender leg draped in a beautiful navy silk dress. It would appear that his date tonight was Serena. Of course, it all made sense.

   Serena was not as graceful as Reiji when she exited the limousine. She trod on her trailing dress and stumbled out. She grabbed the fabric and tugged on it in a huff. She glared at the limousine. Still, once she was organised, she was quite the celestial beauty and invoking some rather vintage fashion icons too.

   She had her hair done up in a tight, clean bun with no visible hair tie or ribbon but her fringe was left down. She was wearing her iconic bracelet and a new necklace; plenty of diamonds and blue gems on it. She was wearing a deep blue dress with a fitting neckline to match her accessories. It had a slit up her left leg and was some extra fabric behind her legs; no wonder she was treading on it. She was also wearing a teal coloured feather boa and was, thankfully, not having any issues with it tickling her face and bare shoulders. It looked warm as well.

   Serena stood aside next to Reiji and she rolled her eyes.

   ‘Enjoying this?’

   ‘Quite so.’

   ‘Petty jerk, aren’t you?’

   ‘I can be.’

   The chauffeur was still holding the door open. Perhaps the journalists were not out of the clear just yet. Especially since a third person has now emerged from the vehicle; and trying his best not to look disgruntled.

   Kurosaki Shun was also joining Reiji and Serena tonight. And was wearing another copy of the charcoal black suit that Reiji was wearing: different tie but same cufflinks and clip though. His tie was scarlet with a diamond motif. He was also wearing a scruffy pair of boots; no doubt the same pair he had trekked through the different dimensions in during the War.

   ‘You could have just made an announcement but you do love taking the long way around.’ he growled to Reiji who was amused at best.

   ‘Extra and petty: that’s why we love him.’ Serena shrugged.

   ‘Toying with those slanderers is far more satisfying than speaking about my personal life on a podium.’ Reiji admitted; a devious note to his voice.

   He stepped forward and allowed his dates to take an arm each. The three glided down the red carpet; slowly for photo opportunities but not slow enough to linger for chat but they did make idle conversation among themselves.

   ‘Next time, I am wearing a suit.’ Serena decided.

   ‘If you insist.’ Reiji said. ‘But then it’ll be harder to balance the right amount of matching.’

   ‘Whatever, costuming has never been my forte.’ Shun said.

   ‘How do you feel about high heels then?’ Serena teased.

   ‘Let’s worry about our next date when it gets closer to the night.’ Shun huffed.

   Reiji listened with a slight smile on his lips. He couldn’t wait to read up on tonight tomorrow but for now, he would be civil and play winter gala with the press.

Chapter Text

   Rin grunted as she pulled herself closer to Yuzu. Almost immediately surprised by the warmth radiating from her girlfriend. Yuzu didn’t look up from the book she was reading: thick, new, with a colourful, leather cover.

   ‘Hey, babe…’ Rin murmured and she stifled a yawn; her heavy-lidded eyes drifting off.

   Yuzu put her book down and put her hand on the base of the lamp on the bed side table next to her.

   ‘I’m happy to go to bed now too, if the light’s annoying you.’ Yuzu suggested; almost panicky.

   There was laughter in Rin’s eyes but she didn’t give it voice. But it twisted her chapped lips into a goofy smile.

   ‘It’s fine, I kind of like the light being on. Used to it, y’know?’ Rin replied.

   ‘Oh, okay, so what did you want?’ Yuzu asked. ‘I jumped the gun the little there, huh?’

   ‘I just wanna sleep on your lap, that’s all.’ Rin said. A touch cheeky.

   ‘Alright then.’ Yuzu said and she lifted her arms.

   Rin hefted herself closer once again. She wrapped her arms around Yuzu’s waist and snuggled in against Yuzu’s stomach; feeling the fabric of her pyjama shirt on her left cheek and the blanket on her right. She wriggled around a little bit was soon was comfortable.

   Yuzu lowered her arms. She rested her elbow against where Rin half turned over. Rin was very warm also. Yuzu smiled to herself and continued to read. Rin’s breathing slowed; her eyes flickered shut. Yuzu noticed how long Rin’s eyelashes were. She hadn’t realised before but they were glamorously, naturally long. It was beautiful.

   Rin’s nose twitched and she opened her eyes again. Her lips puckered and brows furrowed. Yuzu noticed that too and she laughed.

   ‘Something bothering you still?’ Yuzu asked.

   ‘Just… can’t sleep.’ Rin said. ‘Hey, could you sing me a lullaby?’

   ‘I’m not that great a singer.’ Yuzu denied.

   ‘Nonsense, c’mon, just a little tune.’ Rin encouraged.

   ‘Alright then.’ Yuzu replied.

   She put away her book and cleared her throat. She paused. Then began. Rin snuggled in closer and Yuzu entangled her fingers in Rin’s coarse-feeling, turquoise locks. Idly, not even realising she was running her fingers through Rin’s hair. Not even realising there was a pattern to her motions. Rin could feel it though. The swirls and twirls Yuzu was entwining her hair in. It matched the tune of the song. Lazy and strangely circular. Comforting and soothing.

   Rin sighed contentedly. She couldn’t love Yuzu more than in these serene moments, to be honest. She could most certainly get to sleep now with such a lovely lullaby.

Chapter Text

   For Mieru, life has always been written in the stars, a swirl of light inside her crystal apple, or all in the cards. That was until she met Sakaki Yuya: her fated person. He went above, below, and beyond all her expectations which is why, unfortunately, he’s not just her fated person.

   He’s everyone’s.

   That’s all she can think as she comes to the realisation of destruction around her with a demonic, draconic creature – human – at the centre of it all. The fate of the world was in his ghastly, clawed hands. Yuya: the boy would destroy the world.

   She clutches onto her crystal apple tightly. A small comfort as she can do but only watch. She smells the smoke in the air and can hear the dimensions rip and distort: the roar of a dragon in the distance. It’s horrible. She wishes she could do more but she’s powerless. She wishes she could be in the fray but she isn’t a Lancer. She isn’t for a reason.

   A sort of arrogant cowardice that grips her. Even though she is certain that if she was there, she would gladly lay down her life for her darling but she didn’t want to. She liked to live. In the midst of all this chaos and destruction, she can’t help but laugh at her own, self-aware selfishness.

   She swallows thickly. She wants to believe that it’s not Yuya’s fault. It’s the classic case of nature versus nurture. Yoko is such a sweet mother and everyone knows of how entertaining and gallant Yusho was. Before he disappeared. But that’s Yuya’s nurture: the loving environment that couldn’t properly patch the daemon in his soul.

   Mieru loves him nevertheless. Just because he’s not her sole, fated person doesn’t mean she shouldn’t. Even though the destruction of the world teeters at his clawed hands. Even fortune telling could never have accounted for such a surprise. Mieru never would have suspected that the prediction she had summoned forth in their duel all those weeks ago was referring to this: the wreaked havoc, the fate of numerous worlds…

   She loves her darling. But Mieru knows the worst has yet to come but if there is anything remarkable about Yuya, it is his ability to wrench fate in the direction he wants to go and Mieru is certain he can prevail against this great evil.

   She knows he can.

Chapter Text

   It was a young, winter night. Not a sound in the distance: not a bird, not the branches of a tree, and certainly no people. The full moon, milk white and luminous, hung in both the sky and in the deep lake that encircles part of the Kurosaki estate. Ruri had found herself to sleep so she was watching the night.

   She took a breath and embraced the scent of fresh water. She smiled to herself. She tried to will herself back to a sleepy daze but her eyes remained open and not even a false, impertinent yawn could be forced from her lips.

   Her sleeves slip from her shoulders so she tugs them up. The fabric comforting on her skin; like the hand of a familiar lover. She’s wearing her favourite robes tonight. There is a reason that she is. Her lilac robe with many layers of rich reds and purples patterned with a feather-like motif. It’s not just her favourite to wear.

   It’s his as well.

   There is a reason why Ruri cannot sleep tonight for it is only on the nights of the full moon when he is able to deviate from route to visit her.

   The one they call Tsukikage of the Fuuma Clan.

   Ruri calls him something else. She calls him her secret love.

   Ruri sighed to herself. She was in love with him; or at least the idea of him. Handsome, mysterious, protective: he was everything the little girl in her had dreamed for. He was the adult in her yearned for in this time of unrest and war. But she fears that she is only in love with him because he appears so. She doesn’t even know his real name. But that is a privilege no one has. That’s how she comforts herself some days.

   Her sleeve falls once more and she idly wonders if she’s somehow stretched the fabric. Ruri goes to pull it up but rather than have her fingertips brush over silk, her hands entwine with something else. She’s not scared. She used to be scared but she also used to not to be in love. It’s a funny little change. It’s a funny little quirk.

   ‘Good evening, Kurosaki-dono.’

   ‘Good evening, Tsukikage.’

   Tsukikage pulls her sleeve up. Ruri turns around to face him. He blends into the darkness: like a void without starlight. Not even his eyes stand out.

   ‘I bring news.’ Tsukikage stated, not quite matter-of-fact but close.

   ‘I shall hear it.’ Ruri replied, again, not quite matter-of-fact but close.

   Something prevents them from being close. Hence the stiffness of dialogue when all they want is to melt into intimacy; into normalcy.

   ‘My master and your brother have sealed their alliance. Our combined forces will march in the next coming days to campaign against our enemies. I may not return any time soon… or a-’

   ‘Or at all?’ Ruri interrupted. She became flustered upon speaking of turn but hot tears were welling up in her eyes.

   ‘Or at all.’ Tsukikage affirmed.

   ‘But promise me that you will return.’ Ruri begged. ‘Please.’

   ‘I promise.’ Tsukikage put his hand over his heart and bowed.

   ‘Stay safe.’ Ruri said and she swallowed hard.

   Tsukikage carefully edged her eye with his fingers; wiping away her tears.

   ‘I promise.’ he replied.

   Ruri cherished the feeling of being pampered by him. She sucked in a breath and hiccupped. Before she knew it, she was alone once more. The darkness relinquished by the darkness once more.

   Still, she could not find it herself to be tired. So, she watched the shadows in the moon feebly cast and how it danced on the tranquil waters of the lake. Nothing could quell the uncertainty of war in her heard until the violence and bloodshed of the close coming war had ended. It hadn’t even truly begun yet.

Chapter Text

   ‘Morning sweetheart, I’m making eggs for breakfast, want some?’ Shuzou asked.

   ‘Love some, Dad. Oh, and make some for Yugo, he’ll probably want some too. Once he wakes up… I always thought he’d be a morning person.’ Yuzu replied.

   Shuzou nodded to himself as he cracked more eggs into the pan. ‘Speaking of your little boyfriend…’

   ‘Dad!’ Yuzu squeaked and she balled her fists.

   ‘He didn’t give you any trouble… did he?’

   ‘Of course not!’ Yuzu was blushing something awful now. ‘He’s in the downstairs guest bedroom. I was in my upstairs room. We couldn’t have been more apart.’

   ‘I know sweetheart but boys are boys.’ Shuzou lectured.

   ‘Yugo’s not like that! He would explode if he so much as tried to hold my hand.’ Yuzu snapped.

   The eggs sizzled and Shuzou put some bacon as well. It was pretty quiet. Too quiet, actually. That was, until, something started to go wrong in the guest bedroom.

   ‘Yuuuuuzuuuuuuuuu!’

   ‘I’ll see to him.’ Yuzu sighed as she got up from the table.

   ‘Okeydokey, sweetheart but-’

   ‘But nothing! The door is probably jammed; you know how this house moves.’ Yuzu snapped.

   Her dad could be so embarrassingly protective.

   Yuzu went to the guest bedroom. She knocked on the door. She could see where the door frame had bowed and more likely than not, the house had moved and had trapped Yugo in the guest bed room.

   ‘You need something, Yugo?’ she asked.

   ‘I can’t use my arm. I’m having some trouble putting a shirt on, that’s all. Normally Rin helps me out but, uh, she’s not here. I can’t believe I forgot that she’s staying with Yuya tonight.’ Yugo cussed himself under his breath.

   ‘So, you’re decent, right?’

   ‘I guess? I mean, I’m wearing pants if that’s what you’re asking.’ Yugo replied.

   Yuzu yanked open the door and Yugo sighed a breath of relief. He bolted from one side of the room to the other. He put one arm against Yuzu and warmly greeted her good morning. Yuzu smiled; a faint blush in her cheeks. She always felt so loved when Yugo so cheerfully and enthusiastically greeted her. Even though he greeted nearly everyone that way.

   ‘So, I’m just having trouble getting my arm in my sleeve.’ Yugo explained.

   Now that Yuzu got a proper look at Yugo, he was only wearing half his shirt and it was stretching weirdly over his body. He had one arm in one sleeve but his other arm was limply hanging by his side.

   ‘Can you be gentle? I’m having a bad day.’ Yugo said.

   ‘What do you mean?’ Yuzu asked.

   ‘Oooooh.’ Yugo’s eyes lit up and then he turned sheepish. ‘I forgot to tell you. Dunno what’s wrong with me because I’ve never been to the doctor’s about it but sometimes, my arm goes funny. Like pins and needles but worse. Way worse.’

   Concern knotted in the pit of Yuzu’s stomach. Yugo turned around and Yuzu’s eyes bugged. His right arm was quite disfigured. From the mid-part of his forearm to the mid-part of his upper arm, he was gnarled with thick scar tissue. Yuzu swallowed and took a step back.

   ‘I never told you, huh? A few years ago, I got in a pretty bad riding accident. Lucky I didn’t lose my arm because of it. Honestly, I’m just glad I didn’t lose my D-Wheeler. Martha says I was lucky to have healed at all. But nowadays, I get all… tingly and then my arm stops working. Could be anything. Paralysis of some kind, obviously but I don’t know anything for certain. Mostly I’m fine but every now and again. My arm just stops… working. I’m used to working around it; same with Rin if I need a second hand but Rin’s not here so could you just help me.’

   Yugo cringed as he spoke. ‘It’s worse than usual today… he admitted.’

   ‘We’re going to the hospital immediately.’ Yuzu announced.

   ‘It’s fine. Hey, is that breakfast cooking? C’mon, just help me into my shirt and we can have brekkie. I’ll be fine.’

   ‘Yugo. You look like your dying.’ Yuzu said.

   ‘I’ll be fine.’ Yugo insisted. ‘I don’t want to worry anyone. And the bills will be expensive. I ain’t got the money for that and I don’t want you to pay for it. That’s just not on.’

   Yuzu sighed. For now, she would relent. She helped Yugo into his sleeve and he was able to zip himself up fine.

   ‘Please.’ she whispered. ‘Let my Dad and I take you to the hospital.

   ‘Fine.’ Yugo sighed. ‘But, I’ll probably be better tomorrow.’

   ‘But tomorrow next week, you could be worse. Does it come in go in waves or is it pretty constant? Because I never would have guessed your arm was like this when we met.’

   ‘…It’s constant but I’m used to it.’ Yugo admitted.

   ‘We’re taking you to the hospital.’ Yuzu decided once more. ‘Now.’

   ‘After breakfast. Please. I hear the waiting lines are long. And I can’t do all that on an empty stomach. Also, I hear hospital food is nasty and your Dad makes great bacon, please? After breakfast.’

   ‘Fine, after breakfast.’

   ‘Thanks.’ Yugo replied.