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"Yuzu is... Yuzu is right here!"

"Huh?" Yuri stares blankly at him for a moment, stares at Yugo's thumb firmly jabbed into his own chest, at the determined seriousness in his eyes. "Are you kidding me?"

Apparently not. Yugo's blue eyes -- so much wider and brighter than Yuri's -- well with tears. "Yuzu... Yuzu, she.... lost her life dueling." His eyes squeeze shut. He's lost in his own thoughts, focused on a memory Yuri can't see. Probably the moment of death, which is unfortunate for Yuri, because that means Yugo isn't just being an idiot. "That's why... she isn't..." He wipes at his eyes with the back of his glove, but that only clears the initial tears and more spill over freely.

Yuri shifts uncomfortably in place. There's no time for tears in Academia. Anyone weak enough to cry had been the first to fall in battle in the Xyz dimension. He's seen plenty of his opponents cry, of course; useless, blubbering sobs as they begged Yuri to spare them, and Yuri had done the natural thing and turned the pitiful excuses for duelists into cards.

But he's never seen grief before. People crying in front of Yuri are always scared, selfish, despairing their own fates. But nothing bad has happened to Yugo, he's not even injured or anything. He's lost a friend, which happens to people all the time. In fact, Yuri has more right to cry about Yuzu being dead than Yugo does, because he has to go tell the Professor, who will be mad at him about it, and it's not even his fault, she was the one who was a bad enough duelist to die.

It doesn't make any sense, and Yuri's too confused to leave it alone. "Why are you crying?"

Yugo wipes at his eyes again, but it doesn't do much. It's like he's opened a floodgate behind his eye sockets, fat droplet after droplet running down his cheeks. Yuri's both fascinated and repulsed. Yugo makes the oddest noises; strangled, muted, barely audible. Yuri knows crying is meant to be a loud, ugly thing, meant to draw attention and therefore comfort. Crying quietly isn't natural. The way Yugo seems to curl inward on himself -- catching his sobs in his throat, hiccuping silently, biting the inside of his cheek to muffle the noise -- is a learnt behaviour.

Before he realises what he's doing, Yuri's taken a step forward to get a better look. Yugo immediately recoils, angry with himself for exposing weakness to an enemy. Even that reaction is interesting -- there's something practiced in it, and it makes Yuri wonder how many times Yugo's hidden his tears before.

"Why are you crying?" he repeats.

Yugo's brows furrow. "Why?" he parrots, his voice layered with mucus and god knows what else crying produces. He's raw and stripped down to his emotional core like a stranger wearing his -- Yuri's? -- face. The Yugo that Yuri knows is a caricature of righteous rage, and seeing what is both that angry boy's face and Yuri's own face like this, leaking fluids from every orifice with eyes and nose reddened is... weird.

Yuri taps his foot impatiently. "Yeah, why. You knew her for... what, a few days? Why are you..." He waves a hand at Yugo's messy face. "... so upset about it?"

It takes a few seconds of incredulous, insulted staring before Yugo spits a reply. "She was my friend! Of course I'm upset! And it's my-- it's my fault--" Apparently admitting that is too much for his sensibilities, because Yugo breaks down into incoherent sniffling again.

Yuri narrows his eyes. Well, he's got someone to point fingers at when the Professor gets mad about the Hiiragi girl being dead. "How's it your fault? Did you run her over or something?" That'd be hilariously tragic, and considering Yugo doesn't tend to hit the brakes when driving at Yuri, not even unlikely.

"No!" Yugo shouts at him, horrified. "I wouldn't-- I wouldn't do that! I..." His shoulders hunch. "I signed her up for the tournament, and her opponent... that guy... hit her D-Wheel with his out of nowhere..."

"How bad was it?" Yuri asks casually.

"I don't know. Yuzu... she just went flying... the building her D-Wheel went through was burning afterwards..." Yugo claps a hand over his mouth, clearly thinking gruesome thoughts. If his tears were overflowing before, he's flooding now.

Yuri frowns. "Do you know what they did with her body? I can probably take that back to the Professor..." That would be kind of funny, depending on how gross the corpse was.

Yugo bares his teeth. "No, and if I did, I wouldn't tell you! That's disgusting!"

If there's one thing Yuri's good at, it's making bad situations worse, but he's screwed himself over too this time. He's made Yugo cry more than he was before and he won't stop. He could escape and leave Yugo to his misery, but... that doesn't feel right. Something in the back of Yuri's skull, something cold and silvery, wants him to stay. It makes him take another few steps forward, staring at Yugo's face curiously.

In their previous encounters, Yuri has never stayed long enough to get a good look at Yugo's face. Up close like this, the resemblance between them is almost perfect. Only Yuri's face has never been twisted like this, never set in these lines and flushed those colours. It's alien. Yuri's fascinated, even as unnerved tension creeps over his shoulders.. Their mirrored faces would have been less discomfiting if Yugo was more like Yuri and less like himself.

Yuri leans in further, waiting for Yugo to stop him. But he doesn't. Yugo stares back, scrutinizing Yuri's face, and what he finds there, Yuri doesn't know. He's not actively sniffling or hiccuping or making weird noises anymore, but sparse tears still track down their familiar paths on his skin. Yuri raises his hand to catch one on the tip of his index finger. It's warm.

He doesn't know what this means.

The air between them sparks with something dangerous. The wind curls over and across Yuri's shoulders, through his clothes and down his spine, begging him to pull away. He traces his finger down the side of Yugo's face and his blood burns with the desire to be closer, closer than their bodies could ever allow. Yugo's eyes, heavy lidded and somehow all the more bright for their red framing, ask him what he's doing. Yuri doesn't know. Being this close to each other feels both right and wrong, like it was inevitable yet never meant to happen. The world around them -- the cold night air, the dim, loveless moon, the empty, lonely street, vibrates with the wrongness of them. Something that sounds an awful like Starve Venom purrs in the back of Yuri's mind.

Yuri's hands itch both to activate his duel disk and pull Yugo closer. He's never felt temptation like this, torn between two equally appealing choices. Yuri's nothing if not self-indulgent.

He throws his arms around Yugo's middle in an unfamiliar gesture, ignoring Yugo's squawk of shock. Yugo's body is warm and solid against Yuri's, sleek biker suit over lean, sinewy muscle. Yuri doesn't remember being this close to another human being before in his life. He swears he can feel Yugo's blood pumping through his veins, every flutter of his lungs, every thought ticking through his head. "You're interesting. I'll give you that duel you want so badly."

Yugo actually sits up and brightens for a second. He quickly remembers himself, though, and turns to anger. "You better! I've been chasing you for ages, you bastard." His hands hover over Yuri's shoulders, unsure if he should touch or not. He tentatively lowers them, and Yuri tries not to shudder at the unfamiliar sensation, and the spark of wrong and right that comes with his counterpart's touch. He pulls Yugo closer, making a thrill rush along his nerves, crushing their bodies as close as they can get but still not close enough. Strangely enough, Yugo doesn't resist, and rests his chin on Yuri's shoulder without a word.

They stay in their awkward embrace for what feels like years. Eventually Yuri can't stand it anymore. He wants to crawl inside of Yugo, or maybe pull Yugo inside himself. Whichever works, closer and closer together, until they're so inextricably intertwined that he can't tell where Yugo ends and Yuri begins. He lets go and steps backwards, feeling his bones ache to go back to Yugo, and from the troubled look on Yugo's face, he feels the same.

"What are we?" Yugo's voice is quiet, hoarse from crying and breathless from... whatever that was that they just shared.

Yuri shrugs and fishes a hand into one of his pockets. "I don't know but you're--" He pulls out Violet Flash with a flourish, making sure Yugo sees exactly what it is, "--too slow again, Fusion."

Yugo's eyes widen too late. "Hey, don't you dare--!"

With a bright flash of purple light to cover him, Yuri jumps over the edge of the building they're on, laughing as he readies himself to hit the ground running. "Catch me if you can!"

"Get back here, you bastard!"