Oh, boy. It's me again. My planned hiatus took a turn when I legit wrote a good 2/3 of this in a sleepy stupor. I finished it while wide awake, so it may not be... the best... but it bridges the gap between Wonder What's Next and Accident (actually, it takes place in tandem with Accident), so if you haven't read either of those, I highly suggest that you do. Anyway, onward~

"I will kill that son of a bitch!"

Yuri Sakazaki watched, alarmed, as her brother, Ryo, paced back and forth around the living room, his face red and hands balled into tight fists.

"Brother, it's over! If you make any stupid moves you'll just make things worse!"
"Make things worse?! Make things worse?!" Ryo exclaimed. "You should have seen her out there!"
"What makes you think I haven't seen her like that?! She's had lots of ups and downs — I've seen some of the real bad ones!"
"Yeah — because you've been lying this whole time!"

At that, Yuri rolled her eyes.

"It's not lying if no one tells you in the first place," she pointed out.
"But you should have told us," her boyfriend, Robert, chimed in from his place near the edge of the room. "We could have —"
"Could have what?! It's like coming out," Yuri said. "She decides who to tell — not me, not Mary, not anyone else she knows!"
"But why wouldn't she tell me?!" Ryo asked.
"Why would she?"

Ryo stopped pacing for a moment. He crossed his arms over his chest and let out a deep sigh.

"It all makes sense now," he glowered. "The missed sparring sessions, the mood swings… even that scar on her head! It was all because of this — because of Big!"
"Well… yeah," Yuri conceded.
"Then that's that. I'm going to kill him."
"I'll help," Robert added.

Yuri groaned.

"You two are being stupid! Big's counting on you to do something like this so he can take you out! He even told King personally that he'd break you if you went after him! It's what he wants!"
"Yeah, well, I want to shove those stupid sticks of his up his ass!"
"That's not gonna do anything!"

Ryo appeared to consider his sister's words. He rubbed the stubble on his chin, thoughtful, before Robert spoke up.

"Maybe she's right," he sighed. "Maybe the best thing we can do is nothing."
"But —"

Yuri quickly cut across her brother:

"You wanna help her, right?"
"Then just… leave it alone. Be there for her — or don't. Sometimes she gets really upset when she thinks we're coddling her."
"Who else knows about this?" Ryo hastily inquired. "Mary, right? Who else?!"
"That's for her to tell you."
"For fuck's sake!"

With that, Ryo crossed the room and plucked his phone from a side table. He started composing a text, the little clicking sounds of the keyboard somehow drowning out the sounds of the movie that was playing on the television.

"Dude," Robert warned. "If she's as upset as you say then she's not going to want to talk about this right now."
"Or ever," Yuri added.

Ryo didn't respond as he sent several texts in quick succession. Yuri held her breath as she silently watched. She wondered if King would even bother responding; knowing her, she was probably already at least halfway plastered on a bottle of fancy wine, texting Mary. Yuri wondered if she should slip away to send her own message, but thought better of it. If King replied (and that was a really big "if") it would probably be a half-French mess of pent up emotions that wouldn't even make any sense. It was best to just leave her alone and —

"Who did it?" Ryo asked suddenly.
"Who. Did. It." He repeated, seething.

Yuri shut her eyes; the memory of seeing the guy with King in a chokehold sent a shiver down her spine. She quickly shook the image out of her head as best she could.

"I don't know — some guy," she answered. "He's already put away and Mary kneecapped him twice so it's not like you'd be able to step in with your macho man bullcrap anyway. Just leave it alone!"
"'Macho man bullcrap?!' Yuri, I can't just leave this alone! She's —"
"Probably at home, getting drunk, and thinking of ways to avoid you," Robert stated matter-of-factly.

Ryo sighed and turned back to his phone.

"She's not answering."
"Big surprise," Yuri told him with a pointed look.
"Maybe I should go over there."
"To do what?!" Yuri and Robert asked in unison. There was a moment of strained silence, and then:

"I… I dunno."

Robert crossed the room and placed a hand on Ryo's shoulder.

"You've gotta chill out," he said. "As much as I wouldn't mind helping you take Big down again, what's it gonna accomplish? I mean, really. No amount of fighting'll undo what happened to her."
"But drop it," Yuri pleaded. "She already handled Big — he's out of her life for good. Just… please?"

With another heavy sigh Ryo walked over to the sofa and sat down. He placed his head in his hands and let out a frustrated growl. Yuri and Robert exchanged a look, both at a bit of a loss.

"Okay, then," Ryo finally articulated. "So… now what? What am I supposed to do? I can't just let it go."
"Looks like you're gonna have to," Robert said with a grimace. He then turned to Yuri and asked, "Alright, but, seriously, what do we do? I've never dealt with something like this before."

Yuri made a face and placed a hand on the back of her head, where it felt like an ice pick was being driven through it.

"You ninnies," she remarked tiredly. "Just treat her like you always do. Yeah, she went through something bad, and, yeah, she's a little angrier than she used to be, but she was always kind of intense, you know? She's not weaker, or damaged because of it. She's still her."

Both men were silent. Uncomfortable. However, before either could say anything the text notification on Yuri's phone sounded. Curious, she pulled the gadget from her back pocket, read the message, and let out a small gasp.

"What is it?" Robert asked, concerned.
"What's going on?" Ryo added.

With a sigh of her own, Yuri's shoulders sagged while she glanced from her brother to her boyfriend.

"It's Céccy…!"

Man, Thanksgiving was eventful, huh? Did I need to bridge this particular gap? Probably not. However, I think this conversation might be too important to be an "off-screen" only event. Also, Yuri's comparing things to coming out is a direct callback to Hurt, when King tells her that very thing.

Anyway, thanks for reading and/or reviewing!