During the Cold Christmas Night
A Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS one-shot
Summary: T'was the night before Christmas. Or if you ask Yusaku, t'was the nightmare before Christmas. It's one thing to have those nightmares, those painful visions back home. It's another to have them in a completely new town in the middle of the night at your boyfriend's house right before Christmas, of all holidays. Also a very, very loose 5D's-VRAINS crossover.
Yusaku couldn't believe it. He was six years old again, in that facility again, surrounded by those pulsating, sickening white walls, again. Did the medicine not kick in yet? But, wait . . . the sensation was too real for it to be a dream.
No, not again. This couldn't be happening.
Against his will, Yusaku, as his helpless, trapped, captive six-year-old self, shed tears, knowing what was to happen next. He failed to think of activating the Trap card he needed in the most pivotal moment—he was too scared. But, that fear would cost him.
Then, the electric shocks, shocks that zapped away every ounce of his will to live. It burned, it hurt. He couldn't go on anymore, his body incapable of moving any further, his consciousness fading by the second.
A surprisingly faint and low-pitch voice rung in the young boy's ears—unusual for this nightmare. Usually, there weren't any voices calling out to him in this dream. Nightmare.
"Who are you?" muttered Yusaku in his six-year-old body.
Homura Residence, Shirakawa
Yusaku snapped his eyes open to find a pair of concerned blue-gray eyes staring deeply into his. The moonlight peeked through the small opening he'd left between the curtains, creating a line slashing across the other's face, accentuating his worried expression even more. Yusaku slowly recalled his surroundings. He wasn't at home in the city. He wasn't in his small room in Yusei-san and Kiryu-san's house. He's with Takeru and his grandparents and spending his winter recess with them.
And for the first time in weeks, he had that nightmare again.
Yusaku felt water on his face—shit, he'd been crying in his sleep, hadn't he?—as he tried to force himself back to the present, sensing Takeru's hands gripping his shaking ones firmly. Gentle air passed through, making his face all the colder, so he couldn't tell if his shaking was from nerves or the cold. Or both.
"Ta-Takeru?" he hiccupped, his heartbeat having accelerated at a speed that made it hard for him to speak.
"Shhh. Yusaku, it's alright," whispered Takeru, rubbing circles in Yusaku's palms. "You're free now. They can't hurt you anymore."
"But, how-how did—"
The corners of Takeru's mouth curved into a soft smile, and Takeru glanced to Yusaku's right. Yusaku followed his gaze to find his white, orange, and gray cat snuggled next to him. The pounding in Yusaku's ears lessened to where Yusaku could hear his therapy cat purring.
"Fuku wouldn't stop meowing at my door," explained Takeru, shrugging. "I thought he was hungry at first. But, when I went to go get the cat food, he started walking in the other direction to your room. And after that . . ."
Yusaku bit his bottom lip. Well, he would've if he hadn't been shaking so intensely. His grip on his conscience was slowly loosening, his vision blurring. It's as though his body thought he's still trapped in that dream, no matter what Takeru said. When is that stupid medicine going to work?! The thought barely crossed his mind, however, when he was ever so gently pulled forward, head resting on Takeru's chest so that he could listen to Takeru's steady heartbeat, a contrast to his very own.
It was scary—frightening, losing control in a relatively unknown place. It's one thing for Yusaku to have these attacks in Yusei-san and Kiryu-san's place. Neither of them had endured what he had to, but at least they could understand. After all, both also experienced lucid nightmares and the resulting debilitating panic or anxiety attacks relating to lifechanging moments in their pasts. On a regular basis, too. So they knew what to do, and as much as he hadn't wanted to bother them, he was grateful when the attacks happen there as opposed to when he dozes off in school.
But, to have them at Takeru's place? And being trouble for him in the middle of the night, right before Christmas? Some Christmas. He'd packed the medicine and brought his therapy cat just for that very problem. Some good that did.
Some boyfriend he was.
Some hero he was, even though he had never asked for that honor.
"Takeru, I'm . . ." Without thinking, he tightly gripped Takeru's white shirt that glowed a light blue in the dark. "I'm sorry."
"For what? I can just sleep in later. It's totally fi—"
"For breaking down like this!"
Takeru tightened his embrace around him, prompting a small mewl from Fuku. "Yusaku, it's not your fault—"
Yusaku furiously shook his head. "That's just what you needed, isn't it? Your hero having a panic attack right before Christmas because he's not really over the Lost Incident yet? Even though. Even though it's been eleven years now!"
"I really. I really shouldn't be here," muttered Yusaku. "I've caused nothing but trouble since day one and—"
Looking up, he saw Takeru, his eyes threatening to water, teeth clenched, an expression Yusaku hadn't seen until that very moment. Much like his own heartbeat, Takeru's had also gotten faster. It wasn't that Yusaku hadn't seen Takeru be emotional, but there was something about the expression that struck him, something . . . something that gripped his own heart.
"I get it's hard to see this right now, but . . . you're not a burden or being a bother or whatever the hell else." Yusaku could hear the crack in Takeru's voice as Fuku mewed softly, almost as if agreeing with what Takeru was saying. "Jii-chan and Baa-chan like you—and they don't like just anyone. Well, Baa-chan, maybe, but definitely not Jii-chan. Kiku and all my friends here think you're great. No one important in my life here thinks you shouldn't be here or you're a troublemaker. Causing trouble's my job, anyway, if you ask them. They'd even think hacking a less serious crime than me picking fights with folks, probably."
"But—" protested Yusaku. Takeru, however, put a finger to Yusaku's lips.
"I'm not done," Takeru sighed, and Yusaku looked downward. "Yeah, you're my hero. You'll always be. But, you breaking down isn't going to make me think badly of you. Even heroes cry when they need to."
"Takeru . . ."
"And I really hate to break it to you, but you having a breakdown about the Lost Incident years later isn't going to ruin Christmas. Those six months were hell. No one blames you for not getting over it, even after all this time. And holidays either make things really really great or really really worse, anyway."
"Still not done." Yusaku had anticipated more of Takeru's unusually long-winded verbal reprimand. He definitely knew better better than to be self-deprecating around him, much less directly in front of him, but there's no time to be logical and remember that when you're mentally and emotionally breaking down. Instead, though, Takeru's lips playfully met Yusaku's which elicited a muffled and surprised "Takeru!" But, Takeru, as expected, either didn't hear (which was very well within the realm of possibilities) or just chose to ignore and deepened the kiss. Yusaku sighed as he pulled away.
"Really?" huffed Yusaku, his cheeks lightly burning. Takeru only grinned, his teeth like a flashlight in the dark it was so bright. Yusaku's heart pounded, not so much because of the nightmare, but because of the one in front of him.
"Oh, so now we're upset that I snapped your 'I initiate all kisses in this relationship' streak now, are we?" Takeru said playfully. "Come on. It's just one ki—"
Yusaku didn't give Takeru a chance to finish the thought as he pulled him by the collar and kissed him with a bit more force than he'd intended. Maybe it's the sleep deprivation or that medicine's finally kicking in. Or both. But, for Takeru's dumbfounded face? Worth it.
"You're . . . oddly competitive about this," mumbled Takeru, turning his face after a moment. Fuku yawned, and Yusaku gently petted him, smiling.
"You started it."
Takeru sighed as he made his way next to Yusaku, bringing him—and as a result, Fuku—closer by throwing an arm around. Fuku curled up against Yusaku's thigh, deciding it's as a good a time as any to finally rest. Maybe it's because he's cold, but Yusaku couldn't help but snuggle in closer, taking in as much of Takeru's warmth as he possibly could. While Yusaku did have his own bed and place to sleep, he felt more relaxed resting by Takeru. Sleeping so close to him felt like being wrapped in a huge and warm blanket, and Yusaku couldn't get enough of that feeling.
Eyes closed, Yusaku felt Takeru shower him with light kisses from the side of his head to his neck.
"What is it?" Yusaku whispered. Takeru didn't respond right away, so he assumed Takeru had gone to sleep, or at least pretended to. It wasn't too long, however, before another whisper replied, "I love you, Yusaku."
It hadn't been the first time Takeru dropped those three words. Or the second. Or the third. But, it had been the first time he's said those words after one of Yusaku's nightmares and panic attacks and when the medicine was barely working. Takeru had seen one of his ugliest sides, and yet, for him to say those words . . .
Yusaku didn't recall when exactly he finally slept, comfortably resting against Takeru with Fuku balled up, contently purring. But, he knew one thing: it had to been after he returned those words, finally feeling that Takeru's home had finally become his too.
"I love you too, Takeru."
And so went the night before Christmas at the Homura household.