Note: This was written for the Zexal Flash Bingo challenge, for the prompt "Tetsuo".
Tetsuo's final monster vanished with a tremendous bloom of smoke, which cleared as the Solid Vision faded to reveal Yuma's grinning face.
"Aw, yeah, I rock!" he enthused, doing a victory dance.
His audience, composed of a crowd of friends and admirers, heralded his victory with cheers and good-natured catcalls. Tetsuo found he didn't mind being temporarily ignored.
He and Yuma had been dueling ever since the moment they met. It was how they'd met, and it had been the cornerstone of their relationship ever since: a challenge, a battle, and an inevitable defeat - for Yuma. It might have gone on that way forever if things hadn't happened: the Numbers, the Arclights, the World Duel Carnival, the Barians. With all that going on, it had been a while since they'd had time for a friendly duel. He'd gone into this duel expecting it to be a return to normalcy.
What he hadn't expected was to be quickly and competently trounced. For the first time in his life, he'd lost a duel to Yuma, and he wasn't even sure Yuma had noticed. Oh, sure, he was happy he'd won, but he wasn't acting as though something unusual had happened. In a sense, nothing had. Yuma had already dueled against some of the greatest duelists in the world, and a few who weren't from his world at all. It came as a little shock to Tetsuo to realize that not only could Yuma beat him, but that he wasn't even a challenge for him anymore.
I should have known he wouldn't be the same old Yuma, Tetsuo thought, watching Yuma banter with his friends. He'd gotten used to thinking of Yuma as his comical sidekick, the school's court jester who fell on his face again and again for the amusement of the school. Sure, he might pull of some miraculous wins, but those were, well, miracles, and not supposed to encroach on everyday life. But somewhere along the line, Yuma had become a hero, and Tetsuo had taken on the role of "guy who cheers from the sidelines." He hadn't even managed to be a proper sidekick. It was usually Shark and Kaito, not to mention Astral, who gave him the backup he needed in serious situations. They were the ones who could keep pace with him, now.
Guess I'm just going to have to get used to it, Tetsuo decided, as he watched Yuma laughing among his throng of admirers. How could he be upset, really? He couldn't be mad at people for liking his best friend. Yuma deserved to have dozens of friends. It was just, well...
He'd grown up. You could see it in his eyes and the way he moved. It was unsettling to realize that the boy he'd once thought would never catch up to him had pulled far ahead of him without either of them realizing.
"Hey, Tetsuo!" Yuma shouted. "Wanna play again?"
Tetsuo grinned. Okay, maybe they hadn't lost touch with each other just yet.