Note: This was written for the Zexal Flash Bingo Challenge for the prompt "time".

"Sis, could you get the door?"

"I'm on a deadline!" Akari shouted back. "You get the door!"

"I'm on the phone!" Yuma complained, but a moment later, Akari heard him go stomping towards the front door. Whatever irritation he might have been feeling, however, apparently melted away the moment the door was opened. She heard him exclaim with delight at seeing whoever was there. Akari's temper, on the other hand, was steadily heating up.

All he ever does lately is fool around. Doesn't he realize some of us have to work around here?

When Yuma knocked on her door a moment later, she opened it with a scowl that made him step back a pace.

"Um," he said, "can I go over to Shark's place?"

"Have you cleaned your room today?" Akari asked.

"Well, no..."

"Or finished your homework?" she persisted.

"I've been busy!"

"Akari fixed him with a glare. "Doing what? Goofing around with your friends?"

"I'm not goofing around!"

The words were so vehement that Akari was taken aback. Suddenly, her little brother looked angry, almost moved to tears.

"I'm not," he said more softly. "This is important."

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"I'm spending time with them," he said. "When I first met Astral, we didn't get along. I was always needling him, telling him to go away and leave me alone. If I had known how things were going to turn out, I'd have done things differently. I'd have spent more time with him. I wouldn't have pushed him away - I'd have used every second I had."

"But your friends aren't going anywhere," said Akari gently.

"Maybe not today," said Yuma, "but you know, we're all going to grow up sometime. We're going to graduate, go to college, get jobs, move away. Things won't stay like this forever. I want to make the most of it while I can, because I don't know when it will change."

Akari just stared at him. He met her gaze, his expression begging her to understand. She stared back at him, wondering when her brother had grown up so much.

"Whatever," she said. "I guess I can ask Obomi to clean your room next time she's around. She likes doing it anyway."

Yuma's expression cleared. "Thanks!"

"Hey, Yuma!" called a voice from downstairs. "Are you coming or what?"

"Coming!" he called back, and turned to race off and rejoin his friends.

Akari watched him go. Then she turned and walked slowly back to her computer. The screen saver had come on, and she sat and watched it for a moment without touching anything. After a little while, she turned and reached for her phone.

"Hey, Tetsuko?" she said. "You want to go somewhere tonight and hang out? ... No special reason. I just thought we hadn't done anything fun in a while. ... Yeah, and I am busy. It's just..." She gazed pensively off in the direction her brother had gone. "I think I can find the time."