Juudai is becoming rather annoying, hovering around in the edges of Manjyome's vision like one of the Ojamas. No matter how much Manjyome snaps at him, Juudai's still hanging around. Manjyome asks where Shou and Hayato are, the same as he always does, and Juudai makes his usual excuse about them having tutoring with Daitokuji. About having no one else to hang around with, because Asuka's friends giggle and whisper when he hangs around with her, because Misawa uses too many long words and gets annoyed when Juudai falls asleep during conversations, because Ryo's just a little bit intimidating, even to Juudai.
It's pointless, they know it's pointless, but still they repeat their rituals. Manjyome knows the excuses off by heart, doesn't even need to ask, wouldn't ask if it wasn't their routine. Can list off reasons why each excuse doesn't matter. If Shou and Hayato needed tutoring this often, they wouldn't even have made Osiris. If Juudai knew what the girls were giggling about it would bother him, but he doesn't, so he'll just pout a little, thinking they've got a joke he doesn't know (the truth is that Juudai is the one with the joke, but he doesn't understand it, or pretends not to at least). Juudai can stay awake for conversations with Misawa if he feels like it. No one intimidates Juudai, not even Ryo.
Juudai glances over Manjyome's shoulder again, asking, "Are you done yet?"
Manjyome growls, slamming his pen down on the desk. Stands up, turns around, glowers at Juudai.
"If I stop, will you promise to leave me alone tomorrow?"
Juudai nods, beaming at Manjyome. Manjyome continuing to glare at him, even though they both know he doesn't mean it (neither of them do, and this will happen again tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after). Juudai ignores the glare and jumps on Manjyome (as always), Manjyome staggers back so that the backs of his legs crash painfully into the desk (as always), Juudai nuzzles at Manjyome's neck (as always), and then the two of them are on the bed. They don't need to think about it any more, so wrapped up in their roles, characters in a play that should never have started in the first place, and definitely shouldn't have carried on this long.
Part of Manjyome longs to change it somehow, to do something different, to make it a different performance even if it's the same play. But then Juudai's lips are on his neck and Juudai's breath is in his ears, and he can't even think straight, let alone think that much.
Later on, when Juudai is asleep, Manjyome watches him. He's been certain ever since they met that something is wrong with Juudai – although at first he just wanted to believe that due to his hatred for Juudai, his resentment for the fact that some Osiris drop-out boy was a better duellist than him. Now though, he doesn't hate Juudai.
But now that he's done hating, he's started worrying (although he's not sure who he worries for, himself or Juudai). Because no-one should be like Juudai, at Juudai's age. Because no-one should follow their routine the way they do and not question it. Because no-one should be able to recreate events so totally as Juudai, so completely and exactly the same as the first time.
And because Manjyome knows that Juudai's not stupid. Not even close. He can act all he wants, but there's something about him, something in his eyes. Something that Manjyome noticed after this routine began, something that tells him that Juudai really is acting. He doesn't think Juudai has ever said anything remotely intelligent in his presence, but the fact is still there – Manjyome knows that Juudai is clever (and besides, Duel Monsters is complicated enough that no-one as stupid as Juudai acts would be able to play so well).
Manjyome ignores it though, because he's good at ignoring things he doesn't want to think about or acknowledge. Like his brothers, like the fact that Asuka likes him as nothing more than a friend (although that doesn't bother him any more – he's moved on, even if he does question the motives of, the sanity of Juudai).
Ignores the fact that something about Juudai rings alarm bells in his mind. That sometimes when they're together, when Juudai's face is flushed and his eyes half-lidded, those eyes are an eerie gold color.
Tells himself that it must be a trick of the light, because Juudai's eyes are brown, bright and childish and nothing like that at all. Nothing like how they look those times. Flat and golden, dull and bright all at the same, and so deep that when Manjyome looks into them he can't look away, even when they're barely open. Even when there's just the slight glimmer of gold in them.
He doesn't like to admit it, but he thinks those eyes are the reason he lets this go on. Because even though he can't stand it (wouldn't mind being with Juudai if it weren't for this never-ending routine), even though he wants to end it as soon as he possibly can, every time he even tries to change the performance, those eyes are on him. And he's starting to think that's become part of their routine, part of their ritual.