Title: Opposition

Summary: They were no more than children, trapped on opposite sides of an adults' war. He accepted that, revelled in it. She never could. First love isn't meant to hurt like this. 50 sentences; theme set Epsilon.

Pairing: Giftshipping, Lucciano x Ruka (Luna)

Rating: T – for some darker themes. Lucciano is not a fluffy person.

Disclaimer: Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's is the intellectual property of Kazuki Takahashi, NAS, Konami, and various other organisations.

Warnings: Spoilers for episodes 77/78, and possibly beyond. Also, none of the end events have happened in canon – this is 99.9% speculation derived from both the Janime forums and my chaotic thought processes..

This is linked to "The Sum of his Parts", as they derive from the same head-canon; while reading this earlier oneshot is non-vital, it does give insight into chess. Yup, that's right, chess. It's very important y'know.

#06 – Gentle

He knew the importance of winning her trust, hence his focus on manipulating the girl not into overt conflict, but into playing the wrong moves – he'd picked white, of course, so gained the first turn and an advantage; rather than pawns or knights or knives in the dark, his weapon of choice was a smile.

#04 – Last

"It's just a schoolgirl's crush, she'll get over it soon," Aki said over her Physics books, as though she understood what was going through the youngest Signer's mind by virtue of being female – Yuusei remembered the tone of Ruka's voice as she told him of their new classmate and remained unconvinced.

#09 – King

There was no shame to be found in deference – even an Emperor could be toppled by fate – so the Signers' ethos of bonds, drawing on the Crimson Dragon's power without restraint, confused and frustrated the youngest of the Emperors; yet more than this, Ruka's reluctance to display her true potential left him searching for a hidden agenda that didn't exist.

#31 – Book

Lucciano-kun, Ruka decided, was precise: he chose his words carefully (sometimes she even made out traces of a foreign lilt to his speech, which could explain why); when dueling, he preferred to turn the opponent's cards against them, rather than squander his own; and she never, ever heard him tell an outright lie.

#18 – Attention

Rua glared at the new kid every time abnormal green eyes flickered in Ruka's direction – he was Ruka's protector, and that included keeping her away from creeps like that Lucciano!

#21 – Fool

Lucciano focussed on Rua's gullibility – the boy had fallen for his trap with ridiculous ease – rather than the nagging sense of wrong that ate at him for the untruth, despite it being necessary to get Ruka alone.

#36 – Stop

There was something wrong with her – every time Lucciano-kun glanced in her direction something in her stomach twisted with nerves, like she'd suddenly been thrust, clueless, into the spotlight while an invisible crowd roared and time span to a dizzying halt.

#02 – Cool

He didn't have to show off, of course; but there was something about her awestruck gaze that tempted him, tortured him, made him want to preserve that moment in her eyes for as long as possible, and Lucciano marvelled at the ease with which she wound her own shackles around him even as he moved to ensnare her.

#39 – Torn

Try as she might, it was impossible for Ruka to equate her friend, calm and gentle Lucciano, with the demon-child whose laughter chilled her with fear.

#05 – Wrong

At the time her anger had fuelled something that was almost hate, but now it was a leaden lump of sadness that ached with memory, and she couldn't justify it at all.

#47 – Harm

When his fury waned, Lucciano felt a strange emotion almost like relief take its place – he had failed to kill her, failed, but there were no words in his heart to describe why failure felt like a success of its own.

#11 – Blur

The night after the day she almost died, there were tearstains on her pillow; and the night after; and the night after that.

#13 – Change

Ruka was a solar flare against his vision, and he hated her for it; Lucciano found himself trying to hide from the memories, drowning himself in an ocean of indifference, yet all he needed was a glimmer of her radiance to be freed and tortured again.

#28 – Fortune

He didn't care much for the slip of paper – he discarded it almost immediately, focussing instead on the pilfered treat he nibbled at – but eventually idle curiosity called his attention back to the printed words: after a brief perusal, Lucciano proceeded to shred the paper into tiny fragments, like confetti, before dumping the lot into the gutter with a satisfied grin. (1)

#22 – Mad

That night he dreamed, dark, chaotic: of Ruka's eyes, their light extinguished by death's caress; of the slight curve of her neck, warm beneath his shaking hands; of the savage thrill of the vindicated, receding into a dazed, forlorn whimper.

#42 – Bother

He stepped back to survey his handiwork, her rag-doll body spilling across the floor and those dead, dead eyes that could hurt him no more – but Lucciano derived no pleasure from the scene, only an empty ache in his chest and a foreign wetness on his cheek.

#15 – Hold

Kaiba Rebecca terminated the video-call with her usual smile, after going through such necessities as telling her children not to stay up too late and reminding Rua to brush his teeth; as she turned back to the work in front of her, she wished that life had turned out differently, that she wasn't required to almost single-handedly manage KaibaCorp's business in America, because in the meantime her little girl was growing into a woman – Rebecca remembered being twelve, her feelings for Yuugi, and acknowledged that if Ruka was anything like she'd been at that age her "crush" would extend far beyond such simple definitions into the dubious territory of love.

#16 – Need

Across the ocean, Ruka stared at a family photograph – Mama and Papa, each holding a giggling twin, the empty space at Papa's right shoulder where Uncle Seto should have stood; she hugged it to her chest, wanting, needing her mother's embrace (the familiar smell of her perfume lingered on a pillowcase Ruka had taken from the linen closet, ginger and cedar and jasmine), because she was only twelve and the churning emotions that Lucciano's memory evoked were too numerous to understand.

#20 – Picture

He could not take his eyes off her, and Lucciano considered himself lucky that José took no interest in his affairs, else his constant observation of the Signer's routine would be noted and questioned.

#19 – Soul

At first Ruka experienced nightmares about that duel - Ancient Fairy Dragon's struggles when the Machine Emperor sealed her away, raw like the memory of her dragon's capture and long internment at the hands of the Dark Signers - later, after learning about his role in the battle ahead, her night-terrors revolved around him, Lucciano, an empty marionette bound by strings of hatred.

#34 – Sing

She was his pet, a songbird trapped in a gilded cage, wings pinioned; he would never let her escape, nor would she want to; but for now, Lucciano watched her flutter around the group she called friends, watched her attempts to coax the one named Sly into their circle, and felt envy twist his heart – that smile should be his, and his alone.

#23 – Child

None of the other Signers understood her desire to fight, seeing her only for the child she was and not the adult she would be – even Ancient Fairy Dragon, confidant, guide and mother, chided Ruka for her naïve optimism; "There is nothing you can do for him," she crooned, and for the first time in her life, Ruka understood heartbreak.

#48 – Precious

Fingers hovered over the wooden piece before settling on a knight's notched back, the piece he'd always associated with himself; as checkmate inched closer, rather than defend his king (an Emperor was nothing in the gaze of a deity, after all) the boy found himself protecting his queen from capture – just when had the little Signer pawn advanced and become such a powerful piece?

#01 – Motion

To worm her way out of visiting their friends, Ruka feigned a headache – no, Rua, it's nothing to worry about, I just want to stay home and sleep, okay? – and as soon as he left, she dropped to her knees to dig the D-Board out from under her bed; perhaps the others would try to stop her from getting involved in this fight, but Ruka would keep practicing, keep improving, until she was good enough to face and beat him at his own game.

#38 – Wash

She was his one weakness – the only thing that could penetrate his defence – but he was too stubborn to give her up.

#30 – Ghost

Ruka could not bear to meet the gaze of Lucciano-the-Emperor, even in memories, for behind his madman's grin and the danger promised in his bright green eye, she knew that Lucciano-the-child was sinking into the dark—forever.

#49 – Hunger

Secretly he craved the pain, the hundred thousand agonies her smile tore through him, and hate warred with affection as he basked in her light.

#07 – One

After all the days of pretending she was okay, after all the time spent forcing herself to forget the small acts of kindness that Lucciano-the-child had extended towards her, their eyes met from their respective pit lanes – and in that moment, everything came flooding back.

#40 – History

It would have been easier had the Crimson Dragon allowed her memories of him to be taken away, so that when she looked at him she would see only an Emperor, an enemy, and not the boy she had thought of as a friend.

#27 – Hide

More terrifying than Lucciano's madness was the eerie calm he sank into mid-duel, the subtle dangerous tilt to his mouth, and Ruka had no way of warning Crow that the opponent's rage simmered, white-hot, just under the surface – but neither did she know how wrong her convictions were.

#17 – Vision

Green hair tied in pigtails, tiny hands flattened against railings in a desperate plea – Ruka's body was a mere flicker against the rush of the duel, but Lucciano found himself missing the timing of his trap, her searing gaze cutting through him as harshly as the sudden gale that hurled him against a wall.

#50 – Believe

She knew he would stand up – Lucciano-kun would never, never surrender – but part of her was convinced it would be better if he stayed down, swallowed his pride, because at least then he could live.

#35 – Sudden

With a jolt that was two parts relief and one part terror, Lucciano knew that he no longer wanted to be like José and Plácido: Ruka's blazing smile was far more welcome a thought than surrendering what little humanity he could claim to possess.

#32– Eye

The eyepiece became a glacial chill against his skin; his left eye stung as their God tried to tear Ruka's unwitting influence from his mind, but it was too late – he had already been tainted by the Crimson Dragon, and under the hate and the agony something deeper, purer began to stir.

#43 – God

His transgression was nothing more than realising – far too late – that he wanted to stay human, because their God knew everything (well duh—who else created that eyepiece he wore like a brand?) and now he had lost God's favour he would pay the price for his folly.

#08 – Thousand

He couldn't win – not against an opponent like Crow Hogan, who drew his strength from fervent resolve and cared nothing for probabilities or logic – but he didn't dare lose either, not when he had already earned God's wrath; so Lucciano chose the next best option, forcing a draw, and the relief he glimpsed in Ruka's eyes was its own reward.

#25 – Shadow

The next-and-final D-Wheelers clashed, Jack versus José; the skies boiled dark with pent-up anger; the giant spiral construction started to accelerate in its descent, inch by agonising inch, a stain across the city, while behind it the energy of the Crimson Dragon raged, could not escape, and she heard its forlorn cries echo through time and space; the shock on Lucciano's face froze Ruka in her tracks – can he hear it too?

#14 – Command

She stumbled across him in an alley not a half-hour later, half hidden behind a fire escape with his hair hanging loose and lungs straining as though he had never heard of breathing before; Ruka remembered making a small, startled squeak before a hand dragged her into the shadows, Lucciano's voice rasping hot and anxious next to her ear: "Don't make a sound."

#33 – Never

"Do you trust me?" he asked her out of nowhere; when Ruka shook her head, no, he simply grinned (tired, faded, the Lucciano she'd known swimming to the surface) and said, "That's good – don't ever trust me, you'll just get hurt."

#03 – Young

They were children caught in an adults' war, enemies-but-not, and this whole situation read too much like fucking Shakespeare for his liking.

#37 – Time

They lingered there for what felt like an eternity but was no more than minutes, tiny figures under the bruised and blackened sky – Ruka was acutely aware of his hand on her shoulder, of the strange dampness seeping into her jacket, of the spider webs inching overhead like the terror gripping Neo Domino and the slow crawl of her pulse.

#46 – Drive

Stupid, thinking that lying low would let him escape (the eyepiece was a beacon and nothing he tried would remove it); "Run, I'll follow you," he hissed into the trembling girl's ear, and she almost tripped when he pushed her away, towards the main street – he waited until she disappeared, searing her into his memory, before he turned and ran in the opposite direction.

#29 – Safe

She lost sight of him in the chaos, but even when pain lanced her arm and scorched her heart, part of Ruka stayed with the red-haired boy whose fate betrayed and rejected him; she clasped her hands and begged a higher power to protect him, for though he was her enemy, Ruka couldn't bear to see another person hurt.

#24 – Now

He ran because there was nowhere else to go, no way he could fight an enemy so strong, no-one nearby he could trust, only intoxicating eyes and the fire-scent of a dragon – but the knight didn't dare bring danger near his queen.

#44 – Wall

Her eyes had misted over with tears, so Ruka could barely see where she was going when she collided with Yuusei's legs and sent them both sprawling; hands fussed over her, Crow's voice harsh and angry as he caught sight of bloodstains on her jacket, and she managed to choke out Lucciano's name before being overwhelmed by sobs – there was a barrier between her and the other Signers, and they wouldn't, couldn't understand that he'd done nothing to hurt her… because it was Lucciano's blood.

#41 – Power

"I'm stronger than you," he shouted at the sky, at that hated, twisted symbol of failure – the very thing they had wanted to prevent, the Final Momentum, sinking slowly into this plane of existence – but they'd been told it was the Ark Cradle! their God had lied, had lied to them! – and the memory of golden eyes fuelled his defiance as he resolved to create his own destiny.

#12 – Wait

She hovered on the boundary between her world and the Spirit Realm, knowing that they would need a miracle to get rid of the spiral-object (and find him, the traitor inside her whispered), that her strength would be insufficient, but there were no answers for her there, only an empty silence where a dragon's voice once hummed.

#10 – Learn

It was almost funny, in a way: it had taken him twelve years a.k.a. his entire life to learn how to lie convincingly – Lucciano had never carried any intentions of following her, because if he did then she would only get hurt – and now…

#45 – Naked

Lucciano without his eyepiece was like Jack without his signature coat, exposed, oddly vulnerable; when she caught sight of the ghastly mask he wore in its place, and the unnatural pallor of his skin, Ruka could only scream.

#26 – Goodbye

Their non-existent relationship started – and ended – with "Hello," as dazed green eyes blinked open from a hospital bed; for them, what others had assumed to be 'the end' was a beginning of its own.

(1) The fortune from Lucciano's cookie reads "The one you love is closer than you think" – he doesn't trust in things like "love", hence he destroys it ASAP.

A/N: The basic idea with this piece is that each sentence is a snippet of their story, from the very beginning (when Lucciano shows up at Duel Academia) to a possible end, in chronological order - sometimes with weeks and months between them. Of course, this is wholly dependant on an interpretation of Lucciano not being a 100% psycho-child with a taste for sadism, but a flesh-and-blood human who has made mistakes and been manipulated by Fate. Some people may take this as OOC - personally, I don't think it is, and that's my aim with this piece of fiction: to develop Lucciano and Ruka, using the other as a medium, to the point where any future with them "together" could feasibly be possible.

(Or maybe I just like torturing characters. You take your pick.~)

EDITED in light of recent developments in the plot, but not everything from the show will make it in here. Parts!verse = AU, remember? *wink*