Disclaimer/Notes: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh!: GX, or any of the characters mentioned here. They belong to Kazuki Takahashi, and no money is being made off of this piece of fiction. This story was written solely for entertainment purposes, and no copyright infringement was intended. Please, do not sue. All original ideas are original (duh) and belong to me, unless otherwise mentioned. This story is unbeta'd, slashy, and has insanity references. Enjoy


Being with Juudai was a lot like drowning, Manjoume thought, his eyes on the ceiling rafters. It was a panicky, desperate affair, like struggling against a crushing force of utter stupidity that left him feeling breathless and thirsty for a drop of sanity in his hectic life. Juudai was all smiles and misused terminology; he was all the world's impossible luck and foolish chance embodied into a single entity whose sole purpose was to reduce Manjoume into a twitchy ball of nerves ready to spill out into a full bodied anxiety attack at any moment. He was a wild ocean tearing apart the lone island of skill and competence that Manjoume had been clinging to, a veritable tsunami of 'one percent' that was set to wash away any notions of self-worth that the former Obelisk student may have, however foolishly, believed he deserved.

And when he was with Juudai, there was never high enough ground to hold.

To an extent, this made sense. Juudai was a hero, after all. He had a monopoly on 'high ground.' He was Duel Academy's golden boy who can do no wrong; everyone looked the other way when he cheated, or lied, or did anything at all that might be construed as unbecoming. Manjoume pushed the covers away in annoyance, twisting restlessly. It was not fair: Juudai was selfish, and crude, and he did not give a damn who or what had to fall in the fulfillment of his seemingly insatiable appetite for entertainment. Juudai was always right, and Manjoume was always wrong, and it never seemed to matter who was on the side of decency or justice or any trite virtue like morality. Manjoume wondered if all heroes were like that, were 'gotcha fingers' and off-hand, snide comments, or if maybe that was just the only way that Juudai knew how to fill that role.

Then again, maybe a horrible hero was just what Manjoume deserved for being such a useless villain.

He sat up abruptly, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed. A walk, he decided, would do him good. Getting out of his room and away from the Osiris Red dormitory – and the ugly reminders of his own inadequacy – might help stifle the noise that even his ear plugs could not keep out. There was more than just spirits and weak monsters clamoring in his skull; the cacophony of his own doubts and fears was almost more than he could bear. Manjoume's hands gripped the bedsheets tightly, balling the fabric up in frustration. He would have killed for silence.

Beside him, a figure stirred, one hand landing roughly over his own. Those fingers curled around his fist, squeezing gently. He glanced back at the other boy.

"Come back soon," the boy murmured, eyes still closed and voice hazy with sleep. Manjoume just scowled.

"Why do you care?"

"I miss you when you're gone for too long. . ."

Manjoume opened his mouth to retaliate, but found that he had no respond. His mouth snapped shut with a resounding click of teeth, jaw clenching as he snatched his hand back and stood up.
It was just another calculated phrase from the hero. It didn't mean anything, and it certainly should not have made him feel hopeful about being more than just an amusing distraction until the next calamity arose.