Summary: I forgive you, she says. She always forgives. Lucciano doesn't understand why, but perhaps that's the beauty of it. Written with the prompt set Mystic from "10iloveyou" on LJ
Characters: Ruka, Lucciano, Rua
Notes: These are a collection of mostly-unrelated oneshots centring on the pairing of Ruka/Lucciano (or Giftshipping). Some of them will relate to certain other stories of mine. Some of them will stand alone. Some are inherently AU. And some might just lay the foundations for a whole new tangent of writing. You'll have to wait and see~
Oh, and beware possible vague spoilers for much of Season 3.
Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's. This is a fan-derivative work written for my own enjoyment and that of the fandom's.
Prompt #3: Innocence(Post-finale)
The world was normal again. The sky was whole and the city safe. The future was safe too. Rua dashed into the sunlight and laughed, promising those future figures that life would be theirs. They, the Signers, would make sure it all turned out right. It was a promise. And he, they, everyone would keep it.
It had been four months since everything ended. The change still left him reeling. Everything was calm again. Aki-neesan looked set to graduate at the top of her class. Crow still fought with Jack, telling him to get a job (Rua knew he was looking, looking, but refused to tell Crow this). Yuusei … nobody quite knew what was up with Yuusei. Physically he sat in the garage and tinkered with his machines, as usual, and he went out to fix things for people, bringing extra income. Still, there was a distance in his eyes that only went away on occasion. Rua didn't know whose phone-calls brought the light back but he was thankful to them anyway.
What else, what else… he mentally composed the letter he would never send, telling his parents about all the strange and wonderful things they'd lived through from the sanctuary of his head. Nothing he could think of, so he turned to the mundane. But even here he had so much to talk about! Like—yesterday, he actually finished third in a mock-tournament held between his classmates, beating Bob and Tenpei before Sly forced him to deck-out. (That didn't feel so much like a loss as it would if his 'rival' had beaten him outright. He'd win next time!) And Ruka beat Sly in the final anyway, which made everything better. It was hard to believe that only 10 months ago the vice-principal had wanted to kick them all out. Now Ruka – their pride and joy – sat at the top of the class. She wasn't afraid to show her ability anymore. Somehow her confidence had grown during the events they'd lived through. Sly's face as Ancient Fairy Dragon wiped out his lifepoints… brilliant. Then Rua frowned slightly, remembering how sad Ruka had looked for a moment, when the duel ended, like she was turning to look for acknowledgement from a person who wasn't there.
He didn't want to think about that.
His head turned back towards the apartment. Ruka was still inside. The boy wondered if he should pester her to come out and share in the sunlight, but…
Rua swallowed and whispered his secret to the warm understanding rays:
"Mum, Dad? I don't know what to do. I think Ruka's talking to ghosts."
As soon as the words left his mouth, a hot flush of mortification crept up his cheeks. He probably seemed such an idiot, sharing secrets with the sunshine. Why did it bother him so much? She spoke to the spirits all the time. But this was different. She was talking to him.
And try as he might, he couldn't forgive that Lucciano.
Days crept into weeks. Ruka had always been the quiet one in their group – if you didn't count Sly, but he wasn't really one of them anyway – yet now, her smiles were painted with distance and her words drifted out more and more infrequently. Even Bob noticed. The topic remained a guilty secret, however. Whenever they tried to broach it, Ruka smiled at them and insisted, "I'm fine."
Part of him resented this newfound secrecy – as older brother, it was his duty to keep Ruka safe. Physically, mentally, emotionally. And if needs be, by preventing her from wandering into self-destructive behaviour. He knew she wasn't sleeping right. Sometimes, at three in the morning, he'd be woken by the sound of her creeping back to their room, burrowing under covers, trying to snatch a few hours' rest before the new day began. He tried to ask her what was wrong, why she was behaving so oddly, but every time Rua found his questions turned aside, his fears disarmed, his twin somehow knowing every attempt he made.
Weeks crept into months.
Their parents came home over winter break, and Rua insisted on introducing them to their friends, the Signers, everybody. Ruka responded with almost as much enthusiasm, though quieter—of course. For the first time in forever she returned to her usual self. Rua wished that Mum and Dad could stay longer. There was something magical about being together, a family. He didn't mention the ghost. Perhaps, if they ignored Lucciano's spectre, the boy would leave Ruka alone.
One evening it snowed, sky shedding huge flakes that drifted towards the ground like feathers. Bundled up in coats and layers of scarves, the inseparable twins piled out into the snowy atmosphere and ran to meet their friends. Impromptu snowball fights around the fountain, cheeks stained red with laughter, Aki-neesan ushering them all inside with a cheerful gleam in her eyes, and the warm rich scent of hot cocoa, which Crow bestowed on them with grins, while Yuusei and Jack dug out enough spare blankets for everybody to huddle in. Their hands were frozen lumps (Tenpei had no gloves). They didn't care. They were happy, and free, and most of all alive.
They slept that night in a tangled heap, the six children (Patty had persuaded Sly to join them; Rua seized the opportunity to avenge his loss in the tournament by gleefully pelting his rival with snowballs until they descended into an old-fashioned scuffle in the snow) curled up in various fashions in a cacophony of blankets. Ruka lay beside him, her head nestled against his chest, and Rua smiled sleepily. He'd protect her. He'd always protect her. (Mum's perfume, ginger and cedar and jasmine, lingered in the fabric of her shirt like a protective charm.)
He dreamed of ruined streets and pitted scars, of a young boy's screams as his world fell apart, and the face, the face of a ghost, flitting around his mind like a ghastly kaleidoscope.
A month after their thirteenth birthday, Rua and Ruka moved into separate rooms for the first time in their lives.
The whole thing was strange. Alien. He found himself waking in the middle of the night, wide-eyed, staring into the darkness with the sudden irrational fear: he's taken her. (She was safe, of course, curled up in her own bed in her own room with no way for Rua to guard her from the spectral form haunting their nights.)
It was the truth. Lucciano haunted them. The more Rua tried to ignore his presence in their lives, the more the kaleidoscopic swirl of nightmares tainted his sleep. They started as irregular fragments piercing into the blank space between dozing and sleeping, gradually building as the days and weeks passed until a picture formed in his head – a picture taken through a broken camera lens, with some bits blurred and unfocussed and others thrown into horrifyingly sharp relief. And the emotions. The emotions were the worst bit. He felt everything – every terrified scream, every hopeless whimper, every second of numb disbelief before madness crept into the cracks like infection. He saw it all, the slow horrifying slip into despair—
At not even eleven, the boy who'd once been their enemy had wanted nothing more than to die. During the year marked 'eleven', he and Ruka had been dragged into not one but two separate wars, come close to death, lived, lost, refused to surrender—but they had never been left so utterly without hope as the entity whose memories had taken over his ability to dream.
He couldn't hate Lucciano. He couldn't forgive him either. They were stuck in a curious limbo, one determined to ignore the ghostly visitor whose memories pervaded his nights, the other unable to move on. Lying awake in the tangled twist of bedsheets, Rua stared at the ceiling while conflicting thoughts swirled around his head.
Why me? What does he gain from haunting me?
Has Ruka gone through this too?
…Lucciano, you—if you've done anything to harm Ruka then I'll make you pay!
For the next two, three nights his dreams rang oddly silent. That made Rua more uneasy than anything that had come before – even the absurdity of living a dead boy's memories while he slept. He wondered if Ruka had gone through this, this same process of nightmares. He didn't need to ask. The same night Lucciano's visitations stopped, Ruka had resumed her quiet and pensive behaviour from months before. The distance of worry.
("He's not talking to me," Rua overheard her telling one of her cards – likely Kuribon – when she thought he wasn't listening. "I think something's wrong – but he said he'd stay… he promised.")
On the fourth night, the nightmares returned. But they changed. No longer the chaos of that initial despair; no, now smoke and deserted buildings and a catalogue of ghosts. Each loss struck him as though one of his own companions was being torn away.
He woke, crying.
As summer settled over the city in a veil of green and sunlight, Rua realised just what had to be done. He had to control the dream, and by doing so, Lucciano would be forced to leave them alone. It all made sense. The dreams persisted because he wasn't able to fight back – now he knew the answer, he could.
Lucciano was dead. He didn't belong in their world. He had to leave.
For the first time in months, Rua looked forward to sleep – and it insisted on eluding him! He lay there, tossing and turning, periodically checking the clock. 01:32. 01:57. 02:13. When it reached 02:24 he gave up and stared at the ceiling in frustration. Why? He grumbled and turned his face into the pillow, trying to ignore the slow agitating tick of seconds passing by.
"You're trying too hard."
"Shut up," he said, throwing a bundled up sock in the voice's direction without looking.
Then there came the realisation of just who that voice belonged to. Rua scrambled to hands and knees, grey-gold eyes flashing danger. "You!"
"What about me?"
"Don't give me that—you know what you've been doing—what do you want with Ruka?"
Lucciano existed as a vague outline, almost a shadow. His features were elusive smudges against the backdrop of a darkened wall. A shape that might have been his head tilted to the side, and the dark blotches of his eyes studied Rua in appraisal. After a few minutes, he spoke. "Nothing."
"Like I'll believe that." Rua's eyes flickered towards his deck. He too was a Signer now; the dragon lurking within his heart would be enough to drive the phantom away. This wasn't how he'd imagined the confrontation to go. Lucciano had taken control of the situation from the outset. The thought stirred a memory of the bridge, and the ambush, and it reminded Rua just why the boy didn't deserve their forgiveness. They'd almost died because of him and his bloodlust. "What the…– What do you want? Answer me!"
A trickle of amused laughter. "This is exactly why I didn't like you. You're far too distrustful."
So said the boy who posed as a transfer student just to lure Ruka into a death-trap – yeah, he had absolutely no reason to be suspicious. Rua narrowed his eyes, hand twitching across the space towards the deck lying barely two feet away.
"You don't belong here."
"Because I'm dead?" A brief flicker of motion, almost like a grin, splintered the blur of his face. "That doesn't have to stop me."
"Lucciano—" ("She asked me to stay.") "—that doesn't make it right."
The silence stretched out between them. Lucciano's dim form was strangely small against the darkness. He spoke. His voice was hushed. "What else do you want me to do?"
Question soft like heartbreak—
Then, the blinking bleep of an alarm. Rua jumped. Legs tangled in the covers; he landed with a thump on the floor. 7:15. Morning.
Lucciano was gone.
While Rua dreamed the life of a dead boy, Ruka still spoke to ghosts. It was easier to think of Lucciano's presence that way, like he was a transitive figure ready to fade and pass on the moment Ruka no longer needed him. The reality of it was far more enduring. Rua confronted the ghost-boy only on occasion, not that it did any good.
"I understand what they felt," said Lucciano one evening, "my older selves. I understand now." (The soldier girl, Ayumi, another phantom.)
…Easier to think his sister spoke to ghosts, than to acknowledge that one loved her.