Title: Melody of Promises
Summary: Bruno reflects on his time with Yuusei. Dark Glass looks to the future. Antinomy struggles to come to terms with their fate. Spoilers for #143-145, Yuusei/Bruno
Warnings: As episodes #144-145 have yet to air, I'm just playing around with the specifics of Bruno's Face Heel Turn and reversion to 'Antinomy' (his true name). Also, if you don't like the idea of an implied romantic interest between two male characters, the back button is your friend.
Other Notes: In a way, this is a progression of nine drabbles. Each section, marked by the long dash and change between regular/italics, is exactly 100 words in length. Regular: Bruno; Italics: Dark Glass
There isn't much I can do like this. I'm on the inside looking out, watching the telltale flickers of emotion that play across your face, and it makes me feel all giddy with relief—you feel the same!—even as I hate myself for what's become of you, me, us. You were my friend too, Yuusei. More than just my friend. You know that, don't you?
I don't want to speak these words, see the faint wince of heartbreak as they stab into you deeper than any shards of glass. I've seen your scar. I know your past pains. I—
—will do whatever it takes to fulfil my appointed mission. I knew the risks I was taking, even when I forgot them. I knew just how dangerous you could be, Fudo Yuusei. People do anything for you. I would too, if my mission allowed me. It used to. Let that be a consolation. It used to.
I cannot allow you to pass this point, however. Come at me. Show me what you have learnt. Show me what it means to master Clear Mind…
You still have more to learn. I shall be your teacher again, show you the way. I—
—lo- I mean, admire you, Yuusei! Did I ever tell you that? Yeah, I know, it was probably kind of obvious but… I do. Now that I remember everything, I know why I always knew so much about mechanics when I could barely manage anything else (did you know it took me three days to remember how to tie shoelaces? It's always the silliest things we forget, the little things.) Well, to be fair, I had about eighty, ninety years of memories lurking in my subconscious. I had a bit of an advantage. But you always had so much potential—
—wasted. In fact, it seems rather ridiculous, pushing you on like this. Paradox would scold me for this, certainly. Too great a margin of error, he would say. It is the truth. If you remain set in your beliefs, insist on my being your friend, you shall never prove yourself capable of surpassing your own limits. Within this challenge, you have to learn how to let go. If you cannot manage that, then there truly is no hope, for any of us.
If you cannot transcend what you are now, you shall never be free from fate. Show me what—
—it means to be loved.
But it's the truth. You've showed me that, and believe me – I wouldn't trade those memories for anything, even if it means… No, I can't. That would be selfish. I can't afford to be selfish, not with what's at stake.
…I want to be selfish, you know. Just for once. Just for long enough to feel alive again. I felt alive when part of Team 5D's, when with you, in a way that the mission never allowed me to be. Rationality isn't all it's cracked up to be. Paradox never understood, really, that sometimes—
—people are illogical, Yuusei, yet in a place like this, putting aside the distractions of humanity is simply not enough. Could you sacrifice me, Yuusei? Sometimes you have to let one bond go, in order to save the others. In the future, you know this lesson and adhere to it – unwillingly, always unwillingly, but you know what is at stake.
As you are now…
Forgive me, my friend. I do not wish to hurt you, but if hating me is the only way your potential can be reached, I shall not hesitate. I would gladly give up my place in—
—your heart if it just means that you live to fight on. Turn me into your sacrifice. I'm willing. If only one of us can survive this duel I've imposed, then I want it to be you. It has to be you. I've played my part already, now it's your turn. Your move. Draw the card, Yuusei, and strike! Don't hesitate! I'm your enemy now, even if I'd rather be your ally.
Do you know what Clear Mind really is? It's being able to focus all that you are on the battle at hand. Well, I'm focusing. I'm focusing everything—
—that I have on the outcome of this duel. I care not about living, or dying. I am a machine, Yuusei, a construction containing the memories and personality of a man who dies a long time in the future. My name is Antinomy. I can be rebuilt. You cannot. Therefore, I am expendable. Strike against me! Strike, and show me your resolve.
You are Fudo Yuusei, Signer of the Head, a remarkable man with a heart large enough for everyone. Your heart is your strength and your weakness. So, if you cannot bring yourself to remove me from it then—
—I'm giving it my all, Yuusei!
If it was the other way round, I know you'd do the same for me! Come at me with everything you've got. This doesn't have to be a fight between enemies. It can still be a fight between friends, but… you don't need to know that. I don't want you to get silly notions of saving me. I've got a role to play, and so do you. We just have to keep going towards that promise of a future.
Our duel is a melody of promises!
(…Don't forget what we could have been.)
A/N: ...Halfway through writing this, I actually started to feel the love Bruno has for Yuusei. Really, it's a little surreal when that happens. The 5D's characters are determined to convert me to somewhat-liking their protagonist. (Well, Aporia isn't…)
"Our duel is a melody of promises!" – title drop of an insert song by Masaaki Endoh, Yakusoku no Melody, a beautiful piece of music that never fails to leave tears in my eyes. Even writing the title made me start to choke up… If you get the chance, look for the song on Youtube. It's well worth a listen.