Summary: Through rose-tinted glasses, a history unfolds. Yuusei/Bruno (ZONE/Antinomy)
Warnings: As with everything, SPOILERS, this time for up to #145. Contains character death. And, as before, if you are opposed to the idea of two men being in a relationship then I advise you hit the back button.
Notes: Theme set: Gamma, from the livejournal community 1sentence. Some of these are chronological, some are not. Vague references to some of my other stories involving these characters, but they are mostly blink-and-you'll-miss-'em.
#01 – Ring
Bruno, Antinomy, Bruno, Antinomy, one, the name of his birth, the other, adopted for the Pro Circuits – they swirl around him to the point that he's at once both and neither, and even those closest to him are never certain which name to use.
#02 – Hero
Synchro is a symbol of humanity's hope, just as that legendary man once was (rumour has it he still lives in the City, a recluse, hidden away from the public's gaze), and Antinomy harbours a secret dream of one day dueling the man who inspired his ascent.
#03 – Memory
The war against the Dark Signers took its toll, Yuusei remembers, but the outcome was worth it, even though they lost so much along the way; Bruno was twelve at the time, young and scared and unwilling to show it, and he remembers how a man on a red D-Wheel saved him from the rubble of the aftermath; he'll never forget the day he first met Fudo Yuusei.
#04 – Box
Thinking is so much more interesting when constraints are lifted – outcomes upon outcomes, choices and decisions all tumbling away under his watchful gaze, and he surfaces, shaking, as Antinomy holds him and promises they can make it work, together.
#05 – Run
Ever since he lost the others, taking on the criminal's mark out of a warped sense of obligation (he failed them when it mattered most), his life has been a wasteland of regrets…
#06 – Hurricane
The hidden past is a storm raging around him; strange though it seems, he finds that being close to Yuusei is like struggling through to its centre to find a certain peace.
#07 – Wings
…but this time he will stand, face them head on, throw his life down on the line once again just as his brother always used to – Yuusei will fight like he has never before, if only to return that glimmer of hope to the world.
#08 – Cold
If Bruno had to pick his favourite flavour of ice-cream he'd choose mint chocolate chip – it's honestly just a coincidence that mint and vanilla complement each other quite so well.
#09 – Red
Sometimes, when he looks at Yuusei's helmet, a white one seems to take its place.
#10 – Drink
He lets water trickle through his fingers like all the wasted seconds, and an eternity before, in a life washed pale by changes, tears paint the canvas anew.
#11 – Midnight
In the dead space between days, Yuusei looks back over everything they were and knows: he would do it all again.
#12 – Temptation
What would it take for Yuusei to build him up anew—to refuse to leave him in that unfathomable void—to face death by his side?
#13 – View
He dons the glasses only once, those glasses with the broken edge, and they distort the world through a haze of—oh, but those are tears.
#14 – Music
Yuusei has almost forgotten what hope is meant to be, so Antinomy drags him into the shadows of an underground base – there, he teaches his saviour its meaning through the songs of people they fight to protect.
#15 – Silk
Despite the danger and the fatigue of constantly looking over his shoulder for the next assault, during his half-awake haze Yuusei comes to the conclusion that a bundled leather jacket as a pillow and a warm body to lie beside is more restful than even the simplest of mattresses.
#16 – Cover
This scene is two parts familiar and one part alien: waking up at a workbench sometime near dawn, papers cluttered with excited 3am scrawls strewn around him like rubble, a blanket draped across his shoulders by an unknown yet unmistakeable hand... he smiles sleepily before returning to his work.
#17 – Promise
"My name—my real name is Bruno," Antinomy blurts out one evening, while he and Yuusei huddle together next to the embers of a small fire; his friend and perhaps-lover smiles wistfully, nodding, and tells him he can be whoever he chooses.
#18 – Dream
Yuusei sleeps better with Bruno nearby; the ghouls of the Underworld cannot reach him.
#19 – Candle
Bruno always needs some source of light nearby when he sleeps, and after the initial teasing, the others accept it as just one of his idiosyncrasies – nobody knows it is a leftover trait ingrained into his subconscious, from a time when the difference between life and death could be as simple as locating a weapon.
#20 – Talent
He is no architect but he knows machines better than most, and the workings of the fortress he designs become their swansong: from the pen of a prophet into the hands of a god.
#21 – Silence
Yuusei says more in a gesture than a normal man could say in a hundred words, and he surrenders to these quiet, assured touches with complete and utter trust.
#22 – Journey
Weeks creep past, and bit by bit he crafts himself a new life here, in this garage with such loyal friends, gradually picking up on clues that he pieces together as a guess of who he might have been; everything leads to the Ark Cradle, where he learns that this particular 'Bruno', who he thought he was, is little more than make-believe.
#23 – Fire
His world descends into a swirl of terror as flames engulf Yuusei in their greedy, ravenous embrace.
#24 – Strength
When he sees Antinomy struggling through the inferno to drag him away from certain death, Yuusei feels a surge of emotion swell up past the agony of his burns – Antinomy will fight for him tooth and nail, and he loves and pities the storm of loyalty for one undeserving..
#25 – Mask
By the time two becomes three with the addition of a quiet young intern to their ranks, Yuusei has adopted a new name, and he takes to hiding the savage scars behind a full-faced helmet – only Antinomy knows the truth of his past, and he'll keep ZONE's secret safe forever.
#26 – Ice
Yuusei has never been unapproachable for him.
#27 – Fall
He acquires his own scar while digging Paradox out from the wreckage of their former shelter, ZONE fending off attackers left and right, and the blood cascades down his face and dries like macabre paint, sealing his eyelids shut until gentle, strong hands cleanse the cracking brown-black away while Paradox babbles apologies in the background – small, impotent, scared, a mirror of what Antinomy had been so many years before.
#28 – Forgotten
He doesn't know why he sometimes has to catch himself before calling Jack 'Aporia', of all things, while from time to time Crow evokes a feeling that can only be equated to 'Paradox'; yet, and this worries him most, Yuusei is always just Yuusei, and he doesn't understand why.
#29 – Dance
Fingers skitter across computer keys in near-perfect tandem, a rhythm that falters only when Yuusei leans over to enquire about a particular string of code he has never come across before.
#30 – Body
The three survivors wear their scars like memorial badges: the mistakes committed, the lives saved, the moments immeasurable they can never reclaim.
#31 – Sacred
Nothing quite compares to tracing the sweep of shooting stars across the sky, nothing except the glimmer of peace in ZONE's eye as they watch, just the two of them, the mask lying silently alongside.
#32 – Farewells
They do not say goodbye; they will see each other again, soon enough.
#33 – World
Everything is different but strangely the same – a Dark Signer war, the Monument, the spread of Momentum, the creep of Synchro Monsters into a dominating force – and Antinomy wonders just where the original timeline went wrong, and if they can fix it after all.
#34 – Formal
Those first three weeks of tiptoeing around each other slowly lapse into a comfortable, familiar existence, to the point that Yuusei can't imagine addressing Bruno in any other manner.
#35 – Fever
They lose Paradox first, and ZONE silently mourns for their fallen brother; Antinomy clings on for a little longer, and when he too falls to death ZONE starts to lose hope; when Aporia slips away, ZONE almost gives up, but the faint memory of songs out of silence gives him strength enough to fight away the despair – Antinomy has saved him even now.
#36 – Laugh
Looking back across the years, he fondly remembers the time when ZONE was happy – not happy, but halfway content – and shared his heart with them for free, but now those days are over and only silence remains.
#37 – Lies
ZONE loses his right arm in an experiment gone wrong… at least, that is the explanation he offers.
#38 – Forever
He is their sun, rotating at the centre, and each of them are the planetary gears reliant on him for movement – he is their core, their binder, their leader, and Antinomy has never loved him more.
#39 – Overwhelmed
They find their fourth and final companion in a ruined street – ZONE knew, somehow, where to find him – and for the second time Antinomy watches ZONE extend a hand to a man uncertain what to make of this new speck of hope (the first, of course, was him, years and decades past).
#40 – Whisper
Crow gives up on mealtimes together after only a week; he can't cope with the constant excited murmurs as the resident geeks discuss some hideously complicated whatever.
#41 – Wait
Yuusei pauses mid-sentence, looking over at the man whose attention has drifted elsewhere; for Bruno's sake, Yuusei hopes that one day, he will remember the past he has lost.
#42 – Talk
Their relationship is, for the most part, a quiet one: talking leads to brushes of hands, accidental (deliberate), to sitting far closer together than expected of just-friends, to the impulsive kiss that Bruno presses to Yuusei's cheek one particularly strenuous 3am and the pounding of his heart as he returns it, uncertain... but it goes no further than that.
#43 – Search
He's been pursuing this duel since the moment he decided to become a D-Wheeler, and now it's here before him, Antinomy realises that – at long last – his time has come.
#44 – Hope
Bruno uses words like 'hope' and 'faith' because part of him knows, deep down, this isn't his Yuusei, and he's not supposed to love.
#45 – Eclipse
Yuusei's light recedes into the distance, and as (Bruno, Antinomy) his sight is replaced by black, he smiles, content with the knowledge that Yuusei at least will survive.
#46 – Gravity
He continues to the heart of the Ark Cradle, Bruno's glasses heavy in his pocket; his thoughts form a constant satellite of what-might-have-beens around the blazing sun of that unsaid goodbye.
#47 – Highway
Accelerating through the corners – don't let your fear take control – faster, faster – that's it, keep going – feeling it, that world of speed – feeling him racing alongside, laughing, before he overtakes and is gone – Yuusei finds himself slowing, his vision blurred by frustration and the name dying on his tongue.
#48 – Unknown
Hiding the glasses from unwanted eyes has become second nature, but the day Aki sees them, he is too caught up in reminiscence to notice her presence; from then on their friendship becomes slightly strained, and sometimes Yuusei wonders how he had missed the obvious signs that she wanted to be more.
#49 – Lock
Jack holds him, eyes wide, face numb – he doesn't know what to do, he's never been good at comforting people – as Yuusei tries, and fails, to keep his emotions under control.
#50 – Breathe
His fingers curl around the broken, rose-tinted glasses, Bruno's last memento, and he grieves for the wasted moments as Jack mutters reassurance, reminds him he's not alone, tries to tell him how to breathe.
A/N: #34 refers to Yuusei's choice of pronouns regarding Bruno – he eventually lapses into the less formal, more familiar 'omae' (same as he uses for Jack, Crow etc), though Bruno persists with 'kimi' throughout. #46 draws on a Vienna Teng song named "Gravity": Look love | I am a constant satellite | Of your blazing sun. This song also inspired the story title.
I'd like to think that Yuusei/Bruno is canon, now. After all, we have: a dramatic death; a heartfelt sacrifice; a memento of broken glasses…