dedication: emily, rhys, & cobra starship.
notes: ultimate angst pairing. only not really, I guess.
title: you'll be that girl on the boardwalk
summary: Five times Yukio was absolutely terrified of Shura. — Yukio/Shura.
The first time that Yukio realized that women were terrifying creatures, he was all of eight years old.
Shura had dragged him to a bar.
He could still remember how the bouncers had looked at her; like she was crazy for bringing this short, four-eyed little kid to a smoky bar to shoot some pool. Her hair was shorter, then. She was nineteen and drop-dead gorgeous, something she knew that Yukio didn't understand yet, so the wink and exchange of cash went unnoticed. She dragged him in by the scruff of his neck, fingers twining into the short hairs at the bottom of his scalp.
It hurt. Yukio remembered that.
But once past the bouncers and the pain, she plopped him down at the bar, released her grip and grinned down at him. "What'cha want, kid?"
"Milk?" Yukio had asked, squinting at the man standing behind the counter warily. It was a dark bar in the middle of the night, and Shura wasn't wearing much for clothing. Yukio knew enough about Real Life to know that it was probably not the safest place for them to be, right then.
The bartender roared with laughter. He was grizzly man with wiry dark hair and a slow smile. "You were right," he said to Shura. "He's nothing like Shiro."
Shura tossed her hair over her shoulders in a wave of crimson-and-gold flames. "Told'ya so. Gimme a beer."
The bartender ignored her entirely, and went about pouring Yukio his milk. It was very white in the pale green mirror that made up the backsplash. Yukio stared at it hard, concentrating on the known rather than what was going on behind him. The corners crawled with shadows that wanted to eat him, and looking at them would bring them out.
Shura lounged with loose-limbed grace beside him, bopping along to the music crackling out of the old jukebox in the corner. She reached over and ruffled his hair. "S'not so bad, is it, four eyes?"
Eight-year-old Yukio made a noise in the back of his throat that was caught between horrified and amused. He hated her, sometimes.
He drank his milk in silence.
Shura drained her beer, grinning. She couldn't handle her alcohol. Yukio sighed. He was going to be dragging her home in the middle of the night. Again.
A very bad feeling had overtaken Yukio, then.
It was a man in a denim jacket and a trucker hat, staring greedily at Shura's exposed back. Yukio was caught between pulling a gun on the man, and hiding behind Shura's knees. He was still a kid. Kids weren't supposed to deal with these kinds of things.
Shura ignored the guy entirely.
"I'm talkin' to you, girlie."
Yukio was tempted to slam him head against the bartop. The bartender was studiously ignoring the altercation, a little grin on his lips. Yukio had a sneaking suspicion—
The guy had one meaty hand on Shura's shoulder, and everything was a sudden blur. Shura moved so fast that Yukio didn't properly see what'd she'd done, but the next thing he knew, the guy was on the ground drooling his brains out, and Shura was dusting her hands off, looking bored.
The bartender gave Yukio's wide-eyed stare a grave smile.
"Women," he said.
And that was the first time Yukio realized that women were terrifying creatures.
/ / /
The second time that Yukio realized that women were terrifying creatures was when he was nine, a year later, and Shura took him to a batting cage to test his skill.
(He had, in fact, contemplated whether it was women in general, or simply Shura. At the time, he was beginning to think that it was just Shura, after all. He would later amend this statement when he met Kamiki Izumo. Clearly, all women were terrifying creatures and nothing good could come from any of them. Shiemi was, of course, the exception.)
Or at least, that was what she had said they would be learning.
"Gimme yer glasses."
Yukio stared at her, appalled. She was more immature than Rin was. What kind of Exorcist was she? Had she no sense of decorum?
"No," he said. "I will not give you my glasses. You are crazy and I can't see without them."
Shura's smile was wide and vicious. "Exactly, four-eyes. Without 'em, yer weak. Ya might be th' best in yer year, but as soon as someone grabs yer goggles off yer head, yer helpless."
Yukio clenched his jaw in the stubborn way that children always have. "Am not helpless."
"Then prove it," she taunted, and plucked his glasses off his face.
And Shura laughed. It was a bitter, sharp laugh, angry. "See? Helpless. Yer still a scaredy-cat four-eyes. Ya gotta get past it, scaredy. Elsewise, someone's gonna put a knife through yer back when yer not looking."
"I hate you," Yukio said.
Shura laughed again. "Play ball, scaredy!"
And the first baseball went flying.
A mad cackle escaped Shura. "Pay attention, scaredy! If ya don't, yer gonna get hurt!"
Yukio flinched as a baseball hit him in the stomach and knocked the wind out of his chest. Across the court, he could see Shura's flame-coloured hair. In the distance, it looked to be a bright-coloured smear on the horizon. She was cooing over something or other and still cackling madly every now and again.
At that moment, Yukio was horrified that his father had ever allowed her within five feet of him.
And that was the second time that Yukio realized that women were absolutely terrifying.
/ / /
The third time was when he was eleven. Women were terrifying, and Yukio ought to have known that by that point, but there were still times when it boggled his mind that one single person could cause so much destruction.
It was the trial of a former Exorcist, accused of changing sides and lost to demonics and revenge. Shura stood with her hands on her hips and a vicious smile on her lips that sang of carnage and bloodlust. She stared up at an arena full of bishops and priests, and somehow, it seemed that they were the ones on trial, not the man Shura was defending.
"Ya'll old farts oughta stuff it," she told them loudly. "This loser ain't done shit, 'cept get in yer way, and ya'll can't stand that, can ya?"
Yukio stood in the shadows, a solemn-eyed child standing at his father's by-your-leave. He glanced at his father. Shiro was chuckling, watching Shura persuade (bully, that is) the judge and jury into exonerating the man.
"She might be rough and tumble now, Yukio," he said wisely, "but one day, that girl is going to be a force to be reckoned with."
Yukio stared down at the woman in the center of the ring and thought that his father had it wrong. Yes, Shura was rough and tumble; she gambled and she drank and she laughed too loud.
But Shura was no girl.
And she had been a force to be reckoned with for a very, very, very long time.
She smiled with her teeth down in the ring, and Yukio watched as the judge stuttered and fell, and already he knew where this was going.
Shura had won.
That was the third time that Yukio realized that women were absolutely terrifying.
/ / /
The fourth time Yukio realized that women were terrifying creatures was when he was fourteen.
They were staking out a castle in Germany. It was the dead of night, no moon and no stars, and though Yukio was prepared for these sorts of things, it still gave him the creeps.
"Scaredy," said Shura, "yer ridiculous. Light a fire if yer so damn freaked. Yer makin' me jumpy."
Yukio grumbled under his breath. He didn't move despite Shura's teasing. Because if there was one thing he knew, it was that starting a fire would draw every single demon within a fifty-mile range to them, and scare off the vampyre they were actually concentrating on.
"Want a beer? We're gonna be here a while."
Yukio very nearly sneered at her. "I'm fourteen," he said.
Shura shrugged and cracked a can. "Suit yerself. I'd rather die drunk'n happy, thank ya."
He rolled his eyes to the sky. It was very dark; the night had leached the colour out of the world and left it a silent, eerie wasteland. He watched the sky watch the world watch Shura, and sat down beside her because it seemed to be the right thing to do. She dangled a beer in front him, grinning like a skull.
Yukio took it from her, wary. "Did you poison it?"
Her grin was the stuff of nightmares. "I dunno, did I? Yer gonna hav'ta find out, won'tcha?"
He cracked the beer and listened to it hiss pointedly. No, it hadn't been opened. No, Shura hadn't done anything to it.
He poured it out, anyway.
Shura shrieked. "What're ya doing, scaredy? That booze's precious!"
"Be quiet!" Yukio hissed through his teeth. 'Something's coming!"
And something was coming. It roared out of the woods, a thing of sludge and rust, pincers clicking as it birthed itself out of its own body. Yukio stared at it, aghast. He was so busy staring at it that he didn't realize that it was heading straight for him.
A body slammed into his, propelled him him back behind a tree.
"Yer gonna be the death of me, scaredy. Christ," Shura muttered. Her arms were around him, pressing him close and keeping him out of the thing's line of vision. "Oi, you alive?"
A sound gargled from Yukio's throat.
"Scaredy? What's wrong?"
And right then, with his face shoved into Shura's chest, Yukio realized that women were terrifying creatures on a whole other level entirely.
/ / /
The fifth time Yukio realized that women were terrifying creatures was in summer, when he was fifteen.
(It was the summer before his father was killed, but Yukio never thought of it like that.)
Shura was wearing clothes.
It was probably the strangest thing he'd ever seen in his life. They were by the sea, she was wearing clothes—a white dress—and laughing like she hadn't a care in the world.
And her arm was tucked through some Exorcist's arm, and she looked like—she looked like—
Yukio absolutely hated her.
He wheeled, and left her standing in the summer sun with whoever it was, and tried not to think. Everything hurt. And that was how he knew that his first impression of her had been right; women were terrifying creatures, and no good could come from any of them.
None at all.
notes2: i ship this pairing so hard it hurts.
notes3: please do not Favourite without leaving a review. :)