disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: to Emily for being my soultwin & to les & sonya for reminding me that life is Not So Bad.
notes: all my squeals. i love writing Yukio, he's so much fun.

title: in for the kill
summary: Choking on the splinters. — Yukio/Shura.

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After everything, Shura just stood there with her hand on her hip, grinning. She was beaten, bruised, and bleeding, but still she stood there with her fucking hand on her hip, grinning liked a damn maniac.

Yukio absolutely hated her.

"You almost died," he said.

"Yeah, well, yer ugly, Scaredy, so I think we're pretty even," Shura replied. Her hair was loose and matted with sweat and something dark that could have been dirt or blood; Yukio didn't know what the unknown substance was, nor did he want to. She still had that look on her face, a caught up and twisted mirror of a smile.

And Yukio not only hated her, but he didn't trust her as far as he could throw her, which, he reasoned, was probably not far at all. Shura was sturdy and would probably break his bones first before he got the chance to get anywhere close to throwing her out a window.

Not that he had thought of throwing her out a window before.

That would be awful.

Inhumane.

And yet, the mental image of Shura's flame-hair flashing in the sun as it fell gave him an immense amount of satisfaction. Maybe not out of a high window. Maybe just a story. Or two. Two stories wouldn't kill Shura—she was far too tenacious to let something like that kill her. The only thing that might kill her was shock, and the only thing that he could do to shock her was—

And then Yukio realized where his thoughts were going, and cut them off short.

"Stop grinning at me," he said.

It was more of an order.

This was probably not in his best interests.

Shura's grin flickered around the edges, threatening to break into a malicious laugh. "Awww, c'mon, Scaredy! Ya thought I was gonna die! Don't that count for somethin'? Were ya worried 'bout lil' ol' me?"

Yukio snorted, and shook his head. "No one in their right mind worries about you, Shura."

She laughed, then. It was low and clear

"Well," she said, "Scaredy, ain't ya just th' sweetest thing. Ya were worried 'bout me!"

She paused to laugh at him again. Yukio's face was screwed up and bright red, still flecked with blood from Rin's injury, and Shura leaned in. She tugged him down, 'til they were looking at each other; face to face, nose to nose, eye to eye.

"It'll take more than a goddamn thing like this t'kill me, Scaredy," she said. Her voice was almost gentle and she was almost smiling. She looked, at that moment, both older and younger than he had ever seen her; she looked both twenty-seven and seventeen, all at once.

Yukio was still very red.

He did not know how to deal with this.

But he didn't push her away, and when she slung an arm around his shoulders, he merely sighed and acquiesced. There were days when he hated her.

This was one of them.

Shura laughed too loudly and wore too little clothing. She was heretical and violent and was the opposite of a proper lady; there was nothing in her that he found any redemption in. She drank too much, she swore, she created awful nicknames, and really, Yukio could not stand her.

But sometimes she was nice.

This was one of them.

"We're goin' to a bar, Scaredy. I need'ta get trashed after all that shit," she said—only it was more of an order, and Shura's orders had always made him bow his head and simply accept whatever it was she wanted. She was something of a force of nature, like that. "An' yer coming with me. March!"

"It is too early in the day for this sort of debauchery," Yukio grumbled. He pushed his glasses up his nose, and yet allowed her to have her way.

"Says the Scaredy-Cat Four Eyes," Shura replied without preamble. She walked ahead of him, laughing about nothing in particular. Her hair danced liked fire in the sunrise as he watched her walk away.

For a moment, Yukio thought she looked back at him.

He didn't even try to catch up.

/ / /

Two hours later, and she was drunk.

This should not have surprised him as much as it did. It was her celebration method, and Yukio did understand; this was Shura coping with the fact that they may very well have died.

Of course, to block out all one's thinking senses was not a smart thing to do, he thought.

But then, since when had Shura been intelligent?

She swayed on the barstool inelegantly, hazing back and forth and giggling softly to herself. Yukio had no idea what it was that she found so very amusing, but he had a darkly sneaking suspicion that it had to do with him.

"Y'know, Scaredy," Shura hiccupped, "Ah always knew ya had it in ya. Shiro di'n't believe meh, but ah knew it."

She poked his chest. "Ah di'n't think ya were gonna come back from… that."

Yukio found it distinctly unfair that she was hammered for this conversation, and he was not. Frankly, he found Shura's entire existence to be rather unfair, but that was not the point. The point was—what was the point, again?

Dying. Correct.

"You have had enough," he told her. It really was too bad that she was just as tall as he was; if she hadn't been, Yukio simply would have picked her up, thrown her over his shoulder, and brought her somewhere safe to sleep the alcohol off. She likely wouldn't have appreciated that, but then, when did Shura ever appreciate any of the things he did for her.

"Have not," she told him. She waved a finger drunkenly in front of his face, as if to convince him that she certainly could drink some more. "M'fine, Scaredy. Ya worry too much. S'kinda lame."

Yukio raised his eyes to the ceiling, and muttered a staunch prayer. Though for whose soul he was praying for was not clear—please Lord, he thought, help me.

"Shura, get up."

"Whatever ya say, Scaredy."

And she tried.

She really did.

Yukio only barely had the time to catch her before she hit the floor in a dead faint. She was snoring softly against his shoulder within thirty seconds.

And Yukio absolutely hated her.

He carried her out of the bar—throwing her out the window would only make people mad, shattering glass and splintering wood in all directions— and brought her to the nearest sidewalk bench. Her head lolled into the crook of his neck and Yukio set her down.

"Jesus," he muttered. "Don't you get cold?"

Her eyelids flickered open for a moment, and she shot him a tipsy giggle. "Nah. M'blood's like m'hair."

And then she was out again, leaving Yukio to wonder what on earth she was talking about. He slipped an arm under her shoulders, and aimed to pull her to her feet. "Can you walk at all?"

He got a soft snore for an answer.

Yukio rolled his eyes yet again and sighed for the umpteenth time that night. Apparently not. Which meant he was carrying her the rest of the way home.

Didn't she know that it was dangerous to be out so late at night?

Yukio ground his teeth.

He contemplated just leaving her there. It wasn't like Shura couldn't take care of herself—she was frightful when she was angry. But even so, at the moment she was so drunk she didn't know up from down, and that left her vulnerable.

It went against Yukio's every grain to leave someone so vulnerable.

Even if it was Shura.

Another sigh escaped him.

It really only left him one option.

Yukio pulled her up, and half-dragged-half-carried her away from the street still busy with night-life. It would be better if they were out of the public eye; he couldn't quite pull guns out and start firing off round after round somewhere people might actually see. No, that would just be bad for business.

They managed to find a park just down a quiet side-street. It was old—the see-saw was turned to rust and the jungle-gym was a monster in the dark. But it was empty and silent, and Yukio figured that that was good enough for the moment. He set her down on a bench that was probably for parents and not drunken sots.

(In Shura's case, there wasn't really any difference between the two.)

"Shura," he said. "Shura, are you alive?"

"Mhmmm," she mumbled into his shoulder.

Yukio sighed in relief (probably the first one that night), and sat down beside her. She swayed tipsily back and forth, careening forward as drunks were wont to do.

He still only barely managed to catch her. He settled her next to him with an arm around her shoulders. Yukio thought that that seemed to be all he did when Shura was around; stop her from doing something she would really regret.

"Aww, Scaredy, ya do care," she murmured. There was a smile in her voice.

Yukio went dull red. "I—you—you are impossible!"

"Hah," she muttered. "Yeah, maybe."

She pulled away from him, and looked at him with purple moon-eyes, big and sad and serious. Yukio said nothing. She seemed to dim around the edges, going blur-fuzzy and flickering desperately in the pale orange light of a far-off street-lamp.

And suddenly she was in his lap with her hands cupped around his face, face solemn. She looked down at him, maybe sad or maybe contemplative, Yukio wasn't all that sure. She tipped his face up.

"Y'know, Scaredy," she said softly, "yer not so bad."

Yukio stared up at her. Long-time mentor, enemy, friend, Shura was beautiful and strong. He hated it, hated her, but it was true. It was all true.

"Shura…" he said.

She grinned and leaned an inch closed. "Don' be like that, Scaredy. Yer special and ya know it. Don' deny it, it makes ya look a fool."

Yukio itched to draw her closer or throw her off. "Off, Shura."

"Nah." Another inch closer.

"Shura," he said again and this time it was sharp, a warning.

She pressed an inch closed and she paid his warning no heed. "Yer so boring. Live a little, Scaredy."

Yukio choked and couldn't speak.

Shura pressed her mouth to his for the briefest of seconds. It was warm and simple and bitter, tasting of booze and ash. There was something familiar in it, Yukio thought dazedly.

She pulled back and grinned. "See? S'just a kiss, Scaredy."

Yukio had absolutely no idea what was going on. She slid off his lap and stood unsteadily in front of him. She waggled her fingers and turned around—a dancer's turn, elegant and slow like a perfect line of music.

"Later, Scaredy," she laughed. She walked away.

Yukio sat there for a very long time, and made not a sound.

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fin.
notes2: i still ship them really hard.
notes3: please do not favourite without leaving a review! :)