A/N: This is what happens when I browse the YGO pairings list while trying to guess what the next YGO Fanfiction Contest Pairing is going to be. I'm quite sure it isn't this. Set pre-Doma, presumably sometime within the first few months of their meeting.

Disclaimer: Kazuki Takahashi and all associated companies are the rightful owners of the Yuugiou! franchise and I claim no association with any of them. No copyright infringement intended with this and no money is being made from this. Please support the creator by purchasing the official releases.

Warnings: cross language, but otherwise quite worksafe.

Rather Be Better

When Valon stumbles back in, bruised and limping from his last trip across the city in search of cheap thrills because he's getting antsy just sitting around and doing nothing but waiting, he expects the other two to not react in any way. Raphael casts a glance in his general direction, but his expression doesn't change. He does pointedly turn away from him straight afterwards, though. Sometimes he'll even walk out of the room just to make a point and this is one of those times. Amelda, on the other hand, frowns at him in disapproval. One would have to be an expert to notice that tiny crease wedge itself between his eyebrows, but Valon's an expert now and has no problem catching the shifts in the redhead's expressions. He grins and waves a lazy greeting, making his way over to the closest chair. He needs to sit down and take a breather. He would much rather head straight for his own room, but he's not sure he can manage it in a single stretch – walking hurts too much and he's feeling too dizzy.

Amelda's look is full of things he won't say out loud, but Valon thinks he can hear them anyway and finds himself to be quite offended.

"I'm fine," he states in a forceful low growl, as if that could deter the other one from standing there and thinking at him who knows what.

"You're an idiot," Amelda returns in a flat voice and spins around, going to retrieve the first aid kit. There are bruises on the idiot teen that need to be dressed.

Valon glowers after him and would gladly beat a hasty escape to his room, but when he tries to get up, the world sways threateningly and almost topples him over. It's much safer, he decides, to remain on the chair for the time being.

Amelda doesn't understand the appeal and necessity to self-harm. He's seen too many injuries during the civil war ravaging his home country, he's witnessed too much death to understand the reasons why someone would purposefully jeopardise one's own life. Likewise, he doesn't understand the necessity to put one's life in pointless danger just for a few minutes of cheap thrills. He does understand dying for a cause. He'd go to war for his country all over again. He'd die for it. And he'd die fighting Kaiba for what his company did to his homeland and his nation.

He doesn't go easy on Valon's injuries, dabbing too forcefully at open cuts and sweeping too roughly along scrapes and smears of blood, but the brunet doesn't seem to mind. He does mouth off, though, with all the colourful expressions he's picked up in prison.

"Quit babying me, jackass. I didn't ask for it."

Amelda doesn't reply, but his lips press together just a little tighter. He's moments away from snapping at the brat and it shows in the way he treats the other's injuries.

"Ow! Son of a…"

Amelda's mind strays elsewhere just once. In that one memory which tends to come unbidden at most disadvantageous moments, he's helping treat the injured and dying only kilometres away from a battlefield. He glances at the cotton pad, wet with antiseptic, stained light red with Valon's blood, but what he sees are rolls of white gauze, slivers of wood for casts and blood everywhere - on his hands, clothes, other people, the ground, the sheets; the smell of blood, death and medical alcohol permeating the air and clinging to clothes for days on end. It's just a brief flickering moment and then he's back again and Valon is still griping and bitching at him, so he tosses the cotton pad away and clocks him one. It's hard enough to send Valon falling backwards along with the chair from the sudden momentum. Amelda storms off in silent anger and slams the door behind him because he can't deal with this shit; not right now, not this soon after the war. He has no qualms about leaving the brat where he fell; hopes he's given him a concussion, even.

For a long time, Valon remains motionless on the floor. The world is still spinning and his mind feels a lot less clear than it was before because now there's a sharp ringing pain at the back of his head and a taste of blood on his tongue.

"Fucking asshole," he eventually mutters, though there's no one around to hear, and attempts to rise. The world is swaying violently and trying to pin him back to the ground, but he perseveres by grabbing a hold of the edge of the table and steadying himself somewhat. He takes a moment to compose himself, then grins in satisfaction because he's gotten a reaction. Within seconds he's not grinning anymore because damn, Amelda can land a solid punch. He makes it a note to never be on the receiving end of that again unless he wants to spend a week's worth with a stiff jaw.

He turns and slowly makes his way towards his room, leaving the scattered contents of the first aid kid on the table. He doesn't bother with it because somebody will clean the place up and take it all away; put it all where it belongs. Somebody always does.