Summary: After weeks of watching Judai change into something unrecognizable, Manjoume decides he needs to do something.

Warnings; Season 4 spoilers?, slash, slight OOC!Jun, some details might be wrong since it's been awhile.

~~~~Line Breaker~~~~~

In all honesty, he should've said something sooner.

Manjoume would never admit it, but he had been genuinely happy when Judai returned to them; the Osiris Red might be brash and loud, but he was also kind and sincere in everything he did. None of their group wanted to consider where they'd be without him in their lives for the past four years. They had all worried when he hadn't come back with Shou, fearing the worst; it was a huge relief when he reappeared.

Unfortunately, the change was obvious, at first in appearance. He looked older, his eyes narrower and less childlike. He was also taller, Manjoume and Kenzan only beating him by a few inches. He just, seemed so much older than before and it became painfully obvious when he started cutting class and withdrawing from them.

Asuka thought that maybe he was suffering from depression; quite a few people had gotten hurt and Kaiser still was suffering in the hospital. Before leaving, Edo mentioned PTSD but they waved it off since it was too uncomfortable. Manjoume said he was just being a brat but he still helped Shou try to drag him to class the next morning; he couldn't leave things as is. He needed to do something.

It took weeks to get enough courage and to convince his pride to skip out on lunch and head towards the lonely little Osiris shack. He wondered how Judai felt, knowing he was the only one left, and was (arguably) the best Duelist on the island.

"Judai?"

He knocked on the door, trying to hear any sound from inside the dorm. He heard rustling, meaning that Judai was probably still in bed. Frowning, he knocked harder, suddenly irritated. Here everyone was worried and the brat was in bed, skipping class. Asuka even said she overheard the Principal talking about how Judai wanted to drop out!

"Oi, slacker! Open up! I know you're in here and I'm not leaving."

He was surprised when the door opened, Judai looking confused. "Manjoume?"

"Sanda." He corrected without thinking, brushing past the other boy. "I need to talk to you."

He heard Judai sigh but ignored it, looking around the dorm. It was…weird without Shou and Kenzan here. Everything was clean but dark and stuffy. The curtains were drawn and the windows closed. He'd only been here for a few seconds and felt depressed.

"What's up, Manjoume?" the brunette asked, sitting on his bunk.

Said boy bit back his usual reply to Judai's lack of respect and sat down opposite of him, trying to figure out what he wanted to say. And really, that's what he'd been having trouble on since he couldn't ask the others for help. This was something he needed to do but he had no idea where to start.

"I'm not…good at this stuff." The black haired Duelist muttered, suddenly unable to meet Judai's eyes. "It'd probably be easier to hear from Johan or even Shou, but…"

"Don't."

Manjoume looked up, surprised at the harsh tone. But Judai wasn't angry, and a part of him felt ashamed for looking for a hint of gold in his eyes that Shou had told them about. He looked hurt, broken. He wondered how long Judai had felt this way and none of them had said anything.

"Judai…?"

The brown haired boy shook his head, knees drawn up under his chin. He looked younger, like that. Almost back to his old self, if not for the look on his face. Manjoume only remembered seeing it once before, back when he was dueling in the other dimension and he had begged to be killed in their place.

'I had forgotten about that…'

"I…" Judai sighed, running a hand through his hair in an attempt to compose himself. "I can't handle it right now….so please, Manjoume…"

Oh.

OH.

"No, that's not it!" He yelled, jumping to his feet without realizing. "I'm not…I'm not mad at you."

Judai looked at him, confused. "But….you're always mad at me."

Manjoume scowled. "I am not!"

"You are." Judai muttered, raising an eyebrow. "If you weren't mad, why are you yelling?"

The black haired boy glared at him, huffing. "You're just being a smart ass is all." After a moment, he deflated, sitting next to Judai. "I'm not mad…about anything."

"How can you not?!" The brunette demanded, and Manjoume could only stare at him as his face turned red and his eyes teared up. He….he'd never seen Judai cry before. "I hurt people, Manjoume! I almost got everyone here killed! And then I couldn't even beat Yubel for you guys, I failed when I was supposed to protect you."

"None of that is your fault!" the older boy hissed, grabbing him by his shoulders. "Maybe you rushed in without thinking and maybe you put us in a bad situation, but you also need to remember that we were under some kind of spell that messed with our emotions. You begged to die in our place, Judai. I can't be angry over something like that, not after seeing how this is affecting you."

Judai shook his head, reaching up and grabbing at the black sleeves on his jacket. "You don't understand, I…"

Sighing, Manjoume swallowed the rest of his pride and pulled the younger boy into a hug. "It doesn't matter."

He felt him hesitate before hugging back. A part of him felt like he should be embarrassed, that he should push Judai away. But then he felt his grip tighten on him, and then Judai began to sob.

"Is this…why you keep hiding from us?"

He didn't get an answer for awhile, and he wasn't really expecting one. They stood there, realizing that Manjoume was late for class but he didn't care. He sat them on the bunk and waited, wondering if he'd be here the rest of the night but he found he didn't mind. He wanted to be here for Judai.

"It's…it's not just that." the brown haired boy muttered, clutching at the others jacket. "I can't stay here anymore, what if someone else gets hurt?"

Manjoume shook his head. "That's not going to happen, I'm not going to let it."

He frowned when Judai pulled away, eyes puffy but at least he didn't look broken like before. And he was talking. Whatever the Osiris had to say, he was going to be here. Resolved, he laid back on the bed, making himself comfortable while he waited.

"I'm….I'm not human anymore."

That….wasn't quite what he'd been expecting. Brow furrowed, Manjoume looked over at the younger boy, seeing him fold up into himself again. It was seriously disconcerting to see the usually happy-go-lucky Duelist looking so depressed. Not sure how to respond, he waited for the other to continue.

"I fuse my soul to Yubel's to stop her…it was the only way." Manjoume's eyes widened. "But, it changed me. I'm not human anymore, Manjoume. I can do things and I could hurt people."

"But you won't." The black haired boy said, sitting up. "And if you'd give them a chance, the others would tell you the same thing; it doesn't matter. You were already a weirdo, remember?"

Probably could've worded that better…

He was surprised when Judai smiled, looking almost relieved. "I was worried you'd think I was a freak."

Rolling his eyes, Manjoume flicked him in the forehead. "Idiot. Since this has been cleared up, I expect you in class tomorrow, everyone's been worried."

The brunette nodded, smiling widening. "Alright…"

Nodding, the black haired boy got up and started towards the door. He hesitated however; was this really enough? Had he really helped at all? He jumped when he felt his hand being grabbed and suddenly was dragged outside and towards the school.

"C'mon, haven't eaten all day! Think they'll have fried shrimp?" Judai said, pulling him along.

"Oi, OI." He tried to pull his hand away, feeling his face getting red. "Lemme go, dammit." He ran into the Osiris's back when he stopped out of nowhere. "Oww, what the hell?"

"Erm…Manjoume?" Judai turned to look back at him, looking embarrassed. "Thank you…"

Manjoume scowled, taking over leading them. "It's Sanda. And hurry up or we're gonna miss out on dinner."

He felt Judai tighten his grip on his hand as they walked. It made his chest tighten that his friend had been so close to leaving them because of something so…fixable. And really, he didn't care if Judai wasn't human. They had always known that the Osiris student was weird, this just made him a bit weirder.

Well, he'd stuck by him this long.

~~~~Line Breaker~~~~~

I've been wanting to write for this direct fandom for a long time and I finally found something to write! :D So I hope you enjoy.

MRIMO