Notes: I love writing Juudai x Yubel. It just...flows. Funny, I started out in the fandom as a pure Juudai x Johan 'shipper. Just shows how you can change, right?
One: Pharaoh trotted along, interested in some strange scent that wafted to his nostrils. Their little camp was only a short distance away and that was where the scent, and now some noise, appeared to be originating. He sat down suddenly and stared through the gathering darkness with a cat’s sensitive eyes. Beside him, Daitoukuji appeared, somehow managing to flush red even though he was a ghost. “I think we should give them some more time alone, don’t you, Pharaoh?” Pharaoh did not disagree.
Two: Honeysuckle and roses wafted through the afternoon air. Juudai lay stretched out on his back in the garden, eyes closed, taking a few well-earned moments to rest from the dangers and perils of being the Prince of Kuragari. Yubel ran her fingers through his hair. “I’ll always love only you as well, Juudai.” He had kept his vow for three years. She would keep hers for three thousand.
Three: “I think I’m getting a blister.” Juudai bent over his foot and stared at the reddened skin. Yubel leaned back against a tree, arms folded over her chest, eyes bright with mischief.
“It’s your own fault. You were the one who decided you were going to wander the world on your own two feet.”
Juudai peered up at her and reacted in a manner befitting the guardian of the world: he stuck his tongue out at her.
Four: “Do you sleep, Yubel?” Juudai wondered as he tilted his head back to look at her where she held him in her arms. She shrugged.
“I can, but I don’t need to if I don’t want to.” All she needed was his presence for her strength. What guardian could, or would, sleep on the job?
Not to mention, watching him sleep warmed her soul to its core.
Five: Juudai closed his eyes and let Yubel hold him. In all of his life, he’d never felt safer than when he was with her. She filled up every nook, cranny, crack, and crevice in his heart and soul. As much as he had given her his love upon their fusion, sweeping away the Light of Ruin, she gave hers back to him, ending a loneliness that he’d never known he had.
Six: There were times Haou thought he felt someone’s eyes upon him. It couldn’t be. No one would dare to spy on him. Not now, not after he’d killed more than one fool who thought lurking in his closet was a good way to prove how skilled they were as a spy. Yet those eyes were there.
Her eyes. Yubel’s. The one who had taken Johan from him.
Why would she watch him? She was as dead as Johan. Wasn’t she?
But if Johan were killed by Brron, then he survived that duel…then couldn’t she have…
No. Even if Yubel lived, she wouldn’t watch him. He wouldn’t allow that, either.
Seven: White light, white pain, shredding her from every side, nothing she could do, it tore away arms, legs, wings, skin, worse than the pain of being changed had been, that pain she had survived for love of Juudai, but now he wasn’t there, he’d sent her away, where was Juudai, Juudai, Juudai…
He wants you to hurt like this. A voice that wafted through her mind. This is Juudai’s love. Her own voice. He wouldn’t hurt you if he didn’t love you. Truth. She couldn’t lie to herself. She wouldn’t lie to herself. You should show him your love. Yes. Juudai never lied to her. He loved her. If he hurt her, then it was because of his love for her. She would show him her own love.
She would make him hurt too.
Eight: Juudai ran his fingers up Yubel’s wings to where they joined her shoulders, then down to the tips, just letting the edges of his fingers ghost across them. Her talons dug into the earth beneath them, but he wasn’t even close to stopping.
For that matter, he wasn’t even close to beginning.
He leaned closer and breathed into one of her ears. “Do you want me to stop?”
“If you stop, I’m going to tear your lungs out, Juudai.” Her claws tightened their grip, as if she’d tear the very earth apart to get more, and Juudai smiled. That was just what he’d wanted to hear.
Nine: Yubel traced her tongue across Juudai’s salt-sweaty skin, tasting his shoulders, his throat, his cheeks, then down to his chest and stomach. For all that he loved to eat, said stomach was full of hard muscle and she enjoyed lapping her tongue across there. He couldn’t even beg her for more, though from every movement he made underneath her, she knew that he wanted to.
She decided that the passion-filled moans and cries that were all that made their way from his lips were all the begging he could manage right now. That was good enough. She traced the tip of one finger down his thighs and smirked up at him. Tonight was going to be fun.
Ten: “Yubel, if you’d known everything that was going to happen because of …of this…” Juudai waved one hand between the two of them, somehow conveying both their multiple reincarnations, his nature as Haou, the Light of Ruin’s warping of her mind and her love, and everything else that had happened in the last few thousand years in that one motion. “Would you still have been my friend? Would you still have been changed?”
Yubel considered smacking him upside the head for that, then did it. “Idiot. Of course I would. I love you, Juudai, and nothing that’s happened will ever change that. Or could ever.” She would say it a thousand times in a thousand lifetimes if she had to. Knowing Juudai, she would probably have to.
Eleven: “What do you want that for?” Yubel peered over Juudai’s shoulder, curiosity pinged by seeing him pick up a woman’s hairbrush. He seldom paid that much attention to his hair, and every woman she knew of that he knew of could and did take care of her hair on her own. No one had even said they needed a new brush.
Juudai didn’t answer her right away. He just paid for the brush and headed back outside. She didn’t get her answer until they were alone in the woods that night, comfortably camped and far from prying eyes. “Come here, Yubel. I’m going to brush your hair.”
Twelve: Juudai’s warm hand on her shoulder, the brush going through her hair repeatedly, working out knots and tangles she hadn’t even known were there…Yubel couldn’t help the warm, content sigh that fell from her lips. Juudai chuckled.
“You’d think no one had ever brushed your hair before.”
She shrugged, glancing back to see him kneeling between her spread wings. “They haven’t.”
“Well, when was the last time you brushed your hair?” Juudai bent over to work out a knot, his tongue caught between his teeth as he brushed.
She considered the answer before giving it. “Just before I was taken by the alchemists to be changed.” Seven thousand years earlier.
“No wonder this is all tangled.”
Thirteen: Yubel knew that he would come for her. How could he not? Now that he knew her again, now that he remembered, he would love her again and he would accept her love in return.
So what if she had to use some bait? Let him think he was coming for this Johan, this thief who knew nothing of love and sacrifice, no matter how much he aped her own. He would learn differently once he was there. Soon they would be together again and it would be forever.
Until then, she would watch him from afar, see how he accepted her lavishly offered pain and passion…
He would come for her.
Fourteen:“Yubel, close your eyes.” Juudai held something behind his back. She usually knew what was on his mind, but she didn’t know everything that he did. Souls fused or not, each of them needed privacy on some occasions. She glanced at him as he fidgeted, eyes sparkling with delight, and closed her own.
“All right. What is it?” The only answer she received was his fingers brushing against her lips. Recognizing what he wanted, she opened her mouth and waited, heart beating just a little faster in anticipating. Moments later, something round and fat rested against her lips. Her tongue darted out to taste it, then she bit into it, the fresh taste of a ripe strawberry bursting across her tastebuds. When did I last eat a strawberry? Perhaps back in Kuragari, before she was changed. “Juudai. You remembered.”
Fifteen: Juudai bent over the drawing pad, his newest tool for artwork clutched firmly in one chubby fist, a few others scattered nearby. He was almost done! Just as he put the last stroke into place, the door opened and he looked up. His eyes brightened as he pulled the pad up and turned it around so his parents could see it.
“Mommy, Daddy, look what I drew! It’s Yubel!” He pointed down at the picture. “See, she even has a crown! That’s because she’s my queen!”
Yuuki Shinobu and Yuuki Masami exchanged a quiet glance. Perhaps it was time to get Juudai some new crayons…before he made a habit of using his mother’s makeup.
Sixteen: Yubel hovered behind Juudai, waiting for that moment when he would summon her to the field. She’d taught him well on how to play and she loved to see the thrill he had in the game, to see him so happy. She also loved being able to defeat his enemies for him. It wasn’t as good as back in Kuragari, but if this game was how battles were fought now, then she would protect him as she always had.
“I summon Yubel!” Juudai set her card down. But before he could do anything else, his opponent activated a trap, negating her summons. Yubel screamed as her essence flowed to the graveyard, unable to stand and defend him. A moment later, Juudai was on the floor, his life points gone and tears welling up in his eyes.
This would not be allowed. No one hurt her Juudai. No one.
Not without paying the price.
Seventeen: “Juudai?” Yubel didn’t understand what was going on. One moment she’d been in Juudai’s hand, and now he was giving her to someone else? What was wrong? Had someone threatened him? She’d kill them! What she’d done before would be nothing compared to what she would do now!
But try as she might, nothing she could do could stop this thief from sealing her into a capsule and setting it inside of a rocket. Yubel battered at the walls confining her, Juudai’s name echoing back to her over and over, her throat raw and aching from each moment she screamed it.
“Juudai! Talk to me, please! Tell me what’s going on!”
“I’m sorry, Yubel.” His voice throbbed with tears. “I’m so sorry. Come home soon, please. I miss you already.”
She would find her way back to him. Whatever he’d done, he’d done because he loved her. She couldn’t stop believing that. Her sanity depended on it.
Eighteen: Juudai’s hands shook as memories rushed through his mind, an entire lifetime’s worth. It would take more time to put them all where they belonged, but some stood out above others, all involving Yubel.
Yubel, human still, creeping beside him as they entered a dragon’s lair, intent on taking a scale to prove they’d been there in the first place.
A moment in a quiet garden of honeysuckle and roses, where Yubel swore her own vow of eternal love.
Yubel’s arms around him as she carried him back to the palace, naked as the day he was born, because some idiot stole his clothes while he was swimming.
Each memory brought the same emotion with it, filtered in a thousand ways. From that moment on, Juudai didn’t just remember his vow to Yubel.
He remembered what it was like to love Yubel.
Nineteen: As much as she loved Juudai as he was, Yubel knew he’d lost something as well: that pure joy in dueling he’d had as a child, before everything fell apart. He’d gained some of it back while she was away from him, but events she’d been responsible for had helped to take more of it away from him.
All of that would be fixed now. Mutou Yuugi would help her beloved, help him grow one last time, give him that push to see dueling for the game it could be.
In the end, she couldn’t feel guilty about what she’d done. Because if it weren’t for that, she couldn’t have felt Juudai’s joy as Neos and Osiris clashed and no one cared who won.
Twenty: Blood soaked Juudai’s body, the gaping wound in his chest mute testimony to her failure. Yubel held him in her arms, her beloved, her best friend, her charge, her prince. “Juudai…” She should’ve been there for him. If only…
No. This was his fault. That foolish foreigner who had claimed to be Juudai’s friend, who let the Light into the kingdom and killed Juudai while she was held back, helpless in bonds of magic…
It would not happen again. Never again.
Juudai’s spirit would be reborn. The Light would rise again somewhere, and Juudai would be there to fight it.
And she would be with him. She would always be with him.
And never again would anyone bring harm to Juudai. He needed no friends other than her.