Title: Catching Up
Pairings/Characters: Juudai, Johan, Yubel
Word Count: 2210
Summery: Even though he was going to be just a spectator, he didn’t mind. He was just glad he was able to catch up with his friend.
Notes: Gift fic for <lj~user="aphotic">, this one also grew larger then I initially thought it would. Merry Christmas and I hope you enjoy it! Also, the title gave me a lot of trouble, so I apologise for its lameness.
He sometimes wondered why had taken him so long to realise that Yubel was bound to him in ways he hadn’t initially considered. Of course, he had always known that she was there, it was a little hard to have someone fused to your soul and not notice their presence; but the tie was something he had never really considered in the early days of their fusion.
He was pleased that things were different now.
“I’m so glad you have such a good grip on your teleporting Juudai,” Yubel’s amused voice wafted through his head as he found himself in a puddle of mud. With a sigh he tried to shake the wetness off the bottom of his pants before he consented to reply to her.
“Always with the backchat huh,” he said with a resigned grin as he attempted to shake some of the mud off him and onto her. A futile attempt as she was a spirit but the thought was there. He looked around, (giving up on trying to torment her,) taking in his surroundings. It wasn’t the arena he had been aiming for, but a park instead. A very muddy and not too flat park. He sweatdropped.
“So where do think we are?” Juudai wondered out loud as he looked around, not expecting an actual answer at all. Yubel appeared next to him with her arms crossed and an amused smirk on her face.
“Well we were aiming for France so I’m sure we are in that general vicinity,” she answered as predicted not all that helpfully. Juudai caught sight of a large building behind him where faint cheering could be heard and he set off towards it with a triumphant grin. Yubel looked at it.
“I think we found the arena,” he said cheerfully as he drifted towards it. Yubel grimaced slightly.
“I suppose we’re going to see that boy after all then,” she complained not all that seriously. Juudai nodded.
“Of course, I said we’d be here so here we are,” he replied as more and more of the city was revealed through the trees.
“You know, I think you managed to find the only puddle within a hundred kilometres around us,” Yubel pointed out, still amused by his lack of control. Juudai just muttered his answer unintelligible as his response. Most of the time he was glad Yubel was more vocal now, he hadn’t realised how much he had missed her during their separation. And he hadn’t realised what he had been missing out on while he had tried to distance himself from his friends the previous year. However the backchat did get old after a while, but she seemed to enjoy it so he let it go. He had already asked too much from her and he wasn’t prepared to ask her to sacrifice more. It was only the fact she was right that made it so annoying anyway.
“Are you sure that is it?” Yubel asked as she examined the building. Juudai shrugged.
“Not really, but I have a feeling that’s it so I’m going to trust that,” he replied amiably. Yubel smiled.
“Yes, or it could just be your stomach complaining,” she replied with a trace of smugness. Juudai sweatdropped again.
“Yeah well, that’s a good enough reason for me to follow it too so that way we go,” he replied after a moment.
It didn’t take them long to find the arena, something he was rather grateful about as he couldn’t understand French and there wasn’t much English around for him to navigate by. (As Pegasus released card in English first all the students at the Academy learnt it, and Juudai had shown a surprising aptitude for it when it had been related to Duel Monsters. In any other situation he slacked off as usual but he had picked up enough to manage).In the end the building he had been aiming for had been in front of the actual Duel Arena but was didn’t complain as it was close enough. Entry was easy at the gate as Johan had given him a pass the last time he had visited. The hard part was finding his friend as the signs weren’t all that helpful to him.
Luckily Hane Kuriboh was able to track Ruby’s signature as after a few complicated twists and turns Juudai found himself in a large room with a barricade down one side.
“Juudai!” Johan shouted cheerfully from behind said barricade that separated the corridor for the duellists from the entrance to the stands for the general public. Juudai smiled and waved to his friend.
“So you did make it then,” Johan added with a smile as he rushed up to the general foyer.”I thought you might have gotten lost.” Juudai smirked at that.
“Says he one with no sense of direction to his name what so ever,” he shot back. Johan laughed and agreed. The first match was about to start but neither of them were all that interested in watching it, yet. Yubel gave them five minutes before they got distracted by it as a very generous maximum.
“So what have you been up too?”Johan asked as he noticed Juudai’s mud stained pants. Ruby appeared on his shoulder at that moment, and Hane Kuriboh was not far in following.
“Practicing my teleportation,” Juudai answered with a nonchalant shrug. Johan laughed, he heard stories of his various mishaps in that department.
“It is going well for him,” Yubel added, she couldn’t resist that last dig. Johan laughed a little at that. Although Yubel had apologised somewhat for her behaviour the first time they had met and he had decided to accept her for Juudai’s sake, their relationship was still a little strained even if they were capable of having a civil conversation every now and again. For the most part they ignored one another’s presence and it worked for them. The Gem Beasts still were on guard whenever she was around, but no one expected that to fade anytime soon.
“So when’s your first duel?” Juudai asked, pointedly ignoring Yubel’s comment.
“Ah, well I’m third. This is the only round where we know our opponent beforehand for obvious reasons so it could be anywhere from in half an hours time to about two hours time from now,” Johan answered with a vague shrug.
“And who’s your opponent then?” Juudai asked enthusiastically, the fact that he was more then likely not going to know them didn’t even occur to him and if it had it wouldn’t have bothered him.
“Rachael Beakley, I think she’s English,” was the equally enthusiastic response. “I’ve fought her before in a junior tournament years ago. In the tournament I won the Gem Beasts at actually. She wasn’t too bad if I recall, I think I fought her in the semis. So it should be a good match anyway.”
“Awesome,” Juudai replied with a grin. In the background cheering could be heard and on the great screens in the foyer a Summoned Skull destroyed a Queens Knight with a fierce blow. Juudai and Johan fell silent at this point, their attention turned to the duel. Next to him Yubel glanced at the clock. She had been right; it had taken them barely three minutes to turn their attention to the duels.
It was a relatively quick duel after that. The Demon Deck of the winner was too much for the Warrior Deck of his opponent and inside his mind Juudai could hear Yubel constantly criticise the match. She only did it because she knew he liked it and even if she didn’t exactly see things the way he did sometimes he enjoyed hearing her comments none the less. And she enjoyed giving them as it made Juudai happy, even if some of them left him despairing at her snark. They both enjoyed it too much to worry about that.
“So where were you before this?” Johan casually asked during the intermission between duels. Juudai sweatdropped as he recalled the Spirits he had met in Iceland. Apparently the Volcano Spirits (and Juudai hadn’t even been aware they had even existed before then) were getting restless and expected a sacrifice. Said sacrifice was not what Juudai had been expecting at all, as they had wanted some Mica to cool them off before the upcoming explosion. Juudai realised he couldn’t stop such a natural occurrence from happening but he decided that appeasing the Spirits was probably a good idea and it couldn’t hurt in the long run, even if he didn’t understand the request himself. They mentioned something about hydrating themselves from the crystal structure, (or was it cooling themselves?) and Juudai had decided to just roll with it.
“Iceland, there were some restless Volcano Spirits that needed my help,” he answered. Johan looked puzzled.
“There are Volcano Spirits?” he exclaimed. “Huh, haven’t encountered them before. What do they have to do with the Gentle Darkness though?”
“Apparently there are. They help keep the balance. Every force in nature has a balance between Light and Dark in them, so when I was passing through they asked for my help and I set that balance right,” Juudai answered with an air of repetition. Clearly Daitokuji had been coaching him in the alchemy and balance of the world as Johan knew there was no way Juudai knew that. It was a slow process to say the least; Juudai hadn’t been too pleased to find out that although he was done with school he still had lessons but as the classroom was the world and his subject was largely practical based he didn’t mind too much. It also helped that Yubel alternately encouraged and gently mocked him along the way.
“Huh,” Johan repeated with a thoughtful look on his face. He’d only ever encountered Duel Spirits before and the fact that there were more types intrigued him. He wondered if he would be able to see them too or if that ability was special to Juudai. Though if he were to guess he would say they were Elemental Spirits, he remembered Rainbow Dragon telling him about them once. As much as he loved duelling in the Pro Leagues, there were times he wished he knew how to go about achieving his goal of becoming a bridge between humans and Duel Spirits. He had thought the Pro Leagues would hold some answers but so far that was amounting to nothing.
“So, are you able to sit in the stands or do we stay here?” Juudai interrupted his train of thought. It took a few moments for Johan’s brain to catch up.
“Oh, well, as I’m next we might as well stay in here if you don’t mind,” he answered as he pointed to a lounge area.
“Sure,” Juudai replied. Of course Juudai would accept the existence of other Spirits as completely normal, although if he were to think about it Johan wasn’t all that shocked to learn of their existence either.
The next duel was also a quick one, and all too soon it was Johan’s turn. While the crowd cheered Johan faced Juudai as he stood up.
“Well I’d better get going, I’ll see you in a bit,” he said faintly sheepishly as he realised he was slightly late. Running up to barrier he watched Rachael hurry from the stands, so at least he wasn’t the only one. As she passed she grinned at them and continued on. Juudai looked a little puzzled.
“My opponent,” Johan clarified. “We’re both a bit late but as long as we’re both there by the time the cheering finishes we should be fine,” he said as he picked up his Duel Disk.
“Well you’d better hurry then.” Juudai said with a grin as Johan took off.
“True. I’ll see you later then,” he yelled the last bit as he disappeared down the corridor. Juudai picked up his bag which he had dropped at his feet when they had reached the chairs and wondered over to the stands. He didn’t bother to find a seat as the railing was not only closer but a lot more comfortable. Once he had dropped his bag again Yubel appeared next to him.
“Should be an exciting match,” she nonchalantly said as the two Duellists walked out onto the platform. Neither showed any sign of their rush to the floor as they calmly walked over to their respective sides.
“It should, I haven’t seen the Gem Beasts in action for a while,” he replied as the first turn was being decided. Juudai glanced over at Yubel and smiled at her. She nodded and disappeared into their soul once again.
Even if she wasn’t out, he was glad she was around. He just hoped that one day she and Johan would get along properly but he knew enough to know that that would take time. So for now he was content for them to awkwardly ignore each other. There would be time for them to settle their differences later when he asked Johan if he wanted to join him in his travels in between tournaments. But that was a question for another day, for now Juudai was content to just watch the duels. Below him the match started.