the_goldenpath: made by <lj user="colorcube"> (Yu-Gi-Oh! - Puzzleshipping fics 2)
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Title: Yami (part 2 in the Colors of Heaven & Hell series)
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters
Characters: Mutou Yuugi & Yami no Yuugi/Atemu
Prompt: # 74, Dark
Word count: 9.117
Rating: PG
Warnings: mentions of violence, shounen-ai
Summary: Yuugi entered a prestigious Duel Monsters tournament to help pay for his grandfather’s surgery with the prize money. The major participants are the owners of the famous God Cards, including the mysterious Yami, a ruthless duelist with a dark, deadly past. They all have their own reasons for winning, and no stakes are too high…
Author’s note: This is the second installment in a series of fics following the prompts of the Fanfic100 challenge @ LiveJournal, containing a color (red, orange, yellow, green etc...). The colors will be named in either Japanese or Ancient Egyptian (I’m not a native speaker, but I thought it fit the theme). ‘Iwen’ is Ancient Egyptian for ‘colors’. The entire series will contain fluff, drama, angst, some emo, waff, lots of friendship, strong!independent!Yuugi and dark!asshole!Yami (he’ll get better, sort of). Almost everything about the Duel Monsters game in this fic is made up by yours truly. I’m too old to learn the proper rules of the game, so I invoke my artistic license. Made-up first name for Yuugi’s mother: Sumiko. Please read in the designated sequence, starting with part 0 (Colorless). Feedback is, as always, greatly appreciated.

Key: ---------- = scene change





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The silence was deafening. Everybody looked at the slender woman in their middle, ostensibly not bothered by all the curious eyes resting upon her.

“What… what do you mean?” Yuugi asked. Her words held such an ominous tone that it scared him.

She made a gesture with her head towards the door separating the Game Shop from the living quarters. “I wish to talk somewhere more private,” she said.

“Alright, let’s close up shop, then.” Jounouchi took the initiative and went to lock the door and change the sign from ‘open ‘to ‘close’. Anzu made sure that the cash register was counted and closed before joining the group again, climbing the stairs to the living room. Mutou Sumiko called for dinner when she noticed Yuugi passing by the kitchen.

“I’m sorry, kaa-san, I have a visitor,” he said.

“You won’t be joining us..?” she asked, looking confused.

“It has to do with the tournament,” he elaborated. It wasn’t exactly a lie, but as his mother had no interest in anything pertaining to the tournament, it was a necessary answer to keep her out of this mysterious business.

“Oh,” she said and went back to her pots and pans. Yuugi showed Ishizu the living room and offered her a seat. She sat down elegantly, shifting her robes around so she wouldn’t wrinkle the fabric.

“Ishizu-san, would you like some tea?” Yuugi said, being a good host.

She nodded. “Please call me Ishizu,” she said, “and yes, I would love a cup of tea. The shincha green tea, please.”

Shincha green tea? They didn’t have that blend in the house, it was far too expensive! Yuugi smiled apologetically and retreated into the kitchen. As he opened the cabinet, he saw the blend on the lowest shelf.

“What is it, Yuugi-kun?” His mother rummaged around in the fridge.

“Kaa-san, since when do you buy shincha green tea?”

“Mmm? Oh, it’s just a silly coincidence, Yuugi-kun. I bought it on sale and had a cup on the first day of the tournament, and since you’re winning so much, I never stopped drinking it. Who’s your guest? Is he or she staying for dinner?”

Yuugi had the feeling that Ishizu wouldn’t accept an invitation, so he shook his head. “It’s all right, kaa-san. I don’t know how long it’s going to take, so why don’t you start with jii-chan?

“That’s a good idea,” she said. “I’ll go get him, then.”

Yuugi prepared the tea and made a pot big enough to serve all of his friends. Anzu came into the kitchen and offered to help him out, by taking the tea set to the living room. Jounouchi and Honda sat next to each other on the large sofa, opposite of Ishizu, their arms crossed in front of their chests. Yuugi busied himself with pouring and serving tea, and as soon as everything was done, he sat down himself, next to Anzu. The silence wasn’t uncomfortable, yet a little strained. All eyes were focused on Ishizu. She calmly sipped the tea and then put her cup aside. She looked at Yuugi, her eyes shining with a startling intensity.

“You’re in great danger, Yuugi. All owners of the God Cards are.”

“I don’t own any God Card,” Yuugi gave back. He heaved a sigh, because he had an idea what this was all about. “I’m sorry, Ishizu-san. I’m not Yami, the owner of the Osiris card. I know where you can find him, he…”

“I know where he is,” Ishizu interrupted him. “I tried to talk to him, but he didn’t want to listen.”

“He can be very standoffish,” Yuugi said mildly. She didn’t share the sentiment.

“He’s a fool not to listen to me. My warning still stands, Yuugi. You’re in great danger. The God Cards have their eyes set on you. They want to be with you.”

“What?”

“They’re just cards,” Honda said. He cowered under Ishizu’s intense gaze.

“They’re Gods,” she said. “Their images shouldn’t have been created in the first place. I warned Pegasus when he visited Egypt, but he was adamant and insisted on creating them.”

“You met Pegasus?” Yuugi exclaimed at the thought of Ishizu meeting the creator of Duel Monsters himself. “He was in Egypt?”

“Yuugi…” Anzu scooted closer, a little protective. Ishizu picked up her cup again and sipped.

“My apologies,” she said. “I should’ve started from the beginning.” Everyone waited patiently for her to finish the tea. When she was done, she folded her hands into her lap. “Over three thousand years ago, a Pharaoh selflessly sacrificed his life to seal away the darkness in the world. A great sacrifice, that took a great toll. The Pharaoh, as brave as he was, was too young to understand that there’s light in every darkness, and there’s darkness in every light. To avoid the darkness ever being released again, he split his soul in two: a light half and a dark half. His legacy and the story of his legend, and the three Gods he commanded, were carved into stone tablets that survived the test of time, safe for the part where his name would’ve been. A nameless Pharaoh, whose bravery and courage brought so much good into this world.”

Namonaki Pharaoh,” Yuugi said. “But why did you call me that?”

“Because I believe you are the light part of the Pharaoh’s soul, Yuugi,” Ishizu said. “I’ve studied these stone tablets my entire life. My clan, my family, the Ishtars, have been in charge of these tablets for millennia. We were chosen to fulfill this task, and we try to maintain the traditions and customs of our forefathers.”

“Light part of the Pharaoh’s soul…” Yuugi couldn’t believe his ears.

“…and I believe Yami is the dark part of the Pharaoh’s soul.” Ishizu looked saddened. “When I got past his bodyguards and managed to talk to him, I noticed the anger and arrogance, the coldhearted demeanor of a ruthless ruler,” she said. “When I saw you, Yuugi, I noticed the love, the gentleness and kindness of a wise ruler.”

“This is preposterous,” Jounouchi said.

“Listen to my story,” Ishizu urged him. “As much as I’m hesitant to tell this, it’s important. During those millennia, not everyone in our tribe reacted well to guarding the Pharaoh’s legacy. It was too hard, too much, and they suffered their fate in great agony. All this pain and hatred accumulated in my brother, Malik.”

“Malik? But your family looks so calm, so peaceful,” Anzu said. “In pictures, I mean. I’ve never seen Malik in the flesh, of course.”

“It’s not Malik who harbors this hate,” Ishizu said. “It’s the dark part of his soul. A dark personality he developed in time, and it viciously reacts to pain and anger. It wants power, and it parasites on my brother.”

“That’s horrible, Ishizu-san,” Yuugi said. “But… that danger you’re talking about…”

“That danger is my brother, or rather, his dark side. It wants the God Cards and the power that accompanies it. We believe that when these God Cards are returned to the stone tablets, something incredible might happen… something bad or good, I don’t know. I beg of you, Yuugi, to please help my brother.”

“But…” Yuugi stammered.

“I’m a seer,” Ishizu said. “I can predict the very close future, but I don’t know the outcome of everything. Kaiba is going to be defeated by Yami, which will make him the indisputable owner of two God Cards. Then, my brother’s dark side will target him.”

“What do you want me to do, Ishizu-san?” Yuugi asked. “I don’t understand.”

“If you duel Kaiba first and win his God Card, all three Gods will have a different owner. This will diminish the impending danger greatly.”

“You want to prevent Yami from winning,” Anzu said, frowning. “That’s against the rules, Ishizu-san. I’m very sorry if I come off as rude, but are you really here out of concern for Yuugi, or for your brother?”

“Malik doesn’t know that I’m here.” Ishizu strung her fingers together. “I ask of you to please believe me. This isn’t about the tournament or Duel Monsters. This is about divine powers, and their rage will be unleashed when they’re in the wrong hands. My own brother’s hands. His dark side will set the world on fire, and only Yuugi and Yami can stop him.”

“I don’t believe it,” Jounouchi said. “I don’t believe this at all!”

“I only came here to warn you,” Ishizu said and in a fluid movement, she rose from her chair. “I’ve seen the future, and it’s going to be dark and grim, if my brother wins. Yami’s in great danger as soon as he defeats Kaiba, Yuugi. Please, think about it.”

“Ishizu-san, I don’t know…”

“I have to leave,” she said abruptly. “I can’t stay away for too long.”

“Let me show you the way out,” Yuugi offered, but she bowed to him.

“I can find my way. You should rest now, namonaki Pharaoh.” She was gone before anyone could protest.


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Yuugi woke up on the fourth day of the tournament with a headache. He had been discussing Ishizu’s visit with his friends for the entire evening and night. Jounouchi had been adamant she was playing some kind of trick in an attempt to psyche Yuugi out and distract him from the upcoming duels. Honda thought that perhaps she wanted to scare Yuugi into withdrawing from the tournament, to eliminate the strong opponents for her brother… as he dressed himself, he kept playing Ishizu’s words over and over in his mind. Something in her words had tugged on his heartstrings. She wasn’t lying, was she? Ishizu had been so intense, so serious. Why would she come up with a convoluted plot like this, just to scare or to discourage him? A nameless Pharaoh, sacrificing his life to fight off the darkness in the world…

He grabbed his backpack and slapped on his Duel Disk, stuffed his deck into the holster attached to his belt and he thundered down the stairs. In the kitchen, he loaded up on water bottles, bento and snacks and put it all into his backpack. One thing was for sure, he wanted to talk to Yami about this. If he truly was in danger… and even if Yuugi himself wasn’t convinced, he didn’t want anything to happen to the other either. Besides, this gave him an excellent reason to talk to him again.

Yuugi left the Game Shop early in search for Yami. He avoided running into other duelists as he wasn’t ready to duel yet - first, talk to Yami. Yuugi wandered around, pondering if he should look him up at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, until he spotted a familiar figure.

“Karim-san!” He waved at him. “Karim-san!”

The burly bodyguard returned the greeting and Yuugi walked up to him. “Karim-san, I’d like to talk to your Master,” he said, even though it bothered him to call Yami ‘Master’.

Karim shook his head. “My Master is in the middle of his warm-up duel,” he said. “Soon after, he will prepare himself for the duel between him and Kaiba-sama.”

“Please, I need to talk to him,” Yuugi pleaded. “It’s very important. It’s about the owner of the third God Card.”

Karim looked obviously torn. “I cannot disturb him,” he said.

“As soon as this duel is over,” Yuugi said. “Where is he?”

“The dueling arena is on the other side of this block.”

“And Mahaado-san?”

“He is next to our Master,” Karim answered. “I am walking the perimeter.” He suddenly put his large hand on Yuugi’s shoulder. “I knew it from the moment I saw you,” he said, dropping his usual stern voice to a barely audible whisper. “You care for my Master, don’t you?”

“I…” Yuugi blushed. What? “I don’t want any harm to come over him.”

“Good.” Karim looked pleased. “Let us go to the dueling arena.”


Yuugi didn’t recognize Yami’s opponent, but he saw the guy was in trouble. Yami didn’t even have Osiris on his field. His combination of Big Shield Gardna as defense and Valkyrion the Magna Warrior as attacking monster was a killing one. With one look at the opponent, Yuugi could see that he knew it too. There was just no stopping Yami. He showed his superiority with such ease and confidence that he didn’t need to bring out his God. He declared his attack and Valkyrion cleared the field, wiping out the last life points. The duel was over. The opponent handed Yami his strongest card, which he accepted as a matter-of-factly, without even looking at it. Now he had eliminated a strong duelist from the tournament, while strengthening his position in the top ten. Yami pocketed his deck and sauntered towards Karim, followed by Mahaado, not leaving his side.

“What are you doing here?” Yami asked when he saw Yuugi. “Karim, I do not wish for any interruptions.”

“I need to talk to you,” Yuugi said. “Leave your ego at the door, Yami. This is important.”

Mahaado frowned and took a step forward. He was intimidating, but Yuugi pushed through.

“Just hear me out,” he said. “Have you been visited by Ishtar-san? Ishizu Ishtar?”

Yami mimicked the stern look on his bodyguard’s face and frowned, narrowing his eyes. “I have spoken to this woman,” he said, “I have even listened to her nonsensical babbling about a nameless Pharaoh and his soul being divided into a light part and a dark part.” He was quick to draw his conclusion. “Do not tell me that she visited you with the same story and called you the light side?”

“She did,” Yuugi calmly answered. From the corner of his eye, he saw Mahaado glancing at Karim, but his menacing glare was gone; he looked rather worried. “I’m not saying I believe her, Yami-san, but she did warn the both of us, and it couldn’t hurt to be more careful.”

Yami snorted. “An elaborate ruse, to manipulate duelists into giving up, so she can clear the way for her deranged brother. I have seen this Malik, and he is insane. Why Kaiba insisted on inviting him… for his God Card, of course. Every duelist is obligated to accept challenges, and so far he has none. He should be disqualified!”

“Yami-san, she said that you were in great danger the moment you’ll win Obelisk from Kaiba-kun.”

“Of course I will win Obelisk,” Yami snorted once more. “I do not need any seeing tricks or cheap attempts at manipulation to know that. Besides, what danger could he put me in? I have two bodyguards and they will make quick work of anyone who approaches me without my permission.”

Yuugi tilted his head. He remembered his grandfather’s words, but he truly couldn’t see past Yami’s strong front. Was he truly afraid and alone underneath that hard exterior? It was difficult to imagine, with the fierce confidence he was displaying. Yami was about to turn around and leave. Yuugi searched his mind for another opportunity to stop him.

“Yami-san,” he said, “at dinner, you asked me about my reason to enter the tournament. You never told me yours. Is it for the other God Cards?”

“Of course it is.” Yami plucked at the Duel Disk on his arm. Immediately, Mahaado rushed forward to take the equipment from him. He waited until Mahaado had retreated again. “I make a living off of winning tournaments,” Yami said. “But it was never a stable income, until now. When I win this tournament, I can provide for myself and for them.” He looked over his shoulder at Mahaado and Karim, who kept a watchful eye on him and the environment. Yuugi had no doubt that Yami loved the game just as much as he did, but he had figured Yami would go for winning the God Cards rather than the actual money. He could see from the way the other was fidgeting, that there was something more. He allowed Yami the time to find his words. Finally, he spoke: “My roots are somewhere in Egypt. My father told me about it, but he passed away when I was young, so I never learned or understood what it was all about. I want to travel to Egypt and find out.”

“Egypt,” Yuugi breathed. That explained the Middle-Eastern influences at dinner. “A nameless Pharaoh… Pharaohs were the rulers of Egypt.”

“I know,” Yami said disdainfully, “but that does not mean I was a Pharaoh in a previous life, or you, or anyone else for that matter. I do not believe a word Ishizu said. Now, I have to prepare for an upcoming duel.”

Yuugi reached for him and grabbed him at the elbow. Mahaado stepped forward again, but Karim held him back. “I challenge you to a duel,” Yuugi said. “According to the tournament regulations, you’re not allowed to refuse a challenge from a duelist in the top twenty, so duel me!”

Yami didn’t push him away, yet there was a flicker in his eyes that Yuugi couldn’t read well. Not a moment later, Yami pulled himself free.

“I accept your challenge,” he said, “but only after I have dueled Kaiba. That was already agreed upon, and I am a man of my word. I will duel you, Mutou Yuugi, so have a little patience.”

“Something’s going to happen after you duel Kaiba-kun,” Yuugi insisted. “Why not duel me first, or are you afraid that Kaiba-kun might win Ra from Malik Ishtar?”

“Do not be stupid!” Yami showed a feral grin. “I will win both duels! The God Cards will be mine!”

“Master,” Mahaado spoke up. “You need to rest before the next duel.”

Yami looked at him, but when he focused again on Yuugi, he saw a flicker of… panic? fear? in his eyes before they hardened again, cold and dangerous. Maybe Malik had more to fear of him than the other way around after all. Yuugi had to watch Yami’s retreating back, flanked by the two bodyguards; not even Karim looked back.


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Yuugi finished his duel that secured him a place in the top ten and he packed up quickly. He ran after a TV crew to get to the area where the duel between Kaiba and Yami would be held. He made sure to be in time, as a crowd was amassing rapidly; everyone wanted to watch the duel between the owners of a God Card, if not live, then on TV. Yuugi waited in growing tension; Kaiba was already in the duel arena, his long coat swirling behind him. He emitted power, like the influential person he was, the CEO of one of the world’s leading corporations in virtual reality technology. No wonder he ended up with a God Card, Yuugi thought.

Yami was nowhere to be seen, he was fashionably late - it suited him somehow. Karim’s words suddenly popped up in his mind again. You care for him. Good. Was he really ‘caring’? Yami hadn’t been exactly kind to him, and it was hard to get through that thick exterior shell. Suddenly the crowd yelled enthusiastically: Yami stepped into the duel arena, smirk firmly in place. Everyone waited for the spectacle to start. After shuffling their respective decks and exchanging not so friendly banter, the duelists didn’t waste another minute. Yuugi forgot everything and everyone around him, as he watched the duel from so close.

“Osiris no Tenkuu Ryuu… attack!” The red and ferocious Dragon-God opened its mouth and energy crackled impressively. Yuugi could feel Osiris’ power tremble through his entire body. Kaiba was shaking in anger at being bested again, but he took the powerful attack in stride. His cry of frustration was drowned out as his life points reached the dreaded 0. What Isis had foreseen, had come true… secretly, Yuugi thought that almost anyone could predict Kaiba losing to Yami. Not that he doubted Kaiba’s dueling skills, but Yami simply reigned supreme at the moment. Yuugi watched how the CEO, with a sour face, handed his God Card to Yami and immediately proclaimed to challenge him to a duel over and over again to win it back. The ecstatic look in Yami’s eyes, as he studied the card, spoke volumes. He brusquely wandered off, flanked by his bodyguards and as soon as he stepped down the duel arena, a heavy weight tugged at Yuugi’s heart. Something was wrong. Something was off. Something extremely bad was going to happen, and he had allowed it to happen. He couldn’t get through to Yami. How come he felt so guilty? Upset, Yuugi went home. There was nothing he could do, and he hoped that Yami would be safe, with Karim and Mahaado to protect him from whatever that was coming his way.


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“Now Yami has two God Cards,” Jounouchi concluded.

“Just like Ishizu-san predicted,” Anzu said, her voice a little shrill. Yuugi was silent.

“Do you really believe that?” Honda looked from one to another. “It was just…” His voice trailed off. Everyone stared at Yuugi.

“I don’t feel well,” he said. “I’m not sure. It’s like there’s something tearing at me, weighing me down.”

“Don’t say such things, Yuugi.” Anzu looked worried. “Do you want some more tea? Can I get you a pillow? Something to eat?”

“You’re not getting upset from what that woman said, are you?” Jounouchi didn’t sound as disbelieving as he pretended to be.

Honda frowned. “You know, Yuugi, we’re not going to let you go anywhere unguarded. If other duelists can have bodyguards, so can you. Jounouchi and I aren’t going to let you anywhere out of sight!”

“But… the store…?” Yuugi said.

“It’s not as busy as it used to be, now that the tournament is almost over,” Anzu said. “I can deal with it, along with your mother and grandfather. It sounds too dangerous for me, Yuugi. I rather stay in the store, as cowardly as that can be.”

“You’re not a coward, Anzu,” Yuugi said. “Far from it. But I can’t back out of the tournament now. Malik-kun... I have to make him my next opponent, and see if I can win the God Card from him. I haven’t seen him duel, though, so I don’t know much about his strategy.”

“Just withdraw from the tournament, Yuugi,” Anzu said pleadingly. “You don’t owe anyone anything. If Ishizu-san is right, you could be in real danger if you continue.”

“I understand, Anzu, but I want to make sure Yami is all right.”

“He was a jerk to you,” Jounouchi reminded him. He also knew that his friend wouldn’t turn his back on anyone, jerk or not.

“If he’s truly in danger…” Yuugi didn’t know what to do. A shiver ran down his spine. Why couldn’t he shake this scary feeling? They were all startled by a loud knock on the door. Jounouchi and Honda went downstairs; not soon after, they called for Yuugi.

“Yuugi?” Anzu looked a bit desperate, but Yuugi grabbed his backpack and raced down the stairs. Ishizu was standing in the hallway, next to Jounouchi and Honda.

“Ishizu-san! What…”

“My brother has disappeared,” she said, the lower half of her face covered by the traditional veil. Her eyes held a world of hurt and sorrow. “I’m afraid he’s going after Yami. The darkness has been unleashed. We have to hurry.”

Yuugi grabbed his coat and changed his slippers for his shoes.

“Wait, Yuugi!” Jounouchi started to pull his and Honda’s coat from the rack, and threw the garment at his friend.

“Yuugi? What’s going on?” Anzu’s voice came from upstairs.

“Stay here, Anzu!” Yuugi called out. He knew Anzu could take care of herself and wasn’t as cowardly as she made herself out to be, but he didn’t want to expose her to danger. “Stay with my mother and grandfather, alright? We’ll be back soon!”

If she already answered, he didn’t hear it. He sprinted out of the house with Honda and Jounouchi in tow. Ishizu had gone ahead, standing next to a taxi. She didn’t ask why the others were coming along. Yuugi opened the door of the car and flung himself inside. The driver looked over his shoulder as everyone got in.

“Three extra passengers? That’s going to cost you, lady.”

“Ritz-Carlton, hurry!” Ishizu’s voice was as cold as ice. The driver shrugged but obeyed nonetheless; the taxi rushed through the streets towards the hotel, fortunately it was after rush hour. Yuugi clung at the familiar weight of his Duel Disk on his lap. Nobody uttered a word and the tension rose. As soon as they arrived at the hotel, Ishizu hurried to the elevators. Even her quick pace was a string of elegant movements, giving off the impression that she wasn’t hurrying at all. Jounouchi and Honda gaped at the overwhelming luxury around them, but they made sure to stay close to Yuugi. The elevator seemed to take forever. Yuugi’s stomach tied itself into knots, over and over again.

“Oh no,” Ishizu said when she looked to the right. The door to the luxurious suite open. Yuugi’s blood chilled in his body.

“Where are his bodyguards?” he asked. Ishizu didn’t answer. Yuugi hurried through the large genkan, calling out Yami’s name. Honda and Jounouchi caught up to him, not leaving his side for a moment. The suite was completely trashed.

“What has happened here?” Jounouchi had fallen back into a fighting stance, just like in the days he had belonged to a gang. Honda balled his fists as well, ready to take on any enemy.

“Over there!” Ishizu pointed at a lifeless figure on the floor, next to the large dining table.

“Gods, no!” It was out of Yuugi’s mouth before he realized it and he gasped loudly. He saw blood! Ishizu was the first to kneel next to Yami, who obviously had been pulled forcefully out of his chair. She turned him around. “We have to call the ambulance!”

“No Yuugi, they won’t be able to help.” Ishizu looked at him, a sullen sense of acquiescence visible in her eyes. “He’s alive, don’t worry.”

“B-but all that blood!”

Her voice sounded defeated. “He tried to defend himself. My brother’s dark half is very violent, and Yami didn’t stand a chance.”

“His bodyguards! Karim-san… Mahaado-san!” Yuugi didn’t understand. “Where are they?”

“What’s going on?” Jounouchi suppressed a cry. “Yuugi?”

“We are too late,” Ishizu said. Her fingers rested against Yami’s cheek. “My brother’s dark half took him to the Shadow Realm.”

“To where?” Yuugi was abhorred at seeing Yami on the floor, his eyes open and staring into nothingness, his lips slightly parted, and his breathing shallow and slow.

“All we can do, is to make him comfortable.” Ishizu ignored his question. “Jounouchi, would you be as kind as to take Yami to his bedroom?”

Jounouchi complied, albeit hesitantly. He carefully lifted Yami from the floor and carried him to the first bedroom in sight. Before tucking him in, Yuugi undressed him, taking off his shoes and confining clothes. Ishizu brought a bowl with lukewarm water and a washcloth into the room, and disinfected and bandaged the deep cuts in his hands. Neither one said a thing, working in silence until Yami was comfortably tucked in, his wounds dressed and taken care of. With extreme gentleness, Ishizu closed his eyes, her fingers touching his long dark lashes.

“This is all we can do for now,” she said.

“What’s going to happen, Ishizu-san?” Yuugi asked. While they had been tending to Yami, Honda and Jounouchi had busied themselves cleaning up the mess in the suite, placing all the furniture back into their original position. She silently motioned for Yuugi to go to the living room. He took a long, last look at Yami, before closing the bedroom door.


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Jounouchi and Honda had done their best to make the living room presentable again. The furniture looked disheveled and out of place, as if a tornado had passed through. Ishizu searched out a seat and sat down, heaving a deep sigh. She removed the veil and held the piece of fabric in her hands, crinkling it. Yuugi felt bad for her.

“Jounouchi-kun, would you mind looking in the kitchen if there’s something to drink?” he asked.

“There’s a kitchen in here too?” Jounouchi had never been at such a posh suite. Honda grabbed him at the elbow.

“This way,” he said.

Yuugi waited until his friends were in the kitchen. He turned towards Ishizu. “Where’s Yami, Ishizu-san?”

“His soul has been transported to the Shadow Realm,” Ishizu said. “There, Malik’s dark half will challenge him to a duel. This is what I was afraid of. This is what I saw. Soon, the entire world will be enveloped in darkness, and mankind will know nothing but pain and despair.”

“You told me before about the darkness in Malik-kun’s heart,” Yuugi said. “Is it that bad?”

“It all ties back to the nameless Pharaoh I talked to you about,” Ishizu answered. “When his soul was split apart, it created a chain reaction of actions and consequences, which are still influencing this very day and moment. My brother was burdened with a task, something he couldn’t bear alone. We guarded and protected the Gods, but we failed. It drove Malik insane.”

“We only could find this in the kitchen,” Jounouchi interrupted them, holding up a large carafe containing a murky looking liquid. “I don’t know what it is!”

Qasab,” Ishizu said. “It’s a sugarcane drink. Very refreshing, and it replenishes your energy.”

“Just pour us some, Jounouchi-kun,” Yuugi said and turned his attention back to Ishizu. “Ishizu-san… where are Mahaado-san and Karim-san?”

He was shocked to see silent tears sliding over her cheeks. Her voice didn’t waver when she answered him. “They’re gone. My brother… his dark side is cruel and knows no mercy. He… send them to the Shadow Realm as well, where they can’t find the Master they sworn to protect. It killed them.”

“S-shadow Realm?” Honda asked. “Killed..?”

“I can’t explain it to you in details,” Ishizu said, taking the cold glass from Jounouchi. She all but cradled it to her chest, hunching over. “It involves heka, Ancient Egyptian magic.”

“Ancient Egyptian magic…” Jounouchi parroted, dumbfounded.

“Yami’s in danger,” Yuugi said. “Please Ishizu-san, I want to help him. What can I do?”

“I can transport you to the Shadow Realm,” she said. “You’ll have no trouble finding him. He’s the other half of your soul. I can’t send you there for long, though. You have to make your time count.”

“Alright,” Yuugi said.

“What? No Yuugi, you can’t be serious! Ancient Egyptian magic… this is madness!”

I should’ve dueled Kaiba-kun,” Yuugi said. “I didn’t warn him enough.” He had accepted a glass with the unfamiliar drink and downed it with firm, big gulps. It was very sweet and most definitely an acquired taste, but Ishizu had been right; he felt refreshed, his energy replenished.

“That’s not how it is and you know it, Yuugi,” Honda said sternly. “Whatever you feel for this Yami, be it guilt or sympathy, it’s misplaced. He didn’t want to listen to you or to Ishizu!”

“I would do the same for you within a heartbeat,” Yuugi said. “And even if I didn’t know Yami, I would still offer my help. Nobody deserves to be all alone in a dark, frightening place like the Shadow Realm. Ishizu-san?”

“Make yourself as comfortable as possible,” she said. “And be prepared for a horrible, cold, dark and disastrous place.”

“Transport us with him,” Honda demanded. Ishizu shook her head.

“One person is going to be as difficult as it is,” she said regretfully. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright, Honda-kun,” Yuugi said as he settled on the sofa. Honda and Jounouchi didn’t look happy at all and grudgingly respected Yuugi’s wish. As he lied down, Jounouchi tucked him in with an afghan.

“Thank you, Jounouchi-kun,” Yuugi said. His friend grimaced.

“Just come back in one piece!”

“I have to concentrate,” Ishizu said. “Remember, Yuugi, I can’t hold this up for long. Find Yami quickly.”

“Yes, Ishizu-san.” Yuugi closed his eyes. His body clammed up. What was he doing? What was he doing? A cool, slender hand touched his forehead. Ishizu was next to him, mumbling in a language he didn’t understand. It had to be Ancient Egyptian. He drifted off. The temperature dropped significantly and his entire environment turned cold, just like Ishizu said. After a while, Yuugi dared to open his eyes. The Shadow Realm, or whatever it was, was indeed a terrifying place. Dark and ominous clouds surrounded him and long, purplish… waves swirled past him, giving off an eerie sound that haunted his body and mind immediately. Yuugi wanted to drop to his knees and curl up into a ball. How could anyone stand being here? Your mother likes to keep you at home, so she can baby you. You’ll never be independent. That voice! A horrible shrill voice tortured him and Yuugi covered his ears. Your grandfather uses you to work in the Game Shop. You couldn’t even finish high school. Loser. Dropout.

“Stop it!” Yuugi remembered Ishizu’s words. He had to look for Yami and ignore everything else around him. Shivering from the cold and shuddering from the clouds obscuring his vision, he set one foot in front of the other. Even though there was no way of telling in which direction he went, he knew where he had to go. He could feel Yami’s presence, as if he was yelling his name, announcing loudly where he was. It was difficult to walk; strings of the purplish clouds wrapped themselves around his legs, tugging at him, pulling him back and weighing him down. Every step was turmoil, a struggle, and his energy depleted rapidly. He encouraged himself to hold on, he had to find Yami… there! In the distance, he could see him..! Yami stood with his back turned to him, Duel Disk on his arm, and two monsters in front of him. Yuugi reached for him.

“Yami. Yami!”

Yami turned around, surprise clearly in his eyes. “Yuugi?” His face was pale, and he looked shaken.

“What happened?”

“He just destroyed Osiris! He is so powerful!”

“Do you realize where you are?” Yuugi asked. He grabbed Yami at the elbow, as if he could anchor himself.

“I…” Yami shook his head. “I do not know.”

Past him, Yuugi could see Malik standing on the opposite of the makeshift field, surrounded by those very same purplish shadows, but it wasn’t the Malik he’d seen on the picture. This was a distorted Malik, completely lost in the darkness, feeding of the hatred and anger of his main personality. Yuugi could sense the cruelty, the violence and the danger on the other’s face, twisted beyond recognition, and he wanted nothing but to stay here and help Yami.

“You can win this duel,” Yuugi said. “Every monster has its weakness, even a God.”

“What are you saying?” Yami sounded frustrated and irritated at the same time.

“Let go of your anger. This… Shadow Realm reinforces negative emotions. It feeds off of your fear and your frustration. This isn’t who you are, Yami. No, you’re not Yami. You’re the other half of my soul, I just know it. You’re my other half. Mou hitori no boku.”

“I…”

“Mou hitori no boku, don’t forget that Malik-kun also has a light side,” Yuugi said. “His family is worried about him and wants him to come back.” Something tugged at Yuugi, and he knew his time was up. Another thought popped up in his mind. The brave Pharaoh who had sacrificed his life. “Remember, there’s light in every darkness, and there’s darkness in every light. Save him, and save yourself,” he said. “I know you can do it.”

“I… I am afraid,” Yami suddenly said. Yuugi wanted to comfort him, but as he put his hands on Yami’s shoulders, he could see through his own fingers. His body was dissolving, Ishizu couldn’t keep him here any longer.

“I believe in you,” Yuugi said and put his hands on his chest, on his heart. “Come back to me, mou hitori no boku. I’m waiting for you.”

Yuugi wanted to say a thousand things more and he tried to reach for Yami again. The last thing he saw was the look on his face, those hypnotizing reddish eyes clashing with the spooky purple colors of the shadows surrounding him. With a loud gasp, Yuugi shot up straight, his legs caught in the afghan. Flailing wildly, his body shook violently and Honda quickly held a bowl in front of him. Yuugi grabbed it and threw up. The terrible strain of his stay in the Shadow Realm wrecked havoc on his body and the pain was nothing compared to the horror he’d seen, plaguing his mind.

“Yuugi, you all right?” Jounouchi gave him a glass of plain, cold water and Yuugi gulped it down, using the last of the liquid to splash over his face. Shivering as he still felt incredibly cold, he looked up at his friends gratefully, until his eyes fell to Ishizu, lying on the floor.

“Help her!” he cried out.

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” she said, her voice weak. Jounouchi and Honda helped her up and back into her seat again. She asked for a handkerchief or a towel and Honda retrieved one from the bathroom. Ishizu dabbed at her face to wipe the sweat off. Her breathing was uneven, erratic, and she looked like she had run a marathon, completely floored by the exertion.

Yuugi knew she needed to rest, but he had to ask. “Please send me back, Ishizu-san. Please!”

“I’m sorry, there’s nothing more I can do.” Ishizu could barely speak, her voice was nothing but a whisper. “That took everything out of me. It’s all up to him now.” She pressed the towel to her face again, the soft fabric offering a strange sense of comfort. Jounouchi and Honda stared from one to another and back again, clearly not knowing what to say or what to do. Yuugi wrapped the afghan around his upper body; he could still feel the bone-shattering cold of the Shadow Realm clinging to him. And he’d been there for only… five minutes? Yami was gone for at least thirty minutes, if not longer… how could he stand it?

“Have you seen him?” Ishizu asked. “Have you seen my brother?”

“Yes, I have,” Yuugi answered reluctantly. He tried to choose the right words. “He didn’t look very… well, Ishizu-san.”

“How could his dark half ever become so dominant,” Ishizu said, but Yuugi had the feeling she wasn’t talking to him. “Maybe I’ve made the wrong choice after all. I should’ve sent my brother…”

“What do you mean, Ishizu-san?”

“Rishid,” Ishizu answered. “Our older, adoptive brother. He… he knows how to deal with Malik’s dark half. I had to choose… to send him or you, and I choose to send the light half of the Pharaoh, as to make him whole again. He has to pass judgment, whether my brother lives or not.”

“That’s not a decision he can make!”

Her eyes took on a sharp gaze. “He has to, Yuugi, otherwise the entire world is at stake! We need the Pharaoh, whole and his soul united again!”

“Did you ever stop to think and ask what and how we feel about it? We’re not your Pharaoh, Ishizu-san. I’m Mutou Yuugi, and he’s Yami!”

Ishizu straightened herself. He marveled at her strength; not five minutes ago, she had been nothing but a weak, tired mess with hardly any breath in her.

“I can’t tell you everything yet,” she said. “This is going to take a toll on you, both you and Yami. I wish I could make things easier, clearer… but my visions aren’t always clear enough, and even though destiny has laid out its path for us, that doesn’t mean we have to sit idly and wait for everything to happen. Tell me, Yuugi, how was he?”

He understood which ‘he’ she was talking about. “He was afraid.”

“Good.” Ishizu gave Yuugi a wistful smile, ignoring the shocked expression on his face. “It means he’s capable of more emotions than anger and arrogance. Negativity will only be strengthened by the Shadow Realm. Unfortunately, it also preys on fear. It’ll give him an exceptionally hard time.”

“That’s why you have to send me back,” Yuugi said. “Please!”

Ishizu shook her head. “I would if I could, Yuugi, in a heartbeat.” He believed her. “We have to put our faith in Yami now. You managed to find him and talk to him. He’ll hold onto that, and if his wish to see you again, to be with the other half of his soul again, is greater than his arrogance and any feelings of selfishness, then he’ll return to us.”

Yuugi was frightened and tired. The ringtone of Jounouchi’s cellphone disrupted the silence and he walked to another corner of the suite, to bring Anzu up to speed. His voice sounded worried, which was mirrored by Yuugi’s thoughts and feelings. He hated to wait, uncertain, unable to do anything to help. Malik… how could anyone be so consumed by the darkness? What was it that Ishizu had said about their tribe and the Pharaoh? With every answer she gave, ten more questions arose. As soon as Yami had returned, he was going to sit Ishizu down and have her answer everything. The thought had barely crossed his mind when he suddenly heard loud screams, coming from the bedroom. Ishizu widened her eyes and immediately shot up from the chair. In his haste to follow her, Yuugi tripped over the afghan. He quickly got up and hurried after her, followed by his friends. Ishizu opened the door to the bedroom. Yami sat up straight in bed, bewildered and confused, and he was screaming incoherently and unintelligibly.

“Mou hitori no boku!” Yuugi said, ignoring the strange looks his friends gave each other. He crawled up on the bed and grabbed Yami’s wrists. “Calm down!”

“My hands!” Yami wailed. “It hurts so much!”

Yuugi tried to keep Yami from moving his arms around. Ishizu was in the room with him, so he asked her: “Why is he feeling so much pain now?”

“Malik attacked him physically,” she explained, “but when his soul was separated from his body to be taken to the Shadow Realm, Yami couldn’t feel the corporeal pain no more. The shadows feed on mental anguish and pain… now that he has returned to his body, it all comes back to him.”

“Ishizu-san, your magic…? Can’t you heal him?”

“It doesn’t work that way.” She shook her head. “It was never meant for healing. I’ll get some painkillers.”

Honda and Jounouchi approached the bed, albeit warily. “Look!” Jounouchi pointed at the bed, baffled. Duel Monsters cards were scattered all over the sheets and blankets. Yuugi hadn’t even noticed them, in his hurry to calm Yami down. Carefully, Honda and Jounouchi picked up the cards, a full deck.

“You won, mou hitori no boku!” Yuugi was extremely relieved. He didn’t want to think of Malik’s fate, not yet. “You have to tell me everything about it!”

“I… I…” Unfocused, but less panicked, Yami seemed to have a hard time realizing what had happened.

“Here you are,” Ishizu said, holding out a couple of pills and a glass of water. “They’re fairly strong.” Yuugi took everything from her, to offer them to Yami. He looked at the woman.

“Ishizu-san…”

“I have to go now,” she said abruptly. “My brother needs all the help he can get. The involvement of our clan ends here, Pharaoh. You have shown mercy, I won’t forget it.”

“Ishizu-san…” She had spoken to him, not to Yami. She bowed to him once more before turning around. “You can’t leave! Please!”

Her voice held a different tone to it when she spoke again. “I’m playing a very insignificant part in this big picture, Mutou Yuugi. Your part is much greater, and I’m very sorry to say that it’s not going to be any easier from here.”

“Lady, just stop with the mumbo-jumbo and tell us exactly what’s going on!” Jounouchi almost shoved his balled fist into her face. “What has happened? What are you talking about?”

She calmly looked at him. “I can only ask for your support, Jounouchi,” she said. “That you will help the Pharaoh wherever you can. Remember, he’s lonely and out of place in this world.”

Yuugi didn’t like it that Ishizu kept referring to the Pharaoh as a different, third person. If he and Yami were the two halves of one and the same soul, how come there was a third person involved?

“I don’t get it!” Honda voiced his thoughts out loud. Ishizu didn’t speak or offer any more explanations. Her eyes held Yuugi’s gaze; strong, proud and determined, yet vulnerable and gentle.

“Let her leave, Jounouchi-kun, Honda-kun,” Yuugi said as his friends had, subconsciously or not, taken to block the exit. Grumbling, they stepped aside. Without another word, Ishizu walked out of the bedroom.

“What’s this all about, Yuugi?” Jounouchi asked.

“I don’t know, I’m just as confused as you,” he answered. Jounouchi held a pile of Duel Monsters cards in his hand, Yami’s deck - Yuugi noticed three cards on top of the bed linens still, untouched. When he picked them up, he was holding the three God Cards. If Yami won them all, how come Ishizu was still referring to him, Yuugi, as Pharaoh?

“Guys, would you mind going to the living room? I’ll be with you shortly,” Yuugi said. Jounouchi nodded and left Yami’s deck on the nightstand next to the bed before leaving, along with Honda. Yuugi was tempted to take a painkiller himself; a pounding headache made it hard to think. But as Yami needed his help now, he focused his attention back to him. Drowsily, Yami reclined into the pillows, having taken the painkillers and drunk a little water to wash them down.

“Aibou,” Yami suddenly said.

“Mou hitori no boku,” Yuugi simply answered. He took Yami’s bandaged hands into his, careful to not apply any pressure. “I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but I’ll try my best to help you.”

“Help… me… ? Mahaado… Karim?”

“They’re not here anymore,’ Yuugi said. “I’m so sorry.”

“Everything she said, came true,” Yami said. “I should have listened. I should have listened to her.”

“It’s alright,” Yuugi didn’t want to bother Yami with difficult questions and problems. After he had rested up, they could talk. “You have to tell me all about the duel. You won the third God Card.”

“I do not want it anymore.” Yami withdrew his hands and grabbed his deck from the nightstand. He took off the three cards on the top and flung them at Yuugi. “You take them. You are more entitled to them anyway.”

“What? No, you won them!” Yuugi gently pressed the cards into Yami’s hands, but when he refused to take them back, Yuugi plucked the cards from his fingers and put them on the nightstand. Yami followed his movements, eyes half-lidded as the painkillers kicked in. He had to be exhausted from his extended stay in the Shadow Realm, and Yuugi fluffed his pillow to make him more comfortable.

“You need rest,” he said. His fingers slipped from the pillow, sliding past Yami’s cheek. His skin felt cold to the touch and Yuugi pressed his hands to his face. “You’re cold.”

Yami brought up his bandaged hands, mimicking Yuugi’s gesture, but he dropped them quickly to Yuugi’s shoulders, unable to keep up with this minimal exertion. His fingers were ice cold against his skin, and Yuugi knew why. He wished he could get those awful memories of the Shadow Realm out of his mind as quickly as possible. He shifted a little closer, until their faces were just a few inches apart.

“Aibou…” Yami’s voice was hard to hear, his speech slow as he was about to succumb to the painkillers. Yuugi had no idea why Yami called him that, just as he didn’t understand why he called the other ‘mou hitori no boku’. It just felt… right. He accepted it without giving it a second thought. “Why did you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Why did you help me? Come to the Shadow Realm and find me?”

“You would’ve done the same for me,” Yuugi said.

“No.” Yami leaned into Yuugi’s touch, however. “I would not. I am not like you.”

“You don’t have to be me,” Yuugi said, leaning forward. Very gently, his lips brushed Yami’s. “You are who you are.”

“Why…” Yami didn’t answer as Yuugi pressed his lips on his and he parted his, giving into the kiss. As Yuugi leaned into him some more, Yami’s hands slipped away from his shoulders, limply on top of the blankets. The kiss intensified. Yami closed his eyes. Yuugi gently broke up the kiss.

“Mou hitori no boku,” he whispered. “Other half of my soul.”

“Aibou,” Yami whispered in return. “Other half of my soul.”

“That is why,” Yuugi said softly.

“That is why,” Yami repeated, but he was barely conscious. Yuugi kissed him on the forehead.

“Go rest, my Pharaoh,” he said. No answer came and when Yuugi withdrew, he could hear Yami’s breathing, even and firm. He tucked Yami in and left the bedroom, glad to find his friends patiently waiting for him.

“What the hell just happened, Yuugi?” Jounouchi asked.

“I don’t know, Jounouchi-kun.” His cheeks colored a furious red, but Jounouchi wasn’t referring to the kisses; he hadn’t witnessed it, of course. Yuugi didn’t even know why he had kissed Yami either; he hadn’t even known that he would kiss another man one day anyway. Everything was so overwhelming, so different… he needed time to get himself together and think things over.

“Ancient Egyptian magic, Shadow Realm, Pharaoh…” Honda shook his head. “No one is going to believe you. Heck, we don’t even believe it, and we were there all the time!”

“We don’t have to believe it,” Yuugi said. “What happened, has happened, and now that it has, we should focus on the future.”

“You almost sound as cryptic as that Ishizu woman,” Jounouchi said, a little belligerent. “She left this, by the way.” He handed Yuugi a piece of paper.

“Those are hieroglyphs,” he said. “I can’t read them.”

“And what’s with you calling him ‘other me’?” Honda inquired. “You’re scaring us.”

“I don’t know,” Yuugi confessed. “I really don’t know, Honda-kun. It was a spur of the moment, don’t give it too much thought.”

Jounouchi merely shrugged. “Alright, so what do we do now?”

“I’m not sure if KaibaCorp. is going to foot the bill for another night,” Yuugi said.

“Why not? I guess he’s the winner of the tournament,” Jounouchi said. “He has all the God Cards.” “I’m not sure about the tournament.” Yuugi scratched the back of his head. “A duel in the Shadow Game is not an official duel, I take it… I’m just not sure, and I don’t want to fret about it now. I’m very tired and I want to go home, but not without Yami. He’s coming with me to the Game Shop.”

“I had the feeling you’d say so,” Honda said. He showed a knowing grin. “Can he walk on his own or should we call a taxi?”

“We’ll call a taxi,” Yuugi said. “Let’s get his stuff, shall we?”

Jounouchi nodded and they combed through the suite, in search for personal belongings. It saddened Yuugi that they could only find clothing, extra Duel Monsters cards and a framed picture of Yami and an unknown man.

“That has to be his father,” Jounouchi said as he looked at the picture.

“Let me see?” Yuugi took it from him and studied the photo. Yami was considerably younger, around three or four years perhaps, and next to him was a stern looking man, with undoubted love for his son in his eyes. His hand rested on his young son’s shoulder and Yami smiled at the camera. The picture was a little faded, but Yuugi could see it was cherished. He carefully put it with the deck of cards.

“I found this,” Honda said, holding up a small, rectangular box. “I take it they’re his?”

Inside the box was a set of fairly large, golden earrings that could be clipped to the earlobe. It looked like a very expensive set and it probably wasn’t safe to leave the box behind. Yuugi told Honda to be very careful with it.

“Is that all?” He asked when the others were done. Jounouchi fit everything into a small plastic bag. It was like no one else had ever been in the suite. Not only were Karim and Mahaado, the bodyguards, not here, but none of their belongings were to be found either. Yuugi didn’t want to think about how that was even possible.

“How are we going to get Yami to the Game Shop?” Jounouchi asked. “I mean, in a taxi, but…”

“Would you mind carrying him, Jounouchi-kun?” Yuugi smiled innocently. “He won’t notice it at all and you’re strong enough.”

“I’ll help,” Honda immediately offered.

“Thank you so much, guys.”

“Yeah yeah, only because it’s you,” Jounouchi said and went with Honda into the bedroom. They retrieved Yami, enveloped in a blanket, soundly asleep. “Let’s go.”

“Let’s go home,” Yuugi repeated. They left the suite and called for the elevator. As the group traveled through the lobby of the hotel, a lot of people looked bewildered at them, but nobody stopped them. Yuugi couldn’t wait for Yami to be home. Fatigue was catching up to him and he longed for his bed. His mother and grandfather were probably going to be upset, but he didn’t care. He was going to make things work out, that was for sure. Yuugi and his friends were so occupied to go home, that they failed to notice the lone figure in the black trench coat, staring at them. It was nightfall and he meshed with the shadows, totally unnoticeable.

Namonaki Pharaoh,” he muttered to himself. “You lucky fuck. Soon you will regain your memories, and I will regain what’s mine.” He watched the group get into a taxi. For now, he would let them be. There was no need to rush. He waited for millennia, a few days more didn’t matter. Let them figure it out for themselves. Let them feel safe and happy for now. Soon enough, they were going to fall into his hands, and not even their precious Gods would be able to help them.


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