the_goldenpath: made by <lj user="torakaka"> (Yu-Gi-Oh! - Puzzleshipping fics)
[personal profile] the_goldenpath
Title: Wandering off
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters
Characters: Yami no Yuugi (Atemu) x Mutou Yuugi
Prompt: #55, Spirit
Word Count: 2.632
Rating: G
Summary: Yuugi has a harder time dealing with Atem’s departure than he ever thought.
Author's Notes: Something melodramatic and tearful.

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





-----------------------------------



It wasn’t watching him leave that broke his spirit. It wasn’t finishing the Ceremonial Duel that broke his spirit. Heck, he was too busy winning that godforsaken Duel; he had known from the start that the Pharaoh was going to leave him, one way or the other. He couldn’t be with him, no matter how much he wanted to. No matter how much they wanted to. I’ll gladly give you all of my memories. A soft, longing sigh. I want to stay with you forever. No, not even when the shrine fell apart and he had to run for his life, his spirit didn’t break. Staring at the rubble, the remains of the spiritual place where he had just dueled his friend, didn’t break his spirit either. He stared at the remnants and realized that everything had been buried under tons and tons of sand and stone. He could never reach his Pharaoh again. That didn’t break his spirit either.

“Mutou-san..?”

Yuugi opened his eyes and blinked at the woman in front of him. She was impeccably dressed and had a warm, open face. He hadn’t expected that; he figured a female psychiatrist would wear her hair pulled back into a painfully tight bun, refrain from using any make-up and complete her looks with a pair of heavy, thick-framed glasses and of course, a pristine white lab coat. Shirahata Kikyou defied any stereotypical image of a psychiatrist: her hair reached her shoulders in abundant, dancing curls, her make-up was modern yet modest and she was wearing a light grey dress with a white and red striped pattern. On her lap though, was the inevitable clipboard holding sheets of paper. She twirled the silver pen with her fingers.

“Yes..?”

“You zoned out on me, Mutou-san. Are you feeling alright? Should we reschedule, perhaps?”

“No, no, I’m fine. I’m sorry.”

“No need to apologize. Would you like a glass of water, or do you prefer tea?”

“Water would be nice.” Yuugi’s throat was as dry as the Sahara. He couldn’t remember talking that much. He tried to take a peek at the clipboard that she had left on her seat, but he couldn’t read the characters upside down. Besides, it wasn’t very polite, so he reclined into his chair and waited until she returned with the glass of water. He thanked her.

“Take your time.” She had poured a glass of water for herself as well. She settled into her seat again and picked up the clipboard. A very light frown marred her face.

“Mutou-san, we haven’t booked much progress as of late, have we?”

“That’s not my fault!” He startled himself with the rude, rough tone to his voice. “I’m sorry,” he apologized again. “I… I really want to work this out, but I feel… defeated. Nobody wants to listen to the truth. I’m not a liar, my friends can confirm that.”

“I have spoken to your friends,” she said, showing him a kind smile. “It’s wonderful how supportive they are of you. They’re really concerned for you and invested in your well-being. You receive the most mail and presents from everyone around here.”

Around here. Yuugi’s smile was watery, hesitant. He wanted to go home. He didn’t want to be here. His place was at the Game Shop. He wanted to play Duel Monsters. No, he didn’t want to play Duel Monsters ever again. Silent Magician, attack! He just wanted to see his grandfather and his mother again, without having to say goodbye to them after visiting hour was over. “We’ve always been a tight-knit circle of friends.”

“It’s wonderful,” she repeated. “But Mutou-san, you do understand that they’re worried about you, don’t you? That they brought you here in your best interest?”

He arched an eyebrow. “I’m not mad at them, if that’s what you’re thinking. I want to talk about it. I want to talk about him. They’ve seen him as well, they’ve interacted with him, talked to him.”

“Yes, that’s very interesting.” She glanced at her clipboard. “Usually, friends go along with such a... complex situation as to not hurt the feelings involved. Your friends went very far to keep that thought and that image of your… ah, Pharaoh, alive.”

“His name is Atem,” Yuugi snarled at her. “We’ve fought tooth and nail to find it! Atem!”

“Atem, yes,” she said and cleared her throat. “I’m the one who should be apologizing right now. My apologies, Mutou-san. I didn’t mean to be this derisive.”

“As you shouldn’t be!” He shot forward in his seat. “How dare you to speak so lowly of him, a Pharaoh of Lower and Upper Egypt, who sacrificed his life to save the world from eternal darkness, erasing his name and his memories to seal said darkness away? You and I are alive because of his selfless deed!”

She nodded, unperturbed by the increased, heated volume of his voice. “Yes, Mutou-san, you told me about his bravery before,” she said. “To have so much courage and strength at such a young age.”

“I’ve always walked behind him,” Yuugi said and slumped into his seat, as if the wind was knocked out of him. “I was never able to catch up to him.”

“You have strength of your own, Mutou-san,” she said encouragingly.

“As he told me.” Yuugi’s smile was bright, thanks to the fond memory. “He told me my kindness was my strength. He had unshakable faith and belief in me.”

“As do your friends,” she reminded him.

“As do my friends.” Yuugi’s smile turned even brighter.

“Still, Mutou-san…”

“Do not start again,” he grumbled, voice uncharacteristically low. His fingers pulled at the fabric of his seat. “Do not tell me that there’s no proof he exists. Do not tell me that I’ve gone through traumatic events and that it’s ‘perfectly normal’ to develop another personality to deal with the pain. Do not tell me that you’re here to help me! Do not treat me as a liar! I’ve been telling you the truth, and it’s not my problem that you don’t believe me!”

She stared at him, her body alert and upright. “I see that you’re getting upset, Mutou-san. Perhaps it’s for the best if we stop this session for now.”

“And then what?” Yuugi asked softly. “Send me back to bed to ‘rest’? Why are you not releasing me? I’m not harming anyone.”

“Mutou-san… you had bought a ticket to Egypt,” she said, keeping her voice perfectly neutral. “You wanted to return to the shrine, as your friends explained to me. You’re not harming anyone physically, no. But you are hurting your friends. They’re concerned about you.”

“It was just a ticket,” Yuugi muttered.

“You were planning to return to the shrine,” she repeated. “Mutou-san, I do believe you’re speaking the truth. It is the truth to you, supported by your friends.”

“Are you telling me that they’re just playing along?” Yuugi looked at her with a hurtful expression of disbelief on his face. “That’s impossible! They were all there, including Kaiba-kun! Heck, Kaiba-kun was obsessed with dueling him!”

"I’m sorry, but we haven’t been able to get in touch with Kaiba-sama yet,” the woman admitted. “He’s very busy with some kind of space project.”

“Jounouchi-kun, Honda-kun, Anzu… my grandfather, Rebecca Hopkins, Otogi-kun... many people know about him! They saw him! I’m not making this up!”

“It’s the truth to you, Mutou-san, and…”

“The truth to me? How about all the times he dueled in my stead? The opponents he crushed with his superior strategies? He’s not a figment of my imagination, Shirahata-san! I thought I made that clear a long time ago!”

“We’ve been discussing this for quite a while now, yes,” she agreed. “You made very clear that Atem was close to you…”

“We made love,” Yuugi sighed. “He held me in his arms and he looked at me… he kissed me a thousand times over, in my soul room, where he lied me down on the bed…”

“Mutou-san, this ‘soul room’ you keep referring to, where you…ah… have been intimate with this Atem…”

“Not ‘this’ Atem… Atem! Learn to speak the name of the Pharaoh properly!”

She looked taken aback by his aggressive and loud voice and subconsciously expected another apology, but it never came. Her face showed a serious frown, almost agitated, as she leafed through her papers. “Your friends gave me copies of your email correspondence with Malik Ishtar,” she continued. “From Egypt…”

“Malik-kun was there too,” Yuugi admitted. “He and his family. They’ve been in the service of the Pharaoh for centuries… millennia, even.”

“Ishtar-san has been exposed to a terrible traumatic event when he was barely ten years old,” she said. “I spoke with his sister, Ishizu, she was kind enough to answer my questions. Forgive my crudeness, Mutou-san, but from what I’ve gathered, Ishtar-san is a textbook example of disassociating himself and developing another personality to cope with the situation. It was easier for him to shift all that pain and hatred onto someone else, than to deal with what was happening to him.”

“‘Textbook example?’” Yuugi repeated. “‘Easier’? Are you serious? I’ve met this other personality of his, and it almost managed to destroy Malik-kun, me and Atem!”

“During a duel of darkness,” she said. “All this because of a card game?”

“No, because of Atem. People wanted his memories, his power, they wanted him for revenge, for personal business… look, Shirahata-san, I’ve told you this times and times again. I’m not stupid. I understand that my family and friends are worried about me. I wholeheartedly admit that seeing Atem leave was traumatic for me. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want him back, right here and right now. I’ll even admit that it’s time for me to let go, and that I find it difficult. I want to ask you for your help, not to treat me like someone who imagined himself a boyfriend and can’t cope with reality. Please. I need help.”

“I’m glad that you admit it, Mutou-san.” She heaved an audible sigh of relief. “This is a wonderful first step in the right direction, and I’m very sure your friends are delighted to hear it too. This was a very important session, Mutou-san. I didn’t think it would happen, but I’m so happy that you’ve come to the right insight. Now we can work on your grieving and your recovery.”

She got up from her chair and Yuugi followed her example, as the session was over. “You should rest now,” she said, with a motherly-friendly tone of voice. “This has been strenuous for you.” Her eyes darted over to his chest as he had put his hand on it, fingers clenching as if he was looking for something to hold onto. “With professional help, we can take care of anything. We’ll talk about your OCD habits the next time, Mutou-san.”

He didn’t protest. He didn’t bother to correct her. The door went open and Yuugi stepped out. The hallway was brightly lit and as he knew his way around, he went to the left. He ignored the cheerful paintings on the wall, as well as the motivational posters: Every day is a bright new day, Love Relax Enjoy and more of those empty platitudes. Empty, yes, empty was the right word. He felt empty on the inside and on the outside. His entire world was empty after Atem had left. Yuugi searched out his room, opened the door and wandered inside. It held nothing but a futon, a desk with a chair and a small cupboard for clothes. He wasn’t allowed personal belongings, though he got to keep all the cards and letters from his friends. They wrote him daily, writing him their hope and faith that he would soon join them again. They never wished him to get well, because they knew he wasn’t sick.

Yuugi didn’t blame them. He was touched by their care and love for him. They thought they had done the right thing, especially after discovering his correspondence with Malik and the ticket to Egypt. Malik had promised to take him to the place where the shrine used to be. Out of everyone, only Bakura Ryou and Malik Ishtar knew what it was like to have dealt… and to deal… with ‘another personality’. Bakura had since then disappeared. Malik was under strict surveillance from his sister. He had managed to keep in touch with Yuugi through several email accounts and message boards, writing to him in cryptic descriptions. When Anzu had found the ticket on Yuugi’s desk, which was admittedly very stupid of him to have left it there in plain sight, she had raised the alarm.

He didn’t blame them. He didn’t blame anyone, not even Shirahata Kikyou who thought she was treating a classic case of dissociative identity disorder. She truly wanted to help him, and she truly believed she could help him. She thought his case was unique yet complex; not everyone developed such a complex character like a genuine Pharaoh. Yuugi lied down on his futon, feeling tired. These sessions always exhausted him, drained him until there was nothing left. He had never uttered one lie. He was telling the truth, and she couldn’t… wouldn’t see it. No, she was determined to make him forget about Atem, to help him move on and become an upstanding member of society, happy and content. He curled himself up into a fetal position. He didn’t want to forget about Atem. If anything, he wanted to see him again and he was willing to do anything to make it happen. He would kill for it, he would steal, beg, cry and he would conquer a country if necessary. Anything. Just to feel his arms around him again. Just to feel his breath trickle down his neck. Just to feel those lips kissing him behind the ears, his hand in his hair, his other hand on his chest. Naked. Vulnerable. Hot. Beautiful. Aibou.

“Mou hitori no boku,” Yuugi said and buried his head in his hands. Nothing had broken his spirit until he realized that when he was running for his life to get out of the collapsing shrine, he had heard a sound. An echoing sound, like a bell chiming. The Puzzle, together with the other Items, had fallen into the depths of the Earth when the Ceremonial Stone crumbled and fell apart. Just before it dropped down into uncertain abyss, it had chimed - and a millisecond thereafter, it had broken apart, shattered, dissolving again in many pieces. Only this time, there wouldn’t be a pretty golden box to collect all the pieces. This time, no surviving Priest would collect the pieces and put them with the utmost respect and care in a box and place it in a tomb to commemorate his fallen friend. This time, there was no tomb, only the dark core of the Earth welcoming the Items that could bring about either justice or total chaos.

It had been the sound of the Puzzle breaking apart that had broken him, literally. At the moment the puzzle pieces scattered, so did his dreams and spirit. It was definitive. Atem was gone. He was no longer in the Puzzle, no longer in this world, no longer in his body, mind or soul. Yuugi would never feel him again. He would never talk to him again. He would never see him again. His soul split apart like the many puzzle pieces itself, and he couldn’t get himself together again. Yuugi knew the truth, he knew what was real. He also knew that he wouldn’t find anything in Egypt. Even if he would find the Puzzle, reassembling it wouldn’t solve matters. Atem was gone.

He was gone.

Spirit, body, mind and soul.

------------------------------


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