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Bittersweet Goodbye’s


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Bittersweet Goodbye’s


By: Lady Jade
Warnings: I don’t own Yugioh. Damn. Anyways, I’m not making any profit off this, and my hat is off to all the talented ppl who worked so hard to make Yugioh successful. If you sue me, all you’ll get are my student loans. Have fun  This is Yaoi boys and Girls. Boy boy interaction. Explicit stuff. NO kiddies of ppl with heart conditions. Swim at your own risk 

Please review. Note: All flames will be used to line the cat box. Don’t waste your breath  Please review. It’s good for me, helps me get some feedback as a writer. Thanks everyone, hope you enjoy. This is my first attempt at a Yugioh yaoi, so bear with me ^_^

Love

- Wataris_Girl

~*~


Yugi dumped his jacket next to his wet shoes and soaked scarf as he slunk through the shop and made it to the apartment above without apparent notice. It was so cold and rainy in Domino city in the winter. His Grandpa had apparently gone out to lunch, and Yugi was actually grateful as he read the note. ((A late lunch, business had boomed until three and he hadn’t gotten a lunch so he was taking one now. Sorry he wouldn’t be there to welcome Yugi home.)) Yugi smiled to himself, that was his grandpa. Normally he would have been accosted with a cheerful “Yugi? Is that you?” when he returned from school. Today he wasn’t sure he wanted to be so cheerful. Even his friends had seemed concerned that he wasn’t as chipper as usual. He felt pretty miserable, and the sniveling head cold he seemed to be coming down with didn’t help. He’d just simply told them he was feeling under the weather and would be fine. He even put off going to the arcade; he was feeling so spectacularly lousy.

//Yugi? Are you alright?//

“I’m FINE Yami!” He groused aloud as he padded soak socked to his room to find something softer and warmer to wear. He was drenched to the eyeteeth anyways. He mentally shoved the block up between him and Yami in his head, trying to keep his misery from become his curious Yami’s as well.

//You are certainly cranky today; I know Kaiba irritates you, but you didn’t have to rip his head off in class today. He only offered you a seat next to him//

Yami’s mind voice seemed a little tinny around the block, but other than that came through loud and annoyingly clearly.

“Yami…LEAVE OFF!” Yugi grumped aloud as he rummaged through his closet, locating a pair of clean flannel pants and a baggy black t-shirt.

//Oh little one, you ARE cranky today.//

“I’m cranky because I’m sick! And I feel like…HEY! YOU TRICKED ME!”

The irritating chuckle that resounded in his head was tinged with worry, but Yugi wasn’t as focused on that as much as he was just being aggravated. His head hurt. Yami yapping was not helping.

//So you are not alright then?”//

“No, I’m not…you happy now?” as he wandered towards the bathroom.

//No.//


“I’m going to take a bath. I ache.” He admitted aloud to Yami as he found the only bath salts in the bathroom that he could smell. Lavender. He turned the water up as hot as he could get it, and stripped off his school uniform and had to stop to sneeze three or four times.

//How sick are you little one?//

Yugi grimaced as he could feel Yami clamoring around the mental block like a worried, caged tiger.

He let the block down enough to let Yami see his reflection in the bathroom mirror as he stood shivering, wrapped in a huge lavender bath towel.

//You look TERRIBLE//

Yugi studied his reflection; he was pale and gaunt and had dark circles under his eyes. Yah. He did look like hell didn’t he?

//Please let the block down, I’m nearly blind and deaf when you do this to me you know//

“No.” Yugi stated stubbornly.

//Why not?//

“Because I’m miserable enough as it is, two people don’t need to suffer.”

A wracking cough that started somewhere around the bottom of his lungs cut his sentence painfully short. So it wasn’t just a head cold anymore.

//My light, you sound terrible.//

“I feel terrible.” He stated as he dumped the bath salts in and moments later shut off the water. He eased into it, inch by inch, until discarding the towel over the edge, he gratefully sunk in up to his knees, and then until he was sitting. He let his breath out in a grateful hiss as the water worked the knots out of his aching back and chest.

“By Ra this is good.” Yugi sighed as he let himself slide down the porcelain. He must have been sitting there a good twenty minutes when he started to doze off.

//YUGI! EARTH TO YUGI//

/What?!/ Yugi aimed a mental swat at his Yami

//Don’t fall asleep and drown!//

“Grrr….FINE.” Yugi grumbled, standing from the now cooler water and reached for his bath towel as he pulled the plug.

//If you drown…then what am I supposed to do?//

/Yami, you are annoying the heck out of me/

//Join the club!…//

Just then the phone rang. Yugi mentally cursed as he yanked his shirt on and hopped from the bathroom to the phone in the hall with both legs in one pant leg of his flannel pajamas.

“Hullo?” He croaked as he managed to straighten his pants until he had both legs in their respective correct places and he had tied the drawstring.

//You sound terrible!//

“Yugi! Hi! Its Tea!”

“Oh, Hi Tea, what’s up?”

He mentally noted that his voice sounded like someone dragging a vulture backwards through a cheese grater.

“You sound TERRIBLE.” She said sympathetically.

“So I’ve been told.” Yugi grumped as he tried to ignore the raucous laughter in the back of his mind.

“Are you gonna live?” She asked.

“Not sure actually, do you know, if Joey or Tristan is in the area, could you have them bring some cold medicine? I checked the cupboard in the bathroom and were out, and I really don’t think I should go back out in the rain.”

“Oh honey, yah, I’m sure Joey and Tristan both could come over.”

“Good, thanks Tea, I know you have that paper due.”

“Its ok Yugi, cause otherwise I’d bring it over myself.”

“You’re a good friend Tea.”

“Thanks hun, well, I guess that answers the guy’s questions on how you’re doing. I’ll send them right on over, were just leaving the arcade now.”

“Thanks again Tea.”

“No sweat, the boys say they’ll be there in half an hour, k?”

“Ok, thanks,”

“Bye.”


“Bye Tea.”

Yugi nabbed the cordless off of its cradle and headed to the living room, stopping only briefly to snatch his favorite blanket off the end of his bed and his pillow. He was briefly grateful that he had forgotten to lock the door to the shop, that was Joey and Tristan could get in.

He slouched into the living room and grabbed the remote to the TV, setting it and the telephone on the floor by the couch, and then curling up with pillow and blanket. He turned on something brainless, some game show where people were beating each other with giant q-tips for money or something. He’d rather be doing anything than lying on the couch. Where his brain could accost him.

The new French transfer student had turned him down for a date. He had finally gotten the balls up to ask, and he had been turned down flat. It wasn’t easy being gay. Especially when you couldn’t tell anyone, not even your friends, or your closest friend, your own shadow. He had to guard the knowledge from Yami, and it made him feel so guilty. The loneliness was eating him alive from the inside out. And besides…he wasn’t that disappointed by the refusal, it was just that he would give anything to ease the ache in his heart. There wasn’t a single soul in this world that would put up with him if they knew. It was bad enough that he was cheerful and tiny and short, the world already had it out for him, if they knew what he felt, really felt, he would be even more alone now than ever. And Yami, if Yami found out…He couldn’t bear the thought that Yami would leave him alone. For all that his darker half pestered him, he had grown used to having a friend always with him, someone who could commiserate. But this…this was just crazy. He couldn’t tell anyone. Especially Yami.

He eventually drifted off, lost in the frustration of being sick AND rejected.


~*~
Someone rubbing his back woke him from his doze. He looked up into the grinning face of Joey.

“Hey Yugi… We brought you some cold medicine, sorry, it’s the liquid grape stuff. Couldn’t find anything better.”

“Thanks guys.” He rasped.

“Woah Yug’, you sound terrible, Tea wasn’t exaggerating.”

“Yeah, I have the cough and headache from the pits of hell and I haven’t been able to smell anything for days, except for the lavender in the bath water.”

Tristan laughed.

“I can smell.”

//I like it just fine. Lavender was imported in Egypt, we used it all the time//

/really?/

//yeah.//

/cool!/

“Sorry.” Yugi apologized.



Tristan came back with Yugi’s favorite soda from the fridge and a teaspoon.

“Hey Tristan. I can’t read this writing here, its in English…does it say five teaspoons?” Joey asked.

Tristan cracked the soda for Yugi, handing it to him as he joined Joey, sliding onto the coffee table.

“Yup. ‘Member this is kids stuff, adult dosage is higher cause it’s the liquid.”

“Yah, your right, sorry Yug, I don’t know how this stuff tastes, but I’m guessing not good and you gotta take allot of it to boot.”

“That’s why I got him the soda Wheeler!”

“Swift thinking.”

“Thanks.”

Yugi took the bottle out of Joey’s hand and the teaspoon from Tristan’s.

“This is going to be really unpleasant.” Yugi rasped as he mentally prepared himself.

//Is it really that bad?//

/Wanna taste?/

//It CANT be that bad. And if it will make you feel better//

/Alright./ Yugi grinned.

“Yami been bothering you Yug?” Joey asked.

“Maybe a little, why?” Yugi asked, ignoring the indignant snort in his mind.

“Because that glint in your eye is telling me you have planned what I think you do…He doesn’t believe you how gross that is, does he?”

Yugi shook his head as he poured himself a BIG teaspoonful.


~*~
Letting the barrier down in his mind with a resounding mental crash that must have left Yami gaping and confused, Yugi took a great big slug of medicine.

//RA! THAT’S AWFUL!//

Yugi could feel Yami mentally bug twitching and retching.

/so don’t make fun of me anymore about it, ok? I have four more miserable teaspoons of this stuff./

Yugi slid the barrier back up with more care than he ripped it down, giving Yami a chance to regain some dignity. Yugi almost regretted doing that to Yami, but then again. Maybe he had it coming, just a little bit. He was surprised to feel Yami knocking around behind the barrier again, his voice tinny.

// Why didn’t you tell me you hurt so much, you have a Ra forsaken headache and you feel like someone has beaten you.//

/You should feel it when I cough if you think THAT was fun./

//Almighty Ra Yugi! Let me out, I should be taking care of you.//

/Yami, I’m not going to die, its just a cold. I’ll be alright. Joey and Tristan are here, and they will keep an eye on me till grandpa gets home./

//Will you at least let the barrier down so that I can be sure your ok?//

/You don’t want to share these symptoms with me Yami, you will be very tired of it very fast./

//Please Yugi//

/alright/
~*~
“Earth to YUGI.”

“Hmm, oh, yeah, sorry Tristan.”

“You talking to Yami again…you get so glazed over, it’s creepy to watch.”

“Sorry.”


“Quit procrastinating Yugi, take the rest of that so you can get to feeling a little better.”

“Your right guys. I should.”


~*~

Joey and Tristan sat with Yugi, until well after he had fallen asleep. They had been watching some dumb movie about a blond girl and her stalker who had strange obsessions with her shoes. And a dog being electrocuted. Yeah, it had been weird, but at least it was entertaining. By the time Yugi’s grandfather had gotten home, the credits were rolling, and Yugi was conked out solidly with his head on a pillow in Joey’s lap.

“Hello Joey, Tristan, what are you doing here?”

“Hey gramps, Yugi took sick, so we brought him some stuff for his cold and came over to keep him company ‘till you got home.”

“I’m so sorry, poor Yugi, I shouldn’t have gone out.”

“Nah gramps, he’s fine. That’s what friends are for.”


~*~
Yugi woke for a moment, to a kindly and familiar set of voices, he stirred for a moment before he fell back asleep, burying his face into the sofa and away from the intrusion.

“I got him gramps…its cool.”

/Dammit Joey, can’t you see I’m tired, let me sleep!/

//I’m not Joey Aibou//

/Keh./

He was vaguely aware of being carried, or maybe he was floating? It didn’t matter. He was just so exhausted. Somewhere in the back of his mind he had a nagging feeling that he should be doing homework, he had a paper due tomorrow, and sensei would not be thrilled if he did not turn it in.


~*~
He was falling into the blackness, a yawning pit below him opened up to swallow him. There was no escape, no respite. He screamed, reaching up towards the darkness, when a hand caught his wrist.

“Yami!” He whispered, somehow sensing that something was innately wrong even though he was momentarily safe.

“You…you disgust me!” Yami snarled. “Fag!” Yami let go of his wrist with a snarl of pure hatred.

And he fell, and fell and fell.


~*~

“Yugi! Yugi! Aibou! Wake up!

“No please, I’m sorry, I…”

His stomach jerked painfully as rough but gentle hands kept shaking him.

Violet orbs drifted open to meet frightened red. Yugi reflexively pulled back from the touch that in his dream had been so cruel and accidentally slammed his head into the wall. He mewled unconsciously, all the while Yami sat beside him, hands fluttering nervous and anxious to touch his light, but afraid he might hurt himself again if touch was tried.

“Aibou…you were having a dream.” Yami soothed.

Yugi cradled his own forehead in the crook of his arm as he pulled the blankets closer to his sweat soaked chest.

“Yami…Yami…please don’t hate me, please don’t be mad.”

“I don’t hate you Aibou…why would I be…let me hold you, you are shaking.”

“No, don’t…I’m ok...”

“Aibou.” Yami whispered.

Yugi’s purple eyes were filled with such terrible fear and betrayal that Yami could not stay away, and moved to rest one hand on the younger man’s shoulder. He thought, given Yugi’s last reaction that he might recoil again, but instead, he leaped into Yami’s arms. The dark spirit ‘oomphed’ at the sudden impact. Yugi never used to be this heavy; but then again, Yugi was eighteen now, and at a solid height of 5’5”, had put on a little build as well. The spirit mentally berated himself. It should not be that much of a surprise, yet still…

“Yugi, Aibou, please don’t cry, it was just a dream, it cannot hurt you. I am here.”

Yami teased Yugi’s hand away from where it was cradling the back of his head.

“Oh, Aibou, this will bruise badly.” He whispered as he parted the thick, tri-colored hair from where it had been pulled back in a stark ponytail for the night.

“S’…ok Yami, just, just don’t let go of me.” Yugi mumbled somewhere from the depths of his Yami’s leather shirt.

“Oh, Aibou, I would never, I am here, I am here.”

Yami stroked the surprisingly all too soft hair of his brighter half, enjoying the way it smoothed under his fingers. Yugi’s body was hot, hotter than usual, and it made the dark spirit concerned.

“Your fever is getting worse again Aibou…why don’t we take you down to the kitchen, put some ice on that bump, and get you some more of that medicine Joey left.” Yami gently prompted the hiccupping young man to stand with him.

“Come, Aibou, we will mend this.” Yami gently stroked the bump on the back of his light’s head. “Come now.” Yami gently peeled him away from his chest a little, and with two hands on the young mans hips, helped him to his shaky feet.

“Yami?”

“Aibou?”


“You wont ever leave me, right?”

Yami nodded solemnly.

“You promise.”

“I promise.”


~*~
Yami was gently holding the bag of peas to Yugi’s head while he was choking down more medicine and chasing it with a soda; when the elder of the Mutou clan showed up, blinking sleepily in the light.

“Hello Yami, Yugi not feeling well?” Yami shook his head. And Yugi took over the discussion instantly.

“It’s ok grandpa, I just have a headache and needed more medicine, my fever was getting too high again. You don’t have to be up, I’m fine I promise.”

The elder Mutou shook his head.

“Don’t worry, you did not wake me, I just have this nagging ache in my shoulder, old bones you know?”

“Is it that bad grandpa, should you see the doctor?”

“No…no, don’t worry, just old bones aching I’m sure.”

“Ok if you’re sure.”

“Goodnight again Yugi, I’m going to bed now, took some aspirin, I should be feeling better soon.”

“Goodnight Grandpa.”


~*~
Yami gently helped a dozy Yugi get into bed without twisting up in his sheets and falling off the bed. And smiled to himself. His light was so funny sometimes. Ever since Yugi had put on more leg he had become somewhat clumsy, he was taking a little time to grow into his new frame. He remembered the night his Aibou had gone to bed early, complaining that his knees and back had hurt, and the next morning, his school uniform had been three inches too small in either direction. That HAD been rich.

He was just about to finish tucking in his better half and leave when a small voice stopped him. It was not the voice of his Aibou, now a man, but the voice of the younger, a sad and forlorn small voice.

“Yami, please, please don’t ever leave me. I know that I said I would help you find your memories, and when I do you will have to go, but, if there is any chance that you can stay…If you want to that is, I wouldn’t want you to stay if you were unhappy but…”

“Aibou, we talked about this. I’m not going anywhere, and most likely, even if I were it would only be if you were not happy. Rest now, I’m not going to leave you.”


~*~
Yugi leapt from bed, realizing with the sounding of his alarm that he had not done any homework. Bounding from bed, however, caused a nasty coughing fit that must have really resounded because Yugi could feel Yami’s sleepy mind voice.

//Aibou, are you well?//

/Peachy, going to be late if I don’t take a shower./

//What? You shouldn’t be in school, you are not well yet!//

/I have a paper to write Yami, if I don’t turn it in TODAY sensei will wad me up and use me for a rugby ball…not cool! Not cool!/

//Don’t panic Aibou, there’s no need to, you should be in bed//

Yugi grabbed his uniform off the floor, noting it was still soaked, made a high speed dash to throw it in the drier while he stripped out of his pajama’s and hopped nearly naked down the hall, breezing into the bathroom, he turned the water on as hot as it would go and jumped in.

//AIBOU, YOU ARE NOT LISTENING TO ME//

/Yami, I’m far from dying here, and I really cant miss class today, as nice as it would be to sleep./

Yugi paused to cough hard from the steam in the shower. His head felt better, but the cough seemed to be worse. His voice wasn’t too bad, or at least, since he had yet to actually speak aloud this morning, he could guess so because his throat felt much better. He figured that should be on the mend anyways. But bless Joey and Tristan. That medicine worked really good.

“YUGI” A familiar old voice rasped up the stairs. “You will be late!”

“ COMING GRANDPA!” Yep. My throat feels MUCH better. Yugi thought as he sprinted down the hall to get his uniform from the drier. Another dash back to the bathroom and he toweled off at lightning speed and yanked his hair up into its usual pattern of garishly colored insanity, with enough hair gel to encapsulate the dark magician. He was still struggling into his shirt while his other hand held his backpack in a stranglehold when he stumbled into the kitchen.

//You are already late, why don’t you go back to bed.//

/YAMI!/


//DON’T YOU YAMI ME! If you die, I swear I will never speak to you again//

/hahahahaha/

//You know what I meant!//

/Sure thing Yami./

“Yugi, at LEAST have some toast to eat” The elder Mutou chided.

“Yes grandpa.”

Yugi proceeded to nearly choke on the toast that he shoved all of in his mouth, chewed once, and swallowed.

//THAT was horrifying.//

/Yami, one of these days…/

//*Laughter* Ok, ok Aibou, no need to be testy.//

“Yugi, how many times have I told you to CHEW your food.”

“I’m sorry grandpa.”

“ YUGI! There goes your bus!”

“WAHHHHH!”

“Run boy! Run!”

Yugi threw his grandfather a happy-go-lucky smile as he waved goodbye and burst out the door of the game shop, the little bell making a furious “ding.” As Yugi’s now much larger bulk hit the crash bar.

“The door boy, the door, mind you don’t…”

*SLAM*

“…Break it.”


~*~
Yugi had never been more grateful for free period in his life. He was up to his furious fingertips in the last paragraph on his world history essay when Tristan and Joey snuck into the computer lab.

“Yugi man, what the hell you doing here, you should be in bed or something shouldn’t you?”

There was a sudden flash and Yami was suddenly beside Yugi in the empty lab.

“Hey Yami!”

The dark spirit acknowledged the boys with a nod.

“That’s exactly what I said, but you know he never listens to me.” Yami growled. Tristan was clutching his heart and hanging onto the back of one of the classrooms dilapidated chairs.

“Gods Yami, you gave me a damn fit!”

The darker spirit chuckled apologetically before leaning over Yugi’s shoulder, taking the opportunity to feel his Aibou’s forehead, checking for sign of further fever, as well as try to read the first line of text that marked Yugi’s topic. ((A/N: Poor Yami, its not easy to learn how to read Japanese in a big hurry))

Joey took a moment to mutter something to Tristan that made him blush. Tristan eyed the pair in front of the computer and nodded.

Yugi had to gently pull Yami’s curious fingers away from the computer screen as he attempted to find the print icon, and with a tap, had the makings of his paper on the way. Breathing a sigh of relaxation, Yugi spun to face his friends and left Yami to molest the most vexing game of all, getting a computer to do something interesting.

“So what are you guys doing here?”

“Well, we heard from Tea who couldn’t seem to get your attention in the hallways when she passed you that you were holed up in here working like a zombie, and that you looked sick.”

Yugi chuckled.

“Poor Tea, I didn’t mean to ignore her, I just had a distraction going on was all.” He jerked his thumb over his shoulder at his darker double, currently wrestling with something on Word.

“You escaped your study halls without any resistance?” Yugi looked intrigued.

“No sweat” Joey replied, “The discipline squad has given up on us, now their picking on the new freshman.”

Yugi gave a big sigh of relief; he still didn’t like it when Joey and Tristan got into trouble. He always felt responsible.

“Hey!” Tristan interjected, suddenly seeming very interested in what Yami was doing. “He discovered Wingdings!”

Everyone turned to look at a very perplexed looking Yami.

“Mou! I thought it was hieroglyphs…damn!”

There was a quiet bout of laughter, which was interrupted by a very cranky voice over the loudspeaker.

“Mutou, Yugi, Please report to the principals office at once. Mutou, Yugi, please report.”

Yami startled, and Joey and Tristan went pale.

“What did you DO Yug’?” Joey whispered.

“I don’t know, nothing that I know of.”

“Man, people go in there and NEVER come back Yug’, I can only imagine the horror.”

“Well, IN that case, IF I AM going to DIE, could you turn this into my history sensei?” Yugi asked as he plopped his now finished and paper clipped *thanks to Yami* paper to Tristan.

“And I owe you guys a big thank you for taking care of me last night, apparently it’s the last kindness I’ll ever receive.” Yugi gently motioned at Yami, who quickly disappeared back to his spirit room in a flash.

“Tell Bakura and Tea that I love them *melodramatic gasp* and know that you have all been the best and most loyal friends a guy can have and…”

“Get the hell outta here Yug’ before they sick the discipline squad on you.” Tristan cried.

Yugi flashed them a thumbs up as he bounced out the door, laughing so hard he made himself cough. And like a man walking the final mile, Yugi Mutou shuffled towards the door to the principals office, his show of bravado, just that. A show.
~*~

//Aibou, what did you DO?//

/I didn’t do ANYTHING Yami./

//Are you sure?//

/YES/
Yugi paused with his hand in mid air, about to knock on the solid red door that was marked in gleaming, metal letters “Principals office.” When the door seemed to swing inward of its own accord.

“Mutou, come in please.”

Some terrifying woman in a pair of orange stiletto heels, a tan business suit that’s skirt was approximately six inches shorter than decent on a woman of her…caliber, and a hat that looked like it had some sort of small mammal nesting amongst pieces of fake plasticy fruits waved him to a chair just outside the actual “Inner sanctum” of the principals office.

“Have a seat dear, he’ll be with you shortly… “

And then shut the door.

/Damn, there goes any chance of escape./

//I’m sure no one here will try to slaughter you.//

/Easy for you to say./ Yugi quipped as he attempted to sit still and not fiddle.

//I am quite protective of you Aibou, and I assure you I will not let anyone harm you.//

Yugi sent a mental sigh of relief to Yami, a sigh that said, if nothing else, he knew Yami was on his side.

Suddenly, the office door swung open and a tall man in a blue suit jacket breezed by Yugi with a sidelong glance, opening the principal’s office door without so much as a knock, and then quickly shut it behind him.

/OH NO, Yami, that was the school counselor, I must be in REALLY deep shit now…oh god oh god/

//Breathe Aibou, there has to be a perfectly logical explanation for all this.//

Yugi shifted a little, he could hear voices, but not actual words, and he shifted in his chair. Then shifted again. And then fiddled with his tie. And then his buttons. Must…Not…Look Nervous…Nervous looks guilty…

He fiddled with his collar, tempted to undo the button, he was sweating with nerves. It was about the third time his hands made the circuit, tie, collar buttons…tie collar buttons, that the secretary, typing away at her desk with her neon orange acrylic nails (no doubt typing out his doom…expulsion letter…detention slip…) turned to look at him pityingly.

And then she went back to her work. And his heart bottomed out.

/Yami, I feel sick./

//Please don’t Aibou. I’m about to join you in sympathy.//

/I didn’t know you were a sympathy barfer Yami./

//With you, how can I NOT be? Your so uptight, I’M queasy.//

/Sorry Yami./

//It’s ok.//

And then, slowly, like a horror movie. The door swung open.

“Mutou? Yugi?” A voice, gravely and slightly sinister grated out. “Please come in.”

Yugi stood, trying not to wring his tie.

“Yes sir.”


~*~
“Please come in and have a seat.”

“Yes sir.”

Yugi sat, looking around the dimly lit office, golfing trophy’s, pictures of kittens and puppies and children that more than likely belonged to the man currently speaking to him; stared accusingly down at him from the walls.

“I apologize for calling you out of class, but I am afraid I have some news that will be very hard for you.” The principal stated. He nodded toward the councilor.

Yugi’s fingers dug into the wooden armrests of the industrial piece of discomfort that he sat in until they screamed.

//Easy Aibou.//

The councilor then drew himself up to his full height.

“Yugi.” The man's voice was soft, and somehow, all the more frightening.

“Your grandfather has suffered a fatal heart attack. He passed away a little more than twenty minutes ago at the local hospital. We did not know until the hospital contacted us, or we would have alerted you sooner.”

There was a moment of absolute stunned silence. Yugi gaped. Yami made some sort of guttural sound of mental disbelief. The clock on the wall ticked. Yugi blinked. The first sound out of his mouth was not coherent. He shut his mouth, swallowed, and then tried again.

“This is a bad joke, right?”

“No son, I’m afraid not.” The principal confirmed.

“How old are you son.” The councilor continued.

Yugi bit back a retort that would have involved telling them to check his school records.

“Eighteen, three weeks ago.”

“Do you have any relatives that you want to stay with, or do you want to take on your grandfathers shop and apartment.?”

“I uhhh…”

“Give the boy some time to THINK!” The principal snapped at the councilor, who suddenly fell silent under the reprimand.

Yugi had a moment of crystal clarity, in which he carefully stood.

“Excuse me, I will take over my grandfathers shop…but I need a moment please, I do not feel well.”

And with that, Yugi hit the door to the office, blowing past a startled secretary; then bursting out the main door, slid out into the hall, cornering into the stairwell at speeds unsafe for a German freeway. And then he just started running, as hard and as fast as he could. He hit the school doors so hard that he completely knocked the discipline squad members that were defending the door from truancy attempts; stupid. They hadn’t had a snowballs chance in hell. Their yells did not slow him one bit, and for once, he could give a care. Stretching out into an all out sprint that left him feeling like he was flying, Yugi hurtled down the street, and towards the park. Anywhere was better than where he was. He had to kill the sudden inner agony.

People looked curiously at the boy who sprinted by them like a bat out of hell. How strange.


~*~
//Yugi! Yugi! Aibou?! Hello?! YUUUGGGGIIII//

/…/


//Yugi, so help me I will just pop out wherever you are, in the middle of a crowd if necessary! You best answer me!” //

Yami slumped against the walls of his spirit room, feeling very lost. Why wouldn’t Yugi answer him?

//Aibou!//

There was no response. Only white hot pain.


~*~
Yugi threw himself down amongst a grove of trees on the far edge of the park. He started to cough and couldn’t stop. And then the tears started. Helpless, wracking sobs shook his whole body, head to toe. He wanted to die right then, but he couldn’t. His body seemed to decide that it had better let Yugi have some air before he fainted, and the wracking coughs soon subsided, but he still had all he could handle trying to breathe through his sobs.

He was abruptly aware that he could hear Yami, pleading with him to tell him what was going on… but he was so cold he could barely move, let alone think. He curled up on his side, heaving, sweating and freezing at the same time. He need Yami right now, he really did. He concentrated on being coherent, concentrated on relaxing, letting Yami out of the prison that his panic had accidentally locked him into.

/Yami?/

//Aibou!//



/Yami, can you, come sit with me for a while?/

There was a flash of dark and light, and then, Yami was kneeling beside him.

“Oh Aibou.” Yami whispered.

Yugi was not as frail as he had been when he was younger, but right now he looked so pale and weak that Yami had to gather him into his arms.

“Yugi. Oh…I am so sorry.”

He pulled the shaking younger man into his lap, wrapping arms firmly around the limp form. He could feel his light’s heart pounding painfully against his palm; feel the little squeak of pain that the he made as he fought back each trembling sob. Yami then felt Yugi let out a trembling sigh that to his relief, seemed to herald the end of the heartbreaking sobbing fit.

A pair of dazed violet eyes met wide ruby. Yugi drug himself into his Yami’s lap then, clinging as tightly as he could, needing the warmth. Yami reflexively began to rub circles on his Aibou’s back, enfolding him in strong arms and holding him close.

“You are cold, Aibou.” Yami whispered as he wished for a blanket, for anything, that could warm the shocky boy.

“Is it true? Tell me its not Yami.”

“I do not know Aibou, but I doubt highly that anyone would make up such a lie.”

“What if they are wrong?”

“There is only one way to find out Aibou…but rest for a moment, you are weak, I can feel it… and Aibou? Where are we?”

Yami was looking around curiously as they appeared to be in a forest of some kind.

Yugi rolled his eyes halfheartedly, attempting to look around without moving his cheek from Yami’s shoulder.

“Were in the park, on the far side…oh Yami…what am I going to do, I can’t go back to school, I’ll be thrown out, I didn’t have permission to leave the grounds…what if they arrest me?!”

“Aibou.” His darker half soothed. “They will do no such thing…When you are ready, we will go back to the school, I cannot be with you on the outside then, but… you should take your friends, and go to the hospital. They doctors will know the truth, won’t they?”

“You’re right Yami.” Yugi whispered enjoying a moment of logic-induced sanity. “Yami… I’m so scared.” Yugi whispered as he turned his cheek into the hollow of his Yami’s neck.

“Do not be my light, I will be with you, and so will your friends, if I know them. Even that tomb robber scum.”

Yugi laughed vaguely hysterically, but there was just something funny about Yami’s hatred for Bakura’s darker alter ego.

Yami smiled sadly to himself.

“Yugi, Look at me.” Yami whispered as he reluctantly pushed the young man from his lap. Yugi kept his head bowed, he didn’t want to see the pain that he knew would be in Yami’s eyes. A strong hand tilted his chin up, tilting until eyes would have met, had Yugi not screwed his tightly shut.

“Aibou.” Yami whispered.

Yugi opened bloodshot amethyst, to meet ruby.

Yami leaned in then, so close that Yugi could feel the warm brush of breath against his face. For a moment he forgot how to breathe, and he could not look away. Just when Yugi leaned forward and closed his eyes again, certain he was about to be kissed, Yami rested his forehead against the smaller duelist’s, and Yugi had to fight the urge to gasp at the vulnerability and sensuality of the action. His arms came up reflexively to clasp the back of Yami’s toned arms. Third eye pressed to third eye, and then with a red-hot glow that Yugi could see without opening his eyelids; the warmth began. It felt as if Yami flowed into him, power, strength, heat, and reassurance. But just as quickly, it ended. He shivered as Yami pulled away, but no longer with cold. He kept his eyes closed until gentle fingers stroked his cheek.

“Do you feel a little better?”

Yugi took a slow deep breath, and found breathing to be a little easier, and raising his head and rotating his shoulders, found that he no longer was so exhausted or achy.

Yami smiled at him tenderly.

“Just a little boost…come Aibou.”

Yami stood and offered Yugi a hand up.

“Lets go set this right, one way or another.”

Yugi nodded, taking the proffered hand, and enjoying the tingling after effect of Yami’s…well…whatever it was that Yami did.
~*~
Yugi walked calmly, unruffled. One slow step at a time putting him back to where he least wanted to be. The school. A brief glance at his watch told him that classes would be out soon, and he best try to make it past the Discipline Squad so that he could meet up with Joey and Tristan at their lockers. Tea and Bakura would wander that way for sure, and he was hoping at least someone would go with him, someone who was strong. Maybe he could just get Joey and Tristan. Bakura might not take things well, and he needed Tea there to be diplomatic and keep the sensitive boy calm.

/Yami?/


//I’m here, go on. *laughter* Its not like I disappear that easily!//

Yugi paused at the base of the steps, noting the unhappy looking and bandage nosed discipline squad members watching the doors.

/Yami, they see me, and they don’t look too happy./

//Just walk on by. Pretend they don’t exist. Use a little Pharaoh, you know?//

/Oh yah, right Yami./

//Just kidding. Run by like a screaming coward. It would be just as well today.//

/sounds like a plan./

“YAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH”


~*~
Screeching around the third floor fire door, Yugi ground to a halt, and spent a better part of five minutes hiding in the empty service locker on the end of the wall. He watched through the vents as the discipline squad members cast around, and deciding he must be on the fourth floor somewhere; ran off to continue their hunt. He allowed himself a small smile. Any other day it might have been depressing that he could still shut himself inside a locker, but today, it was a very well served skill.

Stepping out, he dusted his uniform off, straightened his tie, and headed back to the first floor to meet Joey by his locker. Dread tied a knot in his stomach. Right now he was floating in a sea of unreality, and he was afraid that telling everyone the news was going to bring the little shards left of his world crashing down.

//Aibou, what are you thinking?//

Yugi knew Yami was curious at the silence, Yugi was blocking him from most of his thoughts at the moment, and he knew that it worried his other half greatly. He leaned against Joey’s locker for a moment, resting his forehead on the cool slate gray metal. When the bell rang. He jumped.

Then, standing up straighter, he let himself zone out, ignoring the others as they poured out into the hall, and just concentrated on Yami, who was humming a tune equivalent to “The Egyptian National Anthem” or something. It was a little too cheerful, but what the hell. It was mind noise.
~*~
“Well well, look who escaped from purgatory alive!”

Yugi jumped at Joey’s voice, and then tried to crack a small smile. It never reached his eyes and Joey was instantly at his side.

“Yug’, what the hell happened?!”

Yugi tried to open his mouth to speak, and any inner strength he had left went out the window. He could not stop the tears, or the shaking of his hands. He couldn’t speak. And was immediately wrapped in a bone crushing Joey hug.

“Joey…grandpa…grandpa…he…he…” Yugi was whimpering into Joey’s shirt collar when he was interrupted.

“Oh, look, there’s the little bastard!” Yugi tensed. The discipline squad. Lovely.

“Looookit the lovebirds! Little fags!” Joey tensed, and was just about to lay some skin on when there was a sudden deafening *Thwack*. And then two discipline squad members were clutching the backs of their heads dizzily and kneeling on the floor.

Tea stood, hands on hips like an angry goddess of yore.

“Don’t you have anything better to do boys, like, I dunno, microwave kittens or pick on the new freshmen or something?”

Tristan was behind Tea instantly, cracking his knuckles threateningly.

“Oi Tea?”

“Yeah?”


“What you got in that handbag of yours?”

“Horseshoes, there not just for luck you know?”

“Oh, good. Lady should always be prepared and all that.”

Tea nodded.

“So anyways…” Tristan swaggered noticeably. “Think I should kick their asses?”

There was a sudden “Eep.” Of fright from one of the squad members, and then he just bolted, screaming bloody murder.

“I have that effect on some people.” Tristan gloated. Then he made a scary face at the last remaining member. Who didn’t even budge. So

Tristan tried again. Still no luck. Then Tea stepped foreward, handbag still poised.

“No lady, PLEASE! Not the HANDBAG again!” And then stood and bolted off after his other comrade.

Tristan looked crestfallen.

“So much for being a tuff guy.”

Tea patted his shoulder sympathetically.

“Don’t worry, someday, you will learn the fine art of ‘scary.’

“Oh, TEACH me SENSEI!”

“Why you snot nosed pointy haired SCRAWNY!”

“Hey Guys, come on, Yugi’s upset!” Joey interjected.

There was a moment of silence, where for the first time Tea and Tristan were silent and took a careful glance at Yugi.

“Oh Yugi Honey, What’s going on?” Tea took one look at Yugi’s tear stained face and got an instant knot in her stomach.

“They called me outta class and asked me if I had seen you. They said you had run off… I couldn’t believe it. What happened?” Tristan asked. Yugi just shook his head and burrowed under Joey’s collar again.

“You are gonna tell us, right Yug’?” Joey whispered.


~*~

Yugi stood, trembling at the hospitals front desk. Joey had a reassuring hand at the small of his back, and Tristan was resting both hands on the top of his shoulders. Tea had agreed to stay for Bakura’s benefit. The boy, as predicted, had been very upset. Yugi could feel Yami, pressed up against the back of his mind like a curious cat. Strong, reassuring, and very there. Yugi had let the barrier down, and Yami was making sure that Yugi was getting a mental hand holding as well.

The secretary finally hung up the phone, and then with a small, tired smile, leaned over the counter.

“Can I help you honey?”

Yugi nodded.

“Yes…I was told that…” He paused to draw a shaky breath, Joey rubbed his thumb in a small circle in the middle of Yugi’s back reassuringly, Tristan increased his grip. “My grandfather passed away of a fatal heart attack. I was wondering, if I could collect his belongings, and maybe… see him?”

“Are you family?”

Yugi sighed.

“I am the only remaining family.”

“Can I see some Id?”

Yugi calmly dug out his wallet and nabbed his driver’s license and ID card.

“Mutou, Yugi… she muttered as she typed in the name into her computer. She was silent for a moment, sighing sadly. Yugi got the distinct impression she hated this part of her job, and it made his stomach clench. The pity in her eyes plainly spelled out the truth that he had been hoping was a lie.

“…Of course, I will call the attending physician.”
~*~
Yugi stood outside the door to the morgue, clutching the little bag of his grandfather’s belongings that they had given to him to his chest like a drowning man clutching a life preserver. He sighed.

Joey and Tristan stood at his back, Indicating without a word that they would let him have the time he needed. Yugi nodded to them.

/Yami?/

//Oh Aibou…//



/It’s alright Yami. I’ll be ok. I just needed to make sure you were still there, I need you, that’s all./

He could feel the warmth flooding through their bond as Yami stroked his mind gently, reassuringly. It made him feel a little warmer. His hands were frozen. It was absolutely freezing on the morgue floor. Not surprising really. It was just tiring. He wanted this to be over with. But he needed to say his goodbyes. He had to face this, or he never would be able to face anything else ever again.

Pushing the door open, he walked hesitantly into the room, one hand on the door frame as if to keep himself from panicking. Tristan's warm hand suddenly covered his, and then pried his fingers away from the edge. Joey have him a little push. Their faces were completely serious, but there was nothing cruel in their gestures. If anything, it was comforting that his friends knew him so well.

Taking one step at a time, he faced the still form lying on the table, draped with a sheet. When he got close enough to identify features, his heart sank. It was his grandfather. No doubts. And he was still, and ashen gray. It made Yugi feel sick. He almost instantly broke into a fine, icy sweat. But he could feel Yami, curled, comforting, soothing, giving him strength. He would pay his respects, not run from the room. The man lying on that table, he was still his grandfather, after all.

Yugi finally stood next to the only father he had ever known. Looking down into the wizened face, he was surprised to find that he didn’t look pained, or terrible. Instead he looked younger, untroubled. At peace. The young duelist suddenly didn’t feel so terrible. He let unsure fingers trace his grandfather’s cheek. He wasn’t, really that cold…and then he just leaned in, wrapping his grandfather in what he knew would be the last hug he would ever give him. Silently, he prayed, as best he could, that he could live up to his grandfather’s standards.

“I love you grandpa,” he whispered. “Thank you for everything you’ve taught me, I know you are in a better place now… but it doesn’t make it any easier to tell you goodbye… thank you, you have been so kind to me…and I will miss you so much.”

Yugi looked up, there was a nurse beckoning to him from the doorway, it was time for him to leave.

He gave his grandfather one last sad glance, then bent to kiss the age- furrowed brow.

“Goodbye, grandpa.”

And then walking a little more steadily then he actually thought he could, Yugi turned his back, straightened his shoulders, and headed for the hall.

He had barely cleared the door when he was suddenly floating in darkness. He had a strange sensation of falling, and strong arms wrapping around him. And then nothing.
~*~
Everything came back in shades of gray. He felt like he was still floating, or maybe reclining. Listening he could hear the strong beating of a nearby heart, and smell a minty cologne and the nip of winter air, that promised more rain, maybe snow. Aural senses coming back a little more, he could hear Tristan’s voice, the words were garbled, but it was definitely Tristan. There was the soft brush of jean jacket against his cheek. Someone was carrying him. Taking a deep breath that ended in a near sob, Yugi was certain of his guess. Tristan was carrying him, no mistaking that cologne.

“It’s ok Yug’, almost there buddy. Just hang on and try not to move. The nurse gave you a shot and told us to take you home. You might be a little sleepy…”

He tried to reply, he really did. The only sound that came out sounded more like a whimper. There was the jarring of Joey walking up stairs, but Yugi felt too weak to open his eyes.

“Tristan, get the keys Bakura gave me out of my back pocket?”

“Hey Yug’.” Tristan chattered as he rummaged into Joey’s pocket. “You are crashing at Bakura’s with us for a while. It will be the gang here with you, but no one else. Bakura’s dad is outta the country for a really long time. And none of our parents mind.”

/Yami?/ His mind voice was barely a mewl.

//Aibou…I am here. You should rest.//

/Rest?/ he echoed blankly.

//Sleep. It will help.//

/I am tired, and I feel funny. I got a shot? What was in it?/

//Sleep Aibou.//
~*~
The fierce tapping of shoes on concrete announced that Tea and Bakura had arrived belatedly.

“Sorry guys!” Tea heaved.

“We had to explain to the principal where Yugi would be and stuff.” Bakura gasped. “Yugi looks terrible! Is he going to be ok?” The white haired young man’s chocolate eyes were wide and filled with worried tears.

“Yah.” Joey stated as he pushed the door open, shifting Yugi so that he didn’t drop him while he opened the storm door.

Yugi mewled again. It made everyone wince. Bakura eased through the door next, beckoning everyone, and showing them where to dump their shoes and coats.

He stood. Brown eyes worried.

“What can I do to help?” He asked quietly as Joey shifted his bundle.

“Well,” Joey said. “He’s cold, can you strip to your under shirt and pull him really close, uh, how about the couch?”

The normally shy young man scrambled to comply, struggling out of his uniform shirt until he was in just a thin t-shirt. He then leaned forward to take Yugi from Joey. Joey shook his head and motioned for Bakura to have a seat on the couch, which he did.

“Get comfortable.” Joey said gently as he waited for Bakura to scramble into a comfortable position.

“Here.” Joey whispered calmingly, both for Bakura’s sake and Yugi’s. Yugi had fallen asleep. No need to wake him. He lowered Yugi to the white haired young man’s chest, then rolled him onto his stomach until the sleeping duelist’s cheek was resting over Bakura’s heart. With a little more arranging, Joey managed to wrangle Yugi from His school jacket, and pull his shoes off. Bakura was looking at Joey faintly pleadingly.

Joey smiled and helped the shy duelist place one hand at the small of Yugi’s back, then helping the other twine itself tenderly in Yugi’s hair, and then he backed away, letting Tristan past him.

Tristan hadn’t been far, having hunted up a blanket, he slipped past Joey and covered the two up, noticing the slightly calmer look on Bakura’s face. It had been a good move on Joey’s part. Now Yugi was warm and resting, and Bakura wasn’t crying helplessly for his friend. It had been a good combination.

“Tristan, will you stay here with Bakura and Yugi?” Joey asked.

“Yeah, uhm sure, but where you going?” Tristan asked as he slid down against the foot of the couch, resting a reassuring hand over the top of Bakura’s and nestling closer to Yugi as he settled into a comfortable position.

“I am taking Tea, we are going by her place to grab her a change of clothes and a toothbrush, and then going to Yugi’s to get him some of his stuff.” Joey dangled Yugi’s house key off of the end of the dualists wallet.

“I nabbed his wallet when he passed out, didn’t want it to drop when I was carrying him.”

There was a universal nod of understanding.

“Take my spare key again, so that you can get back in.” Bakura whispered as he rolled his eyes so that he could make eye contact without moving or waking Yugi.

“Good Idea.”


~*~
Yugi woke slowly. Something was different. He just couldn’t put his finger on it. Everything felt really fuzzy. But he was so very warm. His fingers brushed a strand of silky hair. It was really long. He blinked thoughtfully and slowly opened one eye. He was looking up into worried rich brown. Why was he sleeping on Bakura’s chest? He let his fingers reflexively stroke the hand full of silky silver. It was comforting. Bakura felt so safe and strong. He wondered when that had happened. Like maybe when he had grown and nobody but Yami and grandpa had noticed… Bakura was solid and oh so safe. Why did he need to feel safe? Why was he at Bakura’s house?

“Yugi, hey…” Bakura’s voice was heavy with worry, sorrow, and sympathy. “Are you feeling ok?”

Yugi had to stifle a cough. He felt really weak and wretched, and he was pleasantly surprised when he felt gentle but strong hands start to rub his shoulders.

“Mhhh…” he sighed aloud. His back really hurt, and the touch helped. Someone else was sitting beside Bakura, perched on the edge of the couch.

“Tristan?” The sturdy hands definitely belonged to the spiky haired duelist.

“Hey Yugi, how do you feel?”

Yugi thought about it for a minute. What actually hurt the most?

“My arm hurts.”

“Oh, man, were sorry about that, the nurse insisted that she give you a shot for your nerves, and your fever. Two shots. Same arm. Bet it hurts like a…” There was a cough to his right. Yami Bakura and Yami Yugi sat like identical statues of each other, one light, and one dark. Their knees were touching, and they almost appeared to be getting along, except for Yami Yugi, who had his finger raised in a half reprimand that, surprisingly, seemed to be aimed at Tristan.

“What Yami? Its not like he hasn’t heard it before, and from higher sources!”

“Good point.” Yami sighed while looking slightly chastised.

Yugi chose to ignore the trivial argument, and feeling slightly good enough to look around, was having a little trouble remembering how he got where he was. Why was he sleeping on Bakura’s chest, with Tristan rubbing his back? Why were both Yami’s together, apparently willingly enough, and not fighting. Whatever he had been given a shot of, had apparently been strong stuff. Why had he needed a shot for his fever and his nerves? Everything was SO strange… He settled against Bakura, turning his head so that he could watch Yami, and at the same time, be a little closer to the soothing sound of Bakura’s calmly beating heart. He almost remembered, the looks on their faces were so tragic…what had happened…

Yugi stared at both Yami’s quizzically, both of them looked away, almost unable to meet his dazed violet gaze. Like they didn’t want to do anything to remind him that… and then he remembered. He remembered why he was here. Why everyone was gathered around him watching him carefully; watching him like he was a bug on a pin. And the pain ripped through him. It made his Yami gasp and lean against Yami Bakura for support, and Tristan stop his back rub. Absolute silence ruled.

“Bakura.” Yugi whispered, his small voice cutting the stillness like a knife.

“Yugi?”

“Could you hug me really tight?”



“Yes…why though?”

“Because I am going to cry.”

“Oh Yugi.” Bakura whispered as he pulled Yugi into the hollow of his neck, letting the smaller duelist knot his fists in his t-shirt. The sobs that started were so violent that Tristan curled up on the small space between Bakura’s hip and the side of the couch, draping himself over the white haired boy and Yugi, providing some support. Yami crawled over, and then hauling himself up carefully, he moved to curl up at the foot of the couch, resting his cheek against the top of Bakura’s thigh, the gesture allowing him to touch Yugi’s back.

If Bakura was uncomfortable with being in the middle of a group hug, he never showed it, however he did gesture at his hesitant Yami that it was ok to come comfort Yugi as well. The white haired reflection of Bakura moved up to rest his cheek against his Aibou’s, and drape one arm protectively around the top of the couch, comforting his sensitive partner who was currently beset by everyone’s grief. He too gazed sadly at Yugi. He knew he was thinking what everyone else was thinking. This might be the last and final loss for Yugi. He was completely alone now, aside from his Yami and his friends. It was heart wrenching, even for a cold ex tomb robber. Maybe it was worse because Yami Bakura knew all too well how sad it was to be alone.


~*~

Tea and Joey had been back for nearly an hour, and no one had really moved. Tea and Joey had just calmly accepted the situation they came back to, they were currently sitting one on each side of Yami Bakura. Tea was sniffling, and trying to hide it. Joey was just unabashedly crying. They all were at a complete loss, not only to help Yugi, but themselves. No one could bear the loss of the elder Mutou; there wasn’t one of them that he hadn’t helped through a tough spot when a hand was needed. It was surprisingly Yami Bakura that had the brainstorm of the group. Standing and detangling himself from his Aibou, he wandered into the kitchen.

Picking a box of Kleenex up off of the table and rummaging through the fridge for sodas and the cupboard for a bag of chips. He returned to the living room with his offering.

“I know no one feels like eating, but nibbling some chips and drinking some soda has to be better than nothing.”

Everyone stared at the poor white haired Yami like he had grown a second head.

“Who are you, and what have you done with Yami Bakura…” Tea accused. “Cause that’s probably a good idea.”

The Yami glared, unsure if he had just been insulted, or complimented. And if he knew Tea, it was both.

“Good idea.” Tristan agreed as he gently detangled from Yugi and Bakura and stood to meet Bakura’s Yami at the door and take the soda.

“I’ll get glasses.” Joey volunteered as he dried his eyes roughly on his sleeve.

“Ill see if I can’t cook something light that if we don’t eat now, at least we can eat later, k?” Tea volunteered as she followed Joey towards the kitchen, but not before nabbing a Kleenex from the bewildered Yami.

“Better put that box on the coffee table, we might be needing it.” She said. He smirked at her slightly, and she patted him on the arm before heading into the kitchen.
~*~

Yugi woke at the sudden noise and motion in the room. He looked down at Bakura, who was still lightly dozing. Yugi felt so empty that he felt confident enough to try and sit up. He could feel a pair of ruby eyes watching him from the far end of the couch.

/Yami, can you help me get up, I don’t want to wake Bakura./

//Yes, of course.//

Yami stood easily now, rolling off the couch like a graceful cat. Not quite as bombarded by his light’s stray emotions, and truly eager just to spend a moment with just his Aibou.

//Raise your arms Yugi//

Yugi kneeled back off of Bakura, lifting his arms, and letting Yami boost him clear of the sleeping Duelist.

“Thanks Yami.”

Yugi turned to look at Bakura’s pained face. The white haired duelist had fallen asleep with tears in the corners of his eyes. Unshed. He shivered, rolling over and mumbling at the loss of Yugi’s warmth.

Yami Bakura was there in seconds, brushing past Yami and Yugi and gently wrapping his sensitive Aibou in the blanket on the couch, then sat, curling the trembling boy to his chest, possessively wrapping his arms around him. Yugi suddenly knelt, resting one hand on his friends shoulder, but looking straight into Yami Bakura’s eyes.

“I am sorry, that I have caused him grief with my own. He is an angel Yami, take good care of him.”

There was a moment of careful consideration between the two that ended up in a careful nod from both of them.

“Come Yugi, lets get you a cloth for your face.” Yami said gently as he helped a weak Yugi to his feet with a careful tug.

“Will it help?”

“It might Aibou, but you worry me, you look very bad.”

“I’m ok Yami…really…”

“I am not so sure Aibou.”
~*~

Yugi sat on the sink with his back to the mirror while Yami ran the water and looked for a washcloth under the sink.

“Aha!”

“Found one?”



Yugi blinked owlishly in the dingy light of the bathroom as Yami soaked the cloth. Wringing it out carefully, he handed it to Yugi.

The tired duelist pressed the cold cloth to his eyes until he saw spots and felt shivery.

“Thanks Yami.”

“Aibou…I need you to tell me something.”

Yugi set the cloth down after using it to rub the back of his neck.

“Ok.”


Yami rested both of his hands on Yugi’s shoulders.

“How do you want the others to act?”

“What do you mean?”

Yami thought for a minute.

“Do you need them to be quiet and sympathetic, or do you want them to act normal? I sensed that you feel bad that everyone else feels bad around you. Would you rather they act normal? I know they do not want you to think they are irreverent…”

Yugi sighed.

“I need the normal…Yami, I need them to act like they always do, and I think it would be better. If they need to cry, then of course, I don’t mind that either. This can’t be that easy for them…and…I…I don’t know.” He answered lamely.

Yami smiled knowingly.

“Alright Aibou, I was fairly sure but I wanted to check.”

“Another thing Aibou, I hate to bring this up right now but…?”

“Yes?”

“Joey picked up the forms for you, but tomorrow you need to decide what to do for the funeral. And he also picked up your grandfather’s address book. We need to make calls to his friends tomorrow. Will you let the others split up and help you?”



Yugi blinked and then launched himself off the counter to hug Yami.

Yami blinked, but held Yugi close, nestling into the wild mess of hair that was SO much softer than it looked.

/Thank you so much Yami, I don’t know what I would do without you, or the others…I’m sorry though, if I say it out loud right now, I may just cry again, I’m too tired to cry anymore right now./

//Oh Aibou, it is well. I promise you, we will get through this. But do me one favor?//

/Name it./

//Let me stay to sleep beside you tonight? I miss grandpa too//

/Oh Yami…! *Yugi mentally winced* you have been so strong…I didn’t even think that you might be hurting too…/

//It is all right Aibou.//

/I must have hurt you when I had that outburst…I didn’t even shield, oh Yami, I am so sorry!/

//Don’t be Aibou. It was a passing pain.//

/But you still hurt now! I can feel it!/

//That is because I am sad, Yugi, No worse or better than you. That is the pain//

/Yami…I…/

“ARE YOU TWO ABOUT DONE?! I HAVE TO PEEEEEE!” Tristan screeched at the closed bathroom door.

*muffled voice of tea* “I told you not to drink so much soda at lunch…but do you listen to ME?! NoooOO.”

Yami placed a gentle hand at the small of Yugi’s back.

“Come Aibou, lets get you some more of the medicine for your cold, and maybe a soda?”

“Yeah, I should try at least…”


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