Oh, gosh, has it really been FOUR years?!?! FOUR YEARS since I last updated?!?!?! O___O This is...this is...!!! I know I must've made so many people wait, many I'm sure have given up on this story, and there's no excuse for it other than my abysmal laziness!!!! For those of you who are reading this right now, I DON"T DESERVE YOU, I REALLY DON'T!!! You've checked back after FOUR years??? I can't believe I have such loyal fans as you!!!!! ;~_~;

I SWEAR THIS IS THE LAST CHAPTER!!!! Mostly because I couldn't afford not finishing it b/c I might get cold feet again and put off updating for another God-knows-how-many years...~_~ I don't know why but some night a few days ago, way past midnight, I had the urge to check back on this fic...and the urge to finish it struck me so hard that I've just been typing and brainstorming nonstop. Whatever I had had written before was long lost in my laptop crash years ago, so this was all written recently.

I know this probably isn't what many of you expected, this final chapter, but I really tried my very best to write an ending that could at least somewhat do justice to what I've written so far. It really is such a shame if fics go forever unfinished, and this one was especially close to my heart since it was my first and as, of yet, the one I've poured the most love into.

Just a warning, though, I've grown much older, so the style and even nature of the content will be quite different! (though if I wasn't older, I wouldn't have been able to add in the S/J scene that I did...I think I wasn't ready to write S/J when I was younger b/c of the nature of their...intense relationship hehe)

Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh or any of its characters! Heh though to this day, I still wish I did...x)

Warnings: FULL-OUT, BLATANT SHOUNEN-AI Y/Y, B/R, FLUFFY FLUFFY FLUFF!!!!! Cuz it's the last chapter and there won't be anymore chances for it!!! And I've decided, yes, S/J too, definitely, but of a different degree and nature from the other two pairings...(you'll see what I mean hehehe...) Oh, and I feel silly doing it now, but for old time's sake, a bit of Anzu bashing!

"..." = speaking

'...' = thinking

/.../ = Ryou to Bakura

//...// = Bakura to Ryou


Chapter 24

The sun had set, and cleanup of the stage was well-underway, but the auditorium of Domino High was still buzzing with excitement. The crowd had loved the play so much that they just wouldn't leave until they saw the stars and congratulated them personally. So when Yugi and Yami finally returned from the playground, they were swarmed by the audience members. Throughout all the chaos, Yugi tried to keep his head aloft, seeking out the one person he'd hoped to see most in their midst.

"Where's Grandpa?" he frowned, those violet eyes starting to prickle with worry and fear all over again.

Yami noticed this, of course, and took immediate action. "We'll find him, don't worry." He grabbed ahold of Yugi's wrist gently and led him towards backstage, pushing through the endless sea of admirers.

The warmth and reassurance of the gesture brought a smile to Yugi's lips, despite it all. He loved how Yami could always do that to him, cheer him up no matter how down he was feeling, let him escape from unpleasant feelings with even the simplest of gestures. He grabbed onto Yami's hand on his wrist with his other and gave it a thankful squeeze.


It was near midnight. Yugi collapsed into bed, exhausted from the events of the day. He and Yami had combed the entire school, but in the end, they hadn't been able to find Sugoroku. Hoping he had gone home without them, they rushed back to the Game Shop, only to find it empty as well. It was as if the old man had just disappeared!

Yugi sighed, worry still gnawing at him like a painful wound. "I hope he's ok..."

Warm hands gently cupped his face, coaxing his violet eyes to meet a pair of reassuring crimson ones. "I don't think Mr. Mutou's the type who would be irrational. He knows how to take care of himself." The thumbs started stroking his cheeks, making soothing little circles on that baby-soft skin. "He probably just wanted some time to himself to think, and understandably so. For now, we should just try to take care of the Game Shop in his place, and I'm sure he'll come back soon."

"Mmm," Yugi nodded, willing back some tears that would have seeped out if those hands hadn't been there to catch them. He leaned in, seeking the security of that strong chest he had gotten to know so well, especially in the past several hours.

Yami wrapped his arms around the smaller boy in response, cradling Yugi for what felt like an eternity. He rocked gently back and forth, unconsciously adding a low, soothing hum to try to ease the other's nerves and coax him into sleep. He never wanted to let go, but he knew he had to, at least for the night. "You should get some sleep now. It's been a long day, and we could both use some rest."

Yugi felt the whisper in little pleasant reverberations of Yami's chest, which only further lulled him, for they made him feel so safe and warm and protected. He frowned when the chest withdrew and a kiss was planted on his forehead as Yami prepared to get up from his bed.

"Hey...that's not a proper goodnight kiss," he protested, holding onto Yami's sleeve.

"Ah...heh, sorry, force of habit," the crimson-eyed boy replied, leaning back down again to kiss Yugi on his full, expectant lips. It lingered longer than he had meant to, and when he pulled back, both boys were flushed pink. "Wow...I can't believe we can have those kinds of goodnight kisses now..." Yami breathed, voice barely above a whisper. It took a tremendous amount of effort to move, but he knew they both had to rest. He started getting up to head for the guest room, where he usually slept.

"Yami...do you have to sleep in your own room tonight? Could you...stay here?" The question caught the older boy off-guard, and he sputtered as he looked at the younger one in mild shock. Although it wasn't the first time they had slept in the same bed together (1), with these feelings all completely out in the open, and the new nature of their relationship, he felt it would've been a bit improper...He also didn't know if he would be able to control himself, now knowing that Yugi returned his feelings...

"Y-Yugi...I mean...isn't that a bit too...?"

Before he could say "fast," Yugi interrupted, trying to explain himself, "I mean, with Grandpa gone and only two people in the house after so long, it just feels kind of lonely being so spaced out..." Those amethyst orbs shifted down to the carpet, that little cherub face reddened, and he added, sheepishly, "And also...without you here, I might have nightmares..."

'Oh, Yugi,' the crimson-eyed boy thought, heart melting. He swatted away whatever possible perverted thoughts he may have had, beating himself up mentally for even thinking Yugi could be thinking that way. "Say no more, of course I'll keep you company tonight."

The smaller boy beamed, eyes sparkling as Yami settled back down on the bed, this time lifting the covers so he could scoot under them as well. Wrapping his arms back around his charge, he settled for kissing Yugi's hair, the only part he could reach comfortably. Yugi smiled, burying his face back into the taller one's chest as he sighed sleepily and mumbled goodnight.

Little did either boy know, all their actions were being watched, through hidden cameras, by none other than the mysterious old man who had seemingly disappeared.


"Ryou, honey? I'm back from my—" Ryou's mother stopped short when she opened the door to her son's room only to find him curled up on the floor. Alarmed, she rushed over, only to breathe a sigh of relief when she saw the peaceful, content expression on his delicate features, as if he was having the best dream of his life. She smiled; it had been a long time since she saw her boy look that happy.

Her movements stirred the white-haired boy back into reality. "Mmm?" He blinked drowsily, lifting his head up.

"Ryou, dear, what happened?"

"Hmm? Ah...oh, sorry, Mom, I must've just fallen asleep here last night while..." his eyes darted around, "...reading the play script." He heard a low chortle from the Millennium Ring.

//Good save.//

/Shut up./ Ryou blushed, more from hearing Bakura's voice than from actual embarrassment. The amused tone wasn't anything new, but there was now a new, unmasked, gentler undertone to it as well, which Bakura had finally allowed himself to let show. This brought back a wave of memories of last night...how the former Tomb Robber had held him so close and securely, how he had, in his own way, confessed he felt a connection too...and the feeling of being in those strong arms...

"Are you ok, sweetie? You look rather flushed." The voice broke Ryou out of his reverie, and he scratched his head sheepishly and nodded. "I'll go make you some breakfast. You must be starving, since I didn't leave a proper dinner behind last night."

As soon as those loving maternal footsteps walked back out the door and disappeared downstairs, Bakura materialized in solid form next to the still-half-curled-up Ryou. He stared at the door after her with a strange expression on his face.

'What was that...warm but almost disgustingly gooey feeling I just felt right now?' He wondered.

As if reading his mind, Ryou explained with a slight giggle. "That...is a mother's love."

"Uck, humans. You have way too many extraneous emotions." Bakura spat with disdain, though it was less harsh than usual. Probably because he no longer fully believed what he had just said...

The smaller boy paused for just a few seconds, before daring to venture, quietly, "Oh, come on, it's not like these feelings are completely foreign to you."

Bakura looked down at his light in mild surprise, and when he saw those chocolate brown eyes smile knowingly, he couldn't help but look away and try to salvage his pride. "Tch, I...I don't know what you're talking about. That...thing...love...it's disgusting."

Ryou saw through it immediately, of course, amused to see the redness that colored Bakura's cheeks. Ah, such a rare sight that was, he almost had to pinch himself to believe his own eyes. His heart leapt with joy as he thought back on the night before. It all still had yet to fully sink in.

"She doesn't know about me yet, eh?" This time it was a voice and a hand that broke Ryou's thoughts. He blinked in confusion at Bakura's outstretched hand. Was he...helping him up? He apparently waited too long, for the Tomb Robber quickly retracted the limb, looking away again in embarrassment. "Just get up already, you look pathetic."

Empty harsh words, once again. Ryou couldn't suppress the giggle that escaped him as he slowly picked himself off the floor, and with just a moment's hesitation, took ahold of Bakura's hand anyway, which was now folded into his arms. Caught off guard, the taller boy whipped his head around to meet Ryou's face-to-face, and his heart skipped several beats as he got lost in those chocolate-brown pools of tender emotion.

"No, but I'll tell her soon," Ryou murmured as he grasped the other's hand in both of his own, his sweet voice washing over Bakura like soothing music. "And I'm sure she'll be fine with it. She'll be happy about it...and about us, too."

"W-What do you mean, 'us too'!?" Bakura bristled, once again feeling flustered and trying to suppress the warmth he felt rising to his head. "We're not getting married or anything," he added on with a slight growl.

Now it was Ryou's turn to blink and blush. He hadn't even dared to think that far!! And he didn't even know his dark half knew about marriage! How could he, when he was so busy in his past life with raiding tombs and plotting and pillaging? "You know about marriage?" He asked softly, still quite flustered, cheeks tinged pink.

"Not much," the Tomb Robber replied with a scoff, trying to avert his eyes from the incredibly adorable sight before him. "But it's a stupid thing anyway. Back then it was purely for procreation."

"Yeah, nowadays it's not much better. There's only a 50% success rate, and it's become more of just a formality for people wanting to spend the rest of their lives together," Ryou agreed. Then, as realization dawned on him, his cheeks flamed and he added in a voice barely above a whisper, "Isn't that close to what we'd like to, or at least I'd like to, do anyway?"

Bakura was at a complete loss for words. Internally, his heart leapt in agreement, but his mind and pride were still adjusting to this new phenomenon that they didn't allow his heart any power to express itself. The images that started racing through his head didn't help either. An eternity? With this brown-eyed angel? Who, with his sweet kindness and sense of justice, touched what he thought was an unfixable heartless mess, enough to make him rethink his ways? He would never allow himself to admit it, but if heaven on earth, or heaven in the spirit world of the Millennium Ring were possible, he couldn't ask for anything more. Tongue-tied, the only thing he could manage was to bring his hand to clasp Ryou's, which were already squeezing his other one.

That was enough for the shorter white-haired boy, and he beamed with happiness before slowly bringing himself even closer to Bakura, closing the gap between them. /This is just a formality too, a silly human invention, you'd say, but.../

And he leaned up and planted the sweetest, gentlest, feather-light kiss on Bakura's stunned lips. It was light, but overflowing with emotion, and everything Ryou felt about him flowed into the taller teen at once, boggling his senses, as if their souls had touched, and not in the way they had done within the depths of the Millennium Ring. He had never felt anything like it before, and it stirred within him a similar wave of emotions, which he felt he had to convey back to his light.

And he did just that, but in his own way, a firmer, longer, more passionate kiss that left the smaller one breathless. Before they knew it, their hands had unclasped from the other's only to snake around each other in what felt like an even impossibly tighter embrace than last night's. Bakura wasn't good with words, but he didn't need to say anything, his actions said it all. Ryou smiled, from both inside and out, knowing that he would never be alone again, that Bakura would always be there for him.


The weekend passed relatively uneventfully, with Yami and Yugi busily trying to manage the Game Shop on their own. They hadn't realized just how many chores Sugoroku had to put up with on a daily basis, especially during the rush hours of customers. Keeping busy helped them keep their minds off worrying too much about the old man's whereabouts, but so did each other's company.

In the same smitten haze that strikes all couples in their newly-formed days, Yugi and Yami passed those days, bathed in the glow of each other's warmth. Just knowing that the other felt the same way made all other troubles seem so light and distant, softening all problems. Everything else paled in comparison to the euphoria that feelings of love were returned. Yugi hummed as he swept the floor, Yami whistled as he wiped the windows, and the two cooked many a meal together, feeding and tending to each other amidst laughs and giggles. They hardly even noticed, or cared, that they hadn't left the Game Shop even once all weekend. They even nearly forgot to do their homework for Monday.

"School? What does school matter?" Yugi had asked frivolously. "I just want to be with you...who needs an education!?"

"Now, now, Yugi, an education is very important," Yami lightly reprimanded. "I don't want to do it either, but this pile of homework just won't do itself. And how would your grandpa feel if you didn't finish high school?"

From the shadows, Sugoroku felt his heart tug, touched that he was still so often mentioned and that Yami cared so much to try to take care of Yugi the way the old man would've wanted. His mind flashed back to Yami's sincere words at the end of the play, when Sugoroku was still sputtering with anger: "if you will let me, I promise I'll take good care of him."

He rubbed his jaw, which still stung from Jounouchi's rock-hard punch, and the blond's words echoed in his head. "Think about your grandson, why don'tcha?!"

'Oh, Yugi,' the gray-haired man thought, glancing at some old photos in a family album. 'Who knew I'd have to give you up so soon?' He looked at a picture of his daughter, and then at Yugi, chuckling inwardly at the features they shared, namely those innocent violet eyes. Those tricky eyes...they made him think that they were too young to take care of themselves, made him forget their actual ages. And his daughter hadn't had bad judgment; she had married a wonderful man who had taken care of her just as he had promised.

So why was Sugoroku so hesitant about trusting Yami, who had the same vows and same sincere expression as his daughter's husband? And was now backing up his promises with actions, and perhaps even doing a better job of taking care of Yugi than Sugoroku himself did? And Yugi was so happy, to the point that he didn't have a breakdown over his grandfather's absence and could even forget about his worry at times in his bliss?

He sighed. 'Why am I so against it anyway? Just because they're both male? This is the modern world, things like that nowadays aren't so uncommon...' He knew he shouldn't be so narrow-minded; after all, he now realized that he didn't know, and in fact, couldn't even imagine, a more caring partner for his beloved grandson.

Still, he wasn't ready to confront the two just yet...


Monday morning. Birds chirped cheerfully to greet the start of the new day, and the new week, but there was one person who was not enthusiastic about this moment. As the first rays of sunlight illuminated the massive garden of the Kaiba mansion, Jounouchi stood on the front porch, fidgeting in anticipation. He realized he was early; school didn't start for over an hour. But for whatever the reason, he couldn't sleep anymore, and figured he might as well just get this over with sooner.

"That bastard's probably up already anyway, doing all sorts of oh-so-important morning errands..." Jou mumbled to himself, not realizing the door had opened already.

"And a lovely morning to you too," A husky, slightly sleep-edged voice jolted Jou out of his thoughts. "Trying to convince yourself you're not a disturbance, eh? Well, you are." The still-disheveled, unkempt hair, the bleary eyes, and the silky blue nightrobe all pointed to one thing—Seto Kaiba had indeed been rudely awakened from his slumber.

"Jeez, don't you have a butler to answer your door if you aren't ready yet!?" Jounouchi burst out, caught completely off-guard from seeing the CEO in such a...well, vulnerable and domestic position. He had never seen Kaiba in anything other than well-guarded, well-put-together, prim and proper outfits. To think that the man wore pajamas, or even slept, was bizarre to Jou. It made the CEO seem more...human, and he did NOT, COULD not afford to see the brunette as more human.

"Hn," Kaiba chuckled. "Most mornings I do, but I was expecting you today." Before Jou could think about how...thoughtful that sounded, Kaiba added. "After all, my butlers shouldn't soil their precious hands dealing with a lowly little puppy like you."

"Grrrrah I've told you a million times, I'm not a stupid puppy!!!!"

"At least for this morning, you are," Kaiba retorted, his blue eyes twinkling. "Better get used to it, Pup. Now put on your leash." The CEO brought out from behind his back a bright red leash attached to a collar, along with a pair of extra-furry dog ears and clip-on tail.

"W-wait! School doesn't start for another hour! I don't have to do that now!!" Jou protested, eyes wide as he stared at the horrid dog ears, which were so fluffy and curly that he swore they were made from a poodle's fur. "The deal was just to escort you to school this week like a sight-dog for the blind, on all fours! You didn't mention I'd have to freaking turn myself into a POODLE in public for this!!!"

"I couldn't possibly have written down all the stipulations on that little sheet of paper," Kaiba's lips curled into a smirk, the sleepiness fully gone from his face. This was just too much fun, sleep could wait for another time.

Jou's hands, which had been trembling with frustration ever since that smug billionaire first opened his mouth, finally couldn't help themselves. They grabbed Kaiba's silky robe collar, the force sending the CEO back further into the mansion, Jou stepping in in suit. "You tricked me, you bastard!!"

"Heh. I figured you'd react like this," Kaiba slowly raised his own hands to cover Jou's at his collarbone. "So I've prepared an alternative." He smoothly unplucked Jou's fingers from the satiny material, calmly wrenching himself free and grinned down into the blond's raging, honey-colored eyes. "You could humiliate yourself in public...or just be my private slave for this week."

Jou's scowl deepened. "God, that's such a ripoff of Otogi's idea (2)!! He's already made me do that, and in a dog suit, no less! Can't you think of anything more original?"

Kaiba was unfazed. If anything, his grin grew even wider. "Oh, so you think I think like Dice Boy, eh?" His hands still held Jou's in a vice-like grip, and the challenging tone combined with the helplessness of his hands being immobilized made Jou falter. Unconsciously he found himself backing away, trying to get back out the door, only to feel something solid against his back. He inwardly cursed the Kaiba mansion technology that automatically closed doors. Now he was trapped. "Well trust me, my demands will be anything BUT ripoffs..." The brunette loomed over Jou now, piercing blue eyes swirling with undefinable emotion.

Jou gulped. How could envisioning possible torturous situations really be that exciting for the brunette? Was the CEO just cold-blooded and liked to make others suffer, or was it because it was him? The thought sent a shiver down Jounouchi's back, and what bothered him most about it was that it was not entirely unpleasant.

"Y-You're a sicko..." he finally spat out, though he was near breathless.

"Hn? I didn't quite catch that." Kaiba smirked, leaning in even closer, until he could practically touch Jou's ear with his lips. "Care to repeat that?" he whispered, his hot breath tickling the blond's ear.

"Bastard..." Jounouchi's knees almost buckled as he suddenly felt light-headed from the closeness. He wondered why he wasn't pushing this said bastard away or at least giving him a good hard kick in the nuts for violating so many personal space boundaries. Gratefulness or feelings of indebtedness for what Kaiba had done to help Yugi and Yami weren't even on his mind. His heart was racing, clouding his thoughts, and the fact that he could now feel the satiny material of the silk pressing against his body wasn't helping.

"Or you don't have to do any of that. You can just..." The CEO's voice trailed off, or at least in Jou's mind, it did. Before his thoughts all disintegrated in that cloud of mush, a certain cheerleader's words, as much as he hated to admit it, crept into them briefly.

'I can't believe it, but that b*tch was actually right about something...' (3)


As the last rays of the sun disappeared into the horizon, Yugi and Yami finally made it back to the Game Shop, breathing a sigh of relief as they clicked open the door. Since they had to go to school, they had had to close the shop while they were gone, but tried to make up for lost business by going around the neighborhood trying to sell items by ordering. It was a good thing Yami's motorcycle was fixed again, making the trip doable before dinnertime, and it wasn't to say it was an unpleasant chore. After that, that meant more of holding onto Yami as they rode on the winds, and this time Yugi could hold on as tightly as he wanted without any more doubts, hesitation, or confusion. He could just peacefully rest his head against that strong, muscled back, breathing in the familiar smell of leather and spice, in pure contentment, despite the howling of the wind all around him.

However, it was pretty exhausting nonetheless, so the boys were in no mood to cook dinner again for themselves. With visions of pizza delivery swimming in their heads, they were quite surprised to smell the rich aroma of beef stew when they opened the door.

It only took a second for them to register what that meant.

"GRANDPA!!!" Yugi exclaimed, rushing into the kitchen, his eyes starting to well up with tears. He stopped short of the gray-haired man, though, trying to refrain himself from giving him a hug, though, for he still wasn't sure how the other felt. Had he forgiven him? Accepted them? Why else would he be back here and cooking dinner for them?

Relief washed over him when his grandfather turned his head to look at him, with calm, kind brown eyes. "Why so shocked, my boy? You two better go wash up, I'm serving dinner now!"

"Mmm," Yugi nodded, speechless to say anything else, as he went back to tell Yami. Both boys were thoroughly confused and quite nervous as they seated themselves at the table and Sugoroku ladled out stew to them. Their stomachs overpowered their minds, though, and they couldn't help but dig in immediately.

Sugoroku watched them in silence, sipping a cup of tea patiently.

"Aren't you going to eat too...Mr. Mutou?" Yami inquired hesitantly, noticing the old man's odd behavior.

Sugoroku shook his head in response. "Call me 'Grandpa,' I insist. And no, I made that especially for you two. Notice anything different about this beef stew?"

Both boys paused mid-bite to look down into their bowls. Then it dawned on them, there were thick noodles in there and the sauce was slightly sweet!

"That's right, I put in 'longevity' noodles, and made it sweeter than usual, in hopes that your sweet love will also be eternal." (4)

At this unexpected statement, both teens nearly choked on their food. In unison, they collected themselves and stared wide-eyed at the gray-haired man, faces matching each other in color.

Sugoroku chuckled at the sight. "I've had some time to myself to collect my head over the past few days, and first off, I'd like to say I'm sorry for my explosion that night."

"Oh, Grandpa, that wasn't your fault!" Yugi interrupted, eyes watering. "I-I know t-this is strange and out of the bounds of social norms, it wasn't any of your fault, you raised me perfectly! I...it...this just happens sometimes..."

"People can't help who they fall in love with," the old man nodded sagely. "I was just shocked, I had no right to be angry. You know me and my traditional ways. I should stop living in the past century," he said with a laugh. "And I suppose I should be thankful, for my grandson has found such a trustworthy, compassionate, and loving partner," his eyes shot a warm look at Yami, who faltered with flattered surprise before a small smile graced his lips.

"I will look after Yugi with my life," he promised, sincerity shining in those ruby red eyes.

"You already have been, all along," Sugoroku smiled back. "I can see that. I've seen that all this time, yet I tried to ignore it for as long as possible. I guess I just didn't want my grandson to leave so soon."

"Grandpa, I'm not going anywhere!" The smaller spiky-haired boy protested, cheeks flushing again, this time from embarrassment at how big a deal his grandpa was making this out to be. Well, it was a big deal, but to hear it sound like he was being sent off to marry was just too much for his sweet, innocent mind to handle.

"Haha, guess I had a little too much time to myself to think," Sugoroku quickly caught himself. He reached a hand out to ruffle Yugi's hair, amused at the little one's innocence. He no longer needed to worry, though, for he was now sure Yami would slowly teach his grandson everything the world had to offer. It was sad that he had to relinquish some of that responsibility, but he had to admit, he probably would not be able to do a better job than Yami. "Well, this old man is tired and needs to sleep in his own bed after all this time. I'll let you two enjoy the rest of your stew. Please eat it all; it contains my blessings."

As the two boys murmured thanks, Sugoroku gave them both one final, fond pat on the head before retiring upstairs, leaving the couple in awestruck, touched silence.

They finished their meal in light-hearted gossip, now that a heavy weight had been lifted from their consciences. At some point Yugi commented on how Jounouchi seemed really out of it today, and they had fun speculating on possible reasons. If only they had paid attention to Kaiba, who also had a chink in his usual guarded facade, could they have been able to put two and two together.

Everyone else was still buzzing from the play's success, some with pride, some with fangirlish squeals, and some with shock at the unexpected ending. The two spiky-haired boys had definitely felt more than one pair of eyes stare at them, but they didn't care, they were too absorbed in the warmth and happiness of each other to let others' opinions affect them. Yami inwardly smiled, proud that Yugi had learned to toughen up emotionally in this aspect as well, and of course overjoyed that he could have such an effect on the shorter teen.

Anzu, as usual, was still as annoying as ever, but Yami had given up on even acknowledging her presence, which of course, only infuriated her even more. What a joyous surprise (and relief!) when in the middle of some class, Kaiba's henchmen came and took her away, kicking and screaming, telling her she had been specially chosen for some special new Kaiba technology "testing." Essentially she would be missing the rest of the school year to be a guinea pig for God-knows-what kind of contraptions KaibaCorp had in the works. And they just got kookier (and more dangerous) with each new invention...But no one felt any pity for the overzealous cheerleader. In fact, a whole bunch of people cheered once she was gone, and some even threw an impromptu party. Kaiba snickered as she was carried away, his revenge complete, and the victory was made even sweeter by the pair of grateful honey-colored eyes that locked with his icy blue ones in that moment of triumph. Once again, this passed over the two tri-color-haired boys' heads. They were too busy inwardly cheering as well.

Ryou had also joined them at lunch, and although both boys had tensed up as he approached, all that tension melted away by the time the meal was over. The white-haired teen explained everything to them, apologizing profusely for his dark's actions and all the trouble they had caused them, but reassuring them that it won't be happening again. When they asked why, Ryou wasn't quite able to say, his pale face turning a lovely shade of pink as his eyes averted downwards shyly. They pushed the question no further, but they were smiling inside, hoping the best of the two of them.

Bakura couldn't bear to be there during the conversation; he snarled that he wasn't quite ready for that level of "humanness" yet, but he did take over Ryou's body briefly to exchange a gruff greeting. He was trying his hardest, for his light's sake, but it was still hard to let go of all resentment towards the crimson-eyed teen, and it did take quite a lot of willpower to restrain himself from breaking out into violence again, as his instincts were accustomed to. But still, Ryou trusted him, and had no doubt that he would slowly, but surely learn to control his instincts rather than let them control him. And that shining faith further spurred Bakura to try his best.

Yami, thanks to his remnants of magic still inside him, could sense the interactions between the two, and he couldn't help but smile for the rest of the meal.


Later, the two were collapsed in semi-food-coma on the couch. They had followed the old man's word, finishing the huge pot of stew down to the last drop.

"I'm soooo stuffed," Yugi mumbled, clutching his stomach, but with a bright smile on his face.

"I've heard night air helps digestion," Yami suggested. "Would you like to go lie down outside?"

"Do I ever!" the smaller boy chirped cheerfully, violet eyes sparkling. He practically jumped off the couch, grabbed the other's hand, and dragged him out into the backyard, Yami allowing it all with a fond half-smile on his face.

"Wait, we need to find a sheet or something to lie on first." The taller boy stopped before entering the yard and looked around the room.

"No we don't, silly, there's grass!" Yugi didn't miss a beat in his excited rush out. The cool, refreshing night air whipped his face as he tumbled down onto the grassy field, rolling around in bliss. In his innocent enjoyment, he didn't notice the pair of intense crimson eyes studying his every move. Yami walked onto the grass himself to see the other better, a tender smile playing at his lips. Oh how he loved this boy so much...everything he did, everything he said, every little quirk about him, made his heart swell with so much joy he thought he would suffocate from the intensity of it all. He couldn't believe that they had gotten to where they were now, that Yugi actually returned his feelings in full, something he had only dared dream about but never thought would actually turn into reality. All the other problems...his still-unsolved past, what had happened with his foster 'parents...' (5) and all the other complications his true identity could bring in the future, for Bakura was just one of them...all seemed so small and insignificant compared to the violet-eyed wonder before him.

"Whatcha still standing for, Yami? Come on in, the grass is fine!" A giggle was all the warning the past Pharaoh got before he was tackled to the ground, the momentum sending the two of them rolling off to the side, until they were close to the edge of the yard. Suddenly the bush beside them exploded with light, in the form of little yellowish balls that started swarming all around them. It illuminated both their faces to each other, enough so that they could see the emotions swirling in each other's eyes, which stopped both their breathing for a few seconds as they drowned in the other's pools, still entwined in each other's arms.

"Fireflies..." Yami finally mumbled in awe. He had rarely seen them before, for he hardly ever explored nature or did other frivolous things such as this. It was so refreshing to just let go of inhibitions and allow his inner child to roam freely, especially after all those years of trying to be a mature, model son for his 'parents.' Yet another miracle that had been brought about all thanks to Yugi...

The other boy was in a similar state of introspection. As he looked into those deep red depths, memories of everything he had shared with the other flashed through his mind. Every interaction, he could replay down to the finest detail, that was just how touched he was by the presence of this crimson-eyed savior. The one who saved him countless times, helped him in so many ways, gave him a life and friends, even...In fact, he dared say he wasn't even alive until Yami came into his life. His angel...all along...except he didn't know it at the time. Somewhere along the way he realized, and the angel's disguise fell apart, and he beat himself up many a time for not seeing it sooner, for those soulful ruby red eyes said so much. He only hoped that his own amethyst ones could convey just as much. There were so many things he wanted to say to Yami...yet the words just wouldn't come out at that moment.

"U-Um..." he began, not knowing where to start, or how to start, and not really wanting to break the magical silence that had formed between them as they lied there amongst the soft, glowing balls.

"Mm?" Yami smiled gently, twining his fingers with Yugi's and bringing the other's soft hand up to his lips.

"Yami...did I ever tell you...you're an angel in disguise?"

The taller teen couldn't help but chuckle at these somewhat cheesy words. "Heh, did you get that from a movie, Yugi?"

"I'm serious!" the little one pouted, face puffing up in indignation. He reached into his pocket and brought it up to the fireflies' light so Yami could see.

Surprise filled those crimson orbs. "Isn't this...?"

"Yeah. It's the painting I saw at the museum way back when I was still hiding from Ushio. (6) I immediately felt a strong connection to it then..." Yugi looked up from the slightly crumpled sketch directly into Yami's eyes. "...and I now know why."

He didn't need to say it, Yami could see it not just from those soft violet eyes, but also even from the strokes of the pencil. Art was subjective, so every attempted reproduction of it carried a piece of the reproducer's soul in it, and it was no coincidence that the angel Yugi had sketched looked slightly different from the original painting's...with spikier hair, more masculine features...

He was at a loss for words. Captivated, absolutely spell-bound by those amethyst orbs. He had always known he had helped Yugi, but the extent to which he impacted the little one's life, he had had no idea...and his heart almost burst from the sheer love, gratitude, and many other un-nameable emotions that lay before him, and when they mingled with his own, formed a pulsating cloud that lifted them up in the air, where they could no longer feel the ticklish grass beneath them or the cool, balmy breeze, or hear the low buzz of the fireflies.

It was in that cloudy, blissful haze that their lips met. By now, though they had lost count of how many times this had happened, it never felt any less magical. Every time was just as breath-taking as the previous one, although each one was uniquely tinged with different emotions.

"Oh Yugi..." Yami murmured, lips still close enough that as they moved, they brushed against the other's. "I'm not your angel...you're mine." (7)

A flattered blush crept over the smaller boy's face now, his previous pleasant pink hue deepening to an embarrassed red. He shook his head "no" vehemently, which only made Yami laugh as his bangs tickled the other's forehead. 'How am I your angel? I didn't help you that much...not as much as you've helped me...' his eyes seemed to ask.

'You don't know how wrong you are. You're my angel, Yugi, because...' Gentle ruby eyes responded back. 'With you here, I don't need anything else. I don't need to know about my past life, or even my real parents or connection to Egypt. That can't compare to my life with you right now.'

Yugi was so captivated that he almost didn't hear the words that came out next in a bare whisper.

"I'd give up my past, whatever's left of my present, anything and everything...I just know that you are the only 'present' that I care about..."

Those soft, spicy lips covered his again, and the sentence seemed to be completed wordlessly, magically. '...and I want you in my future, always.'

How long that kiss lasted, neither of them knew. Time felt like a distant thing as well, and it faded into the background along with the surroundings. When they finally broke apart for air, Yugi's eyes were glistening, and overwhelmed by emotion, he buried his face in the crook of Yami's neck.

"But what about your home?" he whispered. "And your parents? I know you didn't get along well with them, but you grew up with them..."

"Home is where you are, silly." Yami replied, stroking the other's spiky, but soft hair. That's the power you have over me, the power you've given me. And that's why you're my angel..." Yami paused, then added on with a devillish smirk. "...in disguise."

"Hey, are you making fun of me?!" Yugi harumphed, lifting his head back up to glare at Yami. Amused crimson orbs twinkled back at him, and he mock-punched the other in the chest a few times. He immediately regretted starting a war, for Yami then flipped him over and started tickling him in retaliation.

Before they knew it, they were rolling around in the grass again, until the tickle war finally exhausted both of them into silence. Yugi triumphantly noted that he ended up on top, but before he could mentally celebrate for too long, he yelped, feeling Yami's arms encircle his waist and hold him close. He felt the other's heartbeat more keenly than ever, as it thumped from adrenaline, and the fact that it didn't slow down as they continued to lie there together caused his own heartbeat to quicken as well, until their two hearts were beating in synch.

He sighed into the the other's chest, feeling the first pangs of sleepiness now, but he absolutely did not want to move. He wanted that moment to last, to stay like that, warm and protected in Yami's embrace, forever. Little did he know Yami was thinking the same thing, that having Yugi there was his source of hope, of energy, of joy, a light that protected him, one that he could not fathom living without. "Yami...I don't want to move..." he mumbled.

"We don't have to. It's a relatively warm night," Yami then took note of the yellow balls that had followed them over to the other side of the yard, where their tickle war had taken them. "And besides, the fireflies seem to want us to stay."

So there the two boys lied, amidst the magical glow of the insects of love, underneath the twinkling stars that held promise of all the wonderful things to come in the future. Now that they had, like guardian angels, completed each other's lives by meeting and changed the courses of each other's lives forever, they were finally at peace, knowing that whatever obstacles may come in the future, they would always be there for one another.



...Wow. Well, I guess that's really it then! I never thought I'd see those words...me being the huge procrastinator and never really finishing anything big in my entire life so far ^^;; I realized why I put off this chapter for so long...because I was scared of rereading what I wrote before so many years ago to make sure I didn't have huge loopholes/gaps, b/c once a story ends, there's nothing else you can add to correct things...and in fact, it HAS been pretty strange rereading it all now in its entirety. I almost cringe at some parts of my old writing style in those earlier chapters...~_~

And I must say, this fic, in my opinion, really IS NOT WORTH all the love, support, and reviews it's gotten in these past, what 7 years?! It's far from perfect...I guess mainly b/c it was written over such a huge time period...so much that it may as well have been written by many different people! The chapters are so different, I mean...

Yet those of you who are reading now have understood that, accepted it, and still supported me all this way regardless!! No amount of words can express how thankful I am to all of you and how much I appreciate everything!! Some of you have even sent me personal e-mails!! Yours, Lily Maxwell (The Dark Angel), especially, touched me, so here's a shoutout to you and your unbelievably kind words!!! And the rest of you, too, I'm so sorry but my YXW e-mail has been shut down since a while ago, I don't know when, b/c of inactivity, so I probably didn't get to read some e-mails, but thank you so much for sending them!!! I only wish I could retrieve them somehow...;_; Stupid hotmail account!!! You can contact me at the one I use more often (and thus hasn't been deactivated): . I'll put it in my profile too, just in case stupid doesn't allow me to upload e-mail accounts.

They also shut down my site too...the geocities one with the cute Yami and Yugi chibis!! ;_; And all those pictures...lost!!! If any of you have any of the fanart from my site saved by any chance, could you please let me know? I lost everything in my laptop crash...

Heh yea...I'm in college now. Actually, I'm about to enter my last year of college!! O_o I feel so old...especially when I look at the rest of the community, but I'm not leaving just yet, and I realized that I don't ever have to. After this period of inactivity, and then forcing myself to write again, I was so surprised at the powerful, even therapeutic effects of writing...For those several nights I spent writing this final chapter, I felt like I was 14 again, back at the height of my YGO obsession, and it amazed me how I got engrossed in the words on the page so much that it would always be 3 or 4 AM before I noticed the time and kicked myself upstairs to get to bed (it's 4 AM now ahh!!). I wouldn't consider myself obsessed with YGO anymore, but I've discovered that it still holds a special place in my heart.

So hopefully, as new obsessions come, I'll be inspired to write again. Fanfiction really is a wonderful thing, as I'm sure you all know and will agree, and those of you who haven't tried writing their own fics yet, I really think you should give it a try!! "An Angel in Disguise" has been so much fun, although sometimes frustrating, to write, and because it's helped me bond with others and share in the YGO obsession, it's an experience I'll never, EVER forget.

THANK YOU AGAIN, EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!! I hope you enjoyed this fic and that your love for Yu-Gi-Oh will, like mine, in some way, last forever!!!!

Please r/r!

(1) Yesh, see chapter 11 ^_^ Yugi couldn't sleep because he was still traumatized from Bakura attacking him...but of course Yami holding him tight made it all better ^^

(2) For those of you who don't know, in the series, Otogi once made Jounouchi wear a dog suit and be his personal slave after beating him in a game of Dungeon Dice Monsters...until Yami then saved him by beating Otogi at his own game, that is ^-^

(3) See the last chapter if you're confused. I know it's been a while ^^;; But Anzu basically said she could see S/J from a mile away xP And yes, b*tch must be censored. B/c only Kaiba is worthy enough to remove the censoring for his title of bastard xD

(4) In Chinese culture, noodles actually do represent longevity, and people always ate them on their birthdays in the hopes of living a long life. I altered that a bit and spun this erm, custom up, sorry if it's corny!! ^^;; I have no idea what Japanese food culture is typically like, gomen!!

(5) See chapter 7 if you're confused, when Yami found out that the distant people he'd been living with weren't really his parents, but had just found him floating in the Nile as a baby. But they weren't even decent enough people to raise him or treat him as a real son.

(6) See chapter 3. Called "An Angel's Blessing," it's a typical painting of an angel helping out a human. Yes, I know there's a ridiculous amount of previous chapter references, but hey I had to at least try to tie up loose ends ^^;; But please let me know if there are still any huge gaping holes left! A finished fic needs to be, well, holeless.

(7) Just out of curiosity...in your opinion, if you had to pick just one way around, who is whose angel? ^_~