Author's Note: This would be my first story for the Yu-Gi-Oh section. It won't be my last, as Yu-Gi-Oh has really grown on me these past few months. Hope you enjoy this story and keep an eye out for a crossover sometime next month in the Anime Crossovers section.
Summary: After the events of "Taking A New Host", Yami Yugi and Seto Kaiba have agreed to one more duel. Currently, their series is tied one-to-one and a lot of pride is at stake in this tiebreaker. But IS IT just pride that's on the line? Or will the stakes get much higher as time goes on?
Tiebreaker: Part 1
Domino City was by all means a humble little town, especially on this particular Monday afternoon. It wasn't the center for excitement and fourteen-year-old Yugi Moto wouldn't have it any other way. He wasn't a normal human being by any stretch of the imagination. With the power of the ancient Millennium Puzzle that he wore around his neck, Yugi had a totally separate alter ego in the form of an ancient Egyptian spirit who had gone by many names in the past, but asked to simply be called Yami.
It was a big adjustment for Yugi to say the least, but he got used to having Yami lurking inside his mind. They both benefited from the other's presence. Yami had given Yugi the self-confidence he once lacked and helped him make new friends. Without the Millennium Puzzle, Yugi never would have met Joey Wheeler and Tristan Taylor. On the other end of the spectrum, Yugi offered Yami his friendship and showed the ancient spirit what it was like to have compassion.
The two had been through a lot together, including a venture into Maximillion Pegasus's Duelist Kingdom to save Yugi's grandfather. The sadistic Pegasus had taken the soul of Yugi's grandfather in order to lure Yugi and his Millennium Puzzle to Duelist Kingdom. Pegasus, who held the Millennium Eye, wanted the Millennium Puzzle for himself, but he was ultimately defeated by both halves of Yugi.
Although a lot had happened in Duelist Kingdom, there were many loose ends that were never tied. But the one that lingered on the back of Yugi's mind was his series of duels with Seto Kaiba, someone long considered to be the best duelist in the world. At least he had been until he first lost to Yami. Nobody in the world looked at Kaiba the same way again after that loss, but Kaiba and Yugi met up again in Duelist Kingdom. Yami and Kaiba dueled a second time, but through questionable methods, Kaiba had won this time around. Yami had nearly taken complete control of Yugi and almost killed Kaiba, but Yugi took control just in time.
Now that the adventures in Duelist Kingdom were over, Yugi Moto was back in Domino City living a normal (as normal as it COULD get) life. But in the last month, a lot had happened.
A month ago, Yugi's grandfather had purchased an artifact from someone in Odaiba. After the incident in which Yami nearly killed Kaiba, Yugi felt the Millennium Puzzle was better off apart. So he took it apart and left it in a bag. But after a long mix-up, it ended up around someone else's neck and Yami was in someone else's head. Kaiba had been brought in to help, but he only made things go in his own favor. Yugi eventually got the Millennium Puzzle back, but Seto Kaiba had what he wanted.
There would now be a rematch between Yami Yugi and Seto Kaiba to break the current tie. There was no time or place specified, but Yugi knew the day was coming soon.
In the meantime, however, Yugi was simply at the local diner. He sat melancholy at the table, slowly sipping on a vanilla milkshake. He wasn't even paying attention to what his friends were saying.
Yugi raised his head. "Huh? I'm sorry, Joey. Did you say something?"
Joey Wheeler shook his head. "I was asking you, how rare a card is your Summoned Skull? I've been getting a lot better at Duel Monsters and if I had a Summoned Skull and Polymerization card to go with my Red Eyes Black Dragon, that'd be sweet!"
Yugi shook off the cobwebs. "A Summoned Skull? It's…fairly rare. You should be able to find one if you look hard enough."
Fourteen-year-old Téa Gardner took a bite of her salad. "Yugi, is something wrong?"
"Uh…no, Téa. I'm ok."
"You're thinking about Kaiba again, aren't you?" Tristan Taylor asked. "Maybe you should let it go for now, Yugi. You don't even know when Kaiba wants that third duel. You should worry about it when the time comes."
It made a lot of sense. All this would just lead to unnecessary stress. Yugi didn't have to worry about that now. He would deal with the third duel when the time was right. That's when the front door of the diner opened. It hit the bells on top as it opened.
Joey sniffed. "Hey Tristan, you smell something?"
"Besides the hamburger?"
Joey smirked. "I smell turkey."
Yugi knew what that meant. Obviously meant to be an insult, Yugi knew a certain somebody Joey didn't like had just come into the diner. And as luck would have it, that person just happened to be Seto Kaiba.
"If it isn't my favorite foursome," Kaiba muttered as he reached Yugi's table. "Téa, Tristan, my favorite whimpering puppy Joey…"
"…and Yugi. But I guess with that puzzle of yours, that'd make it a fivesome."
"It's nice to see you too, Kaiba," the ever-polite Yugi said.
"What do you want, Kaiba?" the ever-embittered Joey demanded.
"This doesn't involve you, monkey. This is between me and Yugi. The last time I saw you and your better half, Yugi, we were up in Odaiba having the time of our lives."
"That's one way to put it," Téa mumbled to herself.
"And I recall telling you that the time for our third duel would be very soon," Kaiba continued. "I think it's time to set an official date and I've come up with this Friday. What do you say?"
Kaiba didn't get an answer right away, because Yugi's Millennium Puzzle was reacting.
Yugi had once again found himself placed on the backburner. If there was anybody who wanted to answer this challenge, it was Yugi's alter ego. Yami Yugi had now emerged.
Yami chuckled. "Friday? You're on, Kaiba!"
Kaiba smirked, knowing who had come out. "I can't wait to duel you again, Yami. And once I defeat you a second time, there will be no more excuses!"
"You'd just better be ready to lose, Kaiba!" the outspoken Joey piped up. "And just be thankful that you won't be losing in public or anything!"
As if on cue, the diner door burst open. A camera crew ran through the door as if there were no tomorrow. Behind the camera crew ran a reporter with a blue suit and slicked black hair. The camera crew and reporter sped towards the table where Yami and Kaiba were eyeing each other and the reporter put a microphone between them.
"Hello, Duel Monsters fans! I am S.G Dooler, reporting to you live! And I'm standing here with Seto Kaiba and Yugi Moto, the world's two best duelists!"
Kaiba angrily turned to the reporter. "What is the meaning of this?!"
The reporter grinned. "Your duel, Mr. Kaiba! We all remember how Yugi Moto shocked the world when he handed you your first and only defeat. And everyone has heard that you have since avenged that loss. And now, you and Yugi Moto here are set to duel once more to settle the score!" He turned to the camera and flashed a white smile. "And K-DUEL, Duel Monsters TV, will be here to bring you full 'round the clock coverage!"
"You called a TV station?" Téa asked curiously.
"How did you find out about this?!" Kaiba demanded, ignoring Téa.
"We got an anonymous call from a member of your corporation, Mr. Kaiba," S.G Dooler answered.
Kaiba blinked. "But the only one who knows about this within my corporation is…" Kaiba paused and gritted his teeth. "MOKUBA!"
"All eyes will be on Seto Kaiba and Yugi Moto this Friday!" S.G Dooler announced into the camera. "And the stakes have never been higher! The winner of this duel will be, without a doubt, THE #1 duelist in the world!"
"A lot of pride on the line," Tristan muttered.
"No sweat," Joey smirked. He patted Yami on the back. "You can handle it, right?"
Yami had a blank stare on his face. Yugi was the typical young man living in the 21st century, but Yami was an ancient spirit. He didn't know what to make of all these television cameras and reporters.
Yami sweatdropped. "Uh…excuse me…can we…turn off these…machines?"
"We can't turn our cameras off, Yugi Moto, because we're LIVE! Do you have any words for the MILLIONS watching nationwide?"
Yami found himself with a microphone in his face. And when he saw that all the cameras were focused on him, he nearly turned white.
The reporter leaned towards Téa. "Is he ALWAYS like this?"
"He's just got a small case of stage fright," Téa whispered back.
"This interview is over!" Kaiba snapped. "Get those cameras out of here! I'm not speaking to the press!"
Kaiba started shooing away the cameramen and the reporter. He pushed them all towards the diner door and shoved them out.
"But what about the public?!" the reported pleaded.
Kaiba gave one last fierce shove. "OUT!!" After getting rid of the press, Kaiba clenched his fist. "What am I going to do with you, Mokuba?" He shrugged that off and turned back to Yami. "Regardless of how much coverage this gets, it doesn't change the fact that I'm going to defeat you, Yami! And I'll prove once and for all that I am the world's greatest duelist! I'll see you Friday…assuming you've got the guts to show up!"
Kaiba stormed out of the diner. The people eating their lunch had been witness to quite a display, as what was supposed to be a small, albeit important, affair was quickly becoming a public spectacle.
Yami was still frozen in place. Téa waved a hand in front of his face and got no reaction.
Finally, Yami went back into the Millennium Puzzle letting Yugi back out. And Yugi just took his seat again.
"What was that about?" Téa asked.
"You've got to remember that Yami isn't from our time, Téa," Yugi explained. "He's not familiar with things like TV cameras and nosy reporters. But to be fair, I probably would have froze just like he did. I didn't think this was THAT big a deal."
"Makes sense now that I think of it," Tristan thought. "For so long, Kaiba has been the world's greatest duelist. Then he lost to you and Yami. And back in Duelist Kingdom, he evened the series at one. This really IS a big deal, because the winner is, without question, the best duelist in the world. It's bound to get huge publicity! This is like the duel of the century!"
That got the gears in Joey's head turning. "Duel of the century, huh? That gives me an idea."
"What are you thinking about, Joey?" Téa asked curiously.
Joey sweatdropped. "Me? Uh…I was just thinking about how much time flies and I have to get back home. But I'll see you guys a little later…as soon as I get some things done. Good luck, Yugi!"
Joey dashed out of the diner like there was no tomorrow. It took a second to sink in, but that left Tristan infuriated.
"Joey, you cheapskate!! You left us with the check!!"
Téa sighed and reached for her purse. "I got it."
Yugi just took another melancholy sip on his milkshake. "You think there's really that much riding on this duel, Tristan?"
"I wouldn't be surprised if the stakes got even HIGHER as the week goes on," Tristan answered. "You know how Kaiba will do ANYTHING to be considered the best. And so will…"
Yugi shook his head. "Yami gave me his word that he would never do something like that again. But Kaiba…that may be another story."
Yugi thought about the consequences Kaiba faced after losing his first duel. He nearly lost his company and his reputation was given a scar that hasn't healed to this day. Knowing Seto Kaiba, he would do ANYTHING to avoid a second loss to Yugi and his Yami.
Yugi looked up at the ceiling. "This is going to be a long week."
Next Time: Yugi prepares for his third duel with Kaiba, but do his friends REALLY have faith that he can win again? Or will they try to help stack the deck in Yugi's favor? Meanwhile, Joey's lining up a harebrained scheme to take advantage of the 'Duel of the Century'.
Any comments? Then mail me at AmericanCaptor@hotmail.com and don't forget to review below!