Disclaimer: I will only say this once, so pay attention. I do not own Yuugiou. And if you're not into yaoi, you'll be wanting to leave. Pairing: Seto/Yami, of course. Also, Western burial practices have usurped the place of Japanese ones.

Thoughts are shown like this; Yuugi-to-Yami communication like this.


Kaiba Seto sat bolt upright in his bed, breathing hard. He glanced at the clock. This is impossible, he thought, running his fingers through his hair. It was the third time in the past four hours he had woken from the dream—

Except it wasn't a dream.

Mokuba was really… gone.

He shook his head violently. Don't think about it…!

Time passed by, slowly. So slowly.

Kaiba paced the room at least a hundred and twenty-six times — he lost count when he tripped over his shoes, lying in the middle of the floor where he had carelessly thrown them. He kicked them into the corner with a curse before throwing himself into a chair by the window. "Son of a bitch," he muttered into his hands, his thoughts full of how it had happened.

No way am I ever going to get to sleep tonight.

Holding his knees to his chest, he stared silently out the window at the stars till the sun rose.

Standing near his little brother's coffin, Kaiba growled under his breath. If I hear one more person murmur empty platitudes about death, I swear I'll scream. He shifted his weight uncomfortably, peering over the heads of business associates at the clock. Still another hour and a half of this torture to go — an eternity, the way time was passing.

Shit. The mayor of Domino City was headed his way with his wife — he'd have to play the senseless game of social niceties with the idiots, now.

Kaiba's eyes wandered the room as he mechanically uttered the ritual phrases required to fill in the gaps in the mayor's wife's chatter. Catching sight of a familiar, spiky-haired head, he stifled a sigh. Great. Just great. The only way this could possibly get worse would be if Yuugi brought that ditzy Anzu along.

But it wasn't Yuugi — the figure was too tall, looking rather elegant (something Kaiba knew Yuugi would never be able to achieve) in his mourning garb. It had to be Yami, Yuugi's duel-crazy maniac personality (or ancient Egyptian spirit, as his little lookalike always claimed). Whatever the hell he was, he had gotten himself a body a while back — Kaiba didn't even want to think about how that had happened — and now he constantly hung out with Yuugi and his little friends.

Yami spotted him and made his way through the crowd. "Please excuse us for a moment," he said smoothly to the mayor and his wife, taking Kaiba by the arm and leading him to an adjoining room — free of people, thankfully.

"What do you want?" Kaiba rasped in irritation, shaking the offending hand off his arm.

Yami stopped, his expression serious. "I… I wanted to express my condolences. In some way." He took a seat on a nearby sofa and gestured for Kaiba to join him. "Besides, you looked like you needed a break."

For just an instant, Kaiba felt gratitude toward Yami — Boy, am I losing it, he thought in disgust, sitting down in spite of himself. "Well? What do you have to say?"

Yami stared at the floor, scuffing his shoe on the carpet a few times, apparently lost in thought. "I don't know." He looked at Kaiba. "You want to talk about it?"

The young billionaire barked a laugh. "What's there to talk about?" he asked bitterly, and it all came rushing out, a flood of words that he could not stop. "It all happened so fast. Mokuba was simply walking down the street, minding his own business, when some drunk asshole came careening around the corner, skidded onto the sidewalk, and crashed right into him. He…" His voice choked up; he couldn't say it.

"…Died?" Yami supplied hesitantly.

Kaiba snarled at the word. "…Almost instantly. They say it's lucky he didn't suffer—" an ironic snort at this "—and that he probably never even knew what hit him." He stared at the floor. Why am I telling him all this? he mused, moderately annoyed with himself. As if he really cares…!

Yami sat there, silent.

It feels good to get it off my chest, though… Kaiba sighed. "I didn't even get to… say goodbye." He shook his head, determined not to lose control, especially in front of this punk.

"Sometimes," the other said quietly, "the pain lessens if you stop holding back."

Kaiba clenched his teeth. "I can't!" he burst out. "I let go once, the day it happened to our parents, but that was it. Never again, I told myself. I had to be strong—"

"For Mokuba."

His vision blurred…

Yuugi opened the door cautiously, sensing the familiar presence of his yami inside. Have you seen Kaiba-kun? he asked hesitantly through their link. Nobody knows where he is. We just got here, the gang, Ryou-kun, Otogi-kun, and me, and— He stopped.

There, looking up at him, sat Yami. In his arms he gently held the object of Yuugi's search — Kaiba Seto, the man of ice — who clung to him, weeping, like a brokenhearted child.

Which he is, really, Yuugi noted sadly.

For a long time, hikari and yami simply gazed at each other, amethyst eyes into wine-colored ones, over the head of the grieving youth. Neither moved — until Yuugi nodded slowly and left, quietly closing the door behind him.

5 December 2002.

To be continued.