Princess Strawberry:… x.x Ehehe, yes, I do indeed live, but seeing how as I've sort of – fallen out of the Yuugiou fandom for a while, it's quite hard to get back on track and get stuff flowing. I'm going to try writing this following my previously written style, but my writing right now has fallen out of shape, so you might notice a change in my descriptions and/or dialogue. Please bear with me? XD

Yami Strawberry: Don't worry, I'll pound her head in for making you guys wait for so long!

Disclaimer: Don't own Yuugiou, stop bothering me! DX

Keys: "Speaking", 'Thinking'/telepathic dialogue between hikari and respective yami, and vice versa/

And now, without further ado, I bring forth chapter 9 of Ski Trip!

Ski Trip

Chapter 9: Get Well Soon

Two more days passed and Yami's fever has subsided, only a slight cough and the occasional sneeze lingering to bug him. However, he was still confined to his room until Yugi deemed him to be completely healthy. There was no need to spread the virus around, and Yami appreciated his Light's concern for everyone else.

Yugi was delighted that he did not need to play the role of "nurse" and "doctor" that much anymore – although he had to admit to himself he was a bit disappointed – yet at the same time he could not stop but worry about Bakura.

The "spirit" of the Millennium Ring was still unconscious in the hospital wing; Ryou has skipped two meals out of the regular three per day just to stay by his yami's side. He was thin, but now he was even thinner. And his face was considerably paler as well.

Needless to say Yugi was worried sick over his friends' conditions.

And his concern did not help Yami's situation either.

Luckily, nothing else more damaging happened during the two-day period. Kaiba and Joey have managed to keep their kicked-up-a-notch relationship a secret, still shooting playful insults and remarks to each other while in front of the others. Malik and Marik have gotten a room without a huge fuss – or any casualties, for that matter. Mai and Duke have settled to be friendlier, perhaps even closer as they often went on the slopes together, having lots of time to talk about things. Tristan seemed to have given up on complaining how cruel fate was to him and instead opted for the option of remaining silent whenever he was in his room. His facial expression only brightened when he was at the dining room, on the slopes; just anywhere but his room.

And Téa? Whenever she was not skiing nor eating, she sat in her room, pining, or wandered around the resort, trying to locate Yami. Obviously she has not bothered to check their rooms.

By the evening of the fifth day, Yami could join them at the dining table. To his immense relief, Téa was not present. He took the opportunity to steal the seat next to Yugi. He received a small smile in return. It was enough to make him happy. He knew what was bothering his light.

Malik and Marik were a little down the table, bickering yet again. Yami cracked a smile. They are nice people after all, maybe psychotic at times, but nice.

Being sick really had its disadvantages, he noticed. He had not been filled in about the bet between Kaiba and Joey, but Yami was quick to notice how while the two insulted each other, it only sounded half-hearted, and maybe contained a double entendre. He smirked. 'About time those two got a move on.'

His inner self kicked him hard in the shins and reprimanded him. 'What about yourself, hypocrite?'

'Soon, I swear.'

His inner self snorted and rolled his eyes. 'Right, I've already heard that LOADS of times. Honestly Yami. Get a grip. Say it, or else it's just going to get worse.'

'I know, I know, but what if - '

'Ra, stop it with your "what if"'s! Haven't we talked about this for the past two days?'

'I know we have, but it doesn't stop me from worrying…'

He felt exasperation from himself. 'Forget it. I've said all I can and you still seem so unconvinced. Take my word or leave it. All I'm saying is that things will be better if you just come forward, stupid.'

He felt miffed and mentally made a face at being called "stupid", and deciding that he's had enough chit-chat anyway he shut out his conscience's voice for the remaining of the day. His advice rang in his head though: just come forward, stupid.

Yami sighed. If only it was that simple…

Yugi noticed his sigh and titled his head to search for signs of further illness on his face. His darker half noticed his alarm and quickly offered a smile, shaking his head in reassurance. "Not sick, just wondering how Bakura and Ryou are doing, that's all."

A look of relief passed through their mind link and on Yugi's face before something else registered.

"Hey, since we're basically done dinner, want to visit Ryou and Bakura?" Yugi asked the table in general.

Everyone nodded, wanting to check if their friend's medical condition has gotten any better.

"Great, I'll get some food in case Ryou wants some." Yugi disappeared into the kitchen.

Joey looked after his small friend. "I don't know why Yug' bothers, Ryou's already rejected dinner for the third time."

Kaiba spoke before Yami got a chance to defend his own Light. "There's no harm in trying. At least Yugi is caring in this aspect, not like you."

The blond glared at him and mentally made a note to get back at him tonight.

Yugi came back with a big dish of salad, Dijon chicken, and some penne pasta, plastered with tomato sauce. "I already told Keiko-san that I won't be able to help her tonight, so c'mon, let's go."

"Here, I'll hold it," Joey offered. Yugi smiled gratefully and handed the plate over.

Kaiba took the chance to tease him. "I don't know, Yugi, I don't think you should trust him with so much food."

"Hey, I'm RELIABLE!"

The group chuckled and made their way to the hospital wing, laughter dying away with each step as they neared the room. They knocked on the door but received no response.

"Ryou, are you in there? It's Yugi!" Yugi called, knocking again.

The door opened a crack and a chocolate-coloured eye peered out. Yugi was shocked to see it look so sad, dull, downcast, lifeless, soulless

He never thought that a single eye could hold so much emotion and say so much in just one stare.

"Ryou, are you okay?"

He did not say anything, but only stepped away from the door. Yugi took it as an OK-signal to go into the room. The rest followed silently, uncertain of what to say to console the suffering youth.

Joey broke the silence. "Here, we brought you something in case you got hungry."

Ryou smiled weakly but shook his head. "Thanks, I'm not that hungry though."

"But you need to eat something!" Tristan said.

Mai and Duke both exclaimed at the same time, "You've gotten so pale!" They looked at each other and quickly looked away again.

"Please, Ryou, it hurts us to see you like this," Yugi pleaded softly. Yami placed his hands on his shoulders and gripped lightly, feeling them starting to shudder.

"That's right, Ryou, you need your strength; I think Bakura wouldn't want to see you like this," Yami said tightly.

Ryou blinked at Yami, not quite believing his ears. For the first time since a long time ago, Yami called his darker half by "Bakura", not "tomb robber". It was a good change.

"All right, I'll eat some."

A half-strangled cheer rang out and Ryou's eyes got a little misty. 'I'm lucky to have such supporting friends… Kura, wake up, share this with me…'

Knock, knock.

Duke, being closest to the door, opened it. Keiko walked in.

"Konbanwa, Keiko-san," they chorused.

She reciprocated their greeting and walked towards Ryou, placing her hand delicately on his arm. "Has he moved?"

"No, he's still unconscious," Ryou put down his fork and stopped himself from quivering. "…Keiko-san, what if he never wakes up?"

"Don't say that, Ryou. He will wake up. I know he is strong and he will pull through." She gathered Ryou in a motherly hug, offering as much sympathy and care as she possibly can in such a small action.

The others looked on wordlessly as Ryou sniffled into Keiko's shoulder, absorbing her words and willing himself to believe her. Malik and Marik shuffled guiltily at the back of the group, with as little noise as they could manage.

Keiko ruffled his white hair affectionately and stood up. "For now, it's your duty to finish that plate, stay healthy so you don't give Bakura a scare when he opens his eyes. I'll have you know that the garbage cans won't be accepting anymore rejected material like the previous three days." She said sternly, eyes twinkling in good nature.

Ryou nodded.

She turned to the rest of them. "And as for the rest of you, you should be going back to your room. Lights out in half an hour."

"Yes ma'am!" They mock saluted her.

She laughed, ruffled Yugi's hair on her way out too, and gently closed the door.

Yugi went up to Ryou and hugged him as well. "I guess we need to go, or else we'll need to grope in the dark for our rooms."

Ryou gave a weak giggle and nodded again. "You're right, she's right, the rest of you are right. I'll finish this plate tonight, I promise. Now go to bed." He tried to imitate the stern voice of their teacher.

The rest of them chuckled and proceeded out the door. Yugi was the last one to leave, and before he stepped out, he was stopped by Ryou's voice. "Oh, and Yugi?"

"Yes, Ryou?"

"Could you bring a slightly bigger portion of breakfast for me tomorrow?"

Yugi beamed at the turn in his friend's behaviour. "Definitely! Oyasumi nasai, Ryou!"

"Oyasumi nasai!"

The door closed. Ryou picked up his plate and walked towards the window. The stars glimmered outside, some of their light reflecting off the snow. He chewed thoughtfully on his chicken.

He heaved a sigh after he was through with his late-dinner, made himself comfortable on the chair beside the bed, and looked sadly at his darker half, who was still motionless.

Ryou closed his eyes and whispered, "Oyasumi nasai, Kura…"

He failed to notice a twitch of fingers before he slipped into his own sleep.

- To be Continued -

Princess Strawberry: So what do we have here? A not-very-sick Yami, a worried Yugi, guilty Egyptians, and Bakura still in the hospital wing. (cringes) I SWEAR Bakura won't die, HONEST!

Yami Strawberry: I hope you have your will and deathbed ready, I don't think they're very happy with Bakura out of action for so many chapters…

Princess Strawberry: Quite honestly, you're not helping, Kouichi. -.- There's about one or two chapters left of this story, and I do hope I finish soon so you guys aren't left at another cliffhanger. XD I know, evil of me, but really. :P

Read and review, please, even though I know it's been ages since you last read chapter 8. XD