Authors' Notes: Sage- Wellps, here it is! Our first collaborative story, aren't you all just dying with excitement?

Ari- Yeah, yeah, just DYING... *rolls eyes*

Sage- Come come now, have some confidence!

Ari- Right... confidence... YOU'RE the yami, I'm the HIKARI.

Sage- Not each other's, so it doesn't count. :P

Ari- Fine, fine... *ahem* Disclaimer. And since I remembered it, you have to say it. :P

Sage- Evil.. Fine, fine. We don't own any Yu-Gi-Oh characters, not one. We do, however, own Ari, Sage, and the loverly idea behind this entire story. ^_^

Ari- *nod nod* And there will be yaoi content, and if you don't know what that is, or don't like it, get OUT. You've seen the description anyway.

Sage- Indeed. Let's get on with it, shall we?


The small, lithe, golden dragon flew over a busy city, high up beyond the clouds, where the people could not see. If they saw him, they would try to kill him. It mattered little that they would not succeed; they would still try. That was the problem with most humans, no common sense whatsoever. How had they managed to become the world's dominating species?

He sighed grumpily. Why were these people so against him? Their race was dying out because of the humans, and most of them had done nothing. A few bad ones had been born, to be sure, but why the sudden prejudice against their entire species? Humans had been evil; they caused much more destruction than the dragons had ever done. Why were they not all destroyed? So much for justice.

The High Dragons are almost all gone... he whispered bitterly in his mind. We have nearly all died out. Especially. especially with such a small number of females being born. How many exist today? Three. There are only three female High Dragons left. He snorted. Things are certainly going well for us.

He wondered if perhaps he should follow Tennyo's example. Tennyo, who had first proclaimed to them that Dragons would be no more. Tennyo, who had first noticed that if they were to live, to keep alive even a small amount of their blood, they must live with the humans. Tennyo, who had first truly gone to the humans, to live amongst them. She had wed one, shown them that they were not so different. Bravery, however, seemed to be a lost virtue these days.

The little golden dragon sighed. All the ancient dragons have gone into hiding, to live out the rest of their long lives in peace and solitude. Only the "younger" ones, still old by human standards, remain. Most have chosen their sides, to live either with their dragon kin and try to hide from the relentless hunting of the humans, or to become a human. The golden dragon was too young to make a living as a human, yet with the dragons, he had no one. A lose-lose situation. Yes indeed, things certainly couldn't get any better.

The dragon stared longingly at the human market. His journeys there had always been filled with wonder and beauty. It had been so long since he had last gone, so long since that time when someone recognized his violet eyes, marking him as a High Dragon. Again, he felt bitterness, strange to his usually cheerful demeanor. He wanted to visit the humans without fear. The Lesser Dragons could do that. They had human-colored eyes. Again, he snorted. Somehow, it didn't seem right that the most important of his race were branded, easily spotted by blood-thirsty humans. Whoever said life was fair had been lying.


"Are you sure you ought to do this?" the white-haired teen asked respectfully, yet nonetheless with an edge to his voice. He ran a hand through his long silver-white hair and turned his chocolate-brown eyes to the youth beside him. "Don't you think it's a bad idea too, Seto?" It was more of a statement than a question.

The tall, brown-haired blue-eyed teen nodded slightly. "There have been rumors that the Dragons are coming back. If they should catch you. You know that they bear you no love. They will not welcome you just because you're-"

The one to whom they were talking glanced at him sharply, and he immediately shut his mouth, ashamed. It was a delicate subject. Not to mention he had the tact of a rhinoceros with a tooth ache. A part of his mind wondered when the part that controlled speaking would finally learn to just drop it altogether.

The youth sighed. He had heard their arguments before, always the same reasons stated in the same voices, one high and almost delicate, one firm and controlled. He answered them in his deep voice, the same argument. It could have been scripted.

"There have always been rumors that the dragons are returning. First of all, that is not true. Second of all, what have I to fear from them? I am protected by you two - Ryou, my Mage, and Seto, my High Priest. I have my own magic to use against them. I have the only Dragonsbane weapons. What have I to fear?" He raised an eyebrow, silently daring the other two to come up with a retort. Like he always did.

Ryou sighed, his white hair spilling over his shoulders. Their Pharaoh could be so stubborn. "And what if the peasants recognize you?" There was little chance that they would not recognize him, if he happened to catch their eye. There was little chance that they would not know the golden bangs, ebony-and-red hair. If they saw him. The Pharaoh made sure they did not see him. He had gotten quite good at it, as a matter of fact.

"We are going," the Pharaoh declared, finishing the argument. Like he always did. It was nice to have control over something.


"Remember to call me Yami," the Pharaoh reminded his bodyguards, the Mage and the High Priest, once more. He could not stress the topic enough, it seemed. "Not many people know my name, and I do NOT want them to know who I am."

Seto sighed. "You have reminded us a million times already."

Ryou grinned. "Like we needed to be reminded in the first place."

"If someone does recognize me," Yami continued, ignoring their comments. "remember to fall into your roles and go along with the story of weeding out assassins."

"Yes, yes, we know!" Both of his guards' voices clearly held exasperation.

Yami turned and smirked. Today, he was going to have some fun. He was going off by himself.

"Hey, look at this!" Ryou called excitedly. He tugged on Seto's arm and dragged him towards a stall glittering with gold and jewels. The taller one rolled his eyes, looking as if he'd rather jump in a pit of scorpions than be taken shopping with the white-haired boy.

Yami grinned. Now was his chance. Pulling his hood lower, so that it concealed his ruby eyes, he melted into the crowd and walked the other way. Unfortunately, he bumped into someone, causing him to drop his belt-pouch, spilling a tiny shower of golden coins.

"Gomen nasai!" Yami apologized and bent to pick up the coins, handing them to the stranger. Only then did Yami see how small his hands were. It was a child. Yami's eyes flowed to his arms, clad by rags, to his dirty and smudged face. Why does a peasant in rags have so much money? However, his question was forgotten as he saw the boy's hair. It was just like his own, red-rimmed black with golden bangs. All the boy needed were some gold streaks. What really made him catch his breath, however, were the boy's eyes. They were large, amethyst-colored. Yami felt his pulse quicken and his hands tingle where they had brushed the boy's. "Kirei."

The boy saw the youth look at him, confused by the expression on his face. He could catch only a glint of his eyes, and could not determine even their color in the shadow of his hood. Their shape, however, was exquisite, as was his delicately chiseled face. The boy caught a flash of golden bangs before the cloaked youth caught his eyes with his own orbs. He bolted. What had the person said? If he did not know better, he could have sworn it was "Kirei". Had the youth called him beautiful?

Yami blinked. Why did the boy bolt? Yami was curious, too, why he looked almost exactly like him. Well, like a younger version of him anyway. A younger, more delicate, beautiful.. He blinked. Where had that come from? Quickly storing it for later examination, the young Pharaoh picked out his look-alike easily in the crowd and followed him.

The boy was aware of his "stalker". He wove through the crowds, trying to lose him, but the youth was an excellent tracker. The boy glanced back occasionally. Yes, he was still there, as he thought he would be. Great, he probably saw my eyes.. Scowling, the boy made a few hairpin turns, diving through openings between people that were quickly covered seconds later. However, he could still see the other, trailing only a few yards behind.

Suddenly, a man driving a horse-drawn carriage came speeding down the street, disregarding where he went or who he crashed into. People scrambled out of his way, scooping up small children and animals as they went. Those not quick enough were trampled half-to death by the horses, or run over.

The boy hesitated. The youth following him was heading to that intersection. Intent on his location, he had not yet seen the carriage. A few more steps would take him into a collision. Stop, come on, stop.

Yami brushed sweat from his brows, careful to not to lift his hood. When he looked back, the boy was gone. He blinked. Where.? He stepped forward onto the street, his eyes surveying the crowd where the boy might have gone.

Suddenly, something rammed into Yami, knocking him off his feet and off of the street, back into the narrow alley. A split second later, a blur of horse and cart whizzed by, clattering down the street at a rate that certainly could not be considered a friend to safety. Yami looked down, wondering who had saved him.

"Thank. you." Yami's voice trailed off. He was staring into the face of the boy he had been shadowing.

The boy looked up, understanding Yami's initial gasp when he saw him. The youth's hood had fallen. He looked like him. He breathed heavily, both from the impact and from the shock. So that was the reason. Good. It wasn't because he recognized what I was. But his eyes. They were red. Could he be one of them.? But the boy did not recognize him. Yet, there was that strange feeling, tugging at him. What was it? What.

"I'm Yami," the youth introduced himself. "What's your name? Why did you save me? Don't you know that you might have gotten hurt?" Yami wasn't quite sure why he was asking so many questions so quickly, he was feeling a bit flustered.

"I'm." the boy mumbled under his breath. He was not used to having people talk to him. "I. I." He fumbled for an answer, knowing he sounded incredibly stupid. Should he give his name? Why did he save Yami, a total stranger? True, most of them were shielded, leaving no fear for injury, but he was too young to develop his yet.

"It's all right," Yami murmured soothingly. He hadn't even known previously that he could speak soothingly. "You don't have to answer." His eyes were riveted to the boy. His eyes, his face, his body. He felt something so strange and intense that it scared him. What, exactly, was going on? A part of his mind was yelling at another part, trying to get it to realize something. Unfortunately, it wasn't having much luck.

The boy trembled, and Yami frowned in concern. A voice broke into his thoughts.

"There you are!" Ryou dashed up. Coming to a halt before the two, he bent doubled-over, trying to catch his breath. "I had looked all over for you, Pharaoh!"

The boy gasped, amethyst eyes widening.

"No," Yami whispered to Ryou, though he knew the effort was futile. "No, no. He doesn't know who I am yet."

"Oops." Ryou whispered back. Yami sighed in exasperation.

"You. you're the Pharaoh?" the boy gaped and fell to his knees. "I'm sorry. I."

"Where do you live?" Yami asked gently. Again, he wasn't quite sure what was making him ask these questions. He had a lurking suspicion that it had something to do with the part of his mind that was now making a serious effort to convince each and every other part that it was right about something.

The boy trembled. Why did he want to know? Was he going to punish him for touching him? For touching the Pharaoh. He could still feel that strange tremor that came from that touch. "W-why.?"

Yami blinked. "So I could reward you for saving me, of course." That was a poor excuse if there ever was one. A reward was given by hand as easily as anything else, and was much simpler in most cases. This was one of them.

"I. I have no home."

"Then come live in the palace with me!" Yami invited. He hoped the boy would say yes. There was that strange feeling in his heart, aching. Now that out-spoken part of his mind was nearly screaming at him, begging him to realize. something? What was it?

The boy shook like a dry leaf in the wind. Live with the Pharaoh? But Bakura had said that the Pharaoh was evil, that he was cold and cruel. Perhaps he was wrong. After all, all he had to go on were rumors. Bakura had been known to stretch the truth on more than one occasion. And yet. The knife at the Pharaoh's belt. It was a Dragonsbane knife, he knew. Even if Yami was gentle and caring, when he discovered who he was, he would kill him immediately. But he wanted to go. He wanted to go so much it hurt. He wondered why. And how had he decided that the other was gentle and caring after knowing him less than ten minutes?


He ran, as fast as he could.

Yami stared at him in confusion as Seto caught up. Shrugging, the three returned to the palace. The pharaoh went reluctantly, the boy seeming to tug on his heart like an invisible string. That insistent part of his mind seemed to be attempting to take a large mallet to the parts that controlled his legs.

A short distance away, in a deserted field, a golden dragon took to the skies.


Yami strode through the palace corridors, thinking about the boy he had met. He did not even get to know his name.

He came to a door marked by a starburst, intertwining black and white lines. When did he get there? He had meant to go to his room, not this guest suite. But then again, this was where he might get some answers.

The door opened at his knock, and he stared down into shining green eyes. The occupant of the room blinked once, then stepped back and gestured for him to enter.

"Sage-Chan, we have a guest!" the girl called laughingly. She invited Yami to sit on a cushioned seat at their table. He accepted, albeit a bit stiffly.

"Oh, tell him to go away, Ari-Chan," came the grumpy reply.

Ari laughed. "It's the Pharaoh!"

Her half-sister came out of a side room, yawning. She sat down beside Ari and murmured a few words. Three cups, filled with chilled fruit juice, appeared on the table.

Yami regarded the two girls, still marveling at how they could be related. They were as different as night and day. The one who answered the door was short and slight, with long white hair, more silver than Ryou's, and cat- like emerald eyes that reflected light in gold glints. Her skin was unnaturally pale, and her long, flowing gown was made of pearl-colored silk. She was smiling, always cheerful and perky, reminding one of an innocent child. Her half-sister, Sage, was quite different. Much taller, she had dark blue hair that was almost black under normal lighting conditions. Her fiery eyes, almond-shaped as her sister's, changed colors, from red to orange, flickering like a real fire. Though pale, her skin seemed at least human-like. The cloak covering her tunic was black, with a few silver embroideries. Though cheerful, she did not seem overly so. Even though she was the younger of the two, she seemed more like an adult.

"Healer Arivess Leyahri, Sorceress Sage Hageshii," the Pharaoh greeted with a respectful nod. They were traveling mages, the most powerful in the land, surpassing his and Ryou's powers by far. "You have been far. I wish to ask a question of you."

Sage grinned. "He must have something he really desperately needs. Haven't seen him this formal and polite in ages."

Ari giggled. "Indeed. Wonder what it is. Heehee, looks like he wants us to make a love potion." Her half-sister pretended to gag.

Yami made a face at the former, dropping all formalities. "You two have been to a lot of places, haven't you? Yes, you have. You're traveling mages. I've heard that here, for a few months, was the longest you've ever stayed in one place."

Ari rolled her eyes. "Do we look that old?"

Yami laughed. "Mages are supposed to be able to look young at choice. Anyway. I was at the market today-"

"Again? You just went last week! Don't you know how your stupid council will freak?!"

"I'll just tell them I've been visiting you," Yami smirked. "Which won't be a complete lie. Anyway. I was at the market, and I saw a boy that I've never seen before."

"Oya," Sage said, shaking her head. "There's a lot of people you haven't seen."

"Not one that looks like me."

The sisters froze, glancing at each other hesitantly, their thoughts confirmed in the other's gaze.

/It's him./ Ari murmured.

//Ugh, why did he come to THIS market?// Sage grumbled. //I mean, after Bakura warned him about the Pharaoh, untruthfully, I admit, he should steer clear of this place.//

Ari shrugged mentally. /I heard that he was discovered in the other one a few weeks ago. Someone recognized what his odd eye color meant./

//Lots of people have purple eyes. okay, no they don't. But still. No one's accusing Yami of being a Dragon, and he has RED eyes!//

/They suspect. They just can't accuse, because he's Pharaoh./

//Well, no one's been accusing us, in case you haven't noticed. If no one gave you a second glance, they could just think they were a normal green, but that's unlikely. And there's absolutely no reasonable explanation for my eyes.//

/Hm. We're also the most powerful mages anyone has ever seen, in case you haven't noticed./ Ari grinned mentally. /If they were to accuse us, who knows, we might turn them into frogs or something./


Yami poked them curiously. "What are you saying? Do you know who it is? You do, I can tell."

//We can't tell him, can we?//

"Didn't you ask him his name?"

Yami shook his head. "Well. I did ask. He just didn't answer."

Ari sighed. "If he didn't want to tell you, it's not our place to tell."


//What should we tell him?// Sage scrutinized the pharaoh without being noticed, trying to determine why exactly the youth was so eager to find out the amethyst-eyed boy's name.

/His nickname?/

Sage blinked. //He has a nickname?//

/He does now. You know, that name./

//Ah, right.//

"Well." Sage started. "We can't tell you his real name, but we can tell you this: He has been called Seijun before." (a/n- Seijun = innocence) //Ari.. Look at him. He doesn't know it yet, but..//

The shorter girl looked over, and after a few seconds, gasped quite noticeably, causing Yami to blink in confusion. /Oh my gosh, you're right!/ She giggled mentally. /Oh dear../


Authors' Notes: Ari- Whee! Well, that was that.

Sage- That was what?

Ari- *rolls eyes* The first chappy!

Sage- Oh.. You should be more specific. ^_^

Ari- *sighs* Anyway, READ AND REVIEW!!! Please? *makes a Yugi-like face*

Sage- *blinks* Asking helps?