Shadow

Part one of Shades

By Ykarzel

In love your choice is never right

There is no dark against light

Everything you do or say

Is just another shade of grey

Bathe in shadow the bleeding heart

Passion and sorrow never to part

For if known by another name

Love can be entitled pain

WARNING: Intended for mature readers only. (NC-17)

Yugi walked home from school slowly, taking his time. He was lost in his own thoughts, lost in his own pity. He could have snapped himself out of it, but he just didn't feel like it. It had rained during the day, and was overcast now, fitting his dreary mood well.

//Is something wrong?// came a voice. Not now. Once that concerned voice washed over him he couldn't help but cheer up, if only slightly.

/What makes you ask that?/ You couldn't lie mind to mind. He couldn't say no.

//You usually talk to me on the walk home, and you're certainly taking your time about getting there.//

The comment made him step slightly faster, but his short legs still kept him at a slow pace. Over the years, Yugi had grown up a lot, but sadly little of that growth had been in height. /Sorry,/ he answered, but didn't offer anything else for an explanation.

Yami seemed to have forgotten he asked the question. //Seventeen in a week, are you excited?//

/Should I be? I mean, yeah I'm seventeen, but it isn't any different from sixteen, and I can't have a party cause Grandfather isn't home. He'd kill me if he found out, and you know he'd find out./

Yami chuckled in his mind, and Yugi couldn't help but smile when he did that. But his next words held remorse. //I'm sorry you can't be with your friends, Aibou.//

/Don't be silly! I have you, and who could ask for a closer friend?/ The last two words had come out strained, and Yugi's heart sped in fear of Yami noticing. Yami, however, remained silent. Behind the blocks of his mind Yami couldn't pass, Yugi breathed a sigh of relief.

It was what was behind that block in his mind that had him so depressed. He used to keep very little from Yami. It would be small embarrassing things, or small stupid things that he just liked to be his and only his. But lately, what hid behind that block had more then tripled. He knew Yami noticed it, too.

When he reached home, and sat down on the couch, his mind wandered behind that block. He was twisting and playing with what laid there, trying to work it out, find some sort of answer besides the one that was so glaringly obvious.

There was a flash of light, and Yami appeared on the couch beside him. There was that gentle tug inside Yugi, that told him his other half had left him. It wasn't upsetting, that slight pull, but he had a feeling it would drive him mad if he didn't know Yami could go back.

"You know, when you do that, I'm deaf and blind."

Yugi blinked. "What?"

"When you block me off like that. I can't see through your eyes, or hear through your ears. It's like being locked back in the puzzle."

"I'm sorry. Why didn't you tell me?"

"You have a right to privacy, and I didn't mind. You just do it so often now. What's wrong? I know something is and you're keeping it from me."

Yugi stared at his shoes, and didn't answer. Now that Yami was separate, he didn't have to work to think on his own. Yami couldn't read his thought unless he shouted them. Yami watched his other half for a while, until it became clear that Yugi wasn't going to answer. Then he laid his hand on Yugi's shoulder. The boy went stiff under his touch, and Yami pulled back in surprise.

"Aibou?"

Yugi stood up shaking his head. "I can't tell you. I would have already if I could." He walked up the stairs to his bedroom. He didn't shut the door, he wasn't going to keep Yami out, that was the last thing he really wanted to do. He pulled off his coat and threw it too the floor. In his sleeveless shirt, the fall breeze chilled him instantly. He shut the window, but made no move to change or cover up.

Yami walked in as Yugi plopped on his bed. Silently, Yami walked over and sat down beside him. They didn't say anything for a long time. Yami was the one to finally break the silence.

"You're lonely, aren't you?"

Yugi tensed again, though he hadn't relaxed any from the point that Yami had touched him. The cold wasn't helping, he could feel his muscles knotting already. "How did you know?"

"You're turning seventeen, and I never sense anything from you on girls, or relationships, or something from that subject area. So that has to be what you're keeping from me. And as you don't have a girlfriend and you'd have to be really clever to hide something like that for me, then you must be lonely."

Well, there was a very good reason Yami never sensed anything from Yugi on the subject of girls. He wasn't interested in girls, he never had been. But that was only half the problem.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Yugi didn't answer. "Aibou, it's not a bad thing to be single. You are only sixteen, going on seventeen. You have plenty of time to find-"

"It's not that," Yugi interrupted loudly, then lowered his voice. "That would be a blessing." Yami remained silent, he was hurting because his hikari was in pain. "The problem isn't that I don't like anyone and I'm lonely, the problem is I do, and I'm lonely."

It took Yami a moment to work out what he had said. Jealousy flared up in him, but he squashed it before it could leak through their bond, as strong emotions did when they went unguarded. This was not the time, his own longing could wait. The object of his affection was in pain.

"So you've fallen for somebody. Am I right in guessing you don't think your feelings are returned?"

"I know they aren't," Yugi said falling backwards on the bed with his feet still resting on the floor.

"You know? Have you asked if your feelings are returned?"

"No," Yugi admitted, "but I don't need to."

"Well then you can't be sure. If you haven't been turned down you can't be completely sure." Yami turned so he was sitting slightly sideways and could look at Yugi's face. He couldn't help the rush of emotions that seeing his light sprawled out on the bed caused him.

"Don't give me false hope, Yami."

"Does this mystery person have a name?"

Yugi didn't respond for a moment. "Let's just pretend the name is," he paused, "Shadow."

"So what is Shadow like?"

"Wonderful, amazing, more then amazing. Kind, compassionate, intelligent." Yugi looked up at Yami with a smirk. "Sexy as hell."

Yami kept his face placid while he fought an internal struggle. What did this girl have that he didn't? Oh, I could think of a few things, he thought. The main difference being she, whoever she was, was a girl, and he wasn't.

"Aibou, I don't know what to tell you except, you probably need to tell Shadow. You won't rest well until you do."

Yugi sighed. "I was afraid you would say that. I just don't want to lose our friendship, and I'm," he stopped.

"You're afraid," Yami finished gently.

Yugi snapped his eyes shut and smiled sadly. "Seems stupid. But if I messed it up, I don't know what I'd do."

There was a flash of light, and Yami disappeared from the bed, leaving a slight indent from where he had sat. //You will always have me, Aibou. No matter what you do, I will back you. No matter what choice you make, I will stand by you. Nothing you do will drive me away.//

Warmth flooded Yugi and he laid there and enjoyed it. The words were not true, he knew, but he could trick himself into thinking they were.

*****

Later that evening, Yugi laid on his bed, Yami beside him. The were both on their stomachs, propped up with pillows and bent over a text book.

History. It was always Yugi's hardest subject, only because it was all memorization, and memorizing things was not something he enjoyed. He loved to learn what happened in the past, he hated having to remember dates and names. Yami loved history. To Yugi it was what happened in the past. To Yami it was what went on while he was stuck inside the puzzle. Sometimes he even had extra information that the text books didn't have; the texts didn't mention the Shadow Realm.

The problem, Yami couldn't read English, at least not well enough to understand the texts. But only Yami saw it as a problem. Yugi saw it as a solution. He memorized better when he read aloud, but he always felt stupid doing it alone. Now he didn't have to. Every night they laid on Yugi's bed, while he read the day's lesson aloud for Yami who tried to read along with Yugi as best as he could. It was a chance for them to spend time together, and that was what made Yugi really enjoy it.

He finished the reading, but didn't close the book. This was a nightly tradition also. They didn't just read it, they then discussed it. That was more for Yugi's benefit than Yami's. It was a lot easier to remember the facts that Yami spoke into his mind.

//I don't understand why you just don't let me help you during the tests.//

/Because then it wouldn't be me. What happens if I need this information someday?/

//One, I highly doubt that it will be vitally important in the future for you remember the exact number of soldiers that died in ever war ever fought. Two, I'll still be there that someday.//

Yugi felt his insides warm. /Good point, but I still want to prove I can do it on my own./

//Whatever you want, Aibou.//

Yugi closed the book and tossed it on the shelf full of his texts. Then he laid back down, using the pillow that had been propping him for the purpose it was made for. He closed his eyes, but was keenly aware of Yami's presence.

//Aibou?//

"Hmm?"

//Are you going to tell this Shadow person how you feel?// he asked quietly in Yugi's mind. Yugi didn't object to his continued use of speaking into his head. It was less, well intrusive, if that made any sense. They could talk, and it was still quiet. It was how they got away with staying up all night without his grandfather becoming any wiser.

Yugi gave the question real thought before he answered. /Y- yes... I think. I'm going to try at least./

//Good. I won't make you, but I think you should. If you're happy, so am I. If you're heartbroken, I will help in any way I can. But when you are keeping secrets, I am useless.//

/You're never useless, Yami./ Yugi could feel himself slipping into the peace of the dream world.

//Pleasant dreams, hikari.// Yami watched as Yugi's breathing steadied. This was one of his favorite things to do. Let Yugi fall asleep with him outside. He could get back in without Yugi waking up, but it was hard for him to get out without disturbing the boy. And that was the last thing he wanted to do.

He studied every feature on Yugi's face. He had memorized it already, but you could memorize a work of art and still find it beautiful. He was so innocent, yet wise beyond his age, as he always had been. Yami knew that the next few years would probably be a struggle for Yugi. Everybody loses their innocence at some point, and it would be hard for Yugi to part with his. Not that innocence, he scolded his dirty mind. Course that's gonna be hard for him to part with too. He's a romantic, not that I blame him. I would be too if I didn't have cold hard proof sleeping beside me that romance tales don't work in real life.

Yami closed his eyes, and willed himself to sleep. It was hard to sleep when he wasn't joined with Yugi. That tiny tug kept him awake. Granted, touching the younger boy made the tug stop hurting, but that would lead to interesting questions in the morning when Yugi woke up for school.

Giving up, he disappeared, silencing the tug.

*****

Yugi sat at his desk, bored out of his mind. He was in math, and he'd always been good at it. He was done his paper, as the teacher tried to explain the fifth question to the class for the third time.

//I was always good at math too, you know.//

/No, I didn't know, but I assumed it. You picked up the number system really fast./

//So, mind if I keep you company while you're bored out of your mind?//

/In any other class, I would. Tea insists I get a glazed look over my eyes when I'm only paying attention to you. She says it's creepy. But this class alone is enough to give me a glazed look. It won't be noted./ Yami chuckled at his comment.

//Any luck with Shadow?// Yugi grimaced, trust Yami to bring up what he didn't want to think about right now, or ever for that matter.

/Depends what you call luck./

//Any plans?//

/Not really./ Yugi laid his head down on the desk, feigning sleep so nobody could see his face. The teacher wouldn't bother him, she knew he was done.

//Well, what's she like? Is she a person where you could just walk up and tell her, or is she the kind that likes to be swept off her feet?//

Yami had hit a nerve, without knowing it. Yugi prepared himself for what he was about to do. /Who said it was a girl?/ He had time only to register Yami's surprise before he slammed the block up. He had avoided doing this since Yami said it bothered him, but he had a feeling being blind and deaf wouldn't bother Yami right now.

Not a girl? It made him even more miserable. Who had Yugi fallen for? The difference between him and this Shadow person was now no longer true. What has he got that I don't? If he's gay, or even bi, damit. Why couldn't Shadow just have been a girl? It hurt, a lot. If he'd had a body right now, he probably would have cried. He knew the block was up, and it didn't bother him this time. It would keep Yugi from feeling his grief.

Yugi couldn't help but fidget nervously. He had made up his mind to tell Yami that bit of information after their first talk on the subject. He had just needed to wait for the right time. Some point where he could talk, tell him, slam the block up so Yami couldn't comment right away. In a public place where Yami dare not appear. Then he could wait while Yami got over the majority of his anger and disgust and whatever else he felt right now, and he could deal with the rest once Yami cooled down.

It was a suicidal plan, and he knew it. The suspense was killing him. Because if Yami was upset with him past the first moment... He'd lose part of himself. If you lost half, why keep the rest around? Yami had to accept him. He just had to.

He couldn't take anymore. It had been a half an hour. He asked to be excused from the math room and ran to the boy's restroom. He locked the door, there was only a single toilet, not a room of stalls. He leaned against the wall and slid to the floor. Bracing himself for as much as he could take, he took down the block, and let his fear of rejection pour through their link.

Yami responded immediately. //No! I don't hate you! Aibou, how could you think such a thing? Never, ever, would I hate you, no matter what your choices are. You are my other half. I can't hate you, and I wouldn't even if I could. There's nothing wrong with you being in love with a boy!//

Relief, golden, warm relief washed through Yugi's body. He sagged against the wall, as all the tension ran out of his body. You couldn't lie mind to mind. Yami didn't hate him.

Feeling his light so terrified of being hated made Yami forget his own pain. Yugi had that effect on him, no one else ever had. He forgot himself to care for another. In a flash of light, he was sitting beside Yugi on the bathroom floor.

Immediately the younger boy leaned against him, and Yami wrapped his arms around him in a reassuring hug. //I'm so glad you told me, Aibou. It had to hard keeping that from me.//

/It was. I panicked, that was stupid of me. I know you will never leave me, and yet I keep manufacturing reasons for you to do so./

Yami stroked the boy's hair, when the bell rang. //Let's go home, my light. We can talk more once we get there.//

Yugi didn't need to be told twice. As soon as Yami disappeared he was out the door and down the hall. He was giddy with relief, and that gave him energy. Yami had taken it so easily. What of his other friends? He had never dared to tell them before, but now? Well, that would just have to be one of the things they would have to talk about tonight.

*****

Yugi sat hunched over on his bed. The relief had worn off. He was still very happy that Yami had stood by him, but the prospect of telling his other friends was stressing him again.

Among other things. Mostly other things. He was tense. His body still hadn't recovered from his nerves during math class, or for that matter, from when they started to knot yesterday. This was going to be the hardest thing he ever did.

He blocked from Yami's knowledge why his muscles were knotting, but didn't bother to block from him the knowledge of the actual pain. His darker half heard him complain of his pains, even if Yugi hadn't meant him to. In a flash of light, Yami was sitting beside him.

"Why don't you let me rub your shoulders, Aibou? It will help you relax and think clearly."

Yugi's body couldn't find any power to protest. His heart found every reason not to. He laid down on his stomach and Yami moved up beside him and took his shoulders into his hands. The younger boy hissed in pain, but it slowly ebbed away as his darker half moved his thumbs in circular patterns.

"My, you are as knotted as a rope ladder, Aibou."

/It's been a nerve racking day,/ Yugi replied, melting into the bed. He used mind speech because his words would have been muffled by the pillow.

Yami was silent for a while, then spoke up suddenly as if his words had just occurred to him. "You are sure you have no chance with Shadow because you are sure he isn't gay."

/Thanks for pointing it out to me,/ Yugi replied sourly.

//Sorry. Has Shadow ever had a girl friend?//

/Not that I know of, but I haven't known him all that long./

//Well then you never know.//

/Don't do this to me, Yami./

//You're still going to tell him, aren't you?//

/Yes, I guess./ Yami's hands unfastened the belt around Yugi's neck, to give him better access to his tense muscles. By the time he finished the boy's neck, his shoulders had knotted again.

//Take off your shirt, Aibou. You're being a problem customer tonight.//

Without question Yugi unfastened the garment and threw it aside. Yami mentally cursed himself for asking him to do it. Now he would half to deal with Yugi being half naked, and gay, laying on his bed, while he sat beside him. Ra was testing him.

He worked hard to get Yugi's muscles to relax. He was almost done, when the younger boy took a deep breath. Below Yami's hands, every muscle tensed again. Yami went to scold. "Aibou-"

/Yami, you are my shadow./ With that, he buried his face into the pillow and put up his mental blocks. They wouldn't keep Yami from physically talking, but they would keep him from reading Yugi's thoughts or emotions.

It took Yami a full minute to comprehend what Yugi had just said. The boy seemed to take his silence the wrong way, because a heart wrenching sob emerged from the pillow.

Carefully, Yami placed his hands on the boy's shoulders. He leaned over, so their bodies were just barely touching, and his mouth was right beside Yugi's ear. "If you don't relax, Aibou, I will never be able to get these knots out of you." Then he kissed the younger boy softly below the ear.

Y/C/C: Hikari Ykarzel: THERE'S MORE, A LEMON. If you wish to read the rest of it, it's posted under the pen name of Ykarzel at www.adultfanfiction.net. If you can't navigate this site, don't understand what I'm saying, don't speak English very well, or if your just lazy, you can E-mail us and we'll send the whole version to you as an attachment.

Yami Ykarzel: But to get our E-mail address, you've gotta go to our profile, cause it changes too often to put in here. Trust me, the ending is much better if you read the lemon. It's not that graphic. We're just tired of getting kicked off of this site.