Disclaimer: Still don't own anything… I'm getting less and less creative with these disclaimers, aren't I? :/

Author's Note: Well, March has come and gone, April is almost there as well, but that means you all get a new update! This time jumping back to Domino for a bit and then… maybe a little something extra. You'll just have to wait and see! Or I guess, read and see. ;) Onto today's terms!


Kakigori - Ice flavored with fruity-sugary syrups

Choco banana - Chocolate covered banana, normally with sprinkles

Watame - Cotton candy

Obaasan - Grandmother (sometimes how older women are referred to as)

Merchant's coin tray - Little trays you put your money or credit cards in at check out. The merchant then picks up the tray, counts, and proceeds to give you your change.

Toro Nagashi - Floating lantern ceremony common during Obon.

Shamisen - A 3-stringed Japanese instrument.

Taiko - Traditional Japanese drums often used during large scale festivals.

Today's chapter title means "lovely, wonderful, nice, great, fantastic, superb, or cool"... for those wondering, I choose the title primarily for what happens at the end of this chapter :3 (same with the song lyrics for today too, actually, haha ^^;) ).


"I've been alone so many nights now,

And I've been waitin' for the stars to fall.

I keep holdin' out for what I don't know,

To be with you, just to be with you."

-"To Be With You" by David Archuleta

Chapter Nineteen: 素敵 (Suteki)

The sounds of children running down the stone paths by the riverwalk in sandals and flip-flops echoed down the stream as fresh Ikayaki and Okonomiyaki stands stood staring down the crepe stands across the way that also sold Choco Bananas covered in sprinkles. The game was on.

Tristan, Bakura, and Joey had taken it upon themselves to prove that they really could be idiots when they so choose when it came to food. Buying about 8 sticks of Ikayaki a piece, in about the most disgusting display of food competition Tea had ever seen, the three boys scarfed down each one rapidly. Well, Bakura attempted, but he gave up after number six. She doubted that they even tasted them though.

"So... you're really dating him?" Tea said to Serenity as she took another bite of her Kakigori.

"Unfortunately," Serenity said, rolling her eyes, "What's worse is that I'm related to that one."

Tea laughed, "You're not going to try, Yug?"

Yugi shrugged, "I'm... trying to keep my dignity."

"Which you're losing by not joining us," Joey called, "Seriously, what kind of pansy are you?"

"One that needs to be skinny enough to get through old caverns when needed," Yugi replied with a smile.

"Hey, if I can, I'm sure you can too," Bakura chimed in, much to Yugi's displeasure.

"You haven't even finished your last two!" Tristan snapped.

"I thought you said this was dumb anyway?" Bakura responded with a laugh.

"It is, but if I'm going down, so are you!" Tristan answered.

The group laughed as Joey added, "Come on, Yug, I'm sure you've got a gut of steel."

"I'm good," Yugi repeated, allowing attention on himself to dwindle and die.

Tristan and Joey soon turned to trying convince Bakura that he could finish the 7th and 8th ikayaki respectively, though Bakura protested. Finally, Serenity sighed and resigned herself to halt the two men in her life from committing their third friend to the hospital.

"Alright, alright, both of you!" She said getting in the way, "You should both know better!"

"Sis, come on, he's fine," Joey said.

"Don't you 'sis' me!" She snapped.

Tristan, taking cue from Joey's failure, moved to win her over, "Alright, we'll stop, but... can I have some of your watame?"

Serenity smirked at him, "If it'll make you stop."

As she pulled a piece away, Joey's eyes bulged, "Uh, no not happening."

"Joey-" Serenity gasped, annoyed as Joey smacked her hand upward, releasing the pink cloud of sugary goodness that had been in her fingers.

"You are NOT sharing food with him," Joey argued.

"Aw, come on man, not like we haven't before," Tristan remarked.

"Well you're not now," Joey replied, "Completely unsanitary is what that is."

"More like completely anal," Serenity muttered.

"I heard that!"

"Well, it's not like we haven't shared saliva before!" She shouted back.

"Bakura, back me up here!" Joey called.

It was at this point that the two still out of the conversation found themselves both slinking away from the scene that was slowly gathering attention, none of which they wanted to be apart of. After a few moments of looking out over the river, Yugi began to chuckle under his breath.

"What?" Tea said, looking over at him.

"Nothing, just..." Yugi started, "I've just... been so tense this whole night, to hear Serenity blurt that out... I never thought I'd ever hear something like that out of her."

"Joey's ears are probably bleeding," Tea remarked, and they both laughed.

As their laughter turned to silence, the rushing water below them drew in silence. Tea glanced over at her friend.

"Yugi..." She began, "Why were you tense?"

Yugi straightened up. That's right. He hadn't told her... "I... there's a reason I didn't tell you all about Bakura... we haven't really... seen eye to eye since college started... I should have told you though. I'm sorry."

Though surprised by the revelation, Tea shook her head, "That's okay. It was a nice surprise this way..."

Yugi shrugged, not sure if he really thought it was. He sighed, "So... did you go visit your family's grave?"

"I went with Mom and Dad the other day. I'm guessing you did as well?" She asked.

Yugi nodded, "Yeah, Grandpa and I went."

"Your parents?" She inquired.

"No, they don't come back to Japan for Obon anymore," He lamented.

She nodded, "Well, at least you were able to join your Grandpa. I'm sure he appreciates the support when you visit your Obaasan."

Yugi glanced her way with a pained smile, "I guess. I... don't really remember her though. I was so little when she passed..."

"Still," She said, "It's nice of you to go."

Yugi nodded, "It's the least I can do. Grandpa, he's got the game shop, but you know... I don't know if he ever really got over her passing. I remember Mom saying once he became hyper-obsessed over the games because it kept him from thinking of her... Not sure if that's true though. He always seemed really into games to me..."

A text pinged on Tea's phone. Pulling it out of her purse, she opened it to read: "Get out of here while you still can. I might murder these idiots." She smiled a bit. Peering over her shoulder, she caught sight of Serenity who was getting exhausted. She debated going over, defying Serenity's wishes, but somehow, she didn't think she was needed. Not to mention, she didn't have the energy.

"Well... it's certainly a trait he passed down to you," She said with a smile.

"Yeah..." Yugi said softly.

Suddenly, Tea found herself looking at a very serious side of her friend, his eyes furrowed, as though focused on something deep within the earth. Come to think of it, she hadn't seen him play much of any games... save for that one time at the onsen, but since then... She glanced down the way.

"Come on," She said, "Let's go get some Choco Bananas."

When he didn't move, Tea's lips pursed and she defiantly went over to his right side from his left and pushed on his shoulder, "Come onnnnn. Move it, you."

"Huh?" He said, coming out of his trance, "Wait, what?"

"Choco Bananas," She said, "You like those right?"

"Yeah, but..."

"Come on," Tea repeated. As they walked together towards the stands, slowly, Tea found the words she wanted to say, "You know... Obon... it's supposed to be a happy day. It's a celebration, not a funeral."

Yugi looked her way confused as they got closer to the stand, "What are you talking about?"

"Just what I said," Tea answered, "I just... I'm worried about you."

"Huh? Why?" He asked.

"Because... you're just..." Tea started, "If your Grandpa immersed himself in games, something he also loved, to hide grief at times... it's like... you've completely done the opposite, avoiding it, like the plague."

Yugi stopped and looked at her as she finished, "That's it, isn't it? You don't play games much anymore because it reminds you of him?"

As though jumping into the bowels of the millennium puzzle again, what felt like thousands of memories flooded into Yugi's mind. Every game. Every strategy. Every adventure. Every friend. Every experience they had ever had together. His hand instinctively reached for the puzzle that he had held around his neck, but there was nothing, only a cotton shirt. He felt a lump well up in his throat.

But before he could say anything, he felt arms wrap around his neck, causing a shocked expression to manifest on his face. His purple eyes shifted to her.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean-"

Tea found herself stopping when two strong arms wrapped themselves around her. He held her, like she was keeping him grounded, from falling into the quicksand he seemingly stood on. No one had ever said that. He'd never said that. But it was true. He didn't want to play. Not without Atem. Not without the king who had been there for him, who had given him everything. Confidence. Skills. Faith. Hope. Friends.

How was he really supposed to inherit that? What right did he have? When it was all Atem? When everything he had become was because of Atem? He was no Game King, only the recipient of Atem's kindness. How could anyone really expect him to just walk on like it didn't bother him? Him getting everything and Atem... rest. A rest that parted him from the friends they had both made. The most precious things... relationships that they had worked for and covetted. Yes, he was back with his own father and his family... but... it just didn't seem fair.

"I... I can't..." He whispered.

"What?" She said, listening.

"I can't..." He repeated, before slowly letting her go, "I can't... I don't want to play without Atem. It just doesn't feel right."

Tea could hear the sadness in his voice, very subtle, as though he was trying to hide it. But it was there. She sighed.

"You know... he wouldn't want you feeling this way," She said, "He wasn't a selfish person. Just because he's gone, doesn't mean he'd want you to not play."

"I know..." Yugi said, "I just-"

"He would want you to play, Yugi," She interrupted.

While bypassers continued on to the stall not 10 meters away, Yugi found himself feeling just like a little kid again. Like the time he had just about put the Millennium puzzle together and... the last piece was gone. He felt like an infant as the sensation of salt water threatening to well up in his eyes threatened to come over him, but he refused it. He was 24, what even was he thinking...

"It's... it's not that simple, Tea..." He said, "I... just because I beat him once, it doesn't mean..."

He stopped, the words coming out of his mouth not making any sense. Tea watched him sadly, before slipping her hand into his. Without a word, she dragged him to a different stand by the river. It was void of the Choco Bananas and instead, sold beautiful paper lanterns.

"Tea wha-"

"Yugi, nothing is ever simple," She told him, "That's why life isn't simply easy."

She pointed to a blank paper lantern in the back and placed a bill and a coin into the merchant's little coin tray. Picking it up, she dragged Yugi over to the side, where markers were laid out and families huddled around their lanterns as messages were written on the sides along with cute little drawings. Sitting down, she pushed the lantern to Yugi.

"Atem knew that. He knew that and he kept going. He kept fighting. And he recognized that spirit in you," She held out the pen, "Atem knew that it wasn't simply because of a better strategy that you won that duel. He knew it was because you had the same heart needed, the one that every 'Game King' needs. One that's willing to push on and have faith."

Yugi watched her confused, as she finished, "You guys always said it was 'The Heart of the Cards' that led you to victory. But really, for you, it's 'The Heart of a King' that made all the difference for you and that's what made you guys different from the rest. It's a heart of true intelligence, kindness, and compassion. It's full of mercy, and justice. Joey doesn't have it. I don't have it. But Atem did. And so do you. And he knew that you maybe had it even more so than him. So are you going to just sit there while someone's in trouble, wallowing in what's past? Or are you going to seize the day by the reigns and rule it like a King?"

The boldness of her statement shocked him. The Heart of a King. That was a new one. But... intelligence... kindness... and compassion. Justice and mercy... That... yes, that did describe Atem. But no one had ever told him that he had those same qualities. He'd never thought of himself in that regard. He stared back at the blank paper lantern.

Uncapping the pen, Tea watched as Yugi wrote in elegant Kanji the three characters spelling out "Yugioh". When she thought he was done however, he proceeded to draw a symbol more familiar to only him - a cartouche around the vertical kanji. Spinning it around, he began to write something longer on the opposite side. Finally, after a minute he was done.

Standing, Tea spoke again, "You want to send it off?"

Yugi nodded, standing up as well, keeping the letter towards his chest as they made their way down to the launching area. Bending down, they picked up a match set and Tea gracefully struck a light. Yugi couldn't help but be impressed, considering the wide sleeves of the yukata that she wore. He would have been nervous to do so. Reaching in, she lit the candle inside, allowing it to glow brightly and cast a warm light about them.

Kindly, Tea waited as Yugi held the sides of the lantern. He let out a breathe and placed it in the water. It floated next to them, protected by the little alcove from the current. After seeing it float there for a moment, Yugi ever so slowly moved to push it out, when he felt fingers touch his own and together, Tea and him pushed it out to the open river. They watched it float off, beautifully flickering, as though waving them goodbye.

After a while, Yugi finally looked down and spoke, "Thank you, Tea."


"You're right," He said, "Atem trusted me. I can't let him down. Not after all he did for me."

Tea smiled, "That's what we've been trying to get you to see all along, you big dummy."

Yugi laughed a bit, "Yeah... thanks. I... I can't stop looking for him, but you're right. I need to focus on the here and now... You guys are too good for me; I don't know how you have the patience to deal with me."

"No, we're not," Tea said, "You ever think that maybe we're just as happy to have you as a friend as you are to have us?"

Yugi's eyebrow raised and he shrugged, "I don't know; I always thought... that I was the lucky one."

His words seemed to pause as he watched her features become the stage of candle lights. When he was in high school, it would have seemed even impossible for him to even talk to her. Now... The little box in his pocket, that he had amazingly remembered to bring, didn't even register. Just her... one of his best friends in the whole world... How was he this lucky to know her?

"Tea... thank you," He said again, this time more fervently and assuredly.

Tea found a deep heat entering her cheeks suddenly, "I... uh... it was nothing..."

When had they gotten so incredibly close?

"So... what did you..." She began awkwardly.

"What?" He interrupted.

"Huh?" She asked back, before continuing, "Uh... what did you.."

The distance was getting smaller...

"Write to..."

Was it him or her moving closer?


But neither of them were backing away. How was this? What even was...?


"Yugi, Tea!"

Mere centimeters apart, Yugi and Tea leaned away from one another and both heads swiveled up to see Bakura at the top of the river bed near the bridge.

"We've been looking everywhere for you!" He called.

Awkwardly, Tea and Yugi quickly got to their feet, Tea so fast that Yugi reached out to catch her as she nearly fell over in her yukata. She nodded to him and brushed herself off.

"Sorry!" She called, "My fault; we'll be right up."

Quickly, the two scampered over to the steps, which they scaled in record time. At the top, they saw the other three running over to join them.

"Hey! There you's two are!" Joey blurted out, "We've been looking everywhere for you!"

"Sorry," came the unison reply.

"It's okay," Tristan answered, currently carrying Serenity in a piggy back ride, "We just couldn't find you. Serenity couldn't even see you over the crowd."

"Right, and I told you for the last time, to put her down!" Joey said, his attention now directed to the two lovebirds, "It's indecent."

"More indecent then what Mai would wear when she visited you?" Serenity shot, sliding off of Tristan's back.

Joey's face went a deep scarlet as the rest of them snickered. Serenity really had a way of making her brother go red with embarrassment tonight. As the bickering once again resumed, the group began walking over the bridge, back toward Chuo-koen where the primary festivities were being held. Tea let out a sound of aggravation and handed Yugi her coin purse to hold for her while she tried to settle the fight.

He sighed, smiling as he looked out over the river. He wasn't sure where the lantern was now, but he was satisfied, happy that he had gotten to send it off...

"Yami, I'm sorry. I won't avoid playing anymore and I'll duel... this time with the Heart of a Game King. - Yugi"

The fresh memory was interrupted by an innocent laugh from behind him. He turned his head around to see Bakura and his stance instantly became sharp. Right, this game.

"What?" He asked.

"Oh, nothing," Bakura said, "They're just funny..."

He came up to join Yugi in their walk, which quickly turned uncomfortably silent, "So... why didn't you tell them I was back? You still angry at me?"

"I'm not angry with you," Yugi stated.

"Could of fooled me," Bakura said, "You barely talk to me at work."

Yugi glanced at Bakura, "You know why that is."

"Yeah, because you don't trust me, I get it," Bakura replied.

"Bakura, you want to destroy the-"

"The portals," Bakura answered, "Yeah, you would too. If you had been the victimized vessel of a demon."

"But there's so much more out there and Yami Bakura is-"

"Gone? You really believe that?" Bakura asked.

There was a pause as the undeniable truth came out of the silence.

"See," Bakura said, "If you still believe that there's a chance to find Atem, then you know there's a chance that he could still be out there too."

"Ryo, I've told you, we won't let that-"

"Happen?" Ryo asked and there was a pause before he sighed, "You know... I want to believe that, Yugi, but... You guys didn't notice for two whole years until it was too late."

"We noticed, but-"

"But there were more important things to deal with?"

"Marik was-"

"Yes, I know what Marik was doing," Bakura said, "But none of that changes the fact that there are still clearly creatures, spirits out there that want to do damage to others and get their revenge."

"And how?" Yugi interrupted, "We can't even summon-"

"Does that matter?" Bakura countered, "They're out there. And you're working to-"

"I'm not working to unlock any demonic spirits," Yugi said.

"Well that, I know," Bakura said.

Yugi felt his stomach do a weird flip as the two stopped short of the edge of the bridge, "What?"

"I know you're not trying to unlock any spirits, at least not right now anyway, because one already was unlocked, wasn't it?" Ryo implied, "That's why the tablet broke, isn't it?"

Yugi watched Bakura's countenance. What was he... "I don't know what you're talking about. The tablet broke, but there's no evidence to support that a spirit's been unlocked."

"Fine, use divergents to avoid the truth. I know just as well as you that there's no more evidence that that tablet ever held the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. But you know..." Ryo paused, a kind of regret painting his face. He placed a hand on Yugi's shoulder, "I'm not the bad guy here, Yugi. I'm just trying to prevent anyone else from getting hurt the way I was... the way you were."

Yugi's head turned to his opponent, who continued, "I know the Pharaoh, no matter how much you praise him, likely underwent a time of madness. Think about it, ripped out of your time and body... in a way, it's easy to understand... You realize how lucky you were that he was strong enough to pull out of that? The rest of those affected... we weren't so lucky."

Yugi shook Bakura's hand off his shoulder and backed away, "Atem was never mad."

Ryo shook his head, "Fine. I'm not here to argue about that. I wanted to talk to you and tell you that I want to help you. If there really is a spirit out there, it needs to be sent back and I'm willing to assist you with that... "

Yugi watched Bakura skeptically. In recent years, it was true, they had grown apart as friends. Their disagreements remained in their hearts like bitter thorns... but there was a time when they had agreed, had held the same interests, same beliefs, fought for the same things...

Finally, Bakura broke the silence, "You know, I always considered us friends. We might not agree on everything anymore but... I'd like to help you."

Yugi felt his chest ache a bit. He wanted to trust Bakura, but something, like the lantern that was now on it's way out of the city, pulled him away from doing so. He watched Ryo, wondering. What was really different? Was he just being paranoid? Really, Bakura was acting like he always had... like a friend. And if one thing was for sure, he didn't want any of his friends hurt.

"Bakura..." He said slowly, "I don't know if there's any spirits roaming around from Kemet. But if they're dangerous; I'll stop them. You have my word."

"You're willing to stop them if you have to? And alone? Without any help?" Bakura questioned, almost scathingly. Almost. Just short of it.

Yugi gave a nod ahead of his brief declaration, "It's my burden. No one else's."

Bakura shrugged, looking forward at the rest of the group, a kind of sadness in his eyes, "Alright... but I'm here for you. If you need anything."

Yugi nodded again and Bakura and him started to walk back after the others. His thumbs in his pockets, Yugi pondered the implications of what Ryo just said. Ryo was and had always foremost been one to protect others. He had suffered in silence, trying to control Yami Bakura for as long as he could, never saying anything... He sacrificed much and Yugi wasn't sure if he could ever understand all of it... He could sympathize, but he could likely never understand completely what it had been like. Was he really so blinded by his own desires to not see the true merit of what Ryo was trying to do? When it came down to it, he really didn't know. Yugi sighed, looking up to see the train station. Tea smiled as she began to walk up the steps.

"See ya guys later!" She called, before turning to him, "Bye, Yugi! Bye, Bakura!"

He held up a hand to wave to her when the lump in his pocket suddenly pressed against his leg. Her gift! He inwardly groaned. He was so distracted by Bakura that he didn't notice... He could run up after her but... the rest of them... He shook his head in annoyance with himself. He had to focus. Focus on the matter at hand. He had told Bakura he would handle this issue alone. So he would. He'd figure out what had brought Kisara here and how to get her home. He'd made that promise and it was one he intended to keep.


They watched the giant flame in the sky burn until slowly, one by one, the embers seemed to die or be snuffed out. The smell of burnt wood was thick in the air as the sound of thousands of feet making their way back to their homes, trains, or busses filled the riverside. Smiling to herself, Kisara waited in silence, fiddling with her clutch, opening and closing it ever so slightly once or twice a minute. Suddenly, a feeling of drowsiness seemed to pervade her senses and she suppressed a yawn. It had been such a wonderful day. With Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji, Gion, the Nama-Yatsuhashi, and finally, the last piece of the day, Gozan no Okuribi. It had been simply, in a word, amazing.

She turned to her companion, "Seto, this was spectacular. Thank you."

Seto glanced her way, "No problem."

"Do you want to head back to the train?" She asked, assuming that's where they would be heading now, when a smirk appeared on his face.

"You really think we're ending the day now?" Seto said, smiling in a way that confused her.

"Um... why wouldn't we?" Kisara asked.

"Well, you don't think we're done do you?" Seto continued, "After all, we didn't exactly do what we came out here for."

Kisara bit her lip and with an awkward laugh replied, "Um... yes we did. We came out to see Gozan no Okuribi."

"Yeah, and we also came out here to celebrate you mastering the essential concepts of Duel Monsters," Seto said, "You can't think something like that was a good enough celebration, can you?"

"What do you mean? It was was spectacular!" Kisara repeated.

Seto rolled his eyes, "Come on, I'll show you spectacular."

Seto turned, heading down the steps to the banks of the river edge. Kisara found her feet frozen in place for a moment, in almost a stupor of question when somehow, she willed her legs to move and follow.

"Wait, Seto, what are you talking about?" She called after him, catching up to him barely as he began walking down the riverside, his phone now out.

Despite her insistence however, she never got a reply out of him. When they finally reached the edge of the split between the two rivers, where a few rocks, some shaped like giant turtles jetted out, creating a stone path, Seto uncharacteristically jumped down onto one and turned to see her.

"Come on," He said.

Kisara looked at him hesitantly. The rocks looked slightly slippery and her shoes weren't made for gripping something like that.

"Here," He said, holding his hand out to her, "Don't be such a wuss."

At that, a bit of anger sparked in her, "I am not a wuss!"

"Prove it," Seto told her, a smirk gracing his handsome features.

Biting her lip, Kisara jumped down, taking his hand and holding it tightly as she landed, thankful that it wasn't as slippery as she had first thought. They made their way across to the V-shaped clearing ahead of them, Kisara holding her hat closely. In the opposite direction, many people seemed to filter back into the streets where the remaining festivities were occurring. Sounds of the shamisen and taiko could be heard far off. But soon, the area around them seemed desolate, with not even a street lamp really illuminating the area and the smoke from above creating a slight fog. Just as Kisara found herself bringing her hands up to her arms in a kind of self-hug, she saw someone crossing from the opposite side of the river, also jumping rocks, who Seto seemed to be watching intently.

"Took you long enough," He called.

"Yeah, yeah, idiot," Came the response, "Maybe if you had been at the right location."

"Location?" Kisara repeated. But then... that voice was familiar...

"Don't call your brother an idiot," Seto shot back, "You brought them?"

"Duh," Mokuba said, stopping to sling a backpack off his shoulder and open it up.

"Mokuba?" Kisara said, "Wait, what are you doing here? I thought you..."

"Yeah, I kicked him out, but he made me promise to bring this as the one condition," Mokuba said, "Doesn't matter, Yuzu is busy with her friends stuffing her face about now probably."

"Whatever, hurry it up already," Seto said.

"I am, I am," Mokuba told him.

From the backpack, Kisara saw their junior produce something shiny and metallic, with a kind of set of wings on each side, though one was shorter than the other. He tossed it over to Seto, who caught it skillfully.

"You know, if that had landed in the water, you would have paid for that," Seto informed him.

"Yeah, yeah, not like we own the company that makes them," Mokuba replied, pulling out another duplicate of the item now in Seto's hands and slipping it onto his arm before jumping back a few paces.

"Seto, what's-"

"Take off your hat and hold out your left arm," He said.


"Just do it," Seto ordered.

Kisara tensed, but did as she was told, placing her hat down and her purse on top to keep it from being swept away by the wind. Seto came to her side and slipped it onto her arm, "This is a duel disk."

He pushed a button and suddenly, Kisara felt it lock onto her arm, gently as though a sturdy airbag had inflated to support the item. Still though it was heavy and she found herself struggle to balance it at first.

"Wait, what are-"

"Mokuba, let's Duel!" Seto called out.

"You got it, Bro," He said, switching his duel disk on.

Kisara froze. Duel? Here? Now? No, she couldn't... "Seto, wait, no I can't, I don't even..."

"Have any cards?" Seto said, pulling a set out, "Yeah, you do."

"But I, you've never shown me how to-"

"And that's what I'm going to do right now," He said, coming around back of her, "Lift up your arm."

Kisara shut her eyes, released a breath she hadn't known herself to be holding, before pulling her arm up as Seto had instructed.

"Now..." He said, reaching over to a button, "Engage."

He touched it and suddenly, the item on her arm lit up a brilliant electric blue and purple. Kisara nearly jumped when the wings moved together forming one long body that lit up like a multitude of stars. He inserted the deck into a small slot on the side.

"Relax," Seto instructed, "Mokuba, we're going first."

Mokuba must have nodded somewhere in the distance, but due to the light on her arm, Kisara couldn't see for sure.

"Draw four cards like always," Seto told her, which she did after nodding, but the fourth card, Seto slipped it away.

"Hey wait, Seto-"

"Trust me, you don't need to see this card yet," Seto said, a smile on his face.

Kisara felt herself feel a little panicked. Only three cards? And from what she could tell, none of them were very good. Actually, it was for all intents and purposes, a pretty terrible hand. Only one monster and the other two spell cards she couldn't activate this turn. But when she glanced up at Seto, she found her eyes widen. The smile on his face was... different, excited... like he was in his element. If he was in his element and could be so confident... she looked back at her cards. She pulled out a card and showed it to him.

"Are you summoning or setting?" He asked.

"Setting," She replied.

"Alright, call it out," He said, directing her hand, "And set it this way."

She nodded, "I set a monster."

She jumped slightly as a card materialized out of thin air and hung down near the ground in front of her. Recovering from the slight surprise, she glanced up at Seto.

"Anything else?" He asked.

Again, a nod, and she showed him the spell card, "I set a card... and end my turn."

She glanced up to him and he smiled, looking over to Mokuba, who drew a card.

"I summon Axe Raider in attack mode," Mokuba called out as the hologram materialized out of what looked like particles of dust that sparkled into something solid, "You ready for this, Kisara?"

Kisara shook her head 'no'. That monster was nearly five times stronger than her Kidmodo Dragon, which she had just set. And with only one card left that wasn't a quick play... She found herself backing up, right into Seto. Looking up at him, he seemed unfazed by Mokuba's actions... not to mention the fact that she had just bumped into him.


"Shh, don't worry," He said, "I told you, I'm about to show you something spectacular."

"I attack your face down card; go Axe Raider!" Mokuba called out.

Kisara heard the monster barreling down towards them and attack the facedown card. Upon impact, the sound of what could have been glass shattering met her ears and the little Kidmodo Dragon card flipped up and materialized in front of them, as though a ghost, looking up at her.

"What's Kidmodo Dragon's effect?" Seto asked her as Kisara still found herself frozen by the impact of the attack.

She glanced down at the card and picked it up. "If this card is sent to the Graveyard: You can Special Summon 1 Dragon-Type monster from your hand..."

"But I don't have-"

Seto flicked out the fourth card from before with his right hand, slid it to meet hers, and handed it to her. Slowly, she took it and revealed the card's contents. As a gust of wind brushed against her legs and passed over to the grassy sides of the river, a magnificent creature on the card met her eyes with beautiful white wings and royal light blue eyes, as though ready to let loose a powerful attack.

"This legendary dragon is a powerful engine of destruction. Virtually invincible, very few have faced this awesome creature and lived to tell the tale."

She found herself transfixed. It was... the word... escaped her... as her thumb brushed over it, feeling the ink that imprinted the image... This was Seto's card. One of his signature cards. The Blue-Eyes White Dragon.

"Why don't we summon it?" Seto said with a sly smile.

Slowly, Kisara, still transfixed, nodded and placed the card face up on the duel disk. It was like looking at an old friend... somehow... It took her a moment, but finally the words came to her, "I summon the Blue-Eyes White Dragon, in attack mode!"

Over the sounds of the taiko in the background, a ear splitting screech sounded from the duel disk as out of what seemed to be thin air, a monster more than three times their size appeared before them from the duel disk, gracefully flying around them, snaking its way past their legs, into the water and out, finally spreading its wings out to their full length, the moonlight dancing off of its scales. It roared again at its opponent and Kisara could practically feel the powerful beat of its wings as it flew above them, as though in tune with her heart. Though she couldn't see him well, she was sure that Mokuba had likely lost a little of the color in his face.

Frozen, unsure of what to do next, she practically jumped when she felt Seto's hand on her arm gently steady her stance, his other supporting her left arm holding the duel disk as he whispered in her ear, "Unleash its signature attack."

She felt a shiver run down her spine. There was a tingling, as though electricity was once again running through her. Kisara momentarily wondered if this was a side effect of the duel disk, but at the same time... she knew it wasn't, as though the electricity was flowing out of her very fingertips.

"Blue Eyes!" She called, throwing her hand out instinctively, "White Lightning attack!"

It's howl sounded as the creature inhaled above them and the two looked up at the electricity gaining inside its jaw. The mammoth spun around and let the lighting stream burst out at the Axe Raider on the opposite side of the field, shattering its enemy into millions of shards that disappeared and floated up into the night sky. The Blue Eyes once again roared in victory, circling back around to its summoner.

Looking the creature in the eyes, Kisara found herself hesitate. She knew it wasn't real. It was a hologram. But why was it so... she reached out to touch its nose, to pat it, a job well done. It was an odd sensation - like trying to touch mist. It was there, but not, causing her to have to carefully not push her hand past where its head appeared to be. The dragon shut its eyes, enjoying the gestured caress it seemed. Seto smiled. That was his dragon. His Blue Eyes... and yet... looking at the two, he felt more like it should belong to her...

"Well done, Blue Eyes," He said softly.

His fingers glided over Kisara's arm to the reset button, switching the duel disk off. With it, the dragon howled and flew straight up into the air, disintegrating into the starry sky, the last howl echoing around them. The two of them watched, as though looking to see if the creature would reassemble itself as stars fell around them from it's disintegrated form. Mokuba brushed the dirt off of his shirt and glanced across the way at his opponent when his eyes raised and he suddenly looked away, as though he shouldn't be there just then. Carefully and quietly, he jumped across the way, back to the limo that would take them all home.

The two left on the river stood in silence for a few minutes, only the sound of the crashing waters around them and the far off taiko drums to indicate that time was still moving. Kisara finally let out a breathe she didn't realize she had been holding.

"Seto... that was... that was amazing..." She breathed out, her heart beating rapidly, "That was..."

She turned to look at him, realizing immediately that his face was right over her shoulder, his arms practically around her own thanks to his supporting her and directing her throughout the duel, but it wasn't just that... it was his heartbeat... she could feel it as her back touched his chest. Seto seemed suddenly aware of this too and blinked a bit, unsure of how to proceed.

"That was...?" He said, prompting her to fill in the blank and clearing his throat a bit at the same time.

Perhaps time was standing still. For both of them. Seto could feel her shoulders against his chest, her various braids pulling at his shirt's buttons, unintentionally getting entwined in them. Their faces so close that their noses could practically touch...

"That was..." She started, her heart racing, as only a whisper could finish her sentence, "Spectacular."

What was he doing? What were they doing? It felt so good. Just to be right here. Just the two of them. Like his heart was held captive by her delicate fingers, which gracefully caressed it in safety. How was any of this... Their faces, mere millimeters away... Kisara found her eyes lock with his, which seemed to sparkle in the graceful blue moonlight. Their lips were so close... this had to be... a dream...


A/N: ... don't kill anything because of that ending. Please don't. -hides- And with that chapter, I attempted to make dueling as romantic as humanly possible.