DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Yu-Gi-Oh! and all related characters are the creations of Kazuki Takahashi. The song 'Eternal Flame' was written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. The song 'Wind Beneath My Wings' was written by Jeff Silbar & Larry Henley.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: During the songs, "Words" are being sung. Ryou and Yugi's musical talents are a gift from me for the duration of this story ;D


The Talent Show
Chapter 5: Encore with a Twist
By Shadow's Mirror


After several more bows, the curtains finally glided together, enclosing the stage in the eerie twilight of the backstage world. Yugi and Ryou remained still for a moment, savouring the shadows and sudden quiet and silently calling on them to calm their minds and restore their strength. But their peace didn't last long.

"Boys! That was amazing! Incredible! Such talent! You naughty boys! Why didn't you tell me you could do that? Why, if I'd known that, you could have done those songs from the start!" Miss Ridgemont rushed up to them, her shrill voice only slightly hushed in deference to the audience sitting just beyond the curtain. She gazed at Yugi and Ryou as if her mind was whirling with plans for them. Yugi and Ryou traded a swift glance. They were saved from having to reply by a sudden, and very welcome, interruption.

"Miss Ridgemont!" Joey called out as he, Tristan and Téa hurried over, anxious looks on their faces. "Some of the costumes for the last act have gone missing!"

"What? Oh no!" With a gasp, the panicking stage director started off to check on the situation. Tristan and Téa went with her; both sending winks and grins over their shoulders at Yugi and Ryou.

Yugi stirred as he remembered something. "Um, Miss Ridgemont!" Yugi trotted after her. "Now that Ryou and I have performed, is it okay for us to watch the rest of the show from the audience?"

"What? Oh, yes, I suppose so. I'm sorry, Yugi, but I really must go and see to these costumes." The very distracted woman practically ran off the stage as Yugi turned to grin at Ryou and Joey.

"Way to go, Yug! Nice work! Your singing wasn't bad either." Joey grinned at his friend and then glanced at Ryou. "You were good too, Ryou. How do you think your yami liked your present?"

"He'll find out. As soon as I get him alone." The three teenagers whirled around as Bakura's voice came from the curtain. Sure enough, Bakura was slipping through the heavy drapes with Yami close behind him. Bakura's eyes were intent on Ryou but the boy didn't recognise the expression in them. The words had been spoken more softly than usual, but that was the same tone of voice Bakura usually used when he was about to fly into one of his rages. Ryou bit his lip, unsure of exactly what his yami meant. He'd thought that Bakura had liked it, but what if he'd been wrong?

"Bakura?" Ryou's voice was a very soft whisper. Bakura blinked in surprise, but Yami and Joey immediately flared up in defense of the nervous light.

"Bakura! You're worrying Ryou! Just tell him that you liked it!" Yami glared at the other spirit.

"Yeah! Can't you see how scared he is? He thinks you hated it." Joey didn't quite dare to glare at Bakura. He glared at Ryou instead. "Although I can't believe you'd actually think that! I mean, man Ryou, you were great out there!"

Bakura scowled. As usual, everyone had taken what he'd said in the wrong way. It was all his light's fault for being overly sensitive. But there was no way he was going to correct Ryou in front of everyone. Since they didn't look like they'd agree to leave Ryou alone with him any time soon, that left only one option.

Ryou gasped as Bakura suddenly moved forward, merging their bodies before anyone else even realised what he was doing. As soon as they were one again, he felt Bakura's mind open to his and he understood what the spirit had meant by his comment. A radiant smile dawned on Ryou's face. He turned to Yugi, eager to share his news. "He liked it! He really liked it! He just didn't want to say it in front of everyone."

Yugi laughed at the excitement in Ryou's voice. He'd rarely seen his friend so happy. It was a nice sight. "I'm glad." He turned to his own darkness and looked up at him. "Um… Yami…" As Yami turned his crimson gaze onto him, Yugi fell silent, suddenly shy. He knew how his partner had felt about the song. After all, their mind-link had been open for most of it. Still, he really needed to hear it confirmed aloud.

Yami smiled at his little light as he closed the distance between them until they were standing only a couple of feet apart. "Yugi…" His voice was unusually gentle. "I was greatly touched by your gift. Thank you, my light." Yugi's smile seemed to brighten up the entire area.

"Hey, I hate to interrupt," Joey ignored Yami's disbelieving look, "but you guys had better get going, before Miss Ridgemont comes back. You got her permission, but if you're still here when she returns, she's sure to want to keep her two new 'stars' where she can see them." He grinned at Yugi and Ryou and then winked. "Go on! Get out of here already!"

Yugi laughed softly. He was feeling much better now that his yami was with him. "Good point, Joey!" He smiled up at Yami. "Ryou and I got permission to watch the rest of the show from the audience!"

Yami smiled. "Wonderful! In that case…" A moment later Yugi stood alone, the Millennium Puzzle hanging around his neck glowing faintly.

As Yugi and Ryou headed for the stage stairs, Yugi suddenly stopped and turned back to Joey. "Hey, Joey! I nearly forgot to ask. What happened to the costumes?"

Joey grinned. "Well, I'll tell you, Yug, it was the weirdest thing. One minute they were all there, hanging on their rack. I looked through them and the next thing I knew there were a couple missing. Tristan and Téa were outside the dressing room so I grabbed them and came to find Miss Ridgemont to let her know."

"Uh huh. So… what do you suppose happened to the costumes?" Yugi grinned at his friend; sure that Joey and the others had done something deliberately to get Miss Ridgemont away.

Joey looked thoughtful. "Gee, Yug, I don't know. I guess they could have fallen down and maybe gotten kicked under the dressing table or something." His eyes sparkled brightly as he grinned.

Yugi chuckled. "Thanks Joey, you're the best!"

* * *

Yugi and Ryou settled into their seats and immediately sighed in relief. They were still feeling rather drained from their performance, so it felt good to be able to sit down. Naturally, their yamis immediately questioned their reaction. After a brief conversation, the Puzzle and Ring flashed and Bakura and Yami were in control. Their lights were now in their soul rooms, where they'd be able to rest until it was time to go home.

Bakura glanced at Yami. "I hope our lights realise just how much they owe us for this."

Yami frowned slightly. "What do you mean? It's nothing more than a small favour."

Bakura shook his head and gestured to the stage, scowling. "You're forgetting. This means we'll have to sit through the rest of this show. Again."

Yami's eyes widened with shock, then closed as he groaned. "Oh Ra…"

* * *

Much later that night…

Yami sat by the window in Yugi's bedroom, staring out into the darkness. A gentle breeze fluttered the curtains and the spirit closed his eyes as he allowed the cool wind to wash over him. Opening his eyes again, he turned to look at his light.

Yugi was curled up in his bed, sound asleep, with a sweet smile on his face. Yami watched him sleep for a moment, a slight smile curving his own lips as he remembered Yugi's gift. He wanted to do something similar for Yugi, but the song didn't really say what he wanted to say to his light. Then he thought of something.

Yami gently eased himself onto the bed beside his little light. Yugi stirred at the movement and opened his eyes, a confused look crossing his face. "Yami… is something wrong?"

"Your song… it doesn't say what I want to say to you. But Ryou's song does. May I?" He waited anxiously for his light's response.

Yugi blinked sleepily, still not completely awake. "May you, what?"

"The song that Ryou sang for Bakura. May I sing part of it for you?" Yami explained patiently.

Yugi blinked again as the words finally penetrated his mind. "You… you want to sing to me?" At Yami's nod, Yugi smiled shyly. "I'd like that. No, I don't mind if you use Ryou's song. It seems… right, somehow." He shifted until he was comfortable and could see Yami's face.

Yami smiled. Leaning down, he began to sing very softly. He didn't need to open the mind-link. The words of the song already said exactly what he wanted to say.

"I believe it's meant to be.
I watch you when you are sleeping, you belong with me.
Do you feel the same? Am I only dreaming?
Is this burning an eternal flame?

Say my name - sun shines through the rain.
A whole life so lonely,
And then you come and ease the pain.
I don't want to lose this feeling."

As he finished singing, Yugi smiled up at his yami. "Thank you, Yami."

Yami smiled back at his light. "No, thank you, Yugi." He suddenly looked a little guilty. "I'm… sorry I woke you just for that. I… It just felt like the right time…"

Yugi shook his head, his eyes starting to close as he fought sleep. "Don't be sorry, Yami. I wouldn't have missed that for anything." He blinked and looked up, still smiling. "Do you think you can sleep now?"

"I will try. Goodnight, my light."

"Goodnight, my darkness."

* * *

Ryou tossed and turned restlessly in his bed. A soft moan escaped his lips, drawing the attention of the shadowy figure sitting staring out the window.

Bakura slowly stood and crossed to the bed, where he stared down at Ryou uncertainly. He could tell that Ryou was in the middle of one of his nightmares. He'd had them ever since Battle City. They were becoming less frequent, but they still had the power to make Ryou terrified of Bakura if he was woken in the middle of one. Bakura didn't like seeing his light like that. It brought back memories he was trying very hard to forget. But he couldn't just ignore Ryou's whimpers.

He moved slowly, being very careful not to disturb Ryou too much in case he woke up. When he was finally sitting on the bed beside his light, Bakura paused, suddenly hesitant. It took another whimper from Ryou to convince him that it was necessary. Leaning over, he did something that he would never, ever, do when his light was anything but asleep or unconscious.

He began to lightly stroke Ryou's hair.

Usually, it helped, but tonight it didn't seem to be working. Bakura bit his lip, hesitating. There was one other thing that worked even better. On the really bad nights, and this seemed to be one of them, it was the only thing that would calm his light. But it was incredibly risky. If Ryou woke, he'd never hear the end of it! Still, Bakura had never been afraid of taking risks.

The haunting melody of Yugi's song to Yami had been lingering in his mind all night, along with the realisation that it summed up perfectly how he felt. He allowed his mind to open, just a little. Just enough for Ryou to know that he was not alone, that he was safe. Softly, so that the sound wouldn't wake Ryou, Bakura began to sing to his unsettled light.

"It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
But I've got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth.
I would be nothing without you."

As Bakura sang, Ryou's restlessness began to ease. By the time Bakura's voice faded into silence again, Ryou was sleeping peacefully, the slightest of smiles on his face.

Bakura breathed a sigh of relief and lay back as a wave of tiredness washed over him. It had been a long day. Not to mention a painful one. If he'd been forced to listen to even one more performance in the talent show that night, he would have sent everyone in the auditorium to the Shadow Realm. He glanced over at his light and smiled as he remembered Ryou's gift to him.

It had been worth it.


The End