It's my Yami's birthday today. Well, not his actual birthday, of course—it's the two-year anniversary of the day I solved the Millennium Puzzle. Naturally, I didn't know Yami was there for quite a while. And even then, I was pretty afraid of him. Who wouldn't be afraid? I'd find myself without control of my own body—hearing voices and everything. I'd come to and not remember much of anything. I thought I was going insane. And then I made the connection.
I realized that my solving of the Puzzle marked the arrival of this strange presence. I couldn't understand. I felt so alone—never knowing when he'd take over, what he wanted. I didn't know myself at all. I was terrified every day. And then there was the incident with Kaiba on the rooftop at Duelist Kingdom. I couldn't be responsible for someone's death. I wouldn't stand by and allow someone to be hurt—even a jerk like Kaiba. So I fought against the presence I could barely even explain. I tore away from the warmth his voice sparked in my mind, and it hurt.
Nothing before or since has hurt nearly as much as going against Yami. It was like a rug burn all over—a rug burn on sandpaper. It was like staring straight into the sun after coming out of the dark, and your eyes physically ache from the harshness. It was being without, and I don't ever want to feel that again. Yami was ashamed of what he'd put me through then, he told me later. He's strange that way. I'll just be sitting in class doing my work, quietly thinking to myself, and he'll suddenly burst out with some profound revelation—"I hesitated in becoming your aibou because I knew you would not want me," or "I felt your light the moment you were conceived."
He's rather intense, and it frightened me at first, but now I'm used to it. I like it—the intensity, the attention. I like the way he protects me from everything and wants me all to himself. It should be selfish of him, but somehow it's right. I like the way he pines, the way he clings to me like a lifeline—as if, should he let go, I'd run away or disappear or break somehow. It's an incredible feeling—the feeling of absolute safety and belonging. I wouldn't want it any other way. I can't get enough of it.
At the start, he kept his distance. He spoke formally and at arm's length. As time passed, however, and he oriented himself to me and began to see how I wasn't afraid of him, his confidence grew. He began to step closer when he spoke to me. He began to speak less and stare more. He spent more and more time in my soul room, though it's small and bright and completely foreign to him. Eventually, he just stayed—like he couldn't bear for me to be out of his sight, although we're never truly apart and can always feel each other's presence.
But I didn't mind at all. I didn't even mind the first time I woke up and saw his image right next to my bed, violet-crimson eyes staring straight into mine. I had no need to be afraid. I smiled, and he smiled back—just a grin, but it was the first time he'd ever given me as much. I'd heard amusement in his voice before, but I'd never actually seen it—the slight upturn of the corners of his mouth, the vague tightening high in his cheeks, the crease under his lower lids which slid over the whites of his eyes to cradle warm violet irises.
After that moment, the changes taking place in him began to show more frequently and unreservedly. It was as if he'd been hiding his true nature under a façade of regal indifference that whole first year he was in my life. For the first time, he felt that he could be himself with me, and that I wouldn't judge him or try to distance myself from him. Of course, Yami the Pharaoh remained regally indifferent, but Yami the regular human being began to surface. I slowly found that I could recognize an ordinary personality in him—a boy who had been king without so much as knowing himself, a soul long trapped and saddened by years of silence and cold, and a hardened heart that had finally begun to remember life.
He'd spent thousands of years in darkness and exile, defenses drawn where needed and, in other places, forgotten altogether. Now he was finally able to acclimate himself to another human being, me, and he acclimated fast—maybe too fast. The changes and the differences all around him began to deafen him. In trying to reintroduce himself to the world, he became frightened. He began to cling. He was still strong and merciless in the dueling arena and in his protection of me. He's still never failed in turning a cold glare on his opponents.
But the coldness summoned in the arena has ultimately shell-shocked him. He can't make the distinction between war and social life—he always finds himself on the defensive. He feels awkward and lonely in the outside world, so he rarely takes over anymore. He's numb. And he's alone. And, with this in mind, I often sympathize with him. I never duel anymore. I find no need, and I know that, whenever I hold my deck or flip through its weathered cards, Yami mourns. He grieves the ancient warriors and riddles of his past. I feel so sorry. I wish I could help him.
He's grown very quiet lately, and he always stays by my side, his apparition fabricating only when I am alone. He is rather sullen. All he desires is to be near. He began to stare less and touch more—just a hand on my arm, fingers through my hair, forehead resting between my shoulder blades. Hands on mine, hand on my stomach as I sleep, just to assure himself I'm still here—that I'm not going to leave him, that he's not alone. And sometimes I lie awake in my soul room and he lies very close and thinks I'm asleep and he cries as he touches me and holds me and his tears fall on my arm, on my neck, through thick, dark lashes that brush my skin.
I never speak of such things—never to him, never to my friends or Grandpa. It's none of their business. They wouldn't know what to do, anyway, no more than I. So I keep quiet about it and quiet about him and they all assume he stays locked away in his soul room, ignorant of me and ignorant of whatever happens to me. I don't think any of them have seen him in over six weeks. It's okay, though. They wouldn't understand—they don't need to. If I told them how intense he is, or how sad he is, they'd probably try to take him away from me. I don't ever want that to happen.
There was a time I was confused about what Yami feels for me. It's foolish, but I have to admit. I couldn't sort it out for the longest while—the fierce loyalty in his eyes, his desire for nearness. The thought crossed my mind that—jeez, I know it's stupid, and I never mentioned anything, but I think he knew. Maybe the thought entered his mind, too. I don't know. Either way, I questioned my beliefs and myself for him. I was almost ready to compromise everything, because he means so much to me, and I know I'm all he's got. But I really had no basis for that assumption. I know Yami loves me. He says it all the time in the way he cares for me and looks out for me and holds me. There is a word, I know, in some forsaken language, to describe it. The love for an aibou is very different from the love for a son, a brother, a lover. It's hard to explain, and I'm uncomfortable just thinking about it, but there's a mutual understanding between us. Not quite just friends, not anything else I can easily name. That's all that matters, and we're stronger for it now.
Yes, my Yami may be intense. He may be sad, and alone, and estranged from all he once knew. He may be intimidating to those who don't know him, and a constant mystery to those who do. He may be terrified and weary and wary of everyone and everything that's not his aibou. He may be silent and troubled and brooding, but he's my hero. He's my Yami. And, though he's my sole protector, in my own ways, I sort of protect him, too. He defends me, but in me, he finds a solace in which he can hide his dark eyes from the harshness of the world. I know what it's like to be without, and I never want either of us to feel that way again.
He still keeps up his profound revelations from time to time, as he lies with me and cries and whispers ancient prayers into my hair. He still finds comfort in a hand on my waist as he blinks sleepless eyes into the night. And oftentimes, I'm the one to reach for his hand just to assure him. I'm the one to smile without thought of return. I'm the one to engage him in pointless conversation, just to exercise his commanding voice and to make sure it still speaks with tenderness only to me. I'm selfish that way. I love his voice. I want to soak it all up like a sponge, so no one else can hear. I want it all to myself—every syllable and whisper and sob. Yami is my Yami and there's no one else I'd rather share my sanity with. The first two years with him have been the best years of my life, and I look forward to many more.
This will probably mess me up for good. He will probably ruin me for any other serious relationships. I know it's not the same, but I don't think I'll ever marry. I couldn't try to dedicate my heart to some girl while it's still Yami's territory. I won't do that to him. He deserves my undivided attention. The road will be long and lonely, but I'll have my friends. I'll have Grandpa, and a career, and a life. And Yami. Most importantly, I'll have Yami.