A/N: Hello all, and thanks for stopping by! Now, this story was written by Banjodog, and since she is unable to post at the moment due to a momentary infliction of 'Castlevaniaism,' I am posting it for her. She is an awesome writer, and this is but a snipet of her talent. Go check her out after you are finished reading this!

Disclaimer: She don't own it. I don't own it. But together.... no, we still don't own Yu Gi Oh.

La Neve

By Banjodog

*-*-*-*

It won't melt. It fell, a small while ago, and landed on the back of my hand, directly in line with my third finger.

This part of Japan does not get a lot of snow, I remember, though if it was Yuugi that told me, that I can't recall. However, the snow that does come is enough to turn the whole area into a surreal dreamscape....at least for me.

It's pretty, I suppose...it certainly has that pleasing aesthetic quality, and it does deserve that title, but it's too bright. The effect of sun, snow, and sky is too bright, and yet...it doesn't hurt my eyes. It's too bright and I want to shield my eyes against the glare and yet I can't because there is no pain. I don't feel pain.

I haven't felt anything for over three thousand years.

Has it really been so long?

One would think that that amount of time would be easily noticed.....glaringly obvious as everything I knew and have come to know slowly erodes away....and yet.....

I suppose I'm well suited to immortality.

And that snowflake still hasn't melted.

I've heard poets and musicians ask snowflakes why they don't care. Why snowflakes aren't upset that they have just fallen from the highest heavens and in the purest perfections......it's one of the most foolish things I've heard. It's snow.

Snow.....that won't melt.

Am I really that cold? I can now see that the skin beneath my nails is turning that sickening, dead blue, but I don't know what it wants me to do about.

It. The Puzzle. The Puzzle gave me this body....and, I speak the truth, a body made of true flesh, blood and bone. The Puzzle wouldn't settle for anything less, however, it doesn't know how to feel. It doesn't know what cold or warmth is, what pain or pleasure is, or what happiness and sadness is. So this body I have....doesn't know, either. It doesn't bother me, for I can't remember how to feel, as well. I can't remember, and the Puzzle never knew, so I suppose we're even.

My hand must be very cold.....is that why Yuugi shivers when I touch him?

Yuugi.

I will be honest, and say that....sometimes.....I don't remember him, either.

I'll forget what he looks like...what color his eyes are or the sound of his voice....even his name.

I'll even forget that he exists. I'll forget, and then suddenly he's there, and it startles me so badly that I........that I nearly kill him.

You see, I'll be so horrified....so disgusted that there's another being here, that I want to kill it. Then the Puzzle calms me, calms me so that while I'm shivering and screaming and raging, Yuugi never suspects a thing.

Yuugi.

My hikari.

He has no idea how many times he's nearly died at my hands. How many times he's nearly been damned.

It's unusual, because I have no trouble remembering his friends. I know my enemies, my allies....I remember that "stop" means to "cease movement."

I remember....all languages that have been spoken to and through me....French, Egyptian, Japanese, English, Russian....I know them all. Italian is my favorite, I think.

I can remember maps and math, but I can't remember him.

I suppose it's because he's a part of me, and I lost myself so long ago. Why am I not enraged by this? ......Maybe it's because I know what's going to happen. I may not remember my life, but I can see the fate of this world as easily as I can see the mortality hanging over Sugoroku's shoulder. He falters at every step, his joints creak and strain....but he shouldn't worry. It will end, and...he won't have to worry about such a fate for Yuugi and his friends, either. No. The Puzzle has something else planned.

Damn Puzzle. It's the reason I can't remember. Because it doesn't want me to. Because I must follow its grand designs, and everyone else must as well. Free will? You take what the Puzzle gives you. It allows and considers itself generous, but it will not let its plans be massacred by such an insignificant presence as free will. It would be embarassing, to say the least. Everyone here, in this city, in this country, in this world, all live and die at the Puzzle's whim.

No one knows the hour.....

I can hear it laughing at me.

And I can't see my breath mist in the air. Oh, how I've fallen.....a desert king, colder than the snow and ice. Yes, this must be the reason why Yuugi's teeth chatter when I pass by, or he pulls on a sweater if I'm in the room for too long. During the summer, it's fine, for the air heats the skin for me, but winters are torture. He never asks me to not assume this body......never asks me to retreat into my Soul Room.........he.......never asks anything of me. I could love him for that alone.

He'll never love me.

I won't allow it.

I won't let him see that I am nothing more than a frightened old man trapped in a body that's so oblivious to its state that it dies every evening from the strain, and forces the Puzzle to create a new one. I'll never let him know that this body will die and I won't care because I can't remember how it feels to die, and because the Puzzle never knew, it doesn't bother me. I'm so old...

I had heard their footsteps before they even spoke. A rare breed of human mortals in this area....I can tell. They wear their nationality like a perfume.

"Guarda all'imbecille! Nella neve senz'una giacca!"

Even in mockery, I love those sounds.

"Penso," I say, the words sticking to my dry, chapped lips. "Penso chec'è intelligente che voi dite con restrizione. PerchÃ, possibilmente, capisco le vostre parole."

The foreigners were shocked, but they did not keep walking.

"Capisce l'italiano?"

Apparantly only one of them was bold enough to speak. His companion remained silent the whole time.

"Certo."

"Pèrche non ha una giacca?"

Ah, I speak their language. I must be civilized, after all.

"Partite. Partite, è dimenticate."

They won't remember. They'll never think of the dead man in the snow who spared them the wrath of the Puzzle. It would have killed them if I had expressed the slightest annoyance at being disturbed. I have to be careful of what I wish, for the Puzzle will do anything I ask.

Hm. The fate of the world, the supreme power, asking me what I want. Asking me, obeying me, yet still I must bow before it like all the rest. I must submit before its fathomless power, and I gladly do it because I'm too tired to stand.

"Yami?"

Yuugi. I can only tell that it's him by that striking chord deep within me that sounds whenever he's near. I don't think I could ever tire of that.

Of all beings in the world, myself included, Yuugi is the only one who the Puzzle greets warmly. Yuugi smiles gently at the gentle mental embrace, and he sends his love back through the link. My little hikari....you haven't the slightest idea what you're giving that to.

He lays a hand on my shoulder, frowning slightly at the apparant iciness of my skin through my shirt, but, like the angel he is, he says nothing about it.

"Yami, please come inside."

No. Please, don't. I won't let myself love you.

"I can make some hot cocoa, if you want....or some popcorn."

And don't even try to love me. Don't you know how it will end!?

He is shaking slightly underneath the flimsy excuse of a coat he put on to come and fetch me, and the Puzzle is greatly angered by my behavior. Yuugi must not be harmed.

And I agree. I follow Yuugi inside so he'll be warm....I want him to remember....he can feel for the both of us.

"It's getting really cold out there," he says, rubbing his arms to warm them up.

"Cold," I repeat, staring at the snowflake that finally melts in the fake heat of the furnace. "I hadn't noticed."

~*~

FINI

Translation:

Guarda all'imbecille! Nella neve senz'una giacca! ---- Look at the moron! In the snow without a jacket!

Penso che c'è intelligente che voi dite con restrizione. Perché, possibilmente, capisco le vostre parole ----I think that it is intelligent that you speak with restraint. Because, possibly, I understand your words.

Capisce l'italiano? ----You understand Italian?

Certo --- Certainly.

Perche non ha una giacca? ---Why aren't you wearing a jacket?

Partite. Partite e dimenticate. ---Leave. Leave and forget.