Fading reflection

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Warnings/notes : Yami/Yugi, Bakura/Ryou (established), Seto/Joey, oocness?

Disclaimer : I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh. If it wasn't for Suppis Tenshi and one of her reviews for another fic of mine, this fic might never have gotten past the 'scribbled few lines'-phase.

written at 4th july 2003, by Misura

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"I looked in the mirror

Every day

I saw myself

Fading away"

- 'That's not me', Jennifer Lopez

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Anger flooded through him, both choking and exhilarating. His eyes burnt with it, if only anyone had bothered to look at them. The boy in front of him, the one who had caused all this, certainly hadn't. Didn't everyone know Yugi Muto was shy and friendly?

A perfectly safe and easy target for bullies. -If- one managed to avoid his dark look-alike of course. How the two were related was still a matter of speculation, since neither of them had ever bothered to explain, but that there -was- some sort of connection was clear.

Yami currently was nowhere to be seen though, since he had stayed behind to do some extra studying in the library. After a short, whispered but heated argument, Yugi had managed to convince him he was completely capable of walking home on his own.

Which he was. And this stupid idiot in front of him didn't have what it'd take to prove him wrong or make him regret his decision. The boy was a wimp really ; he had never done anything worse than giving smaller kids a big mouth or forcing them to share their candy or chips.

No beating, kicking or tripping, not even a violent shove on occasion. A wimp.

He had used that word for Yugi often enough, naturally. That only proved what an utter lack of intelligence he really had. One well-phrased response would probably make sure he'd never even -think- of bothering Yugi ever again.

A piece of cake. He didn't need Yami. All it would take was to allow his anger to flood over him, to form the words in his mouth and speak them. There were plenty he could use.

Words could be powerful weapons, more hurtful than any act of violence. Yami seemed not to understand that, but Kaiba did. Yugi had seen him often enough, reducing anyone foolish enough to approach him to tears with just one or two well-chosen remarks.

Only Joey seemed to be immune to it. Either because he was stubborn and had a thick skin, or because Kaiba was smart enough not to drive him away completely, to preserve and cherish at least one human contact, no matter how twisted.

Yugi looked up, smiling, opening his mouth.

And a person pushed past him, shoving his victim-to-be back, crashing into a wall.

And he couldn't feel the anger inside of him. It felt empty.

"Don't you -ever- dare to touch or speak to Yugi again!" Yami growled to the cowering boy in front of him, before turning his stern gaze on his hikari.

Yugi wished he could yell at him, to tell him he hadn't needed Yami to intervene, that he had been managing on his own just fine. But there weren't any words or feelings he could use for that. He didn't have it in him to hate or be angry anymore.

Like Yami's presence smothered that kind of feelings.

It didn't have anything to do with his crush, he knew this for sure somehow. Loving Yami had some effects on his behavior when his darker half was around, but an inability to think or feel negative emotions towards other people wasn't one of them.

Before their return, it hadn't been like this. Only after, when Yami had been there, in the normal world for every hour of the day. In his own body, not Yugi's.

Their minds were still connected though and Yami still had his powers. Unlike Ryou's yami, whom Yami had cut fully loose. That Bakura had stuck around, still living in Ryou's house had been his own choice.

"Yami ... " he began weakly, pleadingly after they had walked in the direction of their home in silence for a while. Yami radiated anger, only partially at the bully who had made the mistake of pestering Yugi. Mostly it was directed at himself for not being there earlier.

And, even if Yami would never admit so, part of it was at Yugi, for not listening to him. For going off on his own contrary to Yami's wishes.

"Yugi ... " Yami replied, not looking at him. "I did say you shouldn't - "

"I know." Yugi interrupted him. "I'm sorry." he added.

Yami's eyes sought his own, a spark of warmth in them. "It's not your fault, aibou. You think too well of people, only seeing their good sides. I wouldn't want you to change. Next time, we'll do it my way. Surely you agree that's best now."

"Yes." Yugi whispered miserably, hanging his head.

Yami smiled, reaching out to ruffle his hair. "Don't be sad, Yugi. I can't bear to see you like that. If you'd ever get really hurt, I'd lose my mind. I care for you and I won't ever let any harm come to you. I promise."

"Thanks." Yugi managed a weak smile. It was what Yami expected from him, wanted from him. No matter how much of a lie it was.

-tbc-