Fading reflection

-

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

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

written at 17th july 2003, by Misura

Thanks to the people who reviewed the first chapter :

To optmistic girl94 : Well, I think that in reality, Yugi doesn't feel that way. -adds AU to the notes- But it's … possible in theory I think. Thank you!

To Snow Angel : I agree. –smiles- Now, if only -Yami- would see that …

To Seto's-Girl942 : Thank you, I did.

To Sansi : With the shining example of Bakura, how could Yami -not- realize it? –winks-

To Icy Flame : Well, the Bakura/Ryou's intended to serve as a base of comparison for how it -could- be different. And the Seto/Joey … I just couldn't help myself. –smiles guiltily- Thank you!

To DarkShadowFlame : After rain comes sunshine, the way a not-happy beginning is followed by a happy ending. –winks- Thank you!

To Ril : Hmm, this chapter kind of leaves things unresolved too. Hope it doesn't bother you! Thank you!

To Kaira-chan : Well, in BattleCity Yugi literally tells Yami 'thank you for letting me fight my own battles' (after his duel with Joey). In this fic though, your prediction that the situation is about to escalate is quite true. Thank you very much! –smiles-

To YumeTakato : Thank you, I did my best. (One week –smiles-)

To ChibiSerenity3 : Thank you! Hope you'll like the rest of the fic as well.

To SoulDreamer : Thank you. And yes, I will.

To Strega : Protectors can be both annoying and great, can't they? –smiles- Thank you!

To Scarlet Oasis : [concerning your proposal: I'm working on my answer –smiles guiltily- Just wouldn't want to rush into anything … -coughs and blushes- ;)] Oh, I fear this fic will descend into fluff and sap soon enough. Just … not yet. Thank you very much! –beams- (And no, neither Yugi nor me would appreciate you wringing Yami's neck.)

To NoDa-chan : Thank you! The idea is partially Suppis Tenshi's, really, but I'm glad you like it. –smiles-

To Yami-Yugi3 : Because you spoke the magical word …

To Suppis Tenshi : I can't remember the exact review, though it must have been for some story I posted in June last year, since I wrote the drafts of the first five chapters then, as you can see by the date. Thank you very much! –smiles-

To Aftertaste of a Razorblade : Well, I did draft five chapters for this in July last year. After those, I hope I'll be able to recall the plot … -smiles guiltily- Thank you!

To Kaze : Thank you! One week soon enough? –smiles-

Note : Ryou is called 'Ryou', his yami is called 'Bakura' by me. Sorry if that's confusing.

----------

"I tried so hard

To just compete

Can't take no more

Losing sight of me"

- 'That's not me', Jennifer Lopez

----------

Looking down, Yami was surprised to see his hands were trembling, balled in fists. He was angrier than he had ever been before, only he couldn't quite understand why. It wasn't the first time he'd have had to save Yugi from some bully and he suspected it wouldn't be the last time either. Yugi was simply too sweet and innocent-looking for his own good.

It was the reason Yami loved him above all else, yet it also seemed to bring out the worst in less noble persons. His hikari needed to be cherished and protected. And he, Yami, was the one best suited for the job since he was bound to Yugi by much more than anyone else.

Only recently, Yugi seemed more and more often to try and avoid him, spending time on his own rather than with Yami.

It was foolish, as this afternoon's events had proven yet again. Yugi ought to know better.

Yugi ought to know he should stay near Yami at all times, for his own good.

"Yami?" A small hand pulled at his sleeve. "Are you listening to me?"

He glared sideways, angry ruby eyes staring into open purple ones, that widened in hurt and alarm. He suppressed the guilt ruthlessly ; he had to get his point across this time.

"I hear you, aibou." His voice was calm. Good. "Always."

Yugi nodded uncertain. "And? What do you think?"

Yami frowned. He could either admit he had been to lost in his own thoughts to know what Yugi had been talking about, thus confessing his earlier statement had been a lie, or he could change the subject, overruling Yugi.

He didn't like doing the last, especially because it sounded like something the Tombrobber might do. Yami was above dominating his hikari ; their relationship was one of partners, not master and slave, no matter how Ryou might protest against that accusation.

Ryou was all too much like Yugi, in a lot of ways. Yami ought to never have allowed the boy's yami to stay with him.

He swallowed his pride and anger, managing an apologetic kind of smile. Yugi would forgive him, like he had done before. It was in his nature.

"Sorry, aibou, what were we talking about?"

Yugi pouted. It was a cute gesture, enough to melt his previous annoyance away. His hikari was utterly adorable like this. How could he be angry at someone like Yugi?

How could he even think about how it would feel to trap that small body beneath his own, when anyone could see Yugi was much too pure for things like that?

It was his darker side talking, he knew. The result of being a yami, a spirit of a Sennen Item. It had taken over Ryou's yami, if there had ever been a gentle side to the Tombrobber to start with. He wouldn't, couldn't let it control him too, not even for a second.

He had been Pharaoh. He was better than that.

"Ryou asked if we'd come over for dinner and to watch a movie. He invited Joey too." Yugi informed him. "I'd like to go." he added shyly.

"Sounds okay." Yami nodded, pleased to see Yugi's face light up. It was so easy to make his hikari happy. Almost as easy as to make him sad. "If Grandfather agrees too, of course."

"Of course." Yugi beamed, probably because he already knew his grandfather would say 'yes'.

They walked on in silence, both of them content not to speak any more. Until Yugi eyed him hesitantly, a question in his gaze.

"What is it, aibou?"

"Well," Yugi bit his lip. "Bakura will be there too, you know."

Yami shrugged, more indifferently than he actually felt. "If he behaves, that won't be a problem with me." Of course, the Tombrobber wouldn't behave ; he never did. Fortunately, Yami would be there to put him back in his place. Ryou obviously couldn't.

"You and him don't get along very well." Yugi remarked. Yami fought down the urge to snort. "Maybe you should stay home. I mean, you'd just get bored if you came. And Ryou gets upset when you and Bakura fight."

"NO!" He hadn't meant to yell like that, truly, he hadn't. But the thought of Yugi, being in one room with that ... that Tombrobber, without Yami there to protect him ... unacceptable.

How could Yugi even consider a thing like that?

"I'll ... do my best to keep the peace." He offered the promise as an apology.

"Thanks." Yugi murmured, letting his head hang in a gesture of regret. "Sorry if I made you feel unwanted. I really appreciate you being so concerned for me."

"There's no need for you to apologize, aibou." Yami gently reached out to raise Yugi's head. There was a guarded look in Yugi's eyes, as if he was hiding something. Yami chose to ignore it for the moment. "We are who we are ; you the gentle hikari who sees only the good in persons, and me the protective yami, who protects you."

Yugi nodded, his lips moving as if he wanted to say something more but didn't have the courage to. Yami quickly pulled back his hand as his mind wandered off again in a direction he didn't care for. He was in control of that side of himself.

-tbc-