Title: Dreaming of Crimson Eyes
Author: Sorceress Fantasia
Pairings: YY/Y, slight A/Y, mentions of S/J and Honda/Shizuka and past J/M
Warnings: slight angst, sap, romance
Disclaimer: I tried to lure Yugi over to me with some really good cards, but Yami came and snatched him back. He took the cards too. So no, I don't own the YGO anime or characters in any way.
Summary: Yami has gone back to the past to assume the throne, leaving Yugi and his friends behind in the present. Memories of him are wiped out in everyone's minds, but Yami cannot forget any of them, especially Yugi.
He blinked. Was somebody calling him? But it wasn't possible, was it? He wasn't the pharaoh; at least, not anymore. He had been a great pharaoh some 5000 years ago, sacrificing himself to seal the shadow powers back to where it belonged. It wasn't as bad as it sounded, actually. By giving up his life, he was given a new one, one where he lived in Japan as Yami Mutou, best duelist in the world who was surrounded by close friends and a little aibou. Speaking of which, where were they all?
It was probably morning, judging from the warmth that came from the sun peeking into the room, lighting it up. And even though morning meant time for school, better known as the diabolical institute where people made you learn things you probably had no use for in the future, he didn't really mind it too much. After all, it also meant waking up with his aibou in his arms, who had the tendency to snuggle closer to get away from the light. Maybe he could kiss him awake?
Right, that sounded like a good, if not delicious, idea. Yugi's lips were sweeter than wine and softer than silk; he reckoned it was how ambrosia would taste like. Oh yes, he would do just that...
He jumped up in his seat with a start, and if the chair he was sitting on were any lighter, it would probably have toppled to the side. Yami blinked his bleary eyes, trying hard to see just what was happening. Slowly, his vision focused and to his surprise, Sugoroku was standing before his table with his arms akimbo and looking quite disturbed. Actually, it was more of a cross between sheer irritation and concern, but Yami could not be bothered about that.
"What is it, Sugoroku jii-san?"
The old man frowned. "Sugoroku jii-san? Your highness, I'm Shimon, your advisor."
Yami blinked harder for a moment, only to slump in his chair when realization finally dawned on him like a punch to the face.
"Ye... Yes, Shimon. Is there anything you need?" His voice was lethargic and weary in a way that Shimon could tell it wasn't just a physical thing; the pharaoh was unhappy about something and it disturbed him.
Still, he was hardly in any position to force the young king to tell him anything, unless he volunteered that piece of information himself, which was highly unlikely. Royalty, as he had gathered over the years while in service to the pharaohs, were mostly very secretive about whatever bothered them.
"I noticed that your highness has been rather... tired lately. You fell asleep at your table earlier, even. Perhaps you should take a break and go to bed early today?" Shimon suggested meekly. "I can cancel the meeting we were supposed to have later in the evening. We could always schedule it for another day; it's not that important."
"Aa. I think I'll take your suggestion. Arrange for it; I'll be in my room if you need me," Yami answered, waving the old man off before leaving for his own bedroom which was quickly becoming his refuge in this world. It was ironic, really, when once he had deemed sleep useless; it only served to keep him away from his work. But now, he wanted to sleep for as long as he could for it was the closest thing to seeing his friends again.
Yet he knew that everything he saw in his sleep were merely dreams, mere figments of his over-active imagination that served only to torment him further.
Yami strode through the corridors that led to his bedchambers, and he noticed, not for the first time, that everyone that run from the servants and slaves to people present in his court all shied away from him. It was like the seas parting to make way for him to pass through. Perhaps were it any other person, he would have felt an odd sense of satisfaction and even arrogance to be respected so, to be able to wield such power over others. To Yami, however, all he felt was an overwhelming sense of loss and loneliness. Was there no one who would walk beside him?
He didn't bother asking for an answer, for he knew what it would undoubtedly be.
Reaching the huge doors of his sanctuary, he gave the guards who had been standing just outside a look, and they quickly caught on. Immediately, they pushed the doors open and closed it again when Yami entered, giving him the privacy only he could have.
For a moment, he just stood at the threshold, eyes darting across the room in search of something, someone. He sighed knowingly when he found nothing. It was silly of him to keep looking in the shadows for his light. Light existed only under the sun, never in the dark. Yami knew that, but it did not stop him from looking up whenever he saw something move in the shadows, hoping against hope that he would see the one haunting his dreams standing there, welcoming him with a smile.
He missed Yugi.
And he missed everyone else too. He missed seeing Jou's fierce determination in a duel and the wide grin whenever he won; he missed Honda's encouragement and Anzu's cheering by the side; he missed Ryou's soft words and soothing smiles; he even missed Kaiba's sneer and Mokuba's sheer adoration for his brother.
But most of all, he missed Yugi. His hikari and his other half.
If there were any words to describe how much he missed Yugi, he didn't know where to start. It was a suffocating want that crushed him painfully without relief. His heart ached whenever he thought of Yugi, his little hikari who always managed to make him feel happy despite everything, managed to teach him how to forgive even the most undeserving, and managed to love him even when he was nothing but a spirit.
Yet, Yami knew that he had made the right decision to leave Yugi behind in his own world. It wouldn't be fair to Yugi if he were to bring him to ancient Egypt.
"Are you sure, my pharaoh?"
Yami stifled a gasp and spun on his heels to his side. Upon seeing who it was, his crimson eyes narrowed dangerously.
The man nodded silently. It irked Yami to see him always so calm and cool; Shadi's expression never changed even when he was telling him that he needed to come back to ancient Egypt and take the throne once more or the kingdom would probably fall apart. It had been several months ago when that happened, but Yami knew that he would probably never forget the moment Shadi stood before him and Yugi, telling them the words that would tear them apart forever.
Shadi had told him that he had a choice, that he could choose to take Yugi with him back to Egypt. But Yami knew better; it would be unfair to Yugi to take him along, thereby forcing his light to abandon his grandfather, his friends and his life. He knew that if he had chosen to take his light with him, Yugi would one day learn to hate him for that. That thought was enough to freeze him in whatever he was doing.
At least, Shadi had wiped out all memories of Yami in Yugi's world, so his aibou would not even miss him. After all, how did you miss someone you never knew? But it hurt. It hurt to know that the love of his life did not remember him, did not remember how they had fallen so desperately in love and did not even think of him like he did. The thought that it was for Yugi's good did make him feel minutely better, but it did not ease the pain completely, and Yami was left to remember everything that had ever happened between the two of them and grasp at only his memories.
"Why are you here?" he asked, something akin to venom lacing his every word. It wasn't Shadi's fault that he had to come back to be pharaoh, his voice of reason told him, but that did not help to keep his rage for this man in check.
Shadi did not bat an eye at the glare. "I've seen you pining away for him, my pharaoh. It is unhealthy for you to think so much about him and not getting enough rest. Are you sure you've made the right choice?"
If anything, that only served to infuriate Yami even more.
"That wasn't a choice! I had to leave Yugi behind! How could I force him to forsake everything he had in his world, a world that is much more advanced and comfortable, to come here to this hellhole?" he yelled, turning around and stomping deeper into his room. His eyes, the colour of fire, seemed to be smoldering as he peered outside, into the deep blue skies.
For a while, everything was so quiet within that Yami thought Shadi had left again, the way he had after he brought him here. Left without another word, like he didn't care about anything at all. Then Shadi spoke.
"Would you like to see him again? For one last time, since you are so set on leaving him there?"
Yami blinked. "You... you can do that?"
Shadi nodded, his features still in that calm and cool expression. "If you wish to."
"I want to. I need to see him again... even if he can't remember me..." He almost sounded like broken doll, his voice so forlorn.
"Then you shall see him, in your mind's eyes," the blue-eyed man stated.
Suddenly, a bright glow forced Yami to close his eyes, and then, everything went dark.
When he opened his eyes, Yami found himself in his room again. No, not his room. It was their room: his and Yugi's. He let out a breath he did not know he was holding when he saw that nothing had changed. Posters featuring the dark magician were still adorning the otherwise plain white walls, and the kuriboh plushie still sat quietly on their bed like a silent protector. And strangely enough, there were still two sets of everything in the room; two chairs, two cushions, two table lamps... Yami remembered how Sugoroku jii- san had wanted to clear out the guest room for him when he first separated from Yugi, but the two of them had protested loudly and eventually coaxed him to let them share Yugi's room.
His things were still in Yugi's room...
Suddenly, the door opened and Yami felt his heart constrict when he saw Yugi coming in. He had dreamed of his love so many times while alone in his bed in Egypt, but as cliché as it sounded, it was nothing compared to seeing Yugi in the flesh. He had not changed a bit, still looking as beautiful as Yami had remembered him to be. The violet eyes that had been his downfall had not lost its glimmer one bit, and the cherry lips still looked so very appealing. But the thing that attracted Yami the most was the halo of light that always surrounded Yugi seemed even brighter than he remembered.
He was beautiful, almost painfully so. And Yami wanted him so much.
"Yugi!" he yelled, reaching out to take his lover's hand.
But Yami's fingers passed through Yugi like he was but a ghost, and Yugi walked by him without a glance. It was like he wasn't even there in the same room. And Shadi's last words resounded in his mind.
"Then you shall see him, in your mind's eyes."
Did that mean that he was looking at this world in his mind? He wasn't technically in Domino City with a physical form; rather, he was only there in spirit. Which meant that he would not be able to talk with anyone there. Yami sighed. Trust Shadi to play around with his words.
But as he looked at Yugi and Jou (when had Jou entered the room?) nudging at each other and laughing, looking without a care in the world, Yami knew that perhaps it was for the better. He did not know how well he would take to the fact that Yugi and Jou did not remember him at all.
"Hey Yuge," Jou said while Yugi was shuffling his Duel Monster cards, his own deck in his hands. Yami noticed the look on his face; his friend was concerned about something.
"What is it?"
"You know..." He fiddled with his cards.
"Know what?" Yugi asked, looking almost amused.
"Why is that you're not dating anyone?"
Yami felt something crack within his mind. If he could, he would have fixed his blonde friend with a glare and watch him melt like ice cream in an oven.
"What do you mean? Why do I have to date someone?" Yugi replied, knitting his brows together. His hands had stopped shuffling, and one could almost see the numerous question marks that were springing him in his mind.
"I mean... Yuge, you're in high school. It's when people date everyone!" –he rolled his eyes- "And now that I'm dating Seto and Honda's dating Shizuka, I figured it was high time you found someone too."
Yami blinked. When had the couples gotten together? And just what did Honda do to get Jou's permission to date his sister? He had always thought that nothing short of a war would make Jou give in. Maybe Honda had... No. It was more likely that Shizuka had threatened Jou to let her date Honda. At that thought, he grinned, but at the same time, he also felt a pang of guilt. He hadn't been there to see his friends get together. He wasn't too surprised to hear about Jou and Kaiba though; he had always known that it was going to happen one day. There were just so many hints, both subtle and obvious, around the two that he would have to either blind or very dense to not see it coming a mile away.
"So I'm dateless, but so is Anzu. Why don't you try matchmaking her instead?"
"Exactly!" Jou flash a grin that meant that he had something in store. Both Yami and Yugi frowned at that; whatever it was, it probably wasn't any good.
"So why don't you and Anzu start dating? You like her, don't you? And I know for a fact that she likes you too, so it's a win-win situation!"
Yami felt his heart still, and the crack that had appeared earlier was certainly getting worse, blossoming like a spider's web. He peered at Yugi, hoping that he would reject the silly idea. Yet, he knew that it wasn't quite possible. After all, Yugi did not remember him, the one he had loved deeply, and with him gone, it was likely that Yugi's crush on Anzu would resurface. And the girl always did harbour a crush on his aibou for as long as he could remember. He scowled.
"I don't know about that..." Yugi replied meekly, shifting uncomfortably.
"Don't be shy! We all know how Anzu feels about you!"
"But what she feels for me and what I feel for her are two entirely different things!" he exclaimed, and his expression quickly melted away, looking like a deer in headlights. He sighed. "I don't know how I feel about her. Not anymore."
Despite knowing that it was a completely evil thing to do, Yami did a mental cheer. Even if he was certain that Yugi would one day fall in love again with someone else and probably get married, he did not want it to happen just yet. At least, not when he was still around to see it.
'I'd go crazy if I saw it...' he thought. 'And maybe that woman would lose a limb or two.'
Jou gaped like a fish out of water. But before he could say something (not that he knew what to), Yugi continued.
"Jou... do you feel apologetic towards Mai? It wasn't really... fair for you to choose Seto over her."
The blonde looked away. "I couldn't help it; I love Seto. If I chose Mai, it would be nothing but a lie and what would happen to the three of us? All stuck in a broken relationship..." he laughed desolately, running a hand through his bangs, messing it up further. Yugi's comment had hit home, for it was something he had considered back then, when the three of them had been ensnarled in an accursed love triangle. He remembered the confusion: would he be better off choosing Mai since she was a female and males were supposed to love them anyway? Or would it be better if he were to choose the one he loved more?
Something seemed to click in Yugi.
"I guess so. There's nothing fair about love, is there? I mean... after all, there're so many times when you just can't find any explanation for how and what you feel. It's like... liking someone whom you know you will never have a future with, but you just can't help falling in love. And at the same time, there's someone by your side who loves you deeply, someone you know is willing to stay with you forever and yet you just can't return the feelings."
"Hey Yuge... you okay? You say it like it's real..." The tone that Yugi used frightened Jou. He had never heard his best friend so strangely... despondent and resigned. It wasn't like the Yugi he knew.
"Maybe," Yugi replied, leaning back against the frame of his bed and half burying his face into his knees. His large violet eyes were glazed over, looking far off into a distance. "I... I had a dream. I don't know when it happened, or how it did. I can't even remember what exactly happened in that dream. It was... more like a vision that came to me all of a sudden, catching me completely off guard.
"But..." he took a deep breath and sighed, as though willing himself to continue, "...one thing I couldn't forget was the pair of clear eyes I saw. That pair of cold, lonely and yet seemingly all-knowing red eyes... No, not just red. It was a beautiful myriad of red shades: crimson at times and scarlet at others. Even though it was the colour of fire, it was colder and harder than ice. Yet, when they looked at me, I felt this... bizarre warmth seeping into me. It could be the warmth of his body, because he was holding me so tightly as though he were afraid if he let go, I would just disappear. But it's not just that because I could feel this... warmth, this strength, this tenderness in his eyes as well. It's like... we're conversing without words.
"They were so sharp and penetrating, like they could see every thought that ran through my mind and even my entire being. But I wasn't scared. Not at all. Instead, I felt safer than I've ever been." – he gave a self- deprecating smile- "Strange, aren't I? Feeling safe under that sort of intense scrutiny."
"No, not really. You said it; you just can't explain how you feel sometimes." Jou managed a small grin, but it was easy to tell that he was slightly shaken.
Whether Yugi was convinced or not, he nodded.
"On the other hand, Anzu's eyes contain nothing but unconditional love and acceptance. In her eyes, nothing is more important than me. I can rob, steal or even kill someone, and she'd still love me. Maybe she'd get mad at me or yell at me sometimes, but it doesn't change the fact that she loves me. I think... that if we were to get together, we'd both be happy. But..."
"I still can't forget the crimson eyes I saw in my dreams. Even if there's no future for us, or perhaps we cannot even have something now, in the present... I just can't let go of it."
Jou looked contemplative. "Your dream... Apart from the eyes, what else do you remember about it?"
"Warmth," Yugi answered without hesitation. "The dream was a little sour, but it was also very, very sweet and I felt so complete, so happy. But then, it became so bitter I almost cried. Maybe it's because I was about to wake up, but I didn't want to go."
"You didn't see his face?"
"No, I didn't. But there wasn't a need to; everything I need to know were in those crimson eyes."
The blonde boy looked down, biting his bottom lip in deep contemplation. If it were any other person telling him what Yugi had told him, he would have shrugged it off as nothing more than a joke. But this was Yugi, and Yugi never lied to his friends. Suddenly, Jou felt himself losing his best friend. He looked up again, his lips taut in determination.
"If... just if. If you had a choice, would you choose to go back to the dream?"
"I would. Definitely." Yugi's answer was instantaneous.
"Even if you might never wake up again?"
Yugi nodded again. "Yeah... because that dream has become more real for me than this world. I want to continue sleeping and dreaming that dream for as long as I can."
"You're willing to give up this world, your life, your friends, your family and your everything... just for that dream?" Jou asked in a whisper, almost sounding like he was afraid to break something, anything, in the air.
The violet-eyed boy did not answer for a moment. Instead, he looked at his friend straight in the eyes. He had been unsure of himself in the beginning, when he first had the dream. And he was still uncertain when he started to talk to Jou about it. But now, he knew what he wanted, what he needed. What he needed to give up seemed like such an insignificant thing in comparison to what he would receive in return.
"The eyes were so penetrative when they looked at me, like they saw through every fiber of my being. I think that... I will never find another person who knows me as well as this person do, even if it's you or Anzu. That's why... I want to be with this person. I don't care even if I have to dream on forever and never wake up."
Jou looked away.
Something inside him had changed in the short conversation between Yugi and Jou, and Yami knew it. An old sensation that was renewed and freshened traveled in his body like a gash of adrenaline, and he shivered in its wake. Yet it wasn't uncomfortable. Not at all.
In fact, it was very cozy, like waves of warm water lapping at him gently.
It was the same feeling he got whenever he lay lazily in bed with Yugi, basking in the afterglow of their love and having their bodies pressed together like pieces of the same puzzle.
He still remembered the way Yugi would gaze at him with his big violet eyes so very tenderly, all his love there for him to see. His eyes were open, much like his heart.
And he would always try to project what he felt for Yugi in his eyes as well, but he knew that he would never be able to do it as well as Yugi did. Yugi never said anything though; instead, he would smile widely, and snuggle deeper into his embrace.
He had a feeling Yugi always knew.
Yami opened his eyes.
He was back in the palace. The sun was still hanging high in the sky, which meant that he had not been gone for long. Good, Yami thought. It wouldn't do if the palace were in uproar, thinking that the pharaoh had been kidnapped or something of that sort.
Shadi stood before him with his signature expression on his face. But suddenly, to Yami's surprise, the man smiled faintly.
"I believe you've seen enough," Shadi noted with an almost non-existent smugness in his voice. "Even though Yugi does not remember everything, he still remembers there had been someone he loved. That's why he does not move the furniture in his room, and why he dreams of crimson eyes. Subconsciously, the memories of your love stayed with him."
"Aa," Yami responded, but said nothing more. What more could he say, anyway?
"So would you like to reconsider your choice?"
He snapped his head up, almost certain that he would find nothing but deceit, but Shadi's eyes were sincere and truthful.
"Would you like to bring Yugi here?"
Yugi, his consort, ruling by his side. He would finally be able to show Yugi his world, the world he had told him so much about, and give him everything he could not when he had been merely Yami Mutou. As Pharaoh Atemu, he was in a completely differently social position. As the living embodiment of god, he had everything to offer Yugi. Gold and silver, rubies and emeralds, silk... he had so much to offer his love here in Egypt. And they could get married officially without any problems, with a wedding to be hailed as the biggest royal affair ever to grace the kingdom. Yugi would walk beside him, when no one else would.
But there was Sugoroku jii-san. Would he be able to deal with the loss of his only grandson? And he had to consider their friends too. What would happen to Jou, Honda and Anzu without Yugi by their side? Yugi had changed them all; would they go back to what they were without him around? And would Yugi miss everyone?
Then a stray sentence echoed in his mind.
"I want to be with this person. I don't care even if I have to dream on forever and never wake up."
Shadi's faint smile grew wider. "And it shall be done."
There was a familiar warm glow again, and Yami closed his eyes.
He opened his eyes again, tentatively at first, but they flew open when the glow before started to take shape. That silhouette... he would remember it anywhere. So much like his own.
Yugi was there all of a sudden, the light quickly dissipating like a swirl of smoke. He was dressed in his favourite leather ensemble, sticking out like a sore thumb in ancient Egypt.
But to Yami, it merely accentuated his loveliness. Nothing could ever dim the angelic aura that surrounded Yugi, and the anachronism of his love was nothing important. Too impatient for words, he quickly lunged forward to wrap his arms around Yugi, afraid of letting go again. He had done it once, and it hurt too much. Tears run down his cheeks; he had months' worth of pain bottled up within him, and seeing Yugi had just pulled the cork off.
Eventually, he choked, "Yugi!"
Yugi gasped when he opened his eyes, his first taste of a completely new world. Just where was he? As far as he remembered, he was dueling Jou... But all the confusion in his mind melted away when he felt himself pulled into an embrace that he had missed sorely, almost achingly so.
It was as though he had never forgotten.
"Yugi... Yugi..." Yami buried his face into the dark tresses of his love.
From his position, he spied Shadi smirking faintly, a distance behind Yami. When their eyes met, Shadi turned away and left, his form fading away like an apparition. And Yugi suddenly understood everything. Feeling his lover's desperation, he snuggled closer, knowing how much he wanted this, needed this. Yugi returned the embrace he was so freely given, feeling tears coming to his eyes. How much had he longed for this again?
For a long while, the reunited lovers just stood there, drowning in the ecstasy that engulfed them both. Their hands danced across each other's skin in whispers; there was no need to rush. After all, they would have each other for the rest of their lives and perhaps even the afterlife.
Finally, Yami stepped back to gaze at Yugi, his arms still holding Yugi close.
"I love you, but I will not deny you a choice. Yugi, will be stay with me forever? But if you do, you will never be able to return to your time and your grandfather and everyone else and..."
His words were cut off with a delicious kiss that sent waves of pleasure coursing through his body. It was a chaste kiss, nothing more than the simple act of pressing their lips together, but Yami could still see fireworks behind his eyes. It was far more pleasurable than rain conquering a dry hot desert, and how he longed for more.
When Yugi broke off, he moaned, eliciting a soft giggle from his young love.
"Yami, that world... is nothing more than a dream. It was nice while it lasted, but when I wake up, I want to be here. Here, this place," – Yugi smiled – "is the real thing now. I want to wake up here everyday for the rest of my life. I love you."
Suddenly, all the uncertainties Yami had felt earlier were swept away like a broken twig in a torrent. He laughed at himself; how had a simple statement of love banished every seemingly logical argument to leave Yugi behind so easily?
"You don't ever have to dream again, because I will always be there for you," he stated, determination shining in his eyes.
Yugi nodded with a tearful smile. "I won't be dreaming of your eyes anymore, Yami, because I can see it everyday of my life now."
"Yes, I promise that we will be together everyday. Walk by my side, Yugi, and rule Egypt with me."
Yugi answered with another kiss, but this time, the passion that had been suppressed for so many months overflowed, taking both of them into a whirlwind of emotions. They would never let go of each other again.