Introduction: Hello again, readers everywhere! After much hard work and dedication, I've dipped into my vast file of ideas and once again taken it upon my self to write some more fanfiction! This here is my first "Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters" story, complete with a little comedy, some cool dueling action, peppered with just a fair bit of romance! All in all, I hope that these qualities will combine to result in a story that I hope will be more entertaining than my original "Yu-Gi-Oh!" fanfic…

Disclaimer: If you truly believe that I own "Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters", you're dreamin'!

Long ago, when the pyramids were still young, Egyptian kings played a game of great and terrible power. But these "Shadow Games" errupted into a war that threatened to the destroy the entire world, until a brave and powerful Pharoah locked the magic away...imprisoning it within the mystical Millennium Items. Now, five thousand years later, a boy named Yugi unlockes the secret of the Millennium Puzzle. He is infused with ancient magical energies, for destiny has chosen him to defend the world from the return of the Shadow Games, just as the brave Pharoah did...five thousand years ago...

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters - Birthday Battle

Chapter 1 - Presenting a Present

It was a beautiful spring day in Domino City, with people hurrying about, going every which way, and tending to one variety of business or another. To every person, their own business demanded dominance over others, taking the rank of "top priority" in their minds. And to a young male teen by the name of Yugi Moto, that belief and philosophy was no exception.

In the Domino City Mall, business certainly is the name of the game, for that is the purpose of malls. But for Yugi, who had won the "King of Games" title, this "business game" was certainly giving him a run for his money, which was also another huge factor that was occupying his mind.

The short teenager ran his hand through his red highlighted, black spiky hair and exhaled. Though his yellow bangs partially covered up his vision of the store window, it mattered little. There was nothing in that store which he particularly desired.

"Hmm…" Yugi went. "Nah, she probably wouldn't like that anyway."

The "she" in question just happened to be one of Yugi's closest friends, if not THE closest. Her name was Téa Gardner, a teenage girl about his age with short brown hair and blue eyes. Graceful, caring and sweet, how could an equally kindhearted boy like Yugi NOT admire her?

But getting to the point, it was getting close to her birthday. And the problem? Yugi couldn't figure out what to buy her. It was strange. The two of then knew each other pretty well…so why couldn't he think of something suitable to get her?

"Hey, Yuge!" said a voice. Yugi turned his head and saw his friend, Joey Wheeler waving to him from not too far away. The shorthaired blonde gave a hand gesture for Yugi to come towards him.

"Finished, Joey?" Yugi asked.

"Yep, all set! Tristan and I are done shoppin' here! How 'bout you?"

"Uh…I still can't find anything good enough for her…"

"AHHH!" Joey griped, grabbing the back of his head in frustration. "C'mon, man...buyin' a present ain't DAT hard! You just find somethin', buy it, wrap it, and give to her with your blessings! What more is there ta think about?!"

"Lay off, Joe!" said a "heavier" voice.

Both boys looked behind them and saw a much taller guy, Tristan Taylor. Their friend sighed and ran his hand along his pyramid-brownish-shaped hairstyle on top of his head.

"Lay off?" Joey asked.

"Yeah, bro…if Yugi wants to take his time finding a nice present for Téa, then let him do it! It's kinda sweet that he wants to make sure that his gift stands out from all the others!" Tristan said, winking at Yugi.

"Whoa, hold on there a second, Tristan!" Yugi almost panicked, putting up his hands in protest. "You got it all wrong! I…I just wanna find something that she'll really like, that's all!"

"Same diff," Joey quipped.

About twenty minutes later, Yugi, Joey, and Tristan had departed and went their separate ways to go home. The sun had just started to go down, setting the stage for a peaceful, quiet evening, but all was not well. Not for Yugi, anyway.

He sighed to himself, and hung his head down. Granted, Téa's birthday was still a week away, but time was running out. And the big "B-Day" would be there before Yugi knew it. This only amplified the fact that he hadn't yet bought an appropriate present for Téa.

His friends had already found some acceptable birthday gifts. Joey bought Téa some Duel Monsters booster packs, as well as some rare cards that she'd been itching to get her hands on, and Tristan bought her a new blouse and skirt that she meant to buy a while back, but didn't have the money for.

Boy, Téa's so nice and caring, Yugi thought. One moment she can be awfully sweet, sensitive, and…cute…and the next she can prove to be just as determined and serious as anyone else. What kind of gift do you buy for a girl like that? I've known her for so long...I should know what to buy her!

"But…I don't," he said to himself.

"Don't what?" interrupted a high pitched, sickly sweet, female voice.

"ACK!!" Yugi went, jumping a foot in the air, out of surprise.

He turned his head and saw a tall blonde beauty, dressed in a purple leather outfit, standing before him. It was a fellow duelist that he befriended at Maximillion Pegasus's Duelist Kingdom competition.


"Mai Valentine, at your service," she said cheerfully, cutely winking.

"Oh, hi!"

"Hi yourself, 'Yuge-ster!' How are things, hon?"

"Uh…things are okay, I guess."

"Just okay?"

"Ah…well…you see, Téa's birthday is coming up, and-"

"Oh, yeah! I got an invitation, too! Though I gotta admit…I was a little surprised that Téa even thought to invite me…"

"You shouldn't be," Yugi stated with a smile. "Even after all ups and downs that you've been through with me, Joey, and the others, you should know by now that you're our friend. A good friend."

Mai was a bit impressed at Yugi's kind words, which were nicely spoken.

"Why, Yugi…" she started to say, pretending to be embarrassed, "…you certainly know how to complement a girl! I do believe I'm blushing. Y'know…maybe YOU'RE the perfect guy for me."

"Wha?!" Yugi stammered, utterly flushed.

Mai lightly chuckled to herself. "Chill, hon. I'm only joking."

The two friends exchanged laughs and Mai started to walk alongside Yugi.

"So, Mai…ARE you coming to the party?" he asked.

"Well, I suppose I could…I had nothing planned that day anyway…"

"Didja get Téa a present yet?"

"Why…yes, actually. Check this out."

The pair stopped walking and Mai held up a fancy black paper bag from the mall. Mai had obviously just been shopping there, as well. Yugi kept looking as she held up a small black box and a clear crystal-like bottle, full of a dark reddish liquid. On top was a tiny hose.

"Wow! Is that-"

"Yep! Some perfume and a makeup kit!"

"I thought I could help Téa bring out more of that 'inner beauty' of hers. So I'm hoping that these might help."

Gee, Yugi thought. That's actually a pretty good present. I would never have thought to buy Téa something like that...but then again, Téa's already beautiful enough without any makeup…

"Um, yeah…they just might," Yugi said, in response to Mai. "But I know Téa will appreciate it, no matter what."

"Thanks, Yugi! Well, I must be going now, SO much to do! See ya!"

Mai winked again and blew him a kiss before running off. Yugi waved to her as she left. But then he sighed once more, as he still couldn't think of a great gift to buy for Téa.

"Hello! Yugi! Hey!" yelled a "light" voice.

Yugi turned his head to see a young man about his age with long white hair (with a pale purple tint) running from behind. It was one of his classmates and good friends, Bakura.

"Bakura! Hey there!" Yugi exclaimed.

"I saw you up ahead and I thought I'd chat with you for a second."

"Sure, no problem. Let's sit down."

Yugi led Bakura to a nearby bench, with a vending machine next to it. So the two of then decided to rest for a moment and have a (soft) drink.

Nothing was said for a few more moments until Yugi noticed a small thin bag in Bakura's hand.

"Hey…what's that, Bakura?"

"Hm? This? Oh…it's Téa's birthday present…"

Another one? Boy, it seemed that everybody BUT Yugi had found an appropriate gift for Téa!

"Can I see it?"

"Sure, Yugi. Here…"

Yugi took the bag in his hands, and carefully pulled out the object inside.

"A book?"

"Mm-hm," Bakura replied, nodding.

Yugi took a look at the cover.

"Hmm…'The Ring of a Thousand Lights'?" he read.

"Yes…" Bakura said, smiling. "It's one of my favorite books, and also a best-seller. But they're only sold in my hometown. It's a book full of short and long poems, as well as short stories. It's a most unique piece of literature, and I thought that Téa would like it."

"I'm sure she will! Téa enjoys reading!"

"Well, then…I guess I'm safe!" Bakura gently joked. He began to chuckle.

Yugi laughed a little too, and took another sip from his soda can.

"What about you, Yugi?"


"I mean…what have YOU bought for Téa?"

"Uh…well, actually…"

Yugi didn't feel like lying to a kind soul such as Bakura's, but his friend was also once another carrier of one of the seven legendary Egyptian Millennium Items. (Actually, Bakura still was, but Yugi wasn't aware of this fact…yet.) Although Bakura's Millennium Ring had started trouble for Yugi and the rest of his friends once or twice, a solution always came about.

Maybe a former Millennium Item owner could help me out, Yugi thought. Bakura does seem to have good ideas and advice at times…



"To tell you the truth, I've haven't been able to find a good enough present for Téa."

"Oh, really?"

"Yeah…" Yugi said with a frown on his face. "I just can't think of anything suitable."

"My…it's all rather ironic, if you think about it," Bakura noted. "You know her better than the rest of us, right?"

"I guess…I mean…yeah, of course!"

"Trust me, Yugi…Téa's a sweet girl. I'm sure she'll like whatever you give her. Remember, it's the thought that counts…it's the giver, not the actual gift."

Yugi began to smile again and nodded.

"You're right, Bakura! Téa is a reasonable girl! She'll love whatever I give her!"

"There you go, Yugi!"

"And besides, I-oh, wait! What time is it?!"

"Hmm…" went Bakura, looking at his watch. "A little after six, I guess."

"Shoot! I promised Grandpa I'd be home in time for dinner!"

"Great Scott! You'd best hurry home, then!"

"Right! See ya, Bakura!" exclaimed Yugi, hopping off the bench. "And thanks for listening!"

Bakura stood up, closed his eyes and kept smiling. "Anytime, Yugi!"

As short as he was, Yugi was already running far into the distance. But he turned around one more time to wave to Bakura.

"I'll catch you tomorrow at school!" he yelled.

"Later!" he said, cheerfully waving back.

As soon Yugi was out of sight, Bakura took a deep breath, and looked up at the sky. The colors up above were starting to darken rapidly. To the young teen, the colors looked so amazing, so unique…


A dark shadow appeared over Bakura's face while his eyes narrowed, and his mouth curled into an extremely nasty grin while a faint gold glow appeared under his shirt. The centuries old Millennium Ring which he secretly – and somewhat unknowingly – wore began to glow brighter until it appeared OVER his shirt, yet still attached around his neck.

Almost as if it was part of some chain reaction, two thick strands of hair from both sides of his head stuck up on their own…almost resembling devil's horns.

The dark, evil and powerful energies contained inside the Ring activated without warning, and the even more malicious sprit within the Egyptian artifact manifested itself inside Bakura's body, using him as a host. Literally no longer the person he was a few seconds ago, the evil spirit spoke to himself, in a low, gravelly voice which bore nothing but anger, hatred and the persistent intent of conquest.

(The spirit inhabiting) Bakura chuckled to himself. Yugi was so naive, so innocent...and so unsuspecting of what was to come, especially regarding the fate of his Puzzle, as far as the evil spirit was concerned. He stood by his earlier opinion on modern-day humans…they were fun to toy with.

"Enjoy your freedom, little Yugi…while it lasts! For that will only be one of many things you shall lose when I have everything I want! Including the priceless artifact worn around your scrawny neck! I will strike when you least expect it, and then your Millennium Puzzle will soon be MINE! Once I gather all seven of the Millennium Items, they will grant me the ultimate power which will be mine to command…and the world will tremble at my feet!! HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!!"

Once more, the being that controlled Bakura's body titled his head up towards the darkening sky…and cackled into the night.

A soon as Yugi got home, he rested for a few minutes in his room before his grandpa would call him down for dinner. Immediately the weight of the "pendant" hanging from around his neck started to manifest itself. Yugi looked at the upside-down pyramid-shaped object he was wearing. He removed the golden Millennium Puzzle from his neck, and carefully put it down on his bed. But he couldn't tear his eyes from the front of it.

The strange symbol, which resembled some sort of eye, had always caught Yugi's attention. It was usually the first thing to notice if he ever encountered another Millennium Item. And then there was the somewhat enigmatic spirit living inside it, sort of like a genie inside a bottle.

Not many knew about "him", and even his grandfather was only somewhat aware of it. All the same, the spirit was blessed with a heart of gold and a special seed of goodness coursing through his personality, much like Yugi himself. Maybe that was one of the reasons that the two of them worked together so well.

Whenever the stakes were high, the Puzzle's ancient powers would activate, and Yugi's body, mind, and spirit would merge with that of the being living inside the Egyptian artifact. Acting as one, they would overcome any and every menace that would oppose them.

But even though Yugi greatly appreciated everything the spirit had done for him, "he" would only appear if any malicious acts occurred, usually directed at him. And Yugi hoped a lot that there wouldn't be too much use for the spirit to appear to defeat some, crook, punk, or other evil spirit.

However, this wasn't the spirit's only function. Once in a while he would appear outside the Puzzle, and separate from Yugi, in a transparent form. He'd be there to give Yugi personal advice, counseling, and guidance, almost like an imaginary friend. But Yugi knew full well that the magic of his Millennium Item was anything but imaginary.

And this was one of those times that he chose to appear.

"Yugi…" he said in a friendly greeting voice.

"Oh, hey..." was all Yugi could say. Even now, the spirit still had the capacity to startle him at times.

The two of them chatted for a moment, but the spirit could always read Yugi's face like a book, usually able to coax him to reveal whatever was troubling him. Leaning against a wall, the sprit listened carefully as his young friend explained the trouble that he was having lately, and responded, apparently agreeing with Bakura's opinion.

"Téa is an intelligent girl, and she'd count not how much money or glamour you put into the gift you bought her, but care about how much heart you put into the gift…how much you thought of her when you saw it."

"I guess," Yugi answered, half-heartedly.

"Do you remember what your grandfather said to you about the 'Heart of the Cards', Yugi?"

"Of course."

"Well, a lesson like that isn't just restricted to a card game…it's a lesson for your entire life. The 'Heart' applies itself to anything you do. So put your heart into whatever you choose to give her. And if you want my personal opinion…give her something that would really stand out, something unique, something that nobody else would ever think of. Something…that only you could give her."

"I…I'll try," Yugi said.

The spirit nodded and smiled warmly.

"Don't try to make your gift better than everyone else's…just make it the best present YOU can possibly give."

Solomon Moto, Yugi's grandfather, saw that his grandson was barely eating his dinner. While he didn't look depressed or sad, Yugi definitely seemed like he had a lot on his mind. This was normal for Yugi, but nevertheless, Solomon decided to ask.

"Yugi, what's wrong?" Solomon asked.

"What?" Yugi answered, hardly taking notice of anything.

"You seemed worried about something."

"Oh, it's nothing too serious…I'm just having some trouble finding a good birthday present for Téa. Y'know, her birthday is coming up."

"Well, Yugi…my shop has plenty of fun games and toys to choose from. And you know that anything I have is at your disposal."

"Really? Thanks, Grandpa! I just might take you up on that!"

Solomon Moto just chuckled, and nodded. Feeling a little more cheerful, Yugi did his best to maintain his composure, and took a big bite out of his dinner.

That's enough for now! I really hope that this fanfic will generate more reviews as it continues! Well, I'll be honest, I'm really not sure where to go from here, but worry not! I will figure out a way! And in case you haven't figured it out…yep, there will be some romance between Yugi and Téa, but not nearly as much as I squeezed into my previous Digimon fanfic! (I'm sorry, if that displeases anyone/everyone.)

Oh, btw…Dark Bakura is NOT the villain in this story! I only had him act that way in order to have him behave more naturally, which I try hard to do with everyone in my stories! Tell me if I successfully managed to keep everyone in character!

Here's an important note…every time you fail to send in a review, an angel clips its wings, so do them a favor, okay?

Sadly, that's all the time we have for now, so the sooner you send me your feedback, the sooner I can write the next chapter of this story! And that sounds too easy to be true, than it probably is! In addition, if anything I said makes sense, then you might need to have your head examined! Cuckoo! And adios!