A/N Well, the new system should make things interesting - I can actually remember to reply to everyone! So if you sign in and review, I'll make sure to answer everyone individually, okay?Also, you should go back and re-read chapter 15 - I made a few changes.

Thanks to Maggie for Beta-reading!


Chapter 16 - Rebirth

"Let me GO!" Yami heaved fruitlessly at the hands that held him fast; Marik smirked and Malik laughed darkly.

"Make us." The elder looked over at the Demon Lord. "My lord… shall we play with him for your amusement?"

"Please do." Azmodeous invited, leaning back and pulling Yugi into an embrace, claws digging into the flawless skin. "My little pet here can pleasure me while I watch."

Yami lunged for the Demon Lord, but was summarily thrown back as the two hunter demons shoved in unison. "Have to get past us first, little one." Marik mocked as he sidled towards Yami.

"Get the fuck off him." A black and white blur slammed into Marik. Bakura bit and clawed savagely at the hunter demon, teeth burying themselves to the gum as he clung to Marik, between his wings on his back. Marik growled, unable to reach more than Bakura's head, grabbing onto the white hair, the pair spinning in a macabre parody of a dance.

Malik moved to help his brother - Yami completely forgotten - when a bolt of rock-hard ice slammed into him. He fell, rolling back to his feet, eyes snapping around for the source of the attack. Joseph stood there, determination on his face, another icebolt forming between his hands.

Yami blinked in shock, now knowing who this demon was or why he would defy the Demon Lord to help him, when a touch on his shoulder made him spin.

A beautiful demoness, tearstains on her face, steadied him with a smile. "Come… Joseph will help hold them off. We must get Ludus from the Demon Lord." He nodded, turning to face Azmodeous with a snarl.

"Give him back."

"You want him?" The demon smirked. "Then you shall have him. Slave… kill him."

"NO!"

Yugi moved faster than sight, punching Yami in the face. Yami's head snapped around from the blow and he fell, more shocked than hurt as he rolled back to his feet, wings flaring for balance. It was obvious from the unshed tears in his mate's eyes that Yugi had no choice – and equally obvious he still had self-awareness. That was more then simply cruel – it was torture.

Yami had a horrible choice – kill his own mate, or allow himself to be beaten. He could feel the Shadows rising in automatic defence, but kept them back. He would not allow them to harm his beloved one.

Yugi attacked again; this time Yami saw it coming and managed to dodge, spinning around to keep the other in sight. With a howl of rage and raw agony, Yugi leapt on him again, teeth and claw at the fore. Yami fell, pinned, and the world became a whirl of blood and claws and teeth as Yugi ripped savagely at him. Ruined wings fluttered, spilling black demon blood over them both. Bitter liquid fell into his open mouth – he remembered the flavour from their mating ritual. Teeth bit into his arm; he cried out, and suddenly the mating bond snapped back into place with the suddenness of a dislocated limb. He gasped as horror and despair filled his soul from Yugi.

:I love you, Yami… kill me. Please.:

Somehow he managed to roll, pinning Yugi beneath him. :I can't: he protested. "I came her to rescue you.: Something dark and slimy tried to use their link as a portal, but the Shadows warded his mind.

:The only way to free me is to kill me. Please, beloved. I don't want to be a slave to him for the rest of my life.:

:No… there has to be another way.:

:There isn't. Yami, I'm begging you, do it. Let your darkness destroy me.:

'...together Darkness and Light can destroy a thing utterly and draw it anew from the ashes…'

Dark Magician's words echoed in his mind. He – who was the darkness… and the light. Yugi was the light.

He knew what he had to do. Closing his eyes, he leaned forward and kissed Yugi.

And he called the Shadows.

---- ------ ------

Marik finally managed to throw the gaki off his back, hissing at the pain of his quickly healing wounds. "That does it… no more fucking around." He reached for the Rod.

But his claw closed on open air. "What the fuck?"

"Looking for this?" The white-haired demon smirked, holding the Rod as he climbed to his feet.

"You…" Marik growled and prepared to leap. "Give that back – you have no idea how to use it."

"Bets?" the other asked calmly, holding out the Rod. "My name is Bakura… but at one time I was called the King of Thieves." The Rod flared and Marik found himself slammed into the wall. "I know how to use the Millennium Items, fool." Fangs showed in his smile. "I was there when they were made, after all."

Marik struggled against the magical bonds of the Rod. "Let me go, Anubis take you!"

"I don't think so." Bakura stalked closer; just as the room suddenly grew darker. Both demons turned to look at the source… shadows were wrapping around Yugi and Yami; a succubus was backing away, a look of shock and horror on her face. "What the fuck is he doing?" The white haired demon growled.

"Killing his mate." Marik smirked. "The only choice he has."

"Yami!" Bakura growled at the hunter demon. "Don't think we're done here… we still have a score to settle." He ran for the growing sphere of darkness; Marik struggled more, finally breaking free of the weakening magic.

"He is SO dead." He made to chase his opponent, but a thunderclap and a burst of lightening at his feet stopped him cold.

"Touch him and I fry you where you stand." Ryou promised in a cold voice, wings wide in threat, hands smouldering and sparking with the threat of another lightening strike.

----- ----- ------

Yami held Yugi close as the darkness ate away at his lover's body, destroying it particle by particle. "Hang on… it won't be much longer."

Yugi whimpered a little. :Hurts…:

:I know love… stay with me.: He clung to Yugi's spirit as the last of the atoms vanished, spiralling into the darkness. Light – it was so light, and hot enough to burn him, but he held tight, wings wrapping around them both. :Can you hear me:

:Yes…: Yugi's voice sounded vague – Yami had the sinking feeling that the only thing keeping his lover in this world was the bond between them.

:Don't go… you have to stay with me.: Yami's power surged as he called on the darkness to rebuild that which he had destroyed; his beloved's physical form.

:Try…: Yugi whispered as magic spun around them.

It was Yami's turn to whimper; the amount of power this took was almost painful. With the same slowness, atoms formed out of nothingness, rebuilding the demon's form, only healthy and new, the wings healed, body flawless as Yami remembered. Yami's limbs shook with the raw power channelling through him, along with the effort it took to keep Yugi's spirit from shredding and vanishing into the night. The light was dimming in his arms.

:Yugi:

:Yami…: Yugi's mind voice was a mere hint in Yami's mind. :Can't…:

:Yes you can: Yami gathered all his love and emotion, spinning it into a line, thick enough to hold Yugi in this world, and wrapped it around the fading spirit of his love, feeding now not with his power, but his own life-force. :You can't leave me! I'll die if you go… Please, Yugi: Behind them, Yugi's physical body was almost done.

:I love you…: Yugi whispered, and the soul in his arms suddenly wrapped around him, the heat filling him. He gasped as it passed inside his body, their souls mingling. For a timeless eternity they floated there; thoughts and souls as one, a perfect communion that defied words.

The last atom firmed in place on his mate's new body, but Yami didn't want to let Yugi go. He wanted it to be like this forever.

:It will, my beloved.: Yugi's voice twined through his being. :But if we stay like this, I can't fuck you silly.:

Yami blinked, then started to laugh. He was still laughing as Light burst from his body, surrounding and sinking into the new form across from him.

---- ----- ------ ----

No more than an instant had passed when the shadows around Yugi and Yami shredded into nothing as Light flooded the room, blinding everyone. Bakura skidded to a halt, cursing, trying to protect his eyes. The dazzle faded; he could see Yami and Yugi still on the floor, bodies intertwined, laughing and crying and kissing each other on every inch of skin they could reach.

And Yugi's wings were whole and untouched.

Bakura shook his head, trying to figure out what happened, but his reaction was nothing compared to the Demon Lord's.

"IMPOSSIBLE!" Azmodeous screamed. He could feel that he no longer had control of Yugi. "TAKE THEM!"

Malik and Marik were occupied, but a dozen more guards appeared from the shadows behind the throne, heading for the pair on the floor. Bakura ran for it, knowing he'd never make it on time.

He didn't have to. A howling wind picked up out of nowhere, blasting the guards off their feet; a moment later, a blinding blizzard swirled into existence. Bakura stumbled his way towards the pair on the floor. "Get up." He hissed.

"I can't." Yami whispered, barely able to be heard over the blizzard. Unlike Yugi, his wounds were still open and bleeding – his skin was pale and clammy as well. "No strength left."

"I can carry him, Bakura." Yugi interjected. "Can you get us out of here?"

"I'm going to have to, aren't I?" 'Kura looked around seeing that the pattern of snow and wind had changed, leaving them in a calm centre of the storm. "Hang on – have to wait for Ryou. I don't know how long I can hold a portal this close to the Demon Lord."

"Can we bring Mother and Father?" Yugi asked. "Azmodeous…"

"Yeah, I know." Kura reached into the swirling snow and grabbed a flailing arm, pulling Idra into the centre of the storm. "This your mom?"

"Yes." Yugi grinned as she dropped to her knees, wrapping her arms around both Yugi and Yami. A moment later, Ryou and Joseph joined them; around Ryou's neck hung a ring of gold with a pyramid and an eye hung in the centre and five pointers hanging from the outside. The pointers were glowing with a pale golden light, seemingly leading them to the middle.

"'Kura?" Ryou asked. The gaki nodded and closed his eyes, opening the portal. They could still hear the howling of the Demon Lord's impotent fury as they passed through, back to the human world.

--- --- ---- ----

Otogi watched the TV blandly – at least things had been quiet while the others were gone, though that was somewhat nerve wracking as well. At least the mortal's 'soap operas' were engaging enough to stave off nerves and boredom. He idly twirled his fingers through this long black bangs, dark green eyes vaguely watching the flickering images.

Those eyes nearly popped out of his head as a portal opened nearly on his lap, disgorging a swirl of snow and icy air, followed by Yugi, carrying a limp-winged, bleeding and nearly unconscious Yami cradled in his arms. Two people he didn't recognize followed, then Ryou, with Bakura bringing up the rear. The portal snapped closed, cutting off the snow and the icy wind. "What the hell… you made it!" Relief overwhelmed surprise; he moved to help Yugi with Yami. "What happened?"

"Long story and we have no time to tell it." 'Kura snapped, sliding something long and golden into his back belt loop before heading for the phone. "We have no idea how long until Marik and Malik come after us."

They laid Yami in a chair; his eyes were closed and he was breathing heavily, but otherwise he seemed fine. Otogi headed for the bathroom, coming back with a first aid kit which the woman took. "Ludus – go pack for yourself and Yami." She ordered, beginning to treat the injuries. Ryou had collapsed on the couch, obviously spent. Kura was talking to someone on the phone in a low, rapid voice.

"What happened?" Otogi asked again as Yugi sprinted past him into the room he shared with Yami; the only one who wasn't busy, the strange man, paused as he moved to help the woman with Yami's injuries.

"Who are you?"

"Otogi – friend of Yugi…Ludus. You?"

"Joseph, Ludus' father – and this is Idra, his mother."

Green eyes widened. "I see… honoured to meet you. What happened?"

Joseph gave the incubus a quick overview while Idra finished cleaning Yami's wounds, which were already healing – the teen had slipped into true sleep now, curled into a ball of feathers and limbs.

When the story ended, Otogi shook his head in disbelief. "Incredible. But the Demon Lord is going to be after you…" He stood abruptly, heading for his cloak.

"Otogi?" Ryou asked.

"I'm going to play decoy – set up an illusion spell once I'm gone – I'll set up a portal for the hunters to follow. With luck, they'll think that you took off right away." The black-haired demon unfurled his wings, flapping them once. "I can lose them in Beijing or Singapore."

"Wait." Kura handed him a slip of paper. "Yami and Yugi are going into hiding, but this is where Ryou and I will be staying."

"They're going to come after you." Otogi pointed out. Bakura just smirked, showing his fangs.

"I certainly hope so." His eyes narrowed. "Be careful, alright? You can't take on a pair of hunters on your own."

"I will." With a light leap, Otogi took to the air, opening a portal. He would jump to a few different places before he stopped, vanishing into the human population. With luck, the demons would give up after being on a wild goose chase for a while.

The darkness of the portal took him and he vanished.

---- ----- -----

Yugi sighed as he lay on the bed beside his still drowsing mate. Yami's wounds had healed over, the scabs flaking off to leave untouched golden skin underneath; but still he looked pale and washed out. His dreaming mind brushed lightly against Yugi's, radiating happiness and content.

Delicately, he undressed Yami, marvelling over the strange clothing. The armour came off easily to his touch; it was light, far lighter than he had expected. The linen hugging Yami's hips was wrapped in a complex fashion – it seemed to be all of a piece without seam or fastening. Belt, greaves, and arm guards came off as well. The only thing he left on was the puzzle hanging around his neck.

The final wonder was the crown; from the feel of the circlet, it was solid gold, marked with a similar Eye to that on the puzzle. Gently Yugi removed it, finding it smooth and heavy under his fingers. "Where did you get all this?" he murmured aloud.

"When I accepted the darkness to save you." Yami murmured. Yugi looked down into crimson-violet eyes, placing the circlet on the bedside along with the rest of the gear. "It was mine… a long time ago."

"Yours?"

"I don't remember much – but in a past life I was a Shadow Mage and pharaoh of Khemet – Egypt." Yami put a hand to his head, slowly sitting up. "And right now I'm rather sore and hungry."

Yugi nodded, putting his questions aside for the moment and helping his mate to his feet. "Did you want a bath while I make something to eat?" he asked.

"That would be wonderful." Yami smiled shyly. "I hope this isn't freaking you out nearly as much as it's freaking me out."

Yugi laughed as he guided the other to the bathroom. "No, I'm a demon – we're used to weird ass shit. Did you have wings when you were Pharaoh?"

"No, those are new." He swished one experimentally. "Do you like them? I don't know why their like bird's wings rather than like yours…"

"Probably because the mating bond didn't make you a demon." Seating the other on the toilet, he started running the water in the small tub. "I'm not sure what you are, but you don't feel like a demon."

"I guess it doesn't really matter." Yami leaned back a bit. "Where are we anyway?"

"Vancouver… Canada."

"Canada?" He blinked. "How did we get here?"

"Kaiba's personal jet." Yugi tested the water, adjusting the temperature fussily. "There is a large enough ethnic diversity here that we won't stand out too much – though we'll have to find a way to hide those beautiful wings if you want to go outside. And it means that it will be MUCH harder for Marik and Malik to track us down. Kaiba says he'll send for us when the time comes for your hearing."

"Alright. It looks like everything is all arranged."

"Yes…" Yugi turned around, then suddenly pounced, straddling his mate and kissing him hungrily. :Missed you… want you…:

:Me too…: Yami moaned into the kiss. :The Demon Lord, he didn't…:

:No.: Yugi started licking and kissing his way down Yami's bare neck and collarbone. :He made me suck him off, but that's all… it was foul, but at least he didn't do more than that.:

Yami moaned, unable to help himself. :Yugi…:

:Shh, lover… I want to taste you again… I want to pleasure you, and get the taste of that monster out of my mouth…: Unspoken along the bond, Yami could feel that Yugi was more upset than he was letting on, and wanted to do something of his own free will, something that would connect him with Yami again. He ran his fingers through Yugi's hair and submitted himself to his lover's caresses.

----- ----- ----

Some time later, Yami walked out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his dripping hair and a robe awkwardly tied around his waist. "I wish I knew how to make my wings vanish like you can." He complained by way of greeting.

"We'll get to that eventually, love." Yugi laid the last of the food on the table – pancakes, bacon and sausage. "You need to eat and recover your strength."

Sitting down at the table, Yami was surprised at how famished he was. "Thank… you didn't have cook so much though."

"It's not just for you." Yugi grinned, sitting beside him. A few moments later, two demons came into the room from another bedroom, both looking somewhat sleepy. Yami eeped and blushed, trying to get his robe up around his chest as he rose to his feet, bowing sheepishly.

"Yami, this is my mother Idra and my father Joseph."

He swallowed – in his experience, parents were creatures to be feared. He bowed again, lower this time. "Joseph-sama; Idra-sama."

"Yami." Joseph smiled and Idra pulled him into a hug, much to his shock. He froze, half-expecting to be yelled at or struck if he moved. After all, his own mother and father had never given him any kind of affection…

After a moment, Idra let him go. "Thank you for saving Ludus' life – we owe you more than we can repay."

"And we're honoured to call you our son." Joseph added. Yami stared at the pair of them, dazed.

:Yami: Yugi's voice cut through the fog. :Are you alright:

:Do they mean it:

:Mean what:

:About…: He couldn't put it into words; the complicated bundle of feelings flew across their link. Yami could feel his mate digesting the information before he nodded.

:Yes, they do… they aren't like your father and mother… they were always very loving and supportive. And I know that if you want new parents to replace those other people…"

:They won't…:

:No.: Yugi sent support across the link, along with love and trust. :They won't hurt you – I told you, what that bastard did to you is NOT normal… let them prove it:

The question hung in the air for a bit… then Yami threw his arms around the pair, who wrapped their arms around him and held him close.