Disclaimer – I don't own them, I just play with them.

Author's Notes – Well, I figured it was about time I did a holiday story. Hope you guys and gals enjoy it. Hopefully, I'll be posting a chapter a day, as well as adding to Redemption one of these days. That story just doesn't seem to want to be written atm. I do apologize for that.

Twelve Days

A Yu-Gi-Oh Christmas Story

Chapter 1 – On The First Day of Christmas – A Tomb Robber in a Tall Tree

Yami sighed, crimson eyes closing with relief as he flipped the store's sign over to 'Closed'. This near to the holiday was crazy in the shop, and he was still amazed at how mortals of this day and age went nuts at this time of year. Yugi had said it was a holiday that was supposed to celebrate some man they called 'Christ', but that in fact it had just become a reason to give and receive gifts. He shrugged to himself . . . whatever the case, the shop was bringing in relatively good money at this point, which was a relief. It helped that his name – and his title, he admitted sheepishly – was quite firmly tied to the little store . . . but in any event, he was glad. With Yugi getting ready to start college, they needed the money.

Thinking of his aibou, where was the youth? He should have been home from school ages ago, and he hadn't mentioned going out with their friends to Yami this morning, nor had he said anything through their mental link all day. That in itself was suspicious . . . even this far apart, they were usually in constant contact with each other. What was his little light up to?

Concentrating on the link, he tried to locate his light, and came up against what felt like a brick wall? When had Yugi learned to shield so well? And why was he shielding now? Tan fingers drummed lightly on the glass countertop near the register, crimson eyes narrowing in thought. Finally, he shrugged . . . it was obvious Yugi wasn't in danger, whatever was going on. He would just have to wait and find out what his aibou had been up to.

Leaving the shop, he caught a glance of himself in the mirror hanging in the hallway and smiled, shaking his head in amusement. He was becoming vain . . . but then again, it had been five thousand years since he could see himself in a mirror, and he was still trying to get used to the fact that he had a body again. This was a relatively new occurrence, him being able to form his own corporeal body completely separate from his aibou . . . he'd only been able to do it for about six months now, and he was still unsure of exactly how he had done it in the first place.

He snickered slightly as he remembered when it had first happened . . . he had awakened, cold and shivering, on the floor in Yugi's room, with a very astonished aibou staring down at him in shock. It hadn't been funny at the time, of course . . . actually, it had been downright frightening, and embarrassing. But after several discomforting moments, during which he and Yugi had stared at each other in shock, they had gotten over it . . . especially when Solomon had walked into the room. That had been an interesting development, considering that Yugi had never quite gotten around to explaining to his grandfather that the Pharaoh who the Puzzle had once belonged to actually 'lived' inside said Puzzle at the moment.

A smile graced the aquiline features as he remembered the impromptu gathering that had followed. The friends had been gathered, and introduced . . . which in itself had been most amusing. Many of them had met him, several times in fact, but had thought that little Yugi might be just a tad bit schizophrenic. Meeting him in person had laid that dilemma to rest, at least . . . but the looks of shock had been priceless all the same.

Of course, Seto had yet to meet him in person . . . the millionaire CEO was, as usual, busy with his business and had no time for the group of 'friends' that he considered nothing more than an annoyance. That was fine, however – Yami had no real interest in facing the tall brunette anyway. If he did, he would likely put a fist through that arrogant face for being such a major asshole.

The house was quiet with his aibou out for the evening, and Solomon was away at a gaming convention, finding out what new products he could add to the store when the new year began. The bad thing about being alone in his own body was that he got bored easily . . . like now. TV wasn't nearly as amusing as the games he was famous for were . . . perhaps he could head over to Kaiba Land and get a couple of duels in.

That idea settled quite nicely in his head, and he went upstairs to gather his duel deck – painstakingly crafted and gathered to mirror the one he and Yugi had used together for so long – and grab his heavy leather jacket. Grabbing his keys from where they hung beside the back door, he stepped outside and locked the door carefully before going around front to make sure the store door was locked as well. With that accomplished to his satisfaction, he strode off down the street, looking forward to some challenging duels and a brief respite from his boredom.


Bakura snarled under his breath as he ran, dodging trees and strolling mortals easily as he heard the shouts behind him. It figured that the guards in this time weren't nearly as dumb as the Pharaoh's had been . . . they were tracking him far too easily. This new time would require more getting used to than he had thought.

Glancing around, he spied a tall fir tree not far from the path . . . one who's upper branches would provide at least some decent cover until the 'police' had decided that they'd lost him. Sprinting for the tall plant, he leapt up, grabbing a hold of one of the lower branches and pulling himself up easily before beginning his ascent further up the trunk. Once he felt he was hidden well enough from below and all sides, he settled onto a branch, closing his eyes with relief and running a hand through the spiky white hair as a grin crossed his face.

Ryou would be annoyed, but that wasn't a concern . . . he enjoyed tormenting the boy anyway. Being separated from his host had lost him the mortal shield he relied on, but he could wreak so much more havoc this way. Without Ryou to hold him back, he was fast on track to becoming a master thief once again, something he enjoyed immensely.

Still, he wondered how this situation had come about. Waking up one morning to find himself separated from his host had been downright annoying, although Ryou had been somewhat delighted with the fact. He had been disgusted with it, and had tried to undo the whole mess . . . before the possibilities had opened up in his mind. Now they were settled into a rather comfortable routine . . . the boy was far too forgiving, but Bakura wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. After all, it wasn't as if he could steal a place to live.

The police passed by below his position loudly, swearing as they discovered he had disappeared. Bakura grinned to himself . . . okay, so maybe the 'guards' of this time WERE as stupid as the Pharaoh's had been. That was nice to know. It made things so much easier for him.

They wandered on, still swearing, and the thief snickered slightly before a dilemma dawned on him . . . how was he supposed to get down?

"Shit," he muttered, staring down at the ground below with a wary eye. This was not exactly what he would call a great getaway. Sure, he'd gotten up here easily enough, but getting down was an entirely different story. "Damn, damn, damn," he swore, clenching his knees even tighter around his precarious perch. Now he had a problem.

He thought about calling out to Ryou, but then thought better of it. The last thing he needed was the little brat knowing what kind of mischief he'd been up to . . . or the predicament he'd gotten himself into as well. He'd never live it down . . . he, a master thief – a five thousand year old master thief at that – had gotten himself stuck up in a tree.

"Wonderful," he grumbled. "Just fucking wonderful." He sat there, pondering his dilemma and trying to come up with a way out of it. Nothing came to mind. "I am not spending a night in a tree," he snarled. Unfortunately, it looked like he wasn't going to have much of a choice.


Yami whistled cheerfully as he traversed the familiar pathways of the park on his way to Kaiba
Land. He was astonished by the number of police in the park, but thought nothing of it . . . until one of them approached him.

"Excuse me sir," the man said, holding a hand up to stop him. "You haven't by any chance seen a white haired male, about five foot seven, around here, have you?" One black eyebrow rose at the officer's question before Yami shook his head.

"No, officer . . . I'm afraid I haven't," he replied. "Why, if you don't mind me asking?" The officer sighed.

"He's a thief . . . he hit a jewelry store over on main street, but got away. We tracked him here, but now he's disappeared. No one seems to have seen him." Comprehension dawned on Yami's face, as well as a nagging suspicion that he knew this thief better than he would have liked.

"I'm sorry I couldn't be of more assistance, officer," he lied, unhappy with having to do so. But as much as he would have liked to help the man by telling him exactly who he was looking for, he couldn't. He and Bakura, as former spirit's, had no true identity in this time. Therefore, having Bakura taken in by the police could cause far too many problems – especially since the Tomb Robber was likely to 'spill the beans' about everything just out of spite. However, that didn't mean he couldn't locate the thief on his own and do something about this problem.

He would handle that particular issue later, though. Right now, he had a desperate need to duel, and he wasn't going to be sidetracked from his plans. Walking away from the police, he continued on his way, admiring the surroundings as he went. Domino was much different than anything he could remember experiencing . . . snow covered the world in a thick white blanket, a cold beauty that still spoke to him. He remembered his first experience with snow fondly . . . Yugi had talked him into going outside after the first snowfall, and they had stood in the whirling flakes cheerfully until Yugi had decided it was time to introduce his dark to the finer things about snow. The snowball fight that had ensued had left them both shivering with cold and flushed with exertion, but it had been worth it to see the grin on his aibou's face.

Yugi and he had yet to regain the full comfort of their relationship that they'd had before the 'Orecalcos' incident. That he had let his rage control him to such an extent that Yugi had been hurt still haunted him, and his aibou was far less trusting of him than he had been before. He couldn't fault Yugi on that . . . he was less trusting of himself as well. Their friendship had been somewhat strained since then, but they were slowly mending it, although Yami kept a firm reign on himself after that. He had even stopped dueling for a while, until Yugi had told him in no uncertain terms that he was doing more harm than good by doing so.

He sighed, glancing at a tall pine tree off to his right as he did so. Something wasn't right about that tree, however, and he turned his attention more fully to it . . . and glimpsed a flash of gold in the high branches. Curious, he went to investigate . . . and found himself staring up into all too familiar eyes.

Bakura snarled to himself as he met the crimson gaze from his precarious perch, practically daring the Pharaoh to laugh. This was NOT something he needed . . . of all the people to find him, it had to be the damn Pharaoh!

"What are you looking at, spike head!?" he snapped, hands tightening on the branch that held him. "Never seen a person climb a tree before?" Yami smirked, and he promptly wished he could get down so he could smack it off that smug face.

"Well, aren't we a bit snappish today," Yami called, crossing his arms over his chest. "What's wrong, thief? Can't get down?" He smiled as he saw the truth of that statement hit home, shaking his head as laughter bubbled up inside of him. "What a sorry state, indeed."

"Oh, shut up, Pharaoh," Bakura growled, red-brown eyes narrowing in irritation. "Why don't you do something useful, and help me get down?" Yami chuckled dryly, leaning up against the tree and staring out at the snow covered park steadily.

"Why would I want to do that, Tomb Robber?" he said, making sure his voice carried so that the thief could hear him. "You look quite comfortable up there . . . besides which, I think it would be suitable punishment if you had to spend the night up there after dodging the police."

Bakura shivered violently, a chill breeze creeping up his spine. This high up, it was getting quite cold, and he still wasn't used to this kind of weather, nor had he really dressed for it. Well, now he knew that the Pharaoh knew what he'd been up to . . . he wondered what Yami was going to do about it. In the middle of his wondering, he sneezed explosively, nearly falling from his perch as it threw him off balance.

Yami glanced up towards the thief, concerned despite the circumstances as he felt the tree against his back shake with the sudden movement. Crimson eyes narrowed as he really took in Bakura's position and circumstances . . . the thief was beginning to shiver uncontrollably, his teeth chattering even as he tried to quiet them by gritting them together, and there was a bright flush on his usually pale skin. As much as he disliked the thief at times, he wouldn't wish getting sick on anyone . . . he'd already been through that, and he'd been thoroughly miserable for the entire three days as he lay in his bed, too weak to move as coughs and sneezes wracked his aching body.

"I can't believe I'm going to do this," he muttered, before pressing his hands against each other and summoning his concentration as well as the power that was still stored in the item around his neck. The Eye of Horus began to glow softly on his forehead, but he was far less concerned with that than with concentrating on getting his fellow spirit down.

Bakura nearly squeaked in alarm as he felt Shadow Powers wrap around him, lifting him easily off the branch and taking him downwards slowly before setting him on his feet on solid ground at last.

"Thanks," he muttered, before turning to stalk off . . . only to have his legs give out beneath him as another mind blowing sneeze caught him off guard. He stumbled, coming up in shock as he felt Yami catch him and pull him into his warm body, holding him there for a surprising moment before he was released and the Pharaoh stepped away quickly.

"You're welcome," Yami said, shoving his hands back in his pockets. What in the world had possessed him to grab the thief like that? Yes, Bakura had been about to fall, but still . . . that was no excuse. He shook his head, smacking himself mentally before looking back at the white haired man warily. "Are you going to make it back to Ryou's house in one piece? Or should I escort you to make sure you don't get into anymore trouble?" Bakura snarled at him, and he laughed dryly. "Fine. Good luck, thief . . . you're going to need it." Turning he walked off, trying to squelch the growing concern that he really should have escorted the thief home to make sure he got there alright. Why did he even care? The Tomb Robber was a pain in his ass, and it wasn't as if they were friends. Quite the opposite, in fact. Besides, he had duels to win.

Bakura watched the Pharaoh walk off, trying to stifle the urge to call him back and have him help him home anyway. He was feeling decidedly shaky at the moment . . . and not all of it was due to the oncoming sickness. The feeling of Yami's body pressed against his still lingered, no matter how much he tried to shove it out of his head, and he growled to himself before starting off towards the house, watching his steps carefully in case he should fall. He doubted he could get back up if he did collapse, his legs were that shaky at the moment.

What in the world had gotten into him? Besides the cold, that was . . . he was shivering violently at the moment, even with his arms wrapped around himself. Why had the Pharaoh's momentary embrace sent his pulse racing, his breath barely passing the sudden constriction of his throat? He hated the man . . .

Shaking his head in annoyance, catching himself against a tree until the world righted itself again after the movement, he stalked home, determined to put the whole embarrassing and curious event behind him. After all, five million years of hatred was not something to be thrown away lightly.