Title: A Bird and a Fish
Author: Sorceress Fantasia
Warnings: Angst, spoilers for manga ending, ficlet, POV
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.
Intro: A bird and a fish may fall in love, but where would they live? Yugi's thoughts as he sees Yami off to the afterworld.
When I was fourteen, I told a girl that I liked her. After she laughed and rubbed it in my face that she already had a hunky boyfriend and that I was too weak to be loved, I left. I remember my eyes were dry, but my heart had already frozen shut. I thought I would never fall in love again.
But when I slid in the last piece of the millennium puzzle, you appeared.
There was nothing special between us in the beginning. You were just my alter ego – mou hitori no boku as I called you – that appeared whenever there was a game to be played, when there was someone who threatened my life. At that time however, you probably protected me only because it was also your body that was at risk. I was your host. Nothing more.
But when you acknowledged my call and we met for the first time in the corridor between our soul rooms, things changed. You became my companion, my best friend and eventually… the owner of my soul. And I began to fall in love again.
Surprisingly, the fall didn't hurt… because I never stopped falling. It was as though I was in a deep chasm, and I just kept plummeting with no end in sight. As the days passed, I fell deeper and deeper and instead of being afraid, I reveled in it like a bird in flight. I never wanted it to end.
But now that you've retrieved your memories, it's time to stop.
Isn't it strange? One would probably think that with all our enemies gone and your memories back, you'd be able to lead a semi-normal life like the rest of us and perhaps, just perhaps, I would find the courage to tell you how I feel. But that's not it. That's not it. With your memories back, you've found where you need to go.
The afterlife. The place you were denied entry millenniums ago.
And here I was, naively thinking, hopelessly believing, that we could finally have some time to ourselves for once in our lives. Ironically, this is when you leave.
I've always thought that you were the biggest irony in my life.
Because of my body's weak constitution, I was wheeled in and out of the hospital quite a bit when I was a child. For the longest time then, my childish mind thought that the white building with the smell of antiseptic steeped into everything was my second home. As a result, I didn't get to spend a lot of time in school, and thus, not much of a chance to make friends. Any friends I made in the few days I managed to go to school would always make other friends in the weeks I was in hospital and when I returned, they had forgotten all about me. Except that their mothers had warned them against going too near to the child who always fell sick for fear that they might get what I have.
Toys became my only solace. A stuffed toy here and a toy car there… they were the only things that did not abandon me. They had no way to. And that's probably the reason why jii-chan opened a games store, because then, I would be able to occupy myself with the games and toys on the shelves and my mind would not wander to how lonely I really was.
However… the more I played with my toys and games, the more I found it difficult to make friends. I tried to share what games I had with my classmates, but they couldn't understand me and would always choose to play a game of basketball rather than stay with me and tinker with a puzzle that they could never solve.
Ironically, the toys and games that pushed people away from me were the only things that stayed by my side all along.
When I first saw the millennium puzzle in jii-chan's wrinkly hand, offering it to me, I wanted to refuse it at first. But when I took a glance at jii-chan's hopeful face, I took it without protest. At that moment, I knew. I knew that my classmates were going to avoid the 'puzzle freak' for another period of time.
The millennium puzzle kept me occupied for eight years. And it kept people away from me for just as long.
But when I pushed the final piece into the slot that was destined for it, light flooded out and blinded my eyes. When I opened them again, I found myself in my soul room that was filled with toys and all the things I always tinkered with. I tried to escape, tried to regain control of my body, but the door to my soul room remained firmly shut. Yet, the moment I laid hands on the door, warmth seeped into me like a warm broth on a cold day. Never had I felt so protected all my life. So I went back to bed and waited for you to hand my body's control over to me again. I guess I was too tired, falling asleep like that. But when I woke up, the bully was already broken and nary a threat to anyone anymore.
I think… I think I found my best friend then.
Later, I found my protector… and the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. All of them in you.
And yet I know. That there is no future for us. This world has no place for us. Not when you need to answer the calls of your family in the other world, and when I still have family and friends in my world. You are the pharaoh of Egypt, the king of games, and the savior of the world. Me? Just plain o' Yugi, the boy who can't keep his friends without your help, the child who managed to win a few games only because you were with me, and another faceless person in the vast world. We have nothing in common except our physical body, and even then, our outward appearances differ. We are from different worlds.
And it is for this reason that I cannot hold you back.
As the gates to the afterlife creaked opened, and the bright lights of the netherworld flooded out and kissed your body, you looked back at me. Standing against the light, you were the epitome of magnificence as the beams lit up your silhouette in a halo of grandeur. Yet, in that stilled moment, nothing was brighter than your crimson eyes, the same ones I had fallen in love with so long ago.
I gazed back, noting with mild surprise how everyone had stayed behind me, as though unwilling to destroy what little time the two of us had left. Did they know? What I felt for him?
"Aibou… if you ask me to, I will stay. I will always obey your wishes."
Is that a hint of tenderness in your gesture? Not the tenderness for another family member, but the tenderness meant for the one you loved?
Is that a hint of love in your voice? Not the love of a protector towards his charge, but the love of a boy for another boy?
And is that a hint of longing in your eyes? Not the longing for a friend, but the longing for a lover?
"Do you want me to stay?"
A bird and a fish may fall in love, but where would they live?
I have no wings…
"You should get going now."
…and I refuse to take away yours.
"Good bye, Yami."
Something seemed to crack within your eyes, shattering and falling like a shower of broken glass. The atmosphere around the two of us… it was bending under the pressure too. Not too long from now, it would surely crack and fall apart as well. As would my life, when you step into the gate of light. But I cannot hold you back. Not anymore.
You shield the pain in your eyes, and suddenly, I can't see them anymore. You always did know how to keep things from me.
"I understand… Yugi."
I'm sure if you were looking, you would see the pain in my eyes too. Couldn't I be your aibou anymore?
As the gates to the afterlife creaked opened, and you walked over to the threshold, you sent one last glance at me. In that gaze, in that look, I saw your hesitation. But I would not give in.
Amidst the loud yells of farewells, I saw your silhouette disappearing into the light. And I could only repeat what I had said earlier like a holy mantra.
A bird and a fish may fall in love, but where would they live?