This is an old story that I wrote and suddenly realized that I should probably post it, and see what happens. I was trying to pull away from my usual Joey-centric stuff and let Yugi share a little bit of the spotlight. I also wanted to see what happened if I gave Yami a REASON for having a seperate body, unlike all you people out there who just randomly give him one. Plot hole evil people!

Anyway, I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh, cause if I did the whole "Doma" series would die, right now, painfully. Please R&R, cause I have another two or three chapters written but I'm not going to write the end if no one cares. Flames will go to heat the popcorn, so feel free to contribute. Thanks!

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He ran. Ran blindly, not knowing when or even how to stop. He just ran, an automatic reaction to what had happened. Tears ran with him, blinding him and making trails down his face. When they reached the tiny cut, they stung, making him cry all the more. A few tiny droplets of blood fell from the cut, and at the sight of them, he ran harder.

Why? Why did he do that? Why would he do this . . . blame me for this . . . he knows I'm not responsible for this! How could I be?

His questions remained unanswered. The only person who could answer him wouldn't.

Yami.

It hadn't been easy, getting the spirit his own body. After all, bodies don't just walk up to you and say "Hi". Yami had found ways around that, with spells and mystical items. But the spells required certain things that could not be made with magic.

So Yugi, Jonouchi, Honda, and Anzu had each donated something according to Yami's instructions. Anzu had cut off some of her hair. Honda had given them a box of his old baby teeth. Yugi had carefully collected nail clippings for months. And Joey . . . he had volunteered to do his part. He said that none of the others would be able to do it properly, that they would end up putting themselves into a coma. He had the most experience, he argued. Honda tried to talk him out of it, but the blond had taken his friend aside to continue their talk, and when they came back, Honda had no more objections.

So Joey had given Yami blood. The memory of that still sent shivers down Yugi's spine, the way in which he'd stepped up to the potion and held his hand over it. He'd taken a switchblade out of his pocket – he was never without it, he couldn't be, with his history – and calmly nicked open a vein in his arm. After Yami had deemed there to be enough, he quickly wrapped a cloth around it and tied it tightly, a red stain appearing on the outside of the white fabric.

Yugi was ashamed of this, ashamed of himself. Joey was the one who'd risked the most, and now Joey was suffering the most. How did that work? How could Yami just stare so unemotionally at the person who had risked so much to give him life?

For that matter, how could he do this? Yugi reached up and touched his cheek gingerly.

Yami, though reborn, did not possess even a tenth of his former powers. The Pharaoh Yami had been a single entity, a combination of Yami and Yugi. Separated, they were unbalanced. So they had immediately set out, the two of them, to find a way to combine again. It was slightly ironic, but Yami insisted that that was the way it had to be done.

Looking back, Yugi realized that Yami hadn't even explained why they needed to do this. He had simply told them, over and over, that the Pharaoh needed to rise again. They had tried everything. Yugi had lugged all his toys from his own soul room into Yami's. They had tried to connect the two doorways using Shadow Magic. Nothing seemed to work.

That was when Yami found the scroll. An ancient papyrus, indicating exactly how the two could join together to form one. Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with spells, but with tests. Ancient tests of loyalty, courage, and friendship. Most had involved pain. Some dealt with fear, and some with hatred. Many different things were tested, and Yugi and Yami passed them all.

Except, somewhere, they must have failed. Because they were still separate.

Yami had grown cold, almost bitter. He fell into a depression that even Yugi couldn't shake him out of. He became violent and temperamental, arguing and swearing all the time, casting angry glares that reminded people of Seto Kaiba.

And so it had come to this. Yugi's cheek stung from where Yami's hand had connected with his face, the nail leaving the tiny cut. What have I done? What could I possibly do to result in this? Maybe I'm just weak . . . weak and useless, like Yami thinks . . .

Not watching where he was going, he ran into something solid. It seemed to be blue and white, and warm, too. He backed up a little, hoping that whoever it was would leave him alone.

But he felt hands on his shoulders. "Whoa, Yug, wha-" The voice cut off. Yugi refused to face the blond, who kneeled down to look Yugi in the eye. "What's wrong?" asked the last person Yugi wanted to talk to right now.

Joey's eyes traveled over Yugi's face, his red eyes, tears streaming down, his body trembling from the sobs he refused to let go of. Brown eyes widened as the tiny cut and red cheek formed a simple answer to his question.

"He hit you." Yugi still refused to look up, instead trying to wriggle out of Joey's grip. He expected Joey to jump up and run back down the hall, maybe try to hit Yami back. Instead, he felt the blond teen guiding him into the boy's bathroom and picking him up gently, sitting him down on the counter beside the mirror. Blinking away some of his tears, he began to see clearly again. The expression on Joey's face was completely unreadable as he grabbed a handful of paper towels and ran them under warm water. Turing, he held out the towels, and Yugi accepted them gratefully.

Joey leaned against the counter and stared off into the distance, his mind obviously somewhere else for the moment. Wiping the blood and tears from his face, his thoughts calmed and his mind began to form coherent questions. "Joey?"

He looked up. "Yeah?"

"Thanks."

Joey smiled a little and nodded. "Any time." He paused, then pushed himself up onto the counter about a foot away from Yugi. "You want to talk about it?"

"I don't know . . . ," Yugi started hesitatingly.

Joey's smile widened. "It's hard, the first time, I know. But it helps to talk to someone about it." When Yugi didn't speak, he continued. "You want to know something, Yug?"

Yugi nodded. He could listen to the blond, even though he couldn't talk to him yet.

"The first time someone hits you, it's not about the pain here –" he touched his face, "- but here." He moved his hand down over his chest, to symbolize his heart. "It's a shock, realizing that the person would actually hurt you, and of their own free will, too. Especially if that person seems like the kind of person who doesn't like to hurt other people."

Purple eyes blinked a few times, and there was a short silence before Yugi responded. "Is this how it felt when . . . when your dad first . . ."

Joey nodded. "Yep." There was a short silence before Joey went on. "The first question that runs through your mind is why. Sometimes it's kind of obvious, but sometimes it isn't. Then you start wondering about what you're going to do about it. A lot of times, if you just wait for a while, the other person will apologize. But sometimes, they don't."

Yugi could hear how Joey's voice hardened as he spoke those words, and wondered whom Joey was thinking about – his father or Yami. They sat in silence for a little longer, both letting their thoughts drift towards different things, neither wanting to break the silence.

The smaller boy was having a mental battle with himself, wondering whether he should tell Joey what he thought, or just keep quiet. Maybe Joey could tell him what he should do . . .

"Joey . . ."

"Yeah, Yug?"

"Why do you think Yami hit me?"

Joey sighed. "At first, I'm sure Yami was just mad that the ceremony didn't work, but now I think he's past that. He's given up, kinda, he just wants to move on. But you're a living, breathing reminder that he failed. You know what I mean? Like the way you want to burn a test you got a bad grade on, so there's no evidence you ever screwed up?"

Yugi nodded slowly, taking this in. "So – I'm like an essay he got an F on?" Joey nodded. They sat in silence for a little longer, as the lunch bell rang. Yugi looked up, but Joey showed no sign of moving. "You should –"

"I can skip Gym class today." The blond just sat there, his gaze drifting from the floor, to Yugi, to the mirror, and back again. As they sat there in silence, Yugi's thoughts turned more and more away from Yami and more towards Joey.

Finally, he broke the silence. "Then, why does your dad hit you?"

By the sudden jerk, Yugi could tell that he'd surprised Joey. The taller teen bit his lip for a moment, blinking rapidly. He opened his mouth, as if to start something, and then closed it again with a sigh. "To tell you the truth, I think he doesn't even know it's me half the time. He thinks I'm mom. The divorce really pushed him over the edge."

"And the other half of the time?" he ventured.

Joey was silent for a few seconds, staring off into the distance, before he answered. "Drugs to terrible things to people, Yug, and alcohol's one of the cheapest drugs there is."

There was something in the way Joey said the first part of the sentence – 'Drugs do terrible things to people' – that seemed to imply some hidden meaning, some person besides Mr. Jonouchi. But, since Yugi couldn't think of anyone else he knew who took drugs, he decided that Joey must have seen a lot of things while he was in his middle school gang.

Tossing the paper towels into the garbage can, he jumped down from the counter and attempted a smile. "Thanks, Joey. I feel a lot better now."

The taller blond grinned and hopped down as well. "Anytime. Listen, if Yami starts getting violent, you come to me, ok? You know where to find me."

Yugi nodded and held open the bathroom door. "Come on, Joey, we have to get to class!"

TBC . . .