Just a Little Love
Just a Little Affection
by Josie

He didn't know how long he had been sitting there. It could have been five minutes, or it could have been five hours. Time always seemed to pass at impossible rates whenever he watched his other self, and no matter how long he had like this, it never seemed to be quite enough. Strange, the way it feels ... he thought, hand reaching towards the hair of the sleeping figure; he stopped short, just before he could actually touch it. His other self was a notoriously light sleeper, and the smallest sound, touch, or even shift in the air tended to wake him.

It was a wonder that he hadn't woken upon Yuugi entering the room.

When he slept, he was different, in a way. Yuugi wouldn't quite describe it as innocence; after all, he knew just how much his other self was a far cry from innocent. He pulled his hand back, just barely catching himself before he let out a despairing sigh. Why is it that he can be so brilliant at times, and yet he's never seen what's right in front of him? Violet eyes watched as the other's chest rose and fell with even breaths, neither too deep nor too shallow; it was a direct contrast to his own erratic breathing right then. One moment, it was normal, the next, long and slow as he would feel the fear of his other self waking up. That was followed by a few moments of quickened, almost silently gasping breaths, before the cycle repeated itself. It was a pattern that he had grown all too familiar with.

Relaxed. He smiled at the thought, watching the other's restfulness. He's simply relaxed. Not a care in the world. That, unfortunately, made him pull his feet onto the chair, drawing his knees to his chest. It's not fair. Why doesn't he feel this way, too?

He wanted nothing more than to shake the other awake, to beg him to hold him and say that he was in love, too.

He knew, though; even just wishing for that was hoping for too much. His other self had always been perfect. He had a confidence and strength that Yuugi himself had never been able to match, that he would never be able to match. There was a touch of arrogance in him, which Yuugi supposed was to be expected in a pharaoh; in others, the trait was repelling, but, in his other self's case, it was enrapturing. It pulled Yuugi in like nothing else ever could, and made him hang onto the other's every word and movement.

Sometimes, he wanted to kick himself for being so much like a love-sick teenaged girl. And then he'd see those crimson eyes, and he'd forget all about the thought as he merrily lost himself in thoughts of staring at them all day, every day, for the rest of his life.

It was probably stupid of him, in the first place. Falling in love tended to be just that, however. A person in love has the tendency to lose sense and reason, and will do just about anything for the one who holds his or her heart and attention. Yuugi had once sworn to never allow such a thing to happen to him.

When he had fallen in love with his other self, however, it had all hit him so fast and so hard that he hadn't had a chance to counter it. Though, on nights like this one, when he was watching the former pharaoh sleep, oblivious to the world around him, Yuugi was able to admit to himself the truth that he tried so hard to fight: had he seen it coming, he still would not have tried to fight off his falling in love.

There had been times when he had thought about mentioning it. Usually, the thought came to him late at night, when he was either in the comfort of his own bedroom, or sitting in Atemu's and watching him while the other was oblivious to his presence. Always, he fought down the urge with all that he had in him; he couldn't possibly hope that his other self would return the feelings. After all, the former pharaoh was strong, smart, and confident ... Yuugi couldn't possibly imagine what the other could possibly want with someone like him: insecure and mediocre at best.

It had never really seemed to cause any trouble for their friendship, however. Atemu was always more than willing to jump in to protect his partner and best friend from anyone and anything. Yuugi recalled an instance where he had been lost in thought and accidentally walked into a wall; the whole incident still made him blush a beautiful and fiery red. Atemu had seen the small bruise on him that it had caused, and he had practically seen red, demanding to know how it had gotten there, prepared to exact revenge for someone hurting his partner.

The subdued and possibly even slightly ashamed look on his face when he heard what had happened had been perfectly priceless. And, for Yuugi, the entire ordeal had simply caused him to fall even more deeply in love.

It hadn't even occurred to him, however, just what it could have meant; Atemu was always overprotective to a fault, nearly giving Kaiba a run for his money. Though, Yuugi knew, mentioning that fact to him would just cause his other self to sniff indignantly and almost pout as he responded with saying that he was in no means anywhere near Kaiba's level of invasive protection. Yuugi tended to look at him in amusement whenever the exchange occurred; it was usually after another of Atemu's rounds of enraged defense of Yuugi seemed to strip the teenager of what privacy he was able to actually procure. The worst had perhaps been the time when Atemu had gotten so worried about some bruises that Yuugi had gotten thanks to a random bout of clumsiness on his part that he wasn't allowed to be anywhere without his 'bodyguard.' It had been nothing short of disturbing to have Atemu waiting just outside of the bathroom while he was in it.

Though, if he were honest with himself, Yuugi had also enjoyed the attention. It had allowed him to entertain thoughts of Atemu wanting him back. Those had all been systematically beaten down, however, when he realized just how lost in his fantasies he had become.

It had recently gotten to a point where he'd had to tell someone, just to get the matter off of his chest. On instinct, he'd run to Anzu, who had listened with an open ear as he went on and on about how wonderful he felt Atemu was. He hadn't noticed the almost smirking smile she'd had, a knowing look across her entire face; he'd been too wrapped up in his own thoughts. For her part, Anzu had listened very quietly the entire time, and then merely asked him what he wanted to know. After all, she'd pointed out, Yuugi seemed to know exactly what his feelings where, so he couldn't have gone to her to garner aid in that aspect.

The afternoon's confession had been rewarded with Anzu giving him some ideas for how he could let Atemu know. Sadly, the more Yuugi spent time with his other self and the more than he admired him, the less he was able to actually bring himself to gather the courage required to actually put any of those ideas to use. She'll probably give it to me for that, he mused. And then she'll push me right at him while telling him for me that I'm in love with him. What was it that she'd said to me? 'Yuugi, your crush has gone on long enough without you telling him. You have to put your trust in how much you mean to him and just confess it already!' He smiled at the memory. Anzu's right. I can't keep hiding this from him forever. He deserves to know ... I'm not being fair to him by keeping it a secret.

His eyes fell onto that resting face once again, enjoying how gentle his features became while he slept. He had wondered more than just a few times how his friends might react to discovering he had a crush on the former pharaoh; Anzu's reaction had told him that they had probably all known for a long time, and were wondering just when he'd get around to doing something about it. Still, he couldn't help but wonder to himself if they were repulsed by it. Granted, Anzu hadn't been, but she'd also been his best friend since childhood. She was always the first one to accept him and his actions.

Well, aside from Atemu, that was. But, then, Atemu was different.

It was maybe a little odd, however, when he thought about it. He had fallen in love with someone who looked so much like himself, some might call it narcissism. He'd actually wondered on it himself at first; when he'd discovered his feelings, he and Atemu had still been sharing his body. And, yet, he'd come to realize that it wasn't merely how the other looked that he'd fallen for. Rather, the looks were just a bonus to the entire package. It was his entire personality. Just the way he carried himself.

Besides, especially now, they had a number of physical differences that hadn't been quite as obvious within Yuugi's body. Apparently, Atemu had been granted the chance to have his old appearance back; perfectly and permanently sun-kissed bronze settled over his entire body, and Yuugi felt that it was just to die for. And the fact that his hair was now tipped crimson instead of Yuugi's violet just brought out the former pharaoh's eyes even more.

The sight was always more than enough to make Yuugi melt on the spot.

Still, even beyond the two major differences that had popped up in Atemu's new body, Yuugi was able to point out every minor detail of difference between them. It was almost like some strange talent by now. He'd actually nearly frightened his friends once with a rather vivid description of those differences when they'd said that the two could pass for twins; except for Atemu, who had seemed more than pleased with the fact that Yuugi had noticed every minor detail.

He hadn't thought anything of it, hadn't allowed himself to think anything of it. After all, that would just be getting his hopes up needlessly. Atemu had only been so pleased with Yuugi's attention for detail because it showed just how alike the two of them were in that respect; it told him that Yuugi truly was his prot�g� of sorts. Yuugi had long since discovered that Atemu thoroughly enjoyed thinking of him in that regard. And, for his part, Yuugi had done his best to snuff out as many of his fantasies about just why Atemu would want to think of him in such a way. He couldn't allow himself that distant delusion that Atemu only thought of him that way because he really wanted something more.

Getting your hopes up to only be let down hard was one of the worst feelings in the world, and Yuugi knew it.

His eyes rested on the sleeping figure again, and he cleared his mind, not wanting to think too much; he'd come to a decision that day. He was going to take Anzu's advice and just tell Atemu how he felt already. It would be sometime after morning, however. He needed time to prepare just how he was going to go about it. He had a rough idea � he was taking one of the suggestions she had made � but it would take a lot of steeling his courage to actually go through with it, in the end.

Slowly, he got up, ready to make his way to his bedroom and get some rest. He was going to need it, after all, and he couldn't very well stay up the entire night just watching Atemu sleep.

And so, he didn't notice the small smile creep its way onto the former pharaoh's face, and he didn't realize that, the entire time he had been there, his other self had not been sleeping at all.

- - -

He was lounging on one of the living chairs, one leg hanging over the arm rest as he sat diagonally in the chair. It was, after all, his favorite position for reading, and he was currently engrossed in a book detailing the rise and fall of Napoleon. All in all, it was shaping up to be a pretty good day so far. It was quiet � just the perfect condition for his reading � and he had all of the time that he wanted to do whatever he felt like.

Well, as long as what he felt like didn't involve going into the kitchen, in any event. He had attempted to go in earlier to get a glass of water, and had been promptly kicked out by Yuugi, with a threat that, if he tried to step foot in there again, he'd be facing a very uncomfortable night. For his part, Atemu didn't put it past his partner to actually make good on the threat, and had slowly backed away, returning to his favored living chair to continue reading.

Since then, he had found himself mixing thoughts of just what Yuugi was doing in there into his reading. He was sure he had heard a few curses floating from that general area every now and again. But, as he had been threatened with certain doom � likely, Yuugi kicking him out of the house for an hour at most � if he were to go into the kitchen again, he had forced the curiosity out of his head, and returned to reading about the one-time French ruler's failed attempts at conquering Russia.

His fascination with history seemed to bring unending amusement to Yuugi and their friends. The way that any person might eat up all manner of fiction, Atemu had come to display an unending thirst for all historical information, catching up on what he had missed over three thousand years. He spent hours every day wrapped up in the words of his books, usually while Yuugi was at school, and his partner almost never missed an opportunity to make jokes because of it.

As though it was his fault that he'd missed so much.

Some days, though, it seemed like the jokes were more forced than others; and, some days, the jokes seemed as though they were worded specifically to hurt him. It wasn't really like Yuugi to be like that so openly � usually, if he was making a jarring comment about someone, it was done where he was almost positive they wouldn't hear so as not to offend them, as much as that was equally as rude. But, then, he'd never had any false perceptions of Yuugi being perfectly innocent. He knew that his partner was able to be just as vicious as the so-called big dogs, if and when he wanted to be. Not that it stopped him from wanting to protect the teenager.

Still, when Yuugi would glare at him and yell at him for spending more time with his books than with Yuugi himself, or viciously bite out that the books were obviously Atemu's best friends now, so why should he bother wasting his time with the former pharaoh, it cut into him like the sharpest of knives. Atemu wasn't quite sure what to make of the situation. He had never meant to worry or upset his partner, nor had he ever wanted to make Yuugi feel like he didn't care about him first and foremost.

Which, of course, made the entire situation all the more confusing to him. Yuugi knew exactly how Atemu felt, he was sure. After all, he could have sworn that he'd always kept himself as a practically open book for the boy. He didn't like keeping secrets from Yuugi; even when he tried, his partner always managed to find out what he was hiding, anyway, so it was pointless in the end. To have Yuugi keeping a secret from him seemed cruel and unusual.

The problem was, no matter what Yuugi knew, the fact remained that Atemu was simply bad with words when it came to telling Yuugi everything. Games, he could do. Taunting, he could do. Expressing how much someone meant to him, on the other hand, was almost a complete mystery to him. He supposed it came from the fact that he had never really needed to bother with such things in the past.

Which, of course, made the situation neither better nor worse, and Yuugi seemed to grow more distant with each passing day. Except, strangely, at night, when he would sneak into Atemu's bedroom. A few times, the former pharaoh had wondered if he should perhaps let Yuugi know that he didn't need to sneak around so much when he came for his late-night visits; he'd known about them from the start. However, he had come to realize that Yuugi seemed to enjoy just watching him sleep. That had been when he had started feigning perfect sleep whenever Yuugi came in to watch. He had always sat there in silence, never moving too much, except to perhaps reach out for a touch that he would never actually go through with before retracting his hand. He just sat there in silent contemplation.

That had grated on Atemu's nerves even more, not because of Yuugi's actions, but because he just could not stand having no idea what his partner was doing or thinking. Not that he would ever openly admit such a thing. Doing so would only cause Yuugi to make jokes about how he was turning into Kaiba more and more every day. As if I don't have enough things to disturb me ...

He sighed, closing his book and placing it onto the coffee table before straightening himself on the chair and leaning back, trying to relax. It wouldn't do him much good to lose himself in thoughts of what Yuugi could possibly be doing to himself. If there was something truly wrong, he knew that his partner would come to him and talk to him about it. If someone were hurting him, or if he was upset over something, Atemu would be the first person that he would run to. That, in itself, was more than enough to comfort his thoughts, and he closed his eyes, merely thinking of what he could do to get Yuugi to open up a little more about what was wrong lately.

Almost as though summoned by Atemu's thought processes, a pair of familiar arms suddenly wrapped around him from behind, and he felt something press into his left shoulder. Moisture met his skin, and he frowned, looking over to see Yuugi leaning over the back of his chair, crying. This isn't good ... Slowly, he reached one of his arms up, hand closing around Yuugi's wrists where they met in front of him. Who hurt him? It was the first thought through his mind, and it would have possibly amused him had he not been so worried about Yuugi's wellbeing. His free hand moved up to gently stroke Yuugi's hair as he whispered to his partner, "Shh ... it's alright now. There's no need for you to cry, little one." But, instead of being comforted, he felt his partner's smaller body shake as a sob ripped from him. "Yuugi ..." He tugged on one of the boy's arms, managing to get him to move, slowly, gently, until Yuugi had come around the chair and settled into Atemu's lap. Bronzed fingers gently brushed through silken, violet-tipped ebony hair. Aside from gentle whispers every here and there, and the small whimpers and sniffles coming from the crying teenager, the two sat in silence; comforter and comforted.

As Yuugi's shaking stopped, and as his tears lessened, Atemu murmured carefully, "Yuugi, I can't help you if I don't know what's wrong." Not moving from where he rested with his face buried into Atemu's shirt, Yuugi responded; the words were muffled, and Atemu laughed gently. "You need to move back some so that I can understand you, my partner." Soft touches to Yuugi's shoulder, laden with infinite care, finally got the boy to pull back ever-so-slightly. A pout marred his beautiful face.

"I burned the cookies."

Atemu blinked, staring at Yuugi as though he had grown a second head somewhere along the line. In all of the time that he had known the other, he had seen Yuugi get upset over man things, but never had his reasons been something as simple as burnt cookies. "So ... you're crying because you ... burnt ... the cookies." It took all that he had to say the words with a straight face. He was rewarded by Yuugi hitting him gently before burying his face back into Atemu's shirt. For everything he had in him, Atemu could have sworn Yuugi looked as though he never wanted to move from that position ever again. "Yuugi ..." There was no response, and he sighed. "Perhaps you'd like to explain to me why these cookies are so important?"

Yuugi shook his head, and Atemu tightened his hold on the boy comfortingly. "Please tell me, Yuugi."

Another sniffle. Yuugi pulled back some again, tears shining in his large, trusting violet eyes. Atemu knew that look; he could have spotted it from anywhere. Whatever Yuugi was about to tell him was extremely important to him, and how he responded would likely determine if he'd be seeing Yuugi smile again anytime in the foreseeable future. His right hand slowly rubbed his partner's back soothingly, gently coaxing the teenager to speak, to confess what was on his mind. "They were for you ... Anzu said I should make them. She said they'd help me tell you, and I ... and I ruined them!"

Ah, so that's what it is ... He'd had a notion that it had something to do with Yuugi's feelings for him, but he hadn't wanted to jump the gun with his speculations. He smiled gently, lifting Yuugi into his arms as he stood; a soft squeak greeted his ears as he began walking purposefully towards the kitchen, Yuugi held gently in his arms. If it's the cookies that are the problem, then I'll just have to eliminate that fear. He settled his partner onto the counter before looking around the room; his eyes quickly landed on his target, and he moved to it.

"Atemu ... Atemu, don't!" Yuugi's words reached him as he picked up one of the cookies from the plate that was settled on the table. The former pharaoh chose to ignore them, going back to Yuugi, cookie in hand. He looked right into his partner's eyes, not speaking, raising the cookie to his lips. Yuugi tried again. "My other self, please, they're ... they're going to be awful. Burned cookies always -"

But he was cut off by Atemu simply taking one step closer, so that Yuugi's knees brushed against him. He took a bite, and Yuugi winced. The smaller of the two waited until the other swallowed before asking cautiously, "Why?" No further words were necessary in his question.

Atemu simply looked at him, a small smile playing at his lips. Crimson eyes danced with mirth, and Yuugi looked away, feeling tears stinging at his own eyes again. "They are perfect, Yuugi." The words were whispered, feather-light. "Because they were made by the one that I love, they are perfect." A soft gasp escaped him as he snapped his head back around, violet eyes wide as he stared at the former pharaoh. Atemu simply smiled, moving one step closer and reaching up to wrap an arm around Yuugi's waist.

It all seemed to happen on its own. One second, he was sitting upright, and, in the next, he was leaning himself closer to the one person who he had lusted after for so long. He felt his heart skipping a beat as his eyes closed; soft, gentle lips brushed against his own, lightly at first. It was almost as though Atemu were questioning him on if he wanted to do this. A soft whimper of approval escaped him, unbidden, and he felt his other self's lips press more firmly upon him. His legs wrapped around the lithe chest of the one he loved, and he felt himself being pulled away from the counter, slowly sliding down Atemu's body until his legs came to a rest around a thin waist. Still, the kiss showed no signs of ending; rather, it seemed as though Atemu was deepening it impossibly further, and Yuugi felt his thoughts whirl about in his head. Even his wildest dreams had never felt quite this powerful or amazing.

When they parted, it was with reluctance, and Atemu slowly helped Yuugi untangle himself so that he could stand once more. He smiled kindly at his partner as the boy clung to him for balance, afraid to trust his own legs to hold him up after what had occurred. "Atemu ..." A finger was placed to his lips, and the former pharaoh simply shook his head. Yuugi felt his cheeks burn with a gentle, warm blush, and he pressed closer, hugging his other self, the other half to his soul, and pressing his face into a perfectly-sculpted shoulder. "I love you." The words were whispered just loud enough for Atemu alone to hear.

Fingers brushed through his hair, and he sighed contentedly. "I've loved you from almost the moment we became aware of each other." Yuugi felt his breath catch in his throat at hearing the words that his other self had whispered; words that he had dreamed of hearing for so many months now. "Happy Valentine's Day, Yuugi." His cheek rested against the top of Yuugi's head, and he closed his eyes, enjoying the feeling of having the boy snuggled up against him.

They stayed that way for a while, neither wanting to break the embrace. Finally, Atemu pulled back some, looking down into Yuugi's eyes, an amused smirk tugging at his mouth; his eyes gleamed mischievously. "So, then. What do you say we make a new batch?"

"Together this time?" Yuugi asked hopefully. A nod in response, and he smiled, tears of joy falling from his eyes. Atemu reached up to wipe them away, leaning in to place another gentle kiss on petal-soft lips before the two moved to study the recipe for the cookies that Yuugi had attempted to make earlier.

- - -

They should have known it would end up as it did; baking while trying to remain attached to someone tends to create less food and more mess. But, despite the cookie dough winding up mostly smudged along Yuugi's face at random intervals, placed there expertly by Atemu whenever the boy looked away and then quickly licked away, they enjoyed themselves. After all, it was that they were together that was the most important, not the final product of their baking.

Or so Yuugi kept telling himself that night in the shower, as he managed to get the final bits of cookie dough from his hair. A fond smile touched his lips, and he felt a purely mischievous idea work its way through his head. Oh, payback will be sweet, he thought to himself as he turned off the water, reaching for his towel.

His eyes became impossibly wide as the towel brought a person with it. A person who suddenly had him pressed against the wall of the shower in a kiss that stole his breath from him. "Couldn't stay away, could you?" he asked when Atemu finally pulled back. His breath was coming in short gasps, and he felt himself laboring against his own wishes to throw himself at the former pharaoh for another kiss, deeper this time.

A mysterious smile played at that handsome face, and Yuugi felt his heart melt. "Maybe." He pulled the towel from Yuugi, gently drying the boy off before wrapping the towel around his partner's waist carefully.

Before Yuugi could react, he found himself lifted into strong arms, and he was being carried down the hall, to the bedroom next to his own. I'm going to have to thank Anzu for the idea tomorrow ... The thought ran through his mind as the door closed, and he quickly found himself tossing all others aside as he was laid on Atemu's bed for what was likely to be the first of many great rests for a long time to come. His arms wrapped around his other self's waist, and he felt those powerful arms wrap around him, pulling him closer, before his eyes closed, and he let himself drift off to sleep with a content smile.

- - -

Disclaimer: Yuugiou is the intellectual property of Kazuki Takahashi. I do not claim any right to the series or its characters, and I should probably apologize for the hell I'm likely to be putting them through in this story.
Author's Note: Just a random little Valentine's Day 2005 story. I was actually planning on my story for this year being one of my longer (and possibly more amusing) works, but that didn't pan out very well ... so, instead, I'll give a bit of Yami no Yuugi and Yuugi having a cute little Valentine's Day. A major part of why I ended up doing this story instead of any other (and why I haven't begun chapter 4 of If the World Doesn't Want Me yet) is due to my getting completely bulldozed by illness. I haven't been able to really keep my wits about my much, and my head has been flying like you wouldn't believe (which is bad for writing, but, ironically, great for getting ideas). You know it's bad when you have to restart a fluffy story five times because you just weren't able to get your head straight in order to get it to even remotely make sense.