Title: Phantom Depths
Author: jkateel
Parts: 1/1
Genre: Romance/Angst

Warning: PWP, Spoilers

Summary: The Night before the Ceremonial Battle between Yami no Yuugi and himself, Yuugi tries to find a way to understand his decision…

Author Notes: This story is set in Episode 220, right before the final battle between Yami no Yuugi and Yuugi. It's based off the song Nobody by Five for Fighting, and the lyrics are quite powerful. If anyone wants it, go ahead and contact me, and I'll send it right over!

Quick explanation though – if you've read my story Puzzle, then you kind of get the feel of where I'm coming from. I believe the soul of the Puzzle is the Pharaoh's memories, and Yami no Yuugi is just a reflection of that…well, I'll explain it if you're terribly confused.

Oh, and this is blackmail. Blame Usagi if it sucks. (I tried a different writing style – which I still blame on Usagi.)

Enjoy?

Phantom Depths

I woke up from my sleep to the sound of that voice.
From the words that I heard I had no choice…

It was said that when a limb was lost, one could still feel it long after it was gone.

It was called a 'phantom limb'.

The Nile was glistening, pitch black save for the rippling of the moonlight on its surface. It was cold outside – Egyptian nights more then made up for the heat during their days. Wind skimming across the water bristled against the boat cruising through the river, the ship headed toward the great Pyramids…and to destiny.

Yuugi was sitting inside in his room aboard the ship, sprawled over a wicker chair while he looked over the Duel Monster cards in his hands. These cards had gotten his other and him through hard times, never failing as long as they believed in them. But, now, they had a new purpose. These cards would have to get him through his toughest battle he would have to face – the battle against his other.

The Puzzle was resting comfortably in his lap over the thin jeans he wore, feet clothed in the whitest of socks perched on top of the table before him. He had long abandoned his jacket in favor for the thinner leather shirt underneath, Yuugi carefully setting one card down on the table, eyes closing with a sigh. It was done – the perfect deck to defeat his other was on the table before him, filled with his soul, his very heart, his mind.

And now that his all of that was in his cards, what was inside him now?

Yuugi opened his eyes slowly, looking over his cards once again. Picking them up and shuffling them expertly between his fingers, he placed them inside the golden box that once stored the Puzzle pieces. Closing the lid, he pulled away and sat up straight in the chair, stretching lightly. His back cracked, and with a slow release of breath, Yuugi picked up the Puzzle from his lap, holding it up to the light. It gleamed, vibrantly, ambient call echoing with the presence of the Pharaoh's soul. Yuugi twisted it around in his hands, studying each smooth angle, fingers caressing over the rough eye on its face. The chain wrapped around his wrists, hanging, swinging freely in the air.

Atemu wanted to seal the Sennen items inside himself, release his spirit and trap the darkness forever. To ensure this, Atemu needed to be defeated in a duel, and Yuugi had volunteered to be his opponent.

He had volunteered.

Why?

Yuugi sighed again, mind heavy. There was so much to contemplate, reflect on, understand. His choices - and actions - were slowly leading them all down to a path he wasn't entirely sure he wanted to walk on. Who was he to fight against Atemu? The very soul of the Puzzle? He wasn't worthy to even be in the Pharaoh's presence. Who was he to be the one to free the world from the clutches of the Shadow Realm…or banish away his other half to the depths of the land of the Dead?

How…could he possibly do that…?

Darkness overtook his vision, and with a flash of light he found himself inside the Pharaoh's chambers, maze walls extending beyond visible eye, into darkness. Yuugi looked around – it hadn't been that long since he had been here, but it would always have the realm of mysticism to it. He supposed it was the Puzzle's doing, an intricate way to hold secrets never meant to be known to man ever again. Why the Puzzle did this was a question lost in the folds of time, and soon to be forgotten forever.

Yuugi turned his head at the sight of his other half sitting atop a set of stairs that lead to up to a small gray door. Yami no Yuugi was dressed in his normal attire of leather pants and shirt, with an ebony cloak cascading over his shoulders to pool on the floor, gold jewelry running down the length of his arms. The Eye of Horus band was twirled around his forehead, almost buried under his thick golden locks and mane of violet and black hair. He carried the prestige of the Pharaoh within him, even in his modern clothes and oh so pale skin that reflected Yuugi's. After all, he was the Pharaoh, in his own way.

Metallic, glassy crimson eyes looked up the sight of Yuugi, glistening once as the man stood up from his seat, gaze thoughtful, "Aibou? Is it my turn now?" His voice even carried the strength of the Pharaoh, but still with that soft tenderness that Yuugi couldn't help but cherish. It had been awhile since they had talked – his other had been hiding deep within their soul, in thought over what he had to do…what he needed to do.

Yuugi couldn't help his nod, biting his lower lip nervously, eyes averting. This had been the first time the two had talked since he had volunteered for the duel, the first time the two had seen each other since then. Both had so many things to think over…so many problems to solve.

The tension between them could have torn apart the entire world – but it was satisfied with what remained of their souls.

Yami no Yuugi nodded in response, slowly moving forward, brushing past Yuugi has he headed for conscious, ready to build his own deck. He could faintly feel the sensation of Yuugi's feelings inside the deck to be used against himself – they were strong, even while they were soft, barely brushing against the surface of their minds. Yami no Yuugi couldn't help but noticed the Puzzle hanging from Yuugi's wrist, the chain trapped in interlaced webs over the flesh, marring deep. He paused in his steps, reaching over quickly to remove it.

The contact flared between them, flesh meeting flesh sizzling, eyes lighting up with the sensation. It had been awhile since they had touched, and Yuugi darted his arm away from the other, taking a few steps back in surprise. The Puzzle swung in a pendulum rhythm, Yuugi almost stumbling from the weight, catching his feet before he toppled to the ground. Amethyst eyes were wide in surprise, remorse, sorrow? Yami no Yuugi couldn't quite explain the emotion tumbling through Yuugi's eyes, the action having left tingles at the tips of his fingers. Yuugi stared at him for a long moment before he dropped his head, bangs hiding his face from view.

"Aibou, what's wrong?" Yami no Yuugi took a step toward the smaller man, "I didn't mean to hurt you…" He paused when he noticed Yuugi was crying.

Tears welled up in his own eyes, hands reaching forward to try to ease the pain and remorse piling down their connection, the turmoil threatening to overwhelm them both. They had tried so hard to hide it, to keep it buried in unknown depths. He pulled Yuugi into a tight hug, relaying concern and comfort for the smaller male however he could, trapping him in his heat and scent. He brushed his fingers through thick, silky hair, nuzzling against Yuugi's face and cheeks, trying whatever to calm him down.

Yuugi clung to him tight, nails digging into the fabric of his shirt, "Please don't…"

Yami no Yuugi paused in his movements, voice low in a whisper, "What, little one? What don't you want me to do?"

Yuugi held back a thick sob, face buried in Yami no Yuugi's chest, "Please don't make me do this! Don't make me fight the Puzzle, the Pharaoh…you!" Yuugi shuddered in the embrace, "Please…please…don't…"

They had sank to the ground atop a step, Yami no Yuugi pulling Yuugi into his lap, the Puzzle still hanging from Yuugi's wrist. He held him away at arms length, looking over him critically, "Aibou…you don't have to fight me. The others would be more than happy…" He brushed the tears back from Yuugi's cheek. "You don't have to fight if you don't want too…"

Yuugi's head lowered to his chest, crystalline drops landing his lap, "But…I have too."

Confusion passed through crimson eyes, Yami no Yuugi frowning slightly. He tried to lift Yuugi's chin to face him, but the younger one refused to comply. Yami no Yuugi shook his head, hands falling to rest against Yuugi's chest.

"Why, Yuugi?"

There was a long silence, and for a moment the Yami no Yuugi had thought Yuugi hadn't heard his question. His thumb kept brushing against Yuugi's chest, foreheads pressing together for comfort. His other arm reached around and pulled the smaller closer, breaths tangling, heartbeats matching.

"Did I ever tell you…?" whispered Yuugi, suddenly, Yami no Yuugi pausing in his movements. Amethyst eyes looked upward to crimson, depths memorizing, haunting, shallow. He lifted the Puzzle to his lap, the pyramid glimmering while Yuugi caressed its side. "I made a wish on the Puzzle…"

Yami no Yuugi frowned, but he kept silent.

"I made a wish…and it gave me you…" Amethyst eyes darkened, "Part of a Pharaoh reborn through the Puzzle and bonded to my soul. I brought you here…" His head lowered again, tears falling. "How can I ask you to stay with me when you need to leave?" The grip over the Puzzle tightened, knuckles turning white.

Yami no Yuugi's brow creased while he watched Yuugi crying softly, his heart sinking with pain, sadness. A lone, pale finger reached up, coaxing Yuugi's face upward, crimson eyes watering. "I want to stay, Aibou. I want to stay with you…"

Yuugi shook his head violently, "What kind of life could I give you?" Anger flickered in his gaze, and his teeth gritted, "You would be a spirit living within my body – no chance at a life of your own - it's not enough to stay! I couldn't ask that of you! I won't ask that of you!"

Yami no Yuugi frowned, "Are you afraid of my answer?"

"I already know your answer – but how could I accept it!" Yuugi's shoulders slumped. "How could I…?"

How could I?

Yuugi couldn't help but stiffen when he realized Yami no Yuugi was kissing him softly, the touch so light it was barely felt, using lips to brush away tears. Hands reached up to entangle fingers into dark tresses, holding Yuugi in place while he placed swift kisses over his cheeks, forehead, eyes, nose, down to they could meet their lips, desperation flooding their connection.

It would be enough, Aibou! The kiss was as desperate as the voice speaking, sparks flying with the sudden increase of heat. The other's tongue plundered and ravished against Yuugi's You yourself gave me life – and that's enough… The pressure on their lips grew, tears of sorrow slipping down his other's face, It will always be enough…

Yuugi moaned as Yami no Yuugi left his mouth to nip at his neck, scraping his teeth against the skin, pulling the two of them as close as possible. The chain dug into Yuugi's wrist, the Puzzle falling from his lap as he wrapped his legs around his other half, the weight not constricting his movements while hands gripped onto Yami no Yuugi's arms. Their lips met again, tongues dueling with each increased heartbeat. Tension was melting away, sorrow, pain, remorse burning to ash under their heat, replaced only with uncontrolled lust. Their love was to strong, to unstable, to powerful…how could they deny that?

Yuugi found himself on his back suddenly, followed closely by his other half looming over him on the Pharaoh's cold floor. The cloak he wore flowed off his body in curtains, draping and capturing them in its warmth. Yuugi's arms were thrown over his head, the Puzzle's weight causing them to fall at an awkward angle, the chain digging deeper into his flesh. Whatever pain that followed was roughly ignored – Yuugi was far to memorized with the dark smirk on his other half's face as he pulled himself closer to the other, promising so much with a flicker of pearly white teeth. Yuugi didn't notice his increased breathing at the look, licking his lower lip unconsciously.

Their lips met with a hunger so long denied, tongues dueling a new battle with fierce intensity. Limbs entangled as darkness and light melded together, the Puzzle scraping against the ground as it was lifted back into the air, Yuugi's arms wrapping around his other half, drawing him closer, deeper. Sultry depths beckoned, and his other was more then willing to comply to the silent request. Clothes were lost in the haze of their passion, landing in intricate patterns around them, jewelry tossed aside in the mix. They joined with a possessive desperation, slick bodies grinding, sliding, teasing, bringing them closer and closer to the edge.

It was only a moment when Yami no Yuugi met their hands and with a final kiss, entered the body within him. Yuugi choked back his cry at the intrusion, teeth gritting while he forced his other to move, initiating the rhythm he needed, desired. If for only once, it had to be enough, it had to be! Their bodies moved as one, almost trying to end themselves, become each other. That was what they were – dark and light beginning and ending, no barriers, one soul, one mind, one heart. They threw their heads back, and with a final cry, echoing, distant, they floated, lost within each other.

It had to be enough.

Their last moment caught in the echoes of the Puzzle, carrying along their heart, soul, and minds. Buried along with numerous secrets known only to those who could trespass in its depths, lost forever.

Friendship, warmth, lust, love, death – everything, but nothing…

A missing limb felt was known as a 'phantom limb'.

What was a missing heart, mind, and soul?

Owari