A Requiem for Innocence
Chapter Sixteen

Yami sighed to himself as he straightened his belt and glanced at his appearance in the bathroom mirror of the hotel that the tournament was being sponsored in. He'd made it to the final round of the tournament, as could have been expected. But his heart wasn't in it. In two of his duels he'd noticed only at the last second that he'd been about to lose and had had to do some majour scrambling to catch up. The media was convinced he was letting himself go close to losing to drum up suspense. His opponents were ticked off because they thought he was toying with them. And through it all Yami was distracted by memories of happier days, and of how miserable his last eight months had been.

He had moved north to the Montana-Canada line and tried, as hard as he could, to put his life with Yugi behind him. But even though he tried to concentrate on other things like shoveling snow and trading in the van for a truck, nothing helped. Loneliness plagued every moment, but he had never considered dating anyone else. What he'd said to Roger before had been true, Yugi had been the only person to reach his soul, and no one else ever would. And as a consequence, his last eight months had been increasingly painful ones, taking him to a terrifying edge when a month before he had finally cracked, picked up the phone, and dialed Yugi's old number.

It rang three times before Yugi answered. The simple word, "hello", said in his familiar gentle voice, slashed across Yami's heart like a knife and he hung up without saying anything, furious at himself for ever causing Yugi to suffer, convinced that he didn't have a right to live. And that night he sat silently on the bathroom floor for hours, a box-cutter razor held to his wrist, struggling to decide if his life was worth keeping.

That had been the lowest point, but also the turning point. He'd awoken there the next morning against the sink, and realized that if not for falling asleep, hemight have killed himself sometime that night. The shock of how close he'd come broke through the numbness around him and forced him to realize that despite his guilt, he didn't want to die. A few weeks later he'd signed up for this tournament.

And here he was now, planning to take the money and move out of the US, to some other country where no one would know him, and where-if he budgeted correctly-he'd be able to live out the rest of his life without worry. It sounded strange, if not pathetic, to think that he wasn't even thirty and he was about to become retired.

On a whim, he'd called up Roger and his girlfriend Allie, and invited them to come as his guests to the tournament, and they'd readily agreed. Yami got the idea that neither of them cared much for their schooling, but he was glad to have the company. They were an energetic couple and even he found it hard to stay so sad when hanging out with them.

"I knew I'd find you here!" Roger charged into the bathroom at that moment and disrupted his musing. "You gay guys are so obsessed over your appearance. I just wanted to say, Al's having a blast, thanks for inviting us."

"No problem."

"Hey, do you think I could make a good duelist? Allie says the duel disks are sexy."

Yami smiled somewhat. "Well, there's no harm in trying."

Roger fell silent as he watched Yami adjust his collar in the mirror, and then asked, "Still hurts, huh?"

"Yeah." He turned and perched on the sink. "I came here, hoping that it might bring some closure for this whole thing, but it hasn't. It still feels like Yugi left just yesterday. What's wrong with me?"


"And I know it was stupid of me, Rog, but I…I actually had also sort of told myself that Yugi might…you know, come to the tournament. If not for me, then just because he loved the game. His birthday will be in a few weeks." He glanced away. "We'd talked about it for a long time…how he'd be free from his parents then and everything, a legal adult and all…but now we won't be celebrating together, I guess. I had hoped to see him again today, but…it was just stupid wishing. Our future is gone…I should have understood it a long time ago."

"Well that wasn't stupid." Roger replied. "That was just you being hopeful. Because you still love him. You ask me, Yugi was an idiot to leave you behind."

"Don't call Yugi an idiot."

"Sorry." Roger paused. "But anyone that would leave behind someone that cares as much as you do…now that's stupid."

"Maybe." Yami turned around as to not meet his eyes, his hands braced on the sink. "I don't know. All this time I've been thinking I could go back one day. I kept everything that reminded me of him, because I wanted to hang on to the memory. I've been so distracted in my duels…because I keep looking at the crowd, thinking I'll see Yugi there. I guess I never…I never really accepted that I have to let him go. I loved him so much, he was a part of me. But as hard as it is, maybe it's time…" He stopped, and squeezed his eyes shut, bringing up one hand to cover his face. "Maybe it's time I said good-bye to the memories too."

Roger looked uncomfortable. "Well…Yami, this is your personal business and not mine, but…I said it before, I don't want to see you alone forever. If you and Yugi are really over, then maybe-"

"Excuse me, boys." Allie poked her head into the bathroom at that moment. Yami raised his head and quickly wiped his eyes. Roger spun around, looking mortified, but grateful.

"Al! This is the guy's bathroom! What are you doing here?"

She giggled softly, reminding Yami forcibly of how Yugi used to laugh. "I know. But the next match is in ten minutes and we're supposed to be back in our seats."

"Oh…okay. Um…I'll see you later Yami. Best of luck! Try not to get too distracted because of…you know." he waved and quickly left, the door swinging shut behind him.

Yami leaned against the wall and swallowed, staring at his reflection again. Get yourself together. Crying isn't bringing Yugi back. You know that, now let's just finish the tournament and get out of here.

One more match…one more victory…and then he could leave. Just dueling again brought back memories, and it was more painful than he'd thought it would be. Getting to his feet, he adjusted his belt again and paused before the door, his hand on the "Push" sign, and sighed deeply before finally pushing it open and heading down to the courtyard where the dueling was being held, glancing longingly toward the crowd, searching in vain for a person he knew he wouldn't find.

He'd known it was pointless, but…deep down he'd still really been hoping to see Yugi there.

At that moment, Yugi was seven blocks away, in a heated argument with a bus driver.

"A traffic jam?" He yelped. "Why?"

The driver turned to give this ornery passenger a look. "Hey, I'm not the jackass that drove my car into the side of a cement truck and decapitated myself. It's a traffic jam, it'll clear up eventually, now go sit back down."

Yugi grit his teeth, seething. The tournament had already begun, he knew, and he'd planned to be there before it started so he'd have time to talk to Yami. But several factors had delayed him, including a taxi mix-up that had transported him fifteen miles north of his destination, getting lost on his way to find a bus stop, and now of all things, a fatal traffic accident. At this rate, Yami would be long gone before he even got there.

Losing the chance he'd tried so hard to get, just because Mr. Steve Rimsford had gotten drunk the night before, called a hooker who turned out to be his wife's friend, (and who immediately called his wife to report what her husband was up to), and had not been paying attention to the traffic lights as he raced home, knowing full well he wasn't going to be received kindly. Ramming into that cement truck might have been the best thing for him, but it was ruining Yugi's one and only chance at getting his life back. And Yugi was ticked.

Wouldn't it be nice? He thought furiously, if I could have one single day where Fate didn't try to fuck up me and Yami's lives!

"Okay, fine, then I'm getting off now." He snapped, shoving the door open.

"What're you, crazy?" The driver yowled.

"The traffic's at a stand-still anyway!" Yugi shouted over his shoulder as he let the door slam behind him and took off, weaving through the traffic to the sidewalk, and looking for a street sign. But as it was, an attempt to hail a cab proved fruitless in the traffic mess. With nothing else to do, he took off at a run down the street, praying the tournament hadn't ended.

If he lost this chance…if Yami was already gone…

I'm sorry I ever left. I'm coming back, Yami…please don't leave without me.

In the final match, Yami pulled absolutely no punches. It was his goal to win the match as quickly as possible, and so he gave his opponent his full attention, and not a single move he made was unnecessary. The media had a field day. Having seen his earlier matches, they went wild over his win in the last game and spent a good ten minutes relaying how quick and yet deadly all of his moves had been, in difference to his lazy style earlier.

Finally the officials, followed by a perky newscaster in a vivid pink blazer, came out onto the field they'd set up in the courtyard, and presented him with his winnings as cameras flashed and Roger and Allie waved enthusiastically at the newscasters when they turned their cameras in the direction of Yami's guests.

The newscaster, whose name turned out to be Rachel, thrust her microphone in Yami's face and asked, "Mr. Atemu, everyone has been wondering for months why you left the dueling scene. Naturally we're even more curious now why you have shown back up and announced that this is your last tournament! Is there any chance you can take us out of the dark on this?"

Yami stared out at the crowd of people and was transported for a moment back to his last tournament, when he'd looked out at the crowd after the final match and waved, and Yugi had been there.

It had been such a long time ago.

Snapping to the present, he answered quietly, "I left because I lost the person I loved."

The crowd all ooohed and aaahed at that, and the newscaster looked delighted, yet also a little nettled. "We never knew you had a girlfriend."

"We weren't making it something public." Yami said, annoyed, both at her snooping and also at the gender mix-up, even though it was a natural mistake. "If you'll excuse my rudeness, it was not the public's business."

"Of course, that's very true." She agreed, and stuck the microphone in his face again, asking eagerly, "So, what happened?"

"They left, and they took my inspiration with them. I'm leaving dueling for good because it's just too painful now."

"That's a sad story." Rachel said, looking sorrowful.

"Indeed. But they will be better off without me. I was only hurting them." He looked away. The crowd was silent as they all stared in half fascination and half sympathy, witnessing this expression of silent anguish.

Yugi is better off without me. Yami thought to himself. He doesn't need me. I just wish…I just wish we could have had another chance.

Rachel now looked almost humble, as she too had the sudden uncomfortable feeling of intruding on Yami's obvious grief.

Luckily for everyone, a distraction occurred in the form of someone shouting, "YAMI!"

Yami lifted his head at the sound, which came from behind him. He knew the voice. But there was no way…

"And it seems that someone is attempting to run onto the field." Rachel chattered excitedly into the mic, craning her neck to see over Yami's shoulder. "Two guards are trying to stop him, but he's awfully fast! Must be some crazy fanatic, he's calling for Mr. Atemu! And strange…he looks an awful lot like Mr. Atemu…could this be a family member or something?"

"Yami!" The voice was right behind him. Yami was frozen to the spot, though, unable to move, certain he was hearing things. But he had to know, and he turned his head just in time to see Yugi running toward him, panting, but with a look of determination; followed by two guards that were hot on his tail. And it was not a hallucination, it couldn't be. No hallucination could be so wonderful.

"Yugi?" Yami asked as he turned fully around and got enough of a look to know he wasn't mistaken. "Yugi!"

"Yami!" He called back, eyes bright.

Yami took a step forward just as Yugi reached him, and they flung their arms around each other, embracing fiercely.

"Yugi…I-I can't believe it's you." Yami whispered, feeling tears come to his eyes as he buried his face in Yugi's hair and drank in its familiar silky scent; still not understanding how Yugi could be here and be real in his arms, and not questioning it at all.

"Well, I know it's you." Yugi whispered back, chest heaving from his run. "You're the only person…who can hold me like this and…" he went silent, apparently overcome with tears too, because suddenly he was shaking.

The crowd wasn't sure what to make of this. The guards had stopped chasing them the moment that Yami had hugged Yugi back, and were standing there, looking confused, yet also embarrassed, because technically they were supposed to pull Yugi away now and demand to know what he was doing, but none of them wanted to interrupt what seemed like a reunion of some sort.

Having completely forgotten where they were, Yugi and Yami pulled back from each other for a moment and stared into each other's eyes.

"What are you doing here, Yugi?" Yami finally asked.

"Looking for you." Yugi replied, still breathing heavily. "I was afraid I might be too late, I had to run seven blocks to make it here!" He glanced around. "I guess you won, huh?"

"But…you left that note…" Yami began, looking sad. "I thought you were…mad at me…"

"Yami…please don't be angry, but that…well, none of it was true. That note…and the stuff in it…it was a lie."

Yami's eyes widened and Yugi quickly explained, "Mom found out that you…well, you know what you did. She threatened to have you arrested if I didn't come home. That was…it was the only way I could think of to make sure you didn't follow me. But now…it's all okay now, and I came back to say…to say I'm sorry, that you never hurt me, and to ask you to forgive me now that…now that my parents won't interfere." He caught sight of the suddenly crestfallen look on Yami's face and finished quietly, "But I…I understand if you can't."

Yami was silent for a long time, just looking upset, then he took a step away and his eyes flashed as he shouted, "So you left because you didn't trust me? That's it? You made me think you were suffering because you didn't trust me not to follow you, and now you just expect everything to be okay?"

Yugi bowed his head, saying nothing. Of course Yami was angry, he had every right to be.

"That letter broke my heart! I thought I was the most terrible person in the world because of what you wrote, Yugi, I considered suicide because of it!" Yami was continuing, his voice growing higher, "You're the one that always told me to worry about myself and not worry about you, so how hypocritical is it that you go and worry about me instead of yourself? Do you have any idea how much pain you put me in over that? I thought it was my fault! I spent the last eight months trying to figure out why I couldn't see that you were suffering! I tried and tried, and I couldn't understand why I didn't see it!" He glared down at Yugi. "Getting me sent to jail would have been kinder than what you did! Why didn't you just tell me the truth? How could you not trust me and…lie like that? How could you say those horrible things to me and they weren't even true?"

"And now, there seems to be some type of altercation in the works…" Rachel reported stealthily.

Yami had fallen silent, breathing a bit heavily himself, and Yugi could do nothing but murmur, "I'm sorry, Yami, I'm so sorry." He bit his lip, new tears glistening in his eyelashes. He'd sort of expected it, anyone would be mad after being lied to. But still…hearing Yami's voice like this…it hurt. A lot. "I regret what I did, but I…I just wanted to protect you. I know I messed up, but…I just…I just panicked, and…I understand if you can't forgive me, you don't have to and you shouldn't, but…Yami, I…"

Watching Yugi struggle for the right words, Yami felt his eyes soften. He never had been able to remain angry with Yugi for long, not even now, not even when he knew he should be mad. Of course he was angry about being lied to, about realizing he'd wasted the last eight months trying to figure out something that had never even been real. But at the same time, there were…other things. Things that mattered a lot more than anger, and they were seriously getting in the way of what he knew he should say. And this was going through his mind as Yugi continued to, in broken syllables, beg him to forgive him.

Unable to take it any more, Yami placed his hand on Yugi's shoulder and shook his head, saying simply, "Yugi…no. I'm sorry."

Yugi stopped speaking and looked away. So…that was it. It wasn't like he could say he hadn't seen it coming. So, swallowing, he replied quietly, "I understand, Yami."

Still not looking up, he stepped back as Yami's hand slipped from his shoulder, and he tried again to reply, "I'm sorry too, but…this-this is the right…it's the way it should be."

Yami said nothing, his head down.

The crowd and reporters all watched in silence, distinctly puzzled, but understanding just as well that something majour was happening.

Taking another step back, Yugi started to turn away, wonderinghow he would live now,when Yami suddenly released a deep, almost sob-like sigh, strode forward, and grabbed his shoulder again.


"Yugi…" Yami began, and suddenly words were spilling from his mouth like he'd only just remembered how to say them, "…over the last several months I've beaten myself up for not letting you walk away that night at the Game shop. I kept telling myself I should have let you go instead of going after you and forcing you to tell me what was wrong, and…and setting this whole thing in motion. But I didn't let you walk away, did I? And I've decided that I'm sure as hell not going to let you walk away now. I said I was sorry…because I'm sorry for yelling at you, and I'm sorry for all the things that happened to you and to me…but I'm not sorry, and I will never be sorry, for all the good things that we shared."

Yugi raised his eyes, feeling his heart speed up, and all he could whisper was, "I'm not sorry either."

Yami broke into a gentle smile. "You've always had such a kind spirit, Yugi…I understand that you were just trying to do the right thing. There's no way I can stay angry at you…and there's definitely no way I'm letting you leave. That's not the way it should be at all…we shouldn't be apart. I know I ought to let you walk away and save us the trouble that the future will bring, but I've realized that eventually we all get hurt. But if we're together, it's okay if we get hurt, isn't it?"

"You mean…you mean we can try again?" Yugi asked, looking up at him and hoping beyond hope. "You actually want me back? Even after this?"

Yami smiled even more broadly, holding out his arms. "You know we can. Yugi, I've wanted you back for the last eight months, ever since the moment you were gone…no matter why you left."

Yugi's lower lip quivered and the tears in his eyes spilled over as he stepped forward to collapse in Yami's embrace against his chest, unable to speak and just trusting that Yami would realize how happy he was. Yami wrapped his arms tightly around Yugi's shoulders, still smiling softly as tears ran down his own cheeks, and, for the first time in months, he didn't feel the loneliness that had become his constant companion.

"Excuse me, Mr. Atemu, if you wouldn't mind…who exactly is this and what is it all about?" Rachel asked curiously.

Yami looked up at her and then down at Yugi, questioningly. Yugi nodded. "It's okay." He said quietly. "You can tell her the truth if you want. We should just get it out. It's about time…you know?"

And that made sense. After all their running, where had they gotten? Nowhere at all. They'd tried so hard to escape the judgments of society, and ended up nearly losing everything. Yugi was right…it was about time. It was foolish, dangerous, possibly illegal…but he knew right then that the secret wasn't meant to be kept anymore.

Yami looked back over at her and said into the mic, to the millions of people that were watching the match on TV, listening on the radio, and standing right there in person, "This is Yugi. He's my best friend in the whole world, and more, and I love him more than anyone could imagine. This is the person I thought I lost…but I see I was wrong."

The crowd could not have been anymore silent than it already was. Then curious whispers erupted throughout it. Even poised Rachel was at a loss for words on that one.

Yugi smiled up at him and as Yami reached out in an old habit to brush his bangs out of his face, Yugi straightened to meet him. Forgetting, or maybe just not caring, about their surroundings, they finally met in a long-awaited kiss.

The cameramen instantly adjusted their camera focuses and zoomed in. The microphone in Rachel's hand dropped to the ground. The crowd went dead silent again, staring in fascination, but the whispers started up almost immediately after that. Suddenly, a piercing whistle broke the tone, followed by clapping, and someone's voice shouting, "ABOUT GODDAMN TIME!", and everyone looked away from Yugi and Yami to see Roger and Allie cheering.

It was as if cheering was contagious. Only moments later, a few of the other duelists were nodding and clapping too, then a few of the bystanders in the crowd, and within a minute, a respectable number of people around them had erupted into clapping and whistling. Not everyone, certainly, but still enough that they completely drowned out the cries of the non-supporters.

Yugi and Yami broke apart and looked around at all the people, wide-eyed.

"They're not forming an angry mob. What do you think this is supposed to mean?" Yami asked.

"I think…I think it's the universe's way of telling us that everything is going to be all right." Yugi replied around his smile and looked back up at him.

"I think you're right." Yami smiled tenderly back and took Yugi's hand as they leaned into each other. "I definitely think you're right."

In California, Yugi's mother was watching the reunion on TV, a bit teary-eyed herself at how happy Yugi and Yamilooked.Yugi's father had returned that afternoon, and walked into the room just in time to see Yugi and Yami kiss for the second time. It took him a moment to realize who exactly it was.

"What the hell?" He yelped, dashing toward the couch and staring at the screen. "What is this?"

"This is right now, in New York City." His wife replied, wiping her eyes.

"But how-how'd he get there? I thought you said he was at work!"

"I helped him." She said calmly. "He loves Yami, and since you were being a jackass about it, I decided myself that he deserved to go."

Her husband stared at her in shock. She looked evenly back, giving him, for the first time, the look of an equal andnot of a wife. "So I guess you should watch what you wish for, because he's getting his kiss on TV after all. And honestly, I can't think of anything he deserves more."

"But-but-" He sputtered, unable to believe how life could have gone so insane in only a few seconds. "What's Yugi think he's doing?"

His wife smiled at the two boys on the screen as they clasped hands tighter, and shereplied, "He's making the rain soft again."

Back in New York, Rachel was having a hard time finding the right words to describe what was going on, despite cues from several of the camera people, and finally retrieved her mic from the ground and squealed into it, "This is so amazing and sooooo cute! If my boyfriend did this for me, I swear I'd marry him on the spot! Is everyone seeing this?"

At any rate, it made everyone laugh, including Yami and Yugi who both collapsed against each other in giggles when she said that. Finally Yami took the mic from her and announced,

"I'm taking back what I said before. I know that I'll lose some fans now, but I've decided I'm not going to retire from Duel Monsters after all and I'm going to keep playing for my supporters that do stick around. I love Yugi, and I love dueling…and I believe that love is more important than reputation or popularity. And besides," he and Yugi smiled at each other; "…I have my inspiration back."

With that, he handed the mic back to an astonished Rachel, saluted Roger and Allie and everyone else in the crowd with new spirit, and took Yugi's hand as they walked out of the courtyard together toward the hotel.

"That. Was. Awesome." Roger was still repeating three hours later, up in the hotel room. "This will go down in history! Oh, you just wait. It'll become a fad, to run out on public TV and announce stuff like that to the world."

Allie nodded energetically. "I got plenty of pictures too! I'll send you prints."

"You'd better!"

Yugi had been extremely quiet for some time and Yami finally asked, "Yugi, are you okay?"

Yugi looked uncomfortable for a moment. "Yami…did you…did you really consider killing yourself?"

Roger and Allie looked up, curious.

"Yes…I did." He replied honestly.

"What happened?" Yugi asked quietly.

"I called your house, and you answered, and when I heard your voice I hung up. You sounded exactly the same as I always remembered. I thought you had left because I hurt you, and when I heard your voice I just…I just hated myself for everything I ever did to cause you pain and that night I sat down with a razor and I-" He cut himself off, not wanting to finish. "...Well, I didn't. That's what matters."

"It's a good thing you didn't." Roger broke the silence.

"It scared me." Yami admitted. "When I realized what I'd been about to do."

"I was worried you might try something like that-"

A sudden odd noise cut him off, and he glanced around in confusion. Yami looked around to, and suddenly realized Yugi had his face buried in his hands, shaking. Alarmed, he asked, "Yugi, what's wrong?"

"You-you might have killed yourself…because of me. It would have been my fault." He whispered. "I never…I never wanted to hurt you, I never meant for it to go that far-"

"Yugi…no Yugi, no, don't think about that." Hugging him, Yami consoled, "It's in the past, please don't blame yourself. We both made mistakes. If I'd had any sense, I'd have realized it was a fake letter and I would have followed you the second I got it." He smiled foolishly. "I mean, who really apologizes in a break-up letter?"

"That's what I tried to tell him." Roger spoke back up. "But he wouldn't listen…"

"Yeah, you also told me to get drunk, and that didn't help!" Yami retorted, his arms still around Yugi. "So excuse me if I don't listen to everything you tell me!"

"You were sure energetic the next morning!"

"That was late in the morning first of all, after I got sick again and after I took an hour-long cold shower. Of course I was looking a little better. Besides, I think I cried all the alcohol out that night."

"Yeah right, the bartender just went easy on the tequila in your drinks-

"Oh, I'll show you easy!"

"Hey, look, you're on TV!" Allie spoke up and pointed at the hotel set, disrupting what had promised to be a decent fight. Yami released Yugi, who was looking more cheerful.

They all watched the program for a moment, which was festively titled with: "Yami Atemu Reveals Gay Love Life at US Intercontinental Tour Finals!" A large still shot of the kiss took up the corner of the screen. So far, they'd neglected to even mention who won the tournament.

"They make me sound like a perv." Yami muttered. "It's a really good thing we dashed before the newshounds got hold of us and found out that Yugi is still seventeen. Wouldn't that be a fine kettle of fish. Who wants to bet it won't take long? I say three hours."

"I guess five, but you never actually said that you two were lovers, you know." Roger pointed out. "And it's not like there's any complaint being made by Yugi. Getting out of town ASAP would definitely be smart before some sort of weird nutcase tries to start up a lawsuit, but Yugi's birthday is soon, and if all else fails, you can come hide out in me and Allie's apartment."

Yami and Yugi exchanged glances. "Er…thanks for the offer, but I'm hoping that fate's done toying with us and will let us get out of the US in one piece and lawsuit-free. But still…they'll be talking about this one for awhile. I suppose I'll lose some fans now that they know I'm gay. Well, it doesn't matter. Any that leave weren't worth having." Yami finally replied.

"Hey, in the old days, "gay" meant happy, cheerful, stuff like that." Allie added. "So if you read it that way…it just means you have a cheerful love life."

"I'll vouch for that one, now." Yami said, hugging Yugi's shoulders. Yugi giggled and cuddled up beside him.

"Well, if it makes you feel better, they've already got an online poll started up, and 53 percentof takers say they support your relationship the last time I checked the site, so you haven't lost all of your fans. But you've got to avoid the news people anyway. They'll be banging down your door tomorrow morning."

"Don't worry about it." Yugi picked up the remote and turned the TV off. "The hotel has prohibited them from coming upstairs, and we're splitting town tomorrow anyway. Splitting the country in fact. Hopefully something else newsworthy will take up their minds."

"So, what exactly are you guys off to do now, anyway?" Allie wanted to know. "I mean, Yami, your original plans can't possibly be the same."

"No, they're not." Yami shook his head.

"We're flying to the house in LA real quick so I can pack properly. Then we're flying home to Japan." Yugi replied. "I've already called Grandpa, he's waiting. We're going to run the Game Shop together…except during tournament days of course. You guys are welcome to come visit sometime too, you've been great friends, and I'm sure you'll get along with everyone."

"Not a problem! And you guys definitely have to come visit us sometime too. There's this great festival down in Florida, in the Keys, called Fantasy Fest, you guys have got to come sometime with me and Al. You'd have a blast, lots of gay couples live in the city where it's held, and I bet you two are something of heroes to them now."

"Maybe we will, then." Yami replied cheerfully.

"Hey…and what about your parents?" Roger asked, curious, looking at Yugi. "Aren't they royally ticked off?"

"Not Mom…I guess she's more or less on our side. My dad…he's another story. I have a strong feeling he won't receive me home tomorrow with open arms. But I'm hoping that maybe one day we can make civilized contact."

Yami snorted and muttered something unintelligible. Yugi huffed.

"Your opinion of him still hasn't changed, huh Yami?"


"I guess some things never will."

"Some things don't need to." Yami replied softly, touching Yugi's face. Yugi smiled and placed his hand over Yami's.

"You're right."

"Ack, they're getting all sappy again." Roger covered his eyes. "God, sometimes you guys are worse than the stories."

Allie laughed at the looks of indignation on Yugi and Yami's faces at that. "Yeah, but Rog, after everything, I think they've got the right to be as sappy as they damn well want."

"She's right. After everything we had to go through…my god, you never know how bad prejudice is, even in America, Land-Of-The-Free, till you go through it yourself." Yugi sighed.

"Yeah, but we didn't let it win." Yami said, determined. "And we won't in the future, either."

"Nothing will ever tear us apart again."

"That's right." They were staring into each other's eyes now, edging closer together. Roger got to his feet.

"Okay, that's it! Al, we might as well call it a night for these two, they're hopeless."

She chuckled and stood up too. "Well, it is getting rather late, and they've got eight months to catch up on. Good night guys."

"'Night!" They replied in a chorus as the two college students let themselves into the adjoining second room and shut the door.

"Well, now what? We chased out the party." Yami said.

Yugi glanced at the window, and then pointed. "Hey, look, it's raining."

Yami looked up. "You're right. I thought I saw some rain clouds earlier." He took a sip of his ginger ale. "Raining pretty hard, too."

Yugi was quiet for a moment. Then, "Let's go for a walk."

"Right now? In the rain?"

"Look on the bright side, no reporters will be out."

"Heh, good point. Well, let's go then!"

As they walked around the courtyard of the hotel, holding hands, Yami finally asked, "Yugi, did you want to go for a walk out here because...you know, when your parents found out about us the first time, we were out in the rain?"

Yugi shrugged shyly. "Maybe."

"Well, I think it's a nice idea. It's like…starting all over again. In a good way this time. We sort of lost our innocence a long time ago, but…at least we kept our faith. And a bit of luck."

"That's right." Yugi let go of him to turn and face him through the downpour. "This is like…coming to the end to find ourselves standing at the beginning, isn't it?"

"Back at the beginning." Yami put his arms loosely around him and smiled. "It's not an ending…not at all."

"Well, beginning, middle, whatever it is…I'm just glad to be standing here with you at it." Yugi replied as he took Yami's hand again. "I love you, Yami."

"I love you too, Yugi." He replied, and they kissed long and deeply, witnessed by no one except the rain and the lightening. And that was fine, because this moment was finally theirs, and it was all they wanted.


"You have the tickets, right?"


"And you made sure to pack carefully so your clothes don't crease?"

"Yes Mom."

"You're sure?"

"I'm sure!" Yugi replied, somewhat tiredly. He and Yami had flown back to California that morning, packed up all his things for shipping back to Japan, and were now sitting in the airport, waiting for the flight. He and Yami were fairly exhausted, and his mother was with them, fretting about small things that Yugi was becoming increasingly tired of worrying about. He glanced over at Yami, who looked bemused and just as tired, but happy. He and Mrs. Mutou were, surprisingly, getting along; a fact that Yugi was still in shock over.

Yugi had worried about what might happen when they met again, but when they finally came face-to-face in the doorway of the house, she had looked Yami in the eye and told him with a newfound strength, "The only reason I'm agreeing to this is because I'm trusting you, against my better judgment, to take care of Yugi like he says you will. I just want him to be happy."

Yugi had slunk back, embarrassed, and also expecting Yami to make a sharp retort. But all Yami had done was smile, nod with satisfaction, and clap her on the shoulder, saying, "I think you and I are finally on the same page!"

They certainly weren't best friends, and probably never would be, but Yugi wasn't going to ask for anything more. And at any rate, the meeting had certainly gone better than when his father and Yami had met eyes. They'd glared at each other from across the room in a silent but furious contest that would have easily burnt holes in the walls, till his father had hissed, "You…"

Yami's voice was equally as poisonous as he snapped back, "Yeah, it's me, and what I said to you at the airport last time still stands."

Yugi and his mother were puzzled by this strange comment, having never heard the conversation. Mr. Mutou clearly remembered it though, as hehad scowled and vanished from the room, not even saying good-bye when they left. This explained everyone's surprise now when behind them they suddenly heard,

"I guess the flight hasn't taken off yet."

Turning, Yugi asked, "Dad? What're you doing here?"

"Yes dear, I thought you weren't coming." Mrs. Mutou added, looking equally as puzzled.

"This is a surprise." Yami muttered, no longer looking so happy.

"Yugi's my son…I suppose I should see him off." He replied, and sat down, apparently having come to the decision to simply ignore Yami, because he said nothing back to him.

Yugi's mother noticed this, and narrowed her eyes. "I'm glad you decided to come see Yugi and Yami off. I'm sure they appreciate it."

"I came to say good-bye to Yugi." He replied, sitting up a little straighter. "There is no one else here that I have anything to say to."

Yugi's mom looked even more annoyed. While Yami was no best friend of hers either, she still didn't like the way her husband was treating him. Yugi had chosen Yami to love, and from what she'd seen so far, it was clear thatYami adored him. The relationship had nothing dark or dangerous about it, and she was ready to welcome Yami into the family. Her husband's coldness was incredibly rude, and so she said scathingly, "For someone so concerned with respect, you certainly aren't showing it."

"What's that supposed to mean?" He demanded, really not liking how headstrong his wife had become recently.

Yami glanced back and forth and, sensing danger, got to his feet. "I'm going to the Exchange counter. Yugi, want to come?"

"But aren't we supposed to exchange the money when we get there?" Yugi asked, quizzical.

Yami looked pointedly at the elder Mutous, whom were now conversing in increasingly tense tones. Yugi got the idea and stood up too. "Of course, I'd love to come."

Sara wasn't having a very great day. The airport had hired a new girl, Lindsey, and Sara had somehow ended up being the person appointed to help her get settled into her new job. The problem was that Lindsey was clearly not meant to work in anything involving public relations. She'd been horrified to hear that she was expected to handle money from African Americans.

"What if I get cocaine on my hands though?" She demanded.

"Cocaine?" Sara asked, confused.

"Hello…the drug dealers?" She asked, as if Sara was stupid. "Blacks deal cocaine! What if there's some on the money and it gets on me?"

"Then I guess you'll just die." Sara had replied, irritated, and thinking to herself, And wouldn't that just be a damn shame.

Because of this, she was thrilled to hear the sound of people approaching the counter, and said, "Lin, I'll take these people, okay?"

"Fine with me." Lindsey was re-applying her lipstick with scientific precision and didn't even look up from her compact.

Rolling her eyes, Sara exited the back room and stepped up to the counter, freezing in surprise when she saw who the people were.

Ever since the day, nearly a year before, that she'd seen the two young men with the sad eyes, she'd been unable to forget them. They'd haunted her mind in a way no one else she'd met ever had. Her fiancé had told her to forget them since they were only strangers, and her parents told her she should get a new job and take a break. But still, she found herself thinking about them, Yugi and the older one, often wondering whatever happened to them. So this might have explained why, after she stopped staring blankly at them, she exclaimed,

"It's you guys!"

"Excuse me?" The older one asked.

"You guys! Yugi…and I dunno what your name is…"

"Er…you know me?" Yugi asked, as perplexed as Yami.

"Yes! I saw you before…about a year ago. You came through here, you were with your parents, Yugi, and you..." she directed this statement at Yami, "…were by yourself. You were the one that was worried about that plane crash, you thought Yugi had been in it."

Yami's eyes widened, remembering that day just as well. "You're right…but why do you remember all that about us? I mean, you must see hundreds of people every day."

"I do, but…I remembered you two because you looked so much alike…and you both looked really sad."

The two of them seemed rather embarrassed by this.

"Well…that wasn't one of our better days, for sure." Yami agreed, then held out his hand. "My name is Yami, by the way. Yami Atemu. I guess you already know Yugi."

Sara shook his hand over the counter and smiled. "I knew you two must have been connected somehow. I'm glad to see that you guys aren't in so much pain anymore."

Behind her, Lindsey approached and pointed at the two, saying, "You're that gay duelist that came out on TV the other day, and your boyfriend! I saw it on the news. Hey...is it true that Yugi's underage?"

Yugi looked sheepish. It wasn't like this was unexpected either. So far at the airport, they'd gotten a lot of side-ways glances from people. Yami looked equally as awkward. "Guilty as charged, and no, he's not underage."

"That's not what the papers say."

"The papers lie." Yugi returned guardedly.

She scrutinized him and Yamifor a moment. "You know, I used to actually like you, Yami…" she looked annoyed. "I had a pin-up of you and everything. Then you go and reveal that you're gay…"

Sara set her jaw. "Lay off them, will you?" she snapped.

Lindsey looked surprised. "Well, sor-rey." She retreated into the back room, looking insulted.

"I'm sorry about her…" Sara apologized. "When it comes to prejudice, she could give Hitler a run for his money."

"It's all right." Yami shrugged.

"So, you're really a famous duelist, and you guys are really a couple?" She asked as they exchanged money. "I didn't see the news, I try to avoid watching it when I can."

Yami smiled. "Yep."

Yugi blushed, but grinned and nodded.

"In fact, we're moving back to Japan today to live together." Yami confessed.

"Yeah, we're going to run a Game shop there." Yugi added cheerfully, looking nothing like the miserable young man he'd been before.

Sara smiled too. "I'm glad. You look like you belong together."

"Yugi!" They heard Mrs. Mutou's voice, and all turned. "They're calling for boarding! You and Yami better get over here!"

Sara spoke up. "Well, you guys should get moving. Best of luck with everything."

"Thanks." Yami pocketed his money and looked up at her, and he too looked different. His eyes no long held any of the hurt from before, but rather were shining with happiness. "It was very nice to meet you."

"I'm glad I got to meet you guys too…meet you together, I mean."

Yugi and Yami smiled, waved, and ran off to pick up their bags. Sara watched as they got in line, and she could see through the crowd of people that they'd clasped hands, fingers interlaced tightly.

"Freaks." She heard Lindsey mutter behind her.

Sara just leaned against the counter, watching them till they faded from view in the crowd of people boarding. She'd meant what she said. Seeing them together, it became perfectly clear why they'd looked so wrong the last time. They'd been apart.

And even though she knew she'd never get the whole story, she was glad to see that the glimpse into their lives that she'd gotten several months before hadn't been the end. Besides, she really didn't need the whole story to understand why they could smile so brightly.

It was something simple, yet something so beautiful, the triumph in the endof love over pain.

The End

Author's Notes:

Hey everyone! Surprised to see this posted so soon? xD My card preview got rescheduled to next weekend, so I was able to update at the usual time for ya! Think of this earlier-than-expected posting as my own little gift to you. Hope you enjoyed it!

Eeek! The fic is over? Seriously? No way! (Alright, I'll stop doing that.) Yeah, it's over. It was cute! The ending was sort of something you could see coming from fifty miles away…but I still think it was cute. Romance is so wonderful! Besides, this was supposed to be predictable, so you would all look forward to some happiness after all! Right?

This fic passed the 300 review mark! This is so awesome. I never dreamed this would go so far! Congrats to Marikslildevil for sending the fateful 300th review! And thanks so much to everyone!

Now…I want to get serious for a moment. I hope you all enjoyed this fanfic, and I was thrilled to see how far out this one reached, to my old readers and new. This one meant a lot to me, more than some of my others, and not just because of the series used or my obsession over the couple, but because it details something I think the world right now needs to look at. Given the current state of affairs, we don't need hate or prejudice to tear us apart further. What we need more than anything is for love to survive in whatever forms it can…and I guess, in the end, that's sort of what I was going for. Love surviving. Maybe not so innocent as it should have been, maybe having to really struggle to make it, maybe hurting along the way…but still surviving even past all the opposition. Yugi and Yami overcame the barriers they faced, and even though in the end they emerged hurt, they emerged together, and still strong. And past everything else, that's what I really wanted to press. And it doesn't matter if you're straight or gay or bi, (or poor or rich or young or old or black or white or male or female or whatever), what matters is that we can all emerge together from the heartache we face, with love still surviving. That's just something I really wanted this fic to show.

Okay, seriousness is done with.

I brought Sara back for the last chapter. Everyone seemed to like her…and I wanted her to see it as well!

Why NYC? Because hosting a tournament in Key West seemed a bit far-fetched, hosting one in California was too close by to provide adequate suspense, Massachusetts wasn't well-known enough, and NYC was the only other majour gay-lifestyle accommodating city I could think of in the US.

I can't help but think that part of Yami's "plan" was to force Yugi's mom into standing up for herself. Well if it was, it worked!

And now…the last replies of the fic! There's a lot this time!

Yami Yuugi: Too bad you couldn't get a picture…the various Atemu's in the magazine were awesome looking though. Yep, the Keys ARE Margaritaville after all…even if it was just a song that got us that name, it seems to hold true. Whether we were always famous for those drinks or if it was the song that made it that way, I don't know…but there it is. xD Ah, I knew you would! You pay such good attention to these things. Man, I just love people like you. Yeah, I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Not only do you notice the details…you send me such nice reviews too! Yugi is a very strong person. :nod: My preview was canceled, rather unfortunately…but was rescheduled to next week, which in reality was probably good, cause now my cards I ordered online have time to arrive before it! Still…I don't like waiting. xDD Thanks for reading!

Yami Riyunoa: Ahh, too true. It's really very sad, you're right. All about lust and passion, and nothing else. Yugi's father remains a jerk till the very end…just because HIM having a change of heart would have been way too freaky…and this is more realistic. I made it a happy ending after all! It's kinda hard to believe it's over…thanks so much for all your support since it began!

Citrus Luver: So did I surprise anyone? I really don't know…and probably didn't, but I added the note in there anyway. I don't want people to hate Yugi's mom, so I hope she's on your good list now! I don't like Yugi's dad…he stayed a bad guy. xDDD

Kari-Sama: I adore happy endings! Thus, this fic got one. :smile: That WOULD have been awful…good thing it didn't happen!

Xmiso: Sorry for making you wait another chapter…hey, looking on the bright side, you might have had to wait longer. xD But they got back together again! Such an adorable couple…how could I leave them apart, right? Hope this was long enough!

Serena the Hikari of Love: Death is deathy, true 'dat. And Yami didn't die. Nor did Yugi…nor did anyone really. I suppose in a symbolic sense…but that requires way too much thinking for a Friday…thanks for reading you guys! xDD

Weissangel24: Hehehe…if you want to hate her, that's still fine with me, but if you want to hate someone, do focus your attention on Yugi's dad. He's far more dislikeable. xDD I sort of went for both, in the end…they had an argument, but ended up together anyway. And it wasn't so much an argument as it was Yami trying to express frustration and love at the same time…which can't be easy. But I just couldn't leave them miserable. :pets them: Thanks!

Dani Wheeler-Kaiba: Eek…my parents used to think that…till my 'crazy obsession', (and tell me, is there really a NON-crazy type of obsession? I mean really!), became contagious and took them over too. Mwahaha…ahem. Anyway! It's true that he sure is a stubbourn bastard. Thanks so much! I worked very hard on that scene…rewrote it about a bazillion times. xD …Ride kangaroos:blink: Wait, you mean you don't? xDD I'm just kidding! No, that's funny though. People actually ask you that? xDDDD Oh geez, that's funny. I dunno, I just like Australia. I like islands, and it seems sort of nice there. I like the accents too. Thanks again for reading!

Darkyami7: Heh, well apparently Yugi's hidden temper runs in the family, because glass they threw. Yaay emotions! Thanks so much! I try really hard to put those in, I'm so glad you like them…:smile: The summary DID kinda hint that everything would work out okay, didn't it? I welcome biased opinions too! xD No one wanted to see them split up forever…that would be way too sad. I won't be missing school to duel after all…but the idea was fun! I'm going next weekend. Arraggg…I have to wait a whole nother WEEK now!

HeavyMetalRequiem: Awww…thanks! I hope you enjoyed it, even if you didn't really want to see it end. I feel rather sorry for Mokuba…that Kaiba would worry about his wardrobe before his own brother's safety. While the coat is a trademark and all…someone still REALLY needs to get his priorities straight!

Darkhope: (Yeah, I'm writing you a reply. xDDD) Well, this was one review I never expected to write a reply for! I know, Chey isn't dead! Awww…that's so sweet…:hug: I might be a freak, but you know you love me. xD :wink: Anyhoo…I fully know your opinion on shounen-ai, but it was nice of you to drop by for a chapter. xD You really are full of surprises…I have to say. But I enjoyed reading the review! xD Thanks for much for the manga…damn I hope it comes soon! I want the gum and icebreakers too! xDDD You must come visit someday! xD But not during hurricane season, right? ;D

Lines: Yeah, that's sort of what I was thinking too. Since this is Seto Kaiba…the closet in the elevator idea really isn't too far-fetched…yes, you were one of the good people that realized she wasn't a bad person! You get a cookie! And since it's a virtual cookie…you can choose the flavour. xD Thanks so much for your support during the fic! I'm so glad you've enjoyed it! And you can feel free to poke to your heart's content. xD

Spidy007: You can have all the squeels in the world, my friend. I deliberately put lots of "aftermath" into this chapter so that all the YugixYami fans could have some softness to squeel about! Besides…they really deserved the happiness, didn't they? They have names, I'm sure, but since they're really not my characters, I feel uncomfortable giving them names. So…they never get referred to by name for that reason.

BlackHawkDown47: Hehehehehe…got that right!

ShiningLightening: So, did you get what you hoped for? I hope so! ;D The hurricane wasn't bad…I used to be terrified of them…but not anymore. Now I'm just terrified of tornados. England, huh? I want to visit there someday! It's sad you haven't gotten GX or the Memory arc yet though! Well…it's worth the wait, I'll tell you that. :niko: Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the end!

Fallen-Angel-of-Repression: :sniffles: That was seriously a sweet review, let me tell you. I feel so...well, I was walking around for like, three days grinning just because I thought of all the kind things you said to me in it. I love to get that sort, the kind that assure me that all the emotions I tried to convey, did indeed get through. Bakura is awesome…and the coat is mad hot. :nod: Thank you greatly for all your reviews and support during the fic!

Pharaohess1: Charrahs that change are so much fun! It's true! Aw…well, pumpkin carving IS important, I understand that! Oooooooohhhh…Pharaoh Yami is SUPER hot. The tan skin and the Egyptian outfit make him even hotter. I have a bit of a fetish for him in that outfit with all that pretty jewelry…I swear, it's enough to make me melt into a lil' puddle of fangirl goop. And then he was all confused…eeeee! xD Okay, enough out of me about that. You didn't have to wait as long as you thought! That's good:D Thanks for reading!

Dragonlady222: Yami forgave him…because I mean really, how could he resist Yugi? We all know he adores him!

Hm: Thanks! I worked on that a bit, the whole mentality thing. It's important to me to keep that sort of mood in this one. I'm so glad you noticed! Hope you enjoyed the end!

Slifer the Sky Dragon: Yami got his own body by after the Ceremonial Battle, and he went to the afterlife, the magician Mahaado used magic to incarnate him into his own body, in exchange for him to give up his powers and become a normal mortal. Thus…he has his own body! I never really bothered to explain it too well, eh? Thanks much! I hope you enjoyed the last chapter!

Padfoot13: I know, she finally did something right, ne? It's sort of funny, everyone despised her a few chapters ago, and now they do not. But then again…letting Yugi go was a majour selling point. Thank you so much for reading this fic!

Red Dragon of Egypt: Oh, how true. On all the points. Yugi and Yami were definitely meant to be together. Isn't it obvious? Yami of course forgave him in the end…he just needed a moment to get his frustration out, but come on, there was no way he could let Yugi walk away, nope. Hope you enjoyed the final chapter, thanks for reading!

You Know Us: Sooo…is Michelle happy? Yugi, and YAMI, are happy. Fantasy Fest was mentioned, (and I dedicate that paragraph to you guys!) And Yugi's mom finally got up the nerve to call her husband a jackass…which wasn't one of Michelle's happiness requirements, but I figured she'd probably like it! ;D A bad case of poisonwood would be a lovely parting gift for his father…especially on some particularly sensitive areas of the male anatomy, ne? Mwahahahaha…well, I hope Michelle is giving you some peace in there! Thanks for much for reading and for all your support!

Bombay-Elk: Thanks! That's true, it really would have broken Yugi's heart if that had been the case…good thing it wasn't. I was actually considering another ending that had Yami with a girlfriend, but he of course went back to Yugi at the very finish. Still, the ending didn't seem to fit, so I went back to this one instead! Cliffhangers rock…I'm so glad you think I do well at them! I really do try. :niko: Ah, I won't kill you, we all have our faves! But YamixYugi ALWAYS comes out as the best. ;D Thanks for your support during the fic, I really appreciate it all!

Atemu Yugi Lover34: Hey, maybe you are! Ya never know. ;D Eeek, if I had to do so much cleaning…I think I would die. I really hate to clean. xD Thus, my room is a mess…yipes. Fun! Mine got rescheduled…but I'll still get to go! And my cards I ordered will have time to get here beforehand, which rocks. I, after all, have to win at least a few duels and uphold my belief that while guys might win at DM, girls kick ass at it! Aww, no worries! I doubt anyone here is a dangerous stalker…I mean, we all love YamixYugi, so we can't be all bad! Thanks sooo much for all your support and reading, I hope you enjoyed the end!

Cherry Romancer: Seeing as they're back together…it's safe for us to come out from under the bed…right? Well…I'm leaving my little hollow cleaned out…just in case.

Yami Adritha: Run, fly…well, he ended up doing both! Hehehe, that's so true. My dad fits that category too, always complaining that he never gets his way…:sigh: Dads, that's just the way they are. Thanks for reading and reviewing!

NatoyaMouto: Nah, Yami could never do that! He loves Yugi way too darn much. Then again, who doesn't?

Faith68: Yep, she changed her mind! I'm not sure what to think about him either, myself. I think it may be a little bit of both. I honestly don't think he hates his son and deep down probably loves him, but it's in a pretty cold way. And I can't tell you how much it means to me that you loved that quote. I wanted a single sentence that would sum up "love" in a tone Yugi would use…and it was tough to do. But it worked out, and you have proved it to me! Thankies! ;D :hug: They, of course, got their happy ending…cause kami-sama knows they sure deserved it! Thank you so much for all your support and kind reviews, I hope the finale met your expectations!

Sansi: Love to see it come, hate to see it go…I sort of feel the same way. While I looked forward to writing the ending, the idea of trying to sum this fic up enough to make it end was sort of scary…but I did my best! I hope you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for the congratulations too:smile smile: That really does have to be an awesome feeling.

Jadira: Tears are good! Well…when it comes to fanfics at least! Putting people in tears was my goal…I know that doesn't sound very nice, but I do like it when it brings out emotion. I really wanted to make her change believable…I'm glad it worked! Thanks again for reading!

Redconvoy: It sure was about time, ne? Ah, that really sucks! I'm sorry to hear that…I have no idea how I'd live without power for that long. Oh, no, I live down in the Keys. We got lucky down here.

Marikslildevil: I did that dreaming thing one time! It was when I was having oral surgery, and I had them totally knock me out for it, and before passing out, I was thinking about Yami cause thinking about him calms me down and I was freaked out at the time, and then while unconscious I dreamed that he was standing in front of me. That was all, he was just standing there and smiling at me. But it was a nice dream. ANYWAY! I got off topic there. xD Glad to see you back! Honestly, I was getting worried something bad had happened, like you'd gotten hurt or something. I worry about my reviewers when they vanish. And hey, congrats on sending the 300 review! Thanks so much for reading!

As for what is coming next…I fear that Marie will not only behead me, but that she might also even go so far as to steal my Yami pillow and blanket and hold them hostage if I don't write and post the final part of the UCL-BCD trilogy. And, because I would rather be beheaded than put my Yami pillow and blanket in that sort of danger…that'll probably be the next one. xD Look for it! It'll be Sorcha and Shane based (My OCs, for those that don't know them. They're Yugi and Tea's daughter, and Joey and Mai's son, respectively. If you're interested, go read Under the Cover of Light, and then Beyond the Cover of Darkness, and that'll catch you up to speed with them. Of course you don't have to, you could pick it up without too much trouble, I think, but I'm just going by my standards. Cause you see, it drives me mad if I don't know the full story behind things and there's a big story behind Sorcha and Shane…), play a bit off the sls of the first two, and have plenty of new twists that I hope will be cool. After that…I'd really like to write a sequel to The Purpose of a Heart. I've also got some song-fic ideas planned, and Hallie has mentioned a fanfic contest for her site, so that might show up too!

The Memory Arc rocks out loud man, it rocks OUT LOUD! Yami is hot and Bakura is cool and EEEEEEE…It just really so rocks!

Yeah, I had to say that…'cause it's trrrruuuuuuueeeeeeee! Hehehehe…NEW EPPY TOMORROW!

Thanks one last time for reading everyone, for all your encouraging words and wonderful reviews, and I hope to hear from you again sometime!

Wishing you all safe travels and good health,

-Chey (Fated-Shadows)

A Requiem for Innocence Thanks:

Takahashi Kazuki: He created Yugioh…and without Yugioh…I dunno what the hell I'd be doing, or even why I'd be living! Besides…he created Yami and Yugi, and without THEM…where would this fic be, eh?

Yami and Yugi themselves…for dealing with all the crap I put them through! xD And if it weren't for them, who would we squeel hysterically over on the TV show? (Cause I dunno about you, but I get a silly grin on my face if they even look at each other. xD)

Every gay-rights supporter in the world, for believing in Love, not rules.

Each and every reviewer/reader that took the time to follow this fic through! Without you, writing fanfics just wouldn't be the same. You inspire me to write as best as I can and a lot of you have become good friends of mine, too! This fic broke personal records of mine, and that is due to you all who chose to follow it. You guys rock, and I love you!