"I…" Yami's voice was quiet; he blinked, yet it did nothing to clear his vision, "I don't know."
The overhead fan swirled in lazy circles over his eyes. His breathing was slow and labored.
"Well…what do you think?" The psychiatrist asked from the other side of the room; she had a kind face and her dark hair was pulled back out of her eyes, "You don't have to know…what do you really think?"
"I think…" Yami bit his lip and he blinked again. His hands clenched the front of his button up shirt tightly, "I think…"
This is your fault, you bastard…
The guitarist's heart stopped beating, "I think that it was my fault."
It was Tuesday; Yami had taken a bus to the hospital, and was now sitting in a stuffy white room, trying to respond to questions that simply did not have answers. He had asked for this, and he knew that he had, but when it came right down to it, Yami couldn't. He couldn't do it.
Not yet, and not ever.
"Do you really, or is that what Ryan told you?" The woman's tone had taken on something made of both pity and inquiry; Yami didn't like either, as this matter was none of her business. How foolish he had been to think that talking to a complete stranger about his problems would have made a difference.
Nothing made a difference anymore, did it?
Yami turned onto his side, facing the wall opposite of his new doctor; he couldn't even remember her name, "I don't know." How many times was he going to have to say it? He didn't know anything; he'd never know anything.
There was just too much to think about.
A chair was scraping across the linoleum floor; it shifted once more as it became occupied, "If you don't…want to talk about something so big quite yet, how about we talk about something smaller?"
Yami shook his head, but he wasn't sure if the psychiatrist could see it, "I don't think so."
Yami didn't answer her, even though for once he knew the exact answer. There was nothing little in Yami's life. Everything was connected, no matter how small or insignificant it was. Everything reminded him of everything else.
"Mr. Atemu?" Nothing. "Mr. Atemu?"
The guitarist wiped at his tired eyes; more than anything he wanted to just be with Yugi. Yugi never pressed him for information, but was always there when Yami was ready to share.
But Yugi was still at work, and was getting ready to take on another job in just two weeks. He had finals at school, too. Life was once again demanding time from the student, and Yugi just couldn't push his responsibilities out of the way anymore.
He would make time for Yami, though, the guitarist knew that. That's why he didn't leave before Yami decided to get help. It was just that his life couldn't revolve around Yami.
And Yami's entire life couldn't revolve around Yugi.
He heard someone behind him sigh and Yami was thrown out of his thoughts, "Okay, Mr. Atemu." There was a pause, "We'll continue this next week."
Yami sighed as the doctor left the room. Nothing was said, and nothing was solved. The only thing that this visit to the hospital did was help Yami to get past another few hours of his life.
And now he'd be alone again until Yugi came back home. Whenever that was.
The guitarist wiped his eyes again.
The wind blew through Yami's hair lightly as he stepped off of the bus onto the sidewalk. He didn't bother to wipe his blond bangs out of his eyes, though, and just dug his slender hands into his jeans' pocket as he began to walk away, his head down; he didn't want to look at anyone, and he didn't want anyone to look at him.
What he didn't want to look at most of all, though, were the buildings that he passed. The bus had dropped him off about 9 or 10 blocks away from the apartment, and while that wasn't too long of a walk physically, emotionally it was the bridge that never ended.
It was his house, Ryan's house. Yami had lived there for months, but at the same time, it was never his home. While under Ryan's influence, Yami was completely alone, in both mind and body. While under his manager's influence, Yami had no place to really live and no one for him to love.
Now the guitarist just felt alone.
…But it didn't make any sense. Yami wasn't alone; he had so many people to talk to about his problems, yet he just didn't want to. Maybe he really couldn't.
What did Yami do before when he had no one to talk to? What did he do when no one cared to listen? How did the guitarist survive?
His step faltered.
He had; whenever Yami was scared or afraid he write down his feelings in a song, and people listened to those songs. It didn't matter if they couldn't relate or if they didn't think that it was true; they listened, and it made Yami feel…wanted. Special
Was that it? Could Yami not talk because he was so used to speaking and having no one truly listen to him? Was he repressing himself all that time? And was that the reason that Yami couldn't bring himself to speak?
It must have been, because Yami wanted to talk, he wanted to so bad. He wanted to show Yugi that he could trust him, but it just…
He couldn't do it.
And now…Yami didn't even want to write anymore. He had no passion for the things that he used to love, such as playing the guitar or drinking coffee…or even composing both songs and their melodies. It was gone, and Yami wasn't sure if he was ever going to be able to get it back.
It all reminded him of just how much he had lost.
While walking, Yami also passed The Curse. He stopped and drank in its image as if he had never seen it before, but…for months this place was the closest thing to a home that he had. Now it was gone.
The doors were closed, but there was no trace that the police had ever been there. The club must have been open last Saturday. Yami wondered if any bands came to play.
He wondered if his band came to play.
No matter what, Yami would always think of Sennen Rage as his own. That band was his entire life for months, and in a flash it all just disappeared. It was so…surreal.
The Curse was the best thing that Yami had going for him, because it held all of his hopes and dreams. It held his greatest opportunity. But at the same time this building was the worst thing that had ever happened to Yami; in it used to be his very nightmare.
Ryan had made Yami believe that he was a whore, and that he was only in the band because of his looks.
But that wasn't true, was it?
The guitarist reached one of his hands out of his pocket and ran it through his hair before stepping up to the tinted glass door of the nightclub. Inside of the building was dark, but then again, it was barely ever brightly lit; only enough to help people see. Yami squinted, and saw the fuzzy outline of the bar; the bar that he had sat at so many times before…the bar where he and Yugi had first kissed.
But that was all a memory now, wasn't it?
And because it was a memory, Yami wasn't sure if he would ever figure out the truth. He couldn't change the past, but the guitarist was afraid that his memories would shift and fade to suit his fears and delusions. He was afraid that his mind would rationalize something that he deserved to feel, know, and ultimately, fix.
Yami sighed and closed his eyes as he placed his free palm on the dark glass. He just wanted a clue. He wanted someone to tell him something that would help him make his decision.
He had to know…was Yami in that band because of the talent that he thought he had, or because of the looks that one man saw in a coffee shop one day?
Or…what if it was both, the true mark of a musician? Could Yami have been that lucky?
Opening his crimson eyes, the guitarist tore himself away from The Curse and continued walking home, overlooking the print that his hand left on the window, and trying to ignore the mark that that building had put on his mind.
Yami hated being consumed by his thoughts; he wished that he could concentrate on something else, like the scenery or the prospect of some exciting thing that would come his way later.
When it came right down to it, Yugi was the only thing that Yami could look forward to. But with the student working so much Yami knew that he wasn't going to be around much for the next couple of weeks. Maybe the guitarist should start looking for a job himself, so that he could start to save up for something or pay off his hospital bills.
It was an easy prospect, yes, but getting a job was not easy. On top of that…Yami had nothing else in his life that he wanted to do. Music was his only path, but that road was blocked…possibly forever.
Yami kept on walking…after all, it was the only thing that he could do.
Yugi walked into his apartment on Tuesday night to find Yami sitting on the couch, slowly and thoughtfully eating a bowl of cereal. His smile was kind and genuine when Yami looked up from his spoon, but….Yugi could tell that something was not right.
"I'm glad you're home," The guitarist said, putting the bowl down on the table. He looked back up and smiled again, but not before frowning at his meal, his eyes looking deep and lost behind their sparkle.
Yugi grinned back, though, and slipped out of his shoes before joining the older man on the couch. "Me too."
Yami was all smiles, but still…Yugi couldn't help but notice how the guitarist flinched just the slightest bit when he sat down; he still did that whenever the smaller went to make any contact with him at all.
Yugi was so happy that Yami was getting better in body; he was eating more by the day, but something was still not right with him emotionally. He was getting stronger and stronger with every thought and sentence, but something still hadn't clicked. Yugi didn't know how to help, either, as he did not know what the exact problem was.
Yami had gone through a lot, Yugi knew, and he wouldn't be truly happy for a while, but it seemed like something new was bothering the guitarist, as if his thoughts had opened up another thing in his mind that was now consuming all of his attention.
Yugi wondered what it was.
"So…" The smaller asked, getting comfortable on the couch and unbuttoning the top slit of his shirt to cool him down on the summer night, "How was your day? I hope that you didn't get too bored with me not around."
The student must have hit something with his words, as Yami's smile slipped and his eyebrows wrinkled ever-so-slightly, "Oh…you know. It was fine. I took a walk, listened to some music. Nothing much."
Yugi couldn't help but stare; Yami had left out a rather big chunk of his day. Maybe that's what was bothering him, "Did you see the therapist today?"
He left the question open because Yugi knew how difficult it must have been for Yami to seek outside help. The guitarist could have answered with a simple 'yes' or 'no' and left it at that. Yugi didn't want to pry, especially since it was only Yami's first visit. He just asked because he wanted to let Yami know that he cared.
But the student was surprised beyond his dreams when Yami started to tell Yugi even more than that… He didn't think that the guitarist was ready for it, but Yugi was willing to accept it nevertheless, "I did. But…" He blinked, and the other realized that maybe Yami was trying to take on more than he could handle, "I…I couldn't tell her…anything."
"Really?" Yugi wasn't surprised, and was actually expecting something like this to happen. It didn't explain why Yami seemed so upset, though. Not really. "Well, I'm sure that they didn't mind. You can try again next week."
Yugi's words didn't seem to help any, though, and Yami looked away before voicing his reply, "It's…not just her, Yugi. I can't talk to anyone, and it's…bothering me. I'm not sure what to do."
The student had never heard Yami being so open about his problems before. It almost scared him. Brushing his slight shock off, Yugi moved closer to Yami and placed his hand on the guitarist's knee. He flinched. "Yami…you can talk to me, you know. I won't tell anyone, and…maybe I can help you."
Yami shied away from Yugi's touch and placed one of his hands over his eyes before speaking shakily. Yugi could tell that he was on the verge of tears, "Yugi…that's just it. I can't. No matter what I do, I just can't talk to anyone. I just…"
He stopped, and Yugi could only stare as Yami stood up and took off to the bedroom, closing the door behind him.
The student felt oddly emotionless. He felt bad for Yami, yes, more than anyone knew, but he wasn't feeling depressed himself. Not exactly. Yami needed to do this…he needed to figure it out, and maybe being alone for a little while was the only way that he was going to do it.
It was as if Yugi knew exactly what Yami had to do even though he wasn't fully sure of what he was upset about. He knew that it was something, and he knew that it had something to do with Yami being unable to talk to his doctor. He was probably feeling frustrated, because while one part of the guitarist's mind was ready to start accepting what had happened to him, the other part was still confused and still trying to hold on to the world that his mind had concocted for him.
He was torn between two choices, both of which would change his life forever.
Yugi gave the other a minute to either compose to lose himself, then stood up and walked over to the bedroom door. He was worried for Yami, but knew that he wasn't going to do anything drastic. In a way that was a relief.
He knocked softly; the door was slightly ajar, which meant that Yami didn't have the will to go and check that it was closed. Either that, or deep down Yami was hoping that Yugi would come in after him. "Yami? Are you okay?"
There was no answer, but Yugi thought that he heard a small sniff. He decided to try again, "Do you want me to come in?" Again, Yami did not speak, but Yugi realized that he probably didn't want to be alone that night. After all, that was the whole problem. A part of Yami's heart thought that he was truly alone.
Yugi slowly pushed open the door the rest of the way and felt his heart sink when he saw the other. He was sitting on the bed against the headboard, one of his legs stretched out in front of him and the other bent at the knee. His head was tilted, and his teary eyes were glazed as he looked at nothing.
Yugi took a deep breath and gently climbed on the bed to sit next to his boyfriend. Yami did not react, and Yugi took the opportunity to bring the other's frail body into the curve of his own. He held Yami's head close to his chest as he rocked back and forth, and soon tears were falling down the guitarist's face as he tried to figure out what he wanted to do and how he wanted to think; his hands held onto the fabric of Yugi's shirt as if he wanted to give himself some comfort. Maybe it worked.
Yugi breathed deeply and evenly, hoping that his own pattern would help to forge one for the other. They sat in silence for a long time, and Yugi realized that Yami really was starting to heal, because he was finally letting himself cry.
He was finally starting to accept what had happened to him, even though it hurt more than anything that Yugi could compare it to.
"Yami?" Yugi asked after a couple of more minutes. He ran his fingers through Yami's soft hair, trying to calm him down further before he asked him his question, "Yami, what did you do before? What did you do when you wanted to let out your feelings, but didn't have anyone to talk to?"
His question might have been harsh, but Yugi knew that Yami had been thinking about this all day. He knew that he had the answer, too. He just wanted Yami to say it.
It would make it more real.
The guitarist looked up at Yugi, still in his grasp. The student wondered if he knew what Yugi was trying to do, "I…wrote songs."
"Well," Yugi said, letting go of Yami so that the other could sit up; it was easier to look at each other that way, "Why don't you do that now? I think that it would help."
"I…" Yami's tone was hesitant, as if he knew that there was something wrong with what he wanted to say, "I can't."
"Why?" Yugi was being persistent…maybe overly-so, but Yami had to make his choice soon. The world was not going to wait forever for him to move on, and if he didn't start now, then he was going to lose an opportunity somewhere that he would regret forever. Yugi did not want to see this man hurt again.
"Because I don't have that option anymore." Yami replied, trying to sound forceful but coming up short, "Yugi, that's not how my life is anymore. I lost my record deal, and because of that I lost my band. I…" He paused and blinked, "I…can't go home now, and I'll never see my parents again. I don't want to show them that I couldn't do it. I don't want to prove to them that they were right…I don't want them to know…" He faded off, but Yugi knew exactly what he was going to say.
"But," Yugi's voice was soft, "Do you still want it?"
Yami only started, surprised. Yugi kept going, glad for the silence so that he could choose his words carefully, "Do you still want this record deal? It was your dream, Yami. Please don't tell me that you're giving up already." He looked the guitarist straight in the eyes, and Yami stared right back, "Don't you want to go home?"
Yugi never realized that Yami might want to leave America. He never realized that if Yami was able to rejoin Sennen Rage that he might end up gone forever.
But if that was what Yami wanted…then Yugi would let him and help him all that he could. That's what people did when they were in love, and Yugi wasn't sure if he had known it before then.
Yami blinked again, and furrowed his brows in his thought. Yugi knew that he didn't have to think, though, because it was all already there. "I do. Yugi, I really do."
Smiling, Yugi shifted off of the bed a little and reached into the drawer on the bedside table. He reemerged a few seconds later, holding a pad of yellow paper and a black pen. He had never used either before, yet always kept them there just in case. Now he was glad that he had.
Yami looked at him strangely, as if he was still thinking. Yugi hoped that the other was pondering the right thing.
"Yami," Yugi said, then placed both items next to Yami's body before looking at him again. They hadn't been this close together since last Sunday, at the hospital. "I believe in you, okay?" Slowly, he placed his palm on Yami's cheek, and leaned in closer to kiss his lips softly. Yami didn't flinch at all, "But more than that…I love you."
Behind Yami's hair, Yugi saw the small diamond earring glowing softly in the light; the matching one was in Yugi's own ear.
In a sense, Yami was a symbol for Yugi's mother, and while the smaller knew that it was a stretch to be thinking in this fashion, he somehow knew that it was true. Both the guitarist and his mother were abused by someone that they both trusted; they were both hurt by someone that they cared about whether they knew it or not.
More than that, though, both of these people had an influence on Yugi's life that changed the way that he thought and acted. They made him a different person, and Yugi knew in his heart that he was better off because he had known these people.
He owed them both his life.
And even though Yugi's mother was gone now, Yami was still alive. And if Yami was somehow similar to Yugi's mother, then that was all of the more reason for the guitarist to get better. If Yami got better…then Yugi would know that it would have been possible for his mom to recover, too, and if she didn't pass away then they could have had a life together.
It was perhaps the most selfish thought that Yugi had ever had, but if Yami was able to move on then Yugi would be able to do the same, as well. He would know that it was okay for him to not think about the past every day of his life, even if it influenced his every day decisions.
But more than him, Yugi wanted Yami to heal. He wanted him to be able to write again, and he wanted him to be able to step onstage and sing his heart out just like he used to do…without the danger and without the fear.
The only things that Yugi wanted Yami to feel onstage were passion, excitement, and the thrill of the screaming fans underneath him. Yugi wanted Yami…to be happy.
"Yugi…" Yami breathed, his mouth hanging open just a little. Looking into his eyes, the smaller saw something that was reflected as fear. But as much as Yugi pitied Yami for this dread, the guitarist had to get over it, and at this point, he had to do it all alone.
But Yugi would be there when he was done, or if he needed some help to get back up along the way.
So smiling softly, Yugi kissed the guitarist on the cheek, looked him in the eyes, and then nodded before he stood up and left the room to go and wait on the couch.
It's all up to Yami, now.
Even as the door closed behind his boyfriend, Yami's head was swimming. So many things were going through his head, but for some reason a block that was previously in place had been removed. For the first time in a long time the guitarist's thoughts were clear, and even as the pad worked its way into Yami's lap, lyrics were flowing through his mind.
It was all thanks to Yugi, wasn't it? Even though Yami already knew everything that he had said to him, having the smaller's approval just seemed to make it that much more true. Having the knowledge that someone wanted him to write again and that someone cared about the words on the paper made its worth so much more.
Yami wrote for himself, first and foremost, but the reason that Yami composed poems was so that he could let out his thoughts in words. And really…what was the point in talking if no one was going to listen?
Yugi had given Yami so much; he had given him something to look forward to, and when Yami thought that there was nothing left Yugi was there to give him a push in the right direction. And now the student was doing it again.
So much had happened to the guitarist in only a few short months, yet it was all in his head in one small slot that was always on the verge of bursting. There was so much sadness and depression…anxiety…fear…but above all, there was hope, and that was why Yami wrote.
He wrote because it gave him hope that things wouldn't last forever, and it helped to ease the pressure in his life just a little bit. Even his saddest songs were just a little bit of light because as long as he could write, he could still have a voice, and someone's voice gave them freedom.
The page was filled up with black ink before Yami even realized that the words were there:
I climbed the
world and got thrown down. There was a song that I once played; When all was gone, I couldn't see. But things were tough, my
arms gone numb. I
climbed the world and got thrown down. I should've known that I was wrong,
swear I'd never fall again That hope rests here, above my head. Because my road, my hope, my shining star,
I fell for miles, hit the ground.
Tears slipped down and stained the dirt;
I tried so hard, but always hurt.
Lost and hurt, so afraid.
There was a glimmer far away,
It never seemed to want to stay.
I think your voice came out to me.
I climbed back up, for a while,
Just so I could see your smile.
The guitar too hard for me to strum.
I fell again, and didn't move.
My life was all I had to lose.
I fell for miles, hit the ground.
Tears slipped down and stained the dirt;
I tried so hard, but always hurt.
I've never really been too strong.
But you're still here, you've helped me through.
And now I know what's there to do.
Would be a lie; I'm not quite there.
But I will try, I promise you,
I swear these things won't run me through.
The stars shine bright, like some have said.
I'll hold it tight, I won't lose sight.
I'll watch it guide me, like the light.
Seems to go…wherever you are.
There was a song that I once played;
When all was gone, I couldn't see.
But things were tough, my
arms gone numb.
climbed the world and got thrown down.
I should've known that I was wrong,
swear I'd never fall again
That hope rests here, above my head.
Because my road, my hope, my shining star,
Rereading his work, Yami raised the pen again to make a few corrections, then placed both the pen and the pad back in the drawer, smiling just a little as he wiped his eyes one more time. He knew that Yugi wouldn't read it…not until Yami wanted him to. And he wasn't quite ready for that…not yet.
But he would be able to…someday. Yami's writing used to give him hope, and it still did.
But now he had something else, too, to help him get through when he couldn't do it on his own. He had Yugi, and Yugi was the only person that loved Yami…as much as Yami loved him back.
One Month Later:
It was hard for Yami to believe that it had been an entire month. He hadn't touched the latest song that he had written since that night four weeks ago, but every time he felt depressed or alone he would go and reread his poem, because it reminded him that that certainly wasn't true at all.
Things were going good for the guitarist; he was more comfortable with his therapist, and Yami was learning to talk about some of the things in his life, even though they hadn't conversed about Yami's ordeal at The Curse yet. They talked about his life in Egypt, and what he'd do if he ever got to go back.
Yami was looking for a job now, too. He thought that he would get a job as a waiter or something in a nice café with the hope that no one would notice him. Maybe one day he'd even start to play his guitar there in the background like he did when he was just starting out in America. But that was for another day; another feeling.
His injuries had healed, though the gunshot wound had left a nasty scar behind because of the amount of times that the skin was ripped open. Luckily the tissue on his face had healed almost perfectly, and no one would notice the scar if they didn't know that the injury had been there.
And it was okay…because Yugi never looked at it. His attention always seemed to be on Yami's eyes. Yami was honored to have such a wonderful boyfriend that always helped him through the bad times. He was flattered, too.
He had even gained weight, and even though the guitarist was still thin, he was healthy. He couldn't eat too many heavy foods, but Yami never liked them too much anyways. His body had healed, which, in Dr. Margaret's opinion, was some type of a miracle; she saw him every once in a while just to make sure that he was doing alright. Yami was grateful, as she had suggested it.
But inside, Yami was still hurting, and had every right to be. His missed his band, his music, and his home. He wanted to go back to Egypt, but just couldn't swallow his pride. The only way that he could see his parents again would be to join a successful band. But he wouldn't. Yami's only band was Sennen Rage, and he hadn't heard anything about the band since that night about a month and a half ago. He assumed that they broke up, which was terrible.
Mr. Finnid really thought that Sennen Rage was good enough to be owned by a Record Label…but one man had messed it all up.
Yami still wasn't entirely sure of who that man was. It depended on the day…the mood…the setting. His mind was still not free, but every day it was getting just a little bit better.
One day he'd be there, and his heart would agree with what his mind was telling him.
Yami stopped in front of The Curse on his daily walk. Yugi had a pretty busy work schedule now because of his hours at KaibaCorp, and even though he always made time for Yami after the day was done, the guitarist still needed to pass time until he got a new job.
At least 5 minutes of every day were spent gazing into the windows of The Curse, wondering what had happened to it; where its music had gone when its band left. Maybe they never got a new one…maybe it was still waiting for its old one to come back.
But Yami knew not to get his hopes up.
Today, though, it was different. While Yami looked in through the dark tinted glass, there was a light coming from the basement, and music flowing out of it. The guitarist found it strange, as people were never in the club during the day.
Not unless they were rehearsing.
Yami didn't know why he did it, or how, but before he knew it he was inside of the doors of The Curse. Immediately his mind and heart began to race with old memories and feelings…he felt sick for the first time in a month. He had almost forgotten how terrible this all felt.
He looked down the hall, at his old dressing room. He got dizzy, so he looked away.
But Yami did not leave. He couldn't, not now. If the guitarist walked out of the doors of his old nightclub, then he knew that he would never come in again. So many people had told Yami that he was healing from his nightmares, but none of that would matter if Yami didn't think that it was true, too. He had to prove it to himself, otherwise he'd never get another chance again.
He needed this chance…he deserved this chance.
The sounds of an electric guitar danced its way up the stairs, and Yami turned to it, intrigued. The player was good, and he wanted to get a closer look. Walking down the steps, Yami realized that he couldn't clearly remember the last time that he did that.
He realized…that he missed it a lot more than he knew.
There were quite a few people on the dance floor, though instead of dancing they were all sitting in chairs arranged in no particular order. Most of them had electric guitars, and Yami realized that these were tryouts.
He was looking to be replaced. It stung.
Immediately he wanted to leave, but out of courtesy or possibly something else, Yami decided to take a seat in one of the vacant chairs and finish watching the current guitarist audition. He had dirty blond hair and brown eyes, along with a frown on his face that Yami knew would turn into a smile given the chance.
He tried to watch the instrumentalist, but Yami couldn't get something out of his head: Why would Jullian and Zach wait over month to start looking for another band member? Were they thinking what Yami hoped they were thinking? And if they were…would Yami really want to rejoin?
Too much had happened to him up on stage; he had been afraid too many times, and at the smallest mistake Yami's heart would race and his passion would be lost. Did he even have what it took to make it in the music business anymore? Had Ryan taken that away from him, as well?
Out of the corner of his eye Yami saw Zach and Jullian conversing in a corner. They both had frowns on their faces, though the guitarist couldn't tell why. The blond was good…very good. He'd fit nicely in a rock band; he certainly had the looks and the attitude, along with the ripped blue jeans to complete the look. Yami wondered if they would keep the name Sennen Rage or get something new.
But why was his heart beating like this? Was Yami hoping that something good would come out of this visit? Was it even reasonable for him to? Or was he excited because he finally back in The Curse after so long of being afraid?
…Was it both?
Suddenly a pair of eyes were on Yami, and the guitarist's stomach lurched; he felt uncomfortable. He looked around the room to see who it was, and as the last notes of the blond's audition faded away, Yami's eyes locked with Jullian's.
He wanted to get up and start moving away, but before he got a chance to make his legs move, Jullian had nudged Zach, who smiled for the first time in Yami's memory, and both of the two began making their way towards the third. The guitarist couldn't do anything, and just stood up, waiting for them to reach him. He wasn't sure if he was scared, or nervous, or…thrilled and excited.
Jullian was the first to speak, "Hey, Yami. It's been a long time."
Yami blinked, feeling as if this conversation was going to be awkward. After all, the three boys didn't know anything about each other, "Yeah, it has."
"We tried looking for you for over a month," Zach added in; Yami had never heard the bass player talk to him in such a friendly tone. It was both unnerving and relaxing at the same time. It seemed as if the other had finally dropped his grudge. Yami wondered why. "Did you move or something?"
"Uh, yes." Yami said, trying to sound casual even though he was starting to get a slight headache. He didn't want to tell them about anything that had happened to him, even though they already knew. Everyone knew, thanks to a tabloid that had worked it's way into circulation. Yami tried his best to not care; sometimes it worked, "I couldn't keep living where I was. It just…didn't work out."
"That's too bad," Jullian replied. "We tried to find you for a while, like Zach said, but then The Curse started asking us when we were going to come back…after Finnid, you know."
"I'm sorry," Yami said, though he wasn't sure why he was sorry. He didn't do anything wrong…right? Or maybe he had, and that was why he was apologizing. He didn't know…after all of this time he was still confused sometimes.
"Don't be sorry." Zach said firmly. He was starting to look slightly uncomfortable, too, "We all know…now…Yami, I-"
"No," Yami interrupted. He didn't want anyone to apologize for what had happened. It was not their faults. They didn't do anything. Yami was desperate to keep his keep his secret, and he did, no matter what the cost. No one should have been sorry but himself. Right?
A long awkward silence followed. The other people in the club were watching now, too, and Yami didn't want to just stand there. He actually wanted to go home, but couldn't…not yet. He cast his mind around for another subject, not wanting to talk about Ryan…Ryan, who took everything away from Yami with no reason.
"So…you guys are holding tryouts, right? Are you having any luck?" He was surprised at how even his voice sounded, though he was certain that his hands were shaking.
Jullian's question was totally inappropriate, tactless, and sudden. "Yami, will you rejoin the band?"
The guitarist was blown away; if his heart stopped then he wouldn't have been surprised. Why was Jullian doing this? "What?"
"Will you?" Jullian repeated. He lowered his voice next, so that Yami had to lean in closer to hear him. Apparently he didn't want the other applicants to overhear. "We've been listening to people all morning, and Zach and I realized that you are our guitarist. No one has as much passion as you…no one cares about Sennen Rage more than you."
No one needs Sennen Rage more than I, Yami caught himself thinking. But he didn't need this band, did he? Was that what was missing in his life? Was that what he needed so that his whole life wouldn't depend on and revolve around Yugi?
The more that Yami thought about it, the more true it became, but Yami just wasn't ready. He couldn't do this yet…he was still so afraid, "Guys…I'm honored, I really am, but…I don't think that I can."
Zach intervened into the conversation, "We'll take it slow…as many rehearsals as you need. The Curse loved your performances, I heard that because we haven't been there their sales have been dropping. They'll take us back with open arms."
Yami wasn't sure if Zach was talking about taking the time to let Yami get back into the groove of things, or taking the time to let Yami become less nervous about playing again. He couldn't tell, but was flattered either way. His resolve was slipping fast.
Every passing second made Yami realize that he missed playing his guitar so much, and his fear was just…evaporating, even though a small bit would always be there.
Yami needed to beat this dread now. After all…he'd never get this chance again. After today, he'd never be asked to join another band again. He'd never be allowed back into Sennen Rage, the thing that had been on Yami's mind the most for a month. He wanted this…why wasn't he taking it?
"I don't know…I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to perform again." Yami's heart was fighting so hard against his words…why wouldn't he listen to what he truly wanted?
"We don't care," Jullian said. "Yami, we don't need this gig to be good. I'll bet that we can get a deal with some company even without it. And even if we don't…you have no idea how much I miss playing together as a group."
"I agree," Zach added in.
"So will you?" Jullian asked, his eyes gleaming with hope. "We know that you'll be alright someday. We'll wait for you. Please?"
He wanted it…Yami wanted this so bad. He couldn't keep pushing down his fear of Ryan…he had to somehow beat it. He had to get his voice back fully. And sure, if Yami rejoined this band, he would hurt sometimes, and he would cry just as much, but…wasn't he doing that now anyways?
Shouldn't he be getting back to doing something that he loved? Shouldn't he perform again, to get that rush that he had back in his first performance? Didn't he deserve it? Didn't he?
Yami would perform again. He would, because the only person that could stop him now was himself. And Yami wouldn't put himself down…not again.
"I…" Yami's voice was full, prouder than it had been in a long while. "I will, guys."
Jullian and Zach's faces broke out into broad smiles, and when Yami went to shake Jullian's offered hand, the drummer pulled him into a hug. "You won't regret it," He whispered.
I know, Yami thought, but only smiled in response.
He shook Zach's hand next, and only then did Yami realize that things were finally getting back to how they should have been.
Yami's dream…was going to come to pass. He would make sure of it, at almost any cost.
Sennen Rage was finally back together, and together they would stay…forever.
Yugi walked into his bedroom after work that night with a smile on his face. He had met Seto Kaiba that day, who was on a business trip. The man, though cold and distant, had told Yugi that he was going to have a future at KaibaCorp because of his grades and common sense.
Yugi didn't stop grinning for the entire day. Things were finally getting back to some state of normalcy. It felt great.
Yami was sitting on the bed, looking out of the window. They had actually been sleeping next to each other for quite a while; Yami only had nightmares about once or twice a week, and when even when he did, the smaller was always there to comfort him. And then…Yami would fall asleep in his arms. They would listen to each other's heartbeats for the entire night.
Yugi frowned for a moment, noticing a pad with Yami's song on it in his hands. He knew from experience that Yami would read the poem over and over when he was upset, even though the smaller had never actually read it himself.
But then the guitarist looked up, and all that Yugi saw was a smile. Smiles looked great on Yami, and Yugi was glad that he was doing it more and more every day.
"Hey, Yami." Yugi's voice was cheerful, "You look really happy. What happened today?"
The guitarist gracefully slid off of the bed, and, still smiling, gathered Yugi in his arms. Yugi melted in his embrace, and hugged the guitarist back, "You'll never guess what I did today." He said, something that sounded like laughter in his voice.
"I…don't think that I will," Yugi conceded, grinning, "Tell me, why are you so happy?"
"I rejoined Sennen Rage."
Yugi's heart simply stopped, and he would've told Yami to stop joking if Yami joked about such things. He settled for not believing his own ears, "What? Yami, how?"
And Yami told him.
Yugi smiled toothily, then glanced over at the bed, where he could just barely see what looked like chord names next to Yami's song. It was true…Yami had finally started to truly beat his fears. He looked into the other's fiery eyes and saw nothing but the passion that Yugi saw in Yami during his first night at The Curse. The eyes that Yugi fell in love with.
The guitarist was well on his way to recovery. And yes, the road would have bumps, and Yami might even fall once or twice, but that was okay. It was as if he was starting to rebuild his wall that Ryan had broken down, but instead of doing it with new bricks with no history, Yami was doing it with his own past so that he wouldn't forget, and so that he wouldn't try to hide it.
And sure…that wall might not be as strong as some other peoples' were, and it might fall down if someone pushed it too hard. But at least this time…it would still be Yami, and if it did fall down, then at least Yugi would be there to help him up, because Yami would let Yugi in to help him with his problems.
…Or at least he'd let Yugi help.
Yami finished telling his story, and Yugi felt tears in eyes as Yami looked at him again with the purest smile in Yugi's memory on his face. They stared at each other for a moment before Yami bent down to kiss Yugi with as much passion and love as what was reflected in his eyes.
This was the Yami that Yugi fell in love with, and this was the Yami that Yugi would love until the day that he died no matter how many times the guitarist fell again.
And Yugi knew now with all certainty that it was not impossible for someone to come back from the brink. It was not impossible to get back the fire after the flame had been put out.
Yugi knew now that the fact that he had moved on from all of those years ago was okay. It was okay for him to not think of his mother every day, like things were before he met Yami.
Of course now, with that diamond earring sparkling in the same light as Yami was himself, Yugi knew that that would be hard. But it was okay, because the student was building something, too. He was building it with the few pieces of his past that he had missed.
That sorrow doesn't have to go on forever.
"Yugi, is something wrong?" Yami asked, probably noticing the faraway look that his amethyst eyes had attained.
"No," Yugi said, looking up at Yami again as he smiled, "Not anymore. I was just…thinking. About my mom."
Yami paused for a minute then held Yugi all the tighter. The student could feel the other's heart beating calmly in his chest; Yami was so calm, now, so hopeful, so…strong. After a minute, Yami released him a little and looked down at him again, "Have we gone out to celebrate your internship yet?"
Yugi laughed, "No, I don't think that we have." Of course, Yugi would rather be celebrating something else. Something that had to do with a certain guitarist's success after such a long time of fighting.
Yami suddenly got thoughtful though, and frowned himself before speaking again, "On the way to therapy," He paused there. Yugi could not remember Yami talking about his therapy since that night about a month ago. Maybe Yami was getting more comfortable with that, too, "There's a new coffee shop. Do you want to go?"
Yugi held back the urge to laugh happily again. Coffee was yet another step, because it reminded Yami of home and of what he wanted to gain back. What he would get back. And he was doing it all on his own.
The student stood on his toes to give Yami a quick kiss on the lips, "I'd love too. Let's go."
The two boys disentangled themselves from one another, and just as Yami was turning around to go get a pair of sandals out of the closet, Yugi called him back, "And Yami?"
"Hmm?" Yami started to turn around, but the words were out of the other's mouth before he could finish.
"I love you."
Yami turned his head, even though his back was turned, and looked at Yugi. He grinned, happy with the compliment, and returned it before completing his path to the closet door, a goofy smile still on his face.
Yugi suppressed that sudden urge to laugh again, but not because he didn't like it. He just didn't want the guitarist to know that he had thought of him as goofy.
But even that wasn't a bad thing, because goofy was happy, and Yugi liked a happy Yami the best of all. He would bet that Yami liked a happy Yami the best of all, too, because apparently, Yami was happy when he was with Yugi, and Yugi felt exactly the same way.
Author's Notes: ...umm...:goes off for a moment to collect herself because she can't believe that this fic is over:
:cries in a corner:
Okay, I'm back. And...that's the end of Sennen Rage. I know that I left so much open, such as Yugi and him telling Yami about his own past. But that's going to be in the sequel because I can devote more time to it. :nods:
I'm sorry for the super length. I probably should have split this up into two chapters, but I didn't want everyone to go, "Last chapter!" only for me to go, "Umm...no." So...you got a really long chapter. :grins:
I'm also sorry if I left out some of the feeling that I usually have in this story. When I was proofreading...and yes, I do proofread :grins, I felt that I left out a lot of...emotion. I don't know why, though. Maybe it's just in my head.
Regarding the Sequel: The sequel to Sennen Rage will be called Strike Records. It is going to deal with Yami performing again, and how even though his band has moved on and accepted what had happened, other people aren't going to as the band becomes more popular. Even Yami's own parents are going to cause problems for him, even though that's another matter all together. On top of that, in order to help Yami once again get through his problems, Yugi's going to have to reopen some old wounds in his home country.
I'm not sure when I'm going to start posting and/or writing this. I actually might start working on some of my other stories again, and I'm almost positive that I'm going to finish Eternity first. But I dunno.
I really want to thank every single follower, reader, and reviewer of this fic. I even want to thank the people that read the first sentence, and then backed out because they didn't like the feel of it because they built up my hits, and that's good for the self-esteem. I really do love you guys, and hope that the sequel will be as popular as this fic was. I really am grateful. :bows:
Final Word Count: 114053 words.