A/N: And it continues! There might (will) be a little bit of a pause after this, largely b/c from here on in, I'll have to rely on my own plot creation. ((pouts)) No more mooching off the Lady Winged Knight's lovely ideas. Darnit. Still, feedback is appreciated!

Disclaimer: Observe my creativity. Nuuuuuu.

The 27 Days of Christmas

Chapter Two

"Whoo!" Duke shouted from the back. "Kissy kissy, you two!'

Ryou froze, like a deer caught in headlights – in the middle of an arctic blizzard. "But… uh… I can't…" he whispered, pained.

Malik shrugged, sensing Ryou's uncomfortable state. "Sorry, guy. It's the rules, after all."

"Yeah, but…" Anzu looked crushed.

Bakura shoved his way to the front of the crowd, hands raised and a manipulative grin on his face.

Yugi, in the back, tried to peer over the heads to see what was happening. He cursed his shortness, and crept to the right in the hopes of finding a gap. "Oh, Ryou," he sympathized.

"Ladies and gentlemen," Bakura announced. "I believe what we have here," he placed a hand on Ryou's shoulder, "is a virgin romantic."

Brief silence as people tried to figure out what that meant. "Dun' matter!" Joey called out, ignoring the statement completely. "They've gotta kiss!"

Bakura looked hurt (emphasis on "looked," of course). "You mean, Joseph, that you'd destroy this young man's dream of his first kiss being with his one true love," he paused dramatically, then picked up again, "just because you're heartless enough to slaughter the sole chivalrous romantic guy still in existence today?" He tsked. "Joseph, for shame."

Serenity was totally won over. "Oh, Joey," she began reproachfully.

Joey looked just as uncomfortable as Ryou had earlier. "Well, uh…"

Duke and Tristan, meanwhile, seized this chance. Duke spoke up, catching Serenity's eye. "I think we should let them off the hook. Don't you?"

"Oh, yes!" Serenity smiled sweetly.

Tristan sidled in. "Well, I think Ryou should be exempted for the rest of the party. We wouldn't want to make him miss on his true love." He beamed at her winningly.

"What a wonderful idea!" Serenity clapped her hands to her chest, tears filling her eyes. "You're both so kind!"

They blushed, fidgeted, grinned sappily, then tried to glare each other into cowed submission. The rest of the crowd looked disappointed at how the event was turning out, but none wanted to question Joey, much less the combined might of Tristan and Duke.

Except one. Mai stepped forwards, hand on hips. "Hey! It's my party and I demand to see a kiss! I don't care if it is… it's really your first kiss, huh?" she asked Ryou, disbelieving.

Ryou nodded miserably, scrunching into his shoulders.

Bakura glared first at Mai, then at Ryou. "Not with her you don't," he muttered, jerking his head savagely at Anzu, who was looking more and more depressed as the discussion carried on.

Bakura sighed. "Whatever. We look kind of alike anyway." He pushed Ryou back, then grabbed Anzu and proceeded to kiss her senseless over the next three minutes.

Ryou – and the crowd – stared with wide, wide eyes. When the two broke apart, Anzu gaped and collapsed to the floor, swirly eyed.

As for Bakura? He smirked and walked off – sipping Anzu's stolen punch.

When the general murmur had started up again, Yugi actually found his voice enough to whisper. "I can't believe that just happened." He didn't know if Bakura had saved Ryou, or had simply wanted Anzu for himself. He backed up a bit. And here he'd thought for sure that Bakura would only do that kind of thing with Ryou!

"I can't believe that just happened," he murmured again.

"Almost unbelievable," a deeper voice agreed calmly.

Yugi whirled. He knew that voice. "Yami?" he squeaked.

"Yes," Yami nodded. "What was your name again?"

"Uh… Yugi." He bobbed, bowing quickly. "Nice to meet you. I mean, I know we're in the same class and all, not to mention we talked yesterday…" his voice trailed off as Yami looked at him intently. "Is something wrong?"

"Oh, right." Yami relaxed. "The guy with my hair. Yugi, was it?"

"Ah! Yes." Miserable, Yugi looked down. Yami probably thought he'd copied Yami's hair, and how creepy was that? No one ever believed him when he said it was natural, even though it was.


Startled, Yugi looked up. Was Yami angry? He couldn't actually be as accepting as it sounded. "You don't mind… I mean, my hairstyle is so much like…" he stammered, his voice wavering.

Yami blinked, his exotic eyes making that an event worth noting in and of itself. "Billions of people through the world share the same DNA," he stated calmly. "Physical appearance has ceased to surprise me; I can only find new depths of despair at humanity's depravity."

"Oh," Yugi whispered in awe, then realized what had been said. "You really think humanity is so bad?"

Yami gazed at him, and offered the smallest of grins. "It must, to have made such a thing as school on Monday mornings."

'Yami is joking with me. I'm going to die. I'm too happy.' Yugi's mind was in a trance, and he was unaware of the laughing grin that made its way naturally to his face. He could only stare with expressive eyes at his long-time crush who was looking at him, talking with him – without any sign of mockery.

It overwhelmed in a rush. The room spun and Yugi staggered backwards before his legs collapsed. Before he knew it, Yami was leaning close and offering a hand up. "Are you…?" he questioned softly.

Yugi closed his eyes, taking the hand. 'Am I?' he wondered. 'How am I?' He looked at Yami, understanding the meaning behind the vague question. "I'm all right. Thank you very much, Yami."

Again, Yami gazed at him steadily. "You're flushed and red. Are you ill?"

"Not that I know of. I'll let you know of any incoming faxed updates." It was a lame attempt at humour, but Yugi tried nonetheless. Yami's eyebrows rose with interest.

"Whoooooo!" the familiar sound started up, seeming to encircle the two. Yugi looked around in confusion. "What?"

"Holy crap! Yami?" Joey came to the front. "You got caught? Ha!" the sound escaped him before he could stop it, and he slapped a hand over his mouth. "Whoops."

"Ah—" Yami was taken aback.

Yugi, for the first time ever, saw Yami at a total loss. The sad thing was, though, that he knew he looked equally stunned. With dread, he raised his eyes to the ceiling.

The mistletoe dangled above, mockingly. In the wave of fearful anticipation that flooded him, Yugi imagined it was cackling at him.

…No, wait. That was Bakura. "This is priceless!" he crowed. "The wallflower and the potted plant!" He clapped his hands. "Let's go, you two!"

"What?" Anzu stumbled over. "No!"

Tristan grinned at her. "Oh, come on, Anzu! You don't want the exceptions to beat the rules, do you?" Various shouts of agreement echoed around the room. That may have been the excuse, but the truth was really that they just wanted to put Yami on the spot. He was just too cool; usually he never interacted, much less got caught in these kinds of situations. Letting him off the hook would be like finding the leprechaun's pot of gold, and giving it all to charity: Noble, but ultimately stupid.

Yugi's face screamed into red as he looked down. "No, really…" he softly protested.

"He's got the right idea," Yami stared stonily at the circle, only a faint glint of humour in his eyes. "We value ourselves too much for such a bawdy display of affection."

"That's right," Anzu spoke up hopefully. "And besides, we don't want to offend anyone here."

"I don't mind," Joey smirked and crossed his arms. This was too good to pass up, but if Yami's expression right now was any verdict, he was going to more than make up for it later.

"Besides, you guys," Duke piped up. "You don't have to make it graphic. Just…"

"Do it!" encouraged Serenity, who was all for equal rites and was, at heart, a burgeoning shonen-ai fangirl.

"Well," Yami decided to concede reluctantly. "I suppose I could do worse." He looked down with a shrug. "And you, Yugi? Do you mind this?"

Yugi froze, much as Ryou had earlier. He was sure his face was red enough for planes to see it from the sky's ceiling.

On the sidelines, Ryou clenched his fists and encouraged his friend silently.

"Um. It's fine. Sure?" Yugi consented timidly.

Yami shrugged again and glared at their circle of society. "This is all the fault of your peer pressure. I'm never agreeing to any of your ideas again, Joey."

Joey waved a hand dismissively. "You can thank me later. Just kiss already."

Unseen, Anzu shot Joey a nervous glance. 'Thank him?' Why would Yami need to thank Joey? Unless… a heavy feeling settled into her stomach, unaware that it was a complete overreaction to the normal banter between Joey and Yami.

Yami leaned in, knowing that he was flushing slightly from the embarrassment of it all. He gazed down at the horribly uncomfortable-looking face of his new… acquaintance. Yes. He could call Yugi an acquaintance.

Yugi leaned a bit closer too, his eyes fluttering nearly shut in nervousness. He was shaking a lot, too. Yami noticed this as he laid his hands on Yugi's shoulders.

"Hey, relax," Yami whispered softly. Yugi's eyes flew open and looked at him in disbelief. Yami hastened to amend that. "This is new for me, too. All right?"

Yugi quivered a few more times, then relaxed a bit more. His eyes closed again and he pursed his lips slightly. Yami figured this was as good as it was going to get and breached the last inch between them.

The tingle between their lips was worth going crazy over. Yugi's mind randomly flashed a cue card: "Over 50 of your sensitive nerve endings are in your lips!" before running away, screaming like a bunny. After that, there was nothing but this white glow over his thoughts. It made focussing easier, but worse, because there was only the kiss to focus on and it was everything he'd wanted but nothing he'd imagined and…

Oh no. He was going to cry.

Yugi pulled back a bit, effectively ending the kiss. Yami straightened up nonchalantly, as well.

"Yugi?" Lined eyes and white-powdered skin made a beautiful doll face of contrasts, looking at him concernedly.

'No,' Yugi thought wildly. 'No, I'm not all right. I'm going to die. But I can't – not here!' He bowed quickly, muttered an apology, and backed away. The retreat gradually picked up speed, and Ryou trotted to catch up. The rest of the crowd dispersed, though Joey meandered over and Anzu still stood, frozen in shock.

"Wow, man. Four whole seconds of kissage." Joey snickered, not malevolently, but enjoying the situation nonetheless. "How was it?"

Yami barely acknowledged him. "Too soon," he murmured, looking in the direction Yugi had stumbled off. "Too fast. An ephemeral butterfly, beating its wings, then falling into nothingness. It is dark, and the shadows wail for the light."

"Yami?" Joey tapped him on the shoulder. Yami only got this poetically abstract when he was worried about something.

Yami turned, looking at him accusingly. "Look at him. This is an awkward situation. I told you."

"Hey, sorry man! I didn't know this would happen!"

Yami narrowed his eyes promisingly. "You will make this up to me later. First, though…" he trailed off, looking distant.


Yami leaned forwards. "Go see if Yugi's all right?'

"Holy crap, Yami!" Bakura commented on the side. "Move already!"

Joey looked over, looked up, and glared at nothing. "Jerk," he muttered.

The partygoers looked over, their ears pricked up and a disbelieving grin on their face. "Twice in one night?" Malik chuckled under his breath.

"Whoo! Go for it!" Honda encouraged.

Yami fumed, "I hate parties." Nonetheless, he titled his head obligingly.

Joey darted in, trying desperately to not think about what he was doing – and quickly gave Yami a quick peck on the lips.

It lasted all of a second, and Joey was rubbing his lips a split second later. "I'm off, then."

Yami nodded sedately, then the two of them took three careful steps away from the cursed mistletoe.

Bakura snickered, then stopped as both Yami and Joey glared bleeding daggers at him. Joey pointed menacingly. "I will kill you."

Bakura shrugged and wandered off. He'd got to make a scene earlier, grabbed a kiss, and had been gazed at with happy eyes by his never-openly-admitted crush. He was just in too good of a mood tonight.

Outside, Yugi cried quietly, incessantly.

"Oh, Yugi," Ryou sympathized, rubbing his back. "Was he that awful?"

"No," Yugi sniffled, swiping at the tears in frustration. "He was nice! I mean, goth-ish, but nice! Aah, this is so embarrassing! They just won't stop…" He sniffed and wiped at them again, ineffectively.

Ryou patted his shoulder, silently supportive. The party had meant well, but he guessed the two of them were too shy to really find the whole deal as exciting as the others.

"Do you want to go home?" Ryou asked softly.

Yugi's breath hitched. "I-I don't know."

"It's ok," Ryou soothed. "We can do whatever you want, ok?"

"Yugi?" Joey popped his head out the door. "Hey, here you are!"

Yugi looked down. "I-I'm afraid I'm not really in the mood to talk."

Something in Yugi's tone and attitude got through to Joey, because his whole demeanour softened. "Are you ok with listening?"

"I guess," Yugi sniffed, glad for the darkness that hid his teary face.

"Ok. Here's the thing. I don't know if you're creeped out by the boy-kiss thing, or the fact it was with goth-Yami, or the fact that everyone was making you do it, and the truth is, I don't care. Whichever, whatever, yanno? My point is that you don't have to worry about Yami. I've known him for years, and he's not the kind to spread rumours or anything. In fact, he'd probably be apologizing right now, but he's sent me – probably so he could find some mouthwash." Joey grimaced, then laughed ruefully.

Yugi wilted. Joey caught the motion and realized his mistake. "No, no! Not because of your… uh, thing earlier. You see, idiot that I am, I went to talk to him after – except he hadn't moved!" Joey blew at his shaggy bangs. "So Bakura, the jerk, ratted us out, and we had to do it." He made a face. "Talk about freaky. I mean, sure Yami's gorgeous, but really? Not my type, you know?"

Yugi's eyes widened. "You two…?"

"You had to…?" Ryou spoke up at the same time.

"Yeah." Joey laughed again, his casual nature letting him brush the whole thing off. "Hence the mouthwash. I think I'll go get next in line." He made a move to get up, then paused. "Hey, it's probably none of my business, but are you ok now?"

Yugi breathed deeply, somehow feeling better after all. "Yes. Thanks, Joey."

"No prob, guy. We are classmates, aren't we?"

Yugi grinned. "Right!"

"Cool. See you inside then! Later, Ryou!"

Ryou waved. The minute Joey went inside, though, he focused entirely on Yugi again. "Hey?"

Yugi closed his eyes for a moment before looking at the distant stars above. "I feel good now. It was just so overwhelming before. I mean, I only started talking with him and all of a sudden we had to kiss!" His smile began to burgeon. "Hee. Ryou, we kissed!"

"How was it?" Ryou asked eagerly. His ecstatic moment was paused, where his own crush had saved from the disaster of kissing Anzu – Ryou would have screwed it up and Anzu was so much more popular than anyone else at the party…

Yugi stretched. "It was… indescribable. Just…" he grinned hugely, helplessly.

Ryou grinned with wishful empathy. "Wow?"

"Yeah," Yugi continue smiling, as the shock wore off and the euphoria set in. He suddenly stood up. "I think I'm going to go back into the party. Did you want to come too?"

"Mm, sure," Ryou agreed as he rose. It may have been selfish to think of himself right now when he should be cheering Yugis happiness, but he still couldn't help but remember how Bakura had saved him – not from Anzu, but of the public spectacle of the kiss.

He frowned a little. Of course, Bakura had then kissed Anzu…

But maybe that was Bakuras own odd way of showing he cared for Ryou? Gosh, he hoped so. There was just something about Bakura that drew him in; it was as if, corny as it sounded, they were meant to be together.

Yami, once again happily established in a mistletoe-free corner, sighed. He was ready to go home. He couldn't figure out what was wrong with him tonight; usually, he was so good at avoiding embarrassing public situations. To make the situation even more uncomfortable, Anzu had been giving him odd looks ever since…

He sipped at the punch refill, and felt Bakura join him.

"Where's your loyal groupie?"


A pause. Yami and Bakura could probably get along well if it wasn't for their constant need to antagonize the other. Bakura seemed to be especially annoying tonight, a premonition which gave Yami a twisting feeling in his stomach.

Out of the corner of his eye, Yami saw the porch door creak open and Joey come in. As if it were a cue, Anzu started shuffling in their direction, just as Yugi and Ryou walked into the room a moment later.

"Hey," Joey greeted Yami, then gave him a thumbs-up. "It's all smoothed out. Things are cool."

Yami nodded. "Thanks, Joey."

"Well, well," Bakura raised his voice slightly, and thus drew the attention of the rest of the room. "For someone so concerned about Yugi, you didn't show that in your kiss." He smirked. "I say it should have been longer; you two should do a repeat performance."

Anzu had now arrived at the mini-gathering just in time to hear the statement and see the thoughtful look that froze Yami's face. "No!" she interjected, barely remembering to fake a smile. "I think it was enough the first time. Too long, even!" she hurried on. "Besides, Yami's not even standing under mistletoe now." She should know, she'd been watching closely all evening.

"Ohh…" Bakura sighed theatrically. "Look at you, being all jealous over Yami's kissing action. My kiss earlier counts for nothing?"

Anzu crossed her arms and fumed. It would be a little too rude to say what she was thinking, especially as the hostess of this party.

"You are jealous," Bakura decided, smirking teasingly.

"Why, Anzu," Yami commented, equally teasing. "You should have said something."

With the main characters concentrated on this interesting development, none save Ryou saw the look of dismay overwhelm Yugis expressive face.

"Yugi?" Ryou softly inquired, though he suspected he already knew the answer. If Anzu liked Yami, there'd be no contest. She was pretty, popular, outgoing, and sweet, not to mention the conventional gender. Yugi, on the hand, may be cute, but was retired, too-shy, and basically unknown.

And a guy.

Yugi undoubtedly felt that he'd lost the prize before the race had even begun. To make matters worse, it was his kiss that was the catalyst for this whole situation.

Unable to do anything useful, Ryou simply placed a supportive hand on Yugi's shoulder.

Back in the circle, Anzu was putting up a decent attack. "Well, Bakura. Speaking of too-long kisses, did it ever occur to you that I might not have wanted to be kissed for three minutes? Especially by you!"

Bakura crossed his arms, infuriating smirk still in place. "You weren't complaining at the time."

"Of course not. I was too busy trying not to puke!"

The giggles of the crowd started and increased as Bakura patted her on the head. "Well, aren't you sweet." Defeated words, but the tone was so condescending it came out as sounding anything but. With an even bigger smirk, Bakura sauntered off. The background audience sound drifted back into normal conversation murmurs.

Yugi was staring at the carpet, looking as defeated as Bakura's earlier words should have been. His shoulders trembled as he fought some sort of internal battle. After a moment, he straightened slightly. "Excuse me," he spoke brokenly to Ryou. "I'll be right back." He moved off.

"Yugi?" Alarmed, Ryou called after him, reaching out an arm.

"What's wrong with the shrimp now?" Bakura spoke up behind him.

Ryou 'eep'ed and swivelled sharply. "Bakura!" he gasped, then recovered. "Yugi just took off. I don't really know what could be wrong." He deliberately avoided voicing his suspicions from earlier. Bakura, for all his social mobility, was still a member of the popular group. Ryou wasn't crazy enough to reveal everything about Yugi to someone who could conceivably – and easily – use that information as blackmail or hurtful rumours.

"Mmm," Bakura acknowledged. "By the way, Ryou," he continued, still in that casual noncommittal tone, "you still haven't thanked me for saving you from Anzu earlier. Were you even going to?" He looked disinterestedly off to the side, as if the answer didn't matter.

"Oh!" Ryou wished he could disappear. "Y-yes, of course!"

Yugi crept away, feeling miserable. Yami and Anzu would probably start dating now. He wouldn't even have a chance to befriend Yami, much less…

He sighed. Well, there was no point in thinking about it now. His grandpa had always said there was a silver lining in every cloud; Yugi wondered how applicable this was to the current thunderstorm his life had become. Or maybe a hurricane. Or … why did the image of the apocalypse flash through his mind?

Yugi headed to the bathroom. Maybe if he dunked his face in cold water he'd feel better. Wasn't that what all the guys did in the movies when things became too overwhelming? He suddenly remembered that most of the time it was because of a girl. Feeling worse than ever, Yugi continued on. Well, his problem kinda involved a girl…

Relatively distanced from the party, he suddenly realized he could hear voices. The first he immediately recognized as Yami's, and his breath instantly caught. Without even a moment's thought, he pressed up against the wall and listened intently. The second voice clarified in a moment, and he realized he was eavesdropping on Yami and Anzu. They'd obviously been talking for a few minutes before he'd come, which made sense because nothing conveniently waited for the main character to come along, outside of movies. Still, he was in time to catch the important bits.

"Anzu, to be honest, I had no idea you actually … uh… liked me like that."

"Well, I do. Is… is that ok?"

Yami coughed nervously, and Yugi could imagine him wearing that same look from earlier, when it had been directed at him. "It's fine. I'm … I.. Anzu, I must apologize."


No more words were necessary, it seemed. Yugi's heart leapt and fell like a jackrabbit. It went up because Yami was still single, after having been propositioned by Anzu herself! And then it plummeted because if Yami wasn't interested in Anzu, then what chance did Yugi have?

"Does that mean," Anzu had started up again, her voice determinedly cheerful, "there's someone else?"

"Well…" Yami trailed off. Yugi practically burrowed a hole in the wall trying to get close enough to hear clearly. All he could make out, though, was a muffled "Sort of."

Anzu's gasp was loud enough to be audible, even to Yugi. "Really? Wow, they must be really special. Who is it?"

There was a pause, and Yugi seriously considered the pros and cons of walking into the room itself for a clear answer. Firmly, he put aside the plummeting of his heart and concentrated entirely on listening. Finally, after what seemed an eternity of hesitating, Yami spoke up again.

"I am unsure… a beacon of light, swimming in never-ending darkness. Innocent realism in the screaming abyss of cynicism," Yami spoke thoughtfully, with deliberation.

Yugi wanted to scream in frustration, unaware that sentiment was more than echoed by Anzu. What kind of answer is that?

"Is there a name to go with that?" That was Anzu again.

"I would not dare give it, for to do so would wreak chaos in the shining diamond." Then, in a more normal tone, "Besides, not even Joey knows. It would betray our friendship if I gave it away to someone else before him."

Yugi's eyes narrowed in determination, again unconsciously mirroring Anzu's.

"All right then, Yami," Anzu replied. "How's this? I challenge you to a game."

"A game?" For the first time, Yami actually sounded excited.

"Yes, a game. If I can find out who your crush is before Christmas, then you have to go out with me, deal?"

"Interesting…" Yami mused, then there was a clapping sound, as if he were shaking her hand in agreement. "Agreed. But if I purposefully reveal who it is, or if someone else finds out without my aid, then the game is forfeit."

"Fair enough. But only if that someone else is anyone but Joey. Otherwise, it's way too easy for you to call it off. Deal?"


Outside in the hallway, Yugi clenched his fists in excitement. This was his chance? Yes! It was his big chance! He resolved to find out… before Anzu! That way, Yami wouldn't have to go on a date with her, and maybe find out he liked her instead. Despite what he'd just overheard, he still pictured Anzu as the most dangerous opponent. She was practically perfect, and Yugi was positive that if Anzu got the chance, Yami would fall for her.

All right, then! Yugi would be the unknown third person in this game. And he would find out who it was that had so intrigued Yami. And maybe, he dared to hope, he'd be able to be friends with Yami in the process. Being near him would be enough, he thought. If he could just be friends with Yami, he was sure he'd be happy. Honest. Yugi tried to stop his stomach from twisting in uncomfortable denial, and trotted off to the party.

A moment later, Anzu exited the room and left for the party, too. When Yami came out, four seconds later, he looked thoughtful and not condemned to the gallows, so to speak. He had not been lying when he'd said that this would be interesting, indeed…

That night, Yugi dreamed. Far from being too excited to be able to sleep, Yugi's mind shut down in under a minute after it had hit the pillow. His imagination, which some have considered to part of the heart and not of the mind, kicked into overtime.


As if it were perfectly normal, Yugi walked calmly amongst a sandy, scarred desert. He mounted a rise and looked down at the city that had suddenly appeared. Beside him, the tracks of a previous horse were erased when an arid wind kicked up. Yugi carried on downwards, seeming to float rather than to stumble over the uneven sand rifts.

He entered the city, which impressed upon him a sense of terribly old secrets. Two sphinxes gazed upon him from their albatross height, with centuries of untold wisdom. It was only after he began to glide over the packed dirt of what passed for a street did he feel … different, somehow.

Following his instincts, he looked down.

His normal jeans and loose t-shirt were gone, replaced with something he couldn't ever imagine wearing. Black, heeled boots, equally dark leather pants, a black tank top rippled tellingly over his form. If that weren't enough, then the added buckles – two around his hips and one choked around his neck – informed him that Toto, this wasn't Kansas anymore.

What was the weirdest thing, though, was the heavy inverted pyramid that hung in chains from his neck. Its golden shine was muted. In fact, this whole situation was lacking in reality, as if painted by a shaking hand in too-watery pastels. Things were faint, the people that milled around were mere blurs of motion.

Yugi strained his eyes, trying to see them anyway. There, a tall, steel-eyed man held tightly onto a slender albino girl, who gazed adoringly up at him. There, a slanty-eyed white-haired thief laughed over a golden Ring, which he had removed from some poor fallen man.

It all fell away, though, when a horse and its rider walked forwards. Everything which had seemed so faint rushed together and pinpointed on the rider and concentrated, putting together all of its reality in one location. It was just the two of them.

Yugi stared.

Stared as the rider approached him, in seeming slow motion.

Stared when the rider got off the horse.

Stared as he took in the Yami-lookalike, who wore a glittering crown and an inverted pyramid to match his own.

Stared when the Pharaoh – for who else could it be? – stopped just out of arm's reach.

"I'm waiting for you," the Pharaoh murmured in a voice that was still so intense, it was clearer than crystal when it reached Yugi's ears. "Come to me soon."

In that moment, there was nothing that Yugi wanted more than to reach out and grab hold of this wonderful being in front of him and hold on. To never let go, and to know him so well that it was as if their minds were merged into one. He actually reached out, his hands grasping at nothing, when the Pharaoh smiled at him, and left.


Yugi woke suddenly, staring dazedly at the mirror that hung at the foot of his bed. His own expression dimly reflected back at him, with wide, wide eyes and tousled hair. What had that been about?

To be honest, Yugi hadn't ever really thought about previous incarnations in someone's life, but he thought he could believe in it now. He had been the boy in the dream, and the Pharaoh had seemed so much like Yami, but there were slight differences…

He suppressed a snigger. For one thing, he doubted his version of Yami ran around in golden ornaments and a short linen skirt. If only…

With a happy sigh, Yugi snuggled back into his pillow, wondering if this was a message about the promise for the future.


A/N: Ok! And there's the first bit! I hope you enjoyed; feedback is worshipped and appreciated. No, seriously. It is! ((pouts)) Besides, I'm heading into finals. Pity me and review…? …please? ((grins)) Luvs to y'all!