Yugi's eyelids fluttered slightly as he slept. His breathing was ragged and shallow, and his heartbeat was a weak echo of what it had once been. Yami's tan skin stood out against the milky white of Yugi's arm as the pharaoh brushed his fingers against his hikari, struggling against the tears that threatened to overcome him. He had witnessed many terrible things in his lifetime, but to see someone so innocent in so much pain...this was the worst of them all.

The boy stirred, his golden bangs falling across his face as his eyelids lifted to reveal deep amethysts turned dull and injured. His voice, like a whisper on the wind, reached toward Yami's ears, calling his name in a heartbreaking murmur.

"Don't worry, little one. I'm here. I won't leave you." He smiled, trying to look reassuring, though he couldn't hide the worry in his eyes. A single tear snaked its way down his face, stinging the skin that had been caressed by so many tears already. Yugi reached a trembling hand toward his darkness, brushing the crystal droplet away with a thin, cold finger. He also smiled, a mere shadow of the joyful grin that had graced his angelic face not so long ago.

"I know you'd never leave me. But...soon...I'm going to leave you. And it's going to hurt you." He hesitated, troubled. "I don't want to hurt you. Oh, god, the last thing I want to do is hurt you, Yami." His eyes closed in pain, not physical but emotional. Yugi knew he was dying, despite the comforting words of his friends and family. He had accepted that his life would be cut short. If it were only about him, he would really be okay. But...it wasn't just about him...his darker half would be torn apart, left bleeding in the corridors of his own mind, inconsolable. So not for himself, but for his yami, Yugi felt himself convulse in gasping sobs.

Yami sensed the true source of his hikari's torment through the mind link they shared, and his heart melted at the selflessness behind the young one's tears. He gathered the boy in his arms, burying his face in Yugi's hair, inhaling his comforting scent. "Little one...please, believe me...none of this is your fault...none of this. Of all the people in the world, you are the last one that would ever deliberately hurt anyone. It's not your fault." They held each other, rocking back and forth in a lullaby motion of pure love, calming each other into dreamless sleep.

Yami woke some hours later, glancing to the glowing green numbers of a digital clock as they blinked the time at him, 3:42 a.m. He was unaware of what had woken him, but vaguely registered a throbbing pain throughout his being, tearing at his very soul. The boy in his arms gasped quietly, such a soft sound that it wouldn't have reached Yami's ears had he not been so close to him. "Yugi? Are you all right?" He turned his hikari, looking into his haunted expression and seeing his own terrified face reflected in the violet eyes.

"My darkness...please forgive me for making you hurt..."

"Little one...no. Please no. Don't let this happen, if there is a god or a higher power out there, save him, please, I'm begging you, don't do this." Yami held Yugi tightly, as if by holding him he could keep him forever. His voice took on an urgent sort of tone, begging in vain, pitifully pleading even as his hikari took a last, shuddering breath.

"I will always love you, my yami. Always." And then, with the suddenness of a flame snuffed by the wind, his presence vanished, leaving a void where all that was good in the world had resided mere moments before.

Shaking and shivering, trying to clear the feeling of emptiness, the pharaoh still held his frail hikari. "Little one...my little one...forgive me my weakness..." Yami pulled a gleaming blade from his pocket, turning it in the dim moonlight that filtered through the window, positioning it over his wrist with the careful thoughtfulness he gave everything he did. He let his eyes rest on the peaceful face of his partner as his fingers trembled slightly in the night.

"Take me with you."