Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-gi-oh.
This is a sequel to both Deny thy Father and Pseudonym, but you don't need to have read those to get this.
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Ryou sat by Yugi's bedside, holding his hand. The others were there in silent vigil. Kaiba, Mokuba and Rebecca, Jounouchi and Mai, Honda and Anzu. Other people were waiting elsewhere to not crowd the room.
Anzu put her hand on Ryou's shoulder.
Ryou sighed. "I wish he would wake up. Just one last time."
"I just talked to the doctor. If he hasn't woken up by now… it's been three hours since the surgery." They had been here for fifteen hours. There wasn't much hope left by now. All they could do was watch over their friend.
"Who would'a thought it was cancer that was making him so short," Jou said, shaking his head. "If only we'd known they coulda done something earlier."
More silence, the absence of words compensated for by the beeps and humming and other strange noises of the equipment that was keeping their friend alive. It was very different from on TV.
Kaiba's cell phone rang. He grimaced and answered it. "If this isn't important I'll have your head." A second later, "Yes, you can use force to keep the reporters out. I don't care if I get sued." The phone was turned off this time.
Ryou smiled weakly at him in thanks. He didn't want cameras here, he didn't want to be bombarded with questions when he went back to their home. His home, soon.
He considered selling it but no, he would inherit the position of CEO of Industrial Illusions and he needed to keep the island as a status symbol. The transfer of power, even with Kaiba helping him, would occupy him the next few weeks.
He would have to keep busy.
What would he do without Yugi to talk to? The first time he'd lost important people he'd been devastated. He'd just been a child then, he'd handled Bakura's loss better. Although that was a temporary loss. And he and Yugi had comforted each other.
He held the chilly white hand and looked at it. Squeezed it.
A doctor came in. "Excuse me, I need to check everything." They all made room and there were various arcane adjustments. None of them got any false hope from this. It was just delaying the inevitable.
They'd all done everything they could. If magic existed… but without the Items they couldn't summon monsters. One Red Medicine and maybe they could make this all go away. Rebecca had looked in her Grandfather's records. They'd done everything they could think of and were afraid the most that they would think of something after the fact.
It wouldn't be long. The noises started to sound even more funerary. Was it only Ryou's imagination? He didn't look away from Yugi's face.
Yugi had always been pale, not as pale as Ryou but pale.
He wanted to curse himself for not seeing. But he'd seemed perfectly healthy.
There was nothing they could do at this point.
He selfishly wanted to push everyone else out of the room so he could speak to him, even if he wouldn't be heard, but no. These were his friends. Their friends. Yugi would want them to have whatever comfort they could take from guarding him until the end.
But what about him?
Their relationship had never been nailed down. Where did it cross the line between friends-with-benefits to lovers to in love?
They had both known they weren't in true love. Still, he'd loved him.
Jounouchi sniffled and Mai pressed him against her chest in silent comfort.
Normal relationships seemed so shallow compared to sharing your own soul. If they hadn't known that, if all of that hadn't happened, then maybe…
They wouldn't have met without Bakura, and without Yami Yugi would have stayed a miniature forever.
Ryou would have had him forever, but never known. He would have thought he was one more person his curse had put in a coma.
He might have played with him, or maybe his loss would have make him give up gaming forever. He'd been so close to just burning everything, letting it all go up in smoke. He shuddered to think what that would have done to the trapped souls, Bakura's gifts.
He didn't need to speak to Yugi now. He would write him a letter. Letters.
It wasn't like this was a tragedy. "He had a full life, even if it will be a short one."
"I'll never be able to beat him now. He'll take the title of King of Games to the grave with him." Kaiba bowed his head.
"We have to be happy for him. He would never want his friends to be unhappy." Anzu tried to smile. "He'll get to see Atem again. I know he missed him." She clearly still missed him.
"That's right." Jounouchi pulled away from Mai. "He was my best bud. What do you say when, heck, when he dies we all go out and have a party. Play the Duel Monsters Drinking Game."
"A wake? Sure, we'll give him a big sendoff. He damn straight wouldn't want us to just hang around and mope." Mai hugged Jounouchi. "Great idea."
"I canceled everything for the next week."
"Me too," Mokuba announced.
Ryou turned around and smiled at them all. "Thank you all. I know he'll love everything you do."
"If he's even paying attention. He'll probably be too busy dueling Atem to pay attention to us." Honda folded his arms and nodded.
Jounouchi smacked him. "He'd never ignore us. Wait a minute, do we want to distract him? I mean, that's going to be one good duel. And we're going to miss it. We're the ones who are going to be missing out here, you know?"
"That's true, Jounouchi," Ryou agreed. "We'll all be joining him sooner or later. Hopefully we'll have good stories to tell."
And the sounds changed.
The doctor came back in. "What do you need to do with, with the body?" Ryou asked. "I'd like it if everyone could come in here one at a time and say goodbye before it goes to the mortuary."
"Yes Bakura-san." The doctor left the room and everyone else followed. Ryou could hear a hum of questions through the open door to the hall before it closed.
He leaned over and kissed Yugi's cheek. Then he went though the door so the next person could pay their respects.