Disclaimer: Yuugiou is the intellectual property of Kazuki Takahashi; I don't claim any rights to it at all. Inspiration for this story came from perusing fan art and listening to the RENT soundtrack. It's just a basic, first-person thing.

I'll Cover You
by Josie

I had never felt so helpless.

It surprised me the first time, seeing him curl up under his covers, pulling the sheets tightly around himself as a raging storm slowly began to grow more fearsome as the minutes ticked by. I didn't know what to make of it. There did not seem to be any threat anywhere near us, and yet he was afraid. I think what surprised me the most was how something that he was already sheltered from frightened him, when so little else did. Yes, I always liked to think of him as requiring my aid and protection, but I was never so foolish as to believe that he was afraid to do anything without me by his side.

It made no sense to me, at the time; absolutely no sense. Why fear the very thing that truly blesses us?

Nevertheless, even though I could not really touch him, I brought my arms around him in a display of holding him, whispering into his ear that everything was alright, that I would keep him safe. That I would protect him from all harm. His shaking calmed slightly as he began to recognize my presence, and slowly, so very slowly, he opened his eyes to look at me. He seemed so grateful to have me there that I simply could not back away, could not leave him. In that one moment, I felt more needed than I ever had before, and I liked that feeling. I cannot even describe why, I just did. So I remained with my arms around him, even though neither of us could actually feel the sensations of it, and put on the show of keeping him safe from the rain that pounded at his home.

He did not speak even once during the entire ordeal, just smiled as his fear slowly died away, bringing his head closer to me and resting it so that, if I had truly been there, it would have been tucked just under my chin.

That was when it began. The feelings of uselessness, of helplessness.

I'd thought, so many times before, that there was nothing that I couldn't give to him, if only I wished hard enough that they come true, or if only he wished hard enough. It had worked to bring me to him, after all, so it was only logical that I would think that it would continue to do so. But, no matter how hard I wished, I could never touch him, could never hold him, could never ...

I didn't want to tie him to something that could never be real. I never wanted to do that. He deserved only the best, and that included a relationship that would not revolve around lies and acts. I did not want him to be forced into simply playing the role that he would be forced to if I ever let him know that my urge to protect him was forged by something much deeper than a simple partnership between friends. So I began to keep silent, began to try to force my feelings down, to keep them from showing to him, regardless of how futile the attempts likely were.

But on that night, and on others like it, I kept him 'in' my arms, 'held' him to keep him 'safe' from the dangers that he perceived from the storms. I never questioned his fear, and he never questioned my motives. That was simply the way that we worked.

Sometimes, after he would finally grow calm and tired enough, after his eyes had closed and his breathing regulated itself, I would pull back just a touch to watch him. I'd brush my fingers through his bangs - more literally through that I would ever have liked - and I would find it impossible to not smile at just how beautiful he was. And, sometimes, I would lean, placing my lips against his forehead in a kiss that he would never know about, a kiss that would never even make him stir. That was all that I could do; it was all that I could give to him.

How wrong of me is it, to feel this way? To never want to leave his side, to want to be able to hold him, truly hold him?

I'd die all over again, just for that chance.

There are times when I find myself wondering just how I am supposed to protect him as I am. It sounds foolish, I know, but I can't help but have this concern. He is my responsibility - as much as he would yell at me for the sentiment, I am sure - and it is my duty to keep him safe from anything, anyone who would harm him.

Including myself ...

That is perhaps the biggest reason that I do not tell him how I feel, why we do not question each other's actions. I cannot be everything that he needs, because I am merely a spirit. I do not really belong here, in this time, and I know that, one day, I will have to leave him, no matter how much I do not want to. No matter how much I wish to stay or how much he begs me to stay, I will not be able to, and I need him to be able to tell me to go. If he can do that, then I know that my absence will not bring him as much pain as it would if I were to give voice to how much more I wish of him.

Sometimes, when I am positive that I have been letting my imagination run away with me, I can swear that I catch him watching me almost expectantly, with that puzzled expression on his face that seems to ask me just what I am waiting for. It must all just be a dream, however, for I can't imagine why he would be expecting me to speak of that. There should be no reason at all, but still, I see that look so very often. I will never be able to make sense of it.

But he has been giving me that look all day, and I cannot understand why.

He was quiet throughout most of the school day, as though distracted by something; I cannot fathom what it may have been. Even at lunch break, he opted to take some time away from his friends, simply saying that he needed some time to think by way of explanation. They hadn't questioned him, either.

Usually, when he says that he needs some time to think, he generally means that he wishes to go off to be away from prying eyes, and we will spend time just talking to each other. He sometimes gets rather animated during these times, so it is never a good idea to be where too many people can see. But, today, he ate in silence, and I sat beside him, simply watching him, waiting. It comforts him, he told me once, when he can see me there with him. It is one thing to know that I am there, but seeing that I am there brings an added reassurance. "That you haven't gone away," he'd once let slip by accident, after Battle City had ended. I did not know how to respond to that.

But now, we are on our way home; school has ended, and he is tired. It stormed again last night, with violent crashes of thunder; he had been curled up tightly in a ball by the time that I had realized it, hugging his pillow close to his chest in a way that was far more endearing than he probably knew. It had taken a couple of hours to make the fear die away, but I did not mind. It meant that I was able spend an extended amount of time in what I am positive is the closest that I will be able to get to the relationship that I wish to have.

"Hey." His voice breaks through my thoughts, and I look over curiously as I realize that he has stopped walking. Slowly, I backtrack to where he is standing on the sidewalk and come to a stop before him.

'Yes, my partner?' I 'ask' him, in that way of speaking that is probably better described as thoughts than anything else. My lips move, but he and I are the only ones who can hear the words that I 'speak.'

He is looking at the ground, his feet scuffing the ground almost sheepishly, and I reach out one hand, 'touching' his chin gently. Apparently he sees my hand there, because he tilts his head up with a shy smile before whispering, "Thank you. For last night ... for everything."

I am taken aback, and my arm retracts in my shock. I don't understand what may have brought this on, as he knows that I do not require his gratitude. It is simply what I do, protecting him, comforting him. 'Ah ...' I respond finally. 'It has always been my pleasure.'

"You always say that," he murmurs, and I smile gently at him. It is the truth, even if I have said it over and over again to him.

And then he blushes suddenly and turns his face away before shaking his head and beginning to walk once again, with me following behind.

Why does it seem darker than it should be? Before I can voice this question to him, however, I realize why; something falls to the ground, leaving a darker, wet splotch, and suddenly, my partner freezes in his tracks, eyes wide. I can faintly hear him murmur, "Please not right now."

Without a second thought, I close the distance between us, bring my arms 'around' him from behind, and just holding that position as I 'murmur' into his ear, 'It is alright; I will not allow anything to happen to you.' A gentle sigh escapes him, and he looks over his shoulder at me with a small, embarrassed smile. 'Just relax, my partner. You are safe with me.' But even as I 'speak,' the rain begins to fall, and I frown as I glance up at it. This will not do at all, especially as he has nothing to protect him from growing cold and wet. My hands ''slide' over his arms, coming to a rest at his, and my eyes close while my thoughts are on how much I want to help him.

That is when it happens.

I don't know how, and I don't know why, but I can suddenly feel something under my hands; it is soft, it is smooth, it is warm, and it suddenly twitches under my grasp. I snap my eyes open and stare before I recognize what I am feeling. I am unable to keep the smile from forming on my lips as I grasp a bit more firmly onto his hands, eliciting a small, surprised gasp from him as I begin to move his hands to the jacket of his uniform, carefully pulling it off of his body. He blushes again, so very confused by my action, and I 'whisper' to him, 'Hold this for a moment, my partner,' even as I let go of his hands and walk around him so that we face each other once more. My hands once again touch his and I smile reassuringly, raising the jacket, through him, so that it is above his head.

"Other me ..."

'Let me shelter you,' I tell him, taking one step closer. 'Let me keep you safe from all harm, safe from your fears.'

"Why?" He sounds so confused, and I look into his eyes, smiling once more. Does he know how much he means to me?

'Because you need me, Yuugi,' I reply gently, seriously; it is rare for me to use his name, so it carries my meaning clearly. 'So I'll cover you.'