I'd give up forever to touch you
'Cause I know that you feel me somehow
You're the closest to heaven
That I'll ever be
But I don't want to go home right now.
And all I can taste is this moment
And all I can breathe is your life.
But sooner or later it's over.
I just don't want to miss you tonight.
You can't fight the tears that ain't coming
Or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything feels like the movies
Yeah, you bleed just to know you're alive.
I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am.
Iris © Goo Goo Dolls
Night had fallen on the cruise ship with the other Yuugi—now known as Atemu—staring at a deck of cards. He was supposed to be building his final deck for his duel against his partner. His fingers, however, were being uncooperative. He had five cards spread out in his hands, and his deep indigo eyes were looking at them without seeing them.
Three out of the five in his hand had the power to destroy the world. The other two were his most treasured. In his mind, Atemu knew he would have to put all five into the deck, but in his heart, he knew that they wouldn't matter.
Tomorrow, Atemu was sure that Yuugi would defeat him. It was a fact that was becoming more and more evident to the former Pharaoh as his mind tried to strategically weigh Yuugi's strengths.
Two years had passed since they had become aware of each other, and despite Atemu's lack of physical being, they had both grown closer than any two humans possibly could. And now, Yuugi had become Atemu's very life and everything else that Atemu needed. More so, Yuugi was the one he wanted.
The dependency he had on Yuugi was not something wanted to think about often. Especially now, as the night drew closer to an end, and Atemu's deck remained unfinished.
He blinked, and fingered the texture of his cards. Even in control of Yuugi's body, he could not determine the feeling of the smooth paper on his—Yuugi's—skin. Yuugi's mind supplied a memory of a sensation, but nothing more.
The Pharaoh set down the cards, and raised a hand to brush his fingertips along the hem of his—Yuugi's—sleeve. With his left hand, Atemu caressed his—Yuugi's—right. He knew nothing more than a trace of what it might've been.
Atemu swallowed a curse. Of all the senses that the puzzle had taken from him, feeling was what he missed the most. He couldn't understand the feeling of the cards in his hands, couldn't feel the chill of metal on his skin as he caressed the puzzle, could possess Yuugi, but never possess him. Atemu was sure he hated that the most.
The day was steadily approaching; the cursed day when he and his partner would be forever separated, and Atemu would never know what it was like to hold Yuugi, to slip his hands into his partner's hair, or to feel the sensation of his partners silk-soft skin sliding against his (for that was how he assumed Yuugi's skin would feel, had he know what silk felt like).
The other Yuugi swallowed back a sob that threatened to rise. He blinked back tears. Pharaohs did not cry. They never cried, but he did, and he was. Certainly, tears were streaming wantonly down his cheeks, much like the time he lost his partner. He was going to lose his partner again, but this time, permanently.
Picking up his cards with renewed fervor, Atemu began to build his deck again. He was determined to win. He had to win. Time was against him, as always, and he wanted to stay.
On reflection, the Pharaoh found the situation ironic. His—Yuugi's—friends saw him as the stronger, better half of Yuugi. If only they could see him now, tears rolling down his cheeks with fingers fumbling cards. He didn't want them to see him, and they rarely did, aside from battles. He couldn't bear the thought of them seeing his weaknesses. They wouldn't understand.
Yuugi, however… Yuugi was playing with the toys in his soul room, unaware of the emotions plaguing his other self. Atemu wished Yuugi would join him. He wanted Yuugi to see how much he needed his partner. Needed him to understand that the Pharaoh was breaking at the thought of losing Yuugi.
A card slipped through Atemu's fingers and fell to the table with a soft clatter. The body he inhabited jerked on reflex. Atemu stared in wonder as a small stream of blood slipped from a paper cut on his—Yuugi's—index finger. Atemu let out a dry laugh. He knew already that he wasn't alive, but the blood dripping from his finger without semblance of pain only emphasized the fact.
In reaction, Atemu gave up. No matter the combinations he'd create in his deck, not matter the complex strategies he'd devise… Yuugi. His partner. His other self. The boy—no, young man—that had given him the closest thing to life, would be taken away from him.
With a sigh, Atemu retreated to the narrow corridor that separated his soul room from Yuugi's. He blinked once before realizing a difference in the normal surroundings. Yuugi's door was closed—a sight never seen, for the opened door had always represented Yuugi's open heart. Atemu wrapped his knuckles gently on the "metal" surface. The door swung open to reveal his partner.
The both stared silently at each other for a moment. Atemu hastily scrubbed away the tear stains on his cheeks. An unfathomable emotion reigned in Yuugi's eyes.
"Atemu—" Yuugi started, but was interrupted by a growl from Atemu as the Pharaoh slammed his fist into a wall.
"Don't call me that!"
"But I thought…" Again, Yuugi was cut off, this time in surprise as Atemu wrapped his arms around Yuugi.
"I don't want that name anymore…" he murmured as he buried his face in Yuugi's hair.
"I don't understand…" Yuugi replied, relieving Atemu's fears as he wrapped his arms around Atemu in return. "I thought that's what you wanted. What we've been fighting for..."
"I don't want it anymore!" Atemu cried, tightening his grip on Yuugi. "Not when… when it means losing you. I'll give it up. I'll give it up forever…"
Atemu pulled away from Yuugi, to see the reaction in his partner's eyes. Tears, similar to his own, were streaming down Yuugi's cheeks. Suddenly, they were in Yuugi's bedroom on the ship as Atemu placed an incorporeal hand on Yuugi's cheek. Translucent fingers tried to wipe away the tears without success.
"I'd give it up forever…" Atemu repeated again. "Just… just to do this, and to know what it's like. I know you, somehow, someway, can feel a little of this, even though I can not. You're all I am, and all I want, partner. And I'm… I'm not ready to leave you."
Yuugi brought a hand up to cover Atemu's. His fingers sunk through Atemu's fingers, to touch his own skin. Biting his lip, Yuugi turned away from Atemu, his head bowed.
Atemu saw tears splash on the floor before Yuugi, and glided closer. A pain, or something like it wrenched through his very being, and Atemu almost welcomed it. He brought his translucent hand to his chest, his eyes wide. "What is this…? This feeling?"
His partner's back was still turned as he spoke. "It's my heart breaking, other me. Why? Why did you tell me all that? Now, now when you and I… Tomorrow, I have to… to…" Yuugi turned back to him, his small hands balled into fists. "I don't want to lose you either, other me! But how can you stay, when you're nothing but… but… It's not fair. It's not fair for you, or for me, or… It's not fair at all!"
"I don't care, partner! I don't care about the duel. I don't care about my name. Not any more. All I want… I just… I'll give it all up, just please…I want to touch you!"
They both stared at each other for a moment, tears trickling down twin pairs of cheeks. Yuugi's chest heaved slightly from his outburst, and his breathing was the only sound in the room.
Suddenly, a chill filled the room, and a rustle of clothing caught both Yuugi's' eyes. Atemu and his partner turned their attention to the source of the noise. The Pharaoh's eyes narrowed in dislike as he recognized the figure.
"Is what you say true, Pharaoh?" Shaadi's blank eyes took both figures in. "Are you truly willing to give your power up? Be certain! For you may only answer once."
Both Yuugi and Atemu continued to stare at Shaadi, surprised and unwilling to speak. "Who gives you the power to ask that question?" Atemu said, his voice hinting a growl. "And what gives you the power to change anything?"
"You do. You, the Pharaoh, are the only one with the power to make the decision. I am simply here to be witness of it for the gods." As usual, Shaadi's voice was flat, his eyes unblinking. Yuugi shivered lightly and turned his gaze away from the man.
Atemu noticed the motion Yuugi made, and moved closer to him. He slipped his transparent fingers into Yuugi's hair, not even making a rustle in the strands. "What do you want, partner? I would not do anything you would not want me to do."
"I know…" Yuugi whispered, wrapping his arms around Atemu's incorporeal being.
"I'll do it, if you'll have me, partner. I will give up all of my power. I just want… I want…"
"I know…" Yuugi whispered again, blinking back more tears. "I want… I want you too, other me…"
Atemu pulled back from Yuugi to look him in the eyes. Yuugi matched his gaze steadily, and they both nodded.
"It is done," Shaadi said. "Let it be known that the Pharaoh has forsaken his place in Tuat to henceforth be with this individual, his chosen. So let it be said, so let it be done."
Both Yuugi and Atemu blinked in surprised as suddenly, Shaadi was gone. "I don't understand… Did that just…" Yuugi whispered, his face revealing his confusion.
Similar confusion marred Atemu's features as he shook his head. He didn't feel any different. Atemu brought his hands up to his eyes, and stared at them. They were still transparent.
Abruptly, another shudder overtook Yuugi, heavier than the shiver he had earlier. The puzzle glowed blindingly, filling the room with unforgiving light. Yuugi's entire being shook and he began to cry out. Atemu gave a shout and hurried to Yuugi, catching him as he fell in arms that were no longer intangible. The shaking stopped, and both were able to catch their breaths.
Yuugi stared at Atemu, his mouth still agape from his heavy breathing. "O-other me… You're…"
Atemu stared at Yuugi in return, surprise evident in his eyes. "Partner…" He pulled Yuugi up and set him on the bed. Then, without bidding, his hands reached out and brushed against Yuugi's cheek. Both shivered lightly, the sensation of feeling each other for the first time was overwhelming. "Partner…" Atemu whispered again, letting his hands rediscover all of Yuugi, petting, stroking, and touching. Tears trickled down his cheeks again; however they were no tears of pain or anguish. "Gods… partner…"
"Other me… I… you…" A smile graced Yuugi's features, his eyes lighting in joy. "You can…"
"I know… I… gods, is this what it's like? This is what I've been missing. Partner… I… I never want to let you go." Atemu fought the overwhelming urge to push Yuugi further into the bed.
"Then never let me go…"
Atemu pulled the puzzle up and off of Yuugi's chest and set it on the bedside table. Then, he turned back to Yuugi and slipped a hand into his hair. He climbed onto the bed, his knees encasing Yuugi's body. Atemu continued to caress every bit of Yuugi he could find, reveling in the sensations. His actions were only spurred on by Yuugi's quiet coos.
Finally unable to resist, Atemu pressed his lips to Yuugi's and nearly cried out in ecstasy. He kept the kiss slow, gentle, as the sensation overpowered him, and became almost enough to break him.
Encouraged by Yuugi's moans, Atemu continued to let his fingers trace every bit of Yuugi's being. His hands slid underneath Yuugi's bed shirt, and traced each muscle on his abdomen. As he pushed the shirt upwards to touch more of Yuugi, Yuugi's lips fell open and enticed him to deepen the kiss.
When breathing became imperative, Atemu pulled away, and gazed down at Yuugi's flushed features. Yuugi smiled at him, and trailed his fingers to Atemu's shirt, identical to Yuugi's own, and tugged on it. Atemu gave a slight smirk and removed the article of clothing, and in turn removed Yuugi's.
Their lips met again, and as they kissed, Atemu slowly brought his body down to cover Yuugi's. A cry escaped him as their chests brushed against each other. Each shock of touch and feeling was so alien, and so pleasing to Atemu, he could barely hold back from taking everything of Yuugi.
Yuugi didn't seem to mind Atemu's forwardness at all. He slid his hands down Atemu's chest, around to his back, and towards Atemu's buttocks, encasing it in his hands and pressing Atemu closer. Atemu bit down on Yuugi's lip and groaned as their arousals came crashing together, with the only separation between them being their pants.
Atemu slid his hands down Yuugi's chest again, letting his fingers caress every inch of skin they could find. They paused over Yuugi's nipples, when Yuugi gave an appreciative gasp. When he broke the kiss again, the Pharaoh let his mouth forge a slow and steady trail across his partner's chin, down his throat, and towards his nipples. Atemu thought he would faint when Yuugi's hands embedded themselves in his hair and subsequently brush his ears. His partner let out a passionate cry in response to Atemu's tentative lick across Yuugi's nipple.
Ragged gasps were coming from Yuugi's open mouth now, and Atemu paused his motions to look up at Yuugi's features. His partner's cheeks were glowing, and a slight sweat was beginning to break out on his skin. Atemu swallowed hard, the sight below him the most erotic he'd ever seen. Yet, it wasn't the sight that pleased him so much. Atemu cupped Yuugi's chin with his hand, and thumbed across Yuugi's swollen lips.
"Why did you stop?" Yuugi whispered, his voice heavy with desire.
"I… I'm just… I want to remember this. I want to encase it in my memory and crystallize it forever. This feeling. This emotion. This heaven. This ability to touch and hold you… Partner… I…" For the first time, Atemu felt himself flush. Yuugi placed a hand on his cheek, and smiled gently.
"Are you sure you want me to… I don't want to do anything you wouldn't want me to, partner…"
Yuugi's smile grew, and he pulled Atemu closer. Their lips were almost touching. "You gave up forever for me. This is the least I can do…"
Atemu swallowed hard again and nodded. He slipped his hands down Yuugi's body, and let his fingers come to a rest on Yuugi's waistline. "Partner," he murmured as Yuugi pulled him into another kiss. Atemu groaned again, and slid his hands beneath the fabric of Yuugi's pants. Again, Atemu almost felt as if he could faint, when the sensation of Yuugi's heated skin on his fingers came to him.
Yuugi's legs parted beneath him, giving him more room and allowed Atemu to remove Yuugi's pants in one, gentle sweep. Atemu dropped the pants onto the floor next to the bed and turned to gaze down at Yuugi. A flush had worked up Yuugi's neck to his cheeks as he lay naked before Atemu.
Things continued quickly after that, with their orgasms coming quickly, one after another. They both shivered, reveling in the sensations of their bodies' highs for a moment. Yuugi moaned beneath him again, and Atemu saw that the position Yuugi was in would've been greatly uncomfortable. He pulled out of Yuugi, and let him lie back into the rumpled sheets.
Another shudder ran through them both as the puzzle on the night stand suddenly began to glow again. Their resting was halted as both Yuugi and Atemu turned to watch the puzzle in astonishment. Then, as quickly as the puzzle began to glow, it burst, sending pieces to the floor and around them. Atemu fell from the bed to the floor, his body convulsing. Yuugi cried out and slid off the bed to aid Atemu, but as soon as he reached Atemu, the shaking stopped.
"O-other me…" Yuugi ventured, still in shock.
Atemu's chest rose and fell, as he gave a deep breath, but took in no air. Slowly, he opened his eyes, and focused on the ceiling. "I…. I…"
"Other me?" Yuugi placed a hand on Atemu's cheek, only to watch it sink through him. "No… what's happening?"
Atemu forced himself to sit up, and look down at himself. He was clothed once more, in the clothes he normally wore while inhabiting the puzzle.
"No…" he started, staring at himself. "No…. NO! NO! NO! This can't be! No! Not after… NO!"
Yuugi stared, reeling as he realized that Atemu was no longer embodied. "Why… But… But I thought! Why is this happening? Other me!"
"You should have known." A familiar voice cut Yuugi's cries off, and sent him struggling to cover himself with the bed sheets.
Atemu stood, and growled at Shaadi as the All Seeing Eye flared to life on his forehead. "You deceived us, you bastard!"
"I never deceived you, Great Pharaoh. These are simply the consequences of your actions. You may be the son of the Gods, and the chosen one, but you are no God, and cannot be reborn. By your willing, the Gods granted you the temporary ability to feel, but you have lived your life, and cannot have another."
Yuugi, tightening the sheets around his still nude body, approached Atemu. "But… I thought, since he gave up his power… And the puzzle… it's broke…?" His confused gazed shifted between the shattered puzzle and Atemu. "How can the other me be here with the puzzle broken?"
Shaadi's blank eyes turned to Yuugi, and for a moment, there seemed to be a hidden pain in his blue eyes. "The Great Pharaoh is no longer bound to the puzzle, for he no longer has the power of the Him who bound Himself to it. The Great Pharaoh is now only a spirit, bound to walk the earth until the end of time. He can neither move on to Tuat nor be alive. So it is said, so it shall be done."
As Yuugi stared, Shaadi turned and swept through the door, never to be seen again. When he was gone, Yuugi turned to Atemu, who was gazing at the floor.
"Other me… I… gods, I… I'm so…" Tears welled up in Yuugi's eyes. He felt his knees shake and he reached out to Atemu to steady him. Once again, his hand slid right through Atemu's translucent form, and Yuugi fell to his knees. He sobbed, hiding his face in his hands. Atemu knelt down in front of Yuugi.
"Don't be, partner. Don't be sorry, and don't you cry. Look at me," Atemu's voice was stern, and Yuugi followed his bidding. His teary indigo eyes met Atemu's, and he hiccupped.
"But… You can't… And I… gods… I…"
Atemu shook his head and gave a soft smile. "It was what I wanted, partner. And I don't regret what I did for a moment. I meant it when I said I'd give everything I had up, just to touch you. And if I have to wander the earth until time ends, then so be. I wouldn't take what we had back for a moment. I was never meant to be part of this world, nor did I ever want to been seen by others. They don't understand people like me. And even if… even if what we have will never be more than what we just had. Even if this all just a dream of mine… At least I know… I know now that you know me. And you love me. And that's all that's ever mattered."
Yuugi hiccupped again as tears continued to run down his cheeks. "I'll never love any one else…" he murmured.
Chuckling softly, Atemu shook his head. "Don't say that partner. Your life hasn't ended, and there are people out there who could be more for you than I ever could be. I'm just grateful that I had, even for a short amount of time, the ability to hold you, because the Gods know you're the closest to heaven I'll ever be."
Yuugi swallowed and stood. Atemu guided him to the bed and watched as his partner slipped beneath the bed sheets. "Where will you go?" Yuugi whispered, wiping away tears.
"I'm not sure… Where the winds of fate will take me, I suppose. One thing's for sure, I will never truly leave you…" As Atemu spoke, Yuugi saw Atemu fade from his sight.
"Wait!" Yuugi cried, reaching out to him. "Don't leave! I can't… I can't live without you!"
When Atemu spoke again, his voice was faint. "You have, and you will, partner. Be strong as I know you are, and everything will be ok. Just remember… remember… I'll be watching you… Forever…"
As the last word left Atemu's mouth, he disappeared from view, and Yuugi screamed. But no matter how much he cried out for Atemu, the former Pharaoh never appeared again.
Yuugi wasn't sure when his screaming turned into sobbing, and he had cried himself to sleep, but when he awoke, he found himself alone with the pieces of the shattered Millennium puzzle on the floor near his bed. He never bothered to explain to his friends why the puzzle was broken or why Atemu was gone. He was grateful to Isis, who seemed to understand what had happened, even if he hadn't explained. They went home, back to Domino, and back to their lives. Yuugi never saw Atemu again, but had faith that he was always somewhere nearby.
Yuugi was never able to say he was truly happy without Atemu, but he was happy enough. And in the end, that was what mattered. Yuugi couldn't bear to throw away what Atemu had given up everything for. Not when he knew Atemu still loved him. But he always kept his fingers crossed, always knocked on wood, and made a wish in every wishing well that they would meet again. Because even though everything they had was meant to be broken, they had at least had that moment, that one instant in eternity, to know each other more than any other could.
YGO is copyrighted by Kazuki Takahashi
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