When Fame Becomes Hazardous
A Yu-Gi-Oh! fan fiction by Hitokiri-san
A/N: Well, this is inspired by "Yu-Gi-Oh! the Movie: Pyramid of Light", where Yugi is mobbed right outside his school, and has to literally run for his life. I was miffed when my movie DVD insists on speaking Japanese and Cantonese simultaneously (despite my best effort at tuning down either language), and it's hard not to wince when the Cantonese dub says "And now, a teenager solves the puzzle by winning a shadow game." Talk about proper translation.
Also, I'm trying my hand at a humor fic simply because I write angst almost exclusively. So, everyone, an experiment is now in order. Let's see if I can pull that off.
The school day was officially over.
There was a collective sigh as students stood up one by one, attempting to shake themselves out of their daze. They were thrilled to be dismissed – most of them had sunken into a stupor halfway through the Maths lecture, their expressions remarkably blank for people who didn't need to communicate with mental voices on a daily basis. Any school day, especially those on Mondays, was too long by a common student's standard.
However, Mutou Yugi was not a common student – which was as cliché a statement as you could get these days. All considered, it was probably one hell of an understatement too.
It had nothing to do with the fact that he was the vessel of a reincarnated Pharaoh who was supposed to be dead three millennia past. Or that he'd once been appointed savior of two different worlds, trying to deflect a whirlwind and an evil amber eye simultaneously with a single card as his weapon. Now that he thought about it, that eye looked suspiciously like something out of Lord of the Rings (minus the colouring; villains nowadays seemed to have grown out of using red as a symbol of evil. At least the amber eye didn't spout fireballs). He could have been amused if the fate of the worlds hadn't been on the line.
Strangely enough, it had everything to do with the fact he was the renowned King of Duelists and the holder of the three God cards. Granted, it had been Atem who'd received the title and the God cards was long since buried under Egyptian soil, but no one – excluding those who actually knew better – had known the truth. Considering that Kaiba literally owned the media and those gigantic plasma screens pasted all over the city, Yugi could be assured that what really had transpired would be kept from the public forever. Kaiba Seto wouldn't be caught dead trying to explain some "mystic mumbo-jumbo", as he pleased to call it, to the avid Domino population.
Meaning that, to public knowledge, HE was the King of Duelists and still held the God cards they coveted so.
Meaning that he would remain the centre of attention whether he liked it or not.
Yugi sighed. It wasn't a sigh of relief.
He risked a tentative glance across the room, violet eyes darting nervously from desk to window. Actually, he needn't have bothered – he could feel their presence with as much certainty as he could feel the heart of the cards. It was a very disturbing thought.
A crowd had already gathered around the school's exterior, barricading the gate as they waited impatiently for their targets to arrive. They had apparently figured out, through days of experimenting, that barring all possible exits was the most efficient way to waylay a person – especially when the said person was short enough to slip away without anyone noticing. Some were shuffling their decks in boredom, while others were fiddling with the Duel disks latched onto their arms, exchanging cards, and discussing dueling strategies.
Duelists, every last one of them.
Students from Domino High muttered darkly as they shoved their way past the mob, annoyed but not entirely surprised. After all, Domino citizens were quite the pliable bunch. Having seen Duel Monsters crawling all over the city and munching up skyscrapers, a handful of rowdy duelists at the front gate were common to the point of boring.
Yugi winced. He would much have preferred the building-eating monsters.
"Atem? They are at it again."
Atem, or simply "brother". Time and time again, he had to remind himself never to call his darker self "the other me" in public. He'd introduced Yami to the world as his twin, crafting his life out of thin air with half-truths and complete lies.
Atem was his loved brother and best friend (Yami would never object to that). Atem had spent the majority of his life in Egypt, and hence the dark skin tones (that was still quite true...). He and Atem had been separated at birth because of some Confidential Family Issues that were better left alone for the sake of privacy, thank you very much (Yami had the sneaking suspicion that Yugi had resorted to that excuse simply because he'd ran out of inspiration for his story).
Watching his hikari deceive his friends with a more casual demeanor than he could have imagined, Yami had quickly decided that he was unimpressed with the situation.
Apparently, hikaris were quite capable of lying when the situation called.
Despite his distaste of it, the twin story was one they had to maintain at all cost if they were ever to live a normal life. Yugi had been quick to shove this fact into his face whenever he complained about his aibou's attempts at deceiving the world, and Yami found that he couldn't think of a good rebuttal to that. Not having to proclaim to various cackling villains that he was the Righteous One had obviously caused his arguing skills to slip.
Yami followed his line of sight, blinking as he spotted the cause of his aibou's distress. Yugi, shy and easily embarrassed by nature, avoided being the centre of attention as much as he could manage. He never quite knew what to do when fans swarmed up to him for his autograph, or when foolhardy duelists (not unlike Jounouchi, Yami noted with wry amusement) tried to force, coerce, or beg him into a duel – many a time, Yami had to fish his counterpart out of the converging crowd to prevent him from being flattened. He hated to say it – he himself was only a few inches taller than his aibou - but Yugi's lack of vertical development was a literally fatal disadvantage, now that he had fanatic mobs snapping at his heels.
The ex-pharaoh didn't find the horde of fans quite as disturbing as Yugi did. He had once been the king of an entire nation, after all - the Egyptians had a natural habit of flooding around him whenever he was out of the palace, if only to get a glimpse of the living god they worshipped so much. He had grown immune to public attention long before he had been crowned King of the Niles; and was not entirely surprised, or displeased, to find himself surrounded by admirers three thousand years later.
But then, his people tended to part like the Red Sea when they realized they were blocking the pharaoh's way, acutely aware that any disrespect shown towards the pharaoh was punishable by death. This was why Yami had been royally stumped, at first, when the crowd did not part to make way for him and Yugi, even after he'd asked nicely.
Worse still, this mob had another tendency to scramble hurriedly out of Kaiba's way whenever they saw him stalking past (maybe he should try stalking around in imitation of an angry Bengal tiger, too). He hadn't missed the condescending smirk flashed his way as the teenage CEO passed leisurely through the school gate and into his limo. Knowing that his once-subordinate and greatest rival held more authority than he did was irritating as hell.
He'd briefly entertained the idea of sending the whole crowd into the Shadow Realm for their insolence, but decided against it. That Yugi would approve of such a solution was something he highly doubted, and he wasn't particularly looking forward to his partner's wrath.
Yami's tone was calm as he glanced down at the assembly of people, hands shoved nonchalantly into his pockets. Yugi's brows were drawn slightly together, a small indication of how disturbed he was. The darker spirit laid a comforting hand against his shoulder, smirking.
"Don't worry, aibou. We'll just outrun them as always."
"And risk leading them back to the game shop, as always? Grandpa is so going to kill us." Yugi huffed, resisting the childish urge to pout. " I should have known going to that festival was a bad idea."
And it was. A month after their return to Japan, Mokuba had miraculously appeared at their doorstep, inviting them to what he'd called a "fun little festival" at Kaiba Land. All they needed to do, the preteen said, flashing an eager grin up at the hikari, was have a friendly exhibition duel against each other. Yugi had been ready to turn it down – he'd been waiting for the spotlight to turn away from him since Battle City – but Mokuba had merely raised a brow at Yami, muttering something about "legal papers" and "illegal immigrants". The cute younger brother, it turned out, had taken after Seto and was not above blackmailing if it served his ends.
Yugi had given in three seconds later.
Yami, for his part, was only happy that he'd get to play his favourite game with his lighter half. And in public, which was always a bonus.
The next thing they knew, sales of the next Kaiba Corporation product had reached unprecedented levels, and the "Mutou brothers" were suddenly living logos of Seto's company.
That was how Yugi found himself dragged back, screaming and kicking, into public scrutiny. If he'd earned himself a fan club after Battle City, it had evolved into a fan society – numerous fan girls (and to his horror, fan boys as well) had began stalking him in and out of school. He had also developed an acute mail-phobia, prompted by the hideous pink letters stashed into his letterbox.
Seeing how bothered he was, Yami had proceeded to glare down anyone who dared to look at Yugi for more than two seconds, growl at various individuals who'd tried to glomp the boy ("Hands off, young mortal,or it'll be a Shadow game!"), and had taken the liberty to discard any pink, hearts-patterned or perfumed mails in his aibou's letterbox.
But as it turned out, the fans were resourceful, insistent, and much more creative than the pharaoh had originally bargained for.
Mobbing the King of Games was now the society's daily ritual.
"We'll think of something." Yami shrugged, somehow managing to make nonchalance look regal. He headed towards the classroom door, raising a brow when Yugi didn't make to follow. "Waiting for them to leave, aibou, is not an option. Come with me."
Yugi twitched, allowing his other self to lead him out of the cover and into the battlefield.
He wondered if sending the mob into the Shadow Realm was an available option, but quickly vetoed the idea. That Yami would approve of such a solution was something he highly doubted.
"Look, guys, it's Yugi and Atem Mutou!"
A series of pointing and catcalling ensued, and Yugi scowled. He would have been more impressed if he hadn't heard the line for a hundred times over. The crowd was already pressing in on the pair, fighting tooth and nail against each other to reach them first; pens, notepads, decks and Duel Disks waving in the air. The hikari quickly ducked behind Yami, narrowly avoiding a stab in the eye as a pen was shoved into his face. Yami seemed to be faring no better, stumbling as a boy latched enthusiastically onto him, Duel Disk digging painfully into his ribs.
"Now what, the other me?" Yugi half-shouted, all pretenses forgotten in the moment of frenzy. It didn't exactly matter, since his voice was completely lost over the scrambling mob. Yami sighed, grabbing a pen and scrawling his name over the notepad nearest to his arm.
"Actually, I do have something in mind…" the once-Pharaoh elbowed a person wedged between him and Yugi out of the way, annoyed to be cut off when he was talking, "but whether they are stupid, or obsessed enough to buy it is another problem, aibou."
"According to scientific research, mobs have an aggregate IQ of 80. And these are rabid stalkers we are talking about." Yugi said, struggling to make himself heard over the commotion. "Whatever you're thinking of doing, the other me, do it so we won't get squashed in here!"
"You said it." Throwing a smugger smirk at his other self than he had any right to, under the circumstances, Yami let the pen drop from his hands, going completely still as his head snapped skywards. Ruby eyes widened dramatically, staring upwards in an expression close to stunned worship.
They couldn't help it. It was an instinct ingrained in every Duelist, to immediately freeze and turn whenever a God card was mentioned. Abruptly hushing, they looked towards the heaven as one. Yugi was compelled to look up too, until a hand closed around his upper arm and dragged him off in the other direction.
Five long seconds later, someone looked down accidentally to discover their targets gone. At the same time, someone else managed to figure out what Yami had been looking at.
Glaring at the afternoon sun shining happily overhead, their only response was a synchronized "DAMN!".
"T-that was …so great, the other me!" Yugi's expression was interesting, torn between wheezing for breath and laughing hysterically. Arms crossed, Yami watched him, mildly amused as his light gripped his shoulder for support.
"Catch your breath, aibou, before you die from asphyxiation."
"And I thought…the 'wow, look, there's a UFO up there!' trick only works…in B-rated movies!" Yugi ignored his advice, putting a fist against his mouth in an attempt to muffle his laughter. He glanced up at his darker self, grinning. "You used Ra's name in lying, oh mighty Pharaoh. I think you're in great trouble."
"I did not." Yami mock-glared at him, his tone defensive. "I had merely alerted the mob to where the sun is. And I said 'that's Ra', not 'that's the Winged Dragon of Ra'. It is their fault for letting their imagination run wild."
"You deliberately led them to believe it, the other me, admit it."
Smirking, Yami turned in the direction of the Kame game shop, his aibou still dangling off his shoulder at every step. He had to tug his arm every so often to keep the boy walking.
"I just saved us from a mob that would've happily eaten us alive, aibou. You could be more grateful."
His eyes narrowed in affection as Yugi only laughed harder, amethyst eyes crinkling into a merry line. Yami took in the sight, gratefully drinking in the warmth and contentment exuding from his lighter half. If a mere trick could make his aibou this happy…
Yami smiled, already making plans for tomorrow. He was sure he could fend off the mob in a much more creative fashion.
After all, he was the King of Games. And games, naturally, include pranks.