Disclaimer: I was not tired when I wrote this.
I don't know what I was thinking. I'll be honest. This was supposed to start out as fun. It ended up getting really serious. It sucks. Don't read it. I'm convinced it doesn't have a point. Click the 'back' button now. Save yourselves. Hurry! Hurry! Don't read it!
Put Your Lights On
Though he knew Yuugi could sense him the moment he entered the game shop, Yami was still as quiet as ever as he pushed open the door, slowly, to not rattle the greeting bell. Closing it with a mere click, he then removed his boots, setting them next to Yuugi's worn sneakers. It was darker inside the game shop than it had been outside, and by no means was Yami afraid of the dark, but he still waited till his eyes adjusted before moving on. Behind the counters of the game shop was a door to the storage room, where Grandpa kept all of his merchandise, paperwork, and other miscellaneous items (usually Christmas presents). Yami clicked on the overhanging light in the storage room, pushed aside a cardboard cutout of a Blue-Eyes White Dragon, and moved over to the safe, papers stacked high on top of it. He bent down, spun the combination lock till it clicked, opened the safe, and then deposited sixty thousand yen inside.
Closing it, he replaced the Blue-Eyes White Dragon cutout, clicked off the light, and then headed back into the game shop. He trudged up the stairs that led into the living room, yawning as he stripped of his leather jacket and threw it over his shoulders. It had been a long evening, full of loud music, smoke, the cheers and jeers of the buzzed crowd. The stirring blood and quickening pulses of his opponents, and Yami had fed off that excitement and thrill, the thousands of emotions in the air. It made him feel awake, but it was all over now, and he wanted nothing more than to climb into bed next to Yuugi to try to sleep.
He was surprised to find Yuugi still up, sitting in front the couch at the coffee table in front of the television. The screen was flashing random images, but was on mute, so there was no sound but the scribbling of Yuugi's pen. Piled around him were papers, his CD player, three open textbooks, a bowl and a mug. A small desk lamp had been propped at the edge of the table, Yuugi's things bathed in soft yellow light. Yuugi lifted his head when Yami came into the hazy white light provided by the TV, dark circles visible under his eyes. Sliding his headphones off to hang around his neck, Yuugi smiled in greeting, murmuring a quiet, "Hi."
Yami sent a mental caress back as his own greeting, moving around the cushioned footstool set by the couch, and bending down to sit beside Yuugi. Encircling his waist with his arm, Yami rested his chin on Yuugi's shoulder, sending a mental inquiry to why he was still up. Yuugi chuckled to the question, dropping his pencil on his homework, the kanji barely legible in the late hour.
"Couldn't sleep," he explained, flipping off the television, with the remote that had been next to his bowl, filled with ramen, and mug of tea, long gone cold. "And there was nothing on TV, so I decided to work on one my research papers." He gestured down at the books, subjects ranging from Ancient Egyptian culture to the Trojan War, and the Minoan Civilization.
Yuugi had developed an interest in Ancient Egypt not to long after the memory world and ceremonial duel. Yami didn't quite understand where it had came from, but around Yuugi's second year in university, it had manifested itself into an obsession. Then, he wanted to be an Egyptologist, with an emphasis in studying ancient games (naturally), an expert in the field, maybe become a professor at a leading university, travel back to Egypt…He literally bubbled with the excitement from his dreams; Yami hadn't seen him that happy in ages. He had even once joked he would tell Yuugi all of his memories of Egypt for his thesis paper in graduate school.
Yuugi had been thrilled by the idea.
Yami, from then on, had been worried.
His focus was brought back when Yuugi's fingers interlinked with his, and he sighed softly, his eyes closing. Yami could sense how exhausted Yuugi was, just like he was, but insomnia refused to let the both of them find any relief from it. It was quite frequent now, the insomnia, having started with Yuugi, before it had moved on to affect Yami too. Most nights, they only got three hours of sleep, if they were lucky. This had been happening for months now, and though they were separated physically, mentally they were still connected. They shared the basic of feelings: hunger, thirst, the need to rest, the latter being the hardest to satisfy, even between the two of them.
Yami had long since found an outlet to dispense his extra time and energy into, as had Yuugi. For Yami it was gambling, and soon, he was bringing in more money in two weeks than the game shop made in two months. The only problem was that it did take him away from Yuugi, a necessary evil he had later concluded. One he didn't particularly care for, but the extra release of tension and energy helped both Yuugi and him sleep.
All of Yuugi's time and effort went into his schoolwork; when he couldn't sleep, he studied. Yami gambled; Yuugi studied, and his grades were excellent. Coming up on his final semester in the university, Yuugi had already applied to a few graduate schools, the one he particularly wanted to get into being in Egypt. All of Yami's gambling money – what he wasn't giving to game shop – was going into the two of them getting a flat at wherever Yuugi was accepted to.
They still went to bed very late, but they were productive, and in the end, they did get some sleep. Even if it was only a little bit.
Yuugi hummed then, opening his eyes, and smiling over at him. "Did Nonishi-san challenge you again?"
Yami smirked; Nonishi-san. That man sometimes gave Kaiba a run for his money. "Yes," he murmured, his voice raspy, throat dry from the few drinks he had over the course of the evening. "I took one-hundred and twenty thousand from him tonight."
"Hm, he bets more each time, doesn't he?" Yuugi asked, and Yami nodded in concurrence to the question. "You are going to drive him to the poor house."
"That is no fault of my own. Opponents challenge me, not the other way around, aibou," Yami shot back, and that caused Yuugi to chuckle.
"No world perils in Oicho-Kabu, other me?"
"Exactly," Yami purred, and there was a snort of laughter from Yuugi, which made him smile. Shuffling closer, he nosed Yuugi's headphones out of the way so he could press a kiss to his neck. Yuugi tilted his head to one side to give him plenty of room, but Yami didn't press on. He instead looked down at Yuugi's homework, reading it over. "That's wrong," he noted, tapping a finger against the paper, Yuugi straightening with a grunt. Yami put on a large grin when Yuugi gave him a look, before he turned back to the paper with a sigh and squinted at what he had written.
"It's three in the morning. It's allowed to be wrong," he grumbled after a moment as he used his eraser to fix the problem and then swept the shavings away. He flipped through a couple pages in one of his books, read whatever was on the page, and then groaned. Slumping against the couch, he lolled his head back on the cushion, and lifted an eyebrow when Yami chuckled. "Glad you find this all amusing," he grumbled again, and Yami smirked, giving Yuugi a tight squeeze.
Yuugi had spent the better part of the morning, complaining to Grandpa about how he had slacked off in high school. Yami had been feeling light-headed and couldn't keep his grip on his chopsticks, but he still had been puzzled by Yuugi's complaints. Carrying a spirit inside one's head and trying to save the world trumped the whole 'grades' issue, he had pointed out. Yuugi had then wondered out loud if he could get community service points for all the years he had carried his other half in his head. Yami had stared at him, then chased him out of the kitchen right then and there, over the couch, through the game shop twice, and finally tackled and pinned him to their bed. Just as he was about to get really serious – or as serious as he could get with Yuugi laughing as loud as he was – Yuugi's alarm went off, indicating he only had an hour to get ready for school.
Yami had tried desperately to convince Yuugi to stay, but ultimately failed. He then tried to take a nap, failed at that, and moved onto something that would keep him busy till the afternoon rush in the game shop. He ended up watching the soap operas with Yuugi's mother, who had cried at the tragic love lost between two characters, their names Yami hadn't managed to catch.
The doctor had said the insomnia was stress-related and recommended alleviating the stress however they could. Grandpa started keeping two bottles of sleeping pills in the cupboard, ginger root in the refrigerator, and plenty of alcohol around the house. Anzu had recommended yoga, which Yami refused to have any part in (especially when Yuugi expressed interest as he watched the women on the tape). Jounouchi had suggested sex (and lots of it), Honda had concurred, and whatever suggestion Ryou had been about to make died at the other twos' ideas.
Mai had been the one to suggest a vacation, and showed them pamphlets to the various places she had been to when she worked on the cruise lines. Everyone was smiling in the pictures, couples holding hands, strolling on white beaches. Yami had been immediately intrigued, recalling the faint memory of the first time he had seen the ocean. But what had really intrigued him was that it was another world away from school, gambling, the game shop, the family, and Japan. It rang true of the paradise the pamphlet had labeled it. Yuugi had noticed his interest, and after they had talked about it, had promised to go with him, as soon as they had the money to spare.
Tonight's earnings had pushed them over the goal, and now, Yami could only wonder if Yuugi would go through with his promise.
"We have enough money to go on that vacation," Yami began softly, and Yuugi tilted his head, sticking out his lower lip.
"Vacation? To Hawaii? To whatever that city was called?"
"Takara," Yami filled in, and Yuugi nodded.
"What do they have there again?"
"Not for you," Yami ground out, and Yuugi chuckled darkly, before leaning forward to push a kiss to his lips.
"Right, right," He slid his hands up Yami's chest, and around his neck, as he kissed him again. "Sounds nice."
"It's only a plane ticket away, aibou," Yami mumbled against his lips, stroking his fingers down Yuugi's back. There was a sigh, and Yuugi pulled back, resting his forehead against Yami's, his eyes closing again.
"I have school, other me."
Yami grunted in annoyance; school was a touchy subject for them both, one they had always avoided discussing, since they both knew it would lead to an argument. Somewhere along the line, Yami felt that Yuugi put school above everything else, including his other half. Yuugi had made the point that it was for his other half that he was going to school. A good education meant a good and secure job, especially if something happened to the game shop. He would be able to take care of both of them, financially at the very least, and be the stability that Yami's card game tournaments and gambling wasn't. It was also Yuugi's duty to take care of his grandfather, who was getting along in his years, and when it was his mother's turn, her too. If he couldn't provide…
Yami's main point was simple; it was his duty to take of Yuugi: physically, mentally, emotionally, finically, whatever. 'For better or for worse', as two characters on Yuugi's mother's soap operas had declared to each other. Midway through the show, Yami had thought he was going insane, and Yuugi's mother had just continued to weep.
What he couldn't admit was it scared him that Yuugi and him were just so tired all the time. It was wearing down on their souls, and Yami felt like it was consuming his mind, and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't escape it. It was throwing off Yuugi's and his natural balance; they had to spend time apart to help each other's stress levels, to help each other sleep. It was burned somewhere in the niggling corner in the back of his mind that if he just got a decent night's sleep, everything would be fine again. But it wasn't happening.
"It'll only be for a week, aibou. You'll miss all of your classes only once, and we'll be back by the weekend." Yami wondered if he sounded desperate, or if he was just so tired, his voice was going out.
"What about my responsibilities, other me?" Yuugi protested, frowning, "What about Grandpa? Mom is at work all day and we can't ask her to take a week off. Not for a vacation."
"Grandpa can come with us," Yami immediately suggested, lifting his eyebrows, "Bikinis, beaches. He'll have a great time."
Yuugi opened his mouth to retort, before he had to shut it, his expression going blank for a moment. Yami smirked, waiting for a protest to what was so obviously true. Grandpa would be in his own personal heaven, and that still left plenty of time just for Yuugi and him.
Yuugi finally managed to shake his head, putting on a patient smile, which meant he was getting frustrated. "Why can't we wait till summer, other me? It's only three months away. Why does it have to be now?"
"Because I want to sleep."
Yuugi quirked an eyebrow, confusion going through their mental connection. But before he could say anything, Yami tightened his grip on him, squeezing with just enough force that it may have been painful. "I want us to sleep."
Yuugi stared at him, before his expression contorted, and he gritted his teeth, turning away. "Other me, you can't possibly expect me to just drop everything!" he snapped, his eyes narrowing, "Just so we can stroll on a beach somewhere? Just so we can sleep? I have responsibilities! I have school, the game shop, Grandpa, mom—"
"I don't care about those things!" Yami cried, and Yuugi came to a halt in his rant, staring at him again.
"You don't care?" Yuugi repeated, incredulous, his brow creasing slowly, "How can you not care! I'm doing this –" He made a sweeping gesture at his books, papers, desk lamp, tea and bowl, game shop, and then snapped angrily, "For us!"
"This?" Yami yelled, mimicking the gesture Yuugi had done, before slamming his fist against the table, "Where is the us in all this!"
Yuugi clenched his jaw, and obviously angry, he turned back to his things spread out all over the table. He picked up a book, dropped it, reached for another one, only to throw up his hands then. Folding his arms over his stomach, he stared at the pile, until his brow furrowed. His eyes shone with tears that didn't fall, and in a very tiny voice, he said, "I don't know."
It was suddenly too quiet; Yami's head swam, and he was just so tired. The dark circles under Yuugi's eyes made it look like his face had sunken in, and he was much older than he really was. Yami very briefly wondered where his aibou had gone, when Yuugi looked at him and right then, he found him again.
He looked like he hadn't slept in months too.
"Let's go to bed, other me," Yuugi whispered, and he pushed to his knees, reaching over to turn off the desk lamp. They were plunged in darkness, and as Yami waited for his eyes to adjust, he felt Yuugi take his hand. Yami allowed himself to be pulled to his feet, and led back to their room, squeezing Yuugi's hand gently.
He smiled when Yuugi squeezed back.
They made love, over and over, pulled and pushed each other for more, till their bodies were raw. Afterwards, basking in the glow, Yami could feel the change in Yuugi. He was exhausted and the need for sleep was creeping in fast, his breathing slowing, evening out with the rise and fall of his chest. Even Yami's eyelids drooped, fatigue a welcoming relief he hadn't felt in so long. Nestling himself close to Yuugi, he encircled his arm around his torso, and closed his eyes. He felt his mind began to drift off, only coming alert when Yuugi stirred slightly.
"What does this place have again?" Yuugi asked, voice worn with exhaustion, but he sounded content.
"Beaches," Yami replied, and he felt, more than heard, the hum of approval Yuugi gave.
Yami didn't have the strength to do anything but smile. "Yeah," he whispered, and it was the last thing he remembered as he drifted away.
Oicho-Kabu is a game similar to Black Jack. I think. 120,000 yen is about 1000 US dollars. This was an awful story, wasn't it? I promise never to write anything like this again.