Because

A Yu-Gi-Oh! Fic by Victoria

Disclaimer: I do not own Yuugioh and am making no profit from this.

A/N: ultimately yes, this is a songfic. Yeaaah … but it's more me trying to reconcile myself to the ending of the series. Attempts at coherency are made. And, uh, the lyrics are not intrusive. I swear.

&

I think I'm ready to walk outside

I've got nothing to hide

I think I'm ready to walk outside with you

&

You see, it's funny.

It's always been a little bit that, not 'ha-ha' funny or anything, but odd. Two people in one body, only not really two people but one person, two halves but two brains. It's the fact that they both think for themselves that's always been a problem and at once a solution.

But they're both proud people, one more than the other, and the darker half wouldn't want to lose his voice to his lighter half. And the lighter half wouldn't want the darker half to fade that way. So.

It has to end like this, doesn't it?

&

To end the Dark Games, the King of Games must be succeeded. It makes a lot of sense when Atem thinks about it; should the Pharaoh die without passing on his scepter, the entire country would be thrown into chaos.

From Yami's point of view, it's hardly fair.

In the strictest sense, he remembers everything now. But reliving several days of one's past life, most of which were fraught with battles, isn't quite the same as two years in modern Japan.

On the other hand, he knows – and hates – that from the moment he sacrificed everything to seal away the Shadows – just about became a Shadow himself – his life apart from the darkness was over. His life was over, period. He's not really a whole, separate being, and he doesn't think he'd make it if he tried to become one.

Neither is Yuugi, but he's not the half that spent five thousand years trapped inside a puzzle.

In his soul room, Yami presses his hand against hieroglyphics and majestic stone pillars. His room, a labyrinth to confuse intruders, and at once a tribute to everything he's wrapped up in. One would think that he might have gained a few more modern aspects to his real home, but hidden away in his true room, there is only a few games that had never been invented in his time. Maybe, he can admit here, he's a little afraid. His body was sacrificed as well as his mind and name; embalmment is meant to assure ongoing life after death. Will he just … cease?

When he makes his deck, this is what Yami thinks about: the friends he's made. His pride as a master of Duel Monsters. And above all, his light. He doesn't want to leave them, when it comes down to the naked truth. He wants to forget his duty to end the Dark Games once and for all, and just … be.

&

Of course, there's a barrier to this.

When Yuugi makes his deck, he thinks of this: the friends he's made. His pride as a master of Duel Monsters. And above all, his darkness. He hates the thought of sending his other self away, hates it down to his bones, and yet. Isn't this what Yami – Atem – needs? Isn't it time for him to be with his family and friends from so long ago?

And how can he, as a gamer, respect himself if he does not give his other self a game with all his strength?

Yuugi has always been chasing after Yami's back, just a little. He's relied on Yami for so many battles, working together with him in all things Duel Monsters. This will be, he realizes, the first serious game he's played all on his own. It is, at once, a detriment and an asset. Yuugi has never had his own strength tested, but this is Yami. If there is one opponent he knows, it is his other self.

There is more, but Yuugi hesitates to think about it. In his soul room, he holds a toy block, rubbing his thumb against it. Strange, he thinks; he is too old for these things. But they represent something important: Yuugi's fear of growing up. Without a single ill intention, Yuugi knows Yami is holding him back, an older, wiser self always willing to offer up advice when needed. But Yuugi needs to find his own way, and he cannot do that with Yami always there.

It's time, he thinks, and swallows back tears.

&

Why didn't I concentrate to find the time to tell you

That I haven't been on the same page as you for a while

Saving truth in a pile

Standing in front of it obstructing your view with a smile

&

There's a lot they can't tell each other in words that last day. The Ceremonial Battle is a wedge between them. But the message from each is loud and clear, and painful.

Yami raises his God with a Monster Reborn card, and says See, I have risen from death. I belong here with you, my aibou. The past is only a memory that I have put to rest, eternally.

And Yuugi unseals his response with a bowed head. Dust to dust, ashes to ashes. My other self – no, Pharaoh Atem! – it is time for you to pass to the afterlife denied you.

It is the first time in a long time when they have not agreed, and Yuugi wins the argument. Oddly, it's Yuugi who cannot accept the answer, crying on his hands and knees while Yami smiles and accepts his first and final defeat.

This is what Yami thinks as he faces the eye of Horus: Thank you, Aibou. There is peace, he sees, in having the final decision taken from him. He will pass on not for duty, but because that is what his light wishes.

He thinks, this is only temporary. And he thinks, my friends' lifespan will be like nothing in the afterlife. And he thinks, I hope I am not deluding myself.

This is what Yuugi thinks when Yami turns to the door: This is the best thing for you, my other self. There is peace beyond that door. This was five thousand years in coming, and now it's here.

He thinks, I will miss you. And he thinks, I wish I had more time with you.

He says none of these things. It's Anzu that calls out to Yami, so everyone can say their goodbyes with words where Yuugi could not.

Yami just smiles. Gives them a thumbs-up.

And then there is no more Yami. It's Atem that walks through the door into the light, passing on to eternal peace with his family. His priests. Everyone he belonged with all along.

But he belongs with us, too, Yuugi thinks, too late.

And then, a moment later – as the door shuts and Yuugi feels his last impression through the link to his other self – there is the sense of a smile. And Yuugi thinks, I made the right decision.

&

The last thing Yami gives Yuugi is a smile, and he hopes it's enough.

After that, he is in Ra's arms, and there is finally –

&

Because I want to thank you for giving me your all

'Cause it means so much to me Yeah

Because I want to thank you for all your time

You don't even know how much it eased my mind

Because you …

Fin

lyrics by Chronic Future, 'Thank You'