A/N: One-shot Puzzleshipping for Computerfreak101's contest. Post-series.
Beta-read by Pyro-crazed Gel. Thanks, AM!
Disclaimer: If I owned Yugioh, Mai would've used Jou's given name in episode 173.
The new king of games was on the way to his first professional duel without the millennium puzzle. The loss of it hadn't drawn much attention, which he was actually relived for that. He didn't know how he would answer any questions about it. He looked out the window of the plane. He didn't know if they were still over the ocean or not; all he could see was clouds and the night sky. A dinging over his head made him turn away from the window and look up. The fasten seatbelts sign was flashing. Yugi quickly strapped himself in. A stewardess walked up the aisle.
"Uh, miss?" Yugi said, getting her attention. "What's wrong"
"Oh, I'm sure it's just some turbulence..." she started, but was interrupted when the plane started to shake violently. The stewardess scampered up to the cockpit, leaving a very confused Yugi alone.
The loudspeaker crackled to life. "We're coming up on a storm front here, folks. I'm going to try and get us around it--" The power cut out, throwing the plane into darkness. Yugi heard a grating sound, as if the metal was peeling off of the plane. Then there was a crash, and the top of the plane split open. The air rushed out into the night, sucking out anything that wasn't bolted down. Yugi felt like he was going to be torn from the plane. Everything was spinning, and he couldn't breathe. The last thing he heard was the wind rushing in his ears and then he lost conciousness.
Yugi awoke to a shapeless black void. Was he blind? No, he thought. Helooked down and could see himself. He was standing. Standing in nothing? Well, not nothing, then. Just... black. Utterly black. He didn't want to say "dark", because there had to be light for him to see himself. It was like all the light that existed was stolen from the rest of the world and focused just on him.
Taking a couple tentative steps forward, Yugi tried to make sense of the landscape. The last thing he remembered was being on the plane... and something about a duel... he was going to a duel... His footsteps echoed loudly in hishead. He couldn't think. Come on. Concentrate. A duel. What about a duel? He was walking steadily now. Think... what... why... Yugi couldn't hold on to the thought. Tired... to tired to think... He wanted nothing more than to be ableto forget everything and mindlessly walk on.
Then, a small speck of light appeared on the horizon. Yugi walked faster, his only thought to reach the light. It approached quickly, far more quickly than it should've. It seemed as though it was coming to meet him. The light grew into a large door. Yugi stopped at the door of light. Someone's muffled voice echoed in the void. Yugi ignored it. Light... he could rest... so tired... He reached out to touch the light...
Yugi jumped back from the door, startled. Partner... only one person ever called him partner... who...?
"Aibou, can you hear me?"
A shadow appeared in the door of light. As it drew closer, it took on a familiar form. Yugi felt the haze on his mind lift.
"Mou hitori no boku--I mean... Atem!" Yugi said. He almost forgot to use the Egyptian's name. Yugi still had difficulty remembering that his other self... wasn't his other self. Atem stood near the edge of the entrance. Yugi couldn't see his face, but he'd know the outline of that hair anywhere.
"You remembered," Atem said.
"How could I forget?" Yugi laughed. "After all we went through to get your name? I just..."
"You're not used to it."
"No," Yugi said. "I keep thinking you're still a part of my heart, but then I call to you... but you're not my other self. You're Atem. And... you're gone"
Yugi meant to stop there. He didn't want to trouble Atem with his problems. But seeing his other self again, he couldn't hold it in any longer.
"And I know you're supposed to be gone," Yugi continued. "I don't want you to be there when I call... I mean, I do, but I want you to be here. You should have been here three thousand years ago! But every time I tell myself that, I wish you could have waited a few more days, or weeks, or years... and then I get mad at myself for thinking that, and I wish you had never come to me and just gone to the afterlife"
"Aibou," Atem interrupted, and Yugi stopped and took a breath.
"I miss you," Yugi said finally.
"I know," Atem said. "I miss you, too. But you can't stay here."
"'Here'?" Yugi asked. "Where is that exactly?"
Atem started to take another step forward, so Yugi might see his face, but he could not cross the edge of the light. Yugi saw him struggle against the boundary, and took a step forward himself.
"No!" Atem shouted suddnely and Yugi jumped back again. "You mustn't cross, aibou!"
"Atem..." Yugi said tentatively, as he started to understand. "Is this...?"
"You have to go back, aibou," Atem said. "It's not your time."
"But... I'm finally with you again... I want to go with you...!" Yugi stepped forward, closer to the door.
"NO!" Atem shouted.
"Then why am I here, if I'm not supposed to cross?!" Yugi shouted back, taking another step.
Even though Yugi couldn't see his face, Atem lowered his eyes guiltily.
"Actually..." Atem said hesitantly.
"I am supposed to, aren't I?" Yugi asked, realizing. "The plane crash... I d-died." He was suddenly very afraid.
"You don't have to," Atem said quickly. "Go back!"
"But..." Yugi said nervously. "I... if I'm dead..."
"You're not dead yet," Atem said. "Go! Trust me!"
"I can just go back?" Yugi said. "And... everything will be okay?"
"I've never seen them go back before," Atem admitted nervously. "No one's supposed to be here before a soul reaches the door."
"What? Then how...?"
"I couldn't just let you die!" Atem interjected. "Too many people love you. I won't let them lose you. Now go! Quickly!"
"Atem... thank you..." Yugi trailed off. Atem smiled and nodded.
"I'll miss you," Yugi said.
"Me too. Now hurry, before time runs out!"
Yugi turned around, and faced the blackness again. "Goodbye, mou hitori no boku," he whispered.
Unseen to him, a tall, black-robed figure appeared in the light. Atem shouted a final warning before he was pushed aside.
The robed person strode towards Yugi, but before he could reach him, Yugi walked into the blackness and vanished.
The first thing Yugi noticed was a soft, steady beeping. He opened his eyes and discovered the source of the noise to be a heart monitor. Looking at the rest of his surroundings, he realized he was in a hospital. There were three chairs by the side of his bed, two of which were occupied by Anzu and Jounouchi. They were both sleeping. Jounouchi was slumped back in his chair, and Anzu was leaning on his shoulder. Yugi felt a rush of gratitude for his friends.
The door creaked open and Honda stepped in. He glanced at Jounouchi and Anzu and chuckled. Yugi thought he heard "Mai" and "won't be happy". Then Honda looked up and saw Yugi. He rushed to the bed.
"Yugi!" He said. "You're awake!" He shook Jounouchi's shoulder. "Hey, get up, Yugi's okay!"
Jou jerked awake. Anzu's head slipped off his shoulder and she woke up too. "Yugi!" They all shouted joyfully.
Thank you, Atem. Yugi thought.
"Don't scare us like that!" Anzu said sternly.
"Aw, come on Anzu," Jou laughed. "He's okay now, that's all that--Yugi?"
A tear ran down Yugi's face. He noticed and quickly wiped it away.
"I'm okay," he said.
A world away, another Yugi shed a tear and let it fall.
A/N: Ha! I even fit in the polarshipping! I swear, I wasn't trying for it this time, but then I had Anzu and Jou, and I couldn't leave it like that. Well, hope it was worth reading. I tried my best.