Finally, something other than my LJ challenge. xD
By – Hime no Ichigo
Genre: Angst/(Light) Romance
Story Type: One-shot
Summary: He just couldn't bring himself to ask for it after all he has inflicted upon his other; his partner; his saviour; his Light...his everything.
Disclaimer: Don't own Yuugiou. Yet? (hopes)
Spoilers: Um, last bit of the DOMA series; like, the last episode of that arc. Not sure if everyone's seen it – I myself haven't seen it until half a year ago (and I still haven't watched every single episode!) because I fell out of the fandom for about two years, haha. (shot)
Warnings/Notes: ...not much. Some emo!Yami moment in here, and told in Yuugi's POV. You know how in the animé the spirit form's ability to touch and feel are inconsistent? I'm following that.
The ocean has never smelled so rich of salt as I inhaled inaudibly, lying on my back, listening to the calm and quiet lapping of water at the sand, ever trying to get further and further up on the island. Occasionally it would make contact with the sole of my shoes, and I would scoot backwards a little more, taunting the wave to reach me if it could.
I glanced to my left, the only other 'inhabitant' on the island. Yami was staring out at the ocean, but it was distant, longing...and another which I couldn't exactly place at the moment.
By shifting over a bit our presences became more pronounced to one another, and even though he was only a spirit I could feel just the faintest amount of heat radiating from his incorporeal 'body'. He looked down at me, his gaze softening slightly, eyes returning to the usual scarlet. His hair danced steadily with the wind.
"Hey...are you all right?"
He nodded, not speaking, facing the ocean once again. I wasn't very convinced.
"You look really out of it."
"...do I?" His voice went soft, dejected even, all traces of confidence gone.
I sat up and peered at him. It was curious to see blond bangs covering up his face; it was a shame, really, such a beautiful face shouldn't be shielded from the world. I placed a hand on his shoulder, but he twitched and jerked away; in my surprise at the reaction I found my hand back on the beach, slightly grappling on miniscule grains.
"Mou hitori no b—"
"Don't call me that," he whispered so quietly I was afraid I heard wrong.
"I said, don't call me that."
I raised an eyebrow at this turn of behaviour. "Why is that?"
"...I don't deserve that name."
I frowned. "Mou hito—"
My hands stilled their movements and I froze. He had never called me by my name, often preferring the nickname 'aibou', unless he was truly crossed with me. But...those times rarely occurred. I folded my arms, posture silently demanding an explanation. He barely registered the fact I was becoming irritated at his endeavour to hide from me.
"Fine, Yami," the emphasis on his name since Duelist Kingdom stirred him, but not enough for him to look at me in the eye. "Why are you acting this way? We just got through the Serpent God and we can go on to finding your memories... Shouldn't you be happier than this?"
"I am glad that it has been defeated."
"Then what the hell happened to make you act like this now?"
His 'body' gave a jerk at my harshness; a little bit of guilt crept upon me at causing him more discomfort while he was clearly distressed already. Uneasy, my arms unfolded themselves and I opened my mouth, but again he beat me to it.
"...What? Why are you apologizing? What are you even saying sorry for?"
I blinked; just as quickly my brows furrowed in confusion. "Mou hi—"
"No!" He curled up in a ball, clutching himself tightly, successfully blocking any attempts I might make to look at his face. "It's all my fault, all my fault..."
He didn't move when I tried to touch his shoulder again. Stern but soft, I asked, "What are you talking about? Nothing really bad has come to pass and as far as I'm concerned, you're the best thing that's ever happened to me."
He lifted his head and stared at me quizzically, bewildered. "'Nothing bad'?" He gave a short bark of laughter. It sounded so bitter and unlike his strong personality. "A—Yuugi, please, don't give me that."
"When have I ever lied to you?"
He looked away, back at the ocean. I wanted to rip the ocean apart – figuratively, of course – why was it attracting his attention so much more?! "I'm not saying you're lying to me. But this is also where the problem lies... You are far too trusting and you can forgive everyone and everything instantly."
"That's not tr—"
He continued as if I hadn't said a single word. "But what I did to you...is unforgivable."
"Oh." I leaned back and crossed my arms once more. Enough was enough, really. "In that case, can you refresh my memory then?" Sarcasm dripped into my tone like water from a faulty tap. God...why does this have to happen now?
He didn't appear to notice my change in attitude; he was silent, still refusing to look at me, but then he began, in a strangled whisper, "I should have listened to you when we duelled against Raphael; I put both of our lives on the line just because I was unable to control the damned darkness, the damned anger, inside me. The aftermath of that duel woke me up. But by then it was too late; you, you...
"I'm always putting your life in danger while it's my first priority to keep you safe. It happened first with the school bullies, then Pegasus, then Marik... You would not even have to put up with half of these if it wasn't for me!" His voice grew a little stronger. "You could have died, and what did I do? I couldn't do anything! With Pegasus it was beyond my powers to prevent the Shadows from consuming you entirely and playing out the duel at the same time; with Marik I was too concentrated on winning the duel, the prospect of winning access to my lost memories was so tempting, and failed to remember that there was a cost to it all! What purpose will they serve if I lost you in the process?
"But you never blamed me once for all the things you went through – it worried me, and it still does. It scares me, even; how can someone take so much but never say anything about it? It is so hard, so hard; to ask for forgiveness when I had been the one to cause so much damage. But I cannot live without you – your light, your optimism, my complete opposite – and I thought I can fool myself into believing that as long as neither of us brings it up, I can live peacefully, with you.
"How wrong is all that?"
"Mou hitori no boku..."
He didn't say anything. He simply clammed up again after pouring out everything he intended to say.
"Nothing's perfect. I'm not perfect; you're not perfect. Anzu's not perfect; Jounouchi-kun's not perfect. Honda-kun, Ryou-kun, Bakura-kun, Kaiba-kun, Mai-san, Otogi-kun, Malik-kun – none of them! Everyone makes mistakes. The world wasn't made to be perfect. Everyone has a flaw inside, but to some it's this flaw that makes them special.
"I'm here, aren't I? You never lost me – not my soul, not my body, not my partnership, not my friendship, not my support, not my trust, and not my love.
"And if after all that you're still going to harp on the fact that you're always putting me in danger, then I'm going to throw this Puzzle into the ocean."
His head shot up, eyes wide; I stuffed down a victorious grin and managed to continue on seriously, "Those events weren't your fault; they never were. You never asked to be entangled with Pegasus or Marik. If anything, they were the ones who started things that both you and I never really saw coming. Well—" I quirked a smile. "Actually, I did see it coming, that you were the one who was going to end up fighting them, but me as a sacrificial lamb? No, that part I didn't see.
"So if it wasn't you who endangered me, why in the world would I blame you?"
"Even so, their target was me; it should have never affected you. You shouldn't pay for my blunders time after time. You should have just let the Seal take me."
I shook my head. "No. There are more important things waiting for you, I couldn't let you give your soul up for some ugly snake, God or not."
"But what if next time...I will not be as lucky? What if next time...I lose you and I never find a way to bring you back?
"Every time I ask myself these questions, I am afraid of finding the answer... What if next time...next time you will truly hate me for letting you take the damage? That I was too much of a coward and had to always use someone else as my shield until I cannot hide behind anyone else anymore? I—I would not be able to live with that; I would not be able to live knowing that the one person who matters to me most hasn't..." His voice trailed off, cracking along the way.
"...There's nothing to apologize for, and there's nothing to forgive," I spoke softly, deliberately. "I said before, you're the best thing that's ever happened to me, and I'm not changing that any time soon."
I let him take in the impact of my words in silence; brushing stray grains of sand off my pants, I stood up and walked up to the shoreline, looking at the sunset, with the waves splashing gently around my ankles. The picturesque scene the sun's glow painted never left an impression on my mind.
I didn't know how much time passed until I detected his presence behind me—hesitant, wanting; but all the same, it was just he being there that was enough for me.
I felt his arms first, slowly encircling my waist, and then it was just the blissful sensation of an emotion-filled hug. Turning around, I returned it with equal – if not more – strength than I originally intended to.
"Aibou?" Our noses touched and he gently rubbed it against mine.
I beamed as he reverted back to the affectionate use of my nickname but couldn't give up the chance to poke fun. "Oh, so it's back to that now, hmm?"
"Yes." He hid his face in my hair, and we enjoyed another moment of silence. "...I'm sorry. This is my second wake-up call, I think I really need to stop assuming things and just tell you."
I gave a mock scowl and nipped at his lower lip. "It's about time you figured that out. And stop apologizing."
Authoress' Notes: We would've went a little further had not the Black Magician Girl and the Three Legendary Knights materialized to congratulate us for saving both our and their worlds.
Oh well, there was always more time back home.
That little italicized part was what I could've put in at the end of the story there, but... nah, it didn't quite fit the mood and was too much like the actual plot, so I didn't include it.
Um, Serpent God is also known as the Divine Serpent. I was watching the sub and the subtitles used the former. Yeah...
You know what, I just realized...I haven't done anything DOMA related. (laughs) I'm so slow on the uptake! This is my first piece about that arc, haha. Well, I just needed to get it out after seeing them talk on the beach. The bunny struck. What an evil thing.
Read and review please? n.n