Author's Note: This was originally going to be five chapters, but then I wrote myself into an ending I liked for the last chapter, so now its six.
I don't think anyone minds though. I myself really like how this chapter turned out, especially the ending, but you'll have to read it to find out why.
...And no, I don't own Yugioh, but if I did, I would've had the card games share screen time with character development.
A mother's love
Yami was sitting on the bed when Yugi came in, medication in one hand with his unfinished drink in the other.
"Yami, you're still up?" asked the younger teen with a yawn. "Its getting late."
"I know, Aibou."
"Then what are you doing?"
"About how things can be going so well, and then, within an instant, they change."
"Meaning, Aibou, that I am an idiot. I'm going to bed now."
Placing the held objects on the bedside table, Yami crawled underneath the covers and lay there in the comforting darkness.
It wasn't long before he found a hand gently shaking him.
"Yami? Come on; I know you're still awake. You honestly don't expect me to try to sleep when I'm worried about you, do you?"
Knowing Yugi was right, Yami pushed the covers away and stared up at his twin.
"If you really want to know, Aibou, I briefly told your mother what I had been doing after you and I first bonded. I felt she had a right to know, especially after asking if I could be trusted."
"Oh. You mean back when I didn't know you existed and was having all that memory loss?"
"Keeping secrets from a parent only leads to trouble, Aibou, though, in this case, I fear it's done the opposite."
"Because, Yugi, back then I...I was nothing more then a caged beast; only brought out when your fears cried for help. I'm concerned telling your mother that has changed her opinion of me."
Sitting back on the futon with his legs crossed, Yugi frowned. "But you're not like that anymore, so why should it matter?"
"Because, Aibou, I'm afraid I gave your mother the impression that if you were being attacked, and the aggressor wasn't interested in dueling, I would do something drastic to protect you."
"Drastic?" asked Yugi, blinking in confusion. "How drastic are we talking here?"
"Aibou, when we first bonded, I had no knowledge of what was right and what wasn't. All that mattered was protecting the one who freed me. Now, when I look back at it, your kindness is the sole reason I was able to be human. I learned from you how to be a person and not the animal trapped inside the Puzzle for so many years."
"Really? All I did was be myself."
"That's more then most people can say, Yugi."
Twin smiles crossed the room, the feelings behind them mutual and eternal.
"Night, sweetie." said a voice as, at the flip of a switch, the room was suddenly thrown into darkness.
Eyes not expecting the sudden change, Yami quickly closed them until his vision had adjusted.
Yugi, however, didn't seem to be affected.
"Mom!" he cried. "Don't scare us like that!"
"Yugi, you do know its after midnight, right? We've all had a long day and its time to go to bed."
"If that's the case, then why are you still up?"
"I'm still up because, sweetie, I've been thinking."
"Funny, Yami said he was doing the same thing."
"Really? Is that what you two were talking about?"
"Yeah. Mom, I'm not exactly sure what he said to you, but Yami is not about to go psycho on someone. Even if he tried, I-I wouldn't let him."
"What about when you two have separate bodies?"
"Hey, I can be pretty convincing when I need to."
"In that case, sweetie, how about you convince me you're going to close your eyes and go to sleep?"
"Good. You need your rest, young man, but first...Yugi, is Yami already asleep?"
"Uh, I guess." replied Yugi. "We were talking for a while, but I guess he's done."
"Glad to hear it. I think a good night's sleep will do that boy some good. He's been acting strange all evening. I'm starting to think being around me is making him nervous."
"Well, mom, Yami never had anyone to talk to besides me, though I'm sure if you ask him how to play Duel Monsters, he'd talk up a storm."
"I'm sure he would. Now go to sleep."
Yugi's mother smiled as she stood in the darkened room, eyes taking in the faint light coming from the window in the ceiling.
Ten minutes later, she was still standing there, but now her attention had drifted to the teen sleeping in her son's bed.
Sitting down besides him, the woman sighed.
"Yami..." she muttered. "What am I going to do with you?"
"Love me, and call me your son, but only if you want to."
Safe in his thoughts, Yami knew he wouldn't be heard, though, deep down, some part of him wanted to be. "But I won't and Aibou's mother will-."
The teen paused as hefound a hand running through his golden bangs.
"You say you can't be trusted, yet you clearly want to be. Why? Yami, what are you so afraid of?"
"I...I don't know. Change? For a long time, Yugi was the only one who knew I existed, but now..."
"Yami, I know you're awake."
Caught off guard, the teen was forced to open his eyes.
"You-you do?" he stuttered, face looking up to meet the woman's.
"Now I do."
Not happy with being tricked, Yami turned to face the wall; an obvious sign he didn't want to continue the conversation.
It was a hand resting on his shoulder that finally convinced the teen to roll back over.
"Yami, I'm sorry, but we...we need to talk."
"Talk?" repeated the teen, eyebrows raised in surprise. "Why?"
"Because I never got to thank you, silly."
"You want to thank me? For what?"
Lifting the covers to reveal Yami's left foot, Yugi's mother smiled knowingly.
"For keeping me safe from this."
If the teen wasn't already lying down, he would have surely hit the floor in shock.
"She knows?! But how? I-."
Sighing, Yami pulled himself together and gave his twin's mother a curious look.
"How did you find out?"
"For starters, the trail of blood you left on the stairs, not to mention that pile of wet clothes in the bathroom. You left them in there after you were supposedly taking a shower."
"Supposedly?" asked Yami, still hoping to salvage some of his ruse.
"Right." replied the woman, chuckling as she reached over to tap one of Yami's golden bangs. "Yami, your hair may be wet, but the bathtub is not. And just who do you think it was that brought you the first aid kit? Yugi?"
"Um, I'm kind of hoping it was."
"Well, it wasn't. I don't think he even knew you were injured."
Yami sighed, eyes falling to stare at the floor in embarrassed shame.
"I'm sorry." he muttered.
"For what?" asked Yugi's mother, head tilted in puzzled concern.
"For leaving the house. I saw the lightning and Aibou was getting worried and-."
"Yami, you are one strange kid, you know that? I am not mad at you."
The teen blinked as he found an arm wrapped lovingly around his shoulders.
"Yami, I could never be mad at you, not for saving my life anyway."
Mind still in shock, it took Yami a few moments to find his voice.
"So I'm....I'm really not in trouble?"
"No, but you will be if you don't finish your hot chocolate and take your medication." replied Yugi's mother, pushing both drink and medication into the teen's hands. "And I'm not leaving until you do, so hurry up."
Looking up into the woman's eyes, Yami knew she was serious.
"Fine." he muttered, already taking a sip.
Eyes staring into the mug seconds later, the teen suddenly frowned. "Its cold."
Yugi's mother just laughed.
"All right, Yami, I'll go heat it up, but after that, its back to bed. You're still sick, remember?"
"I remember." replied Yami, falling back onto the bed with a sigh once Yugi's mother had left. "How could I forget?"
His headache had gone away after dinner, but Yami still felt the aches and pains of an unwell body; he'd just been trying to ignore it.
"Maybe if I had a book or something to focus on, I could..."
Blue flashes suddenly illuminated the room, causing the teen to stop mid-sentence.
"That wasn't exactly what I had in mind."
"Yami...?" asked a voice from somewhere below. "Are you awake?"
"Of course, Aibou. Who could sleep with that going on outside?"
Yami winced as a loud boom of thunder rang over the house, the noise reminding him of a thousand stampeding horses.
"I hate thunder." muttered Yugi, arms crossed as he gave the window a nervous glance.
"Its because of what happened to your father, isn't it."
A smile on his face, Yami slipped down from the bed and joined his twin already sitting on the futon.
"To be honest, Aibou, I..."
"You don't like it either, huh?"
"No, not really."
"Good, otherwise I'd feel like an idiot. I'm sixteen; I shouldn't be scared of thunder!"
"Yugi, you are no fool. You are a human being."
"I know, but..."
Tucking his knees in, Yugi sighed. "I'm sorry. I-I shouldn't be worrying you like this. Not when you're not feeling good."
Lying back on the futon, Yami simply smiled.
"I don't mind, Aibou, really."
"Are you sure?"
"Yugi, it doesn't matter whether I am sick or not. If you want to talk, I'll gladly stay and listen."
"Thanks, but I think I'm..."
Eyes turning to meet his twin's, Yami found Yugi in the middle of a yawn.
"Tired?" he finished.
"Yeah. Yami, I always feel better when you're around, because, if things go wrong, I know I can count on you to help."
"Well, I don't know what I can do against the weather, but if a rich egomaniac tries to steal your grandfather's soul again..."
Yugi couldn't hide his laughter as Yami sent him a positively devious look.
"Yami, you're bad, you know that?"
"If I'm bad, Aibou, what does that make you?"
The roar of looming thunder blocking out his words, all Yami could do was roll his eyes.
"Right. Yugi, stop talking and go to sleep already. Like your mom said, its after midnight."
"Would if I could, but somebody's hogging all the covers."
"Yeah, about that..."
Yugi sighed as he was sent a less then subtle glance.
"Fine, but no snoring or I'll kick you off; I mean it."
"Thanks, Aibou." replied Yami, stretching out on his half of the futon like a cat in the sun. "And, no offense, but this is much nicer then that lumpy old mattress you have."
"None taken. Mom always saves the best stuff for guests."
Shaking his head, Yugi let out a long sigh. "I think she's under the impression we'll have visitors with better tastes then Joey, not that anyone else would spend the night."
Yami smirked as he watched his twin's face turn a light shade of pink.
"Just shut up and go to sleep."
Sensing a prickly emotion over their mental connection, Yami couldn't help but wonder if he had somehow hurt Yugi's feelings, especially since the boy was still blushing.
"You're not embarrassed that I know you have feelings for Téa, are you?"
"No. Its just..."
Lying down on his side of the futon, Yugi exhaled a deep breath, clearly trying to get rid of built up stress. "Just promise me you won't tell her. I really don't want anyone knowing."
"Because, Yami, in case you weren't aware, Téa used to like you."
Yugi was sorely tempted to bang his head against the wall after seeing his twin's stunned expression.
"Yes really, and I...I think she still does."
"Oh. Well, I, uh..."
A finger resting against his chin, Yami frowned. "To be honest, Aibou, I really don't know what to say."
"Then don't. I don't want to talk about this any-."
Yugi cringed as a bright flash of lightning bathed the room in light. "...More. Yami, are you sure you can't do anything about the weather?"
"Believe me, Aibou, if I could, I would. That flash did take longer to get here then the first one though; the storm must be passing."
"Good." muttered Yugi, his form starting to relax. "I really want to go to bed."
"Me too, but first..."
"Yugi, if you truly do love Téa, then...then who am I to stop you? After all, you were the one who saw her first."
It took Yugi a few moments to respond.
"You...you really mean it?" he stuttered, eyes looking up to meet his twin's. "I mean, I do like her, but she likes..."
Yugi paused as he noticed the sincere look on Yami's face.
"Aibou, I'll try to help you as much as I can, though I have to admit, I'm no expert on girls."
Yugi laughed as Yami shot him an annoyed glance before turning away.
"Go to sleep, Aibou; you need your rest."
"Yeah, I know, but first...."
Yami blinked as he found himself staring into the eyes of his twin.
"You're wanting the covers back, aren't you?"
Arms crossed in a silent reply, Yugi gave Yami his best unhappy glare. He had hoped to look intimidating, but the scene only reminded Yami of a growling Chihuahua.
"I'll take that as a yes."
"Good, because I-."
Yugi blinked as he found the covers suddenly tossed over his head.
"You know, Yami, if you're practicing the role of the bossy older brother, you're doing a great job."
Yami looked over just in time to see his twin pushing him off the futon.
"Yes really. Night!"
Now lying on the floor, there was only one question running through Yami's mind.
"You did that on purpose, didn't you?"
"You think?" replied Yugi, the hint of a smirk running across his face."I didn't notice."
"Aibou, just to let you know, you're really bad at sarcasm."
"And you're going to be kicked off the bed again if you don't shut up."
Shaking his head with a sigh, Yami climbed onto his side of the futon; promptly making himself comfortable with as much of the covers Yugi would allow him.
"Aibou, are you always this cranky when you don't get enough rest? ...Aibou?"
Rolling over to see why Yugi wasn't answering him, Yami found that the other teen was already asleep; petite form curled up into a ball.
"He must be tired...unless he's just ignoring me."
Gently prodding his small twin, Yami decided he wasn't; a situation that left the teen feeling strangely depressed.
"Even though Aibou is right beside me, I...I just can't sleep; not like this. Its just too...too different."
Sighing, Yami reached out and grabbed hold of one of his sleeping twin's hands.
"As a spirit, I could always feel his emotions; his heart, but now...nothing. Though I..."
Head tilted in thought, Yami studied the idea that had unexpectedly slipped into his consciousness.
"I still don't have full control over it, but the magic of the Millennium Puzzle is the only way I can return to my original self. I...I only hope it lets me."
Eyes closing in concentration, Yami tried to locate the faint pulse of power that he had encountered earlier. Unfortunately, said power was nowhere to be found.
"What? Where is it? It should be-."
A dizzying, almost nauseous sensation caused the teen to stop mid-sentence.
"I-I shouldn't be doing this. Any more and I'll end up in even worse condition then I already am."
Slowly opening his eyes, Yami was surprised to find his body stretched out alongside his twin's, arms circling the smaller boy like a human shield.
"Did I move without realizing it?"
Not wanting to wake Yugi, Yami settled for observing his young charge while listening to the slowly receding thunderstorm.
Rain was still falling though, its presence making Yami surprisingly contemplative.
"One mind wrapped around the other." mused the teen, a smile gracing his features as he watched his sleeping twin. "Even in this form, I was and still am his shield, at least until he's able to defend himself."
"Well, whatever happened, this way, at least I know he's safe."
Nodding in satisfaction, Yami then closed his eyes, body soon giving way to the sweet lull of sleep.
He could have sworn he had only dozed off for a minute when the teen found himself being shaken from his slumber.
"Yami, I'm thrilled you're actually sleeping without putting up a fight, but..."
The hand not holding a mug of hot chocolate pressed itself against it's sighing owner's forehead as Yugi's mother examined the empty bed in the corner. "But you're supposed to be sleeping up there."
Not receiving any indication that she had been heard, the woman wondered if she should continue trying to wake Yami up.
"Well, he's not going to get better without help." she muttered, a hand gently prodding the sleeping teen. "Come on, young man, you're supposed to be taking your medicine. You can go back to sleep afterwords, I promise."
It took a good shove to finally awaken the teen, but, even with his violet eyes open, Yami still looked half asleep.
"Yami..." started the woman, smiling slightly as she watched the dazed teen blink up at her. "You're not awake are you?"
"Huh? Did you...?"
"Say something? Yes, Yami, I did. Now sit up and take your medication. Like I was saying earlier, I'm not leaving 'till you do."
Nodding, the teen slowly did as he was asked, mind still sluggish as he forced his tired frame upwards.
It was when he had swallowed the pill and drunk the rest of his drink that Yami found Yugi's mother watching him.
"Something on your mind?"
"Yes, actually, there is. Yami, I was meaning to ask you...why are you sleeping so close to my son?"
"Well..."replied Yami, not sure if the truth would be believed. "To be honest, I just kind of woke up like that, though I do have a theory."
"One I'd love to hear." replied Yugi's mother, frowning slightly as she examined the teen before her.
Taking a deep breath, Yami released it before beginning.
"So, you see, I..."
He paused, suddenly at a loss for words.
"Trying to explain something without it coming across as something else is no easy task, even for me."
"I'm waiting." warned the woman, an eyebrow raised in a mixture of curiosity and annoyance.
Knowing it was now or never, Yami decided his only option was to explain everything in one fell swoop.
"She can then decide then if I'm lying or not."
"Its hard to explain." he started. "But, being a spirit, I never had the need for sleep, so most of my nights were spent watching over your son. His mind and mine are bonded at the very core and it...."
Yami gave his twin's mother a shy glance before lowering it to stare at the now empty mug. "It seems I still haven't fully adjusted to being on my own yet."
"Oh." replied the woman, a relived smile crossing her face. "Well, can't you, you know, change back?"
"I wish, but I think the Puzzle is trying to teach me a lesson, or teach me something anyway. Its really annoying."
"Maybe its trying to tell you to stop hiding?" replied Yugi's mother, laughing softly as Yami looked up at her.
"You're a really sweet kid, Yami; you just need to have more confidence in yourself."
"I take it you've forgotten about how I helped save Yugi's grandfather? He couldn't have done it without me."
"Yugi told me the very same thing, but, Yami, you didn't have much choice. When it comes down to the wire, you're a very reliable person. Something I admire very much in my son's older brother."
"...Yeah." muttered the teen. "Wait; what?!"
"I don't know how you did it so soon, young man, but you've managed to carve out your own special place in my heart, and right next to Yugi's too."
Mouth hanging open in shock, all Yami could do was stare.
"Y-you mean it?" he stuttered. "You really really mean it?"
"Would I be making such a fuss over you if I didn't?" countered the woman with a laugh.
"Point, but I still thought...even with Yugi backing me up, I..."
Yami blinked in surprise as he felt a hand resting on his shoulders.
"He really is a good soul." whispered the teen's mother, taking at seat at the edge of the futon. "But so are you."
"How?" asked Yami, careful not to disturb Yugi as he slipped out from underneath the covers. "I have no memories of who I am or what I've done. I could have been a serial killer or a-."
The teen's next words were caught in his throat.
"Yami, you're my son and, right now, that's all that matters." whispered the woman, arms wrapped around the teen in a warm embrace.
"You're welcome. Now get some sleep."
Nodding with half closed eyes, Yami was gently helped back into bed; body soon resting against the soft sheets like snowflakes falling from the sky.
"Goodnight, son." whispered Yami's mother, a smile crossing her face as she admired the sleeping teen before heading towards the hall. "I love you."
"I love you too...mom."
"Mom." whispered Yami to the calm darkness of night once the woman had left. "What a beautiful word."
Beneath the covers next to him, Yugi smiled.
Author's Note: Well, that's that. (dusts hands off)
I cordially thank the plot bunny who decided to stop and bounce on my head repeatedly during the last few weeks.
Your unorthodox methods were much appreciated.
So dear readers, tell me, have I hit my mark?