Author's Notes: This started off as part of an application to play Yami and Yugi in an rp-community on LiveJournal. The mods want to know that you know your character and will be IC. There were several words to choose from as a prompt to write something to show your characterization. I chose "laughter." And . . . this was really fun to write. I'm rather proud of it – it's a little one-shot! – so I've decided to post it. I'm thinking about writing more prompted one-shots based on the word list. Anyway . . . enjoy! XD

Disclaimer –"Yu-Gi-Oh!" and all related characters, events, and concepts belong to Takahashi Kazuki and any other related owners/distributors/producers, as does the song to its respective owner(s). I get no monetary benefit from this. My benefit is the enjoyment of dealing with beloved characters.

by DragonDancer5150

If laughter is the best medicine, it's no wonder Aibou is rarely sick, Yami mused, a small, fond grin curving his lips. And his aibou's laughter was bright enough, pure enough, to cure just about any ailment simply by the hearing of it. It certainly did wonders for his oft-heavy heart.

Yami stood, as he so often did, separately manifested and off to one side, out of anyone's way – less likely to have someone walk through him, which always made him shudder as much as the other person. He hated having someone or something invade his energy pattern like that . . . and he had lost count of how many times that had happened at school, or even that Grandpa or Mom had done it. Not my mother or grandfather, of course, but . . . He sighed.

Yugi sat on the floor in the middle of the living room, a board game spread before his folded legs. Jonouchi sat across from him, with Honda to one side and Anzu on the other. The four of them were talking and laughing, unaware of their observer. Well, not quite true. Yugi knew he was there. Yugi was the only one who could see him, not that the others weren't aware of his existence. They just didn't know he could manifest and be "out" like he was now, not without taking possession of his partner's body.

Partner. He preferred that term to what might be considered more accurate: "host." A host could be like the host of a party, embodying hospitality . . . but after multiple run-ins with the spirit of the Millennium Ring, Yami could not bring himself to think of Yugi as "host," the word ruined by the context in which the other spirit used it, a parasitic context. He tried never to be that to Yugi, though the fact that he was an intruder in the young man's life could not be helped. Still, he respected his Light too much . . .

8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8

Yugi looked up and over his shoulder as Jonouchi considered his next move. -Other-Me, are you sure you don't want to play?- He didn't speak the words aloud, knowing his other heart could hear his thoughts, just as he heard the spirit's. -I think you'd really enjoy this game . . . and it's no trouble. I don't mind at all.-

Yami just gave him a small grin and shook his head. -No, Aibou, really. Thanks, though. You have fun.-

Yugi would have responded but Honda's comment about what, did he see a spider on the wall? – and Anzu's reaction – interrupted him, pulling his attention back to his other friends. It was sad, really. His other heart too often isolated himself, and Yugi understood the why of it. It was more than social discomfort. Yami hated "usurping" Yugi's soul and taking his body when he didn't "have" to, when there was no enemy to stand against, no fight that needed winning because lives and souls stood on the line. Yugi had grown up a loner, but Yami was doubly so, even when Yugi willingly offered up the use of the body they shared so that Yami could interact with the world around him.

Listening to the laughter of his friends, he realized something else in that moment: he had never heard Yami laugh, not truly. The caustic, challenging bark at an enemy when Yami was about to win did not count. He had never known his beleaguered other heart ever to be truly happy – Yami had never allowed himself to loosen up enough to laugh. He was always so guarded – even with Yugi, in some respects – that he could not allow the walls down, could not allow himself the "luxury" of relaxing and just having fun.

Yugi made a secret resolution as he leaned over to move his game piece for his turn: somehow, sometime soon, he was going to get Yami to laugh. Not a soft hm, not a low, restrained chuckle, but a real, heart-lightening, throw-your-head-back-and-LAUGH.

Now that was a goal, a game, he needed to win, for his other heart's sake.

Author's Notes: Please be sure to check my bio page for any updates, etc. Thanks!