A/N: Written for a livejournal writing community challenge using the prompt The Tarot cards – Six of Wands. Yugi-centric. No definite timeline; it can fit into any Arc, save for maybe Kaiba Grandprix.

Warnings: None. Worksafe.

Disclaimer: Kazuki Takahashi owns all.


When in doubt…

It was a triumph – yes.

It was a well-earned victory – indeed.

So why was he feeling so empty inside all of a sudden?

His friends were with him, always by his side, always supportive. Every time he lost his hope, they cheered him on, they gave a reason to push forward, to continue the fight. Now they rushed to him to congratulate and ardently discuss this brilliant and that pure genius move which had thrown his opponent for a loop, making him lose his cool, and in the end – lose the duel as well. The victory was his, and yet… Yet it was not.

In the middle of all this, Yugi Mutou was feeling empty and spent. Even Yami's presence and soothing words could not ease him. It seemed to be so long ago: the days when he had had no friends. His life had seemed to him so calm, so ordinary, so… empty. Too plain for his liking back then, but one he would gladly lead now.

Things were going well; Yami assured him of it again and again, and Yugi himself knew as much, but sometimes… Sometimes it was all too much; without an end in sight. All that awaited him and his friends at the end of the road seemed to be only greater a danger than what they were facing right now. Slowly, Yugi was getting tired of it. Tired and afraid, no matter how confident his partner was.

What if one time Yami's skill failed? What if one time their luck ran out at the worst moment? What if the next enemy was someone they could not beat? What if…

There were many such things that Yugi feared, many such thoughts that did not let him rest, many unanswerable things that gnawed at his mind at the most inappropriate moments. And there was no way for him to start all over again, to turn the tables in his favour. He could only keep moving on, keep trying to overcome the oncoming tides and do his best.

"Yugi?"

Yugi looked up at Anzu, but she was staring off into distance. Anzu. Always watchful. Always noticing more than she let on. Sometimes Yugi wondered if she knew what was going on in his mind, if she sensed his doubt. "Is something wrong?"

Anzu smiled lightly, almost regretfully. I should be the one asking you that, isn't that right, Yugi?, she thought. "We have barely begun, haven't we?"

Yugi could not answer. It was true, was it not? Anzu was right; it could not be denied. This battle was nowhere near its end, if it could ever be ended. Yugi sighed.

"There will be many more of them," she continued, and with every word she said, her voice grew quieter and quieter. "I wish... I wish I could be of more help."

Yugi stared up at her for a moment before turning away and following the direction of her gaze. Together they looked at the distant horizon for a while, while only a few steps behind them Honda and Jounouchi had started a heated argument and were now chasing each other around, shouting and arguing about Jounouchi's duelling skills.

"It's okay," Yugi finally said. "I'm happy."

He was not allowed to say more because Jounouchi pulled on his shoulder, demanding his attention and his help in deciding which one of the two was right. Allowing himself to be turned around, Yugi noticed a small smile on Anzu's lips and felt reassured, if only a little bit. Anzu, too, turned to Jounouchi to offer her input on the argument, immediately siding with Honda.

Maybe, Yugi thought, maybe everything would turn out well.

Maybe one day they would not need to fight anymore.

Maybe one day there would be no one left to fight.

Maybe that day was just around the corner and all that was needed was a little bit of patience.

If so, he would fight. And he would wait.

And then...

Yugi smiled thoughtfully and Anzu was the only one to notice it. She thought that she knew the reason behind that smile and made a small nod of acknowledgement. If Yugi believed in a good ending, she would believe as well. For as long as friends stuck together and supported each other, there was not a thing to fear, nothing they could not overcome.

Together, they would fight. Together, they would wait.

And then...