Embracing The Past!
A/N: Please, R&R!
Disclaimer – I don't own YGO. Never have, never will.
Warning: Slight spoiler for the last episode of Yu-Gi-Oh!
Summary – After the ceremonial duel, life for Yugi was more difficult than before. Everything reminded him of Atem. Maybe that's why he gave up dueling for good. Slight alternate ending to the last episode. AtemxYugi
It sat high above anyone's head on a shelf in the far corner. No one asked him about the lonely golden box and he never offered to tell the story, though he remembered it far too well than what he would've liked.
Yugi watched with an aching feeling in his heart as the tomb crumbled, taking with it the last few memories he had of his best friend. His friends around him whispered to each other, sad expressions on their faces, but it wasn't for quite some time before Joey noticed that his friend had collapsed to his knees. Swallowing the lump in his throat, Joey carefully made his way to the younger teen's side.
"Yuge?" he called, hoping, somehow, he could get his attention by just calling out to him.
No answer came and Yugi never moved as Joey placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.
Yugi stared at his wall for what seemed like hours, forcing the tears back that were threatening to fall. He knew exactly what was in that box. The deck he had used to send Atem away forever. Once he had left the former site of the tomb, Yugi had sworn to never play Duel Monsters again. The memories, he figured, would be too painful without Atem by his side.
Rain pitter-pattered on the window, adding fuel to Yugi's already saddened mood. The gods must surely despise him. They took away his best friend and, no matter how much he hated to admit it, secret lover.
Yugi buried his face in his pillow and mumbled, "I never got a chance to tell him how I feel."
Lightning added to the rain, illuminating the sky and the semi-dark room. As the lightning brightened the room to visibility, Yugi sighed and climbed off his bed. After all, he did have school that day.
(11:35 am, 4th period, Math class)
Yugi sighed as he frowned at the extremely too long algebra equation on the board. His mind just wasn't up for it today. As he let his mind wander, he allowed his gaze to move towards the window. Rain still fell from the sky and puddles were frequent along the sidewalk.
"Yugi, what's wrong?"
Startled out of his thoughts, the tri-haired youth glanced over to see Tristan looking at him, worriedly.
"I'm fine," he lied, lowering his head to stare down at his paper where only the problem was visible. Suddenly, something else caught his attention. Off in the far left hand corner of the page were written three words that were not his handwriting:
Embrace the Past
Yugi glanced around, looking to see if anyone had been near enough to hurriedly scribble the words down. No one looked in his direction, no laughs from someone who was playing a practical joke on him. Yugi's gaze returned to the paper.
Is this for real? he wondered. What does it mean?
Yugi jumped a little as the bell signaling the end of class rang. Hurriedly, he grabbed his books and headed out into the hallway, where a throng of people were already heading to their next class.
(1:14 pm, 6th period, History Class)
The notebook sat empty in front of him as he studied the questions on the board. Nothing was reaching his brain at the moment. His thoughts continued to drift to Atem. Not that he really minded.
"Mr. Motou, I'd really appreciate it if you'd at least take the time to write something down for me to grade," the teacher snapped, glaring at the teen in disappointment.
Yugi quickly apologized as he hurriedly looked down at his paper and was just about ready to write something, when he gasped out loud at what he saw.
Two words were written in the corner this time. Words Yugi thought he'd never hear again, surely, but see on his paper? That never even occurred to him. The words 'My Aibou' screamed from the paper, causing Yugi to hurriedly fold it and place it in his pocket before retrieving a fresh new piece and begin the assignment he had been putting off.
(3:00 pm, Walking Home)
Yugi's hands trembled as he glanced around, making sure no bullies were around to beat on him. Tea, Joey, and Tristan had all left early. Tea was going to America, after receiving an invitation to compete in a Dance Dance Revolution contest. Joey's sister, Serenity, had called, telling him that Mai had contacted her, hoping they could meet up. Tristan, well, no one knew why Tristan had left early.
"Well, well, well, looks like little Yugi's trying to hide from his punishment," a loud, obnoxious voice said from Yugi's right.
Yugi paled as several of his fellow students stepped from the shadows to reveal their gleaming smiles. Yugi shivered.
"Now, now, now, Yugi," the biggest one said, grabbing his collar before he could run away. "It's been way too long since we've had any fun."
All hope of surviving escaped Yugi's mind as he closed his eyes and prepared for the worst. Grunts and screams could be heard, but none of them belonged to Yugi. Once the cries had died down, Yugi hesitantly opened his eyes, then widened them in shock at what he saw. The gang that had wanted to beat on him until he screamed for mercy was now lying on the ground, unconscious. Not bothering to ask questions, Yugi turned to run, but something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. A figure stood there, silhouetted against the darkness. They didn't do anything, but stare at Yugi before taking off in the opposite direction.
"Wait!" Yugi shouted, snapping out of his trance and following his savior.
As soon as Yugi caught up with the figure, he tackled them around the waist, forcing them to the ground. Surprisingly, the warm body seemed familiar to the King of Games and the voice that spoke to him next caused his heart to stop beating.
"Yugi, please, let me go."
Shock registered before anything else as Yugi gently relinquished his hold on the man. Wide amethyst eyes gazed at the one person he had hoped to see again more than anyone in the whole world.
"Atem," Yugi whispered, blinking to make sure it wasn't some sort of illusion.
The familiar figure of the former pharaoh of Egypt turned to face his look-alike, a smile on his face.
"I wasn't sure if you would catch up with me," he admitted. "I was afraid I wouldn't get to you in time."
Yugi just continued staring, unable to believe that this was actually happening. Atem frowned when his best friend didn't reply. Kneeling in front of him, he asked, "Yugi, are you okay?"
"You-You-," was all he managed to get out before he collapsed in Atem's arms and mercifully passed out.
(5:56 pm, Motou Residence)
Yugi groaned as his subconscious slowly awakened. Seeing that he was in his room at home, his gaze immediately fell to his sheets.
"It was just a dream," he mumbled out loud.
Silence lingered in the room as he got out of bed, grabbed his chair from in front of his desk, and positioned it underneath the shelf that he hadn't used in what seemed like ages. Reaching on his tip-toes, Yugi grasped the golden box that had kept his most treasured possession – and memories. Jumping down from the chair, Yugi walked over to his bed and sat on it, staring at the box as if it was going to open and reveal the pharaoh and ancient Egypt. Sighing, Yugi opened the lid as he hurriedly brushed at his eyes when they started filling with tears.
It's been so long since I've held them in my hand, he thought, smiling through the tears that had managed to escape as he lifted the deck out of its 'tomb'.
The door opened slowly, and, thinking it was his grandfather, Yugi didn't move from his position on his bed.
"Why is it that you've given up, Yugi?"
The voice did not belong to Solomon Motou, but the voice was still familiar to the youth as he jerked his eyes up to meet with crimson orbs that seemed to stare into his very soul. This time, Yugi remained calm, but his heart continued to beat rapidly within his chest, as if asking to be released. Atem stood in the doorway, a tray of food in his hands and a sad smile on his face.
"I-I thought I'd never see you again," his friend stammered, lowering his eyes to stare at the cards sitting in his hand.
A small noise was made as the tray was set down on Yugi's desk and Atem walked back towards Yugi and sat on the bed. Yugi's heartbeat increased rapidly once more as Atem spoke. He never heard any of the words his secret love said. He could only look deep into his eyes, eyes he never wanted to forget.
"Yugi? Yugi! Snap out of it!"
It took several moments for Yugi to realize that Atem was calling out to him, trying to bring him back from his trance. Yugi's cards were still clutched tightly in his hands, but now he allowed them to fall silently to the floor. Atem watched them drop, confused, before turning once again to look at Yugi, who hadn't moved. Before anything could be said, the young King of Games threw his arms around Atem, his small body shaking with sobs. Shocked at this new development, Atem gradually encircled his arms around his look-alike.
"It was you," Yugi mumbled into Atem's shirt.
His friend pulled away to arms' length to get a better look at his face.
"Yes, it was," he admitted. "I had to contact you, aibou. That was the only way I could think of."
'What about the mind link?'
There was no answer and Yugi's eyes widened in sudden realization. Their link was gone. Atem noticed the younger boy's silence and looked down at him worriedly.
"Aibou?" he called.
"It's gone," the light whispered. "Disappeared like it was never there at all."
Atem's concern for the boy was growing with every passing minute as Yugi continued to talk, saying things like "It should be here" and "I need it to come back". Atem gently shook the shocked teen, pleading with him to 'wake up'.
"It's gone, Yami, it's gone."
Atem smiled at Yugi's use of his old name, but decidedly didn't correct the youth.
"What's gone, little one?" he asked, curiously.
"The mind link," came the whispered reply. "It's not there anymore."
The former pharaoh nodded.
"I believe Ishizu told me that that's because we haven't seen each other in so long," he stated.
Yugi looked up at him, a frown forming on his face.
"Wait a minute," he said. "You saw Ishizu?"
"She helped me back," he said as if that explained everything. "She helped me back to you."
Yugi's heart skipped a few beats. He silently watched as his friend knelt down and picked up the scattered cards. When Atem handed them back to him, a familiar card on top of the deck caught Yugi's eye.
"The Dark Magician," he whispered, surprised.
"He wants you to duel again, aibou," Atem stated, smiling as he placed a hand on the younger boy's shoulder. "I want you to duel again."
Yugi was silent for several minutes before he shook his head vigorously.
"I can't," he argued. "I can't duel."
All of a sudden, Yugi found himself crying. His tears flowed freely down his cheeks as he retrieved the card from the deck and hugged it to himself tightly.
"Dueling would be like losing you all over again," he whispered, his words barely audible to Atem's ears. "My memories of that day haunt me to no end. Dueling would just make everything come back to the surface and I don't want that to happen!"
Yugi buried his face in his pillow, muffling his sobs and clutching the card tighter in his grip. Atem sighed and gently lifted the trembling light into his arms, soothing him and whispering comforting words into his ear.
"Aibou, please, stop crying," he pleaded. "I'm right here. Nothing bad's going to happen if you duel. I promise."
Yugi shook his head, his sobs slowly subsiding.
"I can't, I just can't duel ever again," he answered. "The memories, the duel, the day-the day I lost you forever."
Atem turned Yugi to face him, bracketing his face between his hands as he spoke softly to the younger male.
"Yugi, you didn't lose me," he stated. "I'm right here with you. You can do anything you put your mind to. And in that duel we fought and you won, you never lost me to the after-life, you opened my eyes to things I never dreamed were imaginable. Yugi, I'll ask you one more time, please, duel for me."
Yugi blinked, allowing a few more tears to escape out of his eyes, but gave a small smile and nodded in agreement.
"I miss you, Atem," he admitted.
The former pharaoh smiled and hugged the younger boy to him tightly.
"And I missed you too, my Yugi," he replied.
'Did he just-' Yugi thought, hopefully.
"Yugi, look at me, please," Atem requested, lifting Yugi's chin, not giving him much of a choice.
Crimson locked with amethyst as Atem smiled gently.
"Do you remember what the first writing you found said?" he asked.
Yugi frowned, but answered anyway.
"Embrace the past," he stated.
Atem leaned down so his mouth was close to Yugi's ear.
"There's more than one way you can take that into meaning," he whispered, kissing Yugi's neck softly, causing a small 'eep' to emit from his lips.
"A-Atem?" Yugi stammered.
Atem didn't answer. Instead, he continued planting small kisses along Yugi's neck, causing the other to moan in acceptance. A few minutes later found Yugi lying on the bed, Atem straddling his waist. A heated kiss ensued, which followed with Atem's husky voice once again filling the room.
"Embrace me, Yugi."
Sometime in the middle of the night, a card fluttered softly to the floor, the Dark Magician's figure, clearly shown smiling.
A/N: Well, that took longer than expected to write, but I hope you all enjoyed. If you didn't understand the ending, well, then, I'm not explaining it to you. Use your imaginations. Please, review!