Disclaimer: Verily, they are not mine.
A/N: Written as a birthday present for MyAibou. Many happy returns, babs!
Never Need More Than This
© Scribbler, November 2008.
Cradling stones, hold fire bright
As crickets call out to the moonlight.
As you lean in to steal a kiss,
I'll never need more than this.
We all share the pain of our histories,
But the ache goes away if you could see.
This night under stars, well, I call it peace
If you say; I'll never need more than this.
-- From More Than This by Vanessa Carlton.
"You mean you've never been camping before?"
"Well, there was that time in Duellist Kingdom -"
"Yuugi, that totally doesn't count. Camping is supposed to be about relaxing and picking splinters out of your burnt smores, not duelling and worrying about getting people's souls back from rich psychopaths."
"Hey, Jounouchi, are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"I sure am Honda."
"Guys, please, you don't need to -"
That was how it started. It wasn't, however, how it ended. Nor was it even how it carried on. Jounouchi and Honda's enthusiasm lasted as long as their dreams of cooking smores and chocolate bananas. Actually remembering to pack everything they needed apart from this was beyond them, and so it fell to Yuugi and Anzu to take care of the finer details.
"Y'know," Anzu said as they stared around the Outdoor Store like the folding stools might leap up and bite them, "like sleeping bags and groundsheets and stuff."
"And tents," Yuugi replied, warily eyeing a clutch of deadly looking pegs and guy-ropes he was sure he last saw knotted into nooses hanging from trees in dark dimensions.
"Yeah," agreed Anzu. "Tents would probably be a good idea. That whole 'sleeping under the stars' thing is totally overrated."
They manhandled everything back to Yuugi's house and spent a whole Saturday afternoon after cram school, poring over what they'd bought. They carefully and methodically stuffed four backpacks full of things the way the sales clerk had showed them, and Anzu had taken the unprecedented move of hiding a checklist and adding to it throughout Maths class, so they ticked off everything as they went. Every so often one of them would hold up an item neither could remember buying, and they had to search through their receipts to figure out exactly what it was and whether they could just leave it behind.
"What the heck is a Petzl Tikka?" Yuugi held up a box with a swirly design but no actual photo on it.
"Hang on." Anzu briefly vanished headfirst into the cardboard box of receipts. There was a flurry of paper before she emerged clutching a tiny strip covered in blotchy blue ink. "It's a … uh … what does this say?"
Yuugi squinted. "A head-lamp."
"Like a torch you wear on your head? How did we end up buying that? Why did we buy that?"
"It looks like we bought four of them. It was buy-one-get-one-free."
"Great. So now we can go potholing or something. If we get pulled into a Shadow Game, we'll be able to see our opponent before we get smashed into something resembling baked beans." Anzu paused. "For the record, no way are we taking baked beans. I don't care what the traditions of camping are, I'm not spending the night in a tent next to Honda and Jounouchi if that's what they've been eating." She laughed, but weakly. "Uh, Yuugi?"
Yuugi's expression was suddenly cheerless.
Anzu shuffled closer to him, through the scattered protective plastic and polystyrene peanuts on the floor. "Yuugi, are you okay?"
"It sounds really weird, doesn't it?"
"The moment you mentioned it, I suddenly got all nostalgic for a Shadow Game. A Shadow Game. Can you believe it? Not because I like nearly dying, but because if there were a Shadow Game we'd still have …" He trailed off, but he didn't need to finish. "Like I said: weird, huh?"
Anzu looped one arm around his shoulder and pulled him against her side in a half-hug. "Not really."
They sat that way for a minute, until they heard a crash from the kitchen and Yuugi's Grandpa let out a yelp and a mouthful of words they hadn't realised he knew.
"My toes! Who on earth balanced all these metal dishes on the sideboard?"
Yuugi squeezed his eyes shut in a theatrical wince. "Do you think if I hid under the plastic sheeting he'll be able to find me?"
Another crash rang through the house. "Argh, my head! Yuugi! Anzu! Get in here!"
"You'll have to compete with me for space under there."
When the fateful weekend finally rolled around they were pretty sure they'd got everything they needed, though they double, triple and quadruple checked the now-battered checklist. Yuugi felt like he was an expert in camping and how to survive in the wild with nothing but a tent and two sticks to rub together. It became a private joke between himself and Anzu. He'd catch her eye across the room, or she'd catch his, and they'd just have to name one piece of equipment for both of them to dissolve into giggles at some memory of it popping back out of an overfull backpack, or being lost under the sofa, or billowing open in the middle of the sitting room so that Grandpa Mutou couldn't get in and tried to fight it off with a wooden spoon covered in spaghetti sauce – or one of the infamous metal dishes.
So when Jounouchi lifted the lid of his backpack and began rummaging around, demanding, "You did remember the marshmallows and crackers, right?" for once Yuugi didn't try to stop Anzu bashing him on the head.
"Y'know," Yuugi said that night when he and Anzu had set up their tents and Jounouchi and Honda were still struggling with theirs, "I think I could really get to like camping trips."
"Mm-hmm," Anzu said through her mouthful of gooey marshmallow.
Yuugi used a metal prong to pull a foil-covered banana, slit and crammed with chocolate fudge, from the centre of the fire.
"Duuuuuude!" Honda yelled as his tent collapsed on top of him.
"What?" Jounouchi snappishly replied. "You took my tent pegs. I'm taking them back."
Anzu leaned back in her folding chair, smiling. With strands of marshmallow glistening around her mouth, hair pulled back into a bristly ponytail, practical shorts and tee-shirt and her eyes fixed on the starry sky, Yuugi thought she'd never looked better.
He jolted, as he suddenly realised that for the first time in a long time, the constant pang of missing Yami wasn't so sharp.
"I think we should do this more often," she murmured.
Yuugi agreed without hesitation.
The trees grow so thick
You can barely see through,
But the forest bestows the simplest of truths.
You think you'll be happy if granted one more wish,
But the truth is you'll never need more,
You'll never need more,
You'll never need more than this.
-- From More Than This by Vanessa Carlton.