My Rival and Friend

By Ash Kaiba

DISCLAIMER: Yami Yugi and the gang are not own by me. This includes Seto Kaiba and Mokuba as well.

Note from the Desk of Ash Kaiba: Since I've picked up the last two volumes of Duelist, an oneshot for Yami has sprang into my head. This takes place after his victory against Marik, but a lot of references to his "destined" duel with Kaiba.

"The Battle City Finals are now over. The winner is… Yugi Mutou!" Isono yells from his space on duel platform.

In front of me, a light blond stands with his right hand on his deck. His lavender eyes thank me for all the work I have done. Yet, it was him, Marik Ishtar, that prevailed. I hear my friends cheer as the platform lowers. My view of the ocean is restored and decreases a little. My Millennium Puzzle now shines even brighter than it did moments before. Brighter than it did in my duel against Marik in the Shadow Realm.

"Whoo hoo! You did it, Yugi! You won!" I hear my friends yell. The loudest of them is still Jonouchi.

Thank you, my cards who helped me… And thank you…my friends, I think as I turn to face them, leaving my back to my former opponent. Honda, Anzu, Jonouchi, Shizuka, and Ryuji all circle around me. Smiles beam from their faces. Anzu is back to normal, though she is missing some memories due to the good in Marik. In the distance, the Ishtars appear to having their own conversation, one that I should not interrupt.

"Yugi!" A rusty voice beckons me.

I direct my attention to him. His chestnut hair hangs in his face, attempting to cover his startling blue eyes. His black leather pants and cloth turtleneck pale his skin, but not to much due to the white trench coat on his proud shoulders. His slender legs lean his body to the side. His arms cross themselves across his chest. His Duel Disk is promptly on display.

"By defeating Marik, you have earned your title as Duel King. As the host of this tournament, I applaud your achievement."

Immediately, Mokuba pipes with the ante rule. Marik and I face each other once more as he surrenders his ownership of "The Sun God Ra." Now, all three are in my possession. "Slifer the Sky Dragon" is from Strings, a mind slave of Marik's. "Obelisk the Tormentor" is from my duel before this; my duel with Kaiba. My duel with Marik was tough, but Kaiba was giving me a run for the upper hand.

"And this is the key to the king's memories…which my clan has protected for centuries. Look closely…"

I watch in horror as Marik rolls his black sleeveless up and over his head. I see hieroglyphs that only I and possibly Kaiba could understand. As well as an ankh between the three Egyptian god cards. Above them, a sun disk spreads its wings. Every bit give me the feeling of what has to be done and a vision of the "Tablet of the Pharaoh's Memories." Marik promptly followed by relinquishing both the Millennium Rod and Millennium Ring.

Now, four items and their purpose is still a mystery to me. So is my past. What does this all mean?

"Hmph. Battle City is officially over!"

So, Kaiba speaks again. I turn my attention back to him. His posture has remained unchanged over the short time.

"Yugi, I'll let you be the Duel King…for now." He growls.

I'm not surprised, Kaiba. Next time, may you be stronger than last time. I think as a grin creeps along my lips.

Then, he announces that the Duel Tower, the very structure we are on, is about to be destroyed; followed by a recommendation to get back on the blimp. Jonouchi barks his displeasure as Isono mutters that he didn't know. Right now, getting off this thing is my top priority.

"You're mind is like this Duel Tower standing tall in the rubble… You can pile hate on top of hate to reach the top, but you'll never find true victory!"

I said that to Kaiba during our duel. My mind struggles to recall what my rival said before that. As I ponder, my feet lead me to the elevator. I step in as well as my friends. The Ishtars stood at the top, waiting for their turn. Kaiba and Mokuba vanished before I followed his advice.

"My past is nothing but hatred and anger! It's not like your stupid fantasy world! I only care about the future. I trample on the past! It means nothing!"

That's right. Back there, Kaiba was and probably still is facing his madness. I had to win…to save mankind, my friends, and exorcise his madness. Though, Kaiba probably hasn't taken my words to heart.

Still, Kaiba, I pause; you are my rival and my friend. So, why does this line exist between us?

We all manage to return to the blimp with 46 minutes to spare. Anzu suggests that we check on Mai, a friend from Duelist Kingdom. Jonouchi, of course, jumps to agree and leaps ahead of us. We charge in, finding Mai is still in her bed and Bakura is watching over her. The platinum blond turns around and chuckles as he greets us. Jonouchi ignores him.

"How's Mai?"

"I'm sorry, Jonouchi. She stopped breathing…" Bakura whimpers.

I watch my best friend freeze with realization. Then, proceeds to call her name over and over again. Suddenly, I hear a spurt of laughter as the female blonde opens one eye. She pulls a hand up to her to cover her grinning mouth. Mai Kajuka flips onto her side, trying desperately to cover up her laughter and failing miserably.

"You were crying. Aw! I'm so happy! I didn't know you were that worried about me!"

She springs up to a sitting position and chuckles with Bakura Ryou that they're plan worked. It helps that Jonouchi is dim witted at times. Ryou then directs his attention at me. His brown eyes swirl in confusion as he asks about the whereabouts of his Millennium Ring. Honda leans close to my ear and whispers that I shouldn't tell him that it is now in my possession. So, I lie by claiming to not seeing it.

We all find a room and park as Kaiba's henchmen round everybody up. But, when it got to five minutes before denotation, we were getting concerned. Jonouchi and Honda charge out with the rest of us following behind them. Upon finding Isono, they snap that the blimp needs to leave the island now.

"W-we're still waiting for the Kaibas to get on board." He stutters as I freeze with realization.

Kaiba and his brother left the arena before us… But, they didn't return to the blimp?

"Let's search the whole ship! From top to bottom!" Honda suggests, which we all agree on immediately.

Why Kaiba? Just because I won our duel doesn't mean that you have to commit suicide…and drag your brother with you!! My mind screams as every hallway, every room turned up empty.

"Kaiba, You can pile hatred on hatred…but it's…FRAGILE!"

I remember playing 'De-Fusion', breaking apart Kaiba's Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon into the three Blue-Eyes that made it. I remember giving up 1000 of my life points to activate 'Diffusion Wave-Motion.' My 'Dark Paladin' creamed his dragons in one attack and drained the rest of his life points. I can still see the horror on his face as they fall.

"Hatred is a dead end."

He stood there, lost. I can actually count the times I seen him dumbstruck on one hand. This is one of them. He stood there. I bet his mind was trying to comprehend how I pulled through when we both at the same level of skill. But, as soon as I open my mouth, Kaiba's barriers are back up.

His eyes gained the roaring waves of an angered sea. The skin of his nose wrinkle as his teeth is bared in aggression. I want to calm him, but knew it was best if I spoke to the point and allowed him to come to terms with defeat. I won with the power of friendship, an aspect that I believe was robbed from my rival in his early years. Kaiba only tells me to save my pity for someone else and surrenders "Obelisk the Tormentor."

He and his little brother disappear into the tower for some time. Yet, he returns to the arena just before I began my duel with Marik.

"Yugi! Take this card!"

'Devil's Sanctuary' is the one card from Kaiba that helped me accomplish my goal. I couldn't have done it without him.

Yet, we still didn't find them. We go up to the platform and watch the tower blow up. Violent explosions ripped the building apart. Thick smoke clouds our view. I stand there, frozen with shock and grief.

Kaiba, that was foolish…

The air was stolen out of our lungs. After what seemed like an eternity, Jonouchi points his finger into the smoke.

"Look at that!" He shouts.

I did. A faint outline of a craft comes clearer and clearer with each second. It breaks through the smoke. We hear a laugh that is so familiar echo from it. In the cockpit, Seto Kaiba gloats as his brother cheers behind him. Anzu and Ryuji sigh in relief after Jonouchi starts yapping at the fighter plane.

"The leader of Kaiba Corp. can't return in the blimp, so enjoy your ride losers!" One of them boasts.

I watch Kaiba's head turn back to the sinking island. Then, he looks back at me. I can clearly read the message in his eyes.

"Our battle is not yet finished."

I salute you, Kaiba…

The jet darts ahead of us and spins to face us head on. But, Kaiba kept meters between him and the Battle Ship. The elder brother hits the thrust once more and zooms past us. In my mind, Yugi surfaces with the observation that Kaiba might be chasing after his new dream. I agree. And now it is time to start pursuing mine.

"Let's head home," Jonouchi grins before facing the sinking island. "See ya never, Alcatraz!"

This is the end of Yami's one-shot. I couldn't resist writing this one up. I shall continue working on Inner Demons and another Kaiba one-shot.