A/N: This round is Heartshipping [Yuugi x Bakura]. For some reason, I really wanted to do something in-series for this pairing. My first thought was post-duelist-kingdom-Kaiba duel, but I changed my mind. Hope this works.

I think I'll put JouMai in all my fics again this season, just for a little added challenge, and to lament that I was not in the contest when they did polarshipping.

Mangaverse. Bakura, not Shizuka, was in the room with Mai when she woke up after Yuugi beat Malik.

Disclaimer: Nope. Nu-uh. Doesn't belong to me.


Yuugi was still settling into his body when Malik--the good Malik, the one they'd saved--said everyone who'd been hurt would be okay. He remembered the victims, and re-orienting himself became the least of his worries. Both Yuugis heard Jounouchi react behind them, and his other self was distracted enough not to notice that Yuugi's feelings were for one of the victims in particular.

Malik handed him the ring, and they both wondered, where was Bakura? Scratch that, the other wondered, but Yuugi... panicked. If his other self hand't been listening to Malik, he would've surely noticed. But the truth about his existence and his memories was maybe just a bit more important. Yuugi paid attention--really, he did!--but he was aching to run down to the blimp and look for him--them. Yeah. Them.

Although it was perfectly natural for Yuugi to be worried more for Bakura. He'd known Bakura longer. They'd gone through more together: Monster world, fighting off the evil self in the millennium ring, Duelist Kingdom, school... and it wasn't like he talked to Mai all that much, she was how many years older than them all. Yes, he would... he SHOULD be more worried about Bakura.

Though he should also be attentive when his other self declared they were all friends with the man who'd almost killed them. He tried to keep his mind clear. Kaiba helped a bit as he declared the island's self destruct mechanism. Now they had to get back on the blimp! But... Bakura wasn't ON the blimp! Surely everyone knew this; they would say something...?

The group hurried back to the ship, Jounouchi in the lead, Yuugi right behind. He voiced his doubts, that they hadn't seen Bakura after his duel with Malik, and was he on the ship? They all looked more worried when he said it. So they HADN'T thought of it? But Bakura was their friend! It wasn't just Yuugi, was it? His other self poked at his mind, asked if he was alright. Yuugi, not sure what he was feeling, mumbled his concerns for Bakura. His other self assured him that Bakura wouldd be fine, but was still too focused on his own thoughts to properly notice Yuugi's discomfort.

Jounouchi all but kicked the door down when they got there. Yuugi wanted to run off somewhere else to look for Bakura--it wasn't like Mai had disappeared, after all--but went in with the group. His heart might've stopped when Bakura was sitting right there. In front of him. In the room. Yuugi was too stunned to speak, and it was Jounouchi who asked him where he'd been. In the rubble, he said!

Jounouchi then asked about Mai, the group's attention likewise shifting. But Yuugi's thoughts stayed with the bandaged boy sitting next to her. Bakura told them she was dead--DEAD?! It caught Yuugi's attention, if only for a moment. Jounouchi threw himself at the bed--dead, she couldn't be dead!--and then Yuugi wondered what if it was Bakura on the bed, not breathing, and he saw himself shouting at the body, and...

Oh. OH. Yuugi realized with a start how far gone he was. Mai was dead, and all he could think of was Bakura--but she wasn't dead? Oh, poor Jounouchi, the look on his face... the look on Yuugi's, Yuugi thought, face if Bakura had done the same thing. Bakura was sitting there laughing with Mai--he was laughing with her, why was that, there was nothing with them, right?--so he'd do it, and Yuugi would--

NO. Stop it, Yuugi told himself. He wasn't... he couldn't be... there was Anzu...! And... and... Bakura? He wasn't... with Bakura? Bakura, their friend, they were all friends, they all worried about him... cared about him...

His other self probed into his mind, partner? Yuugi jumped--as much as one could jump when they were within their own mind. Oh no, he had noticed. But he couldn't help it if he thought that about Bakura, if he... Yuugi couldn't even think the word, he must've been denying it for so long. When was it? Maybe it was in Monster World, when Bakura had been so brave and risked his life for all of them. And when Anzu had spoken to Yuugi in Duelist Kingdom, told him that he was fine the way he was, what flustered him wasn't that she was returning his feelings... but that it was the wrong person returning feelings. He'd refused to let himself think about it ever since, but with Bakura almost dying... oh, what would he do if he ever died? Bakura, he should talk to him before something did happen--

"By the way, Yuugi, have you seen my millennium ring?"

Bakura interuppted both Yuugis' thoughts. Honda muttered to Yuugi not to tell him for fear of the evil Bakura. Yuugi didn't need told twice. He didn't want that other one in Bakura's body, hurting him any more. The pain of lying to Bakura was lessened by that thought. He watched in pained silence as Bakura wandered out of the room, Honda following. The other Yuugi picked up where he'd left off--partner? It was easier for Yuugi to lie this time, to say that he was okay. The other had the truth of his existence to deal with, and left it at that. Yuugi kept mumbling to himself, trying to make it come true. I'm okay. I'm okay. I'm okay. Bakura's okay. It was the last thought that gave him any comfort.