Last Moments

Joey slowly rolled the barrel of the revolver he held. Though neither Yami nor Yugi knew about the gun, Joey had bought it not long after they'd returned from Chicago, where Yami had told them that he was involved with Kaiba and the Mafia. Kaiba. Somehow that bastard always made trouble. And for some reason Yami, and Yugi too, always seemed to think they needed to help him. Kaiba didn't deserve help if he was hanging from a rope over the Grand Canyon, but they seemed to think he did. Which was why Joey hadn't believed Yami when he'd said it was over, and which was why he'd bought the gun, for protection.

Protection. And now it was going to be used for anything but.

How had it come to this? Joey couldn't believe what he was doing. He'd always been a protector. First Serenity, and then Yugi. Sweet, naive, petite Yugi.

And now look at him. Look at what Joey'd done. He could lift Yugi up with one arm, and yet he'd let him infect himself. Yugi had only gotten a sip in his mouth, but then Joey had given into his lust and slept with him. And even then they could have gotten lucky. Joey didn't really believe that, but one had to have hope, right?

Hope. There was hope and then there was foolishness.

Joey continued to look in at Yugi, watching him sleep. He'd gone to sleep early. Yugi was so peaceful, but only for now.

Joey had spent a long time looking at what AIDS did to a person. He felt like something had broken inside him and he couldn't imagine that being Yugi's fate. And even if Yugi never got AIDS, he'd still have HIV. And so he could live with it for years, so what? HIV was no picnic either. Joey knew that from experience. The coughing, the weightloss, the recurring pneumonia.

He should just do it now. While Yugi was sleeping. Quick, painless, and he wouldn't know a thing.

And Joey would follow.

Joey slowly walked into the room. He raised the revolver, turning it to Yugi. Watched his sleeping face. He held the muzzle a half-inch from Yugi's forehead, then pulled back the hammer.

The sharp click woke him. Joey froze as Yugi's wide violet eyes opened, looking up at him slowly in confusion. Yugi's gaze went to the gun, his head pushing back closer to the pillow in surprise. Joey started to just do it, but he didn't. He watched as Yugi looked up at him again, and there was no fear on his face.

"Joey?"

"Yug', I..."

Joey trailed off. A tremble ran through him, making the gun shake. Could he? He had to, didn't he? He just couldn't take this anymore, thinking about what was going to happen to Yugi. Thinking about watching him suffering, withering if he got the AIDS.

Joey's finger tightened on the trigger, and still Yugi looked up at him. No fear. No questions. No begging. No urging, either.

No, he couldn't. Quickly he lowered the gun and turned. He hurried from the room, into the living room.

"Joey! Joey, please, stop!"

Yugi's voice. Joey stopped, though he didn't turn. He felt Yugi's slim fingers grab his wrist, of the hand holding the gun. Joey remained facing away, even as Yugi spoke.

"You're going to die, aren't you?"

"Yug', I'm sorry. I can't--"

"Joey, please, don't go."

Joey turned around slowly. Yugi looked up at him, and now there were tears trickling down his cheeks. Joey felt a sharp stab of pain in his heart, but he said nothing.

"Don't leave me," Yugi whispered.

"Yug'."

"Please." A faint smile spread over Yugi's face. His hand tightened around Joey's wrist. "I know what you're thinking. It's okay. Take me with you."

Joey stared at him for a long time. He should have been surprised by Yugi's words, but he wasn't. Yugi was just as mentally unstable as he was. In fact, if it weren't for Joey, and Yami, Yugi might have offed himself before now. Had been headed down that path, whether or not he believed it.

"I love you," Yugi said. He stood up on his tiptoes and pressed a light kiss to Joey's lips. Then he let go of his wrist.

Joey slowly raised the gun, rested it against Yugi's temple. "I love you, too."

Yugi smiled, then closed his eyes. Joey stared at his face for a long moment, then closed his own eyes. He couldn't watch it. He wouldn't, even for a minute, remember Yugi's face any other way.

The gun went off. He heard Yugi hit the carpet. A shudder ran through him and a moan rose from his throat. He cut off a sob, then forced himself to gather himself together. He raised the gun, and held it to his own head.

"I'm coming, Yugi."

Joey pulled the trigger.