Note: I know just enough Japanese to get the basic idea and humiliate myself—I'm taking it on my own and am trying to get some use from the lessons in the book, even if it's not aloud. So, anyone who can speak Japanese, feel free to correct my spelling, grammar, usage, etc. I'll change anything that needs to be changed. I do not own YGO or X-Men.
Italics are thoughts or normal emphasis.
'Single-quote italics' are directed mind-speech.
"Quotes" are normal speech for the majority of the people in a setting. (Japanese while in Japan, English in the States or around the X-Men, Arabic with just Malik and Ishizu, etc.)
'Single quotes' are other languages, should be specified. Remind me if I forget.
'Ano… Yugi?' the thought did not come from the short teen whose mind it echoed in, 'Where are we going?'
'America,' A hand impatiently swept spiky gold bangs away from irritated violet eyes before dropping down to brush against a heavy upside-down pyramid pendant marked with the Eye of Horus. 'We're leaving in less than three hours.'
Confusion and alarm pulsed from golden metal, 'What!?'
'Hai,' A slight shake of the boy's head caused wild spikes of magenta-tipped black hair to sway softly, 'I'd have liked a bit more warning, myself.'
The pendant pulsed with light and another teen stood in the room, this one looking like a taller, darker, red-eyed reflection of the younger, though he was transparent. "How long will we be gone?"
"Grandpa said eight months," Yugi Muto glanced up at his darker half, "I signed up for an exchange student program right after I started high school, before I finished the Puzzle. The school never got back to me, so I forgot all about it…"
The transparent form solidified and moved to help pack, "And now they've decided to take you."
"Yeah, but because Grandpa only got home last night, he hadn't gone through all the mail, so I didn't find out until just a few minutes ago."
"They addressed it to your grandfather?"
Yugi rolled his eyes, just a bit. "Yami, he's my legal guardian and I'm underage."
"We can't refuse?"
Yugi shook his head dejectedly, "Grandpa wouldn't let that go. I was so excited when I signed up—and I was supposed to tell them if I wouldn't be able to make it so they'd be able to make other arrangements."
Yami felt the slight depression wavering in the bond to his Light and frowned, keeping his concerns for the city to himself and instead turning his attention on another matter. "Do the others know?"
Yugi shook his head, frustration clear in his stance.
Yami sighed softly, "Why don't you go find them. I'll finish up here—Jou and the others should be at the arcade right now."
A rush of gratitude flickered over the spirit as his young charge moved for the door, 'Thanks, Yami. I will.'
'Head's up aibō,' the ancient spirit mentally turned his Light towards the man he'd noticed. 'That's either our ride or trouble.'
The man in question was wearing dark, slightly worn clothing and a deep scowl.
'Ano… he doesn't look very happy, Yami,' Yugi considered the dark eyes and hard expression, 'Actually, he looks kind of angry.'
'Don't worry,' Yami reassured the teen, 'If things start to get out of hand, I'll take over.'
'Thanks,' Yugi couldn't suppress a ripple of nervousness as the man walked right up to him.
'Are you Yugi Muto?' he asked in noticeably accented Japanese. His voice was low and rough, kind of like Silver Fang's.
"Hai," Yugi stammered, still nervous.
'Good,' the man replied, looking anything but pleased. 'The name's Logan; I'm here to take you to the Institute.' He glanced around, eyes landing on Yugi's suitcase, "That your luggage?" he asked, slipping into English.
Yugi nodded uncertainly.
"Good," Logan grunted, grabbing the bags. "Follow me."
'He doesn't seem so bad, aibō,' Yami murmured in the back of Yugi's mind.
'I guess not,' Yugi agreed, 'He's just kind of like Kaiba, ne?'
Yami thought that one over. 'I'm not sure Kaiba would like the comparison, watashi no hikari,' the spirit of the Pharaoh observed dryly.
'What?' Yugi asked innocently, 'He's gruff and cold and pretends not to like anyone, but he has a good heart in there somewhere.'
Yami laughed, thinking of what the CEO of Kaiba Corp. would do if he heard that. 'Yugi, what I wouldn't give to see you say that to his face…'
Logan glanced over at his passenger, finding himself interested in this one despite himself. "Hey, kid," he called over to Yugi, "You in there?"
"Hai, don'na?" the response held slightly forced cheer.
"We've still got an hour and a half before we get to the school—why they couldn't find a closer airport I do not know—so… what kind of music do you like?"
That wasn't what Logan had originally intended to ask, Yugi was sure of that, but the man was probably trying not to push him. "Techno?" he offered, slightly uncertain of the term.
Logan nodded and channel surfed until he found something that could qualify.
"So, kid… where do you come from?" he asked after several minutes of relative silence.
"Domino City," Yugi smiled a bit, "I live with my grandpa above the Kame Shop."
"It's a game shop that Jii-san owns. I've gotten to like everything from chess to jigsaw puzzles living there," he paused, considering. "Though my friend Jou says I'm just living up to my name."
"Game, right?" Logan let a bit of a smirk touch his lips.
"Hai, yugi means game," amethyst eyes sparkled happily at how the man was loosening up.
'Why don't you ask where he's from, Yugi?' Yami sent, warm interest thrumming under the question. 'I'm curious even if you're not.'
Yugi sent the mental equivalent of a shrug to his other as he turned his attention back to Logan. "What about you, Logan-san? Where do you come from?"
Logan froze up for a moment before forcing himself to relax. It was a normal question, he reminded himself. Actually, he'd practically invited it, what with asking first. "I…" he hesitated, as uncertain now as Yugi had been not long before. "Don't know," he admitted. "I don't know anything about who I was up until five or six years ago."
Logan barely noticed that the boy stiffened, a strange look crossing his face. "Yami," he breathed aloud, then his tone and manner changed.
"There is no shame in having your past hidden from you," the teen said, his voice somehow deeper, richer than it had been before. "The past is merely a piece of you, Logan, not your entirety. We are who we choose to be—it doesn't matter who you were, only who you are. You lie to no one in claiming to be yourself… and you need not worry that I will think less of you for the admission. If anything, I respect you more."
Yugi abruptly ducked his head, apparently overcome by embarrassment. "Gomen, Logan-san," he apologized, "I didn't mean to preach at you."
Logan considered the kid's previous words for several long moments, "It's all right, kid," he assured, feeling a bit more content with himself from the little lecture. "I think I needed to hear that."
The remainder of the ride passed in companionable silence… then they reached the Institute.
Yugi climbed out of the battered old blue pickup and was met by a small but enthusiastic reception committee.
The single girl took one look at him and "Wow!" she cried. "How'd you, like, get your hair to do that?" She reached out to touch it.
Yugi jerked back reflexively, bumping into the scruffy man who had come up behind him.
Logan put a steadying hand on his shoulder and leveled a glare in the girl's direction. "Back off, Kitty, he's new."
The girl—apparently 'Kitty'—shrugged off the glare as easily as Yugi ignored Kaiba's irritated looks, but still gave the man a wide-eyed stare of open amazement. "Wow, Logan, did I, like, hear you just, like, say something to be, like, nice to someone?"
'She certainly says 'like' a lot,' Yami observed idly as Logan seemed caught between glaring and sighing.
Yugi smiled inwardly at the comment, "Gomen—sorry," he apologized, "You just startled me. And my hair is natural, believe it or not."
"No way!" The girl's dark brown hair shifted as she tossed her head enthusiastically, "That's, like, so cool!"
Yugi was spared having to continue that conversation as two of the older people came over to greet him and Logan.
"Hey, Logan," the man wearing red glasses called as he neared, "This the new student?"
"Yeah," Logan pulled Yugi's bags out of the back of the truck, "This is Yugi," Logan swung the bags to the ground and indicated the man and the white-haired woman who came up next to him, "Yugi, this is Scott and Ororo—Ororo's nickname is 'Storm' and you're likely to hear it a lot."
Yugi did not respond with his usual polite hello and bow—he had stopped paying attention around the time Ororo had been introduced, distracted by a vague pressure on his mind. The pressure grew to the unpleasantly familiar sense of an alien presence within his mind. Yugi swayed with the power of it and started to push back. 'Yami!'
The darkness had begun to respond even before the plea came, Yami and Hikari joining forces to slam the intruding presence form the boy's mind. 'I've got it blocked, Yugi. It's not coming back in.' The firm conviction in the spirit's tone left no room for doubt, then his voice softened, 'Are you all right, aibō?'
Yugi failed to notice Logan calling his name as he pressed a hand to his head, 'I think so… what was that?'
'I don't know,' A trace of anger filtered through the bond, tempered by comforting concern, 'I'll keep the barriers up until we know more.' A sensation of warmth washed over Yugi from his darkness, the mental equivalent of a reassuring hug, 'I'm here if you need me.'
The feeling faltered as a sense of sick dizziness flickered back across the link. 'Yugi? Are you sure you're all right?'
'Yami,' Yugi suddenly sounded dazed, 'I don't…' he broke off as his knees buckled, only Logan's sudden grab keeping him from going all the way down.
'Aibō?' the spirit's voice rang with alarm, 'Yugi!'
Yugi couldn't put together the thoughts to answer, instead replying with trying to dampen the link, not wanting his sudden pain to overwhelm his darkness.
'Yugi, what's wrong?' Distress echoed along their bond as Yami tried to get his light to open up his end. 'Please, aibō,' he pleaded.
'It hurts,' Yugi whispered finally.
'I'm taking over, Yugi,' Yami stated, moving to tug Yugi's soul into the safety of the Puzzle.
Darkness hesitated, 'Why not?'
'They don't know about you,' Yugi explained weakly, his control over the link slipping.
Yami delved deeper into the bond, searching for the damage. 'Please, Yugi… let me take over.'
Yugi didn't protest, mute surrender his only response.
Yugi must really be hurting to give in like that, Yami thought to himself, gently pulling the boy he was sworn to protect into the safety of the Puzzle's chambers before stepping into the now-familiar sensation of controlling a living body once more.
Less familiar was the all-encompassing pain, hazing his thoughts and making his breath catch in his chest before millennia of discipline and a touch of Shadow Magic sealed off the worst of it. He slowly came to realize he was on his knees, sweating and shaking, undoubtedly pale and drawn.
A calloused, heavy hand tightened on his shoulder, rough voice accompanying the unconscious gesture, "Yugi? Come on, kid, snap out of it!"
Yami shifted slightly and the too-tight grip eased with relief. "Yugi?"
Logan's voice, Yami's mind categorized as he started to take stock of his surroundings.
"Can you hear us?" a melodic woman's voice asked gently.
Not the hyperactive girl, so it had to be Ororo. No one else had come. Yami nodded and winced, raising a hand to his head.
"You ok, kid?" Logan's gruff voice asked.
'I'll be well enough to find out what did this to my light,' Yami growled, fury driving the remaining pain from his thoughts as he accidentally slipped into his mother-tongue.
Yami double-checked the language he'd spoken in. Not Japanese and definitely not English—oops. "Gomen nasai, Logan-san" he offered, pulling the words that Yugi would be most likely to use in this situation, "I don't think I'm… 'ok', as you say, but the pain is blocked for now."
Scott straightened and picked up Yugi's bags, "I'll take his things to his room," he said, "Logan, Storm, take Yugi to the Med Center," his head turned as he apparently surveyed the small group from behind his red sunglasses, "Kitty, you need to get to class—and don't start spreading stories about this until we know what just happened."
Professor Charles Xavier frowned as he slowly came to. He pulled Cerebro's chrome helmet off his head and noted the entire system had been completely shut down—probably a good thing, or that nap would have hurt a lot worse than it had.
He'd been trying to see the new student's mind—mostly to see how he'd react should he be told the Institute's secrets—but he'd been forced out.
The frown turned into a grimace as Xavier wheeled out of the silvery chamber. He could not remember ever in his life having felt as helpless as he had while being tossed out of that boy's mind. He'd been throwing every ounce of his considerable mental power, backed by Cerebro's amplifying effect, and had been knocked cold by the force of the blow that the little teen's mind had dealt.
Why? Cerebro didn't mark the boy as a mutant, so how could he have done such a thing?