And here's the last chapter, everyone! When I said this was finished I forgot to mention that this was short. I could probably have split it into more chapters but I wanted there to just be three so it had a beginning, a middle, and an end. And this definitely ends this chapter. Sorry for others wanting an epic of SSR proportions but I've found that I finish more short fics than long ones (Skittering Tracks is the exception).
So let's get on with it. I don't own Stargate SG-1 or Yu-Gi-Oh. I only own Ame and Yggdrasil. I don't seek to make any money from this work, I just hope people enjoy it.
Warnings... someone has a mental breakdown leading to much bloodshed. Also, if others are like my beta, they might have mixed feelings about the aftermath. I'd appreciate feedback on it ^^
Thanks to JK and Eria for being awesome betas.
So this is Kaiba Corporation, Ame thought as Yugi paused in front of one of the Blue Eyes White Dragon statues guarding the door. It certainly stands out.
Yugi snorted without thinking, then covered it up by fishing out a tissue and pretending to blow his nose. Kaiba isn't subtle, he thought dryly, though there was a bit of fondness in there as well. But that's just how he was raised.
Jounouchi looked up at the statues. "Man, I'm glad Kaiba never decided to actually call one of these guys," he said, patting the stone. "That would be absolutely terrifying."
"No more so than your Red Eyes," Yugi noted, turning towards the door. "Have you been trying to summon anything lately?"
Jounouchi shrugged. "Milus Radiant most of the time. It's small so I don't pass out and it's just like having a dog I can banish back to its realm when it chews on the carpet." As they entered and approached the receptionist they dropped that line of conversation, picking it up again once they were safely ensconced in the elevator. "How about you, Yugi? You been calling things?"
Yugi shrugged. "The Dark Magician again. He was stuck for a few weeks, though, since I got sick right after. And Kuriboh."
"I bet the Magician was ticked," Jounouchi said thoughtfully. "Torn out of his home for a few weeks? I'd be too!"
"But you're not a Duel Monster, loyal to your caller, who just so happens to have been the vessel of the reborn Pharaoh," Yugi said dryly. There was a reason he didn't call monsters very often. "If he was annoyed he hid it very well."
Don't want to take advantage of people who are loyal to you because of your status, huh? Ame mused. You're a lot better than Yggdrasil ever could be.
Yugi was saved from having to respond by the elevator reaching its destination. He got off, Jounouchi right behind, and stepped into a room that looked to have been ripped right from Kaiba's Duel Academy. He'd never been to that school, though he had met, before his departure to the US, one young hopeful and given him a card.
The fact that his deck was a graduation prize was a bit flattering as well.
"Mutou," Kaiba greeted neutrally, standing at one end with one of his Battle City Duel Disks on one arm. He waved at a monitor that Yugi only now realized opened onto a mirror of this room, children decked in yellow, red, and blue watching the holographic representation of Kaiba on the floor. "I hope you don't mind if our duel isn't private. It was too good of an opportunity to ignore, letting the students see how two master duelists played."
Yugi shrugged, his own Duel Disk already on his arm. He and Kaiba might have been using antiques but they were familiar, and he'd choose familiarity over high tech any day. "I don't mind," he said. Kaiba might know about us but the Duel Academy doesn't, he added to Ame. If he does try to call us out we need to deny it.
No need for Jack to be angry at us, his partner agreed.
Striding to the spot marked out for him opposite Kaiba, Yugi tried to ignore the cheers that erupted from the holographic audience that simply appeared in the empty stands around them.
The Duel took less than 20 minutes. During that time the audience was treated to several Blue Eyes White Dragons, the Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl, and more traps than they could count but by the end of it Yugi was left standing while Kaiba's life points hit zero.
The elder Kaiba looked more annoyed than angry but he dusted his jacket off and looked at the holographic image of one of the school's teachers. "Was that sufficient for you purposes?" he asked over the roar of excited teenagers.
The teacher nodded. "Thank you very much, Mr. Kaiba, Mr. Mutou!"
"Dr. Mutou," Yugi corrected, though he was more amused than annoyed. He'd been out of the Duel Monsters scene for long enough that the fact he had a doctorate wasn't common knowledge yet."And I hope that our duel was helpful for your students." He surveyed the crowd, saw the boy he'd met, and waved to him. The boy, for his part, looked stunned before he waved back with over-exuberant force.
Kaiba nodded at some far corner of the room and the holograms faded away. Yugi took off his duel disk and flexed his sore wrist, grinning at Kaiba. "You've gotten a lot better!"
"Hmph." The other either wasn't interested in the praise or ignored it. "We have other things to talk about, Mutou. Like the fact that you're not just you anymore."
Jounouchi looked at Kaiba like he was nuts. "Come on, Kaiba, you know the Pharaoh went off to the afterlife ten years go! There's no way he could have come back."
"I'm not speaking of the Pharaoh." Kaiba advanced on Yugi, gripping the other's arm and dragging him close enough to stare unnervingly into his eyes. "I'm talking about a parasite that has no business on Earth."
Trust it to Kaiba to shatter whatever cover you had, Yugi thought, exasperated and yet fond of the other duelist. "You do know that you're talking about classified material," he noted. If Kaiba knew he wouldn't deny it, although he'd have to explain everything to Jounouchi.
"What are you talking about?" And there was the blonde, looking between them, dumbfounded. "You know there's no such thing as aliens, right Kaiba?"
"I wish I could believe that," the brunette snorted. "So what's going on, Mutou? I know no alien could duel like you, but you can't expect me to believe it's friendly."
Ame took over, not even bothering to hide the flash of gold behind violet eyes. Jounouchi took a step back, obviously freaked out. "Kaiba, you just can't leave well enough alone, can you?" the symbiote sighed, freeing his wrist with a twist he'd learned to keep Yggdrasil at bay. "Come on, let's not have this talk out in the open. Jack'll have my skinny little head if he finds out. Jounouchi, you come too."
He led the way back to the elevator and let Kaiba punch the button for his office. Once they'd arrived he saw that Mokuba was there as well, the young man poring over a few college textbooks. He looked up at their entrance, face brightening at the sight of his brother. "Seto! How was your duel?"
"I lost, but that's not the point." Striding over to his desk Kaiba discarded his long trenchcoat and turned, leaning backwards against hard wood. "So. You must be Amemait."
Ame nodded, glancing briefly at Jounouchi. The blonde was doing his best to keep from freaking out, he could tell, but he would have to do some fast talking. "Yugi calls me Ame, though. I'm not a parasite, I'm a symbiote, and Yugi practically begged me to stay with him when I volunteered to go. I'm not hurting him, and I have no intention of hurting anyone on Earth. My goal is to keep the not-so-nice groups of my people from getting their slimy little paws on your lovely little blue planet," he said bluntly. It hurt, claiming the Goa'uld as members of his race, but there was Yugi assuring him that he was much different from those body snatchers. It helped, but not much.
Kaiba's eyes narrowed. "And why should I believe you?"
"Because if you try and get me out of Yugi, we'll both die." Ame glared at him. "And if you try to keep me prisoner, the US Air Force will come to free me. Sorry to say, Kaiba, but you don't rule the world. It doesn't matter if you don't believe me, I don't care. I'm going to do my best to keep this planet free."
Yugi stepped forward, gold once again flashing in his eyes for everyone to see. "And I don't want you to hate him," he said gently. "Ame's not Atem, but he's not bad, either. It took me a little while to realize that as well, but I don't know what I'd do without him." He wrapped Ame in a warm mental hug, turning away from Kaiba to Jounouchi. The blonde hadn't said anything, which was worrying. He always had something to say. "Jounouchi?" Yugi asked.
The other shook his head. "Man, just when I thought we were done with all this freakiness. You mean to tell me that not only is there magic and card spirits, but there are aliens too?"
"Aliens trying to either enslave or blow up the planet," Kaiba deadpanned. Mokuba snickered.
"Yeah," Yugi agreed. "That's what I'm doing now, working with people trying to save the planet." He glared at everyone, then, warningly. "You do know all of this stuff is classified, right?"
Kaiba opened his mouth to reply but was stopped by a resounding explosion outside. All four of them turned to look and saw a familiar, curved deadly shape fly past.
Yugi's stomach froze and he thought his heart had stopped as well, leaning against Kaiba's desk for support as he struggled to restart everything and come up with a plan. Ame was in a similar state, though he recovered much more quickly and took control.
"What the heck was that?" Jounouchi demanded, staring at the ships streaking over Domino City.
"Death Gliders," Ame said grimly, already reaching for the phone. "A Goa'uld has come to Earth." And I think I know which one, he added mentally, hands shaking as he dialed an international, classified number.
"Stargate Command," the voice on the other end said in a professional voice. "How may I direct your call?"
"This is Amemait," the symbiote said, glancing out the window. "I need to talk to General Hammond. Now."
The Death Gliders fired on the city again before peeling off, heading west, just as Hammond's voice reached him on the phone. "Let me guess," the General said. "You just saw some Death Gliders."
"Four of them," Ame confirmed. "They fired on Domino City and headed westward. I think I know who it is, General."
"Jacob and Sam told me of your suspicions, but we have no confirmation. For now return to the SGC. If it is Yggdrasil we'll be able to protect you better here." Hammond's voice was tight, concern and fear reigned in by iron control.
"Yes, General." Ame looked at the others in the room, calculating. "I'll be bringing in some civilians who are far more knowledgeable about the Stargate than they should be," he added, knowing that Jounouchi would come with him without thought. Kaiba, on the other hand, would be harder to convince.
"You didn't tell them anything, did you?" the General asked tiredly.
"You'll be surprised what they already knew," Ame sighed. "I'll be there as soon as I can. Let's hope the world doesn't end before then." He hung up the phone and glanced at the elder Kaiba. "Can we borrow a jet?" he asked hopefully. "I know yours are a lot faster than anything commercial out there."
Kaiba glared until Mokuba poked him in the shoulder. He glanced down at his younger brother, who was scowling at him.
"Seto, I don't think he's too worried about keeping this a secret anymore," the black-haired teen said shortly. "And if you help he might be able to keep you out of trouble." He glanced at Ame, who nodded. "So please help them?"
Kaiba never could resist his brother, Yugi noted, finally recovered from that paralyzing fear.
Kaiba snorted, stalking out of the door. "Get to the underground bunker and don't come out even if I call," he said shortly. "If the world's still standing tomorrow we'll see."
Ame and Jounouchi hurried after him, trading glances. "Care to fill the peanut gallery in?" the blonde asked wryly.
"I hope you have your deck," was all the response he received. "Right now, Earth needs every weapon it can get."
On the many hour jet ride over Yugi and Ame told them the whole story, from Yugi's disastrous first mission to one Goa'uld's dangerous obsession with Ame. When it came to Yugi summoning the Dark Magician, however, Kaiba snorted.
"You still expect me to believe that the spirits of the cards live in an alternate dimension and you can call them here?" he asked skeptically, glaring at the open expanse of water below them and the thankfully empty sky above.
"The SGC does. Although Sam mentioned attacking us with recording instruments," Ame noted dryly. "I wouldn't have believed it either, except Yugi's summoned twice while I've been around. When it comes to proof, that's pretty indisputable."
Kaiba snorted and didn't reply.
The rest of the ride was spent with the three of them discussing strategies, even if Kaiba refused to believe they were viable. They only once ran into more Death Gliders, although the alien ships seemed less interested in one puny weaponless vessel and more interested in getting to where they were going far faster than even Kaiba's jet could manage.
They were almost at the SGC when the radio crackled to life and Kaiba frowned. "We're not close enough to our destination to be called by ground control," he said, reaching over to push a few buttons. A drop-down monitor appeared, a very familiar voice sending ice through Yugi's veins.
"Puny Taur'i," Yggdrasil sneered. "I, your god Yggdrasil, have come in search of what you have stolen from me. Until she is returned I will raze your cities to the ground, claim others in her stead." He waved at someone offscreen and another image appeared, security camera footage from that fateful night on the Goa'uld's pyramid ship. Ame, in Yugi's body, stood next to Yggdrasil, SG-1 kneeling before them.
"This is my wife, the Lady Amemait," Yggdrasil's voice continued. "Return her to me and I will spare all of your pathetic lives. Continue holding her and my wrath will know no limits." The screen darkened, the two humans staring at Yugi like he'd grown a second head.
"Lady Amemait?" Jounouchi asked. "That guy has some serious problems."
Ame shook his head, offering a weak grin. "My host was female at the time of our marriage. I soon switched to male hosts, but he wasn't deterred. And he still insisted on referring to me as a woman." He shivered. "I had hoped that the fact that I'd killed him would have clued him in."
"It didn't, obviously." Kaiba regarded him with cool blue eyes. "Are you going to surrender to him?"
Yugi's fear chilled him as well, and he shook his head. "I'd rather die," he said honestly, "and Yugi agrees with me. Though things have a tendency to not stay dead around the Goa'uld."
It wasn't very long after that that Cheyenne Mountain came into view, a very unwelcome sight above it. Yugi swallowed. "Yggdrasil's pyramid ship," he identified the hulking mass of golden metal. "He set down right on top of the SGC."
Along with the pyramid ship came a mass of Death Gliders, the jet forced to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a fiery death. Kaiba swore viciously and aimed for a relatively flat piece of ground a few miles away from the mountain, shouting behind him, "Brace yourselves, this is going to be bumpy!"
Yugi buckled himself in and hung onto his armrests for dear life.
Surveying the wreckage of the plane, Yugi counted himself lucky that he'd gotten off with just a scratch. He held a rag to his head, hoping that the bleeding would stop soon, while Kaiba and Jounouchi looked each other over to make sure they didn't have any broken bones.
"You okay over there?" the blonde called, wincing at the sight of the large gash over Yugi's eyebrow. "That has to hurt."
The linguist lifted the rag cautiously, relieved when only a trickle of blood leaked free instead of the river he expected. "Symbiote hosts have accelerated healing," he yelled back, wiping away what blood he could with his soaked rag. The gash really should need stitches but it was looking like it'd be closed by the time they got back to civilization.
"All right, it looks like we're mostly in one piece," Jounouchi summed up, shrugging back into his shirt. "We're just going to be really bruised in a few minutes. Now what?"
Yugi looked up at the pyramid ship, wrestling with his and Ame's fear to try and come up with a plan. "I don't know if Stargate Command has been taken yet," he admitted. "We have to assume they have been, which means we're on our own. There are probably Jaffa in these woods. If we can take out a few, get their weapons, we can sneak up on the mountain."
Kaiba pulled a handgun from his jacket. "What'll we do once we get there?" he asked cynically.
"Then we see how a false god fares against a real one," Yugi said grimly, pulling a card from his deck and turning it so the other two could see.
Yugi, it wipes you out just to call the Dark Magician, Ame noted uneasily. Won't that be dangerous?
Yes, the human admitted. But I can't let Yggdrasil have his way. We have to stop him here and now!
"That's why I asked you guys to come too," Yugi continued. "I'll need to save my strength for Ra, so it'll be up to you to summon something to help us."
Jounouchi grinned, pulling a card from his deck. "Leave it to me!" After a bit of concentration, a black form materialized above the crashed plane. "Red Eyes Black Dragon!" he declared, wobbling unsteadily on his feet.
I didn't mean something quite that big, Yugi thought exasperatedly, fishing in one of their salvaged bags for an energy bar. He shoved it at the blonde, already heading for the concealing forest. "Kaiba, you too."
Kaiba was staring at the Red Eyes incredulously. "That's impossible!"
"Just trust in your monsters and they'll answer," Yugi assured him. "Jounouchi has a good strategy, anyway. The Red Eyes can occupy the Death Gliders so they're not blasting the forest looking for us. If you call your Blue Eyes it'll give us an even better chance!"
Kaiba drew that card, looking at it doubtfully. Above him, the Red Eyes was tossing fire at a few Death Gliders that came to investigate, claws raking through hulls and sending screaming metal plummeting to the ground. Yugi winced when one came within ten feet of them.
"Jounouchi, send him somewhere where we won't be pancakes!" the linguist told him, still focused on Kaiba. "You can feel them can't you?" he whispered, stepping forward and laying a hand on the other's arm. "Your dragons know you're in danger and they want to help, but you won't call them. What if Mokuba were in danger and he refused to ask for your help because he didn't believe you could?"
Kaiba jerked away from him, surprise and calculation evident on his face as he thought that possibility over. After a moment he nodded, raising his card to eye level and glancing at the younger duelist. "What do I do?"
"Just open the way and they'll come," Yugi assured him. "Afterwards, try not to fall on me."
Kaiba's glare would have scorched him if it could but he nodded. In no time at all three dragons emerged from nothing, roaring challenge at the Death Gliders that veered away from them abruptly.
"You did it!" Yugi cheered, supporting Kaiba as the other nearly toppled over. "We don't have time to rest, though. By now the Jaffa on the ground know where the dragons are coming from and they're going to be on the way. We have to get moving!"
Jounouchi appeared at their side, energy bars in hand. "Eat up, Kaiba," he said glibly. "I don't want to have to carry you."
Already halfway done with one the elder man glared at him. "I don't need a puppy to tell me what to do," he retorted scathingly.
Get his gun, Ame suggested. He won't be able to fire straight, and I'm not that bad at aiming.
They switched, Ame claiming the weapon despite Kaiba's protests. "All good to go?" the symbiote asked.
Glaring, Kaiba nodded.
It took them an hour to reach the base of the mountain. It was a nerve-wracking hour, the three civilians dodging Jaffa patrols when they could and Ame taking down the enemy when they couldn't. After the gun ran out of bullets he tossed the useless weapon back to its owner, claiming a zat for himself and tucking a knife in the waistband of his jeans.
Despite everything they were finally standing just outside the gates separating the rest of the world from the Stargate. Yugi stared up at the massive ship, suddenly doubting this plan. Next to him Kaiba and Jounouchi were doing the same, their dragons wheeling above their heads.
"I don't know how much more Red Eyes can take," Jounouchi winced. "He's been getting pretty hammered. So if you're going to call Ra you'd better do it now."
Yugi nodded, gazing down at the card. Now that they were here and it was time he was suddenly struck by how improbable this was. The Red Eyes and Blue Eyes were clawing at the ship's shield, screeching challenge at its unseen master, but they couldn't get through. Despite being the most powerful of the Duel Monsters, would Ra have any better luck?
It has to work, Ame assured him. We have to do something!
Right. Yugi took a deep breath and braced himself.
It hurt. It felt as if all of his energy were being drained from things that really needed it, bleeding away from him into the card in his hand. Ame wrapped himself around him, feeding his own strength into the summon as well, pleading for his human not to fade away as the Winged Dragon of Ra finally appeared above them.
That's not all, Yugi thought dazedly, barely conscious and slipping fast. Incantation… he'll go wild…
Ame shifted into the driver's seat, wincing at the bone-deep fatigue he inherited as well. I'll take care of that, he assured, glancing at the red-hot card in his hand and reciting the words written there. He knew he'd succeeded when the card suddenly cooled and Ra screamed.
"Attack the false ones!" he commanded, willing himself to stay upright. It really wouldn't do to topple over before he could calm Yugi's dragon. "Show them why attacking us spelled their doom!"
Ra screeched, a sound echoing over the countryside. If Ame weren't so focused on staying upright he would have appreciated the sight of golden rays tearing into alien metal, his nightmare's ship crumbling into flames. Once the shields were gone the Red Eyes and Blue Eyes were able to get in on the attack as well, swatting Death Gliders out of the sky and taking their own revenge on the golden ship.
Jounouchi was suddenly at Ame's side, pressing an energy bar into his hand and supporting his weight. "You okay there?" he asked.
The symbiote bit into the bar and nodded. "Yugi's not quite here right now," he admitted, prodding the near-silent presence in the back of his mind. "Summoning Ra almost destroyed him."
A cargo ship emerged from the doomed pyramid ship, heading for the freedom of space. "Not so fast!" Ame snapped. "Ra, don't let it get away!"
Contemptuously the giant dragon, nearly as large as the pyramid ship it had been attacking, swatted the cargo ship into the ground with one claw. It landed twenty feet away from them, by accident or intentionally no one could guess. Ame downed the rest of the energy bar and waited for his system to process the gift, glaring at the smoking wreckage. Four dragons wheeled above them, fire and lightning lashing out periodically to keep leftover Jaffa from ambushing their callers.
A door opened on the cargo ship, a man clothed in mud green and blood red staggering out and surveying the damage with narrowed golden eyes. Once he saw Ame, however, his face lit up into a genuine smile and he started towards him.
"Lady Amemait," he said sweetly, sweeping his arms out in invitation. "It is good to see you here, my dear. Now we can crush these Taur'i like the vermin they are!"
Ame stepped backwards, bringing his zat up warningly. "Stay where you are, Yggdrasil. I killed you once and I'll be more than happy to do so again." He didn't try to hide the echo in his voice, the gold shimmering behind his eyes.
Yggdrasil paused, puzzled. "But you only did that to lead me to the Taur'i, didn't you my dear? And now that you have done so, we can rule over this planet like Ra was never able to. We will even topple Anubis!"
Eyes narrowed, Ame fired once. The Goa'uld before him fell, convulsing as the electricity arced through his body. To his credit he stayed conscious, though obviously only barely. The former Tok'ra threw the zat at Jounouchi and drew his knife, advancing on the fallen figure. Yggdrasil was helpless to do anything but watch as an angry symbiote stood over him, eyes blazing gold.
"Do you know what I sacrificed because of you?" Ame asked, voice low and dangerous. He knelt down and slashed across the Goa'uld's chest, parting cloth and skin in one neat pass. Yggdrasil groaned in pain, though Ame couldn't bring himself to care. Here was the man who had taken everything from him, who wanted to take even more and leave the world in ruins. Bloodied knife in hand he glared death at the one at his mercy.
"Do you know what I had to go through?" he snarled, stabbing the knife through the other's thigh. The cry of pain was music to his ears, the only other sound that of his heart in his ears, a quick fast beat. "I gave up everything to bring you down!" he screamed, lashing out with the knife again and again. Flesh parted and blood flew, staining his clothes and skin, scarlet counterpoint to blazing gold. He didn't notice how Jounouchi and Kaiba had backed away from him, didn't realize how inhuman he looked at this moment. All that mattered was that he was finally able to get back at the man that had caused him so much pain.
"And here you are, pretending that you love me, that everything's normal, and I hate you!" He plunged the knife into Yggdrasil's chest, barely missing his heart. He left the knife where it landed, gulping air as if he were drowning in an endless sea, unable to see anything but golden eyes and red. His fists pounded against the bloodied chest, tears choking his throat so that he could hardly speak. After a moment the last of his strength gave out, the toll from Yugi's summon and his attacks finally catching up to him."I hate you," he sobbed, falling backwards on his knees and hugging himself fiercely, trying and failing to block out what he had just done.
Despite everything the Goa'uld lived, pain-glazed eyes seeking out Ame's now-violet ones. "Do you truly mean that, my lady?" Yggdrasil whispered, blood trickling from the corners of his mouth. If Ame wasn't so sure the other was a heartless shell of a man he would have thought he was crying too.
"I do," he replied, voice shaking. "I hate you so much I want you to die." He couldn't meet the Goa'uld's eyes.
"Then I am sorry," Yggdrasil said regretfully. "I should not have come to this world. I will leave it as you wish." He reached upwards, Ame flinching away, and grasped the handle of the knife in his chest. "I do not wish to exist without my lady at my side."
Before Ame could say anything to encourage or talk him out of it he'd yanked the knife out. Blood gushed from the wound, coating the ground below him, and with a shuddering gasp the Goa'uld Yggdrasil was no more. Ame stayed there, kneeling at his nightmare's side, and burst into tears. He didn't know why he was sobbing, grieving for the man he'd hated for so long, but he couldn't stop his breath from catching in his throat, trying to get past the lump that had lodged itself there.
Yugi stirred in his mind, coherent enough now to wrap him into light and warmth. Outside Jounouchi was there, wrapping Kaiba's jacket around his shoulders, urging him to stand up and move away from the body. Neither of the grief-torn souls could get up the energy to ask how Jounouchi had been able to get the Kaiba heir to part with his prized coat, too caught up in the realization that despite all of the pain everything was finally over.
It was a week before everyone had picked up enough pieces to figure out what to tell the panicked public. Jounouchi and Kaiba stayed at the SGC to help, explaining what had gone on while the mountain had been under siege. Kaiba was rather annoyed by having to stay away from his company for so long, but he made some excuse about needing to keep an eye on "the puppy". Jounouchi confided in Yugi that he thought it was because Kaiba cared. Yugi thought that perhaps Mokuba had threatened him somehow.
Yugi spent that week recovering in the infirmary, having taxed his already strained strength with Ra's summon, but he got plenty of visitors to keep him informed of the goings-on. Between Jack, Sam, Jounouchi, Kaiba, and Janet, he found out that when Yggdrasil had landed he'd immediately sent Jaffa into the mountain. That had kept the SGC tied down and unable to help, although they had managed to keep the Stargate open the entire time. Yggdrasil had been unable to escape that way because of the efforts of Stargate Command, which was why he'd attempted to flee in a cargo ship. Aside from that he was quite content to lie in bed and console the other in his mind, Ame still not quite recovered from the shock. Not to say that Yugi was entirely okay, either. Like he'd told Ame what seemed like a lifetime ago, his other's nightmares had become his own. To see them ended also affected him profoundly.
When he was finally released from the infirmary was the same day the President of the United States made his official announcement on the events from a week prior. Yugi, picking at his food in the cafeteria, didn't know what to feel as the President officially revealed the existence of the Stargate to the world. At least he'd be able to tell Grandpa the truth, he assured himself.
But that wasn't all. The President detailed the events of the attack, explaining about the Death Gliders and the aborted invasion. Yugi didn't pay much attention to that, either, though a picture on the screen caught his eye. It was an aerial picture of the remains of Yggdrasil's ship, SGC personnel swarming over it. What attracted his attention, however, was Ra. The Egyptian God was contently curled up around the debris, apparently asleep and ignoring the humans working busily beneath him. Off to the side pale blue bodies were curled up around a lone black one, the four sleeping peacefully. Anyone who was into Duel Monsters, he reflected, would be able to guess just who had helped save the world this time.
The President was saying something about going on with life as normal but the duelist didn't pay attention to that. His life, ever since the Puzzle, had never been normal, and he suspected that it never would be again.
We saved the world, Ame said quietly, surprising his host. Since that day Yugi had hardly been able to get his other to speak.
We did, the linguist agreed. But what did we lose?
Ame didn't answer, but his heartbreak was enough.
They had a nightmare that night. Yggdrasil was leaning over them, gently caressing their cheek, but his eyes were glazed, his touch streaking red across their flesh. They were paralyzed by fear and revulsion, unable to move or make a sound as the knife struck down…
Yugi cried out into the darkness of his room, curled up into a ball, tears streaking down his cheeks. He flinched away from a touch on his forehead, only able to feel chill fingers. Ame wasn't in any better shape, trembling in the back of his mind. They had shared the dream, after all.
"Yugi, it is over," a familiar voice soothed him. "Whatever happened, it is done. You must set the past aside and move forward."
Yugi sniffled. "It's not over," he whispered. "Not as long we remember."
A deep chuckle. "My light, you would ask for your memories to be stolen because they are too painful? I can assure you, that is not the answer to your problem."
Yugi finally placed the voice, shooting upright in bed and blurting, "Atem?!"
Dressed in Yugi's old school uniform the former Pharaoh smiled at him. "You expected another?" He looked just as Yugi had seen him in their soul rooms, the only difference that his skin was bronzed rather than pale.
Yugi threw himself into the other's arms, burying his face in the presence he had missed for so long. "Atem," he sighed. "Ame… he's hurting so much, and I am too. Yggdrasil's dead, we watched him get buried, but we're so afraid. We thought him dead once and he returned, what if this is the case again?"
Atem stroked his hair, running his fingers through shortened strands. "He will not return, I promise you. Let his memory haunt you and you will have truly been his."
Ame stepped forward, clinging to Yugi's darkness even though he knew he had no right. "He owned me for three hundred years," he whispered, though his voice held no echo. And it wouldn't again, he promised himself. He wasn't a Goa'uld, so why should he sound like one? "For all that time I was his, and when I thought myself free…"
"You were always free, Amemait," Atem assured. "He had your body but never your soul. Remember, you escaped. If you had truly been owned you wouldn't have dared even that." He released the other, smiling in the face of Ame's tears. "Do you understand me?"
Ame nodded. "Thanks," he said gratefully, wiping away his tears. "I expect you want to talk to Yugi now, though."
"Yes. But before you do, please have my thanks." Atem was still smiling, and Ame realized that this smile was for him, not Yugi. "I've been watching all this time but it's only been since he met you that Yugi's really been himself. So thank you, Amemait. Or rather, Ame. I am grateful that you've been taking such good care of my light."
Ame didn't know what to say so he bowed, as was the custom from Yugi's home.
And then it was Yugi again, smiling at his darkness. "Atem, I was wondering. I saw you go into the afterlife, so how are you here?" the linguist wanted to know, although he hoped that the former Pharaoh wouldn't vanish on him.
Atem looked a bit sheepish. "I Ascended. I can't say much more than that, but I'm living on a higher plane of existence now." And then he looked annoyed. "Although the others who occupy this plane continuously infuriate me."
Yugi chuckled. "I can imagine." And then he was wistful. "I wish you could stay."
"There will always be another time. I cannot stop by very often, but that does not mean I can never pop in." Atem glanced somewhere Yugi couldn't see. "And I've overstayed my welcome now. Forgive me." He hugged Yugi again before he stood. "Please, both of you, remember what I've said."
"I will," Yugi promised.
I will, Ame echoed.
A flash of light and Atem was gone. Yugi crawled back into bed, the shadows of his nightmare banished to the back of his mind.
Nothing troubled his sleep that night.