Disclaimer: Beatifically not mine.

A/N: Written for Challenge #31 'back' at ygodrabble. I really like this week's prompt. So many ideas, so little time!

Every Time A Shop Bell Rings

© Scribbler, February 2011.

If you love something let it go free. If it doesn't come back, you never had it. If it comes back, love it forever. – Doug Horton

The shop door jingled. It wasn't a special sound. There are a million bells above a million doors in a million shops around the world. This one, however, heralded a change in the lives of all who heard it. That tiny bell may as well have switched careers and renamed itself 'fulcrum', because it was the tipping point upon which BHCB changed to AHCB. The consequences were staggering, but at the moment the bell rang, the only one anyone felt was shock.

Honda's mouth swung open like the tailgate of a truck. Jounouchi's eyes bugged and he nearly lost his balance on the stepladder. Anzu nearly dropped the stack of board games they had been helping load onto the shelves above the counter. And Yuugi …

Yuugi just stared. He stared like he knew he would go blind tomorrow and wanted to make sure he remembered every detail of this moment. When the boxes finally slipped from Anzu's hands and crashed to the floor he looked away, but looked back again several times.

"This can't be real." Jounouchi's voice, as ever, was the one to return first. "No way, man. No way. This is … this is against the rules of the universe."

"You want me to pinch you?" Honda murmured. "Hell, can somebody pinch me? Because I'm pretty sure I'm hallucinating right now."

"Not unless we're all hallucinating the same thing at the same time. This is whacked out. This is–"

"Will you two be quiet!" Anzu hissed. "Yuugi?"

Yuugi continued to skitter his stare between each of them and the doorway. He seemed incapable of speech. When he opened his mouth, the only thing to come out of it was a hoarse noise, like someone choking an asthmatic hyena. It silenced his friends, until the door to the storage room opened and his grandfather emerged with a clipboard.

"That's all of them, I think. I could've sworn we ordered more, but … what? What is it? What's wrong?" His rheumy eyes fell on the door. It was still open, silhouetting the figure who had not yet, actually, come through. "Impossible. How did you get here?"

"I think we have proven many times, Grandpa, that 'impossible' is a flexible idea where we are concerned. That isn't to say this was easy, or simple, or quick to explain. I have made many bargains with many powerful beings to be here, and possibly broken more rules than anyone before or after me, but seeing your faces, I believe it was worth it."

BHCB: Before He Came Back.

"Hello, Aibou," Atem said softly. "Did you miss me?"

AHCB: After He Came Back.