A.N.: If I see one more review stating that "Yuugi" should have one u, I am going to SCREAM. @_x That said, kleenex alert ahead. The song "Gone Too Soon" belongs to Michael Jackson, and is really rather sweet. You should listen to it. From his Dangerous album. I'm not saying whose point of view this is from; try to guess before the giveaway at the end. ~.^ And yes, to the best of my knowledge, black is the colour of mourning in Japan and Egypt, both.


Like a comet
Blazing 'cross the evening sky
Gone too soon

"G'night, then."


The door closes with moderate quiet, sealing me off from the light, warmth, and noises from inside the building. Outside the air is cold, all warmth sucked up by the chill wind that chases down the paved streets. Constantly moving, writhing, never stopping, never slowing enough to let itself be warmed.

Huh. Reminds me of me.

Now. And before. Not in between. Not when there was one person who could warm me. Not when he was still with me, with us.

A particularly large gust blasts me out of my thoughts before tears can fall. Sucking in a shuddering breath that burns my lungs with cold, I shove my hands into my pockets and start to walk down the street. It's a long way home.

Like a rainbow
Fading in the twinkling of an eye
Gone too soon

Cold. It's so cold. Inside and out. There's nothing there, nothing to provide warmth, nothing to fill the spaces. So cold rushes in. Starting out as a sharp pain, then fading to a dull ache, then finally settling into numbness. No more feeling. No more will to feel.

Oh, gods. Look at me. Comparing myself to the weather, of all things. A dry, sharp chuckle forces its way past my throat. There's no one around to laugh at the idiot. So let's laugh at ourselves.

He wouldn't have laughed. He'd have listened. He'd have understood. Then he would have helped, in every way he knew possible, with no concern for his own health and safety. I, we, always had to keep such a close eye on him, to make sure he didn't push himself past his abilities. He always tried to, even if he didn't realize it. So eager to help, to make others feel better, that he didn't even think of the consequences.

Sometimes I wonder. If it weren't for us, would he have even had any enemies at all?

Shiny and sparkly
And splendidly bright
Here one day
Gone one night

A sigh escapes my lips, jarred slightly by the rhythmic pounding of my shoes on the sidewalk. Probably. I still marvel at how . . . . heartless, how callous, people can be to each other. Before any of us met him, he had enemies. Oh, not the great ones he had later. Not people like Kaiba, like Pegasus. Small stuff; school bullies, the "popular" kids in class. The same enemies that everyone else has through childhood.

But because he was so trusting, so open, so innocent, so unwilling to defend himself, it made it ten times worse. There's something almost blasphemous about hurting someone like him. I don't know how anyone had the heart-or lack of-to do it.

I suppose I should thank the stars above that there were other people who didn't know, either. Because even I, fighting tooth and nail, wouldn't be able to protect him from everything by myself.

Like the loss of sunlight
On a cloudy afternoon
Gone too soon

Now that I think about it, I realize just how often I've caught myself doing that lately. Changing "I" to "we". It's harder now to remember that there was anyone else. And I never had to do that before I met him. But he attracted good intentions like moths to an oil flame. And I have to admit, that we all were there for him, that we all protected him. That we all wanted to. He was far more than a friend, a companion.

We loved him. All of us. There are times when I wanted to argue that, to say that I loved him most and that he didn't need anyone else's love but mine. I was jealous, petty. So were they, at first. I think they would have resented me, right from the beginning, if I hadn't already been so close to him. I could have said the same thing about them. But he loved every one of us back. And we wouldn't dare hurt something he held dear. So we kept the peace. And eventually, grew to be better friends than I would have ever expected.

Like a castle
Built upon a sandy beach
Gone too soon

It was something about him. He was special, he was precious. Something to be cherished. But he was also human.

We sometimes forgot that, wanting to protect him as much as we did. We sometimes neglected to admit that he had needs, had wants, same as the rest of us. It took a long time for any of us to accept it when he started dueling on his own. And he was good. But our love blinded us, and he actually had to throw a screaming fit before we got the point. The first, and the last, since we paid more attention afterwards. But the very fact that he had to do that in the first place was enough to set our teeth on edge. We should have seen.

Of course, that's over and done now. And I like to think that we didn't do it again, at least, not as badly. But the guilt is still there. Along with every other wrong we ever did him, intentional or not. We didn't deserve him. No one did.

But he loved us anyway.

Like a perfect flower
That is just beyond your reach
Gone too soon

I kick a stone out of my way, idly, half-listening to it skitter down the street and bang off of a lamp post. The noise seems to trigger the thing, as the light struggles to life in the darkness. Others flash on, one by one, lining the roadside. It doesn't really matter to me. He was the only light I cared to see.

Which is probably why I found it so hard to believe when he found his own light.

Born to amuse
To inspire, to delight
Here one day
Gone one night

He truly did love her. But no more than he did the rest of us, than me. Yet, I was spiteful enough to believe that he did. His love for her was different, more passionate, the love between a man and a woman, for, yes, he was a man now. But because it was different, I thought it was more. And so I refused to talk to him for nearly a week, without even saying why I was upset.

I cringe, like I do every time I remember that incident. The others weren't as selfish, knew enough to yell at me for being so cruel. I'm sure she wanted to yell at me too, but somehow she could tell that that would completely shatter the ties between us, now so fragile. So she kept her silence at first, if not her baleful looks in my direction for being so petty.

And I was. Because I thought she'd become more than a friend. And although she had, she hadn't become worth more than a friend. And it took a slap and a sharp recitation of exactly what I was putting him through to see that. I thanked her for doing that for years afterward. Which was for about as long as she apologized for it. I still smile with amusement when I think about it. She never seemed to understand that she'd done me a great favour by waking me up to reality.

Three weeks later, they married. And he still didn't love us any less.

Like a sunset
Dying with the rising of the moon
Gone too soon

Years passed. Not as many years as I've seen, but they seemed longer than all the millenia I've seen altogether. Because he was in them. They all were. And during that time, we learned to love one another, as well. For all that time, we were never that far apart. If one of us was in trouble, the others were there to help, no questions or explanations needed. Even if we were hurting ourselves, we helped. We never meant as much to each other as he did to us, but it was enough. Enough to hold through time.

Enough that he wasn't the only one crying unashamedly when time took the first of us away.

We were all there, crying, for that first day of pure grief. And the next, only a year after the first. But even so, I don't think that it truly hit me until that second moment, seeing everyone awash in black and tears and tight faces.

I wasn't changed.

Oh, I don't mean inside. I don't know anyone who could tell a lie that large. But physically, I was the same. Even he had grown older. I remember looking, really looking, and seeing for the first time the strands of gray hair, the tired eyes, the wrinkles. And I remember being shocked. Because he had never said a word. I don't think he ever thought about it, any more than I did before I noticed. But when I did, I swear, the world sped up its turning by at least tenfold. I did everything I could think of to make the time last longer, to drag it out, to make it mean more, even as the rest passed into the afterlife that I would never see. Because I was not alive.

I made it last as long as I could. And it was nowhere near long enough.

Gone too soon . . .

I don't know what happened. I was there, with him. To the end. I should have been with him past the end. I should have gone with him.

Why didn't I?

I still curse Anubis and the gods above for doing this to me. I don't care if they punish me for my damnations or don't take any notice. Nothing they could do would be worse than what they've already done to me. Taken away my life, my light.

The only reason I still go on is because he would have wanted me to. And because I can't kill myself. I've tried.

I shove my clenched fists back into my pockets and walk up to the front door, raising my bowed head to look at the sign carved in the thick wood. In Latin, not Japanese or Egyptian. Because they have words to convey my suffering at the hands of the thing that took away all I had left.

Mors mortis.