A/N: Heeey everyone, I'm alive and kicking over here! The Yu-Gi-Oh plotbunnies are here in full-force, now. Not that I mind too much. As you can tell, Rivalshipping has been on the mind, and I have a feeling that it will be for a bit… Ah well! This might become a two-shot, who knows? Tell me if you think this could use a follow-up! Please and thank you!
Atem knew it was silly. He knew it was stupid. But this was his partner, his light, that he was talking about. The Pharaoh had to assure himself that Yugi would be safe when he was gone. Without absolute sureness that Yugi would be protected without him, Atem knew he would not be able to force himself to leave.
I must find Kaiba…
The young CEO was blessedly easy to find. Thanking Ra that Yugi had vanished into his soul room to allow the dark to form his deck, Atem lightly touched Kaiba on the shoulder. The other man spun around, grabbing the Pharaoh's wrist. Taking in the young man before him, Kaiba's eyes widened as he released Atem.
"Yugi? What the hell are you doing here?"
Atem shook his head. "Kaiba, I'm not Yugi, you know that."
The CEO snorted. "Yea, yea, yea. Whatever. What is it that you want, Atem?" he spit out the name, sarcasm heavy in his voice. Atem looked down, allowing a pregnant pause to come between them. When he spoke, his voice was surprisingly soft.
"Kaiba,I need you to promise me something."
Kaiba looked incredulous. "Why not ask those dweeby friends of yours, Pharaoh? Why me?" he taunted. Atem glared at his rival.
"Because I can't trust the others to do this. You are the only one who I know is able."
Kaiba merely smirked, leaning back in his chair and linking his hands behind his head.
"Then what do you plan to honor me with?" he sneered.
Atem continued to look at Kaiba, not rising to the obvious bait.
"Kaiba, promise me that you'll protect Yugi."
The former priest made a strangled noise, eyes wide in shock.
"What the hell? Why me?"
"I told you, I can't trust the others with this. They don't love him the same way you do."
At Seto's slightly disturbed look, Atem chuckled.
"Don't think I don't know. You've been chasing him around since our first duel. I see the way you look at him. Partner might see it, but I can. I know you can be there for him in a way the others can't. Please, Kaiba, I need you to do this. For Yugi, if not me."
Kaiba shook his head.
"You're nuts to think that I'd ever do anything for you out of charity. But Yugi… Well, I can't have him flying the coop as soon as all this crazy ritual business is done. I was gonna keep an eye on him, anyway," he muttered, trying to keep up his usual "Kaiba mask."
Atem could see right through it. He smiled in satisfaction, turning on his heel and marching out of the room. He paused at the door, glancing back at Kaiba.
"I appreciate it." Then he was gone.
Kaiba rubbed his temples, shaking his head.
"I must be dreaming…"
The next day, as Pharaoh Atem stepped through the doors to the Afterlife, he glanced back, eyes resting on each of his friends in turn. Crimson lingered on his partner a little longer than the others. Finally, he locked gazes with Seto Kaiba. The young CEO gave him a resolute nod, and the spirit smiled.
"Thank you, Seth, my cousin."
And then he was gone.